1 Monday, 4
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
6 MR. NICE: Two short matters, please.
7 First, just simply to bring the Chamber and Defence counsel up to
8 date on rebuttal, we attempted to file at the end of last week a first
9 document setting out our rebuttal position as it is currently known to
10 be. Unfortunately, some of the documents were in B/C/S and, therefore,
11 filing of the document was refused. We've withdrawn the B/C/S documents
12 from the filing, and I think we'll refile that document today. But I hope
13 the Chamber will accept that we're doing all we can to keep everybody
14 informed at the earliest possible moment of what the intended rebuttal
15 position is.
16 Second thing concerns the Cerkez witnesses. I have a letter dated
17 the 30th of August setting out the witnesses for this week. Two problems:
18 one, a comparatively slight one, that, of course, whether there's a
19 complete reversal of order of witnesses makes life a little more
20 difficult, but I do understand the difficulties that counsel will be
22 Second, at least two of these witnesses were not on the original
23 witness list of the Defence. That's the first witness to be called, Ivica
24 Markovic, who was first notified as a potential witness on the 22nd of
25 August of this year. Then I think that number 4 was not on any of the
1 earlier lists, going back to April, and likewise number 7.
2 The Chamber will recall the approach that was taken to any
3 additions of witnesses on our lists. Indeed, we were excluded witnesses
4 simply on the grounds that they weren't on the original list. I'm not
5 making any particular point myself about witnesses not being on the list
6 because I'm not here to obstruct in any way. But it may be the Chamber
7 would want to be alerted to the fact that witnesses weren't on an earlier
8 list; it may, because it's the Chamber's Rules that require witnesses to
9 be listed, require from the Defence some explanation for why these
10 witnesses are added late.
11 Of course, it's important that I draw these matters to your
12 attention so that if, in due course, there are any further arguments about
13 witnesses being called not subject of early notification, perhaps
14 witnesses in rebuttal, a general even-handedness of treatment can be borne
15 in mind. My understanding, therefore, is that numbers 1, 3, and 7 were
16 not the subject of any earlier notification before, at the very earliest,
17 the 22nd of August; that is, last week.
18 The Chamber will also recall that so far as affidavit witnesses
19 are concerned, affidavit witnesses are now, I think, regularly allowed in
20 without being on witness lists of the Defence.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic, that seems to be a reasonable
22 complaint. What is the answer? There may come a time when we are not
23 able to allow witnesses to be called because they haven't been notified.
24 The Rules are not there to be flouted, they're there to be obeyed.
25 I'm also troubled by the extensive nature of the witnesses you
1 propose to call, the considerable number, and the implications for timing,
2 because, of course, you know that your case has to finish by that week in
3 October. Yes.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, some changes in
5 witness lists are the product of the request of the Court to cut the
6 number of witnesses down. That is one reason. Then we took a number of
7 steps to replace some witnesses, that is, to bring in some other witnesses
8 who could testify about two or three topics, and that is why we changed
9 it. We did find them. But that meant that we had to bring in some new
10 witnesses. But these new witnesses are now standing in for perhaps as
11 many as four or five other witnesses each.
12 The second reason -- and that is the number of new names as
13 against the first list. The second reason is that, unfortunately, the
14 disclosure of new documents in this case go on even as the second Defence
15 took up its case. We are still receiving very many new documents from the
16 Prosecution. I'm not talking about exceptions, about a few documents, but
17 about a very large number of documents. These documents contain a great
18 deal of information which we did not have at our disposal during the
19 Prosecutor's case.
20 It is difficult to say whether some of this evidence could be left
21 for rebuttal, that is, rejoinder, because simply that is not specified by
22 the Rules. We think that while we are presenting our case, and as long as
23 we are finding out new facts from new material that we are getting, that
24 we can still adjust our Defence to that.
25 As for the time that you asked about, after two or three weeks we
1 shall try to see where we are. We have very little reserve. Some of the
2 witnesses in the last list, and that has been significantly cut down, are,
3 in a manner of speaking, standby witnesses, reserve witnesses, and if the
4 other witnesses provide us with enough material, then perhaps we shall be
5 able to strike some of them out.
6 If I may remind the Court, earlier during Kordic's Defence, we
7 discussed the disclosure of new documents by the Prosecution. We did
8 apply flexibility, especially since we had to move our Defence two weeks,
9 a fortnight, ahead, as against the earlier plan. So these are basically
10 the problems that we have to face up to.
11 I should like to tell Your Honours that if there were no new
12 disclosures, then we would have stood by our old list and we could say
13 that three witnesses from our earlier lists are now replaced by one
14 witness, and that will be it. Unfortunately, in view of the present
15 situation, we cannot do it. But I should like to assure you that we are
16 trying to behave as rationally as possible and that we do not intend to
17 bring up any new evidence except for reasons which are basic, which are
18 highly material to the Defence.
19 JUDGE MAY: It's up to you how you conduct your Defence, except
20 that you must give notice of witnesses, proper notice. And also we shall
21 expect you to finish on time, Mr. Kovacic. It may be that you will want
22 to review at the end of this week the order of witnesses or the number of
23 witnesses you call each week in order that we can call more and thus get
24 through them.
25 But let us begin now and get on. Your first witness.
1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Our first witness today will be
2 Mr. Ivica Markovic. He will be testifying about the developments in Novi
3 Travnik. In Cerkez's indictment, Count 2, persecution, he is charged for
4 the municipalities of Vitez, Novi Travnik, and Busovaca. With this
5 witness, we intend to round off the Novi Travnik charge. We already had a
6 witness before the break about Novi Travnik and Cerkez's position while he
7 was in Novi Travnik. This will be the second witness who will testify
8 about it from another angle. Following that, there will be no new
9 witnesses about Novi Travnik.
10 So I should like to call the witness, if possible.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
14 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: IVICA MARKOVIC
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Markovic, take a seat.
18 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Markovic.
20 A. Good morning to you.
21 Q. Will you please tell the Court your name, your date of birth, your
22 place of birth, for the record.
23 A. I am Ivica Markovic. I was born on the 7th of June 1947 in
24 Kiseljak, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. Thank you. Mr. Markovic, are you married?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I am married and father of three.
2 Q. And your education, what kind of education do you have?
3 A. I graduated from the High School of Commerce at the Faculty of
4 Political Sciences, Defence and Protection, and the high coaching --
5 school in football coaching.
6 Q. And this Department of National Defence was part of the Faculty of
7 Political Sciences in Sarajevo, was it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Markovic, before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where did you
10 work, Mr. Markovic?
11 A. Before the war, I worked for the Bratstvo company in Novi
13 Q. Bratstvo company in Novi Travnik was -- is the largest employer in
14 Novi Travnik; is that correct?
15 A. It is, and Novi Travnik began to grow as a town after the Bratstvo
16 company was founded.
17 Q. And the order of magnitude that we are talking about, what was the
18 staff of Bratstvo as we speak?
19 A. There are about 7.000 people employed by the Bratstvo.
20 Q. Would you agree with me that when the company's good at working,
21 that the town is alive and well?
22 A. That is quite true because there was no other branch of industry
24 Q. Mr. Markovic, I should now like to move on to the post you held in
25 1992 and 1993. Tell the Court, please, when were you the commander of the
1 municipality staff of the HVO in Novi Travnik?
2 A. I was its commander since its establishment until August of 1992.
3 Q. And after that, you were assigned to another post?
4 A. After that, I was the head of the defence office in Novi Travnik.
5 Q. And towards the end of the war, you held a third post, is it?
6 A. Towards the end of the war in 1993, I moved to the Stjepan
7 Tomasevic Brigade to become the head of the department for operational
9 Q. Was it in September 1993 until after the Washington Accords?
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. Thank you. What you have just told us it transpires -- no, let me
12 rephrase it. Is it then correct that this municipal HVO staff in Novi
13 Travnik was set up sometime in April 1992?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. But you did not become the commander on the first day, there was
16 another man for a short while; is it correct?
17 A. Yes, it was Jozo Ljubas for about ten days, and then I took over.
18 Q. In view of your academic degree and your earlier experience, you
19 were qualified for the job; isn't that correct?
20 A. Yes, I was. Since we didn't have any active duty military with
21 the professional military education.
22 Q. Tell us, please, at that time when the HVO staff was set up, what
23 was its purpose? Why was the staff established?
24 A. The staff was established as a body bringing together the Croat
25 people against the Serb aggression.
1 Q. And at that time, was it only the Croat people which defended
2 Bosnia against the Serb aggression or were there others too?
3 A. No. At that time, both the Muslim and the Croat peoples defended
4 Bosnia against the Serb aggression.
5 Q. And you were engaged in that defence together; is that correct?
6 A. It is.
7 Q. And the Muslim people, did they have an organisation for the
9 A. They inherited the Territorial Defence staff. That name, that is
10 the Territorial Defence from the former system, and there was a
11 coordination between those two bodies. There was regular coordination
12 between those two bodies.
13 Q. Thank you. A couple of words within that context about parties.
14 Were the strongest and largest political parties in Novi Travnik were the
15 HDZ and the SDA; is that correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. And other parties played a minor role?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. And the SDA rallied what ethnic group?
20 A. The SDA rallied the Muslim people.
21 Q. And what about the Croat people?
22 A. The Croat Democratic Union rallied the Croat people.
23 Q. In early 1992, and even before that, those two political parties
24 had different views on the prospects of war which then struck Bosnia.
25 Could you tell us in a couple of words what was the difference between
2 A. In the beginning, the Muslim people did not think that there would
3 be an aggression and that the JNA would attack Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 However, the Croat people, following the events in Croatia, realised that
5 would not be the end of the war and that the aggression would spill over
6 into Bosnia.
7 Q. In your view, was that why the HZ HB encouraged the establishment
8 of municipal staffs?
9 A. Yes, that is so.
10 Q. Municipal staffs also discharged a civilian faction in terms of
11 the organisation of defence; is that correct?
12 A. It is.
13 Q. And traditionally in our system, it was the matter for civilian
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. However, they also performed the military functions; that is, they
17 formed units for the defence against this aggression. Is that correct?
18 A. A goodish part of units had already been set up as village guards
19 in villages, and we tried to put them together and direct them to the
20 right place.
21 Q. Mr. Markovic, were you a member of the HDZ?
22 A. I was never a member of the HDZ.
23 Q. But a similar job to yours in the Novi Travnik staff, that is,
24 there was a similar organisation in other municipalities, neighbouring
25 municipalities; is that correct?
1 A. It is.
2 Q. Did you know Mr. Marijan Skopljak?
3 A. I knew Mr. Marijan Skopljak because he held the same post as I did
4 in Vitez, and in Travnik it was late Ivica -- his last name escapes me.
5 He died in the combat -- oh, yes, Stojak.
6 Q. Thank you. You mentioned village guards, but we shall come back
7 to that later. At that time, in the early days of the defence
8 organisation in Novi Travnik on both sides with one and the other people,
9 could you tell us who was the commander of the Territorial Defence?
10 A. The commander of the Territorial Defence was Saban Mandzuka.
11 Q. And when did he leave the TO?
12 A. Saban Mandzuka left the Territorial Defence, that is, that
13 particular post after the first conflict in Novi Travnik.
14 Q. And the first conflict in Novi Travnik was when?
15 A. I think it was June.
16 Q. You mean June 1992?
17 A. Yes, June 1992.
18 Q. Could you tell us in a couple of words why did Saban Mandzuka
19 leave the head post in the TO?
20 A. Saban Mandzuka worked with me, because in the earlier term of
21 office, 1982 to 1986, I was the TO commander and he was the commander of
22 operations. When I talked to Saban, he said he did not want to fight
23 against the Croat people and that that was not his war.
24 Q. Did this mean, in your view, that the extremist forces on the
25 Muslim side took over the leadership and that was why Saban left?
1 A. Well, judging by those who succeeded him, yes, you could say so.
2 Q. And after Saban, for a short period of time there was another man
3 who commanded the TO in Novi Travnik?
4 A. For a short time, it was Harbas Zuhdija. Before that, he was the
5 commander of the Stojkovici base. And that summer, he was succeeded by
6 Refik Lendo.
7 Q. So Refik Lendo was a professional soldier, wasn't he?
8 A. Refik Lendo came from the JNA as a professional.
9 Q. Was he from the area, was he native to that area, or did he come
10 from outside?
11 A. No, no, no. He came from the area. He came from Drenica but he
12 arrived during the preparations.
13 Q. Another time when he was assigned to that post, he did not live
14 there, he had just come back?
15 A. Yes, he had come back, but his family stayed back in Serbia.
16 Q. Thank you. You mentioned village guards. Shall we try to explain
17 those village guards. Who established the village guards, or rather, why
18 were they formed?
19 A. Every village formed its village guards. They patrolled villages
20 at night and protected villages against bandits and marauders who appeared
21 at that time.
22 Q. Can we agree that the village guards at that time, for reasons
23 that you mentioned, that at that time, Bosnia, the state, failed to
24 discharge its state functions?
25 A. At that time, the state has ceased to function.
1 Q. And the village guards, were they also set up because there was
2 still JNA units in the area?
3 A. In the immediate vicinity of Novi Travnik, there were JNA units
4 both at the Stojkovici base and at Slimena and on Vlasic.
5 Q. The municipal staff that we talked about, that is, the staff in
6 Novi Travnik, did it have any command role over those village guards?
7 A. We were just trying to set this up.
8 Q. Could you tell us in a couple of sentences what was the rub? Why
9 is it that you were trying? Does it mean that you failed or what?
10 A. Well, every village was a state unto itself. Everybody wanted to
11 defend only his own village, and our problem was the front against the
12 Serbs, to the JNA, which was in the neighbourhood. So we had problems
13 with replenishing some front lines because they were saying, "I shall
14 defend my village." But the village is not defended in the village;
15 sometimes it has to be defended five or ten kilometres away.
16 Q. Tell us, Mr. Markovic, in a manner of speaking, could we say that
17 the organisation of village guards by the force of inertia was merely the
18 continuation of the concept of All National Defence of the former
20 A. Yes, this was the consternation of that concert, because village
21 guards were established in all villages around Novi Travnik regardless of
22 the population in them. In a number of cases, they were even mixed.
23 Q. And you have no doubt in your mind whatsoever that they were
25 A. Oh, yes, that is quite certain.
1 Q. At that time, you organised units for concrete actions. We
2 already mentioned that. How did you and your staff form those units?
3 A. Well, we would call the commander of a village and tell him, "Give
4 us five, six, ten men, because we have to replenish the unit to face the
5 JNA," and they would assign five or ten men; sometimes by force, sometimes
6 some would refuse. And after completing the task, they would go back
8 Q. Within the command, you also at some point started developing
9 mobilisation lists which at first you did not have; is that correct?
10 A. At first there were no lists. But Mr. Senkic then arrived in the
11 command and I tasked him with keeping a notebook of the volunteers who
12 were coming daily to offer their services for the homeland.
13 Q. And it was from those lists that you were calling people for
14 certain operations.
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. At the time when you called him, such a person would become a
18 A. Yes, when he was given a task. And he was also provided with food
19 and other provisions.
20 Q. And after the task had been carried out?
21 A. Then they would go back home. The Bratstvo factory at that time
22 was not working very much anymore, and people just stayed and worked at
24 Q. Does that mean that when a person would come back from a certain
25 operation, back to his village, would this person now be a civilian again?
1 A. He was free during that period. He was a civilian.
2 Q. It would have been a matter of his own decision whether he would
3 join a fishing club or a chess club or go and do something else?
4 A. Yes. Until his next shift came up, he was free to do whatever he
6 Q. Perhaps we should save some time. This system was in force even
7 later when the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was established.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Markovic, during the war of 1992/1993, in Novi Travnik there
10 were several significant conflicts between the Muslim and Croat ethnic
11 groups. How many major conflicts were there during that period?
12 A. During that period there were three conflicts.
13 Q. Perhaps we should clarify. When did the first interethnic
14 conflict take place? Was it a real conflict or was it just a more serious
16 A. I would call it a limited incident because it was limited to only
17 several hours.
