1 Friday, 16th April, 1999
2 (Closed session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.45 a.m.
13 Pages 538 to 591 redacted in closed session
7 --- Recess taken at 11.14 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.40 a.m.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness be brought
11 (Open session)
12 (The witness entered court)
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the
14 solemn declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: (Interpretation) I solemnly
16 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
17 and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to take a
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
22 Mr. President, dear Judges, before moving on to the
23 examination-in-chief of this witness, who will be
24 Witness C, I shall ask the Court to check with
25 Witness C the following information we have regarding
1 his identity. In order to do so, you might ask the
2 witness to look at the first page of the witness
3 declaration, the witness statement, which he provided
4 our services with, for him to confirm the veracity of
5 these details, and I shall then ask the Court whether
6 the document regarding the identity and the occupation
7 of Witness C can be filed under seal.
8 JUDGE MAY: Very well, if you put it to the
10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) I should
11 also add that this document is provided in the two
12 official languages of the Tribunal, as well as in the
13 language of the witness.
14 A. Yes, this is my statement.
15 WITNESS: WITNESS C
16 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
17 Q. Witness C, you were able to read this
18 information which has been provided to you. Does the
19 information contained therein regarding your identity
20 and your occupation, is it accurate?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Let the Court see the
23 document, please.
25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) Thank you,
1 Mr. President.
2 Q. Witness C, were you in Novi Travnik for the
3 entire duration of the conflict which is at stake
4 here? I mean during the period going from 1992 to
6 A. Yes.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please ask the
8 witness to speak up. We can barely hear him.
9 JUDGE MAY: We are asked, please, to ask the
10 witness to speak up. The interpreters can't hear.
11 Is the microphone on? It is?
12 A. All right.
13 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
14 Q. Did you then live in the town, or had you
15 been living in the town of Novi Travnik for a long
17 A. I lived in Novi Travnik between 1976, when I
18 found a job with the Bratstvo company in Novi Travnik.
19 Q. As you just said, you worked at the Bratstvo
20 factory. What was your occupation, more specifically?
21 A. Between 1976 until 1992, I held different
22 jobs, but by and large, it was mostly administrative
23 jobs, personnel affairs in that part of Bratstvo --
24 that is, their machine and hydraulic equipment plant.
25 Q. Could you be more specific: What were the
1 main activities in that factory?
8. So those would be roughly the scope of my
9 responsibilities in that plant.
10 Q. Thank you. And what was the production of
11 that factory at the time of the conflict?
12 A. Specifically, at the time of the conflict,
13 that is, between 1992 and 1993, the latter half of '93,
14 Bratstvo was to all intents and purposes at a
15 standstill regarding the production from the 21st
16 April '92 until the latter half of '93.
17 Q. Could you tell us what was produced there
18 before the conflict began?
19 A. The plant, or rather Bratstvo combine, which
20 was a large company, had a very broad product mix, and
21 it was divided into several units, into several
22 plants. On the eve of the war, Bratstvo, as a company,
23 incorporated five plants outside Novi Travnik and nine
24 plants with their headquarters in Novi Travnik or,
25 rather, within the compound of the Bratstvo combine.
1 In a nutshell, since its establishment until
2 1990, its product mix could be divided briefly into
3 four production types, the production of forging from
4 the smallest ones to the largest ones. There was the
5 forging factory, the cutting plant, the tooling plant.
6 The second department, the second plant, was military
7 production, and that was in the machine and hydraulic
8 equipment plant. The third large sector was the
9 manufacture of tractors, that is, tractors developed by
10 the company itself. Those were mostly Caterpillar
11 tractors, and subsequently wheeled tractors in
12 cooperation with Fiat in Torino and John Deere in the
13 United States. The fourth large programme, as of
14 the'70s, was mostly light hydraulic equipment,
15 hydraulic cylinders, different sections, from the
16 smallest ones to hydraulic cylinders for large TPP --
17 thermal power plants, as the one on the Danube.
18 Apart from these four chief programs within
19 the Bratstvo combine, there were several subsidiary
20 programmes and were complementary to the four principal
21 ones, such as a forging blacksmith factory at Kresevo,
22 the production of tractor cabins in Orasje, then
23 exhaust systems for the railroads in Derventa, then a
24 plant in Donji Vakuf, and agricultural implements and
25 machinery in Bosanska Dubica.
1 So this would be, in a nutshell, the product
2 mix of the Bratstvo company and its plants, in Novi
3 Travnik and outside it, in other municipalities.
4 Q. Let us focus on the production of weapons or
5 armaments. What armaments do we have here in mind?
6 A. Since the decision to establish Bratstvo in
7 1949, it was already -- Bratstvo was already defined as
8 a plant that would put out armaments. As far as I can
9 remember, as far as I could read about the earliest
10 production, those were light cannons. They called it
11 B1. It is a mountain --
12 JUDGE MAY: I don't want to interrupt you,
13 Witness C, but can we focus more on the relevant
15 Mr. Lopez-Terres, presumably the earlier
16 history is not of great relevance as far as we're
17 concerned, if any. Can we move on to the period we're
18 concerned with?
