1 Wednesday, 7th October 1998
2 --- Upon commencing at 10.15 a.m.
3 (Open session)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in.
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to resume now. Let
8 me say good morning to the interpreters, even if I
9 don't see them very clearly from where I am sitting. I
10 hope that everybody can hear me, everybody is on the
11 right channel. I am on Channel 5. I see the
12 Prosecution is ready, the Defence is ready, everybody
13 is ready. All right. We can now resume. Mr. Kehoe?
14 MR. KEHOE: Judge, I was just getting ready
15 to go.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you can begin. That is,
17 as soon as the witness comes in.
18 (The witness entered court)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, good morning,
21 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Mr. President.
22 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Mr. President, Your
23 Honours, counsel. Good morning, Brigadier.
24 THE INTERPRETER: A bit too loud says the
1 THE WITNESS: A bit louder, a bit louder,
3 JUDGE JORDA: I think you have a little
4 button that you can use on the right-hand side of the
5 equipment. Thank you.
6 MR. KEHOE: Is that okay, Brigadier?
7 THE WITNESS: Yes.
8 Examined by Mr. Kehoe:
9 Q. Good morning, sir.
10 A. Good morning.
11 Q. Now, Brigadier, yesterday we finished the day
12 talking about a series of orders, one of which came
13 from the accused, Colonel Blaskic, on the 12th of
14 April, concerning a list of HV officers that were in
15 units in Central Bosnia. Now, before we move back to
16 that order, let me ask you a question, as a follow-up
17 question, from the November order -- excuse me, the
18 October order, where General Blaskic again asked for
19 information concerning HV units. And let me ask you,
20 were there units and HV officers in other areas of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina working with the HVO?
22 A. The order that you mentioned from the month
23 of October, could I see it? So as to be able to give
24 you a precise answer.
25 Q. Of course, sir. That's Exhibit 406
1 subdivision 26. While we're at it, 406/31 as well.
2 MR. HAYMAN: While that's being obtained, Mr.
3 President, perhaps counsel could be more specific with
4 respect to the term "other areas."
5 MR. KEHOE: Sure. We'll just give him a
6 chance to take a look at the exhibits and then we'll go
7 back to that question. No problem.
8 Q. Just by way of review, Brigadier, Exhibit
9 406/26 is an order signed by the accused or from the
10 accused, I believe, it's a packet that we talked about
11 yesterday -- yes, it is, of the 5th of October, 1992,
12 where he --
13 JUDGE JORDA: You said, "signed by the
14 accused," I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand. I have
15 a document here signed by Mr. Covic; is that the
16 exhibit you're referring to, Mr. Kehoe?
17 MR. KEHOE: No, it's not.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Or maybe it's an error in the
20 MR. KEHOE: I was moving chronologically,
21 Your Honour.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I beg your pardon. Fine.
23 Perhaps the usher should stay next to the witness to
24 help him with the order of the documents and then we
25 can proceed more quickly. So you're starting with the
1 order of the 5th of October; is that right?
2 MR. KEHOE: Yes, sir.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
4 MR. KEHOE: I correct any impression, Mr.
5 President, that this was a packet communication as the
6 witness testified yesterday and the original packet in
7 BSC has no signature.
8 Q. This particular order on the 5th of October
9 from the accused, asked for an urgent submission of
10 data concerning HV officers in the unit. Now, you see
11 that, sir?
12 A. Yes. I said yesterday with regard to this
13 document, if it was at all created in the command of
14 the Operative Zone because I see no stamp or signature,
15 it is just an assumption that it was drafted in the
16 command of the Operative Zone. I can't allege that it
17 was or was not because at the time I was not in the
18 command of the Operative Zone. I said in my
19 introduction that I joined the command of the Operative
20 Zone on the 1st of November, 1992, so that I am not
21 familiar with the contents of this order and I cannot
22 claim that this is an order issued by the Commander of
23 the Operative Zone. It is possible that it may have
24 been created as the Prosecutor said, but I cannot
25 confirm that.
1 JUDGE JORDA: But this is a question of
2 principle, Brigadier. It's the absence of the stamp
3 that leads you to believe that the order was not
4 issued. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that
5 this question could be raised for all the other orders
6 tendered by the Defence. I am just drawing your
7 attention to the problem. I am closing the brackets
8 there. We have all been discussing orders that are
9 photocopies, so let us be very careful. Your answer
10 has been registered that because you see no stamp,
11 that, perhaps, this order was not issued and that has
12 been entered in the record. Please continue.
13 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, if I may? I
14 said --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Be very specific in your
16 answer, please.
17 THE WITNESS: When this document was made, I
18 was not working in the command of the Operative Zone.
19 JUDGE JORDA: That I understood very well.
20 That's another answer. You also said that there is no
21 stamp and as a result you have dealt as to whether that
22 order is issued. So there are two answers: Either you
23 say, I was not active at the time and I can say nothing
24 about this order which is an acceptable order, or you
25 can say a stamp is missing. So it is possible that
1 such an order was not issued, so that is quite a
2 different answer. Thereby, you're opening the way for
3 challenging all the orders that have been shown in the
4 case, in this trial, and I am drawing your attention to
6 THE WITNESS: At the time, I had no duties in
7 the command of the Operative Zone.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but that is an answer I
9 understood very well. I am talking about the stamp
10 now. There is a very big problem regarding all the
11 orders, those shown by the Prosecution, as well as
12 those shown by the Defence. The Judges will want to
13 know at a certain point, the authenticity of those
15 MR. HAYMAN: Perhaps there is a translation
16 issue, Mr. President. It's very clear to me what the
17 witness is saying. He is saying that unlike the other
18 orders, at least the book of them, that both the
19 Prosecutor has shown him and the Defence, which he is
20 able to identify with respect to this document. He
21 neither recognises a signature, nor the seal of the
22 Operative Zone, nor a packet communication stamp, nor
23 does he have personal knowledge of the events because
24 he wasn't working in the Operative Zone at the time.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I wish to close the
1 parenthesis, please continue with your questions,
2 Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.
4 Q. Now, Brigadier, the next document that we
5 were talking about yesterday at the close of the day
6 was a document dated 26th November, 1992 and that is
7 Document 406/31, which was a document that was signed
8 by Zoran Covic, wherein he said at Point 3:
9 "HV Croatian army members present in the
10 region and wearing HV insignia must be warned to take
11 them off as this creates trouble for the Republic of
13 Do you see that document, Brigadier?
14 A. I see it and I see the point that you have
15 just cited from.
16 Q. Thank you. My question is: Were HVO
17 officers -- excuse me, I apologise, HV officers and HV
18 soldiers working and fighting with the HVO in other
19 areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, such as Mostar?
20 A. I can say with certainty regarding the
21 command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. As
22 regards official information about the participation of
23 Croatian army officers in other areas of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I cannot confirm that, but I have
25 heard from reports from the media during the fighting
1 around Dubrovnik that the Croatian army participated in
2 the organisation of the defence, but I cannot confirm
3 that because I have no official information. I wish
4 also to add that throughout the war from '92 until '94
5 until the Washington Agreement, I had no occasion to
6 leave the area which was surrounded at the time, so I
7 cannot claim with certainty that that is true or not.
8 Q. Well, Brigadier, you are now an officer in
9 the federation army and you have been in continuous
10 military service for how many years?
11 A. From the moment I joined the HVO I was never
12 outside the service, which means since 1992.
13 Q. Well, sir, since 1992, did you talk to other
14 members of the HVO about the presence of HV officers
15 and soldiers in Bosnia fighting and working with the
16 HVO? Did you have any such conversations?
17 A. As far as I know, officially and formally,
18 the participation of the Croatian army in the territory
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina following the Washington
20 Agreement and the Split Agreement, the participation of
21 the Croatian army in the final operations for the
22 liberation of Bosnia-Herzegovina did exist and I had a
23 certain duty within that framework and I am aware of
24 that officially and formally. As for everything else,
25 what happened in 1992 and 1993, I have no official
1 information about that. But as I have said on the
2 basis of information published by the media on the
3 fighting in the area of Dubrovnik, Ravno, those reports
4 said that the Croatian army was there, together with
5 the HVO, fighting against the Chetniks.
6 Q. Brigadier, maybe my question wasn't clear.
7 Let me be very precise. Did you have any
8 conversations, official or unofficial, with any member
9 of the HVO wherein you, Brigadier, discussed the
10 presence of HV officers and HV soldiers fighting and
11 working with the HVO in Bosnia?
12 A. Could you please tell me exactly what time
13 frame you're referring to? I told you about the period
14 that I know about. Are you talking about '92/'93/'94?
15 Q. I am talking about the time frame 1992 and
16 1993. That time frame. Until the Washington Accord in
17 the end of February, beginning of March, 1994. Did you
18 have any such conversations?
19 A. I have never spoken about that to anyone,
21 Q. How about unofficially, Brigadier?
22 A. Unofficially, also I cannot remember exactly
23 when, how, where, because conversations among soldiers
24 in the war can vary and I really cannot say with
25 certainty anything that I cannot prove.
1 Q. Well, Brigadier, did you have any
2 conversation among your soldier friends in the HVO
3 about the presence of HV soldiers working and fighting
4 with HVO soldiers in the Mostar area?
5 A. I have said very clearly, I know the area,
6 the hinterland of Dubrovnik, the area of the village of
7 Ravno, and I know that there were certain joint
8 activities between HVO units and HV army units. As for
9 fighting around Mostar and in other places, I really
10 have no information and I cannot say anything about
12 Q. Maybe we'll show the witness Exhibit 406/36.
13 This document dated September, 1992 -- I'm sorry, this
14 document should be dated 9 December, 1992. Let me read
15 some portions from this to you, Brigadier. It is from
16 the Mostar municipal headquarters, 9 December, 1992 and
18 "In regards to the strictly confidential
19 order concerning self-eastern" -- excuse me, "In
20 regards to the strictly confidential order concerning
21 self-eastern Herzegovina Operative Zone Number
22 01286/1514 of 27 November, 1992, regarding various
23 insignia and symbols on HVO unit uniforms, worn as
24 opposed to the symbols stipulated by the decree on
25 Herceg-Bosna armed forces which, as such, compromised
1 the reputation of HVO and HV members by implying ideas
2 which the world media may interpret as fascistic, I
3 hereby order:
4 1. Commanders of a Croatian community of
5 Herceg-Bosna HVO to ensure that unit members wear only
6 HVO insignia and remove all other emblems."
7 We're going to move down to three,
8 Brigadier. I would gladly read the rest of it, but
9 we'll move to three for the purpose to expedite
11 3. "Wearing HVO insignia is linked to
12 accusations against the Republic Croatian community and
13 the Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosna regarding a
14 direct deployment of HVO units in the territory of the
15 Croatian community of Herzeg-Bosna, asked HV members
16 with explanation to wear HV insignia during their
17 deployment in our area."
18 You can take a moment or two to read the rest
19 of it. It goes on to a couple of more paragraphs, some
20 of which is not legible. It is signed by Ivan
21 Primorac, who is the 3rd HVO Brigade commander.
22 Now Primorac's order indicates that HV
23 members were deployed to the, at least to the Mostar
24 area, doesn't it?
25 A. I have not seen this order before. This
1 order, as can be seen, was drafted in the command of
2 the Operative Zone of south-eastern Herzegovina. This
3 command issued the order to its subordinate units,
4 among which was the 3rd HVO Brigade. I really don't
5 know anything about that Brigade, so I cannot say why
6 such a document was drafted, except for what I said
7 regarding the document we received in the command of
8 the Operative Zone, which I explained yesterday and
9 that is that soldiers who had fought in Croatia until
10 the beginning of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and who
11 had lived before the war in the area of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the war started in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they came to Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 wearing the uniforms and insignia of the Croatian
16 As the desire of those soldiers was to keep
17 those insignia, indicating membership, not only in the
18 Croatian army, but in a particular unit of the Croatian
19 army, such an order had to be issued to eliminate
20 this. I don't know the specific figures, but I know
21 that after the aggression against the Republic of
22 Croatia, Croats, as well as Muslims and Bosniaks from
23 the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who had been in the JNA
24 service in Croatia at that moment, joined the Croatian
25 army. A number of senior officers from
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina were, at the beginning, officers of
2 the Croatian army.
3 When the JNA started the war against
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, they reported to the authorities of
5 that republic and joined their forces. That is as much
6 as I know about this.
7 Q. Well, Brigadier, in this particular order,
8 Mr. Primorac does indicate that there are HV members
9 deployed to the Mostar area, doesn't he?
10 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, objection to the
11 form of the question. The witness said he wasn't
12 there. The document speaks for itself as to what's in
13 it. The form of the question is inappropriate. He is
14 cross-examining the witness about something he doesn't
15 have any knowledge about.
16 MR. KEHOE: I am simply asking the witness
17 whether or not he agrees that this particular order
18 that says HV units are deployed to the Mostar area.
19 Why, that's a simple question.
20 MR. HAYMAN: We can all see what it says.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think, Mr. Kehoe, that
22 Mr. Hayman is right. What do you want the witness to
23 talk about this document? We have the document before
24 us. It is signed by Mr. Primorac. There is nothing
25 more to ask him. We're wasting time. I think we
1 should speed up a little bit. I think that the witness
2 has answered regarding the whole problem of the
3 presence of the HV. He said that they were Bosniaks
4 who went and came back wearing those uniforms, so let
5 us speed up things a little, please.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Well, sir, when did you take your position in
8 Mostar that you currently hold?
9 A. After the decision was taken on the
10 organisation of the federation army, signed by a member
11 of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Alija
12 Izetbegovic, and a member of the presidency, Kresimir
13 Zubac, the decision defined that the army of the
14 federation should consist of four corps. One of those
15 corps is called the 1st Guards' Corps and it comprises
16 all the units of the HVO. The other three corps
17 comprise all the units of the former structure of the
18 BH army.
19 In addition to these corps, this decision
20 also envisages certain additional units, such as a
21 rapid deployment brigade, an artillery brigade and some
22 other minor units which I can't recall just now. After
23 this decision was taken on the 17th of March, 1996, I
24 was appointed chief of staff of the 1st Army Corps of
25 the federation army with a command post in Mostar.
1 Q. So you went to Mostar to take your position
2 on the 17th of March, 1996; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you meet Mr. Primorac?
5 A. In the area of Mostar, there are several
6 persons called Primorac, it is a frequent surname, so I
7 don't know who this gentleman is.
8 Q. Apparently he was the commander of the 3rd
9 HVO Brigade in Mostar, and his first name is Ivan
10 Primorac; did you meet that one?
11 A. Ivan Primorac, as far as I can recall; but
12 I'm absolutely not sure, but I do wish to answer your
13 question, to the best of my recollection. For a time
14 he was in the command of the military district of
15 Mostar, but whether that is key, I'm really not sure.
16 I would be glad to answer your question, but I do wish
17 to avoid any guesswork.
18 Q. Since March of 1996, is it your testimony,
19 since you've been stationed in Mostar in March of 1996,
20 is it your testimony you have had no conversations,
21 either official or unofficial, with any HVO members
22 concerning the deployment of HV troops and officers in
23 the Mostar area? Is that your testimony, sir?
24 A. If I may correct you, from the 17th of March
25 1996 we did not go to Mostar on that very day. I first
1 went to Posusje to take up my new duties, because we
2 were based there; and it was only toward the end of
3 September, I can't exactly remember the date, we moved
4 to the barracks at the Heliodrom in Mostar.
5 Q. My question remains the same. Since you were
6 stationed in the barracks in the Heliodrom in September
7 of 1996 until today, is it your testimony you haven't
8 had any conversations, either official or unofficial,
9 with any HVO people concerning the deployment of HV
10 officers and soldiers in the Mostar area in '92
11 and '93? Is that your testimony?
12 A. Officially, no, but conversations, any
13 particular conversations about this subject, I didn't
15 Q. So, your testimony is you had neither
16 official or unofficial conversations about this
17 subject; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Let's turn back to the order that we
20 discussed yesterday from the accused, where he asks for
21 a list of HV officers in the units and I'm talking
22 about Exhibit 406/55, which is also contained in
23 456/19, and that is the order of the 12th of April
25 THE REGISTRAR: This is 406/55 as the
1 transcript says, or is it 456, 406/55 or 456?
2 MR. KEHOE: If we can use 406/55, that will
4 INTERPRETER: Microphone.
5 MR. KEHOE: It's the same document, so if we
6 can use 406/55, that will be fine. It should be the
7 order of the 12th of April 1993.
8 Brigadier, this is the order that we were --
9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Counsel.
10 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry.
11 Q. Brigadier, this is the order we were talking
12 about yesterday, and I want to ask you a couple of
13 follow-up questions here.
14 Tell me, in number 2 it says, "Include in
15 this list..." Blaskic asks for the name, the father's
16 name, last name, number of the order with which he was
17 sent to the HVO, his rank and the number of the
18 transfer decree.
19 What is this transfer decree and who issues
20 this transfer decree?
21 A. Are you asking me in principle, in the armed
22 forces, or are you asking me specifically for the HVO?
23 Q. I'm asking what this order means, Brigadier,
24 where it says that they want the number of a transfer
1 Is this a transfer decree that is signed by
2 the HV to the HVO, sending a particular officer to a
3 particular location in Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that what
4 we are talking about here?
