Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 24037

1 Tuesday, 5 September 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

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

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.

7 WITNESS: DRAGAN GREBENAR [Resumed]

8 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

9 Q. The map on the overhead projector, Mr. Grebenar, although not the

10 most detailed of maps nevertheless shows highlighted in red Poculica, and

11 to remind the Judges, it lies on what is being called certainly by English

12 military personnel the mountain road between Zenica and Vitez; correct?

13 A. I don't know what the English army called them. I think that we

14 called them the regional road.

15 Q. And Poculica is pretty nearly at the top of the mountain; correct?

16 A. Yes, if you call that a mountain.

17 Q. It was a large village in two parts, the upper section nearer

18 Zenica being the Muslim section, and the lower section nearer Vitez being

19 the Croat section; would that be correct?

20 A. Well, yes, if you separate it into two sections. In my statement,

21 I divide it into three sections, but two is also possible, yes.

22 Q. And again, just to give the or remind the Court of distances,

23 although the hill or mountain on which this village sat operated as a

24 division between Zenica and Vitez, the road between Zenica and Vitez would

25 only take about 20 minutes to drive in ordinary circumstances; correct?

Page 24038

1 A. Yes, exactly.

2 Q. So you were only about ten minutes by car away from the centre of

3 Vitez?

4 A. Exactly.

5 Q. I don't have very many questions to ask you, but I'll try and deal

6 with them broadly speaking in chronological order. You speak of being in

7 the position of a guard and asked to take some commanding role by a

8 meeting of people in your village; is that correct?

9 A. Well, it is correct that I was proposed then or rather nominated

10 for making up these lists for the guard and to see everybody, and to see

11 who the volunteers would be for this guard.

12 Q. We've heard about decrees of -- for the armed forces that were

13 made in July and October of 1992. In 1992, you were, of course, of

14 military age. Did you not have a fully identified military role in your

15 area by the autumn of 1992?

16 A. No.

17 Q. You're saying, are you, that the formation of a guard in your

18 village was an entirely independent activity of the villagers although you

19 were only ten minutes away from Vitez?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. I wonder if you could just look, please, at document 1410.1.

22 There's about three new documents and this is one of them and that's all.

23 When do you say the guards were established, Mr. Grebenar? When

24 were they established, the guards?

25 A. Well, I think sometime around the beginning of 1992.

Page 24039

1 Q. If you look at this document, please, this is a document and it's

2 dated 1994. If we can lay it on top of the map, because I'll be returning

3 to the map, thank you very much. It's dated 1994, and it certifies that

4 you, I think, born in 1960, were wounded and had been a member of the

5 Vitez Brigade since the 8th of April 1992. The certificate is issued for

6 the purpose of establishing the status of disabled war veteran and not for

7 any other purpose. It's signed Dzuric. Now, can you explain that

8 document to us, please?

9 A. Well, I can. This is a document that belongs to me. I got it in

10 order to exercise my rights of a war veteran who is disabled. This date,

11 the 8th of April, 1992, I said that the village guards were established

12 sometime around the beginning of 1992. When this document was being

13 issued, they put that date.

14 Q. All I'm going to suggest to you is that far from there being an

15 independent business of the guards, what was happening in your village was

16 quite integrated with what was going on elsewhere, and that's reflected by

17 the fact that you identified yourself as a member of the Vitez Brigade in

18 April of 1992. Because you did regard yourself as part of the Vitez

19 Brigade doing whatever work you were doing for the HVO in your village,

20 didn't you?

21 A. I'm sorry, I didn't understand whether this was a question or

22 whether this was a comment of yours. No, I did not consider myself to be

23 a member of the Viteska Brigade.

24 JUDGE MAY: Why does the document say "a member of the Vitez

25 Brigade" if you weren't?

Page 24040

1 A. I'm sorry, are you asking me?

2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Grebenar, of course I'm asking you. Now reply.

3 A. Well, because I was wounded as a member of the Vitez Brigade, that

4 is to say, that if mobilisation was on the 16th, I was wounded and then

5 when I asked for a certificate in order to exercise my rights on the basis

6 of the fact I was wounded, they wrote that I was a member of the Vitez

7 Brigade.

8 JUDGE MAY: I don't understand. Were you a member of the Vitez

9 Brigade or not? It's a perfectly plain question.

10 A. A member of the Vitez Brigade, I was that from the 16th onwards

11 but since I was wounded on the 16th, I was not an active member. When,

12 after my sick leave, when I was wounded, when I reported back at the front

13 line, I considered myself to be a member of the Vitez Brigade.

14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, the document says he's a member since the

15 8th of April.

16 MR. NICE: Yes.

17 JUDGE MAY: And we can see that.

18 MR. NICE:

19 Q. Mr. Grebenar, you said that you considered yourself a member of

20 the brigade as from the 16th of April of 1993 but you went through no

21 formalities of joining up that brigade, did you, on the 16th of April?

22 There was no recording of the fact that you now regarded yourself as a

23 member of the brigade as of that date?

24 A. No, I don't think so.

25 Q. So that if we look at a document that -- if I hand this in, it

Page 24041

1 will save time. It's an existing exhibit, it's number 808, it's a list of

2 names with an English translation of what it amounts to. So if we can lay

3 the English translation on the ELMO and then follow it with the list where

4 we've reminded ourselves of the content of the document. So if you just

5 put the English page on the first, please, thank you very much.

6 What we're looking at here, and I'm going to read the English

7 summary, is a document from the Viteska Brigade dated eight days after you

8 decided yourself that you were a member of the brigade, that is the 24th

9 of April, a list of the Viteska Brigade soldiers killed in the conflict

10 with Muslim forces. And if we then turn to the next page please, we see

11 that on this document, your name is listed on the first of the two sheets

12 I think you'll find it there. Thank you very much. And we can see that

13 your name is listed on that date, thank you very much, "Dragan Grebenar,"

14 you see?

15 Now, how are you being listed as soon as the 24th of April of 1993

16 before any question of getting a pension arises and right in the middle of

17 the conflict, how are you being listed then as a member of the Viteska

18 Brigade, please?

19 A. Well, I really don't know how to answer this. I said -- well, I

20 mean if there was general mobilisation on the 16th, and I regard myself as

21 one from the 16th. That was my understanding at least, that on the 16th

22 there was a general mobilisation, and then I became a member of the Vitez

23 Brigade. That was the 16th of April of 1993 and this is the 24th of April

24 1993.

25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I've made the point. There is another

Page 24042

1 document to the like effect. If I give the Chamber the number of the

2 document, I needn't place it before the witness. It's 957.1 and that's a

3 document in May of 1993. Thank you.

4 Q. Can we just complete this exercise and then I'll be done with

5 documents, I think, and I only have a few more questions to ask. May we

6 look, please, at 1477.10, please. .

7 Now, this document that you're looking at is a certificate. Now,

8 this is dated the 9th of March of 1998, much later. It's signed by a

9 military person, Brigadier Vinac, and it confirms that you, born in 1960,

10 from Dobrovica, were a member of the brigade in the period the 8th of

11 April to the 19th of January, 1996, and what's more, that you performed

12 the duties of a platoon commander. Now, if your guards in your village

13 were an informal arrangement, why are you being given the formal title of

14 platoon commander, please?

15 A. This is a certificate that I also needed, in terms of the

16 circumstances involved, I mean, in terms of the duties that I was

17 discharging when I was wounded. This is from 1998; you can see that. So

18 how should I put this, an attempt was made to help me in order to promote

19 me so that when my disability was to be assessed, I could have greater

20 financial compensation. So that was the reason why this was written the

21 way it's been written.

22 Q. So you're saying that this is a dishonest document where it says

23 you were platoon commander because you were no such thing; is that what

24 you're saying?

25 A. Well, one could put it that way.

Page 24043

1 Q. Is it the truth that the HVO's activities in the area just ten

2 minutes from Vitez were, indeed, coordinated and that you were in charge

3 as a platoon commander of what was going on in your village?

4 A. No. As far as military matters are concerned, I was not involved

5 in any duties, no.

6 Q. And then finally, 1472.10 --

7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

8 MR. NICE:

9 Q. I'm so sorry. Finally, 1472.10, this is an earlier document. I

10 should have perhaps put them in the reverse order. The 24th of January,

11 1996. This is a certificate reflecting the circumstances of your being

12 injured on the 16th of April in Poculica in the right shoulder blade and

13 head, and it sets out, "... during an attack by ... Muslim Defence

14 Forces ... wounded in the back ..." and then it says, "... while

15 performing military duties on the first line of defence." You'll see that

16 those words have been underlined, or they have been counted as underlined

17 in the translation. But still, "performing military duties on the first

18 line of defence," do you accept that, please, as a description of what you

19 were doing on the 16th?

20 A. Yes, I accept that, that on the 16th, during the attack, I was

21 discharging a military duty and that I was involved in the defence of the

22 village.

23 Q. Very well. The position of the Vitez Brigade in 1992 was,

24 although you didn't tell us about this yesterday, that there was an active

25 component of that brigade; correct?

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Page 24045

1 A. I don't know that. Believe me, I'm not very knowledgable in these

2 military matters.

3 Q. Well, you gave evidence in the case of Kupreskic, and you

4 certainly there knew about it because you spoke of men who regarded

5 themselves as sufficiently active or professional as soldiers, that they

6 wouldn't be involved in mere village guard activities. Do you remember

7 giving that evidence?

8 A. Yes, I can repeat now what I said then. But I did not understand

9 your previous question.

10 Q. All right. My fault entirely. I'll go back to the question.

11 There was an active component of the Vitez Brigade in 1992

12 distinguishable, even on your own account, from village guards; correct?

13 A. Yes, correct.

14 Q. We've already seen, and therefore I don't need to trouble the

15 Judges with it unless you want to see it, we've seen a document, 653 --

16 MR. NICE: Apparently there's been a revised translation at the

17 request of me, so it ought to go in again just to be looked at very

18 quickly. 653. Thank you. Yes. I'm grateful to Ms. Verhaag for

19 reminding me that I was concerned about the original translation of the

20 title of this document, and I've had it reconsidered.

21 Your Honours may remember that I was concerned about this document

22 which featured in the judgement of one of the other cases, from where

23 under the title I think it referred to "List of Personnel Positioned," but

24 we now see that the title of the document in English reads: "List of

25 Personnel (Their Number) From the First Battalion Per Village of" and then

Page 24046

1 "/? Deployment or Origin."

2 Q. In any event, Mr. Grebenar, the simple point is here, this is a

3 document of the 14th of April of 1993 relating to the 1st Battalion of

4 Vitez. Do you accept that that would be the active battalion of the

5 Viteska Brigade?

6 A. I already said that, really, I'm not very knowledgable as far as

7 these military terms are concerned. I don't know. I mean, this is the

8 first time I've seen this document and I really can't comment on it.

9 Q. What it's suggesting is that in the 1st Company or the 1st

10 Battalion of the Viteska Brigade, there were some 13 soldiers in Poculica,

11 or with deployment or origin in Poculica. Does that fit with your memory,

12 that there would have been some 13 soldiers in Poculica who would have

13 regarded themselves, in accordance with in your Kupreskic evidence, as

14 sufficiently active or professional that they shouldn't be involved in

15 activities in the village?

16 A. Yes. From Poculica, there were some active volunteers, so to

17 speak, who were active. I mean, when they were free, when they were off,

18 it was up to them to decide whether they would join the village guards or

19 not. But I think it was a smaller number. I can't really comment on

20 that. This number, 13, I think it's too big.

21 Q. I want to move straight away to the night of the 15th/16th, I

22 think. You've told us that you first got warning of what was coming at

23 what time in the morning? What time did you tell us it was that you first

24 heard of things, on the morning of the 16th?

25 A. It was around 4.30 in the morning when I was awakened by these two

Page 24047

1 men who were on guard that morning.

2 Q. Now, you say that these two men had been spoken to by a woman who

3 had been spoken to by her sister. You haven't given us the name of the

4 woman in this case, but I think in Kupreskic you said her name was Mara

5 Papic. Would that be right?

6 A. Yes, correct, this is Mara Papic.

7 Q. In Kupreskic, you said that this happened at 5.00, or possibly ten

8 minutes before. That's not a huge difference. But was it half past four,

9 an advanced time, or 5.00, do you think?

10 A. The most correct thing to say would be that it was sometime in

11 between, you see. I mean, it's been such a long time --

12 Q. Of course.

13 A. -- and I was awakened in the morning. I think it was between the

14 two. It could not have been 5.00, but it was after 4.30.

15 Q. The last question on this. What was the source of information or

16 intelligence about this forthcoming attack that the men told you the women

17 had told them?

18 A. Yes, exactly.

19 Q. What was the source of the information? Where do you say that

20 information had originally come from?

21 A. I'm sorry. I do not understand the question. Could you please

22 repeat it?

23 Q. Yes. Where did you understand that the women had got the

24 information that there was going to be an attack on your village?

25 A. I don't know that. Mara Papic received this information from her

Page 24048

1 sister. But where she got this information from, from this other village,

2 the neighbouring village, I don't know.

3 Q. No question of UNPROFOR or SFOR or whatever you think they were

4 called providing that information, was there?

5 A. I have no idea, believe me.

6 Q. You see, you certainly gave no account of SFOR or UNPROFOR being

7 the source of information in Kupreskic. But yesterday you told us, and

8 it's at -- I'm afraid I don't have the page reference -- you said

9 yesterday, unless the transcript's wrong, that there were SFOR stories

10 that there would be an attack. Now, are you seeking to tell us that SFOR

11 was the source of this information or not?

12 A. I think that I was either misunderstood or misinterpreted

13 yesterday. I did not mention at all that this information could have come

14 from SFOR or rather UNPROFOR at the time.

15 Q. Whatever the cause of your getting up, presuming that you did get

16 up early in the way you describe, if we go back to the map, please, if the

17 usher would be good enough to take the document off, the position is,

18 geographically, that from the high ground of Poculica you can see across

19 to the villages of Ahmici and Santici, can you not?

20 A. Yes, but only in part. Not in whole.

21 Q. And once the attack on those villages began at half past five,

22 those attacks were visible to you and indeed to any others in the village

23 even if they were in another part of the village in the Muslim part of the

24 village; correct?

25 A. Well, no. At half past five, you couldn't see it. In the

Page 24049

1 morning, we only heard gunfire and at first, it seemed to us that it was

2 coming from the direction of Vitez and more to the right. And later on,

3 however, we realised it was also coming from the direction of Ahmici and

4 those areas. But it's not all that -- it's not that it's in full view.

5 You can see a couple of houses in Ahmici, but only from the uppermost part

6 of Poculica, that is the purely Muslim part of the village. From the

7 lower part, you can only see two or three houses of Gorni, Pirici.

8 Q. The point I want to make is this: The first time that there was

9 any attack on your evidence on Poculica by ABiH forces was much later in

10 the morning at what, half past 9.00 or 10.00?

11 A. The shells began, I mean, around 8.00 or half past 8.00 and the

12 sporadic gunfire started around 10.00 perhaps.

