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  1. 1 Wednesday, 17th February, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 1.38 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,

    5 have the accused brought in, please.

    6 (The accused entered court)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: First of all, I would like to

    8 be sure that the interpreters can hear me. Good

    9 afternoon to the interpreters, to the court reporters,

    10 to be sure that we're not having any technical

    11 problems. Good afternoon to both Defence and

    12 Prosecution counsel and to the accused.

    13 We will now continue with our testimony, and

    14 I give the floor either to Mr. Hayman or to

    15 Mr. Nobilo.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Good afternoon, Mr. President

    17 and Your Honours. I call General Tihomir Blaskic to

    18 testify, and I suggest that we proceed immediately with

    19 his examination-in-chief.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We're going to ask

    21 the accused to become a witness and that he take his

    22 place at the witness stand so that his testimony can

    23 begin, and we will start with the

    24 examination-in-chief.

    25 Please remain standing. Give the General his

  2. 1 headset. Do you hear me? Do you hear me?

    2 THE ACCUSED: Yes, Mr. President, Your

    3 Honours, I can hear you very well.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please remain standing for a

    5 few moments. Tell the Judges and the Court your name,

    6 your first name, your rank in the army, your last

    7 residence at the point when, of your own volition, you

    8 came to The Hague, and then you'll take an oath

    9 according to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence in

    10 force at this Tribunal. Please proceed.

    11 THE ACCUSED: Mr. President, Your Honours, I

    12 am General Tihomir Blaskic. My last residence was

    13 Zagreb, and I decided voluntarily to surrender from

    14 Zagreb to the Tribunal.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Please tell us your place and

    16 date of birth.

    17 THE ACCUSED: I was born on 2nd November,

    18 1960 in Kiseljak, municipality of Kiseljak.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you. Please

    20 be seated. Actually, take the oath first and then

    21 you'll be seated.

    22 THE ACCUSED: Mr. President, Your Honours, I

    23 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole

    24 truth, and nothing but the truth.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. You may now be

  3. 1 seated for a rather long amount of time, according to

    2 your Defence counsel.

    3 Let me remind you that you have been indicted

    4 at the International Tribunal for three charges covered

    5 in our Statute, that is, Article 2, grave breach,

    6 Article 3, violations of the laws or customs of war,

    7 and Article 5, crime against humanity. In addition to

    8 our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Rule 85 states

    9 that if he so desires, the accused may appear as a

    10 witness in his own defence.

    11 The Tribunal will not judge as to the

    12 appropriateness of this method of defence, which is the

    13 strategy which your Defence counsel have set into

    14 place, and having said this, you move from the accused,

    15 for the time you will testify, to a witness, like

    16 another witness, subject to the same obligations as

    17 another witness, including everything that has to do

    18 with truth of the testimony.

    19 Now, I think that we can begin. The Judges

    20 have agreed to the request of your counsel that the

    21 guards be at an appropriate distance so that you can be

    22 comfortable. Let me remind you that you must not speak

    23 too quickly; otherwise, the interpreters have

    24 difficulty following you. If necessary, you can use

    25 notes, but you cannot make statements. Perhaps you can

  4. 1 do that at another time, but not general statements,

    2 but simply consult notes in order to refresh your

    3 memory. Relax, you are a witness like any other

    4 witness at this point, and you will now either begin

    5 with your free testimony or giving answers to the

    6 questions asked by your Defence counsel. As you know,

    7 you will then be cross-examined by the Prosecution.

    8 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Since

    10 you mentioned the notes, I would like to start off with

    11 a preliminary question.


    13 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    14 Q. General Blaskic, could you describe to us or

    15 clarify to the Trial Chamber, in what way did you

    16 prepare for today's testimony? What did you

    17 contemplate using? What documents?

    18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at the time when

    19 I learned about the indictment which was issued against

    20 me, which was in November of 1995, I started preparing

    21 certain notes. Those were personal notes on the basis

    22 of the documents to which I had access. At the time,

    23 these were the war logbooks and certain orders which I

    24 had access to, and I noted down the dates and certain

    25 events with a special emphasis to the participants of

  5. 1 those events.

    2 After having drafted these notes, I arrived

    3 here sometime in April of 1996 expecting that my trial

    4 would start on the 2nd of June, 1996. So in June of

    5 that year, I started giving a statement to the Office

    6 of the Prosecutor; however, the position of my Defence

    7 was that we should stop with that, and so I started

    8 working on my own statement based on the notes, and

    9 what I have in front of me is not my own statement.

    10 These are just dates and certain notes which I have

    11 here to refresh my memory regarding certain events in

    12 these two or three years of war.

    13 Q. Very well. So the first area which I would

    14 like to ask you about, I would like you to give the

    15 Trial Chamber a brief account of your training and your

    16 career up until the point when you decided to go to

    17 Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I will attempt

    19 to give you the information about my career, and I have

    20 to say that I regret that the best that I could come up

    21 with is not enough.

    22 As I said, I was born on the 2nd of November,

    23 1960 in Kiseljak. This is in Kiseljak municipality. I

    24 come from a working-class family. My father was a

    25 miner and, later on, a driver. I also have a sister

  6. 1 called Zrinka, she was born in 1966, and brother Mario

    2 who was born in 1972. He is disabled, and he still

    3 requires care.

    4 I lived in the local commune of Brestovsko,

    5 which is a local commune within the Kiseljak

    6 municipality. My neighbours were Bosnian Muslims.

    7 There were some Gypsies, there was one hamlet, and

    8 there were also Serbs. In this local commune, I

    9 completed my elementary schooling, and I lived there

    10 until I was 15, until 1975.

    11 After I completed elementary school, I

    12 continued my schooling in Zagreb, and I spent two years

    13 in Zagreb in school, and I specialised in chemical and

    14 technological studies. It was a civilian school. For

    15 my family, my schooling in Zagreb was a great financial

    16 burden because just the boarding costs were 115.000

    17 dinars at that time, and my father's salary at that

    18 time was 130.000 dinars a month. So this financial

    19 situation and other reasons caused me to continue my

    20 school in the military high school called Fraternity

    21 and Unity in Belgrade. This is where I completed the

    22 third and fourth years of my high school in the years

    23 of 1966 and 1967.

    24 Q. General, let me interrupt you for a moment.

    25 You said that the military academy or high school was

  7. 1 called Fraternity and Unity. Can you explain to the

    2 Judges, who are not familiar with the local culture,

    3 what this name meant in the JNA doctrine and in the

    4 former Yugoslavia?

    5 A. The former Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic

    6 community. There were over 25 ethnic groups who lived

    7 in this territory, and this name, "Fraternity and

    8 Unity," meant some kind of equality in every respect,

    9 including participation of different ethnic groups and

    10 full respect of freedoms of every ethnic group to live

    11 its own culture, its own religion. For the JNA, it was

    12 considered as a foundation of the JNA set-up, and it was

    13 the basis of its morale and everything else that makes

    14 up an army.

    15 Q. Very well. Go on now.

    16 A. After I completed this military high school,

    17 I was looking to apply to one of the military

    18 academies, and I decided to go to the military academy

    19 in Belgrade, which was for the army, and I chose to

    20 specialise in infantry. So I spent the first three

    21 years in Belgrade and the fourth year in Sarajevo, and

    22 on the 30th of July, 1983, I graduated at a common

    23 ceremony in Belgrade.

    24 Our training was structured as an

    25 eight-semester training. For the first two years,

  8. 1 these were mostly general courses without specialising

    2 in any particular military disciplines, and in the

    3 third and fourth year, we had specialised courses for

    4 the most part. For one semester in the first year, we

    5 also had a military law course.

    6 Throughout my training at the military

    7 academy and my separation from my family between 1975

    8 and 1983, I spent time in a boarding school, that is, I

    9 was in student homes and dormitories where I usually

    10 shared it with a Croat, a Slovenian, a Macedonian, an

    11 Albanian, and a member of another ethnic group,

    12 depending on whether the rooms were with two beds or

    13 four beds.

    14 After I completed school, between '83 and

    15 '87, I lived in the military hotels for singles, and

    16 we, again, had the same sleeping arrangements. There

    17 would be two or three beds per room. There would be a

    18 Croat, a Slovenian or a Muslim, and a Serb there.

    19 Throughout the schooling, we had internships where we

    20 were placed in different roles. At one point, I was in

    21 Ohrid in 1983 as just a simple conscript, and I spent

    22 two months there undergoing basic infantry training as

    23 a regular soldier.

    24 The next type of practical course was in

    25 1982, I believe this could have been in April, in

  9. 1 Belgrade, in the then Socialist Republic of Serbia.

    2 There, I was a commanding officer of a squad.

    3 The final practical course was in Niksic

    4 which was in the former Socialist Republic of

    5 Montenegro in April of 1983 where I had the duty of a

    6 commander of a platoon.

    7 Q. You said that you that you carried out

    8 practical courses in three different republics of

    9 Yugoslavia, and you were a Croat from the fourth out of

    10 six former republics?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 Q. You said that in your room, in your dorm

    13 room, you would always have members of different ethnic

    14 groups?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 Q. Were these practical courses and this

    17 regiment, were members of different ethnic groups

    18 always mixed together, or was this something that was

    19 accidental or was that something that was part of the

    20 doctrine?

    21 A. That was not accidental at all, especially

    22 not in the military high school and then the military

    23 academy. I also have additional experience of having

    24 lived in military hotels for single people the

    25 following four years. So that was definitely part of

  10. 1 the JNA doctrine because they wanted to implement this

    2 equality, equal participation of different ethnic

    3 groups.

    4 A similar criteria also existed in the JNA

    5 units where, in commissions which were in charge of

    6 accommodation of new recruits, this was also taken into

    7 account, so that all ethnic groups who lived in the

    8 territory of the former Yugoslavia would participate.

    9 Q. Did this approach contribute to a particular

    10 sense within the JNA?

    11 A. Of course. Some of my colleagues were

    12 admitted at the age of 14, 15, at a time when they were

    13 still in their formative years, and this was a way for

    14 different ethnic groups to meet each other, and in the

    15 context of the army, this contributed to better

    16 understanding and to reaffirming of these basic

    17 principles of equality and rights, but also

    18 obligations, for everyone.

    19 Q. After you completed your training and after

    20 you graduated, what was your first job?

    21 A. I was assigned to service in the 9th Army

    22 Corps of the armed forces of the former Yugoslavia

    23 which covered the area of the former Socialist Republic

    24 of Slovenia. My first post was the garrison in

    25 Ljubljana and later Pivka and then Postojna.

  11. 1 In Ljubljana, I became commander of the

    2 cadets in the school of reserve officers, which was the

    3 size of a company, and it trained officers for the

    4 Territorial Defence units in Slovenia.

    5 After a period of time, the former JNA was

    6 reorganised, and in 1985, this unit was dissolved; in

    7 other words, it was reformed, and then I assumed the

    8 post of the assistant of the political science school

    9 in Ljubljana teaching the All People's Defence, and I

    10 was in this post until March of 1986.

    11 I was an assistant for certain courses there,

    12 it was for tactical topics, and I worked with Anton

    13 Tovornik, who was a major, and the fact that I spent a

    14 certain amount of time in the command of the 9th Army

    15 provided me access to some of the high-ranking officers

    16 in the 9th Army; and in conversations with them, I

    17 learned that I was designated to be transferred to the

    18 new garrison in Postojna.

    19 Around 28 December, 1985, I was invited by

    20 the chief of personnel from my former unit, this was

    21 the 14th regiment in Ljubljana, and he told me that I

    22 was designated to be transferred to the Postojna

    23 garrison where special forces were being established,

    24 they were known as "ready forces," and one of these

    25 units was supposed to be sent down to Kosovo.

