International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Case No IT-95-14

  1. 1 Monday, 10th November 1997

    2 (10.00 am)

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Turning to the Registrar,

    4 I would like the accused to be brought in, please.

    5 (Accused brought in)

    6 Does everybody hear? Are the interpreters ready?

    7 Good morning, everybody. Good morning to the

    8 Prosecution, to the Defence. Good morning to Mr. Tihofil

    9 Blaskic. Does everybody hear? Given that, perhaps we

    10 can resume our hearing. Prosecutor, would you please

    11 recall where in the proceedings we were? I believe

    12 I see Mr. Kehoe standing. We are listening to you,

    13 Mr. Kehoe.

    14 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Mr. President, your Honours. I know

    15 it has been some time since we have been here. Just by

    16 way of recollection, the Prosecution team was putting in

    17 a series of witnesses concerning the events taking place

    18 in Ahmici and we would -- and the surrounding areas, but

    19 mainly Ahmici, and we would continue that beginning

    20 today, beginning with Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Watters

    21 of the 1 Cheshire Regiment, in the army of the

    22 United Kingdom.

    23 Before we do bring Lieutenant Colonel Watters in,

    24 Mr. President, there are a couple of matters concerning

    25 individuals who do not want information disclosed for

  2. 1 which there have been prior motions. If just briefly we

    2 could go to private session and talk about those two

    3 issues, the Prosecution would be very grateful.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: No objection from the Defence for a private

    5 session in order for us to take our positions.

    6 Mr. Hayman?

    7 MR. HAYMAN: We do not know what it is about, your Honour,

    8 but we think the Prosecutor should have that

    9 opportunity.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Registrar. Do you mean you want a

    11 closed session or a private session?

    12 MR. KEHOE: Just a private session, Mr. President. There is

    13 no need to put the blinds down. Just when we talk about

    14 issues which have been the subject of motions, it is not

    15 heard out in the gallery.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: All right, then we will now have a private

    17 session. Until I can find a good way to say "private

    18 session" in French, we are saying "session privée‚", but

    19 that is really not a good way to put it. The French

    20 judges -- we cannot talk about private sessions in

    21 English, so I am saying "privée‚", although I know that is

    22 not really the correct expression. In any case, we are

    23 going to have the private session. All right, are we

    24 ready?

    25 (In closed session)

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    13 Pages 3342 - 3355 redacted in closed session













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    14 (In open session)

    15 (Witness entered court)

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel Watters, do you hear me?

    17 THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Will you please tell us your identity. Could

    19 you tell us exactly your name? You are Lieutenant

    20 Colonel Watters.

    21 THE WITNESS: I am Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Watters and

    22 I currently command the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire

    23 Regiment.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment please. I just wanted to make

    25 sure of your identity. You will be now asked to read a

  2. 1 solemn declaration, please, and remain standing while

    2 reading it. Please read it.


    4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel. You may be

    5 seated. You have been invited by the Prosecution to

    6 testify as a witness of the Prosecution. You will first

    7 be examined by the Prosecutor and after by the Defence.

    8 It is now Mr. Kehoe.

    9 Examined by MR. KEHOE

    10 Q. Good morning, Mr. Watters?

    11 A. Good morning, sir.

    12 Q. Colonel Watters, what do you do for a living right now?

    13 A. I command 1 Cheshire, which is a British infantry

    14 battalion, currently stationed in Northern Ireland.

    15 Q. Briefly, can you give the Trial Chamber an idea of your

    16 experience in the British military?

    17 A. I was initially commissioned in 1973 after a year at

    18 Sandhurst. I was then posted to 1 Cheshire as a platoon

    19 commander, having conducted my platoon commanders'

    20 course. Having spent two years as platoon commander,

    21 I was trained as an antitank officer of the battalion.

    22 After a few more normal regimental duty appointments,

    23 which involved operational tours in Northern Ireland and

    24 Rhodesia, I was then posted as the operations officer of

    25 an armoured brigade in Germany, what we would call the

  3. 1 SO3 G3 operations, a grade 3 staff officer. After two

    2 years doing that, I returned to 1 Cheshire to command an

    3 infantry company, which I commanded in England and

    4 Belize in Central America.

    5 From there I was posted to headquarters Northern

    6 Ireland, where I did a grade 2 staff job. After that,

    7 I was posted to Brunei and Borneo to command the Jungle

    8 Warfare School and from there I was posted as second in

    9 command 1 Cheshire, then stationed in Vitez. After

    10 that, and a few more appointments, I was posted back to

    11 1 Cheshire to command it.

    12 Q. Colonel Watters, when did you take command of the first

    13 battalion of the Cheshire Regiment?

    14 A. I took command of 1 Cheshire just before we went to

    15 Northern Ireland last year.

    16 Q. During your citation of your background, Colonel, you

    17 said that there was a period of time where you were

    18 second in command of 1 Cheshire in Bosnia stationed in

    19 Vitez, is that correct?

    20 A. That is right, sir.

    21 Q. What time-frame was the battalion of 1 Cheshire there and

    22 how long were you there?

    23 A. The battalion was there from November 1992 until May

    24 1993 and I was second in command from the beginning of

    25 February 1993 until May when we left.

  4. 1 Q. So you were there for probably the last half of the

    2 tour, is that about right?

    3 A. That is right, sir.

    4 Q. Colonel Watters, can you tell the court exactly what was

    5 going on when you first got to Bosnia? What was the

    6 state of affairs between the warring factions, to the

    7 best of your recollection? Can you just give a

    8 description of that to the court in your own words?

    9 A. I arrived in Bosnia on 6th February and spent the first

    10 couple of weeks taking over the job of second in command

    11 from Major Tim Park. At the time, the commanding

    12 officer, Colonel Stewart, was on his mid-tour leave and

    13 so between Major Park and myself we were command and

    14 second in command for that battalion for those two

    15 weeks.

    16 My first impression was it was a very confusing

    17 environment, militarily, to understand. I spent quite a

    18 lot of time trying to put the three warring factions in

    19 perspective, understand what their military and

    20 political aspirations were, so we could understand what

    21 they might be doing -- because what they said they were

    22 doing was not always what we discovered they had been

    23 doing -- and also to be very clear on the current state

    24 of the war; where the front-line positions were, largely

    25 the Serb front-lines and what the current state of the

  5. 1 Muslim Croat alliance was.

    2 Also it was to get to know who the key military

    3 and political personalities were within our area of

    4 responsibility in Central Bosnia, and that is what

    5 I spent the first couple of weeks doing, and was

    6 assisted in that by Major Park, who took me round, and

    7 also by the attendance of a meeting at Kakanj on

    8 13th February, where I met most of the key personalities

    9 within the Muslim and Croat armed forces.

    10 Q. Did the British battalion have a particular area of

    11 responsibility in Central Bosnia?

    12 A. Yes, we did. Our area of responsibility really was from

    13 Kiseljak up through Busovaca across to Zenica, along the

    14 Lasva Valley, incorporating Vitez where our base was,

    15 down to Travnik and then across to Jajce Maglaj. We

    16 also had areas of responsibility beyond the Serb lines,

    17 which we were not able to access, because the Serbs

    18 would not let us cross the lines.

    19 Q. When you were trying to familiarise yourself with the

    20 area, did you have the opportunity to travel around your

    21 area of responsibility, or your AOR as you call it?

    22 A. Yes, I did, I travelled extensively.

    23 Q. The mission for the British battalion in Vitez was known

    24 as Operation Grapple, is that right?

    25 A. Yes, that was the name given to it by the British

  6. 1 Ministry of Defence.

    2 Q. What was the goals of the British battalion on Operation

    3 Grapple in Central Bosnia and did those goals change

    4 over a period of time?

    5 A. The goals can best be expressed in our mission statement

    6 which the commanding officer articulated within a few

    7 weeks of us being in Bosnia. That was essentially --

    8 our role was to facilitate the movement of humanitarian

    9 aid throughout our area of responsibility in order to

    10 prevent the starvation and general deprivation of the

    11 civilian population. That was our mission statement, so

    12 that was our goal, and at the beginning of our time

    13 there, once the Serb front-lines had stabilised and we

    14 were able to put in place what we would describe as our

    15 "scheme of manoeuvre", or how we would actually achieve

    16 our mission statement -- would you like me to explain

    17 that or go on to how the goals changed during the

    18 period?

    19 Q. Just explain a little bit about how you manoeuvred, and

    20 then you can go into how those goals changed.

    21 A. The scheme of manoeuvre essentially required -- you have

    22 to understand we had a blank sheet of paper. It was

    23 what we would call a, "fundamental estimate", an

    24 examination of how we might do it, and the plan that we

    25 came up with to achieve our mission statement is

  7. 1 articulated through this scheme of manoeuvre.

    2 What the scheme of manoeuvre required was for the

    3 identification within the battle group, BritBat, of a

    4 number of officers to perform the function of liaison

    5 officers. We identified six who were of the right

    6 calibre and personality. These captains were each given

    7 an area, a subarea of responsibility within the AOR, and

    8 their task was to get to know the personalities, both

    9 military and political, who controlled affairs within

    10 the Muslim, Croat and if possible Serb areas, and to

    11 establish a personal working relationship with these

    12 individuals to allow us first of all to understand what

    13 was going on, because it was very confusing, and

    14 secondly to establish personal relationships which in

    15 time of crisis we could call upon to resolve particular

    16 situations at the appropriate level. The establishing

    17 of these liaison officers became fundamental to our

    18 ability to prosecute our mission.

    19 Having established the liaison officers, and they

    20 having established working relationships within their

    21 subareas of responsibility, simultaneously we began a

    22 patrolling exercise using the various armoured resources

    23 within BritBat, primarily our Warrior armoured vehicles

    24 of which we had 53, but also other armoured vehicles, to

    25 first of all establish the Serb front-line, and secondly

  8. 1 then to produce throughout the area of responsibility a

    2 degree of confidence within the local population and the

    3 aid organisations, because we did not want to be tied

    4 down to specific junctions and be running specific aid

    5 convoys. We wanted to create a web, if you like, or a

    6 network of security and trust throughout which aid could

    7 move unhindered and we would patrol the area extensively

    8 and bring force to bear at particular areas of

    9 disagreement or conflict, and that was how we intended

    10 to do it. That essentially worked up until the middle

    11 of April.

    12 Q. During the course of your efforts and the efforts of the

    13 British battalion to attempt to move aid through the

    14 Lasva Valley and the other portions of your area of

    15 responsibility, did you come in contact with Colonel

    16 Tihomir Blaskic?

    17 A. Yes, I did. I first met Colonel Blaskic on

    18 13th February at the Busovaca submission meeting in

    19 Kakanj, which I attended with Major Park. He was there

    20 to the best of my recollection with his immediate

    21 commander, General Petkovic. There were also members of

    22 the Bosnian Muslim military 3rd Corps.

    23 Q. Is the individual that you identify as Colonel Blaskic

    24 in the courtroom?

    25 A. Yes, that is Colonel Blaskic sitting over there.

  9. 1 Q. Can you point to him, please?

    2 A. (indicates).

    3 MR. KEHOE: Let the record reflect, Mr. President,

    4 your Honours, that the witness is identifying the

    5 defendant.

    6 Was that the first point at which you met him, on

    7 February 13th 1993?

    8 A. That was the first time I had met him, yes.

    9 Q. What role did Blaskic play in your area of

    10 responsibility?

    11 A. Colonel Blaskic was the regional commander of the HVO.

    12 He had three subregions under him, each with their own

    13 commanders and subordinate commanders below that. If

    14 I can recall, the three areas were Kiseljak --

    15 Kiseljak-Busovaca was the first operational area -- no,

    16 that was the second. The first area was

    17 Vitez-Travnik -- the second operational area was

    18 Kiseljak-Busovaca and the third was Zepce, and they were

    19 his three subregions, if you like, and he commanded the

    20 overall region.

    21 Q. Was there any doubt in your mind that he was the overall

    22 commander in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?

    23 A. No.

    24 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic have what could be called the

    25 trappings of military power when you saw him in Central

  10. 1 Bosnia?

    2 A. It is quite difficult to understand trappings of power.

    3 He had the natural authority of the commander. He had

    4 the bodyguards that go with many of the commanders in

    5 Bosnia at the time. He had communications, and he

    6 reported directly to General Petkovic. I cannot think

    7 of another way to articulate the fact that it was quite

    8 clear he was the regional commander. He signed

    9 documents as the regional commander in my presence.

    10 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic have headquarters in the area?

    11 A. Yes. His main headquarters were in the Hotel Vitez

    12 during my period. I was aware he also had a

    13 headquarters he worked out at quite often in Kiseljak

    14 and I think he actually came from that part of Bosnia,

    15 which would explain why he was quite often in Kiseljak

    16 as well.

    17 Q. Just going back to what we were talking about prior to

    18 the description of Colonel Blaskic, you were talking

    19 about the goals of the British battalion bringing

    20 humanitarian aid in there. Did those goals change at

    21 some point?

    22 A. The goal of facilitating the description of humanitarian

    23 aid which was our mission did not change, the mission

    24 remained the same, we were just unable to achieve our

    25 mission due to the deterioration of the situation in

  11. 1 Central Bosnia, with the collapse of the Muslim Croat

    2 alliance, and the degree of fighting and conflict within

    3 the area which we -- the idea of forcing humanitarian

    4 aid through pitched battles was just facile, and our --

    5 the core area of our mission, why we were facilitating

    6 humanitarian aid, was to save people's lives, and the

    7 requirement to save people's lives switched from feeding

    8 them to actually taking them from the field of battle,

    9 which is what our main emphasis switched to in the

    10 period of late April.

    11 Q. This is after the attack on the Vitez/Ahmici areas, is

    12 that right?

    13 A. It was a slightly larger area than that, but it was

    14 after about the morning of 16th April our emphasis

    15 changed totally, and really by the time we left in mid

    16 May we still had not got back to our primary role of

    17 distribution of aid. We had switched to the saving of

    18 life in the micro concept in villages and at

    19 checkpoints. The running of cease-fire commissions

    20 became a major part of our work; facilitating the

    21 movement of senior Croat and Muslim commanders under UN

    22 protection to take the orders for cease-fires and the

    23 conditions of cease-fires to their soldiers; the recovery

    24 of bodies from the field of battle, burying of dead;

    25 they became the more important things to do at that

  12. 1 time.

    2 Q. Colonel Watters, turning if you will from the goals of

    3 the British battalion and Operation Grapple, did you

    4 have occasion to examine the goals of the army of

    5 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO in Central Bosnia?

    6 A. Yes. As I explained at the beginning, it was

    7 fundamental to us to be able to conduct our mission to

    8 understand what the warring factions were trying to do.

    9 It became, as one studied it and accessed more

    10 information and more personal observation and

    11 discussion, it became obvious that there were

    12 essentially three structures operating within Central

    13 Bosnia in terms of the military situation, both within

    14 the Bosnia -- Croat and Bosnian Muslim. I would best

    15 describe those as the top level or strategic level, the

    16 operational level and the tactical level, and the

    17 strategic level was linked to the political aspirations

    18 of the Muslims and Croats, and their central governments

    19 and central military.

    20 The operational level was the prosecution of the

    21 strategic objectives by the regional military

    22 commanders, and the tactical level was in really the

    23 villages or the brigade units within Bosnia, and they

    24 operated under the orders of the operational level.

    25 I could develop that more if you wish.

  13. 1 Q. Let us talk about just individually for the army of

    2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What was their strategic goal at

    3 this point when you got to Central Bosnia in February

    4 1993, and continuing through until April?

    5 A. Do you mean the BiH?

    6 Q. The BiH.

    7 A. The first point I think about the BiH is they were quite

    8 traumatised by the success of the Serbs, especially in

    9 the areas like Banja Luka, and in the areas --

    10 Srebrenica, which was a running problem during our time

    11 there. They really were consolidating and trying to

    12 defend the area that they had so far not lost to the

    13 Serbs and were very much keen to, from our perspective,

    14 maintain their alliance with the Croats, because they

    15 did not believe on their own they could actually hold

    16 out against any further Serb offences, so they were very

    17 much shoring up their eastern borders in the north with

    18 the Serbs and working with joint defensive lines, for

    19 example in Turbe, just outside Travnik, where they had

    20 joint operations with the Croats.

    21 Q. Turning if you will to the strategic --

    22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

    23 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry. Turning if you will to the strategic

    24 goals of the HVO, did you also examine strategic goals

    25 of the HVO?

  14. 1 A. Yes, in very much the same way, and the story was quite

    2 similar, but there were some differences. The major

    3 difference between the HVO and the BiH is really the BiH

    4 were an island, if you will. They could not be

    5 reinforced or supported from anywhere else, there was

    6 just the BiH, the Muslim community in Central Bosnia.

    7 There was no greater, pan-European Muslim community

    8 supporting them. They did have a sort of isolationist

    9 survival approach. The HVO and the Croat community were

    10 very different, because they had a -- the potential for

    11 a great deal of support from Croatia proper, also --

    12 that gave them a confidence in their approach which the

    13 Muslims did not have, and certainly allowed them to

    14 appear to be running agendas that were well outside the

    15 concept of a Muslim Croat alliance, very much Croat

    16 agendas for a greater Croatia.

    17 Q. Explain those agendas, Colonel?

    18 A. It was quite obvious that the Croats were looking at the

    19 way in which the Serbs appeared to get away with what

    20 they got away with through force of arms. The Serbs

    21 take a piece of ground, the political community, the

    22 Vance-Owen Plan seemed to acquiesce and almost be seen

    23 to reward the efforts of the Serbs. It was our

    24 understanding, certainly my belief, that the Croats

    25 thought that this was quite a successful model to

  15. 1 emulate. Certainly the proposed Vance-Owen cantons that

    2 we saw at the beginning of April, where canton 10 was a

    3 Croat canton, which embraced our area of responsibility,

    4 so we were particularly interested in it, appeared to

    5 provide a Croat heartland within the middle of Central

    6 Bosnia which included quite large Muslim minorities.

    7 That appeared to be a strategic goal of the Croats, to

    8 address this issue.

    9 The second thing was the preoccupation with routes

    10 or access from the large centres of Croat population,

    11 Prozor and Tomislavgrad, leading down into main land

    12 Croatia, and a preoccupation with securing routes from

    13 Prozor up into Central Bosnia, because the Mostar route

    14 was totally controlled and dominating by the Serbs, and

    15 just unusable. The fighting in and around Prozor

    16 against the Muslim villages to the east, the fighting in

    17 Gornji Vakuf for control of a key junction on that

    18 route, and later the fighting in the Lasva Valley sort

    19 of reinforced the idea.

    20 There is also a great historical precedent within

    21 the Balkans for the domination of routes. If you looked

    22 at the Serb gains and the routes the Serb front-lines

    23 took, they were very strange until you overlaid the main

    24 arterial routes of Bosnia and you saw that the Serb

    25 front-lines had actually accessed nearly all these main

  16. 1 routes and cut them, thus isolating Central Bosnia and

    2 preventing in many areas the reinforcements of pockets

    3 and fingers, and all these other terms people use for

    4 isolated resistance. That model of the preoccupation

    5 with the Balkans on the man that controls the valleys,

    6 or the man that controls the routes controls the

    7 country, is historically evident in the Second World War

    8 in Germany's operations within the Balkans. It was a

    9 blinding glimpse of the obvious that this route from

    10 Prozor up into --

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, I would like the witness to speak

    12 more directly to the Tribunal.

    13 A. I am sorry. It was a blinding glimpse of the obvious

    14 that a great deal of the operations conducted by the

    15 Croats, even during the period of the cease-fire, was

    16 actually to maintain a degree of security on this

    17 route. Also, as the fighting developed on 16th April

    18 and beyond, a great deal of the effort of the Croat

    19 forces was to try and secure routes, not only strategic

    20 routes down to Prozor but also routes within Central

    21 Bosnia, to link up the main Croat centres of population

    22 such as Busovaca and Vitez, for example.

    23 MR. KEHOE: You mention that as one agenda. Did the HVO and

    24 the Bosnian Croats have a parallel agenda in addition to

    25 securing these routes?

  17. 1 A. That parallel agenda manifested itself, as I tried to

    2 explain earlier, with the development of canton 10 and

    3 the problem that having Muslim minorities within their

    4 canton would present them. It was quite obvious to us

    5 with the events of 16th April and beyond that the Croats

    6 intended to remove the Muslim minorities from the area

    7 of canton 10, and also to remove Muslims from any areas

    8 that would threaten the lines of communication or the

    9 main routes within Central Bosnia, and specifically the

    10 Lasva Valley area and the Kiseljak valley area.

    11 MR. KEHOE: With the assistance of the usher, and if we could

    12 just move up to what has now been marked, Mr. President,

    13 as exhibit 29G, which is the map on the easel -- I am

    14 sorry, is this "G" or "J"?

    15 THE REGISTRAR: 29J.

    16 MR. KEHOE: 29J, Mr. President, I apologise.

    17 I ask you, Colonel Watters, if you could step up

    18 to the microphone and, taking the red marker to your

    19 left, could you outline, if you will, the strategic

    20 goals of the HVO, based on the routes that you just

    21 discussed.

