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  1. 1 Thursday, 25th February, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 10.21 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. First of

    5 all, I would like to have General Blaskic escorted into

    6 the courtroom, if you don't mind. When I bring my own

    7 case file, I know that I have it, you see? I had asked

    8 someone to bring my case file, and now I don't have it,

    9 if I could have someone get it, please.

    10 (The witness entered court)

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the

    12 interpreters, to make sure that everybody can hear me.

    13 Thank you very much. Good morning to Prosecution and

    14 Defence counsel and, of course, to the accused, and I

    15 hope that the accused has rested over the past

    16 evening.

    17 THE ACCUSED: Good morning, Mr. President. I

    18 have rested and I feel well. Thank you.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, the question of

    20 the problems we discussed yesterday, have they been

    21 resolved?

    22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, everything is resolved.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you very

    24 much. The fresh air question has been resolved, and we

    25 will now move to the testimony of the witness, who

  2. 1 should always testify under the best conditions. I'm

    2 saying this for the public gallery. This is still the

    3 examination-in-chief of the accused but who is now

    4 being considered as a witness and, as I would also

    5 recall, is under oath.

    6 Although I still don't have my notes, I think

    7 we can begin.

    8 MR. NOBILO: Good morning, Mr. President,

    9 Your Honours.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: I have everything in my head

    11 and have had it there for the last 22 months, but a few

    12 notes are always useful. Thank you very much. All

    13 right. We can begin now.


    15 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    16 Q. Last night, as we were breaking off, we were

    17 talking about a very important meeting, one of the last

    18 ones you held, between the 3rd Corps and the Operative

    19 Zone which was held on the 26th of March, 1993 at 11.00

    20 hours in Zenica. Could you please describe very

    21 briefly who attended, how the meeting went, and what

    22 conclusions were adopted at the end of it?

    23 A. This was a meeting which was presided over by

    24 General Deer, the deputy commander for the European

    25 Monitoring Mission for the countries of the former

  3. 1 Yugoslavia. The chief of the European Monitoring

    2 Mission, Mr. Thebault, was co-chairing this meeting.

    3 The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was represented by

    4 Mr. Vehbija Karic, member of the main staff of the

    5 armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, commander of

    6 the 1st Corps, whose nickname was Italian, that is, the

    7 1st Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    8 Q. Just for the record, was that perhaps Mustafa

    9 Hajrulahovic who has since deceased?

    10 A. Yes. On behalf of the 2nd Corps of the BH

    11 army was Mr. Sadic; deputy commander of the 3rd Corps

    12 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dzemal Merdan; also

    13 attending -- the commander of the 3rd Corps was also

    14 expected to attend but he was late; then the president

    15 of the executive board of the HDZ party for

    16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Mirsad Ceman, that is, he was

    17 the executive secretary of the party; the president of

    18 the district board of the SDA party for the Zenica

    19 region, Mr. Hodzic or Hadzic; president of the SDA for

    20 Zenica municipality, also representing the Bosniak

    21 Muslim civilian police, was Mr. Asim Fazlic, the chief

    22 of police; representing the Croatian population and

    23 Croatian people, it was a member of the War Presidency

    24 of Bosnia-Herzegovina who was also a member of the

    25 supreme command of the armed forces of

  4. 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Franjo Boras; also the chief of

    2 staff of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Mr. Franjo

    3 Nakic; also the chief of the civilian police of the

    4 police administration in Travnik --

    5 JUDGE JORDA: What's the names, please,

    6 because you began saying the names, and I would like

    7 you to say them to the end. So the chief of staff for

    8 Central Bosnia was Boras? Nakic? Nakic was your

    9 deputy, we agree with that?

    10 A. Mr. President, Nakic was the chief of staff

    11 in the command where I was the commander.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: You said the chief of staff;

    13 did you say that?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue, please.

    16 A. Also the chief of the civilian police of the

    17 Travnik police administration, Mr. Ivo Rezo; president

    18 of the HDZ for Zenica, Josip Pojavnik; and I believe

    19 that also attending was Mr. Dominik Sakic,

    20 vice-president of the municipal assembly in Zenica.

    21 The topic of the meeting was discussion and

    22 adoption of a joint report of the joint commission

    23 composed by Nakic and Merdan; however, the meeting took

    24 a slightly different turn, so that at the very

    25 beginning, General Deer, when greeting all the members

  5. 1 attending, was saying that the results of this meeting

    2 would be sent to 17 countries of the European Union,

    3 and he gave his full support to the work of the joint

    4 commission.

    5 In my discussion in this meeting, I said that

    6 the burning issue was the fact that the

    7 Busovaca-Kiseljak road had been blocked for the last 61

    8 days, despite all the agreements. I also said that a

    9 customs post was set up and that customs were collected

    10 from Croats from Zepce and Usora and that 30 per cent

    11 customs were being taken for the 3rd Corps of the

    12 Bosnian army.

    13 In the meeting, I also said that the town of

    14 Vares was blocked from Kakanj by the command of the

    15 309th Brigade of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I

    16 also mentioned that members of the 7th Muslim Brigade

    17 in Zenica paraded in the streets of the city every

    18 morning, creating fear among the Croat citizens of

    19 Zenica. I also pointed out the break-ins into

    20 apartments and forcible expulsion of Croats from their

    21 apartments, and the problem was that these expulsions

    22 were also accompanied by temporary eviction notices

    23 issued by the local civilian authorities. I also

    24 pointed out the problem stemming from the killings of

    25 three soldiers by the members of the 7th Muslim

  6. 1 Brigade, and these three soldiers were members of the

    2 HVO.

    3 The next issue I raised was the blockade of

    4 Kiseljak. All Croats from the Kiseljak municipality

    5 were unable to move outside of -- that means that no

    6 Croats could move outside of the Kiseljak municipality

    7 if they were not able to secure a permit allowing them

    8 to move freely, and these permits were issued by the

    9 Bosniak Muslim assembly in Bilalovac, and access to

    10 Bilalovac from Kiseljak was barred which was a big

    11 problem for Kiseljak.

    12 Mr. Thebault pointed out that the units which

    13 had come from outside had not been withdrawn from the

    14 territories of the Kiseljak and Busovaca municipalities

    15 and that this task was not carried out.

    16 Q. When you say the units had been brought from

    17 outside, Mr. Thebault, what was he referring to?

    18 A. He was referring to the units which were

    19 stationed in the areas of the local communes at Kacuni

    20 and Bilalovac and had been brought there from Zenica

    21 and Visoko.

    22 Q. And they were part of which side?

    23 A. They were part of the BH army.

    24 Q. On that occasion, did he also report on the

    25 joint report of the Busovaca team?

  7. 1 A. Yes, he talked about this report and pointed

    2 out that there were instances of self-will among the

    3 local commanders.