  12. 1 Q. Can you tell me -- I believe at that time

    2 this region was called the Autonomous Province of

    3 Kosovo within the Socialist Republic of Serbia. What

    4 was going on down there? Why were these ready forces

    5 supposed to go down there and what would be their task

    6 down there?

    7 A. Yes. Its exact name was the Socialist

    8 Autonomous Province of Kosovo, and this was a periodic

    9 practice by the JNA up until the time when the Pristina

    10 corps was formed.

    11 As early as 1979, and maybe even earlier,

    12 certain military units were sent to the Kosovo

    13 territory, and these units were primarily used to carry

    14 out predominantly police type of tasks. It was to be a

    15 demonstration of force for the purposes of intimidation

    16 of the local population, and I had some information

    17 about this from the chief of staff of the

    18 14th proletarian regiment, Mr. Djilas, who, for a

    19 while, was deployed there with his unit. He had been

    20 transferred there from Bovec.

    21 Q. What type of information did you get? Why

    22 was this intimidation needed? What was the ethnic

    23 background of the population there? Can you shed more

    24 light on the events in Kosovo at that time?

    25 A. For the most part, the population was

  13. 1 Muslim. They had identified themselves as Albanians.

    2 They were not happy with the arrangements and the

    3 rights which they had as a minority, they were

    4 demanding more freedoms, and at that time, their

    5 political representatives were expressing their

    6 disagreement with the policy which was dominant in the

    7 Socialist Republic of Serbia.

    8 The role of the unit was a demonstration of

    9 force in a way and probably the use of force depending

    10 upon the developing situations, because I know that

    11 occasionally it was used, and it was also to instil

    12 fear among the population in a sense that they would be

    13 much more cautious and that they would be aware of what

    14 could happen should such events escalate, that is,

    15 demonstrations and other activities.

    16 Q. In this type of security atmosphere which you

    17 described to us, which I think is linked to what is

    18 going on there today, what was your reaction? Did you

    19 accept that assignment or not?

    20 A. I immediately, in this first conversation

    21 with the chief of service, the chief of personnel in

    22 the 14th regiment, I said immediately that I did not

    23 want to accept this post, and I publicly let him know

    24 that I did not want to be a part of this force which

    25 was to be sent to Kosovo, regardless of the

  14. 1 consequences I might suffer. At that time, he said

    2 that this would be an act of disobedience,

    3 insubordination, and that I could be sanctioned for it.

    4 Following this conversation, I was again

    5 called in by his deputy, and the conversation was

    6 almost the same. I later talked to the assistant for

    7 morale in the 14th regiment, and my departure, that is,

    8 my discussion about my leaving for that assignment went

    9 on all the way until March of 1986.

    10 In the meantime, I had an official

    11 conversation with the commander of the battalion, with

    12 the deputy commander of the regiment itself, Major

    13 Uzelac. I made it very clear to everyone that I, under

    14 no circumstances, wanted to take on this assignment and

    15 take part in the units that would go to Kosovo.

    16 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber, how was

    17 the tour of duty in Kosovo treated in terms of

    18 compensation?

    19 A. Yes, I can tell you that the increase in

    20 Sarajevo was automatic. I know that units that were

    21 deployed in Kosovo in the '80s had a wartime

    22 supplement, that is, a supplement in salary which

    23 people would receive in case of war.

    24 There were additional benefits, such as

    25 additional vacation time, then advancement in career,

  15. 1 accelerated promotion, and in some ways also priorities

    2 in getting apartments and preferred postings.

    3 Despite all these benefits, I could not

    4 accept assuming such a duty and taking such a post.

    5 Q. Could you tell the Court, please, whether you

    6 did go or whether you were able to side-step this

    7 assignment and what your career was like after that?

    8 A. No, I did not go on that assignment. I was

    9 transferred on the 6th of March, 1986, to the Pivka

    10 garrison, and I remember my first contacts very well.

    11 In that garrison, on the morning when I reported for

    12 duty for the first time, I met the chief of staff in

    13 the garrison, the Pivka garrison, he was Lieutenant

    14 Colonel Reljanovic, and he asked me on that morning,

    15 and I quote verbatim: "What have you done wrong to be

    16 sent to us here?" End of quotation. I reported to the

    17 commander, and I took over my duties. I was commander

    18 of the 2nd company in the 1st Battalion. What I

    19 noticed at that time --

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me for interrupting

    21 you. What rank did you have at that point? Were you a

    22 captain? Were you a lieutenant? Perhaps I didn't

    23 listen carefully enough. I apologise.

    24 A. Mr. President, at that time I was a

    25 lieutenant, first lieutenant.

  16. 1 JUDGE JORDA: First lieutenant. All right.

    2 Thank you very much. I apologise for interrupting you.

    3 A. As I said, I reported for duty at Pivka, and

    4 the commander of the company who was to give me my

    5 assignments was visibly surprised and was caught

    6 unawares with that kind of situation. He didn't expect

    7 to hand over his duties. His name was Jasmin

    8 Sahinovic.

    9 When I took over my duties, I spent my time

    10 in Pivka until July 1988, and at the time, there was a

    11 reorganisation, and my particular unit, including the

    12 1st Battalion, was transferred from the Pivka garrison

    13 to the Postojna garrison, and together with my unit, I

    14 went into this new garrison, and I was there until the

    15 12th of August, 1991.

    16 My duties as commander of the company, I gave

    17 over to the new commander, and he was Mr. Surkota,

    18 first lieutenant in Postojna. I think that that was in

    19 1989, in February of that year, or perhaps in 1990. I

    20 took over my duties, I was the deputy commander of the

    21 1st Battalion and, at the same time, assistant for

    22 matters of morale, and I performed those duties up

    23 until I left the Yugoslavia People's Army, that is to

    24 say, until I was no longer an active soldier.

    25 When I completed the military academy and

  17. 1 graduated, we were given ranks by way of an automatic

    2 system, and so we all got our first rank on the 30th of

    3 July, 1983, and we were either lieutenants, we were all

    4 lieutenants, those were the ranks we were given, and

    5 those cadets who had gone to technical military

    6 academies were given the rank of first lieutenant. I

    7 obtained the rank of first lieutenant on the 30th of

    8 July, 1984, and this was also the next rank, that is to

    9 say, having spent one year as a lieutenant, I was

    10 promoted to a first lieutenant.

    11 Three years later, on the basis of

    12 assessments by my seniors, I was given the rank of

    13 captain on the 30th of July, 1987. Once again, I was

    14 professionally assessed on the 30th of July, 1990, and

    15 I received the rank of captain first class, and this

    16 was an extraordinary promotion, on the 22nd of

    17 December, 1990.

    18 Q. Tell us, please, what an extraordinary

    19 promotion means? What does this term mean in the

    20 Yugoslav People's Army? What is a regular promotion

    21 and this extraordinary early promotion?

    22 A. Well, the difference was that you got a

    23 promotion after a shorter period of time, an early

    24 promotion, and the criteria for this promotion, which

    25 had to be fulfilled, were that the last two marks were

  18. 1 excellent, with particular excellence, and those were

    2 the top marks given at that time within the armed

    3 forces of Yugoslavia. In my case, I was the commander

    4 of a company, and I had to have spent at least three

    5 years as commander of the company. I fulfilled that

    6 three-year time period, and this early promotion that I

    7 was granted for the most part was on the basis of my

    8 work results or as a stimulative measure. If anybody

    9 had scored any particular success, any officers.

    10 Q. So along with this purely military career of

    11 a career officer, you probably continued your

    12 education. Could you tell us something about that?

    13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at my first year

    14 at the military academy, I decided that I was going to

    15 do additional training and go on with my education, but

    16 there were a lot of extenuating circumstances so that I

    17 was not able to enrol in my studies at the beginning.

    18 We had to do field work in the course of my education

    19 and training. When I say "field work," this was

    20 outside the centres where the high military schools and

    21 academies were located. I told you of the places where

    22 I did my internship or training, but, in fact, what we

    23 did was we travelled throughout Yugoslavia, practically

    24 the whole of Yugoslavia, so I didn't have time, during

    25 my education at the military academy, to enrol in any

  19. 1 other civilian studies.

    2 In 1987, I enrolled in postgraduate studies

    3 at the university in Banja Luka for business and

    4 legal informatics, that was the course I took, and in

    5 April 1989, I graduated, I completed my studies there,

    6 and sat for my oral examination for an MA, master's

    7 degree; however, I was not able to present my written

    8 topic because of the war conditions, so that I never

    9 received a diploma, although I have a certificate

    10 saying that I attended the four years of study and that

    11 I passed my oral examinations for my MA

    12 My intentions to further my education and to

    13 enrol at the faculty was, in a way, linked to what I

    14 planned to do, that is to say, I did not wish to

    15 continue my military career. A little beforehand, I

    16 had decided to leave active military service, but I was

    17 duty-bound to spend double the time that I had spent

    18 doing my education working as an active military man in

    19 the armed forces, and as I had spent six years doing my

    20 training and education, I had to spend 12 years working

    21 as a career military officer.

    22 After that, when I had completed those 12

    23 years, I had gained the right to cease my military

    24 service, active military service.

    25 Q. Now, you were a successful career military

  20. 1 officer. Why did you decide to become a civilian?

    2 What were your motives for making that decision?

    3 A. There were a number of reasons for this.

    4 Already since 1979 and onwards to 1980, there was a

    5 greater engagement and activation of the army on

    6 assignments, such as the Kosovo assignment. Later on,

    7 there was a reorganisation, that was implemented within

    8 the frameworks of the Yugoslav People's Army, and they

    9 indicated that individual cadres were being promoted.

    10 Q. When you say "individual cadres," you have in

    11 mind a certain ethnic group?

    12 A. Yes, I do, so that there was an imbalance

    13 within the Yugoslav People's Army, the basic principle

    14 of unity or equality was being upset in this way, and

    15 already in 1985, this was particularly visible. All

    16 you had to do was to look at the commanding structure

    17 of any army, whichever army, and if you looked at the

    18 command and all the key posts, these were predominantly

    19 or, for the most part, uni-national in character.

    20 Q. Can you tell us which ethnic group became the

    21 dominant ethnic group at that time?

    22 A. According to criteria, that is to say, if you

    23 had a direct approach to this, the ethnic group was

    24 predominantly the Serbs, but not only the Serbs. There

    25 were Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Serbia proper,

  21. 1 and from all the areas of the former Yugoslavia.

    2 For example, in the battalion in which I

    3 served, the commander of the battalion was a Serb, and

    4 then the commanders of the companies were also

    5 predominantly Serbs. The commander of the brigade was

    6 also a Serb, as well as the chief of staff and a deputy

    7 commander, and the top commanding posts were almost

    8 uni-ethnic at that period, occupied by one ethnic

    9 group, and this, indeed, made me firmer in my resolve

    10 to stop being a career military man.

    11 In 1987, I tried, together with my parents

    12 and my in-laws, to open a business of my own which

    13 would employ some 40 workers, and we obtained all the

    14 necessary papers from the municipality of Cerknica in

    15 the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, and from the

    16 Postojna municipality, we got through all the red tape,

    17 but we needed a customs declaration for the import of

    18 the machinery that I was going to deal in, so I had to

    19 give up that project.

    20 The enrolment of my postgraduate studies,

    21 something that was paid for exclusively by my own

    22 family, that is to say, myself and my wife, was geared

    23 towards my future profession once I had left the army.

    24 Q. How long did you stay in the JNA? When did

    25 you actually decide that it was time for you to leave?

