1 Wednesday, 17 March 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, case number IT-01-47-T, The
8 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Can we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
11 MR. WITHOPF: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
12 Counsel. For the Prosecution, Tecla Benjamin, Ekkehard Withopf, and Ruth
13 Karper, the case manager.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Withopf.
15 And now the appearances for the Defence, please.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. President.
17 Good afternoon, Your Honours. On behalf of General Hadzihasanovic, Edina
18 Residovic, lead counsel; Stefane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Mirna Milanovic,
19 legal assistant. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the other Defence team.
21 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
22 On behalf of Mr. Kubura, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, Rodney Dixon, and
23 Mr. Mulalic, legal assistant.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Chamber bids
25 good afternoon to all staff present, representatives of the OTP, the
1 attorneys for the accused, the accused, and all the staff members,
2 Mr. Registrar, Madam Usher, the court reporters, and I don't wish to
3 forget the interpreters in the booth and the technical staff.
4 On our programme for today, we have two witnesses planned, and
5 without further ado, I should like to ask Madam Usher to go and fetch the
6 first witness.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Are you
9 hearing a translation of my words in your own language?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have been called to appear
12 as a Prosecution witness. To do that, you have to take the solemn
13 declaration. But before that, I need to identify you by asking you some
14 questions. First of all, give me your first and last name, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ivo Kolenda.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When were you born?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1940, on the 6th of January.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And where were you born?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In Cukle.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your current occupation?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am now retired.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993, what were you
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1993, I had already retired then.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you ever testified in
1 court, or is this the first time?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have never testified before. This
3 is the first time.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you're testifying on behalf
5 of the Prosecution, you need to take the solemn declaration by reading the
6 text that Madam Usher is going to hand to you. So please read the text in
7 your own language.
8 WITNESS: IVO KOLENDA
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
13 Before we begin with your testimony, I need to give you some
14 information regarding the way in which these proceedings will develop, and
15 especially your own testimony. You will be asked to answer questions that
16 will be put to you by the representatives of the OTP, who are seated to
17 your right. And I believe it is Madam Benjamin who will be asking
18 questions, because she is behind the pulpit. Once you have answered all
19 the questions that are going to be put to you by a representative of the
20 Prosecution, the lawyers for the Defence, who are located to your left,
21 there are six of them, and only one or two will be asking you questions,
22 and they will do so in order to verify what you told the Prosecutor in
23 answering their questions and to check your credibility, and also
24 regarding the general context of events.
25 The three Judges in front of you, should they deem it necessary,
1 may, at any point in time, also ask you questions in order to clarify your
2 answers. Sometimes the questions are complicated. If you don't
3 understand them, ask the person putting them to you to rephrase them. If
4 the question seems to you unclear or too complicated, please do not
5 hesitate for the question to be repeated. As far as possible, try and
6 answer fully and precisely, though you will be testifying about events
7 that took place more than ten years ago. If you've forgotten, tell us so
9 As you're testifying under oath, I need to tell you that you have
10 pledged to tell the whole truth. Then you must not give any lies. Should
11 you provide false testimony, you must know that you are exposing yourself
12 to the possibility of being prosecuted and that the punishment for false
13 testimony can be a fine and a prison sentence up to seven years.
14 Also, when answering questions, if certain points could one day be
15 taken against you, you may refuse to answer that question. In this very
16 specific situation, the Chamber may force you to provide an answer, but
17 even then, what you say cannot be taken against you one day in the future.
18 I needed to explain all this so that you should realise the
19 importance of your testimony.
20 Without wasting any time, I turn to the Prosecution Bench, and I
21 give the floor to Ms. Benjamin for the examination-in-chief of this
23 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
24 Mr. President, Your Honours.
25 Examined by Ms. Benjamin:
1 Q. Mr. Kolenda, you indicated to the Trial Chamber that you were born
2 in Cukle. Could you tell us in which municipality Cukle is situated.
3 A. In Travnik.
4 Q. And could you give us a breakdown of the ethnic composition of
5 Cukle, please.
6 A. Before the war, there were Serbs, Muslims, and Croats, but now,
7 since these events, there are only two ethnicities: Serbs and Croats [as
8 interpreted]. There are no Serbs [sic] anymore.
9 Q. Could you state for the Trial Chamber if you are married and if
10 you have children.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. Instead of Serbs,
12 Muslims and Croats.
13 A. I'm married. I have some children. One son was killed, so I now
14 from six.
15 MS. BENJAMIN:
16 Q. Thank you. Were you ever a member of the JNA?
17 A. Yes, I was.
18 Q. And could you tell us what period you served, please.
19 A. Between '61 and 1963.
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. In the transcript,
21 in line -- on page 5 - I can't see the line - 7 and 8, it says that the
22 witness said that there are only two ethnicities in the village: Serbs
23 and Croats. But the witness actually said that there were two
24 ethnicities: Muslims and Croats. So there's an error in the transcript.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Actually, he said that only
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Croats and Muslims were left, whereas line 7 of page 5 says that there
2 were Serbs and Croats. So we wish to correct that line.
3 Please continue, Madam Benjamin.
4 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Could you, Mr. Kolenda, state for the Trial Chamber the
6 relationship that existed between the Muslims and Croats before the
7 conflict in Cukle.
8 A. Before the conflict started, relations between the Croats and
9 Muslims were good.
10 Q. And could you emphasise for us when you say "good," what you mean.
11 A. We worked together, we visited each other. When we sent our
12 children to the army, or when there were weddings, we would join in.
13 Q. Mr. Kolenda, did there come a time when these relationships became
15 A. Yes. They were aggravated when there was this hesitation,
16 sometime around February and March. Things didn't work any more.
17 Q. At the commencement of June 1993, could you tell us what the
18 atmosphere was like in Cukle, please.
19 A. It was hard. The situation was difficult. When the shooting
20 started and when each village started guard duty, until then, there was
21 confidence between them, but after that, things deteriorated.
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Kolenda, could you kindly now state for the Trial
23 Chamber or relate for the Trial Chamber the events of the 8th of June,
24 1993 as they unfolded.
25 A. On that day, the events started about 4.00 a.m. There was an
1 attack from all sides on Cukle and Susanj and Grahovcici and Brajkovici.
2 We were surrounded. There was gunfire from all sides. There were
3 soldiers. First they broke through the lines at Mehurici, and they
4 entered from that direction and they set fire to I think five houses, and
5 this was before dawn. And when it dawned, they started shelling
6 Grahovcici and the hill above it. And this went on until 9.00. Then the
7 people of Cukle started withdrawing from Gornje Cukle towards Ovnak and
8 Cekine Kuce. And this was going on until midday. And I said to my wife
9 and my sister-in-law, who is older - she was born in 1937, and there were
10 younger women. I said, "You must withdraw. We must take the children.
11 We can't stay on here." And the women went first. I left later, about
12 12.00. And then there were a lot of soldiers from Orasac and Donje Cukle,
13 and they protected us until darkness fell. A lot of people were killed.
14 That was the day my son was killed, around 11.00, near the Babic houses.
15 Q. Mr. Kolenda --
16 A. And --
17 Q. Could you tell us at this point in time: Were your sons at home
18 with you?
19 A. Yes. He was close to my house, and he was wounded in the right
20 arm from a hunting rifle.
21 Q. Which son would this have been?
22 A. Mijo. He was wounded there, around 9.00, behind the houses. A
23 bullet was taken out of his arm. He went to the hospital, to Grahovcici.
24 And after that, around 11.00, my son Petar was killed, who was born in
25 1971. We then withdrew, around 12.00. We went towards Grahovcici, but I
1 don't know what really went on after that. The soldiers ordered that all
2 civilians should withdraw.
3 Q. On your leaving the village of Cukle, could you tell the Court
4 what you observed as you left the village. What did you see?
5 A. When we climbed up near my house, I saw that some soldiers had
6 arrived there, and they took out my horse and cows and there was maize and
7 grass around. And then Marko said to me: "Look, they've let the animals
8 out." And I said: "Let them." And then I went up the hill and I didn't
9 see anything else.
10 When we were withdrawing from Ceka's [phoen] house towards
11 Pokrajcici, around 6.00, and it was already dark when we got to
12 Pokrajcici, I saw houses burning, my brothers' houses, who were above
13 mine. Stipe, Zorko's, and Fabijo's. That is where their houses and
14 stables were. And they were set on fire that very night.
15 As for the others, I went there the next day to carry food to the
16 soldiers at Pjescara, and they had binoculars and I could see through them
17 that every night they would set fire to one or two house and stables. And
18 then when there was a ceasefire, I have a friend who stayed there during
19 the war. There were people from Siprag, then Kotor Varos, and they had
20 livestock and cows, and they had entered our houses. And then Rigici
21 [phoen] came and set fire to all the stables. He said -- they said that
22 it was all theirs.
23 Q. Mr. Kolenda, could you assist us? When you say "they," what do
24 you mean by "they"? They set fire to the houses, they took the horses.
25 Whom do you refer to when you say "they"?
1 A. Soldiers. I suppose it was the 3rd Corps and the 7th Muslim
2 Brigade. There were soldiers from all over.
3 Q. Why do you specify the 3rd Corps and the 7th Muslim Brigade? Is
4 there any reason that you suspected that these soldiers were from that
6 A. I think they were, because there were attempts to attack our
7 forces at Usice and Grahovcici two or three times. Two soldiers were
8 killed before this conflict, and they wanted to break through, and then
9 they grouped themselves, and that is how it happened. And then when we
10 got to Ceka's houses, there were so many soldiers at once. There were so
11 many of them coming from all sides, from the mountain, soldiers from
12 Zenica, from Han Bila. We were surrounded, you see.
13 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber what the village of Cukle looked like one
14 week after the conflict.
15 A. Everyone stayed in their houses. No one walked around. Nothing
16 was destroyed or anything.
17 Q. What did the houses look like in Cukle?
18 A. Before the conflict or after the conflict?
19 Q. After the conflict, the day after.
20 A. After the conflict. If you didn't see it, you wouldn't believe
21 it. No roofs. No one has come back to the village to this day. There's
22 Gornje Cukle. No one has come. Orasac, Miletici. No one has returned
23 yet. All you can see are the bare walls, and they were all houses with
24 two floors, or one and a half floors, before.
25 Q. What have your houses -- could you tell the Trial Chamber how it
1 looked one week after the conflict?
2 A. As far as I was able to see from Pjescara, when I was taking food
3 for the soldiers and I was looking through binoculars, every night you
4 could see cars driving off things from houses, and a house or two being
5 set on fire. Until the ceasefire came. When the ceasefire came, I went
6 down and I saw everything. We went there by bus.
7 Q. What was the condition of your house when you saw it?
8 A. When I arrived, I had two houses and stables, but everything was
9 burnt down. The roofs had fallen in. One has been repaired. The other
10 hasn't yet. That's how it is.
11 Q. Did you remain in Nova Bila after the conflict?
12 A. I was in Stara Bila during the conflict. We were in a house and
13 we were crowded, because refugees had come from all sides. There were six
14 families, 28 of us in a single house. We had to lie down next to one
15 another. We were crammed there. And then after this ceasefire, we went
16 to -- I went to Pero Kalic's [phoen] house until my house was repaired. I
17 applied to return first, and I returned immediately, as soon as I could.
18 It will be five years now that I've gone back.
19 Q. So could you tell the Trial Chamber: Where do you live at
21 A. I'm living in Cukle.
22 Q. And for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, could you tell us: What
23 is the relationship now between the Muslims and Croats in Cukle?
24 A. Well, let me tell you. The older ones are somehow managing to
25 talk to one another. As to the younger ones, those in the 30s, they won't
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 even say hello to you. I had some problems when I returned. When the
2 children were small, they were 2 or 3 years old, and now they're attending
3 school. So I was -- they were 7 or 8 when I returned. And they say
4 "Salamaleikum", and I kept quiet. And I stopped a child and asked him,
5 "Is that what the teacher teaches you?" He didn't answer. And then a
6 driver came from Alivodja [phoen], and I said this to him, and he went
7 down there to their teacher and explained everything. And then they
8 stopped teasing me and harassing me. Now the children are coming and
9 going and saying good day normally. But I did have problems when I first
10 returned. But things are okay now, thank God.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kolenda.
12 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, Your Honours, this is the
13 examination-in-chief of this witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kolenda, I have a question
15 for you which follows on from an answer that you gave.
16 You said that there was an attack and that you asked your family
17 members to leave your house after your son had been wounded in the arm.
18 You said that there were soldiers. But what we don't know is whether you
19 saw these soldiers. And if you did, how far away were they from you?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were about 500 metres from me.
21 They were a little below the house and I was on a hill. We were observing
22 what was happening. And it wasn't just from one side. If you know the
23 lay of the land there, that's how it is. That's what I saw. They were
24 coming from all sides.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation].
