1 Wednesday, 30 September 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.34 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Will the
5 registrar please have the accused brought in?
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: I greet, once again, the
8 interpreters who were greeted this morning, they are
9 the same, I understand. Let us now resume. First of
10 all, I would like to present my apologies because we
11 are beginning late. Sometimes I'm not trying to give
12 you explanations, but you should understand there is
13 some formal procedures we must follow, but please
14 understand that sometimes I am required to attend to
15 other matters dealing, in particular, with the Trial
16 Chamber itself.
17 We will proceed until 6.30, if the
18 interpreters are in agreement. We will try to take a
19 break of 15 minutes and then another of 20 minutes. I
20 hope the interpreters agree with that new schedule. I
21 have not received a response from them, I am a bit
22 concerned. The French booth says all right, and the
23 English booth, I see that they are nodding in
24 agreement. Very well, thank you very much.
25 Let us now bring in the witness.
1 (The witness entered court)
2 THE WITNESS: SLAVKO MARIN
3 INTERPRETER: Microphone to the President.
4 Microphone to the President, please The interpreters
5 request that the microphone be turned on in front of
6 the President.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Brigadier, do you hear me?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, Mr. President, I can hear
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Nobilo, you
11 have the floor.
12 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Brigadier, we are now going to move to 19
14 April, and we will try to understand what reports and
15 what orders came to the command on the 19th of April,
16 and I would like the next document to please be
18 JUDGE RIAD: First, I would like to ask a
19 question with regards -- of the last statements made by
20 the witness with regards to the 17th of April. You
21 said that the front line of the HVO was at 15
22 kilometres from the last house in Ahmici. You said 50
23 metres, rather, 50 meters from Ahmici, near Baringaj,
24 and that the BiH was 150 metres from Ahmici.
25 Was Ahmici at that time in the hands of the
1 HVO or in the hands of the BiH?
2 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the information
3 which His Honour has just stated here are not the exact
4 information which I had given, and with your permission
5 I would like to correct this information. What I had
6 stated is that the HVO line behind the village of
7 Ahmici was about 50 metres. That means approximately
8 50 metres. And then from that line, the BH army units
9 were at a distance of about 150 metres, rather than
10 about 50 metres, as I believe the interpretation was.
11 JUDGE RIAD: I said 150, 150. Now, my
12 follow-up to that question: Ahmici was in the hands of
13 the HVO or the BiH? Speaking now of the city of
15 A. On 17 April 1993, there were no BH army units
16 in the village of Ahmici. The units that were there
17 had pushed back the HVO units to the lines which I had
18 stated previously.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. The interpretation is not quite clear. The
21 HVO units were, had pushed the BH army units to a
22 distance of about 200 metres away from Ahmici; is that
23 what you were trying to say?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Very well. Brigadier, in order to make
1 things perfectly clear, let's move directly to the
2 scale model so that you can explain to the Trial
3 Chamber how you actually used these, how you placed
4 these green flags on this scale model.
5 Brigadier, please show what you were told in
6 the Operative Zone command? What information was
7 arriving on the 17th and 18th of April? Where were the
8 BH army lines? Could you explain to the Trial Chamber,
9 what does this scale model reflect at this time, and
10 what happened?
11 A. Mr. President, Your Honour, on 17 April 1993,
12 on the basis of combat reports which we received from
13 the field, the BH army units in the territory of the
14 Busovaca and Vitez municipalities were deployed, as is
15 shown by these red flags.
16 Q. You mean green flags?
17 A. I apologise, the green flags. I have placed
18 them on the basis of the combat reports in order to
19 better reflect the situation which was in Vitez and
20 Busovaca municipalities at that point in time.
21 Q. Could you show the town of Vitez and point to
22 the road, take it along the road all the way to
23 Busovaca so we see the main road?
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the town of
25 Vitez is located here on the model. So, the blue flag
1 is the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and the green
2 ones are the command in the old Vitez.
3 And the green flags mark the positions of the
4 BH army, starting from the village of Sadovace, and the
5 village of Grbavica, and then they crossed the road
6 into the village of Grbavica, this is the Vitez Travnik
7 road, in front of the village of Jardo, in front of the
8 village of Krcevine, in front of the Krizancevo Selo,
9 in front of Buhine Kuce, in front of the village of
10 upper Santici, in the village of Pirici, in front of
11 the village of Ahmici, in front of the village of
12 Krtine, on the slopes of Mount Kuber, in front of the
13 village of Loncari, on the feature Gradina, which is
14 part of Mount Kuber, and behind the village of Putis.
15 That means the village of Putis was under the
16 control of the army, and then crossing the Kaonik road,
17 and then the village of Katici, and then around the
18 feature called Kula -- apologies, when I stopped off at
19 Krtine, this is where the Busovaca municipality starts.
20 So, that means it was in front of the feature
21 of Kula, towards the village across this mountain here,
22 towards the village of Solakovici, in front of the
23 village of Nezirovici, that means the Nezirovici
24 village was under control of the BH army, and then
25 between Kacuni and Busovaca, and then in front of
1 Proseje. Proseje was under the HVO control. Across
2 this mountain, this is the Mount Zicka, if I recall
3 correctly; further, in front of the village of Kupres,
4 the village of Kupres was under the HVO control across
5 Mount Kruscica all the way here. In front of the
6 village of, that is, in fact, between the villages of
7 upper and lower Rovna, then the village of Vranjska,
8 part of the village of Kruscica.
9 A large part of the village of Kruscica was
10 under the BH army control and a smaller part was under
11 the control of the HVO. In front of the village of
12 Baskaradi, Baskaradi was under the HVO control, and the
13 area behind it was under the BH army control, towards
14 the Mount Zvjezda all the way to Zabridge.
15 Q. Brigadier, the area which we had not marked,
16 is that part of the Novi Travnik and Travnik
17 municipalities where there were no conflicts on those
18 days in April which we're referring to now?
19 A. Yes, all this area which I am now pointing
20 out is the area of the municipalities of Novi Travnik
21 and Travnik. There were no fighting with the BH army
22 there in those days, and there were positions only held
23 against the army of the Republika Srpska from the Mount
24 Vlasic to Mount of Mravinjaci.
25 Q. Brigadier, you have failed to show me the
1 road, Vitez Busovaca. And when you do so, can you
2 please show me the shortest distances between the main
3 road and the frontlines of the BH army, and where were
4 they, the exact locations?
5 A. The Vitez Busovaca road extends along this
6 valley -- just a moment.
7 Q. And this flag, what does it represent?
8 A. I said that these are the BH army forces in
9 the old Vitez area, in Mahala. So, the road extends
10 along this valley, and the narrowest section of it
11 that, is the narrowest spot in relation to the BH army
12 positions from the left and right side of the road,
13 going from Vitez to Busovaca, that means it would be
14 about 1.5 kilometres as the crow flies.
15 This was an area near the village of Ahmici,
16 and on the other side the BiH army positions near the
17 village of Vranjske.
18 Q. So, to the north of the road, the BH army
19 units, and the BH army units which were south of the
20 road; how close, that is, what was the shortest
21 distance to the road of the BH army units in general?
22 A. The shortest distance between the road to
23 Vitez Kaonik and the BH army units were at Sivrino
24 Selo. The distance here was no more than 250 metres.
25 This is the position which the BH army units,
1 throughout 1993 until the Washington agreements, in
2 fact, continued to attack and threaten the BH army
3 units which were defending this position.
4 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. I would now like to
5 ask the technical service to take a picture of this
6 scale model and I would like to tender it into
7 evidence, and I would like it marked for
8 identification, please.
9 A. Mr. President, if I can just add something.
10 From this picture that is going to be taken of this
11 scale model, you will see that the HVO units in
12 Busovaca and Vitez were practically completely
14 THE REGISTRAR: The photograph which will be
15 taken of the scale model will have the number D320,
16 and the document which will be distributed will have
17 the numbers 319, 319A for the French version, and 319B
18 for the English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. Brigadier, I'm referring to the D319, and it
21 is a report from the Frankopan Brigade in Travnik. It
22 is a short one, it is directed to the Central Bosnia
23 Operative Zone in Vitez. I'm only going to read the
24 second paragraph, which is relevant here. "In
25 Brajkovici and Grahovcici there are some displaced
1 Croats from Zenica," and then in parentheses it says
2 "1500", "and parts of the units of the Jure Francetic
3 Brigade from Zenica, all of which upsets my plans.
4 The preparations for defence are nearly
5 finalised, all levels have been involved.
6 This is a decisive moment for Croats, and we
7 shall persevere."
8 Commander, I believe the last name is Nakic,
9 I can't read it well, and then it is signed and
11 Brigadier, first of all, do you recall this
12 report, or a similar report from the Frankopan
13 Brigade? And do you recognise any signatures or stamps
15 A. I do recall the events related in this
16 report. It was compiled in the Frankopan Brigade. It
17 had its command at Guca Gora. It was signed by the
18 commander. I know the commander personally and I
19 recognise his signature.
20 Q. The 1.500 citizens who found themselves
21 there, could you point to the location where these
22 people were?
23 A. This report was drafted after the HVO in
24 Zenica was defeated, after the HVO ceased to exist in
25 the municipal area of Zenica. I can try to show the
1 exact location of Guca Gora. If I don't have it on the
2 map, then I can show it on the scale model.
3 MR. NOBILO: Could we please remove the cap
4 from the projector?
5 Q. If you cannot see it, maybe you can just show
6 the wider area.
7 A. Unfortunately, there's no Guca Gora marked
8 specifically, but I can show an area, see, this area
9 (indicating), and it's only about 1, 1.5 kilometres
10 from there to Guca Gora.
11 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Can we move on to
12 the next document, please?
13 THE REGISTRAR: This map has the number 321.
14 The following document is D322, D322A for the French
15 version, and D322B for the English version.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. Brigadier, I am looking at a report of the
18 111th XP Brigade, and it is addressed, unlike the
19 others, to the attention of Milivoj Petkovic, the
20 Croatian Defence Council in Mostar, and to the Croatian
21 Community of Herceg-Bosna in Mostar, and the Central
22 Bosnia Operative Zone, to the commander Tihomir
23 Blaskic. I'm reading the top paragraph:
24 "In the zone of responsibility of the 111th
25 XP Brigade, there have been no conflicts with the
1 Muslims and their behaviour is odd.
2 The town of Zepce has been deserted, has been
3 a virtual ghost town for the last two days. Inns owned
4 by Muslim owners are empty. The Islamic troops that
5 have been returned from the checkpoint have left for Z.
