1 Wednesday, 24th September 1997
2 (10.00 am)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Could we have the accused
4 brought in, please?
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning. Does everybody hear? Are the
7 interpreters ready? Again, good morning. Does the
8 Prosecution hear? The Defence? Mr. Blaskic, do you hear
10 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honour. I hear you fine.
11 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing, continuing the
12 interviews of those people who have been called by the
13 Prosecution. Go ahead, Prosecution, please.
14 MR. CAYLEY: Good morning, Mr. President, your Honours,
15 learned counsel. The Prosecutor would now like to call
16 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.
17 JUDGE JORDA: About how long have you scheduled for your
19 MR. CAYLEY: Approximately two and a half hours, your
21 (Witness entered court)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, thank you. Do you hear me, Colonel?
23 THE WITNESS: I can.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing. Would you give us
25 your name again, please? You are?
1 THE WITNESS: Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Martyn Thomas.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Before testifying, please read the
3 solemn declaration, which you are asked to read pursuant
4 to the rules of procedure and evidence.
5 LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS (sworn)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, you may be seated. Colonel, you
7 were called in by the Prosecution as part of the charges
8 that were brought by the Prosecutor against
9 General Blaskic. Mr. Cayley?
10 Examined by MR. CAYLEY
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Colonel Thomas, you have given
12 your name to the court. Could you please give your
14 A. British.
15 Q. What is your current profession?
16 A. Regular army officer.
17 Q. In the British army?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What year did you join the British army?
20 A. 1976.
21 Q. If you just -- briefly I would like you to give some
22 background to the court, very briefly. Whereabouts did
23 you do your officer training?
24 A. At Sandhurst.
25 Q. That is the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and that
1 is, I think, equivalent to West Point in the
2 United States or Sancerre in France?
3 A. That is correct.
4 Q. How long was that period of training?
5 A. About 14 months.
6 Q. What was the training centred around while you were
8 A. Essentially it is leadership training, based on
9 low-level infantry skills to develop leaders to, at that
10 stage, command platoons or their equivalent in the
11 British army.
12 Q. When you answer my questions, if you could address the
13 judges rather than me? Thank you.
14 Which part of the army did you join when you left
16 A. I was commissioned in the Cheshire Regiment which is an
17 infantry regiment.
18 Q. I think you were commissioned as a second lieutenant
19 into the army, is that right?
20 A. That is right.
21 Q. Do you remember what year that was?
22 A. That was 1978.
23 Q. I think you joined your Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment,
24 on a four-month emergency tour in Londonderry in
25 Northern Ireland, is that correct?
1 A. That is correct.
2 Q. To give some background, because you are going to be
3 talking about this in your particularly relevant
4 testimony, what is the size of a British infantry
6 A. It varies on the particular role they are in at the
7 time, whether they are based in Germany or the United
8 Kingdom or in Northern Ireland, but usually between
9 about 550 and 750 men.
10 Q. Am I right in saying that that battalion is then
11 subdivided down into companies?
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. How many companies are there normally in a battalion?
14 A. There are normally three rifle companies or fighting
15 companies, to give it a simple explanation, a support
16 company and a headquarters company.
17 Q. Those companies are then divided down again into
18 platoons, is that correct?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. Very briefly, the Cheshire Regiment; why is it called
21 the Cheshire Regiment?
22 A. Because, in common with a lot of British army regiments
23 which have a long history, we were raised in 1689 in the
24 county of Cheshire, in the north west of England, and we
25 recruit nearly all our soldiers from that particular
1 part of the country. As I say, in common with most of
2 the British Army, the army has very strong regional
4 Q. I think after your service in Northern Ireland, the
5 Regiment, the Cheshire Regiment went to Germany, is that
7 A. It was actually in Germany at the time, they went to
8 Northern Ireland from Germany, but yes, I did return to
10 Q. What was the role of the battalion in Germany?
11 A. We were then what was called a mechanised battalion, we
12 had armoured personnel carriers, and we were at that
13 time involved in, if you like, along with much of NATO
14 at that time, defending against the then perceived
15 Soviet threat.
16 Q. I think your job then was as platoon commander, is that
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. How many men did you command at that time?
20 A. About 32.
21 Q. I think that was from 1978 to 1979, is that correct?
22 A. Right.
23 Q. I think you then completed an in-service degree in
24 politics at the University of Bristol?
25 A. That is right.
1 Q. From 1979 to 1982. You then returned to the Regiment in
2 1982 and you were second in command of an infantry
3 company in Ballykelly in Northern Ireland, is that
5 A. That is right.
6 Q. What was your job --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, think about the interpreters,
9 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies, Mr. President. I will slow down.
10 What is the role of a second in command in an infantry
12 A. He stands in for the company commander when he is away,
13 he does a lot of the routine administration of the
14 company and basically helps to run the company with the
15 company commander. It is the sort of job that a young
16 Captain would normally do and at that particular time,
17 the company commander was, of course -- was Major
18 Stuart, who subsequently went on to command the
19 battalion when I was one of his company commanders later
20 in Bosnia.
21 Q. You were a Captain at this time and this was from 1982
22 to 1984?
23 A. That is right.
24 Q. From 1984 to 1985, the battalion moved to Hong Kong as
25 part of the British military garrison, is that correct?
1 A. That is right.
2 Q. What was your position at that time?
3 A. In Hong Kong I was the adjutant of the battalion.
4 Q. What is the role of the adjutant within an infantry
6 A. You are the commanding officer's principal staff
7 officer, responsible for the day-to-day administration
8 of the battalion for what we call G1 matters,
9 administration, discipline, that sort of thing. As
10 I say, really you are essentially the commanding
11 officer's executive officer. You are also responsible,
12 particularly in Hong Kong, for the ceremonial side of
13 the battalion.
14 Q. Of course, Hong Kong has now gone back to China and the
15 British military garrison has withdrawn.
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. In 1985, I think you returned to the Royal Military
18 Academy in Sandhurst, is that correct?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. What were your responsibilities at this time, at the
21 Military Academy?
22 A. I was what was called a company instructor, I had three
23 platoons over the two-year period of officer cadets,
24 each platoon being again about 30 cadets, and I was
25 responsible for taking the cadets from day one of their
1 training to when they were commissioned 7 months later
2 and basically ran their training along with the other
4 Q. This was based around infantry training and tactics,
6 A. Essentially low-level infantry tactics up to company
8 Q. You were essentially training the future leaders of the
9 British army, is that correct?
10 A. That is right.
11 Q. I think then from 1987 to 1988, you were again in a
12 training position in a territorial infantry battalion
13 based in the United Kingdom, is that correct?
14 A. That is right.
15 Q. Then I think in 1988 you were selected for Army Staff
16 College, is that correct?
17 A. That is right.
18 Q. And that involved training for you at the Royal Military
19 College of Science at Shrivenham and at the Staff
20 College in Camberley, is that right?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. What did this training involve?
23 A. The first part of the course was ten months at
24 Shrivenham, which is a science-based course to prepare
25 army officers for staff jobs in the Ministry of Defence
1 and other scientific establishments -- other
2 establishments whereby they may be involved, for example
3 in the procurement of weapon systems, in the staffing
4 and purchase of weapon systems and that sort of thing,
5 and it was essentially a science-based course.
6 Q. Colonel, if you could slow down --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, we have the same concern here.
8 I know all these questions are important, but he is
9 telling us his life. He is available to you, you called
10 him, I suppose he is going to say what he can about the
11 conflict in which he was involved. Perhaps all these
12 questions could be summarised quickly. We would be
13 sensitive to that. If you say that it is particularly
14 relevant, of course, continue in that line.
15 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I only have a few more questions.
16 My view is I call the -- the Prosecutor calls this
17 witness and he is a military man and in order to provide
18 some foundation for the basis of his testimony, I think
19 it is relevant that you actually hear about his military
20 career and what he will base some of his opinions on.
21 As I say, I only have a few more questions, but I do
22 think it is relevant and I do think it is important.
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue then.
24 MR. CAYLEY: The training at Staff College, you say this is
25 to prepare officers of the British army for staff jobs.
1 I think it is also true, is it not, that Staff College
2 is there to prepare, as it were, the future leaders of
3 the British army, those persons who are destined for
4 higher rank, is that correct?
5 A. It certainly provides a foundation to go on in the army,
7 Q. I think you were then promoted to Major in 1989, is that
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. I think you then actually carried out what is known as a
11 staff job with headquarters United Kingdom Land Forces
12 in Wilton in Salisbury, is that right?
13 A. That is right.
14 Q. What did that job involve, very briefly?
15 A. Essentially it was largely in the training world and
16 I was involved in staffing matters of training policy
17 for the army across a wide range, really, which I will
18 not go into detail here about, but it was a training
19 policy job.
20 Q. I think in 1992 you then returned to command a company
21 with the Cheshire Regiment, is that correct?
22 A. That is right.
23 Q. How many men are there in a company?
24 A. At this time, and it is probably more relevant to what
25 we are going on to, I was commanding a company of about
1 100 men in Germany and at this time we were what was
2 called an armoured infantry battalion, so we were
3 equipped with Warrior vehicles.
4 Q. I think it was at this time that the Cheshire Regiment
5 actually deployed to Bosnia passes as part of the
6 United Nations Protection Force, is that right?
7 A. That is right. We were warned in August 1992 that we
8 were likely to be part of the first British deployment.
9 We then prepared between August 1992 and November 1992
10 and we then deployed with all our armoured vehicles in
11 early November 1992.
12 Q. We will come back to that, but I just want to bring the
13 court up to date with your career. I think after your
14 return from Bosnia, you went back to Germany, is that
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. Where you continued to command a company and then in
18 fact you moved on to another training job with the
19 armoured infantry training team in Senelager in Germany,
20 is that correct?
21 A. That is right.
22 Q. I think there you trained British army personnel for
23 service in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the UN Protection
24 Force and subsequently with NATO forces, is that right?
25 A. That was certainly part of the job, yes.
1 Q. I think you actually instructed, am I right, on the
2 tactical use of the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle,
3 is that right?
4 A. That is right.
5 Q. If I could ask for the first exhibit to be placed in
6 front of the witness, these exhibits have been
7 premarked. This is exhibit number 100 and the image is
9 Mr. President, we are using new technology this
10 morning. The image appears on the screen. You will be
11 talking a lot about the Warrior and I think just for a
12 point of reference for the court, this is a Warrior
13 armoured fighting vehicle, is it not?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. This is the vehicle that was extensively used by the
16 British infantry battalion in Bosnia?
17 A. That is right.
18 Q. So when you refer to "Warrior" you are referring to this
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. I think then from 1996 to 1997, you were
22 chief of staff for training support command in Germany,
23 is that correct?
24 A. That is right.
25 Q. I think, just to bring us right up to date, in February
1 of this year you were promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and
2 given command of the third battalion, the Cheshire
3 Regiment, is that correct?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. How many men do you currently have under your command?
6 A. About 350.
7 Q. Colonel Thomas, you are, are you not, a professional
8 army officer?
9 A. Yes, I am.
10 Q. I think you have been for 20 years, is that correct?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. How familiar would you say you are with infantry
13 training and tactics?
14 A. As you will have heard from my testimony, I have been
15 involved in a fair number of training jobs, so yes, I am
16 very familiar with infantry tactics.
17 Q. Are you familiar with the infantry training and tactics
18 of other armies other than the British army?
19 A. Obviously to a much lesser degree, but as part of
20 training, certainly at Sandhurst and Staff College, one
21 did study the tactics of the Soviet Union.
22 Q. Now we come on to your particularly relevant testimony.
23 I wish you to recall the events that occurred between
24 November 1992 and April 1993 when you were a company
25 commander of a company, the Cheshire Regiment in Central
1 Bosnia. I think you have already said, and if this is
2 correct please confirm it, the Cheshire Regiment was
3 part of the British government's contribution to the
4 United Nations Protection Force, is that right?
5 A. That is right.
6 Q. I think you deployed to Bosnia with elements of British
7 cavalry and also certain logistics or supply troops, is
8 that correct?
9 A. That is right.
10 Q. What was the modus operandi of the Cheshire Regiment in
11 Bosnia? What was your mission?
12 A. We were absolutely clear in the fact that our mission
13 was to support the United Nations Commission for
14 Refugees in the distribution of aid throughout Central
15 Bosnia. That was essentially our mission.
16 Q. And to, as it were, provide protection for those
17 actually attempting to supply humanitarian aid?
18 A. That is right.
19 Q. When did you arrive in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. On 11th November 1992, although I had been on a
21 reconnaissance in October.
22 Q. Whereabouts did you arrive?
23 A. We arrived at Split, we spent a couple of days
24 offloading our Warriors from the ship. We then
25 low-loaded to Tomislavgrad and then drove them over the
1 mountains into Central Bosnia.
2 Q. I think you were located, were you not, in the town of
3 Vitez in Central Bosnia, the battalion headquarters was
5 A. That is right.
6 Q. And the majority of the soldiers in the battalion. How
7 long did you actually spend in Vitez?
8 A. I was not there for very long initially, I spent about
9 two or three weeks there, barely time to unpack, before
10 I was despatched up to a small town called Kladanj,
11 about 50 kilometres south of Tuzla.
12 Q. I wonder if you could indicate on the map next to you
13 the location of Kladanj?
14 A. Just here. (Indicates).
15 Q. So it is really in the north eastern corner of Bosnia?
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. Take a seat now. What was your function in Kladanj?
18 A. At that particular time we were very concerned about the
19 situation in Tuzla, which was deteriorating rapidly, and
20 there were also reports that some of the enclaves were
21 in severe difficulties. At that time we began to hear
22 about Srebrenica. It was felt we ought to have a
23 presence in the north eastern part of Bosnia, so I was
24 sent up there with a small team to establish a link in
25 that area, and what we were then tasked to do was to
1 escort convoys along a stretch of road from Kladanj into
3 Q. Colonel, if you could slow down and try and follow my
4 pace. I know it feels unnatural, but the
5 interpreters ...
6 I think you commenced these duties in Kladanj and
7 then at the end of December you moved your entire
8 company to Tuzla, is that correct?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. Whereabouts were you based in the town of Tuzla?
11 A. We were based in an airfield, a former Yugoslavian
12 airforce airfield about 8 kilometres to the south east
13 of Tuzla.
14 Q. What were your responsibilities here?
15 A. Again, it was very much as best we could to escort aid
16 throughout the area of Tuzla and north of Tuzla to open
17 up routes as best we could, to carry out liaison with
18 the factions on the ground, to establish some sort of
19 dialogue with the Serb forces who were to the north and
20 east of Tuzla and also to meet, there was a regular
21 convoy which came from Belgrade which we used to meet on
22 the Bosnian/Serb front-line.
23 Q. Who were the factions in this particular area?
24 A. Tuzla and that particular area is primarily a Bosnian
25 Muslim area, but we were very close to the Serb
1 front-line so we had some contact with the Serbs.
2 Q. I think in early January, am I right in saying that you
3 actually crossed the front-lines into the Serb-held area,
4 is that correct?
5 A. In fact I went across I think on three occasions, but on
6 one particular occasion, we went down to the area east
7 of Kladanj, which was in Bosnian Serbia, to try and
8 establish links with the Bosnian Serb brigade commander
9 whose troops had been shelling us, or shooting at us, on
10 a daily basis near Kladanj. The aim of that particular
11 visit was to ask the Serbs to stop shelling us.
12 Q. I think you stayed here until February 1993 and then you
13 actually moved back to Vitez in the second week of
14 February, is that correct?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. I think here you commanded one of the operations
17 companies, alternating on duty with another company of
18 the battalion, C Company, is that correct?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. What were your responsibilities from the Vitez area?
21 A. Essentially it was carrying on what we had set out to do
22 and that was to escort humanitarian aid. Our mission
23 had moved on slightly in this time and we were -- we had
24 teams of liaison officers at Captain level who were
25 heavily involved in negotiating with local factions. We
1 were developing routes, carrying out reconnaissance of
2 lots of routes in the area and basically giving a
3 presence on the ground.
4 We were also involved with negotiations with the
5 Serbs to our west in Turbe because they were shelling
6 Travnik, which was of some concern to us, and also
7 because we were quite regularly involved in prisoner
8 exchanges with the Serbs and also, occasionally, body
10 Q. You have a copy of a map actually and I wonder if the
11 usher could just lift up the first map? For a point of
12 reference, I would like you just to mark on that map the
13 location of the British base in Vitez.
14 A. This area here. (Indicates).
15 Q. Fine. What is the name of that area?
16 A. It is just south of Stari Bila. It was actually in an
17 old school -- well, in fact it was not an old school, it
18 was a school which had been used up until the time we
19 moved there. We occupied that.
20 MR. CAYLEY: You have marked that with a green pen on exhibit
21 29. Mr. Registrar, what is the number of that exhibit?
22 THE REGISTRAR: 29H.
23 MR. CAYLEY: 29H. Thank you. How would you describe the
24 state on the ground, the atmosphere in Vitez, strictly
25 in February of this year; in fact, the atmosphere in the
1 whole of the area of the Lasva Valley where you were
2 patrolling at that time?
3 A. It did fluctuate considerably. There were occasionally
4 tensions on the ground between the local factions,
5 occasionally roadblocks would be set up by either side
6 to prevent our access into particular areas,
7 particularly if local forces had some sort of operation
8 going on, for example, against the Serbs, but generally
9 the situation was not too bad and we were able to get on
10 with our principal task, which, I repeat, was, of
11 course, to escort humanitarian aid.
12 Q. You mentioned the factions in the area. Who were the
13 factions in the Lasva Valley?
14 A. They divided up between Croat and Muslim, and they were
15 spread throughout the area.
16 Q. If the witness could now be shown premarked exhibit
17 100/2 and 100/3 and, for the technical staff, this is
18 Z31 and Z32.
19 First of all, that badge on the screen in front of
20 you, do you recognise that badge?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. What is that badge?
23 A. That is the badge of the HVO or the local Croat forces
24 that we saw in Central Bosnia.
25 Q. If the witness could now be shown new exhibit 100/5,
1 which for the technical staff is Z32; do you recognise
2 that badge?
3 A. Yes, it is the standard army badge worn by all soldiers
4 in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, i.e. the Muslim
6 Q. Did you regularly see these badges during your time in
7 the Lasva Valley?
8 A. On a daily basis.
9 Q. Is that how you actually identified the forces that were
10 on the ground?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. If we could now move ahead considerably in time to mid
13 April, and specifically 15th April 1993; am I correct in
14 saying that you went to a small village called Putis?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Could you go to the map that is there in front of you,
17 and if you could mark, actually in a different colour
18 than green, and if you could mark on the map, you are
19 marking in orange the location of the village of Putis.
20 A. (Witness marks map).
21 Q. Thank you. That is on exhibit 29H. Why did you go to
22 the village of Putis?
23 A. I have to say I cannot remember at this stage why we
24 were tasked to go there. It may have been that we were
25 tasked by our own military information cell but the fact
1 was that I was tasked to go there and I went there with,
2 I think, one other Warrior late in the evening as it was
3 getting dark, because we had had reports that the
4 village had come under attack and was threatened. The
5 position was very unclear, so basically I was sent to
6 have a look at it.
7 Q. Who did you meet in the village?
8 A. I met some local people who were in a very agitated
9 state and summoned me into one of their houses. Putis
10 is only a very small hamlet and they basically implied
11 that they were going to be attacked.
12 Q. To which faction did the people of this village belong,
13 the people that were telling you they were going to be
15 A. They were Muslims.
16 Q. Did they say by whom they were going to be attacked?
17 A. They said they were going to be attacked by the Croats.
18 Q. Can you describe the state of the village?
19 A. As I say, Putis was a tiny hamlet, just a few houses,
20 nestling in some fairly steep hills. There were just a
21 few people around at that stage. From what I recall,
22 I think they were all men, and basically I had a quick
23 look round the village, I did not have an interpreter
24 with me and there were snatched conversations. One or
25 two could speak simple English and they told me that
1 they thought they were going to be attacked. At that
2 particular time, there were snipers firing in and around
3 the village, so they were basically moving quite quickly
4 from house to house.
5 Q. Were they frightened?
6 A. Yes, they were.
7 Q. Did you see any civilians in the village at all?
8 A. I have to say I cannot recall whether these people were
9 Bosnian army or civilian. I believe they were
11 Q. Were there any women at all in the village?
12 A. I do not recall seeing any.
13 Q. In your professional opinion, how did you regard Putis
14 at the time? What conclusions did you draw about that
16 A. The situation was extremely tense and that they were
17 expecting something to happen. They were not, for
18 example, fortifying their houses or digging trenches or
19 anything like that, but I think they felt they were
20 about to be attacked and they were extremely nervous.
21 Q. We have moved ahead in time from February to April. Can
22 you describe the atmosphere now in the Lasva Valley?
23 A. The atmosphere around this particular period in mid
24 April had changed considerably and we were getting
25 reports of various activities going on throughout the
1 area, for example there were various faction leaders
2 kidnapped and shot in Zenica. We were patrolling in
3 Travnik throughout the night, because it was felt that
4 Travnik might erupt into some sort of violence. We were
5 patrolling Zenica, and throughout the whole area there
6 was a significant degree of tension.
