1 Thursday, 1 October, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.04 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, have the accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court).
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let me say good morning to our
8 friends the interpreters first, to make sure they can
9 hear me well, as I hope everyone else can.
10 Good morning Prosecution, good morning to the
11 Defence. And without further delay, I give the floor
12 to Mr. Nobilo, after, of course, having the Brigadier
13 brought in.
14 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Before we call in the Brigadier, we have an observation
16 regarding the transcript yesterday. The Brigadier said
17 that in Vitez municipality 521 HVO soldiers had been
18 killed during the conflict with the BiH army, but the
19 transcript said that 521 Croats were killed. These are
20 figures relating only to soldiers. This figure relates
21 only to soldiers.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you for the
23 clarification. It will be taken note of.
24 (The witness entered court).
25 JUDGE JORDA: Brigadier Slavko Marin, can you
1 hear me.
2 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, yes, I can,
3 thank you.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let us continue,
5 then, Mr. Nobilo.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 WITNESS: SLAVKO MARIN
8 Q. Good morning, Brigadier. Yesterday we had
9 just distributed a new document, but we didn't have
10 time to discuss it, so I should like to ask the
11 registrar to go back to that document and to give me
12 the number, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document D348, 348A for the
14 French version, 348B for the English version. It was
15 not distributed, so we're going to distribute it now.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. So, we have a document dated 27 January,
18 1993, "Implementation of the agreement on unconditional
19 cessation of hostilities." Order issued by Colonel
20 Tihomir Blaskic.
21 "Further to the agreement reached at the
22 meeting with representatives of BH army mediated by the
23 United Nations, the deputy commander of the United
24 Nations forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brigadier
25 Simpson, on the 27th of January, 1993, and the order of
1 the supreme commander of the HVO, of the HZHB, and in
2 order to fully implement all the provisions I hereby
3 order:" And I shall read only the key points.
4 Point 1: Execute the implementation of the
5 cessation of hostilities and establish a cease-fire
6 involving all types of weapons.
7 2. Allow the UNPROFOR representatives to
8 monitor the cease-fire.
9 3. Allow the unhindered and safe passage of
10 all vehicles and personnel of UNPROFOR, the United
11 Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other
12 humanitarian organisations. Responsible for the
13 execution of this order, military police commander and
14 chief of police department. Deadline for execution:
16 4. Guarantee the safety of the vehicles and
17 personnel of UNPROFOR, the United Nations High
18 Commissioner for Refugees and the International
19 Committee of the Red Cross in the zone of
20 responsibility of HVO brigades in the Operational Zone
21 of Central Bosnia, warning them of any potential danger
22 during passage --"
23 MR. KEHOE: We're having a problem with the
24 monitor, Judge, it's not coming up on the monitor. I
25 don't know if it's coming up on anyone else's monitor.
1 The actual item that counsel has on the ELMO.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Does the public gallery have
3 the document? Can they see the document?
4 MR. KEHOE: Looks like they have it. I think
5 they have it, but it's not coming up on ours, Judge.
6 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges have it on their
8 THE REGISTRAR: There is indeed a minor
9 technical problem, it is not possible to see the
10 document on the computer monitor, but we do have it on
11 the screen.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, can you make do with
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, it has come up
15 on the screen. Thank you.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Fine, thank you. Please
17 continue, Mr. Nobilo.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. So, I'll go back to point 4. "Guarantee the
20 safety of the vehicles and personnel of UNPROFOR, the
21 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the
22 International Committee of the Red Cross in the zone of
23 responsibility of HVO brigades in the Central Bosnia
24 Operative Zone, warning them of any potential danger
25 during transit through territories affected by
1 offensive activities of BH army units.
2 5. Allow exchange of all prisoners through
3 the office of the International Committee of the Red
5 Brigadier, we will not go on reading this
6 document, because it may not be so relevant for our
7 case, but I would like to ask you to tell the Court
8 whether you recollect the content of this order.
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I do recall the
10 contents and activities ordered in this document. The
11 content itself speaks about the tasks of the units on
12 the ground, and further, to the agreement reached on a
13 cessation of hostilities between HVO units and BH army
15 Q. Brigadier, will you tell the Court, we see
16 here for the first time that the commander, Colonel
17 Tihomir Blaskic, has not signed this document. How was
18 this document dispatched, and to whom?
19 A. From the text of the document it is clear
20 that the document was drafted in the command of the
21 Operative Zone, that it was typed on a computer, and
22 that it was sent by packet link to the Chief of Staff
23 of the main headquarters, all HVO brigades and
24 independent units in the Operational Zone of Central
1 Q. Please look at point 9, and the last
2 sentence, where it says that a commission is appointed
3 consisting of Franjo Nakic and Ivica Zeko, and it also
4 says that instructions for the meeting will be provided
6 Where was Colonel Blaskic on the 27th of
7 January, and where were Nakic and Zeko on that date?
8 A. As far as I recall, on the 27th of January,
9 Blaskic was in Kiseljak, because, due to the January
10 conflicts in the territory of Busovaca, or more
11 specifically in the area of Kacuni, the
12 Kacuni-Busovaca-Kiseljak road was intersected and
13 placed under the control of the BH army, and this road
14 was no longer passable by the HVO.
15 That is why this sentence is there saying
16 that instructions will be provided later, probably when
17 he has occasion to meet personally with Franjo Nakic
18 and Ivica Zeko.
19 Franjo Nakic, as the Chief of Staff, was in
20 Vitez at the time, I was with him. And Ivica Zeko was
21 in Bila where his department was headquartered.
22 Q. How did you communicate with Colonel Blaskic
23 in January?
24 A. In January when the conflict occurred in the
25 territory of Busovaca municipality, and the conflict
1 between HVO units and BH army units in Busovaca and a
2 part of Kiseljak municipality, General Blaskic was on
3 the territory of Kiseljak municipality the night
5 As far as I know, he went to his family home
6 in the village of Brestovsko, where he was born, and
7 which is situated on the territory of Kiseljak
9 Colonel Blaskic would go home to spend the
10 night occasionally in the past, too. When the road was
11 cut at Kacuni and placed under BH army control, General
12 Blaskic stayed behind in Kiseljak.
13 Under those conditions we communicated in the
14 following manner: Information that we received from
15 the ground from brigade commanders, and which were
16 received in the command of the Operative Zone, we would
17 study those reports, and the parts that we thought
18 General Blaskic should be familiarised with, we would
19 send them by packet to the command of the Ban Jelicic
20 Brigade, and from there it reached General Blaskic.
21 Typical for that period was that information
22 reached General Blaskic with a great deal of delay.
23 Why? Because they were late in coming from brigade
24 commanders in Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik and
25 Travnik, in the command. And then we would have to
1 process those documents, establish contact with
2 Kiseljak; so this would take time, and this information
3 reached General Blaskic late.
4 It is also noteworthy that at that time we
5 knew that our communications were being tapped, that
6 our reports may be seen by the enemy, so, we had to
7 limit the scope of the reports we sent to General
9 This meant that under conditions of poor
10 communications, insecure links, he did not have timely,
11 nor completely accurate information as to what was
12 happening in the area of Busovaca and the Lasva Valley.
13 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. Next document,
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document D349, D349A for the
16 French version, D349B for the English version.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. We have another order of Colonel Blaskic's
19 dated the 27th of January, 1993, and it is headed
20 "Passage of humanitarian aid convoys." The order
21 reads, in point one, I'm only citing what is relevant.
22 "All vehicles and convoys carrying humanitarian aid to
23 be let through only if escorted by a) the United
24 Nations, b) the United Nations High Commissioner for
25 Refugees. Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
1 Brigadier, at the time you were in the
2 headquarters of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, you
3 said that the colonel was in Kiseljak; do you recall
4 this order? Was it agreed upon with Colonel Blaskic?
5 Did he give you permission to issue such an order?
6 A. Yes, I recall that the activities that we had
7 to undertake, as referred to in the text of this order,
8 so, this order is just a follow-up in relation to
9 previous ones regarding the cessation of hostilities
10 and the normalisation of conditions in the area of
11 Central Bosnia.
12 Q. Next document, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document D350, D350A for the
14 French version, 350B for the English version.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. On the 31st of January, 1993, the commander
17 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir
18 Blaskic, is writing to Mr. Mustafa Agic, and the
19 subject of the letter is "Apology for the brutal
20 behaviour of extremist members of the HVO in Kiseljak.
21 Dear Sir, I have been informed by the
22 competent authorities about the destructive behaviour
23 of an uncontrolled group of HVO soldiers, who, on the
24 29th of January, 1993, between 1400 and 1600 hours,
25 demolished your catering establishment. I'm aware of
1 the fact that this kind of behaviour in the HVO by
2 extremists undermines the situation and creates
3 distrust among the inhabitants of Kiseljak regarding
4 their personal safety, but I can promise you that
5 appropriate measures will be taken against the
6 perpetrators of these acts.
7 I wish to apologise to you once again for
8 everything that was done by the extremists within the
9 ranks of the HVO. Regards, Commander of the Central
10 Bosnia Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
11 Brigadier, do you remember this incident, and
12 Colonel Blaskic's apology to Mustafa Agic?
13 A. I do not exactly remember the incident, but I
14 do remember this apology. This is Colonel Blaskic's
15 signature, but the stamp is of the Josipa Ban Jelacic
16 Brigade, which means the commander is still in
18 Q. So the stamp is from Kiseljak?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. There is no communication centre stamp or
21 reference number?
22 A. Yes, because he was in Kiseljak.
23 Q. Tell us what nationality was Mustafa Agic?
24 A. He is a Muslim Bosniak.
25 Q. Is this letter typical of Colonel Blaskic and
1 such an attitude on the part of a commander towards the
2 owner of a cafe? Was it customary, or was it an
3 exception in the territory of Central Bosnia?
4 A. May I comment on this letter? Whenever
5 General Blaskic had complete and timely information
6 about an event, he would react immediately so as to try
7 and deal with the problem, if the information was
8 correct and complete. And this apology is a case in
10 The commander of the Operative Zone, General
11 Blaskic, who had the level of a two-star general, in
12 such a very difficult situation after a conflict, after
13 we had had so many casualties, and the fact that we
14 could not pass through Kacuni, in spite of all these
15 problems, he found it necessary to apologise to
16 Mustafa Agic because of the vandalism committed by
17 extremists within HVO ranks.
18 So, this is also an illustration of General
19 Blaskic's character and his personality and his
20 professionalism at work.
21 So, such incidents as destruction of catering
22 establishments in Central Bosnia during the war were
23 quite frequent on all sides, both on the side of the
24 HVO units, the BH army units and members of the
25 Republika Srpska army.
1 Q. Thank you. We may have caused some
2 hesitation among the Judges. You said that Blaskic was
3 a two-star general. Was he indeed a two-star general
4 at the time, or was he performing duties that were
5 equivalent to those of a two-star general?
6 A. When I mentioned a two-star general, what I
7 wished to say was the very high level of the position
8 General Blaskic held. And in spite of such a superior
9 position that he had, he had time to think about an
10 individual, in spite of such very grave problems
11 surrounding us. So, he found the time to address this
12 individual, to apologise to him, and to offer him
13 guarantees that he would take steps to make his life
14 safer. That's what I wanted to say.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo, that was
16 a good explanation.
17 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Document D351, D351A for the
19 English version.
20 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we will now read
21 the next document.
22 Q. It is a joint document of the Republic of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 3rd Corps command and the
24 command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. It was
25 drafted in Kakanj on the 13th of February, 1993, and
1 the subject heading is "Free passage for convoys and
3 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, commander of the
4 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and the commander of the
5 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, jointly are issuing an
6 order, and I will only read what I consider two
7 relevant points.
8 1. Immediately enable all convoys that have
9 been stopped to depart for their destinations with all
10 of their cargo.
11 2. Ensure the unhindered passage of all
12 convoys with papers that are in order, especially those
13 going to the RBH army and the HVO units of the Croatian
14 community of Herceg-Bosna, and also for convoys of
15 humanitarian aid. Signed by Hadzihasanovic and
17 Do you recognise the stamp of the Operative
18 Zone and Colonel Blaskic's signature?
19 A. I do.
20 Q. Tell me, how were these documents drafted?
21 How did it happen that both Hadzihasanovic and Blaskic
22 are giving orders through the same document?
23 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, we can see the
24 following from this document: That this situation and
25 the control of security and traffic, both in the area
1 under HVO control, as well as in the area under BiH army
2 control, was eschewing full control. What does that
3 mean? It means that incidents occurred, and certain
4 groups would stop transports arbitrarily, whether they
5 were transports of humanitarian aid or other
6 transports. And in view of these occurrences, and to
7 deal with the problem and ensure unhindered passage of
8 convoys and transports through territory under BH army
9 control and under HVO control, the commander of the 3rd
10 Corps, together with the commander of the Operative
11 Zone are issuing the same order to both the HVO units
12 and BH army units. So, this is a clear reflection of
13 the complexity of the situation, and of the effort that
14 was required and the perseverance that was required to
15 make life normal.
16 Q. We received this document from the
17 Prosecutor's office. But tell us, this document was
18 signed by two key commanders of the BH army and the
19 HVO. Were such orders always carried out, or were
20 there problems, nevertheless?
21 A. In spite of such clear, concrete, specific
22 orders, problems would occur. And this made it
23 necessary for the commander of both the 3rd Corps and
24 of the Operative Zone to issue a series of other
25 orders, and we will probably be seeing some of them.
1 Q. Were there instances of disobedience on both
2 sides, equally?
3 A. In such cases, yes.
4 Q. What was the main reason for the lack of
5 immediate respect for an order of this kind?
6 A. The key reason was the one I referred to on
7 the first day of my testimony, and that is the lack of
8 a firm structure, both in the HVO and in the BH army,
9 arbitrariness on the part of individuals and groups.
10 Q. Next document, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Document D352, 352A for the
12 English version.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. So, this is another document which we
15 received from the office of the Prosecutor. It is a
16 joint order, again, or command. This is the commander
17 of the 3rd Corps and the Operative Zone of Central
18 Bosnia of 13 February, 1993, and it's regarding the
19 withdrawal of units from positions.
20 The pertinent point is 1. The immediate
21 withdrawal of units from lines of contact, all units
22 from other municipalities shall immediately return to
23 the territories of those municipalities.
24 First let's try to clarify something for the
25 Judges. It says order and then command, and then it
1 says unit, and then it uses the Croatian word for unit,
2 which is postrojba. Why is this done in this manner?
3 A. Since this is a joint document which was
4 signed by the commanders of the Operative Zone and of
5 the 3rd Corps, we are using two languages. We Croats,
6 for order, use the word Zapovijed. And they use the
7 word Naredjenje, which is also order. We use Postrojba
8 for a unit and the Bosniaks use Jedinica. So these are
9 all different words in two different languages. And it
10 was done in this manner so it would be acceptable to
11 both parties so that both the Bosniak and the Croatian
12 version were used.
13 Q. Could you tell me, what are the other units
14 that are being mentioned here, that is units from the
15 other municipalities?
16 A. As I see that this document was drafted on 13
17 February, which means after the conflicts in Busovaca
18 and Kiseljak municipalities, I assume that this refers
19 to the units which had arrived to this area from other
20 municipalities. So this could be units from Kakanj,
21 which were involved on the attack on Busovaca and they
22 were supposed to have been withdrawn. And if they had
23 come from Zenica then they would have had to withdraw
24 from there. And if they were the units from
25 Novi Travnik and they were engaged in Busovaca, they
1 would have had to have withdrawn.
