1 Wednesday, 3 April 1996
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] First of all, I would like to be
5 sure about several technical questions. Does everybody hear me?
6 General Blaskic, do you hear me?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I didn't hear the interpretation for
9 that. I do not have the interpretation for what Mr. Blaskic said. I
10 didn't have interpretation. Okay. Is it all right now? Are you hearing
11 the interpretation now?
12 Does the Defence hear me? Does the Prosecution hear me? The
13 legal assistants? My colleagues?
14 We can begin. I would like to ask the representatives in the
15 Prosecutor's Office to say who represents it, but first I would like the
16 registrar, please, to call the case for us which we are dealing with
17 today. I give you the floor.
18 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are dealing with case
19 IT-95-14-I, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Tihomir Blaskic.
20 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Turning to the Prosecution, would you identify yourselves,
23 MR. OSTBERG: I am Eric Ostberg. I appear as the senior trial
24 attorney with my co-counsel, Mr. Gregory Kehoe, and our legal assistants,
25 Ms. Payman [phoen] and with Mr. William Smith.
1 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Defence counsel represented by?
3 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Mr. President, my name is Zvonimir
4 Hodek. I'm the attorney-at-law of Mr. Blaskic, and my colleague, Nela
5 Pedesic [phoen], is here together with me.
6 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Hodek? I didn't quite get the
7 name. Could you say it again, please.
8 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Hodek, with an H-o-d-e-k.
9 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 I would first ask General Blaskic to rise and to introduce
12 Would you please rise and would you please identify yourself with
13 your name, your family name, first name, and the place of your birth.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am General Tihomir
16 Blaskic. I was born on the 2nd of November, 1960, in a place called
17 Kiseljak, in the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] You may be seated.
19 We are dealing here with the Initial Appearance of an accused
20 person who has been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal. I
21 would like to recall to you before we begin the hearing itself that
22 Article 20 of the Statute ensures that the trial is fair and expeditious
23 and that the proceedings are conducted in accordance with the Rules of
24 Procedure and Evidence, with full respect for the rights of the accused
25 and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses. Any person
1 against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall, pursuant to an order
2 or an arrest warrant of the International Tribunal, be taken into custody,
3 immediately informed of the charges against him, and transferred to the
4 International Tribunal. This is the purpose of this hearing.
5 General Blaskic has been transferred to this Tribunal. This Trial
6 Chamber is going to have the indictment read, it being ensured that the
7 rights are respected, and asks the accused to plead guilty or not guilty.
8 Then we'll set the date for the trial. The hearings are in public unless
9 a decision has been taken to hold them in camera, according to the Rules
10 of Procedure and Evidence.
11 Therefore, I would like now to turn to Mr. Hodek and ask the first
12 question: Has General Blaskic received a copy of the indictment?
13 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, General Blaskic
14 received the indictment, and he understands fully the charges that are set
15 out in the indictment.
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] The hearing should include the
17 complete reading of the indictment. I would like to ask General Blaskic
18 to confirm what his counsel has just said; that is, he received the
19 indictment, that the indictment was read to him in a language which he
20 understands. And now I ask whether he would like this indictment to be
21 re-read in front of the Court.
22 Please rise and tell us whether you have understood the question
23 that I've just asked you.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand fully your
25 question. Yes, I did receive the indictment, I understand fully the text
1 of the indictment, and I think that it should be read once more.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] General Blaskic, you have expressed
3 the wish to have the indictment read; therefore, I will ask the registrar
4 to read the entire indictment and the variation which was confirmed at the
5 request of the Prosecution. I give the floor to the registrar.
6 General Blaskic, you may be seated.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor of the Tribunal
8 against Dario Kordic, Tihofil, also known as Tihomir, Blaskic, Mario
9 Cerkez, Ivica Santic, Pero Skopljak, and Zlatko Aleksovski.
11 Richard J. Goldstone, Prosecutor of the International Criminal
12 Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, pursuant to his authority under
13 Article 18 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
14 former Yugoslavia, charges that:
15 1. Serious violations of international humanitarian law took
16 place during the period of May 1992 to May 1993 when the armed forces of
17 the Croatian Defence Council (hereafter referred to as the HVO) of the
18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna (hereafter referred to as HZ HB)
19 attacked the Muslim civilian population in the towns, villages, and
20 hamlets of the Lasva Valley in Central Bosnia, generally, and specifically
21 in the municipalities of Vitez and Busovaca, and the civilian population
22 of the nearby city of Zenica, in the territory of the Republic of
24 The Accused.
25 2. Dario Kordic was born on 14 December 1960 in Sarajevo, in the
1 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. From at least 1991 until the present, he
2 has been an active and influential member of the Bosnian Croat political
3 party named the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (hereafter
4 referred to as HDZ-BiH). From at least 22 September 1992 until the
5 present, he has been Vice-President and a member of the Presidency of
6 HZ HB, and from on or about 10 July 1994, he has been Chairman of the
8 3. Tihomir Blaskic, son of Ivo, was born on 2 November 1960, in
9 the village of Brestovsko, municipality of Kiseljak, in the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He is a career military officer who graduated from
11 the Military Academy in Belgrade in 1983 and formerly served as a captain
12 in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). At all times material to this
13 indictment, he held the rank of colonel and was the Commander of the
14 Central Bosnia Operative Zone of the HVO. Since about August 1993, he has
15 held the rank of General and is the Chief of Staff of the HVO, with his
16 headquarters in Mostar.
