1 Monday, 29 June 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 3.11 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Good
5 afternoon, everybody. Let me make sure that my
6 microphone is on so that everyone can hear me.
7 Does everybody hear me? Let me settle in.
8 Let's have the accused brought in, please.
9 (The accused entered court)
10 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, I would like to
11 say good afternoon to both parties and to the
12 interpreters, of course. It's a pleasure always to see
13 them, to see the Prosecutor, to see the Defence as
14 well. General Blaskic.
15 I believe that we have to finish with the
16 cross-examination. Mr. Cayley is going to do it.
17 MR. CAYLEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
18 Your Honours.
19 First of all, I think, for a change, the
20 Prosecution and Defence can speak with one voice in
21 welcoming Judge Shahabuddeen back to us. You look
22 fighting-fit, sir. It's nice to see you back, and
23 indeed, we are now offering Major Bower who has
24 returned to be cross-examined by Mr. Hayman this
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Well, thank you,
2 Mr. Cayley, for conveying to me the sentiments of both
3 sides of the bar. I do appreciate your forbearance,
4 and I do think you understand what happened and why I
5 was unable to be with you earlier on. Thank you very
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
8 We are very pleased to begin our work again. Once
9 again, we're in our robes, and all three of us are
11 The Trial Chamber is not unaware of the fact
12 that the Defence has presented a motion this morning.
13 Mr. Fourmy told us about it.
14 In agreement with my colleagues with whom I
15 spoke about it, I would suggest that we first start
16 with the cross-examination of Major Bower. Then we
17 hope that this will end at the time of the break, and
18 if you agree, after the break, we could have a Status
19 Conference which would deal with the problems that the
20 Defence has raised, and we will also take advantage of
21 that time to ask the Office of the Prosecutor how it
22 envisages the end of the Prosecution's work in respect
23 of the presentation of evidence throughout the month of
24 July, but this can also be discussed in the Status
1 Without any further ado, I believe that the
2 Defence is agreeing, I think we could ask the
3 registrar -- no, first, I would like to turn -- I saw
4 you nodding, Mr. Hayman; therefore, I thought that we
5 had nothing further to say about that. You agreed?
6 Yes, you did. Very well.
7 All right. We can now begin and have Major
8 Bower brought in.
9 (The witness entered)
10 WITNESS: MARK BOWER (Resumed)
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Hayman:
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, please proceed.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
15 Q. Good afternoon, Major Bower.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. I have a number of questions which I'll go
18 through in the order of your testimony.
19 JUDGE JORDA: At the request of the
20 registrar, I would like to remind you, Major, that you
21 are under oath. Since you had taken this oath several
22 weeks ago, I am taking the liberty of reminding you of
23 it. You are under oath for the cross-examination.
24 When you are asked questions, please turn to the
25 Defence attorneys asking the questions, but when you
1 give your answer, please face the Judges.
2 Since you apparently speak the same language,
3 I would like there to be a slight pause between the
4 question and the answer. This helps the interpreters
5 and also makes it easier for the Judges. Thank you
6 very much.
7 Please proceed. Excuse me for interrupting.
8 MR. HAYMAN: Of course, Mr. President.
9 Q. Major Bower, as you may know, there is a
10 transcript of your direct examination testimony.
11 A. Yes, there is.
12 Q. If it is helpful for you to refer to that,
13 you may ask leave of the court to do so.
14 First let me direct your attention to your
15 brief testimony concerning your visit to the village of
16 Ahmici shortly after your tour began. Can you tell us
17 when you visited that village?
18 A. I believe it was in the last week in April,
19 maybe the 26th or 27th. I can't remember the exact
21 Q. Were you briefed by the Cheshire regiment
22 concerning what it believed had occurred in the village
23 of Ahmici?
24 A. I was given a general description, but not in
25 any enormous detail, but sort of an overview as to what
1 it believed to have happened.
2 Q. Did anyone in the Cheshire regiment brief you
3 concerning who they believed had been involved in the
4 killing of civilians in Ahmici?
5 A. There was general discussion as to which
6 forces, and it was in no doubt that HVO forces had been
7 involved. There was also talk of, I believe, extremist
8 groupings had been involved, and I think one of them
9 was Jokeri, but other than that, there were no
10 individuals singled out.
11 Q. You were not advised by anyone in the
12 Cheshire regiment that they developed a list of
13 possible suspects, individual names, in connection with
14 the killing of civilians in Ahmici?
15 A. Not that I was aware of.
16 Q. You said on your direct examination that you
17 saw no defensive structures in the village of Ahmici.
18 Would you agree that houses are commonly used as
19 defensive structures during FIBUA, "fighting in
20 built-up areas"?
21 A. Buildings can be used when fighting in
22 built-up areas, but they don't offer as much protection
23 from weapon systems -- actually, trench systems but,
24 yes, they can be used.
25 Q. I'm pausing for a moment to allow for the
2 I take it, because the roofs had collapsed on
3 those buildings that had burned in Ahmici, you were not
4 able to see whether there were spent shell casings
5 within those buildings; is that correct?
6 A. Some of the hallways and not all the floor
7 areas were covered, but there was some debris on the
8 floor, in the hallways from the roof, which did make
9 identification of things difficult.
10 Q. Did you walk the perimeter of Ahmici, and in
11 some of the wooded areas nearby, to determine if there
12 were trenches or fortifications in any of those areas?
13 A. When I entered into Ahmici with the Cheshire
14 regiment, we were more concerned with the houses to the
15 northern end of the village because they still had to
16 be cleared, and it was in those houses that we were
17 still looking for bodies and, indeed, found some bodies
18 which were badly burnt, so, no, I didn't go up into the
19 woods to the northern part. I had no reason to go up
21 Q. I take it then your purpose in visiting the
22 village was not to investigate the exact nature of the
23 conflict, location of forces, location of any trenches,
24 spent shell casings, and the like; rather, your mission
25 was a different one; is that right?
1 A. I was mainly involved in the humanitarian
2 side, the collection of the bodies and the repatriation
3 of those bodies to family members, but obviously, from
4 a professional military point of view, I was interested
5 in what had taken place but, no, I was not interested
6 in investigating the whys and wherefores of the
8 Q. And you were not tasked to do so that; is
9 that correct?
10 A. No, I wasn't tasked.
11 Q. You mentioned in your direct testimony that
12 in May of 1993, you encountered the Jokers, or some
13 members of the Jokers, in the vicinity of Busovaca; do
14 you recall that subject?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Am I correct in understanding from your
17 testimony that they were better armed than ordinary HVO
19 A. They appeared to be better equipped, yes.
20 Q. Did your interpreter on that occasion tell
21 you that she had information that the Jokers had been
22 involved in the killing of civilians in Ahmici in mid
23 April 1993?
24 A. My interpreter, Dobrila Kolaba, told me after
25 the incident that the Jokeri had been implicated in the
1 attack on Ahmici, yes.
2 Q. Did you know, or have you learned
3 subsequently, what formation within the HVO the Jokers
4 belonged to, that is, were they in a brigade or the
5 military police, or do you know?
6 A. While I was in Bosnia, I was not aware as to
7 what grouping they belonged to other than the fact that
8 they worked alongside HVO forces.
9 Q. Tell me when you saw them working alongside,
10 say, units from a brigade or a village platoon?
11 A. The attack on Grbavica and there were
12 implications that they had been involved around Stari
13 Vitez and Novi Travnik, this information came from the
14 liaison officers, the British liaison officers, of
15 those areas.
16 Q. Then I take it it's not something you ever
17 observed; is that right?
18 A. The only incident which I observed was the
19 attack on Grbavica, but as to what individuals belonged
20 to what grouping, I was not in a position to tell.
21 Q. You made a distinction in your direct
22 testimony between conscript units and a professional
23 unit such as the Jokers. By that, did you mean that,
24 first starting with the concept of a conscript unit,
25 that such units were territorial-based and were formed
1 on a village basis, that is, a local basis?
2 A. That in itself is correct, but also it was
3 based on the fact that the conscript element appeared
4 to be made up of people who had served time in the
5 former JNA or were just grouped locally from where they
6 lived, and the professional elements were those that
7 were held together as a formed unit and moved around
8 the area as formed units and were better equipped.
9 Q. Did the conscript units include men up to the
10 age of 60?
11 A. That, I don't know. There seemed to be men
12 of all ages. I'm sure there were some that age and
13 some younger than 16 on both sides, but I couldn't
14 comment as to their exact ages.
15 Q. You offered testimony on the chain of command
16 within the HVO in your direct examination. Other than
17 your encounters with command, commanders and
18 subordinates at checkpoints, did you have any other
19 experience with the HVO chain of command during your
21 A. Only dealing with Darko Gelic at Hotel Vitez
22 or physically on the ground when I needed assistance to
23 gain access through checkpoints.
24 Q. Do you have any information how either the
25 Jokers or the Vitezovi unit fit or did not fit within
1 the HVO chain of command you've described?
2 A. Only from the fact that they were in an area
3 that was controlled by the HVO. I don't know exactly
4 who the sub unit commander was of that specific unit or
5 how he received his orders.
6 Q. You also gave us on direct your impressions
7 of the operative zone headquarters at the Hotel Vitez
8 and you described it as a professional and efficient
9 headquarters. Other than your description of being
10 asked to wait for meetings and then being taken to
11 meetings, do you have any other basis on which to
12 evaluate the professionalism or the efficiency of that
14 A. When either we wanted something from --
15 either access to Stari Vitez, we had to go to Hotel
16 Vitez to gain this access and it was given, or when we
17 were asked -- a request was made to us from Hotel
18 Vitez, there seemed to be this air of professionalism
19 that there was a known chain of command that people
20 knew what to do if a British officer walked in with a
21 request or as a result of a call to go to that
23 Q. I take it you never met Colonel Blaskic
24 during your tour; is that right?
25 A. No, I didn't.
1 Q. You described an occasion in your direct
2 testimony when you sought the help of Mr. Santic, I
3 believe, and Darko Gelic to gain access to Kruscica
4 with a food convoy; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And did they go with you to the scene?
7 A. We had been at the checkpoint for a couple of
8 hours, and it was at the request of one of the British
9 liaison officers that we should, perhaps, go to
10 Mr. Santic and Hotel Vitez to see if assistance could
11 be gained from them.
12 Q. Did they return with you to the scene where,
13 I believe, a group of civilians, predominantly women,
14 were blocking the road?
15 A. Yes, they did. They came to the checkpoint.
16 Q. Were they able to clear the civilians out of
17 the way so the convoy could proceed?
18 A. Certainly the negotiation was headed by
19 Mr. Santic, and he seemed after 20 minutes to have no
20 luck in moving the civilians off the road. So after
21 that, they left.
