1 Friday, 11th June 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.01 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 WITNESS: ABDULAH AHMIC (Resumed)
11 Examined by Mr. Nice:
12 [Witness answers through interpreter]
13 Q. Mr. Ahmic, before we pick up your account
14 from what happened once you got to Dubravica, I want a
15 little more detail in relation to events that occurred
16 while you were waiting in the stream or ditch, and in
17 particular I want your help, if you can provide it,
18 with identities of any of the soldiers that you saw.
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I've told Mr. Stein
20 what I have in mind to do, and I think that largely it
21 will be non-contentious and therefore it may be
22 possible to lead with names. Mr. Stein will tell if
23 and when he wants things dealt with otherwise.
24 The names are dealt with, for Mr. Stein's
25 assistance and Mr. Kovacic's, in the statement of the
1 3rd of February, '95, and the additional document of
2 the 1st of February, '97. I'm on page 4 of the first
3 statement, towards the bottom.
4 Q. The two men who came to your house and killed
5 your father and brother, did any of them look familiar
6 to you and appear as somebody you had seen in Busovaca?
7 A. Yes. The younger one looked familiar to me,
8 and I think I used to meet him in the Leptir
9 Discotheque near Busovaca. My guess is he comes from
10 the village of Buselji or below Buselji, another
11 village called Bare.
12 Q. Did you know he was a member of an armed
13 group before you saw him at your house?
14 A. No, no, I didn't.
15 Q. A matter of detail from when you were in the
16 stream or ditch. Did you actually see something of the
17 destruction of the mosque in Ahmici, in that you saw, I
18 think, people go to the mosque, entering it, and
19 subsequently you saw the top of the minaret blown off?
20 A. That was the period of the 20th of October,
21 when I saw the top of the minaret gone. And also on
22 the 17th of April, '93, I also saw the minaret go off,
23 so that it was on two occasions that I witnessed the
24 demolition of minarets. On two occasions, therefore,
25 in October '92 and April '93.
1 Q. Dealing with the April '93 damage and
2 destruction, had you seen anything of people entering
3 and leaving the mosque before and after the damage or
4 did you just see the damage from a distance?
5 A. I spotted a car arriving from the direction
6 of Busovaca, and from it emerged military policemen who
7 moved towards the mosque, and a terrific explosion
8 could be heard immediately afterwards.
9 Right after the explosion, the same car came
10 near me where I was hiding, to the house in which I was
11 hiding, and those were military policemen from Busovaca
12 and their commander; that is, I concluded that from the
13 talk amongst them which I overheard.
14 Q. What did you hear them say?
15 A. Well, first the way in which they greeted one
16 another, and the two of them who one of them asked,
17 "What's new in Busovaca?" "Everything is all right.
18 And what about you?" And he would say, "Commander,
19 we've got a Mujahedin here captured. What are we to do
20 with him?" Then the commander says, "Well, throw a
21 bomb, kill him."
22 Q. Dealing with soldiers you saw while you were
23 in the ditch, was one of them known to you by the
24 nickname Cico or similar? This is page 5 of the first
25 document and, I think, amplified or corrected in the
1 second document at page 7. The name Cico?
2 A. It is a nickname, Cico, but his name was
3 Nikica Safradin and he was the first one to bring those
4 soldiers. He seemed to be sort of a commander of the
5 military police, and I saw that he was the one who
6 deployed or rather tasked those soldiers.
7 I also recognised Dragan Santic. Dragan
8 Santic comes from Rovna, and Ilija Santic, whom I also
9 saw there, came from the village of Mahala. I also saw
10 Dragan Matkovic's brother who attended the same class
11 with me in school, and one of Jozo Matkovic's son from
12 the village of Rijeka. Also Blaz Totic. He wore
13 civilian clothes, and he used to be the driver at the
14 company called Masinogradnja, where I was employed
16 Those were, by and large, men I recognised
17 and knew their names.
18 I also knew some people from Vitez. That is,
19 I knew them by sight, but I don't know their names.
20 There were quite a number of them who came from around
21 Vitez, I mean in that group which arrived together with
23 I even noticed some men who had their heads
24 masked, that is, they had black socks over their heads,
25 and some in civilian clothes but carrying arms.
1 Q. The named men, did you know any, some, or all
2 of them to be members of a military unit before the
3 time that you saw them from your vantage point in the
5 A. I knew about Cico. I knew he was a member of
6 the military police. Santic, Ilija Santic, he also was
7 with the military police before that attack, because I
8 used to see both of them at checkpoints.
9 Q. A matter of detail. When the grenade or bomb
10 was thrown into the house in which you were hiding
11 after you had spent the day in the ditch, did you see
12 what sort of device it was, how it was supposed to
13 cause damage?
14 A. It was a so-called Kasikara, a grenade which
15 was thrown at me. It was black.
16 Q. As a result of the explosion, did you lose
17 substantial hearing in your left ear?
18 A. I did, yes, my hearing was damaged, I believe
19 around 80 per cent in my left ear, and I keep hearing a
20 buzzing sound ever since that explosion, to this day.
21 Q. When the two Croats to whom you turned for
22 help took you away, did you learn of the death of
23 your -- no, I beg your pardon, did you ask them to deal
24 with the burial of your father and brother and say they
25 could take 400 Deutschmarks from your father's pocket
1 to bury them?
2 MR. NICE: And again, I'm going to deal with
3 this by leading, unless it's not accepted.
4 Q. In fact, did you understand there were other
5 people dealing specifically with the burial of the
6 dead, but you subsequently were informed that your
7 father's body had been reburied in order that somebody
8 could take the 400 D-marks out of his pocket? If
9 that's correct, please just say "yes".
10 A. Yes, it is. It was done by a young man
11 called Dalibor. He was one who did it. But I learned
12 that later, after the war.
13 Q. Answer "Yes" or "No," please, to the next
14 question or series of questions, when it's possible:
15 Did you subsequently hear from other people about units
16 who may have been involved in the massacre or the
17 attack on this day?
18 A. I heard that units which were called
19 Jokers --
20 Q. The answer is supposed to be yes --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Stein, I think, is content.
23 MR. STEIN: I'm content with the answer, but
24 as to the next question, I think you ought to let him
25 answer on his own as opposed to telling him the answer.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. Tell us who it was, then, you heard about,
3 and from whom you heard it.
4 A. I don't quite understand your question.
5 Q. Did you hear about a group said to be
6 involved, and if so, from whom did you hear about this
8 A. I heard it later, after the conflict. That
9 is when I heard about that name -- that is, Jokers,
10 Jokeri -- and that they took part, and that also there
11 were others, called Vitezovi, who committed those
12 butcheries. But it was only after I had arrived in
14 Q. And who told you, if you can remember, about
15 those groups and their involvement?
16 A. I can't really recall just now, but people
17 talked about it. It was common knowledge.
18 Q. Secondly, was there any reference to people
19 coming from Croatia itself?
20 A. Yes. Indeed, I heard also about those men in
21 black uniforms and that they came from Varazdin. I
22 heard that from Ferid Ahmic, also after the conflict.
23 For a while, he was even a member of HOS, and on the
24 eve of the attack on the 16th of April, he lived in the
25 village of Nadioci, so that he did have some more
1 information, and he told me that men in black uniforms
2 came from as far as Varazdin -- rather, were brought
3 from as far as Varazdin.
4 Q. Varazdin is in Croatia?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in which direction from Ahmici? Towards
7 the coast?
8 A. Varazdin is rather far away. It is close to
9 the Slovenian border, so to the west of Ahmici, if I
10 may put it that way.
11 Q. Thank you very much. Then we pick the
12 account you gave yesterday up at your journey to
14 MR. NICE: To remind the judges of the
15 geography, if they need it, it might be helpful for the
16 maps to go back on the ELMO, starting with the overhead
17 map, with Number 1.980 on top of that, which we looked
18 at, but very briefly, yesterday, and with the smaller
19 maps available, please.
20 If you're looking at that map, you were taken
21 in a column -- and you are looking at map 1.980 -- you
22 were taken in a column to Dubravica school?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At Dubravica, were men segregated from women?
25 A. They were, but not all of them, because there
1 was no room for women in the place where they were
2 trying to put them up, so there were also some in the
4 Q. How many people were there altogether, so far
5 as you could judge?
6 A. The largest number was -- they were brought
7 in group after group. I should say, when I came there,
8 that there were about 500 people there.
9 Q. Just "Yes" or "No," please, to this
10 question: Did you hear something of what may have
11 happened to some women? Just "Yes" or "No."
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. From whom did you hear what may have happened
14 to some women?
15 A. I heard that directly from a woman who had
16 told her husband, and he was right next to me, he was
17 lying on the same mat with me, so that ...
18 Q. Therefore, can you please tell us what you
20 MR. STEIN: Well, I would have to object.
21 This is as to crimes, and, of course, by its very
22 nature, is testimony about crime, from a victim who is
23 telling her husband, apparently, who is then telling
24 this witness. The prejudicial of this is clearly
25 outweighed by the level of hearsay. We're essentially
1 getting into testimony about acts from another person
2 to another person to this person. It's one thing to
3 have hearsay levels on background or corroborative
4 evidence, but this goes directly to the corpus of a
6 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
7 JUDGE MAY: It makes no difference that the
8 evidence is about a crime. What does make a difference
9 is as to whether it is potentially reliable or not. As
10 far as that's concerned, each case will be or may be
11 different; it will depend on the circumstances. We are
12 prepared to admit this evidence, for what it's worth,
13 and we'll have to decide whether it's worth anything or
15 Let me just say this to the witness:
16 Mr. Ahmic, we are making some rulings about evidence.
17 It's no reflection on you or the evidence; it's to do
18 with the Rules of Evidence in the Tribunal. So if I
19 have appeared to make some sort of comment about it,
20 don't take any notice.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Can you tell us, please, what you heard about
23 the treatment of women?
24 A. If I may, could I just go back to what the
25 gentleman said, that it was hearsay: It wasn't. It
1 was direct knowledge, because I heard it from the woman
2 herself, so that it is not second-hand information. It
3 is first-hand information. She was about a metre a
4 away from me. I cannot give you the names of other
5 women who were raped; I learned about those later, and
6 that indeed is hearsay. But I know of at least two
7 more women who had been raped.
8 Q. By whom did they say they'd been raped, if
9 they identified perpetrators?
