Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 6804

1 Thursday, 16th September, 1999

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.

6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] This is

7 IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario Kordic and

8 Mario Cerkez.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

10 WITNESS: WITNESS K [Resumes]

11 [Witness answers through interpreter]

12 MR. SAYERS:

13 Q. Witness K, good morning. I noticed from the

14 transcript yesterday that omitted to introduce myself.

15 My name is Sayers, and I represent Dario Kordic.

16 When we broke yesterday, we were discussing

17 about the roadblock that was set up outside your

18 village on October 19th, 1992.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Witness K, it's true, is it not, that at that

21 time, Bosnian Serb forces were actually launching an

22 assault on the town of Jajce to the west of Vitez;

23 correct?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And you were aware that there was heavy

Page 6805

1 fighting involved in that assault; correct?

2 A. This is what I heard from some -- secondhand,

3 that is, but I didn't see it.

4 Q. Were you aware that shortly after the

5 roadblock incident, the town actually fell to the

6 assaulting Bosnian Serb forces, it was captured by

7 them?

8 A. It was for reasons that were never

9 explained.

10 Q. Following the roadblock incident, you were

11 actually congratulated by commander Refik Lendo over

12 the radio for stopping the HVO troops en route, were

13 you not?

14 A. He didn't to me. There was no reason for

15 that and I was not a military person. So I am not

16 aware of any congratulations.

17 Q. All right. Let me just read you a statement

18 from your witness statement of February the 15th, 1995

19 on page 2.

20 "The military BiH commander in Novi Travnik

21 named Lendo congratulated us over the radio or TV for

22 stopping the HVO." Is that right, sir?

23 A. Such source probably circulated, but you

24 asked me whether I knew of that, and that BH army

25 commander was fighting with the HVO and the Croatian

Page 6806

1 army in the Novi Travnik area. In other words, it had

2 nothing to do with fighting in Jajce because in Jajce,

3 the Catholics, that is, the Croatian army pulled back

4 before the Serb occupiers. That is the real truth.

5 Q. Right. But you do acknowledge making

6 statement that I just read out to the Prosecution's

7 investigators about four and a half years ago; is that

8 right?

9 A. I don't recall it, but probably I did.

10 Q. All right, sir. Now, you referred during

11 your examination by the Prosecution to a man by the

12 name of Fuad Berbic. It's true, isn't it, that he was

13 the commander of the forces in Ahmici before the road

14 blockade that we've talked about?

15 A. As far as I know, he was at the level of the

16 Territorial Defence for an entire region, which

17 included our village as well, in other words,

18 Dubravica, Sivrino Selo, the railroad station, Ahmici,

19 Nadioci, and so forth.

20 Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Berbic was

21 subsequently replaced immediately before the roadblock

22 incident by Muris Ahmic as the commander of TO forces

23 in Ahmici?

24 A. I personally do not know what changes took

25 place there, but it is true that in our village, Muris

Page 6807

1 Ahmic was our sort of immediate commander and Fuad

2 Berbic was transferred and became the officer for the

3 Territorial Defence in the village, the civilian

4 protection in the village.

5 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, let me turn to a

6 related subject, the fighting that occurred on October

7 the 20th of 1992.

8 You have described the casualties on the part

9 of the people that were defending the roadblock. Do

10 you know how many casualties were inflicted upon the

11 Croats, sir?

12 A. I really don't know because I was not

13 directly involved. I did not take part in it. When

14 the fighting started, I moved to another part of the

15 village, and so I did not know the situation on the

16 ground.

17 Q. All right. You have described houses

18 catching fire as a result of being hit by tracer fire.

19 Did you actually see that yourself?

20 A. I saw smoke, I saw fire, and when we returned

21 to the village, I saw what had happened. But when it

22 was happening, I did not see that.

23 Q. All right. Let me turn to another subject,

24 the subject of -- the unfortunate subject of your

25 cousin who died as a result of being shot at the

Page 6808

1 roadblock on October the 20th.

2 Isn't it true that he was sitting right next

3 to Mr. Sahabudin Muratovic, who was arming an M-84

4 heavy calibre machine gun?

5 A. I don't know whether he was sitting or

6 standing. Sahabudin married a cousin of mine, a

7 relative, and after this event, he said that Halid was

8 killed in his immediate vicinity, and this is why I

9 know the circumstances of his killing. He was the

10 actual witness. He said that he came across the line

11 as a civilian and was killed in his immediate

12 vicinity.

13 Q. Mr. Muratovic, though, was actually manning

14 an M-84 heavy calibre machine gun, wasn't he, at the

15 time?

16 A. I didn't see what he had, but he probably did

17 have two weapons.

18 Q. All right. Let me just read you an excerpt

19 from your February the 15th, 1995 statement, and I'd

20 just like you to confirm that this is accurate.

21 "Muratovic, Sabahudin, nicknamed Budo, who

22 had been manning the M-84 machine gun told me that,"

23 and I'll omit the name, your cousin, "was next to him

24 when he was shot by a sniper from the area of Ivo

25 Papic's house."

Page 6809

1 Is that statement factually accurate?

2 A. I have just confirmed that I received this

3 information from him, and probably at that time he had

4 told me what type of weapon he had, and so I added that

5 to this statement. But I also want to say that all the

6 weapons that we had in the village were -- had come

7 from Slimena, and how shall I put it in military terms,

8 they were practically useless, and had been brought

9 there just for intimidation purposes. There was no

10 real use of them.

11 Q. Part of the fighting on October the 20th --

12 well, actually as the fighting was going on, I believe,

13 you testified, representatives of the HVO actually

14 offered the people manning the blockade the opportunity

15 to avoid further conflict by laying down their arms;

16 that's correct, is it not?

17 A. No. I didn't say it happened at the

18 barricade, but that during the fighting, the command of

19 the Croatian side and Fuad Berbic held a meeting away

20 from the barricade, perhaps even in the school

21 building. I don't know the location really. But Fuad

22 came to the upper part of the village where we were

23 assembled and said that it had been ordered -- that we

24 had been ordered -- that our people had been ordered to

25 surrender weapons and that the Croatian side would

Page 6810

1 guarantee our safety.

2 Q. So the regional commander, Mr. Fuad Berbic,

3 issued these instructions to the --

4 A. At that -- yes, very well.

5 Q. And as I understand the chronology of events

6 that you related, some people from the region of Zume

7 accepted that offer, laid down their arms, but the

8 soldiers in Ahmici did not want to surrender, and

9 that's when the renewed fighting erupted involving the

10 tracer fire and the other hostilities that you have

11 described; would that be fair to say?

12 A. It is correct that a part of our -- I cannot

13 say that they were soldiers; they were just armed

14 villagers. In different ways, they had acquired their

15 weapons for the defence of their homes, and since this

16 has become known, that they were armed, then in the --

17 those in the area of Zume did surrender weapons, but in

18 my village, as you said -- these were not soldiers.

19 These were common people who had faulty weapons from

20 Slimena and some hunting rifles and their personal

21 pistols, and those were the weapons.

22 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, if you can deal

23 briefly with these questions, we'll get through your

24 evidence.

25 Mr. Sayers, there's no need to go over a

Page 6811

1 matter which we've been over.

2 MR. SAYERS: I agree entirely, Your Honour,

3 and I will try to avoid doing so.

4 Q. It is true, Witness K, that after the event

5 that you've just described when the forces in Ahmici

6 refused to lay down their arms, that Mr. Muris Ahmic

7 was continuously calling the army headquarters to

8 request assistance; isn't that correct?

9 A. I don't know because I really was not

10 involved in these military matters. I was just a

11 common citizen who was trying to save his family and

12 his home.

13 Q. I understand that, sir. Did you state to the

14 Prosecution's investigators in 1995, "During the

15 attack, Muris Ahmic continuously called BiH

16 headquarters in Vitez for help but no one was sent to

17 help"?

18 A. I believe that I did say so.

19 Q. I don't mean to imply anything by these

20 questions, sir. It was a long time ago and memories

21 fade, but let me just ask you this: After the fighting

22 ended, you gave some testimony about the military

23 police from the HVO patrolling your village to ensure

24 that no houses were looted. You actually had left your

25 house unlocked during the hostilities; correct?

Page 6812

1 A. I did not have the time to close it up.

2 Q. Right. But when you returned to your

3 village, nothing had been taken from your house.

4 That's the point I'm trying to make; that's correct,

5 isn't it?

6 A. Yes, that's correct.

7 Q. Turning to another subject, you had mentioned

8 a conversation or a statement supposedly made by a

9 Mr. Valenta on TV in Split to the effect that Croats in

10 Vitez must prepare themselves for a struggle against

11 Muslims. Didn't he later contend that that was a slip

12 of the tongue and that what he meant was that the

13 Croats generally had to prepare themselves for a

14 struggle against Serbs?

15 A. Yes, he said that first version publicly on

16 television, and I heard, I wasn't present, that he then

17 denied that in a smaller circle, that he said that he

18 misspoke. But what he said originally went out into

19 the public.

20 Q. All right. Let me turn to another subject,

21 which was the hostilities that broke out in your

22 village on April the 16th and the events that

23 immediately preceded them.

24 Did you know that -- or did you ever hear

25 that a number of HVO soldiers had been captured outside

Page 6813

1 of Novi Travnik by Mujahedin on April the 13th, sir?

2 A. No, I didn't. Anything is possible, but I

3 really didn't hear that.

4 Q. Did you hear anything about the kidnapping of

5 commander Zivko Totic in Zenica on the night of April

6 the 14th/15th, and the murder of his four bodyguards

7 and one civilian?

8 A. I heard that and this was also in the media,

9 in the mass media, television and so on, but obviously

10 I was not there.

11 Q. All right. Isn't it true that on the night

12 of April the 15th, you were actually on patrol in

13 Ahmici with your brother? And I won't mention his

14 name.

15 A. No. We were near our houses. There were no

16 patrols. There was no duty to patrol. We just came

17 out in our backyards because our houses were adjoining,

18 so we were just there, outside.

19 Q. Sir, are you saying you were not on guard

20 duty that night?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Sorry. Is that --

23 A. Because we were at our homes. We were on no

24 official patrol. We came out to just look around our

25 houses because our houses are a bit separated out in

Page 6814

1 the village.

2 Q. All right, sir. Let me just read you a

3 statement or an excerpt from a statement that you gave

4 to the Centre for Investigating War Crimes and crimes

5 of genocide against Muslims on May the 4th, 1993.

6 "On 15th April, 1993 from 12 until 24.00, I

7 was on guard duty in the village."

8 Do you remember telling the investigators for

9 that institution, what I have just read, about six

10 years ago, sir?

11 A. Perhaps, how shall I put it, it was written

12 down erroneously. I know that the hours do not make

13 sense, 12 to 24. We perhaps went out around 10.00 in

14 the evening, and it was no patrol. It was just myself

15 and my brother. The family stayed indoors, and it was

16 a regular thing, a usual thing, for us to come out and

17 see that everything was all right around because there

18 were tensions at that time. And the statements given

19 20 days after those horrors over there, it is possible

20 that the investigators or even the typist had added

21 something, that I was part of a patrol, because I

22 didn't even have any weapons.

23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Sayers,

24 we've got to move forward. You can ask the witness

25 whether there was a village association with a type of

Page 6815

1 rotating guard whose duty it was to watch over the

2 village and to help guard the villagers. I'd like that

3 question to be asked of the witness so that we can

4 understand this. But we've got to get forward on this

5 point.

6 MR. SAYERS: I agree entirely, Your Honour,

7 and we will try to do precisely that.

8 Q. Witness K, you heard His Honour's question.

9 Would you please provide the --

10 A. Yes, I did.

11 Q. -- answer?

12 A. Yes, there was, but it was all part of the

13 civilian protection. These were not military

14 structures. There was a manned -- that is, there were

15 people who assigned villagers to be on duty. There

16 were not any armed guards. They were not ready to

17 engage in any fighting. If any kind of shelling or

18 attack occurred, they would be in charge of rousing the

19 villagers so that we could evacuate our homes. And

20 there was also a list of these people so that there

21 wouldn't always be the same people. So some people

22 were in charge of these assignments, so that certain

23 people would not always be on duty and certain people,

24 never.

25 Q. All right. It was during this period of time

Page 6816

1 that you -- this is the night of April the 15th -- that

2 you actually noticed troop movements in the vicinity of

3 the Kupreskic houses involving people in full combat

4 gear; correct?

5 A. No, those was not troops. Those were two men

6 who I saw -- they were my neighbours who were HVO

7 members. There were no troops, just two soldiers whom

8 I saw.

9 Q. Very well. Isn't it true that you actually

10 informed your army command of this immediately?

11 A. You constantly associate me with the

12 military. I just reported to this civilian officer

13 that there was something going on. That was my duty.

14 So I told him so that he would then, through the

15 channels, get information whether there was an

16 impending attack or something else coming.

17 Q. All right. Let me just read you one

18 statement from the interview that you gave to the

19 investigating judge, Dijana Ajanovic on December the

20 15th, 1993 on page 2. You described seeing people

21 "going in full combat gear towards the Kupreskic

22 houses. We immediately informed our army command of

23 this and were told that we should not arouse panic,

24 that it did not mean anything as far as an attack was

25 concerned."