22 Q. Now, let me ask you about the nature of the
23 aid mission that you were assisting during your tour.
24 I take it there were aid convoys sponsored by UNHCR and
25 there were private aid convoys as well; is that
2 A. The UNHCR convoys and the NGO, the
3 non-governmental organisations, Pharmacies sans
4 Frontieres, I would classify those as sponsored. There
5 were a number of unsponsored convoys, for example, the
6 Convoy of Joy or independent aid humanitarian agencies
7 would endeavour to travel through the Lasva Valley, but
8 I primarily dealt with the government-sponsored
10 Q. Is it correct that during your tour of duty,
11 all UNHCR convoys reached their destinations?
12 A. Do you mean from the port of entry in Split
13 to Zenica or from the warehouse to the actual town or
14 village that required the aid?
15 Q. Both.
16 A. No, they didn't.
17 Q. Let's break it down. Did all UNHCR convoys
18 reach the initial point of distribution?
19 A. The majority did, although it depended a
20 great deal on what was happening to the south of the
21 Lasva Valley in Gornji Vakuf and Prozor, that area.
22 But the majority, once having passed north of Gornji
23 Vakuf, would reach Zenica.
24 Q. Now, when these convoys reached Zenica, to
25 whom was the materiel, the food aid, and so forth,
1 turned over to?
2 A. In Zenica, the humanitarian aid agencies had
3 their depots, their store rooms, where they would
4 stockpile the aid until their field officers,
5 representatives of the UNHCR, the Red Cross, would
6 determine where that food should be sent. And it would
7 be broken down into smaller, manageable consignments to
8 be delivered.
9 Q. If it was determined that a portion of a
10 larger aid convoy was needed in Kruscica, then to whom
11 in Kruscica, if the convoy got there, would the aid be
12 turned over to?
13 A. Generally, the aid agencies would deliver to
14 two locations, either Caratas warehouses for Croat
15 areas or Merhamet representatives in the Bosnian/Muslim
17 Q. Is it your testimony there was a Merhamet
18 warehouse in Kruscica?
19 A. Normally, I wouldn't term it a warehouse. It
20 was a representative generally working out of their own
21 house who would be the focal point for the aid agency
22 to deliver the aid. And once the aid was delivered,
23 they would, the Merhamet rep or the Caritas
24 representative, would distribute the aid as they saw
25 fit. It was that point that the aid agency did not get
1 involved with physically handing out all the food to
2 individuals on the ground.
3 Q. So I'm correct then if I state that UNHCR or
4 the other non-governmental organisations were not in
5 the business of delivering food aid directly to
6 civilians in need; is that correct?
7 A. They would deliver aid to where it was most
8 needed, but they wouldn't physically hand a food parcel
9 to one person. It would be stockpiled and then handed
10 out by somebody else.
11 Q. What about the private convoys? Do you know
12 to whom they delivered their aid?
13 A. I couldn't say for the majority of them. We
14 didn't want to get involved with the individual
15 convoys. Occasionally, we may suggest where they
16 should go, but it was up to them.
17 Q. How much aid was required by the inhabitants
18 of Kruscica to sustain them?
19 A. I couldn't give you exact tonnage of how much
20 aid was required, but because they actually had a
21 resupply route from the south, they did not often
22 require assistance from the UNHCR.
23 Q. Is it fair to assume that Merhamet or Caritas
24 delivered aid to households in need; would you agree
25 with that assumption?
1 A. I can't give a generalisation for the whole
2 of the Lasva Valley, but, yes, the Caritas/Merhamet
3 representatives knew who needed the specific items,
4 whether it be baby food, medicines, water.
5 Q. And food?
6 A. Yes, food.
7 Q. Tonnes and tonnes of food; correct?
8 A. The normal delivery would be ten to fifteen
9 tonnes for an area. For example, the Vitez Caritas
10 warehouse would get fifteen tonnes, and it would then
11 be distributed.
12 Q. Most of that was food; correct?
13 A. Yes, most of it was food.
14 Q. Would you also agree that the units you've
15 described as conscript units, that those soldiers on
16 both the HVO and BH army side, they resided in their
17 homes, not in barracks; correct?
18 A. When troops weren't at the frontline, then,
19 yes, you could quite easily find people at their homes
20 or in their towns. And they would receive food if food
21 had been delivered to that area.
22 Q. Non-combatants and combatants alike; correct?
23 A. If people were not on the frontline, then
24 they were to be termed non-combatants, so yes. But if
25 they then moved to the frontline, if they took food
1 with them, they would then be combatants.
2 Q. Well, you were aware that on both the BH army
3 and HVO side, all males had been mobilised from 16 to
4 60 years of age, correct, to fight in the war?
5 A. Yes, I was aware that the majority of the
6 manpower had been utilised for the fight.
7 Q. You discussed in your direct testimony a
8 dispute over the allocation of aid that was raised by
9 one or more HVO personnel in Novi Travnik. Do you
10 recall that? This was a threat, if I might further
11 refresh your memory, that something would occur in
12 Herzegovina unless aid was delivered to Novi Travnik;
13 do you recall that testimony?
14 A. Yes, that was a briefing from the Red Cross
15 that I had linking aid convoys from the south, Metkovic
16 through Mostar to Novi Travnik and Zenica.
17 Q. Would you agree that disputes over the
18 allocation of aid between the Croat and Muslim
19 communities were constantly being raised by both
21 A. It was a source of constant bargaining. One
22 side would want to make sure that they were receiving
23 their fair share, as they saw it or as they interpreted
24 it. A large aid convoy of some 15 to 20 trucks, even
25 if it's just travelling through the area, can raise
1 jealousy on one particular side, feeling that the other
2 side is being favoured. So it was a general topic of
3 debate with the aid agencies and the local authorities.
4 Q. That was true of both communities, the Croat
5 and Muslim communities; correct?
6 A. Both communities were involved in this, yes.
7 Q. What happened with regards to the Novi
8 Travnik issue? Was any aid blocked in Herzegovina
9 because the issue was raised by the HVO in Novi
10 Travnik; do you recall?
11 A. Aid was blocked on the final leg of its
12 distribution, but not blocked specifically in this
13 instance travelling from Metkovic to Zenica to its
14 central warehouse.
15 Q. Where was it blocked?
16 A. It was blocked at what I termed the Novi
17 Travnik T-junction. On the way to Travnik and Novi
18 Travnik, there was a checkpoint there, and an aid
19 convoy from Zenica was turned back. The normal excuse
20 would be there was fighting and it was unsafe to travel
21 the route.
22 Q. Was that true?
23 A. The aid agencies, being civilians, were not
24 keen and would not go into an area where fighting was
25 reported. They had no armoured protection, so they
1 would generally turn back.
2 Q. Yes, but on this particular occasion, do you
3 know, was there fighting in the area that could have
4 posed a threat to the convoy?
5 A. There was fighting west of Novi Travnik
6 towards the Travnik area, but it didn't stop the
7 British resupply on the main route which we called
8 Route Diamond, which was along the same road that this
9 would travel.
10 Q. And that was UNPROFOR resupply?
11 A. Yes, UNPROFOR.
12 Q. You mentioned the Croat hospital at Nova
13 Bila. That was a church that had been transformed into
14 a makeshift hospital; correct?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. Am I correct that during the conflict, for
17 extended periods, that church or hospital, if you will,
18 did not have any water supply; do you know whether
19 that's true?
20 A. I think there were times when water was cut
21 off or the water supply was believed to be dirty or
22 unclean, but not for any length of time. Otherwise,
23 I'm sure we would have had requests for water
24 containers, bowsers to be supplied there.
25 Q. How about electricity? Were there periods of
1 time that this makeshift hospital lacked electricity?
2 A. There were times when the supply of
3 electricity was cut from the main source. They had
4 their own generator in which to power their equipment.
5 And, again, they requested and received fuel from us to
6 ensure that they maintained an electrical supply.
7 Q. The makeshift hospital at Nova Bila obtained
8 that generator from UNPROFOR; correct?
9 A. I can't say whether it was or not. It wasn't
10 given during our time but I know that there was a
11 generator there.
12 Q. Did you ever visit the makeshift hospital at
13 Nova Bila when the HVO wounded were so numerous that
14 they were put in the church pews because there were not
15 enough beds to house them, that is, physically laid in
16 the church pews?
17 A. To utilise the space in the hospital, all the
18 pews in the church had been pushed together and then
19 mattresses laid in between. They made up the ward for
20 the makeshift hospital. So that was how they housed
21 the 120 bed spaces that they had in the hospital.
22 Q. Did you visit the makeshift hospital in the
23 summer of 1993 when the ward you have described was
24 full of injured Croat civilians and soldiers?
25 A. Yes, I visited the hospital on a regular
1 basis, once or twice a week. And on many occasions, I
2 would say that the hospital was full to capacity or, if
3 not, two-thirds. The majority of the people that were
4 there, I would say, were suffering from battle trauma,
5 casualties, and, yes, there were a mixture of soldiers
6 or men of fighting age and women and children.
7 Q. You described on direct an evacuation that
8 occurred from Nova Bila to Kiseljak, and then an
9 airlift by helicopter from Kiseljak to, I believe, it
10 was Split, Croatia. Did you also say that the wounded
11 who were evacuated in that evacuation would have likely
12 died had they not been evacuated?
13 A. There were a percentage of the number,
14 generally the number was 50 or 60 and sometimes as many
15 as 72, there was a percentage, 20, 25 per cent, that
16 would die if they were not evacuated. The others were
17 seriously ill. They could not receive the treatment
18 that they required in the makeshift hospital, and there
19 was no where else in the Lasva Valley for them to
20 receive the medical help that they needed, that their
21 injuries required. There were some cancer victims who,
22 obviously, couldn't receive the necessary medication
23 that they needed. So, yes, there were a number that
24 would have died.
25 Q. Were there a number who could not receive
1 proper surgical treatment at the Nova Bila hospital?
2 A. I'm not a doctor, and I can't comment, but
3 the medical and surgery procedures there were very
4 rudimentary. I took the army surgeon from UNPROFOR
5 there, and he was appalled at the conditions of the
6 hospital and how the surgeons there had to work. So
7 there were certain restrictions there which were
8 imposed on the medical staff in the hospital. It was
9 not an easy place for them to work, I'm sure.
10 Q. You're referring to the operating room which
11 was down in the basement of the building?
12 A. There were times when the casualties were
13 numerous that it wasn't just in the basement that they
14 would operate. There would be the old side rooms, I
15 assume, where the priest would have offices or
16 whatever, that most rooms were utilised for whatever
17 reasons they needed to get people treated as soon as
19 Q. You testified that in the course of this
20 evacuation you had a dispute with the administrator of
21 the hospital or an administrator over who would be
22 evacuated. Who was that person you had this dispute
24 A. His name was Mr. Peric but I don't know his
25 first name.