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They had olive-drab uniforms, sir,
2 on them.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that they were members
4 of the 3rd Corps or of the 7th Muslim Brigade. On what basis have you
5 made this claim? Is this an inference that you drew or was there any
6 information that -- any elements that support your claim?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't support what I have stated,
8 but they can't just be from Cukle or from Mehurici. You can't have so
9 many soldiers from those areas. They must have been preparing to have the
10 inhabitants moved away from Cukle, Orasac, and Miletici, Maljine and
11 Guca Gore and Grahovcici and Susanj and Brajkovici. One platoon can't
12 liberate such an extensive territory in one day. This all took place in
13 one day.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You said that at the beginning
15 you saw houses on fire as soon as the attack started. How were these
16 houses set on fire? Yes. My question was --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were three houses and
18 two stables, and they were set on fire immediately up there. My brothers'
19 houses. They were a little above mine, about 600 metres further up, up
20 the hill from my house.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you said that they were your
22 brothers' houses.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How were they set on fire?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, how do I know? I wasn't in
1 the vicinity.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But you yourself saw them
3 burning. Did you see them burning from the place where you were at?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did. I saw them. Everything
5 could be seen from where I was, Donje Cukle, Gornje Cukle, Ovnak.
6 Everything can be seen. You just couldn't see Susanj and Koljevici.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] By the houses which were on
8 fire, did you see any soldiers or was there no one there?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no. You couldn't see that.
10 It wasn't near.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I'll now turn to the
12 Defence. Are there any questions that the Defence would like to put to
13 the witness? But I'm sure there are. You may take the floor.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We have
15 a few questions for Mr. Kolenda.
16 Cross-examined by Ms. Residovic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, witness. Good day, Mr. Kolenda. My
18 name is Edina Residovic and I represent General Hadzihasanovic. As the
19 president of the Chamber has already told you, I'll be asking you a number
20 of questions, and please answer them if you know the answers. If my
21 question doesn't seem to be sufficiently precise, let me know and I will
22 try to rephrase the question a little more clearly.
23 Mr. Kolenda, you've said that you lived in Cukle, in Travnik
24 municipality; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. In fact, your house was in a part of Cukle called Novo Selo; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. Ovnak and Novo Selo and Cukle. We were near
4 Cukle, and Grahovcici was near, and so on.
5 Q. So your village was a separate village from the village of Cukle,
6 although it was part -- it belonged to that village of Cukle?
7 A. Yes, that's correct. It was separate.
8 Q. In Gornje Cukle, Muslims and Croats lived there before the war,
9 likewise in your town; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. The Muslim houses were in the middle, and the Croatian houses were
12 on the outskirts; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. There were other Croatian villages around your village, Ovnak,
15 Susanj, and Grahovcici; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, it is, and Orasac further up.
17 Q. In your Novo Selo -- Ovnak was closest to Novo Selo, which was
18 about two kilometres from the village; is that correct?
19 A. No. Ovnak is about 300 metres from my house. When the phone
20 lines were introduced, they found out that it was exactly 300 metres away.
21 Q. However, the other places, Grahovcici, are further away, five or
22 six kilometres?
23 A. Two kilometres from my house. Grahovcici is two kilometres from
24 my house.
25 Q. Before the conflict, there was an HVO platoon in Donje Cukle,
1 which was part of a company that had its command post in Grahovcici; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. About 20 people from Novo Selo were HVO members; is that correct?
5 A. Well, not even 20. There were about ten of them. There weren't
6 that many young men.
7 Q. At the beginning, these HVO members went together with army
8 members to the lines on Mount Vlasic, facing the Serbian forces?
9 A. Yes, that's correct. My Petar was there too.
10 Q. However, as you said in response to a question from my learned
11 colleague, in February or March, the relationship between the HVO and army
12 deteriorated, and after that, the members of the HVO didn't go to Vlasic;
13 they held guard duty and fortified themselves around the village?
14 A. No. They went there together, and when they returned, when they
15 were returning from duty on one day, from Kajbasa [phoen], then at Zukica
16 bridge they took their weapons and captured them. They confiscated the
17 lorry and then a few hours later they let them go home without anything.
18 My son came about 3.00, should have come about 10.00, and then the
19 relationship deteriorated and they no longer went to the line together.
20 Q. And in Ovnak, 300 metres away from your house, there was an HVO
21 checkpoint; is that correct?
22 A. Yes. There was a checkpoint there.
23 Q. After the Jure Francetic Brigade in Zenica had been disarmed in
24 the middle of April 1993, some of the soldiers from that brigade arrived
25 in your area and became part of the brigade that your unit belonged to?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. Part of them, but on the whole, they all escaped to
2 Nova Bila at night. Only a few remained, about ten men from the Francetic
3 unit remained. They would run away at night when they were sent to
4 complete a task.
5 Q. As of that time, they started establishing fortified lines from
6 Ovnak in the direction of Grahovcici; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. Opposite the checkpoint in Ovnak, through the checkpoint in Ovnak,
9 people going from Zenica to Travnik weren't able to pass through very
10 often, because the HVO would send them back at the checkpoint; is that
12 A. Yes. But they would also capture people in a checkpoint. You
13 couldn't pass through. There were some young men who were captured. This
14 is what I have stated. People were captured.
15 Q. At the beginning of June, eight buses with BH army members were
16 captured. They were supposed to go to the defence line in Turbe. Are you
17 aware of this?
18 A. Yes. They were sent back. I am aware of that.
19 Q. Early in the morning on the 8th of June, you said that you heard
20 shooting from the direction of Mehurici, Suhi Dol, and Zagrdje; is that
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. These villages are quite far away from your village?
24 A. Yes, they are. But they went to Mrkonje from there, and the lines
25 were right by Mrkonje.
1 Q. The first lines that the HVO had were in fact at the exit from
2 Cukle, in Mrkonje?
3 A. Yes, about 50 metres away, there was a line, and then there was
4 the HVO line, the BH line, and the HVO line were close to each other.
5 Q. On that morning, in fact, in Cukle itself, the attack first
6 started against Mrkonje and then these houses that you have mentioned were
7 set on fire?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. As you were in your house, you didn't see how these houses were
10 set on fire and you didn't see who did it?
11 A. No, I didn't. I was -- it was two kilometres away from my house
12 at least, so I didn't see them.
13 Q. As you said, you withdrew with some inhabitants in the direction
14 of Ovnak?
15 A. Ovnak and Cekina Kuce.
16 Q. From Cekine Kuce, as you explained a little earlier on, you saw
17 that some soldiers had taken a horse and cow out of your stable?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The last thing you saw was that the horse and cow were grazing in
20 the field, and then you moved away and you didn't see what happened
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. At some time in the afternoon, about 3.00 p.m., you set off in the
24 direction of Pokrajcici, where there were lorries waiting for you. These
25 lorries took all of you to Nova Bila?
1 A. Not about 3.00, but when night fell, there was a mine down there,
2 and Han Bila was there. We couldn't go before. We were waiting, men,
3 women, and children. We were waiting by Cekine Kuce until night fell and
4 then we withdrew under cover of the night. It was about 10.00.
5 Q. While you were waiting in Cekine Kuce, inhabitants from the
6 village of Orasac also arrived. They were withdrawing, together with HVO
7 members from the village of Orasac; is that correct?
8 A. Yes. From Donje Cukle, from Orasac, they were withdrawing. At
9 about 9.00. They were -- the women and children who were withdrawing and
10 the troops were providing protection.
11 Q. In response to a question put to you by the President of the
12 Chamber, you said that you could see how your brothers' houses had burnt?
13 A. Yes, that's correct. Two brothers of mine.
14 Q. You observed that after you had been assigned to carry water and
15 food for the HVO to the lines in Pokrajcici?
16 A. No. It was that night that the houses burnt down. But later I
17 was given these tasks, and then there were another 12 houses and stables
18 that burnt down. The names of the people are available. I have mentioned
19 them. I had two houses, my brother Zorko had two houses and Stipo had
20 two, Niko Baric had two houses, Vinko had a stable. There were 12 houses
21 and 12 stables that burnt down after that. Every day you'd be told that
22 there was another house burning.
23 Q. In fact, you observed all of this from Pjescara, which is about
24 seven or eight kilometres from your village; is that correct?
25 A. Yes. I think that that would be the distance.
1 Q. Everything that you could see from that distance during that
2 month, all you could see was smoke?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You were not able to know how the houses were set on fire or who
5 did it?
6 A. No. But there were people who spoke about it. There were people
7 from Kotor Varos and people who came from Ovnak. They said: "Your
8 neighbour Ridja [phoen] didn't let us do anything. They set fire to the
9 stables. When we returned, that man was up there with the sheep." Then
10 he went to see my friend. He asked my friend: "What are you looking
11 for?" He said: "I have some friends, Ivo and Marko, up in the field."
12 Q. Everything you have just told me, things that you found out about
13 a lot later?
14 A. Yes, a lot later, when the truth had been established.
15 Q. And the truth that you have mentioned happened after the
16 Washington Agreement, in 1994, and the first time you went to the village
17 was in 1995; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You returned to your village, to your house, in 1999; is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Kolenda.
23 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
24 Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'll now turn to the
1 other Defence team. Mr. Dixon.
2 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. As Your Honours will be
3 aware, Mr. Kubura is not charged in the indictment with any alleged
4 incidents in connection with the village of Cukle, which is essentially
5 what the witness has testified about today. And, Your Honours, we
6 therefore have no questions for this witness on behalf of Mr. Kubura. I'm
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Dixon.
9 I'll turn to Mr. Withopf and Mrs.. Benjamin. Any other questions
10 you would like to ask the witness?
11 MS. BENJAMIN: Mr. President, if I may, I'll just ask the witness
12 one question, please.
13 Re-examined by Ms. Benjamin:
14 Q. Witness, your house was in Novo Selo, wasn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And when you had to leave the village, you were in Pokrajcici
17 A. Grahovcici.
18 Q. The area that you took the food to the soldiers, what is that
20 A. Pokrajcici. Pokrajcici.
21 Q. Tell the Court what is the distance between Pokrajcici and
22 Novo Selo.
23 A. Well, the distance is about eight kilometres, the distance between
24 Pokrajcici and Novo Selo. If you use another route, the distance is not
25 as great.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. And would I be correct in asking you if, from your vantage point
2 in Pokrajcici, if you were able to see houses burning in Novo Selo?
3 A. Well, it's a hill. You could see the entire village, and Ovnak.
4 It was very clear.
5 Q. And what did you see?
6 A. Well, you could see the houses burning in the evening. They
7 didn't burn during the day. When we would take food to the people, then
8 you could see two or three houses burning, until all the houses had been
9 set on fire. They didn't set fire to some of the houses which were
10 inhabited, but they did when people left.
11 Q. So in fact you did see these houses burning probably a day or two
12 days after the conflict; am I right?
13 A. Yes. Two days afterwards or perhaps even more.
14 MS. BENJAMIN: Thank you, Mr. President. This is all for this
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mrs. Benjamin.
17 Mr. Kolenda, this concludes your testimony. The Prosecution has
18 examined you, the Defence has also examined you, and the Judges have also
19 asked you some questions to clarify certain matters. Thank you for having
20 come to testify at The Hague, especially about events that are painful,
21 given that you have told us that you lost your son in the course of these
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I lost my son and in Pjescara,
24 Josip was wounded. He was born in 1974. On the 12th of June is when it
25 happened, three days later. He's disabled. He has only managed to start
1 walking. There was a shell that hit the balcony. So I have two who are
2 wounded. One was seriously wounded. One son was killed. But the other
3 son was slightly wounded.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber
5 would like to thank you for having contributed to determining the truth.
6 On behalf of the Judges, I wish you a good trip home.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Everything I have said has been
8 correct. I wouldn't have done otherwise. And I would like to thank you
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I will now ask the
11 usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll turn to the Prosecution
14 now. Second witness has been scheduled for this hearing, Tomislav Mikulic
15 is the name mentioned. Is that correct, Mr. Withopf?
16 MR. WITHOPF: That's correct, Mr. President, and the witness is
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will wait for the
19 usher to return. The usher has gone to fetch the witness.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Let me
22 check first that you can hear what I'm saying in your own language, thanks
23 to the interpreters.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I hear you well.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have been called as a
1 witness for the Prosecution to testify about events which took place in
2 1993, and within the framework of your testimony, and before you take your
3 solemn declaration, I need to collect some information about you. So
4 please, what is your first and last name?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tomislav Mikulic.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your date and place of
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 28th of July, 1962, in Potkralj
9 [phoen], municipality of Donji Vakuf.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your occupation or
11 current activity?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am a graduate mechanical engineer.
13 Currently I'm working as a designer for central heating and
14 air-conditioning systems.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where are you residing at
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm living in Valpovo now, some 20
18 kilometres west of Osijek.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in 1993, what were you doing
20 in terms of your professional activities?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a member of the HVO.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you were a soldier or a
23 civilian working for the HVO?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a soldier. I was in charge of
25 personnel in the battalion.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified in
2 court, or is this the first time in your life that you are testifying in
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my first appearance in
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Within the framework of your
7 testimony, you need to take a solemn declaration. For that purpose,
8 please read the text on the card given to you by Madam Usher.