19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
20 Q. Sir, in the months or few years before the
21 relevant period, could you tell us more specifically
22 which armaments were being produced? Focus only on the
23 type of arms or armaments that were being produced
25 A. All right. Immediately before the war, it
1 put out rocket launcher -- 60 and 20 mortars, then
2 cannons. I think there were howitzers, 122
3 millimetres, and rocket launchers, 128, and I believe
4 262 millimetres. That would be briefly the production
5 programme of the armaments plant of the Bratstvo
7 Q. Thank you. This Bratstvo factory in Novi
8 Travnik, was it the main factory in the town?
9 A. As a company, Bratstvo was the largest
10 company in the municipality, employing about
11 75 per cent of all the employed in the municipality of
12 Novi Travnik. So one can say it was the largest
13 company in the territory of the municipality.
14 Q. You worked there, in that factory; until what
15 time did you do so? I mean at the time of the
16 conflict, of course.
17 A. My last day at the company, in the machines
18 and hydraulic equipment company, my last day was the
19 21st of April, 1992, when Bratstvo came to a halt
20 sometime after 1400 because of the air alert, as the
21 Serb planes were flying over Novi Travnik, went through
22 the -- and Bratstvo stopped its work until after the
23 1st of May, and I did not go to work at Bratstvo any
25 Q. Once you stopped working in that factory,
1 what did you do?
2 A. For the next 10 or 20 days, I was practically
3 at home, hiding in my cellar and various shelters
4 because we had the air alert on a lot of the time, so
5 that I largely spent my time in the cellar of the
6 building. I lived in a high-rise building, a ten-story
7 high-rise building, so that I spent that time either in
8 my flat or in shelters. I did not go out, I did not
9 leave Novi Travnik, and I did not move about town much
10 during those days.
11 Q. Did you personally take part in that
13 A. Could you clarify your question, please?
14 Q. Did you decide, when you stopped working in
15 the factory, to -- for instance, to get involved in the
17 A. Yes, those 20 days which I spent at home and
18 in shelters helped me to make up my mind not to go on
19 hiding. So the 20th of May, '92, I reported to the
20 municipal committee of the Territorial Defence because,
21 at that time, people were enlisting there, at the
22 headquarters of the Territorial Defence. On the 20th
23 of May, 1992, I reported to the municipal headquarters
24 of the Territorial Defence.
25 Q. So you reported to the Territorial Defence,
1 and what was your motivation? Why did you think it was
2 useful to join the ranks of the Territorial Defence?
3 A. Well, naturally, I knew at that time, when
4 the immediate danger of war was proclaimed, that we
5 were bound by law -- that men aged between 18 to 60
6 were bound to respond to the call of the military
7 bodies and report so as to comply with their statutory
8 obligation. I also felt the need to leave the shelter
9 and make myself useful, as I knew that an aggression
10 had been committed against my country, and I wanted to
11 take part in the defence of my homeland.
12 Q. You mentioned the aggression, attacks, or
13 alerts, a moment ago. Were these aggressions or alerts
14 the result of potential attacks by the Serbs?
15 A. Well, yes, I said already that during those
16 days, there were several occasions when Serb planes
17 overflew us and we could hear -- and the media were
18 reporting, and we listened about the bombing of
19 individual areas in the territory of the Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina by Serb aircraft, both in nearby
21 municipalities, such as the case of the bombing of
22 Busovaca, as well as in other places or, more
23 specifically, in Sarajevo and some other places.
24 Q. So when you joined the Territorial Defence,
25 you told us that you felt that it was your duty as a
1 citizen to do so, as it were. Did you, beforehand,
2 belong to a party? Were you a member of a party before
3 or did you feel that you were close to a specific party
4 at all?
5 A. I was a member of a party only at the time
6 that there was only one party in the then-state
7 system. That is, until about 1990, I was enrolled in
8 the League of Communists, the only political party that
9 existed at the time. When several parties came into
10 being in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990, I decided to quit
11 the League of Communists, and I had no wish whatsoever
12 to be politically active in any one political party. I
13 simply did not feel inclined to engage in any such
15 Q. Were you ever a member of the SDA party?
16 A. No. No, never. I have been -- I was offered
17 several times to join both the SDA and especially the
18 SDP at the time, and some other parties which were
19 conducting the campaign at the time because they were
20 getting ready for the first multi-party elections in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I emphatically refused any
22 political commitment as far as political parties that
23 were coming into being in Bosnia-Herzegovina at that
24 time, and I feel the same to this day. I never wanted
25 to become a member of another party again.
1 Q. When you joined the Territorial Defence, were
2 you given a rank, specific functions?
3 A. When volunteering to the municipal
4 headquarters of the Territorial Defence, until I was
5 called to work, between these two times, six days
6 elapsed. And then from Mr. Manto Kasaban (phoen), who
7 at the time was commander of the municipal headquarters
8 of Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik, he called me
9 and asked me to come and talk to him.
10 I responded to his invitation, and this took
11 place around 11.00 on the 18th of May, and he told me
12 that they were planning to take me into the municipal
13 headquarters of the Territorial Defence and that I
14 would be given a duty in the sector that is related to
15 morale and information.