Page 6817

1 Do you remember telling the investigating

2 judge that, Mr. K?

3 A. I told her that I had noticed people,

4 soldiers, that I informed the representatives of the

5 civilian protection, that is, the man in charge, and

6 that he told me not to start any panic, that there will

7 be no attack. So what she did is she just summarised

8 this into one single sentence and perhaps created some

9 confusion. He told us not to panic, that nothing would

10 happen, that there was no danger of an attack.

11 Q. But isn't it true, sir, that you actually

12 went to bed fully dressed because you were expecting

13 something to happen? You kept thinking that something

14 was about to happen, didn't you?

15 A. My son was already in the camp in Busovaca at

16 that time, and I walked around my house, as I have

17 already said, after midnight, so, indeed, I just took

18 off my jacket and shoes and lay down in trousers. I

19 couldn't sleep ever since my son had been imprisoned,

20 so I just lay down to take a rest, not really going to

21 bed properly.

22 Q. All right. When the assault on your village

23 started, isn't it true that calls were made to the 3rd

24 Corps for help through a radio transmitter located in

25 the house of Nasid Ahmic; that is correct, is it not?

Page 6818

1 A. I was not in a position to see that, and

2 later on, the women were saying that one of the women

3 had called up by phone, she had a relative down there,

4 and informed him that such and such a thing was

5 happening. He allegedly told her, because that is what

6 I heard from this woman, that we should just lie down

7 on the floor in our houses, that we should not panic,

8 that negotiations were ongoing, and that things would

9 stop. That was the answer she got, apparently, from

10 Zenica. We didn't have any radio links with Zenica

11 because that is quite some way away. We only had radio

12 links with people in Vitez, with those bodies in

13 Vitez.

14 Q. That's all of the questions I have on that

15 subject, sir.

16 One question: After you went to Zenica in

17 May 1993 and thereafter, were you ever employed by the

18 Institute for the Investigation of Crimes Against

19 Humanity in Zenica?

20 A. No. I was a member of the civil defence and

21 I was mostly working in the field, in the area

22 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I

23 carried food to people on the front lines and that sort

24 of thing. I may have also spoken to people as I went

25 along, but I didn't have any official capacity.

Page 6819

1 MR. SAYERS: With the Trial Chamber's

2 permission, and I don't propose to spend more than 30

3 seconds on this, I would just like the usher to show

4 Witness K the statement he made to the investigating

5 judge on December the 15th, 1993 and which is signed by

6 him.

7 Q. Witness K, I'd just like you to turn to the

8 last page and verify that that is, indeed, your

9 signature. Did you say "yes," sir?

10 A. Yes. Yes, that is my signature. Yes.

11 Q. Would you just read into the record what your

12 occupation was listed as, sir, on page 1?

13 A. That is not my occupation. I was a member of

14 the civil defence, and on behalf of our municipality, I

15 had the work obligation to occasionally join, with

16 respect to the local people of Ahmici, and take a few

17 statements from them, and maybe that was the reason why

18 this was written down. By occupation, I'm an engineer

19 of work organisations, so this was not my occupation,

20 nor was it my preoccupation during the war. The only

21 truth is --

22 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. What is the

23 occupation?

24 MR. SAYERS: Engineer industrial relations

25 employed at the Institute for Investigation of Crimes

Page 6820

1 against Humanity, Zenica, Your Honour.

2 A. No. No. No. No, that is not correct.

3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, have you

4 elicited what this institute does?

5 MR. SAYERS: I have not, and that seems a

6 good point at which to pose the question to the

7 witness.

8 Q. Witness K, could you please let the Trial

9 Chamber know what the Institute for the Investigation

10 of Crimes against Humanity in Zenica actually did or

11 does?

12 A. The aim of the institute, as far as I am

13 aware, is to collect information and other evidence

14 which would help the Tribunal in the discovery of war

15 criminals. I said that I did take several statements

16 from my neighbours, but I was never officially employed

17 by that institute, and who put these words after the

18 comma, I don't know.

19 Q. The final topic that I'd like to discuss with

20 you is the statements that you described as having been

21 made by Mr. Kordic supposedly on Busovaca TV.

22 Do I understand, sir, that these comments

23 were made, according to you anyway, during the course

24 of a press conference at which there were multiple

25 participants? The ones I'm talking about now are the

Page 6821

1 ones in November 1992 that you described.

2 A. Yes. There were journalists and there were

3 three participants, Kordic, Kostroman, and Blaskic.

4 Q. How long did this press conference actually

5 last?

6 A. I don't know how long it lasted because I

7 didn't watch it from the beginning, and especially when

8 I heard the comments, I had had enough, so I didn't

9 even wait for it to end.

10 Q. All right. You didn't actually attach very

11 much significance to the comments that you've described

12 as having been made by Mr. Kordic, nor did your friends

13 and acquaintances, did they?

14 A. The contrary. I took it very seriously, and

15 not just me but everyone else who saw it.

16 Q. All right, sir. Isn't it true that after

17 meetings between the Croat representatives and Muslim

18 representatives of the parties involved in the conflict

19 at the barricade, an agreement was reached, and that

20 agreement was actually jointly broadcast immediately

21 afterwards on TV RBIH and on HVO Television.

22 A. Probably there was some sort of an agreement,

23 but after the conflict, because by joint forces of

24 Croatian and Muslim officials, an agreement was

25 reached, and all the damage that was done was repaired

Page 6822

1 jointly. However, as I know, before the conflict --

2 no, I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry. That was before the

3 16th of April, not the 20th of October. I'm sorry.

4 From that moment on, we lived together and

5 relations were relatively good until the 16th of

6 April.

7 Q. All right. Let me just ask you to verify

8 that this is what you told the investigating judge six

9 years ago: That you had held several meetings, that

10 there were meetings between the Croat and Muslim

11 representatives of the battling forces, "We adopted

12 conclusions on mutual non-aggression and mutual

13 assistance. These conclusions were read on TV RBIH and

14 HVO television which was broadcast from Vitez and that

15 gave us a certain sense of security," and then you

16 describe the statements supposedly made by Mr. Kordic

17 and went on to say that "but we did not attach much

18 significance to that statement, especially because we

19 got together later and thought there wouldn't be any

20 more problems." That's what you actually told the

21 investigating --

22 A. That is correct, but these meetings that we

23 had frequently were held by ordinary people, ordinary

24 citizens, without any political or military persons

25 being present. It was just agreements amongst

Page 6823

1 ourselves, and it is true that at one meeting where I

2 kept the record and a Croat, I think his name was

3 Josipovic, he was a forester and he was appreciated in

4 our village, we made this record, together with

5 conclusions. And I personally was asked to carry those

6 conclusions to Vitez Television, which was held then by

7 the Croatian people. Also in Stari Vitez, we had our

8 own local television, and I also took a copy of that

9 record containing an agreement on non-aggression, and

10 both radio stations broadcast this. But all this was

11 at the local level, not the television of

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

13 Q. All right, sir. So you actually facilitated

14 the television broadcasts or participated in the

15 process by which information was disseminated over the

16 television yourself, did you not?

17 A. No. I just gave them a letter or, rather, a

18 piece of paper which they read out.

19 Q. All right. Just a couple of questions on the

20 subject of the various competing propaganda organs.

21 You actually did not like to watch or listen

22 to radio or TV carrying Croat propaganda, did you?

23 A. Would you? Of course I didn't.

24 Q. Would you agree, sir, that the Muslim

25 residents of your area responded to the Croat

Page 6824

1 propaganda by broadcasting propaganda of their own,

2 both on TV and radio?

3 A. Probably, but to a much lesser extent.

4 Q. All right. And one final question. Isn't it

5 true that you actually didn't own a TV in 1992 or 1993?

6 A. You're saying that I didn't have a TV set?

7 Of course I had a TV set.

8 Q. All right. Let me just --

9 A. Not one, but two.

10 Q. All right. At page 2927 of your testimony in

11 the Kupreskic case, let me just read you what you

12 said. You were asked whether you'd seen the TV

13 programme, and you said, "I didn't watch that programme

14 because, first of all, I do not own a TV set."

15 Do you remember testifying to that effect on

16 September the 24th of last year, sir?

17 A. For me, that case is over and I wouldn't like

18 to go back to it, but I think I didn't say that because

19 that would be lying myself -- I would be lying to

20 myself, and that can be verified. I didn't say that.

21 Q. Page 2927, lines 23 through 25 of the

22 transcript in that case.

23 MR. SAYERS: No further questions, Your

24 Honour.

25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, is it disputed that

Page 6825

1 Mr. Kordic said on the television programme "that

2 Ahmici would pay a dear price for putting up the

3 barricade, it would be razed to the ground"?

4 MR. SAYERS: It is disputed, Your Honour,

5 yes.

6 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, you hear that, that

7 it's disputed. Did Mr. Kordic say that?

8 A. He did.

9 JUDGE MAY: The other matter which I should

10 have also raised really with Mr. Mikulicic is the

11 accuracy of the lists of victims which this witness has

12 prepared, together with the maps.

13 Is there any challenge to the accuracy of

14 those documents?

15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

16 the Defence cannot, at this point in time, affirm

17 whether each individual name on that list is correct,

18 but as a matter of principle, the Defence is not

19 challenging the fact that in Ahmici there were many

20 victims.

21 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

22 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres?

23 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

24 Q. A point that was just examined a few minutes

25 ago about whether there was a television set that the

Page 6826

1 witness spoke about during his testimony in the

2 Kupreskic case, that was 2927. The question was asked

3 by one of the Defence counsel in that case,

4 Mr. Radovic, the question was the following -- the

5 witness was asked: "When you arrived in Zenica, did

6 you perhaps see a television programme in which Sakib

7 Ahmic was in the hospital?" And the answer was, "I

8 didn't see that -- I wasn't able to see the programme

9 because I didn't have a television."

10 However, at the time of the facts that we're

11 speaking about, Witness K, the programme of Sakib Ahmic

12 on television was broadcast, whereas you were already

13 in Zenica and that the attack on the village of Ahmici

14 had taken place. So this is after the 15th of April,

15 1993.

16 MR. SAYERS: Just objection to the form of

17 that question, Your Honour, because the actual

18 statement on the lines that I read is: "I didn't see

19 that. I didn't watch that programme, because, first of

20 all, I do not own a TV set, but I did hear that there

21 was a programme of that kind."

22 JUDGE MAY: Well, the issue, without going

23 into it in any detail, is whether the witness owned a

24 television set when he was in Ahmici prior to the 15th

25 of April. Now, that is the point.

Page 6827

1 Witness K, did you own a television at that

2 stage?

3 A. Yes, I had two TV sets. I had a car; I had

4 everything. When I reached Zenica, I had nothing.

5 JUDGE MAY: So the position in Zenica at the

6 time of that broadcast was that you didn't own a set;

7 is that right?

8 A. Yes, that is right.

9 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I may ask

11 the question so that there will be no questions about

12 the testimony in the Kupreskic case, that we could put

13 the testimony into this in its entirety, so you can see

14 what the context was when that was given in September

15 of 1998.

16 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't think that's

17 necessary, Mr. Lopez-Terres.

18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank

19 you, Mr. President.

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to move

21 on.

22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] In general,

23 about this subject in respect of the Defence and for

24 the Prosecution, when there is a degree of flexibility

25 when referring to the transcripts and to reports of

Page 6828

1 other trials, one has to be careful that quotations are

2 taken -- be careful that the quotations are not taken

3 out of their context, because the Chamber always have

4 the ability to verify this. But it's a waste of time

5 to quote things outside their context, which certainly

6 does not make our work any easier.

7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

8 Mr. President, I would like to have a correction made

9 here. It was said a few minutes ago or written in the

10 transcript, on page 6822, 6-8-2-2, line 8, when a

11 reference was made to a record of the witness before

12 the investigating judge, it was said that the

13 television programme was broadcast from Vitez had

14 created a feeling of insecurity. In the transcript, it

15 speaks about a feeling of security, safety, not lack of

16 security. I would like to have the transcript

17 corrected, the transcript for that day.

18 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

19 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES:

20 Q. Witness K, a few minutes ago in respect of

21 weaponry, which some of the inhabitants of Ahmici had,

22 you said that they were weapons that came from the

23 Slimena weapons depot. Those weapons from Slimena,

24 weren't most of them weapons which had been picked up

25 by some of the Muslims after they had been left there,

Page 6829

1 partly destroyed, when that depot was attacked by the

2 HVO in May of 1992?

3 A. Yes, it is true. Younger, braver people went

4 there because there were mine fields, and they went to

5 collect what was left, the weapons that had been burnt,

6 that really couldn't be used, but people collected them

7 to repair them and to use them as weapons for defence.

8 That was our only source of armaments.

9 Q. Witness K, on several occasions, allusions

10 were made to prior statements that you made before the

11 Zenica investigating judge or the institute for

12 research into crimes against humanity in Zenica. In

13 those statements, it is indicated regularly that when

14 you say "We did this or we did that or we were

15 congratulated, we sent a message," when that

16 phraseology is used, isn't that simply a way of

17 speaking to refer to the Muslims in general and not to

18 you in particular?

