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  1. 1 Monday, 22nd February, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 2.05 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,

    5 would you have the accused come into the courtroom?

    6 The accused will be testifying.

    7 (The accused entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the

    9 interpreters. I want to be sure that everybody can

    10 hear me. Does everybody hear? Good afternoon to the

    11 Defence and Prosecution counsel, to the court

    12 reporters, and to General Blaskic.

    13 General Blaskic is going to continue with his

    14 testimony, that is, continue with the

    15 examination-in-chief being conducted by Mr. Nobilo. I

    16 am saying this for everybody here who doesn't know. I

    17 would like to explain.

    18 This is the examination-in-chief of the

    19 Defence, and the Defence wanted the accused to

    20 testify. Let me remind the accused that, as a witness,

    21 he has taken an oath, and that he is still under oath.

    22 Good afternoon. You may now begin.

    23 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon, Your Honour.

    24 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Your Honours.


  2. 1 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    2 Q. If you will recall, at the end of last week,

    3 we started talking about the special purpose units and

    4 their chain of command, and since this was really --

    5 this was opened at the very end of the day on Friday,

    6 General, would you just say again to remind us, could

    7 you list these special purposes units and what their

    8 purposes were and how they differed from the brigades

    9 which you commanded over?

    10 A. Your Honours, the special purpose units were

    11 as follows: The Convicts or Penal Battalion, Ante

    12 Bruno Busic Battalion, the Ludwig Pavlovic Battalion,

    13 the Alpha Force Battalion, the Vitezovi, the Tvrtko

    14 unit, the Apostles. These units were established as an

    15 integral part of the defence department of the Croatian

    16 Community of Herceg-Bosna, and they were not linked or

    17 bound to a territory. This was pursuant to the -- and

    18 on the basis of orders issued by the Ministry of the

    19 Defence, they could have been deployed in any part of

    20 the territory of the Croatian Community of

    21 Herceg-Bosna. None of these units were ever part of

    22 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone structure and its

    23 organisation.

    24 Q. When you say by orders of the head of the

    25 defence department who later became the Minister of

  3. 1 Defence, are you saying that these units were

    2 subordinated to the civilian authorities or to the main

    3 staff?

    4 A. These units were subordinated exclusively to

    5 the civilian part of the defence department. They were

    6 never under the command of the main headquarters of the

    7 Croatian Defence Council.

    8 Q. This model of military units not being under

    9 the command of the soldiers but under the civilian

    10 authorities, are you aware of any such model anywhere,

    11 either in the JNA or any other model that you may have

    12 studied?

    13 A. Up until then, I had never heard of such a

    14 model, and I couldn't reconcile myself to such manner

    15 of organising of military structure.

    16 Q. At some stage, more precisely, sometime

    17 around the 9th of January, 1993, two of such units, the

    18 special purpose units who previously had not operated

    19 in Central Bosnia, did appear there. These were the

    20 Bruno Busic and the Ludwig Pavlovic units.

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Do you know how they arrived at this

    23 territory, on whose request and who sent them there,

    24 and did you take part in their coming to Central Bosnia

    25 in any way?

  4. 1 A. I know that from the 13th of November, 1992,

    2 the entire combat commands in the area of Travnik and

    3 Novi Travnik were taken over by the joint command of

    4 the BH army and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone of

    5 the HVO, and the headquarters of this joint command was

    6 in Plave Vode in Travnik. Messrs. Prkacin and Pasalic

    7 ["Pavlovic" in real-time transcript], who were

    8 commanders of the joint command, insisted to get

    9 intervention units for the defence of Travnik --

    10 Q. Excuse me. Just a moment. For the

    11 transcript, it says that these were Prkacin and

    12 Pavlovic.

    13 A. No, Prkacin and Pasalic.

    14 Q. Just to remind the Trial Chamber, Pasalic was

    15 an officer with the army of Bosnia and Herzogovina.

    16 A. Yes, he was with the army of Bosnia and

    17 Herzegovina and the lead man in the joint command for

    18 the 3rd Corps on behalf of the army of Bosnia and

    19 Herzegovina.

    20 At the request of the joint command, these

    21 units were sent by the defence department in Mostar to

    22 Novi Travnik and to Vitez, and the command over these

    23 units, including the right to use them in combat, was

    24 conferred to the joint command.

    25 Q. Could you tell me, in specific situations,

  5. 1 could it be the case that you would issue commands to a

    2 special purpose unit, let's say to the Vitezovi unit

    3 who were frequently in your territory, and if so, under

    4 what circumstances and how was this done?

    5 A. Again, I could not reconcile myself to this

    6 type of organisation, and I tried to inform my

    7 superiors of this, and there were also situations when

    8 I wanted and thought that I needed to inform the

    9 Vitezovi and other units about the activities of the

    10 HVO brigades in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

    11 Sometimes this was oral information, sometimes it would

    12 be sent as an information from the headquarters, but

    13 overall, my position was the position of the

    14 coordinator of these forces. In any situation, the

    15 commander of the Vitezovi could have a discretionary

    16 position in respect to my orders, which meant that he

    17 could carry out these orders or inform me that I did

    18 not have the authority, that is, that I was not

    19 competent to issue orders to the special purpose units.

    20 I received this position in writing on the

    21 5th of January, 1993, from the Vitezovi commander. In

    22 this memo, he expressed the position that the Central

    23 Bosnia Operative Zone did not have the authority to

    24 issue him orders.

    25 Q. Later on we will return to these issues, but

  6. 1 now that we are focusing on the special purpose units,

    2 can you explain to the Trial Chamber what the word

    3 "subordination" means? That means the units which

    4 were not directly subordinated to you were turned over

    5 to your authority for special combat operations?

    6 A. In terms of the chain of command, which means

    7 that there are certain rules whereby a superior command

    8 can reinforce certain subordinate units with additional

    9 units, and during the period in which these combat

    10 operations are carried out, such reinforcements are

    11 subordinated to the commander of the overall operation.

    12 The higher command, the superior command,

    13 reserves the right to define the extent to which such a

    14 unit will be subordinated, how long this subordination

    15 is going to last, and what the authority of the

    16 commander of the overall combat operation will be with

    17 respect to this subordinated unit.

    18 However, this subordinated unit is not part

    19 of the manpower under the command of these subordinated

    20 commands.

    21 Q. After, let's say, a battle is over, what

    22 happens between you and this subordinated unit which is

    23 not under your command?

    24 A. The situation is reversed to the previous

    25 state of affairs, which means that I still have no

  7. 1 authority, that is, control and command of this unit,

    2 and that this unit continues to be in the chain of

    3 command directly subordinated to the higher command.

    4 If these are the special purpose units, this would then

    5 mean that the Ministry of Defence has the authority of

    6 command and control over this unit.

    7 Q. At this point in your testimony, can we just,

    8 for orientation, give the example of Grbavica where you

    9 de facto did have command over the Vitezovi?

    10 A. Yes. This is a good example. This was a

    11 case when I commanded this unit, but the commander of

    12 this unit still has freedom to decide what forces and

    13 what means he was going to employ to carry out these

    14 tasks because he was aware of the fact that I was not

    15 competent to -- for instance, do not provide him the

    16 logistics to discipline him if such a task was not

    17 carried out and I, on my part, was aware that it was

    18 very difficult to foresee the behaviour of such units

    19 during the combat. However, in the given situation, I

    20 had no other choice.

    21 Q. Let's now leave aside the special purpose

    22 unit issues even though we will come back to it later

    23 on. I would like to take you to a new area which I

    24 thought that we would discuss today, which means that I

    25 want to take you to the organisational work which you

  8. 1 carried out in January of 1993.

    2 Did you continue with the process of

    3 transformation of the armed villages into an army? If

    4 you did so, can you just give us some pointers, what is

    5 it that you did in this part of January before you had

    6 the conflict on the 25th of January with the army of

    7 Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    8 A. I continued with my activities regarding

    9 organisation and establishment of an army from these

    10 armed villages, so that as early as the end of November

    11 of 1992, we renamed the municipal staffs into HVO

    12 brigades.

    13 On the 9th of January, 1993, I was working on

    14 drafting the mobilisation documents as a proposal, and

    15 these documents included the mobilisation plans and

    16 registration sheets for every single soldier. This was

    17 work on setting up the basic files for the military

    18 conscripts. These are tasks which really fall within

    19 the ambit of the Ministry of Defence, but we did this

    20 work because we had no other documents.

    21 On the 11th of January, 1993, I was working

    22 on a draft of the establishment of the home guard on

    23 the basis of a decree on home guard, and I tried to

    24 establish a structure of local units of home guard

    25 which would be based in a specific territory and would

  9. 1 basically be static units. As in early December the

    2 chief of staff of the Operative Zone was involved in

    3 this work, in January of 1993, we drafted a first plan

    4 of monitoring of the immediately subordinate command

    5 posts and units of the HVO.

    6 Q. What is the role of monitoring within the

    7 command and control?

    8 A. This is one of the basic functions of any

    9 command in order to identify the distinction between

    10 the ordered and the implemented actions in order to

    11 gain an insight into how the orders were implemented on

    12 the ground, and after certain orders were issued, an

    13 analysis was carried out to ascertain how much it was

    14 carried out in order to then issue additional orders

    15 which would be corrective orders.

    16 Q. Could you add what other measures you took in

    17 order to convert the armed villagers into the army?

    18 A. Sometime in mid January, we drafted a form in

    19 which we tried to establish certain rules about

    20 replacements and shifts of men, of personnel, on the

    21 front lines. We tried to provide more stability and

    22 regularity in these operations and provide for

    23 stability of the front line at the time of the change

    24 of shifts.

    25 Q. How did you organise the artillery?

  10. 1 A. As early as the period when the joint command

    2 took over the command, that is, the joint command of

    3 the 3rd Corps and the Operative Zone, the entire

    4 artillery was under the command of the joint command.

    5 It was organised in such a way that the crews, who

    6 manned these artillery pieces and armaments in their

    7 emplacements, were mixed. That means they consisted of

    8 the members of the HVO and the BH army members. The

    9 commanders of the artillery had an office in which they

    10 jointly made plans about the activities and work of the

    11 joint command. These commanders were from both the HVO

    12 and the BH army.

    13 Q. On the 14th of January, 1993, you held a

    14 meeting with all brigade commanders from the Operative

    15 Zone, almost all, and this was just to further this

    16 work, and could you just briefly say, what did you

    17 identify as the burning problems or burning issues in

    18 each of the municipalities within the Operative Zone?

    19 A. I had a meeting with the commanders. The

    20 problems were several, and let me mention some. As far

    21 as the Travnik Brigade is concerned, 300 soldiers were

    22 being replaced on a daily basis on 400 kilometres of

    23 front line against the Serbs. These were soldiers from

    24 the neighbouring municipalities who were carrying out

    25 their tasks at the Travnik front.

  11. 1 In Novi Travnik, there was a lot of shelling

    2 at the front line by the Serbs. We had difficulties

    3 with shifts in Novi Travnik because the army of

    4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, at their checkpoints, impeded the

    5 passage of the shifts. I was also informed that in

    6 Novi Travnik there had been some acts of provocation,

    7 and within the HVO, it was the Ante Bruno Busic

    8 Regiment, that is, a special purpose unit, which did

    9 most of that, and on the Bosniak Muslim side, it was

    10 members of the 308th Mountain Brigade. We had one

    11 serious incident in Novi Travnik where an HVO

    12 checkpoint was attacked by the Novi Travnik units of

    13 the BH army. The location of this checkpoint was at

    14 Medenik.

    15 The brigade commander from Zenica reported

    16 that there were a number of murders and suicides in his

    17 zone of responsibility; further, that members of the

    18 green legion, who were part of the 314th Brigade of the

    19 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, were attacking Croats which

    20 caused fear among the Croatian population in Zenica.

