1 Tuesday, 9 December 2003
2 [Appeal Proceedings]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellant entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 8.02 a.m.
16 [Closed session]
12 Page 268 redacted, closed session
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16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Hayman, you may commence your
20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Examined by Mr. Hayman:
22 Q. And good morning, Mr. Watkins.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Could we begin with a short statement by you of your background,
25 your education, and your military experience in the United Kingdom.
1 A. My education, after completing secondary school, I studied a
2 degree in economics and politics at Leeds and then subsequently took a
3 master's degree at the London School of Economics. After a short period
4 when I was farming on the family farm, I joined Her Majesty's forces and
5 served as an officer after training at Sandhurst for eight years in the
6 British army in the Royal Horse Artillery, and left with the substantive
7 rank of captain but in a local capacity the rank of major. I served for
8 eight years. I was then recruited by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
9 and seconded to the European Community Monitoring Mission.
10 Q. And did you actually serve as a European Community monitor?
11 A. Yes, I did. I served for a total of two years. I was recruited
12 in January of 1993, but actually went to the Balkans in February 1993, and
13 after a short induction at Zagreb, I went to -- I was posted to Bosnia,
14 where I started as a monitor in Tomislavgrad, and I then became the head
15 of the coordination centre in Travnik in about May or June of 1993, and I
16 stayed in that position until the middle of October 1993, when I was
17 transferred to Mostar as the head of the coordination centre in Mostar.
18 And I was in Mostar until February 1994. I then had to return to the
19 United Kingdom and was back in UK for three months. And in, I think, the
20 end of April 1994 came back to the ECMM and served for a short while as a
21 monitor in Karlovac, and then was quickly appointed to become the head of
22 the coordination centre in Topusko. After some months in that position I
23 was appointed as the head of the regional centre in Zenica with
24 responsibility for all of the monitoring mission in Bosnia and I went to
25 Zenica, where the headquarters was, and stayed there from August 1994
1 through to February 1995, a six-month period. After that, I went to
2 Zagreb and I served in the headquarters as one of the advisors to the
3 ambassador, the head of the mission. And I finally left the European
4 Community Monitoring Mission in April 1995, and then after a short break I
5 worked for the United Nations in Zagreb with the SRSG, Yasushi Akashi, as
6 a political advisor.
7 Q. So then is it fair to say the period that you were on the ground
8 in Central Bosnia observing events, meeting the relevant officials, was
9 first as head of the CC Travnik from roughly June to October of 1993, and
10 then as head of RC Zenica from roughly August 1994 until February of
12 A. That's true, although, of course, when I was a monitor in
13 Tomislavgrad, I did a lot of work in Gornji Vakuf, and that is of course
14 Central Bosnia.
15 Q. Very good. During these tours of duty, did you have occasion to
16 meet with the appellant, Tihomir Blaskic?
17 A. Yes, I did, on many occasions.
18 Q. Can you tell the Court, was that on two or three occasions or on
19 many more occasions?
20 A. By the time I was the head of the CC Travnik, I was meeting
21 Colonel Blaskic probably two, three times a week, and then as the head of
22 the regional centre, by then, Colonel Blaskic had been promoted to
23 General Blaskic and was operating in the Posusje headquarters down in
24 Herzegovina, and I met him on probably three or four occasions, certainly
25 not as many as in Central Bosnia, but I continued contact because of his
1 senior position.
2 Q. Were your meetings with him over these time periods more of a
3 social type or were they working meetings with substantive agendas and
4 follow-up action on these various agenda items?
5 A. They weren't really social. There wasn't much time for social
6 activity. It was certainly one-to-one meetings and also meetings where
7 there was a gathering of several leaders in which I would participate and
8 Colonel Blaskic would participate as well.
9 Q. In the course or as a result of these meetings, were you able to
10 learn something about his views, what was his role in terms of the
11 process? What were his views?
12 A. Yes. I feel that I got to know Colonel Blaskic very well. His
13 position was the head of the Operational Zone Central Bosnia, and as such,
14 was in a senior position, obviously, in terms of command over HVO
15 soldiers. During the time I worked with him, I found him to be open and
16 giving access to the international community. I certainly never had any
17 problem having access myself to discuss matters. And my assessment was
18 that I was dealing with a young but capable professional soldier.
19 Q. Could you tell whether he had respect for the international
20 community and the European Union or did he exhibit a disrespect or a
21 disregard for their views?
22 A. He certainly had a respect for the European Community Monitoring
23 Mission and I believe more widely a respect for the international
24 community's views. It was important to the Croat community, but not only
25 the Croat community, indeed any relatively isolated community, that they
1 had the voice of the international community and that's what the ECMM
2 could provide.
3 Q. Did he subscribe to an extremist political philosophy?
4 A. No, he did not. I would characterise him as very much a
5 professional soldier and distancing himself from political views. And I
6 can give you an example of that in terms of -- at one stage, our task as
7 monitors was to try and partially implement the Vance-Owen peace plan, and
8 of course in order to do so, Bosnia had been organised in terms of -- or
9 was going to be organised in terms of cantons, and Central Bosnia was one
10 of those cantons and I needed to have the views obviously of senior people
11 as to how they felt about this. And I discussed this with Colonel Blaskic
12 and he told me that he dealt with reality on the ground and for political
13 views I would need to speak to others.
14 Q. At any point in your dealings with him, did he exhibit any bias or
15 animus towards Muslims or Muslim culture?
16 A. No. Clearly, as the commander of HVO forces, he was engaged in
17 combat with Armija forces, but in terms of a philosophy, an extremist
18 philosophy, absolutely not.
19 Q. Did you ever get any feedback from officers in the BH army with
20 respect to how they viewed then-Colonel Blaskic in that regard?
21 A. Yes. It was important as monitors to get as much information as
22 we could from different sources so that we could get a complete picture,
23 and certainly discussing the merits and otherwise of opposing commanders
24 was something which I took the opportunity to solicit their views, and I
25 certainly discussed this with Mehmed Alagic, who was the operational group
1 commander for 7 group based in Travnik at the time, who later became
2 commander of 7th Corps, a respected military commander on the BH side, and
3 he said that he respected Tihomir Blaskic as a former JNA soldier and
4 nearly always when we spoke in terms of leadership in Central Bosnia,
5 there was a distinction made between Colonel Blaskic and other political
6 leaders, particularly Anto Valenta and Dario Kordic, who were very much
7 the voice of some of the more extreme nationalist views that were being
8 articulated in Central Bosnia.
9 Q. Did these BH officers distinguish between these two --
10 A. Yes, they did.
11 Q. -- types, if you will?
12 A. I also actually spoke to General Hadzihasanovic, who at the time
13 was the commander of 3rd Corps, and to his deputy, Dzemo Merdan, and
14 again, I had the appreciation of a distinction between the leadership they
15 were dealing with and a respect for Tihomir Blaskic, although I would add
16 in the case of Hadzihasanovic, I think there was a certain sort of
17 seniority aspect there, as I mentioned earlier, Colonel Blaskic was a
18 relatively young colonel and Hadzihasanovic was, I think, a much more
19 experienced JNA officer, and to a certain extent, I think that
20 Hadzihasanovic played on that and wasn't going to give him any sort of
21 equal status, although he was opposing him.
22 Q. Now I'd like to turn to the characteristics of the HVO forces.
23 Were there different pockets with respect to the territory that at least
24 at one point in time was controlled by the HVO in Central Bosnia?
25 A. Yes. It was a difficult, an interesting landscape of military
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 activity. If I could actually come out of Central Bosnia to explain
2 briefly in Herzegovina, where the Croat forces had two operational zones,
3 operational zone north-west Herzegovina, which was commanded by General
4 Siljeg, and the operational zone in Mostar, south-east Herzegovina. That
5 area, they controlled all the territory, righted up to the front line,
6 which ran from Prozor down through Jablanica and to the west side of the
7 Neretva valley.
8 And there, there was a coherent command and control and ability of
9 leadership to move around that area. It was very different, once one
10 crossed the front line which ran through Prozor, the Makljen ridge, and
11 went down into the Vrbas valley and up into the Lasva Valley through
12 Central Bosnia, where one had a series of pockets where you would have the
13 largest pocket being the Croat community in Vitez and Busovaca. But
14 within those pockets, other isolated communities, such as the Muslim
15 community in Stari Vitez and Kruscica, so pockets within pockets and quite
16 a complex picture. And as one moved further north-east, we had pockets
17 around Vares and pockets around Zepce and Zavidovici, and pockets in
18 Kiseljak area.
19 So a fragmented picture of communities of various sizes, isolated,
20 and then other communities within those isolated communities.
21 Q. On paper, did Colonel Blaskic have responsibility for the areas in
22 these different pockets you've mentioned, Vares, Zepce, Kiseljak?
23 A. Yes. On paper, as the commander of the operational zone, he had
24 command from Travnik through to -- south to Kiseljak, indeed, actually on
25 paper to Sarajevo, further east. Yes, he commanded Vares pocket and also
1 the Zepce, Zavidovici pocket. Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf actually came
2 under the command of General -- or Colonel Siljeg, operational zone
3 north-west Herzegovina.
4 Q. We often hear the phrase in military parlance "command and
5 control." What was the effect of the existence of these various pockets
6 on HVO command and control?
7 A. Well, it was a different picture to that I painted a moment ago in
8 Herzegovina. In fact, for effective military operations, there are three
9 Cs, as we are taught in the western armies. That's communications,
10 command and control. And while all three of those important ingredients
11 were in existence in Herzegovina, it was a different picture in Central
12 Bosnia, where, through physical isolation, the task of a commander was
13 considerably more difficult. Communications indeed were difficult, but I
14 do know that there were communications between the operational zone
15 headquarters, for instance, in Vitez and I saw myself a communication to
16 Zepce. So there were communications. But as for the ability of the HVO
17 for Colonel Blaskic to physically go to those pockets, no, that wasn't
19 Q. And what does that mean in terms of actual control? If you can't
20 go, does that have an impact?
21 A. Yes, it does over time, I think, because what we observed were
22 alternative -- or individual leaders emerging in those pockets. So, for
23 instance, in Zepce and Zavidovici, we had Perica Jukic and Mr. Ivanovic,
24 who were in command and making all sorts of local arrangements. Indeed,
25 the pocket was difficult for us in the international community to get to
1 ourselves, but I did successfully get there in early September 1993, not
2 quite knowing what to expect in terms of the conditions of the community,
3 and was surprised at how good they were, and discovered that the reason
4 for that was that arrangements had been made with the Serbian community
5 because there was a common front line between Serbian community and the
6 Croatian pocket, and I think for all sorts of interests, ranging from
7 trade, black market, self-preservation, arrangements had been made.
8 So in that area, and Vares was very similar, indeed Kiseljak was
9 the same. All three of those pockets had a common front line with Serb
10 forces and to varying degrees, deals were done. In Vares, we had the
11 Bobovac HVO and we had the mayor, I think was Ante Pejcinovic. I forget
12 exactly his name. Zvonko Duzevic was a guy who we dealt with a lot there,
13 a security officer, but I think his profile was actually higher than that.
14 And the commander there was Kresimir Bozic initially.
15 And on my visiting those people and observing what was going on
16 there, I saw that they were in a position to control movements of people
17 and trade, and so they were in a powerful position. And so yes, on paper,
18 on the organogram, on our little things which we had pinned above our
19 desks on who commanded what, Colonel Blaskic had command, on paper, of
20 those people. But in terms of -- his ability to project that command was
21 frustrated by the physical isolation.
22 I have no doubt that there were times when orders would have been
23 carried out, but if they chose not to because locally it didn't quite suit
24 conditions, there was none of the means which a commander would need to be
25 able to exert his authority, and so that, I think that difficulty would
1 increase and did increase over time as well, as there was a certain
2 confidence of the independent action in those pockets.
3 The same happened in Kiseljak with the command there. We had the
4 Ban Josip Jelacic command, and the commander there was Ivica Rajic, and we
5 also dealt with a liaison officer called Lukic there. And they certainly
6 had interesting relations with the Serbs, and again, when one looks in
7 terms of availability of goods, of what was stocked in shops, you could
8 see that there was trade and they were getting it from somewhere. And
9 that was a different picture in the pocket in Kiseljak and Busovaca, which
10 was one contiguous pocket, where certainly the situation was much harder,
11 much more difficult and not the availability of the goods that I've just
12 described, as we saw in those other pockets.
13 Q. So Vitez and Busovaca was more isolated than these other pockets
14 you've been talking about, which bordered on, at least some of which
15 bordered on Serb-controlled territory?
16 A. Yes, definitely.
17 Q. Let's go, since you're speaking of Kiseljak, we'll go to Kiseljak
18 first and come back to some other areas. Did you obtain any other
19 information while you were serving in the former Yugoslavia to give you a
20 basis to comment more specifically on the Tihomir Blaskic-Ivica Rajic
21 relationship and whether that was a command and control relationship, or
22 at least at times merely a command relationship, without effective control
23 by Tihomir Blaskic over Ivica Rajic?
24 A. I think there was a communications link between the two, because
25 of the physical isolation which I described, the command and control
1 elements, which are important, were not easy to -- were not strong. In
2 terms of links between Blaskic and Rajic, Rajic, on paper, came under his
3 command. There was no doubt about that. The only time that I personally
4 can directly link an incident or activity between the two was over an
5 incident which took place in early October, mid-October, 1993, when a road
6 was blown up. The road was the road between Visoko and Kiseljak. And it
7 was quite a difficult thing to explain at the time, because this road was
8 really only used by the international community, and so it seemed that the
9 target of this action was not army of BiH but the international community.
10 And of course we wanted this addressed. I suppose the international
11 community, we could have filled it in ourselves, but I seem to remember at
12 the time there being certainly a resistance from Rajic to us being able to
13 do that, roadblocks.
14 But specifically, because I was in Central Bosnia, I went to see
15 Colonel Blaskic and demanded to know what was going on and what action was
16 being taken, and I was told that it would -- it would be sorted. Well,
17 several days later it still hadn't been sorted, so I went back to see
18 Colonel Blaskic, and I was told that there were certain difficulties,
19 that -- in getting Rajic to obey the order.
