1 Thursday, 24th September, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.13 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Be seated, please.
5 Mr. Registrar, could you have the accused brought in?
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters, the translators. We are now going to
9 resume. I hope that everybody can hear me. I can see
10 that the Defence has prepared all its material. We are
11 expecting a new witness.
12 Mr. Nobilo, have you prepared a summary of
13 the next witness's testimony, please?
14 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. You have
15 received it in writing, just as well as the Prosecutor
16 has, the summary of the next witness's testimony.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. Could I have it
18 in French? I'm now looking at the registrar. Maybe in
19 the future, could I have it in French? Would that be
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. That could be possible,
22 but it simply depends in the way in which this has been
23 presented to the registry. Has it been introduced?
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. This is something that is
25 going to become official evidence, so when the Defence
1 is going to introduce it, it has to be introduced at
2 the registry in such a way that the registry translates
3 it into French so that we can more easily follow the
4 debate. Also, that will allow me to say, "You're going
5 out of the scope of your summary," and so on.
6 Mr. Nobilo, please, I give you the floor.
7 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. The
8 next witness is Brigadier Slavko Marin. He's a
9 Brigadier of the army of the Federation of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina and, in the relevant time period, he was
11 the head of the operations, operatives, in the
12 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
13 What did his job imply? What does
14 "operatives" mean exactly in military terms? It is
15 much better to ask Brigadier Marin to explain his job
16 himself. Brigadier Marin is going to speak about the
17 structure of the HVO since the beginning of the
18 organisation when there were crisis staffs, also, the
19 municipal crisis committees, operational groups, then
20 the organisation of the work of the command of the
21 Operational Zone, the structure of the brigades and --
22 JUDGE JORDA: From the point of view of form,
23 it is obvious that from the moment you submit a summary
24 to us, you do not need to present it orally. That is
25 why it was made. That is why we ask for a written
1 summary, and that is why I asked to have it in French.
2 But normally, each Judge will have such a summary. I
3 do not know whether my Judges have received it.
4 Mr. Dubuisson, maybe you could make a
5 photocopy of the summary for each of my colleagues.
6 Today, you can present your summary, but in
7 the future, we can save time by not presenting the
8 summary orally but, obviously, under the condition that
9 we have a written summary of it previously.
10 Maybe we can ask Mr. Marc Dubuisson or the
11 usher to make a photocopy.
12 Now you can have the witness introduced
13 straight away and brought here, even though I haven't
14 got a summary in French.
15 (The witness entered court)
16 MR. NOBILO: We, Mr. President, will present
17 the witness and what we have presented in writing in
18 the summary, but we would like to make some additions
19 to it.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes, of course. You can
21 complete it. I'm not trying to prevent you from doing
23 MR. NOBILO: Because in the last sentence of
24 our summary, we express a reservation of saying that
25 maybe we will enlarge, slightly, what was in the
1 summary. This witness will speak of what happened in
2 January 1993, because his task was to write orders and
3 commands on behalf of General Blaskic.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please, I'm turning now to the
5 Witness, could you remain standing up and tell us your
6 name, your surname, your rank, your profession, and
7 your address. After that, you will read the solemn
8 declaration. Just a moment, please.
9 First of all, can I have your name, your
10 surname, your rank, and your address?
11 THE WITNESS: My name is Slavko Marin. I
12 come from Novi Travnik, and now I live with my family.
13 I've got a wife and three children. At the moment, I'm
14 Chief of Staff of the 1st Guard's Corps in Mostar, the
15 1st Guard's Brigade, and I'm an officer of the army of
16 the Federation. My rank is that of Brigadier.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Now please read the
18 solemn declaration, which will be your oath. Could you
19 please read it for us?
20 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, Your Honours, I
21 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole
22 truth and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Brigadier. You may
24 be seated. You have accepted to come and give evidence
25 here for the defence of General Blaskic who has been
1 indicted by the Office of the Prosecutor of the
2 International Criminal Tribunal. We have received the
3 summary of what the Defence expects from your evidence,
4 and now you can answer Mr. Nobilo's questions.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 WITNESS: SLAVKO MARIN
7 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
8 Q. Brigadier, good morning. Let us go back in
9 time, somewhere in 1991. Can you tell us, what are the
10 first forms of organising of the Croatian people in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina or, even more, in Central Bosnia,
12 when the war was about to break out in Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina? Could you please tell us, when did the
14 people of Bosnia and Herzegovina start organising, and
15 what were the first forms of that organisation? Could
16 you please tell that to the Court?
17 A. Mr. Chairman, Your Honours, before I start
18 exploring this question, in my introduction, I will
19 just say some basic facts which will help me to present
20 the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation
21 in which the HVO was being established, and these were
22 the first forms of organising of the HVO in order to
23 defend the Croatian people in Bosnia.
24 The aggression of the Yugoslav People's Army
25 on Bosnia and Herzegovina, first of all, on the village
1 of Ravno, showed what the real intentions of the
2 Serbian leadership were regarding the non-Serb
3 populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That happened
4 in September 1991.
5 Taking into account what was happening, the
6 political leadership of the Croats of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina started with a series of measures and
8 activities in order to organise the population from the
9 forthcoming aggression.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. Could you speak
11 a bit slower because of the interpreters and for the
12 court reporters.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. What I propose, Brigadier, is that after one
15 or two sentences, you make a small pause, because the
16 interpreters need at least as much as time as you need
17 to speak a sentence. Please, could you slow down?
18 A. Yes, I understand. So the basis was put on
19 organising of armaments, of defining ways of organising
20 the prevention of aggression, of finding out ways of
21 organising the leadership structures so that the
22 population would be organised for the defence, also,
23 giving shelter to the refugees and displaced persons,
24 and for carrying out other activities that were imposed
25 on us by the everyday situation.
1 Q. Brigadier, when do first forms of organised
2 defence appear, and what were the names of the first
3 bodies organised by units of Croats in Bosnia and
5 A. In such conditions that I've just described,
6 as from August onwards, August 1991, crisis staffs were
7 being organised at the level of municipalities and also
8 of local communes.
9 Q. Brigadier, who appoints a crisis staff and
10 who are its members?
11 A. The membership of crisis staffs were as
12 follows: Political representatives of local communes
13 and municipalities.
14 Q. According to you, were crisis staffs military
15 bodies or political bodies of executive authority?
16 A. According to their structure and in view of
17 their members, those were more political bodies rather
18 than military bodies.
19 Q. What are the practical activities of crisis
20 staffs? Don't give us many definitions. How do they
21 prepare for the aggression of the JNA?
22 A. The basic task of the crisis staffs was as
23 follows: To ensure equipment and armament, to organise
24 defence, and to establish frontlines towards the army
25 of Republika Srpska, to accept displaced persons, to
1 give shelter from air attacks to the population, and to
2 take over the barracks of the former JNA.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you now tell me, in what way
4 was this army gathering or these armed people? Was
5 there mobilisation or was it done in a different way?
6 A. At that time, neither the organisational
7 conditions, nor the personnel, was such as to allow a
8 mobilisation to be carried out. What was made were
9 lists of volunteers in villages that would be ready to
10 take weapons in their arms and go to the front with the
12 Q. Brigadier, would that mean that volunteers
13 would come to a particular place in a village or a town
14 and basically say, "I'm ready to go to war"?
15 A. That was precisely so.
16 Q. Could you tell me how units were formed?
17 Were they mobile units that were formed or were units
18 formed on a territorial basis?
19 A. At that time, when crisis staffs were being
20 formed, lists -- and I stress there were lists -- this
21 is still far away from a real organisation of units, so
22 the lists of volunteers were carried out according to
23 their place of residence.
24 Q. Would a unit be formed in the village where
25 they lived?
1 A. In those villages, out of the lists of
2 volunteers, people who had responsibilities, those
3 people were, by the way, also on those lists, they
4 would use, in their organisations, the names such as
5 "platoon" or "company" or some other usual term known
6 in the military organisation.
7 But what is important to stress here is that
8 those terms would not result from their norms of
9 organisation, but it was the way in which the commander
10 of a particular village would see this organisation.
11 For example, we had a village with some 40 soldiers,
12 and those villages would call it a company. Another
13 village would have 100 soldiers and they would also
14 call it a company.
15 Q. Are you trying to say that these executives
16 in the crisis staff and the leaders in villages, they
17 would use military terms, but, in fact, every village
18 was a military unit, regardless of its name?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Was the situation alike with Croats and with
22 A. What I've just mentioned for the HVO, at that
23 time, the same goes for the Muslims as well. That
24 means that in the local commune, in the village, they
25 had a unit just as I've described.
1 Q. What you mean to say, one village means one
2 military unit?
3 A. That is correct. Let me try and clarify the
4 term "village" and try to present the situation that we
5 had there at that time. I must stress one fact, and
6 that is, what was a village in Bosnia that was
7 preparing for the war? It was a logistics base. It
8 was a base for receiving new personnel. And if that
9 village was at an important location, for example, on
10 an important road, during the war, it was very often a
11 military stronghold which was defending itself and
12 where there were battles.
13 I've got a schematic that may show, in the
14 easiest possible way, what the first lists of
15 volunteers looked like.
16 MR. NOBILO: Could we have the computer
17 monitor switched on, please? Also, could you dim the
18 lights, please?
19 Q. Brigadier, what can we see on this map?
20 A. On this map, first of all, the scale is
21 1:50.000, which you can see on the legend. What does
22 that mean? It means that 1 centimetre on this map
23 represents 500 metres in nature.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think we can see it on
25 the monitors, as yet.
1 MR. NOBILO: Just a moment, please. Small
2 technical problems. Until we clarify those -- yes, we
3 have the map now.
4 Q. Brigadier, let's try and see what we have got
5 here. There are three colours here, blue, green, red,
6 and some circles. What does that mean? What were your
8 A. In blue are villages or towns where the units
9 of the HVO are being organised, and in green are units
10 which are being organised by the BH army.
11 Q. Can you tell us in which municipalities?
12 A. This map represents the area of
13 responsibility of the Operational Zone of Central
15 Q. Which municipalities?
16 A. We can easily see that here are the
17 municipalities of Vitez, Busovaca, Novi Travnik,
19 Q. Kiseljak?
20 A. No.
21 Q. In blue, can you repeat what you said?
22 A. The villages where HVO units were being
23 organised, and in green are shown villages where BH
24 army units are being organised.
25 Q. Does this correspond with the fact that where
1 the HVO is being organised, the majority of the village
2 or municipality is Croatian, and where the BH army is
3 being organised, the majority is Muslim?
4 A. Yes. That is correct.
5 Q. According to you, this was the structure of
6 units, the deployment of both people?
7 A. Yes. That is their deployment on the 24th of
8 April, 1992 up until June 1993. There is another thing
9 that I would like to stress regarding this map. We can
10 see that in red, there are lines and the forces of
11 Republika Srpska. And especially because of this time
12 period, this is already in April 1992, I want to point
13 out this blue line that is next to the red line.
14 Q. We are going to speak about that later,
16 A. But I would, nevertheless, like to mention
17 that already at that time, the HVO, with the units that
18 it had, had a front-line with the army of Republika
20 Q. Let us now go back to the crisis staff. You
21 said that its main feature was the volunteers, people
22 come and become volunteers. Another characteristic was
23 that one village was one unit. Can you tell us how the
24 commanders were selected? Those people who were at the
25 head of these units, how was it structured?
1 A. Commanders in the villages were chosen by the
2 locals themselves. As for the commanders at the level
3 of the municipality, those were appointed with the
4 approval of political representatives of the village.
5 That is the people who would head the crisis staff and
6 the units at the level of the municipality.
7 Q. So, the military commanders were not
8 appointed from the top down, as is customary in the
9 army, but through democratic elections in the
10 municipality or the village?
11 A. Yes, precisely so. As a result, the chain of
12 command at the beginning was not fully respected
13 because, Counsel, as you mentioned yourself, this was
14 based on voluntariness.
15 Q. Tell us about the next characteristic which I
16 consider to be important for understanding the army of
17 the HVO and the BH army, at least at the beginning,
18 that is logistics.
19 How did these people from August '91 until
20 April '92, until the beginning of the war when barracks
21 were captured by the HVO and the TO jointly, and
22 distributed in Central Bosnia; up to that point in
23 time, up to April, how did people supply themselves
24 with arms?
25 A. There were several sources. One which was
1 widely used was that people would purchase weapons with
2 their own funds, as well as other equipment for the
3 purpose of defence.
4 Another way was by capturing barracks in the
5 Lasva River Valley.
6 Q. We'll come to that later.
7 A. These were barracks within the Operational
8 Zone of Central Bosnia, and then through certain
9 companies, through the municipal bodies; in fact,
10 non-regular forms of supply, each and every one found a
11 way to obtain weapons to defend himself, a rifle or a
12 piece of clothing that would give him the status of a
14 Q. So, we have described the crisis staffs which
15 were dominant until about April 1992 and which were
16 formed in the municipalities. Tell me, in that period,
17 in Central Bosnia, were regional staffs formed as well?
18 Was there a higher level of organisation above the
20 A. Yes. In that time period, because of the
21 seriousness of the situation along the front with the
22 Army of Republika Srpska and the need to coordinate
23 activities, a regional staff, or rather a regional
24 crisis staff was set up whose role was to coordinate
25 activities among several municipalities.
1 Q. Was it composed also of politicians rather
2 than soldiers?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Let us proceed. We come to May 1992, and the
5 crisis staffs are renamed to municipal HVO staffs; is
6 that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What did that mean? What really changed with
9 this change of name?
10 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the crisis
11 staffs changed their method of organisation at the end
12 of April 1992. The assignments of the crisis staffs,
13 or rather of the municipal staffs, were identical with
14 those of the crisis staffs. However, what were the
15 substantive differences?
16 The municipal staffs were structured in such
17 a way that, in addition to the commander, there were
18 assistants and chiefs of staff. Consequently, these
19 municipal staffs were more of a military body than the
20 crisis staffs, because we had specific appointments;
21 the chief of engineers, the chief of staffs and so on.
22 Q. So, it is a step forward towards a military
23 mode of organisation in relation to the previous stage?
24 A. Yes. In addition to these municipal staffs,
25 in the chain of command, there was also a regional
1 staff which had a command coordinating function.
2 MR. NOBILO: Before we move on, I should like
3 to ask the usher to help me with this document. And I
4 should like to ask you, Brigadier, to look at it and
5 tell us what it represents.
6 JUDGE RIAD: I just want a point of
7 clarification. The regional staff replaced the village
8 staffs, or were there two at the same time?
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at the lower
10 level of organisation, at the level of the local
11 commune, a crisis staff remained. At the level of the
12 municipality there was also a crisis staff. The
13 regional staff was above the municipal staff with a
14 coordinating function. And it was established in
15 response to the need to coordinate the forces in the
16 villages that we have been speaking about and to
17 provide better quality engagement of those units along
18 the front-line of the Army of Republika Srpska.
19 After this period, that is the end of April
20 1992, the crisis staffs were renamed to become
21 municipal staffs. In local communities, units
22 remained, the platoons and the companies, in the
23 villages, as up until then; but at the level above the
24 municipality, a regional staff or headquarters was
1 The difference between crisis staffs and
2 municipal staffs was in their composition. The crisis
3 staffs were composed of political representatives, and
4 the municipal staffs had their commanders and were
5 composed of military officers, assistants and chiefs
6 for various branches and specialties of the armed
8 JUDGE RIAD: So, you're talking about the
9 municipal staffs, so that became military bodies, and
10 it dominated others, this staff, it was the command.