10 A. No, no, I did not hear that, but those
11 were -- those could be Croat soldiers.
12 Q. From the date of your arrival at the camp,
13 were people taken to dig trenches?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How many per day or night, roughly, if you
16 can help?
17 A. They were being taken out in groups of ten,
18 all the time, to different areas around Vitez: To
19 Krcevine, to Pirici, Rijeka, and so on.
20 Q. Voluntarily, or by compulsion?
21 A. At the outset, they would ask if there were
22 any volunteers, and then at a later stage, they took
23 them by compulsion.
24 Q. At the camp, did some of the soldiers there
25 have ribbons on their shoulders?
1 A. I only spotted one soldier with a blue ribbon
2 like the one worn by those two who shot at me. I
3 noticed that one of the soldiers had that ribbon.
4 Q. What rank did he have in the camp?
5 A. I think he was the deputy of the camp
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. NICE: May the witness please have, now,
9 for -- no, I'll finish this.
10 Q. You stayed at the camp for, I think, five
11 days before the Red Cross came and registered you. You
12 were checked one day by a doctor, a CBS film crew came
13 and visited you, and in due course, you were moved from
14 Dubravica; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. (No microphone)
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you haven't been able to return to live
19 in your own home, and you haven't been back to Ahmici
20 save to visit it, to see -- for whatever reason --
22 A. It was impossible, because the line had
23 already been positioned, and the war between Bosnians
24 and Croats was in full swing at the time.
25 MR. NICE: May the witness please have the
1 Plan 1.593,1, and the Chamber will find the irregular
2 white shape takes -- again, it has to be viewed upside
3 down -- takes you to the road above the mosque at
4 Ahmici and shows in a little more detail what lies to
5 the north and east of that part of Ahmici.
6 Q. Just help us swiftly, if you can, with the
7 points marked here. The numbers and the letters are
8 upside down. What houses are these of significance,
9 please? Use the pointer, and just tell us. 55?
10 A. 55 is Sukrija Ahmici's house. "K," the
11 letter "K," is Vlatko Kupreskic's storage space,
12 storage facility. "C" is--
13 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Nice, what's the
14 relevance -- I'm sorry, Mr. Ahmic, to interrupt, but
15 what's the relevant of this?
16 MR. NICE: I was going to deal with the
17 photographs which come next, and very quickly, which
18 show the level of destruction of Muslim properties and
19 the non-destruction of non-Muslim properties, and I'm
20 just fitting them into the geography to assist the
21 Court, and it won't take very long.
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
23 MR. NICE: Thank you.
24 Q. The other houses, "K," "C," and "J," -- well,
25 you've dealt with "K"; "C" and "J" are what?
1 A. "C" is Zoran Kupreskic's house, "J" is his
2 uncle's house, and this one here is Miro Kupreskic's
3 and Miro Kupreskic's father's house. His father's name
4 was Ante.
5 Q. Now please take the first of two albums of
6 photographs, which we can deal with very swiftly,
7 because they've got indices at their front. This one
8 is Exhibit 1.593A.
9 Your Honour, the witness has been through
10 these photographs. The index may stand effectively as
11 his evidence in chief, if that's acceptable to the
12 Tribunal in the interests of speed. One can move
13 swiftly through the photographs to see houses that are
14 destroyed, pausing at photograph 4 to say --
15 JUDGE MAY: It may just be helpful to go
16 through them, since we --
17 MR. NICE: Yes. Thank you. The photographs,
18 then, should go on the ELMO.
19 JUDGE MAY: No, just simply go through them.
20 MR. NICE: Yes.
21 Photograph 1, photograph 2, photograph 3 show
22 destroyed houses in Ahmici of Fatima Patkovic, Esad
23 Ahmici and probably of Husein Ahmici. Photograph 4, 5,
24 6, 7 and 8 show the mosque at Gornji Ahmici.
25 Photograph 9 shows the house or the houses of Nermin
1 Kermo and Nesim Ahmic, both destroyed. Photograph 10,
2 Midhat Berbic. Photograph 11, Jahija Pezer in Grabovi,
3 part of Ahmici. 12, the house of Sukrija Ahmic. 13 I
4 don't think we need trouble with. 14 is the undamaged
5 house of Vlatko Kupreskic, and we've seen the general
6 location. 15, the house of Hazim Ahmic, with writing
7 on it to the general effect, "Every Turk who comes back
8 will be slaughtered."
9 MR. STEIN: Just for the record, I don't
10 object to this proceeding or process, but it's
11 important, as to this photo which is at 15 and the
12 other photos which have markings on the walls and
13 graffiti, to use our expression, to note that this
14 witness has not been back to Ahmici since the 16th of
15 April, 1993, and we have no idea when these various
16 graffiti or markings with pens were placed, but
17 presumptively after the fact.
18 JUDGE MAY: We will find out when the
19 photographs were taken in due course.
20 MR. NICE: In due course. I think the
21 witness has been back, but not to stay.
22 17, the school. 18, the house of Hazim
23 Ahmic. 19, the mosque with the minaret lying
24 horizontal. 20, the mosque at Donji Ahmici, and 21 --
25 I beg your pardon. 22, the graffiti. I accept
1 entirely Mr. Stein's point about the likely dating of
2 the graffiti. Of course, it's after the event.
3 "Goodbye, balijas." 23, a larger photograph with
4 writing on the wall referring to "Disco, 48 hours of
5 ashes," working from 16th of April, '93. 24, the house
6 of Abdulah Ahmic. 25, Sefer Ahmic's house. 26, the
7 mosque again with the words "Croatia". 27, the house
8 on the left, Nedzib Ahmic; the house on the right,
9 Zijad Ahmic. Then 28, Husein Ahmic, is a house. 29,
10 Biat Bilic's house. 30, Fehim Ahmic. 31 -- I beg your
11 pardon. 30 was Hilmija Ahmic. 31, Fehim Ahmic. 32,
12 Sidija Ahmic's house. 33, Redzo Pezer, "Merry
13 Christmas balijas. Welcome," in a church or village,
14 "Welcome. It will be the same." 34, "Only 117
15 casualties" written on this house. "The country ready.
16 Dangerous for life. Attention, please." 35, the house
17 of Sakir Ahmici. 36, we needn't trouble with. The
18 second smaller black-and-white --
19 MR. STEIN: Excuse me for a second. I don't
20 object to the admissibility, and because of the
21 professional nature of the Court, I only rise to once
22 again point out that the prejudicial language not
23 linked to our clients, graffiti after the fact, has
24 been admitted, and we ask the Court essentially to
25 ignore it.
1 MR. NICE: The smaller album of
2 black-and-white photographs that I ask the witness to
3 have has got individual numbers.
4 JUDGE MAY: We don't have them.
5 MR. NICE: They were made available on the
6 desk yesterday. They have been distributed to the
7 Defence. I'm so sorry, I thought they had been. They
8 contain, materially, the undamaged minaret, the
9 undamaged houses, and one or two family photographs
10 that the witness has provided.
11 JUDGE MAY: What exhibit number is this?
12 MR. NICE: They've got individual exhibit
13 numbers on the index rather than a collective number,
14 and the numbers are shown as 1531, 1749, and so on. If
15 it would be more convenient for this exhibit to be
16 allocated a comprehensive number, I'll organise that
17 maybe at the break and notify the Court of it. It
18 probably would be more convenient to deal with it that
19 way. Indeed, I imagine the most sensible thing for it
20 to be would be to be 1593B, if that would be
22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
23 MR. NICE: I pass quickly, because I think
24 this will help, to the second photograph. The first
25 one has got graffiti. The second one is the minaret,
1 undamaged. The third photograph is damaged after the
2 attack on the 28th of October, with damage at the top.
3 It's not, I'm afraid, very clear, but we've at least
4 heard about it. Then the next photograph is the house
5 of Dragan and Ivo Papic, of whom we've heard, Croats.
6 Then the next photograph is the undamaged shop of the
7 Kupreskics' or the warehouse. The following photograph
8 of two undamaged houses is the undamaged houses of
9 Ivica Kupreskic's house and Zoran's house, Zoran
10 Kupreskic's house. The following photograph is the
11 undamaged house of Mirjan, father of Ante Kupreskic.
12 I will ask the witness if he can just look at
13 the following photograph, 1532,3.
14 Q. Can you tell us about that house, please, or
15 any house here?
16 A. This is the house of the butcher (indicating)
17 who we used to call Zilo. There is a butcher shop here
18 (indicating), and the third house behind it is where I
19 was brought, along with some women later when they took
20 us to Dubravica, the third house when you go this way
21 here (indicating). This is the main Vitez-Busovaca
22 road (indicating).
23 Q. There follows photographs of your late
24 brother, your late mother as a younger woman. That's
25 your brother and your late mother as a younger woman,
1 and other family members in the last photograph.
2 You haven't yet told us, but the position is
3 that your mother and sister who were left at the house,
4 they were killed?
5 MR. NICE: Just leave that last photograph,
7 A. Yes. They were killed in the upper village
8 of Ahmici, my mother and all three sisters. I
9 concluded this from the statement made by Bob Stewart,
10 the commander of the British Battalion, when CNN
11 reports showed the house, and he said that a woman and
12 her daughters had been killed there. Since I knew that
13 in Ahmici there were no other women with more than one
14 daughter who might have been killed, I knew that it was
15 them, and it's the house of Dzemal Ahmic and his son
16 Husein. I concluded this from the report, and I saw
17 the house in the exhibits shown just a short while
19 MR. NICE: This photograph has --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, in any event, he
21 hasn't seen them since that time?
22 MR. NICE: No, no.
23 Q. But this photograph shows whom, please,
24 Mr. Ahmic, the photograph we're now looking at?
25 A. This is my youngest sister Alma
1 (indicating). This is my cousin Samir (indicating),
2 who was also killed in the attack on the 16th of
3 April. This is another relative of mine (indicating),
4 and these two children (indicating) are not related to
5 me. This was taken at a birthday party in Vitez.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. Finally by
7 way of the map, and I'm not going to ask you to deal
8 with it in any detail because you've dealt with it on
9 an earlier occasion and it's available for questioning,
10 if asked, may he just see, please, 1979?
11 Again if we have the large-scale map open
12 first to remind the Tribunal -- yes, the large-scale
13 map, this one. No, you were right the first time. Lay
14 that out. Thank you. That's right. Thank you very
15 much. If you now put the other map on top of it, and
16 again upside down, please, and we can see how one
17 relates to the other.