19 A. Yes, that is correct, absolutely so. When I

20 say "they," I'm referring to the other party, the

21 Croats, the Catholics, and the Serbs.

22 Q. Witness K, you were asked a question a few

23 minutes ago about the congratulations that were given

24 to you. When I say you, you understand now that that

25 means the Muslims, were congratulated for having

Page 6830

1 stopped the HVO troops that were going through Ahmici

2 on the 19th of October, 1992. And you said that those

3 congratulations came from Mr. Refik Lendo who was the

4 chief of the Novi Travnik brigade for the BH army.

5 Why, in your opinion, did the chief of the Novi Travnik

6 brigade congratulate you for having stopped the troops

7 that were going through Jajce and not in Novi Travnik?

8 A. I really never saw or heard those

9 congratulations, but I heard them being repeated

10 around.

11 As for your question, perhaps you should ask

12 the Defence because really, how did they know where

13 that army was going, where those troops were going? We

14 didn't even know that those troops were coming. This

15 was spontaneous so we really had no plans, or at least

16 our people who put up the barricade, their aim was

17 because they were disarmed, they wanted to collect arms

18 again. That was their purpose. That was their aim.

19 Q. I'm merely asking you, Witness K, that

20 according to the information that you had at that time,

21 the HVO that was never stopped in Ahmici that day were,

22 in fact, going to Novi Travnik; isn't that correct?

23 A. Yes. That is so.

24 Q. Thank you. Two more questions about the

25 events of the 16th of April. Do you remember that on

Page 6831

1 the 16th of April, 1993, that that was a Friday?

2 A. Yes, certainly.

3 Q. Does Friday have a special meaning for

4 Muslims? Is that a special day for the Muslims?

5 A. Certainly. It is the day when the Muslims of

6 a dzemat, an entire area, perform prayers together in

7 mosques jointly, collectively.

8 Q. You said that after having gone with those

9 few who had escaped from the village of Zenica that you

10 had been asked by many institutions who questioned you

11 about what had happened in Ahmici, specifically the

12 Institute for Criminal Research?

13 A. Yes, indeed. Each one of us received a host

14 of questions from all kinds of people, journalists and

15 all sorts of other people, but we wanted to tell them

16 what had happened. We wanted the world to know.

17 Q. Throughout that period that you spent in

18 Zenica, starting in April 1993 and continuing until

19 today, this is now 1999, was there any type of

20 organisation or Bosnian Croat investigators who ever

21 questioned you about what happened in Ahmici on the

22 16th of April, 1993?

23 A. I was not approached by such people.

24 Q. Thank you.

25 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no

Page 6832

1 further questions.

2 A. May I just correct myself? I am now living

3 in my own village. Thanks to God, I returned in May,

4 so I'm no longer in Zenica.

5 JUDGE MAY: Witness K, thank you for coming

6 to the International Tribunal to give your evidence.

7 You are now released.

8 Let me make use of this opportunity of a

9 break in the proceedings to announce the change of

10 hours next week due to our hospital appointments.

11 On Tuesday, that's Tuesday the 21st, we shall

12 not be able to start until 11.30.

13 Yes, the witness can go out.

14 [The witness withdrew]

15 JUDGE MAY: And we will sit until about 5.00

16 that day. On Friday the 24th, we shall not start until

17 10.00. Apart from that, of course, the hours will be

18 the same.

19 Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres, your next witness.

20 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

21 Mr. President, if you allow me, I would like to point

22 out to the Chamber that because of certain difficulties

23 that we had with the witness who arrived late, we

24 worked with the witness very late last night, and the

25 last part of the discussion that we ordinarily have

Page 6833

1 with the witnesses is being completed. The Office of

2 the Prosecutor would be very grateful to the Trial

3 Chamber if it would agree to the break a little earlier

4 so that we can -- until 11.00.

5 JUDGE MAY: And you would be ready to call

6 the witness then?

7 [Trial Chamber confers]

8 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will take the

9 break now and start again at five past eleven.

10 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.

11 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.

12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, we will sit now

13 and then go on slightly past the hour and a half to

14 quarter to one, and we will sit again at 2.15 and go on

15 until 4.00. I hope that will be acceptable to all,

16 including those in the booths. Yes.

17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

18 Mr. President, thank you. Yesterday, I had taken an

19 undertaking that everything would be prepared so that

20 the witness would be able to testify today. This

21 undertaking was honoured, it had some difficulties for

22 me and for our office, but we were able to hear the

23 testimony of this witness.

24 I would simply say that the witness who

25 arrived last night late asked for certain protective

Page 6834

1 measures, and I ask you, if possible, for this to be a

2 private session so that we can present to you the

3 arguments in support of that request.

4 [Private session]

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 6835

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Page 6838

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 [Open session]

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

11 Q. Witness L, starting at the point where you

12 had the functions, began to work in the municipality

13 between 1990 and the spring of 1992, is it true that

14 the municipal government in Vitez was functioning

15 properly; that is, that there were no difficulties

16 between the Muslims and Croats in respect of the

17 administration of the municipality?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. During that period in September of 1991, was

20 there a joint crisis council established in the

21 municipality because of the war that was raging in

22 Croatia against the Serbs?

23 A. Yes, it was set up.

24 Q. Did you yourself have responsibilities within

25 that crisis council?

Page 6839

1 A. I was.

2 Q. During that period of time, Croats from

3 Vitez, as well as the Bosniaks from the municipality of

4 Vitez, did they go to Croatia to fight on the side of

5 the Croats against the Serbs?

6 A. Yes, there were such cases.

7 Q. Did the crisis council decide at that time

8 that explosives and gunpowder could be sold to Croatia?

9 A. Yes, we discussed that matter.

10 Q. In 1991, Witness L, the individual whose name

11 is Anto Valenta, who was the president of the HDZ in

12 Vitez, wrote a book called "The Partition of Bosnia and

13 its Struggle for Integrity," a book which talked about

14 the various options of the partition of

15 Bosnia-Hercezgovina and in which it was suggested that

16 that would be a way of resolving ethnic problems

17 there. Are you aware of that book?

18 A. I am.

19 Q. Before the book was published during 1991,

20 its author, Anto Valenta, asked you to read his

21 manuscript and to make some comments, some criticisms,

22 on the document but that you refused to do that at that

23 time.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Therefore, you had a copy of the manuscript?

Page 6840

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And then the book itself once it was

3 published; is that correct?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. I am going to show you a copy of the book and

6 ask you to tell us whether, in fact, this is the book

7 that we're speaking about.

8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I would

9 say that there is a version in Bosnian Croat and one in

10 English. The document in Bosnian Croat is Z9, as is

11 the English version.

12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, are you going

13 to refer to this book at all?

14 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I simply

15 am going to ask the witness whether this document,

16 which was already referred to during other testimony,

17 is, in fact, the book that was shown to the witness at

18 that time and which is published by Mr. Anto Valenta.

19 A. Yes, that is that book.

20 Q. Witness L, could you tell us whether, during

21 the conversations that you had with Mr. Valenta, whom

22 you knew, what was the essence of those conversations?

23 What were Mr. Valenta's comments about the possible

24 partition according to the ethnic groups of Bosnia?

25 A. He analysed the ethnic composition, and in a

Page 6841

1 sense, he advocated the resettlement of populations

2 from one territory to another, so that three different

3 areas with ethnically pure populations would be formed,

4 the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.

5 Q. Since you said that you saw the manuscript

6 and the final version of the book, did you notice

7 whether there were any differences between the

8 manuscript that had been given to you and the final

9 version?

10 A. There were some differences. There were

11 several versions of the delineation; there were

12 different dividing lines. There was one, as far as I

13 can remember, going from Mostar to Stolac and the

14 option with the dividing line going through Neum had

15 not existed in the book.

16 Q. Thank you. We're going to move forward in

17 time a little bit, Witness L, and we get to the end of

18 April 1992 at the time that the HVO and the Territorial

19 Defence agreed to organise a joint attack on the depot,

20 which at that time still belonged to the federal army,

21 that is, the JNA, and that the depot was in Stolac and

22 that it was called Slimena.

23 According to the agreement, once the weapons

24 were seized, they would be distributed equally between

25 the HVO and the BH army, and, in fact, that is not what

Page 6842

1 happened and that the HVO alone attacked the depot; is

2 that correct?

3 A. Yes, that is correct.

4 Q. And that the HVO forces went to Slimena two

5 days before the agreed date, the date that had been

6 agreed on jointly for the attack?

7 A. That is how I was informed by the TO

8 commander, though I wasn't participating in these

9 things, but I think that is what he told me.

10 Q. According to the information which you

11 received at that time, the attack was carried out under

12 the command of Colonel Filipovic, but also by the

13 accused, Mario Cerkez. This is the information you

14 received; is that correct?

15 A. I think something like that.

16 Q. You received information also from the

17 commander of the Territorial Defence, as you say?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And you had regular meetings with that

20 gentleman?

21 A. Yes, we did have contacts.

22 Q. We're speaking about Sefkija Dzidic; is that

23 correct?

24 A. No. At that time, it was Hakija Cengic who

25 was the commander of the TO when these things were

Page 6843

1 being decided.

2 Q. Thank you. Let's move forward in 1992. At

3 the beginning of 1992, there was a radio station, a

4 joint radio station composed of Bosniaks and Croats in

5 Vitez that was found in the municipal building. Is it

6 true that in May of 1992, Anto Valenta, about whom

7 we've already spoken, came to the municipal building,

8 took away the radio equipment and the radio facilities

9 of the town, and that an exclusively Croat-controlled

10 radio was set up in Vitez?

11 A. Yes, that is correct.

12 Q. Is it also true that at the time, the HVO in

13 Vitez, the HVO set up a television station?

14 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.

15 Q. During the evening of 19 June, 1992,

16 Witness L, the municipal building and the police

17 station were taken over by a group of HOS soldiers, as

18 they were known at that time, and they were under the

19 command of Darko Kraljevic. On that same day, you had

20 a meeting where Ivica Santic was not, which you chaired

21 and in which Anto Valenta was a participant.

22 A. That was the next day. (redacted)

23 (redacted), I chaired the

24 meeting, and it was held the next day.

25 Q. Is it true that during that meeting, Mr. Anto

Page 6844

1 Valenta said to you that it was the HOS that was

2 responsible for the takeover of the police station and

3 the municipal building, and also added that the HVO

4 should be able to control everything and protect

5 everybody?

6 A. Yes, that's what he said.

7 Q. In general, didn't the HVO, whenever acts

8 were committed against the Muslims, dreadful acts,

9 wouldn't they ordinarily or regularly blame the

10 extremists or members of HOS as being the perpetrators

11 of those acts?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And the HVO would also say during those

14 meetings that they had no control over the members of

15 the HOS?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Around the 20th of June, 1992, Witness L,

18 that you were invited to participate in a television

19 broadcast at Vitez TV about the events that had taken

20 place the day before with that same Anto Valenta, but

21 that you refused in the end, refused to participate in

22 the broadcast because you didn't want your statements

23 to be prerecorded and you wanted to be able to make

24 live statements; is that correct?

25 A. Let me just clarify this. I was in the TV

Page 6845

1 studio and we wanted to address the citizens of Vitez,

2 to calm them down. However, there was some delay, they

3 wanted to tape this programme, and eventually I did not

4 agree.

5 Q. Isn't it true that one of the journalists who

6 had invited you had prepared a list of questions for

7 you and also a list of answers to those same questions?

8 A. Actually, it wasn't a list. He tried to

9 guide me in that sense by posing certain questions and

10 saying that he more or less knew what answers I would

11 give.

12 Q. And that's what eventually persuaded you not

13 to participate in the broadcast; is that correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. On the 11th of July, 1992, Witness L, did the

16 executive board of the SDA party, which considered that

17 the establishment of the authorities of Herceg-Bosna

18 and the HVO in Vitez was illegal, decide to form a

19 coordination board for the protection of the interests

20 of the Muslims in the municipality, and that you

21 yourself were appointed as president of that committee;

22 is that correct?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. A document was published the next day in

25 order to announce the establishment of that

Page 6846

1 coordination board for protection. I'm going to show

2 you the document, which is an exhibit, Z162-1.

3 I ask that you read this, which is dated the

4 12th of July, 1992, and specifically, the next-to-last

5 paragraph where the issue of the Muslims of Vitez is

6 discussed. Could you read this document for us,

7 please, the next-to-last paragraph?

8 A. "The Muslims of Vitez do not recognise the

9 HVO of Herceg-Bosna as an organ of authority and they

10 will consider their decisions invalid. The Muslims of

11 Vitez will respect the legally elected authorities,

12 future changes only if they are in conformity with

13 valid laws, the decisions of the Vitez municipal

14 assembly and the platform of the BH state presidency."

15 Q. Do you agree with that statement completely,

16 Witness L?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. The legal authorities at that time that you

19 were thinking about were those that were the result of

20 the elections of 1990, which brought you and Mr. Santic

21 to the municipality.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. In respect of that coordinating board, did it

24 function for several months and, during that time,

25 publish various announcements? I will show you a

Page 6847

1 second document, which is dated the 10th of September,

2 1992, which is Exhibit number Z210-1, Z210-1.

3 Thank you for reading this document as well.

4 Do you recognise it as one of the documents published

5 by the coordination board, whose chairman you were?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Is it true that in September 1992, the 10th

8 of September, 1992, buildings that belonged to your

9 party in Vitez were the subject of explosions? In

10 fact, they were destroyed by explosions?

