1 Thursday, 5th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 3.10 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, please, Mr. Registrar.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the
8 interpreters and to the steno-typists. Does everybody
9 hear me? Good afternoon to Defence and Prosecution
10 counsel. Good afternoon to the accused. I believe we
11 can now continue. We're going to be here until 6.00.
12 Let me turn to the Defence counsel for the
13 introduction of the next witness. Will it be
14 Mr. Nobilo?
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. The
16 next witness will have a pseudonym, "DJ." He is a
17 farmer, an agricultural worker, without much
18 education. He lived in his village throughout his
19 life. At the start, I would like us to go into private
20 session for a few moments for me to be able to explain
21 where his house was and which village he lived in.
22 He's going to describe his property, the land he owns,
23 and his experience from the first conflict in January
24 1993 when he left his house for a short time, for 24
1 After that, he's going to describe what
2 happened in April 1993 when the Bosnia-Herzegovina army
3 came to his village, took away all the men, took them
4 to a prison, how they behaved to the prisoners in the
5 prison, the injuries he sustained, the conditions
6 during his detention, trench digging, the exchange of
7 prisoners, and his departure for Kiseljak. He's going
8 to describe what happened to his house. He is going to
9 describe how many Croats lived in the village before
10 and how many live in it today and what happened to the
11 neighbouring villages populated by the Croats.
12 We're going to try and be as brief as
13 possible and to be as effective and efficient as
14 possible. Perhaps I'll ask a few more questions than I
15 usually do, so I'll leave the witness less time for
16 independent talk, and I'll be asking him more shorter
17 questions, if you agree with that kind of work. We
18 expect to finish in 45 minutes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: First question, we will move to
20 a private session. I don't have a summary. I can't
21 find it. I have three of them. I'm not going to state
22 the names. Was there a written summary,
23 Mr. Dubuisson? I'm sorry. I think I'm the one who
24 lost my copy.
25 The second question or comment is sometimes I
1 would like to have a narrative of the testimony, but
2 what I've often seen is that when there are questions
3 and answers, which one sees in purely common law
4 systems, time is wasted. Sometimes it's true that it
5 can be better. I do recognise that. I have confidence
6 in you. I will not hesitate to intervene if you go
7 into too many details. Don't go into too many
8 funnel-like questions, but go directly to what you're
9 asking the witness to tell you. Ask your questions
10 concisely; otherwise, we're going to waste time. If
11 you have any way of saving time, I would agree with
12 that method.
13 We can now go into a closed session. I think
14 it would be best to have a closed session now.
15 Will a private session be enough, Mr.
16 Nobilo? Is a private session enough or does it have to
17 be a closed session?
18 MR. NOBILO: I think that that will be
19 sufficient. A private session will do very well.
20 JUDGE JORDA: No objections from the
21 Prosecution? Mr. Kehoe?
22 MR. KEHOE: No objection.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much.
24 (Private session)
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6 (Open session)
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. So we're not going to mention the place that
9 you lived in anymore, and we're not going to mention
10 names. We're just going to say "your village." That's
11 the term we're going to use. Tell me now, on the 23rd
12 of January, 1993, what happened in your village?
13 A. Well, in my village, in the morning at 6.00,
14 the Muslims set up a barricade by Andric's house, and I
15 was seeing to the livestock there. There was shooting
16 down below. There was shooting, and some women came
17 and told us that we had to withdraw. My father said,
18 "Well, where are we going to go? How can we
19 withdraw?" And he said, "Yes, refugees are already
20 coming in from Gusti Grab, and a lot of people are
21 being killed there already. We will have to flee as
22 well so that they don't kill us."
23 In the evening, at 6.00 in the evening that
24 day, it was 6.00, and we started across the hills.
25 Q. In the morning at 6.00, you arrived at the
1 Kiseljak municipality?
2 A. Brestovsko, down by the church. It is three
3 and a half kilometres away.
4 Q. When did you return to your house?
6 (redacted) My wife, and my daughter went up there, and
7 my father remained in the house, but he refused to
8 leave because he said, "I'm going to stay here," and
9 they didn't do anything to him, but they stormed our
10 house. They made a lot of mess but didn't do anything
11 to him. (redacted). They took what they
13 Q. You mean they took goods from your shop?
14 A. Yes. They took what they needed. We left.
15 My father stayed down below. As I went to my
16 daughter's that day, I returned the following day. I
17 returned to my home the following day to see to the
18 livestock. (redacted)
20 went back. On the second night, I went away once
21 again, and I came back to see to my livestock and the
22 pigs, and then all three of us returned.
23 Q. So nothing happened to anybody, nothing
24 happened to the house? Just the goods from the shop
25 were taken; is that right?
1 A. (No audible answer)
2 Q. We're now going to concentrate on April 1993
3 when it was Easter. Do you remember?
4 A. Yes, I remember.
5 Q. Could you explain to us, in April 1993,
6 around about Easter, whether, in your village, the HVO
7 existed? Were there any HVO units?
8 A. No, there weren't. Of course not.
9 Q. When they were there, who was there?
10 A. The Muslim army was there. Yes, the army was
12 Q. What happened during Easter?
19 Q. When the women left for church to hear mass,
20 who came to the village?
21 A. They went to the church, the women, but the
22 BH army came to the village.
23 Q. What did they do?
24 A. Well, when my wife had left to go to church,
25 they came to the three of us, my father, myself, and my
4 Q. What did they ask you to do?
5 A. They asked us not to leave the house, and
6 they ordered my father to go to the shed and to take
7 the sheep into the shed, and they sent ...
8 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid I didn't hear
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Could you tell us what "Mali Raj" means?
12 Would you explain to the Court what there was in the
13 Mali Raj and the gasworks?
14 A. Well, Mali Raj is a cafe. It's a cafe
16 Q. And they collected all the male Croats there;
17 is that right?
18 A. Yes. There are about 15 or 18 of them. They
19 were all older. Some of them were 70 years old. My
20 father was born in 1912,(redacted)
22 Q. How many people were held in the gasworks?
23 A. There were about 60 of us.
24 Q. What did they say? Why did they collect you
25 civilians? Why had they rounded you all up?
1 A. Well, we didn't want to go. I don't know why
2 they rounded us up. I really can't say. I'm asking
3 myself that question.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DJ, when you answer,
5 this is the Presiding Judge of the Court speaking to
6 you, please look at the Judges. When you answer, look
7 at the Judges. You turn to the Judges.
8 THE WITNESS: Very well. Well, this is the
9 first time that I'm in a court of law, so I apologise.
10 I don't really know what's expected of me.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I'm sure you're not used
12 to this. Make some effort.
13 THE WITNESS: I haven't had the habit of
14 doing this.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. Now we're concentrating on the gasworks where
18 there were about 60 people. Were there some prisoners
19 of war there, HVO soldiers, or were they all civilians?
20 A. All of them were civilians, except that there
21 were younger ones too, Your Honours, yes, yes, younger
22 people too.
23 Q. Tell me, what were the conditions like in the
24 gasworks? Did you have a blanket, a bed, a shower?