7 Q. Were there roadblocks on the roads?
8 A. Yes, there were.
9 Q. Erected by both sides?
10 A. Erected by both sides.
11 Q. How were you monitoring the situation on the ground?
12 How were you actually receiving information as a
14 A. At this stage our liaison officers had very good
15 contacts with the local forces and the local force
16 commanders. For example, we had a liaison officer in
17 Travnik, we had one in Vitez, we had one in Zenica and
18 we were able to get very good feedback of what the
19 locals thought on the ground, so that was our prime
20 source of information. We also had our own military
21 information cell, which was very well organised and well
22 run and was very good at disseminating information and,
23 of course, from our own patrols on the ground as well as
24 doing our best to escort convoys, we were also
25 maintaining a continuous presence on the ground. We
1 very much felt that something was probably going to
2 happen, but we did not know what.
3 Q. I want to take you now forward to the morning of
4 16th April 1993. Whereabouts did you sleep on the night
5 of 15th April?
6 A. I was in a house alongside the camp and I was sharing a
7 room with Major Alan Abraham, who commanded the
8 9/12 Lancer Squadron.
9 Q. He was the officer commanding the cavalry component of
10 UNPROFOR in Vitez?
11 A. That is right.
12 Q. I think you awoke at about 6.00 in the morning on that
14 A. That is right, we were awoken by enormous explosions,
15 gunfire, mortars going off continuously and quite
16 clearly there had been a major eruption of violence in
17 the whole area so we both reached for our steel helmets
18 and flak jackets and departed in the direction of the
19 operations room.
20 Q. You were listening to the sound of this eruption that
21 you have just described. Could you actually distinguish
22 what weapons were being fired by ear?
23 A. Certainly the main weapons were small arms, heavy
24 machine gun, rifle and quite a lot of mortars going off
25 as well.
1 Q. You say you went to the operations room of the
2 battalion. What is the operations room?
3 A. It was where we had all our -- we did all our planning,
4 we did all our briefings, and where we had all our radio
5 networks, satellite, high frequency, VHF, and it was
6 where all operations on the ground were conducted from.
7 It was where, if you were on the ground in your Warrior,
8 and you were on the radio and you sent a message, that
9 is where the message would go back to, so it was the
10 place where all operations were controlled from.
11 Q. It was sort of the brain of the battalion, as it were?
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. Am I right in saying that after discussing matters in
14 the operations room, you deployed your entire company
15 into Vitez in Warrior armoured personnel carriers?
16 A. Initially it was my vehicle and I think about a
17 platoon's worth, but then as the situation developed the
18 whole company then very quickly followed on.
19 Q. If now, please, the usher could place exhibit 56 on to
20 the easel, this is an exhibit that has already been
21 admitted into evidence. Colonel, could you take a look
22 at that aerial photograph? Do you recognise that?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. If you could stand to one side of it so the judges can
25 actually see it. You say that you went into the town of
1 Vitez on that morning with your entire company. Can you
2 indicate the route that you actually took into the town?
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear the witness,
4 he is not speaking into the microphone.
5 A. We came down the main road, which is coming down this
6 way, the way we always went into town, straight down
7 here. (Indicates).
8 MR. CAYLEY: Can you describe what you saw as you entered the
10 A. Yes, as we approached the town, it was quite clear there
11 had been a major outbreak of violence. There were a
12 large number of houses that were badly shot up or on
13 fire. As we approached, and I think it is probably the
14 area from about the spot marked "P", up to about
15 probably "O", I think concentrated in the area around
16 about "H" here, we found a number of dead bodies lying
17 in the front of houses and complete carnage throughout
18 that area.
19 Q. If you could take a seat now. So just to clarify, that
20 was the area on exhibit 56 between the letters "P" and
22 A. That is right.
23 Q. You say you saw "complete carnage". Can you describe
24 more specifically exactly what you saw?
25 A. There were a large number of houses which had been shot
1 up, in that there were several hundred bullet marks,
2 grenade explosion marks, a number of houses had been
3 burnt out and we found, I think, about a dozen or
4 fifteen bodies on the way in.
5 Q. These bodies, how were they dressed?
6 A. They were dressed in local civilian attire, shirt,
7 trousers, it was a fairly warm time of the year, and
8 I think almost exclusively, I do not recall seeing any
9 soldiers, they were all civilians.
10 Q. Were there any weapons next to these bodies?
11 A. I did not see any.
12 Q. What sex were these bodies?
13 A. From what I recall, the ones that I saw in the early
14 part of the morning were all male, although we did treat
15 an elderly woman for a gunshot wound.
16 Q. I think various members of the battalion took
17 photographs as you were travelling through from the
18 turret of the armoured personnel carrier. If you could
19 look at exhibits 100/4 and 100/5, which for the
20 technical staff are Z1/232 and Z1/233, do you recognise
21 this image?
22 A. I do, because I took it.
23 Q. What does it depict?
24 MR. HAYMAN: Excuse me, I apologise for interrupting,
25 Lieutenant Colonel.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman, go ahead.
2 MR. HAYMAN: The photos we have been provided with, which
3 I assume counsel is referring to, have not been marked
4 in the manner in which counsel is referring to them.
5 They do not have exhibit numbers on them. They have
6 photograph numbers which are different from the numbers
7 counsel is giving to the technical staff, so I just want
8 to understand how we are going to identify the exhibit
9 that is in front of the witness so that we may follow
11 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies for that, it is a good point.
12 There is some confusion, the problem is this. The
13 technical staff, in order to show these images from the
14 computer-generated images, have different numbers from
15 the actual exhibit numbers allocated by the court. It
16 is something I have raised, I do not think it is the
17 most prudent way of doing it, but I am afraid for the
18 moment we have to live with it. What I will do as we
19 move along, for the sake of counsel, is actually
20 specifically identify both the number for the technical
21 staff and the exhibit number. I do not believe,
22 Mr. Registrar, that Defence counsel's book of photographs
23 have been marked in the same way as the Registry copy.
24 Is that the reason he does not know what the exhibit
25 numbers are, for the purposes of the court? There is
1 only one copy that has been premarked.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, only one of the copies was numbered,
3 but on the list which will be given to the parties and
4 to the judges there will be not only the Registry number
5 but also the number which is on each of the photographs,
6 which will permit us to see exactly what photograph is
7 being used in relation to the number given to it by the
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, is this an answer which you can
10 live with?
11 MR. HAYMAN: The best answer, your Honour, would be if the
12 unique identifying number on the photograph could be
13 identified at the time the exhibit is referred to, then
14 we can follow along with precision.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Then we should say that we all have a
16 photograph in our file here, this is, for example,
17 photograph 232, is that not right, Mr. Registrar?
18 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is so.
19 JUDGE JORDA: When you ask for identification and the
20 witness answers, should you not just say "this is
21 photograph number 232 and then for the technical staff
22 this is another number"? Would that not be a way of
23 working? Would that make it too difficult for you?
24 MR. CAYLEY: That is fine, Mr. President, that is what I am
25 attempting to do. Unfortunately, trying to remember so
1 many numbers at the same time, it makes it rather
2 difficult, but I will, as we go through each photograph,
3 for the sake of Mr. Hayman and Mr. Nobilo, I will very
4 slowly identify the number both for the court and for
5 the technical staff.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel can do it quickly, if he just gives us
8 the number.
9 JUDGE JORDA: For the judges, it would also be helpful. Go
10 ahead, please. All right, we are talking about
11 photograph 232. We can start working that way right
12 away and for the technical services this is Z -- what
13 number was it?
14 MR. CAYLEY: Z1/232 and Z1/233, and the court exhibit numbers
15 are exhibit 100/4 and 100/5.
16 JUDGE JORDA: For the Registry, is that correct?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is right.
18 JUDGE JORDA: It is a little longer doing it that way, but
19 if it is clearer for the judges and the Defence, then
20 that is how we should work. We would ask the Defence to
21 do the same thing when it identifies documents. Go
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Colonel, the photograph in front of
24 you at the time, which is marked 232, what is this
25 photograph an image of?
1 A. It is taken from my Warrior and it is an image of a dead
2 person in his front yard, I suppose, which is typical of
3 many we saw that morning as we drove down that stretch
4 of road.
5 Q. If very quickly the technical staff can show 233, which
6 is exhibit 100/5 on the court exhibit numbers, and
7 I think that is the same image taken from the turret of
8 your Warrior, is that correct?
9 A. Yes, I think it is.
10 Q. You say that you travelled this area and that you saw a
11 number, you say approximately a dozen civilians or
12 persons dressed in civilian attire lying on the ground.
13 Are you aware of the ethnic composition of the persons
14 who resided in this area between "P" and "O"?
15 A. From what I recall, this was essentially a Muslim area
16 and as events subsequently confirmed when I was called
17 back there a couple of days later, it was a Muslim area,
18 but, of course, Vitez was split into various pockets of
19 Croat and Muslim, but this area was in the vicinity of
20 the mosque and I know it to be a Muslim area.
21 Q. How do you know it was a Muslim area?
22 A. Because we discovered that morning very quickly when we
23 were on the ground that the people that had been killed
24 were Muslims, but also because the fact that we by this
25 stage had been in Bosnia for five months and we knew the
1 area quite well.
2 Q. I think you said earlier in your testimony that you came
3 across a female Muslim on the road. How old was she?
4 A. It is difficult -- she was probably in her late 50s,
5 early 60s.
6 Q. If you could stop there. (Pause).
7 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.
8 JUDGE RIAD: May I just ask for precision? Lieutenant
9 Colonel, you said that all the bodies were Muslim
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Is there any indication that they were all Muslims, or
13 was that your own assessment of the situation?
14 A. It was not my own assessment, we discovered later that
15 day that they were, and indeed we were involved later,
16 over the days following, in getting some of these people
17 buried. At that particular incident as I was driving
18 along I could not say "that was a dead Muslim", I have
19 to say, but as events unfolded that day and on
20 subsequent days, it was confirmed beyond any doubt
21 whatsoever, there is no doubt about that, that it was a
22 Muslim stretch of road, and as we will probably discover
23 later, I was called back two days later after a bomb
24 exploded and again it was confirmed to me that it was a
25 Muslim area.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Returning to this Muslim lady that you found in
3 the road, what state was she in?
4 A. She had two gunshot wounds; one was not so serious and
5 one was to her chest, which was pretty serious. We gave
6 her some first field dressings and stopped the bleeding
7 and then put her in an ambulance and took her to our
8 dressing station in Vitez camp.
9 Q. What was the initial opinion that you formed as a
10 professional army officer on what had actually happened
11 on that stretch of road? Your initial opinion as you
12 travelled down the road as you saw these dead bodies and
13 the devastation of these houses?
14 A. What you have to remember, of course, was that this was
15 so unique and so unusual, it was something that none of
16 us had ever seen before and it was not a typical
17 military operation in the sense that we had ever
18 experienced or taken part in. It was something
19 completely different. What struck us all was the
20 ferocity of what had gone on and the fact that there was
21 virtually no limit to what could be done. It was also
22 particularly striking, the sheer level of violence that
23 had been used and the number of rounds that had been
24 fired in the houses to basically clear the people out of
1 Q. Was there any evidence between points "O" and "P" of any
2 defensive positions by a military force?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Any wire?
5 A. No. If as part of a conventional operation in the
6 British army we were involved in defending houses for
7 what we call fighting in built-up areas, then there are
8 many ways of doing it with barbed wire, sand-bagging and
9 so on. If you wanted to defend a series of buildings --
10 there was no evidence that any of the houses in this
11 stretch of road, or indeed anywhere else in the
12 Lasva Valley, were constructed for Defence.
13 Q. I think you then continued on down the road, did you
15 A. That is right, yes.
16 Q. I think you drove past the Hotel Vitez, is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know what the Hotel Vitez was? Do you know what
19 the purpose of that building was?
20 A. It was essentially the headquarters -- it was part of
21 the headquarters of the Croat forces in Vitez. They had
22 a headquarters across the road from the hotel and the
23 hotel also functioned as the headquarters. Exactly the
24 relationship I do not know, but essentially the hotel
25 was a focal point for Croat forces in Vitez.
1 Q. Could you very quickly point to the Hotel Vitez on that
3 A. I think it is in the area of "A". It is actually quite
4 difficult to spot exactly, but I think it is "A".
5 Q. As you recall it was in that area.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Do you remember seeing anything in
8 particular on that day outside the Hotel Vitez?
9 A. There was frantic activity throughout the town that day,
10 with cars screeching everywhere and people obviously, in
11 the light of what had gone on, there was a very high
12 degree of tension. There were certainly Croat forces in
13 and around the hotel, but I cannot recall -- I could not
14 put a figure on specific numbers.
15 Q. That is fine. Do you recall -- did it appear as if the
16 Hotel Vitez was under attack?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did anybody go into the Hotel Vitez?
19 A. I personally did not that day, but I suspect, but I do
20 not know, that Colonel Stuart I suspect probably did, or
21 the battalion second in command, or almost certainly
22 some of the liaison officers.
23 Q. I think you then proceeded on through the town and you
24 went to a Muslim headquarters in Vitez, what you called
25 the Muslim headquarters in your statement, and you spoke
1 to a number of people there, is that correct?
2 A. That is right.
3 Q. Could you indicate on the map where the approximate
4 location of that headquarters was, as far as you
6 A. This is slightly more difficult, but I think it is
7 probably in the area marked "B", in that sort of area,
8 but it is quite difficult to recall.
9 Q. That is fine. So near to the stadium, would that be
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was the state of this headquarters?
13 A. It had been quite badly shot up, there was a lot of
14 broken glass, there appeared to be some sort of
15 hand-held anti-tank weapons which had been fired at the
16 building. There were several hundred bullet marks in
17 the building and there were probably 10 or 15, I think,
18 Muslim forces in and around the building.
19 Q. How were they armed?
20 A. Light machine-guns, grenades, rifles, that sort of
22 Q. Was there a commander there?
23 A. Yes, there was.
24 Q. Did you speak to him?
25 A. Very briefly.
1 Q. What did he say had happened?
2 A. The situation was extremely confused, but they told me
3 they had been under attack and that they expected to be
4 attacked again.
5 Q. What was the general state of this area of the town?
6 A. Not as bad as the area along the stretch of road that we
7 drove in on, but again large parts of the area had been
8 shot up.
9 Q. When you say "shot up", what do you mean by that?
10 A. By small arms fire, pockmarks of small arms fire in all
11 the walls, broken glass.
12 Q. Did you see any houses on fire in this particular area?
13 A. Not that I recall, no.
14 Q. Up until this point in time, had you seen any dead
15 individuals that appeared to be soldiers?
16 A. No.
17 Q. What was the purpose of the Cheshire's -- at this time
18 what was the decided purpose of the Cheshires remaining
19 on the ground?
20 A. Quite clearly at this stage our mission of escorting
21 humanitarian aid had changed somewhat and quite clearly
22 we were not going to stand by and let further killing
23 and carnage continue, so what we tried to do as best we
24 could over the next couple of days was put as many
25 armoured vehicles on the ground as possible to try and
1 prevent the local forces killing each other, and also at
2 that time there was a frantic period of liaison,
3 particularly with Colonel Stuart and the liaison
4 officers, to try to broker some sort of peace in Vitez
5 and the surrounding area, but essentially it was
6 maintaining a presence on the ground.
7 Q. And to suppress violence?
8 A. That is right.
9 Q. Were you in and out of Vitez all day that day?
10 A. Yes, I was.
11 Q. What I would like you to do now, again as a professional
12 soldier, is to give your opinion on the degree of
13 destruction of civilian objects and property in the
14 Vitez area; if you could describe it to the court?
15 A. The worst part of the town was the area I described
16 earlier on, going from the letter "P" up to "O", where
17 there was very considerable destruction and as I said,
18 from the point of view of a soldier, it was something we
19 had never seen before and it was difficult to put into
20 the context of anything we might have experienced, but
21 what clearly had gone on, there had been a very violent
22 attack, probably by a large number of small groups, just
23 because of the scale of the damage, who had attacked
24 houses in a fairly clear-cut way along a stretch of road
25 in Vitez, with a view of either killing or driving
1 people from their homes.
2 Q. Was the damage that you saw the result of collateral
3 damage caused by the engagement of two military forces?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Why do you say that?
6 A. Because of the fact that the people we saw were
7 civilian, the fact that there were no defended positions
8 in the area and the fact that -- if you were talking
9 about collateral damage you are normally talking about
10 artillery fire and there did not appear to be much
11 evidence of that. What there was was many, many
12 hundreds of thousands of rounds of small arms fire.
13 Q. You say the people you perceived to be attacked were
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is it not the object of an infantry force to actually
17 take ground and hold it? Is that the purpose of
19 A. That is one of the classic, if you like traditional,
20 roles of infantry, yes, to capture ground and to hold
22 Q. Had this occurred here?
23 A. No, because there were no Croat forces occupying the
24 areas that had been attacked.
25 Q. So what was the purpose of this attack?
1 A. It is difficult to judge, I would assume the purpose was
2 to drive people from their homes and, if necessary, to
3 kill them in the bargain.
4 Q. Was it an effective operation, could you judge that at
5 the time? Was it possible for you to judge that?
6 A. I think it was effective, yes. If that was the aim, to
7 get people out of their homes and to destroy them, then
8 it was an effective operation.
9 Q. I think on 16th April, that evening, you actually slept
10 in the British battalion camp at Stari Bila, is that
12 A. That is right.
13 Q. On 17th April you went on patrol, is that correct?
14 A. That is right.
15 Q. If the usher could now place exhibit 53 on the easel,
16 which again is an exhibit that has been admitted
17 previously. It is an aerial photograph of the Ahmici
18 area. (Handed). Thank you.
19 Colonel, if you could take a look at the aerial
20 photograph on the easel, do you recognise that
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. Can you just briefly say where it is?
24 A. It is the area east of Vitez, just east of Vitez,
25 starting here probably about one or two kilometres east
1 of Vitez, the village of Santici and Ahmici, and this is
2 the main road leading down towards what we call the
3 Busovaca junction. I will just point out, this is
4 the -- not the main road --
5 Q. Colonel, could you pause for a moment? I am sorry.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.
7 A. This road here is what we call the back road or the
8 mountain road to Zenica, and this is a fairly hilly part
9 of the countryside here. (Indicates).
10 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, on this day I think we have already
11 established that you were patrolling in the area, again
12 with a view to suppress violence on the ground and to
13 keep an eye on what was happening, is that correct?
14 A. That is right.
15 Q. I think on this particular day you were actually
16 travelling on your way to the village of Ahmici, is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You had to pass through, did you not, the village of
20 Santici, is that correct, in order to get to Ahmici?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you describe what you saw on 17th April in Santici?
23 A. I was with, I think, one other Warrior, going down the
24 road. As we approached -- I think it was in this area
25 here. (Indicates). There were a number of houses on
1 fire and a crowd of about 35 to 50 refugees were walking
2 down the road, so we stopped the Warrior and jumped out
3 and they were in a very distressed state and pointed to
4 their houses, and were carrying what they had with them
5 and one woman handed me a baby at that time and they
6 were fairly hysterical.
7 Q. What did they say to you about what had happened?
8 A. Again, I will be absolutely clear, I did not have an
9 interpreter, but what they said to me was "HVO, HVO" and
10 were basically screaming and shouting and it was quite
11 clear they were in an extremely distressed state. All
12 I could do then was get on the radio, warn off Vitez and
13 got them to warn off the refugee centre in Travnik and
14 point them in the right direction. We then subsequently
15 went over to the buildings.
16 Q. If you could take a seat now, Colonel. Of this number
17 of people that you have identified, what was the
18 composition in terms of men, women, children?
19 A. They were primarily women, a lot of women, quite a lot
20 of children and a couple of elderly men. There were one
21 or two other men of middle age, but primarily women and
23 Q. Were they civilians, these people?
24 A. Yes, they were.
25 Q. Exclusively civilians?
1 A. From what I remember, yes.
2 Q. You say they were carrying their belongings as they were
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were they leaving quickly?
6 A. They were not running, but they were leaving with haste,
7 on foot.
8 Q. What was your judgement of what had happened in the
9 village of Santici, or certainly this area near to
10 Santici, that you have identified on the aerial
12 A. It was quite clear what had happened. Their houses had
13 just been attacked, literally I think probably 20
14 minutes or so before we arrived. They were at that time
15 on fire.
16 Q. Was there sign of a military engagement between two
17 forces at this place?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were there any bodies of soldiers, combatants, around on
20 the ground?
21 A. No, we found no bodies that particular morning.
22 Q. How far was this location from the Hotel Vitez,
24 A. I think about two or three kilometres.
25 MR. CAYLEY: Fine. Mr. President, if it is convenient for
1 you, this is a convenient time for the Prosecution to
2 take a break, because we are now moving on to another
3 area of testimony.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I think in light of what you are going to ask,
5 you are the one who can say what is the best time to
6 stop. All right, I think we can stop now and begin
7 again at 11.35.
8 (11.15 am)
9 (A short break)
10 (11.35 am)
11 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume. Can we have the accused
12 brought in, please?
13 (Accused brought in)
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, would you start from 17th April,
15 that is the part you -- very quickly, starting from that
16 point, 17th April, when the houses were burning?
