Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 24920

1 Tuesday, 19 September 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.37 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.


9 [Witness answered through interpreter]

10 Examined by Mr. Kovacic: [Continued]

11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Taraba. Let us continue where

12 we left off yesterday. We were talking about paragraph 3.2. Mr. Taraba,

13 who called you up on the 15th of April, 1993, at night?

14 A. My late colleague, Ivan Budimir, rang me up.

15 Q. Could you tell us what function Ivan Budimir was performing at the

16 time?

17 A. I think he was a member of the command of the battalion and that

18 he was the assistant commander of the battalion for information and

19 propaganda activity, if I recall rightly. It was IPD.

20 Q. Regardless of his post, you are sure that he was a member of the

21 command of the battalion of which you were also a member; is that correct?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. Can you please tell us what he told you, approximately?

24 A. Well, he asked me, "Aren't you in the command? What are you

25 doing?" and I said, "I was sleeping." And he said, "We have to be at the

Page 24921

1 command. You should hurry up and go there."

2 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Taraba, do you know from where he called you?

3 A. I think he called me from Stara Bila.

4 Q. Was he a resident there?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. In Stara Bila itself, or one of the villages near Stara Bila?

7 A. It was a hamlet called Kolotine.

8 Q. Thank you. Did you listen to him? What did you do?

9 A. Well, with great reluctance I got dressed, and I set out toward

10 the battalion command.

11 Q. What time was it, approximately, in the night? Early, late?

12 A. I think it was about 11.30 p.m.

13 Q. You said that the command headquarters was in Sumarija, in

14 Rijeka. How far is that from your house, approximately? Either in

15 kilometres or in minutes, driving by car.

16 A. From my flat in Vitez, it was about two or two and a half

17 kilometres away.

18 Q. Along the way, did you notice anything unusual?

19 A. No. It was quiet. It was night; everything was quiet.

20 Q. Did you notice any movements of soldiers on the road?

21 A. No.

22 Q. So you gathered in the command, and my first question is: Did the

23 entire command, did all the members of the command arrive, or just some of

24 them?

25 A. I couldn't say now whether it was everybody who was in the

Page 24922

1 command, but I think it wasn't everybody.

2 Q. Was Mr. Bertovic there when you arrived?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. What did he say to you when you gathered there?

5 A. When I asked him why they were making us come there, he said that

6 some information had arrived that certain movements of the army of BH had

7 been observed, and that was the reason why he had called the command

8 together.

9 Q. You used the word "again." Your question was, "Why are you making

10 us come here again?" What did you mean by that? Did that happen often?

11 A. Well, it was, to speak figuratively, the thousandth time. I would

12 come home, take one boot off, and before I could take off the other, the

13 phone would ring and I would have to go back.

14 Q. Very well. Did Bertovic tell you what your task was supposed to

15 be in connection with the information he said he'd received?

16 A. He said, more or less, that we were to step up measures of

17 observation in the direction of Kruscica and Vranjska.

18 Q. Was there any discussion about the entire situation then?

19 A. You mean between me and Mr. Bertovic?

20 Q. I mean all of you who were there.

21 A. Well, because I had been so reluctant to come there, I was trying

22 to find a quiet corner where I could nod off and take a nap. I didn't pay

23 any attention to the discussions in the command.

24 Q. Before we forget, could you tell us whether Bertovic said quite

25 clearly from whom he had received the information you said he had?

Page 24923

1 A. Well, to be quite truthful, I never asked him, nor did he tell

2 me.

3 Q. What was the final decision and command issued by Bertovic after

4 this discussion you mentioned? What was the battalion to do?

5 A. Well, in spite of everything, I managed to notice, to observe,

6 that the command was in places facing Kruscica and Vranjska. Part of the

7 men from the shifts who had gone to the front line facing the army of

8 Republika Srpska should go there in case of an attack by units of the army

9 of BH, to defend the lines, to offer resistance, to try to defend the

10 village and to offer resistance.

11 Q. Is it correct that from Kruscica in the direction of the town,

12 there are several routes that could have been taken by an army possibly

13 executing such a plan in order to reach the town?

14 A. Yes. There are still two good asphalt roads, two roads along

15 which units could move toward Vitez, toward the town.

16 Q. Were there also natural paths suitable for infantry to go toward

17 the town?

18 A. Yes, yes. I can say that with certainty because I am a hiker and

19 I had hiked along all those routes.

20 Q. Very well. And was there a similar situation with respect to

21 Vranjska?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you. Mr. Taraba, tell us, please, first of all in your

24 view, what was your opinion about this information and how realistic it

25 was that there might be an attack at that time, that night?

Page 24924

1 A. Well, we had had information about a possible attack so many times

2 and our people say that if someone is bitten by a snake, he is afraid of a

3 lizard. You don't believe it when you hear that information so many

4 times.

5 Q. And did other people feel the same?

6 A. Well, from experience, yes.

7 Q. According to what you said, you did undertake certain activities

8 to carry out this order; is that correct?

9 A. Yes. Otherwise we would have been held responsible for

10 disobeying.

11 Q. If I understand you correctly, did you think that by posting those

12 groups in some key points you had satisfied the minimum of what the

13 command required; is that correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Mr. Taraba, do you remember that at that time in the motel in

16 Kruscica that night, a group of your men was getting ready to take up a

17 shift on the front line against the Serbs?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And do you know, did you let that group know to pull out that

20 night or not?

21 A. As far as I know, that group stayed back in Kruscica.

22 Q. Earlier, you told us that at that time you had been supervising

23 the shifts. At that time, for a month before the conflict, is it correct

24 to say that the shift to go to the front would get together at the motel

25 and from there go to the front line?

Page 24925

1 A. Well, by and large, except that with men who would go to the front

2 line to fight against the army of Republika Srpska, I would join them in

3 Vitez, I would board the bus in Vitez.

4 Q. Very well, thank you. And what happened on the 16th in the

5 morning? Where were you on the 16th?

6 A. On the 16th of April in the morning, I was in the building of the

7 command of the 1st Battalion, that is the Sumarija building.

8 Q. And after that meeting around midnight, did you ever go home or

9 did you stay there?

10 JUDGE MAY: I haven't followed the evidence about the

11 reinforcements or whatever it is at Kruscica. Now, have I understood the

12 evidence right to make sure that I understand it.

13 You're saying, Mr. Taraba, that the order was that the shifts who

14 had been going to the Serb front line should go to Kruscica to defend that

15 line against a possible attack by the BH army. Now, have I understood

16 that right?

17 A. Your Honours, I said that men who were taking shifts to fight the

18 army of Republika Srpska would come back and live at home in their

19 villages.

20 JUDGE MAY: Don't muddle things. Let me understand what the order

21 was. Now, if I am wrong about it, would you explain clearly so we can

22 understand what the order was?

23 A. My apologies, Your Honours. Would you please be so kind and

24 repeat your question?

25 JUDGE MAY: What was Mr. Bertovic's order to the command on the

Page 24926

1 night of the 15th, 16th of April?

2 A. He ordered that a group of men who were in those places, in

3 Kruscica that is, the part facing Vranjska to be on the -- to be prepared

4 to be ready because there was information about the movements of the

5 formations of the BH army.

6 JUDGE MAY: And as a result of the order, what was done?

7 A. You should ask Mr. Bertovic, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE MAY: I'm asking you. You were there, Mr. Taraba. What

9 happened?

10 A. I believe, Your Honour, that some of those men, and I did not

11 check that, were indeed at specific places and undertook some

12 reconnoitring activities so as to prevent a possible attack by the units

13 of the BH army.

14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I can't pretend that it's clear, but

15 we'll go on and perhaps it will become clear.

16 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I will just put one question more.

17 Perhaps it was also my mistake, I was too fast.

18 JUDGE MAY: It wasn't your mistake. There's some muddle about the

19 troops going to the Serb front line, and I thought it was those units

20 which were ordered to Kruscica, but it doesn't seem that that was the

21 order.

22 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may remind, those groups in

23 Kruscica motel were mentioned earlier and that is why probably -- but I

24 will put a simple question and I think that the witness will understand.

25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Taraba, you mentioned that when there were

Page 24927

1 changes of shifts fighting against the Serbs earlier on, that that group

2 would come back and hand over their weapons after they would return from

3 the shift?

4 A. A part of them, yes.

5 Q. And that part of a shift, prior to leaving or after returning,

6 would spend a day or a night at a motel in the middle of Kruscica, that

7 is, at the exit from the village; is that correct?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And that critical night, 15th, 16th, did you contact or are you

10 aware if this group was in any way whatsoever covered by this plan of

11 assignments for reconnoitring reinforcements or whatever, was it?

12 A. I don't know.

13 Q. Are you sure that there was any such group at that motel at that

14 night at all?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And could you then explain to us, where was that motel in the

17 village? In the middle of the village, on the border of the village or in

18 what direction?

19 A. The motel was in the deep rear of the village of Kruscica.

20 Q. Very well, thank you. Let us go back where we were. So in the

21 morning of the 16th of April you were in the Sumarija building; is that

22 correct?

23 A. It is.

24 Q. And that morning, was there indeed an attempt of the BH army to

25 attack along any of those directions that you had been put in charge with?

Page 24928

1 A. In the early morning hours, sometime around 6.00 in the morning,

2 there was general gunfire.

3 Q. Mr. Taraba, the Chamber has heard this very many times. I am

4 asking you only about those parts about your area of responsibility. Was

5 there any attempt on the part of the BH army to break through?

6 A. I do not know because I have told you that after I had arrived in

7 the command, I was somewhat aloof, indifferent in the situation in the

8 command.

9 Q. Mr. Taraba, in the morning of the 16th, do you recall any combat

10 operations in that part, in your area of responsibility?

11 A. Yes, combat operations had commenced that morning.

12 Q. Did anything significant happen, a breakthrough, an attempt at a

13 major breakthrough, or not?

14 A. That morning, sometime before noon, until 1.00 I spent, probably,

15 I suppose, because of fear and the general state that I was in, under the

16 staircase at the command.

17 Q. Do you mean that you were suffering a kind of a shock that

18 morning?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. How long did you stay with the command, how long after the 16th of

21 April?

22 A. For about four or five days.

23 Q. What did you do then?

24 A. I was trying to help my friends within my powers, Muslims, I need

25 to emphasise, whom I thought might have some problems.

Page 24929

1 Q. Very well. Did you, at that time, request to be transferred to

2 your village?

3 A. I asked the commander to allow me to go to my village.

4 Q. When was that, roughly?

5 A. I have already said, some four or five days after the beginning of

6 the conflict.

7 Q. What was the situation in your village when you arrived there?

8 A. Well, it was a little chaotic. People self-organised -- organised

9 themselves, and fearing the danger that might come from the other side,

10 everyone tried to organise his self-defence.

11 Q. At that time when you arrived, could one say that some defence had

12 already been organised? I'm not talking about whether it was good or

13 bad.

14 A. In part, yes.

15 Q. When were the defence sectors formed, approximately? What do you

16 know about that?

17 A. Some six or seven days after the beginning of the conflict, and

18 two or three days after my arrival in my village, the order arrived saying

19 that in order to improve the defence efficiency we should embark upon the

20 organisation of our defence sector.

21 Q. Could you tell us, when were all the villagers, I mean all the

22 able-bodied villagers, mobilised?

23 A. The mobilisation of able-bodied villagers, and later on even those

24 who were not able-bodied, started sometime on the 16th, 17th, 18th, that

25 is, when the conflict intensified.

Page 24930

1 Q. And in your village specifically?

2 A. In my village, at the very beginning. When I arrived, there was a

3 group of men who seemed to be lost in time and space and yet had organised

4 themselves, and later on, other villages there began to join in one by

5 one.

6 Q. That "later on," could you specify it? When do you think that the

7 first men were formally mobilised?

8 A. Well, the first people were formally mobilised sometime on the

9 16th or the 17th. But I was not in that area so I cannot say exactly.

10 Q. At the time when the sectors were formed, can we take it that the

11 major part of men were mobilised at that time, in your view, because you

12 were there?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Later on during the war, what are we talking about? When you say

15 "later on," is it a month, two months? When would you say that everybody

16 who could hold a rifle was mobilised?

17 A. By August. Whether it was the end of August -- but by the month

18 of August, even those who were over 65 years of age, and even some

19 70-year-olds and those who were disabled, were mobilised, that is,

20 practically everybody who could hold a rifle.

21 Q. Could you roughly define the time when this sectorial defence grew

22 into a different form of organisation and when it became the 2nd Battalion

23 of the Vitez Brigade?

24 A. Well, this is, I should say, late July, early August, if my memory

25 serves me well.

Page 24931












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 24932

1 Q. Were you in your village throughout that time?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Your village was in the Mosunj defence sector; is that correct?

4 A. Yes, in the beginning the Mosunj defence sector, and later on the

5 2nd Battalion of the Vitez Brigade.

6 Q. Did your position change? Your post, did it change after the 2nd

7 Battalion was formed?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Does that mean that you kept your position?

10 A. I stayed with the command, but at that time it was the 2nd

11 Battalion of the Vitez Brigade, holding still the same post.

12 Q. Its headquarters was in your village.

13 A. The headquarters was in Nova Bila, in the neighbourhood community

14 Nova Bila.

15 Q. Which is how far from your village?

16 A. Two-hundred metres.

17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Taraba, on the eve of the conflict, that is,

18 before the 16th of April, would it be correct to say that there was a

19 core, a nucleus, of the command of the unit that you were a member of?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. That nucleus, was it what, in formation terms under the then

22 concept, was to be the battalion command?

23 A. I didn't understand the question.

24 Q. In view of your background, you must have had the idea, in

25 formation terms, pursuant to the Territorial Defence concept, you

Page 24933

1 certainly must have been aware of what a battalion command should look

2 like. You did have that knowledge.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. On the other hand, the situation that you had at that time and how

5 you were organised, was it as that formation should look like, was it

6 worse, or was it better?

7 A. Well, it was worse, but within our powers, according to what we

8 could do at the time.

9 Q. To your knowledge, did the brigade command already have some

10 organisational nucleus of its command?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thirdly, are you aware - you have already told us, but let us try

13 to support it - that there were lists of military conscripts and those

14 territorially distributed who could be activated and sent to the front

15 line?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. In your estimate, since you told us you were involved in all this,

18 how long would it take to activate those men on the lists, that is, to

19 assign them and send them to combat positions? What are we talking

20 about? Is it hours, months, or what?

21 A. In the former JNA, and --

22 Q. No, do not --

23 A. I do apologise. I merely wanted to draw a parallel.

24 Q. Yes, do go on.

25 A. Which was claimed to be a rather well-organised army; its full

Page 24934

1 mobilisation would require 48 hours. And here it was men who lived around

2 in villages, worked in factories which were working at the time, or were

3 employed elsewhere, so that, yes, it took quite some time to mobilise

4 them.

5 Q. Could you give us an example and tell us what you mean by "quite a

6 lot of time"? When you sent shifts to the front, for example - that was

7 mobilisation, in fact - how long did you need beforehand to organise those

8 shifts, to activate the shift for a certain assignment?

9 A. You mean facing the army of Republika Srpska?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. A week in advance. We would have to organise things a week in

12 advance.

13 Q. But there was no urgency; is that right?

14 A. Well, we had to replace the shift that was already on duty.

15 Q. Which meant?

16 A. Well, yes, I understand.

17 Q. But you always did this in a planned fashion. There was no

18 urgency in that sense?

19 A. No, right.

20 Q. But how would you define -- you said some time, what was the

21 fastest -- how fast could you activate your group of men?

22 A. Are you thinking of the entire battalion.

23 Q. Yes, for a whole battalion. How long do you think it would take

24 under those circumstances? How soon could you do it, what would be your

25 fastest?

Page 24935

1 A. Well, I have already said I would need quite some time, which

2 means that if we were talking about a battalion, we would -- that is to

3 say until the end of the conflict, the battalion had not been completed in

4 the sense that was prescribed formation-wise. We never had a complete

5 battalion actually.

6 Q. I see. Thank you. Mr. Taraba, at that time, you told us what the

7 conditions were and you said that you needed quite some time. Could you

8 make an assessment? What do you mean by that, how much time; several

9 hours, days, several days? So given the prevailing conditions at that

10 time, how much time did you need?

