1 Thursday, 15th October 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Have the accused brought in,
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let's have the witness brought
8 in, please, Brigadier Marin. Good morning to everyone,
9 good morning to the interpreters, to the Prosecution,
10 to the Defence, and we can now, we will resume our work
11 as soon as the Brigadier has come into the courtroom.
12 (The witness entered court)
13 WITNESS: SLAVKO MARIN
14 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning, Brigadier.
15 A. Good morning, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I hope that you've rested up a
17 bit, that you're ready to continue.
18 A. I am ready and I have rested as much as one
19 can rest during the course of one night.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right, the day
21 is going to be long, and we hope that the Prosecutor
22 will finish his cross-examination today. Isn't that
23 what we hope, Mr. Kehoe? You're going to concentrate
24 all of your efforts on that, I know you've spent the
25 night thinking about how you're going to ask the most
1 compact and direct questions.
2 MR. KEHOE: I have sleepless nights thinking
3 about that, Judge. I will direct my attention to
4 finishing as promptly as possible, judge.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Judge Shahabuddeen
6 and I would like to thank you in advance, go ahead.
7 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Brigadier, good
8 morning, Your Honours, counsel.
9 Q. Brigadier, let me turn your attention back
10 to --
11 A. Good morning.
12 Q. Brigadier, let me turn your attention back
13 momentarily to Exhibit 321, the map you talked about
14 yesterday, wherein we discussed the shelling in the
15 Vitez area. I want to ask you, sir, when the shelling
16 was taking place in the Vitez area, were the prisoners
17 that you discussed the day before yesterday, were those
18 Bosnian Muslim prisoners still located in the cinema
19 building and the basement of the cinema building some
20 100 metres behind the Hotel Vitez?
21 A. As far as I know, the prisoners were in the
22 cinema building at that time.
23 Q. Do you know of any orders to attempt to move
24 them so they were not present when the shelling took
1 A. I know that on that day a certain number of
2 civilians was returned to the village of Gacice, to the
3 best of my recollection, women and children. I'm not
4 aware of any orders being issued in relation to that,
5 but since I know the town of Vitez, there is not a
6 single building where people would be safer in case of
7 shelling than that particular building.
8 Q. Brigadier, let's talk about these women and
9 children that were taken back to Gacice. Were they in
10 downtown Vitez before they were taken back to Gacice?
11 A. The village of Gacice is right next to the
12 town of Vitez, and as far as I know, these civilians
13 were in town, and I cannot say what the exact location
14 was, I cannot say it at this point. However, the town
15 of Vitez is not a very big town, so it could have been
16 between the post office, the municipality building, the
17 sin man building, et cetera.
18 Q. Did you see these people from Gacice when
19 they were in town?
20 A. I did not see these people, because I said
21 under what conditions I had been working. What I said
22 just now is what I found out later.
23 Q. Who did you find this out from?
24 A. As far as I remember, that is in the report
25 of the Vitez Brigade, too, for the day of 19th. I
1 think that that report is attached -- rather it was
2 tendered into evidence by the Defence.
3 Q. We will get back to that, sir. But before we
4 move on to that Mr. President, I would just like to
5 bring the Court's attention to an ECMM document,
6 unfortunately it's just in English. I might hand it
7 out and explain some of the printing in this regard,
8 because there was some double printing when ECMM
9 printed it out.
10 And Mr. President, in an effort to be
11 expeditious we will read only two paragraphs of this
12 document which will be the focus of our questions.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. That's how we have
14 to work.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This is document 529.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. This is an ECMM report of 19 April 1993. I
18 will read paragraph one, "The general situation still
19 very tense in and around Vitez. The car bomb which
20 exploded near the mosque in Vitez at, on 18 April, has
21 caused great damage. Fighting with SAS, small arms and
22 fighting with mortars and artillery still going on."
23 We move down four paragraphs and the
24 numerical sequence seems to be off and we go to 6,
25 "Humanitarian. The team visited 62 male Muslim
1 prisoners held in a prison under HVO brigade
2 headquarters in Vitez. The prisoners were treated well
3 although they were in a small space for such a large
4 group. Their location formally is a violation of the
5 Geneva Convention."
6 Now, Mr. President, by way of explanation,
7 the paragraphs that are crossed out are a duplication,
8 and at the risk of going through this again, you can
9 see this is a duplication of what is written above,
10 sir. That is why it's crossed out.
11 We will move down to the next page, talking
12 about the tasks of 20 April. "The team as yesterday
13 visited the HVO Brigade commander in Vitez and made
14 complaints about being fired upon from confirmed HVO
15 positions, the lifting of blockades and cease-fire on
16 behalf of the team were arranged and seemed to be
17 effective. The investigation of the car bomb yesterday
18 was discussed."
19 Now, the HVO Brigade commander on the 19th
20 and 20th of April 1993 was Mario Cerkez; isn't that
22 A. The commander of the Vitez Brigade was Mario
23 Cerkez, if that is what was meant by this, then I can
24 confirm it. However, HVO commander is too general a
25 term. The commander of the Vitez Brigade was Mario
1 Cerkez, so if this visit pertained to the visit to the
2 Vitez Brigade, then I can confirm it, because at that
3 time Mario was commander of the Vitez Brigade.
4 MR. KEHOE: Okay, sir, let us move on to the
5 20th of April and we will discuss the reports that you
6 just mentioned concerning Gacice which were introduced
7 during the Defence case. I am talking about the
8 Defence Exhibit 330 and Defence Exhibit 331. So, we're
9 moving ahead Brigadier and now we're going to talk
10 about the 20th of April.
11 Mr. Usher, and Mr. Dubuisson, if we could
12 give the witness Defence Exhibit 330 and 331.
13 Q. I believe those are the two reports that were
14 submitted by the Defence concerning the fighting at
15 Gacice, Brigadier. They relate to fighting on the 20th
16 of April. Take a look at those. You can see from
17 Exhibit 330 that at some time in the morning, it would
18 appear, fighting is going on in Gacice, but by 1800
19 hours Gacice is secured; where 47 men were taken
20 prisoner and women and children were sent home. Do you
21 see that, sir? Just look at those two reports in
22 conjunction and we will move through them quickly.
23 A. This statement that these men and women and
24 children were taken prisoner in Gacice, that I
25 confirmed during my testimony during the Defence case
1 because I had heard about it. And your question
2 relates to document 330, but could you please repeat
3 that question?
4 Q. I'm just trying to place in context your
5 statement that at Gacice there was fighting going on
6 and Gacice and women and children were brought to
7 downtown Vitez, and would you agree with me that based
8 on these two documents, 330 and 331, those women and
9 children from Gacice were brought to downtown Vitez on
10 the 20th of April?
11 A. Whether they were, well, that's what it says
12 in this report.
13 Q. Okay, sir. Now, let's stay with 331. The
14 first line of 331 says "Heavy attacks on HVO units by
15 Muslim forces continue throughout the afternoon." Do
16 you see that first line on Exhibit 331, the report of
17 20 April, 1993, at 1800 hours?
18 A. Yes, it says here that the enemy, the BH
19 army, then, attempted, on several occasions, infantry
20 breakthroughs on lines in the Krcevine and Krizancevo
21 Selo regions. At the moment fierce battles are being
22 waged in the village of Bukve, Slatina, Ljubica,
23 Stojkovici, Krizancevo Selo, Dubravica. Could you
24 please just move? Yes, so, it's all of these places
25 here towards Zenica. And the village of Gacice is
1 south of the town of Vitez.
2 Q. Brigadier, you can step up with the pointer
3 and just point to the villages, that will be helpful, I
4 think, for the Court.
5 A. All right, Mr. President, Your Honours, from
6 the operations report of the Vitez Brigade that we
7 received on the 20th of April at 1800 hours, the units
8 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were attacking the
9 following places. Krizancevo Selo -- just a minute,
10 let me orient myself. It's over here, Krcevine,
11 Krcevine over here, then further on, Bukve, Ljubica
12 Grobic, Poculica. Ljubija Grobic is here, Stojkovici
13 is here, and again, from Slatina to Krcevine, on the
14 whole, the attack of the BH army units was taking place
15 in this region, the village of Gacice is here.
