Case No IT-95-14
1 Tuesday, 24th June 1997
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, would you please have the
4 accused brought in?
5 (Accused enters court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, I would like to be sure that
7 the interpretation booths are ready and that all the
8 parties hear me and will also hear the other judges. I
9 turn first to my judges. Do you hear me.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Does the Prosecutor hear? Does the Defence
12 hear? Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, do you hear me?
13 GENERAL BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honours. I hear you
15 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to now have the appearances for
16 the parties, starting with the Prosecution.
17 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Mr. President and your Honours.
18 My name is Mark Harmon. I will be representing the
19 Prosecutor's Office this morning with my colleagues, to
20 my right Mr. Andrew Cayley, to his right Mr. Gregory
21 Kehoe. To my left is Mr. Emile van der Does de
23 JUDGE JORDA: This constitution will be the same throughout
24 the trial?
25 MR. MARK HARMON: There may be one additional person and
1 that is Mr. Douglas Stringer.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Turning to the Defence.
3 MR. HAYMAN: Good morning, your Honours. My name is Russel
4 Hayman. Together with my colleague Anto Nobilo we
5 represent General Tihomir Blaskic.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Tihomir Blaskic, would you please rise?
7 Very briefly I ask you to introduce yourself to the
8 Tribunal, confirming who you are, how old you are, from
9 what geographic area you come, where you had your
10 residence at the time you came to the Hague, that is
11 your residence in Croatia and your profession. This
12 will be the only time which we will ask you these
13 questions, but since the trial is now opening, I want to
14 ask you these details. Would you please give them to
16 GENERAL BLASKIC: Thank you, your Honours. My name is
17 Tihomir Blaskic. I was born on 2nd November in
18 Kiseljak in 1962. Before coming to the Hague I was
19 living in Zagreb. My occupation is -- rather I
20 graduated from the Military Academy of Ground Forces and
21 I am a professional officer of the Croatian army by
23 JUDGE JORDA: Are you married? Do you have children,
24 Mr. Blaskic?
25 GENERAL BLASKIC: Yes, I'm married since 1987. I have two
1 children, a son called Dajan, nine years of age, and a
2 son called Ivan of one year.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated.
4 GENERAL BLASKIC: Thank you.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to ask several preliminary
6 questions at the time now that the trial of Tihomir
7 Blaskic is beginning. First, I would like to turn to
8 the Prosecution and ask that with the assistance of the
9 registry that a single document relating to the amended
10 indictment be indicated. I would like to recall to you
11 that the indictment against General Blaskic was amended
12 two times, not counting the original indictment, which
13 had his name and six other names of accused. It was
14 first amended in order to separate General Blaskic's
15 case from the others, and then the indictment at the
16 request of the Defence was modified concerning a certain
17 number of points. What we like, myself and my
18 colleagues, is a single document, which makes a
19 definitive synthesis of the charges as they have been
20 confirmed by the Tribunal be set up.
21 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, the indictment which is now the
22 second amended indictment charges General Blaskic -- it
23 charges General Blaskic, your Honours, with 20 counts,
24 three counts of crimes against humanity, six counts of
25 grave breaches and 11 counts of violations of the laws
1 or customs of war. The indictment, a copy of which I
2 do not have in front of me, covers a substantial period
3 of time and takes place in three municipalities,
4 Busovaca municipality, the Vitez municipality --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. I am not asking you
6 to begin that way. I have other preliminary points.
7 I simply wanted to tell you that after the decision of
8 the Tribunal on 23rd May 1997 we noted a certain number
9 of changes after a discussion with both parties present
10 and during that discussion we rendered the decision
11 which confirms a certain number of charges. It tells
12 you to go to Trial Chamber II, if necessary, to confirm
13 certain other charges, and I would also like to recall
14 that there was a new charge. What the Tribunal is
15 asking is that following that decision we would like to
16 have a single document which synthesises everything.
17 It will be either you or the registry. I believe the
18 Registry, according to what I was told by the Registry,
19 is work being done now together with the Prosecutor.
20 This is what the Tribunal is asking, that is the
21 synthesis of the various decisions taken for the
22 indictment be done. That is all I am asking for the
23 time being. That is the point that the Tribunal wanted
24 to stress, that is wanted to have that document.
25 I would also like to recall, that is remind both
1 of the parties, that this trial is opening today but
2 that there are three types of decisions which are
3 pending. They are preliminary decisions which might
4 have some kind of repercussion on the conduct of the
5 trial. Pending before Trial Chamber II, presided over
6 by Judge McDonald, there is a dispute over what is
7 called the subpoena duces tecum, which must be settled
8 by Judge McDonald's Chamber and which might have an
9 influence on the conduct of the trial, according
10 naturally to what the decision will be.
11 I say for the public, so that it will understand
12 what the schedule for the Blaskic trial will be. We
13 also have pending, and this will be since yesterday --
14 it is this Trial Chamber which must make that decision
15 which it will do as quickly a possible -- a new decision
16 on the protection of witnesses and a further decision
17 concerning certain measures relating to various
18 depositions. I won't say anything else, because these
19 decisions must be taken by this Trial Chamber, but were
20 discussed in camera yesterday.
21 Lastly, I would like to point out that the
22 Tribunal is faced with a certain number of material
23 constraints. Everybody can see that this courtroom is
24 well equipped. All the conditions have been satisfied
25 here in order to make sure that the trial takes place
1 under the best conditions. Regrettably we have only
2 one trial -- only one courtroom, which we have to share
3 with the other trials that are going on now. The
4 Tribunal is very busy. The three Chambers of the
5 Tribunal are working, the other Trial Chamber as well as
6 the Appeals Chamber, and the Tribunal even had to set up
7 another group of judges for the Celebici trial.
8 Therefore, we will have to operate in sequences,
9 generally two week sequences, and all of this is
10 something which the parties know, but it had to be said
11 in public so that no -- when the interruptions come
12 about, no-one will be surprised. The Tribunal together
13 with the appropriate authorities will have to find a
14 solution so that these physical problems do not have
15 overly great influence on the conduct of this trial. In
16 this respect I have another statement to make. I am
17 talking about the length of the proceedings.
18 I now turn both to the Prosecutor and to the
19 Defence. An international Tribunal wishes to be
20 exemplary and to comply with the highest international
21 standards. All of us in accordance with the covenant
22 on civil rights and the European pact of human rights
23 that we will ensure that General Blaskic enjoys an
24 impartial, fair trial, which takes place within a
25 reasonable time-frame.
1 The proceedings are not completely under the
2 control of the judges. As adopted in the Statute, the
3 proceedings allow a great deal of initiative both to the
4 Prosecution and to the Defence. Both parties know what
5 the judges must take on their own initiative.
6 Nonetheless, turning to the Prosecutor and to the
7 Defence, Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman, a great deal of the
8 speed with which this will be carried out will depend
9 both on you, who will determine the number of witnesses
10 that are needed for you to prove, you, the Prosecution,
11 to prove the charges which you have ascribed to General
12 Blaskic, and, Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman, to prove your
13 client is innocent.
14 This depends on you. I would like to call your
15 attention to the fact that justice, which is endless,
16 which goes on and on indefinitely, not only would not
17 meet the expectations of international public opinion in
18 civilised countries, but in proper time limits would not
19 respect the right of the trial to have a trial which
20 takes place within a reasonable amount of time. I will
21 say this only one time. I will say it today in
22 public. You cite the number of witnesses that you wish
23 to cite, but I would only like to tell you that the
24 judges of this Tribunal, who have the responsibility of
25 conducting these proceedings under conditions which will
1 guarantee the standards of international justice, and
2 this is their only responsibility, the judges will not
3 hesitate, if necessary, to intervene in order that
4 repetitions and things that would be overly superfluous
5 with the deepest respect for both parties being able to
6 express themselves be taken as much as possible; that is
7 that this not be allowed. If this is not the case, we
8 would only be able to point it out, but at that point
9 each one will be conscious of his own responsibilities.
10 I have no doubt that both parties, with full
11 knowledge that history is looking at us, that we will be
12 judged by posterity, that we very keenly feel the need
13 to make sure that General Blaskic has an impartial, just
14 trial within the trial frame for which he has right and
15 that international public opinion has the right to
16 expect as well. Under these conditions, Prosecutor, I
17 am asking this before even you make your initial
18 charges, that you tell us how you conceive of the
19 conduct, the schedule for the future hearings in terms
20 of how much time you will need in order to prove the
21 guilt, the number of witnesses, according to charges.
22 Are you in a position to do this either today or in the
23 coming days? I will ask the same question of
24 Mr. Hayman.
25 I will conclude by saying that the Tribunal or
1 this Trial Chamber has Judge Shahabuddeen, Judge Riad
2 and myself, who after an election which complies with
3 the Statute of the Tribunal says that I was elected
4 Presiding Judge, I, Claude Jorda.
5 I give the floor to the Prosecution both in order
6 to present your charges and then at the end to say to us
7 how you envisage the conduct of the hearings, because,
8 as I told you, the Tribunal will try to make plans so
9 that the trial takes place under the best conditions and
10 within the best time-frame period possible. I now give
11 you the floor, prosecution.
12 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, the response to your question
13 about how we intend to proceed will be addressed, if I
14 may seek the court's indulgence in the course of my
15 opening remarks.
16 JUDGE JORDA: You have all the indulgence of the Tribunal,
17 but please do not take advantage of that indulgence.
18 MR. HARMON: May I proceed, your Honour?
19 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.
20 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, the case over which you and Judge
21 Riad and Judge Shahabuddeen will preside is a case about
22 how Bosnian Croat military forces under the command and
23 control of Tihomir Blaskic ethnically cleansed parts of
24 Central Bosnia in 1993 by systematically attacking
25 Muslim civilians and their homes and destroying their
1 property and by employing methods that no responsible
2 military commander would condone. The illegal methods
3 used by his forces were calculated to achieve an ethnic
4 majority for the Bosnian Croats in Central Bosnia.
5 The evidence that the Prosecutor's Office will
6 present, your Honours, will show that these illegal
7 methods used by Blaskic's subordinates were widespread
8 over time and area and were well-known to General
9 Blaskic. Indeed, your Honours, they were quite
10 effective. Whole Muslim villages were razed to the
11 ground and their populations were driven from the
12 territory he controlled.
13 Our evidence will show that General Blaskic was a
14 professional soldier who was fully aware of his
15 obligations as a commander under international law, but
16 that he ignored them or was indifferent to them in his
17 determination to achieve Croat domination in Central
19 Let me turn initially to the conflict itself.
20 The former Yugoslavia was comprised of six
21 republics in two autonomous regions, but in the late
22 1980s and the early 1990s social and political events
23 culminated with the disintegration of that state. Four
24 of the republics, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia
25 and Macedonia declared their independence. In the wake
1 of those declarations of independence terrible and
2 bloody wars ensued, particularly in Croatia and
3 particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the Socialist
4 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia attempted to deny the
5 peoples of those republics their independence.
6 Now focusing on the war in Bosnia, the parties to
7 the conflict were generally, but not exclusively,
8 divided along ethnic lines: the Bosnian Serbs, under
9 the leadership of Dr Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko
10 Mladic sought to cleave out an independent entity known
11 as the Republika Srpska. The socialist Federal
12 Republic of Yugoslavia and its army, the JNA, supported
13 this effort, but ultimately international pressure was
14 brought to bear and the JNA was withdrawn, at least
15 nominally from Bosnia on 19th May 1992. In truth and
16 in fact the JNA remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina but
17 merely changed its name. The war machine of the JNA
18 was essentially transferred to the army of the Republika
19 Srpska, the VRS, and throughout the war Belgrade
20 continued to support the VRS with supplies, munitions
21 and armaments. It was possession of these superior
22 arms that gave the Bosnian Serbs a decided advantage at
23 the outset of the conflict in Bosnia.