1 Q. Is that individual a doctor?
2 A. I do not think he was, but he tended to wear
3 uniform -- military uniform during the time I saw him.
4 Occasionally, he would wear a white doctor's coat.
5 Q. I take it this discussion you had with him
6 was interrupted when the hospital was hit by mortar
8 A. The conversation had just reached its
9 conclusion when the mortar fire landed by the hospital.
10 Q. Was that mortar fire from the BH army?
11 A. We assessed that the mortar fire had come
12 from the Bosnian army, yes.
13 Q. Was the hospital hit?
14 A. The hospital was hit once, and two rounds
15 landed close by, but the damage to the hospital was
17 Q. The windows were blown out on that occasion
18 on one side of the ward, were they not?
19 A. Yes, there was no major structural damage,
20 but, yes, there was cause for concern for blast
21 injuries for some of the patients.
22 Q. Was the hospital marked with Red Cross flags
23 and other prominent Red Cross markings; do you know?
24 A. I can't remember. It may have been, but I
25 can't remember now, I'm afraid.
1 Q. From the time this evacuation of some 50 or
2 70 seriously injured persons was first requested by the
3 Nova Bila hospital until the time it actually occurred,
4 how long did that take? How long did it take to get BH
5 army approval and cooperation to affect that
7 A. This particular incident took 72 hours,
8 approximately three days, to organise, but this was, I
9 think, the third or fourth evacuation from Nova Bila
10 which we had undertaken. And they seemed to be more
11 complicated as time went on in negotiating cease-fires
12 to get through frontlines.
13 Q. Did you travel with this convoy over land to
15 A. We would accompany the convoy as far as what
16 we termed the Zenica fly-over, which was the main
17 junction towards Kiseljak, where we would then hand it
18 over to the Canadian battalion who would then escort
19 it, as it was in their area.
20 Q. How did the convoy go from the T-junction; do
21 you know? What road did it take?
22 A. Once it left our area of responsibility, I
23 can't say exactly what route it took to Kiseljak and
24 from there.
25 Q. Can you tell us what route any of the
1 evacuation convoys, you've said there were three or
2 four of them, took on their way to Kiseljak?
3 A. Again, only to the point where the British
4 battalion of UNPROFOR handed it over. After that, the
5 Canadian battalion determined the route as they saw
7 Q. Why couldn't the helicopters come to Vitez to
8 pick up these dying civilians and soldiers? Why did
9 they have to be driven over land to Kiseljak to be
10 picked up by helicopters; do you know?
11 A. I'm afraid I don't know why helicopters
12 wouldn't come in, probably the same reason why our own
13 helicopters wouldn't pick our own UNPROFOR wounded up.
14 It was too dangerous to fly.
15 Q. It was too dangerous to fly in the Vitez
16 enclave; that was the assessment of UNPROFOR?
17 A. Yes, the British naval squad wouldn't fly in
18 to pick our wounded up. We drove them out.
19 Q. One last question concerning the hospital:
20 Am I correct that other than the Nova Bila makeshift
21 hospital and the Vitez clinic you described, there were
22 no other medical facilities in the Vitez-Busovaca
24 A. There was a hospital in Vitez, in the town,
25 in the HVO part of Vitez, but it was a clinic. It had
1 rudimentary abilities to carry surgery. And there was
2 the clinic in Stari Vitez, and then there was the main
3 hospital in Nova Bila that I dealt with. Whether there
4 were smaller first aid posts, I can't comment.
5 Q. Now, let me ask you concerning aid going into
6 Stari Vitez: You said during your tour of duty, the
7 aid agencies would not go into Stari Vitez. Was that
8 because to go in they would have to first cross an HVO
9 frontline and then cross a BH army frontline, and they
10 assessed that situation as too dangerous for them to
12 A. Some aid agencies would be a little bit more
13 daring, take a few more risks. They generally would go
14 into Stari Vitez if the situation allowed them. Again,
15 they wanted to know if they would be safe. And
16 specifically after the shooting of the UNHCR driver,
17 they were very cautious. But if UNPROFOR could assure
18 them that it was safe, then they would go in if they
19 had whatever was required to hand at that time.
20 Q. Are you suggesting that if there was a
21 cease-fire, they might go in, but if there was active
22 fighting going on, they would not go in?
23 A. Yes, that's right. If the fighting was very
24 heavy, then the aid agencies would not go into Stari
25 Vitez. They would wait until there was a cease-fire.
1 Q. Now, to whom in Stari Vitez was aid
3 A. In Stari Vitez, it was delivered to a lady
4 called Zara Halilovic who was the Merhamet rep, the
5 representative of the Merhamet organisation.
6 Q. Unless I ask for names, you don't have to
7 identify persons by name. Did Merhamet have a
8 warehouse in Stari Vitez?
9 A. We used their or her garage, basement,
10 utilised her house and some outbuildings to the side of
11 the house to store the food when we unloaded it.
12 Q. And then, I take it, further distribution of
13 the food was left up to her?
14 A. That's correct, yes.
15 Q. During your tour of duty, was there death or
16 disease from lack of food in Stari Vitez?
17 A. Disease, yes, with newborn and very young
18 children; but actual starvation, which I would
19 associate with pictures from Africa, no, but the people
20 were hungry.
21 Q. You're saying there was no malnutrition, is
22 that right, to your knowledge?
23 A. To the degree of what I would term endemic
24 like in Africa, but, no, there was no malnutrition on
25 that scale. The people were -- they were surviving.
1 Q. Is there such a thing as a sniper rifle that
2 is designed for sniping, if you will, at great
4 A. Could you be more specific with "distance"?
5 Over a thousand metres, then, yes, there are rifles
6 that are designed for that.
7 Q. Do you know what calibre shell they utilise,
8 those types of rifles?
9 A. It depends, again, on the range, the type.
10 The normal 7.62 millimetre will reach a thousand
11 metres, and one shot, one kill is what the British army
13 Q. Is there a sniper rifle known as the Draganof
15 A. Yes, there is.
16 Q. Did that rifle exist in Central Bosnia? Was
17 it to be found there?
18 A. We were briefed that this rifle was available
19 to a small number of people.
20 Q. Do you know what calibre those rifles take?
21 A. I believe that they are 12.7.
22 Q. So a much larger sized shell than the typical
23 9 millimetre handgun?
24 A. Yes, it's designed for a longer range than a
25 thousand metres. It's also designed to pierce armour.
1 Q. You described encountering or being told
2 about shells, much larger shells, made from fire
3 extinguishers. Do you recall that testimony?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. What was the maximum range of these
7 A. Difficult to assess, but we believed no more
8 than 300 to 400 metres.
9 Q. Can you tell us what the average distance
10 between the HVO and BH army frontlines were around
11 Stari Vitez? How far apart were the forces?
12 A. In the built-up area of Vitez, I would say
13 that it was about that kind of distance, sometimes
14 great --
15 Q. About 300 to 400 metres?
16 A. About 300 to 400 metres, in places shorter,
17 and in some places greater. It fluctuated.
18 Q. Where was it shorter than 300 to 400 metres,
19 the distance between the two frontlines?
20 A. Generally in the built-up area of Vitez,
21 Stari Vitez.
22 Q. In other words, if you are oriented with
23 respect to directions, the northern end of Stari Vitez,
24 is that what you're referring to as being in the
25 built-up area adjacent to Vitez proper?
1 A. Taking a line of the main road from Stari
2 Vitez, past Hotel Vitez, into Vitez town, to the south
3 of that road, in that area, around where the minefield
4 or the mines had been placed across the road.
5 Q. In that area, can you estimate how far the
6 two frontlines were apart from each other?
7 A. At some points, three -- 300 metres.
8 Q. How long does it take a mortar shell to land,
9 that is, from the point of ignition to the point of
10 landing? Does it take 10 or 12 seconds for a mortar,
11 being fired at some distance, to land?
12 A. It can depend on the trajectory, but a crude
13 mortar like that would take maybe as long as 10 to 15
14 seconds in time of flight.
15 Q. What about a normal factory mortar being sent
16 some distance? Would it also spend 15 or more seconds
17 in the air?
18 A. Some mortars, which will travel six or seven
19 kilometres, could be in the air for 20 to 30 seconds.
20 Q. So the time in the air depends on the
21 distance the mortar will be travelling, in part; is
22 that correct?
23 A. Indeed. The further the distance, yes, but
24 if you want a short distance, then the mortar has to go
25 very high to come back down a short distance, so it can
1 vary. It's all ballistics.
2 Q. Could the fire extinguisher bombs be heard
3 travelling through the air as they were catapulted, I
4 take it, and then before impact?
5 A. It was reported that they could be heard. I
6 suppose similar to the V-1 bombs on London in the
7 Second World War; it had a distinctive sound.
8 Q. Did you observe any of these fire
9 extinguisher bombs hitting a target or location,
10 blowing up, and causing casualties, whether combatant
11 or civilian? Did you yourself observe any of those
13 A. I have to say that during incoming artillery
14 fire, I tended to take cover and not look as to what
15 happened. So I can't comment as to what actually
16 landed and what went, what exploded, and what it was,
17 but I was shown the remnants of casings of some of
18 these devices.
19 Q. I'm certainly not faulting you for that. I
20 just want the record to be clear what you saw and what
21 you learned through other means.
22 You said, with respect to Stari Vitez, the
23 HVO appeared to be attempting to contain Stari Vitez.
24 From Stari Vitez, could the BH army direct sniper fire
25 or rifle fire, for that matter, on the Hotel Vitez?
1 A. Yes, in certain areas, I think they probably
2 did have line of sight from Stari Vitez to Hotel Vitez,
3 so, in theory, they could then shoot at it, yes.
4 Q. Could mortars also reach -- excuse me. Let
5 me pause for a moment.
6 Could mortars also reach, if fired from
7 within Stari Vitez, throughout all areas of Vitez?
8 A. Again, in theory, yes, they could.
9 Q. Do you know as a fact that the defence of
10 Stari Vitez by the BH army also relied upon mortar fire
11 from outside of Stari Vitez directed on Vitez?
12 A. Yes, I believe that the area of Kruscica and
13 325 brigade Bosnian army Preocica also fired into
15 Q. When the BH army fired into Vitez with mortar
16 from those locations, what were the targets?
17 A. I honestly couldn't say what they were
18 physically aiming at. I generally just saw the
19 aftermath of the incidents.
20 MR. HAYMAN: If Exhibit D38 (sic) could be
21 placed before the witness?
22 Mr. President, this has already been
23 admitted, I believe, but we have received a French
24 translation of the exhibit, and if it hasn't already
25 made it into the exhibit files, we would ask that it be
1 added to the exhibits.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dubuisson?
