1 Thursday, 7 September 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Ms. Somers.
7 WITNESS: DRAGAN STRBAC [Resumed]
8 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers: [Continued]
9 Q. Mr. Strbac, we had begun to look at some aspects of your prior
10 testimony, but I'd like to clear up a few points. Your work with the
11 civil defence was, in your opinion, intended to protect all citizens, is
12 that correct, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. The appointment of yourself and Mr. Smirko -- I'd like to ask the
15 usher to present Z309.1, please, and I shall try to go through these very
16 quickly mindful of my commitment on time.
17 In front of you, Mr. Strbac, is a report from Anto Bertovic and
18 Sefkija Dzidic dated 12 December 1992 out of Vitez, and this report
19 confirms that you are appointed or nominated for the position by the Vitez
20 HVO and Mr. Sejo, I believe that is a short name for Sulejman, Smirko
21 nominated by the BiH; is this accurate?
22 A. May I just go through this document because I don't know it.
23 Q. It is point 2 to which I am referring.
24 A. I'm sorry I really have to read it through.
25 JUDGE MAY: There's no need to read the whole document,
1 Mr. Strbac. Can you now deal with the question which counsel asked?
2 A. This report has to do with the 12th of December, 1992, and it has
3 to do with a meeting at which I was not present at all. And item 2,
4 paragraph 1, line 1, where my name is mentioned, I can interpret it only
5 as follows: Since the civil defence, as a part of the defence system, was
6 housed in the secretariat for defence, I -- my guess is that my name is
7 mentioned simply as the name of a person who was the chief of the
8 municipal staff of the civil defence, and the civil defence is part of the
9 defence system so that it is a part of the whole concept of the
10 development of plans of defence in the municipality of Vitez.
11 It doesn't say that the HVO appointed me. It was simply a meeting
12 of the representatives of the Croat Defence Council and the BH army. And
13 when they speak about the plans for the municipality of Vitez, then it is
14 logical for the civil defence, as a part of the defence system, being
15 mentioned within this context.
16 Q. It is clear, it is not, from this document that there appears to
17 be a separateness, there is HVO and BiH already at that point and the
18 separateness has made its way on to official documents; yes or no?
19 A. I wouldn't comment on that document, I repeat, because I was not
20 at that meeting and it has nothing to do with my competencies.
21 Q. Moving on. Your comments about Mr. Smirko's departure from the
22 position as commander of the civil defence, when, in fact, was he
23 appointed originally, if you know?
24 A. I don't know what you mean. Could you please clarify?
25 Q. When did he become commander of the civil defence?
1 A. Sometime towards the end of 1991 or early 1992. I do not remember
2 exactly. But it is at that time, roughly, end of 1991 and beginning of
4 Q. And when did he leave?
5 A. Mr. Sulejman Smirko did not leave. We cannot say that he withdrew
6 either. I said that step by step, gradually, in a way, the Bosniak
7 component began to distance itself and Mr. Smirko left Vitez. I wouldn't
8 know the date, but I know that the open conflict of the 16th of April was
9 well on the way. So it could have been in May or perhaps June 1993.
10 Q. In Aleksovski you were asked:
11 Q What happened such that he stopped working there?
12 A When the conflict started in April of 1993 between the
13 HVO and the then Territorial Defence or, as they call it,
14 the army of the BH, Mr. Smirko did not see fit -- and I
15 must say that we didn't see fit either -- fit for him to
16 continue in this position. And in this period of the
17 month of April, he was still in Vitez. He continued to
18 live in his apartment where I visited him on several
19 occasions. We had a couple of conversations in that
20 regard, and he personally considered that it would not be
21 right for him to continue in this position. So I took
22 over as commander of the civilian protection staff. And
23 I must say on this occasion, that after about a month,
24 after the start of the conflict, at his personal request,
25 and with our assistance, he moved to the territory of
1 Zenica municipality. And I don't know if I should add
2 this, even though I personally was trying to convince him
3 to stay, he said that he wanted to go where all his
4 people went.
5 It is a fact, is it not, that this is a post-Ahmici departure, as
6 a matter of fact. A departure after the greatest number of villages cited
7 in -- I'm sorry, you would not know necessarily all the villages, but
8 after the village attacks in the Lasva Valley that he left after those
9 attacks; is that correct?
10 A. I can agree only with that part of the statement where I indicated
11 reasons for Mr. Smirko's departure. As for attacks, you were not specific
12 enough. Who attacked whom? What do you think? If you meant attacks by
13 the Bosniaks, Muslims, on our villages, then I can agree.
14 Q. Was it also a factor in his decision, if he shared this with you,
15 that as someone who was not a member of the HVO government and having held
16 a position integral to the Vitez municipal works, that he could not remain
17 opposing the power which had taken over the functions of Vitez
18 municipality? Did he tell you that?
19 A. I'm sorry, but I really did not understand the question.
20 Q. He was not a member of the HVO, was he? He was not part of the
21 HVO government, was he?
22 A. No. Well ...
23 Q. At that point in time, you would concede that the HVO was --
24 A. Mr. Smirko was a member, that is, the commander, of the municipal
25 staff of the civil defence in Vitez.
1 MS. SOMERS: I don't know whether the Court would ask or would
2 care to have it in front of itself again, but we had presented Z2298 in
3 the course of earlier testimony which are the Narodni Lists. The only
4 point I wanted to make is that the Narodni Lists governing Herceg-Bosna
5 legislation do include the provisions for civil defence which governed at
6 that time. If the Court does not wish to spend time, I won't. Thank
8 Q. You were also in charge, were you not, of responses to fires that
9 occurred in Vitez municipality, is that correct, making sure that fires
10 were extinguished so as not to endanger persons or property?
11 A. Yes. If we are talking about the time when combat operations were
12 taking place, yes, we were in charge, but without endangering men or,
13 rather, firemen, without putting their lives at risk when extinguishing
15 Q. This was one of your functions as of the period from the 16th of
16 April to approximately the 21st of April, 1993?
17 A. It wasn't my function. That is the task of the civil defence.
18 Q. Of which you were the head?
19 A. The chief, yes.
20 Q. Would you please describe as briefly but as thoroughly as possible
21 the efforts that were made under your leadership to extinguish the fires
22 which were visible, basically, from the Ahmici village on the 16th up
23 till, minimally, the 20th in Gacice?
24 A. As regards Ahmici, in that period of time -- there are two
25 things: The first and fundamental thing is that when the conflict began,
1 when the attack of the army, when they began to attack the territory of
2 the municipality of Vitez, we lost all the equipment of the voluntary fire
3 brigade in Vitez, which is still located in the town of Vitez called
4 Mahala. This is one detail.
5 The second detail. When you asked me about the fire extinction in
6 the inhabited places, I said that, yes, true, the task of the civil
7 defence is to salvage the property and save human lives under such
8 circumstances due to the emergence of fires, without, however, putting at
9 risk the lives of firemen taking part in such an action.
10 As regards Ahmici, I, as the chief, while the fighting was going
11 on, with a couple of my assistants, I was accommodated on the staircase of
12 the post office building in Vitez. We heard detonations around us and
13 gunfire, so I did not even think I had to undertake anything because
14 fighting was going on. Thus, I have said, the equipment, it stayed up
15 there, and all we had at our disposal was one vehicle at the Impregnacija
16 company. The vehicle was made in 1963, and I'm not sure it could really
17 leave the compound or the factory, let alone go to any action.
18 As regards Gacice, from that direction, likewise, while the
19 fighting was going on, I could not undertake anything with those few
20 firemen who had been assigned to my unit. If we were to carry out a
21 proper action, we needed the necessary prerequisites.
22 As for Ahmici, we could do something only after the fighting
23 ended, but that was only two or three days later. We came out into the
24 field but everything had already burned down, so there was no need for us
25 to undertake any extinction of fire.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. This Court has heard considerable evidence that the attacks on
2 Ahmici and the other villages occurred very early in the morning while
3 people were asleep, highly suggestive of pre-planning. In the event there
4 is a finding of pre-planning, can you please tell us what pre-planned fire
5 prevention methodology should have been in place, if you can?
6 A. To begin with, and I go back to that thesis, I cannot agree with
7 the first part of your statement that the attack on Ahmici had begun. I
8 cannot agree with that. It is a fact that the reverse took place, that
9 all the --
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Strbac, you're not here to argue the point. We've
11 heard much evidence about this matter. What you're being asked is what
12 planning should there have been for the fire services before these events?
13 A. Before these events, we had our plans of protection and rescue.
14 As for the fire prevention in inhabited places, every citizen was
15 duty-bound to have a fire extinguisher at home, and our task was to put up
16 fire extinguishers in those places where there was a water supply
18 MS. SOMERS:
19 Q. The use of incendiary bullets was documented in the village of
20 Gacice. Are you suggesting that a resident of a house whose house is set
21 on fire by an incendiary bullet is obligated under your law to put it out
22 with a fire extinguisher situated at home?
23 A. I do not know what the houses were torched with. I wasn't there.
24 MS. SOMERS: Z450.1, please.
25 Q. This document, Mr. Strbac, is dated 8 February 1993. It is a
1 programme of work on the development of a defence plan for the
2 municipality, municipal bodies, enterprises and other legal entities. It
3 bears the stamp of the Croatian Defence Council in Vitez. And the
4 sections, because it is lengthy, I shall point out the sections to which I
5 would ask your comment.
6 In particular, there is on the second page of the document in
7 English, let me see if it matches up, but it would be above the sections
8 listing Marjan Skopljak, Marko Knezevic, Cerkez, et cetera, it talks
9 about: "The procedure for the development of a defence plan shall be
10 preceded by the development of a working programme," that's condition
11 number 1, and "the drawing up of the estimate of the military-political,
12 economic and other conditions in the event of aggression of other possible
13 conflicts. The defence office shall prepare and issue --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Can you slow down please because we do not have
15 it on the ELMO.
16 MS. SOMERS: Would it help to put the Croatian on the ELMO.
17 Q. "The Defence office shall prepare of military-political
18 conditions. The following shall be responsible for the execution of the
19 above task," in other words everything I have just mentioned. That
20 lists: "1) Marjan Skopljak; 2) Marko Knezevic; 3) Mario Cerkez; and 4)
21 Anto Bertovic."
22 At the bottom of the page in English, comment on the outline. It
23 indicates that: "All bodies responsible for defence preparations shall be
24 obligated to define specific measures of readiness in accordance with the
25 outline of the Plan on Measures of Readiness of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna. The Defence Office shall be responsible for the development
2 of the appropriate annexes and necessary legal instruments," et cetera.
3 Turning the page, there is a specific mention of yourself. It
4 lists all bodies responsible for, and then "commander Anto Bertovic," et
5 cetera, and "head of the civilian protection, Dragan Strbac, shall
6 organise the call-up service for the peoples or civilians protection
8 Going down a ways, just above Roman numeral IV, it says, "The
9 persons responsible for all these tasks shall be department heads and
10 directors of enterprises and other legal entities." Other legal entities,
11 Mr. Strbac, yes or no, would include the military, would it not?
12 A. I'm trying to follow you. But a moment ago I simply couldn't
13 follow you. I couldn't find where that was written.