18 Q. Was that in June 1992?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What caused this incident?
21 A. In the morning, the barricades were erected on the road leading to
22 Bratstvo, and a second barricade was also set up on our part near the
23 town. I went to Mr. Mandjuka and we agreed that they both be dismantled
24 by 11.00 and that free passage be allowed. That was done.
25 Then I was informed that our flag had been taken down from the TO
1 command building, where we had our joint police forces. I asked
2 Mr. Mandjuka to order the flag taken back and he could not do it. And
3 then there was a conflict. No HVO forces were involved; only the HOS
4 forces were involved in this incident.
5 Q. When you first mentioned the order in which the barricades were
6 erected, who was the first to have erected the barricade?
7 A. It was the Muslims because it was their neighbourhood.
8 Q. And then you responded to that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The flags which you mentioned, were those the usual flags, flags
11 used at the time, or were they especially provocative?
12 A. I cannot give you an answer. We only had those flags. Those were
13 the usual flags.
14 Q. Also in regard to this first conflict, you mentioned HOS. Was the
15 HOS at that time within the control of the HVO?
16 A. No. They were an independent unit.
17 Q. At that time, was HOS a monoethnic force?
18 A. At that time, there were also Muslims within the HOS.
19 Q. Insofar as you knew at the time, how many Muslims were there?
20 Only a couple of them or many?
21 A. There were several of them. Those were Muslims who had been
22 fighting in Croatia and had come back home.
23 Q. Can you please tell us when the second conflict in Travnik took
25 A. Sir, the second conflict took place in October 1992.
1 Q. Can you tell us what caused that conflict?
2 A. The cause of that conflict was a gas station which was directly
3 behind the HVO headquarters, near the old hotel. The Muslims wanted us to
4 turn it over to them so that they could use it, even though we told them
5 that there was another station on the edge of town. And we wanted to
6 reach an agreement so that both sides could use both stations.
7 Q. Are you saying that each side used one of the gas stations?
8 A. They were on both ends of the town, and until that time, one could
9 freely use both of them. The amount of fuel was limited, but both sides
10 could use it if the proper orders were issued.
11 Q. Was that a general regulation that affected all population?
12 A. Yes, all population.
13 Q. Is it correct that this attack on the gas station was led by a
14 person who was known in the area by the nickname of Sosa?
15 A. Yes, and he was born in Drenica.
16 Q. And Drenica is part of the Novi Travnik municipality?
17 A. Yes, but towards Opara.
18 JUDGE MAY: There's been no evidence yet of any attack. All the
19 witness has said is that the conflict was caused by a Muslim demand that
20 they have the use of a gas station. Now, the witness should tell us,
21 before we go on to anybody leading an attack, what happened.
22 Now, Mr. Markovic, will you tell us what happened?
23 A. This gas station could not be turned over for their use because
24 then we would have had to move our headquarters from this old hotel.
25 MR. NICE: The LiveNote is not working. We're not getting a
2 [Technical difficulty]
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Markovic, we have a problem with the technology.
4 Mr. Kovacic, if you'd like to take a seat --
5 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir.
6 JUDGE MAY: -- while we try and sort this out.
7 Are we on line?
8 THE COURT REPORTER: Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Markovic, you said that the gas station couldn't
10 be turned over. Then tell us what happened.
11 A. After that, in the evening, an attack on the headquarters ensued
12 with the objective to take control of it, and also the radio relay
13 facility up on the hill.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Just so to clarify, who carried out the attack?
16 A. It was the Muslim forces.
17 Q. Mr. Markovic, what was the result of this conflict? How did it
18 end, and what was the situation following this conflict?
19 A. This conflict lasted for about seven days, until the ceasefire was
20 finally established. What it resulted in was the definitive division of
21 the town.
22 Q. So there was a line of separation established, and both sides, the
23 Croat and the Muslim, controlled one part of the town.
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. In this division, if I may call it that, under whose control did
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13 English transcripts.
1 the Bratstvo factory stay?
2 A. It remained under the Muslim control.
3 Q. The Croats, then, had no more access to it?
4 A. After the negotiations which followed that conflict, for a period
5 of time there were still mixed security units; that is, there was a
6 professional unit that was still going on for awhile. And after that, the
7 access was denied even to those employees.
8 Q. Mr. Markovic, who managed to negotiate this ceasefire, and how did
9 that happen?
10 A. From what I knew as the head of the HVO headquarters, it was
11 Mr. Blaskic, and Mr. Merdan, the Muslim commander in Zenica. That is who
12 we got our orders from.
13 Q. Does that mean that the ceasefire was reached by the military
14 structures at the higher level or at the level of Novi Travnik?
15 A. I don't know whether the negotiations were conducted at the level
16 of the civilian structures. We couldn't negotiate. There was fear.
17 Since there were dead and wounded involved, we all tried very hard to keep
18 up the ceasefire, which was finally established.
19 Q. When the ceasefire was established, how long did it last? In
20 other words, when did the third conflict take place in Novi Travnik?
21 A. The third conflict followed in 1993. I believe it was in June.
22 Q. How did that conflict break out?
23 A. For awhile we had a joint line at Kamenjas and Slatke Voda against
24 the JNA army in Donji Vakuf. Then before the conflict, the Muslims pulled
25 out their forces. We had to spread out in order to cover the entire
1 sector. Before the actual conflict, there was a village of Senkovici
2 which was mixed. We were denied access to it, we were unable to talk to
3 them, and then several days later an overall attack against Novi Travnik
5 Q. In this operation, the ABiH gained control over other Croat
6 villages in that area around town.
7 A. In addition to Senkovici, Margitici, and the village of Pecine,
8 which was under the ABiH control, and our unit which held the line against
9 the JNA at Kamenjas.
10 Q. Kamenjas was part of a front line north-west of Novi Travnik?
11 A. Yes, that is in the Bugojno/Donji Vakuf sector.
12 Q. Regardless of all this, Mr. Markovic, regardless of the front line
13 against the JNA but both forces stayed on that front line, isn't it so?
14 A. After the third conflict, our unit pulled out across the Serb-held
15 territory, they surrendered to the Serbs. It was forced by the ABiH and
16 then ABiH took over that part of the front line.
17 Q. So it was only in June of 1993 that the HVO completely abandoned
18 that part of the front line?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And as you said, this front line was abandoned due to betrayal of
21 the -- of your then partners?
22 A. They -- that is the solution that they decided on. The
23 communication lines at that time had been cut off and decisions were made
24 such as were made.
25 Q. Now, I want to focus you on the period between the second and the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 third conflicts between October 1992 and June 1993. Did it hold, this
3 A. More or less it did. Free movement was able. One needed
4 permissions, but there were no major obstacles.
5 Q. As far as the organised forces and the civilian structures of the
6 HVO and the BiH army, did those two armed forces ever have confrontation
7 during that period?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Were there any incidents in the town itself, criminal incidents?
10 A. Yes. Such occurrences were -- several, and we tried to prevent
11 them. There was a murder of an ethnic Muslim, another one was beaten up.
12 Those were incidents and we disciplined those who committed those
14 Q. Mr. Markovic, the victims were members of both ethnic groups; is
15 that correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct. Thieves usually don't take into account
17 ethnic background.
18 Q. So we can assume that the perpetrators were also members of both
19 ethnic groups?
20 A. Yes, it was mixed even though, in our area, there were very few
21 Muslim perpetrators.
22 Q. Very well. Can I please ask the usher to help me show the witness
23 Exhibit number D1/2.
24 Mr. Markovic, please take a look at this. Tell me, is this the
25 event that you just mentioned, or rather, is this one of the events that
1 we talked about?
2 A. This is one of the events that occurred in Novi Travnik; however,
3 I have to note that Juka, Zoran Jukic, nicknamed Juka, rather, before that
4 tried to rape one of our little girls. Before the war, he had a criminal
5 record. He did time in gaol, he was not a member. He was a member of HOS
6 but then he was kicked out of there too. So he was a freelancer so to
7 speak. He did not belong to a single unit, but what the document says is
8 the truth.
9 Q. So you know that during this incident a member of the military
10 police regrettably, when trying to take into custody this well-known
11 bandit Juka, did not manage to arrest him but had to shoot him?
12 A. Yes. He offered resistance and therefore they had to shoot him.
13 Q. Was this piece of news carried on local radio?
14 A. Yes, but the range of these radios was as it was.
15 Q. Thank you. When speaking of extremists in this area, is it true
16 that in the area of town, or rather in the immediate vicinity of town,
17 there were also Mujahedin?
18 A. Well, we encountered the Mujahedin later during the third
19 conflict. They were stationed in Mehuric near Travnik.
20 Q. That's the area that they moved in?
21 A. Yes, that's the area that they moved in. They did not enter the
22 lower part of town.
23 Q. The centre?
24 A. Yes, the centre.
25 Q. And to finish with this third conflict, I would like D72/2 to be
1 shown to the witness, please.
2 Mr. Markovic, please take a look at this graph. Could you also
3 give us your comments? Is it correct that this irregular red line to the
4 left of the words "Novi Travnik" is practically the line of separation
5 between the Muslim and the Croat forces in Novi Travnik after the second
6 conflict in 1992?
7 A. Yes, that is correct.
8 Q. So let us be quite clear on this. The HVO retained its presence
9 only in this right-hand upper corner of the municipality?
10 A. Yes. This was the line of separation after the second conflict
11 and that's the way it remained.
12 Q. I'm sorry, I didn't put this question clearly. Could you please
13 show the boundaries of the municipality with the pointer, please.
14 A. [Indicates].
15 Q. So all of this is the area of the municipality of Novi Travnik?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. And could you please show us which part you kept, only that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. To your right, the next municipality, is that Vitez?
20 A. Yes. To the left is Travnik and to the right is Vitez.
21 Q. Thank you. During this same period, that is to say, between the
22 second and third conflict, that is to say, between October 1992 and June
23 1993, that is to say, until you lost that part of the sector, it was the
24 Serbs that you mentioned. A line was held against the JNA Strikanci,
25 Kamenjas, Slatka Vode, whatever the names are?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You had divided sectors there. One part was kept by the BH army
3 and the other by the HVO?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. And you coordinated your activities in this respect?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. Earlier on in 1992, was there cooperation in terms of the
8 procurement of weapons and distribution of weapons when action was taken
9 against the JNA?
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. Certain resources were taken from the Bratstvo factory and were
13 A. Yes, evenly, evenly. That is to say mortars and other weapons
14 that were manufactured by Bratstvo.
15 Q. So can we say that the BH army and the HVO were equally supplied
16 from this source?
17 A. Yes, that's right. But there were also some illegal entries into
18 Bratstvo during the night, and I cannot ascertain who did this because
19 until before the war, I was commander of this civilian defence of
20 Bratstvo, this protection force of Bratstvo.
21 Q. So actually these burglaries and thefts started before the war?
22 A. Yes, before the HVO was set up.
23 Q. Thank you. Can we conclude this by hearing an assessment from
24 you. You are a participant in these events. There was a conflict between
25 the Croats and the Muslims. What was the basic reason for these
1 conflicts? Why was there all of a sudden a conflict between these two
2 nationalities in that area?
3 A. Well, this happened because of the large number of refugees that
4 arrived in the territory of Novi Travnik and this had disturbed the ethnic
5 balance. People were simply afraid that a certain ethnic group would
6 prevail. Then there were also the Mujahedin who did various things in
7 Travnik and also went to the front lines and carried out provocations
9 Then there were the refugees from Krajina. Lots of them came to
10 Travnik. The Serbs expelled them, and probably with a certain intention
11 in mind to disturb the ethnic balance. And I think that one of the
12 reasons for the conflict between the Croats and the Muslims is the
13 disruption of this ethnic balance.
14 Q. At that time, there were less and less resources; is that right?
15 Supplies from the surrounding republics, notably Croatia, became
16 increasingly difficult?
17 A. Well, all resources were limited from any point of view. It was
18 difficult to bring in supplies, and this is one of the reasons why the
19 larger population that came to exist required greater supplies.
20 Q. Thank you. Let us now move on to the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.
21 When was the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade founded, can you tell us that, and
22 on the basis of what?
23 A. The Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was established in December 1992 at
24 the order of Mr. Blaskic.
25 Q. This was an intermunicipal brigade of the HVO, wasn't it?
1 A. Yes. It was the only intermunicipal HVO brigade in Central Bosnia
2 because simply at that time there were not enough men to establish an
3 independent brigade.
4 Q. Intermunicipal means belonging to two municipalities. Which are
5 these two municipalities?
6 A. This was a joint brigade for the municipality of Vitez and
7 Novi Travnik.
8 Q. All other municipalities in Central Bosnia managed to establish
9 their very own brigades; is that right?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. Tell me, please, who was the first commander of the Stjepan
12 Tomasevic Brigade?
13 A. The first commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was Mr. Boro
15 Q. At the time when Malbasic was commander, was Mario Cerkez in the
16 command and which post did he hold, if any?
17 A. As far as I know, Mario Cerkez was in the brigade and, as far as I
18 know, he was chief of staff.
19 Q. When you say "chief of staff", you mean chief of staff?
20 A. Yes, I mean chief of staff.
21 Q. And ex officio, at the same time, he is deputy commander of the
22 brigade; is that right?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. Is it correct that at the beginning of February 1993, Malbasic was
25 transferred to Vares?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. And then he never returned to Novi Travnik; right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Is it correct that at that time, Mario Cerkez was appointed
5 temporary commander?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. To the best of your recollection, when was the decision passed or,
8 rather, the order that every municipality had to have its own brigade?
9 A. I think this was in March 1993 because it was simply difficult to
10 agree on -- to agree on how supplies could be procured for different
11 municipalities, and that was probably one of the reasons why it was
12 decided to establish separate brigades.
13 Q. Apropos while Cerkez was a member of the command and in fact
14 commander from December to March, the period that we are discussing, you
15 communicated with him being head of the defence department, didn't you?
16 A. Yes. At meetings of the civilian department of the HVO, the
17 government of the HVO.
18 Q. On which questions did you cooperate with Cerkez bearing in mind
19 your office?
20 A. Well, mainly about manning the brigade and also obtaining material
21 technical resources, things like that.
22 Q. On the basis of these contacts, could you conclude that this was
23 one of Cerkez's assignments in the command that he was supposed to provide
24 for the support of the municipalities?
25 A. Yes, that was my impression.
1 Q. On the basis of these contacts, do you also know that at the same
2 time, Cerkez communicated with your mentioned colleague, Marijan Skopljak,
3 for the same purpose?
4 A. We seldom had contacts, and by the very logic of matters, he would
5 always say at government meetings that after that, he would go to Vitez to
6 discuss the same matters.
7 Q. Thank you. Did anything change by way of substance in the
8 relations between the defence department and the brigade, the Stjepan
9 Tomasevic Brigade, when Cerkez became commander of this brigade, when from
10 being number two, he became number one?
11 A. Well, the transfer wasn't really felt. He simply had less time to
12 drop by.
13 Q. Do you agree that, at that time, the brigade had a sector of
14 defence against the JNA in the mountains to the north-west of Novi
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This activity was carried out regularly and in an organised
18 fashion; is that right?
19 A. Well, that's the way it had to be.
20 Q. The Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade had two battalions; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. How were they manned in relation to territories since you covered
23 two municipalities?
24 A. One battalion was provided by the Novi Travnik municipality
25 whereas the other battalion was provided by the municipality of Vitez.
1 Q. Were there any permanent members of the brigade?
2 A. Well, there was the command of the brigade and also logistics, the
3 supporting staff.
4 Q. Military staff, as far as going to the lines was concerned, how
5 was this organised?
6 A. They were called up from their homes and there was a certain
7 collection point and, from there, they were sent to the front line.
8 Q. Did the brigade have any accommodation facilities of their own
9 where the military would be stationed, like barracks?
10 A. There wasn't any such thing in the part of the municipality of
11 Novi Travnik that was under our control.
12 Q. When this military conscript would return from the front line, was
13 he still a soldier while at home?
14 A. He would be free until he were called up again.
15 Q. Well, we mentioned that before so let's not go back to all of
16 that. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina as opposed to the situation that you
17 had, did they have barracks and did they have permanent members of their
19 A. In the territory of Novi Travnik, the situation was the same with
20 the BH army as it was with us.
