1 Friday, 5th June 1998
2 --- Upon commencing at 9.09 a.m.
13 Pages 9338 to 9351 redacted - in closed session
10 (In open session)
11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The floor is yours.
12 MR. CAYLEY: The next witness is Major Mark
13 Bower of the Prince of Wales' Own Regiment of
15 He served in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the
16 British Battalion in Vitez from April of 1993 until
17 November of 1993. You heard earlier this week from his
18 then commanding officer, Brigadier Alastair Duncan, who
19 was then the commanding officer of the British
21 He was at the time a captain, this is Major
22 Bower, and he was responsible as a liaison officer for
23 assisting humanitarian organisations, such as the Red
24 Cross, with their work in the Lasva Valley.
25 In his testimony, he will tell you very
1 briefly of a visit that he made in late April to the
2 village of Ahmici, and he will tell you what he saw and
3 the conclusions that he reached.
4 He will next tell you of how, on a
5 reconnaissance mission, in the town of Busovaca, in the
6 municipality of Busovaca, he came across a group of
7 extremely well-armed professional troops of the HVO who
8 he discovered to be a group called "the Jokers."
9 Next he will tell you of his knowledge of HVO
10 military formations in the Lasva Valley and his
11 understanding of the command structure of the HVO. He
12 will tell you of how, in his opinion, how effectively
13 he thought the command structure functioned. He will
14 give you his impression of the Hotel Vitez as a
15 military headquarters.
16 He will then speak to you of his assistance
17 of both the sick and injured within the town of Vitez,
18 both Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims. He will tell
19 you of a number of visits that he made to two Bosnian
20 Croat hospitals, one in Vitez and one in Novi Bila. He
21 will tell you of the Stari Vitez enclave, a Muslim
22 pocket isolated in Vitez by the time he arrived after
23 the fighting in April.
24 He will tell you of his attempts to bring in
25 humanitarian assistance to that enclave, and he will
1 tell you of a campaign of attrition waged by the HVO
2 against that Muslim pocket and how civilians,
3 predominantly women and children, were the victims of a
4 sniper and indiscriminate mortar fire campaign from the
5 HVO, and he will tell you how this happened 400 metres
6 from Colonel Blaskic's headquarters in Vitez.
7 He will tell you very briefly of his visits
8 to the town of Kruscica, another Muslim pocket
9 partially isolated with some access to Bosnian
10 government controlled territory, and how attempts to
11 gain access with humanitarian assistance to this area
12 was thwarted by the manipulation of the local Bosnian
13 Croat civilian population by the HVO.
14 He will tell you of his knowledge of what he
15 came to know of in the Lasva Valley of HOS units, and
16 he will tell you of the command chain that he perceived
17 in respect of those witnesses, in respect of those
19 He will mention very briefly to you the death
20 of Dobrilla Kolaba who -- I think you heard about that
21 in some length from Brigadier Duncan. This was an
22 interpreter who worked for him.
23 He will tell you of his witness to
24 trench-digging by individuals who appeared to be under
25 the control of HVO soldiers.
1 In the final part of his testimony, he will
2 tell you of what he saw of an attack on the village of
3 Grbavica. He will describe to you a professional,
4 well-coordinated attack against the Bosnian forces in
5 that area and the civilian populations that were
6 located there, the Bosnian Muslim civilian population.
7 He will tell you of the civilians that were rescued by
8 the British Battalion for fear of them being killed in
9 the attack, and he will tell you of his witness to HVO
10 soldiers and civilians looting the Bosnian Muslim area
11 of Grbavica immediately after the attack.
12 Lastly, he will tell you, very briefly, at
13 the end of his tour, how he witnessed the aftermath of
14 the HVO attack on the village of Stupni Do in the
15 municipality of Vares.
16 The testimony is, I think, relevant to
17 paragraphs 3 and 4 of the indictment, paragraph 5.2 of
18 the indictment; Count 1, the persecution; Counts 2 to
19 4, unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects;
20 Counts 5 to 10, wilful killing and causing of serious
21 injury; Counts 11 to 13, destruction and plunder of
22 property; Counts 15 and 16, inhumane and cruel
23 treatment of detainees.
24 I estimate that my examination-in-chief will
25 be in the region of an hour, possibly shorter.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right. If I've
2 understood correctly, I think that Major Bower, that is
3 his testimony, in light of his speciality, has to be
4 focused mainly on humanitarian assistance. That seems
5 to be the essential point to me and, at the same time,
6 the command structure, and then the attacks that he
7 might have seen and the consequences of this. But
8 especially somebody who can address the issue of
9 humanitarian assistance for which he was in some way
10 responsible, and he was able to see, in your opinion at
11 least, a certain number of blockages. Those are the
12 essential points, as well as the command structure.
13 As Judge Riad has just reminded me:
14 humanitarian assistance, command structure,
15 consequences of certain attacks.
16 Very well. We can have Major Bower brought
18 (The witness entered)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Major, do you hear me? Will
20 you please recall your rank, your name, and your first
22 THE WITNESS: Major Mark Bower.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing, as long
24 as it takes to read your solemn declaration that the
25 usher is going to give you.
1 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
2 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Major. You may be
5 seated. You have come at the request of the Prosecutor
6 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
7 Yugoslavia in a trial of the accused General Blaskic
8 who is here in this courtroom.
9 We know the general outline of what your
10 testimony is, the essential points, and it is on those
11 points that the Prosecutor will focus, and then there
12 will be a cross-examination. But I know that you're
13 familiar with these procedures because you come from a
14 country which uses it.
15 Without any further ado, let me give the
16 floor back to Mr. Cayley.
17 WITNESS: MARK BOWER
18 Examined by Mr. Cayley:
19 Q. Good morning, Major Bower. Just a few
20 preliminary questions. When I ask you questions, if
21 you could address your answers to the Judges?
22 A. Okay.
23 Q. I think you joined the army in 1983?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And I think you joined the Prince of Wales'
1 Own Regiment of Yorkshire in 1985 after the Royal
2 Military Academy Sandhurst?
3 A. Yes, that's correct as well.
4 Q. I think you've served in the United Kingdom,
5 Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Kenya, France, and
6 the former Yugoslavia?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I think you've done operational tours of duty
9 in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kuwait, and
11 A. Yes, I have.
12 Q. And I think you were, in fact -- you've seen
13 combat duty in the Gulf War; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. Now, I think you served with the Prince of
16 Wales' Regiment in Bosnia-Herzegovina from April of
17 1993 until November of 1993; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. And I think the Prince of Wales' Regiment was
20 the second British Battalion to serve in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina after the Cheshire Regiment?
22 A. Yes, it was.
23 Q. And I think I'm correct in saying that you
24 were based at the Stari Bila camp in Vitez?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What was your responsibility when you were
2 based in Bosnia-Herzegovina? I think you were a
3 captain at the time.
4 A. Yes. My duties were liaising between the
5 British Battalion based in Stari Bila and mainly the
6 aid agency, the ICRC, and some of the non-government
7 organisations such as Pharmaciens sans Frontieres and
8 Medecins sans Frontieres. I had also responsibility
9 between travelling around the area, around the Lasva
10 Valley, and assessing humanitarian aid requirements,
11 and then I would pass it to UNHCR and other agencies.
12 Q. I think you're now a Major and a company
14 A. Yes, I am.
15 Q. And I think you also were awarded by Her
16 Majesty the Queen, The Queen's Gallantry Medal, after
17 your service in Bosnia; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, I was.
19 Q. And I think we'll come on to why you received
20 that gallantry award later in your testimony.
21 Now, very briefly, if you could recollect for
22 the court a visit that you made to the village of
23 Ahmici at the end of April 1993?
24 A. It was as soon as I arrived in Bosnia -- the
25 incident in Ahmici had happened, but it was the
1 aftermath, the clearing-up option was still continuing,
2 and I accompanied the Cheshire Regiment, who were still
3 there at the time, into Ahmici to assist in recovery of
4 some of the bodies which were still in the houses at
5 the northern end of the town.
6 The clearing-up operation was taking some
7 time. There were fears that there may be unexploded
8 ammunition in the area, so it was a military operation
9 to clear it before attempting to retrieve the bodies.
10 And so I went in to assist in collecting the bodies and
11 then informing the family members in Zenica that we had
12 found the remains of their family.
13 Q. What opinion, what conclusion, did you reach
14 at the time as to what had taken place in the village
15 of Ahmici?
