1 Tuesday, 9
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
7 Your Honour.
8 May it please the Court, could I please have
9 two minutes in private session? I would like to finish
10 with the story about the witness that the Prosecutor
11 started yesterday, the witness who allegedly was in the
12 courtroom following the proceedings on Thursday.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, you can do it, but
14 would you do it quickly, because we must get on with
15 the evidence, please.
16 [Private session]
13 page 18229 redacted – private session
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE MAY: If we could have the witness too,
18 MR. NICE: As the witness is coming in, can I
19 explain to the Court that there are a few documents to
20 put to this witness. I'll try and deal with other
21 matters, if his memory isn't complete, by showing him
22 documents that don't have to be exhibited. But the
23 Chamber may be comforted by the knowledge, I think,
24 from what we are told, that this is the last of the
25 witnesses dealing with these areas which are likely to
1 be the more document-heavy areas, and that after that,
2 I should think there's much less chance of documents
3 having to be produced at all.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 WITNESS: LUKA SEKERIJA [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 MR. NICE: May the witness have before him an
8 existing exhibit that we've looked at, 372.2.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice [cont'd]:
10 Q. Major, we are going to leave the early part
11 of 1993, but for completeness, before we do so, I would
12 like your comments on a document produced by Dzemal
13 Merdan. We, that is, the Judges and counsel, have seen
14 the document before, but it wasn't very -- it wasn't
15 dealt with in great detail, and I would like your
16 comments on it.
17 You will remember, Major, that we were
18 looking yesterday at documents from the International
19 Community at about the same time as this 17th of
20 January document which you have, on this occasion, in a
21 language which you understand and that we can have and
22 the usher can very kindly place on the ELMO, please, in
24 What I would like your help with first is
25 that this refers to a commission for negotiations to
1 resolve the conflict in Gornji Vakuf and is dated
2 either the 16th or the 17th of January. Can you
3 remember anything about that commission?
4 A. Your Honours, could I please read the
5 document first, if possible, and then I'll answer.
6 Q. It's a long document, but I'm happy for him
7 to do that.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, would you like to take him
9 to the relevant parts.
10 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.
11 Q. You'll see the heading refers to the
12 commission for negotiations to resolve the conflict as
13 early as the 16th of January. Do you recall that such
14 a commission was established at an early stage?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The first paragraph, he refers to
17 intermittent artillery fire, less intense than on the
18 previous day, and the surrounding villages of Voljevac,
19 Here, and Pridvorci being shelled because of the
20 movement of their troops being detected. Is that
21 correct? Did you shell those villages?
22 A. The range of the artillery that I had
23 available could not have reached those villages. If
24 there was any kind of shelling or any conflicts between
25 the HVO and the Muslim army, then it only could have
1 been from Rama Prozor, the neighbouring municipality.
2 Q. You see, this is an internal document. It's
3 from Merdan to the chiefs of the supreme staff of the
4 RBH armed forces. And that's his account.
5 And then at the next paragraph he speaks how
6 at 1750 hours Colonels Andric and Siljeg arrived,
7 having been at Prozor to discuss matters with Praljak,
8 accompanied by Lucic. And during the meeting they set
9 forth their demands, which were for organisation of the
10 provinces being temporary, based on reciprocity. If
11 there were changes in Geneva, the Croats would abide by
12 the changes. HVO demanded withdrawal of units, return
13 of units, to places from where they set out. They
14 guaranteed they would do nothing against Muslims who
15 had not perpetrated war crimes. They said they'd
16 respect equality, and there was an order to abandon
17 trenches and the army could no longer be commanded by
18 Topcic, Agic, or Prijic, and so on.
19 Now, I just want to know: Is what it set out
20 there by way of the HVO terms the reality?
21 A. Your Honours, I was not a member of this
22 commission. I cannot give any answers concerning the
23 work of this commission.
24 Q. I'm going to stop now, because the point I
25 want to make is an obvious one. This is an internal
1 document, Muslim to Muslim. Now -- not intended for
2 your sight. Have you read so far, please, anything in
3 this document that you say is false, or is it all thus
4 far true?
5 A. Your Honours, excuse me. All negotiations
6 and discussions -- I can say the following in
7 connection with all of that. A ceasefire was agreed
8 that was fully respected by the HVO. During these
9 ceasefires, there was frequent sniper fire where we
10 lost more soldiers than in the actual fighting. That
11 is to say that the Muslim side did sign most documents,
12 but they did not abide by them.
13 JUDGE MAY: You haven't answered the
14 question. The question is: Is there anything in the
15 document, which has been read to you so far, that is,
16 which is false or not true, or can you not say?
17 A. I wish to say that this is a document of the
18 commander of the Muslim army to the Muslim units that
19 were operating in the area, and I cannot speak about a
20 document that does not relate to me personally.
21 JUDGE MAY: You can, Mr. Sekerija. Just
22 think. You are being asked whether the terms which are
23 represented in the documents as being the terms of the
24 HVO were in fact those terms or not, or are you not in
25 a position to say?
1 A. I'm not in a position to say anything.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. The position, Major, is that you're going to
4 deny knowledge of anything that you find is
5 embarrassing for your cause, and it's as simple as
6 that, isn't it?
7 A. No.
8 Q. We've heard evidence from a witness Williams,
9 from the International Community, that Colonel Andric
10 gave an ultimatum to the ABiH to hand over their
11 weapons on the basis that Gornji Vakuf was in a Croat
12 canton. Now, did Colonel Andric give that ultimatum?
13 A. I repeat: I was not present at such
14 negotiations at UN headquarters in Vakuf and I indeed
15 cannot speak about that. I personally have not had any
16 document about this in my own hands.
17 Q. I'm going to go back for 1992 and I'll finish
18 with the latter part of 1993. You joined the HVO in
19 April 1992. You speak of Kordic advocating 50 per cent
20 of weapons to go to Muslims. Well, which particular
21 set of weapons was he making this proposal for?
22 A. It was exclusively a question of weapons that
23 were taken over from the former barracks of the former
24 Yugoslav People's Army, and these were small arms.
25 Q. And was he not so much advocating a division
1 as pleading to get some weapons for himself? Is that
2 the reality of the position?
3 A. He did not have to plead with anyone, because
4 the HVO units that were under HVO-held territory took
5 those weapons, so he didn't really have to plead with
6 anybody for that.
7 Q. Where is this documented, this offer of his,
8 as you would have it, that 50 per cent of the weapons
9 should go to -- who is it? The Territorial Defence?
10 A. At the meeting where I was present once,
11 where all the presidents of governments within the zone
12 of responsibility of Central Bosnia, where logistic
13 support was being discussed to units on the ground, and
14 at the front line, that is, I think that on several
15 occasions equipment that was in the territory of one
16 municipality that had an abundance of it would go to
17 those municipalities where there was a shortage.
18 Mr. Kordic also advocated a half/half division. If we
19 had, for example, a thousand guns, he asked that half
20 of this be given to the Muslims and half to the Croats,
21 depending on the needs expressed by various
23 Q. You've one more chance, and I'll move on.
24 Can you tell me, please, where I can find or where we
25 can find documents to support what you're saying about
2 A. I personally had a diary of my own where I
3 made such an entry. After I was injured, my vehicle
4 disappeared and my documents and everything, so I made
5 this kind of an entry in this diary that I had. I
6 cannot find another document to corroborate this.
7 Q. Well, now at this time, April and May of
8 1992, what legitimacy did the HVO have, please? You
9 were a member of it. What legitimacy did it have, what
10 right did it have, to have arms from the former
11 Yugoslavia? Tell us.
12 A. Well, it didn't have any right to do it, but
13 what we seized from the barracks of the former JNA is
14 what we had and what we distributed.
15 Q. And were you doing something that was truly
16 dedicated to the continuation of the independent
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina or were you doing something that was
18 aimed at the interests of wider Croatia, please?
19 A. I exclusively did all my work in the
20 interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina, because it is my one
21 and only homeland.
22 MR. NICE: Exhibit 2360.18, please. Original
23 for the witness, English version on the ELMO.
24 Q. Now, you had already joined the HVO, you were
25 a couple of months into it, at the time Bobetko from
1 the Republic of Croatia set out in this document that
2 he was forming or there was to be formed an IZM for
3 Central Bosnia, with the aim of organising effective
4 defence and integrating the existing commands in
5 Central Bosnia. He ordered the establishment of an
6 IZM, Central Bosnia, in Gornji Vakuf. Can you explain,
7 please, to the Judges how it came about that the State
8 of Croatia at this time was involved in doing what it
10 A. As Brigadier Zarko Tole came to the area of
11 Uskoplje, this order, that was signed by General
12 Bobetko that you just showed me now, I see for the
13 first time now. I don't know what kind of political
14 line this is and who this was agreed with, but it is
15 true that Brigadier Tole managed to come to Uskoplje
16 and he did try to organise units there until he was
17 taken by the Serbs. And as for the rest, I already
18 said that in my previous statement.
19 Q. Are you telling the Judges that you there, in
20 Gornji Vakuf, about which you give evidence, had no
21 knowledge that the appointments of Tole were being
22 ordered from Croatia? Do you have no knowledge of that
23 at all, please?
24 A. Your Honours, I already said that this is the
25 first time I see this order. Tole came under the
1 orders of the late Mate Boban to set this up probably
2 through political structures at top level, as this was
3 agreed both with the Muslim and the Croat sides. It is
4 possible that this exists. This is the first time I
5 see this document. I cannot discuss it, because it is
6 not my document, and I did not sign it either.
7 Q. But you were there. Now, was what you were
8 doing related to the interests of Bosnia-Herzegovina or
9 was it, to your knowledge, related to the interests of
10 Croatia and dominated by instructions coming from
11 Croatia, please?
12 A. No, I worked in the interests of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina alone, only, and this is the first
14 time I see this document.
15 Q. Before we move from this period of time, the
16 time when Kordic was engaged in offering 50 per cent of
17 the weapons, as you say, to the Muslims, can you
18 explain again -- you answered one of the Judges about
19 this yesterday -- can you explain again, please, how it
20 is that Kordic dealing with allocation of weapons is
21 not a military function?
22 A. As far as I know, in any country the
23 government of a country or the presidency of a country
24 are responsible for the logistical supply of the army.
25 Mr. Kordic -- and I affirm that once again he had no
1 command authority to issue orders to units on the front
2 line, nor did he participate in the design of the
3 strategy in the territory that we kept.
4 Q. Logistics is a function of a politician
5 because -- or at least to this extent: the politicians
6 may have to find the money to buy the guns, and that
7 may be dealt with by a president, or prime minister,
8 or, I suppose, a minister of war.
9 Now, the logistical functions that you're
10 referring to here, are those, as it were, the political
11 functions of somebody like a minister for war or a
12 minister for defence; is that what you're saying?
13 A. Well, I think all the political functions of
14 a government, yes, indeed, all those functions are
15 political and they are not military. And even if we
16 talk about the Minister of Defence, it is once again a
17 political function.
18 Q. The Minister of Defence is plainly more
19 closely associated with war than, for example, the
20 Minister of Social Security or the Minister for
21 Education. Is there any politician that you can name
22 who was more closely associated with the political
23 functions of defence than Kordic?
24 A. The supreme commander of the Croat Defence
25 Council was Mate Boban, as one can see from the rules
1 of the armed forces of the Croatian Community
2 Herceg-Bosna, which he signed with his own hand. Then
3 the link between the supreme commander of the armed
4 forces of the HVO and the government was the president
5 of the government or the prime minister, that is,
6 Jadranko Prlic, who held that post at the time. And in
7 his government, there was the Ministry of Defence,
8 which was the link with the Main Staff of the HVO. And
9 the Main Staff of the HVO issued orders, that is,
10 military orders, about the deployment of forces on the
11 ground, their commands to the commanders of the
12 operative zones, and then they transmitted those orders
13 to brigades and other subordinate units.
14 Q. Well, with such a complete chain of political
15 responsibility for military matters, why would it be
16 necessary for Kordic to be negotiating over the
17 allocation of weapons? Why didn't he leave it to Prlic
18 or Boban?
19 A. Well, I've just explained that Mr. Kordic was
20 a vice-president of the Croatian Community
21 Herceg-Bosna, and he was responsible -- presumably he
22 was responsible for the area of Central Bosnia
23 regarding the logistical support on behalf of the
24 Minister of Defence. But I repeat, he had nothing to
25 do with the military command, or if he did anything to
1 do with it, then it was limited to logistical support
2 through the presidents of individual local governments
3 which were in our area of responsibility.
4 Q. I'll discuss that further with the witness.
5 As a matter of record, do you accept -- I have the
6 document, if you need it to confirm it, but as a matter
7 of record and for purposes of dates, that Blaskic
8 appointed you on the 4th of July as commander of
9 Operative Zone Number 1, which covered Bugojno, Gornji
10 Vakuf, Jablanica, Kaonik, Kupres and Prozor. Do you
11 accept that date?
12 A. I cannot recall the exact date, but I know
13 the order that you are referring to, since I was at
14 that time Colonel Blaskic's deputy. Then we divided
15 Operative Zone Central Bosnia into four subzones. In
16 one of them, I was the commander, and the duty that I
17 was supposed to carry out was performed by Vlado Bandic
18 until the late Baldo [phoen] Strujic was appointed to
19 that office.
20 MR. NICE: There's one document I will come
21 back to out of sequence in a second in order to deal
22 with things swiftly. May the witness see, please,
23 Exhibit 207, which is a new exhibit.
24 Q. Now, this is a document. You have the
25 original. The English version is on the ELMO. It
1 doesn't have a date, but it's in the hand of,
2 apparently, and signed by Dario Kordic, with a stamp
3 for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. It reads:
4 "Tiho and Sekerija". That would appear to be you;
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. It says that:
8 "Mr. Franjo Masusa, a HOS commander from
9 Novi Travnik, has been to see me, and that they have
10 decided that a platoon of 30 troops should go to
11 Jajce. Organise other people from other
12 municipalities. I have prepared three lorry loads of
13 supplies so that everything goes together."
14 The same question, please, Major. I know
15 your answer will be that this is not a military order.
16 Can you please tell the Judges why it's not a military
18 A. Well, Your Honours, there is an established
19 system as applied in Central Bosnia regarding the
20 participation of all the units in defence of Jajce
21 against Bosnian Serbs. And that system said as
22 follows: Every municipality in our area of
23 responsibility would give 20, 30, 35 men, depending on
24 the number, and all those men would come together and
25 go to the front in Jajce. And it says also here, very
1 nicely, that a HOS platoon will also go. It was not
2 under the direct command of the command of the
3 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia that it would come
4 with us, but that we should ensure three lorry loads of
5 medicines, food and fuel to go with them, because there
6 were just too many Chetnik shells there and that was
7 the only surplus. Everything else was in short
9 So, Your Honours, I simply do not agree that
10 this is a military order. This is merely a request to
11 find somewhere three lorries in order to take food,
12 medicines and fuel, which was in short supply on that
13 front line.
14 Q. The first thing is that the first sentence,
15 or the first clause of the second paragraph, says,
16 "organise other people from other municipalities,"
17 doesn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Perhaps nothing to do, on its face, with
20 medicine or supplies. It appears to be other armed
21 people from other municipalities. It doesn't bear any
22 other interpretation, does it?
23 A. That is true, but I already told you that it
24 was already a well-established system, that the units
25 in the area of our responsibility took shifts every two
1 or three weeks; some would come back and others go to
2 the ground, and we used the same lorries to bring those
3 back and take those out. The roads there were very
4 difficult. We had to -- routes were dangerous. We had
5 to use macadam roads at night, without any lights
6 whatsoever. So these vehicles that Mr. Kordic is
7 talking about, three lorries of medicines and food --
8 and I do remember well the duties about food and some
9 fuel for generators, because there was no power there
10 to organise that and to take it there, because such a
11 convoy could not be sent in that direction without
12 proper escort. And in that --
13 Q. Major, I'm not going to cut your answers off
14 if you think they're helpful and responsive to the
15 question, but please focus on the question. "Organise
16 other people from other municipalities," it's a
17 military instruction, and it hasn't been necessary for
18 Kordic to go via Blaskic, it hasn't been necessary for
19 him to go up to the Ministry of Defence. He gives the
20 instruction himself. This is a military instruction;
22 A. I am telling you that it was a
23 well-established system. What was he intending to
24 organise with? Well, we were already organised. He
25 could have written anything he liked at that time, but
1 he could not order anyone to go and get killed in
2 Sumarija, because he was not a part of the chain of
3 command in the units.