5 A. I did not have an opportunity to see these
6 documents on transfers, because I did not work in
7 personnel; however, in any army, if it is properly
8 organised, in order to transfer any officer to any
9 post, he has to have an order of transfer by the
10 authorised officers. His authority is defined by the
11 rules of these armed forces.
12 Again, let me repeat to you, as I did not
13 work on personnel issues, I never handled any such
15 Q. Well, sir, would such a transfer decree be
16 issued by the HV, transferring this soldier or this
17 officer to the HVO?
18 A. I really don't know whether such an order
19 could be, or could have been issued.
20 Q. Well, this particular transfer decree
21 obviously must have some type of number to it, some
22 type of number, just as many of the documents you've
23 discussed; because in the front-line it asks for a
24 listing of the number of the order which he was sent to
25 the HVO, in addition to the number of the transfer
1 decree; is that right?
2 A. I can only guess in that respect. I said
3 that I did not see such orders. I do not know their
4 contents and I don't know under what circumstances,
5 that is, if such orders had been issued. I'm not aware
6 with which type of documents such a person would arrive
7 at a new post.
8 Q. You would agree with me, would you not,
9 Brigadier, that this is pretty organised. They were
10 asking for actually two particular documents, a number
11 of an order to which he was sent to the HVO, and a
12 number of the actual transfer decree. So, there are
13 two documents concerning these particular officers
14 which are discussed in this number 2; isn't that right?
15 A. My apologies, you're mentioning two
17 Q. Two documents, I apologise if I misspoke.
18 Number 2 is talking about two particular documents, an
19 order, from which he was sent to the HVO, and a
20 transfer decree.
21 A. Mr. President, when we spoke about this
22 document yesterday I said that as far as I recall this
23 document was drafted on the basis of an order of the
24 Chief of Staff of the main headquarters. Probably the
25 person who wrote this, Ljubomir Jurcic, and
1 Mrs. Stefica was the typist, I believe that he has no
2 military training, and so he did not refer to the
3 document on the basis of which this document was
4 drafted, and he just copied down whatever the main
5 headquarters of the HVO asked him to do.
6 I don't know why the main headquarters of the
7 HVO was looking for these particular names. I don't
8 know the reasons for it.
9 Q. Well, sir, you noted to us yesterday that as
10 far as you knew there were no HV officers in Central
11 Bosnia; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, I said that, and I say that now.
13 Q. Were HVO officers sent to Central Bosnia to
14 consult with then, Colonel Blaskic, and other members
15 of the HVO?
16 A. I do not know of that. I did not meet such
18 Q. Whether or not you met them, did you ever
19 discuss the fact that they were there with Blaskic and
20 other members of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone
22 JUDGE RIAD: There are some mistakes in the
23 transcript. You said, "were HVO officers sent to
24 Central Bosnia to consult with Colonel Blaskic."
25 MR. KEHOE: It should be HV.
1 JUDGE RIAD: We have to be clear. Before
2 they refer to the HV as HJ officers. The transcript
3 has to be correct.
4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Judge.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Let me ask again that question, given the
7 correction in the transcript.
8 Were HV officers sent to Central Bosnia to
9 consult with Colonel Blaskic and other members of the
11 A. I said that I did not know this. I
12 personally did not meet the HV officers in the
13 territory of Central Bosnia.
14 Q. Well, Brigadier, whether or not you met them,
15 if they were there, given your position in the
16 headquarters, would you know about it?
17 A. I need not know any single case, because
18 there are different areas that are covered, logistics,
19 operations, and so on and so forth. So, if they had
20 been there on some task regarding operations, then I
21 would have known.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, perhaps we shouldn't
23 go too much round and round here. I think that the
24 witness has told you everything that he knows about the
25 question. Although he was at a high level, next to the
1 accused, he was not aware of the presence of the
2 Croatian army officers. The Judges will evaluate in
3 respect of the documents you have presented and about
4 which the witness has made his comments. I don't think
5 we can go any further than that.
6 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Mr. President. I'm
7 just going to move on, at this point, to the next
8 document, which is Exhibit 406/56.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges will evaluate
10 things, as they always do. I think you also have to
11 get used to a procedure where the Judges can appreciate
12 or evaluate the relevance or irrelevance or the
13 evasiveness of the witness, which I'm saying for the
14 witness, not just this witness in this courtroom. You
15 show your evidence, the witness answers as he wishes to
16 answer, and the Judges make their evaluation.
17 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. I ask you to take a look at this document
20 that's in evidence, which is a letter from the
21 president of the Travnik HVO, Zeljko Pervan, to
22 President Tudjman, President Franjo Tudjman.
23 If you could look at the second to last page,
24 the paragraph beginning, "It would be very helpful"; do
25 you see that? At the bottom of the page, Brigadier.
1 Let me read it to you, you can probably catch
2 it. The document reads: "It would be very helpful,"
3 directing this to President Tudjman of Croatia, "If you
4 could once again instruct your assistants to send
5 senior officers of the Croatian army headed by General
6 Praljak to consolidate our units in the Lasva Valley."
7 The date of this document is the 12th of
8 April 1993, the same date as the order wherein Colonel
9 Blaskic asks for a list of HV officers; do you see
10 that, sir?
11 A. Excuse me, I couldn't find the proper
12 excerpt. You said page 2?
13 Q. The second to last page, sir, of the letter.
14 The letter is a three-page letter, it's the second
15 page, I believe.
16 A. Okay.
17 Q. I think it's the bottom paragraph, the bottom
18 paragraph on the second page. I'll read it to you
19 again. "It would be very helpful" --
20 A. I'm sorry, can he please mark it for me?
21 JUDGE JORDA: Our problem is that we don't
22 have it in Serbo-Croat. We have it on the ELMO, but
23 you have the whole page, except for the line which is
24 the important line.
25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your
1 permission, it would be good that the Croatian text be
2 given to the witness so that he could see the date,
3 signature, the institution.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, the witness has to
5 have the Croatian text. I don't have to have the
6 French version, but at least give me the English one.
7 MR. KEHOE: It's on the last page of the
9 JUDGE JORDA: I think that's not the
10 sentence. We are almost there. Yes, there it is.
11 MR. KEHOE: It's up a page, down, the other
12 way, the other way. Down more. The other way.
13 JUDGE JORDA: It's the other way.
14 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. Usher, it's the
15 other way, the top of the page, not the bottom of the
17 JUDGE JORDA: There we go. Very well.
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, there is a French
19 translation of this in the file.
20 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Mr. Kehoe. Ask your
21 question, please.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Do you see that line, Brigadier?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Mr. Pervan is saying that, once again, he is
1 asking President Tudjman to once again send senior
2 officers from the Croatian army to the Lasva Valley
3 area; isn't he?
4 A. I would just like to comment on the document
5 itself before I specifically answer your question.
6 This document, as far as I can see, was
7 drafted in the Travnik HVO, which is by the civilian
8 authorities, and Zeljko Pervan, as far as I know, was
9 president of the Travnik HVO, which means it was the
10 civilian authority.
11 This document which I'm holding in my hand I
12 never saw in the Operative Zone command. It can also
13 be seen that it was not delivered to him where you have
14 all the addressees, the three addressees.
15 The sentence which you were referring to
16 would need to be taken in the entirety of the issue
17 relating to the situation in the Travnik municipality;
18 and if we pull it out of the context, and if we just
19 gave answers to these excerpts, we would not get a real
21 So, on the basis of all of this, I can just
22 say and confirm that when the civilian authorities
23 analysed the situation with all the problems that were
24 present in the territory, which was similar to the
25 other municipalities, it came to a conclusion that we
1 did not have enough trained military officers. So,
2 they are setting out this initiative and asking for
4 However, I know that if this is the time when
5 this document was drafted, at that time there were no
6 officers of the Croatian army in the Operative Zone
7 command, regardless of what the representative of the
8 civilian authorities was requesting.
9 So, this should be taken in the context of
10 the entire situation, in the context of the entire
11 military personnel that was available in the area, and
12 the civilian authorities have concluded there are no
13 officers who could carry out the task for the
14 organisation and system that was established in the
15 territory of Central Bosnia.
16 Q. Let me shift gears here, the document speaks
17 for itself, and we will move away from that document at
18 this point, Brigadier.
19 I would like to change the subject just a bit
20 and talk to you a little bit about the headquarters
21 that was run by then Colonel Blaskic.
22 Tell us a little bit about the headquarters,
23 Brigadier. Can you explain the format, and where
24 people were located, and where the communications
25 centre was, and where the fax machine was, et cetera?
1 A. The organisation of the Operative Zone
2 command, when I arrived there on 1 November 1992, at
3 that time the command was just being accommodated at
4 the Hotel Vitez, and it did not have all the right
5 conditions in terms of the premises we had there. Then
6 the actual structure, the way it was constructed, and
7 everything else that a command headquarters would need
8 to have in war time.
9 Under such circumstances this is how we
10 organised ourselves. The intelligence unit worked in
11 Nova Bila. The packet system was working in the post
12 office building in a basement that was about 100 metres
13 from the hotel, and the rest of us were in the actual
14 hotel building.
15 In one of the larger rooms there, there was
16 the operation centre with a duty desk, and this is
17 where all the personnel from the operations department
18 were, and all the officers, relating to combat
20 Somewhere upstairs there was the logistics
21 department, there was a hallway there which separated
22 the room where the operations centre was, and the room
23 where General Blaskic worked and stayed and where he
25 He didn't have an apartment or house in
1 Vitez; and so, when he would be there, this is where he
2 would spend the night, and this is where he worked
3 during the day, and this is where he would hold
4 briefings, and that's where he would meet the UNPROFOR
5 representatives and any other visitors who arrived who
6 would come to this hotel.
7 So, we worked in improvised circumstances
8 with respect to accommodation and quality of work
9 conditions. So, those were our conditions of work.
10 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, was there a map room in
11 there, in the headquarters, where lines of
12 confrontation were written and where troops were
13 deployed, et cetera?
14 A. Yes, and this map was in the Operative Zone,
15 in the operations room of the Operative Zone. This was
16 actually part of my duty, too, to work on that.
17 Q. So, that was my next question: Who was
18 responsible to keep that up to date? I mean, you noted
19 that you were; who else in the headquarters was
20 responsible to keep that map up to date?
21 A. All officers were in charge of that. There
22 was another officer who was with me in the operations
23 and training department, and then all the department
24 heads had their own obligations in that regard, so that
25 when the commander came to the room, he would have the
1 most accurate and up-to-date picture. We entered any
2 changes. As we received information from the
3 subordinate units, we would enter them.
4 Q. Who was this other person that was
5 responsible, who was in operations, that was
6 responsible to keep this map up to date with you?
7 What's his name?
8 A. It was Mr. Ivica Cosic who worked with me,
9 and for a while it was Mario Rajic, and then he
10 transferred to the Vitez Brigade.
11 Q. With regard to the actual operation within
12 the headquarters, tell me about a general day. Was
13 there something akin to an orders group meeting every
14 morning that was held by the colonel?
15 A. Colonel Blaskic, or General Blaskic today,
16 had a method of work that every day, whenever he could,
17 he held morning briefings, and very precisely would
18 give out assignments and would debrief every single
19 officer present as to what tasks had to be carried out.
20 If Mr. Blaskic was not around, his Chief of Staff,
21 Mr. Nakic, would hold the briefings. In his absence,
22 it would be myself who held them.
23 Q. This is, of course, a traditional or a normal
24 functioning aspect of a headquarters, to have a morning
25 briefing with the commander, or if the commander isn't
1 there, the second in command, or you as chief of
2 operations; that's a normal procedure, is it not, in
3 most headquarters?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, I would like us to
5 speed things up a bit. I don't know if anyone is
6 challenging the fact that Mr. Blaskic was the chief of
7 the Operational Zone, that he was acting as any Chief
8 of Staff.
9 Let's try to go a bit faster. We're not
10 going to spend weeks and weeks over the question about
11 what Mr. Blaskic did getting up in the morning, going
12 to the office, having his coffee and doing this and
13 that. This is Defence time that is running here.
14 Otherwise, go right to your question.
15 If all of these questions are aimed at trying
16 to get to authenticating something by the witness,
17 please understand that the Judges are intelligent
18 enough to understand what you're doing. I cannot agree
19 to our spending such a long time to know whether he had
20 coffee before going into the map room in Stari Vitez
21 and Vitez. That's what I have to say. Go right to
22 your question, please.
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
24 Q. These morning briefings, information
25 concerning the situation on the ground was passed back
1 and forth; wasn't it?
2 A. Yes, it was passed back and forth, and this
3 information was based on the reports which we received.
4 So, every morning those units were able to deliver
5 reports, and these reports would end up on the
6 commander's desk, and all that eventually ended up with
8 Q. During these reporting meetings did the
9 aspects that took place at the Busovaca joint
10 commission, were they discussed during these morning
12 A. Regarding the work of the commission, we saw,
13 and I'm talking about the facts regarding the war in
14 the Lasva Valley, on the basis of the joint order of
15 the commander of the Third Corps and the Operative Zone
16 command, on the basis of that, as far as I know, the
17 commander was regularly briefed by the head of this
18 commission, which at that time was Mr. Nakic as Chief
19 of Staff.
20 Q. Well, if Mr. Nakic was told about Muslims
21 being forced to dig trenches by the Busovaca
22 commission, was that subject discussed in these morning
23 briefings by Colonel Blaskic?
24 A. Mr. Franjo Nakic, when he was a member of the
25 commission in Busovaca, did not come to the morning
1 briefings, because he was tied up in Busovaca. As far
2 as I know, he would come whenever he could, be it in
3 the afternoon or the morning, and personally reported
4 to the commander on the commission's work.
5 Q. Well, was the subject, after the Busovaca
6 joint commission was set up in early February of 1993,
7 and prior to the conflict in April of 1993, was the
8 subject of Muslims being forced to dig trenches
9 discussed at these morning meetings?
10 A. I do not recall any such discussions, and I'm
11 not aware of that fact, that anyone was forced to dig
13 Q. Now, in addition to the staff meetings with
14 the people in the headquarters, did Blaskic have
15 regular meetings with his brigade commanders?
16 A. Meetings with brigade commanders, in
17 practice, depending on the situation on the ground,
18 were most frequently held once a month, and, I believe,
19 because that is what every commander does, that
20 Commander General Blaskic, during his daily work, as
21 far as communications allowed, he did communicate with
22 the brigade commanders regularly.
23 If the situation were to deteriorate, then
24 the commander would decide when those meetings would be
25 held, and they were held on the basis of a decision and
1 an order of the commander of the Operative Zone.
2 Q. Did you attend those meetings?
3 A. Most frequently, yes. Unless I had any other
4 assignment given to me by the commander, because we
5 must realise that this was war and that some officers
6 had other tasks to carry out.
7 Q. In any of the meetings that you attended,
8 when Blaskic met with his brigade commanders, did the
9 subject of Muslims being forced to dig trenches, was
10 that subject ever discussed?
11 A. I cannot say with certainty whether this ever
12 happened. I personally do not recall, but I know that
13 Commander Blaskic, though I don't know on the basis of
14 which information, that he did give an order
15 prohibiting any such action. I think that we reviewed
16 such an order when presenting the evidence as to what
17 the Operative Zone commander was doing during the war
18 of 1993.
19 Q. Prior to the issuance of that order, and that
20 order was issued on the 19th of June, 1993, after a
21 joint commission meeting, prior to the issuance of that
22 order, had you been in any discussions with headquarters
23 staff or brigade staff where the subject of Muslims
24 being forced to dig trenches came up?
25 A. I did not attend. All I know about that is
1 that the Commander of the Operative Zone issued an
2 order expressly prohibiting such action.
3 Q. Now, in your conversations during your direct
4 examination, you noted various aspects that were
5 essential for a Commander. Excuse me one moment.
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, do you want me to
7 go to 11.30 or would you break now?
8 JUDGE JORDA: I think we started rather
9 late. Do you have many questions about these trenches
10 dug by Muslims?
11 MR. KEHOE: Actually, I am finished that
12 subject at this point. I have a few more questions
13 about the command structures here, we can finish that
14 and take a break.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. You have several
16 questions on the command structures, let's continue
17 with those questions for another few minutes, please.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 Q. Now, Brigadier, you noted during your direct
20 examination concerning the command structure that what
21 was essential -- and I am reading, counsel, for your
22 purposes, page 12.209 -- what was essential for the
23 operation was five components, actually, six
24 components, planning, organisation, command,
25 coordination, supervision and control. Then a couple
1 of pages later, you noted that, if you had set up an
2 organisation and you had issued commands and orders,
3 the next part of the activity is to ensure that
4 everything was carried out. So you needed to monitor
5 and supervise and these are key factors in a command
6 organisation. Again for clarity in the record, that's
7 page 12.212 of the English transcript.
8 Do you recall that, Brigadier, where you
9 noted that the monitoring of a structure is essential?
10 A. Certainly, that control of the execution of
11 orders issued is very important. It is also very
12 important that the conditions are in place to enable
13 that supervision to be carried out.