11 A. Yes, there was an explosion.

12 Q. Did you file a complaint at that time about

13 what had happened?

14 A. I think that the MUP was informed and that it

15 carried out an on-site inspection. The police station

16 was informed and carried out an on-site inspection, the

17 police station in Vitez.

18 Q. As far as you know, did the investigation end

19 up identifying those responsible?

20 A. No, it did not.

21 Q. Somewhat later in 1992, Witness L, on the

22 19th of October, 1992 exactly, while a conflict had

23 just started in Novi Travnik, there were HVO forces who

24 were supposed to go through the Vitez municipality in

25 order to reinforce the HVO forces in Novi Travnik.

Page 6848

1 During that evening of the 19th of October,

2 1992, did you yourself attend a meeting at the

3 headquarters of the BH army at the Vitez high school

4 where Ivica Santic and the accused, Mario Cerkez,

5 arrived around 8.00 in the evening; is that correct?

6 A. Yes, correct.

7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, I think from

8 now on you should stop leading and let the witness give

9 the evidence, if you would, please.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

11 Q. During the meeting of the 19th of October,

12 1992, Witness L, what were the requests that were made

13 by Mr. Cerkez and Mr. Santic, made to the commander of

14 the territorial forces, that is, the defence forces?

15 A. They asked that the barricades in Vitez be

16 removed. In fact, those were the barricades in Ahmici

17 and Grbavica, in two areas of Vitez where the

18 Territorial Defence had erected them.

19 Q. Grbavica is sometimes also called Divjak; is

20 that correct?

21 A. You could say so, even though those of us who

22 live in Vitez distinguish between the two. One is part

23 of another.

24 Q. Out of a desire to calm the conflict down

25 that was going on in Novi Travnik and which could

Page 6849

1 extend to Travnik, did you suggest to Mr. Santic that

2 you might use your services in order to intervene and

3 to act by going to Novi Travnik yourself?

4 A. No. I proposed that we go to Novi Travnik in

5 order to try to calm down the situation.

6 Q. What was Mr. Santic's answer when you made

7 the suggestion that you could go to Novi Travnik?

8 A. He said that he had spoken there and that

9 nothing would happen but that I could try myself, and

10 he gave me a phone number.

11 Q. When you say that he told you that he had

12 spoken with them, at least in the French version that's

13 what I heard, whom are you speaking about? Whom are

14 you thinking about, and to whom did Mr. Santic speak?

15 A. Since he had given me Kordic's number, I

16 assume that he had spoken to Kordic.

17 Q. Mr. Santic had said to you that he already

18 had spoken to Mr. Kordic, and what was Mr. Kordic's

19 reaction during that initial conversation?

20 MR. SAYERS: Let me just object to the form

21 of that question, Your Honour. I believe the witness

22 said that he assumed that Mr. Santic had spoken to

23 Mr. Kordic because he had been given Mr. Kordic's

24 number. The question assumes that there was a

25 conversation between Mr. Santic and Mr. Kordic.

Page 6850

1 JUDGE MAY: Witness L, can you tell us what

2 Mr. Santic said about that conversation?

3 A. Just that he had spoken to him and that there

4 would be nothing of it, that I could try.

5 JUDGE MAY: When you say "him," to whom are

6 you referring?

7 A. Probably, since he gave me a number in

8 Travnik and said that it was Kordic, I assumed that he

9 probably had spoken to Kordic.

10 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

11 Q. This telephone number -- you said the

12 telephone number was in Travnik. It was really in Novi

13 Travnik; right?

14 A. Novi Travnik, yes. Novi Travnik.

15 Q. When you yourself telephoned that number in

16 Novi Travnik --

17 JUDGE ROBINSON: There is something on the

18 transcript where the witness answered, "Just that he

19 had spoken to him and that there would be nothing of

20 it, that I could try." I want to find out what is

21 meant by "there would be nothing of it." That's how it

22 is in the transcript.

23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

24 Q. Witness L, could you tell us exactly, even if

25 that goes back several years, could you tell us exactly

Page 6851

1 what Mr. Santic said that you then related further to

2 that conversation with the accused, Dario Kordic?

3 A. Just as I stated there.

4 JUDGE MAY: I think in English, the effect of

5 the evidence must be that the witness is saying that

6 Santic said nothing would come of it or that nothing

7 had come of it, because in the English version "nothing

8 of it" is meaningless.

9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Witness L, when Mr. Santic said to you that

11 nothing had come of that previous conversation, what

12 was he, in fact, speaking about, he and the accused,

13 Dario Kordic?

14 MR. SAYERS: Just one objection to the form

15 of that question too, if I may. I think that it would

16 be unobjectionable if the witness were asked, "What did

17 Mr. Santic actually say?" But it's highly

18 objectionable for the witness to speculate as to what

19 may have been in Mr. Santic's mind but not expressed

20 when he made the comment.

21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Witness L, once again, could you try to

23 search your memory and to remember what it is that

24 Mr. Santic said to you after that time, after he had

25 called the accused, Dario Kordic?

Page 6852

1 MR. SAYERS: I hate to bounce up, Your

2 Honour, but once again the form of that question

3 assumes precisely the issue that trying to establish

4 here, and I think it's objectionable as phrased.

5 JUDGE MAY: I disagree. Let the question be

6 put again.

7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

8 Q. Witness L, could you once again rely on your

9 memory and try to tell us what, at the time, Mr. Santic

10 said to you after he had called the accused, Dario

11 Kordic?

12 A. That the conversation had taken place and

13 that the results of the conversation amounted to

14 nothing, that there was no solution. I'm just trying

15 to clarify the statement.

16 Q. Did Mr. Santic say to you at that time that

17 Dario Kordic did not want to listen to what he was

18 saying?

19 JUDGE MAY: No, you mustn't ask that. Let's

20 move on from here. Let's go on to the next passage.

21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

22 Q. When you yourself called that number that

23 Mr. Santic had given you in Novi Travnik, did you not

24 speak directly then with Dario Kordic, or with somebody

25 else? Do you remember what that other person said to

Page 6853

1 you?

2 A. To wait, that I would get through because he

3 was busy, he was negotiating.

4 Q. So you held the telephone for a few minutes

5 and you heard what was on the other end of the line.

6 Did you hear the accused, Dario Kordic, speaking in the

7 room where he was at that time?

8 A. Yes, I did hear it.

9 Q. Could you tell us what it was that Dario

10 Kordic was saying at that point, the words that you

11 heard over the telephone?

12 A. It had to do with Vitez and what was going on

13 there and things like that.

14 Q. Did you have the feeling from what you had

15 heard that Mr. Kordic was excited?

16 JUDGE MAY: No. Let the witness describe how

17 he found Mr. Kordic.

18 What impression did you form?

19 A. It is possible that the voice was a bit

20 excited. That is my impression.

21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

22 Q. Did you hear Mr. Kordic say anything or

23 swearing?

24 A. There was something of that too, but the

25 gist, as I said, was what I just stated.

Page 6854

1 Q. Witness L, you explained to the accused at

2 that time that you and Santic were considering going to

3 Novi Travnik; is that correct?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Could you tell us what Dario Kordic's answer

6 was when you made that suggestion to go to Novi

7 Travnik?

8 A. In fact, the goal was to try to calm down the

9 situation so that things would return to normal, and

10 the response was, there were several conditions. Yes,

11 if I would be able to do this, if the army would lay

12 down their weapons, I said that I was not competent for

13 that and that Santic and I would come as citizens of

14 Vitez and as neighbours, and the conversation ended

15 there.

16 Q. During the conversation, did you speak about

17 the commander of the Novi Travnik Brigade?

18 A. Well, yes, that was a condition. That was

19 said, that the brigade commander surrenders.

20 Q. So Dario Kordic said two conditions: the

21 laying down of the arms by the Muslims and then that

22 their chief would surrender, Refik Lendo; is that true?

23 A. That is correct.

24 Q. Did you know Mr. Kordic because you had

25 spoken to him previously?

Page 6855

1 A. We did know each other. We had had

2 contacts on several occasions.

3 Q. Had you met him on several occasions at

4 various meetings?

5 A. Yes, in passing, at meetings, and things like

6 that. We knew each other.

7 Q. Is there any doubt in your mind that it might

8 be -- that there might have been a different person at

9 the end of the line, different from Dario Kordic, on

10 that day?

11 A. I think it was Dario Kordic.

12 Q. You think that or you're sure it was Dario

13 Kordic?

14 A. If I think, then I'm certain.

15 Q. Also in October 1992, Witness L, Ivica

16 Santic, as the president of the municipality, issued a

17 new type of employment contracts for those people who

18 were working there and said that those who did not sign

19 this new type of contract would lose their job; is that

20 correct?

21 A. Yes, that is correct.

22 Q. Is it true that about ten employees of the

23 municipality at that time refused to sign the contract

24 and, therefore, lost their positions?

25 A. Yes, that is correct.

Page 6856

1 Q. Is it true that among them there was an

2 architect, a construction businessman, and then a chief

3 of services for the municipality?

4 A. Yes, that is correct.

5 Q. During November 1992, did you receive a

6 document with an HVO heading and which informed you

7 that you had become the vice-president of the HVO in

8 Vitez; is that correct?

9 A. The HVO government, not the HVO. The HVO

10 government.

11 Q. The document which came from the HVO

12 government, since you're speaking about the Vitez

13 government, I think?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And in the end, you refused to sign the

16 document; is that correct?

17 A. Yes, I did.

18 Q. Could you explain why?

19 A. For the reason which was defined by that

20 announcement. It was not in accordance with the law

21 and all the other regulations.

22 Q. When we get to 1993, that is, April 1993, on

23 the 15th of April, 1993, Mr. L, you were part of a

24 meeting with the chiefs of the BH army in Vitez,

25 specifically Mr. Dzidic, Mr. Sivro, and the police

Page 6857

1 representative, Mr. Mahmutovic, who themselves said

2 that they were coming back from a meeting with the

3 HVO.

4 A. I was present. That was a meeting of the

5 presidency, and I was told -- they said that to

6 everyone who was present there. There were another

7 seven or eight people there.

8 Q. After the meeting that these people we've

9 just mentioned had with the HVO, did Mr. Dzidic,

10 Mr. Mahmutovic, and Mr. Sivro, were they -- did they

11 show any kind of concerns, fear that there was an

12 imminent danger of a conflict breaking out with the HVO

13 forces?

14 A. They said, and, in fact, you could feel that

15 the situation was tense, but they said that there would

16 be no conflict with the HVO and that another joint

17 meeting would be held the next day.

18 Q. During that same evening of the 15th of

19 April, 1993, sometime in the evening, is it true that

20 you received at home, in your apartment in Kolonija, an

21 anonymous phone call from somebody who was saying that

22 he was going to come to your house and get you and

23 arrest you?

24 A. Yes, I did receive such a call.

25 Q. Is it true that on the next day, 16 April,

Page 6858

1 around 5.15 in the morning, there was another phone

2 call in your house in Kolonija and that during the

3 phone call, your wife answered and recognised

4 Mrs. Ankica Jukic's voice?

5 A. Yes, that is correct.

6 Q. Could you tell us what Mrs. Ankica Jukic, who

7 was one of the wives of the members of the HVO said?

8 A. She said, "Where are you going to go now,

9 balijas?"

10 Q. "Where are you going now?" After the phone

11 call, did you notice in the neighbourhood where you

12 lived that there were soldiers wearing helmets or masks

13 over their heads; is that correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And so with your family, you decided to go to

16 seek shelter in the apartment of a friend, a

17 neighbour.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Did you learn, after you had left your

20 apartment, that HVO soldiers had come and had shot into

21 the door of your apartment?

22 A. Yes, I was told this by Dzevad, my neighbour,

23 a doctor.

24 Q. Did you also notice that the doors of the

25 building which you lived in, which ordinarily were

Page 6859

1 closed at night, locked at night, had all been

2 unlocked?

3 A. Yes, I noticed that.

4 Q. During the 15th of April, from the apartment

5 where you were taking shelter, that there were soldiers

6 who had taken up positions in the street?

7 A. You can't say that they had taken up

8 positions. Some people were in front of the building,

9 and among them were some of my neighbours. So you

10 cannot say that they had taken up positions. That

11 means something else.

12 Q. Among the soldiers who were there in front of

13 your building, did you recognise a person named Marijan

14 Vinac, who came from the village of Donja Veceriska?

15 A. Yes, he was also there. We lived in the same

16 building; he was a neighbour of mine.

17 Q. And that Marijan Vinac also lived in

18 Kolonija; is that correct?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. The soldiers that you're speaking to us

21 about, were they wearing black uniforms or were they

22 wearing camouflage uniforms?

23 A. For the most part, they were, I believe,

24 camouflage uniforms.

25 Q. At some point, did you hear that same

Page 6860

1 individual, Marijan Vinac, saying your name and also

2 saying that you should be somewhere and that you

3 wouldn't be able to escape; is that true?

4 A. In fact, he said that I was around here and

5 that I couldn't flee anywhere, that I was around. That

6 is what he said.

7 Q. Did you feel at that time that soldiers,

8 along with Marijan Vinac, were looking for you?

