Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 23543

1 Tuesday, 1 August 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

7 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I have asked on the end of the

8 testimony, indeed after Mr. Naumovski put some questions, whether I could

9 add only one question which was omitted because we changed the way we were

10 progressing, and you told me that I may.

11 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

12 MR. KOVACIC: It is literally only one question which I omitted

13 from the summary. It is point 71 in the summary.


15 [Witness answered through interpreter]

16 Examined by Mr. Kovacic: [Continued]

17 Q. Mr. Ceko, I omitted -- can you hear me?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. I omitted to put a question to you as we were going through the

20 summary of your statement. Please tell the Court, to the best of your

21 recollection, who was in charge of artillery in the brigade headquarters.

22 A. In the brigade headquarters it was Blazenko Ramljak who was chief

23 of artillery and in charge of artillery.

24 Q. Did you have any other specialised unit or group that would go

25 beyond the field of artillery, for example, like rocket systems?

Page 23544

1 A. No.

2 Q. Do you know who Marko Lujic was, nicknamed Markesa?

3 A. Yes, I do.

4 Q. Did he ever -- was he ever, at any point in time, chief of

5 artillery or anything similar to that?

6 A. No. Marko Lujic, nicknamed Markesa, was never a member of the

7 command, let alone chief of artillery in the Viteska Brigade.

8 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm here also referring to the document

9 D82/2, where a list of members of brigade command exist. Thank you.

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Yes, Mr. Nice

11 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

12 Q. Major, tell us, please, why the Muslims of Vitez were arrested and

13 detained.

14 A. The Muslims from Vitez at the beginning of the conflict -- that is

15 to say, from the 16th of April, 1993 -- were most probably interned for

16 several reasons. I think that one of the reasons was their very own

17 safety. On that day when the conflict broke out, since there were several

18 men, several units in Vitez, and then also there were lots of refugees who

19 were in Vitez and whose housing problems had not been resolved. So that

20 was for their own safety. And secondly, for the safety of the HVO

21 soldiers, because you could not distinguish amongst the civilians who were

22 real civilians and who were members of the BH army. I imagine that those

23 were the reasons.

24 Q. You say you imagine those were the reasons, Major. I'm going to

25 ask -- I'm afraid --

Page 23545

1 A. Yes.

2 MR. NICE: If we could have D88/2, the map produced by the

3 Defence. Perhaps that could be laid on the ELMO. I'm so sorry not to

4 have given you notice. I thought I had my own, but apparently it's being

5 reproduced.

6 Q. Have a look at this map on the ELMO, Major. So that we can have

7 an idea of the scale of the town that you're talking about, the squares on

8 this map are kilometre squares, I think, and so the totality of the centre

9 of Vitez fits well within one square kilometre, doesn't it?

10 A. Please could you repeat your question and clarify it? I didn't

11 manage to register everything.

12 Q. The blue square marks on the map are kilometre squares. They make

13 it quite clear that Vitez is a town sufficiently small -- if you just look

14 at the scale of the map, Major. You've been in the army -- but Vitez

15 basically fits in, fits well within, one kilometre square; it's a very

16 small town. Correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So when you're telling us you imagine something happened and that

19 something was the detention of all the Muslims or nearly all the Muslims

20 of your town, you must know why they were detained. It's not a question

21 of guessing. Are you saying that they were detained for their own safety,

22 or were they detained as part of a planned persecution and in order to

23 gain control of the town? Which was it?

24 A. Well, let me tell you. There was never any planned persecution or

25 mistreatment or anything vis-à-vis the Muslims. Simply a conflict broke

Page 23546

1 out. And in the town of Vitez, in the centre of town -- you said yourself

2 it's a small town -- there were lots of people. There was chaos. And I

3 know a lot of people who reported themselves, who reported at the adult

4 education centre. They came in and they asked to stay there for their own

5 personal safety reasons. I know that myself.

6 Q. Major, you also know that the Viteska Brigade was engaged in

7 rounding up and detaining Muslims. Why did they do that?

8 A. No. That's not correct. The Viteska Brigade was never engaged in

9 rounding up Muslims. That was never its task.

10 Q. Are you saying that they took no part in detaining any Muslim?

11 We've had quite a lot of evidence in this case. I'm not going to weary

12 you with the detail of it. But are you really telling us that no member

13 of the Viteska Brigade had anything to do with arresting any Muslim?

14 A. Not a single member of the Viteska Brigade had nothing to do [as

15 interpreted] with arresting Muslims, and I mentioned that it was done by

16 the military police.

17 Q. What about Karlo Grabovac? Do you count him as a member of the

18 brigade?

19 A. Karlo Grabovac was a member of the brigade, yes.

20 Q. Thank you. So if there's been evidence that he rounded up and

21 helped in the detention of Muslims, how could that be? Was he on loan to

22 the police?

23 A. No. Karlo Grabovac never worked for the police. First of all,

24 I'm not aware of that, that Karlo Grabovac took part in such actions. He

25 lives in Rijeka, and the battalion that is within the Viteska Brigade had

Page 23547

1 its headquarters in Rijeka, Sumarija. And since at that time the expected

2 attack was to come from Vranjska and Kruscica and from the direction of

3 Rijeka, he was there with the intention of stopping passage further to

4 town. And I really am not aware of his having participated in any of

5 this.

6 Q. I'm not going to take you through the evidence that there is. It

7 would take too long. But tell me this: Are you now saying that the

8 Viteska Brigade had absolutely nothing to do with the detention of

9 prisoners at all?

10 A. Yes. I claim that Viteska Brigade had nothing to do with the

11 detention of Muslims.

12 MR. NICE: Can the witness see 591.1, please, which is probably in

13 the form of the affidavit of Colonel Morsink. 591.1, I think it is. It's

14 just the list. That's fine.

15 Q. Perhaps you'll be good enough to look at this, which will be

16 placed on the ELMO.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, just --

18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

19 MR. KOVACIC: Just that we are sure about the way that the

20 document -- this document was excluded when it was used by -- during the

21 testimony of Mr. Morsink.

22 JUDGE MAY: The list of the prisoners, it was excluded, and then

23 Mr. Morsink swore or introduced a statement.

24 MR. KOVACIC: Correct.

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

Page 23548

1 MR. KOVACIC: I just wanted to be sure that this is the one which

2 was enclosed to affidavit statement.


4 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.

5 MR. NICE: And I think the position is that it wasn't excluded.

6 It was not technically admitted because it wasn't dealt with. And it was

7 then dealt with by affidavit.

8 Q. Please look at this document, Major.

9 MR. NICE: If it could be laid on the ELMO. The front page is

10 fine and the top part of it most helpful.

11 Q. This is a document which comes from the Viteska Brigade. And I'm

12 afraid that the title has not been translated, but nothing else needs to

13 be, it being just a list. But tell us that title. Just read it out,

14 please, the three words, if you can. Or if you can't read the three

15 words, read the second word, beginning with "Privedenih." Read those

16 words for us, please.

17 A. I see here that it says underneath the letterhead "list of persons

18 brought into custody."

19 Q. Thank you. And the handwriting is from the major -- I beg your

20 pardon -- from the monitor, now a lieutenant colonel in the Dutch service,

21 to whom this list was provided, and we then see 300 names on the list.

22 Can you explain, please, how the Viteska Brigade, if it was not involved

23 in detention of Muslims, was listing people like this.

24 A. Well, to tell you exactly, I see here in the letterhead it says

25 Viteska Brigade, and I see that it concerns a list of detained persons but

Page 23549

1 I don't see that it was done by the Viteska Brigade at least I didn't see

2 anything like that.

3 Q. How do you know "done," do you mean the list wasn't done or the

4 detention wasn't done?

5 A. I don't see that it's anyone from the Viteska Brigade that

6 compiled this list. It doesn't say who drew up the list. There is no

7 signature, no name, no nothing. I can't say anything because whoever does

8 something is supposed to sign it to show that he stands by it. It is a

9 fact that people were detained.

10 Q. This was provided, on the evidence, by Borislav Jozic. I think

11 you tell us he is a man that we can trust; isn't that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So what would Borislav Jozic be doing with a list like this

14 handing it over to a monitor at the time, please?

15 A. I don't know exactly what Borislav Jozic did with this list and

16 who he gave it to if he made it. I know that he worked on security

17 affairs with us, but I'm not sure that he did this. Even if he did do

18 this, this is just an assumption, he probably did it so that these people

19 would be recorded and that something could be done with these people so

20 that they could be released. I don't know what else could have been the

21 case. I don't know anything about it.

22 Q. Well, my last question on the list derives from the evidence of

23 Colonel Morsink, and it's in light of your last answer where you suggest

24 that these people were listed for their own benefit. Can you give any

25 explanation for why, if the Viteska Brigade were listing people on that

Page 23550

1 basis, they should exclude the children and the women who were there who

2 made the total number detained much larger than 300 as Colonel Morsink's

3 evidence would suggest? Why would the children be omitted, please?

4 A. First of all, I did not say that I was sure that this was made by

5 someone from the Viteska Brigade, Borislav Jozic included. However, I did

6 say that I think that if Borislav Jozic did it, he did it for the reasons

7 I mentioned. I never said that women and children were detained there.

8 That was never the case, because I personally passed there quite often.

9 There were no women or children detained there at the time. It was only

10 military age able-bodied men who were detained at the cinema at the time.

11 Q. But how many military police were there who, between them, were

12 capable of controlling all these different detention facilities, please,

13 Major? How many?

14 A. Well, the military police, they were in the building where the

15 command was. There were 16 or 17 or 18 people. This was at the adult

16 education centre.

17 Q. We've heard of a lot of detention facilities in Vitez. You've

18 listed them yourself. Can you tell us, please, overall in Vitez, how many

19 military police were there who, on your evidence, were capable of both

20 detaining -- sorry, arresting and detaining all these 300 or it may be 500

21 people. How many?

22 A. I don't know how many were needed for interning all of them in

23 these places that were mentioned, but I know how many people from the

24 military police were in the building where the command was where most of

25 the Muslims were interned or detained. As I mentioned, the SDK premises

Page 23551

1 and the chess club premises, that is where the policemen probably had

2 shifts of two or three men, but I didn't pass there very often, I passed

3 there maybe once or twice. But this, the cinema, the adult education

4 centre, I passed there every day because that's where the command post

5 was.

6 Q. Are you going to give me a figure please for the number of

7 military police available to conduct this entire arrest and detention

8 operation or not?

9 A. No, I won't, because I don't know this and I have nothing to do

10 with this organisation of the detention of Muslims.

11 Q. Major, you know perfectly well that the Viteska Brigade was

12 involved in the apprehension and detention of prisoners and it was

13 involved in it in full, and that you've got to come here and give evidence

14 that you know to be false. That's the truth, isn't it?

15 A. No, that is not true at all. I don't know of the Viteska Brigade

16 having participated and that is a matter of fact. I assert it did not

17 take part in it at all, and I was not brought here to provide false

18 testimony. I came here to help reach the truth and I'm just telling the

19 truth and nothing else and I know -- and I say what I know.

20 Q. Before I turn to Ahmici which is my next topic, just help me with

21 this, Major. Did you find the developments within your very small town

22 between the spring of 1992 and the summer of 1993, did you find those

23 developments a bit uncomfortable and by that I mean, did you see the

24 developing oppression or persecution of Muslims something that was,

25 frankly, a bit uncomfortable?

Page 23552

1 A. It's a long question. I'll try to answer all of it. As far as I

2 can remember, you mentioned the period from the summer of 1992 to the

3 summer of 1993. The situation was not like that at all. At the time,

4 together with the Muslims, with the BH army, we defended the defence

5 lines. We were defending ourselves from the Serb aggression, from the

6 JNA, and from the army of Republika Srpska; Jajce, Turbe, Novi Travnik et

7 cetera.

8 Q. All right. I'll come back to that when we look at that period in

9 a little more detail. You told us last week that, when you were trying to

10 tell us what was in Cerkez's mind, I think that you agreed with him in

11 principle, something like that. Was there any attitude of Cerkez about

12 events that you disagreed with?

13 A. Could you just explain in which period what I had in mind? Could

14 you please just clarify this a bit?

15 Q. I want to you tell us over the whole period of time. Did you find

16 yourself at any period of time between April 1992, even the end of 1991

17 and the summer of 1993, did you find yourself ever disagreeing with what

18 appeared to be Cerkez's view of things?

19 A. Well, I agree with him. I agreed with his positions, but we

20 didn't talk very much. We talked, for the most, part in 1991 at the time

21 when there was an open aggression against the Republic of Croatia. We saw

22 what this was all about and what could come out of this, and that is when

23 we discussed these matters. However, later, from 1992 onwards when the

24 headquarters were established, we did not discuss this. Our priority was

25 defence from the Serb aggression at that time.

Page 23553












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23554

1 Q. When we come to the events of Ahmici itself, and don't hesitate to

2 tell us what you knew was in Cerkez's mind, because that's what we want to

3 know about. But before we come to that, you, of course, spent a lot of

4 time in your depot or your office, didn't you, on the day of the 16th so

5 you can't really tell us very much about what actually happened from

6 firsthand knowledge.

7 A. You have put a question that is a bit complicated, and I can't

8 really answer it. You're putting words into my mouth that I knew what

9 Mario Cerkez wanted. I didn't quite understand the question. I don't

10 know what Mario Cerkez wanted at all.

11 Q. My mistake entirely. I'll break it up into two parts. First of

12 all, because you were in your office or in your depot most of the day, you

13 don't have any firsthand knowledge of what actually happened at Ahmici, do

14 you?

15 A. Nothing, no information about what happened during those first

16 days in Ahmici.

17 Q. You are unable --

18 A. Sorry. I did not have any information during those first days,

19 from the 16th onwards, about what had happened in Ahmici. That's what I

20 meant.

21 Q. So you can't say, in fact, one way or another, whether Cerkez was

22 involved in the massacre at Ahmici or not, can you?

23 A. I can say, and I assert with certainty that Cerkez did not take

24 part in any massacre, let alone the massacre in Ahmici.

25 Q. How do you assert that, please?

Page 23555

1 A. I assert that on the basis of the fact that I know where Cerkez

2 was until the morning, and I know that there was an attack of the BH army

3 against the Croat positions, and I know that he was engaged in the

4 directions that we mentioned: Kruscica, Vranjska, headquarters. I heard

5 nothing else. He worked on these jobs and he was probably around

6 Kruscica, around Rijeka.

7 Q. You see that brings me to the second part of my --

8 A. Because that is what our unit was.

9 Q. That brings me to the second part of my first question. The

10 answers that you've just given are all based on things that you were told;

11 correct?

12 A. Again, the question has not been put to me very precisely. What

13 kind of things are you referring to that were told to me? I cannot see

14 from your question what you have in mind.

15 Q. Well, Major, when you say that he was in Kruscica or matters of

16 that sort, that's because you were told things, because you had

17 information from other people, and that's what you base your answer to

18 this Chamber on.

19 A. No. I did not hear that. I know in the morning on the 16th of

20 April 1993, in the morning at 5.00, I saw his car in front of the house.

21 Since we live next door to one another, there's a 30-metre distance at the

22 maximum and that morning I did not see him but I saw his car in front of

23 the house, and I saw him at brigade headquarters and 6.00. I don't know

24 the exact time but I think it was around that time, and I know he was

25 nowhere else because we had our men from the Viteska Brigade, from that

Page 23556

1 unit. They were stationed in the Sumarija building at Rijeka, and their

2 only assignment was to try to blockade the roads from Kruscica and

3 Vranjska via Rijeka towards the centre of town. Mario was probably in

4 that area, because he did not have members of his own military anywhere

5 else.

6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, I'm addressing myself

7 to the witness, in the interest of interpretation, you must slow down

8 because we are having a great deal of difficulty in following you. So you

9 will be followed much better if you slow down because the interpreters are

10 trying to keep pace with you and I don't know whether we really are able

11 to follow. So please slow down.

12 A. I'm sorry, I'll try to speak slower. Should I repeat what I've

13 been saying so far?

14 Your Honours, do I need to repeat what I've just said?

15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] No, no.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. Major I will attempt to help you get the rhythm of speech and it's

18 more convenient for the Court by slowing down myself. You make take the

19 rhythm from me.

20 Your last answer might appear to be contradictory. You are saying

21 that Cerkez was most likely in the area where they were trying to blockade

22 the roads from Kruscica and Vranjska, and earlier in the same answer, you

23 said he was definitely at home because that's where his car was. Can you

24 resolve that apparent conflict for me?

25 A. I can and I think that there's no contradiction whatsoever. I'm

Page 23557

1 talking about the 16th of April, 1993 about 5.00 in the morning when I saw

2 the car in front of his house. Then I said that I saw him again in the

3 brigade headquarters about 6.00, I think it was about 6.00 in the

4 morning. And I also said that I assume he was where our unit was and the

5 task of our unit was to block the roads from Kruscica and Vranjska leading

6 towards the centre of town. So I see no contradiction there at all.

7 Q. We will just come back to that little detail in just a minute, but

8 I want your help with this: You actually weren't with Cerkez. You worked

9 with the active part of your brigade who was, on your account, elsewhere.

10 Can you tell us, please, who, apart of course from Cerkez himself, is the

11 person who can most easily help us with what the Viteska Brigade was doing

12 that night? Who was on active duty with the Viteska Brigade and who can

13 come to this Court and tell us the truth? Name someone, please.