16 I agreed, and I thus became engaged in the
17 municipal headquarters, and already on the next day, on
18 the 19th of May, I had my first working day in the
19 municipal headquarters of Territorial Defence.
20 Q. Did you have any prior military experience,
21 any specific experience?
22 A. I only did my military service like everyone
23 else, like all other military-age men. I did my
24 military service in the former JNA. This was from the
25 29th of October, 1977, until the 6th of October, 1978.
1 I was a rank-and-file soldier. However, I was a radio
2 telegraph operator, and towards the end of my military
3 service in the former JNA, I only became squad
4 commander, nothing more than that, because I was in
5 charge only of this squad of ten people, of radio
6 telegraph operators, and I only worked on this in this
7 particular unit. However, I did these 11 months and
8 six days of military service in Pancevo, by Belgrade.
9 Q. What was your background in terms of
10 studies? Where did you study before going to the
11 Bratstvo factory?
12 A. I completed my studies in Sarajevo, from 1971
13 until 1975, at the school of political science at the
14 University of Sarajevo, the department of sociology. I
15 graduated even before my time, and I thus obtained the
16 title of professor of sociology. In February in 1975,
17 I managed to graduate without even enrolling in the
18 eighth semester.
19 Q. You have just told us that you spent many
20 years in Novi Travnik before the conflict started, and
21 when the conflict had started, you kept living in Novi
22 Travnik. Could you tell the Court something about the
23 town, and also about the municipality of Novi Travnik?
24 Could you provide the Court with specific information,
25 all the more so since Novi Travnik is not often
1 indicated in maps as Novi Travnik but as Pucarevo.
2 Could you provide us with general information
3 regarding the municipality? In this respect, I'd like
4 you to be given a map so that you could indicate to us
5 where, precisely, Novi Travnik is.
6 The map in question has the following
7 number: Z2612/3.
8 A. The municipality of Novi Travnik is located
9 in Central Bosnia, and it borders on the north with the
10 municipality of Travnik; on the east, with the
11 municipality of Vitez; and further, more east, I think
12 there's a border with Donja Vakuf; and I'm not sure
13 about the municipality of Fojnica.
14 See Gornji Vakuf over here? On the south,
15 there is Gornji Vakuf municipality, and then Bugojno on
16 the west, and south-west was the municipality of
17 Bugojno. The western border of Novi Travnik runs along
18 here, along Kamenjasi, to the west of the municipality
19 of Gornji Vakuf.
20 The area is 242 square kilometres, and
21 according to the latest census, in 1991, the population
22 was about 30.600. As a municipality. It was
23 established sometime in 1955. That is when its status
24 was recognised as a municipality. It was made up of
25 parts of Travnik, Vitez, Gornji Vakuf, and Bugojno
1 municipalities, and that is how the separate
2 municipality was constituted.
3 Sometime in 1981 -- or in 1980, I'm not sure
4 -- the municipality changed its name to Pucarevo, and
5 that is what it was called until 1990. And then the
6 old name of the municipality was returned; that is to
7 say, Novi Travnik.
8 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us how far the
9 town of Novi Travnik is in relation to Vitez and
11 A. The municipality of Novi Travnik, or rather,
12 the centre of town of Novi Travnik, is 12 or 13
13 kilometres away from Travnik, about 15 kilometres away
14 from Vitez, and, as far as I know, about 23 kilometres
15 from Vitez to Busovaca. So that is the distance
16 between Novi Travnik and Busovaca and it is a bit less
17 than 40 kilometres.
18 Q. As regards the ethnic composition of the
19 municipality, could you tell the Court more about it?
20 You might be able to use the documents that you
21 submitted to the investigators for the sake of the
22 witness statement. I'm going to ask you whether the
23 documents I'm going to give you are indeed the
24 documents that you provided to the investigators at the
1 I shall ask the usher to help us, for the
2 documents to be submitted to the witness. This
3 document has the following number, 1962/1.
4 Witness C, is this document the one you
5 submitted to our investigators? Do you recognise the
6 document as such?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Based on this document, could you give some
9 comments to the Court with regard to the composition,
10 by percentage, of the Novi Travnik population, focusing
11 on the Croat and Muslim parts of the population? I
12 shall not ask you to review all the villages mentioned
13 in the document. Just give us some general information
14 in terms of percentage in the town and in the
15 municipality of Novi Travnik. Can this document be put
16 on the ELMO?
17 A. I said that the total population of the
18 municipality was about 30.000, and you have figures
19 concerning that on the other page. And the demographic
20 structure, percentage-wise, was as follows: About 39
21 per cent Croat; 38 per cent, point something, Bosniak
22 Muslim population; 13,35 per cent Serbs; about 6 point
23 something per cent Yugoslavs, and 2 point something
24 per cent members of other ethnic groups.
25 The population lived in several different
1 local communities, and, at that time, we called them
2 "Local Communities". That was the official
3 administrative term that was used.