9 A. I could infer from this.

10 Q. And so you remained in the apartment of the

11 individual who was sheltering you for about four days,

12 and then on the 18th of April, 1993, about 30 minutes

13 before there was a large explosion that took place, you

14 heard that same Marijan Vinac giving instructions to

15 the people in the building to open up their windows; is

16 that correct?

17 A. Yes, that is correct.

18 Q. After the explosion, did you hear that same

19 Marijan Vinac expressing reassuring words to the

20 Croatian people in the building?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. The next day, 19 April, 1993, were you

23 finally taken prisoner and taken to the basement of the

24 cinema building where you found other detainees?

25 A. Yes, that is correct.

Page 6861

1 Q. There were about 200 detainees, all men, aged

2 from about 17 to 60 years old?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. During the evening of 19 April, you saw

5 Dr. Mujezinovic, who was going into the basement and

6 who was escorted by a soldier, and Dr. Mujezinovic

7 asked you to go with him in order to participate in

8 negotiations; is that correct?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. A meeting took place between you and

11 Dr. Mujezinovic and other Muslim dignitaries from Vitez

12 in an office on the first floor of that cinema

13 building?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. At that meeting on the Croat side, there were

16 men named Boro Jozic and Zvonko Cilic; is that correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. These two people, did they ask you and the

19 other Muslims to contact the military authorities of

20 the BH army in order to put a stop to the fighting?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. There were several phone calls made. You

23 were not able to reach General Hadzihasanovic and,

24 therefore, you called his deputy.

25 A. Yes.

Page 6862

1 Q. Were you able to refuse to make those phone

2 calls, you, Witness L, and the other individuals who

3 were there in that same situation?

4 A. I didn't understand the question.

5 Q. Were you in a position to refuse to make

6 those phone calls? Did you have a choice or were you

7 forced to do so?

8 A. There were no direct threats, but we were

9 detained so it was expected of us to do this.

10 Q. What was normal, Witness L, to do what you

11 were asked to do?

12 A. Well, to call, to establish contact, to start

13 talks in order to stop this, and this would be

14 beneficial to those of us who were detained there.

15 Q. While those negotiations were going on, do

16 you remember that the fighting was continuing, raging

17 in Vitez?

18 A. You could hear shooting. There was

19 fighting.

20 Q. At the end of those initial contacts that you

21 had with Mr. Cilic, Jozic finally asked you to

22 negotiate with other well-known people. Who were those

23 other well-known people?

24 A. They had already come there to negotiate.

25 Q. I'm asking whether you asked to negotiate

Page 6863

1 with other well-known people, other dignitaries, other

2 than Mr. Jozic and Mr. Cilic?

3 A. Well, yes, we requested that if we were going

4 to be negotiating, that we negotiate with some

5 competent people, not with Cilic and Jozic. We didn't

6 consider them as competent.

7 Q. In the end, it was Mr. Skopljak or Mr. Santic

8 who came; is that correct?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Did you reach an agreement?

11 A. Well, we did. We drafted a written

12 document.

13 Q. The negotiations that we were just speaking

14 about, were they carried out under duress, Witness L?

15 A. The very fact that you are detained is

16 pressure. There were no direct threats, no one was

17 threatening us, but we were in detention and we had no

18 choice. There was no direct threat, but it was under

19 pressure due to the very fact that we were in

20 detention.

21 Q. I'm going to show you a document, Witness L.

22 This is a document dated 20 April, 1993, which refers,

23 among other things, to those negotiations and which has

24 reference number Z751.

25 Could you read the last part of the first

Page 6864

1 paragraph where mention is made of that, the evening of

2 19 April 1993, et cetera? Could you read that to us

3 out loud, that passage?

4 A. "In the evening of the 19th of April, 1993,

5 from the direction of the village of Gacice, the enemy

6 fired most probably with a 82-millimetre recoilless

7 gun, three projectiles, on the command post of the

8 Viteska Brigade. There were no casualties; only

9 material damage."

10 Q. I'm not sure that the French interpretation

11 matches exactly what's here. I think that things were

12 turned around, that the -- I understood that the firing

13 was coming from Gacice and they were directed onto the

14 brigade post.

15 All right. Referring again to this same

16 document, I'm going to ask you to read the last

17 paragraph where the meeting and negotiations we are

18 speaking about are referred to. Could you read us that

19 passage out loud, please?

20 A. "On the premises of the Viteska Brigade

21 command, prominent representatives of Muslims gathered

22 during the night with the goal of finding a way to stop

23 the armed conflict. Together with representatives of

24 the HVO government, certain conclusions were

25 reached ..." The text is not legible. It's a poor

Page 6865

1 copy, so I can only guess what it says.

2 Q. Thank you. You read the passage that is

3 important. You see that this document refers to those

4 discussions that you had with the HVO representatives.

5 The document comes from the Vitez Brigade command.

6 Here's my question: Do you feel that the

7 report gives a true description of the negotiating

8 conditions that existed during those negotiations with

9 the HVO?

10 A. Well, the report is correct and detailed. It

11 is true that we attended those negotiations, but it

12 doesn't say that we were detained. It is all correct.

13 All that is missing is the fact that we were detained.

14 Q. You were not free at the time of those

15 negotiations; is that correct?

16 A. We were not free.

17 Q. Witness L, you spent several days in the

18 cinema building in Vitez, along with several hundred

19 other detainees. When you were in those premises, were

20 you subjected to interrogations by the civilian police,

21 and then with ten other detainees, you were forced to

22 dig trenches in the Vranjska and Rijeka region around

23 6.00 or 7.00?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. In the area where you had to dig those

Page 6866

1 trenches, were you being guarded by soldiers who were

2 wearing camouflage uniforms, among whom you recognised

3 some of them as coming from Vitez or Rijeka?

4 A. Yes, I recognised a couple of them, and they

5 were wearing camouflage uniforms.

6 Q. Did you see Mario Cerkez there while you were

7 in detention?

8 A. Once or twice, I did see him.

9 Q. The end of April 1993, did you see the chief

10 of the BH army coming in, that is, General Halilovic,

11 who was accompanied by the chief of the HVO, General

12 Petkovic, and did you also see that Mario Cerkez was

13 there when those two people came in?

14 A. Yes, Mario was there too.

15 Q. Was it stated at that time that all the

16 detainees would be released but that you yourself

17 wanted to be released with a group of people from the

18 neighbourhood of Stari Vitez, that is, Old Vitez? And

19 at the moment when you thought you would be released, a

20 soldier said to you that you could not be released

21 because you were not from Stari Vitez.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. This soldier, was his name Anto Kovac, who

24 was known as Zabac, that is, "the frog" in your

25 language?

Page 6867

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Also while you were kept in detention, since

3 you were not released in the end, is it true that

4 another soldier came to get you and took you to the

5 office of the accused, Mario Cerkez?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Was that soldier Ratko Nuk?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. In Mario Cerkez's office, in addition to

10 Mario Cerkez himself, did you meet Mr. Pero Skopljak?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. During the meeting, which was rather short,

13 Mr. Skopljak showed you a document which came from Mate

14 Boban; is that correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And the document authorised you to conduct

17 negotiations; is that correct?

18 A. I don't know. I understood the question

19 differently from the interpretation.

20 Q. The question was perhaps not well-translated

21 in English; that's possible. Anything is possible.

22 The document in question did not authorise you to

23 conduct negotiations but rather it authorised

24 Mr. Skopljak to conduct the negotiations.

25 A. Yes.

Page 6868

1 Q. In the end, you refused to continue the

2 conversation with Mr. Skopljak; is that correct?

3 A. I said that I wasn't authorised to negotiate

4 on behalf of Central Bosnia or Vitez, I wasn't the

5 person who had any authorisation, but that I would

6 negotiate if I was authorised to do so.

7 Q. Did Mr. Skopljak or possibly the accused,

8 Mario Cerkez, who is here in this courtroom, did they

9 tell you what the purpose of those negotiations were

10 supposed to be?

11 A. Probably the situation, which was extremely

12 tense in the area of Central Bosnia, probably the aim

13 was to try and find some solutions.

14 Q. In the end, a few days later, that is, in

15 early May 1993, you yourself and other detainees who

16 had remained at the cinema were transferred initially

17 to the chess club building where you spent a night, and

18 then you were transferred to the Kaonik camp; is that

19 correct?

20 A. Yes.

21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

22 Mr. President, as regards what happened at the Kaonik

23 camp, this appears in the summary which was given to

24 you. If the Trial Chamber wishes us to speak about

25 those facts with the witness, I'm prepared to do so,

Page 6869

1 but if you prefer that we move more quickly, since this

2 witness has already testified about those facts as part

3 of the Aleksovski case, then I am prepared to suggest

4 to the Trial Chamber that it simply take into account

5 the transcript which was prepared at that time.

6 I will do as you instruct me.

7 JUDGE MAY: It may be more simple, rather

8 than putting a transcript in at this stage, to ask the

9 witness a few questions about what happened in Kaonik,

10 bearing in mind that we've heard much evidence on this

11 topic already.

12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Very

13 well.

14 Q. Witness L, do you therefore confirm that you

15 were transferred, that you were detained for about two

16 weeks at the Kaonik camp in May 1993?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Is it true that during that detention, on

19 several occasions, you were interrogated either in the

20 camp or in facilities in Busovaca?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Is it also true that during that period, you

23 were mistreated by guards in the camp, particularly by

24 one whose name was Svabo?

25 A. Yes, just that one guard. Not other guards,

Page 6870

1 but that one guard.

2 Q. Did he also threaten you with a knife?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Do you remember that one day, that same

5 guard, after having struck you, made a phone call and

6 said to the person he was speaking with, "Chief,

7 everything's fine. I've finished my job"?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Were you finally released from Kaonik camp on

10 the 14th of May, 1993, that you were taken back to the

11 Vitez cinema and exchanged two days later?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Before you were released, were you asked

14 whether you wanted to stay in Vitez or whether, on the

15 contrary, you preferred to leave?

16 A. Yes, I was asked that.

17 Q. What was your choice, Witness L?

18 A. I said that I would not stay in Vitez but

19 that I would go to Zenica. It was unsafe in Vitez, at

20 least that was my assumption.

21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Could I

22 have a few moments, Mr. President? Excuse me.

23 [Prosecution counsel confer]

24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Excuse me

25 for that short interruption, Mr. President. I have no

Page 6871

1 further questions.

2 JUDGE MAY: Who is going to begin the

3 cross-examination?

4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,

5 counsel.

6 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours. We

7 did not discuss that issue. Whatever seems to be more

8 practical.

9 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you would like to have a

10 word with Mr. Sayers.

11 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, we would.

12 MR. SAYERS: Might I suggest, Your Honour,

13 that if we could take our break early, I might have the

14 opportunity to consult with my client, and that will

15 accelerate very greatly the proceedings.

16 THE INTERPRETER: Would the President turn

17 his microphone on, please?

18 JUDGE MAY: It wouldn't be convenient, as far

19 as I'm concerned, to take the break then because I've

20 got a meeting which I've fixed to fit in with our

21 current arrangements.

22 Can you and Mr. Kovacic have a quick word to

23 decide what to do?

24 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Could we just have two

25 minutes here?

Page 6872

1 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

2 [Defence counsel confer]

3 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, we agreed that

4 the Cerkez Defence will go first.

5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

6 MR. KOVACIC: Could I also suggest that, a

7 technical detail, I move over to the place of

8 Mr. Naumovski because from here, we don't see each

9 other, the witness and I. I'm sorry for wasting your

10 time.

11 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

12 Q. Good afternoon. My name is Bozidar Kovacic.

13 I'm an attorney from Rijeka, not your Rijeka, the other

14 Rijeka, and together with my colleague, Mikulicic, we

15 represent the accused, Mr. Mario Cerkez.

16 THE INTERPRETER: Could we ask counsel to

17 speak into the microphone, please?

18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

19 Q. Tell us, please, very briefly, by way of

20 introduction, to save time, you knew Mario Cerkez

21 before the conflict of 1992?

22 A. Yes, he worked in the SPS.

23 Q. Did you have any private contact outside of

24 work?

25 A. Yes, we knew each other. It's a small

Page 6873

1 place.

2 Q. Did you have any common friends?

3 A. Certainly, we did.

4 Q. Did you ever have any disputes with him?

5 A. No, never.

6 Q. Either at work or outside of work, through

7 your contacts, did you ever have occasion to notice

8 a segregational approach towards other religions and

9 other ethnic groups?

10 A. He worked in a different department so that

11 my contacts with him were not frequent, nor did I have

12 occasion to notice anything at all.

13 Q. Did you ever hear of him advocating such

14 views?

15 A. No, I never heard anything along those

16 lines.

17 Q. In view of the size of the community you

18 lived in, do you believe you would have heard if he had

19 such views?

20 A. I don't know.

21 Q. Thank you. Witness L --

22 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise. I used the name,

23 but it was rather -- how shall I say --

24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't --

25 JUDGE MAY: Nobody else heard it. We heard

Page 6874

1 it as "Witness L."

2 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. It was a slip of

3 the tongue.

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

5 Q. Witness L, from the summary that we received

6 an hour ago from the Prosecution, I learn that you are

7 now in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Assistant Minister for

8 Reconstruction and Development in the cantonal

9 government?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Could you confirm a few points in that

12 connection? The process of return --

13 JUDGE MAY: Would it be sensible if this

14 matter went into private session?