16 A. It appeared to be a concentrated military
17 effort onto a small town, village. It was -- or it
18 appeared to be quite brutal in its execution in the
19 fact that the majority of the houses were completely
20 destroyed. No one would have been able to move into
21 these houses as the majority of the roofs had fallen in
22 and there were scorch marks from intense heat and fire
23 on the outside of the buildings where the flames had
24 come out through the windows.
25 Although there were a few houses which were
1 untouched and people were still living in those houses
2 and later it was found out that these people were
3 Croats and had lived in Ahmici and remained to live in
4 Ahmici after the incident.
5 Q. Did you see any evidence of defensive
6 structures in that village?
7 A. I obviously can't comment on what was inside
8 the buildings because of the destruction that had taken
9 place, but I didn't see large trench systems or any
10 large support weapon pits, large sort of earthworks,
11 which would denote a large military installation.
12 Q. We can move on to the next part of your
13 testimony, and if the witness could be given the first
14 exhibit, which is really a map to assist the court and
15 to show the various locations that you were operating,
16 and it has no particular significance.
17 Mr. Registrar, what Exhibit number is this,
19 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 394.
20 MR. CAYLEY:
21 Q. Now, I think at the end of May of 1993, you
22 made a visit to the municipality of Busovaca, and I
23 think while you were there, you came across a group of
24 soldiers. Can you describe that visit to the court and
25 that group of soldiers?
1 A. It was in early May, and I had spent the
2 majority of the first two weeks in and around Travnik
3 and Vitez, so decided to look around the area of
4 Busovaca to assess the aid requirements in some of the
5 more remote areas, and so decided to travel to the area
6 which is marked 1 here (indicates), and I basically
7 travelled to Busovaca and headed west up some mountain
9 I was in two Land Rover military vehicles
10 which are soft skin. They are not armoured vehicles,
11 and after maybe 15 minutes, having travelled down dirt
12 tracks in wooded areas in the mountainous region, I
13 came across a tree trunk which is across the road,
14 blocking the road. And to the right of my vehicles,
15 there were -- or there was a chalet, lodge, it was
16 maybe 15 -- maybe 50 metres away from the track. The
17 sound of the vehicles brought out a number of people
18 from the hut and from behind it, 15 in total maybe.
19 They approached the vehicles, and some of
20 them, eight, nine of them, actually stayed 25 metres
21 short of the vehicles and adopted fire positions with
22 their weapons and pointed their weapons at us, and six
23 or eight of them approached the vehicles. But we
24 couldn't engage them in conversation; they ignored us.
25 Two of them stood in front of me but wouldn't speak to
1 me; the remainder went around and had a good look at
2 both vehicles, the drivers, the commanders of the
3 vehicles, and the people in the backs of them.
4 They were quite menacing, they were
5 well-equipped, well-armed with
6 non-Yugoslav-manufactured weapons, non-Soviet bloc
7 weapons, the majority of them had large hunting knives,
8 and some had pistols as well. They were young,
9 mid-20s, I would say. They had an air of professional
10 military competence, but they were also quite menacing.
11 My interpreter was Dobrilla Kolaba, and she
12 attempted to engage them in conversation, but they were
13 talking to themselves, again ignoring us, but very
14 interested in us. After trying to explain to them why
15 we were there, that all we wanted to do was pass
16 through, Dobrilla Kolaba was quite anxious and said we
17 should leave.
18 When I tried to get further information as to
19 why she just said, "We should leave and we should leave
20 now" and she appeared quite anxious and agitated, so we
21 got back into our vehicles and reversed down the track,
22 because we couldn't turn the vehicles around, and went
23 back to Busovaca where we stopped.
24 Q. Did you have a subsequent discussion with her
25 when you stopped about the nature of these troops that
1 you just encountered?
2 A. I wanted to discuss what had happened because
3 I had not seen her like that before, and she explained
4 that this group were known as the Jokeri and that they
5 were discussing whether they should kill us or whether
6 they should let us go. She also stated to me that this
7 group had been involved in Ahmici and that the insignia
8 they had on them, which was a white skull and
9 crossbones insignia on a headband, some were on badges,
10 on patches on their combat jackets, signified belonging
11 to this group.
12 Q. Were any of them wearing HVO badges?
13 A. I think one or two of them were wearing just
14 the red and white chequered badge which I took to
15 denote HVO.
16 Q. Did you ever receive further information
17 about the involvement of this group in combat
18 operations on the HVO Bosnian government front-lines?
19 A. Every night we had a discussion amongst all
20 the liaison officers with our commanding officer,
21 Colonel Duncan, and on occasions, the Jokeri were
22 mentioned as being involved or seen in action around
23 Novi Travnik and Travnik and Grbavica, and there was
24 one report that they had been around Stari Vitez.
25 Q. Did the battalion come to some sort of a
1 conclusion about what was the special nature of these
2 troops, why they were used in combat operations?
3 A. It was assessed that this group were
4 professional, dedicated, and clearly capable in
5 military operations, and could bolster the generally
6 conscript nature of the forces wherever the main effort
7 at the time was.
8 Q. If we could now move on -- and I think it
9 naturally moves on -- to your knowledge of military
10 formations within Central Bosnia. Now, I know you were
11 briefed on both Bosnian government forces and the HVO,
12 but I'd like you to explain to the court what your
13 knowledge was at the time of the HVO military structure
14 within Central Bosnia.
15 A. We were briefed on arrival in Bosnia about
16 both BiH and HVO chains of command. This enabled us to
17 make the best use of our time when dealing with
18 front-lines, military checkpoints, because we could
19 understand their chains of command and who we should go
20 and see in that area, the military commanders in that
21 area, to seek assistance or permission to cross
22 front-lines and whatever.
23 I understood that in the Lasva Valley, the
24 HVO headquarters was in Hotel Vitez.
25 Q. Do you have any particular knowledge about
1 the subordinate military formations in the Lasva Valley
2 that were part of the HVO?
3 A. Only in the fact that I knew that
4 geographical areas were responsible or were the
5 responsibility of specific military groupings, but
6 ultimately there was a link and a chain from the
7 soldier to checkpoint through his local commander,
8 ultimately reaching Hotel Vitez.
9 Q. Are you aware of who, during your tour of
10 duty, was the commanding officer of the HVO located at
11 Hotel Vitez?
12 A. It was General Blaskic.
13 Q. Do you have any understanding of the extent
14 of his command in the Lasva Valley?
15 A. As I understood it, he was responsible for
16 HVO forces in the Lasva Valley where we were.
17 Q. Could you give sort of geographical marker
18 points, your knowledge of the area, the geographical
19 area, that that covered?
20 A. From where I worked, certainly stretching
21 from Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Kruscica, the Lasva
22 Valley pocket where we were based.
23 Q. And that was really the limit of your
24 knowledge because you didn't really travel much outside
25 that area?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Now, did you ever have occasion to visit the
3 Hotel Vitez?
4 A. On occasions, yes.
5 Q. How many times did you visit Hotel Vitez?
6 A. At the beginning of the operational tour,
7 there was no requirement to visit it on a regular
8 basis, but as the fighting increased, it became more
9 and more necessary to visit. I would say in the six
10 and a half months I was in Bosnia, maybe 40 or 50
12 Q. Can you give the court a description of your
13 impression of Hotel Vitez as a military headquarters?
14 A. It was the impression of a professional
15 working military headquarters, well-structured. When I
16 went in, if I didn't have an arranged meeting with
17 anybody, there would be somebody who I'd report to, I
18 would wait, they would go and get somebody. It
19 appeared to be a normal, what I would class, working,
20 efficient military headquarters.
21 Q. Now, you had occasion to frequently travel, I
22 think, through both HVO and Bosnian
23 government-controlled checkpoints; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, based on your knowledge of your
1 impressions within the Hotel Vitez and your transiting
2 through checkpoints, can you explain to the Judges how
3 effectively the chain of command functioned within the
5 A. The checkpoints, the HVO checkpoints,
6 certainly at the junction to the road to Vitez, when
7 access was denied, a barrier was across the road and we
8 were told we weren't allowed to enter. Negotiation
9 would start with the checkpoint commander to be allowed
10 to travel into Vitez to go to Hotel Vitez. Initially,
11 the answer would be "No. No one is allowed in." But
12 obviously I had asked to see the local checkpoint
13 commander, his superior officer, and it appeared to me
14 that they were talking by telephone or some other means
15 of communication up the chain of command because, more
16 often than not, we were allowed to travel through,
17 which signified to me that there was a working chain of
19 Q. Did you ever have experience with the
20 civilian authorities and utilising them to gain access
21 to particular areas?