    4 Q. Was this on both sides?

    5 A. Yes, the finding of the commission was that

    6 the local commanders of both sides engaged in acts of

    7 self-will. Mr. Thebault also gave special mention to

    8 Mr. Nakic and Dzemo for their efforts at implementing

    9 the joints orders on the ground.

    10 Q. What did Thebault propose as further steps

    11 and further tasks of this joint commission or team for

    12 Busovaca?

    13 A. Mr. Thebault proposed and requested

    14 implementation of all joint orders in full in respect

    15 of the deadlines which were specified in our joint

    16 orders. He also proposed an exchange of liaison

    17 officers between the two sides.

    18 Q. At one point, Hadzihasanovic arrived at the

    19 meeting. He had been late. What was the reason for

    20 his tardiness and what had happened?

    21 A. Sometime in the first half of the meeting,

    22 the commander of the 3rd Corps arrived. He apologised

    23 to those present and said that he had attended a

    24 session of the War Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina in

    25 Sarajevo and that on his way back from Sarajevo via

  8. 1 Kresevo and Kiseljak, he had been held in Kiseljak,

    2 detained by the commander in Kiseljak, detained at the

    3 barracks, and he thanked me for assistance because

    4 after he had been detained, he was enabled to

    5 immediately proceed to Zenica with his escort.

    6 Q. How did he know that you had helped him?

    7 A. When the commander of the 3rd Corps was

    8 detained by the Kiseljak HVO command, he said to the

    9 commander of the Kiseljak HVO that he was in a hurry to

    10 go to Zenica to a meeting with Blaskic, and he called

    11 me personally at the hotel in Zenica, I believe it was

    12 Hotel International in Zenica, and I intervened, asking

    13 that he be given an escort and that he immediately be

    14 allowed to proceed to Kakanj and Zenica.

    15 Q. Did he say that the Muslims were still

    16 leaving Busovaca?

    17 A. Yes. It was Merdan who pointed this out,

    18 that the tensions in Busovaca were still high and the

    19 Bosniak Muslims were leaving Busovaca in the direction

    20 of Zenica or in the direction of Fojnica.

    21 Q. Let us try to summarise the rest of it.

    22 Representatives of the civilian police, Mr. Rezo and

    23 Mr. Fazlic, that is, the representatives of both the

    24 Croatian and the Bosniak Muslim police, also took part

    25 in the discussion. What did they talk about?

  9. 1 A. One of the conclusions pointed out by

    2 Mr. Thebault was regulating the checkpoints, and

    3 Mr. Fazlic, who was chief of the civilian police from

    4 the Bosniak Muslim side, said that the existence of two

    5 MUPs was a reality: one MUP was a Bosniak Muslim MUP

    6 and the other one was the MUP of the Croatian Community

    7 of Herceg-Bosna, but that he was interested in a

    8 professional approach to the tasks, meaning the tasks

    9 of the civilian police, and a maximum level of

    10 cooperation of the civilian police of the Bosniak

    11 Muslim population and the civilian police of the

    12 Croatian population.

    13 Ivo Rezo, chief of the police administration,

    14 replied to him, he was the chief of the civilian police

    15 of the Croatian people, and he said that only one MUP

    16 existed at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina but that

    17 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna only has one

    18 department of the Ministry of the Interior. Rezo

    19 pointed out that he had known Mr. Fazlic for a number

    20 of years, that they had worked together in the civilian

    21 police even before the conflict had broken out, and

    22 that he was hoping to be able to establish good

    23 cooperation and professionally carry out the tasks of

    24 the civilian police.

    25 Rezo pointed out that in the eleven

  10. 1 municipalities which the Travnik police administration

    2 was covering, the police force was the one belonging to

    3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and that,

    4 unfortunately, the civilian police of the Ministry of

    5 the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not

    6 operating.

    7 After this portion of the discussion was

    8 finished, a member of the supreme command of the armed

    9 forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Vehbija Karic,

    10 said that his basic task was organisation and

    11 establishment of the armed forces of Bosnia and

    12 Herzegovina in the free territory. He proposed the

    13 conclusions of this meeting: First, to establish

    14 checkpoints which would be manned by the civilian

    15 police of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and

    16 the MUP of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further, to take

    17 all necessary steps in order to prevent self-will of

    18 individuals and local people in power, and hereby he

    19 particularly meant payments at checkpoints.

    20 He also said that the media should be used

    21 for a lowering of the tensions and calming of the

    22 overall situation. He also pointed out that the

    23 agreement signed by Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban was

    24 providing a good foundation for future cooperation.

    25 Q. Thank you. Perhaps we could now move on. It

  11. 1 was a major meeting with a lot of people attending, a

    2 lot of views were put forward, but let us move to the

    3 29th of March, 1993, when you made a protest, and could

    4 we have document D261 handed out, please?

    5 We are not going to read the document but we

    6 are just going to say that on the 29th of March, 1993,

    7 as can be deduced from the document, that you, to Enver

    8 Hadzihasanovic, the commander of the 3rd Corps, sent a

    9 letter of protest in connection with the murder of two

    10 members of the military police in Cajdras on the 28th

    11 of March, 1993, and quite obviously this was done by

    12 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade. At the end of the

    13 letter of protest, you ask that the 3rd Corps urgently

    14 form a commission to establish the circumstances of

    15 that killing.

    16 Do you confirm that you wrote this document?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. And that the event occurred as has been

    19 described in the document?

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. Well, that was brief. Now let us move on to

    22 the 30th of March where you went to Herzegovina for a

    23 meeting with the head of the defence department, Bruno

    24 Stojic, and you were there until the 2nd of April --

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, Mr. Nobilo,

  12. 1 please. I've got the document in front of me. I don't

    2 know if you're going to go back to it. It says in this

    3 document which is signed by the accused that the 7th

    4 Muslim Brigade must be taken apart. I would like to

    5 show the document to my colleagues. This is one of the

    6 conclusions; do we agree with that? General Blaskic,

    7 do we agree?

    8 A. Yes.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: You've asked that the 7th

    10 Muslim Brigade be completely disbanded at the time of

    11 that incident.

    12 MR. NOBILO: And the motives for this.

    13 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, yes, I did call

    14 for the urgent dissolution of the brigade because I

    15 considered that it was one of the basic causes of

    16 dissent between the Croatian and Muslim people in the

    17 area of Central Bosnia which, through its conduct,

    18 upsets and sometimes makes cooperation impossible

    19 between the HVO and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    20 Q. General, tell us, what did Hadzihasanovic,

    21 the commander of the 3rd Corps, tell you about the 7th

    22 Muslim Brigade? What did he tell you about the 7th

    23 Muslim Brigade?

    24 A. At a meeting that I will talk about later on,

    25 he said that the 7th Muslim Brigade was established on

  13. 1 the basis of religion and --

    2 Q. Just one moment, please.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Could you repeat

    4 that again? I was speaking with my colleague.