7 I am considering issuing an order on the
8 withdrawal of our forces from the territory of the
9 defence of the town of Maglaj, as a warning for the
10 attacks they are conducting against our forces in
11 Central Bosnia.
12 I have been receiving information on
13 mistreatment of Croats in Zenica about the complete
14 disarmament and search carried out in the village of
15 Crkvica and the confiscation of weapons.
16 We do not have the complete information, nor
17 has the truth about the sufferings of Croats been
18 sufficiently represented in the Croatian media.
19 It is necessary to inform everyone about the
20 suffering of Croats in Zenica," and then I can't read
21 the word, "about the dangers to their property and
22 their personal safety.
23 Establish contact with the church in Zenica
24 and hear the opinion of the friars, especially of
25 Father Stjepan, who is disappointed and dismayed by
1 what the Muslims have been doing.
2 Insist on the complete withdrawal from
3 Zenica, that is, Croats to move completely out of
5 We have learned that the Muslims are about to
6 launch an attack of Zepce in five days. We are
7 completely cut off from the world, but we have enough
8 reserves to be able to take on and fight either one or
9 the other."
10 I'm going to ask you several questions about
11 this, but I'm going to start from the bottom. First of
12 all, I would like you to tell me whether this is an
13 authentic copy of the original that was drafted by Ivo
14 Livancic of the 11th Brigade?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. They say they are cut off completely from the
17 world, but they accept to take on either of the two
18 sides. Who are either of the two sides? Who are one
19 or the other side?
20 A. We know that, in the municipality of Zepce,
21 as early as 1992, the HVO had established positions
22 against the army of the Republika Srpska. In this
23 statement, one of the two sides would be the army of
24 the Republika Srpska. The other side, based on the
25 behaviour which was described at the top of the
1 document, the BH army, and the uncertainty as to their
2 further actions, the other side would be the BH army.
3 Q. Then it states: "We are completely cut off
4 from the world".
5 A. Yes. Zepce was another enclave, just like
6 the Lasva River Valley. They were completely cut off
7 and they were surrounded by two armies, the BH army and
8 the army of Republika Srpska, as was the HVO in the
9 Lasva River Valley.
10 Q. Is that the reason why they are sending this
11 report out to so many addressees, to General Petkovic,
12 without really observing the proper chain of command?
13 A. Yes. That is true. The commander of the
14 111th Brigade was forced to address the Chief of Staff
15 of the Croatian Defence Council in Mostar and the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna Defence Minister, as
17 well as the Central Bosnia Operative Zone Commander
18 because of the situation in his sector.
19 He can foresee a very difficult situation;
20 therefore, he is asking for assistance and instructions
21 what to do in this type of situation.
22 Q. Does this upset the usual way in which these
23 reports should be sent?
24 A. Yes, it does. I said that the 111th Brigade
25 was under the command of the Central Bosnia Operative
1 Zone. In terms of establishment and formation, it was
2 subordinate to him. But because of the inability of
3 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone to provide any
4 assistance to the 111th Brigade, this commander, who
5 was also commander of this Operative Group, addressed
6 this report directly to the Chief of Staff and the
7 Ministry of Defence.
8 Q. Let me take you to the third paragraph: "I
9 am considering issuing an order on the withdrawal of
10 our forces from the territory of the defence of the
11 town of Maglaj, as a warning for the attacks they are
12 conducting against our forces in Central Bosnia."
13 Who was defending from whom and who would be
14 warned? What kind of a warning would this be?
15 A. The positions and lines against the Bosnian
16 Serb army near Maglaj were held by the HVO. The
17 commander of the 111th Brigade, probably by following
18 the media and monitoring the developments in his area,
19 saw how fierce the attacks were against the Lasva River
20 Valley conducted by the Bosnian army. He probably knew
21 that the HVO troops had been driven out of Zenica and
22 there were none left in Zenica. He may know that the
23 HVO has been holding the lines against the Serbian army
25 So he is probably considering all of these
1 elements, and he is trying to tie up the forces of the
2 BH army in order to force them to take up positions
3 against the Serbian army units. In that way, it would
4 alleviate the pressure against the HVO positions in the
5 Lasva River Valley.
6 Q. When somebody says, "I am considering," he
7 says that he's considering withdrawing some troops from
8 certain positions, does that not sound like self-will,
9 which is not a very military approach to things?
10 A. Given the conflict in January of 1993 between
11 the HVO and the BH army, we, in the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone, were unable to issue commands to this
13 brigade in a way which was envisaged in military
14 terms. It was an independent unit, and this is
15 reflected by him saying, "I am considering," because he
16 knew what his capabilities were in the area in which he
18 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Next document,
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document D323, D323A for the
21 French version, and D323B for the English version.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. Brigadier, we were viewing reports from
24 Kiseljak on the 18th of April when the conflicts in
25 Kiseljak started.
1 On the basis of Blaskic's report of the 17th,
2 addressed to the brigade in Kiseljak, we now have a
3 report of the Kiseljak Brigade, Ban Jelacic, dated the
4 19th of April, 1993. It is addressed to the command of
5 the Operative Zone, and it says:
6 "1) Enemies: Chetniks: No combat
7 activities in the brigade's zone of responsibility. In
8 Koscan, there is a lull in the fighting. Muslim armed
9 forces continue to fire from infantry weapons on our
10 positions from the region of Gomionica. They attempted
11 a counterattack from Gomionica village which we have
12 repelled. In the Podbrdja region, the Muslim armed
13 forces fired at our forces.
14 2) Our forces: Our forces continue with
15 intensive activities in the Gomionica village, since
16 the MOS attempted a counterattack. They are trying to
17 reinforce their positions along the lines they have
18 reached. In other parts of the municipality, there is
19 a lull.
20 3) Suggestions: None.
21 4) Requests: Inform us of the current
22 situation in Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
23 Operations Officer on Duty, Mato Lucic."
24 First, Brigadier, do you remember this
25 report? Do you recognise the stamps and the contents?
1 A. I do recall the contents because we had a
2 keen interest in developments in the area of Gomionica
3 because it is visible from this report how fierce the
4 fighting there was. The report reached the
5 communications centre. Mato Lucic was an officer on
6 duty in the command.
7 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D324, D324A for the
9 English version.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Brigadier, again, we have a rather poor copy,
12 but I shall try to read out the key sentences, but not
13 the whole document, because I don't consider it to be
14 necessary because we already know where the forces were
16 This is a report by the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski
17 from Busovaca dated the 19th of April. The hour is not
18 indicated. The text reads: "On the 19th of April,
19 1993 at 0645 hours, a general attack began on Busovaca
20 from the direction of Dvor-Putis-Gradina. Grid
21 reference point 650. It is believed that this was done
22 by parts of the 7th Muslim Brigade from Zenica, up to
23 500 men strong, armed with automatic weapons. The
24 probable aim of the attack is to capture the grid
25 reference point 650 and hold the surrounding villages
1 under control.
2 The Solakovici-Milavice attack was carried
3 out by parts of the 333rd Brigade from Busovaca and the
4 309th Mountain Brigade from Kakanj, 450 men strong,
5 with the aim of pushing back our forces from the areas
6 under our control.
7 The Kapak-Polom-Ocehnici attack was carried
8 out by parts of the 333rd Mountain Brigade from
9 Busovaca and 302nd Brigade from Visoko, 400 men strong,
10 with the aim of capturing the predominant features and
11 the Draga barracks.
12 On the axis Dusina-Lasva-Merdani-Grablje,
13 forces are stationed from the 305th Jajce Brigade and
14 portions of the 303rd Mountain Brigade and the 301st
15 Motorised Brigade from Zenica. The said forces are
16 probably in reserve and will be acting on the axis
17 Lasva-Merdani and the road Lasva-Grablje-Kaonik, with
18 the aim of taking control of the lines we are holding
19 and controlling communications. These forces are 2.000
20 men strong, and the 301st Motorised Mountain Brigade
21 also has some tanks so the use of the same cannot be
22 ruled out.
23 In the last sentence, Dusko Grubisic, the
24 commander says: "At the moment, there are about 1.300
25 soldiers engaged, including support in personnel added
1 to us from other units."
2 Brigadier, first, do you recall the contents
3 of this report?
4 A. I do. This was the strongest attack by BH
5 army units in the area of Busovaca municipality in the
6 period from the 16th to the 19th of April, 1993. The
7 report reached us from the Busovaca Brigade. It was
8 received in the communications centre.
9 Q. Is this a faithful copy of the original that
10 you received?
11 A. Yes. The underlining in the original was
12 done by me because I was studying this report to get an
13 idea of the situation on the map.
14 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Next document,
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document D325, D325A for the
17 French version, D325B for the English version.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Brigadier, we are now looking at document
20 D325, which is actually a report of the Viteska
21 Brigade, also on the 19th of April, but at 600 hours.
22 It is addressed to you in the command of the Central
23 Bosnia Operative Zone. The text reads:
24 "Last night, Muslim forces from the Lokve
25 region shelled parts of the Kruscica settlement which
1 is under our control. Six mortar shells fell. Two
2 private houses were hit, one Muslim and one Croat.
3 There were no casualties."
4 The third paragraph says: "Additional
5 mobilisation of personnel has been carried out and new
6 trenches and reinforcements are continuously being
7 created along the defence lines. We are doing
8 everything possible to secure the possibility of the
9 Novi Travnik-Vitez-Busovaca road, because it is certain
10 that the enemy will try everything to intercept this
11 communication in certain places.
12 Fatigue can be observed among our soldiers.
13 We are trying to give them the opportunity to rest and
14 prepare for the decisive battle."
15 Brigadier, do you remember the contents of
16 this report?
17 A. I do. The report was written in the Viteska
18 Brigade, and it was received in the Operative Zone
20 Q. The stamp confirming receipt, is it an
21 original one of the command?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is D326,
25 D326A for the French version, D326B for the English
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. The next document is a report of the head of
4 the medical department, Dr. Drago Dzambas, who, on the
5 19th of April at 1600 hours, is submitting a report to
6 the main medical corps headquarters.