20 Q. Is that -- is it normal for a professional soldier to be, if you
21 will, sort of airing his dirty laundry to a member of the international
22 community and complaining that he's having trouble controlling elements
23 that on paper, at least, are to be -- should be subordinated to him, or
24 was that somewhat unusual?
25 A. It was unusual. In fact, something which I would say would
1 characterise Tihomir Blaskic was that there were times when I would like
2 to have teased out a difference between himself and other commanders, and
3 indeed between himself and some of the political leadership in the area.
4 But he was actually resistant to that, and I very much interpreted that as
5 a responsible professional soldier. You know, if you have undergone
6 training, it is not the role of the soldier to criticise political
7 masters, and I think history is probably littered with examples of people
8 who tried that and got it wrong.
9 So, it was unusual but he certainly did indicate on that occasion
10 he was having difficulty, and he did actually on one other occasion tell
11 me that he was having difficulty, and that was on a completely separate
12 incident, and that was with regards to international community getting
13 access to a village near Vitez, where the water supply to Vitez - it was
14 Kruscica village - the water supply to Vitez was controlled there and
15 Kruscica was a village -- was actually one of those pockets within a
16 pocket. The Muslim community controlled it. And every now and again, the
17 Muslim community would turn off the water and punish the larger Croat
18 population of Vitez, and we of course would need to try and get this
19 resolved. And access to that village was difficult, and on another
20 occasion, I -- he did tell me that he was having difficulty with getting
21 access because Mario Cerkez, the commander of the Vitez Brigade, was being
23 But actually, I must qualify that slightly, because I'm not
24 entirely sure it was Blaskic on that occasion. It may have been one of
25 his staff that told me there was a difficulty. Overall, did Blaskic air
1 his dirty linen in public, as you said earlier? No, he didn't.
2 Q. And I take it you wouldn't have expect him to, given that he
3 conducted himself in a professional manner?
4 A. That's correct. I would not have expected him to do that, and
5 very rarely did he.
6 Q. If we could just finish with Kiseljak before we move on to other
7 topics. Did you learn in the course of your work that Ivica Rajic had a
8 role in the black market in Kiseljak?
9 A. Yes, most definitely. There were -- we were very interested in
10 this trade because of course it affected the balance of military
11 capability or potentially could. If the Serbs were willing to do more
12 than trade in food and we established -- I had a meeting with
13 Filip Filipovic, who was one of the commanders in HVO operational zone. I
14 think he might have been the deputy, but I could stand corrected on that.
15 And he was telling me how much trade was going on and what certain things
16 cost, and it did include cost of ammunition. So there was a lot of trade
17 going on. And it was clear that that trade was controlled by the main
18 leadership in the Kiseljak pocket. Rajic was certainly amongst those. I
19 think also the mayor, whose name escapes me at the moment, may well have
20 been involved. But certainly I saw evidence of the trade, and discussed
21 evidence -- or discussed that trade with senior commanders in the
22 operational zone headquarters.
23 Q. Would that affect command and control relationships, if
24 Ivica Rajic could obtain his own weapons on the black market, earn his own
25 wealth through dealing in liquor, cigarettes, and the like, unlike persons
1 in the Vitez-Busovaca pocket?
2 A. Yes. I think that the control and flow of those goods could make
3 people and did make people extremely wealthy and powerful, and it could be
4 that there were certainly times when the requirements of the operational
5 zone, the military zone headquarters in Vitez, were in accordance with
6 that general activity. But certainly, my belief is that instructions
7 given that may have affected or in any way reduced the effectiveness of
8 that control and command which Rajic had with partners in Kiseljak could
9 be ignored.
10 Q. Do you know whether General Petkovic, the commander one level up
11 from, for example, Colonel Blaskic, did he spend a lot of time in Kiseljak
12 in 1993, from, say, the second half of 1993?
13 A. I can't honestly say how much time he spent there, but certainly,
14 yes, he was there. He was there for a number of reasons. The
15 headquarters of the UN at the time was in Kiseljak, before it moved
16 into -- later into Sarajevo, and there were many discussions held at
17 Kiseljak. And I believe that he did have a facility - I don't know
18 whether I call it a headquarters - but a facility in Kiseljak, yeah.
19 Q. So then if you have three levels of command - A, B, C - here it
20 would be Petkovic, Blaskic, Rajic, but B is isolated in his own pocket and
21 A and C are collocated, at least for significant periods of time in a
22 different pocket, how would that further affect the control relationship
23 between B and C, that is, Blaskic and Rajic?
24 A. I would expect that it would give the opportunity for Petkovic to
25 deal directly with Rajic in terms of which you presented it, A connected
1 to C, without reference to Colonel Blaskic, B, as you put it.
2 Q. If we could come back now to the Vitez pocket. Did you have
3 experiences on the ground which were instructive to you in terms of the
4 degree of control that Colonel Blaskic had over HVO elements inside the
5 Vitez pocket? You mentioned the Kruscica water experience, but are there
6 other experiences such as at checkpoints where you gathered intelligence
7 or other useful information?
8 A. I think I would be probably at the risk of repeating myself, but
9 when, for instance, I wished to get to Zepce, I certainly got the
10 permission, both first of all of Blaskic and then of the Armija, because I
11 was going through their territory, I saw indications of a communication
12 between Zepce, in other words, that Zepce were expecting our arrival. But
13 what was intriguing about this is, of course, the lack of information
14 about the conditions in Zepce. Because on my return, of course, the one
15 thing that Colonel Blaskic knows about is what is the situation like
16 there. Now, we didn't trade intelligence, but certainly in terms of
17 information that was not sensitive, about the humanitarian situation, then
18 we would be happy to discuss that. So --
19 Q. So this is -- sorry to interrupt, but this is a pocket that he
20 commanded on paper but he's asking you what's going on there?
21 A. Yes. In terms of civilian population and, you know, what's the
22 state of affairs there. Sorry. I was going to say that there were always
23 rumours of atrocities, and often quite specific information about a number
24 of people killed in a particular village and we would go and investigate
25 those. And I do remember on my trip to Zepce, there being such a list.
1 But when we get to the other end and when we discuss it, we find the
2 situation is different and it's often, nearly always the case that we were
3 unable to verify particular atrocities and that things had certainly
4 happened, but had got exaggerated. Now, that's again an indication of
5 being asked to find out about information. Well, if he had the ability to
6 move to that area and to see for himself, then he would have had a more
7 complete picture.
8 Q. Although in a military command, the commander is supposed to get
9 reports from the field. Are you saying the mere ability to get reports
10 and issue commands is not enough to have effective control?
11 A. It's not enough to have effective command and control. And I'm
12 not sure, I was never privileged to any signal intelligence how good the
13 communications were. I simply can say I saw communications between those
14 headquarters. There would be no land line, so this would have been a
15 satellite fax or whatever communication. So, yeah, communications there,
16 but even the communications would be difficult. So if I was the commander
17 in that situation, I would not feel that I had complete command and
18 control, even if I was able to communicate with them.
19 Q. Returning again, if we could, to the Vitez pocket. Was there an
20 attempt to evacuate wounded from the Travnik hospital at some point?
21 A. Yes. I was personally involved in several attempts to evacuate
22 hospitals. Travnik is one example, Nova Bila another, and later in
23 Mostar. In the case of Travnik, which you ask, when I got into Central
24 Bosnia in late May/early June 1993, we were still in a position where we
25 were hoping to avoid conflict between the Croat and Armija forces. We had
1 a joint command which the international community brokered and the ECMM
2 was very much involved with, which on paper anyway, this joint command
3 existed in Travnik, and I was involved in -- actually physically based in
4 Travnik myself and moved my headquarters there, as part of a
5 confidence-building statement, which proved to be somewhat futile because
6 only a matter of days after locating there, the conflict between the two,
7 the Croats and Muslims, broke out in earnest and the HVO were -- withdrew,
8 defeated, driven out of Travnik. That was complicated in itself, and if
9 necessary, I could explain the differences I hint at there.
10 But the result was casualties, and the Travnik hospital we visited
11 because not just if I'm brutally honest, the humanitarian situation, but
12 it was an indication of how fierce fighting was, the number of casualties
13 is a clear indicator. And so I went to try and see what the situation was
14 like, and I saw something there which I saw again in other areas,
15 which -- very difficult circumstances, very overcrowded, people with
16 pretty horrific wounds, people stacked in corridors on trolleys, something
17 you don't want to see.
18 I decided it would be a good idea to try and evacuate this
19 hospital. It was actually a hospital that had -- it had Croats, women,
20 children, Muslims. So I could see an opportunity, rather callously,
21 perhaps, to try and negotiate something. ICRC were particularly nervous
22 about this, as were UNPROFOR. Their mandates were being stretched. There
23 was fighting. Where were they going to be taken to, the casualties, the
24 ICRC would never move people if they were going to go into an area that
25 was still in fighting, and in the case of the Croats, the plan was that we
1 would take the Croat casualties to Nova Bila and that we would take the
2 Muslim casualties to Travnik.
3 UNPROFOR's mandate was quite restricted. They were very, very
4 concerned at the time about what they called mission creep, which was
5 being asked to do things beyond the mandate. So it was left to
6 organisations such as ourselves which had a degree of flexibility, had a
7 degree of independence and a most astonishingly wide open memoranda of
8 understanding which allowed us to do all sorts of things, to organise
9 something. So I got the agreement of military commanders on the Armija
10 side. I believe that it was Alagic and I think Merdan, rather than
11 Hadzihasanovic, and on the Croat side, it was Nakic and Blaskic,
12 Franjo Nakic and Blaskic. And the agreement was we could do this, but --
13 so I went to the UN. The UN said they would provide a military presence
14 on the route. I got into Travnik. I explained to the doctors what we
15 were going to do. They organised transport and ambulances. I think one
16 ambulance, the rest cars and stuff.
17 And I ensured that while they chose the worst -- that it must
18 include, I stated, women and children, elements of Croats -- because it
19 was a convoy which needed to contain -- I know this sounds terribly
20 callous, but it needed to contain both communities in order to be
22 So once loaded, we left Travnik, travelling south down the
23 Lasva Valley towards our first destination, which was to be Nova Bila.
24 And we got to a point known as Dolac, the Dolac checkpoint. The Dolac
25 checkpoint was an important checkpoint, and it was just behind what was a
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 relatively, at that stage, fluid front line, and it was controlled by the
2 HVO. It was important because it was at a junction of a road which went
3 from that main Vitez-Travnik road north across a sort of back route to
4 Zenica, through villages like Guca Gora, Brajkovici, Pranjkovici, Maline.
5 If you have a map I could show you. But it's an important checkpoint,
6 because who controlled that, controlled access to Zenica. And at that
7 checkpoint, as I drove leading this convoy, there was a very excited
8 reception from HVO soldiers who were well armed, right in the middle of
9 the road, a guy with a rocket-propelled grenade pointing directly at my
10 vehicle, and a physical checkpoint, a little box off to the right-hand
11 side. There were soldiers in there, soldiers taking up firing positions
12 and obviously preventing my continued safe passage.
13 So at that point I got out and went through what was almost a
14 daily activity in Bosnia, negotiating your way through checkpoints. And
15 this was different because we could hear firing. I say it was behind a
16 relatively fluid front line. And these guys see us coming out of the
17 territory controlled by the Armija and they were very excited. So I --
18 Q. What happened? We have about 15 more minutes to finish your
19 testimony, so if we could focus in on what happened at the checkpoint.
20 A. Yeah. Okay. At the checkpoint, I was stopped, and they -- I said
21 that I had permission to do this, I had permission of the senior Croat
22 commanders, and that I had the permission of Colonel Blaskic. And the
23 response was: "We do not report or take orders from Colonel Blaskic."
24 What happened then is the leader of this group said he was going to ask
25 his commander. I didn't ask who his commander was, but he was going to
1 ask his commander what to do. So he departed. I tried in that period to
2 negotiate with the others to get through. They wouldn't let me through.
3 He returned after an hour, hour and a half, on an extremely hot day.
4 Conditions in the vehicles were appalling, and he got out and he said:
5 "Okay. We will let the Croats through. I want you to separate the
6 Croats from the others." I said that was not possible. Clearly,
7 separation would have been impossible and wrong.
8 So I said I couldn't do that, but I appealed to him on
9 humanitarian grounds. At that point, he cocked his weapon, aimed it
10 directly at me, and in a gesture of okay, "we've gone as far as we can,
11 I'm going to get in the car, turn the convoy around, and I'm going to go
12 back," and that's what we did.
13 Q. So are you comfortable representing to the Court this is an
14 instance where Colonel Blaskic's orders that this humanitarian convoy be
15 allowed to passed, his orders were not followed?
16 A. His orders were not followed and I was told by that checkpoint
17 that they did not take orders from Colonel Blaskic.
18 Q. And how far was this from the Hotel Vitez, Colonel Blaskic's
20 A. In terms of how long it would take to get there, I guess 15, 20
22 Q. You mentioned Franjo Nakic. Was he the deputy? Was he
23 Colonel Blaskic's deputy or another high-ranking officer?
24 A. He was certainly a high-ranking officer within the operational
25 zone. I forget whether he was deputy or chief of staff. It was either
1 Filip Filipovic who was deputy or Franjo Nakic who was deputy.
2 Q. Was -- sorry. Had Nakic been a -- did he have professional
3 military training; do you know?
4 A. Nakic, no. He was a nice guy in military uniform but I believe he
5 had actually run a factory, a clothing factory, I think. Filipovic was
7 Q. In the Vitez area, were there units that you recognised as special
8 units on the part of the HVO?
9 A. In the Vitez-Busovaca pocket, yes, there were.
10 Q. What is a special unit?
11 A. Well, it was a unit to us that had a coherence and an identity
12 which was somewhat different to the HVO soldier one would come across at
13 checkpoints. And by coherence, I mean all wearing the same uniform, well
14 equipped, often equipped with the same weaponry. In the case of the
15 Vitez-Busovaca pocket, there were -- there was one group in particular
16 that were based off the main road. In Busovaca, in something which was
17 known to us as the Swiss chalet. It was a restaurant or hotel or
18 something like that. And there was a unit there which we knew as the
19 Jokers, who were one such special unit.
20 Q. And did you obtain any information during your tour of duty that
21 would give you any insights into the command and control over this unit,
22 the Jokers unit?
