1 Wednesday, 17
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
7 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 WITNESS: FRANJO LJUBAS [Resumed]
9 [Witness testified through interpreter]
10 Examined by Mr. Sayers: [Cont'd]
11 Q. Good morning, Major. Just for the Trial
12 Chamber's information, we had reached towards the end
13 of paragraph 26 of the summary signed by Major Ljubas.
14 Major, is it the case that one mobile unit of
15 the ABiH called the El Mujahed Unit was stationed in
16 Travnik just before the offensive launched by the ABiH
17 on June -- on around June the 3rd to the 8th of 1993?
18 A. Yes, yes. Yes, there was a Mujahed unit
19 there, and it was quartering together with the 7th
21 Q. Is it the case that there were about 120 to
22 150 Mujahedin in the nearby village of Mehurici who
23 used to parade and drive around purely Croat villages,
24 waving flags and singing religious songs, intending
25 thereby to harass and intimidate the local Croat
2 A. Yes. In a locality called Mehurici, 120 to
3 150 Mujahedin were stationed permanently, and others
4 were stationed in surrounding villages in Muslim houses
5 and used to gather in the mosques. And from those
6 localities and their seat in Mehurici, they would take
7 vehicles to drive around Croat localities, carrying
8 green and red flags and singing some unknown -- some
9 unfamiliar songs and intimidating the Croat population.
10 Q. Thank you, Major. We can pass over
11 paragraphs 27 and 28 of your outline here, because
12 you've already testified about those matters
14 Let me draw your attention to June the 3rd,
15 1993, and the events that accompanied the launching of
16 the large offensive against the HVO and Croat civilians
17 in the Travnik and Novi Travnik area. Where were you
18 stationed during the early days of this offensive,
20 A. My command post was in Dolac, so my
21 headquarters were in Dolac, and at times I was at the
22 command post and at times I was visiting the troops who
23 were along the front lines facing the army of the
24 Republika Srpska.
25 Q. I believe it's accurate to say, Major, that
1 many of the Croat houses in Dolac were burned down to
2 the ground and all of them were looted and vandalised,
3 and that several civilians were killed, and among the
4 buildings that were vandalised was the church in Dolac
5 which was desecrated by the ABiH?
6 A. Yes. All of the attacks and snipers began to
7 work as of the 3rd of June, and the first victims fell
8 on the 3rd of June. The first Croats were killed in
9 the direction of the church. As I said, I believe that
10 as many as 12 civilians died on that day, killed by the
11 snipers from surrounding villages.
12 Q. All right. In paragraph 30 of your summary,
13 you talk about the fiercest ABiH series of attacks
14 occurring on June the 8th, 1993. Could you tell the
15 Trial Chamber, in your own words, what occurred on that
16 day, Major?
17 A. The fiercest attack of the Muslim units took
18 place on the 8th of June. That was a terrible day for
19 Croats, because on that day alone 92 Croats were
20 killed, including 24 members of the HVO and 68
21 civilians. In that area, many houses were set on
22 fire. There were also women and children killed and
23 old people who were also killed. It was the worst day
24 for the Croats in the municipality of Travnik and the
25 whole of the Lasva Valley.
1 As I have already pointed out, those who
2 should have protected -- who could protect this
3 population were on the front lines against the army of
4 the Republika Srpska, so that the population were left
5 to fend for themselves. And that is why so many of
6 them perished.
7 Q. All right, Major. You've already testified
8 that your brigade commander in the Travnicka Brigade
9 was Jozo Leotar, and I believe that you found out
10 through him that Colonel Blaskic, the Operative Zone
11 commander, had ordered the HVO to withdraw from the
12 town of Travnik and from the municipality, and that all
13 Croat civilians in the outlying villages and in Travnik
14 were to be evacuated towards Nova Bila.
15 A. Yes. My commander, Jozo Leotar, told me
16 about the reports from the ground about the
17 victimisation of the civilian population. I learned
18 that Colonel Blaskic had ordered to protect the
19 civilians and to take them to a safe place around Nova
20 Bila, that is, an area which would be safe for the
21 Croat population in that part.
22 Q. Two small facts, Major. It's true, I gather,
23 by June the 7th of 1993, the ABiH had established
24 complete military control over the town of Travnik and
25 neighbouring Croat villages.
1 A. It was on the 7th, 8th, until about the
2 13th. That was the period of very fierce fighting, and
3 at that time the Armija succeeded to take both the town
4 of Travnik and surrounding villages with the majority
5 Croat population.
6 Q. And the fighting spread down to Novi Travnik,
7 as far down south as that as well, did it not?
8 A. Yes, as I have already said. We had, as I
9 already listed, the concentration of large forces
10 around Travnik, so when they took Travnik and
11 surrounding Croat places, then the BH army extended --
12 expanded its attacks in the direction of Novi Travnik
14 Q. And is it the case that by June the 14th of
15 that year, the ABiH had established full control over
16 the main Travnik-Zenica road as far east of Travnik as
17 Guca Gora?
18 A. Yes. That is, until about the 14th, the BH
19 army managed to take control of the Travnik-Guca Gora
20 road on to Zenica. That is the road along which there
21 were mostly Croat localities and Croat populations,
22 which was then expelled.
23 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's
24 permission, we have a short video clip taken by the
25 BBC, I believe, during the Travnik offensive. It lasts
1 about two minutes, Your Honour, and we have a
2 transcript prepared for the Court, the Prosecution, and
3 Mr. Cerkez' counsel.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 [Videotape played].
6 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
7 JUDGE MAY: Exhibit number please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The videotape will be marked
9 D217/1 and the transcript D217A/1.
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. Major, you saw some contemporaneous videotape
12 of events that surrounded the ABiH offensive and we
13 also saw some comments made by then lieutenant, now
14 Brigadier Duncan.
15 Can you give your own perspective, sir, on
16 the impact of this offensive on the local civilian
17 Croat population in the Travnik municipality?
18 A. Yes, as you can see what was shown here now,
19 you could see the civilian population is fleeing in
20 panic, fearing another offensive. And you saw just one
21 of the roads that the Croats, that is the civilian
22 population, found running for their lives. So you
23 could see people on the run carrying only in some small
24 bags the minimum of their personal belongings.
25 There were several directions which they took
1 in their flight through Travnik, through Vilenica,
2 trying to find shelter in the direction of Novi Travnik
3 and Nova Bila.
4 Here you could also see some units. These
5 units, these men were on the front lines against
6 Republika Srpksa, and they were very anxious. They
7 were very concerned about the fate of their families.
8 When they learned that so many houses had
9 been burned, that people were running away, then they
10 turned back to go home and see what had befallen their
11 families, and to see how to protect the largest
12 possible number of civilians so that the least possible
13 number of civilians is victimised, to try to put them
14 in a safe place.
15 It was only when we were sure about that then
16 we turned to the other part, that is how to stop that
17 offensive in the best possible way.
18 Q. Major, a suggestion has been made in this
19 case that these civilians were fleeing as a result of
20 propaganda issued by the HVO or by political
21 institutions of Bosnian Croat political parties rather
22 than under the guns of the ABiH.
23 Could you give your perspective on that,
24 having been there yourself and seen it and heard things
25 with your own -- seen things with your own eyes and
1 heard things with your own ears?
2 A. One could see it until the 3rd of June or
3 rather the 8th. We could not go along with a basis
4 that fighting could break out between Croats and
6 Nonetheless, it turned out that ever since
7 the assassination of my commander, Ivica Stojak, to all
8 those incidents in the former half of 1993, they showed
9 clearly --
10 Q. The question was really not that. It was a
11 rather simpler question. Were the Croat civilians
12 fleeing as a result of propaganda or in fear of their
13 lives? You were there. Tell us, please.
14 A. There was no propaganda. The civilians were
15 on the run. The civilians took flight because they
16 were being killed, harassed, ill treated, fearing, and
17 they were running for their lives and the lives of
18 their families.
19 Q. Let me take you very briefly through
20 paragraph 32, Major. We've heard from several
21 witnesses that about 20.000 Croats civilians were
22 expelled from the Travnik municipality. Would you
23 concur with that figure?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. More than 300 Croat civilians were killed,
1 900 more wounded, and many massacres of civilians
2 committed by ABiH troops. Would you concur with that?
3 A. Yes. More than 300. When those offensives
4 reached -- and more than 20.000 fled, and towards the
5 end that number doubled. A large number of civilians
6 and HVO members were wounded. Over 1.000 were wounded
7 in the course of all those attacks of the ABiH army in
8 its offensives.
9 MR. SAYERS: The final exhibit, if I may,
10 Your Honour, is a document that we received just
11 yesterday from the United Nations Centre for Human
12 Rights, and it describes the impact of the offensive on
13 the surrounding villages and a certain number of
14 massacres that were committed by ABiH troops.
15 I'd like to take the Major through it, if I
16 may, and I'd like to get an exhibit number for it.
17 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,
20 I simply would like, regarding this testimony or the
21 testimony we heard yesterday which was a very moving
22 one, and this present testimony, I would like to remind
23 you of what we said.
24 We are not presently looking into any
25 situation of tit-for-tat of retaliation. We are very
1 removed from that concept. We're dealing with a very
2 specific trial, and we shouldn't steer away from that.
3 I'd like to remind you of that. This is a constant
4 reminder. It is important to see what perspective
5 we're working in.
6 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour, and we have
7 that in mind and I think that the presentation of our
8 evidence is going to keep that in mind.
9 As I said in the opening statement, we just
10 had a few examples of municipalities such as Travnik,
11 Kakanj, and Bugojno, just to illustrate the point of
12 who was really doing what to whom.
13 The allegation in this case, in count one
14 against Mr. Kordic anyway, is that there was a
15 pervasive policy of persecution against Bosnian Muslims
16 by Bosnian Croats in the territory of the HZ HB and the
17 HR HB and in the municipality of Zenica.
18 We've covered largely Zenica to this point,
19 and this evidence is going to really who is really
20 persecuting whom in Travnik.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 You are just picking out two or three samples and will
23 you limit yourself to that?
24 MR. SAYERS: Absolutely. We have in mind the
25 Court's observations regarding, as you put it,
1 tit-for-tat atrocities. Just because one person
2 commits an atrocity doesn't justify another one. We're
3 very well aware of that.
4 Q. Major, this is a document as a result of the
5 commission at the United Nations Centre for Human
6 Rights visiting the Brajkovici parish on the 18th of
7 June, 1993. I know you can't speak English, but let me
8 just take you through the high points of this
10 On the second page, the commission.
11 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment so we can
12 understand it. It appears to be a translation of the
13 report of a Christian Information Service on this
14 matter rather than a report.
15 MR. SAYERS: I think that is correct, indeed,
16 Your Honour. I apologise for that.
17 Q. What we have here Major is a commission of
18 the Christian Information Service that visited
19 Brajkovici on the 18th of June 1993 and is reported on
20 in a United Nations Centre for Human Rights report in
22 The commission describes a visit to the
23 village of Susanj in Zenica where about 100 houses were
24 emptied, a number of civilians were detained, mostly
25 old women and children, and a listing of 16 persons
1 known to have been killed.
2 Did you know anything, yourself, about
3 atrocities committed in the village of Susanj? Did you
4 ever hear about that in the period of June, July, 1993,
6 A. What I know better are other villages
7 adjacent to Susanj. About Susanj, specifically, I
8 cannot say anything.
9 Q. Very well. Let's just go down the list of
10 villages in Travnik municipality. How about the
11 village of Ovnjak, do you know about killings in that
12 village or a killing in that village and the looting of
13 Croat houses?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the village of Grahovcici, according to
16 this report, four people were known to have been
17 killed, four civilians and all 200 houses of that
18 village were empty with the inhabitants having been
19 chased to Nova Bila.
20 Is that consistent with your recollection of
21 what happened in Grahovcici during this period, sir?
22 A. Yes. I am aware of what is said here in this
24 Q. Going down the list, in the village of Dolac
25 and Bila in Travnik municipality, two people, two
1 civilians killed, all 65 houses empty, the inhabitants
2 having been chased to Nova Bila. Is that consistent
3 with your recollection?
4 A. This Dolac is near the mine of Bila, so it's
5 in the direction of Han Bila, simply to avoid the
6 confusion, because there is Dolac at Dilaca [phoen] and
7 this is Dolac at Bila near the mine, Han Bila.
8 Q. If I may, just for the Court, I won't be
9 asking questions about the village of Podovi which is
10 on the bottom of page two or the incident on the second
11 to last page regarding all of the executions at Bikosi,
12 because we have submitted an affidavit of Pavo Barac,
13 Your Honour, in cooperation with the testimony of Major
14 Ljubas, and the affidavit is of a young fellow who was
15 actually at those places when the killings occurred.
16 But travelling on, sir, the commission
17 reports about 18 civilian deaths in the village of
18 Cukle. Were you familiar with those events in June and
19 July of 1993?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Turning to the next page, the village of
22 Brajkovici. The commission apparently determined -- it
23 said that six people, six civilians had been killed and
24 100 houses apparently had been left vacant. Is that
25 consistent with your recollection of what happened
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And just to take this very quickly, the
4 village of Novo Selo and the village of Konjevici, one
5 in Travnik municipality, one in Zenica, houses burned
6 down, some re-occupied by Muslims, and Croat
7 inhabitants chased out of those village.
8 Is that consistent with your recollection of
9 events in that terrible time?
10 A. If this is Novo Selo near Dolac, yes, then
11 that is what it was like.
12 Q. Now, of your own knowledge, there were about
13 36 dead and missing people in Maljine; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And another seven people killed in Guca Gora
16 that were buried at the monastery?
17 A. Yes, yes. We exhumed them last year and gave
18 them a proper burial.
19 Q. Did you understand, sir, at this time, that
20 similar offensives were being launched by the ABiH in
21 the Kakanj area?
22 A. Through my chain of command, I received
23 information that in addition to the offensive of the BH
24 army in the municipality of Travnik, that it was also
25 launching similar offensives in the municipalities of
1 Novi Travnik, Zenica, Kakanj, and all those areas. And
2 we heard that a large number of civilians had been
3 victimised, many houses put to fire.
4 Q. Now, as far as you were aware, sir, was there
5 any official or unofficial policy or recommendation of
6 persecution or harassment of Muslim civilians by the
7 HVO in Travnik or any neighbouring municipality?
8 A. As far as I know, there was no such policy.
9 I never carried out such policy, nor am I aware that
10 any member of the HVO or the Croat part ever pursued
11 such policies. The truth was quite the reverse.
12 Q. Did you ever receive any orders to persecute,
13 harass, intimidate anyone from any other ethnic group?
14 A. No. My explicit orders were to organise the
15 front line against the army of Republika Srpska, that
16 is, to organise the shifts and defence of the Lasva
17 Valley against the army of the Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Did any soldiers under your command, as far
19 as you know, actually, regardless of the existence or
20 nonexistence of such a policy, actually engage in a
21 practice of harassing or intimidating, roughing up
22 people of non-Croat ethnicity?
23 A. My members never received such orders, nor
24 were any of them active in any policy of persecution,
25 ill treatment, and so on and so forth.
1 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Major. No further
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ljubas. Representing
5 Mr. Cerkez, I'm going to ask you a few short questions,
6 and please answer them to the best of your
8 Mr. Ljubas, yesterday in the
9 examination-in-chief, you described how you became
10 organised, how in 1992 the units evolved. Is it true
11 that throughout 1992, up until the offensive ABiH in
12 June 1993, the only and exclusive objective of the
13 organisation of your units was the defence against the
14 army of Bosnian Serbs?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is it true that in this period, until the
17 attack of June 1993, you, as a soldier, had no military
18 objectives with respect to the army of Bosnian Muslims?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Ljubas, yesterday you mentioned that you
21 know that the ABiH officers Mr. Cuskic and Mr. Alagic
22 arrived from Croatia to the area of Travnik.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Mr. Ljubas, do you know whether
25 Messrs. Cuskic and Alagic, before arriving in Bosnia,
1 were fighting against the JNA on the Croatian side?
2 A. I don't know that.
3 Q. You also said that with their arrival, the
4 incidents in the Travnik area intensified?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you illustrate this claim?