7 "Since 17 April (from 1100 hours) until
8 today, 19 April (1630 hours)," so this is a period that
9 is just over 48 hours long. I don't want to read the
10 text, but I would like to read a part from the second
12 "In the Nova Bila war hospital (Franciscan
13 Hospital) which is being used as the collection and
14 selection point, between the last report and the
15 present, we have had 50 new casualties (altogether
16 since the beginning until today there have been 100
17 casualties), out of which there were three new deaths
18 in the hospital. The number of soldiers and civilians
19 killed on the territory of Central Bosnia is about 60
20 to 65.
21 As we are under siege and being tapped, we
22 are protesting and appealing for assistance from the
23 International Community due to the brutal attack by the
24 Muslim fundamentalists on villages and the civilian
1 Chief of the Medical Corps, Dr. Drago
3 Brigadier, did the Chief of the Medical Corps
4 address such a report to the main headquarters of the
5 medical corps in Mostar?
6 A. Yes. I remember this report because it
7 reached us also in the command of the Operative Zone.
8 Q. These numbers, that is, 60 to 65 dead and 100
9 wounded in three days of fighting, are they correct?
10 A. I cannot claim with 100 per cent certainty
11 that those figures are correct, but if it was written
12 by Dr. Dzambas, who kept records of those figures, I
13 believe they are correct.
14 However, Mr. President, Your Honours, I
15 should like to focus on the sentence which says: "The
16 collection and selection war hospital in Nova Bila."
17 The HVO and the commander of the Central Bosnia
18 Operative Zone, Colonel Blaskic, not only did he have
19 problems in defending the defence lines, as shown in
20 the municipality of Vitez and Busovaca, but, also, we
21 didn't have a medical institution to provide proper
22 treatment to our wounded.
23 Instead, we improvised a hospital in a church
24 in Nova Bila and, with the help of doctors from medical
25 institutions in the Lasva Valley, we provided treatment
1 from this date throughout the war until the Washington
2 Agreement. We treated the wounded in such an
3 improvised hospital.
4 For this reason, we see such an appeal, such
5 a request, by the Chief of the Medical Corps to his
6 superiors in the profession in the health department of
7 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna for aid.
8 A second point I wish to make is the
9 statement by the doctor himself, and that is that our
10 reports and links and communications with our main
11 headquarters in Prosje were being tapped, so that some
12 reports that we send there had to be put in such a way
13 as to present the situation in a better light than they
14 really were so that the enemy would not have the proper
15 information to inflict the final blow on us and our
16 defence lines.
17 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Brigadier. Let us
18 now go on to the next document.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document D326, D326A for the
20 French version, D326B for the English version.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. It is 327. The
22 interpreter made a mistake.
23 THE REGISTRAR: For the transcript, it is
24 D327, D327A for the French version, D327B for the
25 English version.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. Brigadier, another poor copy, but I shall do
3 my best to read it, some of the important parts. D327
4 is a report of the Viteska Brigade on the 19th of
5 April, 1993 to the command of the Operative Zone. It
6 says in the first paragraph:
7 "During the whole day, intensive attacks
8 continued by Muslim forces on HVO units and civilian
9 facilities and villages populated by Croats. All lines
10 of defence from the previous report are still under
11 control with additional efforts from personnel and
12 equipment. Very heavy fighting went on in the vicinity
13 of Sivrino Selo village."
14 Then I will go on to the next paragraph:
15 "At 1600 hours, from the region of
16 Vjetrenica, probably from the saddle Vjetrenica-Kuber,
17 Muslim forces shelled from a tank (probably T-34) the
18 town of Vitez itself. The municipality building was
19 hit and the aggressor was probably targeting also the
20 post office, the hotel, the Workers' University, as
21 well as civilian buildings in town. Apart from
22 material damage, there was no other consequences."
23 Something is written by hand, but I can't
24 read it.
25 "Enemy snipers are still active in the town,
1 firing at anything that moves," and then hand-written,
2 "especially women and children."
3 Then the second paragraph from the bottom:
4 "We are short of 7.9 and 9 millimetre ammunition.
5 Last night, on the 18th of April, 1993 in the suburb of
6 Grbavica, Muslim extremists detained the remaining
7 Croatian citizens and took them in an unknown
8 direction." Then those arrested are listed, and the
9 document is signed by the operations officer on duty.
10 Do you recall this document from the 19th of
12 A. Yes. I remember the contents, especially the
13 shelling of the municipality building and the other
14 buildings listed in the report.
15 Q. Will you tell us, this tank, how did the
16 appearance of a tank affect the population, in view of
17 the fact that you mostly had small arms?
18 A. The appearance of a tank, under our
19 conditions, really did cause panic and fear and caused
20 disorganisation in an already disorganised situation.
21 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D328, D328A for the
23 English version.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Before going onto this document, D328, could
1 we summarise on this map, to the best of your
2 recollection and on the basis of the reports, where the
3 conflicts occurred on the 19th of April? This is a
4 document referring to the 20th of April.
5 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, on the 19th of
6 April 1993, on the basis of the reports we received
7 from the Viteska Brigade and the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski
8 Brigade from Busovaca, the fiercest conflicts and the
9 fiercest attacks by BH army units were in the following
10 localities within the territory of Busovaca
12 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please, I want
13 to understand well. Are we talking about the 19th or
14 the 20th of April? The report says the 19th, and the
15 situation is the 20th.
16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we are talking
17 about the 19th of April. So I would prefer the maps to
18 be distributed first so each of Your Honours has a map
19 before him, and the next report, which has already been
20 given a number, will be dealing with the 20th.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think that would be a
22 better idea. You don't have to change the numbering,
23 Mr. Registrar, but it would be better if we could be
24 given a map, as we had before, for the various dates.
25 THE REGISTRAR: This is D320, the number of
1 the map.
2 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, the map should be
3 321. The 320 exhibit, as I understand it, is the
4 photograph taken of the scale model with the flags.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, indeed, 320 is the
6 photograph of the scale model, and 321 is the map for
7 the 19th of April 1993.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. So, the map has a number, D321, and looking
10 at that map, and pointing to the screen with your
11 pointer, can you indicate the places of conflict on the
12 19th of April 1993?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, let me repeat,
14 the places of conflict and shelling were marked on the
15 basis of reports we received from the Nikola
16 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, from Busovaca, and the Viteska
17 Brigade. The small circle indicates the broader area
18 of infantry conflicts, and the arrow indicates the
19 places that was heavily shelled during the day.
20 Let me indicate the places of conflict within
21 the territory of Busovaca municipality. The fiercest
22 conflicts and the fiercest attacks by the BH army were
23 in the surroundings of Prosje, Ocehici, Ocehnici,
24 Milavici, in the area of Putis, Gradina. Those were
25 the localities within the territory of Busovaca.
1 As for attacks in the Vitez municipality, the
2 fiercest attacks were, as we learned from the reports,
3 was Sivrino Selo, Pirici and Santici.
4 Here, we see the name Pirici. The shelling
5 on the same day, heavy shelling that went on
6 throughout the day, were particularly fierce in the
7 following places in Busovaca municipality. First, the
8 town of Busovaca itself, and the separation line, or
9 the line of separation between the Busovaca and Viteska
10 Brigade, that is the area of Kratine, the slopes of
11 Mount Kuber, then the area of Santici, the area of
12 Donja Dubravica, the town of Vitez itself, the defended
13 parts of the village of Kruscica, that is, the part of
14 the village where HVO units were located. The area of
15 Krcevine, a village defended by HVO units, and the area
16 of the village of Jardo.
17 All these localities that were being shelled,
18 if we were to compare them with the scale model, we can
19 see that positions are being shelled of the HVO units
20 which are defending Croatian villages within the
21 municipalities of Vitez and Busovaca, as well as the
22 towns of Busovaca and Vitez, themselves.
23 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. So, we have completed
24 a brief review of events on the 19th of April 1993.
25 We have before us the document number D328.
1 It is the first document relating to the 20th of April,
2 1993, which reached us from the command of the Travnik
4 This is extraordinary combat report, I would
5 like to review it. In item one it states: "In the
6 Travnik town proper, from the barracks up to the entry
7 into town, from the direction of Vitez, Muslim forces
8 are arresting Croats on a mass scale, and they are also
9 taking them away. So far the following people have
10 been taken away. Andrija Eldic was released, Zeljo
11 Glogoski, Anto Sakota, Mario Solumun, Anto Volic and
12 Ilija Martinovic, and we have information that
13 Mrs. Zvonke Gase was killed in her apartment.
14 According to the latest information our
15 communications are tapped.
16 In the Kalibunar area we have difficulties in
17 controlling our forces."
18 And the rest is not important, and the
19 operative on duty, Ljupko Kozina. Do you recall this
20 information from 20 April?
21 A. Yes, I do recall it. I especially recall it
22 regarding the murder of Mrs. Zvonke Gase, which at that
23 time was just presumed, but then it turned out to be
25 She was the wife of one of the commanders of
1 the Viteska Brigade. All the others here were in the
2 town of Travnik. And as I pointed out on the scale
3 map, in Travnik and Novi Travnik there was no fighting.
4 However, you can see a situation which, for all intents
5 and purposes, is like having a conflict in Travnik.
6 Q. Is this tapping of communication lines
7 something that was usual, there in item two?
8 A. Yes. In all command posts we knew that the
9 BH army units had capabilities of eavesdropping, and
10 they were on the surrounding hills and we were down in
11 the valley. And given the technical equipment, there
12 was always a possibility, and there were actual
13 instances where we were tapped.
14 And so, these reports are very short and
16 Q. I am told by my client that Madam Zvonke Gase
17 was killed, and she was the wife of one of the
18 commanders of the Viteska Brigade.
19 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the husband of
20 Mrs. Zvonke Gase was a member of the Travnik Brigade,
21 not the Viteska Brigade.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is D329,
23 D329A for the French version, D329B for the English
25 MR. NOBILO:
1 Q. This is a document from the Central Bosnia
2 Operative Zone command on 20 April 1993 at 1115 hours,
3 and it is titled "The mutual cessation of hostilities."
4 It has a number of addressees, it is to the commanders
5 of the brigades one through twelve, the independent
6 units in the Operative Zone, the Chief of the HVO main
7 headquarters and the A BH army, 3rd Corps, and European
8 Community Monitoring Commission.
9 This is the text. "On the basis of a joint
10 order by the chief of the HVO main headquarters and the
11 chief of the A BH main headquarters, and in connection
12 with a bilateral cease-fire, I hereby order: 1) All
13 HVO units in the area of responsibility of the Central
14 Bosnia Operative Zone immediately cease fire and
15 hostilities against the A BiH units.