4 Nevic Polje was one of the biggest; Bucici,
5 Stojkovici, Rankovici, the local community of
6 Margetici, for the largest part, and then the local
7 community of Pecine and Rostovo and Sebisic, that is to
8 say, local areas where the population was either
9 predominantly Croat or there was an absolute majority
10 of Croats. The Muslim population was the majority
11 population in the following communities; Vodovod,
12 Senkovici, Kasapovici, Trenica, Opara and Zagrlje.
13 Q. Thank you, Witness C. In November, 1990, as
14 was the case for the remainder of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina, elections were held in Novi Travnik.
16 Could you tell us anything as to the results following
17 the elections and also as to the parties taking part in
18 the elections?
19 A. At the multi-party elections that were held
20 in Bosnia and Herzegovina in November, 1990, in the
21 municipality of Novi Travnik, there were several
22 political parties as follows: The HDZ, the SDA, the
23 group that we called the SDP, the Reformist party, and
24 the SDS.
25 Q. And what were the results obtained by these
1 various parties, in particular by the HDZ and the SDA?
2 A. In order to have data to compare, I would
3 like to mention that the municipal assembly had 60
4 members of this parliament, so to speak, and out of
5 these 60 members, these parties had won the following
6 number of seats: The HDZ had 20 seats in the municipal
7 assembly, the SDA won 17 seats, the SDP won 10 seats,
8 the Reformists won seven seats, and the SDS won six
9 seats in the municipal assembly.
10 Q. Following the elections, what were the organs
11 created in the municipality and was there the division
12 of power? How did each party receive this or that
14 A. The criteria for the municipal assembly
15 elections were at the same time the criteria for the
16 distribution of these top positions in the municipal
17 assembly and also for the composition of the executive
18 organ of the assembly, that is to say, the executive
19 committee. So this structure of the assembly itself
20 was the criterion for allocating these positions.
21 Since the HDZ had one third of all seats in
22 the municipal assembly, according to the criteria that
23 must have existed between the parties, the president of
24 the municipal assembly was supposed to be provided by
25 the HDZ, and the president of the executive council of
1 this assembly was supposed to be given by the SDA. The
2 secretary of the assembly of this municipality was
3 supposed to be provided by the SDS.
4 I'm only talking about these three parties
5 because it is a well-known fact that they did not have
6 an official coalition at these November elections, but
7 they were the parties that did have a close cooperation
8 in the elections campaign in order to win a victory
9 over the leftist block, that is to say, the Reformists
10 and the SDP, et cetera.
11 Q. Various municipal bodies were created.
12 You've just mentioned them. Did they work, did they
13 operate well?
14 A. I did not take part directly in the work of
15 this assembly or was I particularly connected to it.
16 However, I was a citizen who was interested in
17 political and parliamentary life, particularly because
18 of the change that had taken place in the political
19 system because a multi-party system was being
20 established. As a citizen, I was following political
21 developments in the municipality, notably through the
22 municipal assembly and the activity of the executive
23 council and the activity of the parties.
24 As far as I know, there weren't any special
25 difficulties involved in terms of appointing persons to
1 these top positions in the municipality and setting up
2 the executive council as the executive government, so
3 to speak, in the municipality. Various departments,
4 various secretariats, had persons appointed as their
5 heads, and this was also on the basis of the outcome of
6 the elections for the municipal assembly.
7 As far as I remember, the HDZ was to have
8 three members in the executive council, and the SDA was
9 supposed to have two seats, and it's SDS was supposed
10 to have one person. They were supposed to be in charge
11 of the tax administration, as it was called at the
13 Q. You are telling us that the various bodies
14 operated well. When, according to you, did
15 difficulties begin to appear when it comes to the way
16 the assembly was working?
17 A. As far as I can remember, the first serious
18 difficulty that appeared in the functioning of the
19 municipal assembly, and it also had certain broader
20 political repercussions, so to speak, in the
21 municipality, notably in the town itself, was a problem
22 related to changing the town plan of Novi Travnik,
23 because the SDA asked for a certain change to be made
24 and to provide a location for building a mosque in the
25 town of Novi Travnik because it is a well-known fact
1 that the town of Novi Travnik was one of the few urban
2 areas, urban centres, of Bosnia-Herzegovina where there
3 was a Muslim population but where there was not a
4 mosque. The Communists, whenever they were trying to
5 give a presentation of the municipality of Novi
6 Travnik, they always mentioned this as something very
7 good, that there was not a mosque in the municipality
8 of Novi Travnik. As far as I can remember, this was
9 after the summer break, sometime in August or
10 September, 1991.
11 As far as I know, this was the first problem
12 in terms of decision-making in the municipality, where
13 there were disagreements between the HDZ and the SDA.
14 Until then, they were practically partners, as far as I
15 know from my contacts with persons who were involved in
16 the municipality and whom I encountered every day at
17 work, et cetera. So this was the first problem that
18 cropped up between these two political parties in terms
19 of the decision-making process in the assembly.
20 Q. When the Croatian Community of Herceg was
21 created, did that have an impact on the functioning of
22 the assembly and on the relations between the two
24 A. I know that the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna was established on the 18th of November,
1 1991. As for relations in the assembly, I don't know
2 whether this was specifically discussed in the
3 municipal assembly itself, but I know, from the
4 reactions that appeared in November and December that
5 year and later, that this was a signal to the SDA that
6 the HDZ was leaving this partnership.