14 A. First of all, you said that I was not with the active part of the

15 brigade and then later that I was with the active part of the brigade.

16 That is not correct. I was not with the active part of the brigade. I

17 was in the warehouse, the command post of the brigade, and the

18 headquarters of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia on that day, the 16th

19 of April.

20 Your second question that I name somebody who might know more as

21 to where Cerkez was that day, probably the other members of the command

22 such as Zeljko Sajevic, Ivo Sucic, Mario Rajic, who were operative

23 officers -- sorry, Mario Rajic was not there, I think, the first two days

24 as far as I can remember, so Zeljko Sajevic and Ivo Sucic, they may know

25 where Mario was at the time.

Page 23558

1 Q. Zeljko Sajevic -- well, the first name you mentioned -- what was

2 he doing on that night, then, on your understanding?

3 A. Zeljko Sajevic -- I'm sorry. I may have made a mistake. That

4 night he was ill; he had a cold. And he was in the headquarters and I

5 know that the commander, Mario Cerkez, allowed him to go home. Then I

6 know he was there in the morning again, because I went there. Zeljko

7 Sajevic was there. And then later on -- I don't remember too well -- I

8 think he was released to go home again in the morning. So I'm not quite

9 sure. I can't remember the details. But I know he was ill. He had a

10 very bad cold.

11 Q. Just pause for a minute. In your long answer about who was

12 available to help, you actually name Zeljko Sajevic twice. Now, we've had

13 evidence from him that he was unwell. He had a piece of paper to show

14 that he was unwell. Do you remember giving your first answer to the

15 Judges and you named Zeljko Sajevic? How had you forgotten this little

16 detail? Or is it possible that Zeljko Sajevic wasn't ill? Tell us.

17 A. It's not possible that he was not ill, because I remember that he

18 was ill. And second of all, it was seven years ago. I never thought

19 about these things. And it is difficult to recall names at a given

20 moment. But I remembered his name since he was the first operative

21 officer. He was chief of staff. And so at first I thought he may be the

22 most qualified person. I just forgot that that morning he had this cold.

23 That is my answer.

24 Q. And just so that I've got this correct, you've actually remembered

25 back over seven years a man saying he had a cold, have you?

Page 23559

1 A. No, I didn't say that the man said. I remembered because I saw

2 him myself. He is a delicate person and he gets colds easily and often

3 has one. So I saw it. I didn't hear about it.

4 Q. Now, the other two men who you say could give us firsthand

5 accounts, Sucic and Rajic, where do they live now, if they're still alive?

6 A. Yes, they are both alive. Mario Rajic is living in Kruscica. I

7 mentioned him. But it seems to me that he was not in the brigade

8 headquarters the first couple of days. I remembered that later. As for

9 Ivo Sucic, I'm not sure where he is residing now. I know he's not in

10 Vitez. He's abroad or somewhere. I don't know exactly.

11 Q. So as we try to find out who it is can help us with firsthand

12 knowledge of what the Viteska Brigade was doing that night, are we down to

13 Sucic now, or is there anybody else you can think of who might be able to

14 come and help?

15 A. At first I thought these would be the most qualified persons who

16 should know most. Now let me think who else. In the command at the time,

17 Blazenko Ramljak was chief of artillery, Jozo Zuljevic, Borislav Jozic. I

18 think he might be the most qualified. Unfortunately, the man was killed.

19 So I'm afraid I can't remember any others. But if necessary, I can try

20 and think a little longer.

21 Q. If you think of another name in the course of evidence of somebody

22 who can come and give an account, do so.

23 Major, as I understand your evidence -- correct me if I'm wrong --

24 the behaviour of the Viteska Brigade that night was wholly proper and

25 wholly lawful. Is that what you're telling us?

Page 23560












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23561

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So that when we identify someone who could come and help the

3 Chamber, there could be no reason arising from the conduct on that night

4 known to you that would deter anyone from coming here to give evidence?

5 A. I fear I haven't understood your question. I understood you to be

6 asking me whether these people that I have named, if they were to come

7 here to testify before Their Honours, that they knew what the brigade was

8 doing at that time. Was that your question?

9 MR. NICE: I'm going to abandon the question and move on.

10 JUDGE MAY: Before you do, Major Ceko, let me see that I have your

11 evidence correctly about the morning of the 16th and Mr. Cerkez's

12 whereabouts. Your evidence is that at 5.00, when you left for work, his

13 car was parked outside his house?

14 A. Yes.

15 JUDGE MAY: You went to the brigade headquarters and at 6.00 you

16 saw Mr. Cerkez there?

17 A. Yes, about 6.00 in the morning.

18 JUDGE MAY: Now, for how long were you and he together that

19 morning?

20 A. We went there for more than a couple of minutes, until the command

21 came to the command post. I went to the MTS warehouse.

22 JUDGE MAY: And when did you next see Mr. Cerkez?

23 A. I don't remember when I saw him again during the day. I saw him a

24 couple of times again, but I don't remember exactly at what time, because

25 I was moving around between the warehouse to the headquarters and the

Page 23562

1 headquarters of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. It's true that

2 these places are close to one another, but I was moving from one to the

3 other mostly.

4 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you can try and think: Was it during the

5 course of the morning that you saw Mr. Cerkez or may it have been in the

6 afternoon?

7 A. It was in the course of the morning.

8 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Major, you have told us that you

10 saw Mr. Cerkez that morning, the brigade commander, for only a couple of

11 minutes. Could you tell the Chamber what you discussed that morning when

12 you met.

13 A. I cannot remember what we talked about. Probably he asked me what

14 the situation was in the warehouse, whether we had people on duty, how we

15 stood with the materiel. I believe that was what we must have spoken

16 about, but I don't remember exactly.

17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So let us make a more precise

18 question. That morning, did Mr. Cerkez or any other person tell you

19 anything in greater detail about the military situation, the current

20 military operations that were going on?

21 A. No. No one gave me any such information. I don't know whether

22 such military information was conveyed to the other members of the

23 command. Whether there was a briefing that morning, I wasn't present, so

24 I was not informed about the situation. Whether the others were, I don't

25 know exactly.

Page 23563

1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.


3 Q. I'm going to return to this point of time, but I'm just going back

4 a little bit earlier. In your evidence --

5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.


7 Q. I'm going to go back to a slightly earlier period of time and then

8 return to the night itself. In your evidence in chief you initially made

9 no mention of, but later said you had remembered about the Kuber feature.

10 Tell us, please, so that we've got the detail of your recollection in

11 mind: How does the Kuber feature relate to what was to happen on the

12 15th, 16th of April of 1993?

13 A. I don't know at all how it affected it. I don't know what you're

14 implying with that question. And I don't even know what was supposed to

15 have happened on the 15th and 16th, except that it was stated that an

16 attack by the BH army was expected on the 16th, in the morning.

17 Q. Yes. Well, what was the source of information what was expected,

18 please?

19 A. The source of information regarding what was expected was the

20 commander, Mario Cerkez, as he had come from the Operative Zone of Central

21 Bosnia. In a brief briefing on the 15th, in the evening, as we said, it

22 was said that a command had come from the Operative Zone to raise full

23 combat readiness because there was a possibility of the BiH army attacking

24 Vitez municipality from Kruscica and Vranjska. And the task of the

25 brigade was to try and block those directions of attack from Kruscica and

Page 23564

1 Vranjska towards Vitez. That was the source of information.

2 Q. So as I understand it -- let me just read your answer to myself

3 again. You were expecting an attack at Kuber; is that the position? And

4 you were taking action --

5 A. No.

6 Q. Tell me again, then.

7 A. It was stated that attack could occur, that they had some

8 information that the attack could come from Kruscica and Vranjska towards

9 the centre of town of Vitez. That is what I said.

10 Q. Thank you. Exactly. But there was no question of any attack

11 having been already made on or by the 15th, was there?

12 A. No. That is not right. In my examination-in-chief the other day,

13 I said that in the brigade headquarters, the officer on duty had some

14 information that on the 15th, in the afternoon or in the evening, a couple

15 of trenches had fallen at the Kuber feature. I think it's Saracavica or

16 something like that. But we were not informed of that until the next day

17 whether it was true or not. Unfortunately, it was true. That detail at

18 Kuber, the highest feature, had fallen, and we never restored control of

19 it.

20 Q. I'm going to suggest to you, Major, that your differing answers in

21 relation to Kuber, and indeed the very fact that you had to remember the

22 evidence you were to give, shows that the answers you're giving about

23 Kuber aren't true.

24 A. No. My testimony about Kuber and what I know about it is

25 truthful, and I think that that is what I said the last time, because that

Page 23565

1 is as much as I know.

2 Q. So when was Kuber attacked? On what day, please?

3 A. Kuber was attacked already on the 15th, in the evening. A couple

4 of trenches were captured. But a higher-intensity attack occurred on the

5 16th.

6 Q. You know, don't you, that there was no preparation by the ABiH for

7 any attack in the Lasva Valley by the sighting of ABiH soldiers in, for

8 example, the school in Kruscica, your village? There were no such

9 soldiers there, were there?

10 A. You have asked me two or three contradictory questions at the same

11 time. I'll try and answer them as far as I am able.

12 You said that I knew that the BH army was not trying to attack.

13 That is not true. I don't know. I did not know their intentions. I knew

14 nothing about them. I just said that there was information that an attack

15 by the BiH army could occur.

16 Then you also mentioned Kruscica. I know that I said -- I know

17 that now, and I did see a BiH army unit in the elementary school in

18 Kruscica.

19 Q. Oh, really? And when was that?

20 A. That was in the course of 1992, throughout, from the beginning of

21 1992 -- maybe I don't know exactly, but maybe from April or May, maybe

22 earlier, and throughout. The strength was increasing all the time.

23 Q. If you'd like to look, please, at Exhibit 660 -- or 660.1, I think

24 it is, technically. Major, you will have seen a lot of Blaskic orders in

25 your time; correct?

Page 23566

1 A. Yes, quite a number.

2 Q. And you therefore would know the style of a Blaskic order when you

3 saw one; correct?

4 A. Probably I would recognise it.

5 Q. If you look at this document, looking at the original, and we have

6 the English on the ELMO, please. Thank you very much. Don't be confused

7 by the fact that there's no serial number at the top of the page above the

8 date where there ought to be a serial number. That was apparently cut off

9 by someone in a copying process and nothing to do with this case at all.

10 So don't worry about that.

11 But this document says that it's dated the 15th of April at 10.00

12 and it says, "According to reliable data, extremist Muslim forces continue

13 their sabotage terrorist combat activities against members of the HVO and

14 especially against the command cadre with the goal of frightening the

15 military, liquidating the military commanders, bringing in confusion among

16 the HVO ranks," and something about the military break-up of the HVO

17 formations and ethnic cleansing of the territory.

18 Does that seem to you to be Blaskic's normal style for writing

19 military documents?

20 A. I can't say with certainty but I think that Blaskic wrote this.

21 Q. Please address the question. Is that style and the reference to

22 things somewhat of generous and extreme terms, reference to ethnic

23 cleansing and so on, is that his style or not?

24 A. I don't know.

25 Q. Next paragraph. "Until now, five violations of liquidations of

Page 23567

1 commanders have been carried out, only one succeeded of the up-to-now five

2 attempts at liquidation of the commander of the Operational Zone of

3 Central Bosnia."

4 Can you point us to any other documents of the five attempts on

5 the life of the commander of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia or the

6 chief of the HVO, HZ HB which follows?

7 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may object. I don't think that

8 there is any obligation on the witness to produce any kind of evidence in

9 the meaning of documentary evidence. That's simply not his job.

10 JUDGE MAY: He can be asked if he knows anything about this

11 allegation that there were five attempts on Colonel Blaskic's life.

12 MR. KOVACIC: That is correct, but I am referring to the part of

13 the section where the Prosecutor said, "Could you produce any evidence on

14 that?" In the matter of fact of the document --

15 JUDGE MAY: The witness can answer he can either say yes he's got

16 a document or he can say no.

17 Let's ask him this: Can you assist us, Major, with this

18 allegation that there were five attempts on the life of the commander of

19 the Operative Zone?

20 A. I don't know exactly about any such data. I know that there was

21 an attempt in Zenica. The commander of that brigade, Zivko Totic, at that

22 time and his he escort, three or four men were attacked.

23 JUDGE MAY: We know about that.

24 A. I also know about Novi Travnik, that two or three command members

25 were intercepted a couple of days before and detained. I don't know about

Page 23568

1 the rest. I don't remember. I have no information.

2 JUDGE MAY: Who would the -- there's a reference to the chief of

3 HVO, HZ HB. Who do you take that to be a reference to?

4 A. The chief of the HVO of Herceg-Bosna. The chief of the HVO of

5 Herceg-Bosna. Probably the late Mate Boban. I think it was he. I don't

6 know.



9 Q. You see, we read on in the same paragraph, "Probable intentions of

10 further combat activity will be to occupy the structure, Kuber, and to cut

11 off something from Vitez and to connect with their own forces across

12 Poculica and Kuber." So one thing is quite clear, that if this document

13 was written at 10.00 on the 15th of April, there was actually no evidence

14 at that stage of any attack on Kuber; correct?

15 A. I don't see that there's any evidence except for assumptions. I

16 don't see that there is any evidence.

17 Q. Can we go to the next paragraph. "The auxiliary forces, they will

18 exhibit activities in the directions already known with the goal of hiding

19 their true intentions and connecting with parts of their forces. By

20 unobjective informing, forces for psychological propaganda activity will

21 create a space for justification of actions, because with their untruths,

22 they will create the conviction that the Muslims are threatened on the

23 territory under the HVO control."

24 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I should say that this was translated in

25 the Blaskic trial. I'm having it retranslated because it seems to me the

Page 23569

1 language may not do justice to the document but I will press on.

2 Q. You've read that last sentence, Major, in the original. Do you

3 say that that sort of content is typical of Blaskic, reference to

4 psychological propaganda as justification for actions?

5 A. Your Honours, please may I be allowed to read it? I was listening

6 to the Prosecutor and I couldn't read it at the same time. I was afraid

7 of missing something so if I may read it to myself, please. I've read it

8 through.

9 Q. Do you say that's the style of Blaskic's normal communications,

10 normal orders, or is there something different about this one?

11 A. To be quite frank, I was no military expert, nor did I personally

12 or directly receive any such orders. These were orders that were issued

13 in the headquarters and started by the operative officers and they know

14 these military terms. However, as far as I can tell, I think that what it

15 says is true, and that these are assumptions regarding the intentions of

16 the BiH army. I believe that the situation was as it is here described.

17 Q. The last question on this part of the document, and only one other

18 question on the document before I move on. Just below that, you'll see a

19 reference to the night not of the 15th/16th but of the 14th/15th of

20 April. If you'd like to read that to yourself, please, and we'll read it

21 and then -- to save ourselves time -- and it can be seen on the ELMO.

22 Have you read that?

23 A. Yes, I've read it, yes.

24 Q. Clearly, Major, I just suggest to you you have absolutely no

25 recollection of reinforcements being brought to Kruscica on the night of

Page 23570

1 the 14th/15th because if you had any such recollection, you would have

2 told us about it already; correct?

3 A. I do not remember that nor did I know about it, but it need not

4 mean that it did not happen because this order or this information I did

5 not have.

6 Q. Who else, Major, from Kruscica, other than you, would be reporting

7 such important events as the build up of troops in Kruscica along with

8 Nadioci and Ahmici? Who, apart from you in Kruscica, would be making such

9 a report?

10 A. None of us prepared such a report, I mean none of us from the

11 Vitez Brigade and, in particular, from Kruscica. As far as I see, I was

12 mistaken all the time. This document was drawn up in the Operative Zone

13 of Central Bosnia presumably on the basis of some intelligence

14 information. This was not done by anyone from Kruscica or the brigade

15 command. So it was not done in the Vitez Brigade, it was done in the

16 Operative Zone on the basis of some knowledge.

17 Q. So you have told us last week that the assessment made was that

18 the threat wasn't really a real one on this occasion. That's what you

19 told us. I think if you look at the content of this last sentence, if

20 there had been evidence of build-up of troops in Kruscica and Nadioci and

21 Ahmici, nobody would have taken the view that it was other than a real

22 threat; would you accept that?

23 A. I agree if such a document were shown, then I would have thought

24 it was a genuine threat, but I didn't know about this document. I didn't

25 know about the information in this document. I suppose that other members

Page 23571

1 of the command neither saw it nor knew it. But as we talked among

2 ourselves and we did not think that there would be any serious escalation

3 of the conflict, then perhaps some minor incidents could happen, but that

4 nothing serious would happen, basically. So that we did not really have

5 this in mind, and that is why several members of our command, we simply

6 did not think that something serious would happen.

7 Q. In your briefing by Cerkez, nothing was said about the areas of

8 Nadioci or Ahmici or Pirici or Sivrino because, of course, if anything had

9 been said about them you'd have been deployed there to defend the areas;

10 correct?

11 A. We were not informed about anything at the briefing with Mario

12 Cerkez or about Ahmici, Nadioci, Sivrino Selo or anything else except

13 Kruscica and Vranjska. That was the only thing that we were informed

14 about. If I need to repeat, I have already repeated it several times

15 today, what we have been told at the briefing.

