1 Monday, 15th February, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, please?
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps I could ask one of the
8 assistants to go to my office and ask for my case
9 file. I asked that it be brought, but they haven't
10 done it. Perhaps one of the assistants could see my
11 secretary. I don't have my case file. It should have
12 been brought to us here at the bench. Excuse me.
13 First of all, I would like to ask whether the
14 interpreters can hear me. Good afternoon. Good
15 afternoon to the Office of the Prosecutor and to the
16 Defence counsel and to the accused. Then, of course,
17 we wish to welcome our colleague and friend, Judge
18 Almiro Rodrigues. We want to express our gratitude to
19 him, because for the past several days, we know that he
20 has had to replace Judge Riad, and he has a great deal
21 of work. I don't know if I can say the word
22 "titan-like work," that is, the amount of work is
23 titan-like, but that he will be in his full ability and
24 a Judge who will carry out his entire role in the
25 Blaskic trial.
1 I would also like to give you some news from
2 Judge Fouad Riad who is getting better, as best as one
3 can get better after an operation of such magnitude.
4 We will now proceed with our work, but first,
5 there is a little surprise for the Judges. Let me turn
6 to Mr. Hayman. I think Mr. Hayman knows what I'm
7 talking about. We're a bit surprised because we
8 thought that we were going to begin with the testimony
9 of the accused this afternoon. The legal officer of
10 the Trial Chamber, who won't be here for a few days,
11 told me, and I'm sure you must have informed him in a
12 memo that, first of all, we were told that we would be
13 hearing a few other witnesses. We don't want to speak
14 about that at great length, but the dignity of justice,
15 Mr. Hayman, means that when Judges have the feeling,
16 perhaps they are wrong in feeling so, but they do feel
17 that once the three Judges have made a decision,
18 ordinarily, we should respect that decision. That's
19 what we wanted to say.
20 Mr. Hayman, do you wish to add anything?
21 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, Your Honours,
22 Judge Rodrigues, only to say I apologise if there was
23 some failure on my part to communicate effectively.
24 What I certainly intended and attempted to tell the
25 Court at the Status Conference of 12 January, 1999 was
1 that, over the remaining ten days of that trial
2 session, we had nine witnesses yet to complete, and
3 that thereafter we expected to call General Blaskic and
4 two other witnesses as to whom there were logistical
5 questions and that I didn't know whether those other
6 witnesses might precede or follow General Blaskic's
8 Unfortunately, we didn't finish the nine
9 witnesses during those ten or so days. Actually, it
10 was probably seven trial days that we had remaining in
11 that trial session as of the 12th of January. That was
12 our intent. That was accurately, honestly represented
13 to the Court, and I apologise if there was a failure on
14 my part to communicate it as effectively as I should.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Of course you're excused,
16 Mr. Hayman. I just simply wanted to say to you that
17 had I been the only one to have made an error in that
18 respect, that is, the idea that for 35 hours scheduled,
19 the accused was going to begin to testify today -- of
20 course, I'm a human being. I'm not a person who is not
21 a person, if you like, who comes from another planet,
22 but that's not the issue here. I asked all of those
23 who were involved in this case -- don't look at the
24 transcript. It's not really indicated in the
25 transcript specifically, that is, by sentence that
1 we're going to start with the accused and then we're
2 going to follow up with the nine witnesses, but
3 throughout our conversations during the last Status
4 Conference, at least the spirit of that conference was
5 that the accused agreed to having Judge Riad be
6 replaced in a very short period because sufficient time
7 was necessary, about a week, and that would take us to
8 about the 8th of February, and then we talked about
9 that, to determine whether we could move the 8th or the
11 I believe that in any case the spirit, maybe
12 not the letter of the conversation, but it's the
13 spirit, and they were very high level conversations,
14 let us think that the accused needed a specific date, a
15 date had to be set, that he needed time to prepare
16 himself. We spoke about it on several occasions. I
17 don't remember whether we said it would be the 8th or
18 the 15th. We decided on the 15th as the deadline, and
19 I, myself, went to see Ms. McDonald, the President of
20 the Tribunal, to ask her after all types of
21 considerations, briefs, and memos that I wrote in order
22 to justify this Trial Chamber's position in order to
23 make her understand that the accused wanted to begin
24 speaking on his own behalf at a specific time, which I
25 indicated to her.
1 If there was a misunderstanding, Mr. Hayman,
2 of course, we will hear the witnesses, but anything
3 which postpones the trial is prejudicial, both for your
4 client and for the work of justice which we are
5 accomplishing here, but, as you know, both of my
6 colleagues with me are very, very busy with other
7 matters. You'll see that we are now setting up a new
8 schedule, and you'll see that Judge Shahabuddeen, who
9 is the Vice-President of the Tribunal, has a great deal
10 of work in the Appeals Chamber which is busier and
11 busier, and Judge Rodrigues, of course, has a schedule
12 that has to be taken into account as well, and Judge
13 Riad had the same schedule as I did. We have to take
14 this into account in another Trial Chamber in which
15 Judge Rodrigues has participated, but we won't say
16 anything further about that. No need to say any more.
17 Having said what I did say, you can now tell
18 us which witnesses you are going to present to us
19 today. First of all, let me ask you whether they are
20 protected witnesses.
21 MR. HAYMAN: There is no protection for the
22 witness today, Mr. President, and I can tell you and
23 Your Honours that we are on the very eve of the
24 testimony of the accused. We expect him to begin his
25 testimony either tomorrow or Wednesday. So in terms of
1 our earlier discussions and the need for reasonable
2 certainty with respect to the commencement of the
3 testimony of the accused, that is exactly the situation
4 we believed we faced and that we still believe we find
5 ourselves in, and we, again, thank you, Mr. President,
6 and Your Honours and, particularly, you, Judge
7 Rodrigues, for your willingness to join the case so
8 that we can proceed with reasonable certainty and bring
9 the case to conclusion.
10 Today, Mr. President, we will present the
11 testimony of Martin Bell, MP. Mr. Bell is a member of
12 the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. He is a
13 former journalist with the British Broadcasting
14 Corporation and a decorated war correspondent.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Let me be careful here.
16 Mr. Hayman, about how much time do you need for the
17 examination-in-chief because it's that amount of time
18 that the cross-examination is going to depend? About
19 how much time do you need for the examination-in-chief
20 of Mr. Martin Bell?
21 MR. HAYMAN: I estimate one hour,
22 Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It is now
24 twenty-five after two, so you will be finished at
25 twenty-five after three. Then there will be a break,
1 but we will have a maximum cross-examination of one
2 hour as well.
3 We're going to have the witness, Martin Bell,
4 brought in, please.
5 (The witness entered court)
6 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon, sir. Do you
7 hear me?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing and tell
10 us your name, your first name, your profession, the
11 date and place of your birth, and then you're going to
12 take an oath.
13 THE WITNESS: My name is Martin Bell. I was
14 born in Redisham, England on the 31st of August, 1938.
15 I was, for more than 34 years, a reporter with the
16 BBC. I now sit in the British House of Commons as a
17 member of parliament, an independent member.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please remain
19 standing for a few more moments and take an oath which
20 is being given to you by the usher.
21 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Martin Bell.
25 You may now be seated.
1 The Tribunal thanks you for having come. We
2 thank you for having come at the request of the Defence
3 in the trial at the International Criminal Tribunal of
4 General Blaskic who, at the time of the facts, was a
5 colonel and who is present in this courtroom at your
7 I'm sure you know the legal customs of your
8 own country. These are more or less the same that are
9 here. First, you're going to be asked questions that
10 are asked by the Defence attorney during the
11 examination-in-chief, then the cross-examination, and
12 then any questions that the Judges might want to ask
14 Mr. Hayman, you may proceed.
15 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: MARTIN BELL
17 Examined by Mr. Hayman:
18 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bell.
19 A. Good afternoon, sir.
20 Q. Could you, in the nature of introducing
21 yourself further to the Court, tell the Court when your
22 career as a BBC journalist ended and when you began
23 your political career?
24 A. My career as a BBC journalist ended on about
25 the 5th of April, 1997 when, almost accidentally, I was
1 asked to stand as an independent candidate for a
2 constituency in England in rather remarkable
3 circumstances, and I then resigned from the BBC. I won
4 the election and, therefore, am now a member of
6 Q. What kind of journalistic work did you do for
7 the BBC?
8 A. I started off doing all kinds of work, as one
9 does. By the last third of my career, and certainly
10 from 1990 onwards, I did very little but war reporting,
11 first of all, the Gulf War, and then successive wars in
12 Slovenia, Croatia, and finally Bosnia.
13 Q. Did you receive any awards in the course of
14 your journalism career?
15 A. Yes, I received the OBE, which is a royal
16 award from the hand of the Queen in 1993 and two awards
17 from the professional body, the Royal Television
19 Q. I'd like to show you certain news reports,
20 and we'll pause if the technicians could assist us
21 after each segment so that I can ask you a question or
22 two about those segments.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, Your Honours, for
24 your information, these are clips from BBC News
25 footage, video clips. Some of them have a date on the
1 screen of the broadcast, some of them do not. As to
2 the clips that do not have a date, I will be asking the
3 witness if he can help us identify the time frame of
4 the report.
5 The first segment has a date on its screen,
6 the date is the 9th of June, 1993, and if we could play
7 segment number 1, please?
8 If the translation booths could assist us and
9 attempt to provide a translation of the audio track?
10 (Videotape played)
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, first of all, to the
12 interpreters. I couldn't have the BBC journalist slow
13 down, but I would like to thank you for the work that
14 you've done.
15 MR. HAYMAN:
16 Q. First, Mr. Bell, who is Justin Webb?
17 A. Justin Webb was certainly at that time a
18 staff reporter at the BBC, much as I am. I think he is
19 still working for the BBC, but perhaps wisely he
20 decided to become not a war reporter but a news reader.
21 Q. Was the report that we have just viewed, was
22 it aired by the BBC?
23 A. Yes. That looks to me as if it were on our
24 morning or breakfast news programme which relies
25 heavily on two-way interviews of that kind.
1 MR. HAYMAN: If we could now play the second
2 segment of the tape? This segment is dated on the
3 screen. The date is the 16th of August, 1993. If we
4 could play the segment, please?
5 (Videotape played)
6 Q. Is this a report that you filed with the BBC?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. The next segment does not have a date on the
9 screen. If you could keep in mind while you view it
10 that I will ask you to try and assist us to place it in
11 the proper time frame?