    22 If I may, Mr. President, may I approach?

    23 A. If I begin by marking the routes and the towns, shall

    24 I do the routes in yellow and the towns in red?

    25 Q. That is fine.

  18. 1 A. (Witness marks map). They are the main -- I have just

    2 highlighted in red the main towns. I will just now

    3 highlight the routes I talked about.

    4 Q. Just talking about the main towns. Can you mention

    5 them, going down from the left-hand corner?

    6 A. Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, what we used to describe as

    7 Novi Travnik --

    8 Q. Which is Pucarevo on the map.

    9 A. Vitez, Kaonik, Zenica, Fojnica and Kiseljak. There are

    10 two small towns I am just trying to find which are

    11 significant. Bilalovac is one of them, Kacuni, that was

    12 the other one. I am sorry, sir, my memory does not run

    13 four years that well on the detail of some of these

    14 towns. The route we are talking about --

    15 Q. Which route is this?

    16 A. What we are going to do is link up first of all the main

    17 Croat centres of population, and the routes that they

    18 would be required to maintain to support political or

    19 military operations. That is from Kiseljak up what we

    20 described as the Kiseljak valley to Busovaca, which was

    21 very important to the Bosnian Croats and was also the

    22 regional seat of their main political influence, where

    23 Mr. Dario Kordic lived. Across to Vitez, up past Stari

    24 Bila, where our own place was just there, I will just

    25 mark that, up to this key junction here, down past

  19. 1 Pucarevo, down to Gornji Vakuf, and then a road

    2 controlled also by the Croats down to Prozor, and Prozor

    3 linking directly down to Tomislavgrad and down into

    4 Croatia.

    5 In addition, there was a good deal of fighting in

    6 early April just to the east of Prozor, which we could

    7 not understand at first until we began to apply this

    8 overlay or logic of routes. One of the big problems

    9 with Gornji Vakuf was the large Muslim element there,

    10 which was continuously fighting with the Croats. They

    11 really could never guarantee that this key junction on

    12 this arterial route could be safe. We were getting a

    13 lot of reports of heavy artillery fire and attacks out

    14 to the east of Prozor, and if you looked there were a

    15 series of Muslim villages which went on routes, and it

    16 is quite a plethora of routes and alternatives you could

    17 take. You could move across to Fojnica, and there was

    18 also fighting above Gornji Vakuf, which we put down to

    19 an aspiration to push a second route across to

    20 Busovaca. Of course, if you got to Fojnica you had a

    21 straightforward route over to Kiseljak and there was a

    22 route up to Busovaca.

    23 So this matrix here overlays the importance of the

    24 routes and how if you plotted the routes on the map and

    25 you looked where the main areas of fighting were going

  20. 1 on between the Croats and the Muslims, or where the

    2 major Croat offensives were, you could see that they

    3 were actually following routes and the logic of it was

    4 stark.

    5 Q. This particular matrix that you put together with the

    6 routes, is this something that would be planned at a

    7 local level, at a local brigade level, or was this a

    8 strategic endeavour taken by HVO headquarters, in your

    9 opinion, as a military person?

    10 A. To answer your question, it was a strategic plan,

    11 because the pattern of it and the co-ordination of it

    12 had to be done at the very minimum at region level or

    13 the operational level. It certainly was not the

    14 tactical level, because the co-ordination required for

    15 each of these brigade areas was far too great for it to

    16 be some sort of spontaneous tactical plan. It had to be

    17 co-ordinated and planned at least at regional level,

    18 probably actually at strategic level, or the resources

    19 given to the regional commander at strategic level to

    20 prosecute his regional battle.

    21 Q. The route that you mentioned here goes through Vitez,

    22 Kaonik, Busovaca, down through Kacuni and Bilalovac and

    23 down to Kiseljak. In the area of Kacuni and Bilalovac,

    24 when you got there in February 1993, was there a portion

    25 or all that road between Bilalovac and Kacuni controlled

  21. 1 by the Bosnian Muslims, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    2 A. Yes, there was, there were actually checkpoints and they

    3 became quite contentious, especially the checkpoint in

    4 Kacuni. If I draw here approximately, the green

    5 line will show the area of this route that was actually

    6 controlled by the BiH. They had BiH checkpoints at the

    7 beginning and end of them. You knew as you drove down

    8 the road that you had gone from a Croat controlled area,

    9 south of Busovaca at Kacuni, into a BiH controlled area,

    10 which you left south of Bilalovac, leading down to

    11 Kiseljak, although there were odd areas just to the

    12 north of Kiseljak as well that had areas of conflict

    13 between Croats and Muslims.

    14 Q. Would it be essential to accomplish those strategic

    15 goals to ensure that this entire road from Kiseljak all

    16 the way down to Prozor was open?

    17 A. Certainly, because it allowed you to bring military

    18 reinforcements in, plus normal civilian supplies, and

    19 also in times of conflict it allowed you to take your

    20 casualties out, and no soldiers want to fight a war if

    21 they do not think that when wounded they can be

    22 evacuated.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: We are going to interrupt the testimony and we

    24 will resume again at 11.45.

    25 (11.20 am)

  22. 1 (A short break)

    2 (11.40 am)

    3 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed, please bring the

    4 accused.

    5 Colonel, please take a seat and we can resume

    6 work.

    7 (Accused brought in)

    8 MR. KEHOE: Colonel Watters, just turning back briefly to

    9 Exhibit 29J, the area that you have outlined in yellow

    10 are the routes which you termed as strategic goals of

    11 the HVO, is that correct, sir?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. That area goes from Prozor to Gornji Vakuf, up through

    14 Novi Travnik and bends down through the Lasva Valley?

    15 A. Yes, it does.

    16 Q. Onwards from Busovaca down to Kiseljak?

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Please, I know it is a question of transcript,

    18 could you please avoid repeating things that the witness

    19 has already said? The witness has already said it. If

    20 it is for the transcript, I understand, but if it is not

    21 for the transcript, there is no point. The witness has

    22 just said that, so please go ahead.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, you mentioned during the time that you

    24 were writing on the particular map at Busovaca that that

    25 was where Dario Kordic was headquartered, is that right?

  23. 1 A. Yes, that is right.

    2 Q. Had you met Dario Kordic?

    3 A. I had met him a couple of times.

    4 Q. Under what circumstances did you meet Dario Kordic?

    5 A. On both occasions in Busovaca in his headquarters, to

    6 resolve issues of stolen vehicles in transit and

    7 checkpoints in the Busovaca, where we were normally

    8 referred to Dario Kordic in the immediate area of

    9 Busovaca if we had not been able to deal with the

    10 problem on the authority of Colonel Blaskic.

    11 Q. Was there -- what was the role of Dario Kordic

    12 politically, if you know, in the Croatian Community of

    13 Herceg-Bosna?

    14 A. He was certainly the political focus in that part of

    15 Bosnia-Herzegovina and we really did not have a great

    16 deal to do with him because we dealt mostly at the

    17 military level, but the liaison officer responsible for

    18 that part of the area had had the task of getting to

    19 know Dario Kordic as well as he could and bring

    20 influence to bear with him when we did have problems.

    21 We had a few problems that Dario Kordic was able to sort

    22 out for us and we had not been able to sort them out

    23 quoting the authority of Colonel Blaskic.

    24 Q. During your time there, Colonel, did you detect some

    25 tension between Kordic and Blaskic?

  24. 1 A. Yes. It is quite difficult to articulate exactly why,

    2 but there did seem to be contradictions from the two,

    3 mostly Dario Kordic contradicting what Colonel Blaskic

    4 had said and trying, to our liaison officers, to

    5 override the authority of Colonel Blaskic, but it mostly

    6 applied to Busovaca and its close environs. It did not

    7 seem to stretch much beyond that, in terms of the

    8 particular problems that we had.

    9 Q. So in your analysis of the problem, would any such

    10 conflict affect this strategic plan that you have

    11 outlined in 29J on the map?

    12 A. No, other than the central focus being Busovaca, which

    13 was very much Dario Kordic's view.

    14 Q. Let us turn to April, Colonel, April 1993. Can you tell

    15 the court what is going on in Central Bosnia and in

    16 Bosnia in general in April 1993, and I am talking about

    17 places like Srebrenica, as well as visits by Bosnian

    18 Croat political officials et cetera. This is prior to

    19 the outbreak of hostilities on 16th April.

    20 A. At the beginning of April, our eyes were very much

    21 focused on Tuzla, where we had a company, and we were

    22 involved in negotiating a route from Tuzla to

    23 Srebrenica, and I went up to Tuzla between 6th and

    24 8th April, and we had the double problem of having lost

    25 some of our military vehicles on a mission to a place

  25. 1 called Konjevic Polje. The Serbs had opened fire and

    2 damaged two of our vehicles which we had had to abandon

    3 there and the soldiers had to withdraw under tank fire.

    4 I led a team back to try to recover those vehicles from

    5 the Serbs. We went to Zvornik to negotiate with the

    6 Serbs. So the early part of April we were very

    7 preoccupied with the situation, generally Tuzla and

    8 Srebrenica.

    9 I returned on 8th April back down to Vitez, where

    10 I was informed that Marte Boban had visited Travnik and

    11 this had caused considerable problems. One of our

    12 liaison officers, Captain Forgrave, had witnessed this

    13 in Travnik. It had also caused considerable

    14 consternation among some of our interpreters from the

    15 Muslim community. They certainly did not believe that

    16 we understood, as BritBat, the significance of this

    17 particular character's visit. We did not, in their view,

    18 understand the significance of a visit of a man of this

    19 political stature. He certainly whipped up emotions

    20 within Travnik and made comments such as, "there are not

    21 enough Croat flags flying in Travnik". After his visit,

    22 there were several people killed in Travnik -- initially

    23 a lot of Croat flags went up after his visit and Muslim

    24 young men were killed or shot taking down these flags

    25 and it caused an enormous amount of tension in Travnik.

  26. 1 For the period 8th April to about 15th or 14th,

    2 Travnik was the main area of concern, because we thought

    3 there was a problem likely to ignite in Travnik. We had

    4 not at that point connected it with anything on a larger

    5 scale.

    6 Q. Colonel, who did you understand Mate Boban to be?

    7 A. I must admit, I have to confess a degree of ignorance.

    8 I was not quite sure on 8th April who he was, although

    9 I had read his name. I later understood that he was a

    10 central political figure in the Croat Herceg-Bosna

    11 aspiration, if you like.

    12 Q. As we move ahead after this Mate Boban visit, did other

    13 things happen going up until the evening of the 15th and

    14 16th to give you some indication that something was

    15 about to erupt?

    16 A. I am just trying to get the chronology clear in my

    17 mind. It is quite a long time ago. There was an

    18 incident on 15th I think of April, or that area, where

    19 the Croat commander in Zenica, Totic, was allegedly

    20 kidnapped, probably kidnapped. Four of his bodyguards

    21 were killed and a Muslim civilian was killed in Zenica.

    22 The commanding officer in fact on that day, on the 15th,

    23 went up to Zenica, because this was causing major

    24 problems. There was a dictat from the HVO, and I cannot

    25 remember whether it was a regional command or strategic

  27. 1 command, that if Totic was not returned within 48 hours

    2 then the Croat population of Zenica would be moved out

    3 of Zenica, and the implications of that, on the 14th and

    4 15th, were exercising our minds considerably. We just

    5 had a feeling that events were running away and we were

    6 not at that time keeping up with what was going on.

    7 Q. What happened after that, Colonel?

    8 A. In the early hours of 16th April, some members of the

    9 press arrived in our base in Vitez, I cannot remember

    10 the exact time, it was midnight or 1.00 in the morning,

    11 in a state of considerable shock. They had been staying

    12 in a bed and breakfast based on a garage on the way to

    13 Vitez, we knew it because there was a bear in a cage in

    14 the garden of this garage, and they said that they had

    15 been -- that the door had been kicked open and masked

    16 men, men with balaclavas and guns had burst into their

    17 room and told them to leave. There did not appear to be

    18 anyone else in the house and they left all their

    19 belongings and got in their car and driven down. We at

    20 first thought this was a criminal situation, because

    21 there was a great deal of crime going on throughout the

    22 whole area, it overarched everything we had been dealing

    23 doing, because dealing with criminal activity, thefts of

    24 vehicles, robberies and so on. At first we thought this

    25 was another example of it, but we were rather startled

  28. 1 at the closeness of it to where we were operating.

    2 At about 5.00 or 6.00 in the morning, we then got

    3 reports of shelling in the town of Vitez, which

    4 certainly was very unusual.

    5 Q. Let me stop you right there. You said shelling was

    6 unusual. Why was it unusual?

    7 A. Because there had not been reports of heavy shelling in

    8 the town of Vitez since we had been there, that was why

    9 it was unusual.

    10 Q. Is there something unique about the control of weapons,

    11 be they artillery weapons or mortar weapons? Is there

    12 something unique about them that is different from light

    13 arms fire that would cause some added precautions to be

    14 taken by someone in command?

    15 A. Artillery and mortars, certainly in Bosnia and in our

    16 own army, are not controlled at the tactical level.

    17 Mortars and artillery are controlled at either the

    18 regional level or the strategic level, so the firing of

    19 these weapons was a combat indicator, that whatever

    20 operation was being prosecuted by whichever side -- it

    21 is very difficult to tell where artillery is being fired

    22 from, you can really only analyse the intent from where

    23 the rounds are falling, so small arms fire really was a

    24 constant and did not excite us terribly much. But the

    25 use of heavy weapons, of mortars or artillery, was a

  29. 1 common indicator that there was something going on at a

    2 higher level than a battle between a couple of villages

    3 over some incident.

    4 Q. So based on hearing and finding out that artillery was

    5 being used, did you draw certain conclusions about who

    6 authorised the use of that artillery?

    7 A. At that time, because we did not know who was firing it,

    8 at 6.00 in the morning the only thing we could conclude

    9 was that there was something happening that was on a

    10 larger scale than we had seen before and we certainly

    11 were not expecting it. We were taken very much by

    12 surprise, which is why we sent out patrols to ascertain,

    13 if they could, where the artillery was firing from and

    14 certainly where the artillery was falling and what was

    15 going on. It was a period of considerable confusion.

    16 We were getting reports from a Dutch transport base

    17 which was nearer to Vitez than we were about this

    18 artillery falling. We pushed our patrols at about 6.30

    19 in the morning up through Vitez and beyond to establish

    20 what was happening and the reports that were coming back

    21 were very alarming, because it seemed to be on a scale

    22 we had not seen before in this part of Bosnia.

    23 Q. From the reports that came back, who was doing the

    24 firing of artillery that morning?

    25 A. To the best of our judgement, because the rounds were

  30. 1 falling in Muslim areas, we drew the natural conclusion

    2 that the artilleries were fired by Croats. We then were

    3 able to target known artillery pieces owned by the HVO.

    4 There was one in a quarry, for example. There were

    5 several artillery pieces that over the months we had

    6 tracked, we had kept an eye on where they were, using

    7 all the resources at our disposal, and were able to go

    8 and look at some of those artillery pieces and they

    9 indeed were firing. We knew them to be HVO artillery.

    10 Q. On a regional level, who was in charge of those

    11 artillery pieces that were firing on the morning of the

    12 16th?

    13 A. The regional commander, Colonel Blaskic.

    14 Q. The defendant?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 Q. You said this artillery fire began at about 6.00 am on

    17 the morning of 16th April 1993. What happened after

    18 that, Colonel?

    19 A. We pushed patrols out that reported mortar and artillery

    20 assaults, followed by infantry assaults, in the town of

    21 Vitez and up the entire stretch of the Lasva Valley, on

    22 both sides of the valley, and all the smaller villages

    23 all the way up to Dubravica, especially those as you

    24 look at the map on the north of the road.

    25 At this point, Colonel Stewart was still in Zenica

  31. 1 where he had gone the day before to discuss with 3rd

    2 Corps what on earth was going on and why they had

    3 kidnapped Commander Totic, so I was on my own in Vitez

    4 that morning. Having got reports from my patrols as to

    5 the scope of the situation, I then took my own Warrior

    6 out and went to visit Vitez up as far as Dubravica and

    7 then, having validated and confirmed the reports I had

    8 received from my subordinates, I decided that we ought

    9 to talk to somebody and I called in to the Vitez

    10 commander. I tried to talk to Colonel Blaskic, but he

    11 was not available. I am pretty sure -- I went to the

    12 cinema building in Vitez, which was the Vitez brigade

    13 commander, Mario Cerkez, and I then went down to visit

    14 the Bosnian Muslim commander, Sefkija, I cannot remember

    15 his surname.

    16 Q. Sefkija Djidic?

    17 A. Yes, and left the liaison officer, Captain Dundas

    18 Whatley, having got the agreement from the two tactical

    19 commanders, because I could not at that time access the

    20 regional level of command. The most severe fighting was

    21 taking place in and around Vitez, so I asked for

    22 representatives of the Croat and Muslim military forces

    23 to come to Vitez school at 12.30 for a conference to try

    24 to find out what on earth was going on.

    25 Captain Dundas Whatley, the LO, then facilitated

  32. 1 the movement of those people, and the Muslim commander

    2 came, but Cerkez did not come, he sent two people who

    3 I think came from the -- I know they came from the Hotel

    4 Vitez.

    5 Q. Colonel, before we go into that meeting, let me just ask

    6 you a few questions about your ride in through Vitez.

    7 When you rode into Vitez about 8.00 in the morning on

    8 16th April, what did you see? What did you observe?

    9 A. As I approached the town, I could see columns of smoke.

    10 There were no actual flashes of mortar or artillery

    11 fire, but there were several very large black columns of

    12 smoke coming out of the town. I came in from the south,

    13 through the Muslim quarter, and there was considerable

    14 collateral damage to the houses left and right of the

    15 road and there were a number of bodies, either in a

    16 macabre way -- one of them was actually hanging out of

    17 the window with blood down the house, others were lying

    18 in the street, and the first impression I got was that

    19 none of them appeared to be soldiers, they were all

    20 civilians. They were dressed as civilians, they were

    21 men, they were women.

    22 I then went through -- we came into quite a lot of

    23 sniper fire as we approached beyond the mosque where the

    24 Croat and Muslim front-lines, as we came to know them,

    25 were, and we pushed through the front-lines into the

  33. 1 Croat areas. The Croat areas had no destruction and

    2 were -- I will not say they looked normal, there was

    3 nobody around which was abnormal, but there was no

    4 actual destruction of property in the Croat half of

    5 Vitez, which further confirmed our initial view that it

    6 was a Croat offensive against the Muslim forces or the

    7 Muslim town area of Vitez.

    8 Q. The bodies that you saw on the right- and left-hand side

    9 of the road as you were going into Vitez, the only

    10 bodies that you saw that morning as you were driving

    11 around?

    12 A. I did see some more bodies. When I got to the top of

    13 Vitez and turned right to go up to Dubravica, on the

    14 left just as you go down a hill, there were three or

    15 four bodies, I think male and female, literally lying by

    16 the road. It just looked strange, they were just neatly

    17 laid out in a line in front of a house.

    18 I came back from Dubravica back through Vitez and

    19 I did not go up any of the side roads. I stayed on the

    20 central road, because I was acutely aware that the

    21 longer I spent out of my headquarters the less I would

    22 understand about what was unfolding around me. That was

    23 why I went back quite quickly.

    24 Q. You mentioned earlier that you tried to see Blaskic

    25 during this ride through Vitez and you were unable to

  34. 1 contact him. During this time-frame, did you see or meet

    2 Blaskic at any point?

    3 A. Again, it is difficult that long ago. I have a memory

    4 of seeing Colonel Blaskic with his helmet on, which was

    5 unusual, and he had a very distinctive American helmet.

    6 I have a memory of seeing him with other Croat

    7 commanders not in Vitez school but in the environs of

    8 the town of Vitez somewhere, but I am afraid I could not

    9 give a time and date.

    10 Q. Let us turn, if you will, Colonel, back to the meeting

    11 at BritBat that commenced at about noon time or 12.30.

    12 Can you tell the judges what happened during this

    13 meeting?

    14 A. There were two representatives of the HVO and one

    15 representative of the BiH, who was the Vitez town

    16 commander. He certainly seemed in a state of shock as

    17 to what was going on and the fact he was actually losing

    18 a battle and was very keen to arrange a cease-fire, as

    19 indeed were the Croat commanders. We still at 12.30,

    20 and more was unfolding on reports which I was not privy

    21 to at that time, still had not realised that it was very

    22 much bigger than Vitez and the environs. The use of

    23 artillery was the factor that kept confusing us, because

    24 as you drove through Vitez, it was just the two

    25 commanders, Croat and Muslim, who were fighting, and yet

  35. 1 there was artillery and the effects of artillery. A

    2 great deal of damage by RPG-7 rockets on the houses,

    3 very distinctive marks they make as they hit the houses,

    4 and I could not ascertain in this meeting what the scale

    5 of the fighting was and why on earth the fighting was

    6 going on in the first place.

    7 There seemed to be a willingness on the part of

    8 all sides to stop the fighting and declarations were

    9 made and a piece of paper was signed to institute a

    10 cease-fire and exchange of prisoners, recovery of bodies

    11 and so on, and they left the headquarters at that point

    12 and it made absolutely no difference at all to the scale

    13 of fighting.