2 Q. So these are all units that were within the
3 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Brigadier, do you know whether a joint
6 command was operative based on these documents and that
7 their commanders were Colonel Blaskic and Enver
9 A. In this period and yesterday we saw that
10 after the conflict in April of 1993, that is after the
11 cessation of hostilities, there was always an idea
12 present and a desire, at least on the part of the
13 Central Bosnia Operative Zone commander, as well as
14 some higher commanders in the BH army as well as the
15 HVO, to establish a joint command of the BH army and
16 the HVO in order to coordinate the defence against the
17 army of the Republika Srpska. However, in view of the
18 conflicts of January and then in April, 1993, and then
19 June, all these conflicts prevented this joint command
20 for ever becoming to life.
21 Q. Can you tell the Judges what was the position
22 of General Blaskic regarding the conflict of Muslims at
23 that time, especially in view of the larger conflict
24 with Serbs?
25 A. General Blaskic, did not want a conflict with
1 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and I think that we
2 reviewed at least a hundred documents here. I also
3 recall his oral orders. He never ever ordered an
4 attack against the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. All his
5 activities were defensive in their nature and I think
6 that we have been proving this as long as I have been
7 sitting here and this is a generally known fact in
8 Central Bosnia and in the territory which was under the
9 control of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
10 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: D353, D353A for the English
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. This is another document which we received
15 from the Office of the Prosecutor and another document
16 referring to the joint command. It was drafted in
17 Kakanj on 13 February, 1992, and the subject heading is
18 "Return of population to their homes." It was
19 addressed to all the Central Bosnia Operative Zone HVO
20 Brigades, to dependent units, to the military police
21 battalion and so on. I am only going to read the
22 relevant parts. "That the conditions should be created
23 for the return of refugee population to their homes.
24 The population returning to their homes should be
25 guaranteed complete security, unimpeded and safe
1 movement shall be assured for the whole population
2 throughout the free territory."
3 And then it was signed by commander of the
4 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and commander of the
5 HVO Central Bosnian Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir
7 Colonel, do you recall this document?
8 A. I recall very well all activities which were
9 directed at cessation of the hostilities. But I also
10 recall a fact that I would like to point out here.
11 Here in Item 1, it states that the conditions should be
12 created for the return of the refugee population to
13 their homes. The conflict between the HVO and the BH
14 army occurred. What happened in this conflict was that
15 the population of both sides were fleeing. The
16 Croatian population was fleeing from the areas which
17 was coming under the BH army control and vice versa.
18 And this is why the commander of the 3 Corps and the
19 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone are
20 ordering their units to allow the civilian population
21 to come back and not to prevent the population from
22 returning to their homes and to provide full safety in
23 order for them to be able to continue with their normal
25 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document D354, 354A for the
2 English version.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. I will first read the text and then analyse
5 it. On 19 February, 1993, at 1955 hours, commander of
6 the Operative Zone, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, is writing
7 to the commander of the 4th military police battalion.
8 And part of the page is damaged, but it is about the
9 security situation in prison.
10 "On the basis of a report from the relevant
11 service and people in charge of" -- and the date is not
12 legible -- but it's "1993 at 1245, and with the aim of
13 preventing the same and similar activities, I hereby
14 order: Submit a detailed report on the break in of
15 your members into the Busovaca military prison on the
16 2nd and 16th February, 1993, at 2200 hours respectively
17 when the group committed the following: A) forcible
18 entry into the military prison under the threat of the
19 use arms. B) forcible taking of prisoners from their
21 "As I know for certain that these were
22 members of the military police and the intervention
23 platoon and the security service of the prison knows
24 who these men were, I am drawing your attention -- I
25 direct you to inform your subordinates once again and
1 forbid such actions and take the necessary measures
2 against the perpetrators."
3 "The following are responsible for the
4 execution of the order: Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade
5 commander, Mr. Dusko Grubesic, 4th military police
6 battalion commander, Mr. Pasko Ljubicic," and the
7 deadline for the execution of the order is 26th
8 February, 93 by 1200 hours of "which I shall be
9 informed in writing and the signature is Central Bosnia
10 Operative Zone commander, Tihomir Blaskic."
11 Brigadier, do you recall this incident?
12 A. I recall that this order was issued after the
13 information reached General Blaskic that these
14 activities are as spelled out in this report occurred
15 in the prison. I do not know about the event itself,
16 but this order confirms, regardless of the nature of
17 the incident, it confirms that the information came to
18 reach General Blaskic in a timely fashion and he took
19 steps to resolve it.
20 Q. When was this document drafted?
21 A. This was on the 19th of February and that
22 means that General Blaskic was still in Kiseljak at
23 that time.
24 Q. We also have traces of a stamp, is this the
25 stamp, the usual stamp that was used?
1 A. It should be, but it is not fully visible, so
2 I cannot really say.
3 Q. We see that the military police had broken
4 into the prison forcibly and Colonel Blaskic is
5 demanding of the military police commander to take
6 disciplinarian measures, why did Mr. Blaskic not
7 himself punish the perpetrators?
8 A. I mentioned that before that the Operative
9 Zone commander did not have authority over the military
10 police and could not get involved in the disciplinary
12 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: D355, D355A for the English
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. This document was also received from the
17 Office of the Prosecutor and it is another joint order
18 that is command of the 3rd Corps commander,
19 Mr. Hadzihasanovic, and the commander of the Operative
20 Zone, Tihomir Blaskic. It is dated 13 February, 1993
21 and the subject heading is: "Discharge of imprisoned
22 and detained persons."
23 I will read three items: "One, that all
24 imprisoned and detained persons be released
25 unconditionally and immediately by 1200 hours on 15th
1 February 1993 at the latest. The only persons from
2 your own information who have breached rules,
3 regulations and laws may be continue to be held in
4 detention prison. And three, that all released persons
5 be guaranteed complete freedom and security to be
6 provided by the municipal defence headquarters and the
7 municipal defence office." And Hadzihasanovic and
8 Blaskic signed this order.
9 Can you tell me, do you recall this joint
10 command order? Did it reach you? Did it reach the HVO
12 A. I completely recall this order and the
13 tasks. It is clear from the order that it was sent to
14 all the HVO brigades, but it also shows that there were
15 imprisoned and detained persons who were the HVO
16 members and who were arrested by the BH army and there
17 were BH army soldiers who were detained by the HVO.
18 So, both commanders are ordering their units to release
19 these persons and that the persons, those members of
20 the HVO should remain who had breached rules and laws
21 should remain in detention. So they are releasing the
22 other-side soldiers and they're keeping their own and
23 it is referring to the soldiers to whom the HVO had
24 given certain disciplinarian punishment.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D356, D356A for the
1 English version.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. This document was also provided by the Office
4 of the Prosecutor, another joint command order of the
5 3rd Corps commander and the Operative Zone commander
6 and it's subject, heading is, "Removal of the road
7 barricades," and I am going to read the first
9 "All barricades and obstacles shall be
10 removed from all communication routes to ensure an
11 unimpeded flow of two-way traffic."
12 Is this another document which resulted from
13 the cessation of hostilities?
14 A. Yes, this is also in the spirit of
15 implementation of the cease-fire agreement.
16 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document 357, 357A for the
18 French version, 357B for the English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. This is an order issued by Blaskic alone.
21 That is the Operative Zone commanders' order of 11
22 March, 1993, at 1255 hours and it is to the commander
23 of the 4th Battalion of the military police in Vitez.
24 It regards treatment of foreigners.
25 "On the 10th of March, 1993, at 1100 hours,
1 members of the military police in Vitez detained
2 Mr. Abdulah Jusuf from Kuwait according to the
3 statement from the written protest No. 02/33-649 of 10
4 March, 1993, sent in by the commander of the 3rd Corps
5 of the army of BH in Zenica. Because a number of
6 failures are quoted in the protest, I order: One,
7 complete investigation of this case is to be
8 conducted. Establish who arrived in a red van
9 mentioned in the report 02-4/3-07 of 10 March, '93.
10 Return the money and motor vehicles to the taxi driver
11 and obtain from him a signed receipt. Four, propose
12 disciplinarian measures against persons who have
13 committed this misdemeanour and implement them. And,
14 five, the deadline for this order is 11 March, '93."
15 Brigadier, do you recall this?
16 A. Yes, I do. This document was signed by
17 Colonel Blaskic. It was drafted by Mr. Blaskic and it
18 bears the stamp of the Operative Zone command.
19 Q. Do you know anything more about this? There
20 is something in handwriting here and it could be his
21 handwriting as far as I know. It says something like,
22 lie confirmed, and it is signed by Blaskic?
23 A. It is not fully legible. But I also would
24 make out the word "lie." And I think I also recognise
25 his signature there. However, what is important here
1 is this document confirms that General Blaskic, when he
2 would receive information in a timely fashion, he would
3 immediately take appropriate steps. We can see that
4 this was in response to the 3rd Corps commanders' memo
5 to General Blaskic and we see the measures and we see
6 what General Blaskic is ordering in Items 1 through 5.
7 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document 358, D358A for the
9 English version.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Therefore, the next document has also come to
12 us from the Prosecutor's office. It is entitled,
13 "Ensuring the unobstructed movement of representatives
14 of the European Monitoring Mission." And commander
15 Tihomir Blaskic signed the document from the Central
16 Bosnia Operative Zone dated 18th of March, 1993. And
17 point one states: First, "I order that the
18 unobstructed passage of the representatives of the
19 European Monitoring Mission be ensured on all roads in
20 the zone of responsibility of the units of the HVO
21 Operative Zone, Central Bosnia Croatian Defence
23 Two, that the personnel manning the
24 checkpoints: A) Establish and take note of the signs
25 on the motor vehicles of the monitoring mission without
1 halting the motor vehicles; B) Approve the passage of
2 motor vehicles carrying monitors without halting them
3 at checkpoints."
4 Brigadier, do you recall the problems that
5 you had with the passage of monitoring missions and
6 humanitarian organisations and how did Blaskic react
7 and what did he do to ensure international
8 organisations, especially international humanitarian
9 organisation, safe and unobstructed passage?
10 A. The contents from this order I recall very
11 well. The document was signed by General Blaskic.
12 This document was drafted in the aim of implementing
13 the signed agreements and the creation of possibilities
14 for the unobstructed passage and movement of
15 international humanitarian organisations and
16 representatives of the European Monitoring Mission.
17 As I said a moment ago when I explained the
18 documents signed by General Blaskic and the commander
19 of the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, that the
20 problem with regard to movement along roads controlled
21 by HVO units and BH army units, that problems did exist
22 and in endeavour to overcome them, concrete measures
23 and orders were given. Clear cut orders. This order
24 speaks of a persistent endeavour on the part of General
25 Blaskic to adhere to all the undertaken agreements made
1 and to issue orders to his subordinates to implement
2 them fully in the field.
3 Q. Brigadier, is that the signature of the
4 Colonel Blaskic?
5 A. Yes, it is. It is a paper of the operations
6 and training body. I don't know what the number is in
7 the upper right-hand corner, 0055 and so on.
8 Q. That is the reference number of the
9 Prosecutor's Office. May we move on now, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is D359,
11 359A for the French version and 359B for the English
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. We have another order from Colonel Blaskic --
15 JUDGE JORDA: The public gallery, as regards
16 the systemic presentation of documents. Thank you. We
17 have it on the monitor. Each document shown to be
18 flashed for the benefit of the public. Thank you. And
19 then, obviously, the camera will be moving around as it
20 wishes. But the public must see the document that we
21 are discussing because this is a public hearing. Thank
23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. But
24 technology is in the hands of the technical service of
25 the Trial Chamber and the Court, so we are not able to
1 direct it ourselves fully.
2 JUDGE JORDA: I am not blaming absolutely
3 anyone, not even our friends in the technical booth. I
4 am just saying what I consider to be important for the
5 proper proceedings.
6 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, the public
7 is very important to us.
8 Q. Brigadier, we have an order by Colonel
9 Blaskic dated the 22nd of April, 1993, to all the
10 Brigade commanders, commanders of the independent
11 units, the 4th LTR, tank division and so
12 on. "Treatment of citizens, personal property order:
13 In order to stop arson attacks on houses and business
14 premises, as well as the looting of property, I hereby
16 On the territory of the area of
17 responsibility of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
18 command controlled by the HVO units -- and now it is
19 written in capital letters -- I MOST STRICTLY FORBID
20 the torching of houses, and business premises and the
21 looting of property. The commanders of brigades and
22 independent units must issue this order to their
23 subordinates and make them responsible for stopping
24 such misdeeds.
25 Those who act in violation of this order are
1 to be subject to the strictest measures in line with
2 the rules on military discipline in the HVO units. The
3 contents of this order should have been made known to
4 all members of the HVO units and the media is to be
5 used in this regard too. This order shall take effect
6 immediately and the commanders of Brigades and
7 independent units of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
8 responsible to me for its execution, Commander Colonel
9 Tihomir Blaskic."
10 Brigadier, tell me first, please, whether
11 this photocopy is an authentic representation of the
12 original order issued by Tihomir Blaskic on the 22nd of
13 April, 1993?
14 A. Yes, I recall the text in full. I personally
15 wrote the order and it was signed by the commander
16 Tihomir Blaskic of the Operative Zone.
17 Q. Brigadier, what was the reason for issuing
18 this order stopping the arson attacks on houses; is
19 that not generally prohibited?
20 A. In conflicts, the conflicts that occurred in
21 the area of the Lasva River Valley, the responsibility
22 zone of Central Bosnia between the units of the HVO and
23 the army, that is to say, in conflicts of this kind,
24 there were instances where houses were set fire to, in
25 the area controlled by the HVO, but also in the area
1 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 When the commander of the Operative Zone came
3 across information of this kind and saw that this was
4 happening in the field, in order to stop incidents of
5 this kind, that is to prevent them from taking place,
6 he most strictly issued this order and emphasised it
7 was most strictly forbidden to do this kind of thing.
8 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, according to the best of
9 your knowledge, did Colonel Blaskic ever order civilian
10 houses to be burned, or did he ever give the okay for
11 somebody else to do this?
12 A. General Blaskic never acquiesced to anything
13 of this kind, nor did he ever issue such orders. The
14 burning of houses is the results of individual
15 activity, that is, the activities of individuals who
16 performed acts of this kind, and not only of this kind,
17 but other acts, as well, which we have mentioned in the
18 documents that we are presenting here today.
19 Q. So, this order was issued, we see on the 22nd
20 of April, which means it was one day after the return
21 from Zenica by Colonel Blaskic when he had talks with
22 the representatives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina;
23 is that correct?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Thank you. May I have the next document,
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document D360, D360A for the
3 French version, 360B for the English version.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. The next order, Comrade Blaskic,
6 commander of the Operative Zone, was issued on the 23rd
7 of April, 1993, at 2000 hours. It is entitled "The
8 behaviour of HVO members and the level of military
9 discipline." And it is intended and addressed to all
10 subordinate HVO commanders.
11 The preamble reads as follows: "Because a
12 very strong condemnation from the International
13 Community and a media campaign that is being conducted
14 against the HVO and Croatian people, which have
15 extremely negative consequences on the overall
16 reputation of the HVO and the achievements of the
17 Croatian people globally, and in order to prevent
18 further destructive activities and fully implement the
19 orders of the chief of the HVO main headquarters, I
20 hereby order:
21 1. Execute the order number 01-4-470/93 of
22 the 21st of April, 1993, in full.
23 Responsible: Directly supporting commanders.
24 Deadline: Immediately.
25 2. Ensure the full and unhindered passage of
1 U.N. vehicles and the ECMM vehicles, greeting them with
2 the proper HVO military salute.
3 Responsible: Directly subordinate
4 commanders. Deadline: Immediately.
5 3. Once again, I urge you to behave in the
6 most military fashion and respect military discipline.