12 If we could now play the third segment,
14 (Videotape played)
15 Q. First, Mr. Bell, let me ask you: Is this a
16 report that you filed with the BBC?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. Can you help the Court and all of us put this
19 report in the proper time frame?
20 A. Yes. I think the report itself did that. It
21 was five months after this fighting began. The
22 fighting began in mid April. I returned after a time
23 in Mostar. I returned about mid September, so I guess
24 it would be sometime around late September '93.
25 Q. Again, the next segment has no date on
1 screen, so if you could watch it with the issue of the
2 proper time frame in mind?
3 Could we play the fourth segment, please?
4 (Videotape played)
5 Q. Is this a report that you made for the BBC
6 from Bosnia?
7 A. Yes, indeed it is.
8 Q. Can you help the Court date this report?
9 A. I remember the day going out on a patrol with
10 the light dragoons. I would put it as, again, late
11 September, early October 1993.
12 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 5,
14 (Videotape played)
15 Q. Mr. Bell, is this a report that you filed
16 with the BBC from Bosnia?
17 A. Yes, sir, it is.
18 Q. Can you provide a time frame for when that
19 report was made?
20 A. I think it was a little bit later. The
21 weather had started to turn. I would place it in
22 October 1993.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Could we now play segment 6,
25 (Videotape played)
1 Q. Is this a news report that you filed from
2 Vitez with the BBC?
3 A. Yes, sir, it is.
4 Q. The report appears to reference the coming
5 winter. Can you tell us what season it was in what
7 A. It was autumn 1993. I should think probably
9 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 7,
11 (Videotape played)
12 Q. Is this also a report that you filed from
13 Vitez with the BBC?
14 A. Yes, sir, it certainly is.
15 Q. In what time frame did you file that report?
16 A. I filed it in the same time frame. We are
17 talking about the autumn of '93.
18 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 8,
20 (Videotape played)
21 Q. Mr. Bell, who is Humphrey Hawksley?
22 A. Humphrey Hawksley is a BBC reporter. At that
23 time, he was based, I believe, in Hong Kong, and he was
24 substituting for me over that Christmas of 1993.
25 Q. So the report then was made around
1 Christmastime '93-'94?
2 A. That's right.
3 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 9?
4 There are 15 segments, Mr. President. We're about
5 two-thirds of the way through. Segment 9, please.
6 JUDGE JORDA: You are the one that makes that
7 decision. You choose what you are going to show. But
8 let me remind you that you have to be finished by
9 twenty-five after three.
10 (Videotape played)
11 MR. HAYMAN:
12 Q. Is that a report you filed with the BBC?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. Can you date the report for us, at least
16 A. It was either very late December 1993 or
17 early January 1994.
18 Q. The reference to a mass grave, can you tell
19 us approximately where that mass grave was located?
20 A. The mass grave was on the main road to
21 Poculica, exactly where the frontline had been at one
22 time. It was in no man's land.
23 Q. Poculica being on the road from Vitez to
24 Zenica; is that correct?
25 A. On the road north, the back road to Zenica,
1 yes, the old road to Zenica.
2 MR. HAYMAN: If segment 10 could be played,
4 (Videotape played)
5 Q. Is that a report that you filed from Vitez
6 with the BBC?
7 A. Yes, sir, it is.
8 Q. The village referenced that contained the
9 Dutch transport battalion base, what village was that?
10 A. That was the village of Santici.
11 Q. Can you date this report?
12 A. Yes, sir. It would be about the first week
13 of January 1994.
14 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 11,
16 (Videotape played)
17 Q. Is this a report which you filed with the BBC
18 from Opara, Bosnia?
19 A. Yes, sir, it is.
20 Q. During what period or season did you file it?
21 A. We are talking about the middle of winter.
22 This would still be January 1994.
23 Q. Can you tell the Court in what region Opara
24 was located and why it was a significant access point
25 for Central Bosnia and aid coming in to Central Bosnia?
1 A. This was south of the Croat enclave in the
2 Lasva Valley, it was the main supply route being used
3 by the British north from Split into the valley, and
4 really at that time the only one they had.
5 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 12,
7 (Videotape played)
8 MR. HAYMAN:
9 Q. Is this a report that you filed with the BBC
10 from Bosnia?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Can you provide a time frame for that report?
13 A. This is also at the time of the battle of
14 Santici at the beginning of January 1994.
15 Q. It didn't appear very well on this version of
16 the film, but with reference to the eight chained,
17 executed soldiers, whose soldiers were they; do you
19 A. Those were soldiers of the HVO. There was a
20 dawn attack by the Bosnian -- a pre-dawn attack by the
21 Bosnian army in the fog which took the village and got
22 across the road, and these soldiers were surprised in
23 what they must have felt was a safe house. All we know
24 is that when they were found, they were bound and
25 shot. So whether they were shot and then trussed up or
1 held as prisoners and then the house was retaken,
2 something like that would have occurred.
3 MR. HAYMAN: If segment 13 could be played,
5 (Videotape played)
6 MR. HAYMAN:
7 Q. The on-screen date of that broadcast is 11
8 January, 1994. Is that a report you made with the BBC?
9 A. Yes, sir, it is.
10 Q. There is a reference in the report to the
11 main road east of Vitez. Which road is that? Could
12 you provide greater specificity?
13 A. Yes, indeed. It's the main road through the
14 valley which leads to Busovaca and Kiseljak. It was
15 the main supply road for the United Nations and, of
16 course, the main road for the Croats as well.
17 MR. HAYMAN: If segment 14 could be played,
19 (Videotape played)
20 MR. HAYMAN:
21 Q. The on-screen date of that segment was 12
22 January, 1994, the day after segment 13. Is that a
23 report that you filed with the BBC?
24 A. Yes, sir, it is.
25 Q. The reference to the road in the segment, is
1 that a reference to the same road you described a
2 moment ago?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 MR. HAYMAN: If the last segment, segment 15,
5 could be played, please.
6 (Videotape played)
7 MR. HAYMAN:
8 Q. The on-screen date in segment 15 is the 14th
9 of January, 1994, for the record. Did you file that
10 report from Vitez with the BBC?
11 A. Yes, sir, I did.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Could the tape be assigned an
13 exhibit number, Mr. President, and I would ask that it
14 be admitted.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Do you want to have marking by
16 sequence, by excerpt, or not?
17 MR. HAYMAN: The segments are plainly marked
18 1 through 15, so I think one number can be assigned to
19 the tape, and then we can distinguish among the
21 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
22 THE REGISTRAR: This will be D532/1-15.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman.
24 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
25 Q. I'd like to direct your attention to the 27th
1 of April, 1993. Did you attend a press conference on
2 that day?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. So we can date this in time, the 27th of
5 April was approximately 11 days after the massacre in
6 the village of Ahmici; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. Was the accused present at this press
10 A. Yes, it was held in the town hall in
11 Busovaca. Mr. Blaskic was present and so was
12 Mr. Kordic.
13 Q. Who else was present?
14 A. Mr. Blaskic, Mr. Kordic, and a lot of
15 journalists, mostly local. This became a regular event
16 in order that the local commanders, military and
17 civilian, could communicate in some way with the
18 population, not to reassure them how well things were
19 going but, as far as I could see, to warn them how
20 grave their situation was.
21 Q. Did then Colonel Blaskic address the subject
22 of the massacre in Ahmici at this press conference?
23 A. Yes, he did. I made some notes at the time
24 which I, with the agreement of the Court, will read.
25 He said he was horrified. He was going to do something
1 about it, that "...a commission is being set up to
2 investigate the atrocities. Whoever did it did it in
3 an organised, systematic way. It was an organised
4 group of people operating to a plan and, therefore,
5 controlled by someone. The culprits must be identified
6 and brought to justice," and Colonel Blaskic said he
7 was appalled.
8 Q. So that statement you've just read, is it a
9 quote or near-verbatim quote of what Colonel Blaskic
10 said to the press and to the public at this press
11 conference on the 27th of April, 1993 in the Lasva
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. For the record, have you read, in fact, from
15 contemporaneous notes that you made at the time in
16 order to provide the Court with the details of Colonel
17 Blaskic's statements at the time?
18 A. Yes. That was one of my black notebooks
19 which I always carry with me.
20 MR. HAYMAN: I have no further questions,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much for being
23 so concise, Mr. Hayman, and going straight to the point
24 of what you wanted to show.
25 I'm now turning towards the Prosecutor's
1 office. Mr. Martin Bell, you're going to be asked by
2 the Prosecutor.
3 By you, Mr. Harmon, is that so?
4 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
5 Judge Shahabuddeen, and welcome, Judge Rodrigues. Good
6 afternoon, Counsel. Welcome, Mr. Bell.
7 Yes, Mr. President, I will be asking
8 questions of Mr. Bell. Will we be taking a break at
9 3.15, because it would perhaps be better to take a
10 break now and continue, uninterrupted, my questions,
11 rather than ask him questions for five minutes and then
12 interrupt. I leave it to the Court's discretion. I'm
13 prepared to proceed either way.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Well, we may as well have the
15 break now. We are supposed to have two breaks. It's
16 going to be a long afternoon. So this might be
17 an opportune time to have a fifteen-minute break, and
18 we shall resume in 15 minutes' time.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.12 p.m.
20 --- Upon commencing at 3:30 p.m.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Okay We can begin with the
22 cross-examination now. Please proceed.
23 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Harmon:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bell. Welcome to the
1 Tribunal. Let me reintroduce myself, I'm Mark Harmon,
2 and let me reintroduce my colleague to you, Mr. Andrew
3 Cayley. Again, welcome, sir.
4 Let me ask you, Mr. Bell, I have looked with
5 interest at the 15 video clips that were presented here
6 in evidence today, and I know that you produced more
7 than 15 video clips from Bosnia; isn't that correct?
8 A. I must have produced hundreds over three and
9 a half years, yes, sir.
10 Q. From Central Bosnia, approximately how many
11 video clips did you produce?
12 A. I would guess roughly 40 or 50 over those
13 nine months.
14 Q. In going through these 15 clips, I noted that
15 approximately seven of these clips occurred in January
16 of 1994, which was approximately seven months after the
17 events at Ahmici; isn't that correct?
18 A. That is correct, sir.
19 Q. I noticed that six of the clips were from
20 September or October of 1993, which was about five or
21 six months after the events at Ahmici; isn't that
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Bell, one of the clips, clip 15, had
25 a picture of the accused, it was dated -- segment 15,
1 and the date on the clip was the 14th of January, and
2 in that clip, you are quoted as something to the effect
3 that Colonel Blaskic had returned to the pocket after a
4 ten-day absence. Do you remember the portion of that
5 clip that I just quoted?