21 Q. And as regards the wider territory?
22 A. The barracks in Travnik was BH army barracks and -- well, Zenica,
23 I don't know about, so I can't really give you more extensive answer.
24 Q. So this was a barracks?
25 A. Of the former JNA.
1 Q. Which is now used by the BH army?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you have any problems with recruiting these men,
4 with calling them up in terms of numbers, in terms of their ability?
5 A. There were every day problems both in terms of call up and in
6 terms of their ability.
7 Q. Did you sometimes mobilise men who were above military age?
8 A. Men who, according to the old law, were not eligible were actually
9 being mobilised, and we even took in disabled men who had volunteered.
10 Q. Perhaps just a small matter by way of illustration. If a military
11 conscript whom you sent call-up papers to would not appear, what would
13 A. Well, I don't know which period you're referring to.
14 Q. I'm talking about the Tomasevic period, that is to say, until
16 A. Well, then, we would address a request to the military police and
17 then the military police would bring this military conscript in.
18 Q. Would the military police be able to carry this out?
19 A. Well, yes, for the most part, unless this person was in hiding.
20 Q. Before that, the staff in 1992, what would happen if somebody
21 would refuse to report?
22 A. Well, he would be criticised by his co-villagers. But otherwise
23 we couldn't do, really, anything about it.
24 Q. So it means regardless of the existence of summons, at that time
25 in 1992, one reported if he wanted to; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is. But we mostly summoned people who were on the
2 volunteer list.
3 Q. So they had reported themselves because they wanted to be called.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. In those contacts at the Stjepan Tomasevic time, did
6 you, with Mario Cerkez or Borivoj Malbasic before that, did you learn
7 anything about the military task of Cerkez regarding the organisation of
8 front lines?
9 A. Well, Mr. Borivoj Malbasic said that Mario had to be in touch with
10 me specially regarding the engineering works on the front line there, up
11 towards Kamenjas.
12 Q. The engineering works on the front line, he evidently needed some
13 support, that is, the machinery, materiel, so on and so forth, and the
14 municipality tried to provide it to him.
15 A. Yes, the municipality tried to provide it, but we mostly did it
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Markovic, you were a member of the civilian,
18 subsequently military structure of the HVO throughout the conflict in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Do you know if there was ever any policy or command
20 or order or a document, a request, put to us formally or informally to
21 persecute Muslim civilians, to harass them, that they are perhaps
22 second-class citizens or anything?
23 A. I know nothing about such orders, and I claim here under full
24 responsibility that I simply would not have been able to carry out such an
1 Q. If there was some informal policy in that direction, would you
2 have known about it?
3 A. Well, in view of the number of Muslims who had stayed behind in
4 Novi Travnik after the first conflict, I believe I would have known about
5 this because we were neighbours. As a matter of fact, I protected them
6 there throughout.
7 Q. Thank you. You took part in the various negotiations, resolution
8 of incidents in 1992 and 1993. You even mentioned some of those
9 specifically. You also had access to information regarding the
10 developments, that is, refugees exchanged, the wounded, so on and so
11 forth. You were wise to all these matters.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. At the end of the story, now that one looks at all these facts
14 together, could you tell us which people was most victimised in your area?
15 A. My opinion is that both peoples were victimised equally in the
16 area of Novi Travnik.
17 Q. In terms of the number of refugees, do you remember which people
18 had more refugees?
19 A. In Novi Travnik, I can speak only about Novi Travnik which was
20 under our control, we had some 20.000 refugees from Travnik and
21 neighbouring villages.
22 Q. You mean Croats.
23 A. Yes, Croats. But I couldn't really tell you about the upper
25 Q. Right. We showed this on the map so I'm not going back to that.
1 But from the end of April 1993, when the Vitez Brigade had already
2 separated, did the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade have along its flanks any
3 contact with the Vitez Brigade?
4 A. We had contact with the Vitez Brigade at Lazine, Zaselje. And
5 when necessary, we sent some replenishments for the Vitez Brigade to the
6 area of Zabrdze.
7 Q. That is where Gradina is too, isn't it?
8 A. Yes, yes, quite so.
9 Q. These replenishments, what it really meant was that these brigades
10 would step in depending on the necessity, depending on the pressure to
11 cover the weak spots, didn't it?
12 A. Yes. It changed from one case to another depending on what we
14 Q. But basically the interface of the two brigades was the municipal
15 boundaries; is that so?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And what you are telling us are exceptions from one case to
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. To conclude, Mr. Markovic, your plans before that unfortunate war,
21 were you planning to stay in Novi Travnik all your life?
22 A. I came to Novi Travnik when I was 35 and I thought that was the
23 last station in my life. I was planning to grow old there, and to die
24 there probably.
25 Q. At some point, you evacuated your family to Rijeka, to Croatia; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes. In 1992 I evacuated my family, when the JNA aircraft was
3 flying at supersonic speed. Then I realised what would happen and I
4 evacuated my family.
5 Q. I guess you were not the only one in the town who did that. It
6 was an all-round phenomenon.
7 A. Yes, everybody did that. All those who had wives and children,
8 they took them away. And we stayed behind to fight.
9 Q. But at some point you brought your family back from Rijeka to Novi
10 Travnik, didn't you?
11 A. Correct. I brought my family back after the second conflict and
12 negotiations, because I thought that the conflict between Muslims and
13 Croats was over for good. In January 1993, I brought my family back to
14 Novi Travnik.
15 Q. Throughout the conflict, you and your family were in Novi
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Mr. Markovic, would you have sent your family away again had it
19 been possible, and perhaps join them too after the conflicts resumed?
20 A. Well, had the way through been open, I guess I would have sent my
21 family away again, and a large number of people would have left too. But
22 we were surrounded, so there was no way out.
23 Q. When you were surrounded once and for all, you simply could not
24 leave the area as a civilian or a military or in any way.
25 A. Only as an exception, in agreement with the BH army, yes, some
1 wounded could leave. They would be transferred to Split on a couple of
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Markovic. I have no further questions.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I have finished.
5 MR. SAYERS: Just a few questions from Mr. Kordic.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Markovic. My name is Stephen Sayers. I believe
8 we met yesterday evening to discuss the facts that you know about this
9 case; is that right?
10 A. It is.
11 Q. Now, it's accurate to say, Mr. Markovic, that during the three
12 conflicts that you have described, June of 1992, October of 1992, and June
13 of 1993, Mr. Kordic was only in Novi Travnik during the conflict that
14 occurred in October of 1992; do I understand that correctly?
15 A. It is true that he was present in the conflict of 1992, I mean the
16 second conflict.
17 Q. Now, was Mr. Kordic, in your experience, a political figure, a
18 military figure, or both?
19 A. Mr. Kordic was a political figure and a political figure only, in
20 my view.
21 Q. Mr. Markovic, there has been some claim in this case that
22 Mr. Kordic was actually the military commander of the HVO forces in Novi
23 Travnik during the October 1992 conflict. Could you just tell the Court,
24 who was the commander of the HVO military forces in your town during that
25 time period, sir?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. During the second conflict, at that time the commander was Vlado
3 Q. Who was the overall commander of the HVO forces in Central Bosnia
4 in the October 1992, 1993, 1994 time period, sir, until the end of the
6 A. The commander of the military district was Mr. Tihomir Blaskic.
7 Q. You have testified, sir, that you were appointed to be chief of
8 the defence office in Novi Travnik at some point. Was that a military
9 position or a civilian position, sir?
10 A. That is a civilian duty. But I was at the same time responsible
11 for coordination with the military wing.
12 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I don't think that it's necessary to
13 take up time with these exhibits, but we'd just referred the Court's
14 attention to Exhibit Z345 and Exhibit Z577; the first exhibit being a
15 recommendation to appoint Mr. Markovic to the position that he just
16 described, signed by the Chief of the Travnik Defence Administration, Anto
17 Puljic, and the second document being the actual decision making the
18 appointment, signed by the head of the defence department, Bruno Stojic.
19 Q. When you became a member of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in Novi
20 Travnik, Mr. Markovic, is it accurate to say that the brigade commander
21 received his orders from the Operative Zone commander, Colonel Blaskic?
22 A. It is true that the brigade commander received orders from the
23 commander, that is, Colonel Blaskic. After my term as the head of the
24 defence department expired, I joined the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, and I
25 think it was the 21st of August, 1993.
1 Q. Did any commanders in your brigade at any time, to your knowledge,
2 ever receive orders from Mr. Kordic as opposed to the military commanders
3 you've identified?
4 A. At that time, when I was the head of operations and education, all
5 documentation went through me, and there was never such an order.
6 Q. Did you ever hear of a circumstance in which Mr. Kordic had ever
7 tried to give any orders to the members of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
8 at any time during the period in which you were a member of that brigade,
10 A. I never heard that. But I think that the chain of command was
11 clear, so there were no problems there.
12 Q. During the October conflict, Mr. Markovic, did you ever hear that
13 the main road to the east of Vitez had been blocked by ABiH forces,
14 specifically at the village of Ahmici, and that this blockade prevented
15 reinforcements headed westward, HVO reinforcements, that is, from
16 proceeding upon their way?
17 A. I learnt about it. I did not see it. But I learnt that units
18 from Busovaca and Kiseljak were not allowed to go to Jajce, because we
19 manned the front line at Jajce against the JNA.
20 Q. Mr. Markovic, did you ever hear Mr. Kordic make any threats in
21 relation to the village of Ahmici following this blockade incident on the
22 TV or radio or in any other way?
23 A. I neither heard nor saw it.
24 Q. Did anyone ever report to you or mention in passing that any such
25 threats had been made in any of the media?
1 A. I heard nothing about that.
2 Q. I believe, sir, that there was a meeting at the Grand Cafe, or the
3 Cafe Grand, in Novi Travnik during the October 1992 conflict. Do you know
4 anything about that?
5 A. At the Grand Cafe, on the third day of the conflict, rather the
6 third night, when I pulled out - because my units were protecting the
7 signals unit and some of the command had gone to the hotel, but I stayed
8 behind to protect the signals - we pulled out to send the materiel to the
9 old hotel, to the front line. That is where I found Mr. Kordic, Jozo
10 Sekic, Marinko Marelja, and Colonel Filipovic talking. I saw them
11 talking, but I was really too busy about other things, dealing with the
12 front lines, so I know nothing about the rest.
13 Q. All right. What was at the Cafe Grand? Did it fulfil any
14 function other than being simply a restaurant?
15 A. It was a coffee shop and a pizzeria in the true sense of the
16 word. In view of the conflict under way, the municipal hall was on the
17 front line itself, so that the whole administration had moved out. The
18 civilian police and even all the municipal staff moved into that building
19 where the civilian police was, in the lower part of the town. The Grand
20 Cafe was the Grand Cafe, and it worked throughout the war.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. Just a few questions in connection with the June
22 fighting that you described. The fighting erupted in Novi Travnik in
23 early June at about the same time that the ABiH had launched an attack on
24 the neighbouring municipality of Travnik, resulting in the 20.000 or so
25 refugees that you previously described; is that fair to say?
1 A. Yes, it is fair to say.
2 Q. Could you just give the Court an idea about the kinds of problems
3 that were caused by this massive influx of refugees into your municipality
4 from Travnik, sir? Just in general terms.
5 A. I can, yes. It was like an elemental force. More and more people
6 arrived every hour, women, children, soldiers, just with basic
7 necessities. It was general commotion, disarray, anarchy in the town.
8 There were no police or anyone who could regulate it. We had a terrible
9 problem because those people were breaking into flats, and they were
10 saying quite frankly, "Well, I lost a house. Why don't I enter it here?
11 You're protecting Muslims here." We had terrible problems there, but we
12 simply were not able to prevent it. We tried to protect people as long as
13 we could. We even accommodated people in our flats until it settled down,
14 until life went back to normal. But there was complete anarchy during
15 those days.
16 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, noticing the time, I have about, I
17 would say, five more minutes of questions. Do you want us to take a break
18 or just to proceed?
19 JUDGE MAY: That would be a convenient moment. We'll adjourn
21 Mr. Markovic, we're going to adjourn for half an hour. Don't
22 speak to anybody, please, about your evidence during the adjournment and
23 until it's over, and that does include members of the Defence team.
24 We'll be back, please, at half past eleven.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
3 Q. Mr. Markovic, before the break, you were just discussing the
4 impact of the influx of refugees into Novi Travnik from Travnik during the
5 early part of June of 1993. One incident that occurred at around the same
6 time was the Tuzla convoy or the Convoy of Joy as it travelled through
7 Novi Travnik June 9th, 10th, and 11th. Were you in Novi Travnik at the
8 time that the Tuzla convoy travelled through that municipality, sir?
9 A. Yes, I was.
10 Q. The suggestion has been made in this case, sir, that this -- the
11 apprehension of this convoy by Croats in Novi Travnik was carefully
12 organised, coordinated, and planned. Could you give the Court your
13 perspective since you were there on whether that analysis or that opinion
14 is a correct one or not.
15 A. That is not correct. The convoy was spontaneously stopped by the
17 Q. I believe that you, yourself, sir, were accosted and insulted by
18 an angry mob of people during this same time?
19 A. Yes, at Nevic Polje. That is where one of the part of the convoy
20 was stopped, and the other one was at the Vitez-Travnik intersection.
21 Q. Just a few final questions, Mr. Markovic. You were asked
22 generally whether you were aware of or had ever heard about any direct
23 policy or indirect advocacy of plan or campaign of persecution against
24 people of Muslim ethnicity or harassment of people of Muslim ethnicity.
25 Did you ever hear Mr. Kordic making insulting or pejorative comments about
1 Muslim people in any of the speeches that you heard him give in person or
2 through the media?
3 A. I first heard Mr. Kordic speak at the oath-taking ceremony in
4 Travnik and on that occasion he addressed the soldiers who were giving
5 oath, and invited that we should organise together with Muslims against
6 the aggressors and against the extremism of the Muslims, those who wanted
7 to take over Bosnia and -- for themselves.
8 Q. All right. But did you ever hear him subsequently or at that time
9 making comments of a pejorative or insulting nature against people of
10 Muslim background or advocating violence against them?
11 A. I never heard him say anything like that. He talked about
12 extremist individuals and such individuals were in our own ranks as well
13 as among the Muslims.
14 MR. SAYERS: Thank you very much, sir, no further questions.
15 MR. NICE: As Your Honour knows, coming on somewhat short notice of this
16 particular witness, I may not be quite as well organised as otherwise.
17 There may be gaps on what I hope won't be an extended cross-examination in
18 any event.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
20 Q. Let me just ask at the beginning so that I can understand your
21 position. In the early part of 1992, what were you doing, precisely, in
22 Novi Travnik?
23 A. I was the chief of a sector in the Bratstvo in charge of the
24 peoples' defence for the whole corporation.
25 Q. You were aware, of course, of the creation of the community of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Herceg-Bosna which incorporated Novi Travnik as one of its municipalities;
3 A. I was aware of it, but I was not actively involved in politics.
4 Q. At that stage, did this occur to you as an odd thing to be
5 happening that a Croat-dominated organisation would be taking as one of
6 its municipalities an area that had Muslims and Croats broadly in balance?
7 A. The Croats and Muslims shared the power until the establishment of
8 the HZ HB and then after that, the Croats pulled out of that. I think
9 that this was in response to the actions by the BiH parliament.
10 Q. Sorry, what actions? The parliament was still -- was an operative
11 government. Why, in an area where there were equal Muslims and Croats,
12 should the Croats suddenly withdraw and cleave to or cling to a Croat-only
13 type organisation. Can you help us with that?
14 A. It was said that if -- because the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
15 not functioning properly.
16 Q. Let's be blunt. Was the or was a pre-concern of the Croats of
17 Novi Travnik built on the fact that the factory in which you worked was so
18 large and so important?
19 A. Novi Travnik was composed of 18 different ethnic groups. It was a
20 multi-ethnic small town, and there were fewer Croats working for the
21 factory than members of other ethnic groups.
22 Q. Was the factory and its strategic importance the reason why the
23 HZ HB made Novi Travnik part of its community?
24 A. I don't know that.
25 Q. And we see that for long enough, as opposed to separate units, one
1 in Novi Travnik and one in Vitez, there was a joint HVO in Novi Travnik.