22 A. Once when I was attempting to get into
23 Kruscica, which is marked 4 on the map here, which is
24 again a small Muslim enclave south of Vitez, I was
25 stopped from travelling through to take a UNHCR aid
1 convoy and to casualty evacuate some wounded people
2 with the ICRC, and we were stopped by women and
3 children blocking the road, standing in front of our
4 vehicles. The average length of negotiations would be
5 three to four hours and would invariably result in not
6 being able to travel through.
7 One particular occasion, the mayor of Vitez,
8 I believe his name is Santic, and a liaison officer,
9 Darko Gelic, came down to the checkpoint with a British
10 Battalion liaison officer, Captain Whitworth, but they
11 were unable to get the convoys through to Kruscica.
12 Q. So Mr. Santic had no authority to facilitate
13 your access?
14 A. He didn't appear to be, no.
15 Q. Would you say that the military authorities
16 had a firm grip in your area where you were assisting
17 humanitarian aid?
18 A. Whenever we wanted something actioned, we
19 invariably went to the military chain of command rather
20 than the civilian chain of command. It seemed to speed
21 things up.
22 Q. When we're talking about the military, we're
23 talking about the HVO?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I think there's one example that you have,
1 and it's mentioned in your statement, of the
2 coordination within the HVO chain of command, and a
3 particular example of the International Committee for
4 the Red Cross attempting to move aid from Mostar into
5 Central Bosnia. Could you explain that to the court?
6 A. My duties included going to the ICRC every
7 morning, and I listened to their briefs and they
8 listened to mine, and on one morning they informed me
9 that they had been told by the HVO in Novi Travnik
10 that, if they did not receive aid, then the HVO in
11 Mostar would stop any ICRC convoys coming up the route
12 from Metkovic to Mostar to Zenica.
13 Q. What did this indicate to you about the chain
14 of command within the HVO?
15 A. It showed a degree of communication but also
16 cooperation and coordination over a distance to
17 coordinate an effort or threat such as this.
18 Q. This is quite usual within any sort of
19 reasonably, well-developed military formation; is it
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. We can now move on with your testimony to the
23 two Bosnian Croat medical facilities, the hospital in
24 Vitez and the hospital in Novi Bila, and I wonder if
25 you could explain to the court your involvement with
1 those two institutions?
2 A. During the summer, the fighting was, at
3 times, intense.
4 Q. This is the summer of '93?
5 A. The summer of '93, and the main aid agencies,
6 the UNHCR and the ICRC, would not travel where there
7 was fighting for fear of taking casualties. So the
8 British Battalion decided to get involved in casualty
9 evacuation to save life, and that was my
11 In the Lasva Valley, there were two primary
12 medical facilities that I was involved with. The one
13 in Vitez seemed to be more of a clinic for the everyday
14 medical needs of a community, from pregnancy, broken
15 limbs, the everyday medical requirements, although it
16 would treat battle trauma cases from the Vitez area,
17 specifically just localised Vitez area. The primary
18 battle trauma hospital was in Novi Bila in a church
19 which was used as the hospital, and that could
20 accommodate maybe 120 seriously wounded people, the
21 majority of which were from battle trauma from the
22 result of fighting.
23 Q. I think you were involved in a particular
24 evacuation, a coordinated evacuation that was taking
25 injured and sick people down to Split. I wonder if you
1 can tell the court about that? I think this was the
2 instance when you, in fact, were awarded the Queen's
3 Gallantry Medal.
4 A. There had been an offer to evacuate some 55
5 wounded people from Novi Bila to Kiseljak where they
6 would then be put on helicopters and flown to Croatia
7 for onward medical care. It took a degree of
8 coordination because we had to travel through the BiH
9 front-lines to get to Kiseljak. It took three or four
10 days. The BiH wanted a list of names of who would be
11 evacuated and they had to be identified. And the BiH
12 provided a doctor to ensure that the right people with
13 those medical complaints went on the transport. They
14 were people who were very, very ill, who would probably
15 have died if they had not have moved.
16 The BiH could see what was going on and
17 started to fire at the hospital with mortar rounds,
18 although it was not particularly close. One of the
19 hospital administrators told me that I had to leave
20 some of the people off the transport, the nominated 55,
21 and take some middle-aged and young men and some women
22 and children who didn't appear to be injured.
23 There was a rumour that these people had
24 tried to buy places on this relief convoy, this
25 evacuation, but I refused to let them on, and the
1 administrator personally threatened that I would suffer
2 if I didn't take these people. The discussion was cut
3 short because the hospital was mortared and it took
4 three direct hits from the BiH in the local area. They
5 landed right next to the hospital where we were. So I
6 continued to evacuate the seriously wounded from the
7 hospital and get them onto the transport and we left as
8 soon as we could.
9 Q. Now, in the other hospitals, the other
10 Bosnian Croat hospitals in Vitez, the HVO-controlled
11 hospitals, did you come across a number of victims of
12 gunshot wounds, civilians?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Are you aware by whom those people were
16 A. By BiH forces.
17 Q. Do you know from where?
18 A. Certainly in the Novi Bila area, they were
19 from around the front-lines in the western part of the
20 Lasva Valley pocket. In the Vitez clinic, there were,
21 again, a number of women, children who had suffered
22 battle trauma, casualties, and they had been caused by
23 the BiH in Stari Vitez, the Muslim enclave.
24 Q. Now, we naturally, I think, move on to Stari
25 Vitez and if you can indicate on --
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, before we move to
2 Stari Vitez, perhaps we would take a break. We have
3 had a long morning. Twenty minutes now. Since this is
4 about halfway through the testimony that Major Bowers
5 is giving, perhaps we can divide the sequence into two
6 and start again at 10.35. The court stands adjourned.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.13 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will now resume.
10 Have the accused brought in, please? Are all the
11 technical problems okay? There are no technical
12 problems, yes, everything is fine. Sorry for the
13 slight delay. Thank you.
14 (The accused entered court)
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Cayley, go ahead.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Major Bower, we left off in your testimony
18 and we were just moving on to the Muslim enclave of
19 Stari Vitez. Could you point out to the Judges on the
20 map that's next to you that you've marked in your own
21 hand your best recollection of the Muslim enclave of
22 Stari Vitez?
23 A. It's marked as "Area 3" here on the map and
24 it was to the south of the Travnik-Busovaca road.
25 Q. Can you explain to the Judges what your
1 perception of the Stari Vitez enclave was at the time,
2 why it existed?
3 A. It was centred around the Muslim population
4 of Stari Vitez near the mosque and it was made up of
5 non-combatants and combatants. There were Bosnian army
6 in there as well. They were unable to have freedom of
7 access and exit of Stari Vitez to the remainder of the
8 Lasva Valley.
9 Q. By whom was the access to Stari Vitez
11 A. It was controlled by the HVO.
12 Q. Now, you were heavily involved, I think, in
13 movement of casualties and provision of humanitarian
14 aid to this region. I would like you to briefly give a
15 summary of your six-month involvement with the people
16 of Stari Vitez.
17 A. As I said earlier, the aid agencies would not
18 go anywhere where there was a danger to themselves, so
19 it was left to me to assess humanitarian aid
20 requirements and to conduct medical evacuations as a
21 result of war fighting. Therefore, I would negotiate
22 passage into Stari Vitez and, more importantly,
23 negotiate the evacuation of casualties from Stari Vitez
24 to the hospital in Zenica.
25 Q. With whom did you have to negotiate the
1 movement of casualties and humanitarian aid in and out
2 of Stari Vitez?
3 A. I had to go to Hotel Vitez to do that.
4 Q. Was there any other way of getting into Stari
5 Vitez, except by driving past Hotel Vitez?
6 A. As can be seen on the map, there is one road
7 running here which goes all the way through Stari
8 Vitez, but before I arrived in Bosnia, at approximately
9 this location on the road, the road was blocked by
10 earthworks, some trailers from lorries, and also there
11 were some explosive devices placed, some mines, placed
12 on the earthworks. So no access by any vehicle could
13 be made from the west. It had to be made from the east
14 and, therefore, it had to go to what we termed the
15 Vitez T-junction and follow the road round into Stari
16 Vitez and pass Hotel Vitez to do that.
17 Q. Now, if the Witness can be shown Exhibit 395,
18 I think that probably demonstrates the route that
19 you're talking about into Stari Vitez. It's not
20 completely on the ELMO but do you see the image in
21 front of you on the TV screen?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. Can you sufficiently demonstrate what you've
24 just been talking about?