6 A. Yes, sir.
7 Q. Can you tell me where Colonel Blaskic had
8 been in those ten days?
9 A. Oh, I wasn't following him about because I
10 was in the Lasva Valley and he was not, but there was a
11 time -- the siege lasted really until the agreement in
12 February '94. The only way he could get out -- and
13 there was a time, I suppose, from about September '93,
14 the HVO ran in, at huge risk, helicopters which did
15 sort of a corkscrew landing, and they got some of their
16 seriously wounded out through there, but very
17 occasionally, once or twice Colonel Blaskic would leave
18 for the HVO headquarters and then come back again.
19 Q. Do you know where he went?
20 A. I'm assuming -- I mean, if a field commander
21 leaves, he's normally going to his headquarters, but I
22 never asked him about that.
23 Q. Okay. Now, let me then ask you, Mr. Bell, in
24 respect of his particular absence, did you make inquiry
25 as to anybody in the HVO as to where Colonel Blaskic
1 had been in those ten days, specifically make inquiry,
2 and to whom did you make inquiry and what was the
3 response that you received?
4 A. I would sometimes ask his liaison officer at
5 the hotel if he was available, and sometimes he would
6 say he wasn't available and sometimes he would say he's
7 away, but we normally got the information through the
8 British Battalion at Vitez. They would have a pretty
9 good idea of when he was away.
10 Q. Now, let me focus your attention on a
11 different subject, Mr. Bell, and that is the press
12 conferences. You have quoted from a statement made by
13 Colonel Blaskic at one press conference, but did you
14 attend more than one press conference?
15 A. I have notes of having attended two,
16 Mr. Harmon.
17 Q. You are aware, are you not, and you have
18 informed the Office of the Prosecutor, that those press
19 conferences, either through information that you
20 received through your colleagues, were held once a week
21 in Busovaca?
22 A. Yes, that's right. They were public events.
23 I think they were mostly for the benefit of the local
24 press, but they were happy to have us there, and it was
25 helpful to me to know what their thinking was, so I was
1 happy to attend.
2 MR. HARMON: If I could have the assistance
3 of the usher, please, with this next exhibit?
4 THE REGISTRAR: This is 572.
5 MR. HARMON:
6 Q. Mr. Bell, let me just orient you through this
7 Prosecutor's Exhibit. It is an exhibit that has four
8 pieces to it, and they will be placed on the ELMO which
9 is next to you so that they can be displayed on the
10 monitor, and this is the first photograph -- and if you
11 could come back a little bit on this -- this is a
12 photograph at a conference, a press conference, held
13 with Mr. Blaskic. Do you recognise Mr. Blaskic in that
14 photograph, Mr. Bell?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. To his right, do you recognise the man seated
17 to his right?
18 A. It's not very good quality, but I assume that
19 that's Mr. Kordic.
20 Q. Do you recognise the individual to
21 Mr. Kordic's right?
22 A. I rather think that that is Mr. Ante Valenta.
23 Q. Valenta?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you see the man to Mr. Valenta's right?
1 A. I see him. I couldn't put a name to him.
2 Q. Do you recognise the name Kostroman, Ignac
4 A. No, that's not a name known to me.
5 Q. Let me show you another picture of a press
6 conference, the next photograph in order, and ask you
7 if you can identify at least two of the people in that
8 photograph because you've said you couldn't recognise
9 Mr. Kostroman on the far left of that photograph.
10 A. It looks, although it's not a very good
11 quality photograph, it looks again like Colonel Blaskic
12 and Mr. Kordic.
13 Q. Now, let me show you the next item in that
14 particular series of documents, and this is even a
15 poorer reproduction, Mr. Bell. I apologise. It may be
16 helpful to you if you pick it up off of the ELMO and
17 inspect it a little closer, but this is a press
18 conference of the regional HVO headquarters after the
19 signing of the maps in New York, and it is in April of
20 1993. Do you recognise Mr. Blaskic in that photograph?
21 A. It's very hard to tell, but I'd say it's
22 probably him, yes.
23 Q. Second to the right; is that correct?
24 A. Looks like it.
25 Q. To Mr. Blaskic's right, who do you recognise?
1 A. Well, the picture quality is getting worse
2 and worse --
3 Q. It is. I apologise.
4 A. -- I assume it's Mr. Kordic.
5 Q. To Mr. Kordic's right, do you recognise the
7 A. It's too blurred for me.
8 Q. All right. Now, again, let me just lastly
9 turn to the last of the series in this particular
10 series of photographs and poorly reproduced
11 photographs. Do you recognise the individual to the
12 far right in that particular press conference?
13 A. I'd say that's Colonel Blaskic again.
14 Q. In the middle, who do you recognise, sir?
15 A. I'm not sure. It's too vague for me.
16 Q. All right. If I told you --
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Harmon, the witness
18 is looking at the screen.
19 MR. HARMON: Okay.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And he says that the
21 picture is too blurred. I wonder if he would do better
22 if he looked at the ELMO itself.
23 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much for your
24 suggestion, Judge Shahabuddeen.
25 Q. Would you take a look at the copied
2 A. I would assume it's Mr. Kordic. I wouldn't
3 absolutely swear by it.
4 Q. Thank you. This also is an image taken from
5 a press conference of the regional HVO headquarters in
6 Central Bosnia. Now, let me ask you, sir, when you
7 attended the press conference that you've described on
8 the 27th of April, 1993, did the location of where the
9 people were sitting and how they were addressing the
10 audience appear to you to be similar to those that I
11 have shown in these four photographs found in
12 Prosecutor's 572?
13 A. Yes, sir. I can only actually remember
14 Mr. Valenta from the press conference held on the 12th
15 of May, '93.
16 Q. Did he hold a -- let's focus on that press
17 conference separately from the press conference where
18 you had this statement that you have noted from
19 Mr. Blaskic. The press conference on the 12th of May,
20 who was present at that particular press conference?
21 A. Certainly Colonel Blaskic, certainly
22 Mr. Kordic, certainly Mr. Valenta.
23 Q. Were they seated in a configuration similar
24 to that which is depicted in the various images found
25 on Prosecutor's 572?
1 A. Yes, I think so. They sat at one end of the
2 -- it is the old Communist system. They would sit at
3 one end, and the press would sit around the other three
5 Q. Now, do you know the title of Mr. Kordic?
6 A. I knew it. It was some kind of political
7 something, but to be quite honest, after nearly six
8 years, you would have to pressure my memory of what he
9 called himself.
10 Q. If I informed you that he entitled himself as
11 the HVO deputy president and the deputy president of
12 Herceg-Bosna, is that consistent with your
14 A. Yes. There was no doubt that the distinction
15 was made to us that the military account of things was
16 being given by Colonel Blaskic as the military
17 commander, and then Mr. Kordic dealt with other matters
18 on the civilian side.
19 Q. Were you aware that Anto Valenta was the
20 deputy president of the HZ-HB government?
21 A. Yes, I was, because he was announced as such.
22 Q. So in the two press conferences that you
23 attended personally, Mr. Blaskic was present with the
24 political leadership at the same table; is that
1 A. Yes. I can't remember Valenta at the first
2 of the press conferences. He was certainly at the
4 Q. Now, in respect of this particular press
5 conference that you attended on the 27th of April,
6 1993, you gave us a quotation in which Colonel Blaskic
7 said something to the effect, and I'm going to quote,
8 "I'm horrified. I'm going to do something about it.
9 I'm appalled." He claimed that a commission was going
10 to be set up to investigate Ahmici, and he
11 said, "Whoever did it did it in an organised,
12 systematic way. It was an organised group of people
13 operating to a plan. The culprits must be identified
14 and brought to justice."
15 Now, you were present at that particular
16 press conference, Mr. Bell, and other representatives
17 of the foreign press were also present at that press
18 conference; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Let me put that particular statement in the
21 context, if I can, because -- let me focus you back a
22 little bit to April 16th, 1993 because prior to the HVO
23 attacks in Ahmici on the 16th of April, the world's
24 attention was pretty much focused on the events that
25 were taking place in Srebrenica; isn't that correct?
1 A. I was not there on the 16th of April. You
2 might be prejudging when you call them "HVO attacks."
3 Q. All right. Well, let me ask you this,
4 Mr. Bell: Wasn't the world's attention focused on
5 Srebrenica on the 16th of April? That was the thrust
6 of my question.
7 A. Absolutely correct, sir.
8 MR. HARMON: If I could have the first film
9 clip? There's two film clips I'd like to show the
10 Court and I'd like to show Mr. Bell. If I could have
11 the first of those two film clips rolled at this time,
12 and if I could have the lights dimmed?
13 (Videotape played)
14 MR. HARMON: Could I have, with the
15 assistance of the usher, this is a transcript,
16 Mr. President, for Your Honours and for counsel, of the
17 first clip that I have just shown and the second clip.
18 Q. And while that's being handed out, Mr. Bell,
19 let me ask you: The statement that you have attributed
20 to Mr. Blaskic on the 27th of April occurred after the
21 HVO seized for themselves what they believed was theirs
22 under the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?
23 A. I believe that it was clear to us at the time
24 that the Vance-Owen Peace Plan was having the effect
25 of, if you like, adding fuel to the fire. I also do
1 remember that, in the military briefings that I was
2 given on my arrival four days after the Ahmici massacre
3 at a time when nobody knew the Ahmici massacre had
4 taken place, the British briefing was that ethnic
5 cleansing was spreading like wildfire through the
7 Q. All right. Now, my question was, however,
8 Mr. Bell, the statement that was made by Mr. Blaskic
9 was made after this particular news broadcast was made
10 by you; isn't that correct?
11 A. It was made after the massacre at Ahmici
12 became known, surely, yes.
13 Q. And the statement that was made by
14 Mr. Blaskic, Colonel Blaskic, was made after that
15 particular news broadcast that we have just seen was
16 aired internationally?
17 A. That particular one, you have the date of
18 it. I don't know when it was.
19 Q. That particular one was on the 20th of April
20 -- I'm sorry, on the 20th of April, 1993.
21 A. I doubt if I was in a position to broadcast
22 on the 20th of April. I think I arrived there on the
23 20th of April without any means of transmission.
24 Q. Well, I can clarify that, and I will be glad
25 to clarify that with the Court, that's my understanding
1 of when that clip was made, and I will come back to
2 you, Mr. Bell, momentarily with a clarification on
4 MR. HARMON: Now, if I could have the second
5 clip shown.