24 Now opposing the Bosnian Serbs were the Bosnian
25 Muslims and the Bosnian Croats, both groups initially
1 under the direction of the central government, which was
2 located in Sarajevo. Because the Bosnian government
3 was unprepared for war and because of the superior
4 armaments of the Bosnian Serbs, the Bosnian Serbs made
5 impressive territorial gains in Bosnia and seized
6 control over large parts of the country. The Bosnian
7 Croats expressed dissatisfaction with the Bosnian
8 government's weak response to the Serbian aggression,
9 and in 1991 and in 1992 they created the Croatian
10 Community of Herceg-Bosna, a quasi-state, and a military
11 component to that state, the HVO, ostensibly for the
12 Defence of Croat interests. Our evidence will show
13 that the Bosnian Croats were provided with significant
14 logistical and manpower support, political direction and
15 diplomatic backing by Croatia in their efforts. While
16 the Bosnian Croats initially allied themselves with the
17 forces of the central government to resist the Serbian
18 offensive, this alliance was short-lived, and shortly it
19 fell apart and a war within a war erupted. That war
20 was the Croat-Muslim war and it is events from that war
21 that occurred in Central Bosnia that are the subject of
22 the second amended indictment before you.
23 Now, to put into context the events of the
24 Croat-Muslim war, I think it's very important to
25 identify the parties to the conflict, their goals and
1 objectives, and the structures of their respective
2 military commands. I will refer during the course of
3 my opening remarks, your Honour, to the military unit of
4 the Bosnian Croats as the HVO and I will refer to the
5 military organisation of the Bosnian Muslims as the
7 To understand the goals and aspirations of the
8 Bosnian Croats one must initially return to one of the
9 former republics of the former state of Yugoslavia, that
10 is the socialist Republic of Croatia, where in 1988 and
11 in 1989 a new political party was formed. That
12 political party was called the Croatian democratic
13 community or the HDZ. Its leader was Dr Franjo
14 Tudjman, the current President of Croatia, and a
15 well-known former partisan, communist and JNA general.
16 Dr Tudjman drafted the programme of the HDZ, and this
17 programme was nationalistic in tone and asserted, among
18 other things, the right of the Croatian people to
19 self-determination in their historic borders.
20 In April and May of 1990 multi-party elections
21 occurred in Croatia and the HDZ was triumphant. It
22 received the majority of seats in the assembly and on
23 30th May 1990 the assembled deputies elected Franjo
24 Tudjman as the President of Croatia and Stipe Mesic took
25 the new post of Prime Minister.
1 Following the elections in Croatia, the HDZ
2 political party extended its activities into Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. The Croatian democratic party of Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina or the HDZ BiH was founded in Sarajevo
5 on 18th August 1990, and it was registered as an
6 "association" in Sarajevo on 6th September 1990. The
7 goals of this Bosnian-Croat party included the right of
8 securing the right of self-determination for Bosnian
9 Croats, the right of secession and the realisation of
10 sovereignty for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first
11 President of this party was a man by the name of Davor
12 Perinovic, and he was replaced by a man named Stjepan
13 Kljuic. Mr. Kljuic was a moderate Croat, who believed
14 in a single state, a single, multi-ethnic state of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our evidence will show that
16 Mr. Kljuic was removed from the head of this party by
17 President Tudjman and ultimately replaced by a man named
18 Mate Boban. I will explain the significance of that
19 event later in my remarks.
20 In November of 1990 the first multi-ethnic
21 elections took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
22 resulted in the domination of the nationalist parties:
23 the SDA, which was the Bosnian Muslim party, the SDS,
24 which was the Bosnian Serb party, and the HDZ, which was
25 the Bosnian Croat party. Following these elections,
1 these three parties shared power in the government and
2 the assembly and Alija Izetbegovic, the leader of the
3 SDA party, was named to head the seven member
4 multi-ethnic presidency.
5 Now on 25th June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia
6 declared their independence and war ensued. The war in
7 Slovenia was over with in ten days, but as the JNA
8 retreated into Croatia, it embarked on a bloody and
9 terrible war. The horrors of war that were visited on
10 Croatia are now permanently evidence in the annals of
11 history and the sufferings of its people in places like
12 Vukovar and elsewhere, and the destruction of its rich
13 cultural heritage shocked the world. It also shocked
14 the Bosnian Croats, many of whom took up arms and went
15 to Croatia in defence of Croatia and their spiritual
17 While war was raging in Bosnia and Herzegovina --
18 I'm sorry -- while war was raging in Croatia, the
19 political party of the Bosnian Croats perceived that the
20 Bosnian central government was not robust enough in its
21 dealing with the JNA, which was transiting its troops
22 through Bosnia to the war in Croatia and did not feel
23 they were robust enough in dealing with the Bosnian
24 Serbs, who were acquiring vast swatches of territory in
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina. This resulted in the
1 establishment of a new entity, a quasi-state known as
2 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. That was
3 established on 18th November 1991. The capital of this
4 new entry was to be Mostar, and the HZ H-B, this new
5 entity, identified a number of municipalities within
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina that it considered part of the
7 Croatian Community, including incidentally, your
8 Honours, the three municipalities where the crimes
9 alleged in this indictment took place, Vitez
10 municipality, Busovaca municipality, and Kiseljak
12 The founders of this new entity stated that the
13 Bosnian Croats future was linked to the future of the
14 entire Croat nation and emphasised their own historic
15 responsibility for the Defence of Croatian ethnic and
16 historic territories and the Croatian people in Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina. This new entity's Supreme authority
18 was the presidency and the President of this entity was
19 Mate Boban. Now Mate Boban, Mr. President and your
20 Honours, was a Croat from Herzegovina, who was closely
21 associated with President Tudjman, and he favoured the
22 separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Croats from that
23 republic and their integration into Croatia.
24 In early February of 1992 Stjepan Kljuic, who was
25 the head of the Bosnian Croat political party, was
1 removed from that position at the request of President
2 Tudjman and he was succeeded after a brief hiatus by
3 Mate Boban. Now what was the significance of that?
4 The significance, your Honour, is that it significantly
5 altered the political philosophy of that party. Before
6 the ouster of Kljuic, the party favoured integration of
7 Bosnia's Croats into a single state. With Boban at the
8 helm, the party now sought to meld Bosnian territory
9 into Croatia.
10 The next significant development, your Honours, is
11 that on 8th April, following the start of the war in
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the presidency of this entity
13 established the Croatian Defence Council, or the HVO,
14 and you will be hearing a lot about the HVO during the
15 course of this trial. The HVO was the military branch
16 of this entity, and General Blaskic was an officer of
17 the HVO. On 13th June 1992 municipal HVOs were
18 established as the municipal executive authorities in
19 Herceg-Bosna, thereby usurping popularly elected local
20 civilian officials.
21 What is especially significant, Mr. President and
22 your Honours, is that this entity rejected a unitary
23 model of state organisation for Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 and the President, Mate Boban, transformed the HVO, the
25 military group, into "the highest body of executive
1 power and administration" in that entry, responsible
2 directly to the presidency. In fact, all authority
3 within this state within a State passed to the HVO, the
4 military body. Thus, a military totalitarian state was
6 Now, your Honour, I would like to turn to the
7 command structure of the HVO, and if I could, I would
8 like the ELMO to be turned on.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Could we lower the lights a bit, because
10 there is a glare on the screens. Thank you.
11 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, the HVO command structure had very
12 clear and direct lines of command and they are
13 illustrated in the piece of paper that I have put on the
14 ELMO. At the top of the command structure was the
15 Supreme commander of the armed forces. That was Mate
16 Boban. Directly subordinate to him, your Honours, was
17 the Ministry of Defence, the head of which was a man by
18 the name of Bruno Stojic. Directly under the Ministry
19 of Defence was the headquarters staff of the HVO. The
20 head officer of that was a man by the name of General
21 Petovic. Then directly under the headquarters staff
22 were four operation zones. Those four operation zones,
23 your Honour, two of them were located in Herzegovina.
24 One of them was located in the north of the country in
25 Posavina. The fourth was located in Central Bosnia and
1 that is where General Blaskic comes into this picture.
2 General Blaskic was the commander of the Central Bosnia
3 Operation Zone.
4 Now following this structure down a little bit
5 further, your Honour, you can see that under the
6 operation zone there were operational groups.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. You said that General
8 Blaskic -- here it says Colonel Tihomir Blaskic. But
9 we are referring to General Tihomir Blaskic.
10 MR. HARMON: That is correct, your Honour. The ambiguity
11 arises because General Blaskic is currently a General
12 but when he was central Bosnian commander he held the
13 rank of Colonel.
14 Following this structure down the operational
15 zones, there are operational groups. For example,
16 General Blaskic had underneath his operational zone
17 three operational groups, each of which contained a
18 number of brigades centred around the municipalities in
19 which they were located. During the course of this
20 trial you will hear the name of Mario Cerkez, who was a
21 brigade commander in Vitez. You will hear the name of
22 Dusko Grubesic, who was a brigade commander in Busovaca.
23 Thus if you examine this structure, you will see
24 in the HVO hierarchy that General Blaskic was one of the
25 highest ranking members of the HVO and in his theatre of
1 operations he was the highest ranking military
3 I do not need this illustration any further, your
5 Now, your Honour, how did the HVO work? A central
6 tenant was the principle of unity of command, and that
7 was articulated in a decree on the armed forces, which
8 was promulgated in July of 1992. It imposed two
9 principles. It imposed on subordinates the obligation
10 to implement the decisions and carry out the orders of a
11 superior officer, and it mandated that commanders of the
12 armed forces shall be responsible to their superiors for
13 their work, command and control.
14 Incidentally, your Honours, this decree on the
15 armed forces from July of 1992 also required that
16 military forces in combat operations observe
17 international laws of war, the humane treatment of
18 civilians and prisoners of war, the protection of the
19 population and other protections envisaged in
20 international humanitarian law.
21 Now, your Honours, I would like to briefly turn to
22 the third group in this conflict, the Bosnian Muslims.
23 The government in Bosnia and Herzegovina was led by a
24 Bosnian Muslim, President Alija Izetbegovic, who was the
25 head of the SDA political party. His government sought
1 to achieve a democratically elected, multi-ethnic
2 society, and indeed many Bosnian Croats and Bosnian
3 Serbs supported this concept.
4 Now, when the war start in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
5 there was one problem. Bosnia and Herzegovina did not
6 have an army. The army, which I will refer to as the
7 Armija, grew up from the remnants of the JNA territorial
8 defence force or the TO, which were essentially local
9 defence courses, which were a component of the JNA and
10 which were part of Tito's all people's defence
11 philosophy. These defence units initially were centred
12 around municipalities, but this structure proved to be
13 not workable in the context of this war, and so the
14 Bosnian Muslims reorganised themselves into a structure
15 consisting of five corps and subordinate brigades.
16 Each of these corps operated in a different area of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Supreme commander of the
18 Armija was President Alija Izetbegovic.
19 Now the events that took place in the indictment
20 took place in the area of operation of the III Corps of
21 the Armija. The III Corps was based in Zenica and was
22 commanded by General Enver Hasihasinovic. This area
23 for the III Corps was quite large. It stretched as far
24 north as Tesanj and as far south as Gorni Vakuf and as
25 far east as Sarajevo. It maintained a front line of
1 approximately 400-500 kms against the Serbs. It
2 essentially manned the lengthy spine of what was left of
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina after the start of the war, and
4 it included the strategically and industrially important
5 Lasva Valley, where many of these crimes in this
6 indictment took place. Within the III Corps area of
7 operations was also the Central Bosnia Operation Zone
8 area commanded by General Blaskic.