    21 I was informed that the military police in

    22 Zenica had employed 15 policemen who had criminal

    23 records and that members of HOS in Zenica, who are also

    24 part of the 314th Brigade of the BH army, were

    25 pressuring Croats there.

  12. 1 In Kiseljak, there were problems of control

    2 and command as well and the impossibility of having --

    3 the new commander could not take over the command from

    4 the old commander.

    5 In Busovaca, the commander had asked for the

    6 dismantling of the entire military police because it

    7 was full of criminals.

    8 The commander from Vares, another case in

    9 point, said that he had had difficulties with regard to

    10 sending soldiers to the Travnik front to fight against

    11 the Serbs.

    12 The commander from Zepce reported about the

    13 upset relations that existed between them and members

    14 of the HOS.

    15 Q. You mentioned Kiseljak and said that there

    16 was a problem there over handing over duties of one

    17 commander to another. Could you explain to the Trial

    18 Chamber, sometime in mid January 1993, you undertook a

    19 drive to replace commanders in three municipalities.

    20 Could you tell us your motives for this? Who did you

    21 wish to replace and who did you wish to put in the

    22 place of the commanders you were replacing?

    23 A. I wanted to bring, in three municipalities,

    24 that is, Kiseljak, Busovaca, and Novi Travnik, new

    25 commanders there, and in order to do so, I wrote

  13. 1 proposals to the chief of the main staff, I sent him my

    2 proposals, and the representative of the defence

    3 department.

    4 I was motivated in doing this, and I wanted

    5 to bring commanders who would be loyal to the command

    6 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, that is to

    7 say, commanders who would not have had on their

    8 shoulders previous incidents or the conflicts that we

    9 had with the BH army beforehand, who were not burdened

    10 with that kind of event and incident, commanders who

    11 would be tolerant in their behaviour and conduct,

    12 commanders who were professionally and militarily the

    13 best experts in the field, the ones who we had

    14 available, and the representative of the defence

    15 department gave his permission for these commanders to

    16 be replaced in that way.

    17 Q. Who did you want to send to the

    18 municipalities, and did you hold negotiations and

    19 agreements? Who were the new commanders in Novi

    20 Travnik?

    21 A. In Novi Travnik, after the conflict in

    22 October 1992, the local commander was replaced of the

    23 municipal headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council,

    24 Vlado Juric, and the man who replaced him was Borivoje

    25 Malbasic, he became the new commander, from Vares.

  14. 1 In Busovaca, Dusko Grubesic was the commander

    2 who was relieved of his duties, and he was replaced by

    3 the new commander who was Mr. Niko Jozinovic from

    4 Zepce.

    5 In Kiseljak, a commander who was to have been

    6 replaced, Commander Ivica Rajic, according to the

    7 documents, he received an order relieving him of his

    8 duties and to hand over his duties to somebody else, to

    9 the new commander, and the new commander was to have

    10 been Mr. Mijo Bozic who performed the duty, who worked

    11 in the headquarters of the Operative Zone.

    12 However, we had difficulties. I personally

    13 had difficulties in Kiseljak itself because this

    14 replacement did not take place because all the

    15 representatives of the civilian authorities, despite

    16 the consultations that I had previously had, retained

    17 their attitude and stood firm in their attitude and did

    18 not allow this replacement to take place, that is to

    19 say, the replacement between Rajic and Bozic.

    20 Q. Who did you hold a meeting with in the aim of

    21 replacing the commander?

    22 A. On the 19th of January, 1993, after 3.00

    23 p.m., I had a meeting with the representatives of the

    24 civilian authorities from Kiseljak, that is to say, the

    25 mayor of Kiseljak, the president of the HDZ party in

  15. 1 Kiseljak, the members of the municipal government at

    2 Kiseljak, and the meeting was also attended by

    3 Mr. Rajic and Mr. Mijo Bozic.

    4 The topic of the meeting was the replacement

    5 of the two commanders and the hand-over of duties. I

    6 tried to convince them that the order by the defence

    7 minister was such that it had to be carried out and

    8 that it was necessary to implement the order.

    9 The discussion lasted until almost midnight,

    10 and I received a declarative okay from the members of

    11 the meeting; namely, the members said that this

    12 hand-over of duty would take place in the ensuing

    13 period. It was to have taken place by the 10th of

    14 January; however, this hand-over of duty was not

    15 completed even by the 23rd of January, 1993.

    16 Q. We'll speak about the state of affairs in

    17 Kiseljak later on and this official hand-over of duty,

    18 but I would just like to ask you whether this is normal

    19 for an army. Is it normal for you to negotiate with

    20 the representative of the HDZ, the municipal

    21 authorities, and have meetings from 3.00 p.m. until

    22 midnight? Was that standard procedure? In any kind of

    23 serious army, would that be standard procedure?

    24 A. It was not standard procedure. It is not

    25 standard procedure in any army.

  16. 1 Q. Let us now move on to another area, and

    2 before we go on to discuss the conflict in January

    3 between the HVO and the BH army, can you tell us

    4 something about the security situation in the territory

    5 of the Novi Travnik, Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, and

    6 Kiseljak municipalities, and public law and order, how

    7 was that enforced, just the gist of it, the main

    8 outline?

    9 A. Law and order was upset in January 1993.

    10 This process continued, especially in the

    11 municipalities of Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Vitez.

    12 The form that this disruption of law and order took was

    13 that whole shifts would be taken prisoner, that is, all

    14 the shifts along the front lines towards the Serbs and

    15 anybody moving around the front lines.

    16 Q. Who would take whom prisoner?

    17 A. The BH army in Kruscica, on the 27th of

    18 January, 1993, took a whole shift of the members of the

    19 Croatian Defence of Vitez prisoner, including a motor

    20 vehicle that they had and that these soldiers had to

    21 take them to the front, so they took everybody prisoner

    22 and confiscated the vehicles, the weapons, and

    23 everything else.

    24 Then there was an incident which took place

    25 on the 13th of January in Kakanj where the BH army

  17. 1 expelled the military police of the Croatian Defence

    2 Council from the town of Kakanj itself. There were

    3 other incidents as well linked to the taking of

    4 prisoners. The HVO, for example, and the members of

    5 these special purposes unit, were foremost among them,

    6 and the HVO soldiers would be arrested by the army.

    7 Q. When you say the PPN, you're referring to the

    8 special purposes units, are you not?

    9 A. Yes, that is correct.

    10 Q. In order to throw more light on this new

    11 element in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia that we

    12 have introduced, I should like to show you some

    13 documents, Defence Exhibits 204, 206, 208, so they are

    14 Exhibits D204, 206, and 208.

    15 I am going to read you the document number

    16 D204, which is on the ELMO, some key points from that

    17 document. It is dated the 25th of January, 1993, and

    18 it is the 2nd Battalion which is reporting on the

    19 activities of groups and individuals acting without the

    20 knowledge of the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council

    21 command.

    22 "Serious problems in the Vitez municipality

    23 are made by groups and individuals which, in their

    24 uniforms and with HVO insignia, are pilfering

    25 socially-owned property and very frequently private

  18. 1 property. During the robberies, they have made use of

    2 all forms of criminal activity.

    3 "Their main objective is to loot, however,

    4 as nobody is making an effort to put an end to this,

    5 their criminal offences put an additional strain on the

    6 already tense inter-ethnic relations. Lately, local

    7 robbers have been cooperating with soldiers from

    8 Herzegovina who have become emboldened, and the

    9 Herzegovinis have been trying to loot privately-owned

    10 buildings themselves."

    11 And then the document goes on to quote

    12 examples.

    13 Could you tell us, please, reports of this

    14 kind, did they reach you, and if so, in what way did

    15 you react to them? In what way could you react to

    16 them?

    17 A. Reports of this kind did reach me, and this

    18 was just one report from the 2nd Battalion of the

    19 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade from Vitez. The brigade had

    20 two other battalions at the time, one in Novi Travnik,

    21 and I asked the commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic

    22 Brigade to try and do his utmost to maintain a dialogue

    23 with the commander of the 308th Brigade of the army of

    24 Bosnia and Herzegovina from Novi Travnik and by means

    25 of holding meetings to try and solve the problems that

  19. 1 existed and the incidents that took place.

    2 I issued an order to that effect, banning any

    3 long weapons to be bandied about in the town of Novi

    4 Travnik, and this was for soldiers, members of the HVO,

    5 and I asked the security officer to spend some time in

    6 Novi Travnik himself and to do what he could to

    7 undertake preventive measures to stop incidents of this

    8 kind, and in this particular report, one can note that

    9 the local looters were encouraged with the activities

    10 of the soldiers themselves, soldiers from Herzegovina,

    11 and the report mentions the Herzegovins, who were,

    12 in fact, members of the special purposes units who,

    13 through their own activities, contributed to the

    14 chaotic state of affairs that existed in the region.

    15 All I could do was to prevail upon their commanders, to

    16 call upon them to say that all this was not in keeping

    17 with the law and that it was a very bad thing that

    18 things like this were happening.

    19 Q. Were you able to take any disciplinary

    20 measures towards the soldiers from Herzegovina, members

    21 of the special purposes units?

    22 A. No, that was not within my power and

    23 authority. I was not able to take any disciplinary

    24 measures against those soldiers.

    25 Q. Why not?

  20. 1 A. Because those particular units were not

    2 within the organic formation of the Central Bosnia

    3 Operative Zone. They were under the competencies of

    4 the defence department.

    5 MR. NOBILO: Before we continue, I should

    6 like to read out another document on the same subject.

    7 It is Defence Exhibit D206. So can we have that placed

    8 on the ELMO now, please?

    9 Q. I am going to read this out. The document is

    10 dated the 13th of January, 1993. It is from the 2nd

    11 Vitez Battalion. The title is "Report on Security in

    12 the 2nd Vitez Battalion," and I'm going to read point

    13 number 2.

    14 "The newly-arrived HVO units from

    15 Herzegovina are causing us great difficulties. Every

    16 evening, they walk around the town with weapons and

    17 disturb the citizens by firing bursts of gunfire while

    18 intoxicated. This problem is all the more serious

    19 because of the school classes that are going on in

    20 Vitez, which means that there are many children on the

    21 streets. We are frightened that an even more serious

    22 incident could occur as a result of this shooting."

    23 And so on and so forth. I'm not going to

    24 read it any further.

    25 "There was also an attempt to take a car

  21. 1 from our chief of communications, Zoran Jukic."

    2 Tell us, please, descriptions of this kind

    3 that your subordinates sent to you, subordinate

    4 officers, do you feel that they could have caused fear

    5 amongst the Muslims because they were incidents

    6 perpetrated by the Croats?

    7 A. Yes, of course, and they did instil fear with

    8 the Bosniak Muslim population where these units were

    9 based.