7 Legal measures should be taken against those violating
8 this order.
9 4. I strictly forbid all HVO units to carry
10 out offensive actions, and isolated provocations by the
11 BH army are not to be responded to.
12 5. To open fire only in case of direct
13 attack by Muslim forces, but only following an order
14 issued by the superior commanders, about which the
15 brigade commanders must inform me immediately.
16 6. This order shall take effect immediately.
17 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
18 Brigadier, do you remember this order? Do
19 you know the stamp and sign, and is it an authentic
20 representation of the original document?
21 A. Yes, it is. It is an authentic photocopy of
22 the original document. I recall the text of the order.
23 It was written personally by General Blaskic. The
24 stamp is the stamp of the Operative Zone, and it was,
25 as I say, personally written by General Blaskic,
2 Q. Tell me, please, let us take a look at point
3 two. What was the problem? Because we see that there
4 is a problem of the passage of international
5 organisations and their vehicles, and the conduct at
6 control points with regard to the U.N. vehicles. What
7 was the problem there?
8 A. Well, the problem occurred in the following
9 way: Individuals without authorisation from anybody,
10 independently and autonomously, working on their own
11 free will and own assessment, in parts of the roads,
12 would stop vehicles belonging to international
13 organisations and European monitoring missions, and
14 their conduct was not as it should have been, and their
15 conduct towards them overstepped the boundaries of the
16 orders issued to them.
17 Q. Brigadier, is it correct that Blaskic issued
18 certain orders and prohibitions when he found something
19 to be a problem? Is that correct?
20 A. Yes, we have borne this out with all the
21 orders issued so far. I said this before, and I'm
22 saying it again: General Blaskic, whenever he had the
23 opportunity and had timely information, did not wait
24 one second or one minute, he would take action
25 immediately, and take measures to solve the problem.
1 Q. Brigadier, take a look at point 4, if you
2 will, please, when Blaskic forbids the carrying out of
3 offensive actions, and in item 5, when he forbids
4 anybody to open fire unless attacked; does that mean
5 that somebody opened fire on the part of the HVO
6 without having orders to do so?
7 A. Individual cases, when fire was opened by
8 soldiers in the trenches was done without permission
9 and without orders of the commander of the Operative
10 Zone and their brigades. In order to prevent
11 activities of this kind, that means that the general
12 issued orders as points 4 and points 5 read.
13 However, if there were individual instances
14 of behaviour of this kind by irresponsible HVO members,
15 I must say that the same existed on the Bosnian side,
16 the side of the Bosnian army. So, it is stated here
17 that there were individual provocations by the BH army
18 and we saw this from the documents we read out
19 yesterday after the signing of the cease-fire.
20 So, in situations of this kind, General
21 Blaskic prohibited that forces open fire, but asked
22 that he be informed of incidents of this kind, and then
23 via his various links, he would contact the commander
24 of the 3rd Corps and solve problems of this nature.
25 Q. We see here that Blaskic is calling for
1 disciplinary measures to be taken, and the title of the
2 document was "The behaviour of HVO members and the
3 level of military discipline."
4 Can you explain to the Court what links there
5 are with the level of military discipline with the
6 incidents that Blaskic saw were happening in the field
7 and which prompted him to issue orders of this kind?
8 What is the link between the level of military
9 discipline with these incidents?
10 A. Well, they are directly linked, and if you
11 have a poor level of organisation and military
12 discipline, then you will have incidents of this kind.
13 If you have a good level of organisation and very good
14 military discipline, these incidents are practically
16 And that is why General Blaskic, in his
17 orders and in the work he did under wartime conditions,
18 constantly endeavoured to build-up a high level of
19 organisation and military discipline. Because once
20 this structure was built-up and once you had the
21 necessary level of organisation and military
22 discipline, all the incidents would not take place;
23 which means there would be no need to issue orders of
24 this kind.
25 So any kind of conduct of this kind towards
1 international organisations and improper conduct would
2 have been avoided and suppressed; and that is why, for
3 these reasons, in the course of his entire work, right
4 up to the Washington Agreement, and further on after
5 it, General Blaskic placed the accent on organisation
6 and professional military discipline, because he knew
7 if he had good discipline and good organisation that he
8 would have good units and his orders would be
9 implemented on location.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have a new
12 document, if you would like to make a break now, this
13 might be a good time.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to have a 20-minute
15 break now.
16 --- Recess taken at 11.17 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
18 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have
19 the accused brought in, please.
20 (The accused entered court).
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, your witness.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Would
23 you hand round the new document, please?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document 361, D361A for the
25 French version, D361B for the English version.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. Brigadier, I think that this is one of the
3 most severe orders issued by Blaskic, and I'm going to
4 read it out carefully and will comment on it point by
6 The Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and it is
7 an order the 24th of April, 1993, at 0920 hours to all
8 commanders of all units in the Central Bosnia Operative
9 Zone. The title is "The elimination of arbitrary acts
10 by commanders and individuals."
11 Preamble: "After an assessment carried out
12 in the field, it is apparent that the lower commanders
13 and their units are acting outside the chain of
14 command. They are not executing orders from superiors,
15 and are independently making decisions contrary to the
16 orders received. They plan and execute their own
17 combat activities. They plan and execute their own
18 combat activities, exert pressure on civilians and
19 disrupt the work of UNPROFOR, the International Red
20 Cross and the European Monitoring Mission in performing
21 their duties, which has negative consequences for the
22 HVO and those soldiers who execute the received tasks
24 In order to eliminate these negative actions
25 and to execute fully the order of the commander, the
1 chief of the HVO main headquarters, 01-1583/93 on the
2 22nd of April, 1993, I hereby order:
3 1. Warn all the levels of command of the
4 enormous negative impact of such behaviour by
5 individuals and groups, especially in the international
7 2. All the organised troops are to be fully
8 controlled and the commanders are personally
9 responsible for the behaviour of their subordinates.
10 3. The individuals and groups who are
11 completely out of control are to be arrested
12 immediately, and warrants are to be delivered to the
13 commander of the military police unit.
14 4. You are in charge of preventing the most
15 extremists individuals and groups who are out of
16 control, who are not protecting the civilians, who are
17 demolishing and setting fire to civilian facilities,
18 and whose activities are none other than terrorism,
19 with all available means and with the use of force.
20 5. Against all those who are disrupting the
21 mission of UNPROFOR, the UNHCR and the ECMM and the
22 ICRC, the International Red Cross, the most stringent
23 measures are to be taken, as this is the fight for the
24 reputation and dignity of the HVO and the Croatian
25 people and the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna. All
1 these organisations have complete freedom of movement
2 and you are duty bound to assist them in their
4 6. In order to fulfil these tasks, the
5 directly subordinate commanders are responsible to me,
6 as well as for the practical application of this order,
7 and I make all the command and control responsible for
9 And it is signed by the commander, Colonel
10 Tihomir Blaskic.
11 Brigadier, do you recall this order, and do
12 you recognise the stamp and signature of Colonel
14 A. I remember the contents of the order, it was
15 personally signed by General Blaskic and written by
16 General Blaskic, and the stamp is that of the command
17 of the Operative Zone.
18 Q. Are the contents and the assessment of the
19 situation given by Blaskic in the preamble, in the
20 first part, and then later on, in prohibiting certain
21 conduct, is it a reflection of the actual situation in
22 the field in Central Bosnia in April, 1993?
23 A. Yes. And I should particularly like to
24 emphasise the first sentence in the preamble. "After
25 an assessment carried out in the field, and issuing
1 orders which were designed to stop the negative
2 incidents and control of their implementation," as is
3 stated in the preamble.
4 Q. Is it true that the lower commanders and
5 their units and subordinates were acting arbitrarily?
6 A. Yes, and this that is why this order
7 expressly defines who is responsible and who must
8 prevent negative behaviour and incidents of this kind.
9 Q. Is it true what is stated in line 3, that
10 these subordinates are making individual decisions
11 themselves, contrary to orders issued by their
12 superiors; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, it is.
14 Q. We need not go further in analysing the
15 order, it speaks for itself. Thank you.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document D362, 362A for the
17 French version, 362B for the English version.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Colonel Blaskic, on the 24th of April, 1993,
20 at 1000, issues an order entitled, "Treatment of the
21 wounded," and I'm going to read the two relevant points
22 of that order.
23 1. "Unhindered access and rendering
24 assistance to all wounded persons, be they civilians,
25 soldiers or enemy soldiers is to be ensured.
1 2. Civilians and prisoners are to be treated
2 in accordance with international conventions and
3 regulations, and lists containing names of those taken
4 prisoner or being detained are to be immediately
5 provided to the Central Bosnia Operational Zone.
6 Immediately subordinate commanders are responsible to
7 me in connection with carrying out this order."
8 Signed, Lieutenant Colonel Blaskic.
9 Brigadier, do you recognise the stamp and
10 signature on this document and do you recall the order
12 A. Yes, I do, I remember the contents, because
13 it was based on a decision by the head of the chief of
14 the general staff. I know the provisions. It was
15 signed by General Blaskic. The document was authorised
16 in the central zone and was personally signed by
17 Colonel Blaskic.
18 From the text it can be clearly seen what was
19 to be done in the field.
20 Q. Thank you. The next document, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D363, 363A for the
22 French version, 363B for the English version.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. Once again, an order from Colonel Blaskic,
25 issued on the 24th of April, 1993, at 1100 a.m., and it
1 refers to a series of commanders; Busovaca, Kiseljak,
2 the police force department, Vitez, the police station
3 of the Croatian community, et cetera. And it is the
4 relationship towards housing resources and property and
6 "Because of a large number of flats
7 temporarily vacant which are being forced into by
8 persons carrying arms, soldiers of the HVO and other
9 persons, in order to enforce public order and peace in
10 the town of Vitez, as well as to prevent such negative
11 developments..." and then in writing, with a red pen,
12 he adds: "and other towns, I hereby order:
13 1. That all resources should be used, and
14 that the use of force resorted to in the unlawful
15 taking of flats and stealing of property from the flats
16 which belong to citizens who for different reasons are
17 temporarily not present.
18 And it is the commander of the 4th Battalion
19 of the Croatian Defence Council, military police and
20 commanders of the stations of the Croatian community of
21 Herceg-Bosna who are responsible to me, personally, for
22 carrying out this order.
23 The order comes into effect immediately. And
24 as regards the members of the Croatian Defence Council
25 carrying uniforms, they will be subject to measures
1 implemented by the Croatian Defence Council and
2 military police, while civilians will be subject to the
3 civil police of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna,
4 those two working in coordination." Signed by Colonel
6 Tell me, please, Brigadier, whether this
7 photocopy is an authentic representation of the
8 original; did you see the original when it was written?
9 A. Yes, the photocopy is a reflection of the
10 original. The document was written and signed by
11 General Blaskic, and the stamp is the Operative Zone.
12 And the tasks set out in the order I recall very well.
13 Q. Brigadier, would you look at point 1, and the
14 last line of point 1, where Colonel Blaskic speaks of
15 empty flats, that is to say, empty flats of citizens
16 who, for different reasons, are temporarily not
18 Tell the Court, please, what ethnic group
19 were the people that left Vitez, temporarily, in the
20 section which was under the control of the HVO?
21 A. Temporarily, absent individuals were the
22 Muslims, the Bosniaks, as well as some Croats and some
23 Serbs. But for the most part, the majority of citizens
24 who were absent were the Muslims, the Bosniaks; because
25 they had left, they had escaped following the conflict
1 between the HVO and BH army.
2 Q. And tell me, how did Blaskic treat those
3 Bosniaks who had left Vitez? Did he consider they had
4 left for good, or did they consider that when the
5 situation calmed down again these people would return?
6 What do you remember from talking to him in that
8 A. General Blaskic always considered that this
9 was a temporary state, and that the people who had
10 escaped under different conditions and circumstances
11 would come back to their own houses, and that is
12 clearly seen from the sentence which states "are
13 temporarily not present."
14 Q. Brigadier, they entered your flat as well
15 when you were away for three days, temporarily?
16 A. Yes, at that time, as I have already stated,
17 I spent some time in Vitez on assignment and I did not
18 come home. My wife was visiting with her parents, with
19 the children, and when I came back home, I found other
20 people in my flat. So I had to solve this problem
21 myself, regardless of the fact that I was well-known to
22 people in the town and that I performed the functions
23 that I performed.
24 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D364, 364A for the
1 French version, 364B for the English version.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Another order by Colonel Blaskic of 24 April,
4 '93, at 1420 hours. It was issued to all HVO units,
5 including Brigades and the independent units and the
6 subject heading is "Treatment of civilians and
7 prisoners." And the body of text runs as follows:
8 "On the basis of the request from the Chief
9 of main headquarters No. 02-2/1-01-673/93 of 22 April,
10 '93, and with regard to the application of the basic
11 principles of international humanitarian law by all
12 units and members of the HVO, I hereby demand:
13 1) Respect for and protection of the civilian
14 population affected by the fighting. Civilians by
15 definition play no active part in these conflicts and
16 therefore cannot be the target of attacks.
17 2) Treat captured combatants and civilians
18 humanely and provide adequate protection for them.
19 3) Report to the ICRC the identity of all
20 prisoners and detainees and allow representatives of
21 the ICRC to visit them according to the ICRC
23 4) Collect, take care of and (treat
24 surgically) and protect all the wounded at all times
25 and places regardless of their affiliation.
1 5) I demand free access and guaranteed
2 transit for eight convoys so that victims of the
3 conflict may be treated without delay. Commander
4 Tihomir Blaskic."
5 Brigadier, are you familiar with this
6 demand? This is not an order, this is a demand.
7 A. Yes, I am. It is a demand which I drafted
8 myself, personally. Colonel Blaskic signed it and it
9 bears the stamp of the Operative Zone and it is clear
10 from it what the course of action is.
11 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Document D365, 365A for the
13 French version and 356B for the English version.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. This is dated 27 April, 1993, at 1020 hours.
16 This is a supplement to the Order No. 01-4-560/93 of 24
17 April, 1993. If we look at it, this is the very order,
18 actually the demand which we had just read. It was the
19 Exhibit No. D364. And under one it says:
20 "I prohibit any treatment of temporarily
21 detained civilians which is contrary to the basic
22 provisions of the Geneva Conventions."
23 And it is signed commander, Tihomir
24 Blaskic. Brigadier, do you remember this document and
25 is this is a faithful copy of the original?
1 A. Yes, this is a faithful copy of the original
2 and it reflects the task given in this supplement
3 order. This document was drafted by Colonel Blaskic
4 personally and it was stamped at the Operative Zone
6 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document D366, 366A for the
8 French version, 366B for the English version.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Brigadier, this is another document for which
11 I believe we received from the Office of the
12 Prosecutor. The copy is fairly illegible, but I will
13 try to read the main points. This is an order by
14 General Blaskic of 29 April from 1940 hours. And the
15 subject heading is: "The release of detained
16 civilians..." and then (it says something that is
17 illegible). It is obviously addressed to a number of
18 units whose names are not entirely legible."
19 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. Again just
20 to clarify the record, Mr. President. This is again,
21 as you can see, there is no number on this document.
22 This again is a document that was received from the
23 Bosnian Croats, so when counsel says he received it
24 from the Office of the Prosecutor, that's true. But
25 we, in fact, received it from the Bosnian Croats. This
1 is a document, I believe, that's been the subject of
2 discussion prior to this time. But to clarify the
3 record, I am sure counsel would want me to do that. We
4 just want to put that on the record.
5 MR. NOBILO: Yes, certainly. And let me also
6 note that there is no registration number. But let me
7 read it: "Under 1, General Blaskic orders that to
8 immediately draft lists of detained civilians. And
9 under 2, release all civilians (men, women, children)
10 arrested during the conflict between the BH army and
11 the HVO. And joint operative teams shall establish
12 contact and commence clearing the battlefield i.e. the
13 collection of the dead and their burial." And then we
14 skip Item 4.
15 "All released civilians must be guaranteed
16 full safety in the locations in your zones of
17 responsibility and you shall be held responsible for
18 the situation in your zone of your responsibility."
19 The rest is illegible.
20 5) "Immediate subordinate commanders and
21 brigade commanders shall be responsible for the full
22 execution of this order by 1000 hours on May 1, 1993.
23 They must submit a written report with lists containing
24 the following information."
25 And then under 6) "In carrying out this
1 order, cooperating with UNPROFOR, ICRC, UNHCR and the
2 EU representatives." Signed by Commander Colonel
4 Q. First of all, Brigadier, do you recognise
5 Tihomir Blaskic's signature and the stamp?
6 A. Yes, I recognise his signature. This
7 document was drafted by Colonel Blaskic. It bears the
8 stamp of the Operative Zone command. It was part of
9 the cease-fire and the tasks which issued from the
10 signed cease-fire agreement.
11 Q. Very well, can we have the next document
12 distributed, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document D367, 367A for the
14 French version, 367B for the English version.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. This is another order by Colonel Blaskic
17 which we received from the Office of the Prosecutor.
18 It is also barely legible in the Croatian original, at
19 least in this light here. It has the subject heading,
20 "Securing free passes for UNPROFOR forces." It is
21 addressed to all the brigades, one through ten to the
22 4th military police battalion to the Vitezovi units and
23 so on. The command says:
24 "1) UNPROFOR and international humanitarian
25 organisations shall be allowed free passage and
1 access." Then the rest of the text is pretty legible.
2 It is much better in the translation.
3 But let me just ask you, Brigadier, do you
4 recall this order? Do you remember the circumstances
5 under which it was issued or do you not recall it?
6 A. I do not see the signature on this document.
7 The activities which were being implemented through the
8 cease-fire agreement I know. And this would be one in
9 a series of orders which would be part of the
10 implementation and part of the tasks relating to the
11 cease-fire. But I am not sure that I can really recall
12 this order. It is not signed. And even this
13 lettering, so I don't know, I don't think I can recall
14 this order.
15 Q. But look from the general look of it and the
16 contents, could you say that this could have been
17 written by General Blaskic?
18 A. On the basis of its general look, it may have
19 been issued by General Blaskic.
20 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This is Document D368, 368A
22 for the French version, 368B for the English version.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. An order by Colonel Blaskic of 31 May and
25 this was typed over. It could be five or six. It
1 could be May or June, '93. Time is 0945 hours. But if
2 we look at the registration number, it is clear that it
3 is May. It is addressed to the commanding officer of
4 the 4th military police battalion and assistant for
6 And subject heading says: "Actions contrary
7 to the given orders and assignments." Order: "On 30
8 May, 1993, the officer on duty in the Central Bosnia
9 Operative Zone informed me that Mr. Franjo Ramljak, and
10 Mr. Slavko Hrgic, members of the military police, were
11 forcibly expelling Muslim families. This was despite
12 the order which banned such actions for which the
13 above-named gentlemen are responsible.
14 In order to prevent further actions that
15 hinder the implementation of orders and the correct
16 behaviour of military police members in carrying out
17 their tasks, I hereby order: 1) Conduct an
18 investigation into this case and take disciplinarian
19 measures against the perpetrators in this incident.
20 2) Report to me explaining why, despite a number of
21 warnings, certain members of your units are still
22 causing such negative occurrences instead of protecting
23 public order and suggest further actions to prevent
24 such occurrences in the future. The deadline for the
25 execution of this order is 5 June, 1993." Signed by
1 commander, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.
2 Brigadier, do you recall this order?
3 A. I do remember this event. The order was
4 written and signed by Tihomir Blaskic and the stamp is
5 that of the Operative Zone command.
6 Q. In point 1, "Conduct an investigation into
7 this case and take disciplinarian measures." How do
8 you explain this? The commander of the military police
9 is instructed to take disciplinarian measures.
10 A. I already said this previously that the
11 commander of the Operative Zone did not have the
12 authority to issue disciplinarian measures to the 4th
13 military police battalion.
14 Q. Colonel Blaskic is referring to a previous
15 order in which he had forbidden forcible entrance into
16 apartments, of civilians. Is that the order which we
17 read about maybe about 20 minutes ago?
18 A. Yes, that is that order that he was referring
19 to here.
20 Q. Very well. New document, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D369, 369A for the
22 French version, 369B for the English version.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. Next document is from the Viteska Brigade.
25 The date is 3 May, 1993. And Mario Cerkez orders to
1 his subordinates: The subject heading is: "Prevention
2 of forcible occupation of flats."
3 "Order: It is forbidden for all members of
4 the HVO units to enter by force in the houses and flats
5 of families of Muslim nationality. All members of the
6 HVO units are hereby ordered to IMMEDIATELY move out --
7 and immediately is capitalised -- to move out of the
8 all forcibly occupied flats and houses and to inform
9 the peoples' protection (the library building) about
10 their moving out. Members of the HVO are also
11 forbidden to exert any pressure on members of Muslim
12 nationality to leave their flats and family houses.
13 Any behaviour contrary to this order shall be regarded
14 a criminal act and the perpetrators will be held
16 The needs of the members of military units
17 regarding their accommodation should be resolved
18 through the command and to the competent civilian
19 commission and a military housing commission. Brigade
20 commander, Mario Cerkez."
21 Brigadier, do you recognise the signature of
22 Mario Cerkez?
23 A. Yes, I recognise the signature of Mario
24 Cerkez. I also know Mario Cerkez, Brigade commander.
25 This document was drafted pursuant to an order issued
1 by the Operative Zone commander.
2 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Document 370, 370A for the
4 English version.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. This is D370. This is the document which we
7 received from the Office of the Prosecutor and I assume
8 that this provenience the British battalion. And this
9 is dated 16 June, 1993. It was addressed to all HVO
10 brigades in the Central Bosnia Operative Zones and all
11 other Central Bosnia Operative Zone independent units.
12 It's a more comprehensive document. And No. 1:
13 "Starting at 1200 hours on 18 June, 1993, cease all
14 combat activities ( cease-fire) and freeze military
15 activities, including troop movements, unit deployment
16 and further fortification.
17 Under 3) All units will give their full
18 cooperation to the UNPROFOR in order to monitor the
19 cessation of hostilities."
20 And then skipping to 6) "Allow the delivery
21 of humanitarian aid and freedom of movement and to the
22 representatives of the international humanitarian
23 organisations with the usual control procedures.
24 7) Do not use water, electricity or telephone
25 lines as weapons. And make efforts to repair and
1 maintain the facilities for water and electricity
3 On the next page. Item 8) "Deliver all lists
4 of prisoners of war and those killed in their areas and
5 their exact location to the Central Bosnia Operative
6 Zone and (Ljubomir Jurcic and his phone number).
7 9) All HVO units of these Central Bosnia
8 Operative Zone are under an obligation to honour the
9 Geneva Conventions of 12 and the month is illegible.
10 And the month is illegible 1949. And the additional
11 protocols, as well as other instruments of the laws of
12 war and protection of human rights. Commander Tihomir
14 Brigadier, do you recall this document? Do
15 you recognise the signature?
16 A. It is General Blaskic's signature. And the
17 initials "FN" tell me that it was drafted by Franjo
18 Nakic, who was the duty officer at the Operative Zone
19 command. These are the tasks that were to be
20 implemented and I remember them.
21 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D371, 371A for the
23 English version. But these are two originals.
24 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this document we
25 received from the Prosecutor's office. There is an
1 original document both in the English version and in
2 the Croatian version, but as the original document in
3 English is far more legible, I should like to ask my
4 learned colleague, Mr. Hayman, to read it out to you.
5 MR. HAYMAN: "Vitez, June 19th, 1993. On the
6 basis of the cease-fire agreement in the entire
7 BiH, dated 10th June and 15th June, 1993, and the
8 agreement with the other side to operationalise the
9 agreement which is signed June 19th, 1993 in Vitez, I
11 1. To stop the arresting of civilians during
12 the war actions in the form of imprisoning, taking
13 hostages or illegal weakening of the enemy in all the
14 cities and villages controlled by the HVO 3rd Operative
15 Zone, middle Bosnia."
16 2. -- And here I'm going to ask Mr. Nobilo
17 first to read the BSC, because the English doesn't
18 follow. Can you read paragraph two, please?
19 MR. NOBILO: 2. "To stop the burning of
20 facilities and the destruction of material property.
21 Especially to protect sacred objects; that is to say
22 the mosques, mejtefs, vakufs and mezars," or something
23 of that nature, I can't quite read it.
24 MR. HAYMAN: Paragraph 3 continuing from the
25 English exhibit D371A.
1 "Every stealing and holding of the property
2 shall be punished and solved through the military
3 discipline measures and courts:
4 4. For the implementation of this command I
5 make responsible all the brigade commanders and
6 independent units commanders. They are to send
7 customary reports on the implementation of the
9 Signed Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, and a
10 distribution list is given.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Hayman, please read again
12 number two. It says "to enable the putting of houses
13 and other objects on fire," to enable, not to forbid.
14 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Your Honour. Mr. Nobilo
15 read the Croatian version, which when properly
16 translated means to stop. Whoever drafted this English
17 original, shall we say, this perhaps was not their
18 native tongue.
19 But you're absolutely correct, the English
20 version reads "I command to enable putting the houses
21 and other objects on fire, as well as to enable
22 destruction of other material goods."
23 JUDGE RIAD: It goes into the other sentence.
24 MR. HAYMAN: There it is, Your Honour. I
25 think it's self explanatory.
1 MR. NOBILO: I suggest that we clarify this
2 dilemma and place on the ELMO point 2, in large, so
3 that our interpreters can translate the Croatian number
4 2 sentence. Let's have an enlargement on the ELMO, and
5 then from the Croatian document the interpreters can
6 read and translate.
7 Therefore, Mr. President, I should like the
8 interpreters to read out point 2 without my reading it.
9 INTERPRETER: "To stop putting the houses and
10 other objects on fire, as well as to stop the
11 destruction of other material goods, and to enable
12 special protection for sacred objects; mosques,
13 mejtefs, vakufs and mezars."
14 MR. NOBILO: I'd like to ask the interpreters
15 to read out the word in yellow, highlighted in yellow,
16 and it is omogucisti, to stop, to make impossible,
17 prevent, to make impossible.
18 JUDGE JORDA: The point is whether it's
19 negative or affirmative. According to the French
20 interpreters, there are six syllables and a negation.
21 It starts off with a negation. Not to enable, or to
22 prevent. Is everyone in agreement? There is a
23 negation coming in front of the word omogucisti, which
24 means to prevent.
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Let's
1 move on to the next document.
2 Q. Brigadier, before we go on to the next
3 document, do you recognise the stamp and signature of
4 Colonel Blaskic? Do you think that the document is
5 authentic and a faithful copy of the original?
6 A. Yes, it is a faithful copy of the original.
7 I recognise General Blaskic's signature, but the stamp
8 is not legible.
9 Q. Something was added by hand with a black
10 pen. Who wrote that?
11 A. This is something that occurs frequently on
12 documents, this is the handwriting of General Blaskic
14 Q. Was General Blaskic able to speak English in
15 1993? Could he use the language?
16 A. As far as I know, he did not have a knowledge
17 of the English language, but we did have a translator,
18 amateur translator, and in our correspondence with
19 UNPROFOR we translated the documents from Croatian into
20 English so that our correspondence with UNPROFOR should
21 be as good as possible. But, however, I see that this
22 was counterproductive in this particular case.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Document 372, 372A for the
24 English version.
25 MR. NOBILO:
1 Q. Colonel Blaskic, on the 19th of June, 1993,
2 at 1610 hours is writing to the commanders of the
3 Viteska Brigade, the commanders of the Vitezovi special
4 task force and the 4th military police battalion and
5 police station. And he states in point 1 of his
6 order: "To provide unobstructed passage for a convoy of
7 food to the village of Kruscica on the 21st of June,
8 1993, which will be escorted by the UNHCR, the
9 International Red Cross, and the European Monitoring
11 2. For the purpose of ensuring the passage
12 of the food convoy, that the road be temporarily
13 cleared of all anti-tank mines and other obstacles.
14 3. The delivery of the food convoy to the
15 village of Kruscica is directly associated with
16 supplying the town of Vitez with water from the
17 Kruscica system.
18 4. The commander of the police station in
19 Vitez shall be responsible for preventing any
20 obstruction of the passage of the food convoy by
22 5. I shall hold the commanders of the
23 Viteska Brigade, the Vitezovi special task force, the
24 4th military police battalion and the Vitez police
25 station responsible for ensuring compliance with this
1 order." Signed Colonel Blaskic.
2 Do you recognise the document and the
4 A. The signature is that of General Blaskic.
5 The activities contained in this order is something
6 that I remember, so that I do remember the contents of
7 that text.
8 Q. The document was obtained from the office of
9 the Prosecutor. May I have the next document, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document D373, 373A for the
11 French version, 373B for the English version.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. Therefore, we have an order from Colonel
14 Blaskic on the 21st of June, 1993, sent to all the
15 brigade commanders and to wardens of military prisons.
16 The title is, "Relations to prisoners of war."
17 "Based on the regulations of the Geneva
18 Conventions of the 12th of August, 1949, which govern
19 relations towards prisoners of war, I command:"
20 The first point is relatively illegible. The
21 translators tried to decipher it, but I wouldn't like
22 to speculate, I would rather begin with point 2.
23 "I forbid the use of prisoners of war for
24 first labour on engineering projects on the territory.
25 The shelter and trench cover-ups, roads, bunkers and
2 3. Attention to be drawn to brigade
3 commanders and military prison wardens, to the fact
4 that using prisoners of war as a workforce for
5 engineering projects on the territory constitutes a war
6 crime, and that an international court for war crimes
7 has been formed which will investigate and sanction
8 such treatment. I hold responsible brigade commanders
9 and wardens of military prisons for carrying out this
10 order. Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
11 Brigadier, do you recognise the document, and
12 the stamp and signature of Colonel Blaskic?
13 A. I remember the contents of the document. The
14 document was signed by the head of staff, Franjo Nakic,
15 for the commander, and the stamp is that of the
16 Operative Zone.
17 Q. Tell me, when Colonel Blaskic threatened in
18 June, 1993, by taking this to an international court,
19 did you think that he meant this seriously, or did you
20 think it was just used to emphasise his order?
21 A. We took it seriously, and we placed it in our
22 documents as part of the orders issued by him.
23 Q. Thank you. May I have the next document,
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document D374, 374A for the
1 English version, which is also an original.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. The next document was also from the Office of
4 the Prosecutor. We have two originals, again, both the
5 English and the Croatian versions are original
6 versions. It is dated 10th of June, 1993, and
7 Commander Blaskic issued orders to a series of units.
8 It is the 19th of June in the Croatian text,
9 that is the date in the Croatian text; but in the
10 English text the date is the 10th of June, but it is
11 the same time. Once again, it is either an error or
12 something else.
13 The order.
14 1. "I forbid the violent moving out from
15 their family houses and apartments of the population
16 other than Croats concerning the HVO third zone.
17 2. To provide maximum security for the
18 non-Croat population in towns and villages and the
19 exclusive control of the HVO 3rd of the Operative Zone.