9 Of the three military forces operating in Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina the Bosnian Muslims were the weakest.
11 That was due to two factors: one, they didn't have
12 regional allies who were willing to supply them with
13 arms, personnel and the like, like Croatia and Serbia,
14 and, secondly, there was an international arms embargo
15 at the time.
16 Consequently, the III Corps and other corps of the
17 Armija were ham-strung by the lack of supplies and, more
18 importantly, a lack of sufficient arms and ammunition.
19 General Hasihasinovic, who will testify in the course of
20 this trial, will say he had approximately 87,000
21 soldiers in the III Corps area of operation, but only
22 about one-third of them had weapons. For instance in a
23 brigade of about 1200 men, there were only 300-400
24 weapons that included infantry weapons, machine guns and
25 hunting rifles. So desperate was the situation for the
1 Armija, Mr. President and your Honours, that when a
2 soldier left the front lines, he left his weapon there,
3 so his replacement would have a weapon to fight with.
4 General Hasihasinovic will testify during the course of
5 this year both soldiers carried between 30-50 bullets,
6 some only as few as ten and at one point during the war
7 there was no spare ammunition for his soldiers. With
8 these limitations, your Honour, the Armija struggled to
9 maintain with its Croat allies a 400-500 km front line
10 against their mutual foe, the Serbs.
11 Now, it may be claimed by General Blaskic in the
12 course of this trial, your Honour, that the Armija
13 started the conflict in Vitez, Busovaca and Kiseljak in
15 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, that is argument. I object to
16 argument in opening statement.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, allow the Judge and the Presiding
18 Judge who are conducting the trial to control things.
19 This is an introductory statement. The Prosecutor is
20 making his statement, basing himself on his charges.
21 Conditioned on what my colleagues may think ...
22 (Pause.) Mr. Hayman, the Tribunal does not accept your
23 intervention. The Prosecution must present what he is
24 presenting. Nonetheless we do ask of the Prosecutor
25 that he attempt as smoothly as possible and without
1 calling into question sources which may give rise to
2 discussion, otherwise we will have further incidents of
3 this type. I say now to the Defence, together with my
4 colleagues, that the Prosecutor here has with the
5 methods that he chooses to use the right to present his
6 accusations. Obviously his statement cannot be a
7 neutral one, as would be that of a Judge. He is
8 explaining all of the charges. If each time that the
9 Prosecutor presents a count or a charge, the Defence
10 will rise and object, I will object to the objections.
11 However, I do ask the Prosecutor, of course, to work in
12 such a way that everything which may give rise to
13 argument may reserved for the portion following his
14 presentation. Thank you. I give you the floor once
15 again, prosecution.
16 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President. As I said, your
17 Honour, the evidence that will be presented by the
18 Prosecutor will be that the Armija did not start the
19 conflict in April of 1993 in Vitez, Busovaca and
20 Kiseljak municipalities. It simply is not the case.
21 Under the tenuous and perilous situation that the Armija
22 found itself in with insufficient arms and ammunition,
23 and manning a 400-500 km front line against a very
24 aggressive foe, the Bosnian Serbs, they could ill afford
25 and did not want to have a second front against the
1 HVO. It was against that backdrop that the HVO ratched
2 up the tensions in Central Bosnia that culminated with
3 the events described in the indictment.
4 Now, your Honours, I have identified essentially
5 the parties to the conflict. Now let me turn to
6 General Blaskic and identify him further. General
7 Blaskic was born in Kiseljak municipality in 1992 (sic),
8 one of the municipalities where the crimes alleged in
9 this indictment took place. At the age of 17 he
10 attended secondary school in Belgrade and military
11 academy and was graduated from that, and then went and
12 attended the Academy for Land Forces in Belgrade for
13 four years. While in attendance at that military
14 academy he studied a variety of military subjects,
15 including military law, and he graduated from the
16 Academy in 1983 commissioned with the rank of Second
18 He was then posted to Slovenia, to Ljubljana,
19 where he taught military studies. He taught reserve
20 officers and military students. In 1987 he was
21 promoted to the rank of Captain and he left the JNA in
22 August of 1991 with a rank of Captain First Class. He
23 went to Vienna. He remained there for a number of
24 months, but then returned to Kiseljak in 1992, where he
25 was appointed Joint Commander of the Armed Forces of the
1 HVO in Kiseljak. He was appointed with a Muslim as a
2 Joint Commander. Both he and the Muslim Joint
3 Commander were subordinates to the Commander of the
4 municipal HVO headquarters in Kiseljak.
5 On 27th June 1992 Mate Boban appointed Tihomir
6 Blaskic as the commander of the Central Bosnia Operation
7 Zone. This operation zone initially comprised a number
8 of municipalities, I think approximately 22, but it was
9 later reduced in size. Blaskic thus became one of the
10 most important military figures in the HVO and the
11 highest ranking officer in the Central Bosnia Operation
13 While he was Central Bosnia Operation Zone
14 Commander he held the rank of Colonel. Later, after
15 the events described in the indictment, he became a
16 Major-General and Chief of Staff of the HVO. In
17 November of 1995, after the indictment was issued,
18 President Tudjman of Croatia appointed him Inspector in
19 the General Inspectorate of the Army of the Republic of
20 Croatia, where he currently holds the rank of General in
21 the Croatian army.
22 The Prosecutor's evidence will show, your Honours,
23 that at all relevant times to the indictment Blaskic was
24 in a position of superior authority to the HVO personnel
25 who committed the crimes described in the indictment.
1 Now, your Honours, I would like to turn to the
2 indictment itself. As I mentioned before I started my
3 opening remarks, there are 20 counts in the indictment,
4 three counts of crimes against humanity; 6 counts of
5 grave breaches of the Geneva conventions; and 11 counts
6 of violations of the laws or customs of war.
7 These counts describe the protracted persecution
8 of Muslims in the Vitez, Busovaca and Kiseljak
9 municipalities by Blaskic and his subordinates. The
10 indictment describes widespread, systematic attacks on
11 largely undefended cities, towns and villages inhabited
12 by Bosnian Muslims, the intentional killing and
13 infliction of serious bodily injury on the Muslim
14 non-combatants, including women, children and the
15 elderly by the HVO; the systematic destruction by fire
16 of Muslim dwellings, of buildings, and of religious
17 institutions by the HVO; the systematic plunder and
18 looting of Muslim property by the HVO; the inhumane
19 treatment of Muslim civilians by the HVO in HVO
20 detention facilities, the systematic use by the HVO of
21 Muslim civilians and in forced labour, including the
22 widespread use digging trenches at front line positions
23 where many of them were killed or seriously injured.
24 Finally, your Honours, it describes the forcible
25 transfer of Muslim civilians by the HVO from their homes
1 and villages.
2 These crimes all occurred in an area of the
3 Central Bosnia operations zone with three small
4 municipalities, which I've previously mentioned. These
5 three municipalities consisted of a narrow area of land
6 stretching essentially the same distance as that between
7 the Hague and Schipol airport to our north. Indeed,
8 Mr. President and your Honours, the crimes described in
9 the indictment, many of them occurred within minutes of
10 Blaskic's headquarters, which were located respectively
11 in the town of Vitez and Kiseljak. For example, the
12 village of Ahmici, where 96 Muslim civilians, women,
13 children and elderly, were murdered by Blaskic's
14 subordinates, and where every Muslim home and both the
15 Mosques were razed to the ground occurred within 5 kms
16 from Blaskic's headquarters in Vitez. That village is
17 visible from the top of Blaskic's headquarters building
19 Stari Vitez, another location about which you will
20 hear in the course of this indictment, where soldiers
21 under Blaskic's command and control committed crimes
22 over an extended period of time, was a mere 300 metres
23 from Blaskic's Vitez headquarters. The Kiseljak
24 barracks, where Blaskic maintained military
25 headquarters, was the location of the detention of
1 numerous Muslim civilians who were from that location
2 taken to the front line positions and forced to dig
4 Now despite its small area, however, this
5 particular region of Central Bosnia was very important
6 to the Bosnian Croats. It was important because it was
7 relatively close to Herzegovina. It had a large Croat
8 population, because it had an extensive military
9 industrial base and because it sat along strategic lines
10 of communication to Sarajevo.
11 Your Honour, I would like now no turn to Blaskic's
12 responsibility under Articles 7.1 and 7.3 of the Statute
13 of the Tribunal. He is charged under both of those
15 Under Article 7.1 of the Statute a person who
16 plans, instigates, orders or commits or otherwise aids
17 and abets in the planning, preparation or execution of a
18 crime described in the Statute is individually
19 criminally responsible.
20 Our evidence against Blaskic for 7.1
21 responsibility for the crimes in the indictment is based
22 primarily on strong circumstantial evidence.
23 First, General Blaskic was a military commander of
24 the Central Bosnia Operation Zone.
25 Second, the uniform methods used by the HVO in
1 committing the crimes alleged in the indictment,
2 particularly within or shortly after the military
3 operations he ordered, included:
4 (a) the systematic burning of Muslim homes and
5 building by flammable liquids or by incendiary
7 (b) the systematic looting and plunder of Muslim
10 (c) the systematic detention of muse limb men and
12 (d) the systematic use of Muslim detainees to dig
14 (e) the systematic expulsion of Muslims from
15 Vitez, Busovaca and Kiseljak.
16 (f) and in some villages the systematic killing of
17 Muslim civilians.
18 Third, the pattern and pervasiveness of these
19 methods particularly within or shortly after HVO
20 military operations are strong indications tending to
21 show that Blaskic planned, ordered or otherwise aided
22 and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of
23 these crimes.
24 This strong circumstantial evidence will be
25 supplemented by evidence that the HVO soldiers who
1 participated in the April 16th attack on the village of
2 Ahmici were given orders to kill Muslim civilians and
3 destroy everything that was Muslim, facts, your Honours,
4 which are sadly reflected on the ground.
5 We have also alleged command responsibility
6 criminal liability. All military commanders have a
7 solemn obligation to ensure that the horrors of war are
8 not visited upon innocent civilians and prisoners of
9 war, and they may be held criminally responsible for
10 this dereliction of duty. As was stated in the case of
11 in Re Yamashita and I quote:
12 "It is evident that the conduct of military
13 operations by troops whose excesses are unrestrained by
14 the orders or efforts of their commander would almost
15 certainly result in violations which the purpose of the
16 law of war is to prevent. Its purpose is to protect
17 the civilian population and prisoners of war from
18 brutality would largely be defeated if the commander of
19 an invading army could with impunity neglect to take
20 reasonable measures for their protection".
21 The principle of command responsibility is
22 enshrined in Article 7.3 of our statutes and holds that
23 a superior is criminally responsible if he knew or had
24 reason to know that a subordinate was about to commit
1 THE INTERPRETER: Would counsel please slow down a bit for
2 interpretation. Thank you.
3 MR. HARMON: Okay. I will. I'm sorry. ... was about to
4 commit criminal acts or had done so and failed to take
5 the reasonable or necessary steps to prevent such acts
6 or to punish the perpetrators thereof.
7 To establish this form of criminal liability under
8 the Statute we have to and we will establish the
9 following three elements:
10 1: The superior concerned must be the superior of
11 that subordinate.