16 2) Do not open fire in response to sporadic
17 shooting by the A BiH units.
18 3) In the case of an open attack and heavy
19 firing at the HVO units, return fire energetically and
20 prevent a breakthrough.
21 4) Acquaint all units under your command in
22 your area of responsibility with this order. This
23 order shall come into effect on 20 April 1993 at 1900
24 hours and the commanders of the brigades and of the
25 independent units are personally responsible to me for
1 its execution. Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
2 Brigadier, do you recognise this document?
3 A. I recognise this document. I personally
4 drafted it, it was signed by the commander of the
5 Operative Zone, Colonel Blaskic. It was created on the
6 basis of agreement between the HVO main headquarters
7 and the BiH army headquarters in Zenica.
8 Q. Very well, Brigadier, we're not going to
9 comment on this document any further. I would like to
10 move on to the next one.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document 330, D330A for the
12 English version.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. Brigadier, this document of the 20 of April
15 is from the Vitez Viteska Brigade?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead, Mr. Nobilo.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. In the original which I have before me, I
19 cannot see it very well, but the translators were
20 apparently able to decipher the entire sentence. But
21 I'm going to move on to the second sentence, which may
22 be the more relevant one.
23 "In the evening of 19 April 1993, from the
24 direction of the village of Gacice the enemy fired,
25 most probably with the recoilless gun, BTS," I believe?
1 A. Yes, it is a recoilless gun.
2 Q. Very well, the 82 millimetre recoilless gun
3 "three projectiles on the command post of the Viteska
4 Brigade. There were no casualties, only material
5 damage. Currently fighting is in progress around the
6 village of Gacice, where several sniper nests are
7 located, paralysing almost entirely the centre of town.
8 During the night the Muslims more probably
9 regrouped their forces and started the attacks in the
10 early morning.
11 An attack was carried out yesterday evening
12 against our forces in Zabrde. The mountain lodge was
13 set on fire, and according to unconfirmed reports, some
14 of our men were killed. We assumed the attack was
15 carried out by the Muslim units from Kruscica in
16 cooperation with those from Novi Travnik". And in
17 parentheses it says "Opara".
18 "Our forces are on the defence lines and one
19 50-man unit was sent to Zabrde to recapture this
20 feature. The action is running according to plan and
21 with satisfactory speed".
22 And then the last part is again barely
23 legible but I'll try to read it: "On the premises of
24 the Viteska Brigade command, prominent representatives
25 of Muslims gathered during the night with the goal of
1 finding a way to stop the armed conflict. Together
2 with the representatives of the HVO Vitez government,
3 certain conclusions were reached, and a copy is," I
4 guess it says "attached", or "enclosed".
5 Brigadier, do you recall these events around
6 the village of Gacice, and what do you recall?
7 A. I do recall the events in Gacice and the
8 mountain lodge in Zabrde, I also recall that.
9 In the village of Gacice, which is a village
10 where the population was mixed, the Croatian and Muslim
11 Bosnia population, and there were both the BH army
12 units there and the HVO units. Those were not big
14 And on this particular day I know that a
15 conflict broke out and the HVO units pushed back the BH
16 army units, and as far as I know, they pushed them back
17 in the direction of Kruscica.
18 I also recall this combat operation at
19 Zabrde. I could also show it on the scale model, in
20 order to provide a better picture about the efforts of
21 the BH army to continue their strangle hold, and to
22 reduce the amount of ground held by the HVO to a
24 Q. Very well, Brigadier. Before that, is this a
25 true copy of the original which you had received?
1 A. Regarding the events which I have just
2 related, I recall it as such.
3 Q. Very well. Let's move on to the scale model,
5 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the location
6 from where BH army units arrived and carried out the
7 attack at Zabrde, part of the movement was across the
8 mountain paths and then the villages of Trenza (phoen),
9 Cakice (phoen), and the lateral roads which have not
10 been entered here. And they attacked the Zabrde; and
11 our units, which were there, were pushed from these
12 positions, and the town of Vitez and the villages
13 controlled by the HVO were further threatened in terms
14 of their tactical situation.
15 Because the town of Vitez and the surrounding
16 villages were almost like on the palm of your hand, you
17 could see exactly any movement, who was moving and
18 where they were moving. And if you had appropriate
19 weapons, you could control all these roads and the
20 entire area under the HVO control.
21 Q. Can you show the village of Gacice, please?
22 A. Just a moment, please. This is Ocice. The
23 village of Gacice is situated here. And this is where
24 the units of the BH army and HVO clashed. The HVO
25 units pushed the BH army back, and this is how I marked
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, if you are more or
3 less finished with the presentation of these documents
4 and the use of the scale model, I propose a 15 or
5 20-minute break. We now stand in recess.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Let us now resume with the
9 hearing. Would the registrar please bring the accused
10 back in the courtroom?
11 (The accused entered court)
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, let us continue.
13 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We'll have another 15-minute
15 break at around 5.15 or so, and then we will continue
16 until 6.15, 6.30.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document D331A for the
18 English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. This is the Viteska Brigade command, 20
21 April, 1993 at 1800 hours, Operations Report:
22 "Heavy attacks on the HVO units by Muslim
23 forces continued throughout the afternoon. Infantry
24 breakthroughs were attempted on several occasions on
25 lines in the Krcevine and Krizancevo Selo regions. At
1 the moment, fierce battles are being waged in
2 Krizancevo Selo where the Mujahedeen forces have already
3 descended. The Croatian population are panicking and
4 have started fleeing from their homes. We are
5 attempting to stabilise the situation and the defence
6 is focusing now on Dubravica.
7 The BH army forces are attacking our units
8 from several directions: From the Bukve-Ljubici and
9 Slatine axis on Krcevine, and from the Tolovici
10 position on Krizancevo Selo and Dubravica. An attack
11 on Zabrde is expected.
12 The Gacice village is 100 per cent
13 completed. Forty-seven men were taken prisoner. Women
14 and children were sent home.
15 Snipers are still attacking the town and the
16 defence lines.
17 We had four soldiers killed in today's
18 fighting (one from Novi Travnik) and four wounded."
19 Brigadier, do you recall the facts from this
20 report on 20 April, 1993 which arrived in your command?
21 A. Yes. I do recall the facts which are
22 referred to in this report.
23 Q. There is no incoming stamp here at your
24 communications centre; why?
25 A. As I already stated, some messages were
1 coming by courier where it was possible.
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Next document,
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document D332, D332A for the
5 English version.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. Another report, this time from the Busovaca
8 Brigade, same date, 20 April, and the situation is as
9 of 2200 hours, and that is when it reached your command
10 centre. I'll read the body of text:
11 "Throughout the afternoon and evening, the
12 aggression on our municipality continued. The attacks
13 on the Poloma region continued. Our units repelled the
14 attack and pushed the enemy back to its initial
15 position. In the course of the battle, quite a few of
16 our soldiers were killed and wounded.
17 In the Roski Stijene area, our units also
18 repelled the attack and pushed the Muslim forces back
19 to their original positions. There were also killed
20 and wounded soldiers in this battle.
21 We have no official information about the
22 number of soldiers killed and wounded, and we will send
23 in a report later.
24 Also, clashes in the Putis-Gradina-Jelinak
25 area and in the Bara and Donje Rovne areas have
2 Because of the difficult communications and
3 radio systems, we have not received reports about the
4 number of casualties.
5 The defence lines are stable and the morale
6 of soldiers and logistic support are satisfactory."
7 Brigadier, did you receive this report on the
8 20th of April?
9 A. Yes, we did. We received it through the
10 packet communications. I do recall the events referred
11 to in this report. From it, we see that the forces,
12 which had been brought in to reinforce and in order to
13 assist the attack in Busovaca, were used. These forces
14 are attacking, and we see what the situation is in the
15 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski at that given hour.
16 Q. Would you often hear verbally or in written
17 form? "Because of the written communications, we have
18 not received reports about the number of casualties."
19 In other words, the difficulties you experienced in
20 communicating, we know how the situation was with the
21 command, but what was the situation within the brigade
22 itself, let's say, from the brigade down to the
23 battalion, from the battalion down to the company, and
24 so on?
25 A. The farther down the chain you went, from
1 battalion to company, to platoon, and squad, the
2 communication system was poorer and poorer, because we
3 did not have enough equipment to cover all these
4 formations. The level of platoons and squads, as far
5 as I recall within the brigades, all communications
6 were done by courier. Therefore, the reports to the
7 commander of the brigade were also coming in late.
8 Q. Very well. Let me point you to the hour
9 here. It says "2200 hours," whereas you received it on
10 21 April at 0100 hours. In other words, three hours
11 later you received this report. This is the brigade
12 which is located within the enclave. Did the command
13 have any communications in real time? In military
14 terms, what is "real time"?
15 A. Because of the poor level of communications,
16 the Operative Zone command never had the factual
17 picture or situation in real time. The real time would
18 be the time, for instance, when you would receive an
19 information about something at the time when something
20 occurred. This is a report on something that took
21 place throughout this day and as of 2200 hours of that
22 day, anything that happened on that day up to 2200
23 hours, even though this report came to us at 0157 hours
24 on the 21st of April.
25 Q. In modern warfare, is the real time the only
1 time that is counted?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You said that the real time is when the
4 information is received immediately upon an event
5 taking place.
6 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Let's move on to the
7 next document.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D333, D333A for the
9 French version, and D333B for the English version.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Brigadier, we have an order of Brigadier
12 Petkovic, the Chief of Staff of the Main Headquarters,
13 which was sent at different times, we see those times,
14 to different operative zones, to the Central Bosnia
15 Operative Zone at 0320. It states:
16 "In connection with the rights and
17 obligations of the Red Cross (ICRC) which follow from
18 the Geneva Agreements of 22 May and 6 June, 1992, and
19 in view of the recent developments in relations between
20 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO, that
21 is, the possibility that combat activities and
22 emotional stress may cause disrespect for and
23 violations of the rights of the ICRC and of all others
24 who are included in the Geneva Agreement and in the
25 spirit of the orders issued to date, I hereby order:
1 1) Make sure the ICRC has free access to
2 civilians in all areas.
3 2) Respect and protect the civilian
4 population affected by combat operations.
5 3) Treat captured civilians and soldiers in a
6 humane fashion and provide them with adequate
8 4) Report the identity of all captured or
9 imprisoned persons to the ICRC and allow their
10 representatives to visit them.
