1 Thursday, 6th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9:10 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-16-T, the
6 Prosecutor versus Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
7 Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, and
8 Vladimir Santic.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning.
10 Counsel Susak?
11 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, this morning at
12 7.00, I received some really bad news, that the mother
13 of Drago Josipovic died last night. I talked to
14 Mr. Drago Josipovic a couple of minutes ago, and he
15 told me that he would prefer not to be present at the
16 hearing today. Now it is up to the Chamber to decide
17 whether to adjourn or whether we should deal with this
18 in another way.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Counsel Susak.
20 First of all, let me convey to Mr. Josipovic on behalf
21 of the Court our condolences for this very sad news,
22 and we are very sorry, and of course it goes without
23 saying that Mr. Josipovic, Drago Josipovic, has the
24 right to leave any time, right away, to have some rest
25 and to think of his mother.
1 So we suggest that we should continue with
2 our hearing, but as I say, Mr. Josipovic can leave any
3 time, either right away or later on. It's for him to
5 MR. SUSAK: Mr. President, this actually
6 agrees with what Mr. Josipovic has thought. He wanted
7 to retire, to have some peace and quiet, but the
8 hearing should go on, because he does not want to
9 interfere with the course of the trial.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thank you. So it
11 is so decided.
12 So you may leave any time.
13 Before we resume with the hearing, is there
14 any outstanding matter, procedural matter to be
15 discussed? Otherwise, as soon as the witness is in, we
16 will resume the cross-examination by Mr. Terrier.
17 (The witness entered court)
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, Mr. Drmic. The
19 Prosecutor will continue with his cross-examination.
20 Mr. Terrier?
21 MR. TERRIER: Good morning, Your Honour.
22 Good morning, Madam Judge. Good morning, Judge.
23 WITNESS: ZORAN DRMIC (Resumed)
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Terrier:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. Witness. Mr. Drmic,
1 yesterday you told us that you were mobilised in
2 mid-March 1993 upon a telephone call by Mario Cerkez.
3 Did you know Mario Cerkez at that time?
4 A. Just one correction. I was mobilised by
5 Mr. Mario Cerkez in mid-March, but he came to see me in
6 my apartment, personally. It wasn't after a telephone
7 conversation. The man from the Defence Department
8 called me on the phone on the 16th of April and
9 instructed me to leave my building, to get inside of my
10 building. As for whether I knew Mario Cerkez -- that
11 was the question, right? -- I knew him very well,
12 from '87, when I started work in the company, in the
13 factory where he himself worked, and we were on good
14 terms, so to speak.
15 One day he visited me in my apartment -- he
16 had called earlier -- and then, in a relaxed
17 atmosphere, he asked me whether I wanted to work for
18 them at the brigade, whether I wanted to deal with the
19 formation of the brigade and the payroll for the
20 personnel, because he knew what I was qualified for.
21 I thought for a couple of seconds, three or
22 four seconds, to see what I wanted to do. He asked me
23 whether I wanted to do that or not, but then he just
24 laughed and said, "Well, you will be mobilised anyway,
25 whether you want to do it or not."
1 I knew at that time what the situation was in
2 Vitez, because before I was laid off at my company, 15
3 days before I was mobilised, I didn't have any work, I
4 was in my apartment, but when I went to work, that's
5 some 10 or 15 minutes away on foot from my apartment to
6 the place where I worked, and when we -- as we walked
7 by, we had to pass through a place called Mahala that
8 was between the town and the factory, and that was a
9 purely Muslim area.
10 The last day when I went to work I noticed
11 all of a sudden some bunkers that had cropped up in
12 that area, in the Mahala. They were made of logs and
13 of timber, some kind of shelter for combat operations.
14 I was very shocked that day. I did not know what that
15 was for, all the more so when I realised that the
16 openings that were supposed to be for opening the fire,
17 that they were turned towards the town and not towards
18 Travnik, and that was where we expected the Serbian
19 attacks against our valley.