    14 Q. Sir, as time went on, on the 16th, did you and other

    15 members of BritBat receive continuous information that

    16 gave you a better view as to the scale of the fighting

    17 that was going on in the Lasva Valley and elsewhere,

    18 beginning on the morning of the 16th?

    19 A. Yes, we did. We pushed patrols out and also received

    20 reports from the aid agencies, from their various areas,

    21 because they obviously could not move, and they were

    22 ringing through to us or getting messages through to us

    23 about what they were also seeing. It was obvious that

    24 there was fighting in the Kiseljak valley, the

    25 Lasva Valley, and there was also a lot of fighting east

  36. 1 of Prozor. It was quite obvious, given the scale of

    2 this fighting, the amount of heavy calibre artillery

    3 that one could hear firing, even if you could not always

    4 see the effects, and there was a large HVO controlled

    5 artillery piece, which I think was called "Nora", in a

    6 quarry not far away from us that just seemed to fire

    7 continuously.

    8 It was obvious that it was a major Croat

    9 offensive, it was obvious that the BiH had been caught

    10 unaware and were very much in the defensive, with the

    11 HVO on the offensive. We witnessed that in many areas.

    12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I can once again ask the Colonel

    13 to go up to 29J, and we just want to mark some of these

    14 locations with a marker. If I can approach as well?

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please, Colonel, you can go up to the

    16 map. Mr. Kehoe can approach and also the Defence, if

    17 they wish to.

    18 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, once again can I ask you to speak into

    19 the microphone? Once you make a mark, if you could turn

    20 to the judges and tell them exactly what you are

    21 marking.

    22 When you had a chance to assess, Colonel, exactly

    23 what was going on, where did you learn the fighting was

    24 taking place at the same time?

    25 A. Could you explain that again?

  37. 1 Q. When you began to receive information during the course

    2 of the 16th, what were the locations that you learned

    3 there was fighting at, and what were the conclusions

    4 that you made in conjunction with this strategic plan?

    5 What did you conclude was going on?

    6 A. One of the things we were trying to do on the morning of

    7 the 16th was produce a logic for what was unfolding in

    8 front of us, because it certainly was not a series of

    9 tactical battles just happening in a spontaneous way.

    10 Q. You say tactical battles --

    11 A. Village, the tactical level, village level; it certainly

    12 was not that and we were used to that. It seemed to

    13 have far more form and substance about it. Obviously

    14 the first fighting we knew about was in Vitez, where the

    15 Croat end of the village here (indicates) was attacking

    16 the Muslim end of the village here. There was also

    17 fighting happening in Kruscica up here. There was

    18 fighting happening all the way down the Lasva Valley,

    19 through Nadioci, Ahmici, Santici.

    20 Croats had reinforced their checkpoints, and the

    21 growth of checkpoints was actually quite a phenomenon in

    22 itself. They had a serious checkpoint at Kaonik, a very

    23 serious checkpoint at this junction here (indicates).

    24 There was also fighting in and around Stari Bila, where

    25 the Muslim people around here were being attacked by HVO

  38. 1 forces but were actually holding their own. There was a

    2 little war happening around our base which at the time

    3 was deflecting us slightly for a few hours.

    4 There was fighting around Kacuni and Bilalovac.

    5 There was a little fighting north of Kiseljak, to the

    6 point where the UN headquarters in Kiseljak actually

    7 packed up and was preparing to evacuate. There was

    8 fighting in what we knew as Novi Travnik and there was

    9 serious fighting just north of Prozor and a lot of

    10 artillery on these villages up here. Gornji Vakuf was

    11 actually moderately quiet, there were lots of reports of

    12 aircraft over there, but not a great deal of fighting.

    13 When you looked at it actually at that time the HVO

    14 forces had more control over the route through

    15 Gornji Vakuf than they had in the past, and the Muslims

    16 were not threatening. In the view of the company

    17 commander we had down there, the Croats were reasonably

    18 in control at that point. That I think is as much as

    19 I remember.

    20 Q. You had a chance, Colonel, to take a look at this and to

    21 plot out the fighting that was going on. Was it clear

    22 to you that this fighting taking place in Vitez was an

    23 intricate part of this overall strategic plan?

    24 A. Yes, it was. In fact there was another route here

    25 (indicates), because we could not quite understand why

  39. 1 Kruscica was quite so important until we realised that

    2 there was a back road from Kruscica to Vitez. Kruscica

    3 -- in fact, the main route and through here and these

    4 roads began to move down as well, and you can see that

    5 there is the possibility of a link up on the roads in

    6 the centre here up through Vitez and through Kruscica

    7 (indicates), so Kruscica, as well as being a -- having a

    8 BiH headquarters in it and a Muslim population, also

    9 controlled or dominated routes in the area.

    10 The substance of the fighting did not appear to be

    11 conducted against military targets, the substance of the

    12 fighting seemed in the main to be conducted against

    13 civilian populations, ethnic cleansing. The logic for

    14 it, we thought, was a sort of twin-track approach, or

    15 twin-track reason. One was the securing of the routes

    16 and the strategic route out of Central Bosnia, and the

    17 other one, in the light of about I think the early part

    18 of April when the actual canton map for the Vance-Owen

    19 Peace Plan showed canton 10, which was this area

    20 (indicates) as a Croat canton, it appeared that the

    21 Croats were seizing the strategic opportunity to remove

    22 the Muslim people from the proposed Croat canton whilst

    23 securing their routes.

    24 The window of opportunity they had chosen was

    25 strategically very clever, with hindsight, because the

  40. 1 situation up in to the east where the Serbs were

    2 attacking Srebrenica and the villages below Srebrenica,

    3 the Bosnian Muslim BiH was concentrating looking east,

    4 BritBat was concentrating in the north and east, and the

    5 world's media were all in Tuzla filming the first

    6 evacuations from Srebrenica, so if as a military

    7 commander you wanted to seize a strategic opportunity,

    8 that was there, and the tactical plan made huge sense in

    9 terms -- sorry, the operational plan in the region made

    10 huge sense in that you were securing your routes,

    11 fundamentally important, and there was a horrible and

    12 icy logic to the removal of the Muslim minorities within

    13 the proposed canton 10.

    14 Q. The operational commander for the area that was on your

    15 doorstep was Colonel Blaskic?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 MR. KEHOE: If I can go back, Mr. President, and ask Colonel

    18 Watters to take his seat again?

    19 Colonel Watters, as we moved on from the 16th, did

    20 you have occasion to go back out into the Vitez area

    21 later on that afternoon or early evening?

    22 A. Yes, I did. One of the major concerns of the BiH were

    23 casualties in Kruscica. Essentially, if we wanted

    24 co-operation from the BiH then they asked that we went

    25 into Kruscica and took these wounded women, as they were

  41. 1 described, out of the village. I gained clearance

    2 through Colonel Blaskic's headquarters for this, what

    3 was largely a humanitarian mission to go and remove

    4 wounded civilians from the field of battle, and took a

    5 patrol myself from Vitez up to Kruscica at about 5.30.

    6 As we set off it was daylight. As we were moving into

    7 Kruscica, it was getting dark, so it was that time of

    8 the day.

    9 At the time, Kruscica was under concentrated

    10 artillery, mortar and rocket launcher fire, and it

    11 really did look -- it is a bowl, and as you went up the

    12 road out of Vitez, you crest a hill and the village is

    13 in a bowl below you. It just looked like a caldron of

    14 fire, it was absolutely startling. We went into the

    15 village, went to the BiH headquarters. We received a

    16 guide who took us down to the house where these people

    17 were. I had got some armoured ambulances with me and we

    18 put the women and some men into the armoured ambulances

    19 and we took them to Travnik hospital.

    20 Q. Colonel, there was a BiH Army headquarters in the

    21 Kruscica area, is that correct?

    22 A. Yes, that is correct.

    23 Q. Did it appear to you, Colonel, when you went up there in

    24 the late afternoon and early evening of the 16th , that

    25 the artillery and mortar fire was directed towards a

  42. 1 military target, or did you conclude that something else

    2 was taking place?

    3 A. In the course of the day, we had already formed the view

    4 that the HVO offensive in the Lasva Valley was not aimed

    5 at attacking BiH positions because (a) there were very

    6 few of them and (b) they were very under strength,

    7 because most of the BiH effort, according to our

    8 sources, was directed further east.

    9 Q. Against the Serbs?

    10 A. Against the Serbs. So when I went into Kruscica I knew

    11 there was a BiH headquarters there, the headquarters was

    12 there and functioning. I did not see many BiH

    13 soldiers. The target for the artillery was the village

    14 itself. The fact that the village was holding out

    15 obviously meant it was being defended. I believed that

    16 the model that we had seen in the other villages in the

    17 Lasva Valley was being applied to Kruscica, and that was

    18 to ethnically cleanse it, but it was obviously being

    19 able to defend itself far better than other than people

    20 had, because it was more of a defended locality.

    21 I cannot say that the specific civilian houses were

    22 being targeted, other than military positions, because

    23 those civilian houses may well have been military

    24 positions, but we did not believe there was any other

    25 reason for attacking it other than the reasons they had

  43. 1 attacked the other villages in the Lasva Valley, which

    2 was to remove the population.

    3 MR. KEHOE: With the permission of the usher, if we can just

    4 flip this map over, or take 29J down. There is another

    5 map that is underneath which I believe is 56E. Again if

    6 I could ask Mr. President, your Honours, with the court's

    7 permission, if Colonel Watters can step up and go over

    8 the map.

    9 Colonel, using the orange marker, can you just

    10 mark the path that you travelled on the morning of the

    11 16th when you went out at approximately 8.00 or 8.30?

    12 A. I went up past our bulk fuel installation, which was

    13 here (witness marks map).

    14 Q. You are marking that in the colour orange, is that

    15 right?

    16 A. Yes, past our echelon location, which was here (witness

    17 marks map).

    18 Q. That is marked with the letter "K", is that right?

    19 A. Yes, it is. That was our logistic base that supported

    20 operations for the whole of our area of responsibility.

    21 Then we went up through and past the mosque, which

    22 I think is here, shown with an "F". I specifically

    23 remember this bridge here, because there were some

    24 anti-tank mines on it that we had to negotiate

    25 (indicates). Then I went up here to the junction,

  44. 1 I think it is just beyond there actually -- I went off

    2 that way and then came back the same route and linked up

    3 with the liaison officer, visited Mario Cerkez here,

    4 I think, shown with a "B", and then went back down

    5 through Vitez and to the Muslim headquarters.

    6 We could not get our Warriors there, so we had to

    7 dismount and go through small roads. I cannot exactly

    8 remember where it is, but I think it is somewhere in

    9 this area here. Then back in my Warrior, leaving

    10 Captain Dundas Whatley to negotiate a meeting with the

    11 two tactical commanders and then return back down this

    12 way to our base in Stari Bila (indicates).

    13 Q. You also mentioned later on, on the 16th there was

    14 artillery fire going into the village of Kruscica. Can

    15 you give with the red the location of the HVO artillery

    16 fire and also mark with green the location of the houses

    17 that were being hit?

    18 A. As we could understand it, from where the rocket

    19 launchers were being fired, the rocket launchers -- we

    20 could not work out what it was, either low small calibre

    21 airburst artillery, or the RPG7 rocket launcher has a

    22 specific range, and when it reaches its terminal range

    23 the warhead self-destructs and we thought that is what

    24 it might be as well, and they were being fired and you

    25 could see the streaks from them as they fired them, they

  45. 1 were being fired from the high ground round here into

    2 the village, and they were impacting throughout the

    3 village, all over the place (witness marks map).

    4 As we came up this road here and got to about this

    5 position, we could see houses in this area here and in

    6 the centre literally just erupting. I do not know

    7 whether when the artillery rounds hit the house, I do

    8 not know whether they had gas cylinders in them or what,

    9 but there was these phenomenal explosions. As I say,

    10 I described it as a caldron, because it just appeared to

    11 be burning all over the place. We were specifically

    12 careful when we went in to avoid going too far to the

    13 right, because our own vehicles could be vulnerable to

    14 the fire from the rocket launchers.

    15 Q. Going back again to the orange, could you go up the road

    16 to Kruscica and show us where you went?

    17 A. We went into Kruscica -- when I got to this junction

    18 here, we met up with a guide. I have a vague memory

    19 that the BiH headquarters may have been in this area on

    20 the junction, but I cannot swear to it, I am afraid.

    21 Also because a lot of the houses had collapsed on the

    22 roads, the route we took to the house in the cellar of

    23 which were these casualties was also quite difficult,

    24 because we were closed down and just following the

    25 vehicle that was our guide. I have a feeling it was in

  46. 1 the back end of the village up here somewhere

    2 (indicates), and we certainly drove quite a way to get

    3 to it.

    4 Q. The houses that you saw being shelled, did they appear

    5 to be military installations or civilian houses?

    6 A. They were civilian houses. Whether they were military

    7 installations I cannot say.

    8 Q. Did you ever have any information they were military

    9 installations?

    10 A. No, but I did not have information that they were not,

    11 either.

    12 Q. Thank you, sir, you can take a seat. Colonel, let us

    13 move ahead to 17th April 1993, the next day. Did the

    14 fighting in fact continue that day?

    15 A. Yes, it did. By that stage the commanding officer was

    16 back from Zenica and he chaired a meeting on the morning

    17 of the 17th. I did not attend that meeting so I cannot

    18 remember who was at it, but it essentially went through

    19 the same ground we had gone through on the lunch-time of

    20 the 16th, and everyone signed up to a package of peace

    21 proposals that were totally ignored for the rest of the

    22 day.

    23 Q. In and around that day, were you asked by Muslim

    24 authorities to make a search for any Muslim doctors in

    25 the Vitez area?

  47. 1 A. What had happened is when we had -- the night before

    2 when we had been in Kruscica, the military commander in

    3 Kruscica had said that there were reports that two

    4 doctors who worked in the clinic in Vitez who came from

    5 Kruscica could not be found and they had no means of

    6 treating their casualties in Kruscica because these two

    7 doctors were isolated within the clinic in Vitez, and

    8 would we go and get them, and also said there were

    9 rumours that they had been killed, but would we try and

    10 get these doctors, because without doctors he could see

    11 the problems they were having and they could not treat

    12 their wounded and people were dying and so on.

    13 Q. So did the British battalion make a search for these

    14 doctors?

    15 A. Yes, I, in fact, did it myself. We took the Warriors

    16 into Vitez and dismounted and conducted a foot patrol in

    17 the area of the clinic. We came under sniper fire a

    18 couple of times, so we were not actually going to hang

    19 around. I saw in the clinic through a window two dead

    20 people dressed in white coats. They had been dead a

    21 while from the colour of their faces and the colour of

    22 the blood, and I presumed them to be the two missing

    23 doctors and took my patrol back to our Warriors and

    24 reported that to headquarters in Kiseljak.

    25 Q. Colonel, let us turn our attention to the next day,

  48. 1 18th April 1993. What happened on that day, sir? Did a

    2 truck bomb go off in Stari Vitez?

    3 A. Sorry, I was starting at the beginning of the day. In

    4 the evening, there was a report, again from the Dutch

    5 battalion's transport base, of a large explosion, also

    6 reported to us shortly afterwards by our own logistic

    7 base, coming from the centre of Vitez, or the mosque

    8 area of Vitez. I despatched Major Thomas, who was

    9 commanding A Company, the Vitez company, to go and

    10 investigate, and he reported back that from the

    11 appearance of a large crater and parts of an automobile

    12 in the crater, it appeared to be a large lorry-borne

    13 explosion, a lorry bomb.

    14 In our own experience in Northern Ireland, where

    15 that type of device is one of the main weapons of the

    16 IRA, we were able to identify exactly what it was, a

    17 vehicle-borne explosive device. It had been placed near

    18 the mosque in the Muslim area of the city. It had

    19 caused total devastation. There were a lot of dead and

    20 wounded and a lot of people trapped in the rubble. At

    21 the same time, Major Thomas's people were under fire

    22 from the Croat end of the village while they were

    23 investigating it.

    24 Q. After Major Thomas and the other members of Company A

    25 went to Stari Vitez, did they attempt to evacuate

  49. 1 anybody out of there?

    2 A. Yes, they did. The first thing we did was remove

    3 wounded people in need of hospital treatment and we took

    4 them to initially our own mobile surgical team and then

    5 on to Travnik. We also evacuated some of the homeless

    6 whose houses had just disappeared, and they were taken

    7 to Travnik as well, and we picketed the area for the

    8 remainder of the night, because there was not a great

    9 deal we could do with lights. We waited until the

    10 morning when we brought our Royal Engineer assets in to

    11 begin doing a careful search of the houses for survivors

    12 and removing the bodies.

    13 Q. You mentioned previously in your testimony, Colonel,

    14 that you had done several tours with the Cheshire

    15 Regiment in Northern Ireland, is that correct?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. You also mentioned you are familiar with truck bombs of

    18 this nature because of your experience with the IRA in

    19 Northern Ireland, is that right?

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. Did you draw certain conclusions, based on the use of

    22 this truck bomb in Stari Vitez on 18th April 1993, on

    23 what its purpose was and what it was designed to do?

    24 A. My personal view is that it was an act of terrorism, and

    25 certainly it was not a legitimate act of war in pursuit

  50. 1 of military objectives. The design of terror weapons or

    2 terrorist weapons is to terrorise, and it certainly

    3 worked. The people 6 Stari Vitez were absolutely

    4 terrorised by it. Very many of them wanted to leave

    5 their homes and later on, the following day, up to 400

    6 of them left and moved down to our echelon location.

    7 The device was designed to break the will of the people

    8 through an act of terror and it achieved its objective.

    9 Q. Did it work?

    10 A. Yes, it did.

    11 Q. Did anything else take place other than this particular

    12 use of the truck bomb on 18th April 1993 that you can

    13 recall?

    14 A. It is difficult to get it sequential. I can remember

    15 things on the 19th. I would have to refer to our

    16 incident reports, I am afraid. I have gone blank.

    17 Q. If I may, did it appear to you that by the 18th the HVO

    18 had accomplished its territorial goals in the area?

    19 A. Yes, I do remember. On the 18th, there was a report

    20 that Izetbegovic and Boban had signed a peace document,

    21 and we received notification of this through

    22 Colonel Blaskic's headquarters. The document was

    23 designed to stop the war at that point, and the HVO

    24 level of command were very content with this, and the

    25 BiH were very unhappy about it, because the net gain, if

  51. 1 such a cease-fire had been applied on the 18th, would be

    2 the HVO, who had taken considerable ground and

    3 ethnically cleansed a number of small Muslim villages,

    4 and if the lines of fighting were to be frozen at that

    5 point, they would have indeed achieved their strategic

    6 aim of ethnically cleansing canton 10, virtually, with

    7 the exception of Travnik.

    8 Q. In response to this, Colonel --

    9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone please.

    10 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry. In response to the fighting, did

    11 other members of the British battalion begin to see, on

    12 approximately 18th April, a military response by the

    13 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    14 A. Yes, we began to get reports of artillery and mortars

    15 again being fired by the HVO and reports of tanks moving

    16 out of Zenica down the mountain road towards Dubravica.

    17 It certainly appeared -- the tanks certainly were a

    18 combat indicator that two or three days after the

    19 initial assault by the HVO that the BiH were actually

    20 counter attacking. During the period of the 18th and

    21 into the 19th, we saw more and more evidence of a very

    22 large scale and successful counter attack by the BiH

    23 forces against the HVO and essentially a change of the

    24 tide and the HVO going on the defensive, having been on

    25 the offensive.

  52. 1 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President and your Honours, once again with

    2 the court's position, if we could turn back to 29J and

    3 have that map flipped back over, if I could ask Colonel

    4 Watters to outline in green pen the various areas of the

    5 Bosnian Muslim offensive beginning on 18th April 1993?

    6 A. What we discovered was that elements of 3rd Corps which

    7 had been deployed out of Zenica towards Kakanj had been

    8 withdrawn and had re-organised themselves and mounted a

    9 series of counterattacks. One counterattack which was

    10 led by, I think it was three tanks came down the

    11 mountain road and into Dubravica and cut the road just

    12 east of Vitez. A second attack came down through the

    13 well defended Croat village of Jelinak and down to

    14 Kaonik and cut the junction from Busovaca up to Vitez.

    15 We also understood that the Muslims had moved

    16 forces down here (indicates) and had reinforced the area

    17 between Kacuni and Bilalovac, and indeed pushed forces

    18 down as well, just north of Kiseljak here.

    19 They also moved forces around, bypassing Busovaca

    20 and reinforcing Kruscica, and so by approximately 18th,

    21 19th and 20th April, the BiH had in essence rolled back

    22 all the HVO victories and had essentially pocketed the

    23 HVO within Busovaca and Vitez, and had cut off all

    24 communication in and out of those two areas, and were in

    25 a position to now launch attacks, on about the

  53. 1 21st, into Busovaca and into Vitez. I cannot remember

    2 what was going on over here actually, I do not think

    3 very much, I think they were just holding out.