    5 MR. NOBILO:

    6 Q. The question was: What did the commander of

    7 the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, tell you at one of

    8 the meetings that you had about the 7th Muslim Brigade?

    9 A. He told me that the 7th Muslim Brigade had

    10 been formed on the basis of religion and that it had

    11 been made up of members from all countries throughout

    12 the world and that the members of the 7th Muslim

    13 Brigade were brothers by religion, regardless of the

    14 countries or territories they had come from. But he

    15 also confirmed that he distanced himself from the

    16 conduct and behaviour of the 7th Muslim Brigade.

    17 Q. Did you understand, with relation to this

    18 brigade and some other units, such as the Mujahid, the

    19 Latif units and so on, and on the Bosniak side, that

    20 there were parallel systems of command and not

    21 exclusive unity of command, according to what

    22 Hadzihasanovic told you?

    23 A. According to what Hadzihasanovic told me on

    24 the 7th of April, 1993, at a meeting held in Kakanj, I

    25 understood that there was a dual system of command on

  14. 1 the side of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    2 Q. With respect to whom?

    3 A. With respect to, vis-à-vis, the units of the

    4 7th Muslim Brigade and the El Mujahed detachment, the

    5 Abdul Latif detachment, members of the Black Swans,

    6 Crni Labud, and other special purposes units, and the

    7 Muslim brigade within the composition of the 4th Corps,

    8 the 4th Muslim Brigade.

    9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Nobilo, do you remember

    10 the name of the commander of the 7th Brigade?

    11 A. Your Honours, at this particular moment, I'm

    12 afraid I can't remember.

    13 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps I can help out.

    14 Q. They changed, but was at one time Serif

    15 Patkovic the commander of the 7th Muslim Brigade in one

    16 period of time?

    17 A. Yes, he did become commander of the 7th

    18 Muslim Brigade at one point, but when the 7th Muslim

    19 Brigade was formed it was someone else, I think I know

    20 his nickname but I'm not quite sure. I can't remember

    21 at this point.

    22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.

    23 MR. NOBILO:

    24 Q. Therefore, on the 30th of March, 1993, you

    25 went to Herzegovina for a meeting of the head of the

  15. 1 defence department, Bruno Stojic, and other

    2 individuals, Petkovic and so on, and you returned

    3 sometime around the 2nd of April, 1993, you returned to

    4 Vitez.

    5 Can you explain briefly why you went to

    6 Herzegovina and why you returned especially on the 2nd

    7 of April?

    8 A. Well, I went because I had two questions to

    9 settle: One question was to inform of the meeting held

    10 in Zenica and I informed them of the conclusions of the

    11 meeting, the chief of the main staff and the defence

    12 department head, I informed them. Throughout this

    13 time, the time that we have been discussing, there was

    14 heavy fighting on the Travnik front, at the Usora

    15 front, at the Maglaj front, and the Olovo front, and --

    16 Q. Who was the adversary? Who was the enemy?

    17 A. Attacks were launched by the Serbs on these

    18 front lines, and I asked for reinforcement and

    19 assistance from the chief of the main staff and the

    20 head of the logistics department because, at a previous

    21 meeting on the 18th of March, I was informed by the

    22 commander of the brigades, the commanders of the

    23 brigades, that they had about 200 bullets per rifle,

    24 which was not sufficient to carry on combat operations.

    25 Q. In the chronology of events, to save time, we

  16. 1 did not focus on your activities on the front line and

    2 the Serb army. Can you tell me which fronts were

    3 active at the time and how far you were in charge of

    4 the fronts where the battles were taking place against

    5 the Serbs?

    6 A. The Travnik front was active at the time and

    7 the breadth of the front was about 80 kilometres.

    8 Next, the Usora front, that is north of Tesanj, the

    9 front line north of Tesanj, then there was the Maglaj

    10 front, the Olovo front, and it was most critical there,

    11 by way of the information that I received, because the

    12 town of Olovo threatened to fall. Then there was

    13 Gorazde and there was provocative action but not a

    14 movement of forces in Busovaca between the HVO and the

    15 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time.

    16 Q. Olovo and Gorazde, you gave them materiel aid

    17 and assistance, and did you take an active part in the

    18 other sections of the front?

    19 A. To the extent to which this was possible, I

    20 took part on the Travnik front, the Usora front, and

    21 across Zepce to the Maglaj front.

    22 Q. On the 2nd of April, you returned to Central

    23 Bosnia. Could you tell us the reason why you chose

    24 precisely the 2nd of April to return?

    25 A. On that particular day, I had a meeting with

  17. 1 the head of the defence department, and he warned me

    2 that I should go back immediately because there was the

    3 possibility of a repeated blockade by the BH army on

    4 all the roads between Mostar and Vitez.

    5 Q. In Central Bosnia, at your headquarters, you

    6 found yourself there once again on the 3rd of April,

    7 and you received information at 8.30 a.m. about the

    8 fighting with the BH army.

    9 A. Yes. On that particular morning, I was

    10 informed that the 333rd Brigade of the BH army had

    11 raised its combat readiness, and that part of its

    12 forces had launched an attack from Kacuni towards

    13 Prosje on the defenders of the HVO.

    14 Q. Two military policemen were killed on that

    15 day, two HVO policemen; is that true?

    16 A. Yes, it is true. They were killed by the

    17 members of the BH army.

    18 Q. On that day, you received information about

    19 the fighting in Konjic, the neighbouring territory in

    20 your Operative Zone. Who was fighting there?

    21 A. The units of the 4th Corps of the BH army

    22 were fighting against the members of the HVO of Konjic.

    23 Q. Were these conflicts that had begun in

    24 January and were now being revived?

    25 A. Yes. The conflicts broke out in January,

  18. 1 sometime around the 19th of January, and they were now

    2 reactivated. The front lines at Konjic were being

    3 reactivated.

    4 Q. On that day, you had a meeting with the

    5 people from Zenica; Holman, Baresic, and Totic. Can

    6 you tell us in a few sentences what you discussed with

    7 Holman and what information you received from Baresic?

    8 A. Well, one of the questions that I raised with

    9 the head of the defence department in Mostar was that I

    10 should be allowed to have HOS be permitted to move into

    11 the HVO but individually, and I told Holman that

    12 individuals with criminal records could not be within

    13 the composition of the HVO of Zenica, they could not be

    14 admitted, and that a transition would be possible only

    15 when he has written agreement from the commander of the

    16 314th Brigade of the 3rd Corps of the army of

    17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I also told him that I had many

    18 problems with my own criminals, and I meant by that

    19 individuals who were within the composition of the HVO

    20 forces manifesting criminal behaviour.

    21 Q. What about Baresic? What information did he

    22 bring you from Zenica?