15 MR. KOVACIC: I was told, Your Honour, that

16 there are a couple of assistants, so I don't believe

17 that that could --

18 JUDGE MAY: It may be more sensible to go

19 into private session. When you go on to another topic,

20 you can tell us and we'll go back into open session.

21 [Private session]

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 6875

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13 page 6875 redacted private session

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Page 6876

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

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4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

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14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 [Open session]

18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

19 Q. You mentioned the crisis staff and

20 cooperation between both ethnic communities in Vitez,

21 and then we came to the point when, at the crisis

22 staff, it was agreed that a joint operation should be

23 carried out in Slimena, which is in May 1992.

24 You said that you heard from Hakija Cengic

25 that the HVO did not respect the terms of the agreement

Page 6877

1 and, in fact, started the operation two days ahead of

2 time.

3 A. You see, that is the information I received.

4 There are people who know that precisely. Hakija

5 Cengic and Kulenovic, I think he was actually there,

6 and can tell you authentically and emphatically what

7 happened.

8 It is difficult for me now to recollect those

9 details because I didn't participate. I was just

10 informed about it. So it is very difficult for me to

11 say whether it is a question of days or hours, who

12 betrayed whom, and so on. I think if you are really

13 interested in those details, it would be better to talk

14 to those people because they are the ones who informed

15 me about it.

16 Q. Thank you. So I infer from that that at the

17 crisis staff itself, it was agreed, in principle, to

18 launch this operation, but the military elements of the

19 operation were not discussed.

20 A. You see, the HVO and the TO probably did

21 discuss those things, but we didn't go into those

22 details. I didn't know anything about the army for me

23 to discuss military matters. A general position was

24 taken, but the operative side was implemented by them.

25 Q. I understand. But please confirm if I'm

Page 6878

1 right in saying that at the crisis staff, the need for

2 the operation was agreed and the military would carry

3 out the operation, without going into the details of

4 the operation itself; is that correct?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You said in some earlier statements that you

7 knew that the operation was led by Filipovic on behalf

8 of the HVO and that Cerkez was one of the leaders of

9 that operation; is that true?

10 A. In view of the fact that the Vitez Brigade

11 participated, and as Cerkez was the commander of the

12 Vitez Brigade, I assume so. Whether he personally was

13 there, whether he personally participated, I wasn't

14 there to tell.

15 There were three municipalities involved,

16 Travnik, Novi Travnik, and so I assumed that Filipovic

17 too must have known because he participated in those

18 talks. But whether Cerkez was there on the spot is

19 something I don't know.

20 Q. Thank you. Witness L, just for

21 clarification's sake, so it was a joint operation

22 against the Serb aggressor, or, rather, an attack on a

23 warehouse containing weapons which the Yugoslav

24 People's Army had seized from the municipal TOs earlier

25 on.

Page 6879

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. A second point. I probably think it was

3 misspoken because in 1992, there was no such unit

4 called the Vitez Brigade. You were thinking of people

5 from Vitez. Because a moment ago, you used the term

6 "Vitez Brigade."

7 A. The HVO, yes. The HVO.

8 Q. There was the HVO; that, we agree on.

9 Did you hear anything at all about members of

10 the Territorial Defence participating in the military

11 part of that operation?

12 A. Yes, they were assigned the task of carrying

13 out that operation. There were some wounded people

14 too.

15 Q. Thank you. Let me go on to the part when you

16 mentioned --

17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

18 Mr. President, might I intervene just for a moment?

19 Has it been contested that the accused, Mario Cerkez,

20 participated in the attack on Slimena. In front of me,

21 I've got the Defence brief of 6 April, 1999 from the

22 accused in which it says that he participated in that

23 attack.

24 JUDGE MAY: Counsel is able to ask what the

25 witness knows about that, and the witness says he

Page 6880

1 doesn't know anything himself about it.

2 MR. KOVACIC: By the way, Your Honours, there

3 is no position that Cerkez wasn't attached. What I

4 wanted to clarify was a detail. The impression was

5 that somehow indirectly, it is implied that the HVO

6 acted differently in opposition to what they agreed

7 upon with the army; that is why I asked the witness

8 about that. But that doesn't seem to be the case now.

9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. You told us about the event when the HOS

11 captured the building of the municipality and the

12 police station, and you were the most responsible

13 person in the municipality at the time because Santic

14 was in Zagreb. Is there any doubt at all that that

15 operation was, indeed, carried out by HOS units?

16 A. It was them, yes. People who belonged to

17 that unit carried out the attack.

18 Q. Was the HOS an extremist force on the

19 Croatian side in Bosnia in those days, in 1992?

20 A. Was HOS what?

21 Q. The extreme wing of the Croatian side in the

22 conflict.

23 A. The question is not clear to me.

24 Q. If I may say so, on both sides, the Croatian

25 and the Muslim, there were moderates and there were

Page 6881

1 extremists. When talking about the Croatian side, was

2 the HOS the extremist wing?

3 A. That is what the HVO said.

4 Q. But from public knowledge, from the events

5 that took place, was that your impression too?

6 A. It is difficult for me to say which people

7 participated where. That is what they said and that is

8 what it probably was. Who participated in the attack

9 on the MUP, as for the planting of explosives, all we

10 can say is that they were extremists. I can't say

11 whether they were HOS or not. But these are facts,

12 material facts that actually happened. The

13 perpetrators were not identified. All we can say is

14 that they were carried out by extremists. If I knew

15 that they had done it, I would say that they were

16 people from HOS.

17 Q. Tell me, Mr. L, you know that later on, HOS

18 joined the HVO and ceased to exist formally as the

19 HOS.

20 A. Yes, I think so.

21 Q. Do you know that the leader or the commander

22 of the HOS forces in Vitez was a person called Darko

23 Kraljevic?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Is it true that there were rumours about

Page 6882

1 them, that they were very evil?

2 A. Yes, those were the rumours.

3 Q. Is it true that they had their main

4 stronghold in a part of Vitez called Kolonija, where

5 you lived?

6 A. Yes, they were in a cafe. That was their

7 meeting place, yes. It was called Benc, if I'm not

8 mistaken, or 072.

9 Q. Yes, they are one next to another.

10 A. I didn't go there so I don't really know

11 exactly. You're asking me something that I'm assuming,

12 that I heard, that I didn't see.

13 Q. The HVO government had a custom to blame all

14 incidents on the HOS, or anything that was not in their

15 favour on HOS or other extremists.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. For the purpose of verification, did the

18 Muslim side also have problems with its own

19 extremists?

20 JUDGE MAY: Well, before we deal with that,

21 the time has come to adjourn. You can return to that

22 subject if you want, Mr. Kovacic, at a quarter past

23 two.

24 Witness L, we are going to adjourn till a

25 quarter past two. Would you be back then, please?

Page 6883

1 Meanwhile, don't speak to anybody about your evidence

2 and don't let anybody speak to you about it until it's

3 over. Would you remember that that also includes

4 members of the Prosecution team? Could you be back,

5 please, at 2.15?

6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.47 p.m.

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14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

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24

25

Page 6884

1 --- On resuming at 2.17 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

3 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

5 Q. Witness L, we left off at the question, if

6 you will recall, whether there were any extremists on

7 the Muslim side.

8 A. It would be stupid to say that there are no

9 extremists in some ethnic groups. It is just the way

10 they are indoctrinated. Are you putting out fires with

11 water or gasoline? So that, in a way, is the answer to

12 your question.

13 Q. Can you tell me, you mentioned Mr. Ivica

14 Santic, as far as I know, he was a good friend of

15 yours.

16 A. I considered him to have been a good friend

17 of mine.

18 Q. There was a story that at one point, he hid

19 you in his house in order to protect you from these

20 extremists.

21 A. In fact, others interpreted it that way. We

22 had some conversations and talks. His house was about

23 50 to 100 metres away from where I lived there, and I

24 went over there, I spent the night, in order to have a

25 lengthy conversation, so we could do something. This

Page 6885

1 was this period in October.

2 Q. Can I infer from that that both of you, as

3 men and as politicians, cooperated and looked for

4 solutions?

5 A. At that time, yes, I believe that was the

6 case, in 1992. I made an effort and I believe he did

7 make an effort too.

8 Q. Thank you. When you gave evidence, you

9 mentioned, with respect to your detention in the cinema

10 building, certain HVO persons. Anto Kovac, called

11 Zabac, and Ratko Nuk, who were bodyguards or escorts of

12 Cerkez, they were members of the military police;

13 right?

14 A. I assume so.

15 Q. Did you perhaps notice any insignia which

16 would identify them as military policemen or just the

17 fact --

18 A. I'm afraid that I did not pay attention to

19 any details. It is possible that that was the case.

20 Q. Thank you. You also said that you don't know

21 any details about the internal organisation structure

22 of the army, the HVO or the BH army.

23 A. I may have known a little bit more about the

24 BH army.

25 Q. Would you agree with me that within the HVO,

Page 6886

1 there are different units?

2 A. Probably. I guess. Probably.

3 Q. Do you agree with me that in the Vitez area,

4 in late 1992 and during the conflict which started in

5 1993, there were also units present which had come from

6 outside of Vitez?

7 A. I did receive such information.

8 Q. Thank you. You mentioned previously, and I

9 would like to verify that, that Mario Cerkez was the

10 HVO commander in May of 1992. Did you have in mind

11 that he was one of the key people in the HVO in 1992,

12 and do you know his precise position?

13 A. It is hard for me to place him in this

14 hierarchy, where he was inside the HVO. I don't know

15 what importance he was. I don't know whether he was

16 the fifth or sixth in rank, or second or third. I know

17 he was not the first. That, I know.

18 Q. Can we clarify this a bit further, please?

19 By your position, did you attend the crisis staff

20 meetings?

21 A. Yes. They were held in the municipality and

22 this is where I worked.

23 Q. In 1992, did Mario Skopljak come there as a

24 representative of the military component of the HVO, to

25 those meetings?

Page 6887

1 A. In this initial phase, these armed forces --

2 that is, not the TO. This was not in 1991; this was in

3 1992, maybe in April 1992, maybe even March 1992.

4 Perhaps it was March. We had representatives of the

5 Patriotic League as members of the crisis staff.

6 Q. At that time, did this military component of

7 the HVO have the name of HVO headquarters? Do you know

8 that?

9 A. I really don't recall that. I really don't

10 know.

11 Q. But could you confirm that Mario Skopljak did

12 attend those meetings in that period?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And you are unable to say what his position

15 was?

16 A. No, not precisely. I know that he

17 represented the HVO. I don't know which component.

18 The Patriotic League and the HVO at that time, in

19 January, February, and March, they were not legitimate

20 at that time yet.

21 Q. Can you recall any meeting of the crisis

22 staff, or some other meeting where critical issues were

23 being discussed, that Mario Skopljak and Cerkez

24 attended together? We're talking about 1992, of

25 course.

Page 6888

1 A. You mean in a meeting?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. I cannot recall this. There were 10, 12,

4 sometimes 14 people present there, so I cannot.

5 Q. Very well. If you cannot, you cannot. Thank

6 you.

7 In that period of 1992, the relationship

8 between the Croatians and the Muslims was -- Hakija

9 Cengic was the leader of the Territorial Defence, and

10 parallel to him, Marijan Skopljak on the Croatian

11 side. Was that the case? Does that ring any bells for

12 you?

13 A. No, I cannot tell you anything about that.

14 Q. Very well. Thank you. You mentioned, that

15 is, we saw this press release of the Committee for the

16 Protection of Muslims -- in fact, there were two of

17 them -- but my question is, did anybody of the

18 authorities issue any formal decision banning the

19 Committee for the Protection of Muslims?

20 A. No. No.

21 Q. So the authorities did not prevent the

22 activities of this committee?

23 A. No.

24 Q. And this committee was active as late as

25 October 1992?

Page 6889

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. What about the Patriotic League? When was it

3 changed into the Patriotic League?

4 A. You see, the Patriotic League was established

5 in late 1991 and it was active through 1992. This was

6 in June/July 1992.

7 Q. When was the war presidency established?

8 A. In January 1993.

9 Q. So at the time when this committee ceased to

10 exist.

11 A. There may have been a vacuum for about a

12 month or two.

13 Q. In October 1992, we are referring to the 19th

14 and 20th of October, you mentioned this meeting which

15 was attended by Ivica Santic and Mario Cerkez.

16 A. They showed up at the meeting.

17 Q. Did they come to the headquarters?

18 A. Yes, they came to the headquarters.

19 Q. At that time, there were already barricades,

20 the two which you mentioned on the main road. What was

21 the purpose of their coming?

22 A. Primarily, to have those barricades removed.

23 Q. How did you perceive this? As a constructive

24 attempt to resolve the problem about the erection of

25 the barricades?

Page 6890

1 A. The barricades had been put up in order to

2 prevent those units from entering Vitez. The conflict

3 had already broken out in Novi Travnik.

4 Q. You mean, not in Vitez?

5 A. Not in Vitez, but they were supposed to pass

6 through Vitez.

7 Q. According to this document, you know that the

8 erection of the barricades was ordered by the 3rd Corps

9 command.