2 Why was that, do you think?
3 A. Excuse me, I did not understand about the question. I did not
4 understand about the joint HVO.
5 Q. Vitez and Cerkez were run from where, Novi Travnik initially and
6 then he moved to Vitez?
7 A. No, they were from Vitez and then they went back to Vitez.
8 Q. We'll come to the documents, if necessary, later. As to
9 Mr. Kordic, did you by any chance read a newspaper article by a man called
10 Cicak who spoke of Kordic forming a semi-military party in, amongst other
11 places, Novi Travnik? He published this article or this article was
12 published in March of 1992.
13 A. I did not read that article.
14 Q. Had Kordic been involved in military activities in Novi Travnik as
15 early as March of 1992?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Are you saying that he never came to Novi Travnik as early as
18 March of 1992?
19 A. I did not say that.
20 Q. Because we've heard from a witness called Zuljevic at page 22.606
21 that he met Mr. Kordic in Novi Travnik in March of 1992. Did you
22 encounter him there as early as that?
23 A. I said in my statement that I saw Mr. Kordic during the second
24 conflict on the third night of it.
25 Q. Did you see him there earlier in, for example, March of 1992?
1 A. Since I was involved in military affairs, he may have come to see
2 Mr. Jozo Sekic as a representative of HDZ for Novi Travnik.
3 Q. When you say that he was only a politician, you've identified who
4 you say were the military commanders, but who was commanding the military
5 commanders so far as Novi Travnik was concerned?
6 A. What period are you referring to?
7 Q. In March of 1992 and later. Start with March of 1992. Who was
8 commanding, which politician was commanding the military commanders?
9 A. In Novi Travnik, military commanders did not receive orders from
11 Q. Are you seriously saying that the military commanders are simply
12 running everything themselves?
13 A. We in Novi Travnik received our orders from Colonel Blaskic, and
14 whether he was receiving his orders from others, I do not know, nor do I
15 feel that I had to know that.
16 Q. Because by the spring of 1992, your position was merely -- the
17 spring of 1992 your position was what?
18 A. I was the chief of staff from the establishment of the staff, that
19 is the headquarters.
20 Q. Chief of staff of the headquarters of what? Sorry it's my mistake
21 entirely, not yours.
22 A. Croatian Defence Council.
23 Q. And even in that position, you had no knowledge of which
24 politician was running the armed conflict?
25 A. I know who was a politician and the -- and when the first conflict
1 broke out, that was a spontaneous one, and after that, we received orders
2 from Colonel Blaskic and politicians did not issue any orders.
3 Q. I see. And are you telling us, just so that we can understand it,
4 that politicians, in your judgement, took no part in this armed conflict
5 at any stage between June of 1992 and the summer of 1993?
6 A. At the level at which I worked, no. And I have no wider knowledge
7 of this.
8 Q. You certainly know of no politician superior to or senior to
9 Mr. Kordic operating in your area, do you?
10 A. Mr. Kordic was the president of the Croatian Community of Central
11 Bosnia, and I believe that he was the most powerful politician in the
13 Q. All right. Would you accept that he may have indeed visited the
14 area quite regularly in the early part of 1992 as we've heard from another
15 witness, and that when he arrived, he'd arrived in military -- he would
16 arrive in military uniform and with military escort?
17 A. I saw him wearing a military uniform only at the time when the
18 third conflict broke out.
19 Q. Well, just to complete that, are you accepting that you saw him in
20 Novi Travnik in the spring of 1992, yes or no? If so, how was he
22 A. I saw him and he was wearing civilian clothes in early 1992.
23 MR. NICE: For the Court's benefit, it's pages 7245 and 7246 that
24 cover this.
25 Q. Can we move, then, to a particular incident of which you must be
1 aware, I will suggest to you, and that's April or May of 1992 when Kordic
2 visited the Bratstvo factory and left it with two rocket launchers. Now,
3 with your position at the time and your experience at the factory, you
4 must have known about that.
5 A. Yes, I learnt about that case.
6 Q. He came there with a number of armed soldiers; correct?
7 A. With him were soldiers, yes. Well, let's put it that way, that
8 there were soldiers around him.
9 Q. Basically, he took a couple of bits of very valuable weaponry by
10 force, didn't he?
11 A. The manager, Husein Sahinovic, who was my superior, told me that
12 the documents were all in order, that the weapons left the factory in a
13 legal way.
14 Q. Was it rumoured at the time that Kordic had threatened that he
15 would use force if these weapons weren't handed over to him for Croatia's
17 A. People who worked in the security service at Bratstvo and their
18 superiors, including myself, were unaware of this.
19 MR. NICE: I'm not going to run through the evidence. The Court
20 will have it in mind and it will be referred to in closing arguments, of
22 Q. By May of 1992, we've heard that the municipality government in
23 Novi Travnik was all in the hands of Croats because other previously-
24 elected officials had been replaced. Can you help us with that, please?
25 A. Can you please just say again what period --
1 Q. About May --
2 A. -- is involved?
3 Q. -- May of 1992. The end of May, maybe the beginning of June.
6 Q. Can you help us, please, with how it came about that elected
7 officials were replaced by Croats?
8 A. Until May, the authority was a mixed structure, and Mr. Salih
9 Krnjic was in charge. I was at that time working at Bratstvo and I didn't
10 know all the details. But as far as the replacements are concerned, the
11 Muslims had left their positions in the joint government, and then other
12 people were brought in.
13 Q. Was that because they were told to leave, and if so, by whom?
14 A. That is not what I heard, that that was so. It was their own
16 Q. Can you explain to us, please, why, in a town with a broad match
17 of the two ethnic groups, one ethnic group should simply abandon its
18 positions of authority?
19 A. I don't know. They should be asked that.
20 Q. What you're telling us isn't true, is it? You know that people
21 were forced out because the HVO was taking over.
22 A. Our people were not forced out. In Novi Travnik, there were
23 people who left there even -- who remained there even after the third
24 conflict. And I'm happy to say that they continue to live there to date.
25 Q. But those in public office, for some reason, you seem to accept,
1 did leave their jobs?
2 A. They established a parallel government.
3 Q. We come to the first conflict. Just explain it again to us. What
4 was the problem, a flag?
5 A. We agreed in a peaceful manner, the commander of the TO and
6 myself, and that was in the morning. In the afternoon, the flag was taken
7 down from the building where there were joint police forces and the joint
8 headquarters, and this is what caused the conflict.
9 Q. Were you aware that Izetbegovic at the same time was declaring war
10 on behalf, as it were, of both communities in their fight with the Serbs?
11 Were you aware of that?
12 A. I was aware of it.
13 Q. Just so that we've got the picture, the Croats in Novi Travnik
14 were more preoccupied with the issue of a flag that reflected interethnic
15 disquiet than they were with the war that should be fought by both parties
16 against a common enemy; is that right?
17 A. I couldn't agree with you, sir, because at that time Croats were
18 already manning front lines against the Serbs, and they stayed there until
19 the end.
20 Q. Let's pick up, so that we can deal with matters broadly,
21 chronologically, the village guards. They'd come into existence by this
22 time, hadn't they?
23 A. Yes, they were already in existence before the HVO headquarters
24 was established.
25 Q. Now, you told us that the military were either independent of the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 politicians, or alternatively you didn't know what the politicians' role
2 in the activities of the military was. But the village guards weren't
3 acting as uncoordinated and independent units, were they?
4 A. As far as the village guards are concerned, every village acted on
5 their own. There was no coordinated action in that regard.
6 Q. Are you really telling us that there was no supervision, no
7 direction of any kind by the HVO?
8 A. Only after the HVO was established; that is, 10 or 15 days later,
9 it started happening; that is, we started to incorporate those units.
10 Q. Yes. Then, of course, they were fully incorporated and
12 A. They were not fully incorporated. They were occasionally sent to
13 the front line against Serbs.
14 Q. (redacted)
15 (redacted) Busovaca in June 1992
16 were found in the Novi Travnik area saying they'd been sent there by
17 Kordic. Can you think of anything that would explain that, please?
18 A. In the first conflict, there were no soldiers brought from
19 outside. Maybe they were passing through, either through Drenica or Opara
20 or some other place, but I don't know of that.
21 Q. Now, your town is pretty small, and no doubt if somebody was going
22 around using a loudspeaker in the course of this first conflict, most
23 people would hear the loudspeaker; would you accept that?
24 A. At the beginning, we had something that pertained to the entire
25 town, so I did not even hear of a loudspeaker being used.
1 Q. Well, did you hear a loudspeaker at some stage trying to tell the
2 Territorial Defence forces that they had been ordered by Zenica,
3 effectively, by the Zenica authorities, to surrender to the HVO? Do you
4 remember that being broadcast to them?
5 A. The centre was under my command. In the basement, I did not hear
6 of this. I did not hear of this, nor was anything like that broadcast
7 over a loudspeaker.
8 Q. Because, of course, it would have been entirely false had such a
9 broadcast been made, and I just wondered if you can recollect that that
10 was one of the techniques used to try and get the Muslims to surrender to
11 the HVO.
12 A. At that moment such technical devices were not used. The first
13 conflict lasted for a few hours, so there wasn't enough time. This broke
14 out just spontaneously, so nothing like that was used.
15 Q. Well, this first conflict, and I'm now going to pass from it, was
16 associated with the enforced subordination of the Muslims to the Croats,
17 wasn't it? And you know that to be the position.
18 A. No, no, there was no enforced subordination. We were two
20 Q. In August there was a rally in Novi Travnik with soldiers taking
21 the oath; do you remember that?
22 A. I remember that. I prepared that oath-taking.
23 Q. Mr. Kordic was there; correct?
24 A. He was there as a guest.
25 Q. Did his speech include an assertion that Novi Travnik would soon
1 be Croatian?
2 A. No. I told the Defence counsel that Mr. Kordic said that we
3 should get ready for a final conflict against the Serb aggressor and the
4 extremist part of the Muslim people, if this cannot be avoided. The
5 commander of the future BH army was there also as a guest, Mr. Refik
7 Q. Can you think of anything that could have been interpreted or
8 misinterpreted as a promise by Mr. Kordic that Novi Travnik would soon be
9 a Croatian area?
10 A. I did not draw such a conclusion from his speech.
11 Q. By October of 1992, a conflict between the groups had worsened,
12 hadn't it?
13 A. Could you please clarify that question? Between what groups?
14 Q. Well, between the Croats and the Muslim groups. By October 1992.
15 Just let me -- sorry. Please answer.
16 A. The break between the first and the second conflict involved only
17 a few individual incidents from both sides. There weren't any meaningful
18 actions between the first and the second conflict.
19 Q. The second conflict, how do you say it was started?
20 A. The second conflict started by an attack of the BH army - it was
21 already an established army - against the communications centre and the
22 HVO headquarters. It was preceded by the blockade of the mixed village of
23 Senkovici. That's when the attack followed.
24 Q. If that's right, and I'm not accepting that for a minute, can you
25 explain how, and this is the evidence we've heard from a man called
1 Halilovic, as early as October 1992 his apartment was searched by force by
2 the HVO, and cars were being taken by force by the HVO and people's
3 property was being stolen? Can you explain how that happened, if it's
4 right that it did?
5 A. There were individual cases, that cannot be denied. But this was
6 not done by the HVO, this was done by extremist individuals from the HVO
7 as well. But there was never a general order that was issued, a general
8 order of that kind.
9 Q. It may again be in October of 1992 that Muslim buildings in the
10 part of your town, was it known as Bar or Bare and in the suburb of
11 Rtanjska were destroyed? Do you remember those incidents?
12 A. Those buildings were destroyed when the conflict broke out.
13 Q. So what part of the conflict? Why was it necessary in this
14 conflict to destroy those buildings?
15 A. Because action was taken from those buildings.
16 Q. Let's just look at what you're saying. You're saying as to the
17 cause of the conflict itself that it all had to do with the mixed village
18 of Senkovici. Well, that doesn't involve taking action from these
19 particular buildings that were destroyed by the HVO, does it?
20 A. Before that, there was an attack on the communications centre and
21 headquarters, the command post.
22 Q. Or is the position that the HVO was simply establishing and
23 consolidating its power on this town?
24 A. The HVO held only part of the town. After the end of the
25 conflict, the HVO fortified the lines against the Muslims.
1 Q. And I think is the position this, that by October of 1992, the HVO
2 had already been sandbagging buildings. Would that be about right, in
3 preparation for what was to come?
4 A. No, there were no such preparations.
5 Q. Only two other things about the October conflict, and I'm dealing
6 with this evidence as swiftly as I can. What was Mr. Kordic doing there?
7 A. The second conflict, let me repeat this. I saw Mr. Kordic when I
8 got out after two days and three nights where we were under fire, I
9 managed to get out. I came there to inform the commanders in the hotel,
10 and they were sitting, the representatives of the municipality together
11 with the Kordic at the Grand Cafe.
12 Q. What was his role there?
13 A. I went in there to inform the president of the municipality. I
14 went home to change my clothes. I was not present. I didn't know what
15 they talked about.
16 Q. You were involved in the conflict because you now held quite a
17 senior position, didn't you?
18 A. Well, I did take part -- I mean I did not take part in the
19 conflict, but as a member of the civilian government, I remained with a
20 unit to protect the centre and the old headquarters.
21 Q. You must have had an interest in the outcome of the conflict and
22 how it was being solved if it was being solved.
23 A. Well, I was interested in the outcome because I was praying to God
24 that it stopped as soon as possible.
25 Q. The conflict lasted about seven days, from the 19th to the 26th of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 October. Will you accept that?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. So that the 20th of January [sic] is pretty early on in the
5 A. I did not understand the question.
6 Q. The 20th of October is the second day of the conflict. It's early
7 on in this conflict.
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. And there are two bits of evidence that I'd like your comment on
10 if you feel you can help us. I needn't even trouble you with the
11 documents because the Court has seen them sufficiently.
12 One is a document dated the 21st of October over both Blaskic's
13 and Kordic's names saying that Kordic and Blaskic were in Novi Travnik
14 leading the operations with deep knowledge of the situation. The second
15 piece of evidence comes from the day before when a British colonel,
16 Lieutenant Colonel Stewart, found Kordic in military fatigues without an
17 insignia but apparently in charge in Novi Travnik.
18 Now, this is the beginning of the seven-day conflict. Kordic is
19 there in military fatigues setting out the terms of the conflict, and
20 subsequently his name appearing on the document saying he's leading the
21 military operations with Blaskic. Think back, please. What's the truth?
22 A. I said, and that is the truth, that I saw Mr. Kordic on the third
23 day after I managed to pull out of the old hotel building, the former
24 headquarters. He had no insignia that day at the centre. As for
25 Mr. Blaskic, since we were the front line constantly under fire, nobody
1 ever came there. Whether he was there a day before that or not, I don't
2 know, but I saw him on that day. He was talking to the president of the
3 municipality. He stopped by at that moment and Colonel Filipovic was
4 there too.
5 Q. So you're not able to help us one way or another with Mr. Kordic's
7 A. As far as I know, Mr. Kordic was president of the Croat Community
8 of Herceg-Bosna, or rather at that time this Croat Community of Central
9 Bosnia was formed and he was the leading political figure in Central
10 Bosnia as far as the Croat people was concerned.
11 Q. But this conflict with which you were intimately concerned and
12 which you wished was over was the subject of efforts of obtaining a
13 cease-fire. Can you think of any reason why Mr. Kordic should be dealing
14 with that if he was just a politician?
15 A. As a politician, he is probably duty-bound to take care of his
17 Q. Do you know a man called Bozo Rajic?
18 A. There are several Bozo Rajics.
19 Q. Another vice-president along with Dario Kordic's political party.
20 Do you remember him?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Very well. Let's move on. Just so that the Chamber can have a
23 picture of the town, and Your Honour will be pleased to know that in
24 cooperation with Mr. Kovacic, we may be able to provide you with some
25 video footage of various locations that may assist you, one of which is of
1 this factory.
2 This factory is on one side of the town; indeed, it's almost out
3 of the town, isn't it?
4 A. It's outside town.
5 Q. And it's big enough to take a minute or so to drive by. It's a
6 very substantial place indeed.
