Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 17593

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.

Page 17594

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

Page 17595

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

7 testimony.

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

Page 17596

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

10 15th.

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.

Page 17597

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

Page 17598

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,

Page 17599

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?


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

23 truth.

24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Martin Bell.

25 You may now be seated.

Page 17600

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

6 left.

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

13 you.

14 Mr. Hayman, you may proceed.

15 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.


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

Page 17601

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

5 parliament.

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

18 Society.

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

Page 17602

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.


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.

Page 17603

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,

13 please?

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

Page 17604

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,

13 please?

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,

24 please?

25 (Videotape played)

Page 17605

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

6 year?

7 A. It was autumn 1993. I should think probably

8 October.

9 MR. HAYMAN: If we could play segment 7,

10 please?

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,

19 please?

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

Page 17606

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)


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

15 approximately?

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,

Page 17607

1 yes, the old road to Zenica.

2 MR. HAYMAN: If segment 10 could be played,

3 please?

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,

15 please?

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?

Page 17608

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,

6 please.

7 (Videotape played)


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

18 know?

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

Page 17609

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,

4 please.

5 (Videotape played)


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,

18 please.

19 (Videotape played)


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

Page 17610

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)


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

20 segments.


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

Page 17611

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

9 conference?

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

Page 17612

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

12 Valley?

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

Page 17613

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

Page 17614

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

22 correct?

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,

Page 17615

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

Page 17616

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

Page 17617

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.


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?

Page 17618

1 A. I see him. I couldn't put a name to him.

2 Q. Do you recognise the name Kostroman, Ignac

3 Kostroman?

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?

Page 17619

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

6 individual?

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

Page 17620

1 reproduction?

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?

Page 17621

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

4 sides.

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

13 recollection?

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

25 correct?

Page 17622

1 A. Yes. I can't remember Valenta at the first

2 of the press conferences. He was certainly at the

3 second.

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?

Page 17623

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

Page 17624

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

6 villages.

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

Page 17625

1 of when that clip was made, and I will come back to

2 you, Mr. Bell, momentarily with a clarification on

3 that.

4 MR. HARMON: Now, if I could have the second

5 clip shown.

6 (Videotape played).


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?

Page 17626

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

Page 17627

1 that?

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

20 conference.

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

Page 17628

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.


18 Q. Approximately 60 people attended this

19 gathering, and Mate Boban presided over this particular

20 meeting.

21 My first question to you, Mr. Bell, is do you

22 know who Mate Boban is and what role he played in

23 Herceg-Bosna?

24 A. Well, I know he was a powerful figure in

25 Herceg-Bosna, but we never actually saw him in the

Page 17629

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

18 was?

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

Page 17630

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.

Page 17631

1 Q. Did Dario Kordic agree with that remark as

2 well?

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

7 said?

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

Page 17632

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

Page 17633

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

25 456/48.

Page 17634

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

Page 17635

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

Page 17636

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

6 Ahmici?

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,

23 1993.

24 To that question, Colonel Blaskic answered

25 the following, and I would like your reaction to each

Page 17637

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?

Page 17638

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

Page 17639

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

Page 17640

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

12 correct?

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

Page 17641

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

Page 17642

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

Page 17643

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?

Page 17644

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

Page 17645

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

Page 17646

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

10 Court?

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.

Page 17647

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

7 news?

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.

Page 17648

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

Page 17649

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

5 each.

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

12 villages?

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

Page 17650

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

12 (indicating).

13 Q. Stara Bila.

14 A. Yeah, yeah.

15 Q. Could you indicate that one more time,

16 please?

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

Page 17651

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

15 carriers?

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

Page 17652

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

14 cross-examination.

15 Darko Kraljevic, how would you characterise

16 him?

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

23 Kraljevic.

24 MR. HAYMAN: I think, Mr. President --

25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Hayman?

Page 17653

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

6 question.

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

Page 17654

1 Kraljevic in terms of his role in the war in Vitez,

2 briefly?

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.

Page 17655

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

5 Kraljevic.

6 All right. If you don't mind, move to

7 another question, 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

Page 17656

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

12 worked.

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

17 questions?

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?

Page 17657

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,

Page 17658

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

7 force.

8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Now, where would

9 you say the pendulum was during the period April/May

10 1993?

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

22 forces.

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?

Page 17659

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

25 period.

Page 17660

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.

Page 17661

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

12 Ahmici?

13 A. Yes, sir.


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

Page 17662

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

12 tactically?

13 A. I suppose he was presenting them tactically.

14 I think he found it hard to know what to say under the

15 circumstances.

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?

Page 17663

1 A. I can't give a good answer to that question,

2 Your Honour. I do remember thinking that I hoped he

3 didn't.

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

Page 17664

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

12 Tribunal.

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

25 this.

Page 17665

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

Page 17666

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

16 that?

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

Page 17667

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

4 succeed.

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

Page 17668

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

Page 17669

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]

7 objectives.

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

Page 17670

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

Page 17671

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.

Page 17672

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

15 themselves.

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

Page 17673

1 on Wednesday. This is Monday. How much time do you

2 have left, up to the point when the accused begins to

3 testify?

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?

Page 17674


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?

Page 17675

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

Page 17676

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

6 this?

7 MR. HAYMAN: (redacted).

8 JUDGE JORDA: That's one of the January

9 ones.

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.