20 That was when I was surprised, and I was
21 somewhat afraid. I guessed that the war was looming,
22 because in some towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina there
23 had already been conflict between Croats and Muslims,
24 such as in Gornji Vakuf and in Busovaca, and after all,
25 there had been conflicts in Vitez in October 1992, a
1 conflict broke out in Vitez between Croats and
2 Muslims. It lasted for five or six days, and after
3 that, people continued to go to the factory together.
4 They worked as if nothing had happened.
5 So the attack that happened again, we thought
6 that it would again be short-lived, but it turned out
8 Q. According to the explanation you provided
9 yesterday, up until that date in March 1993 when you
10 were mobilised, up until that date you were a
12 A. I was at my job. In fact, every person of
13 military age was in the reserve force. All of those
14 people who did their national service were in the
15 records of the Office of Defence, and they were
16 automatically considered to be a part of the reserve
17 force, and if need arises, we are all considered as
18 conscripts. Not just me; every man of military age was
19 in the reserve force.
20 I don't know whether the terminology is all
21 right, whether it fits.
22 Q. Well, let's try and define the word of
23 "reservist." What were the obligations of a reservist
24 at that time and at that particular location?
25 A. Our obligation as a conscript was to report
1 to the collection point in case of mobilisation. I was
2 not assigned to any war unit. We had not received any
3 military ID from the new government, because all the
4 records dated back from the former Yugoslavia. We had
5 received some training in school and during our
6 national service, and after doing our national service,
7 we were still considered conscripts because if we
8 received our call-up which was issued by the Defence
9 Department, we were supposed to report to the
10 collection point. But I did not have my assignment. I
11 did not know where I was assigned to.
12 Q. Does a reservist have to go on training at
13 particular times?
14 A. They maybe had to do so in the former
15 Yugoslavia, because it was a structured army with 50
16 years of tradition behind it, and reservists at that
17 time had to undergo exercises from training from time
18 to time, but we in Bosnia-Herzegovina did not undergo
19 any training. We did not have to gather after
20 receiving the summons; nothing like that.
21 Q. Does a reservist, and I'm not talking about
22 the former Yugoslavia, I'm talking about Central Bosnia
23 at the time we're interested in, that is to say, late
24 1992, early 1993, at that time, did a reservist, a
25 member of the Croat Community of Bosnia, did that
1 reservist have at home military equipment or parts of
2 military equipment?
3 A. No. Nobody had any military equipment or any
4 kind of weapons, apart from those persons who were
5 active military personnel, and that was maybe half a
6 year or a year after the conflict, before the war.
7 Q. What about yourself? Did you have a grade in
8 the HVO army?
9 A. I did not have a rank until that time when I
10 was mobilised, but when I was mobilised, my functional
11 post was the chief of financial service, and in itself,
12 that meant that I had the rank of a Major. That was a
13 high rank. But later on, in the course of the war and
14 after the war, real ranks, your personal rank, was
15 assigned to you.
16 Despite the fact that I had been in the Vitez
17 Brigade for almost a year, I was then reassigned to the
18 3rd Guards Brigade, which was formed sometime in
19 January/February 1994, and I was on the staff, the
20 command of the Guards Brigade as the advisor for
21 information technology to the commander.
22 According to the structure, that was the rank
23 of Captain. But when I left the army, I wanted to be
24 discharged in September 1994, because I wanted to be
25 involved in some work that I really liked. I wanted to
1 start my private business. I got demobilised from the
2 army, and after that I did not have any military rank
3 any more. It was just during the war. I was at a post
4 which had a particular rank.
5 However, I was never given that rank, neither
6 during the war nor afterwards. So when I received my
7 military ID after the war in 1994, it says that I'm a
8 Private. I think it was, in fact, a bit unfair to me,
9 bearing in mind my qualifications and the length of
10 time that I had spent in service, but it wasn't
11 important to me. So that's how it ended up.
12 Now I have the military ID which lists that I
13 have the rank of a Private.
14 Q. The injustice that you referred to, who is
15 responsible for that, the new authorities in Bosnia?