10 A. That is possible, yes, because this army

11 already had a hierarchy, a chain of command, and so

12 probably the commander was the one who had ordered it.

13 Q. Very well. So we agree that at that time

14 there was an active conflict going on in Novi Travnik.

15 At that time, there was also fighting in Jajce in

16 October of 1992?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. In Jajce, Croats and Muslims fought together

19 against the Serbs?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. When the barricade was removed, the BiH

22 army's interpretation was that the barricade would

23 prevent the Croatian troops from going through Vitez

24 and move on to Novi Travnik, from the standpoint of the

25 BH army?

Page 6891

1 A. You are asking me what the thinking was of

2 the 3rd Corps? Perhaps they had a more different

3 strategic point of view, but myself, as a citizen of

4 Vitez and as a member of the local government, I wanted

5 to see that the units did not enter Vitez, that we

6 didn't have further problems. As far as the 3rd Corps

7 is concerned, for their decisions, you need to ask

8 them.

9 Q. Very well. But in looking for solutions in

10 order to prevent the conflict from coming to your town,

11 is it true that Santic also endeavoured to find a

12 solution, and he suggested that the HVO troops be let

13 to pass through but not stay on in town.

14 A. Well, that is very uncertain. You don't know

15 if you can -- difficult to implement. But this is not

16 an expert opinion of mine, and I think you need to ask

17 the military people for that.

18 Q. But were there such suggestions?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Since Santic and Cerkez were representing

21 Croats, who was the person who was actually conducting

22 talks? Was it Santic or Cerkez?

23 A. I believe that it was Santic who was leading

24 the conversation, and Cerkez was there as the brigade

25 commander. So there it was.

Page 6892

1 Q. As a military person?

2 A. I assume.

3 Q. But he did not take part in the negotiations,

4 in the conversations?

5 A. He just was trying to have the barricades

6 removed.

7 Q. So you allow the possibility of this being

8 discussed as a way, as a solution to the problem, to

9 let them pass through but not let them stay. Was that

10 then discarded as technically not viable?

11 A. This is the position that I took. This is

12 how I saw it.

13 Q. Very well. As a public official, as a

14 politician at that time, would you agree with me that,

15 despite the fact that the conflict had already broken

16 out in other parts of Bosnia -- we're talking about

17 early 1993 now; in other places in Bosnia, conflicts

18 were already in progress -- is it true that politicians

19 in Vitez, all of them tried to find ways to keep the

20 status quo?

21 A. I don't know if we can say that all of them

22 did, but a majority of those with whom I had any

23 dealings did.

24 Q. Would you agree that the incidents which took

25 place in your town in late 1992 and early 1993, which

Page 6893

1 mostly had affected the Muslims, that people still

2 managed to prevent this from conflagrating into a

3 general conflict?

4 A. Yes, we did continue to meet, even though

5 sometimes there were no concrete results, but we tried

6 to keep the communication channels open all the time.

7 Q. Would you agree with me that in the period of

8 late 1992 and early 1993, the situation was so complex

9 and so tense that any incident along ethnic lines could

10 have produced a conflagration at that time, at that

11 moment when it happened?

12 A. Well, there were conflicts, and if you take

13 this logic -- and, as you put it, there were those

14 conflicts and those frictions, and I believe that we

15 needed to be patient, regardless of all the problems.

16 Q. When looking for solutions, you said

17 something in one of your statements previously, do you

18 recall the meetings when you tried to look for a

19 solution, you mentioned today when you would have two

20 armies working together, that there was even an idea of

21 forming an HMVO, where there would be both Croats and

22 Muslims?

23 A. Yes, there were such ideas.

24 Q. Were the people who were proposed for that

25 people who were irrelevant or -- the people who were

Page 6894

1 proposed for that, were they irrelevant people or were

2 they people who didn't carry much influence?

3 A. Well, I'd say that they were relevant to a

4 degree, and some of these ideas were forwarded to

5 Grude, but they were not accepted.

6 If we had even proposed it, even though we

7 were bypassing the law a little bit, we even

8 contemplated breaking the law to a degree, in an effort

9 to prevent the conflict, but we did not succeed.

10 Q. You mentioned when people were given

11 documents about the reorganisation of jobs and that 10

12 or 12 Muslims were let go; you mentioned their names

13 too. You were part of the municipal government. Let's

14 see first how many people were employed in the local

15 government.

16 A. About 100.

17 Q. I assume that in terms of ethnic structure,

18 80 to 90 per cent was divided between the Muslims and

19 the Croats.

20 A. Yes, there was a balance. We have inherited

21 that situation, and this had been the case previously,

22 and now just new party appointees were brought into

23 this place, but there was a balance. I think we had

24 found a balanced situation before we came into power --

25 when we came into power.

Page 6895

1 Q. When the power was shared, this had nothing

2 to do with the election results, and you inherited the

3 bureaucratic structure, which had nothing to do with

4 the election results; is that correct?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. But the situation which you found in terms of

7 staff, it reflected the structure of the population in

8 town?

9 A. Yes, it did.

10 Q. In other words, you will agree with me that

11 approximately out of 50 Muslim employees, 10 were

12 fired?

13 A. Yes, even though I shouldn't have been fired

14 without a decision of the entire assembly and that

15 nobody can fire me unless there is a decision of the

16 entire assembly.

17 Q. So among the employees, how many appointees

18 were there and how many were just permanently employed?

19 A. Three or four were appointees which were

20 appointed by the parliament, and the rest were just

21 hired on a permanent basis.

22 Q. So 10 to 12 employees of Muslim ethnic

23 background were fired because they refused to sign the

24 new document?

25 A. Yes.

Page 6896

1 Q. And out of them, three or four, give or take

2 two, three or four were fired who had been appointees?

3 A. That is not what I'm trying to say. If these

4 appointees were also given this document to sign, that

5 is pretty illegal.

6 Q. Very well. Other witnesses have stated that

7 the SDA party had taken a position on this?

8 A. Yes, the party did take positions on certain

9 issues, and a number of those, 20 or 30 decisions, were

10 taken. I don't know exactly how many.

11 Q. Right. You said that even you had been

12 offered a position in the new HVO government and you

13 refused it. Did you refuse it on the basis of the

14 position of the party?

15 A. In principle, I need to be guided by the

16 position of the party, but it was also illegal, and as

17 a member of the parliament, I thought that I also

18 needed to follow the law.

19 Q. I now want to take you to the period

20 immediately preceding the 16th of April, 1993.

21 You mentioned the meeting of 15 April, 1993

22 with the representatives of the BH army, and you were

23 present where there was the HVO meeting with the BH

24 army representatives on the eve of the conflict. Would

25 you agree with me that immediately before the conflict,

Page 6897

1 tensions had obviously risen significantly?

2 A. Certain things need to be experienced. There

3 was something in the air; it was hovering. You simply

4 are expecting something. It is hard to explain. It's

5 something in the air. I don't know if there is a

6 physical manifestation, but the situation is such.

7 Q. So were these meetings held in order to try

8 to resolve the situation?

9 A. Are you referring to the meeting of the 15th

10 of April?

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Well, yes, there was a committee, relatively

13 speaking, where representatives of the Muslim and

14 Croatian population met, the police and military

15 structures. I was a member of the presidency. I

16 didn't call it, but I was present, and all these people

17 were called, even some members of the presidency, and

18 this situation, this atmosphere was discussed and they

19 gave their position. They said that there would not be

20 any conflict, all three of them mentioned this, and

21 they said there would not be a meeting and they said

22 that they would meet there again tomorrow even. So

23 Sahabudin Muratovic, Sefkija Dzidic, and Safet Sivro,

24 all three of them said so.

25 Q. Did they express that as their own position

Page 6898

1 or did they do it after a meeting with the HVO?

2 A. You have to ask them. I cannot say that on

3 their behalf. They may have had intelligence, they may

4 have had meetings, I just don't know.

5 Q. But let me ask you simply, from what they

6 said, did it imply that they had had contacts and

7 conversations with their counterparts in the HVO?

8 A. Yes, that is how it seemed. I think that

9 there was even an argument put forward that there was

10 another meeting called for the next day, so if there

11 was another meeting called for the next day, there

12 would be nothing happening.

13 Q. Very well. Do you know whether, on the 14th

14 of April, there was a celebration of the anniversary of

15 the BH army?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Did you see any representatives of the HVO

18 attending these celebrations?

19 A. Yes, there was Mr. Cerkez.

20 Q. So this was on the 14th of April?

21 A. Yes, two days before the conflict.

22 Q. And he came as a representative of the HVO?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. On that critical morning, on the 16th, you

25 heard the shooting, and there were all kinds of things

Page 6899

1 going on. Would you agree with me, or would you deny

2 the assessment that at least in this part of the town

3 in which you lived, that is, Kolonija, that for the

4 first two or three days of the conflict, the situation

5 was chaotic?

6 A. It was rather, yes.

7 Q. The troops roaming around the streets, whose

8 presence was very visible, was it clear which units

9 those troops belonged to, who was responsible to whom?

10 A. It is difficult for me to tell. All I can

11 say is that I saw a couple of neighbours. While I was

12 on this side of the building, I saw them, but I can't

13 tell you the exact insignia or anything like that. At

14 least the first morning, it was something I didn't look

15 at. I had other problems on my mind, to get away from

16 it all.

17 Q. Tell us, can you inform us whether uniforms

18 were different, whether there were various uniforms?

19 A. Yes, there were camouflage and black

20 uniforms.

21 Q. In those days, but also before and after, can

22 we consider a uniform to be a distinctive sign as to

23 which troops a soldier belonged to, until we see the

24 insignia?

25 A. I don't understand.

Page 6900

1 Q. For example, did the HVO troops wear only one

2 type of uniform?

3 A. They mostly wore camouflage uniforms. There

4 may have been some small differences, but it was

5 difficult for me to notice those differences. If

6 you're thinking of the shade of colour of the

7 camouflage uniform or that sort of thing --

8 Q. No. I'm asking whether within the HVO, there

9 were people wearing black uniforms.

10 A. I did see a couple of people wearing black

11 uniforms.

12 Q. But you don't know who they belonged to?

13 A. No.

14 Q. On some occasions at least, did the military

15 police of the HVO wear some kind of sign by which they

16 could be distinguished?

17 A. I think they wore those white belts.

18 Q. The classical kind of belts that were worn in

19 the former system by the JNA troops?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Could you clarify a point for us? We went

22 through it rather quickly today and I think it's rather

23 important.

24 It emerged that you were captured and taken

25 to the cinema. You made a statement to the court

Page 6901

1 investigators in July 1995, on the 21st and 22nd of

2 July, 1995, and in talking about those events, you

3 actually said, and I shall quote, "The plan was for

4 Fadil to attract the attention of two HVO members whom

5 he knew while I would run off to the lorry and mix with

6 the other Muslims who were being taken to the cinema.

7 The plan succeeded and I was taken to the cinema."

8 So to speed things up, as I understand it,

9 this means that you intentionally joined a group that

10 was being taken somewhere because you felt safer in a

11 large group than as an individual on the road.

12 A. I felt that if they found me in my apartment,

13 I would be liquidated, and so I thought that if I had a

14 chance, it was within a large group. Because if you

15 wish to kill someone from a large group, you have to

16 take him out and everyone will see it, so it's more

17 complicated. So I thought if I was to survive, it was

18 best for me to be within a larger group. But they were

19 collecting all Bosniaks from Vitez and they would have

20 reached me too. They did search the apartment several

21 times in which I lived.

22 Q. I'm not saying that the cinema was a pleasant

23 experience, but it gave you a certain measure of

24 security.

25 A. Well, you see, this was how I reasoned: I

Page 6902

1 thought that if somebody wanted to do something against

2 me, he was as intelligent as me, and if he wanted to do

3 it, he would take me out of a group. So I had a chance

4 if I stayed within the group.

5 Q. I see. You said that you were listed when

6 you reached the cinema. Was it visible that the

7 military police was doing those lists?

8 A. I think that they wore white belts.

9 Q. Later on, you were taken to the chess club.

10 Was this again done by the military police?

11 A. Yes, I think so.

12 Q. Then they took you in a van to Kaonik. Was

13 this again done by the military police?

14 A. I assume so, but I'm not quite certain. You

15 see, it's rather difficult to tell in those

16 circumstances.

17 Q. Then again you were taken from Kaonik to the

18 cinema when you were released. Again was this by the

19 military police?

20 A. I'm afraid I don't know. I couldn't say.

21 The atmosphere is quite specific. Certain details that

22 don't affect you don't stick in your memory when other

23 things are on your mind.

24 Q. Let me now go on to the next area, that is,

25 the meeting that you described Mujezinovic, yourself,

Page 6903

1 and others. We're still in the cinema now. Sometime

2 around the 22nd, the 24th, Boro Jozic, Zvonko Cilic,

3 yourself, Mujezinovic, and others, this conversation

4 started. Did you see any chance of this producing some

5 sort of a result in the sense of calming down the

6 conflict?

7 A. By nature, I am a person who will always

8 favour negotiations if there is any chance of them

9 being productive, even though there are negotiations

10 when it is difficult, to be quite frank, but I think

11 it's absurd to talk when you are imprisoned. But I

12 accepted everything because I thought there might be a

13 chance of achieving something.

14 Q. So then as things developed overnight, you

15 required a higher level of negotiators?