4 Q. Before I part from this document, can you
5 think of any good reason, please, why this order comes
6 from him and not from someone in the military chain of
7 command like Blaskic?
8 A. I do not know.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Brigadier --
10 Sorry, Mr. Nice. I just wanted to ask a
12 After you received this communication from
13 Mr. Kordic, did you have the other people organised,
14 the other people from the other municipalities
15 organised, following receipt of this communication?
16 A. All this -- Your Honours, this had all been
17 done before. I told you that it was a system which we
18 had been using for months by then. And, for instance,
19 I am giving an example: In July 1992 you will send so
20 many men every week. There is such an order, and it
21 was sent out to all the units by the command of the
22 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. Here it says
23 "organise other people," but they were already
24 organised, so that this document is only -- tells me
25 only what it does say: Prepare three lorry loads so
1 that you can send in some assistance, in medicines and
2 food and fuel. And all the rest had already been done
3 before. I didn't need anything else. And I do have
4 this document, and I do not really see it as an order.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation
6 continues] ... by you of the people following receipt
7 of the document, irrespective of whether you might have
8 done it before. What I'm asking is whether, having
9 received this document from Mr. Kordic, you went ahead
10 and organised people from other municipalities,
11 irrespective of whether it is something that you would
12 have done and did do before.
13 A. Yes. Before this document, I had already
14 written an order and sent it to municipalities which
15 were to send 30 men to prepare, 30 men, each fully
16 equipped to go to the front line in Jajce. I had also
17 provided three lorries to take this assistance that is
18 referred to. Yes, I did that.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. And somewhere in the archive, no doubt, there
22 will be a reply you will have sent to this important
23 vice-president confirming that, as it happened, what he
24 was asking you to do had already been done. Is that
25 your position, please?
1 A. Well, I cannot recall now. If you really
2 want me to answer about this letter, then we need to
3 have some reference number, a date or something else.
4 This to me is a piece of paper, rather than an order
5 about which I can give you an answer. How can I answer
6 if it says here Luka and Tiho? There is no reference
7 number or anything. How can I refer to this document?
8 So I do not think that there will be a report in the
9 archive or any document to show that I had replied to
10 this, at least as far as I can recall.
11 Q. Forgive me, Major, but when His Honour Judge
12 Robinson was asking you about the second paragraph, you
13 seemed to have detailed recollection of having already
14 made the arrangements that were requested of you or
15 ordered of you there. Would that be wrong? You don't
16 have detailed recollection of what you spoke about in
17 answer to Judge Robinson? Which is it, detailed
18 recollection or no detailed recollection?
19 A. I repeat: Your Honours, if you are
20 addressing me with my rank, then I should be addressed
21 with the rank I truly have, but I much prefer to be
22 addressed as "sir".
23 Now, I have already said that it was a
24 well-established procedure, that I do remember some
25 details and some details I do not recall. I recall it
1 being told that we would get three lorry loads of this,
2 because that was a major assistance for Jajce. And I
3 should also like to mention that decent food and
4 medicines and fuel were distributed amongst the Croats
5 and Muslims in Jajce.
6 Q. I'm very sorry. Thank you for that, and I'm
7 sorry not to have been referring to you by your rank in
8 which you retired, a brigadier, and of course I'll do
10 One of the things you say, with the authority
11 of your experience, Brigadier, is that there were
12 criminals acting in their own self-interest. You
13 haven't yet identified who these criminals were.
14 Before we come to that, we've also heard from other
15 witnesses of various special units, PPNs, I think.
16 Now, who are you referring to when you speak of
17 criminals acting in their own self-interest?
18 A. If we are talking about 1992 and the time I
19 spent in the territory of Central Bosnia until I went
20 back to my native municipality for reasons of health,
21 then, Your Honours, I can say that individuals were
22 indeed criminals, and they committed criminal offences
23 in their own self-interest, not only in one
24 municipality; in all municipalities. I call them local
25 sheriffs, who refused to be subordinated, to place
1 themselves under the command of the HVO or any other
2 institutions that existed at the time. And all the
3 plunder or whatever they did, they did only for their
4 personal gain, and in this manner they did a disservice
5 to the Croat people, to the interests of the Croat
7 Q. Well, now, are these individuals different
8 from, for example, the special units, the PPNs, or are
9 you saying that the PPNs were the people acting
10 illegally and out of control?
11 A. I repeat: During my stay in 1992 in the
12 territory of the Operative Zone Central Bosnia, no
13 special purpose units were formed at the time.
14 Q. And when they were formed, to your knowledge,
15 they were under the command of the Operative Zone for
16 Central Bosnia; that's correct, isn't it?
17 A. I guess so.
18 Q. Because if we look at another new exhibit,
19 which I'm afraid we have no translation, but it's a
20 short exhibit, and it's going to be 179.1. The
21 translation must follow.
22 JUDGE MAY: It's no good giving it to us
23 unless it's translated.
24 MR. NICE: It can go on the ELMO.
25 JUDGE MAY: Just give it to the witness.
1 MR. NICE: Yes.
2 JUDGE MAY: It's not to be exhibited unless
3 it's properly translated.
4 MR. NICE: Certainly, but I think that the
5 witness can help us materially, and the document, to a
6 large degree, speaks for itself.
7 Q. If you look at this document, if you look at
8 the stamp on the top, it's hard to read, but it would
9 appear to be the 8th of August of 1992. It's a typed
10 document coming from you, and if we look at item number
11 4 -- perhaps you'd just like to read item number 4 out
12 in your own language, and then it will be translated
13 for us, please.
14 A. "Units of the Vitez HVO Special Purpose Unit
15 is to be ready for engagement along the
16 Vitez-Busovaca-Kiseljak line and to report to the
17 HVO-Kiseljak command."
18 Q. So is it right, as I would suggest this
19 document shows, that as early as August of 1992, clear
20 command -- clear lines of command for special purpose
21 units from Central Bosnia Operative Zone were known of
22 and operated, including by yourself?
23 A. This is a military police platoon. I recall
24 that event. I recall that this was a military police
25 unit. It was to clear the road and remove all the
1 obstacles along the road.
2 Q. My general point remains. The special units,
3 as you refer to them generally in that order, were
4 under Central Bosnian control, and there's no evidence
5 that you can point to, or no suggestion that you point
6 to, that the special units were other than under
7 Central Operative Zone control.
8 A. Yes, correct. I agree with you. I do agree
9 with you. These units were. The military police was
10 under the command of the staff of the Operative Zone
11 Central Bosnia. But I did not say that they were
12 engaged, involved, in some nefarious deeds. Those were
13 individuals, or groups of individuals, at least, during
14 my stay in the Operative Zone for Central Bosnia.
15 Q. I don't want to trouble you with another
16 exhibit, but will you confirm -- I've got an exhibit to
17 look at if you want to, but would you confirm that
18 where an anti-aircraft gun was being moved, one that
19 had been first of all moved by you and then was being
20 moved again because Blaskic thought it should be
21 returned to Kresevo, where that happened, the movements
22 of the gun would be well documented. In this case it
23 was a document on the 5th of October of 1992. Do you
24 understand the point? Movements of heavy artillery
25 would always be well documented on paper. You accept
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. I needn't trouble you with any
5 Exhibit 248, however, a document of yours
6 that I'd like you to look at. This is a document --
7 you have the original. The English version on the
8 ELMO -- dated the 23rd of October of 1992. It goes to
9 the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Vitez
10 and Busovaca, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic and to Dario
12 Just before we go on, why are you sending it
13 to the two of them? This isn't being sent to separate
14 addresses so that one can provide a copy to the other;
15 it's being sent to both of them at the same address.
16 Please, why?
17 A. I've already explained, Your Honours, that
18 the communications that we had at our disposal at that
19 time were not really adequately suited to our needs,
20 and this is merely a letter, or rather an order of the
21 main staff, Mr. Milivoj Petkovic, who orders, in
22 military terms, the following to the Operative Zone
23 Central Bosnia. He presumably could not get it. This
24 cable reached Uskoplje, that is, Gornji Vakuf, that is,
25 me. I was there on a sick leave. And I simply rewrote
1 that letter. And I did get some rumours that Blaskic
2 or Kordic had been captured, and I was glad to hear
3 that it was just a false rumour, and that is what I
4 mention in this letter.
5 Likewise, if I may, Your Honours, I should
6 like to say the following: I say here that the
7 situation in the territory of Gornji Vakuf is tense,
8 but nevertheless is still under control. And yesterday
9 I said that even in October 1992 was really a question
10 of whether the conflict -- there would be a conflict or
11 there wouldn't be, and the conflict was hanging in the
12 air. So that all the matters concerning transport or
13 materiel sent towards Novi Travnik, all such convoys
14 are blocked precisely because of the units which are
15 not under our control.
16 Q. The question was about why you sent it to
17 both of them. Your earlier explanation yesterday about
18 needing one to provide the copy to the other won't do,
19 because you're sending it to the same address. If we
20 look at it in detail, it replies to a telegram. Is
21 this an example where you have a recollection of the
22 detail of the telegram or where you don't? Do you
23 recall the telegram? Nobody will criticise you for not
24 recalling it this time after the event, and don't feel
25 pressured to remember it. Just tell us, do you
1 remember the telegram?
2 A. No.
3 Q. It would appear from the letter that you're
4 doing two things. In the first part, you're replying
5 to the telegram and you're saying the situation is
6 tense, transports going in the direction of Novi
7 Travnik are blocked. That's a general report on the
8 military position in Gornji Vakuf, and you're sending
9 that to Blaskic and Kordic. Why to Kordic?
10 A. I have already said that in case Blaskic does
11 not get it, then we -- then it might go through
12 Mr. Kordic's fax, who can have easier access to --
13 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... your
14 only explanation for sending this letter to Kordic, is
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I respectfully suggest to you that that's
18 nonsense, Brigadier, and you know perfectly well you
19 were sending this letter because he was a man with
20 military authority and military interest, and you know
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
23 I apologise. I waited for the interpretation. With
24 all due respect, but this is once again a comment of
25 the Prosecutor. He comments on the witness's
1 statements. I do not think one needs to go into
2 argument before witnesses. Arguments should be left
3 for the end. Thank you. I apologise.
4 JUDGE MAY: It's a perfectly proper question,
5 because the explanation which is given is that this
6 document was being sent to Mr. Kordic in case it did
7 not get through to Colonel Blaskic. The Prosecution
8 are entitled to put that the real reason for sending
9 the document was because Mr. Kordic had military
10 authority. Now, the Prosecution are entitled to put
11 that as a question, and the witness is entitled to
13 Now, is there anything you would like to say
14 about that?
15 A. Yes, Your Honour. I don't know which time
16 this is that I'm saying here that Mr. Dario Kordic
17 never issued military orders either to me or to my
18 subordinates. That is the core of the matter. Never.
19 I came here to speak the truth, the whole
20 truth, and nothing but the truth. The Prosecutor
21 obviously doesn't seem to be pleased that I'm not
22 speaking the way he would like me to speak. I'm
23 explaining this for five times now, and I'm explaining
24 things the way they actually happened.
25 As for this letter, 248, I assert that I
1 acted in a way which would ensure that Mr. Blaskic,
2 Colonel Blaskic, would get the letter as efficiently as
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
5 Mr. Nice.
6 General Sekerija, while you say it's only
7 because it was easier to do it, but I would like to put
8 this question to you: Obviously, this communication is
9 sent to somebody. Is it not sent to Mr. Kordic because
10 he's one of the main people in charge within the HZ
11 HB? After all, it's not just a mailbox, he is a person
12 and an important person. Are you not informing him as
13 a person with responsibility in the Croatian Community
14 of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. Your Honour, by way of information, yes. But
16 to submit a report to him on military matters, that,
17 no, not under any circumstances.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] What is the
19 distinction? What kind of information would you send
20 to him? What is the difference to be made between
21 military things and what is, in fact, part and parcel
22 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. May I say this, Your Honour: If there was
24 anyone who was supposed to report to Mr. Kordic about
25 this situation, about political tensions in town, et
1 cetera, it was the president of the local government,
2 that is to say, the head of the local municipality.
3 The president of the local government could have
4 received information from me, and then he could have
5 sent it further up along the line of political
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Therefore,
8 you admit that Mr. Kordic, as a person with
9 responsibility in the HZ HB, must be informed of the
10 way the situation would develop on the ground?
11 A. Yes, but not by the military; rather by the
12 political people, the political structures in the
13 territory of the municipality where something was
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 A. You're welcome.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. From your answers, you do not accept at all,
19 if I understand it, that Kordic had any even remote
20 possibility of being involved in military matters;
21 would that be correct? I don't want to overstate your
22 position. Kordic didn't have even the remote
23 possibility of being involved in military matters;
25 A. Had he been involved in military matters,
1 well, it depends which ones. As for the logistic
2 supply of manpower for units, yes, I agree, he was
3 involved in that. But as for giving orders to units is
4 concerned, assigning tasks to them, I state with full
5 responsibility that he had no possibility of doing
7 Q. Exhibit 249, please. This is five days -- I
8 beg your pardon, no. This is one day after the letter
9 and order that you've sent, and you, I think, were
10 what, number 3 in the hierarchy of Central Bosnia?
11 Would that be about right, please?
12 A. When the command of the Operative Zone of
13 Central Bosnia was formed, I was a chief of staff of
14 that Operative Zone, in a military sense, or deputy
16 Q. You would have to know what was going on, for
17 example, if Bugojno was going to be shelled, wouldn't
19 A. [No audible response]
20 Q. Sorry? Would you like me to repeat the
21 question? You would have to know what was going on if
22 Bugojno was going to be shelled, Brigadier?
23 A. Exactly, but I already mentioned that as I
24 was wounded at the Jajce front line, when this document
25 was written I was at home, I was on sick leave, I was
1 recuperating. And this was written on the 23rd of
2 October. Therefore, I cannot discuss this document.
3 Q. The last document that we looked at was dated
4 the 23rd of October. This document, according to the
5 handwritten receipt, is sent on the 23rd or the 24th of
6 October. So you still appear to be in the office. And
7 it says: "Information that a unit of the BH army is
8 moving Bugojno," and so on. "Should these units
9 participate in the fighting, we shall use long-range
10 artillery on Bugojno," a deadline, and it's signed
11 by -- the first signature, Dario Kordic, and the second
12 signature, Colonel Blaskic. Now, you were there. Why
13 is Kordic signing an order like this, please?
14 A. I repeat, Your Honours. At the end of
15 September, I was wounded at the Jajce front line, and
16 it says very nicely in my CV that I was on sick leave
17 for a month and a half or two. Mr. Prosecutor, at that
18 time I was not in the area of Central Bosnia. I do not
19 wish to speak about a document that was signed by
20 someone else involving something that I was not a
21 participant in.
22 JUDGE MAY: I think there may be an
23 explanation. We needn't pursue this, but according to
24 my note, you said that you were wounded in 1993. These
25 documents are, in fact, 1992, and that may be the
2 A. Your Honour, here in one of the points -- let
3 me just find it. Point number 15 says I worked for
4 Zarko Tole and his successors as HVO Chief of Staff in
5 the Operative Zone Central Bosnia from May of 1992
6 until early January 1993 for a period of about one
7 month. Beginning on September 23rd, 1992, I was in the
8 hospital, recovering from an injury which I sustained
9 at the Jajce front line. I was wounded on the 4th of
10 August, 1992, and since then I have permanently become
11 a disabled person to a very large extent.
12 JUDGE MAY: It was not clear, then, from your
13 evidence that it was 1992 that you were talking about.
14 However, we now have it clear.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. But if that's right, Brigadier, you must have
17 recovered by the 23rd of October, when you were signing
18 the document we've already looked at and which you
19 haven't challenged as being yours, but goes to both
20 Blaskic and Kordic about the situation in Gornji
21 Vakuf. So you had recovered by the 23rd, and therefore
22 you were in a position to know about what was happening
23 on the 24th?
24 A. Your Honours, I repeat. I was in the area of
25 Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, that is, at my own home. I
1 still had plaster on, because I was still at home,
2 still recovering. An order signed by Milivoj Petkovic
3 had reached us because it could not go any further.