9 WITNESS: TOMISLAV MIKULIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
14 Before giving the floor to the Prosecution for their
15 examination-in-chief, I should like to provide some information for you,
16 as I do for all witnesses, regarding the proceedings here, as this is your
17 first time to testify in court, and you may be a bit confused by the
19 You have been called as a witness by the Prosecution, and you will
20 have to answer questions that will be put to you in a moment by a
21 representative of the Prosecution, who is behind the transparent plastic
22 pulpit. The question that is going to be put to you, if they appear to be
23 too complicated, you can ask the person asking you questions to rephrase
24 them for you to be able to understand and answer them properly.
25 The representative of the Prosecution is seated to your right.
1 Once the Prosecution have completed their examination, the Defence
2 counsel, who are seated to your left, will also have questions for you
3 within the framework of a procedure known as the cross-examination.
4 First, the examination-in-chief, and then the cross-examination.
5 The questions will be put on the basis of the evidence that you
6 provided, prompted by questions from the Prosecution, whereas the Defence
7 will rely on the written statement that you signed when talking to the
8 investigator of the OTP, and of course they will also rely on the
9 questions put to you by the Prosecution. And they may also ask you some
10 general questions.
11 I also need to inform you that, as part of its defence duties, the
12 lawyers certainly have conducted their own investigations into these
13 events, and therefore, they may ask you questions that do not relate to
14 what you stated in your written statement. Also, the three Judges in
15 front of you may, whenever they consider it necessary, ask you questions
16 to clarify any points that may appear hazy.
17 As you have taken the solemn declaration to tell the whole truth
18 and nothing but the truth, this, of course, means that you need to say
19 everything and not to lie. Should you provide any false testimony at any
20 point, you may be subject to prosecution for perjury, which is a serious
21 offence and which is punished either by a fine or a prison sentence of up
22 to seven years, or even both penalties at the same time.
23 In view of the fact that you were a soldier in the HVO, it is
24 possible, though of course the Chamber doesn't know what questions you
25 will be asked, in the course of answering those questions, you might
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 possibly provide elements that may one day be taken against you. In that
2 case, you can refuse to answer because you cannot incriminate yourself.
3 Should that happen, the Chamber may ask you to answer those questions
4 nevertheless, and in doing so, your replies cannot be used to incriminate
5 you. You cannot be charged on that basis. And this is a very specific
6 rule of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence. I thought it necessary to
7 provide these explanations so that your testimony may be completed under
8 the best possible conditions. Should you encounter any difficulty at all
9 in the course of this hearing, please tell the Judges, who are in front of
11 We have about 25 minutes before the break. Before any further
12 ado, I give the floor to the Prosecution for their examination-in-chief.
13 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you very much, Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 Examined by Mr. Withopf:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Mikulic.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. Mr. Mikulic, have you ever been a member of the Yugoslav People's
18 Army, the JNA?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber from when to when.
21 A. I served in the Yugoslav People's Army from the 8th of October,
22 1971 [as interpreted] to the 27th of August, 1972 [as interpreted]. For
23 the first six months I was in the reserve officers' school in Bileca,
24 until the 1st of April, 1982.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. It was '81 and '82.
1 A. And then I was transferred to Zagreb, where I stayed until the end
2 of my military service.
3 MR. WITHOPF:
4 Q. Once you left the JNA in 1982, did you have a military rank?
5 A. When I left the JNA, according to the rules of the reserve
6 officers' school, one automatically received the rank of second
8 Q. Mr. Mikulic, where did you live in early 1993?
9 A. In early 1993, I was in the unit permanently. I didn't go home at
10 all. In Bugojno.
11 Q. And since when were you living in Bugojno?
12 A. From the formation of the 2nd Battalion, that is, from the 4th of
13 June, 1992.
14 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber about the ethnic
15 composition of Bugojno in early 1993.
16 A. In early 1993, the ethnic composition in relation to the situation
17 at the beginning of the war was significantly changed with the arrival of
18 numerous Bosniak refugees from Donji Vakuf in April 1992, about 12.000 of
19 them, and again in October 1992, Bosniaks came from Jajce, so that the
20 composition of the population was changed, and there was a significant
21 majority of Bosniaks at that time.
22 Q. And what was the situation about prior to the arrival of the
24 A. Before the beginning of the war, or rather, before the arrival of
25 the refugees, roughly speaking, percentage-wise, about 41 per cent were
1 Bosniaks, 36 per cent were Croats, and about 18 per cent were Serbs, and
2 the rest were people who mostly declared themselves to be Yugoslavs.
3 Q. And these person percentages, Mr. Mikulic, what does it mean in
4 numbers of inhabitants?
5 A. There were close to 16.000 Croats. There were about 19 1/2
6 thousand Bosniaks, and Serbs, I think about 8.000.
7 Q. And to your knowledge, Mr. Mikulic, which ethnicity owned the
8 majority of the land?
9 A. It was the Croats who owned most of the land. According to
10 official data, this percentage was about 68 per cent, the land owned by
12 Q. You already informed, Mr. Mikulic, the Trial Chamber that in 1993
13 you became a member of the HVO. Can you please tell us which unit of the
14 HVO in Bugojno you did join.
15 A. I became a member of the 2nd Battalion from the moment it was
16 formed, of the 104th Brigade of the HVO.
17 Q. The 104th Brigade of the HVO, did it have a second name, an
18 additional name?
19 A. Yes, it did. It was named after Eugen Kvaternik.
20 Q. And what were your duties, Mr. Mikulic?
21 A. At first, I said that I was a personnel officer in the battalion,
22 so I kept a record of soldiers who joined or who moved on to other units.
23 So I had to delete them from the list. I issued certificates for people
24 going to Croatia, mostly soldiers who went to visit their families.
25 Q. In fulfilling your duties you just described, were you ever
1 involved in any combat operations?
2 A. I participated in combat operations only during the last couple of
3 days of the conflict between the BH army and the HVO.
4 Q. Can you please be a bit more concrete in respect to the last
5 couple of days. Do you recall the exact dates?
6 A. The conflicts officially between the BH army and the HVO in
7 Bugojno started on the 18th of July, in the early hours of the morning,
8 about 4.00 or 5.00 a.m., and they lasted until the 25th of July. And the
9 last unit to surrender was our own unit, the 2nd Battalion, and this was
10 about 7.30 or 8.00 in the evening.
11 Q. Other than the 2nd Battalion of the Eugen Kvaternik Brigade in
12 Bugojno, were there any other military units?
13 A. In Bugojno, there was a brigade consisting of three battalions.
14 There were also some independent platoons, and these were mostly set up by
15 individuals who had their own armies.
16 Q. Did the ABiH have military units in Bugojno in early 1993?
17 A. In early 1993, the BH army was developed from the Territorial
18 Defence, and after that, it became officially known as the Army of
20 Q. And to your recollection, which brigade, if any, was located in
21 Bugojno? Which ABiH brigade?
22 A. The 307th Motorised Brigade was in Bugojno, but they too had some
23 independent units, about which I cannot say with certainty who their
24 commanders were, nor how exactly they were called.
25 Q. To your knowledge, who was the commander of the 307th ABiH Brigade
1 in Bugojno?
2 A. Before the conflict with the HVO, the commander was Mr. Tahir
4 Q. And later on?
5 A. And later on, he was succeeded by Faruk Aganovic. I'm not quite
6 sure whether it was Beganovic or Aganovic, but I think it was Aganovic,
7 known as Jupi, and he worked as a doorman in a department store before the
9 Q. You earlier on today, Mr. Mikulic, mentioned that in early 1993,
10 thousands of Muslim refugees came to Bugojno. Amongst the Muslim
11 refugees, were there men in a military age?
12 A. Of course there were men of military age.
13 Q. And to your knowledge, did these men of military age amongst the
14 Muslim refugees, did they join the 307th Brigade in Bugojno?
15 A. They joined the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, probably the 307th
16 Brigade, because as far as I know, there was no other brigade. And a
17 smaller number of them joined the HVO. People had been left without their
18 homes, and they had to look for some source of income, to receive some
19 sort of a salary and to provide food for themselves.
20 Q. The smaller number of the refugees, of the Muslim refugees who
21 joined the HVO, did they stay with the HVO?
22 A. Most of them, at the end of March, left the HVO. They had to join
23 the BH army, because conflicts had already started in other towns around
24 Bugojno, so they couldn't stay in the HVO. Not that they were thrown out,
25 but they themselves wanted to leave.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. In terms of numbers, which was the bigger army in the area of
2 Bugojno: The HVO or the ABiH?
3 A. The ratio was certainly 5:1 in favour of the Army of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina, if not even greater than that.
5 Q. Earlier on, Mr. Mikulic, you mentioned the outbreak of the
6 conflict between the HVO and the ABiH in Bugojno and that you were
7 involved at this late stage in supporting the combat operations of the
8 HVO. Did there come a time during this conflict when you were captured?
9 A. On the 25th of July, when we learnt, over Radio Zagreb, a reporter
10 in the news programme at 5.00, Vesna Koric, was reporting, and she said
11 that the whole town was under the control of the BH army, that the only
12 fighting going on was around the 2nd Battalion. I can say that a couple
13 of days prior to this, representatives of BH army had called us to
14 surrender, but we didn't do that.
15 Q. Did you surrender on the 25th of July, 1993?
16 A. Yes. The entire unit that happened to be there, but mostly it was
17 the command and the guards.
18 Q. Did you yourself surrender?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. To whom did you surrender?
21 A. Representatives of the BH army, that is, to soldiers of the BH
23 Q. And soldiers of which military unit of the BiH army?
24 A. Soldiers of the 307th Brigade.
25 Q. Once you surrendered, where were you brought to, if anywhere?
1 A. Nearby was the headquarters of the BH army and the Stipo Djerek
2 elementary school, so they were taken to that elementary school, to the
3 gym there.
4 Q. And can you please inform the Trial Chamber what happened to you
5 and the other ones who surrendered in the school Stipo Djerek.
6 A. Before we arrived at the Stipo Djerek school, a soldier from a
7 neighbouring village, whom I knew - that is, his face; I didn't know his
8 name exactly - he took away my glasses, my pocket knife, and the
9 photograph of my two-year-old daughter, and said he wouldn't return them
10 to me. When we reached the gym, we had to lie face down on the ground,
11 and then came the beatings, mostly with boots on our heads and backs.
12 Watches and rings were taken off, the soldiers. I had the good fortune to
13 keep, somehow - I don't know how - my wedding ring. It was left on my
15 Q. Mr. Mikulic, were you yourself beaten?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What about the uniforms?
18 A. We didn't dare look around much, especially when we had to lie on
19 the ground with our foreheads on the ground. What we could see was that
20 they were soldiers of the BH army and members of the 307th Brigade. I can
21 say that in that noise and chaos, three women were particularly prominent.
22 Q. Were these women also members of the 307th Brigade?
23 A. They were wearing military uniforms, and it was already dusk, so I
24 was unable to see the insignia, nor was I close enough to be able to see
1 Q. The valuables which were taken away, did you and the other
2 soldiers, to your knowledge, were they given back to you?
3 A. I think they weren't, because no one officially could have
4 registered these valuables on behalf of the BH army.
5 Q. In the Stipo Djerek school, were you and the other HVO soldiers
6 allowed to keep your uniforms?
7 A. I kept my uniform, but my jacket was taken from me. However,
8 later, when we entered the gym in the grammar school, I noticed that
9 several of our soldiers were just wearing their underwear.
10 Q. The soldiers you've seen later on in the elementary school wearing
11 nothing but their underwear, were they amongst the ones which were held
12 captured in the Stipo Djerek school?
13 A. Yes. I know three specific names of men, because we were together
14 in the same unit.
15 Q. Would you please provide us with the names.
16 A. Ivica Sisto, Ivica Klepic and Ivo Barnjak. Ivo Barnjak and Ivica
17 Klepic had their heads wounded.
18 Q. The wounds on the heads of these soldiers, were they a result, to
19 your knowledge, of the beatings inflicted on them?
20 A. I know that they were beaten in the Stipo Djerek school.
21 Q. Have you seen it yourself?
22 A. No. I couldn't see anyone, because, as I was saying, we were
23 lying face down on the ground. But I do know that while we were
24 surrendering, when we had gathered there, they hadn't been wounded or
25 injured before we came to the school.
1 Q. For how long, Mr. Mikulic, were you and the other soldiers kept in
2 the Stipo Djerek school?