20 3. The implementation of this command I make
21 responsible the HVO brigade commanders, as well as the
22 commanders of the special unit, the Vitezovi, the
23 police department," and so on. And it is commander
24 Blaskic that signed the document.
25 Could you tell us, Brigadier, whether Colonel
1 Blaskic signed the document? Do you recall the
2 contents of the command?
3 A. I remember both the command and the contents
4 of the command. The document was signed by General
5 Blaskic. I'm looking at the date, and I would like to
6 say something in that connection, and why these
7 commands were issued in June, particularly.
8 Because it was on the basis of an agreement
9 of the joint command of the 3rd Operative Zone and the
10 others, that is to say, at that time, when this
11 document came into being, the units of the BH army had
12 completed an attack on HVO units in the Travnik
13 municipality and the Stari Travnik municipality.
14 We have a large number of refugees, Croats,
15 members of the HVO from the area of the Travnik
16 municipality, and from part of the Novi Travnik
17 municipality which means that refugees were coming in,
18 and so, we wanted to prevent the forceful entry into
19 these houses, or that the Croat population be expelled.
20 That is why this command came into being, and
21 it was based on an agreement reached with the
22 representatives of the BH army.
23 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, which non-Croat
24 population was the most numerous in the enclave of
1 A. In the Vitez-Busovaca enclave the most
2 numerous non-Croat population were the Muslim Bosniaks.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document D375, 375A for the
5 French version, 375B for the English version.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. The Croatian Defence Council, the commander
8 of the 2nd Battalion, on the 21st of June 1993.
9 "Pursuant to the agreement on the cessation
10 of fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, signed on the 10th
11 and 15th of June, and the agreement on the
12 implementation of this agreement signed on the 19th of
13 June, 1993, in view of the observed failures concerning
14 the treatment of prisoners in accordance with the
15 Geneva Conventions, and on the basis of the brigade
16 commander, order number 01-516-2/93 of the 20th of
17 June, 1993, I hereby order:
18 1. To halt the arresting of civilians and
19 the taking of hostages intended to weaken the enemy in
20 the areas controlled by units of the 2nd Battalion.
21 2. To prevent the setting on fire of
22 buildings and the destruction of property and in
23 particular to protect places of worship; mosques,
24 majtefs, vakufs and mezars.
25 3. Any appropriation or pilferage of
1 property, to punish most severely and to resolve all
2 such cases by means of military disciplinary measures
3 and through public prosecution offices and the courts.
4 4. Do not permit any mistreatment of
5 prisoners and immediately to gather evidence concerning
7 5. To release prisoners only under the
8 supervision of the International Red Cross.
9 6. To prevent in the most energetic manner,
10 arbitrary acts by individuals in providing information
11 on prisoners and the exchange of prisoners; 30
12 prisoners are reported captured, but only 24 appear at
13 the exchange, for example.
14 7. To escort prisoners to the designated
15 centres and hand them over as soon as possible.
16 8. To treat prisoners humanely in the way
17 you would like the enemy to treat your fellow soldiers
18 if they should be captured." For the command of the
19 2nd Battalion, somebody else signed Zarko Saric.
20 Brigadier, do you know the circumstances
21 governing the issuance of this order and who issued the
22 order, which battalion and whom the 2nd Battalion and
23 its command issued this order?
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the order came
25 into being on the basis of an order from the Viteska
1 Brigade given to the commander of the battalion, and
2 they took this on orders from the Operative Zone.
3 The commander of the 2nd Battalion, Zarko
4 Saric, is somebody I know personally. I don't know who
5 signed the document on his behalf. That is all I can
6 say as far as the document is concerned.
7 Q. Tell me, please, when reading the text of the
8 order, can you recognise the sentences and parts of
9 sentences taken from orders issued by Blaskic and
11 A. Yes, both in points 1, 2 and 3, up to point
12 7, the sentences are identical to the sentences drafted
13 by the commander of the Operative Zone, which was
14 subsequently transferred to the Vitez commander.
15 Q. Was it customary with the soldiers when
16 orders are to be issued down the line from Petkovic,
17 Blaskic, Cerkez to the battalions and companies, was it
18 this usual method of communication and transference of
19 the order to the subordinates?
20 A. Yes, it was.
21 Q. One more document, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Document D376, D376A for the
23 French version, D376B for the English version.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. The commander, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, on
1 the 21st of July, 1993, is writing to all subordinate
2 units, commands and services of the HVO in the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone. The heading is "Treatment of
4 prisoners and civilians."
5 "On the basis of the order of the Chief of
6 Staff of the main headquarters of the HVO," the number
7 is indicated, dated "20 July, 1993, and obligations as
8 emanating from international law of war and the
9 provisions of the Geneva Conventions and other positive
10 regulations, I hereby order.
11 1. Members of the HVO must treat captured
12 soldiers, and captured civilians in particular, in
13 accordance with international regulations.
14 2. Commanders at all levels and HVO soldiers
15 have the obligation to prevent wilful behaviour on the
16 part of individuals and groups.
17 3. Prevent the destruction of property.
18 4. Provide full guarantees and protection to
19 women, children and the elderly.
20 5. The directly subordinate commanders are
21 personally responsible to me for the execution of this
23 Brigadier, do you recognise this order? If
24 not, do you recognise the signature of Colonel Blaskic?
25 A. The document was signed by Colonel Blaskic,
1 this is his signature. It was drafted in the command
2 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. The assignments
3 from the text of the order are familiar to me.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, would this be a
6 convenient time to break before we go on to our next
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, if everyone is in
9 agreement, we will have our lunch break and we will
10 resume work at 2.30. The hearing is adjourned.
11 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
3 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please. Mr.
4 Nobilo, please continue.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
6 have a new document and if you will indulge me just a
7 moment to have it distributed.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is 377A for the English
9 version, that is D377.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. So we have the 2nd Battalion command in
12 Bila. This is 12 July, 1993, and I am proceeding
13 straight to the text.
14 "In accordance with the warning by the
15 brigade commander No. 01-620-2/93 of 9 July, 1993, in
16 order to ensure the unimpeded functioning of
17 international organisations and particularly safety of
18 the UNPROFOR British Battalion, I hereby warn: 1) All
19 housing facilities used by UNPROFOR will be visibly
20 marked with the UN flag. 2) No members of the HVO are
21 allowed to undertake any activities that might impair
22 the integrity and the safety of these facilities.
23 3) All units and commanders from squad commanders to
24 company commanders are to be informed of this.
25 4) Company commanders are directly responsible to me
1 for complying with this warning. Zarko Saric, Second
2 Battalion Commander."
3 First, Brigadier, can you tell me whether you
4 know Saric and do you remember the contents of this
5 warning, which was circulating in that time period in
7 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I do know the
8 2nd Battalion commander, Zarko Saric, his command post
9 was in the immediate vicinity of the British Battalion
10 command post in Nova Bila and a similar warning was
11 sent by us in the command of the Operative Zone to the
12 2nd Battalion commander and then he forwarded it to his
13 unit. I am also looking at the initials "VT," which I
14 believe stand for Vlado Taraba (phoen) as the person
15 who actually drafted this document.
16 Q. So this is a battalion which is part of the
17 Viteska Brigade whose commander was Mario Cerkez?
18 A. Yes, that is the unit you just referred to.
19 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
20 THE REGISTRAR: This is D378, D378A for the
21 English version.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. We have another document by the same
24 commander, that is the Commander of the 2nd Battalion,
25 Zarko Saric, and you told us that he was part of the
1 Viteska Brigade. This was of 7th August, '93.
2 "Pursuant to Brigade commander Order No.
3 01785-2/93 of 3 August 1993, concerning the halting and
4 inspecting of UN vehicles, I hereby order: 1) HVO
5 members (soldiers, officers, non-commissioned officers)
6 commanders and commands of all ranks are -- and then
7 capitalised and underlined -- are not authorised to
8 hold, search or inspect UN vehicles as part of their
9 regular activities in their zones of responsibility.
10 2) Free passage along approved roads and routes, which
11 will be indicated to you in due course is to be ensured
12 for all UN units. Commanders are obligated to provide
13 them with full protection and assistance in their zones
14 of responsibility and so on."
15 Brigadier, can you tell us, was this
16 something that was agreed with in your command and did
17 your command issue such and similar orders to your
18 subordinate units?
19 A. Anything that would arrive to us through the
20 UN representatives, we processed and forwarded to our
21 subordinate units. In our morning briefings, we would
22 usually discuss this and we would get instructions as
23 to how to proceed and this order of a battalion
24 Commander was based on an order issued by the Operative
25 Zone Commander.
1 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is D379, D379B for the
3 French version and 379A for the English version.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. This is the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
6 headquarters. It was dated the 17th August, 1993, 1055
7 hours. He is addressing it to the commander of the
8 Josip Ban Jelacic Brigade and the subject heading is:
9 "Demolition of a place of worship."
10 "Order: Today, 17 August, 1993, we have been
11 informed of a demolition of a place of worship in
12 Kiseljak. In order to establish the fact and conduct
13 investigation, I order: 1) Send a detailed report
14 about the demolition of the place of worship. Inform
15 me of what you have done in respect of conducting an
16 investigation and finding the perpetrators. Inform me
17 what facts you establish and what action do you plan to
18 take concerning this incident."
19 And there is a stamp of the Central Bosnia
20 Operative Zone.
21 Brigadier, do you recall this event and do
22 you recognise the document?
23 A. I do recall the event and this document was
24 drafted personally by Colonel Blaskic.
25 Q. How do you interpret this preamble today,
1 17th of August? The commander is not saying through
2 the operations centre we received information and so on
3 and so forth, but he is using an expression which in
4 Croatian language is used when you do not receive
5 information directly, but through some circuitous way.
6 A. The reason for this phrasing is that we did
7 receive information, but not directly, is the fact that
8 Kiseljak was cut-off from us and we could not reach it
9 physically. That the reporting is not full and
10 complete. All these are reasons for the Commander
11 learning this from other sources. I do not know
12 exactly what these sources were. This was not official
13 information. There is no report, that this is based
14 on, that he can rely on.
15 Q. Very well. Let's move to the next document.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This is 380, A for the French
17 version, B for the English version.
18 MR. NOBILO: This is another Central Bosnia
19 Operative Zone command document of 26 August, 1993.
20 Colonel Blaskic is sending it to all the Brigades and
21 the 7th Battalion of the military police. It is an
22 order which is entitled, "Bringing in persons against
23 whom criminal proceedings are being conducted."
24 And the body of text reads as
25 follows: "Pursuant to Article 184 of the Law on
1 Criminal Procedure Act, I hereby order: 1) Those who
2 are suspected, accused and are in the indicted are to
3 be brought in or taken into custody through the said
4 persons respective Brigade command and independent unit
5 which are responsible for ensuring the presence of
6 these persons at the main hearing or investigation.
7 Pursuant to Article 184(5) of the adopted law on
8 criminal procedure.
9 2) If for objective reasons (offering
10 resistance, et cetera) the Brigade command or
11 independent unit command fails to ensure that the
12 person against whom criminal proceedings are being
13 conducted is brought in for investigation or the main
14 hearing, it must duly report the matter to the
15 commander of the military police 7th Battalion, which
16 shall take all measures necessary to ensure that the
17 said person is brought in for the hearing or trial.
18 3) Witnesses or injured parties in the
19 investigation and main hearing are brought in by means
20 of military police and battalion.
21 4) Commanders of brigades and independent
22 units and the deputy chief of the military police
23 administrations are responsible for the execution of
24 this task." Signed by Tihomir Blaskic.
25 Brigadier, is this an authentic document and
1 do you remember or do you recognise the signature?
2 A. This is a faithful copy of the original. It
3 was signed by commander of the Operative Zone Tihomir
4 Blaskic. It was drafted in the Operative Zone command
5 and I do recall it.
6 Q. Up until the date we have been always
7 mentioning, the 4th military police battalion and now
8 we have the 7th Battalion, is this the same unit or did
9 it change its name?
10 A. This is the same unit, but it was renamed.
11 Now it is no longer 4th Battalion, now it is the 7th
13 Q. Thank you. Please have the next document
14 distributed, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This is D381, A for the
16 English version.
17 MR. NOBILO: So we have Document D381. This
18 is a 2nd Battalion command in Bila, dated 27, August,
19 1993. And the text is further to the Order No.
20 01-955-2/93 issued by the Viteska Brigade on 26th
21 August, 1993, concerning the unimpeded passage of UNHCR
23 "I hereby order: 1) Fully observe the
24 already received orders about the unimpeded passage of
25 humanitarian aid convoys, especially the UNHCR
1 convoys. 2) Commanders of companies, platoons and
2 squads are duty-bound to secure unimpeded and safe
3 passage for the convoys. 3) Subordinated commanders
4 will be considered responsible for any failure to
5 implement this order. Commanders of companies,
6 platoons and squadrons are accountable to me for the
7 implementation of the order. 5) This order is to be
8 carried out immediately and is a standing order. Second
9 Battalion Commander Zarko Saric."
10 Brigadier, do you recall such orders which
11 refer to UNHCR?
12 A. Yes, I do recall, and this document was
13 drafted on the basis of the order by the Commander of
14 the Viteska Brigade who received it from the commander
15 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
16 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is D382, 382A for the
18 French version, B for the English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. This is Colonel Blaskic's document in Central
21 Bosnia Operative Zone command. He is sending the
22 following text to the 7th Battalion of the military
23 police in Vitez. And it's entitled, "Submission of an
24 incomplete report." And it's regarding your Document
25 NO. 02/4/3/II-07-8/93 of 8, 11 September, 1993. The
1 official note was too general and too sweeping.
2 "1) Who arrived and how many were there?
3 (Last name and number). 2) Who are the persons of
4 Muslim nationality which are being sought? 3) How did
5 the authorities of the military and civilian police
6 treat the suspects brought in from the enemy side?
7 4) Who are the individual soldiers, who on their own
8 initiatives, organised the exchange? (first and last
9 name). 5) Descriptions of the course of the exchange
10 are irrelevant. Your duty was to collect information
11 on the actual situation and by virtue of your office
12 initiate proceeding, instead you submitted a very
13 superficial report without the necessary arguments.
14 Carry out a detailed investigation of this case and
15 submit it to me, the entire case by 14th September,
16 1993. Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
17 Brigadier, first, is this Colonel Blaskic's
19 A. Yes, this is Colonel Blaskic's signature.
20 The stamp is of the Operative Zone command and this
21 document was drafted by Colonel Blaskic.
22 Q. Here we see that Colonel Blaskic is
23 complaining of the quality of reporting. And while
24 we're at it, can you tell me, how did General Blaskic,
25 who was then Colonel Blaskic, what did he do when he
1 would issue an order? Did he require detailed reports
2 on the implementation of his orders? Can you explain
3 this to us?
4 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, we saw
5 previously that because of the complexity of the
6 situation and events, Colonel Blaskic issued a number
7 of orders to his subordinates in order to carry out the
8 task which he had the Operative Zone Commander. As
9 some of the orders were not carried out and some
10 reports were incomplete and in order to find out what
11 the real situation is on the ground and how his orders
12 were really implemented, I remember the Commander
13 issuing instructions to keep a log of all the orders
14 given and their implementation. I remember that one of
15 the officers was tasked with this duty in addition to
16 his regular duties. And those commands and those units
17 which we could reach, Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik and
18 Travnik, when he issued instructions, when you reach
19 one of these commands, let's say in Busovaca with one
20 of these orders, that you would check with the local
21 Commander if he had carried out the order and if he
22 fully reported on his implementation.
23 So this document refers to some of the
24 superficial reports. That means the unprofessional
25 reporting on the tasks which were based on the orders
1 which he had issued originally. And let me just remind
2 you that in the brigade commands we did not have enough
3 officers who had proper military training. They were
4 there on the basis of family ties or friendships. And
5 so, that influenced their reporting. In other words,
6 they did not report it fully.