7 A. The factory is pretty big. I think that perhaps more than a
8 minute would be needed to drive by it.
9 Q. It's the largest of its type, what, in the area or in the former
10 Yugoslavia or what? You tell us.
11 A. This is military production, special purpose military production.
12 It was the biggest factory of its kind in Central Bosnia.
13 Q. Was that the reason I'm going to suggest to you that this merited
14 Mr. Kordic's personal attention? It was a very, very important prize if
15 it could be won.
16 A. We did not plan to take the factory. There were no such plans.
17 Q. Really? Never?
18 A. For sure. I claim that with full responsibility.
19 Q. You were happy for the Muslims to retain control of this factory,
20 were you?
21 A. I expected that factory to remain a joint factory before the
22 conflict with the Serbs and that we -- it would be easier for us to defend
23 ourselves together.
24 Q. Let me move on to January of 1993. There is a document we've
25 already seen, so we needn't trouble you with it unless you want to look at
1 it. It's Exhibit 345. It's the proposal that you should be appointed to
2 your position. Amongst the signatories, we can see Mr. Kordic's signature
3 giving his consent to your appointment. Why was his consent necessary to
4 your appointment to this military task, please?
5 A. Because the HVO establishment was just starting and somebody had
6 to initiate it.
7 Q. Isn't the reality that the HVO was subordinate to the political
8 party in all ways and one of them was the appointments of people like you?
9 A. The HVO was not subordinated to the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna. The HVO is an organisation of the Croat people, and it was
11 not a pre-condition to be a member of the HDZ in order to defend the
12 interests of the Croatian people in Central Bosnia and to be within the
13 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
14 Q. Can you look, please, I don't know if we've given the associates
15 any notice of this, Exhibit 353.1. I'm afraid this is an English
16 document, Mr. Markovic, but I'll explain to you and read out the relevant
18 This is a military information document from the Cheshire Regiment
19 of British soldiers. It's dated the 8th of January, and it's the third
20 sheet that I'd like to look at, please, on the top part of the page.
21 While that's being laid on the overhead projector, you'll
22 understand that these are contemporaneous reports by part the United
23 Nations military presence. Now this is for the 8th of January. It says
24 this: "A team reported that tensions are still high in Novi Travnik. A
25 local Croatian source stated that he believed the Croats in Novi Travnik
1 were going to try and instigate trouble amongst the Croats and Muslims."
2 And then there is a comment which is of source separate from the
3 course of the information, and the comment of the British officer is to
4 the effect that if the talks in Geneva are unsuccessful, they may use this
5 as a reason to initiate troubles amongst Croats and Muslims.
6 Going back to the report, it says, "The liaison officer," who is
7 one of the soldiers, "stated he now believed that Refik Lendo, a BiH
8 commander, is no longer going to leave Novi Travnik for Visoko. It's
9 reported he will become second in command and command the BiH HQ in Novi
10 Travnik. And then it goes on to deal with Zaim Belimi.
11 But I want your comment on the first part. January 1993, tensions
12 still high. Would you agree with that?
13 A. There was high tension in spite of the cease-fire. It was always
14 there after the second conflict, I mean, between the second and the third
16 Q. What about his comment that a source had stated that, "The Croats
17 were going to try and instigate trouble"? Were you aware of Croats having
18 it in mind to instigate trouble?
19 A. I did not know that Croats had orders to instigate troubles. This
20 is a personal view taken by the gentleman who sent this kind of report to
21 his government.
22 Q. He's based on something he was told by a Croat. Can you think of
23 any Croats who might have said things like that to a member of the
24 International Community?
25 A. I cannot think of anyone.
1 Q. Before we come to the third phase of Novi Travnik, I want you to
2 deal with one other topic and it concerns the outbreak of fighting in
3 April. What do you know about that or did it come to you as a complete
4 surprise? 1993.
5 A. Well, in Novi Travnik, after those two conflicts, we already
6 realised and had learnt our lesson that it could bode well, and you could
7 see in Novi Travnik that the conflict began two months later than in other
8 places because there was adequate mutual respect and understanding.
9 Q. But I want your help with the conflict of the middle of April
10 itself. Did that conflict come as a complete surprise to you, the Ahmici
11 and associated fighting?
12 A. That conflict surprised me but then I learned that the roadblock
13 had been put up there to prevent the passage of forces to Jajce, then it
14 was only logical to remove that roadblock.
15 Q. Well, that's on the 16th of April, isn't it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You had no knowledge before the 16th of April that a conflict
18 might develop?
19 A. No.
20 MR. NICE: If the witness could see a new document which has a
21 draft translation, 671.3. I'll show you that first.
22 Q. You accept, don't you, Mr. Markovic, that the fighting in Ahmici
23 started on the morning of the 16th of April of 1993?
24 A. I learned that at a later date.
25 Q. If you look at this document that's coming your way, 671.3, for
1 which we have a draft translation, I think this is your document and it's
2 dated the 16th of April, and it says order to carry out mobilisation, and
3 the content of it says, paragraph one, "All armed forces have been
4 mobilised to 100 per cent strength. All conscript units have been
5 mobilised to 100 per cent strength. Compulsory work service has been
6 reduced to a minimum. Unit of civilian defence has been mobilised.
7 Reserve manpower for the reinforcement of the armed forces of the HVO as
8 circumstances require has been designated."
9 So that's what you achieved, but if we now look at the beginning
10 of the document, we see this in connection with the official document
11 numbered and dated the 15th of April. Why had you been instructed before
12 the 16th and on the 15th of April to achieve 100 per cent mobilisation?
13 A. We were ordered, the offices through the Central Bosnia
14 department, we received the order to carry out mobilisation and to raise
15 the level of combat preparedness to the highest level. That was all that
16 we received.
17 Q. But why, please? You've told us that the violence on the 16th of
18 April came as a surprise.
19 A. What happened in Ahmici later on surprised me. I didn't know
20 about it, nor did my superior, my commander. I was the head of the
21 defence office. Nor was my superior bound to explain it to me.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, is that official document available,
23 the 15th of April?
24 MR. NICE: I don't think I have the 15th of April. But I am able
25 to help a little further with -- and if it is available, of course I'll
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 produce it. But I am able to help a little further with probably -- well,
2 with something about that document. I wonder if the witness could now see
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic.
5 MR. KOVACIC: I would appreciate it if the Defence would be given
6 such a document. We've never seen it before.
7 JUDGE MAY: I understand the other document isn't available.
8 MR. NICE: I think not, Your Honour. This, of course, is partly
9 the problem of coming to the witness very late, and it was the witness'
10 name that threw up the document, I think. And then I think from that
11 other document we've traced some others. But in the time available, it
12 may be that the document of the 15th, as it went to this witness, is not
13 available. I see Mr. Kovacic is still on his feet.
14 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may add one question. It is, of
15 course, what is now trying to be presented is what is first, the chicken
16 or the egg. The problem is that Novi Travnik is in the indictment. There
17 is a charge in the indictment that Cerkez is responsible for persecution
18 in Novi Travnik. This is a clear document connected to the Novi Travnik
19 activity of the civilian authority and the HVO, so it would be reasonable
20 to expect that we have been given that document, whether we brought this
21 witness or not. This is simply a question of discovery.
22 We are not opposing this document, we are happy to see that
23 document, but we should have been informed about that document. That's my
24 only point. We are constantly dealing with a lot of new documents and we
25 don't know where we are.
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I agree.
2 MR. NICE: If I can come back to 658.2. Yes, please, if the
3 witness would like to look at this.
4 Q. This is not a document that specifically relates to Novi Travnik,
5 but I want you nevertheless to look at it. This is a document from Gavro
6 Maric, received in Travnik on the 2nd of June. It says here: "In keeping
7 with item 6 of the Order of the Head of the Travnik Defence
8 Administration, no. 02-11-0261/93, of 15 April 1993, we hereby inform you
9 that we received the above on 15 April 1993 at 2000 hours," in the
11 If you would then be good enough to have a look at 671.2, we see
12 Gavro Maric's reply or report, which, although not word for word the same
13 as yours, is similar in effect and it reports mobilisation of all units of
14 the armed force, reinforcement of conscript units, and so on.
15 So I want you to look at those two documents and see if you would
16 comment on the possibility that it was at about 8.00 in the evening of the
17 15th of April that you may have received the order that led to your
18 document of the 16th of April. What do you think about that, please?
19 A. These last two documents address Busovaca and Travnik, and I don't
20 know about that. I mean, they are two -- that is, three different
22 Q. Were you aware that all municipalities were being put on the alert
23 at the same time? What I'm suggesting to you, or at least inquiring of
24 you, really, because these are your documents, they're not ours, is
25 whether, thinking back, it may have been at about 8.00 on the night of the
1 15th of April that you were put on full alert?
2 A. Well, we did as ordered or, rather, as commanded by the head of
3 the department for Central Bosnia, and no further activities were
5 JUDGE MAY: The question is: Was it at about 8 p.m. on the
6 15th of April that you were put on full alert?
7 A. I cannot remember the date, but I do think that that was the day,
8 and we acted as ordered by our commander, Colonel Blaskic.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. I would put, since these documents have now been turned up and for
11 completeness, although the witness may not be able to help us with it, one
12 other document in the series, 694.2.
13 Now, this - I accept it's not your document; it comes from Marijan
14 Skopljak - relates to the Vitez Brigade, and it refers to the same order
15 number, 261/93, and speaks of the 16th of April. Now, that would be one
16 day later than the other two. Are you aware of any reason why the Vitez
17 Brigade should either have been alerted one day later or should be putting
18 out a document suggesting that it was put on full alert one day later?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Is the position this, Mr. Markovic: that in April of 1993, all
21 municipalities were alerted to the forthcoming attacks at Ahmici?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Well, help me with this: We're dealing with a very small
24 geographical area, aren't we? How long does it take to get from Novi
25 Travnik to Vitez by car?
1 A. Twenty minutes.
2 Q. At the most. It could be less. And then from Vitez to Ahmici,
3 it's about four minutes, five minutes, by car; would you accept that?
4 A. Well, ten, thereabouts.
5 Q. Can you think of any reason why -- well, I'm going to suggest it's
6 much less than that, but never mind. Can you think of any reason why a
7 military commander, requiring a neighbourhood of municipalities to be put
8 on military alert, wouldn't tell the military commanders why? Can you
9 think of any good reason why, in these geographically small-scale
10 circumstances, you weren't told why you were put on alert?
11 A. Sir, at that time I was the head of the defence office and I was a
12 link between the military and the civilian authority. I was not familiar
13 with the orders of Colonel Blaskic, except that I received the order for
14 mobilisation, but that was following a different channel.
15 Q. Yes, but you responded to it. You mobilised the forces or you
16 ensured that they were mobilised. That was within your ordinary range of
17 responsibility, was it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In mobilising forces, surely you've got to have some idea of what
20 they're going to be doing, don't you?
21 A. I did as ordered, and the order did not contain any reasoned
23 Q. No, but just think back to this experience, no doubt unique in
24 your life. If you're being asked to mobilise forces, surely you need to
25 know what they're going to be doing, don't you? You've got to be able to
1 tell the commanders or discuss with the commanders; you've got to know
2 about equipment; you've got to know where to prioritise your activities,
3 if there is priority to be given to one rather than another? Surely
4 you've got to know a little bit about what you're doing.
5 A. I suppose I would have known had I been the commander at the time,
6 but at that time I wasn't the commander.
7 Q. Was this the only mobilisation of forces that you'd done, please?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I see.
10 MR. NICE: If Your Honour would just give me a minute.
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour, we are still searching for the 15th of
13 April document. We may have it. If we have, it will probably only be in
14 B/C/S at the moment, but I'll do everything I can to get it available by
15 2.30. Even if I finish with the witness, as I may well have done, it
16 might be prudent just to keep him back until then.
17 Q. Just one last point on this before we move on. All matters in
18 this locality were under the general control of the Travnik regional
19 office, weren't they?
20 A. That is pursuant to hierarchy, the chain of command. The regional
21 office, their department was in Vitez, not in Travnik. And in Novi
22 Travnik, in Novi Travnik, there was a defence office which was responsible
23 for mobilisation.
24 Q. Well, I'm going to move on.
25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, obviously I'm --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Before you move on.
2 MR. NICE: Yes, of course.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'd like to ask the witness whether, in the
4 document of the 15th of April, he was asked to ensure that mobilisation
5 was to 100 per cent.
6 Were you specifically asked or required to ensure that
7 mobilisation was to 100 per cent?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Thank you.
10 MR. NICE: The Court will recognise that I can only, and I'm sure
11 the Court will be content about this, touch on selected points in the
12 overall Novi Travnik history.
13 Q. Let's move to, as you describe it and as others, indeed, have
14 described it, I think, the third phase of the conflict in Novi Travnik in
15 June. You haven't told us anything so far about the Stari Soliter
16 building. That's one of, I think, three high-rise blocks of flats, isn't
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And it's slam-bang in the middle of town.
20 A. It is 50 metres from the separation line.
21 Q. We've heard that a number of Muslims were detained there for a
22 long period of time; do you accept that?
23 A. On the top of the building, there were Muslims that were not
24 detained but who also refused to come down and to be enabled to cross over
25 to the other part of the town.
1 Q. Their release was conditional upon the movement of Croats from
2 villages where they were in a minority; would you accept that?
3 A. The condition was to liberate Senkovici, to release the population
4 of Senkovici and to be allowed to come into town, because no conversation
5 or meeting with them was allowed. They were simply saying they wouldn't.
6 But then it turned out differently.
7 Q. Again, I'm going to take this very shortly. Was it really the aim
8 of the HVO, by the time of the third part of the conflict in Novi Travnik,
9 to ethnically cleanse areas, including to ethnically cleanse Croats so
10 that they were always in majority units rather than minority units?
11 A. No, that was not the objective. And we could not cleanse the
12 ground or anything since we were completely surrounded by the Muslim
13 forces. The only link was exposed to sniper fire, and that link was to
14 Vitez. The detained [as interpreted] Muslims stayed, survived, and saw
15 the end of the war in Novi Travnik.
16 Q. You say that both sides -- effectively, you say that both sides
17 committed improper and excessive acts against the other, don't you?
18 A. Yes, but there were extremist individuals on both sides.
19 Q. First of all, the HVO had its detention centre in Stojkovici.
20 A. The HVO had its base at Stojkovici where it kept its materiel.
21 Q. And its prisoners.
22 A. In a part of the base where they were, because that building was
23 built so that it offered protection against air strikes. But there were
24 filters for clearing the air, and that was assigned as a provisional
25 detention unit and that is where we sent even our men who had committed
1 some disciplinary transgressions. There were quite a number of
2 individuals there who had done some illicit things, and two or three of
3 our men against whom some disciplinary measure had been pronounced.
4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may intervene. There is an error
5 in the transcript and it seems very substantial, so it is better to clear
6 it when it is near on the page 65 line 23. There is the word, "The
7 detained Muslims," the witness said in Croatian. Witness used the word
8 zateceni which is very similar to zatoceni. Zatoceni would be detained;
9 zateceni would be those who were found there, who were at that moment
10 there. So I would like -- whether the Prosecutor would clear that up with
11 the witness because it's a very substantial issue.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. You've heard what Mr. Kovacic has said. First of all, please,
14 your own answer about the status of the Muslims at Stojkovici. What was
15 their status?
16 A. I'm not even aware that there were any Muslims in Stojkovici.
17 JUDGE MAY: Don't argue, please. Let the witness answer.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. I think you said you weren't aware that there were any there.
20 Well, if they weren't there, where were Muslim prisoners detained, if
21 there were any Muslim prisoners?
22 A. Muslim prisoners, after the Hiras building, were put up at the
23 sports hall in the town. And we had no other prisoners.
24 Q. Was there a place or a facility known as Kace.
25 A. The facility, the structure called Kace did not have -- could you
1 clarify what do you have in mind because Kace means barrel, so were we --
2 to put into -- we put plums to ferment to make the slivovitz brandy.
3 Q. I am inquiring of you whether there was a camp that went by that
4 name, thinking back.
5 A. There were no camps in Novi Travnik because there were no
6 prisoners and there was no need for it.