12 Under this element the responsibility of a
13 military commander applies both to the members of the
14 armed forces under his command and to troops who are not
15 normally under his command, but which may be deployed
16 for a particular operation or for a limited period of
17 time. The commander is also responsible to take all
18 possible measures to protect the civilian population
19 against attacks, even if they are not by his direct
20 subordinates, because he is responsible for maintaining
21 law and order in the territory under his de facto
23 The second element, your Honour, is that Blaskic
24 knew or had information which should have enabled him to
25 conclude that a breach was being committed, was going to
1 be committed or had been committed. This element may
2 be established either through actual knowledge,
3 established by direct or circumstantial evidence, or
4 through establishing that the accused would have had
5 knowledge were it not for his wilful blindness to the
6 circumstances. Our evidence will show that Blaskic
7 particularly in respect of the attacks that were
8 launched in April that was launched against Ahmici
9 disregarded information at his disposal which indicated
10 a likelihood of criminal offences occurring, and it will
11 show beyond a reasonable doubt that he had actual
12 knowledge, actual knowledge, of all the crimes contained
13 in the indictment. He received that knowledge directly
14 from UNPROFOR soldiers and commanders, from ECMM
15 monitors, from ICRC representatives, from Muslim
16 commanders and through his designated HVO
17 representatives who sat daily on a commission that was
18 established by ECMM designed specifically to hear and to
19 investigate complaints of the parties of the conflict.
20 Additionally, your Honours, the crimes described
21 in the indictment were so widespread as to time and area
22 that they furnished him with abundant constructive
24 The third element we must prove in this command
25 responsibility case is that Blaskic failed to take
1 reasonable steps to prevent such acts or to punish the
2 perpetrators who committed them.
3 Under customary international law a commander is
4 under an obligation to ensure that members of the armed
5 forces under his command are aware of their obligations
6 to abide by the provisions of international law, and he
7 must do so either periodically or expressly before an
8 engagement. We will present some evidence that Blaskic
9 did issue some of these types of orders. However, the
10 mere issuance of routine orders to abide by the Geneva
11 conventions does not relieve a commander of criminal
12 responsibility. His concomitant duty is to ensure that
13 his orders are being effectively carried out. A
14 commander has an affirmative duty to take all necessary
15 measures for the protection of the civilian population.
16 As stated additionally in the Hostage case, and I
18 "The primary responsibility for the prevention and
19 punishment of crimes lie with the commanding general, a
20 responsibility which he cannot escape by denying
21 authority over the perpetrators".
22 Our evidence will show that despite his knowledge
23 of the crimes committed by his subordinates he
24 repeatedly failed to take reasonable and necessary
25 measures to suppress breaches or to punish his
1 subordinates for committing them. His laissez faire
2 attitude encouraged his subordinates to commit crimes.
3 Indeed, instead of punishing his subordinates, he often
4 blamed the Muslims or the Serbs for committing them.
5 Now, your Honours, I would like to turn to the
6 events in the indictment. Background. In the central
7 Bosnian operation zone tensions existed between the two
8 ethnic communities the Croats and the Muslims who were
9 nominally allied against a common enemy, the Serbs. In
10 October 1992 you will hear evidence that there was a
11 brief flare up of fighting in Novi Travnik over
12 possession of an arms factory. Novi Travnik is located
13 next to the town of Vitez. This fighting spilled over
14 in the village of Ahmici, where the Muslims had set up a
15 roadblock, and that roadblock prevented HVO
16 reinforcement from Busovaca being able to go over the
17 hill to Novi Travnik. A brief one-sided fight between
18 the HVO and the few men manning the roadblock ensued,
19 and this resulted in the death of a 17 year old Muslim
20 boy. At the same time these flare-ups were occurring
21 in the Central Bosnia Operation Zone there was fighting
22 between the Muslims and the Croats in Prozor and Gorni
23 Vakuf, areas that were outside the central Bosnian
24 operation zone.
25 In January 1993 another conflict erupted between
1 the HVO and the Muslims, this time in Busovaca. We
2 will present evidence in the form of testimony of the
3 victims of that particular set of events, and they will
4 testify that subordinates of Blaskic attacked them,
5 burned their homes, systematically looted their homes
6 and forced them into forced labour to dig trenches and
7 fortifications for the HVO. In many respects, your
8 Honour, what happened in Busovaca was a dress rehearsal
9 for what was to come later in April.
10 The events that took place in Busovaca and Novi
11 Travnik were brief flare-ups of fighting. While that
12 was happening, the HVO was progressively reducing its
13 role against the Serbs at the front line and
14 concentrating its soldiers in the Lasva Valley in order
15 to prepare for its surprise attacks that occurred in
16 April. Following the two incidents that I have just
17 described in Busovaca and Novi Travnik, strong
18 anti-Muslim sentiment was palpable in the Lasva Valley,
19 particularly in respect of Ahmici, where the HVO felt
20 that it had been obstructed in its fight over the arms
21 factory in Novi Travnik. Throughout the region, and
22 particularly in and around Vitez, discrimination and
23 low-level violence against the Muslim population was
24 constant and unrelenting. For example, Muslims had to
25 swear allegiance to the HVO. If they failed to do so,
1 in some positions they would lose their jobs.
2 Frequently Muslims who had to cross HVO roadblocks to
3 get to their homes and their villages were harassed, and
4 many Muslim shops and businesses that were located
5 around Blaskic's headquarters in Vitez were bombed,
6 firebombed and destroyed. Blaskic was fully aware of
7 this volatile situation and the increasing violence that
8 was being directed against the Muslims when he planned
9 the attacks in April, when he launched his forces on
10 those particular villages that you'll hear about.
11 Now during the time-frame that we've been talking
12 about, that I've been talking about, there was another
13 event that was significant in the events that are
14 described in the indictment. This, your Honour, was
15 occurring in Geneva, where since September of 1992
16 negotiations involving the Serbs, the Croats and the
17 Muslims under the direction of Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen
18 were taking place. The fruit of this effort was known
19 as the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. Under the Vance-Owen
20 Peace Plan, your Honours, Bosnia and Herzegovina was to
21 become a decentralised state. It was to be divided
22 into ten provinces, each of which was to be controlled
23 by either the Serbs, the Muslims or the Croats. The
24 Croats were assigned three provinces, Provinces 3, 8 and
25 10. Province number 10 included the Vitez
1 municipality, the Busovaca municipality and part of the
2 Kiseljak municipality where the crimes alleged in this
3 indictment took place.
4 When the Bosnian Croats were shown a map of this
5 territorial division, they were elated. On 4th January
6 1993 Mate Boban accepted the Vance-Owen Peace Plan in
7 full. He liked the map, the division. However, the
8 Muslims and the Serbs did not. There were further
9 negotiations, and ultimately on 25th March 1993
10 President Izetbegovic agreed to the Vance-Owen Peace
11 Plan map.
12 However, on 2nd April 1993 the Serbs again
13 rejected the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, and the following
14 day Mate Boban said that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan
15 should be implemented. He further stated that if the
16 Bosnian Muslims did not agree to implement the plans of
17 the -- the terms of the Vance-Owen Peace Plan by 15th
18 April, the HVO would move ahead with its implementation.
19 The following day, 16th April 1993, Blaskic's
20 forces launched a devastating series of well-planned and
21 co-ordinated surprise attacks in Vitez, Busovaca and
22 Kiseljak municipalities, those municipalities that were
23 to be included in Province 10 under the Vance-Owen Peace
24 Plan. The military operations were meticulously
25 planned military operations. They were supported by
1 artillery and heavy weapons and well-co-ordinated
2 infantry manoeuvres and were not spontaneous eruptions
3 of violence by uncontrollable members outside the HVO
4 chain of command. This is evident, Mr. President and
5 your Honours, by the timing of the attacks which
6 occurred in the three municipalities.
7 In Vitez municipality on 16th April at
8 approximately 5.30 in the morning the HVO simultaneously
9 attacked Vitez, Stari Vitez and the Muslim villages of
10 Ahmici, Nadioici, Santici and Donja Vecerska among
11 others. On 17th April they attacked the village of
12 Loncari and on 20th April they attacked the village of
14 In Kiseljak municipality on 18th April 1993 the
15 HVO launched attacks on the Muslim parts of that city,
16 Kiseljak, and on the Muslim villages of Gomionica,
17 Gromiljak, Visnjica, Rotilj, Behrici and Hercizi.
18 On 19th April in Busovaca municipality they
19 attacked Muslim sections of the town of Busovaca and
20 they attacked the village of Ocenici.
21 The evidence that we will present will demonstrate
22 beyond any doubt that the objects of these HVO attacks
23 included Muslim civilians and their property. The
24 crimes described in the indictment were not the work of
25 Muslim extremists or the Serbs, as Blaskic has
1 frequently claimed, nor were they the work of Croat
2 elements not under his control. The crimes described
3 in the indictment were perpetrated by his subordinates,
4 over whom he had command responsibility.
5 Later, in June of 1993, after the tragic events of
6 April, the HVO launched another series of surprise
7 attacks, this time in Kiseljak municipality, and this
8 time against the villages of Han Ploca and Tulica. You
9 will hear the testimony of the victims from those
10 attacks and you will hear them describe the methods that
11 were used by the HVO in those attacks, and they will
12 mirror in many respects the testimony of what you will
13 have previously heard in respect of the April attacks
14 and in respect of the January attack in Busovaca.
15 Now in some of these villages that were attacked
16 in April and June it will be clear from the evidence
17 that there were present in those villages some Armija
18 soldiers, who were home on leave, and some village guard
19 units, generally undermanned and underarmed. This
20 disorganised handful of individuals attempted by
21 whatever means at their disposal to protect themselves,
22 their loved ones and their homes against the HVO
23 onslaught which was directed against them. In the
24 course of their disorganised resistance they inflicted
25 some casualties on the HVO, but in the main,
1 Mr. President and your Honours, the resistance proved
2 futile and their homes, their places of Worship were
3 systematically razed to the ground.
4 You will hear, Mr. President and your Honours, for
5 example, the testimony of Mr. Sakhib Ahmic. Mr. Ahmic
6 will testify in respect of the attack that occurred in
7 the village of Ahmici that occurred on 16th April
8 1993. Mr. Ahmic is 64 years old. At the time of the
9 attack he was a civilian. He was in his home.
10 Present with him were his son, Naser, Naser's wife and
11 his two grandchildren, Elvis and Sejad. Sejad was
12 three months old. He was listening to the morning
13 prayer coming from the nearby mosque --
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, to respect the timing, which
15 will be our daily schedule, we plan to make a break at
16 11.15. We do not wish to interrupt you if you have
17 something to complete, but then it is up to you to tell
18 us, otherwise we could have a break. It is up to you
19 to decide.
20 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, we can take the break now. This
21 is not a particularly good time for me.
22 JUDGE JORDA: In that case we will resume work at 11.35.
23 (11.15 am)
24 (Short break)
25 (11.40 am)
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor -- please have the accused
2 brought in.
3 (Accused enters court)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor?
5 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President. Before the morning
6 recess I was informing the court that there would be the
7 testimony of many victims and you'll be hearing that
8 throughout the course of this trial. I have identified
9 one of those victims by the name of Mr. Sakhib Ahmic.
10 As I was saying, Mr. Ahmic at the time of the attack on
11 the village of Ahmici on 16th April was at home
12 listening to the morning prayer coming from the nearby
13 mosque. In his home was his son, his daughter-in-law
14 and his two grandchildren, one of whom was 3 months
15 old. At the conclusion of the morning prayer there was
16 large explosion at his house and two HVO soldiers
17 entered into his house. The first thing they did was
18 machine-gun to death his son who was standing there
19 without a weapon in his underwear. They then murdered
20 his daughter-in-law. Another HVO soldier took a can of
21 what contained some flammable liquid, perhaps benzine or
22 gasoline and poured it over his couch and ignited it.
23 Subsequently his two grandchildren were murdered.
24 Mr. Ahmic was the sole survivor from this unspeakable
25 attack. His house was razed to the ground, a tactic,
1 Mr. President and your Honours, that you will hear the
2 HVO employed over and over and over again in respect of
3 Muslim houses that are described in many of these
4 villages in this indictment.
