Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 8463

1 Monday, 14 April 2008

2 [Open session]

3 [The witness entered court]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the

7 courtroom.

8 Madam Registrar, could you please call the case.

9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to

10 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-83-T, the

11 Prosecutor versus Rasim Delic.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

13 Could we have the appearances for today, starting with the

14 Prosecution.

15 MR. MUNDIS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your

16 Honours, to my learned colleagues from the Defence, General Delic, and to

17 everyone in and around the courtroom. Daryl Mundis and Kyle Wood for the

18 Prosecution, assisted by our case manager, Djurdja Mirkovic.

19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

20 And for the Defence.

21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good

22 morning to my colleagues from the OTP, to everyone in and around the

23 courtroom. Vasvija Vidovic and Nicholas Robson for the Defence of

24 General Delic, with legal assistant Lana Deljkic.

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

Page 8464

1 Good morning, sir. Will you please make the declaration.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.

3 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,

4 and nothing but the truth.


6 [The witness answered through interpreter]

7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may be seated.

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.

10 Examination by Ms. Vidovic:

11 Q. Good morning, Mr. Juric. As you well know, I'm Vasvija Vidovic,

12 and I will be examining you on behalf of the Defence of

13 General Rasim Delic.

14 Before we start, let me request this of you: Whatever we say

15 here is interpreted into the English language and entered into the

16 transcript. For that sake, can you please speak as slowly as possible in

17 order that everything you say to be entered into the transcript. Please

18 make a short break before answering my question in order that the

19 interpreters may fully interpret my question, and subsequently your

20 answer, too.

21 Do you understand?

22 A. Yes, I do.

23 Q. Please state your full name for the record.

24 A. My name is Zvonko Juric.

25 Q. When and where were you born?

Page 8465

1 A. I was born on the 15th of December, 1956, in Drinca, near Tuzla,

2 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

3 Q. Therefore, the name of the place where you were born is Drinca,

4 D-R-I-N-C-A?

5 A. Yes, that's correct.

6 Q. Thank you. Can you state your ethnicity and religion, please?

7 A. I'm a Croat by ethnicity and Catholic by religion.

8 Q. Can you tell us your educational background?

9 A. I completed an associate degree school; and by profession, I'm --

10 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat his profession?

11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

12 Q. Can you please repeat your profession?

13 A. An engineer of work organisation.

14 Q. What was your occupation before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

15 A. I worked in a construction company, in the department for the

16 maintenance for machinery.

17 Q. Where do you work now --

18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Where do you live

19 now?

20 A. I currently live in Zagreb, the Republic of Croatia.

21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Where were you when the war started, Mr. Juric?

23 A. In the early days of the war, I worked and lived in my native

24 town; namely, Tuzla.

25 Q. Tell me, did you join the defence effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina in

Page 8466

1 the area where you lived at the beginning of the war?

2 A. Yes. My native home, the land and property where I was born, are

3 situated in the easternmost part of Bosnia-Herzegovina and only

4 100 metres away from what were then the positions of the self-proclaimed

5 republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

6 Q. As I understand your answer, you said that you joined the defence

7 effort of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and can you tell us in what way?

8 A. In the Tuzla region, we joined the units of the Territorial

9 Defence in order to protect the population from attacks by the Serb

10 forces.

11 Q. Let us only clarify the transcript. You said something to the

12 effect of the self-proclaimed republic, but it wasn't fully entered into

13 the transcript. What self-proclaimed republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina were

14 you referring to?

15 A. I was referring to the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of

16 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

17 Q. Thank you. That's now quite clear. You said that you joined a

18 TO unit. Which TO unit was that?

19 A. On the northern slopes of Mount Majevica, Muslim and

20 Croat-populated villages organised a joint defence. They set up a

21 detachment called "Drinca Detachment." I was the commander of the

22 detachment.

23 Q. Did there come a time when this detachment grew into a

24 higher-level unit?

25 A. In agreement with the Municipal Staff of Tuzla, the detachment

Page 8467

1 became a brigade of the Croatian Defence Council, because most of the

2 members comprising the unit were Croats.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness now be shown

5 Exhibit D907, please.

6 Q. While we're waiting for the document to appear, can you tell us

7 the title of the brigade?

8 A. The title of the brigade was "The 115th Zrinski Brigade of the

9 Croatian Defence Council."

10 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Juric, you see before you a document

11 issued by the defence department of the HVU, on the 3rd of December,

12 1992, signed by Mate Boban. Is it true that you provided me with this

13 document?

14 A. Yes. I gave you this document. The document relates to my

15 appointment to the post of brigade commander.

16 Q. Thank you very much.

17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can this document be

18 assigned an exhibit number, please.

19 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it

20 please be given an exhibit number.

21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will become Exhibit

22 number 1378.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can the witness be

25 shown D908 now. For the record, this is a document from the Staff of the

Page 8468

1 Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, dated the 21st of December, 1992,

2 titled "Order." It is signed by Sefer Halilovic.

3 Q. Please, tell us, is it true that this is another document you

4 gave me?

5 A. Yes. This document, too, is something I gave you.

6 Q. What does this document relate to?

7 A. It states that I was appointed to the post of brigade commander

8 by the commander of the Staff of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

9 Q. According to these two documents, apparently you were a member of

10 the BH Army and HVO at the same time. Can you explain this?

11 A. The Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina were composed of two

12 elements; namely, the Croatian Defence Council and the BH Army.

13 In the areas where HVO units were in the minority, they were

14 subordinated to the BH Army. Our cooperation was exceptionally good. I

15 had a smaller BH Army unit resubordinated to my unit; whereas, my brigade

16 was resubordinated to the 2nd Corps of the BH Army in Tuzla.

17 Q. Thank you very much. We're referring to 1992 and the period

18 preceding the outbreak of the conflict between the HVO and BH Army; is

19 that right?

20 A. Yes. At that point in time, cooperation was exceptionally good

21 and the 2nd Corps could smoothly command over my brigade, and this is

22 something that the Main Staff in Mostar highly appreciated.

23 Q. Thank you. As a commander of an HVO brigade, did you have an

24 opportunity to encounter representatives -- or rather, politicians and

25 military men in Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives of the political

Page 8469

1 and military leaderships?

2 A. As an HVO man and number 1 in the Tuzla region, I had occasion to

3 be in touch with all leaders from the political and military top echelons

4 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from both the Muslim and Croat communities.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before I move on to

7 other questions, can this document be assigned an exhibit number, please.

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That document is admitted into evidence. May it

9 please be given an exhibit number.

10 THE REGISTRAR: 1379, Your Honours.

11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

12 Yes, Madam Vidovic.

13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. You told us that you had the opportunity to meet political and

15 military leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Did you have occasion to

16 meet General Rasim Delic, too?