14 Q. Does that monitoring include going out in the
15 field and inspecting the troops and the positions of
16 those troops to ensure that the orders that are being
17 given are being carried out?
18 A. Supervision can be done as you have
19 suggested, but it can also be carried out by requesting
20 reports and a feedback report. So there are various
21 possibilities, depending on the one chosen by the
22 Commander, depending on the time available, the kind of
23 activity he wishes to monitor and how important that
24 activity is for the current situation, the war
25 conditions under which we were working and operating.
1 Q. Brigadier, in direct examination, you noted
2 that the reporting that was coming from the Brigades
3 was not very accurate because of the lack of skilled
4 personnel. Did that cause Colonel Blaskic to monitor
5 activities in the field? By that, did he leave the
6 headquarters frequently to monitor what was happening
7 in the field?
8 A. It is true that I said that reports due to
9 lack of skill on the part of the officers were
10 incomplete and also because of the concealment of
11 information because they didn't wish some information
12 to reach the Operative Zone Commander. The Commander,
13 General Blaskic, did go to the Brigade commands. I
14 cannot say exactly what he did there, but we as
15 officers too, would occasionally, upon orders of the
16 Commander, go to the Brigade command with the documents
17 we had issued to check whether some thing had been
18 carried out or not. That is whether what had been
19 ordered had been done and how.
20 Q. When did Colonel Blaskic and other members of
21 the Operative Zone staff discover that the Brigades
22 were concealing information from the headquarters?
23 A. I would be so bold as to say that this was a
24 constant phenomenon. There would be a case of us
25 losing a position on the front-line. The Commander did
1 not wish to report that to the Commander because he
2 hoped he would regain that position and he didn't want
3 to create a negative impression of his ability with the
4 Commander. So he wanted to deal with as many problems
5 as he could by himself within his own zone of
6 responsibility. So that I remember when certain
7 positions fell around the village of Brdo, that we
8 didn't get a report from that Brigade until six or
9 seven hours later. I can't exactly remember how we
10 learned about it and only when we called up did we
11 learn about it and did we have to engage additional
12 forces and try to regain those positions, though they
13 never were regained, they remained the same until the
14 Washington Accords.
15 So that even in such serious instances, that
16 was how the commanders behaved. But that was our
17 reality. I could explain the reasons, an untrained
18 officer, a person who is not qualified for the position
19 he is holding, he is virtually not aware of his
21 Q. So, what you're saying, Brigadier, is that
22 the lack of accurate information coming to the
23 headquarters was constant and began in 1992 and went
24 through 1993; is that right?
25 A. Yes, and as far as we were able in the
1 command of the Operative Zone, we did everything we
2 could to prevent this, to reduce such tendencies. We
3 would send officers to the commands as assistants in
4 those commands, to set those commands up and to improve
5 them in military terms and improve their organisation
6 to correspond to the aims which we had set ourselves at
7 the end of '92 and the beginning of '93 when we defined
8 our goal of establishing brigades. But this is a
9 painstaking endeavour and I told you what the outcome
10 was at the end of the war.
11 When the MPRI arrived, they noted that a key
12 problem was the control and command, accommodation and
13 funding. Even today, I have a very high position, and
14 those officers, they are retired officers of the
15 American army, they are training us and army officers,
16 as to the way an officer should behave, a NATO officer,
17 a professional officer, what he needs to know, what
18 prior qualities he needs to have and so on. This is
19 for six years. Now we still have similar problems, I
20 can't say they're identical, because we now have peace,
21 but they're similar to what we had in 1993.
22 Q. Brigadier, did this lack of information,
23 cause Blaskic to go to the front-lines and to send his
24 headquarters officers to the front-lines to monitor and
1 A. I said yes.
2 Q. Did he do that frequently?
3 A. I don't know what you mean when you say
4 "frequently." Do you mean on a daily basis? Every
5 other day? Every five days? Because it is a very
6 imprecise term, frequently.
7 Q. Was it part of his routine in organising the
8 command and the control of the Operative Zone to
9 routinely visit front-lines throughout his area of
11 A. General Blaskic, as far as I know, would go
12 to the commands whenever he, himself, thought it was
13 necessary. I cannot tell you exactly when he felt it
14 was necessary. He was the Commander. We went to carry
15 out supervision when we were ordered to do so by the
16 Commander of the Operative Zone.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, Mr. Kehoe, I think
18 we shall have a break now for about twenty minutes,
19 just after quarter to twelve, we will resume work. So
20 the hearing is adjourned.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.28 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.54 a.m.
23 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed, please
24 have the accused brought in.
25 (The accused entered court)
1 MR. KEHOE: May I proceed, Mr. President?
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Brigadier, just before the break, I asked you
5 a question and I can just read it to you. When I said
6 there was a part of Colonel Blaskic's routine to
7 organise the command and control of the Operative Zone
8 to routinely visit front-lines throughout his area of
9 command and you answered that as far as I know, he
10 would go to the commands whenever he thought it was
11 necessary. My question is dealing with front-line
12 positions and I ask that question again: Did Colonel
13 Blaskic routinely go to front-line positions? As
14 distinguished from Brigade command headquarters, did he
15 routinely go to front-line positions as part of his goal
16 to monitor what was happening in his area of
18 A. General Blaskic went to monitor and control
19 whenever he thought it was necessary. So I can't say
20 that he did so routinely, just when it occurred to
21 him. But as a commander and monitoring developments,
22 he would decide when he would go to the Brigade
23 commands and when to the front-lines. As the
24 intervention of General Blaskic was to develop an
25 organisation, as far as I can remember, he wouldn't go
1 to the front-line within the zone of responsibility of a
2 particular Brigade without going to the Brigade command
3 first and going with them to the front-line in order to
4 point to any shortcomings or deficiencies that he may
6 If General Blaskic were to go to the front
7 without the knowledge of the Brigade commander, that
8 would undermine the unity of command and he would
9 thereby be belittling the Brigade commander, who,
10 anyway, didn't enjoy a great deal of authority among
11 their soldiers, among their troops.
12 Q. Okay, sir. Just a couple of subjects I would
13 like to clear up before we move to an entirely
14 different subject. I would just like to show you an
15 exhibit that has been received in evidence,
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 292, and there was a Defence
17 exhibit that was the exact same thing, I am just
18 unfamiliar with the number. So if we could just talk
19 about Prosecutor's Exhibit 292.
20 Now I realise this document is in English,
21 Brigadier, however, this is the way it was sent to ECMM
22 and I want to direct your attention, if I could, to the
23 top line. Now, is that the fax number for the Central
24 Bosnian Operative Zone at the top of that?
25 A. I cannot recall exactly whether that is the
1 number. After all, it was five years ago, so I am not
3 Q. Well, does it say, that is the HVO Central
4 Bosnian Operative Zone with the number after that of
6 A. Yes, that is what it says on this document.
7 Q. Now, where was the fax machine in the
9 A. The fax machine in the headquarters was in
10 the communication centre. As far as I remember, in the
11 course of 1993, we had one installed with the officer
12 on duty.
13 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic have his own fax
15 A. As far as I can remember, he did not.
16 Q. Did he share this fax machine with others; is
17 that right?
18 A. Not shared it. Everything that was done in
19 the headquarters depended on the Commander. So we all
20 worked to carry out his decisions in the field.
21 Everything depended on the Commander.
22 Q. I mean, for instance, during the course of a
23 day, would using this fax machine, for instance, would
24 the Commander Colonel Blaskic make a determination what
25 press releases were going to leave the headquarters?
1 A. I know that there was a press service which
2 was there to inform the public about events in the area
3 of Central Bosnia. The way in which the officers in
4 the press service communicated with the Commander, I
5 cannot say. I don't know exactly how they reached
6 agreement, but the press service in our organisation
7 was not really part of the actual organisational
8 structure because their responsibilities were different
9 from those of the officers and Chiefs of Staff in the
11 Q. Let me turn to another subject and I just
12 want to clarify something for myself. I can show you
13 Defence Exhibit 200.
14 Now, if you just take a look at the BSC
15 section, you said in your examination that this was a
16 signature of Mijo Bozic; is that right?
17 A. Yes, this is Mijo Bozic's signature.
18 Q. I think you described Mijo Bozic as a
19 professional soldier and he knows how the structure and
20 control and command functions and that the superior has
21 to be informed about what is happening. For the record
22 that is on page 12.226 of the transcript.
23 Now, my question, Brigadier, is with regard
24 to executing an order such as this. This would be done
25 with the approval of Colonel Blaskic and he would be
1 informed by Mijo Bozic that he had, in fact, signed
2 such an order; is that the procedure?
3 A. The procedure was as follows: I said that at
4 the morning briefings we would be given assignments as
5 to what each of the members of the command had to do.
6 We would undertake to carry out those assignments. If
7 the assignment was to issue an order of these contents,
8 as we see here, then General Blaskic would provide the
9 guidelines, the frameworks, as to what should be
10 written and for what purpose. That would be 85 to 90
11 per cent would be his contribution to the order. It
12 was our duty as officers to draft this, to type it, and
13 to submit it to him for signature.
14 In all occasions, if Blaskic was away, so as
15 not to waste any time, he would give these precise
16 assignments in the morning and say, "Sign on my
17 behalf." When we returned to the headquarters, those
18 orders had to be there waiting for him on his table so
19 that he could see what had been signed in his absence.
20 That was the practice in our headquarters and even
21 today, as the Chief of Staff of the 1st Guards Corps in
22 the army of the federation, I signed the document in
23 the absence of the Commander, but when he comes back, I
24 show him what has actually been written. That is how
25 this document was created too.
1 Q. Brigadier, suffice it to say that Colonel
2 Blaskic trusted Mijo Bozic to sign this document on his
3 behalf; did he not?
4 A. Yes, my impression was that General Blaskic
5 trusted his associates; and had Mijo Bozic written
6 something with which General Blaskic did not agree,
7 when he returned and saw the document, Mijo Bozic would
8 have been criticised or whatever, depending on the
9 seriousness of his mistake. The commander would decide
10 what to do. I don't know what he would decide.
11 Q. Mijo Bozic was given, shortly after this
12 order in October of 1992, Mijo Bozic was given command
13 over the Ban Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak; was he not?
14 A. Not after this order. When I reached the
15 Operative Zone command he was already there, and I said
16 that I joined on the 1st of November. As far as I
17 remember, Mijo Bozic was appointed to commander in
18 1993. Please don't hold me to the day of the date, but
19 I think it was in February 1993.
20 Q. Was there a close relationship between Mijo
21 Bozic and Blaskic that caused them to trust him and
22 give him this honour as a brigade commander? Or did he
23 just have faith in Mijo Bozic as a commander?
24 A. I will say what I know with regard to Mijo
25 Bozic and General Blaskic, as persons in their
1 relationship. As far as I know, they did not know each
2 other before the war, though I'm not quite sure;
3 because Mijo Bozic, before the war, was serving in the
4 district staff of Territorial Defence in Zenica. As
5 far as I know, General Blaskic was serving in Slovenia.
6 Whether they may have come across one another as
7 officers of the former army, I don't know.
8 As far as I know, Mijo Bozic was born in
9 Kresevo and General Blaskic was born in Brestovsko,
10 Kiseljak municipality; so again, I cannot connect them.
11 Further, Mijo Bozic is quite a bit older than
12 General Blaskic, in age. I think he was born in 1950
13 and General Blaskic in 1960, or '61. So,
14 generation-wise they couldn't have gone to school
16 However, Mijo Bozic, whom I found in the
17 command when I joined, he was in the operations
18 department, he was head of that department. When he
19 left I took his place; and if a person holds such a
20 position, that is as head of operations department, the
21 commander has to trust you, because if he doesn't, then
22 he would probably look for somebody else whom he
23 trusted more to assign to that position.
24 From the facts that I have presented, I think
25 that General Blaskic did trust Mijo Bozic.
1 Q. Now, just a couple of other questions,
2 Brigadier, just on the flow of paper that I just want
3 to clarify. If we could show these in unison, and we
4 don't have to spend much time on this, Brigadier,
5 Defence Exhibit 338, Defence Exhibit 402, and Defence
6 Exhibit 406, and I just want to focus on the BCS
8 338, 402 and 406. Actually, we can look at
9 all of them in unison, we can look at all of them
10 together, because I just want to ask you some questions
11 about some writing on them.
12 Do you have those three documents before you,
14 A. Yes, I do, I have the three documents.
15 Q. Could you clarify something for me? Is the
16 writing in those three documents in the right-hand
17 corner, is that all your writing?
18 A. In the right-hand corner the words "Urgent
19 for Kiseljak and Busovaca," that is my handwriting and
20 my signature.
21 Q. Whose writing is next to yours?
22 A. Next to mine, as far as I recall, this could
23 be the handwriting of Franjo Sliskovic, who was
24 assistant for logistics. Because you see I have
25 written "urgent for Kiseljak," I'm sending it to
1 Kiseljak where the commander was; but I'm also sending
2 it to Busovaca where Franjo Sliskovic lived, so that
3 the matter should be dealt with as quickly as possible,
4 because I was cognisant of the seriousness of the
5 request by Rasim Delic, because I received the document
6 from the command.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Could it be clear that this is
8 D402, the record didn't reflect which document he was
9 looking at.
10 MR. KEHOE: I was waiting for the Brigadier
11 to finish and follow-up. That is D402, counsel is a
12 hundred per cent correct.
13 Q. The other two documents, 338 and 406, the
14 initials ONO; are those initials yours, as well?
15 A. Which document are we referring to, 406?
16 Q. Either 406 -- 406, just for clarification's
17 sake, is dated the 22nd of April. It's not the 22nd of
19 MR. HAYMAN: It's the 26th of January, 1992,
20 I believe, D406.
21 MR. KEHOE: You're absolutely right, counsel,
22 thank you.
23 Q. D406 is the 26th of January, 1992; is that
24 your initials there, too?
25 A. The word "done" or "executed" and the
1 initials are mine, and ONO is mine, because I did
2 everything that I was supposed to do, which was my
3 competence. Yes, all that is in my handwriting.
4 Q. Is that kind of a routine thing to do when it
5 comes to your attention, to put your initials on it in
6 some capacity?
7 A. There were no regulations, so, you couldn't
8 say that it was a routine thing, because there are also
9 some documents where I did not put this.
10 Q. And 338, the next document, does that ONO
11 belong to you? I think that's the document, unless I'm
12 incorrect here, the 22nd of April; correct?
13 A. Yes, here it is stated in this document, the
14 letters ONO were hand-written by me.
15 Q. Let me show you a document, Brigadier, and
16 I'll ask if you can recognise this handwriting, if I
17 can, with the next exhibit.
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 478.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. Take a look at that writing, Brigadier; do
21 you recognise that writing? Is that yours?
22 A. I do not recognise this handwriting, and it
23 is not my handwriting.
24 Q. How about the writing on the bottom, is that
25 handwriting yours?
1 A. No, this is not my handwriting, either.
2 Q. You don't recognise who wrote this? You
3 don't recognise the handwriting?
4 A. No, I do not recognise it.
5 Q. Okay, sir. Let's move to another subject.
6 The subject we're going to move to is the actual army
8 JUDGE JORDA: May I have the number, please?
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is 478.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, apologies, this
11 document is only in Croatian version, and nobody in
12 this room, with the exception of Mr. Marin and myself
13 and maybe another person or two, would know what this
14 means; because as it stands now it looks like a
15 mysterious document.
16 MR. KEHOE: I invite the Brigadier to read it
17 into the record. I apologise.
18 Q. Brigadier, even though it is not your
19 handwriting, could you read it into the record?
20 JUDGE JORDA: I thought you were right, Mr.
21 Nobilo; but I thought that the Prosecutor's question
22 was simply to know whether this was the person who
23 wrote the document. In fact, this might be of interest
24 to know what the contents are.
25 Perhaps you might read it to us and then the
1 interpreters will interpret it for us, unless you do
2 not want to ask that question, Mr. Kehoe, the decision
3 is yours.
4 MR. KEHOE: I don't want any mystery about
5 what this document says.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Since it's only
7 three-and-a-half lines, we can read it. Read it,
8 please, and the interpreters will interpret it. Please
9 read it.
10 A. Mr. President, this document states as
11 follows: "All military conscripts shall report to
12 their military command," and the rest of the word is
13 missing, and then "the HVO units." At the bottom it
14 says, "For the press, the Travnik HVO and Novi
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Brigadier, let's move to another subject, and
19 I would like to address testimony you talked about
20 during your direct, and you were answering some
21 questions by Mr. Nobilo and counsel, I'm talking about
22 page 12.051, and you were talking about some of the
23 problems that you had in the HVO as a whole.
24 I could just read a portion of your
25 testimony. You said, "First of all, the entire
1 organisation was based on voluntariness, which made
2 difficult, the functioning of the chain of command."
3 Down on line 13, "Voluntariness, in simple terms,
4 implies that a soldier or conscript applies on a
5 voluntary basis to join. Similarly, he is free to
6 leave a certain organisation because you have no
7 instrument when he is a volunteer to fit him within the
8 structure, because of the overall situation in which
9 you are working and living."
10 You again reiterated that problem, sir, on
11 page 12.092, when you talked about one of the major
12 problems being the voluntary principle.