18 Q. This shows, Mr. Ahmic, does it not, the area
19 between Ahmici and Santici?
20 A. Yes. This is the hamlet of Zume, which
21 belongs to Santici.
22 Q. A number of houses have been marked, and are
23 you in a position to deal, if asked, with either many
24 or all of those houses and who lived in them at the
25 time? I'm not going to ask you, but if asked, if
1 anybody else wants to know, you can deal with the
2 detail of many of these houses?
3 A. Yes, yes, I can. It's not a problem.
4 Q. My last question is this:
5 Mr. Stein may care to look at page 8 of the
6 statement of the 3rd of February.
7 There were different commanders in charge of
8 the different localities, Nadioci and so on; is that
10 A. You're asking me?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. In my statements, I mentioned the local
13 commanders from Nadioci to Santici. If you want, I can
14 state their names again, who they were, in my opinion.
15 I know that in Nadioci, it was Branko. His name was
16 Branko. I can't recall his last name. Oh, Perkovic,
17 Branko Perkovic. In the village of Grabovi, it was
18 Zoran Kupreskic. In the village of Zume in Santici, it
19 was Nenad Santic. Slavko Milicevic was in my village
20 where I was. It was called Krcevine. He was a
21 higher-level commander, and he often went to Vitez. He
22 was always on the go. He drove a green van.
23 Q. Pausing there, were these men known to you
24 before the April '93 attack?
25 A. Yes. I knew them all.
1 Q. Were any of them distinguishable, one from
2 the other, by the strength or extremity of their
3 political views?
4 A. In my opinion, Papic, who was in Zume, he was
5 somewhat milder, so it seems that he saved some women
6 and children from Zume. So in my opinion, he was less
8 Q. I don't want your opinion, not because I
9 don't want it but because it may be that it's not
10 appropriate for your opinion to be given. But if you
11 carry on with the answers, you've dealt with his being
12 less of an extremist or more moderate and the women and
13 children in that locality being saved.
14 As to the other localities, with what
15 strength or weakness did the commanders you've spoken
16 of hold political views?
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't think we're going
18 to be assisted by this.
19 MR. NICE: So be it. It's probably as far as
20 I want to go, effective in any event.
21 Yes, thank you very much. Wait there,
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I'm not sure if
24 the matter that I raise has evidential significance,
25 but it certainly has a human interest element that I
1 find irresistible.
2 Yesterday, the witness gave evidence that on
3 the 16th of April, when the soldiers approached his
4 house, he heard and recognised the voice of one of his
5 Croatian neighbours. I think it's Ivo Papic. That
6 neighbour effectively spurred the soldiers on to the
7 Ahmic house, his house. I just want to find out what
8 kind of relationship he had with this neighbour prior
9 to this event.
10 A. Well, up to, we might say, 1992, our
11 relations were good. After the tension, our relations
12 as neighbours deteriorated.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. That deterioration, was it particular to you
15 and this particular neighbour or was it similar to the
16 deterioration in relationships that you may have
17 encountered with other Croatians living in your
18 village, Croats living in your village?
19 A. The overall relations changed, but we might
20 say mostly on the side of the Croats, because they
21 became aloof. They had their own goals, and we
22 concluded this. They would turn away from us more and
23 more. They most probably had certain aims they wanted
24 to achieve.
25 Q. Apart from the general development of tension
1 between the two communities, was there anything
2 specific that brought about a decline in the relations
3 between yourself and Ivo Papic?
4 A. No, there was nothing specific, but mostly
5 our relations cooled rapidly, not just between us but
6 among the entire population of Ahmici and further
8 MR. NICE: I hope that clarifies the matter.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, I don't have to tell
11 you this, but nonetheless I should say publicly that we
12 expect witnesses who have had experiences of this sort
13 to be examined courteously and with restraint and
15 MR. STEIN: With respect, I hardly need to be
17 What is the Court's pleasure relative to
18 timing this morning, so I can gauge?
19 JUDGE MAY: Maybe we will take the break
20 towards half past 11.00.
21 MR. STEIN: Very good, Sir. Thank you. Sir,
22 my name is Bob Stein. I represent Dario Kordic.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Stein:
24 [Witness answers through interpreter]
25 Q. My first question is do you speak or read the
1 English language?
2 A. Very little. I don't speak and I don't read,
3 but I learned some English at school.
4 MR. STEIN: I'm afraid I'm not getting the
5 answer through my headset.
6 JUDGE MAY: Can the answer be repeated,
8 A. I don't speak or read the English language,
9 but I know a little, very little, because I learned
10 English in secondary school.
11 MR. STEIN:
12 Q. Very good, sir. If there's any question that
13 I ask you that you don't understand, please let me know
14 and I will repeat the question.
15 Yesterday you testified that before the
16 elections, relations between you and your neighbours
17 were "relatively good". My question is this: What did
18 you mean by "relatively good"?
19 A. When I said "relatively good", I meant that
20 we did not have extremely good relations. That's why I
21 used the word "relatively".
22 Q. Is that to say that part of your relations
23 were not good?
24 A. It depends. It varied from case to case.
25 Q. Would you give me some examples, please, of
1 relationships that from case to case varied, showing
2 the relationships were not good?
3 A. I will only tell you a general example. The
4 Bosnian Croats essentially had a kind of behaviour.
5 They didn't want to have extremely good relations.
6 They were quite closed. They associated more among
7 themselves, as far as I can tell. That's why I said
9 Q. All right. Do I take it that as a young boy
10 and even into your teenage years, you were educated in
11 schools under the Communist system that was the
12 political authority in Bosnia during that time period?
13 A. Yes, I went to school.
14 Q. As I understand it, the doctrines taught in
15 those schools and held by the Communist Party were such
16 that all peoples in Bosnia were to be brothers and
17 treated equally.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. To the extent that if anyone deviated from
20 that behaviour, that was condemned by the political
22 A. Not really. Not completely.
23 Q. Would you give me an example of how persons
24 who spoke out against this system of Communism and
25 brotherhood would be treated?
1 A. Yes. They were condemned.
2 Q. Condemned by whom, sir?
3 A. By the Communist government.
4 Q. All right. So the government held out as one
5 of its views that everyone should be equal, treated
6 equally, and those that didn't follow that doctrine
7 were condemned; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And therefore whatever was in the persons'
10 actual hearts and minds and feelings was told to keep
11 it quiet because the Communist system required a level
12 of brotherhood; is that right?
13 A. You could say that.
14 Q. Why did you resign from the SDA party before
15 the war?
16 A. There were no special reasons. But parties
17 can change, and I preferred the SDP party.
18 Q. Can you tell us why, please?
19 A. I say that a person can change political
20 parties. He can leave one party to join another
21 because the other party has a better programme.
22 Q. What, specifically, attracted you to the
23 other party's programme? This is my last question on
24 this particular point.
25 A. I didn't join the SDP but I left the SDA
2 Q. Very good, sir. Now, do I take it that
3 joining the TO was not compulsory?
4 A. No, it wasn't, at the beginning.
5 Q. When you joined, did you join voluntarily?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And do I take it further that when the HVO
8 was formed, Muslims were allowed to join the HVO?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Indeed, the HVO asked Muslims to join them;
11 isn't that correct?
12 A. No, they didn't ask, but before the conflict
13 of the 16th of April, 1993, they issued an ultimatum
14 that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Central Bosnia
15 should subordinate itself to the command of the HVO.
16 Q. Perhaps I'm confusing you with my question.
17 Let me orient you towards April of 1992. Can we agree
18 that at that point in time, the HVO actually asked the
19 Muslims to join it?
20 A. No, it did not.
21 Q. Well, sir, let me orient the Prosecutor and
22 yourself -- and I'll try to do it very quickly -- to
23 your statement dated February 1, '97, at page 2 --
24 MR. STEIN: Perhaps Mr. Nice and I can agree
25 without the usual litany, quote: "The Muslims were
1 allowed to join the TO at the time. HVO asked the
2 Muslims to join their army, but the Muslims didn't do
4 Can we agree that that's what the statement
5 says, Mr. Nice? That's at the last paragraph; sorry.
6 MR. NICE: I can agree that -- in the English
7 version, yes, I can.
8 MR. STEIN:
9 Q. The English version says exactly what I've
10 just said, sir. Would you now reconsider your answer
11 to the question whether the HVO asked the Muslims to
12 join them?
13 A. This could have been the case in the contacts
14 between people who knew each other, and those who were
15 called or invited by that way, they may have joined it
16 in this way. But I doubt that this was placed in the
17 media publicly. So it was just on a private basis
18 among the people who knew each other.
19 Q. Very good, sir. And further, would you agree
20 that amongst your people, amongst the local opinion,
21 was that it was not right for the majority to join the
22 minority? Again, this is taken directly from your
23 statement, same date, page 2, last line.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, do I take it, sir, also, that generally,
1 in October of 1992, there were 20 HVO soldiers living
2 in Ahmici?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. They were guarding the village every night?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. They were guarding the village to protect
7 from any Chetnik attacks; is that correct?
8 A. Yes. That was only provisionally.
9 Q. Very good. And further, do I understand
10 correctly that before your brother became commander of
11 the local TO unit, Fuad Berbic -- that's F-U-A-D
12 B-E-R-B-I-C -- had been the commander?
13 A. Fuad.
14 Q. Fuad, yes. I apologise. Correct.
15 Do we agree?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And there were, under his command as well as
18 your brother's command, about 120 men in the defence of
19 your village?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Some of the individuals had self-made
22 camouflage outfits?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And others of the members, of the 120
25 members, had no uniforms at all?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And about one-third of this group were armed?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So if I understand it, the picture created is
5 we have some individuals with camouflage and some
6 without; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Some individuals with weapons and some
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Therefore, do I take it, then, when they were
12 on patrol, some of the individuals had weapons and
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Some did -- I'm sorry, some of the
16 individuals would have weapons but no camouflage?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Some of the individuals would have neither a
19 weapon nor camouflage?
20 A. Yes, that could also have happened.
21 Q. And some of the individuals would merely have
22 camouflage and no weapon?
23 A. It depended. It was a case-by-case thing.
24 It's not really crucial.
25 Q. Certainly. Yet nonetheless, weaponed,
1 camouflaged, all or some of the individuals were on
2 patrol, on guard in the village, as part of their
4 A. Yes. Since the Croats had guards as well, we
5 also kept our guards.