17 4. Mario Cerkez, son of Tugomir, was born on 27 March 1959, in
18 the village of Rijeka, municipality of Vitez, in the Republic of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. His official personal identification number is
20 2703959193612. In 1992, during the formation of the HVO forces in Vitez,
21 he became the Commander of the HVO brigade stationed in the municipality
22 of Vitez. He held that position until at least the end of May 1993 and
23 during the HDZ-BiH HVO takeover of the municipal functions within Vitez
24 municipality. He is currently residing in Vitez.
25 5. Ivan Santic, son of Stipe, was born in 1942 and is married to
1 Mareka. He is a chemical engineer and was formerly the technical manager
2 in the Sintevit factory in Vitez. He was mayor of the municipality of
3 Vitez from at least May 1992 and at all times material to this
4 indictment. He held his position during the HDZ-BiH HVO takeover of the
5 municipal functions within the Vitez municipality. He is currently
6 residing in Vitez.
7 6. Pero Skopljak, son of Ante, was born on 4 June 1943, in Vitez,
8 in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. His official personal
9 identification number is 0406943193610, and he was a graduate of the
10 Faculty of Theology of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the former
11 President of the Executive Committee of Vitez HDZ-BiH Electoral Assembly
12 and Chief of Police at the Public Security Station of Vitez municipality
13 in Central Bosnia from at least October 1992 to May 1993. He is now an
14 official in the office of the Vice-President of HZ HB.
15 7. Zlatko Aleksovski, son of Tale and Iva, nee Stanko, was born
16 on 8 January 1960, in Pakrac municipality, in the Republic of Croatia. He
17 completed studies at the Veljko Vlahovic [phoen] Faculty of Political
18 Sciences, Department of Sociology, in Sarajevo, on 28 September 1983.
19 From 23 February 1987, he was employed as a counsellor at the Zenica
20 Correction House until on or about 29 January 1993 when he left to become
21 commander of the prison facility in Kaonik, near Busovaca. After May
22 1993, he left Kaonik to become the head of the district HVO heliodrom
23 prison in Mostar, which was also under the administration of HZ HB.
24 Superior authority.
25 Dario Kordic was elected President of the HDZ-BiH party in the
1 municipality of Busovaca in 1991. This party was the main Bosnian Croat
2 political party in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. On 18 November
3 1991, he participated in the formation of HZ HB and was a signatory to the
4 decision establishing HZ HB in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That
5 Bosnian Croat political entity was proclaimed by the HDZ-BiH to include
6 the municipalities of Travnik, Vitez, Novi Travnik, Busovaca, and
7 Kiseljak. By at least 10 May 1992, Kordic became the Vice-President of
8 the HVO in HZ HB. By at least 22 May 1992, he became one of two
9 vice-presidents of HZ HB and remained so at all times material to this
11 Dario Kordic was, by virtue of his position as a Vice-President of
12 HZ HB, also a member of the Presidency, being the legislative body of
13 HZ HB. According to Article 7 of the Decision on Founding the Croatian
14 Community of Herceg-Bosna, dated 3 July 1992, its Presidency consists of
15 the President, two Vice-Presidents, and the Secretary.
16 Dario Kordic, by virtue of holding various political functions
17 from time to time, culminating in his positions as Vice-President of HZ HB
18 and the HVO, and by virtue of his political power based in Central Bosnia,
19 exerted power, influence, and control over the political and strategic
20 aims and operations of the HVO in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, one
21 of the four HVO military operative zones within HZ HB, at all times
22 material to this indictment.
23 Dario Kordic demonstrated power, influence, authority, and control
24 on numerous occasions and in numerous ways, including but not limited to
25 negotiating ceasefire agreements, issuing orders that were directly or
1 indirectly of a military nature, representing himself as an HVO colonel,
2 dressing in an HVO uniform, having a military operations room in his
3 office in Busovaca, countermanding ceasefire agreements when the terms
4 were not suitable to him, issuing orders for the arrest or release of
5 influential Muslims held prisoner by the HVO, and negotiating the passage
6 of relief convoys or United Nations vehicles through checkpoints in
7 Central Bosnia.
8 Tihomir Blaskic, since the establishment of the HVO on 8 April
9 1992, was instrumental in the implementation of the structure and
10 functioning of the HVO in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. From at
11 least May 1992, he was a colonel in the HVO and the Commander of the
12 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and remained so at all times material to
13 this indictment.