14 Q. Above Roman numeral IV, the persons responsible, et cetera, et
15 cetera, and other legal entities. "Other legal entities" includes the
16 military, does it not?
17 A. But need not.
18 Q. Number V, Roman V, use of civilian protection. "All bodies
19 responsible for defence preparations and legal entities in the
20 municipality shall develop a method of organising and executing personal
21 and collective protection, measures of protection, and rescue, and the use
22 of units and representatives of civilian protection. The Civilian
23 Protection Municipal Staff manages all activities regarding the drafting
24 of documents on the deployment of civilian population."
25 That would be you, would it not?
1 A. It is related to the employment of the civil defence. Yes, these
2 are the terms of reference, the competencies.
3 Q. Thank you. The disciplinary possibilities under the laws of
4 Herceg-Bosna, in your opinion, were you able to impose disciplinary action
5 against, for example, a Muslim person who did not consider himself subject
6 to the laws of Herceg-Bosna but rather to the laws of the legitimate
7 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina? What would you do in such a situation?
8 A. We did not apply the laws of Herceg-Bosna. At the time, the Croat
9 Community of Herceg-Bosna, we used the law on all national defence, the
10 federal and the republican which we had taken over. And as for
11 disciplinary measures, disciplinary measures cannot be divided on ethnic
12 grounds. They can be pronounced on the grounds of non-compliance with
13 one's duties. And the civil defence, I am referring to all the members of
14 the civil defence, regardless of their ethnic origin, ethnic or
16 Q. Are you suggesting, then, that a person, a Muslim person, for
17 example, who was subject to a call-up under the laws of Herceg-Bosna and
18 did not comply because, for example, he or she might be pitted against a
19 fellow Muslim, what would happen in that situation? Please give us your
20 reading of what your obligation would be to enforce what you see to be an
22 A. I'd rather not comment on mobilisation because I was not
23 responsible for it. We can discuss the terms of reference of the civil
24 defence and the mobilisation was under the jurisdiction of the municipal
25 defence office.
1 Q. A quick look at Z451.1, please. This document dated 9 February
2 1993, one day after the document we just looked at in some detail, is the
3 decision signed by Ivan Santic as president of the Vitez HVO and it
4 appoints an operative body for the defence of Vitez municipality. Mario
5 Cerkez's name appears as the second person, the brigade commander, and
6 your name appears as the sixth name, head of the civilian population.
7 This is prior in time to the departure of Mr. Smirko, as I understand your
8 testimony. There is no reference to Mr. Smirko a Muslim here; am I
10 A. Yes. But why is it so? Mr. Sulejman Smirko is a volunteer.
11 Yesterday, when we discussed the composition of the municipal staff and we
12 said that there was the commander, the chief, and members, Mr. Sulejman
13 Smirko commanded the municipal staff of the civil defence as a volunteer.
14 And this decision, when referring to me, my name figures here because I'm
15 a professional. That is, I am a full-time employee in the defence
16 secretariat, that is, the office for national defence -- no, the defence
17 office in Vitez as a professional, and I am here as a professional
18 individual. I am talking about myself.
19 Q. Was Mr. Smirko the only Muslim in the defence office at a high
20 level, volunteer or otherwise?
21 A. What do you mean high level? What does that mean?
22 Q. High-ranking capacity.
23 A. As for the defence office, the only official is the gentleman who
24 is the chief of the defence office who was the only one who is authorised
25 to sign everything, and that is Mr. Marijan Skopljak. There could be
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 nobody else except and unless he then empowered somebody else.
2 Q. The relationship between work units which were outside of the
3 immediate downtown area of Vitez, let's say, on the front or other areas
4 of combat, the relationship between the commander of the armed units and
5 the civilian defence, I would like to discuss and get your opinion,
6 please, about that relationship. First, my question is: Were work units
7 that you discussed yesterday also used to support military units?
8 A. Yesterday, I talked about civil defence units and work units.
9 When I explained what general-purpose civil defence units were, I said
10 that often, the general population called them "work platoons". In order
11 to answer your question, could you please tell me exactly which work units
12 you are referring to because of the terminology involved? Are you
13 referring to the work units, the work platoons that were used for the
14 needs of the armed forces or are you referring to general-purpose work
15 units of the civil defence?
16 Q. I suppose both, but in particular, the question is about those
17 work units which were taken out to combat areas during time of combat.
18 Were those civilian defence assigned work units turned over to the
19 military? Were they supporting military activity? Yes or no?
20 A. As far as work platoons that were used for the armed forces are
21 concerned, I cannot talk about those that were established until the 24th
22 of January, 1993 because I was not in charge of such platoons.
23 THE INTERPRETER: "Before", sorry, interpreter's mistake.
24 MS. SOMERS:
25 Q. Persons who were not able to be conscripted for whatever reasons
1 by the armed forces, I presume by the HVO, those persons were some of the
2 persons who were subject to being called up to the work units; is that
4 A. All who were able, that is to say, up to the age of 60 were
5 duty-bound after general mobilisation was declared to report to the
6 defence office in charge, and when speaking of such persons, they would be
7 assigned to civil defence.
8 Q. From the end of January 1993 until, let us say, July 1993,
9 including, of course, the period of April, the attack period, were Muslims
10 considered persons who were able to be conscripted by the armed forces, in
11 your opinion, as head of the civil defence office?
12 A. All citizens are duty-bound to give their contribution to the
13 defence of the area that they are in, irrespective of their ethnic or
14 religious affiliation and in every way at that.
15 Q. In Aleksovski, the attorney for Mr. Aleksovski asked you:
16 Q Does it mean that these work units could also be used to
17 support the military units?
18 A As I said, anything that had to do with the defence and
19 continuation of life there, so they could do that as
21 The relationship of your work to the Vitez Brigade, can you
22 comment on that, please?
23 A. The Vitez Brigade, from its establishment onwards, dealt with
24 military matters exclusively, whereas the civil defence, at least to the
25 extent to which it could operate at the time, dealt in civilian defence
1 matters. As far as concerted action is concerned, I don't see any that
2 was there, but of course we did cooperate when there were killings on
3 either side of the front line. Then, our recovery units had to go out and
4 collect the dead and do with them what I discussed yesterday, that is to
5 say, give them a proper burial and everything else that was involved.
6 Q. And are you suggesting or are you telling us that there was no
7 oversight or otherwise monitoring by the brigade of any of the activities
8 that you performed in the course of your official functions?
9 A. The authority of the Vitez Brigade or any other military unit for
10 that matter is not to supervise and monitor the work of the civil defence,
11 it is exclusively under the authority of the civilian government of Vitez,
12 the municipality of Vitez.
13 Q. And you do not recall ever having to report to them or keeping
14 them apprised of any particular matters; yes or no?
15 A. As regards whether I had to or not, I did not have to. But if a
16 report was being made, then it was done only by way of information if
17 something was important for a given institution, but I didn't have to. I
18 could only provide by way of information a report of mine, but I was not
19 duty-bound to do that.
20 Q. Z886.1, please. This is a document dated 5 May 1993, military
21 secret signed by an individual named Slavko Maric. Who is Slavko Maric,
22 do you know?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Apparently the operations or duty officer of the Vitez Brigade --
25 I'm sorry, to the Vitez Brigade. And the -- it refers to a matter
1 concerning apparently one of your functions and the second paragraph, "At
2 2230 hours, the duty operative officer, Dragan Strbac, informed us that he
3 could not accommodate the Muslim refugees in the OS elementary school
4 because a group of these refugees did not want to return to Vitez from
5 Divjak, by the UN, for reasons of personal security," et cetera, et
7 Is this a common practice that you can tell us about, to keep each
8 other informed?
9 A. I have to go back to this document. I do not recall having
10 carried out this activity at all or having been in charge of it. This is
11 the first time I see this document. I don't know why my name is here
12 because I do not remember at all being involved in the accommodation of
13 these Bosniak Muslims.
14 Q. You suggested yesterday that you were somewhat physically bound to
15 Vitez that it was difficult to get around. Can you explain how a person
16 in your position would not be able to get out to see the areas where work
17 platoons or work units were sent, to supervise and make sure thing were
19 A. When saying that movement is restricted, that is not to say that
20 it was not at all possible. It was not desirable because we all risked
21 our personal security if we moved about further. I am not referring only
22 to the Lasva River Valley but to the entire of Vitez. This took place
23 seldom, as I said, on one's own responsibility and risk.
24 On the other hand, when speaking of work platoons or rather
25 general-purpose civil defence units, I had commanders of these units. I
1 went to see them when I could and when I had the time to do so to see what
2 they were doing, to see whether they were acting upon instructions of the
3 municipal staff of the civil defence.
4 As regards the activity of work platoons that were carrying out
5 activities for the needs of the armed forces, I did not tour them. As I
6 said, at that time, I was not in charge of seeing what they were doing and
7 in which way.
8 Q. You were asked in Aleksovski:
9 Q ... By the nature of your job, you sometimes would go
10 to the front lines; is that correct?
11 A Yes.
12 Q During your visits to the front lines and your
13 conversations with soldiers who were defending this area,
14 did you ever see any soldier wearing the HV, the Croatian
15 army insignia?
16 I'm asking not about the insignia but about you being on the front
18 A My duties and my job called for constant moving around.
19 I told you that this was risky, but I had to take that
20 risk, so I was constantly on the move. I never saw, I
21 never heard of anybody with the HV insignia.
22 I would like to ask you -- excuse me. I'm terribly sorry about my
23 voice. I want to be sure I understand your position. What was the legal
24 justification for compelling Muslims to serve in work units that might be
25 involved in actions against the ABiH?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Somers, you asked questions about soldiers
2 wearing HV insignia or, rather, you recited passages.
3 MS. SOMERS: I did, sir.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: But you didn't get a specific response from the
5 witness. Did you not want a response?
6 MS. SOMERS: Unless it differs radically, Your Honour, from his
7 previous testimony, I'm happy to ask:
8 Q. Do you stand by your comment that you never saw any HV insignia,
9 or have you reconsidered your position?
10 A. I never saw HV insignia, not HVO insignia. As for the statement,
11 the claim that we were compelling Muslims, that particular word, I cannot
12 agree with that at all. I repeat once again that all able-bodied men,
13 citizens of Vitez, men up to the age of 60 and women up to the age of 55,
14 were duty-bound to make themselves available to the institutions in charge
15 of defending our area. So there is no compulsion involved. This is an
16 obligation prescribed by law.
17 Q. This Court has heard testimony of a woman named [redacted] whose
18 husband, after being released from Kaonik, was sent back to his then home
19 in Vitez for daily, as it were, forceful assignments on the front lines
20 digging trenches. That type of activity was under your jurisdiction, was
21 it not? He was a civilian; he was forced to dig at Loncari and various
22 places. Can you comment on that, please?
23 A. Specifically, I said that all work platoons, that is to say,
24 general purpose units of the civil defence and work platoons that were
25 established for the needs of the armed forces, were under my jurisdiction,
1 as far as I can remember, from the 24th of January 1994. Until then I was
2 in charge only of civil defence units, not of work platoons that were
3 established for the needs of the armed forces.