4 Q. Please look once more, then, at Exhibit 248
5 just for this point, because this is actually a signed
6 order, Brigadier, and we've got a copy of your
7 signature on your proof of evidence. The signature on
8 Exhibit 248 is your signature, and you were working on
9 the 23rd of October. So whatever ill health you had
10 suffered and whatever injury you had suffered, you were
11 back at work on the 23rd; correct?
12 A. That's not true. I was in Gornji Vakuf, and
13 I stopped by the brigade of Ante Starcevic every now
14 and then that was stationed in Jajce. I was not in
15 Central Bosnia. And it says nicely here, "Municipal
16 Staff of Gornji Vakuf," that that's where I was, Your
18 Q. Very well. How would you -- can he look at
19 Exhibit 261, please. It's the last of the exhibits for
20 1992 I'm going to ask you to look at.
21 This is an order dated the 29th of October,
22 dealing with Jajce -- so wherever you were, it's
23 something you would have had an interest -- signed by
24 Ivica Rajic, and it says, on the 29th of October: "We
25 received an invitation from the deputy commander, Dario
1 Kordic, deputy commander of the HZ HB." I hope the
2 translation is correct. Would you accept that that's
3 the word that's used?
4 A. The expression is wrong. It was supposed to
5 say "Vice-President of the HZ HB". I think that this
6 must be a typo, Your Honours.
7 Q. Well, it goes on to say that: "Based on an
8 order of the chief of the General Staff of the HVO,
9 Petkovic, to send to Jajce immediately all available
10 forces and all available materiel." And Ivica Rajic
11 goes on to stress that this is the final call for
12 Croats and real fighters to save the city and the
13 people, and he therefore issues an order pursuant to
14 Kordic's request.
15 Just your explanation. You were there -- not
16 necessarily here, but your explanation as to whether
17 this shows Kordic doing something that's military or
19 A. Your Honour, I don't want to comment on a
20 document that does not pertain to me. However, there
21 is one thing I wish to say.
22 Your Honours, we know that at the end of
23 October 1992, the town of Jajce had fallen, where about
24 15 or 17 thousand Croats had lived -- the same number
25 of Muslims as well -- and they all got out. This is a
1 normal document, in my opinion, for any man or any
2 politician calling upon all to go and try to get the
3 people of Jajce out, Croats and Muslims. I don't see
4 anything bad in this.
5 However, I wish to delineate this from what I
6 said, that is to say, this does not pertain to me
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] You don't
9 want to comment on that. Fine. You're here to
10 testify, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
11 nothing but the truth.
12 You've already stated that Mr. Kordic -- you
13 said that -- previously you said that Mr. Kordic was
14 not in the chain of command. Now, does this document
15 not show that Mr. Kordic is well in the chain of
16 command, or how do you view this document in relation
17 to the issue of the chain of command?
18 A. Your Honours, I view this document in the
19 following way: "Let us all rally together and let us
20 save what can be saved," because Jajce fell at the end
21 of October. This is a call upon all Croats. Often we
22 had to traverse very tough mountains in order to get
23 all these people out, regardless of their religious or
24 ethnic affiliation.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Well, you're
1 not answering the question that the Prosecutor and
2 myself put to you. It is your right. So if you decide
3 not to answer that question, we take due note of the
4 fact that you do not want to answer.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. I'm going to move now, as swiftly as I can,
7 beyond the passage of time I dealt with yesterday at
8 the beginning of -- one or two other questions on '92
9 and then I'm done.
10 Kordic was called a colonel. Why?
11 A. During my stay in Central Bosnia, and I said
12 quite a few times what this period was while I was
13 there, I personally never addressed Mr. Kordic by his
14 rank. I addressed him as "Mr. Kordic", because I was
15 not aware of this rank of his. Afterwards, I heard
16 that this rank was conferred upon him in haste
17 allegedly because of some negotiations in Sarajevo.
18 However, during my stay there, Mr. Kordic never had a
20 Q. And the important negotiations in Sarajevo,
21 they were important, weren't they?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. They were about military matters, weren't
25 A. Political and military.
1 Q. So how could he deal with the military side
2 of things, please?
3 A. Your Honours, I already said that I heard
4 that he had been at these negotiations. I don't know
5 whether he was there.
6 But please do not trouble me with such
7 questions any longer. I already said that during my
8 stay there, he never had a rank, I never addressed him
9 by this rank, and I heard later that allegedly he got
10 some kind of a rank from Mate Boban and some piece of
11 paper. That's what I heard -- but that's not what I'm
12 asserting -- because of some kind of negotiations that
13 were held at a higher level in Sarajevo. That's the
14 only thing I know about Dario Kordic's rank.
15 Q. Why was he promoted to brigadier, then?
16 A. I don't know.
17 Q. Your promotion to brigadier is a genuine
18 promotion, reflecting your military ability,
20 A. One could say so.
21 Q. In 1993, you had been moved from the Central
22 Bosnia Operative Zone to Gornji Vakuf. As a matter of
23 interest, you now call Gornji Vakuf by another name,
24 don't you?
25 A. Your Honours, before the Turks came to this
1 area, Uskoplje, which is the name that is used today
2 also in the area where Croats lived, was called
3 Uskoplje. When the Turks came, this name was abolished
4 in 1670 something. Don't take my word for it; I'm not
5 very good at history. Uskoplje was abolished, and this
6 town of mine got the name of Gornji Vakuf. The word
7 "Vakuf" itself is a Turkish word, and it reflects
8 religious heritage or something like that. I'm not
9 very good at interpreting things like this. When the
10 war broke out in '93 and later, the Croats of Uskoplje,
11 by way of referendum, decided that this town should be
12 called Uskoplje.
13 Another fact is interesting. In this town,
14 only one election was held. The first multi-party
15 elections were the only ones that were carried
16 through. After that, there were elections that were
17 held, but the results were never carried through.
18 These are -- this is a town that has two names, that
19 has two populations, and that is divided between two
21 Q. And when the name Uskoplje was adopted, it
22 was adopted without referendum, without reference to
23 Sarajevo; is that correct?
24 A. As far as I know, the referendum was held
25 amongst the Croat part of the population in terms of
1 changing the name from Gornji Vakuf to Uskoplje. The
2 municipal government of the municipality, that was not
3 functioning legitimately yet within Bosnia-Herzegovina,
4 submitted a request in 1996 for this name to be
5 adopted. To the best of my knowledge, this could be
6 approved by the beginning of August this year, that
7 Uskoplje definitely be established as a newly formed
8 municipality in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Q. In 1993, I think your evidence would be in
10 summary that there was no use of HV troops from Croatia
11 in your area; is that correct?
12 A. From January 1993 until the 4th of August,
13 1993, when I was wounded, taken to hospital, I assert
14 that the Croat army was never used in this territory.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, in light of the time
16 problems, I'm not going to take the witness through the
17 various documents in the international armed conflict
18 binder and elsewhere that are already in evidence. I
19 can provide the Chamber or my friends opposite various
20 numbers that I could ask about. I'll confine myself to
21 dealing with two documents that are outstanding, and
22 then they'll be part of an overall library of documents
23 for this area and for the international armed conflict
25 Q. Will you look, please, first, at a new
1 document, 2404.1.
2 MR. NICE: This one may actually be in the
3 IAC, but I'm going to ask the witness to deal with it
4 in any event. And there's one outstanding Exhibit.
5 Q. This is dated the 22nd of February of 1993,
6 as you can see. It comes from Zrinko Tokic. It goes
7 to the 4th Brigade in Split, and it says: "Further to
8 your inquiry regarding the death of your combatant,
9 Stanko Posovac, son of Franjo, and from Gornji Vakuf,
10 it was established that Stanko Posovac took part in the
11 fighting between the so-called BH army and the HVO in
12 Gornji Vakuf, was wounded by a sniper bullet on the
13 13th of January, transferred to hospital, died,
15 Your combatant, Stanko Posovac, in a report
16 to the 4th Brigade of the Drazevac barracks in Split.
17 Please explain, if you're sticking to your evidence
18 that the HV made no contribution.
19 A. Your Honours, in my report, I already said
20 that there were individuals, not some organised unit of
21 the HVO that was fighting in the area of Uskoplje or
22 Gornji Vakuf. In my period, until the Split agreement
23 between Izetbegovic and Tudjman was signed, not a
24 single Croat soldier came to this territory. As for
25 this particular case, when I said yesterday that we had
1 seven soldiers who were in the HV and who came after
2 the outbreak of the war to join us, two of them were
3 dead. This is confirmed by this document as well.
4 I claim, with responsibility, that this
5 document was given only so that his parents could get a
6 retirement pension in the Republic of Croatia. It is
7 undeniable that this late person was a member of the
8 4th Brigade of the Croatia army. But here this is a
9 case of individual persons only.
10 Q. One more --
11 JUDGE MAY: In fact, it's 11.00 now. How
12 much more do you have?
13 MR. NICE: I don't have much more. What I
14 must do, and I'm cutting out stuff, but apart from a
15 couple of more particular exhibits, I shall seek the
16 witness's comments on a couple of the contemporaneous
17 milinfosums so that we may have his view on that.
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn for
19 half an hour.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. Brigadier, do you accept --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice,
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Brigadier, do you accept that in 1993
4 documents will exist, and I'm going to number them and
5 summarise them: 385, going to the 4th Brigade of the
6 HV army, reporting on a combatant who took part in
7 fighting; 2407.1, an order by Andric listing five
8 members of the 101st HV Brigade who were serving on the
9 southern front. Do you accept that such documents
10 would have existed?
11 A. I would have to see them to tell you,
12 otherwise I don't know what it's about.
13 Q. Do you accept -- this is 619 -- that there
14 would be an order for all HV officers present to be
15 listed at some stage? Do you accept that would have
17 A. No.
18 MR. NICE: I think I've said that. That's
19 619. I'm not going to show it to the witness. It's
20 just for identification at this stage.
21 Can he see 644, please, which is similar but
22 a different date.
23 And simply for the Court's benefit, while
24 that document's coming, the other documents that cover
25 this topic are 2418, 2415, 2420, 2427.1, 2431.1, and I
1 think 2435.
2 Q. We'll just look at this document, Brigadier,
3 644. It's dated the 12th of April, 1993, it comes from
4 Siljeg, and it's for the attention of all brigades.
5 And it says:
6 "Submit a list of all HV officers present in
7 your units and headquarters." It asks for the name,
8 the father's names. "Submit the orders which
9 authorised his referral to the HVO, rank and number of
10 decree of promotion, the duty he's carrying out in your
11 army, and the duties he has carried out, and submit
12 that information to the headquarters by the 16th of
14 Now, what do you say about that?
15 A. Your Honours, I have to say the following:
16 It is quite true that this order refers to the Dr. Ante
17 Starcevic Brigade in Gornji Vakuf, that is, Uskoplje,
18 but it is also quite true that there were no such
19 officers, that is, HV officers in that area.
20 Q. What do you say, then, as an officer that had
21 been in central headquarters, what do you say to the
22 fact that this order was submitted to all these areas?
23 It shows, doesn't it, as clear as daylight that there
24 was a substantial contribution from the HV to the
25 fighting that was going on in Central Bosnia?
1 A. Your Honours, I have already said that from
2 every municipality, when the aggression against the
3 Republic of Croatia began by the former Yugo army and
4 Serb renegades, there would be a man from here and from
5 there going from Bosnia-Herzegovina to join the
6 Croatian army in its defence. When the war broke out
7 in our country, those men came back to our territories
8 to defend them. These were in no way organised units
9 of the Croatian army. Those were individuals who had
10 been born in the area, so that -- that I mentioned
11 here. In Gornji Vakuf, I already told you, we had
12 seven such soldiers.
13 MR. NICE: In light of that answer, if the
14 following exhibit's in court, I will ask you to look at
15 one more exhibit, 2415, if it's there.
16 I think I've been given an incorrect
17 reference, in which case -- unless I can have the
18 document again. Can I look at what the witness has,
19 please? Can I just have a copy of that myself? Thank
20 you very much.
21 Yes, I may have given an incorrect reference,
22 and unless I can come back to it, I'll have to leave
23 that point. Your Honour, just give me a minute. No,
24 I'll let Ms. Verhaag do it. Thank you.
25 Q. I want to ask you very briefly, please,
1 Brigadier, about Ahmici. Are you saying you know
2 absolutely nothing about it?
3 A. Yes, because Ahmici happened at the time when
4 I had already left the territory.
5 Q. You were in regular contact with
7 A. Not with the main one. With the command of
8 the Operative Zone Tomislavgrad, where I belonged at
9 the time.
10 Q. Are you telling the Court that you had no
11 knowledge of any preparations of the deployment of
12 troops in the middle of April of 1993?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And are you saying that in all the period of
15 time that has passed since then, neither Blaskic, nor
16 Kordic, nor anyone else has ever explained to you what
17 happened in Ahmici; are you saying that?
18 A. I am.
19 Q. You've met Blaskic since then, haven't you?
20 A. Yes, and that was in August '94.
21 Q. By that time, the massacre at Ahmici was a
22 well-known international event and, indeed, disaster,
23 wasn't it?
24 A. I've heard from media that a crime had
25 happened there. But who committed it and things that
1 came to pass there, I really don't know about that.
2 Q. You're really saying that you never took the
3 opportunity to ask anyone who could know and who could
4 have told you what had happened; is that your case, is
5 that your evidence?
6 A. It is. And, Your Honours, if I may, I really
7 never discussed that crime with anyone, because I
8 simply had too many problems of my own and other things
9 I had to do in order to tire myself with it.
10 Q. Moving on to August of 1993, you've described
11 what you say was the large-scale attack and so on.
12 Before we look very briefly at what contemporary
13 documents show of that, the position so far as Gornji
14 Vakuf is concerned is that it was always capable of
15 being reinforced from Mostar; is that correct?
16 A. I don't understand the question. What forces
17 do you have in mind?
18 Q. Were you, the HVO, always in a position to
19 draw on the road from Mostar for reinforcements if you
20 required them?
21 A. The road to Mostar could not be used because
22 of military operations in Jablanica and below it, and
23 it was only the bottleneck that we used was the Vran
24 Mountain and we had connection with Tomislavgrad.
25 Q. So you were able to draw on reinforcements
1 when you required them?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That meant that in real terms in Gornji
4 Vakuf, the HVO were always in the position to call the
5 shots, to set the agenda, however you describe it,
6 ultimately. The HVO were always in charge, weren't
8 A. Let me tell you. Dr. Ante Starcevic Brigade,
9 which was defending positions in Gornji Vakuf, that is,
10 Uskoplje, did not have anything more than the Muslim
11 side or, rather, the BH army. The BH army had
12 connections with Bugojno, Novi Travnik and Travnik.
13 And our Operative Zone, the one that we belonged to,
14 was Tomislavgrad, and it was made of the municipalities
15 as listed in earlier documents that you showed to me.
16 And we were using only and exclusively the mountain --
17 the forest road across Vran in order to reach the
18 civilised world.
19 Q. You describe an incident concerning a
20 humanitarian convoy which you say was subject of advice
21 by priests Milicevic and Tomas. Can you give me any
22 information that will enable me to date that event? Is
23 there any document you can point to that will tell me a
24 little more detail about it? If you can't, I'm not in
25 a position to deal with it at all.
1 A. It is true that in mid-June, and I really
2 wouldn't know the exact date, a humanitarian convoy --
3 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... your
4 evidence. I simply want to know can you point me to a
5 date, a document, or something that it going to enable
6 me to deal with this in detail? Because otherwise, I
7 simply can't.
8 A. Likewise, Your Honours, I do not have any
9 document in my possession. If there is such a
10 document, then it must be somewhere in the archives.
11 But I do not have any document with me that would deal
12 with this matter.
13 Q. I'm afraid I can't cross-examine on that
14 topic. Likewise, the incident you've spoken of
15 involving the old man and his daughter, Okadar, it's
16 not something which I'm in a position to deal with one
17 way or the other.
18 The Ante Starcevic Brigade was named after a
19 person who was what?
20 A. A very prominent political figure in the
21 Croat history.
22 Q. What period of the Croat history?
23 A. Prior to World War II.
24 Q. With which political group was he associated,
1 A. A man who tried to create a homeland for
3 Q. Was he, in short, a member of the Ustasha and
4 a prominent one?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Was he associated with that group?