    10 Q. I should like to read sections of another

    11 document that you yourself wrote. It is Defence

    12 Exhibit 208, and it is related to these units from

    13 Herzegovina. Could the third document be placed on the

    14 ELMO, please?

    15 On the 6th of February, 1993, you wrote a

    16 warning, due to the failure to carry out command number

    17 01-1-217/93, dating from the 10th of January, 1993, and

    18 it is addressed to all HVO brigades in the Central

    19 Bosnia Operative Zone and to the independent units, the

    20 OZ SB, and the text reads as follows.

    21 "By command number 01-1-217/93, from the

    22 18th of January, 1993 --"

    23 There is obviously a misprint there because

    24 the order was the 18th of January, 1993.

    25 " -- and in connection with repeated

  22. 1 occurrences of the disturbance of public law and order,

    2 murders, injuries, threats with firearms, opening fire

    3 in inhabited places as well as a worsening of the

    4 entire security situation, concrete duties have been

    5 established to counteract such negative acts and

    6 proceedings.

    7 "Since until today adequate and efficient

    8 measures have not been taken, but the aforesaid

    9 negativities have been vented to a large extent, I

    10 W A R N

    11 - All commanders of brigades and independent

    12 units in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone of their

    13 duty to carry out the aforesaid commands. By

    14 8 February 1993, this Command Headquarters is to be

    15 informed in writing about the measures and actions

    16 taken pursuant to this command."

    17 It is signed Commander Colonel Tihomir

    18 Blaskic.

    19 You sent this warning to the HVO brigades and

    20 to the 4th LARD of the PZO, to the 4th Vitez Battalion,

    21 and so on and so forth. Quite obviously, the

    22 Herzegovina Brigade was not there at the time.

    23 Tell me now, please, did this order represent

    24 one of the measures that you took in order to try and

    25 put the situation right?

  23. 1 A. This order reflects the situation that

    2 existed at the time because following an overall order

    3 from the 18th of January, 1993, a comprehensive order

    4 that was sent out, instead of stopping a deterioration

    5 in the security situation, upsetting law and order,

    6 what happened was that law and order was upset even

    7 further, and that is why I was obliged to send out this

    8 warning, once again demanding that orders be put into

    9 effect.

    10 The units from Herzegovina had already left

    11 because, already in January 1993, at meetings with the

    12 joint commands, I insisted upon the fact that these

    13 units be sent away from the area of the Central Bosnia

    14 Operative Zone because, for a time, they were the

    15 perpetrators of the disorder that was going on, and I

    16 sent out a request in writing demanding the chief of

    17 the main staff and the head of the defence department

    18 to have these units, special purposes units from

    19 Herzegovina, withdrawn from the Central Bosnia

    20 Operative Zone, so that this could be an attempt at

    21 stabilising the security situation.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. If I might

    23 interrupt for a moment, before we move off this

    24 document, for one moment?

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

  24. 1 MR. KEHOE: The witness just clarified a

    2 point, and I think it can be clarified just with a pen

    3 notation possibly by Mr. Dubuisson, and that has to do

    4 with Exhibit 208 which, candidly, I didn't notice until

    5 now.

    6 As you can see on the ELMO, the first line of

    7 that reads, "By the command number," whatever, "from 18

    8 January, 1993," and as the witness rightly points out,

    9 the original carries with it the date of 18 January, as

    10 does the French version. I merely say that just so if

    11 we could note that and correct that in the English

    12 translation that's part of the record. Counsel, if you

    13 don't mind a pen notation, we certainly don't mind

    14 either.

    15 MR. NOBILO: That is correct, and the Defence

    16 does not object to that because it is clear from the

    17 document that this was the 18th of January. However,

    18 the first mention of this order has not been printed

    19 very legibly, so this is what creates the confusion.

    20 MR. KEHOE: Be that as it may, I think it is

    21 an issue that we all can agree on.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to take advantage

    23 of this interruption in order to make my own

    24 interruption. The French version was the only one,

    25 which is D208, the only one in French. The second

  25. 1 paragraph, in my opinion, has an ambiguity, since this

    2 was translated into French. Of course, I cannot make a

    3 judgment in respect of the Serbo-Croatian version, but

    4 it seems to me that in respect of the English version,

    5 the nuance is an important one because in the French

    6 versions that I have in front of me -- I don't know

    7 whether you are the one who had this translated into

    8 French, Mr. Nobilo? Are you the one, or was it the

    9 registry service?

    10 MR. NOBILO: I believe that probably it was

    11 the registry who did this.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It was the registry

    13 that had this translated. All right. This is not

    14 someone who is trying to be a purist in the French

    15 language, but there is an ambiguity as to the sense.

    16 The witness said that in the second paragraph, "take

    17 into effect that the measures did not bear fruit,"

    18 whereas the French version which I have in front of me

    19 says "express the negative qualities." I don't think

    20 it is a very good translation, but that is a very

    21 different sense. One has the impression that the

    22 accused took the order because criticisms had been

    23 expressed, whereas when the witness expressed himself,

    24 he said it's because it was not producing any results,

    25 objectively speaking.

  26. 1 This is an important nuance. Did the witness

    2 take the order because it was criticised or because the

    3 results were not good? I'm noting what the witness

    4 said, but I would ask the registrar to have this

    5 document resubmitted to the translation unit, that is

    6 D208, especially the second paragraph, which is not

    7 only in poor French but, in my opinion, also displays

    8 an ambiguity.

    9 If you don't mind, Mr. Dubuisson, have this

    10 sent back to the translation department, please?

    11 Excuse me for having interrupted, but I

    12 wanted to take advantage of that moment, and as far as

    13 I'm concerned, I will stay with what the witness said.

    14 All right, Mr. Nobilo. You can go on for

    15 another ten minutes, and then we will take a break.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we are grateful

    17 because the gist of this is that the Colonel expresses

    18 his dissatisfaction and asks that something additional

    19 should be done precisely because the previous orders

    20 had not been carried out.

    21 Q. Now, let me now bring you back to the

    22 previous question. You asked that these units be

    23 withdrawn because of the violence, and you said that

    24 this was because of the security of the population.

    25 But as a commander, can you tell me, would experienced,

  27. 1 well-armed, well-equipped units be of use to you in any

    2 type of combat situation?

    3 A. The position of the joint command and my

    4 position and the position of Dzemo Merdan was that

    5 these units were necessary for us in order for us to be

    6 able to defend ourselves in this territory, so they

    7 were of an exceptional military significance. But the

    8 problem was that we did not have adequate

    9 accommodations, that is, barracks where we would

    10 accommodate them at the time they were not engaged in

    11 combat operations and tasks. They did make a

    12 contribution to the stability of our defence lines; and

    13 on the battlefront, we usually did not have any kind of

    14 problems with them.

    15 Q. If I understood you correctly, they were

    16 deployed to combat the Serbs?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. So, again, if I understand you correctly, you

    19 are sacrificing good combat units in order to improve

    20 the security?

    21 A. Yes, that is correct.

    22 Q. I would like to take you to a new area of

    23 questioning, which is the military situation which,

    24 during three weeks in January, would lead to the first

    25 conflict between the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

  28. 1 that is, the 3rd Corps, and the Central Bosnia

    2 Operative Zone.

    3 The last time, that is, on Friday, you said

    4 that after a series of local incidents, the first thing

    5 that really concerned you was the spread of the BH army

    6 in what you call the depth of territory, that is,

    7 behind the front lines. Could you tell the Trial

    8 Chamber which units were those -- that is, the units of

    9 the BH army -- were beginning to be deployed in the

    10 depth of the territory, and what did that lead to

    11 later? If necessary, you could move closer to the

    12 model.

    13 Mr. President, with your agreement, maybe

    14 this would be a good moment to stop, and we could use

    15 the break in order to prepare the model with this new

    16 situation. I think that it would really speed up the

    17 proceedings.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right. We will

    19 take a 15-minute break.

    20 --- Recess taken at 3.11 p.m.

    21 --- On resuming at 3.35 p.m.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.

    23 Please be seated.

    24 Mr. Nobilo?

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

  29. 1 Q. So we are now dealing with the development of

    2 the military situation on the eve of the first conflict

    3 between the 3rd Corps and the Central Bosnia Operative

    4 Zone in January of 1993.

    5 General, tell me, in late '92 and in January

    6 1993, did you notice something that had raised your

    7 concerns, and the later developments will bear out this

    8 concern of yours?

    9 A. Your Honours, in late 1992, it was already

    10 noticeable that the BH army units were amassing behind

    11 the front lines in the depth of the territory which was

    12 under the control of the HVO and the BH army. As a

    13 commander, I was concerned about this at the time, and

    14 I spoke on several occasions with Dzemo and Enver, both

    15 commanders with the 3rd Corps, about these deployments.

    16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: "Dzemo" is Dzemo

    17 Merdan?

    18 MR. NOBILO: Yes, "Dzemo" is Dzemo Merdan and

    19 "Enver" is Enver Hadzihasanovic, who were the

    20 commander and the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps.

    21 A. We were talking about this amassing of forces

    22 in the depth of the territory, and with your

    23 permission, Your Honours, I would like to step forward

    24 and use the model.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Go ahead. If Prosecution

  30. 1 counsel wishes to do the same thing, they may do so.

    2 Could the witness express himself and speak clearly,

    3 please?

    4 All right. I think everybody is ready.

    5 Mr. Nobilo, please come closer. Can the public see as

    6 well? Can the camera be focused in such a way that the

    7 public gallery can see? All right. Very well. We can

    8 begin. Please proceed.

    9 Mr. Blaskic, the floor is yours. Please

    10 continue.

    11 A. Thank you, Your Honours. The front line

    12 positions against the Serbs, which I am pointing to

    13 (indicating), is not accurate in geographical terms

    14 because we do not have all the features of the

    15 terrain. I am going to mention them, and later on, I

    16 can point to them on the map.

    17 What I'm pointing at right now is Travnik

    18 (indicating). This is the town of Novi Travnik

    19 (indicating). This is the highway leading from Novi

    20 Travnik (indicating) via Opara going to Gornji Vakuf.

    21 MR. NOBILO:

    22 Q. And then onward from Gornji Vakuf, where does

    23 this road go from there?

    24 A. It leads further to Prozor, Jablanica, and

    25 beyond in the direction of Mostar. The other road from

  31. 1 Novi Travnik is in the direction that I'm pointing now

    2 (indicating), and it leads via Ravno Rostovo to

    3 Bugojno, and then due east from Bugojno to Gornji

    4 Vakuf, and again Prozor, Jablanica, and Mostar.

    5 The Serbian army controlled the following

    6 features: It was Mount Vlasic, the Radalj feature, the

    7 Komar feature. The 1st Krajina Corps from Banja Luka

    8 was deployed along this line (indicating) and parts of

    9 the 2nd Krajina Corps from the town of Titov Drvar.

    10 Facing these Serbian forces, in fact, we

    11 organised a joint defence against these Serbian forces

    12 in Travnik consisting of the HVO and the BH army, the

    13 Central Bosnia Operative Zone whose headquarters was in

    14 Vitez, and the 3rd Corps of the BH army headquartered

    15 in Zenica. The joint command was at Plave Vode, which

    16 I'm pointing at right now (indicating), and this joint

    17 command had taken over -- I'm just correcting the

    18 position here, Your Honours. This is the location of

    19 Plave Vode (indicating). This is what I'm pointing at

    20 now. So the joint command took over the complete

    21 command and control, including the combat engagement in

    22 Travnik as of 13 November, 1992.

    23 From the feature of Lupoglav all the way to

    24 Vlaska Gromila, which is where the front line was held

    25 by the HVO and the BH forces, and at the Lupoglav

  32. 1 location, including from Lupoglav to Mescema, there

    2 were no BH army soldiers on the front line, except for

    3 several villages where there were some Mujahedeen

    4 forces, they were part of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and

    5 parts of the 312th Brigade, who had the role of

    6 providing combat security.