    23 A. Baresic was fairly worried. He was worried

    24 with the burgeoning of the 7th Muslim Brigade, the

    25 increase of tension, and he said that within a space of

  19. 1 48 hours, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in his

    2 opinion, would, from Zenica, launch an attack on the

    3 HVO.

    4 Q. You received information on that day about

    5 the requests made by civilians from Busovaca, a request

    6 to leave Busovaca. Did only the Muslims want to leave

    7 Busovaca or did the Croats want to leave Busovaca as

    8 well? What do you know about that?

    9 A. Well, that was the first piece of information

    10 that I received from Busovaca with contents of that

    11 kind, and the request stated that 73 Croats and 69

    12 Muslims, Bosniak Muslims, wished to leave Busovaca to

    13 go to third countries, and the Bosniak Muslims agreed

    14 to go to areas under the control of the BH army.

    15 Q. On that day, you also engaged in some

    16 disciplinary measures, particularly with regard to the

    17 reconnaissance unit who were causing problems in

    18 Kaonik. Can you tell me, according to the reports, how

    19 many disciplinary measures were taken, and what

    20 happened to that reconnaissance unit?

    21 A. In one week alone, 14 disciplinary measures

    22 were enacted, taken, and the reconnaissance unit of the

    23 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade had disciplinary measures

    24 taken against its soldiers.

    25 Q. How many soldiers did that platoon number?

  20. 1 A. The platoon had 20 soldiers. Some of them

    2 had been penalised a number of times and disciplinary

    3 measures taken against them.

    4 Q. In Kiseljak, Croat refugees began to arrive.

    5 Where did they come from?

    6 A. At the beginning of April, Croats began to

    7 arrive in Zenica from Konjic, from the Konjic

    8 municipality.

    9 Q. What happened? Why had they come from there?

    10 A. There was an attack by the BH army there, and

    11 they were expelled from the villages of Pozetva,

    12 Jasenik, and other Croatian villages in the Konjic

    13 municipality. It borders on the Fojnica municipality,

    14 this area.

    15 Q. The beginning of April was also the beginning

    16 of the formation of the Vitez Brigade, and you received

    17 reports on how far this process was progressing. Can

    18 you tell us who sent you this report and something more

    19 about that?

    20 A. I had a meeting, and the chief of staff,

    21 Franjo Nakic, informed me that the situation was worst

    22 with regard to the formation of the Vitez Brigade and

    23 in which nothing had practically been done, not even on

    24 paper. It hadn't been formed on paper yet.

    25 Q. You received Schmidt on that day who wanted

  21. 1 to go to the Kaonik prison. What happened with that

    2 and how did you solve that problem?

    3 A. Mr. Schmidt came to me and asked that I issue

    4 written permission, a written permit, for him to visit

    5 the district military prison in Kaonik. I told him

    6 that it was not under my competence to issue visiting

    7 permits for the military district prison of Kaonik but

    8 that he should contact the president of the military

    9 district court, Mr. Zeljko Percinlic, who was the

    10 competent authority in permitting meetings of this

    11 kind.

    12 Q. Do you remember to which organisation

    13 Mr. Schmidt belonged?

    14 A. I think, but I'm not absolutely certain, that

    15 he belonged to the International Red Cross or the

    16 European Monitoring Mission, one or the other.

    17 Q. On the 5th of April, you commanded the

    18 filling in of trenches. What was the purpose of this

    19 and the extent to which this was ordered?

    20 A. I had daily talks with Mr. Nakic, and I

    21 issued an order to the commander of the Nikola

    22 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade to start filling in the trenches

    23 with the aim of stabilising relationships between the

    24 333rd Brigade of the BH army and the HVO from Busovaca,

    25 so that their relations could progress.

  22. 1 Q. Those trenches were dug in the Busovaca area,

    2 were they not, and they represented a sort of front

    3 line between the forces and the BH army; is that

    4 correct?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. On the same day, you had a meeting with

    7 Mr. Thebault. Can you tell us what he told you, what

    8 his positions were on that day?

    9 A. It was a very brief meeting, but he laid

    10 special emphasis on the fact that tension was running

    11 fairly high in the region and that the source of this

    12 instability was the local commanders and that the local

    13 commanders presented a great danger to both sides. He

    14 probably had in mind the members of the BH army and the

    15 members of the HVO.

    16 Q. On the following day, on the 6th of April,

    17 and also for several weeks, and we skipped over this,

    18 foreigners, foreign nationals, became a problem,

    19 foreign nationals who were detained by the police, and

    20 on that particular day, you had a discussion linked to

    21 how this problem could be solved. Could you tell us

    22 more about that, please? So a brief sketch of that

    23 problem because we didn't want to go into it day by

    24 day.

    25 A. The problem was that in the Central Bosnia

  23. 1 region, foreigners were there very often, foreigners

    2 who were equipped with terrorist devices and materiel.

    3 That means they had explosives, detonators, knives, and

    4 so on and so forth.

    5 Q. Could you tell us where these foreigners came

    6 from for the purposes of the Trial Chamber? Most

    7 often, where were they from?

    8 A. They mostly came from different Arab

    9 countries, and the military police and the civilian

    10 police were under the orders of the competent command

    11 to detain such foreign nationals, to take away the

    12 equipment that they had brought with them and to deport

    13 them from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had

    14 problems in Central Bosnia because deportations were

    15 not possible.

    16 Q. Why is that?

    17 A. The roads had been blocked by the army of

    18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it would have been impossible

    19 to travel in the direction -- to take them in the

    20 direction of Mostar and actually carry out these

    21 deportations.

    22 Q. Is it true that at that time a number of

    23 Arabs were in the --

    24 (Court reporter coughing)

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. I think

  24. 1 our friends who are doing the court reporting -- are

    2 you okay now? Take care of what you have to take care

    3 of. Don't cry. No reason to cry here.

    4 Can we resume? Was there a blank there or

    5 something? Take care of yourself.

    6 Okay. We can go on. Thank you very much.

    7 MR. NOBILO:

    8 Q. Very well. So were there a number of

    9 detained Arab nationals or foreign nationals in Kaonik?

    10 A. Yes, there were a number of foreign

    11 nationals, but on that day, the chief of police

    12 informed me that he had reached an agreement with

    13 representatives of the Red Cross to deport foreign

    14 nationals in cooperation with the Red Cross.

    15 Q. Maybe it is not the most important thing, but

    16 you also issued an order for a letter of

    17 congratulation. What was that?

    18 A. That was a letter of congratulation to all

    19 members of the BH army who were of Muslim religion on

    20 the occasion of their major holiday, Bajram.

    21 Q. We had skipped this earlier, but you also

    22 received information from Vares. What was that

    23 information about?

    24 A. I believe that this information also appeared

    25 in the local media in which the local Muslims distanced

  25. 1 themselves from the incidents perpetrated by extremists

    2 in their own ranks.