11 A. We needed several days.

12 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to another area. We have heard a great

13 deal about the PPN special purpose units that were in the area of the

14 Vitez municipality. Mr. Taraba, my question for you is the following:

15 Did the brigade at any time before the conflict or during the conflict or

16 later on in the course of the summer in its composition, did the command

17 of the brigade, was he able to command any unit of the special purposes

18 units?

19 A. No.

20 Q. The brigade itself, after the conflict broke out when the men had

21 already been mobilised and when the defence lines had been established, do

22 you know whether the brigade had the equipment and strength necessary for

23 it to undertake any offensive action?

24 A. No, it did not.

25 Q. And to round up, Mr. Taraba, to complete this line of questioning,

Page 24936

1 which tasks and assignments did the brigade have in Vitez municipality?

2 What were its military activities from the beginning of the conflict to

3 the end of the conflict? What was its basic function?

4 A. Exclusively defence assignments.

5 Q. Does that mean that the brigade was the leader of the defence in

6 the area that was under an encirclement, that is to say, at the border

7 regions?

8 A. Could you make that question clearer? I'm not sure I follow you.

9 Q. Who held the lines defending this region?

10 A. The members of the Vitez Brigade. If we're talking about Vitez

11 municipality, then it was the Vitez Brigade.

12 Q. What about the neighbouring municipalities, Busovaca, Novi

13 Travnik, who held the lines there as far as you know?

14 A. As far as I know, the Novi Travnik municipality was the Stjepan

15 Tomasevic Brigade. And in Busovaca, Busovaca had its own brigade.

16 Whether it was called the Ban Jelacic Brigade, I'm not quite sure.

17 Q. So those were all municipal brigades, were they not?

18 A. Yes, that's right.

19 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Let's move on now to

20 another area. [In English] This is a short clip on video could be viewed,

21 and I will distribute, before that, the transcript.

22 JUDGE MAY: What is it about, please?

23 MR. KOVACIC: It is about the late Mr. Borislav Jozic who was

24 mentioned and is mentioned in a couple of documents and this witness,

25 incidentally, when I was interviewing about that, and show him later on a

Page 24937

1 videotape where we have that person with a certain statement.

2 JUDGE MAY: Remind me who he is.

3 MR. KOVACIC: Mr. Jozic was intelligence officer in the brigade

4 and one who was representative, if you remember, in the commission for

5 exchange of detained people, et cetera, nominated by the Morsink

6 commission or Busovaca commission. So I think it is rather relevant for

7 us, and I was looking for a person who may identify the person so that I

8 can comment later on the substance of that interview.

9 Your Honour, it is less than one minute, the video.

10 JUDGE MAY: Has the videotape been played or exhibited before?


12 JUDGE MAY: Very well, the videotape should have a number and so

13 should the transcript.

14 THE REGISTRAR: The tape will be numbered D118/2 and the

15 transcript D118A/2.

16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters would require a copy for

17 interpretation purposes.

18 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry. Actually, Your Honour, it is one

19 question of the journalist and one answer. Indeed I am only interested in

20 the first paragraph, but as a principle of not cutting the part, probably

21 it would be better to see at least this question.

22 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

24 I should like to ask the technicians to play the videotape.

25 [Videotape played]

Page 24938

1 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] We are talking to Borislav Jozic and

2 will ask him to make a statement to tell us briefly what is going on here,

3 for he is very knowledgeable about what we are about to witness.

4 Borislav Jozic: You know that a joint commission was set up

5 immediately after the conflict in Vitez municipality comprising a

6 representative of the HVO, a representative of the army of BH, delegates

7 of the international Red Cross, delegates of UNPROFOR and representatives

8 of the European monitors. The task of the mission was to tour the whole

9 terrain, meaning the entire area of Vitez municipality and to record sites

10 and locations and draw up lists of detainees or prisoners, et cetera and

11 to have these lists exchanged at HVO and BH army levels for the purpose of

12 exchanging prisoners.

13 This is one of the preconditions for such an exchange to take

14 place, or as we more aptly term it, "release" for many of these persons

15 have neither prisoner nor detainee status. The lists have been amended,

16 and today we are to witness the release of persons imprisoned in the

17 school in Dubravica. You are here. You have seen that representatives

18 are here from the International Red Cross who are in the process of

19 registering every person along with his signature. They will be

20 released. Their wishes are being taken into account. At the moment, some

21 feel insecure, and their return to their native places could entail risks

22 to their safety, their lives, et cetera.

23 The International Red Cross is duty-bound to enable them to go to

24 safer territory, to a place or location where they will feel secure. They

25 are stating their wishes without the presence of third parties. The

Page 24939

1 International Red Cross, therefore, is the only one who knows about them

2 and is taking account of their wishes in creating the conditions to meet

3 them.

4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

5 Q. I have just a few questions now. Do you recognise the person in

6 the interview?

7 A. Yes, I do.

8 Q. Could you tell us his name, who he is?

9 A. It is the late Mr. Borislav Jozic.

10 Q. Do you recognise the journalist in the clip?

11 A. Yes, I do.

12 Q. What's his name, if you remember it?

13 A. It is Mr. Zeljo Kocaj.

14 Q. Mr. Zeljo Kocaj, was he a reporter at Vitez television station?

15 A. Yes, he was.

16 Q. Mr. Jozic, in the course of this interview at one point said,

17 "Today, here in Dubravica." Did you see that interview at the time on

18 television? Do you remember it being televised?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Did you happen to see it later on at any time?

21 A. Later on, yes.

22 Q. Do you remember whether you ever had any information and when this

23 was, that is to say, when the people detained in Dubravica school were

24 exchanged? Do you know when that happened?

25 A. No.

Page 24940

1 Q. You can't give us a rough idea?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether Mr. Borislav Jozic was killed

4 later on?

5 A. Well, I said he was the late Borislav Jozic so I do know.

6 Q. Do you know anything regarding the circumstances of his death?

7 A. He was killed by a sniper from the direction of Mahala. That was

8 what I learnt.

9 Q. Did you hear where he was killed by this sniper from the Mahala?

10 A. I know the exact spot, but it's difficult for me to describe where

11 this was. It was at a crossroads. There was a kiosk selling -- a

12 newspaper stand at the crossroads.

13 JUDGE MAY: It cannot assist us having that sort of detail. Can

14 we move on because the witness has been giving evidence for nearly an hour

15 already this morning.

16 MR. KOVACIC: Yes, Your Honour, I'm just about done.

17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Taraba, after the war when the Washington

18 Agreements had been signed in the municipality, lists of people were made

19 who took part in the defence of the country for the purposes of issuing

20 certificates. We have heard testimony about that. They were certificates

21 which the state promised to give to the participants in the war as a form

22 of remuneration for their contribution and for the salaries that had not

23 been paid out. Do you know anything about that?

24 A. Yes, I do.

25 Q. Tell us, please, was your name on a list of that kind?

Page 24941

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Is it true that those lists contain the names of people -- let me

3 rephrase that. Did those lists contain the names of only those people who

4 actually took part in the war?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Why were other people's names on these lists, people who had not

7 taken part in the war? Could you explain that to us in a few sentences,

8 please?

9 A. It just shows the facility with which these lists were made up,

10 because even people like my aunt, who was born in 1927, 1928, was on that

11 list. It turned out that, in fact, she had been given a certificate which

12 was worth more than my own.

13 Q. What was the name of your aunt?

14 A. My aunt's name was Jozefina Taraba.

15 Q. Was she known by any other name?

16 A. Well, in the village they called her Filka.

17 Q. So you saw those certificates and those shares, and she was given

18 certificates that were worth more than those that were given to people who

19 had a longer service time. Did you know what your aunt actually did?

20 A. My aunt, Jozefina, is 120 kilogrammes in weight and she finds it

21 difficult to move around; she has to walk around with a walking stick.

22 Q. So she, in fact, did nothing defence-wise?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Thank you. Just one more short question. Is it correct --

25 rather, I must rephrase that. Did you oversee the last shift that left

Page 24942

1 for the front line from Vitez on the 16th of April, before the conflict,

2 the shift that was there when the conflict broke out?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Does that mean that you know, with certainty, whether there was a

5 shift there from the Vitez Brigade on the line facing the JNA at the time

6 that the conflict broke out in Vitez?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Very well. Thank you, Mr. Taraba.

9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions. Thank

10 you.

11 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, given the witness' position on the

12 command staff, we could ask questions about the chain of command. But we

13 have a mountain of evidence of that already; any more would just be

14 cumulative. So we have no questions for Captain Taraba. Thank you.

15 MR. NICE: We are in the position, of course, of having to do our

16 best with the timetable, and therefore I will exclude much that I might

17 ask witnesses like this, knowing that there are going to be other

18 witnesses; as at present advised, the very last witness in the Cerkez

19 defence, of whom I'm going to be able to ask many of these things. I'll

20 try and be brief.

21 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

22 Q. Mr. Taraba, just one thing first of all. Are you the only Vlado

23 Taraba in Vitez, to your knowledge?

24 A. There is also a Vlado Taraba who is a late cousin of mine. He was

25 born in 1971 or 1972.

Page 24943












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 24944

1 Q. What was he doing in the conflict, if anything?

2 A. In the conflict, he was on the front line in my village.

3 Q. Your village being -- have a look at this map, 2271, please --

4 JUDGE MAY: Just before we get there. I'm sorry to interrupt.

5 While it's on the monitors, there's a question which I want to clear up.

6 You were asked this question, Mr. Taraba, in leading form: "Did

7 you oversee the last shift that left for the front line from Vitez on the

8 16th of April, before the conflict, the shift that was there when the

9 conflict broke out?" It was a series of questions which I should have

10 stopped. Now, when did you see the last shift off?

11 A. Your Honour, as a rule, shifts stayed there between seven and ten

12 days, on the line facing the army of Republika Srpska. So before the

13 outbreak of the conflict, it was five or six days before that - I cannot

14 say with more precision - that was when the last shift left for the line

15 facing the army of Republika Srpska.

16 JUDGE MAY: So that would be five or six days before the 16th of

17 April; is that right?

18 A. Yes.

19 JUDGE MAY: Because the way the question was asked, it sounded as

20 though you had seen the shift off on the 16th of April. Is your evidence

21 that that shift was still on the front line on the 16th of April?

22 A. Yes, facing the army of Republika Srpska.

23 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

24 Yes, Mr. Nice.

25 MR. NICE:

Page 24945

1 Q. Just to follow on His Honour's question. How many men were there

2 involved on that shift on that occasion?

3 A. I don't know exactly, but between 40 and 50 men. As a rule, that

4 was the number that went to take up a shift.

5 Q. This is active members of the Viteska Brigade; is that correct?

6 A. No. At that time they were shift groups or, rather, shifts from

7 the villages which went to the front line facing the army of Republika

8 Srpska when their turn came.

9 JUDGE MAY: How many were in the shift? Could you give us that

10 figure again, please?

11 A. Well, I said between 40 and 50 men.

12 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

13 MR. NICE:

14 Q. I'll stay with this topic, if I may. So this is not the brigade;

15 the brigade is doing something else. This is a shift of men from the

16 villages; do I understand you correct, Mr. Taraba?

17 A. I have already said that at that time the Vitez Brigade was only a

18 corps. It had only the brigade command and the battalion command. And it

19 was, as I have already said, people from the villages who went from the

20 front line, people who only went on shifts, who were only soldiers when

21 they were on the shifts.

22 Q. We'll come to the strength of the brigade maybe a little later.

23 But what's clear, then, is that organising the village guards into shifts

24 to go to the front line fell to you, didn't it?

25 A. I think you are mixing up the village guards and the shift groups

Page 24946

1 that went to the line facing the army of Republika Srpska.

2 Q. Very well. Then the people who went from the villages, separate

3 from the village guards, were organised by you, weren't they?

4 A. They were organised by the coordinators in those parts who

5 cooperated with the battalion command.

6 Q. Who were the coordinators, then, please?

7 A. The coordinators were men who coordinated the departure of shifts

8 to the line facing the army of Republika Srpska, and the battalion

9 command.

10 Q. That's clear enough. But who were they, these coordinators? They

11 were members of the brigade, were they?

12 A. You want me to tell you their names?

13 Q. I want to know if the coordinators were members of the brigade.

14 Simple question.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Thank you. So that we have the command structure, and you've been

17 asked about command structures in general by Mr. Kovacic, so that we have

18 the command structure for those going to the front line, they are people

19 in the villages who are willing and able to go to the front line, and they

20 are coordinated in that activity by brigade members called coordinators.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And you, in respect of the last mission to the front line,

23 coordinated the activity overall.

24 A. I received lists of men in the shift that were to go to the front

25 line facing the army of Republika Srpska.

Page 24947

1 Q. Let's have another look at this document just so that we can be

2 quite sure what you're saying about it. Document 653 again, I'm afraid.

3 It's a very simple document in that it's headed "The Viteska Brigade";

4 it's said to be the 1st Battalion of the Vitez Information and Security

5 Service; it's dated the 14th of April, 1993, so it's before the conflict;

6 it's said to be a list of personnel from the 1st Battalion of the Viteska

7 Brigade per village of either deployment or something like that, and then

8 it lists them, the 1st Company and the soldiers.

9 These were men in those villages available to the Viteska Brigade;

10 is that correct?

11 A. This is a list of men who, at a given moment, in case of need,

12 could be mobilised.

13 Q. Let's go back here just for a couple of minutes to 1992. We'll

14 leave that document where it is for now, if that's all right. Thank you

15 very much, indeed.

16 In 1992 the Tomasevic Brigade had two battalions, and the second

17 one related to Vitez; are we correct about that?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Cerkez was the commander of the 2nd Battalion at some stage;

20 correct?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Well, what was his role, then?

23 A. Mr. Mario Cerkez was in the brigade command of the Stjepan

24 Tomasevic Brigade, and if I recall rightly, I think he was the chief of

25 the brigade, with its seat in Novi Travnik.

Page 24948

1 Q. Did he have any special interest in Vitez, the town from which he

2 came, and so on? Did he?

3 A. Well, you should ask him that.

4 Q. Was he also the commander of the municipal armed forces of the HVO

5 in Vitez, by that title, in 1992, please?

6 A. In Vitez there were no municipal armed forces. But in late May

7 and early June, a municipal staff of the HVO was established which, at a

8 given moment, was the successor of the former municipal staff of the

9 Territorial Defence. This is a civilian organisation, so to say, which

10 organised shifts going to Galica, Vlasic.

11 And later on --

12 Q. Yes, we'll take that elsewhere probably with another witness.

13 Just confirm this for me, please. The soldiers who were members of the

14 2nd Battalion of the Tomasevic Brigade, by and large, came from Vitez,

15 didn't they?

16 A. I have already said that we cannot talk about soldiers.

17 Q. Well, what about the people who paraded at the oath-taking

18 ceremony in the summer of 1992? Were they soldiers or were they elderly

19 reservists, which is it? They were soldiers, weren't they?

20 A. I don't know what time you are talking about.

21 Q. The summer of 1992, August, I think, in the stadium at Vitez.

22 Don't you know anything about that?

23 A. No, I don't, because I am not a member of the HDZ so I tried, as

24 far as was possible, to keep myself apart from any activities taking place

25 at that time because I was a member of the former political party of the

Page 24949

1 former Yugoslavia and certain individuals looked at me with -- looked at

2 me down their noses.

3 Q. Do I understand your evidence then to be this: That the

4 non-soldiers, or whatever they were, of the 2nd Battalion of the Tomasevic

5 Brigade simply became the same sort of creature, a non-soldier of the 1st

6 Battalion of the Viteska Brigade when it was formed; is that your

7 evidence?

8 A. I didn't understand your question.

9 Q. When the Viteska Brigade was formed, its first battalion was made

10 of the same human assets that had existed in the 2nd Battalion of the

11 Tomasevic Brigade; correct?

12 A. Only the command which used to be part of the 2nd Battalion of

13 Stjepan Tomasevic.

14 Q. Only the command. I see. So if I was to suggest to you, let's go

15 back to this document, please, if I was to suggest to you, take any one of

16 these villages, that the soldiers shown there might have been similarly

17 working for the Tomasevic Brigade's 2nd Battalion in 1992, would you

18 accept that or reject that or do you say "I don't know." Which is it?