7 Q. Were any -- well, if you say there were no prisoners what do you
8 say to the suggestion that Muslims were compelled by one means or another
9 to dig trenches in areas close to or near front line positions?
10 A. I was not aware of that.
11 Q. What did you know about prisoners being forced to walk towards the
12 front line with mines attached to them?
13 A. Nothing.
14 Q. Are you really saying you've never heard of that before?
15 A. I did not.
16 Q. Well, I must suggest to you that -- I think, Your Honour, this is
17 Witness C, I think, and the other witness is Witness Q, but Witness C,
18 "Some 21 prisoners were detained at Stojkovici and many of them or most
19 of them were compelled to dig trenches in the area of Zubici."
20 Now, thinking back this is something you'd really have to know
21 about, isn't it, in your town?
22 A. In the area of Zubici, the trenches were dug by our men workers
23 that were not our military conscripts because they were of advanced age.
24 So the trenches were dug there, but with our own hands.
25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, we have now dug up the 15th order. It's
1 not yet translated. If -- I think it's the 15th order. I've only got a
2 couple of more questions to ask this witness. It may be, if I could be
3 indulged and allowed to conclude at half past two. That would be more
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, that would seem a sensible course. We'll
6 will adjourn now, half past two.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.32 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
4 MR. NICE: If the witness could see Exhibit 658.3, and I'll track
5 the document down. It should have, indeed, been put to a previous
6 witness, I think.
7 Q. This comes from the Department of Defence, Travnik administration,
8 the 15th of April at half past five in the evening, and it's sent to the
9 chiefs of the office for defence in Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Zenica,
10 Vares, Busovaca, Kiseljak, Fojnica, Kresevo and Kakanj and it's described
11 as an order for conducting mobilisation and it gives us the reason: As a
12 result of the deteriorated security situation, I suggest the following.
13 Then paragraph one, 100 per cent mobilisation of all OS HVO units for
14 which you are responsible, coordinate the task with unit commands. Two,
15 conduct the staffing of units with military conscripts who have not been
16 deployed and in accordance with criteria from the decree so that all units
17 are filled with manpower. Three, and perhaps we can summarise it,
18 coordinate the task with HVO municipal government. Four, conduct the
19 mobilisation of OZ units and coordinate the task with OZ units. Five, in
20 compliance with commands, hold conscripts who aren't deployed in reserve
21 and use them in accordance with the needs of commands. Six perform the
22 administration within 120 minutes of receiving it. And then seven,
23 eight-hour reporting.
24 Do you remember receiving this document?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was the alleged deteriorated security situation on the 15th
2 of April that required this widespread mobilisation throughout the area of
3 the responsibility of the Travnik administration?
4 A. It is not clear to me from the order itself, but from my memory, I
5 remember that at that time, there were -- there was concentration in
6 grouping of sizeable forces on the border areas of the municipality at the
8 Q. Which municipality?
9 A. The municipalities of Busovaca, Vitez, and the area around Novi
11 Q. Would that, do you think, involve putting everyone on alert right
12 the way from Vares and Travnik to Kiseljak or does the scope of this order
13 reflect some other intention do you think?
14 A. I don't know what was happening in other areas, Vares, Kiseljak,
15 Zepce, that was due to the physical breakdown of communication.
16 Q. When you heard of the Ahmici attacks, did this order start to make
17 sense, Mr. Markovic?
18 A. We had no activities except follow the orders so we did not
19 experience any other activities.
20 Q. I think you follow the question, at least I hope you do. You
21 learnt of the Ahmici attacks by the HVO, did you?
22 A. I heard about it after the attack on Ahmici took place.
23 Q. Yes. You understand that attack on Ahmici was by the HVO, don't
25 A. I don't know which units were involved in the attack on Ahmici. I
1 know that no unit from Novi Travnik was involved there.
2 Q. My question to you is this: Thinking back to those awful events,
3 when you did learn that the HVO had attacked Ahmici, did it suddenly occur
4 to you that that was the reason for this widespread mobilisation to
5 protect the area from understandable retaliation, perhaps?
6 A. Ahmici were in the territory of another municipality. Whether
7 there was linkage there, I don't know, maybe, but we had problems in
8 the -- in our own municipalities and the lines of contact.
9 Q. Very well. In any case, nothing special was happening in Novi
10 Travnik in the first part of April 1993 that would justify 100 per cent
11 mobilisation, was there?
12 A. Nothing special except occasional acts of provocation at the front
14 Q. Just a couple of more questions, then. Malbasic was replaced by
15 Cerkez. Was that because Malbasic was too moderate?
16 A. I don't know that. That is a matter for the commander and his
17 superior to decide.
18 Q. Yes, but Mr. Markovic, you're in a senior position, you say, at
19 the boundary or, using modern terminology, the interface of the military
20 and the civilian government. Now, the replacement of Malbasic by Cerkez
21 surely was something you thought about. Why did it happen?
22 A. I really did not give it much thought because that was not within
23 the scope of my responsibilities.
24 Q. I see. As to Cerkez and his role in the brigade while he was
25 still in Novi Travnik, what do you say his role was?
1 A. His role was to coordinate activities between the municipalities,
2 and also to see that the fortifications were done properly against the
3 Serbs in terms of engineer work.
4 Q. Would he have any role in issuing ultimata about the Ahmici
6 A. I don't know that.
7 Q. Because you can't exclude the possibility that that happened, can
8 you, on several occasions.
9 A. I don't know, so I cannot affirm anything like that.
10 MR. NICE: Can we have a quick look at Exhibit 2475.2 [sic]. I
11 don't think I've given notice of this. My mistake entirely. Exhibit
12 2475.2. If I've got the wrong number, I'll -- not there. My mistake.
13 I'll move on.
14 While that's being searched for, or my incorrect numbering -- here
15 we are. May I have a look at it, please, before it goes to the witness.
16 I want a chance to check this first. No. Incorrect number. My mistake.
17 I'll press on.
18 Q. We've had a document, which I'm not going to trouble you with
19 unless you'd like to see it, Mr. Markovic, but it's a document dated the
20 2nd of June of 1993, and it has Kordic allocating vehicles to various
21 brigades - the Chamber may remember it - jeeps and Golfs and Audi
22 vehicles. What would Mr. Kordic, simply as vice-president of the
23 Community of Herceg-Bosna, be doing allocating a jeep to the Tomasevic
24 Brigade, please?
25 A. If these were the vehicles that arrived through our co-workers
1 from outside, it was perhaps that Mr. Kordic directed those vehicles to
2 the military district command to then see how they were going to be
4 Q. These were vehicles forcibly taken from a Mr. Marinko Marelja.
5 Now, what's this politician doing allocating vehicles, please, to military
7 A. That vehicle was taken in the territory of Travnik municipality,
8 from a citizen who was from Novi Travnik. And then probably it would have
9 been logical for it to stay in the territory of Novi Travnik.
10 Q. But surely the confiscation of vehicles and their subsequent use
11 by military organisations is a military activity, isn't it?
12 A. Yes, it should be part of the competence of the defence
14 Q. Can you think of other examples when Mr. Kordic was doing things
15 like this?
16 A. I cannot recall.
17 Q. I think I better give you a chance to look at this document. It's
18 not material in a sense to my case, but I think you ought to see it just
19 in case. It's 1148.1.
20 MR. NICE: I gather that in the response of the witness -- I'll
21 just get him to check this.
22 Q. Before we move to the next document, Mr. Markovic, I gather you
23 said, although it hasn't been recorded in the transcript, that these
24 vehicles were allocated because of the need of the HVO, is that right, and
25 the HDZ?
1 A. For the needs of the HVO. Nobody ever asked me anything about the
2 vehicles themselves.
3 Q. This document, I think, may already be in evidence but we've got
4 it quickly to look at. It relates to a convoy, and it's signed by you,
5 which is why I'm giving you a chance to comment on it. It speaks of a
6 report dated the 17th of July. The document is itself dated the 21st of
7 July, and it speaks of how you were ordered to list the goods appropriated
8 from the Tuzla convoy. You go on to say this: "The convoy was not halted
9 in an organised manner but spontaneously by the local people," and you
10 then go on to say: "The execution of the task would involve entering
11 houses to recover ..." I think it is "... recover stolen goods."
12 Tell me this: You speak of convoys being halted in organised
13 manners. By whom were they halted in organised manners?
14 A. I did not say that that convoy was halted in an organised manner
15 but rather spontaneously --
16 Q. Indeed.
17 A. -- and it was done by the people who were hungry.
18 Q. Entirely my mistake. What I wanted to ask you was this: It could
19 be inferred from your document that you signed here that on other
20 occasions convoys were halted in an organised manner. Was that your
22 A. No convoy was ever stopped in Novi Travnik territory with the
23 exception of this one.
24 Q. Then why, if I may ask you just one further question, why bother
25 to mention at all, if you look at paragraph 1, that first phrase or
1 clause? Why bother to say: "The convoy was not halted in an organised
2 manner but spontaneously by the local people"? Doesn't that suggest other
3 occasions where organised stopping had occurred?
4 A. That was in response to the first request of the Novi Travnik
5 defence department which was located in Vitez. And you cannot pull it out
6 of the context.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may, I think that this is at least
8 the second occasion where the witness clearly talked about something that
9 he does not know, and then there is an implication that he said something
10 which he did not say. I think this is against the Rules.
11 JUDGE MAY: Well, it's not an improper question. Anyway, we've
12 got the answer.
13 Yes, Mr. Nice.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. I've now managed to locate, with
15 many thanks to the Registry, the document. It was entirely my fault. I
16 got the number wrong the last time. Just a quick look at that, please.
17 It's not 2475, it's Z475.2. It's only the one copy. If it could be just
18 laid on the ELMO and the witness asked to look at the original, perhaps.
19 And then I have one more document and I have completed.
20 Q. This document which we can see on the video is a report by
21 Mr. Cerkez, dated the 16th of February of 1993. It reports on the
22 situation in the field. It deals with the line of defence, the situation
23 in the town, and deals with the movements of the Bruno Busic Regiment.
24 That's rather outside his general line of authority, on your evidence,
25 isn't it?
1 A. That was within his competence in case that the brigade commander
2 was absent or in the field.
3 Q. What? To be reporting on another regiment's movements?
4 A. Because we had problems with that regiment in Novi Travnik.
5 Q. What sort of problems?
6 A. They would demolish two or three coffee bars. One of our men was
7 killed, and then they had had to leave Novi Travnik.
8 Q. Under Mr. Cerkez's orders or instructions?
9 A. Mr. Cerkez was not in charge of the Bruno Busic Brigade. He was
10 not its commander.
11 Q. You left office when, please?
12 A. 21 August 1993.
13 Q. Why? Why did you leave?
14 A. The government in Novi Travnik changed. The two parts of -- the
15 two largest parts of Novi Travnik were occupied, only the Bucici,
16 Rankovici, and Stojkovici stayed. They wanted to form a new government in
17 a democratic way and I stepped down alongside president Senkic and others.
18 Q. Well, the whole government was replaced, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Because if we look at 1176.3, if we look at this document which
21 comes from Puljic, it's dated the 21st of August, so what, seven days,
22 eight days before the creation of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and it
23 says, "Proposal for the discharge of the chief of the office of defence
24 speaks of a resolution by which Bruno Stoic is being placed in the
25 position of chief of the office Novi Travnik office for defence." It
1 says, "In the entire month of August, the entire government was replaced
2 in Novi Travnik and Mr. Markovic was as well replaced with them." It
3 deals with the new nominations and suggests the discharge. So the whole
4 government was turned out. Why was that?
5 A. Because the citizens decided so.
6 Q. How did the citizens express their views through Mr. Puljic? It
7 wasn't voted on, was it?
8 A. A meeting was held in Stojkovici, in fact, where the decision was
9 adopted that we should be relieved of our duties and that I would move or
10 be transferred to a new position.
11 Q. Is the reality that you were moving from one unelected body,
12 HZ HB, to a different but perhaps more permanent unelected body, the
14 A. Please, I don't understand the question.
15 Q. Well, was any of these bodies elected by the real population to
16 serve them and rule them, HZ HB or HR HB?
17 A. There were no elections on this issue. That was decided at a
18 higher level, so I don't know any details.
19 Q. It was decided by politicians who had themselves not been elected
20 to the positions of government that they now held; correct?
21 A. That was probably a political decision, and I only received an
22 order which I was to carry out and I did so.
23 Q. And so when you were sacked, you were sacked. You had no other
24 right to hold office.
25 A. No.
1 Q. I think you had earlier, I don't need to trouble the Chamber with
2 this probably unless you want me to, but I think you had earlier attempted
3 to resign, did you remember this, on the grounds of being shot at by a
4 fellow member of the HVO. Or not shot at, had a pistol aimed at you. Do
5 remember that?
6 A. I remember that was at a time when the HVO was -- had just been
7 established and a pistol was brandished. That was the first time. The
8 second time, it was during the third conflict. In both cases these were
9 well-known extremists in our ranks. They wanted something that they
10 weren't entitled to and I could not give it to them. I offered to resign,
11 but in both cases it was not accepted because it was wartime situation.
12 Q. Were you trying to get out because you found what was being done
13 in the name of the government of which you were a part unpalatably
15 A. Can you please clarify the question; to get out of what?
16 Q. Well, did you find the government, of which you were a part,
17 taking over a town, being against the interests of the Muslims, did you
18 find that unacceptable to you? Were you trying to get out, in short?
19 A. I did not try to get out of it because there was the reason for
20 it. I only moved to the armed branch where I was better able to
22 MR. NICE: Thank you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours I will have a couple of questions.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Markovic, perhaps it would be best if we
1 could start with this document. Could the usher please give document
2 Z671.3 to the witness again. It was on the table a few minutes ago. [In
3 English] And Croatian copy to the witness, please.
4 [Interpretation] My first question, Mr. Markovic, this is the
5 document my colleague the Prosecutor showed you.
6 A. I haven't got it with me now.
7 MR. KOVACIC: The witness should have the document Z671.3 in
8 Croatian. The English is proper one.
9 Q. Does the witness have the same one?
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Please, there is no doubt about the fact that you
12 sent this letter to the Department of Defence in Travnik?
13 A. Right. There is no doubt about that.
14 Q. The document speaks of the procedure of mobilisation. The first
15 question in relation to this: Mobilisation and the function of the
16 defence department is the civilian -- the function of the civilian part of
17 the HVO; is that right?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Second question in relation to this: Mobilisation is an ongoing
20 process; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that is correct.
22 Q. Could you please describe to the Trial Chamber in a few words what
23 mobilisation means? What were all the things you had to do, you as the
24 department, from the moment when you were given instructions to carry out
25 such an all-out mobilisation? What was supposed to be done in order to
1 have a mobilised soldier actually come to a unit?
2 A. We had to update the lists of engaged persons and also we had to
3 write call-out papers to hand out these call-out papers and to say where
4 people should report.
5 Q. Obviously quite a bit of time is required for that.
6 A. Yes. Obviously time is required for that although the situation
7 was rather complex. People were at home. Nobody was working.
8 Q. I know it is difficult to say this, but let us give some kind of
9 an order of magnitude. On the 16th of April, 1993, in the organisation
10 that you had in terms of the people who could carry this out, how much
11 time did you require in order to carry out the 100 per cent mobilisation?
12 Are we talking about a few days, a few weeks, a few months, a few years?
13 What is the order of magnitude concerned?
14 A. We needed at least a day or two.
15 Q. Thank you. Tell me something else in relation to this document.
16 At the same time you have had military training, forces that are preparing
17 some kind of activity according to the organisation that you have then and
18 now. Would you carry out mobilisation on the 16th of April for an action
19 that is supposed to be carried out on the 16th of April?
20 A. No. Mobilisation would have been carried out earlier. The
21 manpower would have been prepared for this.
22 Q. And the manpower would have been assigned to certain units that
23 were mobilised; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Thank you. When the Prosecutor asked you about the circumstances
1 involved in mobilisation, let me ask you about something else on this
2 connection. Do you remember an event which led to a lot of activities,
3 that is to say, the abduction of three officers and the driver of the
4 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade?