7 Within that party, as far as I knew from my
8 discussions with people who were there, that they
9 started suspecting this partnership of not being very
10 sincere. I also know what the reactions of the
11 citizens were, the man on the street, and I must say
12 the people were rather concerned that the HDZ made this
13 kind of a decision in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Q. Do you know when, on what date, the HVO was
15 created or set up in Novi Travnik?
16 A. In Novi Travnik, specifically, at that time I
17 wasn't in charge of defence yet, but as far as I
18 managed to find out when I started working in the
19 municipal headquarters on the 19th of May, I found out
20 from my colleagues who were already working there --
21 among them there were some Croats too, there were some
22 Croat colleagues -- and they said that the first units
23 of the HVO in Novi Travnik, I don't know which ones
24 they were, were established as early as the end of
25 April, 1992.
1 I know because I read about this in other
2 documents, that it was a decision by the presidency of
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 8th of
4 April, 1992, on the basis of Article 7 of the decision
5 of the establishment of the Croatian Community of
6 Herceg-Bosna, a decision was passed to establish the
7 HVO as the armed formation of the Croat population.
8 Two days after that, that is to say, on the
9 10th of April, I know that a decision was passed, on
10 the basis of the same article, to establish the HVO
11 police. So I imagine that what I managed to find out,
12 when I came to the municipal headquarters, that is to
13 say, that the HVO had been established in Novi Travnik
14 as well, that they established their headquarters in
15 order to establish their own unit sometime late in
16 April, 1992. But I do not know the exact date as to
17 when it was established, the HVO in Novi Travnik.
18 Q. Do you know the name of the chief of the HVO
19 in Novi Travnik at the time?
20 A. Yes, because I had the opportunity to meet
21 him as soon as I arrived at the municipal
22 headquarters. (redacted)
25 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us anything about
1 the first major incident opposing the two communities
2 in Novi Travnik? Could you tell us when it was and
3 then could you mention any details related to that
5 A. Unfortunately, the municipality of Novi
6 Travnik is one of Bosnia-Herzegovina municipalities
7 where an early armed conflict between the HVO units and
8 the Territorial Defence units broke out. That was one
9 of the earliest, one of the first conflicts between the
10 units that existed in the territory of the municipality
11 of Novi Travnik at the time.
12 Q. On which date did this first serious incident
14 A. The incident itself, the armed incident and
15 the armed conflict, was on the 19th of June, 1992, even
16 though on the previous day, a number of incidents took
17 place, which then led to the confrontation of these two
18 formations, that is, the HVO and the Territorial
19 Defence. The tension between them was very high,
20 because on the 18th of June, already some checkpoints
21 had been established by the HVO first at the entry into
22 Novi Travnik from the direction of Travnik and Vitez,
23 and by the Territorial Defence units south of the town
24 next to the fire brigade centre, near the Bratstvo
25 factory. These checkpoints were manned for two or
1 three hours, if I remember well, from 14.00 to 16.00.
2 These checkpoints were troublesome and there were some
3 incidents there.
4 There were some minor incidents before that,
5 but the armed conflict happened on the 19th of June in
6 the evening hours, I should say about five minutes to
7 6.00, and fire could be heard -- the last shots were
8 heard about 22.00, when the conflict stopped. So the
9 conflict took one day, and during that period of time
10 between 18.00 and 22.00 hours.
11 Q. Where were you when the shots you've just
12 mentioned could be heard?
13 A. The commander of the municipal headquarters,
14 Mr. Ibrahim Mujic, myself, and three other
15 representatives of the Muslims and representing
16 political structures, that is, Muslim representatives
17 and Muslim bodies, we attended a meeting with five
18 representatives of the Croat side, at a meeting which
19 was to discuss the ultimatum which was dictated at a
20 meeting around noon on the 19th of June and
21 communicated to us, to the commander of the municipal
22 Territorial Defence, Mr. Refik Lendo, and the
23 conclusion was that five-member groups should be set up
24 to discuss the conditions that had been dictated to
1 As of 17.30, I was at the Workers' Centre.
2 There were 10 of us, as I have said, five
3 representatives of the Muslim side and five
4 representatives of the Croat side. We were to discuss
5 that ultimatum that had been dictated that day to the
6 commander of the municipal Territorial Defence
7 headquarters at a meeting which he was holding with the
8 HVO representatives in the municipal hall.
9 Q. Talking about an ultimatum, when was the
10 ultimatum given or presented, and what was it? What
11 were the terms of it?
12 A. After returning from the meeting at the
13 municipal hall, Mr. Lendo informed members of the
14 municipal headquarters of the Territorial Defence that
15 the Bosniak side or, in particular, the military part
16 as represented by Mr. Lendo, had been dictated the
17 following Croat conditions.
18 First, the first demand was to abolish all
19 the agencies inherited from the Socialist Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina which were still in operation in the
21 municipality of Novi Travnik. That was the first
23 The second demand was that in the
24 municipality of Novi Travnik, the authority of the
25 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna should be
2 The third demand was that all citizens of
3 Novi Travnik should pledge their allegiance in respect
4 of the new government of the Croatian Community that
5 was about to be established.