16 A. I believe that it was just an omission on
17 somebody's part, because when the information was
18 gathered for the assignment of ranks in the Vitez
19 Brigade, I was moving to the Guards Brigade. They
20 probably thought that I would get what I have to get
22 When this was happening, this process was
23 going on in the Guards Brigade, I was there from
24 January/February 1994, and when the proposals for ranks
25 were finished, I left the army. After that, simply
1 nobody thought about me. Nobody took my file to
2 correct this mistake.
3 On several occasions, I spoke with some
4 officials, some officials that I knew from the war, but
5 I never put anything in writing, nor did I ask for the
6 rank to be given to me.
7 Q. During the war, did you always stay in the
8 offices or did you fight on the front?
9 A. During the war, I was in the office at all
10 times. I slept virtually every night in my apartment
11 except in those cases when I was the duty officer as a
12 member of the command at the brigade command. Then I
13 would spend those nights in the command building, in
14 the brigade command building.
15 I was not issued any weapons. I did have a
16 pistol that was given to me by my wife's brother. He
17 was a soldier, and he actually got killed in December
18 1993. So I had that pistol with me during the war, but
19 I never discharged it, nor was I issued with any other
21 Q. Mr. Witness, I'd like to get your
22 explanations on a document which was already produced
23 in the court, which is Exhibit D39/2, which is a
24 Defence Exhibit, D39/2.
25 Mr. Witness, as you can see, this document
1 was established on the 24th of April, 1993, signed as
2 Slovamir Sivic, and it reports the names of people who
3 were either killed or wounded in the operations carried
4 out by the Vitez Brigade. I'd like to refer to the
5 bottom corner on the left-hand side. Next to number 7
6 is the name of Zoran Drmic.
7 MR. PAR: Could the witness put this on the
8 ELMO, because we do not have a copy of this exhibit?
9 That would enable us to follow.
10 A. I do not see the name of Zoran Drmic here.
11 What number?
12 JUDGE CASSESE: I fail to see it.
13 MR. TERRIER: It's at the bottom of the first
14 page. There's a number 7 on the bottom of the first
15 page, in the left-hand corner, Mr. President. There is
16 a number 7, next to which is the name Zoran Drmic. But
17 I realise in some copies there is the bottom of the
18 page that's missing. So I'm going to give to the usher
19 my own copy.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Indeed, in the copy received
21 there is no such thing as a number 7. We go directly
22 from 6 to 8.
23 A. Yes, I can see it now. When we talked about
24 lists yesterday, and about the formation of the
25 brigade, and about the job that I did, on several
1 occasions I mentioned that it is not sufficient to have
2 just the first name and the last name without the date
3 of birth and father's name. That's not sufficient
5 In Vitez, to be specific, there are four
6 Zoran Drmics, and I often have some minor problems, so
7 to speak, because my mail is sent to their addresses, I
8 receive their mail, and even when I worked at the
9 company, sometimes the loan repayments were taken from
10 my salary and not from their salary. I know three
11 other Zoran Drmics.
12 I think I know who this is. His father's
13 name is Niko. Now, whether he was born in '63 or '65,
14 I don't know exactly, but his father's name is Niko.
15 That's not me.
16 I was wounded, but that was in 1994, on the
17 30th of January, 1994. I was wounded with shrapnel.
18 En route from my apartment to the brigade command, a
19 shell fell right in front of me, maybe 20 to 30 metres
20 away. It hit a tree. The tree caught most of the
21 blast, but I was hit by a large shrapnel in my groin,
22 so I was hospitalised. That was at the end of the
23 war. I have all the requisite medical documents. It
24 was declared that I was 20 per cent disabled after that
1 So those lists of the casualties, that refers
2 to the first few days. I know most of the names here
3 because I entered this data into the computer and I
4 kept the records. I recognise some other names.
