1 Tuesday, 16th February, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,
5 have the accused brought in.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to our friends,
8 the interpreters. Now we can resume our work.
9 Mr. Nobilo, all right.
10 MR. NOBILO: Good morning, Mr. President,
11 Your Honours. The next witness is Anto Plavcic.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Anto Plavcic. Plavcic.
13 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that's correct.
14 JUDGE JORDA: How long is this going to take,
15 Mr. Nobilo?
16 MR. NOBILO: One hour at the most, perhaps a
17 little less.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, good morning. One
19 hour. Mr. Cayley, could you put the microphone on,
21 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies. Good morning,
22 Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel.
23 This is a witness which, as you know,
24 yesterday you were informed that we were given late
25 notice, so we will be exercising our right to call the
1 witness back for cross-examination tomorrow morning
2 because we are still pursuing inquiries in respect of
3 this witness, and indeed as my learned friend
4 Mr. Hayman said yesterday, he is perfectly happy to do
6 JUDGE JORDA: Tomorrow morning -- we are not
7 going to go back to the discussion that we started
8 yesterday. Tomorrow morning, there is no hearing,
9 Mr. Cayley. We have already taken up the problem. We
10 discussed it yesterday. How long did you know that
11 this witness was going to be here? We have to speed
12 things up, Mr. Nobilo, Mr. Cayley. At what point did
13 we know that this witness was going to testify? It was
14 in January, I believe; was it not?
15 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, that's the case
16 for the two witnesses this afternoon. This witness,
17 Mr. Nobilo and I made a decision to call him on the
18 late afternoon, as I recall, of the 9th of February,
19 which is a week ago today, and we faxed the written
20 notice that evening, around 9.00 or 10.00 in the
21 evening, when I wrote it. I was working at 9.00 or
22 10.00 on that evening of the 9th, that's a week ago
23 today, seven days ago today, and we faxed it at that
25 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, if I could
1 clarify what my learned friend has said? The
2 notification was transmitted to us at 10.16 at night.
3 When I say "us," the office. We received it on the
4 morning of the 10th of February, that is, six days'
6 We have mechanisms set up to make inquiries
7 in respect to these witnesses, and we would like to
8 exercise our right, under the Court's order, to use
9 that seven days to make proper inquiry with respect to
11 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to have the
12 accused heard as soon as possible. I am really tired
13 of all these quarrels about times and dates. All
14 right. If you want, I can say that you can do your
15 cross-examination during the day, but not tomorrow.
16 That's not possible. We said that today we would hear
17 the three remaining witnesses. I would like to hear
18 the three remaining witnesses. That's all. What else
19 can I say? You know, you have this summary about
20 Mr. Plavcic, and you should have your arguments ready
21 for the cross-examination.
22 All right. For the time being, we are going
23 to hear him testify, and then the cross-examination --
24 even if you need an extra hour or two -- but the
25 witness should be able to leave today. That's how
1 we're going to work.
2 Now, with my colleagues, I don't want us to
3 forget what we talked about yesterday. We brought in
4 Judge Rodrigues, and very quickly he was forced to do
5 an extraordinary amount of work in order to put himself
6 up to date, and now we're still quarrelling about
7 knowing whether or not the information was sent at 22
8 hours or 23 hours. I don't really care about any of
9 this. I want us to be finished with this witness today
10 and that we move to hearing the evidence of the
11 accused, who is going to testify for 35 hours, and you
12 have 35 hours for the cross-examination, and then there
13 is going to be the rebuttal and the sentencing hearing
14 and perhaps witnesses that the Judges are going to call
15 in. We're never going to finish otherwise.
16 All right. Now I am taking the decision that
17 we're going to speed things up. Whether you like it or
18 whether you do not, we are going to finish with the
19 three witnesses today.
20 All right. If you need, I will give you some
21 more time, but today, Mr. Plavcic is not -- he is going
22 to testify; then he's not going to come back tomorrow.
23 All right. Let's have the witness brought
24 right now and begin.
25 (The witness entered court)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Plavcic, do you hear me?
2 It is the Presiding Judge speaking to you. Do you hear
3 me? Please tell me your name, your first name, the
4 date and place of your birth, your profession, your
5 current residence, and then you're going to take an
6 oath. After that, you may be seated.
7 All right. Please proceed.
8 THE WITNESS: My name is Anto Plavcic. I was
9 born on the 22nd of August, 1954, in Jelinak of the
10 Busovaca municipality. I am a former citizen of the
11 SFRY. I am employed in the Mediapan company in
12 Busovaca. Since my birth, up until the war, I have
13 lived in the village of Jelinak with the Muslims.
14 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Please take the
15 both, the oath which the usher has just given you.
16 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
19 JUDGE JORDA: You may be seated,
20 Mr. Plavcic. Thank you for having come to the Tribunal
21 in The Hague for the trial of General Blaskic or, at
22 the time of the facts that have been alleged, was a
23 Colonel. He is in this courtroom on your left.
24 First, you are going to answer Mr. Nobilo's
25 questions, and then you will answer the Prosecutor's
1 questions. We will see just when the Prosecutor will
2 ask his questions during the day. He may need some
3 extra time in order to prepare.
4 All right. A maximum one hour, Mr. Nobilo.
5 If it goes beyond one hour, I am going to stop the
6 proceedings. Go ahead, please.
7 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Before we begin, I should like to have a map handed
9 round which will facilitate our orientation during the
11 THE REGISTRAR: This is D533.
12 WITNESS: ANTO PLAVCIC
13 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
14 Q. Mr. Plavcic, as you said in your
15 introduction, you lived in the village of Jelinak --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. -- of the Busovaca municipality. Could you
18 show us on the map where the village of Jelinak lies
19 and tell us how many inhabitants or houses the village
20 has and what the population ratio was between the
21 Muslim population and the Croats?
22 A. The village of Jelinak is here (indicating).
23 It had about 100 houses. I find it very difficult to
24 point with this hand.
25 Q. Well, I'm sorry, but we can't change the
1 ELMO. Turn round a little bit. Perhaps that will make
2 it easier.
3 A. This is the village of Jelinak (indicating).
4 The village of Jelinak had about 100 houses. Fifty
5 per cent were Muslim inhabitants and 50 per cent were
6 Croats, which means half-half. In the upper part of
7 the village was the place where the Muslims lived, and
8 in the lower part of the village of Jelinak was where
9 the Croats lived.
10 Q. Along with the village of Jelinak, there were
11 two other villages that were relatively nearby, about
12 100 metres away, Putis and Loncari. Can you explain to
13 us how big these villages were and what the ethnic
14 composition of those villages was?
15 A. Putis is located here (indicating). It is at
16 a distance from Jelinak of approximately 1.000 metres,
17 one kilometre. There were about 70 to 80 houses
18 comprising the village, and 20 to 30 per cent were
19 Croatian houses.
20 Q. What about the village of Loncari; can you
21 point that out to us?
22 A. The village of Loncari was also located one
23 kilometre away from the village of Jelinak, and it is a
24 purely Muslim village with only two or three Serbian
25 houses in the village. About 70-odd houses; that is
1 the village.
2 Q. Well, we can leave the map alone for a
3 moment, and let us move on to the 15th of April, 1993.
4 Before that period, is it true that you were the Civil
5 Defence administrator, officer?
6 A. Before the war broke out in these regions
7 between the Croats and the Muslims, I was a member of
8 the Civil Defence units in the municipality. I was the
9 officer for the village of Jelinak.
10 Q. What was the function of the Civil Defence?
11 A. Well, the Civil Defence officer for the
12 village of Jelinak was a duty that I performed as I
13 worked in the Mediapan company, but these were my
14 civilian duties.
15 Q. During the war, or later on at any point,
16 were you a member of the HVO, a soldier?
17 A. I was never a member of the HVO. I am an
18 invalid, and I was not able to serve the army in 1972
19 when I was called up for military service. I underwent
20 a medical examination and was found unfit.
21 Q. On the 15th of April, 1993, you were in your
22 village. Can you describe to us what happened in the
23 course of the 15th of April, 1993?
24 A. On the 15th of April, 1993, I was in the
25 village of Jelinak in my own house there where I lived,
1 and in the morning hours, I heard shooting in the area
2 of Kuber, in the vicinity of Kuber (indicating), and
3 the civilians in the village of Jelinak were very
4 worried as to what was happening.
5 Q. Tell me, please, Kuber is the dominant
6 mountain massive that is situated above the circle on
7 the map; is that correct?
8 A. Kuber is a mountain range. It comprises
9 several hills or mountains, it is a range made up of
10 several mountains and hills, and it is directly above
11 the village of Jelinak, some two to three or four
12 kilometres away, depending which road you take, on
13 which hill you are referring to.
14 Q. When did you hear, on the 15th of April,
15 shooting on Mount Kuber?
16 A. On the 15th of April, it was in the morning,
17 I could hear shooting in the region of Kuber, and it
18 was called Saracevac, that particular area. In fact,
19 it was the region of Saracevac and the fork between
20 Vitez, Zenica, and Busovaca.
21 Q. Who held the positions there on Mount Kuber
22 up until the 15th of April? Who was in control?
23 A. On Mount Kuber, the members of the HVO were
24 in control of the area.
25 Q. In the course of the day, did you realise
1 that there were casualties within the HVO, that
2 somebody had been wounded?
3 A. In the afternoon hours of the 15th of
4 April --
5 Q. Yes, April.
6 A. -- two men, two wounded men, came to the
7 village of Jelinak, and they were Slavko Garic and
8 Dragan Andrijasevic, and they were transferred towards
9 Kaonik and up to the hospital there further on. That
10 was the road that they took.
11 Q. Those two individuals, those two wounded men,
12 did you realise that they were coming from Mount Kuber
13 and the fighting there?
14 A. Well, they came from the direction of Kuber,
15 yes, and we knew that there was fighting up there.
16 Slavko Garic was wounded to a lesser extent, he was
17 able to speak, and he said that the BH army had
18 attacked the positions of the Croatian Defence Council.
19 Q. What happened to the civilians? What effect
20 did this have on the civilian population, that is to
21 say, the beginning of the fighting there?
22 A. When we heard shooting and especially when
23 these two wounded men turned up, evacuated, the
24 civilians were worried, and so in the afternoon hours,
25 from the area of -- that is to say, from the village of
1 Jelinak -- no, the village of Putis, the Croatian
2 section of the village of Putis, a certain number of
3 civilians fled up towards Jelinak where they were
4 lodged with their friends and relations. Some of them
5 crossed over Jelinak and went towards Kaonik and
6 further on towards Busovaca.
7 Q. In the evening hours, was there a lull in the
8 fighting or could you still hear shooting?
9 A. In the evening hours, shooting could still be
10 heard, and it came stronger in the area of Kuber; and
11 in the evening hours of the 15th, heavy artillery could
12 be heard from Kicin hill, and there was machine gun
13 fire, and it was directed against the civilian houses
14 and the civilians who were fleeing from Putis towards
16 Q. Let us move on now to the 16th of April,
17 1993; that is to say, the following day. Can you
18 describe to us what that day was like? What happened
19 on the 16th of April, 1993, in your village and in the
20 neighbouring village of Putis?
21 A. On the 16th of April in the early hours of
22 the morning at about dawn, there was increased fighting
23 and shooting and explosions, and on the 16th, another
24 machine gun, heavy artillery, came from Zalac, another
25 mountain, directed at the village of Jelinak and the
1 civilian houses there and the Croatian-owned houses.
2 Q. Tell us, at that moment and both on the 15th
3 and 16th of April, 1993, was the HVO in the village of
5 A. The HVO was not in the village of Jelinak.
6 The HVO army was at Mount Kuber.
7 Q. The position of Zarac, which is where the
8 heavy artillery fire was coming from, who was in
9 control of that Zarac position?
10 A. This was held by the BH army, as well as
11 another position called Kicin.
12 Q. Once again, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 was in control there?
14 A. Yes. That's right.
15 Q. Tell us, please, in addition to the heavy
16 artillery, was there any mortar fire on the 16th of
17 April directed at your village?
18 A. Yes. In the late afternoon hours and early
19 evening hours and in the course of the night, there
20 were mortars shelling our village, the village of
21 Jelinak, the lower part of the village of Jelinak,
22 which is where the Croatian houses were located, and
23 they came from the direction across the Zarac mountain
24 from that direction, Gumanci, but that was the
25 direction they took generally to fire at the village of
1 Jelinak and the Croatian houses in the village.
2 Q. What happened to the civilians from Putis on
3 the 16th of April, 1993?
4 A. On the 16th of April, all the civilians from
5 the village of Putis, the Croats, that is to say, fled
6 upwards towards the village of Jelinak and went in the
7 direction of Kaonik and further on towards Busovaca, so
8 that the Croats and the Croatian civilians from the
9 village of Jelinak were evacuated together with them
10 and fled in the direction of Kaonik and Busovaca.