25 A. Yes, the general area of Stari Vitez is in
1 this area here to the left of the picture, and the
2 access route along the yellow line which is here was
3 the only way that any vehicles could be taken into
4 Stari Vitez, so any casualty evacuation out of Stari
5 Vitez or any humanitarian aid to go in had to travel
6 down that route.
7 Q. And past Hotel Vitez?
8 A. Yes, indeed.
9 Q. Do you know where Hotel Vitez is?
10 A. It's just off --
11 Q. Off the screen?
12 A. -- the screen to the right.
13 Q. Can you point to it?
14 A. There. (Indicated).
15 Q. Above the letter "E," there is a square; what
16 does that indicate?
17 A. In this general area here was the end of the
18 HVO front-line and the Bosnian army front-line was around
19 here. And in this area, in the latter part of the
20 summer of '93, mines were placed across this road here
21 and, I believe, down here which stopped again the
22 freedom of movement of our vehicles into Stari Vitez.
23 Q. And you're indicating also to the left of the
24 letter "E," there was another mine when, in fact, it
25 wasn't marked on here --
1 A. No.
2 Q. -- although you marked with your own hand on
3 the main road above.
4 Now, if you could explain to the court how
5 you were involved in the evacuation of casualties from
6 Stari Vitez over a six-month period and why those
7 people were injured, what sex they were and what age
8 they were, as best as you can recall?
9 A. The casualties which I evacuated were from a
10 house. It was a makeshift hospital which is in this
11 area here of Stari Vitez.
12 Q. And that's the sort of yellow mark at the
13 extreme left?
14 A. This house here.
15 Q. I think it actually says "hospital," but it
16 can't quite be seen.
17 A. There. (Indicated). It was run by Dr. Enisa
18 Mulalic whose husband was a doctor in Zenica. She had
19 two nurses who assisted her and they cared for the
20 general medical welfare of the community, but also they
21 dealt with all the war trauma casualties which the
22 fighting created.
23 I evacuated the region of 50 to 60 people
24 over my six and a half months in Stari Vitez. The
25 majority were suffering from war trauma, gunshot
1 wounds, shrapnel and blast injuries, and they could not
2 receive the required medical aid in Stari Vitez. They
3 would have died if they had stayed.
4 Predominantly, they were women and children
5 which I evacuated. There were some older men aged 50,
6 55. There were a few men of fighting age which were
7 evacuated, again, because they would have died if they
8 had stayed, but Dr. Mulalic understood the strict rules
9 which I applied, and I used as a basis the ICRC rules
10 that I would not move any military equipment so that
11 anyone of combatant age who was very seriously ill must
12 leave all his equipment behind. I would not move
13 anyone with equipment or I would not move any friend to
14 accompany him, so it was purely the wounded person.
15 Q. And all of these individuals were Bosnian
17 A. From Stari Vitez, yes.
18 Q. Let's deal firstly with the gunshot
19 injuries. What type of fire had caused those injuries?
20 A. Predominantly the gunshot wounds were caused
21 by the 7.62 short round fired from AK-47 rifles.
22 Q. Was it your view that these rounds had been
23 fired by snipers?
24 A. The rounds were fired by people who were
25 waiting for targets of opportunity and then they shot
1 at them.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. What is the 7.62
3 short round? Can you help me what it is? We're not
4 military experts.
5 A. Sorry, it is the round fired, the bullet
6 fired, by the rifle, the AK-47 rifle, and the "7.62" is
7 the diameter of the bullet, 7.62 millimetres.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Is it strictly military weapons?
9 A. It's available for any use that has that
10 calibre rifle.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
12 MR. CAYLEY:
13 Q. Now, a sniper doesn't necessarily need to be
14 armed with a sniper rifle, does he? He can be armed
15 with any weapon.
16 A. The idea that a sniper must have a telescopic
17 sight and be well concealed, camouflaged, is not always
18 the case. The term "sniper," as I would interpret it,
19 is anyone who waits for a target of opportunity.
20 Q. Now, the blast injuries; what were they
21 caused by?
22 A. The blast injuries were caused by indirect
23 fire weapons such as mortars and, in the summer, there
24 was a home-made mortar bomb which we, in BRITBAT, called
25 the fire extinguisher bomb. It was the canister of a
1 fire extinguisher that was ballistically thrown 100,
2 200 metres over the front-lines. It could be filled
3 with petrol, something to ignite a fire, so it was
4 incendiary, or a low level explosive to create a blast.
5 Q. How indiscriminate were these weapons, in
7 A. The people at the firing point of these
8 weapons would not be able to see where the round would
9 land because it was going over the houses.
10 Q. When you're talking about a round, you're now
11 talking about a fire extinguisher --
12 A. A fire extinguisher bomb or a mortar round.
13 It is termed indirect. It doesn't travel in a straight
14 line. It will go over the area, the ground it wishes
15 to travel. The home-made device such as this fire
16 extinguisher bomb was very unstable. It had no guiding
17 fins, like a plane, to stabilise it in its flight. It
18 was crude and inaccurate.
19 And because it takes time to travel from the
20 firing point to the detonation point, maybe as long as
21 10 to 15 seconds, no guarantee could be made of who
22 would be in the target area when the bomb detonated.
23 And because the firers could not see physically who was
24 in that area when they fired it, it was indiscriminate
25 and it caused a number of civilian non-combatant
2 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
3 Exhibit 82/7, please? It's a man holding a red
5 THE REGISTRAR: This is 82/5.
6 MR. CAYLEY: I'm sorry, 82/5.
7 Q. Major Bower, do you recognise this device?
8 A. Yes, I do. This is what the British
9 Battalion termed the fire extinguisher bomb.
10 Q. And these were the devices that were being
11 fired into Stari Vitez?
12 A. Yes, they were fired. On one occasion,
13 this -- I don't know if it was this particular
14 canister, but one was brought to the hospital where I
15 was in Stari Vitez. There always seemed to be a need
16 of the medical staff to show me where the people had
17 been wounded or killed, to show me the bodies, to show
18 me the injuries in case I didn't believe what was going
19 on. It was to try and emphasise their situation.
20 Q. Now, you've described this campaign over a
21 six-month period of firing these devices on a sniper
22 campaign. Was this being conducted by the HVO against
23 Stari Vitez?
24 A. Yes, it was.
25 Q. Now, the Muslim people in Stari Vitez, how
1 frightened were they?
2 A. It would fluctuate, depending on the level of
3 fighting in Stari Vitez or around Stari Vitez, but
4 generally, it was a feeling of despair among the
5 civilians which I tended to deal with. The Merhamet
6 representative in Stari Vitez, I believe her last name
7 was Mrs. Halilovic, was always requesting assistance in
8 humanitarian aid, generally baby food, bottles,
9 sterilisation, sanitisation aid, and they generally
10 felt that they just were holding on. They had enough
11 assistance to survive, but that was all, they were
13 Q. Now, you said that the movement in and out of
14 Stari Vitez was controlled by the HVO and that included
15 aid, did it not, humanitarian aid?
16 A. The aid into Stari Vitez was controlled by
17 the Vitez T-junction checkpoint I mentioned earlier. A
18 convoy of 10 or 15 tons of humanitarian aid would be in
19 four or five large UNHCR or ICRC trucks. So it was
20 conspicuous. It could not travel in unnoticed. The
21 drivers of these vehicles were civilians and,
22 therefore, they would not be taken into an area that
23 was dangerous because of fighting.
24 The UNHCR had had a representative shot dead
25 in Stari Vitez as he sat inside his UNHCR vehicle. And
1 so this made the aid agencies very cautious, and they
2 wanted reassurance that they would be unhindered in
3 taking aid into Stari Vitez. So, in effect, the
4 enclave of Stari Vitez was controlled by the amount of
5 aid, medical, food and also the evacuation of
6 casualties out, it was very closely controlled by the
7 checkpoints to the degree that I was aware that if I
8 did not have the permission to evacuate people from
9 Stari Vitez, I would be putting those people at risk
10 when we got to the Vitez checkpoint and we attempted to
12 Q. I know you evacuated a large number of
13 people, but if you could just give the Judges one or
14 two examples of the age and sex of the victims you
15 evacuated from Stari Vitez?
16 A. The first victim I evacuated was an
17 11-year-old girl who had been shot in the head by a
18 7.62 millimetre round one afternoon in May. I believe
19 it was the 21st of May. She was very seriously ill.
20 The round had passed through her head. It wasn't until
21 darkness that night that the message was received by
22 the British Battalion that there was this seriously ill
23 casualty, and I evacuated her that night.
