1 Monday, 11th January, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.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 afternoon to the interpreters and to wish them a Happy
9 New Year, as I would like to wish everybody involved in
10 this trial. I'd like to also be sure that everybody
11 hears me. Very well. I think that each person would
12 like to wish the other person the best wishes for our
13 colleague who is not here today. He is still in the
14 hospital, in fact, and we will set up a closed session
15 as soon as we feel it is appropriate, and what we
16 discuss during those conferences will determine what
17 we're going to do later on.
18 Let me first turn now to the Defence counsel
19 and ask them what the programme or the schedule is
20 today for hearing witnesses, for today and for the rest
21 of the week. Perhaps there will not be any hearings on
22 Wednesday, at least not in the morning, and that there
23 would possibly be no hearing in the afternoon on
24 Wednesday either, but that will still be confirmed.
25 Mr. Hayman, do you wish to make a statement?
1 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
2 Good afternoon, Judge Shahabuddeen.
3 We have a witness here today. We would like
4 to proceed by deposition as we have in the past. In
5 fact, our witnesses for this week are either here or
6 are en route, and given the tickets and visas that have
7 been obtained, we would like to proceed this week via
8 deposition. We would like to reserve the question of
9 next week until some further discussion with the Court
10 is had. We don't know if we want to proceed next week
11 or not.
12 That does affect our disclosure obligation to
13 the Prosecutor. If we haven't resolved that today,
14 today is the seventh day before next Monday, so if
15 we're going to proceed Monday, a week from today, we
16 need to give notice to the Prosecutor of the witness or
17 witnesses who would appear on that day. So I advise
18 Your Honours of that scheduling deadline that we, the
19 Defence, face.
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, do you have any
22 comments you want to make about what has just been
23 said? If I've understood correctly, this will be a
24 regular week this week, I'm saying this for the public
25 gallery because the public gallery has to be aware of
1 what is being done in the courtroom, but exceptionally,
2 we could, pursuant to one of the Rules of our Rules of
3 Procedure and Evidence, which says that in case one of
4 the Judges is not available, the two other Judges may
5 hear, in deposition form, the witnesses and then report
6 on what they heard to their colleague. In other words,
7 the Trial Chamber designates court officers, and that's
8 why we're not in our robes now.
9 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
10 Judge Shahabuddeen, counsel.
11 Mr. President, we have no objection to
12 proceeding by deposition. That has been our position
13 in the past. It remains our position and will remain
14 our position in the future. Obviously, it's important
15 to be apprised as soon as possible of the witnesses in
16 the future, and we would invite the Court to assist us
17 in advancing that issue as quickly as possible.
18 Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. First we will think
20 about this, that is, myself with Judge Shahabuddeen.
21 For the witnesses who are going to come now,
22 Mr. Hayman, about how much time do you need, that is,
23 the one who is supposed to testify this afternoon.
24 Mr. Nobilo?
25 MR. NOBILO: Good afternoon, Your Honours,
1 about an hour and a half, two hours at the most for the
3 JUDGE JORDA: Which means that we could hope
4 to finish with the examination-in-chief and the
5 cross-examination by tomorrow morning, and if there is
6 no hearing on Wednesday, we might have a Status
7 Conference tomorrow afternoon, we will see as the trial
8 proceeds, which would allow the Defence to organise
9 itself in respect of disclosure and the notifications
10 that it is required to provide to the Prosecutor.
11 Judge Shahabuddeen, did you wish to say
13 All right. Having said this, we will think
14 about this issue, that is, Judge Shahabuddeen and
15 myself, and in the meantime, we will think in light of
16 the news that we receive from our colleague whom you
17 know had to be operated on.
18 Having said this, I think we can now have the
19 witness brought in.
20 (The witness entered court)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, sir? Please
22 remain standing for a few more minutes. Tell us your
23 name, your first name, your profession, your age, where
24 you were born, and where you reside because you are not
25 covered by protective measures, and then you will take
1 an oath.
2 THE WITNESS: My name is Marinko Palavra. I
3 was born in Travnik in October 1959.
4 JUDGE JORDA: What is your profession,
6 THE WITNESS: Before the war, I was a
7 gymnastics teacher, physical education, and at present,
8 I work in the Federal Defence Ministry attached to the
9 HVO, and my duties and assignments are chief of
10 military police in the security sector.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much. The usher
12 is now going to give you the oath that you are expected
13 to read. Please proceed.
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may be seated
19 You have agreed to come to the Tribunal at
20 the request of the Defence in the trial at the
21 International Criminal Tribunal of General Blaskic, who
22 at the time of the alleged crimes was a colonel, and he
23 is here in this courtroom on your left. First of all,
24 you are going to answer the questions that the Defence
25 counsel, Mr. Nobilo, is going to ask you, and then the
1 Prosecutor will ask you some questions, and the Judges
2 may ask you questions as well.
3 Mr. Nobilo, proceed, please.
4 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 WITNESS: MARINKO PALAVRA
6 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
7 Q. Mr. Palavra, you have already said where you
8 were born, and I'd like to ask you now, by way of an
9 introduction, to give us a little more detail about
10 yourself. Tell us, up until the war, which schools did
11 you attend and what did you do until the outbreak of
12 the war conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Please
13 address yourself to the Judges.
14 A. Your Honours, I went to primary school in
15 Nova Bila. After that, I went to Travnik where I did
16 my secondary professional training. After that, I
17 began working in the Boris Travnik Combine as a
18 craftsman. I was there for about one year. Then I
19 went to join up with the former Yugoslav People's Army,
20 and after completing my military service, I remained in
21 Belgrad and studied at the Higher School of Pedagogy,
22 physical culture and physical education, and I became a
23 gymnastics teacher.
24 Unfortunately, I was not able to continue my
25 education because my father had seven children. I went
1 back to Travnik and began working at the primary school
2 there, and I worked for one year, after which I went to
3 Han Bila, the school there, and I was also a gymnastics
4 teacher there.
5 For the last one and a half years, I was the
6 director, the headmaster, of the school in Han Bila
7 when the war broke out, and in the war, I received my
8 assignments and duties.
9 Q. Before we go on to discuss the war years, may
10 I ask you to speak as slowly as possible so that our
11 interpreters could translate what you're saying
13 As you've told us about working with children
14 in primary schools as a teacher, you were also a judo
15 competitor and a judo trainer, coach. Could you tell
16 us a few words about that activity of yours?
17 A. Your Honours, I started practicing judo in
18 1974, and right up until the beginning of the war, I
19 won state medals, that is to say, the medals given for
20 the sport by the former Yugoslavia for my category, and
21 I was the multiple champion of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Q. You have a black belt, do you not?
23 A. Yes. I am a black belt holder and was for
24 many years a coach in the Nova Bila Judo Club.
25 Q. Would you just mention the functions you held
1 during the war up until the time when you were
2 appointed commander of the 4th Battalion of the
3 military police, because your testimony will relate to
4 the time after which you became commander. So from the
5 beginning of the war up until the time you took over
6 your assignments with the military police, could you
7 tell us your duties in Travnik and where you lived?
8 A. From the municipal command of the HVO Travnik
9 and the commander of the Travnik brigade, the late
10 Ivica Stojak, I was given my assignments, and I was
11 told to set up a military police at the municipal
12 level, and I performed this duty, that is, from April
13 1992 up until September 1992, I was in the military
14 police of the HVO of Travnik. That was the municipal
15 police. After that, I was transferred to the police
16 station in Travnik.
17 Q. That is the civilian police?
18 A. Yes, it's the civilian police force. I went
19 to the Travnik police station, I was transferred there,
20 and there I became commander of the Special Purposes
21 Unit attached to the police station of Travnik. I
22 performed this function up until the beginning of the
23 conflicts between the HVO and what was, at the time,
24 the Muslim forces in Travnik.
25 After that, with part of the unit, I was
1 transferred via Bukovica to the free territory of the
2 municipality of Travnik which was controlled by members
3 of the HVO, and I stayed there until the 1st of August,
5 Let me mention at this point that when I came
6 from Travnik, the unit that I commanded went in two
7 directions, followed two directions. The wounded and,
8 unfortunately, those who were killed remained in
9 Travnik, and the wounded were transferred across
10 Vlasic, and the other part of the unit went with me
11 across Bukovica, and we were placed at the disposal of
12 the command of the Travnik brigade of that time.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now let's go on to
14 the main part of your testimony. Could you explain to
15 the Court when and how you were engaged and appointed
16 commander of the regional military police or the 4th
17 Battalion of the military police in the Operative Zone
18 of Central Bosnia?
19 A. When I arrived in the Travnik brigade, I was
20 placed at the disposal of the commander of the Travnik
21 brigade. My work in the Travnik brigade in the
22 operations department was for the next two months, and
23 then I was ordered, received orders, by the commander
24 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, Colonel
25 Blaskic, and I was ordered to be transferred to the 4th
1 Battalion of the military police in Vitez.
2 Prior to that, they held consultations with
3 me in the Travnik brigade, and along with agreement
4 from the head of the police department of Travnik
5 allowing me to become the commander of the 4th
6 Battalion, acquiescing, and, of course, I had to give
7 my own agreement as well to perform this new function
8 at the level of the Operative Zone for Central Bosnia,
9 and, as I say, I was elected to be commander of the 4th
11 Q. Tell us, please, what was this order from
12 Colonel Blaskic? Was it standard practice? Was it
13 usual for the commander of the Operative Zone to
14 appoint the commander of the 4th Battalion or was this
15 an exception? Would you explain this to the Court?
16 A. Were there normal conditions, I would have
17 got this order from the military police, but as it was,
18 I was given my orders within the encirclement of
19 Central Bosnia, the Muslim army, at a meeting in the
20 Operative Zone. And Colonel Blaskic, with his
21 commanders, the brigade commanders, having tried and
22 tested me and performed this procedure, gave his
23 agreement, and they appointed me temporarily as
24 commander of the 4th Battalion of the military police.