11 Q. On the 17th of April, you were still in the
12 village. Can you explain what happened on the 17th of
13 April, 1993?
14 A. On the 17th of April in the early hours,
15 there was fire around Jelinak, but this decreased,
16 apart from some shells and some machine gun fire, and
17 so there was a decrease in the shooting around the
18 village of Jelinak, so that in the early hours of the
19 morning, the shooting reached a maximum. It culminated
20 and reached the very edge of the village, and machine
21 guns opened fire from the Busovaca, Zenica, and Vitez
22 crossroads, from the Vran Stijene mountain.
23 Q. So shooting grew closer to the village of
24 Jelinak; that is what you're trying to say?
25 A. Yes. The shooting grew closer to the village
1 of Jelinak, the very edges, and so when dawn broke, the
2 fighting was very close to the village of Jelinak.
3 Q. Did you come to realise at one point that the
4 HVO was losing its positions and that you began
5 evacuating the village, and, if so, would you describe
6 how that happened?
7 A. Well, we saw that the fighting was coming
8 closer and closer to the village of Jelinak, and we
9 realised that the HVO was losing and that it was being
10 pushed in from all sides, and as these directions --
11 the Vitez, Busovaca, and Zenica intersection was being
12 taken, as well as the Vran Stijene position that had
13 been held by the HVO --
14 Q. Who took control of these positions?
15 A. The BH army took control of the positions,
16 and the fighting reached the very edge of the village,
17 so that in the early hours of the morning, in the upper
18 part of the village, the Muslim part of Jelinak
19 village, we could see that something was on fire at two
20 or three localities. I couldn't see exactly. It was
21 just before dawn. There was machine gun fire from the
22 Merdan area, from this hill (indicating), the upper
23 ground above Merdan, down onto the village of Jelinak
24 and the road from Putis to Jelinak.
25 Q. Whose machine gun was this?
1 A. It belonged to the BH army, the army of
3 Q. When the fighting and the front moved up
4 close to the village of Jelinak and the first houses
5 began to burn, what did you civilians do?
6 A. When we saw that the HVO was losing
7 completely and that the fighting had reached the
8 village, we civilians who were left in the village
9 started to flee in the direction of Loncari towards
10 Kaonik and further on to Busovaca. While we were on
11 this road from Jelinak to Kaonik, the section that can
12 be seen from Vran Stijene, we were followed by heavy
13 artillery fire on the part of the Muslims, machine gun
14 fire from the Vran Stijene position.
15 When we entered the Sultulja cannon up to
16 Kaonik and the bridge and when we were at the bridge
17 and were about to cross it, that is, this area from
18 Kaonik to this curve in Sajtovici, there was machine
19 gun fire from the Merdani area. When we crossed into
20 Sajtovici, there was no shooting any more at us, but we
21 could hear heavy fighting and could see smoke rising
22 above the village of Jelinak.
23 Q. You fled, you were evacuated with all the
24 civilians, and you went towards Kaonik and then
25 Busovaca. When you were leaving the village of
1 Jelinak, what happened to the Muslim population?
2 A. The Muslim civilians at that time stayed on.
3 What happened to them, I don't know. Two civilian
4 Croats remained in the village of Jelinak, and later
5 on, we learned that they fled too, so that beside the
6 cemetery, they were killed by shells. Actually, one
7 was killed and the other was wounded in the leg. Niko
8 Plavcic was killed and Anto Andrijasevic lost a part of
9 his leg.
10 Q. You were in Busovaca on the 18th and 19th of
11 April, 1993. Were you receiving any information as to
12 what had happened to your village, Jelinak, and what
13 happened to Putis, who had taken control of these
15 A. On the 17th in the afternoon hours, when we
16 arrived in Busovaca, we were put up with our friends
17 and relations and in the weekend cottages that were
18 empty in the region. On the 18th, we learnt that the
19 HVO had completely lost in Jelinak and that the army of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina had taken full control of the
21 village of Jelinak and the village of Putis as well.
22 We also learnt that the Croatian houses were set fire
23 to in Putis and Jelinak.
24 Q. From the 18th of April or the 19th of April,
25 1993 up until the war ended with the Washington
1 Accords, who was in control of the villages or who was
2 located in the villages of Putis and Jelinak?
3 A. On the 18th of April, 1993, when I left the
4 village of Jelinak and when the BH army took control of
5 the village of Jelinak, the village of Jelinak and
6 Putis was under its control, but I'd also like to
7 mention that the village of Bakije was also taken
8 control of by the BH army and ...
9 Q. Yes, you may continue.
10 A. In these settlements, we did not return to
11 them to see what had happened to the houses there.
12 After Dayton, we went to the cemetery for the day of
13 the dead escorted by the police of the Croatian Defence
14 Council and the BH army. Probably they had reached an
15 agreement that we could visit the cemetery, and they
16 had probably reached an agreement by which we were able
17 to visit the houses.
18 When we reached the village of Jelinak where
19 there is a crossroads, a junction, the upper part is
20 Muslim, the lower part is Croat, all the Croatian
21 houses had been burnt, so that there were only two
22 houses with roofs and windows. They belonged to Ante
23 Vidovic and Marko Vidovic. All the other houses had
24 been burnt to the ground and destroyed.
25 Up until the present day, we did not manage
1 to go back there, nor can we go back because everything
2 has been destroyed and burnt down, either Putis,
3 Jelinak, or the village of Bakije.
4 Q. When you withdrew from the village of Jelinak
5 together with the other civilians on the 17th, did you
6 pass the village of Loncari in this withdrawal?
7 A. On the 17th before noon, when passing by the
8 village of Loncari, the village of Loncari was to our
9 right as we moved down towards Kaonik.
10 Q. Did you notice whether the village was burnt?
11 A. We did not notice anything. We didn't see
12 anybody in the village. It was neither too close nor
13 too far off, but we didn't see anybody. We didn't see
14 anything on fire. We didn't see that there was any
15 army or anybody else in the village of Loncari.
16 Q. Later on, did you receive any information as
17 to what had happened in the village of Loncari?
18 A. On the 18th of April, 1993, we learnt that a
19 defence line had been set up in the village of Loncari.
20 Q. Until the end of the war, the frontline
21 between the HVO and the BH army, was it by the village
22 of Loncari?
23 A. Yes, it was. Up until the Washington
24 Accords, the defence line was in the village of
1 Q. Now to wind up, for purposes of the record,
2 we have a map here, it is Exhibit D533, and the circle
3 denotes the villages of Jelinak, Putis, and Loncari.
4 What do the arrows represent? Can you tell us that?
5 What do the red arrows represent?
6 A. You're asking me?
7 Q. Yes, I am.
8 A. Well, it's like this: The villages (sic)
9 show the direction from which the firing came from,
10 machine guns, the machine gun fire and its direction,
11 mortar fire, and the attacks launched by the infantry,
12 intensively and as an offensive.
13 Q. There has been a misinterpretation. We spoke
14 about arrows, not villages. So the arrows show the
15 direction from which the shooting came. Who shot from
16 these directions?
17 A. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. Once again, for purposes of the record, the
19 red arrows, what do the red arrows on the map
21 A. The red arrows represent the directions from
22 which the machine gun fire came from the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the mortar shells, the direction
24 from which they came and the direction of the offensive
25 attack on the village of Jelinak.
1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
2 have concluded our examination-in-chief, and we should
3 like to tender D533 into evidence.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo, for
5 having been as short as you were, but I'd also like to
6 thank the witness for his brevity.
7 All right. Mr. Cayley, are you in a position
8 to conduct the cross-examination or do you want an
9 extra hour or two?
10 MR. CAYLEY: I'd like some more time, please,
11 Mr. President. I think perhaps it's best if we proceed
12 with the next witness, and then this witness can come
13 back after the lunch break.
14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your
15 permission. Of course, the Defence has nothing against
16 taking a break, and the Prosecution can take as much
17 time as they need; however, we cannot call the next
18 witness right now because both the next witnesses are
19 arriving in the building in about one hour and fifteen
20 minutes, so the two additional witnesses are only
21 arriving in the building in about an hour and fifteen
23 MR. HAYMAN: These are witnesses,
24 Mr. President, who were here most of the week three
25 weeks ago, and one of the witnesses had a birth in his
1 family a few days ago, so his return to The Hague was
2 delayed. He just wasn't able to come with the normal
3 advance period that we would request of a witness to be
4 here to be on call.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I have difficulty
6 understanding, Mr. Cayley, how you can't be ready to
7 conduct the cross-examination of a witness if you
8 receive the fax on the 10th in the morning -- no, the
9 9th, not the 10th. I don't understand why you're not
10 prepared for the cross-examination, just because of a
11 few hours that would make a difference here. I don't
12 understand why the few hours make a difference.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, it does make a
14 difference to us because we essentially base our entire
15 inquiries around a witness on a seven-day notice
16 period. That is what we plan around. When we are
17 notified by the Defence, our understanding is that the
18 witness is going to appear seven days later in
19 accordance with the order of the Court, not six days
21 We're in contact with our investigators in
22 Sarajevo. They are still making inquiries about this
23 witness, and they have to communicate that back us.
24 There are few of them. They're working on other
25 cases. They're more dedicated to this case. We have
1 limited resources. Our planning is based around the
2 seven-day notice period. That is all I'm saying.
3 I anticipate my cross-examination will be
4 fairly short, but I feel that I would not be doing my
5 job properly if I proceeded without actually speaking
6 to individuals who are making inquiries about this
7 gentleman at the moment.
8 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I want to consult
9 my colleagues, but I really insist on telling you my
10 point of view. I really find this unacceptable, but I
11 will consult with my colleagues. I have no pride or
12 humility here, I really don't care, and we can begin
13 this afternoon. But, personally, I have to tell you
14 that I find this absolutely incredible, that one cannot
15 be prepared to conduct a cross-examination of a witness
16 who, for 30 minutes, spoke about the shelling and
17 bombing of a village. After all this time in the
18 trial, I really find that incredible. I'll consult
19 with my colleagues.
20 All right. We took some time because this is
21 a question of principle. In his testimony, there were
22 several opinions that were put forth. Each Judge has
23 the right to his own opinion, but since this is a Trial
24 Chamber which is always looking for consensus, we
25 reached a consensus, and here it is: The
1 cross-examination of Mr. Plavcic will take place this
2 afternoon at 5.00 for one hour. If I've understood
3 things correctly, there are no other witnesses for this
4 morning; therefore, we will resume at 2.30 this
5 afternoon. I regret that, but that's how it is.
6 The Court stands adjourned.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.39 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
3 Have the accused brought in, please.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I
7 would like to suggest that we move into a private
8 session because I have a request of you and also a
9 clarification, and the most appropriate way to do so
10 would be in a private session.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Since nobody knows
12 what it's about, the Judges don't know, the Prosecution
13 doesn't know, I don't think that, for that reason, we
14 would be able to say that we can't have a private
15 session. To do so would be more prejudicial than if we
16 were to say that we won't.
17 All right. So we will have a private
19 (Private session)
13 Pages 17701 redacted in private session
13 Pages 17702 17744 redacted in closed session
10 --- Recess taken at 3.58 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.29 p.m.
12 (Open session)
13 JUDGE JORDA: Have the accused brought in,
15 (The accused entered court)
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, the next witness,
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes. The next witness is Nikica
20 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have the document,
21 Mr. Dubuisson?
22 Have the witness brought in, please.
23 (The witness entered court)
24 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, sir?
25 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Please tell your name and given
2 name to the Judges, your date and place of birth, your
3 profession and your residence, and then you are going
4 to take an oath. After that, you may be seated.
5 THE WITNESS: My name is Nikica Lovric. I
6 was born on the 19th of November, 1962, in Donja
7 Veceriska, Vitez municipality, where I live to this
8 day. I completed primary school in Vitez, secondary
9 school in Novi Travnik. I am a machine technician by
11 On the 17th of April, I suffered an
12 accident --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. That's
14 not necessary. First we are going to ask you to take
15 an oath. Read the form that has been given to you.
16 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may now be
20 seated, Mr. Lovric. You have agreed to testify in the
21 trial at the International Criminal Tribunal of General
22 Blaskic, the accused, who is in this courtroom to your
24 Mr. Nobilo is going to ask you questions
25 first because you are a Defence witness. After that,
1 the Prosecution will ask you questions. When you give
2 your answers, please turn to the Judges when you
3 answer. Thank you very much.
4 Please proceed, Mr. Nobilo.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
6 WITNESS: NIKICA LOVRIC
7 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
8 Q. While this map is being distributed -- may we
9 have the number?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is D535.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. While the map is being handed out, tell us,
13 please, Donja Veceriska, the village in which you
14 lived, how many Croatian and how many Muslim houses is
15 it made up of?