24 Other casualties in July, I think it was the
25 18th or 19th of July, there were, again, three
1 casualties caused by a blast bomb; one male, he was
2 about 40 to 45; a woman, middle-aged, and a child, I
3 don't know what age. The man died in the hospital in
4 Stari Vitez while I was there. He had severe shrapnel
5 injuries to his abdomen and chest. The woman had
6 shrapnel injuries to her face and throat and was having
7 difficulty breathing and was very ill. The child had
8 shrapnel injuries to her face and was suffering from
9 shock but it was severe shock, almost in a traumatic
10 state of shock. I evacuated the woman and the child
11 and left the dead man.
12 Q. And this was the normal course of events over
13 all these evacuations over six months?
14 A. It fluctuated between gunshot wounds, blast
15 injuries, and occasionally there would be the normal
16 medical problems created, pregnant women with
17 difficulties or old people who relied on insulin who
18 were diabetics who required medical aid.
19 Q. Are you aware of the number of women and
20 children that were killed in Stari Vitez by sniper fire
21 and blast injury?
22 A. I couldn't put a finger on it. If somebody
23 was killed, I would be told about it, but I could do
24 nothing so I wouldn't remove the body.
25 Q. But are you aware that a number of women and
1 children were killed in Stari Vitez?
2 A. Whenever I visited the doctor at Stari Vitez,
3 she would always tell me what had happened since the
4 last visit. This was when they would always want to
5 show me the dead bodies, to prove to me that this had
7 Q. Did you see dead bodies in there?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Of women?
10 A. Of men and women.
11 Q. Now, what was your conclusion at the time of
12 the nature of the military campaign being waged against
13 Stari Vitez by the HVO?
14 A. It appeared to be more of a containment
15 campaign, not to try and seize and hold the ground of
16 Stari Vitez, but more to ensure that the occupants of
17 Stari Vitez didn't expand their enclave or attempt to
18 break out of their enclave. It was more static, more
20 Q. What about in respect of the civilian
22 A. We were allowed under control to take aid in
23 and to evacuate people out, but with some of the
24 weapons that were used, the mortars and the blast
25 bombs, it appeared to be indiscriminate, rather than
1 aimed at the actual front-lines where the majority of
2 the Bosnian army soldiers would be in Stari Vitez.
3 These blast weapons actually were landing in more the
4 centre of Stari Vitez, and because of their nature,
5 caused civilian casualties.
6 Q. Would you agree with me that it was a process
7 of attrition of the population in Stari Vitez?
8 A. It psychologically and physically wore down
9 the will of the population of Stari Vitez because they
10 relied totally on aid agencies and myself to evacuate
11 wounded people and to take aid in. They had no method
12 at all of getting assistance in any vehicle
13 whatsoever. It had to be brought in by an aid agency.
14 So the military campaign combined with the control of
15 access to Stari Vitez by agencies, such as myself and
16 the Red Cross and the UNHCR, seemed to be this
17 containment and gradual wearing down, keeping the
18 enclave at a low ebb, a low level of ability.
19 Q. Why do you think the HVO, as it were, had
20 this policy of containment of this pocket within the
21 Vitez town?
22 A. I believed that it was an implied threat to
23 the Bosnian Army 3 Corps, in Zenica and also to the
24 Bosnian Army 325 Brigade which was based around the
25 Chadras Poculica area just north of the Vitez area,
1 that if any attempt was made to attack the Vitez area
2 and relieve Stari Vitez, that Stari Vitez would suffer
3 considerable damage.
4 Q. Why did the people not just leave? Why did
5 the Muslims not just leave Stari Vitez?
6 A. A number of reasons. I think a lot of them
7 didn't want to leave, despite the conditions they were
8 forced to live in, because they knew that if they
9 voluntarily left their homes, the UNHCR would describe
10 them as displaced people and not refugees so,
11 therefore, would not be accorded the same level of aid
12 as a refugee, because they had left voluntarily their
13 homes where they had shelter. It was also where their
14 families were and there were young and old. It was a
15 question of where could they go?
16 I visited the refugees from Ahmici in Zenica
17 which they were housed in the old bunkers, the air raid
18 bunkers in Zenica, and they were in appalling
19 conditions, living in the bunkers with no windows, in
20 large rooms sleeping on the floor. And I don't think
21 the people of Stari Vitez wanted to be treated like
22 that. They also, I feel, felt that they would be in
23 risk or danger if they did try to leave. They could be
24 either shot at or beaten when they attempted to leave
25 and that they wouldn't be able to take a great deal of
1 personal belongings with them. So there was a split of
2 opinion as to why they wouldn't want to leave.
3 Q. How far was the Hotel Vitez from Stari Vitez?
4 A. I would say no more than 500, 600 metres from
5 the front-line of Stari Vitez. It was, in my vehicle,
6 30 seconds to a minute to get from Hotel Vitez into the
7 Bosnian army controlled area of Stari Vitez. It was
8 very close.
9 Q. This campaign that fluctuated, as you said,
10 but went on for a six-month period, would it be
11 possible for those in Hotel Vitez not to be aware of
12 what was going on around Stari Vitez?
13 A. I would find it difficult to believe that
14 people physically in Hotel Vitez would not hear the
15 mortars or the fire extinguisher bombs or the rifle
16 fire when it occurred, and from my own personal
17 experience, if you hear a mortar or artillery round or
18 small arms fire near you, your natural question is:
19 Which way is it travelling? Is it travelling away from
20 me or towards me?
21 As a military commander, I would expect the
22 people in Hotel Vitez to want to know if it was the
23 Bosnian army firing their weapons at the Croat
24 population of Vitez or the other way around because
25 Croatian casualties, HVO casualties, were caused by the
1 Bosnian army faction in Stari Vitez because I evacuated
2 some of them from the Vitez hospital as well.
3 Q. What was the degree of coordination, in your
4 opinion, of this campaign of sniping and firing of
5 these indiscriminate weapons?
6 A. There seemed to be a progression of this
7 campaign. Initially, in May, it was infrequent, and it
8 seemed to follow the level of fighting elsewhere in the
9 Lasva Valley, and it fluctuated. But there appeared to
10 be, in July and August, a concerted increase in the
11 number of incidents and casualties caused. To some
12 degree, on the 18th, 19th of July, I was unable to
13 evacuate casualties for a period of maybe 30 hours
14 because the fighting was too intense for me to get into
15 Stari Vitez, but we had been told that there were as
16 many as 16 casualties in Stari Vitez that required
18 So it fluctuated from sporadic to intense,
19 and then it would ease off, and then it would increase
20 again over the summer of 1993.
21 Q. Now, you mentioned the Bosnian forces that
22 were located in Stari Vitez. What was the degree of
23 their ability to actually fight out of Stari Vitez?
24 A. I didn't personally deal with the Bosnian
25 army in Stari Vitez. It was not my role. But in my
1 opinion, they could contain their pocket, but I don't
2 think they had the ability to sustain a long assault
3 out of Stari Vitez, and I think that the will to do so
4 was minimal because of the number of civilians that
5 were inside Stari Vitez, that they ultimately would
6 have to leave if they tried to break out, and they
7 obviously would or could suffer as casualties.
8 Q. Now, one last question in this area. Did you
9 ever supply ammunition or weapons to the Bosnian forces
10 in Stari Vitez?
11 A. No.
12 Q. If we could now move ahead with your
13 testimony, and if the map that was in front of the
14 witness could be placed back in front of him?
15 Now, very briefly, can you explain to the
16 Judges, and you've touched upon it already, your visit
17 to Kruscica I think throughout May of 1993. No, the
18 map, this exhibit.
19 A. I was attempting to get an aid convoy to
20 Kruscica here in May (indicated).
21 Q. You're indicating the circle marked 4.
22 A. And it was the normal practice for the women
23 and children of that area to stand and block the road.
24 These were still in the HVO part of the Lasva Valley,
25 close to the front-line with the Bosnian army at
1 Kruscica, and they would engage me in a series of
2 demands as to why I couldn't take the convoys through,
3 and these ranged from no aid being given to the HVO in
4 Vitez, that I was taking weapons through and ammunition
5 to the Bosnian part of Kruscica, and it was always the
6 women and children that would block the road with a
7 number of HVO soldiers to the side of the road, one of
8 them who I ended up speaking to regularly was called
9 Captain Nikola, and it appeared to me that they were
10 directing what the women and children were doing.