25 Q. When you say that Blaskic appointed you
1 temporarily, what does that mean? Were you given an
2 order later on from your superior officer in charge?
3 A. Yes, I was nominated and appointed later on.
4 I received my nomination as commander of the 4th
5 Battalion. There were no problems.
6 Q. Who appointed you?
7 A. The head of the military police.
8 Q. When did this appointment take place? Can
9 you remember?
10 A. The appointment was dated the 1st of August,
11 1993 which means that they confirmed my appointment.
12 Q. Tell us, please, the head of the department
13 of the military police, where was that located?
14 A. The headquarters were located in Ljubusko.
15 Q. That is in Herzegovina, is it not?
16 A. Yes, it is, in Herzegovina. And in view of
17 the fact that there was no physical link between the
18 units, we remained detached in the territory of Central
19 Bosnia so that the rules governing the military police,
20 the most responsible individual in the zone of
21 responsibility was the commander of the Operative Zone.
22 Q. We'll say a little more about that later on.
23 Tell us now, please, we have to wait for the
24 interpretation, when you agreed to take up your duties
25 as commander of the military police, can you describe
1 to me your first contacts with Colonel Blaskic? What
2 did he tell you, what did he expect you to do, and why
3 did the subsequent changes take place?
4 A. In the Travnik brigade, workers came from the
5 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. They came to the
6 Travnik brigade, and this was under the command of
7 Colonel Blaskic. And I remember that this operations
8 officer in charge of personnel came and told me that I
9 had been elected to be appointed commander of the 4th
10 Battalion, that I had passed all the tests necessary
11 for this post, and that Colonel Blaskic had sent them
12 to come to me to see if I, myself, agreed to the new
13 appointment. Of course, I was told the situation,
14 described the situation, and I accepted the
16 So with my agreement, after having agreed, I
17 went to the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
18 Zone, that is to say, to Colonel Blaskic himself. I
19 was received by Colonel Blaskic. I was received by
20 him. It was a sort of initial meeting to get to know
21 each other, and at that meeting, I was surprised
22 because Colonel Blaskic congratulated me straight away
23 on my new appointment, and I quote, he said, "I
24 congratulate you. You have temporarily become a
25 commander of the 4th Battalion. You have the most
1 responsible task to perform, the most responsible
2 function in the Operative Zone." I was not even aware
3 of the actual words he said on the occasion, and that's
4 what the working meeting with Colonel Blaskic was like
5 to begin with.
6 In the beginning, Colonel Blaskic gave me his
7 vision or a cross-section of the existing state of
8 affairs in the military police force and gave me his
9 vision of what he would like the military police to be,
10 how he saw it, and this was reflected in the following
11 activities: First of all, he said that he was not
12 satisfied with the state of affairs within the military
13 police in Central Bosnia and that the military police
14 must, in the shortest space of time possible, become
15 reintegrated. Furthermore, he said ...
16 Q. Please continue.
17 A. That the military police must be a popular
18 police force, and that meant that in the area
19 controlled by the HVO, it must not view only one side
20 and one nation. It must be a completely national
21 police force because in the Lasva Valley, there were
22 the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslims, and the rest, and,
23 therefore, the military police must work according to
24 the letter of the law and according to its competencies
25 and authorisations and that there were no Croats,
1 Serbs, and Muslims, but that it must protect the
2 property of one and all, of all the people living on
3 the territory of Central Bosnia, regardless of
5 At the same time, Colonel Blaskic said that
6 the military police must be a regional police force in
7 the true sense of the word because the situation as it
8 was was not a satisfactory one which means that the
9 military policemen and in the military police, that
10 there must be enough room for everyone, for the people
11 of Travnik, officers from Travnik, officers from
12 Kakanj, from Jajce, and for everyone.
13 At the same time, Colonel Blaskic said that
14 in the military police force, there were a certain
15 number, a considerable number, of military policemen
16 who did not fulfil their code of conduct as policemen
17 and that they must, as soon as possible, get rid of
18 people like that, of individuals like that. And I
19 remember him emphasising the fact that in our region,
20 that is to say, in the Lasva River Valley, there were
21 units from different countries of Europe and the world
22 who had come there on assignment. They did not come of
23 their own free will but they came to fulfil a set
24 assignment. And at that time, UNPROFOR was stationed
25 there and various other international organisations
1 such as the UNHCR, the Red Cross, and the European
2 Monitors, they were all present. And Colonel Blaskic
3 said that the military police must and that it was its
4 task and duty to do so, that is to say, to protect both
5 property and the lives of people living in the region
6 because they were doing their job ...
7 Q. Tell me, please, I think that there was --
8 that something was not quite clear in the
9 interpretation. When he said that you should protect,
10 did he have in mind the international organisations you
11 mentioned, the Red Cross, the UNHCR, the European
12 monitors and UNPROFOR?
13 A. Yes. He emphasised that in our region, there
14 were organisations of this kind, such as UNPROFOR, the
15 various humanitarian organisations, the UNHCR, the
16 European monitors, and it was our duty at all times to
17 protect those people because there were cases where
18 people had some troubles and problems, so that we had
19 to protect the property and lives of those people.
20 That was our task.
21 Q. Tell us, please, when he talked to you about
22 regional representation for the military policemen, did
23 he indicate the command, in particular?
24 A. Yes, I did not have time to say that. He
25 said that I must pay attention to true regional
1 representation for everyone in all the brigades that
2 were active in Central Bosnia, that is to say, the
3 military police must be composed of members of all the
4 brigades, especially the command of the 4th Battalion.
5 There were about 70 per cent -- 70 per cent represented
6 cadres from Busovaca and that that was not how it
7 should be and that there should be reorganisation in
8 the ranks.
9 Q. Did Blaskic explain why it was important to
10 have a balance and equal representation from all the
11 brigades and all parts of the Lasva enclave? Why was
12 this important?
13 A. Yes, he did explain why this was important.
14 He said that in the military police, and I saw for
15 myself on the spot that the situation was like that,
16 there was a certain amount of what I would call
17 localism on the part of the military policemen so that
18 they were linked to their own localities, their places
19 of residence, where they lived and worked, and that's
20 how they had behaved.
21 Q. What you want to say is that they were
22 lenient towards their relatives and so on --
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. Giving the
24 answer to the witness before the question is asked or
25 in the question isn't proper, Mr. President, so I would
1 just ask that in the form of the question, counsel ask
2 the question as opposed to providing the answer as
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, in general, that would be
5 a better thing to do, but this was not really very
6 serious. The witness is one of those witnesses who
7 really knows why he came to testify, but having said
8 this, it is true that it would be better if you were to
9 try not to influence the witness, Mr. Nobilo.
10 MR. NOBILO: All right. I just tried to
11 speed things up a bit, but there's no problem
13 Q. Tell me --
14 JUDGE JORDA: I knew that you were going to
15 say that to me, Mr. Nobilo. I knew you were going to
16 say that to me.
17 MR. NOBILO: We've known each other for too
18 long now. I think we should get this trial over with.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, absolutely. All right.
20 Ask your question properly and don't try to suggest the
21 answer to the witness. Proceed, please.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Thank you.
23 Q. When you use the expression "localism," what
24 do you mean or what did Colonel Blaskic mean when
25 saying that?
1 A. Localism, at that time, well, quite a few
2 people were brought in. Quite a few people were
3 brought in by the military police. And some were
4 brought in, others were not brought in. They would not
5 bring in people who were their friends or neighbours,
6 so certain assignments were not carried out right, so
7 an attempt was made to reorganise the military police,
8 to have people from all regions --
9 Q. When you're saying "brought in," you're
10 trying to say brought into custody?
11 A. Yes, that's what I mean, brought into
12 custody, people who had committed crimes allegedly or,
13 rather, being taken to a military investigation prison,
14 and disciplinary measures were not really taken by
15 commanders, for instance.
16 Q. Thank you. Did Blaskic mention some other
17 things to you that you would have to do during a
18 certain period of time?
19 A. Well, yes, you interrupted me really.
20 Colonel Blaskic also said that one had to go to the
21 military police units to monitor what the situation
22 actually was, that I should go and see for myself what
23 the situation was and that I should propose certain
24 measures or, rather, that we should try to carry out
25 that which is better.
1 Q. Tell me which military police units did you
2 have available in the Lasva River Valley? Could you
3 please enumerate them for us?
4 A. After the meeting, which took about 40
5 minutes, I went straight away to the command of the 4th
6 Battalion of the military police. It was in the
7 building where the civilian police of the Vitez
8 municipality was, but it was upstairs.
9 I called a meeting of all the commanders of
10 the companies, and at that time, I only had under my
11 control the Lasva River Valley where the first company
12 of the military police was, the first active company,
13 and also the first company of the traffic police and,
14 naturally, the command.
15 I omitted to mention something. Colonel
16 Blaskic also told me at this meeting, because I had not
17 known that before, that I would have problems with the
18 second and third companies because there are no
19 physical contacts with them.
20 Q. Could you please tell the Court, from a
21 territorial point of view, where was the second company
22 and where was the third company and where were the
23 companies of -- the first company, rather, and the
24 first active company?
25 A. The first active company was in Vitez. The
1 command of the company was at the hotel. The first
2 company of the general military police was stationed in
3 Nova Bila. And platoons of the general military police
4 of the first company were in Busovaca, one platoon was
5 there, Vitez, Nova Bila and Novi Travnik.
6 The second company of the military police was
7 stationed in the area of Kiseljak, that is to say in
8 the operation zone -- I don't remember what the name
9 was of the second group. And then there was this third
10 company of the military police, it was, from a
11 territorial point of view, in Zepce. The commander
12 down there, to the best of my knowledge of the
13 operative group, was General Ivo Lazaric, and in
14 Kiseljak it was Ivica Rajic.
15 Q. Could you please tell the Court, these
16 commanders of the second and third companies from Zepce
17 and Kiseljak, when did you first see them physically?
