1 Friday, 22
2 [Closed session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
13 Page 25301 redacted – closed session.
13 Page 25302 redacted – closed session.
8 [Open session]
9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, is this Mr. Kristo?
10 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, this is Mr. Kristo. And the next
11 one is Mr. Miketa.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone to the counsel, please.
13 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, that is Mr. Kristo, and the next
14 witness will be Mr. Miketa.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE MAY: Let's see if we can get through both of them this
18 Yes. Would you take -- let the witness take the declaration.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: SLAVKO KRISTO
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
24 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Kristo. Thank you for coming
1 here. I'm first going to ask you to state your full name for the record,
2 as well as the date and place of birth.
3 A. My name is Slavko Kristo. I was born on 1 April 1952 in Poculica,
4 Vitez municipality.
5 Q. Your ethnic background is Croatian; is that correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. What is your religion?
8 A. Roman Catholic.
9 Q. What is your occupation?
10 A. I am an economist.
11 Q. Where do you work?
12 A. I am a branch manager of the Herzegovina Bank from Mostar, in
13 branch management Vitez.
14 Q. Where did you complete -- where did you graduate from high school?
15 A. I finished high school in Travnik and graduated from the school of
16 economics in Rijeka.
17 Q. Are you married?
18 A. Yes, I got married in 1982. I have a daughter Josipa born in 1983
19 and a son born in 1984.
20 Q. Are you a member of any political party?
21 A. I am a member -- I have been a member of HDZ since 1995.
22 Q. Do you hold any position in the party?
23 A. I am a member of the municipal board. This is since June 2000,
24 that is, the new elections.
25 Q. You have siblings?
1 A. Yes, a brother lives in Vitez with my mother, and two other
2 siblings work in Germany.
3 Q. Originally, your family comes from Poculica; is that correct?
4 A. My family was expelled, that is, my mother, my sister and my
5 brother, and I had left Poculica sometime ago and I have lived in Vitez
6 since 1982 in an apartment.
7 Q. We'll go back to that but now that we mention Poculica, perhaps
8 to -- we need to mention something that I don't think anyone else has
9 mentioned before. Is there a mosque in Poculica?
10 A. Yes, and it is right next to my family home.
11 Q. Mr. Kristo, have you had an opportunity to see this mosque
12 immediately following -- after the Washington Accords in 1994?
13 A. I saw it about 15 days ago because I was going on business in --
14 to Zenica, and I passed by there because the road takes me past there.
15 Q. And is the mosque still there undamaged, intact as before the war?
16 A. That is correct. It is still there intact like other mosques in
17 the area.
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I would not bother to ask the witness
19 about paragraph 2.1 and 2.2 since it was repeated many times. If there is
20 a question on cross, I will not object and perhaps only a question on
21 paragraph 2.3 and then further.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Witness Kristo, I'm going to shorten my
23 examination because we are pressed for time. I am going to go directly to
24 the events of late 1992 and early 1993. Did, during that period, some HVO
25 unit arrive there which was not a local one?
1 A. Yes. In late 1992 early 1993, there were units from Herzegovina
2 there. There was Bruno Busic and Ludwig Pavlovic units.
3 Q. Was there an increased number of incidents in the area during that
5 A. In late 1992 and early 1993, one could feel that it was an unusual
6 situation, that it was a lot more chaotic.
7 Q. Is it also true that this development coincides with the influx of
8 refugees, in other words, were refugees still coming in that late?
9 A. Yes, that is true. My brother and sisters are refugees from
10 Vlasic. After the fall of Jajce, the influx of refugees from Jajce and
11 Kotor Varos increased as well as Zenica.
12 Q. In your estimate, did all this contribute to this unrestful
13 situation in town?
14 A. Yes. This has all contributed to the sense of insecurity in town
15 and the lack of order.
16 Q. Do you remember whether one of these two units that you mentioned,
17 did one of these two units stay in the Vitez area for a longer period of
19 A. Yes. The Bruno Busic unit left some time in late 1992, early
20 1993, while members of the Ludwig Pavlovic stayed until the end of March
22 Q. Mr. Kristo, where did you live in 1993 on the eve of the conflict?
23 A. Since 1983, I have been living in the so-called yellow building
24 right next to the marketplace, about 200 metres from the parking structure
25 which separates the old Vitez from the rest of the town.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Q. Does that mean that your building, when the general conflict broke
2 out between the HVO and the ABiH, was at the line of separation between
3 the two parties, that is, between the Mahala part and the new Vitez part
4 of town?
5 A. Yes. We had trenches on each side of the building, and the
6 physical obstacle between the two warring parties were literally those
8 Q. How many tenants were there in your building before the war or
9 let's say how many units?
10 A. There were 50 units all together. There were two entryways with
11 25 units each.
12 Q. And the -- could you tell us what was the ethnic break down of the
13 tenants in the building?
14 A. I could give you individual names, but I would say that 45 per
15 cent each of the Muslims and Croats and about 10 per cent of Serbs.
16 Q. So Croats and Muslims comprised 90 per cent and the rest were
18 A. Perhaps 80 per cent. I could go name by name.
19 Q. There is no need for that. The tenants organised themselves,
20 given the lack of law and order?
21 A. In order to protect ourselves, in other words, in order to protect
22 our families, and I'm talking only about my entrance, we tried to take
23 stock of the new situation and to work out some kind of protection. This
24 is why we organised duties at the entrance of the building.
25 Q. Who took part in these guard duties?
1 A. In my entryway, there were about 12 Croats involved, 3 Serbs and
2 no Muslims.
3 Q. Can you explain why the Muslims living in the building did not
4 participant in this?
5 A. This was offered to them but they did not have any interest to be
6 with us, and some of them were spending nights outside of the building,
7 most probably in Stari Vitez, in old Vitez, with their relatives. And I
8 don't know what they did there but it is -- it needs to be pointed out
9 that their families were still living there. In other words, I was in
10 charge of protecting their families and they were probably protecting
11 someone else's families.
12 Q. Did you discuss this with other tenants so that these duties would
13 be spread out evenly?
14 A. There was no time for big discussions, because these duties, these
15 guard duties, went on for only about ten days, from, let's say, the 2nd of
16 April until the outbreak of hostilities. But let me add one thing which I
17 believe is important. I moved into the building about five years after it
18 was built, but my neighbour, Mr. Djukic, was very surprised that Mr.
19 Djukic, who was also an educated man who was stating that he was for
20 equality and everything and that he was not involved in this with us.
21 Q. You said that you started these guard duties only about ten days
22 before the conflict.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Was there a special reason for it?
25 A. No. It was just a situation in town and general feeling of
1 insecurity about our families.
2 Q. You mentioned a Mr. Djukic.
3 A. No. Mr. Djukic, Nusret Djukic.
4 Q. What was his ethnic background?
5 A. Muslim.
6 Q. And you also mentioned another man.
7 A. Mr. Djuric. He was an ethnic Serb from the village of Poculica,
8 in the Vitez municipality.
9 Q. Where in the building was your apartment?
10 A. My apartment was in the fourth floor at the end of the building,
11 to the right-hand side. It was the last apartment on the fourth floor.
12 Q. Mr. Kristo, did you have a view of downtown from there?
13 A. Of course.
14 Q. What did you notice in early April in the area of the soccer
16 A. We noticed trench-digging by Muslims, which concerned us even
17 more, because we didn't even discuss trench-digging on our side in that
19 Q. Is it true that trenches were dug on both sides of the road
20 connecting the bus station with the old Vitez, in other words, the road
21 feeding into the main road?
22 A. That is absolutely correct, because I used that road to go to work
23 until the 15th of April. But I have to mention that there were not any
24 incidents, but I noticed the trenches and I saw that they were facing the
25 town, that is, my building.
1 Q. If we were to show you the map of this town, you would be able to
2 point that position?
3 A. No problem. I can show it to you any time.
4 Q. You mentioned that in those days leading up to the conflict, you
5 were still going to work. When did you last go to work?
6 A. On the 15th of April. And I have to say that I did not notice
7 anything unusual. I was to go to work on the 16th, because I left my
8 briefcase, my calculator, and some other items in the office.
9 Q. On 16 April 1993, in the morning, what happened?
10 A. I was on guard duty. In other words, it was my -- my duty was
11 between 2.00 and 4.00 a.m. I was very tired and I had just fallen
12 asleep. I was asleep for an hour and then I was awakened by shooting. I
13 was surprised. And bullets were flying all around to the building and
14 everywhere. I ran down to the duty post. Others joined me there. We
15 organised a little bit and then the military police arrived. No, the
16 civilian police took me in front of the building of the MUP.
17 Q. Let me ask you a couple of questions. On the night of the 15th to
18 16th, or on the evening of the 15th, were you advised, warned, that the
19 next morning there could be a war?
20 A. Most of the population of Vitez, people that I have spoken with,
21 were unaware of anything like that, and I vouch for that.
22 Q. Mr. Kristo, we haven't addressed that topic very much. Do you
23 know whether a general alert was sounded that morning?
24 A. No, I never heard any sirens. My building has a well-built
25 basement which could be used as shelter, and we all could go there, and we
1 did go there during the air raids of the JNA against the town.
2 Q. That was in the spring of 1992?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And on that critical morning on the 16th of April, did you ever go
5 down into the shelter?
6 A. Yes, after I got up.
7 Q. You said that during the day the civilian police summoned you
8 and --
9 A. Not summoned me. They arrived here and we were escorted by them.
10 Q. So they came for you?
11 A. Very early in the morning. That could have been 8.00, 8.30 in the
12 morning when they came.
13 Q. Very well. That means it was early. And what kind of task did
14 you receive in front of the police building, and from whom?
15 A. At that moment people were gathering in front of the police
16 building, that is, the able-bodied men, the militarily fit men. And about
17 45 minutes to maybe up to 70 minutes after I arrived there -- and there
18 was confusion at first -- then Mr. Mirko Samija, the chief of the MUP, who
19 also is an economist and who is also from that area, from Poculica, a
20 place called Gola Kosa, so I've known him for years, he said that these
21 people who arrived there without any training, without any uniforms,
22 without any weapons, that I should -- who at that time I had some -- a
23 modicum of knowledge about weapons, that I should show them how to use
24 weapons, how to cock it, how to discharge it. And then with that short
25 training, people were sent out to the line. And that took no more than
1 about 20 minutes.
2 Q. So in that location there were military conscripts who had a duty,
3 who were assigned to the civilian police and who had a duty to report
5 A. I'm not aware of their assignments, but it was just plain
6 gathering of people, collecting of people. There were people who had no
7 assignments. These were not reserve police officers, those who would have
8 known the system. So it was not the reserve police. These people were
9 assigned to various specialties. One would go to some kind of exercise,
10 another one was assigned to the civilian defence. So these were not
11 reserve policemen; these were just general conscripts.
12 Q. Mr. Kristo, I would like you to be very concise. From what you
13 have just said, can we conclude that these people were summoned there, in
14 fact, that the civilian police had brought them there regardless of their
15 original wartime assignments?
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. Can you tell us whether in this confusion and in this speed with
18 which things were happening, was this what was going on?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So after this brief training, were you given a special assignment,
21 a special defensive task?
22 A. On the fourth day, I was sent to the Krtina-Mahala line which was
23 above the line of Santici, Barin Gaj, Sljivcica and Sivrino Selo.
