International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Case No IT-95-14

  1. 1 Monday, 15th December 1997

    2 (10.00 am)

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar, have the accused

    4 brought in, please.

    5 (Accused brought in)

    6 JUDGE JORDA: While the photographers are completing their

    7 work, I would like to know whether, first of all, the

    8 interpreters are relaxed and rested and ready to start

    9 this short week. Thank you. Does everybody hear me?

    10 Office of the Prosecutor, does the Defence hear?

    11 General Blaskic, do you hear?

    12 MR. BLASKIC: Good morning, your Honours, I hear you well.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume our work. I believe that

    14 Mr. Kehoe is going to do it today. The photographers

    15 have now gone out. All right Mr. Kehoe, you may

    16 proceed.

    17 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,

    18 Mr. President, your Honours. The first witness that the

    19 Office of the Prosecutor will call this morning is

    20 Mr. Payam Akhavan, A-K-H-A-V-A-N. Mr. Akhavan is now

    21 working for the Office of the Prosecutor and in fact,

    22 Mr. President, he has even appeared on several of the

    23 motions concerning some of the legal issues that we

    24 discussed at the outset of this case. Prior to that

    25 time, Mr. Akhavan had been involved in various

  2. 1humanitarian organisations acting as a humanitarian

    2 lawyer. He has an advanced degree on that subject.

    3 He was working in 1993 for the Commission on Human

    4 Rights, which was a commission that was part of the

    5 United Nations, that was called upon to examine human

    6 rights violations throughout the former Yugoslavia and

    7 then present those conclusions in writing to the

    8 United Nations and naturally to the international

    9 community at large.

    10 Mr. Akhavan, along with another individual by the

    11 name of Thomas Osorio, was called upon to travel to

    12 Central Bosnia in the first week of May 1993. In fact

    13 they arrived on 30th May 1993, to do an investigation

    14 concerning the events surrounding the massacre in

    15 Ahmici. They talked to a variety of individuals, they

    16 visited the location on various times, they spoke to the

    17 defendant, General Blaskic, they spoke to Mario Cerkez,

    18 the brigade commander of the Viteska Brigade and they

    19 likewise spoke to Dario Kordic, who is the

    20 Vice-President of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna

    21 and the HVO. All three individuals denied

    22 responsibility or that the HVO could have been involved,

    23 among other things.

    24 The conclusions of this field team were sent back

    25 to Geneva, where a report concerning the events in

  3. 1Ahmici, as well as a report concerning events of an

    2 alleged Muslim killing in the village of Miletici were

    3 presented and it was ultimately reduced to a report and

    4 published on 19th May 1993 by the Commission on Human

    5 Rights.

    6 That is essentially the testimony of Mr. Akhavan we

    7 will be presenting today. We have a copy of that report

    8 that was published by the Commission on Human Rights in,

    9 of course, both French and English that we would present

    10 to the court as an exhibit. That is the substance of

    11 Mr. Akhavan's testimony.

    12 On an administrative note, Mr. President, over the

    13 weekend we discovered a -- there was a statement. We

    14 discovered that one of the statements, an interview had

    15 not been turned over to the Defence. The reason it had

    16 not been turned over to the Defence was that it had

    17 never been signed or read by Mr. Akhavan until Saturday

    18 and we took it upon ourselves to get it to the Defence.

    19 The statement that had been turned over to the Defence

    20 was a statement that was signed by Mr. Akhavan and that

    21 was the one that had been processed by the ICTY and that

    22 was the one that was retrieved from the computer.

    23 In any event, the Prosecutor did give this to the

    24 Defence, I called him yesterday and provided it to the

    25 Defence. I bring that to the court's attention so it

  4. 1might resolve any problems in that regard before we

    2 bring Mr. Akhavan in.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, do you wish to make a comment?

    4 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, I do, your Honour. We do not wish to delay

    5 the examination, we wish to go ahead and we simply note

    6 for the record that the statement, regardless of whether

    7 it was adopted, was subject to the court's disclosure

    8 order of 27th January of this year, which stated that

    9 regardless of the form of a statement, whether it has

    10 been adopted, signed, whatever, it must be produced. So

    11 it does not matter if the witness had not read it. So

    12 long as it was not a work of fiction by the investigator

    13 but in fact was based on an interview with the witness,

    14 it should have been produced. It also contains

    15 statements of the accused which are new and different

    16 from the other statement of this witness which was

    17 produced. I will file a copy of this statement under

    18 seal, I think it needs to be in the record that this was

    19 not produced in a timely manner, but we do not wish to

    20 delay the proceedings, your Honour.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Let us not put in motion after motion. You

    22 know we have already received many of them. Try to

    23 settle things right away. Let us not make an incident

    24 out of everything, please. The judges are here in order

    25 to seek responsibility, to see whether General Blaskic

  5. 1is responsible in this adversarial system here with both

    2 parties here. First of all I would like to know whether

    3 you had the essential part of the statements. How many

    4 statements did Mr. Akhavan make? What did you give to

    5 the Defence and what did you not? Was it important, was

    6 it given today, can you have him brought back? Anyway,

    7 he is here, he can be brought back if necessary.

    8 Mr. Kehoe, could you explain the matters so we can settle

    9 this incident immediately. Mr. Kehoe, go ahead.

    10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. The first statement that was

    11 actually written by Mr. Akhavan, dated 13th December

    12 1994, was handed over to the Defence.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Okay, 13th December 1994.

    14 MR. KEHOE: The other statement was a statement taken after

    15 an interview on 23rd June 1995 that Mr. Akhavan had not

    16 read until this past Saturday, and this past Saturday,

    17 I am talking about 13th December 1997, nor has he ever

    18 signed.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Here I have to say that the Defence would find

    20 this a bit strange. He is in the Office of the

    21 Prosecutor, the second one was read by him.

    22 MR. HAYMAN: No translation.

    23 THE INTERPRETER: Do you hear?

    24 JUDGE JORDA: It was in your favour, it is too bad you did

    25 not hear it. I will repeat myself.

  6. 1MR. HAYMAN: I will read it, your Honour.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, the second statement of 23rd June

    3 1995, which was read by him on Saturday, we do have to

    4 say that this is a bit annoying, we have to admit that.

    5 Let us try to work in such a way that there is kind of

    6 fluidity in the discussions otherwise incidents arise.

    7 It was disclosed today, is that right, Mr. Kehoe? This

    8 statement was disclosed today?

    9 MR. KEHOE: It was disclosed yesterday. I believe I called

    10 Mr. Hayman yesterday afternoon and he said he would pick

    11 it up around 6.00. That is what happened.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Explain to us, is it fundamentally

    13 different from the one of December 1994?

    14 MR. KEHOE: It is not fundamentally different. There are

    15 additional details concerning the conversations with the

    16 accused, yes, there are. I raise this point,

    17 Mr. President, if counsel feels prejudiced in any

    18 fashion, we can certainly delay the testimony of

    19 Mr. Akhavan until counsel is prepared to move forward.

    20 Mr. Akhavan is working in the Office of the Prosecutor,

    21 we had notified Defence counsel that he would be a

    22 witness this week. Nevertheless, to assure that there

    23 is absolutely no prejudice to the Defence, we will delay

    24 the witness's testimony until the Defence counsel,

    25 Mr. Hayman, is prepared to move forward.

  7. 1JUDGE JORDA: I will consult my colleagues for a moment.

    2 (Pause). All right, I have the agreement of my

    3 colleagues that we will settle this right now without

    4 having to have a motion. The second statement means

    5 that the Defence has to see whether it is very different

    6 from the other statement, in terms of the requirements

    7 of General Blaskic, that is to see whether it is very

    8 different. If it is very different, Mr. Hayman, you

    9 would be able to bring the witness back for your

    10 cross-examination. He only has to come down two flights

    11 of stairs, so it would not be very difficult. If you

    12 agree, Mr. Hayman, perhaps you could spare the Tribunal

    13 having to read yet another motion. We have now resolved

    14 this incident. We can now have the witness brought in.

    15 Mr. Hayman.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: I do not intend to file a motion, your Honour,

    17 but I am going to file the two statements for the

    18 Appellate Chamber, should there ever be an appeal in

    19 this case, so they can see what material statements of

    20 the accused were not made available to the Defence.

    21 I am not filing a motion, but let the record be clear.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Let us not start thinking about appeals

    23 already, we have a lot to do with the first trial. Of

    24 course, you will appeal if you want to, but let us

    25 wait. All this seems to me to be much ado about

  8. 1nothing. Let us try to settle as many incidents as

    2 possible here among ourselves and avoid written

    3 documents. In any case, what you have said has been put

    4 into the transcript, do not fear.

    5 Mr. Kehoe, let us now have the witness brought in.

    6 (Witness entered court)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Please tell us your name and first name

    8 again. We do know it, of course, but it is for the

    9 record. You did not hear?

    10 THE WITNESS: I heard.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: I would certainly hope so. You are in the

    12 Office of the Prosecutor and it has two official

    13 languages, French and English. Do you hear me?

    14 THE WITNESS: Of course.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Please give us your name and your

    16 first name for the transcript, so these things are done

    17 according to form. You are?

    18 THE WITNESS: My surname is Akhavan, my first name is Payam.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, please read the solemn statement

    20 that the usher is going to give you that is your oath.

    21 MR. PAYAM AKHAVAN (sworn)

    22 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Mr. Akhavan, please be seated. In

    23 accordance with new proceedings for statements that are

    24 now in effect in this Trial Chamber -- do you hear me?

    25 The Prosecutor has given us the general content of your

  9. 1statement. During your statement, do not omit, as far

    2 as form goes, the fact that there was a second statement

    3 which apparently you only read last Saturday, which is

    4 something that the Tribunal has just learned and which

    5 it regrets. As regards the second statement of

    6 23rd June 1995, please during your statement do not lose

    7 sight of the fact that there is a second statement which

    8 was disclosed only yesterday afternoon to the Defence,

    9 apparently. Please do not lose sight of that.

    10 Mr. Kehoe has explained the general content of your

    11 testimony inter alia the framework of your mission

    12 during which, on behalf of the Commission of Human

    13 Rights in May 1993, you were able to investigate into

    14 massacres, or at least violations of international

    15 criminal law in Ahmici, and in addition, another part of

    16 your statement, please speak about the different

    17 conversations you had with various officials, including

    18 the accused. You wrote a report to Geneva. This was

    19 given to the Defence, Mr. Kehoe, was it not, that

    20 report? That is the report of 19th May 1993 to the

    21 Commission on Human Rights. It was a public report, was

    22 it not?

    23 MR. KEHOE: This is a public report, Mr. President, and it is

    24 published by the individuals in Geneva, mainly based on

    25 the information provided by Mr. Akhavan. But this is not

  10. 1Mr. Akhavan's report, it is the report of the Commission

    2 for Human Rights, the document.

    3 MR. HAYMAN: For the record, it was not given to us and I do

    4 not believe it is specifically identified in his

    5 statement. I think we found it from public records, but

    6 we will see if in fact we were able to find it, based on

    7 the information provided in the witness's statement.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: These are part of the public documents that

    9 are indicated by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and

    10 which do not always give rise to the need for mutual

    11 disclosure. We have noted this. Mr. Kehoe, perhaps you

    12 have some prior questions you would like to ask and

    13 after that, the witness will make his statement in

    14 one -- in a single statement, without interrupting him,

    15 unless you feel it absolutely necessary. Is the Defence

    16 ready? All right, you may proceed, Mr. Kehoe.

    17 Examined by MR. KEHOE

    18 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

    19 Good morning, Mr. Akhavan.

    20 A. Good morning.

    21 Q. Mr. Akhavan, at this point you work for the Office of the

    22 Prosecutor, is that right?

    23 A. Correct.

    24 Q. You have a background in humanitarian law, is that

    25 correct?

  11. 1A. Correct.

    2 Q. In fact you have worked on various legal issues involved

    3 in the Blaskic case?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 Q. Mr. Akhavan, prior to coming to the Office of the

    6 Prosecutor, can you give the judges an idea of your

    7 involvement in humanitarian law as it pertains to human

    8 rights issues, both on a legal and a practical level?

    9 A. Prior to the joining the Office of the Prosecutor, I had

    10 spent several years doing work in the field of human

    11 rights and humanitarian law. That included academic and

    12 practical work. The academic work involved post

    13 graduate legal studies in the field of international

    14 human rights law. It also involved being research

    15 associate at the Norwegian and Danish Human Rights

    16 Institute. I also during this period participated in a

    17 number of human rights fact-finding missions, including

    18 one in the region of Nagorno Karabach, which was in what

    19 was then the Soviet Union and prior to joining the UN

    20 Centre for Human Rights in April 1993, I had been on two

    21 missions for the Conference on Security and Co-operation

    22 in Europe, CSCE, which is presently known as the OSCE,

    23 Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

    24 One of these missions was under the leadership of

    25 Hans Kurel and it involved looking at violations of

  12. 1humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia. The second

    2 mission was under the leadership of the then Ambassador,

    3 Tadeusz Mazowiecki, in the former Yugoslavia.

    4 Q. On a practical level, Mr. Akhavan, if we could have a

    5 delay between my question and your answer, because we

    6 just have to wait until the interpreters catch up. So

    7 if there is a delay between the questioning, that is

    8 what I am waiting for.

    9 So it would be fair to say prior to your work with

    10 the Commission on Human Rights, you had experience

    11 working on various human rights issues in the former

    12 Yugoslavia?

    13 A. Yes, it was for that purpose that I was recruited by the

    14 Centre for Human Rights.

    15 Q. Talk to us, if you will, about when you began to work

    16 with the Commission on Human Rights; what is the

    17 Commission on Human Rights, what is the mandate for that

    18 Commission and what methodology is employed by the

    19 Commission when it writes its report and attempts to

    20 come to certain conclusions. Would you do that for us?

    21 A. The Human Rights Commission is a sessional body of the

    22 United Nations, operating under the Economic and Social

    23 Council of the United Nations. It is a body of member

    24 states approximately 53, who meet once every year

    25 between February and March in order to discuss human

  13. 1rights issues globally. There are two sorts of mandates

    2 which the Human Rights Commission confers upon so-called

    3 special rapporteurs who are appointed by the Commission

    4 to prepare expert reports on various themes. There are

    5 so-called thematic mandates which look at a certain

    6 theme, such as extra judicial killings, torture and so

    7 on and so forth, and then there are who are country

    8 rapporteurs, who are assigned a particular country to

    9 investigate.

    10 In this particular case, after the war broke out

    11 in the former Yugoslavia, in the summer of 1992, there

    12 was an extraordinary session of the Commission held,

    13 during which time the commission established what was

    14 perhaps the broadest mandate to investigate allegations

    15 of humanitarian law violations in the former

    16 Yugoslavia. To this end, they appointed the former

    17 Polish Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, as this

    18 special rapporteur, and put at his disposal the broadest

    19 possible resources for discharging his mandate.

    20 The mandate of a special rapporteur is not to look

    21 at individual criminal liability, but to look at

    22 so-called state responsibility, to try and provide

    23 accurate information as to whether states are

    24 discharging their obligations under international law in

    25 terms of complying with international human rights

  14. 1standards. In the case of armed conflict, where the

    2 state becomes fractured, as was the case in

    3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the so-called legitimate

    4 government may actually control a very small portion of

    5 the territory, state responsibility can also be

    6 attributed to authorities which are in de facto control

    7 of a particular area, even if they are not

    8 internationally recognised states.

    9 The methodology in general is to look at the

    10 broadest possible sources of information in order to

    11 gather reliably attested evidence of human rights

    12 violations. The special rapporteur has a quasi judicial

    13 function. He or she must act both as, if you like,

    14 Prosecution, Defence and judge in arriving at his or her

    15 conclusions. The special rapporteur, in the case of the

    16 former Yugoslavia, because of the large volume of

    17 information, would have to operate through a large

    18 number of staff. In this case there were approximately

    19 five or six staff members when I joined the mandate. At

    20 this point in time, there may be as many as 20 people.

    21 The staff or the special rapporteur directly

    22 receives information from various sources and then

    23 decides what weight to attribute to these, based on the

    24 reliability of the source, based on whether other

    25 sources have corroborated the evidence given elsewhere.

  15. 1The sources generally include, in a situation such as

    2 that of the former Yugoslavia, the international

    3 observers such as UNPROFOR who may be on the ground, who

    4 are neutral in the sense that they do not have a

    5 particular interest in the outcome of the conflict.

    6 They involve, other than UNPROFOR, the staff of

    7 international humanitarian organisations, such as the UN

    8 High Commissioner for Refugees. They could involve

    9 other intergovernmental organisations such as the

    10 European Community Monitoring Mission. In certain

    11 cases, they can involve non-governmental organisations

    12 conducting investigations in the field. This would

    13 include Amnesty International, it would include Human

    14 Rights Watch.

    15 Of course, information is also received from

    16 governmental sources, but generally information which is

    17 received from governments or parties to the conflict are

    18 treated with extreme caution, and, of course, the most

    19 important source of information are direct victims and

    20 witnesses as survivors who may give eyewitness accounts

    21 of what has transpired in the region.

    22 If I may just add one other element to the

    23 methodology, when we are dealing with state

    24 responsibility or the responsibility of a party to the

    25 conflict, it is not altogether irrelevant to look at the

  16. 1role which particular individuals in positions of

    2 leadership may be playing. We will inevitably try to

    3 get evidence as to which party is in factual control of

    4 a given territory, and then to try and ascertain who are

    5 the individuals who are determining the policy, whether

    6 civilian or military, in that particular region. This

    7 allows us with greater certainty to determine which

    8 party may have been responsible for a particular

    9 atrocity or human rights violation; whether through

    10 having ordered such atrocity or through having

    11 acquiesced in such atrocity.

    12 But we would never in these reports actually name

    13 any individuals, because the purpose of the report is

    14 not to determine individual criminal liability, but to

    15 look at the responsibility of the parties to the

    16 conflict.

    17 Q. Using the methodology that you just discussed, were you

    18 and another colleague of yours called upon to go to the

    19 Vitez area in late April and early May to look into the

    20 events concerning the crimes that took place in the

    21 village of Ahmici?

    22 A. Yes, approximately one week after my arrival in the

    23 former Yugoslavia in Zagreb, we were approached by

    24 members of the European Community Monitoring Mission, in

    25 addition to the fact that we had already seen media

  17. 1reports of what had happened in the Lasva Valley region,

    2 which had become particularly notorious because of one

    3 family which apparently had been burnt alive in the

    4 basement of their home.

    5 Because of the tremendous media attention being

    6 given to the events in the Lasva Valley region, we were

    7 encouraged to conduct an impartial investigation of the

    8 events in the region. My impression was that the ECMM

    9 because more interested in stabilising the situation,

    10 politically and militarily through having an impartial

    11 account of what had transpired, but, of course, our

    12 interest was more directly related to a human rights

    13 investigation which would provide an accurate report of

    14 what had transpired, irrespective of the consequences

    15 which that may have for stabilisation or normalisation

    16 of relations in that region.

    17 Q. You went to that area on 30th April 1993, is that

    18 correct?

    19 A. Correct.

    20 Q. Can you tell the judges what you did, where you went,

    21 who you spoke to and the results and conclusions that

    22 you arrived at, in your own words, sir.

    23 A. On April 30th, we flew by UNPROFOR air transport to

    24 Sarajevo from Zagreb, and we were taken to Kiseljak at

    25 the UNPROFOR base, where we were met by members of the

  18. 1British battalion. That same evening, on April 30th,

    2 after dinner, we were taken by the British battalion to

    3 Vitez, where the British battalion was based. The mode

    4 of transport was a series of Warrior tanks which the

    5 British battalion used through the region. I mention

    6 this to explain that in the very first evening when we

    7 arrived in Vitez, we could already see through the very

    8 small porthole which exists in the tank that a number of

    9 houses were on fire in the vicinity of Vitez. I imagine

    10 that it was Vitez, because it was just several minutes

    11 away from arriving at the base.