11 5) Round up, care for, and protect all
12 wounded persons everywhere and at all times, regardless
13 of which side they belong to.
14 6) Allow free access and passage to
15 humanitarian aid and medical convoys.
16 7) Once again, familiarise all units under
17 your command with this order.
18 Chief Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic," signed of
19 the main headquarters.
20 Brigadier, did you receive such an order on
21 20 April at the Central Bosnia Operative Zone command?
22 A. Yes. We did receive it. I do remember it,
23 and I recall also that we issued an appropriate order
24 in compliance with this order to our subordinate
1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. I think that this
2 order speaks for itself, and I would just like to move
3 on to the next document, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: D334, D334A for the French
5 version, D334B for the English version.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. I'm reading the document D334. The command
8 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia on the 21st of
9 April, 1993 issues an order to HVO brigades from 1 to
10 12, independent units, the 4th Military Police
11 Battalion, and the Special Purposes Unit Vitezovi,
12 Vitez. The order issued by Colonel Blaskic reads:
13 "On the basis of the command of the chief of
14 staff of the HVO main headquarters," then in black ink,
15 the same as was used for indicating the reference
16 number, "01-4-444/93, further to the exercise of the
17 rights and duties of the International Red Cross, as
18 stipulated in the Geneva Agreements of 22 May to 6
19 June, 1992, and with regard to the recent developments
20 in relations between the HVO and the BH army, that is,
21 violations of the rights of the International Red Cross
22 and all others covered by the Geneva Agreement caused
23 by combat activities and emotional stress, and in the
24 spirit of the recent orders, I hereby order:
25 1) Allow the ICRC free access to the
1 civilians in all areas.
2 2) Respect and protect the civilian
3 population caught up in combat activities.
4 3) Treat the captured civilians and soldiers
5 humanely and provide them with suitable protection.
6 4) Report the identity of all prisoners and
7 detainees to the ICRC and allow ICRC representatives to
8 visit them.
9 6) Allow free access and passage to convoys
10 of humanitarian aid.
11 7) Inform all units under your command of
12 this order."
13 Brigadier, even though this order is a very,
14 very poor copy that we have, do you recall this order
15 as written?
16 A. I do. I wrote it myself. It was signed by
17 General Blaskic. The corrections in it were done by
18 General Blaskic the moment I gave him the document to
19 sign. This is the order that I mentioned when talking
20 about the order of the main headquarters that was
21 addressed to subordinate units.
22 Q. We notice a complete correspondence, to the
23 letter, to the word, between this order and the order
24 of General Petkovic. Was that typical of Colonel
25 Blaskic, to respect orders, or was he prone to
1 improvise and give his own interpretations to superior
2 orders? What kind of an officer was he?
3 A. General Blaskic, in my view, was a highly
4 professional commander, and it was his principle and
5 his style of work to observe, to the letter, superior
6 commands. Any commands coming from the main
7 headquarters, he sought to implement them fully. This
8 order confirms this characteristic of General
10 May I also add, in this connection, my own
11 personal impressions of the General when I was working
12 with him throughout the war in those difficult times?
13 General Blaskic had such a civilised
14 behaviour. We would spend hours and hours together in
15 the most difficult circumstances, and he never
16 addressed me, his closest associate, in any other way
17 but as "Mr. So-and-so," and that was the way he
18 addressed all his subordinates, and I wondered why he
19 did so.
20 This was due to the fact that General Blaskic
21 was fully aware of his ultimate and only goal, and that
22 is to establish an organisation of the HVO. And in
23 order to achieve that, as he wanted to, he wanted to
24 set a personal example to show what a professional
25 attitude of an officer should be within an institution
1 under your command.
2 Mr. President, Your Honours, in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, interpersonal relations, regardless of
4 status, duty, and position, a person in Bosnia after
5 meeting you, after a couple of sentences, will address
6 you in the familiar manner. He will start using this
7 familiar tone. This, too, was a reason why General
8 Blaskic wanted to set a personal example and, through
9 us, to influence his subordinate commanders, so that in
10 the HVO relations of subordination, superiority should
11 be established so that people would know exactly what
12 to do when they received orders from a superior.
13 However, he was working under circumstances,
14 which we have been discussing for the past four or five
15 days, so we know the kind of conditions that we were
16 working in.
17 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. We have a new
18 document, now.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document D335, D335A for the
20 French version, 335B for the English version.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. Brigadier, we now have a report or a note
23 obviously written by Colonel Blaskic after a meeting
24 with the chief of the main command, Sefer Halilovic,
25 and the Chief of Staff of the main command of the HVO.
1 So, the Supreme Commander of the BiH army and of the
2 HVO. Also present, among others, was Blaskic, and the
3 meeting was chaired by Ambassador Thebault.
4 We will not read the whole text, because it
5 is lengthy, although I consider it to be extremely
6 relevant and important because it speaks of the
7 positions of the BH army and the positions of the HVO.
8 But I would like to focus on the last part, where it
9 says: "Other observations".
10 So, could you please try and refresh your
11 memory of that day when he came back from the meeting,
12 and what he told you, and what was happening?
13 "Other observations:" And this is what
14 Blaskic writes in his report on the last page.
15 "1. A large number of civilian casualties.
16 2. The delegation of the BH army is worried
17 and cold and distant.
18 3. Total lack of attention to essential
19 problems, their answer to everything is no problems.
20 4. Vehbija is preoccupied, his thoughts are
21 elsewhere, he takes notes, follows everything said, but
22 is full of hatred.
23 5. Siber is a commander of the BH army,
24 behaves as if he had known me.
25 6. Merdan, deputy commander of the 3rd
1 Corps, he keeps inventing one-sided reasons for the
2 conflict, is pretty worried about the 500 civilians
3 killed in Vitez.
4 7. I'm said to be good if Kordic was not
5 giving me orders, and that is a big problem for
7 8. My personal impression is they are either
8 totally scatterbrained, so they have agreed to
9 everything, or they can no longer control their own
10 actions so now they accept everything in order to
11 create space for a new attack, one they will not give
12 up on."
13 Brigadier, are you aware of these notes from
14 the meeting? And do you know that Blaskic wrote it and
15 signed it?
16 A. I'm familiar with the content of the note on
17 the meeting. This is not General Blaskic's signature,
18 I cannot exactly remember whose signature it is, but it
19 does bear the stamp of the Operational Zone.
20 Q. Let this document be a basis for refreshing
21 your memory. Do you remember that Blaskic went to
22 Zenica to attend a meeting with the BH army to
23 negotiate a cease-fire? Do you remember what he told
24 you when he came back, what they had discussed at the
25 meeting, what did he learn at that meeting?
1 A. I do, indeed, remember that day very well.
2 The meeting in Zenica was held in order to carry out
3 the order on the cessation of hostilities between units
4 of the BH and the HVO, addressed by the main
5 headquarters, that is Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic and
6 the Chief of Staff of the BH army.
7 I remember precisely when General Blaskic
8 left for that meeting in Zenica. He left in the
9 organisation of UNPROFOR. And in the operative centre,
10 I stayed behind, my task being to be in touch with him
11 and to coordinate all activities between our command
12 and our subordinate units.
13 I remember that day in particular, because
14 something occurred which should not have occurred,
15 especially not something that was done by the army,
16 even though it had signed the cease-fire. This was in
17 the evening, it was already dark, and in my assessment,
18 I think that General Blaskic must have already reached
19 the place of the meeting; but I was told by the Viteska
20 Brigade that a strong attack had been launched by BH
21 army units from Dubravica towards the road and the
22 railway station in Vitez.
23 Let me show you with this pointer. It is
24 this direction (indicating). And in this attack the BH
25 army units reached ten metres away from the road.
1 There was panic, they called up from the Viteska
2 Brigade because they received orders on a cessation of
3 fire. People had relaxed after four days of heavy
4 fighting, and the command of that BH army unit took
5 advantage of the moment. In my view this was a planned
6 action, it was a fierce attack; but investing extreme
7 effort, the BH army units were pushed back to initial
9 What did I do? I called up the command of
10 the 3rd Corps, luckily I managed to get through. I
11 asked to talk to General Blaskic, I informed him of the
12 same and told him to ask the commander of the 3rd Corps
13 to cease such activities.
14 At that time, and there were several similar
15 incidents, the power was cut off in Vitez and the town
16 was in total darkness. We in the command were not
17 ready for this, and we sought a way of providing
18 electric light to be able to continue working, and I
19 informed General Blaskic of this. He intervened with
20 the commander of the 3rd Corps; but my personal
21 conclusion is that the HVO units, had they not managed
22 to push back BH army units to initial positions,
23 regardless of the order issued to respect the
24 cease-fire and to cease hostilities, the BH army units
25 would have cut across this road over which we had
1 fought throughout the war.
2 These are some events that remain clear in my
3 mind during the time that General Blaskic was in
4 Zenica. I shall now go onto General Blaskic's return
5 from Zenica.
6 I have already said that I actually met him
7 during the war. So I noticed on his face that he was
8 worried and depressed, and he uttered only one
9 sentence, and I shall try to remember it fully.
10 "I have been informed that in the conflicts,
11 in the territory of the Vitez municipality, and
12 especially in Ahmici, there were a large number of
13 people killed, among whom there are civilians."
14 That was the information he conveyed, and it
15 was then that I learned that in Ahmici a large number
16 of people had been killed, among whom there were
18 As for the other matters discussed, I learned
19 about them from the report, and after this statement by
20 General Blaskic, because of his overall attitude and
21 the way he looked to me, I didn't ask anything more
22 about this meeting, because he told me that there would
23 be a complete report, and that is the report that we
24 have before us.
25 Q. Tell us, Brigadier, there were two meetings
1 at the time, one in Zenica, one in Bila; do you recall
2 both meetings or only the one in Zenica?
3 A. I do not recall the meeting in Bila very
4 well, because I was preoccupied with the events I have
5 just described.
6 Q. Thank you. Let us go on to the next
7 document, it is another order by Blaskic dated the 21st
8 of April.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document D336, D336A for the
10 French version, 336B for the English version.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Before proceeding to the next
12 document, I should just like clarification to be made.
13 In comments on the document 335A in French, under
14 number 6, it says "Merdan is very worried about the 500
15 civilians killed in Vitez." Are those Bosniaks,
16 Croats, those civilians? What kind of civilians were
18 A. I cannot provide a precise answer to this
19 question, because I don't know what was implied by this
20 sentence, because there were dead civilians both among
21 the Croats and the Muslim Bosniaks.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. But according to your recollection, is this a
24 realistic figure, even if we added both Croats and
1 A. I think that the figure is nowhere near a
2 realistic one, according to what I learned subsequently
3 about the actual losses and casualties, both within HVO
4 ranks and BH army ranks, and the victims among the
5 Croatian population and the Bosniak Muslims.
6 Q. So you are implying this is an exaggeration?
7 A. Yes, that is my impression.
8 Q. The next document is D336. It is an order by
9 Colonel Blaskic issued on the 21st of April 1993 at
10 0910 hours. The heading is "Implementation of the
11 agreement between units of the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO. Order: On the 21st of
13 April 1993, at 1200 hours, a meeting was held in Nova
14 Bila between the Chief of Staff of the main
15 headquarters of the HVO and the chief of the main
16 headquarters of the BH army.
17 On the basis of the agreement reached between
18 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic and Chief of the main
19 command of the BH army, Mr. Sefer Halilovic, and with
20 the objective of implementing it fully, I hereby order:
21 First: Halt all combat activities against BH army
22 units and commence securing installations, positions,
23 settlements and communications; also, increase the
24 control of the territory.
25 Responsible, the immediate subordinated
2 Deadline, immediately.
3 I forbid the opening of fire in the event of
4 provocations on the part of the BiH army soldiers.
5 Combat activities may be carried out only in the event
6 of provocations and open attacks by BH army units and
7 in strict compliance with the orders of the superior
9 Responsible: The immediately subordinated
10 commanders, defence sector commanders. Deadline:
12 4) Ensure unfettered movement of U.N. forces
13 and European Community Monitoring Mission team along
14 all roads in the zone of responsibility in the HVO
15 command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and
16 according to previously submitted orders.
17 Responsible: Commanders of HVO brigades,
18 commander of the military police of the HVO in the
19 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
20 Deadline: Immediately.
21 5) In the period agreed, simultaneous with
22 the withdrawal of the BH army forces, withdraw all
23 military units from the Sljivcica-Vrhovin and Gavrine
24 Kuce lines; whereas, the area Kaonik Zenica to the
25 right and Vjetrenica Zenica to the left, along the
1 Vitez Kaonik road in the depth of the Zenica area
2 remains a demilitarised area occupied by U.N. forces
3 only, free of military units.
4 6) HVO brigade commanders are obliged to
5 guarantee full security to Muslim civilians and other
6 civilians in the area of responsibility. Competent HVO
7 authorities are duty bound to ensure public law and
8 order, especially with regard to the Muslim inhabitants
9 of the town of Vitez and the Croatian inhabitants of
10 the town of Zenica.
11 I hereby appoint the following people to a
12 joint coordination team: Mr. Franjo Nakic, chief of
13 the HVO staff; Mr. Zoran Pilicic, member of the
14 Operative Zone command; and Mr. Vukovic.
15 The joint team will commence with its work on
16 the 22nd of April 1993 at 1000 hours in Nova Bila in
17 the ECMM headquarters.
18 8) Brigade commanders are obliged to issue
19 written orders to their subordinate commanders on the
20 basis of this order and to start implementing it. They
21 are to send one copy of their order to the Vitez
22 Operative Zone Central Bosnia command.
23 9) Immediately subordinate commanders are
24 personally responsible to me for the full execution of
25 this order." Signed "Colonel Blaskic".
1 Tell us, Brigadier, do you remember this
3 A. I do, or rather, I recall the content,
4 because I had the same in my hands, I was partly
5 responsible for its implementation on the ground.
6 Q. Thank you. The text speaks for itself, so we
7 can proceed to the next document.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D337, D337A for the
9 French version, 337B for the English version.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we received this
11 document from the Prosecutor's office. It is
12 hand-written in English, so the original document is in
13 English, so I would like to ask my colleague,
14 Mr. Hayman, to read it.
15 My colleague is telling me that there is a
16 Croatian version, so I will read it after all.
17 Q. So, the document was issued by the 3rd Corps
18 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, the Operative Zone
19 of Central Bosnia, on the 22nd of April, 1993. And it
20 says: "Based on the agreement to establish a joint
21 operational centre at the level of the BH army 3rd
22 Corps and the HVO headquarters of Central Bosnia, as
23 the first step in order to establish the joint
24 headquarters in regard to implementation of the said
25 agreement, we are hereby appointing the following
1 commission for dealing with all the problems and tasks
2 in implementation of this agreement."
3 Now we see three members on behalf of the BH
4 army and three on behalf of the HVO, Hadzihasanovic has
5 signed it, the commander of the 3rd Corps, and on
6 behalf of the Operative Zone of Bosnia, Colonel
8 Are you aware of this agreement and this
10 There is another text underneath the names,
11 it can hardly be read, and it says, roughly, "The
12 appointed members of the commission are authorised to
13 make all the necessary orders, instructions and tasks
14 in accordance with the agreement signed."
15 We received the document from the
16 Prosecution, but regardless of that, will you tell us,
17 Brigadier; is this Blaskic's signature and the stamp of
18 the Operative Zone?
19 A. Yes, and I recall the document.
20 Q. Will you tell us what was the purpose of
21 creating a joint headquarters since there was a real
22 war from the 16th to the 21st?
23 A. The purpose of this commission was to
24 implement the tasks agreed at the meeting, and the
25 ultimate task was to organise the HVO and the army for
1 the battle against their common enemy, and that is the
2 army of Republika Srpska.
3 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document D338, D338A for the
5 English version.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. The next document is D338, it is a joint
8 document of the command of the 3rd Corps in Zenica and
9 the command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
10 It was compiled in Bila on the 22nd of April 1993, and
11 the heading is "The first joint operation centre of the
12 Croatian Defence Council and the army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina" subtitle "Establishment of local
15 "Order: Based on agreement reached between
16 the chief of the main staff of the Croatian Defence
17 Council and the chief of the general staff of the armed
18 forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the
19 chairmanship of General Morillon, U.N. force commander
20 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ambassador Thebault
21 representing the European Community monitors, I order:
22 1) Local joint commissions composed of three
23 members, representatives of the army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO are to be established
25 immediately in Vitez, Travnik, Busovaca and Kiseljak.
1 2) The composition of these joint local
2 commissions, as well as the location where they will be
3 established..." I can't see very well, "... should be
4 reported in writing to the headquarters of the Central
5 Bosnia Operative Zone and to the headquarters of the
6 3rd Corps.
7 3) The task of the joint commissions is to
8 execute orders issued by the joint operations centre,
9 which is located attached to the headquarters of the
10 European Community Monitoring Mission in Bila, the
11 municipality building in Vitez.
12 4) Local joint commissions shall supervise
13 cessation of local hostilities and propose appropriate
14 punishment against the violators to superior commanders
15 of the Croatian Defence Council and the army of
17 5) Each commission is under obligation to
18 create conditions in which full security is guaranteed
19 to the civilian population in its zone of
20 responsibility, and the competent bodies have the duty
21 to ensure public law and order.
22 6) Each commission shall undertake necessary
23 measures in order to prevent arson, destruction and
24 stealing of property owned by citizens within the area
25 under its control.
1 7) Reporting. Until the establishment of
2 communications between the operation centre in Bila and
3 all local commissions, joint reports signed by both
4 sides are to be sent to the Central Bosnia Operative
5 Zone and the 3rd Corps headquarters.
6 Regular reports are to be sent daily by 2000
7 hours with the status as of 1900 hours, while special
8 reports shall be sent as necessary."
9 Signed by deputy commander of the 3rd Corps,
10 Dzemo Merdan, and the stamp of the 3rd Corps; and the
11 deputy commander of the HVO Operative Zone for Central
12 Bosnia, Franjo Nakic, with the stamp of the Central
13 Bosnia Operative Zone.
14 Brigadier, do you recognise the stamp and
15 signature of Mr. Nakic?
16 A. I do, as well as what has been hand-written,
17 "ONO." It is a sign that the document reached me in
18 the command.
19 Q. So you can say that you actually saw this
21 A. Yes, and I also remember the content.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Next document,
23 please, because this one speaks for itself.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document D339, D339A for the
25 English version.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. Brigadier, let me read the document for you.
3 It's numbered as 339, Defence Exhibit. This is in
4 Mostar on 22 April, 1993, and "Done at Zenica, 20
5 April, 1993." The subject heading is "Agreement."
6 "During the joint meeting held in Zenica,
7 under the joint chairmanship of General Morillon, U.N.
8 Force Commander for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
9 Mr. Thebault, Head of the EC Monitor Mission, the high
10 level representatives agreed as follows:
11 1) The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO
12 represent the legal defence forces of the Republic of
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina and have equal treatment.
14 2) All commanders at all levels must observe
15 and instantly establish a complete cease-fire on the
16 entire territory of the Republic of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina, failure to observe a cease-fire is
18 unacceptable under any circumstances. Both Chiefs of
19 General Staff will immediately issue orders to fully
20 observe a cease-fire.
21 3) A Joint Operations Centre has been
22 established in Vitez at the level of the 3rd Corps of
23 the BH army and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, as a
24 first step in the establishment of a joint
25 headquarters, which shall be set up in the course of
1 the following days.
2 At first, the Joint Operations Centre will be
3 jointly led by both deputy commanders and
4 representatives of brigades of both parties will
5 participate as members. The Centre will be temporarily
6 located in the current headquarters of the Busovaca
7 Joint Commission in Vitez, which will enable close
8 cooperation. UNPROFOR will provide all necessary
9 assistance, particularly regarding security measures.
10 At the same time, local joint commissions
11 will be established at the brigade level to ensure full
12 and immediate cooperation.
13 The Joint Operations Centre will be
14 established on Wednesday, 21 April, 1993 and will
15 immediately begin to operate in the entire territory.
16 The centre is authorised to issue joint orders which
17 shall immediately be implemented in the field.
18 The Chiefs of General Staff will meet on a
19 weekly basis in order to ensure close and continuous
20 cooperation on all relevant issues. These meetings
21 shall be held alternately in Mostar and Zenica. The
22 next meeting will be held in Mostar."
23 Item 5 is not fully legible. On the next
24 page, it says:
25 "A joint report will be prepared daily by
1 the Corps Commander and the commander of the Operative
2 Zone in order to immediately inform both chiefs of
4 Then it says: "Chiefs of General Staff of
5 the General Headquarters of the Army of BH, Sefer
6 Halilovic; Chief of General Staff of the Croatian
7 Defence Council at the General Headquarters, Milivoj
8 Petkovic; U.N. Force Commander for BiH," and it's not
9 fully legible. It must be "General Philippe Morillon."
10 Then, "Head of the ECC Regional Centre." Again, I
11 can't see it well. It must be "Jean-Pierre Thebault."
12 Then, "Accuracy of transcription certified by Dobroslav
13 Barbaric." Then we have a stamp of the communications
14 centre of the main headquarters of the HVO.
15 Do you recall the facts which are spelled out
16 here in this document which was prepared in Zenica? In
17 other words, following 20 April, did the facts of this
18 agreement reach you in your headquarters?
19 A. I partially remember this agreement. This
20 agreement arrived in the Operative Zone command. As
21 far as I understand it, this is a transcription of the
22 text regarding the agreed-to activities from this
23 meeting in Zenica between the HVO units and the BH
24 army, represented by the Chief of Staff of the HVO,
25 Milivoj Petkovic, and Sefer Halilovic, Chief of Staff
1 of the BH army.
2 We saw the further facts of this in previous
3 reports. As far as the obligations of the HVO are
4 concerned, we carried all of them out.
5 Q. Brigadier, in your opinion, could it have
6 happened that General Blaskic, in a way in which you
7 met him, which was in a professional context, would not
8 obey General Petkovic or anybody at such a high level?
9 A. No. That could not have happened and, in
10 this particular case, it did not happen.
11 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is document
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have the
14 original of the letter which General Blaskic sent to
15 Robert Stewart, BRITBAT Commander. We received it from
16 the Prosecution, and my colleague, Mr. Hayman, will be
17 so kind as a read it.
18 MR. HAYMAN: "Vitez, April 23, 1993." The
19 addressee is "UNPROFOR, Lieutenant Colonel Robert
20 Stewart, BRITBAT Commander.
21 1) I am ready to send immediately the
22 investigating commission to village of Ahmici as well
23 as to all other places that need to investigated
24 because of gathering facts about all the innocent
25 victims this conflict.
1 I, myself, beg you to help us stop this
2 suffering and make the adequate conditions for the
3 commission to work properly.
4 As stated by both ABiH and HVO, everybody
5 seems to be right, lles fighting is still going
6 on, threatening to grow into the catastrophe and the
7 disaster for all the people of this region.
8 2) I suggest that a new meeting is urgently
9 summoned between the head of staff and the HVO head of
10 staff, together with the commanders of HVO Operational
11 Zone Middle Bosnia and the commander of the 3rd Corps,
12 since I think it might prevent this from growing into
13 even worse," and then perhaps the next word is
14 "disaster," "which would be totally out of anybody's
16 3) I consider you to be an utterly honourable
17 and professional soldier," it appears, "which gives me
18 the cause to beg you as a man begs a man, please
19 intervene in our further negotiations together with
20 Mr. Thebault. Thankful in advance, with respect," and
21 then I believe the indication is "for Colonel Tihomir
22 Blaskic," although the signature, we'll have to ask
23 the witness if he recognises it.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Brigadier, let's see, do you recognise the
1 signature and the stamp?
2 A. This is my signature. I signed this document
3 on behalf of General Blaskic by his authorisation, and
4 it was done at the Operative Zone command, and it bears
5 its stamp.
6 Q. When the commander issues you an order to
7 draft such a document, does he give you any pointers?
8 Why is he addressing Colonel Stewart?
9 A. When we talked about this document and when
10 he told me to sign it, and I do not recall exactly
11 where he was at that moment, he must have been tied up
12 somewhere, he told me that he wanted to ascertain the
13 real facts regarding the death of civilians in the area
14 of Vitez municipality, both Bosnians and Croats, and
15 especially in the village of Ahmici. For that purpose,
16 this particular letter was drafted, and it reflects
17 exactly the instructions of General Blaskic.
18 Q. Now, why couldn't he just go with the
19 investigating commission to Ahmici and send this
20 commission to Ahmici?
21 A. He could not have sent this commission to
22 Ahmici at that time, because the area of Ahmici, at
23 that point, was still within the range of the small
24 arms, the infantry weapons, of the positions of the BH
25 army units. Because at the beginning of our hearing
1 today, we mentioned those lines. This entire village
2 was in a position where the small arms fire could be
3 effectively used there. So these members of the
4 commission could not carry out their duties as
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, you said 5.15.
7 We have just reached that point.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, indeed. Let us now take a
9 recess and return in 15 minutes.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.17 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.37 p.m.
12 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is now in session.
13 Please have the accused brought in.
14 (The accused entered court)
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, we're now going to
16 continue. Judge Shahabuddeen has a question he would
17 like to ask you, one question, I believe.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, we are
19 dealing with a document signed by this witness and
20 addressed to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Stewart. Would
21 you help my recollection on the point as to whether
22 Lieutenant Colonel Robert Stewart testified?
23 MR. NOBILO: Your Honour, Robert Stewart did
24 not testify here. He was the British Battalion
25 Commander in Central Bosnia during the events in
1 Ahmici. However, the Prosecution did not call him as a
2 witness in these proceedings.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That answers my failure
4 in recall. Thank you.
5 MR. NOBILO: Otherwise, Robert Stewart is the
6 man who brought all the media to Ahmici. He published
7 a book on it. He is quite well-known. Let us move on.
8 Q. Brigadier, do you know, Bob Stewart, the U.N.
9 commander in the area, did he accept the proposal of
10 Blaskic to set up a joint commission in order to
11 investigate? Did Bob Stewart accept such a proposal,
12 on the basis of your recollection?
13 A. As far as I recall, this proposal, which was
14 sent by General Blaskic, commander of the Operative
15 Zone, was not accepted by the commander of the British
17 MR. NOBILO: I will show you another document
18 which details what General Blaskic did regarding
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document D341, D341A for the
21 French version, D341B for the English version.
22 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this document was
23 received by the Defence from the Prosecution which came
24 in a redacted form. There is a place where a person or
25 a body, an institution, would have been indicated who
1 was the addressee. This is the form in which we
2 received the document. We did nothing with it in that
3 regard, but let me read it for you.
4 MR. KEHOE: Can I just comment on that? This
5 was given to us by the HVO authorities in the redacted
6 form. So the redaction that is X-ed out here was not
7 done by the Office of the Prosecutor, but was provided
8 to us by the Bosnian Croats in this fashion.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We have taken note of
10 that. I suppose the day will come when we will all
11 know exactly what was under that line. Perhaps the
12 accused could tell us one day. There is, at least,
13 someone who knows, I'm sure. Let us continue.
14 Thank you, Mr. Kehoe, for clarifying that.
15 MR. NOBILO: In any event, we all agree that
16 none of us present here had redacted it, but it has
17 been redacted.
18 Q. It is addressed to the command of Central
19 Bosnia Operative Zone. The date is 10 May, 1993; time,
20 1705 hours. It is addressed to the currently unknown
21 addressee, and the subject heading is "Enquiry and
22 Written Report on the Events in the Village of Ahmici.
23 Order: For several days, various rumours
24 have been circulating in the public regarding the
25 events in the village of Ahmici since 14 May, 1993 and
1 the civilian casualties there. In order to be able to
2 analyse the events, establish the facts of the case and
3 implement the order of the HVO Chief of Staff, I hereby
4 issue the following order:
5 1) Gather all the information and submit a
6 report on the events that actually took place in the
7 village of Ahmici, in particular, on the number of
8 casualties, the manner in which they occurred, and the
10 2) I designate the assistant for SIS,
11 Security and Information Service, of the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone as the person responsible for this
13 task. The deadline is 25 May, 1993.
14 Commander, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
15 Brigadier, is this Colonel Blaskic's
16 signature and is this the stamp of the Central Bosnia
17 Operative Zone command?
18 A. Yes, it is the signature of General Blaskic
19 and the stamp of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
20 Q. Were you in any manner involved in the
21 investigation of the way it is put here, "events in the
22 village of Ahmici"?
23 A. In the duty which I had at the time, I had, I
24 was not tasked to get involved in any investigations,
25 nor did I take part in any manner in the events of
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document D342, document 342A
3 for the French version and document D342B for the
4 English version.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. "Croatian defensive council, security
7 information service, the forward command post in
8 Vitez. It is defence military secrets, strictly
9 confidential, in the hands of the commander of the
10 Central Operative Zone, Vitez, Colonel Tihomir
11 Blaskic. Subject: Information submitted."
12 And the body of the text runs as follows. "As
13 file enclosure, we submit to you information about the
14 events in the village of Ahmici, Vitez municipality.
15 This information encompasses operative
16 findings and eyewitness accounts of these events, as
17 well as an on-the-spot review of the site. The
18 information is not complete and the case has not been
19 fully resolved, because in these areas combat
20 activities continue to take place and it was not
21 possible to take written statements from several key
22 eyewitnesses to the events.
23 Also, statements were not taken from persons
24 of Muslim nationality who, after the events in the
25 village of Ahmici, fled to the municipality of Zenica,
1 Travnik and elsewhere.
2 In this respect an adequate collaboration of
3 the opposite side was also missing for the completion
4 of this case.
5 After this cessation of combat activities and
6 creation of more favourable conditions, all necessary
7 measures and actions will be taken in order to shed
8 light on this case fully."
9 And then, deputy, assistant commander for the
10 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
11 Did you see this document?
12 A. No, did I not see it, it went directly to the
13 commander. As I told you, this was not my area of
14 work, that is the investigating work. But I do know
15 Anto Sliskovic, assistant commander to the Central
16 Bosnia Operative Zone commander, and I recognise his
18 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document D343, document D343A
20 for the English version.
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps there may
22 be a clarification regarding the previous document.
23 This is the document D342. It says that there was an
24 enclosure regarding the events in Ahmici; however, the
25 Defence is not in possession of that enclosure.
1 However, Colonel Blaskic was not satisfied with this,
2 and he issued a new order.
3 Q. This is dated 17 August 1993, time 1045, and
4 it is assistant for SIS, attention is Mr. Anto
5 Sliskovic, and it has to do with the continued
6 investigation regarding killings in the village of
8 "Order: In order to provide all the facts
9 and take steps in further investigation in connection
10 with the killing of the civilians in the village of
11 Ahmici, I hereby order:
12 1) Continue with gathering data and
13 collecting information considering the civilian
14 casualties in the village of Ahmici in order to unify
15 all the materials and provide the bodies of district
16 military court that are in charge of those materials.