3 THE REGISTRAR: You said D38, did you not?
4 MR. HAYMAN: I'm sorry, D138. I may have
5 misspoken. I apologise if I did. D138.
6 THE REGISTRAR: I only have the version in
7 English here for the time being.
8 MR. HAYMAN: Then, if I may, Mr. President,
9 I'll tender the French. It isn't needed by the
10 witness. If the English could be shown to the witness
11 and perhaps put on the ELMO, I have just a very short
13 JUDGE JORDA: We ought to have us -- use a
14 French translation for once. This is D138 for the
15 in-French version. Could we have it, please,
16 Mr. Dubuisson?
17 MR. HAYMAN: There's a portion at the bottom
18 of this exhibit which I would ask be put on the ELMO.
19 There's also an upper larger portion which we won't be
20 concerned with.
21 Q. This, Major, is a portion of a MILINFOSUM
22 which we understand to be from the 10th of August, and
23 if it could be moved up a little bit more? I know this
24 is difficult. It is on the very bottom of the
25 exhibit. There are two lines. Those are the two lines
1 we're interested in. There we go. Thank you.
2 Major, this is a MILINFOSUM from the 10th of
3 August, 1993, which provides, at the very bottom,
4 "Vitez at," and then there's a grid reference, "a
5 mortar mine landed in the centre of the town at" --
6 excuse me -- at 12/11.20. Is that the time, 12/11.20?
7 A. Yes, that's the date, the 12th of whichever
8 month this comes from, and the time is 11.20.
9 Q. Thank you. " ... a mortar round landed in
10 the centre of the town at grid reference 232924, which
11 is controlled by the Croats. The round injured seven
12 children, four of whom are described as VSI." What is
14 A. "Very seriously ill."
15 Q. "Very seriously injured," something like
17 A. It's termed "very seriously ill."
18 Q. "And two adults." Did these type of
19 incidents occur during your tour of duty?
20 A. Yes, they did.
21 Q. Were you made aware of the reactions of the
22 local inhabitants to these types of incidents, both on
23 the part of the Muslim community and the Croat
24 community? What happened to those communities when you
25 had six, seven, eight, nine, 10 --
1 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me for a moment,
2 please. This is a translation problem I'm asking about
3 here, when you said they were "very seriously ill" or
4 "very seriously injured"?
5 MR. HAYMAN: My question exactly,
6 Mr. President. I assume that the British term is "very
7 seriously ill." In English, in America, I think we
8 would say "very seriously injured" as a result of a
9 mortar blast. We speak as an illness as perhaps the
10 flu or something. But let's ask the Major what the
11 meaning of this "very seriously ill" phrase is.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Would you answer that question,
13 please, Major, at least for me?
14 A. In Britain, the medical services term degrees
15 of life-threatening, whether it be through disease or
16 through trauma, as "very seriously ill" as the highest,
17 "seriously ill," and then "ill," as opposed to a
18 terminology of "injured." It is terminology only, but
19 I think it means the same thing.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, very well. Thank you very
21 much. I've understood. Excuse me for interrupting.
22 MR. HAYMAN: Not at all, Mr. President.
23 Q. Major, when these types of incidents
24 occurred, did you have any encounters with the
25 population or learn from either the Muslim or Croat
1 community, what was the impact on the population of
2 having large numbers of children killed or very
3 seriously ill as a result of, for example, mortar or
4 sniper attacks?
5 A. I was actually in the Vitez hospital when
6 this incident happened, and as you would expect, the
7 relatives of the people who were injured were very,
8 very upset and, obviously, there were some people who
9 wanted retribution or revenge for it, natural human
10 emotions. Certainly when children are involved, it
11 affects people I think more than when adults are
13 Q. Do you know, during your tour, how many
14 civilians in and around Vitez were injured or killed
15 from sniper and other fire, either from Stari Vitez or
16 from other BH army positions?
17 A. I can't give an exact number. When we first
18 arrived, we thought we'd keep a count, but the count
19 was too great, so we didn't bother. But it was a large
20 number, I'm sure, on all sides.
21 Q. With respect to Stari Vitez, am I correct
22 that the combatants in Stari Vitez were not housed in
23 barracks, rather, they resided in private homes?
24 A. Yes. When they weren't at the frontline,
25 then they would go home to their homes or whatever
1 houses they lived in.
2 Q. If you know, would they also take their
3 weapons, some stored munitions and the like, their
4 equipment, and kit to their homes?
5 A. I'm sure some of them did take their personal
6 weapons, but when I visited houses, I didn't see rifles
7 stood up in the corners, I tended to see people walking
8 around, whether it be in Vitez or Stari Vitez, people
9 would walk around without their weaponry if they
10 weren't on the frontline. Whether it was because they
11 had to hand them over because there was short supply or
12 whether they just didn't carry them, I don't know.
13 Q. In Stari Vitez, did the population move out
14 of the houses that were closest to the frontline, that
15 is, the BH army frontline, or were persons still living
16 in those homes, if you know?
17 A. Certainly the houses which were near the
18 demarcation line between Stari Vitez and Vitez, people
19 would move out of those houses, but there were some
20 older members of the community who refused to leave
21 their houses for nothing other than it was their house
22 and they could be quite obstinate at times.
23 Q. You're referring to houses that were on or
24 virtually on the frontlines; is that correct?
25 A. They were within line of sight of the other
2 Q. Meaning by that that if a rifle was fired at
3 the BH army frontline but went over the frontline,
4 those are the houses you're talking about. The next
5 house that the projectile would hit; correct?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. Is it correct that civilians in Stari Vitez
8 were offered the opportunity to temporarily leave Stari
9 Vitez during the conflict; is that correct?
10 A. I understand that there was, I think, maybe
11 three or four occasions that the occupants of Stari
12 Vitez were requested to leave. Whether that was
13 temporary or permanent, I couldn't comment on.
14 Q. You described why civilians in Stari Vitez
15 may not have wanted to leave despite the ability to do
16 so. Is there a reason that the BH army would not have
17 wanted civilians to leave Stari Vitez despite offers by
18 the civil HVO government or the HVO military for them
19 to do so?
20 A. I can't comment for everyone, but I know when
21 -- the general feeling of the brigade commander in
22 Stari Vitez, the Bosnian army brigade commander was
23 that -- people didn't want to leave, but as the
24 fighting grew heavier in September-October time, I
25 think, he discussed it, but it never came to fruition.
1 He didn't seem to give the impression that he wanted
2 the people to stay. He generally gave the impression
3 that it was because people made their own minds up.
4 There were individuals, I think, who wanted to leave.
5 Q. Were they allowed to leave by Sefkia Djidic
6 or other authorities in Stari Vitez?
7 A. They didn't leave. Whether they were denied
8 permission by the brigade commander, I can't say.
9 Q. You said that there was an implied threat,
10 you felt, that if the third corps of the BH army ever
11 attacked Vitez, there would be considerable damage to
12 Stari Vitez. Was such a threat ever made, to your
13 knowledge, by the operative zone command?
14 A. On one occasion it was heavily implied by
15 Darko Gelic, I think it was the 18th of July, when
16 there was 30 hours of continuous fighting initiated by
17 the HVO, we were negotiating to get in, and Darko Gelic
18 stated that it would finish when they were ready, and
19 if the fighting continued from the Kruscica or Poculica
20 areas controlled by the Bosnian army, then they would
21 continue doing what they were doing. To me it was a
22 fairly implied threat.
23 Q. Did the third corps of the BH army attack
24 Vitez, just east, at least, of Vitez during your tour?
25 A. At times, the Bosnian army to the north of
1 the main transit route, east and west transit route,
2 they certainly got very close on the high ground around
3 Poculica looking down towards the Lasva Valley, so much
4 so that they could interdict movement on that main
5 route, which obviously was the main route for the HVO
6 in that area.
7 Q. You're saying that during your tour, third
8 corps or other BH army forces cut the main supply route
9 to the east of Vitez leading to Busovaca; correct?
10 A. They didn't capture the route, but they could
11 hinder the movement down it by the sheer fact that they
12 could fire directly onto it. I don't think they
13 physically managed to capture a section of that road
14 and hold it for any length of time.
15 Q. During your tour.
16 A. Sorry, during the time that I was there in
18 Q. Which ended in roughly November of '93?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Is it your belief that the HVO had the
21 military forces to defeat the BH army units in Stari
23 A. Yes, if they had wanted to, I'm sure they
24 could have done.
25 Q. And yet during your tour, there was only one
1 sustained attack on Stari Vitez which you described in
2 the middle of July 1993; correct? One sustained attack
3 on Stari Vitez?
4 A. Yes, there was not one in July. There were
5 other periods of heavy fighting, but that was the main
6 one I could remember.
7 Q. Do you know whether there were many other
8 proposals within the HVO to attack Stari Vitez which
9 Colonel Blaskic disapproved because they would have
10 posed too great a risk to civilian lives in Stari
11 Vitez? Do you have any knowledge on that subject, any
13 A. I have no information on that at all, I'm
15 Q. As a military officer, if you wanted to
16 defeat --
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, would you remain
18 within the scope of the examination-in-chief, please?
19 The Major doesn't have all of the strategies, nor does
20 he represent the high command. He said in his
21 principal examination he was a liaison officer for
22 humanitarian assistance. We can't ask him for his
23 opinion about everything having to do with military
24 strategy, with all respect that I owe to the Major. I
25 would like you to remain within the scope of the
1 examination-in-chief; otherwise, we're never going to
2 finish here. We could have Major Bower speak the whole
3 day what he thinks about the war in Central Bosnia.
4 So remain within the scope of the testimony
5 as it was specified by the Prosecutor. Thank you.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Mr. President. I have
7 concluded approximately two-thirds of my
8 cross-examination. I have about one-third left. And I
9 will move through it as quickly as I can.
10 Q. Let me ask you then concerning another aspect
11 of your testimony regarding Kruscica. With respect to
12 taking aid into Kruscica, these problems you found at
13 the -- I take it it was at the frontline or near the
14 frontline that these groups of civilians would block
15 the road and block convoys from going into the BH
16 army-held portion of Kruscica; is that right?
17 A. Yes, it was the last inhabited HVO area
18 before we actually reached the physical frontline
19 between the Bosnian army and the HVO forces.
20 Q. Would you characterise those disputes and
21 those problems as local in nature, local tension,
22 animosity between a Croat population watching --
23 perhaps a hungry Croat population watching 10 or 15 or
24 25 tonnes of food going past them and into BH army-held
25 portions of Kruscica? Would you agree that that was
1 principally a local tension or problem?
2 A. To a degree, yes, but the arguments were what
3 were used all over, but, yes, it was a localised
4 problem for that small part of the town.