    12 I was told by some of the British soldiers that

    13 these were houses which apparently had been set on fire,

    14 and they were almost certainly the homes of Muslims and

    15 that these sort of activities had been taking place in

    16 the region for the past several days.

    17 During the stay, before I explain to your Honours

    18 the particular meetings which we had, the particular

    19 locations which we visited, our methodology was largely

    20 to try and speak as often as possible with members of

    21 the British battalion. We would spend a lot of time

    22 during lunch, during dinner in informal discussions with

    23 soldiers as well as commanders to get a better idea of

    24 what the overall situation was in the Lasva Valley

    25 region.

  19. 1We spoke with the higher ranking commanders very

    2 often in order to get the overall perspective of the

    3 situation in the region, and in particular, to get an

    4 idea of whether there was a great deal of lawlessness

    5 and chaos which could possibly explain some of the

    6 violations, or whether the military commanders were in

    7 firm control of the region. We spoke very often to the

    8 lower ranking soldiers in order to get a better

    9 appreciation of the situation on the ground, and very

    10 often, the soldiers would give us a much more accurate

    11 account of what the situation was from the daily trips

    12 which they would make in the region, and after six

    13 months, they had gained great familiarity with the

    14 actors and the general situation in the Lasva Valley.

    15 I should point out that at this time when we were

    16 arriving, the Cheshire Regiment was about to be rotated

    17 and a new regiment was beginning to arrive, the Prince

    18 of Wales' Own Regiment. Very often they would have

    19 joint patrols so that the Cheshire Regiment could share

    20 with the incoming Prince of Wales' Own Regiment their

    21 expert knowledge about the region.

    22 The first day on May 1st, we were taken on a joint

    23 patrol between the Cheshire and Prince of Wales

    24 regiment, to look at the region of Vitez and some of the

    25 neighbouring villages. I believe that during this first

  20. 1tour, we were accompanied by, I believe it was Sergeant

    2 Watters, I may have the military ranking -- I may not

    3 have correctly said his military ranking, but he was the

    4 second in command from Colonel Stewart. I believe that

    5 Alistair Duncan, who was the commander of the Prince of

    6 Wales' Own Regiment was also accompanying us in the

    7 tank.

    8 We toured the region for a few hours. Because of

    9 the ever present danger of sniper fire, it was not

    10 always possible for us to stick our head out of the

    11 tank, if you like, and to have a free look at what

    12 existed in the surrounding area, but on occasion, the

    13 members of the tank crew would indicate to us a sight

    14 which would be of particular interest. We drove by,

    15 that day, the village of Ahmici, and it was

    16 unmistakable because of the minaret, which had been

    17 destroyed in the village, minaret which had been

    18 literally broken at the base and which had been leaning

    19 over another building in the village.

    20 When we drove by Ahmici, we noticed that there

    21 were a number of men in military uniform, and they

    22 appeared to be looting, going from house to house taking

    23 out whatever property of value they could find. We were

    24 told by the members of the British battalion that those

    25 were almost certainly members of the HVO, the Bosnian

  21. 1Croat armed forces.

    2 We spent the evening further speaking with members

    3 of the British battalion, and the base in Vitez was such

    4 that a number of other staff of a number of other

    5 international agencies would congregate there during

    6 meal times, so we could speak there with members of the

    7 ECMM, of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

    8 sometimes non-governmental organisations which were

    9 conducting their own fact-finding investigations and

    10 very often members of the media who had great

    11 familiarity with the region. We tried to get as much

    12 information as we could that evening in anticipation of

    13 a more detailed on site investigation of Ahmici on the

    14 following day, that being May 2nd.

    15 On May 2nd, we were taken to the village of

    16 Ahmici, with two Scimitars, which were armoured

    17 personnel carriers. I should mention that the reason

    18 why we looked at Ahmici in particular is because we had

    19 obviously very limited resources. We were only two

    20 staff members, myself and my colleague Thomas Osorio,

    21 which were responsible for investigating all violations

    22 in the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina. By necessity, we had to prioritise

    24 our investigations, especially in a war which involved

    25 such widespread atrocities. We were aware, prior to

  22. 1going to the Lasva Valley region, that there were

    2 allegations on both sides that atrocities had been

    3 committed against civilians. There were allegations by

    4 the Croats that the members of the Bosnian army had

    5 committed atrocities against their civilians, including

    6 the alleged incarceration of several hundred civilians

    7 in Zenica, which was under the control of the Bosnian

    8 government.

    9 We chose to prioritise the events in Vitez and

    10 Ahmici because according to the information which we had

    11 received, that was where the largest number of killings

    12 had taken place. There were actually no allegations on

    13 the part of the Croats that, for example, in Zenica any

    14 significant number of people had been killed. The only

    15 allegations were that of forced expulsions of Croats

    16 from their homes and their detention in certain holding

    17 centres, but in the case of Ahmici and Vitez, we had

    18 received reliable accounts which suggested that several

    19 hundred civilians may have been massacred, so that was

    20 the reason for prioritising that village.

    21 When we went to Ahmici, we noticed that of the

    22 approximately 200 homes, that only 15 to 20 were

    23 undamaged. Practically every other building had been

    24 destroyed, in many cases -- I would say in almost every

    25 case it had been set on fire and the roof had collapsed

  23. 1and we noticed, of course, immediately that both of the

    2 mosques in the village had also been destroyed, one of

    3 them by means of an explosion, the minaret as

    4 I explained, and the other a church in the upper part of

    5 the village had apparently also been gutted by fire.

    6 Q. A church or a mosque?

    7 A. I am sorry, a mosque. There were two mosques, one with

    8 a minaret, one without. The mosque in the lower part of

    9 the village was the one with the minaret and the mosque

    10 in the upper part of the village was the one which

    11 apparently had been gutted by fire.

    12 We noticed that there were numerous animals which

    13 had been killed, a lot of livestock which was rotting in

    14 buildings in the middle of the road. We noticed that

    15 many of the homes still had their clothes' line with

    16 their laundry hanging in the wind, which suggested that

    17 the people had left in an awful hurry, there was no time

    18 really for the people to prepare for what had awaited

    19 them.

    20 We obviously smelled the stench of rotting bodies;

    21 there were still apparently numerous bodies which had

    22 not been recovered from the buildings, and there was, as

    23 people would say, a smell of death in the village.

    24 We noticed that some of the buildings were still

    25 smouldering, even two weeks after the attack, and we

  24. 1were under the impression that many of the buildings had

    2 been set on fire with flammable liquid, such as

    3 petroleum, because of the deep shiny black colour of the

    4 wood which remained in the buildings.

    5 Maybe I should mention that one of the first

    6 places we investigated in the village was on the main

    7 road in the southern part of the village, the main road

    8 which goes from Vitez to -- I am not sure if it is -- it

    9 goes to Kiseljak. I am not sure of the intermediate

    10 destination, whether it is Busovaca or Dubravica, but

    11 that was the main road you had to take in order to get

    12 to the village. We were told by the members of the

    13 British battalion, those present with us as well as

    14 those who we had spoken to earlier, that between this

    15 road and the Catholic cemetery, which was on the

    16 southern part of the road, was an open field where they

    17 had discovered at least 20 bodies and this was the field

    18 where they had discovered the body of one mother holding

    19 her child and practically speaking all the bodies they

    20 had recovered were those of elderly people or women and

    21 children.

    22 From the account which we had from the British

    23 battalion and from the on site investigation, we began to

    24 construct a story of how the attack had transpired. We

    25 noticed that there was a great deal of damage from what

  25. 1appeared to be mortar shelling in the northern part of

    2 the village. The northern part of the village led to

    3 some hills and some forests where people could escape to

    4 and hide, and it appeared as if the mortar shelling had

    5 forced the inhabitants to either remain in their home or

    6 to escape towards a southerly direction towards the main

    7 road, since the artillery bombardment was in the

    8 northern part of the village.

    9 It appeared that a number of those people who had

    10 been found by the British battalion in that field which

    11 I had mentioned across from the Catholic cemetery had

    12 been ambushed, that the snipers were lying in wait for

    13 them to come out, so that they would be killed.

    14 We noticed that in a depression in a hollow beside

    15 the field there was an ideal position where snipers

    16 could have an excellent vantage point for killing these

    17 people, and surely we found what would be at least 100

    18 to 200 spent casings of bullets, which suggested that

    19 snipers had been positioned there. We subsequently went

    20 from house to house to assess the kind of damage which

    21 had been done, and we noticed that on average, in front

    22 of every home, there were, let us say, 50 spent shell

    23 casings, suggesting that a large amount of ammunition

    24 had been used and suggesting that the ammunition had

    25 been used at the doorstep literally of the homes, and it

  26. 1was not away from the residential areas that the

    2 ammunition was used.

    3 We noticed also that there were spent shells from

    4 rocket-propelled grenades, which are unmistakable

    5 because of their very large size. In certain cases, we

    6 also noticed shell casings from anti-aircraft guns,

    7 which were frequently used in the former Yugoslavia

    8 against civilians, civilian targets, against personnel

    9 rather than against aircraft. At a certain point, we

    10 noticed that one elderly woman with two young boys,

    11 which could have been her grandchildren, was walking

    12 through a path in the village. My colleague Thomas, who

    13 spoke Serbo-Croatian, decided to approach this lady to

    14 try and see if she was willing to speak to us, whether

    15 she knew something about what had happened in Ahmici on

    16 April 16th, whether she knew some of the perpetrators.

    17 When we approached her, a few seconds later we

    18 heard sniper fire, which apparently was directed towards

    19 us and at that point we realised that someone did not

    20 want us in the village investigating the atrocities, and

    21 we began to run away and under heavy sniper fire managed

    22 to make it back to the Scimitar and one of the soldiers

    23 that was with us was struck by a bullet, fortunately

    24 only grazed, and I believe there was even a camera crew

    25 to record this whole episode.

  27. 1At that point, we were unable to find the source

    2 of sniper fire and returned back to the British

    3 battalion base, having gained a very good impression of

    4 the sort of attack which had taken place in Ahmici.

    5 Having looked, if you like, at the physical evidence, we

    6 decided the following day to try and locate some of the

    7 survivors. On May 3rd, we went with the British

    8 battalion across the front-line to Zenica, which was

    9 under Bosnian government control. We went to,

    10 I believe, the institute for war crimes, I forget the

    11 exact name, but it was an institute which was

    12 established in order to document war crimes in

    13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and through them, we managed to

    14 locate about 100 of the survivors from Ahmici, who were

    15 now at a refugee collection centre in Zenica.

    16 These 100 people were predominantly elderly, women

    17 and children. I do not recall having seen any men in

    18 their midst. They had been detained in a school in

    19 Dubravica, I believe, for about two weeks prior to being

    20 released, and they had just arrived a few days earlier

    21 from their detention. They had indicated that during

    22 their detention, that there was not necessarily serious

    23 mistreatment amounting to torture or anything of that

    24 nature, but that they were not really adequately fed and

    25 some of them indicated to us that at least two women in

  28. 1their midst had been taken away and apparently raped by

    2 members of the HVO.

    3 We spoke with these people for several hours to

    4 get an eyewitness account of what had happened, and then

    5 to try to juxtapose that account with the physical

    6 evidence which we had seen in Ahmici. Practically all

    7 of the people indicated to us that at about 5.30 am in

    8 the morning, around the time when the morning prayers

    9 were being said from the minaret in the village, that

    10 they had heard explosions, and that many of them had

    11 escaped from their homes. Some had seen those who had

    12 been killed in the field which I described, and others

    13 said that the only reason they survived is because they

    14 managed to escape somewhere into the forest and to hide,

    15 so that the HVO soldiers did not find them.

    16 They said that after the bombardment, the soldiers

    17 went door to door, in certain cases they would throw

    18 grenades into homes or set the homes on fire and when

    19 the occupants would come out of the homes, they would

    20 simply execute them right there. One of them suggested

    21 that a soldier who told her father to come out of the

    22 house on the promise that he would not be harmed and

    23 when he opened the door, he was immediately shot.

    24 I think that there was only one case where the people

    25 were not killed in an act of apparent mercy by one of

  29. 1the soldiers who knew the wife of the man he had just

    2 killed and the children and who spared their lives and

    3 simply told them to run away, but in practically every

    4 other case, it appeared that where the soldiers could

    5 kill an individual, that they would, not spare any

    6 lives.

    7 We had one testimony which was particularly

    8 useful. That was the testimony of an elderly man who

    9 apparently had sustained burns on his hands and feet and

    10 the side of his body. His name was Sakib Ahmic. He was

    11 one of the people in the collection centre in Zenica.

    12 He explained that during the attack, he had hidden

    13 behind a sofa in the home of, I forget whether it was

    14 his son or daughter, anyway in the home of his child,

    15 and that he could clearly see the soldiers come through

    16 the house, go into the adjoining room and he heard

    17 bullets and then saw the man and woman fall on the

    18 ground, though he was not certain whether they had died

    19 or not, he clearly saw they were shot by the soldiers.

    20 There were also two children in that home aged,

    21 I believe, four or six months and the other about three

    22 to four years of age and he was not sure what had become

    23 of them, whether they also had been killed or not. In

    24 any event, he said that the house was subsequently set

    25 on fire through the use of some sort of flammable

  30. 1liquid, petroleum perhaps, and that he managed somehow

    2 to escape after the house had been set on fire and to

    3 hide in a hollow in the village before making it to

    4 Zenica.

    5 I should mention that subsequently on May 5th, my

    6 colleague came back and further interviewed Sakib Ahmic

    7 and another lady, who I believe bore some relation to

    8 him, and got exact details as to the location of the

    9 home in the village and as to the location of the bodies

    10 within that home, which allowed us finally on May 6th,

    11 in a subsequent visit to Ahmici, to locate the body of

    12 the man, woman and the infant and the child, which

    13 further gave credence to the accuracy and veracity of

    14 the testimony of the survivors.

    15 Subsequent to May 3rd -- I beg your pardon,

    16 I should also mention that practically speaking, every

    17 survivor that we spoke with testified that the soldiers

    18 who were involved in the killings were wearing army

    19 uniforms and that all of them were members of the HVO in

    20 the sense that they had the familiar armband of the

    21 circle with the red and white chequered flag with the

    22 HVO sign. Almost all of them said that they could see

    23 that these were HVO soldiers and just to be 100 per cent

    24 sure, we even asked them whether they could identify by

    25 name some of the perpetrators to discount the

  31. 1possibility that these people could have been from some

    2 other paramilitary group, simply donning HVO uniforms,

    3 and we managed to get, in the limited time available,

    4 the names of 18 perpetrators given to us, and many of

    5 these perpetrators were from Ahmici itself, or from the

    6 surrounding villages, which proved to us conclusively

    7 that what had transpired in Ahmici had been a

    8 deliberate, concerted large-scale military attack which

    9 had required, according to the military experts which we

    10 spoke with, probably a company of 100 to 150 soldiers,

    11 the use of artillery, the use of several thousand rounds

    12 of ammunition, and that the perpetrators were indeed

    13 members of the HVO.

    14 On May 4th, in order to ensure that we had not

    15 simply looked at one-sided sources of evidence, we asked

    16 the British battalion to take us to some of the isolated

    17 Croatian villages and hamlets to try and do an

    18 investigation of human rights violations committed

    19 against Croats. We discovered in the hamlet of

    20 Miletici, which was a very small community in the

    21 vicinity of Vitez, that a group of so-called Mujahedin,

    22 which were apparently recruited from the local

    23 population but also they were foreign mercenaries, had

    24 attacked Miletici not so much by means of weaponry but

    25 had simply come into the village, had taken out three or

  32. 1four young Croatian men who were of fighting age, had

    2 tortured them and beheaded them. We went to the home

    3 where the beheading had taken place and we took note of

    4 the human rights violations in our report.

    5 So by May 4th, I think we had a good overall

    6 perspective of what had happened in the Lasva Valley

    7 region, and a sense of the atrocities which had been

    8 committed by the HVO against the local Muslim population

    9 and what appeared to be isolated acts of revenge or

    10 retaliation by small numbers of Muslim forces and we

    11 were not able to ascertain whether the Muslim forces

    12 were agents of the Bosnian government, in the sense that

    13 they were regular members of the army, or whether they

    14 were simply isolated individuals operating on their

    15 own.

    16 It was very clear, though, that the attack on

    17 Miletici was a very small scale attack which could have

    18 been committed by a band of four or five people, which

    19 indeed was the case, whereas the attack on Ahmici was

    20 necessarily a large scale attack which required

    21 tremendous military preparation.

    22 I should also add that one of the problems in the

    23 region was that virtually speaking, every man of

    24 military age was wearing a uniform, either of the HVO or

    25 of the Bosnian army, and that it was very difficult in

  33. 1certain cases to distinguish who is a combatant and who

    2 is a non-combatant, in terms of people who may have

    3 died. You were not always able to tell whether they

    4 were a combatant in the sense that they were a member of

    5 an organised armed attack or resistance, or whether they

    6 were simply locals who were home for the weekend to

    7 visit their families and who simply happened to have

    8 their uniform on, but in any event, our impression was

    9 that where there was resistance to the HVO forces that

    10 it was very isolated resistance, that there was no large

    11 scale organised resistance within the villages, so they

    12 may not have been entirely undefended. But clearly they

    13 were defended to a very limited extent, by maybe the

    14 father of the home who will pick up a shotgun and try to

    15 defend his family against the oncoming army.

    16 I should also mention that we investigated also

    17 the situation in Vitez itself. We went to Stari Vitez,

    18 which was the, if you like, the Muslim part of the city

    19 which, of course, was heavily fortified at this point.

    20 After a number of attacks, including a truck bomb which

    21 had exploded some weeks earlier, which had caused

    22 extensive damage, as well as the events which transpired

    23 on April 16th. Stari Vitez was a heavily fortified part

    24 of the city where the Muslims were clearly in the

    25 defensive, ever ready to be attacked again by the HVO.

  34. 1We received evidence that in Vitez, up to that

    2 point, approximately 101 bodies had been identified and

    3 buried. According to the padre of the British battalion

    4 and other sources, of the 101 dead, 96 were Muslims and

    5 five were Croats. This I believe was very easy to

    6 corroborate, because the respective Muslim and Catholic

    7 priests had done the religious rituals for those who had

    8 died prior to their burial.

    9 In the case of Ahmici, we were told by the British

    10 battalion that they had uncovered approximately 89

    11 bodies at that point in time, and, of course, because of

    12 the way in which the buildings had been destroyed,

    13 because of the existence of mines, possibly booby-traps,

    14 it was very difficult to dig underneath the rubble to

    15 discover many of the bodies and the British battalion

    16 simply did not have the resources to engage in massive

    17 investigation of where these bodies lay, but according

    18 to the account of the survivors in Zenica, there could

    19 have been up to 100 additional people who they

    20 themselves had seen executed, as opposed to people who

    21 were unaccounted for, that number being as high as 300,

    22 so it was conceivable, although we could never get

    23 accurate statistics, that up to 500 people, at least 200

    24 and up to 500 people could have been killed in Ahmici.

    25 The population of Ahmici, as far as we could

  35. 1gather from 1991 census and other statistics available

    2 to us, was approximately 800, of whom the overwhelming

    3 majority, approximately 80 per cent, would have been

    4 Muslim and approximately 20 or possibly even 10 per cent

    5 would have been Croatian. In addition, there were

    6 approximately 300 displaced persons, almost exclusively

    7 Muslims, who had come from other regions of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina to stay with people in Ahmici, so the

    9 population was approximately 1,100, so it was very clear

    10 that a significant part of that community had been

    11 killed in this attack, anywhere from 20, 30 to

    12 50 per cent of the population.

