1 Friday, 19th February, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.53 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. I would like
5 the witness/accused to come in directly and take his
6 place at the witness bench.
7 (The witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters, Defence and Prosecution counsel. Good
10 morning to the accused, and let me give the floor
11 immediately to Mr. Nobilo for a hearing that will
12 continue until 1.30 with an approximate 15-minute
14 Mr. Nobilo, you may begin.
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC
17 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
18 Q. General, can you tell the Court, in 1992,
19 from the time you took over the command of the
20 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, which was called the
21 regional main staff of the HVO to begin with, what were
22 your basic two functions in that particular year for
23 that territory?
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, my two basic
25 functions were to carry out defence along the front
1 lines and to stand at the head of combat operations,
2 and the second duty was the organisation of the army,
3 that is to say, the army made up of the armed people or
4 the armed villagers.
5 Q. The first topic we should like to talk about
6 today would be the front, the front lines towards the
7 army of the Republika Srpska. We have already
8 introduced a map showing the front, the different front
9 lines and fronts, but could you now go through the
10 situation month by month and tell us which fronts were
11 active, where the fighting actually took place, and
12 where you took place in directing and organising the
13 defence, having taken over the command of the Operative
14 Zone in Central Bosnia?
15 A. Already in July 1992, the active fronts were
16 Bugojno, Novi Travnik, Travnik, Komusina, Usora, Jajce,
17 Jablanica, and Konjic.
18 Q. Tell me, in August, what fronts were active?
19 A. In August, the following fronts continued to
20 be operative: Jajce, Komusina, which the Serbs had
21 taken over on the 8th of August, 1992, and they
22 expelled about 6.000 civilians from that area. Then
23 there was Usora, Maglaj, Jablanica, and Konjic.
24 Q. What about September? What were your
25 preoccupations in September?
1 A. In September, there was Kupres, Jajce, Usora,
2 Maglaj, Zepce, Olovo, Gorazde, Stup, and the area
3 around Sarajevo.
4 Q. In October, what fronts were active?
5 A. Usora, Jajce, Maglaj, Olovo, and Kiseljak.
6 Q. Finally, in November and December of 1992?
7 A. They were the areas of Novi Travnik, Travnik,
8 Usora, Maglaj, Olovo, and Gorazde.
9 Q. Were all the fronts that you enumerated
10 fronts in which the HVO was confronting the army of the
11 Republika Srpska?
12 A. Apart from the front in Gorazde, where the
13 HVO gave logistical assistance to all the other fronts,
14 the HVO forces took part.
15 Q. Were you responsible for those HVO forces,
16 that is to say, did they come under the command of the
17 Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
18 A. They did --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. I've
20 got the translation and the transcript. The witness
21 said that the HVO was who was supporting -- I only
22 heard "aside from" or "except for Gorazde." I didn't
23 hear the rest of the answer.
24 General Blaskic, aside from Gorazde, I think
25 that you said that the HVO was fighting on all the
1 fronts; is that correct? That's my question.
2 A. That's right, Mr. President, apart from
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. And the adversaries, the enemies, were the
7 army of the Republika Srpska; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. Therefore, the HVO, which engaged in defence
10 operations on those fronts, were they under your
11 military responsibility?
12 A. In all these areas, the answer is yes, but in
13 October, the Operative Zone was reorganised, and
14 Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, Jablanica, and Konjic
15 were not within the composition of the Central Bosnia
16 Operative Zone.
17 Q. That is, from October 1992; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. Some of the fronts or some regions of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which you either assisted or where
21 troops were fighting, were dominantly Muslim in terms
22 of population, particularly in eastern Bosnia. Could
23 you explain your interest in assisting the army of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Muslim regions, in fact?
25 A. At all events, as soon as I took over my
1 duties, I did everything in my power to include all
2 potential forces at our disposal into the defence of
3 the regions where the combat operations were taking
4 place against the Serbs, and I was conscious of the
5 fact that an attack on the Serbs would be selective,
6 taking over and control step by step the entire area.
7 So the military interest was supreme and was the
8 primary interest in setting up our defence, regardless
9 of ethnicity.
10 Q. Tell us, the municipality of Gorazde and
11 Olovo, were these predominantly Muslim municipalities
12 in view of the ethnic composition of the population?
13 A. Yes, they were predominantly Bosniak Muslim
14 municipalities, but the representative of the supreme
15 authority from Gorazde felt the need, and, in November,
16 he visited the command of the Operative Zone and
17 expressed publicly at press conferences his gratitude
18 for the assistance given in the defence to help him
19 defend Gorazde.
20 Q. By "Gorazde," you mean in eastern Bosnia; is
21 that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Where did you find the resources to send to
24 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in eastern Bosnia? How
25 did you deal with logistics?
1 A. Before the defence operations were launched,
2 that was the most difficult question for us to solve
3 because there was not enough logistics to ensure the
4 functioning of the front, and this was especially true
5 as of September. What we would do is we would take
6 from the municipalities that were not on the front
7 lines, such as the municipality of Vitez, for example,
8 then there was the municipality of Busovaca, the
9 municipality of Fojnica, and the municipality of
10 Kresevo are cases in point, so we would take ammunition
11 and armaments and other resources which we would then
12 send to those areas which were subjected to the
14 Q. The greatest losses were incurred in Jajce.
15 A large portion of the territory was taken control of
16 by the Serbs, and 25.000 people fled to the Lasva River
17 Valley. Can you explain what happened in Jajce? What
18 was your involvement there at the front in Jajce, and
19 how did you cooperate with the Territorial Defence
20 forces, and, ultimately, what was the effect of the
21 fall of Jajce itself?
22 A. In order to take control of Jajce, the enemy,
23 the Serbian army, engaged almost two corps. It was the
24 2nd Krajina Corps and the 1st Krajina Corps. The front
25 at Jajce was 107 kilometres long, and of that area, the
1 HVO covered 80 kilometres, controlled 80 kilometres,
2 whereas the Territorial Defence had about 27
4 I, myself, from the 12th of August and
5 practically the entire time after that, spent at that
6 front commanding directly the defence operations, and
7 we succeeded, in the course of that period, to engage
8 from Central Bosnia about 300 volunteers per week at
9 that front, the front of Jajce.
10 During a lull when there were no attacks from
11 the Serb side, I was engaged in organising the defence
12 operations, and I tried to use specific methods by
13 which to replace our lack in military organisation. I
14 organised defence at Jajce in sectors.
15 Q. Can you explain to us what you mean when you
16 say that you organised defence according to different
17 sectors? Is that a modern method of warfare or is that
18 a method of warfare that was used in past times? What
19 do you mean when you say that?
20 A. Well, it is not a modern method of warfare,
21 and what it meant was that I had ten associates or up
22 to ten assistants, and I gave them the task of
23 controlling a certain portion of the terrain up at the
24 front line which they were to defend, I assigned them a
25 portion of the front to defend of the 80 kilometres
1 that the HVO covered at the Jajce front.
2 It was not a classical method of warfare and
3 combat operations because, at that time in Jajce, we
4 had armed villages, and in the aim of improving the
5 effectiveness of our defence, I held meetings with the
6 representatives of the Territorial Defence, I had
7 meetings with the representatives of HOS, and I
8 endeavoured to improve cooperation, particularly in the
9 combat operations and putting them into effect.
10 Our greatest problem was the imbalance that
11 existed in weaponry and manpower between the attackers,
12 that is to say, the Serbian army, and the defenders on
13 the other side, and the air force was used very
14 frequently in the area and helicopter units as well.
15 These were used on the part of the Serbian army.
16 Q. Together with Jajce, you also had another
17 very active front in October, and that was the Maglaj
18 front. Could you tell us of the casualties incurred
19 there and what happened there?
20 A. In October, I spent a considerable time at
21 that front, and it encompassed the entire area from
22 Novi Seher, Usora, and Maglaj, and the Serbs endeavoured
23 to take control of Maglaj, and there was intensive
24 fighting, intense combat operations in the area.
25 The command, of which I was the commander in
1 chief, from June onwards, were in the area. When I was
2 not there, my deputy commander was there. He was Luka
3 Sekerija, and in Maglaj, there was a coordinated
4 action, and the joint command of the defence of Maglaj
5 worked together, and this joint command was led by
6 Robert Bresic. He was the commander of that joint
7 command, and his deputy was Sulejman Herceg. Within
8 that composition, there was also Alojz Gasparevic
9 within the command.
10 Q. The units that defended Maglaj, what were
12 A. At that time, in that area, we succeeded in
13 engaging parts of HOS, then units of the Territorial
14 Defence, as well as the Green Legion, Zelene Legija,
15 and the units of the HVO.
16 Q. What were the casualties in October at that
18 A. At that front, about 43 soldiers were killed
19 up until the beginning of October, but we had a large
20 number of wounded men that were thrown out of action,
21 about 420 soldiers who were wounded.
22 Q. When you mentioned individuals in the joint
23 command and the units, we can say, in fact, that they
24 were Muslim/Croat units and a Muslim/Croat command; is
25 that true?
1 A. Yes, that's right. There was a command in
2 Zavidovici and in Maglaj and in Usora.
3 Q. Let us go back to the Jajce front for a
4 moment because in October, Jajce was to fall. When you
5 said that you organised the 80 kilometres in sectors,
6 for example, at every 8 kilometres there would be one
7 commander in charge of one sector, were these sectors
8 left to the defence of the local people in the villages
9 or were you able to coordinate with the municipalities
10 in Central Bosnia and have them take part in the
11 defence of Jajce? What was that like?