5 Q. When Mr. Santic and Mr. Gelic came to that
6 location on one occasion and engaged these angry
7 civilians in conversation, did you get the impression
8 that they were trying to clear the way for the aid
10 A. They were there, although the -- we were
11 there for four hours; they were there for 25 to 30
13 Q. So was your answer you don't know what they
14 were doing there or do you --
15 A. They were there at our request, but if we
16 hadn't have offered them transport to get them there, I
17 doubt they would have gone.
18 Q. What else do you know about the involvement
19 or attempts of the operative zone command in trying to
20 facilitate aid convoys' passage into Kruscica, the BH
21 army-held portions of Kruscica? Do you have any
22 information about the roles or actions of the
23 operational zone command with respect to that issue?
24 A. No, other than there were times when we did
25 manage to get aid convoys through, and that was
1 generally facilitated through Darko Gelic at Hotel
2 Vitez, and shortly after this protracted incident which
3 went on for three or four weeks, we did get one aid
4 convoy through, and we had utilised HVO headquarters to
5 assist us in that.
6 Q. So would it be fair then to generalise and
7 say that the operative zone command played a
8 constructive or positive role in getting that aid
9 through to the BH army-held territory in Kruscica?
10 A. In this particular incident, yes.
11 MR. HAYMAN: I have a document I'd like to
12 show the witness, Mr. President. There is a copy in
13 B/S/C and there is a copy in English. There is no
14 French translation as of this date. So they are
15 together. First a B/S/C , then an English copy. So
16 the exhibit will consist of the two pages, perhaps
17 A and B, whatever the registrar would like, and I would
18 ask that this be marked as the next Defence Exhibit in
20 THE REGISTRAR: The first document is D141.
21 This is dated 1 June, 01-6-542 (sic), '92, and D142,
22 which is the next document, and its number --
23 MR. HAYMAN: May I interrupt? It's a
24 translation. So if we could have 141A? Perhaps that
25 might be clearer.
1 THE REGISTRAR: All right. "A" will be the
2 English version.
3 MR. HAYMAN: If the English version could be
4 placed on the ELMO, please.
5 Q. Major, we'll need to read this quickly so
6 that there is a site translation.
7 This appears to be dated June 19, 1993, 16.10
8 hours from Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, 3rd Operative Zone,
9 HVO command. "On the basis of the Agreements of The
10 Joint BiH Headquarters, HVO 3: OZ command and 3rd ABiH
11 Corps Commander, I command: (1) Ensure the undisturbed
12 movement of the food convoy for village Kruscica June
13 21, 1993. The convoy will be escorted by the UNHCR,
14 ICRC, and ECMM; (2) In order to ensure the food convoy
15 to pass safely, make the temporary removal of the
16 anti-armoured mines and other obstacles from the road;
17 (3) The food distribution to village Kruscica is
18 directly connected to the water supply of Vitez from
19 the 'Kruscica' system. The commander of the Police
20 Station Vitez is responsible for ensuring the
21 undisturbed movement of the convoy as well as for
22 preventing people to make any obstacles for the
23 convoy. For the realisation of this command, I make
24 responsible: HVO Brigade 'Viloska' Commander; HVO
25 Special Unit Vitezovi Commander, Fourth Battalion
1 Military Police Commander; Police Station Vitez
2 Commander." Signed, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, and then
3 there's a distribution list.
4 First, Major, can you tell us: Have you seen
5 this order before in any language?
6 A. No, I haven't.
7 Q. Can you tell us, do you have any recollection
8 of events around either the 19th of June, 1993, the
9 date of the order, or the 21st of June, 1993, the date
10 on which the convoy apparently was to travel, that you
11 can inform and enlighten us with regards to -- that
12 might give us more context for this order?
13 A. The only way I could distinguish dates is if
14 I have my diary. If I can look at that?
15 Q. If you ask the court. We certainly have no
16 objection and would encourage you to do so.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, proceed, Major.
18 A. This was around the time we were having
19 difficulty getting into Kruscica, but by this date, I
20 think we actually had done what we needed to do, and
21 after these dates, I have nothing more to say, that I
22 had problems or the aid agencies had problems going to
23 Kruscica. The difficulties were before this date which
24 is on this document in front of me.
25 MR. HAYMAN:
1 Q. Thank you, Major. You discussed suspicions
2 on the part of the HVO in your earlier testimony that
3 aid might have concealed munitions, or at least that
4 that suspicion was voiced. Were there any incidents
5 within Central Bosnia that might have fuelled those
6 types of suspicions that you can recall?
7 A. I seem to remember there was talk that a
8 video existed of an UNPROFOR unit that apparently had
9 been seen exchanging weapons or handing weapons over to
10 an army, but I can't remember what side, who the people
11 were, but it was of some lengthy discussion amongst
12 us. I think it may have been on national television,
13 on CNN or whatever, one of those stations.
14 Q. Was there an incident in Novi Travnik in
15 which a U.K. L.O. team was involved in some controversy
16 that you can tell us about?
17 A. They were a liaison team from Split, they
18 didn't belong to the UNPROFOR battalion in Vitez, and
19 they were reporting directly to the commander of
20 British forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were in
21 Novi Travnik, and because they were new in theatre,
22 they didn't understand the delicacies of negotiation,
23 and the situation moved some people across one
24 frontline to another. Unfortunately, the Red Cross had
25 been involved in negotiating this exchange, and it
1 caused some problems for the Red Cross and I seem to
2 recall that there were counter-accusations against this
3 liaison team, that they had apparently been taking or
4 exchanging ammunition or weapons across frontlines.
5 But as far as I'm aware, the investigation carried out
6 by Colonel Duncan, our commanding officer, there was no
7 truth in this accusation. But, yes, they did move
8 people across the frontlines.
9 Q. When you say "people," did they move BH army
10 combatants from one location to another in their
11 vehicles; is that what they did?
12 A. Again, for the actual people, what they
13 moved, again, I would have to refer to my diary. I
14 can't remember exactly who it was they moved.
15 Q. Did this event -- I'm not asking you to refer
16 to your diary. If the Prosecutor wishes you to, that's
17 fine, but to save time, I'm not asking.
18 Did this event become known and become a
19 topic of conversation among the local Croat population?
20 A. It did not appear as an obstacle during my
21 negotiations, no.
22 Q. Was it mentioned and discussed?
23 A. For a few days after the incident
24 specifically in Novi Travnik, yes, but it was not a big
25 issue as far as I was concerned or it appeared to be
1 with other people.
2 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the death of the
3 BRITBAT interpreter, Ms. -- is it Kolaba?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. Do you have any other information concerning
6 that event other than what you shared with us on
7 direct? For example, was the identity of the
8 perpetrator established? Do you know the calibre of
9 the round involved, anything like that?
10 A. I don't know the identity of the person that
11 took part, but the calibre of the round was a 7.62, as
12 we took the bullet out of the wall from behind her.
13 Q. Do you know what nationality she was?
14 A. I believe her parents -- I don't know which
15 was which, but I believe one parent was a Serb and one
16 parent was a Muslim.
17 Q. Now let me ask you about individuals you saw
18 digging trenches in the vicinity of Novi Travnik. Did
19 you have a discussion with your interpreter,
20 Ms. Kolaba, in which she told you that some of the
21 individuals involved in that digging exercise were
23 A. I don't recall her identifying Serbs in the
24 digging in Novi Travnik.
25 Q. Did she identify Serbs as digging under
1 similar circumstances elsewhere in the Novi Travnik or
2 Travnik areas to you?
3 A. I can't recall now whether there were
4 Serbs -- she would attempt to identify people by their
5 family name. I don't recall Serbs being mentioned.
6 Q. Do you recall making this statement in your
7 statement of 10 April, that "I have also seen that up
8 in the hills, surrounding Novi Travnik, the HVO
9 presumably forced Bosnian Muslim civilians to dig. I do
10 not know what they were digging but it looked like
11 trenches. My interpreter Dobrila also informed me that
12 she saw Serb civilians amongst them."
13 Do you recall that statement and is it true?
14 A. I don't recall that now, no. That was some
15 years ago, I believe, that statement.
16 Q. Now let me turn your attention to what will
17 consume the bulk of the remainder of my
18 cross-examination, the attack on Grbavica. Now,
19 Grbavica is a hill or feature which was immediately
20 adjacent to the BRITBAT compound; correct?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. I have had placed to your right an aerial
23 photograph, which is Exhibit 172, and we have placed a
24 transparency on top of it. If it's helpful to refer to
25 it, please do so. First I have some questions, though,
1 before we go to the aerial photograph.
2 Can you tell us for what time period you
3 actually observed the attack? I asked because you said
4 you saw the beginnings of the attack only. What
5 portions did you see?
6 A. It was, what I would term, the break-in
7 battle, the crossing of the line of departure, the
8 start of the battle. Once it was apparent that this
9 was not a skirmish, a fire fight, it was, indeed, a
10 battle, then all personnel in the UNPROFOR base went to
11 the safety of the bunkers, and I went to the operations
13 Q. Well, help us a little more, if you would.
14 The assault started at some particular time of day.
16 A. I seem to recall it started in the evening
17 time. From what I can remember seeing of it, there was
18 firing going on, but I noticed troop movement,
19 house-to-house movement, 5.00 in the evening, around
20 that time of day.
21 Q. How long thereafter did you go into what you
22 called the bunker?
23 A. I actually went into the ops room, and the
24 remainder of the personnel went into the bunkers. I
25 was standing in as the operations officer. I would say
1 that 20 minutes or so I was observing what was going
2 on, mainly out of curiosity from the front door of the
3 British battalion base.
4 Q. How much longer did the battle go on during
5 which time, I take it, you were in the ops room?
6 A. I seem to recall it went on through the night
7 and on to the morning time in various degrees of
9 Q. During that time, were you in the ops room?
10 A. I was in the ops room. I then moved out of
11 the ops room to one of the bunkers. I moved around as
12 to where I was sent, as to what was happening in the
14 Q. Did you spend, though, any of that time
15 during the night or the following morning observing the
17 A. No, only the initial start of the battle, and
18 then as it died down, the intensity, then obviously,
19 the aftermath, at the end of the battle.
20 Q. For the 20 minutes that you did observe the
21 battle, where were you?
22 A. I was by the captain's house and the main
23 entrance into the British battalion base. There was a
24 bunker there. From there, I had communications to the
25 operations room, so it was around the captain's house.
1 MR. HAYMAN: May I approach the aerial
2 photograph, Mr. President? Thank you. Also, I invite
3 my learned friend, if he wishes, to join us. I'm going
4 to mark the area of the British compound with black so
5 that the transparency is fixed in location.
6 Q. Major, would you agree that the area right
7 now I'm running the pen over without marking, that's
8 the general area of the British battalion compound?