14 Tihofil Blaskic's authority and duties as a Commander are set
15 forth in the Decree on the Armed Forces of the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna, dated 17 October 1992. That Decree provides inter alia that
17 he is responsible for the combat-readiness of the troops under his
18 command, the mobilisation of the armed forces and police units, and the
19 authority to appoint commanders.
20 Tihofil Blaskic has demonstrated or exercised his control in
21 military matters in a variety of ways, including but not limited to
22 negotiating ceasefire agreements, negotiating with the United Nations
23 officials, establishing the organisational structures of the armed forces
24 of the HVO, appointing and relieving military commanders, deploying
25 troops, artillery, and other units under his command, issuing orders to
1 municipal HVO headquarters, acting as a liaison with senior Croatian army
2 officials, and controlling external military units operating within his
3 area of command.
4 Mario Cerkez, from at least August 1992, was the commander of the
5 HVO brigade situated in the municipality of Vitez and remained so at all
6 times material to this indictment. His position within the HVO meant he
7 came under the command of Tihofil Blaskic, the HVO Central Bosnia
8 Operative Zone Commander at the time. The Viteska Brigade headquarters
9 was situated in the Hotel Vitez, the same building as Blaskic's
11 Mario Cerkez's authority and duties as a commander are set forth
12 in the Decree on the Armed Forces of the Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna, dated 17 October 1992, which provides inter alia that he is
14 responsible for the combat-readiness of the troops under his command, the
15 mobilisation of the armed forces and police units, and the authority to
16 appoint commanders.
17 Mario Cerkez has demonstrated or exercised his control in military
18 matters in a variety of ways, including but not limited to negotiating
19 ceasefire agreements with opposing civilian and military figures within
20 the Muslim community, negotiating with United Nations officials,
21 appointing military commanders, issuing orders to deploy troops and other
22 units under his command, and controlling the detention and treatment of
23 detained civilians during times of military conflict.
24 Ivan Santic was the mayor of the municipality of Vitez from at
25 least May 1992 until May 1993. He represented the Bosnian Croat
1 population of Vitez within the HDZ-BiH. By virtue of his political and
2 official position, he exerted considerable power, influence, authority,
3 and control over the political and military aims of the HVO in the
4 municipality of Vitez.
5 Ivan Santic has demonstrated or exercised control over civilian
6 and military matters within the Vitez municipality in a variety of ways,
7 including but not limited to negotiating ceasefire agreements with
8 opposing civilian and military figures from within the Muslim community,
9 negotiating with United Nations officials, controlling the municipal and
10 governmental functions within Vitez municipality, and controlling the
11 detention and treatment of detained civilians during times of military
13 Pero Skopljak was the President of the HDZ-BiH Executive Committee
14 for the municipality of Vitez. From at least October 1992 until May 1993,
15 he was the Chief of Police in the municipality of Vitez. By virtue of his
16 political and official position, he exerted power, influence, authority,
17 and control over the political and strategic military aims of the HVO in
18 the municipality of Vitez.
19 Pero Skopljak has demonstrated or exercised his control over
20 civil, police, and military matters within the municipality of Vitez in a
21 variety of ways, including but not limited to negotiating ceasefire
22 agreements with opposing civil and military figures from within the Muslim
23 community, negotiating with United Nations officials, controlling the
24 municipal and governmental functions, and controlling the detention and
25 treatment of detained civilians during times of military conflict.
1 Zlatko Aleksovski was an official at the Zenica prison from 23
2 February 1987 until leaving to be the commander of the detention facility
3 at Kaonik, near Busovaca, on or about 29 January 1993. He was in charge
4 of the Kaonik prison and was in a position of superiority to everyone else
5 in the camp. As commander, he met International Committee of the Red
6 Cross (hereafter referred to as ICRC) and European Community Monitoring
7 Mission (hereafter referred to as ECMM) officials and provided them with
8 lists of detained persons and acknowledged his position of commander of
9 the facility and his understanding of the Geneva Conventions in relation
10 to the detention and treatment of prisoners in his charge.
11 Zlatko Aleksovski has demonstrated or exercised his control over
12 the detention facility of Kaonik prison in a variety of ways, including
13 but not limited to formal meetings with ICRC and ECMM officials, accepting
14 the custody of arrested persons by HVO units, allowing the unlawful
15 interrogation of detained persons, and allowing them to be used for
16 unlawful forced labour, such as digging trenches and human shields.
17 General allegations.
18 At all the times relevant to this indictment, a state of
19 international armed conflict and partial occupation existed in the
20 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the territory of the former
21 Yugoslavia. All acts or omissions herein set forth as grave breaches of
22 the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (hereafter known as grave breaches)
23 recognised by Article 2 of the Statute of the Tribunal, occurred during
24 that international armed conflict and partial occupation.