16 A. Donja Veceriska has 111 Muslim houses and 73
17 Croatian houses.
18 Q. On the map, and please use the indicator that
19 you have in front of you, that metal antenna type of
20 thing, would you point to your village, Gornja
21 Veceriska and Donja Veceriska?
22 A. (Indicating). This is Gornja.
23 Q. So they are villages in the Vitez
24 municipality, in the vicinity of the town of Vitez
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. Tell the Court, please, what the situation
3 was like between the Muslims and Croats before the
4 conflict broke out in April 1993. Did you have then
5 joint guards with the Muslims and then were these
6 divided, did the two ethnic groups divide up and so on,
7 and explain why, and please turn to the Judges?
8 A. The joint guard or watch was manned from the
9 end of October 1992 until the end of October 1993, so
10 they lasted for about one year.
11 Q. Just one moment, please. You said from
12 October '92 to October '93, but what about April --
13 A. From 1991 to 1992, I apologise. Yes, from
14 October 1991 to October 1992.
15 Q. Please continue.
16 A. The reason for which this guard split up was
17 because of the different slogans that went up in the
18 village, and they were detrimental to the Croats,
19 offensive to the Croats, and along the fence of the
20 Vitezit factory, it said, "This is a Dzamahirija.
21 Bosnia is Muslim. Croats go home to Croatia, Serbs go
22 home to Serbia. The SDA will reign in Bosnia," and so
23 on and so forth. For that reason, the Croats stepped
24 down from manning the joint village guard.
25 Soon after that, the Muslims threw two
1 explosive devices in front of a cafe owned by a Croat,
2 Franjo Drnic, in the centre of Donja Veceriska, and on
3 Christmas Eve, on the 24th of December, 1992, they
4 tried to kill the karate champion, Josip Lovric, my
5 brother, junior karate championship -- luckily they
6 missed him -- when he was entering his house, but the
7 bullet lodged in the wall and made a hole there the
8 size of a human fist.
9 Later on, incidents like this occurred
10 frequently. For example, at night, at 2.00 or 3.00
11 a.m., they would wake up the Croats who had a telephone
12 in their house, and when they woke you up out of your
13 sleep, they would say a little song which meant that
14 the duck is swimming down the stream and that the land
15 will be Turkish land. It rhymes in Croatian.
16 Q. Tell us, who were the most extremist members
17 of the Muslim people --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. You're reading
19 notes. Are you making a preliminary declaration --
20 A. These are my own notes, these are my own
21 notes of the incidents that occurred, yes, the
22 incidents that occurred because of several others.
23 JUDGE JORDA: In this court, you cannot
24 recite something that you've drafted beforehand. You
25 can refer to the notes to refresh your memory. Do we
2 All right. Continue, Mr. Nobilo.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. It doesn't matter if you can't remember every
5 incident --
6 A. There's no problem there. I have remembered
7 all the incidents and will enumerate them.
8 Q. Just one moment, please. Tell us whether, at
9 one point in time, the Muslims started digging trenches
10 in your village?
11 A. Yes, they did. This was one month before the
12 conflict broke out. The Muslims dug trenches in the
13 Brdo settlement and Vodica, Besici, towards Peljakov
14 Gai, and so on three sides they circled Donja Veceriska
15 with these trenches. The only free side where there
16 were no trenches was the communication line between
17 Gornja and Donja Veceriska where the Croatian
18 population is concentrated.
19 Q. We are going to have a document distributed
21 A. May I go on?
22 Q. Yes, please do.
23 A. Sometime in mid March 1993, an
24 ultra-extremist called Fehret Haskic, in the middle of
25 the village, shot the tractor of a Croat who was
1 passing through from Nova Bila and he also shot at the
2 houses owned by the Croats. On the same evening,
3 Fehret Haskic stopped Zoran Drmic, an individual who
4 was not capable of doing military service. He cocked
5 his rifle and swore his Ustasha mother.
6 Q. Tell me, about 15 days before the conflict,
7 did you see a military drill of any kind?
8 A. Well, about 15 days prior to the conflict,
9 there was an alert, and I happened to be in the village
10 at the time when they ran around in full military
11 equipment, with full military equipment, and when I say
12 this, I mean they had boots, they had weapons, and they
13 had helmets on their heads.
14 I met these men. There were about 30 armed
15 individuals in the part of the village where I happened
16 to find myself at that moment.
17 Q. When you say "they had," "they had" a
18 military drill, who are "they"?
19 A. I'm thinking the Muslims.
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'd now like to ask
21 you to take a look at this particular document dated
22 the 14th of March, 1993, and it was compiled by the
23 reserve formations of the Donja Veceriska, HVO Donja
24 Veceriska, and would you look at the middle of the page
25 towards the end where it states that an assessment of
1 the security situation and the plan to ensure the
2 safety of the Croatian population in Donja Veceriska
3 and the evacuation of that population, and we come to
4 point 1: "Immediately start with the foundation of
5 reserve group units in Donja Veceriska, elect the
6 members of the headquarters, the commander, deputy
7 commanders, commanders of the platoons."
8 Number 2: "Immediately start with planning
9 all the tasks for the soldiers of the unit from Donja
10 Veceriska in case of an attack by the Muslim armed
12 And so on and so forth. To save time, we're
13 not going to read through the entire document, but just
14 tell me whether you know the contents of that document,
15 that is to say, that on the 14th of April, this unit,
16 reserve unit of the HVO, was set up, and whether you
17 are aware of the contents of that document?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you tell us where you received
20 information about this document, that is to say, the
21 incidents and events mentioned in the document?
22 A. Well, I was in the village. This is only
23 part of the -- that is to say, I was present in the
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Another document,
1 please? Would you allot a number to this document,
3 THE REGISTRAR: Number D536, 536A for the
4 English version.
5 MR. NOBILO: I should like to ask the usher
6 to hand round the next document, please?
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is D537, D537A for the
8 English version.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. This is a document of the reserve group of
11 the Croatian Defence Council of Donja Veceriska dated
12 the 16th of March, 1993, and I'm going to read several
13 sentences from the document. "On the day, the 16th of
14 March, 1993, at 5.00 p.m., in the cafe owned by Branka
15 and Frano Drmic, a meeting of the HVO reserve unit from
16 Donja Veceriska was held and the following conclusions
17 were made: 1. That from the day, the 16th of March,
18 1993, at 6.00 p.m. and onwards, no armed provocation or
19 any provocation of some other kind which could disturb
20 the Croatian population or the Muslim population or
21 Muslim forces from the side of the Croatian Defence
22 Council will not be tolerated," and so on and so
23 forth. The document speaks for itself.
24 Tell me whether you know of the meeting held
25 in the cafe and the conclusions made at that meeting?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Let us move on. How many members of the HVO
3 could there have been in Donja Veceriska on the eve of
4 the conflict of the 16th of April, 1993? Explain this
5 to the Trial Chamber, please.
6 A. Well, 25 to 30 people with arms, having
7 personal weapons.
8 Q. Tell us, please, whether, in Donja Veceriska,
9 there were units of the Bosnia-Herzegovina army or
10 Territorial Defence, and if so, can you tell us
11 something about those units?
12 A. Sometime in the midsummer of 1992, they
13 established a company, and when I say "company," there
14 were about 100 men carrying arms, including the
15 refugees and displaced Muslims from other regions who
16 found safety in Donja Veceriska. Some of these
17 displaced persons, there were between 45 and 50 -- 40
18 to 50 of them and they all had weapons, and of the
19 local Muslim population, I personally noted that there
20 were 55 people of this kind carrying arms.
21 Q. Tell us whether you know the structure, who
22 were the commanders and so forth?
23 A. The commander of the detachment was Peljak
24 Fahrudin; the commander of the first platoon was Nedzib
25 Haskic; the captain of the second platoon was Nijaz
1 Smajlkadic; the commander of the third platoon was
2 Jasmin Besic; but later on, that is to say, two or
3 three months later, these were -- Jasmin Besic and
4 Nijaz Smajlkadic were replaced and Mensur Haskic and
5 Nihad Haskic took their place, so they were all Haskic,
6 the surname was Haskic, all three of them.
7 Q. Let us now move on to the 15th of April,
8 1993, that is to say, the day prior to the beginning of
9 the conflict, and let us go to the succus of why we
10 have called you to testify here. Tell us what happened
11 in your village on the 15th of April, the day before
12 the conflict broke out in 1993? Explain that to the
13 Court, please.
14 A. As many incidents as there were that happened
15 in Donja Veceriska and the fact that they influenced
16 the psychological tension and fear and disquiet that
17 existed with the civilian part of the Croatian
18 population, to the same extent and even more, the
19 incidents had an affect -- the incidents on the
20 environs had an effect on them. When I say "the
21 environs," the surrounding areas. I would like to
22 mention the killing of Stojak and then we had the
23 killing of two Croats from Vitez and two -- the killing
24 of two policemen in Cajdras, in Dusina, and on the 15th
25 of April, 1993, Zivko Totic was captured and his
1 escorts were killed. They were massacred -- four of
2 his escorts were massacred.
3 The pictures of these killed soldiers
4 appeared on television sometime in the evening
5 programme at 7.00 p.m., and rumours began to spread
6 throughout the village that the Muslims could attack
7 us. Several times previously, when there were rumours
8 of this kind, when incidents broke out with tragic
9 consequences, the Croats would leave, they would go out
10 four or five times and then they would return, and
11 that's what happened on that particular evening as
12 well. The commander of the Civil Defence force ordered
13 the evacuation of the Croatian civilian population
14 towards the upper part of the village which is
15 inhabited by the Croats. Some of them left immediately
16 towards upper Veceriska, Gornja Veceriska, which is a
17 Croatian village, and the last of the inhabitants went
18 when the fighting actually started.
19 Q. When did you yourself leave Donja Veceriska?
20 A. I left Donja Veceriska in the evening at half
21 past two. I didn't think that there could be a
22 conflict. But when I realised that everybody had left,
23 then I decided to leave as well. My wife left at about
24 half past nine. When she left with the children, in
25 the courtyard of Fehret Haskic's house, she saw about
1 20 armed Muslims, and at the moment that she passed by
2 the house, they turned their backs to her. When I left
3 at 2.30, I came across their armed guard.
4 I am married. My wife is from Gornja
5 Veceriska, so I went to my in-laws'.
6 Q. Let us make things a little clearer.
7 Throughout the war in 1993 and 1994, you were a
8 civilian, were you not?
9 A. Yes, I was.
10 Q. You were not a military man?
11 A. No.
12 Q. On the 16th of April, you said that you were
13 at your father-in-law's in Gornja Veceriska. What did
14 you hear and see from Gornja Veceriska? Explain that
15 to the Court, please.
16 A. It was about 6.00 a.m., and we could hear
17 loud shooting in Donja Veceriska. I went out of my
18 father-in-law's house and went up above his house into
19 his garden some 200 metres off from where I could see
20 Donja Veceriska down below, and I saw smoke but I was
21 not able at that moment to ascertain which house was on
22 fire. It was only later when I returned on the 18th,
23 in talking to the participants, those who took part in
24 the fighting that I learnt that on the first day of the
25 conflict, two Muslim houses had been burned, three
1 sheds belonging to Muslims and one Croatian shed.
2 The fighting took place throughout the day.
3 There would be a lull and then there would be heavy
4 shooting again and so on.
5 Q. On the 17th of April, 1993, you were still
6 located in Upper Veceriska, Gornja Veceriska. Was
7 there anything special that you remember seeing on the
8 17th of April?
9 A. Well, I remember seeing, around 10.00 a.m.,
10 when they began to set fire to our Croatian houses
11 which were still in the interior of the zone of the
12 operations, they started setting fire to them, and from
13 the position, from my vantage point above my
14 father-in-law's house, the houses were -- I could see
15 them clearly, my mother's house, my brother's house,
16 and several Croatian houses down there, they were as
17 clear as they would be on the palm of my hand. I
18 started smoking. That was the first time that I
19 actually lit a cigarette.
20 Q. Was your house set fire to?
21 A. Yes, my house, my mother's house, my
22 brother's house, Avgust Drmic's house, Anto Drmic's,
23 Ante Drmic's, Srecko Filipovic's, Zdravko Filipovic's,
24 all these houses located next to each other, and
25 they're all owned by Croats, they're all Croatian
1 houses in that area, and it was not difficult to see
2 that. You can see it from my vantage point. There's
3 an excellent view of those houses and the area down
5 Q. Tell me, please, when did the fighting stop?
6 When did you no longer hear any fighting take place in
7 Donja Veceriska?
8 A. Well, there was fighting up until dark.
9 There was heavy fighting throughout the day, on the
10 17th of April, that is to say, up until the end of the
12 Q. The next day, the 18th of April, was there
13 any fighting? If not, when did you go back to your
14 village to see what had happened to your own house
16 A. On the 18th of April, there were no -- there
17 was no fighting anymore. I went to my village -- I got
18 there at around noon and went towards my own house
19 straightaway to see whether anything remained
20 standing. I was disappointed because both the floors
21 of my house were burnt. I looked at my mother's house
22 and my brother's house, and I went round the entire
23 village, and I stayed there for about two hours.