18 When did you actually meet them?
19 A. I did not know the commanders of the second
20 and third companies at all, because I was physically
21 separated from them and there was no accessibility at
22 all, because this entire area of Central Bosnia was
23 fragmented. This was during the aggression, that is to
24 say during the attack of the Muslim forces on those
25 areas where Croats lived. And I didn't have any
1 communications, really, except sometimes from the
2 communication centre in Vitez I would sometimes receive
3 reports that were sent to me by parcel from Kiseljak,
4 and from Zepce very seldom. So as far as Kiseljak and
5 Zepce are concerned, I first went there after the
6 cease-fire was signed between the HVO units and the BiH
7 Army units. That was in April, May 1994. That is the
8 first time I saw the commanders, and I was supposed to
9 be their superior officer, in fact. But since I was
10 unable to command them, I -- they were subordinated to
11 the commanders of the groups in the places I mentioned,
12 that is to say Kiseljak and Zepce.
13 Q. Could you please explain to the Court, after
14 this conversation and after you realised what the
15 situation was in the military police and the military
16 police units that were accessible to you personally,
17 could you summarise the situation that you found
18 there? What was the situation like in the military
19 police of the Lasva River Valley?
20 A. After the meeting -- rather, after I was
21 received by General Blaskic, at that time Colonel
22 Blaskic, naturally I agreed with practically everything
23 that we discussed at the Operative Zone, and I went out
24 to carry out my tasks, and I only went to see the area
25 of the Lasva River Valley where the headquarters
1 actually was, that is to say the two companies were
2 there as well. I convened a meeting of the commanders
3 of the companies and I told them that I would call on
4 their units and their objective was to get together as
5 many military policemen as possible in order to have
6 meetings with them and to set the guidelines as to what
7 should be done in the future. Unfortunately, there
8 were very few people who responded and who came to
9 these meetings because the Muslim units kept attacking
10 all the time in the area of Central Bosnia. Many
11 people were assigned to carry out defence duty and the
12 situation I found was as follows: A large number of
13 military policemen were at the frontline precisely
14 because of these attacks. Military policemen went home
15 once a week, and this is a fact that was established,
16 and they did that openly to take a bath, to wash up, to
17 see their families. And the very same day they would
18 return to their units and then they would try to get
19 some rest there and prepare for the next shift and for
20 going back to the frontline. There were very few
21 military policemen who were actually doing military
22 police work.
23 I also established that very few military
24 policemen did military police work precisely for the
25 mentioned reason, that is to say because there were so
1 many attacks in the area of Central Bosnia. I had
2 quite a few of my men killed and also quite a few
3 military policemen were wounded and there were new --
4 there were no new replacements coming in from
5 anywhere. Simply everyone was involved.
6 The situation in the brigades, I established
7 that many requests that were coming in from brigade
8 commanders that were sent to the military police were
9 not actually met. These requests were as follows:
10 Bringing people to the frontline, that is to say those
11 who did not want to go to the frontline, or simply
12 you'd have people who would leave the frontline of
13 their own free will. Also bringing people into the
14 military disciplinary prison. At that time that was
15 Kaonik. That is to say that people were not brought
16 into custody. Well, there were people brought into
17 custody, but since the military police was operating in
18 this local area, they simply made excuses. They said,
19 "No, he's not at home. We'll go and look for him
21 Also, I established that quite a few requests
22 for bringing persons in that were sent by the Military
23 Prosecutor's Office and by the Court of law were not
24 met and carried out at all in terms of bringing in
25 witnesses or accused persons, although at that time the
1 Court of law, in fact in my opinion, was practically
2 frozen. They had nothing to do because everything was
3 subjected to the defence of this area. So practically
4 there was a freeze on Court activities.
5 I also established that there was no
6 co-operation with the civilian police and that
7 co-operation was very rare. Military policemen behaved
8 arrogantly and in a superior way towards these civilian
9 police. Of course, I am referring to individuals. And
10 they would say that they were military policemen and
11 that the civilian police had nothing to do with them,
12 that they were the ones who were now in charge. And
13 there were even some assaults on civilian policemen and
14 I had to impose sanctions straight away. That is to
15 say, I had to take disciplinary action or send people
16 away from their units, depending on what they had
17 actually done.
18 Q. Tell me, did you notice that persons or
19 groups from the civilian or military police were linked
20 to crime and the world of crime?
21 A. Yes. I noticed that many policemen who were
22 in the unit were actually inclined towards crime and
23 there were quite a few criminals in the area of Central
24 Bosnia. So I can say, and it is general knowledge that
25 this was the Vitezovi, the unit of Zuti, and some
1 Skakavci grasshoppers and I don't know what all. So
2 one had to react.
3 I also established that poor equipment in the
4 military police, especially the general platoon from
5 Travnik, because everything that belonged to them
6 remained in Travnik and they had to leave Travnik, of
7 course, as they were protecting civilians.
8 Q. Tell me, or perhaps you could give us an
9 example of the conjunction between your military
10 policemen and certain crime groups or the Vitezovi, how
11 could you see this conjunction?
12 A. In the battalion command I personally
13 replaced the assistant commander because whatever the
14 military police tried to plan was revealed immediately,
15 so we could not really have any major successes that
16 way. And, as I realised this, I tried to clear up the
17 situation in the military police immediately. There
18 were quite a few cases and there was quite a bit of
19 crime. And at the meeting with Colonel Blaskic it was
20 also mentioned that there were certain military
21 policemen who were criminally prosecuted because they
22 should be. And I tried to investigate this a bit and I
23 can even give you the name of the person who was there
24 in the command and who was sent away and proceedings
25 were initiated against him.
1 Q. And tell me, this case, when the assistant
2 commander for crime activities -- when you sent him
3 away, what is it that you actually found out? Why did
4 he lose his post? Just a minute, please. I asked
5 about the assistant commander for -- not for crime
6 activities but for criminology activities, so could the
7 transcript please -- for crime investigation
8 activities, but that's not what was said. And could
9 you please say what exactly he did, why did you send
10 him away?
11 A. We were supposed to do something in Vitez.
12 We were supposed to get hold of certain cars that had
13 been stolen because we realised that in front of the
14 cafe that belonged to Darko Kraljevic there were quite
15 a few vehicles that did not belong to them. Since my
16 assistant commander held utmost responsibility for
17 that, he was probably terrified of Kraljevic, and he
18 went to the cafe and he said such and such a thing will
19 be done at such and such a time, so nothing came out of
21 And we even drunk in the cafe and he was
22 drunk too. When he talked to me from the cafe, he
23 addressed me and said, "Commander, don't do that now."
24 Q. What was the punishment?
25 A. And this got me very angry, this made me very
1 angry, and I suspended him. I suspended him straight
2 away and I sent him away. And after that he went to
3 work at the Defence Department in Travnik, yes,
4 Travnik, and I don't know where he was sent after that,
5 what units, but he was no longer assistant commander.
6 And that's how things were done at that time.
7 Q. So are you trying to say that he became a
8 rank and file soldier instead of being your assistant
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. You also mentioned equipment. Did you have
12 crime investigation labs, you, the military police, in
13 the Lasva River Valley or in the civilian police for
14 that matter?
15 A. At that time we could only develop certain
16 films and all other processing had to be done at
17 military police headquarters, but at that time we did
18 not have any experts, we did not have ordinary
19 equipment, and what we did have was taken away when
20 army military police units would come across this. So
21 we could not actually carry out this kind of crime
22 investigation processing without the help of the
23 headquarters, the military police headquarters that was
24 in Ljubusko.
25 Q. And tell me, did you have a doctor, a
1 coroner, in the Lasva River Valley?
2 A. I do not remember. I cannot recall anyone
3 being there. I remember in Zenica there was
4 Dr. Turkovic. And in that particular environment, no,
5 we didn't have anyone, no, we didn't have anyone who
6 could professionally do this and investigate certain
7 crimes or, rather, the circumstances under which
8 certain murders or whatever was committed.
9 Q. And tell me, did you have experts in
10 ballistics or for explosive devices?
11 A. I only had a technician, a crime
12 investigations technician, but not a real expert, no.
13 No one was authorised for that.
14 Q. And tell me, what about communications? What
15 did you have as military police by way of
17 A. As far as the communications system is
18 concerned, I found only a few Motorolas in the units.
19 Q. What is a Motorola? Is that a radio station
20 that you hold in your hand?
21 A. Yes, yes. And I also had wire
22 communications, like a telephone, and nothing else.
23 Q. And this telephone, was it a special kind of
24 telephone, military telephone, or was it a plain
25 civilian telephone?
1 A. It was a civilian telephone.
2 Q. So, after you realised what the situation was
3 in the military police, what were the measures that you
4 took in order to deal with the situation in the
5 military police?
6 A. After monitoring the situation in the
7 military police, attempts were made to improve the
8 situation on the ground, and this can be seen in the
9 following activities. Commanders of companies were
10 given the following assignment, that they would have to
11 send reports in every day to the commander of the
12 military police battalion, and that was me at that
13 time, and I had to know every day what was going on in
14 the police. I agreed with Colonel Blaskic and
15 thereafter issued an order saying that company
16 commanders who were in areas that were covered by
17 brigades had to attend briefings at the offices of the
18 brigade commanders, that is to say that the military
19 police had to be linked up with the brigade commands.
20 Co-operation, coordination was established immediately
21 with the civilian police too.
22 First of all, I, as commander of the
23 battalion, had certain meetings with the
24 representatives of the court of law, of the military
25 prosecutor's office, of the civilian police, and at
1 these meetings I said that we had done such and such
2 things and that the situation would have to be
3 improved. Joint patrols were established, military
4 police together with the civilian police, and they
5 operated together, that is to say jointly. There was
6 no more resentment or arrogance towards the civilian
7 police. All requests that remained unresolved and that
8 were coming in from brigade commands and headquarters,
9 with regard to any particular matter, had to be
10 responded to, and this pertained to various forms of
11 assistants, also bringing people into custody, and then
12 also when apartments had to be entered or, rather,
13 there were military policemen who gave themselves the
14 right to enter other people's apartments.