25 In each paragraph charging crimes against humanity, a crime
1 recognised by Article 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal, the alleged acts
2 or omissions were part of a widespread, large-scale or systematic attack
3 directed against a civilian population, specifically the Bosnian Muslim
4 population of the Lasva Valley region of the Republic of
6 All of the victims referred to in the charges contained in this
7 indictment were, at all relevant times, persons protected by the Geneva
8 Conventions of 1949.
9 All of the accused in this indictment were required to abide by
10 the mandate of the laws or customs governing the conduct of war, including
11 the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
12 The general allegations contained in paragraphs 8 through 22.5 are
13 re-alleged and incorporated into each of the related charges set out
16 Between 1 May 1992 and 31 May 1993, Bosnian Muslims were
17 persecuted on political, racial, and religious grounds throughout the
18 Lasva Valley area. Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic, during those times
19 throughout the Lasva Valley area, did, by their acts and omissions and in
20 concert with others, commit a crime against humanity by persecuting
21 Bosnian Muslims on political, rational, and religious grounds.
22 They are criminally responsible for the murder and wounding of
23 Muslim civilians or detainees, the attacking and bombarding of undefended
24 towns, villages, and dwellings, deliberate attacks on a civilian
25 population, the unlawful destruction of businesses, homes, personal
1 property, and livestock, the unlawful treatment of detainees for extended
2 periods of time, the plundering of homes and personal property, the
3 transfer and forcing of civilians to move out of the Lasva Valley to
4 predominantly Muslim-populated regions, and the commission of other
5 inhumane acts. Persecution was carried out by one or more of the
6 aforementioned means, some of which are more particularised below.
7 In January and April 1993, HVO forces or their agents, under the
8 direction and control of Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic, planned and
9 executed a systematic campaign of bombarding, attacking, and destroying
10 towns, villages, and hamlets in the Lasva Valley area, or parts thereof,
11 whose inhabitants were predominantly Bosnian Muslims. These communities
12 and their Bosnian Muslim inhabitants were selected and targeted on
13 political and racial grounds.
14 The attacks on these communities were conducted by HVO forces
15 which, in the Vitez municipality, included members of the Viteska Brigade
16 under the direction and control of Mario Cerkez. The Bosnian Muslim
17 communities that were attacked in the Lasva Valley had few or no
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina army (hereafter referred to as ABiH) troops present in
19 or near the community. Many of the attacks commenced early in the morning
20 when most of the inhabitants were in their homes and asleep. At least 100
21 defenseless Bosnian Muslim civilians, including women, children, the
22 elderly and the infirm, were killed and many wounded or harmed in their
23 homes, in their yards while attempting to escape from the HVO attacks or
24 bombardments or after they had been detained by the HVO.
25 In late April 1993, when ABiH forces were involved in a
1 counteroffensive against the HVO in or near the Lasva Valley area, HVO
2 forces or their agents, under the direction and control of Dario Kordic
3 and Tihofil Blaskic, bombarded civilians gathering in the central shopping
4 area of Zenica, resulting in the deaths of at least 17 civilians and the
5 wounding of many others.
6 Between 1 January and at least 31 May 1993, in the municipalities
7 of Busovaca and Vitez, hundreds of Bosnian Muslim civilians that had not
8 escaped from or been killed in the HVO attacks were systematically
9 selected and rounded up on political, rational, or religious grounds by
10 HVO forces or their agents under the direction and control of Dario Kordic
11 and Tihofil Blaskic. These Bosnian Muslim civilians, including the many
12 wounded in the attacks, were taken and detained by HVO forces or their
13 agents, some of which included members of the Viteska Brigade which was
14 under the direction and control of Mario Cerkez.
15 These civilians were interned along with captured Muslim
16 combatants in detention facilities located at diverse locations in the
17 Lasva Valley area. These facilities include but are not limited to the
18 Vitez cinema complex, Kaonik prison near Busovaca, Vitez Veterinarian
19 School, Dubrovnicka Elementary School, and several Muslim homes in
20 Gacice. These detention facilities were staffed, operated, or controlled
21 by the HVO or their agents under the direction and control of Dario Kordic
22 and Tihofil Blaskic.
23 The hundreds of Bosnian Muslim civilians described in paragraph 26
24 were detained in these facilities for various lengths of time on the basis
25 of political, racial, and religious grounds until they were either killed,
1 transferred, or forced to move to Muslim-dominated areas outside the Lasva
2 Valley area, generally, and specifically outside the municipalities of
3 Vitez, Novi Travnik, and Busovaca.
4 While detained, many of the Muslim civilians and captured Muslim
5 combatants were subjected by the HVO or their agents, under the direction
6 and control of Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic, to inhumane treatment,
7 including being kept in cramped or overcrowded facilities, being provided
8 with inadequate food or water, being provided with inadequate or no
9 medical treatment for the infirm or wounded, being subjected to physical
10 or psychological abuse and intimidation, being repeatedly forced to dig
11 trenches for the HVO at numerous and diverse locations at or near lines of
12 confrontation between the HVO and the ABiH thereby subjecting such
13 detainees to mental and physical harm, being subjected to use as human
14 shields at diverse locations in the Lasva Valley area in order to protect
15 HVO military installations or troops from forces hostile to the HVO, and
16 some being shot or beaten to death by the HVO.