6 Q. Very good. And the situation that I just
7 described existed both in 1992 and in 1993 April?
8 A. No, you could say that until the attack of 20
9 October '92. This was because we had to abolish these
10 patrols in the lower part of the village because of
11 this order by the HVO.
12 Q. With respect to your answer, sir -- and I
13 turn the Prosecution again to the February 1, 1997,
14 statement, this time at page 5, the end of paragraph
15 24. Your statement of that date, at paragraph 24,
16 reads, quote: "In 1993 there was still a village guard
17 in the village of Ahmici. It functioned in the same
18 way as in 1992."
19 MR. STEIN: Mr. Nice, have I got that
20 correctly? Page 5, statement of February 1, '97.
21 MR. NICE: Yes, I confirm that.
22 MR. STEIN:
23 Q. Having read your statement into the record,
24 sir, would you now like to reconsider your answer?
25 A. The guards in the upper part of the village
1 functioned normally, as before; but in the lower part,
2 people did go out on guard duties, but they did so
3 stealthily. They would sort of hide their weapons, or
4 something, so that in the case of some unforeseen
5 attack, they would be able to inform the population.
6 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Stein?
7 MR. STEIN: Sir?
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Stein,
9 in order for us to better understand what is being
10 said, can you ask the witness whether there was a
11 difference within these patrols at that time, in 1993,
12 a distinction then between Upper Ahmici and Lower
13 Ahmici? Because it seems that there is such a
14 difference, so why is there such a difference? Because
15 of the population living in Upper Ahmici and Lower
16 Ahmici, or is this due to security reasons, different
17 from the point of view of Upper Ahmici or Lower
18 Ahmici? What's the difference? We have to establish
20 MR. STEIN:
21 Q. Mr. Witness, you've heard the question of the
22 Judge. Would you please describe whether there were
23 two situations, Lower and Upper, and if so, the
24 difference between the two?
25 A. The command was a single one, but the
1 circumstances were different, because the lower part of
2 the village was under the HVO command, and they
3 monitored our movements and whether we carried weapons,
4 whereas the HVO did not have any of their command in
5 the upper part of the village, so we could carry out
6 normal patrols up there.
7 Q. So to finish your answer, I believe the
8 answer we just heard is that in the lower part of the
9 village, the HVO did the patrols, whereas in the upper
10 part, the TO did the patrols; is that correct, sir?
11 A. The HVO had very strong patrols in the lower
12 part of the village, and they were monitoring our
13 movements, especially if we carried -- whether we
14 carried arms, because that was prohibited. As I said
15 before, the guards would only show up surreptitiously,
16 and only along the road, and people may have only
17 carried pistols if they went out to patrol.
18 Q. Let me ask you this: It's fair to say, is it
19 not, that you also were monitoring the HVO activities?
20 "You" meaning the TO.
21 A. I cannot say so, because I was not a
22 commander or a part of the staff. I can only speak
23 about myself.
24 Q. Well, with respect, sir, you certainly talked
25 to your brother about TO activities, and other members
1 of the TO, so I ask you the question again: Is it fair
2 to say, based on not just what you did and saw
3 yourself, but based on the common knowledge of what was
4 going on in the TO, is it fair to say that you too, you
5 also, were monitoring the activities of the HVO like
6 they were monitoring you?
7 A. In my statements, I said that we separately
8 monitored the HVO activities following the conflict of
9 20 October, 1992. The HVO activities increased
10 significantly after that, and my brother Muris at that
11 time was part of no command of the Territorial Defence
12 or later of the BH army.
13 Q. Very good, sir. And that monitoring that you
14 did after October of 1992 resulted in reports to the
15 higher authorities; isn't that right?
16 A. Infrequently.
17 Q. Those higher authorities would be where, sir?
18 A. The commands were in Vitez, Kruscica, and
20 Q. Very good, sir. There came a time -- oh, I'm
21 sorry, let me back off one moment and ask you this
22 question: From your description of the TO, it
23 basically was a town guard, not a group of professional
24 soldiers; would you agree?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Nonetheless, in October of 1992, October 19th
2 or 20th, your local organisation of town guards
3 received an order to make a barricade and to block the
4 road; that's correct, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. From where did the order come?
7 A. From the Territorial Defence headquarters in
9 Q. All right. Now, in your statement of
10 3 February, '95, that's exactly what you said.
11 However, I'm curious, because in your statement of
12 25 October, '94, page 2 -- and I'll wait for Mr. Nice
13 to catch up.
14 Middle of the page, or maybe two-thirds down,
15 you set out, quote: "We had received orders from
16 Sarajevo to prevent such large forces from going to
17 Travnik, so we put up a roadblock in the village of
19 Do you recall, sir, whether the order came
20 from Vitez or from Sarajevo or from some other
22 A. According to the chain of command, the main
23 headquarters was in Sarajevo, and I assume that
24 probably they called Vitez from Sarajevo and ordered
25 them something.
1 Q. All right. And who would be the person in
2 that chain of command who gave the order?
3 A. You mean at the top level?
4 Q. Correct.
5 A. I believe that it was Sefer Halilovic.
6 Q. And below him, would there be someone else
7 who potentially could have given the order?
8 A. In Vitez, there was -- I believe that Hakija
9 Cengic was commander of the Territorial Defence at the
11 Q. Let me ask you clearly: Do you know
12 specifically who did give this particular order?
13 A. I don't know specifically, but I know that it
14 came from the headquarters in Vitez.
15 Q. Very good. There is a group called the
16 Coordinating Committee for Protection of Muslims, is
17 there not?
18 A. I don't know about that. I'm not familiar
19 with it.
20 Q. All right. And another question along the
21 same lines: Would it have been possible for General
22 Merdan, of the 7th Corps, to have given this particular
23 order -- 3rd Corps, sorry.
24 A. At that time, there were no corps. There
25 were only Territorial Defence staffs. At that time,
1 the corps had not yet been established.
2 Q. Fair enough. Regardless of whether the corps
3 had been established or not, would it have been
4 possible for Dzemal Merdan to have issued this order?
5 JUDGE MAY: Well, the witness says that the
6 corps hadn't been established, so what he is saying is
7 that the order couldn't have come from there.
8 MR. STEIN: I think there is a gap in the
9 logic there.
10 JUDGE MAY: Well, it's not assisting us.
11 Let's move on. It would be pure supposition on his
12 part. His evidence is that the order came from Vitez.
13 MR. STEIN:
14 Q. Now, in preparation to blockade the road,
15 among the various things you did was gather mines,
16 landmines; isn't that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And mines had been taken from a warehouse
19 before October 20?
20 A. There were no warehouses.
21 Q. Where were the mines kept before the action
22 of October 20?
23 A. I don't know where they were, but as far as I
24 know, those mines were brought from the Slimena depot
25 near Travnik. When it was blown up, then those mines
1 were brought down there. I don't know by whom, and I
2 don't know who kept them.
3 Q. Right. As I understand it, the JNA basically
4 left those mines behind. Your troops took the mines
5 into the various homes and held them until they were
6 necessary to be used; is that correct?
7 A. With respect to this warehouse, the JNA had
8 blown it up, and then it was just a free-for-all as to
9 who would get what, and I believe that the Croats got
10 much more than we did. I think that they even put up
11 different checkpoints where they would wait for the
12 Muslims to pass through, and then they would collect it
13 from them on the way back to Vitez.
14 So as far as weapons are concerned, the
15 Croats managed to get more weapons from that warehouse.
16 Q. With respect, sir, let me try to make myself
17 clear. Whatever weapons you did have were kept at
18 individual homes as opposed to one central location?
19 This is relative to the mines, and generally, weapons.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, other preparations that you made before
22 the October 20 barricade were to dig trenches; correct?
23 A. Yes. Very few trenches were dug, only around
24 the barricade, in order to protect the men who were
25 manning the barricade.
1 Q. And on one side of the barricade was a
2 Catholic cemetery; isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You dug trenches in that Catholic cemetery;
6 A. No, that is not correct, because Croats were
7 coming during the daylight to check on it, and it was
8 impossible to dig trenches there. The trenches were
9 dug on the opposite side of the road.
10 Q. Did you use any part of the Catholic cemetery
11 for protection and as part of this barricade?
12 A. I don't know, because I was not at the
13 barricade. I only know that no trenches were dug in
14 the Catholic cemetery. That was impossible.
15 Q. Sir, let me ask you this: The men at the
16 barricade from your village were joined by other
17 villagers to help man the barricade; isn't that
19 A. Only the people from our village were there,
20 there were no others, but other people came for
21 protection -- that is, from other villages.
22 Q. I'm sorry, maybe I'm confused. Other people
23 did come from other villages for -- "protection"? Is
24 that the word you used?
25 A. Yes. People came from the village of
1 Vrhovine, as minor assistance, for the most part to
2 just protect the village itself.
3 Q. Were they at the barricade itself, sir, from
4 your understanding?
5 A. No, they were not. As far as I know, they
6 were not.
7 Q. And there were about 200 other people who
8 came from other villages to help protect yours; is that
10 A. No, I did not say 200. Up to 100 came from
11 outside to help us.
12 Q. Very good, sir. I'll accept that.
13 These individuals who came to help you, also,
14 some of them had camouflage?
15 A. Yes, they did.
16 Q. And some of them were armed?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, continuing along the same lines, let me
19 take a look, please, at exhibit -- this is in the
20 bundle 1593B; it's specifically 21479A. It's the photo
21 of the minaret.
22 MR. STEIN: Do you have that in front of you,
23 and can the witness have it?
24 Q. Sir, let me first ask you, there appears to
25 be another small minaret in the picture on the lower
1 left-hand side. Where would that minaret be in your
3 A. The lower minaret was on this mosque, but it
4 was constructed earlier. It was the entryway to the
5 mosque. I think that there was an additional one, but
6 it cannot be seen here. It was not another mosque. It
7 is just part of the same mosque.
8 Q. All right. The minaret that is in the
9 foreground, the very tall structure, on the top part,
10 coming out right here (indicating) -- take a look at
11 where I'm pointing. I'm afraid I can't go over
12 there -- appear to be some sort of microphones or
13 loudspeakers. Is that what they are?