5 These crimes, your Honour, in Ahmici were not
6 committed by Muslims trying to embarrass the Croats or
7 by Serbs whose front lines were a significant distance
8 away, as General Blaskic has said, but they were
9 committed by his subordinates. You will hear other
10 victims from other villages from Busovaca, Kiseljak and
11 Vitez and their testimony will in many respects mirror
12 the testimony of Mr. Ahmic's.
13 However, the testimony that we intend to present
14 in the course of this trial will not be limited to
15 Muslim victims. During the course of the events
16 described in the indictment there were independent third
17 parties who were present when these attacks took place
18 or shortly after they occurred. These independent
19 witnesses include Captain Michael Dooley, who was a
20 British officer. He was in Vitez on 16th April as part
21 of the UNPROFOR course. He is a professional
22 soldier. He is currently an instructor at the Royal
23 Military Academy in Sandhurst in Great Britain. He will
24 testify that on the morning of 16th April he went into
25 the town of Vitez in his armoured vehicle and he
1 witnessed the HVO attack in progress and will describe
2 how the HVO is going from house to house systematically
3 attacking houses where civilians were located, and how
4 he was compelled to action at great personal risk to
5 himself and to his men in order to save civilians.
6 Captain Dooley will also testify that on that same day
7 he took his armoured vehicle and went to locations in
8 and around Ahmici and he collected the bodies of 20 or
9 more civilians, mostly women and mostly older folks, and
10 that in his opinion not a single one of those victims
11 that he saw was a combatant. He will testify in his
12 opinion as a professional soldier the attacks were
13 well-organised and well synchronised, and he will
14 testify that in his opinion they were targeted against
16 In addition to Captain Dooley, Mr. President and
17 your Honours, you will hear the testimony of other
18 independent third parties, including British, Canadian
19 and Dutch UNPROFOR soldiers, who were stationed in the
20 Lasva Valley, members of the ECMM and others. For
21 example, you will hear the testimony of Charles McLeod,
22 an ECMM monitor, a former British officer, who spent a
23 significant amount of time in the former Yugoslavia.
24 After the tragic events that occurred in the Lasva
25 Valley in April, he was sent by the ECMM to the Lasva
1 Valley to conduct an investigation and in the course of
2 that investigation he interviewed a number of people,
3 inspected a number of locations. He even included
4 General Blaskic. He will testify about his
5 investigation and he will testify about his final
6 report, and we will introduce into evidence a copy of
7 that report.
8 Amongst its conclusions are, and I quote:
9 "Croats in Vitez launched a co-ordinated attack
10 against Muslim villages around Vitez".
11 It also includes the conclusion that:
12 "Croats have effectively established a
13 totalitarian regime, having removed any political
14 opposition and established their own combined
15 political/military structure and that they are using
16 extreme measures of terror and genocide to remove the
17 Muslim population and were only prevented from total
18 success by their miscalculation of the Muslim military
20 Both the testimonies of the victims and the
21 independent third parties will demonstrate a pattern of
22 conduct by the HVO will show that the civilians and
23 civilian targets were targeted through the time-frame
24 and the events described in the indictment.
25 Mr. President and your Honours you will also hear
1 evidence about two indiscriminate HVO attacks which
2 resulted in loss of civilian life. These attacks
3 occurred on 18th April 1993 and 19th April 1993. The
4 first of these attacks involved the detonation of a huge
5 truck bomb in Stari Vitez on 18th April. Now recall,
6 your Honours, that the attack in Vitez started on 16th
7 April, and the HVO in the process of that attack -- many
8 Muslims fled to the old town, the centre, Stari Vitez,
9 in order to defend themselves. There was some presence
10 of soldiers in the Stari Vitez pocket. They fled there
11 for protection and they were defending themselves in
12 that particular area. That's where Captain Dooley,
13 whose testimony I previously referred to, went in with
14 his particular armoured vehicles, you will hear, your
15 Honours, the testimony relating to this truck bombing.
16 What the HVO did on 18th April was they loaded a truck
17 with a huge amount of explosives. It was driven into
18 this town, this part of town and it was detonated. It
19 resulted in massive destruction and significant loss of
20 civilian life and civilian casualties. This event,
21 your Honour, took place a more 400 metres from Blaskic's
22 headquarters. The witnesses who will describe this
23 event will include the survivors of this and will
24 include independent third parties such as Jeffrey
25 Thomas, who was the first British soldier to appear at
1 the scene of this detonation. We will present to you
2 photographs taken by Mr. Thomas and others of this
4 The second indiscriminate attack took place the
5 following day in the city of Zenica. It took place
6 about noon time. It was an artillery attack. It took
7 place at a busy market place in Zenica. This shelling
8 resulted in 15 civilian deaths, 36 civilian casualties,
9 and 18 of them were very, very seriously injured.
10 Present in Zenica at the time of this artillery attack
11 were ECMM monitors who responded to the scene of this
12 artillery attack. They examined the craters, did a
13 crater analysis of what was on the ground and determined
14 that the shells had been fired from HVO -- from the
15 direction of HVO artillery positions. Complaints about
16 both the Stari Vitez bombing and the Zenica shelling
17 were made directly to General Blaskic. His response
18 about the Zenica shelling was similar to what he
19 responded to about Ahmici, that the Serbs did it.
20 Now, Mr. President and your Honours, we will also
21 present evidence that following the January, the April
22 and the June attacks described in the indictment the HVO
23 rounded up non-combatants, usually Muslim men, and took
24 them to HVO detention facilities located in and around
25 Vitez, Busovaca and the Kiseljak municipalities. The
1 justification given was protection of the Muslims
2 themselves and security reasons. There these civilians
3 remained for a period of time ranging from days to many,
4 many, many months. These detention sites included the
5 village -- an entire village, the village of Rotilj, the
6 Kiseljak barracks where Blaskic maintained a
7 headquarter, Kaonik Prison and numerous smaller sites
8 around Blaskic's headquarters in Vitez. It is from
9 these detention centres that hundreds of Muslim
10 civilians were forced to do labour by the HVO. They
11 didn't do it voluntarily. They were taken to the front
12 line by the HVO. They were forced to dig trenches and
13 defensive fortification for the HVO. While they were
14 there they were abused often times. They were
15 subjected to exhausting schedules. They were ill fed
16 and many times they were injured or killed, sometimes by
17 the HVO and sometimes by Muslims across the front lines.
18 The Prosecutor will present evidence that this
19 practice was systematic and was widespread and was
20 employed throughout Blaskic's area of command. Indeed,
21 it was standard operating procedure for the HVO to
22 require Muslim civilians to dig trenches. Blaskic knew
23 about it. He received direct complaints about it. It
24 was a practice that the HVO attempted to conceal from
25 international monitors. Although this widespread
1 practice was illegal, in the eyes of the HVO it was
2 practical and it was practical because the HVO didn't
3 have enough manpower to man its front lines against the
4 Muslims and the manpower sufficient to prepare necessary
5 defensive fortification.
6 Your Honours will also hear evidence from Muslim
7 civilians who were forcibly transferred from their homes
8 by the HVO. Many of these transfers, these forcible
9 transfers, occurred immediately after attacks on the
10 villages I have described. In some instances as many
11 as 200-250 Muslim civilians were essentially taken to an
12 HVO checkpoint and told to get out, walk to Zenica, walk
13 to Muslim occupied territory. They had no choice and
14 often times all they had was the clothes that were on
15 their backs.
16 Once the major violence in these attacks abated
17 the practice of the HVO to expel Muslim civilians from
18 their homes continued. General Blaskic was fully aware
19 of this practice. It was illegal, but he supported
20 it. The practice of population resettlement was a
21 tenant of faith of the HVO and we will present evidence
22 in that respect.
23 Now, your Honours, I would like to turn to the
24 trial itself. As I said in the course of my remarks
25 this morning, the evidence that we will present will
1 primarily be witness testimony. Because the indictment
2 alleges crimes that are perpetrated against civilians
3 and civilian objects over a considerable period of time
4 and because it occurred in three municipalities and the
5 city of Zenica, it will not be possible to capture all
6 of the specific criminal acts alleged in the indictment
7 with only a handful of witnesses. Despite the large
8 number of witnesses we intend to present, we will
9 endeavour to move through the testimony with all the
10 speed that justice requires. We will also present,
11 Mr. President and your Honours, photographs, video tapes
12 and maps relating to many of the locations that are
13 described in the indictment. We will also present many
14 orders that were issued by General Blaskic while he was
15 the Central Bosnia operations zone commander, including
16 orders to attack villages that are mentioned in the
17 current indictment, as well as some orders of General
18 Blaskic instructing his subordinates to follow
19 international law, and also to make enquiry into events
20 that occurred after the Ahmici event.
21 However, we do not have a complete set of those
22 orders. We have been endeavouring since 15th January
23 to obtain them from the HVO archives and we have been
24 obstructed in our efforts to obtain a complete set, and
25 therefore we will be unable to furnish the Trial Chamber
1 with a complete set of those orders.
2 We will also present numerous statements of
3 Blaskic, including his many denials of responsibility.
4 Naturally, Mr. President and your Honours, we would
5 like to present all of our witnesses in logical order,
6 but because of the current trial schedule, because of
7 the schedules of some of the witnesses and because we
8 have witnesses who are all over the world, it will not
9 in every case be possible to do so. Therefore, at
10 times we will have to present some of our witnesses out
11 of order. While we unhappily accept this reality, we
12 will endeavour to minimise this problem, whenever
14 In conclusion, Mr. President and your Honours, we
15 will present evidence sufficient to convict Blaskic on
16 all counts of the indictment. That concludes my
17 submissions, your Honours. Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor. You just spoke
19 about the manner in which the proceedings will be
20 conducted. You did not, however, specify the number of
21 witnesses that you intend to call. Do you have an
22 approximate figure?
23 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I would be grateful if I could
24 apprise the court at a later time in response to your
1 JUDGE JORDA: Not at the end of the trial.
2 MR. HARMON: Absolutely not, your Honour.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That brings me to my second
4 question. As you said, it would be better to have a
5 logical order of things, and you admitted the necessity
6 of having that order, but you also said that it was not
7 always possible because of the difficult schedule, for
8 the reasons that you gave at the opening of the hearing
9 this morning. You said that you would seek to establish
10 a logical order. However, in spite of those efforts,
11 which are most admirable and which the Tribunal
12 appreciates, can you specify the broad lines of
13 sequence? Following the line of your presentation will
14 you begin with expert witnesses and so on? Can you give
15 us an idea, because the aim of the Tribunal, after all,
16 is to have a logical order of presentation and also it
17 will enable the Defence to do its job properly. I'm
18 sure you and your assistants have thought about this, so
19 can you give us some specifications.
20 MR. HARMON: Yes, your Honour. We will start with expert
21 testimony, although I must say, given the trial schedule
22 for the first two weeks, it's not entirely possible to
23 continue straight through the first portion of this
24 trial with expert testimony. We will then attempt to
25 present evidence to establish crimes on the ground.
1 That will be interspersed with third party independent
2 witnesses. We will then proceed in other respects to
3 complete our presentation in a logical order, your
5 JUDGE JORDA: For this morning that will be all, but the
6 Tribunal will insist as much as possible to have a
7 logical order of things. I know it may be difficult
8 because of certain counts, because there are facts that
9 are covered by several counts, but we have to know where
10 we are, where we are going and how long this will
11 last. That will be one of the concerns of the Trial
12 Chamber. Do my colleagues have any comments to make at
13 this stage? No. Thank you very much, Mr. Prosecutor.