9 A. Yes, that's the area of the British compound.
10 Q. And that's now marked in black; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you mark in orange where you were,
13 where you saw these observations for approximately 20
14 minutes on the first night of the battle? You've
15 marked that location with an orange arrow; correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, my first question is: I'm interested in
18 what portion of the village you could see from that
19 location. I ask because the village is on a hilltop;
20 correct? Are you able to, perhaps, shade in with red
21 that portion of the hill -- well, first of all, could
22 you just point, and I know it's difficult to see, point
23 out the universe of the hill that is Grbavica. Can you
24 point without marking so we can all see exactly how
25 large the area is?
1 A. This is the high ground up here, and it
2 slopes down to the road here.
3 Q. Does that mean there's a ridge line of sorts
4 running from the high ground down to the road?
5 A. The ridge line is like that. The hill, the
6 contour, is a shape like that, so it's an oval-type
8 Q. And the houses are located down by the road
9 and a few on the hill itself; is that right?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. There are no houses on the summit?
12 A. As far as I can recall, there were no houses
13 here. They were on the high ground here.
14 Q. You said in your earlier testimony that some
15 of the houses were inhabited by Croats. Can you tell
16 us which were the Croat houses or is that too difficult
17 from this photo?
18 A. There were two, I believe, right next to this
19 main road here. I can't remember exactly which one.
20 Q. You also mentioned that there were BH army
21 trench systems on the hill. Do you know where the
22 trenches were? Can you indicate in a red pen, if
23 you're able, the locations, specific or general, where
24 any trenches or trench systems were on the Grbavica
1 A. The trench system, as I recall, in this area,
2 again, on the highest part of the hill, from what I
4 Q. Can you tell us where the frontline was at
5 the beginning of the attack, perhaps, in blue? Again,
6 if it's not possible to answer any of my questions,
7 please say so, but was there an initial frontline where
8 the forces encountered each other, fired upon each
9 other, during the beginning of the 20-minute period you
10 observed the attack?
11 A. From that point at the start of the attack,
12 it's difficult to say. From what I recall, generally,
13 the Bosnian army had control of this side, the northern
14 side of this road, and the HVO had control of the
15 southern side. But there were HVO houses or Croats
16 living in some of these houses dotted around here. So
17 to draw a frontline, I honestly can't recall that.
18 Q. Does it refresh your memory at all if I were
19 to suggest that the frontline was essentially the main
20 road running along what would be the base of the hill
21 or the base of the Grbavica feature?
22 A. That's pretty much what I would agree with,
24 MR. HAYMAN: If there's no objection, I'd ask
25 that we put, perhaps, a blue dotted line along the road
1 indicating the initial confrontation line at the
2 beginning of the battle.
3 Q. As the battle progressed over these 20
4 minutes, what happened? Did forces move one way or the
5 other? Did someone cross the road and go up the hill?
6 A. Primarily, what started first was indirect
7 and direct support fire weapons, anti-aircraft machine
8 guns firing in a direct role at houses, mortar, machine
9 guns, firing in this area here where the houses are
10 next to the base. And we could see the tracer went
11 around us, support weapons around us fired, it has a
12 coloured phosphorous flair at the back of it so you can
13 see where it's going. We could see these, and we could
14 see it going into this area here. So we knew that this
15 was a larger assault rather than general fighting at
17 Q. How did the BH army defend this line, the
18 blue dotted line? Where were their positions and where
19 were they firing from?
20 A. I can't give any great detail as to where
21 individuals were. The bulk of their defensive
22 positions were on the high ground, but they did use the
23 houses as cover to fight from.
24 Q. The BH army, were they not, they were down in
25 the houses across the road and were using those houses
1 to try and defend the frontline you've marked in blue;
3 A. Certainly the reports I was getting in
4 the ops room after the initial 20 minutes from our call
5 signs that were on the ground, is that they were seeing
6 Bosnian soldiers down in this area here --
7 Q. Could you mark that with a red circle or
8 maybe a red "X"?
9 A. Here.
10 Q. Okay, another red circle?
11 A. And here.
12 Q. And a third red circle?
13 A. There.
14 Q. Let's label, if you would, a "1" in the red
15 circle on the top of the feature, a "2" in the next red
16 circle you described, and then a "3" in the third and
17 final red circle. You were saying that you received
18 reports that BH army units were down in the houses
19 within red circles 2 and 3; correct?
20 A. There were Bosnian soldiers and civilians
21 down here. This is where the first discussion as to
22 what we should do with the civilians started to come
24 Q. And those are the same houses, correct, that
25 the HVO were firing recoilless rifle shells into;
2 A. They tended to be going further up the
3 feature to here. You could see the full shot coming in
4 and also down into this area here.
5 Q. How was the HVO attempting to flush the BH
6 army soldiers out of the houses in circles 2 and 3, if
7 you know?
8 A. I can't comment on that.
9 Q. You didn't receive any reports on that?
10 A. The general comments were it was intense,
11 house-to-house fighting.
12 Q. Would a recoilless rifle be the type of
13 weapon you might use in intense house-to-house fighting
14 to try and clear your enemy out of a house? Isn't that
15 standard tactics?
16 A. You could use whatever you had. If you have
17 a recoilless rifle, then you would use it.
18 Q. Now, you said in your direct testimony that
19 some houses near the top of the hill were ignited
20 during the attack and that you saw this. Can you
21 indicate, perhaps, in the purple pen if you're able to,
22 any houses towards the top of the feature that you saw
23 burn or burning during the attack?
24 A. I seem to recall they were up here in this
25 area here. But as to the exact house, I can't remember
1 now. This area.
2 Q. Why don't you make a purple circle and put
3 "4" in for clarity -- well, actually, you said you saw
4 two houses burning, roughly, in that area?
5 A. Yes, in that area.
6 Q. Please put "2H" in the purple circle for two
7 houses. You said one or two houses ignited down by the
8 road during the time period you were watching. Can you
9 point those out? Again, perhaps, if we use the purple
10 colour, if you're able to identify them.
11 A. It would have been around here where 2 and
12 3 --
13 Q. Why don't you then make a purple arrow
14 towards circles 2 and 3 to indicate that you saw one or
15 two houses burning in the area of red circles 2 or 3?
16 A. (Indicating).
17 Q. Thank you. I think we can sit down. If we
18 need to return to --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I think we are
20 going to take a break. The interpreters are tired. I
21 would like it to be marked down that the Major has
22 shown a great deal of hesitation. He's putting down
23 circles. He's been asked a lot of questions very
24 quickly, but he has marked -- demonstrated the
25 uncertainties and doubts that he had in respect of
1 these markings. This should be very clear.
2 I believe that now the interpreters have
3 worked for a long time, and we're going to give us a
4 20-minute break now so everybody can catch their
5 breath. We will now resume in about 20 minutes.
6 --- Recess taken at 4.50 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.23 p.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
9 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please? Please
10 be seated.
11 (The accused entered court)
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, proceed, please.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Major, thank you for bearing with me. I
15 have, perhaps, five minutes more of questions. At the
16 time of the Grbavica battle, did you know whether or
17 not there was a battalion headquarters of a battalion
18 within the BH army, 325th Brigade within, I think,
19 approximately the red circle marked 3 on the overhead
20 transparency on Exhibit 172?
21 A. I can't say whether there was or there
23 Q. Had the British battalion requested both of
24 the combating or warring parties to respect
25 approximately a 500 metre no-fire zone around the base?
1 A. Yes, there was an attempt to stop loose
2 rounds or indiscriminate fire fired by two factions
3 that would actually cross over the British base. And
4 so, therefore, there was an attempt for an exclusion
5 then of fighting about 400 metres in circumference
6 around the outside of our base to ensure that we didn't
7 suffer any casualties from the engagements between the
8 two warring sides.
9 Q. Were some of the BH army positions you've
10 described on this map within 400 metres of the base?
11 A. I honestly couldn't say. There were some on
12 the top of the hill, as I've indicated on the map. As
13 to the scale of the photograph, I couldn't say whether
14 they were within that 400 metres.
15 Q. But the houses down at red circles 2 and 3
16 certainly were within that distance from the base;
17 would you agree?
18 A. Indeed, and also right next to the base, but
19 they weren't deemed as military positions. They were
20 houses which people lived in.
21 Q. Even though they were defended by soldiers in
22 the attack you've described; correct?
23 A. Yes, it was where the fighting started, so
24 they were defending where the fighting initiated from.
25 They were defending their homes.
1 Q. Have you discussed that answer with the
2 Prosecutor during the break?
3 A. No. All I'm saying is that's where the
4 fighting started.
5 Q. But that they were defending their homes, how
6 do you know that the soldiers fighting in a particular
7 home were defending their homes?
8 A. The houses, yes.
9 Q. The structures?
10 A. Yes, terminology, houses, homes.
11 Q. They were defending structures on the
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether any
15 particular event involving the death of a number of
16 children a few days before this attack played a role in
17 the timing of the attack on the Grbavica feature? I'm
18 referring to the sniper or mortar fire incident?
19 A. On which side? Who had been --
20 Q. The deaths of a number of Croat children
21 returning from church on a Sunday snipered or mortared
22 from the Grbavica feature.
23 A. I'm unaware of that incident.
24 Q. Are you aware that there was a large volume
25 of sniping and/or mortaring from the Grbavica feature?
1 A. There was a two-way engagement, which is why
2 we had the 400 metre exclusion zone. It travelled both
4 Q. What was the area referred to as "BRITBAT
6 A. The area BRITBAT main is in black, the
7 D-shaped location on the map. It's where the majority
8 of the British forces of UNPROFOR were based in Vitez
10 Q. Did you observe any other portion of the
11 battle or the aftermath, other than the 20 minutes
12 you've described?
13 A. Only, I would say, the toning down after the
14 success of the mission was then the -- there appeared
15 to be the looting of the houses.
16 Q. So was this on the second day?
17 A. It was in the morning. I can't remember
18 which day it was. The fighting had ended. Obviously
19 we had been up, I think, some 36 hours. So when the
20 battle had reached its conclusion, the civilians had
21 been evacuated by UNPROFOR to Travnik mid morning,
22 about 10.00, 10.30. I can't remember the day or the
23 date. It was the second day so ...
24 Q. When did the act of fighting end?
25 A. It would have been sometime in the morning.
1 Again, the exact time, I honestly can't remember.
2 Q. Do you mean 10.00 or 5.00 or 6.00 a.m.?
3 A. Early morning, not mid morning.
4 Q. So some hours later, you had an observation
5 of what you characterised as looting; is that right?
6 A. Yes, between, say, 8.00 and 10.00 in the
7 morning, over that period of time is when we were
8 finally coming out of the bases.
9 Q. Then what did you see at 10.30? You
10 mentioned 10.30.