    13 This brings me to May 5th, which is perhaps one of

    14 the most important days in the investigation. On May

    15 5th, my colleague Thomas and I decided to go separate

    16 ways in order to optimise on our limited time and

    17 resources. Thomas went back to further interview the

    18 survivors in Zenica, and he, as I explained earlier,

    19 managed to get further details of what had transpired on

    20 April 16th, including as I mentioned, the name of 18

    21 alleged culprits, as well as specific information about

    22 the home in which we found the bodies of the family

    23 eventually on May 6th.

    24 At this point in time, I had requested the British

    25 battalion to arrange meetings with the Bosnian Croat or

  36. 1rather the HVO leadership in the region. They had told

    2 me that the three people which would be relevant in this

    3 area would be firstly Dario Kordic, who was the

    4 Vice-President of Herceg-Bosna and the HDZ political

    5 party; Colonel Blaskic, who at that time was the highest

    6 ranking military office in the Central Bosnia Operative

    7 Zone for the HVO, and Mario Cerkez, who was the head of

    8 the HVO in Vitez.

    9 The first meeting on May 5th was with

    10 Colonel Blaskic at his headquarters in Vitez. When

    11 I met with Colonel Blaskic, I believe that our meeting

    12 lasted approximately two hours during the morning.

    13 I noticed, of course, that there were a large number of

    14 HVO soldiers obviously at the headquarters. I noticed

    15 in the midst of these soldiers, as well the soldiers who

    16 were wearing black uniforms and according to my

    17 understanding -- as far as I knew at that point in time,

    18 these were members of the HOS paramilitary formation.

    19 I subsequently learned that they were known as the

    20 Vitezovi and they may not have gone under the name HOS,

    21 but they were still referred to commonly as HOS because

    22 of their counterparts in Croatia.

    23 My meeting with Colonel Blaskic consisted of two

    24 parts and maybe I can explain why I had insisted on

    25 meeting the HVO leadership. I had insisted on meeting

  37. 1them because I wanted to give them an opportunity, as

    2 was our practice in all human rights investigations, to

    3 counter the allegations which had been made against

    4 them, and to give us some possible alternative

    5 explanation as to what had happened, although at this

    6 stage of the investigation, everything led to the

    7 conclusion that there had been a concerted and planned

    8 HVO attack against civilians and civilian objects in the

    9 Lasva Valley region.

    10 So we wanted to give the leadership the

    11 opportunity to prove us wrong. I asked Colonel Blaskic

    12 about his formal status and his powers and his scope of

    13 responsibility. He explained to me that he was the

    14 commander of all HVO forces in the Central Bosnia

    15 Operative Zone and, of course, what we were primarily

    16 concerned with was the Lasva Valley region and indeed he

    17 confirmed that he was the commander of all HVO forces in

    18 the Lasva Valley region. I asked Colonel Blaskic about

    19 the existence of paramilitary formations. I wanted to

    20 make sure that there was no possibility that rogue

    21 elements who were not part of the HVO command may have

    22 committed the atrocities. He suggested to me that

    23 although there may have been some paramilitary

    24 formations that he was clearly in command of the

    25 Lasva Valley region and that no operation of any

  38. 1military significance could take place either without

    2 his consent or his knowledge. In short, I was told that

    3 he and his HVO subordinates were in clear control of the

    4 Lasva Valley region.

    5 At that point in time, I began to explain to

    6 Colonel Blaskic in great detail -- as I explained the

    7 meeting lasted approximately two hours -- I explained to

    8 him in great detail the evidence which we had uncovered

    9 in Ahmici and in Vitez with respect to atrocities

    10 against civilians. I explained to him -- I will not

    11 repeat, for the sake of brevity, here all of the details

    12 which I had earlier indicated concerning the way in

    13 which the attack had been carried out, how concerted and

    14 deliberate and well organised it was, what a large

    15 volume of ammunition had been used and so on and so

    16 forth and, of course, I emphasised the testimony of the

    17 approximately 50 to 60 survivors who we had spoken with

    18 in Zenica as to the identity of those perpetrators.

    19 Colonel Blaskic did not deny that atrocities had

    20 been committed in Ahmici. He did not try to persuade me

    21 that these atrocities had not occurred, but he adamantly

    22 denied that any of his soldiers would have been involved

    23 in such an operation. I repeated once again that all

    24 evidence linked HVO soldiers to that attack, and he

    25 repeated his position that as far as he was concerned,

  39. 1none of his soldiers would have committed such

    2 atrocities. This suggested not only that he, according

    3 to his own claim, had not ordered such an attack, but

    4 that his soldiers were really, if you like, well behaved

    5 soldiers who would not commit such atrocities.

    6 I asked Colonel Blaskic a number of other

    7 questions, and he confirmed to me, as we had been told

    8 by members of the British battalion and ECMM and other

    9 observers, that there really was no reason for any

    10 attack on Ahmici, in the sense that there was virtually

    11 no military presence whatsoever, there was no legitimate

    12 military target in Ahmici which would have justified an

    13 attack.

    14 At that point in time, somewhere between the

    15 halfway mark of the interview, a certain gentleman came

    16 into the room and I believe that that gentleman was Ante

    17 Valenta. I was told and I am not sure if my

    18 recollection is accurate, that he had been a school

    19 teacher prior to becoming involved actively with

    20 politics in the Lasva Valley region and that he may have

    21 published either a book or a booklet or a pamphlet which

    22 outlined, if you like, the ideology of the Bosnian Croat

    23 political establishment. Mr. Valenta interjected a few

    24 times. He, to the best of my memory, mentioned some

    25 things about how the Muslims had different values than

  40. 1the Croats, how in reality the Croatian were Europeans,

    2 they were civilised, whereas the Muslims were somehow

    3 less civilised, less European. It seemed to be some

    4 sort of apology, some sort of propaganda exercise which

    5 I , of course, ignored and I tried to direct my

    6 attention back to my discussion with Colonel Blaskic.

    7 At the end of the interview, I asked

    8 Colonel Blaskic who could have possibly committed the

    9 attacks on civilians in Ahmici as well as Vitez, and

    10 he was not really able to give me any alternative

    11 explanation, he simply told me that he did not know who

    12 did it and he was certain that his own soldiers did

    13 not. I explained to Colonel Blaskic in very clear terms

    14 that as commander of the HVO Armed Forces in the region,

    15 he was responsible to undertake an investigation, a full

    16 investigation to identify the perpetrators of these

    17 atrocities and that he was responsible as commander to

    18 ensure that these perpetrators were punished.

    19 My interest at that point was, of course, not to

    20 determine the individual criminal liability of anyone,

    21 that there was really no part of our mandate which made

    22 such an exercise relevant. Nor was there at that time

    23 an international criminal court or any other body for

    24 which we would have been interested in gathering

    25 evidence. My only concern at that point was to point

  41. 1out what is the responsibility of a state or, in the

    2 absence of a state, a para-state or substate entity such

    3 as Herceg-Bosna, but that responsibility under

    4 international law is to enforce human rights, not simply

    5 by constitutional means but to enforce human rights by

    6 punishing those who have violated human rights norms.

    7 So it was in that light that I reminded Colonel Blaskic

    8 of his responsibility to investigate and prosecute those

    9 who had been responsible.

    10 I met subsequently Mario Cerkez, who was the head

    11 of the HVO in Vitez. The meeting with him was somewhat

    12 shorter, but once again, I explained to him the detailed

    13 account of the evidence which we had uncovered and asked

    14 for an explanation. He did not offer me any

    15 explanation, but simply said that on April 16th, he had

    16 been sleeping when all of a sudden he heard gunfire and

    17 artillery fire and that when he woke up, there was chaos

    18 and he really did not know what was going on, everyone

    19 was killing everybody else, suggesting there really was

    20 no concerted military action and certainly nothing that

    21 he was aware of.

    22 Colonel Stewart subsequently joined this meeting

    23 and both Colonel Stewart and I also reminded Mario

    24 Cerkez that he is responsible with respect to those

    25 soldiers under his command to conduct a full

  42. 1investigation and to ensure that those who are

    2 responsible are brought to trial.

    3 The last meeting of that day was with Dario

    4 Kordic. It was a bit difficult to arrange a meeting

    5 with him and I had to wait outside of his office for

    6 almost one hour before a member of the British battalion

    7 persuaded him to have a meeting with me.

    8 The meeting with him was very short and abrupt,

    9 I would say 15 to 20 minutes. It was under very heavy

    10 guard. Mr. Kordic was wearing a military uniform, seated

    11 behind a desk with some of his soldiers. I explained

    12 very quickly to Mr. Kordic what our mandate was,

    13 explained to him once again the evidence of atrocities

    14 in the region and he suggested to me that the HVO

    15 soldiers could not conceivably have committed those

    16 crimes because, according to his own words, they were

    17 good Christians who would never commit such heinous

    18 atrocities.

    19 He then went on to suggest, when I asked him

    20 whether he had any explanations, that the atrocities

    21 were committed either by Serbs, who would have

    22 infiltrated the region at night in order to commit this

    23 atrocity, which I found very difficult to believe

    24 because it would have involved the movement of some 100

    25 to 150 soldiers with mortar, with weaponry, undetected

  43. 1through really the nerve centre of HVO control, to have

    2 killed all of these people and then to have retreated

    3 without anyone having noticed them. He then suggested

    4 that if that explanation was not satisfactory, that the

    5 Muslims themselves may have committed the atrocities in

    6 Ahmici in order to gain international sympathy and that

    7 the Muslims were known for doing things like that.

    8 I explained to Mr. Kordic that much to my regret,

    9 I could not accept any of those explanations as

    10 satisfactory in view of the overwhelming evidence to the

    11 contrary, and Mr. Kordic with a smile on his face says

    12 that he knows that I am not persuaded but he will still

    13 try. The meeting ended and I went back to the base and

    14 gave my colleague a debriefing, he gave me a debriefing

    15 of his interviews that day in Zenica. We discussed

    16 further with the British battalion what our evidence had

    17 been, tried to get further stories from them and we got,

    18 towards the final nights as we became friends with some

    19 of the soldiers, yet more stories about atrocities in

    20 the region.

    21 One soldier had testified that he had been

    22 patrolling the region of Ahmici shortly after the attack

    23 on April 16th and he had seen a group of HVO soldiers on

    24 the road. Another had testified that a group of HVO

    25 soldiers were escorting a group of Muslim men, maybe 15

  44. 1or 20 men, who were clearly prisoners, and when he had

    2 asked them what will happen to them, the soldier had

    3 indicated in perhaps subtle terms that they were going

    4 to be executed.

    5 Another soldier who I had met who was at the

    6 UNPROFOR garage, which was situated in a different

    7 location than the actual UNPROFOR base in Vitez, and

    8 which had a very good view of some of the neighbouring

    9 hamlets and villages, had mentioned that he himself had

    10 seen through his binoculars a group of men being rounded

    11 up and executed in a neighbouring village. I could see

    12 from the entrance of the garage that it was possible

    13 through binoculars to have a very clear and accurate

    14 view of some of the neighbouring hamlets and villages.

    15 What was interesting is that -- I am not sure if

    16 it was that evening or the evening of our last day,

    17 which was May 6th, when I was speaking to this

    18 particular individual, I believe his name was Sergeant

    19 Major Beck, that we saw a number of cars leaving Vitez,

    20 I remember there were Volkswagen Rabbit cars, one or two

    21 of them, with a group of what happened to be young men

    22 in military uniform. They were taking a road, I cannot

    23 remember exactly which direction it was, but they were

    24 going over a hill to apparently what was a Muslim

    25 village behind the hill, behind where we could actually

  45. 1see with our own eyes. Sergeant Major Beck immediately

    2 said that was the same group of people who have been

    3 going around attacking villages and burning homes.

    4 I was very surprised at the certitude with which he made

    5 that assertion, but he was proven correct when maybe ten

    6 or 15 minutes later over the hill one could see some

    7 fires, what appeared to be, if you like, the halo of the

    8 fire over the hill and one fire began, then a second,

    9 then a third. It seemed as if the fires were being set

    10 in a very systematic fashion and it was very clear that

    11 homes were being set on fire and that this was really a

    12 regular nightly activity.

    13 This brought me back to the very first evening

    14 when we had arrived, also when we had seen a number of

    15 homes being set on fire.

    16 Finally, on May 6th, which was the last day for us

    17 in the Lasva Valley, there was a high level delegation

    18 from the European Community of a British, French and

    19 Spanish Ambassador, who wanted to visit the region to

    20 try to get a better idea of what had happened in the

    21 Lasva Valley and to try and stabilise the situation. We

    22 went back once again to Ahmici, this time under very

    23 heavy guard. There was an advance team which went to

    24 secure the area to ensure that there was no repetition

    25 of the incident with the snipers. We once again visited

  46. 1the village.

    2 Perhaps the only event which is of significance

    3 here was the home that I had mentioned to you earlier

    4 that we went to, based on a map which had been drawn by,

    5 I believe, Sakib Ahmic or one of the other survivors,

    6 which pointed out where the home was where he had been

    7 hiding behind the sofa as the home was set on fire and

    8 the specific location of the room where the father,

    9 mother and two children had been either executed or

    10 burnt alive.

    11 We went to that home and exactly in the location

    12 that we were told, found what were the badly burnt

    13 remains of two people who appeared to be adults -- in

    14 one case the only parts which we could find were the

    15 vertebrae, the pelvis and the skull, and the other parts

    16 may have been burnt or decomposed or whatever the case

    17 might be. We found also the badly charred remains of

    18 what at first appeared to be simply a rag or a carpet or

    19 something that had been burnt and these ended up being

    20 the body of the four month old infant and the three year

    21 old child. We could not determine at that point whether

    22 they also had been executed or whether they had simply

    23 been burnt alive or whether they had been burnt as the

    24 building was destroyed.

    25 I should also add that while in Zenica, we also

  47. 1had accounts of the notorious case of the -- what were

    2 between four and six women and children who had been

    3 hiding in a basement and who had apparently been burnt

    4 alive, and apparently the bodies were taken to Zenica

    5 and an autopsy had been performed on them, so we

    6 ourselves did not see those particular bodies, but we

    7 received confirmation that they indeed had -- that this

    8 event had indeed transpired.

    9 That brings me, your Honour, forgive me for the

    10 very extended description of the events, that brings me

    11 to the final day May 7th, where we returned to Sarajevo

    12 and then subsequently to Zagreb, where we cumulatively

    13 put our notes in the form of a report, transmitted it to

    14 Geneva where the desk officer, in collaboration with us,

    15 drafted the report that I believe you may have before

    16 you, the report to the Commission on Human Rights

    17 concerning ethnic cleansing by Croat forces in the

    18 Lasva Valley region.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Akhavan, the Trial Chamber wishes to thank

    20 you for the precision with which you have testified. We

    21 are now going to have a 20 minute break, Mr. Prosecutor

    22 will certainly have some additional questions to put to

    23 you. In cases of testimony of this kind by an expert,

    24 the Chamber will appreciate it if those questions will

    25 be such that the witness will not repeat what he has

  48. 1already said, but will rather speak in support of the

    2 charges contained in the indictment. The hearing is

    3 adjourned. We will meet at 11.50.

    4 (11.30 am)

    5 (A short break)

    6 (11.50 am)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume our hearing. Please have

    8 the accused brought in.

    9 (Accused brought in)

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

    11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.

    12 Mr. Akhavan, I would like to ask you a couple of

    13 questions concerning your narrative. The first two

    14 relate to the British battalion members that you

    15 identified by name, one of which was an individual that

    16 you described as Watters, which you were unfamiliar with

    17 his rank. Would that be Bryan Watters that you were

    18 speaking to?

    19 A. Correct.

    20 Q. The other individual was a Sergeant Beck in the

    21 echelon?

    22 A. Excuse me, the echelon?

    23 Q. The garage. That is the individual who described to you

    24 the people going up and lighting fires, is that right?

    25 A. Correct.

  49. 1Q. From what location did these individuals come from, do

    2 you know, town, location? What did Beck say?

    3 A. From where we were situated, I cannot speak about

    4 directions in terms of north, south, east or west, but

    5 from where the garage was facing Vitez I believe was to

    6 our left-hand side down the road, so the cars were

    7 moving from Vitez in our general direction. But towards

    8 the front of the garage, if you like, there was a road

    9 maybe one, at most two kilometres away which came out of

    10 Vitez and then went through towards some of the villages

    11 behind the hill, which I had mentioned earlier.

    12 Q. What did Sergeant Beck inform you concerning these

    13 people and the regularity of their activities?

    14 A. He had mentioned that there are a group of them and that

    15 they had some sort of a leader who was well known for

    16 causing problems, and that very often, they would

    17 congregate at a certain place in Vitez which could have

    18 been possibly a bar where they were drinking together, a

    19 restaurant, some other gathering place and that

    20 frequently they would have a few drinks, get into their

    21 cars and go into a village and abuse people, burn some

    22 homes and engage in other such activities.

    23 Q. I have no intention of covering everything in your

    24 narrative, but I would like to direct your attention to

    25 the meeting where you were talking to Colonel Blaskic on

  50. 15th May 1993. You indicated that there was another

    2 individual there by the name of Ante Valenta, is that

    3 right?

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. If I could have put on the ELMO Exhibit 80/8 briefly?

    6 Is the individual who was at the meeting with you and

    7 Blaskic in this picture?

    8 A. Yes.

    9 Q. Can you point to him please on the ELMO, if you could?

    10 A. It would be this gentleman with the briefcase and the

    11 moustache.

    12 Q. Did Blaskic indicate in any fashion that when Valenta

    13 came into this meeting that he was unwelcome?

    14 A. Apparently not. My impression when Mr. Valenta came into

    15 the meeting was that he was very well known. He was, if

    16 you like, one of the boys. He just came in really

    17 without much introduction, took his seat at the table.

    18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Usher, we are not going to address that

    19 photograph any longer. You mentioned during your

    20 meeting with Kordic that he offered you at least two

    21 explanations as to those responsible for the atrocities

    22 in Ahmici, either the Serbs, or the Muslims might have

    23 done it to themselves, is that correct?

    24 A. Correct.

    25 Q. Did Blaskic offer you any alternative explanation at his

  51. 1meeting with you?

    2 A. I do not believe so. He simply reiterated that he did

    3 not know who had done it, but that it was certainly not

    4 his soldiers.

    5 Q. You mentioned likewise that on 6th May you went back to

    6 Ahmici to investigate some information that had been

    7 given to Mr. Osorio on his trips to Zenica, is that

    8 right?

    9 A. Correct.

    10 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, your Honours, if we may

    11 go to a clip, this is a clip coming from Sky News. You

    12 have seen this clip of video, have you not?

    13 A. I have.

    14 Q. You are in fact in this video?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, your Honours, if we can

    17 show this clip, I think it is about a minute or so.

    18 I am not sure of the exact number of this tape,

    19 Mr. Dubuisson.

    20 THE REGISTRAR: This is 185.

    21 (Videotape played)

    22 (Videotape stopped)

    23 MR. KEHOE: As I noted previously, that was you with the

    24 helmet and the flak jacket on during the course of that

    25 clip, is that right?

  52. 1A. Correct.

    2 Q. The British officer who was doing the speaking there,

    3 who was that?

    4 A. Colonel Stewart.

    5 Q. Of the Cheshire Regiment?

    6 A. Cheshire Regiment.

    7 Q. Likewise after the scene -- it was of Ahmici, that

    8 scene, is that right?