    4 Q. When you say "over here", you are talking about

    5 Novi Travnik?

    6 A. Yes. There might have been some movement across here to

    7 Novi Travnik, I cannot remember, but certainly the 3rd

    8 Corps had come back and recaptured what used to be

    9 theirs and pushed their front-lines down on to the main

    10 Lasva Valley road and cut it at several strategic

    11 points, thus isolating the HVO military forces.

    12 Q. You may have a seat again, thank you. So Colonel, by

    13 19th April 1993 did you observe that this offensive by

    14 the Muslims was underway?

    15 A. Yes, we did, and there was a reaction on the 19th by, we

    16 believed, the HVO, and that was the shelling of Zenica,

    17 and that was reported to us by an aid agency. I think

    18 about seven or so rounds, there may have been more,

    19 I cannot remember the exact detail, I have to again look

    20 at our reports, but a number of heavy calibre artillery

    21 rounds had landed in the middle of Zenica and

    22 approximately 13 people, I think, were reported killed.

    23 This we considered on the same proportion as the vehicle

    24 bomb in Vitez, as to be totally indefensible from a

    25 Geneva Convention and the Articles of War point of view.

  54. 1 Q. Why?

    2 A. Because shelling Zenica was going to achieve no tactical

    3 advantage to the forces in retreat into Vitez and

    4 Busovaca, HVO forces, against the onslaught of the BiH,

    5 and we could only assume that the HVO had fired their

    6 artillery into Zenica as a warning to the Muslim forces

    7 to stop attacking and embrace the previous peace

    8 proposal that we had heard about on the 18th. It did

    9 actually the reverse and merely strengthened the

    10 resolve, we were told later, of the BiH, who were

    11 already highly motivated following what they understood

    12 to be massacres in the Lasva Valley, the detail of which

    13 at this stage we did not know.

    14 Q. Did you conclude that the HVO was trying to threaten the

    15 Bosnian Muslims as a result of the shelling of Zenica on

    16 19th April?

    17 A. Colonel Blaskic was confronted with that exact statement

    18 by Colonel Stewart. At the time, Colonel Blaskic's

    19 reply was that he thought it was being done by the

    20 Serbs, which we, of course, did not totally discount,

    21 because there was a twisted logic that the Serbs might

    22 enjoy continuing to see the conflict of the Croat and

    23 Muslims, because it would weaken their position in

    24 Central Bosnia to oppose them, but we checked our

    25 sources and the following day confronted the Serbs and

  55. 1 the Serb regional commander for the Blasik mountain area

    2 as to this accusation.

    3 It was patently obvious from our own royal

    4 artillery experts that the position of his heavy range

    5 artillery was not in range of Zenica. It was in range

    6 of us in Vitez, but it was not in range of Zenica, so we

    7 deducted from that that it was indeed Croat artillery

    8 that had fired.

    9 I think if one cross-referenced the material, you

    10 might find reports of large calibre, known Croat

    11 artillery firing during that time, but I could not put

    12 my hand on my heart and say it. That was our belief.

    13 Q. Colonel, did you conclude that that was a threat by the

    14 HVO to the Bosnian Muslim forces?

    15 A. It was indeed a threat. It was "stop attacking us or we

    16 will flatten your city" type of threat.

    17 Q. During the same period of time, did Blaskic begin to

    18 complain about how the British battalion was responding

    19 to all the activities in the Lasva Valley?

    20 A. Yes, it was interesting. We began to be inundated with

    21 telephone calls and faxes, which in itself was

    22 interesting because all our phones had been cut off, but

    23 whenever the HVO wanted to communicate with us our

    24 phones came on again and we would receive phone calls

    25 and faxes, alleging a string of misdeeds, ranging from

  56. 1 wanton firing of our canons in the town centre of Vitez,

    2 to desecration of the church in Vitez by driving our

    3 Warriors over the graveyard and accusations of moving

    4 Muslims soldiers and materiel around the battlefield.

    5 It was taken quite to heart by Colonel Stewart,

    6 because he, despite what was going on, had had a

    7 personal understanding with Colonel Blaskic and found

    8 these accusations from Colonel Blaskic flying in the

    9 face of the blunt neutrality that we had been exercising

    10 throughout our entire time there and found it rather

    11 disappointing that Colonel Blaskic should resort to such

    12 crude propaganda to try and somehow devalue or discredit

    13 the reports that we were sending.

    14 Q. Let us stay with the 19th, Colonel. On the 19th, did

    15 the HVO continue to ethnically cleanse the Lasva Valley

    16 area?

    17 A. Yes. If you like, it was probably described as

    18 mopping-up operations. I was returning from Zenica with

    19 a member of an aid agency, and I was approaching just

    20 short of the Busovaca junction, I think. There was a

    21 military camp there that was rather isolated from

    22 others, a sort of HOS-type HVO, I think called Holiday

    23 Cottages or something like that. As we drove towards

    24 it -- it was a place we knew well, we had seen the

    25 soldiers zeroing their rifles in the fields and so on.

  57. 1 There were a group of Muslim old men, young boys, women

    2 and young girls, children, old men and women, lying in

    3 the road and blocking the movement of my aid agency and

    4 Warriors down the road. We got out to ask them what the

    5 problem was, and it had happened the day before with

    6 Croat women and children up near Zenica to Colonel

    7 Stewart, so it is not the first time it had happened to

    8 us.

    9 I got out and negotiated, with an interpreter,

    10 with the people to ask them what was wrong and

    11 essentially, there was some HVO soldiers who were

    12 clearing them out of their houses and ordering them to

    13 go to Zenica, but they would not let them take the men

    14 with them and that was essentially the problem. The

    15 women refused to leave because the HVO soldiers would

    16 not let the men go with the women and the women did not

    17 want to leave the men because they believed they would

    18 be killed.

    19 We took about an hour and a half to negotiate with

    20 the HVO that we would be allowed to take the women in

    21 our vehicles away, and we would stay there long enough

    22 for the men to make their own way towards Zenica.

    23 Q. Colonel, did you discuss this matter with the HVO

    24 commander that was there?

    25 A. Yes, I did.

  58. 1 Q. What did he tell you he had been ordered to do?

    2 A. He had been ordered to clear these people out because

    3 the Croat people needed their houses.

    4 Q. What did you understand him to mean by that?

    5 A. He said that they were just told to leave, the people

    6 said they had been told that if they did not leave they

    7 had been killed. What I had seen in the Lasva Valley

    8 over the last couple of days left me under no illusion

    9 at all that if these people did not leave, they would be

    10 killed, and that is why we decided we would stay there

    11 until these people left, because we would take them with

    12 us and make sure they were not killed.

    13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, again with your Honours'

    14 permission, if we could turn to the third overhead on

    15 the easel. It should be marked as 53B, is that correct,

    16 Mr. Dubuisson?

    17 THE REGISTRAR: If you allow me, I am waiting for the

    18 interpretation. Yes, that is 53B.

    19 MR. KEHOE: If I can again, Mr. President, with your Honours'

    20 permission, have Colonel Watters step up to the easel

    21 and if I could go over there as well.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that is fine, if you want to approach,

    23 approach. The Defence as well, if you wish to

    24 approach.

    25 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, if you will could you mark with the

  59. 1 green the Muslim houses where these people were trying

    2 to be evacuated from?

    3 A. (Witness marks map). That is as my memory serves, that

    4 sort of area there. The actual people themselves were

    5 approximately here, and the camp I was talking about --

    6 Q. Mark that with the red.

    7 A. It was in this sort of area here. I remember this large

    8 lay-by, and the people, during our conversation, I think,

    9 if my memory serves me, we moved down here and did most

    10 of the negotiations in this sort of area here

    11 (indicates).

    12 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Just by way of clarification,

    13 Colonel, you marked the area where the houses were in

    14 green on Exhibit 53B and the place where the camp was in

    15 red, is that right?

    16 A. Yes, that is correct.

    17 Q. Let us move ahead, Colonel, to the 20th. If I could,

    18 with the assistance of the usher, if we could just flip

    19 one down and move back to 56E. Colonel, when we were

    20 talking about Exhibit 56E previously, and that is the

    21 overhead that is on the easel, you mentioned that you

    22 had driven past the echelon garage, is that right?

    23 A. Yes, that is right.

    24 Q. I believe it is marked there as -- is that "F"?

    25 A. "K".

  60. 1 Q. I am sorry. I was close. What is the echelon garage?

    2 A. The echelon garage was the administrative logistic base

    3 for BritBat, and it had headquarters company and the

    4 logistic elements of BritBat that supplied the stores,

    5 resources, fuel, food, all what we would describe as

    6 "combat supplies".

    7 Q. After the commencement of the battle on 16th April 1993,

    8 did it become a location for refugees to congregate,

    9 were Bosnian Muslims congregating there?

    10 A. Yes, in the original siting of our base in Vitez it was

    11 presumed that the sharp end was between Vitez, Travnik,

    12 Turbe, and the quieter end was towards Vitez and that

    13 was why the echelon was sited where it was, behind the

    14 main base so the main base could protect it. But when

    15 the fighting started on the 16th, we found the situation

    16 reversed and the echelon was the front-line. What

    17 happened on the 20th were large numbers -- they started

    18 off on the 19th, the day after the lorry bomb in Vitez,

    19 groups of people began coming to seek sanctuary and

    20 refuge at the echelon location and on the 20th, there

    21 were approximately 400 or so refugees congregating at

    22 the echelon location.

    23 These people were also being subjected to sniping

    24 attacks, and we positioned screens to shield them from

    25 sight. We could not actually bring them into our

  61. 1 echelon location for two reasons: one, we were not quite

    2 sure at what point we ceased being neutral if we started

    3 sheltering one community from the other, but we

    4 certainly wanted to protect them. Also the base itself

    5 was not very big and we did not want allegations that we

    6 were defending against the HVO.

    7 We were in constant discussion with HVO regional

    8 headquarters about this issue, which we considered at

    9 the time to be paramount --

    10 Q. When you say "HVO region headquarters", that is Blaskic?

    11 A. Colonel Blaskic's headquarters, the Hotel Vitez -- to do

    12 something against these snipers who were actually

    13 shooting these people and people were actually, at the

    14 edge of the fence of our logistic base, were being

    15 killed by snipers, so we launched a series of attacks

    16 against the houses that these snipers were operating

    17 from and actually captured some of the snipers, which we

    18 handed over to the UN.

    19 Q. Was Blaskic made aware that these 400 or more refugees

    20 were there in front of the echelon?

    21 A. His headquarters were certainly aware. I do not have a

    22 recollection of talking personally to Colonel Blaskic

    23 about it. Colonel Stewart may have done. But his

    24 headquarters were, because my headquarters, the TacOps,

    25 was in contact with them, and we had also sent liaison

  62. 1 officers down to discuss with both the tactical

    2 commander, Mario Cerkez, and the region commander's

    3 headquarters, because this was just absolutely

    4 appalling.

    5 Q. Colonel, you have been a military person for the better

    6 part of your life, is that correct, sir?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. A headquarters works by information coming to the

    9 headquarters and moving up the chain of command to the

    10 person in charge?

    11 A. Correct. The headquarters just facilitates the flow of

    12 information to the commander so he can make decisions

    13 and direct operations.

    14 Q. When you as a military man contact Blaskic's

    15 headquarters and inform those headquarters about the

    16 plight of these 400 refugees, you would expect in due

    17 course for that information to filter up to Blaskic, do

    18 you not?

    19 A. Yes, I do.

    20 Q. Did Blaskic do anything to attempt to protect these

    21 400-plus refugees in front of the echelon?

    22 A. No, and when in the end we contacted an aid agency and

    23 asked for their support in declaring these people

    24 refugees so we could move them without the accusation of

    25 contributing ourselves to ethnic cleansing, we sought

  63. 1 the support of Colonel Blaskic's headquarters to do

    2 this, because we would have to move them through his

    3 lines of contact if we were to get them to Zenica or

    4 Travnik, and we also wanted to make sure there were no

    5 misunderstandings when we moved these people, and the

    6 requirement that came back from Colonel Blaskic's

    7 headquarters was that we could move these people, but we

    8 were to search them for weapons before they were moved.

    9 That was the only positive contribution over that

    10 incident that we had from his headquarters.

    11 Q. Did you search these individuals?

    12 A. Yes, we did. I cannot remember the exact detail, but we

    13 found a couple AK-47s, a pistol, and maybe a couple of

    14 hand grenades among them.

    15 Q. Did you find that unusual?

    16 A. No, not in Bosnia in April 1993. When you are talking

    17 400 people and you are talking a couple of rifles, a

    18 pistol and a couple of grenades, that does not

    19 constitute a military force.

    20 Q. Colonel, describe these people. What were they like?

    21 A. They were wretched, essentially. They had been

    22 intimidated or bombed out of their homes in Vitez and

    23 the surrounding area. They were largely old men, women

    24 and children, which was often the case because the

    25 younger men were either fighting or prisoners, and they

  64. 1 had no food, they had no clothing against the weather,

    2 and the weather was pretty awful at that time. We, in

    3 an humanitarian act, were feeding them because we could

    4 not stand by and watch them die of cold and starvation.

    5 We also erected makeshift shelters for them as well.

    6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I am about to go into a relatively

    7 large area. I do not know if at this juncture you want

    8 to break off, but the next piece of testimony is going

    9 to be quite lengthy.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: We have not finished from the French

    11 translation. All right then, we will take our break

    12 now. I would like to say, tell both the parties, that

    13 is, that the two coming weeks will be part of the new

    14 phase of the Tribunal, because new judges are arriving.

    15 Of course the same ones will be in this trial, but

    16 I just wanted to tell you our calendar is going to be

    17 changed. There are circumstances that are unfortunate,

    18 perhaps you are aware of them. One of our colleagues

    19 passed away, and on Wednesday morning and part of

    20 Wednesday afternoon there will be a funeral ceremony in

    21 his memory and then the cremation of our colleague Judge

    22 Li. Therefore there will be no hearings on Wednesday.

    23 A plenary session with its judges as they are today is

    24 supposed to take place on Wednesday, I do not know if we

    25 will be able to do all of that. Theoretically there

  65. 1 will be no hearings on Wednesday.

    2 I also want to take advantage of this moment in

    3 order to tell you next week on Monday there will be no

    4 hearing for the Blaskic trial, for the well known reason

    5 now, that is the new mandate of the judges. The new

    6 four year mandate begins on Monday and there is an

    7 official ceremony for taking the solemn declarations of

    8 our five new colleagues. During that week as well there

    9 will be scheduled changes which I will let you know

    10 about, because there will be meetings, plenary sessions

    11 with the new judges. This is information which I wanted

    12 to give you. We can now suspend our hearing and resume

    13 at 2.30.

    14 (1.00 pm)

    15 (Adjourned until 2.30 pm)











  66. 1 (2.30 pm)

    2 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume our hearing now. Please have

    3 the accused brought in.

    4 (Accused brought in)

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, Colonel, the floor is yours.

    6 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,

    7 Colonel. Colonel, let us turn our attention to

    8 21st April 1993. Later on in the day on 21st April,

    9 there was a meeting chaired by the Ambassador Thebault

    10 of ECMM in which you directly participated, is that

    11 correct?

    12 A. Yes, I was the military advisor to that meeting.

    13 Q. Prior to that meeting, Colonel, what did you do?

    14 A. On the morning of the 21st I led a patrol around the

    15 ring road of Vitez, down to Dubravica and left up the

    16 mountain road towards Zenica to establish where the BiH

    17 front-lines were in their advance down on to the main

    18 Lasva Valley road. I went a short distance up the

    19 mountain road, where I then saw BiH forces and quite

    20 triumphant, waving green flags and generally getting out

    21 of their battle positions and waving at us. I turned

    22 round and went back down and as I was going down through

    23 Dubravica I saw a group of 30 prisoners. I presume they

    24 were Muslims because they were guarded by the HVO. They

    25 had their hands tied and were moving I think up the road

  67. 1 towards the Croat positions that were defending the

    2 bottom end of the mountain road.

    3 Q. Were they carrying anything while they were walking?

    4 A. I have to confess I did not notice. I do remember

    5 seeing their hands tied and I had the view they were

    6 going to dig trenches. I may have seen shovels in

    7 evidence, but I cannot exactly remember. When I came

    8 back, I was under the impression they had been going to

    9 dig trenches. I cannot remember why I was under that

    10 impression.

    11 Q. Did you see anybody digging trenches around that area

    12 during that period of time?

    13 A. Yes, we did. Periodically we saw people digging

    14 trenches, and on that day, through my gunsight, I had

    15 seen people digging trenches.

    16 Q. Did you make certain conclusions, upon seeing that

    17 trench digging, after looking at who was guarding them

    18 as well as who was digging the trenches?

    19 A. The positions I saw were HVO trenches that were being

    20 dug well behind their forward positions on the edge of

    21 Dubravica, and I assumed they were actually HVO trenches

    22 and there were HVO soldiers with weapons and there were

    23 people in civilian clothes digging trenches without

    24 weapons.

    25 Q. After you finished this recce in the area, did you then

  68. 1 go to this meeting?

    2 A. Yes, I did. I was asked by the commanding officer if

    3 I would go and represent him at the meeting as the UN

    4 military advisor to Ambassador Thebault, who was the

    5 chairman of the meeting.

    6 Q. What was the purpose of this meeting, Colonel?

    7 A. The meeting had been organised at a high level involving

    8 General Morrillon, who was the military commander of UN

    9 forces in Central Bosnia, and the people we were told to

    10 expect at the meeting were the regional commanders of

    11 the BiH and HVO and the higher level or strategic

    12 commanders, General Petkovic and General Halilovic, HVO

    13 and BiH respectively.

    14 Q. Let me stop and clarify that. The BiH commander was

    15 who?

    16 A. The BiH commander at region level was Hadzihasanovic,

    17 and the strategic commander was Halilovic.

    18 Q. So is Halilovic on top of Hadzihasanovic, and who was

    19 below him?

    20 A. His deputy Merdan.

    21 Q. Were all three of them at that meeting?

    22 A. We were expecting Hadzihasanovic, but he did not arrive,

    23 and he was represented at the region level by his deputy

    24 Merdan, so the BiH team with a few advisors were

    25 essentially Halilovic and Merdan.

  69. 1 Q. The HVO side, the strategic commander was whom?

    2 A. Petkovic.

    3 Q. And below him?

    4 A. Below him the regional commander was Colonel Blaskic.

    5 Q. And both of them were there?

    6 A. They were.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Could you go a little more slowly, please, so

    8 that the interpretation is accurate. I mention this

    9 both to Mr. Kehoe and the witness.

    10 MR. KEHOE: I am sorry, Mr. President, we will speak a little

    11 more slowly.

    12 Colonel, if you will, can you describe exactly

    13 what you did at this meeting?

    14 A. The meeting was eventually convened, there was a delay,

    15 General Halilovic was late and we adjourned to the ECMM

    16 house and had some coffee. During that period, I was in

    17 the presence of General Petkovic and Colonel Blaskic

    18 when there was quite a heated exchange. It looked to me

    19 like the superior officer was remonstrating with his

    20 subordinate officer. I do not speak Serbo-Croat, so

    21 I did not know what it was about, but I could see that

    22 Colonel Blaskic was on the receiving end of a stern

    23 talking from General Petkovic. An interpreter who was

    24 with me was quite shaken by the conversation that had

    25 taken place, and told me that --

  70. 1 MR. HAYMAN: Objection, your Honour, as to out of court

    2 statements. I object, and had specifically asked that

    3 that issue be raised with the court before the testimony

    4 be elicited.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

    6 MR. KEHOE: This particular issue has to deal with the

    7 comments of the interpreter at the scene to this

    8 particular witness. First of all, your Honour, with

    9 regard to the hearsay objection, there is no hearsay

    10 before this Tribunal and this court takes the evidence

    11 and weighs it. Even if there was a hearsay objection,

    12 under a common law system there are numerous exceptions

    13 that would permit such a testimony to come in.

    14 Nevertheless, your Honour, the court can balance exactly

    15 the weight of this evidence coming from this witness, as

    16 it does with every other piece of evidence that comes

    17 into this court.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: I do not know whether my colleagues have

    19 anything to say. I am going to consult them. I have my

    20 own opinion. (Pause).

    21 We reject this objection. You may continue,

    22 Mr. Kehoe.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, explain to the court exactly what

    24 transpired.

    25 A. Having witnessed the exchange, I looked at the

  71. 1 interpreter and said, "what was all that about?", and he

    2 took me outside the house and explained that

    3 General Petkovic had been angry -- this is more or less

    4 what he said -- with Colonel Blaskic over what had been

    5 happening over the preceding few days. He wanted to

    6 know, and the exact word he used was, "was it under

    7 control?", and Colonel Blaskic had told him it was under

    8 control and he was not to worry about it. That was the

    9 substance of the exchange, and we did not really know

    10 what was the situation that was or was not under control

    11 at that time, other than the general failure of the HVO

    12 offensive which was now a defence against the BiH

    13 attacks.