7 A. Yes. With the 1st and 7th Krajina Brigades,
8 which were then merged into the 17th Krajina Brigade,
9 led by Messrs. Cuskic and Alagic, we all expected that
10 their forces and their equipment, because they were
11 well equipped, would be put to use against the army of
12 Bosnian Serbs so that we could try to take back the
13 town of Jajce. But this did not happen.
14 Their forces started deploying in surrounding
15 villages, whereas they were first in the barracks in
16 Travnik. So the relations were disrupted. There were
17 provocations, power was being cut off, water and
18 telephone lines, because they controlled them. One of
19 their command posts was in Plave Vode, which was the
20 source of potable water for the whole area.
21 Then checkpoints were set up by these units,
22 and yesterday I pointed out that certain HVO members
23 and civilians were killed there, and I was disarmed at
24 one of those checkpoints. So there was abuse which
25 they carried out.
1 Q. Very well, Mr. Ljubas. You said that the
2 units led by Cuskic and Alagic were very well
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This Trial Chamber has already heard that
6 these units arrived in about 20 buses which had
7 Croatian registration plates. Can you confirm this?
8 A. I don't know about the registration plates,
9 but I saw the buses as they were arriving in Travnik.
10 Q. But do you also know the fact that these
11 units were also equipped in the Republic of Croatia?
12 A. As far as I know, these units arrived fully
13 equipped in buses from the direction of the Republic of
14 Croatia. How they became equipped, where they got it,
15 I don't know.
16 Q. To join the joint struggle against the
17 Bosnian Serbs was their principal task?
18 A. Yes, and we were looking forward to that.
19 Q. Mr. Ljubas, yesterday you also said that in
20 the beginning, organisationally speaking, the HVO was
21 better prepared because they saw the threat from the
22 JNA sooner, but that later on the ABiH, the army of
23 Bosnian Muslims, also prepared well and that they had a
24 number of professional officers who had gotten their
25 training with the JNA.
1 A. Yes, it is true that the ABiH had more
2 trained officers who had come from the JNA than the HVO
4 Q. Speaking of the two gentlemen, Fikret Cuskic
5 and Mehemed Alagic, can you confirm that they were also
6 professional soldiers trained in the former JNA?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Ljubas, can you confirm that in the area
9 of Travnik, Refik Lendo and Bislim Zurapi were also
10 active, and they had come from the JNA?
11 A. I cannot confirm that. This was Novi
12 Travnik, and it was a different zone of responsibility.
13 Q. Can you confirm that in your zone of
14 responsibility in Travnik, the former Mr. Ahmet
15 Kulenovic was also a former JNA officer?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Ljubas, yesterday you mentioned that the
18 ABiH received military equipment. This is also
19 mentioned in paragraph 16 of your statement. Equipment
20 which arrived from Islamic countries; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know how this equipment arrived? Was
23 it by road?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it true that these road transports in the
1 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina entered the country
2 through the territory of the Republic of Croatia, all
3 from the west, south-west?
4 A. As far as I know, they came from the south,
5 going up to Central Bosnia. I don't know the details
6 of how they reached that area.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] So you
8 couldn't tell us anything more about that.
9 Very well, Mr. Ljubas. That concludes my
10 questions. Thank you.
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I didn't realise that
12 counsel had finished.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
14 Q. Major, you've given extensive evidence about
15 Travnik, without notes, and giving figures and matters
16 of detail. Have you been able to refresh your memory,
17 before coming here, from any documents?
18 A. No.
19 Q. So all the figures that you've provided,
20 where did they come from?
21 A. These are figures which I use on a daily
22 basis, given my current duties, figures that I know
23 from the time when the events occurred; for instance,
24 numbers which we added up when we were burying people,
25 for instance, in the dark days which are not easy to
1 forget because they are some of the worst days for my
3 Q. You've told us that you started off in 1990
4 as a member of the political party, and you've remained
5 a member of that party every since.
6 A. No. I became a member of this party, and
7 when the HVO was established, I froze my membership and
8 I did nothing else, because then I became a
9 professional officer, and this is the post that I still
11 Q. You've told us about the division between the
12 military and the civilian part of the HVO. That's from
13 your personal knowledge and experience, is it?
14 A. Yes, in the area where I was, that is, in
15 Nova Bila.
16 Q. And then, of course, your knowledge and
17 experience of Travnik generally in your various roles
18 in the army?
19 A. Can you repeat, please? I didn't hear you.
20 Q. You've got knowledge of Travnik generally.
21 You've given us extensive evidence of what was
22 happening in Travnik, and this comes from your
23 experience in the army, I suppose.
24 A. Yes, all the experience that I have. I was
25 born in Travnik, I grew up in Travnik, I went to school
1 in Travnik, and also it is based on everything that I
2 experienced in the war. So this is all my personal
4 Q. You've spoken of Mr. Kordic. What do you say
5 was his role, if any, in the affairs of the HVO at
7 A. As far as I know, Mr. Kordic was an active
8 politician. And as far as the military side is
9 concerned, I personally had no contact, nor did
10 Mr. Kordic have any influence over me or my unit.
11 Q. As a deputy and then as a commander, you got
12 to know how the war was being run, at least to a degree
13 you got to know that; would that be correct?
14 A. Which part of the war are you referring to?
15 Q. The part that concerned Travnik.
16 A. Yes, the war run against the forces of the
17 army of Republika Srpska and, later on, against the
18 attacks of the ABiH.
19 MR. NICE: I wonder if the witness could have
20 a brief look at Exhibit Z50.
21 Q. This is not in your language, I'm afraid.
22 It's a document prepared by some of the European
23 Monitors, and it relates to February 1992, so quite
24 early on. But you were already involved, and it speaks
25 of how there was a meeting first at Travnik with
1 various people named, the mayor of Travnik, Professor
2 Udovicic, Mr. Solsic, Mr. Topalovic, and how the
3 meeting moved on to Donja Puticevo, where Mr. Kordic,
4 as vice-president of BH, was present.
5 Do you remember those early meetings of
6 Monitors coming to meet people in Travnik and Novi
8 A. I don't recall this meeting, and I wasn't
9 present there.
10 Q. Very well. Under paragraph 2 of the meeting,
11 and I'm sorry it's in English but I'll read it slowly
12 insofar as it's material, at Novi Travnik it says:
13 "There was a roadblock of 150 uniformed men
14 in Croatian camouflage uniforms, with Croatian cap
15 symbols and with HOS markings."
16 Does that fit with your recollection of what
17 was going on at about that time in your area?
18 A. At the time, I was not in Novi Travnik. If
19 you followed me closely yesterday, I said that on the
20 27th of February, we attempted to establish a unit of
21 Sveti Duh in Nova Bila in order to prevent the JNA to
22 haul all the military equipment to Mount Vlasic.
23 Q. But at about this time, which is one of the
24 reasons I ask you about this particular document, the
25 day after, you would have known what's going on. Is it
1 the case that people wearing Croatian uniforms and
2 symbols had set up a roadblock just down the road at
3 Novi Travnik?
4 A. If you heard what I said yesterday, in this
5 period, we had a very high morale in terms of
6 organisation for defence but we were very poorly
7 equipped. And in these attempts to stop the JNA
8 convoys from taking out the equipment, people who were
9 there, people who wanted to defend themselves were
10 wearing whatever they had handy.
11 MR. NICE: Then may the witness see Z115,
13 Q. The Travnik War Presidency -- this, as you
14 can see, from the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna
15 Council in Busovaca, it's addressed to the Travnik War
16 Presidency in Travnik.
17 Now, you were based in Travnik at the time,
19 A. At the time, I was in Dolac and I was at the
20 front line against the army of Bosnian Serbs.
21 Q. You've told us a great deal about Travnik.
22 Can you help us with this? There's a request for MTS,
23 equipment and materiel, to establish good quality
24 necessary for communications with Busovaca HVO units.
25 And a particular piece of communications equipment, I
1 think, the repeater, is identified, and then a
2 Mr. Florijan Glavocevic; do you know that man?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And a Mr. Jovanovic is referred to. Do you
5 know that man?
6 A. No.
7 Q. But it's signed for the HVO staff of Central
8 Bosnia by Mr. Kordic. From all your dealings in
9 Travnik, can you explain why Mr. Kordic would be
10 specifically seeking this type of equipment from the
11 Travnik War Presidency?
12 A. If you heard me, at that time, I was the
13 commander of the 4th Company and as a company commander
14 who was engaged in war against the Bosnian Serbs, this
15 type of information is -- was not really available.
16 MR. NICE: Very well. Well, let's look at
17 another order. Exhibit 134, please. This is for the
18 15th of June of 1992.
19 I think that this one must be withdrawn for
20 the time being and come back later, although the
21 original -- we'll just check it with the witness, but
22 the original reads 1992, but I think it should be 1993
23 as the reference number in the documents suggests, and
24 I'll deal with it in the appropriate time in the
25 sequence. I'll come back to it.
1 JUDGE MAY: Is this the document about which
2 we had some evidence?
3 MR. NICE: Yes. So I'll put it back to its
4 rightful place in June 1993.
5 Q. I'll have a document for you to look at
6 shortly if necessary, but on the 23rd of August of
7 1992, there was a swearing in of officers in Travnik, I
8 think, is that correct, and soldiers?
9 A. Can you repeat the date, please?
10 Q. 23rd of August, I suggest.
11 A. 23 August. I need to be refreshed further.
12 I cannot recall.
13 Q. Do you remember the swearing in ceremony
14 itself in Travnik?
15 A. I said I cannot recall. If you can give me
16 some specific detailed -- the exact time or the exact
18 Q. Well, did you take part, yourself, in a
19 swearing-in ceremony?
20 A. Can you perhaps help me where that
21 oath-taking ceremony took place?
22 Q. At the time, apart from the fact that it's in
23 Travnik, no, I can't. We may have to come back to it.
24 But just think back, please. You became a
25 soldier. You were in charge of other soldiers. Was
1 there an oath-taking ceremony?
2 A. As far as I can remember, I had a lot of
3 problems with the army of Bosnian Serbs. It was very
4 difficult to organise a front line, to organise
5 logistics service which was very poor, so I don't know
6 much about any ceremonies.
7 I didn't have much time or take part in any
8 of this. So this is why I'm saying if you can further
9 refresh my memory.
10 Q. In August 1992, would your unit still be the
11 Sveti Duh, the Holy Ghost unit?
12 A. In August?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. Yes. I said the unit of the Holy Ghost
15 existed until the 8th of April, until the establishment
16 of the HVO, and then I was assigned to the post of
17 commander of the 4th Company.
18 MR. NICE: Well, then I'll come back to that
19 when I've got the document after the break. It may be
20 before. May the witness please see Exhibit 229.1.
21 Q. You're from Travnik and here's a document
22 that deals with the appointment of someone called
23 Marinko Palavra to the job of commander of the Special
24 Purpose Unit of the police administration.
25 Now, it sets out the reasoning for the
1 appointment and it sets out the approval of the deputy
2 president of HZ HB, Mr. Kordic; and the
3 secretary-general, Mr. Kostroman; and then,
4 Mr. Pervan.
5 From your knowledge of Travnik, does all this
6 fit that Mr. Kordic should be approving of the
7 appointment of people in Travnik even at that time in
8 September of 1992?
9 A. This refers to the civilian police and police
10 affairs, and this is not something that I am familiar
11 with from that period.
12 Q. Well, as a deputy commander and then as a
13 commander, you must have had some contact with some
14 politicians from time to time.
15 A. As commander of a company, I could not have
16 had contact with the civilian structures because the
17 level of company does not allow this. In addition, I
18 had specific tasks in organising the defence line
19 against the army of Republika Srpksa.
20 Q. Just before we move on in time, quite
21 swiftly, who was actually running the war? You've
22 spoken of the military line of command, but who was
23 giving the military their instructions?
24 A. I said yesterday that there was a chain of
25 command. As a company commander, I had my own
1 commander which was a battalion commander, and he
2 received it up from the brigade commander, and the
3 brigade commander received it in his turn from the
4 Operative Zone commander.
5 Q. Of course, but one only has to turn on the
6 news or look back over history to realise that many if
7 not most or all wars have a political control or
9 Now, you were involved for a long time in
10 Travnik as you have explained to us. Did the military
11 superiors of yours or even the military officers at
12 your rank and below know and discuss who was actually
13 making the fundamental decisions about how the war was
14 being conducted?
15 A. We had our chain of command which we
16 respected. And the highest level of command, it was
17 the head of the main staff, the commander of the
18 Operative Zone. Who they were in contact with, I don't
20 Q. You told us of the distinction between the
21 civil, as you say, and military parts of the HVO. The
22 civil part has to have a function and -- or were you
23 saying it was entirely subordinate to the military
25 A. No.
1 Q. Thank you. You're not suggesting this was,
2 as it were, a military rule. This was rule in some way
3 by politicians, wasn't it?
4 A. No, there was no dictatorship. The army had
5 its specific task to organise the front line and the
6 defence and the civilian part was responsible for food
7 supplies, medicine supplies, and the protection of the
8 civilian population.
9 Q. Well, I may come back to that. On the 21st
10 of October of 1992, where were you?
11 A. On the 21st of October? As I said, on the
12 21st of October, 1992, the commander, my commander, the
13 commander of the municipal staff, the Travnik staff,
14 was killed so that was the time when we were trying to
15 best organise his funeral without disrupting by this
16 the front line against the army of Republika Srpksa.
17 Q. What were you doing?
18 A. At that time, I was the commander of the 3rd
20 Q. Were you doing the funeral or were you
21 leading your soldiers? Were you at the front?
22 A. I led my -- I was leading my soldiers and the
23 brigade command to care for the funeral. But, since I
24 was the commander, of course I had to pay my last
25 respects to my late commander.
1 Q. I wonder if I could ask for your comment on
2 our Exhibit 243, please. While we're coming to that,
3 we've got a map of the front -- perhaps we'll get it up
4 again but -- perhaps at the break.
5 But the front you're speaking of is the
6 northwestern front, isn't it, between the Serb forces
7 and your forces?
8 A. It is the northwestern part of the town of
10 Q. Running to and close to Novi Travnik?
11 A. Travnik and Novi Travnik are neighbouring
13 Q. So if you could just have the first page,
14 please, in front of you. Put it on the ELMO.
15 This is describing the situation at the Novi
16 Travnik front on the 21st of October with Muslim forces
17 aiming at the town of Novi Travnik. Reference to the
18 Muslim forces in Opara and other villages and so on.
19 Then it comes down to the next paragraph which is HVO
20 units setting out the blockade of roads to Novi Travnik
21 and various other details.
22 This is all very close to your area and if we
23 go on to paragraph ten right at the end, it says this,
24 "While defence operations are being conducted, the
25 vice-president of Herceg-Bosna, Dario Kordic, and I are
1 in Novi Travnik continuously leading the military
2 operations with deep knowledge of the situation and by
3 keeping all the forces under control. Commander
4 Colonel Filip Filipovic is also here at the Novi
5 Travnik HVO HQ."
6 Now this is really down the road or around
7 the corner from you, isn't it? Do you remember that
9 A. At that time, at that time, as I have said, I
10 was the commander of the battalion and I was involved
11 in organising the front line against the army of
12 Republika Srpksa.
13 At the time when my commander was killed and
14 during the break, that is when I came back from the
15 front line. I managed to pay my last respects to my
17 Q. Well, does the presence of Kordic along with
18 Blaskic and Filipovic at the front line come as a
19 surprise to you or not?
20 A. I was not -- at that time, I was not in that
21 area so I cannot say anything about it.
22 Q. Are you saying you never heard anything about
23 his coming to the front line?
24 A. Who are you referring to, please?
25 Q. To Mr. Kordic. Are you saying you didn't
1 hear of him coming to the front line?
2 A. To my line? To my front line? I personally
3 never saw Mr. Dario Kordic on my part of the front.
4 About other parts, I don't know.
5 Q. All right. The question was whether you ever
6 heard of him coming to the front line.
7 A. I cannot make guesses. I cannot say yes or
8 no, he never -- he did not come to my front.
9 Q. Do you understand, Major, that you can tell
10 us what other people told you? You've told us a great
11 deal about villages and people and all sorts of things
12 that I don't think you saw yourself. You can tell us
13 what you have been told by others. Did anybody else
14 ever tell you of Kordic going to the front line?
