International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Case No IT-95-14


  1. 1 Wednesday, 17th December

    2 1997

    3 (9.30 am)

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the accused brought

    5 in, please.

    6 (Accused brought in)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: As soon as the photographers have finished

    8 their work -- can everyone hear me well? Are the

    9 interpreters ready? Thank you, thank you for coming a

    10 little earlier. Mr. Prosecutor, the Defence, Mr. Nobilo,

    11 Mr. Hayman, can you hear me? General Blaskic, you can

    12 hear me? Very well, we can begin then. I hope my

    13 colleagues can hear me too.

    14 Mr. Kehoe, we have only one witness for this

    15 morning.

    16 MR. KEHOE: That is correct, Mr. President.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. How long do you think his

    18 testimony will take? What is the summary, what is the

    19 connection with the indictment? Will you explain that

    20 to us in summary form, but with precision and with

    21 completeness. Thank you.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Good morning, Mr. President

    23 and your Honours. The first and only witness today is a

    24 gentleman by the name of Michael Buffini,

    25 B-U-F-F-I-N-I. Mr. Buffini is now a civilian. During

  2. 1 the operative time frame, i.e. 1993, he was an officer in

    2 the Royal Marine Corps. He was carrying the rank of

    3 Major while he was operating in Central Bosnia and prior

    4 to that time, he carried the rank of Captain in the

    5 Royal Marines.

    6 Mr. Buffini was in the first instance assigned to

    7 the Combined British Forces headquarters in Split and he

    8 will testify that during the period of time that he was

    9 assigned to this location he saw HV troops, and this is

    10 Croatian army troops, moving into the Prozor area; he

    11 saw HV troops obviously engaged in fighting in the

    12 Prozor area, and in that area during this time frame the

    13 fighting was taking place between the Bosnian Muslim

    14 army and the HVO, of which the HV was assisting.

    15 He will likewise augment that testimony with

    16 conversations of an ex Royal Marine, who noted that he

    17 was training HV troops for assignment in Bosnia to

    18 assist the HVO. As you know, Mr. President and

    19 your Honours, this particular evidence goes to the

    20 international armed conflict issue which is pertinent to

    21 all the grave breach charges, so while it does not

    22 necessarily go to the factual information set forth, it

    23 does go to the international armed conflict issue which

    24 those counts run through the entire indictment.

    25 The next instance or instances that Mr. Buffini

  3. 1 will discuss, he will discuss his work in the Busovaca

    2 Joint Commission, which commenced on approximately

    3 6th March 1993, and concluded in the latter part of May

    4 1993. He will discuss the parties, the representatives

    5 for each side that attended that meeting, specifically

    6 Franjo Nakic, Blaskic's second in command who

    7 represented the HVO, and Dzemal Merdan, who was the

    8 representative for the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    9 He will talk about Blaskic's authority in Central

    10 Bosnia -- again, he will talk about this very briefly --

    11 and how soldiers would not contravene Blaskic's orders,

    12 and that to get things done, Blaskic's orders had to be

    13 issued, most often in writing.

    14 After the peace agreement is signed, or the

    15 cease-fire agreement is signed on 21st April 1993, of

    16 which this Chamber has heard, Mr. Buffini and the Joint

    17 Commission begin to work on various complaints to ensure

    18 that the cease-fire holds. Those complaints involve

    19 allegations of trench digging by the HVO; those trench

    20 digging allegations focus on the use of civilians and

    21 prisoners of war doing those trench diggings. There

    22 were also allegations that the HVO was using these

    23 prisoners as human shields. Those allegations went to

    24 two individuals directly during those meetings,

    25 Blaskic's second in command, Franjo Nakic, and the

  4. 1 brigade commander of the Vitez brigade, Mario Cerkez.

    2 Those complaints were made on numerous occasions by the

    3 BiH, but also by the representative of the International

    4 Red Cross, who Mr. Buffini will testify was visiting most

    5 of these prisons.

    6 He will discuss the failure to turn over prisoner

    7 lists and the HVO being reluctant, while as trench

    8 digging was going on, to turn over witness lists and how

    9 HVO local commanders refused to turn over those lists

    10 until it was cleared by Blaskic himself.

    11 Those particular allegations, Mr. President, go to

    12 a variety of allegations. If we can take them in

    13 sequence, turning first as part of the persecution count

    14 in count 1, the latter part of Mr. Buffini's testimony

    15 will go directly to paragraphs 6.4 and 6.5.

    16 Specifically in 6.5, Mr. President and

    17 your Honours, you will see that the allegations in that

    18 paragraph of the indictment focus on forcing Bosnian

    19 Muslim prisoners and civilians to dig trenches and also

    20 using them as human shields.

    21 More specifically, Mr. President and your Honours,

    22 we turn to paragraphs 15 through 20, which again recount

    23 specifically the use of Bosnian Muslims for the digging

    24 of trenches and for the use of those Bosnian Muslims as

    25 human shields.

  5. 1 I am sorry, I said paragraphs 15 through 20,

    2 I apologise, I meant counts 15 through 20 and that

    3 should be 12 in the indictment.

    4 In short, Mr. President and your Honours, that is

    5 the focus of Mr. Buffini's testimony as it pertains to

    6 the indictment and I anticipate, Mr. President, that this

    7 testimony will be quite short. We will not cover ground

    8 that we have covered before and I suspect that the

    9 examination-in-chief by the Prosecution will be done in

    10 maybe 30 to 40 minutes.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you, Mr. Kehoe, I thank you

    12 on behalf of my colleagues for this complete overview of

    13 this testimony that we are going to hear.

    14 Mr. Registrar, can you have Major Michael Buffini

    15 brought in, please.

    16 (Witness entered court)

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Can he hear me?

    18 THE WITNESS: Yes.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Please tell us your identity while still

    20 standing for the moment.

    21 THE WITNESS: I am Michael Leslie Buffini.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Can you please read the solemn

    23 declaration which is being handed to you by the usher.


    25 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Major Buffini, you have

  6. 1 agreed to come and testify at the request of the

    2 Prosecution in a trial of the International Tribunal

    3 against General Blaskic, the accused, who is here

    4 present. Mr. Kehoe, who represents the Office of the

    5 Prosecution, has outlined in main lines your testimony,

    6 that you were stationed in Split, then the focal point

    7 of your testimony, all that you saw in the Joint

    8 Commission in Busovaca, and then the complaints and

    9 various allegations that were made following the

    10 cease-fire.

    11 Mr. Kehoe will put a certain number of opening

    12 questions to you, then you will make your testimony

    13 which will speak in support of the indictment. After

    14 that, of course, the Defence will have questions for you

    15 and the judges too at the end of your testimony.

    16 Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.

    17 Examined by MR. KEHOE

    18 Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

    19 Good morning, Mr. Buffini.

    20 A. Good morning.

    21 Q. Before we commence, if once again both you and I can be

    22 mindful of our discussions, given the fact that the

    23 people up in the booth have to interpret. If we just

    24 ask for a gap -- if we take a pause between question and

    25 answer, it will be helpful.

  7. 1 A. Okay.

    2 Q. Mr. Buffini, can you tell us a little bit about yourself,

    3 what you are doing now and tell us a little bit about

    4 your military career up until the time of your

    5 retirement?

    6 A. At the moment I am an investment advisor working in

    7 Brussels. I have been doing the job for just over two

    8 years now. Prior to that, I spent some time in the

    9 Royal Marines on two different occasions. I joined the

    10 Royal Marines in 1977 as a marine, but was commissioned

    11 as an officer while I was still under training. I spent

    12 a year as an officer under training, and then deployed

    13 to Malta for my first tour with the platoon. I then

    14 went to Cyprus with the United Nations and served six

    15 months there, before deploying to Northern Ireland with

    16 a commando unit, having done a mortar officers' course,

    17 so I was trained as a mortar officer, and took my job in

    18 Northern Ireland in South Armagh.

    19 After that, I spent some time recruiting for the

    20 Royal Navy and the Royal Marines and then spent a series

    21 of staff jobs, which was really behind a desk doing

    22 either training, serving in the Falkland Islands and up

    23 in the Commander in Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy's

    24 headquarters in Northwood, where I was responsible for

    25 security of Royal Marines on board ships who were

  8. 1 responsible for security of nuclear weapons and the

    2 general safety of the ships.

    3 At that stage, I resigned from the Royal Marines

    4 and left, went to Hong Kong and set up as an investment

    5 advisor for two years out there. I was then asked to

    6 rejoin the Royal Marines at the level that I had left,

    7 so I retained my rank as Captain and I spent another

    8 four years in the Royal Marines. Within that four years

    9 when I rejoined in 1991, I was asked to go to join

    10 Commander British Forces out in Croatia and to deploy up

    11 into Bosnia as well, so I spent six months working in

    12 that location. I then spent some time after that in

    13 Ghana, training up security teams out there, and my

    14 final job before I was invalided from the Royal Marines

    15 was as a drafting officer for 3,500 troops of the Royal

    16 Marines, so I was responsible for their jobs, where they

    17 were going and their movement.

    18 Q. Mr. Buffini, so you resigned from the Royal Marine Corps

    19 because of a physical problem, is that right?

    20 A. I did not resign, I had to leave because my knees were

    21 in such a condition that I could not fulfil all my

    22 duties as an active service officer.

    23 Q. Mr. Buffini, if we can, can we begin to discuss your

    24 period of time when you were sent to the former

    25 Yugoslavia, and in your own words, can you just describe

  9. 1 to the judges when you went to the former Yugoslavia,

    2 what you did there and I think as we discussed, it

    3 logically falls into two areas, the period of time when

    4 you were assigned to the Combined British Forces in

    5 Croatia, and then the period of time when you were

    6 assigned to the Busovaca Joint Commission. So again,

    7 Mr. Buffini, in your own words if you could describe your

    8 experiences down there to the judges at this point.

    9 A. I arrived in Split on 15th January, and my task at that

    10 stage was as a watch keeper for Commander British Forces

    11 based at Divulje barracks. I also had another task,

    12 which was my primary task, which was as the officer

    13 commanding of the UK liaison officers and there were

    14 nine teams of two people, each with a vehicle which was

    15 known as a RB-44, a Reynolds Borton 44 vehicle which was

    16 fitted out with an INMARSAT satellite telephone, with

    17 the ability to fax messages from laptop computers. We

    18 also had fairly comprehensive range of radio equipment

    19 on board as well.

    20 The idea was that the UK LOs, as they were

    21 referred to, were able to gather information from

    22 wherever the British forces were deployed and bringing

    23 it back to the Commander British Forces based in Split.

    24 So I was responsible for tasking those teams and

    25 ensuring they were doing their jobs correctly.

  10. 1 For the first six or eight weeks, my main task was

    2 as the watch keeper, which involved an eight hour shift

    3 in the headquarters of Commander British Forces,

    4 monitoring the radio nets and telephone links with all

    5 the different agencies that they were in contact with.

    6 So we had a direct link to BritBat, who were based up in

    7 Vitez, direct links with the UNHCR, who were based at

    8 Metkovic and other locations and obviously direct linked

    9 with BHC, UNPROFOR's headquarters at Kiseljak.

    10 So my job was to note on a normal watch keeping pad

    11 all of the incidents that were happening over that shift

    12 of eight hours that I was there. So as something

    13 happened, I would note it down and then either take a

    14 responsive action or call other people in to take the

    15 necessary action that was required.

    16 During that time of watch keeping, I also had to

    17 deploy to visit my teams who were based at Metkovic,

    18 working with the UNHCR. They were also based up in

    19 Fojnica, with the tactical headquarters of Commander

    20 British Forces, and we also had teams in Tomislavgrad,

    21 who were working with. NCE, the National Command

    22 Element. The idea behind that was for me to familiarise

    23 myself with the duties of these people, what they were

    24 doing and ensuring they were doing something which was

    25 productive and not a waste of time.

  11. 1 Over that first six weeks, I determined that they

    2 were quite a few jobs they were doing which were a waste

    3 of time and asked if I could redeploy my troops to

    4 better positions and to become more involved with

    5 gathering of information which was more relevant to

    6 them. So we changed the deployment from Fojnica up to

    7 Vitez, where the troops there were working with the

    8 British battalion.

    9 We also had a request while I was still

    10 watch keeping that two of the teams joined a working

    11 group which I understood to be the Busovaca Joint

    12 Commission in middle of February, and I sent two teams

    13 up there to work with them.