17 A. Yes. I met General Delic several times.

18 Q. Do you recall when it was that you met him for the first time?

19 A. Our first encounter was in early September in 1993, when

20 General Delic came to visit the 2nd Corps in Tuzla.

21 Q. Can you recall the details of this particular encounter? Why was

22 it that he met with you?

23 A. Yes. I can still recall that encounter vividly. It was very

24 important for the survival of the Croatian population in this area.

25 Q. Can you recall what it was that you discussed?

Page 8470

1 A. At the 2nd Corps Command in Tuzla, General Delic informed all of

2 us who were present there on the overall situation in Bosnia and

3 Herzegovina, and he requested several things of us. They were the

4 following.

5 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. President, the witness is waiting for each

6 part of the sentence to be interpreted, which makes the flow difficult.

7 Maybe he can be told to speak freely and just stop at the end of his

8 answer. Thank you.

9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Mr. Juric, Mr. Juric, please do not wait for interpretation. You

11 can speak freely. Just try and not speak too fast.

12 A. General Delic asked that we cease all military operations, all

13 hostilities against the --

14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat what forces the

15 hostilities were against?

16 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Could you please just repeat, Witness, the last portion of your

18 answer, because you said that General Delic had asked the cessation of

19 "military operations against," and then could you again say against whom

20 because it didn't enter the transcript.

21 A. Against the Serbian forces, except in the events where the lines

22 of defence were in jeopardy and in the event that the civilian population

23 was in danger.

24 Q. Do you remember whether there was discussion then about the

25 relationship between the HVO forces and the BH Army?

Page 8471

1 A. His second request was for close cooperation between the

2 2nd Corps of the BH Army and HVO units.

3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sir, do you know why General Delic asked that you

4 cease all hostilities against the Serb forces at that time in particular?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Two months before that

6 General Delic had taken over command over the BH Army. And as far as I

7 could understand, he did not -- he did not consider it possible or he did

8 not consider it a plausible solution for Bosnia-Herzegovina in continuing

9 hostilities and conflicts; rather, he was in favour of a ceasefire, which

10 would allow the politicians to bring about a political solutions to the

11 problems of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Witness, we were discussing this second request, which related to

15 cooperation between the 2nd Corps units and -- the 2nd Corps units of the

16 BH Army and HVO units.

17 Tell me, can you recall - you were talking about September 1993 -

18 can you remember if there were any problems in those relations at the

19 time and why it was that he was calling for cooperation?

20 A. When he became the commander of the BH Army, General Delic had

21 already inherited a conflict, a conflict between the BH Army and the HVO

22 which were now spreading from the south towards the northern parts. He

23 wanted that conflict to cease or to stop as soon as possible which is why

24 he embarked on this mission of his, which was the inspection of units.

25 Q. Did he tell you anything about this conflict, you personally, or

Page 8472

1 did he propose anything?

2 A. For a whole day -- or rather, General Delic spent the whole day

3 inspecting the positions of the HVO and talking with me. We inspected

4 the positions of my units and also the positions of BH Army units which

5 were resubordinated to me, and he could see for himself that our units

6 cooperated well. We also visited Croat and Muslim villages which were

7 near the front line.

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I suggest, sir, that you pause after a

9 question from the counsel; but that when you are answering, don't pause

10 but just talk slowly, but keep on talking until you have finished your

11 answer.

12 THE WITNESS: Yes. All right.

13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

14 THE WITNESS: All right. Thank you.

15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

16 Q. Mr. Juric, you are telling us about the situation and the

17 relationship between the BH Army and the HVO, and specifically within the

18 2nd Corps. I would like to ask you the following: In the summer of

19 1993, were there any events that General Delic discussed with you? Were

20 there some difficulties that you discussed at this time?

21 A. General Delic wanted me to prevent members of other nationalities

22 who were members of my unit to leave my unit. He also asked me not to

23 allow more members of the Croat people to join my units, those people who

24 at that time were in BH Army units, because --

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. Could we have a short break, please.

Page 8473

1 Could we have a short adjournment.

2 --- Recess taken at 9.34 a.m.

3 --- On resuming at 9.39 a.m.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: We're very sorry, Madam Vidovic, for that

5 interruption, but it could not be helped.

6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. No problem

7 at all.

8 Q. Mr. Juric, we were discussing -- before the break, I actually put

9 the question to you about some problems. You said that General Delic

10 asked you to prevent the transition or transfer of members of your units

11 who were of other ethnic backgrounds, and he also asked you not to allow

12 that more Croats join your unit, those Croats who had already been in

13 BH Army units, and you said, "because ... ," and that's where we had to

14 pause. If you would like, could you please end your sentence?

15 A. General Delic did not want ethnically-clean units. He didn't

16 want single-ethnicity units. He wanted that members of all ethnic

17 backgrounds be in units, which was very important in order not to --

18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the verb that the

19 witness used.

20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

21 Q. The interpreter, Witness, did not hear the word you used in the

22 last portion of your sentence, the last sentence. You were talking about

23 General Delic wanting members of all ethnic backgrounds to be members of

24 units, and you said that this was very important in order --

25 A. In order to have units that would not -- in order not to have

Page 8474

1 units that would only have single ethnicities. So he wanted both BH Army

2 and HVO units to have members of all ethnicities. I have to stress that

3 in the 2nd Corps, both in the HVO and in the BH Army brigades, the ethnic

4 background of members of those units was mixed.

5 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to ask you about something else.

6 A few moments ago, I referred to the summer of 1993, and I asked

7 you if there were any problems between members of the HVO and BH Army

8 members in some other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

9 A. I already mentioned that there were already clashes between the

10 BH Army and the HVO in the south of the country. This was before

11 General Delic was appointed as the BH Army commander. These conflicts

12 were spreading from Mostar towards Central Bosnia; and in the period that

13 is under discussion here, they had already reached Central Bosnia.

14 The Vares area was the potential new battleground, as it were;

15 and General Delic, therefore, took all steps that were necessary so that

16 conflicts be avoided in this part of the country. I have to stress that

17 the Vares area was extremely important for the Tuzla region because this

18 area was the only connection -- or the only area which allowed

19 communication and supplies from Croatia. It was of vital significance to

20 maintain a good relationship between the BH Army and the HVO in Vares.

21 Q. Let me now ask you this: Is this something that General Delic

22 discussed with you, personally?

23 A. Yes. We talked about this subject a long -- for a long time. He

24 asked me to intercede and to help the communication between the BH Army

25 in Tuzla and the Vares HVO so that a good relationship could be

Page 8475

1 established with those areas, with those units, as well as they are with

2 mine, and this would prevent any potential conflicts between the Croats

3 and the Bosniaks in Vares. This would mean that, for Tuzla, the

4 communication towards Central Bosnia, Sarajevo and Mostar would remain

5 open.