13 Q. Well, one way or another, any attack on the Croat part of the your

14 village occurred a significant time after the attacks had begun on Ahmici

15 and other places in the area generally; correct? A couple of hours, three

16 hours, something like that.

17 A. Yes, that is correct.

18 Q. Your village being a mere ten minutes by road from Zenica, you are

19 quite unable to help us one way or another with whether any attack on your

20 part of the village was simply a reaction by Muslim forces from Zenica to

21 what they had then discovered of the attack on Muslim targets such as

22 Ahmici and elsewhere; correct?

23 A. I cannot comment on that whether it was a reaction or not. I know

24 that in the morning, at 8.00, the shelling began. Why were we attacked,

25 whether it was a reaction or a purposeful attack, I cannot comment on

Page 24050

1 that, but Poculica is more than 20 minutes away from Zenica rather than 10

2 minutes by car, I mean.

3 Q. It was advanced on behalf of Mr. Cerkez at one stage in this

4 trial, it's page 8301 in the cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic of the

5 witness Morsink, it was advanced that Poculica was a village that was, at

6 one stage, surrounded by Croats. Now, we know that Poculica may be

7 regarded as being in two sectors or three, but can be regarded as Muslim

8 and Croat. Do you agree with that description that so far as the Muslim

9 sector of the village was concerned that it was, at one stage, surrounded

10 by Croats and attacked by them?

11 A. No, out of the question. I think you slipped when you said that

12 the village was surrounded by Croats. The village could not be surrounded

13 by Croats at any time. Since that from four sides, from Dubravica, from

14 Sljivcica, they had a strategic point on Sljivcica towards Vitez, and then

15 from the direction of Vjetrenice, Tolovici, to the right Vrhovine, we were

16 surrounded, the Croats, were surrounded by Muslims that day.

17 Q. Are you saying that the Muslim part of the village was at no stage

18 under attack whether surrounded or not?

19 A. Well, I cannot claim as far as we, the villagers, are concerned.

20 There was no attack, there could be no attack nor could there be an

21 attack. There could be some sporadic gunfire during our retreat when we

22 were withdrawing from the village.

23 Q. Well, we've also heard evidence -- I'm just checking on whether

24 this witness was open or not, my recollection -- yes, from the man

25 Breljas. This evidence, Mr. Grebenar, could be of either of 15th or 16th

Page 24051

1 of April of 1993, but almost certainly relates to the 16th. And he speaks

2 of grenades being discharged in the area of the mosque. Now, the mosque

3 is, of course, in the Muslim area of the village. Do you remember

4 grenades being aimed at that mosque, page 11.757.

5 A. No. I don't recall that because I never managed to make it to the

6 upper part of the village that day, not once.

7 Q. You spoke in Kupreskic of a messenger, a Muslim messenger, coming

8 to that part of the village. I don't think you've told us about that part

9 in your evidence yesterday. Do you still say that happened or not?

10 A. Yes, I did mention that. But it wasn't a Muslim courier, it was a

11 young man who was in the central part of the village who was our

12 neighbour, a Muslim, and that morning, he started up there with a rifle

13 and we told him, "Come on, just let the rifle be. Don't go there,"

14 because he would be firing at us. And later on, he came back when he saw

15 all the things that were going on. When he saw, as he said, around the

16 mosque there were lots of troops that he did not know and that they had

17 already captured many and taken away and that everything was ready, and I

18 claimed that that is how it was.

19 But he came, I understood, he also returned of his own will

20 because he must have been told by those that he should go back home.

21 Q. I'm only asking you about of this because of it's essential, it

22 may be thought, improbability for a Muslim to come in these

23 circumstances. Can you give us his name?

24 A. I can. I still do not know his name but I know the young man.

25 His father is Asim Krehic and I think that the boy's name was Ahmed or --

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Page 24053

1 I'm not sure his name.

2 Q. Two last questions, both about how you landed up in Kratine.

3 Perhaps we can focus on that. It is visible on the screen at present.

4 It's now well visible, thank you very much. Kratine is just, of course,

5 just to the north or north-east of Ahmici and Nadioci; correct?

6 A. Yes. I think it is, although I'm not quite sure about the sides.

7 Q. A few hundred metres, a kilometre at the most, a couple of

8 kilometres at the most from those villages; correct?

9 A. Well, it's difficult for me to say, but I think it's more than

10 Ahmici that Kratine is -- could be as many as three kilometres, but I'm

11 not sure.

12 Q. The man Bralo was there, wasn't he, when you were there?

13 A. Why down there in that village, there were people called Bralo.

14 Q. You don't remember a famous man called Bralo probably given rather

15 elevated status by Croats, accorded respect; do you remember?

16 A. The -- I may have heard about that Bralo later, much later. Late

17 1993.

18 Q. That Bralo was there with you, wasn't he, when you were there?

19 A. No, that is not true.

20 Q. And prisoners from there were taken, Muslim prisoners from there

21 were taken trench digging, correct, against their will?

22 A. Up there, while I was at the front line when I came, that is, no

23 Muslims were brought to dig trenches. I had made a dugout for myself and

24 that is where I was.

25 Q. The last question is this: You say to the Judges that there was

Page 24054

1 no firing on civilian targets while you were in Kratine. If we look at

2 the map, all of the civilian targets within range of Kratine had already

3 been cleansed of all Muslims, hadn't they? There were no targets left to

4 fire on; correct?

5 A. No, it is not. I, from Kratine, I did not have any Muslim targets

6 and besides, they were not within my range.

7 MR. NICE: Thank you.

8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, perhaps you could help us with this: The

9 map shows Kratine quite plainly. We've heard a lot of evidence about

10 Kuber. Kuber, I think, does not appear on the map, but my recollection is

11 that it's in that area. I don't know if the witness can help us with

12 that.

13 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, my experience is this witness is really

14 not good in geographical positionings. I, myself, gave up to ask him to

15 show as he stated. But Kuber is visible, and you correctly said just a

16 little bit right from Kratine but the letters are rather stretched over

17 the mountain. That is why you can hardly find it.

18 JUDGE MAY: Is it -- it's on the plan, is it, that we have on the

19 ELMO.

20 MR. NICE: The K is under -- you can see it there, I think.

21 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry say that again, the K is under --

22 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if you look at the place called --

23 JUDGE MAY: Go and point it out, yes, please.

24 MR. KOVACIC: The witness is just showing that he can show.

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness show.

Page 24055

1 Would you like to show us, Mr. Grebenar, on the map?

2 A. It's somewhere here.

3 JUDGE MAY: So that would be above Kratine, as I understand it.

4 A. Yes.

5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, thank you.

6 MR. KOVACIC: Maybe it would be good just to finish that part

7 since it was mentioned.

8 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Grebenar, since we are on the subject of

10 Kuber and Kratine, when did you come to that position?

11 A. I think it was sometime in mid-August.

12 Q. The front line was already stabilised there and there were only

13 slight shifts. But at that time, was there any active combat at that

14 time?

15 A. No. The front lines were already there established, dug in,

16 entrenched, and I think it moved back twice when I came there.

17 Q. Thank you. And as my learned friend had mentioned that one,

18 Bralo, and he was asking you questions about him so I have a couple of

19 questions. Is Bralo a frequent surname in in that area?

20 A. Yes, in the village of Nadioci there were quite a number of

21 Bralos.

22 Q. And did you have all the positions that you held here at Kratine

23 ever met -- did you ever meet somebody name Cicko Bralo?

24 A. No, I never saw him up there on the positions on the ground at the

25 time when I was there.

Page 24056

1 Q. Thank you. But let us go back. Mr. Grebenar, do you know when

2 the mobilisation was announced for all conscripts in Vitez?

3 A. Trust me, I never heard about it officially from any authorities,

4 but it was said that it was the beginning of the attack, that is, the 16th

5 of April. That is when we were attacked.

6 Q. Thank you. And if that was on the -- if it was indeed on the 16th

7 of April, did anyone come to you to give you a document, a summons, or to

8 tell you where as of today, you are a member of such and such unit and

9 consider yourself mobilised?

10 A. No.

11 Q. And on the 16th of April in the morning, did you feel as a member

12 of the Vitez Brigade?

13 A. No.

14 Q. So where did your -- what was your affiliation with the village

15 guards, and the first time under the circumstances, when did you see --

16 perceive yourself as a member of the brigade for the first time?

17 A. When I went to the front line at Kratine in August.

18 Q. And when you arrived at the front line, did somebody tell you,

19 well, so and so is your commander?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And that commander, did he treat you as his soldier?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. That is, you received orders from him.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Mr. Grebenar, you were shown a document and there was mention of

Page 24057

1 some 13 men. You said that there were less. But, right, there were a

2 certain number of men who were members of the brigade. Would you please

3 tell us, on the 16th of April, in the morning, in Poculica, did you see,

4 apart from your village guards, any HVO units?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Did you see any one of those 13 or dozen or ten men that you knew

7 had been active in the brigade before?

8 A. I think they were all with us in the village together that

9 morning, and I even tried to consult them as much as possible.

10 Q. Did they act differently from you at that time? Did they have any

11 task?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Thank you. Mr. Grebenar, do you have any idea, do you know, did

14 the Vitez Brigade exist in 1992? Do you think that would be a correct

15 assumption?

16 A. No, it did not look like that to me. There were no indications,

17 no signs of it.

18 Q. Would you know if in 1992 there was something called the 92nd

19 Regiment, the so-called 92nd Vitez Regiment?

20 A. No, I'm not aware of that.

21 Q. Have you ever heard about the 92nd Home Guards Regiment in

22 1992/1993?

23 A. I believe I heard about it in 1993, during the conflict.

24 Q. And in 1994?

25 A. I think that was still its name.

Page 24058

1 Q. Thank you. As you were on sick-leave on those critical days, that

2 is, on the 16th of April and then for the next few days, did you have an

3 opportunity to discuss with your fellow guards in the village when it was

4 that they were mobilised and eventually became members of the Vitez

5 Brigade? Did you ever learn that?

6 A. No, believe me, we never talked about it. We simply did not think

7 it important whether I was mobilised or not. When we were attacked, I

8 simply thought it was my duty to defend myself. Whether I was mobilised,

9 whether somebody would write that down, I did not care about it then, nor

10 do I care about it now.

11 Q. Right. When the war ended, in 1994/1995 and later, the question

12 of some property rights was raised having to do with the woundings and

13 one's service in the army, one's military service. Tell us, if a certain

14 Dragan Vinac was ever your superior in any manner of speaking and in any

15 way?

16 A. No.

17 Q. As a wounded member of the village guards, you wanted to exercise

18 some of your property rights in that regard, that is, to get a disability

19 benefit.

20 A. Yes. There were various municipal proceedings that were started

21 then.

22 Q. In what way did you have to prove that the wounding happened when

23 one was on duty?

24 A. Yes. One had to get the various papers. Well, you know, the red

25 tape. You needed some witnesses who had seen you be wounded, the

Page 24059

1 circumstances of the wounding, and things like that. I was told then that

2 I had to get those papers from that regiment - that was already in 1995,

3 1996 perhaps - that that was where I should go for that paper. And if I

4 could get this document that I had been wounded on the front line -- well,

5 one had to go through that procedure to get those papers about the

6 circumstances of the wounding.

7 Q. You men who took part in those proceedings talked about it,

8 because it took months, didn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. From that period of time of those proceedings, did you learn

11 during the proceedings that members of village guards had been assigned a

12 membership as of the 8th of April, 1994; is that true?

13 A. I saw on the certificate that I was issued that the date was the

14 8th of April, but I'm really not -- I don't know if everybody had

15 certificates with that same date.

16 Q. Were you told that the membership in village guards was being

17 accorded that particular treatment as of that date and then?

18 A. Yes, that is what I was told when I was issued a certificate.

19 Q. You mean the clerks who were responsible for the proceedings told

20 you that.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. This document, 808, we don't have to go back to it,

23 but it was signed by Zvonimir Cilic, if you remember, where it lists the

24 men of the village, 92, 82, and the like -- no, sorry, I got it mixed up,

25 where you are mentioned as a wounded person.

Page 24060

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Page 24061

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Did anyone ever tell you or report to anyone or let anybody know

3 that you had been wounded?

4 A. Excuse me. Could you repeat your question?

5 Q. Yes, sorry, my fault. I wasn't specific. When you were wounded,

6 on that same day, or the next day when you were in hospital, did any one

7 of your fellow village guards tell you that he'd let the authorities know

8 that you had been wounded, that he had notified the authorities so that it

9 would be put on record?

10 A. No, they did not tell me that but ...

11 MR. KOVACIC: I think I don't have any further questions, Your

12 Honour.

13 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Grebenar.

14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Grebenar, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

15 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

17 [The witness withdrew]

18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, your next witness, Mr. Kovacic.

19 MR. MIKULICIC: Our next witness is Mr. Zdenko Rajic, Your

20 Honour.

21 [The witness entered court]

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

24 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

25 WITNESS: ZDENKO RAJIC

Page 24062

1 [Witness answered through interpreter]

2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Rajic, if you'd like to take a seat.

3 Yes, we've got our summaries. Thank you.

4 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. The booths have not been given the

5 summaries, if that can be distributed, please.

6 JUDGE MAY: It's coming around.

7 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

8 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Rajic.

9 A. Good morning.

10 Q. On behalf of the Defence of Mr. Cerkez, I'm going to ask you

11 several questions regarding your testimony and I'm going to try to ask you

12 to answer them to the best of your recollection. I would also like to ask

13 you to please wait a bit after I ask you a question so that we give the

14 interpreters an opportunity to fully interpret our exchange.

15 Will you please state for the record your full name, date and

16 place of birth.

17 A. My name is Zdenko Rajic. I was born on 7 April 1969 in Rijeka, in

18 Vitez municipality, where I reside to date.

19 Q. You said the village of Rijeka. This is a village which over time

20 had become a part of the town of Vitez; is that correct?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Mr. Rajic, you are married. You have two children; your

23 children's ages are two and a half and five.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You are a police officer by profession.

Page 24063

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. But you also have a carpenter's trade.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. You work for the Vitez Police Department currently.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Before the war, you had worked in the Brist company.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. But you became unemployed after that stint with the Brist factory

9 in Zenica. Was that a common occurrence, that people would lose jobs in

10 that period?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Would you say that this was happening across the board, in other

13 words, to people of all ethnic backgrounds?

14 A. Yes, that is correct.

15 Q. After the war had first broken out in Slovenia, then Croatia, then

16 it came to Bosnia-Herzegovina, you then volunteered to go and join the

17 other soldiers who were at the defence line against the Serbs.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Mr. Rajic, where did you go to report as a volunteer?

20 A. I went to the HVO.

21 Q. So you went to these defence lines and you were on the front lines

22 at Galica, Potkraj, Skulja, Slatka Vode, Strikanice, Jajce, Bugojno, and

23 the Mount Vlasic plateau. Are these all the locations where you were

24 manning the defence lines together with other soldiers?

25 A. Yes.

Page 24064

1 Q. Can you tell us, in these shifts which you took, were you there as

2 a member of the HVO, or were members of Muslim ethnic background also part

3 of those units, first the TO and then the HVO?