24 Q. Before you describe to the Court how you went
25 round the village and what you saw in the village and
1 what you remember seeing, I should like to have a map
2 of Donja Veceriska handed round, and then we'll take a
3 look at the markings on the map and explain what they
4 mean, and I'd like a number assigned to that exhibit,
6 THE REGISTRAR: This is D538.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. Before you explain what you came across,
9 would you explain what this map represents? Is that
10 the distribution of the houses in your village?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. The blue triangles, what do those symbols on
13 the map represent, the blue triangles?
14 A. The blue triangle represents the Croatian
16 Q. What about the green squares, what do they
18 A. The green squares are the Muslim houses.
19 Q. If we have a blue triangle or a green square
20 filled in in red, what does that mean?
21 A. Those are houses which were burnt during the
22 combat operations, and some of them were burnt later
23 on. For example, some of the houses here that have
24 been marked in were burnt later on. I can show you
25 which these are exactly.
1 Q. If only half of the space is coloured in red
2 and the other half is white within a square, what does
3 that denote?
4 A. Those are houses which were partially
6 Q. Tell the Court now, please, when you arrived
7 on the 18th to see what had happened to your houses and
8 the other houses in the village, what did you see?
9 Start with your own house, your house, your mother's
10 house, your brother's house, and so on, and keep your
11 pointer on the place you're mentioning.
12 A. That's my house here (indicating). That's my
13 mother's house (indicating) and my brother's house
14 (indicating). This house here (indicating) belongs to
15 Augustin Drmic. This is his brother's house
16 (indicating), Anto Drmic. Here, this house here
17 (indicating), there should be a triangle here because
18 it belongs to Srecko Filipovic, and it should be marked
19 in red as well because his house was burnt down to the
21 Q. Just one moment, please. We must indicate
22 that this is on a plot of land which has the figure 352
23 marked on it, and it is Srecko Filipovic's house?
24 A. This is Zdravko Filipovic's house. It was
25 partially burnt down, that is to say, one room in the
1 house was burnt. These are four Filipovic houses.
2 Q. There's a number next to every house, so
3 let's look at the numbers, and tell us what number your
4 house is and what numbers your mother's and brother's
5 houses have?
6 A. I can't see a number next to my own house.
7 Q. Well, it can be seen on the original map.
8 The number isn't evident on the photocopy, but the
9 number is 65.
10 A. Sixty-five, the owner is Nikica Lovric.
11 Number 64 is Miroslav Andja; my mother, 63, Ivo
12 Lovric's house; 68, Augustin Drnic's house; 67, Anto
13 Drnic; on plot 352, the house there was burnt down too,
14 it belonged to Srecko Filipovic. House number 62
15 belongs to Zdravko Filipovic.
16 Q. Where are the Muslim houses and which houses
17 were burnt down?
18 A. Eighty-three, Asim Haskic's house; 82, the
19 house belonging to Nasid Haskic. On the first day,
20 those two houses were burnt down the first day.
21 On the second day, the Croatian Muslim houses
22 were set fire to; Habib Haskic, number 81; house number
23 70, Esad Haskic; 69, Fehret Haskic; 71, Abdulah Haskic;
24 74, Sadik Haskic; 75, Bedema Haskic; 136, Redzo Haskic;
25 133, Isak Haskic; 111, Muharem Besic; 124, Medzid
1 Zelkanovic; 42, Sakib Zlotrg.
2 Shall I carry on with the Croatian houses?
3 Q. Yes. What was burnt down after the two days
4 of fighting?
5 A. Number 50, owned by Pero Filipovic.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Is anybody contesting these
7 numbers? Is there any objection to these numbers,
8 Mr. Harmon?
9 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I'm happy to have
10 the witness relate which numbers he believes were
11 burned down on which particular days. I have no way,
12 at this point in time with what I have in front of me,
13 to check whether this witness is accurate or
14 inaccurate. In other words, what I'm saying is we may
15 well contest these numbers, Mr. President and Your
17 MR. NOBILO: Very well. We can speed up.
18 Just a moment.
19 JUDGE JORDA: [no interpretation]
20 MR. NOBILO: That is correct, sir.
21 Q. Perhaps it is not most important for this
22 Trial Chamber to learn the name of every single house
23 owner. If Their Honours ask you, you will clarify it.
24 JUDGE JORDA: If there is anything contested,
25 in the redirect, you can ask for more clarification
1 from the witness. For the time being, in principle,
2 there is no challenge to these.
3 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Very well. Let's
4 move on.
5 Q. Can you tell us, after two days of fighting,
6 how many Croatian and how many Muslim houses were
7 burned down in total?
8 A. After the fighting, there were 14 Muslim
9 houses burnt down and 14 Croatian houses burnt down,
10 and nine of the Croatian houses had burnt down
11 completely, and the three houses had their top floors
12 burnt down, whereas in the case of the Muslim houses,
13 all 14 burned down completely.
14 Q. When you returned to the village and talked
15 to people who had been in the village during the
16 fighting and who took part in the fighting, what did
17 they tell you? Where was the fiercest fighting? Where
18 did the fiercest fighting go on, and can you show us on
19 the map where this was?
20 A. Near the Haskics' houses, and the families
21 living there were known from before as having extremist
22 leanings. So if I had to point, it would be this area
23 here (indicating). This is where the most intense
24 fighting took place, and this is a reduced copy, so the
25 houses extend beyond what is drawn on the map.
1 Q. Do you know what the civilian casualties were
2 during those two days of fighting?
3 A. I heard that seven Muslim civilians were
4 killed and one soldier, a Muslim soldier, and there
5 were two soldiers killed on the Croatian side, and
6 there were ten wounded.
7 Q. Did you hear what happened to the Muslim
8 civilians, what happened to them?
9 A. Yes. Nine Muslim civilians were found in the
10 village. They were transferred to Gornja Veceriska
11 where all the Croatian civilians were. They were in
12 the school building. They were offered by their
13 neighbours -- by their neighbours, they were invited
14 into those houses. They were free to move about. They
15 even entered Croatian homes in order to make phone
16 calls to their relatives in Travnik and elsewhere, so I
17 know, for instance, that Smajil Kadic entered the house
18 of Jako Ramljak and called his cousin while I smoked
19 with Asim Kalic.
20 Q. So what happened to the other civilians?
21 This accounts for only nine of them.
22 A. The other Muslim civilians, during the night
23 between the 17th and 18th, they left the village
24 accompanied by UNPROFOR, and a BH army unit also pulled
25 back with them.
1 Q. After 18 April, 1993, was anything done in
2 order to protect the remaining Muslim houses, the ones,
3 that is, that were not destroyed?
4 A. Yes. Three policemen of the reserve police
5 force were assigned to protect the Muslim properties so
6 that no torching and no looting took place. But as you
7 see, this is a scattered village, it's composed of four
8 hamlets, and even though they were protected, eight to
9 ten houses were burnt down, and the perpetrators were
10 not found. An investigation was undertaken. There
11 were even some underage civilians who were brought to
12 be questioned, but there were no results.
13 Q. These policemen were from the reserve police
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, let me look at this map, it was D -- the
17 map that shows Donja Veceriska. The structures marked
18 in red were the ones which were destroyed during the
19 fighting and then also the ten additional ones which
20 were destroyed later by unknown perpetrators?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. These ten additional structures, were they
23 destroyed at one time or over a period of time?
24 A. Over a longer period of time. That means in
25 the period from the 18th of April and in the next two
1 or three years. At one time, the unit which was
2 protecting them was in Donja Veceriska, and then it was
3 reassigned, and from that period on, the additional
4 torching started.
5 Q. Did you receive information that at one time
6 Nedzad Haskic, the commander, had been captured?
7 A. Yes. I heard from those who took part in the
8 fighting that Nedzad Haskic, who was commander of the
9 first platoon, had been taken prisoner and several
10 other soldiers. They were disarmed and immediately let
12 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Mr. President, this
13 is all. I would just like to tender these maps and the
14 two documents which I offered during the testimony.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I see there is no objection
16 from the Prosecution.
17 Mr. Harmon, are you going to conduct the
19 MR. HARMON: Yes, I am, Mr. President. Good
20 afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Your
21 Honours, Counsel.
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Harmon:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Witness. My name is Mark
24 Harmon. I am with the Prosecutor's office. My
25 colleague is Mr. Andrew Cayley. I'm going to be asking
1 you a number of questions about your testimony today,
2 Mr. Lovric.
3 Now, Mr. Lovric, my first question to you,
4 sir, is that the testimony, as I understood it, was the
5 reason the joint guards between the Muslims and the
6 Croats of your village was discontinued was because
7 there was graffiti on the wall of the factory; is that
8 your testimony?
9 A. Yes, both in the village and on the fence at
10 the factory. There was also graffiti in the village.
11 The fence of the factory was alongside the road, so you
12 could drive by and just read what was written there.
13 Q. Was there any other reason why the joint
14 patrols were discontinued in your village in October of
15 1992, besides the graffiti?
16 A. I do not know of any other reason.
17 Q. As a result of this graffiti on the walls,
18 was there a meeting held in which it was decided that
19 because of the graffiti, the joint patrols would cease
20 to exist?
21 A. There was a series of meetings. On several
22 occasions, there were meetings but without results --
23 Q. Did you attend --
24 A. -- because the Muslim extremists continued
25 with their activities.
1 Q. Did you attend those meetings?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Now, how do you know, Mr. Lovric, that the
4 sole reason for the discontinuation of joint Muslim and
5 Croat patrols was because of the graffiti exclusively;
6 how do you know that?
7 A. I know from conversations with the commander,
8 with members of the command, and even my two brothers
9 were participants, they were there, so from my
10 brothers. This was not a problem or some kind of a
11 secret. Everybody could know the results of these
13 Q. Mr. Lovric, prior to the outbreak of the
14 conflict in April of 1993, did you see any anti-Muslim
15 graffiti in your village?
16 A. There wasn't a single one. The only excess
17 on the part of the Croats, if I may call it so, was
18 that a grenade was thrown at an intersection, and let
19 me show you on the monitor. It was right here
20 (indicating). There was a mejtef, which is a Muslim
21 religious structure, and this is what some Croats did
22 on the way back from Nova Bila. So they weren't the
23 local Croats from Donja Veceriska. So Croats from
24 Donja Veceriska created absolutely no incidents, and I
25 take full responsibility for that statement.
1 Q. Now, did you go into Vitez at all and did you
2 see any graffiti in the Vitez area that was racist and
3 was against the Muslims?
4 A. At that time, I was disabled, and when I came
5 back from therapy, I stayed in Donja Veceriska. I
6 couldn't move about without great difficulties, so I
7 spent all my time in Donja Veceriska.
8 Q. Other than one incident, that one anti-Muslim
9 incident, that you just reported to us about, other
10 than that, the Muslims in your village were not
11 discriminated against in any way by the HVO in your
12 village; is that correct?
13 A. They were not, not at all.
14 Q. Did you ever hear the pejorative term
15 "balija" directed toward any of the Muslim residents
16 of your village by any of the Croats in your village?
17 A. During the period when the tensions rose,
18 every Croat was called an Ustasha, so probably some
19 Croats called some of them balija too because that is
20 some kind of a rule -- it was almost an equation at
21 that time for the Croats to be called Ustasha and
22 Muslims to be called balija, so, yes, people did call
23 each other those names.
24 Q. Did you hear any Croats from your village
25 call Muslims "balija"?
1 A. I did not hear anyone say that in my presence
2 because I personally, for instance, never called anyone
3 that, and in my presence, no one did either.
4 Q. Now, was there any checkpoints coming into
5 your village from the town of Vitez?
6 A. I'm sorry, Mr. Prosecutor. If you want me
7 to, I can draw and show you exactly that the Muslims
8 were the ones who absolutely controlled the entrances
9 to the village. Look at Besici. That is a hamlet that
10 is exclusively Muslim. Then here (indicating), except
11 for this enclave, they were all Muslim houses. This is
12 the new road (indicating), and this road here
13 (indicating) is the old road. There were two roads
14 leading in and out of the village. The Muslims dug
15 their trenches in such a way that they had full control
16 of the entrances and exits from the village. As I
17 said, I can draw in every single trench that had been
18 dug there.
19 Q. Mr. Lovric, I didn't ask you about trenches.
20 I asked you about roadblocks. Were there any HVO
21 roadblocks in the village of Donja Veceriska, either in
22 the village or from Vitez coming toward the village?
23 A. No.
24 Q. At no time prior to April the 16th did you
25 ever see an HVO checkpoint on the road between Vitez
1 and Donja Veceriska; is that your testimony?
2 A. I affirm that there was never a checkpoint,
3 only when there was a joint guard, when we were there
4 at the checkpoints. When we split up, they remained
5 there, but not our men any longer.
6 Q. Now, let me ask you a little bit about your
7 background. Tell me, prior to the conflict, what was
8 your employment, sir?