14 A. Yes, they are.
15 Q. I take it from these loudspeakers -- do I
16 take it from these loudspeakers your fellow Muslims
17 were called to prayer?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And was this minaret with its loudspeakers
20 also used to make announcements or tell villagers of
21 problems or Chetniks or any other type thing?
22 A. As far as I know, they were not.
23 Q. Were any orders ever called out from the
25 A. I have not heard about that either.
1 Q. Was the loudspeaker and the minaret at the
2 mosque in Ahmici used to call upon the Croatian people
3 to hand over their weapons?
4 A. As far as I know, it was not.
5 Q. Relative to anything you may have heard, as
6 opposed to what you, yourself, have heard with your own
7 ears, did you ever hear anyone in the village talk
8 about the minaret and the loudspeakers being used for
9 that particular purpose?
10 A. No, I have not heard about that either.
11 Q. Do I take it, sir, that there were steps
12 leading up to the top of the minaret of the mosque?
13 A. Yes, from the inside.
14 Q. When you got to the top, how far could you
15 see from the minaret?
16 A. I never climbed up there.
17 Q. Do you know, from people who did, what kind
18 of vantage point or view they would have?
19 A. Probably a good view, because it was a pretty
20 high minaret, but I don't know.
21 Q. All right. Now --
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, it's now half past
23 eleven Is that a convenient moment?
24 MR. STEIN: Certainly.
25 JUDGE MAY: We'll take the break for
1 20 minutes. I very much hope that this examination can
2 be concluded in time.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.52 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, in order to finish the
6 cross-examination today of both you and Mr. Kovacic, we
7 will extend the sitting until half past one in order
8 to finish.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: If necessary.
10 JUDGE MAY: Judge Bennouna adds, "If
11 necessary," of course.
12 MR. STEIN:
13 Q. Sir, again let me focus on the exhibit and on
14 the mosque.
15 To your knowledge, at any time in October of
16 1992 or thereafter, leading up to April of 1993, did
17 anybody with a weapon of any sort climb to the top of
18 this particular minaret?
19 A. Not that I'm aware of.
20 Q. Now, at your home, did you keep ammunition
21 for rifles?
22 A. No, I did not.
23 Q. Certainly other individuals of the TO had
24 ammunition at their home; wouldn't you agree?
25 A. Presumably, they did.
1 Q. There was no central storage location for
2 ammunition; isn't that true?
3 A. There wasn't, no.
4 Q. Can you tell us roughly how much ammunition
5 was allotted to individuals in the TO for storage at
6 their home?
7 A. Well, nobody restricted the quantity. They
8 had only as much ammunition as they could get, but they
9 had very little.
10 Q. Now, according to your testimony yesterday,
11 there were 60 armed men at the barricade, and that's
12 specifically referenced at the original Livenotes at
13 96:4. Do you know, first from your own personal views
14 or what you heard, how many rounds of ammunition each
15 one of those 60 armed men had?
16 A. I know they had very little, because had they
17 had more ammunition, they would have kept the
18 barricade, the roadblock, because since they ran short
19 of ammunition, they had to give up both the barricade
20 and part of the village.
21 Q. I understood, and that was your testimony
22 yesterday. But my question is, sir, do you know, from
23 any information you received, how many rounds each
24 individual man carried or collectively there were
25 available for the men on the barricades?
1 A. Judging by those people who had weapons
2 there, they couldn't have had more than two, and most,
3 I would guess, only one round, one magazine.
4 Q. All right. How many bullets in each
6 A. Well, there were supposed to be 30 bullets
7 per magazine, but of course it depended on how many he
8 had and how many he charged.
9 Q. Assuming that each individual had at least
10 two rounds or 60 bullets and there were 60 armed men
11 who used all of those rounds of ammunition, that's
12 roughly 3.600 bullets being used in the defence of this
13 barricade; correct?
14 A. No, it is not because you say they had two
15 magazines each, but very few of them had two
16 magazines. The question is whether they were fully
17 loaded or not. It is very difficult to establish.
18 Q. Certainly. I understand that. But we can
19 agree that regardless of the number of magazines,
20 regardless of the number of rounds, there were
21 sufficient rounds of ammunition to hold the barricade
22 from the early morning hours of October 20th until
23 mid-afternoon; correct?
24 A. Yes, true. I mean just barely enough to hold
25 it, yes.
1 Q. Do you have information as to how many
2 members of the HVO were either wounded or killed during
3 this assault on the barricade?
4 A. I heard that a fellow from Kiseljak was
5 killed. I don't know how many were wounded.
6 Q. As I understand, after the barricade was
7 abandoned there were two to three houses in your
8 village that were burned and roughly 20 stables. Is
9 that correct?
10 A. I said that two or three houses had been
11 burned and that 10 or 15 stables burned down.
12 MR. STEIN: Fair enough. Let me turn your
13 attention, please, to the map which we've already seen,
14 and I'll be done with the barricade.
15 Specifically, may the witness have before him
16 Z1585/1? There are two versions, both of which have
17 been marked. It's this one that I'm looking at. Let's
18 just double-check that we're talking about the same
20 For the purpose of the record, and maybe the
21 Registrar can help us, we have two Z1585/1 that look
22 identical. May it please the Court, and I don't want
23 to make any confusion about this, the number I've just
24 used, which is what we have here, actually has markings
25 on it, so I assume there's a second version of this.
1 Well, there's no markings on what the usher has.
2 JUDGE MAY: Well, there is one marked plan,
3 because the witness marked a plan yesterday. That's
4 the one you want him to have.
5 MR. STEIN: All right, very good. May I see
6 it? We'll work with this one. Would you put it on the
7 ELMO, please, and specifically the area of section 5?
8 Q. That's where the roadblock was situated; is
9 that correct, sir?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Would you take a green pen which is before
12 you now, green magic marker, and would you show us on
13 Z1585/1 where the trenches were by actually drawing a
14 line in green to show the trench?
15 A. (Witness complies)
16 Q. Would you bear down on that so we can have
17 it, please, I mean really mark it hard? I can barely
18 see it.
19 A. (Witness complies)
20 Q. Would you put a "T" on top of that, just the
21 letter "T"?
22 A. (Witness complies)
23 Q. Would you show us again, in green, where the
24 barricade was? Was that number 5?
25 JUDGE MAY: Number 5.
1 MR. STEIN: Strike that question, please.
2 Q. Was there also a stone wall that was used to
3 protect the TO people?
4 A. I don't know of any stone wall.
5 Q. The cemetery is the white area below the "5",
6 is it not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. There's a wall blocking the road and -- I'm
9 sorry. There's a wall between the road and the
10 cemetery, is there not, a stone-type wall?
11 A. Yes. Well, it wasn't a wall, it was a fence,
12 and you could see through it.
13 Q. Fair enough. Would you put where that fence
14 is, please, with again green?
15 A. (Witness complies) The whole cemetery was
16 surrounded by that fence.
17 Q. Would you just mark, to the left-hand side,
18 the letter "F" for "Fence"?
19 A. (Witness complies)
20 Q. Thank you, sir. That's all we have for that
21 exhibit. Now I would like to turn our attention,
22 please, to April 15, 1993.
23 MR. STEIN: Do I take it, going back to this
24 exhibit we marked, do you want to give that another
25 identification number? Feel free.
1 THE REGISTRAR: D32/1.
2 MR. STEIN:
3 Q. April 15, 1993, you testified yesterday that
4 the evening was very quiet, absolutely alarmingly
5 quiet, as I understand your testimony. Is that
7 A. I said that several days, not only that
8 evening only. I said that three or four days prior to
9 the attack were quiet.
10 Q. You personally became concerned; is that fair
11 to say?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. It was your testimony that nonetheless your
14 concern was not shared by the rest of the community?
15 A. Probably.
16 Q. Let me, if I may, ask you -- excuse me, let
17 me strike that.
18 Would you please have available Defence 13/2,
19 specifically, and this is the statement of Faud
20 Berbic? I'm specifically, Mr. Nice, pointing to the
21 address --
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Stein, don't address counsel
23 across the Chamber. It's not courteous. You will
24 address the Bench, and if you want counsel to do
25 something, you can do it through the Bench. It's the
1 normal way.
2 MR. STEIN: Very good, Sir.
3 Q. I'm specifically pointing to page 5, the
4 fourth full paragraph, and again I think we established
5 this before, but Mr. Berbic was the prior commander of
6 the TO, yes, before your brother?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And he had substantial military experience,
9 did he not?
10 A. That's what you think. I don't think so.
11 Q. He was a captain in the JNA, wasn't he?
12 A. Yes, that's what I heard, but a reserve one.
13 Q. All right. In any event, according to that
14 particular statement which is marked in evidence, and I
15 quote for you: "On the eve of 15 April" -- I'm sorry.
16 "On the eve of the 15 April attack, I was on guard
17 duty. It was very quiet, dead calm. Our level of
18 alertness had been increased by 50 per cent compared to
19 the night before because unfamiliar uniformed persons
20 had been seen. Ten men were on standby in the lower
21 part of the village in addition to the guards, and the
22 guards were doubled in the upper part of the village as
24 My question to you, sir, is: Is it fair to
25 say that on the evening of the 15th, there was an
1 increased level of alertness?
2 A. It was, according to what Fuad Berbic
3 stated. But had there been a higher degree of
4 alertness, not so many people would have been at home
5 and therefore killed in the morning, slain in the
6 morning. So this is Fuad Berbic's statement, and Fuad
7 Berbic was not the commander at that time. It was
8 Midhat Berbic.
9 Q. I take it you personally were not on the
10 barricade, or either -- let me strike that. That's
12 You were not on patrol on April 15th,
14 A. No, no, I was at home. I had no duty to
15 discharge that night, nor my brother Muris, nor many
16 others of us who were in their houses that night and
17 were therefore slain.
18 Q. Therefore, of your own personal knowledge,
19 you don't know whether Mr. Berbic's observations of a
20 heightened alert and an increase of 50 per cent are
21 accurate or not; isn't that correct?
22 A. Yes, true, I have no knowledge of that. It
23 is his statement, and I really feel reluctant to
24 comment on it.
25 Q. Very good. I just want to touch on this very
1 briefly: There came a point in time on the 16th of
2 April where you, yourself, surrendered a grenade to the
3 HVO forces; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Your brother had also surrendered a grenade?
6 A. I don't know that. I did not see that, but I
7 know he had a hand grenade and I had a hand grenade.