    7 The BH army had a more significant presence

    8 in Turbe. The Travnik defence was organised in

    9 sectors, in sector 1, which was the main area from the

    10 main Travnik-Turbe road to the right, and sector 2 was

    11 the area between the Travnik-Turbe highway and to the

    12 left.

    13 As far as the military situation is

    14 concerned, all combat activities were conducted over

    15 Vilenica feature. Had the Serbs taken Vilenica, the

    16 town of Travnik would have fallen.

    17 So my main concern in January of 1993 was the

    18 following: The main communication line between Novi

    19 Travnik and Herzegovina, which includes Novi Travnik,

    20 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, Tomislavgrad, and beyond that

    21 Mostar, and the other, Novi Travnik, Ravno Rostovno,

    22 Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Mostar, was occupied by the

    23 forces of the 308th Brigade of the BH army from Novi

    24 Travnik.

    25 So that means in the area which I'm pointing

  33. 1 to now (indicating) and in this area here (indicating),

    2 the entire 308th Brigade was deployed, and in the area

    3 of Ravno Rostovo, a Mujahedeen unit from the 7th Muslim

    4 Brigade was deployed.

    5 These forces which were in the area of the

    6 main communication line and belonged to the BH army

    7 were not deployed on the defence lines of Novi Travnik

    8 but were deployed behind the front lines, in the depth

    9 of the territory.

    10 Q. What was the meaning of the existence of such

    11 large forces which were not engaged in the defence

    12 against the common enemy, that is, the Serbs?

    13 A. That was the -- I was also giving an answer

    14 to this question from Mr. Dzemo Merdan at the time, the

    15 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, and from Commander

    16 Enver Hadzihasanovic at the meeting of the 21st of

    17 December, 1992 in Zenica. He answered that he was

    18 creating operative forces and that he wanted to have a

    19 trained and mobile army.

    20 I personally was concerned by the positioning

    21 of these forces because this was not an exception but a

    22 practice which was also implemented in other areas.

    23 The meaning of it was that you achieve monitoring and

    24 control of the communications, and all communications

    25 lines are of strategic significance in any war, and in

  34. 1 mountainous terrain, such as in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    2 especially in Central Bosnia, they are of vital

    3 importance.

    4 The next brigade was the 306th Brigade of the

    5 BH army which was headquartered in Han Bila, and its

    6 operations were going due north along the road Han

    7 Bila-Metkovic, and the command post of the brigade

    8 itself and its barracks was, as you can see from this

    9 model, on the only road from Travnik via Guca Gora and

    10 Han Bila, Stranjani, Cajdras, to Zenica. So if we

    11 wanted to take the road from Travnik to Zenica, this is

    12 the road that takes you to Zenica, and this is the main

    13 communication line.

    14 In addition to the 306th Brigade in Han Bila,

    15 another brigade was being formed in Mehuric, and I'm

    16 pointing to that location on the model here

    17 (indicating). It is not exactly here. It is beyond

    18 what is represented on the model here. And the 27th

    19 Krajina Brigade was composed of mostly Bosniak Muslims

    20 who were expelled from Banja Luka.

    21 In the town of Travnik itself, the 17th

    22 Krajina Brigade was stationed, a mobile brigade, which

    23 also was composed of the Bosnian refugees from Sanski

    24 Most and Prijedor, and it was deployed in the Travnik

    25 barracks.

  35. 1 Further in Travnik, there were forces of the

    2 Mujahedeen from the 7th Muslim Brigade to the strength

    3 of a battalion, and the BH army unit, alongside the HVO

    4 forces, was manning the defence lines in Travnik.

    5 The next unit was the 325th Brigade of the BH

    6 army in Vitez which had its forces organised in

    7 battalions. One battalion was deployed in Kruscica, I

    8 believe it was the 2nd Battalion; another battalion in

    9 Poculica with companies in Poculica and Vrhovine, that

    10 is, Prnjavor; another company in Sljivcica, which is

    11 the feature I'm pointing at now (indicating), Sivrino

    12 Selo; and the third company in Ahmici.

    13 This battalion controlled the road from Vitez

    14 via Vjetrenica to Zenica, and the next battalion, which

    15 had its headquarters in Bukve and was also part of the

    16 325th Brigade, had its companies deployed in Bukve,

    17 Grbavica, Preocica and controlled one of the auxiliary

    18 communication lines, which also leads towards Zenica.

    19 The forces of the 333rd Brigade in Busovaca

    20 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were headquartered in

    21 Kacuni and were deployed as follows: One battalion in

    22 Kacuni, one battalion in Sudine, and another battalion

    23 along the main road leading from Zenica across Lasva to

    24 Kaonik and Busovaca, and their command post was in the

    25 village of Grablje.

  36. 1 Let me just add that in old Vitez, Stari

    2 Vitez, a Mujahedeen unit was deployed, as well as in

    3 Poculica, whose strength was about 100 soldiers, and it

    4 was deployed there in late January of 1993.

    5 In Fojnica, in early 1993, the 310th Brigade

    6 was deployed, and one battalion of this brigade was in

    7 the area of the communication line between Fojnica via

    8 Lucice, Zivcici, Mehuric, and Kacuni.

    9 In the village of Dragacici, there was

    10 another Mujahedeen unit deployed. Then there were the

    11 forces of the 323rd Brigade of the BH army who later

    12 were deployed at Bilalovac in late 1993.

    13 Q. Are you saying '92 or '93?

    14 A. It's 1993, that is, late January 1993, that

    15 is, from about the 25th of January, 1993 and onward.

    16 What is also interesting here are the forces

    17 of the 302nd Brigade from the Visoko Operative Group

    18 forces. This Operative Group, on orders of the main

    19 staff of the supreme command of the BH army, as of the

    20 18th of January, 1993, was subordinated to the command

    21 of the 3rd Corps in Zenica. Earlier it had been under

    22 the command of the 1st Corps. Unfortunately, here on

    23 the model, we don't have Kakanj, but with your

    24 permission, Your Honours, I would like to show it here

    25 because one of the Kakanj units is significant for us.

  37. 1 This was the 309th Brigade in Kakanj

    2 (indicating). In the village of Dobrinje, which is on

    3 the main road between Kakanj and Zenica, there was a

    4 Mujahedeen training camp there. Also in the mountain

    5 lodge of Pogorelica, there was another Mujahedeen

    6 training camp, and a Mujahedeen unit was stationed

    7 there. This was in Fojnica.

    8 This is important because there are

    9 communication lines leading to Mostar from there, and

    10 this is the second communication line leading south

    11 towards Mostar and points beyond, so that from

    12 Kiseljak, we can go via Kresevo, Tarcin, Konjic, and

    13 Jablanica to get to Mostar, that would be one line, and

    14 the other line is from Fojnica via Dusina, Pogorelica,

    15 and then Buturovic Polje and Konjic, and there is

    16 another line which is Fojnica, Dezevice, then Mount

    17 Lopata, Blinje, Tarcin, and Konjic, and then from

    18 Fojnica via Sebesic again joins the main communication

    19 line towards Travnik.

    20 Q. According to your assessment, in January

    21 1993, how much of the BH army in this territory that

    22 you described, how many soldiers did it have organised

    23 in brigades that you mentioned and how many soldiers

    24 did it have engaged towards the Republika Srpska army?

    25 A. According to our knowledge, there was between

  38. 1 29.000 soldiers up to 33.000 soldiers in this entire

    2 area, and on the front towards Travnik, it had engaged,

    3 that is to say, on the Novi Travnik-Travnik front line,

    4 our assessment was that they had about 1.500 soldiers

    5 engaged there.

    6 Q. At the same time, with the expansion of the

    7 units of the BH army across the territory and the

    8 communication lines which were of vital importance both

    9 for the BH army and for the HVO, checkpoints were set

    10 up in January 1993 armed with armed manpower. Where

    11 and when and why were these checkpoints set up?

    12 A. At that time, we very often discussed these

    13 checkpoints and what their function was. The points

    14 that I'm going to talk about now were not police

    15 checkpoints where we would usually see a police vehicle

    16 with two policemen supervising traffic on that

    17 particular road, these were the classical type of

    18 military checkpoint where, on the left- or right-hand

    19 side of the checkpoint, there would be several

    20 fortification features and shelters with soldiers in

    21 combat deployment, and they supervised these control

    22 checkpoints, these checkpoints.

    23 At the same time, with the deployment of

    24 forces in this way at the checkpoints, they were able

    25 to have complete supervision over the communication

  39. 1 lines, and that meant not only the road but the area on

    2 both sides of the road. They were able to control this

    3 entire area.

    4 The checkpoints made passage difficult, and

    5 depending upon the soldiers manning the checkpoint or

    6 the orders that they had received, they were able to

    7 stop passage entirely along the communication lines.

    8 On the 2nd of January, 1993, the Mehuric

    9 checkpoint was set up. For the HVO, it prevented all

    10 communication towards the village of Miletici and also

    11 towards the military positions at Vlasko and Gromila.

    12 Up until the 14th of January, 1993, a control

    13 point, a checkpoint, was set up in the Vodavod school,

    14 which is in the Novi Travnik municipality, on the road

    15 running from Novi Travnik to Bugojno. At this

    16 checkpoint, in the school building there, there were

    17 some 200 soldiers belonging to the BH army there, and

    18 the very fact that 200 soldiers manned the checkpoint

    19 clearly indicates that their intention was not only to

    20 control traffic in the area.

    21 Up until the 14th of January, 1993, the 308th

    22 brigade launched an attack on the Medenik feature which

    23 had previously been taken over by the HVO in the

    24 village of Sebesic, and after that they took over

    25 supervision over the Medenik feature and another

  40. 1 checkpoint was set up at Pavlovica on the 18th of

    2 January, 1993.

    3 On the 20th of January, we were informed that

    4 a checkpoint was set up at Opara again.

    5 Q. What communication line is that?

    6 A. This is the communication line running from

    7 Novi Travnik towards Gornji Vakuf, and this is the

    8 communication line from Novi Travnik across Ravne

    9 Rostov towards Bugojno. The checkpoint set up by the

    10 BH army at Kruscica, this checkpoint was set up on the

    11 20th of January, 1993.

    12 Q. Perhaps this is a good moment, for purposes

    13 of the record, to indicate that the green flags are the

    14 checkpoints of the BH army, the blue flags indicate the

    15 command posts of the HVO, and the red flags are the

    16 positions of the army of the Republika Srpska, whereas

    17 the yellow obstacles on the road represent the

    18 checkpoints; is that correct?

    19 A. Yes, it is.

    20 Q. Please continue.

    21 A. The checkpoints at Kacuni were set up on the

    22 21st of January, 1993, and were strengthened with a

    23 company, reinforced with a company of soldiers from the

    24 17th Krajina Brigade from Travnik. The checkpoint in

    25 the village of Donji Bukovci but on the main road

  41. 1 running from Kacuni to Bilalovac --

    2 Q. The Vitez-Busovaca-Kiseljak road, that is?

    3 A. Yes, that's correct. This checkpoint was set

    4 up on the 27th of January, 1993, according to the

    5 information that I myself received.

    6 The checkpoint at Mali Raj, the Sehitluci

    7 position, was set up on the 29th of January, 1993. The

    8 checkpoint at Bilalovac was set up on the 29th of

    9 January, 1993.

    10 Q. If you take a look at all these checkpoints

    11 and the operative development or deployment of the BH

    12 army, what, with this distance of time and the

    13 knowledge that you have since gained and the events

    14 that happened later on indicate, what was your military

    15 situation like, for example, in a possible conflict

    16 with the BH army given this kind of situation?

    17 A. If it was the strategic task of each and

    18 every commander to ensure communications with the main

    19 staff, and that is what it is, in a situation of this

    20 kind, we did not have one single communication line

    21 open towards the main staff in Mostar under the control

    22 of the HVO; and, on the other hand, the army had

    23 several communication lines, that is to say, its 3rd

    24 Corps, and it was able to use those communication lines

    25 for supplying the army, especially after the 12th of

  42. 1 January, 1993, and the conflict that took place in

    2 Konjic and Gornji Vakuf.

    3 In actual fact, this deployment of forces

    4 rendered the Central Bosnia Operative Zone divided. It

    5 was divided into enclaves. But with the positioning

    6 and deployment of the forces of the 6th -- that is to

    7 say, the 4th Corps, the 4th Corps of the army of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Konjic and the forces of the 3rd

    9 Corps in Gornji Vakuf, it was completely isolated from

    10 the supply centres towards the south.

    11 MR. NOBILO: Before we go on to describe the

    12 events that followed, we should like to ask our

    13 technical service to take a photo of this situation as

    14 it existed in January 1993. We can go back to our

    15 places and continue the examination-in-chief from our

    16 seats.

    17 Q. You mentioned that on the 12th of January,

    18 1993, there was a real war, a real armed conflict

    19 between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO in

    20 Konjic and Gornji Vakuf.

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Can you tell us what information reached you

    23 on this and what it meant for you?

    24 A. We received information on the conflict only

    25 on the 12th of January, 1993, and the conflict had

  43. 1 probably taken place a few days earlier. But if I may,

    2 Your Honours, I should just like to point this out on

    3 the map? May I use the map?

    4 JUDGE JORDA: I think that would be a good

    5 thing, at least personally I think that would be more

    6 understandable. It would be easier than just looking

    7 at the model.

    8 THE REGISTRAR: For the transcript, the map

    9 will be D540.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

    11 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. Will

    12 there be an exhibit for the photograph that was just

    13 taken?

    14 JUDGE JORDA: I suppose there would be a

    15 photograph with a number.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Later on we're going to receive

    17 the photograph, and when we get the photograph, we'll

    18 assign it a number. I think that is perhaps the most

    19 logical way to proceed.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo is actually the

    21 director for this photograph, if I'm not mistaken.

    22 THE REGISTRAR: But the problem is, in fact,

    23 that we don't really know what photograph is involved.

    24 We will take advantage of the break so that we can

    25 determine exactly what photograph is in question.

  44. 1 JUDGE JORDA: The photograph has to be made

    2 individual and has to have a commentary which would

    3 make it individual. It has to correspond with a point

    4 of the comments made by the witness; otherwise, it's

    5 just going to be one more photograph that goes with the

    6 model. All right. But that's your problem.

    7 We will now turn to General Blaskic and ask

    8 him to indicate on the map, to show us how the strategy

    9 was supposed to be the one of the army of Bosnia and

    10 Herzegovina, how it took it to the enclave and how it

    11 took it to the area behind the lines, so that's what

    12 would start the conflict. That's what the Judges would

    13 be interested in and would like to see on the map.

    14 A. Your Honours, for purposes of orientation, I

    15 am looking at Novi Travnik and showing the road which

    16 leads from Novi Travnik via Ravne Rostov towards

    17 Bugojno, and from Bugojno goes on to Gornji Vakuf.

    18 This supervision of the road was in charge of

    19 the 1st battalion and the 308th brigade of the BH army

    20 from Novi Travnik, and at the Ravne Rostovo motel, the

    21 Mujahedeen unit of the 7th Muslim brigade. The 2nd and

    22 3rd battalion and the 38th brigade from Novi Travnik

    23 covered the road leading from Novi Travnik via Opara

    24 towards Gornji Vakuf once again. The conflicts between

    25 the HVO and the BH army in Gornji Vakuf included forces

  45. 1 of the 3rd Corps, so the forces of the 3rd Corps were

    2 engaged in the conflict from Zenica, and the forces of

    3 the Operative Zone of north-west Herzegovina from

    4 Tomislavgrad, whereas the units that I was in command

    5 of were not included in the conflict in Gornji Vakuf.

    6 At the same time, in Konjic, the situation

    7 was more or less identical. Unfortunately, I haven't

    8 got a map here showing Konjic, but if need be, we can

    9 put up a map of that area as well.

    10 [New map presented]

    11 That is Kiseljak (indicating), I am pointing

    12 to Kiseljak, and we said that it went via Kresevo,

    13 across Blinje, going on to Tarcin, and further on the

    14 road goes towards Konjic. That is one direction, which

    15 was monitored by the 9th mountain brigade of the BH

    16 army with its command in Tarcin and parts of the 105th

    17 mountain brigade with its command in Pazavici.

    18 However, the conflicts in Konjic were initiated by the

    19 45th mountain brigade from Konjic itself and sections

    20 of the 4th Muslim brigade. For us, of decisive

    21 importance for the HVO and the Central Bosnia Operative

    22 Zone, this was extremely important because they shut

    23 off the other communication line which leads from

    24 Kiseljak across Kresevo to Konjic and Mostar, or from

    25 Kiseljak across Fojnica and Dusina and Pogorelica

  46. 1 towards Konjic once again.

    2 Q. In other words, if the army of

    3 Bosnia-Herzegovina sets up a front and blocks Konjic

    4 and Gornji Vakuf, could you go to Herzegovina for

    5 supplies, logistical purposes and so on?

    6 A. No, we could not do this because the area was

    7 under the control of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    8 and I should just like to add at this point that not

    9 only did we have no connection between the Operative

    10 Zone of Central Bosnia with the south, the south-lying

    11 area with this deployment of forces, but with the

    12 positioning of the checkpoints running from Kacuni via

    13 Donji Bukovci, Mali Raj and Bilalovac, a new

    14 communication line was opened in this area which

    15 represented an air corridor which was about 10 to 12

    16 kilometres wide, so it went from Kacuni up to

    17 Bilalovac, and that corridor linked up, operatively

    18 speaking, the forces of the 3rd Corps from Zenica with

    19 the forces of the BH army and its 4th Corps which was

    20 stationed in Mostar, and from April 1993 onwards with

    21 the forces of the 6th Corps of the army of

    22 Bosnia-Herzegovina which had its command post at

    23 Fojnica.

    24 Q. The onslaught that you're going to describe

    25 later on on Bilalovac and Kacuni on the 25th of

  47. 1 January, 1993, and the creation of this corridor, was

    2 of strategic importance for the BH army if it wished to

    3 link up its cause?

    4 A. Absolutely correct. It was a strategic goal

    5 because with the execution of that goal, they were able

    6 to link up the 3rd Corps of Zenica with the 6th Corps

    7 of Fojnica and the 4th Corps from Mostar, but, at the

    8 same time, the forces of the staff of the supreme

    9 command were linked up, which was located at Mount

    10 Igman, and very soon after the successes -- these

    11 scored, the supreme command of the BH army was moved to

    12 Zenica, to the theatre building there.

    13 Q. So the conflict on the 21st,

    14 Kacuni-Bilalovac, did it emanate from an incident or

    15 was it the logical development of a whole military

    16 strategy and situation?

    17 A. No, it was not just a chance incident, all

    18 the more so as the headquarters of the supreme command

    19 decided prior to the conflict to subordinate the

    20 operative group of Visoko to the 3rd Corps. This

    21 occurred on about the 18th of January, 1993, which

    22 meant that on the battleground running from Zenica to

    23 Visoko, which is where the battle was to take place,

    24 around Kacuni and Bilalovac, one command was created

    25 with the command headquarters in the 3rd Corps in

  48. 1 Zenica, which was to command this operation, supervise

    2 the operation, and this was a combat operations

    3 activity. The area was small, but it was a highly

    4 significant area.

    5 Q. Having described the general situation to us

    6 and having given us the logical military development of

    7 the events, we're going to speak of events prior to the

    8 conflict itself.

    9 May I now have Prosecution Exhibit 456/83?

    10 This is a Defence Exhibit, and it is Milivoj

    11 Petkovic's order. It went to Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca,

    12 Prozor, Konjic, Jablanica and Gornji Vakuf, and before

    13 we move on to the contents of this order and your

    14 comments, can you tell me, what did it mean to you as a

    15 soldier that the commander of the main staff is not

    16 issuing an order to you as a commander of the Operative

    17 Zone but directly to your subordinated commanders in

    18 Vitez, Busovaca, Travnik who were subordinates to you

    19 in the Operative Zone? How did you interpret this?

    20 A. This is how the Operative Zone was structured

    21 at the time, because it would have been normal had the

    22 order been directed to the Operative Zone command in

    23 Vitez. However, here we see that it has three

    24 different addressees, and this shows you the level of

    25 our organisation and structure, because parallel to the

  49. 1 events on the front, we were also trying to transform

    2 the armed population into an army, and I believe we

    3 needed more time for that.

    4 Q. I would like to read you this order and what

    5 circumstances it was issued under, and I read. The

    6 heading is "Avoidance of incidents - Order."

    7 "Given the deterioration of Croat-Muslim

    8 relations in the past few days, and in order to avert

    9 conflicts detrimental to both, I hereby order ..."

    10 This was an order from the 3rd of January,

    11 1993 -- sorry, 13th of January, 1993.

    12 A. Yes, it is of 13th January, 1993.

    13 Q. "I hereby order:

    14 1. All HVO commands are required to analyse

    15 on the causes of the conflicts on their territory.

    16 2. Immediately establish contacts with the

    17 Muslim side and resolve any problems that have arisen

    18 through dialogue.

    19 3. Prevent possible attempts by lower

    20 commands to resolve the problems that have arisen by

    21 force.

    22 4. Whenever possible, set up joint teams

    23 with the Muslim side to resolve past or new conflicts.

    24 5. Make joint efforts to clear roads of

    25 roadblocks and remove the newly-established

  50. 1 checkpoints.

    2 6. Propose that the Command meet at least

    3 once a day to analyse the situation on the ground and

    4 propose joint measures.

    5 7. Submit regular and emergency reports on

    6 the situation on the ground."

    7 Chief of staff of the HVO of the Croatian

    8 Community of Herceg-Bosna, General Milivoj Petkovic.

    9 General, can you tell me, on the basis of

    10 this order, does it seem that General Petkovic does not

    11 understand the operational development of the situation

    12 but is treating these as a series of incidents?

    13 A. Yes.

    14 Q. Is this a correct interpretation in the light

    15 of the future insights into the situation?

    16 A. Of course this is not correct in hindsight

    17 based on the subsequent developments, but it is clear

    18 that the situation was going in a different direction

    19 because we held meetings, that is myself and Dzemo from

    20 the 3rd Corps, on almost a daily basis until the end of

    21 1992, and I was in my command post in Travnik

    22 throughout this period, even though the headquarters at

    23 that time was in Vitez. We tried, through the joint

    24 commission, to identify the causes of conflict in Novi

    25 Travnik in October of 1992, but this commission stopped

  51. 1 working because the BH army representatives from Novi

    2 Travnik stopped taking part in the work of this

    3 commission.

    4 In order to calm the situation down, in

    5 January of 1993 we were able to get mediation from

    6 UNPROFOR who convened meetings between the HVO and the

    7 BH army, and we attempted through dialogue to overcome

    8 these numerous incidents and conflicts which were

    9 taking place, and I personally thought that a new

    10 conflict could break out in Novi Travnik or in

    11 Busovaca, and I therefore insisted with the chief of

    12 the main staff to bring in commanders from outside,

    13 that is, from the neighbouring municipalities.

    14 In one of the many conversations that I had,

    15 Colonel Bob Stewart told me, "Now, why Novi Travnik

    16 again," from which I concluded that he too had focused

    17 his attention on Novi Travnik which, in January of

    18 1993, had registered a number of incidents.

    19 Q. General, did you follow the order of General

    20 Milivoj Petkovic of 13th January, 1993 and attempt to

    21 carry out what the chief of the main staff ordered you?

    22 A. Yes, I did carry it out, and this order was

    23 one of the topics of our meeting of the 14th of

    24 January, 1993 which I held with all subordinate

    25 commanders, and we had a detailed discussion of this

  52. 1 order and tried to implement it in full.

    2 MR. NOBILO: I would now like to go to

    3 another exhibit, Prosecution Exhibit 456/6, and have it

    4 placed on the ELMO, please.

    5 Q. This is your order of 16 January, 1993 at

    6 1140 hours, and it was addressed to a number of units,

    7 including the special purpose unit; first, to all the

    8 formations in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone and

    9 then the special purpose units, Bruno Busic, Ludvig

    10 Pavlovic, and Vitezovi, additionally, to the Travnik

    11 police department and to the 4th Military Police

    12 Battalion in Vitez.

    13 Before we move on to the body of text, could

    14 you just tell us which of these units had the status of

    15 temporarily subordinated units and which units were

    16 attached to your command, based on what you mentioned

    17 previously today?

    18 A. From the list of addressees where it states,

    19 and I quote, "To all the formations of the Central

    20 Bosnia Operative Zone --"

    21 Q. Which are these units?

    22 A. These are all the HVO brigades in the Central

    23 Bosnia Operative Zone which were directly subordinated

    24 to me as their commander, that is, the HVO brigades are

    25 these units, and they're the integral part of the

  53. 1 military structure of the Central Bosnia Operative

    2 Zone, and separately mentioned are the following

    3 addressees: The Bruno Busic unit, the Ludvig Pavlovic

    4 unit, the Vitezovi, the Travnik police department, and

    5 the 4th Military Police Battalion in Vitez.

    6 Q. On which basis did you issue an order to

    7 them?

    8 A. I had received an order from the main staff

    9 which can be seen from the preamble, it is 01-66/93,

    10 dated 15 January, 1993, in which these units were

    11 attached to me or subordinate to me for this particular

    12 task of the raising of its battle readiness.

    13 Q. Did the local police department have any

    14 combat units, since they were put on the list of

    15 addressees?

    16 A. The police department in Travnik also had a

    17 special purpose unit which numbered up to 30 civilian

    18 policemen, and that was a combat unit.

    19 Q. The heading is "The Combat Readiness of all

    20 the HVO Formations in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone

    21 Territory." I'm just going to read you the preamble

    22 here. "Pursuant to the order of the Mostar HVO

    23 headquarters, number 01-66/93, dated 15 January, 1993,

    24 and due to the open and deceitful aggression of Muslim

    25 forces all over the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna

  54. 1 which has caused scores of HVO members to be killed and

    2 a number of them to be wounded, as well as Croatian

    3 homes to be burned and the Croatian people driven out,

    4 for the purpose of the self-defence of the people and

    5 the territory of the Croatian Community of

    6 Herceg-Bosna, I hereby order the following."

    7 Now, please, can you tell the Trial Chamber,

    8 at this point in time, that is, on the 16th of January,

    9 were there conflicts and the burning of houses in this

    10 area, and if not, why -- in the Central Bosnia

    11 Operative Zone, were there conflicts with Muslims on

    12 the 16th of January, that is, the question is "yes" or

    13 "no," and the second question is why would you raise

    14 your units and all the units which were in the Central

    15 Bosnia Operative Zone, why would you raise them to the

    16 highest level of combat readiness?

    17 A. First, there were no conflicts in the Central

    18 Bosnia Operative Zone, but the 3rd Corps from Zenica

    19 did take part in combat operations in Gornji Vakuf; in

    20 other words, they were directly involved with their

    21 forces there. I issued this order because, first of

    22 all, I had a duty, I was under obligation to issue it

    23 on the basis of the order of the chief of the main

    24 staff, and the raising of the combat readiness or

    25 preparedness of the units, when, in the neighbouring

  55. 1 municipality of Gornji Vakuf, fighting was in progress,

    2 was a normal and logical military task because Gornji

    3 Vakuf borders on the municipalities of Novi Travnik,

    4 Fojnica, Vitez, and Busovaca.

    5 Q. Which are the municipalities from your

    6 Operative Zone.

    7 A. Yes, which are the municipalities in my

    8 Operative Zone, and it borders on the back, on the

    9 south side.

    10 Q. Did the issuing of this order have anything

    11 to do with the conflict in Busovaca on the 25th of

    12 January?

    13 A. No. The raising of the combat readiness and,

    14 let me say, the retyping of this order has nothing to

    15 do with the conflicts which took place later in

    16 Busovaca, and perhaps it is sufficient to point out

    17 item 2 where it states that all HVO formations should

    18 be made as mobile as possible. This was not

    19 implemented as late as 1995 among the home guard units,

    20 and it is clear that the order, as it was stated here,

    21 was just retyped, that is, typed over, and was not

    22 implementable in that area, and it was clear that, even

    23 after the Washington Agreements, this would not be

    24 possible to have been implemented.

    25 Q. When you say "retyped," are you just saying

  56. 1 that is was basically copied from the order of General

    2 Petkovic?

    3 A. Yes. We were just obliged to type it up as

    4 we got it because we knew that we couldn't implement

    5 certain things because we were just not in a position

    6 to do so.

    7 Q. Do you believe that the issuing of this order

    8 in a combat situation, when, in a neighbouring

    9 municipality, a conflict is going on between the HVO

    10 and the BH army, was necessary?

    11 A. Yes. We were just being cautious, and this

    12 was a necessary step.

    13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if you believe

    14 that this is a good time, it is fine with me.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will take a

    16 15-minute break before we complete the day's work.

    17 --- Recess taken at 4.45 p.m.

    18 --- On resuming at 5.10 p.m.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing

    20 now. Please be seated.

    21 MR. NOBILO:

    22 Q. General, when asked what would Petkovic's

    23 order mean, that is, the order of the chief of the main

    24 staff, you said that it was clear that he did not

    25 foresee the conflict with the army of

  57. 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but rather saw these events as

    2 incidents.

    3 Now, tell me, what was your view at the time

    4 of these events? Did you, as a military strategist,

    5 manage to foresee a conflict with the army of

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina or not, and what would have been

    7 your situation in case of a conflict with

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    9 A. First of all, my opinion or view was

    10 identical with that of General Petkovic; in other

    11 words, I did not expect a war with the army of

    12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. My attention was really focused on

    13 the defence of Travnik, Maglaj, and Olovo. The town of

    14 Olovo had a majority Muslim population, and we provided

    15 every assistance we could to keep this town under the

    16 control of the HVO and the BH army. Those were our

    17 main fronts, and as I said, I assumed that we could

    18 expect certain incidents in Novi Travnik, and I did not

    19 foresee or could not foresee a war in January of 1993.

    20 From this operational development, it also

    21 became clear that the forces of the 3rd Corps of the BH

    22 army, with reinforcements from the 1st army Corps,

    23 which had been organised in the 1st Operative Group,

    24 were much better positioned within Central Bosnia than

    25 the HVO was, and operationally speaking, before this

  58. 1 battle had begun, we had already lost it.

    2 Q. Why do you say that you have lost this battle

    3 based on this operational development of the BH army?

    4 Can you say in more lay terms, maybe perhaps by using

    5 Exhibit 539, the map which we introduced last week?

    6 A. Yes. If I can have the map, I would gladly

    7 point to the relevant points.

    8 MR. NOBILO: On the ELMO maybe. The points

    9 Jablanica, Prozor, Konjic, Mostar.

    10 Q. Please use both the map here on the ELMO and

    11 the model in front of you.

    12 A. I'm pointing at Vitez (indicating), to the

    13 headquarters of the Operative Zone; Mostar (indicating)

    14 where the logistics base and the main headquarters of

    15 the HVO were located.

    16 Q. This is about -- okay. We can see it now.

    17 A. All communication lines leading from Mostar

    18 via Jablanica are leading to Vitez, branch out towards

    19 Konjic, Tarcin, Kresevo, Kiseljak, and Busovaca to

    20 Vitez.

    21 The auxiliary line is Jablanica, Konjic via

    22 Dusina, Fojnica, and then to Kiseljak, Busovaca, and

    23 Vitez.

    24 The next line is Mostar, Jablanica, Prozor,

    25 Gornji Vakuf, and then Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca,

  59. 1 Zenica; further, Gornji Vakuf, Novi Travnik, Travnik,

    2 Han Bila, Zenica; and Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno, Ravno

    3 Rostovo, Novi Travnik, Travnik, Han Bila, Zenica, and,

    4 of course, further on to Kakanj, Vares, Kladanj, and

    5 Tuzla.

    6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would the General be so

    7 good as to show me Han Bila on the map? Thank you.

    8 A. Your Honour, Han Bila is between Travnik --

    9 I'm now pointing at Han Bila (indicating).

    10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is it marked on the

    11 map?

    12 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but it's very pale, that

    13 is, you cannot even see it.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Yes.

    15 MR. NOBILO:

    16 Q. Go ahead.

    17 A. All these communication lines, and we're

    18 talking about the period of January after the conflict

    19 broke out, were inaccessible to the command of the

    20 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, including the

    21 communication line between Kiseljak, Busovaca, and

    22 Vitez in the area of Kacuni and Bilalovac.

    23 Q. General, let's look at the Lasva Valley.

    24 This is a valley which has its gates, let's say, the

    25 entrance and the exit gates, if we just look at the

  60. 1 Lasva Valley itself, were you completely blocked, that

    2 is, in all entrances and exits from the Lasva Valley?

    3 A. Yes, we were absolutely blocked. We did not

    4 have a single communication line open.

    5 Q. In such an operative situation, a commander

    6 with your professional experience, and I'm looking now

    7 in terms of military theory, would a commander in your

    8 position ever decide to enter a battle?

    9 A. As far as I know, and I do have training in

    10 tactical matters, but when I became aware that we did

    11 not have a direct communication line with the main

    12 headquarters, it was clear to me that we did not have a

    13 military solution in terms of initiating any kind of

    14 conflicts, and I, therefore, attempted to stabilise the

    15 situation by negotiating.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Can I now have the exhibit,

    17 Prosecution Exhibit, 405, placed on the ELMO? I

    18 apologise. It is D405, a Defence Exhibit. It's D539,

    19 that is the map. The map is D539.

    20 I would now like Defence Exhibit 405 placed

    21 on the ELMO.

    22 Q. According to some, the conflict broke out on

    23 the 24th, according to others on the 25th of January,

    24 but you issued an order on the 21st of January to your

    25 units, and you say:

  61. 1 "Establish contact with the competent

    2 command of the BH army.

    3 "Proceeding from the order of the Chief of

    4 Main Staff of the Mostar HVO, number 01-111/93 of 20

    5 January 1993, and with the purpose of easing tensions,

    6 I hereby order:

    7 1. Establish contact with the competent

    8 command of the BH army in your zone of responsibility

    9 and settle all controversial issues by means of

    10 agreement.

    11 2. This order takes effect immediately, and

    12 unit commanders are responsible to me for its

    13 execution."

    14 Signed by Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.

    15 Can you tell me what the circumstances were,

    16 what was the purpose of your issuing this order three

    17 days before the conflict broke out with the army of

    18 Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    19 A. This was my attempt to calm down the

    20 situation and to have all the incidents and all the

    21 events in a zone of responsibility of the BH army and

    22 the HVO solved by dialogue without the use of force.

    23 Q. However, soon thereafter, and then again I

    24 think a new complication arose and it came from

    25 politics, on Sarajevo television and elsewhere, there

  62. 1 was a proclamation of Bozo Rajic, the BH Minister of

    2 Defence. Can you tell me what this was about and what

    3 were its implications?

    4 A. This was an order of the Defence Minister of

    5 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Bozo Rajic,

    6 in which this attachment of units of the army of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the HVO units was discussed and

    8 also the attachment of the HVO units to the BH army

    9 units on the basis of the territory of certain

    10 provinces.

    11 Q. Did it have anything to do with the

    12 Vance-Owen Plan?

    13 A. Yes.

    14 Q. What was the decision in the Travnik

    15 province, which is part of the Lasva Valley? Who was

    16 going to be attached to whom and subordinated to whom

    17 there?

    18 A. Specifically speaking, in the municipalities

    19 of Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, and Busovaca, all

    20 units of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were to be

    21 attached to the command of the Operative Zone, but all

    22 units composed of the refugees or foreigners were to

    23 leave this province, and this was to be the 27th

    24 Krajina brigade, 17th Krajina brigade, 305th Jajce

    25 brigade, parts of the 7th Muslim brigade, and other

  63. 1 parts of units that had been brought in from outside.

    2 Q. In the operative situation which you have

    3 been describing this afternoon and the relations

    4 between the HVO and the BH army, could this order, (1),

    5 be implemented, and, (2), how was it perceived by the

    6 HVO and the BH army, and did it become a source of

    7 another point of mistrust between the two?

    8 A. First of all, this order could not have been

    9 implemented. I did not receive an official position of

    10 the BH army, that is, its 3rd Corps, with respect to

    11 this order, but I called a meeting of all unit

    12 commanders within the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,

    13 and in the meeting requested --

    14 Q. Excuse me a moment. All brigade commanders,

    15 not unit commanders, all --

    16 A. That is correct, all brigade commanders of

    17 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

    18 Q. When did this meeting take place?

    19 A. This meeting took place on the 16th of

    20 January, 1993, in the Hotel Vitez, that is, the

    21 headquarters of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

    22 In this meeting, we read the order which I

    23 had received from the main headquarters, and I asked

    24 that we, first, establish contact with the

    25 representatives of the BH army and, second, to wait for

  64. 1 new instructions from the chief of the main staff of

    2 the HVO and the chief of the main headquarters of the

    3 BH army regarding the implementation of this order.

    4 Q. Did you tell the brigade commanders anything

    5 about the possible conflicts with the BH army in a

    6 politically electrified situation of that kind?

    7 A. I let the commanders know that they could

    8 freely enter into contact with representatives of the

    9 BH army and that they could inform them that we were

    10 waiting for orders to proceed and that it was our

    11 attitude that a dialogue should be continued and that

    12 all outstanding issues between the army and the HVO

    13 should be settled through agreement.

    14 Q. From the 20th of January, the soldiers of the

    15 Brestovsko and Bilalovac local community, the HVO

    16 soldiers, were not in their villages. Can you explain

    17 to us where they were and why this was important for

    18 the future meeting, the conflict that was to take place

    19 later on, on the 25th of January, 1993?

    20 A. From the 25th of January, 1993 -- the 20th of

    21 January, I'm sorry, 1993, soldiers of the local

    22 communities of Brestovsko and Bilalovac, from the area

    23 of the Kiseljak region (indicating), were engaged at

    24 positions ranging from the main road between Travnik

    25 and Turbe towards Paklarevo in the defence of the town

  65. 1 of Travnik itself, and that was a regular shift for

    2 these soldiers because the municipality of Kiseljak was

    3 the protagonist of the defence of this part of the

    4 front line in Travnik. On sector 1, the commanders

    5 were Ivica Rajic from Kiseljak and Ivica Cosic from

    6 Busovaca. So two municipalities, Kiseljak and

    7 Busovaca, were responsible for the defence of positions

    8 at sector 1.

    9 Q. Tell us, please, did these soldiers return

    10 before the conflict to their villages or not, before

    11 the January conflict broke out in 1993?

    12 A. Those soldiers did not return to their

    13 villages from the 20th of January, 1993. From that day

    14 onwards, they were located at the Travnik front line.

    15 There were 200 soldiers there. A total of 200 soldiers

    16 were engaged at the front line.

    17 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what the

    18 importance of those two local communities, Bilalovac

    19 and Brestovsko, was in view of the conflict that broke

    20 out in the municipality of Kiseljak with the BH army

    21 forces?

    22 A. The conflict that broke out in January 1993,

    23 in the area of the Kiseljak municipality and took place

    24 in the local community of Bilalovac, so this was the

    25 local community from which the soldiers had already, on

  66. 1 the 20th of January, 1993, left their families and went

    2 to perform their seven-day assignment, which was the

    3 defence of Travnik.

    4 Q. What about the local community of

    5 Brestovsko? Was that a neighbouring community?

    6 A. Yes, it was. It was a neighbouring local

    7 community from which recruits were engaged to defend

    8 the Travnik front.

    9 Q. Sometime around the 21st of January, 1993,

    10 that is, when you issued your order for calming the

    11 situation, your assistant, Pilicic, brought you some

    12 important information which he got from the locals of

    13 Kotor Varos. Can you tell us about that?

    14 A. Mr. Zoran Pilicic was from Kotor Varos

    15 himself, and he sent me information that the recruits

    16 from the village of Katici, which is this village I'm

    17 pointing to now (indicating), and the village of

    18 Podjele -- it's not on the model but it is a

    19 neighbouring village east of Katici -- expressed

    20 concern and anxiety over the fact that they had noticed

    21 an amassment of troops of the BH army in the canyon or,

    22 rather, the Lasva Valley, that troops were beginning to

    23 group in that area, and they did not wish to go to

    24 their regular shift to defend the Travnik front. They

    25 were afraid of an attack by the BH army units, and they

  67. 1 had heard rumours themselves where threats of an attack

    2 were being made.

    3 I was informed of this at our morning

    4 briefing. My assistant, Pilicic, informed me of this

    5 situation, and I told him that the army of

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina was our ally and that the recruits

    7 from the village of Katici should, by all means, go on

    8 their assignment to defend the town of Travnik, to

    9 sector 1, that they should proceed to sector 1, and

    10 that he should have talks towards that end and to

    11 prevail upon them to go and perform their assignment.

    12 Q. On that day, you organised a meeting with the

    13 commanders of the brigades. Can you explain to the

    14 Trial Chamber -- and you may resume your seat -- what

    15 were the subjects that concerned the commanders of the

    16 brigades from the individual municipalities in Bosnia?

    17 A. Well, in fact, this was not a special

    18 meeting, it was a series of meetings, and if we look at

    19 the chronology of these meetings, there was a meeting

    20 from the 14th onwards and on the 21st, they were

    21 regular weekly meetings for the commanders who were

    22 able to attend and come to the headquarters to attend

    23 those meetings.

    24 At 2.00 p.m., we had a meeting with the

    25 commanders of the brigades, and the commander from

  68. 1 Travnik informed me that there was provocative action

    2 on the part of the army of Republika Srpska on the

    3 Travnik front, the commander from Novi Travnik,

    4 Mr. Borivoj Malbasic, who attended the meeting, also

    5 informed us of the frequent attacks launched by small

    6 groups of the army of Republika Srpska, once again on

    7 the Travnik front.

    8 Q. Perhaps we could focus on Busovaca and

    9 Kiseljak for the time being because they are the

    10 municipalities where, three to four days later, the

    11 conflict would break out. Let's see what information

    12 reached you from there.

    13 A. The commander, Jozinovic, Nico Jozinovic,

    14 reported to me and said that there was general fear

    15 amongst the ranks of his soldiers because of a possible

    16 attack from the 3rd Corps from Zenica, and he said that

    17 they had noticed that the Bosniak Muslims were moving

    18 towards Zenica from Busovaca, that they were leaving

    19 and moving also towards Fojnica from Busovaca, that

    20 there was an exodus of the population.

    21 The commander from Kiseljak, Commander Bozic,

    22 reported to us and said that the regular shift had been

    23 sent to the Travnik front, and that all the convoys

    24 moving past Kiseljak for purposes of the BH army were

    25 passing through and that there was very good

  69. 1 cooperation, and he particularly stressed the

    2 cooperation with the command -- with the headquarters

    3 of the 2nd detachment of the BH army from Bilalovac

    4 where, on the basis of my order, they had signed an

    5 agreement on cooperation and mutual activity. This

    6 implied mutual visits and an exchange of experience

    7 between the commanders in Kiseljak and the commanders

    8 in Bilalovac.

    9 Q. This took place on the 22nd --

    10 A. No, the 21st.

    11 Q. Right, the 21st. That is, three to four days

    12 before the conflict in Bilalovac broke out.

    13 A. The commander also told me on that occasion,

    14 the commander from Kiseljak, that he was having

    15 difficulties with communication lines between the

    16 Operative Zone in Vitez and the command there and the

    17 headquarters in Kiseljak.

    18 Q. Let us leave the meeting for the moment

    19 because it's not vital to the January conflict. But on

    20 the 21st of January, 1993, you received information

    21 that a new army had arrived in Kacuni. What was all

    22 that about? And I'm thinking of the army of

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, of course.

    24 A. Well, I received information that 100

    25 soldiers had arrived in Kacuni. The soldiers were from

  70. 1 within the composition of the 17th Krajina brigade, and

    2 the 17th Krajina brigade was stationed here

    3 (indicating), at the barracks in Travnik.

    4 Q. Kacuni is on the main road between Busovaca

    5 and Kiseljak; is that correct?

    6 A. Yes, it is.

    7 Q. What about Katici? You received fresh

    8 information from Katici, did you not?

    9 A. Yes. Reports from Katici said that new

    10 forces were being brought again, forces belonging to

    11 the BH army, that they were being brought from Zenica

    12 to the Lasva canyon or valley, in the vicinity of the

    13 Lasva, Dusina, and Visnjica villages; that is, this

    14 region here (indicating).

    15 Q. In Vitez, or Stari Vitez and Poculica, what

    16 information did you receive as to those two localities?

    17 A. Well, I received information that a group of

    18 Mujahedeen had arrived and that they were located in

    19 Stari Vitez in a restaurant or a cafe bar called Dibek

    20 owned by Bengir and that another group of Mujahedeen had

    21 arrived in Poculica.

    22 Q. On the 23rd of January, you were informed by

    23 your assistant for intelligence work that he had heard

    24 on the radio communication lines from the Serbian army,

    25 and he sent you some information. What was it?

  71. 1 A. Well, the information I received was that the

    2 Serbs expected a conflict to break out between the

    3 Croats and the Muslims and that they had decided to

    4 keep quiet for the time being, that is to say, not to

    5 launch any combat operations themselves along the front

    6 line.

    7 Q. Finally, you received information, which you

    8 were to realise just how important it was later on, and

    9 it was about a convoy which was to move towards eastern

    10 Bosnia. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber what

    11 the situation was like in eastern Bosnia, and what

    12 happened with the aid and assistance that the army was

    13 to have received in eastern Bosnia?

    14 A. The situation in eastern Bosnia from the

    15 beginning of November 1992 was very serious for the

    16 majority population, the Bosniak Muslim population of

    17 eastern Bosnia, and on the 1st of November, 1992, I,

    18 therefore, suggested to General Prkacin --

    19 Q. A little slower, please.

    20 A. -- to send a battalion numbering 300

    21 soldiers, it was called the Zmaj Od Bosne Battalion, to

    22 the Zepa area, and the soldiers were equipped and armed

    23 by the Croatian Defence Council, and that battalion

    24 went on the 1st of November to that part of the front.

    25 On the 23rd of January at about 8.30 p.m., I received

  72. 1 information at the barracks in Kiseljak that the

    2 greatest convoy of armaments and military materiel had

    3 been stopped.

    4 Q. Whose convoy was it and what military

    5 materiel did it contain?

    6 A. The convoy was owned by the army of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it was composed of 10 trailer

    8 trucks. The vehicles had already been parked at the

    9 barracks in Kiseljak for a check, an examination, and

    10 there were about 200 to 250 tonnes of freight in the

    11 trailer trucks or about two and a half million rounds

    12 of ammunition, bullets, two and a half million bullets,

    13 in fact.

    14 At about 2100 hours, the representative of

    15 the defence department called me and asked me to

    16 undertake urgent measures to ensure that the convoy not

    17 be examined according to standard procedure, the

    18 procedure applied hitherto, but that it should continue

    19 its route via Visoko towards eastern Bosnia

    20 immediately.

    21 I undertook measures of that kind and asked

    22 the command at Kiseljak to inform me personally once

    23 the convoy had reached the area controlled by the army

    24 of Bosnia-Herzegovina so that I could inform the head

    25 of the defence department that the convoy had already

  73. 1 been placed under the control of the army.

    2 At around 2130 hours, I reported to the head

    3 of the defence department that the convoy had been

    4 taken over by the escort of the BH army at the Visoko

    5 position and that the convoy had continued along its

    6 route towards its destination point, that is to say,

    7 towards eastern Bosnia. I can show you this on the

    8 model. The convoy was stopped in Kiseljak. After the

    9 defence minister telephoned, it continued along its

    10 route, and at 9.30 p.m., it was taken over by the BH

    11 army, and it continued its journey towards Visoko, and

    12 it was to have continued towards its destination,

    13 eastern Bosnia.

    14 Q. Can we say that there was a critical military

    15 situation for the BH army in eastern Bosnia in its

    16 fighting with the army of the Republika Srpska?

    17 A. Yes, it was a critical military situation.

    18 Q. With the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, what did

    19 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina lack most, manpower or

    20 ammunition? What did they need most of all?

    21 A. Well, they needed ammunition in the first

    22 place, and that was their biggest problem. There was

    23 not the same problem with manpower.

    24 Q. What happened with the aid and assistance

    25 that could have saved eastern Bosnia? Would you

  74. 1 explain this to the Trial Chamber?

    2 A. That aid and assistance ended up in the main

    3 logistics centre in Visoko, and at 2300 hours, I was --

    4 on the 23rd of January, 1993, my assistant from

    5 Kiseljak called me up and informed me that the complete

    6 convoy was being unloaded in the main logistics centre

    7 of the supreme command headquarters in Visoko and that

    8 it was quite obvious that it would not continue its

    9 route to its destination in eastern Bosnia.

    10 Q. After the conflict broke out and

    11 with hindsight, so to speak, what were you able to

    12 conclude? What was the strategic decision of the

    13 Bosnia-Herzegovina army? How were they to use these

    14 two and a half million bullets? Was it to defend

    15 eastern Bosnia or was it for some other purpose?

    16 A. Later on and with hindsight, we came to

    17 realise, and I can be absolutely sure in saying this,

    18 that most of that materiel was used against the Croats

    19 of Central Bosnia and not to defend eastern Bosnia.

    20 Q. On the 23rd of January, two days prior to the

    21 conflict, you left your headquarters and went to

    22 Kiseljak. Why? What was your purpose in doing so?

    23 A. On the 23rd of January, it was a regular

    24 weekend, and I was outside the headquarters. I was in

    25 Kiseljak at my family home.

  75. 1 Q. Was it a routine weekend trip, a home visit?

    2 A. Well, if I was absent, the head of staff,

    3 Mr. Franjo Nakic, was in charge during my absence or

    4 somebody else took over for me, and it was a routine

    5 trip. I used to do this once in 10 days or 15 days. I

    6 would go home every 10 to 15 days.

    7 Q. On the 25th of January, 1993, had you known

    8 that a conflict would have broken out on the 25th of

    9 January, 1993, would you have left? Would it be a

    10 normal reaction for the commander?

    11 A. No, absolutely not. I would not have left

    12 the headquarters had I known of the attack.

    13 Q. On the 24th of January, you were in Kiseljak,

    14 and you received some worrying news linked to

    15 Kostroman. What was the information you received?

    16 A. On the 23rd of January, 1993, I was with my

    17 family, my wife, in the local community of Brestovsko,

    18 and on the 24th of January, I went to church. I was in

    19 church from 11.00 to 1.30 p.m., and in the afternoon,

    20 from 2.00 onwards, perhaps, I went to a restaurant, I

    21 was in a restaurant, and I overheard a conversation

    22 about an incident which had broken out and concerned

    23 Ignac Kostroman, but they were sort of discussions in a

    24 restaurant.

    25 Q. Could you tell us who Ignac Kostroman was and

  76. 1 what the stories were you heard in the restaurant?

    2 A. Ignac Kostroman was the secretary of the

    3 Croatian Democratic Union, and the restaurant where I

    4 was located was called Makao, it was on the Kresevo

    5 road, owned by Zvonko Markovic, and the stories told at

    6 lunchtime was that he had been blocked at the

    7 checkpoint in Kacuni, that he was taken out, and that

    8 his driver who accompanied him had been disarmed, and

    9 he was taken to be shot, but he was saved thanks to the

    10 intervention of the HVO forces from Busovaca, a patrol

    11 which arrived on the scene and stopped the attackers at

    12 the checkpoint. Those were the stories I heard that

    13 afternoon while I was in the restaurant.

    14 Q. You spent the night in your family home, and

    15 on the 25th of January, 1993, you wanted to return to

    16 the headquarters. We have five more minutes at our

    17 disposal today. Could you explain to the Trial Chamber

    18 what that was like? What information did you receive?

    19 A. On that morning, just like every morning that

    20 I spent at home, I intended to leave at 7.00 a.m. and

    21 to go via Busovaca to Vitez, and when the driver came

    22 to fetch me, he told me that the owner of the house in

    23 which he lived did not get to Busovaca via Kacuni, and

    24 the owner was a taxi driver, his name was Markovic,

    25 from Kiseljak. The driver told me that there were

  77. 1 probably some problems at Kacuni.

    2 I started out with him. We said we would

    3 leave and see where the problem lay, and we drove along

    4 and reached the Brestovsko local community, and we were

    5 stopped there at a checkpoint and warned --

    6 Q. Who cautioned you?

    7 A. The reserve formation of the Kiseljak MUP

    8 manned the checkpoint, manned that particular

    9 checkpoint, and we were cautioned there, and we were

    10 told that there had been no traffic from the Busovaca

    11 direction the whole morning and that probably the road

    12 had been blocked and that we ought to go back in the

    13 direction we had come from, and I did return from

    14 Brestovsko to Kiseljak, to the barracks there.

    15 Q. In Kiseljak, in the barracks, did you receive

    16 any more detailed information as to what was going on?

    17 A. At that time, it was a little after 8.00,

    18 8.00 a.m., it was 8.30 or 9.00, and the commander of

    19 the brigade, Mijo Bozic, arrived. I asked him whether

    20 he had any information as to what was going on, and he

    21 told me that he didn't. We called the duty officer,

    22 and he told us that he had been told that the road had

    23 been blocked in Kacuni but that he didn't know what was

    24 actually happening in Kacuni and the Busovaca area.

    25 Q. Did you try to contact the UNPROFOR

  78. 1 representatives and the representatives of the 3rd

    2 Corps to clarify the situation?

    3 A. Yes, I sent a liaison officer, the liaison

    4 officer with UNPROFOR, and my own driver to the

    5 UNPROFOR headquarters in Kiseljak. I dispatched them

    6 there, it was the UN headquarters for

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and my intention was to receive

    8 direct information from them about the situation on the

    9 road and the events that had taken place in Kacuni.

    10 As far as I recall, I'm not quite sure, but I

    11 think I sent a letter with a proposal to the

    12 headquarters of the 3rd Corps in Zenica. I faxed them

    13 from Kiseljak.

    14 Q. Did UNPROFOR manage to convene a meeting with

    15 the 3rd Corps?

    16 A. Yes, UNPROFOR's reply was, and I addressed

    17 the letter to General Morillon and Brigadier General

    18 Cordy-Simpson, and they told me that they were not at

    19 headquarters but that, in the course of the day, they

    20 would send in their reply, and sure enough, in the

    21 afternoon, I received information that we would have a

    22 meeting, that is, that there would be a meeting between

    23 Dzemo and I in Kiseljak at the UNPROFOR headquarters on

    24 the 26th of January, 1993 at 10.00 a.m.

    25 Q. Did you succeed in contacting your

  79. 1 headquarters and Nakic, the chief of the main staff in

    2 Vitez?

    3 A. Of course, I tried to reach them, and I

    4 sought ways and means of coming into contact with them,

    5 and we succeeded at one point in making contact because

    6 there was considerable difficulty in making contact. I

    7 informed him that I had been cut off and was in

    8 Kiseljak and asked him what was happening in Kacuni,

    9 whether he knew, whether he had received any

    10 information as to what was going on.

    11 Q. Did he give you any basic information on the

    12 fighting in Busovaca?

    13 A. He gave me very scant information and said

    14 that a conflict had broken out but that he did not have

    15 any details as to what was going on.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, as I would now

    17 like to hand out some documents, perhaps this would be

    18 a good time to adjourn for the day.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: I think this is the right time

    20 to stop this session. Let me remind you that we will

    21 resume tomorrow morning at 10.00.

    22 Court stands adjourned.

    23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

    24 6.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,

    25 the 23rd day of February, 1999 at

  80. 1 10.00 a.m.