6 (Videotape played).
7 MR. HARMON:
8 Q. Mr. Bell, was that a report you filed with
9 the BBC?
10 A. Yes, it was.
11 Q. What day was that, sir?
12 A. It was broadcast on the 23rd. At the time,
13 our satellite dish was still in Tuzla, so we actually
14 would have shot it the day before. We were out at that
15 time doing same-day transmissions.
16 Q. So the film footage we see was taken on the
17 22nd of April, and it was transmitted the 23rd, the
18 next day?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Now, would you say that every house, every
21 Muslim house, that was in Ahmici had been burned down?
22 A. Burned down or ruined in one way or another,
23 yes, sir.
24 Q. Now, what was the effect of your significant
25 report that was aired on the 23rd?
1 A. I think it had a global effect. You never
2 know what effect -- I mean, I was not broadcasting to
3 have an effect. I was broadcasting to tell the truth.
4 But I do believe it had a tremendous effect in the
5 outside world, not least because it showed people that
6 this was not a simple war of Muslims against Serbs.
7 There were other dimensions people were only beginning
8 to understand.
9 Q. Was one of the effects, Mr. Bell, that it
10 brought attention to a new conflict, a new, unknown
11 conflict that was now occurring and erupting in Bosnia?
12 A. Yes, sir. It had been on the verge of
13 happening, I think, since about January, with growing
14 tension between Muslims and Croats as a result of the
15 sudden influx into that territory of Muslims and Croats
16 who had been driven out by the Serbs of Prijedor
17 especially, which upset the very delicate ethnic
18 balance in Central Bosnia. Sooner or later, there was
19 a spark that ignited that explosion.
20 Q. Now, I have read a portion of a newspaper
21 article from the Daily Mail that's dated the 24th of
22 April, and it indicates that your reporting,
23 Mr. Bell, "... dramatically switched the attention away
24 from the Srebrenica atrocities in Srebrenica which
25 dominated the news a week ago." Would you agree with
2 A. Yes, sir, I believe that is true.
3 Q. Now, in the last clip that we saw, we saw
4 Ambassador Thebault from the ECMM, and Ambassador
5 Thebault made reports about what he had seen in the
6 village of Ahmici, did he not?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. In addition to the reports that you filed as
9 a BBC news broadcaster, BRITBAT filed its own reports
10 to its chain of command, did it not?
11 A. Both of its chain of commands. It had two.
12 Q. All right. Would you agree with me that the
13 effect of those numerous reports, Ambassador
14 Thebault's, yours, BRITBAT's report, brought a lot of
15 pressure to bear on the HVO in Central Bosnia to
16 account for this horrible massacre that had taken place
17 in Ahmici?
18 A. Yes, sir. That's why I believe that Colonel
19 Blaskic made the statement he did at that press
21 Q. Did the comments of your news reporting as
22 well create other pressures, such as bring pressure to
23 bear on the Republic of Croatia, to your knowledge?
24 A. I'm not aware of that directly, but I did
25 hear later that they were embarrassed by it. For
1 instance, Margaret Thatcher cancelled a visit to Zagreb
2 where she was to have received an honorary degree from
3 the university.
4 Q. Now, if I could have Prosecutor's 532 shown
5 to Mr. Bell. I'd like to show you a document,
6 Mr. Bell. Mr. Bell, let me show this to you and orient
7 you through this document. This is a document that is
8 dated, in the upper right-hand corner, the 29th of
9 April, 1993, and it is a meeting of the HZ-HB. It
10 includes the presidency of HZ-HB, the government of
11 HZ-HB HVO, members of the presidency and government of
12 the RBH, presidents of the HVO municipalities, and
13 presidents of the municipalities of HDZ.
14 Approximately --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow
16 down a little bit? Thank you.
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Approximately 60 people attended this
19 gathering, and Mate Boban presided over this particular
21 My first question to you, Mr. Bell, is do you
22 know who Mate Boban is and what role he played in
24 A. Well, I know he was a powerful figure in
25 Herceg-Bosna, but we never actually saw him in the
1 valley, as you'd understand.
2 Q. I understand, but you reported in Bosnia and
3 you reported extensively on the events involving the
4 HVO. Do you know who he is and what his role was?
5 A. If I did, I'd have to say I've forgotten. He
6 could have been the defence minister down there, but I
7 couldn't be sure.
8 Q. I know it's been a long time, Mr. Bell. I
9 certainly appreciate that sometimes memories do fade,
10 but Mr. Boban was the president of the HZ-HB and he was
11 the commander in chief of Mr. Blaskic. For your
12 information, there's been other evidence presented in
13 this courtroom about Mr. Boban. But let me just direct
14 your attention to page 3 of this particular document,
15 and there's a section on page 3 that deals -- about
16 two-thirds of the way down, it says, "Mr. Ivica Santic,
17 Vitez." Do you know who Mr. Ivica Santic from Vitez
19 A. No. He was not somebody that I remember
20 having met.
21 Q. He was the mayor of Vitez, and he was one of
22 the attendees, and he is quoted in here, and I will
23 only read a portion of his quotation: "Also pointed
24 out the mistakes of HVO units. No one can justify the
25 crime in Ahmici. Great damage has been done. The
1 reaction of UNPROFOR is devastating for us."
2 Then I'd like to direct your attention
3 lastly, Mr. Bell, to the last page of this document,
4 the remarks of Mr. Boban himself, and he's found toward
5 the bottom of the page, and I will read this to you,
6 Mr. Bell. It says: "Mr. Mate Boban," and it's
7 underscored, "instead of closing remarks, emphasised 1)
8 Individuals on all levels must complete their tasks or
9 leave; 2) In making a decision, certain limiting
10 factors must be taken into account, especially when it
11 concerns the Republic of Croatia. Due to the events in
12 Vitez (the village of Ahmici), EU ministers have almost
13 announced sanctions against Croatia."
14 Returning to my question, Mr. Bell, not only
15 was pressure brought to bear on the authorities of
16 Herceg-Bosna, but would it be fair to say that pressure
17 was also brought to bear on Croatia itself, and that
18 was a matter of concern for the HVO?
19 A. Yes, I could well understand that, sir.
20 Q. All right. Now, when Colonel Blaskic made
21 the remark that you have quoted for us here today, you
22 said Dario Kordic was present with him; isn't that
23 correct? In fact, he was seated alongside of Colonel
24 Blaskic, wasn't he?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. Did Dario Kordic agree with that remark as
3 A. I haven't got a record in my notebook of what
4 Dario Kordic said, and at nearly six years away, I
5 couldn't remember.
6 Q. Did he disagree with what Colonel Blaskic had
8 A. I was not aware of any disagreement. They
9 were dealing with different things, military and civil.
10 Q. I understand. At any of the two press
11 conferences that you attended, Mr. Bell, where Colonel
12 Blaskic spoke and then Mr. Kordic spoke, did you see
13 Colonel Blaskic ever disagree or take issue with
14 anything that was said by Mr. Kordic?
15 A. Not that I can remember. I do remember at
16 the second news conference a statement by Mr. Valenta,
17 which was so clearly out of line, we felt he was
18 expressing his own private opinions.
19 Q. Was that a statement that was made at the
20 public news conference?
21 A. It was a statement made at the public news
22 conference, and he handed us a piece of paper, which I
23 still have -- wish I had but I don't, giving the
24 philosophical justification for ethnic cleansing. I
25 mean, I'll read it out to you, if you like. I've got
1 it here. It's in one of these.
2 At the time, we felt it was very out of line
3 because we weren't hearing anything like this from the
4 rest of the leadership. Mr. Valenta said -- was
5 suggesting -- he said, "The movement of populations
6 should be encouraged because people should not be
7 forced to live in places where they feel endangered and
8 insecure." He also gave a great speech about how
9 offensive they found the sounds of the Muezzin, which
10 he compared to church bells which chimed only once a
11 week. This was very, sort of, off-the-wall stuff, and
12 our feeling was that he was speaking for himself,
13 rather than for the community as a whole.
14 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic, at that news conference,
15 take issue with the remarks made by Mr. Valenta?
16 A. No. His job was to give us an account of the
17 military facts on the ground.
18 Q. Did Mr. Kordic take issue with the remarks
19 that were made by Mr. Valenta?
20 A. I cannot remember him taking issue with them
21 or he certainly didn't endorse them because I would
22 have remembered it if he had.
23 Q. Now, at these conferences, at these press
24 conferences that you attended, some of what was being
25 said, Mr. Bell, was being said for the benefit of the
1 foreign press; isn't that correct?
2 A. This is possibly so. The primary purpose of
3 these press conferences was to inform his own people.
4 I mean, I think they started happening before -- we
5 found out about them rather by accident and were
6 admitted, they were not held in order to bend our ears,
7 but I'm sure our presence affected some of the things
8 that were said at them.
9 Q. Now, you reported the events at Ahmici
10 truthfully, did you not?
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. Is there any doubt in your mind that what you
13 reported was accurate reporting to the world about the
14 events at Ahmici?
15 A. I'm pretty confidant to this day that I got
16 the events right. I've been reporting war zones long
17 enough to be very careful about atrocity stories, and I
18 only report what I'm sure of.
19 MR. HARMON: Could I have Prosecutor's
20 Exhibit 456/58, please?
21 THE REGISTRAR: I'm sorry. Would you tell me
22 exactly which document it is that you're looking for?
23 MR. HARMON: 456/58.
24 Q. Let me orient you to Prosecution Exhibit
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This is a report, a top secret, strictly
3 confidential report, that was issued by Colonel Blaskic
4 on the 24th of April, 1993, and it was issued to the
5 vice-president of the HZ-HB, that person being Dario
6 Kordic, the head of the HZ-HB defence department, and
7 the HVO main headquarter's chief. Please read that to
8 yourself before I ask you some questions about it.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have a copy for the
10 Judges, even if it's in English, and then you can ask
11 your questions.
12 MR. HARMON: If you allow me a moment,
13 Mr. President, I'll look. I may have another copy.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Did you put it on
15 the screen? I'm going to give it to my colleagues.
16 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have provided
17 you with one of the copies from our exhibit set.
18 Q. Let me ask you then, Mr. Bell, you have had a
19 chance to read this particular document?
20 A. Well, I have now.
21 Q. As I say, this is a defence top secret,
22 strictly confidential report of a meeting -- of the
23 events that occurred at a meeting between Colonel
24 Stewart of BRITBAT and Colonel Blaskic, and the subject
25 of that particular meeting was "the massacre of Muslim
1 people in the village of Ahmici in the Vitez
2 municipality and the visit of the Security Council
3 delegation today, 24 April, 1993," and you'll see in
4 that particular document that Colonel Blaskic recounts
5 what Bob Stewart informed him.