8 That was all the weapons that we had.
9 Q. All right.
10 MR. STEIN: I'm just looking for one thing,
11 Your Honour, in my notes.
12 Q. The HVO soldiers who were surrounding your
13 home specifically said something to you along the lines
14 that there had been a massacre at Dusina and at
15 Nezirovici; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You were aware of those facts, when they
18 happened or shortly thereafter?
19 A. I knew very little about it.
20 Q. You knew, however, that there had been Croats
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you knew also that the Muslims of the
24 7th Brigade had been the ones, supposedly, who had done
25 that killing?
1 A. No, I didn't know who was involved.
2 Q. All right. Certainly you did know that it
3 was claimed that Muslims killed Croats?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. STEIN: I have nothing further.
6 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Stein, I think we ought
7 to know something about what your case is about
8 Ahmici. The witness's evidence is that his house was
9 attacked and his family killed. I take it that that is
10 accepted? It hasn't been challenged?
11 MR. STEIN: It is accepted that his house was
12 attacked and that his family was killed. Our position
13 on the subject generally is that Mr. Kordic knew
14 nothing about the attack on Ahmici, had nothing to do
15 with its planning, was not there, and only learned
16 about it after the fact.
17 I will also tell the Court, having read the
18 transcripts and the other testimony in the other cases,
19 it's apparent from those cases, at least, that there is
20 some dispute as to whether the village was prepared or
21 not, whether the village was armed and defended or not,
22 and whether or not the village was actually the subject
23 of a military action.
24 JUDGE MAY: I presume it's not disputed that
25 there was some military action there?
1 MR. STEIN: Right.
2 JUDGE MAY: Is it going to be suggested in
3 this trial that there was a defence or that there
4 wasn't an attack by the HVO on the village?
5 MR. STEIN: Oh, no, there was a
6 conflagration. Who started it, who defended it,
7 frankly, from our perspective, since we had nothing to
8 do with it, is not largely relevant. That was my first
9 answer to Your Honour's question. I want to be clear,
10 our position is he had nothing to do with it.
11 On the other hand, it would be an abrogation
12 of duty on our parts to just let the record roll on
13 without indicating that there are other sources of
14 evidence which clearly indicate this was a two-sided
15 affair. I'm not here to say who started, or who fired
16 the first weapon, or the motives of the parties.
17 JUDGE MAY: The one piece of evidence which
18 was given involving Mr. Kordic was the threat -- which,
19 you'll remember, was the subject of objection -- that
20 their houses would be burnt and the people would be
21 killed, and it's alleged that this was said to be a
22 message from Dario Kordic. Is it challenged that there
23 was such a message?
24 MR. STEIN: Absolutely challenged there was
25 such a message. I remember the colloquy well, and that
1 was part of my response to Your Honour in arguing the
2 motion. We never said that. Mr. Kordic never said
3 that, nor was anyone authorised to say it in his name.
4 Now, there may be some other evidence about
5 it, and we'll challenge that, but our position is that
6 the threat which has been introduced by the Prosecutor
7 initially to have been Mr. Kordic's, and then the
8 position changed somewhat to be in the name of
9 Mr. Kordic, was neither his to give, nor did he give
10 it, nor was it authorised in his name.
11 And further, the reason I brought out what I
12 did was that although two to three homes and ten
13 stables were burned, according to the witness, after
14 the October attack, that was the limit of that attack.
15 After the blockade was over, the troops moved through.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Stein,
17 you have just said that Mr. Kordic, the accused Kordic,
18 was not aware before, was not aware of what had
19 happened in Ahmici, but that he learned about it later
20 on. This is exactly what you said, isn't it? I noted
21 that properly? Could you tell us when he learned about
23 MR. STEIN: I frankly don't have that
24 information off the tip of my head; that is, the day --
25 the next day or shortly thereafter. I will get that
1 for you and report back.
2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) You are very
3 cooperative today. Today is Friday, the last day of
4 the week. Let's use that--
5 MR. STEIN: I like to think I'm cooperative
6 every day.
7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Let's avail
8 ourselves of this opportunity, because you are
9 extremely kind and willing to cooperate. So you're
10 going to tell us when he knew about it and whether he
11 took steps, you know, he did anything accordingly?
12 When did he hear about it, and when he did, when he
13 heard about all these facts we have just heard, did he
14 take any steps accordingly? We would be very grateful
15 for that in order to establish the truth. Thank you.
16 MR. STEIN: Very good, sir.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Stein, you said your
18 case was that this was a two-sided affair. Of course,
19 of importance in that is whether a particular side was
20 acting defensively and another aggressively. I imagine
21 you're saying that there is no onus on you to show
23 MR. STEIN: Yeah.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: You create a doubt about
1 MR. STEIN: What I'm trying to say, clearly,
2 and not to duck Your Honour's question, is I don't
3 know, nor does Mr. Kordic, who were the aggressors and
4 who were the defenders, and at any given time. The
5 attack went on for hours. Who fired first, we don't
6 know. How -- the manner of defence, who got the better
7 of it, we don't know, nor is it important for our case,
8 except to say that there were, according to other
9 trials in this Tribunal, there's a lot of evidence all
10 along those lines. I hope not to have a trial within a
11 trial on a defence to an action that we didn't have
12 anything to do with, but I wanted at least -- and I
13 think it was our duty to show that there are two sides
14 to this particular story.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Stein.
16 Mr. Kovacic?
17 MR. KOVACIC: Mr. Mikulicic.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic, I hope you, too,
19 can conclude within the time.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, rest assured, I
21 will finish it in time.
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
23 [Witness answers through interpreter]
24 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Ahmic. I'm Goran
25 Mikulicic, a lawyer, a member of the Defence team
1 representing Mr. Mario Cerkez in this case. Before I
2 ask you some questions, I should like to ask you to
3 believe me when I say that I truly sympathise with you,
4 that I do understand your loss, and I really feel sorry
5 about all that you suffered during the case in Ahmici
6 and the whole conflict in Bosnia.
7 Now, Mr. Ahmic, could you please tell us,
8 what nationality, what citizenship did you hold until
9 April 1992, and that is until the day when the Republic
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina proclaimed its sovereignty and
12 A. Yugoslav citizenship.
13 Q. So you were a national of the Socialist
14 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; is it so?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Will you tell us, which nationality, which
17 citizenship did you hold after Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 proclaimed its independence? That is, after April '92.
19 A. The citizenship of the Republic of
21 Q. I see. Mr. Ahmic, are you a practising
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At the time, I mean 1992 and 1993, did you
25 perform any religious rituals in the mosque in Ahmici?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Mr. Ahmic, could you tell us, to the best of
3 your recollection, how many men of your age, at the
4 time, regularly go to mosque for the purpose of
5 religious service?
6 A. I could give you a percentage. It could be
7 some 50 or maybe 60 per cent.
8 Q. Mr. Ahmic, in your statement, you testified
9 that on the eve of the events on the 20th of
10 October, '92, you said that your brother Muris
11 commanded the TO in the village; is that correct?
12 A. It is.
13 Q. Can you then tell us, how long was he the
14 commander of the TO?
15 A. I think until the 23rd of October '92.
16 Q. Will you please correct me if I'm wrong. I
17 believe you said that he resigned after that; is that
19 A. Yes, or he was dismissed. I'm not quite
20 clear about that.
21 Q. Do you perhaps know the reasons for his
22 resignation, i.e., dismissal?
23 A. Well, not quite, not really, but roughly he
24 was quite disappointed with what was going on, and he
25 thought it was his mistake, that he was responsible for
1 all the damage. I believe he was very disappointed
2 with what had happened.
3 Q. Do you know who succeeded him?
4 A. Midhat Berbic.
5 Q. A while ago you said that Midhat Berbic also
6 held that position in April 1993; that is, at the time
7 of the second conflict, if I may call it that, in
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Ahmic, is Midhat the son of Fuad Berbic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. We talked about this roadblock in October '92
13 that had been erected on the road going through
14 Ahmici. Could you tell us, what kind of a road is
16 A. Well, it is a regional road, one could say.
17 It's not a highway. It linked various regions.
18 Q. Could you tell us, which regions did that
19 particular road link?
20 A. Well, East Bosnia and West Bosnia. East with
21 West Bosnia.
22 Q. Is it true that the road we're referring to,
23 now looking westward, comes from Travnik, and then one
24 can follow it to Jajce?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Mr. Ahmic, tell us, do you know -- and we are
2 talking about the latter half of October '92 -- was
3 there any fighting around Jajce?
4 A. Yes, I know that.
5 Q. Do you know who participated in that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you tell us?
9 A. Yes. Those were the BH army on one hand and
10 the HVO, on one side, against the Serbs.
11 Q. So is it true that the BH army, together with
12 the HVO, resisted the Serb attack in Jajce?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Ahmic, Judge Robinson asked you today
15 something about Ivo Papic. Just to clarify matters
16 further, tell us, was Mr. Ivo Papic one of those who
17 helped you escape from the house in which you were at
18 the time when you were wounded?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I shall now ask you, Mr. Ahmic, to answer the
21 following questions with "Yes" or "No" only, to try to
22 go through them quickly.
23 Is it true that you told us that you were
24 hiding in that ditch next to the road after you had
25 managed to escape from the Upper, that is, Central
1 Ahmici, and you watched soldiers passing by the road?
2 A. I did not flee Central Ahmici. I fled from
3 my home.
4 Q. Yes, right. But is it true that at the time
5 you happened to see the insignia they wore on their
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is it true that you told us that after, when
9 you were so cold and wet in the ditch, having spent
10 there all night, you got to the cinders of a house,
11 which was still smouldering, to get warm?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is it true that you told us that from that
14 house, you could hear from a nearby house the voice of
15 your mother?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Is it correct that you heard her sob and cry
18 how her husband and children had been killed?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Is it true that you said there was fog and
21 you couldn't see much?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Ahmic, this is the end of my
25 You mentioned that you were taken to the
1 elementary school in Dubravica, together with other
2 Bosniaks, and I want to ask you something in this
4 Is it true that that facility was guarded by
5 the special unit Vitezovi Knights, as you claimed in
6 your earlier statements given to Court investigators?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Ahmic, do you know who commanded that
9 special unit?
10 A. The camp commander was Anto Krisanac, a man
11 on the short side, rather dark.