4 A. Yes, they were.

5 Q. When the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade was established in late 1992,

6 you became its member; is that correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Later, after the Vitez Brigade was established, you became a

9 member of that brigade.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Regardless of the fact that you were first a member of the Stjepan

12 Tomasevic Brigade and then the Vitez Brigade, you continued to go to all

13 these locations to fight the JNA aggression.

14 A. Yes. These shifts consisted of about 30 men.

15 Q. Mr. Rajic, I would like to take you back to the events in 1992.

16 You just mentioned that you went to the defence lines in shifts of 30.

17 How did that work? How was that done?

18 A. These were groups of about 30 men. We stayed for about one week

19 at the front line, and then on the way back, that is, after we were done,

20 we were free for two or three weeks.

21 Q. Mr. Rajic, in 1992, this was all done on a voluntary basis.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Does that mean that you actually were a soldier while you were at

24 the defence lines?

25 A. Yes. I was only a soldier when I was at the front line.

Page 24065

1 Q. When you went back to your village, you went about your regular

2 business which you conducted as a civilian.

3 A. Yes, that is correct.

4 Q. However, in addition to your going with your shifts to the front

5 line, you also had a duty to provide security for the command post of your

6 battalion; is that correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You have already mentioned that being a part of those shifts was a

9 voluntary thing. Were there any means of coercion, that people were

10 forced to go to the front lines?

11 A. No. These were volunteers, and these were mostly people who had

12 become unemployed.

13 Q. In late 1992 and the early part, the first four months of 1993,

14 you went to the front line in those shifts, and that is how you spent that

15 period of time.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Do you recall, when was the last time that you went to Slatka Vode

18 for a shift?

19 A. That was around 20 March 1993. That was my last shift. And that

20 did happen -- that happened to be Slatka Vode.

21 Q. And then you went back to Rijeka, to Vitez, to your home.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. When you came back, did you have a replacement at the front line?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Do you recall, after the war, that is, the armed conflict, had

Page 24066

1 broken out on 16 April 1993, that a shift from Vitez had remained

2 surrounded at that location?

3 A. Yes, I do recall that.

4 Q. Mr. Rajic, let me point you now -- let me direct your attention to

5 the events immediately preceding the events of the 16th of April. On 15th

6 of April, were you on duty or were you off?

7 A. I was off. I had the day off and I was at home.

8 Q. Can you tell me, for you, was 15th April special in any way or was

9 it just a regular day?

10 A. To me, it was a regular day like any other day.

11 Q. On that day, could you notice that anything unusual was happening

12 and did you notice any grouping of military forces or anything like that?

13 A. No, I could not. And as I said, I was at home.

14 Q. When did you, in fact, become aware that something unusual was

15 going on?

16 A. That was in the morning of the 16th when I was awakened by

17 explosions and small-arms fire.

18 Q. Can you tell us from where did these explosions come and the

19 small-arms fire?

20 A. From all directions within the Vitez municipality.

21 Q. After all these events, in conversations with your friends or

22 acquaintances, had you heard that any kind of notice had come from the

23 headquarters about a possible attack?

24 A. Yes, I did, but only two or three days later.

25 Q. But on the -- in the night 15th to 16th, nobody told you anything

Page 24067

1 about that?

2 A. No.

3 Q. After you had heard those explosions early in the morning and

4 after all that small-arms fire which had awakened you, what happened? Did

5 you receive any call or anything?

6 A. After I had woken up and having heard these explosions, I soon

7 dressed and then the phone rang.

8 Q. About what time could it have been?

9 A. Somewhere around 5.30, I don't know exactly but around that time.

10 Q. Please go on.

11 A. The phone rang, I answered it, and it was my commander, Karlo

12 Grabovac calling me.

13 Q. Karlo Grabovac was your superior. What military unit did he

14 command?

15 A. He was the HVO.

16 Q. Was he with the Vitez Brigade?

17 A. In 1993, yes, he was.

18 Q. And what did Karlo Grabovac, your commander, tell you?

19 A. He told me that I had to go to the Cvreno Brdce, that was the

20 feature 517, and also if I saw any of my neighbours around, that I should

21 tell them to head straight there because something was going on.

22 Q. Did you give you any other orders?

23 A. He said that a new conflict had broken out in Ahmici.

24 Q. And that was the extend of the conversation?

25 A. Yes.

Page 24068

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Page 24069

1 Q. You mentioned that your commander had directed you to the feature

2 517 which was also known as Crveno Brdce. Can you describe to us in which

3 direction is this feature, around which village?

4 A. That was in the direction of Vranjska.

5 Q. Was this feature strategically important with respect to the road

6 Vranjska-Vitez?

7 A. Yes. And also there were water reservoirs there, that is, that

8 was drinking water.

9 Q. Mr. Rajic, in order to be able to see the Vranjska village, it is

10 necessary to climb that feature, that -- to Crveno Brdce because Vranjska

11 was in the valley below?

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. The road going to Vranjska, is it correct that this is the

14 boundary line with the Busovaca municipality, if you know?

15 A. Yes, in the lower part of it.

16 Q. When you climbed up that hill from where you could see Vranjska in

17 the morning of the 16th, did you observe anything, anything special,

18 any -- did anything catch your attention in Vranjska?

19 A. Of course it did. The ABiH soldiers were being grouped there, and

20 immediately we were shelled from all sides.

21 Q. If I understood you correctly, after you reached the top of that

22 feature, fire was opened on you from small-arms and also from artillery?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. What did you do? Did you return fire?

25 A. We took cover.

Page 24070

1 Q. Did you have any trenches dug by that time?

2 A. No.

3 Q. So it was only after the attack that you started digging into --

4 to dig trenches and cover?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. At that time, Mr. Rajic, what was your military position?

7 A. It was to protect the feature 517 because we had water reservoirs,

8 it was palatable water there so we were to protect it.

9 Q. And the attack was coming from the direction of the village of

10 Vranjska; is that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Is it correct that at that time, you were commander of the 1st

13 Company third battalion of the Vitez Brigade?

14 A. No, not at that time.

15 Q. When did you become that?

16 A. That was in May 1993.

17 Q. Do you recall how you became the commander of the 1st Company, 3rd

18 Battalion of the Vitez Brigade? Were you given any document? Who told

19 you that you were now the commander?

20 A. No, I did not receive any documents, but somebody had to be.

21 Q. And the commander of the 3rd Battalion was Karlo Grabovac;

22 correct?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. This 1st Company of yours, who were members of those 1st Company?

25 Who was it composed of?

Page 24071

1 A. Those were the locals who had been village guards. So they were

2 all inhabitants of the Rijeka village who had been involved in village

3 watches.

4 Q. So we can say that the previously-established village guards were

5 then incorporated into the Vitez Brigade and its 1st Company on the 3rd

6 Battalion?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Could you personally say as of what date did these village guards,

9 these villagers, become incorporated and become the 1st Company of the

10 Vitez Brigade?

11 A. As of the date of the establishment of the Vitez Brigade, that is,

12 from the start of the conflict.

13 Q. So this company which, as you said, was composed of the members of

14 the village guards, remained around the village of Rijeka to protect it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And throughout the war, it was never deployed anywhere else?

17 A. No, it was not.

18 Q. Mr. Rajic, let me ask you this: You said later on you dug some

19 trenches and fortified. Where were these trenches dug, on which ground?

20 A. The whole defensive lines were on Croat-held grounds.

21 Q. You too have some property near your village, you have land?

22 A. Yes. That is right above my house, about 100 metres away.

23 Q. Was your property also used for the defence lines where the

24 trenches were dug?

25 A. Yes, 30 to 40 per cent of it.

Page 24072

1 Q. And throughout the conflict, these trenches, these fortified lines

2 were not moved?

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. Mr. Rajic, throughout this conflict, did you carry out any

5 offensive operation? In other words, did you ever leave your trenches and

6 move forward in the direction of the Vranjska village?

7 A. No, never.

8 Q. Your basic goal was to defend your village; is that correct?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Mr. Rajic, tell us something about the village of Rijeka. Is

11 this, in terms of ethnic composition, is it a mixed village or is it a

12 mono-ethnic village?

13 A. It was a mixed village.

14 Q. So in your village, Rijeka, also lived Muslims?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. During this attack or this conflict, were Muslim houses attacked

17 by the locals?

18 A. No.

19 Q. During the conflict, did your Muslim neighbours continue to live

20 in their homes?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. But they were not involved, they were not engaged in the defence

23 of the village as your Croat compatriots were; is that correct?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. You had a personal experience when you once helped a Muslim girl,

Page 24073

1 can you tell us what it was?

2 A. Yes, I can. This happened in late May early June, 1993. Soldiers

3 who were at the front line saw a female who happened to find herself in

4 the zone of -- in the combat zone. They had stopped her there and brought

5 her over to me. And as I knew her, we were neighbours, her name is

6 Hatidza Kajmak, she is from Kajmakovici. I escorted her through the

7 minefield to the ABiH line and I released her there.

8 Q. Very well. Did she, herself, express a desire to cross over that

9 line and go in that direction?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And so you did that; is that correct?

12 A. Yes, and she is still alive today.

13 Q. Mr. Rajic, throughout this period when you were involved in the

14 defence in your village in trenches, did you ever get any orders from your

15 superiors or anyone else that you must take special care and that you have

16 to treat Muslims in a special way? In other words, mistreat them,

17 discriminate against them, to persecute them in any way?

18 A. We never received any such order to attack or persecute Muslims or

19 any such thing.

20 Q. Just a couple of more comments about my client, Mr. Mario Cerkez.

21 You know him from before, don't you?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Your home is not far from Mr. Cerkez's home?

24 A. Those are -- we had neighborly relations.

25 Q. How did you -- what was Mr. Cerkez like? Was he an aggressive

Page 24074

1 type of a person? Did he like to get into trouble?

2 A. No, he was never aggressive. He was very communicative. He

3 always wanted to assist people regardless of their ethnic background. He

4 was never a nationalist. He was a good man.

5 Q. Did you ever hear him say anything belligerent or any -- in a

6 hostile way against Muslim -- people of Muslim background?

7 A. No, I know Mario very well. He came several times to the front

8 lines. He said first that we should protect the line. That we should

9 protect lives. And he said that if we had an enemy soldier captured that

10 he should be treated properly, in the military way.

11 Q. Did you follow those orders?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. In your testimony you also mentioned -- you said that your fellow

14 villagers in Rijeka who were Muslim stayed at home and were not involved

15 in the military operations. Were they involved in any other activities

16 such as digging fortifications or something else in your village?

17 A. No, not with me.

18 Q. Did the villagers, however, help you in digging fortifications

19 during this conflict, however?

20 A. Yes, the elderly. These were Croat men and women of more advanced

21 age.

22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Rajic, that will conclude my

23 questions. Your Honour, thank you.

24 JUDGE MAY: That will be a convenient moment for a break. It is

25 11.00. We will adjourn now until half past 11.00.

Page 24075

1 Mr. Rajic, would you remember not to speak to anybody about your

2 evidence, please, until it's over, and that does include anybody from the

3 Defence team. Could you be back, please, at half past 11.00.

4 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.

5 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

7 MR. SAYERS: No questions from Mr. Kordic, Mr. President.

8 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:

9 Q. Mr. Rajic, so that we do not confuse you with a number of other

10 Rajics, would you please tell us your father's name?

11 A. The late Franjo.

12 Q. Thank you very much. You had two occupations as of 1991, both

13 police officer and carpenter. Were you unable to find any particular work

14 in either occupation at that time? Was there no industry that would have

15 used your skills as a carpenter?

16 A. In 1991, I did not have two professions. At that time I was a

17 carpenter. As I already mentioned earlier on, I worked in Zenica in

18 carpentry at Brist. And then at the end of 1991, I became jobless and

19 became a policeman only in 1994, after I completed a course for

20 policeman.

21 Q. Thank you. That clarifies a point that was not clear.

22 You have described the tasking of your military work in 1992 as

23 essentially defensive, not offensive, against the Serb aggressor; is that

24 your evidence?

25 A. Absolutely. Only defence activities.

Page 24076

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Page 24077

1 Q. What type of weaponry were you equipped with during 1992?

2 A. I personally had an automatic rifle.

3 Q. Can you describe the type of weapon it was as an automatic?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. What was it, please? Was it a Kalashnikov, an Uzi? What type of

6 weapon was it, please?

7 A. [No interpretation]

8 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. The interpreter did not catch the

9 answer.

10 MS. SOMERS:

11 Q. Repeat, please, for the interpreters.

12 A. Palovka.

13 Q. In your venturing to places beyond the immediate area of your

14 home, which was Rijeka, places like Jajce and ultimately Ahmici, was there

15 a change in your mandate from simply guarding your home against Serb

16 aggression to move to locations farther from home, such as Jajce and

17 Ahmici?

18 A. My locations, as I already mentioned, were the entire Vlasic

19 plateau, Jajce. As for Ahmici, could you please tell me the period when I

20 was there? Could you please clarify that for me?

21 Q. The October 1992 incident at Ahmici, do you recall that incident?

22 A. On the 20th of October, 1992, yes, I do recall that, and I was

23 there.

24 Q. How did you get there? How did you become involved at that

25 incident? What brought you to Ahmici?

Page 24078

1 A. I was on duty between the 19th and 20th at the command post at

2 Rijeka, in the house of Srecko Petrovic.

3 Q. How did you learn about the Ahmici incident so as to report there?

4 A. There was an incident. The main road was blocked, and also the

5 Catholic cemetery at Topala. I heard about that from Goran Males, my

6 colleague, and that was the night of the 19th. The BH army forces that

7 had blocked the road and the Topolska cemetery were stopping and

8 mistreating him, actually, and then they released him after that.

9 Q. Did Mr. Males himself tell you this?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. How did you actually get called to go to Ahmici? Was there a

12 physical order issued; written, verbal? How did you know to go there?

13 A. There was a telephone call.

14 Q. From whom?

15 A. Mr. Karlo Grabovac.

16 Q. So Karlo Grabovac was your commander, is that correct, at the

17 time?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. How well did you know Karlo Grabovac? Did you know him socially

20 beside being under his command?

21 A. Yes, we knew each other before the conflict as well and we

22 socialised, because he was a carpenter too.

23 Q. For how long before the conflict did you know him?

24 A. Five to eight to ten years, something like that. And we're not

25 too far away either.

Page 24079

1 Q. So as early as -- well, excuse me, let me ask you this: As at

2 October 1992, he was your commander. When did he first become your

3 commander during the year 1992? Was he at all times your commander, or

4 when did he become your commander?

5 A. He was all the time while we were volunteers. And when we went to

6 the JNA lines or, rather, the army of Republika Srpska lines, he led us.

7 Q. You had mentioned in your direct evidence that you were part of,

8 let's see, I believe it was the Viteska Brigade, and you used the term, I

9 believe, "date of establishment." What date do you consider as the

10 establishing date of the Viteska Brigade, please?

11 A. I know that it came into being towards the end of March 1993, as

12 far as I can remember.