23 A. The Jokers unit were, we believed, a unit who reported to
24 Dario Kordic. I did meet the leader of the Jokers, Furundija [phoen],
25 Anton. I forget exactly his name.
1 Q. Was it Furundzija?
2 A. Yeah, that's it, Furundzija. But in fact, my information about
3 these Jokers were really got from a number of sources, and those sources
4 would be what UNPROFOR's view were of them, quite critically and quite
5 importantly what the local staff who worked with us, interpreters,
6 drivers, thought, and also crucially what information we got when we spoke
7 to the Armija BiH officers. And from that triangulation of information,
8 it was my understanding that those special units reported to Kordic.
9 Q. Was your view an outlier view or was your view on this very
10 important subject commonly held among the ECMM monitors and professional
12 A. I would describe it as conventional wisdom that those were
13 reporting to Kordic.
14 Q. Did you gain insights during your work as to the relationship
15 between Tihomir Blaskic and Dario Kordic?
16 A. Yes, I did. These were the two main Croat individuals who we
17 dealt with. Kordic could be characterised as primarily dealing with
18 political issues, although he somewhat clouded that by sometimes
19 presenting himself indeed as a colonel and being seen in uniform. But in
20 the case of Blaskic, he was the professional soldier and distanced himself
21 from the political affairs. I think I gave an example earlier on of the
22 Vance-Owen Plan, when he said I should speak to those in charge of
23 political activity.
24 Q. Did you gain any information from any sources with respect to
25 whether there were disagreements between these two men, that is, whether
1 Colonel Blaskic necessarily shared political views held by Dario Kordic?
2 A. I think that Colonel Blaskic was always very sort of discreet, as
3 I say, and to me that was a mark of his professionalism. But to us, there
4 was a gap, and we wanted to find out about this gap, and so we would take
5 the chance while we were waiting to see the more senior people, such as
6 Anto Valenta and the colonel himself, to talk to the other staff.
7 Darko Gelic, in particular, the liaison officer at the headquarters spoke
8 good English, was perhaps less discreet and I believe without meaning to
9 gave us information. And he would -- he certainly gave me the absolute
10 impression that they considered the presence, the physical presence of
11 Anto Valenta in that headquarters as something that was uncomfortable, and
12 they had quite a sort of disparaging view of Valenta in that he would
13 sometimes be indicated to be off the wall. I do remember Darko Gelic
14 laughing and smiling when I asked about some of the views of Anto Valenta.
15 He tapped his head. So from the staff one got the feeling that there
16 was a tolerance, but an awkwardness between the physical proximity of the
17 political voice in terms of Valenta in the headquarters and Blaskic. And
18 there were times when I needed to do things which I needed Blaskic's
19 permission, for instance, to get into Stari Vitez. And on one occasion
20 when I wanted to do that, it was to actually take a Muslim doctor that was
21 much needed in Stari Vitez, and I went to Blaskic to say: "Look, I'm
22 taking a doctor through and I don't want there to be any incidents. And I
23 need a clear run." And he said that he would need to discuss, and I would
24 need to come back before I could do that. In fact, I did go back the next
25 day, the day after, and did get access, but he had indicated to me that he
1 was referring to someone, because this seemed sensitive. And I assumed,
2 though I did not ask him, that that was the political leadership, either
3 Kordic or Valenta.
4 I think probably you asked about the relationship between Kordic
5 and Blaskic. I think that it was probably the communication with Blaskic
6 rather than Valenta, because Valenta was something of a figure of fun in
7 that headquarters, although one should take seriously in other ways.
8 Q. There's an issue in this case whether the use of certain military
9 tactics are sufficiently unique to constitute a signature or a pattern
10 from which certain inferences can be drawn, and namely the pattern is the
11 beginning of an attack, an artillery attack followed by an infantry
12 offensive. Is that a distinctive pattern, or a signature type of pattern
13 of events?
14 A. It's a straightforward military technique. I mean, if one is
15 engaged in combat, you use whatever resources you have in your command to
16 bring to bear firepower, and a way to firepower. And so I -- I mean,
17 here, if you're asking if -- one moment. Can I just read? Artillery
18 attack followed by infantry offensive is standard, would be taught in any
19 military academy that you bring whatever firepower you have and artillery
20 is a weapon that is used, is an area weapon, that is, it's not a precise
21 weapon. It is used to cause confusion and one would soften up a target
22 prior to infantry attack. It's a standard military practice. It would
23 not mean that because of seeing that combination you could say: "Ah, this
24 is the obvious work of a particular commander." It's what every second
25 lieutenant at Sandhurst would be taught on day five.
1 Q. One other question about a military term and then I'll wrap up.
2 Are you familiar with the term "mop-up"?
3 A. Mop-up, yes, I am.
4 Q. What is it?
5 A. It's after intense activity, one can go from -- there's levels of
6 intensity of activity, and so after maybe an attack, there would be
7 pockets that one could in a military have left because they were
8 particularly difficult, so one bypasses. And then having won the main
9 objective, you would go back and sort out, either surrender or destroy the
10 enemy, and that action after the main event, when the intensity is reduced
11 to a low intensity activity, that mopping up is the complete control that
12 you wish to have over your territory and the clearing of enemy forces.
13 Q. Is it a standard military term?
14 A. Absolutely, yeah.
15 Q. Is there any connotation in the use of that term that would
16 suggest harm to civilians or ethnic cleansing or something of the like?
17 A. No, although seeing it on the screen and hearing it, as you say,
18 of course it's what I would call in England an insensitive, politically
19 incorrect thing, but it is standard military terminology. Anyone in the
20 military would understand this.
21 Q. Now just in closing I would like you to go back to the 1990s. Do
22 you remember when you were first interviewed by the Prosecutor's office or
23 their representatives?
24 A. Yes. The first time I ever came across ICTY was actually when I
25 was still head of the regional centre in Bosnia when there was a visit,
1 but in terms of interviewing me for my experiences, the first formal one
2 was in the United Kingdom, and it would have been somewhere in 1996, 1997,
3 when investigators came to England and for a couple of days interviewed
5 Q. Did they tell you what case they were preparing for?
6 A. They told me that they were dealing with Croat issues. They told
7 me that they wanted to discuss in broad terms my understanding and
8 experiences and recollections. But at that stage, I -- I mean, one can
9 guess, if we're talking about Central Bosnia and we're talking about
10 Croats, that we're talking about the key people. But no, not specifically
11 that I was giving evidence on one case or another.
12 Q. But you're aware that Colonel Blaskic's trial began in 1997, or
14 A. Yeah, thereabouts. I know that Colonel Blaskic volunteered, as I
15 understand it, and got on a plane and was one of the first to come here.
16 The exact date I simply cannot recall.
17 Q. Do you know whether any of the investigators who interviewed you
18 in the 1996, 1997 time frame, are they still around? Are they still
19 working for the Prosecutor's office?
20 MR. SCOTT: I'm going to pose an objection at this point. I don't
21 see the relevance of this for any purpose, but certainly not on appeal.
22 MR. HAYMAN: The relevance, Your Honours, is this witness told the
23 Prosecutor's office in '96, in substance what he's told Your Honours
24 today. The Prosecutor's office suppressed that information from the
25 Blaskic Defence. They used it in the Kordic trial, continued to suppress
1 it, and to this day they will not produce the statement that they took
2 from this man in 1996. They won't give him a copy and they won't produce
3 it to us, and that needs to be part of the record here.
4 MR. FARRELL: If I may respond to this. That's completely
5 inaccurate. This witness was contacted and asked whether he wanted his
6 statement. We had dealt with this matter, and the fact that the claim is
7 that we wouldn't give a copy to this witness is, as I understand it,
8 incorrect. I can certainly clarify that and get back to you; if I am
9 incorrect I'll inform you. My understanding is this witness was
10 contacted. If Mr. Hayman would like to make some legal arguments on
11 issues related to Rule 68, the material is on the record and he's
12 certainly able to do so. I don't know whether he should be doing it
13 through a witness. Thank you.
14 MR. HAYMAN: Let's ask the witness, Your Honour. Let's ask him.
15 Did he give a statement? Did he sign a statement, ask for a copy? Has he
16 consistently been denied a copy?
17 THE WITNESS: May I?
18 JUDGE POCAR: Okay. This question you can put.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: I was asked to make a signed statement. I did make
21 a signed statement. It was printed off in front of me. I asked for a
22 copy. I was not given a copy. I did see that copy again in preparation
23 for the Kordic trial, when I was shown it by Mr. Geoffrey Nice, when he
24 interviewed me in London, and he asked me if there was anything in that
25 statement that I substantially disagreed with, and there was nothing. I
1 said no. That statement is true. But I certainly asked for a copy and I
2 was not given a copy.
3 MR. HAYMAN:
4 Q. Over how many days were you interviewed by the Prosecutor's office
5 in the 1996, 1997 time period? You've testified today for a little less
6 than one hour. How long was your interview with the Prosecutor?
7 A. It was certainly two days, possibly three.
8 Q. Did you cover in that interview in substance what you've discussed
9 here today, but in much more detail?
10 A. Yes.
11 [Defence counsel confer]
12 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, that concludes our direct examination.
13 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you, Mr. Hayman.
14 May I now turn to the Prosecution.
15 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, out of abundant caution, may we go to
16 private session for a moment on a procedural matter, please.
17 JUDGE POCAR: Okay. Let's go into closed session.
18 [Private session]
12 Page 302 redacted, private session
12 Page 303 redacted, private session
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE POCAR: Now, since we are in open session, there is another
10 matter I would like to address. The Bench met over the break and decided
11 that, on the basis of what we learnt during the examination-in-chief, the
12 Prosecution be requested to produce the document -- the statement of the
13 witness Watkins, that would be under Rule 98 of the Rules. I would
14 request that it be produced at the end of the cross-examination, before
16 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. We'd be happy to do so.
17 JUDGE POCAR: Now, Mr. Scott, you can proceed with the
19 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Scott:
21 Q. Sir, if I -- good morning.
22 A. Good morning.
23 Q. If I understand your prior testimony correctly, you
24 consider -- you considered at the time and would still consider that
25 Dario Kordic was, on the HVO side, the top political leader in Central
1 Bosnia who had a great deal of influence on the course of events in that
2 area; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct, and Anto Valenta was the other senior member of
4 the political community there, also, I understand, a vice-president of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. So, on paper, similar status, but
6 Kordic was, in my mind, the key person.
7 Q. In your dealings with Mr. Kordic, sir, as you described to the
8 Chamber earlier, would you describe Mr. Kordic, if you will, as a
9 big-picture thinker?
10 A. Yes. When I met Mr. Kordic, I would speak about a range of
11 activity, some military, some political. He called himself a colonel, but
12 it was clear that he was uncomfortable with detail that -- of discussions
13 on military terms and wanted to talk more about some big ideas.
14 Q. In that respect, sir, would it be fair to say that in the course
15 of any meetings or discussions you had with Mr. Kordic, he never displayed
16 to you a detailed knowledge of military matters or military planning?
17 A. I think he felt uncomfortable certainly in discussions with me. I
18 had a military training, and I was able on a number of occasions, one in
19 particular about a shelling of Zenica, to give him detail to demonstrate
20 my own knowledge of military activity, and I think he felt a little bit
21 uncomfortable. He presented himself as a colonel, but he wasn't a
22 military-trained individual.
23 Q. If you, as a trained, professional military officer, wanted to
24 engage in discussion about military matters, who would you go to?
25 Colonel Blaskic or Mr. Kordic?
1 A. Colonel Blaskic.
2 Q. But would you also agree, sir, that Mr. Kordic had a great deal of
3 influence and essentially, if you will, in fact, control over Mr. or
4 Colonel Blaskic?
5 A. The relationship between the two of them was, of course,
6 interesting. Control over him, I do believe that ultimately, yes, there
7 was, as the senior political person there, he would be able to influence,
8 instruct, Colonel Blaskic.
9 Q. And do you recall, sir, when you were in the field at the time, on
10 the 28th of August, 1993, in one of your reports, your daily summary, you
11 said that: "Dario Kordic is the key HDZ political figure in Central
12 Bosnia and has long been suspected of controlling the HVO. It is assessed
13 that his influence over Blaskic is significant, if not total."
14 A. If you'll read it directly from that report, that roughly chimes,
15 but I haven't seen it to confirm. But yes, I would stand by that.
16 Q. Were you familiar with the fact that Mr. Kordic and
17 Colonel Blaskic held a weekly press briefing together?
18 A. Yes, I didn't know it was weekly. They certainly had press
19 briefings. But I actually never in my time there saw them together.
20 Q. Isn't it correct, sir, that Kordic and Blaskic, during this time
21 worked very closely together and some might even say they were two sides
22 of the same coin?
23 A. I can understand why you would say that, two sides of the same
24 coin, I mean. Certainly they were the key leaders of the Croat community.
25 There was no doubt. But I think it would be a flawed thesis to see them
1 as motivated in the same way.
2 Q. Well, you gave some indication that there was a widely shared
3 views in the international community on the ground at the time that the
4 two of them are about concerning Mr. or Colonel Blaskic and about his
5 professionalism, but, sir, wasn't it also the view of many in that
6 community that, in fact, as one British reported -- reported in one
7 British battalion daily report, they were two bodies, one brain?
8 A. I can imagine that the author of that sentence was probably quite
9 pleased with himself, because it has a certain sort of -- it explains it
10 succinctly as he saw it, and I guess also there's a slightly condescending
11 tone in there as well. It's not the way that I would describe it. I
12 think it's a little bit superficial.
13 Q. You arrived in Central Bosnia, or the Lasva Valley, in particular,
14 in about May, at the end of May or early June 1993; is that correct?
15 A. No. I was in Central Bosnia in February, because Gornji Vakuf was
16 my base, and that was Central Bosnia. In terms of me becoming head of
17 regional centre and working in the Vitez-Busovaca-Lasva Valley area,
18 you're correct; it was end of May 1993.
19 Q. So the Chamber should understand that your observations and
20 assessments about what was happening in the Lasva Valley are primarily
21 focussed on the time from the beginning of June 1993 until approximately
22 mid-October, when you went to Mostar; is that correct?