9 A. Before the conflict, I worked in the Bosna
10 construction company, and I was working in the
11 carpentry department in Vitez. I left the company some
12 three months before the conflict, and I became a taxi
14 Q. So you became a taxi driver in the town of
15 Vitez in the three months prior to the April 16th
17 A. That is correct. No, no, not before the
18 conflict. Before -- this was in '90 -- just a moment,
19 in '92. I'm sorry. I left the company, the Bosna
20 company, in January of 1992, that is, after I had a
21 serious injury, 80 per cent injury, so that was the
23 Q. You worked, I take it, until April of 1992 as
24 a taxi driver; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, yes, until April, until 17 April, until
1 I was injured.
2 Q. After the 17th of April, 1992 when you ceased
3 to work as a taxi driver, what did you do?
4 A. On 17 April, 1992, I had an accident, and I
5 was in different hospitals in Travnik, Split, and
6 Pula. I returned on 24th December of 1992 and I went
7 back to Donja Veceriska.
8 Q. Without going into great detail, Mr. Lovric,
9 can you tell us very briefly the nature of the
11 A. I was the coordinator, and when I say "the
12 coordinator," that means I worked on arming the
13 Croats. Since we had to defend ourselves against the
14 Serbs and the Serbian aggression, the International
15 Community had tied our hands, and so we had to do
16 whatever we could. On 17 April, 1992, I delivered some
17 military equipment to my neighbour, and I was
18 accidentally shot by his underage son, and I was shot
19 through from one side of my hip through -- the bullet
20 exited on the other side.
21 Q. Tell me about your job as a coordinator
22 arming the Croats in April of 1992. First of all, tell
23 me by whom you were employed.
24 A. I wouldn't call it an employer. It almost
25 sounds like an offensive way of putting it. When the
1 Serbian aggression took place, the crisis staffs were
2 established to try to put up a successful defence
3 against the Serbs. The commander of the crisis staff
4 in Vitez was Marijan Skopljak, and he was my only
5 superior in a matter of speaking, because this was all
6 done on a friendly basis.
7 Q. So -- I'm sorry. Please continue your
8 answer. I didn't mean to interrupt you.
9 A. Right. I just wanted to say that this same
10 gentleman, Marijan Skopljak, at that time was
11 distributing weapons, the little weapons that were
12 arriving was also giving some to the Muslims. This was
13 all in order to put up a successful defence against the
14 Serbs because we were victims of that aggression, and
15 at that time, in that period, this is how things were.
16 Q. I'm asking you about your job at this point,
17 not Mr. Skopljak's job. Did you deliver any weapons to
18 Muslims while you were a coordinator?
19 A. No, I did not because it was soon thereafter
20 that I had this accident. During my mandate, so to
21 speak, in Donja Veceriska, I managed to deliver about
22 six or seven rifles, and they were distributed among
23 the Croats.
24 Q. Where did you get the rifles?
25 A. But there were very few.
1 Q. Where did you get the rifles?
2 A. I would take them from Marijan Skopljak, but
3 my -- so my duty was only to take it from Vitez to
4 Veceriska. I don't know where they came from to Vitez.
5 Q. You don't know where Marijan Skopljak got the
7 A. No.
8 Q. Weren't you interested to know where he got
9 those rifles?
10 A. He never wanted to talk about that, and I
11 didn't ask him.
12 Q. [Question interrupted by previous answer]
13 A. They were the so-called Sokac. At that time,
14 I had one semiautomatic and one automatic rifle and the
15 rest of them were the type called Sokac. That was the
16 name given to something that was hastily put together.
17 It was not a quality weapon. We only had one
18 semiautomatic and one automatic rifle at the time when
19 I was there.
20 Q. Then you had your accident, I take it. You
21 were in hospital until the 24th of December, 1992,
22 wherein you returned to Donja Veceriska. Let me focus
23 on the time from the 24th of December, 1992, until the
24 16th of April. What did you do?
25 A. From 24 December, '92, to 16 April? The
1 following 16 April?
2 Q. That's correct.
3 A. I didn't do anything because I had become a
4 serious invalid. I had trouble walking. I had to use
5 a cane. I could only walk for a hundred metres and
6 then rest for ten, fifteen minutes, and then move on
7 for another hundred metres, so I was a civilian.
8 Q. Between the 24th of December, 1992, and the
9 16th of April, did you ever leave the village of Donja
11 A. I went to Vitez several times in a car. On
12 one occasion, about three days before the conflict,
13 when nobody wanted to take a Muslim woman to give
14 birth, I drove her to Travnik and she gave birth there.
15 Q. Let me see if I can characterise accurately
16 what I understand to be your situation from the 24th of
17 December to the 16th of April, and, please, don't
18 hesitate to correct me if I mischaracterise your
20 You returned to Donja Veceriska, you were 80
21 per cent disabled, you needed a cane to walk maybe a
22 hundred metres or so, you infrequently left the village
23 of Donja Veceriska to go outside its boundaries; is
24 that a fair characterisation of your situation in the
25 time frame I have asked you about?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Now, do you know what the
3 situation was like for Muslims outside of your village
4 from the 24th of December -- actually, let me rephrase
5 that question.
6 Do you know what the situation was like for
7 Muslims in your community from the time that you were
8 shot to the 24th of December? Do you know what was
9 happening to the Muslims in Donja Veceriska?
10 A. Can you just repeat the last part of the
12 Q. While you were in the hospital, from the time
13 you were shot until the time you returned, which was
14 the 24th of December, 1992, do you know what was
15 happening to the Muslims in your village?
16 A. Nothing happened. Nothing.
17 Q. That's what you were told -- actually, strike
18 that question.
19 Where was the hospital where you were located
20 from the time you were shot to the 24th of December?
21 A. I was first in the Travnik hospital for about
22 a month and a half. Then I was transferred to Split,
23 to the Firule hospital, and then to Pula, and from
24 Pula, I returned on the 24th of December.
25 Q. Pula is in Croatia and Split is in Croatia;
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Now, when you returned to your community on
4 the 24th of December, did you sense any difference in
5 your community between the Muslims and the Croats?
6 A. I sensed the very evening when I arrived on
7 the 24th of December, and I think I mentioned this
8 earlier, there was an attempt on the life of my
9 brother, who was a junior champion in karate, and I
10 noticed that there were strange things going on in the
11 village. There were separate guards and tensions had
13 Q. Now, was an investigation ever conducted into
14 the attempt on your brother's life?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Was any perpetrator of that attempt on your
17 brother's life ever identified?
18 A. Unfortunately, no.
19 Q. You didn't see that particular act, did you?
20 A. I was at my aunt's at that time, in the
21 neighbourhood, about 200 metres from the house, from my
22 house. It's not drawn in on that map. So I was at my
23 aunt's. When I returned to my house down there that
24 night, my brother told me, and he was quite upset, he
25 said that he had been shot at, and there was a hole in
1 the wall where you could put in a fist.
2 Q. Did he identify the perpetrator of that
4 A. He could not identify him because it was
5 night and he had his back to the shooter. He was about
6 to enter the house, and I guess this perpetrator
7 thought that he would take his shoes off at the
8 doorstep, and accidentally he made a step forward, and
9 this is how he avoided being shot at. As he stepped
10 inside, the bullet followed him inside the hallway and
11 got lodged in a wall. He threw himself on the ground,
12 and that is how he got saved.
13 Q. Mr. Lovric, you testified as well that
14 Muslims threw explosives into a cafe owned by Franjo
15 Drmic. Can you point out on this map that you have on
16 the ELMO where the cafe of Franjo Drmic is located?
17 A. One hundred and fifty-two.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you very much for doing that.
19 Now, did you ever go to the cafe of Franjo Drmic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What --
22 A. It's a friend of mine.
23 Q. Okay. Was Franjo Drmic in the HVO?
24 A. At that time, he was not because he was left
25 alone with three children. His wife had passed away
1 and he had three daughters to look after, and nobody
2 engaged him at that time. He was not engaged anywhere.
3 Q. When did he become a member of the HVO?
4 A. When the war broke out on the 16th of April,
5 he was mobilised, most probably.
6 Q. Now, between the time you returned home to
7 Donja Veceriska on the 24th of December, 1992, until
8 the conflict started on the 16th of April, 1993, did
9 you conduct a survey of what armaments were in the
10 village in the possession of either the Croats or the
12 A. I saw some of those weapons. There were M48s
13 and the Sokac type and the drum type, semiautomatic,
14 automatic. The Muslims had 84s. Fehret Haskic had
15 something that we didn't. Including the displaced
16 Muslims and domestic Muslims, the local Muslims, I
17 mean, of Donja Veceriska, they were three times as
18 powerful as we were in terms of weapons.
19 Q. Sir, you noted in your testimony that you
20 personally noted 55 people carrying arms. When did you
21 make that notation?
22 A. Well, I noted that down when their patrols
23 passed by and when they had their drills and I met
24 them, I met some -- about 30 of them, and they were all
25 people, Muslims, from Donja Veceriska. I know them all
1 and I saw the weapons they were carrying; and when they
2 would go up to the frontline with the Serbs towards
3 Visoko, Cekrcici, then one platoon would go up to that
4 line, there were some ten members of it, 30 or 40 of
5 them, and they were carrying rifles and full military
7 Q. When you noted these 55 people carrying arms,
8 was that before your injury or after your injury?
9 A. It was after my injury, when I returned
10 home. Before this injury, we were almost equal as to
11 the number of weapons. They had six or seven rifles
12 just as we did, up until the time that I was wounded;
13 and later on, they had more weapons than we did. They
14 were better armed than we were. I can say that for
16 Q. Did you make an inventory of the number of
17 weapons that were in the possession of the Bosnian
18 Croats in Donja Veceriska from December 1992 until
19 April of 1993?
20 A. I said --
21 JUDGE JORDA: You already asked that
22 question, Mr. Harmon; at least it seems to me you have
23 already answered it.
24 THE WITNESS: Yes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Let's move forward, please.
1 MR. HARMON:
2 Q. Now, let me ask you some additional
3 questions. I'd like to show you Defence Exhibit 537A,
4 all right? If I could have the assistance of the
6 JUDGE JORDA: Look at the clock. I have
7 asked the registrar to see how much time there is. You
8 know, there is still the cross-examination. The
9 interpreters are prepared to stay a little bit longer,
10 but I would like to be able to finish our work today so
11 that we can begin the direct examination of the accused
13 How much time is left for the Prosecution?
14 Ten minutes maximum?
15 THE REGISTRAR: No more than fifteen minutes.
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. No more than
17 fifteen minutes.
18 MR. HARMON: I will keep in mind the time
19 frame, Mr. President.
20 Q. I would like to direct your attention to item
21 number 4 on this particular document. First of all,
22 Mr. Lovric, have you seen this document before coming
23 into the courtroom to testify, and if so, when did you
24 first see this document?
25 A. I was present when it was written because
1 they are all my friends, the commander and the members.
2 Q. Now, at this particular meeting -- first of
3 all, can you identify the extreme individuals on the
4 Croat side? What does this document, item number 4,
5 refer to, and who does it refer to?
6 A. The units of the reserve force of Donja
7 Veceriska and the Muslim army should take over control
8 considering the extreme individuals on both sides.
9 As far as the Croats are concerned, from
10 Donja Veceriska, I personally consider that there were
11 no extremists there because they never performed any
12 kind of extremist incident to the Muslims. However,
13 the Muslims usually considered that a man was
14 extremist, had extremist leanings, when the Muslims
15 said that the time would come when they would sleep
16 with the Croat women in the village, and if the Croat
17 would say that that time would never come or that the
18 time will never come for us to wear fezzes and say
19 Lahko and Mehko, the type of Muslim talk, then they
20 would consider that person to be an extremist, but I
21 don't think those were extremists. Extremists are
22 those who shot round the village and threw bombs, and
23 this is something that the Muslims themselves did, and
24 Fehret Haskic was foremost among these as an extremist
25 of the ultra-extremist type. Ferid Kalca as well; he
1 was a specialist in the making of explosives. He was
2 able to make pistols and all sorts of weapons and to
3 lay the explosives. This was an exceptionally
4 dangerous trio.
5 Q. Let me ask you, on the evening of the 15th,
6 you said that the civilian Croat population was ordered
7 to evacuate the village, and indeed they did that.
8 They went up to, I think, Gornja Veceriska, the
9 Croatian part of the village, and that you personally
10 left around 2.30 in the morning on the morning of the
11 16th; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. I said that they were ordered to go to
13 the upper part of the Croatian village and that part of
14 them went to Gornja Veceriska straightaway, the
15 civilians, and part of the civilians remained and then
16 left when the fighting started. I myself did go around
17 2.30 a.m.
18 Q. Let me ask you, Mr. Lovric: Did any soldiers
19 of the HVO, from outside the village of Donja
20 Veceriska, come into the village of Donja Veceriska
21 prior to your departure on the morning of the 16th at
22 2.30 a.m.?
23 A. No, they did not come before, but when the
24 fighting started in Donja Veceriska, they then came to
25 help out some of the young men from Gornja Veceriska,
1 from Mosunj, and some 15 young men from Nova Bila who
2 belonged to the Tvrtko company, so that a sort of
3 balance was struck.
4 Q. Did you see the people who were members of
5 the HVO from outside your village come to your village?
6 A. No, because I had gone up to Gornja
7 Veceriska, and I returned on the 18th at about noon,
8 and there were no foreign soldiers when I returned.
9 Q. Had there been?
10 A. I don't understand.
11 Q. Had there been any soldiers from outside of
12 Donja Veceriska who were members of the HVO in the days
13 that you were outside of the village?
14 A. No, not on that particular night, but when
15 the fighting started, then there were only the members
16 from Donja Veceriska, and they took up the fighting,
17 and then young men from Gornja Veceriska arrived and
18 from Mosunj and Nova Bila, they arrived to help out.
19 How many there were, rumour had it that there were
20 about 15 Tvrtkovci, whereas I don't know how many from
21 Donja Veceriska there were.
22 Q. Now, did you see any of the HVO soldiers at
23 all during the two days of fighting that took place at
24 Donja Veceriska? I understand, Mr. Lovric, that you
25 were at a different vantage point. You were up at
1 Gornja Veceriska. But looking down, could you see any
2 members of the HVO engaged in fighting?
3 A. No, you couldn't see any individuals because
4 Gornja Veceriska is about two kilometres away, two to
5 two and a half kilometres from my vantage point, so it
6 was impossible to make out and distinguish a man. You
7 could only see houses, and they would look like small
8 houses, very small dots, and you couldn't make out the
10 Q. Okay. Now, in Defence Exhibit 538 -- did you
11 prepare this diagram yourself?
12 A. Yes, I did, with the help of my friends.
13 Q. When did you prepare this particular diagram?
14 A. The diagram. When I passed on the 18th of
15 April, I marked in what had burnt down during the
16 fighting because I kept records on my own, and I drew
17 up this diagram about -- several months ago. I don't
18 quite remember. Several months ago. I don't know
20 Q. Now, on this diagram, Mr. Lovric, I count
21 approximately 42 Muslim homes that are burned or
22 partially destroyed and I count 11 Croat houses that
23 are burned or partially destroyed. Did you see any of
24 those houses set afire?
25 A. I saw smoke during the combat operations in
1 this part here (indicating), that's the street I live
2 on, and you can see this from Upper Veceriska, Gornja
3 Veceriska, and it's just as if it was on the palm of
4 your hand.
5 Q. So I take it you don't know the circumstances
6 under which any of these houses were set afire; is that
8 A. These Muslim houses were burning in the
9 combat operation zone, these here, whereas these other
10 ones were in the background, these here (indicating),
11 then two houses belonging to the Miskovic family. This
12 is well in the rear, and this was intentionally set
13 fire to.
14 Q. Now, I take it when you returned home on the
15 afternoon or at noon on the 18th of April, the fighting
16 had completely terminated in Donja Veceriska?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. I take it further from your testimony that
19 all but nine of the Muslim residents of Donja Veceriska
20 had fled the village; is that correct?
21 A. I wouldn't say "fled." They withdrew. They
22 went with UNPROFOR, the army withdrew following them,
23 and during those two days of fighting, the HVO soldiers
24 came up to the Lovric houses, which means that this was
25 still under the control of the -- that the Muslims had
1 control, Besic and the Brdo area, and we thought it was
2 strange --
3 Q. Mr. Lovric, let me interrupt you for just a
4 second. I don't mean to --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Last question, Mr. Harmon.
6 Then I want to ask Mr. Nobilo if he has any further
7 questions to ask. So please ask your last question.
8 MR. HARMON: Now I have to make a selection
9 of which will be my last question -- if I could have,
10 with the Court's indulgence, a few more questions,
11 Mr. President, I would appreciate it. I will be
12 finished within --
13 JUDGE JORDA: No, no. The interpreters are
14 doing additional work this evening. We have to take
15 into account what was decided this morning. Perhaps
16 the Judges have some questions to ask. I hope that
17 Mr. Nobilo will be brief in his redirect. You have one
18 more question, Mr. Harmon.
19 MR. HARMON:
20 Q. Did you hear that Dario Kordic was in your
21 village on the night of the 15th of April, 1993, at the
22 cafe that belonged to Mr. Drmic?
23 A. He was not in Donja Veceriska at all on that
24 day. Only during the war did Dario Kordic come to
25 Donja Veceriska once. Perhaps half a year before the
1 war broke out. I don't remember exactly when that
2 was. But he was not there on that evening. That is a
3 disinformation. It is a lie. I say that
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. I think
6 that's all.
7 Mr. Nobilo, you can have redirect time now,
8 but be brief.
9 MR. NOBILO: I have no questions.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Turning to my
11 colleagues. Judge Shahabuddeen?
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Lovric, I understood
13 you to be saying that some Croat houses at the back of
14 the village were intentionally set afire.
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But that the Muslim
17 houses were destroyed in the course of a conflict; is
18 that your testimony?
19 A. Yes, it is. Fourteen Muslim houses were
20 burnt down during the fighting in the combat operation
21 zone, or 14 of them, whereas the Croatian houses -- you
22 saw the map and you saw the positions of the Croatian
23 houses -- they were well into the back of the territory
24 under Muslim control and they were intentionally set
25 fire to.
1 My house was also looted. They took things
2 away. I wanted to open a small shop, and I kept my
3 goods there, and so along the road, I found many of the
4 things from my shop there. A house can burn down but
5 you cannot -- the screen of a television set cannot
6 burn down. What do I want to say? What I want to say
7 is that they thought they were stronger and that they
8 would wipe us out.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I asked you a question.
10 The point of the question was to clarify your answer.
11 Do you confirm that your testimony is that the Croat
12 houses were burnt down intentionally but that the
13 Muslim houses were destroyed in the course of the
14 conflict? Was that your testimony, "Yes" or "No"?
15 A. Yes, that's right. The Croatian houses were
16 intentionally burnt down.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well now, were any
18 Croatian houses destroyed in the course of the
20 A. No.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Were any Muslim houses
22 intentionally destroyed?
23 A. I'm not aware of how the fighting developed,
24 and whether some were intentionally destroyed or not, I
25 don't know.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do I take your answer to
2 be that some Muslim houses may or may not have been
3 intentionally destroyed?
4 A. I don't think any of these houses were
5 intentionally destroyed because a house can be set fire
6 to in the zone, the fighting zone; for example, the
7 shed catches fire and then-- with a bullet or a bomb or
8 anything of that kind and then the house catches fire
9 as well. But our men were not able to reach those
10 houses when they were on fire. They didn't reach the
11 houses, which meant that they were set fire to during
12 the fighting.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is your testimony then
14 that so far as you knew, no Muslim houses were
15 intentionally set afire?
16 A. During the combat operations, no, and after
17 the fighting, some eight houses were set on fire.
18 Somebody did that, some unknown perpetrator did this
19 intentionally. I said that in the course of my
20 testimony. In addition to the fact that the commanders
21 tasked three policemen to guard the houses. Somebody
22 did manage to set eight houses on fire.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, your evidence was
24 that the Croats, in some cases at any rate, protected
25 the Muslims and Muslim houses; was that your testimony?
1 A. Three policemen from the civilian police
2 force patrolled these houses non-stop to protect Muslim
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So the answer is "Yes."
5 Your answer is "Yes," the Croats protected --
6 A. Yes, yes. We wanted to protect them, yes.
7 We worked on it, to protect the houses, yes, yes, the
8 Muslim houses.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: [Question interrupted by
10 interpretation of previous Answer] ... questions by
11 recalling your testimony.
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, were you aware of
14 any reverse instances in which Muslims protected Croats
15 or Croat houses?
16 A. In Donja Veceriska, I don't know. When they
17 left on the 18th of April, they started coming back, so
18 in that month, I did not have occasion to contact any
19 Muslims. Probably, probably there were individuals who
20 did so in view of the fact that not all the houses
21 belonging to the Miskovic family had been set on fire,
22 which means that somebody had prevented them, somebody
23 had prevented his fellow Muslim from setting fire to
24 the houses. Somebody succeeded in protecting these
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you say that there
2 were instances of mutual protection?
3 A. I don't understand what you're thinking.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: When asked to summarise
5 your evidence, would you say that, so far as you knew,
6 there were instances in which Croats protected Muslims
7 and some reverse instances in which Muslims protected
9 A. We're speaking about houses in the
10 testimony. Now, as regards the protection of Croats,
11 that is, protection by the Croats, the nine Muslim
12 civilians were protected to a maximum degree. Nobody
13 in the combat activities had remained where the Muslims
14 had control over Donja Veceriska in those two days, so
15 that in actual fact, they did not have anybody to
16 protect from the Croats. The houses were left empty.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you hear of any
18 instances outside of your village in which Muslims
19 protected Croats or Croat houses?
20 A. No, I didn't.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What were relations like
22 between the two communities before the conflict? Did
23 they get on well?
24 A. Yes, they did, while there were joint patrols
25 until the end of October 1992. That means we worked
1 together. We would visit each other's houses. We
2 would go visiting. We would socialise. For example,
3 in my family, there are more mixed marriages than
4 uni-ethnic marriages. My sister is married to a Serb,
5 for example. My uncle's daughter is married to a
6 Muslim. My uncle's son married a Serbian girl. My
7 uncle's daughter is married to a Serb, once again. Two
8 aunts have two children, and they married Serbs. So
9 there are more mixed marriages than there are
10 uni-nationality marriages. I don't know what the war
11 brought with it. You are able to see for yourselves.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Indeed, we are, and
13 you're helping us. Thank you very much.
14 Let me ask you this last question: How do
15 you judge as to the prospect of those relations
16 returning between the three communities to which you
17 have referred?
18 A. Relations can be resumed only if the
19 extremists from amongst the Muslim people be held
20 responsible here in The Hague and be brought to
21 justice. If they are left to walk free, then we Croats
22 will always fear them, and so only by taking the
23 extremists into custody would we gradually be able to
24 resume our relations.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You spoke of extremists
1 amongst the Muslims. To your knowledge --
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- were there any
4 extremists amongst the Croats?
5 A. Not a single Croat from Donja Veceriska was
6 the perpetrator of any excessive behaviour, and if you
7 don't do any excessive behaviour, I don't consider you
8 to be extremist. But if you shoot and if you say to
9 somebody's very eyes -- for example, the Muslim Suad
10 Sesid and Ferid Kalca -- for example, two cases in
11 point, and Ferid Kalca and Nahid Haskic said that
12 Turkish times would be upon us and that they would
13 sleep with our wives, then that is placing human
14 dignity in jeopardy, because the Turkish times were a
15 period when the Turks had the right on the first night
16 of the marriage to sleep with our wives, and for me,
17 that is extremist conduct.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Witness.
19 Should I sum up the last phase of your evidence this
20 way, that your testimony to the Court is that there
21 were extremists on the Muslim side, but there were no
22 extremists on the Croat side?
23 A. On the Croatian side, not a single one. I
24 said, when I testified a moment ago, that if you resist
25 and say that the Turkish times will not come and that
1 we're not going to wear fezzes and we're not going to
2 use the Turkish terms "lahko," "mehko," they would say
3 that you were an extremist, and it is not extremist if
4 you defend your own human dignity. That's what I think
5 at least.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'm obliged to you,
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
9 Judge Rodrigues?
10 I don't have any questions either. Once
11 again, we would like to thank you. We'll ask you to
12 remain seated for a moment. We're going to take a
13 ten-minute break.
14 Let me remind you that we have to finish at
15 any cost this evening so that Mr. Plavcic can go home.
16 Let me remind you that the examination-in-chief lasted
17 for 26 minutes, and we will ask that you not go beyond
18 26 minutes, Mr. Cayley.
19 We will resume at ten after six.
20 --- Recess taken at 6.00 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 6.15 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
23 Have the accused brought in, please, Mr. Dubuisson.
24 (The accused entered court)
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Plavcic, thank you for
1 coming back. I don't think it's going to take very
2 long. Mr. Cayley, you've got 26 minutes.
3 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, good evening.
4 Thank you very much for the Court's indulgence in
5 giving me the additional time.
6 WITNESS: ANTO PLAVCIC (recalled)
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Cayley:
8 Q. Mr. Plavcic, good evening. My name is
9 Cayley. I'm from the office of the Prosecutor. This
10 is my colleague, Mr. Harmon.
11 If I can just confirm a few biographical
12 details to you. Prior to working at the Mediapan, did
13 you work as a postman for the PTT?
14 A. Yes. I worked as a postman in 1977.
15 Q. Subsequently, you worked as a doorman at
16 Mediapan where your wife was a cook; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, prior to the break-up of the former --
19 A. Yes. My wife worked as a cook for a period
20 of time, and I worked as a doorman.