17 On 19 April 1993, Mario Cerkez, having previously controlled the
18 arrest and detention of hundreds of Muslim civilians throughout his
19 command of HVO units in Vitez, stated that the HVO would kill 2,200 Muslim
20 civilians detained in Vitez unless pressure was put on the ABiH and civil
21 authorities to stop the ABiH counteroffensive in the Vitez area. This
22 threat was reaffirmed on 20 April 1993 by Pero Skopljak and Ivan Santic,
23 and they were thus able, through threats, intimidation, and coercion, to
24 force the signing of a document beneficial to the interests of the HVO and
25 potentially detrimental to the interests of the ABiH.
1 Therefore, Mario Cerkez, Pero Skopljak, and Ivan Santic, allowed
2 the continued detention of the Muslim civilian detainees who were under
3 their care and control, the inhumane treatment of the detainees, the use
4 of persons for forced labour digging trenches, and the use of detained
5 persons as human shields. During such time of detention, some of them
6 were murdered or otherwise killed.
7 From January 1993 until at least the end of May 1993, Zlatko
8 Aleksovski accepted hundreds of detained Bosnian Muslim civilians from the
9 HVO or their agents into his custody at the detention facilities in
10 Kaonik. The detainees were from a widespread area including but not
11 limited to Vitez and Busovaca municipalities. Many of the detainees who
12 were under his control were subjected to inhumane treatment, including but
13 not limited to excessive and cruel interrogation, physical and
14 psychological harm, forced labour digging trenches in hazardous
15 circumstances, being used as human shields, and some were murdered or
16 otherwise killed.
18 Throughout the Lasva Valley area involved with systematic and
19 wanton destruction of Bosnian Muslim homes, personal property, livestock,
20 and businesses by the HVO armed forces, police, and their agents or third
21 parties with their acquiescence, under the direction or control of Dario
22 Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic.
23 Between October 1992 and the end of May 1993, Bosnian Muslim
24 property was singled out on the basis of political, racial, and religious
25 grounds and systematically destroyed even before the hostilities
1 commenced, or during or after the HVO attacks on the Muslim civilian
2 population in the Lasva Valley area. The effect of this unlawful,
3 excessive, and wanton destruction of hundreds of Bosnian Muslim homes,
4 personal property, and livestock not justified by military necessity, was
5 to ensure that the inhabitants who had not been killed could not or would
6 not return to their homes and communities in the Lasva Valley area. The
7 towns, villages, and hamlets or Muslim portions thereof where extensive
8 destruction occurred include but are not limited to the towns of Ahmici,
9 April 1993; Busovaca, January 1993 to May 1993; Gacice, Kacuni, Loncari,
10 Nadioci, Ocehnici, Pirici, Putis, Cantici, Sivrino Selo, Stari Vitez,
11 Veceriska/Donja Veceriska, Vitez, all of them through the month of April
12 1993; Vitez, December 1992 to May 1993.
13 Beginning in January 1993 and through to May 1993, HVO forces or
14 their agents, under the direction and control of Dario Kordic and Tihofil
15 Blaskic, on the basis of political, racial, and religious grounds,
16 unlawfully bombarded the central shopping area of Zenica and
17 systematically attacked hundreds of undefended dwellings or buildings in
18 numerous towns, villages, and hamlets in diverse locations in the Lasva
19 Valley area that were owned, many of which were occupied by Bosnian Muslim
20 civilians and were of no military significance at the time of the attack
21 or bombardment, in order to kill, terrorise, or demoralise the Bosnian
22 Muslim population.
23 These incidents resulted in hundreds of Bosnian Muslim civilian
24 casualties in numerous locations, including but not limited to Ahmici, 16
25 April 1993; Busovaca, January 1993 to 26 April 1993; Gacice, 20 April
1 1993, at 5.50 in the morning; Kacuni, January 1993; Loncari, 17 April
2 1993; Nadioci, 16 April 1993, at 5.30 a.m.; Ocehnici, 19 April 1993;
3 Pirici, 16 April 1993, 6.00 a.m.; Putis, 16 April 1993; Cantici, 16 April
4 1993, 5.30 a.m.; Sivrino Selo, 16 April 1993; Stari Vitez, 16 April 1993,
5 5.45 a.m.; Veceriska/Donja Veceriska, 16 April 1993, 5.30 a.m.; Vitez, 16
6 April 1993, 5.15 a.m.; Zenica, 19 April 1993.
7 All events described in paragraphs 23 to 33 were directed against
8 Bosnian Muslim civilians on political, racial, and religious grounds.
9 Individually and collectively, these actions were on such a large-scale
10 and widespread basis and implemented in such a systematic fashion that
11 they have effectively destroyed or removed almost the entire Muslim
12 civilian population from those areas of the Lasva Valley where the HVO and
13 the Bosnian Croat administration has taken control.