13 Q. Was Karlo Grabovac also your commander in the Viteska Brigade?

14 A. Yes, he was commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Viteska

15 Brigade. As I already said, I was commander of the 2nd Company of the 3rd

16 Battalion in the month of May.

17 Q. Did Mr. Grabovac in 1992 have any type of rank? Are you able to

18 recall that?

19 A. No, I don't think so.

20 Q. Who was the superior officer, or to whom was Karlo Grabovac

21 subordinated in 1992?

22 A. Believe me, I don't know.

23 Q. Do you recall testifying in the Kupreskic case?

24 A. Well, partly.

25 Q. Do you recall being asked that same question by the Prosecution in

Page 24080

1 the Kupreskic case over a year ago about who Karlo Grabovac was

2 subordinated to?

3 A. I don't recall having had that question put to me, but I know the

4 orders. I know that all the orders that we got to go to the front line

5 against the Serbs I received from Mr. Grabovac and believe me, I wasn't

6 really interested in the rest.

7 Q. Just to make sure that we are on the same sheet of music, it was

8 on the 1st of -- I'm sorry, I believe it was the 1st of March, 1999, and

9 the question was asked of you, "Can you tell us who was the commander

10 above you who was authorised to give the orders?" And your answer was,

11 "My commander was Mr. Karlo Grabovac." And you were asked, "And above

12 him, above Mr. Grabovac, who was it?" And your answer was, "I don't know,

13 believe me." When asked about rank, "What was Mr. Grabovac's rank?" Your

14 answer was, "I wouldn't know."

15 How long have you know Mario Cerkez?

16 A. Well, I knew him before the war too. Exactly how many years, that

17 I cannot say.

18 Q. Are you able to estimate five years, ten years, I mean, you are

19 not that old of a person but as an adult --

20 A. I did not know him as a child, but I knew him as an adult because

21 after all, he's older than I am.

22 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher please to present two new

23 exhibits, Z765.1 and Z833.1.

24 Q. These exhibits will be shown to you, Mr. Rajic, but I have a

25 question before we get to them. Are you able to pinpoint approximately

Page 24081

1 when the HVO was introduced or was founded? Do you know the date?

2 A. As far as I know, April 1992.

3 Q. And the events that have been discussed during today's testimony

4 take place subsequent to the founding of the HVO; is that a fair

5 statement?

6 A. Which events?

7 Q. The actions in defence of Serb aggression, the Ahmici incident in

8 1992, all the events that you've talked about today are certainly

9 post-founding; is that correct? They are after April of 1992.

10 A. Everything after April, which is correct, 1992.

11 Q. Having -- although you were in a municipal formation, I guess you

12 would call it, during much of 1992, you nonetheless chose to subordinate

13 yourself to the Croat command as opposed to the existing regular TO

14 command; is that a fair statement?

15 A. It is correct that I did accede to the Croat Defence Council

16 because Croat Defence Council was the first to go to defend the front line

17 against the aggression of the army of Republika Srpska whereas the TO did

18 not do that at the outset. They did do it later though. They went in the

19 direction of Sarajevo to defend that area Visoko, Sarajevo.

20 Q. There has been previously admitted an exhibit which again we will

21 not ask to be reshown, but it is a list from Z70.2 which discusses a

22 membership in the HDZ from 1991 to 1992.

23 I will simply ask the usher, if possible, because those do not --

24 it would be on page 66, the fourth line from the top. If you could take a

25 look.

Page 24082

1 Do you see the number four entry? Are you able to see okay?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. This list is previously introduced before this Court into evidence

4 and your name appears as Zdenko (Franjo) son of Franjo Rajic, with your

5 date of birth, from Rijeka. Is that your signature at the edge of the

6 page over in the right-hand column?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thank you. Looking back at the two documents that I've just asked

9 the usher to put down, Z765.1 is a document dated 21st of April, 1993, and

10 it is signed by Mario Cerkez. Point number four in the order indicates

11 that he is appointing Karlo Grabovac as the commander of the 4th Kruscica

12 Sector which encompasses your area of Rijeka. Have you ever seen this

13 order before?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Mr. Cerkez was the commander of Mr. Grabovac even in 1992, was he

16 not?

17 A. Believe me, I don't know, but this is what the document says and

18 that could be correct.

19 Q. This document, of course, is from 1993, but I'm asking you if you

20 recall Mr. Cerkez being the commander of Mr. Grabovac in 1992.

21 A. I personally know that Mr. Mario Cerkez worked on our assignments

22 as to who would be deployed at the front line against the Serbs, but who

23 carried out this particular duty, that I don't know, because he, himself,

24 went with us a few times to the lines up there against the army of

25 Republika Srpska.

Page 24083

1 Q. Did he go with you and Mr. Grabovac and other members of your

2 battalion and company?

3 A. There weren't any battalions or companies at the time, but they

4 did go with us. In 1992, there weren't any battalions and companies

5 though.

6 Q. Was he the leader of the group, however to wish to describe their

7 military formation? Was there anyone more authoritative than Mr. Cerkez

8 at that time? Do you remember?

9 A. I did not really understand you. What do you mean who had more,

10 Grabovac or Cerkez.

11 Q. Yes, let's look at it that way. Was it Grabovac or Cerkez who had

12 more at the time, if you remember?

13 A. I know of one action -- well, it wasn't really an action. People

14 were going up to the front line against the army of Republika Srpska, and

15 Mr. Mario Cerkez went with us. At that moment, Grabovac did not go with

16 us.

17 Q. Was everyone else who typically went on these missions from your

18 local group of soldiers, however you wish to describe their formation?

19 Were they all from the Rijeka area?

20 A. These who went with me, well, in this group, there were about 20

21 of us. These were locals were Rijeka and in part from Kruscica, but most

22 were from Rijeka.

23 Q. And Mario Cerkez was from where?

24 A. From Kruscica.

25 Q. Did he come in and join you or was he in -- did he start off in

Page 24084

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Page 24085

1 the same location you all started out from? If you went out in the

2 morning was he with you from the beginning or did he join you?

3 A. All were volunteers. He joined us immediately from the place that

4 we had set out from.

5 Q. Thank you. The next document is Z833.1, if you would have a look

6 at it, please. This document is dated 27 April 1993, and it is for the

7 sector commanders and is signed by Mario Cerkez as the commander of the

8 Vitez Brigade. There is a specific order in this to Karlo Grabovac in

9 point number 4. Were you part of the group under Mr. Grabovac which

10 implemented this order?

11 A. At that time, I was at the front line up at Crveno Brdce, feature

12 517.

13 Q. Can you give us an idea of -- excuse me. Let me just check this

14 for a second. On the morning of the 16th of April, 1992, can you give us

15 an idea, please, of how you heard ultimately about the Ahmici events, the

16 incident at Ahmici? By what means did you learn it if you weren't there?

17 A. You said the 16th of April, 1992, and as far as I know, nothing

18 happened at that time.

19 Q. April 16th, sorry.

20 A. 1992, nothing happened then.

21 Q. I meant 1993. I'm terribly sorry.

22 A. The 16th of April, 1993, as I have said, I woke up in the morning

23 or, rather, I was awakened by detonations and gunfire. After a telephone

24 call from Mr. Grabovac, I headed for the hill feature 517 at Crveno

25 Brdce. From my house, I could see down there so I knew that something was

Page 24086

1 going on; however, I didn't know what it was about until a few days later,

2 two or three days later, when I heard that a crime had been committed

3 there, that there was fighting between units of the BH army and the HVO.

4 But I'm not sure as to which units because those were all rumours.

5 Q. Are you telling us that all you heard about was that there was

6 fighting between the BH army units and the HVO units? That's all you

7 heard about the incident at Ahmici on the 16th of April, 1993?

8 A. I heard that there was fighting and that a crime had been

9 perpetrated. From the place where I was, I could see the smoke, I could

10 see houses on fire.

11 Q. What crimes were you told --

12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

13 MR. KOVACIC: I would just ask for a caution. If the Prosecutor

14 is going towards the question, what units were there in Ahmici, I would

15 then ask for a private session, because the witness could be intimidated

16 by the answer provided -- if he has to provide an answer publicly. I'm

17 judging only on the experience with the other witnesses.

18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Rajic, is this a matter you feel you can deal with

19 in public, or would you ask us to go into a private session?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for that question, yes, in a

21 partial, because of some reasons. I don't really know what to tell you

22 because I did not see which were those units. It's only what I heard, and

23 those rumours were not verified. There are all sorts of untrue stories

24 which circulate among people, and their authenticity is yet to be

25 verified.

Page 24087

1 JUDGE MAY: We'll go into a private session for this part of the

2 examination.

3 [Private session]

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

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21 (redacted)

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24 (redacted)

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Page 24088

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Page 24089

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6 (redacted)

7 [Open session]

8 MS. SOMERS: Are we in open?

9 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.

10 MS. SOMERS:

11 Q. Mr. Rajic, were you present at the swearing-in ceremonies in Vitez

12 in December -- I'm sorry, the summer of 1992 for the HVO soldiers? Were

13 you among the ranks there?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Do you have a recollection of Mr. Kordic being there, Dario

16 Kordic?

17 MR. SAYERS: Objection, Your Honour. This goes beyond the scope

18 of the direct examination. The name Dario Kordic wasn't mentioned, and

19 that's the reason we didn't ask any questions of this witness.

20 [Trial Chamber confers]

21 JUDGE MAY: Well, Ms. Somers, it's a technical objection.

22 Normally, one would perhaps not apply the rule literally, but we have had

23 plenty evidence about this swearing-in ceremony.

24 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm happy to withdraw the

25 question. It was just to confirm his level of consciousness at that

Page 24090

1 ceremony.

2 Q. I'd like to ask you about your overall term of military service

3 and the benefits financially which you get from having served in the

4 military. Do you get a pension, or are you able to get a pension after

5 completion of a certain amount of service in the military?

6 A. I? No, I cannot. As far as I'm concerned, no, I cannot.

7 Q. Why is that? As far as you're concerned, is there some legal

8 reason, or why can't you get a pension?

9 A. How can I? Since I'm an active policeman for the Vitez police

10 station, for the police administration, I cannot get both my salary and a

11 pension. And to be retired, I'm just too young. I would never stoop to

12 that.

13 Q. That wouldn't be -- that wouldn't suit you. May I ask you about a

14 concept that is a bit foreign to my office. It's called shares, and it

15 seems to refer to some financial benefit given to military. It came to

16 our attention having read your transcript in Kupreskic. What is the idea

17 behind shares that are offered to the military? What does this mean,

18 please?

19 A. Shares, well, I'm not really an expert, really, but these are

20 securities and I have them, I mean, they're not with me but at home. So

21 the longer service in the army, the higher the value of the shares that

22 you get.

23 Q. And is there any relationship between the ranks or the numbers of

24 persons serving in a particular armed force and the amount of money or

25 shares that would be given to members of that service. There is, let's

Page 24091

1 say, the HVO had a certain number of persons and the BiH had a certain

2 number of persons. The more persons, the more money, or can you explain

3 the economics of it to us, please?

4 A. As far as I know --

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic -- yes, can you explain the shares to us,

6 how this works?

7 A. As far as I know, as I have said, the longer your service in the

8 military, the higher value of the stock. And the Muslim side, since it

9 had more members in the BH army, they included women and elderly,

10 everybody else as from the beginning so as to have twice the number of

11 shares that we had. But we also put in old people and women and children

12 and so on and so forth to reach that figure or rather to come closer to

13 the number of shares accorded to the Muslim side. Now, I don't know if

14 you understand it, but that's about all I know about it.

15 Q. Who paid the money that the shares represented? What body

16 actually paid out or from where did the value come; can you explain that?

17 A. I don't -- but it's not money, it's just security, it's a piece of

18 paper like the one that I hold right now, and all it says just, for

19 instance, it says my name, and member from this date to that date, so many

20 months. So it adds up to such and such value of these securities. So it

21 is a paper. It's a document. It's not money at all.

22 Q. Did you ever get any benefit from having more shares personally?

23 A. All I could, as I have just said, I could only have a paper and

24 have a higher value of the securities indicated. So this paper, I keep it

25 at home and I don't think anything will come out of it in all likelihood.

Page 24092

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Page 24093

1 That's what I think of it.

2 Q. So the longer you serve, the more shares you get; is that correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And the more persons represented on a list of military members,

5 the more shares that group or side gets; is that correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You were asked, and I will ask you if you remember, about the

8 dates that you chose to give officially as official records for your

9 military service in connection with getting these shares. Do you remember

10 that in the Kupreskic case? Does that -- do you recall that?

11 A. I don't.

12 Q. The Prosecutor, I believe, asked you about the shares, and perhaps

13 I can just refresh your recollection a bit. You were asked on the 1st of

14 March, 1999, "There are two dates which appear in the number of months

15 that you spent within the HVO, where do those numbers come from, where do

16 the indications come from?" And you said, "I don't know." And then we go

17 on, you were asked a bit further, "Does your signature confirm the reality

18 or the correctness of the indications that you make in this official log?"

19 And you said "No, because the two months were actually more than I

20 actually did. I was, of course, happy about the signature because it

21 meant more shares." The Prosecutor then asked you, "You said that there

22 was an error in the book, but the signature means that you agreed with the

23 dates that appear in the log and the number of months that have been used

24 in order to calculate the number of shares." Your answer, "Yes. As I

25 said, I agreed with this even though it is incorrect, but I agreed with it

Page 24094

1 because of the shares, because of the value of the shares. In other

2 words, if you have been active for a longer period of time, you received

3 more shares." The question to you, "Therefore you received more shares

4 than you are supposed to." Your answer, "Yes." Question, "You received

5 more shares, the number of shares than you were entitled to." Your answer,

6 "Yes."

7 This was a lie, was it not? In effect, it was a lie about the

8 number of shares you should receive?

9 A. Yes, but it happened on both sides.

10 Q. Does that change the fact that it is a lie in an official record?

11 A. Well, if it says that I have more months than regulated, yes, but

12 the only purpose of it is to get a higher value of the stock, that is,

13 more shares.

14 Q. Are you still an active police officer in Vitez?

15 A. Yes.

16 MS. SOMERS: No further questions, thank you.

17 MR. MIKULICIC: Just a few questions, Your Honours.

18 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

19 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Rajic, could you tell us, please, do you

20 remember when the 3rd Battalion of the Vitez Brigade was founded?

21 A. The 3rd Battalion of the Vitez Brigade was founded on -- at the

22 same time when the brigade itself was established, as far as I can

23 remember.

24 Q. So according to what you told us just now, it must have been late

25 March, 1993; is that correct?

Page 24095

1 A. 1993, yes.

2 Q. You don't know the exact date?

3 A. I don't.

4 Q. Mr. Rajic, you were asked by my learned friend about rumours that

5 spread after the incident, after the crime in Ahmici. I won't ask you

6 much about it and there is no need to go into a private session, but those

7 rumours that you heard, did you ever hear a rumour that the Vitez Brigade

8 had attacked Ahmici on the 16th of April, 1993?

9 A. The Vitez Brigade never attacked at all.

10 Q. So you did not hear that rumour?

11 A. Well, there was no need for me to hear a rumour. That was true

12 that the Vitez Brigade, the Vitez Brigade did not attack Ahmici.