13 Now, sir, let me direct your attention to
14 Prosecutor's Exhibit 36/1, if I could.
15 THE REGISTRAR: We would need a few minutes
16 to find it in the vault of the Registry since we don't
17 have it with us here.
18 MR. KEHOE: We can continue and I will read
19 it into the record, and we can go back on it, if need
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Brigadier, what I'm reading to you is Article
23 3 from the Narodni List, published on the 3rd of July,
25 JUDGE JORDA: Which came from where? Narodni
1 List, I see it.
2 MR. KEHOE: It's called the National Gazette,
3 they call it the Narodni Lists.
4 Q. Article 3: "Every citizen of the Croatian
5 community of Herceg-Bosna shall have the duty to
6 protect and defend the independence and territorial
7 integrity of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna;
8 and therefore, the obligation to: One, serve in the
9 army; two, perform compulsory work service; three,
10 participate in Civil Defence; four, participate in
11 monitoring and reporting services; five, be subject to
13 Are you familiar with that aspect of the law,
15 A. I remember that there was a regulation. I
16 think that it was called something, a decree on the
17 armed forces of Herceg-Bosna. However, this document
18 was compiled as a foundation for the organisation and
19 structure of the army which we wanted to establish and
21 In accordance, on the basis of this document,
22 you saw that a number of other documents were drafted
23 both by Mr. Blaskic and others in order to accomplish
24 this goal. But the situation on the ground was indeed
25 as I presented it, and I think that you will find the
1 documents drafted by Colonel Blaskic, which I believe
2 have already been tendered here, where he refers to the
3 voluntariness should be abolished, that these decrees
4 should be implemented and so on and so forth.
5 However, in order to implement such a law,
6 this law is a foundation, but you needed instruments,
7 instrument of a state. We did not have this state.
8 So this was a process of establishing an army
9 in wartime conditions. You had a war against the army
10 of Republika Srpska, in comparison to which we were
11 poorly armed, and then, despite this law, people would
12 show up and wanted to join. They showed up at the
13 local headquarters.
14 So, this initial principle of voluntariness
15 was gradually diminishing. People realised that it is
16 not just a simple thing to go to war, because people
17 were dying in the war.
18 Another aspect which contributed to this
19 situation is that we also mentioned that there were
20 instances of crime that, for instance, we had a
21 situation that somebody went to the front-line at Jajce,
22 and criminals would then operate and they would simply
23 take some property or things like that.
24 So, what you're referring to, this was a
25 framework for establishment of a military which we
1 wanted to have, which we desired to have; but I said
2 that, I mentioned the reasons why we did not have this.
3 I also mentioned that one of the principles
4 of the organisation of the HVO was this voluntariness,
5 and we had this situation that, let's say a soldier
6 spent ten days at the front-line, and because of the
7 needs, three days later he would need to go again. But
8 he refused, he says let's send someone else.
9 So this is a real situation which is hard to
10 comprehend unless a person was really there in the
11 theatre, to see how things were.
12 Q. Based on this article, and based on this law,
13 on the 3rd of July, 1992, compulsory military service
14 was introduced into Herceg-Bosna; was it not?
15 A. If this is what is written in this document,
16 then that is the case, but I do not have the document
17 in front of me.
18 Q. Well, we have it now in this BCS Article 3.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The document here that is 36A
20 of the Prosecutor, if that's the one you want to show.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, it is.
22 We can move ahead, Mr. President, and come
23 back to that particular point on that.
24 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. KEHOE: Here it is, okay.
1 Q. Now, Brigadier, based on that article, my
2 question is: Was compulsory military service
4 A. On the basis of this article, yes, the
5 conscription is mandatory. As I wanted to point out,
6 we could not have established the HVO on no basis, but
7 everything that is mentioned here, all the provisions,
8 were envisaged as a basic document for the
9 establishment of an organisation that would be as good
10 as possible under the circumstances in a given time.
11 Q. Blaskic implemented conscription right away;
12 didn't he?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Let me show you --
15 A. Apologies, when we talk about conscription,
16 we have to be very specific, because conscription has
17 two meanings. So, could you please specify which
18 aspect of conscription you have in mind?
19 Q. Well, did he, based on this principle,
20 immediately implement the compulsory military service
21 component and abolish the voluntary principle?
22 A. General Blaskic or Colonel Blaskic was not
23 authorised for this work. This was a kind of
24 competence of the territorial staff of the defence
25 department at municipal levels. I was working in such
1 an office at one time, so I am familiar with this. If
2 these instruments existed, then such a person can
3 conscript of a particular individual and if this
4 individual does not respond to it, he could be
6 If on the second notice, this individual does
7 not appear, then the case may be sent from the defence
8 office down to the civilian police and they would then
9 issue a warrant for arrest. But when a person is
10 finally in the uniform, then he is under the authority
11 of a Commander and as soon as he takes off his uniform,
12 he is a civilian again. I know this very well because
13 I worked in such an office of defence for five years.
14 I was running such an office.
15 Q. Let's take a look at Defence Exhibit 199,
16 which is dated the 10th of May, 1992, some two months
17 prior, or almost two months prior, to the actual decree
18 coming down. This is the 10th of May, 1992, order,
19 introduced by the Defence, signed by the Colonel,
21 Now, Brigadier, you, when you were being
22 questioned on direct examination, you focused namely on
23 No. 1, but I would like you to read No. 7. Now, I
24 remind you that this is the 10th of May, 1992, and the
25 actual decree in acting come compulsory military
1 service was the 3rd of July; nevertheless, on the 10th
2 of May, 1992, at Point 7, Blaskic says as follows:
3 "I forbid all persons, subject to military
4 conscription, in the Kiseljak municipality, as well as
5 other civilians who may be needed by the armed forces
6 of the HVO or armed formations of the HVO, to leave the
7 borders of the municipality without permission of the
8 HVO. Commanders of the military police units are
9 personally responsible for the execution of this
11 Do you see that, sir?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Let's turn to another document. If I may,
14 this is not a document that has been received in
15 evidence yet. This is a document where, apparently,
16 the translation section or I couldn't actually read the
17 actual date because it has a stamp on there, but it is
18 in May 1992, signed by Colonel Blaskic.
19 THE REGISTRAR: This is 479, 479A for the
20 French version; B for the English version.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Now, Brigadier, on the order itself -- I'm
23 sorry, just move the next one to the ELMO. That's it.
24 Do you recognise that stamp or that
1 A. As far as I can see, this is a stamp from
2 Kiseljak, which I am not familiar with and a signature
3 I am not familiar with either. Somebody signed this on
4 behalf of the person whose name is typed there. I
5 don't recognise the signature though.
6 Q. Well, the person's name who is typed there is
7 Tihomir Blaskic, is it not? Or Tiho Blaskic?
8 A. It is not clearly legible, but from the four
9 letters that I can make out, you could infer that it is
10 Tihomir Blaskic.
11 Q. Let's read it, sir. "Due to the fact that
12 the barracks in Kiseljak need to be put in order, in a
13 quicker and more efficient way and taking into
14 consideration the possibility of engaging persons
15 eligible for military service who have not yet been
16 called up, I am issuing the following order:
17 1. A certain number of persons eligible for
18 military service is to be engaged in labour units.
19 2. Labour units will carry out their
20 activities in a planned and organised manner from 09.00
21 to 17.00 according to the plan of engagement.
22 3. Women can be engaged in labour units on a
23 voluntary basis."
24 Then it talks about units, the composition
25 and the transportation and who was going to organise
2 Do you see that, sir?
3 A. Yes, I do see it.
4 Q. Now, we noted before in the article that's
5 before you, that the actual order for compulsory
6 military service was issued on the 3rd of July, 1992.
7 I ask you to take a look at Exhibit 456/94.
8 Now, Brigadier, this is a document of Colonel
9 Blaskic. It says, "Regional staff Central Bosnia with
10 Gornij Vakuf, Strictly confidential, No. 93/92, 4 July
12 On the basis of the announcements and reports
13 of the Operative Zone commanders of 3 July, 1992, and
14 in order to improve the combat readiness of the Central
15 Bosnia HVO units, I hereby issue the following order:
16 And go down to number 3, sir.
17 "According to the needs of the HVO armed
18 forces, municipal staff, the principle of compulsory
19 service is introduced and the voluntary principle is
21 That should be number 2, I apologise.
22 "According to the needs of the armed force
23 municipal staff, the principle of compulsory military
24 service is introduced and the voluntary principle is
25 abolished for all those aged between 18 and 55 who are
1 liable for military service."
2 Do you see that, sir?
3 A. Yes, I do see it.
4 Q. By the way, sir, staying with that order, if
5 you could turn to No. 6. No. 6 states that it's an
6 order to intensify propaganda activities in order to
7 boost morale and create a sense of insecurity in the
9 Is that a normal thing for a commander to do,
10 order that propaganda activities should be boosted?
11 A. In a situation when you are facing a much
12 more powerful enemy and in considering the time when
13 this document was drafted and this was the army of
14 Republika Srpska and it is well established what their
15 strength was in comparison to both the BH army and the
16 HVO. When you have the battles at Kupres, Livno and
17 Ravno, then you could do anything to lift the morale
18 and this task makes sense in that context.
19 Q. Blaskic put himself in charge of the
20 propaganda activities, didn't he?
21 A. No. Within the Operative Zone command there
22 was information, a propaganda department. That means
23 that people who were tasked with informing the soldiers
24 through their representatives of the events, what was
25 going on, what steps were taken, whether it was going
1 to be harder the next day or easier. In military
2 terms, this was done precisely in the way that General
3 Blaskic did here.
4 Q. Well, nevertheless, going back to Point 2 in
5 this order, clearly Blaskic orders compulsory military
6 service and abolishes the voluntary principle.
7 Now, let me show you yet another order of
8 Colonel Blaskic. This is dated the 19th of September,
9 1992. Mr. Usher?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is Document 480; 480A
11 for the English version.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. Now this is an order, is it not, Brigadier,
14 the 19th of September, 1992, by Colonel Blaskic, coming
15 from the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, does he sign
16 that, sir?
17 A. Yes, this is General Blaskic's signature.
18 Q. In No. 6, we'll read the preparatory
19 paragraph and then move to No. 6. You're welcome to
20 read the entire document, naturally. But on the basis
21 of reports, a proposal by members of the headquarters,
22 a personal review of the situation on the field and
23 following an evaluation with the purpose of rectifying
24 mistakes I order:
25 This goes to the municipal headquarters
2 "Submit a list of people eligible for the
3 military who left the municipality on their own
5 Do you see that, sir? Do you see that
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 Q. To implementing the compulsory service in
9 July, you would agree with me that Blaskic is trying to
10 go after potential conscripts who have left the area;
11 isn't he?
12 A. I cannot agree with you that General Blaskic
13 could introduce the obligatory military service. This
14 is something prescribed by the state. The documents
15 that we have reviewed just now and which were issued
16 before the decree on the armed forces of Herceg-Bosna
17 and the decree on the armed forces of Herceg-Bosna came
18 into being as a document that were not based on
19 anything before that. Because, before the
20 establishment of Herceg-Bosna, there was a military
21 service obligation. The obligation to provide material
22 resources and all the other obligations. So, actually,
23 the law that was in effect until then was taken over.
24 On those grounds, all the documents were drafted, which
25 the Commander of the Operative Zone or the Commander in
1 Kiseljak issued before the publication of the decree on
2 the armed forces of the Croatian community of
4 But in the preamble of each of these
5 documents, reference is made to what preceded it.
6 Because we must realise that we couldn't wait for the
7 decree on the armed forces to stop the army of
8 Republika Srpska at Livno, Kupres, Jajce and Ravno and
9 so on. Before any such document was issued, the army
10 of Republika Srpska attacked Ravno, Sarajevo and all
11 those other places, so no commander could wait. He had
12 to do what he could in view of the difficult
13 circumstances. So that commanders with experience and
14 being aware of the legal regulations in force in the
15 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina issued such orders.
16 Because the defence departments that existed in the
17 municipalities were functioning and operating on the
18 basis of the legal regulations of the Republic of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina until the regulations of the
20 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna were passed.
21 Q. What date is this order that is before you,
22 Brigadier? What date is it?
23 A. The 19th of September.
24 Q. That's over two months after the decree was
25 passed ordering compulsory service, isn't it?
1 A. I tried to be precise in my answer. All the
2 orders that were issued before the decree was passed,
3 the decree of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna
4 emanated from the existing regulations of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, if a decree was issued before
6 this document that I have before me, then this document
7 was based on that decree. I am ready to answer any
8 specific question regarding this order in front of me.
9 But could those questions be clear? Because I am very
10 familiar with these matters and I may be of use.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Brigadier, but the
12 question was a very precise one. This decree, this
13 document, came two months after the decree. So I am
14 here to regulate the overall hearings. The question
15 was very precise. You can't always say that the
16 question was not precise. The question was very
17 precise. This order is dated 19th of September, '92,
18 two months after the decree. The question was very
19 precise. You can just say that you don't know.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Let's turn to the next document, Brigadier,
22 Exhibit 456/81 dated 7th of October, 1992.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MR. KEHOE: If I could ask for 456/3, I think
25 we can move through these documents more quickly, Mr.
1 President. We're looking at, the first one is 456/81
2 and the next one is 456/3.
3 Q. Now, Brigadier, the document that's in your
4 hands, again another document that is sent by packet by
5 Colonel Blaskic is dated the 7th of October, 1992,
6 three months after the compulsory service was enacted.
7 I turn your attention -- and again you're welcome to
8 read the entire document -- I turn your attention to
9 Point 3 where Blaskic orders:
10 "Commanders of the municipal headquarters of
11 Kakanj and Kresevo must bring along as well, a copy of
12 the order, call up order, regarding conscripts and
13 their departure to the front-line."
14 He references the Narodni List, No. 1, page
15 60, regarding failure and refusal to carry out orders.
16 Now, he is ordering commanders in Kakanj and Kresevo to
17 bring a list of conscripts, isn't he?
18 A. Yes, he is ordering that because we were
19 already having a problem with the response to the call
20 up and going to the front-line. He is referring to the
21 regulation on the basis of which certain measures can
22 be taken by competent defence departments and that the
23 Brigade should show them those regulations.
24 Q. Let's talk about that. Let's turn to the
25 next document, which is 456/3, which is dated 11
1 November, 1992. Again, a packet communication, and I
2 direct your attention to 21 and 23. Now, is this a
3 packet communication, sir?
4 A. It doesn't say packet communications, but
5 judging by the appearance of the document, it probably
6 arrived through packet communications.
7 Q. Okay. Let's just read this, sir. Beginning
8 with the preparatory language and then we'll move
9 directly to paragraph 21 and 23 respectively:
10 "In view of the current military situation
11 in Central Bosnia Operative Zone, which was considered
12 in detail at a meeting held 6th November of 1992. A
13 subsequent discussion of the gentleman present with the
14 aim of strengthening defence and consolidating forces,
15 I hereby order:
16 21. The conscripts who refuse to be sent to
17 the front are to be disarmed and brought to the
18 appropriate command under the jurisdiction of the
19 regional military police.
20 23. A list of conscripts who work abroad is
21 to be made in the HVO government decision on donations
22 where defence is to be implemented."
23 Now, Blaskic, in the order that we saw on the
24 4th of July, implements the compulsory conscription.
25 He asks his commanders for lists of conscripts. In
1 this order, he wants a list of conscripts who are
2 outside the country, doesn't he?
3 A. Yes. He is asking his commanders and those
4 commanders will address themselves to the defence
5 departments because those departments were aware of the
6 movement of military conscripts because they kept
7 records of all military conscripts within the territory
8 of a municipality.
9 Q. Now, this mobilisation continued throughout
10 1992 and throughout 1993 and throughout the entire time
11 Blaskic was in as the commander of the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone, didn't it?
13 A. Yes. We never managed fully to engage all
14 potential military conscripts who were listed in the
15 records of the municipalities, and we didn't for
16 reasons visible from these documents. Some people were
17 abroad before the war, never came back. Some people
18 afraid of the war fled. We have such people in the
19 west living as refugees. General Blaskic, whose duty
20 was to set up an organisation and to have insight into
21 the potential effectives he had at his disposal, so he
22 searched for information of this kind in this way.
23 However, from the first part of this
24 document, it can be seen that a decision to issue it
25 was made at a meeting, but we can't see whether
1 representatives of the civilian authorities, the
2 political authorities, were present. But I assume that
3 all the tasks assigned in this order were agreed upon
4 at that meeting, so that all the responsible
5 institutions who were operational at the time would
6 recognise their responsibilities. Then this order went
7 to the commanders so that they would know what
8 decisions had been taken at the meeting and also to be
9 able to refer to this document when contacting the
10 defence departments with which they cooperated.
11 Q. Well, Brigadier, the bottom line is that
12 service in the HVO was compulsory; correct?
13 A. Yes. That was stated in the decree. I said
14 that and I am not denying it, nor can it be denied.
15 This was stated in the decree. But the situation
16 underground was such as you can see within two or three
17 months you had to issue five orders in order to try to
18 implement that. We didn't manage to implement it even
19 when the Washington Accords were signed because the
20 situation as it was.