  22. 1 Can you explain this to the Trial Chamber?

    2 A. I made a definite decision already at the end

    3 of June 1991 during the open conflicts that took place

    4 in the Republic of Slovenia; however, I, myself, like

    5 many of my colleagues, were there when the order was

    6 given by the chief of staff of the armed forces, which

    7 came sometime at the end of June and the beginning of

    8 July, which proclaimed a state of alert for us. A

    9 state of alert was proclaimed, and the decision was

    10 made that we could not avail ourselves of the rights

    11 and the rule of the governing armed service to cease

    12 military service, so that this order by the head of the

    13 general staff suspended our legal rights, and the order

    14 was in force until the end of July.

    15 Later on, it was withdrawn, and on the 12th

    16 of August, 1991, I tendered in my request for cessation

    17 of active military service, and on that same day, I

    18 left the Postojna garrison and left to -- in fact, I

    19 used the holiday that I had coming to me and the free

    20 days that I had earned during my military service, and

    21 I did not wait for an actual permit to reach me. I

    22 hoped that this would come in the next month or two,

    23 which is the amount of time that I had for my free days

    24 and my holiday, a dispensation from the army in written

    25 form.

  23. 1 Q. Would you explain to the Trial Chamber what

    2 the conflict in Slovenia was about?

    3 A. In Slovenia, there was a conflict between the

    4 Territorial Defence of the then first stage towards the

    5 creation of the armed forces of Slovenia and MUP on the

    6 one side; on the other hand, there were the forces of

    7 the Yugoslav People's Army. The first stage was the

    8 forces of the MUP. That is what they said they were.

    9 That's how they represented themselves. This conflict,

    10 for the most part, was linked to power and authority at

    11 the border crossings, who would be in control, and

    12 everything occurred after the assembly of Slovenia had

    13 made a decision to proclaim Slovenia a republic, that

    14 is to say, a sovereign independent and autonomous state

    15 in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

    16 Q. At that time, therefore, when the conflict

    17 broke out between the JNA and, in all practical terms,

    18 the Slovenian people and their armed formations, you

    19 left. Is it true that you went to Vienna, Austria?

    20 A. Yes. Together with my wife -- my wife had

    21 left a little earlier, she had gone to Vienna before

    22 me, and I went to her sister, to my sister-in-law. She

    23 is an Austrian citizen. She has Austrian citizenship.

    24 My wife Ratka, her maiden name is Baresic, she is

    25 Baresic-Blaskic, she was born in 1970 in Austria, and

  24. 1 she spent most of her time living with her parents in

    2 Austria and Germany. Her entire family, her mother

    3 still lives in Austria today, her parents live in

    4 Austria today, and so the two of us went to Vienna, and

    5 for the first month or so, we lived in an apartment

    6 owned by her sister. We had two rooms to ourselves

    7 there in that apartment, and after that month had

    8 elapsed, we managed to rent a small apartment for

    9 ourselves.

    10 Q. Please continue. What was your life in

    11 Austria like? Were you able to organise your life in

    12 Austria?

    13 A. At the very beginning, my wife found

    14 employment. She finished her schooling in Austria,

    15 most of her education in Austria, and she knew the

    16 language well, and our son Dean was born in 1988, and

    17 he was staying with my in-laws, with his grandparents.

    18 At the beginning of 1992, he went to kindergarten in

    19 Austria.

    20 At that time, I spent most of my time

    21 studying the language, learning the language, and I

    22 also tendered in the documents necessary to obtain a

    23 work permit. I worked from time to time, and we

    24 succeeded in organising our life in Austria very

    25 quickly, particularly as we had good living conditions,

  25. 1 and we had succeeded in transporting most of our

    2 effects and belongings to Austria and to furnish our

    3 apartment, which allowed us to live a decent life.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would it be convenient,

    5 in this sequence, for you to get the witness to put on

    6 the record when he got married, unless that has already

    7 been said?

    8 MR. NOBILO: Quite right, Your Honour. I was

    9 thinking of doing this in the course of the witness's

    10 testimony and wanted to interrupt him, but then I

    11 thought, let us leave it to the end, but this brings us

    12 to the decision to go to Bosnia.

    13 Q. Now I'd like to ask you, General, a little

    14 bit about your family life. When did you marry your

    15 present wife? When were your children born, the first

    16 child, your second child? Could you tell us a bit

    17 about your family life?

    18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I married in

    19 1987. I married Ratka Blaskic. She was born in 1970

    20 in Austria. She is, by profession, a traffic

    21 technician and was not employed up until -- then she

    22 gave all her time to our family. We have two

    23 children. Asan Dean was born in 1988 in Postojna, the

    24 Socialist Republic of Slovenia, in July, and our second

    25 son, Ivan, was born in March 1996 in Zagreb.

  26. 1 Q. As we're talking about Ivan's birth, could

    2 you tell us the reason for which you came to The Hague

    3 on the 1st of April and not one or two months earlier

    4 when you heard about The Hague indictment?

    5 A. Well, the reason was precisely because my

    6 wife had had a difficult pregnancy, and she had to be

    7 cared for by her physicians throughout her pregnancy,

    8 and I have the necessary documents on that score.

    9 Our first child, that is to say, our first

    10 child was not born because of that. She was pregnant,

    11 but she lost her first baby, and then both our next

    12 sons, Dean and Ivan, she was under the constant control

    13 of physicians.

    14 From November up until March, this was the

    15 time that I spent together with my wife taking her to

    16 medical examinations and check-ups during her

    17 pregnancy. In Zagreb, I think the hospital is called

    18 Petrova Hospital, it is the maternity department

    19 there. That is the basic reason why I did not come to

    20 The Hague immediately and place myself at the disposal

    21 of this Honourable Court.

    22 Q. So what you want to say is you did so as soon

    23 as your child was born?

    24 A. Yes. My wife left hospital on Monday

    25 morning, and on that particular Monday afternoon, I

  27. 1 left for The Hague.

    2 Q. Let me take you back to your stay in

    3 Austria. You said that you were working on setting up

    4 conditions to live normally there, just like anywhere

    5 in western Europe, without particular stress or

    6 problems; however, you still decided to go to Bosnia

    7 where there was a war. Can you explain to the Trial

    8 Chamber your motives, why leave such a quiet, normal,

    9 regular life to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to

    10 this war which was about to begin, in fact, which had

    11 just begun? What were your motives?

    12 A. First of all, it is correct that I managed,

    13 along with my wife, and primarily thanks to her family

    14 and also her own knowledge of language, we managed to

    15 secure a fairly decent and, I could say, pleasant

    16 lifestyle, at least as comfortable as it was in the

    17 former Yugoslavia; however, my own parents remained

    18 back in that area. When I say "that area," I mean

    19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, so my parents and relatives

    20 were there.

    21 Then I was also aware of the fact that

    22 similar destruction may visit Bosnia and Herzegovina,

    23 just as it did Slovenia and Croatia. I received a

    24 number of calls, both from my relatives and from the

    25 representatives of the authorities in Kiseljak, and my

  28. 1 basic motivation was that I felt a moral obligation to

    2 assist, and I knew and I was aware of the fact that I

    3 had the requisite expertise and that I could help

    4 prepare the defence against the aggression with which

    5 Bosnia was threatened.

    6 Q. Now, who threatened Bosnia? Who was your

    7 potential enemy?

    8 A. It was obvious when the JNA forces were

    9 transferred, that is, what we called the "crack"

    10 forces, the majority of this force was transferred to

    11 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The same was done with large

    12 numbers of troops which were being transferred from the

    13 Republic of Croatia. What may not have been as

    14 apparent, at least not publicly, was a huge amount of

    15 materiel which was also being transferred to some

    16 larger centres.

    17 Q. When you say "materiel," can you clarify that

    18 because I think that you're about to use it quite a

    19 bit?

    20 A. I mean the ammunition of all kinds,

    21 ordinance, artillery, infantry, and so on, explosives,

    22 mines, so combat materiel, then spare parts and

    23 everything else that a military formation can use in

    24 order to be effective and to have the maximum power,

    25 including armaments.

  29. 1 Q. When you reached this decision in Austria to

    2 go back, was it very clear to you that there would be a

    3 bloody conflict between the JNA and people in Bosnia

    4 and Herzegovina, primarily the Croats and Muslims?

    5 A. For a long time, I had a dilemma what to do.

    6 It was clear to me that the conflict would take place,

    7 but I could not even imagine that it would be of such

    8 proportions. I expected a conflict to happen and I

    9 expected some combat, but when I talked to my wife

    10 about it and when I told her about this option to go,

    11 she disagreed. She believed that we were to seek our

    12 future in the country where she was born.

    13 So this decision of -- I delayed my decision

    14 until late March of 1992 when, in a conversation with

    15 an official from the municipal crisis staff, I agreed

    16 to come and set one condition only, which was that my

    17 involvement be temporary and that it last no more than

    18 two months.

    19 Q. Just to clarify. Can you define -- did you

    20 imagine that the parties to the conflict would be

    21 Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of the length or the

    22 size of the conflict?

    23 A. I believed that on the one side there would

    24 be the Yugoslav People's Army, regardless of how it may

    25 be transformed and what name it may assume, because the

  30. 1 other side was already left without arms and without

    2 equipment due to the orders issued by the supreme

    3 command to transfer all the arms belonging to the

    4 Territorial Defence to the JNA.

    5 So, on the other side, I thought that it

    6 would be Croats and Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia and

    7 Herzegovina.

    8 Q. You said that you received a call from the

    9 municipal crisis staff. Could you say from which

    10 municipal crisis staff, from which person, and when you

    11 left for Bosnia and Herzegovina and what happened

    12 during your journey?

    13 A. It was not a single call that I received,

    14 they came continuously, and so as I kept prolonging my

    15 decision, I received a number of calls by Mr. Pero

    16 Madzar on behalf of the municipal crisis staff, this is

    17 how he introduced himself, and after I reached my --

    18 Q. What town?

    19 A. Kiseljak.

    20 Q. Was this the town where you were born?

    21 A. Yes, this is the municipality where I was

    22 born and this is my hometown. So this also contributed

    23 to my decision to go back and help my hometown.

    24 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Now we are moving

    25 towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. This may be a good

  31. 1 time to break.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The afternoon is

    3 long. We are going to take our first break, and we

    4 will return in 15 or 20 minutes.

    5 As regards the arrangements here, things are

    6 going to change a little bit. Be sure that the

    7 accused/witness be taken to the location which is

    8 appropriate to him. However, when the Court returns,

    9 we would like the witness to be in the courtroom.

    10 Thank you.

    11 --- Recess taken at 2.45 p.m.

    12 --- On resuming at 3.10 p.m.

    13 (The accused/witness entered court)

    14 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    15 hearing. Please be seated.

    16 Mr. Nobilo, you may continue.

    17 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.

    18 Q. We left off at your decision to go back to

    19 Bosnia and Herzegovina and to take over one of the

    20 military duties in the defence of Kiseljak for two

    21 months. However, your trip to Kiseljak did not run as

    22 smoothly as expected, so can you tell the Trial Chamber

    23 what happened and put it in a time frame, please?

    24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I left on 5th

    25 April from Vienna via Zagreb to Kiseljak. In Zagreb, I

  32. 1 spent the night. I used the opportunity to visit my

    2 brother on the evening of the 5th. On the 6th, in the

    3 morning, I also stayed with my brother in the Slava

    4 Raskaj school centre in Zagreb, and then along with him

    5 and another friend, we took the Podrevska highway via

    6 Bosanski Samac to Kiseljak. This road was a longer one

    7 than usual.