16 Q. Okay, Brigadier, thank you.
17 A. This is the town of Vitez.
18 Q. So, Brigadier, on the 20th there is pretty
19 heavy fighting on that front-line area.
20 A. According to this report we can see that
21 there was fighting, and that it was heavy fighting at
22 that, and the commander of the Vitez Brigade is saying
23 that there are four killed and four wounded soldiers in
24 this fighting.
25 Q. And sir, the ECMM reflects, this is
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 187, that a T 34 tank was in a
2 position on the mountain road between Zenica and Vitez
3 shelling HVO headquarters and the PTT building in
4 Vitez. Was that shelling taking place and was it done
5 in conjunction with this heavy attacks on HVO units
6 that you just talked about?
7 A. I cannot say whether the tank was shelling on
8 the 20th, but I know that the post office was hit by a
9 tank. But tank fire is also considered to be shelling,
10 but I just don't know whether it was on the 20th,
12 Q. Well, with this heavy attacks by HVO units on
13 the 20th, along the line that you just explained, were
14 the Muslims also shelling the town of Vitez?
15 A. On the 20th -- on the 20th, according to the
16 reports that we have here, intensive -- there was no
17 intensive shelling of Vitez on that day. If on the
18 20th a tank shell hit the post office, one or two, I
19 never showed that to be intensive shelling.
20 Q. Okay, sir. But at some point you do recall
21 that the post office was in fact shelled, whether it's
22 on the 20th or some other day, at some point the post
23 office was shelled?
24 A. I know that the post office was hit by a tank
25 shell. That I do know. And I think that the effects
1 of this projectile haven't been removed until the
2 present day.
3 Q. Let me show you Prosecution Exhibit 158. It
4 should be a document that looks like this, Mr. Usher.
5 Brigadier, let me orient you and help you out
6 with this exhibit just a bit. This is an exhibit that
7 has been received in evidence, and if I may, and this
8 is based on the testimony and the photograph, point A
9 on this photograph is the Hotel Vitez, and this is an
10 overhead photograph. Point B is the building that we
11 discussed previously which is the Viteska Brigade
12 headquarters and the adjacent cinema building we can
13 see that we talked about before. And point C would be
14 the PTT building. I know you may not have seen this
15 before, Brigadier, I'm just trying to orient you for a
16 moment, and just take a second to take a look at this.
17 A. I have oriented myself.
18 Q. Okay, sir. Now, the point number one in the
19 circle, do you see that? There is a one over to the --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, the women and children from Gacice on
22 the 20th, did you see them taken to the location in the
23 circle? And I'm talking about 247 women and children.
24 A. I have already said that women and children
25 and prisoners from Gacice, that I did not see all of
1 them, any of them. But I know that in the report we
2 received from the Vitez Brigade I received information
3 that these people were in town, that the women and
4 children were returned to their homes, and that it is
5 already the 20th of April, and there was a meeting held
6 in Zenica, and certain activities were already taken by
7 the commissions that are supposed to carry out this
8 exchange of prisoners held by the Bosniak Muslim army
9 and the prisoners held by the HVO, because already on
10 the 20th we had a meeting in Zenica.
11 Q. Now, sir, you said that the, you received a
12 report, or the headquarters received a report that the
13 civilians were in town. That fact does not, is not
14 reflected in either of the reports that the Defence,
15 that you talked about during your direct examination,
16 Exhibit 330 and Exhibit 331. Is there another report
17 from the Vitez Brigade that reflects that these women
18 and children were, from Gacice, were in town?
19 A. I cannot recall now having received such a
20 report, but if we look at the report that I talked
21 about, and that arrived at 1800 hours, that report, I
22 mean, that report put together all the activities for
23 that day, that is to say presented all the activities
24 for that day. At 1800 hours, to the best of my
25 recollection, the commander, General Blaskic, had
1 already went to the joint meeting with the
2 representatives of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 at a top military level where General Halilovic was and
4 General Petkovic, in relation to the cease-fire, that
5 is. The report reflects all the activities in the zone
6 of responsibility and all the events related to the
7 Vitez Brigade for that day, that is why the exact hour
8 has been specified, that is to say 1800 hours.
9 Q. My question for you, Brigadier, is that the
10 fact that women and children were brought to Gacice is
11 not reflected in Defence Exhibit 331, the report of 20
12 April 1993, at 1800 hours, excuse me, brought from
13 Gacice into Vitez. The fact that women and children
14 were brought from Gacice to Vitez is not reflected in
15 this report. I ask to you take a look at this report
16 once again.
17 A. From Gacice.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Your question is the fact that
19 the women and children were taken from Gacice to Vitez;
20 is that correct?
21 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
23 A. Mr. President, in the report it is stated
24 quite clearly that we received the report in terms of
25 the situation in the zone of responsibility of the
1 Vitez Brigade at 1800 hours and it says that 40 men
2 were taken prisoner and that the women and children
3 were taken home. I do not know the exact time when
4 they were taken home and I don't know the exact time
5 when they were brought in.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. I understand, Brigadier, and all I'm asking
8 you is, is there another report from the Viteska
9 Brigade that you received in the headquarters telling
10 you that these women and children had been taken from
11 Gacice to Vitez?
12 A. Now I cannot remember that kind of report.
13 If I were to see it and to see its contents, when I see
14 the document, I mean, I remember the contents,
15 especially if these are contents of such a nature.
16 Taking a target, heavy fighting, then my memory is
17 jogged and then I can discuss such matters. But if I
18 were to claim now that there was some kind of report or
19 there was not some kind of a report, it would not be
20 objective on my part. But to the best of my
21 recollection, there was not. Because this report is
22 not an extraordinary report, it is the regular report
23 that we have been receiving in terms of the regular
24 reporting during fighting and combat action.
25 Q. Well, Brigadier, from Exhibit 331, the report
1 that is before you, you can conclude two things, or at
2 least one thing, that throughout the afternoon, heavy
3 fighting is taking place with Muslim forces, and you
4 told us that prior to 1800 hours, women and children
5 from Gacice were in Vitez; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that is what it does say here in the
7 report. Heavy fighting, heavy fighting in the places
8 that I mentioned, and I'm going to repeat these
9 locations Krcevine, Krizancevo Selo, that was infantry
10 fighting, and these locations are 3 or 4 kilometres
11 away from the town of Vitez, and that is fighting
12 between two armies that are entrenched. That is to
13 say, the HVO on one side and the army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the other side and that is the
15 fighting that is referred to in this report.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead, Mr. Kehoe, let's not
17 go around and round.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. Present.
19 Q. Brigadier, on the 20th of April did any
20 member of the HVO come into the Hotel Vitez and tell
21 you or Colonel Blaskic or any other officer in the
22 headquarters that women and children were outside the
23 Hotel Vitez at this location that is circled in Exhibit
24 158, the one that's on the ELMO? Did any soldier do
1 A. I am not aware of that, but I know that out
2 of those civilians who were brought in, none were
3 killed and none were wounded that day. That I do know.
4 Q. Brigadier, you told us that this meeting,
5 excuse me, this report of 1800, Exhibit 331, was issued
6 at 1800 hours after the women and children were sent
7 home. What time did Blaskic go to this meeting in
9 A. As far as I know General Blaskic set out for
10 Zenica between 17 and 1800 hours, I cannot state
11 exactly when. As far as I know the meeting was
12 supposed to be held around 1900 hours, but specifically
13 what I know for sure is the following: That the
14 meeting was on the 20th, the time I cannot confirm.
15 From Vitez to Zenica in war time conditions, one needs
16 one hour to get there by vehicle, so that time can be
18 Q. Well, Brigadier, let's go back to this
19 Exhibit 331, where the Viteska Brigade says women and
20 children were sent home. Brigadier, what happened to
21 those women and children?