3 A. Between one and a half and two hours.
4 Q. After these one and a half to two hours, where were you brought
6 A. After that, we were taken to Mahmut Busatlija grammar school.
7 This is a distance of about two kilometres, which we covered running, with
8 our hands behind our heads. We had to sing songs about the HVO and cry
9 out, "Allahu Ekber." Passing by the soldiers, or rather, those that
10 escorted us, some were beaten, mostly with rifle butts in the back, and I
11 was one of those beaten.
12 Q. Who brought you from the Stipo Djerek school to the Mahmut
13 Busatlija school?
14 A. It was between 2100 and 2130 hours. We couldn't really look, but
15 we were taken there by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Whether the
16 military police had come by then, we couldn't see.
17 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, if I may suggest to
18 have the break now.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. It is a quarter to
20 4.00. We are going to have a 25-minute break and we will resume work at
21 10 past 4.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf, you may take the
25 floor again.
1 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you very much, Mr. President, Your Honours.
2 Q. Mr. Mikulic, once you arrived at the Mahmut Busatlija school,
3 where were you brought to?
4 A. When we arrived there, when we arrived where we were taken to --
5 I'm not quite sure I've understood the question. We were taken into the
6 Mahmut Busatlija school. Is that what you had in mind?
7 Q. And where to within the Busatlija school?
8 A. When we arrived in the Mahmut Busatlija school, we were taken into
9 the sports hall. As soon as we entered, the BH army soldiers formed a
10 gauntlet and we were beaten on the back. We entered the sports hall. It
11 was dark. Our hands were behind our heads. Then one of the commanders
12 entered. I think he had the highest rank, or perhaps he was second in
13 rank in the BH army command, Nijaz Bevrnja, called Beni. He was a school
14 comrade of mine. He cursed us, and he cursed our Ustasha mothers, and he
15 said that he would kill all of us if anyone moved. We had our hands
16 behind our heads for about half an hour, and then he allowed us to keep
17 our hands by our sides, and we had to remain standing for about two hours.
18 He then allowed us to sit in a crouching position, and that is the
19 position we remained in until the morning.
20 Q. This individual called Nijaz - and unfortunately his name is not
21 yet on the transcript. Can you please tell us again the family name of
22 this individual, Nijaz.
23 A. Bevrnja, B-e-v-r-n-j-a.
24 Q. What was his position at the time?
25 A. He was one of the main commanders in the 307th Brigade Military
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. And what was his position within the detention facility Mahmut
3 Busatlija school?
4 A. He only appeared that evening. I only saw him briefly afterwards.
5 I even asked him on one occasion for him to give me a book so that I could
6 have something to read. He didn't even exchange a word with me. He was
7 from the command of the military police in the Mahmut Busatlija school.
8 Q. Mr. Mikulic, I'm going to show you now one photograph.
9 MR. WITHOPF: With the permission of the Trial Chamber. It's
10 actually Prosecution Exhibit P58. Since it has already been tendered, I
11 would like to use the Sanction technology only.
12 Q. Mr. Mikulic, please have a look at the photograph in front of you
13 on the screen. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what you can see on
14 this photograph?
15 A. That's the Mahmut Busatlija grammar school in Bugojno.
16 Q. Is this the building in whose sports hall you were detained?
17 A. Yes, although from this viewpoint, you can't see the hall.
18 MR. WITHOPF: For the transcript, the witness Tomislav Mikulic
19 identifies the building shown on the photograph Prosecution Exhibit P58 as
20 the gymnasia school building in Bugojno.
21 Q. Mr. Mikulic, I'm going to show you, with the permission of the
22 Trial Chamber, a further photograph. This photograph has already been
23 tendered in the past. It has, however, been tendered under seal.
24 Therefore, the Prosecution provides the hard copies again. Mr. Mikulic,
25 can you please, once you receive the hard copy and once the photograph
1 appears on the screen, can you please have a look, a close look, at the
2 photograph, and can you please afterwards inform the Trial Chamber what
3 you can see on this photograph.
4 A. This is the sports hall in the Mahmut Busatlija grammar school.
5 As a pupil who attended secondary school, I practiced sports in this
6 sports hall for about two years.
7 Q. Is this the sports hall of the Mahmut Busatlija school you were
8 detained in?
9 A. Yes, this is the hall in which I was detained.
10 Q. For how long, Mr. Mikulic, were you detained in the sports hall?
11 A. We remained in the sports hall from the 25th of July to the 1st of
12 August, 1993.
13 Q. You are saying "we." How many other people were detained in this
14 sports hall?
15 A. There were about 60 of us in the sports hall itself, between 55
16 and 60 of us.
17 Q. Were the between 55 and 60, were they all HVO soldiers?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, I wish to tender this
20 photograph into evidence, please.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we have an
22 exhibit number for the photograph of the sports hall.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Withopf, perhaps the
25 witness should make a note of his name and authenticate the document.
1 Witness, could you write down your name on the document you'll be
2 presented with, your first and last names, and make a note of today's date
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is it the 18th today?
5 MR. WITHOPF: Today is the 17th.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The 17th of March.
7 Mr. Registrar, an exhibit number, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the exhibit number will be P94.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 Please carry on, Mr. Withopf.
11 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Whilst you were detained in the elementary school, the gymnasia
13 school building - sorry - were you guarded?
14 A. Over the day, there would be two soldiers, and in the evening
15 there would usually be three of them.
16 Q. And the soldiers who guarded you, which army did they form part
18 A. They were members of the BH army, of the 307th Brigade and of the
19 military police. I said that that was the command of the military police
20 of the BH army.
21 Q. And how did you get to know, Mr. Mikulic, that it was the 307th
22 Brigade and the military police of this brigade?
23 A. Well, I was already aware of the fact that the command was there,
24 because one was free to circulate in the town. One only had to fear the
25 shells that arrived from Serbian positions. So it really wasn't a problem
1 to know this. The members of the Bosniak people knew where the HVO units
2 were located, and likewise, we knew where the BH army units were located.
3 Q. The guards in the gymnasia school building, did they have any
4 military insignia on their uniforms?
5 A. They had the patches of the 307th Brigade on them, and naturally,
6 members of the military police had an additional patch which showed that
7 they were military policemen.
8 Q. Patches you are referring to, did they actually say "307th
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. Whilst you were detained in the gymnasia school building, did you
12 become aware of any beatings?
13 A. I saw people who had been beaten, but I didn't see how they were
14 beaten. I saw them leaving and I saw them returning.
15 Q. The people who were beaten, were they detainees, as you had been a
17 A. Yes. We were together from the 25th onwards.
18 Q. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber about the names of the
19 people, of the detainees who were beaten.
20 A. I don't remember one of the persons' names, but the other two, one
21 of them was a former goal man of the Iskra Dynamo Football Club, Josip
22 Skaro, and the other one was called Dragan Subasic. Josip Skaro, his back
23 was entirely black. It was black and blue as a result of the beatings,
24 and his legs and his face were in a similar state.
25 Q. Did one of them, Mr. Mikulic, inform you who beat him?
1 A. Josip Skaro said that he recognised one among them, but Nijaz
2 Bevrnja didn't beat him. We heard the sound of beatings. We heard chairs
3 being moved, because that was in one of the adjacent classrooms.
4 Q. Were you yourself beaten?
5 A. No, I wasn't.
6 Q. Whilst you were detained in the gymnasia school building, did you
7 become aware of any other detention facility within the same building
8 whilst you were detained?
9 A. Well, in the area in between -- you enter it from the hall and
10 from the corridor in the grammar school -- we could see members of the
11 MUP, of the military police, and the soldiers who had been captured in
12 their flats. Because in that area -- we passed through that area to reach
13 the toilets.
14 Q. After your detention in the gymnasia school building, where were
15 you brought to, if anywhere?
16 A. On the 1st of August, we were put onto a lorry that was used to
17 transport explosives by the former company called Slavko Rodic, which is
18 where I worked too, and I tested shells and detonators, so I knew what the
19 purpose of the vehicle was, because I personally carried out tests in
20 training grounds that the JNA had. Senad Sijamija was the driver and he
21 was also the driver of that lorry in the Slavko Rodic company, in the part
22 called OKP. So this part had to do with testing the quality of the
24 We were shoved into this lorry, which was full, completely full,
25 and the distance between the grammar school and the furniture store is
1 about 500 metres. It took us an hour and a half to cover that distance.
2 Many were already feeling sick because we were standing up, and some
3 couldn't hold on to anything, didn't have anything to hold onto.
4 Q. And who, Mr. Mikulic, put you and the others onto that lorry?
5 A. Members of the military police put us on the lorry.
6 Q. And how many of you were put on the lorry?
7 A. All of the people who were in the sports hall were driven to the
8 furniture salon.
9 Q. Once you arrived at the furniture salon, where were you brought
11 A. We passed through the ground floor. I think many of the windows
12 had been broken as a result of the shells. So we were taken to the
13 basement, in which there were no windows. The situation there was
14 terrible. The sewer system had broken up, so there were about 15 or 20
15 centimetres of a mixture of water and urine, excrement. The stench was
16 terrible, and it was very stifling. There was some sort of canisters
17 containing distilled water down there. There was some school benches and
18 some people managed to sit down on these benches or lie down on them.
19 Q. To your knowledge, how many people were detained in the basement
20 of the Slavonija furniture salon?
21 A. As I said, it was dark, but I know that we saw members of the
22 military police down there, some MUP members, and others who had been
23 captured in their flats.
24 Q. The military police members and the MUP members you are referring
25 to in your answer, were they Croats?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Were you guarded whilst detained in the basement of the Slavonija
3 furniture salon?
4 A. The guards were on the ground floor above us, because it wasn't
5 possible for us to leave the basement itself without passing by the
6 guards. So it wasn't necessary for them to be with us. They were above
7 us, on the floor above, and there were members of the military police who
8 were present. I know that a sergeant in the military police was there,
9 Mr. Enes Sijamija was his name.
10 Q. The members of the military police, including Mr. Enes Sijamija,
11 which army did he and the other members of the military police form part
13 A. They were members of the BH army. I'm not aware of there being
14 any other brigades in Bugojno other than the 307th Brigade.
15 Q. Can you please describe for the benefit of the Trial Chamber the
16 living conditions in the basement of the Slavonija furniture salon.
17 A. As I said, there was between 15 and 20 centimetres of excrement
18 and water. I've mentioned the living conditions. There was no light.
19 There wasn't sufficient air, just the air that we managed to get from the
20 stairway, but it was very terrible. It was terrible and it was difficult
21 to breathe.
22 Q. For how long were you and the others detained in the basement of
23 the Slavonija furniture salon?
24 A. We left the furniture salon the same day, this group and myself,
25 and we were transported to the Vojin Paleksic primary school, which is by
1 the former Iskra stadium.
2 Q. Who transported you to the Vojin Paleksic school?
3 A. We went to the Vojin Paleksic school on foot.
4 Q. Did you volunteer to go to the Vojin Paleksic school?
5 A. No one volunteered. You did what you were ordered to do at the
7 Q. Who, if anybody, did escort you from the Slavonija furniture salon
8 to the Vojin Paleksic school?
9 A. Naturally, we were escorted by the military police. They escorted
10 us to the Vojin Paleksic school.
11 Q. How far is the Vojin Paleksic school away from the Slavonija
12 furniture salon?
13 A. I think that the distance is up to about a kilometre and a half,
14 no more than that.
15 Q. How long were you detained in the Vojin Paleksic school?
16 A. We were detained in the Vojin Paleksic school for about 15 days,
17 18 days at the most, but I'd say that it was for about 15 days.
18 Q. In which area of the Vojin Paleksic school were you detained?
19 A. We were detained in the sports hall in the Vojin Paleksic school.
20 The size of this hall was normal. It was quite light. There was parquet
21 floor. It was warm in the hall. We weren't cold. There was enough air.
22 And as it was summer, the floor wasn't cold either.
23 Q. How many of you were detained in the Vojin Paleksic school?
24 A. I think there were about 240 or 250 of us on those first few days,
25 on the first two days.
1 Q. These 240 or 250, were they all soldiers or were there civilians
2 amongst the detainees?
3 A. Perhaps there were a few civilians, but most of them were soldiers
4 who had been captured in the units or in their houses and flats. Some had
5 been captured as civilians, as they had not participated in the fighting.
6 Q. Amongst the civilians, were there also younger people?
7 A. There were two young boys, 16 years old. They were exchanged on
8 the 19th of March, 1994. And there was an old man who was about 70 or 75
9 years old. I think he was 75.
10 Q. Can you please, for the information of the Trial Chamber, describe
11 the living conditions in the Vojin Paleksic school in terms of food,
12 hygiene, and the daily routine.
13 A. The water supply was a problem throughout the town during that
14 period. There was very little water. And among the detainees, five or
15 six lucky men had a few canisters with water or a plastic bottle
16 containing a litre or a litre and a half of juice. As I said, we were
17 allowed to have water. It's not that they prevented us from having water,
18 but there really wasn't enough water. So what they managed to obtain
19 during the night is what they would drink. They would give water to those
20 they could give water to. There wasn't enough for everyone. We relieved
21 ourselves in the school toilets. As I said, there was quite a lot of
22 light and it was quite warm, because it was summer.