6 The fourth demand was to disband the
7 municipal headquarters, or rather, to dismiss the
8 commander of the headquarters and its head, and that
9 the Territorial Defence units be subordinated, or
10 rather, segregated to, as the only armed formation that
11 could exist in the area.
12 The fifth demand was the checkpoints manned
13 by the Territorial Defence in the territory of the
14 municipality of Novi Travnik should be dismantled and
15 that only the HVO should have such checkpoints and
16 control the movement of people or vehicles out there.
17 The sixth demand was that all Muslim refugees
18 who had arrived from other municipalities and found
19 temporary accommodation in the municipality of Novi
20 Travnik would have to leave the territory of the
21 municipality within 48 hours.
22 And the seventh demand was that these demands
23 had to be responded or rather reacted to within 24
24 hours and that these groups, who had five
25 representatives from each side, to discuss these
1 demands and decide on them.
2 It was on that occasion that I was designated
3 to the group, and I went to a meeting at the Workers'
4 Centre. So the meeting began around half past 5.00.
5 Q. If I understood you well, Witness C, there
6 was a first meeting which took place on the 18th of
7 June, during which the demands you've just mentioned
8 were voiced, and at the end of this meeting, a decision
9 was made to form a working group, of which you were a
11 A. Yes. Yes, that was why I was designated to
12 this group, as a member of the group, together with
13 Ibrahim Mujic, who was also included in this group. In
14 addition to us, there were also Mr. Salih Krnjic as the
15 SDA representative, Ragib Zukic, and Halid Krnjic was
16 yet another member of that working party. So the five
17 of us represented the Muslim-Bosniak side which was to
18 attend that meeting.
19 Then on the Workers' Centre, I found a
20 five-member group of the Croat side, and it
21 incorporated Mr. Zvonko Grabovac, Marko Vidak, Blagun
22 Lovrinovic, Milko Popovic and Judge -- Mr. Stipo
24 Q. You did not attend, personally, the 18th of
25 June meeting during which all these demands were
1 expressed, the demands you've just indicated?
2 A. No, no, I was not present at that meeting.
3 We were advised about it by the commander of the
4 municipal headquarters of the Territorial Defence, and
5 he did say immediately after the meeting, where these
6 demands were dictated, as far as I can remember, he
7 said that that meeting had been attended by Jozo Sekic,
8 Marinko Marelja, and he did not tell us whether any
9 other people were attending that meeting. I cannot
10 really remember who was at that meeting. But he told
11 us of those people and that he was attending that
12 meeting, at which they were also present when these
13 demands were dictated, and he also said that these
14 demands were dictated and resisted upon by Marinko
15 Marelja at that meeting. He was the most direct, the
16 most categorical, and the most resistant with regard to
17 those seven demands I have already mentioned.
18 Q. Who was Mr. Marinko Marelja?
19 A. I know Marinko Marelja. I knew of him first
20 while he was a member of the police. We used to meet.
21 I mean the Novi Travnik police. Then I used to
22 patronise his coffee shop, Grand, because we knew each
23 other, and we often had coffee in his coffee shop. But
24 at that time, I really don't know whether he -- what he
25 was, what his role was, what part he played either in
1 the HVO or HDZ or the authorities. I did not know what
2 office he held, if any.
3 I only know that once, as we were having
4 coffee sometime in December, 1991, in a conversation
5 which I had in the presence of Sead Agic, a lawyer from
6 Travnik, another friend of his who often patronised his
7 coffee shop --
8 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Mr. Lopez-Terres,
9 do we really need all this detail? The question was
10 who is this man you referred to. Perhaps that could be
11 dealt with fairly briefly, and if there are relevant
12 matters, no doubt they could come up.
13 Could you please just direct the witness to
14 that point?
15 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) Of course,
16 Mr. President. I think the witness was about to give
17 us some information relating to Mr. Marinko Marelja and
18 the influence that this man could exert within the town
19 of Novi Travnik, but we might end as well this answer.
20 Q. What happened during the meeting with you and
21 Mr. Marinko Marelja, and what did Mr. Marinko Marelja
22 say to you?
23 A. We were talking at great length about the
24 situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time, and I
25 know he came and gave me a book by Mr. Anto Valenta,
1 "How to Divide Bosnia," and then it is that he told
2 me, "Sir, this is how it's going to be in Bosnia, this
3 is how things will happen, and you may believe it or
4 not, but here's a book for you. I sponsored. I
5 provided some funds to publish it."
6 That is how I was given Mr. Valenta's book,
7 how to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that was a gift
8 from Marinko Marelja.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness. Let's go back to the
10 conflict of the 19th of June. You started to talk
11 about this conflict. You indicated that you were at
12 the Workers' Centre with the other members of the
13 representatives of the Muslim community and the
14 representatives of the Croatian community. Up to what
15 time did you stay at the Workers' Centre?