12 A. Well, it was not possible to ensure that the
13 entire front line at that town was organised and
14 defended with their own forces alone because it is an
15 enormous territory. We succeeded in having from the
16 other municipalities, we engaged per week between 50
17 and 100 recruits from the other municipalities, and we
18 formed and equipped a unit, a Croat/Muslim unit, which
19 was called the Kotor Varos Battalion.
20 Q. This Croatian/Muslim unit, under which
21 composition was that?
22 A. It was under the composition of the HVO, came
23 under the HVO.
24 Q. When was the beginning of the end of Jajce;
25 that is to say, the beginning of the fall of Jajce,
1 when did that occur, and what, in your opinion, was one
2 of the reasons that Jajce fell?
3 A. The beginning of the downfall of Jajce came
4 with the intensification of the conflict in Novi
6 Q. When did that occur?
7 A. That was on the 19th, that is to say, the
8 night between the 18th and 19th of October, 1992. The
9 conflict broke out between the Territorial Defence and
10 the Croatian Defence Council in Novi Travnik.
11 Q. What was the reason?
12 A. The reason for that conflict was, once again,
13 the petrol pump, the gas station, and efforts made to
14 take control of the building of the old hotel, the old
15 hotel building and other facilities in town by the TO;
16 they wanted to take control.
17 We were not able, from that day onwards, to
18 send a convoy with ammunition and materiel to Jajce
19 because the convoy was stopped in Opara.
20 Q. Which municipality is Opara in?
21 A. Opara is in the Novi Travnik municipality
22 under the control of the Territorial Defence of Novi
23 Travnik (indicating). That was a convoy that I went to
24 Mostar to ensure on the 19th of October, 1992.
25 In addition to the impossibility of sending a
1 convoy to the area, the shifts that were to have been
2 sent out from Kakanj and Vares to the Jajce area did
3 not manage to pass through from the 20th of October
4 because this was not permitted by the Territorial
5 Defence from Kakanj, and they set up checkpoints,
6 roadblocks, to stop them passing on the main road.
7 The shifts from Kiseljak and Kresevo, to
8 assist the defenders as backup for the defenders of
9 Jajce, which had managed to pass in the afternoon hours
10 of the 20th of October, were stopped in Karaula, and
11 the shifts that were already in Jajce remained in
12 Jajce, but I think that this merely speeded up the fall
13 of Jajce because it upset morale amongst the soldiers
14 and it upset a situation of cooperation which had
15 existed between the Territorial Defence and HOS in
16 Jajce and the HVO.
17 Jajce was in a complete semi-encirclement by
18 the Serbian army, and it was very difficult to defend
20 Q. The 26th of October, 1992; that is considered
21 to be the beginning of the fall of Jajce. Could you
22 give us, in chronological terms, an overview of the
23 more important events from the 26th onwards so that we
24 can see what the fall of Jajce was like and what the
25 results of that were on the overall situation in
1 Central Bosnia and particularly in the Lasva River
3 A. On the 26th of October, we were subjected to
4 heavy shelling, and one of our positions fell. It is
5 called the Gola Planina, as well as another position
6 called Vrbica, and that signalled the fall of the
7 entire area of Jajce. As early as the 27th of October,
8 the Serbs drove out about 4.000 civilians who had been
9 displaced persons from Kotor Varos, and they sent them
10 towards Travnik. This caused further complications for
11 us because now we needed to care for four (sic) more
12 displaced persons who, in the course of this day, all
13 arrived in Travnik.
14 Q. Four thousand.
15 A. Four thousand refugees.
16 MR. NOBILO: Could we place on the ELMO
17 Exhibit D260 (sic), this has to do with Jajce, so we
18 can see where Jajce was and what the front looked like
19 just before the fall?
20 JUDGE JORDA: These 4.000 refugees, what was
21 their nationality? General Blaskic, what was the
22 nationality of the 4.000 refugees?
23 A. There were both Croats and Muslims, Your
25 MR. NOBILO: Yes. The correct Exhibit number
1 is D160.
2 Q. Show Jajce and Zenica just so we can get
3 oriented. All of these areas were under the control of
4 the HVO and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that
6 A. Yes. The light areas were under the control
7 of the Bosnian army, and the darker ones were under the
8 control of the HVO.
9 Q. Very well. Let's move on.
10 A. Here's Jajce, Zenica -- I'm showing Zenica
11 now for orientation -- and we received the refugees,
12 the displaced persons who had been displaced from Kotor
13 Varos (indicating), who arrived via Skender Vakuf and
14 Vlasic and finally reached Travnik.
15 Q. This pass, was it a corridor, and how big was
16 this corridor through which you can enter and exit
17 Jajce immediately before the fall?
18 A. The corridor was narrowed to the point where
19 one could shoot through the corridor, one could fire
20 from one end to the other with a simple rifle. It was
21 200 metres. At this one point, which is called
22 Vocnjak, you could only pass through at night. You
23 would have to prepare vehicles with -- you couldn't use
24 the lights, and you still ran the risk of having some
25 of the vehicles shot at.
1 Q. What happened next? When did the next group
2 of civilians move towards the Lasva Valley?
3 A. On the 28th, the entire population was
4 mobilised, everybody who lived in the Jajce
5 municipality. This comprised at least 25.000 people,
6 including civilians and soldiers, and they all started
7 moving towards Travnik.
8 Q. Who were these civilians and soldiers in
9 terms of their ethnic origins?
10 A. For the most part, they were Croats and
11 Bosniak Muslims, and there were about equal numbers of
12 each of these two groups.
13 Q. What were you engaged in after the 28th and
14 how did the situation develop?
15 A. We tried to use this corridor and provide as
16 much assistance as we could. This was up until the
17 28th. We had some casualties alongside this corridor,
18 so for a while this road was completely blocked because
19 the Serbs had hit two vehicles on the road, on the
20 section of the road between Travnik and Karaula, and
21 there we had casualties.
22 On the 28th, I personally attempted, along
23 with General Prkacin and about 300 volunteers which he
24 had brought along, this was a battalion which was
25 called Zmajod Bosne, which is called "Bosnian Dragon,"
1 and we tried to break through towards Jajce. We had
2 started but the road was completely jammed with
3 refugees who were streaming from Jajce.
4 Q. We see here that Jajce was almost completely
5 surrounded. Did the population panic, and did the
6 panic cause the entire population to start moving?
7 A. Yes. I believe that panic was one of the
8 causes, perhaps a certain lack of mutual confidence,
9 and it contributed to the early fall of Jajce.
10 Q. You addressed the population at Jajce. What
11 was the purpose of this?
12 A. At that time, I was in Travnik, but let me
13 just clarify that at that time the situation in Travnik
14 was becoming desperate for us because a further attack
15 from the Serbian army was a risk, which would have been
16 a continuation of this major success of theirs. So
17 three days passed between the 28th and the 31st, and
18 the refugees were still in the streets of Travnik, in
19 Vitez, and in Novi Travnik.
20 I was asked by their representatives to hear
21 them out, and on the 31st of October, in front of
22 the -- it was either the elementary or the high school,
23 I addressed these refugees who were complaining about
24 not having received any bread for three days and other
25 food stocks, clothes, and that they were left without
1 any care.
2 A similar thing also happened in Vitez, the
3 problems were similar, but the demands by these masses
4 of refugees were different. One group demanded passage
5 to third countries, and the other group demanded to be
6 temporarily accommodated in this area of Central
7 Bosnia. Also, law and order all but broke down
8 because, due to the fact that the civilian authorities
9 and police were not functioning and unable to meet the
10 needs of such a large number of refugees, the refugees
11 were selling -- bartering their weapons and military
12 equipment in order to get means for their survival.
13 In Karaula (indicating) and along -- via
14 Turbe and to Travnik, they organised checkpoints, these
15 were barricades, and at these checkpoints, all the
16 military recruits who were armed were being disarmed.
17 So the situation was very chaotic in the area. There
18 were even conflicts between the expelled Croats from
19 Jajce and the Croats in Novi Travnik, armed conflicts,
20 that is, and a number of incidents.
21 Q. The checkpoint of the Territorial Defence at
22 Karaula, was that point one of the points where these
23 weapons were being taken away and collected?
24 A. According to the report which I received, at
25 this checkpoint about 2.386 rifles were taken away from
1 members of the Jajce HVO as well as ten truckloads,
2 mostly -- ten trucks. These were not military trucks,
3 these were civilian trucks.
4 Q. Now, who was responsible for this?
5 A. These were the members of the TO in Karaula.
6 Q. After the fall of Jajce, a new front line was
7 established at Travnik. Could you explain what your
8 involvement was with this new front line?
9 A. Starting on the 28th of October, I spent most
10 of my time in Travnik because now a new front had been
11 created, and our assessment was that the Serbian army
12 was going to continue to exploit their success in Jajce
13 and try to conquer more territory in the Travnik
14 municipality. I tried to organise a defence of the
15 Travnik municipality in the areas which we considered
16 would be targeted for the first combat operations. I
17 also established a command post there, and on one of
18 the positions, I also had my own command post.