11 It got to the degree of "The weapons are in
12 your vehicles," so after an hour or so, we would let
13 them look in the back of the UNHCR vehicle. They would
14 say, "The ammunition is in the boxes, in the food
15 parcels." So we would say, "Pick a box. Open it."
16 And then it would be, "The ammunition is in the tins of
17 food or in the parcels of food." So every time we
18 tried to accommodate their demands, the demand would
20 The final argument as to why we couldn't go
21 through was because they had been shown a video of
22 UNPROFOR troops distributing weapons and ammunition to
23 the Bosnian army. I specifically asked Captain Nikola
24 to show me this video or to tell me where this video
25 had come from or who it involved, because it appeared
1 to be a very serious stumbling block with a lot of the
2 local people around Vitez. But over a period of ten
3 days, he was unable to show me this video. And, again,
4 while I was discussing the events with him,
5 conversations would be going on around me, and again my
6 interpreter, Dobrilla Kolaba, told me that she had
7 heard that this video didn't actually exist.
8 Q. Now, this place that you were trying to get
9 to was a partial Muslim enclave?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could it gain supplies from any other source
12 apart from international aid agencies?
13 A. I believe there was limited access from the
14 south into Kruscica, but the aid agencies didn't use
15 this route, so there was limited access for re-supply
16 but not for large quantities of aid, in the region of
17 25 tonnes, which was required on a regular basis, or
18 for the evacuation of casualties because they needed to
19 go to Zenica which was to the north.
20 Q. Do you believe that the HVO were manipulating
21 the civilian population to prevent your access to the
22 area of the Lasva Valley?
23 A. Yes, and it was very, very effective. It
24 would make the U.N. and other aid agencies and UNPROFOR
25 look very bad if we tried to force our way through a
1 human blockade of women and children, and on a number
2 of occasions, the international media were there when
3 we were attempting to negotiate aid through these
5 On one occasion very early on, I did try to
6 walk in front of my vehicle, my Land Rover, to see if
7 we could just go through and they would move away from
8 the road, but as soon as we started the engine and
9 started to drive forward, the HVO soldiers to the side
10 shot over our heads which, to me, was a clear
11 indication that I should stop what I was doing and go
12 back to negotiation.
13 Q. Let's move ahead, and this is the part of
14 your testimony where I think you say a number of things
15 in your statement about what you were aware of were
16 known as HOS units in the Lasva Valley. I wonder if
17 you can tell the Judges what you know about that?
18 A. The initial briefs which were given to us on
19 arrival in Bosnia informed us of various units and
20 sub-units within the area, both Bosnian army and HVO.
21 One of the units mentioned was called HOS. A general
22 description was given of what they looked like so we
23 could identify them if we saw them.
24 I tended to see these units in very small
25 groups but only in passing. I had no direct
1 requirement to speak to them. I generally saw them and
2 recognised them because of their dress. They wore very
3 dark blue or black clothing, some had white belts with
4 a cross-belt over their chest, some would have badges
5 with the letters spelling "HOS" on them. They had
6 pistols rather than long-barrelled rifles, and they
7 tended to drive Western European cars, one that I
8 particularly remember was a dark blue Volkswagen Golf
9 where I remember seeing frequently around the roads
10 between the Novi Travnik T-junction, which is up here
11 (indicated), to the Busovaca T-junction and the road
12 towards Vitez.
13 Q. How well-supplied did these individuals
14 appear to you?
15 A. The fact that they had fuel for the cars
16 which we saw them in indicated to me that they had
17 access to the more sought-after logistics. We were
18 constantly being asked to provide fuel for the
19 generators at the Novi Bila hospital, which we did, but
20 if fuel was in such short supply for something as
21 important as a hospital, there were -- the majority of
22 the cars which we saw driving about were not by the --
23 I would call it the everyday population. They tended
24 to be the important people, the civilian politicians,
25 the military commanders, or the more favoured military
2 Q. Was it the battalion's view that these HOS
3 units were commanded by the HVO at the time that you
4 were in Central Bosnia?
5 A. It was the general impression that we had,
6 that they weren't restricted by a geographical area
7 but, ultimately, the chain of command would lead to
8 Hotel Vitez.
9 Q. Did you see HOS and HVO soldiers together at
11 A. Yes. There appeared to be just general
12 talking, as if they were talking to people that they
13 knew. They never tried to take over the checkpoint
14 commander's duties. They just appeared to be talking,
15 smoking, whatever.
16 Q. Were they allowed to freely pass through HVO
17 checkpoints, HOS, as far as you could see?
18 A. They didn't seem to be restricted in any way.
19 Q. And many other people were restricted in
20 their movements in that area by HVO checkpoints?
21 A. I don't know if I would say "restricted." I
22 think there was a necessity, a military necessity, to
23 keep an idea of who was moving around the main roads.
24 In any war, you're going to want to know who is
25 transiting your routes, so I think it was more that
2 Q. Did you ever see HOS units setting up snap
3 checkpoints themselves?
4 A. I saw them stopping and talking to people on
5 the roads. Obviously, I don't know what they were
6 talking about, but it just appeared to be just general
7 talking to them, I mean, inquiring as to where they
8 were going. Invariably they were -- the HOS had a car,
9 and the people were either walking or they had carts or
11 Q. Did you ever see any of these HOS individuals
12 or units in and around Hotel Vitez?
13 A. I think I can recollect maybe one or two in
14 the car park, but I never saw any inside.
15 Q. If we could move on now very briefly to
16 Dobrilla Kolaba, who was your interpreter and who was
17 shot. I'm sure you can recall the date that she was
19 A. She was shot on Monday, the 5th of July, at
20 about half past eight in the evening.
21 Q. By whom was she shot? What was the group
22 consensus about that?
23 A. She was shot by the HVO.
24 Q. Am I right in saying that she was actually
25 standing underneath a huge U.N. blue flag at the time
1 that she was shot?
2 A. Yes. The house where she lived was a house
3 rented from a family for the U.N., it was known as the
4 captains' house, and all the BRITBAT captains, liaison
5 officers, lived in that house, and also Dobrilla Kolaba
6 had a room in that house as well.
7 Early on, it was apparent that if we didn't
8 identify that house and other houses habitated by U.N.
9 personnel, that there was a danger of receiving gunfire
10 or blast injuries or whatever, so we got hold of large
11 U.N. flags, I would say slightly bigger than the flags
12 which are in this court now, and it was hung on the
13 veranda, the balcony, which was above where she was
15 Q. We can move on now to your observation of
16 individuals digging trenches, and if you can point on
17 the map to the area with which we're concerned for this
18 part of your testimony?
19 A. It's here, Area 5, which was north of Novi
20 Travnik (indicated).
21 Q. This is again, I think, on Exhibit 394.
22 Could you recollect that event to the Judges, please?
23 A. At the time the main transit route from
24 Busovaca to Travnik, up here, was very close to an
25 offensive by the Bosnian army and was deemed unsafe.
1 The Red Cross had negotiated passage through the HVO
2 front-lines north of Travnik and the Bosnian army
3 front-lines south of Travnik to take an aid convoy into
5 Because the road was mountainous and it
6 caused a strain on the vehicles and there may be a
7 danger from the fighting, we accompanied the convoy, at
8 the rear of it, so that we had communications with our
9 own base that if there was a problem, we could get
10 assistance for the Red Cross. At the time, their radio
11 communications were not as reliable as ours.
12 We were approaching the front-line of the HVO
13 because I could see the mortar weapon -- pits where
14 they dug their mortars into and some trenches and what
15 looked like command bunkers, and I saw a number, 15, I
16 don't think any more than 15, men in civilian clothes.
17 They looked fairly dirty and dishevelled, untidy, and
18 they were digging what looks like large trench
19 systems. There were a number of HVO soldiers with
20 weapons who were sat down, stood around, and watching
21 the people dig. All the people were digging at one
22 time as opposed to what I would normally expect: Some
23 would dig, some would stand around, and whatever. They
24 were all digging. And the soldiers were looking at --
25 they were facing south, so they were looking at the
1 diggers, they weren't facing towards the front-line.
2 I slowed down in the vehicle to get a better
3 look, and hand gestures were given by the soldiers that
4 I should carry on. I didn't want to restrict the
5 ICRC's passage using that route, so I didn't want to
6 make an issue out of it. I just informed the Red
7 Cross, had they seen it, and I let them deal with it.
8 Q. Did these people look like volunteers to you?
9 A. They weren't enthusiastic.
10 Q. Thank you. Now moving to the final part of
11 your examination-in-chief and the attack that you
12 witnessed on the village of Grbavica.