6 Toward the bottom of that page, you will see
7 what Colonel Blaskic remarks following the sentence
8 that says "I think that Mr. Boban" who is, I mentioned
9 to you, the president of Herceg-Bosna and Colonel
10 Blaskic's commander in chief, "should have been in
11 Vitez today." The first thing he says is to indicate
12 that the reporting is extremely biased, and I would
13 like to direct your attention to the next page, the
14 third bullet point:
15 "To talk about the extremely one-sided
16 emphasis on suffering of only one people, expressing
17 the suspicion that journalists are being paid to report
18 events untruthfully."
19 Now, I'd like your reaction to that, please,
20 Mr. Bell.
21 A. I don't think the reporting was one-sided. I
22 was certainly never, never paid. A lot of my reporting
23 over that war I have been accused of concentrating too
24 much on the suffering of one side or another. But I
25 would have expected some such response as that. This
1 happened. It happened where it happened. The victims
2 were Muslims. And I'm not surprised to read what I've
3 just read.
4 Q. Now, let me ask you, Mr. Bell: Are you aware
5 of any commissions ever being set up to investigate
7 A. No, sir, I am not. It was certainly
8 promised. I, of course, left Central Bosnia shortly
9 thereafter, I think on the 12th of May, and I was away
10 for quite a long time because Mostar blew up, and I was
11 not aware what had happened subsequently because I
12 didn't return to the valley for some time.
13 Q. Now, let me ask you your views having
14 reported extensively about the Ahmici massacre.
15 This Court has heard evidence that a
16 conversation took place between Colonel Blaskic and
17 General Duncan.
18 A. No, no. He would be Colonel Duncan, I think.
19 Q. Then Colonel Duncan, now General Duncan,
20 during which time a question was asked of Colonel
21 Blaskic as to who perpetrated Ahmici, and this
22 conversation took place on or about the 9th of May,
24 To that question, Colonel Blaskic answered
25 the following, and I would like your reaction to each
1 of these three parts: He indicated that, first of all,
2 this was perpetrated -- the massacre at Ahmici was
3 perpetrated by Serb extremists. What's your reaction
4 to that?
5 A. I think it's a long way from any Serbs.
6 Q. Secondly, he said that the Muslims who had
7 infiltrated the pocket were responsible for the
8 massacre at Ahmici, and what is your reaction to that?
9 A. It was quite a common tactic among all three
10 peoples of Bosnia, when one of those peoples, whether
11 under orders or not, had done something they shouldn't
12 have done, to blame the victims.
13 Q. Do you think the Muslims perpetrated the
14 massacre at Ahmici, Mr. Bell?
15 A. No, sir, I do not.
16 Q. Now, the third comment that Mr. Blaskic gave
17 was that Muslims dressed in HVO uniforms committed the
18 massacre at Ahmici. What is your reaction to that,
19 Mr. Bell?
20 A. No, sir, I do not believe that either.
21 Q. Now I would like to show you Prosecutor's
22 Exhibit 380, please.
23 Mr. Bell, let me direct your attention to the
24 second full paragraph, the bottom part of this page,
25 and will you read that to yourself?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. Mr. Bell, this is an article found in a
3 magazine known as Danas, it was published in October of
4 1993, some considerable period of time after the events
5 in Ahmici.
6 In this portion that you have just read, you
7 have read the question put by Mr. Lovrenovic, that is:
8 "You investigated a crime in Ahmici. What is the
9 result of the investigation so far?" To which Colonel
10 Blaskic answered: "The investigation is still in
11 progress; information is being gathered. In any case,
12 this is a well-planned scenario in which Muslim forces
13 wanted once again to cast a blemish on units of the HVO
14 before the world community. After the crimes that
15 Muslim forces committed in the areas around the
16 Croatian villages of Lasva, Dusina, Gusti Grab, and
17 other villages in Busovaca Municipality, the case of
18 Ahmici was staged and skilfully shown to foreign
19 reporters and to the EC observer mission, with the
20 assistance of the commander of a British battalion at
21 the time, Bob Stewart. So far, we are certain that the
22 crime was committed by members of the HOS (Croatian
23 Defence Force) in Zenica, which was mostly Muslim, and
24 parts of the Muslim forces of the MOS (Muslim Defence
25 Force), and I have already said that the investigation
1 is continuing. It is certain that the HVO does not
2 stand behind the crime that others desire to attribute
3 to us."
4 I won't read the rest.
5 Now, could I have your reaction to Colonel
6 Blaskic's remarks that were made in October of 1993?
7 A. I think it would be strange if this were done
8 by Muslim units of any kind. It always seemed to me
9 that in the chaos that prevailed at the time, where
10 this was -- what? -- three miles from a British UN
11 base, and they took five days to find it. I always
12 felt that it was done by an out-of-control -- could
13 have been done by an out-of-control element of some
14 kind, and I assume it would have been an out-of-control
15 Croatian element.
16 Q. This event, as you know, Mr. Bell, took place
17 about four kilometres from Colonel Blaskic's
18 headquarters; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. Now, what is your reaction, sir, to the
21 attribution that the perpetrators of this offence were
22 mostly Muslim?
23 A. I just told you, sir. I think it's most
24 unlikely, and I've always thought it was most unlikely.
25 Q. Do you think that Ahmici was "a well-planned
1 scenario in which Muslim forces wanted to cast a
2 blemish on units of the HVO"?
3 A. I think it was a well-planned scenario by
4 somebody who wanted to kill the inhabitants, the Muslim
5 inhabitants, of that village.
6 Q. You have been a war reporter for a
7 considerable period of time, Mr. Bell. The results of
8 what you saw when you went to Ahmici with Colonel
9 Stewart and Ambassador Thebault was one that showed
10 systematic destruction of a then fairly large Muslim
11 community, a fairly large Muslim village; isn't that
13 A. That is true, sir.
14 Q. Do you believe, Mr. Bell, that the case of
15 Ahmici was skilfully shown to foreign reporters and
16 the EC observer mission with any intent whatsoever to
17 discredit the HVO?
18 A. I think we kind of blundered upon it. As you
19 saw in that report, Colonel Stewart went out with quite
20 a large patrol that morning to try and establish that
21 the cease-fire was working and that the two sides had
22 withdrawn, and when he was up on the high ground, he
23 was told of the massacre in Ahmici and then went down.
24 I had a pretty good sense, after so many years in the
25 business, of when things are being staged, and I
1 didn't -- I'm pretty sure it wasn't staged.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Bell, most of the footage that we
3 saw from the 15 clips that you testified about earlier
4 were clips that were, as I said earlier, anywhere from
5 six to nine months or so after the events at Ahmici;
6 isn't that correct?
7 A. Those ones, yes, sir.
8 Q. In fact, at that point in time, the Muslims
9 were conducting a counter-offensive down onto the
10 pocket, weren't they?
11 A. Yes, sir. More than one.
12 MR. HARMON: All right. Mr. Bell, thank you
13 very much. I appreciate it.
14 I have concluded my examination,
15 Mr. President, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Hayman now, please. Proceed.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Re-examined by Mr. Hayman:
20 Q. Mr. Bell, you've been asked about these two
21 press conferences you attended. Tell the Court,
22 please, what was the format of the press conferences?
23 Was it a discussion or were separate statements given
24 by the individuals on the podium?
25 A. I felt that this was very much in the mode
1 that prevailed in the old Titoist days. There would be
2 long speeches by both the main principal figures:
3 First, Colonel Blaskic, and then Mr. Kordic, which
4 could go on for twenty minutes or even half an hour at
5 a time, and then there would be time for questions. I
6 mean, the whole thing would always last at least an
7 hour and a half.
8 Q. What types of topics would Colonel Blaskic
9 address at these press conferences that you saw?
10 A. Almost always he would paint a dark picture
11 of what was happening around him of how they were
12 willing to fight to every man if they had to, of the
13 extent to which they were outnumbered by six to one,
14 seven to one, even ten to one. He would produce the
15 casualty figures that far, the dead and wounded, and
16 generally indicate that the Croats were in a pretty
17 dire position.
18 Q. Did he restrict himself to military matters?
19 A. As far as I remember, he covered -- yes, he
20 covered the military side of things. Of course, it
21 became political when he would -- when he would claim
22 that the United Nations was biased against the Croats.
23 Q. Now, you were asked about intolerant or
24 racist statements by figures such as Anto Valenta. At
25 any of these press conferences or, indeed, ever in your
1 contacts with Colonel Blaskic, did you ever hear him
2 express intolerant, racist, or ethnically
3 discriminatory views towards persons of Muslim origin?
4 A. No, sir, I never did. I always regarded him
5 as a correct military man.
6 Q. Now, with respect to the seriousness of the
7 Croat military position that you learned about at these
8 briefings you attended, did you yourself agree that
9 indeed the military plight of the Croats in the Lasva
10 Valley for which Colonel Blaskic had responsibility,
11 was indeed as serious as he was depicting at these
12 press conferences?
13 A. Yes, we thought it quite possible that the
14 pocket could fall. In that one attack in April 1994,
15 its central communication road was cut, with the
16 Muslims on either side of it. I believe their
17 predicament was desperate throughout that time.
18 Q. You were shown some minutes of apparently a
19 meeting that happened outside of the Lasva Valley on
20 the 29th of April, 1993. That was Exhibit, for the
21 record -- 532, for the record.
22 Was the press conference you attended at
23 which you heard Colonel Blaskic condemn the atrocities
24 in Ahmici, was that two days earlier, on the 27th of
25 April, 1993?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. I believe you've already said that that press
3 conference on the 27th of April was principally
4 attended by local representatives of the press and the
5 media; is that correct?
6 A. That's correct. There may have been one news
7 agency representative, but otherwise, it was just
8 ourselves with the international media.
9 Q. Was that forum the best forum available to
10 Colonel Blaskic to reach the population, civilians and
11 military, in the Lasva Valley, to use as a vehicle for
12 condemning the killings of innocent civilians and
13 atrocities committed in Ahmici?
14 A. I think it was the only forum he had.
15 Q. And he used it, didn't he --
16 A. He used it, he used it.
17 Q. -- to condemn the attack in Ahmici?
18 A. Yes, sir, he condemned the attack in Ahmici.
19 Q. Now, you were shown two taped segments: The
20 first one we were told was from the 20th of April, but
21 were you in a position to broadcast a show -- excuse
22 me, a report on the 20th of April, 1993?