6 Q. Did you accept this initiative by General Delic?

7 A. General Delic's proposal was that I should gather a rather large

8 delegation of Croats from Tuzla, from the clerical circles, businessmen,

9 and politicians, and that we all go to Vares and speak to the prominent

10 figures of the Vares municipal authorities in order to highlight the

11 importance of good cooperation with the Tuzla region, which would

12 definitely guarantee security and safety for them and their population

13 and would avert a possible conflict. We, on the other hand, would have

14 an open communication leading to the south.

15 Q. Did this proposal materialise?

16 A. We left Tuzla for Vares several times, and the Vares delegation

17 also came to Tuzla. The purpose of those visits was to establish the

18 described cooperation. Unfortunately, the Vares area was influenced from

19 other quarters, which made it impossible for us to organise adequate

20 cooperation with them.

21 Q. Did there come a time after this period that you met

22 General Delic again? But before we clarify this, tell us this: In the

23 Vares town, at the time that you went there, which units were stationed

24 there, and can you tell us which units were represented in the delegation

25 that you spoke to?

Page 8476

1 A. There was the Bobovac Brigade of the HVO in Vares, and the

2 commander of the brigade was Emil Hara; however, this individual did not

3 have free hands to negotiate.

4 Q. Tell us the armed forces that the Bobovac Brigade belonged to?

5 A. The Bobovac Brigade is a brigade of the HVO. It acted

6 independently and outside any of the BH corps -- or rather, of the

7 BH Army corps.

8 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to the question I put to you a moment

9 ago. Did there come a time at a later date that you met General Delic

10 again?

11 A. Since the negotiations failed to broker an agreement, the

12 conflict escalated, and the clashes were already spilling from Central

13 Bosnia into the Vares area. General Delic called for an urgent meeting

14 at which I was a mediator between the Tuzla HVO and the Vares HVO. The

15 meeting took place at Careva Cuprija close to Vares.

16 Q. Can you tell us approximately when this was?

17 A. In the autumn of 1993, possibly in early September -- or rather,

18 in late September or early October.

19 Q. What transpired at this meeting?

20 A. In addition to General Delic and myself, there were other leaders

21 from the HVO and the 2nd Corps of the BH Army present. On behalf of the

22 Vares HVO, there was the HVO president and the municipality president,

23 Mr. Ante Pecinovic.

24 Q. How did the meeting end? Was it a success or was it a failure?

25 What was the aim of the meeting, can you tell us?

Page 8477

1 A. Mr. Pecinovic spoke at the meeting about the fact that the HVO

2 was threatened by the 3rd Corps. We agreed that General Delic would take

3 any and all steps to avert potential conflicts, that I should use one

4 battalion of my brigade to deploy into the Vares area and assist

5 the Bobovac Brigade to establish good cooperation with the 3rd Corps, and

6 that I should assist them in establishing firm positions opposite the

7 Serb army.

8 At the end of the meeting, Mr. Pecinovic called me aside and said

9 that he was unable to implement any of the issues that had been agreed

10 upon because his forces would refuse to accept to do that. In my

11 understanding, Zvonko Duznovic was the head of these forces, and this was

12 the sort of individual who was not forthcoming in terms of establishing

13 cooperation with us, and I had such experience with him, too.

14 Q. Can you tell us what function or position Zvonko Duznovic

15 occupied at the time, if any?

16 A. He was the security officer in Vares. He was a member of the

17 security service.

18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just interrupt, sir, just to make it

19 absolutely clear. When you talk of the 3rd Corps, you're talking of the

20 3rd Corps of which army?

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 3rd Corps of the BH Army.

22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

23 Madam Vidovic.

24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

25 Q. Did Zvonko Duznovic have a role to play or a particular function

Page 8478

1 in the security service of Vares, and was it the security service of the

2 HVO?

3 A. Yes. He was man number 1 in the HVO security of Vares.

4 Q. Do you recall what happened in that area subsequently?

5 A. In late October, the fighting between the BH Army and HVO came to

6 a head. There were skirmishes in the villages of Kopljari and Lijesnica.

7 The HVO was defeated and lost its positions there. A unit from Kiseljak

8 came to the HVO aid. It was several hundred men strong and headed by

9 Ivica Rajic. As he arrived there, he took over all the power in Vares.

10 On the 23rd or the 24th of October, I received information about

11 a crime having been committed in Vares and about Ivica Rajic's units

12 having entered the place called Stupni Do. I heard that the victim of

13 that event was the civilian population.

14 Q. What happened thereafter -- or rather, let's just clarify what

15 you have said.

16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Wood.

17 MR. WOOD: Your Honour, the Prosecution understands that this

18 witness is here as a character witness for General Delic; and, therefore,

19 a lot of leeway can be given and can be shown to the things that he's

20 saying and so on. But it's clear -- we've listened to this for a few

21 minutes now. It's clear that he's heading into territory that is not

22 relevant to anything in the indictment, and it's clear that he's not

23 speaking now about anything that General Delic might have done. He's

24 speaking about a specific incident that happened near Vares that is not

25 part of this indictment, and there's no connection at all between

Page 8479

1 General Delic and this particular crime. This is irrelevant, and the

2 Prosecution objects on those grounds.

3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.

4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is not my

5 intention at all to go into the details of the Stupni Do events. Quite

6 the contrary, my next question was about to deal with the role of the

7 witness in the mediation related to these events and the related

8 discussions with General Delic. My intention was for you to see what the

9 witness is testifying about, and I wanted to do this in a line of

10 questions; otherwise, the witness's testimony would be quite

11 incomprehensible.

12 I repeat, it was not my intention to go into the events outside

13 the frame of the indictment, save for the witness's actions and

14 discussions with General Delic. I have, in fact, finished all my

15 questions on the Stupni Do matter.

16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You may proceed, madam.

17 It's water under the bridge, sir.

18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

19 Q. You talked about this incident at Stupni Do. Tell us this : In

20 the aftermath of these events at Stupni Do, did you have any discussions

21 with the representatives of the armija?

22 And before that, can you please describe and tell us what sort of

23 bearing, if anything, the Stupni Do events had on the Croat population in

24 that area?


Page 8480

1 Yes, Mr. Wood.

2 MR. WOOD: I see at least two questions there. It won't be

3 clear, from the transcript, which question he's answering when the

4 question is put to him in this way. I would ask, if there's questions

5 put to the witness, that they be put one at a time so the transcript can

6 be absolutely clear.

7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.