16 Q. So if we turn to the next page, the bottom of the page as far as

17 you are concerned, and the next page on the English, under 2.1, the

18 battalion of the military police where we see an emphasis on the fact that

19 the commander of the 4th Battalion is directly responsible for the

20 security of the forward command post in Vitez. Then we see later on this,

21 and perhaps you would follow this in the original while I read the

22 English, "In the event of a rather strong attack by the Muslim extremist

23 forces from the direction of the villages Nadioci, Ahmici, Sivrino,

24 Pirici, inform me."

25 There was nothing said to you that night at all to suggest that

Page 23572












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23573

1 there was a probability or a possibility of attack by Muslim extremist

2 forces in those villages, was there?

3 A. True. We were told nothing that night about these directions of

4 attack or anything.

5 Q. Thank you.

6 MR. NICE: May the witness now see a different exhibit. It's a

7 new exhibit, it's 653.

8 Q. Major, the brigade of the 1st Battalion of the Vitez -- let's have

9 a look at this document, you must help me with it. This is a document

10 dated the 14th of April headed the Viteska Brigade, and it lists personnel

11 from the 1st Battalion. Tell us about the 1st Battalion, please. What

12 was the 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade?

13 A. The 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade was the battalion which

14 had some 300 men. That was its roster, and those soldiers from the 1st

15 Battalion went -- were summoned to the front lines against the army of

16 Republika Srpska and the JNA. That is in Jajce, up there in Vlasic,

17 Turbe, above Novi Travnik, Slatka voda, and so on and so forth.

18 Q. Thank you. The first battalion, you say of 300, was, as it were,

19 the active battalion to be distinguished from what had been called here

20 "village guards"; correct?

21 A. The 1st Battalion was an active duty only depending on how many

22 men had been called up to do a shift, so there would be active duty for

23 those eight to ten days while they were on a shift, and after that, they

24 were free men, free citizens; that is, come back from the shift and go

25 back to their homes, back to their regular jobs, chores and so on and so

Page 23574

1 forth.

2 Q. We see here it's broken down by company. 1st Company, 2nd

3 Company, 3rd Company, and then as to the 1st Company with its commander,

4 Slavko Papic, it makes it plain that there were 20 soldiers in Nadioci and

5 12 in Santici. And that's where those men were positioned at the time;

6 correct?

7 A. No, not true. Those soldiers -- 20 Nadioci; Santici, 12 of

8 them -- these are soldiers who are members of the battalion of the Viteska

9 Brigade. And when was this written? Where were they at that time, I

10 don't know. This document simply says what was the numerical strength in

11 the battalion of the Viteska Brigade.

12 Q. The title of the document is the list of personnel, their number,

13 from the 1st Battalion, positioned in the villages.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And we can see that the 1st Company covers a series of villages

16 entirely different from the villages covered by the 2nd Company, which I

17 think is entirely different from the villages covered by the 3rd Company.

18 So this is the disposition, the positioning of soldiers, and 20 of them

19 were in Nadioci.

20 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour --

21 A. Not true. May I finish?

22 MR. KOVACIC: [Previous translation continues] ... from the

23 transcript. I will not interrupt the answer.

24 A. It is not true what you say, that those soldiers were in Nadioci

25 at that time, Santici, Dubravica, and so on and so forth. This list shows

Page 23575

1 how many men from those villages were members of the 1st Company of the

2 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade. That is how many men they had on

3 their list. And the battalion had about 300. But it's not true that they

4 were in those villages at that time. They are simply residents of those

5 villages. That's where they lived.

6 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I think it is now clear, but that was

7 just a part which was missing on line 14 at page 28. Now it is out of my

8 screen, so I cannot see it. There the witness just mentioned, and that

9 was not in the transcript, "from the villages." That was missing. But I

10 think after this it is quite clear.

11 MR. NICE:

12 Q. Major, can you -- you may be right. Who knows? It's not the

13 interpretation I'm going to argue for this document at this stage. But

14 can you point me, so that I can check your answer, to a document that will

15 show me that the 1st Company was chosen from exclusively Nadioci, Santici,

16 Dubravica, Poculica and Rijeka? The figure for Rijeka I think must be

17 28. Can you point us to a document that shows that that's how those

18 companies were composed?

19 A. I cannot show the document which I don't have. I'm only saying

20 those things which I know and which sound logical to me. A battalion has

21 three companies, and from what I can gather from this document -- and this

22 is the first time I see it in my life. I never saw it before -- I see

23 that it is somehow divided territorially, from Nadioci to Rijeka, the

24 first part, where we have the 1st Company of the battalion; whereas the

25 2nd Company is between Mosunj and Bila. They are all neighbouring

Page 23576

1 villages. And the third one again, Zaselje, Veceriska, Krcevine, Stari

2 Vitez, and so on. I do not have any documents, and this is the first time

3 that I see this.

4 Q. Or is the truth, Major, that Viteska Brigade soldiers were indeed

5 positioned in Nadioci and Santici a day before those villages and Ahmici

6 were the subject of attack?

7 A. No, they were not.

8 Q. Let's go back to the night of the 15th, because I want to ask you

9 a few more questions about that. You're telling us, I think, or you told

10 us last week, that you went in at the broken-off wedding

11 celebrations -- or that Cerkez went in, I beg your pardon, at about what,

12 4.00, was it, 4.00 in the afternoon?

13 A. Yes, 4.00 in the afternoon is when we returned home that 15th of

14 April, planning to have a bath and get ready for the wedding.

15 Q. Then you went back when Cerkez went back? Did you go back with

16 him? I've forgotten. It's my mistake.

17 A. No. Excuse me. I'm too fast. I did not come back with Cerkez,

18 because I stayed home, took my shower, shaved, and was getting ready to

19 go. I was waiting for him to go to his wedding.

20 Q. It comes to this: After you were called back for your briefing,

21 Cerkez then went away, I think you told us, for a long time, apparently to

22 Blaskic's headquarters; is that correct?

23 A. After a short briefing, in the evening of the 15th, Cerkez went

24 somewhere, and I do not know exactly where. All that I would say would be

25 an assumption. I do not really know exactly where he went.

Page 23577

1 Q. When he came back, when you met again, where were the two of you?

2 In your headquarters?

3 A. When he returned the next morning -- and I said the next morning

4 around 6.00, but I'm not sure, because I did not look at the watch -- it

5 was at the headquarters of the brigade, at the Workers' University, which

6 housed the brigade headquarters.

7 Q. It's my mistake and I'm sorry. He went away. Did you then go

8 home that same evening, the 15th, and simply spend the evening at home?

9 A. Yes. I left too around midnight. I went home and spent the night

10 at home, until 5.00 in the morning of the 16th.

11 Q. Well, when you first saw Cerkez on the morning of the 16th, what

12 did he say to you?

13 A. He said nothing to me personally. I don't remember what he said.

14 There was gunfire. Most of the members of the command were there. I

15 can't remember what we were saying, even what I was saying.

16 Q. Think back, Major. Didn't you want to know what had happened?

17 A. Well, yes. We wanted to know what had happened. But we saw what

18 had happened. Vitez had been shelled. There was gunfire from all sides.

19 Q. You weren't interested in knowing what briefing Cerkez had had the

20 night before, when his planned wedding had to be aborted?

21 A. Had I been alone with him, had there been nobody else, perhaps we

22 might have talked about it. But after that, in the morning, when the

23 gunfire started, what I was interested to know was to see my situation, to

24 see how I could get around and get something, because I knew that we had

25 very little materiel in our storage space, in our depot, and that was my

Page 23578

1 principal concern. That is what I was obsessed by throughout the war, not

2 only during those days.

3 Q. Have you at any time, Major, asked Cerkez what happened at that

4 late-night briefing or that evening briefing? Have you at no time asked

5 him what happened?

6 A. No, I did not ask him, at no time.

7 Q. He never told you one word about it?

8 A. He did not say a word to me, because as far as I can remember, I

9 never had the opportunity to talk to him. Had we been alone, one on one,

10 perhaps I would have asked him, but it simply did not happen.

11 Q. You're suggesting, on the evidence that you have, that he was

12 away -- I beg your pardon -- he was back home that night, simply because

13 his car was outside the house; correct?

14 A. Yes. It is why I thought that he was at home.

15 Q. You've told us -- I'm not in any position to accept or to

16 challenge it -- that Cerkez had in the past been engaged on active

17 missions, leading people into battle, as it were; correct?

18 A. Yes, on a couple of occasions, perhaps four or five times in 1992.

19 Q. You know, from everything you've heard, that on the night of the

20 15th, 16th, the Viteska Brigade was involved in something; and the

21 military police and the Jokers, and it may be the Vitezovi and other

22 units, were also engaged in activity immediately around Vitez. You know

23 that, don't you, from all you've heard?

24 A. No, I do not know that, because the Viteska Brigade was not

25 engaged anywhere between the 15th and the 16th except Novi Travnik, that

Page 23579

1 is, the defence line above Novi Travnik against the ARS.

2 Q. I see. Perhaps I'll have a look at another map with you about

3 that. But my question to you is this: If this Chamber in due course

4 decides that there was a concerted action that night involving a number of

5 military units, if that's what this Chamber decides -- follow me -- can

6 you think of any reason why Cerkez would not be leading his men?

7 A. It's not a joint action, as far as I know. And Cerkez led his

8 command. He's the one who leads it. So he naturally leads and commands

9 his subordinate officers in the chain of the command.

10 Q. Precisely. So if there was an action on that night, the 15th,

11 16th, involving the Viteska Brigade, Cerkez would not have been at home;

12 he would have been leading his men. Correct?

13 A. Had the brigade been engaged anywhere, in the 15th in the evening

14 and the morning of the 16th, Cerkez would not be leading his men like Sava

15 Kovacevic, with a rifle in his hand, but it would have been the leader of

16 the company. But that night nothing happened here. There was only men,

17 commander of the shift, which was in Novi Travnik.

18 Q. If, for some reason, like Sajevic having a cold, Cerkez was unable

19 to lead his men, who would be the man in charge? Again, just help me with

20 that as a hypothesis, because that's what we have to deal with. Assume

21 that there was an action that night. Assume that for some reason Cerkez

22 can't lead his men. Who would be in charge, please?

23 A. [No interpretation]

24 JUDGE MAY: We've lost the translation. Are we getting the

25 interpretation?

Page 23580

1 MR. NICE: I'm not.

2 JUDGE MAY: Can we try again? Can you repeat your answer,

3 please. The question was who would be in charge if Mr. Cerkez wasn't

4 there.

5 A. [No interpretation]

6 MR. KOVACIC: When you asked, Your Honour, last time, there was a

7 mistake in the translation. There was no conditional. It was like "who

8 was," not "who would be."

9 JUDGE MAY: I'm not getting any --

10 MR. KOVACIC: That's why he reacted differently.

11 JUDGE MAY: I'm not getting any translation.

12 MR. KOVACIC: I'm talking about the Croatian translation which we

13 did get at that time.

14 JUDGE MAY: You may have got it, but we have nothing. Well, it's

15 about time for a break. Perhaps somebody would look into the problem over

16 the adjournment. We'll adjourn now for half an hour.

17 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.

18 --- Upon commencing at 11.34 a.m.

19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

20 MR. NICE:

21 Q. Major, assuming we now have the English translation which we

22 didn't before the break, no fault of yours, of course, if Cerkez wasn't in

23 charge of an operation on that night, who would have been leading his men?

24 A. I did not say that that night there was any kind of operation by

25 the Viteska Brigade.

Page 23581

1 Q. I understand that. I'm just saying if there was, who would be in

2 charge if Cerkez was at home in bed?

3 A. On the assumption that anything had happened, that there was any

4 activity, if we were to assume that, I think that if he were not there, if

5 the commander were not there, then the unit would be commanded by the

6 chief of staff or perhaps somebody else who would be authorised by the

7 commander, perhaps the commander of a battalion. That's what I think.

8 Q. Thank you. New topic or at least a different topic. If the

9 forces of the Viteska Brigade were obliged to occupy defensive positions

10 and to blockade several positions in the Vitez area, the operation would

11 require your involvement; correct?

12 A. If something like that was supposed to be done, my participation

13 would probably have been involved in the sense of logistic support to a

14 unit that was supposed to carry out a particular assignment.

15 Q. And you'd obviously have to know about the plan and you would find

16 yourself giving logistical support to one or the other of the involved

17 groups; correct?

18 A. Yes. Yes. That's the way it would be.

19 Q. And when you arrived at the brigade headquarters at 6.00 on the

20 morning of the 16th having left, as I checked from your evidence last

21 week, at about midnight the night before, when you arrived at 6.00 in the

22 morning, there was no suggestion, no evidence, no indication that the

23 Viteska Brigade had been engaged in any activity the previous night;

24 correct?

25 A. I came to headquarters at 5.00 in the morning and there was no

Page 23582

1 indication that the Viteska Brigade --

2 Q. I'm sorry I seem to have lost the translation.

3 THE INTERPRETER: The translation is okay but that's where the

4 witness stopped, you interrupted him.


6 Q. No indication that the Viteska Brigade what?

7 A. That it had operated anywhere that night between the 15th and

8 16th.

9 Q. You said something about Novi Travnik and the involvement of the

10 group at Novi Travnik. What were you telling us about that?

11 A. I think that from November 1992, Vitez -- well, first the

12 municipal staff sent a unit consisting of perhaps two platoons to the

13 defence line above Novi Travnik facing the army of Republika Srpska and

14 the JNA. Slatka voda, Kamenjas, Mravinac, Vucja Glava, that area. And

15 they were sent until the conflict with the BH army started.

16 Q. Having arrived at 5.00 in the morning and Cerkez coming in at

17 6.00, how were the troops thereafter disposed, please, and whereabouts?

18 A. After having come in at 6.00, I don't know that the forces, the

19 troops went anywhere except that they were perhaps in the area of Vranjska

20 and Kruscica. I don't know that exactly, and we also had a unit

21 consisting of 50 men in Novi Travnik up there. They were there for

22 another day or two until they managed to get out. We did not have any

23 troops of the Viteska Brigade anywhere else.

24 Q. Perhaps you would be good enough please to look at this exhibit

25 which is our D85/2 on the computer. Now, if you look at that map, you

Page 23583

1 haven't seen it before, take your time, what do you say of the suggestion

2 that the green lines might reflect, very broadly, the division of Croat

3 areas from Muslim areas. Are they about right or are they definitely

4 wrong or what do you say? I don't want to hurry you but just in general

5 terms, but don't worry too much about the detail. It's just in general

6 terms because it's a roughish map, do the green lines look to you to be

7 about right or not?

8 JUDGE MAY: Major, if you don't follow the map, just say so.

9 A. Approximately it is accurate. I'm not very good at maps at all

10 because I'm not a military expert. I don't -- I can't see this very well,

11 but approximately.

12 MR. NICE: Thank you.

13 Q. Let's focus, if the booth would be good enough, on the blue line,

14 get in as close as we can, and enlarge it. That's very helpful, thank

15 you.

16 Now, just look at the blue line, Major, please. Were anyone to

17 suggest that on either the night of the 15th, the night of the 16th or the

18 day of the 17th, were anyone to suggest that the Viteska Brigade was

19 deployed along those blue lines, such evidence would be wholly wrong,

20 wouldn't it?

21 A. Incorrect.

22 Q. Explain then, please.

23 A. I see here that the blue line, as you say, the forces of the

24 brigade, goes from Safradinovo Selo, Rijeka. Yes, all right. And then up

25 here, up here, I can't read this. As for these two middle lines, I think

Page 23584

1 that's all right. But Safradinovo Selo, I don't think that is correct.

2 Q. But all right as depicting what and when?

3 A. I did not understand this. Could you repeat it more

4 specifically?

5 Q. Yes. I'll go back to my previous question because I think it's

6 easier. That blue line does not depict, does it, on your recollection of

7 events, depict deployment of the Viteska Brigade on the night of the 15th

8 of April?

9 A. It does not depict the deployment of the Viteska Brigade.

10 Q. It does not depict the deployment of the Viteska Brigade on the

11 16th, either.

12 A. It does not depict it on the 16th either.

13 Q. Nor on the 17th.

14 A. The 17th, I can't remember exactly. That is when mobilisation had

15 already occurred, and people from the villages stood on the borders of

16 their villages and from that day, from the 16th of the afternoon and the

17 17th, people were already mobilised. And once they were mobilised, they

18 were under the command of the Viteska Brigade. Possibly that is what the

19 situation could have been from the 17th onwards.

20 Q. Very well. I want you to see another document, please, which

21 we'll lay over the map, and it's Exhibit 676. I'm afraid this document

22 has been given other numbers, but if we operate on 676.

23 Perhaps you'd like to look at this document, please, Major.

24 Again, don't, for the time being, be distracted by the fact that someone

25 has deleted the serial number from the top of the document. That's

Page 23585












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23586

1 nothing to do with anything in this case.

2 MR. NICE: And incidentally, I can tell the Court that I am now in

3 a position to provide, in due course, a full original for the earlier

4 document with the missing serial number, which we'll probably have to look

5 at in some detail, the one on the 15th, and I hope to be able to do the

6 same with this one.

7 Q. This document purports to be a command given at 1.30 on the

8 morning of the 16th of April. On your evidence, Major, no such order was

9 given and received by Cerkez that night, was it?