23 A. No, sir. I keep records of what I did and
24 when I did it, and on the 20th, I was in a position
25 only to use the satellite telephone from the army's
1 press house in Vitez. I was desperately calling for
2 reinforcements, I needed a transmission system, and I
3 wasn't able to broadcast the first pictures of the
4 situation in Vitez until the following day.
5 Q. Now, the reporter, the news reader, I
6 think -- is that what you call them in your business?
7 A. Mm-hmm.
8 Q. That's the person that sits at the desk at
9 the main facility and figures out a catchy lead-in with
10 which to introduce your piece; that's a news reader?
11 A. In England it is, yes, sir.
12 Q. I believe the news reader on that story says
13 something to this effect: "Croats are consolidating
14 their position by driving out Muslims because of the
15 Vance-Owen Plan," or somehow in relation to the
16 Vance-Owen Plan; do you recall that?
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. From what you saw on the ground in Central
19 Bosnia in April and May of 1993, was there a plan to
20 ethnically cleanse Muslims from the Lasva Valley?
21 A. I believe there was a separation of peoples
22 because of the danger. We had fairly close
23 relationships with the UN at that time, not the usual
24 antagonism that occurs between the press and the
25 military, and we exchanged information. I mean, I knew
1 things they didn't know, and they knew things I didn't
2 know, and we were not certainly told at the time of any
3 plan for a premeditated attack by either side; rather,
4 my notes, when I read them back now, tell me that they
5 saw it as ethnic cleansing catching like wildfire from
6 village to village. That was the -- "wildfire" was the
7 term they used.
8 Q. How would you describe the situation on the
9 ground in April of 1993? Can you sum it up for this
11 A. Yes, sir. I believe it was chaotic. The two
12 peoples who shared the valley each felt suddenly
13 threatened by the other. Who shot first, I don't
14 know. It was a time of great fear and panic on both
15 sides. Civil wars are always the worst wars, and I
16 think it was worse because they knew each other and had
17 been neighbours. But utter chaos, utter chaos.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Could Prosecutor's Exhibit 29 be
19 retrieved and placed on the ELMO, please? I can ask a
20 few questions while that's being retrieved.
21 Q. The second clip you were shown, including the
22 very disturbing scenes and report that you did film in
23 Ahmici on the 22nd of April, you've said that was
24 broadcast on the 23rd of April; is that right?
25 A. That is right.
1 Q. But the actual film was made on the 22nd of
2 April; correct?
3 A. Correct. It was carried by courier on the
4 morning of the 23rd, carried by courier to Sarajevo as
5 an edited report.
6 Q. And then it was broadcast that night on the
8 A. It was first broadcast at 1.00 in the
9 afternoon and again at 6.00 and again at 9.00.
10 Q. It was broadcast in the United States as
11 well, I believe, on ABC News?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. Were you in contact with the British
14 battalion on the prior day, the 21st of April?
15 A. Yes, I was.
16 Q. Tell us, Colonel Stewart and the British
17 battalion, how did they come to find the magnitude, the
18 true magnitude of the atrocities and the killing of
19 civilians that occurred in Ahmici on the 22nd of
20 April? How did they come to find it?
21 A. On the 21st, they had been putting out
22 reconnaissance missions to the villages round about to
23 see how bad things were. I accompanied some of these
24 reconnaissance units, and it was then that we came
25 across the fallen minaret which you saw in that report.
1 Q. Yes. But --
2 A. But we didn't know then what had happened
3 further up in the village, and it was only on the next
4 day, the 22nd, when we went round the top on the high
5 ground, because Colonel Stewart wanted to see if the
6 separation of forces was working under the cease-fire
7 agreement, that's -- we then came down into Ahmici from
8 the other side.
9 Q. Was that after some local BH army fighters
10 told Colonel Stewart what was down there and that he
11 should go down there?
12 A. Exactly, sir. You saw it on my report.
13 MR. HAYMAN: I misspoke, Mr. President. The
14 Exhibit I wanted was 29C, not 29, but with the Court's
15 permission, I'll hand my version of 29C, and this can
16 be placed on the ELMO.
17 Q. So counting back, Mr. Bell, from the 22nd of
18 April, when the British battalion discovered the nature
19 and expanse or extent of the atrocity in Ahmici,
20 counting back to the day it occurred, the 16th of
21 April, we have how many days? Count with me.
22 Twenty-one, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16. We have six days; is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes, sir.
25 Q. Now, on the 16th and during those ensuing six
1 days -- if we could zoom in slightly on the Exhibit
2 29C, please?
3 This is a map of the Vitez and its environs,
4 with, I believe, rings that indicate one kilometre
6 If we could zoom in a bit more, please?
7 Thank you.
8 Perhaps looking at the original and not at
9 the video screen, can you find Ahmici? I believe it's
10 one of the orange villages to the right, upper right,
11 perhaps, the far right of the orange illuminated
13 A. Sorry. My eyes are not really good enough
14 for this because the name of the village has been wiped
15 over with the orange. That's the problem. It could be
16 this one (indicating).
17 JUDGE JORDA: One of the villages which is
18 orange on the right on your screen.
19 MR. HAYMAN: For the record, I can help the
20 witness, Mr. President. I believe it's the upper of
21 the two far right here --
22 A. I think it's this one (indicating).
23 Q. You need to point on the --
24 A. Sorry. I think it's this one (indicating).
25 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. I think the witness
1 has identified it.
2 Q. Now, where was the British base? Can you
3 find that on this Exhibit 29C?
4 A. This, sir, and the British base was way
5 over -- it should be over here somewhere (indicating).
6 Q. Do you see Stara Bila and Mosunj going up the
7 road towards Travnik or Novi Travnik?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. HAYMAN: Let me help the witness,
10 Mr. President.
11 A. I think it's around here somewhere
13 Q. Stara Bila.
14 A. Yeah, yeah.
15 Q. Could you indicate that one more time,
17 A. Over here (indicating).
18 Q. Well, I think you've gone a little too far.
19 You see the hill with Stara Bila?
20 A. Yeah.
21 Q. Yes. Very well. Ring number 4 on the road
22 from Vitez towards Travnik.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. If you would count with me on the roads by
25 the rings then, going from that location to Ahmici, we
1 have one, two --
2 A. Three, four.
3 Q. -- three, four, five, six, seven. About
4 eight kilometres; would you agree?
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. Now, during those six days, as well as on the
7 16th, the British battalion, they had a fleet of armed
8 personnel carriers or tanks; is that correct?
9 A. Not tanks, armoured personnel carriers.
10 Q. With a gun?
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. Did the HVO have such transportation? Did
13 you see Colonel Blaskic in April of 1993 inspecting
14 troops with the aid of his own armoured personnel
16 A. No, sir, I did not.
17 Q. Why did it take six days for the British
18 battalion, with all their equipment and their armoured
19 transport and their intelligence units, to discover the
20 extent of the atrocities in Ahmici?
21 A. Partly because of the degree of chaos
22 prevailing at the time but partly because of their
23 mandate. Under their mandate, they would have been
24 absolutely entitled just to have sat in their camp and
25 stayed safe, but they were brave people and they tried
1 to help, and they hoped, simply by driving around with
2 their armoured vehicles, they were clearing some of the
3 bodies away, trying to reassure people, trying to set
4 up cease-fires, but it was pretty chaotic, and the
5 commanders, of course, were responsible for the lives
6 of their men.
7 Q. And it was a dangerous time to be out?
8 A. It was one of the most dangerous times of the
9 whole war.
10 Q. Now, you were asked about different units in
11 Vitez and statements Colonel Blaskic made about HVO and
12 differentiating among different units. I'd like to ask
13 you about one of those units you referred to in your
15 Darko Kraljevic, how would you characterise
17 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I object. It was
18 not a question that I asked. I did not ask that, I did
19 not go into that line of inquiry, and if it's going to
20 be asked, I'd ask that I be permitted to examine this
21 witness further on that subject. But I did not ask any
22 questions on my cross-examination about Darko
24 MR. HAYMAN: I think, Mr. President --
25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman?
1 MR. HAYMAN: It went far outside the scope of
2 direct. I held my tongue for the sake of time, but he
3 asked about the overall picture, Colonel Blaskic's
4 overall responsibilities, he talked about different
5 units, and I think I should be allowed to ask the
7 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, to clarify the
8 record, I asked Mr. Bell about events to put the
9 statement in context. I did not ask Mr. Bell about
10 units of the HVO; I asked him about the context of that
11 particular statement. So this is, I believe,
12 Mr. President, an inappropriate area in which to
13 conduct a redirect examination. I would ask, if
14 Mr. Hayman goes into this area, that I be permitted to
15 ask Mr. Bell questions about that.
16 JUDGE JORDA: You know what I think about the
17 limits, which is always a bit ambiguous in respect of
18 the re-examination and the cross-examination. Ask your
19 question in such a way that it doesn't go too far
20 outside the scope of the cross-examination.
21 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
22 ask only one question on this subject.
23 Q. You were asked about the accused and HVO
24 units and statements the accused made characterising
25 different HVO units. Could you characterise Darko
1 Kraljevic in terms of his role in the war in Vitez,
3 A. He was an extraordinary character, and I had
4 the impression that although he held a very vulnerable
5 part of the frontline with men under his command, I
6 felt he was not really under Colonel Blaskic's
7 command. He had his own -- he was kind of a warlord,
8 he was very charismatic, a brave man, if you like. He
9 operated out of something called the Cafe Kapan, and I
10 didn't think he was -- there was not what you might
11 call a normal chain of command operating there.
12 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, Mr. President, but if
13 that testimony sounds unfamiliar, it is because I
14 didn't ask anything about it, and therefore, I would
15 ask that I be permitted --
16 JUDGE JORDA: But you also asked questions,
17 Mr. Harmon, about Anto Valenta, Mate Boban, on
18 politics, on Kordic, you asked questions on
19 cross-examination. Let a little bit of fluidity be
20 here so that the Judges can have a general idea about
21 the matter.
22 Have you finished your question about Darko
23 Kraljevic, Mr. Hayman?
24 MR. HAYMAN: I am finished. I have a couple
25 more questions and I'm done.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, let's not start a
2 whole debate about Darko Kraljevic. You know, the
3 Judges have been working since the 23rd of June, 1997.
4 They too are beginning to be familiar with Darko
6 All right. If you don't mind, move to
7 another question, Mr. Hayman.