7 Q. Very well. Let's move on to the next
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is D383, A for the
10 English version.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. This is the second HVO battalion command in
13 Bila on 30 August, 1993. "Pursuant to Order No.
14 01-996-2/93 of 28 August, 1993, issued by the Viteska
15 Brigade commander and as a supplement to the order of
16 the movement of UN forces, I hereby order:
17 1) Ensure freedom of movement for all
18 representatives of the international committee of the
19 Red Cross in all HVO controlled areas. 2) This order
20 comes into effect immediately. 3) Company commanders
21 are responsible for the implementation of this order.
22 Zarko Saric, Second Battalion Commander."
23 Brigadier, this is an order similar to the
24 one before, do you recall that this is how you
25 proceeded at the command regarding the UN forces and
1 the ICRC?
2 A. Yes. This is an order which was issued by
3 the 2nd Battalion Commander on the basis of another
4 order issued by the Viteska Brigade commander, who, in
5 turn, issued his order on the basis of the Operative
6 Zone Commander's order.
7 Q. Very well. Let's move on to the next
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is D384, A for the
10 French version, B for the English version.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. This is the Central Bosnia Operational Zone.
13 The date is the 13th of September, 1993, and the time
14 is 1330 hours. Colonel Blaskic to units of the Brigade
15 commanders and the order: The order concerns the
16 treatment of wounded soldiers taken prisoner. And the
17 text reads:
18 "In order to prevent wilful treatment by
19 individuals towards wounded soldiers taken prisoner and
20 treated in hospitals, I order:
21 1. Any form of maltreatment of wounded enemy
22 soldiers taken prisoner who are being treated for their
23 wounds in our hospitals is strictly forbidden.
24 2. In all instances of failure to obey this
25 order, request assistance from the commander of the 7th
1 Battalion of the military police in Vitez and the
2 Telephone No. 711308 and report to me personally.
3 3. All soldiers are to be informed of the
4 contents of this order through subordinate commanders.
5 4. This order enters into force
6 immediately. Responsible for its full implementation
7 are brigade commanders, commanders of independent
8 units, and it goes on to enumerate them. The head of
9 the 7th Battalion, and it is signed by Commander
10 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
11 Commander, I'm sure you recall this
13 A. Yes, I do remember it. I personally wrote
14 it. It is the Central Bosnia Operational Zone, and it
15 was signed by the head of staff, Franjo Nakic, on
16 behalf of the commander, General Blaskic.
17 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please.
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is 385, D385A for the
19 English version.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. Therefore, the commander of the 2nd Battalion
22 of the HVO from Bila on the 30th of August, 1993,
23 states: "Further, to order number 01-995-2/93 issued
24 by the Viteska Brigade commander on the 20th of August,
25 1993, concerning the thoughtless acts on the part of
1 individual HVO soldiers against UN forces and with the
2 aim of preventing these, I hereby order:
3 1. To take all available measures at all
4 levels of command, to avoid clashes with UNPROFOR,
5 especially those caused by irresponsible individuals
6 and groups.
7 2. To inform all HVO soldiers of the order,
8 according to which, allowing UN forces to return fire
9 without warning if they are if in danger.
10 3. HVO units passing by UN bases must be
11 supervised by HVO officers, and the soldiers must be
12 warned to behave with dignity.
13 4. Amongst the HVO soldiers, all attempts
14 should be made to prevent unwilful, ungrounded
15 assessment about the bias of the UN forces.
16 5. You are obliged to send us information on
17 the activities of the United Nations forces in your
18 zone of responsibility, and especially information
19 about possible clashes. Signed Zarko Saric, the 2nd
20 Battalion commander."
21 Brigadier, do you remember the problems over
22 the incident between the HVO forces and UNPROFOR,
23 whether the UNPROFOR officers came to complain, and
24 what Blaskic did?
25 A. Yes, I do remember the incidents, they did
1 happen, and they did complain to the commander of the
2 Operative Zone. And the commander issued orders of
3 this kind, as he did for the Viteska Brigade and the
4 Viteska Brigade commander went on to issue those orders
5 to his subordinates.
6 The problem was that soldiers in a given
7 situation, the kind of situation that existed in the
8 locality always, according to their own assessment,
9 concluded that the UN forces were more inclined towards
10 the other side, the other party; and then, on the basis
11 of their own conclusions and assessments, they would
12 behave irresponsibly.
13 This was forbidding them in point four of the
15 MR. NOBILO: May I have the next document,
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is D386, D386A for the
18 English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. The next document was given to us by the
21 office of the Prosecution, and I'm going to read it
22 out. It is the Vitez military district, military post
23 VP 1739, class, date and reference number. The title
24 is "Ban on carrying long weapons outside the area of
25 defence. To all brigades and independent units, to the
1 4th Battalion military police battalion, Vitez military
3 With regard to the new circumstances, the
4 date is 2nd of March, 1994, with regard to the newly
5 arisen circumstances which are the result of signing
6 the peace agreement on the cessation of combat
7 activities and hostilities between the HVO and the
8 Muslim armed forces, MOS, and the apparent relaxing and
9 wilful behaviour of certain HVO members outside the
10 defence area, I hereby order:
11 1. I strictly ban the carrying of weapons
12 (long) weapons, collected weapons and mines and
13 explosives outside the area of the defence lines.
14 2. Members of the HVO and conscripts who are
15 found burying weapons (long weapons), hand grenades and
16 other ordinance, the military police shall take away
17 these weapons and issue a certificate listing the
18 weapons that were confiscated.
19 3. The military police shall take the
20 confiscated weapons to the logistics department of
21 Vitez military district.
22 4. The commanders of the brigades and
23 independent units shall issue orders and decide on the
24 place (location) for the soldiers to leave their
25 weapons and equipment before leaving the area of the
1 defence and when they go on leave.
2 5. This order comes into effect immediately
3 and the persons responsible for its execution are the
4 commanders of the brigades, independent units and the
5 commander of the 4th Battalion are responsible to me
6 for its execution. Signed Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
7 Could you tell me whose stamp it is and whose
9 A. The stamp is the Operative Zone command, and
10 the signature is the commander of the head of staff,
11 Franjo Nakic. The document was written by (inaudible)
12 who was a counsellor in my department, the department of
13 which I was head.
14 Q. Now, for the first time we come across a new
15 term, the district; and does this mean that it changed
16 its title and became the Vitez military district?
17 A. I don't remember about the exact date, but at
18 the end of 1993, the operative zone changed its name
19 and became the Vitez district, military district. And
20 this was done on the basis of the document received
21 from the head of the general staff of the HVO.
22 Q. Did you note that this new title, that we
23 have a new element here, and that is the class?
24 A. Yes, at the level of the Defence Ministry,
25 something was done that we did not have at the
1 beginning, which means for the whole HVO we
2 standardised classification numbers, how documents were
3 numbered, and how we determined the class of document.
4 As the document was issued on the 2nd of
5 March, 1994, this testifies to the fact that in the
6 course of the year we improved our organisation
7 somewhat, and we had better level of organisation than
8 we did in the course of 1993 and previously.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I do not like any ambiguity to
10 come into the proceedings, which might have to do with
11 interpretation. I didn't mention this before, but
12 apparently several times the witness, when he has this
13 type of document, says the signature is Tihomir
15 INTERPRETER: Now I can hear it. I wasn't
16 getting the interpretation.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I have a clarification I'm
18 asking for. I didn't ask for it before, but I would
19 like to ask for it now, because for several times now
20 this has happened. On some of the documents, it's not
21 the accused who signed it. And frequently the witness
22 says it's the signature of Tihomir Blaskic. In French,
23 signature means the hand-written signature. He says the
24 document has been drafted by Tihomir Blaskic, as his
25 signature, and he is the one who wrote it.
1 On this document, I don't think this is the
2 case, but there are other examples. We have to make a
3 distinction that, at least that's what I believe, that
4 you say that it is the -- the document is the concept,
5 is the product of the ideas of Tihomir Blaskic. That's
6 one thing. It is written on his behalf, but if it's
7 not his signature when it's not Tihomir Blaskic's
8 signature, I think we have to be very clear about this,
9 because the witness frequently says it is signed by
10 Tihomir Blaskic. Perhaps it is the seal of Tihomir
11 Blaskic, but it's not his signature.
12 There is somewhat of a formal problem here,
13 which doesn't mean that, intellectually speaking, the
14 document was not recognised as his own by the accused.
15 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we're getting a
16 distinction, I think, between the signature block and
17 the actual signature. With respect to this document,
18 the witness made clear, Franjo Nakic signed the
19 document for Tihomir Blaskic, and that is how it was
20 interpreted in the English interpretation.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right, that's not quite how
22 I heard it. So, you have to be careful with the French
23 interpretation. There is the person who signs, that is
24 the hand-written signature, and then the person who has
25 written the document. We have to be careful. Thank
1 you very much, I'm sorry for interrupting. Go ahead,
3 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, as far as the
4 Croatian text is concerned, Mr. Marin always said when
5 he recognised the signatures of Blaskic's associates
6 who signed on behalf of Tihomir Blaskic. And then he
7 would say who the signature was. In this case, he said
8 Franjo Nakic signed on behalf of Mr. Blaskic.
9 --- Recess taken at 3.22 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 3.38 p.m.
11 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume. The accused
12 is now in the courtroom, very well. Please be seated.
13 We will count that pause as, from the break,
14 I know it's not quite exactly the same thing for the
15 interpreters, I know the relaxation is not quite the
16 same quality as a regular break, but that's what we
17 will have to do. Thank you very much. Please
18 continue, Mr. Nobilo.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The next document is 387, A
20 for the English version.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. Therefore, the 2nd Battalion command, Bila,
23 16th September 1993, issues an order. "The 2nd
24 Battalion commander, Zarko Saric, on the basis of the
25 order of the Viteska Brigade commander 01-1137-2/93, on
1 the prevention of reckless behaviour on the part of
2 individuals in the treatment of captured wounded enemy
3 soldiers, I hereby order:
4 1. Abusing and assaulting wounded enemy
5 soldiers who have been captured and are currently
6 receiving treatment at our hospitals is most strictly
8 2. Immediately report to the operative on
9 duty in the 2nd Battalion or in the Viteska Brigade of
10 all cases of failure to comply with the order and seek
11 assistance from the 7th military police battalion
12 command in Vitez by calling him by telephone number
14 3. Inform all members of our units of the
15 contents of this order through subordinate commanders.
16 4. This order comes into effect immediately
17 and company commanders are responsible to me for its
18 full implementation. The 2nd Battalion commander,
19 Zarko Saric."
20 Brigadier, in this order of a lower
21 commander, that is the commander of the battalion, do
22 you recognise the same sentences and parts of sentences
23 from the Blaskic order relating to the prisoners of war
24 and wounded soldiers?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And what do you conclude from this?
2 A. We conclude, or one can conclude that the
3 order by the command zone has reached the battalion
4 commander and that it will go down the line and reach
5 the company commander, or platoon commander.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Document D388, A for the
7 English version.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Once again, a document which we received from
10 the Prosecutor's office, which can be seen from the
11 black number embossed on the page at the top. It is
12 the Vitez military district, the date is the 15th of
13 March 1994 and the text reads: "As requested by
14 UNPROFOR whose basic mission is to ensure the delivery
15 of humanitarian aid in accordance with the signed peace
16 agreement, I hereby order:
17 On March the 15th 1994, make it possible for
18 four UNHCR vehicles to enter the village of Kruscica.
19 2. Inspect the vehicles on the premises and
20 after that let them into the village of Kruscica.
21 3. The order comes into effect immediately.
22 The commander of the Viteska Brigade and the 4th
23 Battalion military police are responsible to me for the
24 full execution of this order.
25 Tell me, Brigadier, who signed this order and
1 who wrote it?
2 A. I wrote the order and it was signed by Filip
3 Filipovic, at the time he was deputy commander of the
4 military district. And it was written on the basis of
5 authorisation that he received from the commander,
6 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.
7 Q. Thank you. The next document, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D389, A for the
9 French version, B for the English version.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. The commander, Colonel Blaskic, the
12 collective region of Vitez on the 1st of December 1993
13 is writing to all the brigades in the collective region
14 of Vitez, and the title is: "The treatment of
15 prisoners of war. Command: On the basis of the
16 memorandum of the general staff, and the number is
17 quoted, from the 30th of November 1993, and in
18 connection with the treatment of prisoners of war on
19 the territory of the Croatian republic Herceg-Bosna, I
21 1. In the zones of brigade responsibility,
22 to ensure that the military prisoners of war (these are
23 persons who bear a visible sign of belonging to enemy
24 formations and firearms) at the time of capture are
25 treated in the following manner.
1 A) Compulsory disarmament, taking away
2 personal documents and sorting by military classes,
3 more precisely; rank and file soldiers, non-commissioned
4 officers, officers and higher officers, according to
6 B) Military prisoners of war are sent off
7 from the first combat line, at least -- and the word
8 that follows is illegible -- one would say that it was
9 20 kilometres, more precisely, without fail they must
10 be placed outside the war zones in the OVZ of Busovaca.
11 C) Military prisoners of war must perform
12 daily specified tasks and put their lodges in order.
13 They have the right to receive letters and prisoners'
14 packages through the International Red Cross.
15 D) All evidence, legal and administrative, as
16 regards prisoners of war and persons who have this
17 status must be maintained in an orderly manner and
18 strictly kept.
19 E) All activities of the military prisoners
20 of war must be justified.
21 F) The treatment of military prisoners of war
22 must be within the framework of the Geneva Conventions
23 and the International Law governing the treatment of
24 military prisoners of war.
25 Second, to familiarise all soldiers with the
1 contents of this command through the unit commanders
2 and the PD authorities.
3 And Fourth: This command takes effect
4 immediately. And commanders of brigades and
5 independent units of the ZP Vitez are responsible to me
6 for its complete execution." Commander Colonel, and we
7 cannot see the rest.
8 Brigadier, do you recall this command?
9 A. I remember the activities to be implemented
10 in the collective region, and I remember the
11 instructions which were given as to conduct towards the
12 prisoners of war from the ranks of the enemy army.
13 Q. May I have the next document, please?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Document D390, A for the
15 French version, B for the English version.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. The command headquarters of the 2nd Battalion
18 from Bila, 26th of November 1993, to company
19 commanders, issues the following text.
20 "Based on the communication from the command
21 headquarters of the Vitez Brigade number, and the
22 number is as follows, from the 24th of November 1993,
23 concerning the tripartite agreements in Geneva, we are
24 remitting to you a copy of the joint declaration which
25 was signed in Geneva on the 18th of November 1993 by
1 Mr. Mato Boban, Dr. Radovan Karadzic and Mr. Haris
2 Silajdzic, as well as Miss Sedako Ogata.
3 The text of the joint declaration is as
4 follows: Bearing in mind that humanitarian
5 catastrophes in Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot be prevented
6 unless peace is established and conscious of the
7 horrors which swept over the civilian population at the
8 very onset of winter, the signatories made today in the
9 presence of the working group of the International
10 Conference on Former Yugoslavia for Humanitarian
11 Questions, under are the presidency of Miss Sedako
12 Ogata of the UNHCR, this irrevocable joint
14 1. By decreasing hostility, ensure delivery
15 of humanitarian aid, allow free and unconditional
16 access to the most passable and most accessible routes,
17 as well as repairs indispensable for the use of the
19 2. Ensure complete and safe freedom of
20 movement to all personnel of the UN and other
21 international organisations.