23 As far as the food itself was concerned, there wasn't enough food.
24 It only arrived on the following day. And for 250 of us, there were six
25 loaves of bread. And a military mess kit - that's what they called it -
1 some cooked food, arrived, but the cooked food that each person received
2 wasn't more than 100 or 150 milliliters. In the Vojin Paleksic school,
3 the representatives of the Bosniak authorities also organised
4 investigations, questionings, conducted by the judge. I personally was
5 questioned by Mesud Duvnjak.
6 Later I found out from a relative of my wife's he was the deputy
7 chief of police in Kupres, that Mesud Duvnjak was an SDA leader in Bugojno
8 and that Dzevad Mlaco was only one of the prominent players. I have to
9 say that Mr. Duvnjak treated me quite fairly, in spite of the minor
10 provocations in the course of the questioning. A record was compiled.
11 They made a note of what I actually said, and that is what I signed.
12 Q. Mr. Mikulic, during your detention in the gymnasia school
13 building, in the Slavonija furniture salon, and in the Vojin Paleksic
14 school, did you lose weight?
15 A. It was a short period, so I couldn't have lost much weight during
16 that period, perhaps six or seven kilos. I don't know. You can't lose
17 much weight in ten days' time. But on the 1st of August, when I was taken
18 away to carry out work, that's when I was transferred to the furniture
19 salon, and they asked for ten volunteers to help them unload medical
20 supplies for the hospital. The hospital was about a minute on foot from
21 the furniture salon, but when we got out of the furniture showroom we were
22 put into a van. We knew that we weren't going to the hospital. Because,
23 as I said, they wouldn't have put us in a van to drive us 100 or 150
24 metres away. They took us to the village of Crnice and took us to the
25 Muslim cemetery. We saw that there were a number of graves that had
1 just -- that were freshly dug. They had just started digging some graves.
2 And some victims had already been buried, victims from the village of
3 Vrbanja. And we were supposed to dig about six or seven graves. I can't
4 remember the exact number.
5 Q. During the time period you were taken out, were you beaten?
6 A. When we were taken out, we were not beaten.
7 Q. Were you subjected to any other mistreatment?
8 A. In the furniture showroom, no. Physical harassment, no.
9 Q. I mean, Mr. Mikulic, during the time you were outside the
10 detention, the detention unit and whilst you were digging graves.
11 A. When we had dug out these graves, Velagic, a member of the
12 military police - I know his father's name was Fehko and he had a coffee
13 bar in the Vrbanja neighbourhood - he selected me, Zeljko Milos, Franjo
14 Ribic and Bosko Djerek to go with him to the village of Vrbanja, an area
15 known as Zeleni Put, or green park. We started off on foot through the
16 fields, a poor path that only -- that could only be used by horse-drawn
17 carriages. All the time, Velagic was hitting us, mostly at the back of
18 the head and on our shoulders, with a police truncheon. We were brought
19 to this area of Vrbanja known as Zeleni Put and we were meant to carry out
20 Bosniak victims from a house that had been collected there. Now, whether
21 they were all from the village of Vrbanja, I don't know.
22 As it was very hot, and the victims had been there for several
23 days, one could already see that they had started to decompose, and there
24 were worms coming out of the bodies, and the bodies were wrapped in nylon.
25 We carried, two of us per victim, and put them on the trailer of a small
1 TAM van. And as we carried the dead people, another Velagic, known as
2 Muhko, who was a cousin of the one who had escorted us there, he also beat
3 us all the time with a police baton, on the head and on the back. And
4 after we had loaded four corpses onto the truck, we were supposed to wait
5 for the van to take the victims to the cemetery and then to come back
7 In the meantime, Muhko Velagic - which is a nickname, actually,
8 used usually for people whose first name is Muhamed or Muharem - he beat
9 us all the time, on the head, the shoulders, and the kidney area. When he
10 was too tired to continue beating us, he forced us to pick up a police
11 baton, one by one, and to beat one another with it. While he beat us, we
12 had to lie on a slanting path on which broken glass had been thrown from
13 the houses, and we lay there, both face down and back down, looking up at
14 the sun, while he beat us.
15 People had gathered round. Some people were mourning their dead.
16 Some were cursing and insulting us. I recognised Reuf Hadzibegovic, a
17 gynaecologist, a doctor. He was a man of prestige, but he never tried to
18 appease his compatriots, though it is difficult to do that under those
19 circumstances. Some of them would pick up a stone and throw it at us.
20 When we had loaded all the dead onto the truck, Mr. Velagic
21 appeared to have suddenly changed his mind. He allowed us to drink as
22 much water as we wanted and to wash ourselves.
23 We returned to Crnice, where the cemetery was, to a different --
24 in a different area from the area where we had dug the graves, in the area
25 of what we call Zarasla Medza [phoen], where there were some bushes, two
1 to three metres high. There were ten or so soldiers of the BH army. They
2 weren't there officially. I don't know how they happened to be there.
3 Myself and Zdravko Juricic, who was a math teacher before the war, and for
4 a while he was the principal of an elementary school in Bugojno, and the
5 other group consisted of Zeljko Milos, Zeljko Buljac [phoen], and Frano
6 Ribic. And we were supposed to deepen two graves, as they hadn't been dug
7 deep enough.
8 The soldiers of the BH army provoked us and insulted us there.
9 One of them was standing wearing a completely new camouflage uniform, and
10 from time to time he would throw a stone the size of a fist. And a couple
11 of those hit me in the forehead and cut my head, but it didn't bleed too
12 much. He kept cursing us and insulting us. I didn't know the man, but he
13 knew me. He said: "Look at him, how big the butcher is." And he cursed
14 my Ustasha mother. And Zdravko said that he was an old donkey and that he
15 was the one who had taught us to commit crimes against the Bosniak people.
16 At a certain point in time, I managed to see him pick up a large
17 stone, which was maybe the size of two fists, and he threw it at me.
18 Fortunately, it hit me on the left side of the head, so that I still have
19 a scar in the form of a "Y." My head was cut. Tears started flowing down
20 my face. I was on my knees, like a boxer after he receives many blows in
21 the ring, just about to fall. And the last thing I managed to see was
22 that he picked up a spade and was about to finish me off with the cutting
23 edge of the spade. Luckily, Zdravko reacted quickly and noticed what this
24 one was about to do, and he threw himself over me, and he shouted out:
25 "They're going to kill us."
1 Zdravko got a blow on the elbow, and this soldier picked up a
2 steel bar that we in Bosnia call a "cuskija," and it is used to press the
3 soil and the stones when you're building a fence and pushing pillars into
4 the ground and not into concrete. So you use it to bang the pillar into
5 the ground. And with this pole, he managed to scratch Frano Ribic in the
6 area above his ear. Fortunately, there was no real injury, just a minor
8 Q. Mr. Mikulic, may I please stop you. Do you still today suffer as
9 a result of the severe beatings and all the other forms of mistreatment
10 you just detailed for the Trial Chamber?
11 A. As we left the camp, I had a CT of my head, and it was established
12 that there was some damage at the back of the head where the bones are
13 linked to one another, the cartilage in between the bones. And when the
14 weather changes, I feel pain in the head and my blood pressure goes up and
15 down often. On a number of occasions, my pressure was not -- blood
16 pressure was not more than 60/90 when the doctors took it. From lying on
17 the concrete and as a result of this, I -- my joints hurt, and I always
18 feel cold. I suffer from ischiadicus. But the worst of it is that this
19 is something I shall never be able to fully recover from, because I never
20 have enough sleep. Even after sleep, I don't feel rested. My
21 psychological and physical capacities are considerably reduced in relation
22 to what they were before.
23 Q. Mr. Mikulic, from this area where all this mistreatment was
24 inflicted on you, where were you brought to?
25 A. From this cemetery, we were taken back to the furniture showroom
2 Q. Let's go back, Mr. Mikulic, to the Vojin Paleksic school. I'm
3 going to show you another photograph, with the permission of the Trial
4 Chamber. It's one of the photographs which is already tendered into
5 evidence. It's Prosecution Exhibit P60. And it will be shown via the
6 Sanction technology.
7 Mr. Mikulic, please have a look at the photograph on the screen in
8 front of you. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber what you can see on
9 the photograph.
10 A. The photograph is of the Vojin Paleksic elementary school in
11 Bugojno, in the neighbourhood Endik [phoen], close to the old Iskra
12 football ground.
13 Q. Is this the school you were detained in in 1993?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. For the sake of the transcript, the witness identifies the
16 building on Prosecution Exhibit P60, on the photograph of Prosecution
17 Exhibit P60, as the Vojin Paleksic school he was detained.
18 Mr. Mikulic, I'm going to show you another photograph, with the
19 permission of the Trial Chamber, again via Sanction. It's one of the
20 photographs which is already tendered into evidence. It's Prosecution
21 Exhibit P61. Mr. Mikulic, please have a look at the photograph on the
22 screen in front of you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what this
23 photograph shows.
24 A. This is the gym of the Vojin Paleksic elementary school.
25 Q. Is this the gym you and the other detainees were detained in in
1 August 1993?
2 A. Yes. I personally slept just below the basket that you can see on
3 the picture.
4 MR. WITHOPF: Again for the sake of the transcript, the witness
5 identifies the sports hall which can be seen on the photograph Prosecution
6 Exhibit P61 as the sports hall of the Vojin Paleksic elementary school he
7 was detained in in August 1993.
8 Q. From the Vojin Paleksic school, where were you brought to?
9 A. From the Vojin Paleksic school, we were taken to the Iskra
11 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Mikulic, the date, or roughly the date when you
12 were taken to the Iskra stadium?
13 A. I do not recall the exact date, but it was in mid-August, between
14 the 15th and the 18th. So I'm not quite sure which of those two or three
15 days it was.
16 Q. We are talking about August 1993, don't we?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Were all detainees from the Vojin Paleksic school taken to the
19 Iskra stadium?
20 A. The Iskra stadium was the final camp for all of Bugojno's
22 Q. How far is the Iskra stadium from the Vojin Paleksic school?
23 A. Well, the distance, I don't think, is greater than one and a half
25 Q. How many people were detained in the Iskra stadium?
1 A. I think that at first, there were more than 400 people.
2 Q. And what was the ethnic background of the 400 detainees?
3 A. A soldier whose mother was a Muslim, and there were 14 or 15
4 soldiers from mixed marriages, Serb/Croat mixed marriages. I think there
5 were two persons of Slovenian extraction. But because they had lived in
6 Bugojno for a long time, they probably declared themselves as Croats. So
7 more than 99 per cent, though the percentage would need to be calculated.
8 I would say more than 97, 98 per cent were Croats.
9 Q. Detainees, were they all soldiers or were there also civilians
10 amongst them?
11 A. At first there were some civilians as well.
12 Q. For how long were you and the other detainees detained in the
13 Iskra stadium?
14 A. I stayed there until the 19th of March, 1994, when about 300
15 prisoners who were at the Iskra stadium were all exchanged. I think the
16 final figure was 296.
17 Q. Whilst you were detained in the Iskra stadium, were you guarded?
18 A. Probably a couple of days prior to our arrival at the Iskra
19 stadium, the stadium itself had been rearranged into a real camp. There
20 were observation posts with machine-gun nests, and whenever we were
21 allowed to walk within the compound, the machine-guns were manned by
23 Q. You were just saying, Mr. Mikulic, a few days prior to your
24 arrival, the Iskra stadium had been rearranged into a real camp. What do
25 you understand under a real camp [sic]?
1 A. The very existence of machine-gun nests and guards with
2 machine-guns guarding us when we walked around reminded me of films with
3 Nazi camps where there were such guards watching over prisoners. We
4 mostly walked with our hands behind our backs. We had to talk very
5 quietly, though we were afraid to do that too.
6 Q. Was there a fence around the Iskra stadium?
7 A. A part of the real wire fence, which can be seen at all football
8 stadiums, existed, but the part that wasn't fenced in, where you enter the
9 changing rooms, and the stadium itself, had reinforced iron netting, and
10 there was a kiosk there, as a kind of entrance point for people entering
11 the camp, and a checkpoint for them.
12 Q. The guards in the machine-gun nests, how you describe it, were
13 they soldiers or civilians?
14 A. They were soldiers and members of the military police.
15 Q. Soldiers and members of the military police of which army?
16 A. The military police of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 Q. And of which unit?
18 A. I said that, as far as I was familiar with the structure, there
19 was only one brigade of the BH army in Bugojno.
20 Q. And this one brigade was which one?
21 A. The 307th Motorised Brigade.
22 Q. Can you please, Mr. Mikulic, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber,
23 describe the daily routine in the Iskra stadium, including the food
24 conditions, the hygiene conditions.