10 A. I don't know that he got it.

11 Q. Well, let's look at what the order says. It says: "On the basis

12 of command and assessment made, we expect an enemy attack," and it sets

13 out some further details. And then under item 2 it says the assignment of

14 your forces is to occupy the defence region, blockade the villages, and

15 prevent entrances to and exits from the villages. It says that the time

16 of readiness for the attack is 0530 hours on the 16th. And it then sets

17 out, at number 3, where Cerkez was to find the 4th Battalion of the

18 Military Police and the Zrinjski Brigade, and so on.

19 Now, on your evidence, no such order can have been given, can it?

20 A. I did not know of this order, and I don't know. I doubt that the

21 commander got it. He never showed it to us. I had never seen this order,

22 except that he told us orally that in the evening of the 15th of April,

23 that an order was supposed to come in, combat readiness was supposed to be

24 raised, because a possible attack by the BH army is expected from the

25 directions that I mentioned: Kruscica, Vranjska, et cetera. I was not

Page 23587

1 aware of all the rest. I'm not aware of all the rest.

2 Q. And I can probably close this part of my cross-examination with

3 this suggestion or question to you: If this order, which you can now see

4 for the first time before you, had resulted in -- have another look at it,

5 please -- the disposition of troops shown on the blue line on the map by

6 5.30 on the morning of the 16th, you would have known about that on the

7 morning of the 16th for sure, wouldn't you?

8 A. Well, I probably would have known.

9 Q. Can you help us at all to unlock a problem that we face? Can you

10 help us at all with why the man Zeljko Sajevic, who you spoke of as a

11 person who, but for his cold, would have had good knowledge of events,

12 should have drawn the map that you're looking at as representing the

13 disposition of troops at half past 5.00 on the morning of the 16th? Can

14 you help us at all with why he might have done that?

15 A. I don't know whether Zeljko drew this and deployed it this way. I

16 don't know. But I know that Zeljko is an operations man and that he's

17 very good at maps. In our command, he -- well, he was not a professional

18 soldier, but he was one of those who was the most familiar with military

19 terminology, and I think that he had spent all his career working at the

20 Territorial Defence headquarters and places like that.

21 MR. KOVACIC: [Previous translation continues] ... Prosecution

22 side to give different explanation.

23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, you'll have to start again. The

24 interpretation was going on.

25 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry.

Page 23588


2 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps it would be better if I

3 spoke in Croatian. I think that it is not all right if the Prosecutor

4 interprets the answer of the previous witness and then puts it to this

5 witness. The previous witness, when shown this picture, he said what the

6 deployment should have been. In this way, the witness is being confronted

7 with a claim that was not made in an improper way, and I think that this

8 should be rejected all together. Thank you.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

10 MR. NICE: I'm afraid that's absolutely not my understanding of

11 the previous witness's evidence. And indeed, had it not been the purpose

12 of the evidence to lead the Chamber to believe that those were where the

13 troops were on the night in question, the evidence simply would not have

14 been led at all.

15 JUDGE MAY: We now have the evidence. Perhaps you would check,

16 because I don't have my notes with me, as to what the Major said about

17 those blue lines.

18 MR. NICE: Yes.

19 JUDGE MAY: I don't think this witness can assist any further on

20 the topic.

21 MR. NICE: I agree entirely, and I'm going to conclude the Ahmici

22 questions with just a few more and then I'm going to try and cover most of

23 what else I want to cover by hacking back on the topics to be covered by

24 lunchtime.

25 [Trial Chamber confers]

Page 23589


2 MR. NICE: Yes. Your Honour, the last witness said -- just to

3 answer Your Honour's question, he tried to depict on the map the positions

4 of the personnel of the Viteska Brigade on the 16th of April at half past

5 5.00. And then at a later stage, in answer indeed to Your Honour, I

6 think, seeking to clarify matters, he said: [As read]

7 "This is what I wanted to show. It was the situation, the

8 deployment at half past 5.00 in the morning based on the order received.

9 That is where our forces were to be at that time."

10 JUDGE MAY: Let's not dispute this now.

11 MR. KOVACIC: I will not, Your Honour, but just one point so we

12 have a clear situation. It is now explained. But the same situation, I

13 will remind the Court, was in Elford presentation, and also the same

14 criteria. What should have been according to --

15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if the order had been followed. Yes.

16 MR. KOVACIC: And if I just may add: We will bring the witnesses

17 who will explain what actually was on the field. What I'm trying to say:

18 There is no need to investigate now on the --

19 JUDGE MAY: Counsel is entitled, provided he does it accurately,

20 to put matters to the witness to test the witness's recollection and to

21 get his response.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I? May I go back

23 to this a bit?

24 JUDGE MAY: No. We've finished this line. If Mr. Kovacic wants

25 to ask you any more questions about it, he can.

Page 23590


2 Q. Major, on that night, on the night of the 15th of April, there was

3 a meeting, and at that meeting it was perfectly clear -- and if you were

4 there, you know this -- that the Viteska Brigade were going to be involved

5 with the Jokers, the military police, and others in a joint operation?

6 A. You have put a question that's a bit complicated. On the 15th, in

7 the evening, the only thing I know -- or rather the members of the command

8 of the Viteska Brigade was that an order would arrive from the Operative

9 Zone of Central Bosnia, raising combat readiness, because there were

10 indications that the forces of the BH army could attack Vitez from the

11 direction of Kruscica and Vranjska, with the intention of entering Vitez,

12 the town of Vitez. That is what we know that evening. We don't know

13 anything else. Now you are referring to some other units, some other

14 assignments. I don't know that at all.

15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ceko. In the question

16 put to you by Mr. Nice, it was quite clear. He is asking you to give a

17 clear answer, that is, by saying "yes" or "no": Did you that evening

18 discuss a joint operation of the Viteska Brigade, to which you belonged,

19 and a joint operation together with other units, such as the military

20 police or the Jokers? That is the question. Did you that evening discuss

21 a joint operation? So the answer should be "yes" or "no."

22 A. It is clear to me now. We did not discuss any kind of joint

23 operations that night with anyone.

24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

25 MR. NICE: May the witness have the map of the village again. No,

Page 23591

1 I'm so sorry. The one -- the more detailed map of -- 88/2. I'm so

2 sorry.

3 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that it may well be the case that the

4 Viteska Brigade was charged with the duty of focussing on the villages to

5 the south initially -- let's have a look at the map.

6 Can we go a little bit to the right? Move Vitez to the left. A

7 bit further to the left. The other way. Sorry. The other way, so we can

8 see a bit more to the right. That's fine. A bit further still. Further

9 still. That will do.

10 It may -- I'm suggesting to you, Major, and that you know this,

11 that yes, there may have been a function for the Viteska Brigade to the

12 south of Vitez and over to the east of what's shown on the plan here.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And I'm going to suggest to you that you may also have had an

15 interest in cutting off the town. Do you see the bridge there, underneath

16 Dubravica? Would that be quite near the Impregnacija factory?

17 A. The bridge is near the Impregnacija factory.

18 Q. If, for example, the road were blocked there, would that have the

19 effect of either making it difficult or impossible for UNPROFOR to move

20 from Vitez through to Ahmici? Would it?

21 A. It wouldn't. UNPROFOR could go to Ahmici. First of all, these

22 were not the forces of the Viteska Brigade, and even if they had been

23 there, UNPROFOR could have gone to Ahmici.

24 Q. But it would be much more difficult?

25 A. It would not have been more difficult at all. I think that

Page 23592

1 UNPROFOR had its base in Impregnacija. That is also towards Busovaca,

2 that is to say, towards Ahmici. They also had communications, a new road

3 from Bila and also from the service station where the UNPROFOR bases

4 were. They could all pass unimpeded to Ahmici, even if there had been a

5 unit on the bridge, on the river.

6 Q. We can see the body of Vitez, and we know that Ahmici and Nadioci

7 and Pirici are all to the east. Was the arresting and detaining of

8 Muslims on the 16th an action that had to be taken, for fear of their

9 reacting to the massacres that you all knew you had been party to? Was

10 that why those people were arrested?

11 A. First of all, you said that all of us participated in it. No one

12 from the Viteska Brigade participated in such operations anywhere then

13 before that or afterwards.

14 Q. Are you saying by that that to your knowledge, between the 15th,

15 16th, 17th, 18th of April, no one from the Viteska Brigade had anything to

16 do with fighting in the villages of Ahmici or Santici or anything like

17 that; is that what you're saying?

18 A. Yes. That is what I am saying. No one from the Viteska Brigade

19 took part in the combat in Ahmici and Santici.

20 Q. Now, you've been allowed to tell us, and I'm not going to stop you

21 what you were told by Cerkez and so far as I am concerned, you can tell us

22 what you were told by anyone else. Will you tell us, please, who

23 committed the massacres in Ahmici. Are you able to?

24 MR. KOVACIC: I have to interrupt, Your Honour, and I would kindly

25 ask for a private session. I think that is -- that could be dangerous for

Page 23593

1 the witness whether he recognises it or not.

2 [Trial Chamber confers]

3 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll go into private session.

4 [Private session]

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 23594

1 [Open session]

2 MR. NICE: Would the witness now please like to look at Exhibit

3 703 which is a new exhibit.

4 JUDGE MAY: This is a new exhibit. Where is it from, please,

5 Mr. Nice?

6 MR. NICE: Zagreb. Apparently I'm wrong about that, but I thought

7 it was. But in any event, it's material to the issue of its actual first

8 arrival here and I'll have to investigate.

9 Q. Major this is a document dated the 17th of April, and as we can

10 see, it's signed by Cerkez. It's said to be timed at midnight and it

11 reports on Central Bosnia Operative Zone Vitez operations report. It

12 speaks of the afternoon hours --

13 JUDGE MAY: There's an objection.

14 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I don't think that the Prosecution

15 should confuse the witness who signed it. It's clearly said who signed

16 it.

17 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, what is the point?

18 MR. KOVACIC: The Prosecutor implied that the document is signed

19 by Cerkez. It is said it is signed by Borislav Jozic.

20 JUDGE MAY: For Viteska Brigade Commander Mario Cerkez. Yes, put

21 it like that, please, Mr. Nice.

22 MR. NICE:

23 Q. Signed by Jozic for Cerkez, and it refers to the afternoon hours

24 and under paragraph one it says this, "From the direction of Zenica,"

25 something about "towards Kuber, it was observed that Mujahedin and other

Page 23595

1 extremist Muslim forces were on the move. Their task was to take control

2 of the Kuber region and then to make a breakthrough." A little further

3 on, it says, "Our forces have been trying to withstand fierce attacks."

4 Then we come to paragraph two. So if you'd like to go with that

5 summary to paragraph two. "In the region of Santici, village combat

6 activities were conducted almost throughout the day."

7 Now, this is the Viteska Brigade's operations report?

8 A. May I?

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. This report is by the operative on duty. Such reports were issued

11 daily. There were two officers on duty, and the officer on duty would

12 send such reports to the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. I don't know

13 why the words Mario Cerkez were typed, but it is clearly clear that it was

14 signed by Borislav Jozic, and he was clearly the man on duty in the

15 brigade command that evening.

16 Q. I'm interested in the fact that the Viteska Brigade is engaged in

17 village combat activities in the region of Santici when you've told us,

18 quite specifically, because I asked you only a few minutes ago, that the

19 Viteska Brigade was not involved in Santici on the 15th, 16th, 17th or I

20 think even the 18th.

21 Would you like to explain, please, how Jozic is reporting? Let's

22 read it again. "In the region of Santici, the village combat activities

23 were conducted almost throughout the day. The intensity of combat

24 activities was especially pronounced after Muslim forces joined in from

25 Sljivcica-Sivrino Selo and Pirici direction," and so on. This is

Page 23596

1 describing fighting in the Santici area. Why did you tell us otherwise?

2 A. I didn't tell you otherwise. I just said in reference to the 15th

3 and the 16th in the morning. From the 16th, 17th and 18th and onwards, I

4 said that on the 16th in the afternoon, a general mobilisation was

5 declared and all men from their villages, their places of residence, from

6 the morning of the 16th when the BH army attacked, they took positions

7 around their villages to defend themselves against the BH army attack. So

8 people who reported voluntarily or were called up, they all became members

9 of the Viteska Brigade. So this document is dated the 17th, the second

10 day of conflict, and probably Jozic saw these men as members of the

11 Viteska Brigade, and they were not on the 15th and 16th in those places

12 except if someone actually lived there.

13 Q. I'm not going to bother to take the witness back to his last

14 answer. I haven't got enough time.

15 Will the witness now just help us with this: You know the

16 difference about the Viteska Brigade and the military police, because

17 you've been brought in to tell us a bit about that.

18 A. Yes, I do.

19 Q. Thank you. And you'll tell us, no doubt, that the military police

20 only became incorporated in the Viteska Brigade after a certain date; is

21 that right?

22 A. Yes. A small platoon of military police from the 4th Battalion

23 was placed under the command of the brigade commander, and this platoon

24 secured the command post of the brigade. From August 1993, it is placed

25 under the command of the Viteska Brigade, but administratively, it

Page 23597












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23598

1 continues to be linked to the 4th Military Police Battalion.

2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to rehearse all the exhibits

3 we looked at with an earlier witness, it wouldn't be fruitful to do so,

4 but there's one exhibit I want this witness to look at.

5 Q. Before I come to it, how long did you hold your post, Major, with

6 the brigade, until when?

7 A. I held this post of assistant commander for logistics throughout

8 the time -- from the time the brigade was established until the end.

9 Q. Which was when so far as you were concerned?

10 A. As far as I was concerned, in the Viteska Brigade -- I held this

11 post in other units as well, but in the Viteska Brigade, I consider myself

12 to be officially engaged in these activities from the 23rd of March, 1993.

13 Q. Until when?

14 A. For as long as the brigade existed.

15 Q. Very well.

16 A. Until the truce.

17 Q. 1380.2, please. Original for the witness and maybe the original,

18 because it's a list, has not been retranslated although the body of the

19 document now has been. Look first of all at the first English sheet, and

20 if the witness can have the whole of the document before him.

21 This is a document headed the 4th Military Police Battalion. It's

22 dated the 18th of February 1994. A submission of information on

23 conscripts enlisted in the Vitez 4th Battalion and it's said to be

24 pursuant to an order dated the 12th of February 1994 and then it lists the

25 4th Battalion command and it goes through the various groups.

Page 23599

1 I wonder if you would be good enough, please, to turn to what is

2 sheet five, and if the usher could be good enough to put sheet five on the

3 ELMO for us at the foot of the page. The heading of that group of names

4 is translated as personal security of the chief of the HVO Main Staff

5 Colonel Dario Kordic, and we can see the names, some of which are familiar

6 to us, Bogdan Santic, Milenko Arapovic, Damir Cosic, Andjelko Lastro, and

7 Zoran Lovric. I gather there is a point to be made.

8 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I just may ask for one thing. The

9 Croatian copy of the document on Croatian language, at least on the copy

10 we got, we cannot read what is exactly in the header of the document, who

11 issued it. I guess -- I presume that the witness is having about the same

12 quality of the copy, so he should be, I suggest to the Prosecutor, read

13 what is obvious from English. And obviously the witness will not read the

14 English to see who issued the document so then probably he may understand

15 the document. Otherwise he can't.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. The header of the document, please, Major, which is indeed hard to

18 discern on the photocopy you have makes it clear it comes from the

19 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, the Croatian Defence Council, the 4th

20 Military Police Battalion in Vitez. It's dated the 18th of February 1994,

21 marked as coming from the Vitez Military District and is says to be the

22 submission of information on conscripts enlisted in the Vitez 4th VP

23 Battalion.

24 Now, having helped you with that, these five names that I've read

25 to you, you would know to be members of the military police; correct?

Page 23600

1 A. Not correct. I am looking at these five names here, Bogdan

2 Santic, Milenko Arapovic, Damir Cosic, Andjelko Lastro, Zoran Lovric. I

3 personally do not know any one of these men. And further up where it

4 says, "Personal security of the chief of the Main Staff of Colonel Dario

5 Kordic," I didn't know that Colonel Dario Kordic was ever the chief of the

6 Main Staff. I am not familiar with that.

7 Q. Did you ever see him in your town with his armed guards around

8 him?

9 A. No, I did not see him.

10 Q. So you can't help us with where they were drawn from?

11 A. I don't know. Probably from Busovaca.

12 Q. Let's go back in time, shall we, to the spring of 1992. And you

13 lived in Kruscica and I'm going to ask you some questions and I hope

14 rapidly, if I can, to save time.

15 As early as April 1992, there in Kruscica, do you accept that

16 there was a mountain lodge there that was requisitioned by Cerkez for his

17 use. Do you know anything about that?

18 A. In 1992, sometime in April, in Kruscica, next to the Lovac motel,

19 there was a wooden house, it used to be the warehouse of the Sumarija

20 enterprise in Kruscica, and this building was taken to be used as a

21 warehouse of the municipal headquarters in Vitez, if that's what you had

22 in mind.

23 Q. I'm thinking probably of something rather different. It's a

24 witness who I can't name because he had a pseudonym, it was Witness R, and

25 I am not going to go through the process of private session to enable that

Page 23601

1 all to be dealt with. Was there a lodge, something more like a mountain

2 lodge near to Kruscica that Cerkez requisitioned, saying that he needed it

3 as early as April 1992?