16 A. We started the meeting and opened with a
17 discussion about these conditions which both the Croat
18 representatives and we were familiar with, and the
19 discussion lasted about half an hour as regards these
20 criteria. We were about to adopt a conclusion, that
21 is, that the municipality of Novi Travnik, we should
22 not set up either some special agencies, neither to
23 keep the former authorities, but to try to set up some
24 joint agencies of authority, army, so as to jointly
25 defend ourselves from the common aggressor.
1 We discussed those details when the meeting
2 was interrupted about 5 minutes before 6.00 because we
3 heard shots, we heard very serious fire, and it began
4 to -- at some point it became very intensive, and
5 covering the whole town, as far as we could assess,
6 because we had begun the meeting, we were in an office
7 in this Workers' Centre which was facing south, and we
8 went to the opposite side that is facing north, and we
9 could see soldiers, we could clearly see soldiers.
10 Because it was around 1800, we could see HVO soldiers
11 from the side of the Workers' House and next to the
12 building of the municipal hall. We could also see
13 other HVO soldiers behind the municipal hall building,
14 facing the post office building to the north. Other
15 soldiers, or other positions, we could not spot from
16 that place, from that building of the Workers' Centre,
17 but this is what we clearly saw.
18 My first impression was, of course, we were
19 all very much surprised, not to say frightened, by what
20 we could hear, but I could notice, as far as I could
21 see, that only -- Mr. Milko Popovic nor Mr. Zvonko
22 Grabovac were caught unaware about what had begun to
23 happen at around 1800.
24 Q. You mean that some of the members of the
25 Croat delegation seemed to expect such an attack?
1 A. Yes, I already said that. It was
2 characteristic that Milko Popovic was not taken by
3 surprise at all. I did know that Milko Popovic was a
4 member of the HVO, nor was Mr. Zvonko Grabovac
5 surprised. At the meeting, Zvonko Grabovac was
6 representing the crisis committee set up by the
7 municipal assembly at its last session, I think it was
8 the 11th or the 12th of May of that year. He was the
9 chairman of this crisis committee, and I think it was
10 because of that that he was elected to represent the
11 side at this meeting.
12 Other people, Blagun Lovrinovic and Stipo
13 Slipac and Marko Vidak, I could see, were taken by
14 surprise, and I could see they were also frightened, as
15 the five of us were.
16 Q. While you were there in the Workers' Centre,
17 did you obtain or hear information from the outside?
18 A. We did not have any contact outside, neither
19 the Bosniak representatives nor the Croat
20 representatives, until about 21.30. Before that, we
21 received only one information from the outside, over
22 the PA system, over the public address system that was
23 used for alerts, and it came from the centre, and there
24 was the information around 20.00 hours saying that the
25 regional committee of the Territorial Defence in Zenica
1 had decided that the Territorial Defence units should
2 be seconded to the HVO. That was the first information
3 that we received from outside.
4 It really took us by surprise, and we tried
5 then to establish communication with the municipal
6 headquarters to simply check the veracity of that
7 information, which, as I have said, was broadcast over
8 the PA system. At that time, there was no telephone
9 line with the municipal headquarters of the Territorial
10 Defence, or simply nobody picked up the phone.
11 Then Mr. Salih Krnjic called General Merdan
12 in Zenica, and then he learned that that was not the
13 truthful information, that no such order had been
14 adopted by the regional TO headquarters in Zenica, and
15 that the only order of the regional headquarters was
16 that both sides should bring the conflict in Novi
17 Travnik to a halt.
18 After that, Mr. Salih Krnjic learned from the
19 information and alert centre -- he asked that the
20 authentic information be announced, that is, the
21 invitation of the regional headquarters of the TO in
22 Zenica to stop, to put an end to the armed conflict in
23 Novi Travnik. This request was complied with. This
24 information was broadcast around 20.30, and thus the
25 false -- the misinformation broadcast half an hour
1 earlier was just denied.
2 Q. When were you able to leave the Workers'
4 A. Around 22.00, I moved to the room across,
5 that is to another office from the one in which the
6 meeting was held, to call my wife, in a building which
7 was 60 metres away from the Workers' Centre, knowing
8 that the entrance door into the building was locked, so
9 I just wanted to call her to ask her to unlock it for
10 me to come down to the door. When I went to call her
11 by telephone, because there was no power in the
12 building -- I don't think in the town, in fact, because
13 there was a downpour and the power was cut -- I asked
14 Mr. Ibrahim Mujic to help me to dial the number, that
15 is, to light matches and thus make the light. We were
16 in the room opposite the one in which the meeting was
18 Then I heard some noise in the corridor, and
19 I saw the cursing of balijas, and I heard some blows.
20 I didn't know what was going on. That lasted for some
21 time, and after that, complete silence fell. Then a
22 telephone rang in the office opposite from the one in
23 which we held the meeting, but nobody answered. After
24 some ten rings, Mr. Zvonko Grabovac answered the
25 telephone, and then we learned there was somebody in
1 the other room as well, yes.