24 Q. Where were you until that time before you were sent to Barin Gaj?
25 A. Those three nights I had spent on the line at Pavlovica Kuce
1 facing Stari Grad, that is old Vitez. Those were the nights of the 17th,
2 18th and 19th of April.
3 Q. I am just waiting for the transcript.
4 Was that part of the front line which was the part of the general
5 line of separation of Mahala and Vitez?
6 A. Yes, because a formal line did not exist.
7 Q. At the place where you were for those three days, was there
8 civilian police present?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In the positions around you, would you be -- were you able to also
11 see some other HVO units which you recognised?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Let me ask you first: Who assigned you to that location at
14 Krtina-Mahala above Buhine Kuce on that fourth day?
15 A. I don't know exactly, but I went there with the police and there,
16 I -- the commander of this line became my commander.
17 Q. Did he then tell you what your assignment was to be?
18 A. It was interesting that at that time, this is -- this would be
19 21st and 22nd, I still did not know with whom I was. I was just sent to
20 this trench, and only later they told me that I was a member of the Vitez
21 Brigade of such and such battalion, such and such company.
22 Q. What was the situation when you arrived at the positions at
24 A. You could still feel that the line was being fortified, that the
25 trenches were being dug, the situation with weapons were very poor. I
1 only had a weapon when I was on duty. I would leave it to the next person
2 who would come to duty. I would go to the position where I would rest,
3 and if there were -- there was to be an attack at that time, all I could
4 do was throw rocks.
5 Q. Were trenches dug at the time when you arrived there?
6 A. One part had been dug, one part was being dug, and I personally
7 dug my own part of the trench.
8 Q. Concerning the digging, I think you already answered part of that,
9 you dug your own trench?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were there any work platoons coming to dig?
12 A. In addition to the soldiers who were at the front line, part of
13 the trenches was dug by the local population, that is, inhabitants of that
14 area. And only two nights, members of the work platoons arrived, once 8,
15 once 12.
16 Q. These were members of the work platoon brought in by the civilian
18 A. They were brought in by someone, I don't know who.
19 Q. And during those days and -- or later, did you see people who had
20 been brought to dig escorted by the military police?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. Did you hear whether at a location where you were, detainees from
23 the cinema theatre or other facilities where detainees were kept were
24 brought there?
25 A. I heard people say that they were brought to other parts of the
1 front line, but they never came to where I was.
2 Q. How long did you stay at the line then?
3 A. About 100 days. Until I was wounded on the 26th of July.
4 Q. I'm looking at the transcript now, it hasn't noted something so
5 I'm going to ask you about that again. You said that on two occasions,
6 you had organised work platoons that came through the civil defence. What
7 was the ethnic composition of these work platoons?
8 A. They were Romany.
9 Q. When you were wounded, where were you taken?
10 A. I was taken to a make-shift clinic of the medical centre of
11 Vitez. After a brief intervention, because they were not in a position to
12 stop the bleeding, after four or five minutes, I proceeded to the hospital
13 in Nova Bila.
14 Q. Did you ever return to the front line after that wounding?
15 A. No, I wasn't at the front line after that. After being treated in
16 Nova Bila, I returned again to this make-shift medical centre, sort of
17 like an in-patient clinic, and after the cease-fire was signed, I was
18 treated in the Republic of Croatia when it became possible to travel there
19 by regular bus.
20 Q. So you never returned to the front line again?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Apropos after the Washington Agreements, that is to say, April
23 1994 when you were in Croatia in hospital, did you see Muslims there at
24 the time who were treated as patients at the hospital?
25 A. Absolutely. Yes. That is quite correct. I saw Muslims who were
1 wounded too. I don't know whether they were only members of the BH army,
2 but probably.
3 Q. So you think that among the people you saw in hospital, there were
4 civilians and members of the BH army who were Muslims?
5 A. Yes, and possibly Muslims who were members of other units in
6 Posavina, Orasje who were together with the HVO.
7 Q. Thank you. When you were mobilised on the 16th in the civilian
8 police, did your family stay in your apartment? Did they continue to live
10 A. On the third day or rather on the second day, to be precise, on
11 the 18th in the evening, my family and most of the families from the
12 yellow building, due to the general insecurity that prevailed, moved
13 away. Only four or five tenants remained. This old woman whom no one
14 could convince, and some old sisters -- I don't know -- this was on the
15 side --
16 Q. Facing town?
17 A. Yes, facing town. While the other part of the building that was
18 facing Stari Vitez that was being hit directly, there was really no one
19 left there.
20 Q. Very well. Where did you put your family up?
21 A. At my father-in-law's place in Mosunj, an area that was safer,
22 speaking very conditionally.
23 Q. Mr. Kristo, while you were a soldier, did you ever take part in
24 any offensive military action?
25 A. Absolutely not. Because we never received orders at the front
1 line that we should go out and conquer. It's not only that we did not
2 receive such orders we could not have. There were shortages in terms of
3 materiel, manpower and, as I said, Barin Gaj, Sljivcica, Sivrino Selo,
4 that is where we were surrounded.
5 Q. After it became obvious that you were a member of the Viteska
6 Brigade, who were your first commanders whom you remember by name and
8 A. Perica Miskovic and after him Josip Plavcic.
9 Q. Is Perica Miskovic still alive?
10 A. Unfortunately, both are dead.
11 Q. Did both of them get killed?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. During this approximately 100 days that you were at the front
14 line. Yes, I'm going a bit too fast, yes. These approximately 100 days
15 that you were at the front line, do you have any idea of how many of your
16 men were killed during these approximately 100 days?
17 A. Nineteen.
18 Q. How many were wounded?
19 A. Over 30, and all of this at the trenches, at the front line,
20 snipers, front line, coming to and going from the front line.
21 Q. Thank you. After the war, you were granted 40 per cent
23 A. Yes, that is right. I receive that kind of pension until the
24 present day.
25 Q. Certificates were discussed extensively here, according to the
1 rules passed by the federation. I'm not going to tire anybody with this,
2 but just one question, is it true that the terms and conditions for
3 granting these certificates were applied very liberally?
4 A. Yes, indeed. Living proof of this is the fact that my mother, my
5 father-in-law and his wife who were quite old receive them.
6 Q. So you are talking about your mother, Ljubica Kristo, born in
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Your father-in-law Dragutin Gudelj born in 1931?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. His wife, Kata, born 1930?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. That means that you know that they received certificates and that
14 they were listed there, although they were not members of the defence?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know why all of this turned out the way it did?
17 A. There were lists that involved direct or indirect participation.
18 However, after that, a quota was set and people went around the village
19 and said, "Let us use this quota that the HVO is entitled to and the quota
20 that the army is entitled to," so that this total level could be met at a
21 lower threshold.
22 Q. Tell me, sir: The Muslims also applied these rules in an equally
23 liberal fashion, is that right, very extensively?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Ultimately, all of these entitlements had to be paid from the same
1 budget; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. The Federation budget?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you personally get some kind of paper?
6 A. Yes. I used part of this entitlement for buying the apartment on
7 which I had a tenant's lease.
8 Q. Very well.
9 A. Others did not have that possibility. Privatisation funds are
10 being established now, and perhaps then they will be able to use some of
11 these shares.
12 Q. So that's what you're all hoping for; is that right? And one more
13 question, perhaps, to take advantage of the fact that you are present
14 here. You've known Mario Cerkez from before; is that right?
15 A. Yes. I know him personally. I've known him since 1978, ever
16 since I arrived in Vitezit, although I would see him every now and then
17 before that. But he finished a different kind of schooling. He lived in
18 a different part of the municipality. So I knew him indirectly before,
19 but actively I've known him since 1978, since I came to work in Vitezit.
20 Q. Did you ever notice any inclination on the part of Mario Cerkez to
21 quarrel with other people, to be aggressive?
22 A. No. I wish all people were like Mario Cerkez.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
24 questions. I would like to thank you for your answers.
25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. The
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Kordic Defence has no questions of this witness.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
3 Q. You've been giving us a number of answers to Mr. Kovacic's
4 questions about the distribution of money in both the Croat and the
5 Muslims interests. Have you brought any documents to support what you say
6 about the purpose of these certificates and what happened on the Muslim
7 side as well as on the Croat side?
8 A. I do not have a document. I could have brought my own document,
9 but I did not take part in these activities. I am indirectly aware of
10 this, since I work in a bank that will establish privatisation funds. So
11 I will be in a position to have these papers in about two months' time.
12 Q. Just looking at these documents very quickly. We'll just have a
13 look at them. 1232.1, please. This document is dated the 5th of October,
14 signed by Mr. Cerkez, and it certifies that you have been a member of the
15 Vitez Brigade since the 18th of April of 1993 and "he joined our unit as
16 an active member and was wounded on the 26th of July," the document issued
17 for regulating medical treatment. Have you ever seen that document
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Just leave that one there and we'll look at another document,
21 please, which is 1457.1.
22 MR. NICE: Leave the first one available for the witness, please.
23 Q. This document is dated a little later, 14th of October, 1994, and
24 comes from Mario Cerkez. And it confirms that you became a member of the
25 Viteska Brigade on the 16th of April, 1993, and were wounded on the 26th
1 of July. It sets out the circumstances of your being wounded. Have you
2 seen this document before?
3 A. Yes. I have this document in my own medical documentation.
4 Q. Very well. Just one or two questions on these; that's all. The
5 first document we looked at says --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- you joined as an active member. Does that indicate that you
8 were formerly a reserve member?
9 A. I do not agree with this statement saying that I actively took
10 part. I'm talking about D48028.
11 Q. Well, we're looking at the first document I showed you. That's
12 the one, yes.
13 A. Yes. 94 -- I actively took part, but not as an active member.
14 MR. KOVACIC: No objection, Your Honour. Just one small point.
15 There will be probably a long discussion on that term. It's simply a
16 wrong translation. We checked it. It's not very precise.
17 JUDGE MAY: Which term?
18 MR. KOVACIC: The term in the Croatian text we have, "When he was
19 actively included," and in the English text we have, "As an active
20 member." "Actively" in Croatian means that when he joined actively, when
21 he came. But we may ask --
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, we can spend much time debating these
23 matters. Let's go on.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. We see that different dates are given for your joining, 16th or
1 18th. Can you explain that, please?
2 A. I think that this is a technical mistake. On the 16th, in the
3 morning, I was taken away by the civilian police, and indirectly I was a
4 participant. These instructions were probably issued by the brigade on
5 the 18th, saying that I should go to Krtina-Mahala.
6 Q. When you say you were taken away on the 16th by the police, you
7 ended up at a place where there were lots of other people gathered, didn't
8 you, at the police station?
9 A. Exactly.
10 Q. Was that known to be a place for Croats to meet for mobilisation
12 A. Croats and Serbs; all who were in Vitez at that time, except for
14 Q. So how had it been communicated to Croats and Serbs that they
15 should mobilise at the police station, the Muslims not having that
17 A. Probably in their TO command in Stari Vitez. However, I repeat:
18 We were not told. It's not that I received any information from them.
19 They came and picked me up.
20 Q. That must be because they had you on a list, mustn't it? What was
21 the list they would have had you on?