4 A. I apologise. I don't know the word requisitioned, what it means

5 exactly. Could you clear it up for me?

6 Q. Taken without consent.

7 A. Oh, I see what you meant. No, I'm not aware of that. I don't

8 believe that was so.

9 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that right from the beginning

10 of -- well, right from the spring of 1992, Cerkez was already the dominant

11 military figure in Vitez, even if he had other duties that took him to

12 Travnik. What do you say about that? Was he already a dominant figure in

13 the spring of 1992?

14 A. No. In the spring of 1992 Cerkez was engaged in logistics, and I

15 assisted him. After that, I took over those duties and Cerkez started

16 working in the operations department and headed some of those military

17 operations. But the commander at the time was Marijan Skopljak, not

18 Cerkez, in the military sense.

19 Q. Would you look, please, at this document and see if you can help

20 me with it. It will be, if it's produced, Exhibit 70.2, and it's to be

21 opened at page -- would you look, please, at simply the heading of the

22 document. And then if you'd be good enough to turn to page 32, look at

23 that, and tell us if you can help me with what this document is. On 32 we

24 can see the name Cerkez and Stipo Ceko recorded as numbers 2 and 4, but

25 there are no signatures beside their names, in the way that there aren't

Page 23602

1 signatures beside several other names. Can you help me with what the

2 document is, please?

3 A. I see here my name, Stipo Ceko, under number 4. I still haven't

4 found Mario Cerkez's name. I see that the document was issued by the

5 municipal headquarters in Vitez, signed, I see, by the president of the

6 branch. Nikola Botica signed it. I know the man personally. I see some

7 women here too, so I don't really know what this document means. Maybe it

8 is a record about shares. I don't see the date either. I think it refers

9 to shares.

10 Q. Very well. I'll bring it back if you can't help me. It's headed

11 "HDZ," but if you can't help us, I'll bring it back. But perhaps you'll

12 confirm this in relationship to membership of the party. You say that

13 neither you nor Cerkez were members of the party. Are you sure about

14 that?

15 A. Yes, I am sure. I was not a member of that party, nor was Mario

16 Cerkez.

17 Q. Is it --

18 A. If I had been, there would probably be my signature here.

19 Q. And is it right that nearly all of Cerkez's family were members of

20 the party, to your knowledge?

21 A. I do not know that any member of his family -- I'm thinking of his

22 brother, his late father -- were members of the HDZ party. I think they

23 were not, but I don't know.

24 Q. And the last question on this topic: We know, from other

25 documents, that appointments to military positions within the HVO involved

Page 23603

1 consultation, or regularly involved consultation with the HDZ before

2 people could be appointed to important positions. What discussion with

3 the HDZ was there before Cerkez's appointment? Do you know?

4 A. I do not know about that, but I do know that the municipal

5 committee of the HVO took such decisions, because I personally saw such a

6 document when I was appointed to the municipal headquarters. I was given

7 approval by the Vitez authorities. Whether they had any consultations

8 with the HDZ, I do not know.

9 Q. Very well. The murder of the man Trako, what do you know about

10 that?

11 A. I only heard that the murder had occurred in the Vitez Hotel,

12 roughly at that time when the municipal headquarters was established. And

13 I think Trako was killed in the hotel. I know nothing more, because I

14 wasn't there in the hotel.

15 Q. Had the -- try and depict for us, if you will, atmosphere in the

16 small town. Was it already the state of affairs by May of 1992 that a man

17 could be murdered and there could be no proper investigation into his

18 death? Was that already the state of affairs?

19 A. I think it was not, and I even think that an investigation was

20 conducted into that case, as far as I know.

21 Q. Did you know anything about the people who were with Trako and

22 what happened to them?

23 A. I think that there was talk of two guys being involved -- one was

24 Trako. I don't know who the other one was -- that they came and that they

25 were drunk and they provoked people in the hotel. Somebody shot, fired

Page 23604

1 some shots. One man was killed and the other one wounded. I think, as

2 far as I can remember, but I don't know for sure.

3 Q. And were those other men taken out and beaten up and left for

4 dead, to your knowledge?

5 A. I don't know anything about that.

6 Q. All right.

7 A. I know that according to what people were saying, that first aid

8 was given to them, but I don't know that from personal knowledge.

9 Q. The police station was taken over in June, wasn't it, by

10 Kraljevic, and some HOS soldiers? Do you remember that?

11 A. I remember that the civilian police, that Darko Kraljevic's unit

12 came and entered the building where the civilian police was quartered. I

13 don't know whether it was June. I don't remember when it was.

14 Q. You see, these are the beginnings, or these were the beginnings,

15 weren't they, Major, of a life that was going to be difficult for the

16 Muslims? Did this not make you at all uncomfortable, in your small town,

17 to see what was being done?

18 A. I feel uncomfortable that this happened, that Darko Kraljevic's

19 units broke into the police headquarters. But that didn't mean that the

20 Muslims were less safe. That didn't mean that.

21 Q. Your town was now becoming subject, day by day, to the control of

22 a non-elected government, wasn't it?

23 A. Would you please repeat that question? I didn't quite hear you.

24 I was coughing.

25 Q. Your town was becoming subject, day by day, to the control of a

Page 23605

1 non-elected government, and I'll just add to that: and a non-elected

2 government that represented Croats. Did that trouble you?

3 A. When do you mean? At what time was that that there was a

4 non-elected government?

5 Q. At any stage was the HVO an elected government?

6 A. I think that at that time there were both Croats and Muslims in

7 the municipal government, that is, prior to the conflict, and that they

8 were elected legally. That's what I think.

9 Q. Did you go to the oath-taking ceremony attended by Kordic in the

10 summer of 1992?

11 A. No, I wasn't present there.

12 Q. Did you hear reports of Kordic's speech?

13 A. No. I don't know.

14 Q. You never heard any concern expressed by your Muslim friends and

15 neighbours about the approach being taken by the HVO in your town?

16 A. I'm not aware that they voiced any concern -- I don't know about

17 that -- throughout the time before the open conflict.

18 MR. NICE: Can we save time by putting on the ELMO Exhibit 162.1,

19 which we've already got out, our copy of it.

20 Q. You see, Major, it's helpful -- it may be helpful for you to

21 remember what the Muslims' position was in July of 1992. This is a press

22 release that they made, and it says that on the 12th of -- 11th of July

23 the board of the SDA held a meeting. Next paragraph: to brief the

24 citizens. And then they said this:

25 "In a long and frank talk, deep bitterness over and disapproval of

Page 23606












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23607

1 the actions of the Croat representatives in Vitez was expressed. Although

2 the latter give lip service to wanting to live alongside the Muslim

3 people, their actions, which have particularly intensified lately, do not

4 allow us to believe that this is how things will be in the Croatian

5 Community of Herceg-Bosna."

6 That was the attitude of Muslims in your town at that time, wasn't

7 it?

8 A. Perhaps that's what they thought. I don't know what they thought

9 at that time, at least looking at this communication.

10 Q. Are you telling us that you had Muslim friends or Muslim

11 acquaintances? Is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Are you telling us that they had no concerns about the

14 step-by-step development of Croat control in their town, or did they have

15 concerns?

16 A. Croats did not take control over in 1992 at the time that is

17 mentioned here, I mean in the town of Vitez, and people that I

18 communicated with and talked with would not lead me to such a conclusion

19 that at that time they were all that concerned.

20 Q. All right. What about August? Let's move on to August. There

21 were steps from time to time to set up joint HDZ, SDA bodies; correct?

22 A. I can't recall exactly, but quite possibly, because there were

23 frequent talks between the parties, between the HDZ and SDA.

24 Q. Very well. Did you know the man Anto Valenta?

25 A. I did.

Page 23608

1 Q. Do you remember Valenta explaining, as we've heard to be the

2 position from another witness, did you ever hear Anto Valenta explaining

3 that Grude, the seat of the HZ HB, simply wouldn't allow for the

4 development in your town of joint bodies? The witness was

5 Dr. Mujezinovic. Did you ever hear that?

6 A. I did not. I never heard Mr. Anto Valenta saying that the

7 attitude, or whatever you said, in Grude was that there could not be joint

8 organisations between Croats and Muslims. I never heard that.

9 Q. You know Dr. Mujezinovic?

10 A. Dr. Mujezinovic? Yes. Ibrahim, is it?

11 Q. Yes. An honourable and decent man, no reason to doubt what he

12 says?

13 A. I know him as a nice man. He worked -- he was our factory's

14 doctor.

15 Q. You would accept, wouldn't you, that Grude has absolutely no right

16 to interfere in the domestic affairs of your small town, does it, or did

17 it?

18 A. They shouldn't have any right to do that, because people are

19 living together with Muslims and other people in the municipality of

20 Vitez, and we should organise our life and our way of life in the

21 municipality of Vitez ourselves.

22 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... see what was

23 happening, may the witness see, very briefly, 221A. Again, I'll just put

24 it on the ELMO.

25 Q. So that we can get the developing picture, you see, Major. This

Page 23609

1 is a little document from the 19th of September of 1992. Perhaps you'll

2 help us with it, in your position as a logistics officer. It comes from

3 Cerkez and it says -- goes to the HVO in Travnik:

4 "Because of the setting up of special units in the Vitez HVO, we

5 ask you to provide beds and mattresses. The special units will be

6 accommodated in the barracks which we have provided, for the further work

7 and training of the specials. God and the Croats, Mario Cerkez."

8 Tell us about the special units, please, that you were now

9 accommodating in your town.

10 A. Yes. I see the document. I don't know what special units is it

11 about, and I don't know what facility was intended for the accommodation

12 of these men. I know that at that time the municipal staff of Vitez had

13 its premises in Kruscica, that it had the fish pond and the Lovac Motel.

14 If these are the premises that are meant, those could be these beds.

15 Which units? Well, those units could mean some small autonomous

16 platoon to simply provide -- to guard those facilities, to be with us.

17 And perhaps a smaller unit out of the list of 300 men, perhaps they could

18 be trained for perhaps some actions to help formations which at that time

19 went on to Jajce, Travnik, Turbe, Vlasic, and so on. That is what he must

20 have meant. I can't say anything more precisely, because there were no

21 special units at that time.

22 Q. But he seemed to have the power, didn't he, Cerkez, at that time

23 to be dealing with special, no doubt military units, coming in to have an

24 influence in the area of your town? And this is as early as September

25 1992. Does that fit with your recollection of his importance at the

Page 23610

1 time?

2 A. Well, at that time, which is September 1992, his rating grew as

3 against April of 1992, but at that time he was the second man in the

4 municipal staff in the command of Vitez. So I don't really see how is it

5 that you see that he was authorised to command those special units. He

6 must have written this in the name -- on behalf of the commander of the

7 staff, Mr. Marijan Skopljak, but I really don't know.

8 Q. We'll come to the 19th of October and to the checkpoint incident

9 there. Were you involved in that directly at all?

10 A. 19th of October 1992, is it?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. In the morning of the 19th, I went from Vitez towards Stara Bila

13 to Petar Mecava, as we call it, and I went there to get some kruhovi, and

14 I couldn't get through because there was a Muslim roadblock on the road,

15 and that was the only way I participated in those roadblocks. And I know

16 that the last roadblock was right below the village of Ahmici.

17 Q. Do you know anything about Kordic's involvement in that or

18 Cerkez's?

19 A. Well, I don't know anything about Cerkez's or Kordic's involvement

20 except what I heard in the command that they, through a series of

21 negotiations, the politicians tried to find an agreed solution to remove

22 this so they could proceed with their normal life. And I know that that

23 was done at the checkpoint next to Nova Bila. Franjo Nakic and somebody

24 else had reached an understanding with the Muslim side and that that

25 roadblock was removed, but I also heard that that same kind of

Page 23611

1 understanding could not be reached regarding the checkpoint at Ahmici.

2 Q. I won't trouble you with the detail of that but we move to

3 November in the development of the life in your town.

4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, for the matter of transcript, again,

5 and it's strange that it happened twice on the same subject, it is page

6 61, line 5, again, "breads" are missing. The witness mentioned

7 specifically that he went to pick up breads.

8 JUDGE MAY: It may well be because the word couldn't be heard.

9 Anyway, you've --

10 MR. KOVACIC: Obviously, it's a difficult word. That is what I'm

11 trying to -- twice the same word is missing.

12 MR. NICE:

13 Q. Moving to November 1992, I think -- to avoid a number of other

14 documents, I think, we've heard evidence again from the same

15 Dr. Mujezinovic and others, that people were obliged to pledge loyalty to

16 the HVO local government or they lost their jobs. Now you were quite well

17 connected, friends with Cerkez, what do you think about that? What did

18 you think about that?

19 A. I did not think anything at the time because I did not know it.

20 This is the first time I hear that, and I don't think there was any

21 signing of loyalty to the town of Vitez. I am not aware of that. I don't

22 think such a thing existed.

23 Q. Were you not just mixing with Croats, giving the effect, by your

24 behaviour, to the separation of the groups?

25 A. My behaviour, I do not think it contributed to separating the two

Page 23612

1 groups. Moreover, while I was responsible for logistics, Kenad

2 Smailkadic, car mechanic, Mutko, I don't know what his name was, everybody

3 called him Mutko, he was a car electrician, they extended tremendous help

4 to us. They helped us and I cooperated very well.

5 Q. I want you to help us with the picture of life. Is it a question,

6 are we to get a picture of people turning away from the reality and hiding

7 from the reality? Is that what people were doing and not recognising

8 Muslims were being marginalised, as the word sometimes is?

9 A. I wouldn't say so. That is not how they should have felt as

10 "marginalised". I can hardly pronounce it.

11 Q. What about the Muslim buildings that were blown up, the Muslim

12 buildings that we've heard were blown up in November of 1992, it was some

13 10 buildings. Well, in a small town like yours, that would be pretty

14 obvious. What did you think about that?

15 A. I am not aware that in October 1992, any houses or any businesses

16 were blown up. I don't remember that.

17 Q. Well, then when, in fact, because I'm suggesting November, when do

18 you suggest buildings were blown up?

19 A. I wouldn't say that it happened in November either or October. A

20 moment ago, you said October then you say November. I am not aware that

21 any were blown up either in October or November. I don't know about that

22 it did not happen. I don't know.

23 Q. [Microphone not activated] ... to the degree that were served, to

24 some incidents, I haven't the immediate page at hand, but you make some

25 reference. What incidents did you say did happen between Croats and

Page 23613












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23614

1 Muslims? Tell us.

2 A. Well, as far as I know, most of the incidents had to do with

3 interception of small groups of troops. For instance, we were in Vitez,

4 in the central part of Vitez, and we still had our depot above Kruscica at

5 Lovac Motel, and the BH army had in Kruscica, their men in the elementary

6 school. And my men went up on their shift to guard the fish pond and

7 Lovac, they would often be intercepted in Kruscica, in Sadovace, and other

8 places so -- and weapons from seized from them. These, to me, are the

9 incidents that stick in my memory.

10 Q. You see, Major, we are now in November of 1992. Within five

11 months, one ethnic group of your town imprisons 300, 400, 500 members of

12 the other ethnic group, and apparently they go willingly to be

13 imprisoned. I'm trying to get from you the true feeling of the town.

14 You're telling us you had no knowledge of buildings being blown up in the

15 late autumn of 1992. Is that really an honest answer or is this something

16 that you're not prepared to remember?

17 A. It is a long question that you put to me and it has two parts.

18 First, you said November 1992 and you say that there were some detention

19 of one ethnic group against the other ethnic group. I don't remember it

20 nor do I think it ever happened in 1992. And if I said that --

21 Q. I was explaining to you that there was only five months to go

22 before, as we know, on April 18th, 300, 400, 500 Muslims were arrested and

23 detained by Croats. And I want you to explain to us, as a person who

24 lived had there and was close to Cerkez, just what it was that enabled

25 this to happen in human terms.

Page 23615

1 You understand, Major, it's not something that happens easily for

2 a group of ethnic -- an ethnic group simply to walk into detention. I

3 want to you paint the picture for us. Now, in November, if you won't help

4 us or can't help us with the explosions, tell us about the man, the mayor,

5 Santic. Do you know him?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. We've had evidence that he was the sort of man who would -- Floyd

8 Carter is the witness -- who would refer to Muslims as "balijas" and make

9 other derogatory remarks. Now, this is the mayor of your town. Is that

10 witness correct? Had things reached that stage in November of 1992 that

11 the mayor could be speaking of balijas and dropping pork on them to an

12 international observer. Is that right?

13 A. No, it is not right. It is not right. That is a lie. Because

14 Mr. Ivica Santic, the mayor of the municipality of Vitez, is a very

15 intelligent man. He is a very clever man. He simply would not do

16 anything like that. I never saw him in that light that when -- that he

17 said anything like that. That is wrong, surely.

18 Q. Again, I'm -- I'll stop with the chronology because I am nearly at

19 lunch, and I'm going to try and finish not by lunch but very shortly

20 afterwards things I want to ask you. But I would ask you to leap forward

21 again to April of 1993. People sent a truck bomb to Stari Vitez, didn't

22 they? An act of extreme terrorism. Just trying to blow up innocent

23 civilians. Now, what do you know about that, Major?