2 Then the two of us went to the other room,
3 and we saw that Zvonko Grabovac, Blagun Lovrinovic, and
4 Mr. Stipo Slipac were there, of the Croat
5 representatives, and that only Salih Krnjic was there,
6 but we did not find in that room Salih Krnjic and Ragib
7 Zukic were not there. They told us that Zlatan Civcija
8 had come, and two other HVO soldiers, that they had
9 taken away Ragib Zukic and Salih Krnjic. We did not
10 know what was happening to them.
11 Then Mr. Grabovac and I talked about how to
12 get out of the building, because after 22.00, the fire
13 had stopped, and so we talked about how we could leave
14 the building. Then he called the HVO headquarters
15 across the street from the Workers' Centre, in the old
16 Bratstvo Hotel, and asked if we could move from our
17 building to their building, to the headquarters, that
18 is, go from the Workers' Centre to the HVO
19 headquarters. They let him know that it was not safe
20 to bring Muslims to the HVO headquarters because there
21 were very many HOS members in the old hotel building.
22 Then we decided that only those three Croats
23 should go to the old hotel. I said that we should go
24 to the Stari Soliter, that is, the old high-rise.
25 JUDGE MAY: One moment.
1 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
2 JUDGE MAY: It's five to 1.00, and we're
3 adjourning at 1.00. Witness C, we are adjourning now.
4 I'm afraid we can't finish your evidence today. I hope
5 that we will be able to do so on Monday in order that
6 you can return home.
7 During the adjournment, please don't speak to
8 anybody about your evidence, and don't let anybody
9 speak to you, of course. That includes the members of
10 the Prosecution. If you would like to go now, please,
11 and be back on Monday, you will be told what time.
12 (The witness withdrew)
13 JUDGE MAY: There are two matters. Let me
14 deal with the first one which is on my mind at the
16 The witness was asked a straightforward
17 question: "When did you leave the centre?" The answer
18 I had timed had gone on for some three to four
19 minutes. Now, there may be detail of that sort which
20 is necessary, but it was a question which could have
21 been answered very shortly.
22 Now, clearly, it's no criticism of the
23 witness. He is giving his evidence in the way which he
24 sees it right to do, and it may be that in some
25 backgrounds, longer answers and more descriptive
1 answers are normal, but I think, Mr. Lopez-Terres, in
2 order that we can move this trial along, it is going to
3 have to be necessary to interrupt those longer
4 answers. I know it's not easy, but nonetheless, and to
5 concentrate on the really important issues.
6 If, of course, there are matters of detail
7 which are of importance, then of course they can be
8 brought out but if witnesses are going to give their
9 evidence at such length, the trial is going to take a
10 very long time. Perhaps you would like to think about
12 The other matter which we need to deal with
13 is the order of events on Monday. If counsel have any
14 views about that, I'll hear it.
15 MR. NICE: Mr. Lopez-Terres estimates that
16 the remainder of this witness's evidence in chief will
17 be two hours or even a little longer. We are entirely
18 in the Court's hands as to whether Witness A should
19 return first thing on Monday morning for
20 cross-examination so that he can be concluded or
21 whether this witness should be taken to either the end
22 of his evidence in chief, or, if cross-examination can
23 follow immediately to the end of his evidence
24 altogether before Witness A is brought back.
25 Each course has its difficulties and
1 disadvantages for the witnesses. We're in the Court's
2 hands, and of course the Court will respond to the
3 concerns of the Defence in cross-examination.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Between the two, does the
5 Prosecution have a preference? I'm thinking of the
6 witness's convenience, but it may be that you --
7 MR. NICE: If the Defence wish to defer
8 cross-examination of this witness, then obviously the
9 preference would be to conclude his evidence in chief
10 because while they are cross-examining Witness A, they
11 would also have time, because there are many of them or
12 several of them, they would or might have time to
13 prepare their cross-examination of this particular
14 witness. So that would seem strongly to suggest that
15 the balance of his evidence in chief should be taken on
16 Monday morning.
17 If they forecast they will be able to
18 cross-examine him directly, his evidence in chief has
19 ended, then it might be an act of kindness to Witness A
20 for him to come back at the moment when he expects to
21 come back rather than for him to come back at an
22 uncertain period.
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, can you help us
24 about this? How long do you anticipate, if you can
25 say, being with both witnesses, in effect?
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: (Interpretation) As for
2 Witness A, I am not sure that one day will suffice. It
3 is really very difficult for me to make any evaluation,
4 but I think we shall need plenty of time.
5 As for Witness C, we do not know yet as to
6 what his evidence will be about because this is only
7 the beginning. If we are faced with the same position
8 as on the first day, when we explained why we were
9 asking for cross-examination to be postponed, then we
10 shall be able to see that on Monday, not before Monday,
11 and naturally any further scheduling will depend on
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We will have the
14 cross-examination of Witness A at 9.45 on Monday
15 morning. We'll adjourn.
16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: (Interpretation) Thank you.
17 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps the other witness could
18 be available somewhere, if not in the Tribunal
19 building, but at least available on a phone or
20 something of that sort?
21 MR. NICE: Yes, I'm sure that can be
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
24 1.05 p.m., to be reconvened on
25 Monday, the 19th day of April, 1999,
1 at 9.45 a.m.