Case No IT-95-14
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
15th May 1993. You indicated that there was another
2 individual there by the name of Ante Valenta, is that
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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?
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
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
25 Q. Can you identify any BritBat soldier who told you that
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
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
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,
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
11993 that the resistance in Donje Ahmici lasted from
2 dawn until nightfall on that day? Did anyone tell you
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,
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
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
1Q. Are you able to identify them more specifically, the
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,
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
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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
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.
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
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
5 Q. Did you see some black uniformed individuals in the
6 lobby, or did you see a HOS or Vitezovi patch on those
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?
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
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
1substance of that paragraph is very much based on my
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
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
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
25 A. I spoke with him for almost two hours one on one, with
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
17 A. I do not recall.
18 Q. Did you interview any residents or former residents of
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
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
11 A. No, I did not.
12 Q. Did you review any HVO documents in preparing your
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
24 A. No, I did not ask Colonel Blaskic specifically for any
25 documents. As I said, at that point in time we had
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
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
25 A. I am not aware of that.
1Q. Were you aware of any criticism from him regarding the
3 A. No.
4 Q. You mentioned the mass grave in Stari Vitez, 100 or 101
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
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
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
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
22 A. Absolutely not. If anything, it was a very preliminary
24 Q. Let me ask you a couple of questions that came up during
25 cross-examination and you noted, when Defence counsel
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
25 Q. But he could see they were soldiers?
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
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
24 One of the things that we were a bit perplexed
25 about is why they had killed the livestock, rather than
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
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
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
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Akhavan, just a few questions which
25 I shall put to you by way of clarification. You were
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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?
2 Q. Did you gather that he was aware of what had happened in
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
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
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
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
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
24 A. Very much so, sir.
25 Q. Were reports circulating in the media and on TV about
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
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
25 A. Correct.
1Q. This Tribunal was later set up on 25th May of that
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 --
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,
2 Q. And now we agree we are talking about Blaskic, is that
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
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
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
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
24 A. Yes, your Honour. I should add first of all that the
25 conclusions portion of not only this report but all of
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
20 Q. But in this very case, this playing out was total
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.
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?
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)
13 Pages 5399 to 5407 redacted - in close session
16 (5.10 pm)
18 (Hearing adjourned until 10.00 am the following day