14 Crimes against humanity.
15 Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic, between 1 May 1992 and 31 May
16 1993, individually and in concert with others, planned, instigated,
17 ordered or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or
18 execution of the following crimes:
19 A. Persecutions of Bosnian Muslims in the Lasva Valley area of
20 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina on political, racial, and religious
22 B. Bombardments and attacks which caused the deaths of over 100
23 Bosnian civilians in the Lasva Valley area and the city of Zenica, in the
24 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
25 C. Inhumane acts against Bosnian civilians in the Lasva Valley
1 area and civilians in the central shopping district of the city of Zenica,
2 in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
3 And/or, in the alternative, knew or had reason to know that
4 subordinates were about to do the same, or had done so, and failed to take
5 the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish
6 the perpetrators thereof.
7 By these acts and omissions, Dario Kordic and Tihofil Blaskic
9 Count 1: A crime against humanity, as recognised by Articles
10 5(H), persecution, on political, racial, and religious grounds, 7(1) and
11 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal, as described in paragraphs 23 to 34
12 which are incorporated in full herein;
13 Count 2: A crime against humanity, as recognised by Articles
14 5(A), murder, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal, as described
15 in paragraphs 24 to 25, which are incorporated in full herein;
16 Count 3: A crime against humanity, as recognised by Articles
17 5(I), inhumane acts, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal, as
18 described in paragraphs 23, 28 to 34, and all references to the wounding
19 or harming of many Bosnian civilians as set out in paragraphs 24 and 25,
20 all of which are incorporated in full herein.
21 Counts 4 through 7: Grave breaches and violations of the laws or
22 customs of war, wilful killing and wounding of Bosnian Muslim civilians.
23 Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, and Mario Cerkez, between 1 January
24 and 31 May 1993, and as described in paragraphs 24 and 25 of this
25 indictment, both of which are incorporated in full herein, individually
1 and in concert with others, planned, instigated, ordered or otherwise
2 aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or execution of the murder
3 of over 100 civilians and the wounding of many others in the Lasva Valley
4 area and in the city of Zenica, in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
5 and/or, in the alternative, knew or had reason to know that subordinates
6 were about to do the same, or had done so, and failed to take the
7 necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the
8 perpetrators thereof.
9 By these acts and omissions, Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, and
10 Mario Cerkez, committed:
11 Count 4: A grave breach, as recognised by Articles 2(A), wilful
12 killing, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
13 Count 5: A grave breach, as recognised by Articles 2(C), wilfully
14 causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, 7(1) and 7(3)
15 of the Statute of the Tribunal;
16 Count 6: A violation of the laws or customs of war, as recognised
17 by Articles 3, deliberate attack on the civilian population and individual
18 civilians, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
19 Count 7: A violation of the laws or customs of war, recognised by
20 Article 3, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal, and Article
21 3(1)(a), murder, of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
22 Counts 8 through 10: Grave breaches and violations of the laws or
23 customs of war, unlawful treatment of Bosnian Muslim detainees.
24 Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, Mario Cerkez, Ivan Santic, Pero
25 Skopljak, and Zlatko Aleksovski, between 1 January and 31 May 1993, and as
1 otherwise described in paragraphs 23 and 26 through 31 of this indictment,
2 all of which are incorporated in full herein, individually and in concert
3 with others, planned, instigated, ordered, or otherwise aided and abetted
4 in the planning, preparation, or execution of the unlawful treatment of
5 Bosnian Muslim detainees in the Lasva Valley area of the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina; and/or, in the alternative, knew or had reason to know
7 that subordinates were about to do the same or had done so and failed to
8 take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to
9 punish the perpetrators thereof.
10 By these acts and omissions, Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, Mario
11 Cerkez, Ivan Santic, Pero Skopljak, and Zlatko Aleksovski committed:
12 Count 8: A grave breach, as recognised by Articles 2(B), inhumane
13 treatment, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
14 Count 9: A grave breach, as recognised by Article 2(C), wilfully
15 causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, 7(1) and 7(3)
16 of the Statute of the Tribunal;
17 Count 10: A violation of the laws or customs of war, outrages
18 upon personal dignity, as recognised by Articles 3, 7(1) and 7(3) of the
19 Statute of the Tribunal.
20 Counts 11 through 13: Grave breaches and violations of the laws
21 or customs of war, attacks, bombardments, and destruction of civilian
23 Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, and Mario Cerkez, between 1 January
24 and 31 May 1993, and otherwise as described in paragraphs 23, 25 and 32
25 through 33 of this indictment, all of which are incorporated in full
1 herein, individually and in concert with others, planned, instigated,
2 ordered, or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or
3 execution of the unlawful attacking, bombarding, and destruction of
4 Bosnian Muslim dwellings, businesses, buildings, personal property and
5 livestock in the Lasva Valley area, in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
6 and/or, in the alternative, knew or had reason to know that subordinates
7 were about to do the same or had done so and failed to take the necessary
8 and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators
10 By these acts and omissions, Dario Kordic, Tihofil Blaskic, and
11 Mario Cerkez committed:
12 Count 11: A grave breach, as recognised by Articles 2(D),
13 extensive destruction of property, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the
15 Count 12: A violation of the laws or customs of war, wanton
16 destruction of dwellings or other installations that are used only by the
17 civilian population, including places of religious worship, as recognised
18 by Articles 3, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
19 Count 13: A violation of the laws or customs of war, attacks on
20 dwellings or other installations that are used only by the civilian
21 population, including places of religious worship, as recognised by
22 Articles 3, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
23 Signed, Richard J. Goldstone, Prosecutor.
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar.
25 General Blaskic, would you rise, please, and state to the Tribunal
1 whether you plead guilty or not guilty, and if you do plead guilty or not
2 guilty, to which of the counts that we have read to you.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I plead not guilty to
4 all the --
5 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I was not getting the
6 interpretation there. I'd like to ask General Blaskic to state again
7 whether he is pleading guilty or not guilty, and if he does plead guilty
8 or not guilty, for each of the counts. Now, if you do not mind, General
9 Blaskic, would you please answer the question so that the Tribunal, at
10 least myself with my headphones on now, can hear you.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with respect to all the
12 charges of the indictment, I plead not guilty. I consider myself
13 completely innocent.
14 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] For the organisation of our work, I
17 now turn to the Defence counsel.
18 Sir, have you a statement to make? And then I will turn to the
19 Prosecution. To ensure proper organisation of our future deliberations, I
20 would first like to know whether you intend to file any applications or
21 preliminary motions, and recall to you that according to the terms of the
22 Statute of the Tribunal, the Defence has 60 days, counting from this
23 appearance, that is, until the 3rd of June, 1996, to file, among other
24 things, preliminary motions.
25 Mr. Hodek, I give you the floor to answer this question or to make
1 any other statement which you deem useful or necessary in the interests of
2 your client, General Blaskic. You have the floor, sir.
3 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, first I have a formal
4 motion. I don't think it is very important, but Mr. Blaskic, my client --
5 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I'm afraid I didn't hear
6 everything. Could we please start this again.
7 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have an objection that
8 is more of a formal character. Maybe it is not so important, but I think
9 we should correct it. My defendant's name is Tihomir Blaskic and not
10 Tihofil. I don't know where the name Tihofil came up. I would like you
11 to call my defendant by his real name, Tihomir.
12 At the same time, in accordance with Article --
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Would you please spell the exact way
14 it should be written. How is it spelled?
15 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] T-i-h-o-m-i-r.
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Tihomir. Have you noted that,
17 Prosecution? In any of the exchanges that you will now have with the
18 Defence, the Tribunal has also noted that General Blaskic's first name is
19 Tihomir. You may now go on.
20 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] In addition, in accordance with Rule
21 66(A) and (B), I would request the Prosecution to disclose the evidence
22 that was used to prepare this indictment. In order to prepare the defence
23 within this framework of 60 days, we would kindly ask the Prosecutor's
24 Office to disclose the evidence in order to see whether it's reliable or
25 not reliable evidence. Of course, we are ready to hand over to the OTP
1 the evidence that we have at our disposal, our alibis, et cetera. But for
2 us, given the character of the indictment and since General Blaskic is
3 charged as being responsible for the crimes committed, we would like to
4 receive the evidence from the OTP.
5 This would be everything on behalf of the Defence for the time
6 being. As soon as we receive the supporting material, in accordance with
7 the Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, we will continue with
8 motions or further requests. Thank you.
9 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I now turn to the
10 Prosecution and give the floor to the Prosecution to make any statements
11 which you consider proper and to answer the question asked through us
12 having to do with the evidence which should be given to the Defence. I
13 now turn the floor over to you, Prosecution.
14 MR. OSTBERG: Yes. We are under an obligation to make available
15 to the Defence, as soon as is practical after the Initial Appearance of
16 the accused, copies of the supporting materials, et cetera.
17 As we all heard now through the reading of the indictment, another
18 five persons are accused. This makes it necessary for us to redact the
19 supporting material and not to disclose information on other accused other
20 than General Blaskic. We also have to redact the material to protect our
21 witnesses who are named in this rather huge material.
22 For that reason, Your Honour, I would -- my office would, I think,
23 need some weeks, and I suggest that we consider it today practical to do
24 so within one month.