17 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, if there
18 are no objections from the Defence, could I apply for
19 admission of the first five photographs, that is 100/1,
20 100/2, 100/3, 100/4 and 100/5. As my learned friend has
21 pointed out, they do have different numbers, but for
22 technical reasons. It is the first five photographs in
23 that book that has been provided to the Defence.
24 MR. HAYMAN: No objection, and I note we are not asking for
25 the source of the photographs to be identified.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, to recap, as the President has already
3 said, on 17th April, at approximately what time did this
4 event occur, within the environs of Santici?
5 A. It was probably about mid morning, about 10.00 or 11.00.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Could you have the microphone on, please, when
7 you answer?
8 A. How is that?
9 JUDGE JORDA: That is fine.
10 MR. CAYLEY: As you have already stated, there were various
11 houses burning and you remember a large number of
12 persons actually on the road, actually leaving the
13 village and if you can just -- this may be somewhat
14 repetitious, but just conclude: what did you feel had
15 happened, from what you saw?
16 A. I believe quite clearly we had arrived on the scene just
17 after this small hamlet had been attacked and people had
18 been forced out of their homes violently, although they
19 did not appear to have been murdered -- there was no
20 evidence of people being murdered.
21 Q. I think you then continued on the same road, past this
22 incident which you had seen. As you stated, you radioed
23 back to Vitez, is that correct?
24 A. That is right.
25 Q. You told them the situation on the ground?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. As you went down the road towards the village of Ahmici,
3 did you notice anything on the road in particular?
4 A. After leaving these band of refugees, nothing in
5 particular, then I turned in up a road towards Ahmici.
6 Q. Can you stand up and identify on the aerial photograph
7 your journey from Santici to Ahmici?
8 A. As I say, we found the refugees I think in about this
9 area here (indicates), and I believe that the houses
10 which were on fire I think were in this area. They
11 could have been slightly further up. We then carried on
12 the road going higher. I then turned up this road here
13 and worked my way into Ahmici.
14 Q. If you could take a seat, please, Colonel. Can you
15 describe to the court what you saw on 17th April in
17 A. I think this was by now late morning and we were on the
18 fringes of Ahmici and as we drove up a particular track
19 we passed the mosque, which was on its side. I then
20 continued along, we found very many badly burnt out and
21 shot up houses. I then got further up a track and I was
22 quite concerned about the possibility of hitting a mine,
23 so we turned round and then headed back out of Ahmici.
24 Q. If the witness could please look at photograph 100/6,
25 which is marked Z1/171, and if that photograph could be
1 brought up on the screen, please? Do you recognise this
3 A. Yes, I do. Again, I took this particular photograph.
4 Q. What is this photograph?
5 A. That is a photograph of a house on the outskirts of
7 Q. Were there many houses in this state in Ahmici when you
8 went there?
9 A. Yes, very many of them.
10 Q. You say you investigated parts of the village to a limit
11 where you thought there might be mines, is that correct?
12 A. That is right.
13 Q. Was there any sign of a military engagement having taken
14 place in this village?
15 A. Well, if you mean by "military engagement" two forces
16 engaging each other, there was no sign of that. What
17 there was sign of was of a village which had been
18 completely shot up, attacked and burnt out. That is
19 what we saw, but it was not necessarily what you would
20 call a military engagement, it was the engagement of one
21 force against what we subsequently saw were civilians.
22 Q. Did you see any defensive positions in the village, any
23 fortified positions?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Any sand bags?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Any wire?
3 A. No.
4 Q. So no indication of any defensive fortifications in
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did you see any dead bodies in the village at all?
8 A. Not on this occasion, no, I did not.
9 Q. Did you dismount from your armoured personnel carrier
10 and actually enter any of the houses?
11 A. Yes, I think we looked actually in this particular one
12 that the photograph shows, but actually this was only a
13 very cursory look at Ahmici.
14 Q. Did you actually see anybody alive in the village?
15 A. I cannot recall seeing -- there may have been the odd
16 person wandering around, but I cannot honestly recall.
17 Q. Could you actually hear any shooting while you were in
18 the village?
19 A. In the sense -- not in the village, but all around the
20 Lasva Valley at that time there was sporadic shooting
21 going on, so throughout that period, throughout that
22 period, there was gunfire somewhere and if you looked up
23 into the hills, there were a lot of houses throughout
24 the area smouldering away.
25 Q. If the witness could now look at exhibit Z1/170, which
1 on the court record is 100/7. Do you recognise this
3 A. Yes, that is what is left of the mosque in Ahmici. The
4 minaret, as you can see, has toppled into the main
6 Q. Did the mosque appear like this on 17th April when you
7 entered the village?
8 A. Yes, again, because I believe I almost certainly took
9 that photograph.
10 Q. How do you think, in your professional opinion, that
11 that damage was caused to that building?
12 A. I am not a demolitionís expert, but I think it would have
13 been extremely unlikely that that was caused by an
14 artillery shell, because the chances of an artillery
15 shell landing close enough, having been deliberately
16 fired at that minaret, are very extreme. It has almost
17 certainly been caused by perhaps charges being placed
18 around it or even indeed having been set fire to, but as
19 I say, I am not qualified as a demolitionís expert to
20 say, but it certainly is not the result, I would say, of
21 an artillery shell.
22 Q. You inspected the houses from the safety of your
23 armoured personnel carrier in the village. Did you
24 actually observe any damage other than fire to these
25 buildings, any damage to the walls?
1 A. Again in common with Vitez, the houses were very badly
2 shot up in the sense that there were many hundreds, in
3 some cases, of bullet rounds, small arms fire and
4 grenade fragments in the houses, more than you would
5 expect just to kill the occupants of a house and drive
6 them out. It was significant to all of us the level of
7 violence that had been used, particularly in Ahmici but
8 also in other areas at that time, the sheer volume of
9 small arms ammunition which was expended was
11 Q. Again, based on what you have just said, did you reach
12 any conclusion about the nature of this military
14 A. I think at that time, that morning, we were to busy with
15 what was going on to draw specific conclusions as to
16 what had happened. We were more concerned with the now
17 of sorting out people and doing it as best we could.
18 Quite clearly we came to the conclusion that there had
19 been terrific violence used against the occupants of the
20 village. We had not begun to think about the reasons.
21 It was quite clear that people were murdered in their
22 homes and their homes destroyed. The overall reason at
23 that time, frankly, we were not particularly concerned
24 with, it was more the impact of the present, of sorting
25 out the situation.
1 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
2 If there are no objections from the Defence,
3 I would like to apply for admission into evidence of
4 exhibits 100/6 and 100/7, which are the two photographs
5 we have just viewed on the monitor.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Registrar? They will then be put under which
8 THE REGISTRAR: The numbers would be 100/6 and 100/7.
9 MR. CAYLEY: Colonel, you left Ahmici after viewing the state
10 of the village. Do you remember approximately what time
11 of day this was?
12 A. I think it was about midday.
13 Q. I think I am right in saying that you headed towards the
14 town of Busovaca, is that correct?
15 A. I certainly carried on patrolling east down towards
16 Busovaca, yes.
17 Q. Was there anything in particular that you noticed on the
18 road as you passed down towards the town of Busovaca?
19 A. We always passed at that particular time -- there was a
20 HVO headquarters in the area of -- this area here
21 (indicates) on the left-hand side of the road as you
22 drove down, which was something we called the Alpine
24 Q. Could you just point to it once again?
25 A. This area here on the bend in the road. (Indicates). It
1 was an area we referred to as the Alpine Lodge, which
2 was a Croat headquarters, and as usual on that
3 particular day there were a number of expensive 4X4-type
4 Shogun vehicles parked outside and some HVO forces, but
5 I would stress that was relatively normal in the sense
6 there were always forces there, but there was activity
7 around those headquarters.
8 Q. Approximately how many people did you see around those
9 headquarters, if you did see anybody?
10 A. I would not like to place a figure on it.
11 Q. Do you remember how these individuals were dressed?
12 A. They were dressed as all HVO forces were, with combat
13 kit and small arms.
14 Q. I think you then returned to Stari Bila camp and I now
15 want to take you forward in time to 18th and 19th April
16 1993. I think it was whilst you were in the camp at
17 Stari Bila that you heard a very large explosion, is
18 that correct?
19 A. Yes, I think it was a Sunday evening, getting dark, and
20 we heard an enormous bang coming from the centre of
21 Vitez, and again, as we were at that time the Ops
22 Company, I was sent down -- at that time I went with 2
23 Platoon, so we went down with about five Warriors. In
24 fact, I was the first Warrior on the scene and we came
25 across a huge explosion, just past the mosque.
1 Q. If you could pause there, and if the usher could replace
2 exhibit 56, which is the aerial photograph underneath
3 the present photograph on the easel. Thank you. You
4 say that you entered the town of Vitez, you were the
5 operations company, is that correct?
6 A. That is right.
7 Q. Can you describe what you saw when you entered the town?
8 A. We came across, in the centre of the road, just past the
9 mosque, the scene of a massive explosion and the remains
10 of what appeared to be a truck or something like that,
11 I think we later discovered it was a petrol tanker, and
12 in the immediate vicinity of the explosion there was a
13 large number of houses which were completely flattened.
14 Q. Can you indicate on the aerial photograph, I know it is
15 marked, the site of the bomb blast, but put where you
16 believe, if you could -- and refer to a letter, the
17 nearest letter to where you believe the explosion took
19 A. I think it is in the area between "P" and "H", or it
20 might be further up. It was just past the mosque,
21 I remember that.
22 Q. That is fine, Colonel, as best as you recall.
23 A. It may have been a bit further north, but it was within
24 about probably 100 metres heading into Vitez, past the
1 Q. Can you describe the damage that you saw in the town in
2 detail, please?
3 A. As I say, in the immediate vicinity of the explosion,
4 the houses were completely flattened, probably five
5 houses on either side of the explosion, and there were a
6 number of dead bodies as well.
7 Q. Do you remember the number of casualties that there
9 A. I think we found about five bodies, I think about eight
10 casualties, and then we subsequently discovered, because
11 we then started doing some house searches and about
12 probably 15 minutes after, we found in a cellar a large
13 number of civilians sheltering, they were probably -- it
14 is difficult to remember, probably about 40 or 50 of
15 them at this stage in a cellar, so we got them out and
16 they were saying that they thought they were about to be
17 attacked and they were in fear of their lives.
18 Q. Did they say by whom they were about to be attacked?
19 A. I do not actually remember anybody saying to me "we are
20 going to be attacked by the HVO", but there was only one
21 conclusion to draw because these were Muslims and in
22 fact I know that because we then evacuated them to the
23 Muslim refugee centre in Travnik.
24 Q. What was the composition of these people in terms of
25 male, female, children?
1 A. They were predominantly women and children and less men,
2 a number of older men. They were in an extremely
3 distressed state, to the extent that I took the decision
4 on the spot to move them out of their houses and move
5 them down to Travnik, so they were prepared at that
6 stage to leave their homes, what was left of them,
7 immediately, carrying nothing and go. That was the
8 level to which they felt that they were about to be
10 Q. So they were very, very frightened?
11 A. Extremely frightened.
12 Q. Was there any shooting going on at this point?
13 A. There was sporadic sniper fire down the main street, but
14 nothing that was particularly untoward for Vitez,
15 although we were quite careful about where we moved. We
16 just backed up -- I then got on the radio and we moved
17 virtually every armoured vehicle we had in Vitez down to
18 the scene and we just backed them up to the houses and
19 put people in the back and drove them out.
20 Q. How many people did you evacuate to Travnik, do you
22 A. I think just over 100, but I would stress at this
23 particular point that at no time, and I was particularly
24 conscious of this on the ground, that at no time did we
25 move any soldiers. It is something that quite clearly
1 I would never have considered doing. It would have been
2 out of the question for me to move any soldiers of
3 either side in a situation like this.
4 Q. If you could look at the final photographs in front of
5 you, which are Z1/246, Z1/250, Z1/251 and Z1/252, the
6 first photograph on the screen in front of you, that
7 shows a Warrior armoured personnel carrier from the
8 Cheshire Regiment, does it not?
9 A. No, it shows a 432, a different vehicle, but it is an
10 armoured vehicle from our force, yes.
11 Q. What does this scene depict?
12 A. It depicts the area very near the centre of the
13 explosion. You can just see the aftermath there of the
15 Q. If we could now move to -- that photograph will be
16 exhibit 100/8 on the court record. If we could now move
17 to 250? Colonel, could you explain to the court what
18 this photograph depicts?
19 A. That is looking down Vitez main street and you can just
20 see at the far end of the road remains of the truck and
21 just this side of it, there is a small crater which is
22 where the blast took place.
23 Q. For the purposes of the court record, that will be
24 exhibit 100/9. If we could now have 251, please? What
25 does that depict, Colonel?
1 A. It is a closer image of the immediate scene of the
2 explosion. Just in front of the gun there you can see
3 where the explosion took place, and further down, you
4 can see the remains of the truck.
5 Q. How far had that truck been thrown from the site of the
7 A. Difficult to say, probably about 100 metres, possibly
9 Q. What size charge would you need to throw a truck 100
10 metres down the road?
11 A. I could not comment on the size, but a pretty big one.
12 Q. That will be exhibit 100/10, and if we can move on the
13 final photograph, which is Z1/252, that I think is a
14 view of the remains of the truck?
15 A. Yes, I think it is.
16 Q. That will be exhibit 100/11. Finally on this point,
17 there is a very short video clip that I think you can
18 identify of these events, and if the booth could please
19 play that video now?
20 (Videotape played)
21 Q. If you could make any comments on this, Colonel, as we
22 move through it?
23 A. It is a video taken from the turret of one of the
24 Warriors. It is now just driving past the scene of the
25 explosion, which, as you can see, has made a small
1 crater, and then you have the immediate aftermath, as
2 you can see, pretty substantial damage to the immediate
3 houses. It was in this particular area that we -- just
4 a bit further down the street, that we were evacuating
5 that night the inhabitants of the immediate area.
6 (Videotape stopped)
7 MR. CAYLEY; thank you. If there are no objections,
8 Mr. President, from the Defence, I would like to apply
9 for admission into evidence of exhibit 100/8, 9, 10 and
10 11, and the video clip which I think is exhibit 101.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Then these will be put into the record under
12 the numbers that you have just said.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is right.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead, Mr. Cayley.
15 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you. Mr. Usher, if you could now remove
16 that aerial photograph to reveal the map of the
17 Lasva Valley, which is exhibit 29. Colonel, I think a
18 short time after the bomb explosion in Vitez, you
19 proceeded to the HVO headquarters in Busovaca, is that
21 A. That is right.
22 Q. I think you met somebody there, is that correct?
23 A. I met -- I certainly met a representative from the HVO
24 headquarters who I thought was probably the commander in
1 Q. Do you recall his name?
2 A. No, I do not. It may have been Kordic, who was the
3 commander there, but I cannot definitely say it was.
4 Q. Why did you go to Busovaca?
5 A. Again we had been tipped off, and I think it was through
6 our military information cell or it may have been
7 through the press, who had heard reports there had been
8 some sort of massacre in a village called Kazagici, a
9 village near Busovaca. I was sent off to discover what
10 had gone on.
11 Q. Could you please look at the map next to you and mark on
12 there with a pen, and you are now marking I think with a
13 pink pen, the location of Kazagici, if you can recall.
14 A. (Witness marks map).
15 Q. So you have marked on the right-hand side of the map of
16 the Lasva Valley with a pink marker the location of the
17 village of Kazagici. You made your way to the village.
18 Were you able to access the village without any
20 A. At the bottom of the hill leading up to it, we were
22 Q. By whom were you stopped?
23 A. I have to say I find it difficult to recall. I will not
24 even say, I cannot remember which forces. It was a very
25 confused situation around there. It had been the tail
1 end of a very busy and confusing period. Anyway, we
2 ignored them and drove on up the hill into the village
3 which had been very badly shot up in the style of
4 Ahmici. We did not find any bodies there and the only
5 thing I can remember was a lot of dead cattle. There
6 was then a large amount of gunfire directed at us and in
7 fact I had two reporters from the Daily Mirror with me
8 at that time as well, and in fact we had probably more
9 fire than we had experienced in the whole tour at that
10 stage, personally. We then made our way back to the
11 Warriors and moved out.
12 Q. What was the state of the housing in the village of
14 A. Again, it was very similar to one of the exhibits you
15 saw of one of the houses in Ahmici, in the sense they
16 were completely destroyed.
17 Q. Were there any individuals actually still living in the
19 A. No.
20 Q. So there was nobody there?
21 A. There were local forces which we saw around the village,
22 but certainly -- in fact, we walked the length of the
23 village with these reporters and saw nobody.
24 Q. I think the last significant event of this particular
25 time you recall was in and around the camp at Vitez,
1 when in fact the battalion itself came under threat, is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, but I think there was probably one other event in
4 this period which is the day of the truck bomb, in a
5 village called Kadras.
6 Q. If you could move on to the events in and around Stari
7 Bila, specifically when the camp itself came under
9 A. Towards the end of this particular period, we felt that
10 the camp itself or the houses around the camp, which
11 were Muslim-owned, were going to be attacked. There was
12 a very strong belief by the local people that their
13 houses were about to be attacked by the Croats, to the
14 extent that we put Warriors on all corners of the camp
15 and we started preparing defensive positions, because we
16 believed that the houses in the immediate vicinity of
17 the camp were about to be attacked.
18 Q. Why was there a feeling that you were about to be
20 A. Because the houses next to the camp were getting shot at
21 and the local people who lived in them were telling us
22 that they were about to be attacked.
23 Q. Who were the occupants of these houses?
24 A. They were Muslim people.
25 Q. Were they civilians or soldiers?
1 A. They were civilians.
2 Q. What did you actually do in the camp?
3 A. What we did, if you like, we doubled the guard, to coin
4 a phrase, but we deliberately put all our Warriors up in
5 the shop window, as it were, and put them on the corners
6 of the camp and prepared, if necessary, to defend
7 ourselves and indeed the people next to the camp. We
8 would not have been prepared to stand by and watch
9 people be attacked in their houses, of whatever side
10 they were.
11 Q. Was there a belief of who you were actually going to be
12 attacked by at the time?
13 A. It could only have been the HVO.
14 Q. They were actually going to attack the base in Vitez?
15 A. No, I do not think they would have attacked the base,
16 they would have been absolutely mad to attack us, given
17 the armoured vehicles and fire power that we had. I do
18 not think that was on the agenda. I think what was very
19 possible was that they were going to attack the houses
20 next door to the camp and indeed may have attacked or
21 put a bomb or something in the officers' mess, which
22 bordered on the front road. Indeed subsequently, they
23 did attack some of the houses in the sense that one of
24 our interpreters, Debrila Kalaba was shot dead by a
25 sniper just after we left, sitting on the step outside
1 one of the houses next to camp.
2 Q. Really this is reaching the end of this period of
3 particularly violent hostilities. In concluding
4 everything that you had seen over those number of days,
5 so after 16th through to about 19th or 20th April, what
6 were your personal views, your personal opinions as a
7 senior army officer on what had actually occurred in the
8 Lasva Valley during those days?
9 A. I think now with hindsight, it is probably easier to
10 look back and form a judgement than at the time. We were
11 so involved in operations on the ground that we were
12 working 24 hours a day and we were witnessing something
13 which we had never seen before and quite clearly it was
14 very new to us and particularly for some of the younger
15 soldiers, it was very, very different to what they had
16 ever witnessed before.
17 Q. Could you speak more slowly, please, Colonel. Thank
19 A. What had happened, we were obviously very distressed and
20 quite shocked by some of the things we had seen, but
21 what clearly happened, there had been a massive outbreak
22 of violence in a very short space of time, whereby a
23 large number of civilians had been killed, many of them
24 in their homes, and the level of the violence which had
25 been unleashed on those people was something which was
1 quite striking. There did not appear to be, from our
2 position at the time, any military objective to it, in
3 the sense what we witnessed was straightforward murder
4 in people's houses.
5 Q. Looking at the scale of what you saw going on on the
6 ground, was this some uncoordinated bout of violence by
7 disorganised soldiers, or was there any degree of
8 organisation or system that you saw going on?
9 A. I think what we witnessed was a fairly ruthless and
10 clinical operation, and I say that to the extent that we
11 hardly every saw the events taking place and if we had
12 done, we certainly would have tried to do something
13 about it. Most of the events took place at night, and
14 very quickly and very ruthlessly. One of my platoon
15 commanders did witness in Vitez a small band of men
16 employing, if you like, house-clearing tactics, about to
17 enter a house in Vitez. When they saw him, they stopped
18 what they were doing and then disappeared. I believe
19 that it was co-ordinated in the Lasva Valley. I am
20 quite clear about that.