11 A. By that stage, I was in my own captain's
12 accommodation, which is when the soldiers came in, and
13 we asked them to leave. Because by that stage, I had
14 gone from the operations room where I was and ended up
15 at 10.30 in my house, my accommodation.
16 Q. How many houses did you see items or objects
17 being taken out of?
18 A. It was a general area, I would say the
19 majority of the houses around where the British
20 battalion officers were based, in that strip.
21 Q. Down along the road?
22 A. Along the road bending round towards the main
23 junction, yes.
24 Q. Would that include the red circle that you've
25 marked 3 on this exhibit? That's the upper most of the
1 two red circles on the road.
2 A. Not as far as that. I didn't see people
3 coming in and out of those houses. It was much closer
4 to the house where I lived.
5 Q. You said on your direct examination testimony
6 that shortly thereafter, Croat families moved into a
7 large number of homes or houses on the Grbavica
8 feature. How many of these actions or events did you
9 see? How many homes were moved into by, apparently,
10 Croat refugees or other Croats?
11 A. All the houses that were habitable ended up
12 with somebody living in it.
13 Q. Do you know how many that was?
14 A. I can't remember exactly which houses were
15 still in a fit state to have people living in them.
16 Q. You said earlier about the MSR, main supply
17 route, from Vitez being cut. This road which is at the
18 base of the Grbavica feature, this was also the main
19 supply route to the Lasva Valley; correct?
20 A. That's the main supply right through the
21 Lasva Valley, but it's not where I was referring to
22 where it was cut. It was much closer to the Busovaca
24 Q. This is another point on that same main
25 supply route; correct?
1 A. It's a point where it was in close proximity
2 between the two sides. So there were times when
3 civilians would not go down that road, but it rarely
4 hindered us travelling down it.
5 Q. For the HVO, the BH army position on Grbavica
6 cut that main supply route; correct?
7 A. Yes, and the HVO forces did as well. As I
8 said, it was the frontline for both forces, and at
9 different times they would do it.
10 Q. Can you tell us, where was the new
12 JUDGE JORDA: A little more slowly, please.
13 I see that there is an interpretation problem here.
14 It's hard to follow the questions and answers. Thank
16 MR. HAYMAN: I'm sorry, Mr. President. Haste
17 makes waste, and I'm trying to go too fast, I fear.
18 Q. Major, after the battle was concluded, do you
19 know where the new frontline was?
20 A. From what I can remember, the old position at
21 the top of the hill was occupied by the HVO. But as to
22 how far north of the main supply route that road went,
23 I can't honestly say, but it seemed to take over that
25 Q. Did you learn any information during your
1 tour of duty concerning whether any aid organisations
2 or persons acting under the colour of an aid
3 organisation smuggled munitions into Stari Vitez?
4 A. Absolutely not.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Major, for your
6 testimony. Mr. President, we would offer Exhibits
7 D138A, which is the French translation, and the
8 transparency, D142.
9 JUDGE JORDA: No comments, Mr. Cayley?
10 MR. CAYLEY: No comments on those particular
11 exhibits, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Have you any other questions,
13 any other comments or things you would like to ask?
14 MR. CAYLEY: I have quite a few questions,
15 yes, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Go ahead, please.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Cayley:
18 Q. Now, Major Bower, during your
19 cross-examination, you stated to Mr. Hayman that the
20 conscript element of the HVO appeared to be made up of
21 former members of the JNA. Can you explain to the
22 court what you meant by that?
23 A. Just that there were a certain age group who
24 would have done conscriptive service in the JNA and
25 were now serving in either the Bosnian army or the HVO
2 Q. So you're saying that there was a
3 considerable number of the HVO who had actually done
4 basic military training with the JNA; is that correct?
5 A. There would have been people who would have
6 done training with them, yes.
7 Q. Do you know how long that training period is
8 with the JNA in the former Yugoslavia?
9 A. I believe the conscription term is two years.
10 Q. Now, when being asked a number of questions
11 by Mr. Hayman, you stated that you were uncertain of
12 how the Jokeri or Vitezovi fit into the chain of
13 command. And you stated that your understanding was
14 that these units were in an area controlled by the
15 HVO. Can I show you Exhibit D141, which was shown to
16 you by my learned friend? If the witness could be
17 shown that exhibit, please?
18 Now, Major Bower, do you see in paragraph 5
19 that HVO Special Unit Vitezovi is referred to?
20 A. Yes, on the second line down, yes.
21 Q. You also see that on the distribution, it
22 says "Special Unit Vitezovi Commander"?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Does that clarify for you a belief that you
25 had about the command of this unit?
1 A. I just understood that -- although not
2 knowing who specifically commanded the sub units by
3 name, but the way I understood it is that any unit
4 within HVO Lasva Valley at some point would come under
5 command of headquarters Vitez -- sorry, Hotel Vitez in
6 some varying degree or other. Because that's where the
7 central commander was, and the linkage between the two,
8 the chain of command would obviously vary. But that's
9 how I understood all the forces in the HVO Lasva Valley
11 Q. Who was the commander of the Hotel Vitez?
12 A. At the time it was Commander Blaskic.
13 Q. And who signed this order to the Vitezovi
15 A. It was signed by Colonel Blaskic.
16 Q. Now, you were asked a number of questions by
17 Mr. Hayman about the aid moving in and out of the
18 Kruscica enclave -- Kruscica enclave; I'm sorry about
19 my pronunciation -- and you said that there was a
20 resupply route into that enclave to the south. Can you
21 describe to the court the nature of that resupply
23 A. We knew that there was another route in,
24 although as far as we could ascertain, it wasn't a
25 metalled -- tarmacked road which would be like the road
1 coming through Kruscica from Vitez, but it was a track
2 which could be used, and we believed it was used, to
3 resupply in small amounts. It was not a route which I
4 travelled down, and we understood it to be a dirt track
5 and not ideal for large trucks or vehicles.
6 Q. More suitable for resupply by foot than
7 vehicle or horse, packhorse?
8 A. Yes, that was our understanding.
9 Q. Now, Mr. Hayman, although, in fact, it wasn't
10 covered in your examination-in-chief but it was
11 actually opened out into your cross-examination, you
12 mentioned the fact that helicopters could not come into
13 Vitez because it was too dangerous. Did you see
14 helicopters landing in Vitez?
15 A. Yes, there was a helicopter, a HIP-style
16 helicopter which belonged to the HVO, did make frequent
17 trips into the Lasva Valley and was a source of
18 speculation as to whether it would achieve its
19 objective and land and then take off again, and it did,
20 during daylight hours, fly in and out.
21 Q. During your six-month period, would you say
22 that it came in and out of the Vitez pocket frequently?
23 A. It came in over the six months. It's the
24 actual number of times I couldn't say, but it
25 definitely came in on a more frequent basis. It was
1 the only sort of aircraft which we saw in the Lasva
3 Q. Do you know what it was bringing in and out
4 of the Vitez pocket?
5 A. No. It was discussed in our nightly O-groups
6 as to whether it was bringing orders or information or,
7 at one time, I believe Darko Gelic said it was some
8 special equipment, but no specifics were ever
10 Q. Are you aware as to whether or not Colonel
11 Blaskic ever travelled on that helicopter?
12 A. It was speculated when the commanding
13 officer, Colonel Duncan, stated that he had left the
14 area, that it was his way he got out, but speculation.
15 Q. Now, again, you mentioned in your
16 cross-examination, not a matter that was covered in
17 your examination-in-chief, that a UNHCR driver was shot
18 in Stari Vitez, and after that, aid agencies became
19 somewhat cautious. Do you know by whom that UNHCR
20 driver was shot?
21 A. The area, the ground where the shot came
22 from, was from the HVO part of the area. It was
23 assumed and I believe the UNHCR made specific comments
24 to the fact that it had come from the HVO element.
25 Q. In Vitez --
1 A. Around in the Vitez pocket. Very close to
2 the east-west main supply route road from Vitez to
4 Q. Now, you also stated in your
5 cross-examination that when fighting was heavy in
6 Vitez, between Stari Vitez and the HVO in Vitez, that
7 aid agencies would not go in until there was a
8 cease-fire in place. When there was a cease-fire in
9 place, was it possible to gain free access into the
10 Stari Vitez pocket from Vitez town?
11 A. No, there was still the checkpoint at the
12 Travnik -- sorry, the Vitez T-junction which denied
13 access and the mines across the road which were there
14 during cease-fires or when there was periods of no
15 fighting, and they denied access for humanitarian or
16 casualty evacuation reasons.
17 Q. When you refer to "they," who are you
18 referring to?
19 A. They were placed by the HVO and it was the
20 HVO checkpoint which stopped me from going in and also
21 wanted to search our vehicle on leaving in case I was
22 evacuating anybody.
23 Q. Were you frequently stopped from entering
24 Stari Vitez even during times of cease-fire between the
25 two parties?
1 A. After June, I would say I was stopped every
2 time I wanted to go into Vitez.
3 Q. Into Stari Vitez?
4 A. Yes, to get -- I had to go to Vitez to get to
5 Stari Vitez, so every time I wanted to travel into
6 Vitez, I was stopped.
7 Q. Did you go to the Hotel Vitez to try and
8 negotiate entry into Stari Vitez?
9 A. I then had to go into Hotel Vitez to then
10 onward passage to Stari Vitez, and more importantly, to
11 secure my exit if I was evacuating people.
12 Q. And you were often refused access into Stari
13 Vitez at the Hotel Vitez?
14 A. Around the time of September-October, when we
15 were doing the evacuations from the Novi Bila hospital,
16 Darko Gelic imposed on us, he wanted 24 hours' notice
17 if I wanted to evacuate a casualty from Stari Vitez.
18 Q. Am I right --
19 A. I was hindered, as were the aid agencies.
20 Q. Am I right in saying that a number of
21 casualties actually died in that 24-hour period?
22 A. It didn't help their condition. I can't say
23 whether they died because they weren't evacuated within
24 the 24 hours. I couldn't speculate. I'm not medically
25 trained in that area.
1 Q. Now, you stated in your cross-examination
2 that the distance in some places between the Bosnian
3 Muslim forces in Stari Vitez and the HVO was 300 or 400
4 metres, and then you also stated that the range of
5 these fire extinguisher mortars or bombs was also about
6 300 or 400 metres. How accurate were these weapons?
7 A. They were very crude, home-made mortars, so
8 their accuracy was not deemed to be a factor. They
9 were wholly inaccurate.
10 Q. Did these fire extinguisher bombs often fall
11 beyond the frontlines into areas occupied by civilians?
12 A. Indeed, and I stated at some points the
13 frontlines grew quite close and the extinguisher bombs
14 did land beyond the frontline of Stari Vitez into the
15 more densely populated areas of Stari Vitez.