22 A. The defence department, before the war conflict, had a list of all
23 military conscripts, because I did my military service just like Muslims
24 and just like Serbs did. And there were files that were very properly
25 kept. Both sides probably could have had insight into this.
1 Q. So were you, in fact, still a reservist on the night of the 15th?
2 A. I was no reservist.
3 Q. Look at this map --
4 A. I repeat --
5 Q. Can you look at this map, please, D88/2. Take your time. You may
6 not have seen the map in this form before.
7 MR. NICE: If the usher will place it over the place so that we
8 can all see it. We can probably focus in on that a bit, I should think.
9 More. Even a bit more, I think, probably. Thank you very much. Can you
10 just -- that's fine.
11 Q. If you look at the television screen, does that have on it the
12 place where you lived and where your building was? I don't want to take
13 too long, but it's helpful just to have the picture, if you can give it to
14 us. This is the yellow building that you've told us about.
15 A. Yes. Yes. The first one by the stadium.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. Well, if you can't find it --
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kristo, if you can't identify it on that map, then
21 say so, and we'll move on.
22 A. The football stadium Stari Vitez, the building, the first building
23 that is directly there, that is to say, at the entrance point between
24 Stari Vitez and Vitez. The first row of houses in Stari Vitez, the
25 garages, the soccer stadium, and the first yellow building standing here,
1 this way. I don't think it was marked here, because I've lived there
2 since 1992 and I'm sure that I -- 1982, and I'm quite sure that I know
3 where each building is, pretty well.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Now, you tell us that from your apartment you saw something of
7 some trench-digging on the soccer field; is that right?
8 A. No, not on the soccer field; on both sides of the road that goes
9 through Stari Vitez by the stadium to the bus station, or rather the Vitez
10 Hotel. This is a two-way street.
11 Q. I see.
12 And who did you see digging these trenches?
13 A. The Muslims.
14 Q. Which Muslims?
15 A. Local people from Stari Vitez, Mirsad Izet and others.
16 Q. Did you ask them what they were doing?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Why not. It was a matter of concern to you. Why didn't you ask
20 A. I didn't think it was necessary.
21 Q. Well, you were a member of the local party, weren't you, the HDZ
23 A. No, only since 1995.
24 Q. Yes, my mistake, yes. Well, did you draw to the attention of any
25 official that there was this trench digging going on?
1 A. Yes. It was common knowledge. It was a matter of concern, and I
2 did comment about it with some people, but I had no right to ask someone
3 personally why he was digging trenches. I felt I did not have the right
4 to ask them because it was next to his house. It was his land, his
5 property. Where did I get the right to ask him?
6 Q. This was an individual person, just one individual or a couple of
7 individuals, is this right, digging trenches at their houses?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. You're not aware whether this is recorded anywhere in a
10 contemporaneous document?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. Of course by this time, a great deal had happened in Vitez that
13 could have worried Muslims, that would be correct, wouldn't it? Not just
14 what the Serbs were doing.
15 A. Things happened that worried Croats too.
16 Q. Well, let's just deal with my question first. There were a great
17 deal of things done in the way of taking over the town that could have
18 been disturbing to Muslims. You would accept that, wouldn't you?
19 A. I can't accept what you say fully, a lot. There were individual
20 incidents that concerned the Muslims but that concerned me too.
21 Q. And of course there had been attacks in nearby Novi Travnik which
22 is only a small distance away in June and in October of 1992, hadn't
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. By the HVO against the Muslim interest?
1 A. That is not correct. That's not correct.
2 Q. Who do you say was attacking whom on those occasions?
3 A. The Muslims were attacking the Croats. That was the information I
5 Q. What were they doing that for, did you understand?
6 A. No, I said, and I repeat, until the last minute of the conflict, I
7 was convinced there would not be an open war between Croats and Muslims.
8 So everything that was done was done by irresponsible individuals. Those
9 were incidents and my colleague, my neighbour -- my colleague at work, who
10 was a Muslim, had a less reason to feel insecure than I did.
11 Q. Did you know Dario Kordic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How did you know him?
14 A. As a politician who was popular among the people.
15 Q. Did you know him personally?
16 A. No, because I did not live in Busovaca. We did not have any
17 personal contacts. I don't remember that I ever had the occasion or the
18 honour to sit down in company with such an important gentleman.
19 Q. Did you know that he was associated with the attacks at -- or the
20 fighting at Novi Travnik to put it neutrally in both June and the autumn
21 of 1992? Did you know about that?
22 A. Why would I know about it when, in 1992, I was engaged in my own
23 business and I was not concerned with politics or the war or the army.
24 Q. As to the Herzegovinians, were you aware of the Bruno Busic
1 A. I saw members of that brigade in town, but I did not have contacts
2 with any of them so I don't know.
3 Q. You can't help us one way or another with when they left, can
5 A. As far as I can estimate, in early 1993, because from then on, I
6 didn't see them around anymore.
7 Q. As to the night of the 15th, you were asked if you were aware of
8 the forthcoming troubles, and I have noticed that you said, "Most people
9 were unaware."
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Who were those, to your knowledge, who were aware? If most were
12 unaware, it sounds as if some were aware. Who were they?
13 A. Well, probably those who were in charge of the army and who were
14 in charge of politics.
15 Q. Did your answer "Most were unaware," reflect the fact that you
16 must have discussed this with other people and discovered that some people
17 had been informed that trouble was coming?
18 A. On the contrary. All the people I talked to said they had known
19 nothing, just as I hadn't known anything.
20 Q. I see. So after these events, despite talking to people, nobody
21 ever told you how it had all happened; is that what you're saying?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. If I were to suggest to you that there were meetings on the 15th
24 in the evening, meetings where there was a plan and where there was
25 disagreement between military and senior representatives of your small
1 town, you've never heard anything of such things; is that your account?
2 A. No. I didn't know.
3 Q. Have I got this much of the picture correct: You went back to
4 Stari Vitez or the Mahala, as it's otherwise known, for just three days on
5 the instructions of somebody at the police station; is that right?
6 A. I don't understand your question.
7 Q. Well, it may be my mistake for not understanding your evidence.
8 But after your short training at the police station, did you go back to
9 Stari Vitez, the defence line there?
10 A. Yes. Yes. I spent three nights there and on that third day, I
11 went to the line in Krtina-Mahala.
12 Q. Perhaps you would just be good enough, I don't want to take a lot
13 of time with the map, but if you can help looking at the map and point out
14 where you say you were, that will assist us. Can you look at the map?
15 Does it show where you were? Look at the map, please.
16 A. The other part of the map.
17 Q. We'll have to give you a map with a different scale.
18 A. That's a part.
19 Q. You are indicating a position to the right of Sivrino Selo, and --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And is that where you were immediately after the meeting at the
22 police station?
23 A. After, on the third day, I was sent to this line. It's
24 interesting that the place name is not here on this map, and it's bigger
25 than Sivrino Selo.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Q. The first three days, have I still got this right, you were over
2 to the west of the position you've told us in the area of Stari Vitez; is
3 that right?
4 A. That's correct. At the Pavlovici line --
5 Q. Can you point that out roughly where that was on this map?
6 A. Yes. The place where I was on the 17th of April?
7 Q. Yes, please.
8 A. [Indicates]
9 Q. So that's right on the road going out of Vitez. So you must have
10 seen the truck bomb. Did you see the truck bomb on the 18th?
11 A. Not on that road. Not on that road. I apologise, there is
12 another road. The main road, it's the next road parallel to this, Vitez
13 Stari Vitez, the bus station. It's another road, not on that road, but
14 across the road. I didn't see the truck bomb.
15 Q. You must have heard about it or you must have heard it.
16 A. I heard about it later on, but I wasn't present there.
17 Q. For these three days, what were you doing so far as Stari Vitez
18 was concerned, keeping people in?
19 A. There were no people. We were facing the line and I was only on
20 duty. I did not fire a bullet during those three days.
21 Q. Just help me.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mahala or Stari Vitez contained a number of residents all or most
24 of them Muslim; correct?
25 A. Yes, but not all, most.
1 Q. You were manning a line. Did that line block the exit for Muslims
2 if they had wanted to come out of their enclave?
3 A. The line on the entrance to the town, that's what I'm trying to
4 say, not the exit. The exit is where the church is in the direction of
5 Travnik. It was the other part of Vitez.
6 Q. Was the line you were on, and you've shown us it roughly on the
7 map, a dividing position with Croats on one side and Muslims on the other?
8 A. Yes, there is a road running across. It's a byroad.
9 Q. And the Muslims were on the one side, if they had tried to pass
10 your line, you would have stopped them, wouldn't you?
11 A. Probably. Just as they would have stopped us if we had tried to
12 go into Mahala.
13 Q. Mahala was a closed off enclave, and you were one of those keeping
14 them prisoner. Why were you doing that?
15 A. That is not correct. I was on quite another side. My line was
16 surrounded on three sides by Muslims; Sivrino Selo, Sljivcica, Barin Gaj.
17 Why did they expel my people from my village of Poculica.
18 Q. We haven't got to Poculica yet. I'm asking what you did
19 immediately after --
20 A. Very well.
21 Q. -- the fighting broke out. So --
22 A. I was carrying out my duty.
23 Q. Who gave you your duty?
24 A. I was defending my family. I gave myself my duty, and so did my
25 command or rather whoever was in charge of the overall activity, the
1 overall policy, the overall defence.
2 Q. So on the 17th of April you weren't yet a soldier; is that your
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You didn't yet have a commander of any kind?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You weren't part of the controlling political party, you tell us?
8 A. That's correct. The ruling --
9 Q. And yet you would have stopped Muslims from having free access to
10 their town. Why would you have done that, please?
11 A. No one was trying to make them leave the town.
12 Q. You must understand my question, Mr. Kristo. You were manning a
13 line that the Muslims would not be allowed to pass, and you were doing it
14 apparently by instinct or by your own judgement. Now, why were you doing
16 A. No, because they wouldn't let me pass.
17 Q. The Muslims from the yellow building, what happened to them when
18 you went to the police station?
19 A. They were taken away. They were brought in.
20 Q. And imprisoned?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Why were they imprisoned?
23 A. They were detained primarily because no one could be safe among
24 the Muslims, whether they were soldiers or simple citizens who were
25 welcome. That's one reason. Another reason is that uncontrolled armed
1 groups were moving around and they might have killed them, because they
2 had been expelled from their own homes and they were indignant. They had
3 been expelled by Muslims, like my people from Poculica, my brother, and
4 they might have shot at them.
5 Q. So no one could be safe among the Muslims. What was it about the
6 Muslims that made it unsafe to be amongst them?
7 A. That's not correct that they were not safe. If they hadn't been
8 safe, they wouldn't have gone to the elections with us and voted for the
9 same goals and tied flags together and had a common policy.
10 Q. I'm just going to cut you short. I was simply reading back to you
11 part of your answer, "No one could be safe among the Muslims," and I
12 wanted you to tell us why you said that to the Judges.
13 A. That's not true that I said that no one could be safe among the
14 Muslims. I say it's not true. It must be a misunderstanding. No one
15 could be safe among the Muslims or among our people, that is, the Croats.
16 Q. Working platoons, until the end of April, were moved about by
17 armed guards taking them under compulsion, weren't they?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You go on to something about people being used elsewhere. I'm
20 only concerned with the period until the end of April at the moment.