13 Q. Very well. Mr. Rajic, you were shown document Z765.1 which, in

14 point of fact, is an order by Mr. Mario Cerkez of the 21st of April, 1993,

15 about the appointment of sector commanders; do you have this document?

16 A. I do.

17 Q. Very good. And if you look at item four, with regards to item

18 four which refers to your village, Rijeka, I should like to ask you a

19 question. Here, four places are mentioned: Kruscica, Rijeka, Previla and

20 Vranjska. Is it true that they are all adjoining one another, that they

21 are in the same place?

22 A. Kruscica, Rijeka, yes, at the same place. And Previla, Vranjska,

23 naturally belongs to the TO, that is, the BH army.

24 Q. Very well. And when Mr. Karlo Grabovac being appointed the

25 commander of the 4th Sector, does that really mean that the existing state

Page 24096

1 of affairs, that is the village guards in those places, all came together

2 under that 4th Sector which was called Kruscica, as I can read in this

3 order? Do you understand my question?

4 A. No, I don't.

5 Q. My fault. Let me try to rephrase it. Is it correct that in those

6 places which are mentioned here there were village guards?

7 A. Kruscica and Rijeka, yes.

8 Q. And it is also correct that this order, in point of fact,

9 incorporated those village guards in a sector which was commanded by Karlo

10 Grabovac?

11 A. I don't think so because village guards, those were all

12 volunteers, that is, shift soldiers, and because there were those doubts

13 about a possible break through.

14 Q. Very well. So you are not aware of that?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Very good. And another question. It has to do with a question

17 that was raised by my learned friend, that is a question of shares. The

18 right to shares as a result of participation in the war was accorded both

19 to Croats and Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?

20 A. It is.

21 Q. Is it correct that all those shares in point of fact came from one

22 and the same till, that is the till of the Federation of

23 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

24 A. I don't know.

25 Q. And about that security that you hold at home, can you buy

Page 24097

1 anything with it?

2 A. No, I personally cannot purchase anything and use it as tender.

3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further

4 questions.

5 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

6 Questioned by the Court:

7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Rajic, a question by

8 Mr. Mikulicic about the rumour, was it a rumour or not, perhaps it was

9 not, regarding the involvement of the Vitez Brigade in the attack on the

10 village of Ahmici. You answered very emphatically and said the Vitez

11 Brigade did not attack Ahmici and was not involved in the attack on the

12 village of Ahmici. Why were you so emphatic? How can you be? You were

13 so categorical about it. Do you know all that there is to know about it?

14 Could you please give us some detail?

15 A. I do not know all about it, but I know that just as it happened,

16 say, in my place, all the village guards that were there, all those

17 village guards joined the Vitez Brigade, and they were all on the front

18 line, that is, in the place where I live, and that is Rijeka. And I

19 believe, I trust that it was like that in all the other places. So as far

20 as Rijeka, Kruscica and other villages are concerned, I simply don't think

21 so because we were not armed. We had not been brought up in a military

22 spirit to know exactly what to do because I think one needs some

23 experience, one needs some expertise. At least that's what I think.

24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So in point of fact, your answer,

25 if I understand you well, that is, on the basis of what you were told, is

Page 24098

1 it on the basis of what you were told?

2 A. Well, as I have told you, I know about my place from my own

3 personal knowledge. And others, also, of course, when we talked about it

4 later on, I also heard it from other people. They would say that they

5 were all guarding their own villages, that is as far as the Vitez Brigade

6 is concerned.

7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So on the basis of that

8 information which you collected in your village, in other villages, and

9 from your colleagues, you deduced that the Vitez Brigade was in no way

10 implicated in the attack on Ahmici.

11 A. Yes, that is correct. Yes.

12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Rajic, that concludes your evidence, and you are

14 free to go. Thank you for coming to the Tribunal to give it.

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.

16 [The witness withdrew]

17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, I'm afraid that we had some little

18 mistake in planning. We asked the Victims and Witnesses Unit to bring the

19 following witness after the lunch break, so we are simply at the moment

20 out of witnesses.

21 JUDGE MAY: Well, if we are out of witnesses, we can't hear them.

22 But given the time constraints - I know it's difficult to accurately

23 forecast how long witnesses are going to be and how long cross-examination

24 is going to be - but I think given the time constraints, I must ask you to

25 plan on the basis that you've got a witness spare. It's not necessarily

Page 24099

1 easy for the witness, but otherwise we're going to be held up.

2 You may also like to reconsider the number of witnesses to call

3 each week, and I'm thinking, for instance, of next week. Have a look at

4 that. That may not be a very good week, because it's going to be a bit

5 shorter because we have a Plenary one afternoon. But if you would bear in

6 mind to overcater for witnesses rather than undercater, Mr. Kovacic, it

7 would be helpful.

8 What time is the witness going to be here?

9 MR. KOVACIC: We asked the Victims and Witnesses Unit, if I'm not

10 wrong, after lunch; that means 2.00. I mean, when the break is 2.30, we

11 ask for some time in advance.

12 JUDGE MAY: I'm just going to ask the registrar something.

13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, well, we'll simply take lunch early. We'll

15 adjourn now and sit again at 2.00. We'll have a slightly longer

16 afternoon.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I just may. I'm not trying to

18 apologise. I mean, it's clearly bad planning. But that planning was

19 based, indeed, on the statistics of how long usually the Prosecution

20 takes. I'm sorry for making the wrong forecast.

21 JUDGE MAY: No need to apologise. As I said, it's a very

22 difficult art to get it right.

23 MR. NICE: Your Honour, just to help, I don't forecast necessarily

24 being very long with the next witness. And I don't think we've had the

25 summary for the witness that follows.

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Page 24101

1 JUDGE MAY: Have you got another one for the afternoon,

2 Mr. Kovacic?

3 MR. KOVACIC: No. We planned only the next one, Mr. Zeljko Blaz.

4 But in the meantime, we can ask that the following witness be here.

5 JUDGE MAY: Good. Very well. At 2.00.

6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.32 p.m.

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Page 24102

1 --- On resuming at 2.05 p.m.

2 [The witness entered court]

3 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

6 WITNESS: ZELJKO BLAZ

7 [Witness answered through interpreter]

8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to take a seat.

9 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:

10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Blaz. First off, because you

11 and I speak the same language, I want to ask you, and I have to repeat

12 this for my own sake, we need to pause between answers and questions

13 because we need to be interpreted.

14 Will you now please give me your full name, your date and place of

15 birth.

16 A. My name is Zeljko Blaz. I was born on 12 April 1962 in Vitez.

17 Q. Do you still live in Vitez?

18 A. Yes, I still live in Vitez today.

19 Q. You are married and the father of three.

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. You are a technician by profession.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you have a secondary education in terms of the former Yugoslav

24 classification.

25 A. Yes.

Page 24103

1 Q. You're now with the army.

2 A. Yes, I am currently employed at the federal army of BiH command

3 for training and doctrine. I was with CFOR and a deputy commander in

4 that.

5 Q. What is your rank currently?

6 A. My rank is major.

7 Q. The department that you just mentioned, could you describe without

8 any details what is it that you do, without revealing any military

9 secrets?

10 A. This is the organisation of telecommunications and computers for

11 the training and doctrine, that is, a service of the training and doctrine

12 for the command for which I work.

13 Q. Does your job involve seminars, training, courses, and other

14 things that are provided by military personnel of various European

15 countries?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. But can we say that today you know much, much more about your

18 specialty than you used to know when you were in the war?

19 A. Of course.

20 Q. I think that we have been caught going too fast.

21 Now, let me move on to the issues relating to what you did in the

22 war, in that unfortunate conflict, regarding the organisation of

23 communication in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Can you please tell

24 me when you were first involved and when you started working for the

25 Central Bosnia Operative Zone?

Page 24104

1 A. I was first engaged in July 1992.

2 Q. At that time, where was the Central Bosnia Operative Zone

3 command? Where was its headquarters?

4 A. At that time, the command was at the Hotel Lovac at Kruscica.

5 Q. Kruscica, where you were stationed, was inhabited by Muslims

6 predominantly; is that correct?

7 A. That is correct.

8 Q. And obviously at that time, Blaskic had no problem in having his

9 headquarters in the middle of a Muslim village.

10 A. No, there was no problem.

11 Q. The HVO and the Territorial Defence, or ABiH, were allies at the

12 time?

13 A. That is correct.

14 Q. Who was your common enemy at the time?

15 A. The common enemy were the Serbs, the JNA.

16 Q. When you were first engaged to work in signals or communications,

17 who was your immediate superior?

18 A. Technically, it was Mr. Boris Pindek. In terms of chain of

19 command, it was Mr. Blaskic.

20 Q. When you arrived in July 1992, as you said, did the Central Bosnia

21 Operative Zone have any communication systems?

22 A. No. At that time we had no communication systems, that is, at the

23 Operative Zone command level. My task as the officer in charge of

24 communication was to try to establish this communication systems for the

25 needs of the Operative Zone command.

Page 24105

1 Q. So it was then that you started working on setting up this

2 system.

3 A. That is correct.

4 Q. What did that involve? What did you do at first in organising

5 this? What steps did you need to take in order to set up this

6 communication system?

7 A. First of all, we had to find the equipment; we had to purchase

8 it. We had to identify the personnel that would be able to use this

9 equipment, which was all technical equipment, and one of the key things

10 was to train this personnel so as to make them capable of using this

11 equipment.

12 Q. Mr. Blaz, the area of Vitez and its surroundings was not replete

13 with people who had the adequate training and education for such jobs.

14 A. Yes, you're quite right. This was one of our major problems.

15 Q. So identifying the right personnel was difficult.

16 A. Yes, it was difficult.

17 Q. Is it correct that the core of your personnel were the former

18 radio amateurs?

19 A. That is correct.

20 Q. So people who were not professionally and militarily trained, but

21 people who were enthusiasts and who were involved in radio communications

22 on an amateur basis.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Is it true that at first you adopted a two-prong system: telephone

25 communications and radio communications?

Page 24106

1 A. That is correct.

2 Q. Let me just try to finish off this area. What was the basic

3 purpose of the communication systems? What did the communication systems

4 imply?

5 A. The main purpose of the system of communication was to enable

6 communications and command and control in the specific area, in this case,

7 the area of the Operative Zone.

8 Q. Does that mean that this communication system had to first enable

9 the flow of information from the field to the command?

10 A. Yes, that is its proper function.

11 Q. In fact, the flow should go to the command and back out. In other

12 words, you were to establish systems that would enable this flow to go in

13 and out so that information could reach the command and then be sent out

14 to the appropriate units out?

15 A. That is correct.

16 Q. Now, let us focus, for a moment, on the telephone communications.

17 What did that phone communications consist of?

18 A. They consisted of the existing PTT connections and the inductor

19 connections which we had in addition.

20 Q. In the latter part of 1992, I'm not going to move to 1993 now, the

21 inductor phone lines, was that something that you had used occasionally or

22 not at all?

23 A. We used them occasionally.

24 Q. Were they a major element of your system or not?

25 A. They were important.

Page 24107

1 Q. How about the public telephone system? If you used it, I guess

2 you would be able to tell us whether, at that time, the public telephone

3 system in Central Bosnia, was it a modern one, was it obsolete?

4 A. I can tell you that it was part of a system of all postal offices

5 that were in Bosnia at that time, and we used part of that system for our

6 own communication.

7 Q. As far as the development of telephone systems in Bosnia at that

8 time, were there cables, underground cables or were they on telephone

9 poles at that time?

10 A. I didn't give you a full answer on whether those systems were

11 modern or not. In that period, there was a mix of user systems and part

12 of it was on the telephone poles and part of them were underground lines

13 that were run through cables.

14 Q. What about the equipment in the telephone exchanges, was that

15 modern digital type of equipment?

16 A. No, it was a classic type.

17 Q. I assume that the radio system was also something that you tried

18 to build.

19 A. Yes, that is correct.

20 Q. You, who were professionals in this field, distinguished between

21 the open-end and closed-end lines. What are those?

22 A. The open-end lines were the lines that we use when using any type

23 of radio transmitters which had used various frequencies which all

24 required to have a general type of protection for communication.

25 Q. What does this general protection mean?

Page 24108

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Page 24109

1 A. It means that the users were to use certain tables of codes and

2 that there was a basic code, general code table, and conversation table.

3 Q. For us who are completely lay in this field, can you translate

4 this?

5 A. That would mean that during communication, collocutor would not

6 call each other by their real names, but they would use code names which

7 would be allocated to them according to this plan.

8 Q. Would this also involve location, would they be coded too?

9 A. Yes, of course.

10 Q. This system would then enable the person who was using this

11 communication to prevent third persons who may be listening in to

12 understand who was communicating?

13 A. Yes, it is one of the ways to prevent people from gaining such

14 information. I think I did not quite explain the closed-end communication

15 lines. Sometimes there is a need to protect the document but not in this

16 way, the way which I have just described but in a better way, and we used

17 certain equipment and software for this. We had to use that in order to

18 protect this information or some document or any kind of written material.

19 Q. And again, if you could translate that for lay people. Let's say

20 you get a request to transmit a document to someone who is 50 kilometres

21 away from you. What technology would you use and what methods would you

22 use when, let's say, you received an order which you are to transmit to

23 someone?

24 A. When we would receive such a document in our communications

25 centre, there is a unit which is called the Communications Centre

Page 24110

1 Expedition Service. They would receive this order which would -- which

2 then they needed to transmit through radio packet. And then it has to be

3 encrypted and protected. When they receive such a document, they log it

4 in and then they forward it to a room where there is a crypto protection

5 team, that is the radio packet team, which is also separated from the rest

6 of the staff and to -- in the premises where the access is restricted.

7 When such a document is received there, it is prepared by them on

8 the computer, then it is typed out and archived, and they used PK Zip

9 programme through which this document is protected. And when the document

10 is encoded, the document is prepared for sending to another transmitter

11 via radio packet. If necessary, I can also say how this is -- the

12 document can be transmitted through the radio system.

13 Q. Perhaps I'll ask you questions and lead you in the right

14 direction. Again, in layman's terms, the text is really translated into a

15 set of numbers.

16 A. Yes, binary numbers.

17 Q. And if an outside person is to record this message, they cannot

18 really read it?

19 A. Yes, in principle that is how it should be. They cannot read it

20 unless they have the same programme used for encoding it. But let me just

21 try to really answer that question fully. When these packets are

22 transmitted through radio waves, and while this packet is broadcast

23 through the air, at that time, it is receivable by anyone who is on the

24 same frequency. Anybody who is on the same frequency can receive that

25 signal. If an outside person should receive such a document, they face a

Page 24111

1 problem because they do not have the codes that would enable them to

2 decipher the document.

3 Q. The way your service was organised, one of the main principles,

4 and this is due to the technology that you had, the approach was that as

5 few sets of eyes should be exposed to any such documents; is that correct?

6 A. Yes, that is correct.

7 Q. It is also correct that the service was organised in such a way

8 that indeed only one person could see both an open-source document and an

9 encoded document.