4 When speaking about work platoons that were established for the
5 needs of the armed forces, my comment would be that they were set up in
6 keeping with the republican and federal legislation that was in force at
7 the time and that regulated this particular area. These regulations were
8 taken over both from republican and/or federal levels.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers, I should merely like
10 to -- this could be regarded as a gentleman's agreement. I'd like to
11 remind you of the cross-examination with regard to the
12 examination-in-chief in terms of the time. I think this is this
13 agreement. You've got to comply with it, to heed it. Thank you.
14 MS. SOMERS: You're right, Your Honour. I was hoping for shorter
15 answers. I have about three more points and then I'll get back into the
16 range of keeping my word. I'm terribly sorry.
17 Q. I would like to ask you a couple of matters which I think are
18 critical for the Court and then we shall terminate.
19 A question was asked of you by Mr. Niemann, the Prosecutor:
20 Q So under the control of the HVO, were there any
21 particular work units over which you had responsibility
22 which were made up of purely Muslim people?
23 Can you answer that now quickly?
24 A. I already gave an answer to that. As regards the period until the
25 24th of January, 1994, I did not have any jurisdiction over any work
1 platoon that consisted of Muslims only. Whether there were any such units
2 until then, I cannot go into that at all. I did have jurisdiction over
3 general purpose civil defence units that consisted of Croats and Serbs and
4 Muslims and Romanie, et cetera, et cetera.
5 Q. Your response to that question indicated that:
6 A ... It was a work unit from town, mostly composed of
8 Discussing the makeup of units,
9 A ... They were conscripts of a work responsibility or
10 civilian protection. They were not civilians. Because
11 if he is a recruit, a conscript, once he has been given
12 his war assignments, that individual becomes either a
13 conscript of civilian protection units or the armed
14 forces. So he would take up his work duties and
15 therefore we did not have civilians.
16 In other words, there really is no such thing as a civilian once
17 they are in combat areas; that is correct, is it not? Yes or no?
18 A. No. Again, I have to go back to this. I was not in charge only
19 from the 24th -- I mean, not only these work units from town but also two
20 other work units, I had them as Sofa 1 and Sofa 2 in my files. And they
21 consisted exclusively of persons of Romany ethnic background. But as I
22 said yesterday, according to the decision of the municipal government of
23 the HVO of Vitez, the civil defence took over all those work platoons.
24 Q. You were asked:
25 Q ... a military commander would say, "What I would like
1 is for say a trench to be dug here," and once he
2 indicated where it was to be located, it was then a
3 matter for the commander of the unit to carry out that
4 task ...
5 A So, the task was, yes, the defence department and
6 civilian protection department in which I worked, I
7 assisted in sending people to carry out their
8 assignments; and when they would get to the particular
9 locality where they were to perform their assignments,
10 then those people would be taken over by the commander of
11 the front line, and he would cooperate with the commander
12 of the front line to see what activities were to be done.
13 I would like to ask you, getting to the very last points, about
14 your reactions and actions to the detention centres in Vitez. Can you
15 tell us, please, from your office which was essentially in Vitez town,
16 what did you observe about the activity in the cinema, hotel, in the SDK,
17 in the chess club? What did you observe about the activity related to
18 detainees there?
19 A. Until the 16th of April, I said that the office of the civil
20 defence of the municipal government was housed in the municipality
21 building. The first five or six days, because the municipality of Vitez
22 was under heavy shelling, we -- I mean, I and a few of my assistants --
23 stayed at the staircase of the PTT building of the municipality. And as
24 far as I can remember, five or six days later we transferred to the town
25 library building.
1 As regards the events in the buildings that you referred to, I did
2 not go to such places. I was too busy with my own affairs. As I said,
3 during these first five or six days, I didn't even go home at all. I
4 spent all my time there trying to organise certain matters related to
5 civil defence. Naturally, I went to the field every now and then when I
6 had to, at the time. So I did not have to go to these -- I don't remember
7 how you put it, but those few places that you mentioned.
8 Q. You were asked by Mr. Niemann:
9 Q During the period of time in 1993 when you were in Vitez,
10 there were members of the Bosniak population who were
11 being held in detention in Vitez, weren't there, from
12 time to time? Were you aware of that?
13 A No, I'm not aware of that.
14 Q So you never heard of a situation where civilian Bosniak
15 people were rounded up and held in detention centres in
16 Vitez in the whole period of the time you were there?
17 A I'm not acquainted with that. I didn't hear of anything
18 like that. I don't know what period you have in mind.
19 Are you referring to the entire period of 1993?
20 Q No, the first half of 1993, from January to July of
21 1993. You never heard of anyone being held in detention
22 centres in Vitez, in cinema complexes or chess clubs?
23 A I'm not acquainted with this. Let me just tell you one
24 thing ...
25 And then you went on discuss you not going home for I believe you
1 said 15 days, in this version.
2 Q So if I was to ask you, did you from time to time go to
3 detention centres in order to obtain Bosniak workers to
4 go to the front line and dig trenches, then your answer
5 would be no, I take it."
6 A In Vitez, as far as I know, there were no detention
7 centres in Vitez. So I did not have the possibility of
8 going there.
9 Is that still your evidence?
10 A. Detention centres, I claim until the present day, did not exist.
11 If they did exist, they were not detention centres. These were places
12 where one could take shelter for the purpose of one's own safety, of every
13 individual. As you know yourself, the war had started. War operations
14 were well under way, and there are always irresponsible individuals. So I
15 still claim that these were not prisons or detention centres; these were
16 places where persons could seek shelter for their own personal safety.
17 I also still abide by the assertion that I had no need to appear
18 in such places. As for this question that I was taking someone away, as I
19 said then, I claim until the present day, I never took anyone anywhere.
20 If we called up someone to serve in the civil defence, that was within the
21 relevant legislation, within the regulations that were then prescribed by
22 the relevant legislation.
23 MS. SOMERS: No further questions. Thank you.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I shall be very
1 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
2 Q. Mr. Strbac, you have seen a document, Z886.1, it was shown to you
3 by the Prosecutor. Part of this document says that you were the
4 operations officer on duty and you gave your answer.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I would like to ask you something else. In this document, it says
7 in reference to a group of persons of Muslim ethnicity that Croat families
8 in Rijeka accommodated about 150 persons in their own homes. Is this an
9 isolated case, or to the best of your knowledge, were there several
10 examples of this nature at the time?
11 A. One could find such examples everywhere. When speaking of war in
12 our territory, it is true it was the way it was. But you have to
13 understand that we all lived together, next to one another, and regardless
14 of the conflict that broke out, persons were still linked as neighbours,
15 as friends, and there were such cases everywhere.
16 Q. Thank you for your answer. You were also shown document Z450.1
17 which is the programme of work for elaborating the defence plan for the
18 municipality. Tell me, Mr. Strbac, this programme for your plan of work,
19 was this the legal obligation of all municipalities in the territory of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina in case of a threat of war?
21 A. Exactly. This had to be done, and the way in which this would be
22 carried out was regulated by bylaws in terms of the regulations that were
23 then in force.
24 Q. Thank you. You were also asked by the Prosecutor about a Muslim
25 person with the surname of Neslanovic. Do you know such a person who was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 from the territory of the municipality of Vitez?
2 A. The surname Neslanovic does exist in the municipality of Vitez;
3 however, I don't know that particular person at all.
4 Q. Mr. Strbac, the village of Loncari has also been mentioned. Is
5 that village in the territory of the municipality of Busovaca or Vitez?
6 A. The village of Loncari is in the territory of the municipality of
7 Busovaca, not the municipality of Vitez. When we look at the
8 communication between Vitez and Kaonik, it is on the left-hand side, that
9 is to say that it is above the road.
10 Q. Thank you. Also a question was put to you in relation to an
11 action that was planned in advance for an attack against the Muslim
12 villages in the territory of the municipality of Vitez. I have another
13 question for you. As a member of the government, the civilian government
14 of the HVO of Vitez, and as a member of the defence department of the
15 municipality of Vitez, did you have any knowledge about the existence of a
16 plan that had been previously prepared before the 16th of April, 1993, in
17 order to attack Muslim villages in the territory of the municipality of
19 A. Just a small correction. I was not a member of the defence
20 department. I was an employee there. I am not aware of any such plan at
21 all or was I ever in contact with such documents.
22 Q. My last question, Mr. Strbac: My colleague, the Prosecutor, in
23 her initial questions asked you whether you talked to the representatives
24 of the Defence in this case and in other cases and you said yes, and that
25 you testified in Defence cases. That is undeniable, of course. I'm going
1 to ask you something else: Did any investigator or official from the
2 Office of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal approach you and ask you to make
3 a statement?
4 A. From the Office of the Prosecutor? No, no, not me.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, I have no further
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Strbac, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
8 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are now free to go.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before we move to our
12 next witness, this is Mr. Zarko Krizanovic, can I please submit an
13 argument. I did not want to interrupt my learned colleague once she asked
14 her questions but I need to point out one thing. In framing their
15 questions, the Prosecution seems to be implying a theory which is
16 presented as a fait accompli, and this is an issue that should be an issue
17 that has to be proved here.
18 I think that these questions should not be framed in this way,
19 implying certain facts, because these are the facts that have to be proved
20 here and we would like to ask that these questions not be asked in such a
21 manner. Because if it is implied that what they are trying to prove is a
22 fact, then obviously we are not given an opportunity to counter this with
23 our own arguments.
24 JUDGE MAY: Which questions have you in mind, Mr. Mikulicic?
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I have in mind the question by
1 Ms. Somers which was asked of the witness this morning when she said that
2 "the previously-planned attack on the Muslim villages in Ahmici," it was
3 implied that this was a pre-planned operation and then only then and in
4 that light, the question was asked. When the witness then tried to say
5 that he did not agree with the fact that this was a pre-planned attack on
6 Muslim villages, he was not allowed to expand on it.
7 JUDGE MAY: I didn't allow him because we have spent a year and a
8 half on this case. We know the issues. We know the evidence which is
9 going to be given. The question was: What preparation should have been
10 made by the fire services? That was the essence of the question. It was
11 not an invitation to debate the pros and cons of the attack on Ahmici.
12 I know you put in issue that it was a pre-planned and organised
13 attack. It's very much at the forefront of our minds. Of course in some
14 courts, you have to be careful to ensure that questions are not framed in
15 such a way that the witness is taken advantage of or it is suggested that
16 something is proved which it is not. But this Tribunal is different to
17 this extent: The Court consists of professional Judges. We are more than
18 alive to what is in issue and what is not, particularly in this case, if I
19 may say so, with respect.
20 So no unfairness is caused to the witness. If it is, then, of
21 course, the question can be rephrased. I have no doubt that the
22 Prosecution are only too well aware that the issue of whether there was
23 the attack on Ahmici was pre-planned or not is a live issue.
24 Yes, can we have the next witness please.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, take the affirmation if you would.
2 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
3 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat, Mr. Krizanovic.