    14 When the following day and the day after we began

    15 to discover the extent of some of the civilian deaths

    16 within specifically the village of Ahmici, we drew the

    17 conclusion that this may have been what the exchange was

    18 about, but I am unable to specifically say that. It was

    19 the personal view of the interpreter but it was not

    20 necessarily my personal view.

    21 MR. HAYMAN: I object especially, your Honours, about

    22 statements of the opinion of this third party, not here

    23 before the court, not a witness, not subject to

    24 cross-examination. If anything should be subject to

    25 cross-examination, it is statements of opinion,

  72. 1 your Honours.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad? (Pause). The Tribunal believes

    3 that the witness can give his opinion and the Tribunal

    4 will weigh that statement. Of course one should not

    5 take advantage of this, but the witness is not here, of

    6 course, only for opinions but is here to say what he

    7 witnessed. The essential thing is that the Tribunal

    8 must be informed exactly about what happened. Let us

    9 not multiply the objections. The Colonel may continue.

    10 Mr. Hayman, do you want to go back to that point

    11 because we have already settled that.

    12 MR. HAYMAN: I do not object to his opinion, I object to him

    13 recounting the opinion of someone else. It is stated in

    14 the record and I ask that that be stricken, this

    15 witness's statement of someone else's opinion on the

    16 subject being discussed.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: That is out of the question, Mr. Hayman. One

    18 can state opinions. If the Colonel heard a third party

    19 saying something -- he is under oath after all, do not

    20 forget that, Mr. Hayman. He is under oath.

    21 MR. HAYMAN: I understand, but it is not his opinion. I have

    22 no objection to his opinion, but he is repeating someone

    23 else's opinion. That was what my objection was.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, the problem here at the

    25 international court is not to bring -- make any changes

  73. 1 from one legal system to another. This Tribunal must

    2 have all the information in order to come to an

    3 interpretation as to guilt. Please do not make us waste

    4 time this way. Are you taking the floor again, because

    5 this is the third time you are objecting on the same

    6 point. This is the last time. Go ahead.

    7 MR. HAYMAN: We ask for a subpoena issue for the testimony in

    8 the Defence case of the individual whose opinion has

    9 been recounted by this witness for this Tribunal.

    10 I think it is a reasonable request. I ask that it is

    11 issued as soon as possible.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: We do not accept that request.

    13 You may continue, Mr. Kehoe. The Colonel must

    14 testify in complete freedom. He is under oath, and the

    15 Tribunal must be informed exactly about what happened at

    16 that meeting. We are overruling the objection and

    17 overruling that request. You may continue, Mr. Kehoe,

    18 along with the witness.

    19 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, was the interpreter in fear at that

    20 time?

    21 A. Yes, the interpreter was.

    22 Q. Why?

    23 A. Because the interpreter felt that what had been

    24 overheard and that he had overheard it might prejudice

    25 his own safety.

  74. 1 Q. Why?

    2 A. Because he was a nervous individual anyway and generally

    3 by this stage of the fighting quite in fear of his own

    4 life, acting as an interpreter for us, in that we were

    5 incurring the wrath of all parties in Central Bosnia by

    6 our independent and unbiased stand.

    7 Q. Would Blaskic have known that this was an interpreter

    8 working for you, if he had never met this individual

    9 before?

    10 A. At the time, I think Colonel Blaskic had his back to him

    11 on the stairs, and General Petkovic was looking in his

    12 direction. General Petkovic would not have known that

    13 he was not an UN soldier, because as an UN employee he

    14 was dressed in UN uniform. Colonel Blaskic would have

    15 known he was not one of our soldiers.

    16 Q. You said the interpreter said that Blaskic said things

    17 were under control. Did he make any other comment about

    18 his men being involved in any way, shape or form?

    19 A. I cannot actually say I remember it that clearly. It

    20 was a heated, short, sharp exchange that quite shocked

    21 the interpreter. The interpreter then relayed to me,

    22 when I asked him, and he was visibly shaking, what had

    23 taken place, and I am paraphrasing, but he basically

    24 said, "What I have heard could get me killed". I told

    25 him to tell me what had taken place and he said that

  75. 1 General Petkovic had asked Colonel Blaskic if he had

    2 things under control, and Colonel Blaskic said he had

    3 things under control. That is as far as I remember.

    4 Q. In light of the events that you learned thereafter in

    5 Ahmici and these other villages, what did you conclude,

    6 Colonel?

    7 A. Later on when I ran that conversation back through my

    8 mind, I believed that not only was General Petkovic

    9 talking about the actual failure of the Croat offensive,

    10 but he was also talking about the possible backlash

    11 which manifested itself once the United Nations had

    12 found the extent of the ethnic cleansing and the bodies

    13 in the village of Ahmici.

    14 Q. Let us continue on in this meeting. Did there come a

    15 time when General Halilovic showed up and the meeting

    16 began?

    17 A. Yes, there did. The meeting chaired by Ambassador

    18 Thebault was conducted in a very proper and diplomatic

    19 way, and eventually the diplomatic way forward had gone

    20 as far as it would go and Ambassador Thebault asked

    21 myself and the other military commanders from the BiH

    22 and HVO if we would now take it forward in terms of

    23 having now established the principle that everybody

    24 around the table wanted a cease-fire, would the military

    25 men now go away and work out the mechanics of how there

  76. 1 would be a cease-fire. At this stage, although in

    2 principle the BiH agreed that a cease-fire was a

    3 sensible thing, it certainly when we adjourned was not

    4 something that General Halilovic was totally disposed

    5 to.

    6 Q. Why?

    7 A. To put in context, we asked the BiH and HVO

    8 representatives to go into two separate rooms into which

    9 we had put up maps and we asked them to mark up on the

    10 maps the extent of their current front-line and any other

    11 information that would be relevant to establishing the

    12 conditions for a cease-fire, the stepping back of

    13 forces, the production of a buffer zone et cetera. In

    14 this, I moved between the two rooms discussing the

    15 situations with the HVO and BiH and I had a long

    16 discussion with General Halilovic over the principles of

    17 why he must accept a cease-fire, even though at that

    18 time, in his own view and indeed any other military

    19 man's view, he actually was winning, and it is much more

    20 difficult for an army that is winning a particular

    21 battle to agree to stop the battle and withdraw over

    22 ground that is already fought and won.

    23 That was the challenge, to convince General

    24 Halilovic and Mr. Merdan that it was in the interests of

    25 the BiH and the Muslim people in Central Bosnia to agree

  77. 1 to this cease-fire, even though they were going to be

    2 the ones that had to do all the withdrawing from the

    3 lines of conflict, as the HVO forces really had gone

    4 back as far as they could go into the environs of

    5 Busovaca and Vitez.

    6 Q. What did you say to General Halilovic to convince him to

    7 tell his troops to withdraw?

    8 A. I told him that as the current battle stood, in the eyes

    9 of the BritBat and UNPROFOR generally, the BiH forces

    10 had acted in defence in this battle since 16th April

    11 against HVO aggression. Their current position,

    12 although in the short-term tactical situation they might

    13 well be able to destroy HVO forces in Busovaca and

    14 Vitez, there were several components to the situation

    15 that he should address or think about.

    16 The first one was the HVO capability to fire long

    17 range artillery into Zenica, which they had already

    18 demonstrated they had the intent to do, and while

    19 pushing forward the battle to capture Busovaca and

    20 Vitez, his own people in Zenica would pay a very heavy

    21 price.

    22 The second point was that what we had seen and

    23 would be prepared to stand witness to at this time there

    24 were no incidents of massacre committed by the BiH

    25 forces since 16th April that at that time we were aware

  78. 1 of. One or two situations did come to light later, but

    2 at that stage, we were unaware of any and certainly in

    3 our view, and I was at the meeting representing

    4 UNPROFOR, and I told General Halilovic that in the view

    5 of UNPROFOR, the BiH forces at that time had the moral

    6 high ground, as well as the tactical high ground. If he

    7 had sufficient generalship to understand that to

    8 prosecute any further what was a legitimate

    9 counterattack would be difficult to justify, because he

    10 had already taken back the land he had lost and any

    11 further gains would be into Busovaca and Vitez and cause

    12 the deaths of many innocent people.

    13 Also, from the strategic point of view, the

    14 situation that we had was that there were considerable

    15 Croat reinforcements moving up from Tomislavgrad into

    16 Prozor. The Croats had the capacity, or the HVO, as a

    17 well structured and well organised military force, had

    18 the capacity to reinforce Central Bosnia up through

    19 Gornji Vakuf and the route was sufficiently capable now

    20 for them to move certainly strong forces up it, and the

    21 ability of the HVO to reinforce their position in

    22 Central Bosnia was completely opposite to General

    23 Halilovic's present situation, where he was under

    24 tremendous pressure and 2nd Corps in Tuzla were under

    25 tremendous pressure from the Serbs and the situation

  79. 1 with the Serbs was not going to go away and he was not

    2 going to be able to sustain two fronts and it would not

    3 be long before the Serbs would take advantage of the

    4 situation in Central Bosnia, where the BiH were totally

    5 overstretched.

    6 So in essence, you had a situation that was

    7 strategically unsustainable, although tactically quite

    8 advantageous at that time to the BiH.

    9 Q. In the other room is General Petkovic and the defendant

    10 Blaskic. When you went to talk to them, who was the one

    11 that discussed with you where the HVO positions were on

    12 the map? Was it Petkovic or Blaskic?

    13 A. There was a slight difference initially in that

    14 Halilovic seemed to have a reasonable feel for where the

    15 lines of conflict were and the disposition of the BiH

    16 forces and I suspected that one of the reasons he was

    17 late is he had been briefed by Hadzihasanovic in 3rd

    18 Corps, because he did have quite a feel for what was

    19 going on. I do not know what contact Colonel Blaskic

    20 had had with General Petkovic, but Colonel Blaskic was

    21 explaining in great detail on the map to

    22 General Petkovic where the dispositions were of his own

    23 forces and, as he knew them, the Muslim forces. I had

    24 given my word that I would not give any advantage to

    25 either party by explaining to the opposite party any

  80. 1 information I should gain on troop dispositions, which

    2 I did not.

    3 The situation with the HVO was very different

    4 because they were on the defensive and unsure as to how

    5 long the HVO would be able to resist the quite

    6 overwhelming success of the BiH in the preceding couple

    7 of days. They were more amenable to a cease-fire very

    8 quickly and they were not arguing or debating over the

    9 principle and concept of a cease-fire, it was really the

    10 mechanics of the lines to which parties should withdraw;

    11 specifically, how far away the BiH should withdraw.

    12 Q. Was it clear during that meeting on the 21st that

    13 Blaskic knew the positions of all his troops, as well as

    14 where the BiH troops were?

    15 A. Yes, of course.

    16 Q. That position of the HVO troops, was that the

    17 approximate area where people were digging trenches as

    18 well?

    19 A. Yes, it was. Sorry, in one specific area it was.

    20 I learnt more at that meeting about where everybody

    21 was. A lot of what we knew was confirmed and other

    22 smaller areas that we did not know as to detailed

    23 dispositions which Colonel Blaskic had explained to

    24 General Petkovic.

    25 Q. Colonel, you set up what you might describe as a

  81. 1 demilitarised zone to which both lines should withdraw,

    2 is that correct?

    3 A. Yes, that is correct, in a phased process.

    4 Q. How was that phase supposed to take place?

    5 A. By first light the Croat positions would remain firm and

    6 the BiH Muslim troops were to withdraw to a line I think

    7 we called "alpha" on the map. Within 48 hours, the BiH

    8 were to withdraw back to Zenica and the HVO were to

    9 withdraw south of the main Lasva Valley road, and later

    10 on in the process General Halilovic asked for an

    11 additional 24 hours to pull his people back to

    12 line "alpha", because people just were refusing to move

    13 back.

    14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with the court's permission,

    15 Colonel, could you go back up to Exhibit 29C and using

    16 the blue pen to your left, could you sketch out the

    17 approximate two lines of the areas to which the BiH Army

    18 were to retreat and to which the HVO was to retreat.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Could you please try to speak more slowly,

    20 Mr. Kehoe? You are asking questions very quickly. The

    21 interpreters are doing their best, but frequently I only

    22 have the translation of your following question later,

    23 so if you could slow down a bit it would help us.

    24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I apologise.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: I will ask the interpreter to reinterpret the

  82. 1 last question asked by the Prosecutor, even though

    2 I have it in front of me on the transcript. Thank you.

    3 MR. KEHOE: Using the microphone, Colonel, could you explain

    4 what you have drawn on the map?

    5 A. The essential line of conflict was where the pen is,

    6 essentially on the road. The BiH had captured the

    7 northern area of the road and actually controlled the

    8 road between Dubravica and --

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, we cannot see. The witness is in

    10 front of the map. I know it is not easy. That is

    11 better. Go ahead, that is fine, thank you very much.

    12 A. The line is the position of the front-lines, with the BiH

    13 having captured strategic points along the main

    14 Lasva Valley road between Dubravica and Kaonik,

    15 specifically the junction where the road comes up from

    16 Busovaca. The first requirement within 28 hours was for

    17 the Muslim forces to withdraw behind line "alpha" and

    18 produce the first buffer zone from the front-line here up

    19 to line "alpha" (indicates). That was the line where

    20 General Halilovic asked for an additional 24 hours to

    21 enable his troops to move to.

    22 Within 48 hours, the BiH were to have moved back

    23 to a line just south of Zenica and the HVO were to have

    24 moved to a line approximately a kilometre or so behind

    25 their current positions. This would create a neutral

  83. 1 zone here which UNPROFOR and BritBat would patrol and

    2 guarantee the neutrality of that zone. That was the

    3 concept, sir.

    4 MR. KEHOE: The top line is the line you have marked "A",

    5 which is "alpha", is that right?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. You can take a seat again. Colonel, in an effort to

    8 begin to monitor this withdrawal, did BritBat patrol the

    9 area?

    10 A. Yes, the first patrol went out in the early hours of

    11 22nd April, the day after, because by first light the

    12 BiH forces had said they would be north of the

    13 line "alpha". The reality was they were not, and there

    14 were still quite strong BiH forces specifically in the

    15 village of Jelinak, which is just north of the road but

    16 south of line "alpha". That patrol was conducted by

    17 Colonel Stewart and it was whilst remonstrating himself

    18 with the BiH forces for not having obeyed the orders of

    19 their commanding general and withdrawn beyond

    20 line "alpha" that he was told that part of the reason

    21 why -- the reason they would not leave these particular

    22 hills was because of the atrocities and murders that had

    23 taken place in the village of Ahmici, which was the

    24 first time that BritBat had had that accusation made.

    25 Q. Prior to that time on the 16th, some BritBat units had

  84. 1 been in and out of Ahmici, is that right?

    2 A. Yes, that is correct.

    3 Q. Were you aware of the level of atrocities at that time?

    4 A. No, we were not. We were aware of the level of

    5 destruction, which seemed excessive compared to other

    6 places, but the soldiers -- because each time we went

    7 into the village of Ahmici the vehicles literally had

    8 snipers' bullets pinging off them, so it was not very

    9 safe to dismount, and the soldiers therefore had not

    10 gone into the houses and checked. All they had seen was

    11 dead animals and destroyed houses. That was very

    12 similar throughout the length of the Lasva Valley.

    13 Q. Stay with that. You are saying the destruction of

    14 houses and livestock was similar throughout the

    15 Lasva Valley?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. What did you think about that, what did you conclude

    18 when you saw these houses burnt and the cattle killed?

    19 A. That it filled the definition of ethnic cleansing and

    20 that was that there was just nothing left for the people

    21 to return to.

    22 Q. Let us continue on with the events of the 22nd. What

    23 happened, Colonel?

    24 A. After Colonel Stewart's patrol returned, as was quite

    25 usual, he would then continue to plan and work and write

  85. 1 orders and I then took a patrol out to check the village

    2 of Jelinak and I also went into the village of Ahmici.

    3 Q. What did you observe when you went in?

    4 A. Ahmici was actually bigger than I had thought. It

    5 pushed much further up into a valley. I had always

    6 imagined, looking at the map and the name on the map,

    7 because I had not been to the village before, that

    8 Ahmici was centred around the mosque, which was 50

    9 metres or so away from the main road. In fact, the

    10 village pushed much further up into the valley behind

    11 the main road.

    12 The first thing I noticed was that the mosque had

    13 been destroyed, the minaret, which I could not remember

    14 noticing before. Although we had had reports of it, it

    15 was the first time I had seen it. I then moved further

    16 up the valley and went past the second mosque, up to the

    17 houses towards the northern end of the village. There

    18 was a little bit of sniper fire, we positioned some

    19 Warriors to cover that and then I dismounted some of my

    20 crew and we went and foot-patrolled through the village.

    21 I went to several houses that Colonel Stewart had

    22 shown me on a map where he had found evidence of people

    23 having been killed.

    24 Q. Before we go into that, Colonel, did you take a look

    25 during your walk around and see expended cartridges at

  86. 1 certain locations and see various locations being shot

    2 up and, based on those examinations, did you, as a

    3 military officer, draw certain conclusions as to how

    4 this operation had been conducted?

    5 A. We had had reports from our patrols on the day of the

    6 16th that they had seen groups of Croat soldiers in fire

    7 positions around Ahmici and these soldiers had engaged

    8 them with fire when they had gone towards the village.

    9 When we looked at the village itself, we came across

    10 positions on the southern side, the lower side towards

    11 the road, towards the village, where we found empty

    12 cases and from positions that had not been reported that

    13 we had been fired upon from.

    14 It looked to me to have all the makings of what we

    15 would call a "cordon and search", or a "cordon and

    16 destroy operation", if you will. In other words, that

    17 before you commit your forces to the actual area you

    18 wish to attack, if you do not want the enemy to be able

    19 to withdraw, you would place cut-offs sited over likely

    20 lines of withdrawal from the village so that you could

    21 shoot any of the enemy who were leaving the objective if

    22 you did not want them to escape. We found these sort of

    23 positions with the grass damped down and a number of

    24 7.62 long cartridges, the type used in Draganoff sniper

    25 rifles, not the 7.62 short used in AK-47s, the normal

  87. 1 assault rifles.

    2 Q. Continuing your search --

    3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Kehoe.

    4 MR. KEHOE: Continuing your examination of the village, did

    5 you continue or did you look and examine the locations

    6 pointed out to you by Colonel Stewart?

    7 A. Yes, I did. They were not that easy to find. There was

    8 an awful lot of destruction in the village. Two things

    9 struck; one is almost surreal, and that was the total

    10 destruction and devastation of one part of the village

    11 and in the southern part of the village, as if a

    12 line was drawn in the sand, there were a whole series of

    13 houses that did not have a scratch on them. There were

    14 people in those houses who came out and shouted things

    15 at us and went in, but would not come and talk to us.

    16 We tried knocking on the doors to ask them what had

    17 happened and they would not talk to us.

    18 We then went further into the destroyed part of

    19 the village and came across evidence in three houses

    20 that had been pointed out to me. One had a skull in the

    21 debris, another one had part of a charred corpse and a

    22 human ribcage and in the third house, which was the most

    23 shocking, there were two bodies in the entrance to the

    24 house and then in the cellar there was a line of

    25 bodies. But it is quite difficult to work out exactly

  88. 1 what they were -- in terms of whether they were male,

    2 female, adults or children -- because they had been

    3 burnt. There was evidence of a petrol can in this

    4 cellar. There were also bullet hole marks along the

    5 walls and blood splashes on the back of the walls and so

    6 the scene looked like people had been put down in a

    7 cellar, shot and then set fire to. A lot of the bodies

    8 were twisted in grotesque ways, presumably from the heat

    9 that would have been generated.

    10 We tried, without disturbing the forensic

    11 evidence, to count them and I think we worked out there

    12 were about six. Quite a few of the skeletons were

    13 small.

    14 Q. Which indicated to you what?

    15 A. They were children.

    16 MR. KEHOE: If I can turn, Mr. President, your Honours, to

    17 Prosecutor's Exhibit 111, which is before the court. It

    18 is a series of photographs. If I could just put them on

    19 the ELMO with the assistance of the usher? If I may,

    20 Mr. President, I think we might want to advise the

    21 viewing audience that these photographs are very

    22 graphic.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: I think you have just said so, Mr. Prosecutor,

    24 so there is no need for me to repeat it. You know them

    25 well, the Tribunal can say indeed, following what you

  89. 1 said, that they are very shocking, there is nothing more

    2 to be said. This is an open public hearing, so will you

    3 please continue.

    4 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Colonel, we are going to backtrack for one

    5 moment on some of these photographs before we go back to

    6 Ahmici, but if we can take them in sequence. If we go

    7 to the first photograph, which is 111/1.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Have you had them identified, Mr. Prosecutor?

    9 Have they been marked?

    10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, they have.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: You have not mentioned the numbers. I did not

    12 hear it, at least. How were they identified and

    13 admitted, under what conditions?

    14 MR. KEHOE: These photographs are identified as Exhibit 111/1

    15 sequentially.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: But you have not told us under what conditions

    17 they were taken.