22 3. Allow UNHCR and the International Red
23 Cross to decide, without any conditions or connections,
24 on the manner of carrying out delivery of humanitarian
25 aid, including priorities created by the forthcoming
1 winter in the sense of delivery of all supplies and
2 provisioning with gas and other heating needs
3 indispensable for the survival of the civilian
4 population; excluding, of course, supplies which can be
5 used for war purposes. Also, allow them supervision of
6 this aid so that it is not used for military purposes.
7 4. Ensure all humanitarian aid succeeds in
8 reaching its ultimate destination and that the military
9 or anyone else does not confiscate it.
10 5. Pursuant to the principles and methods
11 agreed upon by the ICR, free all illegally arrested
12 civilian prisoners.
13 6. Ensure that military and civilian
14 administrations at all levels honour the above
15 commitments in other matters, in the -- although we do
16 not see the end of that word -- in the sense of
17 honouring the freedom and movement and other
18 humanitarian rights of the Geneva Conventions and other
19 humanitarian rights and principles which are in effect.
20 The commander of the 2nd Battalion, Zarko Saric."
21 Brigadier, can you explain to the Court who
22 initiated this and how come the commander, to
23 relatively low rank, should convey work to where the
24 humanitarian delegation which was the joint declaration
25 and brought in by three parties under the presidency of
1 Miss Sedako Ogata?
2 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, as far as I
3 remember, in the military district of Vitez, we
4 received this from the Chief of Staff of Vitez, and
5 this, the text of the declaration was sent to all our
7 And as can be seen from this text and from
8 this document, our subordinate commands, the commands
9 of the brigades further went on to convey them to the
10 battalions, and we see that the commanders of the
11 battalions subsequently conveyed them to their
13 The aim was to inform all soldiers of what
14 had been decided at top level, top state level.
15 Q. Thank you. May I have the next document,
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document D391, 391A for the
18 the French version. B for the English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. Therefore, Brigadier, we have one more
21 command from Colonel Blaskic, it is dated the 8th of
22 January 1994, and it refers to prisoners of war. We're
23 not going to read out the entire command, because it is
24 similar to ones previously issued and those issued
1 But in the second half, after the word "I
2 command" it says they should be sent "to the district
3 prison in Busovaca, and that an organ of the Obo ZP
4 Vitez is informed immediately and should be in charge.
5 And further proceedings are handled by the district
6 military Prosecutor." Can you tell us how this command
7 was conveyed and whether you remember a command of this
9 A. I remember the text of the command and the
10 activities to be implemented. I also remember them. I
11 know where it was sent, but not the packet link. I do
12 not see the signature of the commander. And you can
13 see on the basis of the stamp in the right top hand
14 corner is the packet link number.
15 Q. Brigadier, since this morning we have been
16 reading out the orders which are based on humanitarian
17 law. I think we can say that. To the best of your
18 recollection, can you tell the Court whether the
19 defence has succeeded in finding and coming by all the
20 command orders written and issued by Colonel Blaskic
21 and whether Colonel Blaskic issued exclusively written
22 orders or did he also issue oral orders? Can you tell
23 us something about that?
24 A. The written orders from the Operative Zone to
25 the subordinate commands, there were many of them. And
1 we have borne this out by looking at the different
2 documents presented. I do not think that all these
3 documents, the documents that we saw here today are the
4 complete documents. But, the documents that we have
5 seen reflect the situation that existed during the war,
6 during the conflicts and in the command for the Central
7 Bosnia Operational Zone.
8 In addition to the many orders that were
9 presented at this Trial Chamber and the other important
10 documents, information, instructions, commands and so
11 on, on the part of the commander of the operational
12 zone, General Blaskic, in his contents with the unit
13 commanders and at morning briefings that we held, he
14 kept orally underlining and issued orders as to what we
15 should pay attention to, what must be implemented, the
16 matters that he insisted upon how to monitor whether
17 the issued orders had been implemented and how work in
18 the territory should be promoted generally. Which
19 means that along with these written orders, there were
20 always orders issued orally by him personally. So, in
21 his work, General Blaskic, when he issued orders, he
22 did not only issue written orders, but issued oral
23 orders and commands to his associates and
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we're now going
2 to start another series of documents, which may not be
3 set out in order. We have several topics and issues.
4 We have here with us, Mr. Marin, who was
5 well-acquainted with Colonel Blaskic's signature and
6 all the officers from the staff, so we're going to take
7 advantage of his presence and present him with some
8 more documents, if we may. Thank you.
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is Document 392, A for
10 the English version.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. Here we have a document of the commission for
13 exchange and release of prisoners. I can't quite read
14 the text, but it's something like that. It was issued
15 on Vitez on 22 May 1993 and the subject is: "Powers
16 and competence of the commission." The text runs as
18 "On the basis of the order of the joint
19 command of the BH army and the HVO, the commission is
20 authorised for: A) release of prisoners. B)
21 Establishing the status and conditions of the wounded
22 and the infirm. C) Care of and exchange of the dead.
23 D) Resolution of infrastructure and public services
24 problems (water sewage, postal service, electric power
25 roads, et cetera). E) resolution of other problems
1 occurring during the work of the commission.
2 On 22 May 1993, the commission met and
3 reached the following decision: Regarding A, in
4 accordance with item A of the order the commission must
5 provide all the conditions to allow the return of all
6 people whose place of residence is on the territory of
7 Vitez municipality and who for various reasons found
8 themselves on the territory of neighbouring
9 municipalities after the conflict broke out. The same
10 conditions apply for people from the territory of other
11 municipalities who found themselves on the territory of
12 Vitez municipality."
13 I am not going to read the entire text. I am
14 going to point out the members of the commission,
15 Borislav Jozic, Refik Hajdarevic, Stipo Krizanac and
16 Nihad Rebihic.
17 Brigadier, did you know any of these
18 individuals? Do you recognise any of their
19 signatures? And who of these individuals are members
20 of the Muslim forces and who of the HVO?
21 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I personally
22 know two persons here. Under 1, Borislav Jozic and I
23 also recognise his signature. I also know Mr. Stipo
24 Krizanac and I also recognise his signature. As for
25 Messrs. Refik Hajdarevic and Nihad Rebihic, I do not
1 know them, but Borislav Jozic and Stipo Krizanac, are
2 of Croatian ethnic background and Refik Hajdarevic and
3 Nihad Rebihic are of Muslim Bosniak ethnic background.
4 Q. Thank you, next document, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This is D393, 393A for the
6 English version.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. Brigadier, here is another document of the
9 same commission, but this is just a Croatian side. I
10 am only going to read some excerpts which are pertinent
11 here. Again, this is the Croatian committee of
12 Herzeg-Bosna, and the Republic of Herzeg-Bosna, HVO,
13 joint commission for exchange. This was dated 23 May
14 1993 and this is a report for 22 May 1993. Let me draw
15 your attention to paragraph 3, which reads as follows:
16 "After that, the commission held a joint
17 meeting which was attended by Mr. Pero Skopljak. In
18 the meeting we discussed the result achieved so far and
19 our future activities. We reached the conclusion that
20 the representatives of Croatian and Muslim people,
21 regardless of what had happened, must establish contact
22 and join in addressing the current problems. With this
23 in mind, Refik Hajdrevic took himself to talk to Munie
24 Kaimovic, president of the SDA and other influential
25 people, such as Dr. Senaid Sivro, et cetera.
1 The commission unanimously agreed that it
2 should not get involved in the organised transport of
3 large groups of people from Cajdras to Vitez and back,
4 especially in the light of all the information received
5 that a large group of people who had no grounds
6 whatsoever to cross over to Vitez were waiting in front
7 of the church in Cajdras. The opinion was that if the
8 commission, if it got involved in such dealings, would
9 come in a position, in a hopeless position, and that
10 this would trigger a chain reaction of movement of
11 people, which would be regarded as ethnic cleansing.
12 For this reason, the commission made a
13 written record of their powers of competence and
14 published it. We're not going to read the entire text,
15 even though it is fairly interesting and it reflects
16 the living conditions of that period, but I am going to
17 ask you to focus again on the signatures and names,
18 Borislav Jozic and Stipo Krizanac. Do you know them
19 and do you recognise these signatures?
20 A. Yes, I recognise both of these signatures.
21 Q. Can you tell me, in the header it says,
22 "Republic of Herceg-Bosnia, Croatian community of
23 Herzeg-Bosna, Croatian Defence Council and Joint
24 Commission for Exchange of People."
25 When the Croatian Defence Council -- was this
1 a military organisation or was this is the
2 high-civilian executive power which had been
3 established in the areas controlled by the Croatians?
4 A. Yes, this is a civilian authority which was
5 created there.
6 Q. Are you trying to say that the joint
7 commission for exchange was also a civilian structure
8 rather than military?
9 A. The joint commission, which involved in
10 exchanges, was civilian in its character and it was
11 established by civilian authorities.
12 THE REGISTRAR: This is D394, D394A for the
13 English version.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. Brigadier, we're not going to read this
16 document. I would just like to ask you whether you
17 recognise the signatures of Mr. Jozic and of Mr. Stipo
18 Krizanac, who were engaged in this humanitarian
19 exchanges of civilians?
20 A. I do recognise these signatures. These are
21 the signatures of Borislav Jozic and Stipo Krizanac.
22 Q. Let me just read the last paragraph.
23 "Borislav Jozic and Stipo Krizanac are authorised to
24 negotiate the exchange. The coordination of the
25 exchange tasks are to be done in the presence of
1 UNPROFOR and other international organisations.
2 Can you tell the Trial Chamber what happened
3 to Borislav Jozic who was engaged in these activities?
4 A. Borislav Jozic was killed by a sniper in
5 Vitez. The sniper was operating from Old Vitez, which
6 is controlled by the BH army.
7 Q. So was he killed?
8 A. Yes, he was actually killed by a sniper.
9 Q. Next document, please.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we're going to take a
11 break now.
12 MR. NOBILO: Very well, of course.
13 JUDGE JORDA: I know the interpreters have
14 been working a long time as we all have. I would
15 suggest that we start again at 4.30.
16 --- Recess taken at 4.13 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 4.40 p.m.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Please have the accused brought
20 THE REGISTRAR: The following Document D395,
21 A for the French version, B for the English version.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. This is another document which we received
24 from the Office of the Prosecutor. It refers to 10
25 August 1992 and it was issued by the Commander of the
1 staff, General Blaskic, combat order is: "Operations
2 Second Zone of Operations and Municipal Headquarters
3 units action.
4 1) I forbid any disarming or setting of
5 ultimatum to TO units to hand over their weapons.
6 2) Written and signed warnings are to be
7 issued to all subordinate Commanders down to the squad
8 level that the armed forces of the Croatian community
9 of Herzeg-Bosna are not behind such reckless action and
10 they will not be personally responsible for such
12 3) One copy of the warning under Item 2.
13 This order shall be signed by company Commanders and
14 delivered to the commander." I am skipping Item 4.
15 No. 5 reads: "Forbid all records with refugee
16 status to enter urban settlement under arms."
17 Again, I am skipping 6 and going to 7. "All
18 the road blocks which are set up arbitrarily on main or
19 auxiliary roads in the zone of area of responsibility
20 shall be removed with the use of a special task unit if
21 necessary with a prior warning to the personnel manning
22 the roadblock.
23 8) In the zone of your responsibility, deputy
24 assistant commanders for IPD, which is the information
25 and propaganda activities, must immediately embark on
1 rebuilding the trust between Croats and Muslims as well
2 as elimination of all causes for increased tension."
3 I am not going to read the rest. It is
4 signed by Colonel Blaskic.
5 Brigadier, do you recognise the signature of
6 Colonel Blaskic?
7 A. Yes. This document was signed by Colonel
8 Blaskic in his own handwriting.
9 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is Document 396, 396A
11 for the English version.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. We have a document from the Viteska Brigade
14 of 8 April 1993, signed by the Brigade Commander, Mario
15 Cerkez. I am only going to read three lines.
16 "Due to the increased number of requests from
17 transfer from one unit to another, I hereby order:
18 1) I hereby ban transfers from one unit to
19 another on the one zone initiative without the
20 authorisation of commander and so on."
21 This is signed by Brigade Commander Mario
23 Brigadier, do you recognise Cerkez's
25 A. Yes, I do, and this is my signature.
1 Q. Can you tell me, on 8 April 1993, this is
2 during the process of organisation during the Viteska
3 Brigade. Did such a problem really exist that some
4 people would move, would transfer from one unit to
5 another on their own will? Is this like in a civilian
6 company or something?
7 A. This is the period when the Viteska Brigade
8 was in the process of being established and organised.
9 And as I said, volunteerism was a key principle of the
10 organisation of the HVO at that time. If members of
11 the HVO did not think that the conditions in certain
12 units did not meet their expectations, they would move
13 to another unit on their own free will. What it did is
14 it eroded the combat preparedness of the troops and we
15 did not know how many, what were the strengths of
16 particular units, and this was the reason behind the
17 Brigade Commander giving such an order.
18 Q. Very well. Next document, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: D397, A for the English
21 MR. NOBILO: I am reading the document. The
22 Document No. 397. This is the Viteska Brigade command
23 and it's the Brigade Commander, Marco Cerkez, on 31
24 March 1993. He is sending an order and this is
25 pursuant to the order of Commander Tihomir
1 Blaskic. "I issue the following order:
2 1) The battalion Commander and the Commanders
3 of the independent units shall ensure that members of
4 units of commands are wearing only the HVO insignia on
5 their uniforms. The HVO members must remove all other
6 symbols and insignia.
7 2) Wearing of the HV insignia by certain
8 individuals has been linked to accusations about the
9 direct involvement of HV units in the territory of the
10 Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosna and thus the
11 Republic of Croatia and Croatian community of
12 Herceg-Bosna that are being accused.
13 3) The assistant Commander for logistics in
14 cooperation with logistics assistance at the unit level
15 is to procure the necessary number of HVO insignia.
16 Its order takes effect immediately."
17 Brigadier, is this Brigadier Commander Mario
19 A. Yes, this is his signature and the basis for
20 the order of the Brigade Commander, Mario Cerkez, was
21 issued. The basis was an order issued by Tihomir
22 Blaskic, Commander of the Operative Zone.
23 Q. Brigadier, could you explain, who was wearing
24 this HV insignia, were there any soldiers from the
25 Republic of Croatia there? Why was this order
2 A. Throughout the war in Central Bosnia in 1992,
3 until the Washington Agreement and beyond, the Croatian
4 army was not present in Central Bosnia and in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, a number of young men
6 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Central Bosnia,
7 from the period when the Yugoslav People's Army had
8 attacked Croatia, a lot of these young men went
9 voluntarily to join the fight against the JNA. After
10 the aggression of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is after the
11 JNA attacked Bosnia and Herzegovina and it attacked the
12 village of Ravno, then Livno, Kupres and so on. The
13 young men who, until then were fighting in a Croatian
14 army and are from Central Bosnia, they would come back
15 to Central Bosnia to their places of birth. Some of
16 them did not want to and some of them had to be forced
17 to take off the insignia of the Croatian army.
18 Why was it they did not want to do so?
19 Because among their own friends, among their own
20 compatriots, among the members of the units, brigades
21 of which they became members, they were perceived as
22 warriors. They were proud of it and they showed by
23 this how early they had joined in this struggle for
24 defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 I recall, at that time, I used to work in a
1 military of defence office in Novi Travnik and I recall
2 these young men coming to my office in this
3 municipality in order for me to organise their transfer
4 to the Republic of Croatia.
5 Q. Can you tell me, these young men who after
6 the war in Croatia went back home, are these the young
7 men who lived in Bosnia before the war whose families
8 were there?
9 A. Yes, those were exactly these kinds of young
11 Q. Were these individuals or were whole units
12 made up of these men?