23 A. Yeah. Late May/early June. But that is correct.
24 Q. Your testimony in the Kordic case, and today, about certain
25 enclaves developing, that testimony focussed primarily on Zepce and Vares,
1 did it not?
2 A. Well, I think I mentioned Sarajevo, and also Kiseljak. But yeah,
3 I guess the emphasis and weight probably was I spoke more about Zepce,
4 Zavidovici, and Vares.
5 Q. And when you responded to a question from counsel that whether in
6 fact the Busovaca-Vitez enclave was somehow even more cut off, you didn't
7 mean more cut off from the other parts of the Bosnian Croat community, did
8 you? Because weren't Vares and Zepce in fact substantially more cut off
9 in that respect than Busovaca and Vitez?
10 A. There was a difference in scale, but no, actually, there was
11 easier movement for the Croat community from the pockets of Vares, Zepce,
12 and Kiseljak than there was from the pocket of Vitez and Busovaca.
13 Q. And if I understand your view on that, it's because there was a
14 fair amount of deal-making with the Serb side, which allowed Bosnian
15 Croats to travel through otherwise Serb-controlled areas; is that correct?
16 A. That is correct. And a good example of that would be movements of
17 population that came into Herzegovina through the Stolac checkpoint down
18 near Mostar, and to the north, at Celebici, which is up near -- north of
19 Tomislavgrad, north-west of Tomislavgrad. So there was movement through
20 the Serb territory.
21 Q. In fact, sir, this was not -- these sorts of deals with the Serbs
22 if you will were not limited to people like Mr. Rajic or Vares or Zepce
23 but were conducted at the highest levels of the Bosnian Croat leadership,
24 correct, including for instance at the level of Mr. Petkovic?
25 A. Yes. I understand so. But I think it's important to point out
1 that there was no front line between the Vitez-Busovaca pocket and
2 the Croat -- and the Serb community. So in order for someone to move from
3 the Vitez-Busovaca pocket, they would have to have gone through Armija BiH
4 held territory and that is substantially different from the situation in
5 Zepce, Vares, and Kiseljak.
6 Q. Sir would you agree with me as a professional soldier or at least
7 formerly so that a criminal order can be given just as much on a telephone
8 as it can in a face-to-face conversation?
9 A. I guess that would be right, yeah.
10 Q. You would agree with me, would you not, that if a senior commander
11 were to order his subordinates on the telephone to use captured prisoners
12 to dig fortifications or dig trenches, I think was commonly how it's
13 described, in dangerous combat conditions, that would be an illegal order,
14 whether or not it was stated on the telephone or face to face; correct?
15 A. Correct. If you could prove that it had actually been spoken on
16 the telephone or spoken face to face. But yeah, that would be an illegal
18 Q. And an order to conceal a crime, a crime that had already been
19 committed, but an order to conceal a crime that was accomplished by
20 telephone would equally be just as bad as one communicated in person;
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And would you agree with me that in connection with a senior
24 commander, he might receive -- he or she might receive information by fax
25 or by telephone or whatever means sufficiently such that it would put him
1 on notice, if you will, on duty to inquire about the existence or possible
2 happening of crimes in areas under his responsibility; is that correct?
3 A. Certainly there could be communications, as you've described, and
4 I don't disagree with what you said there, yeah.
5 Q. Concerning Kiseljak, it's correct, is it not, sir, that while it
6 may or may not, but for arguments's sake, while it may have been cut off
7 physically for a time from the Vitez-Busovaca area, there were still a
8 number of communications available, including what was called packet
9 communications, faxes, telephones, and the like; is that correct?
10 A. I would say there was no argument that it was physically cut off.
11 It was physically cut off. In terms of communication, I'm not sure about
12 the land line, because certainly I do not remember us being able to make
13 calls ourselves. And we're back, I think, to this issue which I was asked
14 about earlier of communications, sure. Does that mean that the
15 communications can then be translated into command and control at the
16 other end? That's a different matter.
17 Q. Well, if the witness could please be provided a binder of exhibits
18 to be used with the witness. It should have been -- I'm sorry. If the
19 usher could assist me. And I believe, Mr. President, a set of exhibits
20 were prepared and distributed to the Chamber.
21 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Scott, what kind of documents are in the
23 MR. SCOTT: These are all previously admitted documents,
24 Mr. President, and it's just simply, rather than have the usher hand him
25 one document at a time, this is simply to facilitate. Our time is very
2 Q. Sir, I'd like to direct your attention, please, and the
3 courtroom's attention, to tab 19 of the binders, or otherwise Exhibit
4 PA15. You said in direct examination, sir, that Blaskic respected the
5 international community and gave access to them. Were you aware, sir,
6 that on the 18th of April, 1993, Colonel Blaskic issued an order to block
7 UN peacekeeping forces from entering certain areas, and in fact,
8 authorised HVO forces to fire on UN vehicles and forces?
9 A. I wasn't aware of this. I'm not entirely surprised. Certainly,
10 there were times when access for all international communities was
11 difficult. Sometimes it would be a selected international community
12 organisation. But by and large, and over a period of time, my assessment
13 is that I was, through direct contact, with Blaskic able to gain access to
14 the most difficult places which were in his control.
15 Q. Sir, have you seen this order before? Have you specifically seen
16 this order before where Colonel Blaskic ordered HVO forces to block UN
17 access to certain areas, in mid-April, while the events in the
18 Lasva Valley were occurring?
19 A. I have seen this order yesterday, when I spoke with the Defence
20 counsel, but I was not aware of it before that.
21 Q. Can you ask you, please, to direct your attention to tab 29 of
22 that same binder, Exhibit PA51. This is an order by Colonel Blaskic to
23 the Ban Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak on the 22nd of April, 1993, where he
24 instructs that HVO unit to implement tasks couched as response to
25 provocations and tells them, orders them: Always justify my orders as
1 response to provocations from the other side.
2 Have you seen that order before today?
3 A. No, I've not seen this order. Can I just take a moment to read
5 Q. Of course.
6 A. I've read it.
7 Q. Can you ask you to turn to tab 32, Exhibit PA52. It's another
8 order by Colonel Blaskic to, again, the Ban Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak.
9 This supposedly cut off Kiseljak. In which Colonel Blaskic says: "Do not
10 allow the representatives of ICRC, the International Committee of the Red
11 Cross, to visit facilities other than official detentions, and do not
12 admit that there are any other detainees anywhere else."
13 Have you seen that order before today?
14 A. Yes, I have seen this one. I saw this one yesterday as well.
15 Q. And could you please direct your attention to tab 33, the next
16 document, Exhibit PA56. Again, an order to -- by Colonel Blaskic to the
17 Ban Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak, the 22nd of May, 1993. I won't read it
18 verbatim. Everyone has it in front of them. But basically, saying: In
19 connection with a detainee who had been killed while digging trenches, be
20 careful about how that information is reported, because if UNPROFOR, the
21 ECMM, and others obtain this information, they will blame the HVO for
22 improper treatment.
23 Were you ever aware that Colonel Blaskic issued orders to block
24 international community members from visiting detention facilities and
25 from reporting the fact that there had been mistreatment of prisoners held
1 by the HVO?
2 A. I'm not sure I'm seeing the same document as you.
3 Q. It's tab -- I've just been told -- my apologies to the witness and
4 the Chamber. I've just been told it's tab 35.
5 A. I saw this document yesterday as well for the first time. Sorry.
6 You'll have to ask your question again or I'll have to read it.
7 Q. My question is simply this, after look at those four documents:
8 Isn't it fair, sir, that at the time you were on the ground in Central
9 Bosnia, that you had, as active as I'm sure you were on the ground, you
10 nonetheless had the view of an outsider looking in; is that correct?
11 A. Well, yes, of course I was not a member of any of the ethnic
12 groups there, but I was a very informed outsider looking in. I was there,
13 I believe, probably for longer than any other international monitor,
14 although there may be one or two others. I could stand corrected on that.
15 But a long time and so it was a very informed position. But sure, an
17 Q. Sir, you were a very informed person who had never seen any of
18 these four orders before; correct?
19 A. I hadn't seen these communications, that's true.
20 Q. And in fact you never sat in on any internal HVO military planning
21 sessions; is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. You never sat on any meetings where Dario Kordic and
24 Colonel Blaskic discussed military matters and planned military strategy;
25 is that correct?
1 A. I never saw those --
2 MR. HAYMAN: Assumes a fact not in evidence, Your Honours.
3 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, the evidence is all over the record.
4 That's what this case is about.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Where? Let's have an example. Let's have evidence
6 of a meetings where internal military strategy was planned by
7 Colonel Blaskic and Dario Kordic. If counsel is so sure of it, let's see
9 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, it goes directly to the issue about
10 meetings that have been all over the face of these pleadings.
11 MR. HAYMAN: One example. Give us one example, Your Honours.
12 That's what I ask for. Otherwise it's blunderbuss.
13 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Scott, can you make a precise reference?
14 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I'm not going to take the limited time
15 I have to do that, and I guess Mr. Farrell, when he addresses the Chamber
16 next week, there will be many references in the record to that. It goes
17 to the witness's knowledge, in any event.
18 Q. The point of the question is, sir, you were not privy, if you
19 will, to internal HVO decision-making; is that correct?
20 A. No. I was, of course, at various meetings where we discussed with
21 HVO about how they would respond or react, and indeed negotiations, but I
22 was never on any occasion privy to sit at the back of my meeting between
23 Blaskic and his HVO commanders discussing particular operational orders,
25 Q. You said that Blaskic was not particularly involved in political
1 matters, sir, but I'd like to direct your attention and ask the usher's
2 assistance to put on the ELMO Exhibit 456/109. Mr. President, this is a
3 document not in the binder, one the relevance of which developed during
4 the course of direct examination, but it has been previously admitted. I
5 can give the Chamber -- the usher my copy, if you wish. Trial
6 Exhibit -- admitted trial Exhibit 456/109.
7 Sir, this is a record of the meeting of the local HVO-HDZ
8 leadership in the Busovaca-Vitez area on the 22nd of September, 1992. The
9 Chamber can and you can scan the participants and the content of the
10 document, which I submit to you, sir, I put to you, is highly political.
11 And if you look at the members of the working presidency, the working
12 presidency is Dario Kordic, Anto Valenta, Tihomir Blaskic, and
13 Ignac Kostroman; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct, yeah.
15 Q. Did you attend that meeting?
16 A. 22nd of September, 1992, no. I was in the British armed forces in
18 MR. SCOTT: Can I ask the usher's assistance, please, to put on
19 the ELMO again admitted trial Exhibit 456/112. You mentioned,
20 Colonel Blaskic's desire not to become involved in discussions of the
21 Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
22 Q. Did you know of a senior ECMM representative or official named
24 A. Jean-Pierre Thebault was the head of the regional centre in Zenica
25 when I was the head of coordination centre in Travnik. We worked closely
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 together on Vance-Owen Plan. Yes, I know him.
2 Q. Sir, if you would just scan that document briefly, please, in the
3 interests of time. Is that not in fact a letter from Colonel Blaskic
4 talking about the implementation of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
5 A. It seems to me to be discussing the -- or directed to the
6 commander of 3rd Corps, another military commander, about emerging
7 consequences. And as the senior military commander in Central Bosnia, it
8 seems that he's using Jean-Pierre Thebault as a route to that other
9 command. I see nothing particularly interesting about this document.
10 [Appeals Chamber confers]
11 MR. SCOTT: With the usher's assistance. Yes, Judge Schomburg. I
12 apologise. If the usher could assist us to move the document down, and
13 you could see the dates of that document and the addressee. The 26th of
14 May, 1993, to the ECMM, Mr. Thebault.
15 Q. And I take it you had not seen that document before today?
16 A. No, I haven't seen that document.
17 Q. Sir, you said at one point that the isolation of certain areas in
18 enclaves or being cut off would have an effect over time on the way that
19 activities were conducted in that so-called enclave. The Kiseljak area
20 was not in fact cut off until sometime during the second half of April
21 1993, after the HVO attacks in that area; is that correct?
22 A. I'm not sure the exact time that that -- those pockets were
23 separated. I would have to see a document to see some sort of reference
24 to the date. I really don't know. It's certainly, by the time I got into
25 the Lasva Valley, was a distinct Vitez-Busovaca pocket and separate
2 Q. But you had said -- the point of your testimony, what you had
3 stayed, sir, was this would have -- as time went by, as the isolation
4 continued over time, there might be effects on the way business, if you
5 will, was conducted. But in fact as of the middle of April 1993, there
6 had been no enclave. Kiseljak had immediate communication approximately
7 42 kilometres away from Vitez and Busovaca; correct?
8 A. I'm uncomfortable about directly answering that without knowing or
9 seeing reference to when that pocket was cut, because that would guide my
10 answer. I don't know whether that's possible.
11 Q. Sir, you talked about the ability to enforce command and exercise
12 discipline. Did you ever know that in the course of your work in Bosnia
13 of HVO officers being dismissed or discharged as a disciplinary matter for
14 war crimes or misconduct that had occurred?
15 A. For misconduct, yes. Actually, to be absolutely -- I'm not sure
16 that they were finally dismissed, but we had a couple of incidents which
17 involved transfers of individuals from Vitez to Travnik, and on one
18 occasion it all went rather horribly wrong and my monitors were -- they
19 were opened fire upon. Luckily, no casualties, but as a result of that, I
20 made a direct and strong complaint to Blaskic and actually received a
21 written reply explaining the situation, explaining that military action
22 would be taken. But I can't say that I followed it right through to see
23 what happened to those individuals.
24 Q. Do you know of any instance, sir, can you tell these Judges of any
25 instance in which Colonel Blaskic, to your knowledge, exercised military
1 discipline over an HVO member for misconduct or commission of war crimes?
2 A. Only the intention to do so, not the final outcome.
3 Q. You mean his stated-to-you intention?
4 A. Stated intention to me. I don't know whether it helps at all, but
5 also during the period that I was in Vitez, there was a change of military
6 commander or actually leadership of the military police, from Ljubicic to
7 another guy, Marinko, I think his name was, and I was interested in that.
8 I'm not sure why that happened, but there were rumours that there had been
9 disagreements and there was an order from on high that that leadership
10 should change.