5 A. I remember that.
6 Q. Was it correct that this was on the 16th of April?
7 A. It is correct that this was on the 16th of April.
8 Q. I beg your pardon. We are moving too fast. As a soldier -- let
9 us repeat this for the sake of the accuracy of the transcript. There is a
10 mistake in the -- a mistake in the transcript. The abduction took place
11 on the 14th of April?
12 A. Yes, on the 14th of April.
13 Q. How did you take this as an officer? Was this, perhaps, an
14 attempt by the enemy to leave the other side without leaders?
15 A. Well, yes, it is possible because they were going the other way
16 from the JNA.
17 Q. At any rate, I assume that you will agree that this event caused
18 an uproar, and also tensions mounted and people talked about it a lot.
19 A. Yes, that's right. These were young men from town. We didn't
20 know whether they were still alive or not. It was difficult to ease
21 tensions. People insisted immediately to go and look for these men. So
22 we established contact with the army, and after quite a bit of haggling,
23 we managed to get them back.
24 Q. Mr. Markovic, in view of all the tensions and everything that
25 happened, could such an event objectively cause a wider conflict? Could
1 it have been used as a pretext for a broader conflict?
2 A. Quite possibly.
3 Q. Is it correct that one of the activities you took in order to
4 return these officers was to prevent the conflict in this way?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. The next day, after that, do you remember that on the 15th of
7 April, Mr. Zivko Totic was abducted very brutally and his escorts were
9 A. Yes, yes, I heard about that case. This was in Zenica.
10 Q. Zivko Totic at that time was commander of the brigade in Zenica;
11 is that right?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. And the other day, the commander in Zenica was abducted, and this
14 also led to an increase in tensions; is that right?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Do you agree that there was an overall assessment to the effect
17 that these events were to lead to serious war activities on the other
19 A. Since until then there were no incidents in our parts, we thought
20 that something bigger would happen afterwards.
21 Q. Thank you. You were asked about sandbags at one point, and this
22 was put in the context of your preparation for fighting with the Muslims.
23 Just one question in relation to this. Is it correct that as early as
24 late 1991 and early 1992, throughout town, very extensive measures were
25 taken in case there would be an air attack by the JNA?
1 A. Yes, that is right. A proclamation was given out to the civilian
2 population where they should seek shelter; then also they were made aware
3 of the signs of alert. These were everyday activities.
4 Q. In these activities, there were many sandbags that were put in
5 various places, and then also glass on the windows was protected in other
7 A. Sandbags were put on windows wherever possible in order to protect
8 the civilian population, because the shelters that we have in Novi Travnik
9 are not sufficient even for a third of the population.
10 Q. This entire equipment, all these measures, throughout 1992 and
11 1993 and even after the Washington Accords, remained where they were.
12 A. Yes, that's right. The sandbags were there. I left Novi Travnik
13 after Dayton, but the sandbags were still down there.
14 Q. Apropos, at some point in time, the JNA air force actually
15 attacked with their missiles the factory.
16 A. Yes, yes, this happened. And the crude oil storage was affected
17 and also the special purposes production was attacked.
18 Q. Thank you. Your activity in Bratstvo was also mentioned. Just a
19 brief question. Objectively speaking, as a person who worked in Bratstvo,
20 were you aware of the potential or of the value of that factory in case of
21 war? Did you personally see Bratstvo as part of the defence against the
22 JNA, I imagine?
23 A. In view of the products manufactured by Bratstvo, and compared to
24 Princip, I think it would have been much easier for us to defend ourselves
25 together from the Serbs.
1 Q. So basically the weapons that went from Bratstvo to the HVO and to
2 the TO were used against the Serbs in 1992; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. As a man who was actually there, can you give us your estimate;
5 had there not been any weapons coming from Bratstvo, would you have
6 managed to hold the defence line against the Serbs?
7 A. It would have been very difficult in view of the weapons we had
9 Q. Thank you. Mr. Markovic, let us try to clarify a matter that led
10 to a series of questions here and, I believe, to quite a few
11 misconceptions. In the end of August 1992, you were appointed head of the
12 defence department of the municipality of Novi Travnik; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. A few months later, the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was established;
15 is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct.
17 Q. From that moment onwards, when the brigade was formed, were the
18 duties of the defence department reduced only to civilian matters related
19 to the preparation of war?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Is it correct that at that time military affairs were transferred
22 to the brigade?
23 A. Fully so.
24 Q. Thank you. In that sense, there weren't any differences with
25 regard to the neighbouring municipalities.
1 A. Well, more or less the situation was the same, depending on the
2 situation that each and every municipality was in.
3 Q. Can you explain to us why Novi Travnik managed to establish a
4 defence department a bit earlier than the municipality of Vitez, not to
5 mention the others?
6 A. Well, we probably succeeded because, before that, I was head of
7 headquarters and I had certain knowledge and I knew what this meant, and
8 we also had files made available to us. So we started preparations early
9 and our office started functioning even before it was officially
11 Q. Thank you. In view of the question related to Cerkez, and you
12 said that you saw him on several occasions, did you ever perceive him as
13 an aggressive person, as an abrasive person?
14 A. No. I knew him from earlier on, from Princip. He did similar
15 things to what I did, and I did not notice any such thing with regard to
16 Mr. Cerkez.
17 Q. The Prosecutor also mentioned mobilised vehicles or, rather,
18 confiscated vehicles. In view of your work in the Territorial Defence
19 even before the war, during Yugoslavia, was there any legal basis for
20 requisitioning such things for defence?
21 A. Yes, there was a legal basis for this. People were issued
22 certificates, and the same things were done with horses, vehicles,
23 anything else we could have used for defence purposes.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could we have the English document
1 on the ELMO, and could the witness have the Croatian version, that is to
2 say, document Z475.2, Cerkez's report.
3 Q. While the document is being prepared, I believe that you will
4 remember it is the short report, three lines, that Cerkez wrote.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Oh, now you have it. Could you please read the first line?
7 A. "The line of defence towards the red is stable."
8 Q. What was the only line then?
9 A. It was the one at Kamenjas, and we called the JNA, "the red."
10 Q. Oh, I see. This is the front line against --
11 A. The Serbs.
12 Q. Oh, I see, the Serbs. Thank you. Is it normal for the commander
13 of the municipal brigade to inform his superiors of the fact that
14 everything is all right in town?
15 A. Yes, of course. It is his duty.
16 Q. With regard to the third piece of information on this page, do you
17 recall Cerkez knocking at all doors and asking for the Bruno Busic
18 Regiment to be taken out of town by all means?
19 A. Yes. Well, that is what we asked Mr. Cerkez to do. And Mr. Jozo
20 Sekic and I, the president of the municipality and I, we both asked for
21 this because of all their excessive behaviour in town.
22 Q. Is it correct that none of you from Novi Travnik, neither the
23 civilian structure nor the military structure, really wanted to have Bruno
24 Busic in town?
25 A. Yes, we didn't want them in town because there was no need for
1 them to be in town. They only made the situation more complicated, as
2 well as the interethnic relations.
3 Q. Can you say yes or no to the following: that at least one soldier
4 of the HVO was killed by a Bruno Busic rifle --
5 JUDGE MAY: Where are we going? You said a few more questions,
6 Mr. Kovacic. That was a quarter of an hour ago. The witness has been
7 giving evidence all day. Now, time is limited in this trial; that point
8 has been made often enough. I don't know what the point of all this
9 questioning is.
10 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm strictly within the issues which
11 were raised during the --
12 JUDGE MAY: What issue? What issue is this related to?
13 MR. KOVACIC: Bruno Busic was mentioned in this document, and it
14 was my impression that the Prosecution was trying to imply that Cerkez is
15 somehow commanding that unit.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, have you ever made any such suggestion?
17 MR. NICE: I was asking whether the content of the letter
18 reflected his having any authority to get the brigade out of town. That
19 was all.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, you've dealt with that. Now, Mr. Kovacic,
21 let's move on. Let's have another witness.
22 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, indeed, I was just
23 finishing with Bruno Busic. I have only one or two more simple
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Markovic, twice during your testimony while
1 you were answering the Prosecutor's questions, you used the following
2 words, that you simply carried out orders. Let me ask you the following:
3 During your activity, regardless of whether this was in the office or in
4 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade later, did you ever obey an order which
5 asked you to do something that was impermissible, for example, an attack
6 against civilians?
7 A. No, and I could not have carried out such an order.
8 Q. Did you ever receive such an order? Did you ever have one on your
10 A. No.
11 Q. Did you ever issue such an order to anyone?
12 A. I claim with certainty that I did not.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] No further questions, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Markovic, thank you for coming to give evidence.
16 That concludes your evidence before the Tribunal. You are free to go.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, our next witness is Mr. Dragan
20 Grebenar from Vitez. The summary was distributed this morning. If you
21 want me to inform you of the subject, I will, but I don't think --
22 JUDGE MAY: We have the summary.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, sir.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
1 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
2 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE MAY: Please take a seat.
4 WITNESS: DRAGAN GREBENAR
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] May I proceed Your Honours? Thank
8 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
9 Good afternoon, Mr. Grebenar.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. Will you please repeat your name, your date and place of birth for
12 the record.
13 A. I am Dragan Grebenar. I was born on the 25th of July, 1960 in
14 Poculica, municipality of Vitez.
15 Q. Are you married?
16 A. Yes, I am married and I am a father of two.
17 Q. And what is your occupation?
18 A. I am a chemical assistant, laboratory assistant.
19 Q. That means secondary education?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. But now you have your own company in Vitez, you have your
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And before the war, you worked for the SPS?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Mr. Grebenar, is it correct that sometime in the latter half of
2 1992, you were an active member of the village guards in your village?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. And did you, in due course, also become the head of the village
5 guards in your village?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Your village was ethnically mixed, wasn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. According to the population census of 1990, could you tell us how
10 many Croats and how many Muslims were there in Poculica?
11 A. According to the census of 1991 in the village of Poculica, there
12 were 408 Croats and 330 Muslims.
13 Q. Mr. Grebenar, with Prnjavor and Verhovine, Poculica made for one
14 neighbourhood community; is that correct?
15 A. It is.
16 Q. And what was the ratio of Muslims and Croats in that community?
17 A. As you have said, the neighbourhood community was made of those
18 three villages: Poculica, which was, as I have said, a mixed village
19 ethnically, I mean. Prnjavor was purely Muslim, and Vrhovine which was
20 also purely Muslim village. Also, according to the census of 1991, I
21 think there were about 1.055 Muslims against 408 Croats in the
22 neighbourhood community.
23 Q. You underline this term neighbourhood community. All of us who
24 come from the former Yugoslavia have a problem to explain it. Is the
25 neighbourhood community -- let us try to do it, was the neighbourhood
1 community a formal political administrative subdivision under then
3 A. Well, let me try to explain it like this, how I understood the
4 neighbourhood community, and I think it is as you said. A neighbourhood
5 community was set up under the instructions of the municipality, and the
6 purpose of the neighbourhood community was to take care of the territories
7 of the villages which make a part of it. For instance, before the
8 conflict, before the war, a neighbourhood community was only engaged in
9 social and political activities related to the betterment of life of
10 villagers, that is construction of roads, water supply, and the rest to
11 the benefit of all the inhabitants of a particular neighbourhood
13 Q. Thank you. So if I understand you properly, so that the citizens
14 living in the territory of the neighbourhood community could solve
15 together matters of a common interest for that neighbourhood community?
16 A. Quite so.
17 Q. Before the war, as a citizen of one such neighbourhood community,
18 where the number of another ethnic group is twice as large as your own,
19 did you ever feel any intolerance between the two communities?
20 A. No. There was no intolerance between them.
21 Q. And you worked for the SPS. There were members of both peoples in
22 it. According to your knowledge, did the structure of the employees
23 reflect more or less this population structure; would that be correct to
25 A. Well, yes, it would be, but there weren't only members of these
1 two peoples, there were Serbs employed there, even some Romanie.
2 Q. Very well, thank you. But let us go back to the village guards in
3 Poculica. When did they start to organise themselves?
4 A. The village guards began to be formed in early 1992 or perhaps in
6 Q. Was it self-organisation or did instructions arrive from
8 A. Self-organisation.
9 Q. Why did citizens organise themselves in village guards?
10 A. For the simple reason that at that time, the Serb aggression was
11 well underway from Vlasic, and quite simply some people had turned up who
12 welcomed it all, that is, crime began to happen; thievery, robberies, so
13 that people were frightened and scared and quite simply they were trying
14 to take note of who was going through the village with what intent and
15 things like that.
16 If I may mention, Poculica is on the main regional road
17 Vitez-Zenica which was quite a busy communication, and people were trying
18 simply to keep track of who was moving around, especially since the former
19 JNA was stationed in Zenica and Travnik and in other places.
20 Q. Right, thank you. Mr. Grebenar, who appointed you the coordinator
21 or leader of that -- of the village guards in your place? Did somebody
22 appoint you? Did you appoint yourself? Will tell us, please?
23 A. I didn't appoint myself. At a meeting, people, that is, the
24 villagers, asked me to try to reorganise ourselves and that I should take
25 over the leadership of the village guards to supervise a little this
1 organisation and such.
2 Q. And those who asked you to do that and suggested that, they were
3 your neighbours?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did any representative of the authorities ask you to lead the
6 village guards?
7 A. No. No authorities ever asked to form those village guards. We
8 did it on our own initiative. We wanted to patrol the village, to keep
9 it, rather, to keep an eye on it. And because I was one of the initiator
10 of the things, one of the first to say that the village needed something
11 like that so then they named me to become -- to be one who would organise
13 Q. How were the village guards armed?
14 A. Well, at the outside we had two hunting rifles, two or three,
15 maybe, and I believe that a neighbour had a pistol.
16 Q. And to take a cross-section in time, could you perhaps give us the
17 picture towards the end of 1992? Were you slightly better armed at that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Or perhaps a third period of time, indeed on the conflict of the
21 16th of April 1993, were you even better armed then?
22 A. Yes, yes, but even slightly better than the beginning of 1993.
23 Q. But could you give us some estimate on the eve of the conflict on
24 the 16th of April 1993, how many rifles did you have in your village?
25 A. Well, I should say about 30 rifles altogether.
1 Q. Were they all army rifles?
2 A. No. They were hunting rifles and, yes, some army rifles.
3 Q. Thank you. And just one more question about the village guards, I
4 forgot to ask you something. Did a party, that is the strongest Croat
5 party, the HDZ, was it perhaps actively participating in the organisation
6 of village guards?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, on the 15th of April, 1993, did you
9 learn in any way whatsoever or were you perhaps warned that an all-around
10 broad confrontation might take place between the HVO and the BH army in
11 the territory of the Vitez municipality?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Is there anything that you remember that day? Did anything out of
14 the ordinary happen for which that date stuck in your memory or was it a
15 day just like any other?
16 A. As far as I am concerned and as far as my neighbours are
17 concerned, it was quite an ordinary day as any other day except that in
18 Zenica, Zivko Totic, the commander of Zenica Brigade's escort, was
19 killed. I think that four lads were killed in the locality called
20 Podbrezje near Zenica.
21 Q. Right. But let's leave that because the Court knows about it.
22 But anything else in your immediate neighbourhood? You didn't see any
23 signs, anything that might indicate that there would be a confrontation
24 the next day?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And in that night between the 15th and 16th of April, 1993, did
2 the guards discharge the faction as usual?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How many men did you have patrolling the village?
5 A. That night, you mean?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Six.
8 Q. Did anyone let you know that evening or perhaps during the night
9 that you should be put on higher alert or that you should increase the
10 number of guards or anything?
11 A. No.
12 Q. When did you learn and how -- when did you learn for the first
13 time, and how, what was going on and what had taken place early that
15 A. On the 15th, in the evening of the 15th, as usual when there were
16 guards, since it was all on a voluntary basis so I somehow thought it
17 necessary to be with those lads who were there and who are patrolling
18 until about half past one. So I was with them until that time and then I
19 went to bed back home.