19 A. I would say they were not soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the

20 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade but that they were people who went on shifts

21 facing the line of the army of Republika Srpska.

22 Q. Let's move on. You've spoken about the number of days it required

23 to prepare people, for example, to go to the front line. Do you remember

24 that passage of your evidence?

25 A. Yes.

Page 24950

1 Q. I just want to -- just before I forget it, your cousin, Vlado

2 Taraba, went to the front line with that last mission, did he, a few days

3 before?

4 A. I wouldn't know, but I think he didn't. Are you referring to the

5 line facing the army of Republika Srpska that was there during the

6 conflict?

7 Q. No. It may be my mistake in understanding your answer. You tell

8 us, please, where your cousin, Vlado Taraba, was in the course of this

9 conflict starting on the 16th of April.

10 A. He was in the village, in his village, or rather my village.

11 Q. I'll come to your village in a minute as I was going to do some

12 questions ago. But before we move on to that, no brigade existed, is that

13 right, until after the conflict started. That's your evidence, is it?

14 A. I said that there was only a brigade nucleus, the command of the

15 brigade and the command of the battalion.

16 Q. Perhaps you'd like to look at this document, please, it's 636.1.

17 It's not very clear in the original, but you'll have that. English for

18 the ELMO, thank you very much.

19 Now, this is a document, comes from Mr. Cerkez dated the 10th of

20 April 1993 before the conflict elements of extract for the mobilisation

21 plan and it says this: "Pursuant to the conclusions of the seminar for

22 chiefs of organisation and personnel and in conjunction with the extract

23 from the basic mobilisation plan, we are sending you the necessary

24 elements for the Vitez Brigade which is classed as an "R" infantry

25 brigade, according to the temporary establishment number which is given."

Page 24951

1 And then the brigade is set out with a number of soldiers, 2.841, front,

2 various other things including the assembly point and a first degree of

3 readiness, said to be six hours.

4 Now, how would you explain that document to us, please? You are

5 really the theoretician?

6 A. I have never seen this document before in my life.

7 Q. Well, you are a theoretician. You taught the subject. You should

8 be able to help us. Can you help us, please.

9 A. This is a subject matter which was never taught according to the

10 curriculum I went through. We were talking about mobilisation in general

11 and the types of mobilisation there were partial, public, secret and so

12 on, but we never discussed these details and I have to admit that this is

13 my weak point because I never did this kind of work in practice. I only

14 taught in schools.

15 Q. Very well, I'll take the document back, thank you.

16 Let's look at exactly where you live and we can sort that out and

17 where your cousin was. Does this map, take your time and look at it if

18 you are able to understand a map, does it show where you lived? The usher

19 will give you a pointer and you can point it out on the overhead

20 projector.

21 A. My home.

22 Q. That's your home there. On the road off from the main westerly

23 road and just up in the direction of -- that's Bila and that road leads

24 off, eventually, I've forgotten now but -- very well. And that's where

25 you were on the night of the 15th; is that correct?

Page 24952

1 A. No, no. That is my house where my parents live and where I lived

2 most -- for a good part of my life, but I was actually in my flat in Vitez

3 in the building opposite the health centre, if that means anything to

4 you.

5 Q. It probably does, but we'll have to deal with it just by the map.

6 Let's have the map here, please. This is D88/2.

7 Your flat is in Vitez in the centre, yes?

8 A. This is the health centre.

9 Q. Thank you. And so when you were summoned on that night by Ivan

10 Budimir from your village you, in fact, didn't go to your village, you

11 went somewhere else; is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And that would involve your going to the right of the map. It's a

14 long time ago. Can you remember what route you took or did you just drive

15 in the most obvious way down to Rijeka?

16 A. Only by the most obvious way to Rijeka. I took the road to

17 Rijeka.

18 Q. And you say that you didn't see anything unusual. What time was

19 it that you went down to Rijeka, please?

20 A. It was about midnight.

21 Q. Thank you. Did your route take you by the brigade's headquarters

22 or not or don't you remember?

23 A. Past the brigade command.

24 Q. Very well. You can't say one way or another what was going on

25 inside the brigade's command, can you?

Page 24953

1 A. No.

2 Q. Thank you. It would, in any event, have armed soldiers at its

3 doors, I imagine; correct?

4 A. Where do you mean?

5 Q. The brigade's headquarters in the centre of Vitez, the cinema

6 complex.

7 A. I wouldn't know.

8 Q. Thank you. You got to Rijeka and it was down there in Rijeka,

9 it's just off the map as shown on the -- or it's on the map as shown on

10 the screen, that you were given your instructions for the evening; is that

11 right?

12 A. I didn't have any specific instructions.

13 Q. I want to know who was meeting, please, at the Sumarija in

14 Rijeka? Who was meeting there?

15 A. They were members of the command of the 2nd Battalion of the Vitez

16 Brigade.

17 Q. The 2nd Battalion of the Vitez Brigade already existed then, did

18 it?

19 A. I apologise. I mean the 1st Battalion. I meant the 1st Battalion

20 of the Vitez Brigade because that was the only battalion and it was the

21 command of the Vitez Brigade. I am talking about the command of the Vitez

22 Brigade.

23 Q. It was your terms to choose the 2nd Battalion, was that just a

24 slip of the tongue, Mr. Taraba?

25 A. It was. It was a slip of the tongue.

Page 24954

1 Q. Well, the command of the 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade, who

2 was that? How many people? Give us the names.

3 A. I remember there was Mr. Bertovic, Mr. Grabovac, there was

4 Mr. Milicevic.

5 Q. Just the three of them?

6 A. No, no, there were other people but I can't remember now. I can't

7 say who was present with any certainty.

8 Q. Is that Karlo Grabovac?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Thank you. But this is just the command, because at this time,

11 you had what position in the brigade? What was your proper position or

12 rank?

13 A. I did not have a rank.

14 Q. What was your position in the command, please?

15 A. I was the assistant commander for operative and training jobs.

16 Q. Having been appointed by who to that job?

17 A. I was appointed by Mr. Bertovic at the beginning of December 1992

18 while the battalion was still part of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.

19 Q. So roughly how many members of this nucleus were there there on

20 that night? Give us an idea.

21 A. I think, I think there were six or seven men. I can't remember

22 exactly, because it's been a long time. I didn't think it was important.

23 Q. So it was quite an informal meeting, in a way presided over by

24 Bertovic.

25 A. I have already said that it was the practice in such situations to

Page 24955

1 call the members of the command if any movements had been observed, if

2 there was reason to call together the command, so it was the thousand and

3 first time.

4 Q. That's not an answer to my question, Mr. Taraba. The question was

5 quite simple: Quite an informal meeting presided over by Bertovic; am I

6 correct?

7 A. We did not have any formal meeting. We were just told that

8 certain movements had been observed and that's where it ended.

9 Q. And Bertovic had got his instructions from whom, his boss,

10 Cerkez?

11 A. By the military chain of command, it should have been Mr. Cerkez,

12 but I don't know that.

13 Q. Are you telling the Chamber on this day that there was simply a

14 generalised warning that needed some sort of attention? Is that what

15 Bertovic told you?

16 A. Yes.

17 MR. NICE: I'm going to come back to that meeting in due course.

18 I don't know whether the Chamber wants to break now or later.

19 JUDGE MAY: Well, a convenient moment.

20 MR. NICE: Probably now is as convenient as any.

21 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now.

22 Mr. Taraba, would you be back in half an hour at half past eleven.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

24 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.

25 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.

Page 24956












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 24957


2 Q. Mr. Taraba, a little more assistance, please, with what happened

3 that night. The meeting you'd had with the command ended at what time?

4 A. In the conventional terms, there was no meeting. I believe I have

5 already mentioned that it was around half past eleven, 12.00, that I was

6 in the command, and when I entered Mr. Bertovic told me what he told me.

7 Q. We know there were no soldiers of the brigade to call on because

8 there was no brigade at that time. So what did you do to satisfy

9 Mr. Bertovic's orders?

10 A. You have said yourself, there were no soldiers. And no specific

11 assignments were given me by Mr. Bertovic, as far as I was concerned.

12 Q. As to the other people there, what did they do to try and satisfy

13 his concerns or Cerkez's concerns? What did they do?

14 A. I really couldn't say.

15 Q. Well, did they do anything, or did they do nothing?

16 A. When I came around 12.00, I was told what had been done or,

17 rather, why I had been called to the command, and practically until the

18 morning I did nothing. There were members of the command, and it was the

19 common practice in a situation like that, when members of the command are

20 all together under some emergency conditions.

21 Q. You're not giving a picture -- it's entirely my fault, I know. I

22 simply don't understand what you're saying happened. Let's take it in

23 stages. So far as you understand it, Mr. Taraba, nothing had happened by

24 the time that you arrived at half past eleven or 12.00; correct?

25 A. Could you repeat the question? I didn't understand you.

Page 24958

1 Q. Nothing had happened, by which I mean no troops had been deployed

2 by the time you arrived at half past eleven or 12.00.

3 A. I do not know. I did not ask the commander, nor did he say

4 anything to that effect to me.

5 Q. I think you told us something about some troops going off to do

6 something in relation to Vranjska or Kruscica. What did troops do to go

7 and protect Vranjska and Kruscica?

8 A. The commander told me that the groups which used to go to the

9 front line against the army of Republika Srpska, that their attention had

10 been drawn to raise the alert, to be more watchful and report to the

11 command about anything they might observe; and in case of an attack, to

12 take up the fight, that is, protect that part, that is, those places,

13 their village.

14 Q. I see. So the commander had spoken to the local village

15 coordinators, had he? Is that what you're telling us?

16 A. That is what I -- that is my guess.

17 Q. Well, then, we better go back once more to 653, please, if the

18 usher would be so good. How many soldiers do you say were involved in

19 doing this watchful process?

20 A. I have already said that they are not soldiers now. They would be

21 soldiers for those seven or ten days while on a shift in the defence. Now

22 they are the villagers of a village who live in a village and go about

23 their daily business.

24 Q. Well, here are the soldiers. Now, we can't see the number of --

25 sorry, not the soldiers, the whatever they are. Here are the men. We

Page 24959

1 can't see the number in Rijeka because it happens to be illegible. But

2 apart from Rijeka, are there any other places - have a look at the list,

3 please - with resident men who are going to be able to look after either

4 Kruscica or Vranjska? Are there any other places there marked which have

5 got soldiers or non-soldiers who are going to be able to look after

6 Kruscica or Vranjska?

7 A. These localities -- it needs to be said that Kruscica is not

8 inhabited by Muslims alone; a part of Kruscica is also inhabited by

9 Croats, which means that by and large, from these localities which

10 gravitate to the villages of Kruscica and Vranjska, that it is these men

11 who are engaged.

12 Q. They're not listed --

13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, if we're getting no where with this

14 witness -- I mean, it should be made plain, Mr. Kovacic, if we don't

15 understand what the witness is saying, then his evidence is virtually

16 worthless, and there are occasions when it's very difficult to follow

17 what's being said. But let us go on.

18 MR. NICE: Yes, Your Honour, I will. I've been trying to get a

19 picture from this witness, and I've only got a couple more questions to

20 ask about the night.

21 Q. It comes to this, Mr. Taraba: You were under the stairs, I think,

22 at some other stage during the night --

23 JUDGE MAY: It was during the day.

24 MR. NICE: Was it in the day?

25 Q. Well, in the early hours in the morning, leading up to 5.00, 6.00,

Page 24960

1 were you still in the Sumarija building?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Well, then, if we look at the map. It's gone again. Here it is.

4 Just remind the Chamber, you were there in the building and if we look

5 just -- that's perfect. We can see on the right a feature called Hrasno,

6 yes? You know that feature?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. That's only a few kilometres away from your area. Did you hear

9 artillery firing from there, please, early in the morning?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Would you -- do you say you would have heard artillery firing from

12 Hrasno when you were in Rijeka?

13 A. Well, it is some four or five kilometres away from Rijeka.

14 Q. You were a soldier, you would have heard it, wouldn't you, if

15 there was artillery?

16 A. I became a soldier because of the circumstances. I am not a

17 professional soldier.

18 Q. Very well. Look, please, at this document, 676. In the course of

19 the night, please, when you say you were at the headquarters in Rijeka,

20 did you receive any other instructions from your commander or from anyone

21 else? Just yes or no to that question and then we'll look at the

22 document. Did you receive any other instructions, any update of any

23 instructions in the course of the night?

24 A. No.

25 Q. You see if we look at this document that you have in front of you,

Page 24961

1 if we could just see a tiny bit up, this is a document that apparently was

2 drawn -- it was drawn on the 16th of April at 1.30 in the morning and it

3 goes to the commander of the HVO brigade, Mr. Cerkez, and to PPN units.

4 And it says this: It's a combat command to prevent activity and

5 blockade the broader territory of Kruscica, Vranjska, and Donja Veceriska

6 and it says quite specifically, "On the basis of command and assessment,

7 we expect enemy attack in the direction of Kruscica." I'm not going to

8 read it all, the Judges have seen it before, but it comes after your 11.30

9 meeting and it is quite specific as to preparedness for attack at 5.30.

10 Are you saying you knew nothing of this, of this order? You know

11 nothing of this order?

12 A. Absolutely nothing.

13 Q. Because on your evidence, and I'm going to probably part with this

14 question from this topic, on your evidence, there was no Viteska Brigade

15 apart from the headquarters staff of five or six people in the building

16 where you were; correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Therefore, a combat command like this could operate only on those

19 five or six people because there were no soldiers; correct?

20 A. There were no soldiers.

21 Q. Thank you.

22 A. This command was received by the commander so that I have never

23 seen this order. This is the first time I set my eyes on it.

24 Q. Very well. I'm going to move on very rapidly and spend very

25 little time with this witness from now on. I've got a couple of topics.

Page 24962

1 Topic number one arises from this: When did you leave this area and go

2 back to your mother's or your father's house? How many days later?

3 A. Five or six days after the beginning of the conflict.

4 Q. So then you are out to the west of Vitez and you don't spend any

5 time in the centre of Vitez; correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And your cousin, the other Vlado Taraba, was with you in that same

8 village area; correct?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And your cousin had no command or superior position in the Vitez

11 Brigade in the way that you did; correct?

12 A. He did not.

13 Q. Well, what position of command did he ever have?

14 A. He did not have any position in the command. He was a local

15 villager.

16 Q. Thank you.

17 A. And as I said, when the need arose, he went to the front line

18 against the Republika Srpska army.

19 Q. Now, in Rijeka then, it might have been possible to find you, but

20 it wouldn't have been possible to find the other Vlado Taraba, would it,

21 because he was in his own home village, and you were at least in Rijeka

22 for four or five, or five or six days; correct?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In Rijeka, there's a house belonging to somebody called Asim

25 Sivro, remember?

Page 24963

1 A. I know Mr. Sivro, but I do not know where his house is.

2 Q. You know a man named Zoran Rajic, don't you?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And Zoran Rajic is a fairly forceful man, is he?

5 A. You mean his build?

6 Q. No, by personality, is he a forceful man?

7 A. I do not know him enough to say yes or no.

8 Q. Well, didn't the two of you go to Asim Sivro's house in Rijeka

9 where there was a young boy whose father was in Kruscica, and didn't you

10 - or more probably the other man, Rajic, judging by your personality, the

11 other man, Rajic - didn't one or other of you to tell that boy to tell his

12 father to surrender in Kruscica otherwise his throat would be cut? Do you

13 remember that?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Do you remember any incident like that happening in the house of

16 Sivro, and as a way of trying to get Sivro in Kruscica to surrender? Do

17 you remember any such incident, please, Mr. Taraba, and tell us about it,

18 please, if you do?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Your job in the brigade included the drafting and typing of

21 letters, didn't it?

22 A. How do you mean, letters? Letters regarding the army, if there is

23 an organisation, such as command, then letters are a very rare phenomenon.