11 Q. All right. Going to specifically Colonel Blaskic's control or
12 dealings with this Ivica Rajic in Kiseljak. If I understand your prior
13 testimony in the Kordic case and your testimony today - and correct me,
14 sir, if I'm wrong - the only specific incident, the only specific item
15 that you based that on, is an episode where Colonel Blaskic had ordered a
16 road to be repaired and it wasn't repaired as quickly as one might have
17 liked. Is that the only thing we're talking about here?
18 A. No. Actually, there's one other, and that is, of course, -- not
19 of course, but it is the involvement of Ivica Rajic in the Stupni Do
20 massacre, which happened just after my move from Central Bosnia down to
21 Mostar. And it's -- after ECMM inquiries, it became clear that
22 Ivica Rajic had been involved in that at Vares [phoen], and I do not
23 believe that there was any suggestion or connection that that action had
24 resulted from a direct command from Blaskic. There was certainly no
25 evidence of that.
1 Q. Nor was there any indication, was there, that Colonel Blaskic took
2 any effect or action to discipline or remove Mr. Rajic; is that correct?
3 A. I'm not aware of that action, no.
4 Q. Do you know that Mr. Rajic in fact, contrary to what was told to
5 the international community at the time, assumed another name and
6 continued in the same chain of command, under Colonel Blaskic, after the
7 international community had been told that he had been removed?
8 A. I did know that he changed his name, and I think it was to
9 something like Viktor Andric or something like that. But with regards to
10 the ability of the commander, we keep coming back to this. He may send
11 signals, but there was no way in which, if a signal had been sent about
12 his dismissal, that Blaskic would actually be able to enforce that
13 himself, but he could of course refer to Petkovic who might have physical
14 proximity and been able to enable that.
15 Q. Sir, did he try, did he make an effort to remove Rajic?
16 A. Not that I personally know of.
17 Q. Would it influence your view, sir, over the existence of command
18 and control between Colonel Blaskic and Kiseljak if there was a
19 substantial record of communications, multiple communications each day,
20 between Colonel Blaskic himself or his headquarters and the HVO units in
22 A. It would prove to me that there were communications. It would not
23 prove to me that there was command and control, unless I see some
24 substance within those.
25 Q. Would it affect your view, sir, if not only were there
1 communications, but there were orders going to Kiseljak, if you will, and
2 responses and reports coming back from Kiseljak, indicating that
3 Colonel Blaskic's orders were being carried out?
4 A. That would -- there would be no credibility to that communication
5 if you saw the issuing of a command and a direct response to that than if
6 you saw an issuing of a command and no response. Of course, that
7 commander would not be able to know whether that order had actually taken
8 place. He would only know that he had a response to it.
9 MR. SCOTT: If I could have the usher's assistance to put before
10 the witness the so-called war diary, which I believe is Defence Exhibit 14
11 on appeal and was Exhibit -- I'm sorry. That's from the Kordic case, but
12 it's Exhibit -- I think Defence Exhibit 14 on appeal. If I could -- if
13 that could please be put before the witnesses, and the Judges may wish to
14 refer to that if they have it available to them.
15 Q. Mr. Watkins, if I can please direct your attention and the
16 Chamber's attention to page 73 of the English version, to the entry for
17 the 16th of April, at 1000 hours, on page 73. And what I'm going to try
18 to do, sir, is move, because my time is very limited, to a couple of
19 entries, quite quickly.
20 [Prosecution counsel confer]
21 MR. SCOTT: May I inquire, Your Honours: Do you have page 73?
22 No. My apologies. Perhaps it can be placed --
23 Q. Well, Witness, does it say, at 1000 hours on the 16th of April:
24 "At 1000 hours, Colonel T Blaskic talked with the commander of the Ban
25 Jelacic Brigade, gave instructions about the situation and how to behave"?
1 A. Yes, it says that.
2 Q. Would you please go to page 95, 16th of April, at 1843 hours.
3 "Communication to M Miletic for the Kiseljak Brigade. Hold those two
4 Muslims until further notice." Do you see that?
5 A. I can see that, yeah.
6 Q. If I can ask you, please, to go to page 107, 17th of April, at
7 0940 in the morning. "Provisional combat order of the 17th of April at
8 0910. The commander of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade, Kiseljak, for tying
9 down the part of the Muslim forces attacking the HVO."
10 A. I can see that, yes.
11 Q. If I can next ask -- I just have two more. Page 137. Page 137,
12 the 19th of April, at 0845. "Order of the 19th of April, 1993, at 0835,
13 for Ban Jelacic, capturing Gomionica, deadline today."
14 A. I can see that.
15 Q. And finally, on page 148, the 20th of April, at 1302. Colonel TB
16 speaking with Mijo Bozic, the head, the commander of the Ban Jelacic
17 Brigade. "This hill must be held. What are your positions up there? Are
18 they in every bunker by the radar? What is the situation with Visnjica?
19 What about Gomionica? Croats are being massacred in Zenica. It will be
20 your turn if that is being asked is not done. The police will be used for
21 cleansing and the military for breaking through. Keep pushing. If you
22 fail to accomplish this, I am finished and then so are you. Stipo has no
23 business promising. Things must be done as ordered, as you too take
24 over," and it becomes illegible.
25 A. I can see that. Can I just check the date? You refer to a date.
1 Q. Of course. If you're going to check, you'll have to leaf back,
2 because these entries go on for some way.
3 A. I can see what you're asking me to look at. I've read it.
4 Q. Sir, I've just picked five examples, but have you seen any of
5 those communications at the very time in question, between Colonel Blaskic
6 and his headquarters and the command of the Ban Jelacic Brigade in
8 A. I've never seen those before, and I wasn't in the Lasva Valley in
9 that period.
10 Q. Can I ask the usher's assistance to -- and again, not in the
11 binders, but for the ELMO, please - Exhibit 456 -- trial exhibit admitted,
12 Mr. President, 456/32.
13 Sir, this is a -- sorry. I'll wait for you. This is a report
14 down some pages into the document, you'll see by Colonel Tihomir Blaskic,
15 on the 7th of May, 1993, to the supreme commander of the armed forces of
16 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the head of the defence
17 department, and the chief of the main headquarters, which I believe at
18 that time, you'll agree, sir, was Mr. Petkovic; is that correct?
19 A. Yes. The head of the defence department at that time I believe
20 was Stojic.
21 Q. Can I ask you, please, to turn down - and unfortunately, the pages
22 aren't numbered - but if you will go down about to the tenth page in that
23 stack, please. If I can direct your attention to the paragraph under the
24 paragraph numbered 6. Do you see the -- I think that's -- yeah. Previous
25 page, but ... I'm looking at page -- that's not -- the page on the ELMO is
1 not the page I'm looking at.
2 Sir, do you see Colonel Blaskic at this very time in question, on
3 the 7th of May, reporting to his top superiors, the very head of the HVO
4 military in Mostar. Below paragraphs numbered 6, "all units are carrying
5 out their tasks, except for the battalion in Fojnica, which is engaged in
6 personnel reshuffling and taking a neutral position vis-a-vis the Muslims
7 so the Muslim forces are attacking on Busovaca unimpeded from the area of
9 And also on the next page, "Conclusion number 1: Command and
10 control function properly and all missions proceed in a planned fashion
11 according to orders, with detailed knowledge of the situation, full
12 coordination and control."
13 A. I can see that. Can I make a comment on the previous? Because it
14 seems to be --
15 Q. Sir, my time is extremely limited. Had you ever seen this
16 document before today?
17 A. No.
18 Q. And I'd like to show you, and I begin to wrap up, Mr. President,
19 Exhibit from the Blaskic Prosecution Exhibit BP380, which again is an
20 admitted exhibit.
21 Now, sir, this is a translation of an interview that
22 Colonel Blaskic gave on October -- in October of 1993. If you can -- if
23 the usher can move that down. Well, no, it's fine. It's fine. At the
24 top, the reporter is asking questions specifically about Kresevo,
25 Kiseljak, and part of Fojnica municipality, but are not connected with the
1 forces in Vitez and Busovaca. How are they holding up? Blaskic goes on,
2 and he says: "They are carrying out, in a coordinated and organised
3 manner, all commands connected with the defence of the people and Croatian
4 territories. This physical separation is not an essential or decisive
5 factor, because we figured in our planning that the temporary physical
6 separation of these areas could occur."
7 Going to the last sentence: "All operative groups are under my
8 command, and the chain of leadership and command functions absolutely,
9 without interruption."
10 Have you seen Blaskic's assessment of his command and control,
11 first the one on the 7th of May, the document I showed you a moment ago,
12 and again in October of 1993, the same year? Have you seen either of
13 those documents?
14 A. I've seen this document before. Can I just confirm it is a press
16 Q. That's correct.
17 A. Lovrenovic, was he in Central Bosnia?
18 Q. I'm sorry. It's an interview of General Blaskic, sir,
19 Colonel Blaskic, sir.
20 A. I understand that. I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to ask
21 questions. I'm just interested whether Lovrenovic actually met Blaskic,
22 whether he was a journalist working --
23 Q. Perhaps you can look at the fuller version of the B/C/S version is
24 attached, if it will assist you.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, since counsel has gone over his time, I
1 assume I'll have more time on redirect as well.
2 JUDGE POCAR: Certainly we'll take care of that.
3 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: My point was simply whether this was a journalist
5 who spoke to Blaskic or not, directly.
6 MR. SCOTT:
7 Q. Well, it appears to be a journalist asking questions, sir, and I
8 agree: I don't want to pretend that I know with hundred per cent
9 certainty, but it appears to be a published interview with a reporter
10 asking questions and Colonel Blaskic giving answers and you have in front
11 of you the full text, with a picture of Colonel Blaskic in the text.
12 A. Yes, I do. And as a press report, one would be interested in who
13 the audience of that press was and one would not expect Blaskic to be
14 saying anything other than really I can see there.
15 Q. And you wouldn't expect him to also be admitting to you the
16 commission of crimes, would you?
17 A. I wouldn't expect him to admit them to me, no.
18 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I am going to conclude. One piece of
19 paper, I'm afraid.
20 Q. Mr. Watkins, did you know a person named Alastair Duncan, who was
21 the commander of British Battalion during part of 1993?
22 A. Yes, I did. He commanded the Prince of Wales' Own, the second
23 British battalion to deploy to Bosnia.
24 Q. Was he in the field in that capacity during the period including
25 June 1993?
1 A. I can't remember the exact dates, but certainly I was part of his
2 introduction, so I was already up there. It could have been late June,
3 but certainly June, July, he was there.
4 Q. Were you personally involved with Alastair Duncan in the
5 negotiations to allow the free passage of a convoy, of a convoy or
7 A. Yes. The Convoy of Joy.
8 Q. Would you agree with me, sir, that Commander Duncan was fully
9 aware of the same incident which you've testified about today?
10 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, the witness didn't have any testimony
11 about the Convoy of Joy. I don't know what the counsel is referring to.
12 MR. SCOTT: Let me assist. The convoy of June 11th, 1993.
13 Q. Is that the convoy you were talking about, sir?
14 A. I haven't mentioned it today, but I did mention it in the Kordic
16 MR. HAYMAN: The convoy today was from the hospital in Travnik
17 carrying wounded. The Convoy of Joy was some 400 or 500 trucks carrying
18 humanitarian supplies, so counsel is talking about a different issue not
19 discussed in my examination.
20 MR. SCOTT:
21 Q. If I can just have your confirmation, sir: Commander Duncan was
22 involved in that particular matter, that June 11th convoy matter, with
23 you; is that correct?
24 MR. HAYMAN: It's beyond the scope of the examination. If the
25 Court wants to let counsel run with this, I don't care, but I want to go
1 into it and have time to do it on redirect. I think it's helpful
2 information but I held myself to the hour limit and didn't go into it.
3 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Scott, I think Mr. Hayman is correct in that.
4 MR. SCOTT: Very well, Your Honour. Let me just consult with
5 Mr. Farrell, if I could.
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the Court's
8 indulgence, and to all Your Honours.
9 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you, Mr. Scott.
10 May I now turn to the Defence. May first, before turning to the
11 Defence, I inquire whether the statement that the Chamber decided to ask
12 for production is ready.
13 MR. FARRELL: Yes. Your Honour. We'll just put them together.
14 It's my understanding from the questions by counsel for the
15 appellant that he referred to a statement of 1996. Is that correct,
16 Mr. Hayman, that's the statement --
17 MR. HAYMAN: I believe it's the last day of May and the first day
18 of June, 1996, a statement taken in London by three investigators from
19 your office, and I have their names if it's helpful.
20 MR. FARRELL: I just wanted to make sure I found the statement
21 that you were asking, so I wanted to confirm. Yes, we have copies of the
22 statement for Your Honour. I'll just hand them to a member from the
24 I've just provided the statement of Mr. Watkins dated the 31st of
25 May, 1996, and the 1st of June, 1996, to the Bench, to the registry, and a
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 copy to counsel for the appellant. Thank you.
2 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, what I suggest -- may I?
3 JUDGE POCAR: Yes, Mr. Hayman, you may.
4 MR. HAYMAN: What I suggest is I'm going to ask some of my
5 colleagues to look at this while I proceed with my examination, and if at
6 the end of my examination there's a need to have the witness review part
7 of the statement and comment on it, I'll try and do that at the end, but
8 in the interim, I would ask for your full attention while we proceed. I
9 understand this is -- this is a lengthy statement, but I don't -- I'm not
10 suggesting we break and that I read it now.
11 JUDGE POCAR: It's fine, Mr. Hayman. You can proceed like that.
12 We appreciate your cooperation.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
14 Re-examined by Mr. Hayman:
15 Q. Mr. Watkins, you were shown a lot of documents, and some of them
16 I'll try and get them back in front of you; others, given the time
17 limitation it's not going to be possible to put them all on the ELMO and
18 go one by one. So I want to start with one of the last documents that you
19 saw and perhaps you remember it. It was a report. It is Exhibit 456/32
20 from the trial. And it's a report from Colonel Blaskic to the Supreme
21 Command, May 7th, 1993. And there's a paragraph at the end that says:
22 "Command and control function properly and all missions proceed," et
23 cetera. Do you recall that?