13 A. In the area of Novi Travnik, maybe there were
14 about five to ten such young men, so these were
16 Q. Thank you.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is 398, D398A for the
18 French version, B for the English version.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. We're not going to read the next document.
21 We received it from the Office of the Prosecutor. This
22 is about the organisational structure of the defence of
23 Travnik from November of 1992. And I just want you to
24 look at the signature at the bottom and see whether
25 this is Colonel Blaskic's signature?
1 A. Yes, this is Colonel Blaskic's signature.
2 And this document was drafted in the Operative Zone
3 command. I personally remember it. This is the first
4 document we drafted following the fall of Jajce and
5 further movements of the army of Republika Srpska and
6 the fall of additional villages in the Novi Travnik
7 municipality. And this is the document through which
8 we set up a decisive defence of the Travnik
10 Q. Does this just refer to the troops which were
11 defending Travnik from the army of Republika Srpska?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This is D399, A for the
15 French version, B for the English version.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. Brigadier, I am going to read certain
18 excerpts from this document. It was drafted on 11
19 September 1992 at the command of Central Bosnia armed
20 forces staff. It is a combat order to send a unit to
21 the Jajce battlefield. The body of text runs as
23 "The aggressor is continuing to shell and
24 destroy the town of Jajce special civilian facilities.
25 The probable aim of this operation is to ethnically
1 cleanse Jajce of Croats and Muslims. So far, with the
2 exception of destruction caused by shelling, the
3 aggressor has been unsuccessful in its infantry
5 2) Units of the armed forces of the Croatian
6 community of Herzeg-Bosna have been sent as
7 reinforcements to Jajce defenders, who have
8 continuously been defending a town for 40 days now."
9 And moving to Item 3: "Your task is as
10 follows: Issue combat order to the special purpose
11 unit to prepare to leave for the battlefield in Jajce.
12 B) If not done already, designate the unit commander,
13 make a detail account of combat group, combat
14 commanders, messengers, observers, immediate security,
15 squads, platoons, snipers, anti-attack groups, medics,
16 ammunition couriers and conduct a troop review on 16th
17 September, '92 at 1000 hours."
18 I am not going to quote further. Could you
19 just move to page 2.
20 Is this document signed by Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. This document was personally signed by
22 General Blaskic.
23 Q. Could you please focus on item 1. Who was
24 predominantly defending Jajce from the attacks from the
25 army of Republika Srpska?
1 A. Most of the line of defence against the army
2 of Republika Srpska was manned by HVO. And in Jajce,
3 we did not have enough personnel to resist such a
4 strong assault by the Bosnian Serb army.
5 Q. General Blaskic says that Jajce has to be
6 saved in terms of defending it from being ethnically
7 cleansed of Croats and Muslims?
8 A. Yes, that is what he said. Unfortunately,
9 his fears came true. When the Serbs took control of
10 Jajce, they drove out Muslims and Croats.
11 Q. Can you tell me, when these Croats and
12 Muslims were driven out of Jajce, what unit was formed
13 of the people who were driven from there?
14 A. This was the Jajce Brigade, I think it's full
15 name was 305th Jajce Brigade of the BH army.
16 Q. And did this brigade attack Croats?
17 A. Yes, I believe it did attack Croats in
19 Q. Let me direct you to item 5. It talks about
20 the defence operations.
21 A. It is clearly seen from this point that the
22 organisation has not been set up, that we do not have
23 full units, that we do not have companies and platoons
24 and battalions.
25 And in this item it says that on the basis of
1 the information gathered, that this combat organisation
2 be set up so that the units would be organised once
3 they arrived at the frontlines facing the Bosnian Serb
5 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D400, 400A
7 for the English version.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. So, we have the commander of the Central
10 Bosnia Operative Zone staff, Tihomir Blaskic, on 5
11 November 1992, issues an order, and the subject heading
12 is "Activities of the military police of the Vitez army
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Vitez municipality." And I'm
14 reading the text.
15 "Proceeding from a joint agreement on how to
16 overcome problems which have arisen in the Vitez
17 municipality between the commander of the Central
18 Bosnia Operative Zone and the commander of the district
19 defence staff of the Zenica region, I hereby order:
20 1. Enable the military police of the Vitez
21 municipal defence staff to act freely toward members of
22 the BH army.
23 2. I forbid the disarming of BH army members
24 who are carrying out official duties.
25 3. Those failing to comply with this order
1 shall be punished in accordance with the relevant
2 articles of the rules of military discipline. Then
3 signed by Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
4 Brigadier, do you recognise the signature and
5 the stamp of this document of November 1992?
6 A. Yes. This document was signed by Colonel
7 Blaskic personally. This stamp is that of the
8 Operative Zone staff. This document was drafted on the
9 basis, on an agreement between the Central Bosnia
10 Operative Zone commander and the commander of the
11 district defence staff, which implies that there had
12 been problems; and in this order the commander is
13 issuing orders to the units of the HVO. And I assume
14 that the district defence staff commander in Zenica is
15 issuing a corresponding order to his units which later
16 became the BH army.
17 Q. Now, what was the purpose of this joint
19 A. What was intended was to lower the tensions,
20 to prevent conflicts, and the deterioration of the
21 relations between the HVO and the BH army. And if we
22 recall the organisation document, we were all facing
23 the threat of the Serbian army near Travnik to break
24 through the lines and take control of Travnik and
25 farther down all the way to Sarajevo.
1 Q. Very well, next document, please.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document D401, D401A for the
3 French version, and B for the English version.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. Brigadier, I'm going to show you a series of
6 documents, one from Rasim Delic, from the staff of the
7 command of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
8 BH army, sent to the command of Central Bosnia, seeking
9 approval for the transport of military materiel on the
10 8th of January 1993.
11 Did you take in documents of this kind,
12 similar documents, when going across HVO territory?
13 Did the HVO allow the supplies for the BH army? That
14 is to say, in view of the Busovaca agreement.
15 A. I don't recall this particular document, but
16 I do know that requests of this kind were made. I did
17 not have anything to do with logistics, but I do know
18 that requests of this kind were given a positive
19 answer, because we also had to contact the BH army when
20 taking similar supplies over the area controlled by the
21 BH army.
22 Q. And do you recognise the stamp from the
23 Visoko department of the BH army? Did you come across
24 similar stamps of this kind as the one here?
25 A. Yes, I did see stamps of the command of the
1 BH army. Whether that is that particular stamp, I
2 don't really know.
3 Q. On the top right-hand corner somebody has
4 written something; do you recognise the handwriting?
5 A. I think that this is the handwriting of
6 Franjo Sliskovic, that is to say, the one who was in
7 charge of logistics in the Operative Zone. I can't
8 tell you that exactly.
9 Q. Thank you. Very well, let's go on to the
10 next document.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This is D402, A for the
12 French version, and B for the English version.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. This is also a request from Rasim Delic for
15 the passage of a convoy with 400.000 pieces of
16 ammunition, 7.62 times 39; 200.000 pieces of bullets
17 7.9, and it is dated the 5th of February 1993.
18 Can you tell us on the basis of the stamp
19 which testifies to the packet link, and on the basis of
20 the handwriting in the right-hand corner, whether a
21 request of this kind was received in the Central Bosnia
22 Operative Zone immediately after the conflict in
23 January in Busovaca?
24 A. Yes. Mr. President, Your Honours, this
25 document was received in the command of the Operative
1 Zone. I personally received it, and it says urgent,
2 for Kiseljak and Busovaca in the upper right-hand
3 corner, and that was written by me personally in my own
4 handwriting. Because at that time General Blaskic was
5 in Kiseljak, and the deputy for logistics was in
6 Busovaca. He lives there.
7 You can see that for logistics, Colonel
8 Tihomir Blaskic wrote this. I think it says "solved."
9 I know that the handwriting is the assistant for
10 logistics, Mr. Franjo Sliskovic.
11 Q. Can you see from the stamp that this was sent
12 by fax, or can that be seen?
13 A. Yes, this document of the Central Bosnia
14 Operative Zone came from the command of the
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina army, the department for Visoko, and
16 it was sent by fax. It was faxed.
17 Q. Do you remember whether this was a positive
18 answer that was given to the request?
19 A. As far as I can recall, it was, and that the
20 transport took place.
21 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: This is D403, 403A for the
23 French version and B for the English version.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Brigadier, very briefly, this is approval,
1 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, given by Colonel
2 Blaskic for supplies. Is this Colonel Blaskic's
4 A. Yes, it is Colonel Blaskic's signature. So,
5 the document was personally signed by Colonel Blaskic.
6 Q. Next document, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document D404, A for the
8 French version, B for the English version.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Brigadier, the document is dated the 26th of
11 January 1993, and it is sent from the Operative Zone
12 command, urgent, to Colonel Blaskic in Kiseljak, and it
13 is a memo on communication with UNPROFOR. Can you tell
14 me who signed the document?
15 A. This document was signed by myself, because I
16 was the operations duty officer at the time, and
17 General Blaskic was in Kiseljak at the time.
18 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: This is D405, A for the
20 English version.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. The Central Bosnia command, 21st of January
23 1993, to all units. I'm just going to read number 1.
24 "Establish contact with the competent command
25 of the BH army in your zone of responsibility and
1 settle all controversial issues by means of agreement.
2 Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
3 Brigadier, who wrote and signed the text?
4 A. The text of this order was written by me, it
5 was signed by the commander of the staff of Franjo
6 Nakic upon authorisation from Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.
7 Q. The next document, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is D406, A for the
9 English version.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. On the 26th of January, after the conflict
12 broke out in Busovaca in 1993, the Central Bosnia
13 Operative Zone command and the command, Franjo Nakic,
14 was sent to the commander of the Operative Zone,
15 Tihomir Blaskic, to Kiseljak, the following report:
16 "1. Report on what action we took and what
17 we were unable to take was sent to you as document
18 number 02-01-1 at 1715 hours today. Report on the
19 sending of wires by packet communications. Packet
20 communications with the main staff of the Croatian
21 Defence Council not fully operational, only
22 participants from Herzegovina can receive them.
23 There is a need for checking identification
24 documents due to frequent appearance of foreigners
25 (army of Bosnia and Herzegovina). There is a high
1 overload of the entire packet network in the area of
2 the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna.
3 There is a high frequency of packet network
4 interceptions. Within the packet network for the
5 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, only the Vitez network
6 is operational at the moment. The Travnik and Novi
7 Travnik packets have limited capacity. The Kiseljak
8 packet operates exclusively through Vitez. The Zenica
9 and Busovaca packets are not operated within the
10 network, but only by using a special frequency with
11 Vitez, which creates additional difficulties on
12 operating the two frequencies; the Zepce packet is
13 entirely out of use.
14 Operators of the Kiseljak packet link cannot
15 operate full time, and they are not trained, nor do
16 they have equipment to use this frequency.
17 There have already been incidents whereby the
18 BH army participants have attempted to intercept our
19 wires, which has been noticed by the general staff of
20 the HVO packet, as well; we are, therefore, forced to
21 run maximum checks on every participant.
22 If technically possible, with regards to the
23 state of communications, we will be sending reports to
24 the general staff of the HVO in compliance with your
1 And after that, there is information which is
2 not essential here.
3 Brigadier, tell me whether Franjo Nakic
4 signed the document.
5 A. Yes. This is the signature of the Chief of
6 Staff, Franjo Nakic. The stamp is the stamp of the
7 Operative Zone. And on the first page where it says
8 that it has been solved, that is my handwriting, up at
9 the top.
10 Q. Tell me, please, whether Nakic's report to
11 Blaskic, who is quite obviously in Kiseljak, and he
12 tells him of the problems of communication; is it a
13 representation of the actual state of affairs in the
14 Operative Zone and with regard to the conflict in
15 Busovaca in 1993, in January?
16 A. Yes, it is a faithful copy, and it reflects
17 the situation and the real problems that we encountered
18 in our communications and links with the commands.
19 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document D407, A for the
21 French version, B for the English version.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. The Central Bosnia operative command in Vitez
24 on the 27th of January 1993, signed by the Chief of
25 Staff, Franjo Nakic, sending a situation report on the
1 Busovaca area to the brigade commanders in Zepce and
2 Vares. And we have a description of what is taking
3 place in Busovaca.
4 But let us save time at this point. Tell me,
5 Brigadier, whether Franjo Nakic signed the document, or
6 did somebody else write it and sign it?
7 A. The text of this document was written by
8 myself. I signed the document on behalf of the Chief
9 of Staff, Franjo Nakic. The aim of the document is,
10 therefore, to provide information to our brigades in
11 Zepce and Vares as to what was really going on in the
12 Lasva River Valley, or more exactly the Busovaca
14 Q. Thank you.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document D408, A for the
16 French version, B for the English version.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. Brigadier, here we are dealing with a report
19 on the 27th of January 1993, which the Central Bosnia
20 Operative Zone command is sending to its commander,
21 Tihomir Blaskic, in Kiseljak. And it is written by the
22 head of command, Franjo Nakic.
23 We're not going to read the text because we
24 haven't got time to do so, but please tell us, first,
25 whether you remember the report, who wrote it; and
1 second, whether this was what the short report that you
2 mentioned during the course of the day, did they look
3 like this? And were they sent to Colonel Blaskic in
5 A. The text of this document was written by me,
6 the document was signed by the Chief of Staff, Franjo
7 Nakic. The document was stamped by the Operative Zone
8 command, and from the document you can see what I said
9 in the course of today and yesterday; and that is that
10 we sent out brief information, a little late, with a
11 slight delay, to the commander of the Operative Zone,
12 telling him of the situation in Busovaca, Travnik and
13 Novi Travnik and the other municipalities while he was
14 in the Kiseljak locality.
15 Q. I would just like to read out something about
16 the state in Vitez.
17 "Relations with Muslim forces during the day
18 reached a climax with the establishment at 1500 hours
19 of a checkpoint set up by the Muslims in Stari Vitez,
20 to which the battalion command in Vitez responded by
21 surrounding Kruscica, Vranjska and Vitez, resulting in
22 arrests and the confiscation of vehicles, weapons and
23 other items.
24 Contact was established between the commands
25 and the civilian authorities of the HVO and the SDA,
1 and after a lengthy meeting it was agreed that those
2 arrested should be released and the confiscated items
3 returned. Talks at commission level should continue
5 Brigadier, was that typical for the
6 environment, at that time that is, when one side sets
7 up one checkpoint, the other side sets up three
8 checkpoints, and so on?
9 A. Yes, this was typical. And we can say that
10 this functioned like a system of connecting vessels; as
11 soon as one side, one army would set up a checkpoint,
12 the HVO would respond with another checkpoint, and vice
14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, do you think we
15 should take a break or continue, finish?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but first I wanted to know
17 where you are in this defence presentation of its
18 evidence, that is, in respect of this testimony.
19 Tomorrow is Friday, how do you see things? What are
20 you forecasting here, if you can forecast something?
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I am in a
22 situation to give you a detailed prognosis. What I
23 have in my hand here are the last documents, and we
24 shall conclude after that. Along with that, we're
25 going to ask --
1 JUDGE JORDA: How many documents do you
3 MR. NOBILO: Eight documents which the
4 defence has already put forward.
5 JUDGE JORDA: After these eight you will have
6 completed your questions?
7 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that's right, Mr.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Then it wouldn't be reasonable
10 for our interpreters or for the witness or for us, in
11 fact. I think we're going to stop here, and let me
12 remind you that tomorrow is Friday, that we will have a
13 long morning, which is going to begin at 9.45. Having
14 said that, the hearing is adjourned.
15 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at
16 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
17 the 2nd day of October, 1998 at
18 9.45 a.m.