19 The situation was fairly complex, and
20 refugees from Jajce made the whole situation even worse
21 because they were projecting this feeling that the
22 Serbian advances could not be stopped. For me, at that
23 time, survival was of paramount importance because if
24 we lost Travnik, we would have nothing left to defend
25 in the Lasva Valley.
1 I held a number of meetings with Dzemo Merdan
2 who, at that time, was the commander of the regional
3 staff in Zenica, and we tried to reach an agreement on
4 the organisation of the defence of the town of Travnik.
5 At first, we did this again by sectors, and
6 later we managed, through the joint command, to
7 establish joint defence teams.
8 Q. Can you tell me, what happened to these
9 civilians or ex-soldiers and their families who had
10 come from Jajce, I mean both Croats and Muslims? Did
11 some of them stay? Did some of them move on?
12 A. The majority of Croats who were expelled left
13 the area of Central Bosnia while the majority of
14 Muslims, of Muslim refugees, remained, and at first
15 they were accommodated in the Travnik barracks, and
16 later on, in other municipalities in Central Bosnia,
17 that is Vitez, Zenica, and other municipalities.
18 Also, at first we managed to keep a certain
19 number of soldiers of the Kotor Varos Battalion, but
20 even this unit split up so that the Bosniak Muslims
21 joined the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and members
22 of the HVO, with their families, left together with the
23 other refugees from Jajce, they left Central Bosnia. A
24 few of them stayed behind, maybe ten to twenty
25 soldiers, and before this Kotor Varos Battalion was
1 dissolved, it numbered 500 to 600 soldiers.
2 Q. So this was a Croatian/Muslim unit within the
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You said that you worked with Merdan on the
6 organisation of defence of Travnik. I'm not going to
7 take you to all the details about the military
8 organisation, but I would like the usher to put Exhibit
9 number D347 on the ELMO.
10 I would like you to tell us about this
11 document, the circumstances under which this order of
12 yours was issued.
13 A. This order was issued following a meeting on
14 the 4th of November, 1992, which I had with Dzemo
15 Merdan, and General Merdan asked of me in this meeting
16 to issue an order literally for the reasons which are
17 set out in item number 1 of this order, that is, to
18 prevent setting fire to houses of eminent citizens of
19 Muslim nationalities in Travnik.
20 After the end of the conflict in Travnik, we
21 had established a joint commission which worked until
22 the 4th of November, 1992.
23 Q. Just a moment, this order here refers to Novi
24 Travnik because in the transcript it says "Travnik"?
25 A. Yes, it is Novi Travnik. The commission was
1 established to investigate the causes and ascertain the
2 consequences of this conflict, and it completed its
3 work on the 4th of November. Despite the fact that it
4 ceased work because of the one-sided refusal by the TO
5 to continue the work, Dzemo and I still tried to
6 stabilise this situation through documents like this
8 Q. What was the incident about? How did this
9 setting afire take place?
10 A. Yes. Houses were being set on fire, this
11 usually happened at night, and the structures that were
12 targeted were mostly those belonging to the prominent
13 citizens of Novi Travnik.
14 Q. At that time, you issued another document.
15 MR. NOBILO: Can I please have Exhibit D400
16 placed an the ELMO?
17 Q. Do you recall this document and the
18 circumstances under which it was drafted?
19 A. This also followed the meeting on the 4th of
20 November with Dzemo Merdan, but it refers to different
21 problems in the territory of the Vitez municipality,
22 and what I wanted with this document was to improve the
23 cooperation and eliminate all misunderstandings in
24 relation to the members of the BH army.
25 Q. At that time, the Travnik municipality
1 defence had stabilised. The Serbs were stopped; the
2 advances of the Serbs were stopped for the first time.
3 Were you able to secure assistance of all municipal
4 staffs at that time? Could you just briefly explain?
5 A. This was the only way for us to stabilise the
6 front in Travnik; in other words, we tasked the
7 municipal staffs in Kiseljak, Kresevo, Fojnica, Vares,
8 and Kakanj, Zenica, Busovaca, and Vitez with this
9 front; in other words, each municipal staff was tasked
10 with defending one segment of the front. This was the
11 only way for us to stop further advances of the Serbian
12 army and protect the area.
13 Q. However, on 14 December, you helped the 2nd
14 army corps in Tuzla with ammunition and weapons. Can
15 you describe what this refers to?
16 A. Yes. Simultaneously with this, there were
17 intense combat activities in the zone of responsibility
18 of the 2nd corps of the BH army, and a request reached
19 us from their headquarters asking for assistance. We
20 did so on a regular basis, and we did so this time
21 too. This wasn't the only time when we sent a
22 significant amount of ammunition, which they were in
23 need of in order to defend themselves. The assistance
24 was sent to the BH army, to the 2nd corps, that is, to
25 the regional staff in Tuzla. This is how it was
2 Q. Let us leave aside the front lines because
3 the Travnik front line was stabilised, and the Serbs
4 couldn't break through.
5 Let me take you to another area. Your other
6 major responsibility, earlier today, you said that your
7 main responsibilities were the front and the other one
8 was the organisation of the HVO army.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, could you tell the Trial Chamber, when
11 you took over this duty, how was the HVO, or what was
12 called the HVO, organised, and how did you proceed
13 about organising an army?
14 A. By taking over my duties, I, in fact, found
15 an armed people and armed villagers in the different
16 municipalities, and it was the municipal staff that
17 functioned. It would, of course, have been more usual
18 and normal had I had an organised army with which I
19 would be able to engage in combat operations at the
20 front; however, my priority task was to organise
21 defence, and in addition to that task, I had to
22 organise the army.
23 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, please, according to
24 your overall military knowledge, professional
25 knowledge, is this the usual kind of situation, that is
1 to say, that the operative commander has to create, to
2 organise an army? Is that something that is standard
3 practice in warfare?
4 A. As far as I know, it is not, and it is, first
5 and foremost, the task of the state institutions, the
6 Ministry of Defence and so on and the other kindred
7 institutions, it is their task to organise and form
8 armies. A commander is there to see to the deployment
9 and use of that army, at least in wartime.
10 I had municipal commands which were organised
11 in completely different ways and which, unfortunately,
12 did not have any basis for an existing organisation, so
13 that I had to spend a great deal of time and effort to
14 elaborate drafts for organisation, organisational
15 drafts, and other supplementary documents which we
16 could use as the groundwork, as the basis, for setting
17 up, forming, organising military formations, and we
18 spent all our energy in trying to create military
19 formations, smaller ones and then bigger ones, but in
20 addition to our efforts and the many documents that we
21 had, this was not possible.
22 Q. A meeting, at which you discussed the
23 organisation of the army on the 16th of October, 1992,
24 was attended by the Prime Minister of Herceg-Bosna,
25 Jadranko Prlic. What happened at that meeting?
1 A. It was a meeting that I was invited to attend
2 as well, and the conclusion was that the HVO was not
3 organised militarily, that they were non-mobile village
4 units, that the municipalities, with their municipal
5 army, were prevalent, and he also said that, as far as
6 the military police was concerned and the security
7 service was concerned, those two services were solely
8 responsible to their own commands.
9 He concluded, in particular, that the HVO had
10 no operative units, nor did it have an elaborated
11 system of organisation by which to create those units
12 and form those units, and at that meeting, he
13 emphasised that power and authority, and he had in mind
14 civilian power and authority, must be shared with the
15 Bosniak Muslims in relation to the electoral results
16 and the proportions of the population, which the
17 results were already known.
18 He also stressed, with respect to the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that it was only a
20 provisional solution, a temporary one, and that it was
21 not its goal to overthrow the state of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina, but that its duty was to defend.
23 Q. In these attempts to create an army, there
24 was a vital reorganisation that took place, that is to
25 say, you were under the joint command of the HVO and
1 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Could you explain how
2 this occurred? Where were you informed that you were
3 no longer the actual commander, and what happened
5 A. On the 4th of November, while I was still in
6 Travnik, I was informed by my assistant that, in
7 Busovaca, a press conference had been held by the
8 defence minister of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 Mr. Bozo Rajic. At that press conference, he stressed
10 that a joint command had been set up for the 3rd corps
11 and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone and that the
12 commanders, who had been appointed to head the army of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, were Mr. Arif Pasalic and, to
14 represent the HVO, General Ante Prkacin.
15 Q. Tell us, Arif Pasalic was a Muslim, was he
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. And Ante Prkacin, what ethnicity was he? Can
19 you tell us a few words about him?
20 A. I knew that he was a HOS general and an army
21 general of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that he was a Croat
22 by way of ethnicity.
23 Q. What happened next? Where did you go after
25 A. On the 8th of November, 1992, I attended a
1 reception at Mr. Bruno Stojic's.
2 Q. What function did he hold?
3 A. He was the representative of the defence
4 department of Herceg-Bosna, and he confirmed that
5 Commanders Arif Pasalic and Mr. Prkacin were
6 responsible for the 3rd corps and the Operative Zone
7 and that --
8 Q. Just one moment, please. The Operative Zone
9 of Central Bosnia?
10 A. Yes, the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
11 Q. Go ahead, please.
12 A. And also that a number of officers had been
13 designated in the joint command engaged in the security
14 service and the information service and information
15 activities and the military intelligence service. This
16 information and the presentation by Bruno Stojic, I
17 understood as my replacement, that I had been replaced,
18 and I agreed to that. I confirmed that, with that
19 decision, I no longer had the function of the commander
20 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
21 Bruno Stojic told me that he did not want to
22 accept a solution and proposal of this kind, and he
23 asked me to place myself at the disposal of the joint
24 command and to offer my assistance and services and
25 work according to the tasks and assignments of General
2 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps we can take a break
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will take a 15-minute
6 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: We may resume the hearing.