14 I turn now to Mr. Hayman and the Defence.
15 Mr. Hayman, Article 94 of the Rules authorises you, if
16 you wish, to make a preliminary statement or allows you
17 to postpone that statement after the presentation of
18 your evidence. Do you wish to make a preliminary
19 statement or any kind of observations at all,
20 Mr. Hayman?
21 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honours, the Defence wishes to reserve its
22 right to make an opening statement until the time of the
23 presentation of the Defence case.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman. In that case we have
25 time until 1.00 pm, Mr. Prosecutor. We can now after
1 your presentation, introductory presentation, we can
2 open the next stage of the presentation of the case and
3 that is to use the means you consider useful to present
4 to the Tribunal your evidence in support of the
5 indictment which you presented this morning. We are
6 beginning, therefore.
7 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President. We are prepared to
8 proceed. We would need, however, the easel to be
9 placed next to the witness stand before we call in our
10 first witness. Mr. Prosecutor, will this take long?
11 Should we withdraw or is it a matter of a few minutes
13 MR. KEHOE: I'm okay, Judge. We're ready to go.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Let me repeat. Will this technical matter
15 take several minutes or should we retreat in the
17 MR. KEHOE: I think it's about 90 per cent done.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Fine. Mr. Hayman, can you see
20 MR. HAYMAN: We will have to move when the easel is used so
21 we can see it. We cannot see it from where we sit,
22 your Honours.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Before making the Defence move let us try and
24 move the easel.
25 MR. KEHOE: If I may be of some assistance in this regard,
1 your Honour, counsel will be given a copy of the exhibit
2 that will be going on the easel to facilitate him
3 looking at the exhibit and not having to express too
4 much time at the easel.
5 MR. HAYMAN: We can see it now, your Honour.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, yes. Fine. We can begin.
7 Mr. Kehoe?
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President and your Honours. The
9 Prosecutor calls as its first witness Mr. Robert Donia.
10 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honours, I have a matter to address in
11 this regard.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman? In connection with what?
13 MR. HAYMAN: The testimony of this witness.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We're listening.
15 MR. HAYMAN: This witness has never been disclosed to the
17 MR. KEHOE: One moment, your Honour.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor?
19 MR. KEHOE: My submission is that Mr. Donia has been
20 disclosed to the Defence.
21 JUDGE JORDA: What do you mean when you say presented to
22 the Defence?
23 MR. KEHOE: He's an expert witness, your Honour, whose name
24 has been disclosed to the Defence.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Could I see the document, your Honour?
1 JUDGE JORDA: Can you be more specific? Can you tell us
2 when it was submitted to the Defence?
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, your Honour. One moment, please.
4 (Pause.) If your Honour wants to take a break, we will
5 send our assistant up to get the letter that was sent to
6 counsel concerning this matter.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The Tribunal is going to suspend
8 the hearing for a few minutes. I must say quite
9 frankly that the Tribunal is here to ensure equality of
10 conditions. I'm referring to the Defence. If this
11 witness was not communicated to the Defence, then the
12 Defence must have his right to cross examination. In
13 those conditions we will hear the witness and then he
14 will remain at the disposal of the Defence for a day or
15 two to give them time to organise themselves. On the
16 other hand, the judges will not allow every time these
17 problems of communication to occur. Therefore we will
18 resume at 12.15.
19 (12.05 pm)
20 (Short break)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, have you found the document
22 which would demonstrate that you had disclosed the name
23 to the Defence? Mr. Kehoe?
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you. On a letter of
25 2nd May 1997 a letter signed by Mr. Harmon was sent to
1 Mr. Nobilo and also a letter was sent to Mr. Hayman, where
2 Mr. Donia's name was listed as an expert witness. He is
3 listed as an expert witness at the request of Mr. Hayman,
4 albeit his name is misspelt and there is an "R" in there
5 as opposed to just "N-I-A" but he has been listed as
6 number 95.
7 With regard to the communication that it was
8 received, it was sent by an airway bill by Sky Net and
9 we have the airway bill number if the Tribunal so
10 desires where the actual number that was sent to both
11 counsel is in our possession.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, some brief explanations before we
13 hear the witness.
14 MR. HAYMAN: We received this letter, your Honour, and there
15 is no Mr. Donia on the letter. I understand the
16 witness' name, and I understand this only from the
17 spoken words of the Prosecutor this morning, is spelt
18 "D-O-N-I-A". I would ask that the Prosecutor tender a
19 copy of this letter to the court, because there is no
20 person by that name on the letter. If I understand him
21 properly, there is a person named Dornia, D-O-R-N-I-A.
22 The Prosecution has been given the names of
23 approximately 300 witnesses and where there is no
24 witness statement, and in the case of this Mr. Donia
25 there was no witness statement, we have no other
1 information upon which to identify the person. I can
2 represent my office went to great lengths to try to
3 locate and identify Mr. Donia, Robert Donia. We were
4 unable to do so.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Were there any other consequent
6 indications which would have given further details?
7 Perhaps you could show this to the Tribunal. Perhaps
8 we could put it on the projector, in fact, so that the
9 Trial Chamber could see it.
10 MR. KEHOE: What I will give to the usher is the letters to
11 Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman. Likewise there are the airway
12 bills. The relevant name is on 55 "Donia". As I
13 said at the outset it is misspelt.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Were there any other things aside from that
15 error, the spelling mistake? In countries which
16 languages you do not speak, therefore there could be
17 mistakes in spelling. Were there any other things that
18 would have allowed the Defence to find this Mr. Donia or
19 was there only the name that was given.
20 MR. KEHOE: The name was given as an expert.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Where is the name? Oh, yes, Robert Donia.
22 55; is that right?
23 MR. KEHOE: That is correct.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Robert Donia, expert witness. With that,
25 Mr. Hayman, you were unable to find this person; is that
2 MR. HAYMAN: We were unable, your Honour, because when we're
3 given a name, a person who can be anywhere in the world,
4 the only way to find such a person is through the use of
5 computers to search for articles, speeches, books, and
6 computers are very literal, as your Honours are aware,
7 and if I do not have the right spelling of the name,
8 then I cannot identify the witness. We did not
9 identify this witness. If this witness is truly an
10 expert, I am sure he has given speeches, he has written
11 articles, he has written books perhaps. We have none
12 of those articles. I have no materials. I have been
13 able to obtain no materials concerning this individual.
14 So I would say two things, your Honour. May I?
15 One, we have been prejudiced in that we cannot prepare
16 for this individual, and so forth. Secondly, this
17 individual should not be and cannot be allowed to
18 testify, period, not today, not tomorrow, not next
19 month. Rule 67A(i) provides:
20 "As early as reasonably practicable and in any
21 event" and I repeat "and in any event" "prior to the
22 commencement of the trial the Prosecutor shall notify
23 the Defence of the names of the witnesses that he
24 intends to call".
25 This witness was known to the Prosecution before
1 the commencement of trial and was not notified -- the
2 person's name was not given, was not notified to the
3 Defence. The reason we ask for this sanction is there
4 has to be a sanction or else there is no reason for the
5 rule. I would also submit that under the court'
6 decision under production materials rendered on 27th
7 January 1997 the Trial Chamber ordered the Prosecutor --
8 this is in paragraph 56 -- to disclose to the Defence
9 the names of the witnesses which he intends to call at
10 trial by 1st February 1997 "at the latest".
11 I do not take issue that they may have identified
12 this individual after February 1st, but I submit that
13 the order and Rule 67, taken together, this witness
14 cannot be allowed to testify. It would violate the
15 rules of this Tribunal.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I believe that the Tribunal is as
17 concerned as you are about respecting the Rules.
18 Nonetheless the Tribunal considers that the fair
19 procedures which you must benefit from must be looked at
20 as a whole when it comes to all of the formalities that
21 are required. Therefore I have a question that I would
22 like to ask you: when you were unable to find this
23 Robert Dornia or Donia, did you say to the Prosecution
24 you did not find the name or any trace of this witness?
25 Can you demonstrate to us that you contacted the
1 Prosecution about this issue or did you simply say:
2 "I do not find it. Therefore it doesn't exist". If
3 that was the case I could say that you yourself really
4 opened yourself to criticism.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, we have sent the Prosecution many
6 letters asking for many clarifications and responses on
7 discovery issues. In the past few months virtually
8 none of those letters have been responded to. There
9 are other expert witnesses that we have not been able to
10 identify, but when your letters are not responded to,
11 with all due respect to the court, at one point -- at a
12 certain point you stop writing letters. It's a futile
14 JUDGE JORDA: Talking about futile exercises, you know that
15 for months now we have been trying to settle this issue
16 of disclosure. The Tribunal can do many things. It
17 cannot force the parties to come to an agreement about
18 the best methods of communicating with one another.
19 With my colleagues I am going to consult at the bench in
20 order to come to a decision as to what the best thing to
21 do would be. (Pause.)
22 The Tribunal has deliberated on the issue and
23 notes that this is a significant error, a material
24 error, and also considers that it must be sure that both
25 the Defence and the Prosecutor have equal arms. In
1 this case there was no imbalance of arms, at least so
2 long as we have not heard the witness and so long as the
3 Defence has not been able to cross-examine. However,
4 the Tribunal will not give up on hearing the witness
5 since there was an error and decides he will be heard on
6 30th June, Monday, in the morning.
7 Turning to the Prosecutor, do you have a different
8 witness or another witness you would like to introduce.
9 MR. KEHOE: No, I do not, your Honour.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Would you have another witness for tomorrow
12 MR. KEHOE: No, I do not, your Honour.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Were you assuming that this -- how long were
14 you expecting this witness to take?
15 MR. KEHOE: Depending on cross-examination, your Honour,
16 almost the balance of the week.
17 JUDGE JORDA: This morning I said that the trial should
18 move as quickly as reasonably possible. I believe that
19 the Prosecutor must always have in reserve so that when
20 there is an intervention by the defence that the
21 Prosecutor has a certain number of witnesses in reserve
22 in order to ward off the problems that are of this type
23 or more serious ones. (Pause.)
24 The Tribunal will not countenance any delays. We
25 will now hear the expert witness. The
1 cross-examination will be postponed until Monday
2 morning. You can bring the witness in.
3 (Witness enters court).
4 JUDGE JORDA: You are before the international Tribunal,
5 sir, the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. You
6 agreed to testify for the Prosecution. I would like to
7 tell you that before you came into the courtroom there
8 was an incident which means -- which derives from the
9 fact that your name was incorrectly spelt and was not
10 able to be given to the Defence. The trial must move
11 forward, however, and therefore we have decided we would
12 hear you today as long as necessary questioned only by
13 the Prosecutor and when the Defence will be ready, we
14 consider that could be for next Monday. If the Defence
15 are not ready, we would postpone it further but then you
16 would be asked to return to The Hague in order to be
17 questioned by the Defence. You may read the solemn
18 declaration which was given to you, sir. First of all,
19 did you hear me?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for listening to me and
22 understanding my language. Mr. Dornia, first of all we
23 would ask you to spell your name, because apparently
24 this is the origin of the problem. Could you please
25 spell your name for you?
1 A. Yes, it is Robert J Donia. First name R-O-B-E-R-T,
2 middle initial J, last name D-O-N-I-A.
3 JUDGE JORDA: So it is Donia, not Dornia, but Donia.
4 Excuse me, sir. Donia. Now we all know it's Donia.
5 There's no "R"?
6 A. That's right.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Please read the declaration which was given
8 to you, which must be done before the Trial Chamber
9 MR. ROBERT DONIA (sworn)
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated. Mr. Kehoe?
11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President and your Honours, thank you.
12 MR. KEHOE: Your Honours, prior to beginning with Mr. Donia,
13 I would just ask for a redaction. (Pause.)
14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The Tribunal will order the
15 redaction of the document that was shown. Very well.
16 Having regulated almost all the incidents, Mr. Robert
17 Donia can answer the questions of Mr. Prosecutor.
18 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Examination by MR. KEHOE
20 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Donia.