5 WITNESS: ZARKO KRIZANOVIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Krizanovic.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. On behalf of Mr. Cerkez's Defence, I will ask you some questions
11 in support of your statement, and will you please answer those questions
12 to the best of your recollection. Also, I would like to ask you when you
13 answer my questions, you pause before you give an answer so that we would
14 enable the interpreters to interpret first my questions, then your
16 For the record, Mr. Krizanovic, will you please state your full
17 name, your date and place of birth?
18 A. My name is Zarko Krizanovic. I was born on 3 April 1975 in
19 Travnik. I reside in the village of Gacice, number 44, in the Vitez
21 Q. You are a Croat by ethnic background and your religion is Roman
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You are a citizen of BiH, but you also have a citizenship of the
25 Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You are married?
3 A. Yes, I am married and I have two small children.
4 Q. You are currently a police officer and you work in the MUP of the
5 Central Bosnia County; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You completed elementary school in Vitez?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And following that, the electrotechnical secondary school in
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What year did you graduate from your secondary school?
13 A. In April 1992. This was an early graduation due to the war.
14 Q. In April of 1992 when, due to the war, the school year was
15 interrupted, you were actually 17?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, you said that you reside the in the village of
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell us what kind of village it is in terms of ethnic
22 A. It is mixed.
23 Q. What does that mean? Which ethnic groups are represented there?
24 A. Croat and Muslim.
25 Q. Are Muslim and Croat houses grouped together or are they mixed?
1 A. The village is separated by a road. In the lower part of the
2 village below the road, it's mixed.
3 Q. If I understood you correctly, the village is divided into two
4 parts, so to speak, by the road that passes through it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The upper part of the village is almost exclusively inhabited by
8 A. Yes, by Muslims, but there are some Croats on the other side of
9 the road.
10 Q. And the lower part of the village, Croat and Muslims live mixed?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The village of Gacice is right by the SPS factory?
13 A. Yes. The fence of the SPS is about 150 metres from my house.
14 Q. And your father worked for the SPS; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Even though at that time, you were still under age, you can
17 perhaps still tell us whether before 1993, that is, in the latter part of
18 1992, there was some friction between the Muslims and Croats in the
19 village of Gacice?
20 A. Very little. There was some.
21 Q. There is a cultural hall in the village; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you tell us, what is its role?
24 A. It's a hall that was built by everybody together, but the access
25 to this hall before the war, before the elections, for the most part, the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 access to it had mostly Muslims because they were mostly in the communist
2 party. That was until the first half of 1992.
3 Q. Does that mean that the Croat part of the village, that the Croats
4 did not have access to this cultural hall?
5 A. They had access with the permission of a person who had the key
6 who was from the other side, that is, he was a Muslim.
7 Q. In 1991, you were -- you were still going to school, but the war
8 had broken out in the neighbouring republics of Slovenia and Croatia,
9 especially in 1992. Do you know whether some people from your area, from
10 the surrounding villages, do you know whether they went to fight in
11 Croatia against the JNA?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were these only people of Croat ethnic background or were there
14 some Muslims around them?
15 A. There were some Muslims.
16 Q. Can you give us an example, perhaps, of a Muslim from your village
17 who went to such a mission to defend Croatia?
18 A. Yes, that was Sedzad Subasic. He was a neighbour of mine.
19 Q. When the war broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did he come back
20 from Croatia to Bosnia?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know, were there some others who had also gone to Croatia
23 come back to Bosnia?
24 A. They probably did.
25 Q. Specifically, the gentleman you mentioned, Sedzad Subasic, who was
1 your neighbour, you must have seen him when he came back. Did he bring
2 any military equipment with him?
3 A. He brought an HOS uniform.
4 Q. How about weapons?
5 A. Probably. I didn't see it though.
6 Q. After 8 April 1992 when the HVO was formed, were Muslims in your
7 village also members of the HVO?
8 A. Not my neighbours, but there were Muslims in the HVO.
9 Q. Do you know someone who you know was a member of the HVO?
10 A. Yes, I do. Adis Cosic.
11 Q. Where is this man from?
12 A. He is from Krizancevo Selo.
13 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, we said that the war moved from the neighbouring
14 Croatia to the territory of your republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The JNA
15 had attacked, and in early 1992, what did the village where you lived do
16 in relation to that?
17 A. The village guards were formed on peoples' own initiative because
18 proximity of the SPS and law and order fell apart. There were lootings
19 and people started being afraid.
20 Q. You mentioned the presence SPS near your village. We have heard a
21 lot of evidence about the SPS. It was a factory that worked for the
22 former JNA doing military production.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. After the JNA left this territory, was there fear that the JNA air
25 force might bomb this factory?
1 A. I don't know the exact date, but it must have been in April, or
2 perhaps in early May, there was the first bombing of the factory.
3 Q. This, in a way, demonstrated that the formation of this village
4 guard was fully justified.
5 A. Of course.
6 Q. You mentioned as one of the reasons for the formation of these
7 village guards the rise of the crime rate in the area, and that
8 corresponded to the fact that the rule of law had broken down. Did
9 refugees also appear from the north-western territories of
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Specifically in your village, did a number of refugees arrive, and
13 were they placed in various houses?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were these people of Croat or Muslim ethnic background?
16 A. At first it was all Muslims from Western Bosnia and Eastern
17 Bosnia, that is, until the fall of Jajce.
18 Q. Is it true that they predominantly moved into the houses in the
19 upper part of the village where, for the most part, Muslims resided?
20 A. There were some around my house too, but for the most part they
21 were in the upper part of the village.
22 Q. You said that the village itself organised these village guards.
23 Were these guards from the beginning monoethnic, or were they mixed in the
24 beginning, consisting of both Muslims and Croats?
25 A. At first they were joint, that is, they were mixed.
1 Q. What weapons did they have available to them?
2 A. Until the takeover of the barracks in Slimena, for the most part
3 these were hunting weapons and some pistols.
4 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, I know that in early 1992 you were only 17 years
5 old, you were practically a child, but can you remember whether there were
6 enough weapons for every member of the village guards or not?
7 A. No.
8 Q. In other words, there were more members of the village guards than
9 pieces of weaponry.
10 A. Many more.
11 Q. How was it organised?
12 A. When you arrived to your shift, you would be given some weapon, a
13 rifle or something; and then when you were off a shift, you'd turn it over
14 to someone else.
15 Q. Was there somebody who was the commander of this village guard?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How would somebody from the village become commander of the
18 village guard?
19 A. Well, it would simply be that the villagers themselves would
20 designate one person and say, "You will be the commander."
21 Q. And then if this person would agree, then he would become the
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And if he would not agree?
25 A. He would not become the commander.
1 Q. You were 17 at the time. Did you ever take part in the village
2 guards at that time?
3 A. Occasionally, but I was not duty-bound to do so.
4 Q. You mentioned a facility called Slimena. We have heard a lot of
5 evidence about this facility. But I will just remind you that that was
6 the former JNA barracks; isn't that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. From this barracks, after the pullout of the JNA, the weapons were
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And your village was allotted some of those weapons.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What type of weapons did you get?
14 A. There were real rifles; there were automatic rifles,
15 semi-automatic rifles. There were some that had been partially burned, so
16 people tried to repair those.
17 Q. Was there a system to this distribution, or were the weapons
18 evenly distributed in the village? Let me rephrase the question. Perhaps
19 I wasn't quite clear. Were the weapons distributed evenly to both Croats
20 and Muslims or not?
21 A. They were distributing to their own people, and our own people
22 were distributing to us.
23 Q. You said that at first, the village guards were mixed but then
24 people separated. And then in the Croat part of the village, Croats kept
25 these watches; in the Muslim part, the Muslims.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you remember, when did this division take place along ethnic
4 A. After the takeover of the Slimena barracks.
5 Q. Do you recall when the first more serious incident took place in
6 your village in 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you please briefly describe this incident to us.
9 A. There was this facility M-1 in the SPS. Near this facility, there
10 were anti-aircraft guns deployed. The crew was mixed; it consisted of
11 both Croats and Muslims.
12 Q. Excuse me. I'll interrupt you. The guns you just mentioned were
13 for protection of the SPS facilities; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. These guns were, in fact, the property of the SPS, according to
16 the law.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Go on.
19 A. In October 1992, there were some incidents. I don't know exactly
20 what happened, but I know that Muslims came down - this was near my
21 house - and they surrounded the guns. Our men - I knew one of those who
22 was part of the crew - they disarmed them and sent them home.
23 Q. If I understand you well, what you just told us, the crews of
24 these anti-aircraft guns, the Muslim citizens took over control and they
25 drove away those crew members who were of Croat ethnic background.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Then what happened with these guns?
3 A. I don't know exactly. But I heard that they were taken to Old
4 Vitez, which was maybe 400 or 500 metres away from the original placement
5 of these guns.
6 Q. Is that the part of Vitez also known as Mahala?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Are you certain, in other words, did you see at some point that
9 those guns were no longer in places where they had originally been put?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. But you never saw when they were taken away.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. I understand. And that was the reason why this incident took
14 place in the village.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. What happened then? What was this incident all about?
17 A. I was at home, and several rounds of fire were fired. I don't
18 know whether anybody was injured or not.
19 Q. So you just heard some shooting in the village.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After that, did the village fully divide into Muslim and Croat
23 A. Yes. During the day, people would still walk about freely; they
24 were going to Vitez and other places. But at night, people would not
25 cross the line.
1 Q. You talked about the village guards. You said that the purpose of
2 these guards was to protect the village from potential JNA attacks, and
3 the criminal element had appeared in the area. Do you recall whether any
4 of the men in your village was involved in late 1992 or earlier in going
5 to the defence lines against the Serbs at Mount Vlasic?
6 A. Yes. Four or five young men went to Mount Vlasic, to Turbe, and
7 also to Jajce.
8 Q. You said that there were about four or five. After these men came
9 back from their shift, would they still be involved in the guard duties?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you remember whether these men went to the shift at Mount
12 Vlasic, Turbe, even in 1993?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you remember whether it was these men, on the date when the
15 general conflict broke out, on 16 April, that these were exactly the men
16 who had been cut off in that area?
17 A. Yes. They were not home.
18 Q. The other people who did not go to their shifts and were involved
19 in the village guards, unlike those five who were on the front line, they
20 went about their usual business.
21 A. Yes. When they were not on guard duty, they were involved in
22 their daily activities. They would go to the fields to work them and go
23 to town.
24 Q. Just one more question before the break, Mr. Krizanovic. You just
25 described how your fellow villagers went to the shifts to fight the JNA.
1 Did your Muslim neighbours also join this effort against the JNA?
2 A. Yes. From what I know, they went to the front line at Visoko.
3 Q. And this is the territory in the direction of Sarajevo.
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps this is a
6 convenient moment to take a break.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Krizanovic, we are going to adjourn now for half
8 an hour for a break. During the break, don't speak to anybody about your
9 evidence until it's over; don't let anybody speak to you about it. That
10 includes members of the Defence team. Would you be back, please, at half
11 past eleven.
12 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
13 --- Upon commencing at 11.37 a.m.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, let us take up from where we stopped before the
16 break. We have reached item 2.8 in your summary, that is, the date of the
17 16th of April, 1993. At that time, you had barely turned 18?