7 A. I don't think so.
8 Q. Do you think there's any way in which using
9 his name, in an area where there were other ethnicities
10 apart from the Croats, was a provocative act?
11 A. I think not, because the name of Ante
12 Starcevic was mentioned a great deal before the World
13 War II.
14 Q. My mistake about the original exhibit I was
15 asking you about, the contribution of the HV. Can he
16 see 2420, please, which is the exhibit I should have
17 asked him to look at, and very briefly.
18 This comes from Gornji Vakuf, from your
19 brigade, from Zrinko Tokic. It's dated the 16th of
20 May, and it goes to the 2nd Brigade of the Croatian
21 army. It requests that they leave their officer, Mate
22 Kunkic, at the disposal of the brigade in the zone of
23 the brigade's responsibility.
24 It goes on in the second paragraph to say:
25 "Given that we are familiar with your plan to withdraw
1 Officer Mate Kunkic from this area soon, we ask you not
2 to do so until further notice," and it sets out
3 reasons. And without going into those reasons in
4 detail, Brigadier, if you go down two paragraphs,
5 you'll see it says this: "In all battles so far, each
6 person had their individual place and role, but
7 Mr. Mate Kunkic has traced a special place for
8 himself," and so on.
9 This document is the clearest possible
10 evidence of contribution from active HV units of
11 important personnel to your unit; correct?
12 A. No, it is not. I knew personally late Mate
13 Kunkic. He was born in a village next to me, the
14 village of Paloc, municipality of Gornji Vakuf, and
15 that is where he lived until the outbreak of war in
16 Croatia. He studied there, and he reported to the
17 Croatian army. When the war broke out, late Mate
18 Kunkic came to his own turf because his parents, his
19 family, his wife and his children lived there.
20 It is also correct that late Mate Kunkic had
21 a say -- had a certain influence in one of the units
22 within Dr. Ante Starcevic Brigade, that is, the
23 reconnaissance company which was made up exclusively of
24 students -- of young lads, of students who all knew one
25 another and who all belonged to one and the same
1 generation of people. And that means that Mate Kunkic
2 here is an individual and in no way an organised unit
3 of the Croatian army active in that area.
4 Q. But you would accept from the document that
5 we've looked at, that to retain him you had to seek
6 permission from the HV, who had apparently deployed him
8 A. Correct. I did not say that those men were
9 not members of the Croatian army, and he was a member
10 of the Croatian army. But with the outbreak of the war
11 in our lands, all those men who were there, and it
12 is -- they are seven, they total seven -- they came and
13 reported to the staff in Uskoplje, that is, Gornji
14 Vakuf, and spent there a certain period of time. It is
15 correct that Mate Kunkic sought this certificate
16 presumably to justify his absence from his mother
17 republic, that is, in the Croatian army. But one
18 cannot say that the Croatian army operated there,
19 because it was not an organised unit; it was an
21 Q. And finally on this general topic, do you
22 know a soldier or did you know a soldier called Ivica
24 A. No.
25 Q. Do you recall seeing any newspaper articles
1 published by any soldiers, whether by this man or not,
2 explaining how they were -- in 1993 -- explaining how
3 they were finding themselves fighting in your area,
4 coming, as they did, from Croatia? Did you see any
5 such newspaper articles?
6 A. Believe me, I don't know. I don't know those
7 articles, I don't know who wrote them, but as of May,
8 or rather early June 1993, until I was wounded, there
9 was neither a shop there, a news shop, or any
10 newspapers, because there was only fierce fighting.
11 And I was then wounded and went to hospital and I
12 returned in 1994, and I really know nothing about any
14 Q. Will you accept --
15 A. Newspaper articles.
16 Q. Will you accept that on the 26th of May of
17 1993, you will have been the officer to organise the
18 oath-taking ceremony for new recruits? I've got the
19 document if you want to have a look at it, but will you
20 accept that from me?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Will you explain to the Judges why, in your
23 own itinerary of events to happen at the oath-taking,
24 the music to be played included the national anthem of
25 Croatia, when your interest, as you tell us, was in the
1 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Why play the national
2 anthem of Croatia for such new recruits, please?
3 A. Because we had no other anthem, and we are
5 Q. Did it occur to you that playing the Croatian
6 national anthem might itself be provocative to others
7 in the same way as -- did it occur to you that might be
9 A. Your Honours, I'm answering loudly and
10 clearly that there were no other peoples there as of
11 the January conflict. The municipality and people were
12 divided; on one side there were Croats, and on the
13 other, Muslims. So we could not really offend anyone
14 with it. And that was the will of the Croat people in
15 those lands.
16 Q. Why not play a piece of music, or the
17 national anthem, associated with the very republic in
18 whose interest you say you were fighting, please?
19 A. We did not have any such music, so we did not
20 air that. We aired the Croatian anthem. And that was
21 not the only such instance. People often requested and
22 listened to that anthem.
23 Q. You knew, as did many members of the HVO,
24 that one of the aims of all your efforts was possible
25 unification of a part of the territory with Croatia,
1 didn't you? You knew that?
2 A. No, it is not true. The only purpose of the
3 unit I belonged to, Dr. Ante Starcevic, was to preserve
4 the Croats against the persecution of the Muslim
5 invasion, as of January 1993, until the signing of
6 Dayton Accords. No annexation, no integration with the
7 Republic of Croatia. I never said anything like that
8 to my soldiers or to my subordinates, because I simply
9 never believed that.
10 Q. I'll now deal with what you say happened in
11 August of 1993. You say there was a large-scale
13 MR. NICE: Can he have, please, Exhibit
14 1154.1. Coming up.
15 Now, this document, Your Honour, is dated the
16 4th of July of 1993, but it seems to -- it may well be
17 that the date is incorrect, because the milinfosum is
18 numbered and the adjacent numbers all relate to August
19 of 1993, and that would fit in with the date given by
20 the witness yesterday as the 4th of August.
21 Q. This is an English document, and I can tell
22 you, Brigadier, that it's dated the 4th of July but
23 that there may be reason to doubt the accuracy of the
24 date. It probably should be the 4th of August. And in
25 respect of Gornji Vakuf, at the foot of the first page,
1 it speaks of the following:
2 "An intense firefight broke out in the
3 following areas: Muslim Gornji Vakuf and the Partisan
4 cemetery, Batusa and Trnovace, and Bistrica, Krupa, and
5 Trnovace. During the engagements, rounds passed close
6 to B Company's location ..." That's the British
7 battalion. "The action was assessed as being a BiH
8 attempt to clear the Partisan cemetery. The assault
9 was unsuccessful, as the HVO are still present in both
11 Do you accept that that is accurate?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I'll pass over 6, unless anybody wants me to
14 read it out, and go to 7. It says this:
15 "The morning was described as relatively
16 quiet, although a round entered the sergeant's mess
17 accommodation ..." That's in the British battalion
18 headquarters. "... narrowly missing one individual.
19 At 04/1200 the HVO began firing from ..." And then
20 there's a location given. "... into BiH-held areas,
21 such as Relay Hill and Krupa."
22 Do you accept that that is accurate?
23 A. No. You are right, Mr. Prosecutor. This is
24 a document from the month of July 1993. That's when
25 the Muslims tried, tried, to take Krupa, Ponir and
1 Zvizda, and they did not succeed in that. With their
2 gunfire, as they were attacking these villages, it is
3 true that they could have jeopardised the UN base, and
4 these villages were in front of the UN base. The
5 villages were attacked from the direction of the
6 Vranica Mountain.
7 Q. Did you lose any heavy weaponry on that July
8 incident, as you say it was?
9 A. I do not remember. In the month of July?
10 Q. You might remember if you lost something
11 significant, mightn't you? Because in August you did
12 lose something significant, namely, the tank in which
13 you were when you were injured; correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Because under paragraph 7, the report goes on
16 to say this: "The tank fired between 90 and 100 rounds
17 into those areas but was blown up itself." Was that
18 your tank that was blown up, one that had been
19 attacking Relay Hill and other places?
20 A. No. Dates are confused here. This is the
21 4th of August. When I was injured, that is when the
22 tank was hit by an anti-armour projectile. And the
23 very idea of having hundreds of shells being fired, I
24 shall take the liberty of saying that we never had that
25 many shells for a tank. Even when we had some, we had
1 five to eight at the most, and this tank was out of
2 order most of the time rather than operative.
3 Q. Just to complete what they say in the
4 comment, they go on to say that a major firefight began
5 throughout Gornji Vakuf and was still ongoing.
6 Artillery mortars were reported as falling at the rate
7 of approximately 4 rounds per minute. And the comment
8 of the officers is:
9 "The fighting is reported as being the most
10 intense since the initial BiH attacks on the 1st of
11 August, but is believed to be an HVO counterattack.
12 Details are scant, it's limited at present, because
13 Gornji Vakuf are all involved in closure of Route
14 Diamond. It's possibly linked to this if the HVO are
15 actually attacking. The fight for the town shows few
16 signs of abatement and looks set to continue for some
17 time. In both Travnik and Bugojno, the BiH had secured
18 virtual full control by this stage."
19 What I want to suggest to you is that when
20 you suffered in the very bad way that you did, you were
21 engaged in an attack by the HVO, or a counterattack, as
22 this report suggests, if the date is indeed August.
23 A. Again, I assert the Croatian Defence Council
24 never carried out any attack, because we did not have
25 the strength to do that or the equipment to do that.
1 The command post of my brigade was in Jacija [phoen],
2 in Gornji Vakuf, and this command post is only divided
3 by a wire fence from the UN base. That is to say that
4 everything that was fired at this command post and the
5 UN base could only have been done by the other side,
6 because it seems outrageous to me that I would be
7 firing at my own headquarters.
8 Q. The last document to look at, which is
9 unequivocally dated the 5th of August, is 1155.1, so
10 it's either the following day or a month and a day or
11 so later. And it's another milinfosum, Brigadier.
12 That's a document from the British battalion.
13 JUDGE MAY: It seems to be numbered the next
14 in sequence. The last one was 97. This is 98. And of
15 course the first one referred to an instance on the 1st
16 of August. So it looks as though it was the 1st of
17 August -- the 4th of August, rather than the 4th of
19 MR. NICE: Yes.
20 Q. Now, here, Brigadier, we've got -- again, I'm
21 sorry it's not in your own language. I'll read the
22 passages in context, and I hope slowly enough for you
23 to take them in. But under Gornji Vakuf there's quite
24 a long entry, which I'll try and summarise fairly.
25 It speaks of the heavy fighting in Gornji
1 Vakuf, it speaks of the area around the former HVO
2 hospital being in frames, as an example, to jog your
3 memory. And then it says at the bottom of what is the
4 first page:
5 "The day before, the officer commanding B
6 Company met with Enver Zejnilagic, commander of the
7 317th Brigade, who claimed the HVO initiated the
8 action, which was an attempt to interrupt BiH
9 communications to Novi Travnik and Travnik by severing
10 them at Krupa. This attempt was unsuccessful."
11 Do you accept that or do you reject that,
13 A. I disagree with this report, because on the
14 4th of August, 1993, I was heavily wounded and I was in
15 a coma for 11 days after that. But I know what I left
16 behind. I know what kind of misery was left behind
17 me. So I cannot accept this report. I know what was
18 there, I know what I suffered. Had we attacked such a
19 strong force, which was reinforced by the Bugojno
20 forces and which was already in BiH army control, and
21 part of the Mujahedin forces that were indeed strong
22 and notorious in that area. And in the village of
23 Voljevac and these other hamlets that are near the
24 forest, then the 17th Krajiska Brigade. So I already
25 mentioned, Your Honours, that I saw with my very own
1 eyes a report that was shown to me in December, but
2 this is not the report that was shown to me.
3 Q. I'm going to --
4 A. May I quote what was said in this report that
5 I saw?
6 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. If Defence
7 counsel wants to ask you something, they can in
8 re-examination, but meanwhile, just deal with the
9 questions which counsel asks.
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. The British officer's report goes on to say
12 that the only route for direct reinforcement open to
13 the BiH is Route Diamond, which is one of their names
14 for a route. And in reporting what they've been told
15 by the BiH, the officer said that the BiH officer had
16 received orders to cease offensive actions which they
17 were obeying, and claimed to the BiH officer that his
18 diversionary force had destroyed two T55s on the Podovi
19 feature and also a transporter.
20 He then goes on to say that Slobodan Praljak
21 admitted that the reason that Route Diamond had been
22 closed by the HVO at the Makljen checkpoint was to
23 prevent aide convoys driving into the middle of the
24 attack. Do you accept that?
25 A. I do not accept that, because these are
1 fabrications of the commander of the 317th Brigade of
2 the Muslim army who had a conversation with the
3 commander of the U.N. unit, and what this man told him,
4 this gentleman then wrote in his report.
5 I know the real truth about this. Never did
6 we have two tanks in the area, we only had one tank,
7 and you cannot destroy two if we only had one. That is
8 the first thing I want to say.
9 The second thing I want to say: We did not
10 have any kind of armoured vehicle, an ACV or anything
11 like that. There was no transport during those days, I
12 repeat again, until the 4th of August from Makljen
13 onwards, and I don't think there were any convoys in
14 the area on that day.
15 Q. In which case the last point I want you to
16 deal with, Witness, is the comment of the officer. I
17 jump over the next few lines, unless anybody wants me
18 to read them, and the comment is this:
19 "The situation in the town is currently a
20 stalemate, with the BiH clearly having lost the
21 initiative they enjoyed on the 2nd of August. The HVO
22 have surrendered no additional ground but have been
23 unable to rest control of former Croat areas. The
24 fighting is currently five days' old. At a similar
25 point in the fighting for Travnik, Kakanj and Bugojno,
1 the BiH had all but seized the towns. The reasons for
2 the relative BiH failure this time round are myriad but
3 intrinsically seem to turn upon the HVO's ability and
4 willingness to reinforce the area and their own
5 apparent inability to do so."
6 I suggest that the last line relates back to
7 the BiH. But it's right, isn't it, that so far as your
8 area is concerned, the HVO did have an ability and a
9 willingness to reinforce the area and, by the time that
10 you were telling the Court you suffered the very
11 serious injury that you did, had already turned the
12 tables on the BiH; correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. The BiH army or, rather, the Muslim army got
16 wings, so to speak, when the towns were taken. What is
17 stated here is not exactly correct. Until the 25th,
18 approximately, of July 1993, Travnik, Bugojno and
19 Kakanj were taken. They had full control under the
20 territory over the municipality of Bugojno, the Muslim
21 army did. They expelled 18.000 Croats and they
22 continued their penetration towards Mostar, and they
23 were stopped then in the area of Uskoplje. That's
24 where the heaviest fighting was taking place.
25 We were losing territory, Paloc, Polurici
1 [phoen]. These are purely Croat villages
2 traditionally, and that is where we stopped all this
3 metal that the Muslim army had.
4 I also wish to say that at Mount Vranica,
5 they controlled the road to Travnik. It is not true
6 that that is the only route. They called it
7 Diamond. There is another one --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is going too
9 fast for the interpreters. I'm sorry.
10 JUDGE MAY: Could you slow down a bit for the
11 interpreters. Yes. I think, in any event, we've dealt
12 with the question.
13 MR. NICE: And my last questions relate to
15 Q. You, in giving your evidence yesterday, and I
16 make no complaint of this, read from the first line of
17 paragraph 19 of your summary -- there's no need to turn
18 to it again -- and saying the strategic goal of the
19 Muslim leadership was to expel -- there's no need to
20 turn to it, Brigadier -- was to expel the Croats from
21 Central Bosnia, and you referred to some evidence in
22 support of that. Tell us again, what is it that
23 enables you to say that the objective of the Muslim
24 leadership, the strategic goal, was to expel the Croats
25 from Central Bosnia? Tell us about that.
1 A. Yesterday, I already mentioned that when I
2 talked to my former colleagues from the former
3 Yugoslavia, they told me that they received such and
4 such orders, et cetera, et cetera. I don't have to
5 repeat all of this. However, one thing is obvious,
6 that the army, the forces of the BH army, as they
7 attained this objective, they expel the Croats of
8 Konjic, where the military industry is, Novi Travnik
9 and Bugojno as well. Is this not a well-conceived
10 policy in order to have a well-rounded process of
11 production? And come on, you asked me.