10 A. Yes. Perhaps I can explain.

11 Q. Yes, but very briefly.

12 A. When such a document arrives at the expedition, it is physically

13 protected, it is sealed, and the person who receives it is not aware of

14 its contents. And the number that is used for logging is on the outside,

15 it's on the envelope, and this is how the document is logged. Now, the

16 person who actually looks at the document first is a different person,

17 another single person who is in charge of encoding this document, and

18 there are only several such persons depending on the shifts that we had

19 during the course of the day.

20 Q. You mentioned a number of times the packet communication system.

21 I have a question about that. When did the Operative Zone for the first

22 time have packet equipment, and then I'll follow up with some other

23 questions?

24 A. The Operative Zone First had its own packet system sometime in

25 July, 1993.

Page 24112

1 Q. But before that, and I hope you can tell us when, you were using

2 other people's equipment.

3 A. Yes, we used equipment of other people. We did not have our own

4 software. We could not set up our own packet, so we used the packet that

5 belonged to the communication centre of the municipal -- my apologies.

6 Q. Those names kept changing.

7 A. It is the municipal centre for information and alert which had

8 taken over that equipment from the former equivalent centre.

9 Q. Perhaps we should speed things up. Is it correct that in the

10 former Yugoslavia, each municipality within its own administration had

11 their own centre for communication and dissemination of information to the

12 citizenry?

13 A. That is correct.

14 Q. Is it true that such documents were designed or were meant to

15 inform the public on natural disasters, let's say, earthquakes or floods,

16 and in the case of war, about dangers relating to wartime?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. As a common citizen, do you know whether, in early 1992, this

19 communication centre informed the citizens, alerted them to potential air

20 raids?

21 A. Yes, and that was one of its proper functions.

22 Q. So the hardware which you found there at that time from that

23 communication centre is something that you were able to use occasionally.

24 A. Yes, until we were able to set up our own.

25 Q. The hardware that you had at your disposal in 1992, and going into

Page 24113

1 1993, what was that equipment? Was that standard military-issue type of

2 equipment or not?

3 A. No, that was not standard equipment. It was manufactured by

4 different manufacturers. It was acquired partly from the former army, and

5 another part, from these radio amateurs, and occasionally we had even some

6 donated to us.

7 Q. The equipment which you gathered in this manner, was this at the

8 real military standard?

9 A. No, it didn't meet the military standard. We just tried to make

10 due in our communications.

11 Q. Perhaps we can ask a follow-up question. Was it important for the

12 communication centre to have a backup communication system?

13 A. Of course it is important, and I'm sorry that I didn't mention

14 that even before. Because if you have a communication system that is

15 based on this non-standard or, in technical words, uniform equipment, in

16 case of any breakdowns, you have no ability to continue communicating when

17 you need to, and you find yourself in very difficult positions.

18 Q. Would it be fair to say that in 1993, and even after the breakout

19 of the conflict of the 16th of April, you occasionally were left without

20 communications for shorter or longer periods of time?

21 A. Yes, that is correct. I think I mentioned some reasons for such

22 occurrences, and I can give you an example. For instance, if a radio

23 system breaks down - and we can have a human factor involved - and you

24 have no backup and you cannot repair it immediately, you are simply left

25 without a communications system. Depending on the type of breakdown, the

Page 24114

1 time period during which you are left without communication depends on the

2 size of the breakdown.

3 Q. Did you then use messengers, couriers, for communications, or was

4 somebody else in charge of that?

5 A. The Operative Zone command had within its own structure a

6 messenger service, and if necessary, they would activate them to send

7 messages and communications to particular units.

8 Q. So you can actually say that this service was sometimes your only

9 backup.

10 A. Yes, at times, I'm afraid, this was the only backup we had.

11 Q. It was mentioned during these proceedings that the command of the

12 Operative Zone, that is to say, Blaskic, had satellite communications.

13 What can you tell us about that? At any point in time - at any point in

14 time - did you have any satellite communications?

15 A. I have to tell you that I had never seen a satellite telephone at

16 that time, and I claim with full responsibility that we did not have any

17 satellite communications.

18 Q. At that time, was there a GSN network, a mobile network, in

19 Bosnia, in Central Bosnia?

20 A. Yes, in the network group 099. That happened in mid-summer.

21 However, it was not fully operational either for a simple reason: We

22 could not get the signal that was being emitted from those radio

23 transmitters that were around us, specifically at Makljen or Cvrsnica

24 [phoen].

25 Q. So what was the possibility of using this telephone at all? Was

Page 24115

1 there any?

2 A. Well, we would have to explore to see where we could find this

3 signal. On several occasions we tried to establish communications at

4 Zabrdze; approximately, that is where a conversation could be held. The

5 facility itself was about six to seven kilometres away, from the command

6 of the Operative Zone, that is. During the winter, in fact, we could not

7 reach that point at all, so that telephone simply could not work.

8 Q. Mr. Blaz, when you managed to use this telephone, with all the

9 restrictions you mentioned, it is part of the public telephone network

10 system, isn't it?

11 A. Yes, correct.

12 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, Mr. Blaz, the command of the

13 Operative Zone at that time moved from the mentioned motel of Lovac to

14 town. Where was it stationed, and where was your service located then?

15 A. Yes, that is correct. In September, at the end of September, the

16 command of the Operative Zone moved to the hotel in Vitez, while the

17 communications centre was in the PTT building in Vitez.

18 Q. Is it correct that you got certain premises in the basement of

19 that building?

20 A. Yes, we got some space in that building. Also I have to point out

21 that we were not alone there.

22 Q. Who else was there? Who else was using this space?

23 A. That is where the reporting and information system was, right next

24 to us. There was only a wall between us.

25 Q. So that is precisely the service that we mentioned a few minutes

Page 24116

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Page 24117

1 ago as a municipal service; is that right?

2 A. Yes, that's right. That's the service.

3 Q. The command in the hotel, the hotel building where the command

4 was, was there a satellite antenna there? Some witnesses said that.

5 A. No, the command did not have a satellite telephone or a satellite

6 antenna at all. Perhaps there were some antenna that we used in the

7 classical system, the ATP, the AT-15 that was used for radio

8 communications for VHF. However, there weren't any satellite

9 communications.

10 Q. Is it possible, and you could know this as a private citizen and

11 in terms of your own profession, did the hotel at that time have cable

12 television with an antenna, with satellites for public television?

13 A. Possibly. Possibly, but I'm not sure. I did not see this.

14 Q. Very well. Can we say, if we were to divide your activity in this

15 job into a few time periods, can we say, for example, until April 1993,

16 until the eve of the general conflict that broke out between the HVO and

17 the other side in the Lasva River Valley, can we say that at that time you

18 had already established a system that ensured a minimum standard that was

19 required? What is your assessment with regard to that period?

20 A. My global assessment is that we had the possibility of functioning

21 at a minimal level. I underline that, that this was a minimum possibility

22 of command and control. But taking into account everything we already

23 mentioned, the substandard equipment and all the difficulties that we

24 encountered at that point in terms of personnel, in terms of technical

25 equipment, this system of communications enabled a minimum - minimum - for

Page 24118

1 the functioning of the command and control system.

2 Q. After the conflict broke out, these weaknesses that you mentioned,

3 a lack of alternative, a lack of personnel, and also the public network

4 that you used, did all of this become even more pronounced when the

5 conflict broke out?

6 A. Yes, it certainly did become more pronounced, a lot more at that.

7 Because in those moments, in fact, we could not have any spare parts for

8 our equipment. At that time, we could not make it possible for the system

9 of command and control to function all the time. At certain points it was

10 even interrupted.

11 Q. Mr. Blaz, at the end of 1992, is it correct that in the basement

12 of the PTT building where you were, a communications service was

13 established for the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade that was then founded?

14 A. At that time, we did not have the centre for communications for

15 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade there.

16 Q. Where did they have their base?

17 A. Their base was in Novi Travnik.

18 Q. Did you help them in a way when they were being established, your

19 colleagues?

20 A. We could not help very much. We just gave this kind of assistance

21 as advice. As you said, as colleagues.

22 Q. And when the Vitez Brigade was established-- sorry, let me

23 rephrase this question. Do you know when the Vitez Brigade was

24 established?

25 A. The Vitez Brigade was established at the end of March 1993.

Page 24119

1 Q. Did they establish a communications centre of their own in the

2 same basement of the same building?

3 A. Yes, yes. They also established a communications centre and that

4 was the one that was next door to us.

5 Q. Can you tell us the name of the person who was the head of their

6 centre that you cooperated with?

7 A. At that point in time, I think that Mr. Babic was chief of

8 communications.

9 Q. Is that Vladica Babic?

10 A. Yes, Vladica Babic, I apologise.

11 Q. In terms of hierarchy, in terms of military hierarchy, did you or

12 your chief have any kind of hierarchial responsibility towards these

13 people in the brigade or were you separate completely?

14 A. As for hierarchial responsibility, we could only give them

15 technical advice. In terms of command, they were answerable to the

16 commander of the brigade.

17 Q. And you were also answerable to your commander Blaskic?

18 A. Yes, I was answerable to Commander Blaskic.

19 Q. Since you were in this basement of the PTT building and there were

20 several independent services there, one belonged to the Operative Zone,

21 the other one belonged to the brigade, and did this municipal centre for

22 reporting continue to function?

23 A. Yes. Yes, they did.

24 Q. So that is to say that physically there were three different

25 services in the basement of the building?

Page 24120

1 A. Yes, that's right.

2 Q. This municipal centre for reporting continued to operate under the

3 civilian authorities of the municipality of Vitez?

4 A. Yes. Yes, it did.

5 Q. In view of the premises where the commands were, you said that the

6 commanders of the Operative Zone was physically located in the hotel. Do

7 you know where the command of the Viteska Brigade was located?

8 A. The command of the Vitez Brigade was located in the cultural

9 centre.

10 Q. The so-called cinema building, right?

11 A. The so-called cinema building.

12 Q. How far away is the hotel from the cinema building?

13 A. Approximately 50 metres.

14 Q. Is that approximately the same distance between the hotel and the

15 PTT building?

16 A. Yes, approximately so.

17 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Blaz, perhaps the best thing for us would be

18 to do a simulation. When Blaskic would write an order that he would send

19 to all brigades: Vares, Kiseljak, Novi Travnik, and Vitez, and Busovaca,

20 et cetera, there were such orders, were there?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. I'm talking about the rule. As a rule, you would communicate that

23 by packet link; is that right?

24 A. Yes. Yes, that's right, by packet.

25 Q. If such an order were to be addressed to the command of the

Page 24121

1 Viteska Brigade, would it be sent by packet to them too?

2 A. No. It would not be sent by packet to Viteska Brigade. That

3 would have been unacceptable we were so close, why would we do that with

4 radio communications. We would use a messenger.

5 Q. All right. So if there would be a circulatory order that would be

6 sent to all brigades including the Viteska Brigade, it would be sent to

7 the Viteska Brigade by messenger?

8 A. Yes, by messenger.

9 Q. And the rest would receive it by radio link?

10 A. Yes, the rest would receive it by radio link.

11 Q. Mr. Blaz, tell me, please, the radio communications that were

12 located in this basement, either yours belonging to the Operative Zone or

13 those belonging to the municipal centre for reporting, or the brigade

14 communications centre, were these communications in a way made available

15 to other people, for example, to the civilian authorities? If the

16 civilian authorities had to communicate to someone outside this

17 encirclement, could they come to you and ask you to establish

18 communication?

19 A. Yes. Yes. They could come and they could use the system on the

20 condition that this was approved by the commander.

21 Q. So your service did provide such services; is that correct?

22 A. Yes, by way of this packet.

23 Q. For example, the HVO government of the municipality, would they

24 come with such requests and receive such assistance?

25 A. That I don't know. I cannot answer that because this packet was a

Page 24122

1 functional part of this centre for reporting, but we were there too just

2 like anybody else, so I -- I mean not I. People who were in charge of

3 this would bring this, they would bring a document, and then it would be

4 forwarded and it would be recorded too. It would be registered. And now

5 who could transmit documents through this centre, that I cannot answer.

6 Q. Very well. At any rate, it is correct that if you personally were

7 asked by a politician, that is to say, not a soldier from Blaskic's

8 command, to establish communications with somebody outside the Vitez

9 pocket, for example, you could only do that with Blaskic's explicit

10 approval or through a person accordingly authorised?

11 A. Yes, exactly. Either through his explicit authorisation or that

12 given by a person authorised by him.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, let us move on to miscellaneous matters. Since

14 you are here, let us ask you things that are more or less related to your

15 work. Is it correct that only until the summer of 1992, that is to say

16 before you were engaged in the Operative Zone, that from time to time, on

17 several occasions, you provided professional services to the municipal

18 staff of the HVO in Vitez?

19 A. Yes. I was asked and I did what I was asked to do.

20 Q. At that time, the head of the HVO staff in Vitez was Mr. Pero

21 Skopljak -- sorry, Mr. Marijan Skopljak; is that correct?

22 A. Yes, that is correct, Marijan Skopljak.

23 Q. Did Mario Cerkez ever ask you to do something?

24 A. No.

25 Q. You do not recall a single occasion?

Page 24123

1 A. No, I do not.

2 Q. At this same time, what about other people who had these -- this

3 kind of specialised training or ordinary soldiers, were they also asked by

4 the staff to do things?

5 A. Yes, they were.

6 Q. And what about you personally? Were you personally ever sent to

7 the front line against the JNA in the hills to the lines that were held

8 there in order to establish inductor communications?

9 A. Yes, I was in Galica with Mr. Cerkez.

10 Q. At Galica, why was there this action at Galica?

11 A. The action at Galica was organised by the Croats and Muslims in

12 the struggle against the aggressors, the Yugoslav army.

13 Q. That was the early summer of 1992, right?

14 A. I cannot recall exactly but I think so.

15 Q. At that time, you were employed by the biggest employer in the

16 Vitez municipality, the SPS?

17 A. Yes, that is correct. I worked for the socially-owned enterprise

18 of SPS.

19 Q. Since you were neighbours, conditionally speaking, in this

20 basement, or perhaps it would even be better if I asked you about the

21 staff. During 1992 when you would come to their assistance, did the staff

22 have some kind of a sophisticated system? What did they have by way of

23 communications?

24 A. The staff headquarters did not have any sophisticated

25 communication system. They could have used the equipment that was left

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Page 24125

1 behind. In that defence office and in this centre, in fact, there were

2 military -- there was military equipment of the TO that existed there in

3 the territory of the municipality. Since these were very old pieces of

4 equipment, devices that were not subjected to technical control and

5 supervision, they were not fully acceptable for use, namely they had many

6 technical shortcomings. That is part of the equipment. The other part of

7 the equipment was that that belonged to radio amateurs, and this was not

8 easily adjustable, not exactly compatible with the equipment I just

9 mentioned.

10 I remember that perhaps there was a donation or two in terms of

11 hand-held devices. They were popularly called Motorolas, but they were

12 not Motorolas. These were hand-held radios of different types and of

13 different manufacturers. They could not have been compatible with what we

14 have, and there were major problems involved if they were all to be

15 operated and used.

16 Q. You mentioned donated equipment. Can you tell us who gave these

17 donations on the basis of what you might have found out?