16 A. I personally know these two persons, I knew

17 what their duties were, and I knew that they were not

18 the persons who could decide. They probably received

19 instructions as to what they should do. If you want to

20 achieve something effective, then you have to look for

21 somebody who has the necessary weight.

22 Q. So that is why you wanted to negotiate with

23 Santic, in view of his position as president of the

24 municipality.

25 A. Yes, I knew him, and it was easier for me to

Page 6904

1 communicate with him than with others.

2 Q. But also his position was important?

3 A. Yes, certainly, his position was very

4 important. He headed the HVO.

5 Q. You also asked for Pero Skopljak, in view of

6 his position as head of the party?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. This story ended with the issuance of a joint

9 statement.

10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to

11 ask the Court, with Your Honours' permission, to show

12 the witness Z852 [as interpreted]. This is something

13 that has already been admitted into evidence.

14 Q. Witness L, would you look through this

15 document? I only have one question for you or, rather,

16 two.

17 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

18 Mr. President, could we see the document in question,

19 please?

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I'm not sure that it has

21 been produced, 852 --

22 MR. KOVACIC: Document 752.

23 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, 752.

24 MR. KOVACIC: Could I check whether the

25 witness has the correct one?

Page 6905

1 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

2 Q. Witness L, have you had a chance to review

3 the document?

4 A. I think that this document, as far as I can

5 remember, this document was different, but you should

6 ask Mujezinovic. I think that the first point was to

7 respect the International Red Cross, of course, to halt

8 hostilities. Explicitly, reference was made to respect

9 for the agreement between Izetbegovic and Boban. I

10 know that Muhamed signed something outside this

11 agreement, but you must ask him.

12 Q. Let me just remind you, from the introductory

13 sentence, that is how this was presented to us, that

14 this was a document compiled as a joint statement by

15 the two parties after the agreement which you are

16 referring to was signed. So this is one of the results

17 of that agreement, a joint communique.

18 A. I don't know how this statement came into

19 being, but what I attended had these three points.

20 There were other proposals and pressures, but the

21 substance of that document was, point 1, to respect the

22 rules of the International Red Cross; second, to halt

23 hostilities between the army and the HVO; and the third

24 point, that the Izetbegovic-Boban agreement should be

25 respected. That was the gist of that document.

Page 6906

1 Q. Thank you. Regardless of the unequal

2 negotiating position of the two parties, because, as

3 you said, you were detainees, the document that you

4 agreed upon eventually, what you have just referred to,

5 would you have signed it under normal conditions as

6 well?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Can I infer from that that the existing

9 inequality, the fact that you were detained, did not

10 have a causal effect on that document that you agreed

11 upon?

12 A. It did not.

13 Q. Thank you.

14 A. I mean, the two are not connected. I agree

15 with the points contained in the document, those that

16 were accepted, yes.

17 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could the

18 witness be shown a document that was produced today

19 during the examination-in-chief? Document Z751.

20 Q. Mr. L, I should like to draw your attention,

21 on this occasion, to the last paragraph, which was

22 mentioned earlier on, the sentence which,

23 unfortunately, is illegible in the Croatian version,

24 but it is the one-but-last row. "The government of the

25 HVO ..." Can you find it?

Page 6907

1 In any event, in this document, which is a

2 report issued by the officer on duty in the brigade,

3 and he's sending it to the command of the Operative

4 Zone, mentioning various events that they noticed in

5 the course of the day, he notes that in the building of

6 the Vitez Brigade, this meeting was held and explicit

7 mention is made of representatives of the HVO Vitez

8 government.

9 Would you agree with this, in view of what we

10 have just discussed, that Mujezinovic, you, and others

11 conducted those talks with representatives of the

12 civilian HVO structure, with whom you finally signed

13 your three-point agreement?

14 A. I don't know, but, look, look here, I spoke

15 to the president of the HVO government, Santic, and

16 with the president of the HDZ, Pero Skopljak. Now

17 you're asking me something else, and I don't know.

18 Q. Very well. I apologise. Did you negotiate

19 with Cerkez over that document?

20 A. Cerkez was not present, except for Cilic --

21 Q. In the first contact.

22 A. I think they were present. They were

23 present.

24 Q. Thank you. In your -- rather, I must

25 rephrase that question.

Page 6908

1 We said that you gave statements to the

2 investigators in July 1995, the investigators of this

3 Tribunal, and at one point, when referring to your stay

4 in the cinema building, this must have been in the

5 three or four days before you were transferred,

6 "Several days after I had arrived at the cinema, the

7 civilian HVO police arrived and interrogated me. Sucic

8 and Lazarevic were the men who interrogated me."

9 Is that correct, that you were interrogated

10 by the civilian police?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. The building in which you were

13 detained, it is known as the cinema building, isn't it?

14 A. To be more precise, it is the building of the

15 Workers' University.

16 Q. Yes, it is also known as the Workers'

17 University building, and there was a cinema hall

18 inside. You were tenants or users of premises there.

19 There was a cinema used as an institution; right?

20 There must have been an office in addition to the

21 cinema hall itself. Then there was a cafe during the

22 time of the conflict in the entrance, a coffee-shop.

23 Then there was the headquarters of the Vitez Brigade

24 upstairs on the floor. You said you were with Skopljak

25 in Cerkez's office.

Page 6909

1 A. I think that was downstairs, not in the

2 upstairs.

3 Q. Then there was the Vitez Television offices?

4 A. Possibly.

5 Q. Did you call that building the building of

6 the Vitez Brigade?

7 A. What do you mean?

8 Q. We said that people referred to it as the

9 cinema, as the Workers' University. What else? Was it

10 also referred to as the Vitez Brigade building because

11 it had its headquarters there?

12 A. How do I know? They had their headquarters

13 in the hotel. Maybe it was safer there because we were

14 detained there, so they moved. But I know that their

15 headquarters were in the hotel.

16 Q. Then you were called to a meeting with Pero

17 Skopljak, you said, and you said that this was in

18 Cerkez's office, and you didn't know until then that it

19 was his office. Was Cerkez present at the meeting?

20 A. Yes, he was sitting at the table.

21 Q. Did you have a cup of coffee?

22 A. Yes, and I started a second cup and I left it

23 unfinished.

24 Q. Who was a participant in that meeting?

25 A. Also present, there was me, Cerkez, and Pero

Page 6910

1 Skopljak.

2 Q. And that's all? No one else?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Which were the parties? You on one side,

5 obviously, and on the other? Was your collocutor Pero

6 Skopljak in the first place or Mario Cerkez?

7 A. I don't know how things would have

8 developed. In any event, there were certain exchanges,

9 and then later Pero Skopljak showed me a paper

10 authorising him on talks on Central Bosnia by Boban. I

11 said that I wasn't authorised, I wasn't the authorised

12 person, and that I couldn't continue these discussions,

13 so that the talk was abruptly broken off.

14 Q. On the basis of your statement that you were

15 not authorised?

16 A. But I did say that if I was authorised,

17 then -- and I said who could authorise me. There was

18 the president of the party in Vitez, that was the local

19 level and beyond. Since I did participate often and

20 regularly in talks, I said that if they elected me, I

21 could participate. I could not authorise myself.

22 Q. Please confirm or deny. My understanding is

23 that at the beginning of the meeting, it was

24 established who had the authority, who had the

25 competence. Whoever showed that had -- Skopljak said

Page 6911

1 that he had this document from Boban, that he was

2 authorised and you did not, and then the meeting was

3 broken off.

4 In the course of that meeting, did Cerkez

5 declare his formal position in those talks at all? Did

6 he represent anyone? Was he authorised by anyone?

7 A. Well, he was a commander. He was a

8 commander.

9 Q. But did he take part in this official part,

10 formal part of the talks when Skopljak presented his

11 authorisation?

12 A. He did not comment. There were some comments

13 before that, but at that point, he had no comments.

14 Q. And this was the only formal part of the

15 meeting, wasn't it?

16 A. Possibly, yes. I don't know what would have

17 happened if the meeting had continued.

18 Q. Yes, we agree. But before that, the small

19 exchanges -- only small exchanges took place; is that

20 correct?

21 A. Yes.

22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

23 thank you. I have no further questions for this

24 witness. Thank you.

25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

Page 6912

1 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, Mr. Kordic has no

2 questions for this witness. Thank you.

3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, before you finish,

4 let me just look at something.

5 [Trial Chamber confers]

6 JUDGE MAY: We want to clarify your position

7 about the telephone conversation. Our recollection is

8 that some other evidence has been given about it, and

9 perhaps you can remind us what your position was.

10 MR. SAYERS: Yes. Actually, Your Honour, it

11 can be found on page 3758 of the transcript at lines 18

12 to 25 and 3759, lines 1 to 2, and that was on June the

13 15th of this year, and then we clarified the position

14 on page 3796, lines 2 to 8. As far as I can see, the

15 testimony given by Witness L is precisely the position

16 that we had represented to the Court, and, therefore,

17 we have no questions for him about it.

18 JUDGE MAY: You have no dispute with that

19 evidence.

20 MR. SAYERS: No, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.

22 Mr. Lopez-Terres?

23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have a

24 few clarifications I would like to ask Witness L.

25 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

Page 6913

1 Q. Witness L, first of all, regarding the

2 meeting that you had with the commanders of the BH army

3 in Vitez on the 15th of April, you stated that

4 Mr. Dzidic, Mr. Sivro were there, and you also spoke

5 with Sahabudin Mahmutovic. Sahabudin Mahmutovic, was

6 he a civilian authority or a military authority in

7 Vitez?

8 A. He was the head of the civilian police.

9 Q. He was a commander of the civilian police.

10 He didn't have any authority in military matters; is

11 that correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. The meeting of the 15th of April, did it take

14 place when festivities were being organised for the

15 anniversary of the BH army, or was it another meeting

16 in which those three people participated with HVO

17 people?

18 A. The celebration had nothing to do with it.

19 Q. So the celebrations had taken place before

20 that then, on the 15th of April?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Are you sure about that point?

23 A. Yes. I think the celebration had nothing to

24 do with the conversation which -- the talks which they

25 had with the HVO. The celebration was a celebration.

Page 6914

1 That was part of a protocol, and everybody is trying to

2 be on their best behaviour and be very nice to each

3 other, and you don't discuss any issues. You just have

4 a drink and exchange niceties.

5 Q. Let me rephrase my question. The first

6 anniversary of the BH army and the celebrations about

7 that, did they take place on the 14th or the 15th of

8 April, 1993?

9 A. I don't know if it was on the 14th or a day

10 or two, even earlier. But I know it wasn't later than

11 the 14th. It could have been the 14th or before. It's

12 possible that it was on the 14th, and it certainly

13 wasn't on the 15th. So it was the 14th.

14 Q. All right. You mentioned the names of the

15 two people whom you first conducted negotiations,

16 Borislav Jozic and Mr. Zvonimir Cilic?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. These people with whom you had negotiated

19 with, were they wearing military or civilian clothes?

20 A. [No interpretation]

21 Q. Both of them were members of the Vitez

22 Brigade?

23 A. I assume.

24 Q. Who was the commander?

25 A. Mr. Mario Cerkez.

Page 6915

1 Q. When you said that they had received

2 instructions to conduct negotiations with you, in your

3 opinion, from whom had they received those

4 instructions? From the military or from the civilian

5 authorities?

6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, that's a matter

7 of opinion on the part of the witness. No.

8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

9 Q. This Boro Jozic, was he killed during the

10 conflict?

11 A. I think he was killed.

12 Q. Thank you. One final question. On the 29th

13 of April, 1993, while you were being detained, there

14 was an agreement between the HVO authorities and those

15 of the BH army, so that all of the prisoners would be

16 released on the 30th of April, starting at noon. An

17 order was issued by Colonel Blaskic to all brigades,

18 including the one of the accused, Mario Cerkez. Do you

19 know why you and other people among the important

20 Muslims in the Muslim community were not released on

21 that date, that is, the 30th of April?

22 A. I can say that we were not released. What

23 their plans were, that is difficult for me to say. We

24 were not released. We stayed there.

25 Q. You were never able to get an explanation for

Page 6916

1 that?

2 A. There was no explanation.

3 Q. Thank you.

4 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] I have no

5 further questions.

6 JUDGE MAY: Witness L, that concludes your

7 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International

8 Tribunal to give it. You are now released.

9 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.

10 [The witness withdrew]

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Scott.

12 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, before we take the

13 next witness, which we'll need to address some matters

14 in private session, but even before that, if I could

15 either ask the Court now, or I assume the Court would

16 rather deal with it at the end of the day, I would like

17 to save, if we can, a couple of minutes to deal with

18 the release question. We're still not sure exactly

19 what the Court's thinking on that, and the Prosecution

20 has some questions procedurally about that. So if I

21 could just alert the Court or ask the Court to reserve

22 a couple of minutes at the end of the day, I would

23 appreciate that.

24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll do that.

25 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, the next witness --

Page 6917

1 if we can go to private session.

2 JUDGE MAY: I'm just going to have a word

3 with the legal officer, please.

4 [Private session]

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Page 6921

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Page 6922

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13 pages 6922-6936 redacted closed session

14

15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

16 3.59 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,

17 the 16th day of September, 1999, at

18 9.30 a.m.

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