21 Q. Why do you feel it was co-ordinated?
22 A. Because it happened so quickly, because it was so
23 efficiently and ruthlessly done, and because of the fact
24 that we could not actually catch people in the act of
25 doing it. It was quite a clear-cut, efficient operation
1 to murder people and destroy their homes. Also, you
2 know, we were aware of a command structure on both
3 sides. There was quite a clear command structure in the
4 BiH and there was quite a clear command structure in the
5 HVO. We had wiring diagrams, or if you like a family
6 tree of the headquarters of all the organisations. We
7 knew all the local commanders, the liaison officers knew
8 the local commanders. Indeed, if you were moving around
9 on the ground in Central Bosnia and you were stopped at
10 a checkpoint, the first thing that the local commander
11 on the ground would do, very often, if there was a
12 dispute, if we wanted to get to a particular place and
13 there was a dispute, they would get on the radio or the
14 telephone and refer to their higher headquarters. Of
15 course it was a factor, I think probably inherent from
16 the communist system, of clear-cut chain of command and
17 in fact people unwilling to take decisions unless the
18 person senior to them sanctioned it. It was very much a
19 throwback to the old Yugoslav army system or, indeed,
20 the communist system, what we call in the British army a
21 sort of "jobsworthian" attitude on the ground, i.e. "it
22 is more than my job is worth to let you through, I will
23 refer to the person above me". So in that respect on
24 both sides, and I stress on both sides, there was a
25 clear-cut command structure. There was no doubt about
2 Q. Thank you. You would have had opportunity to compare
3 the quality of the two forces that you saw on the
4 ground, the HVO and the BiH in the Lasva Valley; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you make a judgement during this time of the relative
8 qualities of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO,
9 the army of the Bosnian Croats?
10 A. It is actually quite difficult to make judgements. What
11 I would say about both sides, particularly when they
12 were fighting the Serbs, and let us not forget that that
13 initially was the main threat, they were brave,
14 dedicated, tough and robust soldiers. I think that
15 equated for both sides. There were many decent and
16 honourable men on both sides.
17 As to make a comparison between the two is quite
18 difficult. I would say that generally speaking, the HVO
19 were probably smarter, probably more efficient and
20 probably slightly better equipped, but beyond that,
21 I would not like to say.
22 Q. Have you ever heard of the Vance-Owen Plan?
23 A. Yes, I have.
24 Q. Do you believe that that plan is in any way connected
25 with the events you saw during this time period?
1 A. It is getting into an area in which I am not
2 particularly qualified to comment. All I will say is
3 I was aware of the Vance-Owen Plan which divided up
4 Central Bosnia into many cantons, depending on the
5 strength of the Croat or the Muslims in those particular
6 cantons as to who governed that area. There is nothing
7 new in this, I, in common with many other people,
8 suspected that what went on might have been a reaction
9 or a preparatory move before the Vance-Owen Plan to
10 cause a population shift in Central Bosnia so that
11 certain sides benefited from the outcome of the
12 Vance-Owen Plan. There is nothing new in that.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you ever meet any of the HVO commanders
14 in the Vitez area?
15 A. Yes, I did, but not very much and really only in the
16 early part of the tour and indeed very early on, I think
17 in the first couple of weeks in Vitez, we had a dinner
18 night whereby we invited on both sides, Croat and
19 Muslim, commanders from Vitez, Zenica, Travnik into
20 Vitez so that we could meet them socially. So yes,
21 I had met various Croat commanders.
22 Q. Do you recall ever meeting General Blaskic?
23 A. No, I do not. I may well have met him, but I do not
24 really remember meeting him.
25 Q. Did you make any judgement at this time on the quality of
1 the HVO commanders as a group of officers from the
2 British army, did you make a particular judgement at the
4 A. Yes, I think we were aware actually that we were dealing
5 with people that were very dedicated -- of course, in
6 many respects they were fighting against the Serbs,
7 fighting for the survival of their country. They were
8 dedicated professional people, obviously with a
9 different ethos and culture to that of the British army,
10 but I think we had a healthy respect for the commanders
11 on both sides and it goes without saying, and perhaps
12 I should have said at the beginning, as part of our
13 modus operandi as UN forces, we were and remained
14 completely impartial as UN forces throughout our time on
15 the ground. I firmly believe that even during this
16 particular period in late April that we maintained that
18 Q. When did you finish your service in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. I think we drove out of Vitez on, I think, about May
21 Q. You ultimately returned to Germany with the battalion,
22 is that correct?
23 A. That is right.
24 Q. Am I right in saying that you were honoured by Her
25 Majesty the Queen for your service in the former
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What award did you receive?
4 A. The MBE.
5 Q. That is the Membership of the British Empire. What was
6 that for?
7 A. It was mainly for operations that the company conducted
8 in Tuzla in December and January and February 1993.
9 Q. So, in effect, escorting humanitarian aid convoys into
10 the Tuzla region?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Colonel. Mr. President, I have no
13 further questions.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo? I think that one
15 counsel will be enough. If Mr. Hayman is going to do the
16 cross-examination -- is that correct?
17 MR. HAYMAN: That is our plan, your Honour.
18 JUDGE JORDA: All right.
19 MR. CAYLEY: Just one point, Mr. President, before I conclude,
20 if I could apply for the admission of exhibit 29H into
21 evidence, if my learned friend has no objections.
22 MR. HAYMAN: That is the large map, your Honour?
23 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
24 MR. HAYMAN: No objection.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Very good. It has already been filed,
1 I believe, has it not?
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is numbered and I am going to
3 file it right now.
4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. How is it going to fit in with the
5 other exhibits that have been put it? Will it have the
6 same number?
7 THE REGISTRAR: When it is a copy of one which has been
8 tendered, we take the same number and add the letter
9 which follows, depending upon the annotation of the
11 JUDGE JORDA: Very good. Mr. Hayman, I am giving you the
12 floor now.
13 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN
14 Q. Thank you, your Honour. Good afternoon, Lieutenant
15 Colonel, how are you?
16 A. Very well, thank you.
17 Q. We have had a chance to meet before, have we not?
18 A. Yes, we have.
19 Q. You were kind enough to grant me an interview in the
20 United Kingdom and we met for some time in connection
21 with that interview, correct?
22 A. Yes, we did.
23 Q. I have a few questions. I probably will not finish
24 before the luncheon break but it will not be a very long
25 examination, I think. The BritBat force in Central
1 Bosnia was, had superior armour to any other force in
2 the region, would you agree with that?
3 A. Yes, it did.
4 Q. Namely through your Warriors and other armoured
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did those Warriors also have superior mobile fire power
8 to the other forces in the region, at least the Croat
9 and Muslim forces?
10 A. Yes, it did.
11 Q. What kind of cannon was on the Warrior?
12 A. 30 millimetre cannon.
13 Q. Were there also some machine-guns in the vehicle or
14 connected with the vehicle?
15 A. Yes, the Warrior is fitted with a Hughes' chain gun,
16 which is a machine gun.
17 Q. 7.62 millimetres? What is the size?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. You mentioned that the BritBat force had a Mil Info
21 A. That is right.
22 Q. Can you tell us first what the function of that cell
24 A. It was really to be able to brief all the patrols going
25 out on the ground as to what sort of areas they were
1 moving through, what incidents had occurred in their
2 particular areas, who were the local commanders, the
3 sort of routes they might be going over, problems with
4 bridges, that sort of thing. It was very wide ranging,
5 but it was more, and I stress here, information rather
6 than intelligence. It was to aid -- to make the most of
7 the patrols and indeed getting humanitarian aid around
8 the country.
9 Q. By the way, if at any time I ask a question that you
10 feel would be better answered in a closed session
11 without the public and the media, you are absolutely
12 free to make that request and no inference will be drawn
13 from that. Please feel free to let us know if you are
14 uncomfortable with any question I ask in that regard.
15 By what process or processes did the Mil Info
16 Cell --
17 JUDGE JORDA: It is the Tribunal that makes the decision as
18 to whether or not there will be a closed session at the
19 request of the parties.
20 MR. HAYMAN: Absolutely, your Honour. I just want to make
21 sure the witness knows he can ask if he is not
22 comfortable and he should ask if he is uncomfortable.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead.
24 MR. HAYMAN: By what process or processes did the Mil Info
25 Cell gather information?
1 A. There is nothing sinister about this. Basically every
2 time people came back in from a patrol or an escort,
3 they would do a report and hand it in. As I said
4 already, we employed liaison officers on the ground and
5 that was a feature of the way we worked, if you like,
6 classic hearts and minds aspect of putting people out on
7 the ground and they gained lots of information with
8 which they briefed the Mil Info Cell.
9 Q. When you say reports were made when platoons or a
10 company came back in, would that be an oral debriefing
11 or a written report, or would it vary?
12 A. It would vary, but very often it would be a short
13 written report, particularly if there was something
14 new. Very often things were very routine. If, for
15 example, a bridge had been found which could not take
16 Warrior, for example, then that would be reported and it
17 affected the route planning and so on.
18 Q. Do you know, did the Mil Info Cell also derive
19 information from the liaison officers?
20 A. Yes, they did.
21 Q. Did the Mil Info Cell produce a document of its own?
22 A. I think the Mil Info Cell, along with the operations
23 officer, produced a daily what we call "Sit Rep",
24 situation report of events that day and that would, for
25 example, consist of how many convoys were escorted, the
1 tonnage and what the particular sub-units, for example,
2 the companies, had done that day, but only in very broad
4 Q. Would the daily Sit Rep -- which I take it stands for
5 "situation report"?
6 A. That is right.
7 Q. The daily Sit Rep, is that the same thing or a different
8 document from a Mil Info Summ?
9 A. It is a different document.
10 Q. How would you describe the Mil Info Summ?
11 A. The Mil Info Summ was probably a summary -- it was a
12 summary of local force activity, whereas the Sit Rep was
13 more a briefing on -- mainly the aid activities that had
14 been carried out that day.
15 Q. Were the Sit Rep and the Mil Info Summ documents sent up
16 the chain of the command to United Nations, UK land
17 force command or to both?
18 A. I am not quite sure how far they went, but certainly
19 they went down to Split to our headquarters down there.
20 Q. To the headquarters of the UN command?
21 A. To the headquarters of the British forces down in Split,
22 and also, I should add, also to the then UN headquarters
23 in Kiseljak.
24 Q. Were there other regular forms of reporting either
25 within the British forces or to the United Nations that
1 you were aware of, other than the daily situation
2 reports and the Mil Info Summs?
3 A. Apart from that clearly that were given by commanders,
4 for example Colonel Stuart briefing his superiors at
5 Kiseljak or in Split, yes.
6 Q. I am referring to other written reporting.
7 A. Not that I am aware of.
8 Q. How did you receive information back from the Mil Info
9 Summ so that you would be aware of local situations
10 before you went out on patrol or in some other
12 A. Very often, things were so routine that sometimes it was
13 not necessary, but if we were doing -- for example, if
14 we were doing a line crossing, we were for example
15 receiving prisoners from the Bosnian Serb lines in
16 Travnik, a complicated operation which required a degree
17 of security, or something sensitive like that, or we
18 were going to try and approach the front-lines before we
19 went ahead and did something like that, we had a formal
20 session of orders. In that session of orders, a
21 representative from the Mil Info Cell would do part of
22 the briefing.
23 Q. Can you explain what you mean by the term "session of
25 A. What would happen, and let us say, for example, that a
1 company was going to conduct an operation to bring back
2 some prisoners across the Serb front-lines, I would sit
3 down with my -- probably with a map like that, with my
4 platoon commanders in front of me, with probably
5 representatives from the ICRC, Red Cross, probably from
6 the UN and other agencies, probably the liaison
7 officers, and we would talk through in a formal way, in
8 which way the British army does its orders, the
9 operation, so everybody is absolutely clear on the
10 structure of the plan.
11 Q. Thank you. You were the commander of A company?
12 A. Yes, I was.
13 Q. Did the company keep a company log?
14 A. The company did not keep a company log, the battalion
15 kept a log, of which when A company was on operations,
16 there was a log.
17 Q. Can you describe that process?
18 A. It is a radio log, A4 size, which sits in the operations
19 room which we described earlier on, and when there is
20 any communication over the radio, the signaller in the
21 Ops Room writes down the message, who sent it, who it
22 was to and the content of the message. It is a way --
23 it is much less relevant in situations like this, but
24 clearly in conventional war, these things are more
1 Q. Is there also such a thing known as the battalion log?
2 A. That was it really, that was the battalion --
3 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, can I object at this point? We
4 have spent the last 12 minutes moving through a
5 description of the reporting process of the Cheshire
6 Regiment. This subject is completely outside the scope
7 of questions that were asked in direct examination. We
8 had a meeting for several hours yesterday where we spoke
9 of pinpointing and asking our questions with precision.
10 I do not believe that this is relevant in this
11 examination, and I would ask that counsel be asked to
12 move on.
13 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my colleagues for
14 a moment. (Pause). The Trial Chamber has already had
15 the opportunity of taking up this question and in
16 line with what we spoke about yesterday afternoon, the
17 Tribunal is absolutely convinced that the
18 cross-examination must be connected with the principal
19 examination. Having said this, the judges do have faith
20 in the Defence today, as it had in the Prosecution a
21 while back, to understand the theory is respected for a
22 legal and procedural principle. There is a habit which
23 should be taken in this trial, if we want the trial to
24 fit into the time-frame that we have set.
25 Mr. Hayman, this is the desire of the Tribunal, and
1 we will be careful to make sure that things go that way,
2 which means that your questions in your
3 cross-examination must correspond with the questions
4 that were asked during the examination-in-chief.
5 Continue, move on to another question, please.
6 MR. HAYMAN: I take that, your Honour, that I may continue my
7 line of enquiry?
8 JUDGE JORDA: No, perhaps I used language which was not that
9 clear. What we mean is that -- let me try to be
10 clearer, pardon me. The principle that the Tribunal
11 wants to set forth is that the cross-examination must
12 correspond and suit the examination-in-chief. You
13 cannot have a cross-examination, I am saying this to you
14 today and I will say it several weeks and several months
15 from now to the Prosecution, the cross-examination must
16 be fitted in with the examination-in-chief.
17 Having said this, you are the master of your own
18 strategy and it is therefore possible that in the
19 line of thought that you have in the interests of your
20 client that you would sometimes need to move somewhat
21 aside. We do know that the Prosecution had no objection
22 immediately, but waited for about 10 or 12 minutes.
23 Let us be very clear here. The Tribunal wishes
24 that in this Blaskic case, the cross-examination which
25 is carried out should fit in with the
1 examination-in-chief. Having said this, the judges do
2 have faith, and are not going to stop you by saying "you
3 did not follow exactly what the Tribunal had said",
4 because faith in you, up to that point when the opposite
5 party makes an objection, and says therefore that you
6 have to change the line of your question and then move
7 to another line of questioning.
8 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. If I am being told to stop this
9 line, I would simply note the Defence has not been given
10 an opportunity to be heard as to the relevance of this
11 area. I would note that for the record, that the court
12 ruled without giving the Defence an opportunity to state
13 the relevance, not only to this witness but to the
14 case. I will move on, your Honour. (Pause).
15 JUDGE JORDA: Since yesterday, we have been trying to start
16 with new principles which we are going to set up in a
17 flexible manner. We did not stop you, Mr. Hayman, but we
18 want to assert this principle, that the
19 cross-examination within this Trial Chamber, whether it
20 be yours or the Prosecution's, should be matched to the
21 examination-in-chief. We did not stop you because the
22 principle is to have faith in you, but it is
23 self-evident that if the opposing party objects, the
24 objection is going to be granted, which is what is
25 happening now. If you have two or three questions that
1 you want to ask in order to complete your line of
2 questioning, you can do so, because we are being
3 flexible, but we want the principle to be understood
4 both by you and by the Prosecution.
5 MR. HAYMAN: I will continue, your Honour. I cannot tell if
6 the objection was sustained or denied.
7 Lieutenant Colonel --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, if I was not clear, the objection
9 was sustained. This is the principle. It is not the
10 Tribunal that stopped you, but given the principle that
11 we have, we are sustaining the objection. As we are now
12 in the process of setting up a principle which to us
13 seems one of good administration of justice, I did not
14 interrupt you immediately, but when the Prosecution
15 objected, we said that this has been sustained. If you
16 have wanted to file questions, then ask them, but in the
17 future, it should be understood that the
18 cross-examinations must fit in with the
19 examination-in-chief, otherwise you understand, as we
20 said yesterday, and everybody understands, otherwise
21 questions are going to be asked of areas that have
22 nothing to do with this, perhaps it would just be to
23 destabilise the witness, today yours, tomorrow the
25 This would not be part of good administration of
1 justice. This is now a process which is in your hands,
2 but the Tribunal has the responsibility of moving the
3 case forward and the cross-examination must fit in with
4 the examination-in-chief. The Prosecutor's objection has
5 been sustained, but since these are principles that are
6 now being put into place, if you want to ask one or two
7 more questions, go ahead, but in the future it must be
8 clear, I mean clear both for you and the Prosecution.
9 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. Our position is these are relevant
10 questions and indeed are central to the case. We have
11 not been able to articulate why, but I will move on.
12 Lieutenant Colonel, you stated that there were
13 certain kidnappings of factional leaders in Central
14 Bosnia which escalated or increased the level of tension
15 between the Croats and Muslims in the valley, is that
17 A. That is right, yes.
18 Q. Would you say that those incidents were very important
19 events in escalating the level of tension in mid April
21 A. It is difficult for me to say how important they were,
22 but they must have been factors, yes.
23 Q. Do you have in mind a particular, as you put it,
24 factional leader who was kidnapped or killed in the days
25 before mid April 1993?
1 A. It was not given in my evidence, but I was aware, and
2 I do not recall which side it was, that one or two
3 faction commanders were killed in the Zenica area just
4 before events we described earlier.
5 Q. That was Commander Totic of the HVO, who was kidnapped
6 in Zenica on 15th April; do you not recall that?
7 A. The name I do not recall, the incident, as I said, I do.
8 Q. Do you recall that some four of his bodyguards were
9 killed, executed in connection with that kidnapping?
10 A. I think that is probably true, yes.
11 Q. Is that somewhat akin to you or Colonel Stuart having
12 been abducted, in terms of the potential impact on the
13 men under that commander?
14 A. If they were fairly senior commanders, I suppose it
15 could have that sort of impact.
16 Q. Commander Totic was a brigade commander, was he not?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were there other kidnappings or abductions that you were
19 aware of, for example in Novi Travnik, in the days prior
20 to April 16th 1993?
21 A. Not that I recall, no.
22 Q. As a result of this increase in the level of tensions,
23 was the BritBat force placed on any kind of alert as of
24 15th April 1993?
25 A. As I explained, we significantly increased our
1 patrolling activity. We patrolled continuously in
2 Zenica during the night, we patrolled in Travnik,
3 certainly. I cannot remember what activity we had in
4 Vitez, because I was involved in Travnik on those
5 particular nights and in Zenica, but I am pretty certain
6 we upped our activity, yes.
7 Q. Prior to mid April, had there been an influx of refugees
8 into the Lasva Valley of which you were aware?
9 A. Throughout our time, there were movements of refugees.
10 Some, for example, came up from Prozor, there were
11 movements of people from Zenica, down from Tuzla; it was
12 a factor of life at that time because so many people had
13 been moved out of the Serb-held areas of Central Bosnia
14 that there were frequent movements of refugees and
15 primarily, we were involved in meeting refugees who had
16 been driven from their homes in places like Banja Luka
17 and meeting them on the front-line in Turbe, so the
18 movement of refugees was a common feature at this time.
19 Q. Was there an influx of refugees into the Lasva Valley
20 prior to mid April 1993, insofar as you were aware?
21 A. There may well have been. As I said, the movement of
22 refugees was common at that time. There were frequent
23 moves, certainly, of people coming in from the previous
24 Serb areas, so it undoubtedly could well have happened
25 at that time.
1 Q. Were most of those refugees of Muslim background?
2 A. They would have been, if they had come from Bosnian Serb
3 areas, yes.
4 Q. Would that influx of refugees have further increased
5 tensions in the Lasva Valley, tensions between ethnic
6 Croats and Muslims?
7 A. It may have done, because inevitably if you are moving
8 into an area -- but they were civilians. I could see
9 that tensions could have been increased by the movement
10 of a large number of people into an area. Any country,
11 you know, it is exactly the same, you have a movement of
12 refugees in, it may be a factor.
13 Q. You described for us your visit to the village of
14 Putis. Do you have that in mind?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. When you went to Putis, you went to see the commander of
17 the Armija in Putis?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. That is in fact who you met with?
20 A. Almost certainly, yes. You say the commander of the
21 army in Putis -- there was no army in Putis. Putis was
22 a tiny hamlet and I probably met that night a small
23 handful of people. As I said in my evidence, I cannot
24 recall whether I met civilians or military that night.
25 What I do recall was meeting a handful of people in a
1 hamlet. To say he was the army commander of Putis would
2 be putting the wrong slant on it, because there was no
3 army there.
4 Q. The men who you met with in Putis, who you saw there,
5 were they men of able-bodied, fighting age?
6 A. I recall the person I met that night was probably in his
7 50s, but the people that I met that night, the handful
8 of people that I met that night, were male and
9 able-bodied, yes, but they in no way constituted an army
10 or a fighting force.
11 Q. Did they have any arms?
12 A. Yes, they did, they had small arms.
13 Q. So is it your testimony that you were unable to
14 distinguish whether these individuals were soldiers or
15 civilians, or do you believe that they were individuals
16 preparing to defend the village, or engage in some type
17 of military or armed conflict?