24 Q. Have a look at this document please, 1143.2. I'm going to go to

25 the last of a sequence of three documents first because I just want to

Page 24964

1 confirm something with you. The 2nd Battalion of which you became an

2 officer was commanded by Zarko Saric, wasn't it?

3 A. Yes, following the establishment of the 2nd Battalion sometime

4 after July or August.

5 Q. Yes, that's all I want. Look at this document and don't bother

6 yourself at all with the contents for the time being. It's dated the 12th

7 of July, and if we look at the bottom immediately above the distribution

8 list there's "VT/ZS" -- sorry, my mistake. I misled. Don't worry, the

9 right document is coming your way.

10 MR. NICE: Ms. Kind was entitled to think I was going

11 chronologically and I wasn't.

12 Q. If you look at this document when it comes to you, at the bottom,

13 above the distribution list, we see "VT/ZS," and we see it's over the name

14 of Zarko Saric. "VT" stands for you, doesn't it?

15 A. These are my initials, "VT," but I do not know whether, indeed,

16 they are my initials in this context.

17 Q. Well, if it's been suggested elsewhere that you drafted this

18 document, would you accept that as a probability?

19 A. There is a probability I may have, but I'm not sure.

20 Q. Let's have a look at the two documents that precede it, and we'll

21 start with 1139.2, which you already have.

22 Now, I'll just read you the contents of this in English on the

23 ELMO. This is from Cerkez, on the 6th of July, and it relates to the

24 death of Colonel Duncan's interpreter. That's something that happened

25 very near to the headquarters of the 2nd Battalion, so you must remember

Page 24965

1 that. Do you remember the shooting of the interpreter?

2 A. I believe I do remember, and that, if my memory serves me well, it

3 was a lady who worked as an interpreter but --

4 Q. Thank you. The body of the letter says: "I shall personally do

5 everything possible - and this I promise you - to find the perpetrator,

6 should he be from the ranks of the HVO. I am truly sorry about the

7 death ..." and it goes on.

8 Was it believed at the time that the killer of this interpreter

9 was within the ranks of the HVO, please, Mr. Taraba?

10 A. That was an assumption.

11 Q. Let's go to the next document, which is 1141.3. Now, this is a

12 document that comes, simply, three days later, following the expressions

13 of condolence to Colonel Duncan, and it's an instruction by Mario Cerkez

14 to the commanders of the four battalions and the commander of the

15 independent unit, and it says -- it's a warning and it says:

16 "1. All housing facilities used by UNPROFOR will be identified

17 by the United Nations flag.

18 2. HVO members are not allowed to ... do anything ... detrimental

19 to the ... housing ...

20 3. Make this known to all units and all commanders ranging from

21 squad commanders ...

22 4. Commanders ... are personally responsible to me for making

23 this warning efficacious."

24 And then if we go from that document to your document, which comes

25 again three days later, the one drafted by you, we see your document is

Page 24966

1 effectively the same document now signed by Zarko Saric.

2 So I have simply two questions to ask you: Was the document that

3 you, it may be, drafted of the 12th of July a reflection of the killing

4 near to your headquarters of that interpreter, please?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. It was still believed, was it, by the 12th of July that a member

7 of the HVO may have been responsible for that murder?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Was there, to your knowledge, any investigation by Cerkez or,

10 indeed, even by your commander, Saric, of the circumstances of that death?

11 A. I think that an investigation was ordered to go into the

12 circumstances of this murder, but I do not know what the results of the

13 investigation were because that was not my business.

14 Q. I see. But you would accept, of course, that both Saric and

15 Cerkez had a duty to investigate and a duty to instigate process and

16 punishment of any offender; correct?

17 A. I should think so. And the order shows that there is an order to

18 conduct an investigation. But there are people who do these things, and

19 that was not part of my responsibilities.

20 Q. I'm not sure it does show that. You remember an order for an

21 investigation; is that what you're telling us?

22 A. As far as I know, as far as I can remember, an order was issued to

23 conduct the investigation and identify a possible perpetrator, possibly of

24 the HVO, who had fired those shots, that is, who had committed that

25 murder.

Page 24967












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Page 24968

1 Q. Of course, no one was ever detained, arrested, or punished, was

2 he?

3 A. There are authorities which did that, and you should ask that of

4 them because it was their responsibility.

5 Q. Mosunj was the area where there was the quarry; correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. It had heavy artillery in it that the HVO used; correct?

8 A. I think that the heavy artillery moved about. But they were

9 outside the Vitez Brigade, and I do not know where they were positioned or

10 what their orders were. They did not make it part of our formation.

11 Q. It may have moved about, but it was based sometimes in the Mosunj

12 quarry; correct?

13 A. I believe so, if my memory serves me well.

14 Q. And sometimes it fired from the Mosunj quarry.

15 A. Well, I guess so, if necessary.

16 Q. Well, you were there. It's only a couple hundred metres away.

17 You must be able to remember if the artillery in the quarry was sometimes

18 fired; it makes a very big bang. It was fired from there, wasn't it?

19 A. I suppose so.

20 Q. Thank you. I think also - I'm grateful to Mr. Lopez-Terres - it

21 was in that same quarry that quite a number of the trucks of the Convoy of

22 Joy were looted in June of 1993; do you remember that?

23 A. I heard about it from journalists who were in my house. But at

24 that time, I was at the front line, that day I was at the front line.

25 Just to explain it to you. During the war there were BBC journalists in

Page 24969

1 my house, and it was from them that I learned about the convoy.

2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, this witness, it seems to me, can't know

3 anything about the truth or accuracy of what Borislav Jozic was saying on

4 the clip, so I'm not going to ask about that, and I'm not going to go

5 through the process of dealing with his aunt being listed. The Chamber

6 will recollect that when we're dealing with a listing of people on those

7 lists, there's always another document that deals with wounding and

8 something of that sort. It doesn't apply to the aunt, I don't think.

9 Thank you.

10 [Trial Chamber confers]

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

12 MR. KOVACIC: We have no questions for redirect, Your Honour. I'm

13 sorry, it wasn't recorded. We have no questions on redirect.

14 JUDGE MAY: I heard it.

15 Mr. Taraba, thank you for coming to the International Tribunal.

16 That concludes your evidence. You are free to go.

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

18 [The witness withdrew]

19 [redacted]

20 [redacted]

21 [redacted]

22 [redacted]

23 [redacted]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]

Page 24970

1 [redacted]

2 [redacted]

3 [redacted]

4 [redacted]

5 [redacted]

6 [redacted]

7 [redacted]

8 [redacted]

9 [redacted]

10 [redacted]

11 [redacted]

12 [redacted]

13 [redacted]

14 [redacted]

15 [redacted]

16 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll deal with it appropriately.

17 Yes, have the next witness, please.

18 [The witness entered court]

19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.

20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the

21 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

23 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.


25 [Witness answered through interpreter]

Page 24971

1 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

2 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Zuljevic.

3 A. Good morning.

4 Q. On behalf of the Cerkez Defence, I shall be questioning you and I

5 should like to ask you to answer my questions nice and slowly to give the

6 interpreters a chance to do their work.

7 For the record, could you please state your name and surname, your

8 date and place of birth?

9 A. My name is Fabijan Zuljevic. I was born on the 14th of February,

10 1961, in the village of Krcevine, Vitez municipality.

11 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, you are married and the father of two children ages

12 10 and 12; is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. What education have you had?

15 A. I went to a vocational school. I am a chemist or chemistry

16 technician and plastics technician.

17 Q. Did you serve in the former JNA?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Where and when, please?

20 A. In 1980, in Slovenia.

21 Q. Did you obtain a military rank of any kind?

22 A. No.

23 Q. What are you doing now, Mr. Zuljevic?

24 A. I am a member of the army of the federation at present.

25 Q. And what rank do you hold?

Page 24972

1 A. I am a sergeant.

2 Q. Before the war, you worked in Sintevit, did you not?

3 A. Yes, Slobodan Princip Seljo.

4 Q. Up until what year?

5 A. I worked there until 19 -- from 1981 to 1991, and I was put on

6 standby after that.

7 Q. Why were you put on standby?

8 A. Well, there was no more work to do in the plant.

9 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, do you remember who was the director of Sintevit at

10 the time?

11 A. Yes, I remember, it was Mr. Alija Basic.

12 Q. Mr. Alija Basic belongs to what ethnicity?

13 A. He is a Muslim.

14 Q. Who was the shop steward in the company you worked for?

15 A. We had Croats and Muslims. There was Munir Varupa.

16 Q. Mr. Varupa is also a Muslim, is he not?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. At that time, when you said that there was not too much work, was

19 there any national discrimination with respect to putting workers on

20 standby?

21 A. No.

22 Q. What was the national composition, roughly speaking, in your firm?

23 A. Well, half/half.

24 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, you said that you were in the village of Donja

25 Dubravica, and that is a village that many people refer to as Krizancevo

Page 24973

1 Selo?

2 A. Yes, I live in Donja Dubravica, that is to say, the hamlet of

3 Krizancevo Selo.

4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I should like to ask the usher to

5 place on the ELMO Z2271, which is the map that we've already used quite a

6 few times, for the witness to be able to refer to the map and point out

7 the relevant localities.

8 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, for us to better understand where you lived, show us

9 where your house was, looking at the map on your right-hand side. Take a

10 look at the map, you'll find it easier and point your house out to us,

11 please.

12 A. [Indicates]

13 Q. Thank you. You said at the beginning, that in 1991, you were left

14 without a job. What did you do?

15 A. I stayed at home, and the unfortunate events started, the wars.

16 And when the attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina began, I reported to the crisis

17 command because I considered it my civil duty to do so.

18 Q. Very well, thank you. Let us take it one-by-one, step-by-step.

19 You said that there was an attack launched by the JNA on

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and as a citizen you felt duty-bound to report to the

21 authorities for defence purposes; is that right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And you went to the Crisis Staff, where was the Crisis Staff

24 located?

25 A. The Crisis Staff was, how shall I explain this, well, it was in

Page 24974

1 Vitez. It was where -- by Marijan Skopljak.

2 Q. Mr. Marijan Skopljak was the head of that Crisis Staff, was he?

3 A. Yes, that's right.

4 Q. And you reported to him, did you?

5 A. Well, not to him, but there was a coordinator there representing

6 our village, in charge of our village, and it was with this Skopljak --

7 well, actually we reported to that other man.

8 Q. Very well, thank you. Mr. Zuljevic, the Crisis Staff headed by

9 Mr. Marijan Skopljak, was it also called the municipal staff of the HVO?

10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the answer.

11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

12 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Zuljevic, when did you report at the staff

13 and Mr. Skopljak to go to the front line, what -- when was that?

14 A. Well, it was the autumn, perhaps November or December.

15 Q. Of which year?

16 A. 1991 moving into 1992.

17 Q. What was it like? How were -- how was this organised? How did

18 people go to do their shifts, go on shift?

19 A. Well, the shifts against the Serbs, you mean?

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. The village organised this. We had a sort of coordinator there,

22 and it was his job , he was in charge of the shifts. And he would put us

23 in these shifts and told us, in the village, that we would have to prepare

24 ourselves to go on shift, and 50 to 60 people would go to do their --

25 these shifts facing the Serbs.

Page 24975

1 Q. At that time, could you tell us where you personally went when you

2 were on shift?

3 A. Well, I was at Slatka Vode. Turbe, I was there once, and we went

4 towards Jajce.

5 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Zuljevic, how were you transferred to -- how

6 did you go to the defence line from your village? How did you get there?

7 A. Well, the late Slavko Papic told us where to go, where we were to

8 assemble, the collecting point, and then we would go in a van, a minibus

9 or van, whatever you'd like to call it. Mostly they were vans, I would

10 say.

11 Q. Very well, thank you. How long did you stay in a shift?

12 A. Well, shifts lasted up to seven days, a week.

13 Q. How many people from your village took part in those shifts?

14 A. Up to 19 people.

15 Q. And how many men in the village, as far as you know, were

16 military-able men? How many at that time?

17 A. There were about 35 to 40 men.

18 Q. That would make it half. Half of them took part in the shifts,

19 the other half did not; is that right?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. When you returned from the shift, what did you do then in your

22 home, in your house?

23 A. Well, when I came back home, I went about my daily business.

24 Q. Did you have any weapons?

25 A. No.

Page 24976

1 Q. And when you were up at the defence lines, did you have any

2 weapons?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Who gave you those weapons?

5 A. Well, from Slimena, and some people from the Territorial Defence

6 that had taken it over from the former JNA so that the weapons were up

7 there at the defence line. We would come to the defence lines without

8 weapons, then we would be given weapons by the people who were already up

9 there at the defence line. So one shift would hand over their weapons to

10 the shift that would replace them.

11 Q. Tell us, please, Mr. Zuljevic, you mentioned that you went to the

12 defence lines in vans or minibuses. What route did you take? How did you

13 get to your shift?

14 A. We went towards Novi Travnik and up above Novi Travnik through a

15 Muslim settlement. I think its name is Kalinska.

16 Q. Where is Kalinska Street, Mr. Zuljevic?

17 A. Kalinska belongs to Novi Travnik and it is up above the town and

18 on the way to the defence line, thereabouts. I don't know how else to

19 describe it.

20 Q. That part of town where Kalinska Street lies, you said was

21 predominantly inhabited by Muslims; is that right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. In Kalinska Street, was there a checkpoint of any kind?

24 A. Yes, there was a checkpoint. And when we passed by that way up to

25 Slatka Vode there was an incident that occurred not in the sense of

Page 24977

1 shooting, but there was some provocation and the police would come to

2 intervene. And so for a time, we were given a police escort along that

3 route.

4 Q. Who caused the incidents that you've just mentioned?

5 A. Probably the members of the BH army because they already had some

6 of their people there. I don't know whether this was leading up to a war

7 of any kind, but they were -- or whether they were just provocations, but

8 that's what happened.

9 Q. The people who stopped you at the checkpoint in Kalinska Street,

10 and you said that they were members of the BiH army, did they know where

11 you were going?

12 A. Yes, they did.

13 Q. How -- what was their treatment towards you when they stopped

14 you? What was their conduct? What would they do?

15 A. Well, they would insult us, call us detrimental names. But we

16 didn't respond to that. We had no weapons. We had nothing at all. So we

17 were told that if we had to pass checkpoints of this kind that the police

18 should be called in and -- but there was no police escort to begin with,

19 so that's what happened, incidents of this kind took place. But there was

20 no shooting or firing of any kind. They were just insults, more or less.

21 Q. Yes, I understand. Mr. Zuljevic, on occasion, because of the

22 prevailing circumstances, did you have to take a byroad to arrive at your

23 shift point?

24 A. Yes, sometimes we went towards Stari Travnik, and we went on foot

25 via towards the village of Prica. That happened twice, not more.

Page 24978

1 Q. At these defence lines that you went to, were there members of the

2 Muslim ethnicity, and did they have their assignments as well?

3 A. Yes, they did.

4 Q. Was there any cooperation between you and them at the defence

5 lines?

6 A. Well, my particular defence line was not able to communicate with

7 them.

8 Q. You said that the shifts would last between seven and ten days and

9 that you would return to the village after that?

10 A. Yes, that's right.

11 Q. At that time, and we are talking about the end of 1992 and later

12 on, the beginning of 1993, were there any village guards organised in your

13 particular village?

14 A. Yes, they were. They were organised, but they were organised to

15 defend the village, and I'm talking about Krizancevo Selo, Dubravica. Up

16 above us there were some Serbs, so this was protection against them and

17 against some local criminals who were rampant. There was a lot of looting

18 of cars so we wanted to protect our village from that kind of thing.

19 Q. Very well, thank you. Do you remember who the commander of the

20 village guard in your village was?

21 A. The commander -- well, actually he wasn't a commander, he was just

22 elected by the villagers, but his name was Zdravko Kozina.

23 Q. When you said that the villagers elected him, chose him, was this

24 any formal type of voting or how did you choose him? How did he become a

25 commander?

Page 24979












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 24980

1 A. No, he was a young man. He had been to university, and he had

2 some -- lists and papers of some kind, and so he chose people who could go

3 around the village and do night patrols, but there was no election of any

4 kind.

5 Q. Tell me, Mr. Zuljevic, who organised the village guard in your

6 village?