21 Q. Mr. President, it's about two minutes to one
22 and I am about to shift into another subject area.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we'll resume with
24 that new subject at 2.30.
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.59 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed, please
3 have the accused brought in, and the witness.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 (The witness entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, thank you, Your Honours,
8 very much.
9 Q. Brigadier, good afternoon.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. Now, Brigadier, just a couple more questions
12 on this voluntariness issue that you discussed during
13 your direct examination with Mr. Nobilo. You noted
14 that that voluntariness issue also permeated the
15 military police, because there were no standards for
16 the military police; do you recall that testimony?
17 A. Regarding the military police, I said that
18 they joined voluntarily, which meant that young men who
19 wanted to join the military police would report to
20 military police commanders in their place of residence,
21 and they would join the military police.
22 There was no special selection or any
23 standards that would impose certain requirements that
24 you had to fulfil to become a member of the military
1 Q. What you said was that the member of the
2 military police came on a voluntary basis and there
3 were no criteria established for someone to become a
4 member of the military police.
5 I'm reading page 12.080, and I ask you to
6 take a look at the next exhibit, sir. With the
7 assistance of the usher, it's right here. One of those
8 rare occasions.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document 481, 481A for the
10 English version.
11 MR. KEHOE: Again, I apologise there is no
12 French, Mr. President, but that's in translation, as
13 well, or will be.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Brigadier, do you know Zvonko Vukovic?
16 A. I do know Zvonko Vukovic.
17 Q. Who was Zvonko Vukovic, as it relates to the
18 military police, for the 4th Military Police Battalion?
19 A. Zvonko Vukovic was a military police
20 commander. I cannot tell you exactly from when until
22 Q. Well, Zvonko Vukovic was ultimately replaced
23 by Pasko Ljubicic; isn't that right?
24 A. As far as I recall, yes.
25 Q. Let's turn the page -- well, actually, you're
1 looking at it, you see the stamp in the lower
2 right-hand corner?
3 A. This is the incoming stamp. As far as I can
4 remember, this is not the incoming stamp of the
5 Operative Zone command; but as the police had its own
6 communications system, this was probably the incoming
7 stamp of the police, or the HVO in Travnik. So, I'm
8 not quite sure whose incoming stamp this is.
9 Q. This is also another communication that
10 appears to be sent by the packet communication system;
11 isn't that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Well, let's read this document, Brigadier.
14 It's dated 11th of January, 1993, and it's addressed to
15 HVO military police stations in the municipalities of
16 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Zenica, Busovaca,
17 Kresevo, Kiseljak, Fojnica, Vares, and Kakanj. It
18 reads as follows:
19 "As part of the reorganisation project of
20 the military police in the Croatian community of
21 Herceg-Bosna, we are about to form special purpose
22 units of the military police. In order for all the
23 regions of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna to be
24 equally represented in these units, you are hereby
25 requested to propose five of your members for this
1 purpose, before 15 January, 1993.
2 The members are to become full-time employees
3 of the military police and will carry out their duties
4 throughout the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna.
5 Temporary headquarters of these will be in Capljina.
6 Requirements for admission: Secondary school
7 education; maximum age 30; membership in the HVO prior
8 to the announcement of general mobilisation for June
9 1992; completion of the military police or regular
10 police training; prior service as a military policeman
11 in the former JNA or a member of its special units.
12 The following data should be submitted for
13 each candidate who meets the above requirements: Name,
14 father's name, and surname, date of birth, place and
15 municipality of birth, residence address, education and
16 speciality, rank and military record in the JNA,
17 information on all training completed so far, date of
18 joining the Croatian army, HV or the HVO, name of all
19 the units in which the candidate has served since
20 joining the HV or the HVO, commanders opinion on
21 performance up until now. Please observe the
23 Now, sir, this is the setting up of the unit
24 known within the military police, known as the Jokeri,
25 or the Jokers; isn't that right?
1 A. One could not confirm that on the basis of
2 this document, because that is not stated in this
3 document, that it has to do with the Jokers; but it
4 does refer to the organisation of a professional
5 military police, as is stated here.
6 When I was making my testimony and said that
7 people joined the military police on a voluntary basis,
8 this applied to the police at the level of the
9 municipality. But you see here that the commander is
10 addressing the police at the level of municipal police
11 bodies, asking for candidates; so, we're talking about
12 professional military policemen.
13 Q. Would you agree with me, Brigadier, that for
14 the special purpose units formed within the military
15 police in January of 1993, significant criteria were
16 required for the candidates to be admitted into this
17 special purpose unit? Isn't that so?
18 A. I don't know which unit was formed on the
19 11th of January, 1993, because the internal
20 organisation of the military police is something I'm
21 not very familiar with; but all I can say is what I can
22 see from this text, and it says that it is full-time
23 employment, which means military policemen will be
24 professionals, and that they will be operating
25 throughout the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna.
1 There is no specific mention of the Central Bosnia
2 Operative Zone.
3 Q. Well, let me ask you about the Central Bosnia
4 Operative Zone, Brigadier. There was a special purpose
5 unit within the 4th Military Police Battalion in
6 Central Bosnia; wasn't there? Specifically in the
7 Central Bosnian Operative Zone.
8 A. As far as I can remember, and I said that I
9 couldn't discuss the internal structure and
10 organisation of the military police because I was not
11 familiar with it. It was not a problem addressed by
12 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. I think that it had
13 about 15 policemen.
14 How it was formed, what it was transformed
15 into later on, I cannot tell you exactly, because, I
16 wish to repeat, the internal structure of the military
17 police was not within the terms of reference of the
18 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. As an officer in that
19 Operative Zone, I did not supervise the military
20 police, because we had no such authority in relation to
21 the military police.
22 But this document says that, refers to the
23 formation of a professional military police for the
24 whole area of Herceg-Bosna.
25 Q. Brigadier, was the Jokeri a special purpose
2 A. As far as I know, that is how they were
3 called. As far as I can remember, there were about 15
4 military policemen in that unit, but I'm not sure about
5 these figures, as I have said.
6 Q. The Jokeri was stationed at the Bungalow on
7 the road right outside of Ahmici; wasn't it?
8 A. I know that there was a unit, or a part of
9 the 4th Battalion in the Bungalow, exactly which unit,
10 I cannot tell, but I do know that it was a military
11 police unit. Whether it was the Jokers or something
12 else, I think there was also a general police and
13 traffic police; so, I cannot, with certainty, talk
14 about the structure of the 4th Military Police
15 Battalion because I am not familiar with it.
16 This is a structure that was not determined
17 by the commander of the Operative Zone, but rather the
18 military police administration attached to the Ministry
19 of Defence.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, one moment, I just
21 want to consult with my colleague.
22 Q. Brigadier, we would like to move on.
23 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MR. KEHOE: I apologise.
25 Q. We can move on to a separate subject, and
1 again, I want to just chat with you for a couple of
2 moments, Brigadier, about your testimony with
3 Mr. Nobilo last week.
4 One of the things that you mentioned was that
5 you noted, and this is on page 12.074, that one of the
6 problems you had with the troops was that there was no
7 real facilities. You said on line 7 on 12.074 that,
8 "it was very difficult because of the lack of proper
9 facilities, to build proper military discipline."
10 Then you went on to say on -- excuse me,
11 before that, on page 12.067, that "the difficulty with
12 combat ready forces means personnel in one place in a
13 barracks which have their duties and are undergoing
14 training and which are adequately equipped." Do you
15 remember those statements you said about the lack of
16 proper facilities, having some difficulty in training
17 your people and keeping control over the troops? Do
18 you remember that?
19 A. Yes, I remember that, and today the HVO has
20 certain problems with facilities and accommodation.
21 Q. Let me show you a document, sir.
22 THE REGISTRAR: This is 482, 482A for the
23 English version.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Brigadier, this is a decree signed by the
1 president of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna on
2 the 3rd of July, 1992, where the Croatian community of
3 Herceg-Bosna took over all the JNA facilities. Let's
4 read this: "Pursuant to Article 7 of the decision on
5 establishing the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna of
6 18 November, 1991, the presidency of the Croatian
7 community of Herceg-Bosna at its session --"
8 A. Excuse me, I do not have that document in
9 front of me.
10 MR. NOBILO: We also have a different
12 A. I have the document numbered 482.
13 JUDGE JORDA: I think there is a problem
14 here. We have to look at the date in the
15 Serbo-Croatian version, and the date on the third line.
16 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, it's part of the
17 Narodni Lists that are in evidence in Exhibits 36, 37
18 and 38, and I can read the English and withdraw that
19 exhibit, and I can point to the place in the Narodni
20 List where it exists already.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Let me read this to you, Brigadier.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Just a second, Mr. Kehoe. I
24 think what Mr. Nobilo is saying is that the text in BCS
25 and the English text that I have don't seem to match.
1 MR. NOBILO: If the Narodni List is going to
2 be read from, could the witness please be shown the
3 entire document from which it is going to be read?
4 MR. KEHOE: We will find it at the break,
5 Brigadier. Let me ask you a question just about the
6 JNA facilities.
7 THE REGISTRAR: If you allow me, for the
8 transcript, it would be better to clarify the situation
9 so we know what number we're going to use for which
10 document, because there are two documents that don't
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, your intention,
13 apparently, was to confront the witness with a decree
14 which was signed by Mate Boban the 3rd of July, 1992;
15 is that what you intended to do?
16 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE JORDA: If that is your intention, then
18 you have to find the Serbo-Croatian text for this
19 document which has the number 482.
20 MR. KEHOE: I will do that, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Let me ask you a question about the JNA
24 facilities. Did the HVO take over the JNA facilities
25 in Central Bosnia?
1 A. The situation regarding facilities of the
2 former JNA in the area of Central Bosnia was as
3 follows: The Travnik barracks, which was held by the
4 former JNA, was liberated jointly by the HVO and the BH
5 army units.
6 After the control was taken of this barracks,
7 I cannot say who it was initially, but after the fall
8 of Kotor Varos in Jajce, I know the refugees were
9 accommodated there, and units of both the BH army and
10 the HVO from Kotor Varos.
11 Due to the proximity of the lines with the
12 army of the Republika Srpska and the potential danger
13 of being shelled, we did not use these barracks. After
14 the attack against HVO by the BH army, this barracks
15 came under control of the BH army.
16 The facility of the former JNA in Kaonik, and
17 another one in the Busovaca municipality, were depots
18 and Kaonik, even to date, these facilities are not
19 properly outfitted for accommodating the army.
20 Then the third facility of the former JNA was
21 in Kiseljak municipality. I know that this was not a
22 large facility, and I know that these barracks, during
23 the war, the units, or the special purposes unit of
24 Kiseljak were accommodated there.
25 Further, there was barracks in Zenica which
1 also were liberated, jointly, by the BH army and the
2 HVO units, and then later on it was completely taken
3 over by the BH army. Then there was another depot at
4 Slimena, and it was a facility which was used
5 exclusively as a weapons and equipment depots.
6 All these facilities were liberated jointly
7 by the HVO and the BH army. Some of these facilities
8 were destroyed at the pull out and some of them were
9 mined, and the HVO did not make any use of that. These
10 facilities were all in the zone of responsibility of
11 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and I believe that I
12 have not omitted any of them.
13 In these circumstances we did not have a
14 potential to keep troops there to train them, and due
15 to this lack of such facilities, we were using school
16 buildings and similar facilities, we improvised and we
17 could not accommodate significant forces there.
18 In these conditions a number of these
19 facilities were, therefore, not in use; but the
20 military organisation continued to keep their troops in
21 the villages from where people were recruited to go to
22 the defence lines. This was one of the problems,
23 because people did not like to go to the barracks.
24 Even if we had them, it would have been difficult to
25 keep people in them.
1 Had we had them where we could have brought
2 people and trained them there, we would have done so,
3 but you have to keep one thing in mind: The shelling
4 was always possible, both by the air force and by the
5 artillery, which was in possession of the army of the
6 Republika Srpska, and this was at all times.
7 Q. Brigadier, who took the Kaonik camp, the JNA
8 facility at Kaonik on the Busovaca T junction? Who
9 took that? HVO?
10 A. The Kaonik facility, which is at that T
11 junction, was taken over by the Busovaca HVO, and this
12 was another facility which was a depot which did not
13 have a potential for accommodating larger armed force.
14 Because the former JNA had also not used it for
15 training of soldiers who were serving in the former
17 Q. Who took the Draga barracks; the HVO?
18 A. I said that the Draga barracks were taken
19 over by the HVO, but the facility is such that it is
20 exclusively a depot. Even to date, it is used by the
21 HVO. But even to date, we cannot accommodate the
22 troops, the parts of the 3rd Guard Corps, because these
23 are specifically warehouse facilities.
24 Q. There was a facility that you didn't talk
25 about that's near your hometown of Novi Travnik and
1 that's the JNA facility at Stojkovici, the HVO took
2 that as well, didn't they?
3 A. Yes, I forget that. It is a facility -- it
4 is a logistics base and this facility was designated by
5 the former JNA for storage of larger quantities of
6 fuel. So this again is a special use facility where, I
7 think, that not even 100 people can be accommodated, so
8 this is again a depot.
9 Q. The HVO used the JNA facility at Stojkovici
10 as a communication centre, didn't they?
11 A. I do not know that, so I cannot speak to
12 that. I do not know. Maybe because there are some
13 underground facilities, it was used as a protection
14 from potential shelling or air attacks from the army
15 of Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Now Kiseljak, as we move down to the road,
17 Kiseljak, the largest former JNA facility was in the
18 Kiseljak barracks; isn't that right?
19 A. I'm sorry, the largest in relation to what?
20 For instance, the barracks in Sarajevo are the
21 largest. So, if you can tell me what to compare it to.
22 Q. Well, the Kiseljak barracks, the former JNA
23 facility at the Kiseljak barracks, the HVO took that
24 facility as well; isn't that right?
25 A. The HVO took over this facility and I said
1 that as far as I know, as early as wartime, this was
2 used by Maturice or whatever this special purpose unit
3 was called in Kiseljak.
4 Q. Well, it was used by Blaskic too, wasn't it?
5 A. In this barracks, in one of the buildings
6 there, and I don't know, I didn't go there at that
7 time. It could have been the Brigade command. I did
8 not go to Kiseljak when the commander at Kiseljak was
9 General Blaskic. I was in Novi Travnik at that time
10 and I was not in the Operative Zone command at that
11 time, so I cannot speak to that.
12 Q. Well, Brigadier, you told us during fighting
13 in and around Busovaca in January and February that
14 Blaskic was in Kiseljak and that you were communicating
15 with him in the Kiseljak barracks; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes, he was in Kiseljak at that time in
17 1993. That was that Kiseljak already had a Brigade and
18 it had its command post there in Kiseljak. But I told
19 you first that I did not know where the municipal
20 headquarters in Kiseljak was and we saw from certain
21 documents that this was when General Blaskic was
22 commander there.
23 Q. The bottom line, Brigadier, is that in
24 addition to the units you were talking about, Colonel
25 Blaskic used the Kiseljak barracks too, didn't he?
1 MR. HAYMAN: Has this been asked and
2 answered, Mr. President?
3 JUDGE JORDA: No, Mr. Hayman. I'm sorry to
4 have to tell you that we're not getting an answer. I
5 don't accept your intervention, Mr. Hayman. The
6 witness is contradicting himself, you know that.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Well, Mr. President --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Please don't continue going
9 down that line of comments. I do understand that
10 Mr. Kehoe is going back to that issue, I understand.
11 We don't know whether the relationship with what was
12 before, we don't know what that was. We know he was in
13 Kiseljak, but not at that time, maybe not that
14 barracks. We can understand that these are questions
15 that the Prosecutor want to know from someone who was
16 in such an important position. Ask your question
17 again, Mr. Kehoe, the Judges need to know. I would ask
18 the witness to make special efforts to jog his memory.
19 Work on this please, General. You're bound
20 to do so by the text of the Tribunal. You cannot
21 remember all kinds of things when you're the defence
22 witness and no, for every question that's asked you,
23 say, you don't know or not aware of it. I really very
24 firmly have to commit you to answering completely the
25 questions that are asked, otherwise the Judges are
1 going to have to ask you the questions.
2 Ask your question again, Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Brigadier, Colonel Blaskic used the Kiseljak
5 barracks during his work, didn't he?
6 MR. HAYMAN: Can we have a time, Mr.
7 President? That's why there is confusion here.
8 General Blaskic was in Kiseljak in the summer of '92.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, the question was
10 not asked of you, the question was asked of the
12 MR. HAYMAN: The time, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Let the witness answer instead
14 of you, Mr. Hayman.
15 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, Your Honours, in
16 1992, at the time when General Blaskic was Commander of
17 the Kiseljak municipal headquarters, and I do not know
18 the exact time frame, I do not know whether during that
19 period his command post was in the Kiseljak barracks.
20 When we established a Brigade, which was the end of
21 1992, I know that the command of the Ban Jelacic
22 Brigade was in the Kiseljak barracks.
23 In 1993, that is after the January conflict,
24 between the BH army and the HVO in the territory of the
25 Busovaca and Kiseljak municipality, the then Commander
1 of the Operative Zone, Tihomir Blaskic, was in the
2 Kiseljak barracks at the post of the Operative Zone
3 Commander. Now, which forces were there at that time,
4 I am unable to tell you.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Well, in January, Brigadier, when you were
7 sending fax communications to Colonel Blaskic, where
8 did you send them in Kiseljak?