11 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the municipal
12 staff was the highest form of command at the level of
13 the municipality.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
15 THE REGISTRAR: D199, D199A for the English
16 and D199B for the French.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. Can we look at it on the ELMO? Tell me,
19 please, is this a document dated 10th of May, 1992,
20 where the municipal staff from Kiseljak says, in the
21 first item, "The crisis staff is renamed to become the
22 municipal staff of the HVO," signed Tihomir Blaskic?
23 Do you recognise the signature, first?
24 A. I do. This is the signature of General
1 Q. And is this one of the documents reflecting
2 the change of name and organisational structures you
3 have just explained?
4 A. Yes. From this document we can see the
5 organisational changes that I have described.
6 Q. Tell us, in that period of time, the regional
7 headquarters, the regional staff, did it have a
8 superior command position that was automatically
9 implemented at the level of the municipalities? Or did
10 it coordinate the work of the municipalities on the
11 basis of a political agreement rather than a military
12 order? What was the relationship between the regional
13 commands and the municipal commands?
14 A. The regional command at the time had more of
15 a coordinating function in relation to the municipal
17 Q. So, there wasn't a clear chain of command?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Tell me, when these municipal commands were
20 formed at the end of April, beginning of May 1992,
21 which were the problems that emerged in that period in
22 the functioning of the municipal commands and their
23 work on the ground?
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at the time the
25 municipal commands were being established there were a
1 variety of problems, and on this occasion I should like
2 to refer to only a few.
3 First of all, the entire organisation was
4 based on voluntariness, which made difficult the
5 functioning of the chain of command.
6 Q. Let us stop there. You said that this
7 voluntary principle made it difficult, but when we look
8 at films we consider volunteers to be the greatest, the
9 most, the bravest combatants in the world. Do you
10 consider voluntariness to be a bad thing for an army?
11 A. I think it has its disadvantages.
12 Q. What are they?
13 A. Voluntariness, in simple terms, implies that
14 a soldier or a conscript applies on a voluntary basis
15 to join. But similarly, he is free to leave a certain
16 organisation, because you have no instrument, when he
17 is a volunteer, to fit him within the structure because
18 of the overall situation in which you are working and
20 Q. You said he goes to the front voluntarily and
21 he can also go back when he likes. Could he be simply
22 moved from his own village 50 kilometres away, if he is
23 a volunteer in his own village and the surroundings?
24 Is he also a volunteer for going 50 kilometres away?
25 A. That is precisely the problem.
1 Voluntariness, in the conditions that were prevalent at
2 the time, meant that people were ready to defend their
3 homes and nothing more than that. And in the
4 deployment of armed forces, according to military
5 standards, the army must be deployed wherever the need
6 arises. In those cases this voluntariness was a
7 problem for us.
8 May I refer briefly to the situation we had
9 at the time? That is why I stressed the existence of
10 the defence line facing the Army of Republika Srpska.
11 The situation was as follows, and I shall try and
12 demonstrate this problem of voluntariness, and there
13 were many more.
14 By way of an example, you need to engage 100
15 men for the defence line facing the Army of Republika
16 Srpska, from the level of the regional command, you
17 issue an order to the municipal commands, shall we say
18 to Travnik, Novi Travnik, Kiseljak or Vitez, to
19 somebody you are sure will carry out that order one
20 hundred per cent. Probably he will be the one whose
21 house is very close to the defence line.
22 But if a soldier has to cover 20 or 30
23 kilometres in order to defend another village, then the
24 execution of that order may be called in question.
25 That is the substance of the problem of voluntariness.
1 Q. Tell us, Brigadier, this period of April or
2 May '92 and onwards; was this the period when the Army
3 of Republika Srpska was bringing ever stronger pressure
4 to bear, especially in the area of Jajce?
5 A. At the time the pressure on the defence lines
6 held by the HVO were becoming more and more
7 intensified, especially in the area of Jajce.
8 Q. At the time, was there a strong wave of
9 displaced persons coming from areas from which the Army
10 of Republika Srpska had expelled them?
11 A. That problem in the area of Central Bosnia,
12 and particularly in the Lasva River Valley, was a major
13 one, this phenomenon, I would call it. And in the
14 first place, the number of displaced persons was very
15 large, both of Croats and Muslim Bosniaks.
16 But in this same period of time, what
17 happened was that Croatian refugees went to
18 Herzegovina, Croatia and to other countries; whereas
19 the displaced Muslims or Bosniaks remained within the
20 territory of Central Bosnia. They stayed on in the
21 Lasva River Valley.
22 Q. When you use the term displaced persons, are
23 you referring only to women, children and the elderly,
24 or also soldiers or civilians that were under arms
25 among both peoples?
1 A. All those who were familiar with developments
2 and the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina must know that the
3 structure of displaced persons was such that all age
4 groups were represented; children, women, elderly,
5 conscripts, able-bodied men, the entire population from
6 a particular region from which they had been expelled.
7 But I should also like to mention that this
8 number of displaced persons, both Bosniaks and Croats,
9 was coming from the area of north-western Bosnia, from
10 the municipalities of Prijedor, Donja Luka, Sanski
11 Most, Bosanski Petrovac, Kljuc, Donji Vakuf, Kotor
12 Varos, and other places and towns which were situated
13 in north-western Bosnia.
14 Q. So, there was ethnic cleansing in those areas
15 and all these people were concentrated in Central
16 Bosnia. Did this aggravate the security situation with
17 this river of displaced persons arriving?
18 A. Such a large influx of people, and especially
19 after Jajce fell, aggravated the security situation in
20 the area of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia and
21 in the area of the Lasva Valley.
22 At the time a problem that arose were
23 frequent disturbances of public law and order. There
24 were thefts of vehicles, the setting up of checkpoints
25 which were not under anyone's control, and similar
1 incidents which affected the security situation in the
2 Lasva Valley.
3 Q. Tell us, Brigadier, these disturbances of the
4 public law and order, this deterioration of safety and
5 threats to people and property; was this directed
6 against a single ethnic group or the whole population?
7 A. It affected everyone.
8 Q. And what happened with the civilian bodies of
9 authority inherited from the former Yugoslavia, the
10 former Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina? I'm
11 primarily referring to the civilian police, the
12 judiciary, the Prosecutor's office; how did these
13 bodies function under these aggravated circumstances in
14 the spring and summer of 1992?
15 A. The developments that I have referred to in
16 the course of my presentation affected the functioning
17 of civilian authorities adversely. But one of the main
18 reasons for the failure of these civilian authorities
19 to function, in my opinion, is linked to the inadequate
20 functioning of the central authorities in Sarajevo.
21 But, what it is particularly important to
22 underline, when observing or analysing the security
23 situation in the area, is the functioning of the
24 civilian police. The civilian police, inherited from
25 the former Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
1 the circumstances that were prevalent in the area, did
2 not have the necessary credibility among the
4 Q. Why?
5 A. In order to be able to perform its police
6 duties. In my view the reasons are twofold. On the
7 one hand you have combatants, people under arms who are
8 defending and holding the lines along the front against
9 the Army of Republika Srpska. And these men, and all
10 others who did not have such a role, had gained
11 possession of weapons which was more effective than the
12 weapons of the police. So, the equipment of the police
13 undermined the quality of their policing.
14 Furthermore, this situation was immediately
15 recognised by criminal groups who started forming bands
16 and gangs to achieve their criminal intents. And in
17 those circumstances the police, such as it was with the
18 equipment it had, with the personnel, inherited from an
19 institution that no longer existed, could hardly
20 perform the tasks it was meant to perform.
21 Q. Thank you. Let us now, Brigadier, move on to
22 the formation of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia
23 and the operative groups. We can now go on to the next
24 map. We will be reviewing a number of documents. Will
25 you tell us how the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia
1 was formed?
2 A. To the backdrop of the problems that I have
3 referred to here, and with the aim of overcoming the
4 consequences which were evident, steps were taken to
5 reorganise the existing structure so that as of
6 November, 1992, the municipal commands were abolished
7 and brigades were established.
8 The regional commands are abolished or rather
9 transformed into an Operational Zone.
10 MR. NOBILO: Talking about operative zones,
11 could the usher please hand out this document so that
12 we can see the structure of the Operational Zone of
13 Central Bosnia?
14 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked 200,
15 200A for the French version, and 200B for the English
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. This is D200. Please, Brigadier, look at the
19 Croatian version, please. First of all, let us
20 identify this document dated the 7th of October, 1992.
21 Has it been initialled by the then Colonel Blaskic, or
22 is it somebody else's initial?
23 A. This was initialled by Colonel Mijo Bozic,
24 who signed the document on behalf of General Blaskic,
25 and he was authorised to do so.
1 Q. Brigadier, could you tell us here, we have
2 mentioned the organisational transformation from one
3 form into the other, of course an Operational Zone,
4 operational groups; can you tell us what an Operational
5 Zone is and what is an operational group? What comes
6 above the other form?
7 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, when it comes to
8 Operational Zones, we have to bear in mind that that is
9 the command which was superior to the then municipal
10 commands for those municipalities that were on the
11 territory for which the command of the Operational Zone
12 was responsible.
13 Q. I will now read out to whom this document was
14 addressed. Could you tell the Judges, after that; was
15 the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia with Blaskic at
16 its head?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, please, Mr. Hayman.
18 MR. HAYMAN: I asked Mr. Dubuisson to put
19 every document on the ELMO for the assistance of the
20 translators, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes, please,
22 Mr. Dubuisson.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It's already been done.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. I'm now going to read you which
1 municipalities Blaskic is sending this order: Kresevo,
2 Kiseljak, Sarajevo, Fonjica, Vares, Kakanj, Busovaca,
3 Vitez, Travnik, Novi Travnik, Zenica, Maglaj, Teslic
4 and Tesanj. All these municipalities, were they parts
5 of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And Sarajevo?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. As well as Sarajevo?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you tell us what an operational group
13 A. Depending on the situation that was on the
14 front-line towards Republika Srpska, and in order to
15 organise the defences more efficiently within the
16 command of the Operational Zone, operative groups were
18 Q. Can you tell us why?
19 A. In order to coordinate and prepare and
20 perform defence activities in a better way, and also
21 because of the large territory that was given to the
22 Operational Zone of Central Bosnia.
23 Q. Brigadier, do you mean to say that the
24 territory under the control of Colonel Blaskic was so
25 large that already at that time it was not possible to
1 command it efficiently from one headquarters?
2 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, I don't mind the long
3 speeches by Mr. Nobilo, but I think it would better
4 serve the Court and everybody if Mr. Nobilo would ask a
5 question and allow the Brigadier to answer.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you have been carried away
7 too much and you have gone slightly over and beyond
8 what your duties were. This is your witness. Please
9 ask him questions and then wait for his answers. You
10 cannot make commentaries. These are commentaries made
11 before the question. You can't make that.
12 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I'm trying to be
13 efficient in my work. I'm trying to summarise the
14 answer so that we should not lose too much time by a
15 series of small questions, but I can adapt to your
17 Q. Brigadier, was it possible to govern,
18 efficiently, such a large operational zone?
19 A. Precisely, because that was not possible.
20 Operational groups were established. The commanders of
21 operational groups were commanders from the most
22 important brigade in the area where an operational
23 group was formed. I used the term "brigade" but
24 brigades were being established at the same time.
25 Q. Brigadier, could you tell us, for the record,
1 and for the Judges, what were the operational groups in
2 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, and what was
3 their territory?
4 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, in the territory
5 and in the area of the Operational Zone of Central
6 Bosnia, three operational groups were formed. The
7 first operational group were the municipalities, that
8 is, the municipal commands of Travnik, Novi Travnik,
9 Vitez, Busovaca, and Zenica.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I did not
11 understand what the first one was.
12 A. Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca,
14 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. On the document, I
15 probably made a mistake whilst reading. I thought the
16 first one was the second one.
17 MR. NOBILO: You've read it well.
18 Q. Brigadier, have you got the document?
19 According to this document, what happened later on and
20 what was later on restructured? You will explain that
21 later on, but according to this document, how were the
22 organisational groups organised?
23 A. According to this document and its time
24 period, it is dated the 7th of October, 1992, we can
25 see, and that is how things really were, that four
1 operational groups had been formed. I've already gone
2 one step further. Excuse me for that. So there were
3 four operational groups, and the composition of those
4 operational groups was as follows: The municipalities
5 of Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Jajce, and Zenica were
6 renamed to become the 1st Operational Group. The
7 municipalities of Kiseljak, Kresevo, Busovaca, Fojnica,
8 Vares, Kakanj, and Sarajevo, the 3rd Operational Zone
9 became part of the 2nd Operational Group. The
10 municipalities of Zepce, Zavidovici, Maglaj, Teslic and
11 Tesanj became part of the 3rd Operational Group.
12 Q. Brigadier, could you tell the Judges whether,
13 later on, some changes were made and whether some
14 municipalities moved to become parts of different
15 operational groups?
16 A. Yes. That did happen, and that is why I
17 answered previously as I did. I would like to
18 apologise for that.
19 Q. In Busovaca, which operational group was it?
20 A. After the transformation of the already
21 established operational groups, the municipality of
22 Busovaca became part of the 1st Operational Group.
23 Q. Thank you. Let us now pass on to the command
24 of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia.
25 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask the usher to help us
1 distribute a document?
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D201 and
3 D201A for the English translation.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. Brigadier, please take a look at this
6 document dated the 18th of November, 1992.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, it's almost 11.20
8 now. As we are now moving into important issues of
9 command, the witness will have time to look at the
10 document closely, and we can meet again in twenty
12 --- Recess taken at 11.17 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
15 have the accused brought in. I apologise for the
17 (The accused entered court)
18 JUDGE JORDA: You must know that when we
19 resume with delay, it means that when Judges are having
20 a break, they have to deal with papers, telephone
21 calls, and various other matters, so that we don't
22 always manage to come on time. As I criticise the
23 parties when they are late, I have to present our
24 excuses, the only consolation being that it gives the
25 interpreters more time to recuperate because we're
1 asking them to work rather longer hours than would be
3 We are going to talk about document D200 now,
4 I understand.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Will you look at this document? It is dated
7 the 18th of November, 1992, and let us first see the
8 signature. Do you recognise the signature of Colonel
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What does this document represent? Will you
12 please explain to the Court?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this document
14 was drafted in the command of the Operative Zone. It
15 represents the desired structure of the command of the
16 Operative Zone, what the commander of the Operative
17 Zone wanted to have in his command.
18 Q. Brigadier, what did Colonel Blaskic think at
19 the time? How many men did he need to be able to
20 control the Operative Zone that we have described? How
21 many men did he need in the command?
22 A. According to this document and the ideas of
23 the commander of the Operative Zone, his assessment was
24 that, in order to execute their tasks, they would need
25 roughly 105 to 106 men.
1 Q. You have some experience now in the
2 Federation Army. You are regularly in touch with NATO
3 experts. What are the NATO standards for the command
4 of an operative zone of this size? How many officers
5 and non-commissioned officers would be required in the
6 command of an operative zone, according to NATO
8 A. As far as I know, for this level of command,
9 one that is comparable to the Operative Zone, the
10 number would be 220 to 225 personnel, persons in the
12 Q. Tell Their Honours, please, how many of you
13 were there in the command of the Operative Zone at the
15 A. At the time this document was drafted, and in
16 the drafting of which I personally participated, there
17 were about 20, 23 -- 23 to 25 of us.