    9 A. Correct.

    10 Q. After that scene, there appeared to be a meeting that

    11 was filmed where the defendant and others were present,

    12 is that right?

    13 A. Correct.

    14 Q. Were you at that meeting?

    15 A. No, I was not.

    16 Q. Do you recognise any of the people in that meeting,

    17 other than the defendant?

    18 A. Yes, well, other than the ECMM ambassadors and Colonel

    19 Stewart, I recognise Ante Valenta being present at that

    20 meeting.

    21 Q. If I can move ahead, Mr. Akhavan, to your actual report.

    22 You said that you went back to your headquarters and you

    23 sent some of your results to Geneva where a report was

    24 written, is that correct?

    25 A. Correct.

  53. 1MR. KEHOE: With your permission, Mr. President, if I can go

    2 to the next exhibit, 186, which is the report itself in

    3 English and French. (Handed). Before the judges and

    4 counsel is the report that was the report drafted by the

    5 Commission on Human Rights, dated 19th May 1993. This

    6 report was completed long before the international war

    7 crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia came into

    8 existence, was it not?

    9 A. Actually, it came out six days before Resolution 827 was

    10 adopted by the Security Council, and certainly at least

    11 one or two years before the Tribunal became operational

    12 in a meaningful sense.

    13 Q. Just to be perfectly clear about this report, there is a

    14 section of this report dealing with the city of Mostar,

    15 is there not?

    16 A. Correct.

    17 Q. Did you or Mr. Osorio have anything to do with that

    18 portion of this report?

    19 A. No, that portion of the report was primarily done

    20 through other sources in Geneva and elsewhere.

    21 Q. Without going through every aspect of this report,

    22 because the body of it, of course, was attested to

    23 during your testimony, what were the conclusions reached

    24 by the Commission concerning the events that occurred in

    25 Ahmici, Vitez and the surrounding areas?

  54. 1A. The basic conclusions which I believe are contained in

    2 the latter part of this report, paragraphs 38 to 44, the

    3 basic conclusions were that indeed there had been

    4 humanitarian law violations committed on all sides in

    5 the Lasva Valley region, but that by far the most

    6 serious large scale violations had taken place in areas

    7 under the control of the Bosnian Croat forces. Then a

    8 detailing of some of the -- the nature of some of the

    9 atrocities which had occurred, which involves everything

    10 from large scale arbitrary executions to torture to

    11 sexual assault to deportations, wanton destruction of

    12 property, and, of course, the conclusions include the

    13 fact that none of the parties, certainly not the Bosnian

    14 Croats, had engaged in any form of investigation, let

    15 alone Prosecution of those responsible.

    16 Q. Mr. Akhavan, after this report was written, was it

    17 transmitted to the authorities for the Croatian

    18 Community of Herceg-Bosna?

    19 A. I am not certain whether it was specifically sent to

    20 Herceg-Bosna, but this was a public document of the

    21 United Nations. It was certainly sent to Zagreb and

    22 I do know for a fact though that the community of

    23 Herceg-Bosna reacted to the report, so one way or

    24 another, they did read the report and they did react to

    25 it in considerable detail, I would say.

  55. 1Q. Can you just tell the court about their reaction, what

    2 they had said that they were going to do or had done?

    3 A. The reaction was somewhat muted. I should point out

    4 that Tadeusz Mazowiecki was held in very high regard

    5 among the Croats, as well as the Muslims, as being one

    6 of the few people in the United Nations who had stood up

    7 and told the truth with respect to humanitarian law

    8 violations, so I think there was some degree of caution

    9 in trying to criticise Mr. Mazowiecki, so the criticism

    10 is directed at the staff of Mr. Mazowiecki rather than

    11 himself. The allegation is something to the effect that

    12 the staff are not impartial, that they are clearly

    13 biased in their approach and furthermore that they have

    14 only had access to evidence of atrocities committed by

    15 Croats and not of similar atrocities committed by

    16 Muslims, the idea being that since the Croats were very

    17 co-operative and civilised that naturally more

    18 information would be gathered about atrocities which

    19 they had committed.

    20 Of course, in reality we had absolutely no

    21 co-operation from the Bosnian Croats. As a matter of

    22 fact, their snipers tried to kill us when we were trying

    23 to investigate, so I think that that is a grossly

    24 distorted picture of the situation.

    25 They went on to make specific allegations about

  56. 1Zenica, deportations in Zenica, detention in Zenica, and

    2 our own report recognises that there have been

    3 allegations in Zenica, but because of the very limited

    4 amount of time which we had, we basically chose to

    5 investigate what had transpired in Vitez and Ahmici,

    6 because based on the information which we had, the scale

    7 of atrocities were far, far greater than anything which

    8 was alleged in Zenica, so there was no question of

    9 impartiality, it was really a question of what do you

    10 prioritise under the circumstances with very limited

    11 resources.

    12 There were also some other small points made in

    13 the report, something to the effect that the report is

    14 inaccurate because it mentions that, for example, Donje

    15 Vakuf as being an area where there are hostilities

    16 between Croats and Muslims. They point out, correctly,

    17 that that was an area which was controlled by the Serbs,

    18 so it was only Gornji Vakuf where there was some sort of

    19 conflict, so there may have been some very small errors

    20 due to the fact that we may have had limited access to

    21 information, we may not have had the name of a

    22 particular village right, but in any event Donje Vakuf

    23 is not mentioned in our report in relation to any

    24 atrocities, it is simply mentioned in order to put

    25 forward a list of the villages which existed in the area

  57. 1where there were conflicts between Croats and Muslims.

    2 In short, the letter of the Croatian Community of

    3 Herceg-Bosna suggests that we have been one sided. It

    4 does not deny, interestingly enough, that there were

    5 atrocities in Ahmici or Vitez. It simply says that:

    6 "We do not insist that serious violations of human

    7 rights did not occur."

    8 They simply say that you should also have taken

    9 into consideration what was done against Croats by

    10 Muslims.

    11 One final thing which I will point out which is

    12 amusing is that in the portion of the report called

    13 "item", there is a survey, a statistical survey of the

    14 population in the region which suggests, for example,

    15 that in Travnik, Travnik being the city under government

    16 control which was part of canton number 10 in the

    17 Vance-Owen Plan and which was to go under Croatian

    18 control, although it was predominantly Muslim, according

    19 to the statistics offered by Herceg-Bosna, the city was

    20 45.8 per cent Croatian and 37.4 per cent Muslim. In

    21 reality, it is the exact opposite, according to the 1991

    22 census, which was conducted still during the days of the

    23 SFRY, which indicated that the population of Travnik was

    24 45.3 per cent Muslim and 39.6 per cent Croat, so I think

    25 here also there is some propaganda attempt through

  58. 1distortion of statistics to justify the ethnic

    2 configuration which existed at that time under the

    3 Vance-Owen Plan.

    4 Q. Mr. Akhavan, did the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna

    5 indicate that they had set up any type of commission to

    6 look into the facts concerning the crimes in Ahmici?

    7 A. On two occasions there were some indications. Firstly,

    8 when we met with the ECMM people in Zagreb, they had

    9 indicated to us that there was an agreement, and I think

    10 it was an agreement which was concluded under their

    11 auspices and because of pressures which they exerted on

    12 the parties, there was an agreement that the parties

    13 would investigate the atrocities and to identify those

    14 who are responsible, and then once again, in the report

    15 sent to Mr. Mazowiecki from Herceg-Bosna. There is a

    16 reference I believe on the second page saying that:

    17 "Everything that is written in these reports",

    18 meaning to say our report, "dealing with crimes in

    19 Ahmici was the reason why the HVO formed a commission

    20 which is responsible to investigate these crimes."

    21 But as far as we know, such a commission, even if

    22 it was established, which we never heard any account of,

    23 never did any serious investigation, let alone bring

    24 anyone to justice.

    25 Q. So as far as you know, was any soldier or any person

  59. 1ever prosecuted or investigated by this commission, or

    2 did you see results of that investigation?

    3 A. We heard absolutely nothing from the commission. As far

    4 as we were aware, the commission existed only on paper

    5 and it was clearly a means of appeasing public opinion

    6 which was outraged at what had happened in Ahmici.

    7 Q. Did you receive any indication that any soldier in the

    8 HVO was relieved of command or relieved of his

    9 responsibilities as an HVO soldier or was

    10 court-martialed by the HVO in any way, shape or form?

    11 A. None whatsoever.

    12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, at this time, I would, if I have

    13 not done it previously, offer into evidence Exhibit 185,

    14 which is the video and Exhibit 186 -- I am sorry, 185 is

    15 the video and the statement itself is 184 and 184A is

    16 the French version of the report of the Commission on

    17 Human Rights.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: The report is 184, your Honour? It had been

    19 identified as 186.

    20 MR. KEHOE: I believe I was mistaken, counsel. I believe

    21 Mr. Dubuisson corrected the Office of the Prosecutor and

    22 the report is 184 and the French version is 184A. So my

    23 statements before concerning 186, I stand corrected.

    24 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, no objection to 184 if the

    25 paragraphs pertaining to Mostar are redacted. I think

  60. 1they are outside the scope of the indictment and I see

    2 no point in having the witness cross-examined about

    3 them. If paragraphs 26 through 36 are redacted in the

    4 document that is filed with the court, no objection to

    5 its admission.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Is it really necessary for it to be redacted?

    7 It seems obvious to me. It is obvious we are not

    8 speaking about Mostar, but if you insist on this kind of

    9 formality, that these paragraphs be redacted, then we

    10 will do so. It just does not seem necessary to me. 184

    11 and 184A will redact paragraphs 26 to 36 which deal with

    12 the city of Mostar. Mr. Kehoe, another question?

    13 MR. KEHOE: No, it is not a question, Mr. President. With

    14 regard to the actual events of Mostar, of course, there

    15 is information concerning Mostar and allegations

    16 concerning Mostar in paragraph 5.2 where we note that

    17 similar acts have occurred in Mostar. Like the

    18 witnesses that we intend to present or stipulate to --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: 5.2 in the indictment you mean? I am not sure

    20 I understand what you are saying.

    21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, in the indictment. We can

    22 redact this information and put it into evidence when we

    23 are talking about the widespread and systematic nature

    24 of the crimes committed by the HVO when we are talking

    25 about Mostar, and we will gladly do that. It seems,

  61. 1Mr. President, that would seem easier to leave it in now

    2 and certainly we are not proposing that Mr. Akhavan can

    3 answer questions concerning the investigation in

    4 Mostar.

    5 Nevertheless, it is of some pertinence to the

    6 ultimate case to be presented by the Prosecutor.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: That is right, Mr. Kehoe. Paragraph 5.2 of the

    8 indictment does in fact mention Mostar.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, a couple of points. One, I think

    10 we would all agree that Mostar was outside of the zone

    11 of responsibility of the accused, that is number one.

    12 Number two is I will have to check, but it may be this

    13 is one of the portions of the indictment that was added

    14 by the Prosecution and never submitted to any confirming

    15 judge or Trial Chamber. I am not sure of that, I would

    16 like to check that. Suffice it to say at this time,

    17 this witness cannot speak for this portion of the report

    18 and I suggest this portion be offered at a time when it

    19 is properly presented with a witness who can verify its

    20 contents.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the best thing to do would be not

    22 to do any redaction for the time being. The transcript

    23 will note that Mostar does not fall under the command

    24 responsibility of the accused, therefore it need not be

    25 dealt with. If the Prosecutor had asked the witness to

  62. 1deal with the question of Mostar, it would be

    2 different. Any other comments, Mr. Kehoe?

    3 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Nor any other questions?

    5 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President, thank you.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We can now move to the

    7 cross-examination. Will it be Mr. Hayman?

    8 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN

    9 Q. Yes, Mr. President, thank you.

    10 Good afternoon, Mr. Akhavan.

    11 A. Good afternoon.

    12 Q. You are a lawyer, is that correct?

    13 A. Correct.

    14 Q. You have had some involvement in this case since you

    15 have joined the staff of the Office of the Tribunal

    16 Prosecutor?

    17 A. Correct.

    18 Q. In that capacity, have you had occasion to review any

    19 witness statements or other documentary evidence

    20 collected by the Office of the Prosecutor relating to

    21 this investigation?

    22 A. None.

    23 Q. Let me direct your attention to 2nd of May 1993, when

    24 you went to Ahmici the first time. If we could

    25 retrieve, your Honour, Exhibits 51 and 59. They are

  63. 1aerial photographs. Why do we not come back to these

    2 subjects when those have been retrieved?

    3 THE REGISTRAR: I am sorry, I would need five minutes.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we have agreed that in the future,

    5 in principle the Registrar must be told before the

    6 beginning of the hearing which exhibits will be

    7 required, because Mr. Dubuisson could have found them.

    8 We are now at 104, obviously he does not come to the

    9 hearing with all hundreds of exhibits. You want to wait

    10 a few minutes Mr. Hayman?

    11 MR. HAYMAN: I can come back to this area, your Honour.

    12 Regrettably, while I was preparing during the break

    13 I was looking for the right number to determine what

    14 I would need, so this is not something I knew before the

    15 commencement of the hearing.

    16 We will return to this, Mr. Akhavan. Let us go

    17 forward a day to 3rd May 1993. You went to Zenica on

    18 that day, as I recall your testimony. Certain

    19 interviews were conducted. Do you know who selected the

    20 victims that were presented to you for interview and

    21 discussion?

    22 A. They were not really selected. We went to the war

    23 crimes documentation centre in Zenica and they took us

    24 to the refugee collection centre, which was really some

    25 sort of building or other which housed several hundred,

  64. 1possibly several thousand people. You had all sorts of

    2 bunk beds where people slept, so we were simply directed

    3 to a room where there were survivors of Ahmici. This

    4 was a group of about 100 to 150 people that had recently

    5 been released from detention in Dubravica, so we were

    6 not -- we did not have individual interviews with

    7 individual survivors, we simply had about 50, 60,

    8 possibly 100 people in a room and they just came to us

    9 one by one and we talked with them.

    10 Q. Please, you may address the court, if it please the

    11 court. Was your arrival or your trip to Zenica on that

    12 day, was that previously arranged with the authorities

    13 in Zenica?

    14 A. It was arranged, I believe, on the same day.

    15 Q. Some period in advance?

    16 A. No, I think it was possibly -- I do not even think it

    17 was arranged in the sense that there was a telephone

    18 call or anything, we simply were taken by the British

    19 battalion to Zenica to the documentation centre and the

    20 idea was that there would always be someone there and

    21 then they arranged for us to go to the collection

    22 centre.

    23 Q. Did you interview any survivors from Ahmici who were

    24 males of fighting age, for example between the ages of

    25 20 and 50?

  65. 1A. I cannot recall a single such person who we interviewed.

    2 Q. Did any of the survivors that you spoke with discuss

    3 with you the numbers of Territorial Defence Forces who

    4 resided in the village of Ahmici, or is that something

    5 that was not discussed?

    6 A. We did not discuss it as specifically as you may have

    7 mentioned members of the Territorial Defence Force, but

    8 we did ask people, not only the survivors but also

    9 members of the British battalion whether there was any

    10 military presence in the village of Ahmici.

    11 Q. I take it they told you there was not?

    12 A. They told us the only military presence which could have

    13 been would have been, as I mentioned earlier in my

    14 testimony, men of fighting age who were on leave to

    15 visit their families who may have been in uniform.

    16 Another indication which we had about the absence of any

    17 significant military presence there was the fact that as

    18 far as we know, the Croats had virtually no casualties.

    19 There was virtually no resistance to their attack on

    20 Ahmici, so all of this led us to conclude that there

    21 would have been little, if any, men of fighting age with

    22 weaponry in Ahmici at that time.

    23 Q. How did you determine that the Croats who attacked

    24 Ahmici on 16th April 1993 had no casualties?

    25 A. We asked around, we were given no such information. We

  66. 1did not conclude that there was not, but we did not

    2 receive any evidence to the effect that there was.

    3 Q. Did any of the Ahmici survivors with whom you spoke on

    4 3rd May 1993, did any of them say that they had seen HV

    5 soldiers, that is soldiers from the Republic of Croatia

    6 army in Ahmici?

    7 A. I do not recall having anyone say that, no. I do

    8 recall, however, members of the British battalion saying

    9 that they had seen HV soldiers, not in Ahmici itself but

    10 in the region.

    11 Q. Do you recall the specifics of that, where they saw them

    12 and when?

    13 A. No, I would have to think about that more carefully.

    14 Q. Who did you speak with from the British battalion that

    15 told you they had seen HV soldiers in the Lasva Valley

    16 or in other environs?

    17 A. I had spoken to a number of people, there was not a

    18 particular conversation. The understanding was that

    19 there were HV soldiers who may have been there in an

    20 advisory capacity in assisting the HVO and some of the

    21 military experts in particular said that when it came to

    22 training for the use of artillery, that HV soldiers,

    23 many of them were artillery experts who were training

    24 HVO.

    25 Q. Can you identify any BritBat soldier who told you that

  67. 1they saw an HV soldier in the Lasva Valley during their

    2 tour of duty?

    3 A. I do not have a recollection of the particular

    4 individuals who I spoke with, no.

    5 Q. Did any of the Ahmici survivors that you spoke with on

    6 3rd May 1993, did they describe the resistance, the

    7 armed resistance that did occur in Donje Ahmici on that

    8 day?

    9 A. No, I do not recall having heard that.

    10 Q. Did they tell you that there was no armed resistance in

    11 Ahmici on 16th April 1993? Is that what the survivors

    12 told you?

    13 A. It depends on what is meant by "armed resistance". We

    14 were aware that -- people when they are being attacked

    15 are not going to simply welcome the people to kill them,

    16 that people will resist in any way that is possible.

    17 People will pick up shotguns, whatever weapons they had

    18 at their disposal and that was the pattern of warfare in

    19 that region. In virtually every village, as

    20 I mentioned, every man of fighting age was either in an

    21 HVO uniform or in the uniform of the Bosnian Serb Army.

    22 That was the case throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina at

    23 that time. Every fighting age male was mobilised, so

    24 what you would have, not only in Ahmici but in other

    25 villages, you would have people who were sometimes on

  68. 1leave to visit their family, or in the village for some

    2 other reason, who would have a gun and, of course, it

    3 was the countryside, many of the people simply had

    4 shotguns for hunting, so it is conceivable that a couple

    5 of people may have picked up shotguns and tried to

    6 defend themselves, but in terms of an organised military

    7 resistance in terms of soldiers who have been deployed

    8 for that particular purpose and who are able to somehow

    9 give some sort of serious resistance to the advancing

    10 army, I do not think that there was any evidence, and we

    11 did ask the survivors about such evidence and we were

    12 not given any indication.

    13 MR. KEHOE: You are speaking of your opinions and impressions

    14 and right now, I am just asking you what you were told

    15 on 3rd May 1993 in Zenica. What were you told by the

    16 survivors that you spoke with concerning any

    17 resistance --

    18 JUDGE JORDA: I think the witness has answered, Mr. Hayman.

    19 Perhaps the answer does not suit you, but he has

    20 answered your question. He cannot give you more than he

    21 has already done so, so pass on to your next question,

    22 please.

    23 MR. HAYMAN: The answer, your Honour, was non-responsive and

    24 the record will speak for itself. I will move on.

    25 Did any survivor from Ahmici tell you on 3rd May

  69. 11993 that the resistance in Donje Ahmici lasted from

    2 dawn until nightfall on that day? Did anyone tell you

    3 that?

    4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I think that he has asked these

    5 questions, he is not satisfied with the answers and he

    6 is asking the same question in a different fashion, but

    7 it is the same.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Objection sustained. Proceed to your next

    9 question, Mr. Hayman, please.