15 Q. What were the measures that you took towards
16 those military policemen who did not carry out their
17 new assignments and duties?
18 A. I'm sorry, sir, but I wanted to speak in a
19 certain sequence, and I have a certain sequence in my
20 mind and I wanted to respond in that order.
21 Also, discipline was introduced in the
22 military police and it consisted of the following: A
23 person who would violate the military police Code of
24 Conduct -- well, it depends, it depends on what he had
25 done, but disciplinary action would be taken against
1 him. So disciplinary action would be taken by way of
2 punishment. And many would actually be handed over to
3 the Department of Defence and then the Department of
4 Defence, naturally, would assign them to certain
5 units. They knew what they were doing.
6 And people were brought in from units and
7 brigades in the following way: Only those who were
8 considered to be the best in the opinion of the
9 commander -- commanders would be sent, but again we
10 would check on them in the military police because I,
11 together with my assistants, we would look at various
12 records that we had. So although they did receive
13 these evaluation reports from their commanders, we
14 would look through the records and see whether they had
15 any criminal records or anything like that. And every
16 person who would be sent away or, rather, who would be
17 expelled from the military police would regret it
18 afterwards. And they would say, "Commander, please
19 don't do this to me. I'll never do this again. Please
20 don't send me to the units." And those who would come
21 from units, that is to say from the brigades, their
22 rule was -- I mean, as a rule they were good soldiers.
23 And it was a honour for them to join the military
25 So there was a kind of competition.
1 Everybody wanted to join the police.
2 Q. Tell us, did Blaskic personally become
3 involved in this reorganisation of the military police?
4 A. Yes, he did. Colonel Blaskic, at the
5 meetings that we had with him, he said there were no
6 problems with regard to the education and training of
7 the military police, that he would help us there. And
8 after I had informed him of the situation and had sized
9 up the situation myself, taken stock of it, I would
10 inform Colonel Blaskic. He was in the Operative Zone
11 at the time located in Vitez, and I would go there
12 daily, every morning for our briefings. I would go to
13 Colonel Blaskic. And quite normally we would tender
14 our reports regarding the situation in the unit, what
15 had been done, what was to be done in future, and I
16 would take over the tasks given me, the assignments
17 given me by the commander of the Operative Zone for the
18 military police.
19 Q. Tell us, did he visit the units with you or
20 did everything take place at the morning briefings?
21 A. After I had taken stock of the situation and
22 told him of the measures I intended to take, Colonel
23 Blaskic agreed with what I had proposed and he insisted
24 and ordered, in fact; that is, he said he himself
25 wished to visit the military police units. So that we
1 knew exactly on what day and at what time Colonel
2 Blaskic was at the first company and the other
3 platoons. And we would give them the order to organise
4 ourselves accordingly to prepare for Colonel Blaskic's
6 Q. Yes. Go ahead, please.
7 A. Of course, after this had taken place, we
8 would talk to the military policemen and their
9 commanders, we would discuss the situation in the units
10 at the time. And we did not have any electricity at
11 that time, so that the public information media, that
12 is to say nobody listened much to them or watched
13 television or anything of that sort. And Colonel
14 Blaskic at these meetings would briefly explain the
15 military and political situation and the situation as
16 it existed at that moment, the tasks of the military
17 police, what the situation was beforehand, what the
18 present situation was, and he would congratulate them
19 on a job well done. And at the time he congratulated
20 the members of the military police, so he was probably
21 satisfied with the set-up and work of the military
22 police, and he wanted to give them public recognition
23 for this and congratulate them in public.
24 Q. This reorganisation and this new model of
25 work, did it bear fruit outside the Operative Zone?
1 Did they congratulate you outside the Operative Zone at
2 the end of 1993? What was the quality of your military
3 police unit considered to be like?
4 A. At that time the 4th Battalion of the
5 military police became the best unit in the -- attached
6 to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and we have this
7 in writing, this commendation in writing from Colonel
8 Blaskic, commander of the Operative Zone. And I
9 received congratulations in writing as well, as
10 commander of the battalion, and many military policemen
11 were congratulated and received this -- these letters
12 of merit. And by linking us up with the military
13 police department and when we went off, he showed that
14 we truly were the best unit of the military police
15 within the composition of Herceg-Bosna as it existed at
16 the time. There were four battalions at the time, four
17 military police battalions, and we were considered to
18 be the best.
19 Q. Could you tell the Court, please, how much
20 time you needed to take stock of the situation and to
21 perform the reorganisation you described? You took
22 over command on the 1st of August 1993. How long did
23 you need to carry out all of this work and to establish
24 along new lines the military police unit?
25 A. I needed two to three months to put this
1 through. I did not need more than that. It was very
2 difficult at the beginning and I remember my military
3 policemen, the men I worked with, they did not see me
4 on one particular occasion. And when I would perform
5 my visits and tours, they would discuss the situation
6 amongst themselves and they said, "What do we need all
7 this for? Why should we quarrel amongst ourselves and
8 take each other into custody? We should kill him."
9 And then I would turn up. They would see me. And
10 there would be silence and nothing more would be
11 heard. So these discussions were behind my back. But,
12 in fact, what happened was quite different.
13 Q. You said you needed two to three months to
14 translate the reorganisation into practice, but could
15 you tell the Court how many military policemen you had
16 at your disposal in numerical terms in the Lasva River
17 Valley or an approximate figure, if you can give us
18 that, please?
19 A. At the time, I had somewhere around 220
20 policemen, approximately, in the Lasva River Valley.
21 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. I should now like a
22 document to be handed around, a diagram.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This is D497.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. I'd like to ask you something with regard to
1 the use of the military police. Could you describe for
2 the benefit of the Trial Chamber the competence and how
3 the military police was used when the system functions
4 normally and in extraordinary situations when the
5 military police force is found cut off from its
6 headquarters, the headquarters and command of the
7 military police?
8 A. In a situation when the military police finds
9 itself in an encirclement and the impossibility of
10 communicating with the headquarters, police
11 headquarters, the military police is subjugated to the
12 command of the Operative Zone, that is to say, the
13 commander of the collective area. Under normal
14 conditions, that is to say, when there is communication
15 and physical communication as well, it would function
16 in that way. For combat activities, if the units need
17 to be used for combat activities --
18 Q. Just one moment, please. May we have the
19 ELMO switched on, and then you can use the pointer to
20 point out how orders are issued when the military
21 police are used for combat purposes.
22 A. The orders are issued --
23 Q. You may remain seated.
24 A. Under normal conditions when combat commands
25 are issued, the commander of the Operative Zone or
1 collective area seeks a request from the main commander
2 for the use of the military police for combat
4 Q. Would you show us the Operative Zone, please,
5 and then the headquarters?
6 A. Here we have the headquarters, the main
7 staff, and the commander of the main staff then
8 continues on to the defence department, the department
9 of defence, and the department of defence gives orders
10 to the military police, that is to say, the minister is
11 in charge of issuing orders for the use of the military
12 police, and that means that the defence department
13 issues orders to the military police.
14 Q. Do you have in mind the --
15 A. And the military police issues its orders to
16 regulate matters downwards, further on towards the
17 battalion, so that the military police and that
18 department issues orders, and the minister decides.
19 The defence minister makes all the decisions.
20 Q. To make matters clearer, let us take an
21 abstract example. For example, if Colonel Blaskic
22 wishes the military police unit of 50 men to attack,
23 for example, Krcevine tomorrow at 5.00 a.m., what would
24 he have to do?
25 A. Under normal conditions, he would have to
1 send a request to the military police and the commander
2 of the main staff, and the main staff would do the
3 same. It would follow down towards the defence
4 department and the military police. The military
5 police would then -- that is to say, the head office
6 for the military police would issue orders to the
7 commander of the 4th Battalion, that is to say, to
8 myself, that we are placed at the disposal of the
9 commander of the main command, and nobody else would be
10 able to command that unit, apart from the commander of
11 the police appointed by the battalion commander, if
12 we're talking about a platoon or whatever.
13 Q. Tell us now, please, if the minister and the
14 head office of the military police did not agree, could
15 Blaskic use a unit of the military police for combat
16 activities if they disagreed?
17 A. I don't understand the question. What did
18 you say?
19 Q. If the minister or the person in charge of
20 the department of defence and the head office of the
21 military police did not agree with Blaskic's proposal
22 as to the use of the military police, would Blaskic,
23 without their agreement, be able to use the military
24 police unit?
25 A. No, he would not be able to, but the minister
1 is there to command the military police.
2 Q. Yes, you said that. You said that the head
3 office of the military police commands the military
4 police units. Now, what does this encompass? What
5 areas does the head office of the military police
7 A. The rules governing the organisation and work
8 of the military police state that in order to perform
9 our military police duties, we are daily responsible in
10 concrete terms to the Operative Zone, and hierarchially
11 speaking, up towards the head office of the military
12 police, so the cadres, the selection of cadres, their
13 equipment, logistics, and everything else. Education
14 and training, the crimes investigation department, and
15 any other work, investigation and so on, would be
16 controlled and under the competency of the head office
17 of the military police.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I'd like to know
19 whether you still have many questions that you want to
20 ask during your examination-in-chief.
21 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I do, Mr. President, so we
22 could take a break perhaps here.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We will take a 15-minute
25 --- Recess taken at 3.37 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
3 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please?
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
7 Q. We stopped at the functions of the military
8 police with respect to the battalion. You mentioned
9 crime investigation. Now, did the military commander,
10 for example, Colonel Blaskic, could he give orders to
11 the military police as to how to investigate crimes?