18 Q. Out of those 23 or 25 men, instead of the 100
19 that Blaskic had wanted and the 220 envisaged by NATO
20 standards, how many officers were there who were
21 graduates of military academies and with military
23 A. At the time, we had three officers who were
24 graduates of the military academy, but not with any
25 considerable military experience.
1 Q. Will you tell us the names of those three
2 officers in the command of the Operative Zone of
3 Central Bosnia?
4 A. There was General Blaskic, Brigadier Ivica
5 Zeko, and Colonel Mijo Bozic who were graduates of the
6 military academy.
7 Q. The ranks you mentioned are current ranks and
8 not the ranks they held at the time?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Would you explain to the Court, you now have
11 an Operative Zone formed; you have a military command
12 formed. Were the problems that you mentioned earlier,
13 from voluntariness to the principle one village, one
14 unit that you were confronted with in the previous
15 period, overcome?
16 A. The command of the Operative Zone, composed
17 in this way, was the result of continuous efforts on
18 the part of the commander of the Operative Zone to
19 militarise the organisation and the soldiers under his
20 command. However, in view of the problems that I
21 mentioned before, and let me repeat them again, they
22 were the principle of voluntary participation in armed
23 forces, the inadequate functioning of the chain of
24 command, the strong pressure of the army of Republika
25 Srpska on our defence lines, the large number of
1 refugees, and disturbances of public law and order, the
2 situation did not change much. We did have the
3 organisation we wanted set up, but the situation on the
4 ground did not change much.
5 Q. We will come back to the chain of command
6 later, but tell us now, were there any combat forces
7 prepared, in combat readiness?
8 A. Combat-ready forces in the territory of
9 Central Bosnia did not exist. Combat-ready forces
10 means personnel in one place in a barracks which have
11 their duties, which are undergoing training, who are
12 adequately equipped, who have the necessary officers
13 and non-commissioned officers who prepare the personnel
14 and who organise those combat forces. We did not have
15 such forces.
16 Q. Instead of that, what did you have? What did
17 your army look like?
18 A. As we said at the beginning, the organisation
19 of the HVO was carried out by enlisting men from the
20 villages, and this was the method applied virtually
21 throughout the war. We have already said what the
22 problems were, which means that we still had men living
23 in their own homes. They had weapons. When the need
24 arose to go to the defence lines against the army of
25 Republika Srpska, then a list would be made, a
1 commander appointed, and then this group -- if it
2 numbered some 30 men, it would be called a platoon; if
3 it was 50 or more, it would be called a company -- and
4 this group would go to carry out its assignment, to
5 defend the lines for seven to ten days continuously.
6 Q. You said you had a group of people,
7 determined the commanders, and they would be sent to
8 the front. They would be the army. What would happen
9 to those men when they were not on the defence lines,
10 when they were in their villages? What was their
11 status then?
12 A. After carrying out their task on the defence
13 lines, for a period of seven to ten days, those men
14 would return to their homes and to their regular
15 duties. Some of them went to work in their companies,
16 others worked at home, and others still travelled,
17 depending on their family obligations. It is very
18 important to point out that when the soldiers returned
19 from the defence lines and went home, then it was
20 simply not possible to have command over them.
21 Q. In your opinion, were they then civilians?
22 A. They were civilians, and that was their
24 Q. You mentioned that they performed their
25 regular duties in their companies. Are these civilian
1 companies and civilian affairs?
2 A. Yes. These were civilian duties and civilian
3 companies because, as I said, men from all the
4 companies existing within a certain village would go to
5 the front, which means a teacher, a locksmith, or
6 anything else.
7 Q. When a person came back from the defence
8 line, would he have to hand back his uniform?
9 A. Each soldier would take his uniform and his
10 weapon home.
11 Q. When he didn't go to the defence line, what
12 was the custom? Did those young men like to wear their
13 uniforms or did they prefer civilian clothing?
14 A. To make my answer clearer, we have to go back
15 to the situation as it was at the time. To wear a
16 uniform, at the time, was an indication of pride. It
17 was an indication that one was a defender. It meant
18 popularity. So that after completing their assignments
19 on the front, they would go home, and if they felt like
20 it, the next day, they would go to town, to cafes,
21 wearing those uniforms, because they wanted to be seen
22 by their neighbours as soldiers, because they took
23 pride in that at the time.
24 MR. NOBILO: Let me ask for the usher's
25 assistance now, please.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 202 and 202A
2 for the English version.
3 JUDGE JORDA: You have a French version,
4 don't you, Mr. Nobilo?
5 MR. NOBILO: Yes, certainly, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Dubuisson is used to not
7 having a French version, so he forgot to mention it.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, of course. There was a
9 French version, but it was hidden in the pile.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let us proceed.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. Brigadier, will you have a look at these
13 tables, please, and tell us what they represent?
14 A. From this list, we can see the way in which
15 soldiers were engaged for the defence line. We can see
16 that for those activities, they were remunerated,
17 depending on the number of days they spent on the
19 Q. Brigadier, we can see on the first two pages
20 that they all had the same salary in one month, whereas
21 on the following pages, each individual had a different
22 salary. How do you explain this?
23 A. From this list, we can also see that the
24 persons on the first page are commanders and members of
25 the command who were working in the command. On list
1 number 3, marked as page 1, at least in my copy, one
2 can see that the soldiers have a different number of
3 days. This confirms the way in which men were engaged
4 for the defence line facing the army of Republika
5 Srpska, and, partly, too, it explains how they were
6 remunerated for these assignments.
7 Q. Brigadier, after the column with the names,
8 then we have the duty, then basic salary, then the
9 number of days. Don't we see, in this column, how many
10 days each individual spent as a soldier during that
11 month? Can that clearly be seen?
12 A. Yes. That can clearly be seen.
13 Q. Does this date back to the time when we had
14 municipal commands?
15 A. From the stamp, this is an example from the
16 municipality of Kresevo. There were similar such
17 documents from the other municipalities.
18 Q. Thank you. Let us now say a few words about
19 the strength of the individual units. Can you confirm,
20 on the basis of the stamp and the contents, that this
21 is an authentic list of salaries, that is, document
23 A. Yes. I can confirm that this was a document
24 drafted in the municipal command of Kresevo.
25 THE REGISTRAR: It is document D203, which
1 has no translation.
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there must be a
3 mistake. We will introduce this document this
4 afternoon or tomorrow, because, due to the large number
5 of documents, we are unable to find the translation for
6 the moment. So we can proceed to another document.
7 Q. Brigadier, will you tell us, by way of
8 conclusion, what would you say was typical of the
9 structure in 1992, briefly?
10 A. As a conclusion regarding the HVO structure
11 at the time, I should like to point out the following:
12 The organisation was based on voluntariness which
13 caused problems in the functioning of the chain of
14 command. There was no responsibility. Furthermore,
15 the shortage of qualified personnel with military
16 training and experience; also, the method of appointing
17 and dismissing commanders. What does that mean? A
18 major influence and a decisive role was played by the
19 municipal functionaries, if we are talking about
20 commanders at the municipal level.
21 Q. When you say "municipal functionaries," what
22 do you mean?
23 A. I'm referring to politicians at the municipal
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. When we're talking about the municipality, as
2 for lower level units, the decisive role was played by
3 the villages themselves or, rather, the villagers.
4 Another problem that I would like to underline or,
5 rather, another conclusion, there were no regulations
6 regarding the structure, which means that units were
7 formed on a territorial principle which had, as a
8 consequence, that there were relationships of
9 familiarity among members, rather than relations of
11 Q. What do you mean when you talk about this
12 familiarity relationship? Could you explain how that
13 worked in practice?
14 A. In practice, it worked as follows: A soldier
15 that would commit an error or a mistake would be
16 disciplined. For example, because of his links, family
17 links with somebody else in the same unit, because they
18 would come from the same village, the result would be
19 that the local commander would try to hide it away and
20 the real commander would never learn of that.
21 Q. This local commander, would he care more for
22 the opinion of his commander or of his unit that
23 appointed him?
24 A. A commander in the village was caring more
25 about the opinions of the members of his unit and of
1 other villages who were not soldiers. Only after that,
2 then he would take into account the carrying out of the
3 mission that he received from his superior.
4 Q. Please carry on.
5 A. There were no real facilities and ways in
6 holding older people together; so, the people would go
7 to the front-line and come back. It was very difficult,
8 because of the lack of proper facilities, to build
9 proper military discipline.
10 Furthermore, what I think was important is
11 when an army is established in the situation of war,
12 what does it mean? You saw the document about
13 structure of the commander, that is what a commander
14 really wished for. But the real situation in the
15 field, in the units, was different and more difficult,
16 which means that a commander of the Operative Zone had
17 in front of him, as a project, the creation of a
18 command structure.
19 That was what his intentions were, that was
20 what he strived for, and General Blaskic worked
21 diligently on that. But, the real situation in the
22 field was difficult with all the problems that I've
23 mentioned up to now.
24 Also, the logistic supplies and the way it
25 was done also had an influence on the structure and the
1 functioning in the HVO units.
2 What impact did it have? The logistics
3 supplies were ensured individually, which meant that
4 you would, yourself, buy a uniform or your weapon. Who
5 would then be able to take it away from you? Because
6 you are the only owner of it, and you decide how to use
8 Also, some companies helped to achieve
9 supplying with weapons and uniforms, and we said that
10 they were linked with the municipal authorities. All
11 that had an impact on the organisation.
12 Q. Brigadier, isn't there a saying in Bosnia
13 that says you obey the one who feeds you?
14 A. Yes, that was true in our case.
15 Q. When you speak about companies, do you mean
16 state-owned companies and private companies?
17 A. There were private companies, but there were
18 also individuals that worked in state-owned companies
19 that had the possibilities through exchange of goods.
20 For example, somebody who was able to buy some weapons
21 headed that towards a company, and that is the way it
22 was done. But in that case, that company would
23 automatically have some influence on that particular
25 Q. Is there something else you would like to
2 A. Something else that I would like to point out
3 was the way the units were organised on the defence
4 lines. Let me remind you of what I already said.
5 I've said that on the defence lines soldiers
6 were engaged according to our needs here. You've got
7 the defence lines, these were the defence lines towards
8 the Army of Republika Srpska in the time period I'm
9 talking of, so, we had a need to send 50 soldiers
11 How are we going to do that? We're going to
12 make a list of those people, and then for that
13 particular task we will appoint a commander. So, there
14 wouldn't be a permanent commander who would go there,
15 but those men would go to the defence lines and carry
16 out the tasks, and during that time they act more or
17 less within a military structure; but later on they
18 would come back and go home.
19 That represented a problem for us for having
20 a proper ensuring of defence lines and their proper
21 quality. Because, when you haven't got permanent
22 soldiers, then you do not know how to organise yourself
23 well, because the enemy can strike when you're not well
25 In order to try and avoid that, we had
1 difficulties because we might not be having enough
3 Q. Did it have an influence on how to control
4 the behaviour of soldiers when they were not on the
5 defence lines?
6 A. Yes, because once they would go back home
7 they were free and they could, they started, first of
8 all, to go into town dressed in uniforms, and later
9 they started going to towns under arms, and there were
10 problems in the law and order. They created
12 I, under the order and instruction of General
13 Blaskic, wrote orders trying to normalise the situation
14 and improve the security of the population.
15 Q. Brigadier, now we are coming to an issue
16 which I think will be important, and I think it is
17 important for the Judges to hear it, and that is, the
18 topic of security in the area of the Operative Zone of
19 Central Bosnia.
20 What were the most common ways in which
21 crimes were perpetrated or how much disorder was
23 A. In the time period we are talking of I would
24 like to point out the following: The voluntary use of
25 weapons without any control, the start of shooting,
1 that means. Then there were checkpoints that would
2 appear. Then vehicles would be stolen. Let me give
3 you a personal example.
4 I was born in Novi Travnik and that is where
5 I lived. I had, even before the war, a certain social
6 place. I was chief of the operational department. But
7 the situation was such that I had a car, as I worked in
8 the command post in Vitez. For security reasons I put
9 that car with my parents in a village, because I was
10 not sure that two or three days upon my return home I
11 would find the vehicle again.
12 Another personal example, when there was a
13 large number of displaced persons and refugees that had
14 arrived, I was to ensure my apartment. If I would go
15 away for two or three days, what happened, somebody
16 broke in to my apartment. Although people knew who I
17 was, but the criminals would not choose their targets.
18 Q. Did they move into your apartment?
19 A. Yes, they did; and I had to clarify the
20 situation myself, and I managed to solve it.
21 Q. Can you tell us these savage checkpoints,
22 what did they represent in Central Bosnia at that
23 time? Who founded them and why?
24 A. When we speak about these savage checkpoints,
25 we obviously think that there must have been some
1 regular checkpoints, there were legal checkpoints, yes;
2 first of all, for the control and for an improvement of
3 the security situation.
4 When we speak about these savage checkpoints,
5 or random checkpoints, these were done by individuals
6 who put them out because they had arms at home, they
7 were well armed, so the police could not face them; and
8 their purpose was plundering and theft. They thought
9 that they might take something away in such a manner.
10 Q. Would such a theft at a random checkpoint,
11 was it mono-ethnic? For example, if Croats had a
12 checkpoint, would they try and steal from Muslims, or
13 would they steal regardless of the nationality?
14 A. Regardless of the nationality. For example,
15 you had a checkpoint in a Croatian village, and then
16 they would have a deal and establish with others in a
17 checkpoint in a Muslim village, and they made deals and
18 they stole whatever they wanted.
19 Q. When criminal groups appeared, why couldn't
20 the police do anything about it?
21 A. As time went by, the security situation got
22 worse from day to day. Criminals would manage to reach
23 their goals, and these criminal groups then became
24 stronger and stronger. They were better armed than the
25 police, and the police lacked credibility that it
1 needed, and lacked equipment. And so, in that
2 situation they were not able to undertake anything
4 Q. When you're speaking about various equipment,
5 could you tell us very concretely what weapons had the
6 criminal groups and what weapons had the police?
7 A. The criminal groups had, we can say, all
8 infantry weapons. They had automatic weapons, they had
9 machine guns, they even had some rocket launchers;
10 whereas the police, if they had something, had rifles,
11 most often they had pistols.
12 Q. Apart from the civilian police there was also
13 military police; what was the basic problem for the
14 selection of the military police so that it could not
15 replace the civilian police, which was not efficient,
16 in order to prevent criminal deeds?
17 A. The military police was also established
18 without any rules and regulations. Also, the members
19 of the military police became so, on a voluntary basis.
20 There were no criteria established for someone to
21 become a member of the military police.
22 So, there were situations where members of
23 the military police would become people who had
24 criminal tendencies, and also people who lacked
25 qualifications for carrying out the duties of military
1 police, and those were people who lacked basic
3 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, in this whole area of the
4 Lasva River Valley, was there any forensic centre? Was
5 there any centre for legal medicine and so on?
6 A. No, no, that did not exist, neither at the
7 time nor today.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask the usher to help us
10 with a new document?
11 THE REGISTRAR: This is the document D204,
12 D204A for the English version.
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, in order not to
14 read the whole document, and also for the audiences
15 that are here who do not know what it is all about, I
16 would prefer to read some more important parts of this
17 document and so that they would be in the record.
18 JUDGE JORDA: I'm astonished that the public
19 can't have access to them, because I think they can be
20 put on the ELMO. If the document is on the ELMO --
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it can be seen on the
22 screen, in that case.
23 JUDGE JORDA: You can see it now. If this is
24 a public session, I think that the public can see the
25 document. That seems obvious to me, thank you.
1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
2 Q. So the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, the second
3 brigade, this is a group, and I will read it to you.
4 "Report on the activities of groups and individuals
5 acting without the knowledge of the HVO."
6 I'm only reading the first paragraph and then
7 I will have some questions to put to you.
8 "Groups and individuals looting, socially
9 and more often privately owned property are causing
10 serious problems in the Vitez municipality. During the
11 robberies they make use of all forms of standard crime.
12 Their main objective is to loot. However, as nobody is
13 making an effort to put end to this, their criminal
14 offences put an additional strain on the already tense
15 inter-ethnic relations. Lately, local robbers have been
16 cooperating with soldiers from Herzegovina in the
17 looting of privately owned property who have become
18 emboldened and Herzegovins have been trying to loot
19 privately owned buildings by themselves."
20 I now draw your attention to the last
21 sentence of the front page: "Life and international
22 relations have reached a critical point due to these
23 numerous robberies, break-ins and explosions. There
24 haven't been many casualties but we must energetically
25 oppose these occurrences. We have reached a point
1 where large scale action is necessary, which will be
2 enthusiastically welcomed by the inhabitants of Vitez
3 municipality, regardless of nationality, and which will
4 finally restore the honour and reputation of the
5 uniform we all wear. Administrative assistant for SIS,
6 Security and Information Service, Ivan Budimir.
7 Brigadier, do you remember this report and
8 these deeds and Ivan Budimir?
9 A. I know Mr. Budimir. I also know the typist.
10 It is Madam Nada Budza. I remember also these events,
11 and the situation was such as it is described in this
13 Q. Thank you very much. The text speaks for
14 itself. So, if you have confirmed that the situation
15 was actually such, I have no questions about it
17 MR. NOBILO: Can we now have the next
18 document, please? Has the previous document been
19 marked? I don't think we have got a number. Yes, it
21 THE REGISTRAR: The previous document was
22 D204 and D204A for the English translation.
23 Now we have got document D205, D205A for the
24 French version and D205B for the English version.
25 MR. NOBILO:
1 Q. Brigadier, here we have got a document D205
2 dated 22nd of January, 1993, and written by the same
3 person, Ivan Budimir, who was mentioned in the previous
4 document. This is a report about throwing of explosive
5 devices in the town, and in the zone of responsibility
6 of the 2nd Brigade.
7 On the 22nd of January, 1993, as the report
8 says, an explosive device was thrown in front of the
9 Red Cross, and the kebab shop, and in front of the
10 ambulance and the civilian police, and also in front of
11 the building called Crnogorka.
12 It also says that somebody used a hand-held
13 rocket launcher to hit the apartment of Zoran
15 So, tell me, now, do you recall these events
16 and is this just an example of many such cases?
17 A. I remember the event quite well. This was
18 the most conspicuous example of the situation that
19 prevailed in the area and of the fact that all kinds of
20 devices were used, as in this case. The aim being to
21 disturb the public law and order.
22 Q. Will you tell us in which town this happened?
23 A. This happened in the town of Vitez.
24 Q. Let us try, for the needs of this case -- we
25 must look at things from the ethnic standpoint. Who
1 was the damaged party? Zoran Krizanovic, whose
2 apartment was hit by some kind of a hand-held rocket
3 launcher, what ethnic group does he belong to?
4 A. He was a Croat.
5 Q. Under whose control was the civilian police
6 on the 22nd of January, 1993?
7 A. On the 22nd of January, 1993, the
8 policemen -- let me just recall, the MUP was composed
9 of Croats.
10 Q. And the health clinic in January, under whose
11 control was it?
12 A. The employees were Croats and the patients
13 were also partly Croats.
14 Q. And the Red Cross, whose institution was
16 A. This particular Red Cross building, that is,
17 at the one operating at the level of the municipality.
18 Q. Who held power in Vitez municipality at the
20 A. Croats held the executive power.
21 Q. What about the Crnogorka building, is it a
22 large apartment building where representatives of all
23 three ethnic groups lived?
24 A. Yes. Within that block called Crnogorka,
25 there was a part that was still under construction.
1 MR. NOBILO: May I ask the usher for his
3 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D206, D206A
4 for the English version.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Brigadier, I will, again, be referring to
7 certain parts of this document. Let me first ask you,
8 it is a document signed by Ivan Budimir and Nada Budza
9 on the 13th of January, 1993 in the 2nd Battalion in
10 Vitez. Do you recognise those signatures?
11 A. I do.
12 Q. Let me read points 1, 2, and 3 of this
13 report, which is headed "Report on Security in the 2nd
14 Vitez Battalion." "1) Over the last week, Muslims have
15 been reporting to us on a daily basis with a desire to
16 join our units. There have been, altogether, five such
17 cases so far, and there are indications that there will
18 be more.
19 2) The newly arrived HVO units from
20 Herzegovina are causing us great difficulties. Every
21 evening, they walk around the town with weapons and
22 disturb the citizens by firing bursts of fire while
23 intoxicated. This problem is all the more serious
24 because of the school classes that are going on in
25 Vitez, which means there are many children on the
1 streets. We are afraid that an even more serious
2 incident could occur. There was an attempt to take a
3 car from our chief of communications, Zoran Jukic.
4 3) A drunken BH army soldier was sighted in
5 the zone protected and monitored by our units in the
6 area of Kuber. The problem was resolved, but a warning
7 was sent to the BH army stating our intention to
8 respond with fire to any similar incidents in the
9 future, because all this occurred around 2.30 hours in
10 the morning."
11 Does this report correspond to the real state
12 of affairs at the time in the town of Vitez?
13 A. It does.
14 MR. NOBILO: May I ask the usher for his
15 assistance with the next document?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document D207, D207A for the
17 French version, and D207B for the English version.
18 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
19 Q. Brigadier, do you have a copy?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Let me just read a couple of points, and then
22 we can ask you about your memories of this problem. It
23 is the Command of the Vitez Brigade dated the 8th of
24 April, 1993. The heading is "Ban on the Movement of
25 Uniformed Individuals and the Bearing of Arms in
1 Inhabited Areas." Then we have the preamble to the
2 order: "Due to frequent disturbances of public peace
3 and order, murders, wounding, armed threats, firing at
4 inhabited areas, and the deterioration in the security
5 situation in general, and pursuant to the order of
6 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, I hereby order: 1) Uniformed
7 individuals are banned from bearing arms and wearing
8 uniforms in all inhabited areas and roads when military
9 personnel are not on duty, except during travel to and
10 from the frontlines."
11 I will leave out a couple of points, even
12 though they are all important, but to speed up the
13 proceedings. "4) Small arms (pistols, revolvers, etc.)
14 may be borne with the appropriate permit only.
15 Long-barrelled weapons may be borne by military and
16 civilian policeman only. 6) Any person who opens fire
17 at inhabited areas without permission shall be promptly
18 disarmed, regardless of permission and reported to the
19 appropriate commander," signed "Brigade Commander,
20 Mario Cerkez."
21 Tell me, Brigadier, do you recognise Mario
22 Cerkez's signature, and do you recognise Blaskic's
23 order, which was the basis for this order by Mario
25 A. I do. This is Mario Cerkez's signature, and
1 General Blaskic did, indeed, issue an order, on the
2 basis of which the brigade commander issued his own
3 order for his unit.
4 Q. Briefly, what was the immediate cause
5 prompting Blaskic to order his subordinates to ban
6 movement of men in uniform and bearing long barrels?
7 A. I shall remind you of what I said, briefly.
8 The fact that soldiers returning from the front-line
9 went home in uniform and bearing weapons, and in doing
10 so, they disturbed the public law and order. There
11 were criminal groups and other such incidents which
12 jeopardised the safety of people in the area. So the
13 need arose, within the chain of command, to issue such
14 an order to improve the situation and to improve
15 security, so that it would be acceptable for the
16 inhabitants of the area.
17 MR. NOBILO: Can I ask the usher for his
18 assistance with the next document?
19 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D208, D208A
20 for the French version, D208B for the English version.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. Brigadier, it is a brief order, and I will
23 read it. On 6th of February, 1993, the commander,
24 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, sends to all HVO brigades and
25 independent zones in the Operative Zone of Central
1 Bosnia: "Warning, for failure to carry out the command
2 number 01-1-217/93 of 10 January, 1993," and then the
3 warning says: "By the command number 01-1-217/93 dated
4 10 January, 1993, and in connection with repeated
5 occurrences of the disturbance of public law and order,
6 murders, injuries, threats with firearms, opening fire
7 in inhabited places, as well as a worsening of the
8 overall security situation, concrete duties have been
9 established to combat such negative acts and
10 proceedings. Until today, adequate and efficient
11 measures have not been taken, that the aforesaid
12 negative tendencies have been vented, to a larger
13 extent, I warn all commanders of brigades and
14 independent units in the Operative Zone of Central
15 Bosnia of their duty to carry out the aforesaid
16 commands. The measures and actions taken pursuant to
17 this command should be reported to this command
18 headquarters by 8th February, 1993," signed "Commander
19 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
20 Brigadier, are you familiar with this order?
21 A. This is a warning that I personally wrote,
22 which can be seen from my initials in the left-hand
24 Q. Let us clear this up immediately. How does
25 one know who actually wrote an order when it was not
1 written by the commander?
2 A. In order that it be known who wrote a
3 document, and in order to monitor its operative
4 implementation, we established the rule, and I believe
5 such a rule was applied in the former army, that in the
6 left-hand corner of the document, the initials should
7 be placed of the author of the text and, secondly, the
8 initials of the typist.
9 Q. So when we see "SM," that means that it was
10 you who actually wrote the document?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Why was it necessary for Blaskic to repeat
13 the same thing twice, sometimes more, as we will see
14 later on?
15 A. This warning and its contents is evidence of
16 the seriousness of the situation regarding public law
17 and order within the territory of Central Bosnia and,
18 particularly, in the Lasva Valley. If an order was
19 issued, as it was, the one whose number is mentioned in
20 the preamble dated the 18th of January, 1993, by
21 monitoring its implementation, we have established that
22 it was not being implemented, in fact, that the
23 situation was worsening.
24 Q. What is the reason that low-level units
25 cannot or will not carry out orders? What is the
2 A. The cause of such a situation was what I have
3 already mentioned when talking about the
4 characteristics of the organisation. The reasons were,
5 therefore, familiarity, the voluntary principle, the
6 lack of qualified military personnel and experienced
7 military personnel, and also the absence of instruments
8 to deal with crime, because you didn't have the
9 necessary resources in order to restore law and order
10 and place the situation fully under control.
11 Q. Brigadier, you have obviously written some or
12 most of the orders. Could you tell us, what was the
13 position of Colonel Blaskic? Did he tolerate violence
14 on the part of HVO soldiers towards Muslims and
15 prohibit violence by HVO soldiers towards Croats, or
16 did he have a uniform position, that the victim of
17 violence is always a victim?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Will you put your question
19 directly, Mr. Nobilo.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. What was Colonel Blaskic's position regarding
22 crime? Would he tolerate crime at the expense of Vitez
23 citizens of Muslim ethnicity?
24 A. General Blaskic never allowed it. For him,
25 crime was crime, and he used all available forces and
1 resources to combat all forms of crime, regardless of
2 who the targets were. This can be seen from these two
3 documents and, I believe, from other documents as
5 MR. NOBILO: Can I call on the usher for his
6 assistance, please?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document D209, D209A for the
8 English version.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Brigadier, I'll be reading parts of this
11 report compiled on the 16th of March, 1993 by the Vitez
12 Brigade and the officer on duty, Ivan Budimir. The
13 report is on the 15th and 16th of March, 1993, so I'm
14 reading the text now: "At 1810 hours on the 15th of
15 March, 1993, a loud explosion was heard from the centre
16 of town. The MUP, "that is, the police," and the OIO
17 Centre were informed about it. It was later
18 established that an explosive device or a bomb had been
19 thrown in front of the Maks store where there were many
20 passers-by, of whom several were slightly injured. A
21 few cars parked in the parking lot were also damaged."
22 I'm going on to the next paragraph of this
23 report. "On the 15th of March, 1993, at 1915 hours,
24 Ivica Drnic, a company commander, informed us that a
25 group of Muslims were intercepting, stopping, and
1 searching people travelling to Veceriska."
2 I will leave out two lines. Then it says:
3 "We have learned that Ferhet Haskic was the leader of
4 the group in question. The BiH Army Command (Zikret
5 Ahmic) was informed about this, and their
6 representatives immediately went to the scene of the
7 incident to intervene along with military policemen."
8 I leave out two lines, and then I'm reading:
9 "We were informed that the military police of the BH
10 Army would take Ferhet Haskic into custody on the 16th
11 of March, 1993."
12 JUDGE JORDA: I see the name "Ferhet Haskic,"
13 and above it says "Fikret."
14 MR. NOBILO: The name is "Ferhet." In my
15 Croatian text, it is "Ferhet Haskic," and Zikret is the
16 military policeman who received the report and who went
17 to intervene against Haskic. Zikret Ahmic is from the
18 BH army command to whom the Croats complained, and then
19 he intervened against Haskic.
20 Q. The next paragraph, on the 16th of March,
21 1993, at 0055 hours, according to company commander
22 Ivica Drnic, "An explosive device was thrown in front
23 of the headquarters in Veceriska causing extensive
24 damage to the headquarters premises. We suspect that
25 it was also Ferhet Haskic who threw the explosive
1 device," signed, "Duty Officer in the Brigade, Ivan
2 Budimir." I'm asking you about this document, 209A.
3 Does it correspond to the events that actually took
5 A. We received a report to this effect in the
6 command of the Operative Zone. I'm familiar with the
7 events and I'm familiar with the document.
8 Q. For the needs of this trial, let us look at
9 things from the ethnic standpoint. This is a report of
10 the Viteska HVO Brigade, which is a Croatian unit,
11 isn't it?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Ferhet Haskic, is he a Muslim from Donja
15 A. Ferhet Haskic is a Muslim living in Donja
16 Veceriska. I think he was killed.
17 Q. The command in Donja Veceriska, in front of
18 which Haskic threw an explosive device, was that the
19 local HVO command?
20 A. Yes, the command of the local units in that
22 Q. Were the Haskici and most of the Muslims and
23 Croats in Donja Veceriska employed in the SPS
24 ammunition factory? Were explosives readily available
25 to, more or less, everyone in the village?
1 A. Let me explain. Within the territory of
2 Vitez, there was an explosives factory, in which most
3 of the inhabitants of Vitez municipality were
4 employed. Due to this, explosives were readily
5 accessible to most people who, especially when the
6 combat operations started on the part of the army of
7 Republika Srpska, would simply appropriate such
8 explosives. Later on, these explosives, probably, were
9 channelled in various ways among various groups of
10 criminals, and the people who could gain possession of
11 the explosives were linked together.
12 Q. Does this mean that, in addition to soldiers,
13 civilians also had possession of explosives?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will distribute the
17 document, but we will resume our work at 2.30. The
18 hearing is now adjourned.
19 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.58 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We'll resume our hearing.
3 Could General Blaskic be brought in, please?
4 (The accused entered court).
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I think that we
6 have arrived to a point where you were presenting a new
8 Can you hear me, General?
9 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, yes, that is
11 correct. But I made an omission, and please allow me
12 to correct it. What I have omitted was that we forgot
13 to present Brigadier a bit more. We do not know what
14 he did during the war and what was his education, so if
15 you allow me now to spend a few minutes on that.
16 Q. Brigadier, could you please tell the Court,
17 what did you do before the beginning of the war on the
18 territory of the former Yugoslavia? What schools did
19 you attend and what jobs did you hold?
20 A. I finished, as a civilian, the faculty for
21 political sciences. My specialisation was in social
22 work and defence, these were two different sections.
23 Later on, I worked on civilian structures of defence
24 for some 13 or 14 years.
25 Out of my military education, I can say that
1 I attended a school for reservists in infantry. This
2 was not specialised military education. It was carried
3 out during regular military service, an obligation I
4 had as a Yugoslav citizen.
5 Q. After your military service and that school
6 for which I believe lasted for six months, did you
7 become a member of a military unit before the beginning
8 of the war?
9 A. The programme of that school was to form in
10 six months, reserve officers, for duties up until a
11 company, and after that school, depending on how long
12 your military service was. That depended on your
13 education. If you had higher education you only went
14 to the military for 12 months, and if not, for 15
15 months. So, I spent 12 months doing my military
16 service. After that, I came back home and I worked in
17 the structures of civilian defence, as I mentioned.
18 Q. At the beginning of the war, when did you
19 prepare in defence from the aggression of the JNA?
20 A. When the war in Bosnia began, I worked in the
21 municipal secretary for defence in Novi Travnik.
22 In that capacity, in April 1992, I became a
23 member of the HVO as an expert consultant at the
24 municipal staff in Novi Travnik. Because of my
25 experience, I could organise the units in the
1 municipality of Novi Travnik.
2 Since October 1992, I worked in the command
3 of the Operative Zone with the headquarters in Vitez,
4 and my mission was in the training, operational
5 training department, where I was head of that
7 After the Washington Agreement I became the
8 Chief of Staff at Tomislavgrad, and I spent two years
9 performing that duty. After the army of the federation
10 had been established, I was appointed Chief of Staff of
11 the 1st Guards Brigade in Mostar, a duty I still hold.
12 Q. Could you please explain something else to
13 the Tribunal? What were your duties in the Operational
14 Zone of Central Bosnia? You said that you were chief
15 operative officer?
16 A. My duty as the head of the department for
17 training operations was to organise the command, to
18 carry out the commands, and prepare the carrying out of
19 the commands, all the follow-up of the commands, also
20 the training of the units. Also, I had to follow and
21 monitor the situation at the defence lines.
22 Q. Thank you very much.
23 MR. NOBILO: Now we can go on to the document
24 we have mentioned before lunch break. Could the usher
25 please assist us to distribute that document?
1 MR. NOBILO: We have a problem with the
2 transcript here. Brigadier Marin said that he was the
3 Chief of Staff of the district, and in the transcript
4 we have the brigade. This is not the same thing. The
5 military district.
6 Q. Can you repeat what your function was?
7 A. Tomislavgrad, Chief of Staff of military
9 Q. Which includes various brigades?
10 A. Yes, that is equivalent to corps.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D210, 210A
12 for the English version.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. Brigadier, could you take a look at this
15 document? I will read its main lines. It is dated the
16 16th of March, 1993, and it was written by the reserve
17 members in Donja Veceriska. It says, "On the 16th of
18 March, 1993 at 4 o'clock in the cafe, a meeting was
19 held of the reserve force of the HVO of Donja Veceriska
20 at which the following conclusions were made."
21 Under one, "On the 16th of March, 1993, as of
22 18 hours, no acts of armed or other provocations, on
23 the part of the HVO soldiers or the Muslim armed forces
24 which serve the Croatian or Muslim population, will be
1 Two: "We shall do our utmost to preserve
2 peace and tranquillity among the Croatian and Muslim
3 people in this area, and we demand that the other side
4 do the same."
5 Three: "The Croatian and Muslim population
6 will return to their household duties where, with
7 regard to the structure of the Republic of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna
9 will not cause discord between the two peoples which
10 have been inhabiting this territory for centuries. The
11 reserve units for Donji Veceriska and the Muslim army
12 shall establish control over the extremists from among
13 both peoples."
14 Five: "The reserve force of the HVO of Donja
15 Veceriska, for its part, will do everything to prevent
16 Donja Veceriska from becoming a cross-roads for
17 resolving Croatian Muslim conflicts in the Republic of
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian community of
20 Six: "The Muslim army of Donja Veceriska
21 will fill in all trenches in the interest of the
22 further coexistence of the two peoples in this
24 Seven: "Unauthorised entry into other
25 persons' yards is prohibited and anyone found in
1 another person's yard will be arrested. Reserve force
2 of the Donja Veceriska HVO."
3 Tell me, first; do you remember these local
4 negotiations, and was it a typical case that there
5 would be conflicts at village level between two armed
6 formations, or that there would be conflict between two
7 villages at the local level?
8 A. Such activities regarding agreements, as it's
9 stated in this letter, aren't known to me; but that
10 happened as a result of intentions to diminish the
11 tensions that had existed, the tensions which were
12 caused by extremist behaviour, both in the BH army and
13 the HVO.
14 The most obvious example can be seen from the
15 date of this document. This document was a result of a
16 random checkpoint put up near Donja Veceriska. It was
17 a case we mentioned before the break, maybe you
18 remember the name of Haskic.
19 Also, from the conclusions in this document,
20 we can see that there were tensions that existed
21 precisely between the armies organising villages, the
22 members of the HVO and the BH army which can be seen
23 from the map.
24 Q. There is another thing I would like to ask
25 you. This text that starts "On the 16th of March,
1 1993, at 1700 hours, the reserve force met at the
2 cafe," and then the name; is this a military way of
3 taking decisions, or is it the democratic way of taking
4 decisions which you mentioned existed in villages?
5 A. Yes, this was that democratic way of taking
6 decisions. They were really voting, whereas, normally
7 it would be a different thing in an army.
8 Q. Can a small unit in a small village make such
9 conclusions? Is it a military way of doing things or
10 more the way politicians do things?
11 A. Normally politicians would need to take such
12 decisions, or the representatives of the civilian
13 authority. But as the military and the civilian sides
14 were intertwined, in the general interest of the
15 security of the population, such documents were
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. NOBILO: Could we have the next document,
20 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked D211,
21 D211A for the French version and D211B for the English
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. So, we have now the document D211; would you
25 please take a look at the document? Turn to the last
1 page and could you tell us whether that is the
2 signature of Colonel Blaskic and the seal of the
3 Operational Zone, and can you remember this document?
4 A. This is the signature of General Blaskic and
5 the seal is of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia.
6 There is even my personal note here. What is said,
7 what I wrote was across Novi Travnik.
8 Q. So, yes, you added in your handwriting across
9 Novi Travnik.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I'm going to read out two or three key
12 sentences from the order. On the 17th of March, 1993,
13 Colonel Blaskic issues an order. "Treatment of persons
14 inclined towards criminal and destructive conduct
15 order." And then the preamble. It is addressed to all
16 units, et cetera, within the Operative Zone.
17 "In order to prevent the recurring, openly
18 destructive conduct of individuals in HVO uniforms and
19 the HVO armed formations insignia, and raise combat
20 readiness, I hereby issue the following order." I will
21 just quote point three, in order to save time.
22 Point three: "Persons prone to disruptive
23 conduct shall return their weapons, uniform and other
24 equipment, and should be deleted from the wartime
25 assignment lists and an appropriate assignment,
1 according to the decree given to them."
2 And the second paragraph of point four:
3 "Commanders at all levels shall be responsible for
4 covering conscripts prone to disruptive and criminal
5 conduct, in particular, who have been recorded as such
6 in the records of a platoon, company, et cetera."
7 This document speaks for itself very clearly.
8 It can be seen why it was written and what its message
9 is. Could you please explain something to us?
10 Colonel Blaskic says that the criminals have
11 to be taken off the lists of HVO and assigned them
12 adequately, give them adequate wartime assignments.
13 Does it mean they will work in the working platoons,
14 those who did not carry any weapons?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. On the following page, point four, second
17 paragraph speaks about the commanders who cover the
18 criminals. Was it something that happened that
19 normally a commander who should report it, he covers
20 those people?
21 A. The reason for it was, I repeat, the units
22 were formed in a village. In a village those people
23 were parents, cousins, neighbours. That was one of the
24 reasons why they were covered. But General Blaskic
25 became aware of that, and he very precisely gave
1 instructions to his subordinates stating that they had
2 to be made responsible at a certain level.
3 Furthermore, during his work, General Blaskic
4 issued, also, oral orders of that kind. He insisted on
5 briefings concerning the carrying out of such measures
6 and commands, and he verified through me that we should
7 seek the information and see how far were certain
8 measures applied.
9 However, a key problem in the application of
10 these measures was that the commander of the Operative
11 Zone, General Blaskic, did not have the instrument, did
12 not have the physical strength in the form of an
13 organised army to prevent such actions.
14 So, simply we did not have such a force, a
15 force organised in such a way to be able to prevent
16 these actions. So, we had to go across various
17 commands, and the only thing we could do was to
18 transfer such a soldier from a war assignment into
19 civilian protection, or assign him to work duty, which
20 at that case was some kind of a sanction, because I
21 already mentioned what it meant to wear a uniform in
22 one's village.
23 That was more or less the only measure we
24 could take against those criminals.
25 Q. Could you please look at the original in the
1 Croatian language, and we have the initials "TBVS";
2 does it mean that Colonel Blaskic wrote that?
3 A. Yes, according to these initials, and
4 according to the contents, I know that it was General
5 Blaskic who wrote it himself.
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we see here in
7 the English and in the French versions it was SM, which
8 would mean Slavko Marin; but we know this is a mistake
9 in the translation, because we know it was Colonel
10 Blaskic who wrote it.
11 Could I ask the usher to bring a new document
13 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not going to ask you the
14 question now, Mr. Nobilo, because the Judges ask the
15 questions after the examinations; but I would like to
16 draw your attention to the point that you just
17 mentioned. The initials that we have heard now, here,
18 it is a bit curious, but you asked the question
19 yourself; how come the initials were different? But
20 please carry on, I'm sure we're going to talk about it
21 later on.
22 MR. HAYMAN: We have to ask the translation,
23 unit, Mr. President, which produced, as far as I know,
24 these translations. I suspect they were working from a
25 computer template, that is a form, and there are so
1 many, there are many orders that this witness did
2 author that would have SM on them, and they didn't
3 change SM on their computer template to TB, which is
4 very clear on the original. But we will have to ask
5 them, quite frankly.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much, but
7 nevertheless, I think that we should have a proof later
8 on. But we had some typewritten error of that kind
9 already yesterday, and this is something we cannot
10 approach with neglect. But, please, Mr. Nobilo, go on.
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, on the original
12 it is very clear, you can see very clearly who wrote
13 it, and the translation unit is the one from this
14 Tribunal; but on the original you see the letters TB.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Have you got the original
16 yourself, Mr. Nobilo? Have you got the original?
17 MR. NOBILO: This is the original.
18 JUDGE JORDA: This is a copy of the original.
19 The Judges will, if necessary, ask to see the original.
20 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we do not have an
21 original, we also have copies of it. But you've got a
22 copy. But when I'm speaking about the original, I mean
23 the original in the Croatian language.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
25 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is marked
1 212, and D212A for the English version.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Brigadier, you spoke about the difficulties
4 in the work of the civilian police, but also you spoke
5 about the difficulties encountered by the military
6 police. So, I should like to draw your attention to
7 this document. Will you please see the name, Ivan
8 Budimir and his signature; is that his signature?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. I'm going to read some of the more important
11 points in this analysis. "The second battalion command
12 of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade provides an analysis
13 of the work of the military police in the zone of
14 responsibility of the 2nd Battalion.
15 "First: In Vitez, there is the regional
16 military police, the municipal military police, the 4th
17 Battalion of military police, and the civilian police.
18 Secondly: We believe that there is no sphere
19 of work.
20 Three: Problems abound in the town, and in
21 the entire municipality of Vitez, despite the presence
22 of these four police forces.
23 Four: Looting of cars, houses and socially
24 owned companies, wounding in cafes, sabotage operations
25 in towns, cafe killings, et cetera, are constant.
1 Four: So far there have been six armed
2 robberies; two Croats, one Serb and these Muslims.
3 Five: Unauthorised barricades where there
4 have been armed robbery have been springing up on a
5 daily basis at night. Money, cars and other belongings
6 are being taken away from them.
7 Six: The police are not implementing orders
8 regulating the opening hours of catering
9 establishments, patrols of towns in the surrounding
10 areas are either non-existent or infrequent.
11 Seven: The police are not taking weapons
12 from the soldiers, walking around town while off duty,
13 and so on.
14 Point eleven: The arrogant behaviour of the
15 regional military police causes anxiety and affects the
16 morale of our soldiers. According to our information,
17 they receive a salary of one hundred Deutschmarks and
18 participate in the night-time partying. For example,
19 for New Year, I believe their work, especially in
20 relation to the procurement of cars, their origin must
21 be checked, as well.
22 There is no date on this document, but
23 according to the contents, when, roughly, could it have
24 been issued in time?
25 A. According to my memory, this document could
1 be placed sometime in February or March 1993.
2 Q. The New Year is mentioned, that is, the New
3 Year from '92 to '93. Do you recall anything in
4 particular that happened in the vicinity of the Vitez
5 Hotel, near the command, for New Year's Day 1993?
6 A. Yes. I remember a very important event. It
7 was important from the standpoint of the security of
8 General Blaskic himself, namely, the persistence of
9 General Blaskic, through written and oral orders, to
10 combat crime, to introduce order and discipline in the
11 units, to improve the overall levels of safety in all
12 towns and settlements. Certain criminal groups felt
13 endangered by his attitudes.
14 On the 31st of December, 1992, that is, New
15 Year's Eve, an attempt was made on the life of General
16 Blaskic by a soldier who headed for his office, the
17 office where he assumed General Blaskic was.
18 Fortunately, he was not there. In the corridor between
19 the operations centre, where I worked, and the room
20 where General Blaskic would normally be during working
21 hours in the command building, he threw in a hand
22 grenade. He was intoxicated, and after some time, the
23 security staff of the command post managed to apprehend
24 the soldier, take him out of the building. He
25 resisted, and in the skirmish, the soldier lost his
2 I repeat, this testifies to the very
3 difficult situation we were in, because, in spite of
4 all we did and the resources we had and the
5 organisation that was established, this was something
6 that did not suit the interests of criminals, and they
7 resorted even to such extreme measures.
8 Q. Let us go back to this document. Do you
9 recognise it as a document typical for the period? Did
10 you see it in that period?
11 A. Such reports would reach the command of the
12 Operative Zone, and they were the result of an oral
13 command of the commander of the Operative Zone to
14 analyse, in detail, the situation, the causes, in order
15 to identify the ways and means for overcoming this
16 difficult situation.
17 MR. NOBILO: Can I ask for the usher's
19 Q. Can I ask you once again, do you recognise
20 the signature of Ivan Budimir on the last page?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the initial of Mrs. Nada Budza, who was
23 the typist.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D213, D213A
25 for the French version, and D213B for the English
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Brigadier, a significant event occurred,
4 which is indicative of what you have been talking
5 about, the attack of an armed group against a police
6 station, then the attack on a prison, and the release
7 of a prisoner. I will now read a part of that report,
8 and then if you could refresh your memory and tell us
9 what you still remember about this event, and does this
10 report truthfully reflect the event that took place.
11 So we have a report addressed to the Military
12 Police Administration in Mostar on 1st March, 1993, and
13 it says: "Information about the persons who organised
14 an attack on MUP," that is, the civilian police, "and
15 the military police in Vitez." I will just read some
16 passages from this text. The second paragraph: "By
17 operative means, I have ascertained that Gazibaric has
18 been a participant in a number of robberies in which
19 vehicles and other valuable goods, as well as large
20 sums of money, were alienated. The motive for his
21 protection is of a purely materialistic nature."
22 Two paragraphs down: "On 26 February, 1993,
23 Ferdo Gazibaric was arrested and brought to MUP in
24 Vitez." The letters are very small, so it's rather
25 difficult to read from my copy. "The commander of the
1 military police," this is the second to last paragraph
2 on page 1, "Zarko Andric, organised a meeting of the
3 military police, at which he informed those present of
4 the arrest of Ferdo Gazibaric and of the need to set
5 him free in order to prevent his disclosure of other
6 participants in these criminal acts."
7 I'll leave out the next page. On page 3, the
8 third paragraph from the top: "At this meeting,
9 negative comments were made about the role of Busovaca
10 and the personnel in Busovaca, who are the policy
11 makers, while not taking any concrete steps to defend
12 Travnik. Thus, they said that the prison was full of
13 Croats from Travnik, Vitez, and Novi Travnik, but that
14 there was no one from Busovaca, although they know that
15 many persons from Busovaca are involved in the same
16 acts as they."
17 I'll leave out one paragraph, and the next
18 one says: "About 50 persons with big trucks and a PAM,
19 an anti-air machine gun, driven in from the front-line
20 in Turbe, as well as a number of personal automobiles,
21 took off around 1600 hours in the direction of Vitez.
22 With their arrival in Vitez, they created an
23 exceptionally tense situation, both among the HVO units
24 and among the population.
25 Andric and some other military policemen
1 occupied the MUP building," that is, the civilian
2 police, "and of the military police building and
3 demanded from Commander Pasko Ljubicic that he
4 personally participate in freeing the arrested
5 Gazibaric, and all this under constant threat of the
6 use of available firearms. Since Gazibaric was in the
7 Kaonik prison in Busovaca, freeing him was carried out
9 From the rooms of the Military Police of the
10 4th Battalion, communication was established with
11 Colonel Blaskic in Kiseljak. The situation they found
12 themselves in was described to him, as well as the
13 consequences which could result if their demands were
14 not met and armed conflict occurred. Blaskic's
15 suggestion was to do all this without the use of force
16 and without bloodshed.
17 After Gazibaric was freed, this 'unit' went
18 in the direction of Travnik with uncontrolled shooting
19 and yelling."
20 On the fourth page, second paragraph, it
21 says: "The link is well-known which these individuals
22 have established with criminals from among the
23 Bosniaks. Throughout the conflict in Busovaca, this
24 group collaborated intensively with Refik Linda, Ramiz
25 Delalic, and Soso. Their collaboration was reflected
1 in the resale of stolen vehicles and technical goods
2 and the protection of individual criminals, Pero and
3 Stipo Zujl, for whom there is a warrant out."
4 The last two paragraphs: "What occurred
5 reflects negatively among the Croatian population and
6 is perceived as the powerlessness of the legal organs
7 and institutions of the HVO to counteract crime and
8 criminals. In the ranks of the army of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they could hardly wait for this,
10 and it is commented upon as an open clash among the
11 divided HVO forces. They follow further developments
12 with satisfaction and expect such further clashes,
13 which influences their morale considerably, and they
14 are offering their 'help.'"
15 Brigadier, first, are you familiar with this
16 report? Do you recognise the signatures?
17 A. Both the report and the events are familiar
18 to me, and the signatures are authentic.
19 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, what do you remember
20 about that event? Did it occur in the way it is stated
21 in this report or do you remember anything additional
22 to this?
23 A. The report fully and in detail describes the
24 event that occurred and the situation itself. When
25 this happened, I was in the command of the Operative
1 Zone. I was carrying out my regular duties.
2 I received the report or, rather, the command received
3 this report, but it was so complex, as the report
4 itself indicates, that we had to contact Commander
5 Blaskic who was in Kiseljak.
6 The report speaks for itself, and it confirms
7 all that I have said so far with respect to problems of
8 ensuring public law and order, how to provide citizens
9 with the necessary degree of safety, and how to resist
10 criminal groups and individuals who, as you see, had
11 gained so much strength that they influenced the
12 soldiers who were holding the defence lines against the
13 Serb forces, who managed to get anti-air weapons, and
14 who wanted to liberate a man who had committed a
15 criminal offence.
16 Q. Tell us, Brigadier, is this indicative of the
17 fact that the HVO, at the time, was a well-structured,
18 modern army? Would such an occurrence be possible in
19 such an army or does it show something else?
20 A. These events, this kind of event in a
21 well-structured and organised army can never and will
22 never occur, but in the conditions under which we were
23 living and preparing for war, this is a fact, and that
24 is exactly what happened.
25 Q. Tell us, under those conditions, when one
1 system had collapsed and another had still not been
2 developed, how could Blaskic simply, effectively, carry
3 out his orders? What did he have to have to support
4 him for him to impose those orders? Was it just
5 sufficient for him to issue an order, or did he need
6 something to else to make sure that those orders were
8 A. In the situation in which we found ourselves
9 at the time, it was no where near enough for an order
10 to be issued to be sure that it would be carried out.
11 However, General Blaskic, who always said in personal
12 contacts and at morning briefings that our task was to
13 build the structure and the organisation, he sought, in
14 every possible way, to carry out his assignment.
15 One of those ways was to use roundabout
16 methods, and those were mostly persuasion, talking
17 about the harmful effects such behaviour would have,
18 pleading, and only after all of those efforts could he
19 issue an order and expect it to be realistically
20 carried out. Otherwise, it just didn't work.
21 Q. If Colonel Blaskic had, as an outsider, come
22 to the area of Vitez with a logistic base and 200
23 soldiers armed to the teeth accountable to him, would
24 he have been able to impose law and order and
1 A. My opinion is that he would, but he did not
2 have logistics, nor the executive strength to prevent
3 such occurrences. As you see, the police arrested a
4 criminal and, automatically, both the military and the
5 civilian police were blocked in their efforts.
6 MR. NOBILO: Can I have the next document
7 distributed, please?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D214, D214A for the
9 English translation.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Let me read a few passages from this document
12 for the military police battalion. It is dated the 2nd
13 of February, 1993, and the note was made by Josipovic,
14 and the stamp is of the military police in Mostar.
15 Before I read it, I want to ask you whether you
16 recognise the name Ivan Josipovic and the stamp?
17 A. Ivan Josipovic was an employee in the 4th
18 Military Police Battalion. The stamp is of the Command
19 of the Military Police Battalion.
20 Q. So it is an official note compiled on the 2nd
21 of February, 1993 on the premises of the criminal
22 investigations department of the 4th Military Police
23 Department in Vitez concerning the explosion which
24 occurred on 1st February, 1993. A commission
25 consisting of the following members, Ivan Josipovic
1 operative, Ilija Marjanovic, forensics officer, Vjeko
2 Saric, mortar unit commander, went to the scene of the
3 incident and established the following: The explosion
4 occurred on the main Vitez-Travnik road, that is, at
5 the intersection of the road leading to Vitez in the
6 immediate vicinity of the Impregnacija administration
7 building and the house of Devad Mujanovic.
8 Tell the Court, Devad Mujanovic, is that a
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were these routine notes compiled by the
12 police after the inquest where various explosions had
14 A. Yes, because the police didn't have the
15 required personnel, nor the resources, to carry out the
16 criminal investigation work any better.
17 Q. Do you know whether the military police was
18 selective? Did it do such an investigations when the
19 damaged party was a Croat and did not carry out
20 investigations when the damaged party was a Muslim?
21 A. I am not aware of any such practice, but the
22 military police went to the scene wherever it could and
23 whenever it had any report on such similar events.
24 MR. NOBILO: Can I call for the usher's
25 assistance again, please?
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document D215, D215A for the
2 English translation.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. Brigadier, let us first identify the
5 document. It is dated the 22nd of March, 1993. It is
6 from the 1st Battalion of the Vitez Brigade signed by
7 Mr. Bertovic. Do you know him?
8 A. I do know him personally, and this is his
10 Q. It's a short document, so I will read the
11 most important parts. I want to know whether you
12 remember this order and whether such orders were issued
13 to other units by the Operative Zone of Central
14 Bosnia. The date is 22nd of March, 1993. "In view of
15 the fact that in a couple of days (on Wednesday, 24
16 March, 1993) the Muslims will celebrate their biggest
17 holiday, Ramadan Bajram, and in order to prevent any
18 possible negative consequences, I hereby order: All
19 the units from the 1st Battalion of the Viteska Brigade
20 shall increase the vigilance of all unit members in the
21 next couple of days, and especially during Bajram, and,
22 with the same aim, shall also step up security measures
23 through constant monitoring and increased patrolling."
24 Brigadier, my first question: What was the
25 reason for Anto Bertovic to give such an order to his
1 soldiers in the battalion to increase security measures
2 for the greatest Muslim holiday, the Ramadan Bajram?
3 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this order was
4 issued just immediately prior to the beginning of the
5 mentioned holiday. It was issued because of awareness
6 that the population was mixed in the villages, that
7 there were armed members of both the Muslim and Croat
8 ethnic groups, that is, of the HVO and the BiH army,
9 and because we knew what this holiday meant for the
10 Muslim people. In order to make it possible for them
11 to celebrate this holiday, the battalion commander
12 issued this order to his subordinates to act as
13 indicated in this order.
14 However, in addition to what I have already
15 said, the date, the 22nd of March, 1993, which we shall
16 probably be referring to later on in this testimony,
17 there were certain events that occurred at the time
18 which may have brought about some irrational behaviour
19 by individuals on this holiday, which would have had
20 far greater and graver consequences and which would
21 have further heightened tension than if the same kind
22 of incident occurred on a day which was not a holiday.
23 That is why the commander issued this order.
24 Q. As far as you can recall, was the initiative
25 taken by Mr. Bertovic or did an initiative come from
1 the Operational Zone and its command?
2 A. As far as I can remember, the commander
3 Colonel, today, General, Blaskic issued an order to the
4 brigades and that orally, while communicating with the
5 commanders, he insisted that they applied these
7 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask for the usher's
8 assistance now?
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D216, D216A
10 for the English translation.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. Brigadier, this is a report which I am going
13 to give just in its basic outlines, and it speaks for
14 itself, by the way. Could you please tell us whether
15 you recall the events we have just mentioned, and this
16 report speaks about the violence on the other side,
17 that means by the BH army towards the HVO. This is the
18 report. The report was written by the already
19 mentioned Ivan Budimir from the Viteska Brigade.
20 "On the 27th of January, 1993 in Kruscica,
21 near Fatina vodica, and at the Vatrogasni dom in Stari
22 Vitez, the following MTS were confiscated by the BH
24 Brigadier, would you explain to the Court
25 what "MTS" means?
1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, in military
2 terminology, "MTS" is an acronym for materiel and
3 technical equipment, which implies weaponry and all
4 other technical equipment used in combat operations.
5 Q. I will not read it all. Let me just mention
6 the locations where these weapons were seized. In
7 point 3, it says that in Gornji Vitez, a certain
8 quantity of weapons were seized from regional military
9 policemen; then under 4, also in Gornji Vitez; and 5,
10 in Kruscica, a certain quantity of weapons were seized;
11 also, in point 6. There's no need for me to list the
12 weapons that were seized.
13 Tell me, do you remember this event or, at
14 least, parts of this event, and were there any such
15 violent acts undertaken by either side as early as
16 January 1993?
17 A. Such events were happening, both in the BH
18 army and in the HVO. The events from this report are
19 known to me. The locations where they happened are
20 also known to me, because these are locations where the
21 BH army had its checkpoints. So they had their
22 checkpoints at Fatina vodica and at Stari Vitez, and
23 the quantities of armaments listed here are correct. I
24 know that we had to deal with this problem in the
25 following manner: The commander in Vitez, which was
1 Colonel Mario Cerkez, contacted the commander of the
2 325th Brigade, and together they were solving these
4 MR. NOBILO: Can I ask for the usher's
5 assistance with a new batch of documents?
6 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked D217,
7 D217A for the English translation.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Brigadier, I will now read about this event.
10 Could you tell us, first, can you recognise the
11 signature of Mr. Budimir?
12 A. Yes, I can.
13 Q. I'll just read the beginning, not all of it.
14 "On the 27th January, 1993 in Kruscica, the regular
15 shift change was carried out. Upon return from
16 Kruscica, a tam minibus van was stopped at 12.30, and
17 it was driven by Stipo Livancic and carrying all the
18 members of the shift. It was stopped on its way to
19 Kruscica. All the occupants were disarmed and the
20 minibus van was confiscated." Then follows a list of
21 the weapons. Do you remember this event and where was
22 the shift coming from?
23 A. I remember this event and the location where
24 they were disarmed. Everything that was taken from
25 them was there at that checkpoint which was constantly
1 held by the BH army members. This shift was coming
2 back from the defence lines towards the army of
3 Republika Srpska, and they were carrying back equipment
4 and weapons to a small base which was at the Lovac
5 Hotel at Kruscica.
6 MR. NOBILO: Could we have the next document,
7 now, please?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D218,
9 D218A for the English translation.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Brigadier, here, this is a communiqué which
12 was given by the press office in Novi Travnik and IPD
13 from the Brigade Novi Travnik, which is information and
14 propaganda activity, the IPD. I will only read the
16 "Public announcement: Today, the 10th of
17 February, 1993, in Novi Travnik, First of Maj Street at
18 the Dura cafe owned by Dzorde Matovinovic. Zoran
19 Jukic, also known as Juka from Novi Travnik, was killed
20 while resisting the Novi Travnik HVO military police to
21 bring him into custody for harassing and seriously
22 wounding a citizen."
23 Had you heard that public announcement in
24 February 1993?
25 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this public
1 announcement was transmitted through the local radio at
2 Novi Travnik. The event itself happened at the cafe,
3 the owner of which was a Serb, because of the deeds
4 that were described here; and during the intervention
5 of military police, Zoran Jukic was killed.
6 Q. And military police had intervened because he
7 was mistreating a Muslim?
8 A. Yes, but that can be seen from the text, that
9 is why I did not mention it again.
10 Q. Thank you very much.
11 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask for assistance for
12 the next document?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D219,
14 D219A for the English translation.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. Brigadier, the last document, D218, was
17 speaking about a killing by the military police --
18 JUDGE JORDA: 219.
19 MR. NOBILO: Excuse me, Your Honours, I was
20 actually drawing the attention to the previous
21 document, the one from which we had just read, and this
22 is the basis for my next question.
23 Q. So, the previous document we have just quoted
24 where Zoran Jukic was killed because he had mistreated
25 a Muslim, has the date the 10th of February, 1993. The
1 new document, D219, was written two days later on the
2 12th of February, 1993.
3 Here it says "Report from the arrest of a
4 member of the HVO. On the 6th of February, 1993 at
5 1.30 at Kruscica in front of the black house and by the
6 members of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
7 Muslim armed forces the following soldiers were
8 arrested of the 2nd Battalion," and then comes the list
9 of the names.
10 "According to witness statements, one of
11 those making the arrest was from Kruscica and the other
12 three were members of the MOS from Vranjska."
13 Are you familiar with this event, and in the
14 way it has been described in this report written in the
15 original by Ivan Budimir by hand?
16 A. I am familiar with the event, the place where
17 it took place, as well, and a number of those arrested,
18 and I am familiar with the place Serna Kuce or black
19 house, it is a building known by the locals as black
21 Q. Thank you very much. I can ask for the next
23 THE REGISTRAR: First document is D220, and
24 D220A for the English translation.
25 The second document is D221 and D221A for the
1 English translation.
2 The third document is D222 and D222A for the
3 English translation.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, maybe it is the
5 right moment now to make a break. Have you got other
6 documents to distribute now?
7 MR. NOBILO: Not at the moment. These are
8 documents that speak about discipline, and I would like
9 to say something about the disciplinary measures, but
10 we can do it after the break, as well.
11 JUDGE JORDA: In that case, we will have a
12 20-minute break. Have you got other documents now,
13 Mr. Dubuisson?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, I have another one D223
15 that I will have to distribute.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Please do it now and then we
17 will make a break. Is this the last document now? Can
18 we have the break now?
19 MR. NOBILO: Yes, yes, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE JORDA: In that case, we will have a
21 20-minute break.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.55 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.20 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume now. Please
25 have the accused brought in. You may be seated.
1 (The accused entered court).
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, just before the
3 break you distributed a number of documents, I think
4 two or three batches, the fourth or the fifth one has
5 arrived. Yes, Mr. Dubuisson, four or five documents,
6 so, you've actually used our absence to distribute more
7 documents now.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Documents D224, next to the
9 number of the document is written A2. That document is
10 the document D224, and D225 has got next to the number
11 E8 written on it.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. Before
13 the break you distributed, to us, five different
14 documents; do you agree?
15 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I do, Mr. President, and we
16 are not going to go into the details of all of these
17 documents, because they speak for themselves, but they
18 represent the basis for me for a series of questions,
20 Q. So, Brigadier, you have had time during the
21 break to look at documents. Can you tell us, first of
22 all, whether these documents are authentic? And the
23 second thing, what are these documents?
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the documents
25 speak about the application of the disciplinary
1 measures in certain units which were in the Operative
3 Q. Could you tell me, Brigadier, what were the
4 authorities of Colonel Blaskic, the commander of
5 Operative Zone, in matters of discipline? And did he
6 have any influence once crimes or misdemeanours were
7 committed and the sanctions?
8 A. I will try and explain it now. We have seen
9 that General Blaskic was constantly trying to structure
10 the units and to diminish the number of incidents, that
11 the army starts functioning as much as possible on
12 military principles.
13 In order to achieve that, Commander Blaskic
14 used all his authority and he ordered the application
15 of military and disciplinary matters in certain units.
16 According to the regulations that were then
17 existent and that regulated the situation in the HVO,
18 the commander of an Operative Zone had the authority to
19 issue disciplinary measures; but he could not start a
20 criminal proceeding or perform anything else from the
21 criminal code.
22 The commanders of various units had similar
23 authority. In order to achieve some results, the
24 commander of the Operational Zone, Blaskic, formed a
25 military disciplinary court at the level of the command
1 of the Operational Zone, and he also instructed that in
2 the brigade such military disciplinary tribunals be
4 Such military disciplinary tribunals had to
5 carry out the disciplinary proceedings in those cases
6 when commanders in the subordinate units made a
7 disciplinary misdemeanour, or a breach of discipline.
8 At the level of the command of the Operative
9 Zone, a disciplinary military tribunal was established
10 by the command of its commander, by order of its
11 commander, and the closest collaborator of the general
12 were in that tribunal. I was the deputy prosecutor at
13 that disciplinary military tribunal, and we also had
14 some cases, first of all, against the subordinates in
15 our Operational Zone. In the brigade commands, there
16 were also disciplinary military proceedings against
17 those that were in their brigades.
18 Q. Who was responsible for the criminal
19 prosecution of criminal offenders? Who was, in the
20 chain of command, responsible? Which bodies were
21 responsible for carrying out proceedings against
22 criminal offenders?
23 A. As far as I remember, it was the military
24 prosecutor's office. Some elements of that structure
25 had been established, but I'm not familiar with the
2 Q. Did the military prosecutor's office exist,
3 and was there also a military court?
4 A. As far as I remember, yes.
5 Q. The military prosecutor's office and the
6 military court, was it under the command of the
7 Operative Zone, or was it organisationally part of the
8 legal structure?
9 MR. KEHOE: If the witness can answer the
10 question without Mr. Nobilo suggesting the answer, I
11 think it would be helpful.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I have the feeling that Mr.
13 Nobilo was just about to complete his question. Will
14 you please finish your question, Mr. Nobilo?
15 Was there a question that you haven't had
16 time to answer? I'm a directing myself to the witness
18 THE WITNESS: No.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, then. Finish your
20 question, Mr. Nobilo, please.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. My question is: The military prosecutor's
23 office and the military court, was it under the command
24 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, or was it part
25 of the structure of the Ministry of Justice?
1 A. The military court and the military
2 prosecutor's office were not under the command of the
3 commander of the Operative Zone, but they were part of
4 the structure of the justice department of the Croatian
5 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
6 Q. These documents that you have had occasion to
7 review; there are various types of reports having to do
8 with disciplinary measures from D220 to D225; are these
9 documents authentic?
10 A. The documents are authentic, and they were
11 issued on the basis of the orders of the commander of
12 the Operative Zone, as can be seen from the document
13 marked E8.
14 Because the commander of the Operative Zone,
15 in order to make sure that his order is being
16 implemented in the field, would ask individuals by name
17 what they had done for each individual disciplinary
18 offence. This can be seen from the reports on the
19 table which come from five different units that were
20 part of the Operative Zone.
21 MR. NOBILO: Could the usher please
22 distribute the next series of documents, which are also
23 linked to disciplinary procedures, and the reports to
24 the command regarding those disciplinary proceedings?
25 THE REGISTRAR: In order to facilitate the
1 work of the parties and you, Your Honour,
2 Mr. President, and Your Honours, the documents have
3 already been marked in the right-hand corner.
4 JUDGE JORDA: That's perfect, Mr. Registrar.
5 You can do that for all the exhibits.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. Brigadier, will you take your time and look
8 at each of these documents? Several more are in
9 preparation with the registrar.
10 Brigadier, these are reports by individual
11 units on disciplinary measures issued and which reached
12 the command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
13 These reports that you have before you, did you receive
14 them in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, and are
15 they authentic?
16 A. All these reports were received in the
17 command of the Operative Zone, as can be seen from the
18 stamp verifying receipt at the bottom.
19 I was informed by the commander of these
20 reports at a morning briefing when the assistant for
21 personnel and legal affairs reported on the
22 implementation of the orders on the basis of which
23 individual commands sent back reports to the command of
24 the Operative Zone.
25 Q. Please review a number of new ones. My
1 question is the same. The documents speak for
2 themselves. We will not read them.
3 What is important for us is whether you
4 remember these reports reaching the command of the
5 Operative Zone and whether they are authentic.
6 A. These reports that I'm now holding also came
7 to the command, and they are also authentic, and they
8 arrived from specific units.
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. Registrar, for the record,
10 could we be told the first and last number of all these
11 documents linked to disciplinary measures so that they
12 may be referred to correctly in the record?
13 THE REGISTRAR: The first set of documents
14 was, D225 was the last one, then we come from 226 to
15 234; A, of course, for the English version. From 226
16 to 234.
17 MR. NOBILO: May I ask for the usher's
18 assistance with a new document?
19 THE REGISTRAR: The document 235, 235A for
20 the English version.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. The document is brief. I will read it. It
23 is addressed by the 111th XB Brigade from Zepce on the
24 11th of August, 1993, and it is addressed to Deputy
25 Commander for IPD of the Operative Zone of Central
1 Bosnia. It is headed "Request," and it reads: "Due to
2 the specific position of the 111th XB Brigade and the
3 lack of a military prosecutor's office and a military
4 court in Zepce and the increase in the number of
5 criminal offences, I hereby request urgent instructions
6 on how to raise the issue of criminal responsibility
7 and the determination of the competent court of our
8 brigade. Deputy Commander Drago Ezgeta." What is
10 A. Your Honours, the following should be pointed
11 out: The area of Zepce was physically separated from
12 the command post of the commander of the Operative Zone
13 of Central Bosnia. One can infer from this request
14 that the problem of military discipline and the problem
15 of crime was not typical for the Lasva Valley alone.
16 This problem was of general significance for
17 the whole area. As a military prosecutor's office and
18 a military court was in the Lasva Valley, it could not
19 act in Zepce. The assistant for political and
20 information activities of the 11th Brigade addressed
21 our command, or rather his colleague, in terms of
22 speciality, asking him to give him information about the
23 implementation and instituting criminal proceedings for
24 their brigade.
25 Q. Thank you. Will you tell me, the stamp at
1 the bottom, what does it signify? Is it the date when
2 your command received it?
3 A. Yes, it is the receiving stamp. You will see
4 it on all documents which were received by the command
5 of the Operative Zone.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
8 INTERPRETER: Interpreters would like to ask
9 counsel to read more slowly, because there is no French
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document 236, 236A for the
12 French version, 236B for the English version.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. This is a hand-written document, I will read
15 only parts of it, and then put my question.
16 The title of the document is "Appeal,"
17 obviously written by a soldier, and it reads: "I,
18 Borislav Lovrenovic, son of Marko and mother Karta,
19 nee/Sureta, am the father of four minor children and
20 live in Nova Bila. I am appealing against the order by
21 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, and my prison term of 30 days
22 in military prison."
23 And then a few lines further down he says
24 that he was a member of the Zuti special purposes unit,
25 and says, "I did not participate in the attack on the
1 police station in Vitez or in various other actions."
2 So, I will not read on.
3 Maybe I should read a little more. "I would
4 also like to note that I did not take part in the Tuzla
5 convoy, or in any other dishonest acts. I was there
6 only a short time, and seeing that the whole burden of
7 the group was being led by 10 or 15 young men, I went
8 immediately to the command and asked for permission to
9 leave the group. The commander, Mr. Ilija Nakic, gave
10 me permission to leave the Zuti special purposes unit
11 on 6 September, 1993."
12 There are many errors, but what is this?
13 A. It is an appeal.
14 Q. Does it mean that you had a two-tier
16 A. Yes. According to the rules on military
17 discipline, when a disciplinary measure is issued, the
18 brigade commander could be appealed to by a soldier, as
19 this case illustrates.
20 Q. Mr. Brigadier, I should like to draw
21 attention to the fact that this soldier is appealing
22 against the command of Colonel Tihomir Blaskic. Who is
23 he addressing his appeal to?
24 A. If the commander issues the order on a
25 military sentence, then he addresses himself to the
1 highest level of command, and that is the commander of
2 the Operative Zone.
3 Q. But if the commander of the Operative Zone
4 issues a punishment at the first level, who could he
5 appeal to?
6 A. According to the rules and regulations then,
7 this should be addressed to the main command of the
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
11 Q. In this period were you cut-off from the main
13 A. Hold on, let me think a moment. This was the
14 period when there were attacks against military police?
15 Yes, at that time we had already been cut-off from the
16 main headquarters.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document D237, D237A for the
18 English translation.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. Brigadier, can you please take a look at this
21 order and can say whether it is authentic, whether
22 there is Blaskic's signature there and a stamp?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you tell me what it looks like? It
25 looks, to me, like a form of some kind.
1 A. In order to implement the disciplinary
2 measures at the highest level of quality, and given the
3 inadequate training of commanders in particular units,
4 the operative command staff, on orders of General
5 Blaskic, compiled a standardised form, so that any
6 disciplinary measures that were taken would be unified
7 and so that any disciplinary measure could be issued
8 accordingly. Such forms were also then distributed
9 among the particular units for their use.
10 Q. Very well. Please, can we have the next
11 document shown to the witness?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Document D238, D238A for the
13 English translation.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. Brigadier, this is a two-part document.
16 There is a hand-written appeal and an appeals decision.
17 Could you please review both parts of this document?
18 I'm going to start with the second part, the
19 hand-written appeal. This is Mato Biljaka from Kaonik
20 Prison. This is where the prison was, and he is
21 writing an appeal. He says: "Appeal to Mr. Tihomir
22 Blaskic, Commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
23 Zone. Dear Colonel, since I received the order for
24 detention lasting 30 days, I feel that my sentence is
25 too harsh. Since I carried out every order on orders
1 from the commander, often exposing myself to mortal
2 danger, I do not deserve this punishment. I would like
3 to ask you to lower the sentence, since I intend to get
4 married on 12 December, 1993. Hoping that you will
5 grant my appeal, I thank you in advance." And then
6 submitting the appeal, Mato Biljaka.
7 The first part of the document is the
8 decision by Colonel Blaskic, and let me read it to
9 you. "District Military Prison in Busovaca," this is
10 in the Vitez command area, dated 24 December, 1993, and
11 it's addressed to the District Military Prison in
12 Busovaca where the man was serving his prison term. "I
13 studied your appeal and I believe that in pronouncing
14 the disciplinary measure, pursuant to Article 7 of the
15 rules on military discipline, the commission of a
16 punishable offence, which is prosecuted ex officio, and
17 activities contrary to military regulations were taken
18 into consideration and that the length of the
19 pronounced disciplinary measure corresponds to the
20 change in disciplinary violation.
21 Pursuant to Article 47 of Rules on Military
22 Discipline, I hereby pass the following decision: 1) I
23 hereby deny the appeal of Mato (father's name Rudo)
24 Biljaka, and consider the disciplinary measure to be
25 founded." The signature follows "Colonel Tihomir
2 Brigadier, I assume that you're not familiar
3 with the handwriting of Mr. Biljaka, but you may
4 recognise the signature of Mr. Blaskic, as well as the
5 stamp of the command of the Operative Zone?
6 A. Yes. I do recognise both the signature of
7 Colonel Blaskic and the stamp of the Operative Zone
8 Command, but I'm aware of several such decisions.
9 Q. Based on what you just said, would you
10 conclude that Colonel Blaskic was the appeals instance
11 in these legal proceedings?
12 A. Yes. This is an excellent example to confirm
13 just that.
14 MR. NOBILO: Can we have the next document
15 shown to the witness, please?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document D239, D239A for the
17 French translation, and D239B for the English
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. Brigadier, very briefly, is this Colonel
21 Blaskic's signature and the stamp? Do you recognise
22 that, too?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. This is another example of the form which you
25 compiled for issuing disciplinary measures?