7 A. The villagers themselves did.

8 Q. Did you ever take part in the village guards and were on shift

9 there?

10 A. Yes. We cooperated together with the Muslims, and the Muslims

11 would patrol together with us. It was a joint village guard. It was not

12 one group, one ethnicity, or another. We did this together.

13 Q. Generally speaking, the people from your village, you said there

14 were about 19 of them who went to do shifts at Slatka Vode, were they all

15 members of the village guard when they were not doing their shift?

16 A. Well, some were; some were not. Some said they didn't want to

17 take part in the village guards, because they said, "Well, when we're off

18 up at the defence line facing the Serbs, you're at home sleeping." So

19 some of them didn't want to do this type of work.

20 Q. What kind of weaponry did you have in the village guards when you

21 were on duty?

22 A. Well, mostly hunting rifles, and perhaps a rifle here or there, if

23 somebody had sold a cow and been able to buy a rifle. But otherwise they

24 were double-barrelled guns, whatever they're called.

25 Q. Were there enough weapons to go around to all members of the

Page 24981

1 village guards?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Did you hand over weapons in the village guards as you did in the

4 shifts, what you told us a moment ago?

5 A. Yes, that's right.

6 Q. According to the best of your recollection, Mr. Zuljevic, were

7 there any changes in the composition of the village guards? You said that

8 they were of mixed composition to begin with. Did that ever change?

9 A. Well, it did change after some incidents took place; like the one

10 in Kruscica, for example, where the police of the BH army met our police

11 and beat up some policemen. A cousin of mine, Vlatko Zuljevic, he was a

12 16-year-old boy, they almost killed him. So there were incidents of this

13 kind and tension, tense situations, and we couldn't trust each other any

14 more.

15 Q. Now that you've mentioned Kruscica, Mr. Zuljevic, let me ask you

16 this: Do you know whether in Kruscica, at any given locality, people

17 would rally when they had to go to do shifts?

18 A. Yes. There was a hunting lodge in Kruscica, that's how we

19 referred to it, as a hunting lodge, and they would gather there.

20 Q. Do you know that place personally? Have you been there?

21 A. Yes, I know it.

22 Q. Did you ever go there and gather there to go off and do your

23 shift?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Where is that lodge located in Kruscica, if you look at it from

Page 24982

1 your village?

2 A. Well, it's part of the village, actually. There's a river and

3 it's across the river. About 100 metres on the other bank.

4 Q. Did you have a uniform of any kind, Mr. Zuljevic?

5 A. No.

6 Q. The lodge you were talking about, was it also called the Motel or

7 Hotel Lovac?

8 A. Yes, yes, something like that.

9 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, throughout the time we are talking about, until the

10 conflict broke out on the 16th of April, did you go to do shifts at Slatka

11 Vode?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Do you remember your last shift at Slatka Vode?

14 A. I remember. The last shift was before the conflict in Ahmici,

15 that last shift where I personally was the shift commander. I stayed

16 there for five days or six; five, I think. On the 16th, a reconnaissance

17 man came from Novi Travnik to tell me that there was war in Vitez; that he

18 was on his way to tell everyone from Novi Travnik about it. There was a

19 shift at Mravinac from Novi Travnik; it was supposed to be there but it

20 couldn't come.

21 Q. Very well. So that was on the 16th of April. Do you remember

22 what time it was?

23 A. Well, it was about 1300 or 1400 hours. About 1400 hours.

24 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Zuljevic, how long you had been there before

25 the 16th of April? When did you leave for that shift?

Page 24983

1 A. I think it was about five days. I can't tell you the exact date I

2 left for that shift.

3 Q. You say you were the commander of that part of the shift that came

4 from your village; is that correct?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. In your estimate, how many men from Vitez and its environs were

7 there?

8 A. About 50.

9 Q. What did you do when you were told by this reconnaissance man who

10 came from Novi Travnik that a war had broken out in Vitez?

11 A. Well, I went with Mr. Stipo Cerkez. First, I told my men that if

12 I didn't come back from Vilenica, they should continue in the direction of

13 Bugojno and Novi Travnik. I went around Vilenica looking for a way to get

14 out, because I had no communication with my command.

15 Q. Very well. Did you try to establish communication with the

16 command in Vitez to learn what was going on?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did you succeed in that?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Did you have any means of communication?

21 A. No. Except there was a relay -- a transmitter where I tried. It

22 probably belonged to Travnik, Novi Travnik. I don't know what unit that

23 was. And I tried but I couldn't.

24 Q. So what decision did you make?

25 A. I went back in the evening, at about 11.00, and I decided to

Page 24984

1 retreat, withdraw, at about 4.00 because there was no one at Vilenica.

2 Q. Very well. So you decided to withdraw from the line, and to go

3 where?

4 A. Well, home.

5 Q. Very well. What happened to the equipment you were issued with at

6 the front line?

7 A. Well, I took what was necessary, I took it with me. I left behind

8 the kitchen, a military vehicle, which we couldn't take to Kalinska. So

9 that was left behind at the front line.

10 Q. Were any weapons left behind?

11 A. No, no. We took the weapons and the ammunition.

12 Q. What route did you take in the direction of home, of Vitez?

13 A. Well, from Slatka Vode I went via Vilenica, where I arrived at the

14 transmitter on Vilenica, and from there I went toward the Stojkovici

15 base.

16 Q. Very well. Where is this Stojkovici base, exactly?

17 A. Well, the Stojkovici base is below Novi Travnik.

18 Q. Very well. In the municipality of Novi Travnik?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Do you know, Mr. Zuljevic, what the members of the shifts from

21 Novi Travnik did when they learned that a conflict had broken out in

22 Vitez?

23 A. I don't know.

24 Q. When did you arrive in Stojkovici? What day was it?

25 A. It was the 17th.

Page 24985

1 Q. What did you do then?

2 A. There, I established contact with my commander, Anto Bertovic, and

3 I asked about the situation. He said it was terrible. There was a war;

4 there were refugees from Poculica, there were some men from there. He

5 said I should wait there in the base and he would come and fetch us, that

6 a minibus and two vans would come and fetch us.

7 Q. Did that happen?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. In that conversation, did Mr. Bertovic tell you anything about

10 mobilisation being proclaimed?

11 A. No.

12 Q. When he told you that there was an armed conflict, how did you

13 feel at that moment?

14 A. I felt terrible. I didn't even know where I was. The phones were

15 ringing -- they were working, so I called home to find out what had

16 happened to my wife and children. My wife answered and said that my

17 cousin had been killed and that my brother had been seriously wounded.

18 You can only imagine how a man would feel in such a situation.

19 Q. You said that vehicles came to fetch you. Where did they take

20 you?

21 A. Well, the vehicles came and took us to the primary school in Bila,

22 in Stara Bila.

23 Q. And then?

24 A. And then we got out of the vehicles, because we didn't dare go

25 further because of Grbavica. Then I contacted Bertovic again, and he told

Page 24986

1 me that he would let us know what to do next. And then he called me again

2 and said that we should disband the army from Mosunj -- well, not the army

3 but the people who were there on the line. And the rest set out with me

4 in a bus which was driven by Ivica -- I can't recall the last name.

5 Q. Don't worry about these details. So, in short, Bertovic said that

6 the men who had come with you from the Slatka Vode position, where they

7 had been on shifts, should be allowed to go home.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. The people went home; some by bus, some on foot, and some in other

10 ways; is that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And you went to your village; is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Very well. You said awhile ago that men had been in your shift

15 from various villages. Would you repeat the names of the villages, for

16 the record?

17 A. Yes. The people were from Zaselje, Veceriska, Nadioci, Santici,

18 Krizancevo Selo, and Krcevine.

19 Q. Very well. Then you were told by your wife over the telephone,

20 and then you came home. What did you find when you arrived at home?

21 A. Well, I found my family. When I came home, my wife and children

22 were there, and I stayed there for two days. Because my house is near the

23 Muslim village of Nadioci, so I stayed at home for another two days, for

24 my own security and because of my children and my wife.

25 Q. So you came home in the evening of the 17th; is that correct?

Page 24987

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. At that time, were there any armed conflicts? Was there any

3 fighting near your house?

4 A. No real fighting, but there were provocations in the direction of

5 the school. But not in the very spot where my house is.

6 Q. Did your wife tell you more about how and where your relatives had

7 been killed?

8 A. She told me that my cousin had been killed in Nadioci, in a wood.

9 He was killed by Muslims, but I don't know any more about it.

10 Q. You said, Mr. Zuljevic, that you stayed at home for two days; is

11 that correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Very well. At that time when you arrived, had a defence line

14 already been established in your village?

15 A. Well, beside my house, between Novaci and me, there was not a

16 line, but everyone sat in front of his own house, elderly men, younger

17 men. And others had organised in the direction of Tolovici.

18 Q. What did you do then? Did you join your fellow villagers?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Where, at that time, were the Muslim forces?

21 A. The Muslim forces, when I was at home, were in Novaci, which is

22 why I stayed at home for two days. But then they went toward Mahala, and

23 then I left in the direction of Lazine, that is, Tolovici, where we were.

24 Q. Very well. Would you be kind enough, Mr. Zuljevic, to show us on

25 the map where Novaci is in relation to your village.

Page 24988

1 A. Yes. Approximately, elevation 437 -- well, here.

2 Q. So a little bit above elevation 437.

3 A. Yes, that's right. Approximately there. Yes.

4 Q. You said that the Muslim forces withdrew from Novaci.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Where did they go?

7 A. They went toward Mahala. That's toward the town, up there in the

8 town, and they stayed there.

9 Q. It was then, in fact, that this Muslim village which is

10 immediately next to yours remained empty,?

11 A. Yes. Immediately next to our village, yes.

12 Q. Very well. So the front line of defence, which consisted of

13 everybody sitting in front of his house and protecting it, now became

14 unnecessary; is that correct?

15 A. Yes, yes.

16 Q. Where did you set up a defence line after that?

17 A. Well, there were no defence lines after that. But I went toward

18 Lazine where there was a line, toward Tolovici. That's above Krizancevo

19 Selo.

20 Q. Would you please show that on the map. Where is Lazine?

21 A. Elevation 536, it's here. Here. So elevation 536, yes.

22 Q. And when you arrived there, had a defence line already been

23 established?

24 A. Well, no. It was a training ground belonging to the former JNA

25 where people came from Zenica to train, but it wasn't much. There wasn't

Page 24989

1 a real defence line.

2 Q. What day was it when you turned up at Lazine?

3 A. It was the 19th or the 20th. I think it was the 19th.

4 Q. You mentioned in the introduction that Zdravko Kozina was the

5 commander of the village guard, did he have the same function at Lazine?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did anyone representing the Vitez Brigade come to Lazine to issue

8 orders or instructions?

9 A. No.

10 Q. The commander, Zdravko Kozina, as far as you could remember, did

11 he have any contacts with the Vitez Brigade?

12 A. There was no Vitez Brigade then. Of course he had contacts

13 because he had to go and get instructions about what to do and how.

14 Q. You said that at that time, you were not aware of the Vitez

15 Brigade. You said that there was no Vitez Brigade at the time.

16 A. That's right.

17 Q. When, to the best of your recollection, did your unit at Lazine

18 join the Vitez Brigade?

19 A. It was in 1993, maybe it was April or May we went to Slatka Vode.

20 We had pictures, later on we were given some kind of identity cards in

21 1993. I can't remember exactly whether it was, April or May.

22 Q. Would you be so kind as to show us on the map the position where

23 you were at Lazine and the position at which the army of Bosnia and

24 Herzegovina was?

25 A. Well, I have just shown it.

Page 24990

1 Q. On the map please, not on the monitor.

2 A. Well, we were here at elevation 536 and the army was right above

3 us.

4 Q. Excuse me, I would like to ask the usher to help. Yes, it's

5 okay. So you were somewhere by elevation 536. Where was the army of BH?

6 A. Here, where this black line was. Here, in front of Tolovici that

7 is, about 100 metres from us. Between these two roads here.

8 Q. So Tolovici was held by the army of B and H?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. To the left of you, we see the village of Krcevine. Who held it?

11 A. The villagers of Krcevine.

12 Q. Very well. Who held the Grabak location at the top of the

13 monitor?

14 A. Well, that was held by the Muslims. It was a Serb village but the

15 Serbs moved away.

16 Q. To the right of Tolovici, we see Poculica?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Who controlled Poculica at that time?

19 A. The Muslims.

20 Q. Below that, we see Vrhovine. Who controlled Vrhovine?

21 A. The Muslims. That was one ethnic place.

22 Q. Tell us, Mr. Zuljevic, what sort of weapons did you have at the

23 front line?

24 A. We had infantry weapons.

25 Q. Did you have any kind of heavy weapons?

Page 24991












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 24992

1 A. No. Except for an anti-aircraft machine-gun which was left behind

2 by the Serbs when they retreated from Tolovici. They went to Teslic.

3 Q. Very well. Tell us, what kind of weapons did the army of B and H

4 have at the positions you described?

5 A. Well, here above Grabak, let me show you.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. They had an anti-aircraft machine-gun and a three-barrelled gun

8 and later on when the general attacks took place on Vitez, they had a

9 tank. There was another tank at Grabak, in the direction of Krcevine,

10 they attacked Krcevine. There was a third tank in the village of

11 Poculica, and a fourth tank in Zabljak.

12 Q. You mentioned all these weapons. Were they all used in the attack

13 on your line?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. When was it used?

16 A. Well, it was towards the end in 1993. It could have been used in

17 October, November.

18 Q. Very well. And that position that you have just described to us,

19 did you manage to fortify yourselves, to dig trenches and shelters?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And during the conflict, were you at any time ordered to launch an

22 offensive action, to leave the trenches and move forward to the positions

23 that you told us about?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Which was your principal task at that front line?

Page 24993

1 A. Why the defence of the village.

2 Q. And how long did you stay there?

3 A. Until the end of the war against the Muslims.

4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could the registry please show

5 Z70.2.

6 Q. I should also like to ask you to turn to page 15. Mr. Zuljevic,

7 will you please look at number 79. Under 79, it says Zuljevic (Drago)

8 Fabijan, born on the 14th of February 1961; is that you?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Will you now look at the signatures? This is the last column on

11 the right. Is that your signature?

12 A. It is not.

13 Q. So these particulars are yours, but this is not your signature, is

14 it?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. Thank you. We do not need this exhibit anymore.

17 To the best of your recollection and your experience, when did you

18 join the organised -- that is, armed resistance against the JNA attacks on

19 Bosnia?

20 A. Well, that was when there was this municipal staff, that is when I

21 joined. This was recognised as of the 16th of April, 1992.

22 Q. And were you issued some certificates for that?

23 A. Well, yes, it was because of the certificates and the recognition

24 of the service, but mostly because of the certificates [as interpreted].

25 Q. Do you perhaps have the certificates with you, I don't mean here

Page 24994

1 but at home?

2 A. Yes, yes.

3 Q. Can you use them for anything?

4 A. No, no. They are practically worthless.

5 Q. You mentioned in your -- in the introduction that you used to work

6 in the SPS compound. Did you ever meet Mario Cerkez there?

7 A. Why, yes.

8 Q. But he did not work for the same company as you did.

9 A. No, but we were both at the SPS Slobodan Princip, but our

10 workplaces were different.

11 Q. And what was your -- how did Mario Cerkez strike you as a fellow

12 worker?

13 A. As a fellow worker and a citizen, I thought well of him.

14 Q. Did you ever hear or see him manifest any aggression, attack, or

15 verbal abuse against Muslims or express himself pejoratively about anybody

16 else?

17 A. No, no, and he even had friends, I mean Mario Cerkez -- Mario

18 Cerkez, but there was no Croat who did not have a Muslim friend so that we

19 worked together.

20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,

21 Mr. Zuljevic. I have no further questions.

22 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Kordic's Defence

23 does not have any questions for this witness. Thank you.

24 JUDGE MAY: It might be more convenient to deal with it after the

25 luncheon adjournment.

Page 24995

1 MR. NICE: It would be entirely as Your Honour pleases, unless I

2 could simply ask the witness one question so that I can tidy something up

3 over lunch.


5 MR. NICE: The name of his cousin who he says was killed at

6 Nadioci and then I can deal with that

7 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

8 Q. Could you just tell us the name of your cousin who you say was

9 killed on the day of the 16th?

10 A. Not the 16th. Before that.

11 Q. Very well. His name?

12 A. Vlatko Zuljevic. No, sorry, on the 16th, it was another relative,

13 Ivan Zuljevic who was killed then.

14 MR. NICE: Right. Thank you.

15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Zuljevic, that is the time for us to adjourn.

16 Could you remember not to speak to anyone about your evidence during the

17 adjournment, and that includes members of the Defence team, until it's

18 over. Could you be back, please, at half past two.

19 If you'd like to go now, there's something -- it's nothing to do

20 with your evidence, there's something I want to deal with briefly.

21 [The witness stands down]

22 JUDGE MAY: We will go into private session for a moment.

23 [Private session]

24 [redacted]

25 [redacted]

Page 24996

1 [redacted]

2 [redacted]

3 [redacted]

4 [redacted]

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 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.01 p.m.






Page 24997


2 --- On resuming at 2.36 p.m.

3 [Open session]

4 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.


6 Q. When you joined up the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, you joined up as

7 a soldier, didn't you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And you stayed a soldier from that moment on, right up until the

10 end of the conflict.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. All that happened was that whereas to begin with you were in the

13 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, there came a time when you changed from that

14 brigade and were in a brigade that had a different title, that's all.

15 A. No. I was a member of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade. The Vitez

16 Brigade didn't exist at the time.

17 Q. Exactly. But in due course, as a member of the Stjepan Tomasevic

18 Brigade, you changed over and you became a member of the Vitez Brigade.

19 You didn't cease being a soldier, you just changed brigades.

20 A. I didn't change brigades, because the Vitez Brigade didn't exist

21 at the time. It was a sort of battalion, not the Viteska Brigade.

22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I cannot take that any further.

23 Q. Dealing with your cousin, he was also a soldier, wasn't he?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Indeed --

Page 24998

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. At the time that he died on the 16th of April, he was a soldier.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Indeed, he was a sergeant at that time, wasn't he?

5 A. No --

6 Q. Perhaps you'd like to look at this document --

7 A. -- I don't remember.

8 Q. -- 2828. See, we have here a record of his death. There's his

9 name, parents' name, date of birth; occupation, locksmith; died in Novaci,

10 Vitez, on the front line during an attack by a sniper's bullet.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And then "sergeant" is there.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. What unit was he a member of?

15 A. He was a member of the Vitezovi. I don't know what his rank was.

16 I don't remember that he was a sergeant. I knew that he was a soldier

17 belonging to the Vitezovi.

18 Q. Thank you. In any event -- no, that's fine.

19 The battalion that you say you were a member of, that's the 2nd

20 Battalion of the Tomasevic Brigade, was to become the 1st Battalion of the

21 Viteska Brigade; is that correct?

22 A. The 1st Battalion of the Vitez Brigade, no. It remained the 2nd

23 Battalion. Now, later on, with the creation of the so-called Vitez

24 Brigade, I don't really know, I don't remember that. I don't know those

25 facts --

Page 24999

1 Q. All right.

2 A. -- and how everything evolved.

3 Q. Before I come on to 1993, just a couple of questions about 1992.

4 You've been talking about Kalinska Street. That's in Novi Travnik;

5 correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You apparently joined up not on the 8th of April, when your cousin

8 died, of 1992, but you say the 16th of April, 1992. Did you intend to

9 give that as the date that you joined up the Tomasevic Brigade, the 16th

10 of April, 1992?

11 A. No. I joined the municipal staff, and that moved to the Stjepan

12 Tomasevic Brigade. When and how, I don't know.

13 Q. All right. Were you a member of that brigade by June of 1992?

14 A. Well, I don't remember dates very well.

15 Q. On your way to the front line, you had to pass through Novi

16 Travnik, unless you took a route round it, and this is where you say --

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. -- you encountered problems in Kalinska Street. First of all,

19 were you in Novi Travnik in June of 1992 during what's been known as the

20 first conflict in Novi Travnik? Were you there then?

21 A. No, I was not.

22 Q. Why, because you were never going to the front line then?

23 A. No, I wasn't in Travnik at all, Novi Travnik, either up at the

24 front line or in town. I was at home at the time.

25 Q. All right. You've told us about these problems you encountered in

Page 25000

1 Kalinska Street.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Was this at the time of the second conflict in Novi Travnik in

4 October of 1992; namely, on the 19th of October, or thereabouts?

5 A. Yes. Well, there were - how shall I put it - there were those

6 provocations and incidents that took place. And then the barricades were

7 set up and you had to pass those barricades. That's when the incidents

8 took place that I talked about. And they were just provocations, verbal

9 abuse, no weapons involved. That kind of thing.

10 Q. Do you know anything about the HVO attack on Novi Travnik in the

11 Kalinska Street area in October of 1992?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Very well. Let's just move on to 1993. By February of 1993, if

14 you can remember, what unit were you a member of then? February of 1993.

15 A. February 1993, the Vitez Battalion, HVO Vitez Battalion.

16 Q. Perhaps you would just be good enough to look at a document coming

17 your way, 463. In fact, I don't think you need look at it unless you read

18 English. We'll lay it on the ELMO, and there's one short passage that I'm

19 going to read to see if you agree with it.

20 And as this is in English, I will just read out the relevant

21 couple of lines very slowly and you can hear it in your own language.

22 This is a military information document from one of the international

23 units there dated the 13th of February of 1993. And of your area, it says

24 there's been a number of changes. That Borivoje Malbasic, commander of

25 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, has now been relieved of his command and

Page 25001

1 has moved to Vares and Mario Cerkez, the former deputy, is now commanding

2 Novi Travnik and Vitez, and the new deputy commander is a man called

3 Sabljic.

4 Does that agree with your recollection of things that there was a

5 time in February 1993 when Mario Cerkez was commanding both the Tomasevic

6 Brigade and also Vitez?

7 A. No, I don't know anything about that fact.

8 Q. Very well. See if you know something about this fact.

9 MR. NICE: Can he look, please, at Z505 which I've got

10 conveniently marked, because it's a big document. It's the green tabs at

11 the bottom. That's the original for him and that's for the ELMO, please.

12 Q. Now, this is a listing of HVO members out -- we need the whole

13 title in so we can go out a little bit. That's about it and then we can

14 probably still read it.

15 This is a list of HVO members for Novi Travnik, for the unit and

16 the platoon and the troop. I'm afraid I can't read it now myself here and

17 I've forgotten it's the 2nd Platoon of the 2nd Troop of the 2nd Battalion,

18 and your name is down there. There are two Fabijan Zuljevics, but you

19 are -- you see number 32 on the original and 34? Do you see those names

20 there? They are very hard to see. On the original, Mr. Zuljevic, you can

21 see them on the original on the piece of paper in front of you. And I've

22 put a little green mark by the side of what I think may be your name.

23 Now, which are you, Zuljevic (Drago) Fabijan or Zuljevic (Franjo)

24 Fabijan?

25 A. Zuljevic Drago Fabijan.

Page 25002

1 Q. And that shows that you were, in the 27th of February, I think the

2 date is, it's not shown at the moment, but never mind, of 1993, you are a

3 deputy captain or a platoon commander. And that's accurate, isn't it?

4 A. No. No. Platoon commander cannot be deputy captain. These

5 were -- there was a coordinator between the two of us and these ranks were

6 not established yet.

7 Q. All right. Well, that may be an interpretation or translation

8 error which we needn't trouble with. What you certainly were was a

9 platoon commander and you were in the 2nd Battalion of the Zrinjski

10 Brigade and you were a soldier working in --

11 A. No.

12 Q. Tell us about it then.

13 A. In the Zrinjski Brigade? I was not in the Zrinjski Brigade.

14 That's not true, not correct.

15 Q. Then which battalion were you now a member of, 27th of February

16 1993?

17 A. Viteska Battalion.

18 Q. So that there's no doubt about it, by February of 1993, the

19 Viteska Brigade existed and was sufficiently well formed that it had

20 organised platoons and platoon commanders. That's your understanding of

21 the position.

22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --

23 A. No, I came to understand that the Vitez Brigade was established in

24 1993, between April and May. I think that's what I said. The battalion

25 existed up until February but not the brigade. I don't remember the date

Page 25003












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 25004

1 of when the brigade actually came -- was established officially.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wanted to intervene

4 as to the manner the questions were being put because for the fourth time,

5 the Prosecutor has asked the question assuming that the Vitez Brigade

6 existed. However, the witness answered for the fourth time running that

7 at that time, the Vitez Brigade did not exist but the Viteska Battalion as

8 a component part of the Stjepan Tomasevic.

9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm concerned to know what this witness'

10 understanding was and he's told us that. If he says it's the Viteska

11 Battalion, I'm happy with that.

12 Q. The Viteska Battalion was sufficiently well formed in February of

13 1992 that it had organised platoons and organised platoon commanders,

14 didn't it?

15 A. No. There were no platoon commanders. I was not a platoon

16 commander. I was selected and chosen, that is to say, I headed the

17 group. I was not a platoon commander because there were no ranks of that

18 kind. There was no platoon commander. But it was treated as a platoon

19 commander, that is to say, more a coordinator. Some of them were

20 captains. They were coordinators coordinating for the purposes of the

21 battalion.

22 Q. I'm going to interrupt you because it may be my mistake for using

23 1992. This document relates to February of 1993, and that's what I'm

24 asking you about and my mistake because I did use the words 1992. In

25 1993, as we can see from this document, affairs were sufficiently well

Page 25005

1 organised that there were, on any reckoning, platoon commanders or people

2 in charge of platoons, that's correct, isn't it?

3 A. No. I say again there were no platoon commanders; there were no

4 platoons. They were people from the villages who took shifts on the lines

5 facing the Serbs. We did not expect, that is to say, we were not

6 preparing for a war with the Muslims. And the Vitez Brigade didn't exist

7 at all at the time.

8 Q. Well, can you explain this document to us? It was provided, I

9 think, by defendants in another case in this building. Can you explain

10 this document that has your name on it? Can you explain it to us, please?

11 A. Your Honours, could that question be explained to me better? I'm

12 not quite clear on what you mean and what this document means.

13 Q. Here's a document coming from the HVO that sets out platoons and

14 troops and battalions --

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. -- all right? It's got your name on it and it says you're a

17 platoon commander. The date of the document is apparently the 27th of

18 February, 1993. Now, are you able to help us, please, explain this

19 document and understand this document?

20 A. I have tried to explain the document. I don't know how else to

21 explain it to you.

22 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on.

23 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly. The witness has, of course, the B/C/S

24 version in front of him, and I'm hoping that he has been following that.

25 Q. Perhaps you'd just better help us with 653, a quick look at that

Page 25006

1 again. It's the same point, Mr. Zuljevic. Just have a look at this

2 document very quickly. It's the top part of the document that relates to

3 your area.

4 This is a document of the 14th of April that gives personnel of

5 the 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade by village, and your area is, of

6 course, Dubravica and thereabouts; 19 soldiers in Dubravica in the 1st

7 Company under Slavko Papic. Can you explain this document to us, please?

8 What does the 19 soldiers in Dubravica mean?

9 A. This isn't 19 soldiers, it's 19 people who were, as we call them,

10 members of the HVO, who went on shifts. And those persons were on the

11 list which was to provide the shifts at Slatka Vode or Strikanci. They

12 weren't soldiers. They were soldiers when they were up at the defence

13 lines, but when they came home they were civilians. They went about their

14 business at home, their civilian business.

15 Q. Were you one of these 19, please, Mr. Zuljevic?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. You remember I asked you right at the beginning this afternoon

18 whether you started off being a soldier and whether you carried on being a

19 soldier till the end of the conflict. Do you remember my asking you that?

20 A. I don't remember. But I claim -- I still claim the following:

21 When we went to Slatka Vode, a soldier was the only -- only the people up

22 at the front line, they were soldiers. When those people went home, and

23 I'm talking about myself, and all of us, we were ordinary civilians. We

24 weren't in charge of anything, or responsible to Slavko Papic or the HVO

25 or anything. We were civilians. And then a shift would come up again, we

Page 25007

1 would go up to the front line, we would be --

2 Q. All right. I have one more question on this document. Just look

3 at the bottom of the entry for the 1st Company Commander, Slavko Papic.

4 It says: "There is a gun missing in the company and there are four sokac

5 and one dobosar gun."

6 Who was making a tally, a record, for the Viteska Brigade of the

7 weaponry of these village members, or whatever they were?

8 A. For the villagers? Well, it might have been Slavko, Slavko Papic,

9 nobody else, for those villages. The coordinator; nobody else.

10 Q. Yes, thank you. It was all organised, what you were doing, by the

11 HVO, wasn't it, and by the Viteska Brigade by this time?

12 A. Your Honour, could that question be put clearer, please?

13 Q. Yes. The organisation of the people going to the front line was

14 dealt with by the Viteska Brigade on behalf of the HVO, wasn't it?

15 A. No, not the Vitez Brigade. It didn't exist.

16 Q. I see. Very well. You say that you simply left the line where

17 you were engaged on the night of the 15th/16th, leaving equipment behind

18 you; is that really your evidence?

19 A. I left the equipment partially, and when I withdrew from the

20 line -- on my own initiative, I left the line, because a scout, as I

21 mentioned a moment ago, told me that the war was in Vitez. I visited

22 Vilenica and withdrew the following day from the front line facing the

23 Serbs. And I took with me some small arms, because the rifles that were

24 there, up at the front line, and the ammunition, all that stayed over

25 there.

Page 25008

1 Q. Is this the war that you were all looking forward to being

2 involved in, the war with the Muslims?

3 A. No. We did not expect war at all with the Muslims.

4 Q. Well, then, why did you suddenly leave a front line which had

5 apparently needed your service?

6 A. I've just said, on my own bat, at my own initiative, I left the

7 line --

8 Q. But why?

9 A. -- how would you feel if -- well, because it was a question of my

10 family, my wife, my children. You know the mixed composition of the

11 population in Vitez, and how could I be up there when they were down

12 there, and leave my children and somebody having them ...

13 Q. Well, now, you told us a little bit, and I'm not going to go

14 through it, of what happened by way of defence of the area where you were

15 fighting. Who was in charge of that defence, or was it just a random

16 collection of village guards?

17 A. Well, the village guards -- nobody. It came from no one. It

18 wasn't that anybody imposed this on us. These village guards were on our

19 own initiative, that is to say, the war started in 1991, and for the

20 stability of the village, to prevent bandits from coming, I don't know,

21 all those that existed, and the looting of the village and everything. I

22 explained that we even had Serbs up above Krizancevo Selo.

23 Q. How long do you say to this Court you village guards were simply

24 acting without any coordination by the Viteska Brigade? Until what date,

25 roughly?

Page 25009

1 A. Well, from the first day, with the proclamation of the aggression

2 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

3 Q. So what suddenly happened on the first day, whatever day you say

4 that was, what happened on that day that suddenly made you a part of the

5 Viteska Brigade?

6 A. The Viteska Brigade was not in existence yet. The Vitez Brigade

7 was formed in April or May, or perhaps June 1993. I don't really have all

8 this documentation available to me.

9 Q. Are you aware that you've got to suggest to this Court that the

10 Vitez Brigade was formed very late in 1993? Is that what

11 you're responding to, Mr. Zuljevic?

12 A. I think, as I have just said, that if this Vitez Brigade existed,

13 then it was formed, perhaps, in 1994 -- that is, 1993. And I also

14 explained it later on that we were issued those cards.

15 Q. Well, let's have a look at the document 790.1, please. I think

16 the last of three documents, and then I'm done.

17 This is a document from Mario Cerkez, dated the 23rd of April of

18 1993; it's headed "The Vitez Brigade"; do you see that, Mr. Zuljevic?

19 A. I do.

20 Q. It says: "Early in the morning of 23 April 1993, an attack was

21 carried out with ... mortar from Bukve against Jardol village.

22 "The artillery preparation was in itself a sign of an impending

23 infantry attack by the Muslim forces.

24 "At 1200 hours an attack was carried out from Tolovici against

25 Krizancevo Selo and Dubravica. ... artillery preparation, and then an

Page 25010

1 infantry attack followed. ... firing from the Lazine area ..."

2 Now, this is the incident about which you've given evidence, isn't

3 it?

4 A. No. On the 23rd of April. Early in the morning on the 23rd of

5 April 1993, no.

6 Q. Weren't you there at that time?

7 A. No.

8 Q. You see, what I wanted your comment on is this --

9 A. No.

10 Q. It goes on to talk about the attack and it says, "We have a few

11 men wounded and one missing." It deals with the details of the firing

12 including from what it calls "...The sower of death, the M-84 machine-gun,

13 most active in the Barin Gaj area." And it goes on to say that, "Our

14 units did not immediately return fire but we opened fire on the aforesaid

15 areas," and deals with the sighting of UNPROFOR on Kuber.

16 This is a record of the Vitez Brigade fighting in your area. You

17 were all members of the Vitez Brigade, weren't you?

18 A. No, we were members of the HVO. As I have said, the Vitez Brigade

19 if it was formed, was formed in the March, April, May. And I repeat, I

20 know nothing about this document, the attack on Jardol. I don't recall it

21 at all. I don't know all these facts, when it happened.

22 Q. Have a look at another document very shortly, you may be able to

23 help us with this from your knowledge, 836.2. It's a longer document but

24 I only want your comment on a couple of lines on it. If we stay with page

25 one to begin with, towards the top in the English, top half in any event.

Page 25011

1 This is a document dated the 27th of April from Mario Cerkez. It

2 says, "Situation on the Defence Lines", and the two points I want your

3 help with are these, the first sentence or the first two sentences read as

4 follows: "Further to your request of the 27th of April, we inform you of

5 the following: The Vitez Brigade's zone of responsibility is divided into

6 five defence sectors."

7 Mr. Zuljevic, those sectors, were those reflected by the

8 battalions that were formed within the brigade?

9 A. They were formed in villages as villages defended themselves, so

10 the areas of responsibility were defined. At that time, perhaps there was

11 a brigade, but it could not concern any battalions because the HVO did not

12 have any battalions.

13 Q. My question simply is: Did the sectors that were being spoken of

14 here, the 27th of April, did they become reflected in or did they indeed

15 become battalions?

16 A. These were already the defence lines for Vitez and then divided

17 into sectors. I don't really know much about this document but I shall

18 help us as much as I can. And now I am talking about where I was. We

19 held the sector, it is from Vjetrenica road to the Krcevine Bridge, if you

20 can call it a sector, but those were mostly people from the village that

21 were there, you know, on those defence lines.

22 Q. Well, if you'd now like to turn to the last page, page three,

23 about eight lines up from the bottom, and in the English version to the

24 second sheet, the last three lines, last four lines. In this document by

25 Mr. Cerkez, the last part reads as follows: "In spite of the difficulties

Page 25012

1 that we have outlined in this matter, our assessment is that the achieved

2 defence lines are being firmly held and we are ready to successfully

3 defend all features that are under HVO control although a need is being

4 felt for greater logistical support primarily in terms of ammunition."

5 Then over the page, "There is also a need for greater cooperation

6 with units of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade of Novi Travnik in order to

7 prevent the penetration of Muslim forces from the direction of Novi

8 Travnik, the villages of Opara and Rostovo towards Kruscica."

9 Now, this report shows clearly, Mr. Zuljevic, that what you were

10 doing from the moment this fighting began was coordinated work on behalf

11 of the Vitez Brigade; yes or no?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Just still the random work of village guards?

14 A. No. Here there were already lines. We were talking about lines

15 being held, but those lines had already been taken when the war broke out

16 on the 16th. Then we came out and dug in at those lines. Those lines

17 never moved except that some of them fell, but as for the rest towards

18 Novi Travnik and all that up there, I don't know about that.

19 Q. Last document, 819.2. You tell us, Mr. Zuljevic, that the Muslims

20 left the village of Novaci; is that right?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And did you see any of their going?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Did you hear anything about their going?

25 A. No. All I know is what I heard in the morning that they had come

Page 25013

1 out or pulled out, as I said in that -- what's it. That is, that they

2 pulled out, that they left because they were safer in Mahala than there

3 because it was a road.

4 Q. You see, if we look at this document, if we look at the second

5 sheet, first of all, we'll see that it's a document of the Vitezovi's

6 commander, Darko Kraljevic. I'm sorry that the original version is not

7 very satisfactorily photocopied, but it's almost all there. But if we

8 come back to the first sheet, we can see under the losses, of the seven

9 dead we can see your cousin's name there, Ivan Zuljevic, killed in the

10 village of Novaci at 0945 hours. But if we go up towards the top of the

11 page, we see for the 18th of April, which would be two days after your

12 cousin died, the village of Novaci was cleansed.

13 Well, now you were there by the 18th.

14 A. No. Not the 18th. Until the 18th I was in front of my house when

15 I came back from the front line. I came on the --

16 Q. How far away was Novaci from your house?

17 A. Well, they are my neighbours 200 metres say.

18 Q. Now, Darko Kraljevic of the famous Vitezovi group recalls

19 cleansing a village 200 metres from your house on a day you're there. Can

20 you tell us something about it, please?

21 A. I don't really know much about the Vitezovi. I know that Darko

22 Kraljevic was their commander, but all the formations that they belonged

23 to, I don't know.

24 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, I hope I made it clear. This is an event whereby a

25 whole village - or however you describe Novaci, hamlet - a whole village

Page 25014

1 left their homes and it appears that the Vitezovi did it by cleansing the

2 area 200 metres from your door. Will you please tell us what happened?

3 A. Who? As far as I knew, there was not any significant fighting in

4 Novaci or any massacres or some major fighting or any losses. But what

5 happened on the 16th, that was the only time when that happened, but I

6 wasn't there on the 16th so I cannot say anything about that. And when I

7 came, that woman, the neighbour who was right next there and stayed there

8 and then they went to Mahala. And I can say who that lady is. It is

9 Zaida who spent there another two or three days and --

10 Q. Were you aware of women in Novaci being mistreated, indeed, being

11 mistreated as badly as women can be, Witness S is the relevant witness,

12 being raped? Were you aware of that?

13 A. No. No. I wasn't aware of that.

14 Q. Finally, although you weren't there, you say, on the 16th of

15 April, did you hear of shells falling on Novaci on the 16th of April?

16 A. No. I don't remember about any shells falling. I was -- when I

17 was there on the 17th there were no shells. About the 16th, I don't

18 know. I didn't hear anything.

19 MR. NICE: That was Dr. Mujezinovic's evidence, Your Honour. Yes,

20 thank you.

21 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I don't think that is correct and I

22 don't think that we ever heard any evidence about any crimes in Novaci.

23 JUDGE MAY: We most certainly did. There is reference, as my

24 recollection is, of a complaint. It was not direct evidence, it was

25 evidence of a complaint to a doctor.


Page 25015












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 25016

1 MR. KOVACIC: That is correct, but --

2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.

3 JUDGE MAY: That's the basis of it.

4 MR. KOVACIC: I would like -- I would like to stress now that the

5 witness is faced with so-called evidence like category, and he might have

6 been confused. He wasn't, but he might have. It is not fair practice.

7 JUDGE MAY: It's perfectly fair. There was a suggestion that some

8 women had been raped in Novaci. It went no more than that, and the

9 Prosecutor was entitled to put it to the witness, since he was in the

10 area, did he know anything about it, and he says he didn't. So there it

11 is. It doesn't take the case any further.

12 Yes. Any re-examination.

13 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour, just a couple of questions.

14 Re-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Zuljevic, you were shown document 505

16 relating to February 1993. I will ask you the following: Do you recall

17 if, in February 1993, you were on duty doing your shift at Slatka Vode?

18 A. I do not remember.

19 Q. During your testimony, you repeatedly used the term the Vitez

20 Battalion. Will you please tell us what unit -- within what unit, within

21 what formation did the Vitez Battalion operate?

22 A. Stjepan Tomasevic.

23 Q. But this name, the Vitez Battalion, Viteska Bojna, it described

24 the composition of those troops because those were principally people from

25 Vitez, isn't it?

Page 25017

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Mr. Zuljevic, when taking your shifts at Slatka Vode and

3 Sljivcica, were you always the one who led the group or were there

4 different leaders of the group?

5 A. There were different leaders.

6 Q. At times it was you, and at times it was somebody else?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So you did not have a permanent duty of the group leader or the

9 platoon as it was put to you here?

10 A. No, I did not.

11 Q. You were asked, Mr. Zuljevic, how is it that you abandoned the

12 front line on the 16th, or rather on the 18th of April after you learned

13 that the war had broken out in the area of Vitez and after you had learned

14 that some of your relatives had been killed. My question is as follows:

15 Was it more important for you to remain at the defence line against the

16 JNA or protect your wife and your children?

17 A. Well, to protect my wife and my children, no doubt about it.

18 Q. And after you returned to the village, you said that some defence

19 lines had been defined and you described it to them; is that correct? Is

20 it correct to say that those defence lines were in point of fact above

21 your houses and were there to he defend your village?

22 A. Yes.

23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Zuljevic. I have

24 no further questions.

25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Zuljevic, that concludes your evidence. Thank you

Page 25018

1 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are now free to

2 go.

3 [The witness withdrew]

4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I may just a word before we are

5 continuing with the next witness. I am a little bit worried because of

6 one fact. So far, at least it is how I understood, the fact that Viteska

7 Brigade was founded during the March 1993 was not disputed. And I would

8 like to remind the Court and my dear colleagues from the other side that

9 we did make that statement also in pre-trial brief, and we accepted that

10 Cerkez was a commander of that brigade from the beginning, from the

11 foundation of that brigade.

12 It seems that there is a dispute now. If there is a dispute, we

13 then have to consider, despite of the fact that the evidence about

14 foundation of the brigade is already submitted in the form of documents,

15 but we have to then consider also the witnesses on that fact. Indeed,

16 some witnesses already testified about that, but it seems that it is

17 irrelevant now for the Prosecutor.

18 JUDGE MAY: I don't think there is any dispute about it. The

19 essential question is how well organised was it in April 1993. Now, as

20 far as I know, that's the issue which the Court has to determine. Was it

21 an organised brigade of some sort or was it totally disorganised? These

22 are matters you have to concern yourself with.

23 MR. KOVACIC: Exactly, Your Honour, and that is how I understood

24 the situation until --

25 JUDGE MAY: Well, until we hear differently, that is the way we

Page 25019

1 propose to proceed unless we hear to the contrary. Can we go on now?

2 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, if I might just raise one question

3 about the Exhibit Z819.2. On page two of the document, it says that

4 concerning the PPN Vitezovi, "It is best that you read the written

5 commendation of the commander of the headquarters Operative Zone Central

6 Bosnia, Mr. Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, which I have enclosed for you to

7 view." I wonder if we might just request a copy of the enclosure it seems

8 to be a document of some significance.

9 MR. NICE: If I've got a copy of the document, I'll make it

10 available.

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let's have the next witness, please.

12 [The witness entered court]

13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the declaration.

14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the

15 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


17 [Witness answered through interpreter]

18 JUDGE MAY: Take a seat.

19 Examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

20 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Tomic.

21 A. Good afternoon.

22 Q. On behalf of Mr. Cerkez's Defence, I shall be asking you some

23 questions based on your statement, and I should like to ask you to try to

24 recall the events the best you can so as to help the Court, and us, of

25 course. At the same time, I should also like to ask you to pause between

Page 25020

1 my questions and your answers so as to facilitate the interpreter's work.

2 Now, would you be so kind and tell us, for the record, what is

3 your full name, your place and date of birth?

4 A. I was born on the 10th of December, 1959, in Dubravica,

5 municipality of Vitez.

6 Q. You are a Croat by ethnicity; you're of Roman Catholic faith,

7 aren't you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You are a citizen of both the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and

10 the Republic of Croatia, aren't you?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. You are married and you have three sons.

13 A. I do, yes.

14 Q. You are a carpenter by profession.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. You are not employed.

17 A. No.

18 Q. You came out of the vocational school in Vitez.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Mr. Tomic, as a result of the events which happened during this

21 war, you have become an invalid and you have a recognised disability of 68

22 per cent, is it?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Are you a member of any political party?

25 A. No.

Page 25021

1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness speak up, please?

2 Q. Were you ever a member of any political party?

3 A. Yes.

4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Tomic, you were asked by the interpreters, could

5 you speak up a bit or speak a bit closer to the microphones so we can

6 hear. Thank you.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]

9 Q. What party did you belong to?

10 A. I was a member of the HSP.

11 Q. The HSP is the party which means the Croat Party of Rights, is it?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. So this is the party with the longest political tradition in that

14 area insofar as the Croat people are concerned, isn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. It dates back to the last century, doesn't it?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Mr. Tomic, when the war started in Croatia, when the JNA attacked

19 first Slovenia and then Croatia, did the Croat Party of Rights form some

20 armed units?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. What were these units of the HSP called?

23 A. HOS.

24 Q. Those combat units participated in the resistance against the JNA

25 attack.

Page 25022

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, were such units formed as well?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Are you aware, in view of the ethnic makeup, who were the members

5 of those HOS units?

6 A. Muslims and Croats.

7 Q. Could you tell us if in 1991/1992 the number of Muslims was large

8 or insignificant? What would you say?

9 A. Almost half of them.

10 Q. Mr. Tomic, before the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you worked

11 abroad, didn't you?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You worked in Austria, in Switzerland, and in Germany, didn't you?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. When is it that you decided to go and work abroad?

16 A. After I returned from the JNA.

17 Q. And that was?

18 A. The first time, I think --

19 Q. Yes, do go on.

20 A. The first time, I think, in 1982, or thereabouts.

21 Q. From your area, did any other people go and become migrant

22 workers, or were you an exception?

23 A. There were very many people.

24 Q. But, of course, you came home from time to time.

25 A. Yes.

Page 25023

1 Q. So you knew what was going on.

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. When did you come home for good to Bosnia, from your work in

4 Germany? What year?

5 A. In 1990 -- well, it was, in fact, late 1990.

6 Q. That was the time when war had broken out already in Croatia; is

7 that right?

8 A. Yes, that's right.

9 Q. Did you have a special motive for returning to the country at that

10 time?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Can you tell us what led you to come home? What was your motive?

13 A. Well, I wanted to go to Croatia to fight.

14 Q. I will ask you again: Were you an exception, was your motive

15 exceptional, or did some others working abroad come back for the same

16 reason?

17 A. A lot of people did the same.

18 Q. And it was then, on your return, as far as I understand, that you

19 joined the Croatian Party of Rights.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And you stayed in your village and lived there.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Later on during 1991, what were your thoughts about the situation

24 in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did you think there would not be a war, or did you

25 think something else?

Page 25024

1 A. No. There were signs that it would spread to Bosnia.

2 Q. What did you do then?

3 A. Well, then, I don't know the exact date, but I set off to

4 Croatia. In Zenica, however, I was stopped by the civil police and

5 prevented from doing so.

6 Q. You set out to Croatia with the intention of joining the fight

7 against the JNA; is that right?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Why were you prevented in doing this?

10 A. I don't know.

11 Q. Well, you did not manage to do this, so you returned home.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What did you do after that?

14 A. Then I joined the reserve police force in order to gain access to

15 weapons, because I had to defend myself.

16 Q. At that time, Mr. Tomic, what was the ethnic makeup of the reserve

17 police force? Was it just Croats or were there other ethnic groups?

18 A. There were Croats and Muslims, mostly.

19 Q. Can you remember who the chief of police was at that time in

20 Vitez?

21 A. I think it was Mr. Skopljak.

22 Q. Which Skopljak?

23 A. Pero. Pero.

24 Q. And after him?

25 A. I don't know.

Page 25025

1 Q. If I were to suggest to you it was Mirko Samija, could you confirm

2 this?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. What were the relations in the reserve police force? How did they

5 develop over time? From the middle of 1992 onwards, what were the

6 relations between the Croats and the Muslims in the reserve police force?

7 A. Well, they parted ways; that's how I would describe it. There

8 were tensions.

