1 Friday, 6th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.55 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please have the accused brought
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning, Interpreters. I
8 say good morning to the Prosecution, the Defence, and
9 the accused. Let us resume, Mr. Nobilo.
10 Have you found your witness, Mr. Nobilo?
11 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. He was
12 waiting for us in the hotel and he's ready.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Before he comes in, just
14 a minute. Mr. Dubuisson, do you have the little
15 introduction to the witness? In that case, there will
16 be no need for an oral summary. So if Mr. Dubuisson
17 could give me this piece of paper. It is a protected
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is a witness for whom
20 the Defence is going to request a pseudonym, and it
21 will be DL.
22 JUDGE JORDA: While the registrar is looking
23 for it, we can have Witness DL brought in to avoid
24 wasting time.
25 (The witness entered court)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Can you hear me, Witness?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We are going to call you DL.
4 It is a pseudonym as you are going to enjoy protective
5 measures granted by the Court, requested by the
7 Please verify that that is your name that the
8 registrar is going to show you without repeating it,
9 please. Remain standing for a few more minutes to make
10 your solemn declaration that is going to be handed to
11 you by the usher.
12 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. According to the
16 established rules, we are going to call you
17 Witness DL. You may be seated.
18 The Defence counsel for the accused, the
19 accused being here present, General Blaskic, General
20 now, Colonel at the time, is going to ask you questions
21 and he will explain to you how the procedure will go
22 on: First, questions by the Defence, and then the
23 Prosecution, and then the Judges.
24 So Mr. Nobilo, the floor is yours.
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Could
1 we please move into a private session just for a few
2 minutes in order to ascertain a few things about this
3 witness in terms of his CV?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes. Of course.
5 (Private session)
13 Page 14686 redacted - in closed session
2 (Open session)
3 THE REGISTRAR: Document D432.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. So the first subject that we asked you to
6 testify about are the events in Dusina. So could you
7 please show the Court on this map where Dusina is, in
8 which municipality, and what are the localities
9 surrounding Dusina?
10 A. Your Honours, here, approximately, about 15
11 kilometres away from Zenica towards Lasva, and from
12 Lasva, about 3 kilometres to Busovaca, so this is the
13 area between Busovaca and Zenica.
14 Q. Dusina belongs to the municipality of Zenica
15 but it's at the border towards Busovaca?
16 A. Yes, it does belong to the municipality of
17 Zenica, but as a Catholic parish, it belongs to
19 Q. All right. Who lived in this particular
20 village? What was the ethnic composition of the
22 A. It was a mixed community. In the lower part
23 towards the main road was the Bosniak part of the
24 village, and further up, about 400 or 500 metres away,
25 were the Croat houses.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DL, I should like to
3 ask you that when you are answering the questions of
4 Mr. Nobilo, that you face the Judges, please.
5 THE WITNESS: Very well.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. Thank you. So could you please concentrate
8 now on the 26th of January, 1993. Where were you then
9 and is that the first time that you heard about the
10 events in Dusina? Could you please explain this to the
12 A. Your Honours, on the 26th of January, 1993, I
13 was at my regular job at the Croat house in Zenica as
14 technical secretary of the HDZ.
15 Around 12.00, in the hallway, in the anteroom
16 to our offices, we heard people shouting, crying, and a
17 lot of people came, and we walked out to see what was
18 going on. A group of elderly people came, men and
19 women and children, crying out of their wits and they
20 were all saying that they were attacked, that their
21 houses were torched, that there were people who were
22 killed and wounded, and, of course, we couldn't hear
23 what they were saying because they were all taking at
24 the same time. We tried to calm them down. We took
25 them away one by one. We first gave them some
1 refreshments so that they could calm down. They were
2 crying, they were pulling their hair, they were
3 wondering what was happening to their nearest and
4 dearest, and then they spoke to us and told us what had
5 happened and we wrote down their complaints.
6 Q. Could you please try to stop at the end of
7 every sentence so that we can have a faithful
8 interpretation of what you are saying?
9 So there were some 50 desperate civilians who
10 came in and who were all speaking at the same time and
11 then you took statements from them. Could you explain
12 to the Court now, what did you actually find out? How
13 could you summarise these statements? What happened on
14 the 26th of January, 1993, in the village of Dusina?
15 A. When we put all of this together and when
16 people calmed down a bit, we got the impression that a
17 terrible thing had happened in Dusina. There were some
18 bad situations, and we weren't quite sure what had
19 exactly happened, but apparently about ten people had
20 been killed. There were a few people who were wounded
21 too. One house had burned down completely. Some other
22 houses were torched and their furniture and other
23 belongings were thrown out of the house, and that was
24 the first time in that area that armed soldiers of the
25 BH army did something like that to the civilian
1 population, and this really astounded us. We didn't
2 know what to do at first.
3 Q. All right. Tell us, Witness DL, these
4 Croats, these people who came to your office, these
5 desperate people, were all of them Croats?
6 A. Yes. Yes, all of them were Croats.
7 Q. When they gave this description saying that
8 ten people were killed, what did they say? Were they
9 killed in fighting or were they executed?
10 A. This is what they said, that, first of all,
11 in the morning, a group of armed soldiers came.
12 Q. Of what army?
13 A. Of the BH army. The BH army. And they asked
14 them to say where members of the HVO from their village
15 were. I don't know exactly how many of them were in
16 the HVO. At that point in time, they didn't know where
17 this was. But they sent someone to get them, and
18 Mr. Zvonko Rajic, who was commander of this small HVO
19 unit, came immediately with his friends, his comrades,
20 these other soldiers, he came to surrender because they
21 had threatened them saying that if they would not
22 surrender, they would take rigorous measures against
23 the civilian population if they did not show up within
24 a given period of time.
25 And then they said that Zvonko came with his
1 comrades very quickly and they tied them up and took
2 them behind the houses, and all these elderly men who
3 opposed their actions were treated the same way. Soon
4 after that, they heard shots, and they came to the
5 conclusion that their nearest and dearest had been
6 killed or wounded. They didn't know the exact number,
7 but they had assumed, judging by the number of people
8 who were tied up, that there were about ten persons who
9 were killed. The rest fled. They came to Zenica
10 terrified, frightened, at their wits end. But we have
11 these traces of their experience in writing because we
12 took this down, and I must say that we went to the
13 exact location to see what had happened. What they
14 said was true.
15 Q. Tell me, what was their description? Was
16 there looting of the houses? Did people rob these
18 A. They said that, first of all, they would
19 burst into their houses and take the things that could
20 easily be carried, like jewellery, gold, radio, TV
21 sets, this technical equipment, and they took the
22 furniture out of houses, they threw it out and they
23 broke it with hammers, and they threw out everything
24 that was in the houses, paintings from the walls, bed
25 linen, and they tried to burn down the rest, and then
1 they used RPGs and other firearms to shoot at houses so
2 the windows were broken too, and they said that they
3 could not imagine living in those houses anymore. They
4 said, "They are trying to throw us out of this area
5 because they were saying that they don't want to live
6 with us." That's what they said.
7 Q. Tell the Court, what is a Zolja, RPG,
8 hand-held rocket launcher?
9 A. As far as I could see from movies, it's some
10 kind of a grenade that you put on a long gun, and then
11 when it explodes, it can set a house on fire, it can
12 destroy it.
13 MR. NOBILO: Could you please have a document
14 distributed now?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document D433, D433A for the
16 English version.
17 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, since we haven't
18 got a French version, I would like to read this out.
19 It's not a very long text. I would ask the witness to
20 listen carefully and let us see whether this
21 description matches what he then heard as well as later
22 so ...
23 Part of the text is a bit illegible, but we
24 are going to try: The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, Croatian Defence
1 Council, Jure Francetic brigade command. This is a
2 report that was sent to the Central Bosnia Operative
3 Zone in Vitez. Subject: Report on the number of
4 Croats from Lasva and the surrounding hamlets who were
5 killed or captured.
6 "On the basis of the report of a number of
7 Croats from the villages of Dusina, Lasva local
8 commune" -- it's quite illegible -- "there are quite a
9 few people who are killed, wounded, or arrested on the
10 basis of our most recent information. Please send us
11 instructions regarding the funeral expenses for the
12 executed soldiers because they were members of the
13 Busovaca HVO."
14 Below is the list of the individuals who were
15 taken prisoner, wounded, missing, or executed. First
16 of all, the executed, killed. Number 1, Franjo Rajic,
17 Pero Rajic, Jozo Kegelj, Niko Kegelj, Vinko Kegelj,
18 Stipo Kegelj (65 years old), Mladen Kegelj (tortured
19 before being shot), Drazenko Kegelj --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Please go on. I have the list
21 in front of me. I see that there are twelve people who
22 were executed.
23 MR. NOBILO: Very well, yes, yes, fine. Then
24 there are those who were taken prisoner, a total of 30
25 of them, and two persons were missing, and three were
1 wounded, and Commander Zivko Totic signed.
2 Q. To the best of your recollection, these
3 family names that you see here and the text that we
4 just read out, does this match the information you
5 basically received on that day, the 26th of January,
6 1993, and afterwards?
7 A. This report was dated the 28th of January,
8 which means two days after the statements made by the
9 people who came to report this unhappy event to us and
10 the attack on their village.
11 In the first investigation, they did say that
12 they didn't know the exact number of people who had
13 been killed and wounded, because many people fled, and
14 during that escape they were shot at and received their
15 injuries. So they did not know the exact number of the
16 killed and wounded, but what they saw with their own
17 eyes, that is what they were able to tell us, those who
18 were tied up and the shot, and those are the people
19 they told us about.
20 Q. Tell us, please, according to your
21 recollections, these names and surnames, are they the
22 names of the individuals whom you were told had been
23 killed, wounded or reported missing?
24 A. Yes. Most of the surnames referred to the
25 family name of Kegelj. There were some Rajics but they
1 were most from the Kegelj family.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Would you hand out
3 another document, please?
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document D434, D434A for the
5 English version.
6 MR. NOBILO: I'm now going to read the main
7 points from the text. This is a report from the Jure
8 Francetic Brigade, sent to the command of the Operative
9 Zone, Central Bosnia Operative Zone. It is the report
10 on the massacre of Croats in the village of Dusina, the
11 Lasva local commune.
12 "On the 27th of January, 1992 (sic),
13 displaced persons from the village of Dusina, Lasva
14 local commune, arrived in Zenica and informed us of the
15 massacre of Croats in the area mentioned."
16 This is what is stated in the Jure Francetic
18 "On the early morning of the 26th of January,
19 1993, the Muslim liberation forces (MOS) from Zenica
20 surrounded seven Croatian houses in the village of
21 Dusina. They demanded of Dusina HVO members that they
22 surrender their weapons. After it was agreed that the
23 demand would be honoured, MOS members opened fire on
24 the Croatian houses. The shooting claimed the lives of
25 the following individuals: Pero Rajic, Drazenko Kegelj
1 and Franjo Rajic. During the negotiations, Zvonko
2 Rajic was killed.
3 "The following individuals were wounded:
4 Marko Rajic and Blasko Bosnjak. The wounded were
5 transported to the Zenica hospital.
6 "After the shooting ceased, MOS members
7 entered the village, closed the civilians in a house
8 owned by Stipe Kegelj and kept them there until
9 nightfall. They arrested the HVO soldiers and seized
10 their weapons.
11 "After that, they started searching the
12 houses, threatening to shoot those who refused to
13 surrender their weapons because they had been informed
14 by the local Muslims that there were more weapons. As
15 they were unable to find the weapons, they carried out
16 the executions.
17 "The following people were shot: Niko
18 Kegelj, Vinko Kegelj, Jozo Kegelj, Mladenko Kegelj and
19 August Rasod.
20 "After the execution, the soldiers' bodies
21 were taken to a cellar in the family house owned by
22 Ivica and Jure Kegelj.
23 "Because Marinko Kegelj managed to escape,
24 his father, Stipo Kegelj, was executed instead.
25 "The following people were reported missing,
1 Perica Rados, Dragan Rados, Nedjeljko Rajic and Marinko
3 "After having executed the HVO soldiers, the
4 MOS members wanted to shoot Zdravka Rados, Dragan
5 Rados's wife. It is assumed that they abandoned their
6 idea to carry out the execution at the request of a
7 local Muslim.
8 "Ivica Kegelj and Marinko Rajic were beaten
9 and subjected to maltreatment and then taken towards
10 Zenica by the by the BH army Military Police."
11 And it is signed by the brigade commander
12 Zivko Totic.
13 Tell me, witness DL, do you recognise the
14 signature of Zivko Totic?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Does this report basically reflect your own
17 knowledge, the information you received independently
18 of the Jure Francetic Brigade, that is what the
19 population of Dusina told you on the occasion?
20 A. Yes, for the most part it is the same. Of
21 course, there are much more precise details in the
22 report, and, of course, this is understandable because
23 these people had time to collect themselves. They
24 weren't as frightened as they were on the first day and
25 under their initial impression, so they were able to
1 state things in much greater detail.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you tell the Court now,
3 please, prior to these events, in the area of the Lasva
4 River Valley, Zenica, in this area, the area you lived
5 in, Central Bosnia, before that event did any army ever
6 storm the village and kill the civilians, any military
7 units? Had this ever happened before on a previous
9 A. Your Honours, this was the first instance.
10 The first time that the -- that something of this kind
11 happened in the surrounds of Zenica, that an armed
12 force had stormed a civilian settlement and performed
13 acts of this kind.
14 Q. Tell us, please, did you ever hear previously
15 that a military unit, either a Croat one or a Muslim
16 one, had entered a civilian village and set fire to the
17 houses there, before this event and when?
18 A. No, we never had reports that have kind.
19 Perhaps somebody else had reports that have kind, but I
20 never heard that in our vicinity, something like that
21 had taken place. That was the first time, and it was
22 so frightening and so terrible that we found it very
23 difficult to tackle the situation, and see to the basic
24 problems and help the population. We found it very
25 difficult, because we didn't have any experience along
1 those lines.
2 Q. Tell us, please, on the 26th of January,
3 1993, did the Croats and the Muslims, the HVO and the
4 BH army, were they allies?
5 A. Yes. And this communal spirit was reflected
6 in the fact that in most villages where the settlements
7 were of a mixed population, joint watches were set up
8 in order to protect the households from the looting and
9 pilfering that had been taking place because of the
10 times we lived in. And so we wanted to prevent this
11 looting of property, and we set up these joint
12 watches. That's how we did it.
13 Q. Tell us, please, before this particular
14 event, did you ever hear of any unit, HVO unit or BH
15 army unit, an organised army unit, not a band of
16 looters or pilferers, that they would storm the village
17 and take away television sets, radios, jewellery, gold
18 and anything that have kind?
19 A. No, we never heard of that kind of thing
20 happening. This was the first time.
21 Q. After all these events, what are you doing
22 with -- what did you do with the population? What
23 happened after that?
24 A. Your Honours, as far as we were able, within
25 the framework of our -- the possibilities open to us,
1 we did everything to help the people, people who were
2 not able to go home, who were frightened. So we sent
3 them to Zenica and had them put up at relations' or
4 anywhere else to try and mitigate this situation. And
5 then we told them that the situation would calm down,
6 and that when conditions returned to normal they would
7 be able to go back to their homes, but not many people
8 believed us after what had happened.
9 But things did calm down, and by prominent
10 individuals we tried to -- we contacted the official
11 authorities of Zenica, and prevailed upon them to bring
12 the situation back to normal, to ensure safety for
13 these people and to adapt the houses for living
14 quarters, but we were not able to come to terms with
15 the Zenica authorities.
16 Q. Tell us, please, did you ever hear of any
17 investigation being carried out, and that anybody was
18 sent to prison because of what happened in Dusina? Did
19 you hear of anything of that kind taking place?
20 A. No, we didn't. We insisted upon this from
21 the HDZ. We wanted this to be publicised in the media
22 in order to warn other villagers and other people
23 living in the neighbourhood to beware of this. We
24 asked the Zenica media, the press, the radio and
25 television, to explain what had happened to the people,
1 and to say that an investigation should be instigated
2 against the perpetrators, but we never heard of this
3 having happened or any results of any investigation of
4 this kind.
5 People, quite simply -- that is to say, the
6 most responsible individuals said that this act was
7 done by a unit out of their control, by a unit that
8 they had not heard of, but that was not so. It was
9 done by members of the BH army. They were the
10 perpetrators, and we could see their badges on their
12 Q. Tell us, please, when did you see the dead
13 bodies for the first time and how did you come across
14 them? Could you describe this to the Trial Chamber,
16 A. Your Honours, well, we were inquisitive, and
17 we wanted to ascertain the truth, because in their
18 first reports, people said that some people were killed
19 with firearms, and we asked to go to the mortuary and
20 see whether any of these bodies had been mutilated as
21 people had previously said, to ascertain whether the
22 rumours and stories of people from Dusina were true,
23 but nobody wanted to hear anything about this.
24 And I personally used an occasion whereby one
25 of my neighbours was a guard in the mortuary, and I
1 asked him whether the bodies killed in Dusina were in
2 the mortuary and he told me that they were. He was
3 good enough to enable me, in the evening hours, to go
4 and look at the bodies and to ascertain whether stories
5 that they had been -- knives had been used to kill
6 them, and that they had been stabbed, to see whether
7 this was true.
8 So I went with two cameramen at about 7.00 in
9 the evening, three days after the event. I went to the
10 mortuary, to the morgue, and saw what I saw there. I
11 kept the guard outside while the two cameramen filmed
12 what they had seen, so that we could have a document of
13 this particular scene, so that in the future we could
14 ask for an investigation to be held with regard to this
16 Q. Tell us, please, the at one particular moment
17 did you enter the morgue, and if so, what was your --
18 the greatest impression that you gained? What did you
19 see upon entry?
20 A. Well, I didn't really like to go into the
21 morgue, because it is a terrible sight, but the young
22 man -- the young cameraman told me to come in, and I
23 talked to the guard outside, and he said, "Come in and
24 see something for yourself."
25 Then he used a battery to throw light on the
1 scene. He took back the plastic covering, and one of
2 the bodies -- there was a hole in one of the bodies, a
3 real hole around about here, with a blunt object, made
4 with a blunt object. I can only suppose that it was a
5 knife. It was all black. You couldn't really see it,
6 but the impression was that you could put a whole fist
7 into the hole. That was how big it was. And I
8 said, "Well, cover this up. I can't bear to look at
9 this any longer," and they took pictures of this. I
10 left the room and we only stayed there five minutes,
11 not longer.
12 Q. The official -- the authorities didn't allow
13 you do this, you did this secretly?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Tell us, with regard to the hole on the body,
16 what did you hear during the funeral, later on, from
17 the father of Zvonko Rajic, who was the commander of
18 the local HVO unit from the village of Dusina?
19 A. When we attended the funeral of the people
20 who had been killed, in front of the church in Cajdras
21 in Zenica there were about 3.000 mourners, people from
22 the surrounding village and town. They had come to pay
23 their last respects to the people that were killed.
24 The father of the late Zvonko Rajic started
25 crying in front of the body of his son, and he
1 said, "Dear Zvonko, I can understand that they killed
2 you, but why did they cut our heart out?"
3 I couldn't -- I didn't really know what he
4 meant, but when I remember the scene in the morgue, it
5 might have been the hole in the chest, and that somehow
6 the father of this young man had learnt of the terrible
7 thing that they had done to his son in taking out
8 his -- cutting out his heart. Perhaps he had a
9 legal -- he was legally able to attend the abduction
10 (sic) and was able to ascertain this during daylight,
11 and was able to see this, and perhaps that is why he
12 made the statement in front of so many people at the
14 Q. So what Zvonko Rajic said coincided with what
15 you saw on the body, and you do not know whose body it
16 was at the time; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. Tell us now, please, during the funeral
19 itself, in front of the church in Cajdras, you said
20 that there were 3.000 mourners. It was a mass funeral,
21 a mass burial. Could you tell us the direction the
22 funeral procession took and where the actual burial
23 took place?
24 A. Yes. It was a very strong impression that I
25 gained in front of the church, because three people --
1 3.000 people were crying, and it's -- it's a very
2 strong impression. It was a terrible act that had
3 happened for the first time in that area, and we were
4 just not able to realise what had happened.
5 But the mourners started out across Veternica
6 and then towards Busovaca, and most of them, I think
7 nine people were buried in Busovaca at that time, and
8 they were all the parishioners of that particular
9 parish, their parents, and nearest and dearest wanted
10 them to be buried there, and most of the people, most
11 of the mourners in Cajdras, went by bus to pay their
12 last respects and to attend the burial, and I did
14 Q. In Busovaca, was it the people of Busovaca
15 that came out to pay their last respects? Were there a
16 lot of people attending the funeral?
17 A. Yes. The funeral lasted for a long time. It
18 was almost up until dark, because everybody wanted to
19 see these ten coffins, and the funeral rights had to be
20 conducted for each individual person killed, so the
21 funeral lasted a long time. And this was one of the
22 most difficult moments in my entire life, and I can
23 never forget that scene. The people were in a terrible
25 Q. Could you explain to the Court -- this event,
1 what effects did this incident have on the two ethnic
2 groups who had lived for centuries there, the Muslims
3 and the Croats?
4 A. It was terrible, and this had a terrible
5 effect on their good neighbourly relations and their
6 trust in each other. People began to turn their heads
7 away from each other, and they no longer said hello to
8 one another when they met in the streets.
9 We tried to mitigate the situation and say
10 this was one incident that would not repeat itself, and
11 sometimes they thought that we wanted this not to
12 happen in our villages, but they even made fun of us
13 in -- we tried to calm the situation.
14 Q. Tell us, please, did you try to go to Dusina
15 to see what had happened in that village? Did the
16 leadership of the HDZ -- you were just an
17 administrative clerk there, but your leaders, the
18 responsible individuals, did they endeavour to have the
19 representatives of the Croatian people go to Dusina?
20 A. Indeed. From the very first day we
21 established contact with the executive authorities of
22 Zenica municipality, with the MUP, with the town mayor,
23 and the president of the HVO who was deputy mayor, and
24 we wanted to take advantage of these people to reach
25 Dusina, and to see on site what had happened and what
1 we could do to overcome this situation so that people
2 would regain confidence and be able to live together
4 We wanted to set an example by going there,
5 talking to the Muslims to see what they thought about
6 it. However, this joint visit never occurred. No real
7 reasons were given to us why. An excuse was always
8 found to avoid us going on site.
9 Q. But 30 days after that event, due to force of
10 circumstance, you did go there after all. Could you
11 tell the Court how this happened and what you saw?
12 A. I found a way of getting there. I learnt
13 that Dominik Sarkic and Josip, a HVO soldier, would go
14 there with their people, with the president of the
15 assembly and the executive counsel, but we went there
16 ahead of them, and we managed to pass through the
17 checkpoint by saying we were journalists, saying that
18 the others would follow, because we wanted to get there
19 before them.
20 We left the car in an orchard, and we went
21 there and took pictures for our newspaper, Bojovnik,
22 because we wanted to avoid them seizing our camera and
23 our film from us. We saw a house that had been burnt
24 down altogether, the furniture thrown around, the
25 paintings, the bed clothes, and we tried to immortalise
1 this situation so as to be able to show others what had
3 Q. What you saw, did that coincide with the
4 description that was given to you by the frightened
5 inhabitants when they came to see you?
6 A. Yes. Most of what they said was confirmed on
7 the spot. Most of what we saw was exactly as they had
8 described it. However, months had gone by and many
9 things had changed. The linen had been was taken away,
10 many things had been destroyed due to rain and
11 everything. So the picture would have been different,
12 certainly, if you had come a day or two afterwards.
13 But the picture, as it was, was terrible. Not an
14 animal could live there, let alone man.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. Can I ask the usher's assistance for another
17 document? We only have it Croatian, but we'll be using
18 as an exhibit only the photographs.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D435.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. You have before you an edition of the
22 newspaper "Bojovnik" or "Soldier." Will you please
23 look at pages 2 and 3 to see the photographs? Before
24 the officials and representatives of the Muslim
25 authorities, you reached the spot, as a journalist,
1 before them. Are these the photographs that you took
2 30 days after the crime in the village of Dusina?
3 A. Yes, those are the photographs. There were
4 several others, but they were not good. They didn't
5 come out well.
6 The first photograph on the left, you can see
7 a totally burned-down house and a stable behind it and
8 a shed. This house was totally destroyed.
9 Q. And the picture below that?
10 A. This is a house with the windows shattered
11 and the furniture destroyed with hammers. To the right
12 is a family picture, a wedding photograph, because it
13 is customary among our people to take photographs at a
14 wedding and keep it as a memento, and you could find
15 many such photographs in the yard.
16 Then, on the right, also some of the
17 appliances that were broken that they couldn't carry
18 away or that didn't attract them. We shot about ten
19 films but many of them were not successful.
20 Q. What do you think? Why was something burned
21 and some other things, that might have been useful,
22 completely destroyed and broken? What was the aim of
23 that? What do you think?
24 A. The people themselves drew the conclusion
25 that this was a method of intimidating these people,
1 forcing these people to flee. They asked, "What are
2 you doing to us?" And some people would say, "There
3 are too many of us. Someone has to leave these
4 parts." The people who felt bolder made statements of
5 this kind. Others consoled their neighbours and said,
6 "Come back. We'll continue living nicely." Based on
7 those encouraging tales, some of them tried to come
8 back, but they were threatened by the soldiers who told
9 them not to say that to those neighbours. So many of
10 them did not go back.
11 There were 47 Croatian families living in
12 Dusina. There are no more than five or six now. I
13 didn't go there again. I think that there aren't any
14 more than that.
15 MR. NOBILO: That will bring to the end this
16 part of your testimony. We are tendering only the
17 photographs from this Exhibit 435, not the text,
18 because we have spoken at length about these events so
19 we don't think the text is necessary.
20 Let us go on to another area which the
21 Defence would like you, Witness, to testify to. It is
22 Blaskic's speech seeing off the army to Jajce on the
23 26th of October, 1992. Tell us, on the 26th of
24 October, 1992, where were the HVO units being
25 dispatched from to go to Jajce? Where was this seeing
1 off taking place?
2 A. Your Honours, this was in a locality called
3 Draga, three kilometres from Busovaca in the direction
4 of Kiseljak. It was a military reception centre with
5 very few facilities where we would prepare our units
6 for the front in Jajce. The weather was terrible that
7 day, it was pouring all day, and we waited for as many
8 soldiers to gather there until nightfall to send them
9 to Jajce.
10 During the line-up of the soldiers, the first
11 to address them was Lieutenant Colonel Filip Filipovic
12 who briefed them on the situation on the front in
13 Jajce, what our chances were, how they should behave as
14 soldiers, how the soldiers should behave during
15 transportation, and so on.
16 I was there as a technical secretary of the
17 HVO, and whenever shifts of soldiers were leaving, I
18 would take cigarettes, soft drinks, and in other ways
19 try to encourage them.
20 After Mr. Filipovic's speech, Colonel Blaskic
21 made a speech, and I couldn't really forget that speech
22 because I found it so inspirational by its humanness,
23 its goodness, its advice to the soldiers, and I took
24 note in a small notebook of his words, and later on,
25 when I came home, I entered this in greater detail in
1 my diary.
2 So I would like to ask permission, Your
3 Honours, to read a part of that speech made by Colonel
5 Q. So what you are going to read now is what you
6 copied from your personal diary before coming here to
7 The Hague?
8 A. Yes. I didn't copy the whole speech when I
9 left for The Hague but only a part of that speech. So
10 may I read it?
11 Q. Will you please read very slowly because the
12 interpreters do not have a copy, nor do we? So please
13 read it very slowly.
14 A. "There are among you, dear soldiers, those
15 who are not collected and who might react to evil with
16 a tenfold stronger evil without thinking about the
17 innocent. My talk with you today and any other in the
18 future will always be sharply intoned towards those who
19 may be rash in that sense."
20 Q. Please proceed.
21 A. "We are not here in these uniforms and armed
22 with rifles to attack the unarmed and the captured. I
23 will never allow that. I will always ask you and my
24 associates to respect this human rule."
25 Q. Please proceed.
1 A. "And for as long as I live, that is how I
2 will try to influence my subordinates."
3 That is part of the notes I took of that
4 speech in my personal diary.
5 Q. Tell the Court, please -- you were obviously
6 impressed by this speech and this prompted you to take
7 note of it. But tell the Court, was that speech
8 exceptional in any way when it impressed you so? Did
9 Blaskic stand out from those around him by his
11 A. All the soldiers swallowed up his words and
12 listened to him in complete silence. Indeed, I have
13 listened to many speeches, but this one remained in my
14 memory for a long time, and rarely have I seen such
15 noble aims reflected in a speech. I believe that any
16 soldier who heard that speech can never have forgotten
17 it. I published it in our journals, and it was very
19 Q. What kind of speeches were usually made when
20 people were going to the front? What kind of speeches
21 were they? Were they usually inflammatory?
22 A. To tell you the truth, some soldiers wanted
23 to hear such speeches that would be inflammatory, that
24 would arouse them and prompt them to take radical
25 steps. So, often they wouldn't react to such
1 speeches. They thought it undermined their combat
2 atmosphere. But indeed in those times, speeches of
3 this kind were necessary to calm down the rash and to
4 lead them to the proper path.
5 Q. Thank you. We shall now go on to another
7 You were a retired person. You engaged in
8 some social activities, but you and your wife lived in
9 your home in Zenica; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Tell the Court, what happened to you in
12 Zenica starting from the 19th of April, 1993, until
13 your departure from Zenica? Who came to your house on
14 the 19th of April, 1993?
15 A. Your Honours, as you must have learnt from
16 earlier witness statements, in Zenica, the HVO fell, in
17 the military sense, on the 18th of April, which meant
18 that on the very next day, the 19th, parts of BH army
19 units started various reprisals in our neighbourhoods.
20 I lived 2 kilometres from Zenica in the
21 direction of Travnik and Vitez with my wife, and I
22 didn't think I would have to leave those parts because
23 indeed I had done nothing wrong against anyone. But on
24 the 19th, in a red Fiat, three fighters of the BH army
25 arrived, two of them with long barrels came out and
1 without any greetings said, "We request a passenger car
2 from you." I don't remember what brand they said. "A
3 yellow car. That is your car and you need to hand it
4 over to us." I said, "I never had a driving licence
5 nor could I be able to use it. Anyway, a car is not
6 something small, so look around for it."
7 They started insulting me, cursing my Vlaska
8 mother, my Ustasha mother. However, I wanted to avoid
9 any conflict with them because I thought that once they
10 saw that I didn't have a car, they would leave. But my
11 wife wasn't like me, so she answered back in the same
12 way, she cursed them back. And so this one lost his
13 nerve and said, "I'm from Ahmici." He was about 20.
14 And he cocked his rifle. He hit me with the rifle butt
15 in the chest and he slapped my wife. He said, "I'm
16 going to kill you if, within five minutes, you don't
17 tell us where your weapons are and where your car is."
18 We were ready to die because we couldn't answer that
19 question. And these threats, humiliations, they even
20 forced me to kneel down, people were collecting in the
21 street in front of my house to watch, my wife refused
22 to kneel down. He hit me with a rifle butt, forcing me
23 to kneel. I kept thinking that I could delay things
24 and the worst thing wouldn't happen, that is, they
25 wouldn't kill me.
1 Then his colleague, the one who came with him
2 out of the car, couldn't go on watching this
3 behaviour. He took his rifle away from him. And so
4 the two of them went off because this one was really in
5 a fury and he would have done the worst if this other
6 one hadn't stopped him and had the courage to stop
7 him. He was out of his mind, he was so furious.
8 Q. So that was the first incident on the 19th of
9 April, 1993. However, six days later, on the 25th of
10 April, 1993, again a group of six came to your house.
11 Would you explain to the Court who they were, what they
12 wanted, and what they did to you?
13 A. Your Honours, these were terrible times. Six
14 armed soldiers came in, two with firearms and others
15 with knives and wires for strangling. They were
16 Mujahedeen. I recognised them easily because I saw them
17 for months walking around Zenica. They were wearing
18 green capes, short trousers above the ankles, in tennis
19 shoes, dark-skinned with a kind of cap on their heads
20 and with beards. They couldn't speak our language but
21 they had an interpreter, a student, a metallurgy
22 student whom I knew by sight because he lived in my
23 neighbourhood and he studied metallurgy for ten years
24 in Zenica. He came from Algeria and he served as their
25 interpreter. We would meet in the grocery stop and we
1 would even nod our heads at each other to say hello.
2 But we didn't know each other personally. So he came
3 to my house and he was their interpreter.
4 One of these who led this group asked me to
5 go to a room with him and to be there alone with him,
6 and he asked me, "Do you have a weapon? If you do,
7 tell us, and we will go quickly." I said, "I have
8 nothing to give you. I have nothing to say to you. I
9 never had any weapons, especially not a machine gun or
10 a radio transmitter." Then he looked around the room,
11 took down a picture, and told me to trample on it, that
12 is a crucifixion and he told me to trample on it. He
13 couldn't speak, but he showed what he wanted me to do
14 with his hands. Then he looked through my books, and
15 he -- a 500 mark note fell out of the book. He told me
16 to keep quiet about it, he took it from me, and then
17 again he showed me that if they find any weapons on me,
18 I would have had it.
19 They broke everything in the apartment. They
20 forced me to turn the beds over, the furniture. They
21 looked through everything.
22 There was a neighbour visiting and my wife.
23 They forced her -- them to stand against the wall.
24 They told me that I mustn't leave the house without
25 their permission, and they stayed there for about two
1 hours. That was my first encounter with the Mujahedeen.
2 Q. How did you understand this, "that you
3 mustn't leave the house without letting us know"? What
4 did that mean?
5 A. At first, I couldn't understand why I was so
6 important to them that I shouldn't leave the house.
7 However, five days after this visit, 30 soldiers
8 appeared. There were not just Mujahedeen but with them
9 were members of the BH army of the 33rd and other
10 brigades and of the Military Police, 30 soldiers in
11 all, they surrounded my house, and with pointed long
12 barrels they entered the house and said, "You're having
13 a meeting." I said, "What kind of meeting?" And they
14 said, "We have a report that people from Vitez are
15 coming to a meeting." I couldn't understand. They
16 went around the house firing.
17 Later on, my impression was that Croats were
18 living around my house and that this whole scene was
19 staged to force them to leave.
20 Q. Please slow down a little. I understand you
21 get rather excited and then you start speaking more
22 quickly, but you are making the interpreters' task very
23 difficult, to interpret perfectly correctly what you
24 are saying?
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It is 11.00. We will
1 take a 15-minute break now.
2 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.27 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please have the accused brought
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume. Mr. Nobilo?
8 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Witness DL, we stopped at the point when 30
10 soldiers burst into your house. What did they ask
11 for? What were they looking for?
12 A. Your Honours, they had received some kind of
13 information that a meeting would be held at my place
14 with people from Busovaca and Vitez. So they got into
15 the house, they searched the basement and the attic,
16 and they realised that no one was there, and then they
17 took me into detention.
18 A white Kombi van stood in the yard, there
19 were two soldiers there, and he took me towards the
20 Kombi and said, "You're coming with us." I didn't even
21 manage to get dressed. I was wearing my slippers, the
22 ones that I wear at home, and I said, "I have to put on
23 some proper shoes and I have to get dressed." My wife
24 said, "He has blood pressure and he needs medicine."
25 This other guy said, "No, he doesn't need any
1 medicine. He's coming with us and that's it."
2 They brought me to this vehicle, and then, as
3 I got to the vehicle, I was hoping that they'd take me
4 to this specified place, this prison. But all of a
5 sudden, they changed their minds. Two of them said,
6 "Listen, you go back. Our assignment is to keep you
7 in house custody, so you are not allowed to leave your
8 home, you cannot leave town, and you cannot leave your
9 home without our approval and our permission." So I
10 remained in custody at home. Even my next-door
11 neighbours were not allowed to communicate with me at
12 all and they didn't even dare say hello to me, they
13 were so frightened, and some of them said that, "Well,
14 why don't they take you away and let's get this over
15 with" because they were fed up with having the military
16 in my yard all the time and this embarrassing situation
17 every now and then. This really bothered them.
18 I took all kinds of measures in order to have
19 an exchange carried out so that I could leave that area
20 because I saw that if I stayed on there, that some
21 night, they will come, as they did come later on, after
22 night. I didn't dare sleep in the night at home, I
23 would just leave the lights on, and my wife and I would
24 escape from my home. We didn't dare spend the night at
25 the house because there were so many uncontrolled
1 units, the police could not control all of them, and
2 they could have done whatever they wanted to do, as
3 they did in some places.
4 Q. Could you please tell the Court, because we
5 don't really have to describe every single incident, in
6 addition to these three described incidents, how many
7 times did groups of soldiers, armed soldiers, burst
8 into your house in addition to these three times that
9 you described?
10 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't keep
11 records, but my wife managed to, and she said that
12 twelve times, twelve times, armed soldiers got into our
13 house, twelve times. And they came individually. For
14 example, they would come to my balcony, and one of them
15 brought a Croatian flag and made me walk over it, and
16 he did too. This was a great pleasure for him. He
17 always carried this Croatian flag, and whenever he'd
18 come to my house, he'd make me walk over and he'd walk
19 over it. But, you know, they weren't as terrible as
20 the first three were.
21 Q. So it was a total of twelve times that
22 soldiers burst into your house. What was your
23 understanding of the situation? Could you stay on
24 there, or was all of this done for the reason of your
25 leaving Zenica?
1 A. I finally realised that I no longer belonged
2 there, that my life was in danger, my wife's life was
3 in danger, and also my next-of-kin too, and nobody
4 dared come to my place. I asked the official
5 authorities, the Red Cross, and they had some kind of
6 an institution through which they arranged for
7 exchanges, and I asked them -- and they were stationed
8 at the stadium, the sports stadium -- and I said that I
9 wanted to get exchanged, to go anywhere, and I simply
10 couldn't take it anymore, it was nerve-racking, and I
11 was not capable of thinking anymore and I thought all
12 kinds of things.
13 Q. Tell me, when were you exchanged? On what
14 date and where did you go, in which direction?
15 A. One day, there was a pleasant surprise in
16 store for me. A Bosniak woman came with her family,
17 and she said that she was sent from this centre of
18 exchange and she said that she got my house and that I
19 was supposed to be exchanged. I was pleased. I felt
20 that it was salvation. I just took my clothes, the
21 basic necessities, my wife and I, and we went to a
22 small Kombi van and we were exchanged. This was on the
23 23rd of November, 1993. I went in the direction of
24 Zepce, that is where the exchange was carried out, and
25 at that time I was under HVO-controlled territory. So
1 this was my salvation.
2 Q. You and your wife took just one suitcase;
4 A. Just one suitcase. They didn't allow us to
5 take anything else. We could only take the things that
6 we had on ourselves. I took a sweater, a coat, an
7 overcoat, and my wife too, because we didn't know how
8 far we would travel and we didn't know where this would
9 end and how far we would have to go on foot and we
10 didn't know whether we could manage to carry
11 everything, so we just took the very, very basic
12 stuff. We left all sorts of things. We left
13 furniture, food. It was full. The house was full of
14 different things, and all of it just stayed behind.
15 Q. But you were saved. What about your house
16 today? Did you eventually return to your house in
18 A. The Muslim family came in before I left, and
19 they stayed in my house until 1996, and as they were
20 leaving, as they went back to their place of residence
21 in Zepce, they emptied my house. Well, okay, let it
22 be. But another thing was that they destroyed it, the
23 floor, the windows. They cut out all the electricity,
24 the waterworks. They broke my bathtub, my boiler,
25 electric boiler. A neighbour of mine called me and
1 said, "Take a look at your house. It's all empty." I
2 saw it and it looked like nothing you have ever seen.
3 That is the way things have been until the present
4 day. I asked the municipal authorities to allow me to
5 come back, and I would like to get hold of some money
6 in order to get it built up again because I would like
7 to return to Zenica.
8 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
9 have concluded our questioning. Thank you.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Now it is the
11 Office of the Prosecutor that will have some questions
12 for you.
13 Mr. Prosecutor?
14 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
15 Honours, and counsel, good morning. Good morning,
16 Witness DL.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Harmon:
18 Q. My name is Mark Harmon, Witness DL. I am one
19 of the Prosecutors on this case, and my colleagues to
20 my right, Mr. Gregory Kehoe and Mr. Andrew Cayley are
21 assisting me.
22 I only intend to ask you a few questions
23 about your testimony this morning, but let me, if I
24 could, Mr. President, first of all, go into private
25 session because I would like to ask Witness DL some
1 questions that were raised in the private session on
2 direct examination.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Mr. Registrar, could we
4 have a private session now?
5 (Private session)
24 (Open session)
25 MR. HARMON: Witness DL, let me focus your
1 attention on the crimes that took place in the village
2 of Dusina for just a moment. I take it from your
3 testimony that you were not there when those terrible
4 crimes occurred?
5 A. Yes, I was not there.
6 Q. In your testimony you mentioned that contact
7 was made with the ABiH after you and your colleagues
8 became aware of those crimes; is that correct?
9 A. Not with the BH army. No contact was
10 established with them. But with the Ministry of the
11 Interior, the police from Zenica, so that they would
12 make sure that the BH army would allow us to pass
13 checkpoints so that we would come and see whether
14 everything the people told us in our statements was
16 Q. Now, did you personally contact
17 representatives of the Minister of the Interior in
18 respect of the crimes at Dusina?
19 A. No, no. I did not hold such a high post. I
20 couldn't have done it. This was done by the President
21 of the municipal committee of HDZ, Mr. Pojvnik Josip,
22 and Mr. Sakic Dominik. They were the ones who were
23 authorised, and they were the ones who had the
24 authority to negotiate. I was a technical secretary.
25 I organised meetings for them, et cetera.
1 Q. Your testimony was that members of the ABiH,
2 the Armija, were responsible for the crimes that took
3 place at Dusina. Were the particular units that were
4 involved identified to you by the survivors and the
5 refugees from Dusina?
6 A. When we asked them whether they knew any one
7 of those soldiers whom they had seen, whether they were
8 their neighbours or something, they said that they did
9 not know those people, that it was no one from the
10 neighbourhood who was in uniform. But later we heard
11 from Mr. Dzidic, who was the political representative
12 of the Bosniak people, he was some kind of a spokesman
13 of the SDA, when contact was established with them --
14 with him, he said that an investigation would be
15 carried out against these persons, and he asserted that
16 it wasn't that this was some kind of organised activity
17 by the BH army, but that this was just done at random.
18 However, that was not true. Later it was
19 ascertained that these people had uniforms, they had
20 weapons. They belonged to some of the units of the BH
22 Q. My question to you, Witness DL, is: Do you
23 know which units those people belonged to?
24 A. I don't know. I don't know. None of us
25 could find anything out from these statements that we
1 got from these people. And later, during the
2 investigation, I don't know whether something was
3 established. So I could not ascertain which units
4 these soldiers belonged to.
5 Q. Do you know, Witness DL, whether an
6 investigation was ever contacted by the Muslim
7 authorities into the events of Dusina?
8 A. Personally I'm not aware of that.
9 Q. Now, if there was a failure to investigate
10 the crimes at Dusina and to immediately investigate
11 those crimes, was that, in your opinion, a grievous
13 A. Well, yes. We had assumed, like any normal
14 person would have, that investigating this crime would
15 be a warning to other villages to take care, to prevent
16 such terrible situations from happening, and to report
17 this to the regular police, et cetera. And we thought
18 that such proceedings would be very helpful in terms of
19 preventing such things from happening again. However,
20 this, indeed, never took place, because we never heard
21 that somebody was detained, or punished, or that
22 investigative proceedings were initiated. We were
23 really sorry. And we realised that the media didn't
24 even write about it, so the citizens of Zenica were not
25 informed about this incident at all.
1 Q. Let me ask you, Witness DL, you testified
2 that the acts that occurred in Dusina were acts of
3 terror, and it was a method by which Croats were forced
4 to leave their village. Do you remember your testimony
5 in that respect?
6 A. Yes, I remember.
7 Q. Are you familiar with the events that took
8 place in the village of Ahmici on the 16th of April,
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this is beyond
11 the direct-examination. Ahmici was not within the
12 scope of the direct-examination at all.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Objection sustained.
14 Mr. Harmon, please try to remain within the
15 scope of the direct-examination, because Mr. Nobilo is
16 right, or perhaps you can rephrase your question.
17 MR. HARMON: I'll rephrase my question,
18 Mr. President.
19 Q. Are you aware of any similar type of acts
20 that occurred in respect of the Muslim civilian
21 population in Central Bosnia in 1993?
22 A. At that time, no. I had heard nothing, up
23 until what had happened in Dusina and the downfall of
24 the HVO in Zenica. I did not hear of anything similar
25 taking place in the vicinity. I didn't perform such a
1 function. My duties were not that kind, and the
2 information that did reach me was not very serious
3 information, they were more rumours, or guesswork or
4 things of that kind.
5 Q. Subsequent to the events in Dusina, in other
6 words, after the 26th of January, 1993, up until the
7 end of 1993, did you hear of any events directed
8 against the Muslim population where Muslim civilians
9 were killed, Muslim houses were burned, and Muslim
10 civilians were forced to flee their villages?
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, once again this
12 is beyond the scope of the investigation-in-chief
13 (sic). We only asked the witness about events in
14 January in Dusina, nothing after that.
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises,
16 the microphone was not switched on. The President said
17 that he saw no reason why the Prosecutor could not ask
18 the witness whether he heard of any similar events
19 after January, 1993. Is that all right now?
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I ask whether it is
21 correct that at one stage the evidence was that one
22 man, presumably an assailant, said that he was from
23 Ahmici, or perhaps I misheard.
24 A. Your Honours, that young man who was -- he
25 had the rifle, he hit me, and he said, "I'll show you
1 what a young man from Ahmici means and can do. I am
2 from Ahmici." That is what he said. He was the
3 angriest of them all.
4 And I had never heard of the village
5 beforehand. I had never heard of that village. I had
6 no need to. And he said, "I'm going to show you who I
7 am, and what I am, and what I can do and you're going
8 to sing a nice little song after that." And he
9 expressly said he was from Ahmici. I could not have
10 concluded that he was from Ahmici. I did not know
11 where Ahmici was, what place it was. I didn't even
12 know all our surrounding villages.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I would like the
14 translation to be done. We did limit the questions on
15 Ahmici, but I do not think it is a illegitimate or
16 unfair for Mr. Harmon to ask the witness, as a member
17 of the HDZ, when knew of other events that took place
18 after the crimes committed in Dusina. So, please, put
19 your question, Mr. Harmon, in that form.
20 MR. HARMON:
21 Q. Witness DL, after the crimes in Dusina that
22 occurred on the 26th of January, 1993, did you hear of
23 any crimes perpetrated by the HVO and directed against
24 Muslim civilians, including the murder, the intentional
25 burning of their houses and the forced expulsion of
1 Muslim civilians? Did you hear of any of those types
2 of crimes?
3 A. No, I didn't. I didn't hear of them. I
4 didn't read the papers. I didn't follow radio
5 programmes. I was -- I had had enough of even the
6 things that I had heard.
7 Q. Witness DL, let me turn your attention to
8 another subject, and that is you testified that you
9 were present at a situation when troops, HVO troops, in
10 Busovaca were being sent off to the front at Jajce. Do
11 you remember that part of your testimony?
12 A. Yes, I remember.
13 Q. Did you oftentimes go to Draga where the
14 troops were collected and sent off to the front at
15 Jajce, or were you there only on one occasion?
16 A. That was the last group of troops to go. I
17 went once, the first time when our unit went. I was in
18 charge of supplying beverages and cigarettes for these
19 troops. Everybody had to have one packet of cigarettes
20 per day while he was doing this duty. So if it was
21 seven days, he would have to be given seven packets of
22 cigarettes. So those were my functions. That's what I
23 did, and that was that particular instance.
24 The last time, on the 26th of October, 1992,
25 when Colonel Blaskic made his speech, I was there
1 then. I remained there one to one and half hours and
2 then returned to Zenica after that. I didn't have a
3 uniform. I was a civilian. I didn't have any other
4 tasks, any other duties, just on the part of the
5 civilian section of the HVO to give the soldiers their
6 beverages, and their cigarettes and so on.
7 Q. Witness DL, other than this one occasion on
8 the 26th of October, 1992, did you ever go to any other
9 assembly of troops, HVO troops, where the soldiers were
10 addressed either by then Colonel Blaskic or addressed
11 by any other HVO military leader?
12 A. I did not go any more. I went on the two
13 occasions that I stated, and I was happy to have seen
14 our soldiers gathered together. It wasn't a real army,
15 they were volunteers. On some occasions there were 50
16 of them from our unit, sometimes 30. So people were
17 not duty-bound to go there, and there were always a
18 different number of people. The further things
19 progressed, the fewer soldiers there were. I don't
20 know the reason for this, but that's how it was.
21 Q. Now, Witness DL, you mentioned two
22 occasions. One occasion I'm aware of, the 26th of
23 October, 1992. When was the other occasion you were
24 present when soldiers were assembled and being sent to
25 the front?
1 A. It was the first time, on the 15th of August,
2 1992, and General Blaskic wasn't there to see them off
3 on that occasion. I, once again, took them cigarettes
4 and soft drinks, and that was on the 15th of August,
6 Q. Did you ever see Colonel Blaskic address his
7 troops at a time when the HVO was engaged in combat
8 with the Bosnian Muslim army?
9 A. No, I didn't. I could not have. I was not a
10 military man. I couldn't even approach let alone hear
11 any of his speeches.
12 Q. Now, in your testimony, Witness DL, you said
13 that -- and correct me if I'm wrong, that some of the
14 leaders of the HVO military made rash speeches to the
15 soldiers who were assembled and who were going to be
16 sent to the front-lines against the Serbs. Did I
17 understand your testimony correctly?
18 A. I said -- what I said was this: First of
19 all, on the 26th of October, Lieutenant-Colonel
20 Filipovic took the floor first, and it was his duty to
21 take all these groups up to the front-line and to return
22 the group of soldiers there, to return them back. So
23 he was in charge of the safety of the units going and
25 And he discussed conduct. He said how they
1 should behave, that they were not to turn the lights on
2 in vehicles, that they were to make a lot of noise, so
3 he gave them technical instructions. And he did not
4 speak about morale or anything of that kind, he just
5 spoke about the technical conduct and the way they
6 should behave going and coming from the front-lines.
7 Q. Did any HVO military officer, in your
8 presence, make any kind of a speech that you thought
9 was unnecessary or unprofessional?
10 A. I don't know. While I was present, no. I
11 can't say. No. But whether there were -- there was
12 anything of that kind elsewhere or at other times, I
13 don't know. I was not -- did not have any military
14 duties, as I said, and I didn't have the opportunity of
15 coming by knowledge of this kind, information of this
17 Q. Was the occasion when you described the
18 speech by then Colonel Blaskic, was that the only
19 occasion when you had to meet Colonel Blaskic, or did
20 you meet him on other occasions?
21 A. I didn't have occasion to meet him, but I was
22 present when our unit took their oath. He made a short
23 speech there, along the same lines. I was not
24 involved. That is to say, I didn't make a note of that
25 speech. It was a short speech because there were many
2 Q. And did it appear to you, Witness DL, that
3 the soldiers under Colonel Blaskic's command respected
5 A. Well, let me tell you this: During the
6 ceremonies, such as oath-taking ceremony and so on,
7 everything was at a high cultural level, so they showed
8 respect towards Colonel Blaskic. But I don't want to
9 enter into the individual opinions of him, of any
10 commander or him. Whether he -- they liked him or not,
11 I can't really say.
12 Q. Let me clarify one part of your testimony,
13 and that relates to the terrible events that occurred
14 to you on April 19th in Zenica, when three soldiers
15 appeared at your house. One of them, you said, was in
16 a fury, he was out of his mind, and he struck you with
17 a rifle butt and he slapped you. Was that the soldier
18 who said he was from Ahmici?
19 A. Yes. The other soldier standing behind him,
20 he wasn't -- he didn't want to behave in that way. I
21 didn't notice the fury of the first young man, because
22 the first young man was really furious and irritated.
23 First of all, because he said to me, "Look at the car
24 I'm driving. I'm driving a small Fiat and you've
25 hidden your car somewhere. You have weapons, you have
1 this, you have that, whereas I don't." And I was not
2 able to communicate with the young man because he took
3 every -- each of my words amiss, and anything I said he
4 would spit at me, he would spit in my face, spit at my
5 chest. When he spat at my wife, she spat back at him.
6 He was really out of his mind with fury.
7 He said, "If you don't tell me where our car
8 is, I'm going to cut you down immediately." He was far
9 more furious and active in his investigation than the
10 other man. The other man couldn't take much of this.
11 In fact, he left. He took his rifle.
12 Q. Witness DL, do you have any idea why that man
13 from Ahmici was so furious?
14 A. I had no idea. He was a young man. And I
15 (sic) said, "I'll show you what a man from Ahmici can
16 do." And in that first instance I didn't make head or
17 tail of this. I didn't know what he wanted to say by
18 that, what he meant by it.
19 MR. HARMON: May I have just a moment?
20 Witness DL, Thank you very much. I have no further
21 questions. That concludes my cross-examination,
22 Mr. President and Your Honours.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, do you wish to
24 exercise your right to re-examine?
25 MR. NOBILO: Yes, with only two questions.
1 Very briefly, Your Honour.
2 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
3 Q. Witness DL, when this young man barged into
4 your house saying he was from Ahmici, and you couldn't
5 understand his fury because you hadn't heard of Ahmici
6 while you were in Zenica, but tell the Court later on,
7 '94, '95, '96, '97, until the present moment, did you
8 later learn that an HV (sic) unit came to Ahmici, set
9 the village on fire and killed the civilians?
10 So just that there should be no
11 misunderstanding, there is an error in the transcript,
12 it is an "HVO" unit, not an "HV" unit.
13 Therefore, my question is: Did you hear of
14 any such event later?
15 A. Yes. I did hear later on that this had
16 happened in Ahmici, that -- in a village near Vitez.
17 Q. When the units were being lined up, that is
18 the Jure Francetic Brigade from Zenica, how many people
19 spoke on that occasion, if you can remember, in
20 addition to Blaskic?
21 A. There were four or five speakers, including
22 Zivko Totic. They were all addressing the soldiers.
23 They greeted them and so on.
24 Q. Tell me, on the 1st of August, 1992, when you
25 attended for the first time ?
1 A. The 15th of August.
2 Q. Yes, the 15th of August, when the troops were
3 being seen off to Jajce, who spoke then? Were there
4 several speakers?
5 A. Yes, there were quite -- there was quite a
6 large number of soldiers at the time. There were about
7 80 of them. And again, Mr. Filipovic addressed them
8 and the commanders of the units from Kakanj, Zenica,
9 Vitez, each one of them addressed the soldiers.
10 These speeches mainly related to the
11 behaviour. We didn't have much experience at the time,
12 so that somebody could give more high-quality
13 information regarding the front.
14 Q. When you compare all those speeches on the
15 15th of August and the line-up of the Jure Francetic
16 unit, did Blaskic's speech stand apart? Was it
17 different in some way? Was it distinct from all the
19 A. I truly enjoy hearing a kind word. I like to
20 read a lot, and this speech really moved me, and I
21 couldn't forget it. It was imprinted in my memory, and
22 I shall always remember it gladly. Even the most
23 primitive soldier, if he had never heard what one
24 should not do in contact with civilians when one is
25 armed, or with a captured soldier, that I'm sure he
1 would have learned from that speech something that he
2 will remember for his life.
3 And from that speech I saw him as a commander
4 who really wanted a fair and honest battle to be fought
5 if it does occur.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
8 Now the Judges will have a few questions for
9 you, Witness DL, and then your testimony will be over.
10 I first turn to Judge Riad. Please proceed,
11 Judge Riad.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Witness DL, I'm going to call
13 you DL. Good day to you.
14 I have a single question to put to you
15 concerning the influence of General Blaskic over his
16 soldiers. It is more the psychological side of things,
17 because you told us how moved you were by this speech
18 made by General Blaskic, that it touched you, that his
19 speech generally reflected some noble goals which, as
20 you've just said, could affect the most primitive
22 What did this speech consist of? Was it the
23 sole speech that you heard, the one and only speech
24 that you heard?
25 A. On that occasion I also heard Mr. Filipovic's
1 speech, which is more of a technical nature, who said
2 how soldiers should behave on the front, how they
3 should show courage, how they should dig in, how they
4 should camouflage themselves.
5 However, this speech differed drastically
6 from that one. It was more of giving advice. It was a
7 speech in which he said what an HVO soldier should do
8 in -- when he comes in contact with the population,
9 with civilians, with captured soldiers, prisoners of
11 Mr. Blaskic said it was not up to us to
12 settle accounts with civilians. Every soldier should
13 protect them and take them to security if there are any
14 hostilities in their village.
15 So I don't know how all the soldiers were
16 affected by this speech, but I hope that it was
17 received in a positive sense, and that they took note
18 of it, and that they acted accordingly. At least that
19 is my hope, that it had the same impression on them as
20 it did on me. A positive one, therefore.
21 JUDGE RIAD: In any event, you said that it
22 could affect even the most primitive soldiers and that
23 it had a good influence and that he spoke in a very
24 noble tone, with humanity, in fact, that one should act
25 against any war crimes. But after the 26th of October,
1 1992, you did not learn of him using, shall I call it,
2 this influence, this good influence that he had over
3 soldiers, to address them again in the months that
4 followed in the course of 1993.
5 A. Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege
6 of hearing him again. The battles in Jajce were over
7 because Jajce fell on the 30th of October, 1992, and
8 our units were transferred to other fronts, to Turbe
9 and to Travnik, so I did not have the privilege of
10 hearing General Blaskic again, and I can tell you, Your
11 Honours, that I'm sorry to have missed them if there
12 were any. I didn't have the opportunity to hear him
14 JUDGE RIAD: You were involved in the media.
15 You said that you were a journalist at times.
16 A. I wasn't a journalist, I was a member of the
17 board of editors of our journal. I was assigned to
18 provide funds for printing this journal, for the paper
19 required, for the printing. I had to look for a
20 donator for every single issue, a sponsor. So that was
21 my duty. That was my duty as a member of the board of
23 JUDGE RIAD: Very well. Thank you.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Witness DL, could you
1 look again at two documents, D433A and D434A? Shall we
2 look first at D434 because it is prior in time; it is
3 dated 27th January whereas D433 is dated 20th January.
4 Would I be right, sir, would I be right in
5 thinking that both documents were addressed to the
6 Central Bosnia Operative Zone Command and that,
7 accordingly, they were intended to reach Colonel
9 A. Yes, you're right, they should have reached
10 Colonel Blaskic.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, crimes were
12 committed at Dusina, and you said the people who
13 committed the crimes were ABiH soldiers; is that right?
14 A. Yes, yes, that's what I said.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: At that time, the ABiH
16 was collaborating with the HVO in resisting the Serbs;
17 is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did any reports reach
20 you as to whether these ABiH soldiers who committed
21 these crimes gave any explanation as to why they were
22 acting in the way they did?
23 A. Your Honours, unfortunately, we didn't get
24 any such feedback information, though we craved for
25 it. We wanted to know the real identity of those
1 units, the identity of those men. If they were men
2 from the outside, that we should jointly take measures
3 against them. That is what our officials thought. So
4 that no such thing should happen again, no such
5 incident. Unfortunately, we did not manage to learn
6 the names of the units nor of the individuals. We
7 tried in every possible way to find out, but we didn't
8 succeed. Perhaps high-level organs did learn
9 something, but we were never told. At least I
10 personally never heard of it.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you take the view
12 that having regard to the relationship between the HVO
13 and the ABiH, that what happened was strange?
14 A. It was strange because our soldiers at the
15 Jajce front were right next to the Muslim units, units
16 from Jajce who were Bosniaks. So it was astonishing to
17 us. We had lost faith, and it is very difficult to
18 restore trust on both sides. So we tried again. The
19 leaders of my party and the leaders of the SDA party,
20 after those events, organised joint public meetings in
21 local communities, in Lokvine, Gornja Zenica, Klug,
22 Crkvica, and the television broadcast these meetings,
23 the aim being to avoid a repetition of such incidents.
24 And, of course, questions were asked, because these
25 meetings were held in public, representatives of the
1 HVO and the HDZ and representatives of the BH army,
2 they tried to reduce tension, but to what extent they
3 succeeded, the best evidence is what happened on the
4 18th of April, 1994.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, let us turn to
6 Zvonko Rajic.
7 A. Rajic.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I apologise to me for my
9 very execrable pronunciation. How was he killed, did
10 you say?
11 A. Yes. The local people who first reached us
12 said that when they looked for Zvonko Rajic and he
13 surrendered, they took him together with a friend of
14 his behind the house and shot him. The shots were
15 heard, so they concluded that Zvonko was indeed killed
16 with firearms, and that is what they reported to us
17 that same day when they came to the Croatian centre,
18 that Zvonko was executed behind his house. Then they
19 went on to list the names of others who were killed, in
20 their opinion, and we took those names down. But our
21 report of that day and this one differs both in terms
22 of the number of killed and the number of wounded
23 because they couldn't be identical. The same people
24 were not writing those reports.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. I see. You
1 recognise there is a difference between the written
2 report and your own report.
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, look at 434,
5 midway. Midway, you will see a line that says:
6 "Zvonko Rajic, son of Ivo, was killed during the
7 negotiations." How do you react to that?
8 A. I don't know what kind of negotiations
9 they're referring to when a person was killed within
10 five minutes. The eyewitnesses told us they just took
11 him behind the house and, as soon as they got hold of
12 him, they liquidated him immediately. There was no
13 investigation. There was no need for any explanation.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us turn to the next
15 page of that document, page 2 of that same document,
16 you remember some of the MOS people wanted to shoot
17 Zdravka Rados. She was the wife of Dragan Rados.
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And the line goes on to
20 say: "It is assumed that they abandoned their idea to
21 carry out the execution at the request of a local
23 Were there other local Muslims who thought
24 that what happened was wrong?
25 A. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, and we were pleased that
1 it was so, and there were people who tried to help in a
2 way, but to tell you the truth, very quickly such
3 people were silenced. In my own personal case, you
4 know, there was a doctor who went to school with me, to
5 high school with me, and he came to see me one day, and
6 he said "(DL), I would be glad to help you, but I dare
7 not to because I live in town and there is something
8 unpleasant that might happen to me," and there were
9 others who tried to help me; and I'm sure that there
10 were good people who offer their homes, to put up
11 others, but they couldn't go on doing that for very
12 long because it wasn't all that easy for them either.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, later on, you
14 personally experienced some unpleasantness. The houses
15 around you were Croat houses or Muslim houses?
16 A. Well, speaking geometrically, if we look at
17 the radius, there were houses belonging to Croats all
18 around and the Bosniak houses were far away. There
19 were new neighbours of mine and old neighbours of
20 mine. My old Bosniak neighbours were not as radical
21 towards me and my family in comparison to those who
22 came later and who didn't know me because I always used
23 to resolve common problems together with them in the
24 local community, like when we first got telephones,
25 electricity, et cetera. So we had a very good
1 relationship. But those people who didn't know me well
2 enough behaved differently, those who were not aware of
3 my good intentions. A soldier who came to me said,
4 "Your next-door neighbours, you know, the ones living
5 up there, they follow what you do everyday and they
6 report to me, you know?"
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You remember you told us
8 that some of your neighbours said to you, "Come back.
9 We will continue to live nicely," or words to that
10 effect. Who were those neighbours, Croats or Muslims?
11 A. When I was leaving, my neighbours -- my
12 neighbours were in tears. They were afraid that it
13 would be their turn now to experience what I had
14 experienced, and they said, "DL what would happen to
15 us?" And they were crying, and they said, "Neighbour,
16 what about us? You are leaving and we're staying
17 behind." A Muslim there, who was a driver, I talked to
18 him and I wanted to have some money, you know, when --
19 before I left, and I asked him if he wanted to buy some
20 roof tiles from me, and I said, "Do you want to buy
21 this so that we can have some money on us," you know?
22 And he said, "Why would I have to pay you for this
23 because I'm going to take it for free. I'm going to
24 take it when I need it. Why would I pay you for it?"
25 These people simply didn't dare come up to me. When
1 they saw how many times the police came to my place,
2 they didn't dare come.
3 The other day, I went to my place, and a
4 Bosniak, an old family friend, came. He hugged me, he
5 kissed me, and he said that he was pleased to see that
6 I was alive, and he said, "Please come back." He said
7 that several times he and his son wanted to protect me
8 but they didn't dare. They were afraid for their
9 families. That's what he told me only the other day,
10 that he did wish to help me but that he didn't have the
11 courage to do so.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did some people say to
13 you that if you remain we would continue to "live
14 nice," or words to that effect?
15 A. No, no, there weren't conditions for that at
16 that time and one could not harbour such illusions.
17 People were afraid. They wished me a safe journey and
18 they said that they hoped that this would be over soon,
19 and until the present day, they've been asking me when
20 I will come back. Some do want to see me back there
21 but others -- well, you know, time will show.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Then I misheard you on
23 that point. Now, do you judge, Witness DL, that
24 relations between the two communities will mend
25 eventually, that there will be a healing of relations?
1 A. Your Honour, I'm speaking from my
2 experience. I'm 60 years old, and I've experienced so
3 many things, but I think that when the economic
4 problems of my town are solved and when more people get
5 jobs and when the education system is put in place
6 again, when there are no differences in that respect,
7 that these things will be overcome and forgotten soon.
8 Of course, major crimes cannot be forgotten all that
9 easily. But, you know, people will struggle to survive
10 and to live normally, and they will have to fit into a
11 normal life and they will have to find a common tongue.
12 On my own part, I'm in charge of a rugby
13 club, precisely with that intention in mind, because I
14 want to have this overcome in the sports field. So we
15 hope that through sports and things like that, we are
16 going to establish contacts, and in this way, we're
17 going to overcome the current situation.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: My recollection is that
19 you said that there were about 47 Croat families in
20 your area and that now there are only five or six
21 left. Is my recollection correct?
22 A. (Nods)
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Those Croat families,
24 did they continue to live there throughout this
25 troubled period, or did they go in and come back?
1 A. We're talking about Dusina, Dusina. Yes.
2 Forty-six, that is what they said, 46 families. These
3 five or six, up to eleven, they were quite persistent
4 and they probably had a different attitude towards
5 their property and they didn't want to leave it behind
6 altogether, so they would come out and come back. But
7 they had to pass through various checkpoints. They say
8 whenever they passed these checkpoints, they were
9 searched, and others were not. Others could carry
10 whatever they wanted to into the village and they could
11 carry anything they wanted to out of the village, but
12 these people, no, they had to be searched. Obviously
13 these people were afraid that some kind of explosive
14 devices would be brought in or -- explosives or
16 So they didn't really live there. They were
17 actually staying in town and coming to see their
18 properties and going back. I don't know whether they
19 renewed their houses, not yet, I think, but I believe
20 that that will take place some day.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you remember when you
22 were hit with a rifle butt, another ABiH soldier took
23 away the rifle from the soldier who had hit you?
24 A. Yes, I remember that. I remember that.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did your reports suggest
1 to you that amongst the ABiH there were other soldiers
2 of the same kind of disposition as the soldier who took
3 away that rifle?
4 A. Well, at that moment, I came to the
5 conclusion that there were some who were truly human.
6 These younger men sometimes were punished by others if
7 they did not do the things they were asked to do, and I
8 really admire this young man, and if I were to see him
9 some place, I would like to thank him and congratulate
10 him on having done that.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand. So let me
12 ask you a last question. It arises from document
13 D433. The second paragraph says that "the Muslim
14 authorities were denying access without the presence of
15 the EC monitors." Will you look at that for me, the
16 second paragraph? I think this is talking about
17 Dusina. The whole sentence reads: "However, the
18 monitors failed to arrive at the arranged time, and
19 therefore the identification has not yet been carried
20 out because the Muslim authorities are denying access
21 without the presence of the EC monitors."
22 Did you have any impression as to why the
23 Muslim authorities wanted the EC monitors to be
25 A. I did not go in depth, as far as this problem
1 is concerned, but I imagine they wanted to get rid of
2 the problem altogether so that somebody else would do
3 the things that they were supposed to do because they
4 had a hospital nearby, they had experts,
5 professionals. They simply wanted to get rid of this
6 burden, they wanted somebody else to shoulder it, and
7 that is why this went so slowly and that is why they
8 didn't go to the spot. They kept waiting. Obviously,
9 they didn't want this meeting to take place. I wasn't
10 really familiar with all of this and -- what was the
11 name? It wasn't SFOR. It was UNPROFOR, yes. I wasn't
12 very familiar with them.
13 So I imagine that that was the reason, to
14 perhaps have somebody else cover up for their
15 irresponsibility or their lack of knowledge so that
16 somebody else could do the identification wrong or
17 whatever. That was the impression I had.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You don't suppose that
19 they wanted an impartial person to be around?
20 A. That might be the case too, yes. It might be
21 the case.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you my last,
23 last question. It is about --
24 A. Please do.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- the speech made by
1 Colonel Blaskic. As you described it, it was indeed a
2 lofty speech, something that one may compare, for
3 example, with the kind of speech that I imagine a Roman
4 centurion would give to his soldiers as compared with
5 the speech that an inspired General would give.
6 You said you published that speech in your
7 newspaper? Did you publish the speech in your journal
8 or newspaper?
9 A. I first wrote it down in my personal diary
10 because -- it was in Zenica because I was at home, so I
11 was so profoundly impressed that I had to write it
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I asked if you published
14 it in your newspaper or in your journals. You did?
15 A. Yes. Yes, I did. In the newspaper Branimir,
16 which is a newspaper published by the Association of
17 Retired Veterans of the War, so I wanted all soldiers,
18 because all soldiers and all units do get it, I wanted
19 them all to read about this, and this article of mine
20 really resounded throughout the ranks and I was
21 commended for it.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you bring a copy of
23 your newspaper with you?
24 A. I didn't. I have a copy at home, but I had
25 assumed that I gave Mr. Nobilo a copy. I don't know.
1 Maybe I thought I did and then just forgot about it.
2 I'm sorry.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thank you very much.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DL, I have two first
5 and two last questions for you, and please don't hold
6 me to my word, I ask the interpreters.
7 I would like to know the place where the HVO
8 troops were gathering, assembling, the place where
9 General Blaskic made this speech which inspired you so
10 and moved you so. Was it an HVO camp, this assembly
11 point, Draga, I think you called it?
12 A. Yes. Soldiers would gather there only from
13 time to time because there wasn't really enough space
14 for soldiers to live there, to stay there. There was a
15 restaurant and there was a small building and there was
16 a big concrete plateau where there would be a review of
17 all the soldiers and then they would simply leave. It
18 was closest to Busovaca, Zenica, Vitez, Kakanj, so
19 people who could manage to come, they would. But
20 sometimes half of the unit would come and the other
21 half wouldn't come because all of this was on a
22 voluntary basis so nobody was held responsible if they
23 didn't come.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Was it a camp for the training
25 of soldiers? Some kind of training for soldiers, was
1 it provided there?
2 A. No, no. This was during the days of the
3 former Yugoslavia, something that was used by the
4 former air force. It was a radar station. I think you
5 can see it.
6 JUDGE JORDA: So in the environs, were there
7 any training camps for the HVO?
8 A. I don't know. I was there twice. I don't
9 know. Perhaps somewhere in some of the surrounding
10 places. I have no idea whether they did have some kind
11 of exercise grounds or something.
12 JUDGE JORDA: As far as I understood, were
13 there one or several camps where the HVO was trained?
14 It is a very simple question. Do you know or do you
15 not know? because it seemed to me, as a member of the
16 HVO, you would know whether there were places where the
17 HVO troops were trained.
18 A. Well, you know what? Just like any army, I
19 saw a few times that they were practising some things
20 with the soldiers, you know, how to march, how to
21 handle a rifle or whatever. But I wasn't present
22 there. I didn't know whether they had any kind of
23 tactical exercises, whether they had exercises grounds
24 or whatever for training soldiers. I'm not aware of
25 that, at least as far as Zenica is concerned.
1 JUDGE JORDA: And my last, last, last
2 question: You have told us repeatedly how impressed
3 you were by the speech of the accused, and thanks to
4 the questions put to you by my colleague Judge
5 Shahabuddeen, I hope that we will have a copy of that
6 speech which appears to be remarkable.
7 So I'm interested regarding the other
8 speeches. You said that they were unreasonable. Do
9 you remember you said that? That compared to the other
10 speeches which were unreasonable and inflammatory,
11 Blaskic's speech stood out. In what respect were those
12 other speeches unreasonable? Did they shock you? Did
13 they speak of patriotism and nationalism to such an
14 extent that it shocked you? Could you tell us that
15 very briefly?
16 A. Well, let me tell you. Very often these
17 speeches were made by commanders who were not up to it,
18 who were not up to command posts, and their speeches
19 were uninspiring, nothing to write home about, nothing
20 worth recording or remembering, and I really thought
21 they were uneducated. Nothing special. But this one
22 really stood out, so I automatically forgot all the
23 others. I didn't want to remember them.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not talking to you about
25 the form of those speeches, but you said that they were
1 speeches that were not reasonable and even
2 inflammatory, I think you said. So I want to know,
3 when you describe those speeches as inflammatory and
4 not being reasonable, they were made by HVO commanders,
5 so try and remember because you were obviously
6 impressed by the speech of the accused and, on the
7 other hand, there were these inflammatory speeches.
8 What did they say in those inflammatory speeches?
9 A. Well, you know, when a commander speaks to
10 his soldiers and is not familiar with the situation on
11 the ground and the battlefield, and he says that,
12 "Anything is possible, you should just do this, you
13 should just do that, you just need this, you just need
14 that, we are strong, we are organised," but that was
15 not true at all. You know, that kind of speech.
16 And even the soldiers were a bit suspicious
17 about this, because not all the soldiers were educated
18 to the same level, and others were aware of the
19 situation, others were not. So it was just words.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Now, let me ask my question
21 very directly: Were they anti-Serb speeches,
22 anti-Muslim speeches or simply Croat speeches?
23 A. These were speeches addressed at the enemy,
24 rather, "The enemy is this, the enemy is that. We are
25 such and such, and the enemy is such and such," in that
2 JUDGE JORDA: And who was the enemy?
3 A. Who was the enemy? The Serb enemy. For a
4 long time it was the Serb army. They were our enemy
5 for a long time at Jajce, at Zepce, et cetera.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Witness DL, I'm talking to you
7 about this meeting on, I think, the 20th of October,
8 about this rally on that date. The speeches of those
9 commanders that you described as inflammatory, were
10 they speeches addressed against the Serbs, against the
11 Muslims, against whom? Try and remember, please.
12 A. This was the 26th of October. This was the
13 last stage of fighting against -- at Jajce. It was
14 Colonel Filipovic who spoke about technical things. He
15 told the soldiers what the dangers were of going to
16 Jajce and coming back, because there were Serb units
17 that could jeopardise them. He explained how one
18 should behave at the front-line, that one should not
19 drink alcoholic beverages, that there should be no
20 indecent behaviour. That's what he spoke of. He was
21 quite definite, quite specific. I remember his
23 These others, who were addressing their
24 soldiers, they were very unprofessional speeches. They
25 all addressed their units, and they said that they
1 should be courageous soldiers, brave soldiers, that
2 they should all be proud of them. So these speeches
3 were not really worth remembering or writing about them
4 in detail.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you. I think
6 it is over for you now. And even though we had quite a
7 number of questions for you, the Tribunal has not,
8 believe us, forgotten the suffering you went through.
9 The Tribunal is simply trying to hear the various sides
10 of the story to establish the truth, but we are aware
11 of your suffering, and we thank you for coming as far
12 as The Hague to testify.
13 So it is over for you. Please do the not
14 move for the moment. We are going to adjourn for about
15 20 minutes, and we will resume at 1.00 for a final half
17 You do have another witness, don't you?
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The meeting is
20 adjourned until 1.00.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 --- Recess taken at 12.45 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 1.09 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have
25 the accused brought in, please.
1 Mr. Nobilo.
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, before we go on
3 to the next witness we should like to tender the
4 exhibits into evidence. The exhibits presented through
5 the previous witness, that is the map, and Exhibits
6 D434 and 435 -- 433, 434 and 435.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Objections? Thank you.
8 Can we please wait for a few moments until
9 the witness is brought in?
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE JORDA: Can you hear me, sir? Please
12 remain standing for a minute. Will you tell us your
13 name, family name, first name, your age, your
14 profession, and your place of residence now?
15 THE WITNESS: My name is Mladen Holman, son
16 of Karlo. My mother's name is Slavica. Name Udiljak.
17 I was born in Doboj in 1958. I completed my education
18 in Zenica, the high school for coaches in Sarajevo.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Could you tell us where you
20 reside now or do you prefer not to tell us that? And
21 what is your profession?
22 THE WITNESS: I do wish to say that I am now
23 living in Mostar.
24 JUDGE JORDA: And what is your occupation,
1 THE WITNESS: I am a coach of karate. I have
2 a diploma of the school that I completed in Sarajevo,
3 attached to the Physical Education Faculty.
4 JUDGE JORDA: This is simply to identify you
5 for the benefit of the Judges. Remain standing for a
6 moment to make your solemn declaration, which the usher
7 is going to hand to you, so please read it.
8 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated
12 now, Mr. Holman. Please answer the questions of
13 Mr. Nobilo, who, together with Mr. Hayman, have called
14 you to appear as a witness in the case against
15 General Blaskic. We'll be adjourning quite shortly,
16 but we will resume work in a week's time.
17 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
18 WITNESS: MLADEN HOLMAN
19 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Holman, would you tell the Trial Chamber
22 where you were born and what schools you graduated
23 from, and what you were doing in Zenica before the war
24 broke out?
25 A. I was born in Doboj, as I said, in 1958. My
1 mother's name is Slavica, nee Udiljak, and father
2 Karlo. I am married, I have three children.
3 I completed elementary and secondary school
4 in Zenica. The coach school in Sarajevo where I
5 received a diploma as a sports coach.
6 Q. Please speak more slowly, because I too speak
7 more quickly outside the courtroom, but in the
8 courtroom let us try and speak slowly so that the
9 interpreters can accurately convey your words.
10 So prior to the war, you were involved in
11 sports. You were a coach in a karate club; weren't
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Tell us, please, when you joined any military
15 unit and how this happened. Explain this to the Court,
17 A. Your Honours, in 1991, in October and
18 November, HOS units were established. That is the
19 Croatian Defence Forces. Mr. Matija Brajnovic, who was
20 a coordinator of the Croatian Party of Rights for
21 Bosnia, talking to me, told me about this and asked me
22 whether I wanted to join in the defence against
24 Q. Tell us, when you were asked to join these
25 HOS units, who was the aggressor against
2 A. The aggressor was the Serbian side. I still
3 had some qualms, but I decided definitely to join those
4 units when I saw, on television, the suffering of
5 Vukovar. I remember well that this happened on the
6 20th of November. My people were being victimised, and
7 I want to assist my people as much as I could.
8 Q. And so you joined the HOS unit. Did you go
9 alone or did you bring some young men with you?
10 A. In the time while I was thinking this over, I
11 talked about it with my friends and my sporting
12 friends, because I thought such men would be very
13 welcome in defence, capable men, and my conclusion was
14 that I could join, together with some 30 people.
15 So I went on the 12th of November to the
16 cultural centre Napredak where a meeting was underway,
17 and I reported that I had a platoon strong unit and
18 that I could join.
19 The chief of the staff for HOS -- of HOS for
20 Bosnia was Jadranko Jandric. Am I speaking too
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. The chief of HOS for Bosnia was Jadranko
24 Jandric. There was a separate chief for Bosnia his
25 name was Blaz Kraljevic. I mention that -- him, that
1 his name was Blaz, because I will be mentioning another
3 Q. So you went to the Croatian Cultural Society
4 in Napredak to join the HOS. Who gave you the uniforms
5 and the weapons?
6 A. The first uniforms and the first weapons were
7 given to us by Mr. Dobroslav Paraga from Zagreb and
8 Mr. Brajnovic coordinated these activities.
9 Q. And Mr. Dobroslav Paraga was president?
10 A. President of the Croatian Party of Rights and
11 the commander of HOS.
12 Q. So when you joined, together with 30 men,
13 what position were you appointed to?
14 A. I was appointed to commander of a platoon.
15 Later on, within a month or so, I advanced to company
16 commander, and then battalion commander, and later on I
17 became Deputy Chief of Staff of the command for HOS for
18 Bosnia, Jadranko Jandric.
19 Q. Can you tell us how you were promoted from
20 platoon commander, that is a platoon of 30 men, to
21 Deputy Chief of Staff of the command for the whole of
22 Bosnia? How many months did this take?
23 A. About two months. That is, until the new
24 year. So from October until January. Within 10 or 12
25 months I achieved such a promotion.
1 Q. Did you serve in the JNA?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Could you be more specific with
4 regard to the year? October which year? 1993?
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. So, please, tell us, in 1991, in October, you
7 joined the HOS and became platoon commander. And when
8 did you become Deputy Chief of Staff? What month and
9 what year?
10 A. 1992, on the 9th of October. And there is a
11 command, a written document about it.
12 Q. So this promotion was achieved in a period
13 from '91 to '92.
14 In addition to your experience from the JNA,
15 did you complete any military schools in that period,
16 that is '91, '92, '93?
17 A. No. But all my life I was engaged in martial
18 sports. I was interested in literature on the subject,
19 including military literature from Japan, through
20 Napoleon, the First and Second World Wars. And to
21 facilitate my task -- I wish to point this out -- I had
22 two of my closest associates, one of whom had graduated
23 from the military academy, his name is Bruno Filipovic,
24 and this other person, Dida Skokovic, who had a lot of
25 military experience from the past war. They helped me
1 in the structuring and the organisation of the army.
2 Q. Please tell the Court what does HOS, H-O-S
3 stand for, the letters?
4 A. Croatian Defence Forces.
5 Q. Who founded the HOS for the whole territory
6 of the Former Yugoslavia?
7 A. It was founded by the Croatian Party of
8 Rights based in Zagreb.
9 Q. Who was the president of the Croatian Party
10 of Rights and the Supreme Commander of all HOS units?
11 A. Your Honours, the commander and president of
12 the Croatian Party of Rights and the Supreme Commander
13 was Mr. Dobroslav Paraga.
14 Q. Who was Chief of Staff of the war staff or
15 the operative commander of HOS? There were several of
16 them. There were changes.
17 A. The first chief was Mr. Ante Paradzik. After
18 his death the position was taken over by Dzapic,
19 Prkacin and Mr. Dedakovic for a brief while, something
20 didn't seem to work there, but these were the HOS
21 commanders. The last commander was Mr. Ante Prkacin
22 who also parted ways with the Supreme Commander
23 Dobroslav Paraga later on.
24 Q. Tell the Court, the HOS in Zenica, what was
25 the composition of the fighters in terms of ethnic
1 background during '92 and '93?
2 A. The composition was always half/half.
3 Q. Of what?
4 A. Half were, half were Muslims.
5 Q. The HOS in Zenica, who did it belong to?
6 From the moment you joined HOS, and later on you left
7 it, we will see later, but who -- under whose command
8 were you?
9 A. According to the command -- to the order of
10 the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Defence Forces,
11 that is of HOS, we joined the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina by orders of Supreme Commander
13 Dobroslav Paraga.
14 Q. In your particular case, that is you in
15 Zenica, let us for a while leave aside the rest of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Zenica, which unit of the BH
17 army were you attached to during '92 and the beginning
18 of 93?
19 And please wait for me to finish my question,
20 then a short pause to give the interpreters a chance to
21 interpret my question and then we'll go on to your
22 answer, and slow down a little, please.
23 A. We were attached to the 1st Zenica Brigade of
24 the BH army -- or, rather, the Territorial Defence,
25 which later became the BH army, and the commander of
1 that unit was commander Dzemal Neitovic.
2 Q. He's a Muslim?
3 A. Yes, he's a Muslim.
4 Q. Later on, when the BH army was established
5 when the Territorial Defence was transformed into what
6 was known as the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, what
7 brigade were you to be attached to?
8 A. When the Territorial Defence was reorganised,
9 we were attached to the 3rd Corps. That is the 314th
10 Motorised Brigade of the BH army.
11 Q. Your unit, therefore, belonged to the 3rd
12 Corps of the BH army. And at what point in time, let
13 us see the date first, did you decide to go over to the
14 HVO and when did that process begin?
15 A. Your Honours --
16 Q. Give us the dates first.
17 A. My first thoughts about switching over to the
18 HVO, my first serious thoughts along those lines,
19 occurred towards the end of January, 1993, because
20 there were increasing hostilities between Croats and
21 Muslims, or, rather, there were some major incidents
22 between them. Among those major incidents, I should
23 like to mention that at the end of January in 1993, the
24 massacre of Croats in Dusina, not far from Zenica, near
25 the Lasva junction.
1 Q. Tell us when the decision was signed on the
2 transfer of HOS units from the BH army to the HVO, on
3 what date?
4 A. On the 5th of April, 1993 we signed a
5 document, or, rather, a decision whereby the HOS left
6 the BH army and joined the HVO.
7 Q. When was this decision published?
8 A. The decision was published on the 10th of
9 April, 1993. That is, five days later.
10 Q. What was your position at that time?
11 A. At the time I was the coordinator between HOS
12 units and HVO units.
13 Q. Until the time hostilities started in Zenica,
14 had that transformation been completed, or, rather, had
15 you been organisationally inserted in the Jure
16 Francetic Brigade, an HVO brigade or not?
17 A. No. At that time I had just been informed
18 that another brigade of the HVO was being formed which
19 would exist on the right bank of the Bosna River. I
20 was just informed that we would be attached to the
21 Francetic Brigade as the 3rd Battalion, but I never
22 received any document to that effect.
23 Q. Can we deduce then that at the time
24 hostilities started between the HVO and the BH army,
25 you had already abandoned the BH army but you had not
1 become a part of the HVO structure; this was a kind of
2 transitional period, wasn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we would now move
5 on to another area. If you think now is a convenient
6 time to adjourn ...
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour,
8 please. Microphone, Judge Jorda, please.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we still have another five
10 minutes. The clock is fast here. So perhaps you can
11 begin, unless it is a very broad subject.
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes, yes. We can. We will use
13 up the remaining five minutes.
14 Q. Tell their Honours now, after the events in
15 Dusina, what was it that made you finally change your
16 mind and leave the BH army and join the HVO? What were
17 the additional reasons that were decisive for your
19 A. My people were being victimised, Croats were
20 being killed, there was less and less safety for us in
21 the town of Zenica. I can remember a few details. For
22 example, the 7th Muslim Brigade, which was part of the
23 3rd Corps of the BH army, in the morning between 7.00
24 and 8.00 a.m., they had jogging exercises, footing
25 drills. They were accommodated at Bilmista (phoen)
1 where there was a training centre for the BH army, but
2 this is far from the centre of the town, maybe two
3 kilometres away, and every morning they would run
4 through town singing nationalist songs. Let me try and
5 recall some of them. "From Iran to the Bosnian doors,
6 there will be no Serbs or Croats. We are waging war
7 for Allah and against the infidels. A goose is on the
8 Bosna river. This land will be Muslim land."
9 Q. So these were songs that prompted you to
10 decide. Did you have any intelligence reports
11 indicating that conflicts could break out between the
12 Croats and the Muslims or, rather, between the BH army
13 and the HVO?
14 A. Your Honour, I did have some intelligence
15 reports from officers in HOS, both Muslim and Croat,
16 that 75 per cent of the BH army had been withdrawn from
17 the battlefront, that only a quarter were facing the
18 Serbs, and this could be seen in town because there
19 were more and more troops in evidence in the streets.
20 Q. What was your assumption regarding the 75
21 per cent of the army that had been withdrawn from the
22 front into the territory under BH control? How did you
23 think those troops would be used?
24 A. Intelligence reports said that the Muslim
25 population had been expelled from many parts of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that they were short of living
2 space and that the area of the Croats in the Lasva
3 River Valley had been promised to them. I also had
4 intelligence reports that they wanted to capture the
5 communication lines, "the Road of Salvation," as we
6 called it, that went via Vranplanina to Tomislavgrad
7 from where logistics supplies could be brought in and
8 they wanted to gain control of it for themselves.
9 Q. Did you inform your superiors, in the first
10 place Supreme Commander Paraga, who throughout held the
11 position that the Croats of HOS had to be in the BH
12 army? Did you inform him about your suspicions?
13 A. Your Honour, I personally got ready to
14 travel. I took with me Matija Brajnovic, the
15 coordinator of HOS, and my deputy, who is now deceased,
16 Jordan Ostovic who was killed in the war, I took them
17 to Zagreb because I would often report to Paraga about
18 these events but I didn't meet with understanding, and
19 I took with me these very prominent figures, the
20 coordinator of HOS, who also coordinated with Paraga,
21 and my own deputy. I took them there. I took with me
22 a newspaper --
23 Q. Where did you take them, and slow down,
24 please? What town did you take them to?
25 A. I took them along this "Road of Salvation" to
1 Zagreb, to the Ante Starcevic Centre where Dobroslav
2 Paraga was headquartered.
3 Q. What did you say to Paraga?
4 A. I presented all the problems I have just
5 spoken about and I took with me a newspaper describing
6 how many Croats had been killed. I remember the Kegelj
7 family in particular. He looked at this and he said --
8 he said, "But is that possible?" And I said, "It's not
9 just that. People cannot walk around freely." I
10 reported about the 7th Muslim Brigade and, Your
11 Honours, I told him that I would join the HVO, that the
12 Croatian people were suffering, I had joined the war to
13 defend the Croatian people, and I would continue to
14 protect the Croatian people, every bird joins its
15 flock, and I wanted to protect the Croats from any
17 MR. NOBILO: If you wish, we can stop there,
18 Your Honour.
19 JUDGE JORDA: No, no. If you have another
20 question, please proceed. I'm just trying to ask the
21 witness to slow down a little.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. We have to slow down a lot because otherwise
24 the Court will not hear what you're saying and we want
25 the Court to understand what you're saying.
1 Tell us, what was Paraga's reply? What was
2 his position?
3 A. Paraga continued to uphold the view that we
4 should remain part of the BH army, but the
5 vice-president, Mr. Ante Dzapic interceded and said,
6 "Mr. President, we have to respect, acknowledge this
7 report and attach much more significance to it because
8 these people are coming directly from the field and
9 they are reporting to us." And then I added to this
10 that it was my -- that I had carried out my moral
11 obligation, that I did not wish to betray the Supreme
12 Commander but I wanted to be sure that I was morally
13 correct by informing him that I would join the HVO, the
14 Croatian Defence Council, because my people were in
15 jeopardy, and that that is what I would do regardless
16 of his decision.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Holman, we asked you to
18 come only for a short while, but we have to adjourn
19 now. We will not be working next week, so you will be
20 asked to come back on the 16th of November at 3.30, not
21 at 2.00, because on the 16th of November, we have the
22 welcoming of three new colleagues, Judges, who will be
23 taking their solemn declarations, solemn oaths.
24 Mr. Holman, thank you for coming, and we will
25 be seeing you again on the 16th of November.
1 Try, in the meantime, to train -- because you
2 are a trainer -- try to practice to speak a little more
3 slowly, if possible, for the benefit of our
4 interpreters and for our own benefit, of course. Thank
5 you. It's your sporting temperament that is pushing
6 you on.
7 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, thank you for
8 your patience. I apologise for speaking too quickly,
9 but when I recall those wartime events, I tend to speak
10 more quickly. Thank you for your patience.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The hearing is
13 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
14 1.38 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
15 the 16th day of November, 1998, at
16 3.30 a.m.