25 A. In the stadium itself, there was only one toilet, but no running
1 water, and we used it to relieve ourselves. And there was a barrel. We
2 could bring water to that barrel from a nearby small stream, but under
3 soldier escort. And this stream was about 50 metres away from the
4 stadium. Afterwards, three external toilets were made, but we couldn't
5 always use them, but only when the guards would let us. And often, they
6 would not allow us to go even once a day. I personally spent most of the
7 time in a room which was 11 by 6 metres in size, and there were about 140
8 of us sleeping there. It was very bad. There were some people who had
9 cigarettes and who smoked, so it was smoke-filled and dirty. The floor
10 was covered with wooden pillars with planks on top, wooden beams with
11 planks on top. Several fortunate ones managed to get a blanket from
12 members of the BH army, but a very, very small number. Percentage-wise,
13 probably less than five per cent.
14 The food we received was in very small quantities. We would get
15 six loaves of bread for so many people. One or two, but not full pots of
16 cooked food. Some of the more honourable guards advised some of our
17 people that they knew well not to eat that food, because during the
18 cooking process it had been urinated on. Diarrhoea and stomach problems
19 were widespread.
20 In the evening, they would call out certain names and take people
21 out for beatings. People were taken from the camp to the front lines,
22 where they mostly dug trenches and made shelters for soldiers of the BH
23 army who were there holding positions.
24 Q. May I just stop you there, Mr. Mikulic. Earlier on you were
25 mentioning that within a few days, you said six to ten days or so, you
1 lost six to eight kilogrammes of weight. Whilst you were detained in the
2 Iskra stadium, did you lose additional weight?
3 A. While we had this poor food it was -- well, this lasted up until
4 the end of October. I personally lost over 25 kilos. I was just skin and
5 bone. I couldn't even stand up normally. I was hunched when I walked and
6 I had to hold onto my stomach. Most of us were unfortunate in that -- I,
7 for example, ate three small slices of bread over a ten-day period.
8 Q. Did other detainees, Mr. Mikulic, to your knowledge, also lose
10 A. We couldn't weigh ourselves. All we could do was look at each
11 other and see how terrible we looked, see how we walked.
12 Q. A few minutes ago, Mr. Mikulic, you were briefly talking about
13 beatings in the Iskra stadium. Can you please inform the Trial Chamber in
14 some more detail.
15 A. This took place in the evening, once night had fallen. I don't
16 know how the names of soldiers were called out. I don't know who did it.
17 All I know is that someone's name would be called out, the person would be
18 asked to come out. They didn't even take these persons further away to
19 prevent the beating from being heard. They beat them in the vicinity, and
20 we could hear the people groaning. But what I am certain of is that each
21 one of us was able to recognise one of the shift commanders. There was
22 someone called Djopo. He participated in calling out these men, these
23 people, and beating them.
24 Q. To your knowledge, Mr. Mikulic, how often did such beatings
1 A. Sometimes it happened every evening, and then that would stop. If
2 high-ranking officials found out about it, military political officials,
3 and then it would happen again. There were no strict rules.
4 Q. Mr. Mikulic, these beatings, how soon after your arrival in August
5 1993 in the Iskra stadium, how soon did they become a repeated occurrence?
6 A. Well, these beatings took place, as I have described, and it
7 continued in this way until mid-November.
8 Q. Did it already start in August?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Was it a repeated occurrence between August 1993 and mid-November
12 A. As I said, it would happen in this manner for several nights in a
13 row and then it would stop and then it would start again. There were no
14 strict rules. It depended on the guards on shift. I know that when some
15 guards were on shift, these people were good and fair, and we were almost
16 certain on such occasions that no one would be beaten.
17 Q. And were there also other guards?
18 A. What do you mean? Other units? Other -- other what?
19 Q. You were just saying, Mr. Mikulic, that when some guards were on
20 the shift, these people were good, fair, and, "We were almost certain not
21 to be beaten." Were there also guards who were involved in calling out
22 the people for beatings and were involved in the beatings?
23 A. I said that there was a commander called Djopa, and there was a
24 military policeman. Mustafica was his name. I know his brother very
25 well, as well as his relatives. It was a very good-looking family. I
1 even spent a couple of nights with the brother of that military policeman.
2 I studied with his son. And on that occasion he spoke to me about his
3 brother whom I subsequently met as a military policeman. He said he was a
4 very bad man, that he wasn't serious, that he had caused problems for his
5 parents and told me that he had got married on two occasions, although he
6 was only 22 or 23 years old.
7 Q. And Mr. Mikulic, what about this military policeman called Djopo,
8 or Mustafica?
9 A. When Djopo was the shift commander, I think there were eight to
10 ten guards on a shift. On such occasions we were afraid that people would
11 be beaten, and unfortunately that is what frequently happened. Zijad
12 Salkic, who used to be a footballer in Iskra, was on his shift. Sometimes
13 he often defended us and didn't allow people to be beaten. But Salkic
14 threatened him later. Salkic told my relative -- he said that we
15 shouldn't be defended. He defended his best man, Kazimir Kajic, too, who
16 was also an Iskra footballer, and he was also beaten on several occasions.
17 Mustafica, as I have said, some detainees said that he personally
18 beat them when he took them out. But what I can say for certain is that
19 he confiscated items from us, and he even blackmailed some soldiers. He
20 took them home so that they could wash themselves at home, and in order to
21 be able to take some things from them in their houses.
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Mikulic.
23 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, this concludes the
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Withopf. It's
1 more or less time to have the break now. It would be best if we had our
2 break now and commence with the cross-examination at about five to 6.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 5.28 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 5.56 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Defence may take the floor.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Cross-examined by Ms. Residovic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Mikulic. My name is Edina
9 Residovic. I represent General Hadzihasanovic.
10 I'd like to express my sympathy for the experiences you have been
11 through, but I will have to ask you a number of questions that have to do
12 with the general context and also with the facts that you have already
13 discussed with my learned colleague from the Prosecution.
14 Mr. Mikulic, is it correct to say that you were born in Potkralj
15 in Donji Vakuf municipality but that before the war and in the course of
16 the war itself, up until the time when you were exchanged, you lived in
18 A. I lived in Potkralj, in my parents' home, until 1992.
19 Q. So in 1992, you moved to Bugojno?
20 A. No. When I went to the unit, I went home on five occasions in
21 that year.
22 Q. Before the war, you worked in the Slavko Rodic company as an
23 engineer; is that correct? I apologise, but your answer hasn't been
25 A. Yes. I worked in the Slavko Rodic company as a technician. I
1 checked the quality of products.
2 Q. You worked in the military sphere?
3 A. Yes. Most of the items produced in the Slavko Rodic company were
4 for the military.
5 Q. Although the Trial Chamber is already aware of the position that
6 Bugojno is in in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I only have a number of questions
7 that I would like to ask you, in order to confirm some of the facts that
8 have already been mentioned. Would it be correct to say that Bugojno is
9 in the upper part of the river of Vrbas, in the so-called Skopalj valley;
10 is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct. But when you say "the so-called," it's not a
12 good term, because this is a real geographic location.
13 Q. I apologise.
14 A. You can see this on the maps yourself.
15 Q. That area is between the Vranica and Radusa mountains and it's
16 about 20 kilometres wide and three to eight kilometres long, that valley?
17 A. Yes. That would be the size of the valley, from Donji Vakuf to
18 Gornji Vakuf.
19 Q. When you go uphill -- upstream, up the river, in that valley,
20 about 18 kilometres away you have the town of Gornji Vakuf, and
21 downstream, about 12 kilometres lower down, there is Donji Vakuf?
22 A. Yes. That would be the distance as the crow flies, more or less.
23 The Vrbas follows a straight line from Gornji Vakuf to Donji Vakuf.
24 Q. Would it be correct to say, Mr. Mikulic, that in the last ten
25 years, in the ten years preceding the war, Bugojno was very strong
1 economically and before the war broke out it was one of the important
2 industrial centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
3 A. Well, I think that this period of rapid development started about
4 1975 or 1976 and continued not until 1999. You know that the crisis in
5 the former Yugoslavia started about 1988. Business wasn't so good in many
6 companies. But during those 12 years, the development in Bugojno was very
7 rapid in comparison to other areas in the BH republic or in other
8 republics of the former Yugoslavia.
9 Q. You can certainly confirm that at the very beginning of the war,
10 in 1992, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian forces immediately
11 occupied Donji Vakuf and the mountain pass Komar, so that this route,
12 being the main route to Travnik, Sarajevo, and Zenica, could no longer be
13 used; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The alternative route was the route which was partly a macadam
16 route, and it went through Rostovo, the Rostovo plateau, Novi Travnik and
17 Travnik; is that correct?
18 A. Yes. I passed through that pass about two years ago, and before
19 the war.
20 Q. Bugojno could also be connected to Herzegovina, that is to say, to
21 the southern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. You could reach it through
22 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, and Jablanica too; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. That's the main road, the republican road.
24 Q. This road via Prozor, in 1992 and 1993, was under the control of
25 the HVO; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. Not the entire road. You know the Bosniaks were in the
2 majority at some sections, but on the whole there weren't any conflicts,
3 so the road was open.
4 Q. You said that in 1992 you immediately joined the HVO. You did
5 this is in June; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At the time, in Bugojno, there was a Territorial Defence municipal
8 staff which was a legitimate military structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
9 is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You did not join the Territorial Defence; you joined the 2nd
12 Battalion of the Eugen Kvaternik HVO Brigade; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Although you worked as an official in the headquarters, you were a
15 soldier in the full sense of the term. You wore a uniform and you had
16 been given a weapon; is that correct?
17 A. In March, when one of my Bosniak friends handed over his equipment
18 and his rifle, that is when I was given his rifle.
19 Q. The brigade headquarters was in Tito's villa on the hill of
20 Gorica, which was one of the most elevated points above the town; is that
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Your brigade was within the subordination system of the HVO and
24 the main headquarters was in Grude?
25 A. The headquarters was in Grude.
1 Q. You knew that at the time the decision had been taken to form the
2 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which included 30 municipalities in
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina. This included the municipality of Bugojno; is
4 that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In fact, according to the decisions of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna, HVO units were also formed which were the only armed forces
8 in the territory of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; is that
10 A. There were certain complications where the population was mixed,
11 and this is why these tragic events occurred among these two -- between
12 these two peoples.
13 Q. Because of the decision of the leadership of the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna, they did not only form parallel military
15 structures; they also took decisions about forming parallel civil organs
16 of power; is that correct?
17 A. Yes. The Bosniaks and the Croats had their own structures of
18 power, independent of each other.
19 Q. So the Croats, who had been legally elected to the organs of power
20 at the elections, withdrew and they formed the HVO, which was the civilian
21 organ of power in Bugojno too; is that correct?
22 A. In Bugojno, the councilmen from the -- the deputies from the HDZ
23 had the majority, and they did what was done in all such environments.
24 Q. At that time, since you occupied the position that you have
25 already mentioned, you knew who the responsible officials and organs were,
1 and you knew who was responsible for certain functions. You knew that the
2 president of the War Presidency in the municipality of Bugojno was Dzevad
3 Mlaco at the time?
4 A. Could you repeat the question, please.
5 Q. You knew that at the time, in 1992 and 1993, the president of the
6 War Presidency in Bugojno municipality was Dzevad Mlaco; were you aware of
8 A. Yes, in the Bosniak part.
9 Q. The president of the HVO, as a civilian organ of power, was
10 Vladimir Soljic; is that correct?
11 THE INTERPRETER: The witness's answer wasn't audible.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. The War Presidency, the War Presidency of Bugojno in 1992 and
14 1993 --
15 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, just a technical issue. The
16 interpreters have made us available [sic] that the witness's answer to one
17 of the questions of my learned colleague wasn't audible.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. It's line 7 on page 63.
19 You should ask the witness the question again. The question concerning
20 Vladimir Soljic.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Mikulic, your answer hasn't been entered into the transcript.
23 Would it be correct to say that the president of the HVO as a civilian
24 organ of power in Bugojno was Vladimir Soljic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. In 1992 and in 1993, the War Presidency in Bugojno had
2 real power over the civilian and military structures, the Bosniak
3 structures in Bugojno; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. From the very beginning, although the structures existed
6 independently, the HVO command and the Territorial Defence staff tried to
7 agree on forming a joint command, and the first such meeting was held on
8 the 6th of May, 1992. Are you aware of this?
9 A. In those high-level circles, well, I didn't have any access to
10 those circles. I didn't have access to information. So I couldn't answer
11 your question, either positively or negatively.
12 Q. However, you can probably confirm the fact that that joint
13 command, in spite of all the attempts that were made, never actually
14 functioned in Bugojno, never actually came to life.
15 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nodded.
16 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Would it be correct to say that in addition to the Territorial
18 Defence and later the BH army and the HVO, there were civilian police
19 units in Bugojno too?