12 Q. I want to know what your evidence is, and I
13 think you've confirmed that your evidence comes from
14 the contact with the two named people you've spoken
15 of. Is that the only evidence that you're turning to
16 to support your suggestion that this was the objective?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, then, please tell us where and when it
19 was that you claim to have met these two men.
20 A. This was mid-April 1994 when, by sheer
21 coincidence, the war operations, the combat operations,
22 had stopped, the Washington Accords had been signed,
23 checkpoints were established, the soldiers returned
24 home, although there were very little homes on our side
25 to return to because everything was devastated. And in
1 a place called Fontana at the line of delineation -- I
2 still used crutches because I could not walk yet -- I
3 saw these former colleagues of mine on the other side
4 of the street, and they were friends of mine too. And
5 then we discussed all of this, what do we need all of
6 this for, why was such a pretty town destroyed, why did
7 so many people come to hate each other, such deep
8 wounds would last for a long time. They said, "Those
9 are the orders that we got from the military and
10 political leadership of the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina," or, rather, from their superiors
12 in Zenica, "to cleanse the territory of Central
13 Bosnia." He did not say "Central Bosnia", he said,
14 "cleanse the area of Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf, where
15 Muslims would come to live, those that were expelled by
16 the Bosnian Serb army." They did not attain this
17 strategic objective of theirs. The Croats of Uskoplje
18 remained where they had lived.
19 Q. Well, now I only want to know what they
20 said. Is there anything else they said that you want
21 to tell us about, because I want to be quite sure that
22 we've got it accurately so that we can take the matter
23 further. Is there anything else they said? Anything
24 else you asked them and that they replied, please?
25 A. In this conversation -- well, let's put it
1 this way: Let's say we sort of said hello to one
2 another, but we gave each other dirty looks, sort of,
3 and we kind of said hello, "Hello." The first thing I
4 asked them was how were their families, whether they
5 had all survived, et cetera, and then in this
6 conversation, this chatting that went on for five or
7 ten minutes -- no, not even five minutes -- we just
8 talked in haste, because even a year later the Muslims
9 were afraid to talk to us, they were afraid of their
10 superiors. So I asked him, and he answered me the way
11 I already explained, Your Honours.
12 Q. Well, which one do you say of the two men
13 used the word "cleansing" and said that they were given
14 instructions by their superiors to cleanse an area,
15 please; which one?
16 A. That was Fahrudin Agic, who was later trained
17 in Pakistan after the Washington Accords were signed.
18 Q. And when he said this, it was together with
19 the other man, was it, Goran Cisic, so that he could
21 A. Cisic, Cisic, yes.
22 Q. Did they say which of their superiors had
23 given them this extraordinary instruction?
24 A. No, they mentioned no names. But that's what
25 they said, that they received orders from the political
1 and military leadership, probably through their own
2 chain of command, that they had to cleanse Bugojno and
3 Gornji Vakuf and that that is where allegedly the
4 Muslims would come to live, those who were expelled by
5 the Bosnian Serb army from other areas.
6 Q. Did you write this down or report this
7 important event at the time to anyone?
8 A. Well, I didn't have to write it down because
9 I had a witness. Well, I'm not going to say "500
10 per cent", but 100 per cent invalid and a friend of
11 mine, Borislav Posavac, who is here with me and who
12 will confirm all of this, if necessary, this statement
13 of mine, if necessary.
14 Q. But you didn't record it anywhere, nowhere,
15 did you?
16 A. Well, believe me, had I known that this would
17 happen, I would have recorded this on a tape-recorder.
18 But I did not know that this would happen and that this
19 would be needed, just like many other things.
20 Q. Did you find yourself working with the man
21 Fahrudin Agic at a later stage in some organisation in
22 the area of is it Kupres?
23 A. No. I only encountered him once in
24 conversation with General Alagic. We were then
25 undergoing liberation operations, we were some kind of
1 partners then, and I saw him at the Kalin Hotel in
2 Bugojno, and I've never met him since, I've never met
3 him since. This could have been the end of 1994 or the
4 beginning of 1995.
5 Q. Are you aware that the man Cisic is now dead?
6 A. I found out about that, I think, two or three
7 months after he got killed. He got killed somewhere
8 near Prusac.
9 Q. I'm in a position to cross-examine on this
10 material to this extent: that I must suggest to you
11 that there was no such meeting of the type you
12 described, and there was certainly no such
13 acknowledgement of an instruction to cleanse an area you
14 suggested, and that what you're telling us about that
15 is wholly false.
16 A. Your Honours, I already said that I would
17 speak the truth. And what would give me the right now
18 to lie and to besmirch the name of a person who is not
19 here? It is embarrassing for me to say bad things
20 about a person who is not present, and I never did such
21 a thing. You asked me about this, and I responsibly
22 state that what I said is true.
23 I also responsibly state that I was at one of
24 the meetings with the representatives of the BH army in
25 Bugojno at the Hotel Kalin at the end of 1994, the
1 beginning of 1995, in relation to the area of Kupres,
2 or a plateau above it, as to how far a unit should go.
3 This was at General Alagic's, and that's when I saw
4 Agic again. I gave him a cigarette and we smoked a
5 cigarette together at the door of this hotel, and that
6 is how we talked.
7 I have to mention, if I already haven't said
8 this, this Fahrudin Agic is four years younger than I
9 am. We were together for about ten years. We grew up
10 in the same village. His house and my house are about
11 150 metres away from each other. So we knew each other
12 very well. That is why I want to say that this is what
13 a man I know very well told me and who was a high
14 officer in the BH army, and also he was my boss in the
15 former army.
16 MR. NICE: That's all I propose to ask on
17 that. As the Court will understand, I can't deal with
18 it in great detail. But as to the specific allegations
19 put, that's challenged, and I will return to it at a
20 later stage in the trial, if necessary.
21 That's all I ask.
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
23 Your Honours.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Naumovski:
25 Q. Mr. Sekerija, a few final questions. Let us
1 just conclude this subject.
2 These two gentlemen or, rather, Mr. Agic, you
3 said, if you agree with me, that you heard certain
4 pieces of information from imprisoned BH army soldiers
5 who were not from the area of Uskoplje or Gornji Vakuf
6 but also from other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
7 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. Exactly. Your Honours, in conversations with
9 persons who had stayed behind, who were imprisoned or
10 who did not get out on time, usually one would take
11 prisoner persons who were members of the 317th Brigade
12 or, rather, who were in the BH army. I didn't know
13 their chain of command, nor was I particularly
14 interested in it. However, when we talked to these
15 men, when we asked them where they were from, for
16 example, the person would say that he's from Jajic
17 [phoen] or somewhere in Eastern Bosnia, and I
18 personally asked one such man who had been taken
19 prisoner -- I personally asked him, I said, "Man, what
20 are you looking for in this area?" The official
21 leadership of their army, the military and the
22 political leadership, he said, "promised us that we
23 could come to live in any Croat village that we took."
24 That is the truth.
25 Could I just say one more thing? Could I
1 just add one more thing? I would like to corroborate
2 this by saying the following: I think there is some
3 kind of written trace of this in the archives of this
4 former unit of mine or whatever. I think there is a
5 written trace with the chief of security or somebody
6 who was carrying out these interrogations. This is not
7 a fabrication, and I do not want to deceive the Court
8 and I do not wish to lie here.
9 Q. Right. I believe this matter is clear.
10 I have quite a number of questions about
11 documents, because so many of them were shown to you,
12 but let us try to do it very briefly and clearly and
13 try to finish as quickly as possible.
14 298.3 mentions the Ustasha flag. I do not
15 really want to tax the patience of the Honourable Court
16 with this, but you're telling us that you always and
17 invariably referred to the flag of the Croat people; is
18 that so?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. But you used a phrase and you said it was
21 never a Ustasha flag, and you gave us the colours of
22 that flag. Do you remember that?
23 A. Yes. If it vexed the Muslim side, the flag
24 that was hoisted up on the post office on the eve of
25 the Christmas, then this was the flag of the Croat
1 people, the Croat flag, the tricolour red/white/blue
2 with the Croat coat of arms in the middle, and that was
3 the flag that was there and it was no Ustasha flag,
4 because the Ustasha flag is very different from the
5 Croatian flag.
6 Q. Very well. Just one last question about
7 that. Did you ever hoist up a black banner, a black
8 flag, or whatever Ustasha used as their emblems in the
9 Second World War?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Thank you. Z298.5, it is about those
12 villages there, and Zenica, and things like that. You
13 answered a moment ago that you had no artillery pieces
14 to fire on those villages because they were too far
15 away from the town; is that so?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So if there were any combat operations in
18 that area, it had nothing to do with the Dr. Ante
19 Starcevic Brigade?
20 A. Correct, because our artillery, if you look
21 at the map, I can show you the positions where the
22 mortars were and what was their ultimate range. It's
23 about 3.800 metres to 4.200, and not even in theory
24 could we reach the area that was covered by the
25 Muslims. So perhaps there could have been some
1 individual operations between Prozor and Rama and the
2 Muslim army on the other side which was bordering on
3 that side with Uskoplje, that is, Gornji Vakuf.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you very much. We have to
5 wait a little bit because of interpretation.
6 Let us move on to Z372.2. That was a report
7 written, as it says -- or rather signed by the
8 commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and
9 at the bottom we also have the name of Dzemal Merdan,
10 so it is a document which was written for the army of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Prosecutor insisted on the
12 word "ultimatum" or, rather, that you, the Croats, had
13 issued the BH army with an ultimatum. However, I must
14 say that here this document, that is, the paragraph one
15 before last -- no, the second before last on the third
16 page, that it was a categorical stance, not the
17 ultimatum; that is how it is interpreted. But I want
18 to ask you once again. Even though you took no part in
19 those negotiations, did you, the Croats, mean the
20 brigade Dr. Ante Starcevic that you were a part of, and
21 did you issue the advisory with any kind of ultimatum?
22 A. No. Such documents with the signature of
23 Hadzihasanovic and Mr. Dzemal Merdan were, rather than
24 mentioned, they are just the scum of the earth, they
25 are the warmongers of the Muslim people, they are the
1 riffraff. And a lot of this has been mentioned, but
2 you find it only document [as interpreted] that they
3 write to one another.
4 Q. Z236.18, and that is an order by General
5 Bobetko of May '92?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So my basic question is: This document of
8 May 5th, '92, who was your enemy in Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 or, rather, who was the common enemy of the Muslims and
10 Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. Why, the army of Bosnian Serbs, supported by
12 the former JNA.
13 Q. We can move on. Chronologically speaking,
14 this question comes as the logical second question.
15 It was said a great deal about Mr. Kordic,
16 who was advocating to split the weapons, to divide the
17 weapons on a 50/50 basis, and the Prosecutor said that
18 that is something that the Ministry of Defence normally
19 would be dealing with. So my question is: Do you know
20 at all when the Department of Defence of the Croat
21 Defence Council was founded?
22 A. I believe it was in '93/'94, because nothing
23 worked, really. I told you it was the armed people.
24 No army from barracks had ever come out. It was the
25 people who armed themselves. Some bought rifles. They
1 took the money out of their own pockets to purchase
2 some weapons.
3 Q. When you spoke about the distribution of
4 weapons, at that time the JNA still had its barracks in
5 the area -- if you are not really well, shall we --
6 A. I shall manage somehow.
7 Q. All right. I shall try to do it faster. So
8 I was about to ask: The time that we are talking
9 about, May '92, would you agree with me that the JNA at
10 that time still held the barracks in early May '92 both
11 in Travnik, and the depot at Slimena, and Kiseljak,
12 Kaonik, and who knows where else?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. And you, the Croats, and also the TO, that
15 is, the Muslims at that time were operating on a sort
16 of semi-legal basis, because the JNA was still in that
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. So these are the early days of the
20 organisation, both yours and the TO's?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Very well. And those are -- now the letter,
23 207. This was also discussed a great deal. I don't
24 have it here. But be that as it may, it's a letter.
25 It is a handwritten letter, and you commented on it
1 when it was shown you by the Prosecution. The period
2 of time referred to in the document, that is, fighting
3 in Jajce, going to Jajce, and so on and so forth, it is
4 fighting against whom?
5 A. Fighting against Serbs, because it is Serbs
6 all the time.
7 Q. So this document that you were given, you
8 told us that was not an order; it was just an
9 information or something like that.
10 A. Well, it was a request, no order. Please,
11 please, get us three vehicles and transfer this
12 humanitarian relief. It must have contained flour,
13 perhaps some tins, perhaps some fuel, to supply the
14 hospital in Jajce, which was simply full to the brim
15 with the wounded. I don't have anything of any
16 military order.
17 Q. Z248 was another document.
18 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Sekerija, are you all
19 right? Would you like a break?
20 A. No. I'll somehow manage to the end. At
21 times my hands begin to -- I get a tremor in my hands.
22 But it takes only three to five minutes, and no
23 longer. No problem. You may go on.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Naumovski, perhaps you
25 can be as rapid as possible.
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Ten minutes,
2 perhaps. I'll do my best. I'll hurry things up.
3 Yes, why don't you have some water. I was
4 about to suggest it to you.
5 THE WITNESS: Well, this is not the first
6 time it happens to me. So what.
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
8 Q. So 248. You said that you forwarded the
9 information that you received, that is, General
10 Petkovic's order. But in this document it is curious
11 that the addressees are to the towns Vitez and
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And that agrees with what you explained.
15 This document, the 23rd of October, 1992, this is your
16 signature. I am not a handwriting expert, but I think
17 it is different from your other signatures. But you
18 mentioned that you were in a cast, in a plaster cast at
19 that time, so could you please explain to us how could
20 you sign it?
21 A. No. At that time -- well, you can see it. I
22 still have some screws in this hand and I also have
23 some rods in my shoulder. So at that time I was still
24 wearing a plaster cast. So if you compare my signature
25 now and my signature then, they look alike, but they're
1 not identical. Because at that time, I was telling
2 you, I was still on a sick leave and I was still in a
3 plaster cast, but I went back to the headquarters of my
4 brigade and I did as ordered.
5 Q. 261 is a document, and His Honour Judge
6 Bennouna had questions to ask you about it. Have you
7 ever heard, to begin with, something were to be deputy
8 commander of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna? Have
9 you heard --
10 A. No. There is the deputy commander of a
11 military unit or a vice-president of the political
12 leadership, a vice-president of, but a deputy commander
13 can exist only in a military unit. But there is no
14 such thing as the deputy commander of the Croat
15 Community of Herceg-Bosna. I think it was a mistake,
16 somebody slipped or something.
17 Q. And when asked by the Prosecutor and by His
18 Honour Judge Bennouna, you gave us your view about this
19 document. But I'm not quite sure whether you really
20 got the gist of what His Honour was asking you, so that
21 I shall repeat the question. We can show you this
22 document if you wish, but perhaps you already know what
23 document we're talking about.
24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Will this
25 document please be shown, Z261. Will the usher please
1 help the witness.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Will Mr. Naumovski please
3 slow down.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Sir, I will ask you this question now. His
6 Honour asked you, but I'm not sure that you understood
7 what he was driving at. Does this document show that
8 Mr. Kordic was part of the chain of command, military
9 chain of command, or not? What do you think?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Very well. Do you want to read it or --
12 A. In any country, and in any war, the military
13 hierarchy was accounted to the political leadership of
14 a country, of a region, or a municipality. So what we
15 are dealing with here, this is not a document of
16 military nature, the deployment or use of forces,
17 taking positions, defensive positions. That is out of
18 the question. The only thing it can be to, that the
19 bravest, the most loyal sons of the Croat people are
20 being sent to where they should be sent in order to
21 rescue those famished, starving, emaciated people of
22 Jajce, and with that I do agree.
23 Q. And yet another question about this
24 document. According to you, does this document mean an
25 invitation to defend it at all costs, or is it a
1 surrender of Jajce?
2 A. These are cries for help. These are wails
3 for help rather than invitations.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you.
5 Document 2404.1, that is, the letter about
6 the death of late Stanko Posavac. Just one detail
7 which nobody pointed out, and you must know it, because
8 Posavac is a surname from your area. Posavac, son of
9 Branjo, is from Gornji Vakuf. He was born there, isn't
10 it, and he was buried there too?