21 Where did you have experience of working platoons between the 16th and the
22 end of April?
23 A. Until the end of April, in Krtina-Mahala, trenches were dug by
24 members of the army, people from the village who were not military able,
25 and 8 or 12 Roma who during the night dug communication trenches, a long
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 trench connecting two trenches, and they were treated humanely and sent
2 back, and no one else did that. But two or three months later I heard
3 from rumours that Muslims had also been brought to some lines but that
4 they had been treated properly.
5 Q. I'm not going to respond to those rumours. Just help me with the
6 Romanies. The Romanies were used, was it, after the Muslims had all
7 left? Is that the position?
8 A. Not all the Muslims left Vitez. They worked as members of the
9 work platoon, mostly the Muslims that stayed until the end of the war who
10 were in mixed marriages, Mr. Gerim and others. And the Roma insisted when
11 they were going to the line that they should stay together. That was part
12 of their mentality.
13 Q. Are you aware of people actually dying when forced to dig
15 A. When you say "dying," you do mean they were killed?
16 Q. Yes. Killed, shot.
17 A. I know.
18 Q. Yes. How many do you know about, please?
19 A. I think that one was killed on the line where we were. He was hit
20 by Muslims certainly, because there were no Croats or Serbs on the side
21 the bullet came from. And it can be checked. There are documents.
22 Q. And it was to these positions that Romanies and Muslims were taken
23 to dig trenches; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. NICE: Thank you.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Just two or three questions, Your Honour.
2 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Maybe we can talk about the last point. Did you
4 have an opportunity on any occasion to see members of work platoons, any
5 work platoons, either from the villages or from the town, being put in
6 positions that were dangerous for them to dig?
7 A. I did not see that on other lines. On our line, we put them in
8 places that were safer than the places we were at. I shared my sandwiches
9 with them. I did not keep the better part of the sandwich for myself.
10 Q. In those hundred or so days on your line, were any soldiers
11 wounded, colleagues of yours, while digging trenches?
12 A. Yes. Mr. -- I think his name was Ivica. He was a refugee from
13 Zenica, so I cannot recall his last name at the moment.
14 Q. Very well. Just two questions about the trenches you talked about
15 for quite a long time. First of all, would you tell me: After you saw
16 the two trenches dug by the Muslims at the edge of Mahala around the road
17 connecting the town, did the Croats then dig trenches in the same place?
18 A. Well, not there, because there are no Croats in that part. It's
19 150 metres from my building, and there were no trenches dug in the town
20 itself at all.
21 Q. Did Croats dig trenches anywhere around Mahala?
22 A. No, no.
23 Q. Thank you. My next question: My learned friend suggested to you
24 that you Croats were preventing Muslims from leaving Mahala. I will ask
25 you the following: On that -- from that morning when the conflict began,
1 you said your house was shot at?
2 A. Yes, certainly.
3 Q. Do you agree that that was the morning the war started?
4 A. Yes, absolutely.
5 Q. And had there not been shooting on that morning, would you have
6 gone to the line facing Mahala or something else?
7 A. As I said, I would have gone to work again, because I had left my
8 calculator there and my bag and other things. I am engaged in business,
9 not military matters.
10 Q. And no one would have prevented you from going to work?
11 A. No, no one. That's interesting.
12 Q. And although considering the place where you lived and the place
13 where you worked, you passed through Mahala every day to go to work?
14 A. That's correct, every day. And I had contacts with Muslims. I
15 have even very good friends among the Muslims who went to school with me,
16 played soccer with me, played cards with me, played chess, and so on.
17 That's interesting.
18 Q. Well, that was before. But did you still have Muslim colleagues
19 the day before?
20 A. Yes. On Thursday, yes. Kadir Hrustic. He walked with me from
21 Princip to Mahala to his house, and then I went on to my house.
22 Q. Did any of the Croats or Muslims tell you there might be a problem
23 the following day?
24 A. No one.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Kristo. That concludes your evidence.
3 Thank you for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are
4 free to go.
5 We'll adjourn now. We'll take a slightly shorter break --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I am pleased if I was
7 able to help.
8 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now until 20 past 11.00. We'll take a
9 slightly shorter break to make sure we finish by 1.00. Twenty past 11.00
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 11.26 a.m.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
16 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 WITNESS: ANTO MIKETA
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examined by Mr. Kovacic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning Mr. Miketa, thank you for coming
25 here and -- [Microphone not activated] [In English] ... leading question
1 on the personal data, strictly leading.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. KOVACIC:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Will you please confirm this for me. You reside
5 in Vitez in the area of Kamenjaca, just yes or no, please?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. If it's not correct, just say no. You were born on the 3rd June
8 1943 in Jajce.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You are of Croat ethnic background and you are a Roman Catholic by
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You are a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. You are married and you are a father of three.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. More precisely, you have one son and two daughters; is that
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Their ages are between 16 and 29. Is it correct what I said, one
22 son, two daughters?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You are a history and geography teacher in the elementary school
25 in Vitez.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. At this point, you are no longer a principal but you used to be a
4 A. That is correct. I used to be a principal and now I am just a
6 Q. You graduated from the teacher's college in Sarajevo.
7 A. Yes, in 1969.
8 Q. You are a member of the HDZ.
9 A. Yes, I have been a member since it was established in Vitez.
10 Q. Do you have any -- do you hold any office?
11 A. No. I am just a teacher, and this is the only activity I am
12 involved in.
13 Q. Very well. This concludes my preliminary questions. Now,
14 Mr. Miketa, after the war in Central Bosnia, do you consider yourself
15 responsible for anything that went on there as a person?
16 A. Like other people did, I also attempted to live with others and to
17 survive there, and I do not feel responsible for any of the crimes
18 committed there because I was not involved in any of that.
19 Q. Very well. I'll come back to that at the end. When did you
20 start -- when did you start working in the elementary school?
21 A. In 1970 or, more precisely, 21 September 1970.
22 Q. When the JNA aggression against Bosnia started which was supported
23 by the local Bosnian Serbs, did you continue with school?
24 A. Yes, but because of shelling and because of the air raids of
25 the -- by the JNA, we interrupted it often.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 Q. Does that mean whenever there was any specific danger, you would
2 interrupt school for several days?
3 A. It was open-ended. We didn't know how long the danger would last,
4 but we would then tell children not to come to school if there was a
5 danger of attack.
6 Q. However, the school year went on until when?
7 A. Yes, with these frequent interruptions and under difficult
8 circumstances, it continued on until 16 April 1993.
9 Q. That was the day when the open conflict started between Muslims
10 and Croats?
11 A. Yes. That is the day when the -- that unfortunate conflict
12 between the Muslims and Croats started. And until then, we were able to
13 work in the school with these interruptions.
14 Q. Mr. Miketa, can you very briefly describe where your school
15 building is?
16 A. The school building is in the centre of Vitez town.
17 Unfortunately, it happened to be situated right at the line of separation
18 of the two warring parties so it was impossible to have classes during
19 that period. On the 16th of April, I learned that it was impossible to
20 access the building because the conflict had just broken out. One
21 colleague, female colleague told me that it was impossible to approach the
23 Q. Mr. Miketa, where is the secondary school centre in relation to
24 the elementary school?
25 A. They are almost adjoining. It is about -- they are about 30
1 metres apart.
2 Q. And there is also a small sports stadium adjoining these two
4 A. Yes. It is a stadium of the Vitez soccer club, and that was on
5 the other side.
6 Q. And if people were shooting from Mahala to -- in the direction of
7 the school or the other way, there was nothing in between?
8 A. No, there was just a clearing.
9 Q. Did you go to the building often?
10 A. Yes, I frequently went to the school which was to complete my
11 work, to put away the documents, because this was a sudden interruption
12 and I found some people in the school building whom I did not know, and
13 this is why I wanted to put those documents away, because it was important
14 for the children or for us. It was -- these were documents relating to
15 the children and so I went to the school as often as I could.
16 Q. Where was the administrative part of your school?
17 A. That was in the central section of the building.
18 Q. Was that part open towards Mahala or was it protected?
19 A. The offices were protected for a while, but the classrooms and the
20 cabinets were not protected.
21 Q. You said that from the start of the conflict some people were in
22 the building.
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. Was this the military?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Were they the HVO military?
2 A. No. I did not see those. There were some people on the rooftop
3 who were observing around. I had no access to that part of the building.
4 Q. But those were some units who were on the Croatian side?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can I conclude from this that you were unable to identify these
8 A. I did not know these people. I did not know who they were.
9 Q. Are you able to say anything about the insignia or any other
10 identification marks?
11 A. I never saw any insignia that they were wearing, because I had no
12 contact with them.
13 Q. From that time on, the soldiers were continuously in the building?
14 A. Yes, they were there continuously. When I came later on -- and I
15 came on several occasions later -- they were there. But I noticed that
16 they were coming and going. They were coming in shifts. I did not know
18 Q. Can you give us a figure how many people; five, ten, or many more?
19 A. I just noticed that these people were observing Mahala, a small
20 number of them. I don't know if there were more of them hidden somewhere
22 Q. Mr. Miketa, in the neighbouring secondary school centre, was the
23 situation similar? Were some soldiers also deployed there?
24 A. I don't know anything about that building. I don't know what was
25 in there. I only know about the building where I worked.
1 Q. Earlier, that is, in late 1992 and early 1993, was the school
2 building used as a reception centre for the refugees who were coming to
3 the Vitez area, especially after the fall of Jajce?
4 A. Even before the fall of Jajce the building was used as a reception
5 centre for refugees who were arriving in waves from Kotor Vares, Kljuc,
6 Jajce, and surrounding areas. I, actually, was one of the organisers of
7 these refugees. The organisation was such that we asked locals to bring
8 along some food for the refugees, and I'm quite proud that we were able to
9 help the people who came. And even to date, when I go to my hometown of
10 Jajce, people thank me. They say, "You helped us," and I don't even
11 recognise the person. So that gives me a sense that we've done something
13 Q. Mr. Miketa, what was the ethnic structure of these refugees?
14 A. As I said, they came from Kljuc. Kljuc was predominantly Muslim.
15 Kotor Vares was both Croat and Muslim. Jajce, both Croats and Muslims and
16 even some Serbs. Because I knew some people from Jajce personally,
17 because I myself am from Jajce. So we immediately would accommodate them
18 in various classrooms and we organised food for them, meals. And there
19 was also a team which was in charge of finding accommodation for them in
20 the surrounding villages.
21 Q. Can you give us an approximate number of refugees who came through
22 this school building over that period of time?
23 A. I believe it was about 5.000, but I remember when Jajce fell on
24 30th of October, 1992, this number was approximately around 3.000.
25 Q. You mean at one time?
1 A. Yes. I remember that number because the accommodations were not
2 right. We did not have enough space for such a number of refugees.
3 Q. In the days leading to the conflict of 16 of April, there were no
4 longer any refugees in the school building?
5 A. The refugees had left in late 1992. Because, of course, after
6 October it gets very cold, and we did not have heating in the elementary
7 school in Vitez, so most of the refugees were accommodated either
8 somewhere in the Vitez area or they had moved on. In other words, they
9 were not there anymore at that time.
10 Q. At the time when the conflict started, was the school building
11 ever used as a detention centre or a place where people were held captive?