    8 There were a number of checkpoints on this

    9 road, both through Croatia and through Bosnia and

    10 Herzegovina. At one of these checkpoints, somewhere

    11 between 14.00 and 15.00 hours in the afternoon on the

    12 6th, we were stopped by the reserve police force of the

    13 Bosnian MUP. These police were Serbs; I could gather

    14 that from the dialect and also by the fact that they

    15 were deployed in the immediate vicinity of the military

    16 police forces of the JNA.

    17 They searched our vehicle, and in the

    18 driver's side door, they found a small handgun, and in

    19 the driver's pocket, they found prayer beads. The

    20 policeman asked the driver whether he had a permit for

    21 the handgun, and the driver said, since this was a

    22 small-calibre handgun, he believed that he did not need

    23 one.

    24 After this, we were detained to an elementary

    25 school building, and there was a sign over the entrance

  33. 1 of the elementary school which helped me locate the

    2 place, but it was Podhovlje near Doboj. I had never

    3 been there before. There we were questioned, our

    4 IDs were thoroughly checked, and we were even

    5 physically mistreated to a degree until 21.00 hours.

    6 Then, at 21.00 hours, we were placed into the APCs of

    7 the military police, and we were transferred to the

    8 Doboj barracks belonging to the JNA. There the

    9 questioning was resumed until late into the night, and

    10 that night we spent in the military detention unit

    11 which was part of this garrison.

    12 The next morning, myself and my friend, whose

    13 name was Mladen Coric, who drove me, were transferred

    14 to the Tuzla garrison. This was the headquarters of

    15 the Tuzla corps of the JNA. The barracks where we were

    16 brought were called the Husinjski Miners' barracks

    17 which I was able again to identify by the sign over the

    18 gate. I also had never been there before.

    19 I spent a period until the 13th of April

    20 there, and there I was again subjected to questioning,

    21 and we were accused of a number of things, including

    22 that I had deserted the former JNA, that I had worked

    23 for some intelligence agency in the West because I also

    24 had a German dictionary on me and a notebook in which I

    25 made notes.

  34. 1 On the 13th of April, we were told that we

    2 would be exchanged for some people in prison in

    3 Mitrovica, and in the early afternoon, we were released

    4 from the garrison. We did not go to be exchanged in

    5 Sremska Mitrovica, and we only had problems in

    6 retrieving the documents which would allow us -- the

    7 car documents which would allow us to continue the

    8 journey. But later on we were able to retrieve the

    9 documents because the JNA forces were there in this

    10 garrison which earlier had been stationed in Postojna,

    11 so in a way, these were acquaintances of mine. These

    12 were people who knew me.

    13 From the Tuzla garrison, we left there at

    14 around 9.00 p.m. and went through Tuzla. Again, we

    15 went to Doboj and we were searched. At different

    16 checkpoints, we were searched all the way through until

    17 we left to Zenica. We wanted to reach Busovaca, but

    18 members of the MUP reserve forces, that is, the Bosnian

    19 MUP reserve forces, told us -- this was in Drivusa,

    20 that the road was closed and that we could only use the

    21 road Kakanj-Visoko-Kiseljak. So this is the road that

    22 we too, and after midnight sometime on the 14th of

    23 April, 1992, we finally reached our destination.

    24 Q. Very well. So you reached Kiseljak on the

    25 14th of April, 1992. Tell me, who did you report to,

  35. 1 what conversations did you have, and what was your

    2 understanding of the situation there?

    3 A. On 14 April, sometime in the afternoon, I

    4 reported to the president of the Kiseljak municipality,

    5 Josip Boro. This is the first time that we met. Until

    6 that time, I had never been to the president's office,

    7 and I did not know about these political structures

    8 because I had been gone since '85. I would only come

    9 back briefly during vacation.

    10 He briefed me on the situation in this area

    11 and let me know that he expected my arrival and that

    12 now he was on duty as the president of the municipal

    13 crisis staff and that the municipal assembly had seized

    14 its work. In its last session, it appointed the

    15 municipal crisis staff in which both Muslims and Croats

    16 equally participated and that this crisis staff took

    17 over all civilian and military affairs in the territory

    18 of the Kiseljak municipality.

    19 I let him know that I did not intend to stay

    20 beyond those two months but that I was willing, in the

    21 period of those two months, to provide my expert

    22 experience in order to prepare the territory and men to

    23 defend the territory against the attacks of the forces

    24 of Republika Srpska and that I believed that those two

    25 months should be enough to organise the defence in this

  36. 1 area.

    2 I stressed that I did not expect any

    3 remuneration, any compensation, and that my driver was

    4 going to be a relative of mine, and so I therefore did

    5 not even need a vehicle or any other benefits or

    6 privileges.

    7 Several days later, I had an opportunity to

    8 attend certain meetings of the municipal crisis staff,

    9 even though I never was a member of the Kiseljak

    10 municipal crisis staff. What I noticed was that the

    11 military structure of this military crisis staff was

    12 very vague. A member of the municipal staff was the

    13 president of the People's Defence Affairs department,

    14 which was a civilian function, and it was Mr. Vojislav

    15 (sic) Trutina who was on this duty, and there was also

    16 the commander of the Territorial Defence staff.

    17 Q. Tomislav is the name. This was a

    18 misspelling.

    19 A. Yes, his name was Tomislav Trutina. So the

    20 other part of this military body was the command, and

    21 that is the commander of the Territorial Defence staff

    22 of Kiseljak, Sead Sinahbasic.

    23 Q. He was a Muslim?

    24 A. Yes, he was a Bosniak.

    25 Q. And Tomislav Trutina is a Croat?

  37. 1 A. That is correct. The joint command was also

    2 part of this military political body, and as early as

    3 late April, I was on duty as the commander of the armed

    4 forces for the Kiseljak municipality on behalf of the

    5 Croatian community, and along with me, the commander of

    6 the armed forces of Kiseljak municipality was Bakir

    7 Alispahic on behalf of the Muslim community.

    8 Q. In addition to this undefined military

    9 structure, what was your perception of this municipal

    10 structure? Were they somehow linked to the higher

    11 authority within the republic?

    12 A. No, it was not linked to some higher

    13 governing body. In fact, the municipality sort of kept

    14 all its previous functions and also, because of the

    15 situation that existed, it also took over some

    16 prerogatives of a state, so that it was, in a way, a

    17 mini-state, which was a state within the boundaries of

    18 the municipality territory. All the problems which

    19 were dictated by this current situation were resolved,

    20 or at least attempted to be resolved, at the level of

    21 the municipality.

    22 Q. So in addition to this municipal government

    23 which had both political and military aspects, what

    24 were the additional military formations which you found

    25 in the territory of the municipality at the time when

  38. 1 you arrived there?

    2 A. I expected to find certain formations, that

    3 is, the Territorial Defence formations there, or

    4 something similar, something that would be similar to

    5 what the case was in the Republic of Slovenia.

    6 However, in the territory of Kiseljak municipality,

    7 after a short while, I was able to see that there were

    8 villages which were armed and where the inhabitants

    9 had, in different ways, acquired weapons. Further,

    10 there were private units where some of the wealthier

    11 persons in the municipality had armed their own units,

    12 some of which were to protect their property from the

    13 criminal gangs which were operating in the area. In

    14 short, there were some private units.

    15 Then there were groups of hunters, people who

    16 already had legally-acquired weapons from before and

    17 who organised themselves. I also noticed, at the level

    18 of villages again, that they all had a great degree of

    19 autonomy. Their commanders or representatives were, in

    20 fact, sort of mouthpieces of positions that the

    21 villagers had taken and not part of any military

    22 structure in the villages.

    23 In addition to these village forces, there

    24 were nine civilian police stations which had been

    25 mobilised in case of war. They had 25 to 50 reserve

  39. 1 policemen each, and there were nine of these reserve

    2 police stations.

    3 In addition, there were MUP forces, which was

    4 the civilian police station in Kiseljak. Then there

    5 were the Patriotic League forces which had their

    6 headquarters at one time at the Hotel Dalmatia in

    7 Kiseljak and later on in the elementary school in the

    8 town of Kiseljak. Further, there were Territorial

    9 Defence units.

    10 In Lepenica, there were small groups of Black

    11 Swans. There were also groups or units of HOS. This

    12 was in the town of Kiseljak and in the local commune of

    13 Lepenica. Then there were groups of HVO. Further,

    14 groups of armed displaced persons or refugees which had

    15 passed through Kiseljak, Kiseljak being one of the

    16 points of transit, and then there were the JNA units,

    17 that is, from before. There was an artillery battalion

    18 stationed there which had high artillery power,

    19 128-millimetre guns, and a military police company

    20 which had been transferred from the Marshall Tito

    21 barracks in Zagreb to the Kiseljak barracks. There

    22 were also crews of the radio relay in Cubren. They

    23 also belonged to the former JNA. In short, there were

    24 a number of armed groups in a relatively small area.

    25 Q. Tell us, please. You said that there were

  40. 1 many armed groups. What was the basic characteristic

    2 of those groups and what did you do in that situation?

    3 Did you succeed in imposing yourself on these groups or

    4 didn't you?

    5 A. The basic characteristic and activity of

    6 these groups, with the exception of the forces of the

    7 Yugoslav People's Army which were still present in the

    8 municipality of Kiseljak, they would parade around

    9 brandishing their weapons and uniforms, they would go

    10 around the centre of town. Those groups which were

    11 nearer to the main roads of communication also engaged

    12 in setting up barricades, roadblocks, or checkpoints in

    13 order to ensure material benefit from them.

    14 I, myself, was not accepted by those groups,

    15 they did not accept me as their commander, except when

    16 they needed my professional aid and assistance. So

    17 from time to time, I was able to function as a

    18 commander when my skills and expertise were needed, but

    19 it was very difficult to ensure any genuine authority

    20 over them, and I had the impression that I would need a

    21 great deal of time to deserve this right and to ask

    22 them to heed my orders.

    23 Q. In a situation of this kind, which was not

    24 the usual type of army relationship according to your

    25 experience and what you were used to up until then,

  41. 1 what methods of work were you able to apply? Were you

    2 able to apply what you learnt previously with regard to

    3 command or did you have to apply any other methods,

    4 and, if so, describe, for the benefit of the Trial

    5 Chamber, what methods you applied?

    6 A. Well, quite right, I was not able to apply

    7 the doctrine of command that I had been taught because

    8 I did not have the subordinate elements in the chain of

    9 command. Let me explain this with an example of

    10 villages. If, for example, a village had 25 recruits,

    11 then it would have one representative who would be

    12 replaced several times a day, depending on how

    13 successful he was in representing the interests of the

    14 village.

    15 If the village was one that had 200

    16 inhabitants, once again, it would have just one

    17 representative, and I, as the commander -- what

    18 happened once was that one of these villages would call

    19 me to attend the meeting at which they would elect

    20 their commander and relieve him of his duty, and I

    21 would be told in advance that I did not have the right

    22 of decision making or taking part in the discussion and

    23 that all I could do was to be there in the capacity of

    24 a guest, and this happened to me in the village of

    25 Lepenica in the Kiseljak area.

  42. 1 In the command structure, there were

    2 different types of weapons. Generally, there were

    3 different calibre and small arms, some of them that

    4 dated back to the Second World War, others that had

    5 been manufactured by hand, hand-crafted weapons, but,

    6 for the most part, I applied three types of methods in

    7 my work, and I was fully conscious of the fact that I

    8 could not expect my commanding to be effective, and I

    9 decided to hold oral lectures and to convince people,

    10 by speaking to them and by convincing the formal or

    11 informal leaders of the different villages, and I

    12 differentiated between the two, and I also would select

    13 representatives from the individual villages, and I

    14 would go with them on visits to the positions that I

    15 thought were crucial and that we should visit in order

    16 to set up a defence line.

    17 Q. Before you go on to explain how you set up

    18 your defence lines, could you tell us, who were you

    19 defending the Kiseljak municipality from? Who did you

    20 expect to attack the territory of the Kiseljak

    21 municipality?

    22 A. We organised a defence for the municipality

    23 of Kiseljak, a defence against the forces of what was

    24 still the Yugoslav army and which later became the army

    25 of the Republika Srpska from the Ilidza municipality

  43. 1 and area, because in April, there had already been

    2 attacks by these forces in the Rakovica area, which is

    3 the first village bordering on the Kiseljak

    4 municipality, the first neighbouring place from which

    5 about 300 Muslim Bosniaks were expelled. This was the

    6 first large influx of displaced persons at the time who

    7 were taken into the Kiseljak area, so we defended the

    8 municipality of Kiseljak from the attacks by the army

    9 of the Republika Srpska.

    10 Q. Would you explain to the Court what your

    11 work, in fact, comprised, your work with the

    12 representatives of the villages or these armed

    13 individuals from the villages? What did you, in fact,

    14 discuss with them?

    15 A. Usually in the mornings, together with

    16 Bakir --

    17 Q. Who is Bakir?

    18 A. Bakir Alispahic.

    19 Q. He was the Muslim commander, was he not?

    20 A. Yes, he was. He was the Muslim commander who

    21 I met with daily. I had a daily meeting with him, a

    22 briefing, and we would decide which one of us would go

    23 to which village. They were villages bordering on the

    24 Lepenica and Brnjaci area, and, Mr. President and Your

    25 Honours, if necessary, I can show you on this relief

  44. 1 here.

    2 Q. It will be much clearer, I think, if you do

    3 so. Could you show us the defence lines and where you

    4 expected the attacks to be launched?

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Can the cameras focus on the

    6 model so that the people in the public gallery can

    7 follow?

    8 MR. NOBILO: And microphone, please.

    9 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: You can approach. It's a

    11 little complicated because the Judges have to be able

    12 to see, the public gallery has to be able to see, the

    13 witness has to be able to express himself, and the

    14 parties have to be able to supervise. We have to try

    15 to organise things. I think at the beginning we were

    16 able to do that with the model.

    17 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, perhaps it would

    18 be helpful if we have multiple jacks installed over

    19 here for the benefit of all counsel to approach this.

    20 It's difficult for us to see. There's only one jack

    21 over here. We can't understand Colonel Blaskic without

    22 translation, and from this distance, we can't approach

    23 the exhibit without translation.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I have no problem with

    25 that, but, of course, when you're all around the model,

  45. 1 the only ones who won't be able to see will be the

    2 Judges. Well, let's try. All right. Approach the

    3 model.

    4 MR. NOBILO:

    5 Q. General, perhaps, for the beginning, it would

    6 be a good idea to tell us where the larger towns are

    7 located on this model.

    8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I am pointing to

    9 Kiseljak (indicating). That is the place where I

    10 arrived on the 14th of April.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. We can see very

    12 clearly. Thank you.

    13 A. I arrived there on the 14th of April.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Where are we in relation to the

    15 map that I have? Can you show us?

    16 A. This is north (indicating). Your Honours,

    17 north is towards this point (indicating). That is

    18 north.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue, please.

    20 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, Kiseljak, where

    21 I arrived on the 14th of April, 1992, is located here

    22 (indicating). My work throughout the entire time, that

    23 is to say, in April and May, took place in the area

    24 around Kokoska, the Kokoska facility. This is the

    25 range, mountain range, north of the main road running

  46. 1 from Kiseljak to Rakovica, Ilidza, and on to Sarajevo.

    2 Sarajevo is in that direction (indicating).

    3 Then we have the Kobiljaca mountain pass, and

    4 the position here is the trigonometry reference 651 or

    5 the high ground referred to by the figure 651. Then we

    6 have the Pljesevac feature, and this whole feature is

    7 called Besovac. This pass between the Pljesevac

    8 feature is called Ravne Njive. I'm indicating Ravne

    9 Njive (indicating) and the feature Ostrik.

    10 To the right of the feature Ostrik, we have

    11 the mountain range which is called Koscan. This is

    12 where the forces of the Territorial Defence from the

    13 Kiseljak municipality were located. On the Ostrik

    14 feature, Pljesevac and the Kobiljaca pass with the 651

    15 high ground feature and Kokoska, these were the HVO

    16 forces. Further on, we have the forces of the

    17 Territorial Defence of Visoko.

    18 MR. NOBILO:

    19 Q. You have now described the frontline towards

    20 the Serbs. Tell us, please, in simplified terms for

    21 layman purposes, what was your activity in these

    22 mountain ranges, features, passes, and so on? What did

    23 you teach the locals there?

    24 A. I would go to these villages every day. They

    25 are villages bordering on this area. They are the

  47. 1 village of Azapovici, Dugandzica Kuce. They are the

    2 bordering villages along this line here, and I would

    3 select or I would pinpoint the leaders of these

    4 villages, and together with them, I would go on foot

    5 every day and visit these positions, Ostrik, Pljesevac,

    6 Kobiljaca, Kokoska, and would show the locals, the

    7 local villagers, where to dig trenches and

    8 fortifications, communicating trenches, and other types

    9 of fortification and, in the engineering sense, how to

    10 set up the frontlines, the defence lines.

    11 Having shown them where this work to fortify

    12 the lines should be done, I would move on to another

    13 area to check and see whether what I had ordered had

    14 been carried out, and this was repeated time and again

    15 over a long period of time because they were slow in

    16 undertaking this kind of work. Nobody was actually

    17 delighted in having to go trench digging.

    18 Q. This defence line, was it a mixed

    19 Croat-Muslim defence line, and did you work both

    20 together with the Muslims and Croats? How was this

    21 work organised?

    22 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I have already

    23 stated that the Koscan position and Mokrine and further

    24 on were held by the forces of the Territorial Defence

    25 from Kiseljak and Hadzici and, from time to time,

  48. 1 manned by people from Jablanica as well. From Koscan

    2 feature on towards the villages of Kralupi, Godusa,

    3 those were forces belonging to the Territorial Defence

    4 of Visoko.

    5 I toured all these villages, and, in fact, at

    6 the beginning, I wasn't interested in which village was

    7 Croatian and which was Muslim, unless I was told this

    8 expressly by the locals. At the beginning, I would go

    9 to Zabrdje, Brkovica, Mokrine, to Tulica, and also to

    10 the village of Grahovci, and I toured all these

    11 positions in the area, and I never differentiated

    12 between the villages and distinguished between the

    13 Croatian villages and Muslim villages, but I would

    14 check these lines and, together with the locals and the

    15 villagers, I would explain how, in engineering terms,

    16 this terrain should be organised for defence purposes.

    17 I already said that Bakir and myself, that is

    18 to say, Bakir suggested to me or I would suggest to

    19 Bakir, we would go together to visit some of the

    20 villages, so that we would make a public display for

    21 the villages and show them that we were not divided,

    22 regardless of the fact that, conditionally speaking, we

    23 had HVO positions here and TO positions there, and from

    24 Kokoska to the River Bosna, we, once again, had the

    25 Territorial Defence forces of Visoko.

  49. 1 Q. In addition to determining the defence lines

    2 and positions and the engineering terms of

    3 organisation, did you try to tell the villagers the

    4 importance of training, and did you explain the ways in

    5 which the Republika Srpska could attack and how to

    6 defend against these attacks?

    7 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, during my

    8 training at the military academy, I underwent tactical

    9 drills at company level on the Rakovica position, and

    10 we would elaborate defence plans towards Sarajevo, a

    11 defence set up to an enemy attacking the Lepenica

    12 valley towards Sarajevo.

    13 Using the knowledge and experience that I had

    14 gained and the experience gained from tactical courses

    15 and activities within the JNA, I, together with the

    16 representatives of the villages, toured some of the

    17 positions and tried to explain to them -- first, I

    18 would do this orally, and I'd explain the stages of

    19 attack that the army of the Republika Srpska would

    20 undertake and what we can expect, the kind of tactics

    21 we could expect from them, and what we should do in

    22 retaliation. Together with them, I would set up

    23 reserve posts and positions which were, for the most

    24 part, on the slopes of Cubrena and above the villages

    25 in the Lepenica valley.

  50. 1 In addition to work of this kind, I also

    2 endeavoured to organise training courses, that is, basic

    3 training teaching the people how to handle weapons, the

    4 kind of weapons that they had, the armed peasants and

    5 villagers, basics in weapons handling, but there were a

    6 great deal of problems there because sometimes ten

    7 people would have ten different types of weapons. The

    8 other problem was that each individual thought he was

    9 trained in the handling and manipulation of weapons

    10 just because he knew how to place ammunition, how to

    11 charge the weapon, how to load the weapon.

    12 I would also go to the individual villages,

    13 usually in the afternoon hours or towards the evening,

    14 and I would have discussions and talks with the locals,

    15 and I would try and convince them that all these

    16 preparatory measures were a good thing and should be

    17 done because I tried to bear upon them that

    18 organisation was a good thing, particularly with the

    19 winter advancing in these mountain regions, and the

    20 winter is very harsh in these areas, and so we should

    21 try and predict the intentions of the enemy and the

    22 army of the Republika Srpska.

    23 Q. You said that some of the villages in these

    24 border areas next to the frontline, that some of the

    25 villages were Muslim villages and others were Croatian

  51. 1 villages. What about the TO, was it completely Muslim

    2 or mixed? What about the HVO, was it an expression of

    3 Croatian military organisation?

    4 A. To a certain extent, the majority, yes,

    5 although both in the HVO, there were some Bosniak

    6 Muslims, and the complete composition of the Patriotic

    7 League within the HVO, yes, they were Bosniak Muslims.

    8 We had certain difficulties in that respect because

    9 certain members of the Territorial Defence expressed

    10 their readiness to join the HVO, which sometimes meant

    11 the possibility of avoiding any kind of responsibility,

    12 and this is what happened amongst the HVO ranks as

    13 well. For example, for one week, people would be

    14 members of the HVO, and the next week, something else,

    15 depending on what the responsibility and duty was.

    16 Q. Apart from these exceptions, generally

    17 speaking, can we say that the Territorial Defence was

    18 an organisation of the Bosniak people and the HVO was

    19 an organisation of the Croats?

    20 A. Yes, that was true, except the exceptions

    21 which occurred, for the most part, when operations to

    22 deblock Sarajevo were launched and which were the

    23 result of the fact that the TO had lost its membership,

    24 but the TO was Bosniak Muslim, and the HVO was made up

    25 of Croatian recruits.

  52. 1 Q. Perhaps, General, you can go back to your

    2 seat and we can continue from there.

    3 Therefore, your activity was the organisation

    4 of a defence line. Who saw to the safety and security

    5 of the territory in-depth, that is, the security of the

    6 people living there and their property in the

    7 municipality of Kiseljak?

    8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I have already

    9 said that the municipality had nine wartime police

    10 stations of a reserve police force. These police

    11 stations were set up, as far as I know, already in

    12 1991, at the end of 1991, in fact; and, together with

    13 the active formation of the civilian police force, they

    14 were in charge of public law and order and safety and

    15 security throughout the territory of Kiseljak. They

    16 were well-armed at the time, and they set up

    17 checkpoints in front of their wartime police stations,

    18 for the most part, which were located on the main roads

    19 leading towards the Kiseljak municipality, into the

    20 municipality from the local communities.

    21 Q. Can we say, therefore, that the civilian

    22 police was in charge of security throughout the

    23 territory?

    24 A. Well, yes, it had complete control of

    25 security throughout the territory, all the more so as

  53. 1 the fact that the commander of the civilian police

    2 station, the chief of civilian police, by virtue of his

    3 function, was included, was a member of the municipal

    4 crisis staff, that is, he was a member of the civilian

    5 and military authorities at the municipal level, and

    6 this structure of the police station was very

    7 well-balanced. When I say "well-balanced," I mean that

    8 the commander, the chief, was a Croat, his deputy was a

    9 Muslim Bosniak; the commander of the police station,

    10 the civilian police station in Kiseljak was a Muslim

    11 Bosniak, his deputy was a Croat; and it was their task

    12 to control the territory behind the frontline in the

    13 Kiseljak municipality.

    14 Q. Was there civilian protection? If there was,

    15 was it unified, and what was the civilian protection

    16 like at the time when you arrived there?

    17 A. Immediately upon my arrival, maybe a week

    18 later, this would be around the 26th of April, the JNA

    19 air force, or the air force of the Republika Srpska,

    20 bombed Busovaca, and several days before, there were

    21 flyovers, even though they did not drop any bombs.

    22 At that time, I asked whether any measures

    23 had been taken, and I asked to meet with the person in

    24 charge of the civilian protection to discuss the

    25 measures for protection of the civilian population. So

  54. 1 I met with the commander and the chief of the civilian

    2 protection. At that time, we agreed that the shelters

    3 should be marked clearly again and some other measures.

    4 The civilian protection in these

    5 circumstances was trying to be operational to the

    6 extent that it was possible. However, I recall very

    7 well this meeting with the commander of the civilian

    8 protection for two reasons: When I first asked him, I

    9 was interested to know where the evacuation routes were

    10 for the civilians in case of attack, and he said that

    11 it was in the direction of Ilidza, that is down the

    12 Lepenica valley, which would be from Kiseljak towards

    13 the frontline. So the civilians would be evacuated

    14 towards the frontlines. And I told him that this was

    15 not right at all.

    16 Q. Could you just slow down, please?

    17 A. This would mean that the evacuation is being

    18 conducted towards the frontlines, and he said that

    19 these actions were set down in the rules, in the

    20 handbook which he received, and that he could not

    21 change it until such change was agreed to by his

    22 superior at the republican level. We found a

    23 compromise so that he would not change the rules in the

    24 handbook but that the evacuation would not be conducted

    25 towards the frontline.

  55. 1 The second issue was the distribution of

    2 duties for the civilian protection between the HVO and

    3 the TO. I gave him my position, that there is no need

    4 for such a distribution of duty because the entire

    5 population should be covered in the territory of the

    6 Kiseljak municipality, including both sides; that is,

    7 both Muslims and Croats and members of other ethnic

    8 groups and minorities which lived in the Kiseljak

    9 municipality.

    10 Q. So in conclusion, before we move on to the

    11 next area: If you were to sum up the methods which you

    12 used, did you operate as a military commander in

    13 relation to soldiers or was it something else? How

    14 would you qualify this?

    15 A. No. In fact, I suspected and I sincerely

    16 hoped that I would find some kind of military structure

    17 in place there, but in reality, what I found were armed

    18 groups, and these working men and these villagers I

    19 perceived as men who had taken up arms, who had put on

    20 uniforms and who were prepared to, instead of going to

    21 the factory, would be prepared to play a role given

    22 them.

    23 I was not in a position to issue any orders

    24 and expect that somebody among my direct subordinates

    25 would carry them out because I did not have any kind of

  56. 1 a structure upon which I could rely.

    2 Q. So there was not a structure established in

    3 the downward sense, in a subordinate way, but how was

    4 the military structure upwards, so to speak; in other

    5 words, were there any superiors to you at the HVO

    6 level?

    7 A. At the session of the municipal crisis staff

    8 around the 23rd of April, 1992, I was appointed the

    9 commander of the armed formations by the municipal

    10 crisis staff in Kiseljak, and I was not, either in the

    11 first contact or later, led to believe that there was a

    12 military structure superior to the municipality from

    13 which I was to seek either approval or which was to

    14 verify this appointment of mine.

    15 Also, as far as my work is concerned, I never

    16 was aware of any superior structure, something that I

    17 could relate to my previous work, in other words, an

    18 entity to which I would report on my daily activities.

    19 I would only occasionally inform members of the

    20 municipal crisis staff in Kiseljak on my activities or

    21 members of the HVO headquarters in Kiseljak, and there

    22 was no superior military structure in existence at the

    23 time above this.

    24 Q. When and in what way did you meet someone who

    25 at least theoretically may have been your superior?

  57. 1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, sometime in

    2 early May 1992, around the 5th of May, the commander of

    3 the municipal headquarters of the HVO, Tomislav

    4 Trutina, proposed that I accompany him on a trip to

    5 Busovaca on a fact-finding mission, that I accompany

    6 him during this trip.

    7 I went along, and we arrived at Motel Tisa,

    8 which is on the approaches to town, and here in this

    9 motel I met and I greeted Mr. Pasko Ljubicic, and we

    10 had an informal conversation which lasted for several

    11 minutes. This was at the reception desk in the motel.

    12 And then I sat down with Tomo in a restaurant. We sat

    13 down at a table.

    14 Q. Could you tell me what you were told? What

    15 was Pasko Ljubicic's post?

    16 A. At that time, Tomo told me, "Here, you see

    17 this man? This is Pasko. He's the commander of the

    18 regional headquarters of the HVO for Central Bosnia."

    19 We sat down in this restaurant. Pasko, for a while,

    20 went away to make some telephone calls, and we were

    21 joined by a gentleman, whom I later learned that his

    22 name was Filip Filipovic and he used to be a colonel in

    23 the former JNA, and Lieutenant-Colonel Filipovic

    24 briefly gave us his impressions about the operation at

    25 Slimena. This was an operation in which the HVO forces

  58. 1 were involved. I'm not sure whether the TO was also

    2 involved in it. This was in the territory of Travnik

    3 municipality where a warehouse was surrounded with the

    4 weapons of the Territorial Defence for the

    5 municipalities of Busovaca, Novi Travnik, Travnik, and

    6 Zenica.

    7 Q. When you say "Territorial Defence," was this

    8 the Muslim Territorial Defence or the Territorial

    9 Defence which was still under the JNA control?

    10 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, what I am

    11 referring to is the Territorial Defence which was part

    12 of the structure of the armed forces of the former

    13 Yugoslavia; in other words, under the control of the

    14 Yugoslav People's Army, not -- I do not refer to the

    15 Territorial Defence established by the leadership of

    16 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    17 Q. How were the weapons distributed?

    18 A. I did not review the documents to see how the

    19 weapons were distributed except there, at the

    20 restaurant, I listened to what Filipovic was saying,

    21 and he pointed out that about 75 per cent of the

    22 weapons ended up in the hands of Bosniak Muslims and

    23 about -- that is, of the total weapons -- 25 per cent

    24 went to the Croats. He also said that the HVO members

    25 had casualties during this operation, there were both

  59. 1 killed and wounded, but he also said that he managed to

    2 reach an agreement with the TO representatives and that

    3 this distribution was to be balanced approximately

    4 50-50 per cent. However, he told us that he had agreed

    5 to this distribution.

    6 Q. Can you tell me about this meeting? Did you

    7 receive any instructions, any orders, either by Pasko

    8 Ljubicic or Filip Filipovic?

    9 A. No. I was surprised at that time because I

    10 had expected that the meeting was about to start and

    11 that this discussion could have been an expose by

    12 Colonel Filipovic. It was just kind of a briefing to

    13 let us know what had happened. However, at one point,

    14 the commander, Tomislav Trutina, told me that it was

    15 time for us to start going back, and so we returned to

    16 Kiseljak without any orders, information, or any kind

    17 of military report. This is how my first contact with

    18 these, let's call it "formerly superior officers,"

    19 ended.

    20 Q. Let me just sum up. Pasko Ljubicic was

    21 formerly your first commander, and this is the same

    22 Pasko Ljubicic who was to be the commander of the

    23 military police in Central Bosnia?

    24 A. Yes.

    25 Q. Could you now describe the next meeting which

  60. 1 you had with superiors at the HVO?

    2 A. The next meeting was sometime towards the end

    3 of May of '95. I think that, more precisely, it was on

    4 the 23rd of May, 1992. My commander, Tomislav Trutina,

    5 and I again left Kiseljak en route to Busovaca. I know

    6 that we were supposed to see whether they had any

    7 anti-armour weapons because there was a threat of a

    8 tank attack against Kiseljak.

    9 In a motel, and I believe it's called Villa

    10 Titovac in Busovaca, I met a brigadier who introduced

    11 himself as Brigadier Zarko Tole. He was accompanied by

    12 two uniformed men, one was his driver and the other one

    13 was probably his escort.

    14 Q. What was Zarko Tole's duty?

    15 A. I only know that he told me, when he

    16 introduced himself, that he was the commander of the

    17 regional headquarters for -- regional staff for Central

    18 Bosnia.

    19 Q. Just one more comment. Does that mean that

    20 Zarko Tole had meanwhile replaced Pasko Ljubicic?

    21 A. Yes, that would have meant that we had a new

    22 commander, that Zarko Tole was a new commander.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I suggest that we

    24 take a 15-minute break and then we'll resume at 4.30.

    25 --- Recess taken at 4.15 p.m.

  61. 1 --- On resuming at 4.37 p.m.

    2 (The accused entered court)

    3 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing

    4 now. Please be seated.

    5 Mr. Nobilo?

    6 MR. NOBILO:

    7 Q. At the break, we left off when you, sometime

    8 on the 23rd of May, arrived at a meeting with the HVO

    9 staff commander and you realised that there was a new

    10 commander in place, Mr. Tole. Could you describe your

    11 conversation with him a little bit?

    12 A. Yes. This was a new commander whom I met for

    13 the first time that afternoon, and he informed us on

    14 the events mostly focusing on the Kupres front and on

    15 the probable intentions of the army of Republika Srpska

    16 in the area of Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Prozor,

    17 Tomislavgrad, and Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Jajce.

    18 However, he also said that on that day, at 19.00 hours,

    19 a meeting was set up with the civilian and military

    20 authorities in the Busovaca municipality conference

    21 room and that it would be good if we also attended this

    22 meeting. He stressed that this meeting, which was to

    23 be held in the Busovaca municipality building, will be

    24 attended by representatives of both the Muslim and

    25 Croatian communities.

  62. 1 Tomislav Trutina and I stayed on for that

    2 meeting, and in this meeting, Commander Tole spoke for

    3 the most part, and he described his own view of the

    4 military situation and he said that the representatives

    5 of both the Croatian and Muslim communities in Busovaca

    6 municipality should overcome certain disagreements and

    7 differences and that they should focus their forces for

    8 the defence against the upcoming attacks by the army of

    9 the Republika Srpska.

    10 He particularly emphasised the need for a

    11 joint defence and informed us that a joint command had

    12 already been established which was focusing on the

    13 developments on the Kupres front. However, this

    14 meeting too ended up without any firm orders for us by

    15 this new commander except for the usual military

    16 information, that was the standard military information

    17 that was given about the current situation. Nothing

    18 else was given. He also stated that a meeting had been

    19 held in Travnik with representatives of the Croatian

    20 and Muslim communities, and as far as I can recall, it

    21 may also have been held in Vitez and perhaps in Novi

    22 Travnik.

    23 After this meeting, I returned to the

    24 municipal headquarters in Kiseljak and continued my

    25 daily activities.

  63. 1 Q. Did you receive any combat order from your

    2 superior commander Tole?

    3 A. No. Apart from this information, this

    4 briefing, which really dealt with how he saw the role

    5 of the civilian representatives in terms of assistance,

    6 logistics, and everything else relating to the defence

    7 and creating a line of defence in Central Bosnia, at no

    8 point did he issue any kind of task or order, nor did I

    9 receive any from him.

    10 Q. When did you next meet with your commander?

    11 A. The next meeting, and then this was again a

    12 new commander for the regional headquarters for Central

    13 Bosnia, was on the 5th of June, 1992 in Gornji Vakuf.

    14 Q. Who was the commander at the time? This was

    15 a new commander or was this the old commander Tole?

    16 A. No, it --

    17 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry. I think it was

    18 translated "the 5th of June," and it's come out "the

    19 15th of June." I don't know, in terms of the

    20 testimony, if that's of any consequence, but for

    21 accuracy's sake, I point that out.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. The 5th of June, the 5th; is that correct,

    24 General?

    25 A. Yes.

  64. 1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you for your

    2 clarification.

    3 Q. So the meeting was held on the 5th of June.

    4 Who was there? Who was now the commander of this

    5 regional headquarters for Central Bosnia?

    6 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, we assembled for

    7 this meeting a little bit early on that occasion, and

    8 again we met with our now new commander. This was a

    9 commander who introduced himself as Zulu. He did not

    10 give us his full name, and I assumed that this was

    11 his nom de guerre.

    12 In this meeting, Commander Zulu, after he

    13 introduced himself as the new commander of the regional

    14 headquarters for Central Bosnia, informed us again

    15 about the current events on the Kupres front,

    16 predominantly, the development in the Gornji Vakuf,

    17 Bugojno, Novi Travnik, and Jajce areas, and this

    18 meeting was suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a

    19 soldier who brought a message to the commander.

    20 Fifteen to twenty minutes later, we learned

    21 the reason for this interruption, and the commander

    22 told us only that he, himself, was calling the next

    23 meeting for the 9th of June, 1992, again in Gornji

    24 Vakuf.

    25 Q. Did this new commander issue you any orders

  65. 1 or did he establish a chain of command, a chain of

    2 subordination?

    3 A. No, he did not. He did not issue any

    4 orders. He didn't even ask us to give him our names so

    5 that he would know who attended this meeting and which

    6 commanders attended. He, in no way, issued any orders,

    7 let alone any combat orders. This was a very brief

    8 meeting, and it consisted only of his speech about what

    9 he thought was going on. There was a big difference

    10 between the briefing of the previous commander Tole and

    11 Commander Zulu.

    12 Q. Let us leave aside for the moment your

    13 contacts with your immediate superiors, until the time

    14 when you, yourself, became the superior officer there.

    15 Could you just give us, very briefly, your comments on

    16 the civilian authorities in Kiseljak, how you saw them

    17 after two or three months of being there?

    18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, my arrival in

    19 Kiseljak and my reporting to the local civilian

    20 authorities was my first direct contact with the

    21 civilian authorities. As a cadet during my military

    22 training and later on as a professional officer, I

    23 lived in a system which was completely insulated from

    24 the civilian government. Only when I needed to report

    25 my residence, which was in Postojna and Ljubljana, did

  66. 1 I have any dealings with any civilian authorities, and

    2 the former JNA had all other services militarised.

    3 I realised that the supreme power in the

    4 Kiseljak municipality was held by the municipal crisis

    5 staff and that all of the military and civilian

    6 governing was issued from there. The civilian

    7 authorities at that time tried to keep their former

    8 authority, but, in my view, it was also forced to take

    9 over all other functions, state functions, which was

    10 due to the fact that the state had ceased to function

    11 there.

    12 The municipal crisis staff mostly worked

    13 through joint meetings, sessions, which included

    14 representatives of both Croatian and Bosniak Muslim

    15 communities. What I noticed in these meetings was that

    16 there was no agenda or prepared plan of what the

    17 discussion was about, but certain events in the

    18 Kiseljak municipality dictated the agenda of these

    19 meetings, and usually this municipal authority, for the

    20 most part, reacted like some kind of fire fighting

    21 crew. If a fire broke out somewhere, that is, if

    22 certain incidents or events happened, then they would

    23 respond.

    24 The decisions were taken by consensus, by

    25 mutual agreement, or by voting. When voting, the

  67. 1 Croats had the relative majority, and frequently the

    2 decisions which were adopted by vote were not agreed to

    3 by the Bosniak Muslim side. They often had objections

    4 to the rules, and I know that the rules were set up by

    5 their local municipal assembly.

    6 Apart from these types of decision taking, I

    7 never noticed any superior civilian government bodies

    8 or any form of coordination between the higher civilian

    9 government bodies. I remember, for instance, the issue

    10 of food supplies, when there were shortages, a

    11 municipal commission was established but only after the

    12 shortages were already present and when a need arose to

    13 find ways to find new supplies. At that time,

    14 humanitarian aid was not yet in place, but we had a

    15 problem with the influx of refugees.

    16 Q. Let me move on to another area, and let me

    17 move to the period of time until you became the

    18 commander of the Operative Zone.

    19 As regards the incidents in Kiseljak

    20 municipality, I'm talking about the period of summer,

    21 that is, June/July of 1992 and on, was this a period of

    22 peace? Were there any armed conflicts? Could you

    23 describe the situation a little bit and then maybe try

    24 to give us some of the incidents and how it was related

    25 later on to the armed conflicts.

  68. 1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the

    2 disintegration of the state and the fact that the state

    3 structures ceased to function, coupled with the lack of

    4 authority, there was no power and authority, and

    5 voluntary armament in the area of Kiseljak, as well as

    6 the breakdown generally of law and order and the

    7 movement of armed groups in the Kiseljak area, brought

    8 about a very unstable situation which was very often

    9 accompanied by incidents of various kinds.

    10 What I noticed at the very beginning of this

    11 period was that the incidents generally occurred in the

    12 villages, that is to say, not in the structure of

    13 municipal power and authority and in the municipal

    14 headquarters, but in the villages, first and foremost,

    15 and they were motivated, principally, for economic and

    16 social reasons.

    17 Regardless of these motives, each of the

    18 incidents, and there were many of them, had an effect

    19 on the population of Kiseljak, and that effect was that

    20 the population was afraid and distrustful. Very often,

    21 they would react on their own behalf, and if the

    22 complicating parties happened to be the members of

    23 different ethnic groups, then this would deepen the

    24 fear and mistrust that already existed and create a

    25 basis for the generation of new incidents.

  69. 1 It was enough for somebody to know that an

    2 activity or operation would take place to trigger off a

    3 broader incident. It was enough to learn of the

    4 movement of troops from outside or the movement of

    5 armed groups; this too would trigger off an incident of

    6 some kind. Sometimes the reasons for certain reactions

    7 were perhaps justified, sometimes they were

    8 unjustified, but the effect of any incident and all

    9 incidents was to widen the gap and increase the fear

    10 and mistrust and to have people polarise, the members

    11 of the Croatian ethnic group and the members of the

    12 Bosniak Muslims.

    13 Generally speaking, what could be perceived

    14 was that these incidents did take place, and they were

    15 incidents between the members of the HVO and HOS,

    16 between the members of the Territorial Defence and the

    17 Patriotic League, and also between the armed villagers

    18 from the neighbouring Croatian villages, that is to

    19 say, one Croatian village against another Croatian

    20 village. Then there would be conflicts between the

    21 members of the armed locals of the Bosniak Muslim

    22 villages and Croatian villages; furthermore, between

    23 the members of the Serbian villages and the Bosniak

    24 Muslim villages.

    25 There were also incidents between the members

  70. 1 of the armed villagers, who were Croats and Muslim

    2 Bosniaks, directed against the reserve unit of the

    3 civilian police which was mobilised in nine local

    4 communities. There were also incidents between the

    5 members of the military police and the civilian police

    6 force. There were also incidents at that time between

    7 armed groups which sold weapons and engaged in other

    8 activities, usually the black market, a type of black

    9 marketing.

    10 There were also incidents when troops were

    11 brought in from outside, units which, according to

    12 somebody's plan, suddenly arrived and worked according

    13 to their own plans in the Kiseljak area without being

    14 previously announced.

    15 Q. Having described the situation, could you

    16 tell us about some of the incidents that occurred in

    17 May or June 1992 for us to be able to support your

    18 assessments with facts?

    19 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I am going to

    20 quote an incident which occurred on the 3rd of May,

    21 1992 at the very exit to the Kiseljak municipality,

    22 that is, as you leave the Kiseljak municipality, a

    23 motorised column was formed comprising of ten motor

    24 vehicles, members of HOS, in the late evening hours,

    25 and this column moved from the Kiseljak municipality

  71. 1 towards the Brnjaci local community and on towards

    2 Lepenica.

    3 While they were driving, they opened

    4 automatic gunfire using small arms. The route was 10

    5 to 12 kilometres, and this created enormous problems

    6 for us because the locals from these two local

    7 communities, that is to say, both the Croats and the

    8 Muslims and the Serbs who lived in the Kiseljak

    9 municipality, thought that the army of the Republika

    10 Srpska had carried out an attack and taken control of

    11 those two local communities, and the rest of the night

    12 we spent trying to establish what had, in fact,

    13 occurred, and we did our best to calm the situation and

    14 bring things back to normal.

    15 Q. Do you recall a convoy from Foca escorted by

    16 the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the alarm that that

    17 created in the town of Kiseljak?

    18 A. Yes. The next incident, that is to say,

    19 after the incident of the 3rd of May, I myself and the

    20 commander, that is to say, Commander Bakir, were

    21 invited to attend a meeting of the municipal crisis

    22 staff to submit reports on what had happened; and on

    23 the 4th of May, 1992, in the afternoon, I left for the

    24 meeting together with Bakir. However, he asked the

    25 driver to take him to the crossroads, this is the

  72. 1 junction, at this position (indicating), and I was

    2 surprised why he wanted to be taken to the crossroads

    3 because we had this meeting of the municipal crisis

    4 staff where we were expected to table a report on the

    5 events of the previous night and the incident that had

    6 taken place. He told me that he would be back in five

    7 to ten minutes and that he would arrive at the meeting,

    8 that he wouldn't be late.

    9 I came to the meeting of the municipal crisis

    10 staff in the municipal building, and I was asked

    11 whether I knew where the convoy was coming from

    12 carrying weapons and military equipment. I told them

    13 that I didn't know because I had spent the whole day at

    14 Kobiljaca touring the lines there and inspecting the

    15 positions and fortifications there.

    16 While we were discussing what this convoy was

    17 and where the convoy could come from and where it could

    18 pass through, we heard the noise of motor vehicles on

    19 the streets of Kiseljak, that is to say, there is just

    20 one main street, in fact. We heard noise there caused

    21 by vehicles, and we heard some shouting and voices

    22 outside.

    23 When I managed to go outside, I saw in front

    24 of the municipal building that there was a patrol

    25 vehicle of the Golf type, Volkswagen Golf, belonging to

  73. 1 the civilian police, and that they had their rotation

    2 lights on, and a column with several heavy vehicles;

    3 and on the right-hand side, at some 20 or 15 metres

    4 from the municipal building, there were soldiers

    5 positioned belonging to the Territorial Defence and the

    6 Patriotic League together with Bakir, and they had

    7 their rifles cocked at the municipal building, ready to

    8 fire. I recognised some of the soldiers because they

    9 were from my own local community and I spent my

    10 childhood with some of them; we grew up together.

    11 I asked the members of MUP in the patrol

    12 vehicle, patrol car, what was happening. Where were

    13 they escorting the column to? It was at this point

    14 that one of the officers introduced himself -- I can't

    15 remember his name, but I know that he was a Bosniak

    16 Muslim, a member of the Foca police station -- and he

    17 was escorting the convoy with the intention of moving

    18 on towards Visoko.

    19 Of course, all the noise and the deployment

    20 of the soldiers led to reaction on the part of the HVO

    21 who were already positioned on the opposite side at a

    22 distance of some 30 metres away from the members of the

    23 Territorial Defence and the Patriotic League.

    24 An hour later, the convoy moved on, and when

    25 I asked Bakir why he failed to inform me about the

  74. 1 arrival of the convoy and why he didn't tell me why he

    2 wanted to be taken to the crossroads in the first

    3 place, he said that he knew nothing about the convoy

    4 and that he just happened to be there by chance in the

    5 armed escort given to the convoy. That was how the

    6 incident concerning the convoy was closed.

    7 In the course of the morning, once again on

    8 the 4th of May, I was on my way back from the Kobiljaca

    9 feature and the positions there, Zvonko Anic was in the

    10 car with me and he, in fact, drove the car, and we were

    11 stopped at the Paleska Cuprija position at the entrance

    12 to the town of Kiseljak, we were stopped by Fabjan

    13 Dugandzic and his son Marko.

    14 Q. Are they Croats?

    15 A. Yes, they're Croats. Fabjan Dugandzic took

    16 out his pistol and cocked it at me and he had the gun

    17 at the ready, his son came up with an automatic rifle,

    18 and they cocked their weapons at me, they were half a

    19 metre away from me, and they were talking about what

    20 the HOS had done, the incident that occurred in their

    21 village, and they were protesting about that incident.

    22 They asked that incidents of this kind should not be

    23 repeated and said that he would liquidate me if they

    24 were.

    25 This particular incident which Fabjan and his

  75. 1 son perpetrated was repeated two days later. This

    2 time, they turned their attention against the soldiers,

    3 members of the HVO and HOS, they directed their weapons

    4 against them, and on the 6th of May, 1992, they were

    5 engaged in engineering work on the 651 feature. This

    6 is a position at the front facing the Republika Srpska

    7 army. His justification and explanation for this was

    8 that if the Serbs were to notice a fortification going

    9 on, they would shell his house.

    10 Q. That the Serbs would shell Dugandzics' house;

    11 is that right?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. He didn't allow fortification and

    14 trench-digging on his land for the defence of Kiseljak;

    15 is that true?

    16 A. Yes. He came with his son, and he sent these

    17 recruits away, the recruits that were engaged in

    18 digging trenches.

    19 Q. Do you remember the 1st of May, 1992,

    20 trench-digging on that day and the conflict between the

    21 Croatian village of Palez and the Muslims?

    22 A. Yes, I remember that. It was the village of

    23 Gornji Palez and the village of Duhri. There were

    24 joint village guards set up there that would patrol the

    25 village, a village watch, and they would be in the form

  76. 1 of a patrol. They would move about the village

    2 patrolling the village.

    3 First of all, they took each other prisoner,

    4 but are neighbours, they are two neighbouring villages,

    5 the village of Gornji Palez and the village of Duhri,

    6 and when they had taken each other prisoner, later on

    7 this turned into general trench-digging and

    8 fortifications for military purposes, and they directed

    9 their -- that is, one village cocked its weapons at the

    10 other village, the Croatian village of Gornji Palez

    11 made fortifications towards the village of Duhri, and

    12 the village of Duhri, in turn, set up fortifications

    13 towards the village of Gornji Palez.

    14 This problem was solved on the 1st of May by

    15 the commander of the municipal staff of the HVO of

    16 Kiseljak, Tomislav Trutina, who himself was from the

    17 village of Gornji Palez, he was born there, it was his

    18 native village, and he held a meeting there with the

    19 representatives of both villages, and they decided that

    20 the trenches would be filled in and that the situation

    21 would be brought back to normal.

    22 Q. My colleague has cautioned me that there

    23 might have been some problems over the translation.

    24 May I summarise and say that each of the two villages

    25 had dug trenches and turned against the other village;

  77. 1 is that the sense?

    2 A. No, this happened on the 1st of May ...

    3 Q. Once again, I have been told that it has been

    4 interpreted differently. So the trenches were dug and

    5 they faced the other village. So the village of Gornji

    6 Palez faced its trenches toward Duhri, Duhri dug their

    7 trenches and faced the other village; is that the sense

    8 of what you're saying?

    9 A. Yes.

    10 Q. On the 1st of May, there was a conflict

    11 between the Muslims of Gromiljak with the civilian

    12 police force there. Did you take part in resolving

    13 that conflict?

    14 A. I was on my way back sometime around 9.00 or

    15 10.00 p.m., they were the afternoon hours, and they

    16 asked -- the members of the reserve force of the

    17 civilian police asked for my assistance because they

    18 were accused of not doing anything. People said they

    19 only spent their time in the police stations without

    20 actually doing much, and this created a certain amount

    21 of dissatisfaction both with the Bosniak Muslim people

    22 and with the Croatian people, especially with the

    23 military recruits who already at that time had been

    24 taking shifts, daily shifts, at the frontline towards

    25 the army of Republika Srpska.

  78. 1 There was a conflict there too on the 1st of

    2 May. There was a round of gunfire in the evening,

    3 towards evening, by the armed Muslim Bosniak villagers

    4 towards the police station, the wartime police station

    5 positioned at Gromiljak.

    6 In talking to the members of that police

    7 station, they told me -- they told me what their names

    8 were, and on the basis of their names, I was able to

    9 conclude that they were Bosniak Muslims who, at the

    10 time, were performing their duty and were doing their

    11 shift. However, these conflicts with the reserve

    12 forces occurred in the Brestovsko local community as

    13 well, and in others too.

    14 I'll have a drink of water.

    15 Q. The excess behaviours were attributed to the

    16 Vrazija Divizija, "Devil's Division," when they took

    17 over a certain amount of smuggled -- they smuggled

    18 cigarettes.

    19 A. Yes, the members of a group that was called

    20 Vrazija Divizija, "Devil's Division," it wasn't, of

    21 course, a standard division made up of 8.000 to 12.000

    22 soldiers, it was just an armed group numbering some 50

    23 men, and in the middle of the day, it was perhaps noon

    24 or sometime in the early afternoon, they stormed the

    25 marketplace in Kiseljak and collected all the cigarette

  79. 1 packages and cartons and all the valuable goods that

    2 were displayed there at a time when there were

    3 shortages of practically every commodity in Kiseljak.

    4 They paid nothing, of course, to the people selling

    5 those goods.

    6 After they had done this, they went on to the

    7 petrol pump, the only gas station that was open in

    8 Kiseljak at the time. They filled their vehicles up

    9 with petrol and went away without any intention of

    10 paying.

    11 Q. How could we define, in the national sense,

    12 the Vrazija Divizija, "Devil's Division"? What ethnic

    13 group did they belong to? What about the tradesmen

    14 whose goods were stolen, what ethnic group did they

    15 belong to?

    16 A. I talked to some of the tradesmen because

    17 they complained themselves, they came to me to

    18 complain, and I talked to the attendants at the petrol

    19 pump, and they were Croats, and the members of the

    20 Devil's Division were mostly Croats, although there

    21 were some Bosniak Muslims within their ranks as well.

    22 Q. On that particular day, there was a conflict

    23 between two HVO units around Cubren, was there not?

    24 A. Yes, Mr. President, Your Honours. Cubren

    25 lies in this position here, it is the dominant feature

  80. 1 in this entire Lepenica valley, that is the feature

    2 (indicating), and the former army had its radio relay

    3 links there and it used the feature within its

    4 communications and signals network.

    5 The border at the Cubren feature -- in fact,

    6 this feature was divided into two areas, so that the

    7 building where the staff was put up was on the

    8 territory of the Kiseljak municipality whereas the

    9 metal relay post with all the equipment was located, in

    10 fact, in the municipality of Kresevo. Although this

    11 tower was only ten or fifteen metres away from the

    12 building itself, it was a major problem for the two

    13 municipalities and the crisis staff of those two

    14 municipalities, that is to say, the civilian

    15 authorities of the Kresevo and Kiseljak municipalities,

    16 because they were not able to agree as to under whose

    17 competence and authority these facilities were.

    18 On that particular day, there was a

    19 confrontation, there was a confrontation with weapons

    20 and personnel between Kiseljak and Kresevo, the two

    21 municipalities.

    22 Q. So it was a Croat-Croat conflict. But on the

    23 11th of May, part of Medvjednica sent in an ultimatum.

    24 Would you explain the circumstances of that ultimatum

    25 and who it was addressed to?

  81. 1 A. This ultimatum was, in fact, just a

    2 continuation of a larger conflict or a larger friction

    3 which was going at the time which had to do with the

    4 lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. This ultimatum was

    5 sent to all the Croats living in the area of

    6 Medvjednica village to the effect that they should

    7 surrender their weapons and turn them over and the

    8 equipment, even though this village is at the frontline

    9 against the army of the Republika Srpska.

    10 The Territorial Defence consisted mostly of

    11 the Bosnian Muslims, and they sent this ultimatum to

    12 the Croats in the village of Medvjednica.

    13 Q. In which local commune is this village?

    14 A. The village is partly in the Lepenica and

    15 partly in the Kiseljak municipality.

    16 Q. So this was on the 11th of May. As early as

    17 12 May, the TO started shooting. Who were they

    18 shooting at?

    19 A. The village of Sotnice is in the commune of

    20 Brestovsko, and in the course of the 11th of May, there

    21 was automatic rifle fire and the Croats were shot at.

    22 Croats were a minority in this village which was in the

    23 Kiseljak municipality.

    24 Q. You said that fire was opened against them.

    25 Now, who opened fire at them?

  82. 1 A. The TO members, that is, the Bosniak

    2 Muslims. They lived in the majority there. Among them

    3 there may have been members of the Patriotic League,

    4 but there is a Muslim and Croat population there.

    5 Q. So the Croats in Fojnica and Busovaca looted

    6 a Muslim convoy on that day, on the 12th of May?

    7 A. Yes, this was a convoy, and it was the first

    8 time that the Territorial Defence was able to secure

    9 for itself some armoured vehicles. Up until then, such

    10 equipment was not around, at least we did not see them,

    11 and these were the first armoured vehicles which were

    12 later taken over by the Territorial Defence in Visoko.

    13 Your Honours, Mr. President, the Croats in

    14 Fojnica robbed this convoy and they took away almost

    15 all the equipment that this convoy was transporting,

    16 and later on they decided, together with the Busovaca

    17 HVO members, to take those vehicles, those armoured

    18 vehicles, along the road to Busovaca-Fojnica and then

    19 Kiseljak-Kresevo.

    20 While driving along this road, they shot

    21 around, and again it created a lot of excitement

    22 because they shot from heavy machine guns.

    23 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we can stop at

    24 this point.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We are going to

  83. 1 stop for today.

    2 MR. NOBILO: One more issue, Mr. President.

    3 If you will recall, Professor Jankovic, the artillery

    4 expert, the Trial Chamber ordered that the entire

    5 material about mortars be submitted, and here it is.

    6 We provide the entire --

    7 JUDGE JORDA: You want me to read it tonight,

    8 do you?

    9 All right. We can adjourn our session for

    10 today, and tomorrow we start at 10.00. All right.

    11 Court stands adjourned.

    12 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at

    13 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,

    14 the 18th day of February, 1999, at

    15 10.00 a.m.