15 A. From what I heard about Mr. Kordic, I heard
16 about Mr. Kordic, that when over 20.000 people, Croats
17 from Travnik, from Zenica and from other places, fled,
18 then I heard that he turned up amongst those civilians
19 in an attempt to help them and do something about their
20 accommodation. That I know because I heard it from my
21 members whose families used to live in the area.
22 Q. Again, and the last time, the front line,
23 "yes" or "no", did you hear of him there?
24 A. Could you repeat that question, please? What
25 do you mean, "the front line"?
1 Q. "The front line" is the phrase you've been
2 using, and you described it for us. Did you hear of
3 Mr. Kordic ever being at the front line?
4 A. No.
5 Q. I'm now in a position to come back in time to
6 deal with the swearing-in ceremony. And it may be that
7 the date is wrong, but you'll be able to help us.
8 MR. NICE: Can the witness have, please,
9 Exhibit 193.2. It's an example of a document where the
10 original appears to have either degraded or for some
11 other reason it's not possible at the moment to get a
12 better copy of the original. I'll explore that over
13 the break.
14 Q. Now, I think you're going to find, Major,
15 that the original is only legible in a few places, and
16 if I'm going to be able to get you a better version of
17 this, it won't be until after the break. But I would
18 like your comments in any event.
19 The Holy Ghost 1st Company, the Sveti Duh 1st
20 Company, is that a company of the group of which you
21 were the commander?
22 A. I was not the commander of the Holy Ghost
24 Q. Can you just explain, then, a little bit
25 about the Holy Ghost Company? You had something to do
1 with Sveti Duh, and it's my mistake for not
2 understanding what it was.
3 A. I was a member of that unit.
4 Q. Very well. Well, now forget the date, in
5 case the date is incorrectly recorded. If you would
6 look, please, at the document which is the first of the
7 documents in Croatian or B/C/S, which begins
8 "Stovana gospodo". Do you have that document in front
9 of you? It's the one that is legible, as opposed the
10 ones that aren't. Do you have that document in front
11 of you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. There is an English translation of that,
14 which the Chamber will be aware. And this, I'm
15 suggesting to you, is the text of a speech that was
16 read out at the swearing-in ceremony, and you can read
17 it to yourself. But if the English version is on the
18 ELMO, I'll read some of it, in any event.
19 It's to: "Esteemed gentlemen, soldiers,
20 NCOs, and officers of the Holy Ghost 1st Company, and
21 esteemed gentlemen whom we've invited to distinguish
22 this celebration of the anniversary of this unit's
24 Help us, please. The anniversary of the
25 unit's formation, when would that give us as a date?
1 A. To begin with, the document that I have
2 before me has no date and lacks all the other
3 characteristics of an official document. But I said
4 that the Holy Ghost Company was founded on the 27th of
5 February, 1992, and the anniversary would then be on
6 the 27th of February, 1993.
7 Q. Thank you. And it goes on to say:
8 "We would like, on behalf of the Croatian
9 Defence Council of Travnik municipality, to
10 congratulate you on your first anniversary, with the
11 hope that this unit, which operates as part of the
12 Travnik Brigade, will continue to carry out
13 successfully all military tasks which we place before
15 And then it says:
16 "A year ago, we formed this unit, with the
17 task of preparing to defend its Croatian people in this
18 area and in the areas of the Travnik municipality and
19 our dear Herceg-Bosna."
20 There is then a passage which was written and
21 crossed out, which reads, underneath the crossings out,
22 as follows:
23 "The first weapons for this unit came from
24 our dear Croatia and were organised by the Croatian
25 Democratic Union, HDZ. You know that the first
1 activists of the HDZ were from this area and that even
2 today they constitute the backbone of this unit."
3 Now, the paragraph may have been crossed out,
4 but is what is said there true? Did the first weapons
5 for the unit come from Croatia?
6 A. Your Honours, with your leave, I cannot
7 discuss this document because I am not familiar with
8 this document. It is not signed or --
9 JUDGE MAY: Just for a moment consider the
10 question. It doesn't matter about the document. What
11 counsel is putting to you is whether it's true that the
12 first weapons for the unit came from Croatia. That was
13 the question.
14 A. I am not aware of that. The weapons that I
15 received, I received through the war staff of Travnik.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. It also says, in the same paragraph, that:
18 "You know that the first activists of the HDZ were
19 from this area." Well, it may be a little ambiguous.
20 Where do you say the first activists of the HDZ, which
21 you joined, were from? Were they from the Travnik
23 A. The first activists whom I joined were in the
24 area where I lived, that is, the area of Nova Bila, and
25 those were men who lived in that area.
1 Q. The document goes on to say, as a person
2 addressing the assembly would say:
3 "We now have before us the Holy Ghost 1st
4 Company, which is prepared to defend against aggressors
5 of all kinds, and an aggressor is for us anyone who
6 comes to our parts from outside without our agreement,
7 regardless of nationality, whether Chetnik or
8 Mujahedin. We have both in our territory, and we must
9 fight them so that our dear Croatian people may stand
10 proudly on its Croatian soil."
11 Now, does that paragraph reflect the sort of
12 sentiments of HVO or HDZ leaders in Travnik in, as you
13 would say, the beginning of 1993?
14 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, may I just object
15 to this document. First of all, it's illegible and
16 it's of dubious parentage. I think no foundation has
17 been laid for it, and it's not right to cover documents
18 the witness has never seen, in the absence of a proper
19 foundation, and put to him propositions that are
20 contained in there as if they were true.
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, who is it alleged made
22 this speech?
23 MR. NICE: If we come to the next document,
24 I'll show how the document, as a whole, fits together.
25 What you see on the second page in the
1 English and what the witness can see on the next but
2 mostly illegible page in the B/C/S, if he would like to
3 turn to it, is that this is a proposal for the
4 ceremony, with concrete activities, and there are
5 various items set out there; the ceremony, the master
6 of ceremonies, the details of various people taking
7 part, and I was going to come to this later. Commander
8 Ivo Stojak will receive the report, so the report --
9 the document to which this is attached is probably the
10 report, and that would be from Mr. Ilija Nakic. He
11 comes to the microphone, as you can see in the middle
12 of the page, in front of the units, stands to
13 attention, and then reports to him units of the Travnik
14 for swearing in.
15 JUDGE MAY: The difficulty about it is, as
16 counsel observes, it's illegible.
17 MR. NICE: I may or may not be able to deal
18 with that over the break, but --
19 JUDGE MAY: I think you better before we
20 continue with this cross-examination. As a matter of
21 principle, illegible documents should not be produced.
22 There must be, presumably, a better copy, or otherwise
23 this translation couldn't have been done.
24 MR. NICE: No. The only possibility, which
25 is one I'll investigate over the break, is whether the
1 original was an old-fashioned fax paper document that
2 degrades over time, but I'll have that investigated.
3 I'll come back to the document, with Your Honour's
4 leave, later.
5 Q. But I would like to ask the witness, having
6 gone through this much so far, you see that what we've
7 looked at so far relates to a unit of which you were
8 familiar. Do you remember the ceremony concerning that
9 unit now?
10 MR. SAYERS: Let me just make an additional
11 objection, Your Honour. The --
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, the question has been put.
13 We'll come back to the document in a moment. Now, are
14 you objecting to the question?
15 MR. SAYERS: The objection is connected with
16 the document, Your Honour. Let me sit down.
17 JUDGE MAY: We'll deal with the document
18 after the break.
19 MR. NICE:
20 Q. Do you remember the ceremony concerning the
21 unit with which you were familiar?
22 A. Your Honours, if I may, the 21st is mentioned
23 here, that at that time Ivica Stojak was already dead,
24 and this document says that Ivica Stojak attended that
25 ceremony. And it puzzles me, so that I cannot answer
1 that question.
2 JUDGE MAY: The question is: Do you remember
3 yourself, whatever the date is, whatever the correct
4 date, do you remember a ceremony of this sort?
5 A. The anniversary ceremony?
6 JUDGE MAY: Any sort.
7 A. According to this document, I don't really
8 know it. But, yes, we did mark the anniversaries.
9 JUDGE MAY: You did.
10 A. But I do not remember what it says here,
11 because it's illegible.
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Sorry, but
13 this was not the question that was put to you. Please
14 leave the document aside. Don't worry about it any
15 longer. But do you remember taking part in a ceremony,
16 in an oath-taking ceremony, around a solemn celebration
17 of some kind of anniversary, giving it some kind of
18 religious character? This is the question that is
19 being put to you, sir.
20 A. No.
21 MR. NICE: I'll come back to that later.
22 Q. I don't know that I need trouble you with
23 this particular document, which is already an exhibit.
24 In fact, I think I can satisfy myself that I needn't.
25 No, I don't think I'll ask you about that.
1 Is a man called Mladen, who became deputy
2 chief of police, known to you?
3 A. I would have to know his surname.
4 Q. I beg your pardon?
5 A. I would need to know his surname.
6 Q. It's a man called Tolo Mladen.
7 A. No.
8 Q. In the beginning of 1993, were you spending
9 time in Travnik as well as at the front line?
10 A. In early 1993, I was on the front line facing
11 the army of Republika Srpska.
12 Q. Coming back to Travnik from time to time?
13 A. I would come to Travnik, as the battalion
14 commander would come to Travnik in the evening for
16 Q. All I wanted was your observation -- and it's
17 one of the outstanding exhibits, Your Honour, so that
18 it's in 353.2 -- your observation on the fact that the
19 appointment of a man as deputy chief of police would
20 require Mr. Kordic's approval. Did you know anything
21 about the organisation of events in Travnik that would
22 fit with that, Mr. Kordic being involved at that level
23 of detail?
24 A. I'm not aware of that. I am not familiar
25 with Mr. Kordic's activities or the civilian police.
1 Q. Where were you -- and again I'm asking you
2 these questions because you tell us you have a good
3 memory -- where were you on the 20th or the 21st of
4 January of 1993?
5 A. On the 20th of January -- could you repeat,
6 please? I did not hear the year.
7 Q. The 20th and 21st of January of 1993.
8 A. I have already said at that time I was with
9 my unit facing the army of Republika Srpska.
10 MR. NICE: May we look at 534.1.
11 JUDGE MAY: After this, we'll adjourn.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. This comes from the defence department of the
14 Travnik defence administration. Now, are you saying
15 that's the civil part of the HVO, or is that the
16 military of the HVO, a defence department?
17 A. The defence department is attached to the
18 civil part.
19 Q. But we see here that this is an order to go
20 to the chiefs of the municipalities of defence offices
21 in Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Zenica, and Vares, and
22 is the aim of committing available resources to the
23 defence of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and
24 the order which comes from the chief of the defence
25 administration, Anto Puljic, is to those various
1 municipality chiefs to acquaint themselves with
2 activities that are to be carried out in connection
3 with the formation or reorganisation of brigades and to
4 have discussions with the president of the Croatian
5 Defence Council, to update -- number 2, to update lists
6 of assignments of military conscripts; number 3, to
7 organise a mobilisation system for brigades; and, 4, to
8 inform the chief of the Travnik defence administration
9 of the execution of those orders.
10 There was no real division between military
11 affairs and civil affairs, was there? It necessarily
12 was all part of the same single operation; isn't that
13 the truth?
14 A. It is not the truth. The civil and the
15 military part, activities, were separate.
16 Q. Do you accept that the content of this order
17 is military in nature?
18 A. I was not in touch with this order, and I am
19 not familiar with it.
20 Q. Major, you've told us about almost every
21 aspect of Travnik military and social history over the
22 two-year period, and much of it no doubt drawn on what
23 others told you. Please help us. Is this a military
24 order or is it not? You were a soldier.
25 A. No. If you are familiar with the affairs of
1 defence administrations and offices, these
2 administrations are responsible for the civil part,
3 that is, registering and mobilising men and materiel.
4 That is the civilian part which engages in registering
5 and mobilising, calling up men of military age. And as
6 for the military part, it has nothing to do with the
7 operative command or leadership.
8 JUDGE MAY: Will that be a convenient
10 MR. NICE: Yes, it would.
11 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for half an
13 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.38 a.m.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the counsel,
18 MR. NICE: Can we return to the question of
19 the document. I think it was an outstanding objection
20 that Mr. Sayers was going to raise. But subject to
21 that, I'm in a position to produce the originals held
22 here which, although on one page certainly it's hard to
23 read and in part, I think, impossible, the rest of it
24 is now substantially legible although difficult.
25 JUDGE MAY: Let us see them and then we'll
1 pass them on to the Defence.
2 MR. NICE: They come in two separate
3 envelopes. Can you just give me a minute? I've mucked
4 something up. I'm just going to put it right.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers. Well, that is a
7 much lore legible copy than anything we've got in our
9 MR. SAYERS: I absolutely agree, Your
10 Honour. The only other objection that I wanted to make
11 was this: According to page four of the English
12 document, the English version right at the top, and
13 this is legible in the Croatian, I believe, 23 Kolovoz
14 in the Croatian; 23rd of August in the English.
15 The Major has already testified that the
16 anniversary of the founding of this company, and he
17 testified on page 34, lines 15 to 17, that the company
18 was founded on February 27th, 1992. So the anniversary
19 of it would have to be February 27th, 1993, by which
20 time Ivica Stojak had been dead for four months
21 according to the witness' testimony.
22 So in the absence of a better foundation that
23 this ceremony actually occurred rarely than merely
24 being proposed as is indicated in the agenda, I'm
25 afraid we have to maintain our objection to it.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, there is something in
3 that point. In the absence of any other evidence that
4 it actually took place, it really is simply in evidence
5 that it is proposed, as it is said.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, yes, as to an
7 anniversary, that is a matter that, of course, goes
8 only to weight, because we have this witness saying
9 when this unit was formed, but I don't think we have
10 any other document showing it. Indeed, we have no
11 documents from this witness as from nearly all the
12 Defence witnesses, so the date point doesn't really
13 have any weight.
14 The witness has himself acknowledged the
15 occurrence of events like this, the 23rd of August
16 seems -- which was the day I originally put to him and,
17 perhaps I should have stuck to it more firmly because
18 it's much more likely the date. And I'm interested in
19 asking him further questions about the content of what
20 was to be said or what was said and about the people
21 who attended. Because it's of significance to discover
22 from contemporaneous documents what was the attitude of
23 participants at the time, and in my respectful
24 submission, this document enables me properly to ask
25 those matters and, in due course, for the Chamber to
1 weigh the answers that are given.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: We shall admit the document on
4 this basis: It is, of course, not evidence that the
5 ceremony took place or as to a date or anything of that
6 sort; none of that being clear from it.
7 However, it is a proposal and counsel is
8 entitled to ask questions about it, as he says, in
9 order to obtain evidence as to what the attitudes of
10 the people were at the time and as to whether there was
11 a proposal to have a ceremony of this sort.
12 MR. NICE: May the witness therefore have
13 before him the originals that we have because they are
14 more legible or at least the original of the four-page
15 document because that's more legible than the earlier
17 Q. Major, we're going back in time, it would
18 appear, to the 23rd of August or thereabouts of 1992.
19 And if you look at the document, most of it legible
20 now, you'll see it's headed, "A Proposal for the
21 Ceremony." And I needn't trouble you with most of the
22 detail except to remind you, as you observed to us,
23 that Mr. Stojak is referred to there.
24 There's the reference to playing the
25 anthem -- I'm looking at the headlines of the
1 paragraphs -- with speed, and raising the flag.
2 There's reference to what will be said by the master of
3 ceremonies. And then we can see, I don't know if
4 you've got -- if you're looking through it quickly to
5 help us, we can see that the ceremony is to end with an
6 address by Mr. Kordic. I think you remember the
7 anniversaries were celebrated. Do you remember
8 Mr. Kordic attending?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the witness.
10 A. Your Honours, as I said, the Holy Ghost
11 Company existed barely a month and a half, and then
12 from there until the end of the war, it was never
13 re-established or anything. And I said when these
14 ceremonies took place. They are now in place after the
15 war to mark certain important dates. I don't know this
16 document, this proposal.
17 Q. Did Mr. Kordic attend these ceremonies, or
18 some of them, to be the last and, in a sense, the major
20 A. I said that the ceremonies which I attended
21 were the ones after the war. During the war, I was at
22 the front line, so that I don't know.