12 A. I said that until the 15th of April, children were there and we
13 who worked there. And on the 16th, the military arrived. There was no
14 one else in the building. And as I said, the refugees had left long
16 Q. But now let me take you to May 1993. Was anybody placed there?
17 A. No. As I said, nobody was there except for those soldiers, and
18 occasionally some of the school officials would come, mostly looking for
19 information what to do.
20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Can I please ask the registry to
21 provide document Z882, please. [In English] Would you please put it on
22 the ELMO. There is no Croatian text. This is the original English
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Miketa, let me first explain to you what this
25 document is so that I can ask you these questions.
1 A. Go ahead, please.
2 Q. From the heading, we see that this is from the regional centre of
3 Zenica. It's the humanitarian office in Zagreb. It's a UNHCR report. It
4 is a special report of 4 May 1993. It is signed by a certain Mr. Henk
5 Morsink. First, let me ask you this: Have you ever seen this document?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Second: Do you know the person who signed it?
8 A. I'm sorry. I can't see the bottom of the document, but it is
9 not -- let me see. You said Henk Korsink [phoen]?
10 Q. No. Henk Morsink.
11 A. I never heard of this person.
12 Q. Now, let me take you to the contents of this document. It says
13 that a team is conducting an investigation pursuant to allegations that
14 two Muslim families were being held in the school building. Then it is
15 mentioned that this team first visited the commander of the brigade,
16 Mr. Cerkez, the commander of the Vitez Brigade, in order to be able to
17 make this visit.
18 I am going to skip several paragraphs. And the third paragraph
19 from the bottom, it says that a neighbour directed these people to seek
20 shelter in the school building, that the school principal at that time did
21 accommodate these people. They were not held in the school building
22 against their own will and were treated well.
23 Then on the 3rd of May, another group of HVO soldiers arrived in a
24 red van. They broke the windows and again threatened these families. And
25 in closing it says that the brigade commander knew that the
1 extremists -- that there are extremists around, and that he said that he
2 was looking for them and that he would take care of the safety of these
4 In that connection let me ask you this: In those days from the
5 start of the conflict and during the period referred to in this document,
6 early May, during these visits when you went to deal with the
7 administrative matters, did you ask anybody for any permit?
8 A. No, I was not required to ask anyone for any permit because I was
9 the principal of the school.
10 Q. Do you recall in those early days of May that you accommodated any
11 families in the school building?
12 A. I hear this for the first time. I pointed that out that the
13 refugees had left in late 199 --
14 Q. Very well, let us not repeat all that.
15 A. After they left and until the conflict, there was nobody in the
17 Q. Mr. Miketa, let us be perfectly clear on this, do you allow a
18 possibility that this claim that two Muslim families were accommodated in
19 the school building on the 4th of May? Could such an assertion be
20 truthful at all?
21 A. That the school building was under the army control and there was
22 no possibility of families to be there, maybe they were somewhere around
23 there but not there.
24 Q. Were you, as a principal, asked to accommodate anybody there?
25 A. No, and I had no authority there at all at that time.
1 Q. In addition to the two school buildings, your school building and
2 the secondary school building, is there any other school building in town?
3 A. No, not in town, but there are outside of town.
4 Q. Is there a school in Dubravica?
5 A. Yes, there is a school in Dubravica. It is about two kilometres
6 away in the direction of Sarajevo.
7 Q. Mr. Miketa, in these proceedings it was mentioned several times,
8 but do you know whether -- who was billeted in the Dubravica school in
9 early May?
10 A. I don't know this because I was on duty in the school, and I don't
11 know who was billeted there.
12 Q. Did you hear that somebody was billeted there, that somebody had a
13 base there?
14 A. Yes, I did, but I don't know who.
15 Q. In the adjoining school building, the secondary school centre, was
16 it -- would it have been possible for families to be there?
17 A. I don't know. Perhaps the principal of that school could be asked
18 that question.
19 Q. Mr. Miketa, would you have learned about this, given that you
20 visited the school building on several occasions?
21 A. I certainly would have because when I go from my home to the
22 school, I pass by that other school. And I would have learned, you know,
23 this is a small town. I would have learned something.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. You're welcome.
1 Q. Mr. Miketa, we'll move on.
2 A. Go ahead, please.
3 Q. During the former Yugoslavia, what was the name of your school?
4 A. It had -- it had a name, it was called the Brotherhood Unity
5 elementary school and it was not unique, about 150 schools of the former
6 Yugoslavia had that name.
7 Q. Why did you change that name immediately after the elections?
8 A. You know, we were very bitter, both the adults and children. We
9 were embittered by the previous system, and especially after the shelling
10 of Vitez, we tried to forget everything that had anything to do with the
11 former system. This is why the name of the school was changed and it was
12 now called the Vitez elementary school. I thought that that name would
13 not bother anyone.
14 Q. Mr. Miketa, this decision was taken by the staff?
15 A. No. This decision was taken by the council of Vitez, of the
16 municipal council.
17 Q. But it was proposed by the staff?
18 A. Yes, because they were all very irritated by the name. They said,
19 "Well, if everything else has gone, that should go too," and we decided
20 to propose this to the municipality and they did.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I am being advised that I am going
22 too fast. It is my fault, I am not allowing time to -- between the
23 questions and answers.
24 JUDGE MAY: When were you principal of the school, between what
1 A. I was the principal between 1991 until actually very recently,
2 until the 1st of this month. So I was principal for eight to nine years.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. Just one moment, I've got something
4 for the legal officer, could I hand it over.
6 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. [Interpretation] We should just clarify this for the Trial
8 Chamber, a follow up to this question. According to the law, did the
9 principals change every four years?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you were principal for two terms?
12 A. Yes, you could be for two or more terms if the school authorities
13 agree with it, if the municipal authorities agree with it.
14 Q. And in order to become a principal, you had to have support of
15 your colleagues, of the teachers' council?
16 A. Yes, that is correct. That is very important.
17 Q. At the time when you were changing the name of the school, did you
18 get any directive, any instruction from the education ministry of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. No, because at that time, Bosnia-Herzegovina, we could say, did
21 not practically exist. We had -- we were not in touch with Sarajevo. The
22 communications were very poor at that time in Bosnia-Herzegovina and there
23 was no coordination with the Ministry of Education let alone other organs.
24 Q. Mr. Miketa, let's clarify this too. Let's say from the early
25 summer 1992 and at any time after that, did you, as a school principal,
1 receive any official document from the Ministry of Education in Sarajevo?
2 A. No, I never received any document.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. Because our regional office, the ministerial office was in
6 Q. Did you receive any documents from the regional office in Zenica?
7 A. No. I had a feeling that we had been completely forgotten, that
8 we were completely forgotten.
9 Q. What was the only authority with whom you had any contact?
10 A. For the most part, we had communication with the municipality,
11 that was the only thing, and we had contacts with the Herceg-Bosna
13 Q. Very well. In the period immediately before the war, how many
14 teachers were there in school, and what was their ethnic composition?
15 A. There was a total of 55 teachers on the staff, and the majority
16 were Bosnian Muslims, about 50 per cent; Croats, about 35 per cent; and
17 then the Serbs and Montenegrins.
18 Q. As a school principal, did you or your fellow Croat teachers
19 create a situation in any way that your fellow Muslim colleagues would
20 leave their jobs?
21 A. No, we continued giving classes. It wasn't regular, but until the
22 16th of April 1993, we worked, and there were no problems. There were not
23 even any misunderstandings.
24 Q. Mr. Miketa, as a school principal, did you at any time in 1992 or
25 early 1993 give the teachers in the school, did you give them any oath of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 loyalties to sign, oath of loyalty to Herceg-Bosna?
2 A. No, we didn't give them any oath of loyalty. It was not necessary
3 to sign any oath of loyalty because they were there in the area.
4 Q. Did you ever receive such documents and never distribute them
5 around or did you never receive any of those?
6 A. I hear for the first time that such documents should have been
7 given out to people. We never received any such instructions or
9 Q. As regards the fact the teachers left: Before the open conflict
10 of 16 April, is it a fact that some teachers did leave?
11 A. Yes. Even to date I don't understand. The Serb teachers left.
12 They made various excuses. They said that their mothers died or they had
13 to go for treatment, they went to visit family. Somebody said that he had
14 to have a memorial service for his mother, who apparently had died 40 days
15 before. So even to date, I don't know why some of them left.
16 Q. Did some Muslims also leave?
17 A. No. At that time they did not leave, that is, until that real
18 conflict of the 16th of April.
19 Q. When Muslims left, were did they go?
20 A. For the most part, to Mahala, Zenica, Travnik.
21 Q. Let's go back to the summary, and now I'm referring to paragraph
22 3.3. In the former Yugoslavia, the language taught -- what was the name
23 of the language that was -- what was the official name of that language
24 that was taught?
25 A. At that time it was called Serbo-Croatian language. But that was
1 not a mother tongue for all of us. That was the official language.
2 Q. At the time when you changed your name and when Bosnia became a
3 sovereign country, you were not any longer part of Yugoslavia, what did
4 you do about the name of that subject?
5 A. As I said, people were very upset by the aggression of JNA in
6 Yugoslavia. They wanted to cut all ties with the past and they refused to
7 use the texts written in the Serbo-Croatian language. I can say that as
8 we did not have the ministry of education, the schools were somewhat
9 independent, so we did whatever we could.
10 Q. And what did you call that subject then?
11 A. Where there was -- where we had opportunities to get textbooks,
12 because we had no contacts with Sarajevo, we changed that -- the
13 municipality, actually, did it, and it was renamed the Croatian language,
14 and that was our mother tongue.
15 Q. Mr. Miketa, will you please help me and the Trial Chamber on this,
16 to clarify this. In everyday use, not in the school, when you say, "Write
17 me something in this language," how would you call this language, when it
18 was -- even before Yugoslavia?
19 A. We used "Serbo-Croatian language".
20 Q. And that was the official language?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In Bosnia, when you talked informally, say over dinner, would you
23 use the name "Serbo-Croatian" or "Croat Serbian language"?
24 A. No.
25 Q. What would you use?
1 A. We would say "Croat Serbian" or we would say "Croatian language."
2 Q. At that time, did the term "Bosnian language" or "Bosniak
3 language" or "Muslim language" exist?
4 A. Believe me, we heard of that language for the first time after the
5 war. We had never heard of "Bosniak" or "Bosnian language." As I said,
6 the only language that used to exist was Serbo-Croatian, and later
7 Croatian language.
8 Q. Mr. Miketa, you said that you heard an official -- Bosnian
9 language referred to as official language only after the war. Did you
10 learn that in Sarajevo University there was a chair of Bosnian language
11 which was established only in 1994?
12 A. Yes. I think it's a widely known fact. I even know people who
13 went to study it.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Just to help -- to finish this
15 portion on the language, could the usher please assist me to distribute a
16 new document.
17 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be marked Defence Exhibit
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Could you please review this document, Mr. Miketa. My first
21 question to you is: Have you ever seen this document? That is, did you
22 see this document at the time when it was published?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Is this the decision which you mentioned in which the official
25 name of the language has now changed into the Croatian language?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Let me direct your attention to paragraph 2. Will you please read
3 it and tell me what it means.