20 In the morning, sometime around half past four, I was aroused by
21 two lads who were there in the central part of the village on patrol, and
22 they asked me if I had any information about a possible attack by the
23 Muslims from the direction of Vrhovine, Trahocice [phoen], and Prnjavor.
24 I said that I knew nothing about it and whence that idea and had they
25 noticed anything. They said they didn't notice anything out of the
1 ordinary, but that a lady neighbour had invited them to her house, and
2 told them that her sister who lived in the neighbouring village, Krtine
3 Mahalla, had called her by telephone and told her, "Mare, are you out of
4 your mind? How can you be at home still? There are stories here that
5 there will be an attack on Poculica," and so ...
6 Q. That is what those two guards who woke you up told you.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What did you do then?
9 A. I told them -- well, I realised that they were rather frightened.
10 But before that, there were already such cases where somebody would notice
11 something and then panic starts, but it has nothing to do with it. So I
12 told him, "All right. Don't bother. I'll dress up and we'll go to Mare
13 to see what is going on," and that's what I did.
14 So we went to Mare Papic, that is, to her house, and I asked her.
15 Then she repeated the story to me and she said that her sister was crying
16 and asked her to get away, to go down to her, in her village or
17 something. They asked me whether I could call anyone, whether we could
18 learn something more about it. Since we already had the telephone numbers
19 of the police and what I think was called the information centre and the
20 telephone number of the command in Vitez, I dialed from that house in
21 front of them, I dialed the command. The man on duty answered. He did
22 not introduce himself to me. I did give him my name, and I asked, "Is
23 Mario there? I need to talk to them."
24 Q. When you say "Mario," you mean Mario Cerkez.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Tell us, why did you want to talk to him?
2 A. Well, because of those down there who made up the command, Mario
3 was the only one that I knew from before, because we worked for the same
4 company, for the SPS. I thought it would be easiest for me to see with
5 him, to see if he'd tell me anything, because I knew that he did have some
6 duty, some post in the command.
7 Q. What did the man on duty tell you when you asked for Mario?
8 A. He said that Mario was not there. "Can I help you," he said. I
9 said, "Well, no, we've got some problems here." Then he asked me if we'd
10 observed anything, and I said, "No, not really. But I need to talk to
11 Mario." He said, "Well, I'll try to find Mario for you. Give me your
12 phone number." So I left this neighbour's phone number, I gave it to him,
13 and I asked him to try to find Mario as soon as possible so that he would
14 call me back then.
15 Q. Did you talk to Mario later that morning?
16 A. Yes. Ten or fifteen minutes later, I believe it was, the phone
17 rang. I picked up the receiver and Mario was on the other line. He asked
18 me why I had been looking for him. I told him what the guards had told me
19 and what the neighbour had told me. He said, "Very well. Did you patrol
20 last night? Did you reconnoitre?" I said, "Yes." "Did you observe
21 anything?" I said, "No." "Then please go on." Then he advised me that
22 we should go on with observing some more and that we should report if we
23 found anything that was out of the ordinary.
24 Q. Mr. Grebenar, you said that he advised you. The advice that he
25 gave you, was that a conversation between two acquaintances or between an
1 officer and a person who was his subordinate?
2 A. I consider that this was a conversation between, how shall I put
3 it, two friends, because I felt I needed someone who had more experience,
4 I needed some advice. I was not part of the military hierarchy and
5 structure at the time.
6 Q. Mr. Grebenar, can you please tell me, are you certain, or not at
7 all, where did Mr. Cerkez call from? From his home, from the command
8 post, or somewhere else?
9 A. I really don't know.
10 Q. And you never learnt that; is that correct?
11 A. I never did.
12 Q. And so you proceeded to observe.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So what happened then?
15 A. As I said, the two young men who were there - this may have been
16 after 5.00, 5.10, 5.15, because at that time the watches were only until
17 5.00 a.m. and we did not want to go on with the shifts past that time - I
18 sent one of the young men from the village to see whether the guards were
19 still there. And with another one, I went to go look for those two men to
20 ask them to stay there a little while longer, and I wanted to stay with
21 them to watch.
22 Q. While you were doing this, the village was still calm, wasn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At that time, had you already heard any explosions from other
1 A. Yes. When I reached the lower part of the village where I found
2 those two young men, and as I was explaining to them that we should go on
3 with the watch, we heard explosions coming from the direction of Vitez,
4 from somewhere down there.
5 Q. When can you say that the first shells were fired at your village,
6 and from where?
7 A. I believe that that was around 8.00 in the morning. They were
8 aiming at my house, and my barn was hit.
9 Q. Were there any casualties in your house at the time?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Could you hear small arms fire starting from some part of the
12 village following this?
13 A. Yes. I think that it was sporadic fire from Vrhovine and
15 Q. So the fire was coming from the villages that were Muslim.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Before the conflict, was there any army billeted there? Were
18 those local people or people from outside?
19 A. At first, they also had village guards which were exclusively
20 composed of locals. But later, towards the end of -- in fact, in the
21 middle or second half of 1992, some people whom we did not know appeared.
22 For the most part, these were refugees. But there were also five or six
23 men who were foreign, and we heard that these were Mujahedin. They wore
24 different clothing too.
25 Q. In these waves of refugees, especially at the end of 1992, were
1 there people from Krajina, from Karaula, among them?
2 A. I don't know exactly where they came from. I know it was from the
3 Jajce area. After the fall of Jajce, a number of them came from there.
4 But I know that even before the fall of Jajce, there were some refugees in
5 Prnjavor and Vrhovine.
6 Q. And with them, a number of soldiers also arrived.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The shell that was fired on your house, from which direction did
9 it come?
10 A. I am not well versed in military strategy, but at that time we
11 concluded that it must have been fired from in or around Preocica
13 Q. Preocica at that time was completely under ABiH control.
14 A. Yes. They had the barracks there.
15 Q. When did you receive information on the arrest of Croat civilians
16 in the upper part of the village?
17 A. I believe that this may have been as early as 11.00.
18 Q. What did you do then?
19 A. Nothing. I tried -- because at that time the shooting had
20 intensified and the bullets were flying into the village, so we were
21 scared. None of us had any military training or was mentally prepared for
22 this. I asked for the opinion of others, what to do. They said that we
23 should try to say that all those who were still in their houses in the
24 middle section of the village should pull back to the lower part of the
25 village where the rest of us were, and this is what I did.
1 Q. Did you then at some point decide to evacuate to Krizancevo Selo?
2 A. Yes, but that was much later. It was 3.00 in the afternoon.
3 Q. Very well. Let me take you back to the time before you went to
4 Krizancevo Selo. At some point during that day there was a public
5 announcement that was broadcast from the minaret. What was that about?
6 A. Sometime around 12.00, noontime, the PA system from the minaret
7 was turned on and we were read -- or we were given an ultimatum that all
8 Croats had five minutes to surrender their weapons and to gather in front
9 of the school building and surrender there or else they would start
10 killing everyone.
11 Q. Was there any doubt to you that this call for surrender was
12 referring to both the armed and unarmed population?
13 A. The announcement referred to all Croats.
14 Q. Was there any doubt in your mind that this threat was against all
15 Croats in the village?
16 A. There was no doubt.
17 Q. So what was the response of the local population in the village?
18 A. I can openly say that a chaotic situation ensued. People
19 panicked. It was perhaps only then that I, too, realised that this was a
20 real war, that this was real shooting, that people were shooting to kill.
21 So we were afraid.
22 Q. Can you tell us now, did you expect the arrival of UNPROFOR
23 patrols? Because they had been patrolling.
24 A. Yes, we did, which is why we had those telephone numbers at the
25 information centre, so that we could call those numbers and so that
1 UNPROFOR could intervene.
2 Q. Did the UNPROFOR patrol arrive?
3 A. Yes. Some 40 minutes later, following the ultimatum, two UNPROFOR
4 APCs arrived. They arrived at the lower part of the village.
5 Q. That is, the part of the village where you were.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was your plan? What did you try to do with the UNPROFOR
9 A. That was the time when the upper part of the village was, so to
10 speak, cleansed of the Croat population. We were pushed back into the
11 middle part of the village. And I expected that UNPROFOR, with their
12 transporters, would go up there to the line of separation, that the
13 shooting would stop and that we would try to calm things down.
14 Q. Was your plan to use this ceasefire to pull out civilians to a
15 safer place?
16 A. Believe me, at that time I was not thinking of a pull-back because
17 I didn't think that it would be necessary. I thought that if UNPROFOR
18 came, that everything would stop and that we would start to communicate
19 again. Overall, I expected some kind of safety and protection from
21 Q. Now, did UNPROFOR eventually go up to the upper part of the
23 A. No, they came back to the lower part of the village. Because
24 while I was begging them to go up there, some 500 metres up from us, a
25 shell fell. At that point, they turned around and went back to Vitez.
1 Q. At that time, at the time when the UNPROFOR APCs were there, could
2 it be said that the Croats were still lingering on in the middle part of
3 the village where they were trying to offer some resistance, and in the
4 lower part of the village where most of the civilians were?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And the attack went from the upper part of the village downward.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What happened at around 1530 hours?
9 A. Around 1530 hours, we eventually decided that we had to flee;
10 civilians first, women and children. We concluded that it would be the
11 safest if they went through a forest and through a creek, in the direction
12 of Krizancevo Selo.
13 Q. At the time when you reached this decision, did a person by the
14 name of Vlado Ramljak come to you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Why did he come, and what happened?
17 A. At that time, that very moment when I was directing my family and
18 others to that forest, Vlado arrived with tears in his eyes and scared,
19 and he said, "Dragan, we have all been captured up there. My wife and
20 children have been taken to Prnjavor. I was released and told to get you
21 because they want you to come up there for negotiations, and if I didn't
22 come back, they threatened that they would kill my wife and children."
23 Q. I do seem to be hurrying. Can you tell us, Vlado Ramljak lived
24 there, and he came to you from the upper part of the village?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Does that mean that the ABiH had sent him as a messenger to invite
2 you? That was the only purpose of his coming there.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you understood that, for all practical purposes, his family
5 were kept as hostages?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So what did you do then?
8 A. I said, "Vlado, just let me deal with the civilian sent them in
9 the direction of Krizancevo Selo but there will be no problems. I will go
10 up with you for these negotiations."
11 Q. And you went to the upper part of the village; is that correct?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Did you ever arrive at those negotiations?
14 A. No, I did not because at that time, the -- we were seen, Vlado and
15 I were seen from Sljivcica because it was an open area. So fire was open
16 on us from some heavy weapons. I hid behind a house. Later I tried to
17 run across. I went one way, and Vlado went the other side of the road.
18 We separated but I was wounded and I never made it to negotiations.
19 Q. Mr. Grebenar, let's just clarify things. Sljivcica is an outcrop
20 above the those three villages and in that sense it is a dominant feature
21 in the area; is that correct?
22 A. Yes. That is in the direction of Vitez. There is another
23 dominant feature towards Zenica called Vjetrenica.
24 Q. But in the direction of Vitez, this is a dominant feature?
25 A. Yes.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. But it is also dominant in relation to your villages?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. At that time you were certain, you were sure that ABiH had already
4 taken control of that feature?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. From that location, did they shoot, open fire on the village or
8 A. Yes, they did.
9 Q. You were wounded at that time. Is it true that you retreated from
10 the village, wounded as you were, with other civilians?
11 A. Yes. The civilians had left previously, but I was in a hurry.
12 Two men gave me first aid and I hurried in order not to lose too much
13 blood and then we joined up at Krizancevo Selo.
14 Q. Still some people from the upper and middle parts of the village
15 had been captured by the ABiH how many people remained in the village as
17 A. I did not know at the time but later, after the exchange, I
18 received some data. It was about 70 civilians who ended up captured in
19 Prnjavor. They were captured and they were detained in a youth hall in
21 Q. That was the final figure, but earlier that day, is it true that
22 some 50 people had been captured in the upper and middle part alone?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And then that figure grew up to 70 in the end?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When were these people exchanged?
2 A. I believe that the exchange was effected about a month later.
3 Q. Were all people exchanged or did some die during the captivity?
4 A. Not all were exchanged because some, and it was about a week after
5 the attack around the 23rd, I believe, a member of ABiH opened fire and
6 shot a burst of fire at the captives, and three of my neighbours were
7 killed and several other people were wounded.
8 Q. Did you ever learn who the perpetrator was?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you ever learn whether he was criminally charged with
12 A. I am unaware of it.
13 Q. Were there other killings of civilians of -- in the area, have you
14 heard of other such occurrences?
15 A. Yes, I heard about that.
16 Q. Is it correct that this was not an isolated incident?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. After the civilians were exchanged, did you also learn that men
19 had been taken to perform engineering type of work for the ABiH army at
20 the front lines?
21 A. Yes, that is what I heard.
22 Q. Did anybody mention the conditions under which they had to work
23 and the -- how they were treated?
24 A. Yes, they did. Perhaps an example will illustrate the best how
25 they were treated. The Muslim forces had lost a soldier in an attack at
1 Barin Gaj, and after that they tied up a Croat who was at the time about
2 60 years old. They tied him up with a rope and sent him down there to
3 bring back the body of their killed soldier. It was in no man's land so
4 he was tied up and they kept him at -- with a length of a rope and he had
5 to go down there and pick up the body and bring it back to the Muslim
7 Q. Did you hear that firsthand?
8 A. Yes, from the person who experienced it all.
9 Q. When -- were you ever mobilised into the Vitez Brigade or any
10 other HVO unit?
11 A. Listen, I believe that officially I was never mobilised, but after
12 I was wounded, I was on -- I had a leave of disability.
13 Q. After your medical treatment when you came back, where did you
14 go? What did you do?
15 A. Following the treatment, I went to the front line at Kratine.
16 Q. And how long did you stay?
17 A. I stayed there until the end of the war, that is until April 1994.
18 Q. Who was your immediate superior there?
19 A. At that time, it was Ljuban Calic.
20 Q. And there you were a member of the Vitez Brigade; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Before your wounding and even before the conflict, did anybody
23 ever tell you or showed by their behaviour that you were a soldier?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Witness, among your immediate family or your next of kin, and I
1 apologise for having to mention this, I'm not going to go very far --
2 JUDGE MAY: Paragraph 2.10. We've heard evidence about it.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Actually, I will not, but then I will kindly ask the
4 Prosecution not to raise it.
5 JUDGE MAY: I'm sure they won't. It's quite unnecessary.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Can you just, in closing, tell me one other thing: You had known
8 Cerkez before the war?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you have any opportunities to be with him in some social
11 events or sporting events, things like that, celebrations?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In company which included Muslims?
14 A. It was rare earlier that the companies were not mixed.
15 Q. Could you notice that he had any leanings towards segregation in
16 relation to any other ethnic group, especially Muslims?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Could you mention him as a man who was -- who had any such
20 A. No.
21 Q. Mr. Grebenar, just one more thing: When you were at the front
22 line, at Kuber Kratine line, did you ever receive an order to target any
23 civilian targets?
24 A. No, I never received any such order. In fact, not even to target
25 any military targets.
1 Q. What was your only task at that front line?
2 A. My only task was to stay awake, to observe, and to try to defend.
3 Because a number of times we were pushed back by a superior army. Our
4 defence line moved about three times and we were already close to the
5 village. We had nowhere to go, so our only task was to defend as best we
6 could, and to stay as alert as possible. This was my understanding of
7 these orders.
8 Q. If I understood you correctly, the Croat village was always behind
10 A. Yes, exactly.
11 Q. And you were in front of the village, ahead towards the enemy?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the enemy was ABiH?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Regardless of the ethnic background of its members, because it was
16 the army -- were they the enemy because they were the army or because they
17 were some other ethnic group?
18 A. I think -- I don't know how to answer this. They mentioned that
19 they had Croats. For me, they were the enemy because they were attacking
20 us, and whoever was in the army was our enemy.
21 JUDGE MAY: Have you any questions?
22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] No, that is exactly what I was
23 trying to say, Your Honour, that Mr. Kordic's Defence had no questions of
24 this witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MAY: The Prosecution can cross-examine in the morning.
1 We'll adjourn now.
2 Mr. Grebenar, would you remember during the adjournment not to
3 speak to anybody about your evidence until it's over, and that does
4 include members of the Defence team. Could you be back, please, at half
5 past nine tomorrow morning. We'll adjourn until then.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
8 at 4.10 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday
9 the 5th day of September, 2000, at
10 9.30 a.m.