18 A. Yes, on the 3rd of April.
19 Q. Will you please, in your own words, and in a few sentences, tell
20 us what you remember of that day?
21 A. The 16th.
22 Q. Yes, the 16th.
23 A. In the evening of the 15th, I came back home from the town,
24 naturally, being a young man I was out, and I went to bed, perhaps around
25 11.00 or half past. In the morning, I was wakened by gunfire,
1 detonations, and my mother came. She was frightened. She did not know
2 what it was about. So I woke up, went out, could hear gunfire from all
3 sides because from where my village is, one can see a lot of ground
4 around. So I came out. And there was my father's rifle. Since he was at
5 work, that's the kind of job that he had, he had to do night shifts. So I
6 stood by my house as my family was in my house.
7 Q. Very well. Will you tell me if on that evening, on the 15th of
8 April, you went out into Vitez like all the young men do, and met your
9 friends there?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you observe something, some events or some mood which would
12 perhaps be different from the usual?
13 A. Well, no, I didn't, because there were always troops around the
14 town wearing camouflage uniforms, naturally, but everything was as usual.
15 The discotheques were open, the coffee shops were open, and we were in a
17 Q. Very well. You told us that your father was working that night,
18 he was at the SPS. But why did he have to be there? What was his job?
19 Why did he have to work that night?
20 A. He was involved with the water supply line there. Somebody had
21 always to be on duty since they had water pumps there and, as far as I
22 know, the Princip could not work without water, without steam.
23 Q. Your father, as a village guard, had a rifle, didn't he?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Very well. So you told us that you heard gunfire from
1 neighbouring villages, from directions. And in your village, at that
2 time, when you awoke, was there any gunfire there? Was there any gunfire
3 in the village proper?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And what did you do on the days that followed, that is on the 16th
6 and then --
7 A. Well, next to my house was my uncle's house, and of those families
8 of the Bosniak. And we were at home. We were not really abreast of what
9 was going on, so we were around our houses, would go into the house and
10 eat, and then at night, we did not go to sleep. And that was that.
11 Q. So you didn't go away from your village?
12 A. Not to the village. I never went away from my home, from my
14 Q. I see. You say that from -- in front of your house, one can see
15 the surroundings, and what did you see on the 16th and the following days
16 happen around you?
17 A. Well, for instance, across our village, Gacice, there's only Donje
18 Veceriska, and one could hear -- see smoke and hear gunfire. Likewise
19 Krcevine because opposite, on the other side, and the position is such
20 that you could see. Ahmici could also be seen, that is, smoke, gunfire,
21 but we could not really establish where the gunfire was coming from,
22 because it came from all sides. And Mahalla was also near, about 700 or
23 800 metres as the crow flies.
24 Q. I suppose, since you said you could hear gunfire from all sides,
25 that then you realised that something serious was going on?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes, that there was a war on.
2 Q. And you told us that, in point of fact, you remained in front of
3 your house, that you never left the village and that your family was
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you tell us what you mean by family, your father, your
8 A. No, my father was at the Princip, I was working but there was my
9 mother, there were my sisters, my uncle's wife, two children under age.
10 Q. And when did the gunfire and the fighting begin in your village?
11 A. On the 24th [as interpreted].
12 Q. So that was four days after you woke up.
13 MR. KOVACIC: There is an error in the transcript, 20 April, not
14 24 April.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Will you tell us in a few words what do you remember of that first
17 day of the conflict in the village, the 20th of April, what happened
19 A. It was early in the morning. We heard the gunfire. There were --
20 well, say, about 25 of us in the village. We were not all armed. And we
21 could hear the gunfire. I couldn't establish where it came from. But
22 then lads from the neighbouring Mlakici came to lend us support and also
23 from the village guards, because they were also down there, and that was a
24 purely Croat village. There were no Muslims households there. So about
25 10 or 15 lads from Vitezovi came and about a dozen, about 10 members of
1 the police.
2 Q. When you say you heard the gunfire, does that mean that the lower
3 part of the village, where you were, was exposed to the gunfire from the
4 upper part, or how was it?
5 A. I couldn't really tell you because there was no gunfire around my
6 house, and I cannot see the whole village because it's quite hilly, so you
7 cannot really see well.
8 Q. You mentioned that your village guards were reinforced by men from
9 the village of Mlakici, which is below your village. How far is it,
11 A. Well, about 500 or 600 metres.
12 Q. You also mentioned that to help you defend your village, some 15
13 lads from the Vitezovi unit came; is that correct?
14 A. It is.
15 Q. Before that gunfire, where were those lads stationed? I mean the
17 A. I think they must have been in Mlakici, because Mlakici is right
18 next to Stari Vitez, to Mahala. But I don't know, I didn't see, because
19 they arrived in no time at all.
20 Q. Before that morning, the 20th of April, you did not see those lads
21 from the Vitezovi.
22 A. No.
23 Q. You also said that about ten policemen from Vitez came.
24 A. Those policemen, I don't know who they were. Some of them had a
25 patch saying "Police," but that was all, so I don't know which police it
2 Q. Very well. You already mentioned that in your part of the
3 village, that is, the part of the village that you lived in which had a
4 Croat majority, there were about 20 village guards.
5 A. Yes, thereabouts; 20 to 25.
6 Q. Do you know anything about the upper part of the village, which
7 was predominantly Muslim? How many men there were members of the village
8 guards at that time?
9 A. Well, I should say around 80, because there were some refugees who
10 were also able-bodied and who had brought weapons with them and uniforms.
11 Q. So in addition to your neighbours, your villagers, you are telling
12 us that there were people who came from outside.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So when one compares, when one juxtaposes these figures, in the
15 lower part of the village, you were far outnumbered by the upper part of
16 the village.
17 A. Yes. In terms of numbers, yes.
18 Q. What happened then? How long did the fighting last?
19 A. Well, the fighting in the village, about seven, perhaps eight
20 hours, there was gunfire.
21 Q. What did you do during the fighting?
22 A. I was at home.
23 Q. And your father?
24 A. He was at the Princip, he was at work. He couldn't come.
25 Q. So you were at home, your mother, your relative, and the
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You told us that the fighting went on for some eight hours. What
4 happened then when it stopped, or rather how did it come to an end?
5 A. Well, there, around my house, the Muslims that were there, they
6 surrendered. There wasn't any gunfire to speak of. They laid down their
7 weapons, some 30, 25 of them, perhaps. Civilians were also removed and
8 they were put in a garage while there was still gunfire above there. The
9 civilians were also put in a house to avoid anything happening, you know,
10 a stray bullet which perhaps might hit somebody.
11 Q. So a number of your Muslim neighbours and refugees surrendered
12 their weapons -- with their weapons. What about the rest?
13 A. Well, those Muslims in the upper part of the village, they were
14 most able-bodied and they all fled. Because above the village there are
15 no settlements, there's only forest, and at the same time one could go
16 through there to Kruscica.
17 Q. What, then, happened to those civilians, to women and children who
18 stayed back in the village? I mean women and children of Muslim
20 A. They were accommodated in houses; that is, they went back to their
21 houses, and men were taken away.
22 Q. Just to round this off. In the village and around the village,
23 did anyone harass in any way or abuse those civilians, those women and
24 children who had stayed and returned to their houses, any one of you, the
25 villagers there?
1 A. No. Even the women of those men who were put up somewhere - I
2 don't know where - we even lent them vehicles or helped them to -- we
3 drove them there to take food to them.
4 Q. Did UNPROFOR come to the village?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What did they do there?
7 A. They brought some lunch packages; they brought the humanitarian
9 Q. You mentioned this group of men with weapons who had surrendered,
10 that that group was taken away from the village.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who took them away?
13 A. I think it was the Vitezovi members.
14 Q. Do you know where they took them to?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you know what then happened to those men who were taken away?
17 A. I don't. But I know that four or five days later, I don't know
18 exactly, they returned to the village, they were brought back to the
20 Q. Meanwhile, the hostilities were brought to an end in the area, or
21 did the fighting go on?
22 A. When the gunfire in the village stopped, we came out above the
23 village and formed sort of a line next to the village, going by the
24 Princip fence.
25 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, you told us that your father stayed at the SPS, at
1 his job, during the fighting. When did he eventually manage to get back
3 A. I think it was on the tenth or, perhaps, eleventh day of war. I
4 don't remember exactly when the shift came. Because when the war broke
5 out, all the communications were cut off, all the roads were cut off. And
6 when his shift arrived, then he made it home.
7 Q. So he had to work all the time at the SPS, did he?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What happened then? Could you tell us what happened in early July
10 to your father?
11 A. My father and my uncle, his brother, went to our field which is
12 above the village to make hay for the cattle. Somebody was there and
13 killed my father, and my uncle was wounded.
14 Q. What is your uncle's name?
15 A. Franjo Krizanovic.
16 Q. Franjo?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So at the time that they were mowing the grass, fire was opened on
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Was there anyone else with them?
22 A. You mean up there in another field? There were four young men,
23 boys; two of them were underage. They were taken away. They were
24 captured and taken to Kruscica, and they were kept there for about two
25 months. Sometime in September they were released.
1 Q. But tell us, who captured them and took them to Kruscica?
2 A. The BH army.
3 Q. Would you know who opened fire on your father and uncle?
4 A. The army, I guess. Those boys who were taken were taken away by
5 the army. It was all done very quick so that nobody could see them or
6 hear them.
7 Q. Do you still remember who they were? Do you know the names of any
8 one of those four that you mentioned?
9 A. Three were my relatives: Ivica Krizanovic, Nenad Krizanovic, Stipo
10 Krizanovic. And Goran Strukar.
11 Q. You mentioned that two of them were underage; which ones of those
13 A. Nenad and Ivica.
14 Q. How old were they?
15 A. Fifteen, sixteen.
16 Q. And they were taken to Kruscica, were they?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Which army formation at that time held the village of Kruscica?
19 A. The BH army.
20 Q. Did you have an opportunity to talk to one of those boys after
21 their return to the village?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what did they tell you about their stay in Kruscica?
24 A. Well, about Goran, and at least that is what he said, that he was
25 not registered with the Red Cross, that he was taken to Zabrdze, that up
1 there, he had to remove our mines, had to pull out their dead, and that he
2 was told that he would be killed. And on the 28th of July, he managed to
4 Q. And the lot of those others, what did they have to do in Kruscica?
5 A. They had to dig, that is at least what they told me. That they
6 had to dig a hole for some plant because there is a river next to
7 Kruscica. And they were there, they were in prison in the "black house".
8 They were -- all their hair was shaved, and they were given some coveralls
9 and their own clothes had been taken away. They had to dig trenches.
10 They were brought to Kruscica to Fatina Vodica where the front line was
11 and they talked, and that was that.
12 Q. You tell us that in Kruscica, they were detained in a structure
13 called the "black house". Could you tell us if that -- that particular
14 building was -- for some reason enjoyed some reputation in the village?
15 A. Well, before the war, it was kind of a monument because allegedly
16 it had been an Ustasha camp during the World War II.
17 Q. So the BH army, they detained those captured boys in the former
18 Ustasha camp of the World War II?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. At that time, you had just come of age. So did you, at any time,
21 join the Vitez Brigade, any of its units?
22 A. Well, listen, when the war broke out, I was 18 so I had to go.
23 And I did not know what the name of the formation was. It was only in May
24 or perhaps even June. I wouldn't know when we were given pieces of paper
25 about 10 by 10 centimetres with my name and my particulars, and saying
1 that I was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Company of the Vitez
3 Q. Who gave you that piece of paper with those particulars?
4 A. My village commander.
5 Q. And his name was?
6 A. Oh, come, I don't really know because they changed. I can't
7 remember. It was a long time ago.
8 Q. And do you perhaps know, from who did this commander of the
9 village guard get the particulars for those pieces of paper that he
11 A. Why, from us.
12 Q. You are telling us that it was sometime in May or June 1993.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Have you kept that piece of paper, perhaps, that you were given
16 A. I think I do have it at home still to this day, that small piece
17 of paper.
18 Q. Would you mind putting it at our disposal?
19 A. I wouldn't, only if I can find it at home.
20 Q. And until when were you engaged with that military unit?
21 A. Until the 20th of June, 1994.
22 Q. And after that, you did what?
23 A. And then I went to the civilian police in Vitez.
24 Q. Did you have -- have you had an opportunity, for instance, of
25 seeing some official document regulating your membership in the HVO, that
1 is, an armed formation?
2 A. Well, yes. When I was handing over my weapons and quitting the
3 army, I had to sign a paper of discharge and to request a document showing
4 that I was changing from the brigade to the police.
5 Q. And what did that paper, what you had to sign, say? Since when
6 had you been a member of the HVO?
7 A. Well, what it said was 1992, in my case, April 1992. Even though
8 in my military booklet, it says the 16th of April 1993 to the 16th of
9 February 1994 is indicated as my military service.
10 Q. If I understand you well, the military document which you call the
11 military booklet, and every man fit to serve the army in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina has, it indicates the 16th of April as the first day,
13 and in some other documents, there is an earlier date indicated?
14 A. Yes. The military booklet calls it the military service.
15 Q. But in this other document, it says 1992 as participation in war?
16 A. I don't know. It must have been because of these certificates,
17 the shares.
18 Q. And have you earned the right to those shares, to those
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And what have you done with them?
22 A. Nothing. I keep them at home.
23 Q. Can you use it to buy something?
24 A. Nothing.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Krizanovic. No
1 further questions.
2 MR. SAYERS: No questions, from Mr. Kordic's Defence, Your
4 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, one of the core documents that I will
5 be referring to is a sealed document which was the signed witness
6 testimony of Witness AP. In a fairly unusual move, the witness's
7 testimony was permitted to be the direct. It was an agreement with the
8 Defence. I just wanted to remind the Court of that. Any reference that I
9 make to it -- what I think might be helpful, if the Defence agrees, is
10 cite the paragraph number and then, without putting it on the ELMO, so to
11 protect the integrity of the document and the witness' ID.
12 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
13 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, as of the 16th of April, 1993, there was a general
14 mobilisation order, was there not, for the HVO? Are you familiar with
16 A. I don't know about that.
17 Q. Your summary and your testimony based on 2.7, point 2.7, indicates
18 that there were about five members of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.
19 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher to present, please, Z653 to
20 the witness.
21 Q. What you have in front of you, Mr. Krizanovic, is a document of 14
22 April 1993 which lists -- which is a time after which the Vitez Brigade
23 was officially on paper known as the Vitez Brigade. And at the very
24 bottom of the page where it says 2nd Company, the last entry gives Gacice
25 as the Vitez Brigade -- as part of the Vitez Brigade also having five
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 persons. Do you see that? Do you concur that that refers to your
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. There has been testimony in this Court, as I have just
5 referred to, by a witness who has sought protection, but from your village
6 to the effect that approximately September, 1992, and this -- excuse me --
7 yes, the exhibit -- Ms. Verhaag reminds me of the summary. His, under
8 seal, is Z1771.2, summary of Witness AP.
9 The second paragraph of that summary indicates that the witness
10 saw weapons which included machine-guns taken by truck being stored behind
11 the house of Croat neighbours, Zarko and Marko Krizanovic, and that the
12 witness saw such weapons deliveries approximately three times per week.
13 Can you explain, please, from where these weapons came and why you were
14 having them stored at your residence?
15 A. Those weapons didn't come at all. What would we do with all these
17 Q. Are you familiar with activity directed toward Muslim businesses
18 in October 1992 in Vitez, principally in the town, but also throughout the
19 municipality in which Muslim businesses or owners of Muslim businesses
20 were harassed about the currency used for business transactions and then
21 simply harassed because they were Muslims? Are you aware of that
23 A. I know that we went to get fuel at the petrol station at Krehic
24 that I paid in marks. I don't remember. I don't know about this.
25 Q. You indicated that relatives of yours were taken by units of the
1 ABiH and you indicated one particular individual whose name I believe is
2 Stipo; is that correct?
3 A. Stipo.
4 Q. Are you able to indicate in what month or perhaps -- in what month
5 was he taken and held?
6 A. Stipo Krizanovic was taken away on the 1st of July, 1993 from the
7 village of Kladovo where my father was killed.
8 MS. SOMERS: Please, if I may ask the usher to present Z1135.1.
9 Q. In front of you is a document that is a note by an officer of the
10 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 3rd Corps, the 325th Mountain Brigade
11 dated 2 July 1993, memorialising an interview with Stipo Krizanovic, son
12 of Josip. Is Josip the name of Stipo Krizanovic's father?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And in this official note, as it is called, there is a discussion
15 about the particular persons who attacked the Muslims at Gacice on the
16 20th of April --
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, there's the usual objection. Yes.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm sorry that I have
19 to interrupt my learned colleague, the Prosecutor, but it seems to me that
20 this is a document which represents an official note of the BH army organs
21 from 1993. Actually, this is a witness statement presented to the
22 military police of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Of course we do oppose
23 the introduction of this kind of document because it has the same kind of
24 significance as the other documents that the Prosecutor wished to tender
25 earlier on and that were refused through your decision.
1 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. May I comment, please?
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, please.
3 MS. SOMERS: This document will also be borne out. The point that
4 I'm trying to make is a limited point, but the point will be borne out in
5 paragraph 33 - the relevance of it I think is evident - of the document
6 which is under seal, 1771.2.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, may I add, the only point I'm trying to
9 make is an identification which is number 17, and that is the point that
10 is borne out by Witness AP. Note the name, number 17, and nothing more
11 from this document.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Mikulicic, the Trial Chamber
14 would seek further information as to what you declared, that is, that this
15 document is to be rejected, because we have already decided in that way;
16 we have rejected similar documents, you said. Could you to explain us
17 further why? We didn't quite understand what you meant.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. I simply
19 didn't want to take up too much of your time.
20 This document is a witness statement which was given to the
21 military police of the BH army. It is not a signed witness statement. We
22 do not know under which circumstances this statement was taken. We have
23 not been given the right to cross-examine this witness. We do not know
24 whether it was given voluntarily or whether the person was forced to do
25 so. This has not been disclosed to us earlier; this is the first time we
1 see it.
2 Finally, may I say that the Defence of Mr. Cerkez and the Defence
3 of Mr. Kordic were not allowed to use such documents during their
4 cross-examinations respectively.
5 JUDGE MAY: I don't recollect that ruling which prevented the use
6 of documents being put to witnesses in order to test their credibility.
7 What I have in mind is that the document, whether it should be
8 admitted as an exhibit or not, should be allowed to be used by the
9 Prosecution to test the witness.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Of course, I absolutely agree with
11 that, that the Prosecutor should be allowed to test our witness. However,
12 I do not agree that this test has to be carried out through a document
13 whose authenticity is basically doubtful and which was not disclosed to
14 the Defence in earlier proceedings.
15 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour, may I just ...
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 THE INTERPRETER: The Judges' microphones are on.
18 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Judge May. May I just inform the Bench
19 that Ms. Verhaag informed me that the Court has admitted a similar
20 official note in the Novi Travnik; it is Exhibit 1963.12.
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't know that we can troll through all our
22 earlier rulings. But, of course, we must maintain consistency. The Bench
23 will admit this document since it clearly goes to the credit of the
24 witness, contradicts what he said. But, of course, we bear in mind that
25 questions of any weight, issues of authenticity - we'll notice what's said
1 about it - those are matters which we will have to bear in mind in due
2 course. But it's certainly admissible for the purpose of contradicting
3 the witness, yes.
4 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, your direct testimony was that you were at home
6 during the attack on the 20th. Your cousin has indicated that you, in
7 fact, were one of the attackers, listing you as number 17 on the list of
8 persons who participated in the attack. Would you be able, please, to
9 discuss your real role that day, or are you maintaining a different
10 version of the facts?
11 A. Well, look, you see here in this list that all the military-aged,
12 able-bodied men who lived in Gacice are on this list. We even have young
13 men here who were not even in Gacice on that day. It says it very nicely,
14 that they went from house to house, and this statement could have been
15 made by any Muslim from the village.
16 MS. SOMERS: Without leaving this document, I would like to call
17 the Court's attention to paragraph 33 of Z1771.2, where Witness AP
18 specifically states that the HVO told the witness' group to go down to the
19 village in a column. They guarded them on both sides. "One soldier who
20 had a mask on was asked by another HVO soldier why he was masked, 'because
21 the Muslims will all be dead soon anyway,' whereupon the soldier removed
22 the mask from his head and the witness saw that it was the witness'
23 neighbour, Goran Krizanovic." The witness also recognised the following
24 HVO neighbours: Boro Krizanovic, Slavko Krizanovic, Marko Krizanovic,
25 Zarko Krizanovic, Anto Krizanovic, et cetera.
1 Q. Do you think perhaps it is merely coincidental that a second
2 person - one a Muslim; the first a Croat, your cousin - has identified you
3 as an attacker that day? Are they lying?
4 A. Could you clarify this question for me, please?
5 Q. Is what I have just read to you a lie, or is it the truth?
6 A. A lie.
7 Q. Are you familiar with the ultimatum which was presented by the HVO
8 to the Muslim community in Gacice on the 17th of April, 1993, which is
9 mentioned in your cousin's statement but further borne out by a report of
10 the ECMM, the European Monitoring Mission, in Z754?
11 MS. SOMERS: If perhaps the usher would distribute it, it might be
13 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, the document is in English because that is the
14 language in which it was written. On the first page of that document, it
15 is point 3. The document is dated 20 April 1993. Under "Ceasefire
16 Violations: Unconfirmed." "Shelling between HVO HQ and the PTT building
17 in Vitez. HVO is said to be putting an ultimatum on Gacice, and after
18 that failed, HVO is said to have started attacking this village."
19 Were you aware of the ultimatum given to the Muslims to hand in
20 their arms, to which your cousin refers, and the failure or the refusal of
21 the Muslims to act in accordance?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Who is Dr. Krizanovic?
24 A. Anto Krizanovic, nicknamed Doctor.
25 Q. What was his role in the village of Gacice? Did he have an
1 official position in the HVO?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. Was he your relative?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you did not know that he was a commander of the HVO?