    10 MR. HAYMAN: If you had been told that, would that have been

    11 a material fact in your report, in the opinions and

    12 conclusions you drew in your report?

    13 A. No, it would not.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: I think if he was told that, that would be

    15 another question, but you keep coming back to the same

    16 point. If they had told him, that is a conditional

    17 tense. You are even beginning to convey your own

    18 opinions, so please put your next question.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: I will proceed, your Honour, but with all due

    20 respect that is how you examine an expert. You have to

    21 test his opinions, you have to state possible facts

    22 which may be proven true in the course of this trial and

    23 if so, this Tribunal should know whether the assumptions

    24 the witness made are material to his opinions.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: With all due respect that I owe you,

  70. 1Mr. Hayman, I think that the judge who is speaking to you

    2 knows also how to question an expert. The Tribunal

    3 feels that it is sufficiently informed. You are wasting

    4 time, so please go on to your next question.

    5 MR. HAYMAN: You said you learned on this day, you were told

    6 that two women, Muslim women were raped while detained

    7 after 16th April 1993, is that right?

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. Without stating the names, can you tell us, were you

    10 told the names of these individuals? If you were,

    11 please do not state the names.

    12 A. I do not recall.

    13 Q. You do not recall being told the names of these alleged

    14 victims?

    15 A. No, and I do not think they would have offered the

    16 names. The point is that they knew of two people in

    17 their midst who had been taken away and who had

    18 subsequently returned and apparently these two people

    19 indicated to their neighbours and friends and colleagues

    20 that they had been taken away to be raped.

    21 Q. Can you be more specific in terms of where you got this

    22 information, who told you?

    23 A. These were once again some of the survivors which we

    24 spoke with in Zenica who had previously been detained in

    25 Dubravica.

  71. 1Q. Are you able to identify them more specifically, the

    2 declarants?

    3 A. No, I am not?

    4 MR. HAYMAN: If I may approach the easel, your Honour, for

    5 the photos.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you can approach the easel as well.

    7 The microphone? We will allow the witness to be able to

    8 answer your questions standing, so can it be installed,

    9 please?

    10 Mr. Dubuisson, the microphone seems to have

    11 disappeared, so please let us have this microphone in a

    12 corner of the room all the time to avoid wasting time.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, from the descriptions on the

    14 exhibit list I obviously was not able to identify the

    15 correct aerial photograph. I am advised by my learned

    16 friend that it is number 50. I regret having to impose

    17 on the usher, but I would ask that Exhibit 50 be

    18 retrieved and I will return to this area when it is

    19 available.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you.

    21 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you. On 5th May 1993, you went to the

    22 Hotel Vitez to speak with Colonel Blaskic, correct?

    23 A. Correct.

    24 Q. In those discussions, did you utilise an interpreter?

    25 A. Yes, I did.

  72. 1Q. Who provided that interpreter?

    2 A. UNPROFOR British battalion.

    3 Q. During the first hour --

    4 A. Excuse me, if I may add, I believe there was also an

    5 interpreter who belonged to either Colonel Blaskic or

    6 the local Bosnian Croats who was also utilised. I am

    7 not sure if it was used in this particular case as well.

    8 Q. Who interpreted for you?

    9 A. That is what I am saying, I do not exactly recall, but

    10 I do recall there was other than the local interpreter

    11 provided by British battalion, another interpreter which

    12 worked with the Bosnian Croats, with the HVO themselves,

    13 but I do not recall whether both of them interpreted or

    14 whether only one interpreted.

    15 Q. Who else was present during the first hour of your

    16 interview?

    17 A. I believe that one or two members of the UNPROFOR

    18 British battalion were present. There were one or two

    19 other colleagues of Colonel Blaskic, but I cannot recall

    20 who they were.

    21 Q. Do you remember who was present for BritBat?

    22 A. I do not remember the specific name, no.

    23 Q. Do you recall their function or position?

    24 A. I do not recall that at all. I could possibly, looking

    25 back at my notes, figure out who it was, because there

  73. 1was someone who was assigned to me throughout these days

    2 and I would recognise the person actually if I saw him,

    3 but the name I cannot recall at the moment, but someone

    4 was assigned to me throughout that day.

    5 Q. Am I correct that in the course of this meeting with

    6 Colonel Blaskic, he denied ordering the killing of any

    7 civilians in Ahmici or anywhere else, is that correct?

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. Did he also deny that he knew in advance that any

    10 civilians would be killed in Ahmici or anywhere else,

    11 correct?

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. Did he also tell you in this meeting that he did not

    14 know what had occurred in Ahmici on 16th April and noted

    15 that he was not present at the time?

    16 A. I do not remember whether he said that he had no idea,

    17 I think he had an idea that there had been hostilities

    18 in the region, but to the extent that he may not have

    19 known about the details, I informed him on that day all

    20 the details of what had happened in Ahmici.

    21 Q. Yes, but did he say that with respect to the events you

    22 were referencing, the deaths of civilians and so forth,

    23 that he did not know what had happened in Ahmici on that

    24 day and noted that he had not been there?

    25 A. Actually, no, he did not deny all knowledge. As I said,

  74. 1he had a general impression that there had been

    2 hostilities and that there may have been casualties, but

    3 specifically he did not admit knowledge of having known

    4 that, let us say, 100 or 200 civilians may have been

    5 killed.

    6 Q. Have you had a chance to look at your statement of June

    7 23rd 1995?

    8 A. Yes, that is actually not my statement, it was a

    9 statement taken by two members of our office in an

    10 interview. I did not at any point sign this statement.

    11 For the most part, it is an accurate statement with

    12 perhaps one or two small ambiguities which I could

    13 resolve for you if you like.

    14 Q. Let me ask you then, the statement in the last

    15 paragraph on page 2, in which Blaskic says he did not

    16 know, referring to Ahmici, because he had not been

    17 there, is that one of the portions of the statement that

    18 is correct or incorrect? That is the second line of the

    19 last paragraph on page 2.

    20 A. It is correct if by saying that he did not know we are

    21 referring not to the fact that there were armed

    22 hostilities in Ahmici and that there could have been

    23 casualties; what he did not know specifically was

    24 whether there had been large scale civilian atrocities.

    25 He did not admit knowledge of that.

  75. 1Q. Is it fair to say he did not admit knowledge of the

    2 details of any atrocities in Ahmici?

    3 A. According to what statement he made to me, yes, it would

    4 be fair.

    5 Q. Now you said on direct examination that you concluded

    6 that Colonel Blaskic and his subordinates were in

    7 control of the HVO in the Lasva Valley?

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. Did you base that on Colonel Blaskic's statement to you

    10 that he was the HVO commander in the operative zone for

    11 middle Bosnia?

    12 A. Not only on that, I based it on the fact that

    13 Colonel Blaskic repeatedly told me that the HVO was in

    14 firm control of the region. I based it on the fact that

    15 he admitted that although there were some paramilitary

    16 formations, that they posed no serious threat whatsoever

    17 to the control by the HVO of that region, and I based it

    18 foremost on the opinion of several members of the

    19 British battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, who had spent

    20 the past six months on a daily basis surveying the

    21 military situation in the Lasva Valley region.

    22 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic tell you that the HVO and the HOS

    23 did not get along?

    24 A. He indicated there were some tensions and that he would

    25 keep his distance from the HOS, something to that

  76. 1effect. However, I recall at the headquarters having

    2 seen the distinctive black uniform of several members of

    3 the HOS who were walking to and fro in the lobby of the

    4 headquarters.

    5 Q. Did you see some black uniformed individuals in the

    6 lobby, or did you see a HOS or Vitezovi patch on those

    7 individuals?

    8 A. I believe it was also a Vitezovi badge. I remember that

    9 the black uniforms did have the familiar Croatian

    10 chequered pattern on the arm badge, but in any event,

    11 none of the survivors in Ahmici ever said that there was

    12 anyone with black uniforms in the village, so there was

    13 not much emphasis on HOS in my questions to

    14 Colonel Blaskic. It was something I wanted to ask in

    15 order to get an indication of whether it would be

    16 possible that there was some other military force which

    17 was capable of such a large scale and sustained

    18 operation without the knowledge, acquiescence,

    19 co-operation or control of the HVO.

    20 Q. You said in your direct testimony that Colonel Blaskic

    21 said there was no reason for an attack, no military

    22 reason for an attack on Ahmici. Are you confusing your

    23 interview with Colonel Blaskic with your interview with

    24 Mario Cerkez in that regard? Was it Mario Cerkez that

    25 said that and not Colonel Blaskic?

  77. 1A. I do not believe so. I do not even think I discussed

    2 the matter of Ahmici with Mario Cerkez because, as far

    3 as I recall, strictly speaking he was not responsible

    4 for Ahmici. He was strictly responsible for Vitez, but

    5 I was distinctly told by Colonel Blaskic -- actually

    6 I suggested to him that there were no military targets

    7 and he agreed with me, that there was no military

    8 presence of any sort.

    9 I believe the way in which I posed the question is

    10 by asking him whether he thinks there will be any

    11 justification for an attack and as far as he had told

    12 me, there would have been none, there was no military

    13 target or significant military presence.

    14 Q. Did you draft the portion of the report which is Exhibit

    15 184, I believe, which states:

    16 "By all accounts, including those of the local

    17 Croat HVO commander, this village [Ahmici] contained no

    18 legitimate military targets."

    19 A. Which paragraph is that?

    20 Q. It is paragraph 3 on my copy, which is an Internet

    21 copy.

    22 A. Yes, it is paragraph 14 of the official document. Yes,

    23 that was -- actually to be very concise, these reports

    24 were drafted between Zagreb and Geneva and we were

    25 constantly sending drafts back and forth, but the

  78. 1substance of that paragraph is very much based on my

    2 observations.

    3 Q. Did you use "local HVO commander" to refer to Mr. Cerkez

    4 or Colonel Blaskic?

    5 A. I referred to Mr. Blaskic. You must recall that the

    6 reports are not intended as criminal investigations

    7 identifying particular individuals. They are reports

    8 which are intended to give the most accurate possible

    9 account of the human rights situation in that particular

    10 region, so for us, the general term "local Croat HVO

    11 commander" sufficed in this case, and we would

    12 categorise Colonel Blaskic as a local Croat HVO

    13 commander for the purposes of the report.

    14 Q. In both of your interviews in 1994 and 1995, were you

    15 asked to relate what Colonel Blaskic said in your

    16 interview with him?

    17 A. I am sorry, I do not understand your question.

    18 Q. In both of your interviews with the Tribunal

    19 Prosecutor's investigators in 1994 and 1995, were you

    20 asked to relate what Colonel Blaskic said in your

    21 interview with him?

    22 A. Yes, I was.

    23 Q. In either interview, did you attribute this statement,

    24 that there was no military purpose in attacking Ahmici,

    25 to Colonel Blaskic. In either interview, did you

  79. 1attribute that statement to him?

    2 A. I do not recall, I would have to go back to the text of

    3 both my statement and the interview.

    4 Q. Do you have contemporaneous notes that you could check

    5 to be more certain whether it was Mr. Cerkez or

    6 Mr. Blaskic that said that?

    7 A. I do not have the notes in my possession, no.

    8 Q. But you have them?

    9 A. They are possibly somewhere in Geneva, but they are not

    10 in my possession.

    11 Q. Do you know where they are?

    12 A. No, I am not certain. That would have to be done

    13 through the Centre for Human Rights, my previous

    14 employer.

    15 Q. Have you attempted to retrieve them and obtain them to

    16 assist in preparing for your testimony?

    17 A. I believe that the staff of the Prosecutor's office have

    18 attempted unsuccessfully to retrieve these from Geneva.

    19 Q. Is it fair to say your notes are lost? Your notes of

    20 your conversation with the accused as far as you know

    21 have been lost, is that right?

    22 A. Possibly.

    23 Q. You spoke with him for one hour, one on one, is that

    24 right?

    25 A. I spoke with him for almost two hours one on one, with

  80. 1some minor interruptions on the part of Mr. Ante Valenta.

    2 Q. So as you recall his statements, you are recalling those

    3 from memory without the aid of your contemporaneous

    4 notes, is that right?

    5 A. That is not specifically correct, because the UN report

    6 was based very much on my notes of my discussions with

    7 General Blaskic, and with Mr. Kordic, so paragraph 14 is

    8 not based on what I remember today, it is based on what

    9 notes I had four and a half years ago when the report

    10 was drafted.

    11 Q. And the report --

    12 A. By reading the report again, four and a half years

    13 later, I am in a sense reading my own notes, so I do not

    14 think it is accurate to say that I am relying completely

    15 on memory.

    16 Q. But Mr. Akhavan, would you not agree that the report has

    17 virtually no account in it of your conversation with

    18 Tihomir Blaskic on this date in question? There is no

    19 account of your conversation with him in the report, is

    20 there?

    21 A. I was disagree in the sense that -- I would disagree

    22 with that, because it was not the practice, and if you

    23 read any number of human rights reports which come out

    24 of the United Nations system, you will not see a single

    25 one which would specifically mention such a meeting. In

  81. 1certain cases, if there is a meeting with a head of

    2 state or a government minister or some very high

    3 profile individual, in the introductory part of the

    4 report, for the information of the audience, there will

    5 be a reference, but if these reports were to

    6 exhaustively detail the name of each and every

    7 individual, then they would become 500 page reports.

    8 The whole purpose here is to give a succinct and concise

    9 summary to the international community of the human

    10 rights situation. That is why we would simply reduce

    11 the question to referring to Mr. Blaskic as a local Croat

    12 HVO commander.

    13 It is, frankly speaking, irrelevant for the Human

    14 Rights Commission whether we have spoken with Mario

    15 Cerkez or whether we have spoken with General Blaskic.

    16 They do not enquire as to the veracity of our claim.

    17 The idea is that the special rapporteur and his staff

    18 are people of sufficient competence and impartiality

    19 that what the Human Rights Commission receives is in

    20 reality the result of a quasi judicial process which has

    21 considered the evidence for and against the allegations

    22 and come to some sort of conclusion. That is the way

    23 these reports are regarded.

    24 Q. Suffice it to say, your testimony is that you used the

    25 report to refresh your memory as to your conversation

  82. 1with Tihomir Blaskic on 5th May 1993?

    2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we have asked this question now a

    3 third time in a variety of different ways. The witness

    4 has answered the question completely, at some length.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Objection sustained. The witness has fully

    6 responded to your, I must say, legitimate

    7 preoccupations, but you have got your answer so please

    8 continue.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: You testified in your direct examination with

    10 respect to the subject of your knowledge of any

    11 investigations or inquiries within the HVO into the

    12 atrocities at Ahmici; do you recall that subject?

    13 A. That subject during my testimony today?

    14 Q. Today you have discussed in your direct examination the

    15 subject of whether or not you obtained information of

    16 any HVO investigation or inquiry into the atrocities in

    17 Ahmici?

    18 A. Correct.

    19 Q. Did you discuss that subject with Colonel Blaskic on

    20 5th May 1993?

    21 A. Yes, to the best of my recollection I did.

    22 I specifically informed him that he was responsible for

    23 conducting such an investigation.

    24 Q. What did he tell you?

    25 A. I was given no indication, either that he was against

  83. 1such an initiative or that he was in favour of it. To

    2 the best of my memory, he simply acknowledged what I had

    3 told him without giving me any promises or without

    4 arguing against me.

    5 Q. Was anyone else taking notes at your meeting with my

    6 client?

    7 A. No, I was the only person taking notes.

    8 Q. By this point in time, had you and your colleague

    9 developed a list that you referred to of 18 possible

    10 perpetrators of crimes in Ahmici on 16th April 1993?

    11 A. I believe that the list was prepared the following day.

    12 The first visit to Zenica we wanted to get general

    13 information about what had transpired, identity of some

    14 of the perpetrators in terms of did or did they not

    15 belong to the HVO, what were the circumstances of the

    16 attack. During the day, when I was interviewing

    17 Colonel Blaskic, my colleague had been in Zenica getting

    18 the list of those 18 names, and frankly speaking, we did

    19 not have to get the list of particular names, we were

    20 not involved in a criminal investigation, but as the UN

    21 report indicates, we thought that in addition to helping

    22 us than confirm beyond doubt the veracity of the

    23 allegations made against the HVO, that we could forward

    24 these 18 names to the commission of experts for

    25 potential prosecutions at some point in the future, if

  84. 1and when a criminal Tribunal was established, but we did

    2 not specifically give those names to -- I did not have

    3 those names with me on that day.

    4 Q. So you got them the next day, the names, as far as you

    5 recall?

    6 A. I got them personally the next day, but my colleague had

    7 them on the same day as the interview.

    8 Q. Did you take any steps to give those names to

    9 Colonel Blaskic so that he could use them in an

    10 investigation into atrocities in Ahmici?

    11 A. No, I did not, because it was not part of our mandate to

    12 engage in such activities. It is not our business as

    13 human rights monitors to conduct criminal investigations

    14 and to give lists to the authorities in the region. As

    15 I said, we haphazardly came across these names. It

    16 would have been completely beyond our mandate to give

    17 these names, which is why we forwarded them to the

    18 appropriate body, that being the commission of experts.

    19 Q. To your knowledge --

    20 A. But I did indicate on subject -- actually during that

    21 meeting I did indicate to Mr. Blaskic that we had been

    22 given some specific names during our meeting with the

    23 survivors in Zenica, although I did not have a list of

    24 specific names, just to indicate to him that there were

    25 clear perpetrators who came from that region.

  85. 1Q. To your knowledge, did anyone else give the list of

    2 names to Colonel Blaskic?

    3 A. Not to the best of my knowledge. We simply gave them to

    4 the commission of experts and I am not aware of what

    5 happened after that point.

    6 Q. You described a Mr. Valenta coming into the meeting and

    7 making disparaging comments concerning Muslims, is that

    8 right?

    9 A. I think disparaging is one way of describing it, yes.

    10 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic make any such ethnically disparaging

    11 comments towards Muslims?

    12 A. No, he did not. He was extremely polite.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: You have many more questions, Mr. Hayman? My

    14 intention is not to limit your cross-examination, it is

    15 simply for concern for our lunch break.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: Only ten or fifteen minutes more, your Honour.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. In that case, we are going to

    18 adjourn and resume work at 2.45.

    19 (1.00 pm)

    20 (Adjourned until 2.45 pm)






  86. 1(2.45 pm)

    2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing resumes now. Please have the

    3 accused brought in.

    4 (Accused brought in)

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you may continue cross-examining

    6 the witness.

    7 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.

    8 Good afternoon. We now have I think the aerial

    9 photo that covers the Ahmici area on the easel and

    10 I would ask, perhaps with the usher's assistance, that

    11 you show us and mark on the transparency that has been

    12 placed on top of Exhibit 50 in blue pen, where was the

    13 field which I think you described as a killing field, or

    14 a field where fleeing individuals were shot and I think

    15 you described it as being adjacent or across the road

    16 from the Catholic cemetery. If you could tell us and

    17 mark in blue in either a square or rectangle, whatever

    18 the field was in shape, so we will know exactly what

    19 location you are referring to, please. If you could

    20 stand slightly to the side so that the court can observe

    21 your markings. Thank you. First orient yourself. Do

    22 you see the Catholic cemetery?

    23 A. I will mark an X.

    24 Q. If that is the most accurate way to indicate, an X that

    25 covers the area.

  87. 1A. I will just outline the area.

    2 Q. A rectangle or trapezoid, whatever would be best.

    3 A. It was roughly this area here.

    4 Q. Would you fill that in, perhaps by marking some diagonal

    5 lines across the shape you have drawn.

    6 A. (Witness marks map).

    7 Q. You also described in your testimony a ditch or trench

    8 or ravine where perhaps 100 or 200 shells had been

    9 found. Do you recall that location?

    10 A. Roughly speaking --

    11 Q. Let me give you, if I may, an orange pen. If you could

    12 indicate, pressing darkly against the transparency, the

    13 location of that ravine or other depression.

    14 A. (Witness marks map).

    15 MR. HAYMAN: If I may approach, Mr. President?

    16 If you could just mark a little bit over that, so

    17 that it is clearly marked. Thank you. You also said

    18 that around certain houses, 50 or so shells were found.

    19 Do you remember what part of the village you saw those

    20 houses that had 50 or so shells outside of the house?

    21 A. Roughly speaking, yes.

    22 Q. First can you tell us and then we will see if it is

    23 useful to mark on this map. Can you perhaps show us?

    24 A. Yes, I would have to try to visualise how we proceeded

    25 through the village, it is actually a bit difficult from

  88. 1an aerial map, but I believe that there were -- we took

    2 the road, I believe Vitez should be in this direction,

    3 we took the Scimitar and stopped here momentarily and

    4 then we I believe took the Scimitar and took the main

    5 road up into the village. That is where we began to

    6 look at the individual houses, so we did not go from

    7 here to look at houses, we just checked here the field

    8 and the area where the shell casings were, so I would

    9 say that the homes which we saw were roughly speaking in

    10 this area (indicates), adjacent to the mosque and

    11 possibly a few homes here. This is during our first

    12 visit to Ahmici, because on the second day we saw a

    13 number of other homes.

    14 Q. Let me ask you if you could circle those two areas in

    15 red.

    16 A. Of course these are only approximations.

    17 Q. I understand, you are circling a fairly large area, but

    18 you are approximating for the record those areas in

    19 which you saw approximately 50 shells outside a number

    20 of homes and we can better define that in a moment when

    21 you have made your marking. So first you have marked an

    22 area around the mosque in lower Ahmici, correct, in a

    23 red half circle?

    24 A. Yes, whatever shade this is.

    25 Q. Then the other area where you saw these number of shells

  89. 1was where?

    2 A. I believe that it would have been in this region,

    3 although I am not entirely certain, but I will mark it

    4 just ...

    5 Q. Now you are marking roughly a trapezoid in middle Ahmici

    6 or the Grabovi area, correct?

    7 A. There is no indication that that is the name.

    8 Q. You do not know it as such. That is fine.

    9 A. I just recall that we looked at this area and then we

    10 walked up this area and somewhere around here we were

    11 attacked by snipers (indicates). At that point we ran

    12 back.

    13 Q. Let me ask you, do you have any basis to conclude the

    14 direction of that sniper fire that came upon you when

    15 you were at the higher location in middle Ahmici; was it

    16 coming from the high ground?

    17 A. I believe that from the impact of the bullets against

    18 the wall, on this road, I do not remember exactly where

    19 on the road it was, we could conclude that it was coming

    20 from this direction.

    21 Q. Could you just, with a purple pen, draw a big arrow

    22 indicating the general direction that you believe this

    23 sniper fire came from?

    24 A. I would say it is extremely difficult with any degree of

    25 accuracy, because obviously if we had found the sniper,

  90. 1the situation would have changed dramatically.

    2 Depending on whether we were in this area or this area,

    3 the sniper fire would have come, I will draw a triangle

    4 to show the range, something to this effect, it would

    5 have come from this direction, from anywhere within this

    6 range, I would say. I am not sure how far away they

    7 were, but probably the easiest place for them to have

    8 shot would have been from the wooded area.

    9 Q. One more question and I will be done with this exhibit.

    10 The shells that you found down in the depression which

    11 you have indicated in, I believe, orange; could you

    12 tell, do you know, were they shells from rifles or

    13 shells specifically from a sniper?

    14 A. I would not have the expertise to make that

    15 determination myself, but the members of the British

    16 battalion that I was with told me that those would have

    17 been what they would call high velocity bullets which

    18 were commonly used by snipers. Frankly speaking, it did

    19 not matter much for us to determine what was the exact

    20 type of bullets. They were basically two types of

    21 bullets, the types which were used by sniper guns or

    22 even machine-guns and then there were the much larger

    23 casings which were used by anti-aircraft guns, which

    24 were frequently used in this kind of combat in the

    25 former Yugoslavia.

  91. 1Q. Thank you, you may be seated. You described several

    2 statements from British battalion personnel to you, you

    3 identified one of those speakers as a Mr. Beck. Are you

    4 able to identify specifically any of the other speakers

    5 who told you some of the specific items which you

    6 recounted in your testimony?

    7 A. I would be able to, of course, speak of my discussions

    8 with Colonel Stewart, with Bryan Watters, with Mr. Beck,

    9 but I must say that after four and a half years, it is

    10 difficult to recount the name of the 15 to 20 people

    11 that I spoke with at that time.

    12 Q. I take it you are not able to match speaker with a

    13 particular item of information that you obtained, is

    14 that right?

    15 A. After four and a half years, it would be a bit

    16 difficult, but I still do remember certain specific

    17 items which were of particular interest to me.

    18 Q. You told us what those were and matched them with the

    19 speakers in your direct examination to the best of your

    20 ability?

    21 A. I believe that I did to the best of my ability. There

    22 could be yet other things which I could recollect at a

    23 later time.

    24 Q. But none that you recollect right now as you sit here,

    25 is that right?

  92. 1A. No. I did during my testimony point, for example, to

    2 Mr. Beck, who gave me some specific information about

    3 what he had seen through the binoculars, about what he

    4 had told me about HVO soldiers which were involved in

    5 burning homes. I recall certain remarks which were made

    6 to me by Mr. Watters and Mr. Stewart about who was in

    7 command in the region and this was based on their

    8 experiences in negotiating cease-fires and in securing

    9 safe passage for humanitarian convoys. They indicated

    10 to me in unmistakable terms that Dario Kordic and

    11 Tihomir Blaskic were the two individuals with whom they

    12 negotiated all cease-fires and all cases of securing safe

    13 passage for humanitarian convoys in the Lasva Valley on

    14 the Bosnian Croat side.

    15 There were a number of other soldiers who gave me

    16 further details; one soldier who was the commander of a

    17 Warrior tank who had indicated to me that he had seen

    18 HVO soldiers taking maybe 15 to 20 Muslim men as

    19 prisoners, marching away from Ahmici, that was the

    20 incident in which, as I explained, after the soldier had

    21 enquired from one of the soldiers what would happen to

    22 those people, there had been a subtle hint they were

    23 going to be executed. There were a number of these

    24 small stories which cumulatively gave us the general

    25 impression which we developed in this report as to what

  93. 1had transpired in that region.

    2 Q. You were shown a videotape, do you recall that?

    3 A. The videotape of our visit to Ahmici village, today?

    4 Q. No, you were also shown a videotape of a visit to

    5 Colonel Blaskic, with Colonel Stewart then making some

    6 statements after the meeting, apparently. It may have

    7 been the same videotape, but I am referring to that

    8 portion?

    9 A. Yes.

    10 Q. Do you know what occasion that was? Were you present at

    11 that meeting with Colonel Blaskic?

    12 A. As Mr. Kehoe asked me, I was not present at that

    13 meeting. That was a subsequent meeting which the

    14 European Community ambassadors had with

    15 Colonel Blaskic. I had met with Colonel Blaskic only

    16 once and that was a day -- it was a day prior to the

    17 visit with the European Community ambassadors.

    18 Q. So you do not know what was actually discussed at that

    19 meeting?

    20 A. No, I do not.

    21 Q. No one else has related it to you?

    22 A. No. I may have heard second hand from certain people,

    23 but I would not be in any position to give an accurate

    24 account of what was discussed. Generally speaking,

    25 I believe it was a repetition of the same matters which

  94. 1I had raised, perhaps in addition to other matters which

    2 were of concern to the ECMM which, of course, had a

    3 broader mandate than we did, but we did have extensive

    4 discussions with the ECMM and the three ambassadors

    5 prior to the visit to Ahmici, where we debriefed them,

    6 where they were very interested in knowing what our

    7 findings were and I assume they would have brought those

    8 up once again in those meetings, but I have no way of

    9 verifying that.

    10 Q. So the meeting depicted on the videotape was after your

    11 meeting with Colonel Blaskic, is that right?

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. Thank you. In the course of preparing your report and

    14 gathering data for the report, did you interview any

    15 residents or former residents of the village of

    16 Kruscica?

    17 A. I do not recall.

    18 Q. Did you interview any residents or former residents of

    19 Gacice?

    20 A. We may have, but as I said, it is very difficult to

    21 recall, and part of the problem was that after our

    22 experience in Ahmici, where we tried to approach the

    23 local residents to speak and the sniper fire, we were

    24 extremely apprehensive, understandably, from approaching

    25 locals. It was only at great risk that we could do so.

  95. 1Q. Then let me ask a more general question. Other than the

    2 Ahmici survivors whom you spoke with in Zenica, did you

    3 go to any villages other than Ahmici or any other

    4 locations and speak to villagers from any other villages

    5 in the Lasva Valley that you specifically recall and can

    6 tell the court about?

    7 A. We did go to Miletici, as I explained.

    8 Q. Excluding Miletici.

    9 A. Yes, but we made a trip there in particular because we

    10 wanted to see some Croats who may have suffered

    11 violations at the hands of Bosnian Muslim forces. We

    12 had a number of displaced persons who had congregated

    13 around the UNPROFOR base, so we met a large number of

    14 people not in their own villages which had been burnt or

    15 destroyed and, of course, it would have been useless for

    16 us to go to those villages, because there was nobody

    17 there. We did drive through several villages where

    18 there had been extensive destruction, but the village,

    19 I do not know the name you said, Gacice, which you

    20 mentioned, I do not recall, once again, so many years

    21 later, but I do believe that we had a number of

    22 displaced persons who had come seeking the protection of

    23 UNPROFOR and awaiting their relocation by UNHCR who had

    24 been from a village which had been recently attacked.

    25 Q. You think that was Gacice?

  96. 1A. I forget -- actually I believe that there was a

    2 television camera which recorded their arrival, one of

    3 the men had been shot in the arm by one of his

    4 neighbours and I believe that UNPROFOR had tended to his

    5 wound and given first aid and there was some sort of

    6 coverage. Perhaps there is some mention there, but I do

    7 not remember the specific village. We had hundreds of

    8 villages which we looked at in different regions of

    9 Bosnia. It is very difficult to remember.

    10 Q. Is that the extent of your recollection on that issue?

    11 A. For the time being, yes.

    12 Q. When you went to Stari Vitez on 4th may 1993, tell us

    13 about the fortifications and the BiH army presence that

    14 you saw there.

    15 A. We did not see specific fortifications, but in general

    16 there were roadblocks and there were people on roof tops

    17 with weapons. I do not recall having seen anything

    18 along the lines of an armoured vehicle or a tank or an

    19 artillery piece. For the most part, there were simply

    20 men with weapons, and the key roads were blocked,

    21 sometimes with burnt out -- shells of burnt-out cars

    22 simply to block the road, but in terms of weaponry,

    23 there was simply rifles, guns.

    24 Q. Can you estimate how many armed men you saw in

    25 Stari Vitez on that occasion?

  97. 1A. It is difficult to give an account of the situation

    2 throughout Stari Vitez. We were at two locations, both

    3 locations on the border with the Croat controlled areas

    4 and I would say that at each of those locations, there

    5 were not in excess of ten people with rifles.

    6 Q. In the course of preparing your report, did you

    7 interview any officers or soldiers of the BiH army?

    8 A. Actually we did speak with certain officers who were

    9 just ordinary -- the sort of soldier which I referred to

    10 earlier, who was simply in his own village with his own

    11 family. We drove to a number of places, the names of

    12 which I cannot recall, isolated hamlets and villages,

    13 where some of the Bosnian Muslim soldiers gave us their

    14 account of the situation in the region. I remember

    15 going to one place which had been the subject of

    16 artillery bombardment, I forget where it was. It was

    17 maybe two or three kilometres away from Vitez.

    18 We did also speak with a Bosnian army commander, a

    19 more senior commander, who had come to the -- not to the

    20 UNPROFOR base but to, I believe, the ECMM office which

    21 was adjacent to the UNPROFOR base in order to hold

    22 negotiations with some HVO counterparts, with respect to

    23 a cease-fire, release of hostages, and so forth. That

    24 was another occasion during which we spoke with a

    25 Bosnian army officer.

  98. 1Q. Did you specifically discuss with any BiH army personnel

    2 their presence in the Lasva Valley, where they had

    3 brigades, where they had headquarters, where they had

    4 units et cetera?

    5 A. I think the matter was raised. Most of the information

    6 that we got was from UNPROFOR and we did ask UNPROFOR

    7 about Bosnian army positions. I think that that was the

    8 more credible source. We realised that whether we were

    9 getting information from the HVO or Bosnian army

    10 sources, that the information, we would treat it with

    11 some degree of suspicion. But they did tell us they

    12 felt very cheated, if you like, betrayed about these

    13 attacks, because they were very weak in that area, they

    14 really had no military presence in the area, they were

    15 all deployed elsewhere on the front-line with the Serbs

    16 and that really what had happened in Ahmici, Vitez, was,

    17 in their own words, "an easy kill" by the Bosnian

    18 Croats, an easy way to grab land without really taking

    19 any significant casualties.

    20 From the events which transpired after that date,

    21 it became clear when the Bosnian army began to advance

    22 in that region that they had to redeploy armed forces

    23 from other areas where they were being used to fight

    24 Bosnian Serb armed forces, against the HVO in order to

    25 be able to push back the Bosnian Croats and to occupy

  99. 1some of those areas, but that was the general impression

    2 which we had of their military presence in the region.

    3 Q. So the BiH army personnel you spoke to did not give you

    4 any further details than what you have stated concerning

    5 their presence in the Lasva Valley, is that right?

    6 A. They did not give us further details and we were not

    7 prodding for further details, as we were not prodding

    8 the HVO for further details.

    9 Q. Did you review any BiH army documents in preparing your

    10 report?

    11 A. No, I did not.

    12 Q. Did you review any HVO documents in preparing your

    13 report?

    14 A. No, no one really volunteered them to me. I had asked

    15 Mario Cerkez if I could have some situation reports from

    16 April 16th and he sort of suggested that he may give it,

    17 he may not give it, but in the end, there was really no

    18 indication that that would be forthcoming, but we did

    19 request from Mr. Cerkez to receive certain documents, but

    20 in the end we did not receive anything.

    21 Q. Did you ask Colonel Blaskic for anything that he did not

    22 provide you with in connection with your interview with

    23 him?

    24 A. No, I did not ask Colonel Blaskic specifically for any

    25 documents. As I said, at that point in time we had

  100. 1accumulated so much evidence and testimony that my

    2 meeting with Colonel Blaskic was really to give him an

    3 opportunity to state his case, to explain to us where

    4 and why we may have erred in arriving at our conclusion.

    5 Q. You said that you received no co-operation in your

    6 inquiry from the Bosnian Croats. Then I take it you do

    7 not include Colonel Blaskic in that, insofar as he gave

    8 you a two hour interview and you have said you did not

    9 ask him for anything he did not provide, is that right?

    10 A. Co-operation exists at different levels. It was very

    11 kind of Colonel Blaskic to agree to meet with us, as it

    12 was with Mr. Kordic, but in reality, I believe that is

    13 the absolute minimum which could be expected under the

    14 circumstances. Certainly our experience in Ahmici and

    15 other places was that the Bosnian Croats were not at all

    16 happy with us snooping around, getting evidence of

    17 atrocities which had been committed. There was really

    18 what I would consider to be the minimal possible

    19 co-operation under the circumstances.

    20 Q. But you did not ask him for any further co-operation, at

    21 your meeting with the accused, is that right?

    22 A. I did, with respect to the investigation and punishment,

    23 specifically say that it was his responsibility to

    24 conduct an investigation, and it was his responsibility

    25 to ensure that those members of his -- those who were

  101. 1his subordinates who had committed these crimes should

    2 be brought to justice and I did request that we be kept

    3 apprised of such developments and we had subsequently

    4 further communications with the Herceg-Bosna authorities

    5 in that regard.

    6 Q. In regard to investigation and punishment?

    7 A. Yes, in regards to, "what have you done, anything, about

    8 Lasva Valley? Have you done anything about Mostar?

    9 Have you done anything about a number of other cases",

    10 which we were investigating.

    11 Q. Who did you speak with concerning whether "anything had

    12 been done" regarding the Lasva Valley?

    13 A. I did not do the subsequent investigations on Mostar.

    14 I was deployed to investigate the situation in Eastern

    15 Slavonija and Krajina, so I would have to refer you to

    16 those of my colleagues who had made those subsequent

    17 missions, but I do recall during our discussions, our

    18 daily meetings in headquarters at Zagreb, hearing that

    19 this matter had been pursued further.

    20 Q. The report was published, you said that certain

    21 individuals in Herceg-Bosna or somewhere were critical

    22 of the report. First of all, can you tell us, do you

    23 know whether Colonel Blaskic was given a copy of the

    24 report?

    25 A. I am not aware of that.

  102. 1Q. Were you aware of any criticism from him regarding the

    2 report?

    3 A. No.

    4 Q. You mentioned the mass grave in Stari Vitez, 100 or 101

    5 bodies?

    6 A. I did not say that it was in Stari Vitez, it was in

    7 Vitez, that is 101 people were buried, but I am not

    8 aware of the location of the grave.

    9 Q. So it may be in Stari Vitez, you are just not sure, is

    10 that right?

    11 A. It may be, yes.

    12 Q. Were you informed that those bodies came principally

    13 from Ahmici, but also from other parts of the Vitez

    14 municipality?

    15 A. I am sorry, was I told?

    16 Q. Were you told that specifically the Muslim bodies came

    17 principally from Ahmici and to a lesser extent from

    18 other locations in the Vitez municipality?

    19 A. No, I was not told that. I know that a lot of the

    20 bodies were taken from Ahmici to Zenica, because there

    21 was a morgue in Zenica where many of the survivors also

    22 could have access to these bodies. As far as the origin

    23 of some of those who had been killed, the impression

    24 which I was under is that most of them were from Vitez

    25 itself, but clearly there is a possibility that some of

  103. 1them could have come from neighbouring villages.

    2 Q. So your impression was that close to 95 Muslims were

    3 killed during the 16th April conflict in the immediate

    4 environs of Vitez and Stari Vitez?

    5 A. That appeared to be the case.

    6 Q. Mr. Beck of BritBat told you about the individuals in the

    7 two cars who it appears went off and started some

    8 fires. Did he identify for you the unit or the leader

    9 of the unit that those individuals belonged to?

    10 A. No, he did not.

    11 Q. How did he describe that unit or those individuals?

    12 A. They were a group of young men, soldiers from Vitez.

    13 They were not described as a paramilitary unit, they

    14 were HVO soldiers apparently, from what he had told me,

    15 but they were particularly notorious for doing a lot of

    16 dirty things.

    17 Q. This is what Mr. Beck told you?

    18 A. Yes.

    19 Q. His job was in the garage, is that right?

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. He did not leave the base in the course of his duties,

    22 he stayed in the garage?

    23 A. I am sure he left the base in the course of his duties.

    24 I do not think there is anyone who would just sit in the

    25 garage all day, certainly not him. Clearly his job was

  104. 1to guard the garage. He was not a technician, he was

    2 not changing spark plugs, he was a military officer.

    3 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, I would offer the transparency

    4 which is on top of Exhibit 50 and I believe it is the

    5 next in order, D72?

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dubuisson?

    7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is correct, that is D72.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: So this transparency will have D72 on it.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. Akhavan. That concludes my

    10 examination, Mr. President.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman.

    12 Mr. Kehoe, have you any additional questions you

    13 wish to ask, remaining, of course, within the scope of

    14 the cross-examination.

    15 Re-examined by MR. KEHOE

    16 Q. Just a couple of questions, Mr. President.

    17 Good afternoon, Mr. Akhavan. By the time you

    18 published this report or at least when you left the

    19 Lasva Valley area on 7th May 1993, had you had a

    20 complete count of individuals dead and individuals

    21 missing?

    22 A. Absolutely not. If anything, it was a very preliminary

    23 count.

    24 Q. Let me ask you a couple of questions that came up during

    25 cross-examination and you noted, when Defence counsel

  105. 1was cross-examining you concerning the unsigned

    2 statement of 23rd June 1995, that you saw this past

    3 Saturday, you said there was something inaccurate in

    4 that and did not follow up on that. What were you

    5 talking about?

    6 A. I think on page 4 there is one sentence which I think

    7 misrepresents or slightly distorts the statement which

    8 reads:

    9 "I do not think that Blaskic would have had the

    10 intelligence to plan an attack but Kordic would have had

    11 the knowledge".

    12 MR. HAYMAN: Beyond the scope, your Honour.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: I did not hear what you had to say.

    14 MR. HAYMAN: The question is beyond the scope of the

    15 cross-examination. He is going into some other area,

    16 some other part of one of his statements that was not

    17 enquired of at all in the cross-examination.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, would you go to the end of your

    19 question first before we can decide on whether it should

    20 be answered or not. I would like to understand what the

    21 question is that you are asking. I want to understand

    22 it before knowing how to rule.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. In response to a question in

    24 cross-examination, the witness stated, when he was being

    25 questioned from this statement of 23rd June 1995, that

  106. 1there was something inaccurate in the statement, and

    2 that he offered to explain the inaccurate portion of the

    3 statement if given the opportunity. Mr. Hayman at that

    4 juncture went on to the next question and I am just

    5 merely picking up from his answer, saying tell the court

    6 that which you think in this statement is inaccurate.

    7 That is all I am asking.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: You have to say, however, that Mr. Hayman did

    9 not go all the way to the end of his question. Let us

    10 not open up a Pandora's box. Since the question was not

    11 asked, maybe he forgot, I do not know if he forgot or

    12 not. Let us move to another question, Mr. Kehoe?

    13 MR. KEHOE: Can I ask that question, of that which is in the

    14 document is inaccurate?

    15 JUDGE JORDA: No, there is no point, since the question was

    16 not asked completely. Why do you want to create an

    17 incident about one of Mr. Hayman's objections since he

    18 did not ask the question. Yes, this goes beyond the

    19 scope of the cross-examination.

    20 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Excuse me. (Pause).

    21 You were asked some questions concerning the

    22 report and if I might turn specifically, Mr. Akhavan, to

    23 page 4 in the English version, paragraph 14. In that

    24 paragraph, you noted that the local Croat HVO commander

    25 stated that Ahmici contained no legitimate military

  107. 1targets. In response to questions by Defence counsel,

    2 you said that this was Blaskic that said this and not

    3 Cerkez, is that right?

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. You also stated, did you not, that just referring to the

    6 local commander was just a reference for the purpose of

    7 this report?

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. How in paragraph 14 -- let me withdraw that. In

    10 paragraph 12, did you refer to any local HDZ leader as

    11 a, "local member of the Croatian Democratic Union"?

    12 A. Yes, I did.

    13 Q. That is in mid paragraph 12?

    14 A. Correct.

    15 Q. Does that say, "a prominent local member of the Croatian

    16 Democratic Union suggested on the radio, without any

    17 apparent justification, that a massive attack by

    18 government forces was imminent."

    19 Do you see that?

    20 A. Correct.

    21 Q. Who is this prominent local member of the Croatian

    22 Democratic Union?

    23 A. That refers to Dario Kordic.

    24 Q. I think you said at the outset of your testimony that

    25 Dario Kordic is a Vice-President of the Croatian

  108. 1Community of Herceg-Bosna and the HVO. Is that right?

    2 A. Correct.

    3 MR. KEHOE: I have no further questions, your Honour.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Riad.

    5 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Mr. Akhavan.

    6 A. Good afternoon.

    7 Q. I would like to clarify some of your statements for my

    8 own knowledge. When you made a reconstruction or a

    9 construction of the attack on Ahmici, I noted that you

    10 mentioned that there was mortar shelling in the northern

    11 part of the village, in front of every house there was

    12 ammunition, largely used, there was anti-aircraft guns

    13 and shellings and so on. Then you added also that the

    14 operations, either there or elsewhere, required great

    15 preparation. Would that entail that it could only be

    16 done by organised forces -- or could it be done by

    17 separate amateurish gangs?

    18 A. There were a number of factors which led us to believe

    19 that it was an organised operation. For one thing, the

    20 use of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and other such

    21 semi-heavy weaponry suggested that it could not have

    22 been let us say a band of just a few people carrying

    23 guns, ordinary guns. The amount of ammunition that was

    24 used was also quite significant, and because of the

    25 logistics of the village and the expert opinion which we

  109. 1had from members of the British battalion, they

    2 estimated that on average it would have taken about 100

    3 soldiers to engage in such an operation. The scale and

    4 extent of the destruction led us to believe that it

    5 would have been very difficult simply for a group of

    6 rogues who may have been drunk to attack the village, to

    7 inflict such considerable damage, to kill so many

    8 people, to systematically burn each and every Muslim

    9 house in the village, and also, based on the sequence of

    10 events of the shelling which occurred in the northern

    11 part of the village, of the killing field where about 20

    12 people had been ambushed, all of this suggested some

    13 degree of co-ordination.

    14 Q. All these areas were under Croatian control?

    15 A. Correct, the HVO was clearly the dominating force in

    16 that region.

    17 Q. In your interview with General Blaskic, he told you that

    18 he was in charge of that area?

    19 A. Correct.

    20 Q. Mr. Kordic denied that the HVO soldiers could have

    21 committed that and told you it was by Serbs who

    22 infiltrated or Muslims who wanted to commit this so that

    23 in the eyes of the world they would be victims.

    24 A. Mr. Kordic suggested that explanation.

    25 Q. Yes. You said there were 50 or 60 survivors who were

  110. 1able to identify the perpetrators. Did they identify

    2 any Muslims among them or any Serbs among them?

    3 A. No, I do not believe so. They informed us that they

    4 were all Croats from Ahmici and neighbouring villages.

    5 Q. You mentioned also that, if I understood rightly, one of

    6 the soldiers, that he could see through his binoculars

    7 the execution which was taking place, and you indeed

    8 were able to check that it could be done, to see through

    9 the binoculars the executions or the place where it was

    10 done.

    11 A. I did not have binoculars with me at that point, but

    12 I could even without binoculars see that it was possible

    13 to see the village, it was maybe half a kilometre away,

    14 and it was possible to see the houses, to see the

    15 street. It was possible to see people even in the

    16 village, but I did not specifically check with the

    17 binoculars to see what could have been seen. I imagine

    18 that it would have been possible.

    19 Q. But did he further tell you that he saw who was

    20 executing?

    21 A. No, that he did not. He could simply -- what he said is

    22 that he could simply identify them as being local

    23 soldiers, he could not identify specifically who they

    24 were.

    25 Q. But he could see they were soldiers?

  111. 1A. Correct.

    2 Q. You also mentioned I think that from 200 houses in

    3 Ahmici, 20 only were undamaged.

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. Were they by any chance Croat houses or what?

    6 A. Apparently I think there were, they were local Croats

    7 who were from Ahmici itself. It was the home of the

    8 Croats in Ahmici which were not damaged.

    9 Q. Because in another statement you mentioned that every

    10 form of life was being destroyed, including the

    11 livestock.

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. Which means there was no discrimination in the killing?

    14 A. I believe that it was the Muslims of the village and

    15 their property which was the object of the attack.

    16 There were still several Croat families who were living

    17 in the village and it appeared from everything that we

    18 saw that they were going about their lives as they would

    19 on a daily basis. They had their clothes' line with wet

    20 laundry hanging and they were walking about the village

    21 doing their business. I do not recall if there were

    22 any -- if there was any livestock remaining in the

    23 village.

    24 One of the things that we were a bit perplexed

    25 about is why they had killed the livestock, rather than

  112. 1stealing it for themselves, but there were very few live

    2 animals remaining in the village at that point in time,

    3 a few stray dogs perhaps, a few horses maybe some cows,

    4 but there were a large number of carcasses all over the

    5 village.

    6 Q. Was there, to your knowledge, any revolt on the part of

    7 the Muslims which provoked this military reaction?

    8 A. I would not describe it as a revolt. There were clearly

    9 some tensions in the region, going back several months.

    10 I believe that there had been certain tensions because

    11 of the Vance-Owen Plan and the way in which the ethnic

    12 boundaries had been drawn. A few days earlier Mate

    13 Boban, I believe, had been in Travnik and there was an

    14 attempt to raise the flag of the Croatian Community of

    15 Herceg-Bosna to stake their claim to Travnik and that

    16 had resulted in a shooting incident. There were a lot

    17 of tensions between the Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian

    18 Croats, as to who should be ruling that area. I think

    19 that tension spilled over into isolated acts of

    20 violence, including some cases in which members of the

    21 various armed forces were taken hostage, for example,

    22 but I do not believe that the residents of Ahmici

    23 themselves were about to rebel or were somehow arming

    24 themselves and preparing for some sort of military

    25 operation.

  113. 1Q. They were mainly civilians?

    2 A. Overwhelmingly, from what we could tell. There could

    3 have been maybe a handful, literally three or four

    4 people, but as I said, we do not certainly have complete

    5 information, but every indication we have is that there

    6 was no outside military presence in Ahmici on the part

    7 of the Bosnian Muslim. If there was any military

    8 presence, it would be the sort of soldier on leave which

    9 I described to you. The soldier at home with his family

    10 who may have a gun there, or it could have been local

    11 people who as country people they had shotguns very

    12 often they would go hunting. That is the only kind of

    13 resistance I think there would have been.

    14 Of course, even if the village was destroyed and a

    15 lot of civilians massacred, it is conceivable that many

    16 of these people may have gone into hiding and may have

    17 still tried to resist, that could have carried on for

    18 several hours, but the actual destruction of the village

    19 and the killing I think could have been achieved

    20 possibly in half a day, with about 100 people.

    21 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. I turn to Judge

    23 Shahabuddeen.

    24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Akhavan, just a few questions which

    25 I shall put to you by way of clarification. You were

  114. 1speaking of Ahmici and you told us that there were about

    2 200 houses, 180 of them were destroyed, but about 15 to

    3 20 were not. Are you in a position to help the Tribunal

    4 by saying whether you had any information as to who

    5 owned those 15 to 20 houses which were not destroyed?

    6 A. The information was largely what we received from the

    7 British battalion, because we were not in a position to

    8 independently confirm who the owners of those houses

    9 were. As I explained when we tried to approach one of

    10 the locals, the sniping incident took place and made it

    11 virtually impossible. I was told by certain people that

    12 there were certain architectural distinctions between

    13 Croat and Muslim homes, but I believe that is somewhat

    14 artificial, because there were many people who were

    15 living in each others' homes, property was exchanging

    16 hands either through commercial transactions or through

    17 displaced people taking over other people's homes.

    18 So that was the only information which we really

    19 had from the British battalion and also our own logical

    20 conclusion based on the accounts of all the survivors,

    21 that is basically all the Muslims who could have left

    22 without being killed had basically left, that there was

    23 no one remaining there.

    24 Q. Did you see anyone in those houses which were not

    25 destroyed, in or around them?

  115. 1A. Yes, we did. We saw, as I explained, one old lady with

    2 her two grandsons. We saw that a number of the homes

    3 had, as I said, laundry which was out to dry and the

    4 homes were really unscathed, not a single bullet mark.

    5 We saw on the occasion when we came with the European

    6 Community ambassadors, an elderly -- not an elderly man,

    7 an older man who was walking through the village, so

    8 clearly there were people there.

    9 Q. Tell me a little about the anti-aircraft shells. You

    10 are not a military man. How did you recognise those

    11 shells as anti-aircraft shells?

    12 A. It is one of those things that you learn as you go along

    13 and I relied on the expertise of my friends in the

    14 British battalion, but in general, an anti-aircraft gun

    15 has a much bigger casing than a bullet coming from a

    16 rifle, and I would say that an anti-aircraft casing

    17 would be anywhere from two to three times larger. We

    18 are talking here about that bronze coloured or brass

    19 coloured casing which is left behind after the bullet is

    20 fired, so it was quite easy to make that distinction.

    21 Q. Were those shells in the vicinity of the houses? How

    22 near to the houses were those shells fired?

    23 A. I do not recall if those specific shells were around the

    24 houses or around the -- or in some parts of the road,

    25 because presumably an anti-aircraft gun would be

  116. 1something not so mobile as a rifle or a machine-gun, so

    2 it could be that they had laid it somewhere and they

    3 were just firing the gun randomly throughout the

    4 village. The casings which we saw around the homes were

    5 largely coming from rifles or machine-guns, they were the

    6 smaller casings, not anti-aircraft casings.

    7 Q. Do forgive me, I have asked the question because of a

    8 layman's impression, which possibly is erroneous, that

    9 an anti-aircraft gun is only intended for long distance

    10 firing. That is not correct, is it?

    11 A. It is correct that an anti-aircraft gun is not intended

    12 for such operations, but what we saw in many cases, and

    13 as I spent more months in Bosnia-Herzegovina I saw time

    14 and again, weapons which were being used in

    15 inappropriate terms. We had also cases in Krajina where

    16 anti-aircraft guns were being used in attacks on

    17 villages.

    18 Q. Tell me something else. I think it was on 1st May that

    19 you were taken on an outing in one of these vehicles and

    20 you peered through the peep holes and you said you saw

    21 some men in military uniform looting.

    22 A. Correct.

    23 Q. Could you tell the Tribunal what kind of uniform those

    24 men had?

    25 A. From a distance, it was not possible to look

  117. 1specifically at their arm badge. From what I recall,

    2 they had the typical camouflage uniform of military men,

    3 a sort of brownish grey uniform, but I could not look

    4 specifically at their armbands.

    5 Q. On that same day I think, or the day before, I am not

    6 sure, you saw some houses on fire.

    7 A. Correct.

    8 Q. Did you see flames?

    9 A. Correct, yes.

    10 Q. Or just smouldering material?

    11 A. No, flames, very large flames coming out of the doors

    12 and windows.

    13 Q. Since you saw flames, could you give us an impression of

    14 the estimate you yourself might have made as to how long

    15 before those fires were set?

    16 A. My own impression and the impression of the soldiers in

    17 the tank was that the flame would have been set maybe

    18 half an hour before, 15 minutes. It was quite new, you

    19 could tell that the smoke had not yet completely stained

    20 the white facade of the walls on the outside, and that

    21 much remained to be burnt in the house, so to say. The

    22 flames were still quite vigorous.

    23 Q. So you are telling the court that the process of

    24 destruction continued after 16th April?

    25 A. Definitely yes.

  118. 1Q. Let us turn to your two hour conversation with General

    2 Blaskic. You told him something to the effect that you

    3 thought it was his responsibility to investigate and

    4 punish.

    5 A. Correct.

    6 Q. Did he deny or accept your suggestion that it was his

    7 responsibility to investigate and punish?

    8 A. He did not specifically accept or deny that it was his

    9 responsibility. What he did say, however, is that it

    10 was not his soldiers that had committed these crimes and

    11 my sense was, it was only my sense, that by implication

    12 he would not be responsible because it was not his

    13 soldiers who had committed these crimes, but at no point

    14 did he say either that he was going to investigate the

    15 matter or that he was not, he simply did not make any

    16 remarks, to the best of my recollection.

    17 Q. Perhaps I was not very clear. I did not intend to ask

    18 you whether he said that he intended or not to

    19 investigate. My question concerns this: did he accept

    20 or reject your proposition that it was his

    21 responsibility to investigate what had happened?

    22 A. To the best of my recollection, your Honour, neither.

    23 Q. I believe that you indicated to the court that he took

    24 the position that Ahmici was an area within his military

    25 responsibility, is that right?

  119. 1A. Correct.

    2 Q. Did you gather that he was aware of what had happened in

    3 Ahmici?

    4 A. I gathered based on the proximity of Ahmici to his

    5 headquarters which was maybe two kilometres down the

    6 road and based on extensive destruction of Vitez itself,

    7 it was really incredulous to believe as a military

    8 commander that he would not have been apprised of what

    9 was happening two kilometres down the road.

    10 I also was under the impression that he has

    11 certainly some idea at the least that there had been

    12 some sort of hostilities in Ahmici. I do not believe he

    13 denied knowledge of that. What he denied knowledge of

    14 was that a large number of civilians may have been

    15 victimised, and, of course, I proceeded to inform him in

    16 detail what we had discovered and seen.

    17 Q. Did he say whether or not he had visited Ahmici since

    18 the events which took place on 16th April?

    19 A. From what I recall, he said that he had not visited

    20 Ahmici.

    21 Q. Did he say whether he intended to visit Ahmici?

    22 A. I do not recall him making any comments in that regard.

    23 Q. Did you ask him whether he proposed to visit Ahmici?

    24 A. No, I do not believe I formulated it in those terms.

    25 I formulated it in terms of -- I do believe that I may

  120. 1have suggested perhaps in a rhetorical fashion that he

    2 should definitely go and see for himself what had

    3 happened there, but in more specific terms, what I --

    4 I do not think it would be accurate to say I requested

    5 it of him. Perhaps I informed him that he was

    6 responsible to conduct an investigation; whether

    7 conducting an investigation involves that he personally

    8 make an on site visit or not is something which I did not

    9 really feel it was within my prerogative to comment on.

    10 Q. Let us turn a little to the HOS. You said you saw

    11 elements of the HOS in the lobby of the Vitez hotel.

    12 A. Correct, and subsequently I learned that although they

    13 were still known as HOS by certain people because of

    14 their black uniform, they were actually most probably

    15 the Vitezovi, rather than the HOS. HOS, I believe, was

    16 the paramilitary formation in Croatia which had been

    17 involved in the hostilities against the Krajina Serbs,

    18 and the Vitezovi, to the best of my knowledge, was

    19 related to but not necessarily the same as HOS, but I am

    20 not exactly sure about that.

    21 Q. My impression is that you said that he indicated there

    22 was some measure of tension between himself and the

    23 HOS. Is that a way of putting it?

    24 A. Yes, correct.

    25 Q. Did he take that as far as to suggest that he was not in

  121. 1control of any military operations which the HOS might

    2 conduct within the area of his command?

    3 A. No, I left the meeting with the distinct impression,

    4 reinforced several times by Colonel Blaskic, that he was

    5 the military commander and he was the one who was making

    6 the decisions.

    7 Q. You saw Vice-President Kordic.

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. And spoke with him for about 15 to 20 minutes.

    10 A. Correct.

    11 Q. And he was in uniform.

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. What uniform was he wearing?

    14 A. If you are speaking about the particular arm badge which

    15 he had, I do not recall. All I would remember was that

    16 he was wearing the typical camouflage military uniform.

    17 I do not know whether it was specifically an HVO uniform

    18 or whether it was something that he liked for fashion

    19 purposes.

    20 Q. Then we shall leave that there. I turn to your

    21 statement to the effect, I believe, that the happenings

    22 at Ahmici were a matter of some public interest; is that

    23 correct?

    24 A. Very much so, sir.

    25 Q. Were reports circulating in the media and on TV about

  122. 1what had happened at Ahmici?

    2 A. There were many reports, yes.

    3 Q. At that time, if I recall your testimony correctly,

    4 there was no international criminal court established to

    5 deal with events taking place in that area.