21 A. Good afternoon.
22 Q. Mr. Donia, can you tell us what you do for a living at
23 this point?
24 A. I'm in the financial services industry. I am a manager
25 with the firm of Merrill Lynch.
1 Q. How long have you been so employed?
2 A. Since 1981.
3 Q. During your career prior to Merrill Lynch and to the
4 present time, sir, have you been involved and have you
5 studied as a historian focusing on the affairs in
6 south-east Europe?
7 A. Yes, I have.
8 Q. Can you give the court a general view of your background
9 in the area, some of the publications that you have
10 authored as well as articles, if you have authored the
12 A. From 1972 until 1976 I pursued a PhD degree in history
13 at the University of Michigan, specialising in the
14 history of South-Eastern Europe and Bosnia in
15 particular. In 1974-1975, with the assistance of a
16 Fullbright research grant, I conducted research in the
17 archives of Bosnia-Herzegovina and various other
18 archives pertaining to the area and completed a
19 dissertation in 1976 dealing with the Bosnian Muslims in
20 the period of Austro-Hungarian administration around the
21 turn of the century.
22 Q. What was the title of the dissertation?
23 A. The dissertation was subsequently published as a book
24 under the title "Islam under the Double Eagle: The
25 Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1878-1914".
1 Q. Please continue.
2 A. I subsequently did additional research in the late 1970s
3 prior to leaving the academic world and more recently,
4 beginning in 1992, worked with my former mentor at the
5 University of Michigan, John Fine, on a book entitled
6 "Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Tradition Betrayed".
7 Q. When was that published, sir?
8 A. That was published in 1994 by Colombia University Press.
9 Q. Continue.
10 A. I also was able to conduct various interviews and do
11 additional research concerning the contemporary period,
12 that is the 1990s, and wrote articles dealing with the
13 cities of Mostar and Tuzla in the publication
14 "Transition" put out in Prague.
15 Q. Going back to the book you published, "Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina: A Tradition Betrayed", can you tell the
17 Tribunal basically the subject matter of that book and
18 what you and Professor Fine were trying to convey?
19 A. At that time there was no single available volume which
20 summarised the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was
21 our intent to produce an interpretative history of Bosnia,
22 focusing on recent events but exploring their origins
23 from the 6th century onwards.
24 Q. What portion of that book were you responsible for and
25 what portion of that book was Professor Fine responsible
2 A. I wrote the modern period 1878 to present. Professor
3 Fine wrote the section from the 6th century up to 1878.
4 Q. Mr. Donia, you said you published this book in 1994.
5 During that time and since that time have you stayed
6 involved in affairs in Bosnia specifically and have you
7 travelled to that area to keep yourself abreast with
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down for
10 interpretation, please?
11 MR. KEHOE: I apologise again to the interpretation booth.
12 Since the publication of that book have you continued to
13 stay involved in the affairs especially in Bosnia and
14 have you continued to travel to that area?
15 A. Yes. Since the book appeared in November of 1994 I have
16 made seven trips to Bosnia, an additional one only to
17 Croatia and have maintained contacts with professional
18 colleagues, done interviewing and generally explored
19 various contemporary and historical topics in the area.
20 Q. Have you continued to stay involved with any academic
21 institutions in the former Yugoslavia?
22 A. Yes, with the University of Sarajevo and the Institute
23 for History in Sarajevo.
24 Q. Your Honour, at this time with Mr. Donia's background and
25 the history of former Yugoslavia, we would move ahead
1 with the presentation of his evidence?
2 MR. HAYMAN: May I interject, your Honour?
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman.
4 MR. HAYMAN: I do apologise for interrupting, but I feel it
5 is necessary. The witness is reading from some kind of
6 a document.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go on.
8 MR. HAYMAN: The witness is reading from some kind of a
9 document and I would ask that it be provided to the
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman. You are right. Mr. Donia,
12 would you be kind enough not to read documents,
13 otherwise the Defence will have to be supplied with the
14 document. Either that document should be provided for
15 the Defence or avoid referring to it. Which do you
16 prefer, Mr. Prosecutor?
17 MR. KEHOE: If I may, your Honour, if I'm not mistaken,
18 nothing Mr. Donia has said to this point has referenced
19 any document before him. He has been talking about his
20 historical background. He does attempt to refer to a
21 rather brief outline, which is not a statement in any
22 way, shape or form. We'll gladly offer that to the
23 Defence. It's in outline form. It's not a
24 statement. If counsel for the Defence wants it,
25 certainly he can have it.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Defence?
2 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, please.
3 MR. KEHOE: Sure.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The document will be given to
5 the Defence and you may continue.
6 MR. KEHOE: If I may just get the ...
7 JUDGE JORDA: As you see, the document is being supplied to
8 you very quickly, Mr. Hayman.
9 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, your Honour.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, you may continue with or
11 without a document.
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Your Honour, I do want to say at this
13 point that this is nothing more than an outline of
14 Mr. Donia's evidence. It is not a statement, etc., so we
15 give it to the Defence counsel with those caveats in
16 mind, and we tell the court the same.
17 Mr. Donia, in the preparation for your testimony
18 here today did you prepare an outline for the review of
19 the court as well as a chronology of some pertinent
21 A. Yes, I did. Those are entitled "ICTY presentation
22 outline" and "Lands of the western Balkans chronology".
23 Q. Your Honour, at this time for the court's purposes I
24 would give to the court in English and French copies of
25 the outline as well as the chronology that is appended
2 MR. HAYMAN: I object.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman?
4 MR. HAYMAN: Well, the witness is here presumably to deliver
5 oral testimony.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but I see no problem in a document being
7 provided by the Prosecution. We are impartial and
8 neutral and when you yourself have a witness, I can
9 promise that should you wish to provide a document to
10 the Tribunal, you will be allowed to do so. Therefore,
11 we will admit this document, Mr. Hayman. Can we allow
12 the presentation to continue?
13 MR. HAYMAN: May I state my position, your Honour?
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you may state your position, but it is
15 rather regrettable that it should be stated after the
16 statement of the Trial Chamber, but, as I interrupted
17 you, you may continue with your reasoning.
18 MR. HAYMAN: I'm concerned that if it's solely an outline
19 for the witness' use, that's one thing. The
20 Prosecution has taken the position it's not a
21 statement. It's for the witness' use. So it was not
22 provided to the Prosecution in discovery as a statement
23 pursuant to the court's order of January 27th. Yet now
24 it is being tendered to the court presumably as a form
25 of written testimony. If not written testimony, then
1 something that will help the court take in the testimony
2 of this witness. It is 19 pages long. So as a matter
3 of procedure I'm happy to proceed, I'm happy for the
4 Trial Chamber to have this document, but I request that
5 before this procedure is attempted again by the
6 Prosecution, I have an opportunity to address it with
7 the Trial Chamber.
8 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour?
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.
10 MR. KEHOE: It's an entirely different document. Counsel
11 is objecting to a document he has not even seen. What
12 Mr. Donia -- and the exhibit that we have just presented
13 to the usher is a one-page outline and a chronology.
14 Not a 19 page outline that we do not intend to introduce
15 into evidence but that I gave to counsel. They are
16 entirely two different documents.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Wait a moment. Just a moment. Let's
18 establish some order. Listen to me. What kind of a
19 document is the one that you are submitting to the
20 Tribunal? I want to see it. Thank you. Very well.
21 This is a document which, if I have well understood,
22 goes in support of the oral statement of the witness; is
23 that correct, Mr. Prosecutor?
24 MR. KEHOE: That is correct, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. I do not see why the
1 Tribunal should not have a document of one of the
2 parties when it can also be provided to the Defence.
3 It is up to you not to accept that document. As far as
4 the Tribunal is concerned, it will accept it and it will
5 act in the same way with regard to documents that some
6 of your witnesses may have. The incident being closed,
7 I propose that we continue -- we have another ten
8 minutes -- and that we really begin with the questioning
9 of Mr. Robert Donia by the Prosecution. You have the
10 floor, Mr. Prosecutor.
11 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Donia, in
12 preparation of the writing of your book and
13 subsequently, have you had occasion to take a look at
14 the catastrophic events that caused the break-up of the
15 former Yugoslavia from the late 1980s up until virtually
16 the present time?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Have you had occasion during those studies as part of
19 your studies to look at the convergence of events that
20 led to the conflict between the Bosnian Croats and
21 Bosnian Muslims that took place in large part in 1993?
22 A. Yes, I have.
23 Q. Based on your historical background and being a
24 historian, do you see in the past history, both recent
25 past and distant past, certain items which lead you up
1 to this point to make some conclusions as to how certain
2 events took place?
3 A. Yes. I think the past several centuries are very
4 relevant to what occurred in that conflict.
5 Q. In your own words, Mr. Donia, could you explain to the
6 Tribunal your starting point, what you need to go back
7 in history to explain how certain events took place and
8 your conclusiary remarks. During this period of time,
9 your Honour, we will be using the ELMO, because Mr. Donia
10 does have some maps that he would like to display.
11 A. Yes, sir. I would like to begin by presenting a map of
12 Yugoslavia as it existed in 1990.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I think that we have established
14 the Rules of order. I wish us to progress. I should
15 like to remind you that the Tribunal is entitled to
16 familiarise itself with all the elements. I will give
17 you the floor just one more time. I'm listening to
18 you, Mr. Hayman.
19 MR. HAYMAN: I ask on behalf of the Defence that before the
20 witness refers to documents that the document be shown
21 to the Defence.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, we just took a decision that you
23 are entitled to make your cross-examination under
24 conditions that will be on an equal footing next Monday,
25 if you wish in July, August or whenever you will. The
1 witness will come back. That's the guarantee that the
2 Tribunal has given you. It cannot give you any
3 others. On the other hand, the Tribunal wishes to hear
4 this witness. During your cross-examination you will
5 be entitled to all the documents that the Tribunal
6 has. That, in my view, is a just and equitable
7 proceeding common to Common Law and civil law systems.
8 We will discount the time we have spent on incidents so
9 we can proceed now.
10 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, before Mr. Donia begins, I would ask
11 that the map that has been put on the ELMO be marked.
12 JUDGE JORDA: We will continue until 1.15.
13 A. This map represents the six republics of Yugoslavia as
14 they existed largely unchanged from the period
15 1945-1990. Those six republics are Slovenia, Croatia,
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia with its attached autonomous
17 provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo, and Macedonia. In
18 these six republics in the year 1990 the first
19 multi-party elections were held since World War II.
20 These elections turned out to be a centre point of
21 change for the elections brought nationalist leaders to
22 power in all six of the republics.
23 In Bosnia-Herzegovina those elections took place
24 in November of 1990 and likewise brought nationalist
25 leaders to power. Those nationalist leaders were
1 represented by three parties. For the Muslims the
2 leading party was the party of Democratic Action -- in
3 its native acronym SDA -- which won 86 seats out of the
4 240 seats in the representative assembly; for the Serbs
5 the group was -- the party was the Serbian Democratic
6 Party, known as the SDS, which won 72 seats; for the
7 Croats of Bosnia, the Croatian Democratic Union, known
8 as the HDZ, which won 44 seats. Of the remaining 38
9 seats, they were shared by eight different political
11 This represented a major transition, because prior
12 to this time socialism and a single party had prevailed
13 in Yugoslavia, and afterwards and indeed to this day
14 nationalist leaders have prevailed in the region and in
15 Bosnia itself. It represented the defeat of the
16 reformists, reformed socialists and communists, who were
17 defeated in all major areas of the former Yugoslavia and
18 Bosnia with the exception of a few cities. Principal
19 among them is the city of Tuzla in eastern
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this location right here, which to
21 this day remains under a coalition of parties committed
22 to multi-ethnic government.