9 Q. Tell us, can you illustrate this by an example? How did they

10 part ways? What was it the Muslims or the Croats did to cause this?

11 A. Well, there were various rumours, various conversations. They

12 said, "Well, another 500 years of Muslim rule will come about," things

13 like that.

14 Q. Did you conclude from what they said that your Muslim colleagues

15 wanted to establish a state of their own?

16 A. They said, "We will play the first half of the match together with

17 you, but the second half against you, because we are going to build up a

18 Dzamahirija here."

19 Q. Tell us, in your understanding, what does the word "Dzamahirija"

20 mean?

21 A. I think that that is an Islamic state.

22 Q. Was that acceptable to you personally, this kind of thinking?

23 A. Well, of course not. It wasn't.

24 Q. Very well. You were in the reserve police force; you described

25 how this happened. In September 1992, at the beginning of the autumn,

Page 25026

1 what did you do?

2 A. Then I went over to the military police.

3 Q. Can you remember who was the commander of the military police at

4 the time?

5 A. At that time I think it was Mr. Marijan Jukic or ...

6 Q. Or?

7 A. Vlado Santic, maybe.

8 Q. So you're not sure.

9 A. No, I'm not sure.

10 Q. Did you undergo any training or any specialised training for a

11 military policeman?

12 A. Yes. Mr. Pasko Ljubicic sent us to Neum for a month's training.

13 Q. For the sake of clarity, Mr. Tomic, where is Neum, the town of

14 Neum?

15 A. It's in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

16 Q. You said that you spent about a month in training.

17 A. Well, about 28 days. I'm not sure exactly.

18 Q. After that you went back; is that right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. So you became a member of the military police, and before that you

21 were in the reserve police force.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. While you were still in the reserve police force, what were your

24 duties? What activities did you perform?

25 A. Well, for a long time, together with the Muslims, we manned a

Page 25027












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French

13 and English transcripts.













Page 25028

1 checkpoint. But only with the Croats I went to the defence lines against

2 the Serbs, because the mayor of Jajce - I can't remember his name now -

3 would come to fetch us. And we went with the soldiers doing shifts, for

4 example, to Jajce, to Turbe, to other places, to the line facing the

5 Serbs.

6 Q. So you were, in fact, used for combat activities as a reserve

7 civil policeman; is that right?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Do you know, Mr. Tomic, that other people from Vitez, volunteers,

10 used to come to the Jajce front?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Do you know who organised them to go to the defence line against

13 the JNA and the Bosnian Serb army? Who organised them?

14 A. I didn't understand.

15 Q. You were sent to defend Jajce by the reserve police force; is that

16 right?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. At the invitation of the mayor of Jajce.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. The other people you mentioned who went there from Vitez as

21 volunteers, who sent them? Do you know that?

22 A. They were sent by the municipal staff.

23 Q. Very well. You said that you participated in the fighting to

24 defend Jajce and that you also manned certain checkpoints on the roads.

25 A. Yes.

Page 25029

1 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tomic, what were these checkpoints, and why had they

2 been set up? What was their purpose? We are talking about 1992, the

3 second half of that year, of course.

4 A. Well, as a member of the military police by that time, I was at

5 the crossroads between Travnik and Novi Travnik. We checked the passage

6 of people, goods, and so on, and this was our only task.

7 Q. At that time you did this together with the Muslims; is that

8 right?

9 A. In late 1992?

10 Q. The second half of 1992.

11 A. No, no.

12 Q. So the checkpoints were already single-ethnic checkpoints.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Mr. Tomic, November 1992, this is an important month in your

15 life.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Can you tell us what happened to you personally in November 1992?

18 A. Yes, I can. On the 22nd of November, at about midnight, we were

19 on our way back from the checkpoint, I and six colleagues of mine ...

20 Q. Yes, go on.

21 A. We were stationed in Kruscica, in the Ribnjak Hotel. Then we came

22 across a Muslim police patrol in Kruscica. They stopped us and recognised

23 us; they asked us what was new and let us through.

24 Q. So they stopped you at a checkpoint held by the Muslim armed

25 forces.

Page 25030

1 A. Yes, yes, the Muslim police.

2 Q. And then you went on.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. What happened next?

5 A. After about a kilometre we came across a group of people, 30 to 40

6 of them perhaps, who closed off the road, and we got out to see what was

7 going on.

8 Q. When you say a group of men, were they civilians or were they

9 wearing uniforms?

10 A. They were in uniform.

11 Q. Were they soldiers?

12 A. Yes, they were soldiers.

13 Q. Where was this? What is the name of that place?

14 A. Fatina Vodica.

15 Q. That's the area of Kruscica.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What happened next after you stopped?

18 A. Then they cocked their rifles; they all had automatic rifles.

19 They said that we should get out of the car, lie down face down, put our

20 hands behind our heads.

21 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. Among the soldiers who stopped

22 you, did you manage to recognise anyone? Were they local people? Did you

23 recognise any of them?

24 A. I recognised quite a few of them.

25 Q. Were there people among them whom you could not recognise?

Page 25031

1 A. I think there were Mujahedin because they had beards and they were

2 in black, and they were dark skinned.

3 Q. So they threatened you with weapons and made you lie face down and

4 put your hands behind your heads?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Did they disarm you?

7 A. Yes, they disarmed us. They took our weapons and everything we

8 had including our rings, chains, watches and so on.

9 Q. In fact, they robbed you?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. What about the military insignia on your uniforms?

12 A. They tore them off. As for the badges, they took them away.

13 Q. So you were treated like this. What happened next?

14 A. Then we went to a sort of garage. They brought us there together,

15 and together we were left there. I remember there was a very strong light

16 in front. So they called us out by name, one by one, and took us out to

17 be tortured.

18 Q. How did they know your names?

19 A. There were so many of them, I think at least 15 of them were

20 people we had known for 20, 25 years.

21 Q. So, practically, they were your neighbours?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. You said they took you out of the garage one by one. What

24 happened outside?

25 A. Whoever went outside, we heard screams, blows with all sorts of

Page 25032

1 things.

2 Q. And could you see from the garage what was going on outside?

3 A. No.

4 Q. You only heard the sounds.

5 A. Yes, and the screams.

6 Q. And you concluded from this what?

7 A. Well, what was going on, that they were being beaten mercilessly.

8 Q. Did they take you out of that garage?

9 A. Yes. As far as I can remember twice, and I can't say any more.

10 They treated me like an object.

11 Q. What did they do to you on that occasion?

12 A. Well, they -- the first time when I went out, they beat me up

13 well. The second time, they hit me in the face with rifle butt of a

14 machine-gun, and after that, I don't remember anything.

15 Q. You lost consciousness?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What did they beat you with?

18 A. Well, with bats, rifle butts, they punched us, kicked us. They

19 used whatever they could lay their hands on.

20 Q. Did they say anything to you? Did they ask anything of you?

21 A. They cursed our Ustasha mothers. They asked why we were wearing

22 those uniforms. They said that that would be a Dzamahirija and while I am

23 still conscious I said to a former colleague of mine, "Why are you

24 establishing a Dzamahirija when it doesn't exist anywhere properly and you

25 can't build a Dzamahirija on my fatherland."

Page 25033

1 Q. You said they cursed your Ustasha mothers and they asked you why

2 you were wearing those uniforms and they tore the insignia off your

3 uniforms. What sort of patch did you have?

4 A. HVO.

5 Q. You said that you were beaten with the rifle butt of a machine-gun

6 and that you lost consciousness as a result; is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. What injuries did you sustain?

9 A. I had fractures of my jaw, upper and lower jaw, a broken nose,

10 cheek bones, skull fractures, legs, and all sorts of other injuries.

11 Q. And the result of that was that you are a 60 per cent invalid; is

12 that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Were you injured in the eye area?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Do you suffer from that today?

17 A. I suffer a great deal.

18 Q. Can you tell us how?

19 A. Well, I have frequent -- very bad headaches. My circulation is

20 poor, and I feel faint. I don't see. My eyesight isn't very good.

21 Q. So you lost consciousness, you said. When did you come to, regain

22 consciousness?

23 A. Well, I regained consciousness in the hospital in Nova Bila some

24 ten days later, I think.

25 Q. Can you tell us how you were transported to the hospital in Nova

Page 25034

1 Bila from Kruscica, how did you get there?

2 A. Well, I wasn't conscious, so I don't know.

3 Q. Did they tell you about how you were transferred to hospital?

4 A. Well, I heard later on that a colleague of mine who was also

5 seriously injured, he was all -- he suffered from knife wounds.

6 Q. When you say colleague, he was amongst the six military policemen?

7 A. Yes, that's right.

8 Q. Were you visited by your relatives in hospital, your family?

9 A. But nobody could recognise me.

10 Q. Why?

11 A. Not even my own father or brothers or sisters or children

12 recognised me.

13 Q. Why didn't they recognise you? Did you have your face bandaged?

14 JUDGE MAY: We've got the point really, Mr. Mikulicic. Can we

15 move on.

16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Very well, let's proceed.

17 Q. How long did you stay in the hospital in Nova Bila undergoing

18 treatment?

19 A. I don't know exactly. I didn't stay on long. Once I had returned

20 consciousness, soon after that, I was transferred from Nova Bila to Split.

21 Q. And you continued your treatment there; is that right?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Tomic, who was in the hospital room with you

24 in Split?

25 A. Well, there were four of us. Two Croats and two Muslims.

Page 25035

1 Q. Members of the BH army?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Otherwise at the hospital in Split in Croatia, were there Muslims,

4 members of the BH army there for treatment?

5 A. Yes, there were.

6 Q. Did you notice that the medical staff and doctors had a different

7 attitude to them as opposed to you Croats?

8 A. No. No.

9 Q. How long did you spend in the Split hospital undergoing treatment?

10 A. After a month had gone by or thereabouts, we listened to the radio

11 and tensions were increasing all the time. I decided to ask the doctor if

12 I could go home. He said I couldn't, but then I left hospital at my own

13 responsibility.

14 Q. Actually, you escaped from hospital, did you?

15 A. Well, yes.

16 Q. And you went back home, to your own house in your village?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. What did you do there?

19 A. Well, several days later, that is to say, I spent some days at

20 home, and then I went to the police, to the command to report, to say that

21 I had arrived, that I was back home. But they said, "You stay at home.

22 Go back home. You're all -- you need treatment. So have some treatment

23 at home. Rest up a bit and recuperate." So I went back home and I got

24 better slowly.

25 Q. But then you ended up in hospital again, didn't you?

Page 25036

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Once again in Nova Bila?

3 A. Yes, in Nova Bila. And I got fed up with that too because I

4 wasn't able to take all the lying down. The Serbs were relatively close

5 by, and you could hear them breaking through the defence lines now and

6 again.

7 Q. And then you decided to leave the hospital; is that right?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And you went back to the command of the military police and

10 reported there for duty?

11 A. Yes, and they once again told me to go home and they said when the

12 need arose, they would come and call me.

13 Q. And how long did you stay at home that time?

14 A. Well, I didn't go back to the military police until the end of

15 September 1993.

16 Q. That means when the armed conflict broke out in Vitez and the

17 surroundings on the 16th of April. Were you at home then?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. What did you do then when the conflict occurred?

20 A. Well, I heard detonations, strong explosions. That was what woke

21 me. I got up, went out and saw everything burning, everything on fire.

22 Everybody was already awake in the house. I took up my rifle. I said to

23 my wife, "There's something wrong. You stay indoors and I'll go outside

24 to see what's going on."

25 Below my house, I met several neighbours and I talked to them. We

Page 25037

1 saw that Vitez was being shelled. We didn't know if it was the Serbs

2 shelling or whether they had already entered Vitez. But they told me that

3 we ought to go to Lazine, which is a little way off from my house, about a

4 kilometre away. Lazine, that's where we went. When we got there, we came

5 across some of my neighbours and we started making up a defence line

6 there.

7 Q. What did your neighbours tell you? Who was it who was --

8 A. Well, they said that the Muslims had attacked us and that we had

9 to organise ourselves until somebody more capable turned up, somebody who

10 would be able to organise us.

11 Q. These neighbours of yours, the ones that you went to Lazine with,

12 did they have any weapons?

13 A. Well, not all of them, no.

14 Q. Were they members of the village guards in your village?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. You said that you went outside and saw everything burning. Did

17 you mean that there was actual fire or did you mean it figuratively?

18 A. No, figuratively, that is to, say hundreds of projectiles were

19 flying about.

20 Q. And that's the term you use, is it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Later on, you were wounded again, were you not?

23 A. Yes, I was.

24 Q. When was that and where?

25 A. I think it was in mid-August at Lazine. I was wounded when a

Page 25038

1 grenade fell from the BH army positions.

2 Q. And you went for treatment again?

3 A. No, I was at home. I stayed at home for 10 or 12 days because I

4 wasn't wounded that badly.

5 Q. And what happened next, after you had recovered from that second

6 wounding?

7 A. I went back to Lazine after that. However, at the end of

8 September, I -- that is to say a military policeman came by and told me to

9 report to the 4th Battalion, and Marinko Palavra was already in command of

10 that battalion.

11 Q. And that's what you did. You reported to the command of the 4th

12 Battalion; is that right?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. Tell us, please, where were you assigned to then?

15 A. I was deployed according to need, that is to say, the commander

16 would make up a schedule, and we were sent to different parts of the

17 line.

18 Q. Were you deployed for combat activity or did you have some other

19 job to perform, other assignment?

20 A. Well, we were in the trenches up at the front line mostly.

21 Q. As far as you remember, how many people did the military police

22 comprise of at that time, how many men?

23 A. Well, as far as the Vitez -- as Vitez is concerned, 120.

24 Q. I'm not sure I heard you. What did you say?

25 A. 120.

Page 25039












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13 and English transcripts.













Page 25040

1 Q. 120, thank you. Later on, you ended up undergoing medical

2 treatment again; is that right?

3 A. Yes. After the war when there was a cease-fire, I went to Nova

4 Bila. I felt very ill. We started thinking about the situation when

5 everything was over and wondered what had actually happened. I was

6 feeling very weak, fairly poorly, so I ended up in Split again, and then I

7 was sent to Neum for rehabilitation and I spent about three months there.

8 Q. Did you ever meet Mario Cerkez?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. How long have you known him?

11 A. Well, I've known him for a long time, since we were kids.

12 Q. Did you meet him during your school days?

13 A. Yes, I know him from elementary school.

14 Q. Do you know his family?

15 A. Yes, I do.

16 Q. How would you describe his family?

17 A. They're ordinary, normal citizens, well-behaved, well brought up,

18 that kind of thing.

19 Q. Was Mario Cerkez's family known to be a family that liked

20 quarrelling?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Did you ever hear Mario Cerkez or anybody from his family say

23 anything bad about Muslims, or any other members of national minorities

24 apart from Croats?

25 A. No.

Page 25041

1 Q. Did you ever Mario Cerkez drink? Was he prone to alcohol or

2 brawls or anything of that kind?

3 A. No.

4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further

5 questions.

6 MR. SAYERS: Mr. Kordic has no questions for this witness,

7 Mr. President.

8 [Trial Chamber confers]

9 MR. NICE: I heard what Your Honour was saying. I'd much prefer

10 to do it tomorrow morning, if it's possible.

11 JUDGE MAY: No doubt, but we want a reason.

12 MR. NICE: Yes. It's been a question of opportunities for

13 preparation. There have been a number of witnesses and, as you've seen,

14 I've been dealing with them all this week.

15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.

16 JUDGE MAY: Provided it's done expeditiously, you can have the

17 time.

18 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.

19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Tomic, we are going to adjourn now until tomorrow

20 morning. Would you be back, please, at half past nine tomorrow, and would

21 you remember not to talk to anybody about your evidence until it's over,

22 and that does include members of the Defence team.

23 MR. NICE: Before we part and just so that I don't forget -

24 nothing to do with this witness - Mr. Sayers' request for the enclosure

25 that I said we would search for, we have been searching for it, well,

Page 25042

1 others have, and apparently we don't possess it. So there it is. I'll

2 just confirm that myself overnight, but that appears to be the position.

3 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now. Half past nine tomorrow morning.

4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.07 p.m.,

5 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 20th day of

6 September, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.