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Ostberg, you need some time,
1 everybody understands this, because the indictment does include other
2 accused and now we are talking about an exchange of evidence which must be
3 protected. For that reason, would a nearer date be all right? For
4 example, I was going to suggest the week of 22 or 26 April. Perhaps could
5 we have a preparatory conference, a Status Conference, for the 24th of
6 April? At that point we could see where we are. I'm not saying that you
7 will have transmitted all the documents, but at least together we could
8 have a closed -- an in camera conference in order to see exactly where we
9 are as to the documents you have exchanged and those which the Defence
10 counsel could also have prepared for any possible preliminary motions he
11 plans to file. Could this be agreed to by the Defence and by the
12 Prosecutor? I'm not saying that you have to transmit everything, but
13 perhaps you could have given some of the proof.
14 MR. OSTBERG: Yes. Can I have a second, Your Honour, to discuss
15 this with my colleagues?
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
17 [Prosecution counsel confer]
18 MR. OSTBERG: Yes. We believe we can make some disclosures on
19 this date that you have suggested, Your Honour. So we can disclose to the
20 Defence on the 24th of April at least some of the material, the important
21 parts, even, of the material. I would suggest, however, that after that
22 we move forward a bit the Status Conference. We'll disclose to the
23 Defence on the date of the 24th some material, and then maybe in the
24 beginning, we'll have a Status Conference to discuss and see -- to set the
25 date for the --
1 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor. I'll
2 turn to the Defence now.
3 This status of the case and the date of the 24th of April, do you
4 think that would be acceptable?
5 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would like
6 to thank you, Your Honour. Yes, we would like to start as soon as
7 possible because of the position of our client, of our defendant.
8 I would like to say also that my office is representing also all
9 the other indictees from this indictment. The Office of the Prosecutor
10 mentioned the sensitivity of the documents, but you should bear in mind
11 that the same attorney is representing all the accused. So sooner or
12 later we will have to ask the OTP to present, to disclose, all the
13 evidence, and for the time being they think that they shouldn't do it.
14 I would like to draw your attention to Rule 75(A) by which we
15 could arrange for some measures for the protection of the identities of
16 victims and witnesses. But I would like to request the OTP to hand over
17 as much evidence and supporting material by the 24th of April. Thank
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, on the basis of this
20 observation to the effect that his firm would be representing all the
21 other accused in the present indictment and, therefore, from this point of
22 view, your comment would lose some of its strength, what is your answer?
23 MR. OSTBERG: We are under no obligation to disclose anything
24 concerning the other accused until they appear before this Tribunal, Your
1 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] All right. Well, this is an
2 objection which the Court finds quite relevant. Even though you will be
3 representing, as you've informed us today, all the other accused, it does
4 not seem that it is possible in the present state of affairs and present
5 state of the procedure with the presence of General Blaskic, it does not
6 seem possible that we proceed in this way lightly concerning the other
7 aspects of the evidence in the present indictment. However, this does
8 incite me to ask that we move as quickly as possible concerning the person
9 who is present, and I would ask that we not wait two months.
10 Therefore, the Court will decide that on the 24th of April, at
11 4.00 p.m. Do you agree, counsel? Will you be free at that time?
12 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] Yes. There are no problems. We will
13 be here on the 24th of April, at 4.00 p.m. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, do you agree with
15 this date?
16 MR. OSTBERG: I personally cannot be present at that date, but
17 other counsel for the -- could we possibly, Your Honour, bring it to the
18 beginning of the week thereafter? I have an obligation to do things in
19 Sweden during the week between -- from the 22nd and after the 25th.
20 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] It may be the case that the Court
21 will also have other obligations at that time, and since it is not
22 possible to split the Prosecutor's function, I see that the one-month lead
23 time that you had suggested is lacking again. So I think that if you
24 cannot give all the evidence, we must give a maximum and have an analysis
25 of progress. Since the Prosecutor's Office cannot be divided, then one of
1 his assistants will be present at 4.00 p.m. on the 24th of April.
2 Perhaps we could ask that in order to facilitate the work
3 concerning transmission of information, that we clearly record the
4 particulars of Attorney Hodek. Are you considered as the attorney for the
6 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Well, yes, Attorney Hodek has
7 submitted the power of attorney on behalf of his client, so we have his
8 particulars and we would, indeed, like to organise, perhaps in a more
9 detailed fashion, the exchange of elements of evidence. But we have no
10 problem in communicating with him.
11 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Well, thank you. I believe that we
12 have reached the end of this hearing. I would like to consult my
13 colleagues to determine whether they have additional questions to ask.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] No additional questions? Well, in
16 that event, Attorney Hodek, do you have any other comments?
17 MR. HODEK: [Interpretation] No, thank you. No, thank you. That
18 would be all.
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, no other comments?
20 Well, then, we will have an in camera session on the 24th of
21 April, at 4.00 p.m. This session is adjourned.
22 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned.