1 Tuesday, 27th October 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.14 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar
5 have the accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court).
7 JUDGE JORDA: First I would like to say good
8 morning to the interpreters in the booths. Good
9 morning. We can be sure that everybody can hear me,
10 the Prosecution, the Defence, and the accused, my
11 colleagues, and now we are going to continue. It is
12 now a quarter after 10, Mr. Kehoe. You have until a
13 quarter to 11. All right?
14 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Judge.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Okay, we can now
16 have General Marin brought in, that is the witness.
17 (The witness entered court).
18 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you that this is
19 a public hearing. Before we begin, I would like to
20 welcome Joelle Sauvage, who is a French legal officer
21 who is the presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber, and
22 I would like to thank the parties and my colleagues as
23 well for having agreed to her having come here. She
24 has been a Judge for a long time, I'm not going to say
25 how long, because it is a woman, it wouldn't be
1 proper. All right, I would like to thank you.
2 All right, Brigadier, Marin, the floor is
3 yours, did you rest up?
4 A. Yes, thank you, Mr. President, thank you for
5 asking me, and good day to you, too.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Good morning, Brigadier.
9 A. Good morning.
10 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, given that we have
11 a half-hour, I would like to expedite our way through
12 some of these issues. If I can just take the Court,
13 based on the documents that the Brigadier reviewed
14 yesterday, and specifically referring to Article 27,
15 again, of Exhibit 533, excuse me, Exhibit 534, which is
16 the decree on the military district courts. If I may
17 read through this, Mr. President, and give the
18 documents to the Court and move on with the
19 questioning, it would speed things up significantly.
20 In Article 27, the third paragraph that notes
21 concerning the powers of a commander to arrest; it
22 notes that a military commander at the position of the
23 commander of the regiment, or at a hierarchically
24 equivalent or higher position, as well as authorised
25 officials of the internal affairs and security bodies
1 and military police, may arrest a person in the
2 military in cases provided for by the Law on Criminal
3 Procedure and ordered custody.
4 If I might have the assistance of the usher.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Is this in, number 2, 27? This
6 is tab 2, but there are several texts; could you tell
7 me which one this is, please?
8 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we are referring
9 to Exhibit 534, the decree on military courts, and we
10 are discussing the accused's power to arrest within the
11 decree on military courts in Article 27.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, all right, my
13 eminent colleague, Judge Riad, has given it to me. Go
15 MR. KEHOE: This cross references,
16 Mr. President, the Law on Criminal Procedure and
17 ordered custody, and I'm referring to Article 191 in
18 that decree.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The following document is
20 537, 537A for the English version.
21 MR. KEHOE: Article 91 of Exhibit 537, Your
22 Honours, says, "Custody shall always be ordered against
23 a person if there is a warranted suspicion that he has
24 committed a crime for which the law prescribes the
25 death penalty."
1 Excuse me, I'm sorry, the transcript says
2 Article 91, and it should read Article 191 in Exhibit
3 537, and that notes that "Custody shall always be
4 ordered against a person if there is a warranted
5 suspicion that he has committed a crime for which the
6 law prescribes the death penalty. Custody need not be
7 ordered if the circumstances indicate that in the
8 particular case involved the law prescribes a less
9 severe penalty may be pronounced.
10 And the reference point is back to Article 41
11 of the criminal code of the Socialist Federal Republic
12 of Yugoslavia, to determine those crimes for which the
13 death penalty is called for. And for that point I
14 would like to go to the criminal code of the Socialist
15 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is the next
17 THE REGISTRAR: 538, 538A for the English
19 MR. KEHOE: In this particular exhibit,
20 Mr. President and Your Honours, this is the law from
21 the criminal code of the Socialist Federal Republic of
22 Yugoslavia, which talks about those crimes for which
23 mandatory custody is warranted.
24 And these crimes, as the Court can review in
25 the particular statutes that are set forth in Exhibit
1 538, include crimes of genocide, crimes against the
2 civilian population, the wounded and the sick,
3 prisoners of war, murder of the enemy who surrender
4 their arms, et cetera; those crimes account for many of
5 the crimes that we are discussing or have been
6 discussing in this trial.
7 So, with those particular references,
8 Mr. President, Your Honour, we will continue to examine
9 the witness on the remaining subjects.
10 Q. Brigadier, in addition to the powers that we
11 discussed previously concerning the accused's power to
12 arrest and investigate, I would like to show you two
13 exhibits, and those are Exhibit 456/74 and
14 Prosecutors Exhibit 456/77.
15 Now, Brigadier, the first order, 456/74 is an
16 order of the accused, Colonel Blaskic, by packet on the
17 24th of October 1992, and it reads as follows: "Mensud
18 Alic, mayor of the JNA, is currently in Trogir. If he
19 should take the road to Travnik, arrest him; and if he
20 resists, execute him."
21 That's Exhibit 456/74. The next exhibit,
22 456/77 is in October of 1993, almost a year later, and
23 this is the 11th of October, 1993. Again, another
24 order executed by Colonel Blaskic, and it goes to all
25 brigades, all commanders of independent units, the
1 Vitezovi, Trvkto, the 4th Military Police Battalion and
2 others and reads as follows: "The rising number of
3 soldiers deserting their positions and defence lines
4 has resulted in the loss of defended facilities and the
5 entire defence lines. In order to prevent such
6 occurrences, I hereby issue the following:
7 1. Undertake the following disciplinary
8 measures against any soldier and their immediate
9 commander who desert defence lines. A) execution of
10 the unit/soldier; B) unit commanders will be declared
11 traitors of the nation and given the most severe
12 sentence of death by firing squad in front of the
14 2. All units and soldiers will be notified
15 of this order.
16 3. This order will come into force
17 immediately, and commanders of brigades and independent
18 units will be responsible to me for its execution."
19 My question for you, Brigadier, as the Chief
20 of Staff and as a man who was close to Colonel
21 Blaskic: Where did Blaskic find the power to order
22 that soldiers and commanders be executed if they desert
23 the lines?
24 A. I do not know the source for issuing
25 authorisations of this kind, but I do recall the
1 contents of this order. I recall the time it was
2 issued, and as far as I know, it was issued on the
3 basis of a command by the head of the main staff. And
4 the object was to frighten the soldiers, that is, to
5 make them become serious in their duties and in
6 connection to their combat assignments. Because we see
7 that the date is the 11th of October 1993, when the HVO
8 and the units in Central Bosnia and in all the enclaves
9 were at their last, on their last strengths.
10 It was, therefore, to frighten the soldiers,
11 because in point 2 it says all units and soldiers
12 should be informed of this order; so this kind of order
13 issued, of course, it was never implemented and the
14 order was never executed over anybody.
15 Q. Well, first off, on this order, Brigadier,
16 there is no reference on this order that such an order
17 was given by the HVO main staff in Mostar; isn't that
19 A. I said, as far as I recall, this document was
20 written on the basis of that. I remember the contents
21 of the document and I remember the object, why it was
22 written and under what circumstances it was written,
23 and I have explained that.
24 Q. And Brigadier, death by firing squad is, of
25 course, the most severe form of penalty that anybody
1 could suffer from; isn't that correct?
2 A. Yes, and in this case, this could never be
3 ordered by General Blaskic, and that is why this
4 particular order, according to its contents, was never
5 put into practice.
6 Nobody was sentenced to death by a firing
7 squad. So, the aim was to make the soldiers more
8 serious and frighten them. And in point 2 it says
9 inform all units and soldiers of this order, so the
10 commanders were given instructions to read out the text
11 to the soldiers so the soldiers would come to realise
12 just how serious the situation was.
13 You can see from the order, the shock terms
14 used by General Blaskic, when he talked about stopping
15 the destruction of houses and the burning of houses and
16 civilians, so he used energetically and most seriously,
17 and all the terms used in that kind of terminology for
18 that particular purpose.
19 Q. You would agree with me, Brigadier, that this
20 particular order, based on the received stamp from Emil
21 Heran, the head of the brigade commander of the Bobovac
22 Brigade was received in Vares.
23 A. Kara (phoen).
24 Q. In Vares.
25 A. Yes, yes, this document, the commander of the
1 brigade in Vares. And this can be seen from the upper
2 right-hand corner. So this document was written, was
3 copied out as he received it from the commander at
4 Operative Zone, and you can see that from the document
6 Q. Now, the first order that you have, Exhibit
7 456/74, which is the other order to execute; was that
8 also based on an order from headquarters? We're
9 talking about the 24th of October, 1992 order, when
10 Mensud Alic was ordered to be arrested, and if he
11 resisted, execute him.
12 So you'll notice it has no reference point
13 back to anything from HVO headquarters.
14 A. For this particular document, number 456/74,
15 I did not know about the document, the text itself
16 speaks of the circumstances, and how to act in those
17 circumstances. I don't know the source of this
18 information, that is, from whence the information came,
19 but Mr. Mensud Alic had started out towards Travnik.
20 But, as far as I know, this did not happen,
21 either. So, I do not know that this happened, that is,
22 that Mr. Mensud turned up, or that he was arrested or
23 that he was killed. I do not know that.
24 Q. Let me shift gears, Brigadier, and talk about
25 punishment given to special purpose units, PPN units.
1 On page 12.189, the question by Mr. Nobilo was as
2 follows: "Tell the Court, could Colonel Blaskic and
3 the disciplinary court and the prosecutor's office,
4 could it punish members of the PPN units?"
5 And your answer was: "No, we do not have the
6 necessary competence for this."
7 Do you recall that statement and do you
8 recall that answer?
9 A. I recall that statement and I recall the
10 answer. And that is how it was.
11 Q. Well, Brigadier, --
12 A. Let me just emphasise that the units which
13 were not within the composition of the Operative Zone,
14 that is to say, those units who were under operative
16 Q. Brigadier, the individual by the name of Zuti
17 was, ran a PPN unit; isn't that right?
18 A. The Zuti units, the yellow units, was within
19 the composition of the Frankopan Brigade, so it was not
20 a unit organisationally linked directly to the Defence
21 Ministry or any other institution. It was a unit
22 which, that is to say, a group of 30 individuals who
23 proclaimed themselves to be special purpose units, and
24 they acted within the frameworks of the Frankopan
25 Brigade, just as a company or platoon within the
1 framework of the brigade.
2 The special purpose units, which were not
3 organisationally linked to the commander of the
4 Operative Zone, was the military police and the
5 Vitezovi, the Knights; whereas, all the other special
6 purpose units were in the composition of the brigades.
7 And they endeavoured, that is to say, they were made up
8 of specially trained individuals. There were 30
9 soldiers, and they proclaimed themselves to be special
10 purpose units, but they acted within the composition of
11 the brigade.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Brigadier, we're not
13 going to go through the entire organisation of the
14 brigade again. What is your question, Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. So, you're telling us that there are some PPN
17 units that Blaskic could have punished and some PPN
18 units that he could not have punished; is that right?
19 A. Yes, units, special purpose units within the
20 frameworks of brigades could be punished by General
21 Blaskic, but the other ones not within the composition
22 of the Operative Zone could not have been punished, and
23 these are the Vitezovi, The Knights, and the military
25 Q. Let's talk about Exhibits 237 and 239. Those
1 are Defence Exhibits 237 and 239, and also Defence
2 Exhibit 213.
3 Brigadier, the first two exhibits, 237 and
4 239, are disciplinary orders, I'm sorry -- are
5 disciplinary orders that were given by Colonel Blaskic
6 against members of the Zuti PPN unit; isn't that right?
7 A. Yes, from this order you can see what I
8 stated a moment ago. And it says that in document
9 number -- just one moment please, 239, on page 1, it
10 states that Borobon Zvenivic and the PPN Zuti, the
11 yellows of the Frankopan Brigade, which means this
12 special purpose unit was within the composition of the
13 Frankopan Brigade.
14 And that is what happened in Novi Travnik,
15 there were others, they were called Grasshoppers there,
16 or any other term. But from this document you can see
17 precisely what I claimed a moment ago.
18 Q. Well, Brigadier, let me show you Defence
19 Exhibit 213, which is the report that was issued by the
20 military police after Zuti and his men broke one of
21 their members out of the military prison in Kaonik.
22 You talked about that report, and you talked about that
23 being a significant event in Central Bosnia; isn't that
25 A. Yes, this was a significant event, first of
1 all, because the members of, with PZO arms came to the
2 command of the military police, so as to influence the
3 outcome related to the detainees from their unit.
4 Q. Brigadier, as the chief of operations did
5 Blaskic ever issue an order to arrest, to investigate,
6 to detain or to otherwise discipline any member or Zuti
7 or any member of his unit for this outrageous piece of
8 conduct that you discussed during your direct
10 A. As far as I recall, yes, an investigation was
11 initiated. The outcome of it is not known, and the
12 punishment, the sanctions proclaimed are not known.
13 Had I, if I had the document, I would recall it,
14 perhaps, as I do the event. But I do know that an
15 investigation was initiated.
16 Q. So, Brigadier, you recall the event, but you
17 don't recall the result of any investigation of this
18 outrageous event; is that your testimony?
19 A. I do not remember the outcome of the
20 investigation. I said that as far as investigations
21 are concerned, I told you what I can say about it. If
22 somebody conducted an investigation, in this case I
23 imagine this should have been the security service.
24 Q. Well, Brigadier, let me ask you another
25 question: So, you said there are PPN units that Zuti,
1 that Blaskic could have disciplined, but other special
2 purpose units, like the Vitezovi, that Blaskic could
3 not discipline; is that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. When did it become evident to Blaskic and to
6 you and to other members in the HVO staff that members
7 of the Vitezovi had committed war crimes?
8 A. I personally, I personally did not have any
9 concrete facts or events proving that the Vitezovi unit
10 had committed a crime.
11 Q. Did Blaskic?
12 A. As far as I know, he did not. But if I
13 didn't know, and I'm speaking in my own name, because
14 had General Blaskic known I would have known, too.
15 Q. So, as far as you know, there were no facts
16 in the possession of either Blaskic or you that the
17 Vitezovi had committed any war crimes at all; is that
18 your testimony?
19 A. Please, I am responsible for the Vitezovi
20 unit as a whole. But whether an individual from
21 Vitezovi, or a group of five or ten, or six people
22 committed certain war crimes, that I cannot confirm.
23 But, the unit, as such, whether it received orders from
24 General Blaskic, and whether they did that, I don't
25 know. Or rather I know they never got the order to do
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there is a
3 mistranslation. The witness said that he is
4 responsible, but he meant that he was responding, that
5 he is replying to the question. And answering a
6 question and answering to someone is a different
7 thing. So, please let us clarify this with the
8 witness. Is he answerable for the actions of the
9 Vitezovi, or is he answering the question put to him?
10 JUDGE JORDA: What was the question,
11 Mr. Kehoe?
12 MR. KEHOE: We're moving down on the list,
13 I'm not sure what the translation was. The folks in
14 the translation booth translated what the witness
15 said. If they want to ask in redirect to clarify it, I
16 invite them to do so. The time is running out, I have
17 questions I would like to get through before this.
18 MR. HAYMAN: If we could have a copy of that
19 page of the transcript for, if the Court can provide
20 that, we don't have a way to generate that immediately;
21 otherwise it's lost, that's why Mr. Nobilo mentioned
22 it, because if we don't mention it, it's lost.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Registrar, can we have a copy
24 of that page?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, of course.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, continue, you still
2 have three minutes.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Brigadier, when was the first time that you
5 and Blaskic and the other headquarters concluded that
6 the 4th military police had committed war crimes?
7 A. I don't have interpretation.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Is it working now? Do you hear
9 now, Brigadier?
10 A. I never, in 1993, or today, was in the
11 opportunity, or did I have at my disposal facts that
12 would show that the military police had committed war
14 Q. Brigadier, let me ask you some questions. To
15 your knowledge as chief of operations and as the deputy
16 commander, did Blaskic ever arrest, punish, discipline,
17 or dismiss any HVO commander or soldier for burning
18 Muslim property, for destroying Muslim sacral objects,
19 such as mosques, for killing Muslim civilians or
20 non-combatants, for forcing Muslim civilians and
21 prisoners of war to dig trenches, for using Muslims and
22 prisoners of war as human shields, plundering and
23 looting Muslim property, unlawfully detaining Muslim
24 civilians or unlawfully detaining Muslim civilians at a
25 headquarters which is likely to be armed by hostile
1 fire; all of those things, do you know of Blaskic ever
2 arresting, punishing, disciplining any commander or any
3 subordinate for any of that stuff, at any time? And if
4 you do, please tell the Judges about it.
5 A. I am not aware of that, but I do know the
6 following: That for destroying the mosque in Kiseljak
7 he issued orders to investigate this event; that he
8 issued orders to prohibit most strictly the destruction
9 of mosques, and unsoldierly conduct with civilians; and
10 everything else, as far as actions towards civilians is
11 concerned, and which is in contravention to the Geneva
12 Conventions, I said General Blaskic, that he did have
13 the name and surname of -- had General Blaskic had the
14 name and surname of the person who had burned and
15 looted, he would have prosecuted him.
16 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I'm almost
17 completed these are the last three questions.
18 Q. Brigadier, take the Kiseljak mosque. After
19 that issue of the destruction of the Kiseljak mosque
20 came to the attention of Blaskic, was anybody in the
21 HVO prosecuted or disciplined for the destruction of
22 the mosque in Kiseljak?
23 A. As far as the mosque in Kiseljak is
24 concerned, the order that we saw here, I don't know
25 whether it was introduced by the Defence or the
1 Prosecution, it is evident that General Blaskic ordered
2 the commander of the operative group, or rather the
3 commander of the Brigade Ban Jelacic, to investigate
4 and ascertain facts related to this event. The reasons
5 for this are well-known to us.
6 Q. Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, Mr.
7 President, with the time constraints; the question is a
8 yes or no.
9 Did you, was anybody disciplined for the
10 destruction of the Kiseljak mosque? Yes or no.
11 A. As far as I know, nobody was by General
12 Blaskic. Now, whether the commander of the Ban Jelacic
13 Brigade, according to the orders received from General
14 Blaskic, did he get a name or surname and take action,
15 that I don't know, but as far as I know, General
16 Blaskic did not.
17 Q. Now, when you were serving as a deputy
18 military prosecutor, was anybody disciplined in the HVO
19 for any of the crimes that we talked about?
20 Was anybody disciplined for any of these
21 crimes directed against the Muslim population; the
22 burning of property, the destroying of mosques, killing
23 of Muslim civilians, et cetera? To your knowledge, was
24 anybody disciplined in the HVO?
25 A. For such events, as far as I know, no one was
1 punished, and I already said why there were no names,
2 but may I recall -- Mr. President, may I just tell you
3 one thing?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Brigadier, I think that you
5 have explained the reasons. You don't have to justify
6 yourself. We're simply asking a question. The
7 question was to know whether, in fact, there were or
8 there were not -- there was or there wasn't any
9 punishment. That's point of the question. Do you
10 still have another question, Mr. Kehoe?
11 MR. KEHOE: One final question.
12 JUDGE JORDA: This is the last. You're
13 forcing me to be like a football referee, because we're
14 counting this down. I know there were technical
15 interruptions but it's the last question, Mr. Kehoe.
16 MR. KEHOE: Brigadier, the bottom line is; as
17 far as you know, no HVO members are either prosecuted
18 or disciplined by the military authorities for the
19 crimes that we talked about, the burning of Muslim
20 property, the destroying of Muslim sacred sites, et
22 JUDGE JORDA: That's not a question,
23 Mr. Kehoe. Ask your question. You're making a comment
24 about the answer of the -- so you're going to finish
25 with your comment or you're going to finish with the
1 question? You were allowed one question, no comments.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Brigadier, no one was ever disciplined and no
4 one was ever prosecuted for any of these crimes; isn't
5 that right?
6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President --
7 Mr. President --
8 JUDGE JORDA: The question was asked.
9 Mr. Nobilo, do you have amenity you'd like to make?
10 MR. NOBILO: Exactly what you said just now.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I think that you have finished,
13 Mr. Kehoe.
14 MR. KEHOE: I have finished, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE JORDA: This is for the Defence and for
16 the Prosecution: When the parties are limited in time,
17 they must ask questions very directly and very
18 concisely. Remember, Mr. Kehoe, we could have been
19 more concise and more direct for several days already.
20 All right. The cross-examination is now
21 finished. You know that according to the Rules and
22 Statutes the Defence counsel can now use the witness
23 for re-examination. You spoke about how many -- how
24 much time? Do you think that you're going to finish by
25 1.00, Mr. Nobilo? There's going to be a break, as we
1 ordinarily have, around 11.20.
2 MR. NOBILO: I'm afraid that according to my
3 calculations, after more than two weeks of
4 cross-examination the two hours or two and a half hours
5 would be the minimum time I require, but I'm really
6 going to act in haste, and I'm going to put a minimum
7 of questions and we have no intention of keeping the
8 Brigadier longer than necessary.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to speak with my
10 colleagues once again. We spoke a little bit together
11 last night, but I would like to consult them again.
12 Mr. Nobilo, Mr. Hayman, for your
13 re-examination you have until 1.00, and then you will
14 have 30 minutes when we begin again in the afternoon.
15 That's 30 minutes between 2.30 and 3.00.
16 MR. HAYMAN: So it be, Mr. President, we
17 respect your order, but we object, having placed us
18 under an overall limit, which would properly
19 incentivise the Defence to use its time wisely, to
20 place specific time limits on our examination,
21 particularly two and half or less than two and a half
22 hours after two weeks of cross-examination, I think
23 that is inconsistent with the framework that the Court
24 established in terms of an overall time limit.
25 If there is an overall time limit, this is
1 the Defence's time, and if Mr. Nobilo needs two and a
2 half hours or two hours and 45 minutes, we submit that
3 hold us to our overall limit, but you should not place
4 this type of additional limit on us, because it has no
5 effect on the overall length of the trial. Unlike a
6 limit on the Prosecutor's time, he was not using his
7 time, he was using our time, as I understand the
8 Court's ruling, during cross-examination. So we were
9 not similarly situated with the Prosecutor, and there
10 is not the same reason or justification to put a
11 specific time limit on redirect. I think Mr. Nobilo
12 has said he's going to move quickly and expeditiously.
13 JUDGE JORDA: That may give you an answer.
14 Let me remind you from the Rules and Statute, the
15 Judges have a right to say at what point they consider
16 that they have been sufficiently informed about all of
17 the questions that were dealt with. That's the basic
18 and legal point. In fact, we could go on and on
19 speaking about the time that you've been given, and,
20 Mr. Hayman, you could even be given, as part of the
21 Defence time, another eight days for your
22 re-examination, but we Judges, we consider that after
23 three weeks of hearing this witness, it is now time to
24 conclude, and that by giving you two or two and a half
25 hours for re-examination is sufficient to allow you to
1 clarify the questions that you want to ask, and which
2 allow you to respond to some parts of the
3 cross-examination. Let us not waste any more time
5 Judge Riad says that you yourself are the one
6 who said it was for two hours or two and a half hours.
7 Let's not waste any more time. If you agree go, Mr.
8 Nobilo, go right into your re-examination,
9 understanding that it will be over at 3.00. Go ahead.
10 Re-examined by Mr. Nobilo:
11 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 So at this point in time we start, and I
13 suggest that we place on the ELMO this document so that
14 the numbers could be seen, please. Could I please
15 approach the easel?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Nobilo, the documents
17 which you are giving us here are D406 and 408 and 404;
18 is that correct?
19 MR. NOBILO: And 407 and 408, but it's not
20 important to have all those documents now, but for
21 orienting the Prosecutors.
22 Q. Brigadier Marin, the Presiding Judge,
23 Mr. Jorda, also said -- noted that the numbers on the
24 orders of General Blaskic were rising, jumping. I
25 think that was the word used by the Judge. So could
1 you explain to the Court how these numbers were formed
2 by using, as an example, some of the documents we
3 already introduced, D405, D404, D406, D407 and D408.
4 So do you please explain to the Court how these numbers
5 were established?
6 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the
7 establishment of numbers in 1993, in the command of the
8 operative zone, was defined by the very internal
9 organisation of this command. The establishment of a
10 number was done in the following way: I draw your
11 attention to the following schematic. Number 01,
12 number 01, that is a document, a document. That is to
13 say, when a document is --
14 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. On the
15 screen -- I don't see it on the screen. What is it, --
16 all right. I think we should see it on the screen.
17 A. This is 406 now; right?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right.
19 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps the camera could zoom in
20 on this number -- this document.
21 A. Mr. President, that is to say, every
22 document -- every document where General Blaskic's
23 text -- name is at the end of the text, that means
24 that his document, and the reference number is 01.
25 Now, we do have on the monitor 406. That is
1 this document, and also the same goes for number 405.
2 That is to say that General Blaskic had the number 01.
3 The head of staff had number 02. This is a document of
4 the head of staff. This is document 407.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Just a minute, please.
7 A. Or document 408. It's all the same.
8 Document 408 shows the same thing. Further on, the
9 operational department that I headed had number 03, et
11 That is to say, that in the command of the
12 operative zone, the establishment of numbers, these
13 reference numbers was conducted as follows: We had
14 organisational units, and then we started from the
15 commander, 01; the head of staff, 02; operative --
16 operations, 03; and then 04 was logistics.
17 Q. To the best of your recollection, how many
18 departments were there -- or, rather, how many numbers
19 were there such as 01, 02, et cetera, that were used
20 when setting up this reference number?
21 A. Documents. To the best of my recollection,
22 when these numbers were allocated in the command from
23 01 onwards, as far as I can remember, it went from 01
24 to 010. I could put this much more clearly if I had
25 all the departments here now, but --
1 Q. Let us try to shorten these proceedings, our
2 time is short, and what did this reference number
3 consist of, what numbers?
4 A. Reference number -- when this reference
5 number is set up, it consisted of the following: That
6 is to say, of the person who is the signatory of the
7 document. If it is the commander, then it's his
8 number. Then the month when the document was
9 created -- the month when the document was created, and
10 also the registered number -- I mean, that was
11 registered in the book that was kept.
12 MR. HAYMAN: He's pointing to something and
13 the translation comes five, or six or ten seconds
14 later. The Judges --
15 JUDGE JORDA: I think that Mr. Hayman is
16 objecting to his own witness.
17 MR. NOBILO: No, but we are under pressure,
18 under time pressure.
19 MR. HAYMAN: We have to slow down,
20 Mr. President. This is very important, very
21 complicated, very detailed, and it may take half an
22 hour to explain but it's very important, and I'm just
23 trying to --
24 JUDGE JORDA: Ask your witness, Mr. Hayman.
25 Mr. Hayman, the problem of time relates very much to
1 the way that the witness answers. I wanted to say that
2 to you a while back. You are now suffering yourself in
3 that the witness is unable to answer concisely. You
4 can't do anything about it, nor can I, and we are
5 wasting a lot of time.
6 Brigadier, try to be clear and concise when
7 you give your answers. We can ask this from an
8 important military official. It can't be asked of all
9 witnesses, but we can ask you. Each time you're asked
10 a question, you go into very long comments, and this is
11 why we have spent three weeks. Try to answer -- this
12 is not the Prosecution but the Defence asking the
13 question. Try to answer clearly and concisely.
14 Mr. Nobilo, ask your question again but ask
15 it clearly, and think about the interpreters. And this
16 is for my benefit as well.
17 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
18 you, Mr. President. I shall try to guide the witness
19 with my questions so that we would shorten this.
20 Q. So, Brigadier, you said that every department
21 had its own designating number from 01 to 010?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that that is the first part of the
24 reference number?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What is the second part of the reference
3 A. The second part of the reference number is
4 the month when the document was created.
5 Q. How is the third part of the reference number
7 A. The third part of the reference number is
8 established on the basis of the order in which
9 documents arrive in the General Services Unit. So, for
10 example, if there were 10 documents registered before a
11 new document arrives, then the next document that
12 arrives will be number 11, the document after that will
13 be 12, et cetera, et cetera.
14 Q. Is it your testimony that in the general
15 office you had one book of registry and one series of
17 A. Yes, that is so, and you can see this from
18 this schematic on the establishment of a reference
20 Q. Does that mean, for example, that when
21 Colonel Blaskic, in document 405, is number 271, and
22 after that you take up number -- the next numbers, and
23 all the members of the operations department of Central
24 Bosnia go in the same order, and then when Colonel
25 Blaskic writes his next document, then there is a
1 difference from 271 to 366 in the same month?
2 A. Yes, precisely. That is what it means. That
3 is what I explained before you put your question.
4 Q. Is that the reason why one person, regardless
5 of whether it is Colonel Blaskic or you as the barer of
6 number 03, have such different serial numbers within
7 the same day and the same week?
8 A. Yes, that is the main difference involved.
9 And the difference between numbers is affected by the
10 number of the documents that was created that day in
11 the command, whether it was in logistics in the
12 command, in the commander's office. So the sum of all
13 these documents that were created in that day is equal
14 to the number of documents that were registered that
15 day. The registration of every document went in a
16 certain order.
17 If my document was created at 12.00, it was
18 registered as being created at 12.00. If I made a
19 document at 3.00 and if somebody else used reference
20 numbers in the meantime, then perhaps it will be a
21 difference of 3, 5 or 10 numbers. That is the kind of
22 system we had of reference numbers in the command of
23 the operative zone.
24 Q. Brigadier, could you tell us, to the best
25 your recollection --
1 MR. KEHOE: Thank you.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Brigadier, could you tell us, to the best of
4 your recollection, when did you introduce this system
5 of numbers and when did you move on to a different
6 system of numbers?
7 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this system of
8 numbers, this one here, as far as I remember, we
9 introduced in mid December 1992, or the end of December
10 1992. I cannot recall the exact date. And this was
11 internal within the command of the operative zone.
12 When we got, from the Ministry of Defence,
13 concrete instructions with numbers, then in the command
14 of the operative zone and in the subordinate units that
15 were within the command of the operative zone, we gave
16 this assignment and we acted according to the
17 instructions of the Ministry of Defence. To the best
18 of my recollection, such a document did not arrive from
19 the Ministry until the end of 1993 or the beginning of
21 Q. Brigadier, what we see here on this paper,
22 who wrote this?
23 A. I made this schematic on the basis of the
24 documents that were introduced by the Defence and the
25 Prosecution, because these documents were numbered this
1 document, this document, this document, so that on
2 every copy that has one one could see how this number
3 was made.
4 MR. NOBILO: I kindly ask the registrar to
5 tender this -- to register this, and I tender it into
7 JUDGE JORDA: Give it a number, a very simple
8 number. What will the number be?
9 THE REGISTRAR: It will be D411.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. Brigadier, let's move to another area. At
13 the beginning of the cross-examination you answered the
14 Prosecutor's questions as to the numbers of the
15 commands in the operative zone, and you introduced a
16 document which stated that the operative zone and the
17 command of the operative zone should have 105
18 individuals. The Defence showed you a document dated
19 August 1993, as opposed to the first document which was
20 1992, which stated that the command should have 60
21 people. Could you tell the Trial Chamber -- please,
22 now, you are working in the Federal army, you are head
23 of the main staff of what is the equivalent of the
24 corps for the operative zone.
25 Tell the Court, please, in peacetime, that is
1 to say not in wartime, effectively speaking, how many
2 people work in the command in the Croatian component of
3 the army of the Federation?
4 A. Mr. President, in the command of the -- and
5 the staff today in peacetime, we have about 109, 110
6 people working there.
7 Q. In peacetime, how many soldiers do you have?
8 A. In peacetime, that is to say today, the first
9 guard has about -- corps has about 10,500 soldiers.
10 Q. And if there were to be a war, how many would
11 you be?
12 A. In wartime, that is to say wartime
13 formations, the command of the first guard formation
14 would have -- the corps would have 220,000 (sic)
16 Q. Now, on the 16th of April the war broke out
17 with the Muslims, and up to the first cease-fire of the
18 20th of April, that is to say in the four days of the
19 most intensive fighting, how many of you were in the
20 command of the Central Bosnia operative zone?
21 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the days you
22 mentioned, that is to say, from the 16th up to the
23 cease-fire, in the command of the operative zone there
24 were seven people working there.
25 Q. There has been a mistake. It says that the
1 corps has 220,000 people. That was an error. In the
2 command of the corps in wartime the figure was 220
3 individuals. So there has been a misinterpretation, it
4 was not 220,000 but 220.
5 I'm going to ask you again, Brigadier, in
6 case of war, in your corps, which is the equivalent for
7 the operative zone, how many members would the staff
9 A. There should be 220, 220 workers, 220 members
10 of the command.
11 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to another area.
12 We have been speaking at length about the educational
13 and training structure, and you maintained that in the
14 operative zone of Central Bosnia there were only three
15 officers who had military academy training and
16 experience in command posts, officers' posts, from the
17 JNA. The Prosecutor showed you a series of names of
18 individuals who were reservists, reserve officers, and
19 who, during their military service, for six months
20 attended a school for reserve officers.
21 Do you still maintain that you did not have
22 educated officers for the types of assignments and
23 professional tasks in the operative zone of Central
24 Bosnia in 1992 and 1993?
25 A. Yes, I maintain that now, as well, and I note
1 that in the brigades and in the command of the
2 operative zone, that is to say of all the officers who
3 were on duty there, nobody was capacitated to perform
4 tasks that were entrusted to him at that time. And me
5 too, as the commander of the operative department, was
6 not trained to perform the assignments I was given
7 because I had not been to the corresponding schools to
8 perform those assignments, but the situation was such
9 and I performed my duties.
10 Q. Brigadier, tell the Trial Chamber, please,
11 when somebody goes to school for -- a reserve officer
12 school for six months, which the JNA organised during
13 military service, what rank would he receive?
14 A. After emerging from this particular school
15 for non-commissioned officers, the rank would be First
16 Lieutenant. When he goes back to his civilian duties
17 and he has his wartime assignments, in his years of
18 service, that is while he is a reservist, unless he
19 performs professional duties he could reach the rank of
20 Captain First Class. That is to say, he could perform
21 the duty after commander of a company and have command
22 over 110 to 120 individuals -- soldiers.
23 Q. Could you tell the Court, please, in the
24 command of the operative zone, did anybody -- was
25 anybody capacitated to perform the functions command of
1 the main staff?
2 A. In the command of the operative zone, of all
3 of us who were there at the time, nobody had been
4 trained to perform the functions he was, in fact,
5 performing, and neither was General Blaskic. Why?
6 Because General Blaskic was trained and capacitated for
7 a company commander. He had the rank of Captain First
8 Class, but he had not graduated from any command school
9 or main staff school, and he was performing functions
10 of a two star general.
11 Q. Brigadier, at least on paper, at one point
12 you had 12 brigades, as much as 12 brigades. Now, tell
13 the Court, to command a brigade in every conventional
14 type of army, what rank must you hold and what kind of
15 experience must you have?
16 A. In order to command a brigade in an organised
17 army, you have to be a Colonel and have completed a
18 school for commanding officers.
19 Q. Of the 12 commanders of the brigade, did any
20 one of them have such schooling? Had he completed --
21 graduated from a school of that kind?
22 A. None of our brigade commanders had graduated
23 from any school of that kind.
24 Q. So you had 12 brigades, and on an average,
25 each brigade had, let us say, three battalions, which
1 makes a total of 36 battalions. So tell the Court,
2 please, the commanders of the 36 battalions, did you
3 have a single man commanding one of the 36 battalions
4 having the prescribed educational level and training to
5 command a battalion?
6 A. No, we did not, because an officer, if he
7 were to have the prescribed educational levels to
8 perform battalion commander, would have to have the
9 rank of major, he would have had to have completed
10 military academy, and have completed a course in
11 command, and in our battalions we did not have a single
12 individual of that type.
13 Q. Now, if we had 36 battalions and each
14 battalion had, let us say, three to four companies,
15 without going into mathematical calculation, we are
16 talking about 100 commanders of the companies, as you
17 had reserve officers who were capacitated to command
18 companies, can you then tell us whether at the level of
19 companies you had trained officers who were able to
20 command companies?
21 A. No, we did not have trained and capacitated
22 commanders of companies. Why not? Because the
23 officers who had been equipped and trained to command a
24 company, had completed school, that they were at posts
25 of the commanders of battalions and brigades in the
1 commands of brigades, and in the commands of the
2 operative zone. So that the commanders of the
3 companies and platoons, in practical terms, were people
4 without any kind of military training. That is to say,
5 they were individuals who were chosen by the members of
6 the units to be commanded by them in their villages and
7 in the places where these units were set up and
9 Q. You said that Tihomir Blaskic, the accused,
10 had the rank of First Class Captain and had been
11 trained to command a company. How many men does a
12 company have?
13 A. A company has between 100 to 120 men,
14 depending on the kind of company it is. One hundred to
15 one hundred and twenty soldiers.
16 Q. Tell the Court, please, which rank and how
17 many years of experience would a commander have to have
18 of an operative zone or corps, whichever you like?
19 A. According to our organisation so far, and the
20 first guard corps, which is based on NATO standards,
21 the commander of an operative zone or commander of a
22 corps would have to be a two star general, and he would
23 have had to have completed his military academy or
24 military school, staff schools, war schools, command
25 schools, and at least 15 to 20 years of active service
1 in the army with, of course, very good results in his
2 work, and tried and tested capabilities of command.
3 Q. The Prosecutor showed you document 476, which
4 represented the structure of the fourth corps of the
5 Yugoslav People's Army. Tell the Court, please, having
6 looked at the document and studied it, what were you
7 able to ascertain? How many officers and what level
8 was envisaged for the command of the corps of that
10 A. Having analysed the structure of the
11 commanding officers of the 4th Corps offered by the
12 Prosecutor, I ascertained the following: In that
13 particular corps there should have been one officer
14 with rank of General, 62 higher ranking officers, that
15 is to say Majors or Colonels, 25 First Class Captains,
16 and if we add this together, 91 officers in the command
17 of a corps of the rank shown to us and in the documents
18 shown to us by the Prosecutor.
19 Q. And you had seven during the April war?
20 A. Yes, that is -- those are the facts.
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, let me move on to
22 another area now, and I would have to prepare some
23 documents for that. So perhaps we could take a break
24 at this point.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. The interpreters also
1 need a break. We'll take a 20-minute break.
2 --- Recess taken at 11.20 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
5 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
6 (The accused entered court).
7 JUDGE JORDA: I am sorry for the delay. I am
8 adjusting, but the clocks are not all the same in the
9 Tribunal. You're not going to have 30 minutes, but 40
10 minutes this afternoon, Mr. Nobilo, so you can be
11 reassured. But that does not apply to the Prosecution,
12 or did not apply to the Prosecution this morning.
13 Mr. Nobilo, go ahead.
14 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Let us move to a new area. The Prosecutor
16 showed you documents from which it emerged that in the
17 Operative Zone you were commanded to determine in which
18 units there were members of the Croatian army, the HV;
19 and you said that you received a command from the main
20 staff and that you further sent it further down the
22 Tell the Court, please, what was the reason
23 for you to issue a command to the brigades to determine
24 who belonged, and whether in your area there were
25 members of the Croatian army, although you knew there
1 were no such members? Why did you issue this order?
2 What was the reason for issuing an order under these
4 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the order by
5 General Blaskic, the commander of the Operative Zone,
6 concerning data on whether there were officers of the
7 Croatian army in our brigades was written and came into
8 being on the basis of an order from the head of the
9 main staff.
10 It was on the basis of that order that we had
11 to write our own order, in turn, and in the text, and
12 according to its contents, it is exactly the same as
13 the commander of the main staff. Had the commander of
14 the main staff sent a questionnaire as to whether we
15 had formations linked to this, then we could answer on
16 the basis of our facts and figures; but the order was
17 given, so it had to be dispatched to the commands of
18 subordinate units, as I said.
19 Q. However, this order, its preamble does not
20 refer to the commander of the chief of the main staff,
21 which you issued in the Operative Zone; how do you
22 explain this?
23 A. Well, why there is no preamble, that is to
24 say, the preamble on the title of the document, on the
25 basis of which our order was written, as I know the man
1 who wrote it, he does not have military training at
2 all, and I think that is one of the main reasons that
3 is not stated here, because he wrote this order in a
4 non-professional way.
5 Q. Would you now take a look, please, at two
6 documents, one of them is 406, P406/26, and the other
7 is 406/27, and another document, 406, was issued by
8 Tihomir Blaskic and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,
9 and the second document, 406/27, was issued by Zeljko
10 Siljeg, the commander of the Operative Zone of
11 north-western Herzegovina.
12 And to make matters short, I am going to read
13 Blaskic's order, and what is required. With each of my
14 sentences, you can read what Siljeg asked for.
15 And it is an order from the Operative Zone
16 dated the 5th of October, 1992, and the order of the
17 Operative Zone for north-western Herzegovina of the 6th
18 of October. So, I'm going to read your Operative Zone
19 Central Bosnia order.
20 The first thing you asked for is the first
21 name, the father's name and the last name.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Just one moment, please. Now, read out
24 exactly what Zeljko Siljeg asked for in the 2nd
25 Operative Zone a day later.
1 A. The command to the north-western Herzegovina
2 Brigades with its headquarters in Tomislavgrad, and he
3 is asking of its units the first name, father's name
4 and last name, he is asking for that, too.
5 Q. And now I'm reading the second line of the
6 order: The date of birth, the place and municipality
7 of birth, that is what Blaskic is calling for; and he
8 is calling for the same; the date, place and
9 municipality of birth.
10 And now I'm reading the third line of
11 Blaskic's order, which is the personal number, rank and
12 a number of the promotion of the decree. What is
13 Siljeg asking for?
14 A. The same, the JNB, the personal
15 identification number, and the rank and promotion
17 Q. So, Mr. President, everything else is
18 identical, too, so this will save us reading the
19 document in full.
20 What do you deduce from the fact that in two
21 orders in two Operative Zones the same wording, the
22 same text is used, the same commas, if you will, and in
23 fact, it is absolutely identical; what can you conclude
24 from that?
25 A. From this I conclude that this order, in the
1 command of the Operative Zone, was written on the basis
2 of the order from the commander of the main staff,
3 which sent his order to all the Operative Zones, and
4 here we have an example of the Operative Zone for
5 north-western Herzegovina.
6 According to the date of the document, you
7 can see these two documents were written on the basis
8 of the command from the commander of the main staff.
9 Q. Now, may I have documents 406, P407?
10 These are also two orders issued by Blaskic
11 and Zeljko Siljeg, that is to say, commanders of two
12 Operative Zones, both orders are dated the 12th of
13 April, 1994; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I'm going to read a text from Blaskic's
16 order, the first sentence, point 1, and then you read
17 point 1 from Siljeg.
18 So, Blaskic says, "Submit a list of all
19 officers of--
20 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Your Honour, what
21 exhibit is that?
22 MR. NOBILO: 406/54 and 406/55, Prosecutor's
24 MR. KEHOE: I understand. You didn't mention
25 those, or they didn't come across in the translation.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. So, we have two orders which speak of
3 establishing a list of Croatian officers into the HVO.
4 I'm reading point 1 of Blaskic's order from the 12th of
5 April, 1993.
6 "Submit a list of all officers of the
7 Croatian army in your units and commands."
8 Please read point 1 of the order issued by
9 Zeljko Siljeg from Operative Zone Central Bosnia dated
10 the same date, that is to say, the 12th of April 1993,
11 north-west Herzegovina that is.
12 A. "Submit the list of all Croatian army
13 officers present in your units and headquarters."
14 Q. I am reading the second point of the Tihomir
15 Blaskic's order.
16 "In addition to the name, give the father's
17 name, last name, number of the order with which he was
18 sent to the HVO, rank and number of transfer decree,"
19 and now there is something illegible. We cannot see
20 quite clearly because it is illegible. Could you
21 please read these few words from the order of Colonel
23 A. Rank and transfer --
24 Q. No, no, from the very beginning, read point
1 A. In the order of the Operative Zone of
2 north-west Herzegovina it says: "In addition to name,
3 father's name and last name, submit the orders which
4 authorised his referral to the HVO, rank and number of
5 decree of promotion, (reserve and career), the duty he
6 is currently carrying out in your army and the duties
7 he has carried out so far."
8 Q. Brigadier, tell us, these two texts, are they
9 literally identical?
10 A. Yes, these two texts are absolutely
11 identical, and they were created on the basis of the
12 order of the head of the main staff, which is clear
13 from the preamble of the command issued by the
14 commander of north-west Herzegovina, and which is also
15 obvious from the date that was created when this was
16 created in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, and of
17 north-west Herzegovina respectively, and that is the
18 12th of April, 1993.
19 Q. So, the order from the Operative Zone of
20 north-west Herzegovina has a preamble, and it is shown
21 on which basis this order is issued, and the order from
22 Central Bosnia does not have a preamble. Could you
23 read the preamble of the order from north-west
25 A. "Pursuant to the order issued by the main
1 staff of the HZ H-B number 01-618/83 of the 12th of
2 April, 1993, and with the purpose of completing the
3 records and defining the status of Croatian army
4 officers in the HVO, I issue the following order."
5 Q. All right. So, do you still maintain that
6 you issued orders on checking whether there are members
7 of the Croatian army in your Operative Zone?
8 A. Exclusively on the basis of the orders issued
9 by the higher command, yes, I maintain that assertion,
10 and I maintain the assertion that in the command and
11 the units of the operative command of Central Bosnia
12 there were no officers of the Croatian army or soldiers
13 of the Croatian army.
14 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to a new area.
15 I'm asking for document 406/56, Prosecutor's Exhibit
17 Brigadier, if you remember the Prosecutor
18 showed you this document. This is a letter of the HVO
19 of the Travnik municipality, that is to say, the
20 civilian structures of the Travnik municipality sent to
21 the president of the Republic of Croatia, Franjo
22 Tudjman. I'm going to read out to you a quotation
23 which I believe is relevant, and then I'm going to put
24 a few questions to you.
25 The quotation in the original is on page 2 in
1 the last section, where it says: "Dear Mr. President,"
2 in the middle of this paragraph, "It would be helpful
3 to us if, from the Republic of Croatia, which is being
4 used as a country of transit, it would be very helpful
5 if you would prevent the entry of foreign nationals
6 which come from Islamic countries and who are fighting
7 here in the ranks of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 and who are fighting against everything that is
9 Croatian and Christian here." And then the next
11 "It would be very helpful if you would, once
12 again, instruct your assistants to send to this area
13 senior officers of the Croatian army headed by General
14 Praljak to consolidate our units in the Lasva Valley."
15 Brigadier, what is your comment, in view of
16 the fact that the municipality of Travnik, that is to
17 say, a civilian structure, is writing to the president
18 of a different state?
19 Is this something that should be customary?
20 A. It is obvious from this letter that the
21 municipal authorities are directly addressing the
22 president of a state, which is to say that they are
23 behaving as a state, as one state. About these
24 problems, they should be writing to the central
25 authorities of Herceg-Bosna, or of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina; however, they don't do that.
2 They are directly addressing the president of
3 a state, and they are avoiding all other institutions,
4 side stepping them. And this most evidently shows how
5 municipal authorities behaved, and this is only one
7 Q. All right, thank you. Another question. The
8 civilian structures of one municipality ask for
9 military officers which should come to the Lasva Valley
10 and consolidate the defence; what does that say to you,
11 and what is your comment on that?
12 A. This directly speaks of the following: That
13 municipal authorities have an influence over military
14 affairs, and that they directly wish to influence
15 personnel policies in the army.
16 But it also shows another thing, which I kept
17 highlighting here, and that is that the municipal
18 authorities are concluding that there aren't any
19 trained officers, that is to say, officers who are
20 trained for the posts that they hold, and that they are
21 trying to find them in this way, in another state.
22 Q. Brigadier, please tell the Court, General
23 Praljak, who was then a general in the Croatian army,
24 with his officers, had he come to the Lasva Valley,
25 what would that have meant? Who would have commanded
1 the Lasva Valley?
2 A. Had General Praljak, as requested by the
3 municipal authorities, come to the command of the
4 Operative Zone, it is logical that, due to his rank, he
5 would have been commanding the Operative Zone, and the
6 officers who would have come with him would have
7 performed certain duties instead of us who were there
8 in the command of the Operative Zone.
9 However, according to this letter, according
10 to the request made by this letter, these officers
11 never came. General Praljak never came to command the
12 Operative Zone.
13 Q. This letter was written on the 12th of April,
14 1993. On the 16th of April, 1993, four days later, war
15 broke out. In those four days, did anyone come from
16 the Croatian army? You said that Praljak didn't come,
17 but did anyone come from the Croatian army before you
18 were fully surrounded?
19 A. No one came from the Croatian army in this
20 period of time to the command of the Operative Zone, or
21 to the area covered by the Operative Zone of Central
23 Q. All right. We shall refer very briefly to
24 the next area. Why, from the 16th of April 1993, when
25 the war with the Muslims broke out, and until the 20th
1 of April 1993 when some kind of a cease-fire was
2 carried out and Blaskic went to Zenica for talks, why
3 didn't anyone from the command of the Operative Zone go
4 to the ground within those four days to check the units
5 and to report directly to Blaskic as to what he saw at
6 the combat positions and what he saw in the villages of
7 the Lasva Valley?
8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, in my statement,
9 when I was questioned by the Defence, I said that that
10 morning when the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 16th
11 of April, carried out attack against HVO units in the
12 Lasva Valley in the command, there were only 7 of us
13 there, and I was the only one involved in operations.
14 And taking into account these numbers, it was
15 impossible to do anything outside the command itself,
16 and there wasn't anyone who could go to see the
17 situation on the ground.
18 Q. Let us move on to the next point. We spoke a
19 lot about the principle of voluntariness. The
20 Prosecutor showed you many documents from which it
21 stems that Blaskic, on several occasions, in April,
22 1992, in July, in September, in October and in
23 November, 1992, and also in February, 1993, asked for
24 this voluntariness to be abolished.
25 Please tell this Court, Brigadier, what
1 conclusion do you draw from the fact that Blaskic has
2 to repeat an average of every other month this kind of
3 order? And if not, why did he not manage to do away
4 with the principle of voluntariness in the HVO?
5 A. It is true these orders were issued. Why
6 were they issued? They were issued because on the
7 ground they were not being carried out completely at
9 In my judgement, and on the basis of what I
10 know about the organisational set up of the army at
11 that time in the area of the Lasva River Valley, or in
12 the Operative Zone, is as follows: At that time units
13 were established on a voluntary basis, that is to say,
14 in the villages, and the commanders were elected, too.
15 And practically this could not have been broken up.
16 That is to say, people did not want this to be broken
18 So, the units established in villages, and
19 volunteers were defending their homes directly, and
20 they have their own logic of behaviour which deviate
21 from military principles and logic.
22 I remember when I came to these units on
23 various occasions, they would tell me, "we don't need
24 any kind of commander, we are defending our own village
25 and we know what we're going to do," that is exactly
1 the way it was.
2 Q. Brigadier, tell the Court, nevertheless,
3 generally speaking, was this principle of voluntariness
4 broken up somehow? If so, when, under what
6 A. Now, when I analysed the situation during
7 1993, I may state that October, November, December,
8 1993, that the logic, according to which people acted,
9 that is to say, that the principle of voluntariness had
10 to be there was a bit changed. Why?
11 We came to a different, into a different
12 situation, and people realised that if they were not
13 guided by military logic we would all go down the
14 drain, or rather we could not defend ourselves, and
15 that practically we would be expelled or that the HVO
16 units would be defeated by the BH army.
17 So, this is just a small step forward when
18 people realised there was no way out of a given
19 situation, and that after ten months or so they
20 realised military logic is the kind of logic that one
21 has to pursue both in a unit and in war.
22 Q. Thank you, now we move on to a different
23 subject. We are not going to offer any documents, in
24 order to speed up matters, but for the purpose of the
25 transcript, I wish to mention Prosecutor's Exhibit
2 The Prosecutor showed you this, and it says
3 that special purpose units in the military police
4 should recruit young men with such and such
5 characteristics. So, one could derive from that
6 document that some kind of selection was being carried
7 out in the military police. And according to the
8 Prosecutor's intention, this is in opposition to what
9 you had been saying, that that is there was no
10 selection made for the military police. Can you
11 explain this to the Court? And do you still maintain
12 your original assertion? If so, why?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honour, I maintain my
14 assertion, that is, that for the military police, for
15 the military police, there was no selection except for
16 the establishment of special purposes units within the
17 military police.
18 I don't know exactly, I think this unit had a
19 total of 15 men, and the entire military police that
20 went throughout the central, the zone of Central Bosnia
21 had a total of 400 men; so for this entire military
22 police there were no defined standards. Young men who
23 wanted to go to the military police were recruited as
24 volunteers, just as they entered other units.
25 Q. Thank you. Again, in a telegraphic fashion,
1 we move on to a different subject area, and I'm asking
2 you directly. In January, or at any other time after
3 that, did Tihomir Blaskic had have a different office
4 in his capacity as commander of the Operative Zone of
5 Central Bosnia in Kiseljak? Did he have an office in
6 Kiseljak outside of the Hotel Vitez or anywhere else?
7 A. Throughout the war General Blaskic did not
8 have a different office or a different command post,
9 except for the Vitez Hotel. So, he did not have it in
10 the region of Kiseljak, either. I said that during the
11 January conflicts General Blaskic just accidentally
12 happened to be in the area of Kiseljak, and that as he
13 was acting as commander, he used the seal of the
14 commander of the brigade and he used the offices and
15 the communications that this brigade had.
16 Q. Let us move on further. When we talked about
17 training, we also talked about barracks, and the
18 Prosecutor asked you in detail about all the different
19 barracks, and you said that all barracks under HVO
20 control were essentially warehouses, except the one in
21 Kiseljak and in Travnik.
22 So, please tell the Court, out of total of
23 8.400 men that you had under arms, how many soldiers
24 were accommodated in barracks during 1992 and 1993?
25 A. In these two barracks that you mentioned,
1 which were built functionally for putting up an army,
2 in that period of time for which you are asking me, to
3 the best of my recollection, there was never more than
4 100 soldiers; however, there is one specific
5 characteristic involved, as far as the Travnik barracks
6 are concerned.
7 After the units of the army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina took away the barracks from the
9 former JNA, the two armies moved in there together, the
10 HVO and the BH army, and the HVO soldiers were there
11 until refugees came to the area of Travnik from places
12 where the army of Republika Srpska had expelled the
13 Muslim Bosniak population and the Croatian population.
14 These are the following locations. Kljuc, Petrovac,
15 Bosanska Krupa, Banja Luka, that is to say the area of
16 north-west Bosnia. After that, in Travnik, in the
17 Travnik barracks, there weren't any members of the HVO
19 Q. Does that mean that after that, only Kiseljak
20 had some soldiers in the barracks?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. We spoke of the shortages of the -- the
23 shortcomings of the HVO organisation and the
24 distinction between an armed people and the regular
25 army of a State, and in that context you spoke about
1 training, and on that basis, for two afternoons or for
2 an entire day the Prosecutor asked you a series of
4 So tell the Court, are you denying that HVO
5 soldiers had some kind of training in terms of using
6 weapons, small arms or whatever? Was that the
7 shortcoming? That was what you meant?
8 A. Yes, that is what I meant in my testimony. I
9 did not deny that there was training of individuals.
10 However, in the structure of training as an activity
11 which is carried out within the army, there is training
12 of an individual, of a soldier, there is training of a
13 unit, of a unit as a whole, and there is training of
14 the command.
15 In the command of the Operative Zone of
16 Central Bosnia, we did not have conditions or the right
17 people who could carry out the training of a platoon,
18 of a battalion or brigade, that is to say up to 2.000
19 people, and in carrying out defence or attack
20 activities, we did not have this kind of training.
21 Also, we did not have training of the command of the
22 brigade of a battalion, of the command of the Operative
23 Zone, in terms of their duties that they're supposed to
24 carry out during the war. That is to say either in
25 defence or an attack, how all of this should function,
1 how orders should be issued, how organisations should
2 be set up, how reporting and control should be set up,
3 and how tactically one should act in this.
4 Q. Brigadier, could you please speak a bit
5 slower, because I imagine this is very hard on the
6 Prosecutor. We haven't got much time left, but it is
7 important to make what we are saying understandable.
8 You said that you did not have training of
9 units from the command cadre. What about the units --
10 what about tactical training? Did that mean training
11 of the units? And what does tactical unit training
12 mean, and what was done in terms of reporting and
14 A. Yes. I said that there were no training of
15 the units, and this kind of training is tactical
16 training, that is how to use the unit, how to command
17 and issue orders to the unit, how to exchange
18 information, how to report, how to coordinate
19 activities and how to control everything.
20 Q. Brigadier, tell us, please, was it simple for
21 the functioning of the line of command, chain of
22 command, was it essential for a soldier to be able to
23 shoot properly or to throw a bomb properly, or was it
24 essential to have tactical training of units and
1 A. What was important? Well, for the system of
2 command, for the command process itself, it was
3 important how and in what way the commander and the
4 commanding officers were functioning, whether they were
5 capacitated to control, to issue commands, to report
6 and to organise all the business that was under his
7 command and assignment.
8 Q. For example, tactical training. I've seen it
9 many times in films, and fighting in built-up areas and
10 populated areas. Now, what problems there are related
11 to control on the part of the commander, and reporting
12 of his -- reporting by subordinates to their commanding
13 officers at the place where the fighting is taking
14 place, and how do we promote the functioning of units
15 in settlements in populated areas?
16 A. Fighting in populated and built-up areas, in
17 the theory and tactics that we applied and that I
18 studied, the theory of tactics studied in the former
19 Yugoslav People's Army, this is treated as being the
20 most sophisticated and complicated type of fighting
21 because it is in a populated area, which makes
22 commanding difficult, it makes control difficult, and,
23 therefore, it makes the overall functioning of the
24 system of command more difficult. Therefore, under
25 situations of this kind, the commander commanding a
1 unit in a populated area is faced with a very difficult
2 situation in controlling the state of affairs and the
3 developments in the battlefield and in the populated
4 area where the fighting is taking place.
5 Q. For the units to become trained to fight in
6 populated areas, what is undertaken in armies, and were
7 you able to undertake this kind of training in the
8 Central Bosnia Operative Zone in 1993?
9 A. For us to train the unit and to capacitate
10 the commander to be able to command in a populated
11 area, what had to be done was to tactically train the
12 units and the commander in performing their duties, and
13 we did not implement this kind of training in the
14 course of 1993 and 1994, and even today we haven't
15 reached the level of capacitation that we can in
16 peacetime implement this kind of training, because it
17 is a highly complex form of training which requires
18 high quality instructors and professionally trained
19 officers specifically for that kind of combat
21 Q. Tell us, Brigadier, am I right in saying that
22 I personally looked at special purpose units of the
23 Croatian police which were using stage sets, as in
24 theatres, to train themselves for fighting in a
25 populated area? Is this a customary way of training
1 units for fighting in populated areas?
2 A. Yes, that is one of the ways, and it does
3 look like a stage set, as you say.
4 Q. Let us move on. The Prosecutor showed you
5 Prosecution Exhibit 484, which represents the plan and
6 programme for training of the new people to the armed
7 forces of Herceg-Bosna. Tell us, please, when you
8 trained people who had no training and came to you
9 without any experience, that is to say, very young men,
10 and up to what level of tactical training did you train
11 these novices?
12 A. Well, Mr. President, for me to be better
13 understood, let me say what a novice is. A novice is a
14 young man who has -- who is 18 years of age and who has
15 had no military training up to that age. The training
16 of such young men in the Lasva River Valley was
17 organised in September, 1993, and on the basis of the
18 plan and programme which was offered by the Prosecutor
20 Due to the state of war that existed and the
21 fact that we did not have adequate programs and
22 training facilities, we realised this in an abridged
23 form, and the highest level of tactical training with
24 young men of that particular age, and within the
25 frameworks of that kind of training was to train them
1 up to the level of a platoon. That is to say, 30
2 soldiers, and how they are to be behave in a given
3 situation, whether they are dealing with a forest area
4 in the mountains or in plains. So different types of
5 combat activity, defence activities, offensive
6 activities and so on and so forth.
7 Q. Thank you. May we proceed. The Prosecutor
8 asked you about snipers and their weapons. Could you
9 please tell the Court, did you have sniper units, that
10 is to say, were there individuals who had something
11 that could be termed a sniper or a weapon like a
13 A. I say that and I maintain that now and I know
14 it was so, in the Lasva River Valley, there were no
15 organised units -- sniper units. We did not have teams
16 for the training of snipers, and we did not have, in
17 the units themselves, standard sniper type weapons. I
18 said -- I have already said what kind of snipers we had
19 in the brigades. They were improvised snipers devised
20 on the basis of an M-48 Second World War rifle with an
21 optic sight device, or a hunting carbine type rifle
22 which also had optic sight devices, and that was used
23 as a sniper weapon.
24 However, on the picture shown to us by the
25 Prosecutor, it could be seen --
1 Q. We're talking about a photograph of the
2 Draganoff type of weapon, and it was Prosecution's
3 Exhibit 82/10.
4 Could you explain to the Court what a -- the
5 gun was. It looks like a sniper, in fact?
6 A. The type of weapon that was shown on the
7 photograph is a weapon of a 12, 7 millimetre calibre,
8 with the possibility of a long range -- longer range,
9 and is used for the destruction of fortified enemy
10 targets. That is to say, for shooting at bunkers,
11 fortifications or at long -- on a long range with a
12 target at a distance.
13 Q. Have I understood you correctly to say that
14 the Draganoff weapon shown on the picture is not used
15 against men because it is too destructive and the
16 calibre is too great?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 MR. NOBILO: The next area that I would like
19 to focus on is the appointing of commanders and their
20 recalling and dismissing, and the inference of the
21 municipality and Blaskic's influence in the appointment
22 of brigade commanders and unit commanders.
23 Q. Tell the Court, please -- we saw orders for
24 appointing Cerkez, that is to say, the commander of the
25 Vitez Brigade. And we saw that Blaskic referred to the
1 law, a legal provision which gives him the right, the
2 legal right and legal basis, for appointing commanders,
3 and you say that it is the municipality which had the
4 decisive role and influence in deciding who would be
5 commander. Would you explain to the Court what we're
6 talking about here?
7 A. Well, on several occasions so far we have
8 talked -- discussed this subject, and I shall try as
9 briefly as possible and as succinctly as possible to
10 indicate two activities that had to be implemented for
11 somebody to be appointed commander of the brigade. The
12 municipality did not have the legal right to influence
13 the appointment of commanders, that was the right of
14 General Blaskic.
15 However, because of the situation in actual
16 fact, the prevailing situation, General Blaskic had to
17 balance out and balance between legal rights, and the
18 will and demands and requirements of the municipal
19 authorities. And in balancing the two out, and in a
20 situation of this kind, he had to seek for a compromise
21 solution in order to satisfy his formal authorisations
22 and to satisfy actual conditions in the field and to
23 satisfy the municipal authorities. As General Blaskic,
24 whenever he was able to and had the possibility of
25 doing so, he always adhered to rules and regulations
1 under law. And he, therefore, issued orders and wrote
2 orders for appointments. And in this way he secured,
3 on a long-term basis, the fact that the system of
4 command and the authorisations that he had implemented
5 in the municipalities and the units, and that they
6 should come to realise there that he is the individual
7 who plays a key role there. However, that was not the
8 case, and on the basis of several examples we saw how
9 this actually functioned.
10 Q. Brigadier, you stated that Blaskic had to
11 balance between the two, that is to say between his
12 legal authorisations and the actual state of affairs,
13 which means that the actual state of affairs he would
14 give shape to in his orders based on laws and
15 regulation. Was this also true when he commanded the
16 Knights, the Vitezovi? Was he able to balance there
17 the situation as it existed, and when he discussed the
18 operations with Darko Kraljevic, did he issue formal
19 orders? Am I right in saying this?
20 A. Yes, that is how things stood.
21 Q. Now, this difference between the actual state
22 of affairs on the spot, and legal norms, and laws, and
23 rules and regulations, is it the same difference that
24 exists -- and please tell me if I'm right and correct
25 me if I'm wrong -- as I say, which existed between the
1 real army, what the HVO had to be, and what it actually
2 was. Is it the same balancing act and the same
3 difference between the actual state of affairs and what
4 the laws of Herceg-Bosna proclaimed an army should be?
5 A. Yes, that is true. According to the laws of
6 the HVO, the HVO was an armed force of the Croatian
7 community in Herzegovina, and, therefore, equal to an
8 army, but in actual terms, de facto, the units of the
9 HVO were armed peasants in the villages, and it is in
10 this difference that the essence lies of the
11 non-functioning of the system of chain and command --
12 of the chain of command. And whenever I answered
13 questions here, I always emphasise the problem of units
14 in the villages, and that is the key to the lack of
15 functioning of the system of command.
16 Q. Brigadier, tell the Court, please -- there
17 are people who come from countries where the rule of
18 law prevails and where it is quite normal for everybody
19 to respect the law, it is only criminals who did not
20 respect the law. Tell the Court whether Bosnia, in
21 1993, was a legal State or was it not, where the rule
22 of law prevailed and where the legal system in Bosnia
23 functioned in all areas, or did it not?
24 A. We all know full well that this system did
25 not function and that Bosnia was a State but it was not
1 a legal State, because conditions in it were as we all
2 know they were. The conditions are common knowledge to
4 Q. And to follow on from that topic and in very
5 concrete terms, the Prosecutor showed you a series of
6 documents which refer to the Fojnica case, and the
7 commander Stjepan Stipa Tuka, who was the commander of
8 the battalion in Fojnica. So please tell the Trial
9 Chamber now why Blaskic -- Colonel Blaskic issued an
10 order to the battalion of Fojnica Stjepan Tuka. What
11 was the sense of issuing that particular order, whether
12 to make relations between Croats and Muslims worse or
13 something else?
14 A. When we spoke about this particular order, I
15 indicated two particular facts. The day when the order
16 was issued, the war in the Vitez area and Novi Travnik
17 area was raging for three days. The attacks of the BH
18 army were strong attacks. The forces of the BH army
19 came across the Fojnica region, and the order issued to
20 the commander of the Fojnica battalion was issued with
21 the aim and objective of linking up the forces and
22 consolidating the forces of the BH so that these same
23 forces would not attack the areas of the Lasva River
25 Q. You say that the war was already ongoing.
1 Can you explain to us why Stjepan Tuka refused to
2 execute the order of the Operative Zone? What was the
3 logic guiding him in refusing to abide by those
5 A. Stjepan Tuka refused to implement the order
6 he received because in that way the -- that is what
7 the civilian authorities, who acted as a State wanted,
8 and they had the logics of being a State. And when it
9 was not attacked, and we're thinking about the
10 municipality of Fojnica they do not want to initiate
11 military actions in their particular area, and that is
12 the basic reason why the order by General Blaskic was
13 not implemented to consolidate the units and forces in
14 the Fojnica area.
15 Q. Now, please tell the Court whether Blaskic
16 issued Stjepan Tuka in Fojnica, or the commander of the
17 Ban Jelisic Brigade then, or at any time ever, an order
18 to attack the Muslim civilians, or were these orders
19 exclusively for an attack to be launched on the units
20 of the BH army, that is to consolidate the BH army
21 units to the Serbs?
22 A. All the orders which came from the command of
23 the Operative Zone towards all -- issued to all
24 brigades had exclusively as their intentions, the units
25 had as their task, to fight against the BH army units,
1 because for us the HVO in the Lasva River Valley were
2 not -- we were not attacked by civilians, we were
3 attacked by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there
4 would be no advantages to be gained from -- if a unit,
5 for example, were to do something, which happened,
6 which occurred in the area with the villages or with
7 the civilians, and that is something that the commander
8 of the Operative Zone would only reap problems from and
9 not any gains or advantages.
10 Q. Well, let's forget for a moment the tactical
11 needs and what an attack on -- and the fact that attack
12 on civilians is a war crime, but tell us quite simply.
13 So let's leave that behind for the moment for us to be
14 as explicit in our explanations as possible what you in
15 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, you fighting for
16 survival there were -- had more use of -- if Fojnica or
17 Kiseljak were to consolidate 100 enemy solders with
18 them, link them, or if it were to set fire to 100
19 civilian houses. Well, let us forget that this is
20 against the law any more, but for rational purposes,
21 what would serve your purpose best?
22 A. Well, quite obviously, each commander and the
23 command of the Operative Zone would only reap service
24 if there was fighting with the units of the Bosnian
25 army and if they were to engage those units, and
1 certainly not to set fire to houses or behave towards
2 civilians as individuals behaved. As for the command
3 of the Operative Zone, this only meant extra problems,
4 and made his overall situation more difficult as a
5 commander of the Operative Zone.
6 Q. Colonel Blaskic, for the first time, contrary
7 to a decision of the municipality of the State and, as
8 you say, you equate the municipality with the State, he
9 replaces Tuka and orders that the commander of the
10 Fojnica battalion must be replaced within a period of
11 three hours. Was this order ever implemented?
12 A. The order which came from General Blaskic on
13 the replacement of the battalion commander was not
14 fulfilled within the time span ordered, and that is the
15 only time that General Blaskic was not able to balance
16 out the two and the two opposites. So you have the law
17 and you have the existing situation. But he acted
18 according to his authorisation, and what happened -- we
19 know what happened and what ensued.
20 Q. Blaskic issued an order for combat action of
21 the battalions, right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was this order ever carried out?
24 A. That order was never carried out, but the
25 tragedy lies in the fact that Fojnica, after two and a
1 half months, would fall into the hands of the BH army.
2 The BH army expelled the HVO soldiers, expelled
3 civilians, and there were houses that were burned, and
4 the greatest tragedy was that the friar was killed in
5 front of his monastery. That is the same one who put
6 his signature in support of Commander Tuka when he
7 decided not to carry out the General's orders.
8 Q. You said that this was the first time that
9 Blaskic was not balancing and that he resorted to his
10 legal right, and that he was dealing with something
11 that could be called mutiny. But what would have
12 happened if Blaskic had strictly applied the law, the
13 legal authorities that he had, that we read about today
14 and on several occasions during these proceedings?
15 What would have happened had he acted as harshly as he
16 did there in keeping with his legal authority?
17 A. Had General Blaskic acted that way, I know
18 the situation, I know the relationships, he would have
19 had a complete break-up of the entire system. He would
20 have had total disobedience had he not been balancing
21 between that which is his right and that which it was
22 truly possible to enforce.
23 Q. At the moment, when Vitez and Busovaca are
24 literally in flames and when it is a question of hours
25 or days when you would fall, what was the situation in
1 Travnik, Fojnica, Vares, Kakanj and Novi Travnik? What
2 was going on over there in these days in April 1993?
3 A. In those place that is you mentioned just now
4 during the war on the territory of Busovaca, Kiseljak
5 and Vitez, the BH army did not take combat action but
6 it maintained a cease-fire, and it maintained an
7 apparent peace.
8 Q. Why? Were they the proponent of peace and
9 were you the causes of a war or why?
10 A. No, that was not the reason. The army of
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina, in its general plan for taking
12 of the Lasva River Valley, had as its object to take
13 one place after one. They did not want an all-out
14 attack. They would take one place by one. The
15 municipality of Kiseljak, Vitez, Novi Travnik,
16 Busovaca, that is to say, the HVO was dominant as
17 compared to the army then. The objective was to
18 individually take these municipalities, and then those
19 municipalities where the BH army was dominant would
20 practically fall under their control by themselves.
21 Q. Tell the Court, you say that in Travnik,
22 Fojnica, Vares and Kakanj, in April 1993, during the
23 April war between the HVO and the BH army there was
24 peace. Tell me, what happened to that area? What
25 ultimately happened to the HVO, and what happened to
1 the civilians, and the property and houses of
2 civilians, Croat civilians?
3 A. From the month of April, after the conflict
4 in Vitez and Busovaca, within two and half or three
5 months both Travnik and part of New Travnik, and Vares,
6 and Kakanj and Fojnica fully came under BH army
7 control. The BH army attacked HVO units that were in
8 this territory. The civilian population fled, fled,
9 and there were the same consequences as were after the
10 January conflict and the April conflict. So there were
11 burned out -- burnt houses, there was destruction of
12 sacral buildings and everything else that the war in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina brought along.
14 Q. When you said that houses and sacral objects
15 were burned down, are you referring to Croatian houses
16 and churches?
17 A. Yes, I'm referring to that. As far as I can
18 remember, I saw somewhere a document which was an
19 analysis -- or, rather, statistics after the war
20 between the BH army and the HVO on the number of burned
21 houses, the number of destroyed religious buildings of
22 Croat Catholics and Muslim Bosniaks. I think that
23 there are such statistics somewhere, and one can see
24 the proportions of the war and the differences involved
25 between the HVO and the BH army.
1 Q. Do you perhaps remember, if you don't, you
2 don't, what the ratio was? How many houses were
3 destroyed -- I mean, of the Croats and of the Muslims?
4 A. I could not remember the exact number. I saw
5 this document somewhere as an analysis, as a
6 statistical report, and it would really be very
7 inaccurate on my part to engage in guesswork.
8 Q. Thank you. Let us also telegraphically refer
9 to the causes of the consequence -- of the conflict.
10 You said that during your direct-examination that,
11 inter alia, in the conflicts between Croats and Muslims
12 in Herceg-Bosna, some of the most important ones was
13 that the Muslim population was sent to the mixed
14 population areas of Central Bosnia. That is to say,
15 the Muslims that fled from Serbian pressure in
16 Krajina. Then there was the struggle for communication
17 lines in Central Bosnia, and in that way the corps of
18 Herceg-Bosna were linked up, and also an effort was
19 made to take the military factories that were in
20 Central Bosnia.
21 On the other hand, the Prosecutor showed you
22 a series of documents from which it would stem that the
23 HVO, the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna would try
24 to take over government in the municipalities, that is
25 to say to concentrate power in the hands of the Croats,
1 whereas the Muslim representatives were expelled from
2 the municipality. You saw many documents related to
3 this subject.
4 Now, tell the Court: Do you maintain your
5 conclusions on the basic causes of the conflict and how
6 do you comment on this? How do you explain the
7 documents that the Prosecutor showed you?
8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I still maintain
9 my assertion related to the causes of the conflict that
10 I presented while being questioned by the Defence. I
11 said that this was my personal opinion. But the causes
12 of the conflict that the Prosecutor offered during the
13 cross-examination and my own, in my own judgement, are
14 simply supplementary from the point of view of logic.
15 When speaking of the forceful take-over of
16 power. I know the following happened, that in every
17 municipality in Central Bosnia, there were two
18 authorities. There was the HVO, where there were Croat
19 officials. In some municipalities were even Muslim
20 Bosniaks too. And there was the Muslim Bosniak
21 authority where there were mostly Muslim Bosniak
22 officials, and in some municipalities Croats too,
23 because the civilian authority of the HVO and the
24 military authority of the-- was established in Tuzla,
25 Bihac and Zenica. That is to say, every municipality
1 had two authorities. Every authority had its own
2 police and every authority had its own army. But what
3 do they have together? Together they had a territory.
4 In my opinion, those were the key problems,
5 and as far as I know, that is what had happened. And
6 the process, how this evolved, is something I'm not
7 familiar with as I said, because I was not involved in
8 political organisations or civilian authorities.
9 Q. Brigadier, you said there were two
10 authorities; however, at one point the Prosecutor
11 showed you some documents, one authority suppressed the
12 other. In Busovaca, Vitez, for example, the Croatian
13 authority became dominant, although the Muslim
14 authority did not cease to exist. But tell the Court
15 what happened in Zenica, Maglaj, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf,
16 Komusina and Travnik, who suppressed who there?
17 A. In the municipalities that you mentioned, in
18 those municipalities, Muslim Bosniaks were dominant.
19 The same thing happened in those municipalities as
20 happened in Busovaca and Novi Travnik. But the Croats
21 in these municipalities did not remain without an
22 authority of their own, just as the Muslim Bosniaks did
23 not remain without an authority of their own in those
24 municipalities where the Croats were dominant.
25 Because what does predominant mean?
1 Predominance, practically, in Zenica meant the
2 following: The former premises of the municipal
3 authorities, the Muslim Bosniaks stayed there. But,
4 for example, in Vitez, the former buildings of the
5 municipal authorities were where the Croats stayed,
6 that is, the representatives of the Croat authorities.
7 And the Muslim Bosniaks established their -- civilian
8 authorities established their own civilian authorities
9 in the part of Vitez called Stari Vitez.
10 Q. Kiseljak, Busovaca and Vitez; are these
11 municipalities where the Croats had dominant authority?
12 A. Yes, those were municipalities where Croats
13 had dominant authority. From the military point of
14 view, these are municipalities which cover the
15 territory which cuts across the communication lines of
16 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and cuts their territory
17 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that
18 is one of the reasons why the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina was so strongly determined to attack
20 these regions. Because by doing so they would have
21 attained three key objectives: First of all, they
22 would have fully rounded off the military production;
23 they would have had the factories in Novi Travnik,
24 Vitez and Travnik; and they would also take the key
25 communications line between Travnik and Kiseljak, which
1 linked up the area which was under the control of the
2 BH army and the HVO, that is to say, the area outside
3 the area that was controlled by the army of Republika
5 Q. Brigadier, do you wish to say that there was
6 war in the territory where the Croatian authority was
7 more dominant, and then the Bosniak authority thought
8 that they did not control that territory, and for the
9 reasons you mentioned, that territory was important for
11 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel, I let it go
12 for a long time, Mr. President, but Mr. Nobilo is
13 testifying, I don't think it is called for. Questions
14 to the witness, I think, are proper; so, I just object
15 to counsel's form at this point.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, for days and days
17 and days I am trying to remember the number of times
18 each of you, the Defence, the Prosecution, made
19 comments with the questions. You did that, too,
20 Mr. Kehoe.
21 Having said this, I do agree with you, it
22 would be better to ask questions more directly. And I
23 would like to remind the Defence we're going to break
24 soon and they are going to have 40 minutes to finish.
25 Try to attenuate your comments and you can argue at the
2 MR. NOBILO: Certainly, Mr. President, I
3 agree with you, but I'm trying to save time in that
4 way. Instead of putting five questions, I put one
5 question. I try to bring things together, only for the
6 sake of time; although, I agree this is not the way to
7 put questions.
8 JUDGE JORDA: But don't go into too many
9 details, because the Judges are not fooled. You are
10 asking questions, and it is at the end of the hearing
11 that the Judges will make an evaluation, go ahead.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. When you said that your conclusions on what
14 the main causes of the war were, and those that were
15 offered to you by the Prosecutor are not in mutual
16 conflict, but are rather supplementary to one another,
17 logically; what did you mean by that, if you can say so
18 in two sentences?
19 A. I meant to speak of this division of
20 authority, because in my conclusions, in my statements
21 on the causes of the conflict, I said that there was a
22 paralysis of power, a paralysis of central government,
23 and that all authority was reduced to the municipality
25 So, there was a division, the actions were
1 quite clear. The establishment of authority was quite
2 clear, and also, what each authority had available.
3 That is to say, Croatian and Bosnian authority had the
4 police and the army and other parts of the civilian
5 structure of the authority that they had established.
6 Q. All right. Let us move on. Very briefly,
7 telegraphically, we only have five minutes left in this
8 series; repeat when you were deputy disciplinary
9 prosecutor and when this disciplinary court was
11 A. As far as I can remember, the disciplinary
12 court was established in September, 1993 with the tasks
13 that are written down in the regulations.
14 Q. And then, further on, you said that Blaskic
15 was cut off in Kiseljak during the conflict from the
16 25th of January, 1993 until the beginning of March
17 1993, you do not recall the exact date.
18 So, I'm asking you the following: In this
19 period, from the 21st of January until the beginning of
20 March, 1993, did Blaskic ever, was Tihomir Blaskic ever
21 in the command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia
22 in the Hotel Vitez?
23 A. In that period of time that you are asking me
24 about, General Blaskic was never in the command of the
25 Operative Zone at the command post at Vitez Hotel.
1 Q. Further on, also telegraphically, was it
2 customary that Croat civilians would dig trenches, or
3 to put it more aptly, civilian residents of Busovaca
4 and Vitez, this picture of civilians digging trenches,
5 was this a customary thing?
6 A. Yes, but soldiers that had a rifle did not
7 all have the same positions. So, if somebody would
8 pass by and look, even a soldier, even a soldier who
9 was digging, if he did not wear a uniform, he would
10 look like a civilian, too. And that was the situation
11 with the BH army and the HVO, we didn't have enough
12 uniforms and weapons.
13 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, is it a well-known fact
14 there was work duty? And within which work duty did
15 civilians who were not in the HVO have to carry out
16 various duties and dig trenches?
17 A. Yes, there was work duty, and at the level of
18 every municipality those citizens who were not in HVO
19 units had work duty. This work duty was carried out
20 through engagement in work units, work platoons, which
21 carried out different duties.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, it is now 1.00
23 thank you for your telegraphic style, and I invite you
24 to continue in that telegraphic style starting at 2.30
25 until ten after 3.00. The hearing is suspended.
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.40 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing,
3 have the accused brought in, please. Please be
5 (The accused entered court).
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you who were so
7 brilliant at mathematics this morning when we were
8 listening to the witness, do you agree that, do you
9 agree to stop 22 minutes after 3? Is that all right?
10 Judge Shahabuddeen said 3.25.
11 MR. NOBILO: Whatever Your Honours feel to be
12 right, if the witness turns up, of course.
13 JUDGE JORDA: We will wait for the witness.
14 (The witness entered court).
15 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon, Brigadier.
16 Mr. Nobilo, the floor is yours.
17 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon.
18 MR. NOBILO: Would the registrar hand out the
19 new set of documents, which will be Defence Exhibit
20 412, and give the witness D345?
21 Mr. President, these are records and death
22 certificates, which I'm afraid we don't have the
23 translations of, but it is quite clear in the first
24 place that we have the name and surname, and secondly,
25 the date of death. May we have it on the ELMO for our
2 All the documents were issued by the town of
3 Vitez, the municipality of Vitez, at the request of the
4 Defence. The Defence has a separate stamp in the
5 original where the municipality of Vitez confirms that
6 the copies are authentic copies and equal to the
7 original; if you need that, we can tend to those, as
9 Q. So, Brigadier, if you recall, for several
10 days we looked at the dead, according to this list in
11 D345, to ascertain how many people had died on what
12 particular date. And I should now like to ask you to
13 take a look at document D345, the name under number 80,
14 Grbovac Nedeljko, and to tell the Court, according to
15 this document, when he died.
16 A. Grbovac Marko Nedeljko, it is number 80, he
17 is registered under number 80; according to the death
18 certificate, this document, he died on the 16th of
19 April, 1993.
20 Q. And take a look, please, at number 80, when
21 his death was recorded?
22 A. On the 22nd of December, 1993.
23 Q. That is eight months later. Let's proceed.
24 We're only going to take a few cases to illustrate the
25 point. In 454, D, under 454, Franjic-Bares Anto.
1 Would you see when the death was recorded?
2 A. Number 454, Franjic-Bares Milko Anto, it was
3 recorded that he died on the 21st of April, 1993. And
4 on the document, from the death certificates, it is
5 stated that he died on the 16th of April, 1993.
6 Q. Number 322, Vidovic Zoran, would you take a
7 look and see what the document states, the list of
8 killed of the HVO? When did he die?
9 A. What did you say? 322 was the number, I
11 Q. Vidovic Zoran, 322, Zoran.
12 A. 322, Vidovic Ivica Zoran, it is a little
13 illegible, but the date is the 21st or the 24th of
14 April, 1992; and the death certificate, the official
15 document from, on the death certificate, the date of
16 death is the 16th of April, 1993.
17 Q. The next, 319, Vidovic Ivica, when did he
18 die, according to document 345?
19 A. On the 18th of April, 1993.
20 Q. And look at the death certificate.
21 A. On the 16th of April, 1993.
22 Q. Number 429, Ivankovic Zlatko?
23 A. What did you say?
24 Q. 429, Ivankovic Zlatko.
25 A. Ivankovic Zlatko, I have it on the 18th of
1 April 1993, and according to the death certificate,
2 16th of April, 1993.
3 Q. Take a look below the date, where it states
4 the place of death; what does it say?
5 A. Ivankovic Zlatko, the place of death, in the
6 death certificate, you mean, the place of death was
8 Q. Let us proceed. Number 482 Zuljevic Ivan,
9 when does it say he died?
10 A. According to the document D345, Zuljevic
11 Karko Ivan, on the 21st of April, 1993; and according
12 to the death certificate, on the 16th of April, 1993.
13 Q. Zepackic Ivica, number 481; when did he die,
14 according to document 345?
15 A. Zepackic Stipica Ivica, as far as I can make
16 out here, it is the 18th of April, 1993; and according
17 to the death certificate, it is the 16th of April,
19 MR. NOBILO: So, that is the set that we
20 chose. We have other documents, but we're not going to
21 go into those now, not to take up too much time. So,
22 we're offering these documents as evidence, as well.
23 And we're also offering original documents
24 where they are certified photo copies, and on the
25 backside it states that they are identical to the photo
1 copies of the originals, and we would like to tender
2 these in evidence.
3 Q. What can you conclude, Brigadier, from these
4 differences? What can you conclude on the precision
5 and quality of the documents as regards the day of
6 death of documents D345?
7 A. When it comes to the date of death in
8 document 345, the dates are not the exact facts, and we
9 saw this on the basis of the death certificates.
10 Q. Let us move to another subject now. You were
11 asked about the Vance-Owen Plan, and you said that it
12 was politics and that you have scant information as to
13 the plan and its application because you were a soldier
14 and you were in a sort of information isolation.
15 But as a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I'm
16 going to ask you this at a very ordinary level, general
17 knowledge level, related to the Vance-Owen Plan, some
18 basic questions which I feel you should know as a
19 citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 As far as you know, to the best of your
21 knowledge, was the Vance-Owen Plan acceptable for the
23 A. As far as I know, it was.
24 Q. Tell the Court, please, whether the
25 Vance-Owen Plan was signed by Alija Izetbegovic as the
1 representative of the Bosniak side?
2 A. As far as I know, the Vance-Owen Plan, by the
3 representative of the Bosniak side, was not signed.
4 Q. After the Vance-Owen Plan, the war broke out
5 between the Croats and the Muslims, which ended with
6 the Washington plan or the Washington Accords.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were the Washington Accords signed by both
9 the Croats and the Bosniaks?
10 A. Yes, the Washington Accords were signed by
11 the political representatives of both Croats and
12 Bosniaks in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. According to the opinion that prevails among
14 the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or at least the
15 Croatian population of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which plan
16 was more advantageous to the Croats, Vance-Owen
18 A. According to the information and the talks
19 that people had, the Vance-Owen Plan was more
20 advantageous for the Croats.
21 Q. Well, if the Vance-Owen Plan was more
22 advantageous for the Croats and the Washington Accords
23 for the Muslims, because they did not want to sign the
24 Vance-Owen Plan, then the war that broke out between
25 the Vance-Owen Plan and the Washington Accords, who
1 would it benefit, objectively speaking?
2 A. The Bosniak Muslims.
3 Q. Did you ever hear mention in Central Bosnia
4 that on the 15th of April the HVO issue an ultimatum to
5 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. I never heard of information of that kind,
7 and I never saw a document like that.
8 Q. As we need a map here, unfortunately we
9 failed to bring it, we will discuss the map later on
10 when we have it.
11 Linked to Zenica, the Prosecutor asked you a
12 series of questions about Zenica and the facilities
13 under HVO control in Zenica. So, please tell the Court
14 now; did the HVO in Zenica have a barracks where it had
15 the necessary forces? Or did it only have facilities
16 where the command of certain units were located?
17 A. The HVO in Zenica did not have barracks with
18 ready to act forces. The only standard type of
19 barracks in Zenica, there was one barracks, in fact,
20 and that barracks was controlled by the units of the
21 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. Where was the HVO army in the municipality of
23 Zenica? Where were they located and stationed?
24 A. The HVO in the Zenica municipality, as in all
25 other municipalities, the HVO soldiers, that is to say,
1 were in their own villages and houses where they lived.
2 Q. The Prosecutor showed you document 520, we're
3 not going to bring out these documents, but it is a map
4 with positions designated which the HVO controlled on
5 the 15th or the 16th of April, 1993.
6 So, tell the Court, now, what the map shows;
7 are they combat positions or something else?
8 A. They were not combat positions, they are
9 soldiers who, in their own villages, controlled their
10 own village. Combat positions in Zenica is not
11 something that the HVO had.
12 Q. Therefore, those positions which were marked
13 on the map were Croatian villages in which those
14 soldiers lived; is that what you want to say?
15 A. Yes, that is what I said and what I mean.
16 Q. In document 521, it is the report which came
17 from the Zenica Brigade towards the Operative Zone
18 which states that the town is under control; was that a
19 realistic report? What did it mean?
20 A. It was a completely unrealistic report, and
21 that was borne out by the condition in the fields.
22 When the BiH army attacked the Zenica units, in two
23 hours the HVO was, in practical terms, dysfunctioned.
24 It was blocked, disarmed, and it was an unrealistic,
25 unobjective report.
1 Q. May we now place a new map on the easel?
2 While the map is being fixed to the easel, let me
3 repeat some elements of a document, Brigadier, if I
4 may. I will be repeating elements from a document
5 which will be the basis for my asking you questions.
6 The document is D269, which represents an
7 order issued by, combat order issued by Blaskic on the
8 night between the 15th and 16th of April at 1.30 a.m.,
9 and the order tells the Vitez Brigade to block
10 the villages of Kruscica, Vranska and Donja Vecerska;
11 do you remember that order?
12 A. Yes, I remember the order and the contents of
13 the order.
14 Q. The Prosecutor asked you a series of
15 questions connected to that order, and now I'm going to
16 read out something that the Prosecutor asked you in
17 point 3 of the order. It is stated that, "In front of
18 you, you have forces of the 4th Battalion of the
19 military police. Behind you, you have your own
20 forces. To the right of you are located the units of
21 the Nikola Subic-Zrinski Brigade. To the left of you
22 are the forces of the civilian police."
23 Brigadier, we have before us a classical map
24 of the JNA, Zenica 4. Please tell the Court, first,
25 something has been marked on it; who marked what is
1 marked on the map?
2 A. What you can see on the map is something that
3 I marked in on the basis of the document that you have
4 just read out.
5 Q. Would you take your indicator, please, and
6 explain to the Court in which way a soldier, the lines
7 of thinking of a soldier and how a soldier thinks, and
8 for the Vitez Brigade, what it means to be in front of
9 you, behind you, to the left and to the right of you?
10 So, would you position the Vitez Brigade,
11 first of all, and explain the terms used which are
12 perhaps not clear to people who are not soldiers?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the task and
14 order to the Vitez Brigade which was issued and which
15 has just been read out by the Defence attorney, the
16 Vitez Brigade had the concrete task over forces in this
17 area to affect a blockade of the village of Kruscica
18 and the village of Vranjska, and these are the
19 positions with these lateral lines.
20 In relationship towards this position here,
21 and that is military, held by the Vitez Brigade, to the
22 right of it is it municipality of Busovaca, this line
23 here; and therefore, the forces of the Nikola
24 Subic-Zrinski Brigade, which is located in this area,
25 in front, means these positions here, in front of these
1 positions is a road controlled by the military police,
2 and it was stated, in front of these positions of the
3 Vitez Brigade we have the military police; to the left
4 of it, to the left of these positions, in the town of
5 Vitez itself, in performing their task, we have the
6 civilian police.
7 And for that reason, General Blaskic issued
8 an explanation to the commander of the brigade as to
9 the deployment of forces in relationship to the tasks
10 assigned to the Vitez Brigade.
11 Q. Is this standard practice, that is, when
12 assignment is given, to state at all times who is to
13 the left and who is to the right of the forces to which
14 the order is being issued?
15 A. Yes, that is standard practice in the army,
16 you have to know who is on your left and who is on your
17 right, who is in front of you and who is in the rear.
18 Q. You said that to the left was the civilian
19 police in the town of Vitez; was the civilian police in
20 the town of Vitez, that is, did it have a front-line, or
21 was this the usual standard task within the task
22 performed by the police?
23 A. It did not have a front-line, it was in the
24 town, as I said, that is where it was located, and that
25 is where it implemented its duties, the duties of a
1 civilian police force.
2 Q. Thank you. Let us now move to document D280,
3 and I would like this document to be shown the
4 Brigadier, D280, it is a report Colonel Blaskic
5 received from the military police from Ahmici on the
6 16th of April, 1993.
7 MR. NOBILO: While we're waiting for this map
8 which is on the easel, we would like to have it
9 admitted into evidence as a new exhibit; so, could you
10 please give it a number?
11 THE REGISTRAR: The map will be D413. The
12 death certificate, which we have received two original
13 copies, bis, or /1 for the copy and -- /1 bis for the
15 MR. NOBILO: Would you please repeat this?
16 Because we don't know what the basic number for the
17 death certificates is. We didn't get in the
19 THE REGISTRAR: D413 for the map which is on
20 the easel, and the death certificate, as we have
21 received true certified copies from the local
22 administration, they will have /1 through 8. And the
23 first one which was presented, which was only a copy,
24 those have bis, bis. D, of course, for 12/1, et
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. So, in this report, D280, at the very
3 beginning mention is made of the order issued by
4 Colonel Blaskic from this very same date, the 16th of
5 April 1993.
6 So, could you please tell the Court what this
7 was all about and what kind of order this was?
8 A. The order that is mentioned in the preamble
9 of this report, is the order in which General Blaskic
10 asked for a combat report from the commander of the
11 military police. And on the basis of this order the
12 commander of the military police sent this report which
13 I now have in my hands.
14 Q. Tell me, Brigadier, was the military police
15 duty bound to send such a report routinely to the
16 command? Why did Blaskic specifically have to ask for
17 this to be sent? What happened?
18 A. In the regular system the military police did
19 not have to submit regular operative or combat reports
20 as the brigades did that were under his immediate
21 command. And it is for that reason, that is to realise
22 what the situation at the front-line was, General
23 Blaskic wrote this order and asked for a report from
24 the commander of the military police.
25 Q. You did not explain to us why the military
1 police did not have to send these regular reports.
2 A. I said that the military police was under the
3 operative command and it did not have to regularly
4 report to the commander of the Operative Zone on all
5 its activities.
6 Q. In your direct examination, and I think also
7 when were you cross-examined by the Prosecutor, you
8 said that in Ahmici there was a unit of the army of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the basis of what are you
10 claiming that there was a BH army unit there?
11 A. I made this statement on the basis of the
12 following: Because, first of all, the system of the BH
13 army and of the HVO was according to the territorial
14 principal, according to the villages concerned and
15 Ahmici is one of the bigger Bosniak Muslim villages.
16 So, that is why there was a unit there. And the second
17 reason why I claim so was that in October, 1992, the
18 members of the BH army in the village of Ahmici put up
19 a barricade, that is to say a military road block which
20 they defended with arms and which was removed after
21 fighting with the HVO. And the third reason why I
22 claim that was that the lines after the fighting at
23 Ahmici, the HVO took positions 50 metres away from the
24 last house in Ahmici, or rather, about 150 metres away
25 from the main road.
1 What does this say? That the unit of the BH
2 army did exist in Ahmici and there was resistance,
3 because had there not been there kind of resistance,
4 the HVO would have placed the line much, much farther
5 away from the main road, because from that position the
6 units of the BH army could control the main road by
7 their own fire. That line remained until the very end
8 of the war, because the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 had adequate forces which stopped the further progress
10 of the HVO.
11 Q. We heard on several occasions that in the
12 school in Dubravica was the headquarters of the
13 Vitezovi Special Purposes Unit. As one of Blaskic's
14 closest associates and chief of operations, did you
15 ever inspect this command post?
16 A. Neither I nor any one of my colleagues, my
17 co-workers, inspected the Vitezovi units. We were not
18 in charge.
19 Q. Did you ever walk into this school?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Brigadier, there were quite a few questions
22 in response to the Prosecutor's questions as to what
23 Blaskic did from the moment when he found out that the
24 crime in Ahmici occurred, on the 20th of April, 1993,
25 in the evening in Zenica, and until the moment when he
1 issued an order for an investigation on the 10th of May
2 1993. So, it is a period of 20 days. You said that he
3 was saving the living, and that was his priority in
4 terms of the investigation, so could you please explain
5 to the Court, in specific terms, what activities he
6 took and what orders he issued from the evening of the
7 20th, that is to say from the 21st onwards, until the
8 10th of May 1993?
9 A. Yes. I said that during that period of time,
10 after he found out about these events, General Blaskic
11 took a large number of activities with the objective of
12 protecting the living, or rather, protecting the
13 Bosniak Muslims who still lived in the town of Vitez
14 and the other villages on the territory of the Vitez
15 municipality, and with that objective he issued the
16 following orders. And I explained all of these orders,
17 on the 21st of April 1993, an order was issued on the
18 protection of civilians, on the 22nd of April, 1993, an
19 order prohibiting the burning of houses, on the 23rd,
20 the behaviour of members of the HVO, the level of --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please read
22 slower because of the interpreters?
23 A. On the 24th of April, the General issued an
24 order on stopping arbitrariness of commanders and
25 individuals who were not carrying out orders issued by
1 their superiors, who were making decisions
2 independently in contravention of the orders received,
3 and who were oppressing civilians, and he asks for the
4 arrest of individuals and groups who got out of
6 Also on the 24th of April he issued an order
7 on attitude towards civilians and prisoners in keeping
8 with the Geneva Conventions, also on the 24th April
9 1993, he issued an order related to one's attitude
10 towards the wounded.
11 On the same day, on the 24th of April, 1993,
12 he issued an order related to the treatment of the
13 property and housing of Bosniak Muslims who were
14 citizens of Vitez and who were temporarily absent.
15 On the 26th of April he issued an order
16 prohibiting non-military behaviour towards imprisoned
17 civilians, which was in contradiction to the Geneva
19 And on the 27th of April he issued an order
20 on releasing all civilians, which was based on the
21 agreement on this activity.
22 Q. And on what date are you referring to?
23 A. The 23rd of May, April, he sent a letter to
24 Mr. Stewart related to the establishment of a joint
25 commission, in order to ascertain the facts related to
1 the events in Ahmici.
2 These are only written traces of General
3 Blaskic's activities. Throughout this period of time
4 he made every effort, through personal contact with his
5 commanders, to ensure that all these orders of his were
6 carried out.
7 The results of these orders issued were that,
8 although there were Bosniak Muslims in the town of
9 Vitez which was under HVO control and in the villages,
10 we managed not to have repeated the tragedy that
11 occurred in Ahmici.
12 Q. Let us move on to the next area now. You
13 remember yesterday we talked about the interview of
14 Colonel Blaskic from 1993, the interview of Ivica Rajic
15 that was given sometime in 1995.
16 You said that Blaskic gave this interview
17 while the war was still on and that, of course, as a
18 soldier he would not present his difficulties before
19 the public, in the newspapers.
20 A. Yes, that is what I said, and that is evident
21 from the interview and also from the date when this
22 newspaper was published.
23 Q. Tell me, under what conditions did Rajic give
24 his interview?
25 A. Mr. Rajic, and one can see when this
1 newspaper was published, made his statement when the
2 war was over, in a situation when the truth could fully
3 be presented, in a situation when this would not affect
4 combat activities because there was no combat action
5 any more, because the war was over. So that is the
6 difference between these two interviews. The general
7 gave his interview during the war, and Mr. Rajic's
8 interview took place after the end of the war.
9 Q. And what do you wish to say in terms of the
10 circumstances under which the interviews were given?
11 Which one speaks more reliably about the events in
12 Central Bosnia?
13 A. It is certainly the interview of Mr. Rajic,
14 because it was presented in peacetime conditions when
15 there was no combat action.
16 Q. So after the war?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Again, we are moving on to another area. We
19 have five minutes left. You talked about the shelling
20 of Zenica. The Prosecutor showed you a document where
21 Colonel Blaskic was talking about, I quote, "Electronic
22 surveillance," which was related to intelligence as to
23 where the shells were fired from, and then you said you
24 did not know of such instruments of such devices in the
25 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
1 A. Yes, that is what I said.
2 Q. Please tell the Court whether your military
3 intelligence service headed by Ivica Zajko, when they
4 would tell you that the enemy, either the Serbs or the
5 Muslims, would shell you and from where?
6 A. Yes, we would receive such information.
7 Q. How did they provide this information? What
8 did they use?
9 A. The intelligence service had surveillance
10 radio equipment with which they would enter the
11 frequency of the radio network either of the BH army or
12 the army of Republika Srpska, and once you enter their
13 frequencies you could listen to their conversations
14 either in the units of the BH army, between their
15 commanders or the commanders of the army of the
16 Republika Srpska. So you can listen to commands, and
17 you can hear all other data that this particular army
18 is transferring in this way.
19 Q. And in this way the military intelligence
20 service received data and that's how they conveyed it
21 to you; right?
22 A. Yes, that's how information was obtained.
23 Q. These radio devices for monitoring what the
24 enemy is saying, is it a routine thing? Is it a
25 customary thing? Is it a device that exists in the JNA
1 and other armies for decades?
2 A. Yes. Yes. This is a radio receiver for
3 listening in on conversations.
4 Q. And when the Prosecutor used this
5 sophisticated term "electronic monitoring", what did
6 you think of?
7 A. At that time I thought that it was such an
8 instrument which had such capacities that one could
9 come to the place where a shell fell, and that from
10 that position you could determine the location where
11 the shell was fired from. Until the present day I have
12 not known whether the HVO had such an instrument, and I
13 don't know it until the present day, and that is why I
14 said that I didn't know the HVO had this kind of an
16 Q. However, if we were to translate into
17 Croatian this word "electronic monitoring", it would be
18 electronic listening -- if it were to translate it
19 differently, "like listening" in or "surveillance",
20 would we really understand it that way? I mean, the
21 device that Ivica Zajko had, could you understand it
22 that way?
23 A. Yes, then I could.
24 Q. On several occasions you told the Court that
25 you did not have any insight into the Ahmici
1 investigations that were conducted by SIS on the basis
2 of Colonel Blaskic's orders.
3 A. Yes, that is what I said.
4 Q. Please tell the Court, SIS is an abbreviation
5 for the Security and Intelligence Service, but among
6 the soldiers, among the people, what is a different
7 name for this service?
8 A. That Security and Intelligence Service, among
9 the soldiers and among the people, is called -- it is
10 called the Secret Service. It is called the Secret
12 Q. What is the basic method of SIS activity?
13 A. The basic method of SIS activity is secrecy.
14 So whatever they do they do under secrecy rules.
15 Q. So are things kept secret from members of the
16 command too? You were head of operations, and
17 according to your post, could you have insight into
18 what this Secret Service was doing?
19 A. No, I never could do this, and I didn't have
20 access to it. Not only I, but not a single officer on
21 the staff. That is to say, starting from the head of
22 the staff and all the other officers who were there, we
23 did not have access.
24 Q. One more thing I wish to ask you, it just
25 crossed my mind. Stari Vitez was surrounded, 500 by
1 600 was the territory that was under control of the BH
2 army, and the HVO was all around. Tell the Court, were
3 there any proposals to do this by military means, that
4 is to say , did anybody make any proposals to Colonel
5 Blaskic to take Stari Vitez by military means, and if
6 did he not act in this way why did he not take these
7 proposals into consideration?
8 A. There were such thoughts, there were
9 proposals, there were requests, there were demands of
10 this kind that were made even by the man in the street,
11 but General Blaskic never decided to take such a step
12 and he never issued military orders to take Stari Vitez
13 in that way where the Bosniak Muslims lived and where
14 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was. Because of such a
15 stance of his, General Blaskic, in Vitez -- General
16 Blaskic, in Vitez, people objected. People in Vitez
17 objected to what General Blaskic did. Even the man in
18 the street objected, because during the war, a
19 significant number of civilians and military men were
20 killed by sniper fire from Stari Vitez. But General
21 Blaskic knew, having drawn on all the experience he
22 had, that the army was not organised, this was a
23 populated area, and that it had -- had his units taken
24 such action there would be great loss of life of
25 civilians and soldiers, and there would be a lot of
1 destruction of property, notably housing.
2 Q. And the last question we are fitting into the
3 time limits, the last question: The Honourable Judges
4 also objected to the fact that there were voids in your
5 memory too. So could you please explain how you
6 function? How come you remember some things better and
7 some things not so well five or six years after these
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, in the statement
10 I have made so far I have said quite a few times that I
11 remember better those events for which I was directly
12 in charge of, but as I was reminded through documents
13 that the Defence showed to me before I came here, I
14 remembered certain events even better. Some other
15 tasks and assignments that were carried out in the
16 command of the Operative Zone and that were not within
17 my own province of work I do remember them, but the
18 details related to that part of the job I could not say
19 for sure, because I just wanted to say what I could
20 claim with certitude, because I only spoke of facts and
21 events that I know of for sure.
22 I remember when we first -- when I first met
23 the Defence counsel and when we talked, I had more
24 questions than were put to me by both the Defence and
25 the Prosecutor together, and I said that I could not
1 remember everything, and I said what the areas were,
2 where I could speak specifically, and on the basis of
3 facts, where I could explain this on the basis of my
4 memory and on the basis of documents.
5 My basic memory and my basic remembering of
6 all these events was based on the documents I was
7 shown. I remember when the attorney asked me whether
8 General Blaskic issued orders in line with the Geneva
9 Conventions. Before I saw these documents I said,
10 "Yes, I know he did," but at that point in time I
11 could the not even remember five or six of them.
12 However, he reminded me of this. He showed me those
13 documents. Then I remembered each and every activity
14 from that order.
15 So that is the reason why -- why -- why I did
16 not remember all the things related to all combat
17 actions. And everything that was happening within the
18 area of the Operative Zone I could not remember with
19 the same degree of certitude.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Brigadier. The
21 Defence is concluded. Thank you, Mr. President.
22 We have already tendered into evidence
23 several exhibits, and now we would like to have
24 admitted D411 from our additional questioning, D412 and
25 D413. Thank you.
1 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I think that the
2 Court reserved on the admission of all Defence
3 documents pursuant to the Prosecutor's request. I
4 think that that was still a subject of discussion. If
5 I'm not mistaken, Mr. Dubuisson.
6 THE REGISTRAR: During the admission, at the
7 end of the examination-in-chief, you expressed some
8 reservations and you said that you wanted to have some
9 more time --
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
11 THE REGISTRAR: -- in order to look at these
12 documents. These documents begin with D199 and the
13 last one is D413. At the time only one decision has
14 been taken. It has to do with D410 A and B, and as
15 regards that document, the decision is it would not be
16 admitted. That was the decision of 2 October, 1998.
17 And the same thing applies for you too,
18 Mr. Prosecutor. Your document 406, 267 to 558, as well
19 as 458, I think it is, which is part of the video we
20 saw yesterday, has also not yet been admitted.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. If the --
22 correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Dubuisson, the Prosecutor
23 numbers run from 476 to 538; is that correct?
24 THE REGISTRAR: 476 to 538 --
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
1 THE REGISTRAR: -- including 436A, which is
2 the video we saw yesterday.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. We would
4 offer those exhibits into evidence on behalf of the
5 Prosecutor. The question with regard to the Defence
6 exhibits emanated from the exhibits that came in. We
7 are talking about the combat orders of the accused,
8 267, 268 and 269. Again, Mr. President and Your
9 Honours, these are the documents that the Office of the
10 Prosecutor has been seeking since January of last
11 year. Of course, they come in in the Defence case, and
12 I think it would be beneficial to the Court as to the
13 source of those documents, given the fact that we have
14 been unable to get those documents through binding
15 orders coming from this Court.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I take it these are two
17 questions which are different, two questions which are
18 related, in your opinion, but have to be dealt with
19 separately. There's the question of the binding order
20 for disclosure of documents which has not been
21 executed, which is continuing through these procedures,
22 and there is the fact that today you are asking to make
23 your comments about those documents which were supplied
24 to you now, that is supplied two weeks ago, and which
25 were recognised by the witness, they were identified by
1 him. According to a decision we took several months
2 ago, you know the relevance and the competence of the
3 Judges alone appears simple. There is no fundamental
4 objection as to the question of admissibility.
5 I'd like to hear what Mr. Hayman has to say
6 about this, but it seems there's no problem once it has
7 been identified by counsel. But since these -- these
8 documents were the not given to you by Croatia -- yes,
9 I think it was Croatia, and that we have received them
10 through another channel today, is a question which
11 arises as to the application of our internal rules, and
12 which will give rise, as you know, to a decision by
13 this Trial Chamber.
14 Mr. Hayman, do you have any questions you
15 would like to add both to that first question regarding
16 the Prosecutor's comments, and, secondly, the comments
17 having to do with the Prosecution documents?
18 First of all, have you any comments to make
19 about the tendering of Prosecution documents which I
20 have here, 476 to 538, except for one document which is
21 not admitted. I believe it's 510 -- 410. Yes, it's
22 410. Do you have any comments to make about that,
23 Mr. Hayman?
24 MR. HAYMAN: I have three comments,
25 Mr. President. With respect to the Prosecution
1 exhibits tendered, we have no objections save four.
2 That is we object to four of them because we don't
3 believe they have been authenticated. I can identify
4 them. Exhibit 499, that's Prosecutor's Exhibit 499--
5 JUDGE JORDA: Please go slowly. 449.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Mr. President. The witness
7 testified --
8 JUDGE JORDA: These were documents which
9 were -- these are Defence documents; is that right?
10 MR. HAYMAN: No, Mr. President. These are
11 the documents shown to the witness on cross-examination
12 by the Prosecutor and that the Prosecutor now tenders,
13 or I understand him to be tendering them. There are
14 50 -- 40 or 50 of them. We have objections --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, 499, what is
16 that? Perhaps I made a mistake here. All right 499 --
17 actually, I thought it was this document here. This
18 was an order which was signed by Mr. Ante Jelavic on
19 the 28th of February 1997. It's this one, this; is
20 that right? Ante Jelavic. This document was provided
21 by the Prosecution.
22 What comment do you want to make about that
23 document, Mr. Hayman?
24 MR. HAYMAN: That they showed it to the
25 witness, Mr. President, and they asked him if he knew
1 of it or recognised it, and he said no. He said that
2 he didn't author it, he didn't know it, and he could
3 not identify the document. The same was said of
4 Exhibit 500, Prosecutor's Exhibit 500, another document
5 that bears the name, I believe, of the same individual,
6 Mr. Jelavic.
7 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, those
8 two documents are documents that have been sent to the
9 clerk's office and were sent directly to Judge
10 McDonald. Once they were sent to Judge McDonald by
11 these particular parties, then copies were provided to
12 the Office of the Prosecutor. So these are now
13 official records sent directly to Judge McDonald
14 pursuant to a binding order. So even if this
15 particular witness had not seen these documents, which
16 is instructive for other reasons, Your Honour can
17 simply have the Registrar's office pull these documents
18 up and the Court can take notice of these particular
19 documents having been sent to Judge McDonald by
20 Mr. Jelavic.
21 MR. HAYMAN: That may be the case,
22 Mr. President. This we don't know. This all has
23 occurred in secrecy as far as the Defence is
24 concerned. We are not privy to these matters and these
25 documents. We simply wanted to note that without
1 further information, the witness did not recognise or
2 identify the document, so that issue exists to 499 and
3 Prosecutor's Exhibit 500.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult my
6 The Judges would like to show the witness
7 once again to see whether at least the appearance of
8 the document -- or both the documents, in fact, is one
9 which would make it a strong possibility that they are
10 authentic. I would like both the documents to be shown
11 again to the witness, because apparently they appear to
12 be very much like the ones.
13 You've seen many documents like that,
14 Brigadier. Does that one look like many of the other
15 ones that you've already seen?
16 A. Mr. President, the documents, as you say, are
17 very similar to a large number of other documents that
18 we have seen. Looking at these two documents now, I
19 can base my opinions on the signature by Defence
20 Minister Ante Jelavic. As far as I recall, Minister
21 Jelavic did have a signature of this kind, but as I did
22 not see the documents prior to this I cannot say for
23 certain, but I do think that he did sign his documents
24 in this kind of way.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. They will be
1 admitted. They can be given to the registrar.
2 MR. HAYMAN: That's fine.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Any other comment?
4 MR. HAYMAN: The two other documents to which
5 we object are Prosecutor's Exhibit 524 and 528.
6 JUDGE JORDA: As soon as we get them out --
7 if I'm not wrong, I've got them in front of me here.
8 It's an announcement to the Croatia people. Is that
9 the one?
10 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President,
11 that's 524. And an identifying feature of that -- the
12 witness said he didn't know this document, but an
13 identifying feature of the document is the fax number
14 on the top of the page, which this witness identified
15 as the fax number for the Hotel Vitez, that
16 387-271-1300 is the fax number for the Hotel Vitez.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but that was settled. We
18 did talk about the fax number. What's your comment,
19 Mr. Hayman, about 524?
20 MR. HAYMAN: That the witness didn't know the
21 document. It's not signed, it's not stamped. It has a
22 fax line on the copy, but it is a photocopy, and so,
23 quite frankly, what that means exactly --
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. If we've got to
25 take out all photocopies -- if we take out all of the
1 photocopies here we might as well stop today. We've
2 been working with photocopies for months and months. I
3 remember very clearly that the witness recognised and
4 identified the fax number. The fact that he didn't see
5 the document is just the way it was before with the
6 other one.
7 MR. HAYMAN: With all due respect,
8 Mr. President, he said it's the same fax number as on
9 another document which purported to be sent from the
10 Operative Zone command. I simply wanted to point out
11 that was the extent to which the document has in any
12 way been authenticated. If that's sufficient for the
13 Court, so be it.
14 With respect to Prosecutor's Exhibit 528,
15 this is a document that purports to be a document of
16 the --
17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The document is
18 admitted. All right. Let's move on to 528.
19 MR. HAYMAN: 528 purports to be a document of
20 the army of the Bosnia Serbs. The witness was not
21 familiar with the document or the author of the
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. The witness
25 did say he was unfamiliar with this document. This
1 document was given to the Office of the Prosecutor by
2 the Bosnian government. We simply offer it at this
3 point based on giving the source, and allow the Court
4 to weigh what is in that particular document with
5 informing the Court where the Office of the Prosecutor
6 obtained that document, and give the Court the weight
7 to which the Court believes it deserves.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Does the witness recognise the
9 signature of Commander Boskic? Brigadier? You've got
10 it in the B/C/S version. It's negotiations with the
11 Ustashe, and it is signed by Lieutenant-Colonel
12 Boskic. Does this signature appear to be authentic,
13 that is the document that was provided by the Bosnian
15 Of course, you're not expected to recognise
16 all the signatures, but we will evaluate the relevance
17 of that document when we deliberate.
18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, as I have not
19 seen the document that Commander Lieutenant-Colonel
20 Boskic -- I have never seen in my life. I do not know
21 the man. I don't know his signature. The stamp is
22 unknown to me. So this document is something that I am
23 looking at the for the first time, and I know nothing
24 about it or its author.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, pursuant to our
1 decision of several months ago, we do not have to offer
2 the source. Do you want to have an ex parte meeting in
3 order to see what the source is? We'd rather settle
4 this today. We cannot work in several months asking
5 ourselves whether or not this document was admitted or
6 was not admitted. Our decision was very clear. Do you
7 want to reveal the source that would help us come to a
8 decision as to the admission of this document or do you
10 MR. KEHOE: Certainly, Judge, and I'll
11 concede -- I'll give it to you in open court. There's
12 no reason to even go ex parte. The source of this
13 particular document came to the Office of the
14 Prosecutor from the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 They provided that with other documents concerning the
16 Serbs, and this document didn't come in isolation.
17 That's -- candidly, Mr. President and Your Honours,
18 that's all I know about this particular document. But
19 I do believe that this was a document that came from
20 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina government. I can
21 go back and backtrack this document yet further and
22 find out yet more information, but --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Not at all. We're not going to
24 waste our energy with that.
25 Mr. Hayman, this document will be admitted
1 with the reservation that between now and the time of
2 the deliberations if you have anything you want to
3 contest -- let me speak more slowly. Excuse me.
4 The document will be admitted and you will
5 note that, Mr. Registrar. It will be admitted with the
6 reservation, with Mr. Kehoe's explanations, that if you
7 have any comments which would raise questions as to the
8 source and relevance of the document, you would
9 communicate those to the Judges, who will take them
10 into account when they deliberate if they need it. And
11 they would, of course, take into account as well your
13 Do you have any other observations you'd like
14 to make? Did you understand what I said, Mr. Hayman?
15 MR. HAYMAN: I understood and accept it. Our
16 position has been and continues to be if the source
17 offered by the Prosecutor is not creator of the
18 document -- in other words, we don't know how the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina came into this document,
20 or whether they believe it to be genuine or a forgery,
21 then merely saying that they got it from a third party
22 not related to the source of the document isn't
23 sufficient, but I don't have anything further to say on
25 I did want to say in response to your earlier
1 comments that I take it then there's no objection of
2 putting aside --
3 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges are no further bound
4 by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina than they
5 are by the government of Croatia or the Croatian Muslim
6 Federation. When they give us documents, which is not
7 something that happens very often, Judges have to
8 operate on probability and relevance, and that is why
9 I'm giving you the opportunity, with this document 528,
10 to make any comments. And having said this, this might
11 lead the Judges into not using it. As things stand
12 now, I think we cannot do anything more than that.
13 MR. HAYMAN: My only comment Mr. President,
14 is based on what we know, there is a 50 per cent
15 probability it is a genuine document, and there's a 50
16 per cent probability it's a forgery. We have no idea,
17 and we have no way to further investigate the document
18 by contacting Bosnian Serb authorities. It's a dead
19 end. The other comments we have are number two --
20 MR. KEHOE: First of all, I object to
21 counsel's comments about 50 per cent forgery and 50 per
22 cent not.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Did the Prosecutor get it from
24 the Bosnian intelligence service? Is that how they got
25 it? If it is, what I suggest is we be allowed to
1 cross-examine the person or representative of the
2 organisation that gave it to him. And if that's the
3 secret service, we heard today how secret services
4 operate in secret, they have covert methods, and so
5 forth, and there you are.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, let us not raise
7 the problem of sources too much. I refer you back to
8 our decision regarding the production and source of
9 documents, which is the final criteria for accepting
10 documents, and that was identification by the witness.
11 Nonetheless, it is just as true that there
12 may be possibilities when identification is
13 impossible. It is not because a witness does not make
14 identification that the Judges automatically will say
15 they cannot use a document. They must, however, review
16 it with more prudence.
17 As to your comment about the source, let us
18 not try to move away from that system, otherwise the
19 Judges could also ask questions regarding the source of
20 all the documents, to know why there were documents in
21 your possession as regards this testimony, whereas
22 there are others that the Prosecution couldn't get hold
24 Let's leave this question aside for the time
25 being. It will be settled, as I said to the
1 Prosecutor, as part of the decision on the orders for
2 production of documents which are not executed either
3 by Croatia or by Bosnia. You know that we have both
4 possibilities, I'm not even going to speak about
6 If you like, I think we can leave this
7 question aside. I think there are three documents
8 which have been admitted, and the fourth one is
9 admitted, taking into your account your comments,
10 Mr. Hayman. That was the first question that I asked
12 There was a second question having to do with
13 the Defence documents.
14 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, we would ask, excluding
15 Exhibit D410, that Defence Exhibits D189 to and
16 including D413, be admitted without objection,
17 apparently, of the Prosecutor.
18 JUDGE JORDA: All right, we have now heard a
19 comment by the Prosecutor (sic). Are you maintaining
20 your position, Mr. Kehoe?
21 MR. KEHOE: Just, our position was only with
22 regard to three documents. I understand,
23 Mr. President, what your position is with regard to
24 those three documents, that is D267, 268 and 269; but
25 the balance of those documents we have no objection,
1 except as previously stated on those three.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Are there any other comments
3 before we take a break?
4 MR. KEHOE: Not from the office of the
5 Prosecutor, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE JORDA: The registrar is saying
7 something to me. The registrar is pointing out the
8 Prosecutor's observations. Could I have the numbers,
9 again, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: 267, 268 and 269.
11 JUDGE JORDA: They have been admitted
12 pursuant to the same comments, that is, having to do
13 with problems of source, which will be reviewed by the
14 Judges when they deliberate. I'm asking each of the
15 parties that if they have any doubts or any comments as
16 to the source of the documents, either you, Mr. Nobilo
17 and Mr. Hayman, and Mr. Kehoe and Mr. Harmon, you can
18 still write a brief to us before the deliberations.
19 There are the Judges questions, of course,
20 that will be asked. Brigadier, you cannot yet leave
21 because we have questions to ask, we're going to take a
22 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
25 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing.
1 Have the accused brought in, please.
2 (The accused entered court).
3 JUDGE JORDA: Brigadier, we are almost at the
4 end of this long testimony. I will give the floor to
5 my colleagues so that they can ask the questions which
6 they feel are appropriate. Let me begin with Judge
8 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
9 afternoon, General, Brigadier Marin.
10 A. Good afternoon, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Perhaps you might cast some
12 light, or some bit more light on some of your
13 conclusions, some of which seem equivocal to me,
14 specifically as regards to your diagnosis of the events
15 to which you were privileged witness.
16 The first conclusion, which seems a bit
17 equivocal to me, related to the origins of the war in
18 Central Bosnia between the Croats and the Muslims. I
19 noted that you said that the Muslims had quickly
20 abandoned the ground to the Serbs, they didn't know how
21 to defend themselves, and the Serbs were able to gain
22 territory, which would imply that they were weak, they
23 were much weaker than the Serbs, that in fact they were
24 really conquered. And yet, they opened up another
25 front and attacked the Croats.
1 What strategy could that serve, that is, to
2 have a weak army opening up another front? Could you
3 explain to me what strategy that could be? All the
4 more so, all the more so, since you indicated in one of
5 the documents that General Blaskic declared that the
6 Muslims did not want the war against the Croats, that
7 is document, I believe, 276, how can you reconcile
8 those two observations which are more or less
9 irreconcilable, that is, in your opinion?
10 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, when I spoke
11 about the fact that the army of the Republika Srpska
12 had very quickly, in an easy way, expelled the Bosniak
13 Muslims, and that portion of the Croats who lived in
14 the municipality that I'm not going to mention, when I
15 spoke of the time of the very beginnings of the
16 aggression, in fact, of the army of the Republika
17 Srpska on Bosnia-Herzegovina, in that part of my
18 testimony I mentioned the following municipalities: I
19 mentioned the municipalities of western Bosnia, that is
20 to say, Kljuc, Petrovac, Prijedor, Banja Luka, Skender
21 Vakuf, Donji Vakuf, Bosanska Krupa, and several other
22 places, which are in that area of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 It is in these places, Mr. President, and
24 Your Honours, that the Bosniak Muslims, according to
25 the population census of 1991, they were a relative and
1 somewhere an absolute majority.
2 However, in those places the Croats were
3 represented to a small amount, and the HVO was not
4 organised in those places.
5 Now, what does that mean? It means that the
6 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is to say, the
7 political leadership of the Muslims and Bosniaks at the
8 beginning of the aggression of the army of the
9 Republika Srpska, helped by the Yugoslav People's Army
10 in the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, wavered, they were
11 not decisive and resolute in standing up to that
12 aggression, and this assertion I illustrated by the
13 facts and stated the destinies of the Bosniak Muslims
14 in the municipalities I mentioned.
15 However, on the other side we have a
16 different development of events. That is to say, in
17 places where the Croats were, perhaps, a relative
18 majority in some places, or the same percentage as the
19 Muslim Bosniaks, and where the HVO was organised, that
20 is to say, where the HVO was organised, together with
21 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there a resistance was
22 made to the army of the Republika Srpska.
23 We have a comparison there. For example,
24 Donji Vakuf, where the Muslim Bosniaks were the
25 majority, the army of the Republika Srpska was able to
1 take control in one day.
2 However, Jajce, if we look at it on the map,
3 is in the interior where there are Croats and the HVO
4 exists and where it is working jointly with the
5 Territorial Defence at the time of the Bosnian army,
6 Jajce defended itself right up to the end of November,
7 that is to say, the end of October, 1992.
8 So, my observation and conclusion referred to
9 the successes of the army of the Republika Srpska
10 compared to the municipalities where the Muslim Bosniak
11 population was a majority.
12 And at the time it was the beginning of the
13 aggression of the army of the Republika Srpska on
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in that context, Mr. President
15 and Your Honours, I made my observation that one of the
16 reasons for doubt and dissatisfaction on the part of
17 the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina with regard to
18 the measures taken by the political leadership, when
19 talking about aggression and standing up to that
20 aggression, was that wavering or indecision.
21 I'm going to give you the example of the
22 village of Ravno, which was first attacked, which was
23 attached first in the aggression by the army of the
24 Republika Srpska on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it is a
25 village with a large percentage, or perhaps 100 per
1 cent Croat population; I remember, for example, the
2 news on television or reports when the head of the
3 Bosniak Muslims, who was a member of the presidency of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina of the day, and was the presiding
5 individual, said after that aggression, and after the
6 fact that the village was completely burned to the
7 ground and the people expelled, that it was not a war
8 -- I will try and remember the statement -- he said
9 "it's not our war."
10 So in that context, Mr. President, I made the
11 conclusions that I made and the statements that I
13 And would you remind me, you had another part
14 of the question, so as to give you a detailed answer?
15 Will you repeat the second part of your question,
17 Yes, I remember, the second part of your
18 question referred to whether the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the state that existed, can open
20 a second front towards the HVO.
21 Yes, those are the facts, and that is the
22 truth. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina openly attacked
23 the HVO in January, and that was the year of 1993. The
24 conflicts I mentioned occurred in March 1992. So, that
25 is a year when certain movements had been made with
1 regard to equipment organisation, system, and so on.
2 I said that through the promotion activities
3 in Central Bosnia, there were rumours, there was
4 stories that certain extremists, which existed both in
5 the ranks of the BH army and the HVO, and I'm speaking
6 principally of the BH army, said we do not have enough
7 forces to fight against the Serbs, but we have enough
8 forces to fight against the Croats.
9 And furthermore, the second reason why an
10 open attack occurred on the BH units, in the HVO units
11 in Central Bosnia, was that in Central Bosnia there was
12 a concentration of the military industry, that is to
13 say, in Konjic we had the production of ammunition, in
14 Vitez we had an explosives factory, in Novi Travnik
15 there was an ammunition factory, again, for guns, and
16 in Travnik footwear and clothing was produced for
17 purposes of the army.
18 So, with this kind of goal in mind, and to
19 master this territory, the BH army would gain all the
20 prerequisites to be able to arm itself and re-equip
21 itself and independently to produce everything it
22 needed, equipment and armaments for waging a war.
23 Second, the territory of Central Bosnia, and
24 particularly the Kiseljak, Busovaca, Vitez and Novi
25 Travnik municipalities, with their geographic
1 distribution, are at key points on roads in Central
2 Bosnia, communication lines.
3 And I said that all wars in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina were, to all practical purposes, all
5 the armies waging war in Bosnia-Herzegovina waged them
6 for the communication lines. Those in control of the
7 communication lines would be the winners of the war.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Brigadier. I would
9 like to ask you to give us a shorter answer, that way
10 we can finish this afternoon.
11 When we hear you, it seems that the sudden
12 defeat of the Muslims, at Donji Vakuf in particular, in
13 one day, provoked discontent among the Croats,
14 vis-à-vis the Croats who withdrew quickly.
15 Can one say that that discontent provoked a
16 certain type of aggression on the part of the Croats
17 against the Muslims, in order to teach them a lesson?
18 To teach them how to act? As you can say, give them a
19 good spanking?
20 A. Mr. President, I did not maintain that, I did
21 not think that, and that was not how things stood. It
22 was not to teach them a lesson, to teach anyone a
23 lesson, in fact.
24 But, it was, quite simply, that the Croats
25 were not able to understand that the Muslim Bosniaks,
1 at the start, immediately at the beginning, did not
2 firmly stand up in defence of the places that I
3 mentioned. Because there had, there did not have any
4 different conditions in Zenica, in connection to
5 Bosanska, Petrovac, because the population ratio was
6 that the units could have been organised.
7 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you. I have another
8 clarification I would like to ask for, which has to do
9 with the role of General Blaskic vis-à-vis orders.
10 General Blaskic issued many orders to protect
11 civilians. For example, I have documents here, D480,
12 I'm not going to cite them all, but he gave the orders
13 to protect civilians. He even gave orders for
14 fighting. Frequently they were orders that I saw in
15 the transcript, when I wasn't there, I'm not sure that
16 it was 456, I believe, in which he was addressing
17 himself to Vitezovi and to the military police.
18 In an army worthy of its name, I suppose that
19 one gives orders that can be carried out; which means
20 that even the Vitezovi, that is the military police,
21 were subordinate to General Blaskic and received orders
22 from him, and that he could give orders to protect
24 At the same time you said that sometimes the
25 -- here I am saying one word -- that they were really
1 bluff, because they could not be carried out, such as
2 the orders to convict, condemn to death people, that
3 these orders in fact were simply an illusion.
4 Can you confirm the conclusion that the
5 Prosecutor drew this morning, to which you did not
6 answer; that is, that nobody was prosecuted for war
7 crimes, and that the General Blaskic's orders were not
8 obeyed, they were not followed by any serious steps
9 taken in order to punish the guilty ones?
10 I would add that as regards, for example,
11 Ahmici, and this morning as well, I believe it was the
12 Kiseljak mosque, when you were asked why there was no
13 investigation or if there was an investigation; and you
14 said "how can an investigation be carried out if you
15 don't know the people who committed the atrocity?"
16 But that's why the investigation is carried
17 out, in order to find out who committed the acts. Why
18 do you say, what reasons can you give for there having
19 been no orders and there was no follow-up to the orders
20 from General Blaskic which asked that the civilians be
22 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the Judge said,
23 is it not logical that an order issued should be
24 executed by the army? Yes, in an army which is
25 organised, Your Honour, which has standards and codes
1 of conduct that have been built up, in that kind of
2 army orders are, of course, executed.
3 The failure to execute orders in the HVO, but
4 I don't want to say that no orders issued were
5 implemented, but were not executed strictly, orders by
6 the commander of the Operative Zone to the HVO units,
7 is the result, and I have said that; that is the
8 difference between the HVO as an armed force of
9 Herceg-Bosna, what it should have been and what the HVO
10 actually was.
11 I said, Mr. President, that the organisation
12 of the HVO began in villages where family relationships
13 existed, and where you didn't want, where you had
14 neighbourly relations and you didn't want to go against
15 those relations.
16 And so, at a lower level, because of this
17 familiarity in the relationships that existed in the
18 village, in practice, none of the tasks were
19 implemented with regard to punishment.
20 Second, the orders which were issued to
21 protect civilians best testify to how much General
22 Blaskic, as a professional soldier, invested efforts,
23 under existing conditions, the conditions under which
24 he lived and worked, so that he could, with his
25 subordinates, create the, bring to bear that they
1 should fight against crimes of this kind, and to
2 prevent, in their units, appearances and phenomena of
3 this kind.
4 I said on several occasions all these
5 criminal instances and conduct towards civilians, the
6 burning of houses and so on, that many of these
7 activities were done secretly in a covert fashion,
8 because nobody wanted to do this and to have it known,
9 widely known. And that is where the problem lies.
10 Furthermore, the existence of informal
11 groups, unofficial groups which had weapons at their
12 disposal, you see the PPN, special purpose units in the
13 brigades, for example 20 young men say they are a
14 special brigade and give themselves the name of
15 Grasshoppers, for example; and those 20 young men in
16 the units, on the next day or two days later might
17 leave the units.
18 So, it was not, organisationally speaking,
19 something that had been standardised and ordered. And
20 it is for these reasons that the execution of orders
21 was made more difficult.
22 I said that as the war progressed, as people
23 began to realise what war meant and what the dangers
24 that war brought with it and what consequences it
25 brought, already in 1993, on the eve of the Washington
1 Accords, we had a higher degree of execution of the
2 General's orders.
3 The General was consistent and persistent in
4 fighting against everything that was not in conformity
5 with military ethics and logics and the Geneva
6 Conventions and other agreements.
7 Furthermore, when we come to the mosque in
8 Kiseljak, he ordered the commander of the brigade to
9 ascertain and investigate this incident and the state
10 of affairs there. Furthermore, he ordered the
11 commanders to send him the names and surnames of
12 individuals who had burned houses, but he was never
13 able to arrive at any name.
14 Why not? Because the commander of the
15 brigade could not arrive at a name himself. So the
16 commander of the brigade did not refuse to execute that
17 order, he was just not able to implement it, because he
18 did not get the right information, that is to say,
19 someone with a name and surname was the perpetrator of
20 one of these incidents.
21 So the key problem was that the HVO was badly
22 organised, was in the process of being established and
23 being born, and not a well organised army at that time.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Could you tell me succinctly, if
25 there were any people, and name them if you can, any
1 people who were prosecuted for war crimes?
2 I accept that one could not condemn to death,
3 as we spoke about at great length yesterday, because
4 that might have caused trouble in the army, and it
5 might have had an effect on the General's popularity.
6 But even theoretically were any prosecutions for war
7 crimes carried out against certain individuals? And
8 who were they? That's all. In general, as regards all
9 the incidents.
10 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, there was no
11 such prosecution, but investigations had been ordered.
12 We saw what General Blaskic got when he ordered
13 investigation of certain cases.
14 JUDGE RIAD: I'm going to move to another
15 question about which I would like some clarification.
16 One has constantly said that the General was
17 not able to appoint or dismiss commanders, that he
18 needed the consent, or perhaps consultation with the
19 local authorities.
20 Were there any cases when communal or local
21 authorities opposed the appointments or dismissals of
22 General Blaskic on the ground, in fact, did he ever run
23 into any opposition to what he was doing?
24 A. Yes, when dismissals were concerned, we have
25 the case of Fojnica, when appointments are concerned,
1 General Blaskic, because he was aware of what the
2 situation was, he knew what the situation was, what he
3 could and could not carry out. I said that he was
4 balancing between his powers and the actual situation
5 on the ground.
6 He was in a position to reconcile two
7 opposites, on the one hand he had powers, and on the
8 other hand he could not carry them out in practice.
9 Mr. President, I will go a step further, as
10 far as appointments are concerned. Even the municipal
11 authorities could not impose a commander of a brigade
12 if the army did not want it in the lower units.
13 Also, the commander of a battalion could not
14 be appointed if he were not accepted by the soldiers he
15 was supposed to command. So, we would get down to
16 village level, to company level, where you could not
17 decree anyone, appoint anyone by decree. Not in a
18 single case in Central Bosnia, in the Lasva Valley,
19 General Blaskic or any commander could not appoint an
20 officer, who was professionally trained, to appoint him
21 to be a commander in a different village in a different
22 unit. I mean, two people from a different village
23 where this person did not live.
24 For example, in the village of Krcevine,
25 there could only be a commander from the village of
1 Krcevine, no matter how many able men you had, or in
2 the village of Jardol, or wherever, that was the
3 reality and the state of affairs.
4 Because if you would appoint a person who
5 these people did not want, he could not work with these
6 people. They would refuse to carry out every one of
7 his orders.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Does this also apply to
9 dismissals? Could he dismiss somebody from a community
10 and replace him by somebody else from the same
11 community, in order to please that community? Or was
12 even that difficult?
13 A. He could not even carry that out. That is to
14 say, that the person he wanted to appoint would have to
15 be approved of by the people this person would
16 command. So, if it was a lower level unit, a company
17 or whatever, 30 people, 100 people, that is to say the
18 entire structure.
19 JUDGE RIAD: He could not dismiss people,
20 that's the question, he could not dismiss people. He
21 could not take them out of service?
22 A. He could not, he could not, although he did
23 have the legal authority to do so.
24 Q. Very well. Last question. I have noted that
25 you said in the hearing of 6 October that you could not
1 assert whether officers or Croatian soldiers were
2 participants in the HVO; and furthermore, yesterday or
3 perhaps this morning, we spoke about a request, about a
4 letter which was sent by the municipality on 12 April
5 1993 to the president of Croatia, or to General
6 Praljak, it was the general of the Croatian army,
7 asking that he send higher ranking officers in order to
8 re-enforce the Lasva Valley units.
9 The fact that municipalities turned to the
10 General of the Croatian army, was that a regular thing
11 that happened, or was that a special way of acting
12 which was not something which ordinarily was done?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this was not
14 usual and it wasn't unusual either. The letter we read
15 out yesterday was written because of the way of
16 thinking and the way of functioning of the municipal
17 authorities of Travnik. It was in line with their
18 thoughts. It's not that there was a procedure making
19 it compulsory on them to do so or not to do so.
20 Also, a similar letter could possibly have
21 been written in other municipalities too. I don't know
22 that. I cannot confirm that. But the most important
23 thing is that this letter shows how independent a
24 municipal authority is. That is to say, they
25 circumvent the central authority of Herceg-Bosna. The
1 central authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was
2 paralysed, and they write a letter directly. I don't
3 know what the effects were of that letter, but I know
4 as far as officers are concerned, these officers never
5 came and were never in the command of the Operative
6 Zone of Central Bosnia. Not officers of the Croatian
7 army or soldiers of the Croatian army.
8 JUDGE RIAD: I said on 16 October that you
9 didn't know. You said that you didn't know whether
10 there were officers there or not, and now you're saying
11 that there were not any.
12 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I said that I
13 know that there were not any of them in the command of
14 the Operative Zone. And the HVO had three other
15 operative zones, north-western Herzegovina, Southeast
16 Herzegovina, and whether there were such officers there
17 at that time I don't know. And I said why. Because
18 from 1991 until the Washington Accords, I was not in a
19 position to leave the enclave, and I never received
20 this official information by way of fact. So I'm
21 saying this for sure in terms of the command of the
22 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia where I was.
23 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Brigadier.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Riad. Let me
25 now turn to Judge Shahabuddeen.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I will put a
2 few questions to you for clarification. I appreciate
3 that you cannot answer yes or no to every question, but
4 I shall try my best to ensure that you do not have too
5 great of difficulty. Of course, if you cannot answer
6 yes or no, then I shall understand.
7 Now, let me take up a point mentioned by
8 Judge Riad towards the end of his questioning. It
9 concerns the letter dated 12th of April, 1993, which
10 was sent by the municipality of Travnik, I think under
11 the hand of Mr. Purvan to President Tudjman, requesting
12 a form of military assistance, and I have listened to
13 your answer.
14 I want you to react to a slightly different
15 aspect of the matter. Was the municipality likely to
16 write such a letter unless the HVO military authorities
17 had advised them that there was a need for military
18 assistance from the Republic of Croatia?
19 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this was not
20 likely. You saw, Your Honour, that that letter did not
21 even get into the command of the Operative Zone. This
22 was an initiative taken by this municipal authority,
23 because they were judging whether the officers were
24 properly trained or not, and whether this or that thing
25 was done, whatever it says there. So they did not
1 receive from the municipality any orders from the
2 military authorities or certainly not from the
3 Operative Zone.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Your answer would be
5 that HVO military authorities were not likely to have
6 advised the municipality to make that request?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That's how I'd like us
9 to proceed. Now, there was some evidence by you
10 concerning an order issued by General Blaskic about
11 confiscating weapons from Muslims and giving them to
12 the HVO. I think that can be found at page 13.185 of
13 the record, gentlemen. You also said that order was
14 not carried out. Do you recall that branch of your
16 A. I'm trying to remember. Does this perhaps
17 pertain to lifting the state of alert -- raising the
18 state of alert in December -- January 1993, when they
19 are supposed to act with weapons as you just said,
20 and --
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: It was on the 16th of
22 January, 1993, and General Petkovic --
23 A. I remember that.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- had a covering
25 order. You remember that. And you said --
1 A. Yes, I remember, Your Honour. So as far as
2 this activity is concerned, this activity, which was
3 ordered, it was ordered for the following reasons --
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No, I'm not going into
5 the reasons, General, I'm just asking if you remember
6 your testimony on that.
7 A. I remember, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You said that General
9 Blaskic's order was not carried out. Do you recall
10 your testimony to that effect?
11 A. The order was not carried out because --
12 because -- because --
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'm not interested in
14 the reasons.
15 A. Because the convey did not go. The convey
16 did not go.
17 JUDGE JORDA: General, for three weeks now
18 you've been asked to answer the questions very
19 precisely. I would like to support Judge
20 Shahabuddeen. He doesn't want to hear the reasons
21 right now. Just answer the questions as he asks them.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You said in another
23 place that, however, General Blaskic was geared to
24 carrying out superior orders very strictly. Do you
25 recall that?
1 A. Yes, that is what I said, and that is the way
2 General Blaskic acted.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you report to
4 General Petkovic on the fact that the orders issued by
5 him, General Blaskic, had not been carried out?
6 A. He did not inform General Petkovic about the
7 case that I spoke of. And why not? What did I want to
8 say? The convoys were not moving at the time when it
9 was ordered to act in such and such a way with the
10 convoys and to take away weapons, et cetera. There
11 were no conveys because in Gornji Vakuf there was a
12 cease-fire, and so this was signed quickly.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: To return to his order
14 to which you referred this morning, directing
15 commanding officers to execute deserters. Do you
16 recall your evidence to that effect? I do not wish to
17 spell it out.
18 A. Yes, Your Honour. I remember. That is to
19 say to execute those who leave the front-line.
20 Q. And you said that that order was not intended
21 to be carried out and was not, in fact, carried out?
22 A. Yes, that is what I said.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I ask you this
24 question: If you were a local commander who received
25 that order, would you understand that you were intended
1 to carry it out or that you were not intended to carry
2 it out?
3 A. I would understand it to have it carried out,
4 but I would have read the order in its entirety. And a
5 very important point in this order is point 2. That is
6 to say, to read this in front of all the soldiers in
7 line, so that all of them would be warned as to what
8 would happen to them. So I would have analysed the
9 entire order, not only one assignment therein.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Very good, General.
11 Now, let me turn to General Blaskic's report to you of
12 his discovery in Zenica that people had been killed in
13 Ahmici. You remember him saying that General Merdan
14 was, in effect, distressed by the circumstance that 500
15 civilians had been killed?
16 A. Yes, Your Honours, Mr. President, that is
17 what it says in the report. And as regards the figure,
18 I cannot dwell on that because I do not know whether it
19 is accurate or not.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. His statement was
21 that General Merdan was pretty worried about the 500
22 civilians killed in Vitez. For the purposes of the
23 record and the convenience of the bar, the page is
25 Now, did General Blaskic say to you that that
1 figure was incorrect or that General Merdan's statement
2 was inaccurate?
3 A. The General did not tell me that. I will try
4 to quote him -- rather, remember what he told me. At
5 the meeting in Zenica, I got information that there is
6 a large number of persons killed in Ahmici, and among
7 them are civilians too. That is the only thing that
8 the General told me. I do not know the exact losses,
9 but I believe that not that many people were killed.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, let's turn to these
11 ammunition factories, if I may refer to them that way
12 for short. There was one in Vitez, was there not?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, that was a
14 factory of explosives, and in Konjic there was an
15 ammunition factory, so these were explosives.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you spoke about
17 this this morning. You said that ABiH had a triple
18 aim, and one of the three aims was that the ABiH wished
19 to take over possession of these ammunition factories.
20 I'm referring to that part of your evidence.
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you were in the
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was the HVO likely to
1 allow the ABiH to capture these ammunition factories,
2 or was it more likely that the HVO would have destroyed
3 these factories before the ABiH could have taken them
5 A. When the attack took place, the attack on
6 this factory, because of the substance and the
7 programme of production that this factory had, had
8 there been an explosion of this kind the entire town of
9 Vitez would have been jeopardised. So if it so
10 happened that all the raw materials and everything that
11 was in that factory was blown up, the town of Vitez
12 would have suffered a catastrophe. That is to say, in
13 a big radius, the town and the people.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So those the
15 catastrophic possible consequences, I gather from you
16 that the HVO, if it lost, would have preferred not to
17 destroy the factories?
18 A. I don't know what at that time the commander
19 of the Operative Zone would have decided, but I think
20 he could not decide on his own what he would do with
21 the factory in a situation in which the BH army would
22 have broken our lines and come into a position to take
23 the factory.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, let's turn a little
25 to the burning of houses. I think the gist of your
1 evidence was that yes, houses were burnt, but all such
2 burning that occurred occurred within the framework of
3 a military conflict. Am I correct?
4 A. Partly, yes. As far as the burning of houses
5 is concerned, I said the following: That the burning
6 of houses happened during the fighting, and that it
7 happened after the fighting when there was no combat
8 action in the way which I explained. That is to say,
9 secretly during the night and under different
10 circumstances, not to explain all the examples that I
11 ever cited. So if Croatian houses are burning in the
12 territory which is under BH army control, there will
13 certainly be someone who will set fire to Muslim
14 Bosniak houses. Or if Muslim Bosniak houses were
15 burning on territory that was under HVO control, it is
16 certain that Croatian houses under territory controlled
17 by the BH army would be ablaze.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us take a
19 hypothetical case like this. Muslims desire to evict
20 and expel Croats from a Croat occupied village. The
21 Muslims attack the Croat village, the Croats resist, a
22 conflict ensues, and Croat houses are burnt. Would it
23 be your position that those houses were burnt because
24 of a military conflict or because of an original
25 intention to evict the Croats from the village?
1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, neither one nor
2 the other. Allegation can not be taken explicitly as
3 such for certain reasons. I said that houses were
4 burning as a consequence of combat action, that is one
5 thing. And they were burning for the reasons I
6 mentioned. I could not assert that they were burning
7 for the reasons that you mentioned here.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You remember that
9 document, Prosecutor's Exhibit 510, the one which
10 said -- I wonder if you could be shown it.
11 Mr. Registrar, could he be shown it?
12 You remember there was some argument about a
13 phrase which occurred in the passage, "The Bukovci
14 village must be taken by nightfall on condition that we
15 burn anything standing in our way." That's only for
17 A. I remember, Your Honour, Mr. President, yes.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, General, how would
19 a commanding officer in the field, who received this
20 document, understand that instruction? Would he
21 understand it as meaning -- understand it as meaning
22 that he was required to burn anything standing in his
23 way, or would he not so understand it?
24 A. In this case I would not understand it in
25 that way. Why? Mr. President, Your Honours, the
1 assignment was to disarm the soldiers of the BH army in
2 those villages, and if that did not happen, if they did
3 not surrender their weapons voluntarily, then they
4 would be threatened in this way. So the main thing to
5 be done was to disarm them, and then the rest was by
6 way of a threat.
7 When one studies an order, one has to
8 understand what is the priority task, and what are the
9 additional tasks.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand, General.
11 Now, I want you to bear in mind the map that Mr. Nobilo
12 very kindly put up on the easel, the green map, and
13 have it in mind as I speak to you.
14 Certain preparatory and combat orders had
15 been issued by General Blaskic on the 15th and, I
16 believe, on the morning of the 16th. Would I be right
17 in thinking that the orientation there was this: That
18 the various elements of the HVO, including the Military
19 Police, would be looking in the direction of the
20 Nadioci, Ahmici, Sivrino, Pirici axis; is that
21 correct? No?
22 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, that was not
23 stated in the orders. If need be, I shall clarify all
24 the details.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I know it wasn't
1 stated. I'm asking you whether as a matter of fact
2 those elements of the HVO military would be oriented in
3 the direction of the Nadioci, Ahmici, Sivrino, Pirici
4 axis; is that correct?
5 A. That is not correct.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You tell me then what is
8 A. It is correct from the preparatory order
9 issued on the 15th what the tasks all the units had. I
10 will stress the tasks of the forces shown on this
11 particular map.
12 The Military Police had its task to control
13 the communication line. To control the communication
14 line, not to attack any village. All the brigades had
15 the task of blocking, that is to say control the
16 Croatian villages. There is no movement of forces, no
17 attack, but at 1.00 a.m., General Blaskic, I suppose,
18 had received additional information related to the
19 intentions of the army, and in the area of the Vitez
20 municipality where the Vitez Brigade was deployed, and
21 I'll show you this, it is this entire region here, and
22 according to his knowledge --
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Could you show us, as
24 well, Ahmici in relation to the other areas? Where is
25 Ahmici? That's Ahmici.
1 A. That is Ahmici.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Am I right that some of
3 the orders issued by General Blaskic at around this
4 time mentioned that the army of the ABiH was occupying
5 Ahmici or about to occupy the Ahmici area?
6 A. The orders of General Blaskic to -- of which
7 you mean do not say that. Ahmici was not occupied.
8 There were BH army units there.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. If independent
10 criminal elements infiltrated at that time and entered
11 Ahmici, would the various elements of the HVO have been
12 in a position to detect that fact?
13 A. I do not understand you when you say
14 "elements". You mean elements of the HVO or elements
15 of the BH army?
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No. I wonder if I may
17 have mixed my expressions up. Let me go again.
18 If independent criminal elements had
19 infiltrated at that time into the Ahmici area, would
20 the various elements of the HVO have been in a position
21 to detect that fact and to stop that intrusion?
22 A. No, they wouldn't be in a position to stop it
23 in the village of Ahmici. You could reach Ahmici from
24 Zenica without the HVO knowing.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Could you reach Ahmici
1 from the main road along which the Military Police of
2 the HVO were strung out without the HVO becoming aware
3 of the intrusion?
4 A. You couldn't get there, because Ahmici, the
5 houses of Ahmici were along the road as well, along the
6 edge of the road. They're very short distances, 20
7 metres, 30 metres. And I said in my testimony how the
8 conflict on the road occurred. We saw the report that
9 the commander of the Military Police said they were
10 attacked in the Bungalow. All these facts, to this
11 very day, I am -- have not thrown light on.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Tell me something else.
13 From where you were located in Vitez, could you hear
14 any explosions coming from Ahmici?
15 A. If there was fighting in the village of
16 Ahmici and then -- then stronger explosions could be
17 heard. But let me remind you that on the 16th, in the
18 Vitez area, there were conflicts in the -- in places,
19 Krucicia, Stari Vitez, Donja Rovna, Bare, Kuber,
20 Ahmici, Krcevine, Grbavica and Jardoc.
21 And if you recall, when I said that the
22 civilian population had called us, the people said
23 there was shooting from all sides, "We don't know what
24 to do." And this was an appeal, and this was, in fact,
25 fighting where there was detonation and the sound of
1 explosion on all sides.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do I understand you, in
3 effect, to be saying that the physical situation was
4 too confusing for you to be able to locate precisely
5 the direction from which any particular explosion was
7 A. The situation, we cannot say that it was
8 confusing, but I said that the forces of shelling from
9 the BH army, from the town of Vitez, an all-out attack,
10 that was a surprise to us, because in the orders dated
11 the 15th, we expected sabotage activity by the BH army
12 on the command posts, and that is why we blocked the
13 villages. But we did not expect an all-out attack, the
14 kind that occurred. And in a situation of this kind,
15 the command in which I was, it was our need to see
16 where the attack came from, whether you would be able
17 to counter it and stop it and so on. And the command
18 in which I was located, that was the key question, and
19 every command would have given thought to these matters
20 in a situation of that kind.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, when did you
22 first hear on the media that certain dreadful things
23 had occurred at Ahmici? When was the first time that
24 you heard that on the media?
25 A. I cannot remember exactly the media, but I
1 heard about these events from my commander on the 20th
2 of April, 1993.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you also hear of
4 them from the media, from the radio, the newspapers and
5 so on, television?
6 A. I can't remember the date, but at that time
7 during the war, via the media, the public information
8 media, there was an all-out propaganda being launched
9 in the sense of saying who was responsible for the
10 attack, who had attacked whom and the kind of events
11 that were taking place, and it was really -- there was
12 a mass of information put out and misinformation, I
13 might say, so that when all this ended, and when I
14 compared and analysed the information, I saw that half
15 of the information put out was not correct. For
16 example, the massacre at Kuber, that was not true.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I have no doubt you
18 could give us a great number of details, but answer
19 this question. Did the propaganda, or the information
20 on the media, also include references to war crimes
21 having been committed at Ahmici and to the possibility
22 of a war crimes court being set up?
23 A. In the media I believe that Ahmici was
24 mentioned. And the war crimes court, as far as I
25 remember, it was at that time in April, or perhaps
1 March, the International Community did establish a war
2 crimes court to deal with the crimes on the areas of
3 the former Yugoslavia, I don't know exactly what date
4 that was.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us turn a little to
6 trench digging. I think you said that information came
7 to you about trench digging. Did you recognise that
8 information as referring to possible crimes against the
9 international rules which applied to the conduct of
11 A. That trenches were being dug and the line of
12 defence set up, that was something I knew of, because
13 we ordered the commanders of the units to see to those
14 lines, because otherwise we wouldn't be able to defend
16 However, to engage civilians to set up this
17 line, I said how this was done. It happened that
18 everybody who was not a soldier and carried a rifle in
19 those one, two or three days, how far it took to set up
20 the line, was engaged via a work duty to perform those
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me read your
23 testimony at page 13.262. Mr. Prosecutor asked you
24 this question: "Were those prisoners taken out to dig
25 trenches on front-lines and elsewhere?" Answer: "I
1 cannot confirm that, although the information that I
2 have personally received, as I worked with my
3 colleagues, said that there were such things; but this
4 was never ordered by the commander of the Operational
6 Do you remember that part of your testimony?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you in
9 general; you received some information on the subject.
10 Did you think this was a sufficiently important matter
11 for to you mention to General Blaskic? If so, did you
12 mention it to him?
13 A. That information which reached me in the way
14 in which I stated, it came after the event, after it
15 had happened, because that activity took place in the
16 space of two or three days, in the conflicts in
17 Busovaca, in January, and in the conflicts in Vitez on
18 the 16th, so that, it was something that had already
19 been done and passed.
20 And I will just remind you of General
21 Blaskic's order, where, on the basis of an order from
22 the commander of the main staff, he asked the commander
23 of the units to give them the names of individuals who
24 acted in that way. So, I did not have the information
25 at the time when this occurred on the 16th or the 17th.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The answer is that, for
2 one reason or another, you did not relay to General
3 Blaskic the information which you had received about
4 trench digging by prisoners?
5 A. The information that I received in the way
6 that I received it, I did not relate to General
7 Blaskic. This information did not reach me via the
8 operative report. It was an information, some
9 information that reached me through what people were
10 saying in town, by word of mouth, so to speak.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you a little
12 bit about logistical cooperation between the Serb
13 military and the Croat military, the HVO. I gather
14 from what you say the cooperation was limited to
15 logistic matters and to only in some places; is that
17 A. Yes, yes, that is the information that I
19 Q. Could you tell this Trial Chamber what was
20 your understanding of the basis on which that
21 cooperation was being done? What was the basis of it?
22 A. The basis, in my opinion, and this is really
23 my own personal opinion, the basis for that cooperation
24 was necessity, or dire need of the HVO units acting in
25 the Kiseljak area and the enclave and the Zepce area in
1 the enclave, because had they not received logistic
2 material via the territory of Republika Srpska, they
3 would have nothing to defend themselves with.
4 And I felt this best in the encirclement in
5 the Lasva Valley. It was our luck that along with the
6 explosives factory, we were in fact defending ourselves
7 in that way, and with that we were able to replace at
8 least partially what we lacked. And so, it was dire
9 need, it was necessity.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Can you tell us whether
11 General Blaskic knew of this limited cooperation based
12 on necessity?
13 A. I can't confirm that but I suppose he could
14 have known about it.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you, yourself, think
16 this was a sufficiently strange or important matter to
17 mention to General Blaskic, I mean cooperation between
18 the HVO and an active enemy in the field?
19 A. Yes, Mr. President, Your Honours, it is
20 strange, but it testifies to the character of the war
21 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You see, on the one hand you
22 have HVO units in enclaves, and on the other hand the
23 army cooperating, also on logistic matters, this is
24 something that is very difficult to explain, both the
25 cause and effects of that and the reasons for it.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us turn to women and
2 children being made to stand in the streets and then
3 being taken into a building next to Mr. Cerkez's
4 building. Do you remember that testimony?
5 A. Yes, I remember that testimony.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If a shell fell on the
7 part of the building occupied by Mr. Cerkez, could the
8 blast affect the women and children in the adjoining
9 part of the building?
10 A. No, because that building where the civilians
11 were placed was constructively speaking the strongest
12 building in Vitez, and Vitez as a town had no shelter,
13 no standard shelters for civilians in the case of
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I ask you a
16 supplementary question on that. Suppose the enemy
17 wanted to shell Mr. Cerkez; do you, as a military man,
18 estimate that there might have been a risk of the shell
19 either falling on the part of the building occupied by
20 the women or children, or falling hard nearby?
21 A. It was possible. However, if you allow me,
22 Your Honour, the town of Vitez is a small area. It
23 would have been a greater tragedy had those civilians
24 remained outside in the streets. And practically
25 speaking, we had nowhere to put those people, because
1 there was fighting going on.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I want to talk
3 about the HV symbols which some elements of the
4 military were wearing. I gather from what you said
5 that some Croats in Herzeg-Bosna went over to help the
6 military in Croatia, and they came back wearing
7 Croatian insignia; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that is correct, because the war in
9 Croatia began before it began in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you, then, have
11 expected that in your hour of need the Croatian
12 military or elements of the Croatian military would
13 then come over to the Lasva Valley to help the HVO?
14 A. I could have expected everything, but I know
15 what actually happened. In the Lasva Valley, there was
16 no Croatian army.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, from your evidence
18 and the evidence of others who testified for the
19 Defence, the picture I have received is that the HVO
20 was out numbered and under equipped in relation to the
21 ABiH; do you subscribe to that view?
22 A. Yes, Your Honour, I subscribe to that view;
23 but I also confirm that for the units of the Operative
24 Zone of Central Bosnia, I know the situation there.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: In those circumstances,
1 if military elements from Croatia had come over to help
2 you, to help the HVO, would the HVO have welcomed that?
3 A. When you are in a situation, in the kind of
4 situation that we were in, and that is, you have the
5 encirclement there, you can see it, everybody giving
6 you assistance would be welcomed. Because it was truly
7 a situation where it was difficult to find a way out,
8 and it was a struggle for survival, or to go under.
9 Because we saw the fate of the soldiers and civilians
10 in those places which were not defended, both Travnik,
11 Kakanj, Vares, and so on.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you a
13 question or two about this military concept of unity of
14 command or unity of control. Is it unity of control
15 you call it?
16 A. As a function of control it is not unity, it
17 is -- so, unity is command, which implies
18 subordination, responsibility and so on.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you remember that
20 on the ABiH side it was the 7th Muslim Brigade and the
21 HVO were not too sure how closely connected the 7th
22 Muslim Brigade was to the ABiH, or whether it was on
23 the control under the ABiH?
24 A. I did not quite understand the question.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me put it in pieces
1 to you, then. Do you remember speaking about the 7th
2 Muslim Brigade?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And you remember saying
5 something to us to the effect that the 7th Muslim
6 Brigade might not have been fully under the control of
7 the ABiH?
8 A. I remember that. I said that. Just a bit,
9 just a minute, please. I said that we were not sure
10 whether the 3rd Corps controlled the 7th Brigade, not
11 the army as an army. If not the 3rd Corps, then
12 perhaps the general staff had control over them, so the
13 3rd Corps.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I accept that
15 qualification. I'm grateful to you for it.
16 Nevertheless, the HVO authorities wrote to
17 the 3rd Corps in respect of things being done by the
18 7th Muslim Brigade?
19 A. As far as I can remember, we did send such a
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, would you say, to
22 use the language of Mr. Nobilo, that the proposition to
23 be deduced from that is that you associated unity of
24 command with exclusivity of command, that is, there
25 could be no parallel and independent force existing in
1 the same side, it all had to be brought under one
2 single control; wasn't that your point of view?
3 A. No. It would have been necessary and it
4 could have functioned that way, but it did not. And I
5 said how it had functioned. It was desirable, and that
6 is what every commander would have wished for, that is
7 to say, if he had forces on his territory and under his
8 command, he would be the only one who would command
10 But that was not the situation, neither with
11 the army or the HVO. So, these were problems which
12 were characteristic of the beginning of the
13 organisation and set up both of the HVO and the army.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I finally invite your
15 attention to Exhibit 362, I think it's a Prosecutor's
16 Exhibit 362, dated 24 April, 1993.
17 Mr. Dubuisson, I hope I'm not misleading you,
18 I better show you the document that I have. It's
19 marked 362 in lead pencil. No? 24 April? No.
20 MR. KEHOE: Judge, I think it's a Defence
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That solves the
23 mystery. It is a Defence Exhibit. May I ask you a
24 preliminary question like this, General? Would I be
25 correct in supposing that in practically all armies
1 there would be a tendency to have out of control
3 A. I could not confirm that, in a state where
4 there is rule of law that should not be the case. And
5 in the situation that we had in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
6 both the army and the HVO, this was possible, and this
7 was practically an every day practice. It was reality.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What should not be is
9 distinguishable from what could be. Now, if you look
10 at this document, am I right that General Blaskic here
11 is asserting a right of control over out of control
13 In paragraph 3 he says, "The individuals and
14 groups who are completely out of control are to be
15 arrested immediately." Do you see that?
16 A. Yes, Your Honour, I see that, I see this
17 paragraph, and it confirms that General Blaskic did not
18 reconcile himself to this phenomenon, and he fought
19 against such phenomena constantly. Practically, until
20 the Washington Accords, he did not accept this fact.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand that. One
22 last document is Defence 359, Defence document 359.
23 Now, you see this document, like some others, was
24 addressed to a number of elements, including military
25 police 4th Battalion and Special Purposes Unit
2 Would you say, General Marin, that you would
3 understand this document as a document displaying the
4 exercise of authority by the commander who signed it
5 over the military police and the Special Purposes Unit
7 A. No. This is an operative order, how to
8 behave on the ground, what to do.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Now, look at
10 paragraph 3, it says there, "Those who act in violation
11 of this order are to be subject to the strictest
12 measures in line with the rules on military discipline
13 in HVO units."
14 Wouldn't you understand that as being also
15 addressed to the Vitezovi?
16 A. Yes, yes, but that would be carried out by
17 their commander. That is to say, for a member of the
18 Vitezovi, a disciplinary measure can be imposed only by
19 the commander of Vitezovi, and not General Blaskic, for
20 a member of the military police it is only a commander
21 of the military police that can carry out this
22 disciplinary action.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Are you saying that the
24 relationship was this: That General Blaskic could
25 issue operational orders to the Vitezovi, but in case
1 of non-compliance, he couldn't enforce them by imposing
2 any sanctions, he had to refer the matter to other
3 authorities? Is that the position?
4 A. Yes, and we saw in the process of reaching
5 such orders, the General, in order to prevent this from
6 happening, always talked to the commander of the
7 Vitezovi, and then when he agreed, he would send these
8 orders in order to strengthen the organisation and
9 command and to show that orders had to be respected.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If I understand you
11 correctly, he had the power to issue operational
12 orders, but he didn't have the power, himself, to
13 enforce them by imposing any sanctions of his own.
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
17 I want to turn to my interpreter friends again, because
18 it is now 5.45, we have gone beyond the time limit.
19 You know, of course, the interpreters are going to be
20 in court tomorrow morning, but we are going to resume
21 at 2 o'clock. I have a few questions I would like to
22 ask. Thanks to my colleagues, many of my own questions
23 were already asked. I would like to turn to the
24 interpreters and ask them whether we could go ten
25 minutes or fifteen minutes longer and so finish with
1 this testimony so that the Brigadier can go home and
2 not have to wait until the day after tomorrow or
3 tomorrow afternoon.
4 Once again, I would like to thank the
5 interpreters, and once again, I would express my
6 appreciation. I will ask some very concluding
8 Brigadier, you have answered many questions
9 asked by my colleagues. One asked, perhaps, was not
10 really taken up over the many days that we have been
11 meeting, that is the political aspect about everything
12 that happened regarding the constitution of the
13 Croatian defence community.
14 Before I ask my question I would like to ask
15 whether you agree on the premise. Do you remember this
16 entire period between 1992 and January 1993 when a real
17 state within the state had been constituted, there was
18 a currency, there was an official journal, there were
19 schools and rules of all types, and also very great
20 propaganda from the political players of Herceg-Bosna
21 which kindled that part of the population in Central
22 Bosnia? Do you remember that? I don't know if you do,
23 but perhaps you do.
24 But do you agree that politicians assert a
25 certain idea of the extension, the hegemony of the
1 thoughts and ideas of a more extensive Croatian
2 territory which might in fact cross, spill over into
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina? Would you agree with that?
4 Would you say that that existed?
5 A. Mr. President, I could not confirm what you
6 have said. Everything I know about political
7 developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the
8 following: I know there was a paralysis of government
9 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that the official, legally
10 and legitimately, elected parliament fell apart, and it
11 fell apart when the deputies of the Serb people left
12 the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when they
13 decided, when their political leadership decided to
14 carry out an aggression.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Brigadier, I'm not
16 asking for your, for justifications, that's not the
17 question. I simply wanted to know whether you would
18 agree that there was the constitution in Herceg-Bosna,
19 that there was an official journal, there was currency
20 which was related to Croatian currency, there were
21 changes in the teaching programmes, there was a kind of
22 state within a state.
23 I'm not asking whether that was justified or
24 not, perhaps it was or was not, that's not the
25 question. I want to know whether there was that period
1 of intense propaganda which could have kindled the
2 spirits through propaganda, through television? Did
3 that exist, do you remember, and do you agree?
4 A. Mr. President, when we saw that this question
5 of all normative enactments did exist, the legislation,
6 et cetera, as far as propaganda is concerned, in Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina, all three sides did engage in some
8 kind of propaganda, Mr. President.
9 I really am not a member of any political
10 party, I was never the member of any political party,
11 and I'm not today, and I was never in a political body,
12 and I don't know what kind of political decisions were
13 made and what their objectives were.
14 So, indeed, to give a yes or no answer to
15 your question would be too arbitrary. I do not know
16 enough in order to say it was so or it was not so.
17 Because the truth is between yes and no.
18 JUDGE JORDA: I am very pleased that you
19 answered that, because at least now I have an answer,
20 that the truth is now down somewhere between yes and
21 no. That's how you have often answered. But that was
22 the not the question.
23 At least you agree that at that period there
24 was, at least on the Croatian side after the
25 elections -- or on the Croatian Party that came out of
1 the election, that there was a kind of heating up of
2 public opinion against the Muslims with the
3 constitution of a real -- let's not call it a State,
4 but a kind of a political and administrative
5 organisation. Do you like that term better?
6 A. As far as I know, this was a temporary set-up,
7 administrative set-up, but I could not agree with you,
8 Mr. President, that immediately after the elections
9 there was unrest. It was after the aggression of the
10 army of Republika Srpska against Bosnia-Herzegovina,
11 that's when the problem started.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Brigadier, you always have the
13 impression that you're going to be accused of
14 something. I am assure that you the accused is sitting
15 over there. We're trying to shed light on the subject,
16 but you're always on the defensive. You don't have to
17 be on the defensive. Try to relax a little bit.
18 It seemed to me that when we saw a text which
19 put into place a new -- I don't think we'd be going too
20 far that there was a kind of constitution.
21 Mr. Nobilo, I new this was the time you were
22 going to come in. All right, but go quickly (sic)
23 please for the interpreter's sake.
24 MR. NOBILO: Yes. I know that it is not
25 proper for me to interrupt the Presiding Judge, but
1 perhaps it can be helpful if we move to a private
2 session. This witness works where he works, and the
3 people who created this are his bosses and so you have
4 to appreciate that.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you, Mr. Nobilo,
6 that the witness, when he answered, puts himself to a
7 justifying position. I haven't yet asked my question.
8 I was only asking him whether he agreed that between
9 November and February of 1993; through the documents,
10 through school curriculum that had been changed,
11 currency that was introduced, I suppose it's not
12 General Marin who is the one who originated all of
13 that. If the General feels accused, that's his own
15 Let me finally get to my question that I want
16 to ask.
17 As far as you know, did the accused, through
18 his personal opinions, participate or share, rather,
19 the idea of the constitution of this entity, which we
20 call Bosnian Croat, within that central part of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Was he able to play a political
23 You see, that is a question that has to do
24 with the accused and not with you, Brigadier.
25 A. As far as I know, General Blaskic did not
1 have a political role. However, as commander of the
2 Operative Zone, he certainly did have a certain
3 significance, but that he had a political role or a
4 political office, I'm not aware of that.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, in your opinion, he
6 had been appointed only because of his military
8 A. As far as I know that is the way it was,
9 because General Blaskic, may I remind you,
10 Mr. President, came from Austria, from Austria, after
11 he escaped from the former JNA, and he was appointed
12 commander. I don't know whether he was a member of the
13 HDZ ever. I don't know that.
14 JUDGE JORDA: This is my question: Within
15 the context of that time, could one imagine that the
16 Croatian defence community would name one of the
17 highest military officials right before the war was
18 about to begin, could it appoint one of its military
19 officials about whom they were not sure that he shared
20 the political opinions of the political leaders of
21 Herceg-Bosna? Did you understand my question?
22 A. I did. I do not think that at that time when
23 General Blaskic was appointed a man could be appointed
24 to that office without being ready to shoulder the
25 burden of defence, the defence of the territory and
1 Croatian people.
2 General Blaskic was appointed commander of
3 the operative zone when there was fighting against the
4 army of Republika Srpska, and when we held the
5 front-line together with the BH army. That's when
6 General Blaskic was appointed.
7 JUDGE JORDA: In order to finish with that
8 question, you consider that, first of all, General
9 Blaskic did not have any political role in the first
10 place, and in the second place, he believed that his
11 military activities were to serve the Croatian people.
12 Do we agree with those two theories? First
13 proposal -- proposition, rather, is that he only played
14 a military role, but the second proposition is that he
15 put his military qualifications at the service of the
16 Croatian people. You are the one who just said that.
17 A. Yes. And I feel that I played the same kind
18 of role too, and every officer in --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Don't speak but you.
20 Otherwise, Mr. Nobilo is going to get up and say we
21 have to move into a private session. Don't speak about
23 The question that I want to ask, and I'm
24 going to change gears, at one point my colleague, Judge
25 Shahabuddeen, was speaking, very strangely, the
1 accused, who is Colonel Blaskic, speaks about the
2 creation of this Tribunal, which proves that he was
3 well-informed. And he emphasises in that order that
4 what is happening, that is -- that certain types of
5 atrocities that have been committed might allegedly be
6 considered to be crimes, and you know that crimes --
7 the word "crime" was written with capital letters. Do
8 you remember that? There were two orders. I think
9 that those are Defence exhibits. One which the defence
10 says now there's a Tribunal --
11 A. Yes, Mr. President, I remember.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I won't ask you whether the
13 accused was concerned about those same issues before
14 the establishment of the Tribunal, because that was not
15 my question. But in a second order he said, let me
16 remind you, that what might be considered atrocities
17 could also be considered crimes in International Law.
18 Therefore, my question is to know whether at any point
19 the accused wrote to his superiors, informed his
20 superiors about his doubts, about the questions he was
21 asking himself about the crimes.
22 For example, did he write to General Petkovic
23 and say, "You know, I believe that there are crimes
24 which may be being committed, and I think that's very
25 serious." In your opinion, did he do that, or was that
1 not part of your responsibilities and there would be no
2 way for you to know so? Did you understand my
4 A. Yes, I did, Mr. President. General Blaskic,
5 with regard to the problems he had, and, therefore,
6 also the problems related to the non-functioning of the
7 order system, he wrote about that to his superiors.
8 However, his superiors could not help him with this
9 either for two reasons. One is the physical separation
10 that took place then, and the second was that the
11 entire HVO functioned in a similar or perhaps exactly
12 the same way in which the Operative Zone of Central
13 Bosnia functions. There are several reports sent by
14 General Blaskic to General Petkovic, where he sends him
15 detailed information on how it was. That is to say,
16 from a military point of view from the point of view of
17 problems, needs and other things.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You remember that among
19 other things, there is a report in which the accused
20 says, "The winter is coming, it's going to be a very
21 harsh winter, we don't have blankets, we don't have
22 material, we don't have boots, because it's going to
23 snow." Therefore, he was addressing himself to his
24 superiors. Strategically speaking, you should know
25 that because you were the number two operative person.
1 My question is to know whether or not he
2 drafted a report in which he said, "The war has begun,
3 it's a horrible war, atrocities are being committed on
4 all sides, but there are some which may have been
5 committed by our people, they're crimes, what should we
6 do? I have elements that are out of control."
7 Did you speak about that together?
8 A. Yes, Mr. President. We saw the report after
9 the meeting with Stewart, that he wrote everything that
10 was mentioned, and what the problems were. And there
11 is a report from May, the month of May, after the
12 cease-fire was signed, after the fighting in April.
13 And the General writes to his superiors exactly the way
14 military rules prescribe. And General Petkovic also
15 attended meetings with General Blaskic in Zenica, and
16 on the 21st in Bila. So in that way, together with
17 Sefer Halilovic, the commander of the army, they were
18 all practically familiar with what was discussed at
19 that meeting. So the general did write about the
21 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, he had the
22 information. That's what you're saying to us right
23 now. At least -- well, he had the information about
24 what was going on. As regards violations of
25 International Humanitarian Law, the accused had
1 information, at least at the time, that there were
2 meetings being held at the representative of the ECMM
3 and UNPROFOR. He had information available to him. Do
4 we agree on that?
5 A. Information? Yes. Yes. Information on the
6 violation of those laws. It started on the 21st, and
7 then Mr. Stewart on the 22nd, et cetera. Information
8 on events, not about persons.
9 JUDGE JORDA: In the briefings, do you
10 remember the accused having said, "I'm very worried.
11 I'm going to send another message asking for help,
12 expressing my distress. I'm going to send it to my
13 superiors." Did he also give you instructions of that
14 nature, or he was simply satisfied with having received
15 the information?
16 A. In that form -- I mean, that General Blaskic
17 spoke in that form, that I do not recall, but I do know
18 what he did in terms of improving the situation on the
19 ground as much as possible, and I know what he wrote on
20 the 25th or 26th to his superior in Mostar -- or,
21 rather, in Posusje.
22 JUDGE JORDA: To finish with that point, one
23 day, did the accused ever say to you, "I'm going to
24 resign"? "I can't stay in this position."
25 You heard my question. This is the very
1 nature of great -- of people who are very, very -- of
2 very high, important positions. I'm going back --
3 you've been saying to us for three weeks that his
4 subordinates don't obey him, his superiors don't help
5 him or he can't reach them. Did one day he say to
6 you, "I've come from Vienna in Austria. I am a
7 professional." You did say that. You know that you
8 said that he was a professional. "I'm just simply going
9 to resign." Do you remember his having said that once
10 or twice, or not at all, or did it never come to his
12 A. I do not remember, or rather, the General did
13 not say this in front of me. However, I'm trying to go
14 back to this situation and to the General's thinking.
15 And I assert that a situation would have been even
16 worse if the operative zone command was not headed by a
17 person such as General Blaskic, and I say this with
18 full responsibility. Because out of all of us,
19 although he was not fully qualified for the job, he was
20 certainly the most qualified officer amongst all of
22 JUDGE JORDA: I'm going to ask you my last
23 question. During your long testimony, I have
24 frequently had difficulties in distinguishing your
25 specific responsibilities, because at one point you're
1 number two of the staff, you have important
2 responsibilities and very often you said that you
3 weren't there, you didn't attend the proper briefing,
4 or that you were absent, or that you were doing
5 something else.
6 I have to confess this to you, this was
7 somewhat problematic for me. With a bit of time now, I
8 want to ask you one question only.
9 General Blaskic was, therefore, the highest
10 military authority in Central Bosnia for the 3rd
11 Operative Zone. We do agree to that; do we not?
12 A. Yes, I agree with that.
13 Q. You claim that he fully exercised his
14 responsibility. I can ask the question differently.
15 Would you agree with me if I said that he
16 fully carried out his responsibilities as the chief of
17 the Operative Zone in Central Bosnia?
18 A. Yes. General Blaskic tried and strived for
19 ensuring the carrying out of his post as it was
21 JUDGE JORDA: You're very close to him, you
22 were very close to him every day. Here is my
23 question: At any given point during that time of
24 command and war, in the application of -- to
25 international humanitarian law, do you believe that the
1 accused may have made some mistakes either as regards
2 the organisation of his troops, or in the information
3 of his superiors, or in the reports that he might have
4 given to UNPROFOR? Do you remember it possible that he
5 made mistakes, or do you think that he made no mistakes
6 at all?
7 A. In my personal judgement I believe that
8 General Blaskic did everything that was possible during
9 1993 as commander of the Operative Zone. Truth to
10 tell, after such actions we still have the situation as
11 it was in the war between the units of the army and the
13 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I think that if
14 there are no further questions, first of all, the
15 Tribunal would like to thank you, Brigadier Marin. You
16 came -- I know you have important responsibilities in
17 your country. You came for a few days at first, and
18 then, as it turned out, for several weeks. The
19 Tribunal is grateful to you for having answered its
20 very long questions and the questions of the Judges,
21 and thanks to the availability of our interpreters, you
22 will not have to come back tomorrow and the Tribunal
23 wishes you God speed when you return home and resume
24 your responsibilities.
25 Once again I would like to thank the
1 interpreters. I think at 9.30 -- no? I was thinking
2 about the interpreters. I'll see the interpreters at
3 9.30. Mr. Hayman, I didn't make a mistake there. I
4 know that you're very vigilant, but here this vigilance
5 was the not quite right.
6 Now, we'll see the interpreters at 9.30,
7 because I know -- and I know that they're tired, and we
8 have to resume.
9 However, both the Defence and the accused --
10 the Prosecution and the accused we'll see at 2.00
11 tomorrow afternoon. The Court stands adjourned.
12 THE WITNESS: You too, Mr. President.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 6.10 p.m., to be reconvened on
15 Wednesday, the 28th day of October,
16 1998 at 2.00 p.m.