4 A. "The parents of students and students may use another term for the
5 language, in which case they are obliged to engage a teacher of the
6 language in question."
7 Q. What is this about? Why did the municipal government add this
8 paragraph to the decision?
9 A. Because in addition to the Croatian children, there are Muslim
10 children, there are Romany children and Serbian children, and they could
11 have had classes in their own language if we could find teachers for that.
12 Q. Did any ethnic community ask that this be respected and that a
13 teacher in their own language be engaged?
14 A. No, not at that time.
15 Q. Mr. Miketa, I would like to ask you to take a look at yet another
16 document, please. I think you will be able to tell us something about
17 that. In the meantime, before you receive this document --
18 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. This document is not having
19 a translation. I did put it to the translator before. I'm waiting for a
20 translation. But I will only ask for the two names out of that document.
21 JUDGE MAY: Put it on the ELMO.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D126/2.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Miketa, please take a look at the signature on this document,
25 the name of the person who signed this document. Tell me, please: Do you
1 know the gentleman who signed this document?
2 A. This is Nuraga Mulahalilovic. He is principal of the school, of
3 the secondary school in Vitez.
4 Q. Oh, so he was the principal of the other school?
5 A. Yes, yes, the secondary school.
6 Q. You know him very well professionally; is that right?
7 A. But of course. We often attended meetings of school principals.
8 Q. What is he by ethnicity?
9 A. A Muslim.
10 Q. Please take a look at this document now. Tell me, what is it, and
11 what is the purpose of this document? What kind of a document is this?
12 A. This is the kind of certificate that I used to issue as well when
13 I would employ a person, either for a fixed term or for longer.
14 Q. Very well. So this is a document on the basis of which employment
15 is initiated?
16 A. Yes. The worker starts to work in accordance with this document
17 and enjoys the same rights as those persons who already work.
18 Q. Do you know Hakija Cengic, the person who was being employed on
19 the basis of this document?
20 A. Yes, I know him personally. He was employed in our school for
21 sometime, and for a long time he was principal in the school in Bila, a
22 school that is not far away from Vitez.
23 Q. Mr. Cengic was certainly a very competent teacher?
24 A. Yes, and he was very knowledgeable in terms of military doctrines,
25 military skills, because he was reserve officer school, if I remember
2 Q. Tell me, is this the same person who was head of the Territorial
3 Defence in Vitez before that?
4 A. Yes, that is right. I know that because when a person would leave
5 Vitez, that person would have to get a certificate from the Territorial
6 Defence in order to be able to move to a different area.
7 Q. Does that mean that when Mr. Hakija Cengic no longer worked for
8 the Territorial Defence he went back to work in a school?
9 A. He had been employed in a school before that as well. So it is
10 possible to do it that way. When somebody is appointed to a special job
11 when his term expires then he can go back.
12 Q. Perhaps we should let others --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel stop overlapping the witness.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. So the regulation stipulated that a person could go back to his
16 original job?
17 A. Yes, that is what happened to me as well.
18 JUDGE MAY: Now, two matters. The first is this, Mr. Kovacic, the
19 interpreters are having difficulty because you are speaking at the same
20 time as the witness. Could you listen out, please. The other point is
21 that this document will not be admitted until such time as there is a
22 translation. It can have that number but it will not be admitted until
23 it's properly translated. And, Mr. Kovacic, please let the witness give
24 the evidence.
25 Have you, in fact, got very much more for him?
1 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I believe that I could be finished in
2 15 minutes or so.
3 JUDGE MAY: Very good.
4 MR. KOVACIC: But I'm sorry for that document, Your Honour, I'm
5 really trying to avoid using the documents untranslated but just as
6 example, we --
7 JUDGE MAY: Let's not waste time on that now.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Miketa, finally, what ethnicity is Mr. Cengic?
10 A. Mr. Cengic is a Bosniak, a Muslim.
11 Q. Perhaps two or three brief questions, just give yes or no
12 answers. Let us save time. You don't have to explain anything
13 additionally. You mentioned this when you spoke about language, anyway,
14 is it correct that after changing the name of the language, you also
15 started changing textbooks?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was the objective for this to avoid textbooks that had been
18 prepared, written, and published in the former Socialist Federal Republic
19 of Yugoslavia?
20 A. The only reason was to avoid that.
21 Q. So was this actually a situation in which you had to use textbooks
22 where it would say in textbooks related to social sciences that there was
23 brotherhood and unity and equality among all nations, and then one part of
24 that country is conducting aggression against another part of that
1 A. Yes. That is, as I said, one reason we wanted to break off from
2 the past. That was a initiative taken both by parents and students.
3 Q. Mr. Miketa, did you ever receive instructions from someone that
4 you should replace the textbooks that you had been using until then?
5 A. No. I never received any such instructions because I was looking
6 for a possibility to get anything but what we had been using until then.
7 Q. Where did you manage to obtain some textbooks from, at least some?
8 A. The only thing we could do was to seek them in the Republic of
9 Croatia and that was the only links that existed anyway so I managed to
10 get them in different ways.
11 Q. Another question related to textbooks. After the new sovereign
12 independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established, were
13 textbooks being published at all? Was a single textbook published in
14 Bosnia after sovereignty?
15 A. Until the present day, textbooks are not being published in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They are printed in Slovenia for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 There is no possibility now, nor was there any possibility then to have
18 these textbooks actually printed.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Miketa, at the outset, I asked you whether you
20 thought that you were responsible for something, for any activities that
21 took place during the course of the war. I would like to ask the registry
22 to have document D42 [as interpreted] placed on the ELMO and in front of
23 the witness, please.
24 [In English] It's wrong in the transcript, it is 40/2.
25 [Interpretation] Mr. Miketa, let me just tell you about this.
1 This document was signed by its author, Mr. Nihad Rebihic. Do you know
2 this person?
3 A. I know Mr. Nihad Rebihic. He was a colleague of mine
4 professionally speaking.
5 Q. So you worked for him for a certain period of time?
6 A. Well, we never worked in the very same place. One of us worked in
7 the centre and the other one worked in the outskirts, but we worked for
8 the same enterprise, the same school.
9 Q. Did he sometimes manage to get to the central school?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Was this the normal way in which one would work his way up the
12 ladder in the school system?
13 A. Well, yes. Yes. It is the opinion of parents and children that
14 was taken into account for one to reach the central school. This was a
15 kind of award.
16 Q. As a teacher and as a person, do you think highly of this man as a
17 person and as a teacher?
18 A. Well, I can hardly say anything about him because we had very few
19 personal contacts. I only saw him at meetings of the central school -- at
20 central school meetings. We did not really have any personal contact.
21 Q. This document is called -- it is called the list of persons
22 interesting for reasons of security who are suspects or who are
23 responsible, "List of persons interesting for security reasons suspected
24 of being responsible for or directly connected to the crimes, genocide and
25 ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the area of the Vitez municipality."
1 Tell me, Mr. Miketa, on page number 2, please look at paragraph
2 number 4. Unfortunately this text is in English, but I will help you.
3 This man mentions your name stating that you are a war criminal. Let's
4 check this out. Do you think you are, Mr. Miketa?
5 A. I don't know. If I was principal of a school, and if it's a crime
6 to be principal of a school, then I am.
7 Q. Mr. Miketa, let's check some of this out. Are you the father of
8 two sons?
9 A. At the very outset, I said that I have two daughters and a son.
10 Q. And this one son of yours, was he a sniper during the war?
11 A. No, never.
12 Q. By the way, was he of age during the war?
13 A. Yes. Well, he turned 18 sometime during that period.
14 Q. It is mentioned here that you were among the most important people
15 in the HDZ and later in the HVO. What was the highest position you held
16 in the HDZ?
17 A. I was one of the five or three vice-presidents, that is the
18 highest position I held, but in Vitez in the municipal committee. I was
19 one of the vice-presidents.
20 Q. Did you vice-presidents have separate areas of work, did you
22 A. We mainly helped the president in some fields.
23 Q. Can one say that you were primarily involved in certain fields?
24 A. No. This is all very general.
25 Q. And in the HVO, when the HVO local government was formed, did you
1 hold any position there?
2 A. No, I held no office there. I was only at the school.
3 Q. Did you have an unofficial position, perhaps?
4 A. No. No. I don't know whether it is a special office to help take
5 in refugees which I already mentioned.
6 Q. Yes, you already mentioned that. Were you engaged in any way in
7 the procurement of weapons for the HVO?
8 A. No, no. No way.
9 Q. Do you know anything about the procurement of weapons for the HVO
10 in the municipality?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you think there's anything wrong about the fact that you
13 brought in new textbooks, inter alia, from Croatia?
14 A. I think I actually helped both parents and children, so that the
15 children would not waste a school year. This was the only way in which we
16 could obtain books. Why would one not help if one can? Losing a school
17 year is very -- it's very important that children do not lose a school
18 year, especially children attending finishing years.
19 Q. Mr. Miketa, did you directly take part in the detention of Muslims
20 in concentration camps in the Vitez area, in the arrest, maltreatment, and
21 imprisonment of Muslims in concentration areas in the Vitez area,
22 especially in the settlement of Kolonija?
23 A. First of all, I do not live in the settlement of Kolonija, and I
24 did not participate in such activities. Anybody can confirm that.
25 Arrests? I don't know who was involved in that kind of thing at all. I
1 was in a completely different part of Vitez.
2 Q. Just one question in relation to this, Mr. Miketa. At any point
3 in time after this unfortunate war, did any representative of the
4 authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or a Prosecutor,
5 investigator, anybody from this Tribunal, did anybody ask you for an
6 interview as part of an investigation of any kind?
7 A. No, nobody talked to me. If anybody came to see me, they only
8 came to talk about school matters, nothing else.
9 Q. Mr. Miketa, did you travel through Bosnia in the meantime, from
10 the end of the war until the present day?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You never moved from your municipality?
13 A. While I was there, and I would mainly travel between Travnik,
14 where the school centre is, and I also went to visit my family in Jajce,
15 nowhere else.
16 Q. Did any police stop you anywhere? Did they ask you to show your
17 ID or something like that, your documents?
18 A. No, no one did.
19 Q. Now when you travel to The Hague --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- did you require any security measures, you personally?
22 A. No. No. I'm a free citizen. I don't think that I have
23 jeopardised any person in any way, and I feel free to go to any part of
24 the world.
25 Q. Very well. In conclusion, just one question: Did you know the
1 accused Mario Cerkez?
2 A. Yes. Yes, I know Mario Cerkez. Mario Cerkez was one of my
3 students. He was a good student. And I'm glad to have seen him a bit. I
4 know him. I knew him as a young boy, although later we would not see each
5 other very often once he left school. But I know his family as well.
6 Vitez is a small town. We all know each other.
7 Q. Did you ever hear anything bad about his family?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And what about Mario himself?
10 A. No, never.
11 Q. Did you ever hear of him being opposed to any particular ethnic
13 A. No, of course not, and I know he wouldn't do anything like this.
14 I've known him since a young child.
15 Q. Did you ever notice during all those years in Vitez that he
16 appeared in public as some kind of a prominent figure?
17 A. As I said, when he left school, I hardly ever saw him. I never
18 heard anything bad about him.