8 MR. HAYMAN:
9 Q. You were asked whether you agreed or
10 disagreed with other statements attributed to Colonel
11 Blaskic concerning events in Ahmici attributed to him,
12 according to the Prosecutor, by Alastair Duncan or
13 other statements set forth in plaintiff's --
14 Prosecutor's Exhibit, excuse me, 380.
15 One thing the Prosecutor didn't tell you in
16 that series of questions is that on or about the 10th
17 of May, 1993, Colonel Blaskic ordered an investigation
18 internally within the HVO of events in Ahmici. Did he
19 ever share that with you or with the public?
20 A. No, he just made the announcement on the 27th
21 of April, but you have to remember that about the 12th
22 of May, I think, after his press conference, I left
23 there, so I was not in touch with him for quite some
24 weeks or months after that.
25 Q. Prosecutor's Exhibit 380 speaks of unbalanced
1 reporting. Do you know whether the international media
2 covered any of the events in January 1993, including
3 the massacres at Dusina and Lasva? Do you recall?
4 A. I don't recall that. They certainly covered
5 the massacre at Uzdol in December 1993 in which Croats
6 were murdered by Muslims.
7 I mean, we were aware of many massacres, and
8 we got access to some. We didn't get access to others,
9 but there was no predetermination, "Yes, we will report
10 this kind of atrocity but not that kind of atrocity."
11 It's not the way we work or the way we should have
13 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you for coming, Mr. Bell.
14 I have no further questions.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman.
16 Judge Shahabuddeen, do you have any
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Bell, may I begin by
19 congratulating you. As a war correspondent, you were
20 the given the OBE, and I can see why. In several of
21 the clips we saw, you must have been pretty close to
22 the line of fire; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. You were operating
25 as a professional, dispassionate reporter?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, there was a
3 conflict, an armed conflict, between two sides. Would
4 I be correct --
5 A. Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- in interpreting you
7 this way, that you recognise that losses and atrocities
8 were suffered by each side?
9 A. Yes, Your Honour. There was no monopoly of
10 wrongdoing in that war.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: There wasn't any. Yes.
12 Now, would I also be correct in understanding you to be
13 recognising that the pendulum was apt to swing with
14 time? At one time, the advantage would lay with one
15 side; at another time, it would lie with the other?
16 A. That is correct, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, through you, the
18 Defence introduced 15 television clips. Would I be
19 correct in supposing that those clips related to events
20 between, I think, August 1993 and February 1994 when
21 the pendulum had swung over to the Muslim side? They
22 were on the offensive.
23 A. I think, Your Honour, that the plight -- the
24 position of the Croats was fairly difficult throughout
25 the whole period from April to the following February,
1 in that they were under siege for that entire time,
2 and, indeed, their main supply route was cut towards
3 the end of that time. So I would not have thought that
4 the pendulum swung significantly in their favour in the
5 course of those nine months. What they were able to do
6 was to get themselves a more professional defence
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Now, where would
9 you say the pendulum was during the period April/May
11 A. I think that the situation was very adverse
12 for the Croats at that time. They then managed to
13 stabilise it only for other parts of that area to break
14 into open warfare, notably, Gornji Vakuf and Bugojna,
15 which were further south.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was there some part of
17 the evidence introduced through you in which there was
18 a reference to the Muslim forces having moved from
19 being a ragtag body into a more disciplined and
20 organised entity?
21 A. I think, sir, that applied to both the armed
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So would the case be
24 this, that the idea of the pendulum swinging from one
25 side to another was incorrect?
1 A. Well, it was correct in other parts of the
2 war, in that the war only ended when the pendulum
3 started swinging against the Serbs, when the Croats
4 started seizing large parts of land, and we're talking
5 here of late '94/'95. The situation in the Lasva
6 Valley was somewhat different, except that I think that
7 it was absolutely desperate for the Croats in April
8 '93, and, to some extent, they had that stabilised by
9 mid summer.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, during the period
11 covered by these 15 television clips, were you shown in
12 any of these clips with the BiH forces?
13 A. I was with the BiH forces from time to time.
14 It was not, as far as I can remember, included in those
15 clips. We were based in a Croat-held town, and so that
16 part of the war was filmed mostly from their side of
17 the lines, but we did get around to the other side at
18 other times, certainly, yes.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: During the period
20 covered by these 15 television clips, did the Muslim
21 side suffer any losses or atrocities?
22 A. Yes, sir, they certainly did. The Ahmici
23 massacre was one. That was, of course, the --
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That's before this
1 A. We're talking about April '93 to --
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No, no, I was talking
3 about the period covered by the 15 clips.
4 A. Did the Muslim side suffer casualties? They
5 certainly did. Whether atrocities, I'm not sure. I
6 only talk of atrocities that I'm aware of.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So you did not report
8 any atrocities that might have been suffered by the
9 Muslim side?
10 A. I was not aware of having been shown any
11 more, though that mass grave which was the subject of
12 one of those reports, I'm not clear to this day of the
13 identity of the victims found in there.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Now, you
15 spoke of gas. You're an experienced war
16 correspondent. Did you see any of the kind of damage
17 or injury which you would expect could be produced by
18 the use of gas?
19 A. If there was gas used in that war, it was
20 nothing more than teargas. We're not talking about the
21 kind of gas -- that is, we're not talking about nerve
22 gas or anthrax or anything like that.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I appreciate that
24 clarification. I was a little puzzled myself.
25 A. It was a low-tech war, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, Colonel Blaskic
2 made a statement, in the course of which he condemned
3 the happenings at Ahmici. Now, as a trained war
4 correspondent, was it your view that a military
5 commander, faced with the events at Ahmici, had any
6 alternative but to condemn what happened?
7 A. I'm sure, sir, that as a human being, he had
8 no alternative but to condemn what had happened.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would it have been your
10 view that a separate and distinct question was the
11 attribution of responsibility for what happened at
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
15 A. I think there is no doubt that what happened
16 was within his area of responsibility on the map, but I
17 don't know more than that. I mean, I can only testify
18 to the chaos that prevailed at the time.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, as to the
20 attribution of responsibility, the learned Prosecutor
21 adverted to certain positions suggested by Colonel
22 Blaskic. One, he said, "Well, the Serbs might have
23 done it." Two, he said, "The Muslims might have done
24 it." Three, he said, "Some Muslims might have dressed
25 up in HVO uniforms and done it." You didn't accept any
1 of those three possibilities as serious?
2 A. No, sir, no.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, tell the Court
4 this, Mr. Bell: You knew Colonel Blaskic, and you had
5 a reaction within you --
6 A. Do you wish to know what that reaction was?
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What would have been
8 your reaction if you were told that these were the
9 three possibilities suggested by Colonel Blaskic?
10 Would you say that he seriously believed in those three
11 possibilities or that he was presenting them
13 A. I suppose he was presenting them tactically.
14 I think he found it hard to know what to say under the
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I come to Mr. Ante
17 Valenta. You had some difficulties placing him, but I
18 believe in the end, you tugged at your memory and
19 recollected that he held an important position.
20 A. Yes. He held an important position on
21 paper. I got the impression he was not a man with much
22 practical power.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was it your impression
24 that he had any input into the formation and
25 establishment of political goals and objectives?
1 A. I can't give a good answer to that question,
2 Your Honour. I do remember thinking that I hoped he
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, you said your
5 personal -- you didn't say "personal." I'm saying
6 "personal." You said that your evaluation of the
7 statement which he made was this, that it represented
8 his personal views and not the collective position of
9 the podium.
10 A. Not the collective position of that podium.
11 I don't doubt there were many people in Herzegovina who
12 held those views.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You described Colonel
14 Blaskic as a correct military officer?
15 A. I always found him to be so, and he dealt
16 very straight with me from the start to the end. He
17 was one of the more approachable of the commanders.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you say that a
19 correct military officer is an officer who, although he
20 does not meddle with political matters, stands ready to
21 execute the will of the political directorate, whatever
22 that will is?
23 A. Yes, sir. I would qualify that, that when a
24 civil war suddenly erupts in a chaotic situation there
25 with, I think, inadequate communications, I think he
1 would be hard put to find out what the collective
2 political will was for a number of days.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Bell, you have been
4 the most engaging witness, and I conclude by repeating
5 my congratulations to you.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
7 Judge Rodrigues?
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Bell, along with my
9 colleague, Judge Shahabuddeen, I would like to
10 congratulate you for the work that you've done and also
11 for the information that you have brought to the
13 I have got two questions to ask you. From
14 some of the information that you provided here, you
15 said that Ahmici was a kind of pressure that was put on
16 the HVO and drew the attention of the International
17 Community to the events in that area; however, my
18 colleague, Judge Shahabuddeen, asked whether the press
19 conference that the accused gave was a strategic one,
20 and you said that there was a certain way of
21 coordinating things within the field of strategy. I'm
22 asking you this question because I believe that you
23 were a very good observer and an independent one in
24 respect of the events, and so that's why I'm asking you
1 In the area of tactics, could one find any
2 kind of cooperation between the HVO and other forces,
3 including the HV, or was that not the case?
4 A. It was certainly the case that in the
5 fighting between Muslims and Croats later in the
6 summer, there was substantial HV help, especially to
7 the Croat forces in Gornji Vakuf. There would be army
8 vehicles with their license plates taken off, which
9 always meant to us that that was HV, and they started
10 to get heavy weapons as well.
11 As for the time we're speaking of in the
12 first days of the fighting in the Lasva Valley, I think
13 the HVO and other units were left pretty well to fend
14 for themselves.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, one might set up
16 the following relations: On one side is the strategy,
17 which is matched by coordination and action, and on the
18 other side, there are tactics which, in the field, are
19 expressed by cooperation. Could this kind of
20 relationship be set up?
21 A. I think that Colonel Blaskic was left to
22 devise his own tactics, though I'm sure that as the
23 weeks and months passed, he did not want for advice
24 from Herzegovina, but initially, I think he was having
25 to make it up as he went along, and I'm sure the same
1 applied on the BiH side as well.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The other question that I
3 would like to ask is related to the first. As an
4 independent observer, you lived through these events
5 very close up. You were very close to where things
6 were happening. This has to do with the statement that
7 you made about General Blaskic's press conference, who
8 was a colonel at that time, did you feel, because you
9 said that you had experienced the war more on the
10 Croatian side than on the other one, was there any kind
11 of official policy or unofficial policy in which there
12 was only -- or was it kind of a cohesive policy? Did
13 things change according to circumstances so that you
14 would conclude that there was an official and an
15 unofficial policy? What would your opinion be about
17 A. I mean, we spent the most time on the Croat
18 side more or less by accident. Over the war as a
19 whole, I would say that I spent more time on the BiH
20 side. I suppose we came to -- what happens, Your
21 Honour, is that you come to sympathise with soldiers as
22 individuals, whichever army they're fighting for,
23 because they don't want to be there. They want the war
24 to end. I think, in a way, in the course of this war,
25 we humanised our war reporting a little bit. If you're
1 asking if there was a political agenda, there was not a
2 political agenda, except in this sense, that we were on
3 the side of peace, and we wanted the United Nations to
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Bell. I
6 don't have any further questions.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
8 We are almost finished now, Mr. Bell. I have
9 one or two questions I'd like to ask you. I didn't
10 quite understand when you referred to the expression "a
11 correct officer." You are a member of a great nation
12 with a great army. What is a correct military person?