5 Number 34, that's my friend I talked to you about when
6 I told you what it was like at the front line. That's
7 Goran Martinovic. That was on the 22nd.
8 MR. TERRIER:
9 Q. Thank you. We're now going to talk,
10 Mr. Witness, about the relationships you had with the
11 accused, Vlatko Kupreskic. You said that you met him
12 before the war when you worked together in the same
14 At that time did you notice that Vlatko
15 Kupreskic may have health problems or may have a
16 condition that could be annoying him in his daily
18 A. It is correct that I had met Vlatko during
19 the war, because we had our respective offices in the
20 same building. However, we never sat down together or
21 talked, not even for a minute or two. It was just in
22 passing really. We would greet each other, and that
23 was it. Perhaps just to exchange a couple of words,
24 shake hands, because we worked together but we had
25 never spoke about anything else. I had no information
1 that he had any condition, health condition. So I was
2 all the more surprised when he came to my office during
3 the war and gave this document to (redacted), and it
4 was only then that I learned about his health
6 Can I just ask something? This monitor is
7 flickering and this light is bothering me. Can this be
8 turned off, please? Thank you.
9 Q. As a consequence, Mr. Witness, when you met
10 and when you became acquainted with Mr. Vlatko
11 Kupreskic before the war, in the conditions you
12 described, it did not appear that he may have any sort
13 of condition in his daily life?
14 A. No. No, it didn't seem to me that way, and
15 we did not address that at all. My acquaintance with
16 him was such that I saw him for the first time when I
17 was going to serve in the army. I was 18 at the time,
18 and it was customary to have a feast, and Vlatko
19 Kupreskic played the guitar, and he came with a friend
20 who played accordion. That's when I saw him for the
21 first time.
22 After that, we saw each other infrequently in
23 our company. That is what really bound us, the only
24 thing, because we never sat down, had coffee, talked,
25 or anything like that.
1 Q. You said yesterday that after the war you
2 entered into a business relationship with
3 Mr. Kupreskic, and that in 1995, for instance, you
4 virtually met him on a daily basis. Can you be more
5 specific as to this business relationship that you had
6 with Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic?
7 A. Sometime in October or November, 1994, he
8 called me on the telephone, myself and a friend of
9 mine, because we had just registered a company which
10 was to provide some bookkeeping services for private
11 businesses. He was setting up his own company, and he
12 wanted to do so bookkeeping research so that he
13 wouldn't have any problems with the authorities. Then
14 we worked with him on that, because his company was
15 growing by the day and becoming more and more
17 So we worked throughout 1995, 1996, '97, and
18 '98. In fact, we still work with them even though he
19 has been absent, but his wife comes to us, and I know
20 all of his workers, all of his -- I know that on his
21 premises he has computers, and I installed for him the
22 programmes for the flow of merchandise. So I know of
23 him, of his business.
24 So he would come to my office frequently,
25 every 10, 15 days, or at least once a month to check
1 how the bookkeeping was going, whether there were any
2 documents missing or any other problems with respect to
4 Q. At that time when you had that business
5 relationship, did the health of Mr. Kupreskic seem to
6 be problematic, according to you?
7 A. It didn't seem problematic to me, even though
8 at that time I had had a different opinion, because I
9 had learned from (redacted) that he had a
10 pacemaker. I was sort of trying to gauge whether that
11 was giving him any problems.
12 I think two or three years later I had -- I
13 finally asked him whether he had a pacemaker, and he
14 said no, that he did not have one but that he had only
15 been operated on his heart, and that (redacted) may
16 have misunderstood that he had a pacemaker. But I
17 could not see that he had any health problems,
18 something that would impede him in his activities.
19 Q. Would it be right to say that managing a
20 company like the one he was managing required physical
21 abilities, I mean, a major physical ability? In other
22 words, his business, his job was quite an active job
23 and it required him to be in good health?