22 A. I know they were sent home. They stayed
23 there in their village. I know that after the fighting
24 that took place in the village of Gacice the HVO took
25 control over the village of Gacice. The members of the
1 units of the BH army were driven out of the village. I
2 do not know of the fate of these people afterwards, but
3 if they had not stayed on in the village of Gacice
4 through the work of the commissions, I assume that
5 these same people moved out under the organisation of
6 UNPROFOR. They went to the area either of Zenica or
7 some other town. I do not have accurate information as
8 to whether some of these families stayed on in the
9 village of Gacice during 1993. But what I do know is
10 that in a certain number of houses in the village of
11 Gacice where Muslim Bosniaks had lived until then,
12 Croats, refugees from Zenica and other places, moved
13 into these houses. During the fighting between the BH
14 army units and the HVO units, if there was such
15 fighting, then the Croats would move out, too.
16 Q. Well, Brigadier, were you present in the
17 headquarters when any member of any humanitarian aid
18 organisation came to talk to Colonel Blaskic about the
19 fate of the women and children in Gacice?
20 A. Mr. President, as regards my activity, from
21 the 16th until the 25th, I was in the operation centre
22 all the time. The representatives of international
23 organisations did not come to this operation centre.
24 The office of the commander was further away, and it
25 had a special entrance, a separate entrance, and
1 whether they came to see General Blaskic, that I cannot
2 confirm. For me, when I got this report from the Vitez
3 Brigade, the most important thing was that none of
4 these civilians were killed and that the women and
5 children were sent home. In view of my responsibility,
6 that was a job that was finished.
7 Q. Brigadier, I'm not limiting your time to
8 simply the 25th of April. I'm talking about the period
9 of time that takes us into, say, the first or second
10 week in May. From the time these people were taken
11 from Gacice to Vitez and back to Gacice on the 20th,
12 until, say, the second week in May, were you aware of
13 any international humanitarian organisation coming to
14 the Hotel Vitez to talk to Blaskic about the fate of
15 these women and children that were in Gacice?
16 A. Exactly as to that question I am not aware
17 that anybody came. But after the 20th, and after the
18 meeting in Zenica that already at that time a
19 cease-fire had been defined and a cease-fire agreement
20 had been signed, and within that framework of those
21 activities, an in exchange of prisoners was decided
22 upon, the Croats taken by the BH army and the Bosniak
23 Muslims taken by the HVO. So this business of the 20th
24 was taken over by commissions and they were headed by
25 the civilian authorities of the Muslim Bosniaks, and so
1 on. Now, under what circumstances when and how they
2 performed this exchange, I cannot tell you in detail at
3 the moment and give you the facts of those exchanges,
4 but I know that it was under competency of those
5 commissions and that the work was finished. That is to
6 say, after the duty had been executed, the exchange
7 commissions had exchanged all the prisoners and nobody
8 stayed in prisons, both the Croats taken by the Muslim
9 Bosniaks and vice verse a. That's what I know about
10 that situation.
11 Q. Brigadier, how far is Gacice away from the
12 Hotel Vitez?
13 A. Gacice is, according to my assessment, one
14 and a half to two kilometres away from the Hotel Vitez.
15 Q. Brigadier, were you aware, or do you know if
16 Blaskic was aware, that in the early part of May of
17 1993 HVO soldiers came to this village, picked these
18 women and children up, put them on trucks and took them
19 to the road going to Zenica where they were told to
20 walk across the front-lines? Were you aware of that?
21 You were the chief of operations at the time. Were you
22 aware of that fact?
23 A. Yes, I was chief of operations, but I'm not
24 aware of that fact. And it is not my business to deal
25 with civilians, women and children as chief of
1 operations. From the meeting in Zenica and from the
2 meeting on the 21st in Bila, everything concerning
3 prisoners, civilian prisoners, was under the charge of
4 the commission coordinated and headed by the civilian
5 authorities, the representatives of the Croats in Vitez
6 and the representatives of the Bosniaks in Vitez.
7 Q. Brigadier, if you were chief of operations
8 during that period of time, isn't it your job to know
9 virtually everything that is going on in the
10 headquarters when it comes to Blaskic's orders and
11 meetings and exactly what HVO forces are doing? Isn't
12 that your job?
13 A. Yes, it is my job, and I do know that. I
14 know that Blaskic went to Zenica, that a commission was
15 sent up following orders and that they dovetailed their
16 opinions and did these activities with the refugees and
17 that the assignment was completed. Whether this was
18 done in one day, two days, three days, and the problems
19 that arose, who made the problems, I cannot say.
20 Q. Isn't it also your job, Brigadier, to know
21 that HVO soldiers, under the command of Colonel
22 Blaskic, are putting civilians on trucks and taking
23 them to the mountain road? Isn't that part of your job
24 to know those things?
25 A. It is if I get information of this kind, then
1 quite normally I would react as the commander, and I
2 would write a document, but I had no information of
3 that kind. And I repeat, all concern about the
4 refugees was taken over by the civilian authorities.
5 Q. Well, let me ask you a follow-up question on
6 that, Brigadier, and we will end with this area. Isn't
7 it true that into May the Muslim houses in Gacice that
8 were a kilometre or so away from the headquarters,
9 isn't it true that those Bosnian Muslim houses were
11 A. As far as the burning of houses in the
12 village of Gacice is concerned, there was burning, both
13 in the course of the fighting and there was burning
14 after the fighting. I spoke of this burning and under
15 what circumstances it took place. There were both
16 Croatian and Bosnian houses burned in Gacice. The
17 consequences of these burning, after the conflict and
18 after the cease-fire had been signed, I went into that
19 matter yesterday, and I explained it yet and I don't
20 want to tire the judges with those facts. I said that
21 the reasons were that if one Croat house was burnt, by
22 the Bosnian side, then it was not excluded that
23 somebody would in retaliation burn two or five Muslim
24 houses. So that the burning of houses was a problem
25 throughout 1993 in Central Bosnia, it was a problem
1 that we in the command and in the Operative Zone had to
2 fight against. And we had orders expressly forbidding
3 this. But it was done secretly, and you could never
4 arrive at a name. I will tell you of one example.
5 After the fighting in Krizancevo Selo, when the BH army
6 in one night in an attack killed 70 members of the HVO,
7 including civilians, ten houses were burned in
8 Grbavica, straight away.
9 So, this is cause and effect, and I condemn
10 that. But, that is the tragedy of the war in
12 Q. Well, Brigadier, by early May of 1993, as
13 chief of operations, you knew that there were no
14 Muslims left in the village of Gacice; isn't that true?
15 A. Up to the beginning of May, I did not know
16 whether all the Muslims within the exchange plan had
17 been, had left Gacice or whether somebody had remained
18 living in Gacice. I cannot ascertain that, maintain
19 that. The region under my control, I did not only have
20 the village of Gacice, I had 50 other similar villages.
21 Q. I understand, Brigadier, but by early May
22 virtually every Muslim was gone from the village of
23 Gacice; isn't that true?
24 A. I cannot say that that is so, but I believe
25 that it was so.
1 Q. Did you ask anybody where they went?
2 A. I said that through the exchanges of
3 individuals, those who were taken prisoner had the
4 possibility of going home or to have UNPROFOR enable
5 them to go to another locality; however, people, both
6 Croats and Bosnians, because of the situation that
7 reigned, that is to say, a situation of war, usually
8 opted for going to those places and those settlements
9 which were controlled by their own army. The Croats
10 came to places under HVO control and the Muslim
11 Bosniaks went to the places controlled by the BH army.
12 The other reason was that after the conflict
13 and the units had been driven out, the HVO was in
14 control and the soldiers had been expelled, then their
15 families would go with them, and that took place on the
16 other side, as well.
17 Q. Well, Brigadier, let's switch subjects. Now,
18 Brigadier, we talked previously in an exhibit that we
19 chatted about yesterday or the day before, and I'm
20 referring to Exhibit 514, which is an English ECMM
21 report of the 6th of February, 1993, where trench
22 digging was taking place, or Muslim labour was used to
23 dig HVO trenches in the Busovaca area.
24 Now, sir, let me ask you a question. During
25 this time frame, did you have information that the --
1 we don't need to go into it. We don't need to refer to
2 the document. That's okay. We just want to use that
3 as a reference point to move on.
4 During the time frame of April of 1993, did
5 you receive information that Croats, Bosnian Croats
6 were taken prisoner in the village of Poculica, and
7 that Bosnian Croats were forced to dig trenches for the
8 Bosnian Muslims?
9 A. Could you tell me the report in question?
10 Because at this particular moment I cannot recall a
11 report with that information.