11 A. Yes, and that is the irony of the whole
12 thing, because his mother and my mother are two
14 Q. So he was your nephew?
15 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Let us move on. There is a handout by
18 Siljeg, Z644, addressed to all the brigades. Evidently
19 it is a routine letter seeking information about those
20 HV members.
21 A. Yes. Your Honours, I have already said, and
22 I shall never go back on that: It is quite true that
23 in our area, or rather from our area, from
24 Uskoplje/Gornji Vakuf, in the beginning of the war in
25 1991, some Croats left and went to fight with the
1 Croatian army. And when the war broke out in our
2 lands, those men came back. It is seven individuals
3 that we're talking about.
4 Q. Now, my last question about this: You do not
5 know whether those men had regulated the status with
6 the HV or not?
7 A. No.
8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
9 there was mention -- there were several questions about
10 Ante Starcevic. I do not know whether this witness
11 knows or not, but it is for the sake of the Court that
12 I will say this, even though it is not the subject.
13 Ante Starcevic is a well-known Croatian intellectual
14 thinker, politician, who was active in late 19th
15 century in Austria Hungary at that time and who was
16 upholding and fighting for the rights of Croats. That
17 is all.
18 JUDGE MAY: If you want to give evidence, you
19 better go there.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
21 Your Honour. If it were a fact or something, I
22 wouldn't have, but I think this was simply a question
23 to do with history.
24 Q. There was also mention about the Croatian
25 anthem in the area of Uskoplje in May 1993. Which
1 anthem did the Croats play after the war, that is,
2 after the Washington Accords were signed in 1994, 1995,
3 in Uskoplje and in the territory of
5 A. Croats invariably played the Croatian anthem,
6 not only before that, but 1994, 1995, until an anthem
7 was written for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Q. But the anthem that is played now, that
9 anthem was prescribed --
10 A. The higher representative, the higher
11 representative, because three peoples could not agree
12 on one common anthem.
13 Q. So every people had his own?
14 A. Yes, and they use them to this day.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
16 I believe this is the end of my re-examination, and I
17 should like to thank Mr. Sekerija for his patience,
18 especially during these last five minutes.
19 THE WITNESS: Oh, I've been through worse
20 things before. This was quite all right.
21 JUDGE MAY: Brigadier Sekerija, that
22 concludes your evidence. Thank you for coming to the
23 International Tribunal to give it. You are now
24 released, free to go.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 JUDGE MAY: The next witness is Mr. Drmic, I
3 take it.
4 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour. Actually, as
5 you can see, the next four witnesses are produced to
6 talk about two separate sets of issues. In that
7 regard, Mr. Drmic and Mr. Vinac basically talk about
8 the same incident. And we've submitted to the Court,
9 or actually we filed before they testified, the
10 affidavits of two other corroborative witnesses, Ivica
11 Drmic and Franjo Drmic. The next two witnesses deal
12 with the Kacuni checkpoint incident, that is,
13 Mr. Grubesic and Mr. Arar, and we have filed, prior to
14 their testimony, three corroborative affidavits.
15 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we've seen those
16 yet, but --
17 MR. SAYERS: We have extra copies, if the
18 Court wishes. We actually filed them this morning.
19 Those are of Mr. Milenko Arapovic, Mr. Brano Kristo,
20 and Mr. Bogdan. They're all extremely short and they
21 deal with specific facts.
22 JUDGE MAY: Well, it may be sensible to take
23 the break now, I think, rather than start the witness,
24 and we'll come back at 20 past 2.00.
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MAY: But we should get through these
2 four witnesses fairly rapidly, I would think.
3 MR. SAYERS: I certainly hope so. We may --
4 I want to alert the Court, if we get through these
5 witnesses as rapidly as I certainly hope we will, we
6 may run out of evidence this week. We have only one
7 more witness who's scheduled to come in this week.
8 JUDGE MAY: I think we understand the
9 difficulties of getting witnesses in the particular
10 circumstances of this Tribunal, so for the moment there
11 would be no criticism.
12 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, Your
14 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for an hour and
15 a half. Twenty past 2.00, please.
16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.50 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. We're
4 just waiting for our next witness, Mr. Branko Drmic, to
5 be brought in.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
10 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
11 and nothing but the truth.
12 WITNESS: BRANKO DRMIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examined by Mr. Sayers:
15 Q. Good afternoon, sir. I believe your name is
16 Branko Drmic, and you were born on August the 22nd,
17 1955, in the town of Vitez; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Just a few very preliminary matters,
20 Mr. Drmic. You are a Bosnian Croat, and a Roman
21 Catholic by religion, a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
22 I believe.
23 A. Yes, Your Honours.
24 Q. You are married, sir, and you have two
25 children, and you currently live with your family in
1 the town of Vitez today?
2 A. Yes, Your Honours.
3 Q. I believe that you received your primary and
4 secondary education in Vitez, and then you completed
5 two years of high school in Sarajevo, graduating from
6 the High School for Social Work in 1978?
7 A. Yes, Your Honours.
8 Q. And before the civil war broke out in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, you worked at the Vitez Slobodan
10 Princip Seljo factory in that town, in the purchasing
11 and marketing division of the business; is that right,
13 A. Yes, Your Honours.
14 Q. All right. Now, did you own a bar in the
15 village of Donja Veceriska called the Cafe Ravne?
16 A. Your Honours, I, Branko Drmic, together with
17 my brother, Franjo Drmic, had a cafe together with my
18 brother in Ravne. It was called Cafe Ravne.
19 Q. And this cafe, sir, was located actually in
20 your brother's house in Donja Veceriska, even though
21 you owned it, the cafe, that is, I believe.
22 A. Yes, Your Honours. A compromise solution was
23 found. The house was his, and the cafe was owned by
25 Q. And you both ran it together --
1 A. It was in my name.
2 Q. Sorry. And you ran it together with your
3 brother, Franjo?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. Now, sir, is it fair to say that
6 Donja Veceriska is a very small village and that it had
7 only a total population of about 700 before the war
8 broke out?
9 A. Your Honours, it is correct that Donja
10 Veceriska had a population of about 700.
11 Q. All right. Now, sir, we have made you aware
12 that a man by the name of Midhat Haskic has made a
13 statement which has been admitted into evidence in this
14 case. In that statement, he claims that Mr. Dario
15 Kordic was supposedly in the Cafe Ravne, your bar, for
16 several hours during the evening of April the 15th,
17 1993, and that he was attending a party for Mile
18 Vinac's son. Could you tell us, is that contention
19 true or not?
20 A. Your Honours, that contention is not true,
21 because on that day and at that time, Dario Kordic did
22 not come to the Cafe Ravne. The village is a very
23 small one. On that day, I worked after 5.00 p.m. That
24 is to say, on that day, Dario Kordic was not in this
1 Q. Would you have recognised Mr. Kordic if he
2 had been in the cafe, sir, and if so, could you tell
3 the Court precisely how?
4 A. I certainly would have recognised Mr. Dario
5 Kordic, first of all, because he was a well-known
6 figure. That is to say, I knew him through the media.
7 He has a very special kind of hair style. His hair is
8 cut in a special way.
9 Q. Has Mr. Kordic ever visited your bar at any
10 time or during the time that you owned it, sir?
11 A. No, no. To the best of my knowledge, Dario
12 Kordic was never in Donja Veceriska, and he absolutely
13 never visited the bar.
14 Q. All right. Two more minor matters.
15 Can you tell us, Mr. Drmic, was Mr. Mile
16 Vinac in your cafe on the evening of April the 15th,
17 1993, as contended by Mr. Haskic?
18 A. Your Honours, Mile Vinac was not in the Cafe
19 Ravne on that day either. Midhat Haskic was not in the
20 cafe on that day either. So that statement is
21 incorrect as well.
22 Q. The second matter of detail, Mr. Drmic.
23 Could you tell us whether, as far as you know,
24 Mr. Kordic has ever been to Donja Veceriska?
25 A. I shall repeat. As far as I know, Dario
1 Kordic was never in the village of Donja Veceriska.
2 Q. All right. Could you tell the Judges,
3 please, a little bit about Midhat Haskic? Do you know
4 him? If so, what do you know about him, please?
5 A. Yes, I know Midhat Haskic very well. He is a
6 man who, in his 30s and 40s, was involved in business.
7 He had asthma, that is to say that he had lung
8 problems. Although he was not allowed to drink, he
9 would have a drink every now and then. When he would
10 have a drink too many, he would be known to provoke
11 other people.
12 Q. All right. Do you have any view on whether
13 he was a man who could be trusted? Could you give your
14 views to the Trial Chamber on that particular subject,
15 sir, or don't you have a view on that?
16 A. If the honourable Trial Chamber wishes to
17 hear my opinion, I believe that this person cannot be
18 trusted 100 per cent.
19 Q. Now, you say he was not in your bar on the
20 15th of April, 1993. How can you be sure of that,
21 Mr. Drmic?
22 A. I am sure because of the events that
23 followed. I kept thinking about this for a long time,
24 what had been happening in general at that time.
25 Q. Can you remember an incident in which the
1 house and the bar were damaged before, in the month
2 before the time when Mr. Kordic is alleged to have
3 visited your bar, sir?
4 A. Yes. Your Honours, I remember that
5 incident. That incident occurred about a month before
6 the conflict broke out. I think it was during the
7 night. We cannot exactly ascertain at what time this
8 happened. A few explosive devices were thrown at the
9 cafe. One exploded in the parking lot in front of the
10 cafe. That is to say that when we look at the entrance
11 of the cafe, the right-hand side was -- the right-hand
12 glass was broken, and a bullet went through this glass
13 and ended in the bar itself, and I think that there are
14 marks from this shrapnel until the present day.
15 On the next day we found two more unexploded
16 explosive devices. Perhaps I should be more specific.
17 We saw that these two explosive devices were made of
18 cans, of tins.
19 Q. If I might interrupt you. If the Prosecution
20 has any questions about those matters of detail, then
21 you can certainly elaborate upon that, but let's just
22 go on, because I have just two more questions for you.
23 Did Muslims continue coming to your bar,
24 Muslim people from Donja Veceriska, or elsewhere, after
25 the bomb incident in March of 1993, sir?
1 A. Until this incident, they came to our bar
2 regularly. However, after this incident,
3 spontaneously, no one entered our bar. I believe that
4 a considerable part of the Muslim population was simply
5 ashamed of entering our cafe.
6 Q. And did that include Mr. Midhat Haskic, or
8 A. Yes, Your Honour.
9 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Your Honours. No
10 further questions.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
12 the Defence of Mr. Cerkez has no questions of this
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
15 Q. Before the conflict, who was in the majority
16 in Donja Veceriska, Muslims or Croats?
17 A. Your Honours, as far as I know, the number
18 was equal.
19 Q. Or may it be the case that there was even a
20 Muslim majority there before the conflict?
21 A. Your Honours, if there was any deviation, I
22 was not aware of these figures. However, this
23 possibility does exist, because quite a few refugees
24 moved into Donja Veceriska over a very short period of
25 time. I'm referring to Muslim refugees, that is to
1 say, the Bosniak people.
2 Q. And immediately after the conflict, how many
3 Muslims were there in Donja Veceriska? None?
4 A. Your Honours, I am not aware of that.
5 Q. Well, can you cite any Muslims who were
6 living there immediately after the conflict, just so
7 that I can check it?
8 A. I could not.
9 Q. Just to complete the picture of the ethnic
10 composition and ethnic affections and disaffections in
11 the village, first the topography of the place. It's a
12 kilometre or so outside of Vitez on ground that rises
13 up from a plain; would that be about correct?
14 A. Your Honours, I can give my version of where
15 the village of Donja Veceriska is. That is to say that
16 Donja Veceriska is on a small hill about 4 kilometres
17 away from Vitez. That is to say that a part of the
18 village of Donja Veceriska borders on the business
19 compound of Vitezit. And it is precisely this part,
20 Your Honours, that borders on Vitezit, has a Bosniak
22 Q. It's an isolated but visible community; that
23 is to say, it's separate, but you can see it from the
24 road, and you can see the main road from it. Correct?
25 A. Yes, Your Honours. This statement is
1 correct. I do not understand what you consider to be
2 the main road, because if you look from Jardol, you can
3 see all of Donja Veceriska. And naturally, it's the
4 other way around too. From the village of Donja
5 Veceriska, you can see this road which goes around
6 Vitez, so to speak.
7 Q. Its proximity to the Vitezit factory made it
8 strategically important to the HVO; would you accept
10 A. Your Honours, for us, that is to say, all the
11 villagers of the village of Donja Veceriska, the
12 business was very important for all of us. Ninety per
13 cent of us were employed there, and that was our only
14 source of revenue. So from my own point of view, I'm
15 saying that this was a very interesting business, where
16 people earned their salaries.
17 Q. I image you understand what I mean by
18 something being strategically important in the time of
19 the conflict of the HVO. That's what I'm asking you
20 about in relation to this factory. Do you accept that
21 it was strategically important to the HVO?
22 JUDGE MAY: The witness is not a soldier, is
23 not being put forward as one.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. Were you a member of the HVO, please?
1 A. Yes, Your Honours.
2 Q. Starting when?
3 A. I, Branko Drmic, was a member of the HVO from
4 the 25th of February, 1992. That is to say, with your
5 permission -- or I don't know if there are going to be
6 other questions related you to this -- I was first
7 mobilised within the defence department of the
8 Territorial Defence in 1992.
9 Q. That's all I need for the time being. Thank
11 Concluding what I wanted to ask you about the
12 composition and ethnic attitudes in general within the
13 village, would you accept that by, say, about 1998, I
14 think, if one of the Muslims whose house had been
15 destroyed in the conflict wanted to return to Donja
16 Veceriska, the atmosphere in the village was such that
17 his house might still be burnt down before he was able
18 to return? Would you accept that that happened as late
19 as 1998?
20 A. Your Honours, I can say that now, that is to
21 say, before I came here, as concerns the village of
22 Donja Veceriska, the complete Bosniak population has
23 returned. I cannot make any comments about this
24 incident. That is to say that Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 is becoming a state where there is rule of law. There
1 are institutions that can and should resolve all
2 negative developments that may be taking place
4 Q. To conclude that topic, as a matter of fact,
5 do you know the house or the location of the house of
6 the man Nesim Haskic?
7 A. Yes, Your Honours.
8 Q. Can you confirm that that house was blown up
9 before he was able to return to it, as recently as a
10 couple of years ago?
11 A. Your Honours, if we are talking about Nesib
12 Haskic, there was an old house that belonged to his
13 parents, and he also had a newly-built house which was
14 only covered. During the war, and I don't know why,
15 part of the house remained roofless. That is the only
16 thing I know about this particular matter.
17 Q. Now, you say of Midhat, who I think would be
18 a relation of Nesim, perhaps his cousin, you say he was
19 not to be trusted 100 per cent. Now, don't be
20 embarrassed. Just tell us, because the Judges need to
21 know this, why.
22 A. During the first part, I already said that he
23 liked to drink, and when he would have a drink too
24 many, he would sometimes say a word or two that were
25 superfluous, and he was not a trustworthy person.
1 Q. The first account of this, in answer to
2 Mr. Sayers, was, I think, that he said things that were
3 provocative, unless my recollection is wrong. Being
4 provocative doesn't make you, in any sense,
5 unreliable. Is it these provocative words that you
6 rely on to say that he's not to be trusted 100
7 per cent?
8 A. Your Honours, I know Midhat Haskic very
9 well. He would offend a person by way of a joke, and
10 if he was under the influence of some alcohol as well,
11 then that was no longer the way it was.
12 Q. But, of course, as is obvious and has been
13 famously said, you can be drunk in the evening, but in
14 the morning, you're sober. When sober, he was not
16 A. Your Honours, again I have to repeat what I
17 said. He tried to be funny, and his humour would
18 become embarrassing at a given point in time.
19 Q. Thank you. And sober, there would be no
20 reason not to trust his word, at least when he wasn't
21 being funny, would there?
22 A. Your Honours, on several occasions I already
23 stated my opinion.
24 Q. I want you, please, to help me and the Judges
25 with some other things that Midhat Haskic has said.
1 You haven't seen him, I think, for many years, and are
2 you aware that he's dead?
3 A. Your Honours, if you were to ask me about the
4 year, I would not know, but I have heard that Midhat
5 Haskic allegedly died. That is the only thing I can
7 Q. You, in the HVO, can confirm that your cafe
8 served the purpose not just of being a cafe but it was
9 also a command post, wasn't it?