    18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, your Honour. The photographs, the first two

    19 photographs were taken by Colonel Watters himself, that

    20 is the photograph driving into Stari Vitez and the

    21 photograph of the bodies on the ground. The next

    22 photograph -- the next four photographs were taken by

    23 the British battalion. The photograph following that of

    24 the soldiers beginning to take the bodies out of the

    25 house is a clip taken from a media source, and it merely

  90. 1 is a view of -- further back view of the house, that is

    2 again taken by the British battalion in the next

    3 photograph. In the following photographs, they are

    4 taken by the British battalion, until the last

    5 photograph on that package, which was taken by Colonel

    6 Watters.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    8 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, let us go through these photographs one

    9 by one. As I said, we are going to backtrack a little

    10 bit and talk about the events on the 16th. Do you

    11 recognise this photograph?

    12 A. Yes, I took that from the turret of my Warrior on the

    13 morning of 16th April whilst driving into Vitez.

    14 Q. Is there smoke coming up from a particular area?

    15 A. Yes, in fact the photograph does not do the smoke

    16 justice. I remember it looking much darker than that,

    17 but you can see columns of smoke arising from the

    18 central area of Vitez into the Muslim quarter.

    19 Q. In the Muslim quarter?

    20 A. Yes. I knew it to be the Muslim quarter when I got

    21 there because the houses were all burning there.

    22 Q. The next photograph, if you will, 111/2. Earlier in

    23 your testimony, you had talked about seeing several dead

    24 bodies in the road in and around Dubravica. Is that the

    25 photograph you were discussing?

  91. 1 A. Yes, it was, the line of bodies. I vividly remember it.

    2 Q. The next photograph, we move to Ahmici, the day you went

    3 there on 22nd April 1993, if you could put that down,

    4 Mr. Usher, what is that a shot of?

    5 A. That is the view of the mosque and the downed minaret in

    6 Ahmici.

    7 Q. Is that how it looked on the day you went in there?

    8 A. Yes, it is.

    9 Q. I believe that the next photograph, 111/4, is that just

    10 a close-up of the mosque?

    11 A. Yes, it is.

    12 Q. Likewise the way it looked on the day you went in there

    13 on the 22nd?

    14 A. That is correct.

    15 Q. The next photograph, 111/5, what is the angle of that

    16 photograph?

    17 A. That is taken from within the village, looking down

    18 towards the mosque as we then pushed further up into the

    19 village.

    20 Q. If you were heading this way, you would be heading out

    21 to the main road?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. The next photograph, 111/6, is that a close-up angle of

    24 that?

    25 A. Yes, it is.

  92. 1 Q. Colonel, let us turn to 111/7. Is that the house -- one

    2 of the houses that you went into on the afternoon of

    3 22nd April 1993?

    4 A. Yes, that photograph was not taken on that day, but that

    5 is that house. That photograph was taken a couple of

    6 days later when we did an operation to secure the town

    7 or the village and remove the bodies.

    8 Q. Are those members of the British battalion removing

    9 those bodies?

    10 A. Yes, they are members of the medical section and the

    11 band who acted as stretcher bearers.

    12 Q. Let us turn our attention to 111/8. Tell us about that,

    13 Colonel. If you could, could you use the pointer and

    14 point to the items that you are describing in this

    15 photograph?

    16 A. This is the entrance to the house, it is a set of stairs

    17 going to a slightly raised first floor landing. On the

    18 stairs here is a body that has been badly burned. It

    19 was a small body, it looked like it might have been a

    20 child. Behind that there was another burnt body which

    21 looked like it was an adult, because it was much larger.

    22 Q. Let us move ahead to 111/9.

    23 A. That is a close-up of the body on the stairs as you

    24 approach the house, the body that is probably a child.

    25 Q. Can we go to the next photograph, 111/10.

  93. 1 A. That is an adult's body just behind the child's body on

    2 the first floor of the building.

    3 Q. Moving ahead to 111/11.

    4 A. That is a picture in the cellar of the same house, and

    5 it is one of a line of burnt bodies.

    6 Q. Next photograph, 111/12.

    7 A. That is the same body taken from a slightly different

    8 angle as the one we have just seen.

    9 Q. Can you see the skull in that photograph, sir?

    10 A. Yes, it is there (indicates).

    11 MR. KEHOE: The next photograph, 111/13. I mis-spoke before,

    12 Mr. President, with regard to this particular

    13 photograph. This particular photograph, 111/13, was

    14 taken by Colonel Watters also, is that correct, Colonel?

    15 A. Yes, it is.

    16 Q. What is this photograph?

    17 A. This photograph is again the line of bodies that ran the

    18 full length of one side of the cellar. Behind the

    19 bodies here you can see the holes made by bullets as

    20 they hit the wall. In front of the holes, down the side

    21 of the wall, there was what was obviously blood.

    22 Q. When you saw that, Colonel, what did you conclude had

    23 happened?

    24 A. I concluded that the people in the house or people had

    25 been taken into the cellar of that house and they had

  94. 1 been put into that part of the cellar and had then been

    2 shot. It looked like they had been shot with an

    3 automatic weapon, because of the grouping of the bullet

    4 holes on the wall.

    5 Q. Do you recall approximately how many bodies were down in

    6 this basement?

    7 A. I think about six or seven.

    8 Q. Did they include any children?

    9 A. They included small skeletons, which were probably

    10 children, yes.

    11 Q. Let us turn our attention to the next photograph,

    12 111/14:

    13 A. That is the same cellar and it is another skull. The

    14 way we thought we knew the number of bodies was by

    15 counting the skulls, because the bodies themselves were

    16 contorted and burnt, but I think we counted six or seven

    17 skulls. You can see more blood against the back wall

    18 there.

    19 Q. Let us turn to 111/15.

    20 A. That is another skull here and another body.

    21 Q. Thank you. Next photograph is 111/16.

    22 A. It may be similar to the first photograph because this

    23 piece here looks similar, it is part of a sink or

    24 something, but it is a skull and part of a burnt body.

    25 Q. Do we see the same body on a different angle in the next

  95. 1 photograph, 111/17?

    2 A. Yes.

    3 Q. You found burnt remains in more than one location, is

    4 that right?

    5 A. Yes, we did. There were two other locations, two other

    6 houses, one had a skull in the roof tiles because the

    7 roof had collapsed on top of the top floor and in

    8 another house, we found what was obviously a ribcage,

    9 again in a burnt house with a collapsed roof.

    10 Q. Let us turn our attention to 111/18. Is that in the

    11 first or second house?

    12 A. That is in the first house, in the cellar.

    13 Q. This first cellar, is that the cellar where you saw the

    14 petrol can?

    15 A. Yes, it was.

    16 Q. A petrol can that is normally used for carrying some

    17 type of inflammable liquids?

    18 A. It can carry water as well, but it is generally used for

    19 carrying petrol.

    20 Q. Let us turn our attention to 111/19.

    21 A. That is another body in the same cellar, you can see

    22 parts of the body, the ribs and so on.

    23 Q. We move to another location at 111/20.

    24 A. This is the house where we saw a body. You can see part

    25 of the ribcage showing there (indicates). The roof was

  96. 1 missing, the house had been burnt and the roof had

    2 collapsed on top of the house.

    3 Q. 111/21, is that a different angle of the same location?

    4 A. Yes, it is.

    5 Q. Let us turn to 111/22.

    6 A. Yes, that is a different house. There you can see a

    7 skull coming through the tiles, because the roof had

    8 collapsed, been burnt, the house had been burnt and the

    9 roof had collapsed on this one as well. There was a

    10 skull in the wreckage.

    11 Q. Was there any way for you to account exactly how many

    12 individuals were burnt at that time?

    13 A. Other than the ones we had seen which were the eight or

    14 so in one house and the remains in the two houses you

    15 have just seen photographs of, the answer is no. What

    16 we thought as a worst-case scenario was that there were

    17 more bodies underneath the houses with the collapsed

    18 roofs, which was virtually every house in the Muslim

    19 part of the village. It would take a major operation to

    20 clear those houses, which we did not conduct.

    21 Q. Colonel, you said previously in your testimony that the

    22 control of artillery weaponry, mortars and the like,

    23 would be controlled at the regional level and in Central

    24 Bosnia it would be Blaskic, is that correct?

    25 A. Yes, that is correct.

  97. 1 Q. Would that include any aircraft weapons, for instance?

    2 A. Yes, it would.

    3 Q. Let me show you the next photograph, 111/23. Was that a

    4 photograph that was taken by you?

    5 A. Yes, it was.

    6 Q. Was that also in the Lasva Valley area during this

    7 approximate time-frame?

    8 A. Yes, it was.

    9 Q. What is the licence plate for that particular weapon?

    10 A. HVO.

    11 Q. What type of weapon is mounted on that truck?

    12 A. I think it is a four barrelled anti-aircraft weapon.

    13 Q. The individual that is seated to the left with the

    14 weapon on his knee, do you see what is on his face?

    15 A. Yes, he is wearing a balaclava.

    16 Q. Or a mask?

    17 A. Yes. That was not uncommon.

    18 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Usher.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: This is exhibit number -- no objections?

    20 THE REGISTRAR: 111.

    21 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time I will also introduce

    22 29J, 53B and 56E, the exhibits that are on the easel.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: No objection on the part of the Defence? In

    24 that case, they have been admitted under those numbers.

    25 MR. KEHOE: Colonel, after you had viewed these things in

  98. 1 Ahmici on 22nd April 1993, what did you as a military

    2 officer conclude about the conduct of the operations in

    3 that area on 16th April 1993?

    4 A. I returned to Vitez where Colonel Stewart and Ambassador

    5 Thebault were still in discussion over their reaction

    6 and view to what they had found. Ambassador Thebault

    7 was really shaken to the core of his being by what he

    8 had witnessed. My own view, first of all, in terms of

    9 BritBat, it was very important that we did not overreact

    10 to what we had seen on a personal level, and maintained

    11 our professionalism, and we did not draw initially any

    12 conclusions. We sat and thought about it a great deal

    13 without saying emotionally the first things that came

    14 into our heads, because nobody could visit that place

    15 without being very shocked.

    16 My personal view was that it was an operation

    17 conducted efficiently and successfully to ethnically

    18 cleanse that village, and the significance of that

    19 village in the Central Bosnia area and in the psyche of

    20 the Bosnian Muslim and also in the view of the Bosnian

    21 Croat was interesting, because we discovered more about

    22 the village of Ahmici. It had a special place in the

    23 minds of the Muslim people because it had a reputation

    24 of producing as a village a disproportionately large

    25 number of holy men, of mullahs, so it had a special

  99. 1 place. My view and that of many of my colleagues was

    2 that this might explain why it appeared to have been

    3 dealt with so savagely compared with other places in

    4 which we did not find dead bodies, frankly.

    5 There was no doubt in my mind that it was part of

    6 a co-ordinated attack on the early morning of

    7 16th April, just as we had witnessed the attack going up

    8 the valley. We felt quite guilty, really, for not

    9 having understood the significance of Ahmici, and maybe

    10 afforded it some additional protection or observation,

    11 because we just had not up until then realised its

    12 significance. An equivalent emotional place in the

    13 minds of the Croat people would probably be Guca Gora,

    14 which is a monastery behind Travnik and Vitez. We did

    15 understand that and we did visit often to reassure the

    16 people there, but we were a bit late for Ahmici.

    17 I think that is really all I can say. We were

    18 shocked we had not done more to protect the village and

    19 we had not understood its significance and it was part

    20 of the ethnic cleansing operation that was conducted up

    21 the Lasva Valley over those couple of days.

    22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Sorry. Colonel Blaskic was in command of the HVO

    24 troops before Ahmici, was he not?

    25 A. Yes, he was.

  100. 1 Q. During Ahmici?

    2 A. Yes.

    3 Q. And after Ahmici?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 Q. As a military officer, where certain criminal activities

    6 and atrocities take place, what is the responsibility of

    7 the commander of that area?

    8 A. When a commander plans an operation, one of the aspects

    9 he must take into account in his military planning is

    10 the safety of refugees, and it is required by the Geneva

    11 Convention. A commander who prosecutes an operation is

    12 responsible in law for the safety of the civilian

    13 population through the areas which he is attacking, and

    14 in his plan he is required under the Geneva Convention

    15 to pay due cognisance to those people and ameliorate the

    16 impact of his military operations upon them. That

    17 really did not seem to make a lot of sense in the

    18 Lasva Valley, because it appeared to us the actual

    19 target was the civilian population, which immediately

    20 contravened the Geneva Convention.

    21 In strict answering to your questions, he was

    22 responsible for the safety and security of civilians in

    23 the area in which he was prosecuting military operations

    24 as the military demander.

    25 Q. Did you see him take any steps to safeguard civilians in

  101. 1 that area, to your knowledge?

    2 A. No.

    3 Q. After the events took place, what is a commander's

    4 responsibility when it is brought to his attention that

    5 criminal acts have taken place by his troops?

    6 A. As a military commander, you are totally responsible for

    7 all the soldiers under your command, as I am today. If

    8 those soldiers under your command, which can happen,

    9 disobey the orders they have been given and contravene

    10 the Articles of War and the Geneva Convention, or even

    11 simply loot or steal, then it is the responsibility of

    12 their commanding officer and their brigade commander,

    13 regional commander, to hand those over to the

    14 appropriate military justice within their own chain of

    15 command, and to identify them, arrest them and

    16 court-martial them.

    17 Q. To your knowledge, Colonel, were any such acts to

    18 investigate and prosecute the individuals involved in

    19 these atrocities done by the defendant?

    20 A. I am aware that Colonel Blaskic endeavoured to find out

    21 the names of those he believed responsible and

    22 I understand that he passed those names up his chain of

    23 command.

    24 Q. Did he do anything else?

    25 A. We were very disappointed and quite appalled that

  102. 1 Colonel Blaskic did not immediately arrest the people

    2 who had done it, if he knew who they were, and if they

    3 were, as they must have been, under his command, because

    4 they were operating on that operation.

    5 Q. In summary, do you know of anybody that was arrested

    6 because of these activities at all?

    7 A. To my personal knowledge, no.

    8 Q. Was Blaskic himself arrested by his higher command as

    9 a result of this?

    10 A. No.

    11 Q. Did it appear to you that anybody was interested on

    12 behalf of the HVO to do an investigation in this area?

    13 A. That was one of the more appalling things, that nobody

    14 did seem interested.

    15 Q. What did you conclude, based on all of that information

    16 that you had at that time?

    17 A. My personal opinion was that the Ahmici business had

    18 actually complicated and clouded the operation that HVO

    19 forces Central Bosnia had tried to conduct to ethnically

    20 cleanse the Muslim minorities from the future canton 10

    21 and had brought the weight of media and world attention

    22 on to it, and it overshadowed for a short time the

    23 situation in Srebrenica, which in terms of scale is

    24 quite ridiculous, because there was a great deal more

    25 death and destruction going on in Srebrenica than the

  103. 1 Lasva Valley. But so shocking were the media pictures

    2 of the dead, and in fact on the 24th I believe we buried

    3 96 bodies of people killed in that fighting, and my view

    4 in discussions with the HVO establishment was it was

    5 more a regret as to the consequences rather than a

    6 regret as to the means and that is a rather subjective

    7 judgement, but it is my view.

    8 Q. Were you shocked by that, sir?

    9 A. Yes, I was.

    10 MR. KEHOE: One moment, Mr. President. (Pause).

    11 Mr. President, I have no further questions of this

    12 witness.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel Watters, as our procedure in this

    14 Tribunal requires, in fact as any Tribunal will require,

    15 you now will have cross-examination by the Defence.

    16 I think it will be Mr. Hayman who is going to do the

    17 cross-examining.

    18 Mr. Hayman?

    19 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN.

    20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.

    21 Good afternoon, Colonel Watters.

    22 A. Good afternoon, sir.

    23 Q. My name is Russell Hayman and together with my

    24 colleague, I represent General Blaskic.

    25 Are you suggesting to this Tribunal that you spoke

  104. 1 to General Blaskic and he said that he regretted the

    2 consequences but not the means or the actual deaths of

    3 civilians in Ahmici? Are you suggesting that?

    4 A. No, I did not say that. I said it was my opinion, and

    5 it was an opinion that I gathered in discussion with a

    6 great many people within the HVO from the 16th to about

    7 24th April.

    8 Q. Did you discuss that subject with General Blaskic?

    9 A. We skated round it on the 21st, but I did not -- not the

    10 actual Ahmici situation, because we did not know about

    11 it, but the concept of attacking the civilian population

    12 in these areas. I did not believe it worth making an

    13 issue of it in the cease-fire negotiations because the

    14 BiH were already incensed enough about it already and

    15 I did not see the point in prejudicing the concept of a

    16 cease-fire on the 21st by holding some sort of Tribunal

    17 within a cease-fire negotiation.

    18 Q. Did you discuss it with him or not?

    19 A. I would probably say I did not discuss it in straight

    20 terms, no, but I know Colonel Stewart did and Colonel

    21 Stewart related some of those conversations to me.

    22 Q. You said you also learned that then Colonel Blaskic

    23 found out who was responsible for Ahmici, is that right?

    24 A. I said I understood that Colonel Blaskic had sent a list

    25 of names up his chain of command of those he believed

  105. 1 had conducted the massacre in Ahmici, yes.

    2 Q. Did he send a list of names to the authorities that were

    3 responsible for instituting military prosecutions within

    4 the HVO?

    5 A. I was told he had.

    6 Q. Do you agree if that in fact occurred that is the proper

    7 procedure for a commander to take?

    8 A. No, I do not think it is the proper procedure. I think

    9 the commander should have arrested the soldiers

    10 concerned and detained them.

    11 Q. Is that regardless of the quantum of proof or the

    12 information in the commander's hands?

    13 A. Yes.

    14 Q. So regardless of the quantum of proof, the commanding

    15 officer must arrest and detain the individual suspected?

    16 A. If he has reasonable grounds.

    17 Q. So it does depend on the quantum of proof?

    18 A. Yes, but there again, to actually put a list of names

    19 accusing people of doing something, you must have had a

    20 quantum of proof, otherwise why put a list of names?

    21 Q. Because you have to have a trial, do you not? In a

    22 military system there is a military court, a military

    23 prosecutor. Someone is accused, they need to be tried

    24 and, if guilty, found guilty and punished?

    25 A. You do not accuse people without a burden of proof in

  106. 1 the initial circumstance.

    2 Q. What is that burden of proof?

    3 A. I do not know, I am not Colonel Blaskic.

    4 Q. You are suggesting that he acted wrongfully, you are

    5 informed that he passed a list of names to a military

    6 prosecutor?

    7 A. No, I said his chain of command.

    8 Q. The record will speak for itself, Colonel. You are

    9 suggesting that he acted wrongfully in not arresting one

    10 or more individuals, and yet you are not able to tell us

    11 what the quantum of proof would be for him even to refer

    12 the names to a military prosecutor?

    13 A. The quantum of proof is that he obviously believed that

    14 the people he put down on that list had done those deeds

    15 in Ahmici, otherwise I cannot imagine why he would have

    16 written their names down on a list. If he knew the

    17 people who had done that, then he had a responsibility

    18 to remove those people from military operations.

    19 Q. Tell us how you know this?

    20 A. I was told that by Colonel Stewart.

    21 Q. How did he know this?

    22 A. He was told that by Colonel Blaskic.

    23 Q. Were you present at this conversation?

    24 A. No, I was not.

    25 Q. Were you given any details of this alleged conversation?

  107. 1 A. Yes, I was.

    2 Q. What?

    3 A. That Colonel Stewart wanted to know what Colonel Blaskic

    4 was doing about the massacre of Ahmici, because if he

    5 did nothing he would be implicating himself in it, and

    6 he must take some form of action. Colonel Stewart came

    7 back and said that having put this to Colonel Blaskic

    8 that Colonel Blaskic had said that he had actually

    9 identified those who had done it and passed a list of

    10 names up his military chain of command.

    11 Q. When was this?

    12 A. I cannot give you the exact date, I would suspect it was

    13 around the -- any time from the 24th until the end of

    14 April.

    15 Q. In preparing for your testimony, did the Prosecutor's

    16 Office tell you they were going to elicit information

    17 which was not from you but you obtained it from Colonel

    18 Stewart?

    19 A. The Prosecution did not tell me that at all. They asked

    20 me what I knew and I told them.

    21 Q. Did you tell them this information was entirely

    22 derivative from Colonel Stewart?

    23 A. Yes.

    24 Q. But they did not reference that in their question to

    25 you, did they?

  108. 1 A. I did not explain the detail of how I formed my

    2 opinions, you have just elicited that from me.

    3 Q. Have you spoken to Colonel Stewart about whether he is

    4 going to come and testify to this court?

    5 A. Yes, I have.

    6 Q. Is he?

    7 A. I do not know.

    8 Q. You were asked about an incident in which certain

    9 individuals, some 400 of them, came to the British base

    10 and one or more snipers were firing at them, do you

    11 recall that?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. Around I believe 20th April 1993, is that correct?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. You said that the facts of this situation were relayed

    16 to the HVO command at the Hotel Vitez?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. Were they also relayed to the command of Mr. Cerkez?

    19 A. Yes, they were.

    20 Q. How do you know that, both of those?

    21 A. Because I, as the chief of staff, was in the ops room

    22 and gave instructions that the liaison officers should

    23 go and visit the regional and tactical level of command

    24 of the HVO, and try to get them to stop their snipers

    25 from shooting at these people.