23 MR. NICE: In which case, can we look briefly
24 at the other document. If you would put those four
25 sheets in that green file, and we can look at either
1 the other file or the earlier version of the page of
2 the speech. If you would bring me the material, I'll
3 show what to show the witness. That page there, that's
4 the only one. Yes.
5 Q. Now, assume, if you'll be good enough, that
6 this document may relate to the middle of 1992. Follow
7 me, please. And I simply want your comment on whether
8 the sentiments expressed here are the sort of
9 sentiments you would expect to be being expressed in
10 public in Travnik.
11 I dealt with the Holy Ghost as defender
12 against both the Chetnik and the Mujahedin. Then
14 "The sacred goal of the Croatian people in
15 this territory is the preservation of peace and
16 coexistence with those who wish to live with us in our
17 Croatian provinces in our Herceg-Bosna."
18 In the middle of 1992, would that have been
19 the sort of publicly-expressed view?
20 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, if I may, there are
21 two separate documents here. I think you've already
22 made a ruling with respect to the first one.
23 JUDGE MAY: We admitted both. Yes.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. You remember the question, please, Major. Is
1 that the sort of --
2 A. Would you please repeat it?
3 Q. You can see on the document, two thirds of
4 the way down:
5 "The sacred goal of the Croatian people in
6 this territory is the preservation of peace and
7 coexistence with those who wish to live with us in our
8 Croatian provinces in our Herceg-Bosna."
9 Is that the sort of publicly-expressed
10 sentiment you would have expected?
11 A. As you can see in the document which you're
12 putting to me, this is 1993, and this is a salute to
13 the officers and soldiers of the Holy Ghost Company,
14 which at that time did not exist any longer, and it
15 never came back into existence after it was absorbed
16 into the HVO.
17 Q. I'm going to ask you one more question along
18 the same lines. It may help you to answer the
19 question, please, if you don't even bother to look at
20 the document. It's a matter for you.
21 Towards the bottom of the page,
22 second-to-last, this sentiment:
23 "The Mujahedin and the Chetniks cannot live
24 in coexistence with us, and it is the Holy Ghost
25 Company which must show the strength of Croatian
2 Would that be a sentiment that would have
3 been current in 1992?
4 A. In the period to which you're referring, in
5 February and March of 1992, there was no mention of
6 Mujahedin; nor did I mention that during the existence
7 of the Holy Ghost Company, that there were any
9 MR. NICE: I'm not going to take it any
10 further with this witness, Your Honour, the
11 circumstances of his answers.
12 Can the original documents, if they are not
13 all back -- they are all back, I think.
14 JUDGE MAY: That's a good example of what
15 should happen to that document. I suppose you're
16 proposing to take it back.
17 MR. NICE: I'll raise it with you at the end
18 of the evidence or alternatively defer it, along with
19 other issues, to Friday.
20 JUDGE MAY: Friday.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Major, the position is that the HVO was a
23 Croatian-based body, serving the interests of the
24 Croats, wasn't it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And inevitably it had an effect on non-Croats
2 in Travnik, didn't it?
3 A. No.
4 Q. For example, when we come to -- and I'm now
5 moving back to where we were in the history of
6 events -- to April of 1993, do you accept that in
7 Travnik, Croatian flags were being flown and that they
8 had an inflammatory effect?
9 A. I do not agree. I agree that the flags were
10 flown, that the flags were raised during the Christian
11 holidays, as they were during the Muslim holidays.
12 Those did not bother the Croatian people.
13 Q. But the flying of Croatian flags undoubtedly
14 bothered the Muslim people, didn't it, because it
15 represented a threat to them? Do you accept that?
16 A. No, they did not represent a threat, because
17 this was normal for each ethnic group to raise their
18 symbols on the occasions of their holidays.
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the first document
20 that I needn't trouble the witness with, I think, is
21 634.1, already admitted.
22 Q. Major, you would accept that a decision would
23 have been made in Travnik by Mr. Pervan on the 9th of
24 April to fly Croatian flags on certain particular
25 buildings; the bus terminal, St. John's Church, and
1 [indiscernible]; you would accept that that order would
2 have been made, wouldn't you?
3 A. I don't know who issued this order from the
4 civilian structures, but I did see flags, and also I
5 saw them being burned.
6 MR. NICE: Then, Your Honour, it's Exhibit
7 635. It's a short passage, so I'll read it.
8 Q. The ECMM monitors, Major, did you have any
9 dealings with them?
10 A. I pointed out I was battalion commander with
11 a specific task at the front line, and all other
12 contacts were handled by the command at another level.
13 Q. You see, Major, you've been brought here as a
14 witness to tell us nearly everything about Travnik, and
15 I'm going to want your help on one or two of the things
16 that the ECMM monitors have said.
17 Do you know any reason to doubt the good
18 faith of the ECMM monitors who were operating in your
20 A. I cannot speak to the monitors' statements,
21 because I was at the front line.
22 Q. I'm going to read you one monitor's report
23 from the 9th of April. It is, as I say, Exhibit 635
24 for those who wish to see it in the original, and it
25 says this:
1 "Tensions rose in the evening when a Muslim
2 apparently fired on a Croat who was erecting a Croat
3 flag. This resulted in over an hour of fighting, but
4 all was quiet by 2230."
5 That would probably not be surprising to
6 you. You would accept that, would you, Major?
7 A. If you had listened to my statement, I said
8 that on that date, 9 April, the Bosniaks had arrested
9 prominent Croat citizens and placed them in the fort in
10 the old town.
11 Q. I was going to ask you about that in due
12 course, and I'll come back to it. I still want your
13 answer to my question, and I'll read you the rest of
14 the quotation from the monitor. He said this:
15 "A BiH officer blamed a visit by Mate Boban
16 to Travnik yesterday, who complained about the lack of
17 Croat flags."
18 And he then went on, the ECMM monitor, to
20 "Travnik will continue to have a high flash
21 point, as it is a mainly Muslim area but the Vance-Owen
22 Plan places it in a Croat area. This was the reason
23 for sustained fighting in the area after the plan was
25 Now, dealing with Boban's visit, any reason
1 to doubt that what was reported by the BiH officer was
2 true and that Boban visited and asked for more flags;
3 any reason to doubt that, please?
4 A. I'm not aware that the late Boban was in
5 Travnik at the time.
6 Q. The comment about the effect of the
7 Vance-Owen Plan which placed Travnik in a Croat area,
8 despite its Muslim majority, do you accept you were
9 there, that that was one of the causes of difficulty if
10 not the principal cause of difficulty?
11 A. Could you please be more specific? I didn't
12 understand the question.
13 Q. Of course. What the monitor suggested was
14 that Travnik would have a high flash point, would be a
15 difficult area, because it was mainly Muslim, but the
16 Vance-Owen Plan placed it in a Croat area and that that
17 was the reason for sustained fighting after the
18 Vance-Owen Plan was publicised.
19 Do you accept the monitor's comment as being
20 accurate so far as you could judge things being the man
21 from Travnik?
22 A. According to the census of 1991, 37 per cent
23 of the population were Croats, and there were about
24 8.000 Serbs and about 5.000 or 6.000 of others, and the
25 rest were Muslims.
1 Q. And you did understand my question about what
2 the monitor said, didn't you? About his saying that it
3 was the Vance-Owen Plan and so on that caused or was a
4 cause of the difficulty. You did understand my
6 A. Not -- I am not really familiar with the
7 Vance-Owen Plan.
8 Q. You see, Major, you answered not only
9 Mr. Kordic's counsel's questions, in great detail in
10 fluency, but also from Mr. Cerkez's counsel. Are you
11 having difficulty following the questions I'm asking
13 A. No.
14 Q. I'm going to move on from that exhibit.
15 From your position in Travnik, did you learn
16 anything of Ahmici or not?
17 A. Did I learn anything about Ahmici? Yes.
18 Q. Well, what did you learn and from where?
19 A. At that time, as I told you, I was on the
20 front line facing the army of Republika Srpksa. But,
21 at a later date, I learned that Ahmici had happened.
22 Q. From whom did you learn that?
23 A. I learned the details after the war. After
24 the war I learned that it had happened. Before that, I
25 had enough problems on the front line, and I was not --
1 I did not know details of things that happened in other
3 Q. I'm not going to pursue that with this
4 witness. The next exhibit is 939.2. It's for the 18th
5 of May of 1993, and it's a document from your Commander
7 This is an order dated the 18th of May from
8 Leotar relating to an agreement in Sarajevo between
9 Petkovic and Mladic to implement a mutual cease-fire at
10 lines of contact between the HVO and the Serbian army.
11 Do you remember this?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And it doesn't involve the BiH, does it?
14 A. As I've told you, we held more than
15 two-thirds of the front against the army of Republika
16 Srpksa, and such orders to cease hostilities were
17 normal. It was to exchange the prisoners of war, those
18 killed, those wounded and so on.
19 Q. I must suggest to you that your observation
20 about holding two-thirds of the front line may or may
21 not be true or may be true for a small portion of the
22 line near Travnik, but that overall, the BiH held a far
23 larger proportion of that front line than did the HVO.
24 What would you say to that?
25 A. When I said two-thirds of the front line, I
1 meant the municipality of Travnik and I am familiar
2 with those defence lines. I do not know about other
3 defence lines.
4 Q. The way your evidence was given was to the
5 effect that you held two-thirds of all the front line
6 as it were, but it's a very small portion of Travnik to
7 which you're referring, correct, of the Travnik front
9 A. I think it was a long front -- defence front
10 line in the north-west of Travnik.
11 Q. It's also worth observing that this letter
12 from Leotar is addressed to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
13 Battalions and it's right, isn't it, that they were
14 fully formed by this stage of May of 1993?
15 A. That they were administratively formed, yes.
16 Q. And they had full complements of soldiers?
17 A. I said in administrative terms.
18 Q. Perhaps you will answer my question. Were
19 they, please, fully formed in military terms?
20 A. In administrative terms, yes. On the ground,
21 there were as many problems as you like, that is,
22 setting up properly structured whole.
23 The command personnel, because they were not
24 fully trained, they did not have full military training
25 so that in administrative terms, it looked fine, but in
1 practice, things were much worse, much more difficult.
2 Q. So trying to understand that, you're
3 accepting that there was a full complement of soldiers
4 for each of these three battalions?
5 A. In administrative terms, yes, but in
6 practice, no.
7 Q. And you told us yesterday that there had been
8 a build-up of Muslim troops from April of 1993, I think
9 you told us. Would that be correct?
10 A. I said that in early -- on the 3rd of June,
11 1993, it adopted as of October 1992, they were
12 already -- troops were being brought to the
13 municipality of Travnik in a planed manner.
14 Q. I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, and I haven't
15 been able to check the transcript this morning, but I
16 think when you spoke of the build-up of troops you
17 specifically referred to the period of April of 1993
18 and onwards. Is that your evidence?
19 A. My evidence is that in October 1992, Alagic
20 and Cuskic came with their two brigades, the 1st and
21 the 7th and stationed them in that area. After that,
22 units of the 7th Muslim Brigade and part of Mujahedin
23 were deployed so that by June, the forces were grouped
24 and then I listed the brigades and said that by June,
25 about 10.000 soldiers were concentrated around
2 Q. I'm not in a position to accept or reject
3 your figures in detail. It's right, isn't it? You can
4 just confirm this for the Judges. This is paragraph 26
5 of the summary if anybody's following it, that the
6 306th, the 312th, and the 17th Krajiska Brigades were
7 all based in Travnik. That would be correct, wouldn't
9 A. Yes, 306, 312, 17th Krajina Brigade, part of
10 the 7th Muslim and the Mujahedin, parts of the 305th
11 Jajce Brigade.
12 Q. In a sense, you forecast my next question.
13 All the other brigades to which you refer are actually
14 based elsewhere and, at most, I can't deal with this in
15 any more detail, at most, may have been, in part,
16 deployed in Travnik. You'd accept that, wouldn't you?
17 A. You did not mention the 305th, the so-called
18 Jajce Brigade which was also deployed there.
19 Q. Well, now you've mentioned that brigade, is
20 the proposition that I advanced to you correct? All
21 these other brigades were deployed elsewhere, were
22 based elsewhere, and insofar as they featured in
23 Travnik, were only, in part, deployed in Travnik.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You made some observations yesterday about
2 comparisons of units. Would you accept that the BiH
3 3rd Corps, three corps, was, broadly speaking, to be
4 matched to the Operational Central Zone of Central
5 Bosnia of the HVO, each being of ten brigades or so in
7 A. What I know is -- I mean I know the area of
8 the municipality of Travnik at the time. And what did
9 the Operative Zone in the 3rd Corps head under their
10 command, I don't know.
11 Q. So any answers you gave about the comparative
12 strength or the strength of the Central Operative Zone
13 we should disregard because they're outside your
15 A. No. When I compared, I never mentioned the
16 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. I mentioned HVO
17 forces and army forces in the municipality of Travnik.
18 Q. Very well. So all we know about and all you
19 can tell us about is the Travnik armed forces wherever
20 they came from; is that right?
21 A. Forces which were stationed in the territory
22 of the municipality of Travnik at that time.
23 MR. NICE: Thank you. In which case, Your
24 Honour, I shan't take statistics any further with this
25 witness, save to say that the proportions he gave
1 yesterday of eight to one are something that we don't
2 accept, but we can't obviously take it any further, in
3 light of his answers.
4 Q. By June of 1993, we hear from one of the
5 witnesses in this case, a Mr. Morsink, that there was a
6 withdrawal of the HVO. Do you know anything about the
7 burning of the local archives of the HVO?
8 A. I do not know anything about that. But there
9 was no withdrawal. The HVO was simply pushed back
10 because of the major ABiH offensive.
11 Q. I would like you, please, to look at, in
12 sequence, the reports from the International Community
13 on what was happening over the few days of the 4th to
14 the 7th of June, and I want you to tell us if they are
15 accurate. First, it's Exhibit 1065.
16 Now, I'll make the document available to you,
17 Major, although it is in English. You'll see that --
18 it will be on the overhead projector so that the public
19 can see it and so that the translators can --
20 interpreters can follow it, but it will be on your
21 screen. It's in English. There are three paragraphs
22 to read, starting at paragraph 14 on page 3.
23 Remember, please, all I'm going to ask you,
24 as a person from Travnik, is whether what the reporting
25 officers or monitors say is accurate.
1 "Travnik was the only area where the Croats
2 and Muslims appeared to be working well, despite a
3 number of fights. But on the 4th of June, the Croats
4 evacuated Travnik to Novi Travnik, Vitez and Turbe,
5 held by the Serbs, amid allegations of Muslim
6 atrocities. The Muslims took control first of Travnik,
7 then of the mountain route from Travnik to Zenica.
8 There is evidence that the HVO deliberately withdrew
9 the civilian Croat population from the Travnik area in
10 an attempt to balance their 'eviction' against events
11 in Mostar."
12 I'll deal with it paragraph by paragraph. Do
13 you have any disagreement with that comment of the
14 reporting European Monitor?
15 A. I do not agree with this.
16 Q. You agree, presumably, that there were
17 allegations of Muslim atrocities?
18 A. In my evidence, I already pointed out -- that
19 is, I gave examples of such incidents and slaughters
20 that they had committed.
21 Q. Very well. I'm going to read the next
22 paragraph, 15.
23 "The evacuation of 3.500 Croats through
24 Northern Bosnia to Croatia suggests collusion between
25 Croats and Serbs. The imprisonment of 750 HVO in
1 Manjaca is balanced against the release of Serb
2 civilians from the village of Rastani, south-east of
3 Tomislavgrad, where they had been 'held for their
4 protection' since the conflict began.
5 "At a top-level meeting at Celebic on the
6 15th of June, the Bosnian Serbs and Croats agreed to
7 the formal exchange of properties and populations in
8 their respective areas."
9 Do you accept the accuracy of all that?
10 A. I said yesterday that on the 13th of June, I
11 was wounded and hospitalised, so that I could not know
12 about this part.
13 Q. And then the last paragraph says this:
14 "In theory, command and control of the HVO
15 is through the normal military chain, although recent
16 events demonstrate without doubt that the factions are
17 far from being able to implement the cease-fire
18 agreements signed by the two commanders-in-chief.