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. There's another
21 problem. I said would it be correct to say that this joint command never
22 actually functioned. Your answer hasn't been recorded. So could you
23 please answer whether this is correct.
24 A. As far as I know, it never came to life. It never functioned.
25 Q. Thank you. In addition to the HVO, as a military structure, and
1 the BH army, which was also a military structure, and there was the
2 civilian police presence in Bugojno and the reserve civilian police force
3 was present too; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In fact, some of the population fit for military service after a
6 state of war had been declared was mobilised into the reserve police
7 force, and the commander of that special police force was Nijaz Bevrnja.
8 Are you aware of this?
9 A. No.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak up when answering
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In February 1993, in addition to the Eugen Kvaternik brigade,
14 certain Home Guard units in Bugojno were formed; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When these -- these units were formed as a result of an order that
17 a general mobilisation of the Croatian population should be carried out,
18 and they were formed on a territorial basis; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The commander of the Home Guard battalion in Bugojno was Dragan
21 Erkapic; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In response to a question put to you by my learned colleague, you
24 said that at one point in time, some Bosniaks were mobilised into the HVO.
25 Would it be correct to say that the HVO units in 1992 and in 1993 were far
1 better equipped and armed than the BH army units?
2 A. As far as heavy weapons are concerned, I can't tell you anything
3 about that. As far as infantry weapons are concerned, I noticed that BH
4 army members and HVO members had automatic rifles. I can't tell you
5 anything about the artillery, because I was never at BH army or HVO
6 positions. The HVO had better equipment, uniforms, training, winter
7 jackets, et cetera. As far as food supplies are concerned, they had
8 better food supplies. I can tell you about this because I have
9 information about it.
10 Q. All these units and the reserve police force, the HVO and the BH
11 army, all the members of these units wore camouflage uniforms, and you
12 could only identify them on the basis of the patches they had on their
14 A. Yes. On the whole, you could only identify them on the basis of
15 the patches on their uniforms, although -- well, the camouflage uniforms
16 were rarely different to the ones that the BH army wore and the army wore.
17 Q. You said that in 1992 a large number of refugees arrived in
18 Bugojno, first of all from Krajina, then from Donji Vakuf, and later on,
19 and after Jajce had fallen, other refugees arrived; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After Jajce had fallen, some Croatian refugees arrived in Bugojno,
22 but most of them did not remain in Bugojno. They moved on to Croatia or
23 to certain other areas where there was no fighting?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. The Bosniak refugees who arrived without anything mainly remained
1 in the area of Bugojno and, as you have already said, this caused
2 significant demographic changes in the town itself; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The demographic structure changed as a result of the fact that
5 many of the local population, especially the Croatian population, women
6 and children, left Bugojno because of the war and went to other areas, so
7 this also had an effect?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. You could also say that before the conflict itself, in July, there
10 were only seven to eight thousand local Croats in Bugojno. Is this
11 information correct?
12 A. Well, even less, I would say, because if there were 15.000 Croats
13 in total, then it would be 15.900. I don't know. Many people worked
14 abroad, in Germany and Western Europe. Their families would go to be with
15 them if they managed to do so, and the local inhabitants who were able to
16 go to Western countries at the time went to Croatia, and I think that that
17 figure is correct.
18 Q. Is it true that is that already then numerous refugees moved into
19 abandoned houses in the surroundings of Bugojno and in Bugojno itself?
20 A. People had no choice. They had to live somewhere. They were
21 given certain certificates for temporary accommodation.
22 Q. I was just about to ask you about that. You do know that the
23 state of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed regulations on temporary
24 accommodation in temporarily abandoned apartments and properties, and that
25 decisions about accommodation in those facilities were taken by the
1 civilian authorities in Bugojno; is that right?
2 A. Yes. As far as I can remember, before the refugees moved in,
3 there were no incidents, as far as I was aware. As far as possible, they
4 were put up in these apartments. Some people were luckier than others.
5 Some entered a destroyed house and had to repair it himself to be able to
6 live in it.
7 Q. In answer to a question from my learned friend opposite, you said
8 that within the framework of your duties in the headquarters, you also
9 issued certain certificates. Do you know that also Bosniaks who had to
10 leave Bugojno needed to have HVO's permissions to be able to pass through
11 HVO checkpoints and areas under HVO control?
12 A. I was not aware of this, because the places that one had to go
13 through to go to Croatia and from there further on, were checked by the
14 military police, and I don't think this was an obligation introduced by
15 the HVO of Bugojno but by request of the authorities in Tomislavgrad,
16 Livno, and other towns.
17 Q. Though this obligation existed earlier on, and I'm asking you, do
18 you know that on the 8th of April, 1993, there was a meeting held in
19 Travnik of representatives of the HDZ and the HVO of the entire area of
20 Bosnia, with commanders of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and
21 that at that meeting, the question of leaving towns was addressed, and it
22 was stated that no one could leave without such permits?
23 A. I can't tell you about that. I wasn't a member of any leading
24 body. I was just an ordinary clerk at a very low level. I wasn't linked
25 to the headquarters at all.
1 Q. Very well. I see. You've corrected me. You were not at the
2 headquarters. You were in the 2nd Battalion.
3 In view of the existence of these checkpoints on the way out of
4 town, you probably knew that already in the spring of 1993, there were
5 minor or major incidents that took place at these checkpoints in and
6 around Bugojno. Are you aware of that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. All this, plus the fact that in Gornji Vakuf, which is only 18
9 kilometres from Bugojno, there was continuous fighting between the Army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croatian Defence Council, resulted in certain
11 tensions in the town of Bugojno itself; is that correct?
12 A. Well, quite, obviously.
13 Q. Are you aware that on the 9th of May, 1993, the HVO captured 38
14 members of the army at the Humac checkpoint; after that, the army, in the
15 night between the 9th and 10th, captured a group of 20 HVO members; then
16 again the HVO captured seven army members, which further aggravated the
17 existing tensions in town?
18 A. I can't speak about the numbers you are referring to, because I
19 had no official reports. But it is a fact that these incidents occurred
20 and aggravated the situation.
21 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, I notice several times
22 that my learned friend from the Defence puts, quite often, two, three, or
23 four different facts into one question. That appears to be a bit
24 problematic. I would therefore suggest that my learned friend phrases her
25 questions differently and only puts one fact in one question, please.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That is the case. On
2 page 68, line 8, where there are several points in the question. So, for
3 the clarity of the hearing, it would be better for you to ask one question
4 at a time. It's much clearer, and it is clearer for the witness too, who
5 doesn't have to confront a host of questions within a single question.
6 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, and I will
7 do as you suggest. And I think indeed that that would be a better course.
8 Q. Even though my question was complicated, you did give an answer.
9 Because you were not familiar with the figures, but you were aware of
10 those incidents?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You also knew that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO
13 were endeavouring to overcome these excess situations?
14 A. Both sides in those days, the commanders, both Lucic and Granic,
15 were doing their best to avoid any conflicts, and if they had the main
16 say, there would have been no conflicts.
17 Q. However, in view of the position you held in the battalion of
18 which you were a member, you certainly know that on the 17th of July in
19 the village of Vrbanja, at a crossroads leading to the village of Kandija,
20 the HVO established a checkpoint and that immediately after that the
21 locals of Vrbanja formed a separate checkpoint. Do you know that?
22 A. I wouldn't say that they were locals. I think they were members
23 of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. Yes, members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the
25 village of Vrbanja set up another checkpoint 500 metres away. At that
1 checkpoint, there was an armed clash in which members of the army killed
2 members of the HVO anti-terrorist group, that is, Miroslav Telenta, and
3 later Mijo Vucak was killed as well. Do you know that?
4 A. Our information was that they were killed almost simultaneously,
5 that Mijo Vucak was taken into a stable and killed there.
6 Q. Do you know that on that same day, in order to investigate the
7 causes of the death of these two HVO soldiers, a joint mixed commission
8 was set up, consisting of four MUP members of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
9 four MUP members of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
10 A. I didn't know that, but I learnt, while a captive in the grammar
11 school, that this group had carried out an on-site investigation and that
12 two Bosniak policemen were killed. I knew one of them personally. He was
13 from a village close by.
14 Q. This killing and the HVO attack marked the beginning of the
15 conflict in Bugojno, which spread from the village of Vrbanja to the whole
16 town; is that right?
17 A. That week, there was tension. I know that some of our members
18 were captured and taken to the grammar school immediately. But the actual
19 armed conflict -- this was on Sunday. But the actual armed conflict
20 started on Monday, early in the morning, 4.00 or 5.00.
21 Q. At that point in time, as you said repeatedly, there was only one
22 brigade of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that is the 307th
23 Brigade in Bugojno, and there was one HVO brigade, the Eugen Kvaternik
24 Brigade, and the Home Guard Battalion; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In view of the fact that you had heard about this incident in
2 which two members of the MUP of Bosnia and Herzegovina were killed as
3 well, you certainly know that in attacking Vrbanja, the HVO killed 54
4 Bosniak civilians, that the village was set on fire and totally destroyed?
5 A. I do know that on the 1st of August, when I was at the cemetery in
6 Crnice and I heard from the Islamic priest whom I knew by sight, because
7 he was from the village of Porica, and when he was talking to some elderly
8 people, whether they were from Crnice or Vrbanja, I don't know, that the
9 victims from Vrbanja had been buried and that the total number was 19
11 Q. In answer to a question from the Prosecutor you said, and you have
12 now repeated that you were taken to do work in town, in this specific case
13 to dig graves, I'm asking you whether you know that for work in town that
14 was done up until the end of 1993 the person -- the body responsible was
15 the civilian authority of Bugojno municipality?
16 A. Probably the civilian authority because I saw some doctors of
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Withopf.
19 MR. WITHOPF: The last question of my learned colleague appears to
20 be problematic in light of the Trial Chamber's decision of 16th of March,
21 2004. Forced labour, pursuant to this decision, is not an issue either of
22 the parties can lead evidence. I therefore oppose against such sort of
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. The decision rendered
25 excluded formally from the Indictment all reference to inhumane treatment
1 and forced labour, but I didn't think that you intended to embark upon
2 that question, because it was upon your request that we dealt with that
3 problem. Your question must have a different connotation. Could you
4 respond to this particular point raised.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we received your
6 decision today and we're familiar with its contents. I am limiting myself
7 to the examination-in-chief of the Prosecutor who kept asking the witness
8 about what was happening outside the prison in which he was held, and
9 secondly what I want to ask the witness about is the chain of command in
10 view of the fact that the witness, during the examination-in-chief
11 testified about everything that happened at the cemetery at Vrbanja and
12 Crnice, but my aim is not to continue along those lines, but to establish
13 certain chains of command and questions of subordination in Bugojno
14 itself. And since the witness has answered my question, I should like to
15 ask him to look at a document, which we will propose to be marked for
16 identification only, so that I may go on to my next question.
17 Could this document please be shown to the witness.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Put the question to the witness,
20 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Mikulic, you see this document. I know that you have not had
22 occasion to see it before, but my question would be: Is it true that the
23 War Presidency of Bugojno municipality was the civilian organ of authority
24 in Bugojno?
25 A. The War Presidency was probably both a civilian and military organ
1 of authority in Bugojno.
2 Q. The Executive Board was actually the government of Bugojno at the
3 time, wasn't it?
4 A. You're asking me things about which I couldn't say, because I
5 wasn't present there.
6 Q. Do you know what the role of Zair Mijo [phoen] in Bugojno was at
7 the time?
8 A. I think he was the president. I knew Zair Mujo [phoen] while he
9 worked in TBM. I know that he was a very fine man. Now, what he did
10 during the war, I don't know. I know that he was chief of some sort, but
11 of what, I don't know. I can't help you there.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in view of the fact
13 that this is a relevant document, and we can't expect the witness to be
14 able to authenticate this document, we would like it to be marked for
15 identification, and could it be given a number then, please.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I ask you something? What is
17 the purpose of producing this document and showing it to me? Do you wish
18 to prove that we, as prisoners, were not working in town, were not digging
19 trenches on the front lines? I don't know what the meaning of this
20 document is.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I never called in question what you testified about. I have
23 already explained that in the chain of command, as the Defence team, we
24 are establishing various facts, including the fact regarding the labour
25 done in Bugojno.
1 A. I saw these work labour teams. My friends, Croats, engineers and
2 doctors, who were cleaning streets.
3 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can we have a number
4 for this document, Mr. President?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf, what is your
6 position regarding this document?
7 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, if it's only for the purpose of
8 marking for identification for the time being, the Prosecution doesn't
9 oppose the marking for identification. However, my learned colleague
10 could please inform the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution about the source
11 of the document.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. That is what we noted each
14 What is the source of this document?
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] During the investigation, during
16 the pre-trial period, our investigators reviewed the archives in Bugojno
17 municipality, and this document, and another document that I will be
18 showing the witness, are from the archives in Bugojno.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, give
20 us a number for the B/C/S and for the English versions of this document.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the B/C/S document gets Exhibit
22 number DH62, marked for identification; and the English translation gets
23 the Exhibit number DH62/E, marked for identification.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
25 Please continue.
1 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Mikulic, I only have a couple of more questions for you. Is
3 it true that before the war, there was no prison in Bugojno except for
4 some sort of a detention area attached to the police itself?