12 A. No, he could not. He could only, he or any
13 other commander, brigade commander, or civilian could
14 only say something or say what they know, but the crime
15 investigation department was independent of everything
16 else, and it was a professional department and
17 capacitated for the task.
18 Q. What about the military court and the
19 military prosecutor's office, could it issue orders to
20 the military police and give instructions as to what
21 to --
22 A. The courts of law could and so could the
23 military prosecutor. They could issue orders and did
24 issue orders for taking individuals into custody, and I
25 mentioned this in my testimony. They could issue
1 orders for arrests according to their competencies and
2 authorisation. We would then be given an order and
3 proceed according to that order.
4 Q. And what about the prosecutor's office, could
5 it issue a demand for you to collect information and
6 question an individual?
7 A. Yes, it could, and we did do that following
9 Q. Now, when there was no encirclement in
10 Central Bosnia, did you receive orders from the head
11 office of the military police?
12 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
13 Q. When you were not in the encirclement, let us
14 say in 1994, for example, when communications were
15 established, did you receive orders from the head
16 office of the military police in Ljubusko?
17 A. When everything began to function again, we
18 normally became part and parcel of the system of the
19 military police, and all orders did go from the head
20 office, directly from the chief of the head office of
21 the military police at the time, so that when times
22 were normal, we were under the command -- militarily
23 and politically, we were under their command, and
24 military duties and police duties included arrests,
25 taking individuals into custody, setting up controlled
2 We guided convoys, escorted convoys, and so
3 on, so we did do things of that kind for the brigades
4 at the request and on orders that came to us from the
5 command, whereas for everything else, we were under the
6 head office of the military police, starting out from
7 cadres' policies, the selection of cadres, equipment,
8 military police work, and everything that the military
9 police force does. All of this was under the head
10 office of the military police, cadres, education and
11 training, equipment, and so on, and those were our
13 Q. Before the break, you mentioned a term -- you
14 referred to the daily use of the military police. What
15 you have just described to us, that the commander of
16 the Vitez command could use the military police, does
17 that come under daily use of the military police, that
19 A. Yes, precisely so, but once again, he had to
20 issue a request to me as the commander, and then
21 following on from that request, I would send the
22 military policemen, and the heads of my platoons or
23 companies would go on assignment following that request
24 for order.
25 Q. On the 1st of August, 1993, you became the
1 commander and replaced the commander of the 4th
2 Military Battalion, Pasko Ljubicic who was the
3 commander at that time. Did you ask yourself ever why
4 you had replaced him, why this replacement took place,
5 and where the problem lay?
6 A. Yes, quite normally, I did ask myself that
7 because when I came to the command of the Operative
8 Zone for Central Bosnia, I was told straight away what
9 the military police did, that he was dissatisfied with
10 the military police as it stood with the situation as
11 it existed, and that he expected it to be transformed
12 in all areas of work, and I came to realise that there
13 must have been something wrong.
14 I asked around and became informed by the
15 unit itself, and I heard that there was a sort of
16 feedback mechanism between Colonel Blaskic and Pasko as
17 regards the command, because the military police, while
18 a communications existed -- before they had been
19 severed, they commanded the military police via the
20 head of the military police. So the situation,
21 however, in the Lasva River Valley and Central Bosnia
22 was under war operations, and it was impossible to
23 communicate with the command, and quite normally, the
24 senior commander was to be adhered to, and the
25 commander -- this was the commander of the Operative
1 Zone. He was the senior commander, and that was
2 Colonel Blaskic at the time.
3 Q. I'm not sure that you were understood and
4 that the interpretation was correct. What happened
5 between Pasko Ljubicic and Colonel Blaskic? What
6 happened between the two?
7 A. I don't know what happened between the two,
8 but Pasko wanted to retain the hierarchy, to retain his
9 command over the military police and did not, in fact,
10 follow orders. Allegedly, it was the head office of
11 the military police whose job it was to issue orders of
12 that kind, but what I heard from various discussions
13 with the military policemen, I found out that when I
14 came to head the 4th Military Police Battalion, I knew
15 that I had no communications with the head office of
16 the military police and that I had to share the fate of
17 the commander of the Operative Zone and of the people,
18 and so I was in a position to command the unit while we
19 were in the encirclement.
20 Q. To the best of your knowledge, did Pasko,
21 just like you, carry out Colonel Blaskic's orders
22 without questioning them at all or not?
23 A. Well, it's the best for you to ask Colonel
24 Blaskic that. But I know there were certain
25 complications and that Colonel Blaskic was not pleased
1 with Pasko.
2 Q. You became commander of the 4th Battalion of
3 the military police, and Pasko Ljubicic held that post
4 before that, and which post did he get then?
5 A. At that time Pasko got the following post --
6 rather, since the 4th military police battalion was cut
7 off from the head office, headquarters, and not only
8 them, he became assistant head of the head office of
9 military security in Central Bosnia. This was in two
10 months, I believe. And all orders, at first, only at
11 the beginning, I received from Pasko, because Pasko
12 first attended meetings with the commander of the
13 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. And then we, in the
14 4th Battalion of the military police, received our
15 orders from him, and this lasted very -- for a very
16 short time.
17 Then Pasko took a helicopter and went to
18 Herzegovina to the head office of the military police.
19 And from then onwards I took over all these posts in
20 the 4th Battalion and I was responsible to the
21 Operative Zone. I know that Pasko was also in charge
22 of the 3rd Light Battalion military police.
23 Q. As regards the 3rd Light Battalion of the
24 military police, I would like to ask you something
25 else; namely, in addition to the 4th Battalion of the
1 military police there was -- there was a Light
2 Battalion of the military police which was created out
3 of the Jokers; is that correct? Is that correct? The
4 Jokers were first called the Jokers and then, as things
5 developed, this unit was renamed the Light Battalion?
6 A. I know that after I came to the 4th Battalion
7 of the military police in Vitez that there was this 3rd
8 Light Battalion of the military police, and it is true
9 that it did consist of parts of the Jokers, but it was
10 not only them. There were people from other units too.
11 Q. How many men did this unit have?
12 A. I don't know how many men it had, but I know
13 that there were lists, and they reached me afterwards
14 because the head of the military police had ordered
15 that all lists should be submitted to the 4th Battalion
16 or, rather, the commander of the 4th Battalion, and
17 that was me. And at that time the 3rd Light Battalion
18 that was in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Central Bosnia was
19 abolished and it grew into something else, of course,
20 under orders of the main staff. They grew into -- they
21 were abolished, that's what I was saying, and they grew
22 into new brigades. Quite a few of them went to these
23 guard brigades, as they were known.
24 Q. Let us go back to your beginning, in 1993,
25 that is to say when there was this Light Battalion of
1 the military police which grew out of the Jokers as
2 things developed. At that time you became commander
3 instead of Pasko, and did you also take control over
4 the Light Battalion or rather the Jokers at one point
5 in time? Did you take over that command from Pasko
7 A. While Pasko Ljubicic was there, no, I did
8 not, because he was their commander, and I did not
9 issue a single order to the 3rd Light Battalion.
10 Simply, they were not under my command, and that is
11 what I was told.
12 Q. When you say that they were not under your
13 command, that they were under Pasko Ljubicic -- I'll
14 rephrase it. Sorry.
15 What is this post that Pasko held in order to
16 be able to give them orders? On behalf of what
17 authority did he command the Jokers?
18 A. As I said, he was appointed assistant
19 commander of the military police for Central Bosnia and
20 he was assistant head for the military police, and
21 Pasko commanded the 4th Battalion and the 3rd Light
22 Battalion, but at that time I did what I was supposed
23 to do.
24 Q. So can you tell us exactly what is the exact
25 authority of the military police that made Pasko in
1 charge of the Jokers, that is to say the head office of
2 the military police. One of the major problems that
3 you encountered in your work were different groups of
4 criminals or different units in which there were
5 elements of crime. So could you name the two most
6 important groups that you encountered and what was the
7 problem between the military police and these crime
9 A. Well, I can mention this, of course. These
10 were units of the Vitezovi and units of the Zuti. As
11 regards the Vitezovi, quite a few of them were at the
12 frontline and they carried out their duties, but some
13 of them were in a privileged position, about 15 or 20
14 percent of them. They did what they did, that is to
15 say that they did not go to the frontline. They stayed
16 at various places and they were wheeling and dealing.
17 And also the Zuti resorted to similar things, even
18 while there was heaviest fighting and war in Central
20 Q. And this reorganisation of yours, of the
21 military police, what is your opinion, what is your
22 assessment? The military police that you saw, that you
23 took over, before your time was it in a position to
24 actually deal with these criminal groups, with the
25 Zuti, with the Vitezovi?
1 A. Well, I don't think so. I said what the
2 situation was like on the ground. Quite a few
3 policemen were related to these criminals. They were
4 their relatives, and also a certain number of military
5 policemen were also involved in various criminal
6 activities with these people from the units of Zuti and
7 Kraljevic's units. So I'm not sure, but you saw that
8 the military police spent more time at the frontline
9 than carrying out their actual duties. That is what
10 the situation was like at the time.
11 Q. At one point in time, at the end of 1993,
12 with your unit of military police you actually had a
13 military showdown with the Zuti. Could you please
14 describe how this happened and what exactly happened.
15 A. Yes, that is true. At that time the
16 commander of a special unit was killed. Zoran Tuka was
17 his name. And this commander was popular with the men
18 in his unit and with the population in general, and
19 intelligence reports came in saying that Tuka was
20 killed by members of the Zuti. Because before the
21 killing, Zoran Tuka had been wounded or, rather, he had
22 wounded Zuti in Novi Travnik in front of a cafe, and
23 the reaction of the Zuti people was that they killed
24 the late Tuka, the commander who was so popular among
25 the men in his unit, and not only among the men in his
1 own unit. And that is when another member of the
2 Munja unit was heavily wounded, badly wounded. And our
3 estimate was that there would have been an escalation.