13 First of all, can you explain to the Judges
14 where Grbavica is located, particularly in relation to
15 your camp, the BRITBAT camp? I think it's marked on
16 the map.
17 A. It's here as Area 6. The small circle at the
18 top is the high ground. It was a high feature which
19 rose from the road, which was almost in a valley, and
20 the hill rose up towards the circle (indicated). The
21 majority of the houses were in this shape here
22 (indicated) and the majority of the Bosnian army trench
23 systems were around this circle on the high ground.
24 The BRITBAT base was here; it was overlooked by the
25 high ground. We were about here (indicated).
1 Q. I think, as I said, in September of 1993, you
2 witnessed an attack by the HVO on Grbavica, and I
3 wonder, can you describe that to the Judges, please?
4 A. I only witnessed the beginnings of the
5 attack. It appeared to be a professional,
6 well-coordinated military offensive to seize and hold
7 an area of ground. The troops, the HVO forces, used
8 recoilless rifles -- they're a bigger calibre, have an
9 explosive impact when they reach their target -- and
10 they started at one end and cleared, systematically,
11 house by house. There were some Croat families living
12 in the village and their houses remained untouched, but
13 the Muslim population were cleared out of their houses
14 by the progression of the fighting.
15 Q. Now, were any houses set on fire during this
16 attack, to the best of your recollection?
17 A. There were a number which tended to be near
18 the top of the hill feature, and one or two in this
19 area here, just by the road (indicated).
20 Q. I have a couple of photographs that I will
21 place on the ELMO when you have finished this part of
22 your testimony.
23 Now, once the Muslim forces and the Muslim
24 civilians had been cleared out, what happened to these
25 civilians, these Muslim civilians?
1 A. They congregated around the entrance to the
2 British Battalion camp in two houses and they pleaded
3 to be let into the camp, but we had a policy of not
4 letting anyone into the camp for fear that once they
5 were in, they would not leave, and I believe this had
6 happened in Kakanj to another UNPROFOR unit, and it
7 created a problem.
8 So anyone that turned up that had any weapons
9 or military equipment, the liaison officers that were
10 there disarmed them and separated them from their
11 weapons and told them, if they had any other clothes,
12 to change out of their military equipment and all stay
13 in the two houses next to the British camp and we would
14 try and protect them.
15 Q. Was it the view that the civilians amongst
16 these people were in grave risk of being killed?
17 A. They were caught up in a battle, and
18 therefore were at risk. One man was shot dead in front
19 of two liaison officers as they were discussing
20 evacuating the civilians.
21 Q. Now, immediately after the attack had been
22 completed, the people cleared out, did looting
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. By whom?
1 A. Initially, it was by HVO soldiers. They were
2 taking electrical items, furniture. And shortly
3 afterwards, Croat families moved into the houses that
4 were now unoccupied, and there seemed to be a
5 redistribution of the property of those houses, and
6 that was being done by non-combatants.
7 Q. Am I right in saying that some HVO soldiers
8 actually entered the BRITBAT captains' house and got
9 rather a shock, I think, when they attempted to start
11 A. We had been working for maybe 36 hours, so
12 when the fighting finished, we all went back to our
13 house; and while we were there, two soldiers, HVO
14 soldiers, came into the house, one was drunk, and they
15 claimed they were having a look around, but they were
16 asked to leave.
17 Q. And, indeed, I think they left?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. If the witness could be shown the last two
20 photographs, that's 396 and 397, if the map could be
21 left there because there's one place that I failed to
22 identify, which I will. What does this first
23 photograph show?
24 A. This is a photograph I took of the southern
25 edge of Grbavica looking directly north towards the
1 high ground which you can see up here. The BRITBAT
2 camp was over the hill in this direction.
3 Q. And what stage is this photograph, at what
4 time; do you recall?
5 A. This photograph, I think, I took in late
6 September/October time. I couldn't say the exact date.
7 Q. If you could place Exhibit 397? If you could
8 indicate to the Judges the location of Grbavica?
9 A. This is the high ground here to the left and
10 it's looking down the feature. This is now looking --
11 the pointer is moving south, and the main road which
12 would go from Travnik to Busovaca is in this direction
13 here. This is the entranceway to the BRITBAT camp and
14 this is Grbavica around here.
15 Q. I think there's a couple of houses on the top
16 of the feature with roofs that are missing which,
17 perhaps, are the houses that you referred to that had
18 been burned?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. If you could just point those out?
21 A. There at the top here, and there were a
22 number down here on the previous photograph.
23 Q. That had been burned?
24 A. That had been burned, yes.
25 Q. If the map could be placed back on the ELMO
1 now, please, finally? Could you just move it so the
2 number "2" is there?
3 Sorry, my mistake, Major Bower, I failed to
4 mention this. Can you identify the area marked "2"?
5 A. This area here is right on the edge of the
6 Busovaca to Travnik road on a bend. It's maybe 500,
7 600 metres from the cemetery which is down here, and it
8 was a chalet/lodge type accommodation, building. When
9 we first arrived in Bosnia, it was used, we believe, by
10 the group known as the Jokeri.
11 Q. That was the group that was described earlier
12 in your testimony?
13 A. It was the group which I encountered down
14 here which was to the west of Busovaca.
15 Q. Now, finally, I think in October of 1993,
16 just before the end of your tour, you were ordered to
17 go to the village of Stupni Do in the municipality of
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you describe very briefly to the court
21 what you found in that village when you arrived?
22 A. It was total destruction of the village.
23 There were very few houses that had not been set on
24 fire and totally destroyed. There were a number of
25 bodies in the area, and the ones which stick in my mind
1 are the two women which had been shot as they hid in
2 the vegetable pit in one of the houses.
3 Q. Was your access to the village of Stupni Do
5 A. We didn't have too much difficulty entering
6 the village. We were there fairly quickly after the
7 attack had taken place. We were there for some 18
8 hours, but when I tried to leave before the remainder
9 of the UNPROFOR troops, there was a checkpoint at the
10 bottom of the mountain road south of Stupni Do where I
11 had an anti-armour rocket launcher pointed at my
12 vehicle. The soldiers had made their weapons ready to
13 fire and they were very agitated, appeared very
14 nervous, and they didn't want me to leave at all. They
15 wanted to know what we had been doing up there, what we
16 had seen and where we were going.
17 Q. And these were HVO soldiers at this
18 checkpoint with the anti-armour rocket?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The village of Stupni Do was a Bosnian Muslim
22 A. Yes, I believe it was.
23 Q. Just very briefly returning to sniping, and
24 this is really an opinion of what you observed in Stari
25 Vitez, what is the psychological effect of a sniping
1 campaign on civilians, women and children?
2 A. It will be psychologically damaging to any
3 group of people. Even military formations can be
4 demoralises by the effective use of a sniping
5 campaign. It was effective to the degree that many in
6 Stari Vitez would not travel outside their houses
7 during the heat of the fighting during daylight hours.
8 They would remain in cover. They were extremely
9 frightened of becoming casualties themselves.
10 So a lot of their home-grown foods, their root
11 vegetables, couldn't be gathered during daylight hours;
12 water couldn't be collected. They were restricted to
13 the very centre of Stari Vitez where they knew they
14 were not in line of sight of any HVO positions.
15 MR. CAYLEY: I have no further questions,
16 Mr. President. If I could apply for admission into
17 evidence of 394, 395, 396 and 397?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. At this point and
19 further to what we said yesterday, I think I'd like to
20 have a pause first, but ask the Defence before we do
21 take our break about how much time they plan to take.
22 I'm not going to try to limit them in any way.
23 Mr. Hayman or Mr. Nobilo, can you give us an
24 idea of how long you need and, if necessary, we will
25 have the Major come back.
1 MR. HAYMAN: Unfortunately, Mr. President,
2 this witness has touched on a lot of different topics
3 and it's a new time period in the case. This is not
4 the tour of the Cheshire Regiment. This is the tour of
5 the Prince of Wales own. So I would expect my
6 cross-examination to be less than the direct but still
7 perhaps go for two hours or even a little more. I also
8 have some documents to show the witness, so if we're
9 going to conclude by 1.30, I don't think that will be
10 possible. And I would like to raise the question with
11 the court if it wants me to start and then interrupt
12 the cross and continue it in three weeks or if the
13 court would rather have the examination all at once. I
14 leave it entirely to the court.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman. Perhaps
16 you would like to work without stopping, though. I
17 suppose you would.