10 A. Your Honours, until the conflict broke out,
11 the cafe only worked as a cafe. However, after the
12 conflict broke out, the defence department mobilised
13 the entire facility; that is to say that it was mostly
14 only used for military purposes.
15 Q. Was it the only cafe in Donja Veceriska at
16 the time?
17 A. Yes, Your Honours.
18 Q. Has it been renovated and rebuilt since?
19 A. Your Honours, you know what are the
20 conditions of life in general in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 The inventory is the same, and here or there, one works
22 a little.
23 Q. But has it been rebuilt or renovated perhaps
24 in the last couple of years or not?
25 A. Your Honours, nothing except that windows
1 were glazed and that it was painted inside. Nothing
2 was added to the building.
3 Q. I have a photograph of -- a recent photograph
4 of what looks like a cafe in Donja Veceriska, and it
5 may show the way the cafe was. But it may be it's an
6 entirely different picture of an entirely different
7 building, so I wanted to know what had happened. Just
8 have a look at it very quickly. Tell me if this
9 relates to your cafe or not, and if it doesn't, we'll
10 take it no further.
11 A. Your Honours, these are the pictures of the
12 cafe. However, this part that was built on, I see it
13 as the exterior, and only the terrace had been
14 covered. I understood the question to mean whether the
15 interior of the cafe had been renovated, added, and so
17 Q. Put the other photograph on the ELMO as well,
18 please. This shows from a vehicle with a mirror on it,
19 as you can see, driving in the direction of Vitez along
20 the street of Donja Veceriska, the cafe on the
21 left-hand side. Is that broadly the same size as the
22 cafe was at the time of these events in April '93?
23 A. Your Honours, the cafe covered an area of
24 some 80 metres square. At present, I, Branko Drmic,
25 have in one part. Looking at this photograph, in the
1 left part I have another business of my own, a shop.
2 And my brother, Franjo Drmic, in its other part now has
3 a cafe of his own. And this situation has existed for
4 the past three years.
5 MR. NICE: The photographs, then, seem to be
6 helpful. They are numbered 2820.1, and the other one
7 is numbered 2820.
8 JUDGE MAY: Do you want to admit those?
9 MR. NICE: Well, I'm neutral. The Court has
10 seen them. I only want them for the size of the
11 building, really.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, yes, Mr. Sayers.
13 MR. SAYERS: No objection, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll let them be
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. This bar, and we now can see its size, you
18 see, was well able to accommodate the local HVO, of
19 which you were a member before this conflict, and it
20 regularly enough did so; correct?
21 A. Your Honours, I already said that until the
22 conflict broke out, the cafe was only a cafe. And
23 there are also documents to show when the cafe was
24 mobilised and demobilised. At that time it served for
25 military purposes.
1 Q. In explaining to the Judges how it was you
2 were able to say that Midhat Haskic was not in the cafe
3 on the night in question, you said, "I've kept thinking
4 about this." When did you first have any reason,
5 please, to think about this particular night and about
6 whether Midhat Haskic was there?
7 A. Your Honours, with my family and friends, I
8 analysed frequently the course of events, and as a man
9 who is concentrating on business, think that the whole
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was struck by a terrible
12 Q. But when did you first have to think back,
13 please, as you tell us you have done, to the night of
14 the 15th of April and to whether Mr. Midhat Haskic was
15 in your cafe on that night, or not? When did you start
16 that mental process?
17 A. I already said, Your Honours, that something
18 that leaves an impression on you by itself will also
19 leave some trace in a man, so these things are
20 imprinted on my mind since before.
21 Q. Forgive my pressing you on this, but what was
22 there about April the 15th, 1993 that made it stick out
23 from April 14th or the 13th or the 12th? What was so
24 important about that night that it sits in your memory,
1 A. Your Honours, I cannot -- I don't know how to
2 explain it to you. Simply, certain things seem more
3 noteworthy, such as the ones -- we are simply compelled
4 to remember the date of birth of your child, the date
5 of your marriage, as well as something bad, such as a
6 day before the break-out of fighting.
7 Q. But I can accept that you might have this day
8 in mind, but that it wouldn't, on your account, I
9 think, be important until after the event. Or was
10 there something happening that night that made it
11 important at the time it was happening, please?
12 A. I have already said it, and repeatedly so,
13 Your Honours. I do not know how else to answer your
15 Q. Let me help you. In fact, the 15th probably
16 does stick out in your memory, because that was the
17 day, or one of the days, when the Croat population was
18 being evacuated from your village, ahead of the
19 conflict. Why were the civilian Croats being evacuated
20 ahead of the conflict, please?
21 A. Your Honours, that contention is completely
22 untrue. For instance, my family, and very many other
23 Croat families, were not evacuated. If necessary, we
24 can list a number of other reasons during the shelling
25 by the Yugoslav People's Army of the industrial complex
1 at Vitezit. On two occasions my family fled to
2 Croatia, and then we simply got inured to those
3 things. So that day my family was at home.
4 Q. But other Croat families had left, and they
5 had left because they had been warned to go. Would
6 that be correct?
7 A. Your Honours, I can remind you that before
8 the conflict broke out, there were a number of
9 adversities. One of them was the capture of Zivko
10 Totic, and when some of his escorts were killed, all of
11 us, all of us, did not approach this same problem,
12 because some were more cautious than others.
13 Q. You say a family fled as far away as
14 Croatia. Why go all the way to Croatia?
15 A. Your Honours, because there was a general
16 feeling of uncertainty in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
17 especially in this part of Central Bosnia. You're
18 aware that war began in one town, another town, third,
19 fourth, and unfortunately some people who did not
20 believe that war would break out in their town
21 unfortunately paid it with their life.
22 Q. I'll move on. I just want to -- your last
23 answer on this. Is it a correct picture of that bar of
24 yours and of the small village of Donja Veceriska, on
25 the night of the 15th, that a large number of Croats
1 had moved out and that there were a large number of HVO
2 soldiers in your bar? Is that the picture that should
3 be painted?
4 A. Your Honours, as on previous days, on that
5 day, the 15th, was just a day like any other; for me,
6 just another working day.
7 Q. If that's really your case, you see, if
8 that's really your account, if it's just another
9 working day, we come back to the first question: Why
10 should Midhat Haskic feature so prominently by his
11 absence or presence? And you simply say that you can
12 remember it, do you?
13 A. Your Honours, I thought that you understood
14 what I meant when I said that after the explosive
15 devices were thrown at our outlet, nobody -- none of
16 the Bosniaks came again to our outlet.
17 Q. Where were you at about 2.00 in the morning
18 of the 16th, please?
19 A. Your Honours, I was at home, asleep.
20 Q. By what were you awakened?
21 A. Your Honours, at 2.00 I wasn't roused by
23 Q. Are you saying that there was no attack on
24 the morning of the 16th?
25 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, this is way beyond
1 the scope of the direct examination. I didn't ask him
2 anything about that whatsoever. I asked him only about
3 a very limited subject. That's why he was brought
5 [Trial Chamber deliberates]
6 JUDGE MAY: In this case it doesn't matter,
7 because it goes to his credit about his evidence as to
8 what happened a bit earlier.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. Are you saying there was no attack at all on
11 the morning of the 16th?
12 A. Your Honours, this last question you asked
13 me, in the evening of the 16th, and I was at home,
14 asleep. And on the 16th, in the morning, I heard a
15 couple of bursts of fire, and I thought then that once
16 again somebody perhaps had got drunk and fired just
17 like that. But then a number of events succeeded one
18 another very quickly, and at 6.00, with my family, I
19 evacuated, that is, my family.
20 Q. As a member of the HVO, you would no doubt
21 learn, if not the same night, thereafter, what had
22 happened. Let's deal with that in two stages. Did you
23 learn, or indeed see, the same night what was happening
24 metres from your house, please?
25 A. Your Honours, that night, that is, I did not
1 notice anything that would -- that might indicate
2 anything out of the ordinary.
3 Q. Did you, having heard these two explosions or
4 whatever they were, did you telephone anyone? Or come
5 to that, did you receive phone calls from anyone?
6 A. Your Honours, no. Neither did I make phone
7 calls, nor did anyone notify me.
8 Q. There's no reason to believe that your phone
9 line had been cut?
10 A. Your Honours, I said that neither did I call
11 anyone, nor did anyone call me.
12 Q. But you've spoken to people since. There was
13 no reason to believe the Croats' telephone lines were
14 cut that night, was there?
15 A. As far as I know, the telephone lines were in
16 working order.
17 Q. You see, in the same statement that Midhat
18 Haskic deals with what he saw in your cafe, he said
19 that he realises his phone was dead and he had to move
20 from house to house. Any reason for the Judges to
21 doubt the accuracy of that part of his statement?
22 A. Your Honours, I'm not aware of that fact.
23 Q. He tells the reader of the statement, does
24 the late Midhat Haskic, that he saw five soldiers in
25 his brother's yard at about half past 2.00, one of whom
1 was Franjo Sapina and then another man called Cano, son
2 of Anto, together with two men from Mosunj. Any reason
3 to doubt that, or perhaps you can confirm some of that?
4 A. Your Honours, I am not aware of that.
5 Q. He goes on, in the same statement, to explain
6 how his brother was gunned down by the man -- probably
7 by the man Franjo, or certainly by the man Franjo
9 A. Your Honours, I'm not aware of that.
10 Q. You had been woken up. Were you looking out
11 of your window or what?
12 A. Your Honours, my house is near -- that is,
13 near the cafe, some ten metres behind it, and the
14 easiest way for me is to go out through the back door,
15 so I go out into the garden.
16 Q. I needn't trouble you with perhaps some of
17 these details if this is the position: Is it going to
18 be your position, please, that you saw nothing of what
19 was happening all night and were able to evacuate your
20 family the following morning, still totally ignorant of
21 happenings that night, and that you remain ignorant of
22 what happened that night to this day; is that going to
23 be your position?
24 A. Your Honours, my position is that there was
25 nothing out of the ordinary that night either.
1 Q. Nothing out of the ordinary. What happened
2 to the houses of the Muslims of Donja Veceriska at the
3 time of this conflict on the 16th of April of 1993,
4 what happened to the houses of the Muslims?
5 A. Your Honours, in the morning, when I heard
6 the gunfire and explosions, after about 15 or 20
7 minutes I realised that the Muslims had attacked us,
8 and so I, number one, evacuated my family.
9 Q. I see. Just an attack by the Muslims, was
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Since you understand it was an attack by the
13 Muslims, can you explain then, please, how it was that
14 Midhat Haskic's brother was killed? It may even be his
15 throat was cut.
16 A. Your Honours, I am not -- I am completely
17 unaware of that.
18 Q. Both at the time and since?
19 A. Your Honours, after a while -- and I must say
20 that I really am sorry for all the victims of either
21 ethnicity -- I learned that there were fatalities
22 amongst the Bosniak people.
23 Q. Tell us then, please, now that you've learned
24 about it, how they came about if they didn't come about
25 because they were attacked by the HVO?
1 A. Your Honours, I'm unaware of that. I cannot
2 comment on it.
3 Q. One of the houses that we've been dealing
4 with -- that would be the house of the relation of
5 Midhat -- was actually blown up by bombs that very
6 night. Are you really telling the Court that you have
7 no knowledge of that?
8 A. Yes, Your Honours, I have no knowledge of
10 Q. Or of the shelling that happened to the
11 village later on that night?
12 A. I can't hear. There's some interruption.
13 Q. Shelling that happened to that village that
15 A. No, Your Honours.
16 Q. You see, the truth is exactly as Midhat
17 Haskic described it in his statement, and you probably
18 know that. And the truth was that on that night, the
19 15th, there was a gathering of HVO soldiers in your
20 cafe in the way they regularly gathered there, and
21 that's the truth you daren't explain to this Court.
22 That's right, isn't it?
23 A. Your Honours, since the tension was rather
24 high because of a series of incidents, it was common to
25 see in the village both Bosniak troops and Croat
1 troops, so that it was a common occurrence.
2 Q. It's not an answer to the question. In your
3 cafe, on your own account, the only soldiers you would
4 expect to find on the 15th of April would be the HVO.
5 Are you now accepting there were soldiers there, and if
6 so, was it the HVO, please?
7 A. Your Honours, I repeat that there was the
8 usual -- the common number of patrons as was normal in
9 the earlier days.
10 Q. Kordic was there as well, and he was spending
11 time with a man, Vinac, who was pleased or complimented
12 by Kordic's intimacy with him, by his closeness to him;
13 isn't that the truth?
14 A. Your Honours, I have already said -- I have
15 already given my answer to this question. Neither
16 Kordic nor Mile Vinac were in my cafe.
17 Q. How about Ivica Drmic?
18 A. Your Honours, Ivica Drmic was an HVO member,
19 and at that time he was commanding a company.
20 Q. Are you saying, by that answer, that he was
21 or that he was not present in your cafe, or don't you
23 A. Your Honours, I cannot recall all the names
24 and persons. If I could, I'd be a computer.
25 Q. So Ivica may have been there?
1 A. Your Honours, you assume -- I can't give an
2 answer to this question.
3 Q. I must suggest to you that Ivica Drmic was
4 not only there but he was communicating regularly --
5 talking regularly to Kordic and, indeed, giving him
6 pieces of paper with intelligence or information on
7 them. As a company commander, he might have access to
8 information, mightn't he?
9 JUDGE MAY: Well, that's a matter for
10 comment. I think we've got the witness's evidence on
11 these points.
12 MR. NICE: Yes, thank you very much. In
13 fact, I've come to the end of what I wanted to ask in
14 any event. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
16 MR. SAYERS: No questions, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Drmic, thank you for coming
18 to the International Tribunal to give your evidence.
19 You are free to go, now that it's over.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] I do
23 apologise. Your Honours, our next witness is Mile
24 Vinac. I believe he will be brought in any minute
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, we'll go on until
2 10 past 4.00, so if you come to a convenient moment
3 then, we'll adjourn.
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
5 I think that I will finish the examination-in-chief
6 even earlier. We are in your hands. However, we
7 haven't got too much of a programme for the next two
8 days, so I believe that we will deal with all our
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I
14 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole
15 truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: MILE VINAC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a
20 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
21 Q. Mr. Vinac, we can start with the questions.
22 Please give us your full name and surname.
23 A. Mile Vinac.
24 Q. Mr. Vinac, you were born on the 23rd of
25 January, 1960, in the village of Donja Veceriska; is
1 that right?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. The Honourable Trial Chamber has already
4 heard about the fact that this is a village that is
5 relatively close to the town of Vitez. Tell us,
6 please, you completed elementary school in Vitez and
7 secondary school in Travnik?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. After completing your secondary school
10 education, you became a mechanic?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. You are married, and you have four children?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. And you still all live together in Donja
15 Veceriska; is that right?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. Before the war broke out in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the civil war in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, like most of your other fellow
20 villagers, you worked in the Slobodan Princip Seljo
21 factory; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. Let us not confuse the Honourable Judges.
24 That was the previous name of the factory, and later it
25 was renamed Vitezit. But it's the same factory, isn't
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. By ethnicity you are a Bosnian Croat, you are
4 Roman Catholic by religion, and you are a citizen of
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. Please, because of the interpretation that is
8 involved into the official languages of the Tribunal,
9 please don't hurry too much with your answers.
10 And as concerns your CV, you entered the
11 military when the war broke out, and you're a
12 professional officer until the present day?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. You are a captain in the army of the
15 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. And at present, you work in Vitez?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Tell me, with regard to your CV, just one
20 more thing. You have a nickname. What was the
21 nickname by which some people called you in the
23 A. Well, I have got some kind of a nickname,
25 Q. Very well, thank you. The Judges already
1 heard about the location of various villages around
2 Vitez, and they already heard about the population of
3 the village, that is to say, how many Muslims and how
4 many Croats there were. I imagine you know that there
5 were some more Muslims than you Croats in the village,
6 but that is a fact, isn't it?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. As we said a few minutes ago, Mr. Vinac,
9 you're the father of four children; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Your first child, Irena, was born in 1994 [as
12 interpreted]; is that right?
13 A. Yes, on May 20th.
14 Q. 1984?
15 A. Yes, 1984.
16 Q. Your daughter was christened. Who was her
17 first godmother?