4 Actually, that was Colonel Blaskic's assessment, that
5 there would be an escalation between the two units, and
6 probably there would be killings on both sides. So we
7 took action promptly.
8 The military police was charged with trying
9 to apprehend the suspects and the perpetrators of this
10 killing. This action was carried out by the military
11 police, a certain group together with the security
12 service at that time, and it was completed almost
13 successfully. Not all of them were apprehended, but it
14 went rather well. It was a job fairly well done.
15 Q. And was there a military showdown? Was there
16 actual fighting between the military police and the
17 Zuti and were there dead on their side?
18 A. Yes. Yes, there was an armed conflict.
19 Because at that time we did the relevant police work,
20 and not to go into all of that now, but they were not
21 at a certain place and, naturally, we split up into
22 different groups and we tried to catch them. They were
23 in a certain house. My deputy was in charge of a
24 certain group. I had authorised him. And he
25 approached this house, together with his unit, and he
1 said, "You are surrounded. Get out. HVO military
2 police. Get out and surrender." And since these
3 criminals knew what was going on, they started
4 shooting. And in what followed, two members of the
5 Zuti were killed and one of the members of my company,
6 and also some military policemen were captured by Zuti
7 and his group. So it ended the way it ended.
8 At any rate, we did carry out this action and
9 this only worked to the advantage of the population in
10 general and the soldiers on the frontline. And after
11 that Zuti was no longer mentioned. Zuti was wounded.
12 And Kraljevic didn't speak up either, so the military
13 police took over control in this area and things were
14 getting better and better.
15 Q. You said that you did not catch everyone.
16 Please tell the Court where did these criminals run
17 when the HVO military police attacked? Where did they
18 run away?
19 A. They escaped to the territory that was under
20 Muslim units control at that time. I don't know which
21 way they went, but, at any rate, they went up to
22 Pavlavica and proceeded to Gornji Vakuf, Uskoplje, and
23 then they went to HVO controlled territory again. And
24 that is where they were arrested.
25 Q. You already mentioned some of this, but tell
1 us again. The Vitezovi, did this action have any
2 effect on the Vitezovi and was it conceived with that
3 purpose in mind, to send a message to others as well?
4 A. Not only to the Vitezovi. The message was
5 supposed to go to all. I know when I was appointed
6 commander of the 4th Battalion of the military police,
7 at that time Zuti said -- that's what I was told
8 afterwards by all the eyewitnesses. And he said,
9 "Well, again we are going to have a war with the
10 military police." And they asked him why. And he said
11 that Palavra is commander again. Again there is going
12 to be a war. So the message was quite clear. And it
13 was sent out to Kraljevic and everyone. Either belong
14 to the system or there is no other way of doing
16 Q. Thank you. Now, we are going to move onto
17 some documents, but before that -- please, perhaps it
18 wasn't quite clear during the introduction. What is
19 your current position?
20 A. Currently, at present, I work in the Federal
21 Ministry of Defence. I am employed there and I am head
22 of the military police department. I think I've been
23 quite clear.
24 Q. Of course. But we are laymen. Does that
25 mean that you are chief of the military police? Are
1 you at the helm of the military police of the Army of
2 the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
3 A. Exactly. But this is a temporary thing. We
4 are to receive official appointments now, and it is not
5 only myself but all people who are currently working in
6 the Federal Ministry for National Defence.
7 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have a series
8 of documents. I don't want to go into the contents of
9 the documents. They speak for themselves. These are
10 military police documents and we just want to take
11 advantage of the presence of this witness to confirm
12 their authenticity. So I think we are going to move
13 through them quickly.
14 MR. KEHOE: This procedure was employed, of
15 course, with Brigadier Marin, and what results, of
16 course, is that upon reflection of these documents
17 there is often any number of items that should be
18 brought to the Court's attention. And like my learned
19 friend across the bar, we should take that advantage to
20 ask this witness those questions once those documents
21 are examined.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I thought that Mr. Nobilo
23 was trying to accelerate things. I think that the
24 witness said why he was -- he was called here. If we
25 can move things forward more quickly, all the parties
1 in the trial would be better off. The witness has been
2 called within the spirit of these proceedings in order
3 to say what he has to say about very specific points.
4 In order to go back to the issue of the documents,
5 perhaps Mr. Nobilo could have the witness identify
6 them, and if he has any comments to make while they are
7 being authenticated, he can do so, question the
8 witness, but we -- I would ask you to try to move along
9 a little more quickly, please.
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the idea was the
11 following, that this witness should not speak about
12 these documents, only confirm their authenticity. We
13 have a similar situation when the Prosecutor brought
14 several volumes of documents without any witnesses and
15 tendered them, and that is the same thing we want to
16 do. We just want this witness to confirm that these
17 are authentic documents. We are not going to put a
18 single question to him in this regard.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Judge
21 Shahabuddeen, if counsel wants to proceed in that
22 fashion, I mean, the Prosecutor certainly has no
23 objection. I just bring to light the fact that upon
24 reflection of these documents it could very well be
25 that there is -- there are matters or there is a matter
1 within a particular document which the Prosecutor wants
2 to explore.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Have you seen the documents,
4 Mr. Kehoe? Have you already reviewed them? Have you
5 received them already?
6 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President, we have not.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps that's a translation
8 problem. You say after review of the documents,
9 perhaps there would be some mistakes -- you are talking
10 about the documents having to do with General Marin's
11 testimony? It had to do with General Marin's
12 testimony; is that what you are saying?
13 MR. KEHOE: What happened during General
14 Marin's testimony is we went through some 210 documents
15 and counsel would maybe talk about a sentence, and in a
16 couple of instances there was no discussion about the
17 document at all, and Brigadier Marin simply
18 authenticated the document. What we discovered, upon
19 reflection of those documents, was there was a
20 significant amount of information, of which Brigadier
21 Marin had knowledge that merited exploration during
22 cross-examination. I simply raise that, and there is
23 certainly no objection on the part of the Prosecutor to
24 allowing the defence counsel to employ any methodology
25 he so chooses.
1 In any event, upon reflection what we have
2 discovered is there are significant amounts of material
3 in these documents which we may very well want to ask
4 Mr. Palavra about.
5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. If you have
6 questions, you will ask them at the proper time. We
7 can have the witness brought back. I don't hope to do
8 so. I hope we can move forward quickly. Each party
9 has used these proceedings at different points. We are
10 professional judges, you have the documents identified
11 and then they will be given to the judges. If, during
12 the cross-examination, you believe that you have some
13 comments to make, you will make them, and if at the end
14 -- during your final arguments you have some, you can
15 make them, but if you feel that you can't, we can have
16 the witness brought back. Of course, I don't want
17 that. The judges will be here also to review them.
18 For the time being let me note that you agree to the
20 All right. Let's move forward without any
21 further ado with the identification of the documents.
22 MR. HAYMAN: I don't think the Court need be
23 concerned. There are only 15 documents. This is not
25 JUDGE JORDA: The judges are not concerned.
1 Let me point that out to you. Proceed, please.
2 MR. NOBILO: Well, then, I would like to ask
3 that the witness be given the documents one by one, and
4 if he can, on the basis of the signature and stamp,
5 identify each document. And as head of the examination
6 in chief, I am not going to put any questions related
7 to the document.
8 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Let's proceed.
9 THE REGISTRAR: The first document is D498.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Mr. Palavra, the document came into being
12 before you arrived on the scene. Would you just look
13 at the signature. Do you recognise it, the signature
14 at the end of the document?
15 A. Yes, I can see it. And it is signed by Pasko
16 Ljubicic and it is identical to his signature. I took
17 my orders from him. It is his signature.
18 Q. Next document, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: This is D499.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. The next document is D499, which you have in
22 your hands. Would you take a look at the signature and
23 tell us if you recognise it.
24 A. Yes, I do. It's the same thing. Yes, I
25 recognise the signature.
1 Q. Do you recognise the stamp?
2 A. Yes. It is the administration of the
3 military police.
4 Q. Next document, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This is D500.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. You have before you document D500. Do you
8 recognise the stamp and signature?
9 A. Yes, I recognise it.
10 Q. Can you tell us who Lastro is?
11 A. Zeljko Lastro was assistant for -- I didn't
12 get the duties. When I suspended Ivan Josipovic and
13 Lastro came to head the department for the crime -- the
14 crime investigation department of the military police.
15 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This is D501.
17 MR. NOBILO: Take a look at document D501,
18 please, and tell us if you recognise the signature and
20 A. Pasko Ljubicic.
21 Q. You recognise it?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This is 502.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. You have before you document D502. Do you
1 recognise the signature of Zvonko Vukovic and the stamp
2 of the military police?
3 A. Yes, I do. And Zvonko Vukovic was in the
4 Operative Zone and the command. He was an assistant
5 for personnel matters and cadres matters, so we
6 cooperated closely.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is D503.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Take a look at document 503, please. Do you
10 recognise the signature of Pasko Ljubicic and the
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This is 504.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. Document 504 is before you. Do you recognise
17 the signature?
18 A. Yes, I do. It was not signed by Pasko
19 Ljubicic but by Marijan, also a worker, an official of
20 the military police. Yes, that's correct, thank you.
21 Q. Just one moment, please.
22 A. Marijan Jukic at the time was an assistant.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We are speaking of 504 here?
24 MR. NOBILO: Yes, we are, D504.
25 JUDGE JORDA: I have a version which is
1 signed Ljubicic.
2 MR. NOBILO: No. Pasko Ljubicic is
3 typewritten, but instead of him Marijan Jukic signed
4 the document, so the signature is that of Marijan.
5 Whereas the typewriter says Pasko Ljubicic, he was
6 assistant for crimes, crime investigation.
7 JUDGE JORDA: That's all right.
8 THE REGISTRAR: This is 505.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Can you tell us who signed the document on
11 the right-hand side on behalf of the military police?