    3 Q. On that same day, 6 April, 1993, you

    4 established an operations plan for that month. Could

    5 you tell the Trial Chamber, what was your plan? What

    6 were you going to do in April of '93?

    7 A. An earlier plan envisaged that I be absent at

    8 the end of April so I focused on the following tasks:

    9 First of all, monitoring the front lines; detailed plan

    10 of organisation for the Easter holidays; then further

    11 building of the command staff, which meant further

    12 training and strengthening of the discipline and

    13 internal order; an analysis of the causes of

    14 insubordination in different commands; then measures to

    15 increase influence with the military police and

    16 attempts to block the linking up of different criminal

    17 gangs; further strengthen the work within the command

    18 of the Operative Zone; training young men, who had

    19 never had any military training, to handle weapons; and

    20 further work on developing a proper way of military

    21 documents at a lower level; and further strengthening

    22 of control and command.

    23 We had planned seminars and lectures for the

    24 lower command levels. I planned a control of the

    25 logistics department, especially the technical

  26. 1 services, and we also wanted to create an inventory of

    2 all the equipment and materiel which we had available.

    3 We also wanted to establish a traffic service which

    4 still did not exist with the Operative Zone.

    5 Q. The following day, 7 April, 1993, you held

    6 the last meeting with the representatives of the 3rd

    7 Corps in Kakanj. When I say "the last meeting," it was

    8 the last one before the breakout of the hostilities on

    9 the 16th of April.

    10 Could you just tell me briefly who attended

    11 and what the results were of this meeting?

    12 A. This meeting was also fairly long, it was

    13 chaired by Mr. Thebault, and the meeting was held in

    14 Kakanj. Those present included Enver, commander of the

    15 3rd Corps; Dzemo; chief of the civilian police, Asim

    16 Fazlic; and representing the HVO was Franjo Nakic;

    17 chief of the Travnik police administration, that is,

    18 the civilian police, Ivo Rezo.

    19 The agenda of the meeting was as follows:

    20 First of all, removal of all barricades from the roads,

    21 separation of the confronted sides, forces of the BH

    22 army and the HVO, withdrawal of forces which had been

    23 brought in from outside, filling-in of trenches, and

    24 return of the refugees.

    25 In this meeting in Kakanj, Mr. Thebault

  27. 1 pointed out two problems: the problem of checkpoints

    2 and the problem of filling-in of trenches.

    3 Q. Did Enver Hadzihasanovic, commander of the

    4 3rd Corps, talk about issues which you mentioned about

    5 15 minutes ago?

    6 A. Yes. In this meeting, at the very end of

    7 this meeting, he said that he was afraid that the 7th

    8 Muslim Brigade could commit certain acts which he could

    9 not support. After that, Mr. Dzemo Merdan mentioned

    10 that the reason for such acts, that is, the undesirable

    11 acts on the part of the 7th Muslim Brigade, could be

    12 the very issue of the detained Arabs, in other words,

    13 brothers in faith, of whom he said that they were

    14 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade. Ivo Rezo joined in

    15 the discussion at that point by saying that the police

    16 were in line with the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina and

    17 were deporting all the foreign nationals with whom it

    18 found illegal equipment and who were without proper

    19 documents.

    20 Following that, Enver again said that he

    21 believed that the 7th Muslim Brigade could commit

    22 certain acts from which he wanted to distance himself

    23 in advance.

    24 I told him that the 7th Muslim Brigade was

    25 part of the -- sorry, 3rd Corps, and he added that that

  28. 1 was correct but that this brigade was composed of

    2 foreign nationals who were brothers in faith and that

    3 he was not able to guarantee what their actions may be.

    4 Q. The next day, you were in Travnik. This is

    5 on the 8th of April. There was a meeting with civilian

    6 authorities there.

    7 Since this meeting is fairly important and it

    8 is a bit lengthy, I think it's a good time to take a

    9 break here.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: We will take a 20-minute

    11 break. Let me remind you that we began at quarter

    12 after ten, so we will work -- I hope the interpreters

    13 won't have a problem with it, but I am making honest

    14 proposals to them -- will work so that we can respect

    15 the principle of three hours that we work -- we will

    16 work until a quarter of six.

    17 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.

    18 --- On resuming at 12.02 p.m.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.

    20 Please be seated.

    21 Mr. Nobilo, we are going now to speak about

    22 the 8th of April; is that correct?

    23 MR. NOBILO: That's right, Mr. President, the

    24 8th of April is one that was mentioned very frequently

    25 in the course of this case.

  29. 1 Q. In April, there was a regular meeting of the

    2 civilian organs of authority which you attended. What

    3 kind of meeting was this? How often did you attend

    4 meetings of the civilian organs of authority, and then

    5 tell us about the course of the meeting itself?

    6 A. It was a meeting which was attended by the

    7 representatives of the Croatian people in the

    8 parliament of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, then

    9 there were the representatives of the HDZ for the

    10 Central Bosnia region, and the presidents of the

    11 Croatian Defence Council of the municipalities in

    12 Central Bosnia.

    13 Q. When you say "presidents of the Croatian

    14 Defence Council," is that a military or civilian

    15 structure?

    16 A. They are exclusively civilian representatives

    17 of power and authority. They had coordinating

    18 meetings, that is to say, the representatives of the

    19 civilian authorities would hold this kind of meeting

    20 approximately once to twice a month.

    21 I was invited to attend the meeting to inform

    22 the gentlemen present of the topical military situation

    23 in Central Bosnia.

    24 Q. Tell us, prior to that, did you have occasion

    25 to attend those meetings frequently, and when did you

  30. 1 attend a meeting with the civilian organs of power and

    2 authority in this way the last time?

    3 A. The last time I attended that kind of meeting

    4 was on the 22nd of September, 1992. The meeting was

    5 then held in Busovaca. I did not attend those meetings

    6 otherwise except when I was invited to do so. So if

    7 they invited me, I would respond; otherwise, I went on

    8 with my own military tasks and did not participate in

    9 their meetings.

    10 Q. Thank you. So we are not going to recount

    11 the course of that meeting, but you received some

    12 information at around 3.00 p.m., pertaining to the

    13 situation in Konjic. Were you worried about that?

    14 What was it about?

    15 A. Yes, I was extremely concerned because the

    16 military intelligence service had received a message

    17 that, in Konjic, combat activities were being carried

    18 on by the BH army and that Croatian villages were

    19 falling and that the refugees from them were moving

    20 towards Kiseljak and Fojnica in part and another part

    21 were going to the south.

    22 Q. At about 6.00 p.m., you received a series of

    23 information on the disquieting situation in Travnik.

    24 What was actually going on in Travnik?

    25 A. In the afternoon, a complete unit of the BH

  31. 1 army was introduced there; it had between 300 to 500

    2 soldiers, and they arrived at the barracks in Travnik.