18 A. I am not saying I cannot distinguish between military
19 forces and civilians, what I am saying is I cannot
20 remember on that particular night -- this was at a time
21 of many, many incidents going on on a daily basis and
22 one of many, many patrols that I did. I am being
23 absolutely honest in saying I cannot remember whether
24 they were wearing a uniform or in civilian, but, of
25 course, some of the uniforms on both sides were so
1 civilianised anyway that very often the uniform may be
2 civilian clothes with a badge on it, so you cannot
3 necessarily draw that particular distinction on that
4 particular evening.
5 What I would say is yes, they did have weapons and
6 yes, they were being shot at and I suspect would have
7 returned fire and defended their village, yes.
8 Q. Would you agree, based on what you saw in Bosnia, that
9 within the army of Bosnia and the Territorial Defence
10 Forces that some soldiers wore uniforms, some wore mixed
11 garb and some wore civilian clothes; would you agree
12 with that proposition?
13 A. Yes, I would. The majority wore uniform, there was a
14 lot of what we would call mixed dress and I suppose were
15 little more than local peasant farmers with a weapon.
16 Q. You said on the morning of 16th April 1993 you heard
17 small arms fire and mortar fire, correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Would you agree that those are the two most common forms
20 of fire used in fighting in built-up areas?
21 A. In the situation of Central Bosnia, yes, they were.
22 Q. As opposed to British army training?
23 A. We would almost certainly use artillery and we may even
24 use armour in the form of tanks as well, but in relation
25 to what the local forces had in Bosnia, yes, small arms
1 fire and mortars.
2 Q. That is what you would expect to hear if you were
3 hearing fighting in built-up areas in Central Bosnia at
4 the time, small arms and mortar fire?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. On the morning of 16th April, did you hear any sirens
7 going off in the town of Vitez?
8 A. I do not recall any sirens. I do not recall any.
9 Q. On your drive into Vitez that morning, did you see any
10 HVO soldiers?
11 A. On the initial part, in the area of the mosque and a
12 couple of hundred metres up from the mosque, no, I did
13 not, but as I drove round the town that day -- I was in
14 Vitez for most of that day and I saw soldiers, HVO,
15 mainly around the area of the hotel, yes.
16 Q. On your initial drive into town?
17 A. Not that I recall, but we were going in very fast and
18 quite low in our turrets because of the amount of small
19 arms fire that was going around.
20 Q. So there was still small arms fire in that area, along
21 that strip of houses as you passed by?
22 A. At that particular time, there was certainly small arms
23 fire in Vitez and throughout the day there was small
24 arms fire in Vitez.
25 Q. I take it in terms of the strip of houses, and we will
1 try to find it on the map in a moment to make sure we
2 are all clear what area we are speaking of, but along
3 that strip, you did not see any actual combat between
4 soldiers or soldier and civilian or anything of that
6 A. No, we arrived in the aftermath of what had happened.
7 Q. Did you exit your Warrior during that drive in, did you
8 stop at any point and exit the Warrior?
9 A. Not initially, no, we did not.
10 Q. On that initial drive in you did not exit your Warrior
11 at all?
12 A. I do not think so.
13 Q. Did you turn off the main road on the drive in?
14 A. Not on the initial drive in, no, I did not.
15 Q. Perhaps we had better find this segment on the map, just
16 for perfect clarity.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps this is where we could break and then
18 start again at 2.30.
20 (12.55 p.m.)
21 (Adjourned until 2.45 p.m.)
1 (2.45 p.m.)
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have the accused
3 brought in, please.
4 (Accused brought in)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman -- Mr. Cayley, you want to say
7 MR. CAYLEY: It is a small point, your Honour. The next
8 witness, I have been reminded by one of my colleagues.
9 Certain protective measures apply to that witness and he
10 just wished me to remind the court.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right. Mr. Hayman, the floor is
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
14 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. When we broke for the luncheon period, I was, I believe,
17 asking about exhibit 56, the aerial photograph, and
18 I would like to approach and ask you a question or two
19 about it.
20 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, may I approach the witness,
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Again, keeping in mind that the court needs to
24 see the exhibit, and we have a microphone here that you
25 need to speak into, your initial drive on the morning of
1 16th April into Vitez took you along the path roughly
2 from "P" to "O" on exhibit 56?
3 A. Initially, yes.
4 Q. You said that the worst destruction, that is the signs
5 of the heaviest destruction of homes, was around the
6 letter "H" on this map, is that right?
7 A. On the strip "P" to "O", but from what I recall,
8 primarily in the area of "H".
9 Q. Which is roughly in the middle of this stretch from "P"
10 to "O"? "H" is roughly the mid point of that line?
11 A. This whole stretch along here, yes.
12 Q. Were all of the -- strike that.
13 Can you estimate how many houses there were along
14 the road from "P" to "O" on exhibit 56?
15 A. No, I cannot.
16 Q. Dozens of houses?
17 A. Dozens.
18 Q. Were they all on fire when you transited this route on
19 the morning of 16th April?
20 A. A lot of them were and the great majority had been
22 Q. When you say a lot of them were on fire, are you saying
23 half were on fire, more than half, less than half?
24 A. I would say nearly all had been attacked. Most of them
25 had been burnt out, yes.
1 Q. Did they all have hundreds of rounds of markings, that
2 is markings from rounds of small arms fire in the walls,
3 or just some of them?
4 A. Not all of them, but the great majority did.
5 Q. More than half did, in your estimation?
6 A. I would say so, yes.
7 Q. Can you shed any light on why some of the homes had so
8 many rounds in the walls and others did not, or for that
9 matter why some were on fire and some were not?
10 A. It may have been that some of the occupants simply were
11 not there, or that some of them possibly may have been
12 lived in by Croats, and therefore were not attacked.
13 Q. You may take your seat. If exhibit 100, the photo
14 album, could be placed before the witness while I am
15 asking the next couple of questions?
16 During your tour, Lieutenant Colonel, did you
17 learn of any distinctions in appearance between the
18 typical house of a Croat in this region and the typical
19 house of a Muslim?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Specifically I am asking if you learned whether the roof
22 tops of Croat versus Muslim houses had any differences
23 in them in this area, if you know?
24 A. I do not know.
25 Q. If you would turn to exhibit --
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you, Mr. Dubuisson, to fix the
2 microphone. Could you ask the question again, because
3 I do not think we got it?
4 MR. HAYMAN: I will, your Honour. Exhibit 100/5, which is
5 PH233, do you have that photo before you?
6 A. I do.
7 Q. Do you see that the roof tops on the houses along the
8 left-hand side of the street would be characterised as
9 two-sided roofs rather than four-sided roofs?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Would you agree with that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. But I take it you are not able to tell us whether that
14 is a feature of roof tops that in this region of Bosnia
15 tends to indicate the ethnicity of either the
16 constructor or the occupants of the home?
17 A. I am not aware of that particular distinction, no.
18 Q. Thank you. You said in terms of your own experience
19 when you saw the destruction and the casualties in Vitez
20 on the morning of 16th April, you had never seen
21 anything like it, is that correct?
22 A. Yes, but that is not surprising, given the scale of what
23 I saw, yes.
24 Q. In fact, your prior tours had been in relatively --
25 strike that. Your prior tours had been in areas where
1 there were not open armed conflicts, would you agree
2 with that?
3 A. My previous operational experience had been in Northern
4 Ireland, so it was a different scenario, of course.
5 Q. That is more of a terrorist war, if you will?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Had you ever seen fighting in built-up areas, for
8 example, in your tours in Germany, Hong Kong or
10 A. No, but I have been on many exercises involving that
11 sort of training.
12 Q. What about your men? Had they ever been exposed to, for
13 the most part, this type of destruction, if you will,
14 open conflict with casualties and destroyed buildings
15 and the like on this scale?
16 A. We had certainly seen elements of it up in Tuzla, when
17 we had been there in January and February, earlier in
18 the year and they had also had experience by this stage
19 of quite a lot of shellfire and shooting, so the
20 platoons had seen quite a lot of operational experience
21 in Tuzla, months before.
22 Q. I take it prior to your and their deployment to Bosnia
23 your platoon or the members of your platoon, to your
24 knowledge, had never fought in a conflict involving
25 fighting in built-up areas, is that right?
1 A. That is right.
2 Q. That is they had not?
3 A. They had not.
4 Q. You said the houses along the strip of road from "O" to
5 "P" on exhibit 56 were not constructed for Defence, do
6 you recall that?
7 A. That is right.
8 Q. Do you recall that testimony?
9 A. I said they were not fortified for defence.
10 MR. HAYMAN: One moment, your Honour. (Pause). When you now
11 use the term "fortified", you are referring to sand
12 bags, that kind of thing?
13 A. Sand bags, wire emplacements, ditches, that sort of
14 thing, yes.
15 Q. Would you agree that in fighting in built-up areas an
16 important tactical issue is whether a structure itself
17 is being used for defence?
18 A. It is often a factor. When fighting in built-up areas,
19 very often the defenders will occupy a building and
20 shore up that building to fight from it.
21 Q. But they do not necessarily have to shore it up in order
22 to use it as a defensive position, correct?
23 A. No, they do not, but if you wanted to defend it, you
24 would do your utmost to fortify, if you wanted to stay
25 in that position.
1 Q. If you had notice of an impending attack?
2 A. That is right.
3 Q. If an attacker learns that a structure is defended, then
4 under the tactics of fighting in built-up areas the
5 mission is typically to clear the house of the enemy,
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Including by destroying the structure if necessary?
9 A. If necessary, but actually invariably relating to
10 conventional war, if possible you try and leave the
11 structure standing because structures that have
12 collapsed all over the place restrict the movement of
13 your own armoured vehicles. Certainly in our doctrine,
14 we prefer that structures remain standing.
15 Q. To do that requires small groups of soldiers moving into
16 a built-up area, correct?
17 A. It all depends on the size -- the objective you are
18 taking. You cannot compare a street in Vitez, as you
19 said, a couple of dozen houses, with a major city in
20 Western Europe.
21 Q. But a typical assignment for a platoon would be to clear
22 a particular small structure?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. They would do so, would they not, using tools such as
25 grenades, machine gunfire and the like?
1 A. Yes, that sort of thing.
2 Q. That is normal if the building is in fact defended,
4 A. That is right.
5 Q. You said it was typical of a fighting force to hold on
6 to territory after it had been seized; do you recall
8 A. I do. I am referring to conventional operations, that
9 if you have captured ground, you then do not go and
10 leave it.
11 Q. Would you agree, though, that the answer to that
12 question depends on a number of things, including where
13 the front-line is; that is, where the confrontation
14 line with your enemy is?
15 A. It might be a factor, yes.
16 Q. Namely, if you have been pushed back from the territory
17 that you seized, by definition you are not going to be
18 able to hold it, correct?
19 A. Mm.
20 Q. Or is it possible that an attacker does not have enough
21 forces to hold and occupy territory on a point by point,
22 building by building or even a somewhat broader basis;
23 is that not also possible?
24 A. That is possible.
25 Q. Where was the front-line or the confrontation line on the
1 morning of 16th April 1993 between armed Croat and
2 Muslim elements in and around Vitez, if you know?
3 A. I do not know, but there again, the confrontation
4 line changed virtually on a daily basis. The
5 confrontation line varied, depending on which particular
6 command you spoke to. I never saw one confrontation
7 line marked on a map that was the same. In such a fluid
8 situation as this, the confrontation line is virtually
9 meaningless, but not only that, until this particular
10 time, there was no confrontation. This is the point.
11 We were not talking about a battle that had been going
12 on for weeks between Croat and Muslim, up until this
13 particular day -- as we all know, these events happened
14 suddenly, so although there may have been pockets
15 throughout Vitez which were Croat and Muslim there was
16 nothing then regarded as a major confrontation line.
17 Q. Was it fair to say on the morning of 16th April 1993,
18 the confrontation line , such as it was, was dynamic,
19 not static, in and around Vitez?
20 A. The confrontation line changed daily, but there again,
21 the term confrontation line there, you may equate to the
22 Serbs to the west of Turbe, but at that particular time
23 we knew that there were obviously pockets of Croats and
24 Muslims, but there had been no open conflict on the
25 scale that we saw here.
1 Q. Would you agree that on 16th April 1993, the
2 confrontation line between Croats and Muslims was
3 dynamic, it was moving?
4 A. Inevitably.
5 Q. I believe you said that as you drove along this stretch
6 of road from "O" to "P" on exhibit 56, you did not see
7 any bodies of soldiers, that is dead soldiers, is that
9 A. I said that, yes.
10 Q. Do you mean you did not see any bodies wearing
11 uniforms? Would that be more specific and more
13 A. I did not see any bodies of people in uniform, correct,
14 but there again I am pretty certain in my own mind, as
15 are my soldiers, that the bodies we saw that morning
16 were civilians. Not only that, but they invariably were
17 the occupants of those particular houses. A number of
18 people we either found in their gardens or, in two
19 cases, draped over their fence. If they were soldiers,
20 they were spread out far and wide and you would expect
21 to find groups of them, if they had been defending a
22 house. You would not have soldiers defending one person
23 per house, so it very much gave the impression that
24 these were the civilian occupants of these houses.
25 Q. If a soldier is off duty, are you referring to them as a
1 soldier or a civilian?
2 A. If he is off duty, he is still a soldier. But what I am
3 saying is the people in the houses we saw were wearing
4 civilian clothes and I deemed to be civilians. What
5 reinforces that particular point is the fact that when
6 I extracted, I think on the evening of the 18th, people
7 from along that street, as the point I made quite
8 clearly, I insisted that night that we carried no
9 Bosnian army soldiers in any military vehicle and every
10 person we moved out of that location, which was in the
11 same street, was a civilian.
12 Q. I believe you said of the 12 bodies or so you saw
13 between "O" and "P", they were all male?
14 A. I think, yes, that was the case. As I said, we treated
15 one elderly woman for a gunshot wound.
16 Q. The bodies of males that you saw, were they roughly
17 between the ages of 18 and 60?
18 A. Yes, although one of my platoon sergeants, Sergeant
19 Kujvinksi, in a well-documented account, recalled
20 seeing a boy of about eight years old dead, cradling a
21 puppy that morning.
22 Q. Did you say you did not go into any of the homes along
23 the strip of "O" to "P" on that morning?
24 A. Not initially, no.
25 Q. Later in the day, did you go into any of the homes, on
1 the 16th?
2 A. I do not think so.
3 Q. So if there had been shell casings or other signs of
4 defence within any of those homes, you would not have
5 been in a position to discover it on the 16th, right?
6 A. No.
7 Q. When you came to the Hotel Vitez on the morning of
8 16th April, did you exit your Warrior?
9 A. I do not recall doing so, because on that particular
10 morning, the battalion second in command was also on the
11 ground in his Warrior and I am pretty certain he went to
12 the Croat headquarters. I personally did not that
14 Q. That would have been Major Waters?
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Were you tasked to go to the Armija headquarters in
17 Vitez, or did you do that of your own initiative?
18 A. I did that of my own initiative. As I said, at that
19 time pandemonium had broken out throughout Vitez. There
20 was continuous gunfire and we were just doing our best
21 to establish just exactly what was going on. At one
22 particular time I ended up at the Armija headquarters,
23 but it was of my own volition.
24 Q. You identified that the Armija headquarters at point "B"
25 on exhibit 56; are you comfortable with that location as
1 your best recollection?
2 A. As I said at the time, I am not entirely comfortable
3 with it, no. All I said was --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Could we have the microphone on, please, and
5 if you could slow down a bit?
6 A. No, I am not absolutely comfortable that was the
7 location. I believe it was in this general area here,
8 but we are dealing with a small air photograph and that
9 was the first time, that morning, I had been to that
10 headquarters. I think in that area is probably specific
12 MR. HAYMAN: Are you familiar with the general distinction
13 between Vitez town and Stari Vitez, or old Vitez?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was this headquarters that you went to in Vitez town and
16 not in Stari Vitez?
17 A. It was in Vitez town.
18 Q. Thank you, you may have a seat. Can you give us an
19 estimate how far this headquarters, that is the Armija
20 headquarters you visited, was from the Hotel Vitez
21 within Vitez town?
22 A. I cannot give an exact estimate, because I was slightly
23 unclear as to the exact location. It would be wrong of
24 me to give an exact distance, but it would be no more
25 than a mile and no less than half a mile. That was the
1 sort of distance. It is a small town.
2 Q. And the outside of the Armija headquarters in Vitez
3 looked, so to speak, "shot up"?
4 A. Yes, it was.
5 Q. Inside there was a military commander with approximately
6 15 soldiers, armed?
7 A. Something like that number, yes.
8 Q. I am sorry, I need to call your attention back to
9 exhibit 56. Would you expect, in an armed conflict,
10 between two armed forces, that the worst devastation of,
11 for example, structures where fighting in built-up areas
12 occurs would be in and around the front-line, that is,
13 the confrontation line between those two forces?
14 A. You would expect probably the heaviest fighting to be
15 where the opposing forces first engage, yes.
16 Q. That is because if one takes a structure and the other
17 side takes it back, in the course of all that fighting,
18 the structure is likely to show very significant signs
19 of battle, correct?
20 A. Mm.
21 Q. Do you know whether the strip of the stretch you have
22 described, going roughly from "H" to "O" in fact
23 represents the area very close to if not the front-line
24 or confrontation line between the Armija and the HVO?
25 A. It must be close to what you are telling me is the
1 confrontation line, but as I said, I do not necessarily
2 believe that is the right definition. It was
3 certainly -- that stretch of road was an area which at
4 one point divided Croat houses and Muslim houses,
5 certainly. But there were pockets throughout Vitez and
6 that is why the confrontation line is so difficult to
7 point out.
8 MR. HAYMAN: With the court's permission, I am going to place
9 over exhibit 56 an overlay which has previously been
10 marked and admitted as exhibit D26, an overlay marked by
11 another witness. Let me ask you, Lieutenant Colonel
12 Thomas, I will ask you to stand, you see on this overlay
13 which we have placed to match up to the legend and so
14 forth, so it is in the proper location, we see a red
15 outline roughly around the area of Stari Vitez, would
16 you agree?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Would you also agree that parts of that
19 line representing the area within Stari Vitez and
20 dividing it from the area outside Stari Vitez are
21 virtually at point "H" on this map, exhibit 56, correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that other parts of it run along the road that
24 reaches from "P" to "O"?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 A. But I would say that this -- I mean, this scrawl on here
3 is virtually meaningless. The thing is, as I said,
4 confrontation lines vary between who drew it. I have
5 seen many similar maps to this and the fact of the
6 matter is these lines do not necessarily mean very
7 much. I do not believe this actually can be regarded as
8 a tactically significant overlay.
9 Q. Do you mean by that -- I will allow counsel to return to
10 his place.
11 Do you mean by that that the presence of an army
12 of BiH soldiers in Stari Vitez was not of strategic
13 significance to the conflict between Croats and Muslims?
14 A. I am sure the presence of troops must have been
15 significant and I do not dispute that. Of course the
16 presence of BiH troops must be significant. However,
17 that does not necessarily conform to what you are saying
18 there. What I have said consistently is that that
19 morning I saw no dead BiH troops and that is a fact.
20 What you are saying is that somewhere within this
21 confrontation line there was a pocket of BiH troops.
22 That may be the case, but I did not see any. Not only
23 that, but the validity of this confrontation
24 line I would question anyway.
25 Q. You did not see any troops at all in that area of Vitez,
1 Stari Vitez on the morning of the 16th, correct?
2 A. I saw no dead troops; indeed, I saw no live ones, apart
3 from the ones I saw at the BiH headquarters, primarily,
4 and then throughout the day the odd individual in the
5 odd house, spread throughout the town.
6 Q. Were you aware at the time that there were BiH troops on
7 16th April in Stari Vitez, in some numbers?
8 A. I was not, no.
9 Q. Now I would like to turn your attention to April 17th.
10 You were driving, I believe, on the main road from Vitez
11 to Busovaca in the direction of Santici?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you saw a number of refugees on the road, perhaps
14 30, perhaps 50?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you saw houses on fire?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were those houses on the south side of the road?
19 A. Yes, they were on the right-hand side of the road as you
20 look at the map.
21 Q. As you look at exhibit 56, they are on the right-hand
22 side of the road?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were they the houses immediately adjacent to the road?
25 A. The ones I saw on fire were probably about 100 or 150
1 metres from the road.
2 Q. Were they the first row of houses next to the road or
3 were they several rows back?
4 A. This is extremely difficult. They were in a patch of
5 open land, I think about 150 metres from the road. They
6 were very clearly visible from the road.
7 Q. They would have a commanding view -- a line of sight
8 view of the road, correct, from those houses?
9 A. Not a commanding view, they were just near the road.
10 Q. They were higher than or as high as the road, or were
11 they below the road?
12 A. The area around there is pretty flat, and they were
13 virtually on the same level.
14 Q. During your tour, did the army of BiH ever cut that road
15 in approximately that position, or was that after your
16 tour ended?
17 A. That was after our tour.
18 Q. I take it you did not see any fighting in this area as
19 well, you saw refugees and houses on fire?