12 The document is D505.
13 A. In my opinion, this was signed by Majdancic
15 Q. Thank you. Next document, please.
16 THE REGISTRAR: This is D506.
17 A. Yes, Pasko Ljubicic.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Therefore, document 506 was signed by Pasko
20 Ljubicic, once again. Next document, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This is D507.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. Take a look at document 507, please, and tell
24 us who signed it?
25 A. Vlado Santic signed it, and he was my deputy
1 for 15 days at one point.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is D508.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. Take a look at document 508, please. Who
5 signed it?
6 A. Pasko signed it.
7 THE REGISTRAR: D509.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. You have before you document D509. Do you
10 recognise the stamp and signature?
11 A. Yes. The signature is the administration of
12 the military police, and it was signed by Marijan
14 Q. But who did he sign instead of?
15 A. It says, "Commander Pasko Ljubicic," but the
16 signature is Marijan's.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This is D510.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Take a look at document 510, D510, and see
20 who signed it. Look at the signature.
21 A. Marijan Jukic.
22 Q. Thank you. Next one, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: D511.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Look at this document carefully, because when
1 it was photocopied, the signature is only partially
2 visible, so tell us what you think. Who signed it?
3 A. This was signed by Pasko. I know his
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we would now like
6 to show the witness five documents which we admitted
7 previously. Four of them are confidential in nature,
8 so we're going to use the witness to identify the
9 signatures without going into the contents, and as the
10 documents are confidential, it would be a good idea to
11 explain to the witness what that means. So if he sees
12 the contents or the partial contents of the document,
13 he should know that it must remain confidential.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We're simply not going to put
15 these documents on the ELMO.
16 MR. NOBILO: They are D90, D91, D94, D151,
17 and D410.
18 THE REGISTRAR: As regards D90, D91, and D94,
19 the three documents were admitted. Document 151 has
20 not been admitted for now, nor has 410, that is, not
21 admitted for the time being.
22 MR. NOBILO: First of all, show all the
23 documents, but the last one, D410, keep that. So show
24 the first four documents to the witness, please, the
25 first four documents, and D410, you keep it for the
2 Q. And when you have taken a look at all four
3 documents, tell us if you recognise the signatures?
4 A. The first document is all right. It is
5 signed by Vladimir Santic.
6 Q. The second document?
7 A. The same goes for the second document.
8 Q. We have D90, that was Vladimir Santic. D91,
9 who signed that?
10 A. It was also signed by Vladimir Santic.
11 Q. Thank you. D94, do you recognise the
13 A. Yes, Marijan Jukic.
14 Q. Thank you. D151, do you recognise that
16 A. Yes, it is the signature of Colonel Blaskic.
17 Q. Just a moment, please. D410, look at the
18 signature, but don't tell us the name of the individual
19 because the document is under seal, so it is a secret
20 document. Just tell us whether you recognise the
21 signature on document D410. The signature is on the
22 first page. And the text, the title, does it
23 correspond to the function that the individual had at
24 the time, but don't tell us the function or the
25 institution, just, according to the best of your
1 knowledge, did that individual perform that function?
2 A. Yes, he was the most responsible individual.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. NOBILO: That is all, Mr. President. We
5 have concluded.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I suggest that we take our
7 second break, since we have a very busy day.
8 Mr. Prosecutor, would you like us to take a
9 30-minute break which would allow you to have some time
10 in order to look at those documents?
11 MR. KEHOE: Please, Mr. President. That
12 would be helpful.
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then we will resume
14 at 5.30 for only half an hour, but that will allow you
15 to become more familiar with the documents. All
16 right. We will suspend the hearing until 5.30.
17 --- Recess taken at 4.59 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.40 p.m.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
20 Have the accused brought in, please?
21 (The accused entered court)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, Judge
24 Shahabuddeen, thank you very much.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Palavra. Mr. Palavra, we
2 haven't met. My name is Greg Kehoe. I'm a member of
3 the Office of the Prosecutor. The gentleman to my
4 right is Mark Harmon, also of the Office of the
5 Prosecutor, and to his right is Mr. Andrew Cayley,
6 likewise, of the Office of the Prosecutor. Welcome,
8 Mr. Palavra, you told us that your current
9 position is essentially chief of the military police in
10 Mostar; is that right?
11 A. No, Your Honours. At present, I'm in the
12 Federal Ministry of Defence, and its seat is in
13 Sarajevo, and that is where I am chief of the military
14 police or, rather, the intelligence service which is
15 part of the general security service.
16 Q. Pardon me. In asking this question, it's
17 just by way of clarification, sir. Do you carry a rank
18 now, sir?
19 A. At present, all the officials in the Ministry
20 of Defence have their ranks frozen, but now a new setup
21 is being made in the Ministry of Defence itself, and
22 certain departments or, rather, certain heads of
23 departments are going to be military men. They are
24 going to hold their ranks, whereas the majority will
25 not. Assistant ministers and the minister, of course,
1 are civilians, but there are going to be some
2 departments within the ministry that will be headed by
3 persons who will be military men, and this is being
4 agreed upon right now.
5 Q. Do you have a rank at this point, sir, or did
6 you have a rank in the HVO?
7 A. Yes, I did. Colonel. While I commanded the
8 battalion, I was a major, and after that, I became a
10 Q. You carry the rank of colonel now, so if I
11 call you "Colonel," it would be proper; is that right?
12 A. No problem whatsoever.
13 Q. Let's take it back to the period of time that
14 you were in charge of the 4th Military Police Battalion
15 in Vitez. You told us that you took that over on 1
16 August, 1993. Can you tell us about your career after
17 that time up until the position that you hold right
18 now? Could you tell us about that?
19 A. When I took over the command of the 4th
20 Battalion of the military police until I went to
21 Sarajevo, that is, the 27th of August -- yes, August --
22 1997, I went to the Ministry of Defence. From the 1st
23 of August, 1993 until the 27th of August, '97, I was
24 commander of the battalion of the military police, and
25 at the present, I'm working in the ministry.
1 Q. Okay, sir. Thank you. If we can turn our
2 attention, if you will, to Defence Exhibit 497.
3 Mr. Dubuisson, it's this particular exhibit,
4 if we could place that on the ELMO.
5 Now, Colonel, before we go into this, you did
6 your military service in the JNA, did you not?
7 A. Yes, I did, in the former JNA, 1978/1979.
8 Q. Sorry, in the former JNA. What role did you
9 have in the former JNA in 1978 and 1979?
10 A. I was an ordinary soldier.
11 Q. Let's turn our attention to this particular
12 exhibit, Colonel, 497, and you noted that in normal
13 circumstances, if you can just turn to this exhibit, if
14 Blaskic wanted to give a combat order to the military
15 police, he would have to send that order to the HVO
16 headquarters in Mostar. The HVO headquarters in Mostar
17 would then have to send that order to the Department of
18 Defence. Assuming the Department of Defence agreed,
19 that particular order would then be sent down to the
20 head office for the military police in Mostar, and then
21 that particular order would be transferred to the 4th
22 Military Police Battalion and yourself; is that right?
23 Is that how this transpired in normal circumstances?
24 A. Yes, under normal circumstances, that's the
25 way it should be. Then the commander of the military
1 police, of the general office of the military police,
2 when he would receive orders from the Department of
3 Defence, from the assistant minister, when he would
4 receive orders, then he would send a new order to the
5 commander of the 4th Battalion of the military police
6 in Central Bosnia, in that particular case, myself,
7 within the Operative Zone, that is, whoever the
8 commander of the Operative Zone be.
9 And not knowing what he would be using this
10 for -- what I'm trying to say is that if I would go,
11 for example, to Tomislavgrad, to a different area, then
12 the head of the military police would give me orders
13 that my military police units would be subordinated to
14 the battalion of the military police which is currently
15 in charge of that particular area.
16 Q. So, Colonel, you're essentially talking about
17 a five-step process. Once Blaskic gives a combat order
18 that he wants to bring the military police in until it
19 gets back to you and then you make contact with
20 Blaskic, is that right, five steps have to take place?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How long did that take?
23 A. I don't know how long, but very quickly,
24 depending on when the action was planned and depending
25 on the commander, what he is planning, how he wants to
1 use the units. In a military system, this works very
2 quickly. We all know what is supposed to be done.
3 Q. Colonel, do you know of any other military or
4 army in the world that operates in this fashion, the
5 fashion that you have testified to?
6 A. I don't know of this. I just know that
7 according to our code of the military police, I mean,
8 that's what it says. That's the way it is. The
9 military police and the general office of the military
10 police is at the disposal of the Ministry of Defence,
11 and that's the way it is. And I was one of the persons
12 belonging to this system, so I functioned within that
14 Q. Colonel, was this the system, I think you've
15 testified to in direct examination, the system that was
16 employed after the Washington Accords were signed in
17 early 1994; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you have any combat orders or any orders
20 in your possession where Colonel Blaskic, who was in
21 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone at the beginning of
22 1994, where Colonel Blaskic employed this particular
23 procedure in order to order the military police into
24 combat? Do you have any such orders, sir?
25 A. Could you please repeat this once again?
1 Q. Sure, sir. You testified in direct
2 examination in response to my learned colleague, Mr.
3 Nobilo, that this procedure that you set forth in
4 Defence 497 was the procedure that was employed after
5 the Washington Accords were signed in early 1994; isn't
6 that correct? Now, Colonel Blaskic took over as the
7 Deputy Chief of Staff in April of 1994, and my question
8 for you, sir, is that from the time the Washington
9 Accords were signed or, at any point, do you have any
10 order signed by Blaskic where he employed this
11 five-step procedure in order to order the military
12 police into combat? Do you have any such order?
13 A. After the cease-fire was signed?
14 Q. Or at any time.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you have it, sir?
17 A. I don't have it here, but that was the
18 procedure involved. The military police could have
19 been requested by Colonel Blaskic, that is to say that
20 he had to submit a request.