    3 After that, the BH army opened fire on the Croat

    4 civilians who were busy decorating the town of Travnik

    5 because Easter was coming up.

    6 Q. How were they decorating the town?

    7 A. They were putting up some street lighting,

    8 that is to say, on the lampposts of the street

    9 lighting, they put up Croatian flags side by side with

    10 the Bosniak Muslim flags which had already been

    11 displayed and put up because there was the Islamic

    12 religious ceremony, Bajram.

    13 Then shooting began from a BH army patrol in

    14 the town of Travnik proper. They shot at the building

    15 of the military district court in Travnik.

    16 Q. The same day but later on, in the Travnik

    17 hospital, the sanatorium, the army of

    18 Bosnia-Herzegovina entered there. Could you explain

    19 the strategic position of the hospital in Travnik and

    20 what this represented for the army?

    21 A. For the army, this meant complete control of

    22 the town of Travnik in the military sense of the word,

    23 and it meant the stationing of their own forces behind

    24 the backs of the forces of the HVO who were engaged in

    25 defending the town of Travnik on sector number 2, which

  32. 1 was Mescema Kraljevice. I can show you this on the

    2 model, if need be.

    3 Q. It's not vital at present. We will come to

    4 that later on. Let's move on to the 9th of April,

    5 1993, when you sent Enver Hadzihasanovic a letter of

    6 protest?

    7 A. I sent a protest letter and expressed my

    8 surprise at the fact that the flags of the Croatian

    9 people were being burned in the town of Travnik and,

    10 although for a very short space of time, on the same

    11 lampposts, there had only been one flag, that is, the

    12 flag of the Bosniak Muslim people, which was put up to

    13 celebrate the Muslim religious feast of Bajram, and I

    14 expected that the commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver,

    15 would have a positive reaction to quieting tensions and

    16 preventing any further incidents and escalation in the

    17 town of Travnik.

    18 Q. Despite that, at about noon, by the Sarena

    19 mosque, an incident broke out, and Ilija Nakic had

    20 problems there. What did Ilija Nakic inform of you and

    21 who was Ilija Nakic?

    22 A. Ilija Nakic was the commander of the brigade

    23 that was being formed, the Frankopan Brigade, a

    24 fledgling brigade, and at about noon he conveyed

    25 information to me by which, in the course of the night

  33. 1 of the 8th of April, at about 22.00 hours, the army of

    2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the barricade set up at the

    3 Sarena mosque, at the entrance to the town of Travnik,

    4 had detained four brigade officers from the Travnik

    5 area and took them in for questioning, maltreated them,

    6 and only at the intervention from the Travnik Brigade,

    7 taken against the BH army, the officers were freed,

    8 only after that intervention.

    9 Q. Almost at the same time you received

    10 disquieting information from Busovaca where the

    11 positions of the BH army were being conveyed to you and

    12 their plans after Konjic.

    13 A. Yes. This information was received

    14 pertaining to Busovaca and Kiseljak, and they said the

    15 following, and I quote: "When we finish with Konjic

    16 and Gornji Vakuf from Busovaca and Kiseljak, not a

    17 single stone will be left standing in Busovaca and

    18 Kiseljak."

    19 Q. Quite obviously this was a threat. According

    20 to your information, who issued this threat and who was

    21 this threat directed at, to make matters clearer?

    22 A. The threat was stated by the members of the

    23 BH army, the threat was made by members of the BH army,

    24 and it was addressed to the HVO members and the

    25 Croatian people of the Busovaca and Kiseljak

  34. 1 municipalities.

    2 Q. At 12.45, once again information was received

    3 about a new incident. Who took part in that incident?

    4 A. That day, Mr. Thebault moved along the

    5 Travnik communication line, he did not tell me whether

    6 he was going into Travnik or out of Travnik, but the

    7 incident took place at the place of Puticevo where

    8 Mr. Thebault was controlling the checkpoint set up

    9 there, was touring the checkpoint set up there. A

    10 drunken soldier from amongst the ranks of the HVO

    11 cocked his personal arm at Mr. Thebault and threatened

    12 him using bad language and asked him why Thebault was

    13 controlling the area, why was he spying on them, and so

    14 on and so forth.

    15 I asked that an investigation be conducted

    16 with regard to this incident, and I was informed of the

    17 incident and of the measures that had been taken to

    18 deal with it.

    19 Q. On that same day, at 1.00 p.m., in Travnik,

    20 there was an attempt on the life of an HVO officer --

    21 JUDGE JORDA: What group were these soldiers

    22 from? I wasn't paying close enough attention.

    23 A. Mr. President, the soldier was from within

    24 the ranks of the HVO.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please continue.

  35. 1 MR. NOBILO:

    2 Q. Another question, another incident, another

    3 attempt at killing at 3.00 p.m. in Travnik.

    4 A. On that day, from Travnik, an officer of the

    5 command of the Travnik Brigade was in a vehicle, he was

    6 being driven and he was stopped at the barricade at the

    7 Sarena mosque or multi-coloured mosque; and when his

    8 documents were identified and scrutinised and when his

    9 car was searched, after his car had been searched, he

    10 continued his journey towards Vitez. There was a burst

    11 of fire from an automatic Kalashnikov rifle at him and

    12 his vehicle by members of the BH army; they shot at

    13 them.

    14 Q. Was an agreement reached that day on the

    15 removal of the BH army from the sanatorium from which

    16 vantage point it controlled the town of Travnik?

    17 A. Yes, an agreement had been reached because

    18 the army taken over the only hospital in the region,

    19 which was the hospital of Travnik.

    20 Q. On that day, you had the weekend before you,

    21 it was Easter, and you went home to Brestovsko to the

    22 Kiseljak municipality. How did you go home?

    23 A. I went home, I was transported from in front

    24 of the Vitez Hotel by two armoured vehicles belonging

    25 to BritBat of the UN and taken to Kiseljak.

  36. 1 Q. In the course of the Easter holidays, you

    2 visited one of the commanders of the BH army. Can you

    3 tell us briefly what happened on that occasion?

    4 A. My wife and I visited the Drinjak family.

    5 They were friends of ours.

    6 Q. And what religion are they?

    7 A. They are Muslim Bosniaks, but whenever there

    8 were any holidays, we would visit each other. I have

    9 known the family from the days that I spent in the

    10 former Yugoslav People's Army and we remained friends

    11 ever since, family friends.

    12 Q. What function did Mr. Drinjak perform at that

    13 time? What was his position?

    14 A. As far as I know, he was the commander of the

    15 brigade of the BH army within the composition of the

    16 3rd Corps of the BH army.

    17 Q. Do you know the emblem of the brigade or do

    18 you just know that he was commander?