8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I agree.

9 Q. Witness, can you please answer the following question: Did the

10 Stupni Do events have any bearing on the Croat population living in the

11 area?

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Wood.

13 MR. WOOD: I'm sorry I raise to my feet again. After

14 Madam Vidovic said that the Stupni Do incident wouldn't be touched, I see

15 that she's heading in that direction again. I, again, fail to see the

16 relevance of this, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: As I understand, the question is the consequences

18 of the incident, not the incident, per se.

19 MR. WOOD: Yes.

20 JUDGE MOLOTO: It seems to me as if as a result of this incident,

21 something else happened somewhere else; and unless we know what that is,

22 it becomes very difficult to prevent her going into that area.

23 MR. WOOD: I understand that, Your Honour, and my objection still

24 stands. This is irrelevant to anything that's at issue in this case;

25 and, therefore --

Page 8481

1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The incident is relevant. We don't know about the

2 consequences of the incident.

3 You see, Mr. Wood, you have explained yourself that this is a

4 character witness. Now, character would not necessarily be observed only

5 on the facts relevant to the case. It will be observed even outside.

6 Now, it seems to me as if as a consequence of this incident, something

7 else happened, and I don't know whether that something got this witness

8 into contact with Mr. Delic again, so that he can tell us something about

9 it. I really don't know. Until we get to that stage, it becomes very

10 difficult to rule on your objection.

11 MR. WOOD: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

14 Q. Witness, can you answer my question, please?

15 A. Every incident brought about the escalation of the conflict, and

16 the aim of our effort was to stop the conflict. My intentions were

17 always to try and contact General Delic through the commander of the

18 2nd Corps of the BH Army and General Delic always enabled me to do so,

19 because he knew that the relationship between the Vares HVO and the

20 BH Army there was very tense. And whenever an incident occurred, it was

21 quite possible that acts would be taken to retaliate against one of the

22 two ethnic groups, and we tried to do whatever we could to contain the

23 conflict.

24 Q. And did you get involved in the effort to calm the situation

25 down?

Page 8482

1 A. The commander of the 2nd Corps enabled me to visit Vares and to

2 try to talk to Ivica Rajic, who took control of the area, and to the HVO

3 in Vares. And I tried to talk to Ivica Rajic. I went to the apartment

4 of --

5 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat who he visited in

6 an apartment?

7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Witness, you are being asked to repeat the name of

8 the person you visited in the apartment.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was Ivica Rajic, who took

10 control of the Vares area, and I asked him to enable me to speak to the

11 commander of the Bobovac Brigade. He told me that he had removed him

12 from that position, and that he -- I could still visit him in his

13 apartment because he had admittedly suffered a nervous breakdown, and

14 that he was bed-bound. I went to his apartment and visited him to

15 discuss with him these matters. He told me that he had nothing to do

16 with these incidents. He shifted all the blame onto ever Ivica Rajic.

17 However, he was very much afraid about what the repercussions

18 might be on the Croat population, and he asked me to intercede with the

19 commander of the 2nd Corps to make sure that members of the BH Army would

20 not retaliate against the Croat population. I went back to Tuzla with

21 unfinished business, practically, because it was impossible to reason

22 with Ivica Rajic, and what followed next was a further escalation of the

23 conflict.

24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. If I may just ask for the record, at this

25 period of time, who was the commander of the 2nd Corps?

Page 8483

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 2nd Corps commander was

2 Mr. Hazim Sadic, and the cooperation between the brigade and the brigade

3 of Mr. Sadic, the BH Army, was very good. That I could not contact

4 Mr. Delic directly, this was thanks to Mr. Sadic, the commander of the

5 2nd Corps --

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: It was through him

8 that I contacted General Delic.

9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at this point, I would

10 like the witness to be shown Exhibit D963.

11 Could we now please see page 18 of the document, which is page 25

12 and 26 of the English version. For the record, this is an excerpt from a

13 book by Ante Pecinovic, handwritten.

14 Before that, I would just like to ask the question -- the witness

15 a question.

16 Could we see page 13 of the Bosnian version.

17 Q. Mr Juric, let me ask you, did you know that Mr. Pecinovic had

18 written a book about these events?

19 A. Yes. I learned about that a few years ago.

20 Q. All right. Now I would like to ask you this: In the mid page,

21 approximately, it says --

22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. I would

23 like to take a look at the excerpt which is about halfway down the page,

24 page 18.

25 Your Honour. I apologise. I apologise for this confusion.

Page 8484

1 Page 18, please.

2 Q. All I want to ask you is this: Can you see that mention is made

3 here in this book that you participated in these negotiations?

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: What page is it in English, Madam Vidovic?

5 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] It is this page, the same page,

6 except we should scroll it down a bit.

7 THE COURT: Okay. It's just that on this page, I know I've

8 seen -- okay. Fine. Thank you.

9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Can you see there that your arrival in Tuzla is being described,

11 Mr. Juric? Can you read that portion in the second paragraph?

12 A. Yes. What is discussed here is a meeting which was held on the

13 6th of November, 1993, at the Nordic Battalion base in Ponikve.

14 Mr. Pecinovic described my arrival there with the assistant commander of

15 the 2nd Corps, at the request of the Vares HVO, in an attempt to end the

16 attacks of the BH Army.

17 Q. In connection with your efforts and cooperation with the army

18 representatives, as a result, was there a cessation of hostilities or

19 not?

20 A. At the request of the Vares HVO and when I arrived and

21 intervened, with the assistance of the assistant commander of the

22 2nd Corps, we managed to end the further attacks of the BH Army on HVO

23 units.

24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will not

25 seek to tender this into evidence. It is sufficient, for our purposes,

Page 8485

1 what we have in the transcript.

2 Your Honour, I believe this is the right moment to take a break,

3 perhaps.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We will take a break and

5 come back at quarter to 11.00.

6 Court adjourned.

7 --- Recess taken at 10.13 a.m.

8 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.

9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.

10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

11 Q. Mr. Juric, before the break, we were talking about the cessation

12 of certain conflicts -- or rather, that an attack of the Army of Bosnia

13 and Herzegovina on the region that you mentioned was averted. Let me ask

14 you now this: Did you in any period after these events meet

15 General Rasim Delic again?

16 A. At our first meeting, General Delic told me whenever I had the

17 time, as far as the Army of B and H was concerned, he would accommodate

18 my request. He is a man of his word, this is what I find out, a man that

19 I could rely upon in situations like these. At the end of 1993, there

20 was some changes in B and H, and this is when I met Mr. Delic again.

21 Q. Let us just make this clear for the record. You said that, at

22 the first meeting, General Delic told you, what it says here, "whenever I

23 had the time." What did he actually tell you? What did General Delic

24 tell you at this first meeting? Could you please slow down for the

25 record when you speak.