9 A. We were -- that is when we send them through
10 the packet system and by fax, while General Blaskic was
11 in Kiseljak, we sent it to the command post of the Ban
12 Jelacic Brigade.
13 Q. Now, you noted previously that one of the
14 reasons that you didn't do training in the barracks was
15 because you were afraid of Bosnian Serb shelling; is
16 that right?
17 A. That was the reason that I refer to only the
18 Travnik barracks, which we were using jointly with the
19 BH army. After the fall of Jajce, after the fall of
20 Kotor Varos, after the BH and the HVO units from
21 Kotor Varos, along with the refugees, arrived, we were
22 unable to use this facility because these people, these
23 people and these soldiers who arrived from those areas
24 were accommodated there from the territory which was
25 taken by the units of the Bosnian Serb army.
1 Q. But during the conflict in January, the
2 Kiseljak barracks was safe enough for the Commander of
3 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone to work from; wasn't
5 A. Yes. The Commander probably did work at that
6 command post. I do not know all his movements over a
7 24 hour period while he was staying in Kiseljak.
8 Q. Before we move to the next subject, Mr.
9 President, consistent with the Court's request, we do
10 have the Mate Boban order in French and English. We
11 haven't quite collated it, however, here is the BCS
12 version and here is the French version.
13 THE REGISTRAR: This is Document 482 in BSC
14 version, B is the French version and 482A is the
15 English version as was assigned a short while back.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Looking at 482, Brigadier --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Counsel, microphone,
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Looking at 482, Brigadier, that is, in fact,
22 the decree of the 3rd of July, 1992, signed by
23 Mr. Boban on the taking over of the JNA and federal
24 secretariat of peoples defence material on the
25 territory of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna and
1 transforming it into the property of the Croatian
2 community of Herceg-Bosna.
3 "Article 1: All social assets on the
4 territory of the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna
5 that has been as federation assets, administered and
6 managed by the former JNA and the former SSNO, shall be
7 taken over and shall become the property of the
8 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna and social assets
9 comprise property, money and rights.
10 Article 2: The Croatian community of
11 Herceg-Bosna, presidency or an authority authorised by
12 it, shall allocate assets mentioned in Article 1 of the
13 present decree.
14 Article 3: The heads of the defence, legal
15 and administration departments, shall be authorised to
16 issue regulations and comment and documents for the
17 implementation of this decree.
18 Article 4: The decree shall come into the
19 effect on the day that it is issued. Signed Mate
20 Boban, the Presidency of the Croatian community of
21 Herceg-Bosna. Mostar 3 July, 1992."
22 Are you aware of that decree, Brigadier?
23 A. I am not familiar with this decree or this
24 document. I have, personally, not seen before.
25 Q. Do you recognise either the stamp or the
1 signature of Mate Boban?
2 A. I have heard of President Boban. I have
3 never met him and I do not know his signature.
4 However, if I may, I would like to say something
5 regarding this document. From the position at which I
6 occupied at the time, this document was drafted, but we
7 had a situation such as I have described it and along
8 with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this is the way
9 things are now. The situation in the entire territory
10 of the Croatian community was such that it could not
11 have been implemented everywhere. We, in Central
12 Bosnia, were unable to implement it fully.
13 With respect with some facilities of the
14 former JNA, we had to do in a way which I have just
15 described a moment ago.
16 Q. Now, you noted during the course of your
17 testimony with Mr. Nobilo that you had a difficult time
18 training your soldiers; is that right?
19 A. Yes, we did have such difficulties because we
20 don't have teams of instructors, we did not have the
21 compounds where we could train.
22 Q. Well, isn't it true, Brigadier, that by
23 mid-1992, into the fall of 1992, a rather elaborate
24 training structure had been set up by the HVO
25 throughout Bosnia?
1 A. I do not know this. That was not the case in
2 Central Bosnia. If I may, all training that was done
3 was conducted with small arms. We had different types
4 of small arms, which was used by the infantry. If a
5 soldier had not handled such a weapon during his
6 regular military service, we would conduct special
7 training and we would, typically, do it a day or two
8 before he would go out to the front-lines so that he
9 would be able to actually use it at the line of
10 defence. We would prevent incidents so that he would
11 not mishandle this weapon. But at the level of platoon
12 company and battalions, this would be the tactical type
13 of training we did not have time for and we did not
14 have conditions for such training.
15 Q. Let's explore that a little, Brigadier. Let
16 me first show you a film that was filmed, Mr.
17 President, by ITN, in October of 1992, in the
18 Tomislavgrad area. If we could just dim the lights and
19 put this particular film on. It's about five minutes
20 long, Mr. President.
21 (Videotape played)
22 JUDGE RIAD: Dim the lights, please.
23 MR. KEHOE: Could you dim the lights,
25 (Videotape played).
1 MR. KEHOE:
2 Q. Brigadier, are you familiar with any HVO
3 training facility such as that?
4 A. You said at the beginning that what we have
5 just seen was shot in the territory of Tomislavgrad;
6 this was a municipality within the zone of
7 responsibility of the Operative Zone of north-western
8 Herzegovina, and I was not familiar with what was
9 happening in that Operative Zone.
10 But, from what we have seen on this clip, it
11 is visible that it is a reconnaissance sabotage unit,
12 two platoons in strength; because I did serve in
13 Tomislavgrad after the Washington Accords, the people
14 in Tomislavgrad told me they had such a unit which was
15 within the scope of the Tomislavgrad Brigade in
17 This kind of training, and this level of
18 equipment of troops and units is something that we did
19 not have in the command of the Operative Zone of
20 Central Bosnia. The best equipped and best trained
21 unit in the command of Central Bosnia during the war
22 was a special purpose unit, the Vitezovi. It was
23 structured and organised as such. Its organisation and
24 the equipment of its members was not within the
25 competence of the Operative Zone command.
1 The brigades for which we were responsible
2 and were under our command did not have this kind of
3 training shown on this clip.
4 Q. Well, Brigadier, the HVO, in addition to
5 training in Central Bosnia, sent people to train
6 elsewhere; didn't they?
7 A. As far as I can remember, we sent groups, or
8 perhaps certain servicemen, for training with air
9 defence devices. Because of the special purpose
10 industry in Central Bosnia, the air force of the
11 Bosnian Serbs was constantly shelling this area, so we
12 would send people to train in Herzegovina, people who
13 would man the rocket launchers, Maljutkas, and also
14 some people for reconnaissance training, I think in
16 That's as much as I know about the organised
17 training undertaken for members of brigades within the
18 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
19 Q. You sent some people to train in Herzegovina
20 and some reconnaissance people to train in Grude. How
21 about people to the Republic of Croatia; did the HVO
22 and Central Bosnia send people to train in the Republic
23 of Croatia?
24 A. At the very beginning of 1992, I don't know,
25 because I said when I joined the command of the
1 Operative Zone. After the enclave was completely cut
2 off, we had no chance of going anywhere after that, and
3 still less to send people to train outside the
4 territory of the Lasva Valley or Bosnia, because we
5 needed every man in the trenches.
6 Q. Well, sir, prior to the outbreak of
7 activities in Central Bosnia in January of 1993, did
8 the HVO, to your knowledge, send troops to Croatia to
10 A. We never sent troops, we sent a group of men,
11 three, four or five men. I cannot confirm exactly what
12 kind of training it was. I think it was military
13 police training, but I'm not quite sure of that.
14 Q. How many times did Blaskic send groups of men
15 to train in the Republic of Croatia?
16 A. From the time I joined the command of the
17 Operative Zone, and that is the 1st of November, 1992,
18 I do not remember that we ever sent people for training
19 to the Republic of Croatia. I do not remember. If
20 there was such a case, by any chance, it may have been
21 an individual or a group of three or four people, up to
23 Q. Well, when did Blaskic send these individuals
24 to some type of police training in the Republic of
25 Croatia? When was that?
1 A. I cannot claim that General Blaskic sent
2 these people, because the training of individuals or
3 groups in military police matters was not conducted
4 while General Blaskic was commander of the Operative
5 Zone. If there was any such training, it was through
6 the military police organisation, so that we, as the
7 command of the Operative Zone, could not send military
8 policemen for that kind of training.
9 Q. Let's take a look at Exhibit 406/23.
10 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Dubuisson, do we have a
11 number for the film?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, for the video, the
13 number is 483.
14 MR. KEHOE: Thank you.
15 Q. Now, this document, 406, again, a packet
16 communication from Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, 24 July,
17 1992, "On the basis of a clear need to create and train
18 reconnaissance units, I hereby order:
19 Deploy one squad of men for reconnaissance
20 operations in every operation zone, i.e., all municipal
21 headquarters engaged in war operations. Training will
22 take place in the Republic of Croatia, because specific
23 tasks are to be carried out. The training will last
24 ten days.
25 Each of the following municipal headquarters
1 shall appoint seven soldiers to the squad; Gornji
2 Vakuf, Bugojno, Konjic, Jajce, Novi Travnik, Travnik,
3 Zepce, Zavidovici, Maglaj. Deliver the list of men for
4 training through a radio packet communications or by
5 courier by 27 July, 1992 at 1400 hours.
6 The personnel on the list, i.e. the men
7 selected for the training, must report in Grude on 30
8 July 1992 by 1400 hours. The men must present
9 themselves in the above-mentioned place and time in
10 full combat gear."
11 The document in the original BSC has a list
12 of seven men written down by someone.
13 Now, are you familiar with this procedure of
14 sending at least reconnaissance units for training in
15 the Republic of Croatia?
16 A. From the heading one can see that the
17 document was dated the 24th of May, 1992, when I was
18 not in the Operative Zone, and in my statement before
19 your question I said that as far as I remember I knew
20 that groups did go for training.
21 I know there was mention of Grude, and that
22 groups of men went there from each of the municipal
23 headquarters, but I do not know whether people, other
24 groups, were sent in this way.
25 We can just see from this that training was
1 for ten days, and you can judge for yourself whether
2 ten days is enough to become an expert in
4 MR. NOBILO: Correction, the transcript says
5 May 1992, but the witness said in July 1992. So, could
6 the transcript please be corrected?
7 MR. KEHOE: The witness actually said May,
8 but the document says July. The witness said May, he
9 probably just misspoke. I won't quibble about that.
10 Q. The document says July; doesn't it Brigadier?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The fact of the matter is, the bottom line is
13 some people, some soldiers from the Central Bosnia
14 Operative Zone were being sent to Croatia to train.
15 A. From this document it is clear that these
16 were individuals and groups who went for such training,
17 as is stated in this document.
18 Q. Now, let's then turn to the actual training
19 of recruits. Now, the individuals that were taken into
20 the HVO, many of those men had already done national
21 service in the JNA; isn't that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Then there were those that were brought into
24 the HVO who had not served in the JNA; isn't that
1 A. Yes, these young men volunteered, as did the
2 others. They voluntarily joined the HVO units.
3 Q. I think we established this morning,
4 Brigadier, that they were all drafted. I mean, there
5 was conscription and everybody was drafted as a result
6 of the 3 July, 1992 edict that Blaskic put in effect
7 the next day; correct?
8 MR. NOBILO: Objection, that is what the
9 Prosecutor said, the witness never said that. The
10 witness said there was a legal basis, he said that
11 Blaskic gave the order, but that the situation on the
12 ground differed, so that voluntariness remained the
13 basic principle. Now the Prosecutor is putting into
14 the witness's mouth what he believes.
15 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the record can
16 speak for itself, we'll just move on.
17 Q. Let us turn our attention to Exhibit 456/79.
18 JUDGE JORDA: On what subject,
19 Mr. Prosecutor, still the same subject?
20 MR. KEHOE: The same subject, Mr. President,
21 still on the training of recruits issue.
22 It should be an order of 20 September, 1992,
23 Mr. Dubuisson. That's not it. This is it. I'm sorry,
24 it should be Exhibit 456/79.
25 Q. Now let us take a look --
1 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry.
3 Q. Again, take a look at Exhibit 456/79. It,
4 again, is an order that is signed by the accused, dated
5 20 September, 1992. Brigadier, I'll read the
6 preparatory paragraph and then move down to paragraph
7 number 3.
8 "Tasks of the Central Bosnia HVO command
9 headquarters. On the basis of a clear need for a more
10 expeditious work of an improved quality in September
11 1992, the following essential tasks are to be carried
12 out by the appointed time and the person responsible
13 for the task.
14 3. The training of new recruits who have not
15 served in the Yugoslav army is to be basic and
16 specific; recruit all able-bodied men over 18." The
17 person responsible for this task was head of operations
18 and training.
19 Brigadier, you did not come to the
20 headquarters until the 1st, or approximately the 1st of
21 November, 1992, and I take it that your predecessor was
22 responsible for that. But are you familiar with this
23 document, sir, and the order to train new recruits who
24 have not served in the JNA?
25 A. The document was signed by General Blaskic.
1 I recognise his signature. The document was issued
2 before I joined the command of the Operative Zone, but
3 as far as I know this activity that is ordered under
4 point three was not carried out in that time.
5 Q. Well, Brigadier, an entire plan for the
6 training of recruits was set out by General Petkovic of
7 the HVO in September of 1992; wasn't it?
8 A. I remember that plan and programme of
9 training. I don't know exactly when it was issued.
10 But I was speaking about the conditions under which we
11 were working and living in the Operative Zone.
12 As far as I can recall, this task in the area
13 of the Lasva Valley, that is the Vitez, Busovaca, Novi
14 Travnik enclave and a part of the Travnik area, I shall
15 try and be precise. We partly carried it out in
16 September 1993, a part of this order, because we were
17 short of men on the front.
18 At that time we did carry out what is
19 referred to in point three under improvised conditions,
20 where we put up recruits in the elementary school in
21 Nova Bila. I only recall those activities in that
22 period of time in 1993.
23 Q. Brigadier, let me show you, again, Exhibit
24 456/107, another document that comes from Colonel
1 JUDGE JORDA: Would you prefer us to have a
2 break now, because I see that there is some difficulty
3 in finding the document? Mr. Dubuisson, have you found
4 it? Very well, we will have a break immediately after
5 we examine this document.
6 MR. KEHOE: That's fine, Judge, thank you.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Brigadier, you said in the prior exhibit, in
9 the order of 20 September, 1992, that the training of
10 recruits was not completed; and we have before us an
11 Exhibit 456/107, a packet communication from General
12 Blaskic as of the 19th of November, 1992. It has a
13 rather elaborate timed training schedule that runs from
14 0600, getting up in the morning, to callisthenics,
15 personal hygiene, inspection, one training period, two
16 training periods, three training periods, four training
17 periods, five training periods, break for lunch, again,
18 we train again, in the afternoon after lunch, and then
19 the seventh training period and recess before taps.
20 Read the bottom part, and keep in mind your
21 comment about training in barracks. "This daily
22 schedule to apply to all barracks, buildings where
23 members of the armed forces are accommodated in the
24 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and barrack commanders
25 shall adhere to the above schedule."
1 Now, would you agree with me, Brigadier, that
2 for a place where no training is going on, this is a
3 pretty elaborate schedule?
4 A. Yes, it is an elaborate schedule. As far as
5 I recall, this was copied from the regulations booklet
6 of the former Yugoslav People's Army, and this kind of
7 a timetable exists in any organised army. That was
8 what we sought to achieve, and we addressed such a
9 document to our subordinates, so that if they should
10 find themselves in such a situation they would know how
11 to behave.
12 Q. I mean the bottom line, Brigadier, is that
13 Blaskic ordered that training be done, and training was
14 being done; isn't that a fact, sir?
15 A. Training was not done as ordered. I said
16 when, under what conditions and in what time period
17 such training was done with recruits in the Lasva
18 Valley, or rather the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, thank you. If
20 it's convenient for the Court to take a break at this
21 time, if it's convenient?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, we will resume work
23 at a quarter past 4.
24 --- Recess taken at 3.54
25 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
1 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have
2 the accused brought in, please.
3 (The accused entered court)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.
6 We move to another exhibit. If I could hand this to
7 the usher. Again, Mr. President, there is no French
8 translation yet on this document, but we will provide
9 it. It is a multi-page document, Mr. President, so it
10 might be difficult to put on the ELMO. Maybe we could
11 just put the cover sheet.
12 THE REGISTRAR: 484, 484A for the English
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Brigadier, are you familiar with this
16 training manual that was signed on the cover by General
17 Milivoj Petkovic?
18 A. I have seen this kind of plan and programme
19 in the command of the Operative Zone.
20 Q. Now, if we just go through it, and we need
21 not read this whole matter, this is a rather extensive
22 22-day period, rather extensive programme for a 22-day
23 period for recruits in the Croatian community of
24 Herceg-Bosna, isn't it?
25 A. Yes, that can be seen from this document.
1 Q. Is that the type of training that was being
2 contemplated by Colonel Blaskic in the previous exhibit
3 where we had this training schedule running from 6.00
4 in the morning until 21.00 hours in the evening?
5 A. If we link the document we saw a moment ago
6 to this one, I would not be able to say that they are
7 directly linked. But if we were to compare the
8 schedules then we would see here in items one and two,
9 it says eight hours daily, two hours in the morning,
10 two hours in the afternoon. So these match and they
11 could be linked together.
12 Q. Sir, now this basic training that was
13 employed by Blaskic, and that was set out by General
14 Petkovic -- take a look through this, it has a variety
15 of aspects of training for new recruits, doesn't it?
16 Some in firearms, some in mortars, tactical training,
17 infantry weapons, medical care, engineering, physical
18 exercise, et cetera. It's a rather broad range of
19 subjects, isn't it?
20 A. Yes, Mr. President, I should like to spend a
21 little time on this document and try to explain the
22 previous document. In the HVO, this programme did
23 exist. Also, there were orders. We saw the number of
24 orders issued by the Commander of the Operative Zone
25 regarding organisation, the prevention of arbitrary
1 behaviour. As many orders were issued by the Commander
2 of the Operative Zone in connection with the
3 implementation of this programme. Therefore, the
4 documents existed both at the level of the main
5 headquarters and the command of the Operative Zone.
6 We wanted to organise the army and to do
7 everything in the best possible way but the situation
8 on the ground was different. For that reason we have
9 quite a number of orders by General Blaskic, within a
10 short period of time, ordering the execution of certain
11 actions. We saw those orders with regard to
12 organisation. We are now seeing them in relation to
13 training. Then there were other documents concerning
14 crime and other such occurrences.
15 General Blaskic, as a professional military
16 man, knew what an army meant and how an army is
17 established. He wanted to implement the regulations
18 that we had but the situation on the ground was a
19 different matter and it was not possible to put into
20 effect the things in the way we wanted or in the way
21 ordered by the Commander of the Operative Zone.
22 Q. Well, you said, Brigadier --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. You said, Brigadier, that you were familiar
1 with this document and that you'd seen it in the
2 Operative Zone headquarters; is that right?
3 A. Yes, I am familiar with this document and I
4 saw it in the command of the Operative Zone.
5 Q. You saw it during the time that you were in
6 charge of training; isn't that right?
7 A. Yes. When I joined the Operative Zone
8 headquarters, I cannot remember exactly when this
9 programme reached us, the programme which we were
10 assigned to carry out.
11 Q. Well, look through this document, Brigadier.
12 Is there any notation or comment in this document that
13 calls for the training of recruits in the Laws and
14 Customs of War in the Geneva Conventions? There isn't,
15 is there?
16 A. Yes, in this document, in this pile of pages
17 that I have, I see no mention of that subject.
18 Q. Now, in addition to this training manual, as
19 the head of training in the headquarters, you were also
20 familiar with the armed forces instruction manual
21 issued by the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna, the
22 HVO defence department, aren't you?
23 A. There were several handbooks. Could I please
24 see the handbook and the date? A handbook that came
25 from the main headquarters in '93 and '94, there were
1 several such handbooks, so I don't know exactly which
2 one you're referring to. If I could see it, I would be
3 able to answer your question.
4 Q. Absolutely, Brigade.
5 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is a handbook
6 dated Mostar, 1992. It is a rather extensive armed
7 forces manual. We have simply translated the index and
8 we're unable to give a translation for all of the BCS
9 going into French and English. It's just too
10 extensive, given the work going in the translation
11 section at this point.
12 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 485, 485A
13 for the translation of the index.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Now, Brigadier, you mentioned that there --
16 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have one, please?
17 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, is there not another
18 one? Here's another one. Here, you can put this on
19 the ELMO.
20 Q. Now, Brigadier, you mentioned that there were
21 several manuals that were issued by the HVO?
22 A. Yes, since the time of the establishment of
23 the HVO, which is, well, April '92 until its
24 transformation along with the BH army into the
25 federation army, there were several manuals which we
1 were supposed to use and which we did use in training
2 of our units. When you said that you had this
3 handbook, this is what I wanted to have in order to be
4 able to specifically answer your questions in that
6 Q. Now you just noted that this was a handbook
7 that was used in the training of your personnel, isn't
8 that right?
9 A. This handbook, in this volume, there are
10 contained several parts, one would be the training
11 manual of the armed forces. Let me see if there are
12 other enclosures here.
13 Mr. President, Your Honours, this is just one
14 portion of the entire handbook which was entitled, "The
15 General Rules of the Armed Forces." One would be the
16 rules, the training handbook. This would have been the
17 entire volume and this is just one portion of it.
18 Q. You would know better than I, Brigadier, how
19 many other volumes are there in addition to this
21 A. The entire handbook would be a three part
22 thing. One is the Rules of Service. One would be the
23 Training and then one would be the Rules and one would
24 be the Discipline Rules. So this portion that has been
25 enclosed here is the training manual. This would be
1 the drill, but not the tactical. In other words, this
2 would be how to address your superior, how to salute.
3 This is what was regulated in the portion of the
4 handbook that we have in front of us.
5 Q. The actual armed forces instruction manual,
6 of which this is a part, is somewhat extensive?
7 A. It is entitled, "The General Rules of Service
8 in the Armed Forces." It actually has four parts: One
9 would be the General Rules of Service; one would be the
10 Training Manual; one would be the Ritual and one would
11 be the Discipline.
12 Q. This is just simply one of four volumes is
13 all I am trying to get at. There are three other
14 volumes in addition to this?
15 A. Yes, yes, yes.
16 Q. By the way, was this training manual adopted
17 from the Republic of Croatia? Take a look at the first
18 paragraph after the index. Paragraph 1.
19 A. I cannot say whether it was taken over or
20 not. The author of this would know the best. That is
21 the author of this instruction manual. But a large
22 part of its contents has been taken over from the JNA.
23 It was linguistically adjusted to the Croatian way of
24 speaking. We have to realise that this was done during
25 the war and you did not have expert teams which would
1 have changed things around at that time.
2 Q. Read that first sentence in paragraph 1,
3 Brigadier. If we could put it on the ELMO in the BCS.
4 This paragraph here. No, right here. That's it. So
5 the folks in the translation booth can read it. Do you
6 see that okay? Can you read that, Brigadier, that
7 first sentence?
8 A. Chapter 1, General Provisions:
9 1. "This training manual regulates instructions
10 and actions of individuals and the following units:
11 squads, platoons, companies and battalions on land
12 which should be unified for the entire Croatian army.
13 The units of different branches and arms and services
14 which are not covered by this instruction manual shall
15 act according to the provisions of this instruction
16 manual with respect to the real conditions, equipment
17 and weapons available."
18 Q. Thank you. Now, Brigadier, in addition to
19 the training recruits, and in addition to this manual,
20 Blaskic issued order for specialised training even to
21 special purpose units, didn't he?
22 A. I would like to see such a document.
23 Q. Exhibit 456/2. We'll focus on paragraph 3 of
24 that document.
25 Now, Brigadier, this is a document dated the
1 26th of September, 1992, 12.00 hours from the Central
2 Bosnia Operative Zone. It was signed by Colonel
3 Blaskic, was it not?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. KEHOE: I'll repeat myself. This is a
6 document of the 26th of September, 1992, at 12.00 hours
7 from the Central Bosnia Operative Zone and it was, in
8 fact, signed by Colonel Blaskic with his seal. Is that
9 right, Brigadier?
10 A. Yes, this is General Blaskic's signature.
11 Q. Well, let's just read it briefly.
12 It's an order to form units for assault
13 operations. "Further to Order No. 012173/92, dated 21
14 September, 1992, of the general staff and in order to
15 ensure the full and timely execution of tasks and form
16 special units for combat operations, as well as,
17 intervention in areas under threat, I hereby issue the
18 following order:"
19 He gives orders to the municipal staff on the
20 structure. But look at No. 3, because that deals with
21 the subject we've been discussing on training.
22 "Initiate, immediately, drills and training for the
23 special purpose units, PPN, for assault operations and
24 train the PPN to platoon level while concentrating on
25 anti-tank groups, sniper groups, groups for destroying
1 firing points, bomb points, groups for liquidation
2 using cold steel" -- and I believe steel is spelled
3 incorrectly in the English -- "Groups for clearing
4 trenches and communication trenches" --
5 THE INTERPRETER: We're not getting the
6 translation into French. It would be best if the
7 document could be placed correctly on the ELMO.
8 MR. KEHOE: Just dealing with that No. 3.
9 I'll read it again:
10 "Initiate, immediately, drills and training
11 for the special purposes unit, PPN, for assault
12 operations. Train the PPN to platoon levels while
13 concentrating on anti-tank groups, sniper groups,
14 groups for destroying firing points, bombing groups,
15 groups for liquidation using cold steel, groups for
16 clearing trenches and communications trenches,
17 reconnaissance of enemy deployment."
18 Now that's very specific training, is it not,
19 Brigadier, being set out on the 26th of September,
20 1992, by Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. The training programme was not elaborated
22 here. This is just to point out what these people
23 should be trained in.
24 Mr. President, I would like to point out the
25 date when this document was drafted and the situation
1 which we had in Central Bosnia. This was 26 September,
2 1992. In the area of Zepce, Jajce, Novi Travnik,
3 Kiseljak, Travnik, Bugojno municipalities, there were
4 very strong attacks being carried out by the Bosnian
5 Serb army. As I said, we did not have organised forces
6 at that time and we had a need. We had people at the
7 line of defence and we did not have solutions as to
8 what to do if those lines would fall, how we would
9 prevent a further advance of the Bosnian Serb army.
10 These are the reasons why the commander who
11 was in charge of the defence of a particular line had
12 an idea and this is as early as 1992, how to most
13 efficiently counter that pressure. This is why he
14 issued such an order. I know that because of the
15 situation and conditions on the ground which were
16 similar to what I have said with respect to
17 organisation and training, was not implemented. So the
18 forces which have been ordered here, we never had in
19 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
20 Q. Well, Brigadier, suffice to say, based on
21 what we've seen this afternoon, you'll agree with me
22 that on the 20th of September, Colonel Blaskic issued
23 orders on training of new recruits that we saw in
24 Exhibit 456/79 and on the 26th of September, he issued
25 an order to train special purpose units and I might add
1 that in Point 2, he required experienced and discipline
2 soldiers. We discussed Exhibit 456/107, 19th November,
3 1992, the rather extensive training schedule in
4 barracks of recruits.
5 Now would you agree with me that that is a
6 somewhat extensive training schedule and you were the
7 chief training?
8 A. I can agree with you on only the following:
9 That these documents were drafted and signed by the
10 commander of the Operative Zone at the time which is
11 indicated. I cannot agree with you about the practice
12 of implementing them.
13 You saw how many orders General Blaskic
14 issued with respect to training. Within a month or so
15 we have as many as three; but we could not implement
16 them on the ground, due to the circumstances which I
18 Also, as far as the kind of work that we were
19 able to carry out, these were only with the soldiers
20 which we had with the BH army in Travnik and in the
21 barracks in Kiseljak.
22 Q. Well, Brigadier, after November the 1st, or
23 the 1st of November, 1992, when you took over the
24 operations and training section, did you begin to train
25 HVO soldiers?
1 A. Under conditions which I inherited when I
2 started, the situation changed. Jajce had fallen, and
3 we fought alongside the BH army troops in order to
4 prevent the breakthrough of the Bosnian Serb army in
5 the Travnik municipality. We had a similar situation
6 in the Zepce municipality.
7 When I arrived in the Operative Zone command,
8 the war was spreading and the conditions which were
9 prevailing in July and August, and even April, were
10 completely obsolete and we did not take any, we did not
11 consider them anymore, because the situation had
12 changed. I'm talking about the situation on the
13 ground, and the document speaks about what the
14 commander wanted to do and what his intention was with
15 respect to the organisation of the units.
16 Q. Maybe you didn't understand my question,
17 Brigadier. When you took over on 1 November, 1993, did
18 you supervise or were you involved in training of HVO
19 soldiers? You?
20 A. When I took over as department head, I was
21 mostly involved in the lines of defence and the
22 situation there. I did not have the time or
23 opportunity to conduct or implement training
25 Q. Just to clarify, you took over in 1 November,
1 1992, I think, I misspoke and said 1993.
2 Let me show you a document, Brigadier.
3 THE REGISTRAR: This is 486, 486A for the
4 English version.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Now, take a look at this document, Brigadier.
7 Is that your signature on this document? Is it?
8 A. This is not my signature. This was signed by
9 someone else on my behalf.
10 Q. It was signed on your behalf. Who signed it
11 on your behalf?
12 A. If you will allow me, let me just review the
13 contents and I may be able to draw a conclusion.
14 This was signed by the operations duty
15 officer, so, it could have been my assistant. I don't
16 know who it was on the 23rd of November, 1992.
17 However, if you want an answer as to whether
18 there was training on the artillery crews, yes, the
19 crews trained on the firing positions and this training
20 was conducted by the artillery chief.
21 Q. Let's read this, Brigadier. 23rd of November
22 1992, it goes to the assistant for logistics, Central
23 Bosnia Operative Zone, I believe it's a gentleman you
24 discussed previously, Franjo Sliskovic. Subject is
25 securing devices for Zis gun, Z-I-S.
1 "It is necessary to urgently secure sighting
2 devices for a Zis gun, as well as binoculars. Check
3 with Novi Travnik logistics if Bratstvo has them," in
4 handwriting, "sighting devices from another is also
5 possible. The above-mentioned sighting devices are
6 needed for the training of newly formed crews."
7 So, crews were, in fact, being trained during
8 this period of time; isn't that right, Brigadier?
9 A. Mr. President, regarding this specific Zis
10 gun, we only had two Zis guns in the entire Lasva
12 Q. Brigadier, you were doing training, weren't
14 A. Yes, I did work on training. These two Zis
15 guns were a part of the artillery battery, and the
16 training for these artillery pieces and command were
17 all -- the commander of the artillery was in charge of
18 this training.
19 Q. Brigadier, when you told us several minutes
20 ago that you were not involved in training during this
21 time period, what you told this Court was not accurate;
22 was it?
23 A. No, I do not agree with what you said. I
24 said that the focus of my work, when I arrived at the
25 Operative Zone command, was the lines of defence
1 because those were the needs of the situation. In this
2 time period, I mostly worked on that, obviously with
3 all other work at the Operative Zone command.
4 There was no major training, such as would
5 have been needed had we had conditions. That I did not
6 do, no.
7 Q. Brigadier, did the training in the Central
8 Bosnian Operative Zone continue even until the outbreak
9 of hostilities with the Bosnian Muslims?
10 A. The basic training which was conducted in the
11 units in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone was the
12 handling of small arms. If you were in infantry, you
13 had to learn how to use the infantry weapons. If you
14 had to be trained to use an artillery piece, then other
15 members of the crew would train this new soldier while
16 they were in a firing position.
17 Other portions of the training, such as was
18 defined here in this instruction manual, according to
19 the plans that existed, we did not carry out such
20 training, with respect to all the hours and all the
21 elements and everything else which is spelled out in
22 this programme.
23 Q. Brigadier, after the conflict between the
24 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO in early January
25 -- excuse me, late January and early February of 1992,
1 there was a cease-fire that was signed on the 13th of
2 February, 1993. I think there was a series of
3 documents presented by the Defence on that subject; is
4 that right?
5 A. Excuse me, you're asking me about the date of
6 the signing of a cease-fire?
7 Q. I think we will agree those documents were in
8 fact signed on the 13th of February of 1993 between
9 Enver Hadzihasanovic and Colonel Blaskic.
10 After the conflict between the army of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO was completed in
12 February, did Blaskic order additional training for HVO
14 A. He did not order additional training, but in
15 1993 the only organised training which we conducted was
16 with a group of new recruits in the Nova Bila
17 elementary school. These would be the new recruits,
18 and this is under conditions which we had and with
19 equipment which we had. This training mostly consisted
20 in handling small arms.
21 Q. Let's take a look at Exhibit 456/15.
22 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Kehoe, in the transcript
23 apparently you said "after the conflict between the
24 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO was completed in
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
2 JUDGE RIAD: What is meant by "a conflict
3 being completed"?
4 MR. KEHOE: Judge Riad, documents that were
5 submitted both by the Defence, through Brigadier Marin,
6 and also with Colonel Remi Landry, who was then with
7 ECMM, Canadian armed forces, the conflict in the
8 Busovaca area between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 and the HVO took place late January early February. A
10 series of documents ordering a cease-fire and various
11 measures to be taken was signed on the 13th of
12 February, 1993, by the accused, as well as General
14 JUDGE RIAD: What is the meaning of
16 MR. KEHOE: It may be inaccurate, Judge.
17 JUDGE RIAD: I wanted to know when the
18 conflict is completed.
19 MR. KEHOE: Maybe it was just a slow boil.
20 In any event, those documents are signed on the 13th.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Brigadier, take a look at this document, it
24 is a two-page document dated the 13th of February,
25 1993, same day these agreements are signed. I believe
1 this is, again, a packet communication system; is it
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Take a look at the lower left-hand corner;
5 who wrote this document? Whose initials are down in
6 the lower left-hand corner? SM?
7 A. SM, those are my initials.
8 Q. Those are yours, okay. You were the drafter
9 of this document; is that correct?
10 A. On the basis of an assignment given to me by
11 the commander of the Operative Zone, I drafted this
13 Q. Naturally, I wouldn't infer anything else,
14 Brigadier. I just want to read you some subjects in
15 this document, and it goes to a variety of units, and
16 it says:
17 "Organisational order for further action.
18 Due to the very extreme activities by the enemy, and
19 shortcomings in the command and the control of the HVO
20 units, and in order to raise the level of combat
21 readiness, I hereby," let's turn our attention to
22 number 4 in a list of 12 paragraphs: It says, "Carry
23 out additional training and live firing practice for
24 sniper groups from all units of the Central Bosnian
25 Operative Zone.
1 Person responsible for the task, assistant
2 for ONP in the unit. Monitoring and supervision will
3 be carried out by the ONP assistant, Central Bosnian
4 Operative Zone, deadline 20 February, 1993."
5 Now, Brigadier, I asked you several minutes
6 ago whether or not Blaskic ordered additional training
7 after the conflict was over in mid-February, between
8 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, and you
9 said no. Do you want to change that answer?
10 A. Mr. President, I should like to give my
11 answer to this document and to clarify something. The
12 document was drafted on the 13th of February, 1993.
13 True, at the time, there was a cessation of hostilities
14 between the HVO and the BH army.
15 When I made my presentation and answered
16 questions by Mr. Nobilo, I kept underlining the fact
17 that we, or that is the HVO, from April 1992, had a
18 defence line facing the army of Republika Srpska,
19 constantly, until June 1993 when units of the BH army,
20 in the area of Travnik and Novi Travnik, attacked HVO
21 units from behind units that were facing the Bosnian
23 After the cease-fire was signed, which is
24 linked to the conflict in Busovaca, the activities of
25 the Republika Srpska armies along the defence lines
1 held by the HVO were intensified, and according to our
2 estimates there was a danger of the Bosnian Serb army
3 taking advantage of the conflicts and misunderstandings
4 between the BH army and the HVO to attack our defence
6 This order went to all HVO units which held
7 defence lines towards the Bosnian Serbs. So, this
8 order was linked exclusively to the organisation of a
9 quality defence against the Bosnian Serbs. That is the
10 only answer I can give.
11 Q. Brigadier, did Blaskic, or did he not, order
12 additional sniper training in this order on the 13th of
13 February, that you drafted?
14 JUDGE JORDA: The question was already asked,
15 Mr. Kehoe.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. My next question; did the additional sniper
18 training take place pursuant to Blaskic's order on the
19 13th of February?
20 A. Regarding the training of snipers, I know
21 that instructors for sniper fire did not exist in the
22 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, so that we couldn't
23 implement sniper training in the full sense of the
25 As an officer specialising in training, you
1 need special instructors to provide quality training
2 and special devices and conditions in order to train
3 people for the use of such devices.
4 Q. Well, do you know a man by the name of Vlado
5 Ilic, also known as Golden Eye, and was he a trained
6 sniper who was in the Vitez area under Blaskic's
7 command, and was he awarded, or given an award by
8 President Boban for killing 72 people? Are you
9 familiar with this man?
10 A. I do not know Mr. Vlado Ilic. You said that
11 he was from Vitez; didn't you?
12 Q. He was a sniper in the Viteska Brigade.
13 A. I cannot confirm that.
14 Q. Do you know a man who had the nickname of
15 Golden Eye, in the Vitez area, who was a sniper for the
17 A. I do not know any such man.
18 Q. Do you know any instance when a sniper for
19 the HVO, in the Vitez area, was given an award by Mate
20 Boban for killing 72 people?
21 A. I'm not aware of any such award, nor of any
22 such person. Could you perhaps tell me when this award
23 was given because after the Washington Accords, I was
24 transferred to the command in Tomislavgrad, and I spent
25 two years there.
1 Q. It could very well be, Brigadier, that that
2 award was given after the Washington Accords.
3 On the sniper fire, did the HVO have snipers?
4 A. The HVO did not have organised snipers. I
5 should like to try and explain what snipers are in the
6 war that was waged in Bosnia-Herzegovina, both on the
7 side of the BH army units and the HVO.
8 The HVO, as far as I know, the soldiers on
9 the front-lines used, as snipers, hunting carbines with
10 optical sights, and they also used improvised M48
11 rifles with sights. This is an improvisation. I do
12 not know, at least, I'm not familiar with whether
13 anyone had an original real military sniper rifle.
14 These kind of snipers that I have referred to
15 were used on the defence lines.
16 Q. May I see the series of exhibits beginning in
17 80, and I believe in Exhibit 80 we have a weapon in
18 that regard. Can I see that? Prosecutor's Exhibit 80.
19 I take that back, Mr. Dubuisson, it's
20 Exhibit 82.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, 82/10 and 82/9.
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, can I just see those? Would
23 you show these two photographs to the Brigadier and put
24 them on the ELMO?
25 For the record, Mr. Usher, what is the record
1 of the photograph we have on the ELMO.
2 THE USHER: 82/10.
3 MR. KEHOE: If we could put 82/10 on the ELMO
4 first and move the photograph up just a bit to put the
5 rifle --
6 Q. Do you see that rifle, Brigadier?
7 A. Yes, I see that rifle.
8 Q. What type of rifle is that?
9 A. It is a sniper rifle, 12.7 millimetres, which
10 is used to neutralise enemy fortifications, because of
11 its calibre size at larger distances. I can't tell you
12 what the range is exactly, but I think it is greater
13 than that of regular sniper rifles.
14 Talking about snipers, I have just recalled a
15 statement made by General Blaskic to UNPROFOR. I was
16 reminded by these photographs, in which HVO soldiers
17 are simply showing off what kind of weapons they have.
18 They know that an UNPROFOR officer came to
19 see General Blaskic and reproach him about this, and he
20 literally said, "Any soldier that you see carrying a
21 sniper rifle in the street, feel free to seize it from
22 him." I remember that very well, because this was
23 recounted in our command.
24 Q. Brigadier, we will just put the other
25 photograph on the ELMO so we have an idea what we're
1 talking about, and the number on that photograph?
2 THE USHER: 82/9.
3 Q. Brigadier, that is the same photograph of the
4 sniper rifle; is that right?
5 A. Yes, it is the same rifle.
6 Q. Now, before we move away from --
7 JUDGE RIAD: I just want to know who would
8 feel free to seize him? It says if you find somebody
9 carrying a sniper, feel free to seize him. The
10 UNPROFOR officer would seize the sniper?
11 A. General Blaskic, in response to complaints by
12 UNPROFOR, that along the roads being used by UNPROFOR
13 and HVO members, that they had seen HVO members showing
14 off with these weapons, because this is a weapon with
15 strong fire power. General Blaskic prohibited it. I
16 think there is an order to that effect and to prove to
17 UNPROFOR that he doesn't support the use of such
18 weapons, he said, "Seize those weapons from them and
19 tell me who had them." It was in that context that
20 this statement was recounted.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, but was it within the
22 authority of UNPROFOR to seize arms of HVO? Did they
23 have this authority?
24 A. I'm not familiar with the details regarding
25 the mission and authority of UNPROFOR in Central
1 Bosnia, whether they had the authority to seize such
2 weapons and under which conditions. Maybe if they
3 were, personally, in jeopardy, but I can't say that
4 with any precision.
5 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Just finishing up on this particular document
8 that you wrote, Brigadier, on the 13th of February,
9 there were, in fact, sniper groups in all of the units
10 within the Central Bosnian Operative Zone; isn't that
12 A. I cannot confirm that. Organised sniper
13 groups did not exist, because there was no one to train
14 them, to act as organised sniper groups. I know a
15 little from literature about sniper training, the
16 training in pairs, in combination and so on. If in a
17 unit you had two men with sniper rifles that I have
18 mentioned, the improvised kind that I described, then
19 this cannot be described as a sniper group.
20 A sniper group must be a well-trained group
21 who are familiar with the tactics, the technical
22 characteristics, the use of such weapons in all weather
24 Q. Well, the fact is, of course, Brigadier, that
25 General Blaskic himself said to carry out additional
1 training for sniper groups from all units in the
2 Central Bosnian Operative Zone.
3 Now, the training of these recruits and the
4 training of personnel continued throughout the war in
5 Central Bosnia; didn't it, up until the Washington
7 A. Talking about the training of recruits, I
8 know that in the Lasva Valley, we trained recruits. I
9 think it was the end of August '93 or September '93 in
10 the facility, that is the school at Bila, which we used
11 as a barracks. Because we were surrounded and isolated
12 from Kiseljak and Zepce, I do not know whether they
13 engaged in any training under the conditions in which
14 they were living. We carried out this training because
15 in the war of '93, we had very high casualties. We
16 were lacking men on the front-lines and we had to train
17 young men over 18 as quickly as possible. I can't tell
18 you how many of them there were to assist and reinforce
19 the front-lines.
20 Let me give you an example of the shortage of
21 men. When I went to the Viteska Brigade in December
22 1993, after an attack by BiH army units in Busancavo
23 Selo (phoen), when we had 70 dead in one night, we were
24 lacking men. As a member of that command, I had to
25 spend three hours, during the night, in the trenches
1 and then go on with my regular duties the next day
2 because we were lacking men.
3 Therefore, even though we didn't have the
4 necessary conditions for quality training of recruits,
5 we decided, at least, to train these young men how to
6 hold a rifle, how to use it, so that they could be used
7 on less dangerous positions that were less exposed to
8 attacks by BH army forces, so that they would be able
9 to participate in the defence. Those were the
10 conditions under which, in the Lasva Valley in '93, we
11 trained recruits.
12 Q. Excuse me one moment, Mr. President. If I
13 could show you and put on the ELMO, Prosecutor's
14 Exhibit 433/8. By way of refreshing the Court, Mr.
15 President, Your Honours, this was a photograph that was
16 taken by then, Captain Lee Whitworth of the Prince of
17 Wales Regiment of Yorkshire, and I believe late summer,
18 early fall of 1993, but it was certainly during the
19 Prince of Wales own tour. That's it.
20 Brigadier, this is a photograph taken by a
21 British battalion officer in late summer, early fall of
22 1993 of what he testified are HVO recruits training in
23 the streets in and around Vitez. Is this photograph
24 accurate to portray the type of training these recruits
25 were doing in and around the streets of Vitez?
1 A. Recruits were not trained in Vitez, they were
2 trained in Nova Bila. But this is quite close. The
3 distance is not great between Nova Bila and Vitez. I
4 cannot recognise whether these are recruits. But from
5 what can be seen on this photograph, we see that the
6 recruits are being trained too much in a military
7 fashion. We had this kind of training in the exercise
8 manual of the armed forces and this is not the training
9 for combat. The fundamental focus of training was to
10 teach recruits to use infantry weapons.
11 Q. The fundamental training for recruits is the
12 use of infantry weapons, working together, drilling
13 together and marching together and that's what's going
14 on in this photograph, isn't it?
15 A. In peacetime conditions, the fundamental
16 training of recruits in an organised army is far more
17 complex. I said under what conditions we were training
18 recruits in Nova Bila. The conditions were such that
19 in September, the HVO in Vitez had more than 400 dead
20 in Travnik, more than 300 in Busovaca, about 250 and so
21 on. So the conditions were such that we didn't have
22 the manpower to hold defence lines and we were lacking
23 men. That is why out of necessity we opted to take
24 this step. This training was incomplete and these
25 young men were certainly not trained for adequate use
1 in combat operations. May I draw your attention to
2 this relief, this model?
3 Mr. President, you see the green flags on
4 this model. You see that we were surrounded and it was
5 under such conditions of siege that we were carrying
6 out this training. When any person who is capable of
7 carrying a weapon had to be used for defence.
8 Q. If we could just move that back from the
10 Before we leave this area, though, Brigadier,
11 the bottom line is you were doing training, isn't that
13 A. It cannot be said that there was no
14 training. It was reduced to a minimum and exclusively
15 to meet fundamental, elementary needs for the soldier
16 to be able to correctly behave while holding defence
17 lines. A proper organisation of training, such as you
18 would have under peacetime, did not exist.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: He has not asked you
20 this question. He has asked you whether the bottom
21 line is that you were doing training. Now, that is not
22 answered by a statement to the effect that such
23 training as was being done was minimal. Could you
24 please answer the Prosecutor's question.
25 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, Your Honours, we
1 carried out the minimal and most essential training.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I am about to go
3 into a somewhat lengthy area. I am glad to begin.
4 I am glad to go on. I would just like to know for the
5 Court's purposes, if the Court would like me to do
7 JUDGE JORDA: We could stop now, although we
8 have a few minutes left. What subject did you want to
9 take up?
10 MR. KEHOE: We're going to discuss the
11 testimony that was -- or the subject raised by
12 Judge Riad, specifically, on the power to appoint and
13 dismiss commanders and I believe several days ago,
14 Judge Riad asked a specific question in that regard.
15 We have somewhat lengthy questions on that subject.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, did you want to say
17 something? What did you want to speak about?
18 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, just to say, Mr. President,
19 it would be helpful if we could have some idea of when
20 to have the next witness on hand. Right now we have no
21 idea if a witness may be needed on Friday, Monday,
22 Tuesday, Wednesday of next week. If there could be
23 some information in that regard, it would help us use
24 the Court time efficiently.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Good question, but I think it
1 depends. First of all, it depends on the Prosecutor
2 when he finishes, then it depends on you because you
3 have a re-examination; right? Then there are the
4 questions that the Judges want to ask. So I really
5 can't answer you. Perhaps the Prosecutor, who, for the
6 time being, is holding the key to his own
7 cross-examination could tell us when he will finish, or
8 is it difficult to say? The time has to remain a bit
9 fluid. Mr. Kehoe?
10 MR. KEHOE: I think at this point, Mr.
11 President, it has to remain somewhat fluid. I want to
12 move through this as expeditiously, but these are very
13 significant areas that were brought out by the defence
14 in numerous documents that need to be addressed. I do
15 not want to prolong this any more than I have to, but
16 the trial team has tried to cut this down as much as
17 possible and I will move as quickly as possible. I
18 simply, at this point, can't give a specific time. I
19 would venture to say that given the questions that
20 remain for the Brigadier and that remain for re-direct
21 examination and for the questions by the Judges, I
22 don't think we will have another witness this week.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to speak with my
24 colleagues because the Judges have, in my opinion, the
25 responsibility to set limits, both for the
1 examination-in-chief and for the cross-examination and
2 not allow for time to remain just completely vague.
3 This refers to the Defence in this case, but I would
4 like to consult with my colleagues about this.
5 The Judges are very concerned about the time
6 being taken for this testimony, but at the same time
7 they are aware of the importance of the testimony.
8 They have decided that the Prosecution should not take
9 more time than was taken by the Defence for the
10 presentation of its evidence. That would be the
11 limit. As I said, the Prosecution should not exceed
12 the total time that the Defence used for the
13 examination-in-chief, for the cross-examination.
14 Secondly, that's the maximum amount of time.
15 The Judges recommend that the Prosecutor try as best he
16 can to remain on, short of the line. That is, to try
17 to finish before that deadline. How many half days
18 were used by the Defence? I turn to the Registrar, he
19 can tell us.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Calendar days, it was six and
21 a half days and hearing days from five -- there were
22 four and a half.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, the Judges are
24 requesting that the cross-examination not exceed -- how
25 did you say?
1 THE REGISTRAR: Four and a half days of
2 hearing time. That is 320 minutes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: 320 minutes. As much as
4 possible, Mr. Prosecutor, the Judges would like for you
5 to finish sooner. This is a recommendation that they
6 are making. Then, we will ask the Defence, in view of
7 what the substance of this cross-examination will have
8 been, to set the amount of time that it plans to take.
9 Last point, if for exceptional reasons, you
10 were to exceed the amount of time given to you, the
11 time, of course, would not be counted as the general
12 Defence time. That's what we can say insofar as
13 setting the day for the probable return of the witness
14 to his home. Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Mr. President. I
16 understand the parameters.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you heard that?
18 MR. HAYMAN: I did, Mr. President. If there
19 is some way to fashion some incentive for, quite
20 frankly, either party not to exceed time spent by the
21 participant that conducted the direct examination, in
22 other words, if perhaps time spent over that time
23 period came out of the amount of time allotted to the
24 rebuttal case, some incentive, because otherwise I am a
25 little concerned there is no incentive to end.
1 Although it wouldn't be counted against the Defence,
2 the Prosecutor might choose to go on for eight days,
3 because it's not coming out of his time. I just
4 mention that as something, food for thought, as we say
5 in my language. Thank you.
6 JUDGE JORDA: We are all aware of the fact
7 that there is a problem, but for the time being we
8 cannot settle it in any other way from the way that we
9 did. Of course, I call to the Prosecutor's attention
10 for the time being, he is using Defence time.
11 Therefore, we're recommending, and I am doing it, as
12 well as I am asking you as much as you can, to simplify
13 your questions. This is an important witness and I
14 think for the time being we cannot say anything
15 further. We will resume the hearing tomorrow morning
16 at 10.00.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 5.28 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
19 the 8th day of October, 1998, at
20 10.00 a.m.