12 Q. Actually, candidly, Brigadier, I'm reading
13 the opening statement of Mr. Hayman, which is at page
14 11.217, and he stated that on the morning of the 16th
15 of April in Poculica, what happened. It was a mixed
16 village of Muslims and Croats. More Muslims than
17 Croats, and on the morning of the 16th --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. "Units in Poculica attacked the Croat part of
20 the village, hundreds of Croats fled into a stream to
21 try to escape down the hill, and approximately 70 did
22 not flee, and they were captured by the territorial
23 Defence forces in Poculica. In the following days,
24 regrettably these detainees were taken in groups to dig
25 trenches, some were forced to go into no man's land to
1 collect bodies while tethered to a rope which their
2 captors held on to. And, indeed, a number of them were
3 murdered and wounded by shooting incidents involving a
4 HVO soldier." Do you recall this incident?
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps for
6 clarity in the interpretation it was the Croats who
7 were taken prisoner, not Muslims taken. It was --
8 we're dealing with Croats, and I don't think it was
9 quite clear in the interpretation. So, we're talking
10 about the Croats taken prisoner by the territorial
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I thought perhaps there
13 might be a difference of interpretation as regards all
14 these words from the Defence. Would you make the
15 correction Mr. Kehoe so that the question is clear to
16 the witness.
17 MR. KEHOE: Defence counsel is a hundred per
18 cent correct, this incident refers to Bosnian Croats
19 being taken prisoner and forced to dig trenches.
20 JUDGE JORDA: It wasn't that clear. I thank
21 you for the clarification.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Do you recall that incident, sir?
24 A. When we're talking about the place of
25 Poculica, where the mixed population, Croats and
1 Muslims, that is to say that after the conflicts, as
2 the Croats lived there, there was the HVO, and the
3 Bosnians suppressed Croats from that village. I did
4 not see Croats digging trenches, I did not see them,
5 but as I know what the situation was like, it is
6 possible, although I cannot claim that that was so,
7 because I did not see it take place.
8 Q. I understand, Brigadier, that you didn't see
9 it taking place. My question is, did you hear about
10 this incident taking place in the Hotel Vitez? Did
11 this information come to the headquarters?
12 A. I don't recall any information of that kind.
13 But, because of the overall situation, as a result of
14 the conflict, it is possible that it was so.
15 Q. Did you hear information in April that the
16 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was forcing Bosnian Croats
17 to dig trenches?
18 A. This kind of information most often could be
19 heard, so, if you didn't get a report from your own
20 unit, information of this kind could be heard through
21 the public media, public information media. And so,
22 this kind of information was put out, used by the media
23 for propaganda purposes. So that when you hear this
24 kind of information over the radio, whether it was the
25 Bosnian Muslim radio or Croatian radio station, as a
1 soldier, I never took it to be one hundred per cent
2 true, I always had some reservations with regard to
3 that information. So, I know it was possible, but I
4 cannot claim that it was actually so.
5 Q. Well, Brigadier, let's talk about a couple of
6 exhibits, based on what you just talked about and what
7 you heard and what you thought was possible, and what
8 you heard on the radio. If I can take in series,
9 Defence Exhibit 298 and Defence Exhibit 314, and then
10 if I could have -- use in that sequence, and then
11 Defence Exhibit 301, and Defence Exhibit 325. So the
12 sequence I would like to follow is Defence 298, 314,
13 301 and 325.
14 Brigadier, the Defence Exhibit 298 is an
15 order that you drafted on the 17th of April, 1993 at
16 2000 hours, going to all these units and special
17 purpose units, signed by Colonel Blaskic, and on number
18 4 of that particular order, the order is to dig in on
19 the front-lines and prepare a counter-attack. Do you
20 see that, sir?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, in response to your order, let us turn
23 to Exhibit 314. This is a response that comes from the
24 Nikola Subic-Zrinski Brigade. Their response is on 18
25 April 1993, and it notes that it is a report on the
1 implementation of your order, the order that we just
2 discussed in 398, the order in April of 323, and it
3 says in response, among other things, it says in point
4 4, "Entrenchment has been carried out on all defence
5 lines in order to organise the defence from the enemy
6 as efficiently as possible." Do you see that, sir?
7 A. Yes. It is in document 314, is it not?
8 Q. That's correct, Brigadier.
9 Now, we're talking about digging trenches
10 here; correct?
11 A. In document 298, point 4, it states that
12 entrenchment has been carried out in all defence lines
13 in order to organise the defence for the enemy as
14 efficiently as possible.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Kehoe. Let me
16 look at Mr. Fourmy, because he speaks both languages.
17 When you say in French "retranchements", that could mean
18 something else than WHAT is indicated here as
19 "entrenchment". Can that mean, in French, digging
20 trenches, "retranchements"? Because frequently it
21 means that you're, it is a rather ambiguous term. That
22 is what is said. All right. But it can also mean
23 digging trenches. Fine.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. What we're talking about here, Brigadier, is
1 the digging of trenches. When you ordered the digging
2 in on the front-line.
3 A. Entrenchment on the front-lines incorporates
4 the following: digging trenches, that is to say
5 digging trenches for the activity of the soldiers, and
6 entrenchment, depending on the situation, and we say in
7 military terminology, of the traffic lines,
8 communication lines. So, communication lines or
9 communicating trenches, so that these trenches are
10 linked up, and the defence can be a good quality
12 Q. Now, let us turn to Defence Exhibit 301,
13 which, again, is an order that was written by you,
14 again on the 17th of April, 1993, but this is going to
15 the Viteska Brigade personally. Do you have that
16 before you, Brigadier?
17 A. Yes, I have it, and I remember the contents
18 of that order. I think that I wrote it.
19 Q. I think that your initials on the left-hand
20 corner and I think you're correct.
21 A. Yes, yes. Yes, yes, I did.
22 Q. And you talked about this on your testimony
23 in direct about the sectors, et cetera, and on number 3
24 you order the Viteska Brigade to carry out first level
25 engineering work in the sectors, to dig standing
1 trenches, and the deadline is 0500 hours on the 18th of
2 April, 1993.
3 A. Yes, and that is quite normal when an order
4 of this kind is given, because you cannot defend
5 yourself unless you have entrenched. That is a
6 military operation that takes place.
7 Q. And while the next exhibit, 325, while not a
8 direct response to that order, there is a response on
9 the digging of trenches by the Viteska Brigade, and I'm
10 talking about the response on 19 April, 1993 at 0600
11 hours. On the third paragraph down, it says, "Further
12 mobilisation of personnel has been carried out, and new
13 trenches and reinforcements are continuously being
14 created on all defence lines." Do you see that?
15 A. Yes, I see it, and that was so.
16 Q. Now, these trenches were being dug all along
17 the line in the sectors that you have described in
18 Defence Exhibit 301; isn't that right?
19 A. Yes. Yes, it is, in all the sectors on all
20 the defence lines, and all the villages. That is to
21 say, all the Croatian villages, trenches in front of
22 the Croatian villages to enable the villages to defend
23 themselves with respect to the BH army units on the
24 opposite side.
25 Q. Now, this trench digging, Brigadier, this is
1 very dangerous work; isn't it?
2 A. Every combat operation is dangerous, and that
3 includes trench digging. There is nothing in wartime
4 that is not dangerous, and trench digging is, of
5 course, a dangerous job.
6 Q. Trench digging -- you would agree with me,
7 would you not, Brigadier, that trench digging is
8 particularly dangerous, because you're digging the
9 trenches on the front-line in front of the enemy; isn't
10 that right?
11 A. Yes, that is right. It would not be
12 professional of me to say that it is not dangerous to
13 be at the front-line.
14 Q. Now, the sectors that you are -- let me --
15 the sectors that you are describing in Exhibit 301, in
16 the order to the Viteska Brigade, those sectors are
17 mostly in the Vitez municipality; isn't that correct?