19 "Controlled or uncontrolled HVO soldiers
20 continue to prevent freedom of movement for any
21 humanitarian aid or civilian traffic into Muslim-held
22 areas of Central Bosnia-Herzegovina. In particular,
23 the military police answer only to the HVO Minister of
24 Defence Stojic and Mate Boban and are a force in the
25 control of traffic moving through Central
2 "In the Novi Travnik/Vitez/Busovaca area,
3 HVO preventing the movement of relief convoys answer
4 only to Dario Kordic."
5 And it makes a comment about him.
6 Now, is there anything in that paragraph that
7 relates to Travnik that you would disagree with? It
8 speaks of the normal military chain, of controlled and
9 uncontrolled HVO soldiers, and the military police
10 answering up to Boban. True or false, please?
11 A. The chain of command of the military police
12 is something that I do not know what it looked like at
13 the time --
14 Q. Very well.
15 A. -- because it was not under my command.
16 Q. The next exhibit is 1019.1. Is this
17 document, although it relates -- the document you've
18 just been looking at related to the 16th of June but,
19 as you'll appreciate, started in its history an account
20 of the 4th of June. This document is a military
21 document, and it dates, more specifically, the 5th of
22 June. So this is before you were injured -- wounded,
23 I'm sorry. Again, I'd like your comment simply on the
24 accuracy of it. It reads:
25 "Further to the shelling of the civilian
1 coaches yesterday, enquiries reveal that the convoy
2 which was from the Merhamet Aid Agency and was not
3 accredited to the UNHCR was en route from Austria to
5 Do you have any recollection of that, Major?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Perhaps then I can pass, unless anybody wants
8 me to read out the balance of 1 to 2.
9 "The convoy leader, Jasmin" -- name
10 unknown -- "claims that yesterday the convoy was
11 stopped at the Stojkovici checkpoint, where all the
12 buses were searched in an aggressive manner by the
13 HVO. One of the coaches contained medical supplies
14 destined for Tuzla, and the HVO claimed that they were
15 supplying Muslims with aid. Eventually, however, the
16 convoy was permitted to proceed north. While leaving
17 the checkpoint, the convoy leader reportedly observed
18 an HVO soldier speaking on his radio, and then when the
19 convoy reached the next checkpoint at the Novi Travnik
20 T-junction, it was stopped again by members of the
21 HVO." Further references to the vehicle being
23 Now, do you have any recollection of that?
24 A. No. The events mentioned here happened in a
25 different municipality in which I was not.
1 Q. And then under item 3:
2 "The Travnik liaison officer," that's a
3 military liaison officer, I think, "attended a meeting
4 in the Travnik PTT building, the location of the joint
5 HQ, in an attempt to arrange a cease-fire between the
6 HVO and the BiH. Alagic, Merdan and Kulenovic
7 represented the BiH and Leotar the HVO, with the major"
8 -- I'm so sorry -- "and president of the civil
9 government, who yesterday surrendered their authority
10 to the military."
11 First of all, is that correct? You were
12 there the 5th of June. Had there been a surrender of
13 authority to the military on the 4th of June?
14 A. I have said I was not there. I told you that
15 at that time I was near my command post, that is, near
16 Polje Dolac, and there were already 12 dead.
17 Q. You've told us about a lot of villages where
18 things happened. You didn't see all of these yourself,
19 did you?
20 A. Depends on the period of time we are
21 referring to.
22 Q. You remember this morning Mr. Sayers,
23 Mr. Kordic's counsel, took you through lots of villages
24 on a report, and you were able to give us comments on
25 people who had been injured in these various places.
1 You didn't visit them all yourself, did you?
2 A. I'm telling you, that area, while it was
3 under my command, I personally visited them during that
4 period of time, all that was under my command. When my
5 unit was reorganised and after I was wounded, I was put
6 in the headquarters in the command, and there was an
7 exchange of information between the command and units.
8 Neighbouring units, I mean.
9 Q. Where was the village of Bukovice in relation
10 to your command?
11 A. It was to the right from my command post
12 towards Vlasic. My command post, Bukovice, direction
13 of the transmitter on Vlasic, if we are talking about
14 Velika and Maljabuka [phoen], because there is another
15 Bukovice in Travnik.
16 Q. How about Radojcici, if I pronounce it even
17 remotely correct; where was that in relation to your
18 area of command?
19 A. Radojcici was not in the area. Again, it
20 depends on what time frame we're talking about. At the
21 time of the existence of the Frankopan Brigade, at that
22 time, that area was not under my command.
23 Q. This same part of the report of the monitor
24 goes on to say:
25 "Merdan claimed that 18 Muslims had been
1 massacred in the village of Bukovice and that something
2 similar had happened in Radojcici."
3 True or false, please? Had Muslims been
4 massacred, to your knowledge, at that time? That's by
5 the 5th of June.
6 A. No. As far as I know, it did not happen in
7 those areas.
8 Q. I'll just complete this passage. The monitor
10 "At this point, there is no collateral for
11 either claim," and I think that means no support one
12 way or the other for either claim. "Alagic and Leotar
13 claim they had not discerned a precise cause for the
14 outbreak of fighting. Nevertheless, they agreed at
15 1110 hours to inform their respective commands of a
16 cease-fire which was to come into effect at 1300."
17 And then they asked for various practical
18 matters for that.
19 Would you please now look at 1020 to see if
20 this reflects the truth of the position in Travnik at
21 the time of which you're speaking, please, and I'm
22 afraid it's another English document. It's the fourth
23 page of unnumbered pages, please.
24 And it says of Travnik this: "The situation
25 in Travnik," -- sorry, I must give you the date,
1 Major. The date is -- recorded the date as the 6th of
2 June. Yes, the 6th of June.
3 So it's a report on something that's
4 happening up to the 6th of June itself, on the 6th June
5 itself and it says of Travnik, "The situation in
6 Travnik remained very tense with various fire
7 exchanges, mortar exchanges continuing in the town and
8 the outlying villages throughout the day. The fighting
9 was, however, less intense than yesterday.
10 There are reports of mortar rounds being
11 airburst over the area. Confirmed four dead in Slimena
12 and at an HVO checkpoint ..." and it gives the
13 reference," ... members of the checkpoint claim that
14 they now control the previously BiH held village of
15 Bukovice and that there are a number of dead and
16 injured people still in that area."
17 So I ask you again: Was there killing in
18 Bukovice and did that lead to the HVO taking control of
19 that village?
20 A. I said that Bukovice at that time was no
21 longer in my zone of responsibility and I was not
22 familiar with its area.
23 Q. Then there was an observation of detained
24 persons, I think, masked in the Croat village of
25 Caravo. Do you know anything about that village? It
1 says, "Amongst the people were approximately 200 HVO
2 troops and the Croats of Caravo claimed that they were
3 being fired upon from BiH positions in Turbe and that
4 they wished to move to Nova Bila."
5 Does that sound to you to be accurate?
6 A. I don't know because of Caravo -- is
7 north-west of Travnik, and I could not have been there
8 at the time.
9 Q. The same person also observed numerous other
10 DPs coming down from the high ground south of Travnik
11 heading for the same village.
12 Now, I want your comments simply on a summary
13 of how things were in Travnik that can be found on
14 paragraph ten, the next sheet, which reflects two
15 meetings held by Ambassador Thebault and then the
16 second by a commanding officer of the Prince of Wales'
17 Own Regiment, some British soldiers, a British
19 Leotar was there, and you can see the list of
20 the other people who were present and this is the way
21 the meet was described.
22 "The morning meeting was not conducted in an
23 atmosphere of mistrust but rather one of sadness that
24 the possibility of coexistence between Croats and
25 Muslims, which Travnik had stood for was now, is over."
1 Does that fit with your recollection of
2 events that, for a long time, Travnik was a possibility
3 for coexistence but, for whatever reason, that that was
4 no longer possible by June 1993?
5 A. Travnik was and could have stayed an area of
6 coexistence but in early June, in fact, at the
7 beginning of 1993, ABiH created a lot of incidents
8 killing a number of Croats and this affected the
9 Croatian population.
10 Q. You're really putting it down all to one
11 side, are you, in the Travnik area? You're not
12 remotely accepting that the HVO, the Croat-based
13 organisation, had any part to play in the deteriorating
15 A. I did not say this.
16 Q. So you do accept that the HVO had a part to
17 play in the deteriorating relationships. If so, tell
18 us what part it had to play.
19 A. I cannot agree with that. The HVO did not
20 play a role in worsening the relations. It was the
21 opposite. It did everything to try to normalise and
22 calm down the situation.
23 Q. Very well. Then just to complete this
24 document, because I want you to have a chance to
25 comment on it fully, coming from Travnik, it goes on to
1 say, "Both parties that agreed that the events in
2 Travnik were a catastrophe for the Croats and Muslims
3 in Province 10 as the last example of coexistence had
4 fallen. Both sides wished for Blaskic and Hadzi
5 Jovanovic to attend a later meeting. This was
6 constantly reiterated.
7 "Both Leotar and Bilandzija stated that the
8 Croats of Travnik wished to leave the town. Bilandzija
9 claimed they were prepared to leave all their
10 possessions given the circumstances."
11 Is that accurate?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Are you saying they weren't willing to leave
14 the town. Is that what you disagree with?
15 A. No. I don't know about the meeting, and I am
16 not aware that he had said this.
17 Q. Was there a conclusion to have an immediate
18 cease-fire? There were reconvened negotiations,
19 paragraph 12, later.
20 Your Honour, again, unless anybody wants me
21 to read it out now, more conveniently, it can be dealt
22 with later on and I will just turn, I think, to the
23 last document.
24 Perhaps it's worth looking at it together, if
25 we may, just at the comment on the last sheet of this
1 document as it comes up later.
2 "The prospects for the cease-fire holding in
3 Travnik looked remote with both sides demonstrating
4 little faith in the motives of the other. 3 Corps,
5 judging by the attitude of its commander, seems poised
6 for further military action having clearly rejected the
7 concept of negotiation.
8 The restraining influence, at present, may
9 well be the progress north of the large convoy destined
10 for Tuzla as renewed fighting in the Lasva Valley east
11 of Travnik would sever the only remaining route open to
13 Major, did you know anything about that
14 convoy bound for Tuzla?
15 A. As I said, in that -- at that time, I heard
16 about this convoy, but this was a time when I was in
17 the hospital.
18 Q. In which case then, the last document on this
19 topic, but one I want your comment on is 1025.1. This
20 is for the 7th of June, the day after, and quite a
21 large entry for Travnik. I'll try and take the Court
22 through it and the witness to it swiftly.
23 It's paragraph three which says that the
24 situation was calmer on the 7th, apparently free of
25 fighting although there was fighting continuing in
1 Dolac, Grahovice, and Slimena.
2 Then we go to paragraph four. "A visit of
3 Commander Leotar reported it had been complete that
4 Jankovici had been demolished and additionally that the
5 previously, Croat-dominated areas leading up through
6 Travnik to the headquarters, namely the Kalbunar and
7 Jankovici, were completely devoid of Croats."
8 Do you accept the accuracy of that?
9 A. I don't know this document.
10 Q. I'm only asking you for the accuracy of the
11 document, not the content. Do you understand the
13 A. Yes, but you are reading this information
14 from this document.
15 JUDGE MAY: We're not getting very far with
16 this witness. He refuses to follow the question, it
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, yes. I am bound to
19 say I don't disagree with that. Can I just take him,
20 if I can find it immediately, to the particular point
21 on this document which I want him to deal with.
22 Just give me one minute, if that's possible.
23 Yes. It's paragraph five, I think. I might ask the
24 witness just to comment to see if he can or if he
1 Q. Part of this report from a military man says
2 this, Major:
3 "A normally reliable BiH source offered the
4 following explanation of certain events in Travnik. He
5 claimed that an order was issued by the Travnik HVO
6 ordering the evacuation of Croats to Ovcarevo from the
7 surrounding villages which were said to include
8 Jankovici, Bilici, Paklarevo, Birota [phoen],
10 And he goes on to say that:
11 "The people, including HVO soldiers who had
12 discarded their uniforms, moved out of Ovcarevo and
13 reputedly crossed the Serb lines to Bobanovac saying
14 this was part of a well-organised agreement by which
15 the HVO would surrender their positions in the defence
16 of Travnik and Turbe to the BSA."
17 Now, was that source of information correct,
19 A. In my evidence, I said that I heard from
20 Commander Leotar that Colonel Blaskic had issued an
21 order to protect the civilian population and to be
22 taken to a safe area. That was in the area of Nova
23 Bila and Novi Travnik, and specifically given the
24 casualties, both civilians and military, I was tasked
25 to protect the civilians in that area.
1 The commander -- I don't know what orders
2 were received by the commanders of the 1st and 2nd
4 Q. Or how they crossed the Serb lines. Do you
5 know how that happened, if not by agreement with the
7 A. I don't know about that part. I can only
8 speak to the area in which I was.
9 Q. I'm going to ask you to cast your mind back,
10 very briefly, to an early exhibit. I'm not going to
11 ask you to have the exhibit before you, because it's
12 not one that you'd seen although it related to the 21st
13 of October, the day of the funeral, as you tell us, of
14 your leader. The document was the one where Kordic and
15 Blaskic claimed to be leading operations in the area.
16 Your Honour, it's paragraph three that I
17 didn't deal with, and I want the witness' comment on
19 Those same people, that's Blaskic and
20 Mr. Kordic, in their letter, said this of Ivica Stojak,
21 his death, and negotiations. They said, "The situation
22 in Travnik, Zenica, Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, Fojnica,
23 Kresevo, Vares, and Kakanj is under complete control of
24 the HVO, but the behaviour of the HVO military and
25 civilian personnel in Travnik was incomprehensible.
1 They began negotiations and arrangements for a
2 cease-fire after the association [sic] of the commander
3 of the Travnik command, the late Ivica Stojak ..." --
4 yes, assassination -- "... without the knowledge of
5 their superior command and taking advantage of our
6 preoccupation with the situation in Novi Travnik."
7 Now, this is a comment about negotiations and
8 arrangements and the local HVO military and civil
9 personnel in Travnik.
10 Do you accept that the local military and
11 civilian personnel in Travnik negotiated a cease-fire
12 without reference up the chain of command?
13 A. I said I was a battalion commander and at
14 that time, it was against BSA forces, and it was not
15 within my competence to know what was going on in the
17 MR. NICE: I've only got a few more documents
18 to deal with, and I'll try to deal with them by lunch.
19 Q. I know that you are going to say that you
20 were injured and wounded and all, that it was out of
21 your area of responsibility, but can you just comment
22 on a document we looked at earlier, Z134 which I --
23 which was incorrectly dated. This is the 15th of June,
24 1993. By that time, were you an injured person, a
25 wounded person? Were you wounded by the 15th of June?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And can you explain how, and you can see the
3 document which is in your language and has got formal
4 stamps on it over typed signatures of Blaskic and
5 Kordic. Can you explain, please, how at that time,
6 orders of a military nature were being given by Kordic
7 and Blaskic, please, a battle order to the Tomasevic
8 Brigade in Travnik. Can you explain, please, how that
9 would happen?
10 A. May I see the document, please?
11 Q. Of course you may. 134.
12 A. Can I see it in its entirety?
13 MR. NICE: Have you got the original on the
14 ELMO? Can you hand the original to the witness,
15 please. Detach it.
16 A. The original says -- what you are calling the
17 original is the 15 June, 1992. Is it 1992 or 1993?
18 Q. Yes, it says 1992 but it's clear if you look
19 at the --
20 A. But you asked me about 15 June 1993.
21 Q. Look at the content of the document and if
22 you look at the serial number of the letter immediately
23 above the date, it would appear 1992 is an error and
24 that it's a 1993 document.
25 I just want your comment, if you can, on how
1 Blaskic and Kordic could be making an order of this
3 A. I don't know that they issued this order. As
4 I said, on the 15th, I was wounded. That was in 1993,
5 15 June.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 MR. NICE: I think, frankly, I've got a
8 number of matters that I ought to raise with the
9 witness from Travnik, but I've got a feeling -- I'm
10 sorry, Your Honour, I didn't see that you were
11 discussing matters.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Nice, I think we better
13 bring this to a conclusion.
14 MR. NICE: I think I better bring it to a
15 conclusion, because I don't think I'm going to get any
16 answers from this witness, and my duty to put my case
17 has, I hope, been sufficiently discharged. Thank you.