18 A. It was Kata Vinac, nee Skopljakovic [phoen].
19 Q. Your other child and your only son, Mario,
20 was born on the 27th of October, 1985?
21 A. That son was also christened.
22 Q. Who were his godparents?
23 A. The godparent was Marijan Ceko from Poculica,
24 the municipality of Vitez.
25 Q. Is that the only godparent of the child?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Very well. After your son Mario, your
3 daughter Marija was born?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. When was she born?
6 A. On the 21st of June, 1990.
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
8 I would like to tender a document now. This is just a
9 birth certificate of this third daughter, Marija. It
10 is from the Seti Juri [phoen] department in Vitez of
11 the archbishop's office. This is a birth certificate
12 for Marija Vinac.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have the document
15 in English.
16 THE REGISTRAR: -- D213/1.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Vinac, this is the birth certificate of
19 your daughter, Marija. When was she christened? You
20 have the original in front of you, so take a look.
21 A. She was christened on the 11th of October,
22 1990, in Vitez. My daughter Marija's godparent was
23 Mrs. Zeljka Santic, nee Papic. Fraulein Mikic
24 christened the baby. That is to say, that was the
25 priest who christened the baby on that 11th of August,
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I
3 just wanted to remind the Trial Chamber that it just so
4 happened that this priest is one of the two friars who
5 was killed in the monastery in Fojnica in 1992 [as
7 Q. Your fourth child, Lucija, she was born after
8 the war?
9 A. Yes. My fourth child, my third daughter, was
10 born on the 24th of April, 1998.
11 Q. And again her godmother?
12 A. Her godmother is Dragica Cosic from Busovaca.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] There seems
14 to be a mistake in the transcript. I was referring to
15 November 1993, not November 1992.
16 Q. So now we've spoken about all of your
17 children. I asked you about their respective birth
18 dates and when they were christened. My question is
19 the following: After your daughter Marija was
20 christened in 1992 [sic], in 1993, you did not have any
21 children who were supposed to be christened?
22 A. Your Honours, no.
23 Q. Tell me, please: Was Mr. Kordic ever the
24 godparent of any of your children or anybody's
1 A. Your Honours, Mr. Dario Kordic was never the
2 godparent of any one of my children.
3 Q. Tell me, was Mr. Kordic ever your guest at
4 your house in the village of Donja Veceriska?
5 A. Your Honours, Mr. Kordic was never my guest,
6 either in my home, nor in Donja Veceriska; at least, I
7 never saw him.
8 Q. Since Mr. Kordic was a well-known person, had
9 he ever been in a small village? Would you have to
10 know about that?
11 A. Your Honours, had Mr. Kordic come to Donja
12 Veceriska, I certainly would have known about it. I
13 would have heard about it or something in that sense.
14 But he was never there. At least, I never heard of it,
15 nor did I ever see him.
16 Q. Once again, we are making it quite difficult
17 for the interpreters. Please don't answer my questions
18 immediately. Just wait for a few moments before my
19 question is interpreted.
20 Very well. Mr. Vinac, your name was
21 mentioned in this case even before you came here to
22 testify. You know about Midhat Haskic's statement?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In it he claimed that on the 15th of April,
25 1993, in the cafe of one of the Drmic brothers -- one
1 of them testified just before you did now -- you were
2 together with Mr. Kordic and you were celebrating the
3 christening of your child.
4 A. Your Honours, this piece of information is
5 incorrect. On that day, the 15th of April, I was at
6 work in Vitez, in the military district of Vitez then.
7 Q. Did you have any kind of celebration at your
8 home? He says that it was your son's birthday party.
9 A. Your Honours, on that day I was not in the
10 cafe at all, nor was there any kind of celebration. I
11 came home around 6.00 p.m., and I was not in the cafe.
12 And on that day Mr. Kordic was not in Donja Veceriska
13 at all, or was he ever there.
14 Q. So, in conclusion, were you, either on your
15 own or with Mr. Kordic, in the cafe owned by the Drmic
16 brothers in the Cafe Ravne in Donja Veceriska on the
17 15th of April, 1993?
18 A. Your Honours, I was never with Mr. Dario
19 Kordic in the cafe owned by the Drmic brothers, nor did
20 I ever entertain as a guest Mr. Dario Kordic at my
22 Q. Since we're talking about Mr. Midhat Haskic
23 already, I assume that he knew you. He was another
24 person from the same village that you're from?
25 A. Yes, Your Honours, I knew Mr. Midhat Haskic.
1 May he rest in peace. He is a dead man. I personally
2 knew him.
3 Q. So you know that he died?
4 A. Yes, I know that he died, and he was buried
5 in Donja Veceriska.
6 Q. Very well. Tell me, when you said that you
7 knew him, you knew him in all kinds of life situations;
8 you lived alongside him for years. Could you tell us
9 what he is like? Was he sick? Did he like to have a
10 drink or two? Tell us anything about him.
11 A. Your Honours, I knew the late Mr. Midhat
12 Haskic. He was a salesperson. He liked to have a
13 drink or two when he would drink, he would like to tell
14 some kind of stories.
15 Q. What are you actually referring to?
16 A. Well, when one has a drink or two, well, then
17 he would add a few things to the truth. Again, I
18 repeat, may God rest his soul.
19 Q. If I understood you correctly, what is your
20 conclusion, from your angle? Could he be trusted?
21 A. From my angle, this is a falsehood, I mean
22 the story he told, that Mr. Kordic was my -- was the
23 godparent of one of my children and that he was in
24 Donja Veceriska. So he was telling lies. This was
25 nothing. It was just stories. Everybody in the
1 village knew that he liked to talk a bit too much, and
2 otherwise, as far as I know, he was a sick person. I
3 think he had asthma. He had some kind of a lung
5 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Mr. Vinac: Quite a few
6 inhabitants of Donja Veceriska share the same surname
7 with you, and some are distantly related to you, others
8 are closely related to you. I want to ask you about
9 Dragan Vinac, who is distantly related to you. Do you
10 know whether Dragan Vinac, or anyone else, for that
11 matter, from the Vinac family, in the narrower or
12 broader sense of the word, was ever Mr. Kordic's escort
13 or driver, or do you know of any one of them having
14 worked in Mr. Kordic's office in any capacity?
15 A. Your Honours, no member of the Vinac family,
16 including Dragan Vinac, was not the bodyguard or the
17 driver of Mr. Kordic.
18 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
19 this completes my questioning. I wish to thank
20 Mr. Vinac.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] The Defence
22 of Mr. Cerkez has no questions for this witness.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
24 Q. Of what HVO unit were you a member?
25 A. Your Honours, I belonged, at the time, in
1 February 1992 all the way up to June 1992, to the
2 municipal staff; that is to say, I was attached to the
3 defence department in Vitez. Then I was transferred to
4 the military district of Vitez, that is to say, the
5 Operative Zone before that.
6 Q. We've heard of various names of units based
7 in Vitez. Which unit were you a member of?
8 A. I was a member of the Operative Zone.
9 Q. You know of the name Vitezovi, don't you?
10 A. Your Honours, yes.
11 Q. What was your connection to that unit or to
12 its leader, Kraljevic?
13 A. Your Honours, my connection to the members of
14 the unit was absolutely nonexistent.
15 Q. What about the Viteska Brigade? What was
16 your connection to that brigade?
17 A. No, Your Honours, I never had anything to do
18 with that brigade, or was I a participant in it.
19 Q. And you say that with equal force, do you, to
20 what you've just said about the Vitezovi; you're
21 definitely not a member of either group?
22 A. Your Honours, I was neither a member of the
23 Vitezovi or of the Viteska Brigade.
24 Q. Do you have another name as well as Mile? I
25 don't mean a nickname. Do you have another given name
1 apart from Mile?
2 A. I have a nickname. I already said that.
3 Q. Yes, but do you have -- I don't know. Is the
4 naming system in your country such that you can have
5 more than one given name, and if so, do you have a
6 second given name?
7 A. Your Honours, no. They're just nicknames.
8 Q. You've probably given it to us. What is your
10 A. Well, it was Prco.
11 Q. But you were born in 1960?
12 A. Your Honours, exactly.
13 Q. And does the name Nike associate itself with
14 you in any way, Mile Nike Vinac? Is that you?
15 A. Your Honours, that is my father's name, Niko
17 Q. So therefore, Nike probably means "son of" or
18 something like that, does it, and so your full name
19 would indeed be Mile Nike Vinac?
20 A. Your Honours, exactly.
21 Q. I will turn to that in a minute. What you're
22 saying about the reliability of Mr. Midhat -- I want to
23 deal with in a little more detail, Mr. Midhat Haskic.
24 What are you saying about his telling of untruths,
25 please? Don't feel embarrassed about the fact that
1 he's a dead man. We all have to deal with these
2 things. Say what you want to, full strength, about
3 whether he told untruths.
4 A. Your Honours, Mr. Midhat Haskic spoke
5 falsehoods. Whatever he said was false and untrue.
6 Q. Forget the statement for the time being, that
7 is, the statement that he made in relation to these
8 matters. But generally around the village, just you
9 tell us how far he went in telling untruths.
10 A. Your Honours, that man, wherever he went, he
11 would, after a glass or two, tell all sorts of stories;
12 not only around the village, all around throughout the
14 Q. Good-humoured stories about catching an
15 oversize fish, or were they bad-humoured stories,
16 telling bad gossip that wasn't true about people? I
17 want the full picture, please, no holds barred.
18 A. Your Honours, he said all sorts of things
19 after a few glasses, all sorts of.
20 Q. Well, first of all, let's break that down.
21 It's only after a few glasses, is it, that this
22 propensity to say things that weren't true could be
24 A. In a number of cases. But even without
25 drinking, he was wont to say some untruths from time to
2 Q. Well, then let's have some examples. Don't
3 worry about this statement. We'll come to that in a
4 minute, in due course. Just you tell us some examples
5 of what he said that was a tall story.
6 A. Your Honours, I cannot recollect now exactly,
7 but there were very many of them, and it was a long
8 time ago. I can't remember.
9 Q. Mr. Vinac, you've been brought here in order
10 to help the Judges with an assessment, amongst other
11 things, of the honesty of this man who is now dead, and
12 you've told us, in your signed summary, that he was a
13 well-known teller of improbable stories. That's the
14 way you put it. I'd like one of the improbable
15 stories, please.
16 A. Your Honours, I cannot remember it now. It
17 was a long time ago, and right at the moment I can't
18 remember. I repeat it. Because I was personally
19 offended and hurt by these lies, and Mr. Kordic too,
20 because that was nothing but a lie, nothing but
22 Q. Mr. Kordic was offended, was he, by what
23 Mr. Midhat Haskic said about him? Was he?
24 A. Listen. I don't know how everybody felt.
25 That is how I felt, because that was nothing but a
1 lie. It was a pure fabrication.
2 Q. You said that Mr. Kordic was also offended.
3 Was he or wasn't he?
4 A. Your Honours, I repeat it. I do not know how
5 other people felt, because I did not discuss it with
6 Mr. Kordic. I did not talk about it with him at all.
7 But I did feel hurt and offended, because that was
8 sheer fabrication, sheer lie. And I've come here to
9 tell the truth, and I solemnly declared that I would
10 speak only the truth, and now Mr. Prosecutor is
11 bringing pressure on me to admit to something that
12 never was.
13 Q. I hope I'm not putting any pressure on you
14 except that which may be proper.
15 You were the neighbour of Mr. Haskic for how
16 many years?
17 A. Well, Your Honours, we were neighbours ever
18 since I was born.
19 Q. You tell us that he had a habit of telling
20 untrue stories. Did he tell them to you as you spoke
21 across the garden fence, if there was a fence, or when
22 you were outside the houses, coming and going? When
23 did he tell you --
24 JUDGE MAY: I think you've put the matter
25 fully, Mr. Nice, on that topic.
1 MR. NICE: Very well.
2 A. Your Honours, sometimes I heard it with my
3 own ears, sometimes from other people, that he told
4 untruths. And I repeat, I was personally hurt because
5 that was a sheer lie, it was a fabrication and nothing
7 Q. Where were you on the night of the 15th/16th
8 of April?
9 A. I was at home, in my own house in Donja
11 Q. What time were you woken up on the morning of
12 the 16th?
13 A. I woke up around 7.00.
14 Q. You heard nothing in the way of unusual
15 noises throughout the night?
16 A. No, I heard nothing.
17 Q. How many metres from Midhat Haskic's house
18 was your bedroom, please?
19 A. Your Honours, do you mean as the crow flies
20 or by road, because these are two different things.
21 Q. If you were neighbours, it may not make much
22 difference, but as the crow flies.
23 A. As the crow flies, about 800 metres.
24 Q. I see. So if I've misunderstood it, you
25 weren't immediate neighbours of this man -- no, no, I'm
1 sorry, it's my mistake. I'll withdraw that question
2 and come back to it in another way.
3 On the 16th, what did you do on the day of
4 the 16th and then on the evening of the 16th?
5 A. Your Honours, I didn't understand the
6 question. Could it be repeated.
7 Q. What did you do on the day of and the evening
8 of the 16th?
9 A. Your Honours, on the 15th of April, in the
10 evening, I was at home, and sometime around 1900, I was
11 watching television. I was watching massacred guys,
12 Colonel Zivko Totic. And at sometime around 2100, I
13 went to bed, and so did my family.
14 Q. And you heard nothing --
15 A. I shall continue.
16 There was a story going round the village
17 that the Muslims and Croats might go to war, and when
18 we saw that on television, those massacred young men,
19 some of the population moved out towards Gornja
20 Veceriska; I didn't, with my family, with my children.
21 Sometime around 1.00, after midnight, I
22 picked up the phone and I called the younger officer on
23 duty at the military district, and I asked him about
24 the situation in the area of responsibility because I
25 knew that officer on duty, and he told me, "It's all
1 quiet, no problem." So I went back to bed on the 15th
2 of April.
3 In the morning, however, around 7.00 I was
4 woken up by detonations. First I did not react to
5 several detonations, because in our village it was
6 rather a custom for some to just throw something like
7 that. But as the time went by, it was becoming ever
8 louder, and I could see, when I came out, that there
9 was a war raging all around me. Then I put my family
10 into a motor vehicle, and I took my wife and my three
11 children to the neighbouring village, because my fourth
12 child was not born yet. And then I went back to defend
13 my homestead. There was fighting during that day on
14 both sides.
15 Q. You were part of the attack on the village by
16 the Viteska Brigade; would that be correct?
17 A. I didn't understand the question, Your
18 Honours. Could you repeat it, please?
19 Q. Yes, of course. You were a part of the HVO's
20 attack on that village, and you were there probably as
21 a member of the Viteska Brigade?
22 A. Your Honours, the HVO did not attack, nor do
23 I know -- nor am I aware that it attacked the Muslims
24 in Donja Veceriska, because when the gunfire began, I
25 was asleep and I could not tell exactly who started the
1 fire. But I assume, and that is what I heard from
2 neighbours in my village, that it was the Muslims who
3 were the first ones to open it.
4 Q. You were injured on the 17th, weren't you?
5 A. Indeed. Your Honours. Not only was I
6 lightly wounded next to my home, defending my home, but
7 that day a projectile from a mortar blew to pieces my
8 motor vehicle, as it was a direct hit, and my family
9 house, from the western side, it damaged. It broke the
10 window panes. And as I said, I remember how a mortar
11 shell hit a pine near my house and simply split it into
12 half. The projectiles were flying very high, so that
13 the front of my family house was pretty well damaged.
14 All the glass and all the window panes were gone, and
15 the walls too were damaged.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I know you said 10
17 past 4.00. I shan't be able to finish in just five
18 minutes. I shan't be very much longer, but I've got a
19 couple of documents I want to put to the witness which
20 have only recently come to my attention, and if I could
21 do it tomorrow morning, I could probably do it more
22 tidily. I don't know if that, in those circumstances,
23 would make this convenient.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, that would be convenient.
25 Mr. Vinac, would you come back tomorrow,
1 please, at half past nine in the morning to conclude
2 your evidence. Would you remember, during the
3 adjournment, not to speak to anybody about your
4 evidence until it's over, and that does include the
5 Defence teams, and of course don't let any of them or
6 anybody speak to you about your evidence.
7 Half past nine tomorrow morning, please.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
9 4.05 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Wednesday, the 10th day of May, 2000,
11 at 9.30 a.m.