    6 A. Correct, sir.

    7 Q. But were there calls in the media for the establishment

    8 of such a court?

    9 A. Yes, there had been certain calls and there had been

    10 missions previously, one of them was a mission I myself

    11 had been involved in with the CSCE which had suggested

    12 the establishment of such a court and there were others

    13 calling for it as well.

    14 Q. In fact, the suggestion that such a court should be

    15 established was made by the interim report of the

    16 committee of experts which was filed, I think, on

    17 9th February 1993.

    18 A. Correct, sir. I believe that earlier on, Tadeusz

    19 Mazowiecki had also made a recommendation to that

    20 effect.

    21 Q. And a resolution of the Security Council of

    22 22nd February had in fact promulgated a decision to

    23 establish an international criminal court for the

    24 purpose.

    25 A. Correct.

  123. 1Q. This Tribunal was later set up on 25th May of that

    2 year.

    3 A. Correct.

    4 Q. Was that the framework within which your visit took

    5 place during the first week of May 1993?

    6 A. Definitely not, sir. The mandate of the special

    7 rapporteur was clearly to look at the question of state

    8 responsibility and the absence of a normally functioning

    9 state to look at the responsibility of the parties to

    10 the conflict for atrocities. At no time in any of our

    11 reports, whether against the Bosnian Croats, Bosnian

    12 Muslims or Bosnian Serbs, did we specifically mention

    13 even the most notorious names, such as those of Radovan

    14 Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, instead we had this standard

    15 formulation of leaders, people in positions of

    16 authority, because it was not really the business of our

    17 special rapporteur to delve into such matters.

    18 Q. No, I misled you. I did not intend to ask you about the

    19 purpose of your mandate. I merely intended to ask you

    20 about the general framework within which your particular

    21 visit to the area occurred during the first week of May,

    22 that there was talk of setting up an International

    23 Criminal Tribunal to deal with specific violations of

    24 international humanitarian law in the area.

    25 A. Correct. Perhaps I have not understood entirely.

  124. 1Q. Thank you. You say that proposals to this effect had

    2 been engaging the public interest and had been presented

    3 in the media, including television?

    4 A. Correct, but they were met at the time with great

    5 scepticism, your Honour. I think that to that effect,

    6 I am not sure to which extent the potential

    7 establishment of such a court, even on paper, let alone

    8 its becoming operational, was something very tangible at

    9 that point in time for many of us, although we greatly

    10 desired its establishment.

    11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you very much.

    12 A. Thank you, your Honour.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Akhavan, many questions have been asked.

    14 I would like to ask something for my own information as

    15 well, very quickly. You spoke about the hamlet of

    16 Miletici, perhaps I am not pronouncing it correctly, and

    17 that there were Mujahedin there, but as you also

    18 connected this with a question of reprisals, I would

    19 like to know whether in your opinion these Mujahedin

    20 existed there before the attack, or if they had come in

    21 order to respond to a threat?

    22 A. Before the attack on Ahmici, your Honour?

    23 Q. I was not specifically thinking about Ahmici, but you

    24 had spoken about them when you were referring to the

    25 hamlet of Miletici. You spoke of Mujahedin who had been

  125. 1recruited by the local population who were a sort of

    2 mercenary who were to respond to torture and atrocities

    3 committed by the other party. These Mujahedin, were

    4 they an isolated element here? Do you have the

    5 impression that this territory was one on which several

    6 weeks earlier, because they thought there would be an

    7 attack, that the Mujahedin had come or did they come

    8 after the first attacks, the first threats? That is my

    9 question.

    10 A. The so-called Mujahedin were somewhat of a mystery, your

    11 Honour. No one really knew exactly what their

    12 relationship was with the former Bosnian army. There

    13 were those who suggested they were part of a so-called

    14 Seventh Brigade, others who suggested that they are

    15 really a loose cannon, that really no one controlled

    16 them and they did their own thing. They were composed

    17 partially of local Bosnians and partially of foreign

    18 mercenaries or volunteers.

    19 As to your question, it is difficult to tell to

    20 what extent the killing in Miletici was an act of

    21 vengeance for what has transpired in Vitez, Ahmici and

    22 other areas, and to what extent these people were simply

    23 local criminals who had sized the occasion to engage in

    24 some sort of brutality, which was an unfortunately

    25 common occurrence in the war where people for their own

  126. 1ends would seize the opportunity. But we were told by

    2 one of the elderly Croats in the village who I believe

    3 had some sort of relation to one of the young men who

    4 had been decapitated, that one of the people who had

    5 come to the village along with some foreign looking,

    6 people speaking foreign languages, lived just down the

    7 road and he even pointed out the home of the person.

    8 There was some suggestion that this man may have

    9 been a bit of a gangster. They said he had some nice

    10 cars and he was involved in all sorts of business

    11 practices, so the impression which we gained is that

    12 there was one man who lived literally less than a

    13 kilometre away from Miletici and that he may have

    14 brought with himself one or two mercenaries.

    15 We were also told that the one or two Bosnian army

    16 officers who either lived in or around the hamlet would

    17 normally protect them, but that in this case, they had

    18 not themselves participated in the attack, but they had

    19 simply not reacted, perhaps in collusion with the

    20 attackers or perhaps out of fear, we do not know.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. When you were about to carry out

    22 one of your first inspections (not interpreted). At

    23 some point in your mission, at the very beginning,

    24 I noted that down, you were fired on. Do you remember

    25 you said that? Later on, when you met the accused, you

  127. 1spoke to him about that, the fact that you were shot at,

    2 which was very dangerous. Did you possibly speak to him

    3 and if you did, what was his answer?

    4 A. Your Honour, I did mention to the accused that we had

    5 been fired upon and that we took, of course, great

    6 exception to any attempt to impede our investigation,

    7 and I mentioned that we had very clearly marked UN

    8 helmets and flak jackets and armbands such that there

    9 could have been no misunderstanding as to who we were,

    10 and as far as I know, the accused did not offer any

    11 explanation as to who may have committed the crimes,

    12 because I myself suggested clearly that it could not

    13 have been anyone except the local HVO who were in

    14 control of the region.

    15 Q. Thank you. Perhaps this refers back to questions that

    16 my colleagues asked, and if so I ask your indulgence.

    17 In light of the conversations which you had, among

    18 others, with the accused and the presence of Dario

    19 Kordic or Valenta, did you have some idea of the

    20 hierarchy among those men? I am not speaking about what

    21 you learned afterwards, you learned many things about

    22 that hierarchy, but I am trying to put myself in your

    23 place at the time those conversations took place. You

    24 had a conversation with the accused, then you saw

    25 Mr. Valenta going by, you met with Mr. Kordic. I have a

  128. 1twofold question.

    2 Were you able to get an idea of the command

    3 structure at that time? Also, could you distinguish

    4 what was political and what was military, the military

    5 person, was he also involved in politics and did the

    6 politicians limit themselves to politics? Could you

    7 answer those two questions, please?

    8 A. Yes, your Honour. I had a general idea, during the

    9 first two days especially of my visit there as to who

    10 was running the show. This was based in large part on

    11 the experiences of the UNPROFOR commanders and UNHCR and

    12 other officials who either had to negotiate cease-fires

    13 or who had to negotiate safe passage for humanitarian

    14 convoys or for displaced persons to be able to leave out

    15 of that area safely, to go, for example, to Zenica,

    16 where they would gather in the collection centres.

    17 In all cases, I was told that -- if I may add, it

    18 was a bit difficult in the context of the armed conflict

    19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina in general, and in the particular

    20 case of Herceg-Bosna, to draw a clear line of separation

    21 between military command and political authority. The

    22 two seemed to have a very integrated relationship to one

    23 another. I was told that Dario Kordic was really the

    24 most serious power broker in the Lasva Valley region,

    25 being second only to Mate Boban --

  129. 1Q. I am not interested in what you were told, I am sure

    2 people told you many things. I want to know whether

    3 during the meeting you could see very quickly who was

    4 the person who was most pre-eminent, who was the one who

    5 was giving orders. Was it this one or the accused who

    6 is doing it? This is the impression I am trying to get

    7 at. I know you know the rest or at least you have an

    8 idea about the rest. I would like to know what you felt

    9 at that time.

    10 A. Based on my subjective impressions, which is what you

    11 are asking me, your Honour, my impression was that Dario

    12 Kordic was the mastermind, if you like. He was the

    13 ideologue, he was extremely sophisticated and if I may

    14 add, without being impolite, somewhat sly in the sort of

    15 explanations he was offering and what he was trying to

    16 persuade me of.

    17 My encounter with Colonel Blaskic was, I would

    18 say, quite different. I found that he was much more low

    19 key and obliging; not in the sense that he was willing

    20 to co-operate in divulging information, but that he

    21 was --

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Are you talking about Blaskic now? I am

    23 sorry. I think first you spoke about the ideologue,

    24 somewhat sly in your words, that was Dario Kordic,

    25 right?

  130. 1A. Correct.

    2 Q. And now we agree we are talking about Blaskic, is that

    3 right?

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. Very well, thank you. Go ahead.

    6 A. My impression was that Colonel Blaskic was less of a

    7 political mastermind and more of a military executor, if

    8 you like. I was not under the impression that

    9 Colonel Blaskic was a purely military, in the sense that

    10 he had no involvement whatsoever in the bigger agenda of

    11 the HDZ political party which was really a one party

    12 state in Herceg-Bosna, which controlled virtually all

    13 aspects of politics and military in the region. So

    14 there was an impression that they were co-operating very

    15 closely in what was evidently a relatively small

    16 geographical area, a very small and, forgive the

    17 expression, incestuous community of political and

    18 military leaders, who were constantly meeting and

    19 discussing things with one another.

    20 There was no sense they were isolated, but there

    21 was the sense that Kordic would be the one who would

    22 have the overall theory, if you like, of what the

    23 political objectives of Herceg-Bosna should be and

    24 Blaskic would be more the sort of person who would

    25 implement as a military man, which he was, a

  131. 1professional soldier, the policies which were conceived

    2 by someone such as Kordic and further away by Boban in

    3 Mostar. That is just my subjective impression, your

    4 Honour.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I would now like to speak about

    6 the report, not yours but the second one, that is

    7 Exhibit 184A, in French. You did not draft that, but

    8 you said that large parts of what you had observed had

    9 been printed in it, without being the author itself.

    10 Could we say that paragraph 43 could explain to us

    11 something, that is the first sentence. I will read it

    12 in French:

    13 "The Peace Plan pursuant to which

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina would be divided according to ethnic

    15 boundaries was used in order to set up homogenous ethnic

    16 zones."

    17 In the mind of the person writing this, which to

    18 some extent you may have contributed, do you make a

    19 connection between the events which took place in the

    20 Ahmici area and this Peace Plan? Was it something which

    21 was just set up in order to have a plan, or was it

    22 something really specific? Would you explain that to

    23 us?

    24 A. Yes, your Honour. I should add first of all that the

    25 conclusions portion of not only this report but all of

  132. 1these reports is where Prime Minister Mazowiecki had the

    2 greatest say. He was obviously not in the position to

    3 do the investigations on the ground, that is where he

    4 relied on us, but his role was largely to draw

    5 conclusions and make recommendations. It must be

    6 remembered that this report came at a time when there

    7 was intense political debate about the wisdom of ethnic

    8 partition in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Mr. Mazowiecki was

    9 one of the leading critics of such a policy. Not to say

    10 that we did not agree with his observations in this

    11 respect, but we did not draft specifically that

    12 paragraph.

    13 The impression which we gained on the ground was

    14 that the parties were trying to resolve the question of

    15 the ethnic partition of Bosnia on the ground, while at

    16 the same time there were political negotiations going on

    17 in Geneva and elsewhere. All the parties were trying to

    18 create the best possible ethnic configuration so they

    19 could present their ethnic domination in a certain area

    20 as a fait accompli. Unfortunately this was part and

    21 parcel of the armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    22 something which I think anyone who had any familiarity

    23 with the situation on the ground would not deny.

    24 There was an impression that the canton number 10,

    25 which I had mentioned earlier in the Vance-Owen Plan,

  133. 1which eventually was scrapped for a different sort of

    2 partition, had created tremendous tensions between the

    3 Croats and the Muslims who were now vying for power.

    4 The Croats felt they should already begin to execute the

    5 Vance-Owen Plan by asserting their dominance.

    6 As I explained, there was the incident where the

    7 Croat flag was raised in Travnik which created many

    8 tensions. To which extent there was a direct

    9 correlation from the territorial demarcation of the plan

    10 and the attack in Ahmici I am not entirely certain, but

    11 everything we looked at led to the conclusion that this

    12 was seen as a means of pre-emptively implementing that

    13 partition and there were, according to many

    14 well-informed sources who we spoke with, many political

    15 statements which had been made almost immediately prior

    16 to April 16th. In one case even I believe the ultimatum

    17 which had been given, that by April 15th all Muslim

    18 forces should be disbanded and the domination of

    19 Herceg-Bosna in this canton must be realised or else

    20 there was going to be some sort of reprisal, or whatever

    21 the case might be.

    22 Q. I have a last question I would like to ask you. When

    23 you met General Blaskic, after having made the comments

    24 about which we do not have to speak again, that is

    25 regarding his responsibility as a local HVO commander in

  134. 1respect of the atrocities that had been committed in

    2 Ahmici, after all of this, I would like to ask you

    3 whether at any point during the conversation, he said to

    4 you that he had given orders, taken decisions, that is

    5 command orders, headquarters orders, reminding his

    6 troops, the HVO troops, that they had to respect the

    7 laws and customs of war and the Geneva Conventions, or

    8 respect for protected peoples. Did he say to you, "yes,

    9 I understand what you are saying", or, "no, I am not

    10 responsible, no, I am not aware of this", or might he

    11 have added, for example, "in any case in my military

    12 orders I also state that certain international

    13 humanitarian laws had to be respected", or did he not

    14 say anything at all about it? That is what my question

    15 is.

    16 A. I do not believe that any specific statements were

    17 made. If I may share with you once again my somewhat

    18 subjective interpretation of the meeting, I believe that

    19 the statements made by Colonel Blaskic indicated some

    20 degree of unease and at the same time evasiveness.

    21 I repeated certain questions several times and each time

    22 Colonel Blaskic repeated the same answer which did not

    23 really answer my question. I do not think at any point

    24 he tried to be defiant and to say that, "we are not

    25 going to co-operate", nor did he at any point indicate

  135. 1that he would take any action or assume any

    2 responsibility. He repeated simply that he is in

    3 control of the region and he is in control of his

    4 soldiers and that his soldiers had not committed such a

    5 crime and would not commit such a crime. At no point

    6 did he answer the specific question of who may have been

    7 responsible, whether he was going to take any action,

    8 whether in the form of instructing his soldiers not to

    9 repeat such crimes again or in the form of

    10 investigations.

    11 Q. Yes, I understand that. You already said that. No,

    12 I wanted to know whether he might have said to you,

    13 "I am a soldier, I am a leader and I am concerned with

    14 the Geneva Conventions. Here are the orders that I give

    15 to my troops and I say in those orders that they must

    16 always be careful because any soldier that would not

    17 respect these conventions or the laws of war, I have

    18 given this or that order on this or that day and I am

    19 concerned with this". He could have said to you, "I do

    20 not always know what is going on in my area of

    21 responsibility but I am concerned about it and I give

    22 orders"; that did not happen?

    23 A. No, nothing with that degree of specificity was

    24 mentioned to me.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: I have no further questions, but I turn again

  136. 1to my colleagues. Judge Riad has several other

    2 questions I would like to ask you. Judge Riad?

    3 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Akhavan, in your last summing up, you

    4 mentioned that the Vance-Owen Plan initiated people

    5 to -- initiated the parties to pre-emptively implement

    6 the partition; in other words, to actualise the ethnic

    7 configuration. Could you be more clear about that?

    8 What do you mean by the "ethnic configuration"?

    9 A. The Vance-Owen Plan was based on the idea of ethnically

    10 based cantons. The idea was that Bosnia-Herzegovina

    11 would be carved up into a series of cantons and in each

    12 canton, a particular ethnic group would dominate. Of

    13 course, in theory the idea would be that those who did

    14 not belong to the dominant ethnic groups would also

    15 exist with full minority protection and human rights,

    16 but that was a far cry from the reality on the ground,

    17 which was that as a minority, your chances of being

    18 persecuted were overwhelming as distinct from the

    19 chances that you could live in safety and pursue living.

    20 In many cases, which ethnic group was dominant was

    21 not a demographic question, it was a question of how

    22 many people had been cleansed from a particular area,

    23 and how many people who may have been displaced from

    24 elsewhere had been resettled there. There was a great

    25 deal of playing with demography as a means of possibly

  137. 1affecting the outcome of the Vance-Owen negotiations.

    2 There was also a sense, because of the tremendous

    3 gains which the Bosnian Serbs had made and the fact that

    4 the Vance-Owen Plan ratified those gains in many

    5 respects by recognising it as a fait accompli, that the

    6 other parties may wish to do the same in order to

    7 achieve the same result. The sense was perhaps that the

    8 Croat leadership, Bosnian Croat leadership in

    9 Herzegovina, wanted to ensure that they were numerically

    10 dominant in places such as Travnik, in places such as

    11 Mostar, that there are no pockets of potential Muslim

    12 resistance should the Muslims over time begin to resist

    13 domination by the Croats, and to a certain extent the

    14 notion that if the ethnic configuration, if there was a

    15 demographic shift, that the chances that the Vance-Owen

    16 Plan would be changed in favour of the Muslim would be

    17 that much less. That was just the general sense of how

    18 politics were played out in Bosnia-Herzegovina at that

    19 time.

    20 Q. But in this very case, this playing out was total

    21 cleansing?

    22 A. Apparently that was the idea, that either the Muslims

    23 would submit unconditionally to the domination of the

    24 HDZ, to the domination of HVO and so on and so forth in

    25 the area, or that there would be certain reprisals.

  138. 1I am not sure what the outcome would have been had there

    2 been a different, let us say if the entire Muslim

    3 population agreed to disarm and to give Travnik and

    4 Zenica to the Croats and had been completely compliant,

    5 I have no idea what the outcome would have been, that is

    6 purely speculative, but there was a willingness in

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina among certain parties to resort to

    8 ethnic cleansing as a means of executing their political

    9 designs. That unfortunately was the norm and the

    10 exception was to respect multi-ethnic co-existence and

    11 human rights.

    12 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Akhavan, the Tribunal would like to thank

    14 you for all the clarifications and details which you

    15 have given to us about the mission which you were given

    16 and which are of use to the International Tribunal.

    17 We will now take a 25 minute break and start again

    18 at 4.55. The hearing is adjourned.

    19 (4.25 pm)

    20 (A short break)

    21 (4.55 pm)

    22 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing. Have the

    23 accused brought in, please.

    24 (Accused brought in)

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Ms. Paterson?

  139. 1MS. PATERSON: Yes, your Honour. The people would

    2 respectfully request that the court permit us to call

    3 the next witness as the first witness tomorrow morning.

    4 This witness has been waiting all day to testify, the

    5 witness will have to give some very difficult testimony

    6 and has requested, if court would be agreeable, that it

    7 would be preferable for the witness to give all of the

    8 testimony in one sitting, to not break it up with a

    9 break over the evening recess. Since we are nearly at

    10 the end of the day, if there is no objection to the

    11 court, we would like to start with this witness first

    12 thing in the morning.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Since we are speaking about

    14 organisation -- Mr. Dubuisson -- this is a private

    15 session, is it? All right, we are in private session.

    16 (In closed session)

    17 (redacted)

    18 (redacted)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

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    16 (5.10 pm)


    18 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am the following day