1 A. Yes. I would like to point out another thing
2 here. This measure is for 30 days of prison, and this
3 is the maximum punishment that a commander of the
4 Operative Zone could pass for a disciplinary
5 infraction. You couldn't give any more than that.
6 Q. Brigadier, that completes the questions in
7 the area of disciplinary measures and competence of
8 Mr. Blaskic.
9 I would now like to pass on to another area
10 which has to do with the structure of brigades. We are
11 going to focus specifically on the brigade structures
12 in Central Bosnia's Operative Zone.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document D240, D240A for the
14 French translation, and D240B for the English
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. Brigadier, before we go into this document, I
18 would like to point out that you frequently changed the
19 organisational structures within the HVO. You talked
20 about the crisis staffs, about the municipal
21 headquarters, and now we come to the brigades. How do
22 you explain that? What was the reason for it?
23 A. The situation in which we found ourselves,
24 the need to organise a quality defence against the
25 Republika Srpska and the efforts of the commander of
1 the Operative Zone to establish a military organisation
2 which would operate on the basis and principles of a
3 military organisation, all this required that we
4 continuously search for the best modes of organisation
5 in order to establish a chain of command, in order to
6 come to an efficient defence and to have the highest
7 level of command and control. It is through these
8 efforts that this organisation was changing.
9 Q. Can you tell me what brigades were
10 established in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in
11 November of 1992?
12 A. We can see from the document which brigades
13 were established, but let me point out the following,
14 which is what we're interested in here: The commander
15 of an operative zone, when he made decisions about the
16 establishment of brigades, he had to take into account
17 the desire that every municipality wanted their own.
18 Here we have that Usura was established Usura, and
19 Travnik in Travnik, and so on.
20 Later on, we shall see that not every town
21 would be able to have their own brigade. So Zenica had
22 its own brigade, and then for the municipalities
23 Maglaj, Novi Sehir, Teslic, Komusina, Zavidovici, and
24 Zepce had one with a seat in Zepce. Now, why do we
25 have one for all these municipalities? Because with
1 the exception of Zepce, all these municipalities were
2 under Serbian control. Most of them were manned. The
3 personnel was in Zepce.
4 Then we have Kiseljak, Kresevo and Fojnica,
5 they were all in Kiseljak, but later on we see that it
6 was untenable, so that changed, and we had a brigade in
7 Kiseljak. Then in Kakanj and Vares, that brigade also
8 was changed, and the Jajce Brigade, which was in the
9 Travnik barracks. This is how we envisaged it to be,
10 because we thought that we would be able to keep the
11 refugees from Jajce in Travnik. However, we did not
12 succeed in that. All men of fighting age from Jajce,
13 which, after the fall of Jajce, were driven out, the
14 Croats, that is, they left the Lasva River Valley
15 region. Also, here, there are certain deadlines
16 imposed and some administrative matters which were
17 essential for the establishment of brigades.
18 Another important thing to mention here is
19 that I took part in the implementation of this order by
20 the commander, and earlier I said that we did not have
21 a standardised structure. But those of us who knew
22 something about organisation was tasked, by the
23 commander, commensurate to our needs, to compile a
24 manual on organisation of these brigades. As far as I
25 recall now, these brigades were supposed to have about
1 2.800 soldiers, but I can tell you the actual numbers,
2 the strength of these brigades, when we get to that.
3 Q. We are talking about the commanders and
4 commands here. Was it possible, in the military
5 hierarchy, if Blaskic ordered that such and such person
6 was going to be the commander of such and such brigade,
7 did this person need to consult someone else and
8 receive somebody else's order?
9 A. Regardless of the fact that we had been in
10 the war for almost a year, nothing changed on the
11 ground. Still, with appointments of brigade
12 commanders, the key role was played by the local
13 political authorities with respect to brigades and with
14 respect to subordinate units, which were still on the
15 ground in villages, as we can see from this map. The
16 organisation was still in place, as it was. So the key
17 role with appointments had the villagers themselves.
18 Such decisions would be taken in meetings of local
19 communes and sometimes in the municipalities, and this
20 would be then forwarded to the commander of this zone.
21 And he would just formally confirm the appointment of
22 such commander.
23 Had he not done that, he would have had even
24 more problems with the functioning of the system, and
25 if he had done otherwise than what I have just said, he
1 would have had even more problems locally.
2 Q. Brigadier, the names of the brigades --
3 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. Can you develop this
4 more? What happens to the commander appointed from
5 above when the community chooses another one? Are
6 there two commanders then or what?
7 A. The commander of the Operative Zone, Colonel
8 Blaskic, was aware of this situation, and he appointed
9 commanders after consultations with the local
10 authorities, so that we did not have cases of dual
11 command. Had it ever happened, that would be a
12 great disaster, because, at the time when we were
13 establishing brigades, the pressure on the frontlines
14 on the part of the Serbian troops was enormous, and we
15 needed to keep those defence lines in place, as we had
16 been trying since April of 1992.
17 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Brigadier, can you tell me, on page 2, you
20 see the signature and you see the stamp. Is this
21 document authentic?
22 A. Yes. This document is authentic, and I said
23 that I had taken part in its compilation and in its
25 Q. Let me move closer into this subject. When
1 we talk about the brigade, the concept of the brigade,
2 we think that this is a big, significant, mobile
3 force. What is the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in Vitez
4 and Travnik? What did it represent in comparison to
5 the units of the municipal headquarters? I'm sorry.
6 In Vitez and in Novi Travnik, not Novi Travnik.
7 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the brigade, and
8 we look at the organisation of the brigade, what is the
9 difference between a brigade and a municipal
10 headquarters? In practice, this was just a different
11 name. So what used to be the municipal headquarters
12 was now called a brigade. But due to all the problems,
13 which I have mentioned, and the local situation, both
14 in villages and municipalities, we were not able to
15 comply with the standards which went along with the
16 term "brigade." So that in all future considerations,
17 if you want to have a real picture of the situation
18 that we had, we had to bear in mind this fact.
19 Let me repeat: We just renamed the municipal
20 headquarters into brigades. The command, by structure,
21 it was envisaged that it would have several officers
22 who would be specialists, but the organisation, the
23 structure on the ground, remained the same. We would
24 have a company in a village of 30 or 50 people, and we
25 would have the same units. We would still continue
1 with the same tasks on the line of defence, as we had
2 done in April of 1992, because we did not have the
3 right conditions to deploy the units in a particular
4 area where we could train them, where we could develop
5 the command structure, and so on.
6 Q. The document compiled on 25 November, 1992,
7 can you see whether it was addressed to the commanders
8 of municipality headquarters? Is it to them that it
9 was addressed? Were they the people who organised this
10 brigade and who became their commanders?
11 A. Yes. It is clear from the document that this
12 is where this order went, and it is the presidents of
13 these municipal headquarters that became commanders of
14 the brigades. As I said, we tried to merge two
15 municipal headquarters into a single brigade.
16 Our basic task was to organise the defence
17 against the Army of Republika Srpska. In Novi Travnik,
18 we planned to organise one single brigade of Novi
19 Travnik and Vitez, because that is where the front-line
20 was against the Army of Republika Srpska. We wanted to
21 have a quality defence. We wanted, also, to bring to a
22 minimum all the shortcomings which we had in the
23 organisation of this defence.
24 MR. NOBILO: I just need the number of this
25 document. I had not taken it down. Could you please
1 tell me, Mr. Registrar?
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D198.
3 You're speaking of the map, I believe?
4 MR. NOBILO: No. The command dated the 25th
5 of November, 1992.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Sorry. In that case, this is
7 document D240.
8 MR. NOBILO: Could I have the assistance of
9 the usher for the next document, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: The first document is marked
11 D241, D241A for the French translation, and D241B for
12 the English translation.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. Brigadier, we have two documents here, the
15 first document dated the 12th of March, 1993 where
16 Colonel Blaskic issues an order that the organisation
17 of the brigade and its monitoring is taken over by
18 Mario Cerkez. The second document is the appointment
19 of Mario Cerkez as the commander of the brigade.
20 Could you tell us, in more detail, why that
21 happened, and who did Blaskic have to reach an
22 agreement with in order to issue this formal order?
23 A. Mr. President --
24 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Brigadier. Is this
25 two documents, Counsel, or just one? I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I'm asking the same question.
2 A. These are two documents. I gave two
4 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but maybe there might be a
6 JUDGE JORDA: Just as Mr. Kehoe, I was not
7 able to understand very well.
8 MR. NOBILO: I'm sorry. There's a small
9 delay here.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Here is the second document
11 which is marked D242, and there is the "A" and "B"
12 version as well.
13 MR. NOBILO: Can I continue now?
14 Q. Brigadier, let me repeat my question. Yes,
15 we have got here two appointments on the 12th of March,
16 and then in the second half of March 1993; could you
17 tell us why a new brigade was organised, why so late,
18 and who had decided that Mario Cerkez would be
20 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, when I was
21 explaining the activities about the organisation of
22 brigades, which were the results of the commands and
23 orders we saw before these documents, I explained what
24 the purpose of it was.
25 However, our intentions, we were unable to
1 carry them out. Two months after we issued the order
2 we had to transform, that is, to modify that order and
3 issue a different order mentioned under point 1, and
4 saying that the organisation, supervision and
5 coordination in all activities with the organisational
6 brigade in Vitez, that those activities would be under
7 Mr. Mario Cerkez, who was the commander of the Stjepan
8 Tomasevic Brigade from Novi Travnik.
9 So, a brigade was formed in Vitez, its
10 headquarters were to be in Vitez, and also a brigade in
11 Novi Travnik for the area of Novi Travnik.
12 The reasons were the ones that I mentioned.
13 We were unable to function in the previously mentioned
14 way because the municipalities wanted to have a
15 municipal brigade, because they wanted to take care of
16 the logistics and with everything concerning the
18 Nevertheless, in order for the commander of
19 the Operative Zone, General Blaskic, in order for him
20 to be able to issue such an order, formally, in such a
21 form, and that means to appoint Mario Cerkez as brigade
22 commander, he had to consult with the political leaders
23 of Croats in Vitez. Otherwise, he would not have been
24 able to do so, because under their pressure he had to
25 change his first order, his first intentions being to
1 have one brigade out of the soldiers from Vitez and
2 from Novi Travnik.
3 Also, he had to consult before he appointed
4 somebody commander of the brigade of Novi Travnik.
5 Q. Brigadier, in the situation where it was
6 obvious that there was call-ups of functioning of the
7 central state institutions of the state of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, is it your opinion that the municipalities
9 took over the functions of the state and became small
10 states by themselves?
11 Do you think that the municipality took more
12 authority than they would normally have, according to
13 the law?
14 A. That is correct and that claim can be
15 confirmed on many examples. After such a situation and
16 after the central government was blocked in Sarajevo,
17 in Central Bosnia the main authority were under the
19 Q. Brigadier, could you authenticate these two
20 documents? Is this the signature of Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. Yes, this is the signature of General
22 Blaskic. The author of this command was Mario Rajic,
23 and Stjepan Cervinac (phoen) had typed them.
24 Q. Thank you very much.
25 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask the usher for the
1 new batch of commands?
2 THE REGISTRAR: D243, D243A for the English
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. Could you please take a look at this
6 document? On the 12th of March, Cerkez became the
7 authority in the brigade, and the 18th of March he
8 issued the following document. Could you first tell us
9 whether this is the signature of Mr. Cerkez, the one
10 that's on the second page?
11 A. Yes, this is Cerkez's signature.
12 Q. Let me now read part of his first orders.
13 18th of March, 1993 he addresses a letter to the
14 government of the HVO, the commander of the first
15 battalion. "Owing to an increased incidence of overt
16 destructive acts of individuals wearing HVO uniforms
17 and insignia of members of HVO armed units, and with
18 the aim of preventing such actions and enhancing combat
19 readiness I hereby order"; and then comes orders the
20 likes of which we have already seen.
21 Does that mean that even in March you are
22 still grappling with the same problems that you had in
23 January, 1993?
24 A. Yes, we grappled with the same problems until
25 the Washington Agreement. But I would like to clarify
1 why this order was issued in the first place.
2 You see, the commander of the newly
3 established Viteska Brigade, that is Mario Cerkez,
4 until his appointment as commander of this brigade, was
5 in the joint brigade that was called Stjepan
7 When he took over this duty, aware of the key
8 problems that existed in HVO units, and being aware,
9 also, of the orders he had received from the commander
10 of the Operative Zone as the commander of the Stjepan
11 Tomasevic Brigade, now being the commander of the
12 Viteska Brigade, he actually is issuing the same orders
13 that he issued as commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic
15 But the brigade commander could not order the
16 HVO government. Whoever drafted this document did so
17 rather awkwardly. What he should have written was for
18 the information of the HVO government, so that they
19 should know what the military authorities were doing in
20 relation to individuals engaging in destructive acts.
21 Q. When you're talking about the HVO government,
22 do you mean the municipal government or some other
24 A. At the time, at the level of the
25 municipality, the HVO government was the highest form
1 of organisation of the civilian authorities for the
2 needs of a municipality. I am unable to give you an
3 answer as to who constituted that government, because I
4 was engaged in military matters.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document D244, 244A for the
8 English translation.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Brigadier, the previous document, D243,
11 issued by Mario Cerkez to inter alia, the commander of
12 the first battalion had a registry number, record
13 number, and now this, the commander of this first
14 battalion, Anto Bertovic, says on the 19th of March,
15 that is one day after Cerkez had issued his command:
16 "In accordance with the order by the brigade commander
17 number 01-18-1/ and," then illegible, "of 18 March,
18 1993, and owing to an increased incidence of overt
19 destructive acts by individuals wearing uniforms and
20 insignia of members of the HVO armed formations, and
21 with the aim of preventing such actions and enhancing
22 combat readiness, I hereby order"; and then he orders
23 whatever we see in the text of the order.
24 So, tell me, what does this document tell you
25 in relation to the previous document?
1 A. From this document we can see that in the
2 subordinate command, within the brigade, orders are
3 being implemented, the orders that had been issued by
4 the brigade commander. But the functioning of those
5 relations, that is the chain of command, is something
6 that I would like to speak of later on. But we can see
7 that the brigade commander had carried out the command
8 that had been issued by the commander of the
9 Operational Zone, and this is going down lower in the
10 chain of command.
11 But also from this we can see how many
12 criminal acts had happened in that area, maybe. In
13 order to understand completely the situation related to
14 these events, allow me, Mr. President, Your Honours, to
15 tell you of an anecdote that was very topical at the
16 time in the Lasva River Valley and in Central Bosnia.
17 It is about the behaviour of the criminals.
18 A bus that was going from Zenica was at some stage
19 intercepted by a number of criminals that were wearing
20 the HVO uniforms. So, they entered the bus and they
21 asked money from the passengers. But the first
22 passenger said to the soldier, "But I am a Croat," when
23 he saw that the other one was wearing the HVO uniform.
24 And this criminal answered, "But I'm not here
25 to do a census, I'm just here to ask for your money.
1 MR. NOBILO: I'm sorry if this is really not
2 at level of this Tribunal. Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Now, if you would allow me, we should now go onto a new
4 batch of documents, but it is just one minute before
5 the usual time.
6 JUDGE JORDA: In that case we are going to
7 stop now. Tomorrow we will start at a quarter to 10
8 and work until 13.30. So the hearing is adjourned
9 until tomorrow morning.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
11 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
12 the 25th day of September, 1998 at
13 9.45 a.m.