  109. 1 Q. Who had the actual contact? I take it it was not you;

    2 you did not personally have any contact with any HVO

    3 headquarters about the issue of snipers attacking these

    4 400 refugees, correct?

    5 A. The actual detail of whether I spoke on the phone or

    6 whether I did it through the liaison officers I cannot

    7 remember, but I am quite clear that the liaison officers

    8 passed verbatim the instructions they were given, as

    9 they had done throughout the whole tour, and came back

    10 with the verbatim answers.

    11 Q. If you spoke to someone on the phone, would you have

    12 made a record or note of that?

    13 A. Probably not, depending where the phone was. One of the

    14 problems was we really had all our phones cut off.

    15 There was only one in the whole building that was

    16 working, and it was not in the ops room, it was at the

    17 other end of the building, in what was the Royal

    18 Engineers' resources cell. If conversations were

    19 conducted in there, which they were, and I have a vivid

    20 memory of a conversation with Colonel Blaskic from that

    21 telephone, the notes would probably not have been taken

    22 on it.

    23 Q. What liaison officers did you task with going to these

    24 two HVO headquarters to raise the subject of these

    25 refugees?

  110. 1 A. Captain Dundas Whatley.

    2 Q. You gave him the responsibility of going to both?

    3 A. Yes, they were both beside each other.

    4 Q. Did he go?

    5 A. Yes, he did.

    6 Q. Did he report back to you?

    7 A. Yes, he did.

    8 Q. What did he tell you?

    9 A. Verbatim I cannot remember, just he said he had passed

    10 the message.

    11 Q. Did he tell you that in the office or offices of

    12 Mr. Cerkez there was a locker of sniper rifles that had

    13 been locked up, do you recall that?

    14 A. No.

    15 Q. Did he relay to you a message that any persons sniping

    16 at these refugees should be killed by UNPROFOR and that

    17 was the position of the HVO?

    18 A. Yes, we were aware that the HVO would condone our

    19 attacking those positions.

    20 Q. So that message was passed to you?

    21 A. Yes, it was.

    22 Q. In connection with this incident, correct?

    23 A. This "incident" took place over a number of days.

    24 Q. But in connection with this incident --

    25 A. At about halfway through, maybe the second day.

  111. 1 Q. 21st April that?

    2 A. Might have been the day, I cannot remember.

    3 Q. You got a message -- the HVO's message to you, UNPROFOR,

    4 was, "if there are snipers attacking these 400 refugees,

    5 go find them, kill them and you have our blessing"?

    6 A. Correct.

    7 Q. Did you tell the Prosecutors that in preparation for

    8 your testimony here?

    9 A. No.

    10 Q. After getting that message, in fact an operation was

    11 undertaken, correct?

    12 A. Yes, it was.

    13 Q. To go find, capture or, if necessary, eliminate these

    14 snipers?

    15 A. Correct.

    16 Q. In fact some of them were captured?

    17 A. Yes, they were.

    18 Q. Were others shot at?

    19 A. Others were shot at.

    20 Q. Were any wounded or killed?

    21 A. I do not know.

    22 Q. All that happened with the blessing of Colonel Blaskic,

    23 correct?

    24 A. Yes, that is correct, which was slightly odd since they

    25 were HVO soldiers, but there you go.

  112. 1 Q. That does not sound like a normal army to you, does it?

    2 A. What does not sound like a normal army?

    3 Q. A commander telling another force on his terrain to go

    4 kill his own men because he was unhappy with their

    5 conduct and he condoned the killing of those men. Is

    6 that something you have ever heard happen in the British

    7 army?

    8 A. Soldiers in the British army would not do that.

    9 Q. That is my point.

    10 A. I am clear on that.

    11 Q. You arrived in Bosnia on February 6th?

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. And you left around May 8th?

    14 A. Yes, I think it was something like that.

    15 Q. Did you have any R and R period while you were in

    16 Bosnia?

    17 A. No, I did not.

    18 Q. So you were there about 90 days, correct?

    19 A. I have not added them up, but 96 days, something like

    20 that.

    21 Q. Three months, 6th February, March, April, May.

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. You mentioned that you learned there were three

    24 operative groups within the HVO underneath

    25 Colonel Blaskic, correct?

  113. 1 A. Correct.

    2 MR. HAYMAN: I will just recite them as a foundation for

    3 another question, Mr. President. First operative group,

    4 Vitez/Travnik, second Kiseljak/Busovaca and third Zepce?

    5 A. Correct, as I remember it.

    6 Q. Do you know who the commanders were within the HVO of

    7 those operative groups?

    8 A. I did at the time and I could find out again by reading

    9 our logs. I cannot remember them all off the top of my

    10 head four years later.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Would you like us to take a break here, or do

    12 you have a question which is going to deal with the

    13 previous question that you have just asked? As you

    14 like.

    15 MR. HAYMAN: At the court's pleasure, Mr. President.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: If the following question is not directly

    17 related to the operation, we could suspend now and start

    18 again at 4.10. Thank you.

    19 (3.50 pm)

    20 (A short break)

    21 (4.10 pm)

    22 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed, please have the

    23 accused brought in.

    24 (Accused brought in)

    25 Mr. Hayman.

  114. 1 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.

    2 Colonel Watters, you spoke earlier on the subject

    3 of whether Colonel Blaskic had a headquarters in

    4 Kiseljak; do you recall that subject?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. When did you first visit him in Kiseljak at a location

    7 that you believed to be his headquarters?

    8 A. I said I thought he had an alternative headquarters in

    9 Kiseljak. I never visited him there.

    10 Q. When is the first time one of your liaison officers

    11 first visited Colonel Blaskic in a location that was

    12 reported to you as being Colonel Blaskic's headquarters

    13 in Kiseljak?

    14 A. We were told when trying to contact Colonel Blaskic in

    15 Vitez, in the Hotel Vitez, that he was in Kiseljak.

    16 That was told to us a number of times and from that we

    17 deduced that he had another headquarters in Kiseljak,

    18 because he seemed to spend a lot of time there.

    19 Q. Did you also learn that his parents lived outside of

    20 Kiseljak and that he would go visit them on weekends?

    21 A. I did not know the detail, but I knew his family were

    22 from Kiseljak.

    23 Q. So when you say you believed he had a headquarters in

    24 Kiseljak, you based that on the material you just

    25 stated, is that right?

  115. 1 A. During the week -- several times when we wanted to talk

    2 with Colonel Blaskic we were told he was in Kiseljak.

    3 We assumed he had a headquarters in Kiseljak.

    4 Q. Did you ever hear a report that he had a headquarters

    5 staff in Kiseljak?

    6 A. No.

    7 Q. You said you believed there were three levels within the

    8 HVO, or rather that the HVO could be analysed by

    9 identifying a strategic, an operational and a tactical

    10 level, do you recall that?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 Q. Where does political power fit in to this hierarchy you

    13 have set forth?

    14 A. At the strategic level.

    15 Q. At the strategic level, do you combine at that level

    16 both political power and military command?

    17 A. I do not know the answer to that.

    18 Q. So I take it your model does not specifically account

    19 for the exercise of political power within Central

    20 Bosnia, such as by the political -- Croat politicians?

    21 A. No, I was talking about the structure of the military

    22 command.

    23 Q. You said that you believed there was an agenda in Bosnia

    24 among Croats for a greater Croatia, is that right?

    25 A. That is correct.

  116. 1 Q. Did you ever speak to Colonel Blaskic and hear him speak

    2 about a greater Croatia?

    3 A. No.

    4 MR. HAYMAN: With the court's permission, I would like to

    5 approach and invite the witness to join me before

    6 Exhibit 29J, over which we have placed a transparency,

    7 and would like to make certain markings on it. I also

    8 invite my colleagues and Mr. Nobilo. Keeping in mind

    9 that we not obstruct the view of the court, you have

    10 stated that historically, conflicts in Central Bosnia

    11 have centred largely on control of the major roads --

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, could you speak into the

    13 microphone, please? Everyone must have a microphone,

    14 everybody must be able to speak and hear and see. Fine,

    15 go ahead, please.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: You have said that in your view military

    17 conflicts in Central Bosnia have centred largely, at

    18 least in modern times, on struggles for control of the

    19 major roads and access roads, routes, correct?

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. You need to speak into one of several microphones?

    22 A. Yes, I said that, sir.

    23 Q. You know that to be true during the World War II time

    24 period, for example?

    25 A. I do not pretend to be an expert on it, but it was

  117. 1 certainly one of the things that we discussed and read

    2 about, the problems that the German army had subduing

    3 the Balkans during World War II.

    4 Q. In part, this reality is due to the fact that Central

    5 Bosnia is an area of very high and highly defined

    6 mountains, correct?

    7 A. Yes, sir.

    8 Q. Most of those mountains, you cannot go over the

    9 mountain, you must find a road or a path, for example,

    10 through a mountain pass in order to enter another part

    11 of Central Bosnia, correct?

    12 A. Yes, sir.

    13 Q. And also the winters are quite severe, with snow and ice

    14 and so forth, further hindering transportation, correct?

    15 A. Extremely severe.

    16 Q. You have been so kind as to set forth at least some of

    17 the major roads or potential access routes into Central

    18 Bosnia from the south. I would like to ask you a few

    19 questions to round out that picture. First of all, you

    20 have noted in green that the stretch of road from Kacuni

    21 to Bilalovac was taken control of by the BiH Army,

    22 correct?

    23 A. As far as we know, yes.

    24 Q. Was that in roughly the second half of January 1993, to

    25 your knowledge?

  118. 1 A. I was not there, but I think that is about right. It

    2 certainly was my experience when travelling that route

    3 that you went through BiH checkpoints in roughly those

    4 areas.

    5 Q. By the time you arrived on February 6th that was the

    6 case?

    7 A. As far as I remember, yes.

    8 Q. Unless you disagree, I am going to put --

    9 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. Your Honour, if there is going to be

    10 drawing, I would ask that the witness do the drawing and

    11 not Mr. Hayman.

    12 MR. HAYMAN: That is fine, your Honour. I would ask you to

    13 indicate again just the area of BiH control over this

    14 road, perhaps by tracing the road but also putting a

    15 right-angled line at either end so we have a record of

    16 that on the transparency.

    17 A. I will, but it is four years after the event and my

    18 detail is not --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I see.

    20 MR. HAYMAN: If you would also trace --

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Would you please explain? The Tribunal cannot

    22 see anything. What colour is he using to make his

    23 markings on the transparency? If you could please

    24 reindicate what we are going to see, because we have not

    25 seen anything.

  119. 1 MR. HAYMAN: With the court's permission I will mark over the

    2 witness markings, indicating a right angle cutting the

    3 road from Kacuni to Bilalovac in green, first at the

    4 Kacuni point and then at the Bilalovac point.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, Mr. Hayman. Now we can see. Please

    6 continue.

    7 MR. HAYMAN: Let me direct your attention, can you find a

    8 road on this map from roughly the Kacuni area to

    9 Fojnica?

    10 A. Yes, I can. It is marked in yellow. There is one just

    11 there.

    12 Q. In your experience, was that road held by the BiH Army

    13 throughout your tour in Central Bosnia?

    14 A. I do not know, sir.

    15 Q. The road from Kacuni to Zenica, do you see that road?

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Could you please indicate to the Trial Chamber

    17 what it is, because we cannot see anything yet, the road

    18 from Kacuni to Zenica, please, as indicated by the

    19 witness?

    20 MR. HAYMAN: I am withdrawing that question for the moment,

    21 your Honour.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. But we have not seen anything for

    23 the moment, so next question, please.

    24 MR. HAYMAN: Can we find a road, Colonel, from Fojnica to

    25 Sarajevo through Tarcin?

  120. 1 A. I am not familiar with it.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, could you tell us where you are

    3 heading? It would be simpler. Where do you want to get

    4 to, because we are now drawing routes on a map like a

    5 travel agency, so would you please -- I know that he is

    6 not listening. Mr. Hayman, what is the goal of these

    7 various questions that you are asking? Could you tell

    8 us that? You are dealing with judges. Because for the

    9 moment we are just drawing routes. What is the

    10 objective of your question, so that we can focus things

    11 a little bit, instead of just asking the Colonel to draw

    12 routes.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: Of course, your Honour. The witness drew one

    14 section of road on the map that is Exhibit 29J proper as

    15 being controlled by the BiH Army, but only one section.

    16 In reality, it is at least the Defence's position that

    17 the vast majority of these roads came to be controlled

    18 by the BiH Army and in fact the witness has described a

    19 military action in April, I believe April 21st,

    20 22nd 1993, which led to a cutting of the road from Vitez

    21 to Busovaca by the BiH Army. We wish to show the court

    22 that picture. If this was a struggle for roads, was it

    23 important only for the HVO or was this also a critical

    24 military issue for the BiH Army and if so, in what

    25 ways.

  121. 1 JUDGE JORDA: You see, it is much simpler to explain and

    2 then to ask the witness to make the plan in accordance

    3 with your thesis. Very well then, let us hear the

    4 question.

    5 MR. HAYMAN: I will ask the questions from there and ask my

    6 colleague Mr. Nobilo to assist the witness and perhaps we

    7 can proceed more quickly.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: I think that would indeed be simpler.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Colonel, would you agree that the mountain road

    10 from Zenica to Travnik -- do you know that road, not to

    11 Vitez but to Travnik?

    12 A. No, I do not.

    13 Q. Perhaps Mr. Nobilo, can you point out the road for the

    14 witness from Zenica to Travnik. Did you become aware,

    15 Colonel, during your tour in Bosnia, that that road came

    16 to be under the control of the BiH during the period of

    17 April and May 1993?

    18 A. I travelled that road during that period and it seemed

    19 to be rather muddled. There were Croat villages and BiH

    20 villages so there was not a clear route through it for

    21 either force.

    22 Q. Were you in the theatre when Guca Gora was overrun by

    23 the BiH army?

    24 A. No, I was not.

    25 Q. Guca Gora is up in that area, correct?

  122. 1 A. Yes, it is.

    2 Q. You are unable to tell us anything about who controlled

    3 that road?

    4 A. As I said, I travelled it during the period April/May

    5 and I do not think anyone actually controlled it.

    6 Various areas of the route were controlled depending on

    7 the ethnic majority of each village on the route.

    8 I remember going through a variety of different

    9 checkpoints and on several occasions being refused

    10 access by both BiH and HVO.

    11 Q. So you recall it as being contested, or having multiple

    12 checkpoints on it?

    13 A. Yes, I do, sir.

    14 Q. When you arrived in the theatre, were you briefed on the

    15 fighting in Gornji Vakuf that had already occurred?

    16 A. Yes, and I visited Gornji Vakuf on three or four

    17 occasions.

    18 Q. In the course of the briefings you received, did you

    19 learn that the fighting in Gornji Vakuf began as early

    20 as June 1992?

    21 A. I cannot recollect the exact dates, but I know it

    22 predated our arrival there as BritBat.

    23 Q. At the time you arrived, what were you told, in terms of

    24 your briefings, in terms of who controlled Gornji Vakuf?

    25 A. The battle ebbed and flowed and we were not sure

  123. 1 actually who controlled it for the whole period.

    2 I would not be qualified to comment, as it was

    3 specifically looked after by one of our company

    4 commanders.

    5 Q. Did you learn in the course of your tour who controlled

    6 Konjic?

    7 A. Where is Konjic?

    8 Q. I would ask Mr. Nobilo to assist and point out the city

    9 of Konjic.

    10 A. I do not have a recollection, sir.

    11 Q. Very well. How about the city of Bugojno?

    12 A. I remember we had a liaison officer responsible for

    13 Bugojno. It was not a particular area I had studied.

    14 Q. During your tour, do you know whether the BiH was able

    15 to travel from Zenica to Sarajevo?

    16 A. I suspect they could.

    17 Q. Do you know what route was possible for them?

    18 A. No, I do not.

    19 Q. Would you agree that being able to make that trip and

    20 have that access was of critical strategic importance to

    21 the BiH Army?

    22 A. Yes, I would.

    23 Q. In addition to having as much access to the roads that

    24 you have outlined on this exhibit as possible, correct?

    25 A. I do not know how they did it and I have to confess,

  124. 1 given the state of the conflict in Sarajevo, it was

    2 always a bit of a mystery, but certainly they did appear

    3 to come in and out of Sarajevo from Zenica.

    4 Q. In addition to having that access, would you agree that

    5 it was of critical strategic importance to the BiH Army

    6 to be able to link up the different Corps, corpuses,

    7 that they had in the theatre, correct?

    8 A. It certainly would be a strategic aim to do that.

    9 Q. You knew, in the course of your tour, that the BiH first

    10 corpus was in the Sarajevo and Visoko area, correct?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 Q. And the second corpus was in the Tuzla, Usera and Zepce

    13 area, correct?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. The third corpus was in Zenica, correct?

    16 A. Correct, sir.

    17 Q. And the fourth corpus was in the Mostar, Jablanica and

    18 Konjic area?

    19 A. I knew in theory, I had never been there.

    20 Q. And the sixth corpus was based in the city of Konjic,

    21 were you aware of that?

    22 A. I was not, actually.

    23 Q. And the seventh corpus was located in Travnik, you were

    24 aware that they were headquartered in that city?

    25 A. Yes, I was. I was not actually sure they were a Corps,

  125. 1 I thought Travnik was subordinate to Zenica.

    2 Q. You thought they were part of the 3rd Corps?

    3 A. Yes, I did.

    4 Q. In any event it would have very important --

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Slowly, Mr. Hayman, please. Do not forget the

    6 interpreters.

    7 MR. HAYMAN: My apologies.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: And of course us. Think of us too.

    9 Continue.

    10 MR. HAYMAN: We are always thinking of you, Mr. President and

    11 your Honours.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: With respect to the third corpus and the BiH

    14 forces in Travnik, similarly road access between those

    15 two units would be of critical military significance to

    16 the BiH Army?

    17 A. Yes, sir.

    18 Q. Would you agree in principle that control of these roads

    19 was of critical military significance to both the HVO

    20 and the BiH Army?

    21 A. Yes, I would.

    22 Q. Would you agree that in January 1993, or at least prior

    23 to your arrival, the BiH Army took steps to attain

    24 control over a portion of these roads, specifically the

    25 stretch between Kacuni and Bilalovac?

  126. 1 A. I cannot remember what went on before we arrived.

    2 Certainly during our tour, that stretch of road was

    3 contested by the HVO and BiH and to my memory was

    4 largely controlled by the BiH.

    5 Q. You have described on 21st April 1993 how the junction

    6 at Kaonik had been overrun and taken control of by the

    7 BiH Army, correct?

    8 A. Yes, sir.

    9 Q. Perhaps that could be indicated as well by a green

    10 cutting mark across the road in that location, please?

    11 A. (Witness marks map).

    12 Q. The effect of that act was to sever the road link

    13 between Vitez and Busovaca, correct?

    14 A. Correct, sir.

    15 Q. Would you agree that that was a further military

    16 strategic importance to the BiH Army because once the

    17 Vitez Busovaca enclave was severed, forces within the

    18 enclave could not be moved along the spinal road and

    19 massed at any one defensive point; would you agree with

    20 that, sir?

    21 A. Yes, I would.

    22 Q. Before we move away from this map, you have also

    23 discussed in your testimony the concept of canton 10

    24 under the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.

    25 A. Yes.

  127. 1 Q. You said you believed that the conflict on 16th April

    2 and following days on the part of the HVO involved an

    3 attempt to purge canton 10 of its Muslim residents?

    4 A. That was the only logic that we could think of.

    5 Q. Let me ask you about certain towns and villages within

    6 canton 10 and tell me whether they were attacked by the

    7 HVO on the 16th.

    8 A. I will do my best.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. Nobilo, if you could point out the towns as

    10 I identify them. Sivrino Selo. Do you see that.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Is it necessary to show them? If I have

    12 understood you well, Mr. Hayman, that your strategy is to

    13 mention a number of villages within that canton that

    14 were not attacked, perhaps you can list them and see

    15 whether the witness can react to that. That would speed

    16 up things a little. It will not change anything in

    17 terms of the substance of your question, so please

    18 proceed.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: I will and I can, although the location of the

    20 villages is also of interest.

    21 Have you found Sivrino Selo?

    22 A. It is here, sir (indicates).

    23 Q. Do you know, was it attacked on the 16th?

    24 A. I would have to check our records. It is not a name

    25 which immediately springs to mind.

  128. 1 Q. Was it attacked on 17th April, if you know, 1993?

    2 A. I do not know.

    3 Q. Is Sivrino Selo on the spinal road between Vitez and

    4 Busovaca?

    5 A. It is a kilometre north to it.

    6 Q. Can you find the town or village of Krcevine?

    7 Mr. Nobilo, can you assist, please? Indicating to

    8 the north of Vitez?

    9 A. Yes, I can see that.

    10 Q. Do you know, was it attacked on 16th April 1993?

    11 A. I do not, sir.

    12 Q. Is it on the spinal road from Vitez to Busovaca?

    13 A. A kilometre north of it.

    14 Q. The town of Poculica, do you find that on the mountain

    15 road from Vitez to Zenica?