5 A. I do know that the HVO formed a prison in the elementary school in
6 Gracanica, where Serbs were imprisoned, but very small numbers.
7 Q. Maybe we didn't understand one another properly. My question was:
8 Before the war, there was no prison in Bugojno, is that right, prisoners
9 went to the KP Dom in Zenica?
10 A. As far as I know, Bugojno did not have a prison, at least as far
11 back as I can remember.
12 Q. In answer to a question from my learned friend the Prosecutor, you
13 said that you came to the Iskra stadium in the second half of August and
14 that the stadium was a unified prison for all HVO prisoners; is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Before that, all the locations in which you and others were
18 detained were actually temporary places of detention; is that right?
19 A. Well, probably, since we didn't spend any length of time there.
20 Q. I would now like to ask the next and last document that I intend
21 to show this witness to be shown to the witness. We have a sufficient
22 number of copies for Their Honours and my learned friends.
23 Before you have a look at this document, do you know someone
24 called Mehmed Sadikovic?
25 A. I think the gentleman who worked in a construction firm, Gorica
1 Bugojno, had such a name. I think he was a manager there, because that's
2 what the detainees who worked in Gorica said. They said that he was a
3 colleague of theirs, and he was a commander in prison while we were in the
4 Vojin Paleksic school. I know this for sure.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Have a look at the document now. This
6 document, as it states, is a decision on appointing a warden of temporary
7 detention facilities in Bugojno; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. This document was issued by Bugojno municipality, by the War
10 Presidency, an organ which, as you have said, also performed both civilian
11 duties and military duties, had both civilian and military authority?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, given the
14 importance of the document and its contents, given the fact that it is
15 closely related to all the counts in the indictment that concern Bugojno,
16 and given that the witness has confirmed that he is aware of the fact that
17 the person mentioned in this decision was the prison warden, I suggest
18 that this document be admitted into evidence.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I ask you a question?
20 Unfortunately, we weren't detainees. We were slaves. Detainees are given
21 certain sentences. They are questioned. They have certain security. We
22 had no such things. Unfortunately, many of my friends lost their lives.
23 They were killed in the most brutal way. And I don't think that this is
24 something that is done in prisons. And I believe that the person who
25 compiled this document didn't order that we should be eliminated, but that
1 is what happened.
2 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] As I have already said, I am very
3 sorry for all the experiences you have had.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Before Mr. Withopf takes
5 the floor to comment on the second document, the Trial Chamber notes a
6 number of factors, a number of things. First of all, the second document
7 was compiled on the 28th of July. The president of the war municipality
8 was Mr. Dzevad Mlaco. And the second document was on the 24th of
9 September, 1993. That's the date. And the president apparently changed,
10 because it's Mr. Zaid Nevo [phoen]. The second thing I'd like to point
11 out is that these two documents refer to another document. It refers to
12 guidelines. The second one refers to Article 9 and 10, and the first one
13 to Article 3. But in the first document provided, the first document was
14 delivered to the commander of the 307th Mechanised Brigade, whereas the
15 second document doesn't mention any addressee. In the second document, it
16 doesn't state that this document will be published in the Official Gazette
17 of Bugojno municipality, which was the case for the first document.
18 If the documents seem to agree as far as the form is concerned,
19 there are certain differences as far as the substance is concerned, in
20 particular with regard to the list of people to which it was forwarded.
21 These are the comments I wanted to make before hearing the Defence's [as
22 interpreted] position.
23 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, the Prosecution has the
24 very same concerns about this document as you, Mr. President, just
25 expressed. In addition, the Prosecution objects against tendering this
1 document into evidence for a number of additional reasons.
2 The witness was not able to comment on this document to any extent
3 beyond the actual contents of the document. The document refers to the
4 temporary prison, and I really emphasise it's the singular only, whereas
5 my learned friend in her questions used the word -- used the
6 description "temporary prisons," in the plural. I really wish to
7 emphasise that.
8 And the third reason why the Prosecution objects to tender this
9 document into evidence: The Prosecution can see the relevance of this
10 document. It doesn't say anything about what prison is referenced to in
11 the document. Nobody knows whether one of the six detention facilities in
12 Bugojno is actually covered by this document.
13 For the reasons you, Mr. President, just expressed, and for the
14 additional reasons I just detailed, the Prosecution objects against
15 tendering this document into evidence, and it would also object against
16 marking this document for identification.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since we have marked the first
18 document for identification, we'll do the same for the second document,
19 and the Trial Chamber will then deliberate to see what we'll do with the
20 documents. Is there anything else the Defence would like to add?
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. I
22 would like to respond to a number of issues that you have raised.
23 In fact, the second document that I have produced - it's an early
24 one; it's dated the 28th of July, 1993 - was issued by the War Presidency,
25 which functions as the Municipal Assembly in wartime conditions and was
1 signed by the president, Dzevad Mlaco. In response to my questions, the
2 witness said he knew who the president of the War Presidency was in 1992
3 and 1993, and this has been entered into the transcript.
4 The second document was issued by the Executive Board of the War
5 Presidency. In our conditions, this is the government. It's not the
6 Municipal Assembly; it's the government. These two organs are different
7 organs, and as a result, the references, the headings, can be different,
8 the ones that you have mentioned.
9 Secondly, as far as the persons to whom the documents were
10 forwarded, I think that each organ decides whom its decisions should be
11 forwarded to. And the War Presidency, in the document dated the 28th of
12 July, 1993, stated that this decision on appointing someone, because this
13 is a specific act, should enter into force immediately. Since this is a
14 specific act, it's not a decision that establishes an organ, and as a
15 result, it's not necessary to have this published in an official gazette.
16 That concerns the form. As far as the substance is concerned, I
17 think that I have already indicated what the importance of the document
18 is. And secondly, the witness, in response to a question that I put to
19 him, and it only concerned the name of Mehmed Sadikovic, the witness
20 clearly said that he was aware of the fact that he was the prison warden
21 when he was being held in one of the detention facilities. I no longer
22 know whether it was in the grammar school or in the furniture showroom,
23 but it has most certainly been recorded in the transcript as one of the
24 witness's answers. As a result, I think that this document is important,
25 and the position [as interpreted] stands by its request to have this
1 admitted into evidence.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We will mark this
3 document for identification and we'll deliberate on the matter
5 Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the B/C/S version gets Exhibit
7 number DH63, marked for identification; and the English translation gets
8 Exhibit number DH63/E, marked for identification.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Please continue.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Mikulic, thank
12 you. I have no further questions. Thank you for having answered my
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does the other Defence team have
15 any questions?
16 MR. DIXON: No, Your Honour, we don't have any questions.
17 Mr. Kubura is not charged with any of the alleged incidents that this
18 witness has testified about today. Thank you, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Dixon.
20 Mr. Withopf, do you have any further questions, given that we have
21 another ten minutes now?
22 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, the Prosecution has no
23 further questions. Thank you.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This concludes your testimony.
2 You have answered the questions put to you by the Prosecution and by the
3 Defence. The Defence took care to tell you that in spite of the
4 unpleasant experiences you have had, they had to perform their duties as a
5 Defence team. Thank you for having come to testify at The Hague, and we
6 wish you a good trip home. I'll now ask the usher to escort you out of
7 the courtroom.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have a few more minutes. I
11 would like to ask the Defence about the model. What stage are we at? You
12 said, last time that we spoke about this, that you were examining the
13 issue, and I was expecting to see it very rapidly. Mr. Bourgon.
14 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be
15 glad to offer you some explanations about the subject. First of all, I
16 would like to take this opportunity to thank the Registrar. They have
17 made this task of transporting the model to the Tribunal easy. It is now
18 near -- in a room near the courtroom and it's ready to be used. We were
19 to use it for the witness who was withdrawn last week. This was, in our
20 opinion, the best witness for providing certain explanations to the Trial
21 Chamber in connection with the model. As soon as another witness appears
22 who might be able to make good use of the model, we will use the model,
23 when such a witness appears.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your explanations,
25 Mr. Bourgon. I'll now turn to Mr. Withopf.
1 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, as I said repeatedly,
2 the Prosecution, on principle, does not object using such a model.
3 However, prior to using it, the Prosecution wishes to have a number of
4 issues addressed and a number of answers -- of questions answered by the
5 Defence. It would be beneficial for the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution
6 to get to know who is the originator of this model, when was it created,
7 for what purpose was it created, and what is actually the scale of the
8 model. Once the Prosecution has an opportunity to see the model, there
9 may be other issues the Prosecution wishes to raise. Therefore, we
10 reserve our right to make additional comments and to ask additional
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have already
13 informed our colleagues from the Prosecution about certain matters and we
14 can also provide you with additional information. The model was made by
15 the BH Army of the Federation, and we submitted a request to the Army of
16 the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide us with such a model
17 so that we could use it in the course of the proceedings. And if the
18 Trial Chamber could consider that this model could be used as evidence, we
19 asked them to make this model available to us. The Federation army said
20 that they would make this available, and we then informed the Trial
21 Chamber that we might perhaps manage to obtain a model of the area in
23 I would also like to say that professional persons from the
24 Federation army probably made the model. I don't know the exact
25 dimensions. My colleagues have just told me that the scale is 50.000.
1 This is just a geographic depiction of the area. I also have to say that
2 that model existed in the Federation army far earlier. But part of the
3 model was made available for the Blaskic case, either to the Prosecution
4 or to the Defence - I don't know to whom at the moment - and it was used
5 in the case, and as a result, that part of the model was modified. So the
6 technical execution is somewhat different, although the model is
8 Mr. President, we are in a -- we wouldn't want to address all
9 issues before the Trial Chamber. As the model is in the building, we can
10 show the model to the Prosecution, and if they have any additional
11 questions, we can answer them. But we think that the arrival of
12 international witnesses might be the right time for using that model.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. At the moment, at this
15 stage, I think that the best solution would be for the Prosecution to
16 examine the model with the Defence, if the model is in the building. If
17 it were miles away, that would be a problem, but it is here. So,
18 Mr. Withopf, I'm sure you will be able to find a few minutes to examine
19 the model. So try to arrange this with Defence, and you will then be able
20 to examine the entire model, and then you can inform us of whether there
21 are any problems or not. But this is a model made by the army. The scale
22 is 1:50.000. It's a model of a geographic area, and I don't see why this
23 should be problematic. Perhaps there might be a problem, but in order to
24 discover any problems, you should first see the model. The best course of
25 action would be for you to examine the model and then inform us of your
1 opinion of the model after you have seen it, and this can be done within
2 the context of exchanging documents between the parties.
3 Mr. Withopf, you may take the floor.
4 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, this is exactly along
5 the lines what would have been the suggestion by the Prosecution. I
6 would, however, be very grateful to my learned friends from the Defence if
7 they could inform the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution which section of
8 the army made the model and for what purpose it has been made, for what
9 military purpose. There may lie a problem, but I'm sure my learned
10 friends from the Defence can answer such questions.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Prosecution
12 would like to know which branch or unit of the BH army made the model.
13 And the second question was what was the purpose of the model. But it
14 appears that you have already answered that, because you said that part of
15 the model was already used in another case before the Tribunal, and I
16 assume that the purpose was the same. But perhaps you could now answer
17 the questions raised by Prosecution. Mr. Bourgon.
18 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. At this
19 stage, the information we can provide the Trial Chamber is that in most
20 armies, there are models of territory where an army is supposed to take
21 action, and very often one prepares models, makes models, and it's the
22 model department of the army in question that actually makes these models.
23 These models are made to make it possible to examine the territory, so
24 that the officers may be aware of the territory that they might have to
25 act in. In the case of this model, as I have already informed the Trial
1 Chamber, this is part of a model which is far bigger. It's almost as large
2 as this room, and it represents the entire area of Bosnia. We have
3 managed to obtain part of this model; that is to say, we have managed to
4 obtain the area referred to in the indictment. So, Mr. President, there's
5 nothing secret. I'm sure that when my colleague sees the model, he'll
6 realise that it's only a visual aid, an aid that should make it possible
7 for all the parties to have a better idea of the lay of the land. And the
8 most interesting thing is the relief, the possibility of seeing the
9 mountains and realising what the distance between the towns is.
10 Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf, the best thing
12 would be for you to see the model itself, and then the Trial Chamber will
13 be all ears when it comes to you expressing your position with regard to
14 the model.
15 It's now 7.00. We will now adjourn, and I would like to invite
16 everyone to appear for the hearing that will start tomorrow at 9.00 in the
18 Thank you.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 18th day of March,
21 2004, at 9.00 a.m.