21 Q. Now, can you tell me in what year the HDZ
22 party was formed in Busovaca?
23 MR. HAYMAN: Beyond the scope. Outside of
24 the scope of direct. Let's at least stay within the
25 scope if we're going to work at --
1 JUDGE JORDA: Let's not waste any time.
2 Mr. Cayley, just go ahead. The Judges will make their
3 evaluation. Let's not waste any time today. I really
4 want us to be finished this evening.
5 MR. CAYLEY:
6 Q. Mr. Plavcic, when was the HDZ party formed in
7 Busovaca; do you recall?
8 A. I do not know exactly when it was formed, but
9 it could have been in the '90s, maybe 1990. I don't
10 know exactly when.
11 Q. Did you join the HDZ party?
12 A. I did not join the HDZ right away.
13 Q. What year did you join the HDZ party?
14 A. After the Dayton Accords. I don't know
15 exactly when. It could have been '94/'95.
16 Q. Your testimony is that you were never a
17 member of the HVO political party; is that correct?
18 A. I didn't understand.
19 Q. Were you ever a member of the HVO political
21 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, what is that?
22 Could we be specific? "HVO political party"?
23 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, the witness said
24 earlier that he was never in the HVO military, and I
25 believe I have a good-faith basis to ask the witness
1 whether or not he was ever a member of the HVO
2 political party, since my learned friend has often
3 tried to distinguish, in some way, between the army and
4 the political party.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there is no HVO
6 party. Such a thing does not exist.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you can bring these
8 questions up during the redirect.
9 Continue, please.
10 He's trying to find out what the witness did
11 during the period that has to do with his testimony.
12 All of you do that. You do that in the
13 cross-examination and in the examination-in-chief. I'm
14 beginning to understand the common law procedure now.
15 Continue, Mr. Cayley.
16 MR. CAYLEY:
17 Q. Mr. Plavcic, let me ask you a simple
18 question: Were you ever a member of the HVO?
19 A. I was never a member of the HVO because I'm
20 completely unfit for military service.
21 Q. Do you know a man by the name of Pero
23 A. Pero Susnjar, I know about this man. He's an
24 elderly man. He's dead now.
25 Q. Is he from your village of Jelinak?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What year did he die?
3 A. He died before the war. I don't know exactly
4 when but maybe even before 1990. I don't know
5 exactly. I really don't know.
6 Q. Do you know a man by the name of Ivica
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Who is he?
10 A. He is the son of Stipo Andrijasevic. He's
11 married. I don't know how many children he has, four
12 or five now. He lives in Busovaca. I don't know
13 exactly his address. He was in the HVO.
14 Q. In 1993, he was the commander of the HVO in
15 Jelinak, was he not?
16 A. That is what I say. I don't know because I'm
17 not a member of this HVO unit, but I know -- I heard
18 from the others that Stipo Andrijasevic was the
19 commander of the HVO in Kiseljak.
20 Q. Now, prior to living in Busovaca, you had
21 lived in Jelinak for 39 years; is that correct?
22 A. That is correct, from my birth until the
23 conflict between the Muslims and Croats.
24 Q. I think the village of Jelinak consists of
25 about 100 houses; is that correct?
1 A. Approximately 100 houses. It could be a
2 couple of houses -- a couple less, fewer than a
3 hundred, and half of them were Croat and half of them
4 Muslim. In the upper part of the village were the
5 Muslims, and in the lower part of the village were the
7 Q. Now, I think, having lived there for 39
8 years, you would have a good knowledge of all of the
9 families who lived in the village. You would know both
10 the Muslims and the Croats, wouldn't you?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Do you know Vinko Brnada?
13 A. Vinko Brnada, I know this man. He used to
14 live awhile ago, how shall I put it, at the very top of
15 the village of Jelinak, just under the Kuber, and then
16 he moved to the village of Skradno at some point.
17 Q. In 1993, he was a member of the HVO, wasn't
19 A. Vinko Brnada, actually, there are two Vinko
20 Brnadas. There's one whom I just mentioned, and
21 there's another Vinko Brnada who is the son of Ilko
22 whose full name is Ilija. He lived at Gavrine Kuce.
23 At his age, he could have been a member of the HVO, and
24 he was born there, so occasionally he would come to the
25 village, but after -- so I saw him at that time, but
1 after the conflict broke out, I don't know where he
2 went and what he did.
3 Q. Now, I want you to cast your mind back to the
4 end of January 1993. Now, this Court has heard
5 testimony from two witnesses that an ultimatum was
6 given to the Muslims to hand over their weapons to the
7 HVO. What I would like to ask you is whether or not
8 you are aware of a meeting --
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Nobilo, do you have an
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the
12 examination-in-chief was limited to only the 15th,
13 16th, 17th, and 18th of April, 1993 and no other
15 JUDGE JORDA: I answered that objection,
16 Mr. Nobilo. You are both right and wrong. You're
17 right because the constituent texts says that the
18 cross-examination must be matched with the direct
19 examination, but you're also wrong because it would be
20 an overly simple rule. It's nothing to bring in a
21 witness and to ask only two questions, the questions
22 which interest you, and for the other things that the
23 Judges might be interested in to be hidden. So my job
24 is to adopt the Rules to each specific case. I will
25 remind Mr. Cayley if he is moving too far away from the
1 direct examination, but for the Judges and for myself,
2 there are certain things that we're interested in;
3 otherwise, things would be too easy. You bring in a
4 witness, you simply ask him about this glass of water,
5 for example, and we never speak about the pitcher.
6 That's not possible.
7 All right. Mr. Cayley, I want to remind you
8 about what you heard this morning. You have 26
9 minutes, and I want you to focus on the questions that
10 were asked this morning of the witness.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. A meeting took place, did it not, at Pero
13 Susnjar's house at the end of January where it was
14 demanded that the Muslims hand over their weapons to
15 the HVO?
16 A. Since I was not part of the military
17 structure, I did not have access to such information,
18 and I don't know of this.
19 Q. Were you present at that meeting?
20 A. No, I was not present there.
21 Q. Did you ever hold any political advisory
22 function within the HVO in Jelinak?
23 A. I did not.
24 Q. Now, I want you to move forward in time to
25 the 15th of April, and you stated that two HVO soldiers
1 were evacuated through Jelinak to Kaonik, do you recall
2 that in your examination-in-chief, on the 15th of
4 A. What I said about 15 April this morning was
5 that when the shooting was heard in the area of Mount
6 Kuber, this was early in the morning. At noon and in
7 the afternoon, the population was being evacuated. As
8 people who were not involved in combat operations, we
9 did not know what was going on, and two HVO soldiers
10 who were wounded at that time were brought through and
11 on towards Kaonik.
12 Q. Who did Slavko Garic tell that the Bosnian
13 army had started the conflict on Kuber?
14 A. I don't know exactly who asked him this
15 question and what was going on, but there were several
16 people there. They asked him, "What is going on? What
17 is happening?" And he said, "We were attacked by the
18 BH army." At that time, in fact, it was still called
19 the TO, the Territorial Defence.
20 Q. Did you personally speak to him about this
21 matter, about who started the conflict?
22 A. I did not.
23 Q. Now, you testified yesterday in the Kupreskic
24 case; do you recall you gave evidence yesterday?
25 A. That I spoke to Gelic, no, I did not say that
1 and I did not talk to him. I just heard.
2 Q. You misunderstood me, Mr. Plavcic. Did you
3 testify in another case in this Tribunal yesterday?
4 A. I testified because Madam Jadranka
5 Slokovic-Glumac -- I don't know whose case I testified
6 in. I just gave a statement what I did on the 15th,
7 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th, what I heard and what I saw
8 on those days.
9 Q. I'm just clarifying matters for the purposes
10 of the Judges so that they understand that you've
11 testified in another case.
12 Let me ask you this question: Did you state
13 yesterday the following: "On the 15th of April, I
14 don't know who attacked whom because I wasn't there, I
15 was in the village, and who was the one to carry out
16 the attack, but when these people were evacuated, we
17 heard the HVO was attacked by the army from the
18 direction of Zenica."
19 Did you say that yesterday?
20 A. Yesterday, I said that I heard fighting going
21 on, this was in the early morning hours, at Mount
22 Kuber, and over there, it was only possible for this to
23 have been a conflict between the HVO and the BH army.
24 I also said that those two wounded men were evacuated
25 through Jelinak and that one of them said that they had
1 been attacked by the BH army.
2 Q. What you're saying is that you did not say
3 yesterday that you did not know who had attacked whom
4 on the 15th of April?
5 A. In the early morning hours, before they
6 arrived, I had not known who had attacked whom. When
7 they arrived, I learned that the BH army had attacked
8 the HVO, and I knew that there was shooting going on up
9 there, and I assumed, I did not know this, but I
10 assumed that the conflict was between these two.
11 Q. Are you aware that Muslim males were arrested
12 in the village of Jelinak on the 16th of April of 1993?
13 A. I am not aware of this. I don't know that
14 they were arrested and anything in that regard.
15 Q. Are you aware of any Muslim males being taken
16 from the village of Jelinak to the Kaonik prison in
18 A. My apologies. Are you asking me whether I
19 knew on those days -- do I know on the 15th? No. Do I
20 know on the 16th? No. Later on, I heard that those
21 Muslims, I don't know how many and who, had been
22 transferred to the Kaonik prison. That could have been
23 on the 18th, 19th, and later.
24 Q. So you heard that Muslim men had been taken
25 from the village of Jelinak to the Kaonik prison?
1 A. Yes, but I heard this on the 18th and 19th
2 after I had fled. This is what I heard in Busovaca
3 when I had moved far away from the village of Jelinak.
4 Q. Now, I think on the 17th of April, early in
5 the morning, 1993, 17th of April, 1993, you saw houses
6 burning at the upper end of the village of Jelinak, did
7 you not?
8 A. That is correct. In the early morning hours,
9 that is, before the dawn, when we were being evacuated,
10 that is, when we were fleeing the village, the Croatian
11 civilians were fleeing, and I had not fled yet because
12 it was easier to flee under the cover of dark, I saw
13 the top portion of the village of Jelinak, that
14 something was burning. I don't know whether these were
15 houses or something else, but anyway, there was some
16 light there because it was still dark.
17 Q. Now, the upper end of the village is the
18 Muslim part of the village; is it not?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. Now, a witness has testified before these
21 Judges that, on the 17th of April, the HVO were burning
22 houses in Loncari; do you recall seeing that?
23 A. I did not see this. Just as I said, I did
24 not see it in the morning hours. When we fled, when we
25 fled Jelinak village, Loncari was to the right of us at
1 that time, and from there, we could see -- had anything
2 been burning or had there been any military presence,
3 we would have seen it, but we were just fleeing because
4 we were shelled from mortars from Vran Stijene by the
5 Muslims at that time.
6 Q. Do you know a man by the name of Mirko Jozic?
7 A. Mirko?
8 Q. Jozic.
9 A. I don't know such a man. I've never even
10 heard of such a man.
11 Q. Did you ever take Muslim males from Jelinak
12 to the village of Loncari and hand them over to
13 Mr. Jozic to dig trenches in Loncari?
14 A. No, I did not do that.
15 Q. Now, on the 17th of April, 1993, I think you
16 left the village of Jelinak at noon, at midday; is that
18 A. The 17th of April in the morning hours, that
19 is when I fled Jelinak because of the shooting and all
20 the explosions, and the war was raging. So after that,
21 I did not hear anything.
22 Q. At what time in the morning hours did you
23 leave Jelinak?
24 A. On the 17th of April, in the morning hours, I
25 don't know exactly the time, but it was not noon yet,
1 so it was during the morning.
2 Q. Now, I think you said in your
3 examination-in-chief that, on the 18th of April, you
4 learned that the HVO had lost control of the villages
5 of Jelinak and Putis and that Croat houses were set
6 fire to in Putis and Jelinak; do you recall that?
7 A. It is correct that I said that on the 18th I
8 learned -- I learned on the 18th that the Croats, that
9 is, the HVO, had completely lost control of Jelinak,
10 that the BH army had taken full control of the villages
11 of Jelinak and Putis, and we also learned on that day
12 that those two civilians were casualties, Anto
13 Andrijasevic was wounded and another one was killed.
14 Q. Did you see who set fire to these Croat
15 houses in Putis and Jelinak? Did you see that with
16 your own eyes?
17 A. I did not see it because I could not see it.
18 I left in the morning hours on the 17th, and at that
19 time, except for what I have just said, that is, that
20 in the uppermost part of the village of Jelinak,
21 something was burning, but beyond that, I did not see
22 anything. I also said on the evening of the 16th, I
23 saw that in the village of Putis, in the upper portion
24 of the village, something was burning also, and I could
25 not see what it was because it was dark, and during the
1 day, I did not look again. The village of Putis also
2 has two parts, the upper and the lower part.