9 Please be seated.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Before the break, we stopped where Bruno
12 Stojic had informed you of the existence of a joint
13 command and that you offered your resignation which he
14 did not accept. What did he tell you your duties would
15 be in future?
16 A. Bruno Stojic told me that I should report to
17 General Prkacin in Travnik and place myself at the
18 disposal of General Prkacin and work according to his
20 Q. You returned and, of course, contacted
21 General Prkacin. What happened next?
22 A. General Prkacin told me that he had convened
23 a meeting for the 8th of November, 1992 in Travnik, at
24 which he wanted to become acquainted with the
25 situation, and he wanted the commanders of the
1 municipal staff to report to him on the situation;
2 however, the commanders at that meeting refused to
3 report on the situation and refused to obey him.
4 Q. What happened next with regard to the
5 organisation of the army? You still had the municipal
6 staff. When did you form the units, the brigades?
7 When did you equip your staff, and when did you take up
8 residence in the Hotel Vitez? When did you set up
9 headquarters there?
10 A. Once we were given this joint command, I
11 first sent officers, at the request of General Prkacin,
12 to the joint command so as to set up teams, and after
13 that, I was engaged in filling the command for the
14 Central Bosnia Operative Zone with manpower. From the
15 25th of November onwards, we endeavoured to set up the
16 brigades, but this was a reappointment of the former
17 municipal commands, that is to say, they became the
18 brigades and an attempt to improve, in that way, the
19 effectiveness of our defence and to mitigate the
20 municipal approach, that is to say, each municipality
21 was isolated and considered that it was sufficient on
22 its own, so we tried to militarise this overall
23 composition of our recruits.
24 Of course, the very fact that some brigades
25 were formed in the space of only four days speaks for
1 itself and shows that it was a renaming, in fact, of
2 the municipal staff which then became the HVO
4 At the end of November, I received approval
5 and permission from the head of the main staff, two of
6 the staff, to have the headquarters of the Central
7 Bosnia Operative Zone set up a headquarters in the
8 Hotel Vitez, and we took up residence in two premises
9 in the Hotel Vitez. Our offices were denoted as
10 offices A-1 and A-2 in the hotel, and there was a
11 little small bar in the hotel which we took over,
12 whereas the whole of the rest of the hotel was used for
13 other purposes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I didn't follow
15 this. Were you confirmed as the commander of the
16 Central Bosnia Operative Zone? Excuse me. I didn't
17 really understand. You said that you wanted to resign,
18 General Prkacin said that you could not, and then the
19 interpreter said that the municipal commanders didn't
20 obey that, and then suddenly you talked about
21 municipalities and brigades. Were you confirmed in
22 your assignment?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Would you explain that to me,
1 A. From the 8th of November onwards, I was
2 responsible to Mr. Prkacin, and Prkacin, at that
3 particular time, was the commander of the Central
4 Bosnia Operative Zone.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I understand. But that was on
6 the 8th of November; you were confirmed then, is
7 that -- he gave you the Operative Zone to be under your
8 responsibility; is that correct?
9 A. In November, Prkacin commanded the entire
10 area of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and at that
11 first meeting held on the 8th of November, the
12 commanders of the municipal staff refused to comply.
13 JUDGE JORDA: No, I understood that from the
14 transcript. But then afterwards, exactly what is the
15 very specific way that you became -- you assumed the
16 official position of the municipal brigade which had
17 been turned into a brigade? They didn't obey, and then
18 what happened officially when there was no obedience?
19 A. They refused to obey for that particular day,
20 that is to say, they did not report to him, but they
21 continued to cooperate with Commander Prkacin.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I really don't understand. I
23 ask you the question -- General Prkacin was not
24 obeyed. They refused to obey him. I do understand
25 that. They refused to give the information to obey.
1 But you, what officially did you become?
2 A. The second man in the command of the
3 Operative Zone, so either Prkacin's deputy or chief of
5 JUDGE JORDA: Oh, I see. That's what I
6 didn't understand. That was the piece that was
7 missing. That had not been made clear. You were
8 confirmed as No. 2 for Prkacin who was the chief of
9 staff in Central Bosnia. Is that right, Mr. Nobilo?
10 Am I right?
11 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but no orders were issued
12 in that respect. The Minister of Defence had just
13 said, "Place yourself under Prkacin."
14 MR. HAYMAN: To make a situation that was not
15 entirely clear, to make it entirely clear, because it
16 is our position the situation was not entirely clear at
17 the time. You had new players being stuck in with no
18 clear guidance being given to the accused as to what
19 his job was, what his function was, et cetera.
20 JUDGE JORDA: No, no. I was looking for a
21 clarification and I needed it because I did not really
22 see the connection between the accused, who says that
23 "I'm going to resign," and then for Prkacin, he says
24 he's resigning, the other person says, "No, stay," and
25 then the municipal headquarters don't obey, and then
1 suddenly the accused is organising the headquarters in
2 Vitez and he would remain the commander of the
3 Operative Zone. I was missing a link there. I don't
4 like to interrupt, but when I do, I'm looking for
5 clarifications. Otherwise, we are not going to have to
6 ask the question two or three weeks from now.
7 I apologise for interrupting. Please
9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Yes, the situation
10 was indeed a confusing one, but it was what it was.
11 Q. However, regardless of Prkacin, who, in the
12 joint command was your superior, and Pascalic was also
13 your superior, they were commanders of an equal
14 standing, you, at the level of the Operative Zone,
15 continued to work with the formation and organisation.
16 Did you do anything with the organisation of the
17 headquarters, new rules, equipment, and so on?
18 A. In addition to this order, I compiled the
19 first draft of the rules for the Central Bosnia
20 Operative Zone where I defined the structure of command
21 and the competencies and authority of the individual
22 sections of the command, that is to say, a description
23 of the jobs, so to speak, within the command itself.
24 Sometime at the beginning of December, within
25 the composition of the Operative Zone, Mr. Franjo Nakic
1 joined us, and he took over duties of the chief of
2 staff of the Operative Zone. I also organised a
3 seminar with members of the Operative Zone staff. It
4 was a lecture through which I wanted to inform them of
5 what was expected of them, what their duties were, what
6 their competencies were, and what methods the command
7 would use in its daily functioning and functioning on a
8 month-by-month basis, because most of the members of
9 the command of the Operative Zone were, for the most
10 part, of other professions. They were not active
11 military men, most of them.
12 I also went round the municipal headquarters,
13 I toured them and held lectures as to organisational
14 matters and method of functioning of the municipal
16 Q. For the organisation and functioning,
17 something important happened on the 13th of December,
18 1992, and what happened would have a direct effect on
19 the events incorporated in the indictment. It refers
20 to the reorganisation of the military police.
21 Would you explain to the Trial Chamber what
22 this meeting was on the 13th of December, 1992, and
23 could we have a chart of the organisation of the
24 Herceg-Bosna Community and place it on the ELMO,
25 please, with the help of the usher? The document is
2 Before we go on to look at the chart, would
3 you describe the meeting of the 13th of December, 1992?
4 A. I had a meeting with the head of the main
5 staff in the Vitez office, and I was visited there by
6 the representatives of the military police
7 administration from Mostar. Mr. Lovric came, the
8 deputy head of the military police department,
9 Mr. Barbaric, came, the assistant head of the military
10 police administration, and Mr. Mustapic, the commander
11 of the 1st Battalion, active battalion, of the regional
12 military police from Mostar. With them came the
13 commander of the regional company of the military
14 police from Vitez, Mr. Pasko Ljubicic. The topic of
15 that meeting was the reorganisation of the military
16 police, and the main question, the main issue that we
17 discussed, was the question of command over the
18 military police.
19 The gentlemen from the military police
20 administration in Mostar, to me and General Petkovic,
21 presented their views, that according to the new set-up,
22 the new organisation, the military police in Vitez
23 would be commanded solely by the military police
24 administration, and the first regional company of the
25 military police which was deployed in Vitez by
1 formation and structure was the 1st active battalion of
2 the regional military police from Mostar.
3 Q. Now, shall we translate this into layman's
4 language and try to explain it better? Did I
5 understand you correctly? The 1st company of the
6 military police in Vitez was part of the 1st Battalion
7 of the military police of Mostar; is that correct? Is
8 my understanding correct?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Who was the commander of the 1st company of
11 the military police in Vitez at that time?
12 A. At that time, the commander of the 1st
13 company of the military police was Mr. Pasko Ljubicic.
14 Q. Along with this 1st active company of the
15 military police commanded by Pasko Ljubicic and which
16 was part of the battalion in Mostar, was there a
17 regional military police in Central Bosnia, and if so,
18 how was that organised?
19 A. Yes. The 4th Battalion existed of the
20 regional military police in Central Bosnia which was
21 organised into companies which themselves were deployed
22 in the different municipalities of Central Bosnia, and
23 its commander was Zvonko Vukovic.
24 Q. In addition to these two kinds of military
25 police, was there a third military police which existed
2 A. Yes. There were municipal military police
3 forces, but they were much smaller.
4 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, what did the
5 representatives of the military police administration
6 tell you and Mr. Pasko how were you going to be able to
7 use these forces? In other words, who was going to be
8 the commander of the military police and to whom were
9 the police units answerable?
10 A. The military police was subordinated to the
11 chief of the military police administration, and the
12 commander of the regional military police company was
13 Pasko Ljubicic. The commander of the 4th Battalion was
14 Zvonko Vukovic.
15 Q. As the commander of the Central Bosnia
16 Operative Zone, how could you use the military police?
17 What were you told? What was the organisation within
18 this overall structure?
19 A. I was told that I could in no way issue
20 orders and command the military police. I could only
21 send a request through the main staff to the military
22 police administration, and the military police
23 administration would consider this request and would
24 issue orders to the military police.
25 Q. What was your position, that is, General
1 Petkovic's and your own position with respect to what
2 you were told in Mostar?
3 A. We both said -- first I said so, that this
4 was an unnatural type of operation and that because --
5 primarily because of the lack of communication lines,
6 this police force was not going to be efficient in the
7 area of Central Bosnia, and General Petkovic also said
8 that this would be an introduction of parallel commands
9 or dual commands and that this could in no way function
10 in the area of Central Bosnia because very frequently
11 there are no communications so that I could send
12 requests for any type of involvement of the military
14 Q. Did the representatives of the military
15 police administration accept this objection that you
16 and General Petkovic made or did they abide by their
18 A. They did not accept our arguments, and they
19 said that it was going to be the way they decided, in
20 other words, what they said was going to be the rule
21 regardless of our objections because they had written
22 documents on rules which they received from the defence
23 department. There was a book regulating the command
25 Q. Was your understanding that this document
1 gave them this authority of command?
2 A. Yes, that was my understanding, that this
3 document permitted them to maintain this type of
4 functioning of the military police.
5 Q. On the basis of your experience and your
6 knowledge from the JNA, were these things functioning
7 in a similar way in the JNA?
8 A. No. In the JNA, you had unity of command and
9 unity of responsibility, which meant that in a single
10 area there is a single commander and that he commands
11 all forces. For instance, a commander of a brigade in
12 the JNA had direct command over the military police
14 Q. How about the army of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina? Did they have the HVO model or the JNA
17 A. Of course I know what they had because I had
18 a number of meetings with the commander of the 3rd
19 corps and his deputy. The commander of the 3rd corps
20 had direct command of a battalion of the military
21 police, it was called a corps military police
22 battalion, and he also had direct command over a
23 military police company.
24 Q. This may be a good moment to explain to the
25 Trial Chamber in, let's say, a normal, regular army,
1 what does it mean for a commander to have the use of
2 military police for his functioning as a commander? In
3 other words, what is the importance, what is the
4 significance of being able to use military police?
5 A. This would be an instrument to implement
6 certain orders and it would be a force which provides
7 the power to a commander or an ability to sanction
8 insubordination, failure to follow certain orders or
9 certain rules.
10 Q. If you take away this power from a commander,
11 that is, to use military police, what is his command
12 reduced to in case of soldiers who do not carry out
14 A. There are two consequences. First, people
15 may not know, but they will soon find out that he
16 doesn't have that power; and secondly, then everything
17 is reduced to convincing or repeating the same order,
18 and you are reduced to using general authority which
19 any single individual may have in relation to his
21 Q. To sum up, without the use of military
22 police, can a commander essentially perform his
23 commanding duties, militarily speaking? Can he
24 successfully command without the use of military
1 A. Command and control is not efficient if a
2 commander is not given the use of military force.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Let me interrupt for a
4 moment, please, Mr. Nobilo. General Blaskic, as
5 regards this change, in your opinion, is it really a
6 change of command, of parallel command, or a radical
7 change? There could be many explanations for that. At
8 least those people who were responsible did not see
9 that they were taking command power away, or was it
10 that they had any other type of objective? In your
11 opinion, what did this mean, this new change of
12 parallel command? What was the purpose of it for those
13 people who came to that decision? What is your
14 opinion? Thank you.
15 A. Your Honours, I do not know what the purpose
16 was, what the motives were of the people who took away
17 this power, but I know what the consequences were for
18 any commander who faced this radical change. The
19 command power was significantly reduced, and worst of
20 all, a parallel command was introduced so that now, in
21 a single area, we had a person who is responsible for
22 consequences for behaviour, for mistakes, if you will,
23 because the police can make mistakes, and two or more
24 persons who have the right to command and also have
25 sort of an overall responsibility for what is going on
1 in the area.
2 I wrote about this and I talked with the UN
3 representatives who were there, with the former
4 European Monitors, in an attempt to learn whether there
5 were any other examples elsewhere, and they themselves
6 were surprised that this type of system of functioning
7 was in place. It looked unnatural to everyone.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Let's identify the person who formally was
10 responsible for what happened in Central Bosnia
11 Operative Zone?
12 A. It was myself.
13 Q. Who else had independent command in the area
14 of Central Bosnia apart from you?
15 A. I don't know which unit you're referring to.
16 Q. The military police.
17 A. The commander of the military police was the
18 commander of the 4th Battalion, Zvonko Vukovic, and
19 also the commander of the regional military police,
20 Mr. Pasko Ljubicic.
21 Q. Later on -- we will touch on the issue
22 whether, apart from the military police and the HVO
23 brigades, there were other chains of command, apart
24 from you?
25 A. Yes, there was an additional chain of command
1 which was independent of me. These were the special
2 purpose units which were used even on the front lines,
3 battlefronts, and without my being informed of that.
4 For instance, at the time of the fall of Jajce and when
5 I was there with all the manpower I had available, one
6 of these units was deployed in southern Herzegovina at
7 the Stolac front, and I wasn't even informed that they
8 would go, that they went, or that they came back when
9 they did.
10 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps, just for the record,
11 two documents, 517 and 518 which are under seal, D517
12 and D518.
13 Q. Apart from the level of the Operative Zone
14 and the military police top, was the same situation
15 reflected in lower levels? You had a meeting on that
16 regard in Kiseljak.
17 A. Yes, there was a problem in Kiseljak, there
18 was a problem in Zepce between the commanders of the
19 newly-formed brigades and commanders of the military
20 police, and this was a conflict over the competence in
21 Kiseljak. The only thing I could do to reconcile the
22 positions of two commanders, on the one hand the
23 brigade commander in Kiseljak and the commander of the
24 military police on the other hand, was that on 16th of
25 December, I organised a meeting, together with
1 Mr. Pasko Ljubicic, commander of the military police,
2 and we reached a compromise consisting of the fact that
3 the commander of the brigade did not have the right to
4 control the military police in the carrying out of its
5 daily duties or have command over it in Kiseljak, they
6 could only review the premises which they occupied, and
7 the commander of the military police company in
8 Kiseljak could use the Kiseljak barracks where the main
9 command -- the chief commander was commander of the
10 brigade, or the case in Zepce was, and this was
11 repeated, the commander of the military police would be
12 in charge of the entire command staff, including Ivo
13 Lozancic, the brigade commander.
14 Q. Very well. This is all for the organisation
15 and structure today. These were your two key tasks in
17 I want to move into another area which is
18 your assessment of the relations between Muslims and
19 Croats, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the HVO.
20 Can you first tell me, in general terms, yesterday we
21 saw that there were a number of incidents, you referred
22 to a number of them, and today we will just refer to a
23 few of them, in your opinion, what was the cause of
24 this growing friction between Muslims and Croats in
25 1992, that is? We're only talking about 1992 now. If
1 you can, in general terms, tell us, what were the
2 sources of conflicts between these two ethnic groups?
3 A. Of course, there were a number of causes, but
4 one of them was a huge influx of refugees. These were
5 desperate people. Unfortunately, many of them were
6 armed, and because of the inability of the civilian
7 authorities to care for them, they had to fend for
8 themselves as victims of aggression, sometimes even
9 using the methods used on them when they were expelled
10 from their homes. So they sometimes engaged in
11 robberies, they harassed the local population in the
12 areas where they settled, and engaged in different
13 kinds of criminal activities to secure their survival.
14 Of course, such incidents caused mistrust,
15 fear, but as the situation on the front was becoming
16 more complex, it became easier for us to reach
17 agreements and to overcome this mistrust.
18 Q. When you say "we," who do you have in mind?
19 A. I mean the HVO, that is, the Operative Zone,
20 and the 3rd corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
22 Q. Can you tell me, in your view, the
23 misunderstandings and conflicts within the Muslim and
24 Croat civilian authorities also had some effect on the
25 general split between the Croats and Muslims in Central
2 A. Yes. This was another cause because the
3 civilian authorities, in my view, operated in terms of
4 personalities. That means that in all municipalities,
5 in Kiseljak, Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik, and I'm not
6 going to go on, the civilian authorities were minding
7 their own group.
8 Q. What do you mean by that?
9 A. What I'm saying is that the Croatian
10 authorities took care of and felt responsible for their
11 own people. That had to do with collecting taxes, use
12 of the civilian police. I remember well certain
13 meetings which I had with the commander of the 3rd
14 corps when he repeated to me, he repeatedly said, and I
15 quote him, "The problem here is not the army," meaning
16 the Operative Zone and the 3rd corps. "The problem
17 here is the dual government which is functioning," and
18 I think that the Washington Agreement also testifies to
20 The relations between the army of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Central Bosnia and the HVO, in
22 military terms, this agreement between the two sides
23 was reached very easily following the Washington
25 Military recruits, which made up the 3rd
1 corps and the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, were
2 all living in the areas of these municipalities with
3 this dual government function. So let me put it
4 simply: Within a week, each civilian would be a
5 soldier for one day and a civilian for six days, and
6 the functioning of the civilian authorities definitely
7 had an effect on him in such living conditions.
8 Q. When you say that there were two governments,
9 a Muslim and a Croatian, and they were all looking
10 after their own people, are you saying that, in 1992,
11 there was -- in territorial terms, did this division
12 reflect the state of affairs? In other words, were
13 they overlapping on the same territory?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What does that mean in practical terms?
16 Let's say as regards taxes, for instance, collecting
17 taxes, in 1992.
18 A. In 1992, taxes were collected by the HVO
19 government in Vitez from Croatian citizens who lived in
20 the territory of the Vitez municipality, and the
21 government or, as it was called, the War Presidency of
22 this same municipality, that is, the Vitez
23 municipality, but in another area of the municipality,
24 that is, in old Vitez, they collected it from the
25 Muslim citizens.
1 Q. When you say "old Vitez," this is where their
2 headquarters was, but from which area did they collect
3 taxes from Muslims?
4 A. From the entire territory of the Vitez
5 municipality in places where Muslims lived, that is,
6 the citizens who were Bosniak Muslims.
7 Q. What did this mean, having two governments in
8 the same territory in terms of police? Who was in
9 charge of the police?
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, you've
11 tried, but it isn't too clear to me. I wonder if you'd
12 ask the witness to clarify your line of questioning a
13 little more on the previous phase. You have a
14 geographical unit, say, Stari Vitez, old Vitez. Now,
15 would the HVO in Vitez collect taxes from everybody in
16 Vitez, whether Muslims or Croats; likewise, would the
17 BiH collect taxes from everybody in Stari Vitez,
18 whether Muslims or Croats?
19 MR. NOBILO: What you just asked is a key
20 question, but I'd like to avoid confusion. Old Vitez
21 is not crucial. This is where the Muslim War
22 Presidency headquarters was, but we have the Vitez
23 municipality in its territory, and now I'll let the
24 witness say this:
25 Q. Who did the HVO government collect the taxes
1 from, it being part of the HVO government, and from
2 whom did the War Presidency collect taxes?
3 A. The Vitez municipality HVO government
4 collected taxes from all citizens in the territory of
5 the Vitez municipality, and the War Presidency of the
6 Bosniak Muslims collected taxes from Bosniak Muslims,
7 of all citizens who were Bosniak Muslims in the Vitez
9 Q. One key point is missing. The HVO government
10 in Vitez is collecting taxes from all Croatian citizens
11 in the territory of the Vitez municipality?
12 A. Yes, that is what I said.
13 Q. Yes, but it is missing from the record. The
14 Muslim War Presidency, that is, the wartime
15 government --
16 A. Yes, is collecting taxes from all Bosniak
17 Muslims in the territory of the Vitez municipality.
18 Q. This principle of dual government relating to
19 the citizens of one or the other nationality or
20 ethnicity, was it present and evident in other
21 activities as well?
22 A. Yes, it was. It existed in other realms.
23 Q. What about the police? We have one or two
24 police forces at the end of 1992.
25 A. We had a police force which was commanded by
1 the government of the HVO Vitez in the area of the
2 Vitez municipality, and we also had a police force
3 commanded by the wartime presidency of the municipality
4 of Vitez composed of Bosniak Muslims.
5 Q. Now, these two civilian authorities, even if
6 they were autonomous, did they recognise different
7 central authorities, central governments, or different
8 higher authorities than the municipality authorities?
9 A. Well, they recognised two different central
10 powers, different from the municipality.
11 Q. Whom did they recognise? The Muslim wartime
12 presidency of Vitez, who did it recognise?
13 A. It recognised exclusively the wartime
14 presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. What about the municipal government of
16 Vitez? Who was it subordinated to?
17 A. The municipal government of Vitez was
18 subordinated to the government of the Croatian
19 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
20 Q. Did this division in civilian authority and
21 the division of political ideas generate conflicts
22 between nations, ethnic groups, in the area of Central
24 A. Of course it generated this because I already
25 said that most of the time military recruits spent at
1 home living in the territory of this type of
2 municipality having that dual authority and dual
4 Q. Your competencies, whether factual or legal,
5 according to the laws of Herceg-Bosna, as a commander
6 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, your competencies
7 and authorisations, did they incorporate any part of
8 civilian life, that is to say, did you have any
9 influence on the civilian organs of power and authority
10 and the political decisions that were made?
11 A. At the beginning of my testimony, I said that
12 I was not known in my own municipality, I was a
13 stranger to those parts, so I did not have any
14 political ambitions, nor was I specially interested in
16 Q. Did you wield any influence on the decisions
17 made by the civilian organs, whether Muslim or
19 A. No, I did not.
20 Q. Any competency over civilian life, official
22 A. Throughout 1992, I spent the whole of 1992,
23 in fact, trying to realise the competencies and
24 authority invested in me by the rules of Herceg-Bosna
25 as the operative commander of Central Bosnia, those I
1 was entitled to. I tried to take them over from the
2 civilian authorities.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, do you have another
4 question about this particular aspect?
5 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps just one more question.
6 Q. What functions did you endeavour to take away
7 from the civilian authorities?
8 A. Only military functions, exclusively military
9 functions that the municipality had.
10 Q. On the basis of the law or in actual fact, at
11 any point in time covered by the indictment, were you
12 the military commander or governor, so to speak, of
13 civilian Bosnia, that is to say, the key figure of
14 overall life in the region, civilian and military?
15 A. No, never. I never was.
16 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. If
17 you would like a break now, this is perhaps a good
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Fifteen minutes.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.38 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
23 Mr. Nobilo, please continue with your
24 questions, the questions you want to ask the witness,
25 and continue until 1.30.
1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Just one more sentence on the matter we were
3 discussing before the break. You already mentioned
4 something, quoting Enver Hadzihasanovic, the commander
5 of the 3rd corps, how do you assess the relationship
6 between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, the
7 3rd corps and the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia in
9 A. We had already established a joint command
10 from the 3rd -- that is to say, the 4th of November,
11 1992 and especially on the fronts that I enumerated for
12 November and December. We had command teams, joint
13 command teams, linked up, and I consider that the
14 relationships were fairly good and that cooperation in
15 1992 was fairly good.
16 With the commander of the 3rd corps, for
17 example, I would tour some of the military factories so
18 as to set the example. The two of us setting the
19 example would show the workers in the factory that this
20 kind of cooperation was both necessary and possible,
21 feasible. I attended meetings at the command
22 headquarters of the 3rd corps, and also the command
23 came to us for Christmas in 1992.
24 Q. Before we move on to 1993, for purposes of
25 illustration and the record, could you perhaps mention
1 some incidents which would throw more light on the
2 situation as it existed in the area?
3 A. There were quite a number of incidents, and
4 they occurred both in November and in December, and I'm
5 going to enumerate just a few of those incidents.
6 On the 10th of November in Zepce, during the
7 meeting of the civilian authorities of Zepce, the HVO,
8 one of the members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 threw a hand grenade at the building where the meeting
10 was being convened.
11 Then there was another serious incident on
12 the 15th of November, 1992 when Mr. Dzemo Merdan was
13 arrested, taken into custody, and taken to my office in
14 the Hotel Vitez where General Prkacin was there,
15 together with me. Mr. Dzemo Merdan was taken prisoner
16 by the commander of the Vitezovi, and we succeeded,
17 after a lot of convincing, to have him freed, and he
18 was given back his equipment.
19 Then in Kakanj in mid November, there was
20 another incident where the members of the Territorial
21 Defence and members of the Croatian Defence Council
22 from Kakanj itself directed their weapons and took up
23 combat deployment facing each other, opposite each
25 Also in mid November in Novi Travnik,
1 fortifications were built by the Territorial Defence,
2 and they were facing Croatian villages. I reacted on
3 that occasion as well and asked the command in Novi
4 Travnik not to interfere with the digging of trenches.
5 I did not wish to create problems in regard to these
7 On the 18th of November in Travnik, the
8 deputy commander of the Travnik HVO was killed. His
9 name was Mr. Nikola Grbesa. In the night between the
10 18th and 19th of November in Vitez, a soldier belonging
11 to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was killed, and as a
12 reaction to this, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from
13 Vitez took prisoner nine regional military policemen in
14 retaliation and subjected them to a certain amount of
15 torture and maltreatment.
16 On the 21st of November in Travnik, an
17 officer of the main staff was killed, main staff of the
18 HVO, for links and communication with UNPROFOR for
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the liaison officer, and he
20 was killed.
21 There were other individual killings as well,
22 such as a case that occurred in Novi Travnik where the
23 killers -- the perpetrators went into territory under
24 the control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They
25 went to Gornji Vakuf. There were also other individual
1 cases, vice versa, that is to say, if the killer was a
2 man from Gornji Vakuf, then he would flee to a
3 territory under the control of the HVO and so avoid any
4 action taken against him.
5 At the beginning of December, the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Novi Travnik took control of a
7 primary school in the village of Vodavod and
8 stopped our shifts going to the front to face the army
9 of the Republika Srpska. A similar problem was
10 mentioned yesterday in Kiseljak when we talked about
11 the village of Duhri.
12 In mid December, at the Pasinac feature about
13 Zenica, trenches were dug facing the Croatian villages
14 and Croatian houses. Then, after that, on the 28th of
15 December, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Travnik
16 sent a combat unit to take possession of the hospital
17 there and took over a ward, a wing of the hospital, in
18 Travnik. By taking up these positions on the premises
19 of the hospital, Travnik was placed under military
20 supervision of that particular unit of the BH army.
21 At the end of December, we had difficulties
22 because, despite our efforts to -- that is, despite the
23 efforts of the BH army to take over control of part of
24 the front facing the army of the Republika Srpska in
25 Novi Travnik, we did not succeed in this; that is to
1 say, the complete front line in Novi Travnik was still
2 under the control of the HVO.
3 An incident that lasted a little longer and
4 which was worrying us, gave rise to anxiety in the
5 Croatian Defence Council and the Operative Zone for
6 Central Bosnia, had become evident, that is to say, the
7 operative development of the army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, of the 3rd corps, went in-depth
9 within the territory or behind the front lines. There
10 was a grouping of brigades, such as the 306th Brigade
11 in Han Bila and the Travnik municipality, the 308th
12 Brigade in Novi Travnik, and the other units in the
13 Lasva Valley which were not engaged at the front line
14 facing the army of Republika Srpska.
15 Q. When you say that the formation of the
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina army was formed in-depth of the
17 territory, what do you mean by the depth of the
18 territory compared to the front? What is the
19 "in-depth" term that you use?
20 A. Everything that goes from the shelter of the
21 soldiers up at the front line, everything else is the
22 rear, everything behind the soldier's back is the rear
23 and the depth of the territory.
24 Q. For example, on Mount Vlasic, we have those
25 two flags. Give us an example. What, compared to the
1 front line of Vlasic, is the rear, the depth of the
2 territory which is where the BH army was grouped?
3 A. On Vlasic, we had forces, army forces and HVO
4 forces in Travnik as well, from this line, front line
5 here, towards Vitez, Zenica, and Busovaca (indicating),
6 and all that was the rear, the depth of the territory.
7 Let me explain this in a different way. That is the
8 front line (indicating), so everything behind it or
9 west of that pointer is the depth of the territory. It
10 was cause for anxiety, and we wondered why forces were
11 being accumulated in Novi Travnik, why there was a
12 grouping of forces in Novi Travnik. There were about
13 two and a half thousand soldiers being grouped there if
14 they were not engaged on a single metre of the Novi
15 Travnik front facing the Republika Srpska army.
16 Also, similarly, why was the 306th Brigade in
17 Han Bila if there were no positions for the defence of
19 Q. So this worried you. Now, after a period of
20 time had passed, what did you conclude? What was the
21 operative function and goal of the BH army?
22 A. Well, I discussed this matter first with
23 General Merdan, the deputy commander of the 3rd corps,
24 when, at one of the meetings held in November, he asked
25 me for my assistance and to help him put up 6.000 to
1 7.000 soldiers in Travnik, about 2.500 soldiers in Novi
2 Travnik, and about 2.300 soldiers in Vitez belonging to
3 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 I asked him why, what this army was to be
5 used for if it was not to be engaged at the front, and
6 he said that he was working on organisational matters,
7 to organise the operative forces of the 3rd Corps.
8 I had the same type of meeting on the 21st of
9 December in Zenica in the headquarters of the 3rd corps
10 when the commander of the 3rd corps himself, Enver
11 Hadzihasanovic, asked me to mediate, together with him,
12 with the civilian authorities to mobilise the buildings
13 for our purposes in which we could put up soldiers. I
14 was to mediate with the representatives of the civilian
15 authorities, the Croat civilian authorities, and the
16 soldiers belonged to the BH army.
17 I told Enver on the occasion, Enver who was
18 the commander of the 3rd corps, I told him that there
19 was enough space at Mount Vlasic and at the front lines
20 for us to engage such a large number of soldiers, and
21 he repeated the answer that I was given by Dzemo as
22 well, that is, he said that he was setting up a corps
23 and an operative brigade.
24 Later on, I came to realise that this
25 operative development enabled very effective use and
1 engagement of forces of the BH army against the HVO in
2 the area of Central Bosnia.
3 MR. NOBILO: For the moment, in this stage of
4 the testimony, we would conclude with the 1992 events
5 and move on to 1993.
6 Mr. President, as most of the indictment, the
7 time span of the indictment, is concentrated in the
8 first four or five months of 1993, we shall be moving
9 along in chronological order, taking it day by day and
10 reconstructing those months. It is the view of Defence
11 counsel that the indictment is not precise enough, and
12 in a situation of that kind, we have been forced to
13 reconstruct the events in chronological order so as to
14 provide the Trial Chamber with sufficient facts upon
15 which to draw its conclusions.
16 Q. General, let's move on to 1993, and let's try
17 to make a chronological reconstruction of what took
18 place that year. So go ahead, please.
19 A. On the 1st of January, 1993, I started from
20 Kiseljak to Vitez to go to the Hotel Vitez, to the
21 command post of the Operative Zone. In the Brestovsko
22 local commune (indicating) -- so in the Brestovsko
23 local commune, I was stopped by -- I was stopped by the
24 assistant for security, Mr. Anto Sliskovic, who arrived
25 from Vitez via Busovaca, and he arrived in Brestovsko,
1 and I had started from my birthplace -- I mean from my
2 home in Brestovsko.
3 Q. What information did he have with him?
4 A. He told me that it wouldn't be good for me to
5 continue with this trip to Hotel Vitez because an
6 incident had taken place, and what happened was that a
7 military policeman named Mato Jakovljevic attempted to
8 execute me and Commander Pasko.
9 After this military policeman opened fire in
10 the hallways of the Hotel Vitez and forcibly opened the
11 door to my office, he threw in a hand grenade in the
12 hallway in front of the office, probably assuming that
13 I was in the office.
14 After this, this policeman, Jakovljevic, left
15 the hotel, came back, and then the hotel security shot
16 and killed him, and Sliskovic also informed me that the
17 tensions rose in Vitez as a consequence of this event
18 because the policemen among themselves started arguing
19 whether Jakovljevic was or was not to be killed.
20 In any event, I went back that day, and again
21 in the afternoon Sliskovic told me not to come to work.
22 Q. Very well. Move on to -- what else in
23 January in 1993 happened that was of particular
25 A. At that time, logistics was a major problem,
1 as it was throughout December, and I ordered Ivica
2 Cobanac, who was at Sebesic, to return all the
3 equipment to the 110th Usora Brigade. This equipment
4 had been taken away illegally from the convoy, and in
5 the morning briefing, I asked the regional military
6 police to review the security of the hotel and to make
7 necessary replacements of personnel, and I also ordered
8 a complete investigation of the event of the 1st of
10 Q. While we are at this, this may be good to
11 point out, that after you and Petkovic met with the
12 military police authorities and you disagreed with the
13 procedures which were forced upon you, in other words,
14 that you had to send requests to Mostar each time you
15 wanted to use the military police, how did you actually
16 operate it? Did you actually send your request to
17 Mostar every time, or did you use other ways of work?
18 A. At that time, I frequently was not in a
19 position to send my requests to Mostar because, let's
20 say in this case, if the communication lines were down,
21 I would have had to send a courier down, and if the
22 road was secure, this courier would send a written
24 I sent requests to the 4th Battalion of the
25 military police, either orders or requests, and I was
1 aware that each order which was to be received by the
2 commander of the military police would be sent on to
3 the chief for consideration, and a determination would
4 be made whether to carry it out or not.
5 I did not agree with this proposed model of
6 function of the military police in December, and I was
7 aware of the fact that the chief of staff, chief of the
8 main staff, was also not agreeing with this because he
9 and I had talked right after this meeting.
10 Q. What was the position of the military police
11 towards your request? Did they carry out those
12 requests or did they delay, or what did they do?
13 A. It was a selective approach which they took.
14 When it was in their interests, then such a task could
15 be carried out, but when the judgment was that it
16 wasn't convenient for them, then I would often get word
17 that they were waiting for approval from Mostar.
18 Q. Thank you. Let's move on. What other
19 significant events can you recall of 2nd January, 1993?
20 A. We took additional steps regarding this
21 incident, in other words, to put up a fence around the
22 hotel and to build gates so that we would prevent
23 similar incidents of opening fire at the command post.
24 On that day, we had an additional problem in
25 that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina had blocked the
1 road which leads from Travnik to Mehuric where we had a
2 shift which was manning the positions towards the army
3 of Bosnia and Herzegovina -- army of Republika Srpska.
4 The problem that we had was deployment of Mujahedeen,
5 that is the foreign soldiers, in that village, and
6 according to the information I had, they had fenced off
7 an area for themselves, including a portion of the
8 road, and prevented any traffic along this
9 communication line towards the front line.
10 I also asked of the military police -- and
11 this was an earlier request -- to turn over the
12 checkpoints to the civilian police and to hand over, in
13 other words, to conduct a hand-over, formal hand-over,
14 between the military police and the civilian police of
15 Herceg-Bosna. However, the deadline was not met, and I
16 again asked that this be done.
17 In the course of the day, I learned that the
18 communications with Vares were down, but that was
19 nothing unusual. This was almost a daily occurrence.
20 I also received information about violence in the town
21 of Vitez, opening of fire as an act of provocation by
22 the special purpose unit Vitezovi in the course of the
23 2nd of January.
24 On that day, we also worked on a draft of a
25 plan of operation in command posts and in the barracks;
1 that is, when, on the 1st of December, when the chief
2 of staff of the Operative Zone started working on the
3 1st of December, we heard that this would be
4 controlled, that there would be regular controls, and
5 it often happened that when we wanted to go and conduct
6 controls, oftentimes we would not find anyone, and so
7 we wanted to ensure that certain business hours were
8 defined so that people would be in their posts.
9 On that day, I worked on a plan of training
10 of soldiers to use personal weapons. I also asked that
11 the old stamps be discontinued because we had certain
12 problems. The old ones were still being used even
13 though they were taken out of circulation. I also
14 wanted to have an inventory of motor vehicles because
15 these motor vehicles were being used for purposes other
16 than the ones they were meant for. These were the
17 vehicles that were used by the military police, but
18 those were vehicles that for a part were confiscated at
19 checkpoints if they did not have the right documents;
20 in other words, if the permits had expired.
21 Q. Very well. Let's move on to the 4th of
23 A. On the 4th of January, I already received the
24 first information about the investigation regarding the
25 incident of the attempt on my life in Hotel Vitez, and
1 the military police submitted this information. I
2 worked for the most part of that day with the assistant
3 for logistics in order to put together a full inventory
4 of the weapons and equipment at the disposal of the
5 soldiers in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
6 The following day, on the 5th of January, I
7 was informed that the military police had confiscated a
8 shipment of uniforms, there were 50 of them, during a
9 routine patrol at a checkpoint, and this shipment was
10 discovered in a shipment of humanitarian aid. Later,
11 Dzemo Merdan asked that this shipment be returned to
12 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that he was
13 aware that there were no proper documents accompanying
14 the shipment but that this was a donation for the army
15 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. On the 6th of January, you, for the first
17 time, learned of the Vance-Owen Plan, and this
18 Vance-Owen Plan is going to be crucial in the next
19 several months. Can you clarify that a little bit
21 A. Yes. I was called to Mostar, to the
22 representative of the defence department, Mr. Bruno
23 Stojic, and the chief of staff of the Croatian Defence
24 Council, and I was told that the Vance-Owen Plan had
25 been signed and that the signatures of the other two
1 sides, that is, the Bosniak Muslims and Serbs, were
2 also expected, and that after this document is signed,
3 the demobilisation of all military recruits would
4 ensue, and the tasks of security will be carried out
5 exclusively by the civilian police.
6 It was also stressed to me that additional
7 steps needed to be taken in order to prevent incidents
8 and other excesses because not everybody was going to
9 be happy with the maps that were going to be signed for
10 Central Bosnia.
11 What I was especially concerned about was the
12 deadline of 45 days within which this mobilisation was
13 to be implemented, the mobilisation of all military
14 recruits, that is, their disarming, and I was aware of
15 the fact that we did not have good organisation, not
16 even the proper documents about the mobilisation.
17 Q. So you doubted that the Lasva Valley could be
18 disarmed within 45 days, especially in light of the
19 fact that you were not able to even arm it properly?
20 A. Yes. I doubted it, not only doubted it, but
21 I was very concerned. I was very concerned with the
22 deadline of 45 days for disarming, and this was
23 something that was particularly stressed to me in the
24 meeting because, like in other areas, people armed
25 themselves in this area, and on top of that, I did not
1 have the basis for demobilisation because this is a
2 very complex task which is regulated and implemented by
3 the state, and the people had already been disarmed by
4 the Yugoslav People's Army and the former Territorial
5 Defence, which was part of the armed forces of the
6 former Yugoslavia, so that these new weapons, in a
7 short period of time, would have been the third time
8 that somebody was disarming the population.
9 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber, what type of
10 information did you receive in terms of the Vance-Owen
11 Plan? What type of plan was it? What did it consist
13 A. I was told briefly that Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 was going to be decentralised, that provinces would be
15 established or, as they were called, cantons, and that
16 in the provinces where Croats lived as the majority,
17 the minority populations or groups would have equal
18 rights, also that there would be no borders between the
19 provinces and that the freedom of movement would be
21 Q. Were you told where the Croats would be
22 dominant, in which areas, and the HVO, and on the other
23 hand, where -- now I'm talking about the Operative Zone
24 of Central Bosnia which you commanded.
25 A. Yes. I was told that it was going to be the
1 Travnik province, but I was told this only after
2 everybody signed on, and also that the third Operative
3 Group in Zepce was going to be subordinated to the 3rd
4 corps in Zenica. I was also told that the plan did not
5 envisage that Kiseljak and Kresevo be part of the
6 Travnik province but will more probably be part of the
7 district of Sarajevo.
8 Q. After that, you went back to Central Bosnia.
9 What happened on 7 January?
10 A. Later I held a meeting with the commander of
11 the 107th Brigade of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
12 Gradacac. I believe that his last name was Mijacevic.
13 He asked for certain assistance because this was the
14 time of the intense attacks of the Serbian army in
15 Gradacac, which was in the Tuzla region, and, to the
16 extent that we could, we provided such assistance.
17 In the course of the day, I had a meeting
18 with members of the Operative Zone command, and I
19 informed them of the contents of my talk with the
20 representatives of the defence department and the chief
21 of staff and transmitted to them the information that I
22 had regarding the plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina and our
23 pending demobilisation. I stressed that the three
24 majority ethnic groups would be constituent units, and
25 I called for a meeting in Kiseljak and Kresevo in order
1 to inform them as well on this developing situation,
2 that is, the signing of the Vance-Owen Plan and the
3 military duties that were before us.
4 Q. The next day, you transported a howitzer.
5 What was that all about?
6 A. When the joint command was established, they
7 asked that the Travnik defence be reinforced with
8 armaments from the main command, and we had received a
9 155-millimetre howitzer and a multiple rocket launcher,
10 this is a 120-millimetre multiple rocket launcher, and
11 on that day, on the 8th of January, I received an order
12 from the chief of the main staff to return these
13 artillery pieces to the main staff, and these pieces
14 were transported from Travnik to Mostar.
15 During the day, I also conducted a
16 conversation, this is still the 8th of January, with an
17 officer from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, his name is
18 Jasmin Mesaric, about hiring him for the staff of the
19 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and to work on the
20 mobilisation affairs.
21 Q. Jasmin Mesaric is a Bosniak Muslim?
22 A. Yes, he is, but he had good professional
23 experience and was one of the best operations officers
24 we had at the time.
25 The next day, 9th of January, 1993, I
1 requested from the military police to supplement their
2 report on the confiscated motor vehicles because I
3 believed that the information I had received was
4 incomplete. I also received information during the day
5 that the Ante Bruno Busic Regiment had arrived in
6 Travnik, and another unit called Ludvig Pavlovic
7 arrived in Vitez from Mostar.
8 Q. You mentioned the Ante Bruno Busic unit and
9 the Ludvig Pavlovic unit, both from Mostar. Could you
10 clarify for the Trial Chamber what type of units these
11 were, who were their commanders, and did you have a
12 similar unit deployed in Central Bosnia?
13 A. These were special purpose units of the "A"
14 type. Their commander was the chief of the defence
15 department, and its profile is similar to the one of
16 the Vitezovi unit.
17 Q. Could you list, within the Croatian Community
18 of Herceg-Bosna, which units were under the direct
19 command of the chief of the defence department?
20 A. These were two types of units. These were
21 the military police units, which again included certain
22 types of combat units, and the other type was the
23 special purpose units.
24 Q. Could you name some of the special purpose
25 units who were under the direct command of the head of
1 the defence department in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. It was the Ante Bruno Busic Regiment, Ludvig
3 Pavlovic Battalion, the Vitezovi Battalion, Tvrtko
4 Battalion or, as they were called, the Tvrtkovci, then
5 Apostles, this is what they were called, the Alpha
6 Force. These were the special purpose units.
7 Q. Was the Penal Battalion also part of that?
8 A. Yes, they were also part of these special
9 purpose units in Mostar.
10 Q. The translation is a bit unusual. The name
11 of this battalion came from the fact that people who
12 established it had been gaoled previously; is that
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE JORDA: These units were under the
16 command of the defence department of Bosnia; is that
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes, they were under the direct
19 command of the head of the defence department of the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This would be
21 equivalent to the Minister of Defence. This is
22 something that is characteristic for the HVO, and I
23 think we want to clarify that a bit further.
24 Q. Can you tell us, in relation to these units,
25 was there also a separate chain of command outside of
1 the regular main staff commander of the operative zone
2 and units --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, this is an
4 important point. I think we're going to stop now.
5 General Blaskic, what the Judges are asking
6 for, since you experienced this chronology and are very
7 familiar with it, we're asking that you keep in mind
8 your defence in respect of the indictment. In other
9 words, if it's really important for you to review each
10 day of January, February, or March, well, then do it,
11 but try, over the weekend, to concentrate so that the
12 Judges can focus on what was really essential. That's
13 how you could help us as a witness. Of course, you
14 have a chronology of events, many, many things
15 happened, but some of those things are more important
16 than others for your defence, and that's what you have
17 to try to focus on.
18 I think that we're going to stop at this
19 point, and we will resume on Monday at 2.00.
20 Court stands adjourned.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
22 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
23 the 22nd day of February, 1999 at
24 10.00 a.m.