24 A. I heard about that only after it had happened that a truck bomb

25 had been sent and that it went off in the Mahalla in Vitez. This is all I

Page 23616

1 know about it, nothing else. And I was appalled by that. It is inhuman

2 and inhumane and none of the intelligent men could have approved such an

3 act. Everyone was appalled.

4 Q. Now, if you want to go into private session, I reasonably forecast

5 that the Judges will allow you to tell us who did it. Now, first of all,

6 yes or no, can you tell us who did it? Just yes or no.

7 A. Yes, on the basis of rumours.

8 Q. Do you want to tell us that publicly or would you like to have the

9 advantage and safety and security of a private session?

10 A. Well, I would prefer the private session, naturally.

11 [Private session]

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 23617

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 [Open session]

15 MR. NICE:

16 Q. Dealing with the special units that were present in your territory

17 at the time, are you saying that they were subject to no control?

18 A. Yes. Those men who commanded special purpose units, they

19 considered themselves men of higher order. They simply did not listen to

20 anyone. That was, at least, the impression that I got.

21 Q. That simply cannot be right, can it? You as a military man must

22 face reality. They weren't conducting their own wars, were they, these

23 special units?

24 A. Well, no, they did not wage their own private wars, maybe they did

25 at times, sometimes. As a soldier, I do not think it logical, because I

Page 23618

1 always think that as far as in -- so far as I know, in an army, there is a

2 certain chain of command and they, therefore, should have had somebody who

3 would lead them and command them. But they were such troublesome

4 individuals that at least as far as I know, it always depended on their

5 good will whether they would obey a commander or not. That is how I saw

6 them.

7 Q. At the top of the chain of command for any military group, there

8 is a politician; correct?

9 A. I wouldn't say that there is a politician at the top of every

10 chain of command but there is a political line and there is a military

11 line, and whether those, at the top, at the summit, talked between

12 themselves and agreed between various things, I don't know it. But it is

13 logical, of course, that somebody on the top does discuss the police and

14 politician and things, but I don't know about that.

15 Q. There was no politician in Vitez superior to Dario Kordic;

16 correct?

17 A. Whether Kordic -- in Vitez, or Busovaca, no, not Vitez because

18 he's from Busovaca.

19 Q. In Central Bosnia, there was no politician superior to Dario

20 Kordic to your knowledge?

21 A. In Central Bosnia, I think he was at the top of the politics.

22 That's what I think.

23 Q. You know nothing to disprove the suggestion that he was able to

24 control the special units, do you?

25 A. I do not, and I do not think that he could control special units.

Page 23619

1 MR. NICE: I don't know if that would be a convenient moment.

2 It's a little early, but --

3 JUDGE MAY: Have you much more?

4 MR. NICE: What I'm going to do is reduce the remaining material

5 and I hope to finish, I should think, in half an hour or even less, but I

6 shall try to make it half an hour. I guarantee I'll do my best.

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, so we can finish the rest of the evidence by

8 Thursday. Yes, we'll adjourn now until half past two.

9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.

















Page 23620

1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

3 MR. NICE: I'll try and take matters as quickly as I can. The

4 last topic I was going to ask of this witness is a topic that it would

5 probably be more conveniently dealt with by the next witness but one,

6 although his summary doesn't suggest he's going to deal with it, and so I

7 hope that I may be permitted to cut that questioning off from this witness

8 and put it to the other witness. It's to do with military supplies and it

9 could go to a logistics officer or to a supply officer. I hope I won't be

10 cut off simply because it's not in his summary.

11 Q. Major, I only have a relatively limited number of topics to raise

12 with you, but you'll remember before lunch that I'm trying to get you, if

13 you can, please, to describe the reality of life in Vitez for us, your

14 being really the first witness from Vitez who has taken us through it all

15 or is in a position to do so.

16 Will you please just take this document very briefly, 376.1.

17 You've told us about special units being out of control. This is a

18 document that's dated the 19th of January of 1993 and it goes to -- comes

19 from Mostar and it concerns the Vitezovi, and it says that they are to be

20 attached in all matters to Blaskic and they are forbidden independent

21 action. Were you aware of such an order being made in January 1993?

22 A. I did not know literally that this kind of order was issued in

23 January 1993, but later I heard people talk about it, saying that it was

24 not possible to pursue orders of this kind and that they would be attached

25 to the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia; namely, that is what I heard,

Page 23621

1 later.

2 Q. Thank you. So that the clear intention throughout Central Bosnia

3 from January was that these units should be attached to, as it would

4 appear, Blaskic; correct?

5 A. Well, probably, yes. Probably it was that way.

6 Q. Thank you. Next document, please, 381.1, coming up for the ELMO.

7 This is another document which comes from the Muslim side, but I want your

8 comment on it, please. If we put it on the ELMO, we can see that the

9 following day after that order from Petkovic we have an announcement from

10 your local Vitez SDA. And it says things like this. The second paragraph

11 in English reads: "The presence of an unusually large number of HVO

12 soldiers who came from Herzegovina and Croatia creates unease."

13 Then the next paragraph but one speaks of the fact that murderers

14 of three members of the BH army are all walking free in Vitez. The next

15 paragraph, if we can just move the document up a touch, speaks of 11

16 Muslim businesses being blown up, and the next one of the shelling of four

17 mosques and the torching of 15 family houses.

18 Now, those facts, however strong the desire for one side of the

19 propaganda, those facts, do you accept those facts are true, Major, that

20 by January there were troops from outside, there were murders and the

21 blowing up of houses and businesses?

22 A. As far as I know, in Vitez, in 1992, or to be more precise,

23 towards the end of 1992, I know that two units came from Herzegovina. But

24 never did I see any soldier of the Croatian army in Central Bosnia, let

25 alone Vitez. I could not read this entire statement, but at that time

Page 23622

1 there were provocations, and also private property was being taken,

2 perhaps even social property as well, and also certain facilities were

3 being demolished by these units. I know that there is the Bruno Busic

4 unit from Herzegovina, which was stationed in Novi Travnik at the hotel;

5 and Ludwig Pavlovic, another unit that was stationed in Vitez in Dubravica

6 at the school.

7 Q. Those are HVO units, aren't they, Major, and the reality is that

8 your town was falling under the control of Croat HVO soldiers, if you

9 like.

10 A. These are units of the HVO. I do not believe it is correct that

11 Vitez, our town, was exclusively under HVO control. If there were such

12 problems, they were made by both sides, and the perpetrators and the

13 injured parties at that time came from both sides.

14 Q. We've heard evidence -- well, I'm not necessarily accepting that,

15 so far as Vitez is concerned. Let me ask you about something else. We've

16 had evidence, Witness AC, of HVO soldiers simply looting people's

17 apartments and abusing the residents. Were you aware that that sort of

18 thing was going on in your town? Or, another example, going into Muslim

19 students' classes and abusing the students. This is all in January, you

20 see, Major.

21 A. I do not know of any HVO units going to schools where Muslims were

22 and abusing Muslim children. I never heard of that and I do not believe

23 that it was so.

24 Q. Are you sure you weren't simply turning your eyes away from what

25 was blindingly obvious, Major, because it was too uncomfortable to face?

Page 23623

1 A. No, I was not closing my eyes. Had I known that there were such

2 cases, I would have been appalled by it. I never would have justified

3 it. But had something like that happened, I probably would have heard

4 about it.

5 Q. Let's look at another exhibit, please, 433. This is February.

6 Just while it's being distributed and to save time, you tell us you know

7 something of Kordic. Did you know Kordic's father, Pero?

8 A. No. No. I did not know Kordic's father. I don't know him until

9 the present day.

10 Q. Very well. This is another, I think probably the last document

11 from the SDA that I'm going to ask you to look at, but it reflects how

12 things were, I'm going to suggest. And it says this on the 2nd of

13 February:

14 "In an interview given by Dario Kordic, deputy president of the

15 so-called HZ Herceg-Bosna, and broadcast on Herceg-Bosna television on the

16 1st of February, among other things it was stated that Muslims in Bosnia

17 and Herzegovina will disappear."

18 Now, did you hear that broadcast?

19 A. I never saw that broadcast, nor did I hear of it, nor did I have

20 an opportunity to talk to anyone about this show. I am unaware of it. I

21 never saw it, never heard of it.

22 Q. Well, you see what the last paragraph says, or we'll read it.

23 Even then, according to these documents of the SDA in your town, the

24 Muslims were calling on the Croatian people to dissociate themselves from

25 that sort of activity and to build co-existence. Now, are you quite sure

Page 23624

1 you're not overlooking in your memory the reality of what was going on in

2 the town where you lived?

3 A. No, I did not overlook such a possibility. I did not watch this

4 programme. I don't know whether this is correct, but I do know that the

5 HVO and the HVO government and the military structure always thought that

6 a co-existence should be built with the Muslims. The only problem we had

7 at the time was the aggression of the JNA and the army of Republika Srpska

8 and that we had to defend ourselves and to remain in our own territory.

9 That was our primary task.

10 Q. That may have been your trouble, Major, but of course the problem

11 was that the ambition of the Croats to extend their territory and to

12 dominate their territory was taking effect and it was taking effect in

13 your town, wasn't it?

14 A. That's not correct. The Croats never had the ambition to take

15 someone's territory. The ambition of the Croats was always to defend

16 themselves and to remain in their own territory, that is to say, to

17 safeguard their own families and the places where they were born, where

18 they lived, and they had no other ambitions.

19 Q. The man known as Bralo was a member of the Viteska Brigade?

20 A. I don't know. "Bralo" doesn't mean anything in our parts because

21 there are several persons with the same name and surname.

22 Q. Miroslav Bralo also known "Cicko"?

23 A. Miroslav Bralo also known as Cicko, I know of him, but I don't

24 know of his ever being a member of the Viteska Brigade.

25 Q. Can you explain -- we'll put that on one side and we'll prove it

Page 23625

1 without your assistance later and separately. Can you explain how, once

2 he had murdered Esad Salkic, he was still to be seen on the streets of

3 your town if your town was operating properly?

4 A. I think that Miroslav Bralo, also known as Cicko, when he

5 killed -- what did you say -- I don't know the last name, I did not see

6 him in Vitez. I think that there were sanctions imposed against him

7 because of that, that he was imprisoned. That's what I heard.

8 Q. He was imprisoned as you may know, Major, for a time. He was

9 allowed out, I must suggest to you, on a regular basis in the evenings and

10 he was then allowed out on the night of Ahmici to go and kill. How much

11 of that do you know about?

12 A. I don't know about that evening, whether he was released and when

13 he was released, but later, perhaps 15 or 20 days later, I saw him. I

14 came across him. But when he was released and about him being released,

15 I'm not aware of any of that.

16 Q. How could someone who was detained for a murder be released within

17 days, please?

18 A. I don't know. I don't know how he could have been released.

19 Somebody probably released him. But how, and how come, I really don't

20 know.

21 Q. Prisoners of a military kind were taken to Kaonik, weren't they?

22 A. Yes. Military prisoners as well, inter alia.

23 Q. Yes. So that Cerkez would have had the power to imprison people

24 in Kaonik or to have them imprisoned in Kaonik?

25 A. Cerkez would have the authority if a soldier would commit

Page 23626












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23627

1 something that required punishment, so he -- but only if this person was a

2 member of the brigade. He could only take disciplinary action but then

3 there are different kinds of disciplinary action as far as I know.

4 Q. Was it indeed Cerkez who had gone to arrest Cicko, to your

5 knowledge?

6 A. No. No. I do not know of Cerkez ever going to arrest Cicko and I

7 don't know how he would have that kind of authority because I don't think

8 he was his soldier nor did Cerkez ever arrest anyone, I mean Cerkez

9 personally.

10 Q. I must inquire of you this: Was it also Cerkez who had the power

11 to release Cicko and did so on the night of the 15th, 16th, so that he

12 could go and kill people in Ahmici? Is that who released him?

13 A. Cerkez did not have the authority because the prison is in

14 Busovaca. It is probably that someone who had this power in Busovaca and

15 Kaonik, and Cerkez did not do that, nor did he have the authority or power

16 to do that. And I'm sure that such a thing never occurred to him.

17 Q. Exhibit 580, please. You're telling us that Croatia had no real

18 role to play, the State of Croatia had no real role to play in your local

19 community; is that correct?

20 A. Yes, but I don't know about this.

21 Q. You weren't getting any help from Croatia, were you?

22 A. We were not.

23 Q. Look at this document, please dated the 31st of March. It's an

24 order from Cerkez. And it says that the battalion commanders are to

25 ensure that only HVO insignia is worn because, paragraph two, "The wearing

Page 23628

1 of HV insignia has been linked to accusations over the direct involvement

2 of HV units in the territory, thus the Republic of Croatia has been

3 subject to allegations." Two points: Who was making these allegations

4 about HV involvement?

5 A. I don't know who accused Croatia of any kind of involvement

6 because I think Croatia was not involved in any way. Just a minute,

7 please. And as far as these insignia are concerned, HVO insignia, people

8 wore different kinds of insignia because at the time of the aggression

9 against Croatia, there were quite a few volunteers from Vitez and also

10 from Central Bosnia, both Muslims and Croats, who were engaged in the

11 defence of Croatia against Serb aggression. Perhaps there was an insignia

12 or two of this kind in Central Bosnia so you could see that, because these

13 were only people from Central Bosnia. So this did happen. I believe that

14 that is why this kind of order was written.

15 I personally never saw a single soldier from Croatia in the area

16 of Central Bosnia nor did I ever hear of that.

17 Q. I suggest to you that the reason that order had to be sent because

18 the truth was that Croatia was helping you and it needed to be hidden,

19 i.e. the truth needed to be hidden.

20 A. No. No. I don't agree with that. This order is probably the

21 result of that which I mentioned a few minutes ago, and I see that this

22 order also makes it incumbent upon me to contact the logistics commander

23 for Central Bosnia because that is the way it was according to hierarchy,

24 the hierarchy that was there because I went through Central Bosnia for

25 this kind of logistics support.

Page 23629

1 MR. NICE: Next two questions, perhaps, under private session if

2 we can, document not to go on the ELMO, witness protection. And then I

3 have two possibly three more documents.

4 [Private session]

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 [Open session]

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. The last document of this series that I want you to look at is a

18 recently-discovered document and I'm putting it to you for completeness so

19 that you can comment on it. It will become 694.

20 The Chamber will recall that we'd already seen one document in

21 respect of the 17th of April of 1993 about which I have had some questions

22 to ask. This one ought to go in really for completeness, and I'll ask the

23 witness if there's anything he wants to add to comment about it.

24 Major, I have asked you to look at some earlier documents about

25 the genuineness or the honesty of this. This one I simply ask for your

Page 23630

1 comments on. It's a recently-discovered document. It is headed "Viteska

2 Brigade". It's got a stamp at this top which is dated the 28th of April,

3 but the date of the letter appears to be the 17th of April at 6.00 in the

4 morning or the date of the report, and it's a combat report signed by

5 Zvonimir Cilic, and it simply speaks of, "No combat activities. At 4.50

6 to 5.00, two mortar shells fired from Muslim positions identified.

7 Several times received information from regrouping of Muslim forces," and

8 goes on with detail of that. "Sizeable forces in Grbavica. Muslim

9 population evacuated from Grbavica and Divjak." And indications of

10 Muslims trying to cut off the road.

11 Do you have any personal experience with this document one way or

12 the other, I mean personal experience of the contents of the document?

13 A. First of all, you mentioned a few dates. Here on this document, I

14 see that it is dated the 17th of April, at 6.00 in the morning. It is

15 from the Viteska Brigade. It is a combat report that was signed by

16 Zvonimir Cilic.

17 Secondly, on the copy I've received here, it's quite illegible, I

18 cannot see "Grbavica", that's near the end. So please, just a bit of

19 patience so I can read what it says here. I see here that it says that

20 Grbavica and Divjak were evacuated and I don't remember that. And also,

21 it says that the unit that was in Lovac is under siege. That I know. And

22 I know that after a few days, I can't remember how many, they managed to

23 get out through Kruscica Planina, via Zabrdze and that they came to

24 Vitez. That they managed to get out of this area under siege.

25 Q. Very well. That's all I want on that. About two or three other

Page 23631

1 questions. The man Lujic, who you say has nothing to do with the Viteska

2 Brigade -- Your Honour, I'm not going to take this witness through the

3 documents again. I just want to ask him one question arising from a

4 Muslim-side document.

5 The man Lujic had something to do with the truck bomb, thinking

6 back, please. Is he one of those involved in that?

7 A. I don't know. I don't think he was one of the men who was

8 involved in that. I know that Mr. Markesa, Lujic, nicknamed Markesa,

9 throughout the war worked in wartime -- in war production in the SPS

10 factory.

11 Q. Because you were apparently stuck in your room or your depot all

12 day, there's no way you can say one way or another whether he was firing a

13 gun or a piece of artillery at Cerkez's instructions on the morning of the

14 16th, is there? You don't have any firsthand knowledge of that one way or

15 the other?

16 A. I do not have any information, and I don't think that Markesa was

17 firing cannons on the orders of Mario Cerkez. It is logical to me because

18 he was never his commander. He was not in Viteska Brigade, Mr. Markesa.

19 You said I was in the depot all the time. No, I was not in the depot all

20 the time. I was also within this circle which is about 100 metres where

21 the headquarters of Central Bosnia is and the headquarters for the brigade

22 is.