19 Q. No further questions for you, Mr. Miketa. I thank you.
20 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, we have no questions for Mr. Miketa.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
22 Q. Was your son a member of the Vitez Brigade in the war?
23 A. He was.
24 Q. When did he --
25 A. Yes, he was. Yes, he was a member of the Vitez Brigade.
1 Q. When did he join up?
2 A. Well, I don't know exactly, but I and all other people in Vitez
3 were in the guards, and he was too. And when he joined up, that I don't
4 know exactly.
5 Q. He became an active member of the Viteska Brigade, did he?
6 A. Well, he was a member.
7 Q. You were asked about this document D40/2, written by Nihad Rebihic
8 and we see dated as early as the 10th of June, 1993. Two points, first of
9 all: You can't point to any particular reason why the author of this
10 document should misreport events about you, can you?
11 A. I could not mention a reason, but he probably could not get a
12 promotion, and perhaps that is why he was angry with everyone. Could I
13 explain that? He could not get promoted within the school. He always
14 worked at the village school. He never came to the central school. So
15 perhaps that is one of the reasons, and it has nothing to do with me
16 personally. I imagine it could be that.
17 Q. So you think personal jealousy, as it were, or personal
18 frustration, personal frustration --
19 A. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe that too.
20 Q. If you just look at the allegations that are made against you,
21 first about your son, about your son being a sniper, and then about being
22 engaged in acquiring weapons for the HVO. Let's just pause at that one.
23 Is there any truth in that, about your acquiring weapons for the HVO?
24 A. There is no truth in that. I only worked for the school.
25 Q. Let's just dwell on that for a minute.
1 MR. NICE: Can we have a closed session just for the purpose of
2 identifying a name -- private session, rather.
3 [Private session]
13 Page 25371 redacted – private session.
2 [Open session]
3 A. Excuse me. I would like to talk about that man, because --
4 JUDGE MAY: Let us leave it for the moment.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. Thank you.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Just two things I want to ask you. One at the moment. You've
8 told us about making trips to Jajce before the outbreak of the fighting,
9 haven't you?
10 A. Yes. My family lives there.
11 Q. When you came back from Jajce, before the outbreak of fighting,
12 from time to time you brought weapons with you, didn't you, and
13 ammunition. Do you remember? Think back.
14 A. That's what you say, not I.
15 Q. That's what I'm asking of you and suggesting to you and that you
16 distributed the ammunition and the weapons amongst fellow Croats. Think
17 back, please. Take your time. It's true, isn't it?
18 A. There is nothing to think about. I went to Jajce to visit my
19 parents, and the last time I was there was during the bloodiest fighting,
20 when the Serbs were conducting an aggression against Jajce. That's when I
21 was there. And no weapons could be brought from there, nor were there any
22 weapons there.
23 Q. Let's go back to the document we were looking at, D40/2. It says
24 that this man said of you that you were one of the main advocates of
25 HZ HB, Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, in Vitez. We've heard of your
1 position as deputy chairman or whatever it was. You were an advocate,
2 weren't you, of the community of Herceg-Bosna? You believed in it.
3 A. I was one of the deputy chairmen of the municipal board.
4 Q. You believed in Herceg-Bosna. You advocated it.
5 A. Well, I should explain now because it seems that you do not know
6 what the situation was so I should talk about it. When the aggression
7 started, and we had no contacts with Sarajevo, with Bosnia-Herzegovina,
8 when there was nothing, we had to find a way. We had to find someone to
9 protect us. And that was the only reason. It was for our survival.
10 Q. Herceg-Bosna was a Croat-based body, was it not?
11 A. No, that's not correct. It was mostly for the defence of the
12 people who lived in that area, all the ethnic groups, to protect ourselves
13 from aggression.
14 Q. In November 1991 when it was formed, what aggression were you
15 facing then, please, Mr. Miketa?
16 A. In 1991, that was when we hoped, after the attack on Croatia or
17 rather we expected an attack after the attack on Croatia, and it actually
19 Q. You've spoken, you see, of your judgement of Mr. Cerkez. Now, you
20 are an educated man. Is the reality this, that people of all sorts of
21 earlier behavioural patterns were driven in the course of 1992 and 1993 to
22 become partial to one side or another of an ethnic divide. That's what
23 happened, wasn't it?
24 A. Please. Well, I know there was chaos at that time, total chaos,
25 and I cannot say who was partial and who was not.
1 Q. All sorts of things drove people to take ethnic sides where they
2 might not have done formerly. The parade in 1992 at the soccer stadium,
3 did you go to that?
4 A. No. No. I wasn't there.
5 Q. The propaganda was advanced on behalf of Herceg-Bosna, wasn't it,
6 on the television?
7 A. I think at that time -- well, I don't remember whether we had any
8 television then.
9 Q. Let's go back to the document. It says here that you were
10 responsible for the introduction of the Croatian curriculum and for
11 abolition of the curriculum and textbooks of the Republic of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That's correct, isn't it?
13 A. I was not responsible. I simply transmitted the proposals of the
14 teachers and the pupils, the parents of the pupils to the municipality and
15 that was it. I transmitted the proposals.
16 Q. We'll have to look at that document in just a second. But would
17 you accept this, that you ordered the teachers in your school that
18 students, Muslim and Croat, were to be taught only the Croatian language
19 and not the Bosnian language, and that you did that in September 1992.
20 A. I will say again I did not order. Everybody accepted this
21 voluntarily, and you made a mistake. There was no Bosniak language at the
22 time. As I have already said, this happened only after the war in 1994
23 when they established a chair in Sarajevo, and it was from then on that
24 the Bosniak language began to be spoken about.
25 Q. What would you say to the suggestion of the evidence that you
1 directed your teachers to teach only Croatian music and songs at the same
2 time, September of 1992?
3 A. I can tell you that we did not know that then. We studied what we
4 knew from before. We did not even change the music.
5 MR. NICE: Could I have a very short private session, if that's
6 acceptable to the Court, and the exhibit that I have been touching on is
7 1771.2, paragraph 3 of it, and it was a summary that was incorporated on
8 this occasion into the evidence for want of time.
9 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. Now, in relation to the person who we are not going to name
2 publicly who I have just spoken of and whose evidence has been given in
3 this case, can you think of any reason why that person might misrecord
4 events as against you?
5 A. No, I don't know her very well because she worked in the school
6 for a very short time. I don't know why she would have anything against
8 Q. Do you know the man called Munib Kajmovic who has been a witness
9 in this case, open session, page 3845, do you know him?
10 A. I don't know him personally but I know where he worked. He
11 worked in the secondary school if you want to know.
12 Q. And he was a member, did you know this, of the SDA party?
13 A. I don't know that. I am not interested in personal things of that
15 Q. You see he's told us, Mr. Miketa, and he was at a school, he's
16 told us that the Vitez Muslims agreed that the language to be used in
17 schools should be the Bosnian language at the end of 1992. You tell us
18 that there was, as it were, no knowledge of the Bosnian language until
19 1994. Think back, please. Isn't it right that people were using the term
20 "the Bosnian language," and understanding it, well before this conflict
21 broke out.
22 A. You obviously don't understand something. So the Bosnian --
23 JUDGE MAY: You must not personalise things, we are in a Court.
24 You've said so far --
25 A. I apologise.
1 JUDGE MAY: Your evidence has been that the Bosnian language did
2 not come in until after the war. Now that's your evidence.
3 A. Yes. Yes, and I stand by that. Because if we say "Bosnian", that
4 belongs to me too because I too live in Bosnia and so do Serbs and Roma
5 and others. So we all speak Bosnian. But when you say "Bosniak", that's
6 something different because I also have the right to call my language
7 Bosnian as does everybody who lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However,
8 that language does not actually exist. You can talk about the Bosniak
9 language, and that's probably what they want.
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. Your exhibit or the exhibit that you have introduced, we'll have a
12 look at it if necessary, D125/2, said this: "Parents of students and
13 students may use another term for the language, in which case they are
14 obliged to engage a teacher of the language in question."
15 Does that mean obliged to engage a teacher at their own expense?
16 A. No. Today, there is still a law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the
17 Federation, that every pupil has the right to his or her language if there
18 is a sufficient number of pupils in a class. And in my school if, for
19 example, there were 30 or 24 pupils in the 6th form, I was obliged to find
20 teachers who would teach them in their language. That was what was
21 intended, and not that parents would employ the teacher but the school and
22 the municipality would, and this law is still in force.
23 Q. And we can see from the document, perhaps it should just go on the
24 ELMO once more so the Chamber can see it if they haven't got it, 125/2, we
25 can see that this is a Herceg-Bosna order dated the 19th of November,
1 1992, an HVO order or decision and it reflects only the HVO government's
2 adoption at a session of itself on the 19th of November of a decision. It
3 then says, "In conformity with the government's decision." Which
4 government would that be, please?
5 A. As far as I know, until the outbreak of the conflict on the 16th
6 of April, 1993, in the municipality, in the government, there were also
7 people of other ethnic groups and the assemblymen of both Bosniak and
8 Croat and Serb ethnicity who were in the municipality at the time in the
9 government issued this decision.
10 Q. Well, I'm right then, that this is an HVO decision, isn't it? All
11 of which comes from a non --
12 A. This is a decision by the municipal authorities, the municipal
14 Q. It was non-elected and basically a Croat body; would that be
16 A. Not just Croat. There were Muslims in the government then as
17 well, and the SDA, and the HDZ and the SDP. Everybody who was in the
19 Q. The Ivan Santic who appears to have signed this is your friend, I
20 think, the president of the HVO, sometimes so-called Ivica Santic; is that
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Who was the president of the local government at the time --
24 A. He was then the head at that time.
25 Q. And who lives where now, please?
1 A. In Vitez.
2 Q. And he's alive and well and you've seen him recently?
3 A. That's right, I have. And he was here.
4 Q. A quick look -- he was here, was he? I see. A quick look at
5 653.1. When was he here, by the way? Mr. Miketa, when was he here?
6 A. I don't know exactly. I don't know when he was, but you know he
7 was here.
8 Q. This document, if we can just look it. Put the English on the
9 ELMO, please. This is dated the 14th of April of 1993. And if we look
10 just at the bottom of the document, it's an order from Valenta, and it
11 says that schools will cease working -- this is dated the 14th of
12 April -- will cease working until Monday, the 19th of April. Was that the
13 reason there were no children in your school at the time?
14 A. When do you mean? When the attack started?
15 Q. When the fighting started, yes. Is this the reason your school
16 was empty of pupils?
17 A. Well, that happened in the morning, and there were no classes,
18 because --
19 Q. Sorry.
20 A. Well, we were attacked on the 16th of April, early in the morning,
21 so of course there were no children.
22 Q. Mr. Miketa, this is an order dated the 14th of April. I thought
23 your evidence was that children weren't very much in school at that time
24 in any event. And this is an order that would cover the week of the 14th
25 to the 19th of April, signed by Valenta. It goes to the presidents of
1 various municipalities, including Vitez. Was this the order that led to
2 there being no pupils in your school?
3 A. Well, I have already said that children went to school up until
4 the 16th, so the 15th was the last time they were there. There were
5 regular classes. And then there was a sudden interruption in classes on
6 the 16th.
7 Q. I want to deal now, because we're running short of time, I want to
8 deal now with the night of the 15th, 16th. Your house is near to or
9 adjacent to Stari Vitez or the Mahala; is that correct?
10 A. Well, not right next to it, but nearby. Not adjacent, but close.
11 As the crow flies --
12 Q. All right.
13 A. -- about a hundred metres.
14 Q. In that area there is a Muslim house occupied by a family Hrustic;
16 A. No. No, there's no family like that there. In that part there is
17 no family of that name.
18 Q. Well, after these events unfolded on the 16th, you must have
19 appreciated that a number of houses quite near to you were completely
20 destroyed, with loss of life following the destruction; correct?
21 A. You are completely wrong. No houses were destroyed where I lived,
22 no houses, nor were any of our neighbours injured. Others were, our
23 people, but no houses were destroyed where I lived.
24 Q. Are you suggesting that -- well, your area was no doubt a Croat
25 area; would that be correct?
1 A. No. No. No. My next-door neighbour is a Bosniak, a Muslim, and
2 the one next to him too. On the right-hand side there are mostly Croats,
3 but it's a mixed settlement where I live, a mixed neighbourhood.
4 Q. Do you know these people by name? No, I shan't bother with that,
5 for want of time. On the morning of the 16th --
6 A. Of course.
7 Q. On the morning of the 16th there was, in fact, a heavy attack on
8 Stari Vitez, on the Mahala, wasn't there, by the HVO?
9 A. No.
10 Q. No? And --
11 A. No way.
12 Q. I see.
13 A. There was no attack. We were attacked from Mahala by -- and from
14 the neighbouring municipalities.
15 Q. What was the apparent purpose of the people in the Mahala
16 attacking you? Explain it to us. What could they possibly achieve?
17 A. Well, probably with support from outside, from other areas, they
18 did have a purpose. I don't know what it was.
19 Q. I see. You've never been able to work it out, even since 1993,
20 Mr. Miketa?
21 A. Well, I don't know the reason why.
22 Q. You know a man called Ivka Mlakic, don't you?
23 A. Is it a man or a woman?
24 Q. Sorry. A woman, Ivka Mlakic. My mistake.
25 A. No. No.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... by the name of Mlakic in your
3 A. Well, there's a whole village of people with Mlakic as their last
4 name, a whole neighbourhood.
5 Q. And in that morning, the 16th of April, a rocket launcher was used
6 from gardens of the people called Mlakic, in your presence, and it was
7 fired at the Mahala, wasn't it, with devastating results?
8 A. My house faces Mahala, and behind the Mahala, if you look at the
9 map, you will see there is a big hill, and then there is the village of
10 Mlakici. So I couldn't see what was behind the hill. And on the 16th I
11 couldn't even raise my head because of the shooting from Mahala. I had a
12 lot of problems, but those are my personal problems.
13 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I see the time. There's only one detail
14 that I think the Chamber might be assisted by. It relates to the Morsink
15 document. I haven't got time to go into it in detail.
16 Q. Mr. Miketa, this: You've been asked questions about evidence
17 that's been given about a family taking refuge in a school, and this would
18 be in May of 1993. Are you really saying that your knowledge of your
19 school is so comprehensive that you're excluding the possibility of
20 families being kept in that school for their safekeeping, or is it
21 possible that they were and you simply didn't get to know about it?
22 A. There is no reason for me not to know, because I came to the
23 school often. And the only place I didn't have access to was the roof,
24 where there were observers, where there were military men. Everything
25 else was accessible to me. So I can state responsibly that from the end
1 of 1992, when it grew cold, there was no one in the school at all, because
2 all the refugees were accommodated in the villages.
3 Q. We know that the Dubravica school to the east was used for
4 prisoners, but in the centre of Vitez how many other schools were there?
5 Just yours, or was it your school and one other school?
6 A. There was also a secondary school in Vitez, and it is some 30
7 metres away from the school where I work.
8 Q. Did Mr. Santic tell you what happened on the night of the 15th,
9 16th of April?
10 A. I have not had contacts with Santic, because I live in a village,
11 and we did not have any contact for a long time, because I simply couldn't
12 go to the town.
13 Q. Very well.
14 A. So there was nothing that he could have told me.
15 Q. As the vice-president of the political party of which he was the
16 president, my last question to you: Are you telling the Chamber that even
17 when you were able to meet him, you never asked from him and never learnt
18 from him what happened on that terrible night? Is that what you're
19 telling us?
20 A. I learnt that there had been atrocities, which I condemned,
21 terrible atrocities, and we all feel that those responsible must be
22 brought to justice. But I did not find out any details. I only learned
23 details later on from the media, from newspapers, from the television.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, just shortly. I don't think that there
25 is too much. Your Honour, unfortunately, because of technical
1 reasons, and I never believed that it is challenged, but I will introduce
2 the evidence and I will now just use the witness to make explanations so
3 the document will have a certain value. Otherwise I have to call another
5 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Miketa, I have in my hands a letter from the
7 faculty of philosophy in Sarajevo, dated the 21st of December, 1992, and
8 they are answering an inquiry by my investigator and they say --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. It's 1998.
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. And since the founding of the faculty of philosophy in Sarajevo
12 from 1950, there has been a chair for southern Slavonic languages. Up to
13 1994 there were two chairs: the chair for the modern Serbo-Croatian
14 language, with general linguistics, and the chair of historical
15 disciplines. And from 1994 on, the chair for modern Bosnian, Croatian,
16 and Serbian language, with linguistics, and the chair of historical
18 Mr. Miketa, you, as a person in this profession, did you know this
19 before I read you this letter?
20 A. No, I never heard of this. I know only that in 1994, a chair for
21 the Bosniak language was established.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may reserve the number for that
24 and we will of course --
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, when it's translated. May we have a number for
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document D127/2.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. One more point. I will ask you to answer very briefly so that we
5 don't waste time. Who is the aggressor on Bosnia? Who was the aggressor
6 in 1992, which force, which army?
7 A. Well, everybody who lives there knows that it was the JNA. That
8 was the JNA with -- well, with the support of the Serbs of Serbia.
9 Q. The textbooks you had at that time were published by the same
10 state whose instrument, whose army, the JNA was; is that true yes or no?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. At the same time, did the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina either
13 before or after independence --
14 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I will just draw your attention to,
15 amongst other consequences of cutting my cross-examination, I didn't ask
16 any questions on this topic.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I agree. We've heard enough about this. I
18 should add that counsel is right, no questions in cross-examination were
19 asked about textbooks.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps not directly but, of course, I will not ...
21 Q. [Interpretation] Ivica Santic has been mentioned but my colleague
22 has reminded me in the cross-examination, Mr. Kajmovic was mentioned,
24 A. Yes, but I don't know him. I only know that he works in the
25 secondary school.
1 Q. Very well. Do you know whether, at any time, Mr. Ivica Santic,
2 whom you were asked about, was the president of the HDZ party?
3 A. No, Ivica was never the president of the party.
4 Q. What was his post in 1992-1993?
5 A. He was the mayor of the municipality.
6 Q. How did he become the mayor?
7 A. Well, the leading parties in Vitez agreed by ballot that he was
8 able to do the job.
9 Q. Was that on the basis of the election?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was there any doubt that he was elected democratically to be the
13 A. No. He was a very honest and able man to do the job.
14 Q. Tell me, Mr. Miketa, as a responsible person in the school, did
15 you and your teachers on the 16th of April 1993 tell the children not to
16 come to school on the following day?
17 A. No. It happened so suddenly, who could have told them?
18 Q. Very well. Were any instructions issued to the children earlier
19 about how they should behave as regards coming to school if there was
21 A. Well, even during peace time, in the former system, we always had
22 to bear in mind that if there was any danger of some kind, we should know
23 where the children should -- what routes they should use to get out of the
24 school where they could take shelter. We knew that even in the '80s.
25 Later there was no other instructions.
1 Q. Very well. You were shown an order, so to say, issued by Valenta
2 about stopping school. First of all, have you ever seen this document
4 A. No, never. This is the first time I've seen it.
5 Q. Did anyone at that time tell you there was such an order?
6 A. No, I never heard about it.
7 Q. And thirdly, had you received this document from Valenta, was he
8 competent to tell you whether there would be classes or not?
9 A. No. We were not responsible to Valenta, we were responsible to
10 people in the education department.
11 Q. And one more question, a very simple one. Your trips to Jajce
12 have been mentioned. At the time you said you went to Jajce to visit your
13 parents, what units were fighting against whom?
14 A. Unfortunately, I was there during the fiercest fighting when the
15 air raids on Jajce started. That's when I was there. And the people were
16 unarmed and they were opposing the aggression of the JNA and the Serbian
17 army, the Serbs, and Muslims and Bosniaks and Croats were fighting side by
18 side on the same lines.
19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Miketa, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
22 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are now free to go.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Miketa, if you would like to go.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. KOVACIC: If I may be short, extremely short.
4 I think that we ought to inform you about -- that we have certain
5 objections. It is lately that Office of Prosecution is more and more,
6 through the cross-examination, is using the documents which we -- which
7 are not introduced earlier, which are for us entirely new documents, which
8 are not discovered in any form to the Defence. And in addition to that,
9 we suspect on some sources used that also are intelligence documents of
10 the Bosnian authorities, we cannot approach so we cannot check.
11 JUDGE MAY: When something concrete rises, we've heard what you
12 say but, Mr. Kovacic, the easiest way to deal with it is in a concrete
13 situation. And if you have an objection to a particular question, then of
14 course you must make it as you did this morning. We hear your general
16 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly, Your Honour, we will do that. But merely
17 for practical reasons in order not to interrupt the cross, if I may
18 suggest also a proposal that I think that there is obligation that the
19 Prosecution should transmit such documents to the Defence. Then we could
20 be prepared for such documents. Then we could see the other questions, of
21 course, from the document. There is no need to explain that.
22 JUDGE MAY: I have a limit of time that I can sit now and we have
23 been sitting for nearly two hours, I think. We hear this. Perhaps you
24 would raise it again if you wish to on Monday. The Prosecution hear it
25 and they can consider the position.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly, Your Honour. If I just may add if the
2 Prosecution could give us as soon as possible the translations of the
3 statement of the witness we just received today, because there is not too
4 much use if we are having it only in English. Thank you, Your Honour.
5 I'm sorry for taking up time.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
7 MR. SAYERS: Two short matters. First, we would also ask for
8 Croatian translations of the documents that were delivered to us today be
9 made available to our client for reasons which I am sure are obvious to
10 the Court.
11 Second, I'd just like to remind the Court that -- Krizanac will be
12 the first witness on Monday, one of the affidavits witnesses that we had
13 committed to the Court to come to testify. Naturally, our direct
14 examination will be extremely terse. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
16 MR. NICE: On the topic of translations, I was thinking that at
17 some stage Monday we may discuss it. No translation in the B/C/S yet, and
18 always a security problem in obtaining one. A possibility would be
19 providing tapes as we've done on earlier occasions. That would need, I
20 think, either undertakings or orders of a protective nature by the Court.
21 Can I find out over the weekend how long the first alternative
22 would take. I think it's already been bespoken, I hope it has, and then
23 we can consider the second as a quick alternative.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. We'll adjourn now. Half past nine
25 Monday morning.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
2 at 1.15 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday
3 the 25th day of September, 2000, at
4 9.30 a.m.