25 A. Nothing, Your Honours, nothing. I slept
1 under the manager's desk. We didn't have any showers
2 or beds. I slept on a little blanket, and there were
3 60 of us there. We were afraid that we would
4 suffocate, because there were people up to the age of
5 70 there with us.
6 Q. Tell me, was there any trench digging?
7 A. Your Honours, the younger ones went to dig
8 trenches, and we older ones didn't.
9 Q. Tell me, these younger men, did they go to
10 dig trenches every day?
11 A. No, Your Honours, not every day. It would
12 change. One day they would go and the other day they
13 wouldn't go.
14 Q. But somebody went every day; right?
15 A. Yes. Somebody went every day.
16 Q. Could you tell the Court where the trenches
17 were dug?
18 A. Yes, I can tell you. Your Honours, trenches
19 were dug at Gunjace, Badnje, Majna, Kobiljaca, and
21 Q. Was that where the front-line was, where they
22 were digging?
23 A. Yes. That's where the front-line was.
24 Q. Could you please bring your chair up closer
25 and speak into the microphone? Right. Would you tell
1 the Court, the civilians who were in the gasworks and
2 in Mali Raj, were all of them Croats?
3 A. Your Honours, all of them were Croats.
4 Q. What about UNPROFOR and the Red Cross, did
5 they come?
6 A. Yes, yes, Your Honours. UNPROFOR came.
7 There were two of them who were black and blue and who
8 couldn't be brought out into the yard, but the rest of
9 us were taken out into the yard.
10 Q. Tell me. You said that you were black and
12 A. No, I wasn't. Those two guys who stayed back
13 in the offices where we slept.
14 Q. Tell me, were you taken out of the gasworks,
15 out of the house?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Why? Tell us why. How did this happen?
18 Tell the Court.
19 A. Well, Your Honours, this is the way it
20 happened: They took us out of the gasworks and I was
21 supposed to go and feed my cattle at home, and I did
22 that. When I fed my cattle, they took me into my house
23 and said, "Admit where your radio station is." And I
24 said, "Oh, come on, I'm illiterate. How do I know what
25 a radio station is?" And I said, "I don't have any bad
1 feelings about anybody in this village." I don't know
2 what he had in his hands or on his belt, I don't know,
3 but he started beating me on the shoulders and, to tell
4 you the truth, he said, "Confess. Where is your radio
5 station?" I said, "What do you mean, radio station? I
6 don't have a radio station. I never had a radio
8 Well, then they picked me up and they said,
9 "Come on. Get into the car." I got into the car, and
10 they said that I should lie down -- I mean, in the back
11 seat of the Stojadin car and they took me to the
13 Q. Did you manage to see (redacted) or
14 your father on that occasion?
15 A. No. The next day, when they took me again to
16 feed my cattle, it was another group of policemen who
17 took me, and I asked this policeman, who was a nice
18 guy, and I said, "Look, I've got to see my father and
19 my brother. I should see them, really." And then
20 he took me there to Mali Raj. I said, "They'll kill
21 me. They'll kill me. There's no way I can stay alive
22 because they keep telling me that I have this radio
24 MR. NOBILO: All right. We'll stop for a
25 moment at this point, and I would like a document to be
1 distributed but I would like it to remain under seal
2 because it contains the name of this witness.
3 THE REGISTRAR: This is D428, and we will not
4 put it on the ELMO.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Take a look at this. Is this a photocopy of
7 the Red Cross card that you gave me when I first saw
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right. This is what the Red Cross gave
11 to you when they came to see you in prison; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Tell me, how much time did you spend in
14 gaol? On what date did they arrest you?
15 A. On this Easter holiday.
16 Q. That is to say, the 18th of April, 1993?
17 A. Yes, 1993, and I was released.
18 Q. When were you released?
19 A. Your Honours, I was released on the 1st of
21 Q. 1993?
22 A. Yes, 1993.
23 Q. How did that happen? Were you released or
24 were you exchanged?
25 A. First, UNPROFOR came and then the Red Cross
1 came and then they registered all of us, Your Honours,
2 and then -- and then we stayed there until the 1st of
3 May, and on the 1st of May, there was an exchange.
4 UNPROFOR came and Vehbija Karic and some other guys
5 from the BH came. Three or four of them; I don't
6 know. I just know that they were addressing Vehbija
7 Karic, and I don't know anything else.
8 Q. And where did you go?
9 A. We went to Kiseljak.
10 Q. Where do you live now?
11 A. I live out there in Radanovici.
12 Q. The municipality of Kiseljak?
13 A. Yes, the municipality of Kiseljak.
14 Q. Tell me, how many Croats lived in Bilalovac
15 until the 18th of April, 1993, according to your
17 A. Well, you know, on the 28th of January, all
18 of us fled from there.
19 Q. But then you came back.
20 A. Yes. Part of them came back, but then some
21 of them whose houses were destroyed did not come back.
22 Q. All right. So let's go back to January.
23 Until this conflict between the BH army and the HVO in
24 January, how many Croats lived in Bilalovac?
25 A. Your Honours, there were about 100 Croat
1 households, I think.
2 Q. In Bosnia, how many members does a Croat
3 household have, on average? Some people have larger
4 families, some have smaller, but on average?
5 A. Well, it depends. (redacted)
6 (redacted). So see what kind of
7 difference this is? Some have more, some have less.
8 Q. Can we say that in Bilalovac, there were
9 about 400 to 500 Croats?
10 A. Yes, yes, possibly.
11 Q. Could you please tell the Judges how many
12 Croats are in Bilalovac today?
13 A. Well, Your Honours, four or five, I think.
14 Not more than that.
15 Q. Four or five men, people, or four or five
17 A. Four or five households, and all of them
18 elderly people at that.
19 Q. The villages surrounding Bilalovac, tell me,
20 where did the Croats live around Bilalovac?
21 A. They lived in Kazagici, in Kazagici, Gunjace,
22 and -- what's the name of this other place? --
23 Mirosevici, Sajinovici, and all these places around the
24 gasworks. There were hardly any Muslims.
25 Q. There were only Croats?
1 A. Croats.
2 Q. What about those villages nowadays? Are
3 there Croats living there?
4 A. No, Your Honours, there's no one. There are
5 only destroyed and burned and looted houses.
6 Everybody's gone to Kiseljak.
7 Q. So you say that all these Croat houses were
8 looted and destroyed; right?
9 A. Yes.
14 A. Nothing, Your Honours, nothing whatsoever.
15 Q. What about your machinery and everything?
16 A. All of it stayed up there. After this
17 exchange on the 1st of May, everything, everything,
18 Your Honours, remained up there.
19 Q. Did you visit your house recently?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. When?
22 A. Well, when we had a memorial service at the
23 cemetery about 15 days ago.
24 Q. Did you see your machinery there? Is it
25 there or is it not there?
1 A. No, there is nothing up there, nothing.
2 Q. All of it was taken away?
3 A. All of it was taken away.
4 Q. What about your livestock?
5 A. Nothing. Nothing, Your Honours, nothing
7 Q. What does the house look like?
8 A. It doesn't look like anything at all.
9 Q. Well, describe to us what you mean by
10 "nothing at all."
11 A. Well, everything has been destroyed, more or
12 less. The bath has been -- all the rubble lying about
13 everywhere, there's water everywhere. Everything is
14 open now so the water and rain can fall in and, Your
15 Honours, everything has been destroyed and lies in
17 Q. What about the roofs on your buildings?
18 A. Well, there are no roofs. Just a little bit
19 of roof is left on the house, but the rain falls in and
20 -- everything has been destroyed, and if I go back
21 there, I don't have anywhere to go back to, so that's
23 Q. Tell me, is there anybody living in your
24 house now?
25 A. Well, three people, but when I visited
1 recently, when I went to the graveyard, I found an old
2 man living there. He was an invalid, he just had a
3 little fire going, he didn't have a stove or anything
4 like that. That's what it looks like, it was just a
5 little fire that he had built up. He told me -- I said
6 that I was the owner of the house, and he said, "Well,
7 that's all right, young man." He looked at me and I
8 said that "I have just come to have a look at the
9 house," and he said, "Well, just feel free to look
10 around. I have got nothing left myself and I'm just
11 here --" and I placed a light bulb for him so that he
12 at least had a little bit of light to see in the dark.
13 Q. What about your son's house? There are
14 people living there as well, aren't there?
15 A. Yes, there are. I didn't go into my son's
16 house, but there are two people living there now
17 because it was a new house, Your Honours. My house was
18 a little older, built a little earlier on.
19 Q. Tell the Court, please, while you were in
20 Kiseljak as a refugee during the war in 1993, did you
21 dig trenches?
22 A. Your Honours, yes, I did. When I was in a
23 good state of health, I signed up for trench-digging.
24 I am a physical labourer so I'm used to working
25 physically. I can't just sit around doing nothing.
1 And I dug trenches around Bileca, Majna, Gunjace,
2 Brestovsko, around those parts, Kazagici. That's where
3 it was.
4 Q. Was it up by the front-lines?
5 A. Yes, it was. It was by the front-lines.
6 Q. Who dug trenches with you? Croats or
8 A. We Croats, Your Honours, dug the trenches.
9 There were no Muslims where I was.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this concludes
11 our examination-in-chief. We would just like to tender
12 in evidence this Defence Exhibit and we request that it
13 remain under seal.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE: No objection, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The exhibit will be
17 tendered. This is still in public session. I think
18 that Mr. Kehoe will conduct the cross-examination.
19 Witness DJ, you will now be asked questions
20 by the Office of the Prosecutor, he will ask for some
21 clarifications, and you may be asked some questions by
22 the Judges, and then everything will be over, unless
23 there is re-examination by the Defence.
24 Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I can go into
1 private session just briefly and I will be done quite
3 JUDGE JORDA: No objections, I suppose? All
4 right. Private session for a very short time.
5 (Private session)
13 Page 14641 redacted - in closed session
10 (Open session)
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, proceed.
12 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
14 Mr. DJ, we're from the Office of the
15 Prosecutor, and we just want to say sorry for your
17 We have no questions of this witness.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Re-examination? I suppose
19 there isn't going to be one since there were no
20 questions asked by the Prosecutor. It would be
21 logical, I suppose, that there is nothing for you to
23 MR. NOBILO: No, the Defence has no reason
24 for additional questions, and we're happy to see that
25 the Prosecutor can feel for this man, and if an
1 indictment would come out of this, it would be even
2 better. Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad, do you have any
4 questions, or Judge Shahabuddeen? I don't have any
5 questions either.
6 We thank you very much. It was relatively
7 quickly done. You have gone through very painful
8 experiences, and we hope that as time goes by you will
9 find serenity again. The Tribunal thanks you very,
10 very much. The usher is now going to accompany you out
11 of the courtroom. Thank you once again.
12 (The witness withdrew)
13 JUDGE JORDA: There is some preparation
14 needed. We are going to take a five-minute break, but
15 this is not the real break. I say that for the sake of
16 the interpreters. Just a five-minute break.
17 --- Recess taken at 3.53 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
19 (The witness entered court)
20 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will now resume.
21 We will now resume with a public session, but the
22 witness is protected. I turn to him -- since the
23 witness is covered by protective measures, he can
24 answer without any fear.
25 First, identify yourself, please. Do not
1 move. Identify your name on the piece of paper which
2 the registrar is showing you and simply nod if, in
3 fact, the name is yours.
4 THE WITNESS: (Nods)
5 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges will allow you to
6 remain seated while you take your oath. You will be
7 given a text by the usher, and we ask that you read it
8 out loud. Your voice has been altered; is that not
9 correct, Mr. Registrar? Is the voice distorted?
10 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, I solemnly
11 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
12 and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE JORDA: You have come to the Tribunal,
14 and we thank you for doing so, at the request of the
15 Defence in the trial of General Blaskic, who is today a
16 General and is accused by the International Criminal
17 Tribunal. You may speak without hatred, without fear
18 and in full sincerity and serenity under the protection
19 of the Tribunal.
20 After Mr. Nobilo asks you his questions, you
21 will be asked questions by the Prosecution and perhaps
22 the Judges will have some questions to ask you as well,
23 but we will decide that later.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Speak "without" fear.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Without fear, without hatred,
1 without any fear.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Speak "without" fear, not
3 "about" fear.
4 JUDGE JORDA: "Without," yes. Thank you,
5 Judge Riad. Yes. I think that we can begin.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I
7 would like to have a map distributed at the very
8 outset. It also has a legend. So could you please
9 have both distributed? Please put a copy on the ELMO.
10 The original is somewhat bigger than those copies that
11 all the participants will receive.
12 JUDGE JORDA: We will delay the break for a
13 little while, if the interpreters agree. Thank you
14 very much.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This is D429, 429 for the
16 caption, and I would like to say that this is a
17 confidential document.
18 MR. NOBILO: No. It is not under seal.
19 WITNESS: WITNESS DK
20 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, could we please
22 move into private session only for a few moments so
23 that we could talk about this witness, and then we are
24 going to move into public session immediately, please?
25 (Private session)
13 Page 14646 redacted - in closed session
5 (Open session)
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. Witness DK, could you please take the pointer
8 over there, and then please look at the small map that
9 is over there on the left-hand side on the ELMO. Could
10 you please show me where Busovaca is and then please
11 show us the road that leads to Gusti Grab where you
13 A. Busovaca (indicating), Gusti Grab
15 Q. How many kilometres away is Gusti Grab from
16 Busovaca in the direction of Kiseljak?
17 A. Exactly six kilometres.
18 Q. Tell the Court, when did you join the HVO?
19 A. I joined the HVO at the beginning of 1992 as
20 I lost my job at the steelworks in Zenica. These units
21 were being established, and so I spontaneously joined
22 the HVO unit, just like everybody else did.
23 Q. This HVO unit that you joined, who was in
24 this unit?
25 A. Mostly people from my village, mostly
1 peasants who worked in the Zenica steelworks until then
2 and in other companies in that area. Most of the
3 people were involved in agriculture, and they did not
4 have any military skills. Nobody had been in a
5 military unit before that.
6 Q. How did you get a commander?
7 A. We chose one of our own. We chose a man whom
8 we trusted. It's as simple as that.
9 Q. Please tell the Court, when you joined the
10 HVO, what did you do then? What duties did you have?
11 Did you go somewhere? What did you do in 1992?
12 A. At the beginning when the unit was organised,
13 we didn't go anywhere. We patrolled our own village
14 during 1992. In mid 1992, we started going to Jajce,
15 to the defence lines vis-à-vis the Serb units. After
16 that, we went to Paklarevo, a village near Travnik on
17 Mount Vlasic, the slopes of Mount Vlasic. We had
18 defence lines over there, again, vis-à-vis the Serb
19 units and vis-à-vis the former JNA units.
20 Q. So those were your duties, patrolling in your
21 village and also going to the front-line against the
22 Serbs. Tell me, what was your relationship like with
23 your neighbours, the local Muslims, throughout 1992?
24 A. As I already said, the village of Gusti Grab
25 is surrounded on all sides by villages that were
1 populated by Muslims. However, our relations with the
2 Muslims were very good. Before the war, we used to
3 work together, and there was some cooperation in
4 agricultural work, and we worked together in the
5 factory, and our children went to school together, so
6 our relations were very good indeed.
7 However, as the people from Krajina came in
8 from Banja Luka, Prijedor, Prnjavor, the Muslims from
9 there who were expelled by the Serbs, as they came to
10 Bosnia, to Zenica, to Kakanj, also a lot of them came
11 to Kacuni, to my village too, well, then there was
12 growing tension.
13 Q. Before you move on further, could you show
14 the Court where Kacuni is in relation to Gusti Grab,
15 your village, where the people from Krajina came who
16 fled from the Serbs? What are you showing us now?
17 A. That's Kacuni (indicating).
18 Q. Your village, where was the centre where
19 these people from Krajina were?
20 A. Their seat, rather, was in the former JNA
21 barracks and also in a building which was called
22 "silos." That was actually one kilometre away from
23 Kacuni. This is a massive concrete building which was
24 used for storing wheat before, so it was really a
25 storage space for wheat.
1 Q. When did these people come from Krajina,
2 these new Muslims who fled from the Serbs,
4 A. They came at the end of October, the
5 beginning of November 1992.
6 Q. What changed then? Could you describe it to
7 the Court?
8 A. Many changes took place then. As I said,
9 until then, our relations with the local Muslims were
10 very good. However, as these people from Krajina came
11 in, the situation changed radically. Provocations
12 started. There was even shooting. Roadblocks were set
13 up on the Busovaca-Kiseljak road. The Croat population
14 was mistreated practically at every step, because
15 people were frightened and the situation became tense,
16 as the people from Krajina came in.
17 Q. Did this have a negative effect on the
18 Croats, on the overall relationship between the Croats
19 and the Muslims? What did the Croats think about these
20 people from Krajina? Why did they come there
22 JUDGE RIAD: Please say "question" and
23 "answer." This is to the interpreters. Please say
24 "question" and "answer." Otherwise, we cannot follow
1 A. These people were expelled by the Serb
2 units. At first, the Croats understood their position,
3 and they were welcome, but as they came, the situation
4 changed radically. People were afraid. There were
5 everyday provocations, as I said, and there was panic.
6 They were afraid. They lived in fear.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you please describe to the
8 Court what happened on the 24th of January, 1993, to
9 the best of your recollection?
10 A. On the 24th of January --
11 JUDGE RIAD: Please say "question" and
12 "answer." We can't follow it this way.
13 A. On the 24th of January, 1993, on the road
14 between Busovaca and Kiseljak, the first armed incident
15 occurred. The people from Krajina, whom I already
16 mentioned, set up roadblocks on the road between
17 Busovaca and Kiseljak. They controlled the traffic,
18 and, in the meantime, an HVO vehicle came by, and it
19 was moving from Busovaca to Kiseljak. However, it was
20 stopped at the existing roadblock, and there was an
21 ambush placed there, and fire was opened against this
22 vehicle. A Zolja rocket was fired then. It missed.
23 However, fire was also opened from automatic weapons,
24 and Ivica Petrovic was killed on that occasion, a
25 member of the military police of the HVO.
1 Q. On the 24th of January, 1993, there was
2 shooting in the vicinity of your village. What did you
3 and the other men from the village, who comprised the
4 HVO unit, do? What did you do?
5 A. After the armed incident, which occurred on
6 the 24th of January, the afternoon, the remainder of
7 the day and night were peaceful. However, the next
8 day, at the defence line which we had at the position
9 of Mount Vlasic ...
10 Q. When did you put this defence line on Vlasic?
11 A. After the people from Krajina arrived, that
12 is to say, in October and November 1992.
13 Q. Why there?
14 A. That is the dominant position which was above
15 the village, and we thought that we could defend
16 ourselves the best from there, so it was a dominant
18 Q. So it was a hill. Could you please show the
19 Court now where these defence trenches of yours were
20 and what is the number showing them on this map? Tell
21 us, please.
22 A. Quota 641.
23 Q. How is it marked on the map? How did we mark
24 it, with which number?
25 A. One.
1 Q. So it is position number one, and that is
2 where you had your defence line. However, when the
3 shooting started and when Petrovic was killed, when, in
4 fact, did you personally go up to this hill?
5 A. I went to this hill on the 24th in the
6 evening after the incident that occurred on the road
7 between Busovaca and Kiseljak, after the Petrovic
9 Q. How many of you gathered up there?
10 A. Forty-five members of the HVO from my
12 Q. Tell the Court what happened the next day on
13 the 25th of January, 1993?
14 A. The 25th of January, 1993, at 6.00 in the
15 morning, an all-out attack against our defence line
16 took place at the Vlasic quota. The attack came from
17 the directions depicted as 2, 3, and 9 on the map.
18 Q. Can you show the Court on the map the
19 directions of attack at daybreak in the morning, and
20 tell us from what villages they attacked your
22 A. At daybreak on the 26th in the morning, the
23 first attacks began from the village of Bozevici,
24 Mihaljevici, Kozlovici, Podbare, and Dolac.
25 Q. These are arrows numbered?
1 A. As 2, 3, and 9. Those were attacks on the
2 26th in the morning -- on the 25th in the morning.
3 Q. How long did you manage to hold this point of
4 defence while defending your village?
5 A. We managed to hold out throughout that day on
6 the 25th until the evening, and then we knew that we
7 couldn't stay there very long, so we decided to
8 evacuate the civilian population, old people, women,
9 and children, so we did that. On the 25th in the
10 evening, we waited for night to fall, and then we
11 decided to pull the elderly, women, and children out of
12 the village, so we did it along parallel lines along
13 the Busovaca-Kiseljak road. The road was already held
14 by members of the BH army then, so we couldn't do this
15 along the road, but we had to do it in the hills during
16 the night.
17 Q. Could you please tell the Court, before we
18 move on to this evacuation of civilians, were you
19 attacked from the other side too on the 25th of
20 January, 1993?
21 A. Yes. In the afternoon on the 25th of
22 January, the attack came from the other side too.
23 Q. Could you describe which villages, and could
24 you show on the map which directions?
25 A. Arrows 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10, and the villages,
1 Mehurici, Podastinje, Zecica, Vukeljici, Botun, Maj and
3 Q. So the arrows show the directions of the
4 attack, and circle number 10 shows the silos where the
5 seat of the people from Krajina were; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At what time did you send the refugees
8 towards Kiseljak?
9 A. This was in the evening, around 5.00 p.m.
10 Night was already falling, and we decided to evacuate
11 civilians. However, until then, there had been
12 civilian casualties, which sped up our decision to
13 evacuate the civilians. Unkica Basipa (phoen) was
14 killed before that by a sniper in front of her home.
15 In the neighbouring village of Oseliste, which is a
16 village next to Gusti Grab, we found out about this the
17 next day, there were four civilians casualties, Miko
18 Kristo, Anto Stejko, a husband and wife, Mijo and Anje
19 Grubisic too.
20 Q. Tell us, on the map, what numbers are the
21 arrows showing where the civilians were moving out of
22 Gusti Grab and then Oseliste?
23 A. Number 8.
24 Q. The village belongs to the municipality of
25 Busovaca. Could you tell us why you fled to Kiseljak
1 rather than Busovaca?
2 A. We decided on the direction of Kiseljak
3 because, at that time, in Kiseljak, there was still not
4 any fighting, so we considered that that was better,
5 because in Busovaca, the whole of that day, there was
6 fighting, as was fighting in our area. That is why we
7 decided upon Kiseljak as our direction.
8 Q. These civilians fled and withdrew parallel to
9 the road. Can you tell us how many civilians at that
10 time moved in the column towards Kiseljak, to the best
11 of your assessment?
12 A. There were 70 to 80 of them, women, children,
13 and mostly elderly men.
14 Q. Was there any shooting at them?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Where did the shooting come from?
17 A. From the direction of the villages that I
18 mentioned a moment ago.
19 Q. Can you tell us the numbers?
20 A. Numbers 2, 3, and 9.
21 Q. Would you explain to the Court, please, the
22 civilians left, fled, and what happened to you?
23 A. After the civilians had left and we gave them
24 a two-soldier escort, we remained on our line, and we
25 stayed there as much as we were able to, but the next
1 day, we began to withdraw to Kiseljak.
2 Q. What day was that?
3 A. It was Tuesday.
4 Q. The 26th of April, 1993; that's right, isn't
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What happened to you then?
8 A. Before I decided to withdraw, I asked the
9 commander of the front-line to go back to the village
10 and to visit Mrs. Luca Lalic, who was a relation of
11 mine and who remained in the village. I knew she was
12 still there. She was 86 years old. We didn't have any
13 possibility of taking her out of the village, so she
14 had to stay. I asked my commander to give me
15 permission to visit this old relation of mine to see if
16 I could give her any assistance of any kind.
17 I went back to the house of Mijo Patista
18 where my old relation was living. I came up to the
19 house. I did not notice anything fishy. I went into
20 the house to help her. However, when I entered the
21 house, I was ambushed by the members of the BH army,
22 who were all around us, and I was arrested on that
23 occasion and taken to the place silos that I mentioned
24 a moment ago.
25 Q. I think I made a mistake a moment ago. It
1 was the 26th of January, 1993, was it not?
2 A. Yes, it was.
3 Q. Before we go on to describe the events in
4 silos, after you had become a prisoner of war, can you
5 tell me whether some civilians stayed in your village,
6 the village of Gusti Grab?
7 A. Yes, of course, just as Mrs. Lalic stayed
8 behind, so, also, did Mrs. Ljubica Ljubicic. She
9 remained with her invalid husband who was paralysed, so
10 we were not able to transport him either. Marijan
11 Cavara and Stipo Tomas remained behind, which means a
12 total of four. Mr. Tomas stayed with his family.
13 However, all the civilians I mentioned were
14 killed several days after the departure of our unit
15 from our front-line, that is to say, after our
16 withdrawal, and all the other civilians were killed.
17 Marijan Cavara, Stipo Tomas, Ljubica Ljubicic, and Luca
18 Lalic, they were all killed.
19 Q. Were they older people?
20 A. Yes. As I said, Ljubica Ljubicic was 86
21 years old. Marijan Cavara was the youngest of them
22 all, and he was 57 years old.
23 Q. Before we continue with the events that
24 followed, we can take a break and look at what happened
25 to the village. First of all, how many Croat houses
1 existed in the village of Gusti Grab?
2 A. There were 50 to 60 Croat houses, and these
3 houses, that is, a lesser number, were destroyed during
4 the fighting. Some were hit by mortar fire, but, as I
5 say, it was a smaller number of houses. The other
6 houses were destroyed later on. After the signing of
7 the first cease-fire, most of the houses were looted
8 and then set fire to. A very small number of houses,
9 which were nearer to the road between Kiseljak and
10 Busovaca, the Muslims went to live in them, but this
11 was a smaller number, as I say. For the most part,
12 they were looted and burnt and left.
13 Nobody has yet returned to Gusti Grab. As it
14 remained that day, it remains to this present day, so
15 none of the Croats returned.
16 Q. The neighbouring village of Oseliste, what
17 happened there? Was the situation similar?
18 A. Yes, it was. What happened to that village
19 was the same as in the other village. The houses were
20 burnt, the population had fled, and nobody has returned
21 to this day.
22 Q. Let us now go back to the 26th of January,
23 1993. You, yourself, as an HVO soldier, were taken to
24 silos. Would you describe to the Court, please, the
25 conditions of your sojourn in that facility? You said
1 that a silo was there for storing grain. Would you
2 describe what the building looked like?
3 A. Well, it was a big concrete building, as I
4 said, made of concrete mostly. There were 10 to 12
5 large, sort of, rooms, ten by five metres in size, and
6 a little smaller rooms. This building was used by the
7 BH army to store ammunition and weapons for the army,
8 and a part of the command was located there as well in
9 the silos.
10 Q. The command was on an upper story. Where
11 were you located?
12 A. I was located in a cell on the ground floor,
13 and the dimensions were, as I have already said, ten by
14 five metres. I was taken to this room which did not
15 have any heating and did not have a bed. I spent the
16 first three days imprisoned there on my own.
17 I was by myself, and as soon as I got to the
18 prison, I was taken for interrogation. They wanted to
19 get information from me, the information that I just
20 did not have. They asked me about our weapons,
21 warehouses, ammunition, food, radio stations, heavy
22 weaponry, which we did not have. When I was not able
23 to tell them any of this, because I did not know
24 anything, we didn't have any of these facilities, I was
25 beaten up immediately on the spot. I had to stand up
1 by the wall with my arms and legs stretched out and my
2 forehead up against the wall, and they beat me on the
3 back using police batons or rifle butts or with their
4 feet and legs and anything they could find. This
5 occurred several times in the first three days that I
6 spent alone in my cell.
7 On the fourth day, they transferred me to
8 another room similar to the first room, and I found 13
9 other HVO members in that room, and they too had been
10 taken prisoner by the people of Krajina. Before the
11 fighting itself, that is to say, after the Petrovic
12 incident, these people were taken to the silo, and on
13 day four, I was transferred to their cell. I was
14 together with them in the cell. On that occasion, we
15 had to greet the Muslims coming into the cell, and we
16 had to use their own Islamic terms of greeting, terms
17 which they used amongst themselves, such as Merhaba,
18 Salam Haleikoum, and I don't really know what these
19 terms mean.
20 When I was transferred to this second cell,
21 they continued to maltreat me and to beat me up, but
22 the way in which they did this changed somewhat.
23 Usually four or five of them would enter the cell. One
24 of them would immediately take out his gun. He would
25 start firing, and he would turn the barrel of the gun
1 towards my leg, and then he would warn us and threaten
2 us, and say that nobody must try to avoid a blow or
3 block the person hitting us. We had to sit as we were
4 sitting, and then three or four of them made a column.
5 They went one by one and beat us. They repeated this
6 several times going around in a circle. We had to
7 remain sitting. We were not able to move. We were not
8 allowed to move. They just hit us and beat us up as
9 they saw fit.
10 I could also add that, on two occasions, I
11 lost consciousness from the beatings given me by the
12 members of the BH army. On those occasions, they took
13 me out of the cell into another similar cell, and then
14 in the position that I said a moment ago, with my arms
15 stretched out and my legs stretched out and my forehead
16 up by the wall, two or three of them would beat me with
17 police batons until I had lost consciousness. This was
18 repeated twice. Then they would take me back to the
19 cell in the kind of state I was in, beaten up.
20 Q. You had serious bodily injury done to you
21 during these beatings, did you not?
22 A. Yes. In one of the beatings, and these
23 beatings were repeated day after day, I got serious
24 bodily harm. My jaw was broken. I was kicked with an
25 army boot in my jaw, and this was a severe bodily
1 injury. I had an open fracture of the jaw.
2 Afterwards, I felt very strong pain, and I
3 asked for medicines to be given to me for the pain, but
4 I received nothing. On the occasion, they just made
5 fun of me, and they said, "Well, you shouldn't be here
6 anyway. You should go to Croatia. That's where you
7 belong. This is Bosnia-Herzegovina. This belongs to
8 the Muslims and only to the Muslims, and you're going
9 to go away from here, so there's nothing for you
11 Q. The people that said this to you, were they
12 your neighbours or were they the people from Krajina
13 that had fled in the face of the Serbs?
14 A. No. They were not our neighbours. Even in
15 prison, they were fair and correct in their conduct
16 towards us, but the people from Krajina beat us up and
17 they said things of this kind to us and made us use the
18 Islamic terms of greeting that I mentioned a moment
19 ago, and I felt that our neighbours, the Muslims,
20 seemed to be afraid of the people from Krajina
21 themselves, that they too were afraid of these people.
22 Q. When you received these severe bodily
23 injuries, could you describe how this happened? What
24 position were you in and how did you sustain these
1 A. I was sitting on a wooden bench in the cell,
2 and four or five of them entered the cell and they did
3 what they did. One of them took a rifle and started --
4 a gun and started shooting. We were told not to move,
5 that we were not allowed to move, and then they would
6 move around in a column, one after the other, beating
7 us any which way. They paid no attention how they
8 struck us or where they struck us. So we were sitting
9 down. I was in a sitting-down position when I was
10 kicked in my jaw, and that is how my jaw was fractured.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps this would be the time
12 to take a 15-minute break.
13 --- Recess taken at 4.47 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 5.10 p.m.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Have the accused brought in,
17 (The accused entered court)
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Shall we continue? At one point in time, did
20 the International Red Cross come to your prison?
21 A. Yes. The International Red Cross came on the
22 eighth or ninth day of our stay in prison.
23 Q. Did they give you IDs?
24 A. Yes. A few officials of the International
25 Red Cross came, and Mr. Stipo Santic came with them, an
1 official of the Red Cross from Busovaca. On that
2 occasion, the International Red Cross registered us,
3 gave us IDs, and also on that occasion, we got some
4 sanitary materials which we did not have until then and
5 we also got some cigarettes. I could also say that
6 during our stay in prison, the hygiene was
7 non-existent. We didn't have toilets to go to. We had
8 to relieve ourselves in the rooms where we were
9 staying. So it was very bad.
10 Q. Did you take baths?
11 A. No, never. Throughout our stay there in
12 prison, there were no conditions for hygiene.
13 Q. After the Red Cross came, did the conditions
14 improve in terms of the attitude of the BH army
15 soldiers towards you?
16 A. No, not at all. After the International Red
17 Cross left, everything remained the same. After that,
18 we were beaten, mistreated. The people from Krajina
19 said the same things as they were saying before that,
20 that this was their land, that they would move in
21 there, that they would throw the Croats out, that the
22 Croats had no place there, that Croatia was for them to
23 live in, that this was their land, that they were to
24 decide on our fate, that they could execute us whenever
25 they wanted to, that they would simply decide what our
1 destiny would be. So after the International Red Cross
2 left, our treatment in prison remained the same.
3 Q. However, there was an exchange,
4 nevertheless. On what date were you exchanged and in
5 which way?
6 A. Yes. On the 8th of February, 1993, the
7 exchange took place according to the principle "all for
8 all." A bus came from Busovaca, escorted by UNPROFOR
9 and with a few officials of the Red Cross, so there in
10 the silos an exchange was carried out, and then we
11 could state our views who wanted to go where. I
12 personally went to Busovaca, my family was down there,
13 so on the 8th of February, I was exchanged.
14 Q. Tell us, you were shut in the silos all the
15 time, weren't you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. On the map that is on the ELMO, are the silos
18 marked with a number 10, a little circle?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. I would now like to
21 have a document distributed. That is a Red Cross ID.
22 I would like it to be under seal.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This is D430.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. After you left, after the exchange, where did
1 you go?
2 A. After the exchange, I went to Busovaca, and I
3 asked for medical assistance because of the injuries
4 sustained in prison. I had to seek medical
5 assistance. But my injuries were of such a nature that
6 I could not receive adequate treatment in Busovaca or
7 the nearby hospital in Nova Bila. I was sent for
8 medical treatment to Split.
9 MR. NOBILO: We would like a new document to
10 be introduced into evidence, please, under seal as
12 Q. The photocopy that is in front of you of a
13 Red Cross ID, is that a photocopy of the ID that we got
14 from you, of your ID?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This is D431.
17 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, these are medical
18 documents. Unfortunately, we received this at the very
19 last moment so we didn't manage to get it translated,
20 but we shall do so and we take it upon ourselves.
21 On page 2, I draw your attention to the
22 diagnosis in Latin which is quite recognisable, and one
23 can see that his jaw was fractured and that his nose
24 was fractured too, and also that there were several
25 swellings on his head. You can see this from the Latin
1 diagnosis, but ...
2 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DK, do you agree to our
3 discussing this medical certificate, because these are
4 your injuries; do you agree?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please continue.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. Witness DK, tell us, this paper that you got
9 in the hospital in Split, did you get it after you were
10 released and during your treatment there?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have thus
13 concluded the examination-in-chief.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Is there any objection to the
15 tendering of these exhibits?
16 MR. KEHOE: I don't believe so, Judge. I
17 haven't read this particular document, but -- I know
18 it's been a few years. I can make out a little bit of
19 the Latin myself. I don't anticipate it, Judge, but --
20 so at this point, if we just admit it with some
21 reservations so I can just maybe get a rough
22 translation of it, but I don't think there will be.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We congratulate you for your
24 knowledge of the fourth official language of the
25 Tribunal, that's Latin. Now, if you have any
1 objections you would like to make, you can make them in
2 a few days once the document has been translated.
3 Perhaps you will now begin with the
5 Witness DK, as I'm sure you've been told, the
6 Office of the Prosecutor is going to ask you some
8 JUDGE RIAD: You are an authority on Latin.
9 Would you translate it to me?
10 MR. KEHOE: I can't translate it literally,
11 Judge, but I can make out a few words here and there in
12 order to come to the conclusion that whatever happened
13 to this gentleman wasn't good. That's my medical
14 diagnosis based on that first paragraph.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I want to be sure that the
16 witness understands that this is a moment of a little
17 bit of relaxation here that we have just heard, but we
18 are taking your condition extremely seriously and we
19 will look at the document very seriously.
20 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Mr. DK, I meant no disrespect concerning your injuries
23 which I can see from your testimony were quite
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
1 Q. Witness DK, my name is Greg Kehoe. I'm from
2 the Office of the Prosecutor. My two colleagues to my
3 right are Mr. Mark Harmon and Mr. Andrew Cayley
5 I would just like to ask you a couple of
6 questions, Witness DK, and it won't be that lengthy.
7 Witness DK, you gave us your date of birth.
8 That was given to us in a private session, and we need
9 not go into the specific date of birth, but did you
10 serve in the JNA having done national service?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When was that, sir?
13 A. That was in 1977.
14 Q. How long were you in the JNA?
15 A. Fifteen months.
16 Q. Now, Witness DK, you said you joined the HVO,
17 I believe, sometime in 1992; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you noted to us that you joined with many
20 of the other men in your community; is that right?
21 A. From my village, yes.
22 Q. I'm sorry, from your village. Would it be
23 fair to say, Witness DK, that virtually all of the men
24 that were in the HVO from your village had done
25 national service with the JNA?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, Witness DK, you noted for us that you
3 went to the front-lines in Jajce.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was that a common thing for soldiers in the
6 JNA (sic) to do during 1992?
7 A. For JNA soldiers? I don't understand.
8 Q. I'm sorry, I misspoke. Excuse me. I
9 apologise. Was it normal for HVO soldiers to go to the
10 front-line at Jajce during 1992?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How did you get to Jajce? How did you and
13 the other HVO soldiers get to Jajce?
14 A. We had transportation by bus from Busovaca,
15 so we went to Jajce to defend it from the Serb units,
16 that is to say, to the defence line vis-à-vis the Serb
18 Q. So correct me if I'm wrong, you received
19 notification that you were supposed to go to the front
20 in Jajce and then you got on buses with other soldiers
21 in the HVO and they drove you to Jajce; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So this was done in an organised fashion; is
24 that right?
25 A. One could say so.
1 Q. Now, could I ask you, Witness DK, just
2 briefly to take a look at this map, I think it's
3 Defence 429? If we could give that to the witness?
4 Now, Witness DK, before we go into this
5 particular map, let me just ask you another question.
6 I neglected to note that there were other HVO units
7 that went up to Mount Vlasic to go on the line against
8 the Bosnian Serbs in that location also; is that right?
9 A. Yes, and also there were BH army units. At
10 that time, we went together to defend the line against
11 the Serb units.
12 Q. So did you do service, Witness DK, in both
13 the Jajce area and also up on Mount Vlasic?
14 A. Yes. I was there twice, seven days
15 respectively. Seven days in Jajce and seven days on
16 Mount Vlasic.
17 Q. Now, you noted for us just a few moments ago
18 that you got on a bus with other HVO soldiers that took
19 you to Jajce. Did you follow the same procedure when
20 you and other HVO soldiers went up to the line at Mount
22 A. We also went to Mount Vlasic together with
23 the Muslim units. The organisation was the same.
24 Q. Okay. Excuse me one moment.
25 Now, just, if I may, go back to Exhibit 429,
1 the map that's on the ELMO, Witness DK. You noted for
2 us that your trench line was on position 1; is that
4 A. I'm sorry, I never mentioned trench-digging.
5 Q. No, no, no, no. I'm not talking about
6 trenches. Can you just take a look at the map that's
7 to your left, or maybe it's on the ELMO before you, and
8 maybe I misheard you, Witness DK, but did you not tell
9 us you had a defensive position at the area that is
10 marked number 1?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Were there trenches, was it a trench there,
13 or what type of defence line are we talking about here?
14 A. Yes, there were.
15 Q. Now, were there other trenches along that
16 same line that were dug by other villages such as
18 A. No. At this defence line were only our
19 trenches that we dug, we from the village of Gusti
20 Grab. Two or three hundred metres away from ours were
21 the trenches of the BH army. The village of Oseliste
22 is not that close to the village of Gusti Grab, so we
23 did not have any contact. It's a bit further away, so
24 we did not have any contact in combat action.
25 Q. Well, Witness DK, other than the trenches
1 that you said that are at point 1, were there other HVO
2 trenches along this line?
3 A. Along the line, along our defence line, which
4 was one and a half kilometres long, there were about
5 ten trenches.
6 Q. Maybe I'm not being clear here, Witness DK.
7 To the left and the right of the trenches that are
8 designated as number 1, were there any other HVO
9 trenches in either direction that you know of?
10 A. No, there weren't any.
11 Q. Now, the particular trenches that you had up
12 in point 1, when did you dig those?
13 A. We dug them mostly after the people from
14 Krajina came, the ones I mentioned, that is to say,
15 October and November 1992.
16 Q. Which way were those trenches facing? Were
17 they facing towards the numbers 2, 3, and 9, or facing
18 towards the numbers 4, 10, 5, and 6?
19 A. We were facing trenches 2, 3, and 9. We did
20 not have enough people. As I said before, there was a
21 total of 45 of us all together. There wasn't enough of
22 us to have a defence line at 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10, the
23 other side. We knew this was necessary, but we simply
24 didn't have enough manpower, so we decided on defence
25 where numbers 2, 3, and 9 are.
1 Q. Now, Witness DK, there were no lines with the
2 Bosnian Serbs around here, were there?
3 A. No, not at this location because the Bosnian
4 Serbs are several dozen kilometres away, so there
5 weren't any -- there weren't any Serb units that were
6 facing there.
7 MR. KEHOE: If I might have one moment,
8 Mr. President?
9 Witness DK, I'm sorry for your troubles. I
10 hope your injuries have gotten better to some degree.
11 Thank you very much for coming.
12 Mr. President, Your Honours, I have no
13 further questions.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
15 MR. NOBILO: Just one, two, or three
16 questions at the most.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
18 Q. Witness DK, you said that in 1977, you were
19 in the Yugoslav People's Army and that in 1992 you
20 joined the HVO. Did you, in this period of 15 years,
21 have any contact with the army?
22 A. No, I did not have any contacts with the
23 army, and in 1977, in the Yugoslav People's Army, I
24 served in the anti-aircraft unit.
25 Q. When you went to the front towards the Serbs
1 in Vlasic and Jajce, once Vlasic, once Jajce, was this
2 a mobilisation, compulsory mobilisation, or was it
3 voluntary, who turns up, turns up, who doesn't,
5 A. Yes, that's what it was like. If you turned
6 up, you turned up. If not, there would be no
7 disciplinary measures taken, so it was on a volunteer
8 basis, and this departure to Jajce and Paklarevo, it
9 was purely on a voluntary basis, and the lines held by
10 the HVO at the time, together with the Muslims, were of
11 a defensive nature. We had no combat operations, no
12 attacks of any kind.
13 Q. In the discussion with your colleagues on the
14 front, with the HVO members, was this volunteership
15 equal with others or not? Compulsory mobilisation, did
16 that exist anywhere?
17 A. As far as I know, everything was like that.
18 There was no mobilisation. Everything was on a
19 voluntary basis.
20 Q. You said that in October and November, that
21 you started digging trenches when the people from
22 Krajina came, and you also said that across from you,
23 from the directions 2, 3, and 9, trenches were already
24 dug by the BH army. When had they dug their trenches?
25 A. Well, the 2, 3, and 9 positions and the
1 trenches there were dug far before our own trenches, so
2 they had dug these trenches in the summer of 1992
3 already, and I can freely state that they had much more
4 modern positions, and the trenches that they dug were
5 dug using earth-moving machinery and tractors. They
6 had more modern trenches than we did, and they had dug
7 their trenches before us. We did not think it
8 necessary to dig trenches because, as I say, our
9 relations with the Muslims beforehand had been very
10 good. However, with the advent of the Krajishici
11 people, we felt the need to dig these trenches because
12 we were afraid of an attack with the arrival of the
13 people from Krajina. And the Bosnia-Herzegovina army
14 trenches, therefore, had been dug far before our own.
15 Q. Tell the Court, please, the trenches that had
16 been dug before your own trenches from the directions
17 of 2, 3, and 9, were they turned towards the Croat
18 villages and your own village?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I
21 have no further questions.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Riad, do you
23 have any questions? Judge Shahabuddeen?
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, I have a question.
25 Witness DK, the people who attacked you and
1 treated you ill were from Krajina. They were Muslims,
2 I take it?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Previously, you had
5 lived well, the Croats had lived well with the local
6 Muslims; is that correct?
7 A. Very good relations, yes.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What happened with those
9 relations during the ensuing conflict? I am talking
10 about relations between the local Croats and the local
12 A. Relations began to deteriorate with the
13 arrival of the people from Krajina. Various
14 provocations broke out such as shooting, the setting up
15 of barricades, the roadblock along the
16 Busovaca-Kiseljak road, and various communications were
17 stopped. There were controls along the road. There
18 was looting at the barricades, mostly of the Croat
19 population, and so relationships became tense with the
20 arrival of the people from Krajina.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: In your judgement, is
22 there any prospect of those relations improving? Have
23 they improved? Are they likely to improve?
24 A. Well, some measures of improvement are with
25 us, and I truly hope that relationships return to what
1 they were before the war. We are working on that, and
2 some steps forward have been made, and I hope that that
3 will be the case. I wish for it wholeheartedly.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, I think I could
5 say, Witness DK, that I share entirely your hope.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I have only one question to ask
7 you. When you were in the HVO, could you tell us who
8 your chiefs were, the chief that was closest to you and
9 then the one that you recognised as being the highest.
10 There must have been a brigade commander. Did you know
11 where your orders were coming from? Even if it was an
12 army made up of villagers, there were orders telling
13 you to do this or that. How did it work? Who were
14 those men?
15 A. My immediate commander, my first superior,
16 was also from my village, a man whom we had elected
17 from amongst our ranks, amongst ourselves, as I said,
18 at the beginning. In Busovaca, there was the Nikola
19 Subic-Zrinski brigade. The commander of the brigade
20 was called Mr. Dusko Grubesic. Our captain, which was
21 known as the second platoon later on, which belonged to
22 the 2nd Battalion, was within the formations of the
23 Busovaca Nikola Subic-Zrinski brigade, and if we
24 received any orders -- as I have said, we worked in our
25 village, we had watches. We did not receive any
1 separate orders. We did not have any military training
2 of any kind. We were just, as I said, people living in
3 their own homes doing their usual -- going about their
4 usual business, and if we did get orders, this was from
5 Busovaca from Mr. Dusko Grubesic or from Mladen Akrap
6 who was the commander of the battalion there.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mladen ...
8 As regards the accused, in your opinion, who
9 was he? Was he a leader that you recognised? Was he
10 the chief?
11 A. I did not have any views -- that is to say, I
12 was in my village, so I did not know of the command
13 structures and the commanders. As far as the accused
14 is concerned, I had heard of him, but I did not know
15 what his duties were and responsibilities. I wasn't
16 informed of these matters.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Since then, have you learned
18 what his responsibilities were?
19 A. I knew that he was a commander, but I didn't
20 know all his duties and responsibilities. I knew later
21 on that he was the commander, but essentially I didn't
22 know what that implied, what all his duties and
23 responsibilities actually were.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Were your comrades in that same
25 condition, they didn't know either, that you only had
1 an immediate superior, it was Mr. Dusko Grubesic? Was
2 that how it was? All your comrades were like you?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the Tribunal
5 sympathises with your injuries. We hope that you are
6 feeling better now and that, if possible, you will be
7 able to forget this dreadful period of your life.
8 Now you will be taken out of the courtroom,
9 you will be taken care of by the Victims and Witnesses
10 Unit, and the Tribunal would like to thank you for
11 having come to The Hague.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we were not so
13 optimistic as to think we would get through three
14 witnesses this evening. We have more witnesses for
15 tomorrow, but we do not have another witness in the
16 witness room right now. So that would conclude our
17 presentation for this afternoon.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. You see? That
19 happens to all the parties, that is, running out of
20 witnesses. Let me remind you of that.
21 Having said so, we take note of what you have
22 just said and will allow the interpreters to breathe a
23 bit, and we will meet again tomorrow morning at 9.45
24 for a long morning.
25 The hearing is adjourned. But for the time
1 being, witness, please do not move.
2 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
3 5.41 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
4 the 6th day of November, 1998, at
5 9.45 a.m.