16 Q. I think you evacuated a number of civilian
17 casualties that were the victims of these
18 indiscriminate weapons; is that correct?
19 A. I evacuated a number of civilians that had
20 suffered blast injuries, shrapnel and blast trauma, and
21 you can only get that from one thing, and that's from
22 an indirect system that has exploded.
23 Q. Now, you mentioned -- actually, strike that.
24 We'll stay with Stari Vitez at the moment.
25 Now, you mentioned, indeed both in your
1 examination-in-chief and your cross-examination, that
2 there were a number of civilian victims in both Stari
3 Vitez and Vitez town proper. Where was the majority of
4 those civilian victims: in Stari Vitez or in Vitez
5 town proper?
6 A. The ones which I dealt with were in Stari
8 Q. Major Bower, do you believe that civilians
9 were deliberately targeted by snipers in Stari Vitez?
10 A. Yes, I believe that the civilian population
11 were targeted, whether it be from snipers or any other
12 weapons system. By the number of casualties which I
13 ended up dealing with, there was no other way for them
14 to be dealt with. I had to take them out. So the
15 frequency of it just seemed to me that it was more than
16 caught in cross-fire or circumstance. One or two, yes,
17 if it was near the close fighting in July, but this was
18 from when I first arrived in May till I left in the end
19 of October-November. It was a constant source of
20 humanitarian assistance they required.
21 Q. Now, you spoke of the defence of Grbavica,
22 and you mentioned at one point the people were
23 defending their homes, and my learned friend made a
24 rather unfortunate comment about something that he
25 suggested that I had said to you.
1 Can you explain to the court exactly what you
2 meant when you said that people were defending their
4 A. Basically, it's the houses. There didn't
5 appear to be what I would call trench systems all
6 around the edge of that road, but people were using the
7 houses certainly in Areas 2 and 3, because that's where
8 the fighting started -- perhaps I should have used
9 "houses" and not "homes." But further up the feature,
10 where the indirect fire was going, the recoilless
11 rifles, the anti-aircraft machine guns and indirect
12 fires, that wasn't at the initial break -- what I would
13 call the "break" in Battalion Areas 2 and 3, it was
14 further up the feature, and that's what I mean, that
15 there was fighting engaged in those houses, and those
16 houses were occupied by the population of Grbavica.
17 I can't say whether there were soldiers in
18 them. I would imagine if they were, they would fire
19 and fight from them. I can't say whether they
20 physically lived in those houses, but they would have
21 used them.
22 Q. Do you think that housing in Grbavica was
23 targeted deliberately beyond the normal requirement of
24 a military engagement between, in this case, the ABiH
25 and the HVO?
1 A. I didn't see the whole battle, so I don't
2 think I could comment on actual targeting of the houses
3 for any --
4 MR. HAYMAN: Beyond the scope,
5 Mr. President. I didn't ask him for his opinions about
6 Grbavica, I asked for the facts.
7 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I realise -- I'm
8 trying to make this as fast as possible, but I gave my
9 learned friend a great deal of leeway during his
10 cross-examination. He explored a number of areas which
11 were simply not asked by me in examination-in-chief. I
12 did not object because I wanted the matter to proceed
13 as quickly as possible.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Try to stay within the scope of
15 the cross-examination, Mr. Cayley, and try to shorten
16 the questioning. This is a witness who has been
17 testifying now for quite a long time. Try to remain
18 within the scope of the cross-examination, please.
19 MR. CAYLEY: In any event, Mr. President, I
20 have now completed my re-examination of the witness.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Riad?
22 JUDGE RIAD: Good afternoon, Major Bower. I
23 would appreciate your trying to shed more light on a
24 few points, if you are in a position to do so.
25 In your testimony, you spoke of the extent of
1 Colonel Blaskic's command and mentioned that it was
2 efficient and that he had a working chain of command
3 which was completely in good shape and that they had
4 also a communication system over a distance which was
5 workable, if I noted rightly what you said last time.
6 In the light of this definition, do you think
7 he had firm control over what would be happening in
8 Stari Vitez and in Ahmici, for instance?
9 A. For Stari Vitez, I don't see any way in which
10 anybody in Hotel Vitez could not know what was
11 happening 500 metres away, and the fact that if I
12 wanted to evacuate somebody from Stari Vitez or take
13 humanitarian aid in, I had to go to Hotel Vitez and
14 invariably speak to Darko Gelic, who was appointed, I
15 understand, by Colonel Blaskic. So I don't see how
16 anybody in there would not know what was happening,
17 certainly when indirect fire was being used in Stari
19 JUDGE RIAD: Now, speaking of Stari Vitez,
20 could you in short say whether what happened there was
21 necessary for military purposes or not?
22 A. On balance, I would say, from the
23 humanitarian aspect of my role, I would say there was
24 no basis for denying me or the aid agencies access to
25 Stari Vitez, and I think, more importantly, the
1 casualty evacuation, hindering it, ultimately, is what
2 happened; and I was not involved in the military
3 aspects, I wasn't talking to the military commanders, I
4 just dealt with the aid agencies and the civilians, and
5 I was hindered.
6 JUDGE RIAD: How did you interpret that?
7 A. If it had been just in July when the fighting
8 was heaviest, the 18th, 19th of July, I could have
9 understood that, but not as it progressed on until I
10 left in the early week, I think the first week of
11 November. It seemed to be a natural progression. It
12 was, in my opinion, deliberate.
13 JUDGE RIAD: Deliberate to prevent you?
14 A. To make life difficult for the inhabitants.
15 I think just -- I think it was sending a clear
16 message. There was frustration by the inhabitants that
17 they did not have the access to humanitarian aid which
18 other people in other areas had.
19 JUDGE RIAD: Now, as far as Ahmici was
20 concerned, you mentioned that there was a majority of
21 roofs which fell on fire. Could you tell us whether
22 that was the result of fighting or of deliberate, let's
23 say, putting fire into it and damaging it?
24 A. I don't think I can say what started all the
25 fires, but the fact that the amount of damage that was
1 caused would denote that some would have been started
2 deliberately, but I doubt all of it was started
3 deliberately. Some would have been as a result of the
5 But retrieving bodies from burning buildings
6 and the bodies are fused to the wall because of the
7 heat and hiding behind sofas would denote that people
8 were restricted from leaving, and it was horrible, and
9 that was in my first couple of days in Bosnia.
10 JUDGE RIAD: We had distributed to us a few
11 minutes ago an order by Colonel Blaskic at that time, I
12 think you also saw it, on June 19th, 1993, to "ensure
13 the ... movement of the food convoy for the village of
14 Kruscica," and the main point I want to raise is that
15 at the end he says, "For the realisation of this
16 command I make responsible" several brigades,
17 including, for instance, "HVO special unit 'Vitezovi'
19 Could you tell us if Colonel Blaskic had
20 authority over the special units and the sub units?
21 Were they all under his command?
22 A. All I can say, as I explained earlier, I felt
23 that if units were in the Lasva Valley, there would be
24 some degree of control. It was a topic of conversation
25 amongst the liaison officers with the commanding
1 officer who had control of some of these units and
2 Jokeri as well, and it was believed at some point there
3 must be a link because these units would invariably
4 work jointly, and it was assessed at Novi Travnik,
5 Grbavica, and Ahmici. So at some degree then, yes,
6 that's the conclusion we came to.
7 JUDGE RIAD: Well, my last question is
8 related to the interpreter who was shot by an HVO
9 soldier under U.N. blue flag. There was also another
10 case where a driver of HCR was shot. Was it also by
11 the HVO?
12 A. Yes, they both were.
13 JUDGE RIAD: Was there any complaint made to
14 the authorities or to Colonel Blaskic?
15 A. For the UNHCR driver, I don't know whether
16 the UNHCR headquarters took it up, but certainly for
17 the shooting of liaison -- sorry, the interpreter, I
18 know that the commanding officer specifically made a
19 formal complaint to Hotel Vitez.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Did he receive any answer? Was
21 there any action taken?
22 A. I believe an investigation was started, but I
23 don't know the conclusion.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Major.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad.
2 Judge Shahabuddeen?
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Major, I want to ask you
4 a question or two about Exhibit 141A to which my
5 brother Judge Riad just referred and which was the
6 subject of questioning by both sides. Have you got
7 141A before you?
8 A. Yes. I can see it on the screen.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you are a military
10 man, and I take it that military etiquette may vary
11 from nationality to nationality, but that,
12 nevertheless, a military man could identify a military
13 pattern wherever it occurs; is that right?
14 A. Yes, I think that's fair.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, when you look at
16 141A, which obviously was not written originally in the
17 English language, would you be prepared, as a military
18 man, to identify that document as a military document?
19 A. Yes, I mean, I think a military document, so
20 long as it has a signature on it of a commander.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, would you look at
22 the opening lines: "On the basis of the Agreements of
23 The Joint BiH Headquarters, HVO 3 OZ Commander and 3rd
24 ABiH Corps Commander, I command." You noticed a
25 reference to an agreement between two sides. Would I
1 be right in supposing that the reference there was to
2 the authorities in charge of two opposing military
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Would your
6 understanding be that the person who signed this
7 document was holding himself forth as representing all
8 the military forces on the side to which he belonged?
9 A. Certainly for those within his area of
10 control, yes.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question. I
12 invite you again to look at paragraph 5, and merely to
13 complete the reading by referring to the last two
14 lines: "IVth battalion Military police Commander" and
15 "Police Station Vitez Commander." Do you see those
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you say that the
19 person who signed this letter was holding himself forth
20 as exerting military authority over the police forces
21 as well?
22 A. Yes. The fact that he's written "I command"
23 before the first paragraph.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Major.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Major, I myself have no
1 questions. My colleagues asked several. Thank you.
2 Thank you, Major. You had questioning in two periods.
3 I'm sure it must be difficult for you to refresh your
4 memory in respect of your examination-in-chief of
5 5 June. Now you may go back to your unit and go back
6 to your service.
7 Before we authorise you to leave, we said
8 that we would have a short Status Conference. I don't
9 want to extend the interpreters' work too much, but on
10 the other hand, I think that certain questions should
11 be settled this evening. Third, I think there are some
12 technical problems. I think perhaps we could take a
13 5- or 10-minute maximum break and then have a short
14 Status Conference for about 20, 25 minutes.
15 First of all, do the interpreters agree to
16 that? I'd like to thank them.
17 Now, Mr. Dubuisson, you need about five
18 minutes; is that what you --
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
20 JUDGE JORDA: It would be good to have five
21 minutes so that we can have a closed session. I think
22 everyone is very tired anyway.
23 We'll adjourn for about ten minutes. We'll
24 resume at 6.15.
25 Major, please leave once the Judges have.
1 (The witness withdrew)
2 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
3 6.05 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
4 the 30th of June, 1998 at 9.45 a.m.