18 A. Yes. Mr. President, let me clarify that, why
19 the order came into being. When we spoke about the
20 establishment of the Vitez Brigade, we saw how far it
21 had been organised and set up. And on the 17th, when
22 we concluded, the force that the BH army had to launch
23 an attack, and that we were threatened by this danger,
24 that is to say, the danger that the BH army would
25 repulse the forces from the Vitez Brigade. At that
1 point we decided, and in view of the existing set-up, to
2 link up one village and the other village, and a third
3 village, and then we could say that is sector one.
4 Then one village and another village and say that is
5 the second sector. So, we have that degree of
6 establishment where we did not have any companies, or
7 battalions or anything else. So, this was seen to be a
8 good solution for those circumstances.
9 Q. Brigadier, according to the testimony of
10 Brigadier Ivica Zeko, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 had 82 to 84.000 soldiers, while the Central Bosnian
12 Operative Zone, had 8.000 to 8.200, and the question to
13 Mr. Zeko by Mr. Nobilo, on page 11.717, Mr. Nobilo asks
14 Brigadier Zeko, "So if we could simplify the proportion,
15 it would be ten to one in favour of the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina," and Brigadier Zeko said, "Yes."
17 A. Let me just add, so that we don't have any
18 dilemmas, the 8.000 figure or whatever you said, is how
19 many soldiers we had carrying arms. That is soldiers
20 ready for combat. Whereas we had on our lists about
21 13.000 soldiers but without arms. But what we could
22 have used, that is to say soldiers equipped with
23 weapons, was the figure that you mentioned,
25 Q. Let's again turn our attention back to the
1 Defence Exhibit 345, and if we could keep these
2 exhibits up -- if we could keep those exhibits handy.
3 You don't have it right now, Brigadier. We'll get it
4 for you.
5 Now, this is, again, the document that we
6 discussed previously about the HVO dead in Vitez during
7 the combat time in Vitez in 1993 and 1994. If I may,
8 Mr. President, and we can expedite matters and you can
9 go through it at your leisure, but I think we covered
10 the amount of dead through the 19th, but the 20th
11 reflects two HVO soldiers killed, according to this
12 list, and I can point them out to you.
13 Q. Now, according to the list that we have, from
14 the 16th to the 20th, while all this fighting and all
15 this trench digging is going on, we have approximately
16 a dozen HVO soldiers killed in Vitez, according to the
17 list of 345, and we can go through the numbers again,
18 if you would like.
19 Now, this is a time when extensive trench
20 digging has been ordered . You maintain there are
21 extensive offences going on by the army of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina; isn't that right?
23 A. We ordered that the defence lines had to be
24 entrenched, and towards that aim mobilisation was a
25 work duty and civilian defence as well, and all the
1 population that did not have weapons went to dig
2 trenches together with the soldiers. That was the
3 situation. There was no other solution. So we had
4 both civilian protection and the defence, and they were
5 work units. And the mobilisation, the department in
6 charge, was the Defence Department for matters of
8 Q. And this is also a time where you were
9 outmanned, according to the testimony of Brigadier
10 Ivica Zeko, ten to one.
11 Now, my question for you, Brigadier, is:
12 During this time, all this extensive activity, did you
13 question why the HVO took so few casualties while they
14 were performing such dangerous work in the front-lines
15 and also in combat?
16 A. I know that there were more casualties, but
17 in the time before us we will probably prove that
19 Q. My question for you is: Given all these
20 dangerous activities, the offensives, the fact you were
21 outmanned ten to one, all this trench digging going on,
22 did you ask yourself, Brigadier, why the HVO is taking
23 so few casualties, or did you know the reason why?
24 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness said
25 that there were more than 12 casualties.
1 JUDGE JORDA: That point was answered,
2 Mr. Kehoe. He said there were very few casualties, and
3 he thought that there were others and he hoped they
4 would be able to show that.
5 MR. KEHOE: Let me put an exhibit on the
6 ELMO, and this is Prosecution exhibit 263.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would the witness say
8 whether these other casualties are also indicated in
9 this list?
10 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, just a moment,
11 please. I'm going to look at papers I have on the
12 persons who were killed.
13 It is true that these members of the HVO in
14 Vitez were killed in the time of the war with the army
15 of the Republika Srpska and the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and 657 persons were killed. That
17 is the exact figure. And 624 soldiers were wounded,
18 and 140 civilians were wounded. When those two are put
19 together that is 764.
20 In order to understand how great this tragedy
21 was, this should be compared to the number of 12.690
22 Croats who lived in Vitez. And if we compare these
23 population figures to the fact that the war practically
24 lasted for one year, it turns out that about 60 people
25 were killed every month, or wounded every month, too.
1 This list that I confirmed reflects the number of
2 members of HVO who were killed. Civilians are not
3 shown here. So, 657 and 624, that is the difference
4 between civilians and the military.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your
6 permission, as Honourable Judge Shahabuddeen has put
7 this question, I feel duty bound to say a few words
8 about this. It is not our duty to intervene and we
9 wanted to clarify matters during our rebuttal; however,
10 since this question was put by the Court, I think that
11 now we are duty bound too.
12 I think that the Prosecutor is misleading the
13 witness. On the first page it doesn't say that this is
14 the date of killing. He is looking at the dates that
15 are in this column and it doesn't say that that was the
16 date of death at all. We didn't want to stop the
17 Prosecutor, because we have been listen being to "two
18 or three dead" every day, day-in day-out, and we are
19 going to give our own proof, but at this stage I think
20 that I had to intervene. Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: What is the date that's in the
22 second column? The 1st is Rajanovic (phoen). He was
23 born in 1970. 25 October is it? What does that mean?
24 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, on the document
25 it says nothing. It just says the date. We are going
1 to add evidence that is going to show that this was the
2 date of burial. Nobody could bury their dead on the
3 16th and 17th, because burials took place after the war
4 had stopped.
5 I'm talking about the column where it says
6 the date. First is the surname, the father's name, and
7 the name. Then the year, that is the year of birth of
8 the person killed, and after that is the date. That is
9 the date of burial. But it doesn't say so on the
10 text. It doesn't say what date it is. We are going to
11 prove that that is the date of burial.
12 JUDGE JORDA: The next to the last column, is
13 that -- when you look at 12th, Bobic. If I read 1976,
14 I thought that he was killed on the 17th of February,
15 1994, in Krcevine, and that he was buried in Krcevine
16 the next day, 18 February, 1994. Is that not correct?
17 Buried at -- let me ask for some help here.
18 Doesn't that mean buried on the day?
19 MR. KEHOE: That's what it means.
20 MR. NOBILO: The place of burial. It doesn't
21 say the date of burial. May I clarify this a bit
23 JUDGE JORDA: There is a date, Mr. Nobilo,
24 next to it. Look at number 1. Let's go back to number
25 1, because that was a Muslim HVO member. All right,
1 sir, everybody should agree about this.
2 Ianovic (phoen) was -- first column was the
3 year, 1970. That was his date of birth. The second
4 column, the 25th, 1973, I think that must have been the
5 date he was killed. The place is the place where he
6 was killed, his address and then he gives the original
7 address, and I think that he was buried in Kruscica on
8 the 25th of October and that's the same day, which is
9 not illogical. It could be interpreted that way. At
10 least that's what I think.
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I suggest the
12 following; that you look at point 322. That is one
13 example, and I have many of them. Zoran Vidovic, it
14 says that on the 21st of April --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Well, if you're saying that,
16 probably because it fits in with what you want to say.
17 All right. Mirko Valenta, he was born in 1960.
18 According to me, he was killed -- 322.
19 MR. NOBILO: Two, Zoran Ivica Vidovic, that
20 is 322. Vidovic, father's name Ivica, name Zoran.
21 JUDGE JORDA: 322. All right. Yes,
22 Vidovic. Yes, I see. That's another chart, isn't it?
23 Vidovic. At least I think he was killed on the 21st of
24 April, 1993. We know that he was buried in Kruscica,
25 although we don't have the date.