24 A. You could say so, even though not
25 necessarily, because this business may have involved
1 just making phone calls to his business partners, and I
2 think that his workers and his wife may have been
3 involved. Perhaps his wife was keeping all the books
4 and doing the paperwork anyway. In fact, as far as I
5 recall, she was indeed the manager of the company, at
6 least on paper. But I knew that a point of fact,
7 Mr. Vlatko was running the company, that it was due to
8 his activities that the company had survived. Because
9 in this particular segment, business sector -- that is,
10 the wholesale food business -- the competition was very
12 Q. Could we say, Mr. Witness, that that company
13 managed by Vlatko Kupreskic was, in 1994, '95, '96, a
14 prosperous company which was constantly growing?
15 A. You could say so, because the company was
16 improving year by year until he went to The Hague, when
17 suddenly the company took a downward turn, and the
18 company posted great losses, and I don't know what its
19 future will be, in other words, how much longer it will
20 be able to go on. Now, this is perhaps a bit
21 confidential. I don't know whether I should reveal any
22 information about this business.
23 Q. I'm not going to ask you any more regarding
24 that anyway. Let's go back to the time of the war.
25 You said that the name of Vlatko Kupreskic was in the
1 computer with a marking saying that he was unfit for
2 service. What was the reason that the name "Vlatko
3 Kupreskic" was introduced in the computer if he could
4 not be mobilised?
5 A. The reason was that all lists coming to our
6 office were analysed to great detail, and regardless of
7 the circumstances, each individual was entered in this
8 list, whoever was -- every single person was registered
9 just so that we would have it there. However, when we
10 went into the field, we tried to find out whether this
11 person was actually a member of the brigade or not so
12 that we would able to come up with the actual numbers,
13 who was the member and where they belonged.
14 Later, when the units were -- when everything
15 was broken down into particular units, such as
16 companies, battalions, in the field, we then
17 interviewed each of these individuals, and whoever did
18 not have any kind of code, we would say, "Where does
19 this person belong?" Especially from the southern
20 sector, we would ask the commander, "Where is this
21 person?" And for instance, the commander would say,
22 "Well, he is a member of the company." Then we would
23 enter his wartime assignment. If the commander said,
24 "He is not part of the unit," or "He is unfit," we
25 would just enter that, because we could not trace
1 everybody. It was the commander's word which we had to
2 rely on, and we just had to take it for granted.
3 Q. As a consequence, Mr. Witness, if the name
4 "Vlatko Kupreskic" was entered in your computer, it is
5 that it was on a list which you copied?
6 A. That is correct. I believe that that was the
7 list which we saw yesterday. That is the exhibit
8 provided by the Defence. I think that that was the
9 list sent to us, and then these may have been actually
10 the first lists which we had at our disposal. However,
11 at that time, we did not know which individual was in
12 which unit. I mentioned that there was this date of
13 birth and father's name. We did not know the location
14 of each and every soldier. These were just the initial
16 Q. Could you please remind us of what lists you
17 are presently talking about?
18 A. I had a list here yesterday. It was signed
19 by Marijan Skopljak, and the heading was from the
20 Defence Department. It was some kind of report on
21 mobilisation which I believe the head of the office had
22 sent to someone in order to let those people know that
23 he had done something. I don't know who compiled these
24 lists, whether they are authentic, and so on.
25 Q. Mr. Witness, that list holds the date, unless
1 I'm mistaken, 22nd or 23rd of April, 1993. Are you
2 saying that the name "Vlatko Kupreskic" was not
3 introduced in your computer and in your logs until that
4 date, the 22nd or 23rd of April, 1993?
5 A. As far as I recall from yesterday, that list
6 was dated 29 April, and until that date we practically
7 had no records in our computers. So these were just
8 the initial -- that was the starting point. We only
9 had more complete lists in the course of the months of
10 May and June and so on. But early on, that is, in
11 April, these people who were in this list, we did not
12 have them on record, because we only had the active
13 part of these units entered.
14 Q. Mr. Witness, you told us yesterday that in
15 September '93, Vlatko Kupreskic was sent before you --
16 or came before (redacted), but at any rate, you were
17 there -- and he was shown in by two policemen wearing
18 uniforms in order to receive an assignment. And you
19 said that you had a very precise recollection of that
20 scene, as if it happened yesterday. Could you explain
21 why this scene was so striking to you?