3 Q. Now, yesterday in your testimony, you were
4 asked the following question by my colleague,
5 Mr. Blaxill, and I'll read out the question: "In fact,
6 would it -- to the best of your knowledge, Mr. Plavcic,
7 wasn't there, in fact, just the area," and he's
8 referring to Jelinak and Putis, "becoming a large
9 battle zone with damage to both Croatian and Muslim
10 properties?" Your response was, "That is correct, that
11 on the 18th, all houses in the villages of Jelinak and
12 Putis, in Putis, the Croatian houses, and in the
13 village of Jelinak, all the houses were burning on the
14 18th. That's what I heard in Busovaca, that all the
15 houses were on fire. Which were the ones to start
16 burning first, I don't know. As far as I saw, it was
17 the upper part of the village in the early morning
18 hours that started burning first in the village of
20 Do you recall saying that yesterday,
21 Mr. Plavcic?
22 A. Yes, that is correct. I did say that.
23 Q. And that is --
24 A. This is what I heard on the 18th. This is
25 what I heard on the 18th, that all villages, that is,
1 all Croatian villages, and Putis were set on fire, and
2 what I saw, I saw in the early morning hours on the
3 17th, which is that something is burning, but I could
4 not see what it was. It was still dark, and I couldn't
5 see what it was. Also, on the 16th in the evening, in
6 Dvor, which is the upper part of the village of Putis,
7 I saw something burning, and the distance to there is
8 about one kilometre, so it was a little bit above, and
9 you could not see everything.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Plavcic, a witness from the United
11 Nations Protection Force has testified before these
12 Judges that Muslim houses were plundered and looted and
13 burned in Putis. Is that what you saw on the 16th of
14 April, burning Muslim houses?
15 A. I did not see this. I did not see this on
16 the 16th of April. That wasn't there, and I didn't see
17 it. What I saw on the 16th of April, in the upper part
18 of the village of Putis, which is called Dvor,
19 something was burning, and in the early morning hours
20 of the 17th, I also saw something similar, but whether
21 there were houses that were burning, that, I did not
22 know at the time. Eventually, I did learn that all
23 houses in the village of Jelinak were burned down, both
24 Muslim and Croat.
25 After Dayton, when I went to the cemetery on
1 the Day of the Dead, I went to light a candle on my
2 parents' grave, I went to my house, and I saw that
3 everything had been destroyed, except for two houses,
4 Anto Gelic and Marko Vidovic's houses, which still had
5 roofs and windows and doors, so they had not been
6 burned down. They had not been destroyed.
7 Q. Now, another witness, another United Nations
8 Protection Force officer, testified in this Court that
9 on the 1st of May, 1993, he visited the village of
10 Jelinak and was shown the site of a number of
11 atrocities that were committed, allegedly, by the HVO
12 against Muslim civilians in Jelinak. Did you ever hear
13 about that in Busovaca?
14 A. I did not hear about that. I heard that
15 there were dead on both sides because the fighting went
16 on in the village itself, and they said that the
17 fighting had been fierce. This is what I heard, but I
18 did not hear specifically how many dead there were.
19 MR. CAYLEY: I don't have any further
20 questions, Mr. President. I think I'm dead on 26
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, I admire your
23 precision, and you have prevented me from being even
24 more precise than you were, and I thank you for that.
25 Mr. Nobilo, do you want to add a few things
2 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I shall also be very
4 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
5 Q. Let us return to the 15th of April, 1993 when
6 you heard that fighting was going on at Kuber. Can you
7 tell us, was this just shooting from artillery pieces
8 or was there any strong detonation?
9 A. On the 15th of April, that is to say, in the
10 morning hours, there were no strong detonations. There
11 was just fighting with artillery weapons -- all arms
13 Q. Do you know that before the 15th of April,
14 that the HVO held positions on Mount Kuber?
15 A. Yes, I did. I heard about this. They said
16 that Kuber was under HVO control.
17 Q. Up until the 15th, the HVO had control of
18 Kuber, and then you heard fighting on the 15th. What
19 were you able to conclude from that fact? Who came and
20 who attacked whom, before you received information from
21 the wounded.
22 A. I said a moment ago, I don't know how far I
23 made myself understood, on the 15th up until noon, you
24 could hear small arms fire. As the HVO was in control
25 up there, then the other forces, the Serbian forces,
1 for example, and the former Yugoslav army was not in
2 existence there or in Zenica either, we were able to
3 conclude that it was the BH army which had attacked the
4 Croatian Defence Council on the 15th of April in the
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. No
7 further questions.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
9 Judge Shahabuddeen?
10 Judge Rodrigues?
11 I have one question. Do you confirm that the
12 upper part of the village was 80 per cent Muslim; is
13 that correct? Do you hear me?
14 A. Yes, I can hear you. It's not very clear,
15 but I can hear you. In the upper part of the Jelinak
16 village, it was 100 per cent Muslim. There are two
17 parts. The upper part, 100 per cent. It depends where
18 you divide the village. But 100 per cent -- they are
19 all Muslims up there and the lower part is only
20 Croats. I just said, when asked about Vinko Brnada,
21 that was a house that was far up, below Mount Kuber.
22 JUDGE JORDA: An UNPROFOR witness says that
23 the houses that have been set on fire that were in the
24 upper part, in principle then, that would be the Muslim
25 part; is that correct?
1 A. Well, the possibility exists that that is
2 so. I saw that something was burning. I didn't know
3 whether they were actually houses. They could have
4 been sheds, they could have been haystacks because it
5 was night time. All you could see was that something
6 was burning. But what exactly was burning, I couldn't
7 see, because it was 300, 400, 500 metres away, and the
8 terrain is not flat. So you couldn't really determine
10 JUDGE JORDA: Whether they were fields or
11 haystacks or sheds, that was in the Muslim part; you
12 agree with me there, that's the upper part?
13 A. Yes, absolutely, yes. I agree absolutely.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We would like to thank you for
15 having remained here all day long. This helped us to
16 organise our work, and now you won't have to be here
18 We have now concluded your testimony. The
19 usher will escort you from the courtroom, but I would
20 like to speak to the parties for a moment. So once
21 again, thank you. We would like to express the
22 Tribunal's gratitude to you. Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
24 (The witness withdrew)
25 JUDGE JORDA: I will just keep you for
1 another two or three minutes. Tomorrow we will
2 begin -- Wednesday, we will be starting at 1.30 and not
3 at 2.00.
4 I would like to have things clearly confirmed
5 by the Defence. After the testimony of the accused,
6 there will only be two witnesses; is that correct? You
7 asked for a video conference link testimony. This
8 decision, has that been granted?
9 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Well, the decision has
10 been given.
11 JUDGE JORDA: So what witnesses will you have
12 left, Mr. Hayman? Let us be very clear here.
13 MR. HAYMAN: As to the video link witness, I
14 believe the motion was denied. We need to make further
15 inquiry. If the witness will not come to The Hague, as
16 we suspect, then we will not be hearing from that
17 witness, the Court will not be hearing from that
19 There is another witness. We are still
20 trying to seek the ability to produce that witness. If
21 we can get that ability, we intend to present that
22 other witness.
23 Those are the only two witnesses we are
24 discussing, have any intention or hope at this time of
25 calling in the trial. If we get a letter that informs
1 us of something critical or important tomorrow, we will
2 raise that with the Court, but we have no such
3 information at this time.
4 JUDGE JORDA: It would have to really be
5 crucial, really crucial, and then the Judges would
7 All right. We now have a schedule that I
8 will give you in closed session at another time because
9 it still depends on a certain number of decisions that
10 the Judges have to take. For the time being, we will
11 say that there are only two Defence witnesses left plus
12 the testimony of the accused. That testimony will
13 begin at 1.30 tomorrow.
14 Now here is my question, Mr. Hayman: Do you
15 confirm that you need 35 hours?
16 MR. HAYMAN: For the direct testimony,
17 Mr. President? What do you mean?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, for the direct testimony.
19 MR. HAYMAN: I do not think we can complete
20 the direct in 35 hours, no, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: But that's what you said,
22 Mr. Hayman. You've got to get into the habit of -- we
23 have to get into the habit of carrying out what we say
24 we're going to do; otherwise, we can't set up a
1 MR. HAYMAN: [Submission inaudible as
2 previous comment was being interpreted]
3 JUDGE JORDA: Well, there is a document that
4 was provided in closed session which said that it would
5 be 35 hours for the accused.
6 MR. HAYMAN: You mean at the beginning of the
7 Defence case, we estimated 35 hours for his testimony.
8 That may well be true. That may well be true that in
9 August, we estimated 35 hours for his direct
10 examination, Mr. President. I can now say -- and
11 Mr. Nobilo will be conducting the direct examination --
12 that I estimate the direct will be on the order of two
13 weeks, and depending upon how many hours we get per
14 day, it could be more or fewer calendar days. But,
15 Your Honour, you may be well right that in August, we
16 estimated 35 hours for the direct testimony which -- 35
17 hours at five hours a day is about seven calendar
18 days. We think it's likely to be more like ten days,
19 and I cannot give the Court a number of hours. It is
20 too large a task for us to quantify specifically right
22 We are going to try and go slowly so that the
23 quality of the translation is at its absolute maximum,
24 and it is going to take a couple of weeks, we think,
25 for the accused to give his narrative of his
1 experiences, his work during the relevant period of
3 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. I understand. I think I
4 can speak for my colleagues, that is, as regards the
5 rights of the accused, there is no question about
6 limiting the testimony.
7 I am asking the question solely so that we
8 can set up a schedule that won't go drifting off, and
9 all of us want to end this trial in an appropriate time
10 period because everybody knows, you and the accused,
11 it's been three years that he's been in detention.
12 All right. We would agree then that we will
13 specify the time as we go along, that is, after the
14 first week. At that point, we will ask you to give a
15 specific evaluation of how much time you're going to
16 need for the accused.
17 Would you agree with what I've just said? At
18 the end of the first week of the accused's testimony.
19 MR. HAYMAN: We will give the Court our best
20 estimate at any time, Mr. President. If, at the end of
21 five calendar days, we may well be able to give, by
22 looking at Mr. Nobilo's notes, whether he's halfway
23 through the volume of notes or one-third or
24 two-thirds. That may be the most --
25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
1 MR. HAYMAN: -- specific way to estimate.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Let me now turn to the
3 Prosecution. You, of course, will have the same amount
4 of time for the cross-examination, that is, the same
5 amount of time that was used for the
6 examination-in-chief of the accused. Do we agree?
7 MR. HARMON: In principle, yes, Mr. President
8 and Your Honours, but if we come across a situation
9 like occurred with Brigadier Marin and we have a stack
10 of documents this big (indicating) that we need time to
11 review -- Mr. President, I think the cross-examination
12 of the accused should be robust and it should be
13 complete and it should not be constrained by any
14 artificial time limits. In principle, Mr. President,
15 we agree. We will try to --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, I want to tell you
17 in principle that there must be an exceptional decision
18 on the part of the Judges, but in principle, you will
19 have the same amount of time for the
20 cross-examination. You have to choose your questions,
21 as you did today. In principle, you have the same
22 amount of time as was used for the
23 examination-in-chief. We will not set the time today
24 for the redirect. I think it would be superfluous and
25 pointless to do it today. But we will do it depending
1 upon the examination-in-chief and the
2 cross-examination, and then we can set the time for the
4 During a closed Status Conference, that is,
5 the Judges and Mr. Olivier Fourmy will give you an
6 evaluation of the last phase of the trial because it
7 should include the other sequences which include the
8 rebuttal time and the rejoinder time, all of this based
9 on certain criteria that we will inform you of.
10 Let me turn to my colleagues. Unless they
11 have any further comments to make -- Judge
12 Shahabuddeen, Judge Rodrigues? All right. Having said
13 this, we will see one other tomorrow at 1.30.
14 Mr. Hayman, you have a question. Go ahead,
16 MR. HAYMAN: Just to posit the issue,
17 Mr. President. We certainly expect that General
18 Blaskic will be able to testify from the witness box so
19 that he can have access to the ELMO, and it is most
20 appropriate, we think, that he be there and that he not
21 have a security guard on each arm, that he have some
22 reasonable space so that he can concentrate and feel
23 the opportunity to communicate fully with Your
24 Honours. I hope that's not a problem with the security
25 department, but I raise it this evening so that the
1 issue is out there. Thank you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: No, no. We are totally
3 confident in the accused. Up to this point, he has
4 never demonstrated any desire to run away or to fight
5 with his guards. We want him to be very comfortable so
6 that he can express himself as well as he needs to
7 express himself.
8 You know, I don't come from a system that
9 works with the accused in that way, that is, when the
10 accused is a witness, but our rules do allow that, and
11 once the accused is testifying as a witness, of course,
12 his place would be there and he would not have guards.
13 We will start tomorrow then at 1.30. Court
14 stands adjourned.
15 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
16 6.55 p.m., to be reconvened on
17 Wednesday, the 17th day of February,
18 1999, at 1.30 p.m.