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I have here the
2 official certificate from the Register of the Dead in
3 the municipality of Vitez. This is an official
4 document kept under the municipality. That is the
5 beginning and the end of human life on the basis of
6 law. There are certificates of birth and certificates
7 of death. And Zoran Vidovic was killed on the 16th of
8 April, the 16th of April, 1993. And this document is
9 the one that is registered by those who are bound by
10 law to register deaths and births, and there are many
11 of these.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, let's be careful
13 here. This is a list. This list was given to us by
14 you. It is D345. This shows the list of the members
15 of the HVO who were killed. When I read a date, I have
16 a tendency to think maybe I'm wrong, but I would assume
17 that that's the date that they were killed. At least
18 that's what I think.
19 All right. Perhaps we shouldn't go any
20 further than that.
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I don't know how
22 this was written, but this is conducted by an
23 organisation for which it is important to know how many
24 people were killed, because of pensions, et cetera.
25 However, the date of death is registered here,
1 according to law, by the official authorities. So,
2 this is exact. These are the exact dates. But, if we
3 look at these certificates, the figures are quite
4 different. Thank you.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for the
6 clarification, Mr. Nobilo. Let me remind you this is a
7 clarification which you must provide for your own
8 document, because originally it was your document.
9 This is why we have to start with that document now.
10 Of course, you are free to bring in any other
11 clarifications that you want, that is your right.
12 MR. NOBILO: Exactly, Mr. President. We used
13 this document in order to prove the number of dead. We
14 did not look at the dates. When the Prosecutor picked
15 this up, then we tried to get authentic documents which
16 prove otherwise. We just wanted to show the
17 proportions of death in Vitez, so to speak.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you. It's now 20
19 after 11.00. Do you have another question to ask about
20 that specific issue of dates, or do you want to change
21 subject? What do you want to do?
22 MR. KEHOE: I don't have any particular
23 question about the dates of this, Mr. President, and we
24 will continue on in this area, but there are quite a
25 few questions in this regard.
1 JUDGE JORDA: All right then. We're going to
2 take a break, and we will resume in 20 minutes.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.20 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.54 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
6 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
7 (The accused entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, are you going to use
9 all these documents, or can we put them away now?
10 MR. KEHOE: I don't think we're going to use
11 them any more, Judge, we can put those away. I don't
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Brigadier, you said earlier this morning that
16 you had heard on the radio, both on the Muslim radio
17 and the Croat radio, that civilians were being used or
18 being forced to dig trenches. Do you recall that
20 A. Yes, I did say it, but not as you just said
21 it. That is to say that on the radio information could
22 be heard linked to all the activities. And if the BH
23 army was on the air, then they would say what negative
24 things were being done. If it was the Croatian radio,
25 they would say what negativity existed in the BH army's
2 Q. Did Blaskic hear those radio reports, as
4 A. I suppose that he did. And as far as I
5 recall, that is to say, after all the events, when
6 General Blaskic completed all his knowledge and the
7 problems that were happening, occurring on the terrain,
8 he issued an order in which he expressly said how
9 soldiers should conduct themselves, and all the
10 negative features that he had been informed of, to
11 prevent this from happening, to stop it from
12 happening. And that in the units, in town, that is to
13 say, where soldiers were moving about, that conduct
14 should be carried out in a soldierly fashion.
15 Q. So, are you saying that Blaskic learned that
16 HVO soldiers were forcing Bosnian Muslims to dig
18 A. I believe that in talks with international
19 organisations, in talks at meetings with the
20 representatives of the BH army, that such matters were
21 also discussed because this was happening on both
23 Q. Well, Brigadier, was any member of the HVO
24 arrested for forcing a Bosnian Muslim to dig trenches?
25 A. Digging trenches, that is to say engaging
1 people in entrenchment, in entrenching the defence
2 lines, and fortification, which means the digging of
3 trenches, the digging of communications trenches, the
4 digging of shelters for people to hide from in the rain
5 and in the night, so that kind of activity was
6 performed by the soldiers within the framework of their
7 work assignments where necessary, and people from the
8 units, and from the Civil Defence units and the other
9 population, if this was necessary at any particular
10 location. I cannot say that in the village of Krcevine
11 there were 10 or 15, but, Mr. President, for an overall
12 picture of the state of affairs to be gained, I should
13 like to indicate on the map where these defence lines
14 were and where the digging and entrenchment and
15 fortification took place. The dugouts, and the
16 communicating trenches and all the other work.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Is that really necessary?
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, what is your
19 answer to the Prosecutor's question as to whether any
20 HVO soldier was ever arrested for forcing people to dig
22 A. I do not know that a soldier was ever
23 arrested. Can I show this on the map? It will be
25 Mr. President, the defence lines taken over
1 by the HVO after the attack by the BH army went right
2 past the villages, along the Croatian villages. Now,
3 what do we have on the terrain? For example, your
4 house is here, and ten metres in front is a trench, and
5 you and your family and your children live in that
7 Now, why am I saying this? I don't want to
8 you look at this like a front-line, a military
9 front-line, that is to say that you are taking people
10 from here, some 50 kilometres into the mountains to dig
11 trenches, no.
12 Take the village of Krcevine. Who dug
13 trenches most often there? The soldiers from that
14 particular village, the villagers of the village, the
15 locals. And if some devices or equipment had been
16 mobilised, that is what trench digging meant, because
17 the entire line in Vitez stretched between the
18 villages, at the edges of the villages, or sometimes
19 through the village itself, because the defence lines
20 between the HVO units and the Bosnian units were
21 sometimes 50 metres apart, because it was a fight for
22 each inch of land. And that is what the actual picture
23 with regard to trench digging was like.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, could on, Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. Just
1 move the ELMO back.
2 Q. Brigadier, you were a prosecutor in the
3 military disciplinary courts in Vitez. Do you know of
4 any member of the HVO who was disciplined for forcing
5 Bosnian Muslims to dig trenches?
6 A. I was the deputy prosecutor for disciplinary
7 matters. This disciplinary court in the Operative Zone
8 of Central Bosnia, as far as I know, was established in
9 September or October of 1993, and from that time on
10 this disciplinary court moved certain motions and cases
11 against officers and non-commissioned officers, but not
13 The disciplinary court that you mentioned was
14 not able to pitch disciplinary -- on the discipline
15 measures on soldiers that you're talking about, and I
16 said I did not know that the commander of any unit
17 disciplined a soldier, that is to say that he took him
18 in -- he was taken into custody for activities related
19 to trench digging.
20 Q. Do you know of any soldier in the HVO who was
21 discharged from service for forcing Bosnian Muslims to
22 dig trenches, anyone?
23 A. At that particular time it was not possible
24 to discharge anybody from service because nobody was in
25 the service. But I do know when it happened in
1 Busovaca, in Kaonik, that some -- and we did have an
2 order there that General Blaskic, the commander, had
3 ordered, and this was the military police that carried
4 this out, something with the prisoners, detainees, that
5 an order was issued that this should be ascertained,
6 why this had been done, who had done it and under what
8 Q. Brigadier, that was in February, that order?
9 A. Yes, yes, in February. You're right.
10 Q. I am talking about in April, May, June, July,
11 August, September, October, November, December,
12 January, December of '93; January, February, March
13 of '94. Name me one HVO soldier who was disciplined,
14 discharged or prosecuted by the military prosecutor for
15 forcing a Bosnian Muslim to dig trenches. Name me
17 A. I cannot claim that this was done with any
19 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 263.
20 Mr. Usher, if we could put this on the ELMO.
21 Brigadier, this is a photograph of an
22 individual who has been identified as Zlatko Aleksovski
23 who was the warden of the military prison at Busovaca.
24 A. As far as I recall, this is Zlatko Aleksovski
25 on the photograph.
1 Q. Now, let me read to you, sir -- and I am
2 referring to exhibit -- Prosecutor's Exhibit 242, and
3 this is attached Annex O to Prosecutor's Exhibit 242,
4 dated the 10th of May, 1993. And in a conversation
5 with a monitor for the ECMM, Zlatko Aleksovski said the
6 following -- he was talking about prisons and the
7 problems in the prison in Busovaca: "The Fifth
8 problem" -- and I'm referring to page 2 of the
9 document. "The Fifth problem is the kind of work that
10 the prisoners have to do, because I know that the
11 Geneva Conventions do not allow prisoners to be taken
12 away for any work if their lives are in danger. I have
13 been warned about that by the ICRC, as well. But I am
14 not the only one responsible for this, because I just
15 carry out orders. The brigade commanders in Busovaca
16 and Vitez give them. Not that I want to avoid my
17 responsibility, because I am the one who releases
18 people to do the work.