21 Q. My question for you, Colonel, is did he ever
22 do it? Did he ever employ this five-step procedure in
23 order to order your men from the 4th Military Police
24 Battalion into combat? Did he?
25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness has
1 already answered this.
2 A. But there is no problem, I can answer it.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, the witness has answered
4 it. Well, you've already said something about that
5 question and we are wasting time now. So answer
6 quickly, please.
7 THE WITNESS: I know what the procedure is, I
8 know what the procedure is, and I know what it's like
9 when I receive orders, but when the Colonel or whoever
10 addresses the head of the entire service, that I do not
11 know. I just know when I receive my orders.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. Colonel, isn't it true that the military
14 police, certainly the 4th Military Police Battalion,
15 was operating on what was known as a territorial
16 principle, and that principle was employed during the
17 entire time you were part of the 4th Military Battalion
18 and even before that?
19 A. Yes. Yes, it's a well-known thing. Wherever
20 there were units of the Croatian Defence Council, there
21 had to be military police units too.
22 Q. And would you agree with the statement that
23 in carrying out their regular duties, military police
24 units were subordinate to the commanders of these
25 units, HVO units, and for professional purposes to the
1 military police administration at the Ministry of
2 Defence for the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna?
3 Would you agree with that?
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there are two
5 questions here. Could they please be separated? The
6 first part is one claim and in the second part is
7 another claim.
8 MR. KEHOE: What I am doing, Mr. President,
9 is reading a sentence from "The Three Years of Military
10 Police" and an article that was written by Brigadier
11 Zeljko Zeljek who was not in the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone but I believe was in the Southern Bosnia
13 Operative Zone, which, of course --
14 Q. You know Brigadier Zeljek, do you not?
15 A. Yes, I know him. He was head of the
16 administration of military police. He was my superior
17 officer. There is no problem. I am going to answer
18 this question too.
19 Q. Would you agree, sir, that the military
20 police in every area was subordinate to the Operative
21 Zone commanders?
22 A. The military police was subordinate to the
23 commander of the Operative Zone, but only in terms of
24 carrying out military police duties, and that is
25 checkpoints, convoys, escorts, that is to say guarding
1 various facilities, providing security for various
2 facilities, however combat action, no. Not a single
3 commander of a particular area could issue such an
4 order without the agreement, the consent of the
5 Minister of Defence.
6 Q. Now, sir, was that different from January of
7 1993 until the Washington Accords in 1994? In other
8 words, could Blaskic issue combat orders directly to
9 the military police during that time frame, January
10 1993 to early 1994, without consultation with Mostar?
11 A. He could have. He could have issued such
12 orders precisely because he was encircled and he was
13 the only person and the most responsible person in
14 charge of the military in Central Bosnia while it was
15 encircled. So his responsibility was top
16 responsibility, and naturally he acted the way he
17 thought he should act.
18 Q. I'm sorry, sir, were you going to say
19 something else?
20 A. It's okay.
21 Q. So during this period of time, when the
22 military police, as you testified, had no
23 communications with Mostar, the military police was
24 directly subordinate to Colonel Blaskic in all military
25 matters as well; isn't that right?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. And that also includes the civilian police,
3 as the civilian police when it came to military
4 operations were also subordinate to Colonel Blaskic;
5 isn't that correct?
6 A. The civilian police was subordinate to the
7 head of the administration for civilian police, head of
8 the police administration, and every time, as far as I
9 know, when the civilian police were supposed to go to
10 the frontline, because in Central Bosnia there weren't
11 any attacks, we were defending ourselves, he would put
12 in a request, that is to say together with the head of
13 the police of Travnik. Then he would issue an order
14 sending certain policemen to the frontline, that is
15 what I know. And Colonel Blaskic at that time did not
16 command the civilian police, although he was acting in
17 agreement with the head of civilian police because he
18 was the one who was in charge of sending civilian
20 Q. Let me show you a Defence Exhibit. Colonel,
21 let me show you Defence Exhibit 300, if I may.
22 Colonel, I am not sure that you have seen this
23 particular document before. It has been received in
24 evidence. It is an attack order issued by then Colonel
25 Blaskic to attack on the morning of 18 April 1993
1 various areas in and around Kiseljak, specifically
2 Gomionica, Svinjarevo and some other villages. And I
3 direct your attention to paragraph 7. It says, "All
4 army forces (military and civilian police forces) are
5 to be placed under the command of the Kiseljak, Ban
6 Jelacic Brigade." You can take a moment to take a look
7 at that, sir. You will see on the following paragraph
8 that the attack operation is to begin on the 18th of
9 April 1993 at 0530.
10 Now, would you agree with me, based on that,
11 Colonel, that Colonel Blaskic, during this time frame,
12 January 1993 to early 1994, had the power to order the
13 military police, as well as the civilian police, into
14 combat operations? Isn't that so?
15 A. I think I was quite clear, that the commander
16 of the Operative Zone at that time was the person of
17 utmost responsibility as regards the military,
18 civilians and everything. So I know what the situation
19 was in our area. In agreement with the head of
20 civilian police, naturally policemen went to the
21 defence lines.
22 Q. My question is this, Colonel: Would you
23 agree, after reading that document, that Blaskic had
24 the power to order both the military police, as well as
25 the civilian police, into combat without consultation
1 with anybody during this timeframe?
2 A. I would not agree with you, because we had
3 such an army and I felt it on my very own skin. If the
4 going is good and if you are commander, fine, but then
5 if it's not, then you are no longer commander and
6 that's it. And that's the way it was until the
7 brigades were set up, everything was fine until
8 something is needed. Then something is needed, they
9 say, "What is this guy doing here and that doing here?"
10 Then everybody is a wise guy. But as far as I know,
11 there must have been consultations with the head of
12 civilian police. I don't know. And it is Colonel
13 Blaskic who can give the best answer to this question.
14 I don't know.
15 Q. Well, sir, you do know that that particular
16 order, the 17th of April 1993, was issued at a time
17 when a war was taking place in the Lasva Valley? You
18 do know that, do you not?
19 A. Yes, I do know that.
20 Q. And with that knowledge you still insist,
21 Colonel, that Colonel Blaskic had to consult with the
22 civilian authorities in order to send the civilian
23 police into combat?
24 A. I gave you my answer. I don't know. You can
25 ask Colonel Blaskic. I know what the situation was
1 like in our area.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Judge
3 Shahabuddeen, I am about to move into another area. I
4 don't know what the schedule of the Court --
5 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to speak to the
7 The decision about hearing the accused is one
8 which will be taken within a very specific procedural
9 framework of which you are not aware, perhaps, which
10 would be natural, and therefore I don't think that you
11 can answer the judges -- once or twice, all right.
12 Everybody might think that the accused has a great deal
13 of competence in respect of answering certain
14 questions, but there is a procedural framework here and
15 it must be respected. Therefore, you cannot answer
16 simply by saying, "Well, ask this one or that one."
17 It's a very simple question and I will ask it myself.
18 On the point 7, in order that all army
19 forces, military and civilian police forces, are to be
20 placed under the command of the Kiseljak, Ban Jelacic
21 Brigade. What is your answer to that question? What
22 is your answer? Do you contest the form of this order
23 or -- the form of the order or the substance of the
24 order, and if you do, would you tell us why, please?
25 A. In this case, in this case, orders are being
1 given to the command of the Ban Jelacic Brigade of
2 Kiseljak by the commander of the Operative Zone. And
3 the commanders of the operative groups in Zepce and
4 Kiseljak, they were in their own areas the persons in
5 charge as regards the defence of that particular area.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. No point in going
7 any further. You've answered as you wanted to, and
8 each party will take from what you've said what it
9 intends to.
10 Move to another question, Mr. Kehoe.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Now, you talked about this meeting that you
13 had with General Blaskic, I believe it must have been
14 sometime in early August 1993 or maybe the 1st of
15 August 1993.
16 A. It wasn't on the 1st of August. It was right
17 at the beginning when I assumed this duty.
18 Q. I don't mean to quibble with you on the date,
19 sir. Early August of 1993 will suffice. Now, you also
20 noted in questions by Defence counsel that you noted
21 that Blaskic could not tell you how to investigate a
22 case. Do you recall that answer that you gave to
23 Mr. Nobilo's question?
24 A. I remember. I remember.
25 Q. And then in this conversation that you had in
1 early April 1993 -- excuse me, early August 1993,
2 Blaskic noted to you that there were criminal elements
3 not only within the military police but also the
4 Vitezovi and Zuti, and I think you mentioned this
5 organisation, the Grasshoppers; is that right?
6 A. Right.
7 Q. Did Blaskic have the power to order that
8 individuals within those organisations involved in
9 criminal activity be arrested? Did he have that power
10 to order their arrest?
11 A. He did have this power, but it was hearsay,
12 this person said this and the other person said that,
13 but investigation can only be carried out by the
14 military police or the crime police. And on that basis
15 the commanders of brigades and the commander of the
16 entire area according to the information received can
17 say, let us question this or that person, but he could
18 not effect the actual investigation because that was
19 done by the military police. It was only the military
20 police that was in charge of doing this. Of course, in
21 consultation with the Prosecutor's office and the
22 Court. But we carried out the investigation.
23 Q. Did he have the power to tell you to arrest
25 A. No, he could only say something and then the
1 military police would resolve matters.
2 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibits --
3 A. We could -- we could call a person in to the
4 military police --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Let me interrupt you here.
6 This is an important question. The interpreters are
7 tired. I suggest that we resume tomorrow morning about
8 that subject. It's already ten after six. It's been a
9 long afternoon. All right. You can re-ask your
10 question tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning we will
11 resume at ten o'clock. The Court stands adjourned.
12 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at 5.30
13 p.m. to be reconvened on Tuesday, the
14 12th day of January, 1999 at 10.00 a.m.