24 A. I do, and it seemed to contradict the one before it.
25 Q. Now, earlier in that document you were shown a statement by the
1 author of the document, referencing a problem in Fojnica. Do you recall
3 A. I do, yeah.
4 Q. Did you hear of the incident in Fojnica where a -- the commander
5 of the HVO forces in Fojnica refused an order to engage BH army forces by
6 Colonel Blaskic, simply refused, simply: No, we're not going to do that.
7 Have you heard of that incident?
8 A. No, that doesn't ring a bell, unless that was the detail within
9 that Fojnica, but it was the confusion that was mentioned in that Fojnica
10 which I thought was interesting.
11 Q. It's in evidence in this case so we won't belabour it, but suffice
12 to say that if there was a rebellion by the battalion or whatever the
13 formation was in Fojnica, they refused to carry out the orders of
14 Colonel Blaskic, should one conclude that command and control were
15 functioning properly as stated in the conclusory paragraph of this
16 document, or should one look at the underlying events and understand what
17 was going on?
18 MR. SCOTT: I'm going to object, Your Honour. This is completely
19 argumentative and leading. We're back on redirect, not cross-examination,
20 and it's not up to counsel to argue with the witness or argue his case. I
21 object to that. Also, the document is clear on its face. It says except
22 for Fojnica. It's very clear. There's no suggestion to the contrary.
23 MR. HAYMAN: My question for the witness is: If the "except for,"
24 the unit in Fojnica is acting in a rogue manner, what does that tell us
25 about command and control generally in this army or militia, whatever you
1 want to call it.
2 MR. SCOTT: Again it's a mischaracterisation to generalise on that
3 when the specific document is talking about one area, one incident.
4 MR. HAYMAN: Can the witness please be allowed to comment? I only
5 have a few minutes, and I don't want to yield too much of that time to
6 Mr. Scott. Could the witness comment on the fact that in Fojnica,
7 the -- there was a revolt by the HVO unit there? And what does that tell
8 us? What should that instruct us with respect to the actual situation on
9 the ground?
10 A. It would tell me two things. One, he had communications,
11 otherwise he wouldn't have known about that chaos but it was clear he
12 would not be able to command and control that unit.
13 Q. Would that -- strike that. Now, you were shown a number of other
14 documents that referenced communications between the Central Bosnia
15 operative zone headquarters and the Kiseljak HVO concerning Gomionica and
16 military activity in the Kiseljak region around the 17th and 18th of
17 April, 1993. Do you recall those? I'd like you to look at two documents
18 quickly. They are Exhibits 141 from the first Rule 115 motion and 142
19 from the first Rule 115 motion. And perhaps you can look at them while
20 they're put on the ELMO so that the Court can also follow along.
21 You're looking now at the first order. Do you see it?
22 A. I do, yes.
23 Q. 19 April 1993 at 0835 hours.
24 A. 0600 hours. Oh, sorry. I see, yeah. Above. Correct.
25 Q. And to give the Court some perspective -- well, 19th of April, you
1 weren't there, so I will withdraw that. Do you see paragraph 1, "occupy
2 Gomionica, the crest of the hill above the village"? Do you see that?
3 A. I do.
4 Q. Why would that -- why would a military commander direct his forces
5 to the hill above a village?
6 A. It gives one tactical advantage in fields of fire, to control
7 access entry into the villages.
8 Q. Is the high ground typically of greater military significance and
9 strategic importance than the low areas below, even if they're built-up
10 areas with the civilian population or whatever?
11 A. Basically speaking, yes. Tactical there, rather than strategic.
12 Q. Now if you could look at the second document that I gave you.
13 This is a reply document, informing the Central Bosnian operative zone of
14 what happened, what happened with respect to your order that we take the
15 hill above Gomionica. Do you see in paragraph 1, first of all, they
16 state: We haven't been able to take full control of Gomionica?
17 A. I can see that.
18 Q. Then if you go down to the second bullet, do you see the
19 statement: "During the preparations for this operation, for the purposes
20 of safeguarding the operation, we had to forcibly disarm the villages of
21 Visnjica and Rotilj, where we lost quite a lot of our force and time." Do
22 you see that?
23 A. I can see that.
24 Q. Was there an order -- was there anything in the prior order you
25 saw that told the HVO Kiseljak to go into Visnjica and to go into Rotilj
1 and disarm villagers and otherwise engage in conflict with them?
2 MR. SCOTT: Does this witness know? Can we have some foundation?
3 Do we have the prior order in front of us in terms of whether this witness
4 knows the history of the orders, all the orders issued at this time.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel can argue that until he's blue in the face at
6 the end of the case, but for now I've shown the witness two documents and
7 I'm asking him a succinct, clearly stated question regarding those two
8 documents and I would like to proceed.
9 JUDGE POCAR: Yes, you may proceed, Mr. Hayman.
10 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
11 Q. With respect to the earlier documents you saw and this one, was
12 there anything in the first document that directed the HVO Kiseljak to go
13 into Visnjica or Rotilj?
14 A. No, but they might have been between where the forces were and the
15 crest of the hill.
16 Q. I can represent to you that Rotilj is --
17 A. I ought to know.
18 Q. -- south-west of Kiseljak, Gomionica is to the north of Kiseljak.
19 They're in opposite directions from Kiseljak. And there are maps in
20 evidence in this case, so the Court can refer to them if necessary. But
21 would you agree there's nothing in the order directing these forces to go
22 into Visnjica or Gomionica?
23 A. I'd agree with that.
24 Q. And yet they report back: Although we weren't able to carry out
25 the task you gave us, we did do some other things?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us, what does this tell us, what should this tell us
3 about whether there was command and control by Colonel Blaskic over what
4 the HVO Kiseljak was doing, even at the times, the very times, that there
5 were, according to the war diary, which is Exhibit 2 to the second
6 Rule 115 motion, there were communications between those
7 two -- communications that counsel pointed out in his cross-examination?
8 A. Well, it proves to me there was issuing of order, a response and
9 failure to carry out the exact task and it seems to suggest they did some
10 other things that were not required in the first half. So there is, to
11 me, an element there of independence of the unit to do what it thought it
12 should be doing. It didn't directly interpret that order. Or it did, but
13 it seemed to do additional things as well.
14 Q. I note for the Court that my client was charged and convicted of
15 crimes in Visnjica and Rotilj in this case.
16 Now, Mr. Watkins, you were asked whether Dario Kordic exercised
17 control over Tihomir Blaskic. Do you recall that?
18 A. I do, yes.
19 Q. I'd like to ask you to elaborate on your answer. To your
20 knowledge, did or could Dario Kordic give a military order to
21 Tihomir Blaskic?
22 A. I believe he could. How welcome that would be, I don't know, but
23 yes, I believe he could.
24 Q. And if Tihomir Blaskic gave a military order to his subordinates
25 that Dario Kordic didn't agree with, what do you think would happen?
1 A. Kordic would intervene, either counter the order or use forces
2 which we believe were associated with him to carry out what he wanted.
3 Q. When you say forces associated with him what do you mean?
4 A. We discussed earlier the Jokers, which was a unit which was
5 closely connected and our belief came under the personal control of
7 Q. Thank you. Now I'd like to go to PA15, and I think we will need
8 the document as our -- all of our collective recollections are not
9 sufficient to call up these mental images in our minds. Thank you.
10 This is an order concerning the passage of UN vehicles. Do you
11 see in paragraph 1 that the order is directed to the issue of entry of UN
12 vehicles and "military formations" into the area of combat activities? Do
13 you see that?
14 A. I do see that.
15 Q. Is it a problem in any way, if you have ongoing combat in an area
16 and elements from the international community want to go into that area,
17 even though they are not prepared to, for example, defend themselves or
18 they're not capable of being protected against harm from the ongoing
20 A. There are circumstances in which that would be undesirable and
21 counter to what a military commander might wish to happen.
22 Q. And indeed, the international element, could it not, could come
23 and go to the tactical advantage at least of one side or the other, by
24 causing a cessation of hostilities, giving one side the time to undertake
25 some manoeuvre or action that it otherwise might not be able to undertake?
1 Is that right?
2 A. That's right. We acted as a sort of -- we always tried to get
3 entry to where there was combat but clearly in trying to do so that could
4 advantage or disadvantage one commander or another.
5 Q. Can you offer any other insight into why Colonel Blaskic might
6 have a concern about the entry and egress of United Nations Warriors
7 carrying UN personnel in an area where combat was ongoing?
8 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me. Are we engaging in speculation,
9 Mr. President? This witness wasn't even on the ground at the time of
10 these events.
11 MR. HAYMAN: The Prosecutor showed him the order, Your Honour. I
12 didn't. He chose the subject matter, and I think I should be allowed to
13 explore it.
14 JUDGE POCAR: You may proceed.
15 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry could you ask the question again.
16 MR. HAYMAN:
17 Q. The question was: Was the role are of, for example, BritBat with
18 their Warriors, did that become an issue of concern or contention that
19 might be useful background for the Court with respect to this issue?
20 A. Yes, it did.
21 Q. Explain.
22 A. There would be times and particularly by the time I got up there
23 in May/June, where in fact the initiative was in the hands of the Armija
24 forces and one saw a characterisation of defence and -- of the HVO, and
25 attacking by ABiH. And one would reference to Travnik and Bugojno and
1 other areas. Now, when that happened, we wanted to get in to see what was
2 happening and also to try and calm things. Now, that -- in that
3 particular time when I was there would be not to the advantage of the
4 Armija forces to have us wandering around in their area of operations.
5 Q. Now Exhibit PA51. If it's handy I'd like to put it on the ELMO.
6 If not, I can pose a question without doing so.
7 This is a communication again to Kiseljak by Colonel Blaskic,
8 saying, among other things: Justify my orders as a response to
9 provocations of the other side. Do you see that?
10 A. No, I don't see that.
11 Q. Paragraph 2.
12 A. I see take the most favourable possible and always justify my
13 orders in response -- yes, I do. Sorry.
14 Q. Does any superior commander want their subordinates to respect and
15 defend and justify the orders from the superior commander?
16 A. One wouldn't expect in a Western army for it to be questioned. It
17 was to be carried out. It wouldn't require a response or a comment.
18 Q. In fact, in a Western army this order would be unnecessary,
19 wouldn't it?
20 A. Paragraph 2 would be unnecessary.
21 Q. And are you surprised by paragraph 2 or do you think that's
22 normal, that's understood in at least a Western army?
23 A. It would be taken as -- yeah, it would be understood. It wouldn't
24 be necessary.
25 Q. Now I'd like you to see PA56. I'm going to also need the B/C/S
1 version, which on my copy is on the back, but it probably is a separate
2 document in the Court's files. Do you see on the English version the
3 third paragraph has been interlineated through?
4 A. Yes, I can see that now.
5 Q. And that's the paragraph that talks about we need -- if there are
6 these deaths, we need to present them differently --
7 A. I can see that, yeah.
8 Q. Now if you look at the B/C/S version. Do you see it's been
9 crossed through?
10 A. If it's the same document, yeah, it's been crossed through. I'm
11 afraid my language isn't good enough. Yeah, it's crossed through.
12 Q. So someone didn't agree with paragraph 3; is that correct? Is
13 that the appearance of the document?
14 A. Someone didn't agree or the author decided to take it out. It
15 clearly wasn't required by someone, but --
16 Q. And if I could ask the interpreters for a translation of the B/C/S
17 phrase to the left. Ovo ne.
18 THE INTERPRETER: This not.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
20 I'm done with that document. Thank you.
21 Q. Then you were shown also Exhibit 456/109, which were minute notes
22 from a meeting that involved a very large number of people. Can you see
23 that, please, 456/109? And while we're gathering that, perhaps 112 as
24 well, 456/112.
25 This is a long document. I'm simply going to ask that you go back
1 to the last page, the third paragraph from the end. And first, I want to
2 note, the signatories on this, the signatories are all political figures;
4 A. Yes. I know them all.
5 Q. And three paragraphs from the bottom, there's a reference to:
6 "The military are requested to do something in order to avoid a conflict
7 of jurisdiction between the military and the civilian government." Do you
8 see that?
9 A. Beginning: "The Ministry of Defence of the HZ HB"?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Yes, I see that.
12 Q. In your view, would it be normal in a situation as existed in 1993
13 in the Vitez pocket for there to be an attempt to coordinate military and
14 civilian authorities with respect to issues such as this?
15 A. I'm going to ask you to rephrase that question, or state it again,
17 Q. Fair enough.
18 A. Could I just ask the author of this? I can see the signatures at
19 the bottom. Who is it going to?
20 Q. We would need to look at the first page for that - if the first
21 page could please be put on the ELMO - which states: "Excerpt of the
22 minutes of a meeting".
23 A. Yeah. Okay. It's strange in that one would expect those
24 jurisdictions to be clear. We're talking about -- there would be clear
25 differences between who was in control of civilian affairs and who is in
1 control of military affairs. But in a confused situation, one can imagine
2 that some jurisdictions do get blurred, so they might have been seeking
4 Q. And would it appear that in September of 1992 there was a need to
5 deal with that issue from these minutes?
6 A. It would appear to be, yes, absolutely. Although I wasn't there
7 in September 1992.
8 Q. Understood. If now we could go to the same notebook, 456, but
9 Exhibit 112. You were also shown this document. If you look at the third
10 paragraph of this document, is this a request for a joint meeting with the
11 3rd Corps by Colonel Blaskic?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. Very well. You were asked about -- actually, you were told by
14 Mr. Scott that the Kiseljak pocket was not cut off from the Vitez-Busovaca
15 pocket until sometime after the conflict erupted on April 16th, 1993. Do
16 you recall that?
17 A. I do recall that.
18 Q. Let me find a document. I may need a moment, and I'm going to ask
19 you to comment on it. The document is PA75, one of the Prosecutor's
20 rebuttal documents. If it could be put on the ELMO, and I can frame it in
21 the meantime. It's a report dated February 10, 1993, from the
22 Kiseljak Brigade, from the operations and training organ, to the
23 Central Bosnia operative zone command, titled "Report on the course of
24 events in the -- in a particular place, Klokoti and Bilalovac area.
25 Now, rather than take the time to read the entire thing, I'd like
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you to turn it over to the back, please, the second page. And about ten
2 lines down, there's a sentence that begins: "On 27 January". Do you see
4 A. I can see that.
5 Q. It says there was an action, and then on down about six lines
6 below. No. Please. Keep that up there. We need to keep it on the ELMO.