Page 8486

1 A. He told me -- he said whenever I had problems with the Army of

2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, in terms of relations between -- of the ABiH and

3 the HVO, that I could address him through the commander of the 2nd Corps

4 at any time. I was, indeed, convinced that he was a man of his word, and

5 every time he did either find the time to either meet with me or to hear

6 through the mediation of the commander of the 2nd Corps of the Army of

7 B and H and to hear what our problems were.

8 Q. Did you, indeed, have any problems on account of which you met

9 with General Delic, possibly?

10 A. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the 15th of

11 December, 1993, adopted a decision abolishing HVO, units which

12 theretofore had fought together with the Army of B and H; and the

13 transfer of those units to the Army of B and H, meaning that I had to

14 rename my HVO unit into an ABiH unit, which I could not at all do at that

15 time. This was a political decision of the Presidency of Bosnia and

16 Herzegovina, and I asked to be seen, to meet with Commander Delic to

17 clarify this new situation.

18 Q. Please stop there. I should like you to take a look at document

19 D949.

20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] For the record, this is a -- this

21 is a decision on renaming Croatian Defence Council units.

22 Q. It seems that it indicates the 2nd Corps Command, and down the

23 document, president of the Presidency, Alija Izetbegovic. But I should

24 like to ask you this first: Did you cede this document to me?

25 A. Yes. I gave you this document. This is a document that I

Page 8487

1 received from the commander of the 2nd Corps, and it had been referred to

2 him by the Presidency of the B and H.

3 Q. Very well. At a certain point, you said that you just could not

4 implement that decision. Will you explain to us why not?

5 A. The 115th Brigade, Zrinski, of the HVO, consolidated all the

6 ranks of the Croatian people in the Tuzla region in every respect. That

7 brigade to us meant that we had joined in the armed resistance to the

8 Serb forces which wanted to occupy our territory, and it was with such

9 insignia that we went to war. We just could not accept a change of our

10 insignia and just be simply translated from the HVO into the BH Army.

11 We respected the fact that the ABiH corps was our superior

12 command, but just as well we wanted to retain our national identity,

13 which was essential for the Croatian people in the area to trust that

14 brigade, to have confidence in that brigade, and to remain in their

15 homes.

16 The very decision that we had to change our insignia would mean

17 losing the confidence of the people. We would be turncoats; and, simply,

18 the people would have no trust in anyone anymore. Anyway, the people

19 were already in a situation of having to move out, and it was of the

20 essence for us to try and keep them there.

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me understand one little point. I understand

22 what you are saying, but you were, however, being in Tuzla, you were

23 Bosnian nationals of Croat ethnicity, isn't it so, and the Army of Bosnia

24 and Herzegovina was the national army?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said, initially, that the

Page 8488

1 Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina comprised two military components:

2 The Croatian Defence Council and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

4 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

5 Q. Mr. Juric, so you said that at a certain point you asked for an

6 urgent meeting with General Delic in connection with the decision of the

7 Presidency. Do you recall having said that just a while ago?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, in connection with that, I should like to ask you this: Did

10 you, indeed, meet with him?

11 A. By that date, by the decision of the Presidency, the Croatian

12 Defence Council had been considered a legal military formation. And with

13 the decision on the renaming, the Presidency actually instructed that

14 unless that was done, my brigade would become a paramilitary unit. As I

15 could not accept that my brigade be a paramilitary unit, and by the same

16 token, I could not accept the Presidency's decision, which wanted to play

17 a political game with my brigade. I just couldn't accept it, and I

18 thought that Mr. Delic would be able to do something on the issue so that

19 we would avoid conflicts, because he did show to me that he didn't want

20 any conflicts anymore between the Bosniak and the Croat peoples and that

21 he was a man of integrity who could really help me there.

22 It was crucial. His decision was crucial so that there should be

23 no conflict, that there should be no conflict between 40.000000 Croats

24 and the Bosnian people. If it had not been for his decision, the fate of

25 these people would not have been resolved properly, because this was the

Page 8489

1 only region where there had been no conflicts between the Croats and the

2 Bosniaks.

3 Q. Let us please go step by step. Did General Delic, because of the

4 situation, come to the Tuzla region, in fact, on account of that

5 situation?

6 A. General Delic responded to my call, to my invitation. He came to

7 Tuzla very soon, and we had a long talk about how to find the best

8 solution. He told me that the decision of the Presidency was something

9 that he could not influence, that it was a political decision. But he

10 also said that we, as soldiers, especially the two of us who had

11 demonstrated that we didn't want conflicts and that we wanted the war to

12 end, that we could do something in order to avert any future conflicts.

13 So this was of key importance, this talk with him and the events

14 that followed, because had not Mr. Delic undertaken certain steps, I

15 would not be sitting here today.

16 Q. Just a minute. Mr. Juric, would you please tell us what steps

17 did he take? How did the situation evolve?

18 A. Mr. Delic took a firm soldierly stance, and he ordered

19 practically me and the commander of the 2nd Corps literally this: "We

20 have to find a solution without hurting the Croat people and also

21 preventing any future conflicts from happening. So the two of you," me,

22 as the commander of the HVO, and the commander of the 2nd Corps, "have to

23 agree. Let Mr. Juric prepare a proposal, a solution, and you, Mr. Sadic,

24 you sign it."

25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can this previous

Page 8490

1 document receive an exhibit number?

2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Document 949 is admitted into evidence. May it

3 please be given an exhibit number.

4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will become Exhibit

5 number 1380.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.

7 Yes, Madam Vidovic.

8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I should now like the witness to

9 look at D953, Your Honours.

10 Q. Mr. Juric, for the record, this is a document of the 2nd Corps

11 Command of the 29th of December, 1993.

12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] It is poorly legible in this part,

13 and I should like the witness to take a look at it. Can you just show

14 this document to our colleagues from the Prosecutor's office before that,

15 please.

16 Q. I should like to ask you this: Do you recognise this document?

17 Have you ever seen it before?

18 A. Yes. I actually participated in the drafting of this document,

19 and I'm very well acquainted with it.

20 Q. In what way did you participate in the creation of this document?

21 A. As I said, Mr. Delic instructed the commander of the 2nd Corps

22 and myself to find a solution whereby we would avoid any future, any

23 further conflict, and he recognised all my stances and offered that I put

24 forward my proposals. My solution, which was accepted - and I thank

25 Mr. Delic on this occasion as well for that - was that the 115th Brigade,

Page 8491

1 Zrinski, of the HVO, should stop its path of war as a brigade of the HVO,

2 of the Croatian Defence Council; and that all the armaments, all the men,

3 should be placed at the disposal of the Municipal Defence Staffs; namely,

4 every individual, every Croat individual, would have the right to decide

5 whether they will join in the further defence by the way of ABiH units.