19 In order to clear it up, I went with
20 Beatrice, of the ICRC, to the commander in Busovaca,
21 where she protested for the people to be taken to work
22 under such conditions. She was given the answer I
23 almost completely agree with. We here actually do not
24 have enough people to do the security jobs. Someone
25 had to dig the trenches, and it happened that the men
1 to do that were the prisoners."
2 Brigadier, did you know that Bosnian Muslim
3 prisoners were taken from the military prison camp in
4 Busovaca, that they were taken there by the brigade
5 commanders in Vitez and Busovaca and taken to dig
6 trenches? Did you know that?
7 A. This fact, the fact that you repeated and
8 that you stated here is not something that I was aware
9 of. But later on I learnt of these events, that they
10 did take place, and from April, further on, as far as I
11 remember, the commander of the Operative Zone did issue
12 a command that such things should not be done.
13 Q. Brigadier, the two brigades that we discussed
14 previously that orders were given to dig trenches were
15 the Viteska Brigade and the Nikola Subic-Zrinski
16 Brigade; isn't that right?
17 A. We're dealing with those two brigades, but
18 those brigades were not responsible over -- of control
19 over the military prison camp, just as the commander of
20 the Operative Zone. The military prison in Busovaca
21 was under the Ministry of Jurisdiction, and the area
22 where this military prison camp was located, as far as
23 I know, it was an area where the prisoners were
24 detained. How long, how many of them and under which
25 conditions, I do not know.
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there has been a
2 misinterpretation. He said that the military prison in
3 Busovaca was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
4 Justice and it said "jurisdiction". It was the
5 Ministry of Justice, not "jurisdiction".
6 JUDGE JORDA: That's been noted.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Well, Brigadier, we have established
9 previously in a Blaskic order, have we not, that
10 Blaskic gave a direct order to the warden of all
11 military prisons in June of 1993 forbidding taking
12 prisoners to dig trenches. So on at least one occasion
13 on a Defence exhibit -- and I can show you that
14 exhibit, if you want. On one occasion, in a Defence
15 exhibit, Blaskic is forbidding the warden to allow
16 prisoners to dig trenches; isn't that right? Or would
17 you like to see that document again?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, show the document again,
19 please, Mr. Kehoe.
20 MR. KEHOE: It's Defence Exhibit 373, the
21 order of 21 June --
22 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to take the time.
23 Brigadier, I'm going to ask you once again to try to
24 remember that you were the chief, the number two person
25 of military operations. You're trying to create -- it
1 was a question of creating defence lines. Show the
2 document to the witness again. I know we're wasting
3 time, but too bad.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Brigadier, this is a direct order of Colonel
7 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. This is a direct order from Colonel Blaskic
10 to the brigade commanders and to the wardens of the
11 military prisons, 21 June, 1993, and number 2,
12 forbidding using prisoners of war to dig trenches.
13 A. Yes. This order was given to the commanders
14 of the brigade to implement. It was sent to the warden
15 of the military prisons, because certain soldiers,
16 independently, came to the warden of the prison and
17 wanted to take people away. Therefore, the wardens
18 were -- said that -- he can say, "General Blaskic sent
19 an order that this was forbidden and I cannot allow to
20 you do this. " That is how I understand this order,
21 and I know the order was issued for that purpose.
22 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Now, Mr. Kehoe, ask
23 your question.
24 MR. KEHOE: Again on point 4, Blaskic holds
25 the warden of the military prison responsible for
1 carrying out this order?
2 JUDGE JORDA: Exactly, Mr. Hayman. I see
3 you're making certain gestures. It's your witness's
4 answer which makes the Prosecutor say what he says,
5 because suddenly hes answering about competence. He
6 said -- Mr. Nobilo had the transcript corrected.
7 He said that the prisons were under the
8 authority of the ministry. Therefore, it is legitimate
9 on the Prosecutor's part to bring in this document.
10 The document has to be seen with a certain cohesiveness
11 in the totality. It is a question of legal logic,
12 Mr. Hayman. The Prosecutor has to ask the question.
13 MR. HAYMAN: That's fine, Mr. President. I'm
14 not being to the line of questioning. I'm objecting
15 that we had this same line two or three days ago. I'm
16 just objecting to the repetition, that's all.
17 JUDGE JORDA: It's true, but you have to
18 admit, Mr. Hayman, it is extremely difficult -- at
19 least for this judge speaking to you right now, I'm not
20 speaking for my colleague, it's difficult to find the
21 cohesive and logical line within the witness's
22 testimony. You have this kind of a question which
23 causes a problem, because it is -- there is an
24 exculpatory document here, you yourself presented it.
25 But if it is exculpatory, then of course the Prosecutor
1 wants to see the total cohesiveness of the document.
2 You used -- and now he is trying to use it for a
3 question -- in a question which seems legitimate to
5 Mr. Kehoe, ask your question.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Brigadier, the person who was running the
8 prison in -- the military prison in Busovaca is Zlatko
10 A. Yes. He was the warden of the prison.
11 Q. And he is the one that's saying that brigade
12 commanders in Busovaca and Vitez are taking prisoners
13 out to dig trenches.
14 A. I heard that from your report, the one you
15 read out.
16 Q. Well, Brigadier, is forcing Bosnian Muslim
17 prisoners -- is forcing Bosnian Muslim prisoners to dig
18 trenches a violation of the Geneva Convention or is it
19 a war crime?
20 A. As far as I know, forcing any civilians to
21 dig trenches is not in line with the Geneva
22 Conventions, and that is what it says in this order of
23 ours, too.
24 Q. When did you learn that prisoners, Bosnian
25 Muslim prisoners, were being forced to dig trenches?
1 When did you learn about it?
2 A. I really cannot tell the exact date and time,
3 but since such orders were issued, I knew that such
4 incidents did occur, and the reaction of the command of
5 the Operative Zone was to try to stop this.
6 Q. Well, in this same line, it's true, is it
7 not, that members of the ICRC came to the Hotel Vitez
8 and met with Colonel Blaskic and protested using
9 Bosnian Muslims to dig trenches; isn't that so?
10 A. I cannot confirm whether they came with that
11 question in mind. I know that international
12 organisations, throughout the year, came to see the
13 commander of the Operative Zone. I can only confirm
14 and speak of the things we did and the certain
15 documents we made to resolve certain problems.
16 MR. HAYMAN: I just want to note an
17 objection, Mr. President. The Prosecutor, it appears,
18 is stalling so he doesn't have to finish his cross
19 today by 1.30. He is asking the exact same questions,
20 exact same questions we heard two and three days ago,
21 and we object.
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I'm trying to move
23 through this as quickly as possible.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Kehoe, continue
25 in this area. This is a witness that you called in,
1 who is the number two operational man who was involved
2 with organising defence lines. And the defence lines,
3 I'm not saying that they -- they could be a
4 probability, that civilian prisoners dug the trenches.
5 I think in all the briefings in the mornings they must
6 have spoken about the organisations of the defence
7 lines, and I regret, Mr. Hayman, for the time being,
8 the judge speaking to you has not yet heard the answer
9 from the number two person in the headquarters of the
11 Please continue and we will continue on the
12 26th if necessary. Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Brigadier, as the chief of operations and
15 when you were the deputy commander, did Blaskic go to
16 the prison at Kaonik, the military prison at Kaonik to
17 determine for himself whether or not Bosnian Muslim
18 prisoners were being taken out to dig trenches? Did he
19 do that?
20 A. I cannot confirm that, whether the General
21 did that.
22 Q. How long did you stay in the headquarters in
23 Vitez? And I'm saying did you stay in there into 1994,
24 were you still serving in September, and October and
25 November of 1993?
1 A. In 1993, yes. Yes, I was, until the
2 Washington Accords. And then in March 1995, I was
3 transferred to another duty in Tomislavgrad.
4 Q. Let me show you an exhibit which is
5 Prosecutor's Exhibit 448, if I may, Mr. Dubuisson,
6 which is a photograph that looks like this.