18 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Re-examined by Mr. Sayers:
20 Q. Just a few questions, Major, about some of
21 the documents that you were shown. First of all,
22 Exhibit 243, which is an announcement/report on the
23 situation in Novi Travnik and Jajce or maybe I observe
24 that it's not actually signed, but if you would just
25 take a look at the people to whom it was to be
1 addressed, Major.
2 The English translation says that the
3 addressees are all HVO municipal headquarters of SB
4 HB. Were those military organisations or civilian
5 organisations, sir?
6 A. There were municipal civilian headquarters
7 and civilian military headquarters at that time.
8 Q. All right. Was this announcement sent to the
9 civilian bodies of the municipalities or to the
10 military bodies of the municipalities for informational
11 purposes or don't you know?
12 A. I cannot speak to it because at that time, I
13 never received such a document.
14 Q. All right. You were asked some questions in
15 connection with Mr. Puljic who was the chief of the
16 Travnik Defence Administration.
17 Is it the case that the civilian defence
18 administration had responsibility for registering
19 conscripts and more mobilising conscripts who would
20 then be sent off to the army and then be subjected to
21 the military chain of command or not?
22 A. It is correct that the defence administration
23 carried out the administrative aspects of the
24 mobilisation of forces.
25 Q. Major, let me just suggest to you that coming
1 from where I come from, that is an odd concept.
2 Let me just ask you this: With respect to
3 Mr. Puljic, who we've identified as the chief of the
4 Travnik defence administration, is it the case that he
5 would report to the Minister of Defence of the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna, Bruno Stojic, or to someone
8 A. I am not fully familiar with the chain of
9 command of the Ministry of Defence. I know that the
10 municipal headquarters had -- that there were defence
11 offices at the municipal level, but I don't know more
12 specifically what the chain was.
13 Q. One thing that's confusing is you've referred
14 to these municipal headquarters. Were they military or
15 were they civilian organisations, sir?
16 A. When I referred to the war headquarters,
17 those were the headquarters which were tasked with the
18 military matters, and the municipal headquarters was
19 engaged in civilian affairs.
20 Q. Let's see if we can try to clarify that by
21 reference to one of the other exhibits about which you
22 were asked some questions, Exhibit Z534.1.
23 You're being shown the Croatian, sir. I
24 wonder if the original could be put on the ELMO for
25 everyone to see.
1 This was an order signed by Mr. Puljic, as
2 chief of the Travnik defence administration, dated
3 March the 12th, 1993. But as you can see, it was to be
4 delivered to the chiefs of municipal defence offices in
5 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Zenica, and Vares. Now,
6 these municipality defence offices, sir, were these
7 part of the civilian administration or were they within
8 the military chain of command? Could you help us out
9 with that, please?
10 A. The defence offices were the civilian part.
11 Q. All right, thank you. The other document
12 that I want to ask you about is Exhibit Z193.2
13 concerning the anniversary celebrations of the Holy
14 Ghost 1st Company at an uncertain date.
15 First of all, Major, the document that is in
16 Croatian and has some lines scratched out by someone,
17 do you have any idea who scratched those lines out from
18 this document?
19 A. I said that the Holy Ghost Company was a unit
20 which existed for about one and a half months, so that
21 I don't know this document.
22 Q. Let me just try to direct your attention to
23 this particular document. Do you have any idea who
24 scratched that language out and wrote in another word,
25 "Ostrojvi", by the look of it?
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. Can you tell whether this single page bears
3 any relationship to the document to which it's
4 attached, any relationship at all?
5 A. You mean these two documents?
6 Q. Yes. Do they bear a relationship to one
7 another, that you can tell?
8 A. On the copy that I have, I cannot tell. But
9 this one is referring to the Holy Ghost Company, and I
10 already commented on it.
11 Q. Yes, you did. All right. Well, let's turn
12 to the proposal for the ceremony, whatever date it is.
13 If you turn to page 2 of the Croatian
14 original -- I think it's page 2 -- under the heading of
15 "Master of Ceremonies", paragraph 7, the first person
16 listed there is Mr. Pero Krizanac, who would address
17 all present. He's identified as the acting president
18 of the Travnik HVO. Was that a civilian organisation
19 or a military organisation, sir?
20 A. You're referring to Pero Krizanac. That's
21 the civilian side.
22 Q. In August of 1993, sir, there wasn't any
23 Travnik HVO, was there, as far as you know; it had all
24 been cleaned out the month before by the ABiH?
25 A. You mean August 1993?
1 Q. Yes, indeed.
2 A. Yes. In Travnik in August 1993, there was no
3 civilian or military institutions.
4 Q. All right. Just one other point about this.
5 Under item 8, which is in the English headed
6 "Security" -- I'm sorry, item 9, under the heading of
7 the ceremony, and there's another paragraph 9 there
8 which announces what would be announced by the master
9 of ceremonies. First, there would be an address by the
10 HVO Travnik president. That would be Mr. Krizanac, I
11 take it.
12 A. What period are you referring to?
13 Q. Well, when was Mr. Krizanac the president of
14 the Travnik HVO, as far as you can recall, Major?
15 A. As far as I know, in 1993.
16 Q. All right. Up until what time?
17 A. I cannot recall that. I don't know until
18 what date, because I was involved in purely military
20 Q. The second address is to be given by the
21 Territorial Defence, and that was a purely Muslim
22 military body in Travnik, wasn't it?
23 A. At first, before ABiH had that name, the name
24 "TO" was used.
25 Q. Did you ever attend any swearing-in
1 ceremonies or oath-taking ceremonies of any kind,
2 Major, at any time where an address was given to the
3 assembled new soldiers or people who were being sworn
4 in by members of the Territorial Defence?
5 A. No.
6 Q. All right. Just a couple of questions in
7 connection with two final documents, Major. But before
8 I go to that, just one question.
9 Did you ever hear that Mr. Mate Boban ever
10 visited Travnik at any time in April of 1993?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you ever hear that Mr. Boban visited
13 Travnik in April of 1992?
14 A. No. No, I don't know that Mr. Boban visited
15 Travnik during the wartime.
16 Q. Very well. And two final questions.
17 In connection with one of the military
18 information summaries you were shown, Z1019.1, dated
19 June the 5th of 1993 -- I don't think that it's
20 necessary, Mr. Usher, to show the document; let me just
21 read from it. There's a reference on page 2 to the
22 commander of the 3rd Corps, General Hadzihasanovic,
23 stating that he had little faith in diplomacy and the
24 political process. And then another individual by the
25 name of Suvalic stated that: "Muslims felt cheated and
1 disappointed by the International Community and were
2 being left with little alternative to military action
3 to resolve matters."
4 And the comment is made that:
5 "Although neither party would be drawn on
6 the question of what was to be the next step, the
7 unavoidable conclusion was that the BiH were no longer
8 prepared to restrain themselves and were likely to take
9 the military initiative in the Lasva Valley, where they
10 enjoy a tactical advantage over the HVO."
11 Did you ever hear, Major, that General
12 Hadzihasanovic was at this time refusing to meet with
13 Colonel Blaskic to try to resolve differences without
15 A. No. At my level, I did not hear about these
17 Q. Let me just see if I can jog your memory on
18 that -- maybe I can't -- with Exhibit 1020, and this is
19 the last question I have for you.
20 You were not asked about paragraph 12 of this
21 British military information summary dated June the 6th
22 of 1993, but here is what it says:
23 "Negotiations reconvened at 1800 but without
24 the planned attendance of Blaskic and Hadzihasanovic.
25 Blaskic had been willing to attend, but Hadzihasanovic,
1 despite the intervention of BHC, maintained his
2 previous position by stating that it was now too late
3 for negotiation. He claimed that he had the full
4 support of General Halilovic for the position he was
6 And then there are some other comments made.
7 Does that ring a bell? Do you have any
8 recollection of General Hadzihasanovic refusing to
9 attend negotiations with Colonel Blaskic and claiming
10 that it was too late for negotiations?
11 A. I don't know about that.
12 JUDGE MAY: Major Ljubas, thank you for
13 coming to the Tribunal to give your evidence. You are
14 now free to go. You are released.
15 We will adjourn for an hour and a half, until
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.10 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE MAY: Judge Robinson is unwell. He has
4 the flu of some sort and therefore cannot sit this
6 Unless there's any objection, we propose to
7 make an order under the usual Rule, 15, for the two of
8 us to sit, and we hope he will be back tomorrow but he
9 may not be of course.
10 Any objection?
11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Absolutely
12 not, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. I will make the
15 Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
17 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
18 and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: ZLATAN CIVCIJA
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
22 Your Honours.
23 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:
24 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Civcija. Mr. Civcija,
25 will you please give us your full name?
1 A. My name is Zlatan Civcija.
2 Q. Mr. Civcija, you were born in Travnik in
3 1954, is it?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. You are a Croat by ethnicity and a national
6 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and you lived in Novi Travnik for
7 some 40 years until 1994?
8 A. Absolutely correct.
9 Q. Currently, you and your family live in the
10 town of Grahovo which is the southwestern part of
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And you work as a legal advisor by a public
14 company called Sume?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Before that, however, between April 1996 and
17 September 1997, you were a provisional administrator in
18 the town of Grahovo which is something like appointed
19 designated mayor; is that correct?
20 A. Absolutely so.
21 Q. Mr. Civcija, will you please pause after you
22 have heard my questions to give time to the
23 interpreters. Thank you.
24 And after you stopped being this designated
25 mayor until March this year, you were deputy mayor of
1 Grahovo; is that so?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. As for your education, you graduated from the
4 faculty of law in Sarajevo in 1980 and worked as a
5 lawyer for the weapons factory, Bratstvo, in Novi
6 Travnik for some ten years. For a while you were a
7 lawyer there and then you were the head, the manager of
8 joint affairs of those departments, as those matters
9 used to be called then.
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. In 1990, that is before the civil war broke
12 out, you became the chief of the Novi Travnik police,
13 and I would call it the chief or rather perhaps the
14 head because it was an administrative duty, wasn't it?
15 A. The exact name of that post which I took up
16 in March, I believe, 1990, is the chief of the public
18 Q. Thank you. And in the police station in Novi
19 Travnik, you stayed with the civilian police until 28th
20 September 1993, and at that time you joined the Stjepan
21 Tomasevic Brigade of the Croat Defence Council in Novi
22 Travnik; is that so?
23 A. Yes, it is so.
24 Q. You joined the HVO, that is the
25 above-mentioned brigade, as a platoon commander and as
1 a platoon commander that is a member of the HVO. You
2 did that until the end of the civil war between the
3 Muslims and the Croats, that is, you were at the front
4 lines until sometime in the spring 1994.
5 A. Yes, correct.
6 Q. And just one more fact about your career. In
7 1995, you worked at the Ministry of the Interior of the
8 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna in Mostar.
9 A. Yes, correct.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]
11 Mr. Naumovski, I'd like to ask Mr. Civcija what his
12 current occupation is. What is he doing right now?
13 What does he do or what has his job been from 1995
14 onwards until today?
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Did you understand the question asked by His
17 Honour, Judge Bennouna?
18 A. Yes, and I should like to answer that
19 question. As the counsel has already said, in 1995 I
20 worked for the Ministry of the Interior of the Croat
21 Republic of Herceg-Bosna in Mostar.
22 From April of 1996 to some time late 1997, I
23 was a government-responsible agent for the municipality
24 of Bosanski Grahovo.
25 After the last municipal elections, I was
1 appointed deputy mayor of the municipality of Bosanski
2 Grahovo and head of the department of economic affairs,
3 and I held that post until sometime in March this
4 year. And then in early April, we had new local
5 elections and I was the first on the HDZ list.
6 We have not yet appointed the new local
7 government in the municipality of Bosanski Grahovo. It
8 was due one of these days. And meanwhile, I have begun
9 to work for the public company Sume Forests. It is a
10 cantonal enterprise engaged in forestry exploitation
11 and preservation of forests, and there I have the job
12 of legal advisor.
13 Q. Thank you. We can move on, Mr. Civcija.
14 Just a few general facts about the municipality of Novi
16 According to the census of 1991, in the
17 municipality of Novi Travnik, there were about 12.500
18 Croats, which is some 40 per cent, and there was
19 slightly less Muslims, 11.600, which is some 38
20 per cent of the total. There were also 16 per cent of
21 Serbs and a few percentage points of other people. Is
22 that correct?
23 A. I believe these figures are correct.
24 Q. These three ethnic groups, three peoples,
25 which lived in the town of Novi Travnik, by and large
1 respected customs and traditions of other groups, that
2 is, they were all more or less on good terms, and yet
3 nevertheless each one of those ethnic groups was more
4 or less separate and lived its own life, and this
5 especially holds true of rural environments; is that
7 A. Yes, one could say so. About a third of the
8 population or some 10.000 of the inhabitants lived in
9 the town, and two thirds, that is, some 20.000, lived
10 principally in villages and small localities.
11 Q. One of those ethnic groups, that is, peoples
12 in the former Yugoslavia, in the old regime prior to
13 1990, were privileged as opposed to other peoples.
14 Could you tell Their Honours, what was that people and
15 how did these privileges manifest themselves?
16 A. Yes, of course. The former State of
17 Yugoslavia was a federal state, that is, a composite
18 state made of six republics and two provinces. In that
19 state, the majority people were the Serbs, and, in a
20 manner, they enjoyed some privileges when compared with
21 other peoples, because they largely controlled the
22 army -- I believe that about 90 per cent of the
23 officers were Serbs -- the police, public sector, that
24 is, public companies. That would be it.
25 Q. And as for the inhabitants of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the other two peoples, Muslims and
2 Croats, at the time that you are talking about, were
3 somewhat discriminated against by virtue of the
4 functions in those institutions that you have just
5 mentioned. You are well acquainted with the structure,
6 because that is one of the things that you did, the
7 structure of the police command for which you worked
8 for a while in Bosnia-Herzegovina. One people there
9 was completely neglected?
10 A. Yes, by all means. For a long time, the
11 predominant people at all leading positions in the
12 police were the Serbs, so that both the Croats and
13 Muslims were discriminated against; notably, especially
14 the Croats, because they were the smallest people in
15 terms of the number.
16 Q. As for the executive posts in the police in
17 1989 and in 1990, the central government in Sarajevo
18 tried to compensate for this lack of Croats in
19 executive posts in the police, and some Croats were
20 then, including yourself, appointed to individual
21 duties in some police stations?
22 A. Yes, of course. In 1989 and 1990, throughout
23 Yugoslavia, was the period of the democratisation of
24 the state, in view of the changes taking place in
25 neighbouring countries. By this, I mean the countries
1 of the Socialist Eastern Bloc. Even though Yugoslavia
2 was one of the more liberal states, if one can put it
3 that way, when compared with this Socialist Bloc, it
4 was nevertheless a state with only one political
5 party. And by Western standards, it could not be
6 defined as a democratic state, therefore.
7 With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
8 relaxation of discipline in the Soviet Union, this
9 process also expanded to our country, and it was
10 manifest in different ways. One of the aspects of this
11 was to try to redress the injustice in the police,
12 army, and other places concerning one people, so that
13 in my republic, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the head of the
14 police stations in several places, about a dozen Croats
15 were appointed, and I was one of them.
16 Q. Mr. Civcija, in November 1990, the first
17 multi-party elections took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 in all the municipalities, and that includes the
19 municipality of Novi Travnik. In the elections, in the
20 local elections in Novi Travnik, the chief political
21 party of the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croat
22 Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina, won the largest
23 number of seats, and it was followed by the Party for
24 Democratic Action, that is, the chief Muslim party, and
25 then others. Would you agree with me?
1 A. Absolutely correct.
2 Q. And in line with the election results, the
3 new government was also conceived, and offices were
4 distributed between the parties, so that a Croat became
5 a mayor of the municipality, and a Muslim the president
6 of the local government, to put it in that matter, and
7 then the representative of the third largest people,
8 the Serbs, he became the secretary of the municipal
9 government, and so on and so forth. Is that so?
10 A. It is.
11 Q. And in this distribution of offices, the
12 Croats were allotted the place of the civil police, so
13 that you continued in the job that you already held,
14 but this time in agreement of all the parties in the
15 municipality of Novi Travnik?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. You were, however, the head of the police
18 covering the administrative field. Your deputy was a
19 Muslim, and he was involved with the active part of the
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, a few questions, Mr. Civcija -- and we
23 have reached paragraph 9, Your Honours -- a few
24 questions about the developments in the Republic of
25 Croatia in the latter half of 1991.
1 At the time when you -- and by this I mean
2 the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- watched on
3 television and in other media to follow the war that
4 was raging in the territory of the Republic of Croatia,
5 how did you see that, and did you begin to think about
6 what might happen to the situation in
8 A. The war operations in 1991 in Slovenia and
9 then in Croatia gave rise to concern -- to anxiety
10 among all the peoples who lived in the territory of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially the Croats, because
12 they could daily see on their small screens the
13 horrible images of war, the shelling of Vukovar, of
14 Dubrovnik, of Zadar, and a number of other places
15 across the Republic of Croatia, and this caused grave
16 concern to the Croat community in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 Q. And what you saw raging already in the
18 territory of the Republic of Croatia, did it make you
19 also begin to think -- begin to consider your own
20 defence, the defence of your own lands in the territory
21 of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Well, we realised that after a long time of
23 the existence of Yugoslavia, which was, however you
24 look at it, a dictatorship. The time had come for it
25 to fall apart, to be dissolved, so that all the
1 constituent factors which made Yugoslavia should be
2 given their own states. We saw it happen with
3 Slovenia, with Croatia, with Macedonia, and it was
4 natural to expect that Bosnia-Herzegovina would become
5 a state too. When I say "state", I mean an
6 internationally-recognised state. And in that sense,
7 we also began to carry out certain preparations for
8 that act.
9 Q. And there was certain developments in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, when some Croat villages and
11 localities were victimised. However, other peoples did
12 not react identically. Could it be that at that time
13 between you, the Croats, and members of other peoples,
14 that is, Muslims, there were already some
15 misunderstandings, some divergences as to what might
16 happen? Did the leadership of Bosnian Muslims, and
17 also speaking from the point of view of Novi Travnik,
18 were they on the same wavelength with you Croats?
19 A. Since you're asking me this, I will point out
20 the village of Ravno which is in the southeastern
21 corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we were
22 unpleasantly surprised by the response of the
23 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina when the village
24 of Ravno was attacked by the JNA and the Serb
25 paramilitary troops which shelled this village.
1 Q. The Trial Chamber already heard what happened
2 in the village of Ravno. We do not have to go into any
3 details. But if I understand you correctly, on the
4 other side, among the Muslims, there was no concern and
5 there was no concern among the Muslim leadership in
6 terms of what was going on.
7 A. This is what I could -- how I could answer
8 this question. The Muslim political leadership
9 believed that it would be able to get the independence
10 and that the guarantor of that would be the JNA.
11 They did not understand what at first befell
12 Slovenia then Croatia, to a larger degree, and then
13 what was to befall Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 Q. Speaking about the preparations of the
15 Bosnian Croats, you will agree with me that thousands
16 of Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the
17 Croatian army which was amassing at the time in order
18 to assist Croatia in defending its boarders?
19 A. Yes. Of course, the JNA carried out
20 emigration against the Republic of Croatia and many
21 people, young and old, I believe some 15.000 of them
22 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, went to Croatia to defend
23 its sovereignty.
24 Q. When the war in Croatia resulted in a
25 cease-fire, most of these people went back home in
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, many went back and talked about the
3 horrors which they experienced because it was not
4 possible to get all the information from television, so
5 the testimonies of the people who took part in the
6 defence of Croatia were really moving.
7 Q. I understand but these same people, when the
8 civil war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina, came back
9 to defend their own homes so now they were taking part
10 in another war, in a second war at home.
11 A. Yes, absolutely right. It is also logical
12 that people who went to defend Croatia should come back
13 home to defend their own homes. They came back
14 immediately and did everything they could to defend the
15 areas where they were born and the whole of Bosnia and
17 Q. In the town where you spent all your life, 40
18 years, most of your life, there was a very significant
19 factory called Bratstvo. It was a military factory.
20 Materiel from this and weapons from this factory were
21 sent to -- was used by the JNA to wage the war in
22 Croatia; is that correct?
23 A. When the events in Croatia took place, people
24 responded with fear. They expressed their discontent
25 and bitterness, but the situation was further
1 exacerbated by the fact that our own neighbours and kin
2 were being attacked with the weapons produced in our
3 own factory. And we wanted to do something to prevent
4 and stop this.
5 Q. Yes. But because people of all ethnic groups
6 worked in the factory, but the Croats and Muslims
7 differed on what to do. The Croats wanted to prevent
8 the weapons from being used against Croatia, and the
9 Muslims wanted it to keep working because they wanted
10 the economic benefit, but the only use of that was for
11 the war in Croatia so this is where you differed.
12 A. Yes. But this is how I would put this.
13 There was an attempt on the part of the factory
14 management who made decisions about the deliveries of
15 weapons. They wanted to represent that they were
16 forced by economic reasons to deliver weapons to the
17 JNA which was not correct. And politically speaking,
18 the representatives of Muslims who adopted -- didn't
19 see this trick, if I can call it that.
20 The JNA aimed at getting out all the weapons
21 and equipment from the factory and warehouse in their
22 own depots. They had enough weaponry and equipment,
23 but it was important for them that the other side did
24 not have any. So this is why they wanted it out, but
25 the political leadership of Muslims did not see this
2 Q. Bratstvo factory was part of the military
3 industrial complex, and the management consisted of the
4 former JNA officers or trusted people, if I can put it
5 that way.
6 A. Absolutely. And in order to explain what --
7 how it was, from the establishment of the factory until
8 the end, until the beginning of war that is, the
9 manager could not be anybody who was not a former
10 officer of the JNA. And the top management had to be
11 JNA officers which means that 99 per cent of them were
12 of Serbian ethnic background.
13 And of course, as soldiers, they carried out
14 orders of their superiors who were in Belgrade.
15 Q. Despite these differences in views between
16 you and Muslims, and despite all the deliveries of
17 weapons, you were able to stop and prevent some of this
18 weaponry from reaching the JNA.
19 However, did you not keep those weapons for
20 yourselves only. You received an order or a decision
21 to share it with the Muslims. Do you know who passed
22 this decision or who issued this order?
23 A. Frankly, Croats, as an ethnic group in Novi
24 Travnik, on several occasions, barred transports of
25 weapons from leaving the compound. And on one
1 occasion, they even took some weapons because the war
2 was approaching the boarders of Bosnia and we were
3 under a real threat of being attacked.
4 All weapons which, at that time, we stopped,
5 we divided into two equal parts. I think this order
6 came from the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I
7 think the Defence minister at the time was Mr. Jerko
8 Doko, and I also heard that Mr. Stjepan Kljuic, who was
9 a member of the Presidency, also became involved in
10 this, and I attended some of these meetings. And we
11 implemented this decision from the Ministry of Defence
12 in Sarajevo and distributed the weapons.
13 Q. Both Mr. Kljuic and Mr. Doko were members of
14 the top leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the
16 A. Absolutely correct.
17 Q. Mr. Civcija, you know of many cases of
18 distribution of weapons, at least this is what
19 paragraph 13 refers to. You shared with the other
20 side, with the Muslims, the weapons which was in the
21 Bratstvo factory which was to have been used as -- for
22 air defence. You did not keep those weapons but rather
23 you shared it with the Muslim side.
24 A. Yes. As I said in the beginning, Bratstvo
25 was a military factory and they all had a certain type
1 of security. Part of that security system in the
2 Bratstvo factory were anti-aircraft guns which were
3 kept at Bratstvo, and for 40 or 50 years of its
4 existence, there was always a crew which was trained to
5 use these weapons.
6 We divided these anti-aircraft guns equally
7 between the Croatian and Muslim groups when we started
8 preparing against the aggression of the JNA and the
9 army of Bosnian Serbs.
10 Q. Let us move swiftly through the next
11 segment. You also shared weapons, the weapons seized
12 from the JNA in the facility in Stojkovici and from the
13 Slimena facility, and even the weapons from the
14 municipal sports club which was used for
15 rifle-shooting, and all the weapons that remained in
16 the army barracks after the retreat of the JNA. And
17 you shared all those weapons; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that is correct. I personally took part
19 in the distribution of weapons we had seized in
20 Stojkovici, and Mr. Filipovic, who at that time, I
21 believe, was a colonel, was present there and with my
22 colleague in the police force, I personally distributed
23 weapons that the municipal sports club used to have.
24 And I took part in the transport of weapons to the
25 Muslims alongside Mr. Cengic.
1 I believe on two occasions, there was 24
2 truckloads which we took to Visoko and these weapons
3 were successfully used in the defence of the city of
4 Sarajevo which was already under the attack of the JNA
5 and the army of Bosnian Serbs.
6 I believe that it was thanks to those weapons
7 that the city of Sarajevo was defended.
8 Q. You mentioned this convoy to Visoko, the 24
9 truckloads. You personally escorted this convoy and
10 you were involved in providing security for it?
11 A. Yes, that is correct. One of the chief
12 logistics persons in the Bosniak armed forces was
13 Mr. Cengic, and I assumed that from one of the top
14 leaders or the -- in the central government in Bosnia,
15 he was tasked with coming --
16 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment, I'm going to
17 interrupt you.
18 Mr. Civcija, we've heard a lot of evidence in
19 this case about these events, and I think it would help
20 if we could get on to the more relevant parts.
21 Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
23 Your Honour. We can move on, Mr. Civcija. We are at
24 paragraph 14, Your Honours.
25 Q. The Chamber has heard that on the 29th of
1 February and 1st of March, 1992, a referendum was held
2 in order to decide the issue of independence of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina. Perhaps we should touch on this issue
5 The question was how the question in the
6 referendum was phrased. This is, again, where you and
7 the Muslim side differed. There were only 17.4 per
8 cent Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a minority
9 group, you wanted some guarantees for an equal status
10 that you used to have in the previous Bosnia and
12 A. Yes. The issue of the independence is one of
13 the key issues, how the future community is going to be
14 organised. Both Croats and Muslims were in favour of
15 independence, but even before this referendum on
16 independence, we wanted to build in some safety
17 mechanisms so that the minority group would be
18 guaranteed its rights, so that it be a
19 fully-constituent group, so that it could be equal, so
20 that it would not be outvoted.
21 There were certain doubts and
22 misunderstandings within the leadership on both sides,
23 but at the referendum on whether we wanted an
24 independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, an
25 internationally-recognised state, a majority of both of
1 these ethnic groups voted. And thanks to their votes,
2 this country became independent.
3 And I want to point out that without the
4 Croat votes, the independence would never have been
5 voted, whereas the majority of the Serbian population
6 never voted.
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]
8 Mr. Naumovski, you know perfectly well that we've heard
9 a lot of witnesses who came to testify as to the issue
10 of how this new State of Bosnia and Herzegovina came to
11 be. I think it would be a waste of time to return to
12 those facts at this stage of the proceedings.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] I absolutely
14 agree, Your Honour. But this was just introductory
15 questions, and I move on right away.
16 Q. Mr. Civcija, to speed things along, despite
17 the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared an
18 independent state, basically a month later the war
19 broke out because the army of Bosnian Serbs started a
20 series of military offensives throughout the territory
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes. Let me just say, in brief, that is
24 Q. In this first wave of attacks of the JNA and
25 the BSA, hundreds of thousands -- several hundred
1 thousand Muslims and some Croats were driven out of the
2 north-eastern and north-western areas, and many of them
3 went to Central Bosnia, including your area?
4 A. Yes, that is correct. But I would like to
5 point out that the first refugee convoy with women and
6 children started out from the city of Sarajevo. There
7 were about 10.000 of them, and the Serbs kept them for
8 two or three days in Ilidza and mistreated them.
9 Then in May and June, further convoys
10 throughout North-western Bosnia, Eastern Bosnia, and in
11 the municipalities of Travnik, Novi Travnik, and the
12 whole Lasva Valley, there were floods of people, men,
13 women, and children, who were catching different
14 transports to get there.
15 Q. In spite of this sudden aggression and this
16 fierce attack, the HVO, regardless of the state of
17 organisation, the state that they were in, started to
18 prepare for defence, and you were a bit better prepared
19 than the Muslim side in this spring of 1992?
20 A. Yes, that is correct. I pointed it out at
21 the beginning. We recognised the threat which was
22 coming, and we could see that this scenario from
23 Slovenia and Croatia was about to be repeated and we
24 started preparing ourselves. It is true that at that
25 time we were a bit better prepared than our partners
1 from the Muslim ethnic group. We offered resistance,
2 and we went out in the field to prevent the attacks of
3 the JNA and the army of Bosnian Serbs.
4 Q. Let's move on. You talked about a number of
5 refugees which came to your area, but you had other
6 problems. Every village, every hamlet, had their own
7 military units that were not well coordinated among
8 themselves, which further complicated the issue, didn't
10 A. Yes. This was a very complicated situation.
11 In this period, we got a state, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
12 which was in a very strange condition. It did not have
13 its own army. In its own territory, there were units
14 of another country. Nobody knew how to resolve this
15 problem. Some officials from the top leadership of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina were not aware of the danger
17 that this army was posing, and we know that this was --
18 it was 99 per cent Serbian -- and did not recognise the
19 threat. So what happened was we were attacked by this
21 In our attempt to defend ourselves from this
22 army and from the army of Bosnian Serbs, the Croatian
23 Defence Council was formed, both the military and
24 civilian side. This process was very painful.
25 JUDGE MAY: There's no need for this general
1 evidence, Mr. Naumovski. We've heard this, if I may
2 say, time and again. We don't need general political
3 speeches. We want this witness's evidence specifically
4 about what he knows; namely, Novi Travnik.
5 Let's move on, if we can, to 18.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
7 Your Honours. We were just moving to the situation in
8 Novi Travnik.
9 Q. Mr. Civcija, talking about this mass influx
10 of refugees from Eastern and North-western Bosnia, when
11 they arrived, a very delicate demographic balance was
12 upset, the demographic structure was changing
13 dramatically, and this affected the town of Novi
14 Travnik too.
15 A. Yes, that is correct. The population doubled
16 and tripled in size, so that there were two or three
17 times more Muslims than before.
18 Q. This mass influx of refugees actually also
19 produced a state of lawlessness. The police were
20 unable to act in the usual way, that is, they could not
21 keep things under control in the town. Is that
23 A. I said that the situation was very
24 complicated. There were more and more units and people
25 wearing military uniforms that were passing through,
1 and it was very difficult to control the situation,
2 regardless of whether these were the HVO members or
3 members of its equivalent Bosniak side.
4 Q. In addition to all these groups and
5 individuals who were there, you would know, wouldn't
6 you, as a person who was working for the police, that a
7 number of people who had been convicted and who had
8 been detained, people of criminal pasts who were
9 supposed to be kept in those institutions, were
10 released, and they also came to this area?
11 A. Yes. A number of people who were serving
12 sentences or awaiting their trials came to this area,
13 and it was very difficult to control all of them.
14 Q. After May 1992, there were two armies in Novi
15 Travnik; there was the TO, which was organised in the
16 way it was, but there was also a separate HOS unit.
17 And these units, the units which consisted of Croats
18 and those which consisted of Muslims --
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's try and speed up.
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]
22 Q. -- they harassed people of Novi Travnik,
23 which further complicated the relations between Muslims
24 and Croats. Were you still able to reach any types of
25 agreements, how to organise your coexistence with the
1 Muslims, or were these agreements simply not there?
2 A. There were two types of problems; how to
3 establish the military and how to establish cooperation
4 between the two sides, and how to establish cooperation
5 between the two civilian sides. We had a crisis staff
6 which tried to assume the role of the local municipal
7 government which had ceased to operate. But even that
8 didn't work out, because members of the Serbian ethnic
9 group left those institutions, and so it was very
10 difficult to reach any type of consensus of the two
11 sides that remained in government.
12 Q. We can move right along to paragraph 21.
13 Because this Crisis Staff was inefficient and unable to
14 maintain order in Novi Travnik, the government of the
15 HVO was established.
16 A. That is correct.
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
18 I will try to tender an exhibit at this point.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
22 this is a decision on the appointment of the head of
23 the office in the municipality of Novi Travnik. It is
24 what Mr. Civcija just talked about.
25 Q. Mr. Civcija, this document which was signed
1 in Mostar on the 23rd of July, 1992, it was signed by
2 Mr. Mate Boban?
3 A. No, this document was not taken on the 3rd of
4 July but on the 13th of June. It was merely written
5 out on the 3rd of July.
6 Q. Yes, yes, that is so, that is what it says.
7 But the HVO was set up as a provisional measure in
8 order to try to somehow organise life in Novi Travnik;
9 is that so? So will you please tell the Court, the
10 representatives of what people were members of this HVO
12 A. Yes. Croats and Muslims participated in this
13 government. For instance, Mr. Enes Sehic, an
14 economist, who before that was the head of a building
15 company and manager of a bank, he was appointed head of
16 the Department of Economic Affairs. Mr. Feriz Rizvic
17 became a member of the government, and Mr. Safet Koco,
18 who was a mechanical engineer, was also appointed to
19 the government of Novi Travnik.
20 Q. So they were Muslim representatives?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. However, even after the HVO was
23 set up, all the problems were not resolved, and did the
24 HVO seek some way to deepen their relations with the
25 Muslims, to see why some proposal that came from your
1 side was not acceptable, or did it all go in a
2 completely different direction?
3 A. Well, our intention was to organise the life
4 in this space at the time of the aggression which had
5 already begun against this area, because shells had
6 already begun to fall. We were attacked from aircraft,
7 the factory was attacked as a target, the town was
8 being attacked, there was a major influx of refugees,
9 and we were expecting this government to begin to
10 function, that is, ensure livelihood for the largest
11 part of the population. However, this was accompanied
12 by huge problems. We met on various occasions, trying
13 to regulate our relations and see how to make that
14 government work, but it all was an uphill battle.
15 Q. Thank you. So in spite of the fact that the
16 representatives of the Muslims were incorporated in
17 this HVO government that we are talking about, some
18 Muslim politicians nevertheless organised a parallel,
19 if I may put it that way, war presidency consisting of
20 Muslims only, and they, in a way, took over the
21 management of the municipal territory mostly inhabited
22 by the Muslim population?
23 A. Yes, that is absolutely correct. These are
24 people who were hard-liners, and they must have been
25 following somebody's instructions. They merely dodged
1 cooperation and they set up a parallel government in
2 the area they believed to be controlling, and that was
3 approximately the area with the majority Muslim
5 Q. Could you tell the Court two or three names
6 of those persons, of those Muslim politicians that you
7 are talking about?
8 A. Well, first of all, Mr. Salih, who was the
9 president of the SDA at the time, and before that he
10 was the president of the local government, Salih
11 Krnjic. And I think that another one's name was -- oh,
12 it slips my mind now.
13 Q. Ragib Zukic?
14 A. Yes, Ragib Zukic.
15 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 So let us move on, and that is to the first conflict
17 which took place on the 19th of July, 1991. If we
18 may -- June, sorry, excuse me, June 1991.
19 If we may, Your Honours, we heard from the
20 Prosecutor and we also had a city map, and our witness
21 has added some facilities which were missing from this
22 map. We blew it up, and if we may, we should like to
23 put it on the ELMO and ask the witness to explain, as
24 briefly as possible, what happened where.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, from now on it
1 would be better if you didn't lead the witness. Let
2 him give his own evidence about what happened.
3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes,
4 absolutely, Your Honours. Absolutely.
5 Q. Mr. Civcija, we can see this town plan, if I
6 may call it that, and you drew there some buildings,
7 some facilities which were missing. So could you
8 please, as briefly as possible, explain to the Court
9 who caused the conflict in June 1992 and what were the
10 directions of the attack and so on so forth, but
11 please, in a nutshell.
12 A. Well, in a nutshell, it was like this.
13 Q. You can also use the pointer on the ELMO to
14 point what you intend to show. You need to show it
16 A. Yes, yes, yes, I understand. At that time,
17 the commander of the Muslim army in the municipality of
18 Novi Travnik was Mr. Mufet Lendo from a member of the
19 Yugoslav People's Army. He is a hard-liner who was not
20 very cooperative, and we were unable to reach an
21 agreement with him for the two components to cooperate
22 jointly in our operations against the army of Bosnian
24 He was pursuing a rather hard line,
25 politically, and he simply wanted to command all the
1 forces in the municipality in Novi Travnik.
2 On the 19th of June, there was an attempt to
3 take over the principal facilities in the town. As you
4 can see here [indicates], the town spreads in a
5 north/south direction.
6 The northern entrance is next to the Mali Raj
7 outlet where there is a junction. And on the other
8 side, which is the fire brigade centre, this is leading
9 to the Bratstvo factory which is two or three
10 kilometres away.
11 That morning, they wanted to set up a
12 checkpoint at the -- checkpoint at the junction next to
13 the Mali Raj, and they used an air gun. However,
14 several members of the armed formations of the HOS,
15 which are the Croat Defence forces, they simply pushed
16 them away without even outside use of force. They
17 drove them away with their noise and by making dins
19 And then late in the afternoon, that same
20 day, the gunfire started in the town and later on I
21 learned that the following facilities had been attacked
23 The building of the police which also housed
24 the commander of the Territorial Defence, that is the
25 Muslim forces, then the building of the post office
1 which they took, and the building of the school which
2 they took. Fire was opened against the workers and the
3 municipal hall, and the headquarters of the Croat
4 Defence Council which is the military staff of the army
5 of the Croats.
6 They took the intersection and the fire
7 brigade centre and blocked the road towards Bratstvo,
8 and it was proceeded by an attack on the building of
9 the HVO military police which was on the road, on the
10 local hill, and the task of which was to protect the
11 headquarters from this side.
12 Q. Will you please just slow down to make the
13 work easier for the interpreters.
14 A. I apologise. If necessary, I shall repeat it
16 Q. No, I don't think you have to, the transcript
17 has it all. Just try to slow down.
18 A. After that the Croat Defence Council, rather,
19 people who happened on the positions, prevented members
20 of the Territorial Defence to take these facilities and
21 most of these tanks were repulsed.
22 And in the PTT buildings, some 20 members of
23 the TO were captured who surrendered and the building,
24 the police building, was also turned over around
25 there. They took to their heels so that they left the
1 headquarters of the Territorial Defence.
2 The school was also defended and the
3 municipal hall and the workers' centre. The only thing
4 that was kept under control was this intersection by
5 the fire brigade centre, and this school which I did
6 not show which is on the Omladinska Street and which is
7 up in the southwestern part of the municipality.
8 And yet another facility very important which
9 was attacked [indicates] was the firing range. The
10 shooting range which belonged to the town and which is
12 Q. So, that day, if I understood you properly,
13 numerous facilities, the most important places in the
14 town were attacked?
15 A. Absolutely correct. That day, the commander
16 of the Territorial Defence, Mr. Lendo, issued the
17 orders to take the most important points in that town
18 reckoning that if he kept them under control, that it
19 would be controlling the whole town; however, this
20 action was thwarted.
21 The Croat Defence Council demonstrated
22 strength, it was more successful and they were driven
23 out from all -- the members of the TO were driven out
24 from all those facilities.
25 Q. Mr. Civcija, during the fighting then, were
1 you informed that in the workers' centre there was a
2 meeting underway between Muslim and Croat
4 A. Yes, these meetings were taking place very
5 frequently in the workers' centre, but also the party
6 premises both of the HDZ and the SDA and also of the
7 Serb Democratic Party were in the building, so that
8 meetings were frequent there. And when the gunfire
9 abated slightly, it was the end of the day, I
10 personally went to see who was in the building.
11 Maybe it was dusk, lights had not come up
12 yet, and I heard noise and melee and I couldn't
13 recognise people there and as I was coming out of that
14 building, I saw Mr. Salih Krnjic, who was the local
15 politician, a member of the Muslim people, and a HOS
16 member who was treating him rather roughly, pulling at
17 him and threatening to do something to him.
18 And then I grabbed him by his arm. I simply
19 protected him against this HOS soldier, and I drove him
20 in my vehicle to a part of the town which was safe.
21 In the morning, when the gunfire stopped,
22 Mr. Colonel Filipovic -- I turned over Salih to Colonel
23 Filipovic. From what I knew, he then took him to the
24 new headquarters of the Territorial Defence and then he
25 was exchanged for the president of the HVO, Mr. Jozo
1 Senkic, who was, the next day, intercepted by the
2 members of the Muslim army at this place, at this
3 intersection by the fire brigade centre, and took them
4 to the village of Kasapovici, which is to the west of
5 the town.
6 Q. Tell us, where did you take Mr. Salih Krnjic?
7 A. I took him to the northern part of the town
8 where there was no fighting, and I put him up
9 temporarily in a coffee shop called "Grand".
10 Q. Thank you. Before I proceed, could I get the
11 number for this exhibit, please.
12 THE REGISTRAR: The number is D220/1.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Q. Mr. Civcija, just one question more, perhaps
15 two related to the June conflict. This June conflict
16 in 1992 was one of the first armed conflicts between
17 the Muslim -- between Muslims and Croats in Central
18 Bosnia. Could you tell us, was the situation informal
19 or other as a citizen of Novi Travnik? How did you see
20 the situation after the conflict? What happened then?
21 A. Well, to begin with, I need to say that this
22 conflict unfortunately took place. Something that I
23 could never expect took place. As a citizen of that
24 town, somebody who's spent all his life in the town, I
25 could never expect that.
1 After that, the situation deteriorated
2 seriously, meaning that people lost trust. And then an
3 activity started to try to move people out of a part of
4 the town where they did not feel the safest to another
5 part of the town and vice versa.
6 And I must say that this situation was also
7 contributed to by a major look of discipline amongst
8 the members of all armed formations and members of the
10 A larger number of members, of units both in
11 the Croat Defence Council and in the Muslim armed
12 forces, lacked discipline, and a large number of them
13 were punished.
14 There were all sorts of outbursts of
15 incident, harassment of citizens. And in such a
16 complex situation, citizens themselves decided where
17 they might -- they would feel safer and they began to
18 withdraw to the parts of the town where they believed
19 to be safer.
20 Q. So, for the reasons that you have just given
21 us, the town of Novi Travnik, after the June conflict,
22 was even -- informally, but it was divided into two
23 parts, we could say so.
24 A. Yes. It was divided and it has remained so
25 almost to this day, even today.
1 Q. Very well. Let us hurry on. Paragraph 27,
2 Your Honours.
3 Mr. Civcija, you spent a major part of your
4 career with the civilian police. In 1991 and early
5 1992, the civilian police could more or less perform
6 its duties without any particular obstruction like any
7 other civil police the world over?
8 A. Yes, of course the Novi Travnik police
9 carried out its duties normally in 1990 and in 1991
10 until spring of 1992.
11 Q. And what was it that changed in the work of
12 the civilian police after April 1992?
13 A. As I have mentioned, when it comes to that
14 period of time, I said that the situation had grown
15 very complex because there were very many members of
16 all sorts of units in uniforms who were all in a small
18 In time, the police lost the purpose and the
19 sense and the role that they should play as the
20 civilian police on the one hand. On the other hand,
21 never-ending attacks by the Serb aggressor made us
22 engage a large number of civilian policemen to join the
23 armed forces, the military forces, and go on to the
24 defence lines against the army of Bosnian Serbs, that
25 is the JNA, so that members of the civilian police were
1 involved there.
2 Q. Tell us, please, the civilian police during
3 this period of time, especially as of spring, 1992
4 onward, did the civilian police in Novi Travnik have
5 any jurisdiction or control over all those military
6 units, rather members of armies, that committed crimes
7 in the territory of Novi Travnik municipality?
8 A. Absolutely not. The civilian police never
9 had any jurisdiction of any member of any unit,
10 whichever unit.
11 As I already said, unfortunately at that
12 time, some ugly things happened. There were numerous
13 incidents, numerous outbursts. There were even several
14 murders, evictions. I believe there was two or three
15 cases of murder where a Croat killed a Muslim.
16 There were also cases when a Muslim killed a
17 Serb. There were cases where a Muslim killed a Muslim
18 or a Croat killed a Croat.
19 Whatever the case, it was -- they were
20 members of some military units and they were very
21 difficult to control. Not only did the civilian police
22 have no jurisdiction over them, but I am quite positive
23 that not even the members of the military police
24 managed at that time to keep the members of military
25 units under control or discipline on side.
1 Q. After the first multi-party elections, the
2 civilian police in the town of Novi Travnik was mixed,
3 that is, consisted of members of different peoples.
4 How long did Muslim policemen stay with the police
5 station or, rather, when did they simply leave and how
6 did they do that?
7 A. Well, in point of fact, I say -- I can say
8 that it was until the first conflict that -- that is
9 until the 19th of June, 1992 or rather they came,
10 several members of the Muslim policemen continued to
11 come to work for several days after that, but then
12 somebody ordered them not to come and they simply left
13 the police station and set up their own police station
14 which was then housed in the part of the town
15 controlled by the Muslim army.
16 Q. So at that time, they not only parted company
17 with you, it was not only that the local government
18 split up, but even the civilian police parted company
19 and set up in two different parts of the town; is that
21 A. Unfortunately, that was one of the episodes
22 during that period of time which happened.
23 Q. Very well, thank you. In mid-1992, the civil
24 part of the HVO separated from the military wing and
25 set up the office of the civil police in Travnik,
1 rather, the civil police administration in Travnik, in
2 other words.
3 Tell us, please, in just two words, about
4 something about that office. The police administration
5 in Travnik was responsible for the whole of the Lasva
6 Valley, that is, several municipalities. So it was
7 also responsible for the municipality of Novi Travnik.
8 It was the higher instance with reference to all your
9 police stations in Central Bosnia?
10 A. Yes, of course, it was the regional police
11 organisation. We can call it that with a seat in
12 Travnik. In addition to this administration with a
13 seat in Travnik, there was also another administration
14 in Zepce, Livno, and in Mostar. As for the police
15 administration in Travnik, it covered several
16 municipalities; Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca,
17 Fojnica, Kiseljak, Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno. I believe I
18 haven't omitted any of them.
19 And it became operative sometime in mid-1992
20 and it had its seat in Travnik first in the music
21 school, and then in the building of the Yugoslav
22 People's Army.
23 Q. Just one detail. So at the municipal level,
24 there were civil police stations. At the regional
25 level, there were police administrations and who was
1 above them and who was above the police administration?
2 A. Above them was the Department of the Interior
3 with a seat in Mostar, with the head of the department
4 being Mr. Vasic. He was a member of the government of
5 the Croat Defence Council as the minister, as the head
6 of the Department of the Interior.
7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
8 I should like to adduce my last exhibit for
9 Mr. Civcija, a very short document.
10 Could the usher please help us?
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if the usher would, thank
12 you, and we'll then adjourn.
13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Just a
14 minute, yes. Just one minute more, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked
16 D21/1 [sic].
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Just for the
18 transcript -- D221; is that it?
19 THE REGISTRAR: D221/1.
20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: Thank you. [Interpretation]
21 It is only for the record.
22 Q. Now, Mr. Civcija, this is the decision signed
23 by the head of the Internal Affairs Department.
24 Subsequently it became the ministry in the Croat
25 Republic of Herceg-Bosna, it became the ministry. That
1 is, Mr. Branko Kvesic, he decided that you should be
2 appointed the chief of the police station in Novi
3 Travnik; is that so?
4 A. Yes, that is correct.
5 Q. And the explanation says that your
6 appointment, that your -- you were nominated by the
7 head of the police department in Travnik. That is the
8 body which is your -- the body superior to you in
9 administrative terms; is that so?
10 A. Yes, indeed. Mr. -- the chief of the police
11 department in Travnik was my immediate superior.
12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
13 very much, Mr. Civcija.
14 Your Honours, I believe this would be a
15 convenient time.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Civcija, we're going to
17 adjourn now until tomorrow morning. Would you please
18 be back at 9.30 to continue your evidence tomorrow.
19 Would you remember this during the
20 adjournment: not to speak to anybody about your
21 evidence until it's over, and of course don't let
22 anybody speak to you about it, and that does include
23 members of the Defence team of lawyers.
24 Could you be back, please, at half past
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
2 4 p.m., to be reconvened on
3 Thursday, the 18th day of May, 2000,
4 at 9.30 a.m.