12 Q. But who was the commander of Vitezovi?
13 A. I believe it was Kraljevic, the one that was
15 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation) Thank you,
16 Mr. Ahmic.
17 Your Honours, I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE MAY: Any re-examination?
19 MR. NICE: Just a few points.
20 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
21 Q. You were asked about the number of weapons
22 held by the Territorial Defence in Ahmici. But leading
23 up to April 1993, what sort of level of arms was held
24 within the village? Can you help us?
25 A. Up to April 1993, there were not many weapons
1 because the people who had gone from the Territorial
2 Defence and entered the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
3 where battalions were set up, were now in a different
4 situation. They had to go to the nearby war theatres
5 against the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Vlasic
6 or in Visoko, so that we were much weaker in the period
7 up to April 1992 as regards weapons and ammunition.
8 Q. The translation came as "1992", but did you
9 mean up to 1993?
10 A. Yes. I think there were fewer and fewer
11 weapons because the people and the weapons they had,
12 they had to take the weapons to the front lines, and
13 the weapons were left on the defence lines facing the
15 Q. Are you able to estimate at all how many
16 armed men there were in Ahmici on a day or on a night
17 in March or April of 1993?
18 A. Nobody carried weapons in the daytime. And
19 at night, people would come out to patrol, and it's
20 hard to estimate, but I often saw them patrolling and
21 they were not big patrols. It was mostly old-age
22 pensioners who patrolled, because most of the young
23 people were outside Ahmici at the positions. And
24 sometimes there would be shifts, and when the attack
25 broke out, then the younger people who were killed
1 happened to be at home but they didn't have their
2 weapons with them.
3 Q. The men, you say mostly old-age pensioners
4 who did patrol, what level of arms and ammunition did
5 they have, typically?
6 A. We might say 10 to 20 barrels or pieces.
7 Q. Just so I understand that, by "barrels", do
8 you mean something like a rifle, and do you mean 10 to
9 20 altogether?
10 A. Altogether, yes.
11 Q. In the time leading up to the middle of April
12 of 1993, was there any plan, of which you were aware,
13 to attack the HVO in your locality or anywhere else?
14 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, (interpretation) I
15 object to this question. It seems to me that my
16 colleague is going outside the area covered in the
17 examination in chief and the scope of the
19 JUDGE MAY: No.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. Can you answer the question? Was there any
22 plan of which you were aware to attack the HVO in your
23 locality or anywhere else in the period leading up to
24 the middle of April of 1993?
25 A. I wasn't aware of any such plan, but that
1 would not be very probable because we had big problems
2 at the lines facing the Serbs to keep the little
3 territory we held, so it was absolutely impossible for
4 us. But the attacks against the HVO had to be carried
5 out, such as they were, because the Croats started
6 incidents and we had to respond. But this was an
7 absolute necessity, because if we had had any plans to
8 attack the HVO, it would have been self-destruction on
9 our part because we couldn't fight two enemies at
10 once. I mean we couldn't start a conflict with two
11 enemies at once.
12 Q. In that period up until April 1993, what, if
13 any, access did the Territorial Defence have to weapons
14 so that it could, if at all, increase its level of
16 A. In that period, the army was established.
17 There may have been some channels for the supply of
18 weapons, but I think very few weapons arrived.
19 Q. Did any weapons come from those channels to
20 Ahmici, to your knowledge?
21 A. No, no. We had only the weapons that we
22 managed to bring from Slimena, and some people may have
23 bought rifles on the black market just before the war
25 Q. As to the morning itself of the 16th of
1 April, when you were woken up, from your house did you
2 have any view from your house of other parts of Ahmici
3 on the other side of the road?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were you either able to see -- or even if
6 able, did you have the time to focus on what was
7 happening on the other side of the road?
8 A. I had very little time, and I was looking out
9 of the window to see what was going on.
10 Q. Did you see any signs of attack being mounted
11 by residents of Ahmici or by the Territorial Defence
12 against others?
13 A. No, I didn't notice that. I was not able to
14 see that.
15 Q. During the day that you spent in the stream
16 or ditch, did you see any signs of attack by residents
17 of Ahmici or the Territorial Defence on others?
18 A. No. I was unable to see that, either.
19 Q. Finally, you've been asked, in respect of an
20 earlier incident, about the details of the roadblock by
21 the cemetery and about, for example, the use of mines.
22 How did this roadblock compare, if at all, with
23 roadblocks erected by the HVO? Was it similar,
24 stronger, weaker, better armed, worse armed?
25 A. The HVO roadblocks had a lot of hedgehogs, a
1 lot of mines, with soldiers armed to the teeth with
2 machine gun nests, with support. But all we had were
3 mines and two iron hedgehogs which were set up, and the
4 people manned the checkpoint to stop the traffic, and
5 they dug a few trenches at the side of the road, which
6 I marked, and that is what the roadblock was like.
7 MR. NICE: Thank you. That's all I wish to
8 ask the witness in re-examination.
9 MR. STEIN: Judge, I'm not sure the Court
10 knows, and I don't, what an iron hedgehog is.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Ahmic, would you tell us what
12 a hedgehog is, please?
13 A. That is two iron pieces of rail tracks, iron
14 tracks. They are very heavy, and they are placed in
15 the shape of a cross and put on the road to prevent
16 vehicles from passing through.
17 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Ahmici. That
18 concludes your evidence. Thank you for coming again to
19 the International Tribunal to give evidence. You are
20 now released.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm in a position to
23 start another witness straightaway. I recognise that
24 he won't be obviously completed today, but unless the
25 Court thinks otherwise, we have half an hour.
1 JUDGE MAY: Well, we can use the time until
2 1.15, which was the original time we mentioned.
3 MR. NICE: There are summaries that may be
4 distributed. I'm sorry they haven't been distributed
5 earlier, but they've only recently been concluded.
6 Defence have got them.
7 (Trial Chamber confers)
8 MR. NICE: I hope the usher is bringing the
9 witness in, but he may not have known what was expected
10 of him. While --
11 JUDGE MAY: What is the area that this
12 witness deals with, please?
13 MR. NICE: This is Vitez, but it's particular
14 matters. Here he comes.
15 (The witness entered court)
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
18 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
21 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a
23 WITNESS: MUNIB KAJMOVIC
24 Examined by Mr. Nice:
25 [Witness answers through interpreter]
1 Q. Your full name, please?
2 A. My name is Munib Kajmovic.
3 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, were you born in Kadice, some
4 16 kilometres from Vitez, and were you, from 1976 and
5 until April of 1993, a history teacher at the Vitez
6 high school?
7 A. Just a small correction. I was not born in
8 Kadice but in Kundici, in the municipality of Travnik.
9 But it's true I have been employed as a history teacher
10 in the high school in Vitez from 1976.
11 Q. As it happened, did you encounter Dario
12 Kordic as a pupil at your school for a year or so?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What age was he when he was at the Vitez high
16 A. Since I started teaching at the Vitez high
17 school in 1976, then I taught a third grade class, and
18 Dario Kordic was a pupil in that class.
19 Q. You'll have to help us with the age of
20 somebody in the third grade, please, roughly.
21 A. Well, roughly, in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
22 pupils graduate from high school, which lasts four
23 years, at the age of 18, more or less. So he might
24 have been 16 or 17 years old at the time.
25 Q. At that stage, was there one characteristic
1 of him that you noted as being a little unusual?
2 A. While that is a detail, since someone who
3 works in a school sees a lot of generations passing
4 through and then you remember some pupils by some
5 details and don't remember others, but Dario Kordic
6 sticks in my memory because several times he stopped me
7 in the corridor and asked me additional questions in
8 history which mostly referred to the history of the
10 Q. At that time, was history taught in a way
11 that focused or encouraged the focus on national
12 history of that kind?
13 A. No, no. The curriculum was such that
14 national history was taught but so was general
15 history. In national history, topics which might have
16 an effect on national relations were avoided because
17 Yugoslavia was a state composed of various ethnic
18 groups, and that is what the system demanded.
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Nice,
20 regarding the teaching of history, could we know from
21 the witness whether that curriculum taught at Vitez was
22 a curriculum established at national level?
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. Mr. Kajmovic?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Does that
2 mean that the same curriculum was taught everywhere in
3 the territory of the former Yugoslavia?
4 A. Mostly, yes. But in particular republics, a
5 certain percentage of the curriculum was allowed to be
6 devoted to national history according to the amount of
7 time given to it. For example, in Slovenia, the pupils
8 learned a little more about Slovenian national history,
9 the history of the Slovenes, but as a rule there were
10 no major differences.
11 MR. NICE: In the absence of objection, I
12 will be able to deal with the balance of the paragraphs
13 on page 1 and halfway down page 2 by "Yes"/"No"
14 questions and answers or by summary. If my friends
15 opposite want anything to be dealt with extensively, no
16 doubt they will indicate.
17 Q. Mr. Kajmovic, I think you'll be able to
18 answer these questions "Yes" or "No" without
19 elaboration, for the most part, in order to save time,
20 because we are covering matters that have been covered
21 or can be covered elsewhere.
22 Is it right that you joined the SDA party in
23 1990 and became its president in September 1991?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Just to deal with it but leaping to the time
1 after the conflict, did you, in 1994, become a graduate
2 student in politics at the university in Sarajevo,
3 completing a thesis on political and demographic
4 changes in the Vitez municipality, and although your
5 thesis has been completed, it has yet to be defended
6 before the faculty in accordance with the system that
7 operates there?
8 A. Yes, my thesis has been completed. I have
9 two or three issues left to deal with, and then I will
10 defend it.
11 Q. You would be able, if asked, to deal with the
12 development of tension between the HDZ and the SDA in
13 the build-up to the conflict.
14 Just one detail. How did the HDZ attempt to
15 persuade people to join it, if at all?
16 A. Since up to 1990, in Yugoslavia, there was a
17 one-party system, in 1990, when the laws permitted the
18 introduction of a multi-party system, several political
19 parties were established, and some of them were
20 established on a national basis, even though not all of
21 them were established on that basis.
22 In this period, every party tried to attract
23 as many sympathisers and members as possible, so that
24 all the parties did that, and most of the parties tried
25 to do so by criticising the ruling party, by advocating
1 their own party programme, and a lot of work was done
2 in the field to convince people that they should
3 support such and such a political party, that these
4 were times which would probably see major changes.