    16 A. I certainly remember there was something at Poculica.

    17 It was quite heavily defended by the HVO, I remember

    18 that.

    19 Q. By the HVO or by the BiH?

    20 A. I could be wrong, I thought it was a HVO town. We tried

    21 to get access to it but we could not. I have a memory

    22 of HVO, I could be wrong. There are very many towns in

    23 that area.

    24 Q. Mr. Nobilo, if you could point out for the witness the

    25 town of Tolovici, again north of Vitez.

  129. 1 Do you recall whether it was attacked on 16th or

    2 17th April?

    3 A. No, I do not.

    4 Q. It is not on the spinal road, is it?

    5 A. No, it is not.

    6 Q. Mr. Nobilo, could you point out the town of Preocica to

    7 the witness, indicating again to the north of Vitez.

    8 This also would be in canton 10, correct?

    9 A. I would have to overlay the boundary, but I suspect it

    10 is on the edge of it.

    11 Q. Zenica was in canton 10, was it not?

    12 A. I cannot remember the exact boundary of canton 10 on

    13 this map.

    14 Q. Do you think the boundary fell between Vitez and Zenica?

    15 A. I think it did.

    16 Q. Thank you, you may sit down. When you arrived in the

    17 theatre in February, were you briefed on what the BiH

    18 Army was doing to strengthen its position and prepare

    19 for a conflict with Croats in Central Bosnia?

    20 A. No, I was not, sir.

    21 Q. Were you told that the BiH Army had undertaken a general

    22 mobilisation in the Vitez area in January 1993?

    23 A. No, I was not. I do not quite know what a general

    24 mobilisation was. I think the whole of Central Bosnia

    25 was mobilised.

  130. 1 MR. HAYMAN: If the usher could assist, your Honour, I have a

    2 document I would ask be placed before the witness,

    3 provided to your Honours and provided to Prosecution

    4 counsel. The first page, your Honour, is in English,

    5 the second page in BSC. We have not yet been able to

    6 have any translations undertaken, but with the court's

    7 leave we will place them on the ELMO. I can read at

    8 least the first page, perhaps Mr. Nobilo can read the

    9 second and undertake a translation for all and then

    10 I would like to ask the witness a few questions about

    11 the documents.

    12 Perhaps if you could place it on the ELMO, Colonel

    13 Watters, I can read it, you can look at it.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Could we hear the number of this exhibit,

    15 please, Mr. Prosecutor? Any comments regarding this

    16 exhibit? Let us wait for the witness to identify it

    17 first.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, your Honour. At the very top of the

    19 page -- I am sorry to burden the usher again, but if we

    20 could move the document down, at the top of the page is

    21 in hand-written form "Cheshire Mil Info 080 19th January

    22 1993"; do you see that?

    23 A. Yes, I do.

    24 Q. Do you know what "Cheshire Mil Info" would refer to?

    25 A. It is a 1 Cheshire military information summary,

  131. 1 probably serial number 080, dated 13th January 1993.

    2 Q. 13th or 19th?

    3 A. Sorry, maybe 19th. On the document it is 19th. It is

    4 difficult on the screen to say.

    5 MR. HAYMAN: If I may read it? Your Honour, parts of this

    6 document have been redacted. It was provided to us by

    7 the Prosecutor's Office and hence the first

    8 paragraph begins with 2:

    9 "2. Vitez. A local source reported that tensions

    10 in the area between Croats and Muslims were high. He

    11 stated that local Muslim civilians were being called up

    12 for duty with the local BiH forces. One particular

    13 example (call-up document attached) had never served

    14 with the BiH forces before. The document states that he

    15 was to report to the school in Preocica."

    16 Does "GR" refer to "grid reference"?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. "GR 2497 on 15 January 93. The stamp on the document

    19 was that of the 325th Broska Brigade. Comment. The

    20 recruitment of civilians (i.e. people who have no

    21 involvement in the BiH/HVO forces) is a reflection of

    22 the assessed need by the BiH forces to strengthen

    23 themselves against the perceived increased threat from

    24 the HVO. A CS" -- is that a reference to "call sign"?

    25 A. Yes, it is.

  132. 1 Q. Would that be a Warrior vehicle?

    2 A. It could be a Warrior, it could be an armoured personnel

    3 carrier, it could be a Scimitar, it could be a

    4 Scorpion. It could be anything.

    5 Q. "A CS visited the predominantly Muslim village of

    6 Preocica. It was reported then that there were well

    7 prepared defensive positions around it and that the

    8 village was of military significance in the Vitez area."

    9 Comment ends. Now the second page.

    10 MR. NOBILO: In the heading, we find the Republic of

    11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the

    12 Defence headquarters of Vitez. The heading is, "Call-up

    13 for service in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina". In the

    14 form we first see surname, first name and father's name,

    15 but this has been redacted, crossed out. Year of birth

    16 1967, resident of Kruscica:

    17 "Should on 15th January 1993 immediately upon

    18 receiving this call-up paper to the unit of the BH Army

    19 T-9048, the location, the school at Preocica. Take with

    20 you your personal things, warm clothing and weapons.

    21 Commander of the Defence of Vitez, signed", his

    22 signature and the stamp of the Republic of

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 3rd Corps, 325th Mountain Brigade of

    24 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    25 MR. HAYMAN: Do you recall, Colonel Watters, whether you were

  133. 1 briefed when you arrived in the theatre in February on

    2 the subject of mobilisation of forces?

    3 A. Not specifically but generally it was believed that the

    4 entire Central Bosnia area was mobilised to form their

    5 joint union against the Serbs.

    6 Q. By that, you mean that every able-bodied man had been

    7 mobilised either into the HVO or the BiH Army, correct?

    8 A. I think every able-bodied man is probably an

    9 exaggeration, but a great majority.

    10 Q. Do you recognise this document as being in the format of

    11 a Mil Info Summ generated by 1 Cheshire during their

    12 tour in Central Bosnia?

    13 A. Yes, I do.

    14 MR. HAYMAN: I offer the document, your Honour.

    15 MR. KEHOE: No objection.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar?

    17 THE REGISTRAR: It is going to be admitted into evidence as

    18 Defence Exhibit D59, that is the number.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.

    20 MR. HAYMAN: We spoke a moment ago about the third corpus

    21 headquartered in Zenica. Did you receive reports in

    22 your tour that they had somewhere in the neighbourhood

    23 of 90,000 men under their command?

    24 A. I cannot remember the exact figures, but they were

    25 certainly a substantial force.

  134. 1 Q. Over 70,000 or 80,000?

    2 A. I cannot remember.

    3 Q. Over 50,000?

    4 A. A substantial force. I never remember fastening on to a

    5 specific figure. I would not actually have trusted it.

    6 Q. Were you also told or briefed by your own personnel that

    7 the HVO within Central Bosnia had around 12,000 men at

    8 their disposal; does that sound accurate to you?

    9 A. Again, I do not remember fastening on specific numbers.

    10 It could have been accurate, I really cannot remember.

    11 Q. Do you recall being briefed generally as to the

    12 proportion of soldiers in the HVO in Central Bosnia and

    13 soldiers in the third corpus?

    14 A. Yes, and in infantry the BiH outnumbered the HVO.

    15 Q. By a large multiple?

    16 A. Our assessment was by a considerable margin and the HVO

    17 outnumbered the BiH in terms of their access to direct

    18 fire tank weapons, artillery and mortars. That was our

    19 general assessment.

    20 Q. When you say "direct fire tank weapons", what do you

    21 mean?

    22 A. Anti-aircraft cannon mounted on the back of trucks,

    23 anti-tank weapons, tanks themselves and mortars and

    24 artillery for indirect fire.

    25 Q. Did you see the HVO in Central Bosnia in possession of

  135. 1 any tanks?

    2 A. Only in Maglaj, personally.

    3 Q. What about in the Lasva Valley, did you ever see any HVO

    4 tanks?

    5 A. No, I did not.

    6 Q. Did you see or learn of BiH Army tanks in the

    7 Lasva Valley or Zenica?

    8 A. Yes, I personally saw one T-55 on the mountain road.

    9 Q. Let me turn your attention to the cease-fire agreement

    10 of April 18th, do you recall that?

    11 A. I am sorry, there were so many agreements, on 16th,

    12 17th, 18th, 19th. I cannot remember a specific one.

    13 I remember the discussions on the 16th and I remember

    14 the discussions on the 21st. I am not sure I chaired

    15 them. I think Colonel Stewart might have done.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: If I could ask for the usher's assistance, your

    17 Honour. (Pause). If a copy of this document, your

    18 Honour, could be provided to the witness as well as

    19 Prosecution counsel and each of your Honours. Again if

    20 it could be placed on the ELMO. (Handed). The first

    21 page of this document, Colonel Watters, bearing in

    22 hand-written form, "Cheshire Mil Info 170 18 April 1993."

    23 The first page reads, "Warrior CS reported a BiH CP";

    24 would that be "checkpoint"?

    25 A. Yes, it would.

  136. 1 Q. "Located at grid reference 134001. The call sign

    2 reported that the soldiers were unfriendly and told the

    3 call sign to leave immediately."

    4 First let me ask, do you know how we would go

    5 about determining where this location is?

    6 A. Yes, by plotting the grid reference on the map.

    7 Q. Is that something we could do even on this map?

    8 A. I would have to look carefully, I might be able to.

    9 Q. Perhaps during the evening break we could attempt that

    10 and save time. If the second page of the exhibit could

    11 be displayed, this refers to the cease-fire matter

    12 I spoke of. In the upper right-hand corner, this reads:

    13 "Annex A to Mil Info 171 18 April 1993. Copy of

    14 cease-fire agreement between HVO and BiH, distributed

    15 by" --

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Is that 70 or 71? I am sorry, 170. Maybe

    17 Mr. Hayman made an error and said 171. I think it is a

    18 zero. It is not English or French, so it is 170, "Mil

    19 Info 170". Please continue.

    20 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you:

    21 "Copy of cease-fire agreement between HVO and BiH,

    22 distributed by", and only the letters "HV" are visible

    23 next to the margin, but it is unclear whether something

    24 may have been cut off on the margin, "Central Bosnia.

    25 "1. The following text is taken directly from a

  137. 1 copy of the cease-fire agreement signed by

    2 Tihomir Blaskic, commander HVO, Central Bosnia, on

    3 18th April 1993.

    4 "'On the basis of the orders given by the HVO

    5 head of staff, HZ Herceg-Bosna office number", then a

    6 list of numbers, "dated April 18th.

    7 "A. All subordinate HVO combat units are to

    8 immediately stop all combat actions against units of the

    9 BiH.

    10 "B. Exchange the detained soldiers and civilians

    11 at once.

    12 "C. Take care of all the wounded, no matter what

    13 army they belong to.

    14 "D. Collect all information about those involved

    15 in the conflict, details on murdering of soldiers and

    16 civilians'."

    17 Colonel Watters, do you have a recollection of the

    18 process which gave rise to this apparent cease-fire

    19 agreement executed on April 18th?

    20 A. I remember the cease-fire agreement, I remember it

    21 making no difference and I do not remember the -- I have

    22 no recollection of what the process was that produced

    23 it, other than the fact that it seemed to be ignored on

    24 the ground.

    25 Q. Would there be a record in the archives of 1 Cheshire

  138. 1 concerning that process, assuming 1 Cheshire was

    2 involved?

    3 A. 1 Cheshire would not have been involved if it was

    4 Herceg-Bosna, the level that promulgated it. I have a

    5 recollection of this cease-fire agreement coming sort of

    6 slightly out of nowhere, and I was initially being

    7 extremely excited about it when it first arrived,

    8 thinking there had been a major break through, but as

    9 I said, it did not appear to make any difference on the

    10 ground.

    11 Q. An actual cease-fire did not stick between the period of

    12 18th April and at least 21st April?

    13 A. No.

    14 Q. It did not stick, correct?

    15 A. Correct.

    16 Q. Is this document in the format of a 1 Cheshire Mil Info

    17 Summ and as you would expect it to be in that regard?

    18 A. Yes.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: I offer the document, your Honour.

    20 MR. KEHOE: We have no objection, Mr. President.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: What is the number then?

    22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, this is D60.

    23 MR. HAYMAN: You spoke in your testimony of the cease-fire

    24 meeting at the ECMM house on 21st April 1993.

    25 A. Yes sir.

  139. 1 Q. You have that in mind, that meeting?

    2 A. Yes, sir.

    3 Q. Would you agree that at the time of this meeting, the

    4 Army of BiH had either taken the Kaonik junction or was

    5 advancing on the Kaonik junction from the direction of

    6 Kuber mountain?

    7 A. Yes, sir, they had either taken it or were about to take

    8 it.

    9 Q. Would you agree that the army of BiH, at the time of

    10 this meeting, 21st April, was either advancing from

    11 Poculica to Preocica and Dubravica, or had already taken

    12 those positions?

    13 A. Yes, sir.

    14 Q. Would you also agree that as at the time of this

    15 meeting, the Army of BiH was advancing towards Vitez

    16 from the direction of Krcevine to the north of Vitez,

    17 north-north-west?

    18 A. It was certainly advancing on Vitez from the north, yes.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: One moment, your Honour. (Pause). To your

    20 knowledge, was the Army of BiH also advancing from

    21 Bilalovac in the direction of Kiseljak?

    22 A. There was certainly fighting to the north of Kiseljak.

    23 I am not exactly sure where the forces were coming from.

    24 Q. Did you receive reports on 21st April 1993 concerning

    25 how many Croat villages had been lost by the HVO to the

  140. 1 Army of BiH on that date?

    2 A. I would have to go and check the records. Ground had

    3 been lost by the HVO, which would have included

    4 villages. I cannot remember the exact list.

    5 Q. Do you recall receiving a briefing that approximately

    6 five Croat villages had been lost or were in the process

    7 of being lost on 21st April 1993?

    8 A. That is quite possible.

    9 Q. In fact, your view is, is it not, that the cease-fire

    10 agreement reached on 21st April 1993 saved the HVO from

    11 a military defeat in Central Bosnia?

    12 A. I would certainly say it saved them from possible

    13 defeat. I could not obviously say they would have

    14 actually been defeated. They might have held out and

    15 been reinforced from Prozor, I do not know, but they

    16 were certainly facing defeat.

    17 Q. They had already lost or were about to lose the Kaonik

    18 junction; would you agree their backs were to the wall?

    19 A. Yes, I would.

    20 Q. Now let us turn to the meeting itself. Was the subject

    21 of the meeting on the 21st in essence Petkovic's request

    22 to the BiH to stop their offensive?

    23 A. You could summarise it as that, yes, but the HVO also

    24 had conditions to do with any future cease-fire.

    25 Q. That request and the conditions and the mechanics of a

  141. 1 cease-fire and a withdrawal, that was the subject of the

    2 meeting?

    3 A. The principles were the subject of the first part of the

    4 meeting, chaired by Mr. Thebault, and the mechanics of

    5 how the two commanders would agree to separate their

    6 forces and place a cease-fire was the subject of the

    7 protracted second military planning meeting.

    8 Q. You attended both parts?

    9 A. Yes, I did, sir.

    10 Q. In either part, was there any discussion of a massacre

    11 in Ahmici or any other massacre of Muslim civilians?

    12 A. No, sir.

    13 Q. No mention whatsoever in that meeting, correct?

    14 A. I have no recollection of it. I think there were a lot

    15 of accusations and counter-accusations of various things,

    16 but there were no specific accusations by the BiH of a

    17 massacre in Ahmici, I am sure of that. But there were

    18 lots of accusations and counter-accusations, and

    19 occasionally General Petkovic or General Halilovic would

    20 step in and stop the meeting descending into an argument

    21 between Mr. Merdan and Colonel Blaskic as to the

    22 prosecution of the conflict over the preceding few

    23 days. I have a clear recollection of that.

    24 Q. In these meetings, allegations were constantly being

    25 raised and being brushed aside by the opposing party,

  142. 1 correct?

    2 A. Who is the opposing party?

    3 Q. The enemy force. An allegation would be raised that

    4 something happened here or there, or the other side

    5 would say, "we do not know who did that", something to

    6 that effect, would try and brush it aside?

    7 A. I would not describe it as "brushing aside". I would

    8 say the two strategic commanders were keen to reach a

    9 regional decision and did not want the process to get

    10 bogged down in accusations and counter-accusations which

    11 would only continue to inflame the situation, rather

    12 than bring the situation to an end. I have a clear

    13 recollection of them both being very General-like about

    14 it, rather than worrying about the tactical position on

    15 the ground vis-à-vis individual forces and villages.

    16 Q. The result of this meeting was an agreement to establish

    17 a demilitarised area and in effect a withdrawal of

    18 troops, correct?

    19 A. Correct, sir.

    20 Q. Would you not agree, Colonel Watters, that when the

    21 enemy is pressing in and taking territory, and that is

    22 what is being discussed, and your commander asks you if

    23 you have the situation under control, the reference to

    24 "situation" in all probability means the losses you are

    25 sustaining at that very moment with respect to the

  143. 1 territory under your command; would you not agree with

    2 that?

    3 A. That is an interpretation. I was not sure at the time

    4 of my own interpretation. It appeared to be quite a

    5 vitriolic exchange between the two.

    6 Q. If five Croat villages were lost on 21st April 1993, can

    7 you appreciate the level of intensity of

    8 General Petkovic's feelings on that occasion?

    9 A. I can. What I did not understand was the impact it had

    10 on the interpreter.

    11 Q. Would you agree that the interpretation I set forth that

    12 referenced to "control the situation" most likely refers

    13 to the losses being sustained on the ground by the HVO;

    14 would you not agree that that is a reasonable

    15 interpretation of the exchange you described as

    16 occurring on 21st April 1993?

    17 A. It is an interpretation, it was not altogether mine at

    18 the time.

    19 Q. Do you agree it is a reasonable interpretation of the

    20 exchange that you described occurring on 21st April

    21 1993?

    22 A. It is an interpretation, I am saying it was not

    23 necessarily mine at the time.

    24 Q. Do you agree it is a reasonable one? If you do not --

    25 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, please, the question was asked and

  144. 1 I believe we are now on the third time the question was

    2 asked. The witness answered the question. Can I ask

    3 that question not be repeated because counsel is

    4 dissatisfied with the answer?

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, on this specific point, I have to sustain

    6 this objection. I can say to you, Mr. Hayman, with a

    7 smile on my face, that you yourself this morning

    8 objected to questions which assumed that they were going

    9 to extract from the witness a kind of interpretation

    10 that was being asked. I did not interrupt you at the

    11 present and I considered it was natural for you to try

    12 to give the invitation that you wanted, but this is

    13 three times you are asking the question and the witness

    14 has already answered, so please go ahead.

    15 MR. HAYMAN: If you change your answer, let us know.

    16 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I move to strike the comments of

    17 counsel on the record at this point and ask that the

    18 court direct counsel just to ask questions.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I do not like having things taken out of

    20 the transcript. We are experiencing something which is

    21 alive, that is what a trial is. Mr. Hayman made that

    22 comment, it is going to remain in the transcript then.

    23 It is not the best of his comments since the trial has

    24 begun, but it was said. All right, continue.

    25 MR. HAYMAN: Could you understand yourself anything that was

  145. 1 said between General Petkovic and Colonel Blaskic on

    2 21st April 1993?

    3 A. No, sir.

    4 Q. Could you see them?

    5 A. I could see the back of Colonel Blaskic and the face of

    6 General Petkovic.

    7 Q. So you could not see Colonel Blaskic's facial response

    8 to this conversation?

    9 A. No, I could not.

    10 Q. Were you looking at them during this exchange, were you

    11 focusing on the back of Colonel Blaskic and the face of

    12 General Petkovic?

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, please try to shorten what you are

    14 saying, we are not going to reconstruct a scene none of

    15 us witnessed. The witness is telling you what he saw

    16 and what he understood. Try to move to another

    17 question, please.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: I will move on, your Honour. I think he said

    19 what he could see, and my question is, was he looking,

    20 was he focusing on it, or is it something he could see

    21 if he looked and turned in that direction, which are two

    22 different things, and if it is too detailed I will move

    23 on, but may I just see if the witness has anything else

    24 to add?

    25 A. I could see that --

  146. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel, yes, go ahead.

    2 A. I was focused on it because it was the first time I had

    3 seen a Croat military commander getting a roasting from

    4 another Croat military commander, so it was something

    5 very unusual and I focused on it.

    6 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, if we are going to 5.30 today, this

    7 might be a convenient time to go into closed session,

    8 briefly, concerning the matter that has been brought to

    9 our attention at the beginning of the day.

    10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, your Honour, I believe we will go into that

    11 issue. I believe it is private session.

    12 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, just no public audio.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Private session then. I would just tell the

    14 people in the visitors' gallery, this is not a closed

    15 session, they will see people here speaking, but the

    16 sound will not come through. All right, we can now pass

    17 into the private session. It will take a few moments.

    18 (In closed session)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

  147. 1












    13 Pages 3502 - 3510 redacted in closed session


    15 (5.30 pm)

    16 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am the following day)