    14 Q. Mr. Buffini, we are talking about the year 1993, are we

    15 not?

    16 A. Yes, we are.

    17 Q. Okay, continue.

    18 A. So that was the deployment of my teams and in the main,

    19 while I was watch keeping, that was really what was

    20 happening. So I spent most of my time in Split on the

    21 watch keeping desk, but also some of the time travelling

    22 throughout Bosnia, visiting the locations in Vitez, in

    23 Gornji Vakuf when we were working through there and

    24 travelling up to Kiseljak to obviously discuss the

    25 deployment of the UK LOs throughout Central Bosnia.

  12. 1 At the beginning of March, end of February, I was

    2 asked by Commander British Forces, Brigadier Cummings,

    3 if I would deploy full time up to the Busovaca Joint

    4 Commission to assist them with additional security and

    5 with communications elements that they were able to

    6 communicate on a much better range than they had at

    7 present, which was very limited. So from the beginning

    8 of March, I then moved up to Busovaca on a full time

    9 basis working with the Joint Commission, where I spent

    10 the next two or three months, apart from the two weeks

    11 I had as my leave, R&R, deployed in that area.

    12 The workings of the watch keeping, I will cover

    13 that first, I think, several incidents which I think

    14 come to mind while I was travelling up and down the

    15 triangle was the identification of troops, coaches and

    16 other forces that were moving up and down "route

    17 triangle" into Central Bosnia. The intelligence cell of

    18 Commander British Forces had asked us to gather

    19 information whenever we were on the ground, so I was

    20 specifically asked to identify on any given time troop

    21 movements of Croatian soldiers moving up into Central

    22 Bosnia.

    23 There were two occasions when I witnessed that,

    24 and another occasion when as a watch keeper I recorded an

    25 incident that related to Croatian troops moving in and

  13. 1 out of Central Bosnia. The first incident was when

    2 I was watch keeping, and about 1.00 in the morning we got

    3 a report that a coach with Croatian soldiers on board

    4 had had an accident with a hand grenade in the coach and

    5 that one of the soldiers playing around with the hand

    6 grenade had let it off and had seriously wounded

    7 himself. The Royal Engineers based en route triangle

    8 were the nearest British troops to that and had relayed

    9 the information back to me as the watch keeper. I asked

    10 for more information, and was told that they were

    11 Croatian troops, and that they had asked for a

    12 "casevac", in other words a casualty evacuation, by

    13 helicopter, of the wounded people so they could be taken

    14 down to Split for treatment in the hospital.

    15 I refused permission for helicopters to be used

    16 for that purpose, because at that time the directive for

    17 the helicopters was purely the assistance of

    18 United Nations troops and not to any other warring

    19 factions.

    20 Other incidents which I noted were on driving up

    21 to Prozor, going through Prozor, on up to Gornji Vakuf

    22 and Vitez, was following a convoy of about six coaches

    23 which were quite obviously Croatian coaches, because we

    24 could identify their licence plates of the vehicles, and

    25 the soldiers within them were from the HV, and again

  14. 1 that was noticeable from the badges that they were

    2 wearing. While we were following this convoy, we

    3 received quite a bit of verbal or signalled abuse from

    4 the soldiers within the coaches. We followed them for

    5 about two or three miles going into Prozor, where they

    6 turned off and we carried on up to Gornji Vakuf.

    7 I had to come back either the following day or two

    8 days later, and I noticed again the same six coaches,

    9 but this time they were loaded with what looked like

    10 very battle-weary troops, some wearing bandages,

    11 obviously those who had been injured and they were

    12 moving back out of Prozor heading towards "route

    13 triangle". Again we got quite a bit of signalled abuse

    14 as we passed by those coaches.

    15 Those were typical of the types of incidents we

    16 were asked to report back on to Commander British

    17 Forces. Other things were the identification of troops,

    18 where they were located, any training establishments,

    19 any helicopter flights, any aircraft flying which was

    20 breaking the no-fly restrictions. Again, several times

    21 we witnessed helicopters flying which were not

    22 United Nations helicopters and also a training camp

    23 which was being very actively used within Croatia, just

    24 south of the border. If I recall, it was just outside

    25 Sinj, and on one occasion certainly while we passed by

  15. 1 there, a lot of coaches were inside the barracks with

    2 countless numbers of men inside the barracks obviously

    3 undergoing training.

    4 Several days later, while I was watch keeping,

    5 I had reports that a convoy of coaches were identified

    6 travelling up "route triangle", again with Croatian

    7 licence plates, and from reports coming in from the call

    8 signs that were reporting back to me as the watch keeper,

    9 they were Croatian soldiers on board those trucks, on

    10 the coaches.

    11 That took me up to the time of really when

    12 I deployed to Busovaca. Once I deployed up to Busovaca,

    13 I had a briefing from UNPROFOR headquarters as to

    14 exactly what my aims were, what we were trying to

    15 achieve and the reality behind the British troops that

    16 were involved within that organisation. I had

    17 complained a couple of weeks earlier to my arrival up in

    18 Busovaca that our vehicles, which were very soft skinned

    19 vehicles, they had no armour, no protection, were being

    20 shot at while they were accompanying the European

    21 Community Monitoring Mission, the ECMM, so I had refused

    22 for my troops to assist with the ECMM while they had no

    23 armoured protection.

    24 We eventually got agreement from UNPROFOR

    25 headquarters that they would provide some vehicles for

  16. 1 us to move around in which were armoured, so therefore

    2 gave permission for the UK LOs to become involved again

    3 in the workings with the ECMM.

    4 The aim of the Joint Commission, at that stage,

    5 the early stage, was to try and negotiate cease-fires and

    6 the removal of all the checkpoints that were blocking

    7 the road between Vitez and Kiseljak, predominantly in

    8 the Busovaca-Kacuni area. We had an ECMM monitor,

    9 myself and then Franjo Nakic and General Merdan as the

    10 main members of the Busovaca Joint Commission. Our

    11 requirement was to bring people in who were the local

    12 commanders from the various villages and the various

    13 areas and the idea was that we would be able to liaise

    14 with them to ensure that the checkpoints were removed,

    15 that any complaints were addressed and dealt with and

    16 that the free movement of United Nations vehicles, UNHCR

    17 vehicles could take place throughout the whole of that

    18 area. So it started off on a very limited basis.

    19 It became very apparent that to ensure that the

    20 checkpoints were removed, we had to address wider

    21 issues. This was investigating reports of maltreatment

    22 of villages, reports of snipers operating in various

    23 areas, reports of villages being shot at and hassled by

    24 what were deemed as thugs or other sides, troops coming

    25 into those villages and behaving in a very threatening.

  17. 1 So we had to start off by investigating those complaints

    2 from both sides and being fair and even with them to

    3 ensure that we could then move to the next point, which

    4 was the removal of checkpoints. So it was a gradual,

    5 slow process of investigating, agreeing on certain

    6 conditions before restrictions were lifted.

    7 Our time at Busovaca was fairly short, because we

    8 could not stay in the barracks that we had there in the

    9 hotel and in the house that we had rented, so we agreed

    10 to move up to Vitez and carry on our operations from

    11 Vitez, working in the same Busovaca-Kacuni area. It

    12 became very clear at that stage that the difficulties

    13 were not just confined to the Busovaca-Kiseljak road and

    14 that we then had to take into account complaints and

    15 negotiations throughout the whole of the Lasva Valley

    16 area, so we changed the emphasis from the Busovaca Joint

    17 Commission to the Joint Commission.

    18 Just going back to the personalities in that

    19 commission, it was very clear to me that the people who

    20 had the authority in that meeting was Dzemal Merdan from

    21 the Army of BiH. He had the authority and he also had

    22 the -- probably the support of his seniors in that when

    23 we had to make decisions, he made those decisions and

    24 instructed his troops on the ground when we were on the

    25 negotiations. Franjo Nakic did not really have the

  18. 1 authority, and on several occasions in the early days to

    2 start off with, before any cease-fires or any

    3 negotiations or removal of checkpoints could be agreed

    4 upon, had to resort back to Colonel Blaskic for his

    5 authority and for his permission to do things. It

    6 became a little bit frustrating from our point of view

    7 that Merdan could make decisions but often they would be

    8 delayed because Nakic had to report back and get

    9 authority from his higher command.

    10 This again became prominent when we were at Vitez

    11 as the Joint Commission, when we were negotiating

    12 cease-fires, negotiating repairs of telephone lines and

    13 water pipes which were broken. Again it was clear that

    14 the authority was from Merdan and we could do things

    15 with him and he would instruct his local commanders that

    16 whatever negotiations and commitments were given, they

    17 would be carried out. Most of the time that was not the

    18 case for Franjo Nakic, who would have to report back.

    19 I went on R&R on about 4th April, so left the

    20 area. At the time, the Joint Commission had resolved a

    21 lot of difficulties, we had opened the route between

    22 Busovaca and Vitez, we had got most of the checkpoints

    23 off the road and incidents of shootings, snipings,

    24 ethnic cleansing had reduced not altogether but

    25 certainly considerably from the time we had started off

  19. 1 at Busovaca, so we felt we were becoming reasonably

    2 successful, although it was quite time consuming in

    3 getting the agreements, the word around the places.

    4 It was clear to me before I left that the person

    5 who had the authority in the Lasva Valley area and

    6 command of the Muslim troops was Merdan. They respected

    7 him, they listened to him and they did what he actually

    8 instructed them to do.

    9 From the HVO side, the local commanders would not

    10 necessarily accept Nakic's orders, and on several

    11 occasions when we went into villages or when we were

    12 negotiating simple routine things with the local

    13 commanders, when Nakic had given the instructions as

    14 agreed in the Joint Commission, the local commanders

    15 would insist that Colonel Blaskic had to give those

    16 orders and that they wanted a written order signed by

    17 Colonel Blaskic himself before they would act upon the

    18 instructions of the Joint Commission.

    19 So again, it was clear that Colonel Blaskic had a

    20 very firm grip of the troops that were in that

    21 Lasva Valley area on the HVO side, and that Franjo Nakic

    22 did not have the same authority that Merdan had. But we

    23 had achieved quite a lot of our aims, so when I left on

    24 4th April, the whole place had quietened down quite

    25 considerably.

  20. 1 I returned back to Split on about 19th April,

    2 after my two weeks leave, and was very surprised to

    3 hear, although I had seen obviously television reports

    4 of the outbreak of violence within the Lasva Valley

    5 area, the difficulties that were being experienced, so

    6 I was sent back up to Vitez to continue my work with the

    7 Joint Commission, and arrived back, I believe, on either

    8 the night of the 20th or early morning of the 21st,

    9 because on that day, there was a high level meeting

    10 between General Petkovic and General Halilovic, with the

    11 Joint Commission, Ambassador Thebault and Commander

    12 BritBat within the ECMM house.

    13 That was the day that the cease-fire throughout

    14 the whole of Central Bosnia was announced and agreed

    15 upon and all the criteria for that cease-fire, in other

    16 words the removal from the front-line positions to given

    17 locations of both sides, and that was clearly stated;

    18 the exchange of all prisoners by a given date; the

    19 drawing up of lists of all the prisoners that were being

    20 held by each side and the exchange of those lists; and

    21 the fact that there would be a cease-fire from a given

    22 time where no more shooting was to happen in that area.

    23 I accompanied General Petkovic and Halilovic while

    24 they were visiting troops on both sides in Vitez and

    25 Stari Vitez as additional security, but as part of my

  21. 1 role as the Joint Commission with the ECMM. So we

    2 visited troops in Stari Vitez, talked to them, visited

    3 troops in Vitez to inform them that there was a general

    4 cease-fire and that there should be no more fighting and

    5 that they were to obey the instructions of the two

    6 Generals. They were there in person and they were

    7 giving orders to their troops on the ground. So from

    8 the Commission's point of view, we felt very positive

    9 about that, that with somebody of those ranks giving

    10 those orders, that the cease-fire should take place.

    11 The reality was while we were speaking to troops

    12 on the ground, the soldiers, the individuals in

    13 Stari Vitez and Vitez, that none of them had any

    14 intention of wanting to stop fighting, but would

    15 obviously try and do so, but the hatred from both sides

    16 was so very apparent because of what had happened at

    17 Ahmici and certainly from the Muslims' point of view,

    18 where they felt that they had not got any answers, they

    19 had not got any idea, or nobody had come forward to own

    20 up as to what had happened.

    21 So it became very clear to us that while the two

    22 Generals had signed the agreement, there was going to be

    23 enormous difficulties in ensuring that the troops on the

    24 ground were going to agree to that. We felt quite

    25 confident, though, that because the commanders, the

  22. 1 local commanders from both BiH and HVO had been present

    2 at those meetings, that they would have the authority

    3 and be able to distribute that information down to

    4 ensure that the cease-fire happened.

    5 From the Muslim point of view, they found it very

    6 difficult to accept the cease-fire, and to agree to what

    7 had been said, because they kept asking for information

    8 about who had perpetrated the massacre at Ahmici, who

    9 was responsible, and when were the ECMM/UN going to do

    10 something about it. That caused great difficulties in

    11 any negotiations, because it always came back to that

    12 point, as to what was happening.

    13 So in our meetings, we found that when we were

    14 trying to exchange lists of prisoners that neither side

    15 would hand over the lists. The Muslims had prepared

    16 those lists but the HVO side had not, and were very

    17 reluctant in doing so. They found it difficult to

    18 identify where they were, they found it difficult to

    19 find right locations, and so there was a delay there

    20 from providing any information.

    21 We also had Claire Podbielski come in on two

    22 occasions very soon after that meeting on 21st April to

    23 the Joint Commission, where Mario Cerkez, we had asked

    24 him to come in, because he was the commander of the HVO

    25 troops in Vitez itself, and on certainly two occasions,

  23. 1 Miss Podbielski from the ICRC was very adamant that the

    2 HVO were breaking the rules of the Geneva Convention in

    3 that they were using troops as human shields --

    4 prisoners, sorry, BiH prisoners as human shields and

    5 they were also using the BiH prisoners to dig trenches

    6 in their front-line positions. On one, two, possibly

    7 three occasions when she did come into the house, there

    8 would certainly be BiH and HVO commanders present and on

    9 two occasions, Mario Cerkez was there.

    10 When confronted with that information, Mario

    11 Cerkez was very flippant, denied it categorically and

    12 said that his troops would not dream of breaking the

    13 Geneva Convention, because they understood it. But it

    14 became clear that from our point of view, with the

    15 prisoners lists not being exchanged and the difficulties

    16 that they were having in providing those lists that

    17 there must have been something there to delay that and

    18 the reality we felt was that they were using these

    19 prisoners to dig the trenches and to provide front-line

    20 positions.

    21 When we asked Mario Cerkez, he denied it

    22 categorically, that any of the troops would be used for

    23 those purposes. We also asked Nakic, Franjo Nakic if he

    24 knew of any of the troops being used for that and again

    25 he denied that the HVO would be using prisoners of war

  24. 1 for those purposes.

    2 I did not at any stage speak to Blaskic himself,

    3 but we asked for the message to be passed on to

    4 Colonel Blaskic to give us some answers as to whether

    5 prisoners were being used for that purpose, but again

    6 from Nakic and from Cerkez, we got a negative, that they

    7 were not being used for those purposes.

    8 We also investigated at this stage prisoners,

    9 locations of where prisoners were being held from both

    10 sides and trying to get into those locations. Several

    11 times we were prevented from going into the prison

    12 locations because orders had not been received from

    13 Colonel Blaskic to allow us to come into those locations

    14 to visit those prisoners, despite the fact that we had

    15 commanders from the local area accompanying us. So we

    16 spent quite a bit of time trying to negotiate the

    17 exchange of these lists of prisoners, but unfortunately,

    18 the Muslims, the BiH were very reluctant in providing

    19 the lists, and again kept coming back to the fact that

    20 nothing had had done, nobody had said anything, nobody

    21 had identified the perpetrators of the Ahmici massacre,

    22 and that caused a lot of resentment in the early days

    23 after my return on 21st April, within our meetings,

    24 because when we asked for Mario Cerkez and Franjo Nakic

    25 to provide answers as to who had committed this, who had

  25. 1 done this atrocity in Ahmici, their response was that

    2 they did not know, it must have been thugs or renegade

    3 troops who were not under the HVO command, and on one

    4 instance, Mario Cerkez actually said that it was the BiH

    5 themselves who had committed the crime, really to curry

    6 favour with the United Nations ECMM, so in other words

    7 making the HVO look awful while themselves looking

    8 good.

    9 We, of course, did not believe that at all and

    10 felt that it was very much troops in that area who had

    11 committed that, but while we were in negotiations with

    12 the Joint Commission, we never got any answers from the

    13 HVO as to who had committed it, whether they had

    14 arrested it or whether they had followed up any

    15 significant investigation into who had carried it out.

    16 The early days after 21st April, when we were

    17 trying to negotiate the release of prisoners, the

    18 exchange of lists, meetings were very tense, very

    19 difficult. I noticed quite quickly that Franjo Nakic

    20 had become a little bit of a non-entity in our

    21 meetings. It was clear he did not have the authority to

    22 decide anything that the others had agreed, and it was

    23 only when Mario Cerkez came into the meetings that we

    24 felt we could deal with somebody who had a little bit of

    25 authority, but each time there was an agreement that had

  26. 1 to be agreed upon, Merdan would give the agreement that

    2 his troops would do such and such but either Mario

    3 Cerkez or Franjo Nakic would insist they had to talk to

    4 Colonel Blaskic first or go back and see him and discuss

    5 terms or what they should be doing about that.

    6 Again, it was very clear that Colonel Blaskic had

    7 full control of all the local commanders and very much

    8 controlled those troops in Central Bosnia. Certainly in

    9 my opinion of dealing with these people on a day-to-day

    10 basis over almost a three month period, most of the

    11 commanders that I met from the HVO were fairly scared of

    12 Colonel Blaskic. They would not normally do anything in

    13 disagreement to the orders that he had given.

    14 The Joint Commission after 21st April had the

    15 agreement that there would be, because of the cease-fire

    16 and that it would be set in place, a joint headquarters

    17 of BiH and HVO troops which would be set up in Travnik,

    18 so my role started disappearing as the agreement was

    19 reached as to who would form the BiH element and the HVO

    20 element of this joint operational headquarters, which

    21 was to be based in Travnik. We still went out on some

    22 investigations, we still tried to negotiate some of the

    23 difficulties, because there was still quite a bit of

    24 shooting, still quite a bit of ethnic cleansing going on

    25 with burning of houses and a lot of complaints about

  27. 1 civilians being beaten up, being victimised and being

    2 harassed, so we continued our work up until almost the

    3 end of May, when the joint operational headquarters

    4 deployed into Travnik.

    5 At that stage, I deployed my troops into other

    6 locations and I moved back to Split and spent quite a

    7 bit of time working in Croatia, in Prevlaka and also

    8 visiting my teams in Sarajevo who were deployed there.

    9 I think it was on about 12th July when I eventually left

    10 the area, because my role up in Bosnia and Croatia had

    11 come to an end.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Major Buffini. You told us what

    13 the Prosecutor had summarised for us before. I think

    14 now there are some other points that must be clarified.

    15 Of course, you are not going to have the witness

    16 repeat himself, but you may ask other questions which

    17 you feel would supplement the ideas that Major Buffini

    18 has already expressed to us.

    19 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.

    20 Mr. Buffini, just several questions based on your

    21 testimony, and I would like basically to follow the

    22 sequence that you testified to, if I may. You noted

    23 that when you were assigned to the combined British

    24 Forces headquarters, you had occasion to travel up

    25 "route triangle" towards the Prozor area.

  28. 1 A. Correct.

    2 Q. It was in that Prozor area that you observed the coaches

    3 with the HV troops.

    4 A. Correct.

    5 Q. I think you also noted that a day or so later, you saw

    6 the same coaches and more HV troops that appeared to be

    7 wounded, was that accurate?

    8 A. That is true, yes. Some of them were wearing bandages,

    9 yes.

    10 Q. Before we show those locations on the map, can you give

    11 the judges an idea of who was fighting in that area

    12 during this time frame?

    13 A. Yes, it was -- we concluded from the information we had

    14 gathered, and this was all of the British troops who

    15 were deployed in those areas, reporting back to the

    16 watch keeper and obviously to the intelligence cell, that

    17 around the Prozor area, and to the east of Prozor, it

    18 was the HVO and BiH which were in conflict, and that

    19 there was very intense fighting in the area east of

    20 Prozor, between, as I say, HVO and BiH troops.

    21 MR. KEHOE: If I could, Mr. Buffini, and with the court's

    22 permission, if we could address ourselves to the map on

    23 the easel, and I believe, Mr. President, that is Exhibit

    24 29K.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Of course.

  29. 1 MR. KEHOE: We do not have a microphone up there,

    2 Mr. President, so if I could ask the questions and then

    3 have Mr. Buffini move up to that area, up to the map. If

    4 I could ask you with the yellow pen that is to your left

    5 to mark on the map "route triangle", if you could.

    6 A. "Route triangle" came up around the lake area of this

    7 map and more or less finished at the end of the lake.

    8 That came close to Prozor, which is here.

    9 Q. Could you also take with the yellow pen and put a

    10 line through the city of Prozor?

    11 A. That is Prozor.

    12 Q. Mr. Buffini, with the red pen that is on there, could you

    13 circle the general location that you saw these coaches

    14 with the HV troops in, and could you mark that with the

    15 number 1.

    16 A. On the first occasion, we followed them on that road

    17 going into Prozor where I have identified, so we were

    18 held up behind them.

    19 Q. Could you mark that with the number 1 next to it?

    20 A. (Witness marks map).

    21 Q. During this period of time, were there British battalion

    22 forces deployed in Gornji Vakuf just up the road?

    23 A. Yes.

    24 Q. Were you receiving information from Gornji Vakuf?

    25 A. We were receiving daily Sit Reps from the troops based

  30. 1 in Gornji Vakuf, yes.

    2 Q. Could you take the yellow pen and just highlight the

    3 town of Gornji Vakuf?

    4 A. That is Gornji Vakuf.

    5 Q. You also noted that you observed troops with the same

    6 coaches but wounded troops on your way back through

    7 Prozor going out on "route triangle" a day or so later.

    8 A. Correct.

    9 Q. Could you mark that location with the number 2 and a

    10 circle?

    11 A. It was on the fairly large bend in the road just north

    12 of Prozor.

    13 Q. When you saw these troops, these HV troops, as a

    14 professional soldier, did you conclude they had been in

    15 combat?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. Why?

    18 A. Wearing of bandages, looking very tired, all carrying

    19 weapons, they looked as if they had been in the field

    20 for about two weeks, just as a rough guide, knowing the

    21 feeling myself.

    22 Q. You also noted that there was an area east of Prozor

    23 where HVO and BiH troops were in combat.

    24 A. Correct.

    25 Q. Could you circle that area with the green and mark that

  31. 1 number 3, if you could?

    2 A. (Witness marks map).

    3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Buffini. Please have a seat.

    4 Again, following up, Mr. Buffini, on some of the

    5 indications that you made concerning your identification

    6 of these troops as HV troops, how did you conclude that

    7 these were HV troops?

    8 A. The trucks or the coaches themselves had Croatian

    9 licence plates. The soldiers themselves that we saw had

    10 insignia on which had HV only and not HVO.

    11 Q. Mr. Buffini, when you say, "Croatian licence plates",

    12 what was on this licence plate?

    13 A. The licence plate was -- it had the Croatian, I suppose

    14 symbol on it, or the shield on it, and it also had the

    15 numbers which identified that it was from a Croatian

    16 location, not specific, but it was totally different to

    17 anything that was seen in Central Bosnia which was not

    18 Croatian.

    19 Q. You noted that you observed the patches about HV?

    20 A. Correct.

    21 Q. Had you had any conversations, Mr. Buffini, with ex

    22 members of the Royal Marines which supported your

    23 conclusions that there were HV troops in the Prozor

    24 area?

    25 A. Yes, I met an ex Royal Marines NCO, Gus Bryden, in

  32. 1 Trogir, I think it was probably 5th or 6th February. He

    2 was in military uniform wearing a green beret, which was

    3 our own Royal Marines beret, so we hailed him and he

    4 came and spoke to us over a couple of beers for about an

    5 hour. We asked him what he was doing and he said he was

    6 a mercenary out here with his son and was working with

    7 the HV army. When we asked him specifics, he said that

    8 he had been training raw recruits, young 18 year olds to

    9 55, who had all been conscripted into the Croatian army

    10 over a two week period to ensure that they could go to

    11 front-line positions.

    12 When we asked him where these front-lines positions

    13 were that the HV troops were working in, he said some

    14 were going to Zadar and some were going up to Prozor to

    15 help with the HVO.

    16 Q. Did you in fact observe a training camp facility on the

    17 Croatian Bosnian border?

    18 A. Yes, I witnessed a training camp, most of the time which

    19 was empty as we drove past on a regular basis, which was

    20 just north of Sinj, I do not know how to pronounce that,

    21 but it is S-I-N-J, which was not in "route triangle", it

    22 was still in Trogir. On one occasion I witnessed large

    23 numbers of men in that camp, all in military uniform,

    24 and assumed they were all under training for deployment

    25 to the front-line positions.

  33. 1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

    2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Buffini, did you have an opportunity to go

    3 back past that training facility shortly thereafter?

    4 A. Yes, when we noticed the first time I think we were

    5 either going up to Vitez or coming back from Vitez.

    6 I had to deploy again a week later, whichever way it

    7 was, and on that occasion there was nobody in there at

    8 all, the place was deserted. It was also during the

    9 time I was watch keeping and again we had had reports

    10 coming in, while I was on watch, that coachloads of

    11 troops were being monitored moving up "route triangle",

    12 so that was the assumption that they had come from that

    13 camp moving up to Prozor.

    14 Q. So it would be fair to say, Mr. Buffini, that you saw

    15 these troops training in this camp, you received

    16 information thereafter that troops were moving -- around

    17 the same time that troops were moving to Prozor and you

    18 returned past that camp and the troops were gone?

    19 A. That is correct, yes.

    20 Q. What did you as a soldier conclude from that?

    21 A. The conclusion to be drawn from that was that troops had

    22 been in training, very much along the lines that Gus

    23 Bryden, the mercenary, had informed us, that they had

    24 had their training time and were now deploying to their

    25 front-line positions.

  34. 1 Q. Again, I am delaying to allow the interpreters to catch

    2 up.

    3 Mr. Buffini, you also noted that you observed

    4 helicopter flights breaking the no-fly restrictions.

    5 Where did you observe these helicopter flights breaking

    6 the no-fly restrictions?

    7 A. Three occasions. One was to the south east of Zenica,

    8 which was obviously a BiH area. We saw some

    9 helicopters, I think two helicopters at that stage

    10 landing in some fields in broad daylight. Did not see

    11 that number of troops getting out but we certainly saw

    12 them landing and a couple of people getting in and out.

    13 The second occasion was flying into Vitez, but we

    14 did not see them landing or taking off anywhere else,

    15 but they were -- I think it was one helicopter that was

    16 seen going into the Vitez area, towards Vitez town

    17 itself.

    18 A couple of other occasions which I reported to

    19 COMBRITFOR was around the Sinj Knin area, which was on

    20 the Croatian border.

    21 Q. With regard to this helicopter flight into Vitez, were

    22 you aware of the HVO in Vitez having a helicopters, or

    23 the HVO having helicopters?

    24 A. No. At no stage had we ever seen HVO helicopters in or

    25 around Vitez, apart from that one occasion.

  35. 1 Q. If we may, if we can shift to your period of time with

    2 the Joint Commission, both with the Busovaca Joint

    3 Commission and also the Joint Commission as it was in

    4 Vitez. You noted that Franjo Nakic was the

    5 representative for the HVO, is that right?

    6 A. That is correct.

    7 Q. Did you know what Franjo Nakic's position was in the HVO

    8 vis-à-vis the accused, Colonel Blaskic?

    9 A. From what Franjo Nakic told us, he was the second in

    10 command of the HVO troops in that Central Bosnia area,

    11 so he was the appointed representative at the meeting of

    12 Colonel Blaskic and was his second in command.

    13 Q. You also noted, Mr. Buffini, that Mr. Nakic often told you

    14 that he had to check with Colonel Blaskic before he made

    15 these decisions.

    16 A. That is correct.

    17 Q. Was this true both before the conflict and after the

    18 conflict?

    19 A. Yes, where there were decisions that were made which

    20 were a little bit above the normal, telling a local

    21 commander that he had to, for example, take a single

    22 checkpoint off a road, most things over and above that,

    23 Nakic would have to go back to Colonel Blaskic or report

    24 back or ask for further details.

    25 Q. Did you in fact ever take Franjo Nakic back to the Hotel

  36. 1 Vitez so he could consult with Colonel Blaskic?

    2 A. I did not personally take him back, but certainly

    3 I instructed my UK LOs on numerous occasions when asked

    4 by Franjo Nakic to go back to the Hotel Vitez, because

    5 Nakic had to discuss what had been covered in the

    6 meetings with Colonel Blaskic, so several occasions we

    7 took him back to the Hotel Vitez, yes.

    8 Q. You noted during your testimony that the local

    9 commanders were in fear of Blaskic and would operate

    10 with a written order of Blaskic while they would not

    11 necessarily follow the commands of Franjo Nakic. Was

    12 there ever an occasion of any consequence during this

    13 time period where you saw a commander, an HVO commander,

    14 directly refuse an order of General Blaskic?

    15 A. There was no time where any other commanders directly

    16 defied Colonel Blaskic's orders, no. The only time

    17 I witnessed where there was a little bit of revolt,

    18 I suppose, was in the beginning of June, when the convoy

    19 of hope or the convoy of peace was travelling through

    20 Bosnia. As it was passing through Vitez on its way up

    21 to Tuzla, a number of vehicles got taken out by the

    22 commander from Busovaca, and were taken to an area to be

    23 searched for weapons, because that commander was

    24 convinced that the Muslims were conveying weapons and

    25 arms and ammunition in this convoy up to the Muslim

  37. 1 positions.

    2 We were asked, called in to negotiate the release

    3 of those trucks, and to deal with the local commander,

    4 so we took Merdan along and Nakic along and the

    5 Commission. The Busovaca commander was -- had obviously

    6 had quite a bit to drink, he was very angry, he was very

    7 upset that this convoy had been allowed to go through,

    8 where his feelings were that they should all be searched

    9 before going through, so he had taken action himself to

    10 check these weapons for any ammunition.

    11 After about two hours of negotiating and having

    12 had about six or eight trucks searched thoroughly,

    13 everything taken off them, them stripped down to quite

    14 some extent, no weapons, no ammunition, nothing had been

    15 found on those trucks apart from aid and food. When we

    16 started to get a little bit annoyed that the commander

    17 would not release the trucks, we asked him if he had the

    18 authority of Colonel Blaskic to take these trucks. He

    19 was a little bit reluctant about coming forward, but we

    20 then said we would have to go and see Colonel Blaskic to

    21 express in our strongest terms that this should not have

    22 happened and his commanders were not doing that.

    23 At that stage, the commander agreed that these

    24 trucks could then be released and could carry on their

    25 way, but he was rather reluctant about the whole thing.

  38. 1 I think that was the only serious incident where I saw

    2 anybody who did not carry out Colonel Blaskic's orders.

    3 Q. Let me move ahead, Mr. Buffini. Now we are going to move

    4 to your testimony concerning events after the cease-fire

    5 agreement was signed on 21st April 1993. I want to

    6 direct your attention to the conversations where the

    7 International Red Cross representative, yourself and

    8 other ECMM representatives informed Mario Cerkez and

    9 Franjo Nakic that Bosnian prisoners were being taken to

    10 dig trenches and were being used as human shields.

    11 Was it clear, Mr. Buffini, to both Nakic and Cerkez

    12 that the use of Bosnian Muslims to dig trenches and as

    13 human shields was a violation of international

    14 humanitarian law? Was that clear to them?

    15 A. Very clear indeed. Claire Podbielski had got quite

    16 angry at one of the meetings and had said it three or

    17 four times that what the HVO were doing was contravening

    18 the Geneva Conventions by using prisoners in such a way

    19 as digging trenches and putting prisoners as human

    20 shields. It was repeated, as I say, two or three times

    21 to Mario Cerkez and Franjo Nakic and other HVO and BiH

    22 commanders at those meetings.

    23 Q. Again, Mr. Buffini, who was Claire Podbielski?

    24 A. Claire Podbielski was the Red Cross representative, the

    25 ICRC representative working in Central Bosnia at that

  39. 1 time.

    2 Q. Let me turn to the issue concerning the prisoner lists.

    3 According to your testimony, allegations concerning

    4 Bosnian Muslim prisoners digging trenches and being used

    5 as human shields by the HVO was coming at the same time

    6 when ECMM was requesting these prisoner lists, is that

    7 right?

    8 A. That is correct, yes.

    9 Q. I think you noted -- what was your conclusion -- let me

    10 withdraw that.

    11 You also noted that there was some reluctance of

    12 the HVO to produce these prisoner lists, is that right?

    13 A. Yes, the HVO were very reluctant in producing any of the

    14 lists of prisoners or identifying prisons where

    15 prisoners were being held, whereas the BiH had come up

    16 with the lists, but had refused to give them over until,

    17 obviously, the HVO had produced their lists, so there

    18 was no exchange because the HVO were very reluctant

    19 about giving anything over.

    20 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, I just want to note, I think we are

    21 covering ground twice and at a certain point I may

    22 become concerned that I may not complete my

    23 cross-examination in time to let this witness go today

    24 and not have to return. For the convenience of the

    25 witness, the court and the Prosecutor, I make that

  40. 1 observation.

    2 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, the question that I am

    3 asking is going to the question --

    4 JUDGE JORDA: I must adhere to the concerns expressed that

    5 we should speed up our work as much as possible. The

    6 judges have done all they can to that end. I remind

    7 Mr. Kehoe that he said that he would complete his

    8 examination-in-chief in 20 minutes, and up to the

    9 present, except once I did not notice any repetition,

    10 but I did not want to interrupt, up to now I think the

    11 questions were quite to the point. In any event, we

    12 will not be having a hearing this afternoon, I say that

    13 very clearly, but I think that both the Prosecution and

    14 the Defence are aware of our time limitations. I think

    15 that we should agree on those limitations, but if not,

    16 we would have to take some further steps, so please,

    17 Mr. Kehoe, go to the point and to the essential.

    18 Proceed.

    19 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, and I am almost completed with

    20 approximately three more questions and I will be done.

    21 Turning back, Mr. Buffini, concerning these

    22 prisoner lists that the HVO was not disclosing, did the

    23 local commanders tell you who had to authorise the

    24 disclosure of those prisoners lists before they could

    25 give them to you and to the BiH?

  41. 1 A. When we asked the local commanders for those lists,

    2 several of them stated that they would only hand over

    3 the lists when they had received written instructions

    4 from Colonel Blaskic to do so.

    5 Q. The last subject matter: during this time frame, did you

    6 and Henk Morsink have a discussion with Mario Cerkez

    7 where you requested to see a location where you had

    8 heard that Muslim prisoners were digging trenches?

    9 A. Yes, we were out with the ITN news team and we had some

    10 complaints from the commander of Stari Vitez, the Muslim

    11 BiH side, that they had witnessed BiH prisoners on the

    12 front-line positions being used as shields and for

    13 digging trenches. We approached Mario Cerkez and asked

    14 him where this was happening and he denied it, and we

    15 asked him for further information as to -- we asked him

    16 permission to go into some of the front-line locations to

    17 check this. We covered other points on that discussion

    18 which lasted for about an hour and by the time we had

    19 got to the front-line positions between Stari Vitez and

    20 Vitez, there were no prisoners to be seen, but there

    21 were some signs of fresh digging of trenches in that

    22 area.

    23 Q. From those observations, what did you conclude,

    24 Mr. Buffini?

    25 A. The conclusion was very much that prisoners were being

  42. 1 used for the digging of trenches and to provide

    2 protection for HV troops by using BiH prisoners as human

    3 shields.

    4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the Prosecutor would offer into

    5 evidence Exhibit 29K and the Prosecutor has no further

    6 questions of Mr. Buffini at this time.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: I fully agree. Very well. We are going to

    8 have a 15 minute break, not more, and then we will

    9 continue with the cross-examination.

    10 (10.55 am)

    11 (A short break)

    12 (11.15 am)

    13 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing now. Please have

    14 the accused brought in.

    15 (Accused brought in)

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you are now going to conduct the

    17 cross-examination, and take whatever time you need.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President, I should conclude in

    19 about an hour. I do have several documents to show the

    20 witness and that is why it will take longer than I would

    21 have hoped but it does take some time to show seven or

    22 eight documents which we may need sight translations

    23 of.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: In the future, I can say this for the

    25 Prosecution now, but it will be for the Defence later

  43. 1 on, when you state a time period, the Tribunal would

    2 like as much as possible to have that time respected.

    3 I know it is not always easy. It depends on the

    4 flexibility and availability of the judges to adopt

    5 themselves as well, but does not mean that one can just

    6 go on as long as one wants without respecting the time

    7 which has been set.

    8 Cross-examined by MR. HAYMAN

    9 Q. Please construe my comment as a request, Mr. President,

    10 I meant it as such.

    11 Good morning, Mr. Buffini.

    12 A. Good morning.

    13 Q. You spoke of the units that you were responsible for as

    14 having certain communications equipment in their

    15 vehicles, correct?

    16 A. That is correct.

    17 Q. Do you know, can you tell us whether during your service

    18 in Split and in Bosnia, whether those units ever

    19 intercepted any radio or telephone communications of

    20 Colonel Blaskic that might be of assistance to the

    21 Tribunal?

    22 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this point I am going to object

    23 to radio intercepts. That certainly was not part of any

    24 direct examination.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Objection sustained. This was not part of the

  44. 1 examination-in-chief. Move to another question please,

    2 Mr. Hayman.

    3 MR. HAYMAN: You said that you deployed your units to assist

    4 the Busovaca Joint Commission with its communications

    5 capabilities, is that right?

    6 A. That was the intention, yes.

    7 Q. Before you joined them to assist in this regard, did

    8 they have limited communications capabilities, the Joint

    9 Commission?

    10 A. The Joint Commission only had very small handheld

    11 radios, which was interpersonal communication between

    12 themselves.

    13 Q. Were they not able, using the equipment that they had,

    14 to communicate within, for example, the operative zone

    15 of Central Bosnia?

    16 A. No, they did not have that facility, which was why we

    17 provided the INMARSAT satellite telephone for that

    18 purpose.

    19 Q. You are referring to the ECMM members -- you include the

    20 ECMM members of the Commission when you make that

    21 statement, is that right?

    22 A. That is correct.

    23 Q. Even though they had portable satellite telephone fax

    24 equipment, is that correct?

    25 A. They were using our satellite telephone system which we

  45. 1 supplied to them.

    2 Q. You described several sightings of HV troops.

    3 A. Correct.

    4 Q. First the grenade incident you referred to. Can you

    5 help us fix that in time?

    6 A. That must have been either the end of January or very

    7 early February, because I was still watch keeping at the

    8 time, and obviously left the watch keeping towards the

    9 end of February.

    10 Q. Were you told where this accident with the grenade

    11 happened? Where were these troops when the grenade blew

    12 up?

    13 A. The grenade actually blew up while the coaches were on

    14 the higher ground of "route triangle" in what was known

    15 as the wooded section of "route triangle", which was

    16 very much a Bosnia area.

    17 Q. If you could just help us again, the higher ground of

    18 "route triangle", is that east, south, west of Prozor?

    19 A. It is south west of Prozor and it is not on that map.

    20 Q. In connection with that report, were you ever given any

    21 information suggesting that those troops had either been

    22 in the Lasva Valley or the Kiseljak valley?

    23 A. No.

    24 Q. You described driving, going yourself to Prozor and

    25 following a coach of HV troops for two or three miles.

  46. 1 Did that coach stop somewhere? Did you see it stop?

    2 A. The coaches stopped in Prozor where we overtook them and

    3 moved past them, having been stuck behind them for quite

    4 some time.

    5 Q. Thereafter, did you ever receive any information that

    6 those troops ever went to the Lasva Valley or the

    7 Kiseljak valley?

    8 A. No information at all, no.

    9 Q. Then you described some troops leaving the Prozor area

    10 with bandages and they looked tired and so forth,

    11 correct?

    12 A. Correct.

    13 Q. Did you ever receive any information that those troops

    14 had been in the Lasva Valley or the Kiseljak valley?

    15 A. No, no indication that they had been in conflict in

    16 those areas.

    17 Q. In fact, your belief is that they were not, correct?

    18 A. That is my belief, yes.

    19 Q. Can you help us put a date on those latter two

    20 encounters, the coach you followed for two or three

    21 miles and the coach with wounded, injured, tired

    22 soldiers that you saw; when were those events?

    23 A. Those events were both in middle to end of February

    24 1993.

    25 Q. During your tour, both in Split and in Bosnia, did you

  47. 1 ever receive any information that HV troops had been in

    2 the Lasva Valley or the Kiseljak valley?

    3 A. I do not recall any information coming to me or hearing

    4 any information to that effect, no.

    5 Q. You were in the Lasva Valley and/or the Kiseljak valley

    6 for about eight weeks of time, correct?

    7 A. It was nearer twelve weeks.

    8 Q. During that time, you never saw any indication of HV

    9 troops, is that right, in those locations?

    10 A. That is correct.

    11 Q. You described seeing a helicopter in the area of Vitez,

    12 is that correct?

    13 A. That is correct.

    14 Q. Do you remember the time frame of that sighting? Can you

    15 help us with that?

    16 A. The time frame was very much while the Commission was

    17 based in Vitez, so it must have been either late March,

    18 early April or the latter part of April, but I think it

    19 was before I went on leave, so I would assume the end of

    20 March/beginning of April.

    21 Q. Are you dating that from memory or do you have any

    22 records that would assist you?

    23 A. That is from memory.

    24 Q. Were there any markings on the helicopter that you were

    25 able to observe?

  48. 1 A. It was too far to see any markings, but it was

    2 definitely of a Russian make.

    3 Q. Do you know whether helicopters were used for Medevac by

    4 both the HVO army and the BiH Army when they were

    5 available for that purpose?

    6 A. It was our understanding that helicopters were being

    7 used for that, but nothing had been agreed because there

    8 was a no-fly restriction and even for Casevac,

    9 helicopters had not been given approval to fly.

    10 Q. You described soldiers in a training camp. Was that

    11 training camp within Croatia?

    12 A. Yes, in Croatia.

    13 Q. You said I think in your last event involving HV troops,

    14 you obtained a report that HV troops were moving in

    15 coaches up to "route triangle", is that right? This is

    16 a separate incident that we have not discussed yet in my

    17 examination.

    18 A. That is clear.

    19 Q. Can you help us date that report?

    20 A. It was before April 4th, so I would suggest that it

    21 would be in March some time.

    22 Q. Thank you. And again, you have no information

    23 suggesting that those troops went to the Lasva Valley or

    24 the Kiseljak valley, correct?

    25 A. None at all.

  49. 1 Q. You were deployed to Busovaca to assist the Joint

    2 Commission. Who was the chairman of the Commission at

    3 that time?

    4 A. Two separate incidents. Prior to my joining and

    5 deploying troops, Jeremy Fleming was the chairman of the

    6 Commission, but when I joined the Commission myself,

    7 Mats Torping had just taken over as chairman of the

    8 Commission.

    9 Q. Did you attend all of the meetings of the Commission

    10 during the time period that you were either in Busovaca

    11 when the Commission was based there, or in Vitez when

    12 the Commission was based there?

    13 A. While I was still in theatre, I attended probably

    14 90 per cent of them, yes.

    15 Q. Were you a member of the Commission?

    16 A. Yes, I was.

    17 Q. Is that based on the founding documents of the

    18 Commission or based on some other agreement reached

    19 between the parties, written or otherwise?

    20 A. It was a decision which was taken by UNPROFOR at a later

    21 stage after the founding of the Busovaca Joint

    22 Commission.

    23 Q. Would you agree that when the Commission was founded,

    24 the membership was limited to an ECMM representative and

    25 then three representatives from the BH army and three

  50. 1 representatives from the HVO army?

    2 A. When it was founded, yes.

    3 Q. Have you seen those founding documents?

    4 A. I probably saw them at the early stages of my initial

    5 meetings with the Commission when I had first deployed

    6 troops to assist them, yes.

    7 MR. HAYMAN: If the usher could assist and show the witness a

    8 document, Mr. President.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Are you trying to impeach the credibility of

    10 the witness, Mr. Hayman?

    11 MR. HAYMAN: No, your Honour, I think the witness may be able

    12 to assist us in clarifying the origins of the Joint

    13 Commission, who founded it, what was it founded for, who

    14 were the members. I apologise that this document --

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, thank you very much.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: -- is in English only at the moment. We will

    17 have it translated.

    18 Have you been provided with the document,

    19 Mr. Buffini?

    20 A. Yes, I have.

    21 Q. Do you recognise it?

    22 A. I do not recognise it as something I am used to seeing,

    23 no.

    24 Q. Do you recognise on the back the signature of Jeremy

    25 Fleming, chairman Joint Commission ECMM?

  51. 1 A. Yes, I have seen that signature on a couple of other

    2 documents before, so yes.

    3 Q. And you recognise it as Mr. Fleming's?

    4 A. I take it that way, yes.

    5 Q. The context for the formation of the Commission, was it

    6 your understanding that this Commission was formed in

    7 response to the armed conflict that had occurred in and

    8 around Busovaca in January 1993?

    9 A. It was in response to the armed conflict, but it was the

    10 difficulty of free movement of vehicles, mainly UNHCR

    11 and UN vehicles throughout the area which was the

    12 overriding factor of trying to negotiate clear use of

    13 roads in those areas.

    14 Q. But you would agree the historical context was the

    15 Commission was founded in response to the conflict in

    16 January in and around Busovaca which created various

    17 difficulties for humanitarian organisations, the UN and

    18 the like, correct?

    19 A. That is correct, yes.

    20 Q. Did you learn that in fact the HVO had lost substantial

    21 ground during that conflict in January to the BH army?

    22 A. I was aware from military intelligence briefings in

    23 Split, when I first arrived and while I was

    24 watch keeping, that that was to some extent the case.

    25 Q. You spoke of the respective roles of, I believe was it

  52. 1 General Merdan?

    2 A. I referred to him as Dzemal.

    3 Q. Was he a General in the BH army at the time?

    4 A. We suspected it, but we had no confirmation that that

    5 was the case.

    6 Q. He was known to you as the deputy commander of III

    7 Corps?

    8 A. That is correct.

    9 Q. Mr. Nakic, what was his military rank?

    10 A. Again, we were advised that he was the deputy commander

    11 of the HVO forces in Central Bosnia.

    12 Q. Were you ever told that he was the Chief of Staff of the

    13 HVO forces in Central Bosnia, or was that ever your

    14 understanding?

    15 A. No, that was not my understanding, no.

    16 Q. Is there a difference between a deputy commander of a

    17 corps and a chief of staff, in the British army for

    18 example?

    19 A. In the British army, yes, a clear distinction.

    20 Q. Is a deputy commander in the chain of command, whereas a

    21 chief of staff is in an executive position, not in the

    22 chain of command?

    23 A. That is correct.

    24 Q. You said by 4th April 1993, the Busovaca Joint

    25 Commission had accomplished a great deal, is that

  53. 1 correct?

    2 A. We firmly believed we had done quite a bit, that is

    3 correct.

    4 Q. Did you have any doubts that the members of the Joint

    5 Commission on both sides had been working in good faith

    6 to accomplish those ends?

    7 A. Most instances, yes.

    8 Q. You said on occasion, local commanders would not act

    9 without a written order from Colonel Blaskic, correct?

    10 A. That is correct.

    11 Q. What types of matters did that involve?

    12 A. One incident was access into a village controlled by a

    13 local commander. Other incidents after 21st April

    14 included the exchange or the handing over of lists of

    15 prisoners.

    16 Q. Did you ever get the impression or form the conclusion

    17 that when a local commander did not want to accommodate

    18 you or wanted to slow down the process, he found it

    19 convenient to say he would not act without a written

    20 order from Colonel Blaskic?

    21 A. Could you repeat the question again?

    22 Q. Did you ever reach the conclusion or form the opinion

    23 that local HVO commanders, on occasion, if they did not

    24 want to accommodate your request, or they wanted to slow

    25 down the granting of your request, they sometimes asked

  54. 1 to see a written order from Colonel Blaskic on the

    2 matter?

    3 A. No, I do not think that was the case. They would not do

    4 things because they did not have that authority in

    5 place.

    6 Q. You described one occasion when you I think

    7 characterised a local commander as hesitating to follow

    8 a directive of Colonel Blaskic and that involved the

    9 convoy or joy or convoy of hope, correct?

    10 A. That is correct.

    11 Q. Was that incident around 10th June 1993?

    12 A. On recollection, something in early June, yes.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: You have given one characterisation of that

    14 event and I would like to read you a somewhat different

    15 characterisation of it, and ask you if in fact it is a

    16 description of the same event or if you think it is a

    17 description of a different event.

    18 It is a paragraph of perhaps 20 lines, your

    19 Honour. I think it should be placed on the ELMO so the

    20 interpreters can follow better and I have copied the

    21 so that all can follow. Indeed for the record, and

    22 I will put on the record where this is from,

    23 Mr. President. This is 3 from a witness statement

    24 of Alistair Duncan, taken in August and April 1993 by,

    25 among others, Mr. Kehoe. If the image could be enlarged

  55. 1 and moved up. We will be looking at the bottom half of

    2 the , beginning where there is a slash mark next to

    3 the word "when". I will read it to you, Mr. Buffini, and

    4 if you could keep my question in mind when I am reading

    5 it:

    6 "When the convoy of joy was finally moved on, it

    7 took the specific authority of Dario Kordic with the

    8 Croats in order to obtain release. Dario Kordic was

    9 thus the key to the release. I had previously taken

    10 Blaskic to the Vitez bypass where the convoy had been

    11 halted for the second time. This was at the T-junction

    12 at the easterly end of the Vitez bypass where you could

    13 turn right into Vitez town. Blaskic was wearing his

    14 military helmet and flak jacket. The soldiers refused

    15 to allow the convoy to move, even when I used the name

    16 of Colonel Blaskic as an authority. The soldiers said

    17 quite categorically that they wanted the order to come

    18 from Kordic. They had the appearance of normal HVO

    19 soldiers in standard mixtures of green combat and

    20 camouflaged fatigues. To my knowledge, this was the

    21 only occasion when the 'standard' HVO troops refused to

    22 obey an order from Colonel Blaskic. During this

    23 incident, it became clear to me that it was Kordic who

    24 was controlling the actions of the local police and the

    25 civilians who were both blocking the roads and looting

  56. 1 the convoy. The convoy was only released when myself,

    2 the ECMM Ambassador and the COS of UNPROFOR, Brigadier

    3 Ver Hayes spoke directly to Kordic, Blaskic, HVO

    4 officers and civilian officials at a meeting in the

    5 disused timber factory in the Nova Bila area."

    6 Mr. Buffini, is it your view that this is a

    7 description of the same event involving the convoy of

    8 joy which you described, or is this a different event, a

    9 different convoy?

    10 A. The convoy is the same, but that was prior to the

    11 incident we were involved in.

    12 Q. What do you mean? Do you mean the convoy was stopped at

    13 multiple points? I thought you said that you visited

    14 the convoy when it was stopped around the Busovaca-Vitez

    15 T-junction?

    16 A. I said that about 20 trucks had been taken from that

    17 convoy. The convoy had gone on, but 20 trucks had been

    18 taken from it.

    19 Q. Where did you go to try and retrieve those 20 trucks?

    20 A. Into Busovaca itself.

    21 Q. Is that where the trucks were?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. Was Brigadier Duncan there?

    24 A. No, it was his 2IC I believe, and one of the company

    25 commanders.

  57. 1 Q. Did you ever go to the scene of the stopped convoy at

    2 the T-junction of the Busovaca-Vitez road and see

    3 Colonel Blaskic there trying to free the convoy?

    4 A. No, I did not.

    5 Q. One other question, there is a term used in this

    6 description I read "'standard' HVO troops". Did you

    7 ever make any distinction in your mind between, for

    8 example, an HVO brigade and the so-called special units

    9 within the HVO? Do you know what I am referring to?

    10 A. If you are referring to the special unit who always wore

    11 black, then there was that distinction. I only saw

    12 those once.

    13 Q. You have said that in your opinion, commanders within

    14 the HVO uniformly followed the orders of Colonel Blaskic

    15 during your tenure, is that right?

    16 A. That is correct.

    17 Q. Did you have any contact upon which you could base that

    18 opinion with commanders of the group known as the

    19 Vitezovi?

    20 A. I am afraid, I do not know the Vitezovi. What do you

    21 mean by that?

    22 Q. There was a unit named Vitezovi, which either was or had

    23 descended from a unit of the HOS. Are you familiar with

    24 that unit?

    25 A. I am familiar with the term HOS, but not the unit.

  58. 1 Q. Did you ever have any contact with any commanders or

    2 soldiers in that unit that would permit you to form a

    3 specific opinion whether commanders in that unit obeyed

    4 or did not obey the orders of Colonel Blaskic?

    5 A. No. As I say, I never met the unit.

    6 Q. What about the military police within the HVO? Did you

    7 have any contact with them that would permit you to form

    8 an opinion about the degree to which military police

    9 commanders within the HVO either followed or did not

    10 follow the orders of Colonel Blaskic?

    11 A. To my knowledge, I was not aware that there was a

    12 distinct difference between military police and HVO

    13 troops operating in and around the Vitez area.

    14 Q. How about the unit known as the Jokers within the

    15 military police? Did you have any contact or gain any

    16 information about them that might enable you to form an

    17 opinion concerning whether they followed or did not

    18 follow, or indeed were even under the chain of command,

    19 clear chain of command of Colonel Blaskic?

    20 A. The only thing I had heard about the Jokers were rumours

    21 that they existed. We never confirmed their presence at

    22 any times we were working in the area.

    23 Q. Did you ever learn any information along the same lines

    24 about a unit commanded by an individual known as Zuti,

    25 Z-U-T-I, in the Nova Bila area?

  59. 1 A. No, I do not recall anything on that.

    2 Q. Now I would like to turn your attention to 21st April

    3 1993 meeting at the ECMM house in Vitez. Did you attend

    4 that meeting?

    5 A. I was present at the ECMM house and attended part of the

    6 meeting.

    7 Q. Would you agree that during at least the part that you

    8 attended, that the subject matter of the meeting was how

    9 to separate forces and establish a demilitarised zone,

    10 if you will, between the forces?

    11 A. That is right.

    12 Q. Would you also agree that during the portion of the

    13 meeting you attended, there was no discussion of any

    14 atrocities or alleged atrocities in Ahmici, nor any

    15 requests for inquiry or investigation on that subject?

    16 A. I do not believe that subject was brought up at that

    17 stage, no.

    18 Q. Now, you described the Generals Halilovic and Petkovic

    19 touring the area and instructing their soldiers to obey

    20 the cease-fire, correct?

    21 A. That is correct. They were informing them of the

    22 presence of the cease-fire, it had been agreed by both

    23 of them and that the troops should respect that.

    24 Q. Do you agree with the following statement, and I am

    25 reading from your statement of 2nd and 3rd April 1997,

  60. 1 7, in the middle:

    2 "During this tour of the area, I used the Joint

    3 Commission interpreter to ask both the BiH and HVO

    4 troops that I met as to what they thought of the

    5 Generals' plan. No one I spoke to believed that a

    6 cease-fire would last more than a couple of days. They

    7 insisted that such crimes had been committed against

    8 their own families that revenge had to be taken."

    9 Do you agree with that statement?

    10 A. Yes, I do.

    11 Q. Do you agree that that was a sentiment you heard from

    12 both the BH army and the HVO side?

    13 A. Yes, it was.

    14 Q. You have described the issue of the treatment of

    15 prisoners and the exchange of prisoner lists. Let me

    16 ask you first, did you ever meet with Colonel Blaskic

    17 and discuss this subject?

    18 A. I do not recall meeting him directly or discussing it

    19 directly with him, no.

    20 Q. Is it your testimony that orders given by

    21 Colonel Blaskic on this subject were obeyed by the HVO

    22 forces and the local commanders; that is on the subject

    23 of exchange and release of prisoners and exchange of

    24 prisoner lists?

    25 A. We never -- it was quite some weeks before we managed to

  61. 1 exchange any lists or exchange any prisoners, so I am

    2 not quite sure what you mean by "obeying".

    3 Q. When did you or did others in the Commission perceive

    4 that there was a problem moving forward with the agreed

    5 upon exchange of prisoners, which I believe was part of

    6 the 21st April 1993 agreement, correct?

    7 A. Correct.

    8 Q. When did that agreement become stalled such that you

    9 made a request or someone else on the Commission made a

    10 request that the parties re-emphasise, re-order, put

    11 additional pressure on their forces to follow that term

    12 of 21st April 1993 agreement? When was that?

    13 A. That was in most of the meetings we had following that

    14 21st April meeting, so each of the Joint Commission

    15 meetings that we had on subsequent days; when lists were

    16 not forthcoming, it was stressed to them that they had

    17 to comply with the orders made on that day.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: If the usher could assist, Mr. President, I have

    19 a document I would like to show the witness. I do not

    20 believe this is already in evidence, but it may be and

    21 I apologise if it is. I could not find it on the

    22 exhibit list as a Defence exhibit, a prior Defence

    23 exhibit.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Will you please check the number?

    25 MR. HAYMAN: If this could go on the ELMO, I think it would

  62. 1 be of assistance to the interpreters, your Honour.

    2 I would like to call your attention, Mr. Buffini, to the

    3 document which has a date of April 18th , 1993. It

    4 states in pertinent part -- there is a reference to the

    5 cease-fire.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: There is a little problem for the

    7 interpreters, who do not have the documents in front of

    8 them.

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Could it be enlarged, that is helpful. There

    10 are extra copies --

    11 JUDGE JORDA: That is better now, is it not? It is better.

    12 Very well.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: There simply was not time, your Honour, to

    14 distribute all the copies during the break we had, but

    15 I do have extra copies if it is helpful.

    16 There is a title in the upper left-hand corner

    17 which is slightly cut off now, "the cease-fire between

    18 the HVO and ABiH units". Then it reads, and I am not

    19 going to read the entire document:

    20 "On the basis of orders given by the HVO head of

    21 staff" et cetera, dated April 18th:

    22 "I command", and I will read the first two points:

    23 "1. All the subordinate HVO units are to stop

    24 immediately all combat actions against the units of the

    25 ABiH.

  63. 1 "2. Exchange the detained soldiers and the

    2 civilians at once."

    3 Mr. Buffini, was this order on 18th April, 1993, by

    4 Colonel Blaskic, was it obeyed by the HVO? Were

    5 detained soldiers and civilians exchanged at once at a

    6 point in time soon after 18th April 1993? Did it

    7 happen?

    8 A. No, I do not think it did.

    9 Q. You also described complaints about trench digging,

    10 correct? Prisoners being taken out to dig trenches?

    11 A. That was a complaint we heard, yes.

    12 Q. Did you also describe the ICRC having problems getting

    13 into prisons and seeing detained persons?

    14 A. I believe it was mentioned to us by Miss Podbielski once

    15 that she had difficulty getting in, mainly because of

    16 the access to those places.

    17 Q. These are complaints I take it that arose after

    18 21st April, 1993, when the agreement was made for a

    19 cease-fire and for the other terms you have described?

    20 A. That was when I was back there and became aware of them,

    21 yes, because I returned on the 21st.

    22 MR. HAYMAN: I have another exhibit for the witness,

    23 Mr. President. It is two s, the first is in BSC

    24 and there is an English translation only. So the

    25 exhibit will consist of two s. If the usher could

  64. 1 assist and place the English translation on the ELMO,

    2 concentrating, with the assistance of the technical

    3 staff, on the body of the text, the six or seven points

    4 of the order, thank you.

    5 Mr. Buffini, I would like to call your attention to

    6 this document, which is dated 21st April, 1993, again

    7 references on the basis of the order of the chief of HVO

    8 main headquarters, is addressed to both HVO brigades and

    9 other entities, including the military police and the

    10 Vitezovi special task force, and which states, following

    11 the word "order":

    12 "1. ICRC shall be ensured free access to all

    13 civilians.

    14 "2. Civilian population caught up in combat

    15 shall be respected and protected.

    16 "3. Detained civilians and soldiers shall

    17 receive humane treatment and adequate protection.

    18 "4. The identity of all the imprisoned and

    19 detained shall be reported to the ICRC and its

    20 representatives shall be allowed to visit the

    21 individuals detained or imprisoned."

    22 Let me ask you, this order of April 21st with

    23 respect to reporting the identity of detained and

    24 imprisoned persons, was that order carried out in a

    25 timely manner, to your knowledge and belief?

  65. 1 A. From our workings on the ground, no, the order was not

    2 carried out.

    3 Q. After 21st April, there were problems in securing the

    4 release and exchange of prisoners and indeed in securing

    5 lists of prisoners, correct?

    6 A. That is correct.

    7 Q. That problem existed on both sides of the conflict,

    8 correct? The BH army was reluctant to give lists and

    9 for whatever reasons, technical, logistic or otherwise,

    10 the HVO was not able to quickly produce lists of

    11 detained persons, correct?

    12 A. That is right, yes.

    13 Q. Did you ask in the meetings of the Busovaca Joint

    14 Commission, did you ask Mr. Nakic or one of the other HVO

    15 representatives, "please redouble your efforts to get

    16 this term of the April 21st 1993 order enforced?"

    17 A. Yes, it was stressed just about every single meeting

    18 after that time that we wanted to ensure that the

    19 criteria put down in that cease-fire order were met. Up

    20 to that point, they had not been.

    21 Q. Would you have stressed that point at some meeting

    22 between the 21st and 24th April 1993 at a meeting of the

    23 Busovaca Joint Commission?

    24 A. It had changed from the Busovaca Joint Commission to the

    25 Joint Commission; yes, it was stressed.

  66. 1 MR. HAYMAN: If the usher could assist, I have a further

    2 document, Mr. President, which again consists of a BSC

    3 original and an English translation, I think they should

    4 together be one exhibit, whether A, B, what have you,

    5 and again if the text, the primary text of the exhibit

    6 could be placed on the ELMO for the assistance of the

    7 interpreters. Again, if the English text portion, the

    8 body of the text could be placed on the ELMO,

    9 Mr. Buffini, I would like to call your attention to the

    10 document, the English translation. It is dated

    11 24th April, reference is:

    12 "Treatment of civilians and prisoners. Order to

    13 all commanders of units in Central Bosnia Operative Zone

    14 (brigades and independent units)."

    15 It says "based on the request" et cetera:

    16 "I hereby demand from all units and members of the

    17 HVO to:

    18 "1. Respect and protect the civilian population

    19 in wartime. Civilians by definition do not take part in

    20 conflicts and therefore cannot be a target of attack.

    21 "2. Treat captured soldiers and civilians

    22 humanely and ensure they are appropriately protected.

    23 "3. Report the identity of all the captured and

    24 detained to the ICRC and enable ICRC representatives to

    25 visit them according to ICRC standard conditions."

  67. 1 With respect to point 3, Mr. Buffini, is this what

    2 you were asking Franjo Nakic between 21st and 24th April

    3 1993, to obtain some further pressure from above to

    4 secure lists of prisoners and the exchange of those

    5 lists, as well as ICRC access to prisoners?

    6 A. We were asking for the HVO to come up with those lists,

    7 which up to that stage they had not done. I do not

    8 recall getting numbers of lists for quite some time.

    9 Q. Did this issue persist between 24th April and

    10 29th April, that is in your view and in the view of the

    11 Commission members, insufficient progress was being made

    12 in terms of securing and release and exchange of

    13 prisoners and indeed in securing lists of detained

    14 persons?

    15 A. Yes, it continued to be very difficult.

    16 MR. HAYMAN: If the usher could assist, Mr. President, I have

    17 one last document, again an exhibit of two s, front

    18 and back, both s, an order and a translation in

    19 English only at this time. If the body of the order,

    20 points 1 through 4 could be placed on the ELMO to assist

    21 the interpreting staff. This document is dated

    22 29th April 1993, 19.40 hours, re the release of detained

    23 civilians:

    24 "In order to promptly carry out the joint order of

    25 the chief of HVO headquarters and chief of BH army main

  68. 1 headquarters of 29th April, I hereby order:

    2 "1. Immediately draft lists of detained

    3 civilians (men, women, children) including the following

    4 information", which is then specified:

    5 "Responsible: immediate subordinate commanders.

    6 Deadline: 30th April 1993, 10.00 hours.

    7 "2. Release all civilians (men, women, children)

    8 arrested during the conflicts between the BH army and

    9 the HVO. Responsible: immediate subordinate

    10 commanders. Deadline: 30th April 1993, 12.00 hours."

    11 Then I will skip to point 4 for sake of speed:

    12 "4. All released civilians must be guaranteed

    13 full safety in the locations in your zones of

    14 responsibility and you shall be held responsible for the

    15 situation in your zone of responsibility."

    16 Signed Commander Tihomir Blaskic.

    17 Do you recall when detained civilians in the Vitez

    18 area were released? Were they released on or about

    19 30th April 1993?

    20 A. Round about that time, but certainly into May when we

    21 started getting sufficient information to ensure that

    22 some releases were made.

    23 Q. Returning for a moment to your comment that local

    24 commanders always or almost always followed

    25 Colonel Blaskic's orders, did you ever have contact with

  69. 1 the HVO brigade commander in Kiseljak that would permit

    2 you to form an opinion regarding Colonel Blaskic's

    3 ability to control or inability to control the HVO

    4 brigade commander in Kiseljak?

    5 A. I believe I only met the commander of the Kiseljak area

    6 once on one meeting, so I could not --

    7 Q. So you do not have an opinion on that specific point,

    8 I take it?

    9 A. No.

    10 Q. You do not have such an opinion?

    11 A. I did not see him and it was early days in my visit

    12 there, so I really could not say an opinion on that.

    13 Q. Let me ask you a few questions about "route triangle"

    14 and the Prozor area. Are you aware that in

    15 approximately January 1993, the road north from Prozor

    16 to Novi Travnik was cut to the HVO in the sense that it

    17 was taken over by the BH army?

    18 A. It was cut in various areas and made travel through

    19 there incredibly difficult, yes.

    20 Q. So you are aware that these coaches of HV troops you

    21 have described in and around Prozor, they would not have

    22 been capable, without encountering BH army forces, of

    23 driving north on the road from Prozor to Novi Travnik

    24 and entering the Lasva Valley at that time, correct?

    25 A. They would not have had access through the Gornji Vakuf

  70. 1 area, no.

    2 Q. They would not have had access to the Lasva Valley

    3 through that route, correct?

    4 A. No, that is correct.

    5 Q. At the times you have identified these coaches as either

    6 being seen by you or reported as having been seen to

    7 you, correct?

    8 A. That is right, yes.

    9 Q. You had a conversation with a mercenary, Gus Bryden. He

    10 said he had trained HV troops to go to Zadar, as well as

    11 Prozor.

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. Zadar is in Croatia, is that right?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Did the mercenary Mr. Bryden ever tell you that he had

    16 trained troops or had any knowledge that HV troops had

    17 ever gone to the Lasva Valley or the Kiseljak valley?

    18 A. No, he only discussed operating around the Prozor area.

    19 Q. You described an incident where you and Mario Cerkez and

    20 an ITN news team went to the front and saw recent

    21 evidence of trench digging?

    22 A. Mario Cerkez did not accompany us.

    23 Q. You went with the news team?

    24 A. Yes, I did.

    25 Q. Did you ever discuss or raise the incident with

  71. 1 Colonel Blaskic, that incident?

    2 A. I did not personally, no.

    3 Q. Is it fair to say that when you give us your opinion on

    4 whether orders were followed, that is orders of

    5 Colonel Blaskic, or not, you are basing your opinion on

    6 orders pertaining to the matters you were involved in,

    7 which principally were cease-fires, passage of convoys,

    8 clearance or repair of roads, is that right?

    9 A. That is right, yes.

    10 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you for your patience, Mr. Buffini.

    11 Your Honour, I have no further questions, subject

    12 to a review of the exhibits and determining whether any

    13 of them should be admitted at this time. I think we can

    14 do that later so that we can move forward now.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Are we going to have these documents

    16 admitted? There was some doubt as to the order of

    17 Colonel Blaskic of 18th April.

    18 Mr. Registrar, have you had time to check, no? The

    19 Prosecution has no objection to the admission of these

    20 documents into evidence?

    21 MR. KEHOE: At this juncture, Mr. President, we do, based on a

    22 review of these documents. If these documents in any

    23 form came from the Office of the Prosecutor, they could

    24 have very well come from the Croatian Community of

    25 Herceg-Bosna, and we have no source as to where they

  72. 1 came from, if they were given as Rule 68 material. I do

    2 not want to belabour the point on all of them, but

    3 I think a review of each document is in order.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Let us put it under a number provisionally

    5 then. They will be admitted into evidence and the

    6 Registrar will give us the number. You have some

    7 re-examination, Mr. Kehoe?

    8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, I do. May I proceed?

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course

    10 Re-examined by MR. KEHOE

    11 Q. You were asked questions by Defence counsel concerning

    12 the route going up to Central Bosnia through Gornji

    13 Vakuf being cut at various locations, is that not right?

    14 A. Yes, I was asked if they were cut, yes.

    15 Q. You were questioned concerning the capability of HV

    16 troops moving through to Central Bosnia on that route,

    17 is that right?

    18 A. That is correct, yes.

    19 Q. Are you familiar with the town of Fojnica?

    20 A. Yes, I am.

    21 Q. You are aware, are you not, that the Croatians were

    22 moving troops up through Fojnica and into Central

    23 Bosnia, to Kiseljak and the Vitez region, were they not?

    24 A. We had every -- lots of reports to suggest that that was

    25 the case, but no real sightings of anything pertaining

  73. 1 to that, no.

    2 Q. Your conclusion on the information you had was that the

    3 reason they were clearing the area east of Prozor was to

    4 clear this road going up into Fojnica so they could move

    5 into the central or the Lasva Valley area and the

    6 Kiseljak area, is that not right?

    7 A. That was our conclusion and was the conclusion drawn by

    8 the British military cell in COMBRITFOR, that a route

    9 was being opened up between Prozor and Fojnica, yes.

    10 Q. So any indication that troops could not move from Prozor

    11 to Central Bosnia via Fojnica would not be true, because

    12 they could move that way, could they not?

    13 A. We believed they could.

    14 Q. You were asked some questions concerning these documents

    15 that counsel has put before you. Have you seen all

    16 these before?

    17 A. No.

    18 Q. The first one, and I do not know what -- the number on

    19 the order of 18th April. Do you see that one?

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. That order was issued by General Blaskic, was it not,

    22 when war was still raging --

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, I am not hearing the interpretation

    24 very well. I must say that it is not the first time the

    25 beginning of the interpretation is not quite audible

  74. 1 enough. Maybe it is a purely technical matter, when one

    2 interpreter takes over from another. That is my

    3 impression, that is all. Thank you very much.

    4 MR. KEHOE: That order on 18th April, according to your

    5 information, because you were not there, war was still

    6 raging, was it not?

    7 A. Yes, it was.

    8 Q. In fact on 18th April, one might say that the HVO had

    9 reached their highest territorial gains, is that not

    10 right?

    11 A. It could well have been, but it was very pertinent for

    12 them to draw to a conclusion at that stage, yes.

    13 Q. As you say, it would have been very pertinent to

    14 conclude the hostilities once they had taken the ground

    15 that they wanted, right?

    16 A. Good military tactic, yes.

    17 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, excuse me counsel, if counsel are

    18 allowed to lead their own witnesses, I have no objection

    19 as long as that rule will be applied to the Defence as

    20 well as the Prosecution. Virtually every question has

    21 been an extraordinarily leading question.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: No, I think it is not up to the judges to

    23 decide, I think that questions by hypothesis are leading

    24 and Mr. Hayman, you are the one who produced these

    25 documents, so it is quite normal for Mr. Kehoe to comment

  75. 1 on them with the witness. Try not to introduce your

    2 personal opinions in the question, Mr. Kehoe.

    3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, I will not.

    4 Before we go to the rest of these documents that

    5 counsel discussed with you, let me just discuss, and

    6 I will ask you a question concerning the paragraph in

    7 your statement that was read to you by Defence counsel,

    8 and specifically the troops that -- I am reading the

    9 last sentence, the troops that you talked to:

    10 "They insisted that such crimes had been committed

    11 against their own families that revenge had to be

    12 taken."

    13 Do you recall that portion of your testimony?

    14 A. Yes, I do.

    15 Q. Is it not true, Mr. Buffini -- withdraw that.

    16 At this particular point, was the issue involving

    17 Ahmici very much present during the time of these

    18 cease-fire negotiations?

    19 A. Yes, from the Muslim point of view, it was paramount to

    20 them that that was their biggest problem to all

    21 negotiations, was nothing was coming forward about

    22 Ahmici.

    23 Q. Is it not true, Mr. Buffini, that the HVO troops

    24 expressed reservations concerning the cease-fire because

    25 they thought the Muslims would want revenge because of

  76. 1 Ahmici?

    2 A. There was that fear, but also there had been incidents

    3 where BiH soldiers had killed HVO troops and civilians

    4 in certain areas, I was informed by the HVO troops, yes.

    5 Q. There was factors on both sides, is that right?

    6 A. That is right, but the overriding factor was Ahmici and

    7 obviously the BiH were very very aggrieved by that.

    8 Q. Let me turn back to these orders that Defence counsel

    9 was asking you questions about. We are dealing with the

    10 series of orders that were placed on the ELMO, and from

    11 the line of questions that were asked by the Defence,

    12 the line of questions would want to indicate that

    13 Blaskic's orders were not being followed, is that right?

    14 A. That was my understanding, yes.

    15 Q. From the line of questioning?

    16 A. Correct.

    17 Q. You said during the cross-examination that you were at

    18 90 per cent of these meetings, is that right?

    19 A. Absolutely right at that stage, yes.

    20 Q. Did Nakic -- excuse me. Did Nakic or Cerkez ever

    21 indicate to you or to anybody else at this meeting that

    22 an HVO commander or a soldier was disciplined for

    23 failure to comply with the orders of Colonel Blaskic?

    24 A. No, on no occasions.

    25 Q. Did they ever bring any indication to you that someone

  77. 1 was removed from their position, prosecuted, or in any

    2 fashion punished for a failure to comply with Blaskic's

    3 orders?

    4 A. No, not that I can recall at all.

    5 Q. During this period of time, you continued to receive

    6 information that the HVO had prisoners digging trenches

    7 and being used as human shields, did you not?

    8 A. We had complaints from the BiH that that was still

    9 happening, yes.

    10 Q. In fact, Mr. Buffini, I think you testified in

    11 cross-examination that when you attempted to get into

    12 prisons, they had no order from Blaskic to allow to get

    13 into those prisons, is that not right?

    14 A. That is what we were told.

    15 MR. KEHOE: I have no further questions, Mr. President,

    16 your Honours.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. I give the floor to

    18 Judge Riad.

    19 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, Major Buffini.

    20 A. Good morning sir.

    21 Q. In the light of your statements, you may be in a

    22 position to assist the Tribunal in clarifying some

    23 specific points. Among your statements, you mentioned

    24 in essence, I tried to write it, that Colonel Blaskic

    25 controlled all troops in Central Bosnia. Then you

  78. 1 mentioned all commanders were scared from Blaskic and

    2 would not do anything in disagreement with his orders,

    3 and that Franjo Nakic had to go back to him to refer for

    4 any serious decision.

    5 In the light of this statement, my question is,

    6 and you are free not to answer it: could an action of

    7 the dimension of the events and the destructions of

    8 Stari Vitez and Ahmici take place without the order of

    9 this, what you called, controlling commander? Could it

    10 take place without his orders, or vice versa, could an

    11 order given by this commander to refrain from such

    12 actions be disregarded?

    13 A. The first part of the question, could something like

    14 that have happened without the authority and the order

    15 of somebody like Colonel Blaskic take place: no. The

    16 scale of the operation and the extent of it was quite

    17 significant that there would have to be a large number

    18 of troops involved. That would have to come from orders

    19 of higher authority.

    20 The second part of the question was, could it have

    21 happened against the orders of somebody like

    22 Colonel Blaskic; again, my feeling would be that with my

    23 knowledge of the local commanders of the area, and their

    24 record for Colonel Blaskic, they would not have gone

    25 against those orders.

  79. 1 Q. In the same line, you mentioned that the Red Cross

    2 representative protested angrily with regard to the

    3 digging of trenches by prisoners in the front-lines, and

    4 the use of the prisoners as human shields. Was it

    5 within the jurisdiction of the commander at that moment,

    6 it was Colonel Blaskic, was it within his jurisdiction

    7 to react to this by stopping the use of human shields

    8 and stopping the digging of trenches, or was it beyond

    9 his jurisdiction?

    10 A. It certainly was not beyond his jurisdiction, which is

    11 why we brought it up in the Commission meetings, so that

    12 the message very clearly got back through to him via

    13 Mario Cerkez and Franjo Nakic, for him to give the

    14 orders to cease doing so. It was also pointed out to

    15 the local commanders of those areas, where the incidents

    16 were happening, that this should not take place as well,

    17 so both the local commanders on the ground and also the

    18 message was asked to be directed directly to

    19 Colonel Blaskic.

    20 Q. So it was up to him to stop it?

    21 A. He was the ultimate commander of the troops on the

    22 ground, so he should have insisted that his troops

    23 refrained and stopped immediately from doing that.

    24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Major Buffini. Thank you very

    25 much.

  80. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?

    2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I have a few questions to put to you;

    3 one which is very preliminary is this: the HV soldiers

    4 were Croatian soldiers from Croatia proper, is that

    5 right?

    6 A. That is what we understood, sir, yes.

    7 Q. All your sightings of buses with HV soldiers were in

    8 Bosnia itself, Central Bosnia? How would you describe

    9 it?

    10 A. It was in Central Bosnia, because once you passed over

    11 the checkpoint south of Tomislavgrad, you were in

    12 Bosnia.

    13 Q. The buses which were taking the non-dishevelled HV

    14 soldiers were going away from the Croatian border or

    15 towards the Croatian border?

    16 A. They were going away from the Croatian border, north,

    17 further into Central Bosnia.

    18 Q. And the buses taking the dishevelled soldiers were going

    19 in which direction?

    20 A. They were pointing, they had not set off, but they were

    21 pointing in the direction to come back south from Prozor

    22 through back to Croatia.

    23 Q. Back to Croatia. The inference which you drew from the

    24 condition in which you saw the dishevelled soldiers was

    25 that they had been engaged in combat.

  81. 1 A. That is correct, sir, yes.

    2 Q. Were you in a position to make any inference as to

    3 whether the place of combat was anywhere within Central

    4 Bosnia, or outside of Central Bosnia?

    5 A. The inference was very much that they had come from the

    6 area around Prozor, which was in Central Bosnia.

    7 Q. I see. You have seen some documents put in evidence by

    8 learned Defence counsel. One is dated 21st April.

    9 Mr. Registrar, it would be convenient if I could

    10 refer to it by a number, but I do not know what number

    11 I should use. Will that be all right?

    12 You are not handicapped, you understand what I am

    13 referring to?

    14 A. Yes, sir.

    15 Q. You are a military man and you are looking at a military

    16 document. Should I take it that your impression is that

    17 the document before you is in the standard form of a

    18 military document of that type?

    19 A. It certainly would be along those lines, yes, sir.

    20 Q. The operative words here are these, the document is

    21 signed by Colonel Blaskic, and he says:

    22 "I hereby issue the following order."

    23 Would you say that those are words of command?

    24 A. They are as long as they are getting to the troops who

    25 are accepting the command, sir, yes.

  82. 1 Q. If you look at the top of that document, on the

    2 right-hand side, it seems to be addressed to:

    3 "HVO brigade commander 1-12; independent units in

    4 Central Bosnia Operative Zone; Vitezovi special

    5 task force."

    6 Would that signify that the officer issuing this

    7 document issued it on the basis that he had a right to

    8 exercise authority over the persons to whom the document

    9 was issued?

    10 A. That is right, sir, yes.

    11 Q. Did you have any knowledge gained from your experience

    12 on the ground as to what this reference to independent

    13 units in Central Bosnia Operative Zone might have been

    14 intended to refer to? You see the reference there?

    15 A. Yes, I do, but I am afraid I was not aware of

    16 independent units operating there.

    17 Q. You would see similar language in the companion document

    18 of 24th April 1993, the top right-hand corner has a

    19 reference to "independent units"?

    20 A. Correct, sir, yes.

    21 Q. And the operative words here are "I hereby demand".

    22 Those again would be understood by a military man to be

    23 words of command?

    24 A. British military commands would not "demand" anything,

    25 they would normally "order" something, but on similar

  83. 1 lines, yes.

    2 Q. I see. And the final document is dated 29th April,

    3 which uses like language with variations; do you see

    4 that?

    5 A. Yes, I do, sir.

    6 Q. So your conclusion would be, would it, that whatever

    7 happened in practice on the ground, the officer issuing

    8 using these documents considered that he himself had the

    9 authority to exercise control over the persons to whom

    10 these documents were issued?

    11 A. Very much so.

    12 Q. Now let us go to the Joint Commission. You spoke of

    13 Mr. Nakic, and you compared his disposition with that of

    14 Mr. Merdan; Mr. Merdan seemed to be able to decide matters

    15 on the spot, and Mr. Nakic tended to act ad referendum to

    16 Mr. Blaskic. Do I understand you correctly?

    17 A. That is correct, sir, yes.

    18 Q. But was there any military matter on which Mr. Nakic took

    19 the position that this was an issue outside of the

    20 responsibility or authority or control or command of

    21 Colonel Blaskic?

    22 A. Outside the command of Colonel Blaskic? Was the

    23 question, "outside of Colonel Blaskic's command"? I am

    24 sorry, I did not quite understand.

    25 Q. Let me try to put it again. Was there any military

  84. 1 matter in respect of which Mr. Nakic took the view that

    2 the matter was not part of the responsibility of

    3 Colonel Blaskic?

    4 A. No, not a military matter.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Then Major, I would thank you very

    6 much.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: The presiding judge would like to thank you

    8 for answering all these questions that my colleagues

    9 have asked you. I have no further questions to ask you,

    10 the Tribunal is very appreciative of your having come

    11 here at the invitation of the Prosecutor for this long

    12 testimony. It now sends you back to your civilian

    13 activities and we can therefore ask the Registrar to

    14 have you accompanied outside the courtroom.

    15 A. Thank you very much, your Honour.

    16 (The witness withdrew)

    17 JUDGE JORDA: This testimony completes the work that we are

    18 doing in December. We will resume in January and

    19 I think I can tell you the date that we will resume, but

    20 I have some hesitations because the schedule frequently

    21 changes. In fact it changes from hour to hour, but as

    22 things stand now we will resume on 19th January but at

    23 2.00 for a long afternoon, that will be one of the new

    24 formulae. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that

    25 that is the schedule that was given this morning, that

  85. 1 is from 1400 hours on 19th January, this will go until

    2 7.00. This is a system we will use. This will not be

    3 used every week, but there will be certain times we will

    4 share the courtroom with another trial taking place in

    5 the morning, or sometimes we will reverse the order. In

    6 any case, this will be communicated to you in due

    7 fashion by the Registrar, but we have not completed all

    8 of the plans, so that we can at least say that we will

    9 begin at 2.00 on 19th January and continue until 7.00 in

    10 the evening, so that means that will give us a day

    11 almost equivalent to a full day.

    12 Therefore we now adjourn the hearing.

    13 (12.30 pm)

    14 (Hearing adjourned until 2.00 pm

    15 on Monday, 19th January 1997)