5 Q. Can I stop you there and take you from that
6 general description of the development of multi-party
7 politics to the narrower issue? Are those the methods
8 that the HDZ used or did they on occasions use
9 different methods, to your knowledge?
10 A. At the beginning, no force was used, but
11 gradually at the local level in Vitez, I noticed that
12 the leading structures of the HDZ adopted a rather
13 negative attitude toward those Croats who did not
14 easily accept their programme. Especially they had a
15 negative attitude toward those people who remained
16 members of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the
18 Q. Are there any particular methods of
19 recruitment associated with the HDZ that stick in your
20 memory and that you can tell us about?
21 A. I can mention an example of two Croats from
22 Vitez. One of them was Stipo Brka, who is still
23 employed at the municipal assembly at Vitez. I think
24 he's in the land registry, and he was a member of the
25 Communist Party, the SDP. The other one was Zdravko
1 Livancic. They remained loyal to the Communist Party
2 of Yugoslavia or the Party of Democratic Changes.
3 Then the HDZ, at a certain moment with the
4 help of soldiers, burst into the building of the then
5 open university where the offices of the Communist
6 Party and all the other parties were located, and they
7 smashed up the office.
8 In their offices, these two Croats happened
9 to be there at the time, and they tied them up and then
10 they put them in a vehicle and took them to a place
11 called Zabrdze in the area of Vitez, where they tied
12 them to a tree, beat them up, fired shots from
13 firearms. They didn't kill them. But when they got
14 back, I had the opportunity of meeting Stipo Brka, who
15 was too scared to talk about this event. He mostly
16 kept silent, and I can say that he remained very
17 consistent, that he persisted in his political
19 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you,
20 Mr. Kajmovic. I think we might move on now to other
22 MR. NICE: Definitely.
23 Q. Did you assume that Vitez had become part of
24 Herceg-Bosna without ever seeing any official
25 publication to that effect until after the conflict?
1 A. I assumed that something like this was
2 possible, even though later on, by following these
3 issues, I understood that the HDZ structures on
4 18 November, 1991, had actually proclaimed this
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, but --
6 Q. Again, I'm going to cut you short, because
7 some of these questions can be dealt with just by "Yes"
8 or "No" answers. In particular, I think you became a
9 member of the crisis committee in April 1992, in Vitez,
10 and Ivica Santic was president of that committee?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. At one of the crisis meetings, Anto Valenta
13 said something that you can recall; just tell us,
14 please, what it was he said, in summary, in respect of
15 the behaviour of Bosnians.
16 A. Yes, at the crisis staff, there were often
17 discussions on various issues, and the Bosniak and
18 Croat members of the crisis staff often disagreed on
19 the solutions to certain problems, and whenever there
20 would be an issue where we could not agree -- and at
21 one point Anto Valenta was quite upset and said
22 something like, "Watch out, you Bosniaks, what you are
23 doing and how you are debating the crisis staff,
24 because we are armed by 90 per cent, and as far as we
25 know, you are only armed by 10 per cent, and so you may
1 pay a very steep price for what you are doing."
2 So that was sort of the gist of his statement
3 at that meeting.
4 Q. You can, if asked, deal with the development
5 of aggression from Serbia and Montenegro, with the SDA
6 offering a joint Defence force, with Anto Valenta
7 becoming president of the HDZ, and with Anto Valenta
8 requesting a meeting of elected deputies of the
9 municipal assemblies at an elementary school in Vitez
10 where he invited recognition of Herceg-Bosna and where
11 the Muslim representatives refused. I set those things
12 out. You can, if asked by other people, deal with them
13 in detail? Just "Yes" or "No," please.
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. In the beginning of 1992, the HVO was
16 created, and it took over municipal authorities in the
17 police stations. And you can help, if asked, with the
18 developing pattern of Croats wearing uniforms with HVO
19 badges, with the dismissal of Bosniaks from the police,
20 with the request of Bosnian Muslims to sign loyalty
21 agreements, and with the fact that those who declined
22 to sign lost their jobs? Again, if asked, you can deal
23 with all those things in detail?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In the spring of 1992, you were, yourself,
1 present at a meeting in Novi Travnik where Dario
2 Kordic, in military uniform, dealt with the demand for
3 two multi-rocket launchers from the Bratstvo factory?
4 Again, just "Yes" or "No."
5 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, I think at this
6 point, since the accused entered into the picture, it
7 might be helpful to have this matter dealt with, if the
8 Trial Chamber deems it to be non-cumulative and
9 relevant, by non-leading questions, and I would point
10 out that we have already had witnesses who have
11 testified about this incident.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, it should be dealt with
14 MR. NICE: I'm happy to deal with it
15 conventionally, of course, or alternatively, because
16 it's been dealt with already by other witnesses and I'm
17 not sure that its been materially challenged, simply to
18 be dealt with as a topic he can deal with if asked, to
19 save time.
20 I think perhaps the best course is for me to
21 return to that after the weekend, when I've seen if
22 there is anything truly challenged in the previous
23 testimony that needs to be dealt with, and I can move
24 on swiftly, for the purpose of this stage of the
25 evidence, as the Court knows, is to avoid cumulative
1 evidence. Paragraph 15, however, is, I think, new, and
2 I'll deal with it conventionally.
3 Q. The Slimena factory close to Travnik, was
4 there an incident there in May of 1992 that you can
5 help us with?
6 A. Yes. It is a warehouse, it's a weapons
7 depot, not a factory. And indeed there was an incident
8 there that took place -- I believe it was on 4 May,
9 1992, and I could explain what actually happened there.
10 Q. In summary, because we don't need it in the
11 greatest detail, if you can, simply in your own words,
12 in a few sentences, explain what happened and what the
13 outcome was.
14 A. This was a depot of the former JNA where,
15 several months previously, it had transferred the
16 weapons of the Territorial Defence of three
17 municipalities, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Vitez. They
18 controlled it, and in May 1992, the HVO armed forces
19 attacked this depot. The security of the JNA
20 withdrew. Part of the depot was set on fire during the
21 attack, and some of the equipment was burned, and then
22 the population, in an organised and unorganised way,
23 arrived from all three municipalities and took these
24 weapons -- that is, from Novi Travnik, Travnik, and
1 I was there for about three -- I was there
2 after -- this was just following a meeting, and I was
3 there for about three hours -- about three hours later,
4 after it had taken place, and I saw four to five
5 thousand people taking weapons with them.
6 Q. Would it be possible to give any estimate as
7 to the proportion of one ethnic group or another that
8 was represented in this four to five thousand people?
9 A. The attack on this military depot was carried
10 out by the HVO. I don't know if there were any members
11 of the army who took part in it, but our assessment was
12 that the HVO wanted to take over these weapons, and we
13 thought that no Bosniaks would receive any -- would get
14 any of these weapons. We thought the HVO perhaps would
15 not need those weapons as much, but that they wanted to
16 prevent them from falling into the hands of the
17 Bosniaks, either through negotiations or any other
19 In support of this claim was the fact that
20 that morning when the attack was carried out, the HDZ
21 and SDA representatives from Travnik, Novi Travnik, and
22 Vitez arrived and held a meeting in the municipal
23 building in Travnik, and there we proposed that the
24 weapons be distributed equally, so that 50 per cent
25 would go to the Croatian side and 50 to the Bosniak
1 side, and that this also be evenly distributed among
2 the three municipalities, even though the
3 municipalities did not have equal-size populations or
4 equal amounts of armaments.
5 But in field, they practically were not able
6 to prevent the Bosniak population from taking some of
7 the weapons, and even their own people, because it was
8 a chaotic situation, and no order could be
9 established. Even had we established any kind of --
10 reached any kind of agreement within the municipal
11 building, we wouldn't have been able to implement it
12 because of the chaotic situation there.
13 Q. I'm going to ask you, in the next question
14 but one, whether today or next week, about an event in
15 a Vitez stadium where you saw Dario Kordic at an
16 oath-taking ceremony. Can you, for the present
17 purposes, simply give an idea of what part of 1992 that
18 occurred? Spring, summer, autumn, winter?
19 A. As far as I recall, they had a parade --
20 Q. I just want the timing at the moment:
21 Spring, summer, autumn, winter?
22 A. It may have been the summer, end of the
23 summer. At any rate, it was hot. I remember that one
24 soldier got sick and needed to be given help.
25 Q. In the time between your first getting
1 involved in these political matters and this meeting or
2 this event at the stadium in the summer of 1992, had
3 you had any encounters with your sometime school pupil,
4 Dario Kordic? Had you met him, spoken to him at all?
5 A. I did not meet him until there were some
6 negotiations at the local level. The representatives
7 of Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Novi Travnik would come,
8 and then we held meetings. This was in late 1992; in
9 fact, starting mid-1992. There were several such
10 meetings, and in some of these meetings, Dario Kordic
11 was also present.
12 Q. Paragraph 22 -- and this may be a convenient
13 place to end, subject to the Court's decisions on its
14 timetable -- at these meetings, what views did he
15 express? In general terms.
16 A. In the meetings, several issues were
17 discussed, and solutions were sought; that is,
18 political solutions, starting with the local
19 authorities, police, and then military, the symbols and
20 insignia that should be used. In these discussions,
21 his positions were fairly extreme. It was very
22 difficult to look for a compromise that would be
23 acceptable for both sides. I think that they were not
24 leading towards solving problems but, rather, further
25 friction among the ethnic groups.
1 MR. NICE: I have perhaps one minute of
2 matters to inform the Court about, administrative
3 matters, and this would be as convenient a moment as
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 MR. NICE: If the witness could withdraw, and
7 possibly just a private session for one minute, then I
8 can inform the Court of the timetable for next week and
9 the weeks after.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kajmovic, we are going to
11 adjourn now. Would you be back, please, on Monday
12 morning at 9.45? Would you remember -- no, there's one
13 thing I want to tell you.
14 Mr. Kajmovic, I'm sorry to detain you, but
15 there's one thing I want to say, and I must say it in
16 public: Please don't speak to anybody about your
17 evidence over the weekend, and that includes members of
18 the Prosecution.
19 If you would like to go now, and be back on
20 Monday morning, please.
21 (The witness withdrew)
22 (Private session)
13 redacted page 3671 private session
13 redacted page 3672 private session
13 redacted page 3673 - private session
13 page 3674 redacted private session
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 1.20 p.m., to be reconvened on
24 Monday, the 14th day of June, 1999,
25 at 9.45 a.m.