20 A. That is right.
21 Q. You saw no soldiers in that area?
22 A. That morning, no.
23 Q. Is the same true in Ahmici when you turned up the road
24 to Ahmici on the 17th, you saw no fighting and no
1 A. That is right.
2 Q. Did you go in any homes to look for evidence of possible
3 defence, such as spent shell casings?
4 A. The photograph you saw as one of the exhibits there,
5 I went into that particular house.
6 Q. Referring to exhibit 100/6?
7 A. That is the one, yes.
8 MR. HAYMAN: I am holding up for the record, your Honour,
10 That was the only house you went in on that day?
11 A. I believe it was, yes.
12 Q. Did you go out from the area of the road to look for any
13 possible fortifications, such as a trench or a fox hole
14 or something of that sort, or did you stick to the road?
15 A. We stuck to the road because of the fact that the mine
16 threat was quite significant and I was not prepared to
17 risk the Warrior on a mine.
18 Q. Were you aware at the time that there was in fact a
19 headquarters of the Armija and/or the Territorial
20 Defence in Ahmici?
21 A. No, I was not.
22 Q. Did you make a report of your visit to Ahmici on the
24 A. I would have certainly got on the radio and told the
25 company headquarters what I was doing, yes. I do not
1 recall writing a formal report of that particular recce.
2 Q. Is that because in the context of the conflict and the
3 destruction that you were seeing, Ahmici did not stand
4 out particularly?
5 A. It did not stand out that morning, but, of course, later
6 on my 1 Platoon, under Lieutenant Dooley, actually
7 discovered what is now known as the massacre in Ahmici,
8 and it took on much greater significance. The part of
9 the village that I was in did not.
10 Q. Have you completed your answer?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So I take it on the morning of 17th April when you went
13 into Ahmici, in fact went in one building, one
14 structure, you were not aware there had been a massacre
15 in the village?
16 A. Not at that stage, I do not think, no. As I said, I saw
17 no dead bodies at that stage.
18 Q. Had you heard from any other BritBat soldier or BritBat
19 source that BritBat forces had been in Ahmici on
20 16th April?
21 A. I would have done, because it was my company that were
22 the Ops Company at the time. This is where I am unclear
23 on the chronology of this, whether or not Lieutenant
24 Dooley -- the exact period when Lieutenant Dooley
25 discovered the massacre in Ahmici. I may have been in
1 that particular house the day after Lieutenant Dooley
2 discovered the massacre.
3 Q. But when you were there on the 17th, were you thinking
4 "this is where a massacre of 100 people or more has
5 occurred", or was that not in your mind?
6 A. I cannot recall.
7 Q. But in any event, you made no special report or written
8 report of your visit on that day?
9 A. Not that I recall doing, no.
10 Q. Now let me turn your attention to 18th April 1993, and
11 the truck bomb in Stari Vitez. You were one of the
12 first UNPROFOR officers on the scene. Did you gather
13 any evidence from your visit that would tend to shed
14 light on whether the truck bomb was essentially a
15 terrorist act or whether it was a military operation
16 sanctioned at a high level?
17 A. I think it is impossible to draw that distinction. As
18 I said in my evidence earlier on, at that particular
19 time all we were interested in was sorting out the
20 people on the ground as best we could. To draw
21 distinction whether it was a terrorist act or part of
22 some campaign plan was not really a factor. It was, if
23 you like, a terrorist act as we know it, but in the
24 context of a localised conflict.
25 Q. But I take it you did not gather any evidence through
1 forensic or other sources or your Mil Info Summ tending
2 to indicate who had directed that attack, is that
4 A. We could only surmise the fact that it was just down the
5 road from the mosque, that it was in the area we knew to
6 be the Muslim area, therefore we surmised it to be
7 targeted at the Muslim population.
8 Q. By some Croat element, is that right?
9 A. Almost certainly.
10 Q. Were there any Armija soldiers killed as a result of the
11 truck blast?
12 A. I do not know.
13 Q. Did you see any bodies pulled out of collapsed
15 A. Yes, we did.
16 Q. Were any of them in uniform?
17 A. Not that I recall.
18 Q. Did you see any arms, that is guns and the like, taken
19 out of any of those collapsed buildings?
20 A. No.
21 Q. No, or not that you recall?
22 A. I did not see any arms taken out.
23 Q. Some time later you went to Kazagici?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The village.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Were there soldiers in that village?
3 A. There were soldiers not in the village because we were
4 able to walk through it without seeing anybody, but as
5 I said in my evidence, around the village there were a
6 number of local forces.
7 Q. Of the same side or of different forces, or do you
9 A. From what I recall, at the bottom of the hill, and this
10 was where I was not clear in my earlier evidence,
11 because I could not specifically remember. At the
12 bottom of the hill leading up to Kazagici, I believe
13 there was a Croat checkpoint which we drove through.
14 Around the village of Kazagici I think there were BiH
15 soldiers, but I would not wish to swear on that. All
16 I am saying is the village of Kazagici, and I have no
17 doubt somebody here in the Tribunal would be able to
18 ascertain whether it was a Croat or a Muslim village,
19 all I am saying is that particular village had been
20 completely destroyed. I am not interested whether it
21 was Croat or Muslim, it was a terrible act. All I am
22 saying is the village was destroyed.
23 Q. From what you have described, do you think it sounds
24 like that village was at the confrontation line between
25 Armija and HVO troops?
1 A. It was probably close to the confrontation line, again a
2 difficult term, because of the sheer level of gunfire
3 that was in and around that village.
4 Q. Could you tell whether that gunfire was directed at you
5 or whether it was being exchanged between the warring
7 A. Some of it was definitely directed at us.
8 Q. You said in your earlier testimony that attacks in the
9 area of the Lasva Valley in mid April happened so
10 quickly; do you recall that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How long did the fighting go on after it began on the
13 morning of the 16th? Did it not go on for a period of
15 A. A couple of days, and in villages in and around Vitez
16 there were battles for a longer period than that, but
17 the main fighting in Vitez and Ahmici and so on was up
18 and over in a period of a day or so.
19 Q. When you said "so quickly" you meant in many instances a
20 day of fighting or so?
21 A. Not even that. There was sporadic shooting over that
22 period, but the instances we have been referring to in
23 Ahmici or the attack in Vitez happened in the space of a
24 couple of hours, because, as you know, we woke up on the
25 morning of the attack on Vitez, I think the 16th, and
1 everything had happened in the space between going to
2 bed that night and 6.00 in the morning, so probably a
3 period of six hours, a whole street in Vitez was
5 Q. But the fighting woke you up on the morning of the 16th?
6 A. Yes, it did.
7 Q. So it was not going on between midnight and 5.00, it
8 started at 5.00 or 6.00 am?
9 A. Possibly, yes.
10 Q. And then you responded?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You started to describe your visit to Kadras, but you
13 were not able to elaborate. Do you recall roughly when
14 that visit occurred?
15 A. That visit was on the day of the truck bomb, which
16 I think was the 18th.
17 Q. Roughly where is the village of Kadras?
18 A. It is in the hills south of -- a few kilometres south of
20 Q. North of Vitez?
21 A. North of Vitez.
22 Q. When you went to that village, who did you encounter?
23 What type of force?
24 A. I encountered a group of Muslims who had been -- who
25 appeared to have ransacked some houses.
1 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, at this point, I have not objected
2 before, there have been a number of points where I was
3 going to object, but in order to get through matters --
4 but at this point, we do wish to make a very strong
5 objection. Defence counsel is now seeking to introduce
6 evidence of potential breaches of international
7 humanitarian law committed by another faction, in this
8 case Islamic extremist forces.
9 The Prosecutor's position on this is that this is
10 a fundamental question. It is a fundamental question
11 for the following reasons. Alleged crimes committed by
12 other parties are irrelevant to the case before you.
13 They are not contained -- the village of Kadras is not
14 referred to in this indictment and indeed,
15 General Blaskic, it is not alleged that he had
16 absolutely anything to do with these events at all in
17 this village. This document sets out the four square
18 corners of this case. The fact that another party
19 committed a crime is not a defence to General Blaskic.
20 Thirdly, the matters to which counsel refers may
21 well be the subject of a separate investigation by the
22 Office of the Prosecutor, and public revelation of those
23 matters may well be prejudicial to such an investigation
24 in its nascent stage.
25 Lastly, and a matter which we addressed yesterday
1 in the status conference, the raising of these
2 extraneous matters consumes precious time of the court,
3 it delays the course of justice and it ultimately
4 distorts and bewilders the truth, which after all,
5 I would respectfully submit, is why we are here, to find
6 the truth. For these reasons, I would respectfully
7 submit to the court that both the Defence and the
8 Prosecution be precluded from asking questions of
9 alleged breaches of international law which are not the
10 subject of this indictment.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I give the floor to Mr. Hayman. I would just
12 first like to point out, I have not decided about the
13 objection, but I would like to know whether this was --
14 the Colonel did mention this, did he not? So on the
15 basis of the principle that we will indicate that the
16 cross-examination has to be part of the examination, he
17 did mention it, but your objection raises other problems
18 and I would like first to give the floor to Mr. Hayman so
19 he gets his opinion -- gives his opinion on what was
20 just said.
21 MR. CAYLEY: Of course defence counsel must have his say, but
22 I have one other point to make. The Colonel did
23 actually mention the name of the village. He did not get
24 on to the subject-matter, because it was my view that it
25 is not relevant to this case, for the reasons that
1 I have given. I will not repeat them. So the actual
2 subject matter of this event was never raised.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
4 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours. I could
5 not agree more with the principle that crimes committed
6 by other persons, other parties, are not relevant of and
7 in themselves, to this case. But that is merely the
8 beginning, not the end of the inquiry. The question is:
9 did the presence of Mujahedin, call them soldiers, call
10 them terrorists, what you will, on the soil in Central
11 Bosnia, is it relevant to the level of tensions between
12 Croats and Muslims? Is it not relevant much in the same
13 way the kidnapping of Commander Totic and the execution
14 by, it is believed, Mujahedin fighters of his four
15 bodyguards are relevant to understanding the conflict,
16 what gave rise to it. That is one area of relevance.
17 The other is this witness has testified to very
18 broad opinions about the causes of the conflict, the
19 nature of the conflict, et cetera, and I think we have
20 to be allowed to probe. If it is confidential, the last
21 thing we wish would be to contaminate any such inquiry,
22 but we submit it could be done in closed session with no
23 danger of any such contamination. By the way, I have
24 three or four questions in this area. It is not time
25 consuming. I would have been done long ago.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I rather tend to some extent to agree with
2 Mr. Hayman. I will explain why. I want to limit as much
3 as possible the examination and cross-examination, but
4 the case does not -- the judge does not have the entire
5 case file, so he cannot criticise or tell either of you
6 what to do. It seems to me, however, just as I will ask
7 Mr. Hayman not to dwell too long on this point because it
8 was only mentioned by the Colonel, I do believe that it
9 is actually natural for General Blaskic's Defence to
10 show, as much as he can, a possible, if you like,
11 mitigation of responsibility of his client.
12 Have faith in us, Mr. Cayley. If the questions
13 having to do with this climate that reigned go on too
14 long, I believe we would be the first to stop
15 Mr. Hayman. But I think that we cannot prevent the
16 Defence from trying to characterise what this climate
17 was. We are not saying that the village was far away,
18 it was a village -- that it was very far away, hundreds
19 of kilometres removed from the combat area. I would be
20 the first in that case to say absolutely not, you cannot
21 ask questions about that, but it is true that the
22 Colonel mentioned it, I even noted it, the name was in
23 the Colonel's mouth and he said it. So I am very strict
24 about what has been said and I think the
25 cross-examination has to remain within the limits of the
1 examination-in-chief. He did mention it, the Colonel,
2 that is, we can understand that the Defence might be
3 used to support his Defence in one way or the other.
4 Therefore, Mr. Hayman, go ahead, but do not spend the
5 whole afternoon, please, on this issue.
6 MR. HAYMAN: I should be done within half an hour with my
7 entire examination, your Honour.
8 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas, you went to Kadras, you
9 encountered a group of Mujahedin fighters; about how
10 many were there?
11 A. I am not saying they were Mujahedin, because I cannot
12 categorically say they were, but what I will say is they
13 were a particularly aggressive group of Muslims who
14 I had not encountered before.
15 Q. Were they bearded? Were they wearing beards?
16 A. I cannot remember, they may have been. But they were
17 Muslim forces.
18 Q. Can you put a rough number on the group?
19 A. There were probably about six or eight of them.
20 Q. What did they, if anything, do to you?
21 A. I could not get my Warrior very close because it was on
22 a very steep hill, so I walked forward with my Sergeant
23 Major and a female interpreter. I asked them what they
24 were doing and I asked them to stop. They looked like
25 they had been looting houses, there were some wrecked
1 houses there. I asked them what they were doing. They
2 refused to talk to my interpreter and became very
3 aggressive. One of them put a grenade under my chin.
4 I thought it was probably best that we leave with a
5 degree of dignity and we walked back to our Warrior.
6 Q. He physically put a grenade under your chin?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you see houses burning -- how could you tell
9 houses had been ransacked?
10 A. They were not burning at this stage. I stress this was
11 not the village of Kadras, this was a tiny hamlet on the
12 top of a hill of probably three or four buildings near
14 Q. On what do you base the statement, just in a general
15 sense, that the houses were being looted?
16 A. Because they were obviously working their way through
17 the houses. The houses were not burning but they had
18 been ransacked and shot up. I think what I would say is
19 the reason I was -- perhaps against the wishes of the
20 Prosecution -- that I was even keen to put this in
21 evidence was that I believe it showed our impartiality
22 in investigating claims by in fact the priest in Kadras,
23 a Croat priest, that there had been a problem there,
24 which I would hope puts my other evidence in context.
25 Q. You and your men had difficulty at times moving through
1 Croat checkpoints as well as army checkpoints, is that
2 in part what you are saying, that kind of thing?
3 A. At all times when there was tension we had difficulties
4 moving through checkpoints, yes.
5 Q. Before your testimony, did you have occasion to review
6 any radio logs of BritBat?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Including the watch keeper's log?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Do you know whether you were interviewed, anyone reading
11 from any of those logs as part of your preparation for
12 your testimony?
13 A. No.
14 Q. That is to your knowledge no one did, no one was
15 referring to a radio log in the course of interviewing
16 you or preparing you for testimony?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Would you agree that in fighting in built-up areas most
19 of the fighting is done by small groups of soldiers,
20 platoon or smaller?
21 A. It is normally -- again, it all depends on the level of
22 war you are talking about. Individual houses are
23 attacked by small groups of people, but normally, such
24 operations are done in conventional war by battalions
25 and brigades, who then break down to clear individual
1 streets and houses. In the case of Vitez, I imagine
2 that a fairly large force broke down into small bands
3 and attacked houses.
4 Q. Does that type of fighting make command and control more
5 difficult, in your judgement?
6 A. Command and control is inevitably difficult in FIBUA,
7 but you normally work -- the thing about FIBUA, Fighting
8 In built-up Areas, is that you worked to a very detailed
9 plan and such operations are planned in minute detail,
10 normally with air photographs and individual platoons
11 and sections being detailed the houses that they should
12 take on. Although during the actual operation the
13 command and control may be difficult, although not
14 impossible, the planning for a FIBUA operation is
15 normally conducted in great detail.
16 Q. And that proper planning for such an operation requires
17 training and rehearsals and so forth?
18 A. If the British army was conducting such an operation, it
19 would carry out rehearsals, certainly.
20 MR. HAYMAN: One moment, your Honour. (Pause). Your Honour,
21 I have three or four more questions, but I think they
22 are most appropriately asked in closed session and I can
23 explain why, but probably not outside of closed
24 session. I can write it down in a sentence or two if
25 that is convenient, as the court wishes.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Before we havea closed session, I first would
2 like to turn to the Prosecution. Do you have any
3 objections to a closed session, since these are
4 questions which would involve a certain number of
6 MR. CAYLEY: The problem is, Mr. President, I have absolutely
7 no idea what the questions are, so I cannot make any
8 objections. Clearly the only way we will find it is if
9 we go into closed session. I have no objection to a
10 closed session. That does not mean to say I will have
11 no objections to the questions.
12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will now have a closed session
13 and then if we have to get out of closed session once
14 again, we will decide that. For now, we will have a
15 closed session, unless you want to have something
16 absolutely in private.
17 MR. HAYMAN: I think if we just turn off the sound, that is
18 enough. We need not lower the blinds.
19 JUDGE JORDA: If we cut the sound, that is enough. That is
20 fine. We will cut the sound. You do not have to turn
21 to any maps or anything like that. You are sure? We do
22 not have to draw the curtains. We will simply say that
23 this is now a private session.
24 (In closed session)
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19 (In open session)
20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. Lieutenant Colonel
21 Thomas, a couple more questions. You said that the HVO,
22 in your view, had a "clear command structure".
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I believe you said you based that on, for example,
25 individuals at checkpoints calling their commanders
1 before making a decision whether to let you pass?
2 A. That is right.
3 Q. Typically what commander would a guard at a checkpoint
4 call in order to confer on that type of matter, if you
5 know? Would they call their commander?
6 A. Almost certainly, yes.
7 Q. The local village platoon commander?
8 A. Or often physically go and get him and bring him down to
9 the checkpoint as well. This could sometimes take half
10 an hour, it could even -- it sometimes could take hours.
11 Q. Do you have any basis for testifying before this
12 Tribunal concerning the nature or the strength or
13 weakness of the command structure of the HVO at the top
14 level, at the upper levels? What you have described is
15 the bottom of the ladder. What about at the top, do you
16 have any basis to give an opinion there?
17 A. Only on the basis that we, certainly our Mil Info Cell
18 was very clear on the names and structure of the
19 hierarchy and it seemed fairly settled and unchanging in
20 the time that we were there on both sides. It was not
21 fluctuating, and we knew where to go at all times, and
22 certainly Colonel Stuart and the liaison officers always
23 knew where to go to find the commanders. There was a
24 fairly settled command structure on both sides and we
25 could, with a good degree of confidence, draw a
1 line explaining the hierarchy of both sides.
2 Q. What I am asking is, do you have a basis to testify
3 whether or not the command structure at the upper and
4 mid level range, did it work, was there command and
5 control? Were orders uniformly followed, or do you not
6 have a basis for testifying on that issue?
7 A. I do not have a basis for saying they were not uniformly
8 followed. From our dealings on the ground, people
9 tended to do as they were told and at some particular
10 checkpoints when life was particularly sensitive
11 sometimes we were stopped going through at all and
12 people were very robust, because their commands had told
13 them. I think generally on both sides there was a
14 reasonably effective command structure.
15 Q. But your personal experience was in the main at the
16 checkpoint level?
17 A. Not necessarily. I had dealings in Tuzla, for example,
18 with the Bosnian Muslims, I had dealings with the Serbs
19 and with the Croats throughout my time at all levels and
20 I believe that there was a reasonably strong command
22 Q. What example can you give us on which you would base
23 testimony, if you are so testifying, that the command
24 and control exercised at the top of the HVO was, for
25 example, commensurate with the type of command and
1 control that exists in the British army?
2 A. I am not trying to establish and never have done that
3 the command and control of the HVO is commensurate with
4 the British army, and that has never been said. What
5 I have said is we were able to quite clearly work out a
6 wiring diagram, there was no secret to that, and we knew
7 the commanders and we had to know the commanders anyway
8 to open up certain routes.
9 There were certain times, for example, opening up
10 routes in and around Vitez where we needed the
11 permission of the local commanders. That was often
12 granted or not granted, in and around Maglaj, for
13 example. We had to go to commanders to get clearance to
14 go up certain routes.
15 Q. But again, you are talking about clearance to get
16 through checkpoints to deliver aid and so forth.
17 A. Very often these were very sensitive issues, because
18 they were near the front-line, so, you know, it is not
19 necessarily taken by the chap down the road who is the
20 local boss. Some of these were relatively high level
22 Q. Were you involved in trying to gain the enforcement and
23 implementation, for example, of cease-fires, or was that
24 something you were not involved in?
25 A. I was not involved in that directly.
1 Q. Are there other operational areas other than aid convoys
2 and getting through checkpoints where you had actual
3 involvement and you could base an opinion of the type
4 that I am asking about, or not?
5 A. My main dealings at that level were at core level in
6 Tuzla and I had a number of negotiations with the core
7 leadership regarding the movement of convoys across
8 Bosnian Serb lines.
9 Q. At the higher level, your direct dealings were limited
10 to the army of BiH in Tuzla, correct?
11 A. Yes, but I also had dealings with various Croat
13 Q. Brigade commanders or lower level commanders?
14 A. I cannot recall.
15 Q. Did you ever have a substantive meeting with
16 General Blaskic?
17 A. Not that I recall, no.
18 Q. Did you ever come to know his headquarters, his
19 headquarters staff and how it functioned, or did not
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. You said you went to Maglaj. Did you deliver or escort
23 aid to Maglaj?
24 A. I went to Maglaj on several occasions, yes.
25 Q. Was aid delivered?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was that aid transported by an aid or relief
4 A. It varied. Usually, from what I recall, it was
5 transported in UN trucks.