17 2) In gathering information pay special
18 attention to such information which are of most
19 relevance to the entire investigation.
20 3) The deadline for carrying out this order
21 is 17 September 1993, at which time a complete report
22 shall be sent to me in order to proceed with further
23 procedure before the competent body. Commander Tihomir
25 Brigadier, who signed this order, and whose
1 stamp is this?
2 A. From the initials in the corner, it is clear
3 that Colonel Blaskic wrote it himself, and it was done
4 for him, it was signed for him by his deputy. I assume
5 what happened was that Colonel Blaskic prepared the
6 document, gave it to someone to type, and he may have
7 been called to some task and gave it to his deputy in
8 order to continue and sign it.
9 Q. Have you seen this document?
10 A. I had not seen it before.
11 Q. As late as August were you still outside of
12 any investigation that went on surrounding Ahmici?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document D344, D344A for the
16 English version, only the titles.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. Brigadier, will you look at this report dated
19 the 24th of April 1993, a list of the soldiers of the
20 Viteska Brigade killed in conflict with the Muslim
21 forces and the list of the wounded soldiers of the
22 Viteska Brigade. On the 24th of April 1993. Did you
23 know any of these people? Do you recognise this as an
24 original document of the Viteska Brigade?
25 A. Yes. I am familiar with these data; however,
1 I would like to make a comment about this document.
2 Such a large number of killed and such a large number
3 of wounded members of the Viteska Brigade alone
4 testifies to the ferocity of the conflict and the
5 strength of the attack of the BiH army when, within the
6 Viteska Brigade, so many soldiers were killed and twice
7 as many wounded in only four days of battle.
8 I do not see any civilian casualties here,
9 but I don't have it in my notes just now, but I will
10 probably have the precise figures as to the number of
11 Croats in Vitez killed during the conflict with units
12 of the BH army from April 1993 until the Washington
14 I would not like to give any rough figures,
15 because imprecision is not appropriate, because every
16 single human life is very valuable.
17 MR. NOBILO: Let me proceed with the next
18 document, and then we may have at least some
19 approximations of the dead members of the HVO in Vitez
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D345, D345A for the
22 English version.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. Brigadier, this is a list of the Defence
25 Department of Vitez recording the members of the HVO
1 killed. If we take note of the date when they were
2 killed, we will see that it was in '93 until February
3 of 1994, so that is the relevant period for this case.
4 Will you please take a look at this list and look at
5 the names, and according to this list, 541 men, or HVO
6 members in Vitez were killed in the war with the BH
8 So, tell the Court, is this a document from
9 the Defence Department, and are there a number of
10 persons on that list that you personally knew?
11 A. Yes. This is a document of the Defence
12 Department. I knew the head of the Defence Department,
13 Stipo Krizanac, and these are relevant indicators and
14 numbers regarding the Croats of Vitez killed in the war
15 against the BH army.
16 Q. Brigadier, tell us, according to some, we
17 call them norms or standards; what is usually the ratio
18 between the killed and the wounded in a war?
19 A. According to my own knowledge, it should be
20 three times more wounded than killed. But I will bring
21 you also the figures regarding the wounded during my
22 testimony here in court.
23 Q. Next document, please.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document D346, D346A for the
25 English version.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. This is a leaflet, and you will explain when
3 and where you saw it. Let me read it. We have a big
4 heading, it says "Combatants," and the Red Cross sign,
5 and then the text.
6 "This sign protects the wounded, sick and
7 medical staff. For it to be effective you have to
8 respect it. To respect it means not to target it, use
9 it exclusively for protection of the wounded and sick,
10 the persons taking care of them, hospitals and
12 Who can use this emblem, is the question.
13 The answer: The Red Cross of your country, medical
14 units, and the competent medical services, the
15 International Committee of the Red Cross and its
17 Misuse of the emblem, its use for camouflage,
18 fraud, et cetera, represents a breach of international
19 war law, respect the emblem at all times and in every
20 place. Do not forget that one day you may also need
21 its protection."
22 Then in the second column it says: "Soldiers,
23 in all circumstances, it is important to respect and
25 And then there is a picture of the Red Cross
1 and the wounded, the wounded and the sick, medical
2 units and personnel, prisoners of war, civilians.
3 Then in bold print, "They are all entitled to
4 humane treatment, without discrimination, humiliation
5 or torture."
6 Then we have a calendar for 1992 and 1993,
7 below that the emblem of the Red Cross where it
8 says: "The International Committee of the Red Cross is
9 an independent humanitarian organisation and founder of
10 the cross. As a neutral mediator, in the event of
11 armed conflict or unrest, it endeavours on its own
12 initiative or on the basis of the Geneva Convention to
13 offer assistance and protection to victims of
14 international and civil wars, unrest and tensions, thus
15 contributing to world peace."
16 We have the same such text underneath the
17 calendar for 1993 and 1994.
18 So, Brigadier, will you explain to the Court
19 what this is? What are these copies of? Have you seen
20 this before? If so, when?
21 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, these are copies
22 from a small brochure which we in the command of the
23 Operative Zone, through our information and publicity
24 department, received from our Red Cross and distributed
25 to all our units that we were able to reach.
1 When I say that we were able to reach, I'm
2 not sure that we were able to send it to Zepce and
3 Kiseljak or Vitez, but I know we distributed it in the
4 Lasva Valley.
5 Q. There is a calendar for 1992, 1993 and 1994,
6 what does that mean? Was this one or two brochures
7 distributed in various periods of time?
8 A. The calendar indicates that these brochures
9 were distributed in 1992 and in 1993.
10 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
11 Who ordered that these brochures of the
12 International Red Cross be distributed?
13 A. I know that the commander of the Operative
14 Zone, General Blaskic, gave instructions to his
15 assistants for information and publicity to carry out
16 the distribution of these brochures to subordinate
18 Q. With what aim in mind?
19 A. In order that members of the HVO may be
20 familiarised with this so as to be able to recognise
21 and know what they should do under various
22 circumstances they may encounter under conditions of
23 war as it was being waged in Central Bosnia.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is D347,
25 D347A for the French version, 347B for the English
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, for the sake of
3 clarification, we will go back in time for awhile.
4 Colonel Blaskic did not start writing orders on the
5 basis of the Geneva Conventions after Ahmici. He may
6 have intensified them. We will go back in time and try
7 to present to you what the Defence has managed to
9 We have a document of the command of the
10 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, but from 1992, the 5th
11 of November in 1992. It is addressed to the municipal
12 headquarters of the HVO in Novi Travnik, the defence
13 headquarters in Novi Travnik, the regional headquarters
14 of the BH army Zenica, and the HVO president in Novi
15 Travnik. It reads:
16 "Based on the agreement between the
17 Commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia,
18 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, and Mr. Dzemo Merdan,
19 Commander of the District Headquarters of the Army of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in order to prevent vandalism
21 by individuals, I command:
22 1) That all measures be taken to prevent
23 torching of houses of eminent citizens of Muslim
24 nationality in your zone of responsibility.
25 2) Use all available forces and means to
1 carry out this assignment and take the most rigorous
2 measures against transgressors, in accordance with
3 regulations on military discipline.
4 Commander of the Headquarters of the Central
5 Bosnia Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
6 Q. This is a document addressed on the 5th of
7 November, 1992 to the municipal headquarters of the HVO
8 in Novi Travnik and the other addressees. Are you
9 familiar with this document? Do you recognise Colonel
10 Blaskic's signature?
11 A. I recognise the signature. I'm familiar with
12 the contents of the document, the reasons that prompted
13 it. The tasks emanating from it are clear from the
14 text. It was drafted after a minor conflict or,
15 rather, an incident between HVO units within the
16 territory of Novi Travnik municipality and BH army
17 units in Novi Travnik.
18 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
19 JUDGE RIAD: I just would like to ask the
20 witness: Was there also a document, in the same sense,
21 addressed to -- if you look at Article 1, I have got it
22 in French, "Take all measures to prevent setting fire
23 to houses of eminent citizens of Muslim nationality."
24 Was there an equivalent for citizens of Croatian
25 nationality, or was it simply a question of protecting
1 the Muslims and why? The Croats didn't need to be
2 protected, especially if it's an agreement between
3 Merdan and Colonel Blaskic?
4 THE WITNESS: I was not present at the
5 meeting, nor do I know the contents of the talks
6 between General Blaskic and Dzemo Merdan, but I assume
7 that they agreed, that Colonel Blaskic issued such an
8 order addressed to members of the HVO, and that Dzemo
9 Merdan shall issue a similar order to the members of
10 the BH army.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Thank you for this
13 clarification, Judge Riad. I don't know whether it's a
14 question of translation, but there is mention of the
15 most eminent citizens of Muslim nationality. Maybe
16 it's a question of translation. I turn myself to the
18 "The most eminent citizens of Muslim
19 nationality," what does that mean, as if there were
20 Muslim citizens that were not eminent. I don't quite
21 understand. Is it a question of translation? What is
22 the Croatian version? What does it say exactly? The
23 English version doesn't give me an explanation.
24 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I have no other
25 explanation for this word, except for what it says here
1 in the text.
2 MR. NOBILO: Could the interpreters help us?
3 It says here, "The eminent citizens of Muslim
4 nationality," the more eminent, the prominent.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The more prominent, perhaps.
6 Perhaps we can get more explanations later.
7 Mr. Hayman, do you have an explanation?
8 MR. HAYMAN: We'll look for one, but I've
9 always assumed that the more eminent or more well-known
10 citizens of any group might be more likely to be the
11 target in a situation of conflict, the target of
12 extremists, because they could be a symbol, if you
13 will, of the group as a whole.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let's leave it at
16 Do you have any more questions about this
17 document before we adjourn, Mr. Nobilo?
18 MR. NOBILO: No. Thank you, Mr. President.
19 I've finished with this document.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well then. After this
21 afternoon, we're going to adjourn and resume tomorrow.
22 Tomorrow is Thursday, Mr. Registrar, and we start at
23 10.00; isn't that so?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, exactly so, Your
1 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The hearing is
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
4 6.16 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
5 the 1st day of October, 1998 at
6 10.00 a.m.