18 MR. HAYMAN: I don't know if Judge
19 Shahabuddeen will be back. That may be hard for him if
20 he has not heard the direct. I think it's generally
21 preferable that direct and cross all be together but it
22 all be concluded at once. I don't know if this witness
23 can be back when we start in three weeks.
24 Particularly, if he can't be back in three weeks but he
25 may be coming back at some other time and not be the
1 first witness, then it might be best to have the
2 cross-examination all at once, whenever it's convenient
3 to the witness but I leave it to the court. We also
4 want to use the available time, so we have mixed
5 feelings about the situation.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I think we have to put the
7 question of Judge Shahabuddeen aside. We have a
8 presiding officer here. Judge Shahabuddeen will know
9 everything that has been said through the transcripts
10 and the exhibits. I have to isolate that. That's a
11 separate issue. When he comes back from Tanzania, he
12 will be operational once again and can be here for the
14 What I find particularly problematic, but I
15 wanted to have your opinion, the Defence, I would like
16 to ask the Prosecution as well, I suppose there's no
17 problem in having the Major come back; is that true?
18 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, certainly, the witness is
19 available to the court. Obviously I would have to
20 speak to him about dates and times.
21 JUDGE JORDA: We said it yesterday, and when
22 I thanked the interpreters, they shown that they've
23 been willing to work very hard. We are going to take a
24 twenty-minute break. The question is to know whether
25 we are going to stop now or whether we should begin
1 with the cross-examination and continue to 1.30, but we
2 won't go beyond 1.30.
3 I said it yesterday, even though perhaps the
4 witness wouldn't even be here in September, our
5 schedule will be more set. Each party wants to
6 exercise its rights as completely as possible. The
7 witness was supposed to talk an hour. He spoke an hour
8 and 45 minutes. I didn't interrupt him. I don't want
9 to interrupt the witnesses. I'm simply noting that
10 that's how things are. But it is out of the question
11 as well to prevent the Defence exercising its right to
12 cross-examination. I will consult with my colleague
13 and then we will rediscuss the issue.
14 We have looked at all possibilities, Judge
15 Riad and myself. I think we have to be logical.
16 That's the procedural way of working. There is the
17 Defence logic, the Prosecution logic, the interpreter's
18 logic, the Judges' logic, all kinds of logic. We could
19 have gone on until 2.00 if necessary, but it seems to
20 me that the Defence really cannot commit itself to say
21 that it is going to be finished by 2.00. We do agree
22 with that, Mr. Hayman; is that not correct?
23 MR. HAYMAN: I cannot render a scientific
24 precision. I will certainly do my best but it is not a
25 scientific matter.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Also, I have some scruples to
2 ask more from the interpreters than I've already
3 committed myself to. I've entered into a contract with
4 them and I don't want to not respect it. That's how
5 things are.
6 Very well. I think that we have to be
7 realistic, and what I suggest is that we have two
8 solutions. The Defence is the one who will choose, and
9 I think the Defence will choose. As we take a
10 20-minute break until twenty after, that is the
11 contract that I entered into with the interpreters for
12 Fridays and Mondays.
13 Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo, General Blaskic, you
14 have a choice. Either we will start at 12.20, continue
15 until 1.30 as we had said and that the Major would come
16 back for that part of his cross-examination which has
17 not been completed, or we'll stop now and conduct the
18 cross-examination on another date since there will be a
19 right to reply on the part of the Prosecutor and then,
20 of course, the Judges' questions as well, which means
21 that this is going to cover quite a long period of
23 I would like the Defence to choose so that
24 there be no ambiguity.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Although we would regret losing
1 the hour, we think it's best if we stop now and
2 complete the witness in one piece when the time becomes
4 JUDGE JORDA: I think out of respect for
5 Judge Shahabuddeen that would be better because that
6 way he will have the entire transcript of the testimony
7 which would be easier for him. And for the
8 interpreters, I hope that this will be marked on the
9 credit side because we're always considered debited as
10 Judges, but I would like to hear what the Prosecutor
11 has to say as well.
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we have heard for
13 the duration of this trial that the Prosecutor is
14 attempting to slow this process down. Last week, the
15 last session we heard from Mr. Hayman informing this
16 chamber that we should forfeit time if we didn't
17 conclude the amount of time that we had.
18 Now, Mr. President, we have selected
19 witnesses in order to fill the time available to us.
20 We would have put another witness on the stand who
21 would have concluded his testimony, both direct and
22 cross-examination, had we known that we were going to
23 be given the opportunity to conclude less than at 1.30
24 in the afternoon. The contract that was made with the
25 Prosecutor's office, at the insistence of the Defence,
1 was that we needed to fill every minute of every minute
2 available to us and we have endeavoured to do that,
3 Mr. President. We would object and we would urge this
4 Chamber to reconsider and permit this witness to
5 conclude his testimony at 1.30 as we had originally
7 JUDGE JORDA: I am all the more less inclined
8 to say that you are right, Mr. Harmon, because I would
9 like to point out, and when I say "you," I don't mean
10 you specifically, Mark Harmon, but you never respect
11 the time that you say you are going to. Mr. Cayley
12 said he would take an hour for his examination. I
13 noted this down. We began today at 9.45, we went until
14 10.15, from 10.45 until 12. So it lasted one hour and
15 45 minutes. I'm sorry, it was an hour and 45 minutes,
16 45 minutes more than had been planned. I can't do
17 anything about that. I didn't interrupt you. I'm
18 following step by step.
19 Excuse me, Major, but we're at the very core
20 of the justice which is being created here, and I have
21 nothing to conceal, nothing at all. In public, I'm
22 concealing nothing about what I'm doing. We have to be
23 conscious of what we're doing. Each witness, whether
24 it be an expert or a victim, recounts the entire time
25 he was on the territory. If he was there for six
1 months, he speaks about six months. That is your
2 choice. I have nothing to say about the choice.
3 One day I will act differently, perhaps I'll
4 act the way President Cassese did. I would read the
5 declaration first. I didn't do it because everything
6 would have to be translated into French. Last night I
7 said to the witness, "Do you confirm you state this,
8 this, and that? You do? All right, let's move into
9 the cross-examination right away," but I didn't.
10 You were given a great deal of freedom. We
11 tried to give you a framework as much as possible for
12 the important points. I don't want to make more
13 rulings than I have done or more than I said even
14 before the witness came in. I asked for the essential
15 points. You have brought out everything now that you
16 said you were going to. We went as far as Stupni Do,
17 everything. We started from the initial training of
18 the witness until his work in Yugoslavia. I didn't say
19 anything about that. I thanked the witness very, very
20 warmly for all of what he has done for us, but I have
21 to give equivalent rights to the cross-examination, and
22 the cross-examination should not be cut. It also has
23 its own unity.
24 Don't worry, Mr. Harmon, this time will be
25 credited to you. You will have the time but we want to
1 take into account certain necessities. If nobody makes
2 an effort, if nobody makes an effort, I can say to you
3 that starting from September on, this Trial Chamber is
4 going to set a number of hours by week which will be
5 very precise. Either you will fit in or you won't fit
6 into that limitation, but everybody, when he exposes
7 the logic that he wants to follow through the various
8 proceedings, he will do that, but the Judges also have
9 their own logic. We have a presiding officer because
10 Judge Shahabuddeen is not here right now.
11 The time is not going to be counted against
12 you but it will be advantageous for the interpreters,
13 and I have no regrets about this because they work
14 longer than planned. So the witness will return.
15 Let's think about that. We are very very faltering
16 first steps of international justice and international
17 justice must be organised. There's no price on time,
18 not for the Prosecution, not for the Defence, and I
19 claim the opposite. There is a factor in justice which
20 is time. If we had eternity, justice would be perfect
21 but we don't have eternity.
22 Therefore, having said this and in agreement
23 with Judge Riad, we have decided that we would suggest
24 going until 2.00, but at that point I would have to ask
25 the interpreters to work another 30 minutes. I have
1 scruples about that. I don't want to. They have the
2 dignity of their work which is just as important as
3 ours, I have to say that, and the cross-examination, in
4 any case, would not be completed.
5 I'm sorry, Mr. Cayley, and I say it to you
6 with all the consideration that I have, for you had
7 said that "I had planned to talk for an hour."
8 Yesterday, I said in front of everybody that there
9 would be the last witness brought in. And remember
10 even as a joke, Mr. Cayley, you said that you would
11 work for an hour and no more.
12 We are not going to change what we said and
13 the hearing is adjourned and we will resume on the 29th
14 of June.
15 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
16 12.13 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday,
17 the 29th day of June, 1998 at 10.00 a.m.