6 Q. Under UNHCR auspices?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was that aid delivered to a warehouse -- to whom was it
10 A. I cannot recall. I am pretty certain there was an UNHCR
11 warehouse in Maglaj.
12 Q. Is that as far as you would see it go?
13 A. Yes, we were not responsible for the door step delivery
14 of aid.
15 Q. Was there a significant civilian population in Maglaj?
16 A. Maglaj was a fairly significant town, primarily because
17 of its proximity to the Bosnian Serb front-line.
18 Q. Was it mostly populated by army of BiH soldiers?
19 A. It was a mainly Muslim town, yes.
20 Q. Was it mostly populated by soldiers, not civilians?
21 A. I do not know, and I would not like to give the
22 impression, because it would be very wrong and false,
23 that we would be delivering aid to BiH soldiers. That
24 was never the intention of the UNHCR and something we
25 would desist from doing. As I have stated all along,
1 our impartiality was absolutely crucial to our success.
2 There may have been BiH soldiers in Maglaj, there may
3 have been Croat soldiers elsewhere where we delivered
4 aid. The decision to take aid to Maglaj and other
5 locations was the UNHCR's and not ours.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas. Your
7 Honour, the Defence has no further questions.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Does the Prosecutor wish to rebut anything?
9 MR. CAYLEY: Could I just have a moment, Mr. President, to
10 confer with my colleagues?
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you may. (Pause). Mr. Cayley?
12 Re-examined by MR. CAYLEY
13 Q. Just a couple of questions, Mr. President. I will be as
14 quick as I can.
15 Colonel Thomas, in your cross-examination you said
16 to Mr. Hayman that prior to 16th April 1993 there were no
17 confrontation lines in Vitez. Is that correct?
18 A. As I said, I think the term "confrontation line" is
19 perhaps a misnomer, because there was no real
20 confrontation. The town was split up into factional
21 areas, but the term "confrontation line" I am not sure
22 was applicable at that time.
23 Q. So although there was tension, there was no fighting
24 between -- no higher intensity fighting between the
25 parties prior to 16th April?
1 A. Not on the scale that we saw -- that I have described.
2 Q. One last question: all of the events that you observed
3 over that number of days, approximately between 16th and
4 the early 20s of April, so about 20th April, at the
5 time, did you reach a conclusion whilst you were in
6 Bosnia about the nature of this attack, in its totality?
7 A. I think the brutality and the callousness of what we
8 witnessed I think was our biggest abiding memory and
9 I think the conclusion that we reached was that we had
10 witnessed something of a ferocity and a viciousness that
11 is almost impossible to describe. What I believe we
12 witnessed was an attack by and large on civilians in
13 Ahmici and in parts of Vitez, to drive them from their
14 homes. For whatever reason, I do not know.
15 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Colonel.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to now turn to my colleagues.
17 Judge Riad, have you any questions you want to ask the
19 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel Thomas, I would like to ask you a few
20 general questions of a general character, and the answer
21 came to me through your answers both to the Prosecutor
22 and to the Defence, but still I might like to have more
23 precision. You mentioned several times, just the last
24 one was right now, that there was a mass of ruthless
25 violence unleashed on the people without any military
1 objective, as you said now, unleashed on civilians. You
2 cannot tell us more about the purpose of this unleashing
3 of ruthless violence? If it was not a military
4 objective, what was the objective?
5 A. Well sir, because of the very local nature of the
6 conflict there, if we were referring to conventional
7 war, one could argue you would capture a road or a hill
8 or a town which would have some tactical or strategic
9 significance. The fighting in and around Vitez was so
10 sporadic and localised, it was difficult to define any
11 tactical or strategic reason for why things happened.
12 That is why I am inclined to the belief that it was out
13 of sheer viciousness and hatred that people were driven
14 from their homes in certain streets and certain
15 factions, because it was actually quite difficult to
16 define any strategic objective. I do not know if that
17 answers your question.
18 Q. I gathered from your testimony too that it was not
19 haphazard action, there was some kind of organised and
20 co-ordinated acts going round. Was that right?
21 A. I think to succeed with the speed that the forces did
22 succeed, in the number of areas that they operated in,
23 I think there had to be some sort of co-ordinated plan.
24 I do not think you could have destroyed so many houses
25 in Ahmici and in Vitez without some sort of co-ordinated
2 Q. Those who committed these acts, not to speak of those
3 who made the plans, were they military or paramilitary
4 or simple civilians, according to your knowledge?
5 A. I think going back to my last answer, I think to carry
6 out such an -- almost a Blitzkrieg-type assault on those
7 houses, in arguably a successful way, would indicate
8 that they were military forces with some sort of
9 co-ordinated command and control structure. I cannot
10 see that it was the work of disaffected locals or
11 villagers of a different faction suddenly deciding one
12 night that they were going to kill their neighbour. The
13 scale and the brutality in that valley would indicate it
14 was something much wider than just disaffected former
15 friends who had been living side by side deciding one
16 night to kill their neighbours and burn their houses.
17 Q. As I said, it was the act of some kind of military
18 groups. Putting this in perspective with your
19 explanation of the chain of command, which you tried to
20 describe as a result of the communist system, it was --
21 I even can quote you somewhere here, you said:
22 "It was deference to the person above and a
23 clear-cut chain of command."
24 Nobody almost was ready to take decisions on
25 himself, always had to refer to others?
1 A. That is right.
2 Q. In that case, do you think the military committing these
3 acts committed them with their own free will or had to
4 refer to superior orders?
5 A. I think the individuals who were responsible, for
6 example, for murdering families in their cellars in
7 Ahmici, must have been ordered to do it by somebody.
8 They did not do it of their own free will. I think they
9 were operating under orders from some sort of wider
10 plan, whatever that plan was.
11 Q. All those murdered, was there among them Croats too, or
12 the houses demolished and burnt?
13 A. I am sure there were, and again I stress our
14 impartiality. Amongst those people that were murdered
15 in and around Vitez in the Lasva Valley there were
16 undoubtedly Croats, but I have been referring to the
17 incidents of the truck bomb, Ahmici and that particular
18 strip of houses in Vitez where the great majority were
19 Muslim. I carry no torch for either side, I am merely
20 reporting what I was asked to and what I saw on those
21 particular days. There were Croats killed, but the
22 majority of people in the incidents I have been asked to
23 describe were Muslim.
24 Q. Did the Croats killed live in Muslim areas?
25 A. Some did, yes.
1 Q. My last remark was concerning the refugees. You said
2 there was a movement of Muslim refugees coming from the
3 Serb-controlled areas?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. Were these refugees aggressive, did they represent any
6 imminent danger to the population, to the Croat
8 A. I do not think so. These were people, and I was
9 involved in several operations to escort refugees across
10 the front-line west of Travnik at Turbe, and these people
11 were completely downtrodden, carrying their possessions
12 in plastic bags. The last thing they were was
13 aggressive. They had nothing. They had no future.
14 They were not aggressive.
15 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Colonel.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. Judge Shahabuddeen?
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Colonel, just a few questions.
18 I understood you to be testifying that you spent around
19 five months in and around the Lasva Valley area, is that
21 A. A bit less than that, sir, because I spent about a total
22 of seven or eight weeks in either Kladanj or Tuzla, so
23 really about four months.
24 Q. About four months then. I stand corrected. During your
25 tour of duty, you were given information about the main
1 military aspects of the armed conflict in the area?
2 A. We were certainly given lots of information, sir, but,
3 of course, at this particular time, through most of our
4 tour, our main concern was surrounding Bosnian Serb
5 movements, particularly as regards Vitez, to the west of
6 Vitez. For example, we were concerned that the Serbs
7 may try and shell Vitez, because it was in range.
8 Q. What I mean is, did you become acquainted with the main
9 elements of the military situation?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. I understood you to be saying that in the Lasva Valley
12 area there developed a problem between two sides, Croats
13 and Muslims, is that right?
14 A. Yes, sir.
15 Q. You yourself were not involved in negotiating any
16 cease-fire agreements?
17 A. No, I was not.
18 Q. But you served in BritBat?
19 A. That is right.
20 Q. Was BritBat involved in negotiating any cease-fire
22 A. Yes, it was. At the time, after this period of 16th to
23 18th April, there were attempts at localised cease-fires,
24 but the negotiations were conducted at a higher level,
25 mainly with Colonel Stuart and the liaison officers
1 because, of course, this is an extremely serious
2 outbreak of violence. I was really more a player on the
3 ground with my armoured vehicles. The negotiation level
4 was done by Colonel Stuart, but there certainly were
5 BritBat negotiations to try and establish some sort of
7 Q. Those negotiations would be conducted as between what
8 military elements on each side?
9 A. They would have been conducted between Colonel Stuart,
10 various liaison officers from the ECMM and possibly
11 UNHCR, and I suspect representatives on both sides at
12 brigade level.
13 Q. When you say both sides --
14 A. I mean the HVO and the BiH.
15 Q. That is what I mean.
16 A. Yes, sir.
17 Q. And you told us of the character of the military command
18 structure on both sides.
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Was it your impression that there were operating on
21 either side any military units which were totally
22 independent of the two command structures which you have
24 A. I think there was a possibility that there were extreme
25 elements on both sides that were capable of operating
1 independently, but I did not come across any.
2 Q. You did not come across any. Now, the assessments which
3 you made as a military officer of the incidents to which
4 you referred on 16th April and 17th April would have led
5 you to what kind of conclusion as regards the possible
6 involvement of independent military units?
7 A. I suppose there is a possibility that independent units
8 could have come from outside to carry out those acts,
9 but I think we would have probably noticed the movement
10 of forces coming in and indeed leaving, if they were
11 going to carry out those acts. But beyond that,
12 I cannot say, nor would wish to, who did them. All
13 I can say is the evidence I have given already, that
14 I believe they were carried out by an organised force
15 operating with a coherent command and control structure,
16 operating to a certain plan. I do not believe they were
17 some renegade element. They may have come from outside;
18 that, of course, is a possibility, but I think
20 Q. You saw any evidence of their participation?
21 A. No, sir, I did not.
22 Q. You got periodically, I imagine, information from Mil
23 Info about the command structure on either side and the
24 distribution of forces, I would suppose. Did your
25 dealings with people and organisations on the ground
1 tally with the information which you got from Mil Info
2 about the command structure on either side?
3 A. Yes, it did. I think Mil Info was fairly accurate in
4 its descriptions, because again, really up until this
5 time, we were not too worried about the command
6 structure, because there had been no real conflict, so
7 there was no great secret as to who was the various
8 commander in each location and so on. It was open
9 knowledge, the BiH and HVO structure.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you very much, Colonel.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel Thomas, I just wanted to add one
12 question to see things more clearly in your answers.
13 Was the HVO in full control of these areas where these
14 acts were committed, or was it a no-man's land?
15 A. I do not know I can give you a clear answer to that,
16 sir. I think Vitez was a mixture of HVO and BiH before
17 16th April and before then, I could not say that the
18 Croats or the BiH were in control of it. I think after
19 16th April the HVO certainly had the upper hand. With
20 regard to Ahmici, I really cannot say who had the upper
21 hand before. It was a Muslim town or village, I assume
22 that obviously therefore the BiH ran it -- not
23 necessarily ran it, but certainly the Muslims there were
24 obviously in control.
25 Q. I am speaking of the areas where the acts you mentioned,
1 burning houses and seeing the corpses, killed, these
2 very specific areas where the acts were committed, were
3 they controlled by the Muslims, Serbs, Croats or the
5 A. The town of Ahmici was a Muslim town, or was. It was
6 controlled by the Muslims before the attack on it. The
7 strip that I have been referring to in Vitez which was
8 attacked was a Muslim area of Vitez which was largely
9 controlled by the Muslims.
10 Q. Then why did the Muslims not defend it?
11 A. I think this is the whole point, sir. They did not
12 defend it because it was not a military target. They
13 were simply the homes of people that lived there, so
14 therefore, and this is really the crux of the argument,
15 it was not a military installation or a military sector
16 or an objective -- this goes to the point why it was not
17 defended, because there was nothing to defend. It was
18 merely a strip of residential houses that were lived in
19 by Muslims. That goes down to the point that none of
20 buildings were fortified for defence because they did
21 not have to be because they were simply people's
22 houses. Does that clear it up?
23 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, I think I see it clearly, thank you.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I have no questions to ask you. We would like
25 to thank you for your testimony and send you back to
1 your responsibilities.
2 (The witness withdrew)
3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now ask the usher to accompany the
4 witness out of the courtroom and once he has left, we
5 can adjourn our hearing.
6 I now turn again to the Prosecutor. I think the
7 pause comes at a good time because arrangements have to
8 be taken for the maximum protection of the next witness
9 for whom protective measures were asked. Is that not
10 correct, Mr. Cayley, for the following witness?
11 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I have a question I would like to ask you,
13 because some time back when you raised your objection,
14 you pointed to the indictment. I would like to point
15 out to you that in the French version, I do not have the
16 modified copy of the indictment since the last changes
17 that were made, perhaps there were some translations
18 problems, is that why?
19 THE REGISTRAR: No, we took advantage of the fact that there
20 were no hearings in the Blaskic case in order to make
21 available to the Trial Chamber an integrated version
22 with the corrections.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right, we can now take a break
24 until 4.35 p.m.
25 (4.25 p.m.)
1 (A short break)
2 (4.35 p.m.)
3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing. Have the
4 accused brought in, please.
5 (Accused brought in)
6 JUDGE JORDA: It is Mr. Kehoe who is going to ask the
7 questions? Am I right.
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, your Honour.
9 JUDGE JORDA: We will ask the usher to have the witness
10 brought in.
11 MR. KEHOE: If I can just take one moment --
12 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we have a bit of a technical
14 problem with the equipment. There was a minor accident
15 at the break. It appears that the microphone -- the
16 equipment is not working here.
17 JUDGE JORDA: We have the impression that when there are
18 protective measures, that this involves everybody, but
19 we have had a month to get the technical aspects into --
20 at a level where they are not going to give us problems
21 any more.
22 MR. KEHOE: Unfortunately your Honour, there is no accounting
23 for a pitcher of water. That will gum up the works
24 every time. I think we are all set at this point,
25 judge. We will recall witness D. I do believe we have
1 to drop the blinds.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Can we have the witness brought in and,
3 exceptionally, this time we are going to have the witness sit
4 down immediately. But the witness will not come in until the
5 curtains have been drawn.
6 (Witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Witness D, good afternoon. You are under the
8 protection of the International Tribunal at the request
9 of the Prosecution that has asked you to come, and has
10 asked for special protective measures which were
11 justified and granted. You will now start answering the
12 questions. It is a public hearing, we can raise the
13 curtains, but you are completely protected, and answer
14 the questions that the Prosecutor is going to ask you,
15 the Prosecutor, who asked you to come to testify in the
16 trial against General Blaskic.
17 Mr. Kehoe, as I recall, witness D, you have already
18 taken the oath, therefore you are under oath.
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Ask for the microphone to the put on, please.
21 The microphone is on? Yes. Mr. Kehoe, I give you the
23 Examined by MR. KEHOE
24 Q. Yes, Mr. President. I believe there are facial as well
25 as oral distortions, just for the record. when we
1 had you here the last time, as the President just noted,
2 you had been placed under oath and I believe you
5 getting a job, is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct. (Pause).
7 (In closed session)
17 (In open session)
18 MR. KEHOE: The outbreak of hostilities in Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 in April 1992, after that, did you join the Territorial
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. After you joined the Territorial Defence --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead.
24 MR. KEHOE: After you joined the Territorial Defence, did you
25 serve on occasion at the front-line?
1 A. Yes, I was.
2 Q. What line did you serve in --
3 JUDGE JORDA: We do not hear the answer because the
4 microphone was not on. Do you hear me, witness D?
5 A. Yes, I hear you.
6 MR. KEHOE: You said you served on the front-line, what was
7 the front-line you served on? What front-line did you
8 serve on first?
9 A. First I was in Visoko.
10 Q. Was that against the Bosnian Serbs?
11 A. Yes, we held the front-line.
12 Q. After Visoko, did you serve on any other front-line?
13 A. Yes, I was in Turbe on the battlefield.
14 Q. When were you on the front-line in Turbe?
15 A. For the new year, 1992/1993.
16 Q. Were HVO soldiers also on the front-line at Turbe?
17 A. They were at lines that were behind our backs, four or
18 five kilometres approximately behind our backs.
19 Q. After you were at the line in Turbe and you left the
20 line in Turbe, did you come back to the Vitez area?
21 A. Yes, I came back to Vitez.
22 Q. Was this at the time that conflict was taking place in
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Between January of 1993 and April 1993, did you go back
1 to any front-line again?
2 A. No, I did not go anywhere.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Does everybody hear me? Does the French booth
4 hear me? Yes, go ahead now.
5 MR. KEHOE: You said that between January 1993 and April
6 1993, you never went to the front-line again, is that
8 A. Yes, that is correct.
9 Q. When the hostilities broke out on the morning of
10 16th April 1993, were you still in the Territorial
12 A. Yes, I was.
13 Q. Were you on active duty on the morning of 16th April
15 A. No, I was at home.
16 Q. Were you on leave at the time?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Take us directly to 16th April 1993. Can you tell the
19 judges exactly what happened, beginning in the morning
20 of 16th April 1993? Can you wait one moment. (Pause).
21 Go ahead
22 A. On 16th April, I was at home, I was asleep (redacted)
23 (redacted) shooting about 5.30 in the morning
24 woke me up. There was shooting all over the place. One
25 could hear detonations, rifle fire, I woke up (redacted),
1 I got up, (redacted). From the window
2 I looked in the direction where we heard the shooting
3 and I saw smoke coming from (redacted) and one
4 could hear terrible shooting. I told (redacted)
5 (redacted), so that we could go into the basement
6 because we had a kind of shelter that we made, because
7 we were afraid of Serb aggression.
8 I went into the yard of my house, (redacted)
10 (redacted), and our other neighbours were there as well,
11 women and children were still in the houses, but the men
12 gathered there and we were discussing how to get
13 organised and what to do in order to protect our
14 families and all that.
15 Q. Let me stop you there for a moment. Were you and all
16 the people that were gathered to talk about what you
17 were doing, were you all Muslims?
18 A. Yes, all of them were Muslims.
19 Q. (redacted)
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So from where you were in (redacted), you could
23 hear the firing and the smoke coming from the village of
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. After you and your neighbours and family met to gather
2 and discuss what to do, what happened?
3 A. There was shooting all over the place and bullets were
4 flying around us too, because it was all over (redacted),
5 from all directions. We agreed -- is something wrong
6 with my tone? Something is wrong with my tone.
7 MR. KEHOE: I think your tone is fine. I do not have any
8 problem with your tone. Mr. President, your Honours?
9 I think it is a minor feedback on the headphones.
10 A. Okay, I can continue.
11 Q. Continue, if you would.
12 A. There was a lot of shooting around us, bullets were
13 flying around us and we agreed that our families should
14 be put into the basements of our houses until we saw
15 what would happen next. My family went down into the
16 basement (redacted) and these other people who
17 were staying (redacetd), refugees and others,
18 they all went to the basement. We men were outside. We
19 were simply waiting to see what would happen.
20 We all went into the yard of a relative of mine,
21 and at that point in time, it was perhaps about 7.00 or
22 already 7.30, we heard somebody banging at the door of
23 our neighbour who lived across the street and we heard
24 his name being called out. He was there with us. His
25 family was in his house where they were banging at the
1 door. He went towards them, he put his hands in the
2 air. He crossed the street and he went towards his
4 MR. KEHOE: One moment, (Pause). Continue on, You
5 said he crossed the street and he went toward his home;
6 what happened then?
7 A. Yes, I was looking in his direction and I saw four or
8 five people walking up to him, they were wearing
9 camouflage uniforms and some of them wore black
10 uniforms, too, uniforms that were totally black. They
11 had socks over -- stockings over their heads, their
12 faces, so I could not recognise them. I went to the
13 basement of the house of this relative of mine and soon
14 after that, perhaps after a minute or two, we heard
15 terrible firing and also an explosion, and then there
16 was a kind of cease-fire.
17 After that, there was a lot of shooting again from
18 the direction of Kolonija, the residential area of the
19 town of Vitez, and this went on for about ten minutes or
20 so, this shooting, and I went from (redacted)
21 (redacted) house so that I could be with my family
22 and with my parents.
23 At that point, when I came into the house, very
24 soon after that, then the family of this neighbour of mine
25 who had crossed the street came,(redacted)
2 (redacted). All of them came running, worried,
3 bewildered, with bare feet, without any shoes. They
4 were crying and we asked them what had happened and they
5 told us that this neighbour of mine went into his home,
6 took a rifle and started shooting at these soldiers from
7 the balcony of his house and that they ran away, and
8 that the soldiers fired back. As we were talking to
9 them, the neighbourhood shot at them came too. Soon
10 afterwards came (redacted).
11 When we looked in that direction, the direction of
12 their houses, we saw they were already on fire. During
13 this shooting with these bullets, the houses caught fire
14 and they burned down very quickly. We were all afraid,
15 we were all terrified, and we were talking to this
16 neighbour of ours and we suggested to him that he should
17 go elsewhere, that he should hide somewhere else, so
18 that if the HVO army came, they would not find him with
19 us because he was the one who shot at them and he agreed
20 to that and he went away from our houses in the
21 direction of Kolonija, towards town.