18 JUDGE MAY: [Microphone not activated] ... all this sort of

19 detail. I think you've fully explained it in the hour which this witness

20 has been giving evidence.

21 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps, Your Honour, I would just like to ask the

22 question on donated equipment since there were implications that HV was

23 donating.

24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, you can certainly ask that.

25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

Page 24126

1 Q. At any point in time, and in any capacity since you helped in

2 headquarters and later on in the Operative Zone, did you get any equipment

3 from the Croatian army?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Let us try to be as brief as possible, just give me yes or no

6 answers. Is it true that some donations came from workers, from people

7 who were from the Vitez municipality and who lived abroad and who could

8 afford to buy some of the equipment that was needed and they sent it to

9 you; is that correct?

10 A. Yes, that is correct.

11 Q. Mr. Blaz, please, you explained how these open radios operated and

12 also how other people were prevented from listening in on conversations.

13 At first at the headquarters, and later on in the brigade, was there an

14 appropriate level of discipline on the part of users of these radio

15 stations? Did they actually use the codes that were prescribed or not, or

16 did they use their real names? What is your assessment?

17 A. My assessment is that we tried, especially responsible people from

18 the municipal staff tried to have information protected so that the system

19 that we discussed a few minutes ago was being used to a maximum, as much

20 as possible.

21 Q. If I understand you correctly, and please correct me if I'm making

22 a mistake or confirm that I've got it right, so all users of these radio

23 stations were supposed to use them properly; right?

24 A. Yes, that's right.

25 Q. Was this kind of discipline attained or not, in your view?

Page 24127

1 A. This discipline was attained, although there were some cases where

2 this could not be brought to a desired level, so that everyone would

3 really use it all the time.

4 Q. Very well. Finally, just one question, Mr. Blaz. You knew Cerkez

5 before the war, didn't you?

6 A. Yes, that's right.

7 Q. You worked in the same company, didn't you?

8 A. Yes, we did.

9 Q. On different occasions, you were with him in his company and in

10 different milieu.

11 A. Yes, in different situations and in different milieu.

12 Q. Did some of these situations involve a different ethnic mix?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Did you ever notice that he had a different attitude towards

15 members of the Bosniak people?

16 A. No, I did not.

17 Q. Did you ever notice any aggressiveness on the part of Mario

18 Cerkez? Did he seem ready to start a fight, a quarrel, whatever? Did you

19 see him as a conflicting person?

20 A. No, I did not.

21 Q. Did you personally ever enter a conflict with him?

22 A. No, I did not.

23 Q. Thank you.

24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] No further questions.

25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Only a few questions, Your

Page 24128

1 Honours.

2 Cross-examined by Mr. Naumovski:

3 Q. [Interpretation] As you know, Mr. Blaz, I'm Mitko Naumovski and

4 I'm a lawyer from Zagreb. With my colleague Stephen Sayers, I defend the

5 accused Dario Kordic, and I have a few questions to ask you.

6 If I understood you properly, in the summer of 1992 you undertook

7 to work in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia dealing with signals.

8 A. Yes, that is correct.

9 Q. Awhile ago you said that your commander was, according to the

10 chain of command, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, who at the same time was the

11 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone; is that correct?

12 A. Yes, it is.

13 Q. So as somebody who worked for the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia

14 for quite a period of time, you were quite conversant with the situation

15 in the Operative Zone, the people, the situation, and a general overview

16 of the state of affairs there.

17 A. Well, yes, you could put it that way.

18 Q. Let us concentrate on what you worked in, and that is signals.

19 Did you ever see or receive personally, or are you aware that any of these

20 systems was used to transmit any order of Dario Kordic to the Operative

21 Zone of Central Bosnia?

22 A. No, I never saw that, and practically that was impossible.

23 Q. But did you ever hear of any such case?

24 A. No, I did not.

25 Q. In socialising with other officers who made the staff, the command

Page 24129

1 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, or on any other occasion, did you

2 ever hear Mr. Dario Kordic issue any other order to any other unit, be it

3 the police or brigade or special unit, and so on?

4 A. No, I did not hear about that.

5 Q. If I understand you well, even if one looks at the signals centre

6 that you worked in and what other services do, the communication with

7 people, I mean, you never heard from anyone that Mr. Kordic ever had

8 anything to do with the army in the chain of command?

9 A. No, I never heard that.

10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Blaz. That will be all.

11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have

12 no further questions.

13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please

14 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

15 Q. Well, how did politicians communicate with the army, then?

16 A. Well, I'm not the one who was anywhere near there, so I couldn't

17 see. But I did know how Mr. Kordic could communicate with, say,

18 Mr. Blaskic. He could communicate -- he could come to the command post,

19 he would talk to him, perhaps he could be at a meeting. But that's all

20 that I can tell you about his communication.

21 Q. Well, you saw him doing those things, did you, having meetings

22 with Blaskic?

23 A. No, no, no. I saw him at a press conference, I saw him pass by on

24 a couple of occasions, and that's about it.

25 Q. Pass by in Vitez?

Page 24130

1 A. Yes, yes, in Vitez.

2 Q. Dressed in military uniform and with armed guards; is that what

3 you saw?

4 A. I did not see him with armed guards, but on a couple of occasions,

5 I did see him wearing a uniform.

6 Q. Let's go back to the question of political communication. You've

7 been asked to exclude any communication by Kordic with Blaskic or any

8 other military person. Consider it a little more widely: What about any

9 other politician? Did any other politician communicate via any of these

10 communication systems you've spoken of with the military men?

11 A. I didn't understand your question.

12 Q. Well, you've been asked about whether you ever received or saw or

13 heard of any communication by Kordic with Blaskic. I'm asking you the

14 same question in relation to any other politician and Blaskic. Did you

15 see, learn of, hear of, et cetera, any other communication between any

16 other politician and Blaskic?

17 A. I saw -- I saw Anto Valenta. But I merely wish to point out, I

18 don't really know what you mean by "communication" between, say, Valenta

19 and this, what you call, Blaskic, or Mr. Kordic and Blaskic. What kind of

20 communication?

21 Q. All right. I'll move on from that. What communication systems

22 did Kordic have, to your knowledge?

23 A. I do not know that Mr. Kordic had any type of communication

24 system.

25 Q. When did you first take up your office, your job, in Vitez?

Page 24131

1 A. If you're asking me with regard to the Operative Zone, that was in

2 mid-July 1992.

3 Q. Did you become full-time employed at this job, or did you remain

4 at your job in the factory? I'm unclear on this. My mistake.

5 A. I worked there as much as was necessary, insofar as that zone is

6 concerned; that is, these tasks that I had to perform, if I'd finish them

7 during the day, then I could go home. If not, then I just wouldn't go

8 home; I'd stay there until I put it right.

9 Q. But you were working full time for the Operative Zone of Central

10 Bosnia, were you? Paid by them?

11 A. No, not full time. I'm telling you, if I had to work, then I

12 would stay there and work. If not, then I went home.

13 Q. Did that position change at all? Did you ever have a full-time

14 position, even by, for example, April of 1993?

15 A. No, I did not work there full time.

16 Q. Could you make sense of your being described as the commander of

17 the communication company?

18 A. I don't understand. What made sense? What didn't?

19 Q. The description of you as commander of the communication company.

20 If it doesn't make sense, we'll look at it a little later.

21 A. Yes, that is true. I was the commander of the signals company.

22 Q. This was a full-time job, a full-time position.

23 A. Could you please emphasise? Are you asking me about my

24 full-time -- or the full-time of the company that I was in command of?

25 Q. Well, it must be my mistake. Was there a communications company

Page 24132

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Page 24133

1 of soldiers? Question number 1.

2 A. There was a unit. It was called a company, but it wasn't fully

3 manned. It had less men than it should.

4 Q. But you were in charge of it.

5 A. Yes, I was responsible for that company.

6 Q. Let's deal with things now chronologically.

7 MR. NICE: Your Honour, rather than trouble the Registry, in all

8 cases of documents already produced, I'll produce my copies for the ELMO

9 and retrieve them. Exhibit 115, please.

10 Q. This predates your work for the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia

11 slightly. But since you have expressed a view on communications about

12 Mr. Kordic --

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. -- this is Mr. Kordic in May of 1992 needing MTS equipment and

15 material to establish good quality communications with the Busovaca HVO

16 units. He seeks a repeater, and he appoints Florijan Glavocevic and asks

17 that the equipment be issued to him. Now, did you know anything about

18 that?

19 A. No, I didn't.

20 Q. Now, that sort of equipment that he obtained would enable him to

21 communicate with military units in Busovaca; correct?

22 A. To be quite blunt, I really don't know what kind of a repeater is

23 this one, a 69-20, and I really cannot say whether that is possible or

24 not.

25 Q. But given the proximity of Busovaca to Vitez and the integrated

Page 24134

1 nature of the HVO, there must have been a means for Busovaca to

2 communicate with Vitez. What was that means?

3 A. Well, the Busovaca municipal staff had its own communications

4 centre.

5 Q. And that communications centre could have communicated with Vitez

6 easily enough. It had the equipment.

7 A. Yes.

8 MR. NICE: The next document is 129. I'll have the first one

9 back, please, and then we'll save time.

10 Q. This is still just a little before your time, but there's no

11 reason to believe you wouldn't know about it if it was in existence, and

12 this is an order by Kordic for a large staff vehicle, complete set radio

13 antennas and generator. Well, it's only about 10 or 15 minutes down the

14 road from Vitez to Busovaca. Did you see this equipment? It's required

15 to establish good quality communications with Busovaca regional staff of

16 Central Bosnia. What can you tell us about it, please?

17 A. I did not see this document and I don't know. I did not even see

18 that staff vehicle. As for the communication, it could have been with the

19 municipal staff in Busovaca.

20 Q. What it would suggest, first of all, is that communications

21 equipment that is mobile, that is, based on a vehicle; correct?

22 A. Yes, it is.

23 Q. And although it's not necessarily clear, it might be that that was

24 a material used, a vehicle used by Mr. Kordic. Do you know about that?

25 A. No, I do not.

Page 24135

1 Q. But again, what we can clearly understand is that there would have

2 been the facility for someone in Busovaca to communicate from a mobile

3 position in a satisfactory way, and that would have enabled him to

4 communicate with Vitez, wouldn't it?

5 A. No, not with such a system, because we did not have it. But a

6 mobile system also means hand-held radio which you can carry in your hands

7 or perhaps on your back, because there are all types of equipment.

8 Q. This refers to a complete set of large staff vehicle, complete

9 set, radios, antennas and generator. That looks like something more than

10 mobile, doesn't it?

11 A. Yes. That's how it sounds.

12 Q. And one way or another, the communications from that vehicle could

13 be channelled through whatever communications centre there were to get to

14 Vitez; correct?

15 A. If it had these properties, yes, then it could.

16 Q. And of course although you've been dealing with packet

17 communications which are hard copy communications, we still have to deal

18 with the reality of ordinary radio communication, voice to voice, don't

19 we?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. And of course you as -- I don't mean this in an

22 offensive way -- as merely the command of the communications unit, aren't

23 going to be in a position to know about, to log, or to record what are

24 mere voice-to-voice communications between senior officers or senior

25 officers and politicians; correct?

Page 24136

1 A. I do not need that. I didn't have to do that, nor could I do it

2 with what I had at my disposal.

3 Q. By the -- thank you very much. That document may be withdrawn and

4 we'll come to a Defence exhibit which, I'm afraid, is copied on -- the

5 English and the B/C/S are copied on reverse sides on the same sheet of

6 paper, the French is free-standing. It's D17/1.4. That's how it reads.

7 Perhaps you'd just like to have a look at this please.

8 If you'd like to show the witness the B/C/S version and then lay

9 the English version which is on the reverse side on the video, on the

10 overhead projector.

11 What you can see there, and we'll just look at it on the English

12 version is that as early as the middle of August, there was already a

13 communications unit, do you remember that, in Vitez?

14 A. That is a unit, I mean a Muslim unit.

15 Q. I see. Very well. If this is a Muslim unit, so it is. It's

16 marked as Territorial Defence, in which case I needn't trouble you more

17 with that. We can withdraw that, thank you.

18 If we look at the next Exhibit 190 coming your way in the usual

19 form, English for the ELMO, original for the witness, we know that the

20 priority given to communications is reflected in this way, that on the

21 17th of August, coming from Grude and under the heading, "To contribute to

22 the overall defence efforts and in accordance with tasks assigned," and so

23 on, the quickest possible elimination of the effects of enemy aggression

24 on the PT system of Central Bosnia, there's a comprehensive order about

25 long distance subscribers and all lines number four end in the TK

Page 24137

1 telecommunications centre of the respective towns. HVO staffs and

2 business organisations have priority in telephone numbers. Allocation of

3 numbers and so on. Now, this was establishing a comprehensive telephone

4 system. Do you remember all this in Central Bosnia? It was all under HVO

5 control as we can see from number six. Do you remember anything about

6 this?

7 A. I don't.

8 Q. But it's right, isn't it, just putting it very shortly, that the

9 HVO, we've had other evidence of this, was able to take over private and

10 commercial telephones and use them, really, if it wanted to; correct?

11 A. I don't know this document. I never saw it, nor was I responsible

12 for these matters in the command so I really cannot discuss the documents

13 since I simply do not know what it's all about.

14 Q. Very well. Thank you. Was the quality of communication in your

15 area any different than that in Gornji Vakuf?

16 A. When do you mean? When?

17 Q. At the end of 1992, in your assessment, would the quality of

18 communications in the two places have been broadly similar?

19 A. I don't know. I can't answer that because I'm not sure.

20 Q. Did you, in Vitez at the end of 1992 -- Your Honour I'm referring

21 to the evidence from Brule and Mr. Koenig who spoke specifically about

22 Gornji Vakuf. Did you, by the end of 1992, through the HVO, have control

23 of the local telephone network?

24 A. It wasn't HVO's control. It was simply the civilian structure

25 which we simply kept such a system, the switchboard in Vitez, but HVO did

Page 24138

1 not control that exchange or the links. It was still under the civilian

2 authorities.

3 MR. NICE: There's one other document I want to you look at. It

4 probably won't be necessary to become an exhibit. It can be if

5 necessary. It's 176.1. If becomes an exhibit, let's reserve the position

6 and show the original to the witness.

7 Q. This is just simply to, again, confirm the steps that you were

8 taking. This is a receipt for expenditure on repair of telecommunication

9 systems as early as August of 1992. If you can have a quick look at it.

10 Do you remember putting things in order as early as August of 1992 and

11 spending I think some 500-odd Deutschemarks on some pieces of repair?

12 A. Yes, at the Technical Overhaul Repair Institute.

13 MR. NICE: Thank you. I needn't put that in as an exhibit, Your

14 Honour, it's enough to remind the witness of it.

15 Q. So careful steps were being taken from the beginning to get the

16 equipment in good order, weren't they?

17 A. Yes. That's what we were trying to do.

18 Q. Here's another reflection of that, it's still in 1992, Exhibit

19 287.2 where we see no lesser a person than Petkovic himself giving out

20 instructions about packet communications which you've helpfully explained

21 to us, and he was explaining that -- just about half way down the screen

22 -- staff commanders will designate a separate room for working with packet

23 communications and select persons and so on. So that there were

24 instructions from the top level about packet communications well before

25 the end of 1992; correct?

Page 24139

1 A. There was no need for such a document to be from General Petkovic

2 because such a document could have been issued by Commander Blaskic,

3 because this is addressed to the HVO command, that is, to the soldiers.

4 Q. But it all reveals the proper priority, at least the priority

5 being given to an efficient communication system, doesn't it?

6 A. Yes, radio packets.

7 Q. And indeed if we look at 2.5 in your own summary of evidence,

8 Mr. Blaz, we find that overall you don't suggest the systems weren't

9 working. You put it like this, and I'm going to quote you from your own

10 summary, "We managed to establish a communication system. It had a lot of

11 weak points so periodically it happened that communications didn't work

12 due to complete or partial malfunctioning of the system. And after the

13 conflict, this became more noticeable." That's as far as you know, isn't

14 it? You had a proper communication system that periodically didn't work.

15 A. Well, if you think that's a proper communications system, then

16 that's your view. But I think that that is a communications system who

17 barely met the minimum requirements bearing in mind that there was a whole

18 range of technical breakdowns that we might possibly have, and also major

19 problems when training people to cope with that. I think that this

20 communication system barely met the minimal requirements of communication

21 and in view of what I have just said, you can well imagine how it was.

22 Q. Well, I'm only quoting to you from your own summary, but you help

23 us with this then, please. Can you point us to any instance where a

24 failure of an ability to communicate harmed the HVO's interests? Can you

25 point to any order that wasn't given when it should have been or to any

Page 24140

1 order that should have been countermanded or cancelled and that wasn't

2 countermanded or cancelled? Can you?

3 A. I cannot do that because I am a person who could not even see

4 those documents. And if a document had not passed through, then it did

5 not pass through for technical reasons, but I could not see the document

6 to make any estimates of my own. I simply could not do that.

7 Q. No. You can't tell us either of any instance when Blaskic came to

8 you and said, "As a result of your rotten communications system, we were

9 unable to communicate with X or we were unable to compel this unit to go

10 somewhere else." You don't point to any such instance, do you?

11 A. Well, he was a flexible person and a person who knew what it was

12 and appreciated the effort. And he also knew that we were simply

13 powerless and that, therefore, there was no need for him to use such

14 vocabulary.

15 Q. I'm sorry. I'm going to just press you to give you one more

16 chance. Forget the vocabulary and please point us, if you can, to any

17 instance when you say shortcomings of the communication system was a

18 problem because Blaskic identified it to you as a problem. Give us one

19 instance, please.

20 A. I could quote a number of such examples, but I do not know what

21 documents it was about and whether these documents were of major value,

22 because all sorts of information and documents went through. But I can

23 show exactly that the shortcomings of the packet system or any other

24 system could result in the fact that we wouldn't be able to issue an order

25 or send a document. There were quite a number of examples when we were

Page 24141

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Page 24142

1 unable to put things in order and make them work again. But when it would

2 happen, when, for instance, we would be lacking a communication system

3 over a longer period of time, he was a person who could understood why

4 that was. And he could not but realise what we had to face up to, because

5 we did not have adequate technical means and why we were not always able

6 to meet all our obligations, if some order of his had to pass through or

7 any other document and the equipment did not work.

8 Q. Only a few more documents. But as we are coming towards the

9 offensive of April 1993, your role was still, was it, as a part-time head

10 of the communications company, commander of the communications company; is

11 that right?

12 A. I think we're talking at cross-purposes. I said, did you ask me

13 about my working hours in 24 hours, or were you asking me about the

14 company which was to provide the communication system in the Operative

15 Zone? I ask you again: Do you mean my working hours, mine as the

16 commander's, or are you asking about the men who were hired to do that,

17 who were doing it; that is, do you mean the whole company or do you mean

18 me only?

19 Q. I'm asking you whether you were, in fact, engaged full time on

20 this military work, that's all I want to know, in the first part of 1993.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. What were you doing on the night of the 15th/16th of April,

23 please?

24 A. I was performing some general tasks that I had been made

25 responsible for at the communications centre.

Page 24143

1 Q. Where?

2 A. At the communications centre in Vitez, in the PTT building.

3 Q. Working for Blaskic.

4 A. Well, I worked for the commander of the Operative Zone.

5 Q. Yes, and that was Colonel Blaskic.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. What was he doing on the night of the 15th/16th of April?

8 A. I don't know.

9 Q. Looking back, Mr. Blaz, the 15th/16th of April was a pretty

10 important night in the history of Vitez, and an extremely important night

11 in the villages of Ahmici and other neighbouring villages. Now, you must

12 have given some thought at some stage to what was happening that night.

13 Now, will you tell us, please, what was happening?

14 A. You mean after what happened in Ahmici, when the whole front was

15 opened in the Lasva Valley? Are you referring to that day?

16 Q. I'm seeking to get from you your memory of what happened on that

17 day, and I'll put to you what happened in due course. You were there,

18 were you, all night, working on the night of the 15th/16th?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Right. Who told you that you were going to be required to work

21 night duty?

22 A. Nobody told me.

23 Q. How come you worked night duty on that particular night?

24 A. That was not the only night. Before that, the same thing happened

25 too.

Page 24144

1 Q. I'm sure there were other nights when you worked nights, yes. But

2 why did you work nights on this particular night, please?

3 A. I worked both that night and a number of other nights, because we

4 had extra large problems with the communications systems. You're expected

5 to maintain those communication lines that flow both ways, upward and

6 downward. It required my presence and the presence of other men in order

7 for this communication to be able to function properly and be there for

8 the command and control purposes. So I don't know why this specific

9 night, because it was just one of the nights when I was there to enable

10 the commander to command and control.

11 Q. Let me see if I understand your answer. But first of all, just

12 make sure of this: You're really saying you have no idea why I'm asking

13 you particularly about the night of the 15th/16th of April of 1993; is

14 that your position? You have no idea why I'm asking you about that

15 night.

16 A. I don't know why you're asking me that.

17 Q. I see. Are you also saying that your night duty on that night was

18 simply because there were problems with the communication system which

19 needed correcting?

20 A. I cannot recall exactly whether we had any specific problems

21 then. But in terms of staying at night in the centre, to sleep over

22 there, that happened frequently. So I believe that there was no

23 particular problem, but I spent the night there as I did many other

24 nights.

25 Q. So that your position, therefore, reduces to this, doesn't it:

Page 24145

1 This was a wholly ordinary, unexceptional night and yet one that you can

2 remember, seven years later, as one which you stayed on duty overnight; is

3 that your position?

4 A. Something like that, yes.

5 Q. You know perfectly well that you were on duty that night because

6 there was a major operation, and you as the communications commander were

7 heavily involved in it.

8 A. I was unaware of any operations that were about to be carried out,

9 and I was involved in this as I was involved in any plan. There was a

10 monthly plan that I was following on the communication systems. If I

11 stayed one night or two nights or three nights in a month, it would have

12 been for some technical problem or some other reason. The technical

13 problems were not the only reasons why we would stay there.

14 Q. If a number of units were sent out on Blaskic's order on the night

15 of the 15th/16th and April, or any other night, you had the equipment for

16 those units to stay in contact with base; correct?

17 A. No, I had nothing to do with such units ever. My task was very

18 loud and clear. It has to do with the communication centre. It was to

19 maintain communication between the command and the subordinate units.

20 What they were involved in, that was not part of what I needed to know.

21 Q. I used the word "you" too generally. I'll repeat the question.

22 If a number of units were sent out on Blaskic's order on the night of the

23 15th/16th of April, or on any other night, the HVO had equipment whereby

24 those units could stay in contact with base; correct?

25 A. I cannot say that because I don't know, because I had no units

Page 24146

1 under my own command. I could not follow them. As the commander of the

2 communications centre, I had communication with the communication centres

3 of subordinate units, which would have been brigades. Now, what

4 communication they had in their turn, what they did on their own, that I

5 did not know. It was not my duty to know this.

6 Q. Just so that I understand your position. You're able to tell this

7 Court that there were no communications by the politician Kordic, but

8 you're not able to tell this Court anything about communications between

9 soldiers and the communication centre; is that really your position?

10 A. I again did not understand you now.

11 Q. Sorry. I'll try to make it simple. Your position remains, does

12 it, that you can tell this Chamber that there were no communications to

13 your knowledge between the politician Kordic and Blaskic; that remains

14 your position, does it?

15 A. My question, again, is what type of communication? I could not

16 forbid Kordic and Blaskic to talk among themselves.

17 Q. Okay. Well, nevertheless, you're unable to tell us one word about

18 radio or any other form of communications between soldiers or groups of

19 soldiers and Blaskic at the communications centre, you're unable to tell

20 us anything about such communication; is that your position?

21 A. That is not my position, and I don't know -- could you please

22 repeat the question one more time.

23 Q. Well, if that's not your position, I'll come back to that

24 question. I want to know, please, what radio or other communications

25 happened on the night of the 15th/16th of April of 1993 coming to or going

Page 24147

1 from the communications centre in Vitez where you were?

2 A. At that time, we were using the radio packet communication, which

3 was at the communications centre, and we had the regular radio network

4 going. It was in KV.

5 Q. Yes. Did you also have voice-to-voice communication, ordinary

6 radio communication?

7 A. I don't know. What radio communication? UHF, short-wave, or KV?

8 I don't know what you're referring to.

9 Q. I'm in your hands on this, Mr. Blaz. You've already told us that

10 there was ordinary voice-to-voice communication. Now, I want you to tell

11 us, please, as the communications officer, head of the communications

12 company, what communication was going on on the night that we know ended

13 in Ahmici being massacred? Now, will you tell us?

14 A. I cannot say anything in that regard. That night and that day, we

15 had regular communication systems; it was operational. We had a network

16 going and a KV system, and all other systems were working. But regardless

17 of whether they were working or not, I wasn't following them, and that was

18 not my task. That was at the level of subordinate units.

19 Q. I see. It's the subordinates to you who would read or hear the

20 messages, and it was your superiors who would be sending them. Is that

21 your account? So that you, as it were, fall in between and you have no

22 knowledge of what was happening.

23 A. I didn't need to know whether anything was going on or not going

24 on. The important thing for me was to transmit everything.

25 MR. NICE: I'm not going to trouble the witness or the Court with

Page 24148

1 any other documents with this witness.

2 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps only a couple of short questions.

3 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

4 MR. KOVACIC: It's more or less because some statements were left

5 in the air, I guess.

6 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

7 Q. [Interpretation] Some examples of situations when communications

8 were not working have been mentioned. Is it true that on the 18th of

9 April a shell hit the PTT building?

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. Is it correct that the equipment had been damaged at that time?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Is it also correct that some people were injured at that time?

14 A. Yes. I was present there.

15 Q. Did this set you back for a period of time in terms of equipment?

16 A. Yes. Part of the equipment was destroyed.

17 Q. Was the municipal communication centre, OIC, also knocked out of

18 service?

19 A. Yes, for a longer time than we were.

20 Q. And the communication centre of the Vitez Brigade?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. I believe that this has not been clarified. You know that on 16

23 April the general conflict broke out between the two sides in the Lasva

24 Valley.

25 A. Yes.

Page 24149

1 Q. And this is how you remember the night between the 15th and the

2 16th.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Would you agree with me that anyone who lives in the Lasva River

5 Valley remembers that --

6 MR. NICE: I'm going to object to that. That was obviously a

7 leading question and it gets us absolutely no where. The witness has

8 given his answers on his process of recollection, and he doesn't need to

9 be reminded of another method.

10 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise if I was too suggestive.

11 JUDGE MAY: I'm not sure that it was a particularly controversial

12 matter in the event, but don't lead. Also, bear in mind the time because

13 it's time for a break for the interpreters. If you could wind up, please,

14 Mr. Kovacic, as quick as possible.

15 MR. KOVACIC: I will surely be finished in two or three minutes,

16 Your Honours.

17 Q. [Interpretation] At the beginning of the cross-examination you

18 were shown two documents that had to do with the procurement of

19 equipment. One was a transponder repeater as it was called, 69/20, and

20 the other one was a model 100 TAM vehicle. Did you see such a piece of

21 equipment, what was called a repeater?

22 A. No, and I think I said that I never saw that.

23 Q. How about this command and communication vehicle that was

24 mentioned?

25 A. No, I never saw that either. I don't know that we had it.

Page 24150

1 Q. Had such a vehicle, such command communication vehicles appeared

2 in the Lasva Valley, in any of the municipalities of this valley, would

3 you have learned about it?

4 A. I probably would have, yes.

5 Q. As a professional, would you have been happy to have acquired such

6 a vehicle?

7 A. No doubt.

8 Q. When shown a receipt from the maintenance facility, up to what

9 time were you able to use their services?

10 A. Until the 16th of April.

11 Q. And after that you had no access there?

12 A. No, we had no access there.

13 Q. You were also shown a document, the contents of which had to do

14 with the packet communication, it was signed by Petkovic and it was

15 addressed to HVO. Do you recollect that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Could you glean from the contents of this document that this

18 was -- this had to do with the planning of the system and the acquisition

19 or procurement of the system?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Towards the end of the cross-examination, you said that radio

22 packet and the KV communication system were both operational on that night

23 between the 15th and the 16th?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Are these the type of communication systems that are used by the

Page 24151

1 command with the local units who were in the vicinity?

2 A. No, they are absolutely not used for those purposes.

3 Q. Does that mean that the local level, let's say if your Commander

4 Blaskic wanted to talk to a unit which is some three kilometres from him,

5 would he be using packet communication or KV communication systems?

6 A. No, he would not use either of the two.

7 Q. What type of communication system would he be using?

8 A. He would use hand-held radio.

9 Q. So that type of communication would not be physically going

10 through your communication centre?

11 A. Not necessarily, no.

12 Q. So if other units had those mobile hand-held equipment, would you

13 be in charge of the hardware?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Who is then in charge of the maintenance of this type of

16 equipment?

17 A. Services that were part of those units. In other words, their own

18 communication centres.

19 Q. When a transmission comes to you, say, from Kiseljak, it is not

20 your concern how it is transmitted from Kiseljak to the subordinate units?

21 A. No, that is none of my business.

22 Q. At the critical time, and I mean it literally, were you listening

23 in to the communication traffic of the subordinate or superior units?

24 A. I believe that at that time, we did not.

25 Q. Would you have had a reason to listen in in order to just verify

Page 24152

1 that all the systems were working?

2 A. Occasionally we can use it, let's say, if we wanted to check on

3 the codes, whether they were being used or not, but that's just a routine

4 check.

5 MR. KOVACIC: I have no further questions, Your Honour. Thank you

6 very much. [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Blaz.

7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Blaz that concludes your evidence. You are free

8 to go. Thank you for coming to the Tribunal. We will adjourn now until

9 half past 9.00 tomorrow morning.

10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

11 at 3.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday

12 the 6th day of September, 2000, at

13 9.30 a.m.

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