6 Of course, we had to respect the locality, the accommodation, the

7 residence of every individual. They had to stay near their homes, and

8 every officer from my brigade would have to be given a proper place in

9 the ABiH Army units. Therefore, we reinforced our national structure,

10 our ethnic structure, in the ABiH brigades; and, thereby, precluded any

11 possibility of the creation of mono-national units in the Tuzla region.

12 Q. Thank you very much.

13 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can this document be

14 given an exhibit number, please.

15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.

16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Document 953 is admitted into

17 evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.

18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will become Exhibit

19 number 1381.

20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

21 Yes, Madam Vidovic.

22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

23 Q. Mr. Juric, I should like you to take a look at another document,

24 which will be the last document I wish to show you today.

25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] This is document D957. For the

Page 8492

1 record, this is a document of the 115th Zrinski Brigade of the 6th of

2 January, 1994, and it is entitled "Report."

3 Q. I should like to ask you to take a look at this document and tell

4 me something about this highlighted part in the middle of the text. I

5 shall give you a brief notation.

6 But let me ask you before that: Do you recognise this document,

7 first of all?

8 A. Yes, I recognise it. It was a document written and signed by me

9 and sent to the Main Staff of the HVO.

10 Q. I should just like to quote a small portion of this document for

11 you:

12 "The Command of the 115th HVO Brigade, Zrinski, assessed the

13 military situation and the possibility to militarily confront the

14 2nd Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are minimum

15 chances to achieve any military success, with tremendous victims among

16 the Croat civil population that the enemy would not spare. The military

17 composition of the brigade hails from seven municipalities of the Tuzla

18 region that the enemy would quickly cut and surround due to their

19 dispersion and gradually neutralise."

20 So what I should like to ask you is the following: Is the

21 situation, the situation that you described, is that the situation in

22 which the Croatian population and the HVO units of the region actually

23 were in at that time?

24 A. The Croatian population in the region of the Tuzla accounted for

25 15 to 16 per cent also before the war. In the war, we played a

Page 8493

1 significant role because we consolidated our ranks to defend our places,

2 our towns and villages and also because of our good cooperation with the

3 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, as the conflicts escalated

4 between the Croats and the Muslims, there existed the danger of conflicts

5 in our -- erupting in our region as well, and the range against just one

6 brigade of the Croatian Defence Council and --

7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the number of the

8 ABiH brigades.

9 A. Sorry. I wanted to explain to the Croatian Defence Council --

10 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

11 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. Can you please repeat the

12 titles of the brigades in the area?

13 A. In the AOR of the 2nd Corps and partly of the 3rd Corps, there

14 were 32 brigades, in my assessment, which gravitated toward that area.

15 Q. Very well. Now, please resume answering the question. You

16 stopped while you were describing the fact that you sent a report to the

17 HVO Staff, describing the general situation.

18 A. Yes. I sent the report in order to present the situation as it

19 was in order for them to understand why I was making such a decision with

20 the support of the Croats in Tuzla. I wanted them to understand our

21 situation and why it was that I, as the commander, made the decision to

22 stop the path of the war of my brigade.

23 I have to tell you that I never received any answers to the

24 report I sent, and I mean I never received any answers from the HVO.

25 Q. Mr. Juric, did you manage to avert a conflict in that area?

Page 8494

1 A. It was essential to avert a conflict in that area in order for a

2 truce to be introduced as soon as possible. We found ourselves in a

3 situation where there were no more prospects for any future conflicts

4 between the BH Army and the HVO, and we had to engage in negotiations.

5 There came a time when General Delic and another general ...

6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch his name.

7 A. ... at a peace agreement was signed that was valid for the area

8 and as well for the AOR of the 115th Brigade.

9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation].

10 Q. Let us just first correct the transcript. You said that the

11 Washington Agreement was signed and that it was signed between

12 General Delic and?

13 A. General Ante Rousseau, who was the chief of the staff of the

14 Main Staff of the HVO. In the month of February of 1994, the two

15 generals signed a truce; and in the month of March of that year, the

16 Washington Agreement was signed.

17 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Pause there, Witness.

18 Can this document be assigned an exhibit number.

19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness is now

20 speaking far too fast.

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it

22 please be given an exhibit number.

23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document will become Exhibit

24 number 1382.

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

Page 8495

1 Sir, while we started very slowly in the beginning, with you

2 pausing in your answers, now you're moving like a Sputnik. The

3 interpreters are not able to catch up with you. Please keep on talking

4 continuously, but slowly. Okay? Take your time.

5 Thank you, Madam Vidovic.

6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

7 Q. Mr. Juric, I have only a couple of questions left for you.

8 Please slow down a bit.

9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, have we received an

10 exhibit number? Yes, we have.

11 Q. Let me ask you this: Evidently, you were acquainted with

12 General Delic, and I would now like you to tell us what your view of him

13 was as a human being and as a commander.

14 A. At the beginning of my testimony, I said that I met almost all

15 the military and political leaders from both the Croat and Muslim ethnic

16 communities. Among them, there were those who were ultra-nationalists

17 and there were those who were quite moderate in their views and wanted

18 the war to end as soon as possible.

19 Already in our first encounter, I was satisfied that

20 General Delic was an individual whom I could fully trust and who should

21 be given an opportunity to do all in his power to bring about an end to

22 the conflict as soon as possible. In our discussions that lasted several

23 hours, I was able to hear from him what could be done to avert crimes,

24 that whatever crimes were committed should be recorded, that cooperation

25 should be established with the -- among the Croat, Serb, and Bosniak

Page 8496

1 sides in order to make sure that there were as few victims as possible,

2 and that the politicians should be enabled find solutions. Of course,

3 these solutions were not always favourable for us, but I know that

4 General Delic could not do -- did not have free hands, because he had

5 President Izetbegovic above him and he had his subordinate units that did

6 not implement his orders at all times or fully.

7 It was of essence to me to be able to trust General Delic, and I

8 know that he always rationally approached all the problems and did

9 whatever he could to solve our problems in both Tuzla and Vares. He

10 commanded such authority from our units that he only needed one day to

11 make sure that all the hostilities ceased, and I know that he did all in

12 his power to prevent the population from coming under harm's way.

13 There were those who did not understand our views and our

14 intentions and did not work together with us and made it difficult for us

15 to achieve our goals.

16 Q. You spoke of the fact that his units, that's to say the units of

17 the BH Army, out-powered or outnumbered your units. What did you mean by

18 that? Is that what you were discussing? And he was able to do something

19 in one day, and I believe that this is not that clear in the transcript.

20 Can you repeat what you said about him out-powering your units and what

21 it was that he could do in one day?

22 A. I said that in the northern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the

23 BH Army was superior in armaments and troops on a scale of 10 to 1 and

24 that the army's military successes over the HVO were beyond doubt, and

25 that if ever a conflict broke out, the BH Army would have been able to

Page 8497

1 take control of all the HVO-controlled positions in one day, of course

2 with a great many victims and with a great many -- with great damage.

3 Q. You described what was going on in the Tuzla area at the end of

4 1993, and I'm particularly referring to your efforts to avert any

5 conflicts in the area. Did this in any way influence the fate of Bosnia

6 and Herzegovina in the subsequent period?

7 A. After the HVO Brigade Zrinski stopped its path of the war in the

8 way I described earlier, matters turned for the better. We, the Croats

9 in Tuzla, were able to see that all the guarantees put forth by

10 General Delic were honoured and that we could not come in the harm's way.

11 What happened next was a positive development in the Tuzla

12 region; namely, the signing of the first peace agreement in -- on the

13 cessation of hostilities between the HVO and the BH Army in February, and

14 then in the month of March the Washington Agreement, which was followed

15 by the Dayton Accords.

16 The Croats in Tuzla felt in no way threatened from any quarters;

17 and I, as the HVO brigade commander, actually finished my path of war,

18 but I was able to cooperate and communicate with all those who remained

19 in Tuzla.

20 Q. And how many lives were saved in the Tuzla area thanks to this

21 effort?

22 A. There were around 40.000 Croats who lived in that area.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Wood.

24 MR. WOOD: That calls for speculation. I see that he's

25 partially, if not completed, answered the question, but again that calls

Page 8498

1 for speculation and the Prosecution objects on that ground.

2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.

3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't believe that

4 that does. The witness was fully involved in the events and was familiar

5 with the situation, with the threats, and he was aware of the

6 consequences that certain decisions entailed. I believe that he's fully

7 capable of answering the question.

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: You say, Madam Vidovic, that the witness can tell

9 us exactly people would have died? He can tell us the size of the Croat

10 force, and he has told us it was 40.000. Whether all of them would have

11 been killed or not, we don't know.

12 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Possibly there's a

13 misunderstanding, Your Honour. I asked the witness about how many

14 people -- or rather, let me perhaps clarify my question.

15 The witness said that at -- or rather, he said that the Croat

16 population was getting ready to move out of the area. My question was

17 how many people remained in their homes, and I meant Croats.

18 JUDGE MOLOTO: You were --

19 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] That was the point of my question,

20 but I can rephrase my question. It is possible that the transcript --

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please do.

22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]

23 Q. Mr. Juric, please, did the averting of the conflict result in the

24 Croat population remaining in that area of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

25 A. As I said, there were around 40.000 Croats living in the Tuzla

Page 8499

1 area. When the 115th Zrinski Brigade ended its war path, and I was

2 involved in that, there were no more threats levelled at any of the

3 ethnic communities, and the Croat population remained in their homes.

4 The Zrinski Brigade was no more, and there were no victims as a result of

5 that. Nobody's home was taken over or occupied, and this meant that the

6 agreement between General Delic and me had been honoured.

7 Q. Mr. Juric, I thank you for your testimony.

8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further

9 questions of the witness.

10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Madam Vidovic.

11 Mr. Wood.

12 MR. WOOD: The Prosecution has no questions of this witness,

13 Your Honour.

14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Wood.

15 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, microphone, please.


17 Questioned by the Court:

18 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Witness, when did you leave your

19 native village in order to go and live in Zagreb?

20 A. When the 115th Zrinski Brigade stopped its path of war, which was

21 on the 10th of January of 1994, I stayed in Tuzla for some three to four

22 months, sorting out the wartime documentation relating to my brigade, in

23 particular the documentation concerning those members of my brigade who

24 were killed or wounded. I did not get involved in politics, and I

25 decided to move out in order to prevent becoming an obstacle or a bone of

Page 8500

1 contention in the context of some political developments. I don't know

2 if I'm clear. Since my military duty ceased, I remained there as a

3 civilian for some three to four months, sorted out the brigade's

4 documentation, handed it over to the commander of the 2nd Corps of the

5 BH Army, and joined my family who had already gone to Zagreb by then.

6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] How is it that your family had

7 left the village to go to Zagreb? When did they do so, when did they

8 leave the village?

9 A. My native home was located 200 metres away from the positions

10 opposite the Serb Army. My wife and my son, in view of my military

11 engagement, had to be placed somewhere safe, out of harm's way, because I

12 was on duty 24 hours a day. I had relatives living in Zagreb, and that's

13 why I sent them over there.

14 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Just one more thing. I may be

15 wrong, but at some period I think I understood, and please correct me if

16 I'm wrong, I think you said that there were problems within -- sorry,

17 between the HVO and the 3rd Corps, be it in the zone of the 3rd Corps,

18 and that there were problems with the Croatian troops in the Croatian

19 armed forces. Am I wrong?

20 A. The 3rd Corps of the BH Army was not in the area of my activity;

21 however, the conflicts had started earlier on and they were engaged in

22 that area. That was the area of Central Bosnia, which was outside of my

23 activity and my knowledge. These conflicts were going on at the time,

24 and our intention was to prevent them from spreading over to the Tuzla

25 area.

Page 8501

1 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] So I understood properly. In

2 the area of responsibility of the 3rd Corps, there were conflicts with

3 the Croatian part of the Bosnian armed forces. Do you know whether those

4 conflicts or difficulties were caused by the presence of foreign fighters

5 or units made up of foreign commanders in the area of responsibility of

6 the 3rd Corps?

7 A. At the time of the conflicts, it was very difficult to

8 communicate with the different areas. In many cases, it became quite

9 apparent, at a later stage, that the information received earlier on was

10 wrong. I didn't have any communication lines open with the other HVO

11 brigades. It was very difficult for me to get in touch even with the

12 Main Staff of the Croatian Defence Council, but this was not essential

13 for my purposes. What was important for my purposes was to have close

14 ties of cooperation established with the BH Army in order to prevent the

15 conflict from escalating.

16 The information you received to is something I don't have much

17 knowledge about. I had various information, but they are second -- that

18 is secondhand information, and I wasn't able to verify that. I can state

19 upon full responsibility that in the AOR of the 2nd Corps, there were no

20 foreign citizens or paramilitary units, such as HOS or any other

21 paramilitary units. There was just the BH Army and the HVO.

22 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] But let's come back for a moment

23 to the issue of information. Regarding the area of responsibility of the

24 3rd Corps, I do understand that you did not witness anything with your

25 own eyes, but did you hear anything to the effect about the presence of

Page 8502

1 foreign fighters and of units made up of foreigners; rumours, hearsay?

2 A. I have to tell you that information that reached the commander,

3 the brigade commander, which is what I was, was sometimes insufficient,

4 sometimes even concealed, and sometimes they were downright malicious. I

5 invested a lot of efforts in order to obtain information from my area of

6 responsibility; and as far as the foreigners in the BH Army are

7 concerned, I could see for myself, through some humanitarian

8 organisations, where there were foreigners who would sometimes come and

9 present themselves as foreigners who wanted to come and assist the

10 BH Army effort [as interpreted].

11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.

12 Mr. Juric, it seems to me that you must have been in an extremely

13 difficult position.

14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Madam Vidovic.

15 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise;

16 however, there is an important error in the transcript.

17 In the answer to Judge Lattanzi's questions, the witness spoke

18 about humanitarian organisations that had come to help the "people of

19 Bosnia and Herzegovina"; and in the transcript, it says "to the BH Army

20 effort."

21 So if you can please just make sure to check, because I believe

22 that the Judge probably received a different answer in the French

23 language, and perhaps he can clarify that.

24 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes, Madam Vidovic, you are right.

25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour,

Page 8503

1 Your Honour Judge Harhoff.

2 JUDGE HARHOFF: That's quite okay, Ms. Vidovic. Thank you very

3 much for drawing our attention to this.

4 But let me get back to the witness. It seems to me that your

5 position must have been extremely difficult, especially during the time

6 when there was a conflict between the HVO and the ABiH. You have

7 explained to us how you decided to, in the end, to join the ABiH with

8 your brigade. But I would have thought that this would have called for a

9 counter-reaction from the HVO, didn't it? Did the HVO accept, just like

10 that, that one of its brigades sort of crossed over to what was then

11 perceived as the enemy? How did you manage?

12 A. Your Honour, I apologise, but I think perhaps there was a

13 misunderstanding.

14 115th Brigade, Zrinski, did not cross over to the BH Army. The

15 Zrinski 115th Brigade was disbanded or finished its war record on the

16 10th of January, 1994; and on that day, I changed to civilian clothing,

17 as did all other individuals from our brigade. But we also agreed that

18 every single person, if they so wished, could join the local BH Army if

19 that was their wish, that they should be allowed to do so and enabled to

20 do so, and that in the BH Army they should enjoy the same position they

21 had in the 115th Brigade, the Zrinski Brigade.

22 Of course, the political leadership of the HVO did not appreciate

23 my decision because they all had their own views of this. My vision,

24 from where I was, was such that this was the best way to go about it.

25 Maybe someone from Central Bosnia had a different view, but that is

Page 8504

1 precisely why I provided a document and sent it to them because I wanted

2 them to understand what the situation was where we were, that the

3 power -- that the ratio was 10 to 1 in terms of Bosnian superiority and

4 that this could be very negative for us.

5 Because of this decision of mine, this meant an end to my war

6 record, but it was also important to me that Mr. Delic and I had honoured

7 our word that we had given each other and done everything we needed to do

8 in order to prevent a conflict from breaking out in that area, regardless

9 of what kind of consequences this might have on our careers.

10 JUDGE HARHOFF: Did General Delic explain to you that if you did

11 not disband, then you would be attacked by the ABiH?

12 A. In the conversation that we had at the 2nd Corps Command with

13 Corps Commander, Mr. Hasim Sadic, he told us verbatim this, "Do

14 everything you can to find a solution for this political decision made by

15 the Presidency, but a conflict must be avoided." Then Mr. Sadic said,

16 "Please honour the proposal that is offered by Zvonko and sign it."

17 In other words, it was never a question of any kind of threat.

18 It was more an order and a human request to do everything we can to avoid

19 conflict because there was already too much of that in Bosnia.

20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, sir.


22 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I just would like to say that a

23 correction or an addition should be made to the transcript. I think it's

24 important. I'm sure the Defence counsel will feel the same.

25 Page 40, after line 2, it may be that I did not turn on my

Page 8505

1 microphone, but it's not been recorded on the transcript. After

2 Ms. Vidovic spoke in order to correct the transcript, I said, "Yes,

3 Madam, you are right." So that has to be added.

4 Thank you.

5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Judge.

6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

7 [French channel on English channel]

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm getting French through my headset.

9 THE INTERPRETER: My apologies.

10 JUDGE MOLOTO: No problem.

11 Sir, just one or two points really to clear up with you. You

12 referred to the Washington Agreement that was signed in February, and

13 then in March, the -- I see you're getting surprised. Okay. Let's get

14 you to where I saw that. Maybe you were misinterpreted.

15 A. In February?

16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. Page 34, and if you can help me,

17 Madam Vidovic, at line 16, it says:

18 "What happened next was a positive development in the Tuzla

19 region; namely, the signing of the first peace agreement on the cessation

20 of hostilities between the HVO and the BH Army in February, and then in

21 the month of March the Washington Agreement, which was followed by the

22 Dayton Accords." I'm sorry. I misquoted.

23 Now, do you remember that part of the evidence? Now, February

24 and March of what year are we talking about here?

25 A. Yes. The first agreement between General Rousseau and

Page 8506

1 General Delic was in February; and the Washington Agreement, as far as

2 I can remember, was in March; and then the Dayton Accords followed that.

3 So 1994.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: And March 1994?

5 A. Yes.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: And the Dayton Accords, do you recall when?

7 A. I don't, because you have to realise that after I left Tuzla I

8 went to a completely different career and I did not discuss the war

9 events with anyone until I came to testify here. I am in the business

10 world, and I can't really tell you for sure. I don't want to make a

11 mistake.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.

13 Any questions arising from the questions by the Bench?

14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Wood.

16 MR. WOOD: No, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, sir.

18 Mr. Juric, thank you so much. We've come to the conclusion of

19 your testimony. Thank you for taking time off your very busy business

20 schedule to come and testify. You are now excused. You may stand down.

21 Thank you very much, and travel well back home.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, and I would

23 like to thank everyone in the courtroom. Have a good day.

24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

25 [The witness withdrew]

Page 8507

1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam Vidovic.

2 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our next witness will

3 be here tomorrow. It is Dr. Paul Cornish. He's scheduled to testify

4 tomorrow -- or rather, he is arriving today, but his testimony will begin

5 tomorrow. He hasn't arrived yet.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Madam Vidovic. In which case

7 then court will stand adjourned to tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning,

8 Courtroom II.

9 Court adjourned.

10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.40 a.m.,

11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day of April,

12 2008, at 9.00 a.m.