13 A. This was something that I borrowed actually
14 from the Serbs. Because I was not, they thought --
15 they didn't think I was in their favour, but they
16 didn't think that I was biased against them, and they
17 called me correct, and I borrowed this notion of
18 correctness, which is someone just doing the job which
19 they are paid to do and not overstepping any bounds.
20 It was a phrase I borrowed from the old JNA, actually.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, the commander of a
22 military operative zone in a conflict, since he is
23 correct, should only be involved with military issues,
24 according to that definition?
25 A. That is correct, sir, though I have to say
1 that obviously the United Nations, although soldiers,
2 were definitely taking part in political activities
3 because, to a large extent, they were the International
4 Community on the ground.
5 JUDGE JORDA: So here's my question: You saw
6 the accused in the press conference. You saw him with
7 politicians, with Ante Valenta, with Kordic, which you
8 yourself referred to as political people, politicians.
9 Would you say that the presence of the commander of the
10 operative zone would mean that he shared the political
11 ideas of the commanders in that area?
12 A. I would very much doubt if he shared
13 Mr. Valenta's ideas. I believe he was fairly close to
14 Mr. Kordic, but their jobs were different. I mean, if
15 I could point out to you that on the bombing of Iraq by
16 the British and Americans last December, the press
17 conferences were given then in London by the British
18 defence secretary and the chief of the defence staff.
19 This happens. This is a quite common practice. It
20 doesn't mean that the chief of defence staff has to
21 share all the political aspirations of the defence
22 secretary, but for a politician and a soldier to be
23 side by side at a press conference is not unusual.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I understand, but you are
25 now in politics. You're in parliament. Could you say
1 that in this type of a war, high military
2 responsibility would be given to somebody that did not
3 share the military objectives?
4 A. In this particular conflict, we are
5 speaking --
6 JUDGE JORDA: [indiscernible translation]
8 A. I understand what you mean, Mr. President.
9 In this particular conflict, which was pretty desperate
10 on both sides, I think that whatever Colonel Blaskic
11 felt of the political opinions of the man beside him,
12 he was the man they felt best qualified to fight this
13 war. This was a people at war on both sides. I have
14 no idea to this day what his political opinions are
15 because I never discussed politics with him.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I wasn't speaking about
17 his political opinions today. I'm speaking about the
18 fact that he was part of a political plan.
19 Let me change my question. Would you say
20 that Mr. Kordic or the political leaders had a
21 political purpose in this conflict, and, if so, what
22 was it?
23 A. I think their political purpose initially was
24 survival as an entity. If they'd been defeated, the
25 Croats would have disappeared from the Lasva Valley
1 forever. They were concerned with survival, as,
2 indeed, in the other sense, were the Muslims. That's
3 the way it was with civil wars.
4 JUDGE JORDA: But in the beginning, perhaps
5 you would agree with me when I say that the Lasva
6 Valley belonged to an entity which politically was very
7 well-determined, that is, Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. Yes. In the beginning, of course, it had a
9 very mixed population as well. They lived among each
10 other. I mean, that mosque in Ahmici was about 100
11 metres from the main road.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I have a final
13 question. In other testimony, apparently, there was a
14 significant presence of the Muslim brigade. Could you
15 say anything about that Muslim brigade?
16 A. Is this a question about the Mujahedeen,
17 Mr. President?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, exactly.
19 A. One of the difficulties that we had in
20 approaching the war in the Lasva Valley from both sides
21 was that the Mujahedeen were extremely hostile towards
22 the press and, indeed, towards foreigners, and there
23 was a case in January 1994 when they killed a British
24 aid worker and tried to kill two others. They were
25 certainly a force in inspiring a great deal of fear
1 among the Croats, and they were, I know from my
2 contacts on the BiH side, extremely difficult for the
3 regular Bosnian army forces to deal with.
4 JUDGE JORDA: But as a war correspondent,
5 you, yourself, said that you spent more time with the
6 Muslims than you did with the Croats. Did you see
7 them? Did you meet them? Did you question them? Did
8 you have any press conferences? Could you tell us
9 anything concrete about that?
10 A. The Muslim brigade or the Mujahedeen did not
11 hold press conferences or certainly not for the foreign
12 press. They were extremely hostile to the foreign
13 press. Our contacts with the Bosnian army were through
14 their co-headquarters in Travnik and Zenica and, of
15 course, in Sarajevo. When I tell you I spent most time
16 on the Muslim side of the lines, meaning the Bosnian
17 government side of the lines, I'm referring especially
18 to a long time in Sarajevo.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to join my
20 colleagues in not only thanking you but also in
21 congratulating you. You're a man who has shown a great
22 deal of courage throughout this period, and I also
23 thank you for the quality of your testimony in which
24 you always try to take the high ground vis-à-vis this
25 dreadful conflict.
1 All right. We are now completed. You can go
2 back to your work in the House of Commons, and we are
3 going to finish at 6.00. I don't have to -- perhaps we
4 could take a 15-minute break now. I see that the
5 registrar -- did I make a mistake?
6 THE REGISTRAR: No, no, no, you didn't make a
7 mistake. I wanted to know what we are going to do with
8 D532 and the Prosecutor's evidence 532 and 73.
9 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I would move for
10 admission of the photographs, the set of four
11 photographs, with Colonel Blaskic and others at press
12 conferences, and I would also move for admission of the
13 transcript that is associated with the film clips, and
14 I would move for admission of the film clips
16 MR. HAYMAN: We have no objection.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We're going to take
18 a 15-minute break, and we will resume for about a half
19 hour and work until 6.00.
20 Mr. Hayman?
21 MR. HAYMAN: I need to inform the Court that
22 we do not have another witness for this afternoon.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I don't want there to be
24 misunderstandings. How many witnesses do you have
25 left? You said that the accused would begin to testify
1 on Wednesday. This is Monday. How much time do you
2 have left, up to the point when the accused begins to
4 MR. HAYMAN: We have three short witnesses
5 left. I expect them all to conclude tomorrow. Whether
6 the accused will start his testimony tomorrow afternoon
7 or Wednesday at the beginning of the session, I cannot
8 say. I do not know.
9 JUDGE JORDA: It will probably be on
10 Wednesday, that is, Wednesday afternoon; is that right,
11 Mr. Dubuisson?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Wednesday afternoon.
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can say that
14 there are three witnesses left, and they will not take
15 too much time.
16 Mr. Harmon, do you want to add something?
17 MR. HARMON: I do, Mr. President. I would
18 request that these witnesses be identified. We
19 received notice of some witnesses, some three new
20 witnesses, at a late hour, five or six days ago. If
21 these are the three witnesses who Mr. Hayman has
22 identified to us, then, Mr. President, we have not had
23 the notice that is required under --
24 JUDGE JORDA: Are they protected? Are they
25 protected? Mr. Hayman, they aren't?
1 MR. HAYMAN: No.
2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then you can
3 disclose their identity to the Prosecutor. How come
4 that wasn't done yet? Was it Thomas Masic?
5 MR. HAYMAN: He's complaining, Mr. President,
6 that he doesn't know the order that they're
7 testifying. They've been disclosed to him. He wants
8 the order. The Court has never ordered us to give an
9 order, although we have always endeavoured to give the
10 order that we believed witnesses would testify in to
11 the Prosecutor.
12 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, Mr. Hayman has a
13 way of attributing certain views of mine that he wants
14 to put in the most negative fashion. Let me be
15 perfectly clearly, Mr. President --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, yes, go ahead.
17 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we received
18 notice of three witnesses, and we received that
19 notification of three new witnesses, and by our
20 calculation, the seven days' notice runs out on
21 Wednesday, not on Tuesday. So my only question to
22 Mr. Hayman was, are these witnesses who have been
23 disclosed within the framework of the decision or are
24 these the three witnesses that were disclosed at
25 approximately 10.00 or 11.00 at night five days ago?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Judge's microphone,
2 please. The Judge's microphone is not on.
3 JUDGE JORDA: [no translation] ... we cannot
4 continue to argue over questions like that; otherwise,
5 I'm going to settle the issue. Are we talking about
6 your memorandum of 10 February, Mr. Hayman?
7 MR. HAYMAN: I can settle this,
8 Mr. President. One of the witnesses for tomorrow was
9 disclosed on the 5th of January of this year. One of
10 the witnesses who will testify tomorrow was disclosed
11 on the 7th of January of this year. I hope there's no
12 problem with respect to those two witnesses. The third
13 witness who will testify tomorrow was faxed to the
14 Prosecutor on the evening of the 9th of February. That
15 is seven calendar days from tomorrow. If the
16 Prosecutor has not had time to prepare for that
17 witness, we will keep that witness here. He can have
18 overnight to prepare cross, and we'll keep him here.
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. This time the
20 Presiding Judge is going to settle the issue. Who are
21 the three witnesses we're going to have tomorrow? I
22 don't remember what happened on the 9th of February or
23 the 7th of January, but I want to know which three
24 witnesses we're going to have here tomorrow because now
25 I think that it is time that the accused testify. Is
1 it Ozmanic, Plavcic -- who are the ones who are going
2 to testify tomorrow?
3 MR. HAYMAN: Anto Plavcic.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Anto Plavcic. Would you note
5 that down, Mr. Harmon, so that we don't have to repeat
7 MR. HAYMAN: (redacted).
8 JUDGE JORDA: That's one of the January
10 MR. HAYMAN: Nikica Lovric.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I must have it here. All
12 right. As regards everything else, you can come to an
13 agreement if you have any questions. All right. The
14 Tribunal doesn't want to hear about this anymore.
15 What time are we starting tomorrow? At
16 10.00, is it? All right. The Court stands adjourned.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 5.20 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
19 the 16th day of February, 1999 at
20 10.00 a.m.