22 A. It was striking to me how (redacted)
23 addressed me and looked at me in a strange way. She
24 was perhaps a bit angry, and she said, "See? See what
25 they are doing to me?" And I looked at her
1 questioningly, not realising what she was trying to
2 say, so I asked, "What is this all about?" She
3 said, "Well, they are bringing to me these unfit people
4 and asking me to mobilise them and to place them
5 somewhere. What am I going to do with him?" Then she
6 said, "I'm putting him in a medical unit as a driver."
7 So I remember it more by the reaction of
8 (redacted), but I do know that it related to
9 Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic. Had it been some other
10 circumstances, had (redacted) not reacted the way she did,
11 I may not have remembered it, because we had frequent
12 cases that people -- these people would be brought to
13 us. I think that this was during the most fierce
14 fighting in our valley, at the time we when were
15 suffering the greatest losses, and then the order from
16 the command was that basically nobody would be
17 considered unfit, that everybody should be involved in
18 the defence.
19 Q. You said yesterday, Mr. Witness, that in the
20 circumstances prevailing at the time when the enemy
21 would attack, everybody was supposed to bring in his
22 contribution to the measure of his skills and as far as
23 they could. As far as you know, what was the
24 contribution brought in by Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic in the
25 defence effort from April '93 and September '93 date at
1 which you met him?
2 A. No, I do not know that. I did not see him
3 during that period, nor did I see him in the period
4 just prior to the war, so I do not know in what way he
5 was engaged. I don't know if he even was engaged. I
6 only know that as far as the computer is concerned, his
7 name existed there, but he did not have any
8 assignment. It was not clear whether he had been
9 assigned to some battalion company, squad, or -- at the
10 time when he had been brought in.
11 Q. For things to be perfectly clear on this
12 point, Mr. Witness, what you're reporting is that the
13 computer does not say anything in this regard, and
14 besides, you have no particular recollection regarding
15 the action by Mr. Kupreskic at the time, and I'm
16 referring to the period April to September 1993. Is
17 that correct?
18 A. That is correct. At that time, in that
19 spirit, I did not see Mr. Vlatko Kupreskic, nor do I
20 know what kind of activities he was engaged in, what he
22 Q. Mr. Witness, before this Court, in previous
23 circumstances, we heard that according to the texts
24 applicable in the HVO, mobilisation could be either
25 public or secret, partial or complete, in full. In
1 light of your experience and in your functions at the
2 time, could you explain what a secret mobilisation
4 A. I could not, because I hear these things for
5 the first time, and my function was really to just
6 process these lists. The data in the computer were
7 available at all times, and I could produce any type of
8 list in five minutes. So had it not been for the
9 computers, I don't know what kind of information we
10 would have been able to produce at all.
11 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Witness.
12 MR. TERRIER: I have no further questions,
13 Your Honour.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you very much, Mr.
16 Counsel Par?
17 MR. PAR: No further questions, Your Honour.
18 Thank you. No further questions.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: We don't have any questions.
20 Mr. Drmic, thank you for coming to The Hague
21 to give evidence in court. You may now be released.
22 Thank you.
23 (The witness withdrew)
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel Krajina, shall we now
25 call witness number 3, Court witness? Any protective
1 measures? Oh, Mr. Par will be conducting the
3 MR. PAR: Mr. President, this witness has
4 asked for closed session, because it is a witness of
5 another ethnicity who is afraid that his testimony here
6 may involve some consequences for him. Although
7 perhaps the content of his testimony does not warrant
8 this, it is his personal request, and he has requested
9 that this be conducted in closed session.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. We will comply
11 with this request. Let us now move into a closed
12 session then, and then we will bring in the witness.
13 (Closed session)
7 redacted pages 9155 – 9225 (closed session)
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
18 at 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on
19 Friday, the 7th day of May, 1999,
20 at 9.00 a.m.