23 Q. Did you ever hear any rumours in your brigade of people being

24 offered rewards if they were to take the ears off opposing prisoners, dead

25 or alive? In particular, did you ever hear such things attributed to the

Page 23632

1 defendant Cerkez?

2 A. No, I never heard of that.

3 Q. Have I understood your position correctly? This is the last thing

4 I want to ask you. Have I understood your position correctly that when

5 you returned to your headquarters about 5.00 on the morning of the 16th,

6 the Viteska Brigade was either sleeping comfortably in their beds at home

7 or, alternatively, those who were in barracks were in their barracks and

8 they had yet to be deployed in any way? Is that still your case, in your

9 evidence?

10 A. No, that's not the way I had put it. I said that in the morning

11 the members of the Viteska Brigade, one shift was in Novi Travnik at

12 Slatka voda. And the remaining members from that battalion, that is,

13 within the Viteska Brigade, were on leave, that is to say, they were not

14 involved in the shift. Anto Bertovic, the commander of the battalion, had

15 the task that was assigned to him by Mario Cerkez, commander of the

16 brigade, that the remaining men out of those 300 men who were on the list

17 who should be informed and if they could make it, they should come to the

18 Kruscica Vranjska road so that they could possibly defend that part of the

19 road from a possible Muslim attack. That's what I said.

20 MR. NICE: Thank you.

21 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honours. I won't be very long, but

22 a couple of things ought to be cleared.

23 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

24 Q. [Interpretation] So as not to waste time, let me ask the witness

25 first whether he can remember a document so we don't have to show it to

Page 23633

1 him. Mr. Ceko, at the beginning of your cross-examination, my learned

2 friend showed you a list which was allegedly a list of detained persons in

3 the cinema hall. Do you remember that list?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Did you have a good look at it, the heading, its appearance, the

6 coat of arms, the text, et cetera?

7 A. No, I didn't. I didn't have time to look at it closely.

8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] In that case I should like the

9 registrar document Z591.1 to be show to the witness once again.

10 Q. Mr. Ceko, I should like to ask you to look closely at the header

11 of this document, specifically the coat of arms, the wording, the actual

12 typewriter that was used, its graphic appearance, in fact. Can you tell

13 us whether in those days, at the beginning of the war, you saw any other

14 document that was certainly issued by the Viteska Brigade that would

15 resemble this one, that is, that this would be the customary appearance of

16 documents that were prepared in the brigade? Is my question clear enough?

17 A. Do you mean were documents like this or different? I know that at

18 first we had a different type of document, with a printed -- a preprinted

19 heading. And there were also documents written on a typewriter, yes.

20 Q. Now, if you look at this document, does it look like one of

21 several types that were in use at the time, that were issued by the

22 brigade command, or did they have a different appearance?

23 A. Different. This looks different from the usual document.

24 Q. Could it be said that this doesn't look to you to be one of a

25 typical document issued by the Viteska Brigade?

Page 23634

1 A. It does not. It is not a typical document issued by the Viteska

2 Brigade.

3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] The registry can withdraw that

4 document if they wish.

5 Q. Tell me, please: When you were asked by the Prosecutor whether

6 you had any evidence about certain things, let me ask you in that

7 context: Do you know of a single case in which investigators of the

8 Prosecutor's office, or any other institution in Bosnia-Herzegovina or

9 international organisation, at any time after the conflict, that is, in

10 the course of 1994, 1995, and later, did any of them approach or contact

11 any single member of the brigade command, including yourself?

12 A. I am not aware of any such contact by the investigator or any

13 other international organisation speaking to me. That I can say for

14 certain. No one, unfortunately, spoke to me. And I do not remember, or

15 rather, no one ever told me that they were contacted. I would probably

16 know, because we live in a small town, we see each other often, and no one

17 told me ever about it. Except yourself, of course, I beg your pardon.

18 Q. Did you ever learn that there was a public announcement that

19 anyone who wishes to say anything about the war should report to anyone?

20 A. No, I never heard of any such announcement.

21 Q. Did you ever hear of any other citizen, Croat citizen being

22 approached by an investigator of any organisation in connection with the

23 casualties or the victims or the damage suffered during the war?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Thank you. Let me go on to my next question. Linked to one of

Page 23635

1 the documents shown to you, it was Z660.1, the question was: Where did

2 the Operative Zone receive information, in this case about Kruscica? To

3 make it quite clear what we're talking about, let me ask you: Did the

4 command of, shall we say, the Vitez Brigade, have a Military Intelligence

5 Service?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. How many people were working in that service in the period prior

8 to the conflict?

9 A. In the Viteska Brigade there was one person engaged in those

10 activities in the command.

11 Q. So just prior to the conflict there was only one person involved

12 in intelligence activities in the brigade?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Do you perhaps know what the situation was in the Operative Zone

15 of Central Bosnia in terms of the number of people involved?

16 A. I don't know. I can't tell you exactly.

17 Q. Do you know that the total number of people in the command of the

18 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia was much larger than in the brigade,

19 regardless of the various duties they had?

20 A. Yes. The members -- the command of the Operative Zone of Central

21 Bosnia was much larger in number than the command of the brigade.

22 Q. Do you know that the main and only task of military intelligence

23 is to establish and report on the forces and deployment of forces of the

24 enemy, in this case, the BiH army?

25 A. Yes, I do. That is the exclusive task of Military Intelligence

Page 23636

1 Services.

2 Q. Talking about military intelligence activities, two or three days

3 ago Witness Sajevic was shown a document, Z562.1. It could relate to

4 activities within your area of responsibility. It's Z562.1. To speed

5 things up, let's show you the document.

6 Will you please look at that document, Mr. Ceko.

7 A. I have seen it.

8 Q. Mr. Ceko, is there any doubt it is a request, a memo, which the

9 Vitez Brigade, specifically the commander, Mario Cerkez, addressed on the

10 23rd of March to the defence department in Vitez? Is there any doubt

11 about that?

12 A. No, no doubt at all.

13 Q. In the introductory sentence reference is made to the needs of VOS

14 and SIS. SIS is an abbreviation for what?

15 A. For security affairs.

16 Q. So it's a kind of intelligence service as well?

17 A. Yes. SIS was an intelligence service in the zone of the brigade,

18 and VOS means around the brigade, collecting data about the deployment of

19 enemy forces.

20 Q. Do we agree that those two services are important services for the

21 brigade?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Was it normal for Cerkez to ask for this kind of equipment from

24 you, since you had some of those things in your depot?

25 A. Yes, it would be logical if we had these items on stock. But as

Page 23637

1 Cerkez knew that we didn't have it, that is what prompted him to act in

2 this way.

3 Q. Mr. Ceko, do I understand you correctly as saying that at the time

4 you didn't have two desks, six chairs, and a typewriter?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So that is why he is addressing the defence office?

7 A. Yes, because this was in the period when the Vitez Brigade was

8 being formed, in the process of formation, and the command of the

9 battalion used to be there and they collected all these furnishings

10 themselves so we didn't have any left.

11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Could the

12 usher please return this document to me, because they're my copies.

13 Q. Certain questions have been put to you on a number of occasions,

14 to the effect that you went -- did you go to see Cerkez afterwards to ask

15 him was this so or not, where he was, had he seen a document, and the

16 like? Let me ask you something. In view of the dynamics of events, the

17 rapid evolution of events from the 16th of April onwards, did you ever,

18 from that day onwards, until the end of the war, have occasion -- was

19 there any purpose in discussing something that happened yesterday?

20 A. I was not in that position, because since the conflict started on

21 the 16th, it developed at such a pace that we simply didn't have time to

22 discuss those things.

23 Q. Would there have been any reason to talk about what happened

24 yesterday when today already the situation had changed?

25 A. I don't think so, because our problem was how to organise

Page 23638

1 ourselves and how to defend ourselves.

2 Q. Generally speaking, is it correct to say that on a number of

3 occasions and periods, there were periods when, in military terms, the

4 situation changed several times during the day in diametrically opposed

5 directions? Would it be correct to say in the course of the war?

6 A. Could you explain that a little to me?

7 Q. Globally speaking, could it be said that on a number of occasions,

8 events changed so quickly that in the course of one day, the situation

9 changed significantly several times over?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Let us mention the example of the fighting around Buhine Kuce.

12 Didn't things change several times over a period of a few days, one day

13 one side had control of the road, the next day, the other side and vice

14 versa?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Did that apply to Bobasa as well?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. There were other such locations?

19 A. Yes, there were other such locations where the front line moved

20 back and forth.

21 Q. Thank you. You were shown Blaskic's order dated the 16th of April

22 at 1.30 a.m., Z676, where the assignment is given that you have spoken of

23 in detail to block possible directions of attack from Vranjska and

24 Kruscica towards the centre of town.

25 Witness Ceko, what you saw in writing in that order, does it

Page 23639












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23640

1 differ in any way from the information you received orally on the 15th in

2 the evening from Cerkez?

3 A. Yes, it is different.

4 Q. In what respect?

5 A. Because here, several units are mentioned in the order of the 16th

6 in the morning at 1.30, I think you said, I don't remember exactly. We

7 were told on the 15th in the evening that an order would come, that there

8 were indications that the BH army might attack.

9 Q. Yes, you already told us that. Let's not repeat that. That's as

10 regards the heading, but regarding the basic tasks assigned to you which

11 you have repeated several times, did the assignment differ from the one

12 you were told about in the evening?

13 A. I can't remember exactly what it says in the written order, but

14 our assignment in the evening was exclusively to expect an attack and to

15 try and block the passage of the BH army troops towards the centre of

16 Vitez.

17 Q. Never mind, we can look at the document and see. Thank you. Two

18 documents were shown to you, one a moment ago, one a little earlier on.

19 These were operative reports from the brigade. One, if you remember, was

20 signed by Cilic, the one you received a moment ago, and the other one by

21 Jozic; is that correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Z703 and Z694. Let me just ask you two questions regarding these

24 operative reports. I think we will have to show Z703. Could the usher

25 assist me, please? Could we show it to the witness.

Page 23641

1 Mr. Ceko, will you please carefully read paragraph two that was

2 referred to, paragraph two. Tell us, please, it's a very simple

3 question. In paragraph two, any of these activities referred to in this

4 paragraph, is it stated in reference to any of them that these were

5 activities that were to be engaged in by the Vitez Brigade?

6 A. I don't see that from the paragraph I have read.

7 Q. Very well. Tell me also, please -- no, let me put it this way:

8 Were you on duty sometimes in the brigade?

9 A. Yes, sometimes I was the duty officer but not during the first few

10 days of the conflict because I had more things to do in the depot and to

11 provide logistic support.

12 Q. Were you on duty before the conflict after the brigade was formed?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Was there a book in which you had to note down everything that

15 happened?

16 A. Yes, the operative on duty had to enter all events, all

17 information received, when it was received, what it is about, and the note

18 had to be taken as well as who received that information.

19 Q. So all the events that the duty officer learned had happened in

20 the area?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And the same applied to these operative reports?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And sometimes, a special report would be compiled for a particular

25 day?

Page 23642

1 A. Probably.

2 Q. Please let me have the document back.

3 You told Their Honours what you had heard about the events in

4 Ahmici. As this is an open session, we won't repeat that. Just tell me

5 the time or rather through the information that you received gradually

6 about Ahmici, did you get the impression or did you learn in specific

7 terms that everything that happened in Ahmici, that all the crimes

8 committed in Ahmici actually occurred not later than mid-day that day?

9 A. I don't know that exactly. It could have been before noon.

10 Q. But you had no detailed information about that?

11 A. No.

12 JUDGE MAY: Now, we don't need to go over all this again. The

13 fact is that you've been going for 25 minutes or so, Mr. Kovacic. There

14 really is little virtue in re-examination when it's just a rehash of old

15 evidence. Now, can we just move on and try to get on to the next witness

16 please rather than going over old ground again.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Of course Your Honour, I apologise. I will do my

18 best. I thought that some contradictions were given there, but obviously

19 I was wrong.

20 Q. [Interpretation] This large list was shown to you.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. It is Z70/2. Did you notice that on each page in the heading in

23 Croatian, it says, "Participants in the organised resistance against

24 aggression"?

25 A. Yes.

Page 23643

1 Q. Did you notice that in the column "Time of Involvement," it says,

2 "from/until" and the same time is indicated until the 8th of April,

3 1992. My question is: Did you, prior to the 9th of April, 1992, did you

4 Croats in Bosnia have any other enemy except the JNA?

5 A. No, we had no other enemy except the JNA and the VRS.

6 Q. Tell me, please, you obviously didn't sign this.

7 A. You can see that I didn't, nor did Cerkez. I didn't manage to

8 find his name when I was looking through it.

9 Q. Never mind. Stipo Ceko, do you have your identity number as a

10 citizen?

11 A. Yes, I do.

12 Q. And in other documents, this number is indicated?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. In that connection, the surname Ceko, is it familiar in the area?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Is there anybody else called Stipo Ceko?

17 A. I don't know, but there are Cekos.

18 Q. It's not an unusual surname, is it?

19 A. No.

20 Q. In view of this last set of questions, let us try to clarify a

21 little or maybe that's not a good idea. You were not a politician so I'll

22 withdraw that question.

23 Just one more question. Mr. Ceko, in the last two or three

24 months, have you read a great deal of information and reports that

25 appeared in the media, a large number of reports in connection with the

Page 23644












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23645

1 events in Ahmici, in connection with certain documents that have been made

2 public from some Croatian Intelligence Services, et cetera?

3 A. Yes, quite a number of those reports.

4 Q. In connection with those reports, did you ever come across mention

5 being made of Mario Cerkez as one of the perpetrators in Ahmici?

6 A. No, I never came across any such document.

7 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Maybe I should add a comment, Your

8 Honour, simply to link up things but I won't ask any questions. The

9 witness mentioned the detachments in Kruscica and the Prosecutor's Exhibit

10 E on the 18th of June, 1999, spoke itself about this detachment in

11 Kruscica so that whole issue was an unnecessary waste of time. Thank you.

12 JUDGE MAY: Well, that's for us to say.

13 Now, have you got any more questions? Let us try and speed this

14 up.

15 MR. KOVACIC: No, I just finished, Your Honour.

16 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you so much.

18 JUDGE MAY: Major Ceko, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

19 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

21 [The witness withdrew]

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes we'll have the next witness, Mr. Mikulicic. The

23 next witness's name.

24 MR. MIKULICIC: The next witness will be Mr. Dragan Cickovic.

25 MR. NICE: Your Honour just while that witness is coming in, can I

Page 23646

1 make one point about the line of re-examination concerning members of the

2 brigade who may or may not have been approached by the Office of the

3 Prosecutor. Apart from the fact there's actually some material before the

4 Defence to go to show that some people have, indeed, been approached,

5 those matters would, in any event, not be matters that we are in a

6 position to reveal for obvious reasons. But, in fact, there is material

7 before the Chamber and certainly before my friends that people have been

8 approached. I can identify it to Mr. Kovacic if he wants.

9 [The witness entered court]

10 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.

11 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the

12 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


14 [Witness answered through interpreter]

15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you'd like to take a seat.

16 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

17 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Cickovic. I shall ask you several questions

18 on behalf of Mr. Cerkez's Defence and I shall ask you to answer them to

19 the best of your recollection. At the same time, I should like to ask you

20 to make a pause after you've heard my question so that the interpreters

21 might have time to interpret it and only then give your answer. That will

22 facilitate matters.

23 Now, Mr. Cickovic, will you please tell, for the record, your full

24 name and your date of birth?

25 A. 4th of September 1954, Vitez.

Page 23647

1 Q. So you were born and you lived all your life in Vitez, have you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You live -- your address in Vitez is Petra Svacica Street and the

4 building is called Vitezanka, is it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. I will show you the map of Vitez later on and ask you to show us

7 the building so that Their Honours would have a better picture of what we

8 are talking about.

9 Mr. Cickovic, you are a Serb by ethnicity, aren't you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. But you are a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You are married?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. You have three children?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Two daughters, and a son.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. You are a locksmith and a driver, aren't you?

20 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

22 Q. You came out of the secondary vocational school in Vitez?

23 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.

24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

25 Q. You served in the former JNA in Varazdin in the Republic of

Page 23648

1 Croatia in 1974?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You did not acquire any rank?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you worked for the Vitezit

6 company as a driver?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. After following the 16th of April when a conflict in the Vitez

9 area broke out, you became a member of the Viteska Brigade on the 17th,

10 that is on its 1st Battalion?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And again, you did not acquire any rank?

13 A. No.

14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness speak up, please, or come

15 closer to the microphone?

16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Cickovic, could you remember that everything you

17 say is having to be translated or interpreted? Could you speak fairly

18 loudly so that everybody can hear and when counsel asks a question, even

19 if the answer is simply yes, would you give it, please?

20 Come a bit closer to the microphone, that might help. Thank you.

21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Very well. So, Mr. Cickovic, let us go back to 1992 to Vitez, to

23 the town in which you lived. Is it true that your brother Gojko owned a

24 small bar, a small coffee shop which was in the building that was called

25 Banjalucanka in Vitez.

Page 23649

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Could the usher please help me to put this map of Vitez on the

3 ELMO it is D80/2 so the witness could show us where this cafe was and

4 where this building that he lived in was.

5 Mr. Cickovic, will you show us, please, the building that you

6 lived in, the so-called Vitezanka?

7 A. [Indicates]

8 Q. Now will you please show us the building which housed the cafe bar

9 which you ran on behalf of your brother in the building called

10 Banjalucanka.

11 A. [Indicates]

12 Q. Thank you. Just leave it here on the ELMO, because we shall come

13 back to it. So just leave it here, please. So these two buildings are

14 adjacent, aren't they?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And what was that coffee bar called?

17 A. Coffee Bar 10.

18 Q. Is it true that your brother named it after the number on the

19 basketball jersey? Is it true that your brother played basketball for the

20 local club in Vitez with Mario Cerkez, and that is where they met?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And that is how you met Mr. Cerkez?

23 A. I knew Mr. Cerkez both from work and through basketball, and we

24 simply kept company.

25 Q. Right, right. We shall come back to that. Mr. Cickovic, this

Page 23650

1 coffee bar that you ran, were there any distinctions regarding the

2 ethnicity of those who frequented the coffee bar?

3 A. No.

4 Q. So it was frequented by all the nationalities -- all the

5 ethnicities which lived in Vitez?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Sometime in the latter half of 1992, certain incidents began to

8 happen in Vitez, and in them were damaged [as interpreted] or maybe even

9 destroyed some of the businesses owned by citizens; is that true?

10 A. That could have been in the first half of 1992, in May, or

11 thereabouts.

12 Q. Right. Tell us, from your knowledge, do you know if the situation

13 could be likened to this one in other places of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

14 A. I think so.

15 Q. Is it correct to say that this state of affairs was in point of

16 fact the result of the proclaimed state of war, and that the state

17 authorities did not really function as they would function in peacetime?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And the state of war was proclaimed by the president of the

20 presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, because of the aggression of the JNA and

21 the army of Bosnian Serbs against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Is it true, Mr. Cickovic, that on various occasions explosives

24 were planted in your -- in local businesses?

25 A. Yes. There was once even -- one was planted even in my business.

Page 23651

1 Q. But could you tell us, were only the businesses of Muslims

2 subjected to that, or also Croat and Muslim?

3 A. I don't know later on, but I know in the beginning that there was

4 this bomb which was thrown into my place and that another coffee shop

5 owned by Travic [phoen] was damaged. It was not far from me. But I also

6 know that Jukic's restaurant, called Kamin, also suffered from a bomb.

7 Q. And those names you gave us are Croats?

8 A. No. Another one and I are Serbs, and the third one is a Croat.

9 Q. Do you know who did this, who committed those crimes? I don't

10 mean names, but what kind of group did people come from, were recruited

11 from?

12 A. Well, all this was done -- I don't know -- some chauvinists. I

13 don't know really what to call them. Some irresponsible individuals.

14 Q. A while ago you mentioned that you knew Mario Cerkez from before

15 because you worked for the same company.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And that your brother and he played basketball together.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. What did you think of him? How did you see him, Mario Cerkez?

20 A. I knew Mario. Our children went to school together, so they also

21 knew each other. He worked in the enterprise. We knew each other. He

22 played basketball with my brother. We knew each other. He was an honest

23 man.

24 Q. In mid-1992, sometime in May, did you know where Mario Cerkez

25 worked then?

Page 23652

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Tell the Court, where did he work at the time?

3 A. Mario was with the headquarters.

4 Q. Do you know what duty he had in this staff?

5 A. I know he was Marijan Skopljak's deputy.

6 Q. And at that time the JNA and the Bosnian Serb army were committing

7 aggression against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, yet you tell us

8 that you are of Serb ethnicity. So at that time Serbs were perceived as

9 aggressors?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And did you personally, as a Serb, ever receive any threats at the

12 time?

13 A. Well, yes.

14 Q. Is it true that there were threats by telephone that your business

15 would be blown up, that a bomb would be planted there?

16 A. Yes, yes.

17 Q. And did that then come to pass at some moment?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Could you briefly tell us what was that.

20 A. It was sometime in the middle of May, 1992, at night. Somebody

21 threw a bomb in front of the business. However, fortunately nobody was

22 hurt, because the place was closed, but there was material damage.

23 Q. And that of course worried you?

24 A. Of course.

25 Q. And that is when you turned to Mr. Cerkez, to try to resolve the

Page 23653

1 problem with him?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. You wanted to turn over the coffee bar to the HVO and thus prevent

4 further damage and preserve lives?

5 A. Yes, yes.

6 Q. And what happened then?

7 A. I talked with Mario and I asked him to look for a solution so as

8 to preserve the coffee bar and avoid any human losses, and he promised

9 that he would see what he could do. And a couple of days later he came to

10 the coffee bar and said he had found a solution for us.

11 Q. And with him there were two soldiers and a civilian, and you later

12 on learnt his name too, didn't you?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. So what was his name?

15 A. Matkovic, Zoran Matkovic.

16 Q. And that man, in point of fact, then took over the management of

17 the coffee bar for the HVO?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And you received -- you were given a certificate, a receipt for

20 this coffee bar?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Since you lived in the neighbourhood, you must have known that the

23 coffee bar went on working.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Until?

Page 23654

1 A. It worked until the conflict with the Muslims.

2 Q. And tell us: What did you hear? What did the HVO do with the

3 proceeds from the coffee bar?

4 A. These proceeds went to the families of those killed on Vlasic,

5 that is, to a village from which this young man who ran the place came.

6 Q. So those were killed members of the HVO, killed on the front line

7 against the JNA?

8 A. Yes, on Vlasic.

9 Q. And when the war ended in 1994, you went to then municipal

10 minister of economy and requested that the coffee bar be turned back to

11 you?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And that was done?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And after that you ran that place until 1999, and then it was

16 taken over personally by your brother, Gojko, who is the owner of the

17 coffee bar?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Mr. Cickovic, don't hold it against me, but I simply have to ask

20 you some questions which otherwise I would have never asked you. But we

21 are in a courtroom and we have a trial running on. You told us that you

22 were a Serb. How many -- before the war, how many Serb households or

23 citizens of Serb ethnicity were there in Vitez?

24 A. Three per cent.

25 Q. Tell us: Were you then -- the ruling structures in Vitez, and I'm

Page 23655












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 23656

1 referring to 1992, 1993, did they ever harass you, as a Serb, at that

2 time? Did you ever hear or were you ever aware that there was a

3 conspiracy or some policy to harass minorities or members of minorities,

4 so you, as a Serb?

5 A. No.

6 Q. I suppose you have a number of friends among the Muslims who

7 patronise your coffee bar.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Did they complain that they were being harassed at that time by

10 the HVO or the ruling structures in the town of Vitez?

11 A. No.

12 Q. This Court has already heard a great deal and a lot of evidence

13 about the conflict which happened on the 16th of April. Will you please

14 try to remember how did you see the beginning of the conflict on the 16th

15 of April? Where were you at the time?

16 A. On the 16th of April I was in my flat. In the morning I was woken

17 up by the shelling of the town and the gunfire around the town. And since

18 I am a Serb, the best thing for me would be to stay in the apartment, and

19 I stayed there until the afternoon hours. And then on the radio I heard

20 that the general mobilisation had been proclaimed and that all the men of

21 military age should report to the municipal hall or, rather, to the

22 police. And so, on the 17th of April of that year, in the morning, I came

23 to the police building with two or three friends, and there I found the

24 chief of police, Samija, and he told us to report to the 1st Battalion. I

25 would not do it, but he personally gave me the rifle and I reported to

Page 23657

1 Mr. Bertovic.

2 Q. So after you heard that the mobilisation had been proclaimed in

3 the afternoon of the 16th, you reported the next morning and you were

4 assigned to the 1st Battalion commanded by Anto Bertovic; is that so?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And you were given a rifle, and you were given a rifle directly by

7 the chief of police?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Were you given a uniform?

10 A. No.

11 Q. So you were wearing civilian clothes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Could you indicate on this map which you have on the ELMO here,

14 take the pointer and show us where was it that you reported to

15 Mr. Bertovic. Where was that?

16 A. [Indicates]

17 Q. Right. Tell us: What is this building here? What is this

18 structure?

19 A. This is Impregnacija forestry company.

20 Q. So after you reported to Mr. Anto Bertovic, who was the commander

21 of the 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade, what were you told then and

22 where were you sent?

23 A. We were sent to the Kuber front line, or rather Kratine.

24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Very well. Can the usher please

25 help me to put this map on the ELMO so that the witness could show us

Page 23658

1 where he was sent.

2 Q. Will you please show us where is the area where you were -- that

3 you were assigned to on Kuber. Can you see it or is this plastic foil

4 bothering you?

5 A. [Indicates]

6 Q. So this is Kratine Kuber area, is it? Very well. Thank you. And

7 you were at this position as a member of the 1st Battalion of the Viteska

8 Brigade, is it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. How far is that from your home in the town of Vitez?

11 A. Roughly six or seven kilometres, could be.

12 Q. And that is where you spent practically the whole war?

13 A. Yes, practically.

14 Q. Now I will ask you something about the village of Ahmici, since a

15 great deal was been said before this Court -- has been said here about the

16 crime in Ahmici. The village of Ahmici is, as the crow flies -- how far

17 is it from the positions at which you were on the 17th of April, as the

18 crow flies?

19 A. About two or three kilometres.

20 Q. And if you use the road?

21 A. Well, then some four kilometres.

22 Q. Is it correct that from the place that you were at on the defence

23 line at Kratine on Kuber Mount, the village of Ahmici itself cannot be

24 seen; you cannot see it from there?

25 A. No, you can't.

Page 23659

1 Q. And when is it that you heard that the crime had been committed in

2 Ahmici and civilians had been killed for the first time?

3 A. Well, it was three or four days after I went into the mountain; or

4 rather, when I came home to wash and get ready for the next day, then I

5 heard that there had been a crime in Ahmici.

6 Q. And who is it that you heard it from?

7 A. Well, the story went around the town. People talked about it.

8 Q. And what did people say? Who had committed the crime in Ahmici?

9 A. Jokers and the military police.

10 Q. And you personally, do you have any reliable information as to the

11 specific individuals who were there, names?

12 A. No. No.

13 Q. Very well. At this front line at which you were, Mr. Cickovic,

14 there were also some fortifications; there were dugouts and trenches,

15 weren't there?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And who dug those trenches and made those fortifications?

18 A. We did that. We dug it, more or less. And at times various work

19 platoons would come, but it depended on the time available to them.

20 Q. But in view of these labour platoons that they came to help you

21 with the digging, who organised them?

22 A. Well, I think it was the civil defence.

23 Q. Did you have any opportunity to talk with those people who came as

24 members of labour platoons to your positions, to the trenches?

25 A. Yes.

Page 23660

1 Q. Could you tell us what was the ethnic structure of those labour

2 platoons?

3 A. There were all three ethnic groups. Serbs and Croats and Muslims

4 were among them.

5 Q. And there were some Romany too, weren't there?

6 A. Oh, yes, Romany. Of course they were there.

7 Q. Were they younger men, able-bodied, or were they elderly?

8 A. They were people of younger age and people of a more advanced age.

9 Q. Mr. Cickovic, tell us: Did some officers from the brigade command

10 or some political leaders come to your positions to visit you?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Do you perhaps remember who came to visit you on the defence line?

13 A. As far as I can remember, it was Zvonko Ciric who came, Pero

14 Skopljak came, and from television they came. But yes, people came.

15 Q. And were some lectures organised for you, the soldiers there, on

16 such occasions?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. What kind of lectures? What was the subject?

19 A. Well, those were lectures more or less about prisoners.

20 Q. And what were you told in those lectures?

21 A. Well, I don't really remember, but I know what the purpose was:

22 that they may not be killed, that they may not be mistreated, and such

23 like.

24 Q. And on that occasion, during those events in the latter half of

25 1993 and 1994, ever see Mario Cerkez on the front line [as interpreted]?

Page 23661

1 A. I saw Mario Cerkez on the front line only once.

2 Q. And did this event stick in your memory for some reason?

3 A. Well, no. He toured troops, he talked to soldiers; nothing

4 special.

5 Q. But let me try to refresh your memory. Did you ask him to give

6 you something, to provide something for you?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Did you have a uniform?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Did you have winter jackets?

11 A. No, but I asked him for the jacket down there in the headquarters,

12 not when he came to the mountain, because I went home once with my friend

13 Marinko Gluscica. I went to see him and ask him for a winter jacket.

14 Q. And he gave one to you?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And sometime in early November, on the defence line at Kuber, you

17 were wounded too; is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And on that -- it was from a shell that exploded when it fell into

20 your trench?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And how long were you on the sick leave?

23 A. About two months.

24 Q. And after the treatment you returned to the battalion, did you?

25 A. Yes.

Page 23662

1 Q. But to a different place?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And what did you do then?

4 A. And then I was assigned to Buhine Kuce and I became the driver of

5 the ambulance car then, and the commander's driver.

6 Q. And that is where you saw the end of the war in March 1994, is it?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And the result of the wounding is that you are a war invalid,

9 aren't you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And are you entitled to certain shares which the state

12 distributed?

13 A. Oh, yes, yes.

14 Q. Did anyone in the brigade, in the Viteska Brigade, in the 1st

15 Battalion where you were mobilised, did anyone mistreat you or abuse you

16 verbally because you are a Serb?

17 A. No.

18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no more

19 questions for this witness.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of

21 Mr. Dario Kordic has no questions of this witness. Thank you.

22 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you could make a start, Ms. Somers.

23 MS. SOMERS: Sure, no problem.

24 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:

25 Q. Mr. Cickovic, do you also go by the nickname of "Cica"? Is that

Page 23663

1 your nickname?

2 A. No -- yes, yes, yes.

3 Q. Okay. Mr. Cickovic, your wife is a Croat, is she not?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. In the course of trying to get a little background about you --

6 and of course, I mean no offence by this, so please don't take it that

7 way -- we had learned that you had a drinking problem. Do you deal with

8 this problem or are you fine with your consumption of alcohol? Is this

9 something in the past?

10 A. No. I do not consume large quantities of alcohol.

11 Q. Okay. You indicated that you had an incident involving an

12 explosion to your business. Were you referring to the cafe owned by your

13 brother Gojko when you say "your business"? Is this just the way you

14 refer to the cafe, or did you have another business?

15 A. The question is too long for me. I didn't understand it.

16 Q. It's my fault. I will break it down for you. You mentioned in

17 the course of your answers that were given to Mr. Mikulicic that there was

18 an incident involving an explosion of your business. Do you remember

19 that?

20 A. The building was not blown up. A bomb was thrown in front of the

21 facility itself.

22 Q. Now, was that business you are referring to, the cafe, your

23 brother's cafe or was it another business of your own?

24 A. This is my brother's business which I ran from 1991.

25 Q. Your brother Gojko left for Serbia, did he not? Is that why he

Page 23664

1 was not in Vitez?

2 A. My brother Gojko left Vitez in March 1992. He went to Glamoc.

3 Q. Glamoc in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the Srpska Republica; is that

4 right?

5 A. Yes. Yes.

6 Q. Did he go voluntarily or was he forced to leave?

7 A. He left with my mother and father. Our uncle's son got a child.

8 He did not want to leave Vitez. He left there only for a brief spell, but

9 then the war broke out. He went before the war in March 1992.

10 Q. Did Gojko, your brother, serve in the Bosnian Serb army?

11 A. No. For a brief period of time he was there, and then when he

12 realised it would not be easy for him to return to Vitez, then he went

13 back to Yugoslavia.

14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise for interrupting,

15 Your Honours, but I do not understand the essence of these questions that

16 pertain to a third party. This witness is Dragan Cickovic. Gojko

17 Cickovic is not a witness, nor will he be one. I don't see whether this

18 can be helpful to us to ascertain what happened to the witness' brother.

19 JUDGE MAY: The bar was owned by the brother. The bar was

20 bombed. The suggestion is that it may have been bombed, as I understand

21 it, because this witness was a Serb. It seems to me that what happened to

22 the brother is relevant.


24 Q. Mr. Cickovic, I'm sorry. Your answer to my question, which

25 was -- my question was: Did your brother serve in the Bosnian Serb army?

Page 23665

1 Your answer was not entirely clear. Could you explain --

2 A. No, no, no.

3 Q. Now, when he found out he would not be able to return to Vitez,

4 you say he went to Yugoslavia. Did he go to Belgrade? Where did he go in

5 Yugoslavia?

6 A. To Zrenjanin.

7 Q. And up until the time he returned to Vitez -- which is in what

8 year, if you could tell us? What year did he return to Vitez?

9 A. He returned to Vitez in 1999.

10 Q. What month, please?

11 A. September/October 1999.

12 Q. Up until September or October of 1999, he was in Belgrade the

13 whole time or -- I'm sorry, in Serbia, not Belgrade. Excuse me. -- in

14 Serbia the whole time?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. You mentioned that on the 16th of April --

17 [Trial Chamber confers]

18 MS. SOMERS: Shall I continue, Your Honour, or will this be a

19 convenient time?

20 JUDGE MAY: I wonder if it would be a convenient moment.

21 Mr. Cickovic, we're going to adjourn now. We'll conclude your

22 evidence tomorrow morning. Could you remember, during the adjournment,

23 not to speak to anybody about it. Don't let anybody speak to you about it

24 until it's over, and that does include members of the Defence team.

25 9.30 tomorrow morning, please. If you would be back then.

Page 23666

1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.07 p.m.,

2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day of

3 August, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.