7 Now, Brigadier, take a look at the three
8 orange circled areas, and I want to focus on the areas
9 over to the right. The areas on the right include the
10 area known as Bobasi, isn't that right?
11 A. Yes, Bobasi.
12 Q. And in September, October and November there
13 was a lot of fighting in the Bobasi area, wasn't there?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. In September, through to November, where --
16 by the way, before I ask that question, how far is
17 Bobasi from the Hotel Vitez?
18 A. Between two-and-a-half and three kilometres.
19 Q. There was testimony before this court that
20 Bosnian Muslims, from September through to November,
21 were being forced to dig trenches in the areas circled
22 in orange, which includes Bobasi. My question for you,
23 Brigadier, as the chief of operations at the time, did
24 you know that Bosnian Muslim males were being taken up
25 to the Bobasi area and forced to dig trenches, on the
2 A. I am not aware of that as concerns Bobasi. I
3 know that the soldiers who were up there and the duty
4 platoons that already existed attached to units, they
5 were digging trenches up there. But in September?
6 Q. Brigadier, are you telling us that you know
7 units were digging trenches, but you know nothing about
8 Bosnian Muslim males being forced to dig trenches? Is
9 that your testimony?
10 A. The trenches were dug by soldiers from the
11 units that were there, and they were dug by work
12 platoons that were established and were attached to the
13 Vitez Brigade.
14 Q. Okay. Brigadier, we will move on to another
15 subject at this point.
16 I want to talk to you, Brigadier, about some
17 of your testimony about Colonel Blaskic when he
18 received information of a crime or information of an
19 event. You testified about how he acted promptly on
20 complete and timely information.
21 Let me just give you a small sampling of some
22 of the items you commented on, the first being on page
23 12.551. You said that, "Whenever General Blaskic had
24 complete and timely information about an event, he
25 would react immediately, so as to deal with the
2 On page 12.561, you note that talking about
3 an exhibit that confirms that the information came to
4 reach General Blaskic in a timely fashion, and he took
5 steps to resolve it.
6 12.566, he -- again commenting that Blaskic,
7 when he received information in a timely fashion, he
8 would take immediate steps.
9 And the last one I will reference you to is
10 12.374, "General Blaskic, whenever he had the
11 opportunity and had timely information, did not wait
12 one second or one minute, he would take measures
13 immediately" -- excuse me, "he would take action
14 immediately and take measures to solve the problem."
15 Now, you also told us, Brigadier -- and I
16 will show you the Defence Exhibit in mind, if I can,
17 Defence Exhibit 379.
18 Now, Defence Exhibit 379, you noted that this
19 was not a full report, yet you noted in your testimony
20 that Colonel Blaskic acted on it, even though it was
21 not full and complete information. And this relates to
22 the destruction of the mosque in Kiseljak, and I refer
23 you to your testimony on 12.615.
24 A. Yes, that is what it says in this document.
25 Q. So, Blaskic, according to your testimony,
1 reacts immediately with timely information that he
2 receives, and even in this instance where he doesn't
3 have complete information, you maintain that he
4 responded to it. Now, let me ask you some preliminary
5 questions about the period of time on the 16th.
6 You were getting a significant amount of
7 information, according to your testimony, from
8 civilians who were calling into the Hotel Vitez about
9 shooting; is that right?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your
11 permission, the Defence would like us to move into
12 closed session now, because we believe that for the
13 reasons we mentioned earlier, we are now getting to
14 that date, and --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have any objection,
16 Mr. Kehoe?
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, at this time I
18 don't have any objection. I certainly don't want to do
19 anything to jeopardise the Brigadier. If something
20 comes out at this point, I guess it's better to be safe
21 at this point, if it doesn't, we can take care of
22 releasing this testimony down the line, or portions of
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will move into a
25 closed session.
1 (Closed session)
13 Pages 13609 to 13628 redacted - in closed session
2 --- On resuming at 2.48 p.m.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing,
4 have the accused brought in and the witness as well.
5 This is now a public session.
6 (Open session)
7 (The accused entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, we're going to
9 finish today at 5.45, therefore, compact your question,
10 concentrate them, focus.
11 MR. KEHOE: I'm trying, judge.
12 JUDGE JORDA: And I'm sure that the witness
13 will do the same for his answers.
14 (The witness entered court)
15 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to inform the
16 Defence that I signed the order calling the witness in
18 Brigadier, I ask that you try to answer as
19 concisely as you can when the questions are asked so
20 that we can finish with the cross-examination by 5.45
22 A. I shall do everything in my power,
23 Mr. President, to be as precise as possible, but the
24 questions, however, dictate the answers.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course. Mr. Kehoe.
1 MR. KEHOE: Thank you Mr. President, Your
2 Honours. If the Brigadier could be given 335, Defence
3 Exhibit 335 again, Mr. Usher. This is the document we
4 were talking about just before lunch.
5 Q. Now, Brigadier, I think you stated --
6 INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Brigadier, this document, Exhibit 335, after
9 Blaskic returned from the meeting in Zenica, whether it
10 was on the 20th or the 21st, this report is the 21st,
11 he told you about the tragedy in Ahmici; didn't he?
12 A. Yes, we confirmed this on several occasions.
13 Q. And Brigadier, so, he knew at that time that
14 HVO soldiers had been involved in a terrible event that
15 took place in Ahmici; isn't that right?
16 A. Yes, he had information on that, that is,
17 that the killing of civilians had taken place and that
18 a large number of houses had been burned.
19 Q. And he also knew that HVO soldiers were
21 A. Nobody else could have participated by the
22 HVO soldiers, so he knew it was the HVO soldiers.
23 Q. So, let me direct your attention, I will read
24 this, and this is a Prosecution Exhibit 184, which is a
25 report by the commission on human rights,
1 Mr. President, that is in both French and English.
2 Now, Blaskic told an investigator for the
3 United Nations Commission on human rights on about the
4 5th of May of 1993, he denied, adamantly denied
5 allegations that HVO soldiers carried out such attacks
6 around Vitez, including Ahmici.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Misquoting the testimony of the
8 Mr. Akhavan, Your Honours. Could we have a quote
10 MR. KEHOE: Sure, I'll gladly give you a
11 quote. Quote, this page 5.297. First of all, I was
12 quoting the report, but I'll gladly quote the
13 transcript as well and this is the transcript of Mr.
14 Payam Akhavan. "Colonel Blaskic did not deny that
15 atrocities had been committed in Ahmici, but he did not
16 try to persuade me that these atrocities had not
17 occurred, but he adamantly denied that any of his
18 soldiers would have been involved in such an
19 operation. I repeated once again, that all evidence
20 linked HVO soldiers to that attack and he repeated his
21 position, that as far as he was concerned, none of his
22 soldiers would have committed such atrocities."
23 MR. HAYMAN: That's right, Mr. President, he
24 said they were not my soldiers and that is what counsel
25 has quoted.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, is this a closed
6 session? If not, I would like to ask for a closed
8 THE REGISTRAR: No, this is an open session,
9 as the Presiding Judge said in the beginning of this
11 JUDGE JORDA: Is there a point in moving to a
12 closed session? Are there really very specific
13 reasons? We're speaking about the accused
14 responsibility, possible responsibility, and the HVO
15 soldiers, but is there a specific reason in respect of
16 the witness? I would like to consult with my
17 colleague, but I would like to know what the reasons
18 are. We can't do everything in closed session,
19 Mr. Nobilo, Mr. Hayman is making signs to me that I
20 don't quite understand, but perhaps you could explain,
21 you or Mr. Hayman.
22 MR. NOBILO: Signals to explain the reasons,
23 and that's why we need a closed session, those were the
24 signals, that we need one.
25 JUDGE JORDA: We can't have a closed session
1 until we explain the reasons for the closed session.
2 Let me consult with my colleague.
3 All right. We're going to, we will have a
4 closed session so that Mr. Nobilo can explain why we're
5 in closed session.
6 (Closed session)
10 Pages 13634 to 13712 redacted - in closed session
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 5.55 p.m. to be reconvened on the 26th
15 day of October, 1998 at 2:00 p.m.