7 Does the Court already have a copy?
8 [Appeals Chamber confers with registrar]
9 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Hayman, I'm just reminded that the document is
10 still a confidential one, so it shouldn't be put on the ELMO.
11 MR. HAYMAN: That's not my information, Your Honour. Perhaps the
12 Prosecutor can comment. It is PA75. And quite frankly, from looking at
13 it, there's no reason it should be confidential, but perhaps the
14 Prosecutor can clarify this.
15 [Appeals Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE POCAR: Yes, Mr. Scott.
17 MR. SCOTT: Mr. President, I don't think we can provide much
18 assistance. I apologise for that. But on the face of the document,
19 there's no particular indication of why it would be confidential, unless
20 it had -- revealed the identity of some particular witness, I guess is no
21 longer, or certainly not at the moment, here.
22 JUDGE POCAR: Fine. So let's deal with it as public, as not
23 confidential. Please, you can put it on the ELMO, usher.
24 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. There are a couple of sentences I want to draw your attention to,
1 and I'm sorry, I can't point to it. There's a sentence towards the middle
2 of the portion that's visible that begins "the units of the Muslim
3 forces." Do you see that?
4 A. I see that.
5 Q. "The units of the Muslim force set up a checkpoint in the village
6 of Bilalovac." Do you see that?
7 A. I see that.
8 Q. And then down another six or seven lines, there's a sentence that
9 begins: "After finding out that a part of the Kiseljak-Bilalovac road has
10 been cut off"?
11 A. I see that.
12 Q. I can represent to you it's very clear in the record of this case
13 that the Busovaca-Kiseljak road was cut off on or about the 27th of
14 January, 1993, and was never reopened during the relevant time period for
15 this case.
16 I don't think I have a further question on that issue,
17 Your Honours. I simply didn't want it left unaddressed.
18 You were asked about the military police, and you mentioned the
19 name Marinko. Were you thinking of Marinko Palavra?
20 A. That's right. He took over from Ljubicic.
21 Q. And did he replace Pasko Ljubicic at some time in the late summer
22 or early fall 1993?
23 A. It would have been late summer. Yes, I was there at that time.
24 Q. And are you aware that was at Colonel Blaskic's initiative, that
25 he requested that?
1 A. There were rumours. I didn't know for sure.
2 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honours, we've had a chance to quickly look at
3 the statement and there's just one passage I'd like brought to the
4 attention of the witness.
5 JUDGE POCAR: Before you refer to the statement, Mr. Hayman, do
6 you want to admit this statement into evidence?
7 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE POCAR: And then, Madam Registrar, can you give a number to
9 this document for purposes of reference.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be numbered Exhibit H1.
11 JUDGE POCAR: Fine. You may proceed, Mr. Hayman.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. It's not numbered, but I think we should show the witness the
14 first page so that he can orient himself with respect to the document, and
15 perhaps the last, to see what the date is and that he signed it. And then
16 I'm going to direct his attention to a particular passage. Actually, I
17 notice that the copy the witness has is different from the copy that we
18 were given. The copy the witness has appears to have a face page, with
19 perhaps identifying information of who took the statement and that kind of
20 thing. We don't -- oh, no, we have it. We have it on one copy,
21 Your Honour. I'm sorry.
22 Mr. Watkins, do you recognise this?
23 A. It's my signature.
24 Q. And do you have a recollection of meeting with Mr. Spork and a
25 second gentleman indicated on the first page, on or about late May or
1 early June 1996?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. And is this the two days of interviews that you referred to
4 earlier in your testimony?
5 A. That's correct, it is.
6 Q. Now, I will count the pages. If you go to the sixth page, they're
7 not numbered other than by the Bates number 78, ending in the digit 78?
8 JUDGE POCAR: Mr. Hayman, the copy we have is numbered --
9 MR. HAYMAN: Oh, it is, it is. Excuse me. It's page 6. I see
10 that down next to the signature. Thank you.
11 THE WITNESS: I'm on page 6.
12 MR. HAYMAN:
13 Q. Could you read the first paragraph and then I'm going to ask you
14 if you can tell the Court what is this about. Is this something you've
15 already testified to or something new?
16 A. Beginning "I was personally involved..."?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. "I was personally involved along with Alastair Duncan commander
19 BritBat forces with negotiations to allow the free passage of the convoy.
20 The convoy had initially been given clearance through the pocket by
21 Colonel Blaskic."
22 THE INTERPRETER: [Interpretation] Could the witness please slow
23 down when reading.
24 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry. I will. "The convoy had initially been
25 given clearance through the pocket by Colonel Blaskic, and therefore, it
1 was him to which we initially turned to secure its secure movement.
2 However, the Jokeri stated that they would only accept the authority of
3 Dario Kordic. It was not until the arrival of Dario Kordic at the
4 checkpoint and his personal intervention in the situation that we secured
5 the agreement of the Croat military forces to allow the convoy to
6 reassemble and pass on through the pocket to Tuzla."
7 MR. HAYMAN:
8 Q. Was this the Convoy of Joy?
9 A. This is the Convoy of Joy.
10 Q. And is that paragraph consistent with your recollection of these
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. And you provided this information to the Prosecutor's office in or
14 about the 1st of June, 1996?
15 A. I did.
16 MR. HAYMAN: I have no further questions.
17 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you, Mr. Hayman.
18 [Appeals Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE POCAR: I think it's time to have a break now, so we will
20 reconvene in half an hour. And perhaps we will start with questions from
21 the Bench of the witness.
22 --- Recess taken at 11.24 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.01 p.m.
24 JUDGE POCAR: Please be seated.
25 So we resume the hearing, starting with questions from the Bench
1 of the witness. May I ask my colleagues -- Judge Guney first.
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE GUNEY: Mr. Watkins, what is your assessment about the
4 appellant's effective control, or lack of effective control, over HVO
5 units in Central Bosnia? This is the first question. And the second one
6 is: Are you aware of any lack of animus toward the Muslim -- the animus
7 of the appellant toward the Muslim population of Central Bosnia.
8 A. Your Honour, could I just ask -- should I be seeing this on the
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the witness, please.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
12 A. My assessment of the control or lack of it of the HVO in Central
13 Bosnia is that certainly on paper we would see very clear lines of
14 connection between operational zone commander, Tihomir Blaskic, and all of
15 his brigade commanders. But because of the physical isolation, which I
16 have discussed before, that created enormous difficulties in terms of
17 command and control, and communications indeed would be difficult.
18 One I thing that I have yet to mention, but I think is important,
19 is also to understand the level of training and capability of the HVO
20 units which I witnessed, not just the HVO, but the ABiH forces, were
21 largely consisting of rather irregular groupings formed into brigades, but
22 largely of untrained soldiers - this is certainly the case in the
23 HVO - but commanded, usually, by an officer that had some JNA experience.
24 So I don't believe, and I didn't see, the command and control
25 which I would expect in a Western army, and I can explain that in terms of
1 the geographical isolation and the level of training, even where they were
2 collocated in the Vitez-Busovaca pocket of a direct chain from
3 Tihomir Blaskic to the man at the barrier or in a trench.
4 In terms of your second question, Your Honour, can I just confirm,
5 by "lack of animus towards the Muslims" that you mean lack of -- could I
6 just ask for clarification of what exactly you mean by animus?
7 JUDGE GUNEY: Thank you.
8 A. I feel, Your Honour, I've given you an incomplete answer. I
9 believe you to mean here: Did the --
10 [Appeals Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE GUNEY: [Interpretation] Regarding general behaviour, did you
12 observe a sort of animosity with regard to the Muslims as such?
13 A. No, not from Tihomir Blaskic. He was, of course, in conflict with
14 them, but in terms of a philosophy of cleansing an area or of any
15 massacres or genocide, that was never articulated to me by
16 Tihomir Blaskic. It was articulated to me by Anto Valenta and to a
17 slightly lesser level but certainly from Dario Kordic as well, slightly
18 more sophisticated in his terms, but not from General -- or sorry,
19 Colonel, as he was at the time, Blaskic. He always came across as a
20 professional soldier. That indeed is the way that his opponents saw him
21 as well. He was never accused by them, to me, anyway, as being
22 responsible for any war crimes, whereas Dario Kordic was often mentioned
23 as connected with war crimes, but not General Blaskic, Colonel Blaskic.
24 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you. Judge Weinberg, please.
25 JUDGE WEINBERG DE ROCA: Mr. Watkins, I have one question. You
1 mentioned the Convoy of Joy, which could pass because of the written
2 orders of General Blaskic and the confirmation of Mr. Kordic. You also
3 mentioned the Muslim doctor, I think it's on transcript page 29, of the
4 transcript, the Muslim doctor that was needed at Stari Vitez, and that you
5 asked General Blaskic for authorisation, which was granted after you
6 returned on several occasions. But before that, you mentioned the convoy
7 of the patients which had to return. My question is: If on that occasion
8 you also had consulted with General Blaskic, had a written order, or what
9 was the -- was there any authorisation or discussion previous to the
10 convoy of the patients?
11 A. There was -- with regards to the Travnik patients' convoy, we
12 could not have undertaken such a task without consulting both Croat
13 leadership and Muslim leadership, because of the fact we were going to
14 cross a front line. I can't honestly remember the particular
15 negotiations. It could have been Filip Filipovic. They took place in the
16 UN headquarters, at the school near Vitez. But certainly, we had the
17 agreement of both sides that this convoy should be allowed to pass, and
18 specifically with reference to Colonel Blaskic, when I was stopped by that
19 HVO unit at Dolac, they said they did not take orders from
20 Tihomir Blaskic.
21 JUDGE WEINBERG DE ROCA: Thank you.
22 JUDGE POCAR: Judge Schomburg, please.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher, please, to put to the
24 witness, and on the ELMO, the second part of document 380B, this interview
25 dated the 16th - I can't read it in B/C/S - in 1993, in any event. And if
1 I may ask the witness to comment on this statement given by Blaskic. What
2 is your assessment? You have discussed the question of investigations
3 ordered by Blaskic previously.
4 A. This, Your Honour, is, I believe, the -- it is the document I was
5 shown earlier with regards -- and the explanation was that this was a
6 press interview. I was interested in whether the journalist was actually
7 physically in Central Bosnia, interviewing General Blaskic, or whether
8 there was a physical separation between the questions and the answers.
9 And I was also interested, Your Honour, in the fact that this was a press
10 report, and when you're writing in conditions of war to your population,
11 you have a certain message, and one doesn't give a message of disorder,
12 incoherence, fragile command structures. You would want to give a message
13 of things are going well, yes, they're extremely difficult, but our
14 generals and our soldiers are doing their best. And so I'm not really
15 convinced as to how useful this particular report was.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you could be kind enough, and Mr. Usher,
17 please, that we can see it in the entirety. What would be your assessment
18 when you read this page until the end? Is it a fair response to allegedly
19 committed crimes?
20 A. Your Honour, could I just take a moment to read that before
22 I really would not have expected Tihomir Blaskic to have actually
23 said that. The question -- the paragraph at the top discusses "the
24 physical operation is not an essential or decisive factor," and it
25 mentions Kiseljak as we've already spoken, also mentions Sarajevo. And I
1 think the most rudimentary knowledge would indicate that Sarajevo's
2 isolation was -- there were particular and peculiar circumstances there,
3 and one could not credibly argue that its separation from its command
4 structure did not create problems. So I see a journalist
5 answering -- asking some quite loaded questions, and a response which I
6 personally, in my experience in interaction with Blaskic, is not the sort
7 of response he would have given. I hope, Your Honour, I've answered your
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Having been part of the ECMM, this observer
10 mission, did you come across this incident yourself? Did you yourself
11 discuss the incident mentioned there with the appellant?
12 A. This incident in Ahmici actually happened while I was in
13 Gornji Vakuf, and I arrived some one month after this. I don't remember
14 discussing it with Tihomir Blaskic. I do remember discussing it with
15 Ivo Santic and Pero Skopljak, but not with Tihomir Blaskic, no.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And when you discussed it already, were there
17 ongoing investigations about the crime allegedly committed in Ahmici?
18 A. There were certainly ongoing investigations by the international
19 community, and my immediate -- person to whom I reported was
20 Jean-Pierre Thebault, who was very personally involved, visited the site,
21 and was very active in explaining to the international community what he
22 saw, and his understanding of what went on. And certainly we talk -- it
23 mentions here about staged and skillfully shown to foreign reporters. I
24 mean, it's not credible. There was an atrocity there. It was witnessed
25 by the international community. They reported what they saw. They didn't
1 skillfully in any way make propaganda out of this. They simply reported
2 what they saw. And in my experience, this is not the words of
3 Tihomir Blaskic.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Just one final question. Just by
5 chance having been for that long a period of time in the area, did you
6 ever hear the word "ciscenje" by one of the political or military leaders
7 in the area?
8 A. That particular word, Your Honour, does not -- I do not recognise
9 that word. I may have heard a translation of what that means, but I don't
10 recognise that word.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you hear, maybe in the French language, a
12 translation to that end that it would mean, "nettoyer le terrain"?
13 A. Your Honour, you have demonstrated my weakness in languages. I
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Sorry. I only wanted to ask you whether
16 by chance you came across this term alluded to in several documents?
17 A. No, Your Honour. I do not recognise the word "ciscenje."
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I have no further questions.
19 JUDGE POCAR: I would put a couple of questions to the witness
20 myself. The first refers to the meetings, frequent meetings, you had with
21 Colonel Blaskic at the time you referred to them. What I would like to
22 know: If in conversations during these meetings it ever happened that
23 Mr. Blaskic related to you of any difficulty he had in preventing
24 activities, criminal activities, as the case may be, by the Jokers or
25 other groups, or to punish the perpetrators. Did he ever mention any of
1 these incidents to you in your conversations?
2 A. No, Your Honour. He didn't mention difficulties. I'm not
3 entirely surprised about that. His professional demeanour would not
4 really encourage him to tell me, particularly as I had military experience
5 myself, of difficulties within his command. Although there are a number,
6 two instances that I can think of, one referred to earlier, with
7 Ivica Rajic, where he did state that he was having difficulty in
8 enforcing, and another one where it wasn't Tihomir Blaskic himself, but it
9 was a member of his staff who told me that there were difficulties with
10 Cerkez, and this is when we wanted to gain entry to the village of
11 Kruscica over the water issue which I mentioned earlier.
12 So Tihomir Blaskic is not the sort of person that was indiscreet.
13 When we wanted some depth and some rumour, Your Honour, we would speak to
14 those with looser tongues and probably less aware of the sensitivities. I
15 simply got straightforward military responses from Tihomir Blaskic.
16 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you. The second question I wanted to ask you
17 is how far you are aware, or which is your knowledge, of the military
18 situation in Kiseljak in April and June 1993. You may not have been
19 there, but you -- exactly on the spot, but you have known exactly what was
20 the situation between the different groups combatting against each other.
21 A. Well, Your Honour, I was there by June, but not there in April.
22 We had seen a number of attempts, certainly in Herzegovina, for the
23 Croatian forces to take territory. We saw activity in Mostar, we saw
24 activity towards Jablanica. We saw a lot of Croatian activity in the
25 Prozor area. And this activity demonstrated a desire of the HVO to take
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 forces. By the time -- sorry -- to take ground. By the time that I was
2 in Central Bosnia, the situation was different, and in Central Bosnia,
3 unlike in Herzegovina, the Croatian community was on the defensive. We
4 had -- we were always trying to defuse tensions, to create confidence
5 through joint commissions, but we could see that the tensions were getting
6 greater. Some of this we believed was to do with wanting to take
7 territory, or hold territory, in accordance with what was going on at an
8 international level and the control of cantons that were being discussed.
9 But in Central Bosnia, we saw - and I was personally involved with in May,
10 June, and right through October - a Croatian community that was in
11 difficulty in Central Bosnia. There is no doubt about the circumstances
12 that were very hard. And it was the Armija forces at that stage who were
13 in the offensive posture. So we had seen, for instance, the defeat of the
14 HVO in Zenica. We saw the Travnicka Brigade, and I witnessed the HVO
15 presence in Travnik when I first arrived. We had our joint commission
16 structure there. But the Travnicka Brigade, under Jozo Leutar was
17 effectively annihilated. When I say annihilated, I mean as a formed unit
18 not that every individual was annihilated.
19 We also saw activity then spread to other areas. We saw Kakanj,
20 and again the Croat population on the defensive and also in Bugojno. So
21 we -- that is my understanding of the situation, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE POCAR: I was specifically interested in Kiseljak.
23 You referred specifically to end of May/June. Is your knowledge
24 that the situation was the same in April, from what you --
25 A. From what I -- Your Honour, from what I understand, certainly in
1 the case of the change from any -- to a defensive posture was middle of
2 April through the period. And I'm sorry I didn't more specifically
3 address in the earlier question your interest in Kiseljak. I did state
4 earlier that I wasn't entirely sure when the Kiseljak pocket was separated
5 from the Vitez-Busovaca pocket, but we later heard that that was as early
6 as January. And certainly January there had been a flash of activity,
7 certainly in Gornji Vakuf area, and also, I understand, in Central Bosnia,
8 where Croat forces and Muslim forces who had been working together and
9 fighting against the Serbian forces started to fight each other. And it
10 was at that moment that we set up these Busovaca joint commission and I
11 was involved in setting up the Gornji Vakuf joint commission, and this was
12 the attempt to separate forces and to quieten. And we did so successfully
13 until April when we saw the new outbreak.
14 JUDGE POCAR: Just to follow on that: The situation you now are
15 referring, referred to about Kiseljak, was the same in Busovaca in April,
16 or was it a different situation, from what you know?
17 A. From what I know, the situation in April was the same as I
18 witnessed in May and June. The pockets were separate. The ability to
19 move from one pocket, from Vitez and Busovaca to Kiseljak had effectively
20 ended by then.
21 JUDGE POCAR: More than the pockets, I was referring to this
22 defensive attitude or offensive attitude, actually.
23 A. I believe that the defensive attitude of the Croats had already --
24 was in evidence in April.
25 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you. I don't have further questions to put
1 to the witness.
2 Judge Schomburg, you have an additional question. Please.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Just to come back to the question of the
4 state of mind shown by the appellant at that time. May I ask you, maybe I
5 have confused the time you have been there in the area. May I ask you:
6 Did you attend a press conference 27th of April, 1993, where, inter alia,
7 Kordic, Kostroman, and Valenta were present? Did you ever hear that the
8 appellant expressed remorse, anger, or annoyance about what happened
10 A. Your Honour, I wasn't at that press conference, but I do know that
11 there were conferences held on a regular basis, and we heard earlier of
12 those that included the appellant. Although I note that you didn't
13 mention the appellant in that particular meeting, or maybe I haven't quite
14 read that properly. In terms of answering your second part of the
15 question, Your Honour, did I ever hear the appellant express remorse,
16 anger or annoyance about what was happening, what had happened prior to
17 that and I assume you mean Ahmici.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Ahmici, yes.
19 A. I can't honestly say that I do remember him expressing remorse
20 specifically about Ahmici, but to give you a full answer about his posture
21 and attitude, motivation with regards to the humanitarian situation and
22 conduct of activity, I only can report that he was not motivated by any
23 philosophical ambitions. He simply dealt with the military situation on
24 the ground. And I was asked earlier on cross-examination about this one
25 brain, two bodies, which I felt was incomplete, and in fact I think worse
1 than that, because it doesn't give -- it's the easy answer. We had two
2 leaders in the same pocket acting on behalf of the Croatian community, but
3 it doesn't allow for the different motives and motivations behind those
4 individuals and what they were doing. And history is littered with
5 examples of people who are wearing the same uniform, who are carrying out
6 the same actions, but, for completely different reasons. One can think of
7 the Great War. Did every commander in the Russian army believe in the
8 same things as Stalin? No. Would it be right to characterise somebody
9 like Field Marshall Rommel as having the same instincts, motivation as his
10 political masters? I think not. It would be an injustice to characterise
11 Rommel in that way. I don't want to make any direct comparisons with the
12 appellant, but the principle is the same, that he wore the same uniform;
13 he was doing what he thought was right for the Croat community, but not
14 with the same motivations, as I believe were evinced by, demonstrated by
15 the political leadership that I saw there in Central Bosnia.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
17 JUDGE POCAR: I thank you. Well, this concludes the examination
18 of this witness. We thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Watkins, and you
19 are excused now.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 JUDGE POCAR: Well, I see both the Prosecution, the Defence
22 maybe -- Mr. Farrell, please.
23 MR. FARRELL: Thank you, Mr. President. There is one issue that
24 was -- excuse me to Judge Guney. I apologise, Your Honour. There was one
25 issue that was raised in one answer I gave or one comment on the record
1 that I wanted to clarify. The one issue that was raised was that in the
2 testimony of the witness who just left, the use of the disclosure, the
3 timing of the disclosure of the witness's statement by the Prosecution or
4 as indicated by my friend the lack of disclosure of the 1996 statement was
5 put to the witness as part of his evidence, which the appellant clarified
6 was for his Rule 68 argument. That was not, as far as I understand, part
7 of his additional evidence for which he was to be called, but I appreciate
8 that my learned colleague was given the opportunity to address that.
9 What's now on the record, according to the submissions of my
10 learned colleague, was that it appears that you can draw the inference,
11 according to them, from the refusal of the Prosecution to provide this
12 witness with his statement reflects in the fact that the Prosecution was
13 suppressing exculpatory evidence. We'll certainly make submissions on
14 that next week, on what inferences you can draw. The only thing I wanted
15 to comment on was that if this is the evidentiary basis upon which this
16 argument will be relied upon, that the Prosecution wants to address in
17 evidentiary form the allegation that it specifically and deliberately
18 refused to provide this individual with his statement. The policy of the
19 OTP in 1996 was not to provide any witnesses with any statements at that
20 time because there was a concern then about the witness's handing around
21 their statements primarily in the former Yugoslavia. I spoke with the
22 investigator, and he's in a position to put a declaration in to that
23 effect that this had nothing to do with this individual witness or the
24 inability to provide him with his statement, that it was a policy of the
25 OTP at the time because of other circumstances that had arisen.
1 This witness was informed of that very reason in 1996 when his
2 statement was given and according to the investigator he indicated that he
3 understood. He then subsequently --
4 [Appeals Chamber confers]
5 MR. FARRELL: I put this and present it in declaration form if the
6 Court --
7 JUDGE POCAR: Why didn't you raise this question in
8 cross-examining the witness?
9 MR. FARRELL: Because it was --
10 JUDGE POCAR: You could have put it to him.
11 MR. FARRELL: In terms of the --
12 JUDGE POCAR: Whether he understood whether he had said that he
13 understood that was the practice of the Prosecution, there were reasons
14 for that. You could ask him.
15 MR. FARRELL: That might have been the fault of the Prosecution
16 and for that, I apologise. But it was only afterwards at the break that I
17 was able to find out what happened in 1996 by trying to contact with the
18 people who had spoken to him. I wasn't in any --
19 JUDGE POCAR: I understand, Mr. Farrell. You could ask for the
20 floor when the witness was here, and something. I mean, I would have
21 accepted that you put an additional question to the witness.
22 MR. FARRELL: Then that's my mistake. I thought I wouldn't raise
23 it while he was still here. I'm certainly willing to raise it with him.
24 JUDGE POCAR: Because he could clarify the matter immediately if
25 he understood that or not.
1 MR. FARRELL: Of course. And if that's the case --
2 JUDGE POCAR: Now you're asking to put additional evidence on
3 that. It could have been clarified orally immediately.
4 MR. FARRELL: Yes, it could, but the discussion about what the
5 policy was and what the motivation was of the Prosecution for withholding
6 evidence back then and not providing it to the witness could not be
7 answered by this witness. That -- you're right, Your Honour, with respect
8 to the part of the evidence you've indicated, but for the rest of it, as
9 whether you could draw the inference as to what the practice was of the
10 Prosecution at that time could not come from this witness.
11 JUDGE POCAR: You may be aware in any case of the practice of the
12 Prosecution in this Tribunal, so this is not a big problem. But the fact
13 that you are putting now is that the witness, the witness, was aware
14 that -- of that practice. This is the fact.
15 MR. FARRELL: That's fine.
16 JUDGE POCAR: This could have been asked the witness.
17 MR. FARRELL: That's fine, then. That's a concern of the Court,
18 then that's fine. The second issue that I wanted to raise was that when
19 the Defence counsel -- sorry, before I go on to the next issue, on the
20 issue about the inference to be drawn from the failure to give the witness
21 the statement, if that's an issue which remains on the record then it's an
22 issue which the Prosecution may seek leave to address something that this
23 witness couldn't have spoken to. The second issue -- sorry. Proceed.
24 Thanks. The second issue is a comment I made on the record indicating
25 when Mr. Paley had indicated, as I recall, that the witnesses was not
1 provided a copy I indicated -- I spoke after Mr. Paley and indicated that
2 was incorrect. I just wanted to clarify that. That was my mistake. I
3 thought he was speaking about whether or not this witness was -- had asked
4 for his statement for this hearing. And this witness was contacted and
5 never requested the witness statement for the purpose of this hearing. I
6 was not intending to refer to what eventually Mr. Hayman clarified as a
7 previous time. So I just wanted to make that clear, that obviously I'm in
8 no position to refute what the witness said in that regard.
9 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you for the clarification.
10 Mr. Hayman.
11 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Your Honour. I would just note that if indeed
12 that's the policy of the Office of the Prosecutor not to give witness
13 statement and they can show that to us and it's an issue we can enter into
14 an oral stipulation and it won't be an issue. I think the real issue,
15 though, is that the Defence was never given this statement. The Defence
16 was never given the information about Kordic controlling the Jokers. It's
17 not a question of the witness getting it. It's why weren't we given this
18 information? Why weren't we given this statement despite the obvious
19 relevance that this would have had to our case and that's not an issue for
20 today. If they have something additional they want to tender, fine. But
21 that's the real question. And certainly we are arguing in this case and
22 it's in our brief and we're going to argue it in final argument that it's
23 a very, very serious problem, procedurally and substantively in this case.
24 MR. FARRELL: I have no problem with the Defence being able to
25 argue this point of law and raising it in their brief. I would agree with
1 Mr. -- with counsel for the appellant that it actually isn't an issue for
2 today and that's the reason why I objected that it was put through a
3 witness, but in terms of the argument we'll respond to it next week.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE POCAR: I thank both parties. Now we understand which is
6 the basis for the arguing of the Defence.
7 This question being clarified, we can move to start the
8 examination of the following witness. I'd like to propose the following:
9 Not to split in two portions, over two days, the consideration of the next
10 witness. We might proceed the examination-in-chief before the break now
11 and meet again -- Mr. Hayman, will that require a full hour or not?
12 MR. HAYMAN: There are four possible witnesses remaining,
13 Your Honour. One of them, depending on the testimony of this witness, we
14 may decide it's cumulative or duplicative and we will not need to call
15 that fourth witness.
16 JUDGE POCAR: It's not my question. Is whether the
17 examination-in-chief of this witness will require the full hour.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Of the remaining witnesses this is the most
19 substantive, most important witness. I think it may require more than one
20 hour. The other two who we are certain we will call will be fairly short
21 witnesses. So what I'm assuring the Court of is we can finish all the
22 evidence by Thursday as planned. We will not need Monday. But the next
23 witness is a witness who was very involved in many events and so he's
24 going to be the longest of the three remaining witnesses.
25 JUDGE POCAR: I understand that. So we start
1 examination-in-chief, we'll see whether we can conclude it. I hope so.
2 And then decide whether we meet again in the afternoon, in the early
3 afternoon, to conclude the consideration of the witness, or whether we put
4 it to tomorrow.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Very well.
6 JUDGE POCAR: So can we call the witness. Of course, that will be
7 in closed session.
8 MR. HAYMAN: While that's being done, Your Honour, I've been asked
9 to clarify one thing in the documents that we cited in this last witness.
10 I apparently referred to the war diary as Exhibit 2 to the second Rule 115
11 motion and in fact it is Exhibit 14. So I needed to clarify that.
12 JUDGE POCAR: Thank you, Mr. Hayman.
13 [Closed session]
12 Pages 367 to 397 redacted, closed session
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.04 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 10th day of
16 December 2003, at 8.00 a.m.