22 During that day, we were expecting the army,
23 soldiers to come to our houses any minute. However,
24 nobody came. We spent the night there in these houses.
25 We all slept in the basements. Hardly anybody got much
1 sleep really, because we were all afraid of the night
2 and we did not know what would happen during the night
3 and what would happen to us.
4 Q. When you say you expected soldiers to come, did you say
5 HVO soldiers or Armija soldiers?
6 A. Yes, I meant HVO soldiers. However, nobody came during
7 the night, so we spent the night there and the next day,
8 throughout the morning of the next day, nobody came. We
9 heard shooting from all over, but we did not move
10 anywhere, we all stayed in the yards of these houses so
11 we did not know what was happening. We were simply
12 sealed off, in a way. We could not move anywhere. This
13 next day, in the afternoon, we were in the basements of
14 these houses when we heard somebody banging at the door
15 of the shop that was in (redacted)
16 Q. Excuse me, this is the next day, 17th April?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Continue.
19 A. We heard somebody banging at the door of that part
20 (redacted), so (redacted) got out of
21 the basement and he went upstairs to see what was there,
22 what was going on. He came back very soon to the
23 basement, he was accompanied by a soldier and he said
24 everybody should get out of the basement of (redacted)
25 house and that everybody should move to my house, which
1 is a bit lower, (redacted)
2 (redacted). The soldier said that they would not torch my
3 house but that they would torch my father's house, and
4 that was why we were all supposed to move to my house.
5 Everybody left except for me and a neighbour man, who
6 was a younger man, because we were simply afraid to
7 leave, we were afraid of being captured or killed or
9 We stayed in the house until water started
10 dripping into the basement, probably the pipelines broke
11 down and we also felt smoke in the basement, so we could
12 not stay there any longer, so we decided to move on to
13 my house. This neighbour of mine and I ran in the
14 direction of my house, and when I saw that in my house,
15 (redacted) were not there, I asked where they
16 were. (redacted) me that they went to my
17 relative's house, which was safer, it had a better
18 basement, et cetera.
19 Q. (redacted)let me stop you for a second. You just testified
20 that the HVO soldier came and said that the house that
21 you were in, in the basement, was going to be burnt?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. But that your house was not going to be burnt?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know the reason for that, why your house would
1 not be burnt and your father's house would be burnt?
2 A. My house is made -- was made in such a way that it faced
3 two directions, and Muslims usually say that houses
4 should face four directions and they would leave those
5 houses facing only two directions and they would not
6 burn them down.
7 Q. So (redacted) had a four-sided roof and
8 (redacted) had a two-sided roof?
9 A. That is right.
10 Q. And the HVO soldier said he was going to burn down your
11 father's house?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Prior to the burning down of the (redacted) house, had
14 any HVO soldiers come to take your vehicles, automobiles
15 from the premises?
16 A. Just before this soldier came who told us we should get
17 out of the basement, a group of soldiers came and they
18 were also banging at the door and (redacted) went out and
19 they asked for the car keys, because (redacted) had a car in my
20 garage and (redacted) had a car in the garage. I told
21 (redacted) where the keys were, and (redacted) where
22 the keys were. However, he was probably too afraid, he
23 did not manage to find the keys and we heard him being
24 hit. (redacted) followed him and went into my house,
25 took the keys for both cars and handed the keys
1 over to them, they took the car from my garage and this
2 car that was in (redacted) garage is one that I had
3 broken down on purpose, because HVO soldiers would take
4 cars from Muslims who had good cars, so I had broken it
5 down so they could not take it. They came, they tried
6 to turn it on, but they did not manage to ignite it, so
7 one of them fired at the car and then they left.
8 Then this single soldier came and said that (redacted)
9 (redacted) house should be torched and that we should all
10 go to my house that they would not burn. When I came to
11 my house, I realised that (redacted) were not
12 there and I asked (redacted) where they were. They told
13 me that they went to my relative's house. I decided to
14 go to my relative's house too. It is about 150 metres
15 away from my house.
16 I ran across the garden and I came to my
17 relative's house, I went into the basement. I spent two
18 or three minutes there, perhaps, when my relative who
19 stood at the door to the basement said that HVO soldiers
20 were in my yard and that they were taking all the men
21 out of my house and that they were lining them up by the
22 fence. I peeked through the door a bit and I saw
23 (redacted), my neighbour and these refugees who were staying
24 (redacted), I saw them being lined up along the fence
25 of my yard.
1 I went to my relative's basement once again and we
2 sat there waiting for them to come and get us too.
3 However, no one came to get us. They had already
4 torched that house as well, they did not even warn us,
5 they did not even tell us about it, that my relative's
6 house was on fire. Again, water started dripping and we
7 felt the smoke again, so we had to leave the basement of
8 that house and we went out. It was already getting
9 dark, and my relative's house was already burning,
10 (redacted) house and my neighbours' houses were burning.
11 Four houses were burning at the same time, and we went
12 into the yard of this house and we heard tanks coming
13 down the road.
14 We ran out into the road and we saw them coming
15 from Rijeka, three tanks coming from the direction of
17 Q. Let me stop you there before you go into telling us
18 about the tanks. All the houses that were on fire, were
19 they Muslim homes?
20 A. Yes, all of them were Muslim houses.
21 Q. Were all the men that were being taken prisoner, were
22 they all Muslim men?
23 A. Yes, they were.
24 Q. What happened when you saw the tanks coming down the
25 road from Rijeka?
1 A. From the direction of Rijeka, there were tanks coming
2 and I took (redacted) in my hands, in my arms,
3 I stood in front of the tanks and they all stopped and
4 we all expected them to protect us, to save us, but they
5 started moving backwards. With my left hand, I held on
6 to the gun of the tank, because these were small calibre
7 guns. The tank was dragging me along for about 150
8 metres. I ran after it so I could not take it much
9 longer and I just let it go. Then the tank stopped,
10 turned around and then they went back in the direction
11 of Rijeka.
12 I came back to this group of women and children,
13 the houses were burning, we could not even stand in the
14 middle of the road any more, the flames were so strong
15 and we decided to take shelter in the house of a
16 neighbour of ours, a Croat. We went into his yard and
17 we asked him whether we could stay with him and he said
18 yes. So then we took shelter there in his house, we
19 spent about 15 or 20 minutes there, when another
20 neighbour of ours came and said we should all move to
21 his house and that we would be safe in his house.
22 Q. How many people moved to this other neighbour's house?
23 How many Muslims?
24 A. About 50 or 60 of us altogether, including the women and
25 children from all the Muslim houses there, we were all
1 together in one group.
2 Q. Did you go to this second neighbour's house?
3 A. Yes, we all went there and we stayed there and around
4 12.00 at night until 2.00, I was staying in a room
5 upstairs. It was a very big house. And I decided to go
6 downstairs, where my neighbour was and as I was walking
7 down the stairs, the main door to the house opened and
8 there was a HVO soldier there. He asked me how come
9 I was there. I said that I was staying there now with
10 this neighbour, and he said that I was supposed to come
11 with him, and that another boy, a young man of 17 who
12 was a refugee, should also come with me. I went
13 upstairs, I called this young man and I told (redacted)
14 that I had to come along with this soldier and that
15 I did not know where I was going. We all went
16 downstairs and we started moving towards the main road.
17 When we came on to the main road, the soldier told
18 us that we should put our hands up above our heads, and
19 that we should walk along the middle of the road. We
20 started moving in the direction of Rijeka of Sumarija.
21 As we were approaching the veterinary station, Sumarija,
22 the soldier told us to stop. We stopped and he told me
23 that I and this boy should go to his house. Because
24 I did not know exactly which house was his, I said I did
25 not know which house was his and then this young man who
1 was with me said that he knew which house was his and he
2 said we should go to his house and that he would go to
3 Sumarija and that there was a HVO patrol down there.
4 So we went to his house, I knocked at the door and
5 the mother of this soldier opened the door and I said
6 that he had sent us there and she said "no problem
7 whatsoever, please come in". When I walked into the
8 house, I found that neighbour of mine who was together
9 with me in the basement of my house and who was captured
10 by HVO soldiers before, I found him there too and very
11 soon, two relatives of mine came in as well.
12 We spent the night there; however, the next day
13 the mother of this soldier who sent us to his house,
14 this housewife, told us through tears, she was crying,
15 that we had to leave their house, that on the radio they
16 were told that no Croats were allowed to keep Muslims in
17 their houses, and I said, "no problem, we will leave",
18 but that somebody should take us to hand us over there.
19 Soon the husband of this woman came and that is
20 what she told him too and he said that that was out of
21 the question, that he would not hand us over, but that
22 we would stay at his house and he left. However, the
23 woman was crying all the time and I decided not to stay
24 there any longer, but as soon as her husband would come
25 in, that he should hand me over. As soon as he came in,
1 I told her I could not stay there any more, that I could
2 not stay there any more and that he should take me to
3 the veterinary station and hand me over there where all
4 the other Muslims were. So he took me and my relative
5 who was younger and my other relative who was older
6 stayed on. My neighbour also stayed on, who was married
7 to a (redacted). He brought us to the veterinary
8 station and I was put in the basement of the veterinary
10 Q. Just going back to this radio broadcast, did the mother
11 of this soldier tell you what the radio broadcast said
12 about Croats hiding Muslims?
13 A. Well, she told us that the radio was saying that no
14 Croats were to harbour any Muslims and she was just
15 afraid for her own safety and for the safety of her
16 family and things like that.
17 Q. Tell us about -- you went to the veterinary station.
18 Tell us about the veterinary station and the conditions
19 in the veterinary station when you got there?
20 A. I was put in the basement of the veterinary station and
21 all my friends and relatives, neighbours were there. My
22 (redacted) was also there. Down in the basement, it was
23 very tight, we could only crouch, we could not move
24 around, we could only sit down and nothing else. It was
25 damp down there, the air was stale. There was no
1 ventilation, it was wet. Since we were too many, they
2 said that the older people could move upstairs to the
3 room where the animals were brought, and so (redacted)
4 and other people went up there and it was better up
5 there, the air was fresher.
6 I stayed down in the basement, and I spent the
7 night there, that night. But when I arrived there,
8 I saw that some people from the neighbourhood were
9 missing, ones that should have been there and I asked
10 where they were and I was told that a group was taken to
11 Santici to dig trenches. I spent the night there at the
12 station and in the morning, a van arrived and a HVO
13 soldier arrived and said that a group of people was
14 needed to dig trenches.
15 Q. In the veterinary station, all the people you saw in the
16 basement, were they all Muslims?
17 A. Yes, they were all Muslims.
18 Q. Were they civilians?
19 A. Yes, they were all civilians. Nobody wore a uniform.
20 Q. The people you said were taken -- they told you that
21 people were taken out to dig trenches. What was the
22 area they were taken to dig trenches at?
23 A. They took them to Ciganluk. This was in the direction
24 of the village of Kruscica.
25 Q. You said the next day a minibus came to pick you and
1 others up to dig trenches, is that right?
2 A. Yes, about 20 of us were assigned to dig trenches and we
3 sat into this minibus and they took us down in the
4 direction of the railway station. When we passed the
5 railway station, we headed towards the village of
6 Santici between Buhine Kuce and Santici. The minibus
7 stopped in front of a house and a group of ten people
8 got off and I stayed in the minibus and we were taken to
9 the village of Santici. We were put in front of the
10 house and we stayed there for about half an hour. They
11 gave us some pickaxes and shovels and a soldier came and
12 took us in the direction of Pirici.
13 When we arrived to the village of Pirici, there
14 was a house there where they had some sort of command,
15 and there was an intersection in front of it of roads
16 there in Pirici, so that was a larger open area, so we
17 waited there for about ten minutes and this soldier came
18 back and took us above this house towards the Muslim
19 cemetery, and he assigned us to trench digging, and
20 I was assigned with a friend to dig to the right-hand
21 side of the Muslim cemetery.
22 Q. When you first got up there, did you see any telephone
23 lines or any means of communication between the HVO
24 soldiers up in Pirici and Vitez?
25 A. Right there at the entrance of the Muslim cemetery was a
1 telephone, and this is where we were waiting to be
2 assigned and I was surprised, I asked the soldier whom
3 I knew, "you have a telephone here", he said "yes, we
4 do". He told me that just before that, he spoke with
5 his wife who lived in the city of Vitez, so from this
6 phone, they could call into Vitez, to the city, so the
7 lines were connected through the main post office.
8 Q. So you were then taken to dig trenches, is that right?
9 If so, tell us about that?
10 A. Yes, myself and another friend were taken to
11 (redacted) and already the trenches had been
12 started, somebody had started digging them before us, so
13 we worked there until about noon. We widened the
14 trenches and things like that and according to them, we
15 were finished there, so then they returned us to the
16 (redacted) and then they took us to the left of
17 (redacted). We also dug trenches there. They also
18 brought us some food there, there was some bread, so we
20 We were finished there quite quickly and then they
21 took us in the direction of this command of theirs from
22 where we had come and there we waited again for a while
23 and then the whole group was taken in the direction from
24 this command in Pirici, down towards the bungalows at
25 the same level where that command of theirs was. My
1 friend and I dug in a ravine, it was sheltered, so we
2 were protected there and we could work there without any
4 When we were done, the HVO soldier that we had to
5 go out into an open field and there was no protection
6 there. We could be seen from all sides there. Myself
7 and my friend went out there and started digging, I had
8 a pickaxe, he had a shovel and I dug a bit and then he
9 started shovelling it out. I was looking in the
10 direction of a forest that was in front of us. It still
11 did not have any foliage. About 50 metres from us I saw
12 a man in uniform and I saw him with a rifle, so I told
13 this friend that there was a man, a soldier there and
14 that it is possible that he might shoot at us.
15 At that moment, a shot rang and we lay down on the
16 ground and I asked him, "were you hit" and he said
17 "no". I was not either, and then we crawled back into
18 the shelter where the HVO soldier was lying, in this
19 shelter and he said "what happened" and we said "we were
20 shot at". He told us to go back and continue digging
21 because we would not be shot at, because they knew that
22 we were Muslims so we should just continue to dig,
23 without concern.
24 We went back and dug some more and not even two
25 minutes past and another shot rang out. We lay down
1 again and now we did not return to that shelter, we just
2 lay there and the HVO soldiers told us to continue to
3 dig. There were four shots altogether, and when the
4 fourth shot rang out, we again lay down and the HVO
5 soldier told us again to go and dig and I got up first
6 and my friend was behind my back. At that moment, when
7 I hit the ground with a pickaxe, I heard the shot and
8 I threw myself on the ground. I turned around and saw
9 my friend lying on his back. I asked him "were you hit"
10 and he said that he was.
11 I crawled over to him and pulled up his T-shirt
12 and his sweater and I could not see any wounds on him.
13 When I pulled down the sweater, I saw under the
14 collarbone that he was hit and I put my hand on his --
15 against his back and felt blood. Then I called others
16 who were digging around us. This man was (redacted)
18 (redacted), so another Muslim who was digging
19 trenches came over and we brought him back to the
20 shelter where the HVO soldiers were. There they gave
21 us -- treated him a bit, we put him in a blanket and
22 they told us to take him in the direction of this
23 command of theirs. We carried him in the direction of
24 the command, maybe it could have been up to a kilometre,
25 about 1,000 metres. When we arrived there, there was a
1 passenger car there, where we put our wounded friend,
2 and they took him away.
3 After they took him away, we stayed by this
4 command there in that white paved area and they gave us
5 something to eat. We got a tin of fish and some bread.
6 The whole group sat down there and ate and to the right
7 of me, Jusuf Ibrakovic was sitting, his nickname was
8 Jusa, but he was nervous, he was not eating. He walked
9 away from us to that building, there were about 15 HVO
10 soldiers there. He went there three or four times and
11 then he would come back to us.
12 While I was eating, a HVO soldier came by and he
13 knew me. Within five minutes, he passed me about four
14 times and every time he passed, he was giving me a pack
15 of cigarettes. Every time I turned it down and said
16 I was not smoking. The last time he came by, I told him
17 give it to Jusa, Jusa was sitting next to me. He gave
18 the cigarettes to Jusa and I continued to eat. At that
19 moment, Jusuf passed behind my back and that is where
20 the HVO soldier who was guarding us and another soldier,
21 they were there and they were talking. Jusuf passed
22 behind my back and all of a sudden there was some noise
23 and shouting. I turned and saw Jusuf holding on to the
24 barrel of the submachine gun and actually he was trying
25 to lock it.
1 Jusuf was a big man, the two of them were on top
2 of him, on his back, and they started beating him, but
3 they could not bring him under control. I saw that
4 there might be shooting and myself -- the whole group,
5 we went and we literally -- we ran over to the HVO
6 soldiers and we sort of mixed in with the HVO soldiers,
7 because we were afraid there would be shooting. They
8 were trying to bring Jusuf under control, but one was
9 hitting him with the shovel and he was trying to take
10 away the submachine gun from him. At one point,
11 I yelled "do not kill him, he is crazy", but as all this
12 was going on and they came to the intersection, the
13 soldier who was guarding us pulled out a pistol and shot
14 Jusuf in the back.
15 Jusuf fell to the ground and let go of the
16 submachine gun and then the soldier took the submachine
17 gun. Jusuf was still alive and he cursed their Chetnik
18 mothers. A HVO soldier, who was very young, he could
19 not have been more than 18, shot a burst of fire into
20 Jusuf and said "we are not Chetniks". We were all mixed
21 in with the HVO soldiers and then the soldiers said
22 "bring over the one who said that this one was crazy",
23 and a soldier came over who knew me and I knew him. He
24 had a pistol in his hand and he put it against my temple
25 and told me to go in the direction where Jusuf was.
1 When I came near Jusuf, about a metre away, he
2 told me to kneel down. I did and he told me to put my
3 hands behind my back and he told me to put my forehead
4 against the pavement and I did and then he put the
5 barrel of his pistol against the back of my head.
6 I then sort of lost my bearings, I do not know what was
7 going on, I could only hear noises, curses and at one
8 point, I heard "get up" and (redacted) was cursed
9 and then said "get up and go digging". I got up and the
10 rest of the Muslims they all got up and went to dig.
11 Q. When the HVO soldier put his gun to the back of your
12 head, what were you thinking? Did you think you were
13 going to die at that point?
14 A. I thought it was over.
15 Q. They let you up and you and the rest of the Muslims went
16 back to dig trenches, is that right?
17 A. Yes, we went back to dig trenches, we went to the spot
18 where this man who was with us was wounded, and now it
19 was getting dark, and so we were not assigned to dig in
20 the same place, but now we were further down. It was
21 sheltered. We continued to dig until about 4.00 in the
22 morning and around 4.00, they told us to stop and they
23 brought us back to this command in the village of
25 They put us up in the basement of this building,
1 it was very dark there, it was a low ceiling, it was
2 dark, you could not see anything. We came inside and
3 this soldier who wanted to kill me, who had put the
4 pistol in the back of my head, he said if he heard a
5 word uttered that he would throw in a grenade and kill
6 us all. We all kept silent, nobody was talking or
7 saying anything, we were all afraid and we were there
8 until 6.00, so for about two hours.
9 At 6.00, they told us that they were taking us
10 back and that we had to go back to the village of
11 Santici. They brought us down to the building where
12 they had given us these tools for digging and since the
13 vehicle had not arrived yet, they put us in a garage.
14 We were in the garage for about half an hour, and the
15 van arrived, it was a van without any windows, you could
16 not see anything. They put us in there. Since we were
17 familiar with this terrain, we knew that road, we knew
18 pretty much where we were and so we realised they were
19 taking us in the direction of the city.
20 Near Sumarija, the van stopped and we heard the
21 driver saying where was he taking us and what to do and
22 then somebody told him to take us to the movie theatre
23 in Vitez. He brought us to the theatre, movie theatre,
24 and that is where we were put.
25 Q. Before we talk about your stay at the cinema, how long a
1 period of time did you dig trenches in the area of
3 A. We dug the whole day and until about 4.00 in the
4 morning. We were in Pirici about 24 hours altogether,
5 so a full day, full night. We had that two-hour break
6 between 4.00 and 6.00.
7 Q. You mentioned during your testimony when your colleague
8 was shot that you saw a soldier out in the woods. Why
9 did you not, and the other Muslims who were digging
10 trenches, try to escape?
11 A. When they brought us there, they told us that we could
12 not -- that we should not escape because if anybody
13 escaped they would shoot the rest, so we made agreement
14 that nobody would escape because nine people could
15 perish because of one and so we had an agreement among
16 ourselves that nobody was to escape so we would protect
17 each other.
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I do not know if you want me to
19 move into another area at this point or if your Honour
20 wants to break?
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we are going to suspend the hearing now
22 and start again at 10.00 tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon,
23 for technical reasons, I believe the parties were
24 informed -- is that not so, Registrar -- we will not be
25 able to sit tomorrow afternoon.
1 THE REGISTRAR: We cannot sit in the afternoon.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The court stands adjourned. We start tomorrow
3 at 10.00.
4 (5.45 pm)
5 (Court adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)