6 A. Well, no. I told you that this changed, that, in fact, we did not
7 have a real commander.
8 Q. Your relationship to Mario Cerkez, how long have you known Mario
9 Cerkez, or do you know him?
10 A. I personally never saw Mr. Cerkez. I knew that he was commander
11 of the Vitez Brigade, of course. But I had never seen him in my life.
12 Q. The Vitez Brigade, are you familiar that that is the brigade from
13 which the Stjepan Tomasevic -- into which the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
14 grew? Do you know anything about the brigade structures in the HVO?
15 A. No.
16 Q. You have indicated that it was the Vitezovi, I believe, that
17 perpetrated the attack on the village of Gacice. This is borne out in
18 your cousin's interview, as well as other testimony. Do you know anything
19 about the Vitezovi, who the commander was?
20 JUDGE MAY: I think, to be fair to the witness, he's not indicated
21 that it was the Vitezovi who perpetrated the attack. That, of course, is
22 your case.
23 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour, I'm sorry. I was looking at 2.13
24 in his summary which specifically makes the reference.
25 Q. Are you familiar with a group known as the Vitezovi?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know who its leader was at the time of this incident in
3 April 1993?
4 A. Darko Kraljevic.
5 Q. Did you personally know Darko Kraljevic?
6 A. No.
7 MS. SOMERS: Z651.3, please.
8 Q. In front of you is a document of 13 April 1993, which is signed --
9 comes out under the signature of a person named Ramljak and Damjanovic,
10 operative duty officers of the Viteska Brigade. And it is a report
11 concerning alleged attacks against the head of the Vitezovi whom you have
12 identified as Darko Kraljevic, and other members. It appears from this
13 document that "We," meaning apparently the Vitez Brigade, "took numerous
14 actions after which they were released sometime around 1730 hours, about
15 which you," having addressed this to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in
16 Vitez, will be informed.
17 Did you know anything about this attack on Darko Kraljevic at this
18 time, on this date, that is the subject of this report?
19 A. I have never seen this document. I never had a chance to see this
20 document. I don't know when this was. I can't remember. At that time I
21 wasn't even interested in that.
22 Q. Well, it simply indicates that it was the area of responsibility
23 of the Vitez Brigade, and I wondered if you might have seen this. Thank
24 you very much.
25 The Hotel Vitez, have you been there? Do you know what it is?
1 A. Yes, after the war, at wedding parties.
2 Q. You have never been to the Hotel Vitez prior to that?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Excuse me for just a minute. Let me get the paragraph. The
5 soldiers identified by Witness AP in paragraph 36 took the group,
6 containing Witness AP, to Vitez where at the time the BiH army was
7 shelling the HVO headquarters at the Hotel Vitez. These civilians who
8 were taken, these Muslim civilians, were essentially made human shields
9 outside of that building, forbidden to enter for safety while the HVO
10 members went in. Do you recall that incident? Do you recall taking a
11 group of civilians down to the Hotel Vitez that day?
12 A. I know that a group of civilians was taken and brought on the same
13 day. Of course they lived in their homes.
14 Q. Do you know how many homes were left in the Muslim community after
15 the attack on Gacice?
16 A. Houses were not left. Muslims still lived in houses, in houses
17 that had remained undamaged, intact.
18 Q. The -- again, turning to paragraph 36 of that same document,
19 Witness AP confirms that, in fact, "The group was forced to go back to the
20 seven Muslim houses which had not been burned. All 247 persons were
21 forced to stay in these seven homes with no water for 16 days." Do you
22 have any comment about only seven houses being left standing?
23 A. They were without water? I was without water, and my family as
24 well. Nobody had any water, electricity, nothing.
25 Q. Returning for just a minute to your knowledge of Darko Kraljevic,
1 the exhibit which was Defence Exhibit 89/2, if we could take a quick look
2 at that, please. This is a report that was presented, it's actually a
3 report by, I believe, Darko Kraljevic. And on the first page, there is a
4 reference to 19 April, "The line on the Kuber elevation, Busovaca
5 municipality, was won back." And the next entry is, "The village of
6 Gacice was cleared."
7 Would you have any comment or would you understand what might be
8 meant by that in a report by the Vitezovi? Can you help us understand
10 A. I only know that the 19th is the wrong date of the beginning of
11 the conflict in Gacice. And I don't know about the rest because I was not
12 with the Vitezovi.
13 Q. Fair enough. Exhibit 887.1, please.
14 While we're waiting for the exhibit, can you comment on the number
15 of persons who died, the number of Muslims who died during that attack?
16 Are you able to give us insight as to the numbers?
17 A. That was not an attack, and I think it was about five or six. I'm
18 not sure.
19 Q. In front of you, 887.1, is a report by ECMM monitor Hank Morsink
20 and there is a reference in the -- under number two, it would be the third
21 full paragraph confirming that, "Victims in Gacice," misspelled as
22 Gracice, "and Donja Veceriska appeared to have been buried properly and
23 the relatives decided not to remove them." The team -- excuse me. "The
24 team asked the commander of the HVO brigade Vitez about the incident of
25 Gacice. All Muslim families seemed to be forced to leave the village."
1 I'm reading just from the bottom of the paragraph, Your Honours. "All
2 Muslim families seemed to be forced to leave the village at 3 May in the
3 evening. They were brought with cattle trucks to Dubravica and were told
4 to go to Zenica on foot. The brigade commander accused extremists for
5 this incident."
6 Can you comment on this, please?
7 A. At that time, I was not at home. I was at the front line above
8 the village near the SPS, and I heard that some have volunteered to go and
9 that was -- that was made possible to them. They were bussed there and I
10 don't know about the rest.
11 Q. Was there any effort by the HVO to rebuild, immediately, the
12 houses which had been burned down, as much as only seven houses for
13 Muslims remained standing? Are you aware of any such effort?
14 A. It wasn't only seven standing, there were more. But the houses
15 were not repaired because there was no sense repairing them, there was
16 constant shelling. And also nobody thought of repairing them during the
18 Q. Did anyone expect the Muslims actually to return and stay there?
19 Did you expect that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know how many men were taken prisoner during that -- taken
22 prisoner by the HVO during that incident at Gacice?
23 A. About 25 to 30. And during the day, people were coming out of the
24 woods and bringing their weapons with them and surrendering.
25 Q. Z750, please.
1 Z750 is a report, an operations report, of 20th April 1993 by the
2 Vitez Brigade command to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in Vitez. And
3 the text which I am referring in the middle says, "The Gacice village is
4 100 per cent completed. 47 men were taken prisoner. Women and children
5 were sent home."
6 Are you familiar with this particular report?
7 A. No. But I believe that I said that 25 to 30 surrendered and then
8 additional people came out of the woods and surrendered. So this could be
9 part of that overall number, and not everyone was captured.
10 Q. Your description of relations between the Muslim community and the
11 Croat community in Gacice, you indicated there were tensions. I'd like to
12 ask you for your comment on a matter reported in an ECMM report of -- in
13 Z796. And we'll just take a very quick glance, it will be on page 7 of
14 that report.
15 I am referring -- it is in English, to a comment at the top,
16 Gacice, with its grids, "In an area of ethnic hatred, BritBat found a
17 village where there was still the ability to cooperate. It is a mixed
18 village split with Muslims in the south, Croats in the north. The
19 villagers and the HVO have apparently protected the Muslims from attack by
20 external HVO elements ie, from Vitez. The village had been shelled over
21 the last five days, presumably by the BiH. All male Muslims had left the
22 village." And this is dated 27 April 1993.
23 Was that an accurate characterisation of the relations between the
24 Muslim and Croat communities in your -- from your point of view?
25 A. Not all Muslims left the village. People who had been taken away
1 were -- had come back and lived in their own house. As for those who
2 escaped to the woods and then I don't know to where else, to Kruscica,
3 they were not around.
4 Q. Did you or your family members offer any shelter or assistance to
5 any Muslims that day, the 20th of April?
6 A. No. I was thinking about -- I was concerned more with how to move
7 my family away, how to protect them.
8 Q. Had you ever lived outside of Bosnia? Did you ever live overseas?
9 A. No.
10 Q. The destruction to the village and particularly to Muslim
11 institutions and homes in Gacice was described by Witness AP in the
12 witness' testimony. There was, in addition to the mosque having been
13 destroyed and some graffiti having been written on, I believe, the youth
14 centre indicating Za Dom Spremni, which are exhibited Your Honours, as
15 part of the testimony, there was considerable looting.
16 There was a report that you were seen, taking from a Muslim home,
17 a tractor and a bulldozer. Did you do that?
18 A. No. That is an outright lie.
19 Q. Do you own a tractor and bulldozer now or did you at any time in
20 1993 up until today, from 1993 up until today?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Excuse me one minute. In which municipality do you reside today?
23 A. Vitez.
24 Q. Are you still residing in the village of Gacice?
25 A. Yes, Gacice 44. That is the house number from before the war and
1 it's the family home.
2 Q. Can you tell us today how many Muslims are residing in Gacice, if
3 you know the count?
4 A. 99 per cent of the pre-war population.
5 Q. And what are relations today?
6 A. There are contacts, but not to the extent that we had contacts
7 before the war. People look after their own interests.
8 Q. Was there any reprimand, that you are aware of, given to any
9 persons in your village in the military, the HVO, from Mario Cerkez, the
10 commander of the Viteska Brigade, after the incidents? Are you aware of
11 any reprimands or any type of disciplinary action that may have been taken
12 or any inquiry into events that might have been taken by Mario Cerkez
13 shall I say both in connection with the actual firing on the village, and
14 in the removal of the civilian population? Anything at all?
15 A. I am not aware of it. I only know that later, after everything
16 calmed down in the village, some people were taken to some defence lines,
17 let's say at Kuber, which were considered to be sort of punitive
19 Q. A quick look at Z1085.2, please.
20 This document dated 20 June 1993 is signed by Mario Cerkez as
21 commander of the Vitez Brigade. And although you indicated that as to
22 Gacice, specifically, you are unaware of anything, did you ever hear of a
23 general order acknowledging -- this document essentially acknowledges that
24 there may have been expulsion of non-Croats. Was any word spread about
25 this document to you or other persons living in your village at any time
1 after the 20th of April, 1993, and actually after the 20th of June, excuse
2 me, 1993? Are you aware of this document? It doesn't say to Gacice. It
3 just is a general document.
4 A. I've never seen this document before.
5 MS. SOMERS: No further questions, thank you.
6 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
7 Q. Mr. Krizanovic, just a few very short questions. In the
8 beginning, my learned friend asked you, and at one point you said that
9 before the war, you were -- you were going to the petrol station and you
10 paid in German marks, you remember that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you tell us what petrol station that was?
13 A. I believe that that was Asim or Kasim Krehic's private gas
15 Q. So the owner of this gas station is a Muslim?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And he accepted German marks without any questions?
18 A. When the Bosnian dinar was introduced that first morning, he was
19 taking it. After that, he refused to take it anymore. I didn't have any
21 Q. So if I understood you correctly, Mr. Krehic, a Muslim by ethnic
22 origin did not take Bosnian dinars but only German marks for his gas?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You were shown the document Z651.3 regarding Mr. Darko Kraljevic,
25 which you knew nothing about. I'm going to ask you something else. A
1 location called Jeline Vode is mentioned. Do you know about this?
2 A. Yes. Before the war I used to work in the forest with my father,
3 so I knew the place.
4 Q. Do you know nearest to which village is this Jeline Vode?
5 A. That is above Kruscica.
6 Q. Do you know, after the breakout of hostilities, and even before
7 that, in the early part of 1993, who predominantly had control of
8 Kruscica, which formation?
9 A. ABiH.
10 Q. You were also shown the document about the damage to the mosque in
11 Gacice. Can you tell us, was there a mosque in Gacice?
12 A. No.
13 Q. So it couldn't have been damaged since it didn't exist there.
14 A. Of course.
15 Q. We have pointed out several times that you just turned 18 around
16 the time when these hostilities in 1993 had broken out. Did you at that
17 time know anything about the bulldozer? Did you know how to operate it?
18 A. No, I'd never been near one, let alone would have known how to
19 operate it.
20 Q. One last question. You said that sometime in May or June you
21 became a member of the Vitez Brigade, and you mentioned that little piece
22 of paper that made you one. As a soldier of the Vitez Brigade, did you
23 ever receive any written orders from anyone?
24 A. First of all, I was very young, and then I was just a regular
25 soldier, so there was no need for any of that. I was in the trench, I
1 looked ahead of me, and that was it.
2 Q. So I assume that you just received orders from your immediate
4 A. Yes, that was from my sergeant.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] No further questions.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Krizanovic, that concludes your evidence. Thank
8 you for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
12 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, it is not easy for me to say, but we
13 are out of witnesses for this week and that is, I must apologise, due to
14 the circumstances which were beyond our control. However, we did learn
15 some lesson and we will simply put some reserve witnesses here on the
16 side. I mean, we just didn't want to waste the time of the witnesses, the
17 resources of the Court, et cetera. We were very conservative in our
18 planning. From now on we will go a little bit more on the luxury side, I
19 should say.
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, you should because this is the second week we've
21 ran out of witnesses. We ran out in the week before the recess. Next
22 week is a slightly shorter week than usual. But nonetheless, if you would
23 plan for the rest of your case to have witnesses in reserve. It is
24 inconvenient for them, but equally it is inconvenient for the Court not to
25 sit, and it runs up expenses and it means that meeting the various
1 deadlines that we've set is that much more difficult.
2 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, there is no need to confirm that. We are
3 certainly -- I mean, we are learning the lessons and we are doing that.
4 We'll do our best; that is all I can promise.
5 Perhaps, Your Honour, while we are here, probably we can waste the
6 time until lunch --
7 JUDGE MAY: We're not going to waste the time.
8 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, spend for another purpose.
9 JUDGE MAY: Not more than usual.
10 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. We are also considering having the
11 accused, Mr. Mario Cerkez, testify at the end of our case. However, just
12 as a matter of courtesy, we would like to inform the Court about that,
13 that we are working on that, and it does need, certainly, time, time for
14 the accused to see documents which were introduced in the case.
15 As you are certainly aware, there are quite a lot of documents
16 which were not seen during the testimonies, so not directly on the tables
17 here; rather, they were introduced in files after the trial, and those are
18 most of the documents which our client did not see. Those documents which
19 are entered in live, if I may say so, during the trial day, are mostly
20 shown to our client. However, we should go through those files in the
22 It is a matter of logistics and time, of course. We would ask the
23 Chamber to consider allocating a couple of days to us, let's say four to
24 five working days not counting the weekend, because the weekend is not
25 available for the visitors in the detention unit - there are simply no
1 conditions to work, and they refuse even to have the lawyers during the
2 weekends - so we would ask sometime at the end of our case that some time
3 is allocated to us. And I guess both counsel need it in order to
4 concentrate the effort and go through the documents with the accused so
5 that we really have effective testimony in the manner of asking questions
6 about certain evidence.
7 Of course, there is plenty of time to think about it and to see
8 how we can do it. But we have been dealing with the idea of how to
9 organise that work for quite a long time, and we simply don't see another
10 option except having a couple of extra days allocated for that. Of
11 course, I'm not asking for any additional time. I'm only asking that we
12 are planning on the basis of staying within the time you defined in the
13 calendar; that means before the 20th of October.
14 We will also --
15 JUDGE MAY: If it's necessary, providing the other evidence is
16 being called, if it's necessary to take a day or two and it's reasonable,
17 of course we would consider such an application.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Thank you, sir. In due time we will
19 definitely ask for it, if required. Of course, I'm not entering into the
20 details, but one of the aspects, just as a matter of information, is that
21 it depends how many witnesses we can get, because certainly we also have a
22 problem with the witnesses like the Prosecution did. Thank you, sir.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
25 MR. SAYERS: One short matter, Mr. President. It's just really a
1 matter of dotting the I's and crossing the T's. Our client has expressed
2 a desire to see the testimony of General Petkovic and also Colonel Palavra
3 in a language which he understands. We have the transcripts, obviously.
4 We've made a request to the registrar. The registrar has consulted the
5 orders and said that they don't have a problem in providing us with copies
6 of the videotapes, but the orders only specifically release -- authorise
7 release of the transcript. With the Court's permission, we would ask for
8 the orders be enlarged to provide for the provision of the videotapes,
9 videotaped testimony to us so our client can actually see it in a language
10 which he understands, rather than having 500 or so pages translated.
11 JUDGE MAY: Is it an order of our Chamber or the order of another
13 MR. SAYERS: It's the order of this Chamber, Your Honour. You've
14 actually ordered the transcripts to be released to us. They had actually
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
17 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if we may join this request. When it
20 is copied, it should be easier to copy two samples.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I've got the order kindly provided by the
24 registrar. The 5th of April. Yes, it will be enlarged to include the
25 tapes. And we have, Mr. Sayers, while we're dealing with your case, a
1 letter from you about your two affidavit witnesses who you want find.
2 MR. SAYERS: One is just in too poor health to testify and the
3 other has declined to testify. It seems the Court's prior ruling
4 excluding their affidavits stands. The third witness, Father Franjo
5 Krizanac, is prepared to testify. As we pointed out, we have made
6 arrangements for him to appear on the 26th of September, with the Court's
7 permission, if that's acceptable for everybody.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
9 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, if I could just make a couple of points.
12 I'm grateful to Mr. Kovacic for explaining the position about his
13 evidence. I observe, I think, in fact, that we've got apart from Friday
14 now free, we've got next Friday free on this.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
16 MR. NICE: We've got a Friday two weeks hence free and the Monday
17 and Tuesday, I think, of the following week. If Mr. Cerkez is going to
18 testify, obviously we'd be assisted by the earliest possible notice of any
19 summary of evidence that he's going to give.
20 JUDGE MAY: Are you entitled to a summary of his evidence?
21 MR. NICE: Whether there's a summary -- whether we're entitled to
22 it or not, we'd like one. I think in the Rule, summaries are to be
23 provided, generally, in any event. There's no reason why a summary
24 shouldn't be provided, because the Cerkez evidence is likely to take some
25 time, and there's no reason why it should be dealt with in any other way
1 from any other witnesses. Which brings me back to next week's witnesses.
2 As I understand it, it's three and a half days next week. There's a half
3 a day off and no Friday at all, so I think it's three and a half days
4 altogether. I think there's a half day --
5 JUDGE MAY: There's a Plenary meeting.
6 MR. NICE: It may only be a quarter of the day. There are present
7 listed nine witnesses. The last one, the ninth, is one of those who's
8 been added, apparently. We have no summary of any kind in respect of that
9 witness. So I can't even start to prepare for her. I would -- it's going
10 to be quite a task to prepare for eight or nine witnesses and to dispose
11 of them in three and a half days. The best method of abbreviating
12 cross-examination is to have, of course, the most early notice of the
13 detail of what's going to be said, or assuming I then have the resources
14 to deal with it. I'm asking Mr. Kovacic if he's able to provide us
15 summaries in draft form of any of the witnesses at an early date, to do
16 so, because it will make our life that much more easy and it will make it
17 much more possible for us to prepare properly.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. NICE: One other thing that I'm reminded that I should have
21 said, though I don't want to wreck my learned friends' weekends in any
22 way, but if they want to work at the weekends, it may be that the Chamber
23 would be able to achieve for them by its order or request that which they
24 can't achieve directly. Because I can see that the pressures of time for
25 us to finish by Christmas are, in fact, great and getting greater. I know
1 more things about my position than are presently revealed, and I think
2 that the pressures are going to increase.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, therefore, we must do all that we can to
4 achieve the objective.
5 Mr. Kovacic, it is right that there are several days available.
6 Next week there's a day and a half, and there are other days. It may be
7 that you're travelling during some of that time, but there will be time
8 available during the trial. As for next week, we will do our best to get
9 through what we can. I will explore the possibility of sitting slightly
10 longer hours, if necessary, to try and get through your witnesses in the
11 short time. Of course, it assists if the summaries could be available as
12 promptly as can be.
13 We'll also look to see if you can get into the detention centre
14 during the weekends, if it's an emergency.
15 MR. KOVACIC: We are appreciating this, sir, very much. Just also
16 for understanding the situation, our client is also receiving from time to
17 time family visits, and we are of course giving priority to that, as is
18 the case for next week, for example. So unfortunately, we wouldn't bother
19 the client in that occasion. Yes, we are counting on that, that we will
20 use all the available time, if some appears during the trial.
21 But if I may just in two sentences answer my dear colleague. We
22 did supply all the summaries required by the Court order, short summaries
23 for the purpose of the trial. We transmitted all of those witnesses, some
24 of them were transmitted additionally, in later phase, but we did transmit
25 it. So far, I understand my dear colleague, in our daily communication,
1 that they are quite satisfied with the time when we are transmitting the
2 summaries we are using here in the trial. We are doing our best, and I
3 will warn -- I will notice also the other side that, for example, our
4 witnesses for next week will be coming Friday evening in The Hague. So we
5 are starting to prepare the summaries we are using here on the trial, we
6 will start to work on that on Saturday morning. We cannot do it,
7 physically, any other time. So we are working through Saturday and Sunday
8 and we are delivering as soon as it is done, so probably one or two on
9 Saturday, one or two on Sunday. In addition, we are going beyond our
10 obligation, I can claim that.
11 For example, last weekend, unfortunately the fax machine of the
12 Prosecution office was out of order, and we were ready to deliver one on
13 Saturday, one on Sunday -- I guess, two on Sunday, I don't remember
14 exactly. But then I delivered personally, in the envelope and left down
15 on the reception desk, so we are doing more than required. And I would
16 remind the Chamber that we received summaries very often a hot copy, in
17 the morning, in the moment we entered this courtroom. So those are not
18 summaries that somebody is preparing a cross-examination.
19 The other materials earlier entered in the case is, but I will, of
20 course, do my best.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll sit, as far as the trial is
22 concerned, next on Monday morning at half past 9.00. Let's have a word
23 with the legal officer, please.
24 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
1 at 1.10 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday
2 the 11th day of September, 2000, at
3 9.30 a.m.