23 The election of 1990 was a centre point of change,
24 and I would like to use it as a point from which to look
25 backward and then, as I return to it, look forward from
1 the events of 1990 to those of 1993. Immediately after
2 the election of 1990 a census was taken in 1991, and I
3 would like to share the physical map which shows the
4 result of that census.
5 Q. Let me have this marked, your Honour, before Mr. Donia
6 begins. There are, of course, copies for your Honour
7 as well as the witness and the Defence. If I could ask
8 the usher if we could possibly put this particular
9 ethnic census map on the clip board.
10 A. The results of the elections of 1990 and the census of
11 1991 largely mirrored one another, that is in each
12 instance you can see the highlighting of the ethnic or
13 national groups in certain areas, but largely mixed
14 returns throughout the entire province of -- republic of
16 Q. Mr. Donia, may I interrupt. Your Honour, if I may, the
17 usher is going to give Mr. Donia some headphones with a
18 longer wire so he can address the map itself.
19 A. I'm fine. I think I can ...
20 Q. Can you do it from there?
21 A. There are simply two points to be made from this.
22 Number 1, on this map the yellow areas are truly mixed
23 ethnic regions. The map, therefore, is ethnically a
24 very complex one. This is not a land which can be simply
25 divided along mountain ranges or rivers into ethnic
2 Q. Mr. Donia, when you say mixed ethnic groups, can you tell
3 us what those ethnic groups are that are mixed in that
5 A. Yes, the groups are fundamentally the same. They voted
6 that way in the 1990 elections, namely the Serbs, the
7 Croats and the Bosnian Muslims, who have recently
8 adopted the name of Bosniaks.
9 There are a few areas which approach the 100 per
10 cent area for a single ethnic group. Principally this
11 region to the east and south of Mostar, which is heavily
12 of Croatian population. There are some areas of the
13 north which have substantial concentrations of Serbs and
14 a pocket around the city of Bijaz, north of the city of
15 Bijaz, which is largely Muslim. The cities are the
16 most mixed parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1991
17 census. These circles here represent the population of
18 the major Metropolitan areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Some have a Muslim majority population represented in
20 green, but most have a combination of Muslims, Serbs
21 represented in the pink or red, and Croats, represented
22 in blue.
23 Q. Before you begin, you are pointing to the left side of
24 the map where there are certain circles which depict
25 geographical locations and the respective ethnic
1 composition of those locations, is that correct?
2 A. Yes. These are the ethnic compositions of the major
3 cities and they are identified as such on the document.
4 Q. Okay. Continue.
5 A. Such a mixture of population as reflected in the 1991
6 census is the result of several different developments
7 over many different centuries, and I would like to go
8 back to early times and promise to return with all
9 deliberate speed to the 20th century, arriving back here
10 so we can move forward from 1990 as well.
11 Q. Please do that.
12 A. How did we get there? The easiest and most facile
13 explanation for Bosnia's history came to the surface in
14 1991. It was the notion that these people are animated
15 by ancient tribal hatreds. This notion suggests that
16 all peoples of the region are primitive and violence
17 prone. They are filled with primordial hatred for one
18 another. Animosity towards their neighbours is deeply
19 embedded in the souls and psyches of all South Slavs.
20 Such an interpretation sees recent events or the
21 violence that characterised this region in World War II
22 as inevitable, as a result of people's fundamental human
23 nature in the area, and sees such events as sporadic,
24 periodic outbursts of violence that could in no way be
25 arrested by outside intervention.
1 Thus there developed a kind of a linkage between
2 this view of ancient tribal hatreds and the policy
3 viewpoint of those statesmen who wanted to avoid any
4 kind of engagement in the Balkan crisis. In fact, this
5 viewpoint was promulgated by Western political leaders
6 to distance themselves from events in Bosnia. In fact,
7 the ancient tribal hatreds viewpoint has no identifiable
8 foundation in the historical understanding of any South
9 Slavs group of its own origins.
10 Each group, Serbs, Croats and Muslims, has an
11 understanding of its past that highlights past
12 accomplishments and long periods of perceived oppression
13 by other groups but no group postulates the notion that
14 there has been this kind of mutual slaughter over many
15 centuries. In fact, the South Slavs migrants
16 essentially lost their tribal character by the end of
17 the Middle Ages, so to speak of tribal hatreds is indeed
18 inappropriate from about the 12th or 13th century
20 One will see in this brief account occasional
21 violence and contention at many points in time, but to
22 suggest that that contention is ethnic, tribal or
23 religious until the 20th century is to mistake the
24 nature of the development of the South Slavs peoples.
25 The origin of the South Slavs in the Balkan
1 Peninsula dates back to the 6th or 7th centuries.
2 Q. Let me stop you there, Mr. Donia, and we will turn to
3 another exhibit which we would like to hand to the
4 usher. May I proceed, Mr. President? Mr. Donia, you may
6 A. This map, which is from a recent atlas of historical
7 maps regarding Eastern Europe, shows the homeland of the
8 South Slavs in the area where present day north-western
9 Ukraine, south-western Belarus and eastern Poland come
10 together. The map shows that there is substantial
11 disagreement amongst scholars about the exact area of
12 the origins of this migration, and indeed the people who
13 made this migration at the time could not write and left
14 no written records. There is substantial agreement
15 that the South Slavs migrated to the Balkan peninsula as
16 tribes. Unlike the Huns and Visigoths and Avars and
17 later the Mongols, these Slavs were sedentary peoples
18 and once they reached the Balkan peninsula after some
19 period of time they settled down and indeed have not
20 migrated as groups since then.
21 Q. Again this migration occurs during what time-frame?
22 A. This is the 6th-7th centuries. Some scholars would put
23 it as late as the 8th but I think it is safe to say that
24 6th-7th centuries are dates most scholars would accept
25 for this migration.
1 Q. Continue, sir.
2 A. When they arrived in the Balkan Peninsula there were two
3 rival centres of Christendom, one in Rome and one in
4 Constantinople. Consequently the South Slavs were
5 Christianised from two directions by two different types
6 of influences, from the west by Roman Catholicism and
7 from the east by Orthodox Christianity. Most important
8 in the orthodox missions was that of Cyril and
9 Methodius, which I have noted on the chronology, usually
10 dated 863. Cyril and Methodius were two missionaries
11 who passed through the South Slavs lands and are
12 credited with developing the Cyrillic script, which came
13 to be the basis for modern day Russian and the language
14 of Serbian.
15 There was indeed one Christian church before the
16 year 1054, but these two variants which ultimately
17 resulted in a break in that year meant that the South
18 Slavs from this time forward were really members of two
19 different cultures, Roman Catholicism to the west and
20 Orthodoxy to the east.
21 Starting in about the 9th century there was a
22 period in which Balkan States emerged. This was a time
23 when there were very many rival empires in the area, the
24 Byzantine empire based in Constantinople, the Francs
25 based in Western Europe and some time later during the
1 period Venice, located at the top of the Adriatic Sea.
2 But within this context over time, over the next
3 several centuries, three empires or three kingdoms
4 significant to our enquiry came about, that is of the
5 Bosnian, the Croats and the Serbs. Remarkably little is
6 known about these states and, in fact, the evidence is
7 largely from outsiders, missions that came to the area,
8 occasional royal charters, some archeological evidence,
9 but to our dismay we know very little about these
10 empires compared to what we would like to know. They
11 have probably assumed more significance in the 20th
12 century than they did in the 10th, because current
13 nationalist populisers have turned to them as the basis
14 for their own nationalist claims.
15 These were essentially rulers of tribes and tribal
16 confederations who were seeking to enhance their own
17 power through armed retinues, systems of taxation,
18 conquest, coinage, particularly in the Serbian case the
19 endowment of churches and monasteries, and through
20 acquiring elevated titles, Duke and King and so on.
21 They were highly dependent upon the effectiveness of a
22 single ruler or succession of rulers.
23 I would like to share with you a few maps of this
24 area, but I would also preface that by saying that maps
25 in many respects are inappropriate because they
1 emphasise too much the degree of control that may have
2 existed at the centre.
3 Q. What do you mean by that, Mr. Donia?
4 A. The extent of these rulers' control over territory was
5 often limited to their ability to control vassals, to
6 extract taxation and was often transient in nature.
7 Q. How was that extent of power of these respective
8 kingdoms of significance to events post-1990?
9 A. It certainly led many people to ascribe to these
10 entities a grandeur that they did not possess.
11 Q. Are you going to move to that next map at this time?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. If I can give the next map to the usher, your Honour.
14 Turning to the next exhibit, Mr. Donia, can you explain
15 that please?
16 A. This is a map of the Medieval Bosnian state. It shows
17 the progressive growth of that state from a small island
18 in what is today Central Bosnia, expanding to the east,
19 to the Drina river and down to the Adriatic coast, and
20 then encompassing much of Dalmatia and going up into the
21 area that is again present day Bosnia. The Bosnian
22 state emerged from Hungary and overlordship in 1180,
23 although it remained nominally under Hungarian control
24 through most of the Middle Ages. The first leader of
25 this state was Ban Kulin. "Ban" is the title that the
1 South Slavs used for a governor, and in at that time it
2 was limited to the small circle that we drew earlier.
3 A successor of Kulin's, Kotromanic, conquered much of
4 the southern region from the Nemanji dynasty, which was
5 the Serbian king, and the rein of King Trvtko, which I
6 have noted on the chronology as well, which ended in
7 1391, was the point at which this entire state came
8 under his overall control. Trvtko was crowned the King
9 of Bosnia and Serbia in 1377 and in 1390 he added
10 Croatia and Dalmatia to his rein and to his crown.
11 Now that was followed by pressure from the
12 emerging Ottoman Empire and Hungary, which ultimately
13 led to the Ottoman conquest of this area.
14 Q. Let me ask you a question with regard to this. So the
15 outline that you have just encircled with your pointer
16 was essentially the high watermark of the Bosnian empire
17 going back to 1390, when it annexed Croatia and
19 A. That is correct. To be clear, it annexed Croatia. It
20 did not annex all of the Dalmatian area, just the
21 coastal region.
22 As important as the State itself was its religious
23 history. Hungary, the kingdom to the north, wanted to
24 conquer and retain this area as part of its crown and
25 developed the accusation that there was a widespread
1 heresy in Bosnia, a dualist heresy known as
2 Bogomilism. This caused the Bosnians to break with the
3 Catholic Church and establish their own independent
4 church known as the Medieval Bosnian Church. This
5 church existed right on the fault line between
6 Catholicism and Orthodoxy and was widely believed by
7 outsiders to be a haven for these Bogomil heretics.
8 Recent scholarship has strongly challenged this
9 assumption, but the Bogomils have come to be seen by the
10 Bosnian Muslim nationalist leaders as the forerunners of
11 the Islamic community, the group of Muslims in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In fact, the Franciscan Mission to
13 Bosnia was established in the year 1342 under the
14 sponsorship of the Ban, and thereafter Medieval Bosnia
15 was increasingly catholicised, but for this roughly 100
16 years from 1252-1342 the Medieval Bosnian Church
17 flourished in much of Bosnia-Herzegovina and came to
18 play an important role in the discussions about the
19 origins of Bosnian peoples after 1990.
20 In 1347 --
21 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Donia.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Donia. We are about to conclude for
23 this morning. I just didn't wish to interrupt you in
24 the middle of your presentation if you need two or three
25 more minutes, but we would not like the Prosecutor to
1 ask any more questions now. Can we stop now, Mr. Donia,
2 or do you have a few more presentations to make?
3 A. The demise of the Bosnian church is an ideal time to
4 stop the session.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Continue then up to that point,
6 if you wish. Do you wish to continue or do you prefer
7 that we stop here? In that case the meeting is adjourned
8 until tomorrow at 10.00 am. (1.20 pm)
9 (Hearing adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning)