International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

  1. 1 Wednesday, 22nd April 1998

    2 (2.40 pm)

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the

    4 accused brought in, please.

    5 (The accused entered court)

    6 Good afternoon everybody. Mr. Prosecutor, we

    7 will not have to issue a binding order on the witness.

    8 I hope he is here at the Tribunal.

    9 MR. CAYLEY: First of all, an apology on

    10 behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor. I am sorry for

    11 wasting the court's time. He has been rushed here. He

    12 is outside, we can continue.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let us have him

    14 brought in and we will work until three o'clock. We

    15 will not delay the following hearing. We will try to

    16 break, however, at a proper point.

    17 (The witness entered court)

    18 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    19 cross-examination.

    20 Good afternoon, Colonel. How are you today?

    21 Are you feeling all right? As all military men should

    22 be.

    23 We will now continue with the

    24 cross-examination. Mr. Hayman, you may proceed.


  2. 1 Cross-examined by MR HAYMAN (continued)

    2 Q. Thank you, Mr. President, your Honours.

    3 Lieutenant-Colonel, good afternoon.

    4 A. Good afternoon.

    5 Q. Let me direct your attention to your visit to

    6 the village of Skradno, which I believe was between the

    7 January and April conflicts in 1993. Can you tell us

    8 what month your first visit was to Skradno?

    9 A. If I could have just a moment to find the

    10 information in my notes.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Take all the time you need.

    12 MR. HAYMAN: Perhaps while the

    13 Lieutenant-Colonel is checking his notes, we could

    14 activate the ELMO and focus on the map which has been

    15 placed on the ELMO.

    16 Mr. President, it is a standard former JNA or

    17 JNA 1 to 50,000 map, with which we have all become

    18 acquainted, of the Lasva Valley area.

    19 Lieutenant-Colonel, have you found an entry

    20 that is pertinent?

    21 A. The first entry is dated 21st March. I have

    22 other entries as well. I think that the last time

    23 I was there was in June or in July.

    24 Q. Now, if you could turn to the ELMO to your

    25 right and indicate -- perhaps with the pointer -- the

  3. 1 village of Skradno. If I can help you, it is above, to

    2 the north-east of Busovaca.

    3 A. (Indicating on map).

    4 Q. Indicating the village of Skradno. Can you

    5 tell us where that village lay in relationship to the

    6 front-line between the HVO and the BiH army when you

    7 visited in March, March 21st, 1993? Was it far from

    8 the front-line?

    9 A. On the main road, connecting Zenica, I think

    10 that the contact point on the road, which was under

    11 Bosnian control, was about here. (Indicating on map).

    12 Q. Then did the front-line come to the south

    13 between Skradno and Merdani?

    14 A. It must have been somewhere here, in this

    15 region. As I have said, I worked a great deal in the

    16 Donji and Gornji region over here. Therefore,

    17 I assume, since I did not actually go -- take that road

    18 or I suppose that the front-line or the combat line

    19 between the two sides, the Croats and the Bosnians must

    20 have been somewhere between those two points.

    21 Q. To the east of Skradno and either south or

    22 somewhat south, south-west of Merdani; correct?

    23 A. Yes, that is about right.

    24 Q. Was there a fence or wire, barbed wire around

    25 the village of Skradno when you visited in March?

  4. 1 A. No, not as far as I remember.

    2 Q. Yesterday we discussed the presence of guards

    3 in or around the village. Were there patrols of guards

    4 in or around the village of Skradno when you first

    5 visited?

    6 A. No. The only thing that we saw when we were

    7 in Skradno was that there was a road which gave access

    8 to Skradno. If you are looking at the map you might

    9 say there was more than one, but I always went to

    10 Skradno using the road that gave access to the main

    11 road to Busovaca and the police, as I said yesterday --

    12 they were civilian or HVO police -- were at the

    13 junction of that road, just at the point we crossed the

    14 river. Either on this side of the river, the Busovaca,

    15 or the other side. They are the ones who guarded

    16 access to that Muslim enclave.

    17 Q. Were you told by any of the inhabitants

    18 whether the guards that you saw at the access point, if

    19 you will, to the village, were they responsible for

    20 assaults or robberies of the villagers or were they

    21 attempting to protect the villagers against such

    22 assaults or robberies?

    23 A. The police and the -- that is what the police

    24 and the HVO said, that they were there in order to

    25 ensure the safety of the Skradno inhabitants, given the

  5. 1 tensions that prevailed at that time among the various

    2 ethnic groups.

    3 Q. You have said that the villagers themselves

    4 described certain robberies or assaults; did they tell

    5 you whether the guards were responsible for those

    6 events or not? Or were they not responsible and it was

    7 someone else?

    8 A. What they told us, and what I think

    9 I reported in one of the subsequent reports, is that

    10 there were allegations from some individuals who had

    11 taken testimonies about what had happened and they told

    12 us that they remembered that there was at least one of

    13 the people who was dressed in black and wearing a hood,

    14 that one of those people apparently was one of the

    15 guards who, during the day, was supposed to be there to

    16 protect them.

    17 Q. Were any of the guards you saw dressed in

    18 black or were they wearing other types of uniforms?

    19 A. As I said, the information which I have noted

    20 down is that I -- that they were HVO police, but

    21 I later looked again and realised that was very

    22 difficult to distinguish between the military and the

    23 civilian police. One day people were wearing

    24 a military uniform, the next day people were wearing

    25 different clothes, so everything -- everyone in uniform

  6. 1 in the HVO sector had to answer to the commands of the

    2 HVO authorities.

    3 Q. And was there an HVO representative present

    4 with you in Skradno on that day?

    5 A. Yes, there was. As I said yesterday, we had

    6 received a protest in the morning, in the Commission.

    7 It was a common thing. In the afternoon, when we go to

    8 investigate the protest, at the part there was a group

    9 separated into two parts. I was in one part of the

    10 group with a representative from the Bosnia-Herzegovina

    11 and on the other side as well, in order to investigate

    12 the situation.

    13 Q. Yesterday, the Prosecutor suggested that you

    14 keep your answers concise and focus so that the

    15 proceedings will move along quickly. I would make the

    16 same request.

    17 Who accompanied you from the HVO on this

    18 visit; if you recall?

    19 A. If you want me to be succinct, then I am just

    20 going to tell you I do not remember. If you want the

    21 name of the person, I will have to look at my notes.

    22 Q. You do not remember, that is fine.

    23 A. But I can tell you that it was one of the

    24 people authorised to sit at the Busovaca Joint

    25 Commission, because at no point were investigations

  7. 1 made with people who did not have a legitimate position

    2 authorised by the Bosnian or HVO authorities.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Colonel, excuse me, try to

    4 answer -- excuse me, Colonel, I was saying, try to

    5 answer the questions that you are asked. If it is

    6 necessary for there to be additional comments, the

    7 Defence counsel will ask for the additional information

    8 or the judges will ask for it later, or the Prosecutor

    9 will, if necessary. Thank you, I do understand that

    10 you are trying to give very specific answers.

    11 Proceed, Mr. Hayman.

    12 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.

    13 Do you remember what request or requests you

    14 or the other participants of the Commission made of the

    15 HVO representative concerning Skradno on or after your

    16 visit to Skradno on March 21, 1993?

    17 A. We were asked, in brief, to be sure that life

    18 could resume its normal course, that is in Skradno,

    19 that these people stopped being abused and that they

    20 could go into their fields to harvest their crops for

    21 things to go back to normal.

    22 Q. So, was there a request that there be more

    23 security or less security by whatever police elements

    24 were providing some level of security at the entrance

    25 to the village? Did you ask that those people leave or

  8. 1 that they be reinforced?

    2 A. We simply asked that Skradno not be

    3 considered as a prison and that the people be in

    4 a position to go about their daily lives, since there

    5 was -- there was no -- there was no fighting there. We

    6 did not want Skradno to become a prison but to be

    7 a place where normal life, normal everyday life could

    8 go on.

    9 Q. You later returned to Skradno and you told us

    10 yesterday that the situation improved on your

    11 subsequent visits, that is the conditions you found in

    12 the village. Can you tell the court how the conditions

    13 in Skradno had improved on your subsequent visit or

    14 visits?

    15 A. The situation had mainly improved because

    16 there was no more violence being committed against the

    17 inhabitants in the evenings. You remember yesterday

    18 I described how regularly people were taken out of

    19 their houses at night and a mock execution was carried

    20 out with a mock execution squad. Those things had been

    21 done, but when I said things improved -- but I did not

    22 say that they had returned to normal. There continued

    23 to be thefts of automobiles and people were prevented

    24 from going to harvest their hay and the tractors which

    25 were theirs which were being driven by a Bosnian Croat

  9. 1 in a neighbouring field.

    2 Q. Did you advise Ambassador Thebault that the

    3 situation in Skradno required his intervention with

    4 Colonel Blaskic?

    5 A. Every day the Busovaca Joint Commission would

    6 draft a report addressed directly to Ambassador

    7 Thebault. Every day we would receive on average 10 or

    8 even 15 protests on some days, relating to incidents

    9 having to do with violations of the cease-fire.

    10 Therefore, we could not do it -- write

    11 a detailed report to Mr. Thebault for each of these

    12 incidents but that the representatives of both of the

    13 factions, either the HVO or the Bosnians, we told them

    14 about the protest, we investigated it, then those

    15 people were subsequently to come back to us to give us

    16 reports on the situation.

    17 Q. Is it fair to say that there were so many

    18 protests on both sides handled by the Busovaca Joint

    19 Commission that the ECMM, and Ambassador Thebault in

    20 particular, had to be judicious regarding how often

    21 they might raise an issue with, for example,

    22 General Hadzihuseinovic or Colonel Blaskic, because

    23 they could not be raising an issue every day with them;

    24 would you agree with that?

    25 A. Yes, I agree, but that is also why, as I said

  10. 1 yesterday, why there was a meeting every month, or

    2 sometimes weekly or bi-weekly, of the Joint Commission,

    3 so that Ambassador Thebault be in a position to be able

    4 to say that there was lack of cooperation and that one

    5 wanted the cooperation to be better.

    6 Q. You said yesterday that you believe there was

    7 a secret agenda on the part of the HVO to drive Muslims

    8 out of the Lasva Valley, but you have not identified

    9 specifically who harboured such an agenda. Can you

    10 tell us who harboured that agenda, or do you know?

    11 A. I believe that the programme, as I said

    12 yesterday, that is the strategy, mainly came from the

    13 central HDZ and HVO authorities and that the activities

    14 at that time taking place in Central Bosnia were the

    15 same type of activities, same type of provocation that

    16 one saw in Herzegovina.

    17 Q. You still have not named any individuals.

    18 Did you ever have a discussion with Colonel Blaskic in

    19 which he demonstrated or displayed a desire to drive

    20 Muslims from the Lasva or Kiseljak valleys?

    21 A. I do not remember that type of a meeting,

    22 no. But what I do remember, and I remember it very

    23 well, is that Colonel Blaskic asked that all the Croats

    24 in Zenica be evacuated in buses so they could take over

    25 the vacant houses in the Busovaca and Vitez area.

  11. 1 Q. We will talk about Zenica later. You said

    2 you do not remember such a meeting; do you think if you

    3 had such a meeting it would be one you would be likely

    4 to recall?

    5 A. Yes, I think so, because I have been -- ever

    6 since 1996, I have been preparing myself for this

    7 testimony here and had that type of visit -- or had

    8 that type of meeting occurred I think I would have

    9 remembered it.

    10 Q. Did you ever have a substantive discussion in

    11 a personal sense -- you and Colonel Blaskic, sitting

    12 down and discussing a substantive topic, on any topic

    13 during your tour of duty in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    14 A. I would have to tell you that on several

    15 occasions I tried to meet Colonel Blaskic, but it was

    16 very difficult for me to do so because I think that

    17 after some point, people did not want me to meet with

    18 him. The reason I am telling you this is because

    19 I have a very clear recollection of an incident when

    20 I came back from a vacation in Canada where I brought

    21 back presents for all the people with whom I was

    22 working and I wanted to bring a present to

    23 Colonel Blaskic, but I was told he was not available

    24 and could not meet with me, so I left the gift I had

    25 brought for him with his secretary.

  12. 1 Q. I am sure he thanks you for the gift.

    2 My question was: did you ever have

    3 a substantive discussion with Colonel Blaskic during

    4 your tour of duty in Bosnia Herzegovina?

    5 A. I believe that once in a while -- well, the

    6 start of my stay I did meet Colonel Blaskic but very

    7 briefly.

    8 MR. HAYMAN: Was there a substantive

    9 discussion on any topics on that occasion or was it

    10 a courtesy call?

    11 JUDGE JORDA: I think Mr. Hayman, that you

    12 have asked that question already. You cannot ask him

    13 to go more quickly, then to ask the same questions over

    14 again. The question was asked and the question was

    15 answered three times, including the one relating to

    16 a gift for General Blaskic which he never received.

    17 The Tribunal heard that.

    18 Please proceed.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: Can you name one act by

    20 Colonel Blaskic, or one order that he gave, that had as

    21 its purpose the driving of Muslims from the Lasva or

    22 Kiseljak valleys? Can you name one?

    23 A. I do not remember having seen a written

    24 order, but, as you remember from what I said yesterday,

    25 many, many provocative incidents, many provocative

  13. 1 incidents which did contribute to the ethnic cleansing

    2 on both sides in that region did occur.

    3 Q. If you are accusing Colonel Blaskic of

    4 inciting a provocative incident, would you please

    5 specify what incident or incidents you are accusing him

    6 of personally instigating?

    7 A. Your Honour, may I make a small comment so

    8 that I can answer the question?

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course, Colonel. Since

    10 you were ordered to tell us what your thoughts are, you

    11 must do so. This is for the proper understanding of

    12 these hearings by the judges and, therefore, it is now

    13 the Trial Chamber asking you to explain yourself.

    14 A. I never accused personally Colonel Blaskic of

    15 anything. Most of my testimony is based on the

    16 responsibility of the military chief of all of

    17 Central Bosnia.

    18 If Colonel Blaskic is not guilty, I would be

    19 pleased for him. I have absolutely nothing against him

    20 as an individual. But I can tell you that I saw many,

    21 many crimes that were committed and I believe that

    22 these crimes were not normal, something just normal

    23 that happened in Bosnia. There were people in

    24 positions of authority who could have done something in

    25 order to prevent them and that my impression during my

  14. 1 stay in Bosnia is that the people who were in positions

    2 of authority did not do everything they could in order

    3 to prevent the loss of life. That is what I have been

    4 saying since the beginning. Do not say to me that I am

    5 accusing General Blaskic. I have never accused him.

    6 The only reason I have decided to come to

    7 testify here, your Honour, is simply in order to bring

    8 to the attention of the court my own perception of my

    9 own stay in Bosnia and to profit from my military

    10 experiences in order to make people understand that

    11 those people who say they are responsible militarily

    12 for something, it is not just in order to go to

    13 conferences and to be invited to cocktail parties.

    14 There is a responsibility which follows from this and

    15 these people -- and I have to tell you that the command

    16 in Central Bosnia -- General Blaskic was there long

    17 enough in order to be able to do something --

    18 JUDGE JORDA: You have answered the

    19 question. You have answered the question Colonel. You

    20 answered very clearly. There is no need to add

    21 anything further. You do not have to take further

    22 position. You have answered and that is what the Trial

    23 Chamber wanted to know. I believe the incident is now

    24 concluded. An answer has been given. The question has

    25 been answered and, therefore, we can say that there was

  15. 1 no specific provocative facts, according to you,

    2 against General Blaskic. You can move to the next

    3 question, Mr. Hayman.

    4 MR. HAYMAN: Just so it is absolutely clear,

    5 I understand you to be saying --

    6 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President --

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, please,

    8 I would like to say something. Let us not -- so that

    9 everything is clear. I understand that procedure,

    10 Mr. Hayman. Everything is clear, we do not have to go

    11 back. We are not going to go back into polemics which

    12 are not necessary. We do not have to say, "in order

    13 for everything to be clear"; everything is clear. Move

    14 to another question, please.

    15 MR. HAYMAN: Do you know how many Muslim

    16 refugees were accepted into the Lasva Valley during

    17 1992 and 1993?

    18 A. When I left Bosnia in August of 1993, the

    19 UNHCR statistics showed that out of a population of 4.2

    20 million -- 4.4 million, about 2.2 million were Bosnians

    21 who had been displaced. To give you any further

    22 information, when I arrived into -- in the city of

    23 Zenica in March, the city of Zenica, according to what

    24 I was told, there were about 400,000 people -- 80,000

    25 people, excuse me and that the population of Zenica had

  16. 1 practically doubled further to the displaced persons

    2 having arrived. So, I suppose that the same situation

    3 must have been the case in the cities of Vitez and

    4 Busovaca as well.

    5 MR. HAYMAN: I am moving to a new subject,

    6 Mr. President. I do not know when the court intends to

    7 break for the other matter.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Could we have -- my intention

    9 was clear, but here I have to change things. If we had

    10 begun on time, I wanted to be completed with your

    11 cross-examination, we would have gone into the next

    12 hearing which is of interest to all of you, then we

    13 would have resumed the Colonel's testimony for the

    14 questions of the right of reply of the Prosecutor and

    15 the judges' questions.

    16 Now I turn to you, Mr. Hayman, about how much

    17 more time do you need for asking your questions? What

    18 would you say?

    19 MR. HAYMAN: I would say between two and four

    20 hours, depending on the gravity or length of the

    21 exchanges. I have a number of documents to show the

    22 witness. It is going to take some time because of the

    23 opinions and breadth of the testimony.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you for your

    25 clarification. That allows me to completely change my

  17. 1 position. As well as the position of my colleagues.

    2 I think I can speak on behalf of them. If you will

    3 agree, we will suspend the hearing for about a quarter

    4 of an hour. Then we will continue in public session,

    5 according to the agenda of our work today.

    6 The Colonel remains available to the

    7 Tribunal. Of course. The hearing is adjourned.

    8 (3.10 pm)

    9 (The hearing adjourned until 2.15

    10 on Thursday, 23rd April, 1998)