    19 A. At one point, that brigade was within the

    20 composition of the 3rd Corps, and it was afterwards

    21 that it became part of the 1st Corps.

    22 Q. But it is all the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    23 A. Yes, it is, so I'm not quite sure which

    24 number that brigade had, the number of the brigade.

    25 Q. After the holidays, on the 12th of April,

  37. 1 1993, we come to a Monday, it was a Monday, and it was

    2 the last week before the war between the Muslims and

    3 Croats which occurred on the Thursday, it began on

    4 Thursday and flared up on Friday of that week.

    5 Tell us, where were you on Monday, the 12th

    6 of April, 1993?

    7 A. Up until noon, I was in Kiseljak, or round

    8 about noon, and then I was transported once again by

    9 UNPROFOR vehicles from Kiseljak to Vitez, and from 1.00

    10 p.m. onwards, or that afternoon at any rate, I was at

    11 the Vitez Hotel, and we were celebrating Easter. There

    12 was a reception at the Hotel Vitez to celebrate Easter.

    13 Q. And Bajram, the Muslim holiday, which was

    14 several days earlier and which is the biggest Muslim

    15 festival, your representatives were present, were they

    16 not, and you presented them with a jeep, I think, and

    17 the Catholic holiday of Easter. Tell us, please, did

    18 any member of the BH army come to visit you for Easter?

    19 A. No, but for Christmas in 1992-1993, for the

    20 Christmas of that year, the complete composition of the

    21 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I have in mind all the

    22 commanders from the region, attended a Christmas

    23 cocktail.

    24 Q. The absence of the usual courteous meetings

    25 and visits, was this a sign of some kind or did you not

  38. 1 attach any particular attention to that at the time?

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I have a question

    3 about what was said. This holiday that you were

    4 organising for Easter, who in the Bosnian army was

    5 coming and who wasn't coming? I didn't really

    6 understand. It seemed that the witness first said that

    7 they didn't come and then he said that they did come.

    8 Could you clarify this for us, please, General

    9 Blaskic?

    10 MR. NOBILO:

    11 Q. Yes, just briefly, for Easter, on the 12th of

    12 April, 1993, nobody, no representative of the army of

    13 Bosnia-Herzegovina attended.

    14 Tell us, General, did you invite

    15 representatives of the BH army to attend your

    16 celebrations?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. So it was an invitation to attend the

    19 Easter festivity, reception.

    20 On the same day, there was a conflict in

    21 Travnik between the BH army and the HVO; is that

    22 correct? If so, could you tell the Court what you

    23 recall of that event?

    24 A. A conflict broke out between a group of BH

    25 army members, that is to say, military policemen, who

  39. 1 sometime late at night opened fire on the building in

    2 which the military police of the Croatian Defence

    3 Council was stationed. They opened fire using

    4 hand-held rocket launchers and automatic weapons, and I

    5 think that one policeman was seriously wounded and two

    6 women were injured as well who happened to be passing

    7 by that street at that particular time of the night.

    8 Q. At the same time, there were mass arrests of

    9 Croatian intellectuals; is that true? Who arrested

    10 these Croatian intellectuals and where were they taken?

    11 A. According to the information that I received,

    12 all Croatian intellectuals were arrested and taken to a

    13 facility called the Tvrdjava or fortress. This was in

    14 the town of Travnik.

    15 Q. Who managed to free them and in what way?

    16 A. They were freed by Mr. Filipovic who, at that

    17 time, was commander of the Travnik Brigade, through

    18 negotiations with Mr. Alagic, and they were released

    19 the following day, all of them.

    20 Q. On the 12th of April, you received

    21 information that earlier, that is, at 23.00 hours, the

    22 positions of the HVO had been attacked by the BH army.

    23 Can you tell me where this was and what the result was

    24 of this attack?

    25 A. The positions which had been attacked were

  40. 1 manned by members of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski, and

    2 this was in the area of Donje Polje. The attack was

    3 carried out by the BH army troops from Kacuni, and in

    4 the area of the village of Bare, the attack was carried

    5 out by troops from Rovna, Pezici, and Vranjska. The

    6 attack was repelled.

    7 Q. On that day, you received information that

    8 the day earlier there was an incident in Vitez. What

    9 was that incident about?

    10 A. This was a Sunday, and Croats in Vitez

    11 attended the holy mass in the church. Two officers

    12 from the Vitez Brigade command took the main road from

    13 the church to go back home going through Old Vitez.

    14 The BH army from Old Vitez took them prisoner, detained

    15 them for questioning, there was even some physical

    16 abuse involved, but after the Vitez Brigade commander

    17 intervened, those officers were released.

    18 Q. That day, 12 April, 1993, Anto Valenta was

    19 evacuated from Travnik and arrived in Vitez. Can you

    20 tell the Trial Chamber, what was Anto Valenta's

    21 position and where did he move?

    22 A. Anto Valenta was a coordinator in the

    23 government of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

    24 For a period of time, but I'm not sure of this, I think

    25 he was also one of the vice-presidents of the Croatian

  41. 1 Community of Herceg-Bosna for Central Bosnia. Due to a

    2 very uncertain security situation in Travnik, he left

    3 the Travnik office, moved to Vitez, and temporarily

    4 moved into the office of the chief of staff in Hotel

    5 Vitez, that is, into the chief of staff, Mr. Franjo

    6 Nakic's office.

    7 Q. Was Anto Valenta ever your political advisor?

    8 A. No.

    9 Q. Did you have such a position in the Operative

    10 Zone of Central Bosnia?

    11 A. No, never.

    12 Q. On that same day, there was another large

    13 convoy with a large amount of ammunition which

    14 arrived. Whose convoy was this?

    15 A. It was a BH army convoy and it was destined

    16 to go to Srebrenica, and it was unloaded at Visoko at

    17 the headquarters of the BH army there.

    18 Q. How do you know that it was headed for

    19 Visoko, how did you learn about this, and did this

    20 situation remind you of a previous situation?

    21 A. An officer from Kiseljak told me this, and in

    22 Visoko, people who unloaded this convoy were ethnic

    23 Croats, and also the escort was properly provided by

    24 the HVO. So I had to inform the chief of the main

    25 staff, I always had to inform him of any convoy passing

  42. 1 through whose security the HVO was also providing an

    2 escort.

    3 Q. Did this convoy pass through without any

    4 obstruction, unimpeded?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. On that day, an additional review of the

    7 Vitez Brigade was conducted. What was the finding

    8 there?

    9 A. This was a renewed control and review at the

    10 Vitez Brigade and it had to do with its organisation

    11 and establishment. The results, that is, the report of

    12 this control was practically identical with the

    13 previous review because we needed to start from scratch

    14 in the organisation of this brigade.

    15 Q. Did you provide any assistance to help this

    16 brigade finally be established?

    17 A. Yes. I assigned an officer who had been

    18 working on the issues of organisation at the Central

    19 Bosnia Operative Zone. I detached him from the command

    20 and sent him to the Vitez Brigade with the task of

    21 training the Vitez Brigade officers in the organisation

    22 of the Vitez Brigade.

    23 Q. What officer was that?

    24 A. This was Mr. Vjeko Buzuk, who was in charge

    25 of the organisation issues.

  43. 1 Q. Let's move on to 13 April, 1993. There was a

    2 new incident in Zenica and there were some wounded

    3 people.

    4 A. Yes. A member of HOS in Zenica threw a hand

    5 grenade, a defensive hand grenade, in the street, and

    6 six children were seriously injured with it.

    7 Q. On that day, at 13.15 hours, reinforcement of

    8 the BH army arrived. Where and what type of

    9 information did you receive in that regard?

    10 A. On that day, a large group of the BH army

    11 soldiers arrived in Vitez, that is, to Old Vitez, in

    12 Old Vitez, in motor vehicles and dismounted very close

    13 to the Workers' Hall building in Old Vitez.

    14 Q. There were also problems in Kakanj. You

    15 received information that day that the command post was

    16 empty. What happened to that command post?

    17 A. I had already mentioned that the Kakanj

    18 military police had been driven out of the town of

    19 Kakanj by the BH army, and on that day, the command

    20 post or headquarters was completely empty.

    21 Q. What was the information which you later

    22 received? Why did it happen?

    23 A. The information was that all members of the

    24 command staff resigned collectively from their posts in

    25 the Kakanj police force, and the reason mentioned was

  44. 1 the fear of violence and pressure on the part of the

    2 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also members of the

    3 Kakanj force were killed at Ravno Rostovo, they were

    4 killed by the Mujahedeen group.

    5 Q. There is an incident at Zukica bridge. What

    6 happened there?

    7 A. At Zukica bridge, which was a part of the

    8 zone of responsibility of the 306th Mountain Brigade of

    9 the BH army, the entire shift of soldiers was

    10 arrested. They were en route to the front lines

    11 against the army of the Republika Srpska.

    12 Q. Whose soldiers were these?

    13 A. The detained soldiers were HVO soldiers.

    14 Q. There was an incident with flags in Vitez

    15 similar to the one in Travnik. What happened there?

    16 A. In Vitez, there was no flag-burning as in

    17 Travnik by the BH army members, but fire was opened

    18 from automatic rifles by members of the BH army on

    19 Croatian flags which were hoisted in celebration of

    20 Easter holidays.

    21 Q. You received information from the security

    22 service regarding the sabotage units?

    23 A. Yes. This was information which was

    24 transmitted to me which said that, in the territory of

    25 Vitez municipality, sabotage groups were being

  45. 1 established and that Ferid Kalco was heading one of

    2 these groups.

    3 Q. Who was organising those sabotage units?

    4 A. It was the BH army from Vitez.

    5 Q. On that day, in addition to other incidents,

    6 there was a major incident, that is, the humanitarian

    7 aid convoy was looted. Who committed this act and what

    8 was the result?

    9 A. This was part of this continuous activity of

    10 criminal groups. This was on the road between Puticevo

    11 and Nova Bila, a convoy of about 15 trucks went

    12 missing, and, in addition, there were 30 cars. The

    13 convoy was abducted and the goods disappeared.

    14 Q. That same day, around 18.00 hours, you again

    15 had to deal with criminal activities in Central

    16 Bosnia. What was that about?

    17 A. I requested to be given the follow-up on my

    18 order of the 18th in which I asked for the removal of

    19 criminal elements from the HVO units. I had already

    20 addressed the issue of crime, and I knew that by early

    21 April, only 32 criminal reports were filed.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: The problem of the months that

    23 I'm faced with, I'm having a problem with these

    24 months. The order was on the 18th of March? I didn't

    25 really quite understand what was said there. The

  46. 1 transcript doesn't help me on the subject.

    2 A. Right.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    4 MR. NOBILO:

    5 Q. What does it mean, that 32 criminal reports

    6 were filed? Who had filed them and to whom?

    7 A. They were filed by the civilian police to the

    8 district -- by the military and civilian police to the

    9 district military court for Central Bosnia.

    10 Q. On that day, you also dealt with the moving

    11 into of Muslim homes in the municipality.

    12 A. Yes. I asked the civilian authorities to

    13 provide me a report on this illegal moving into of

    14 apartments owned by Bosniak Muslims in the Vitez

    15 municipality, and I asked for ways to stop such

    16 activities.

    17 Q. About 20.00 hours, Nakic gave you information

    18 about a meeting with civilian authorities. Who met

    19 with whom and why?

    20 A. The representatives of the civilian

    21 authorities of Vitez; Croats and Muslims, met and the

    22 agreement was reached regarding the issue with flags in

    23 Vitez, and they tried to calm down this incident. I

    24 was also informed by Nakic that they managed to agree,

    25 to come to an agreement.

  47. 1 Q. Who attended, representatives of which

    2 authorities?

    3 A. Representatives of the HVO authorities and

    4 the authorities -- that is, civilian Muslim

    5 authorities.

    6 Q. When you say "representatives of the HVO

    7 authorities," who are you referring to?

    8 A. I am referring to the mayor of Vitez and

    9 president of the HDZ for Vitez municipality.

    10 Q. Around 11.15, a bridge was blown up. What

    11 was that about?

    12 A. It was Sarica bridge which was blown up, and,

    13 in a way, traffic was slowed down or brought under

    14 control -- this was in the Travnik municipality -- and

    15 the control there had the 306th Mountain Brigade of the

    16 BH army.

    17 Q. At 19.10 hours, a mortar shell was fired.

    18 What did you learn later? What was the significance of

    19 this single shell firing?

    20 A. Yes. This shell was fired at Puticevo in the

    21 immediate vicinity of the checkpoint which at that time

    22 was manned by the civilian police of the Croatian

    23 Community of Herceg-Bosna. At that moment, we

    24 considered it an incident but, in fact, later on it

    25 turned out that this was an initial preparation for

  48. 1 mortar attack.

    2 Q. Can you give us more details about this

    3 information?

    4 A. According to the information which I

    5 received, the shell came from the direction of Han

    6 Bila, which meant that after the initial assessment of

    7 the point of impact of this shell, the coordinates

    8 would be produced which would then serve as a

    9 corrective, and as a basis for the future mortar

    10 shelling. This is a minimum preparation that is

    11 sometimes used for the preparation of a mortar attack.

    12 Q. On the 14th of April, there was a celebration

    13 of the BH army in Old Vitez.

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. Did you send anybody there?

    16 A. Yes. On the 14th of April, at the

    17 celebrations in Stari Vitez, the commander of the

    18 brigade that was being formed in Vitez was sent,

    19 Mr. Mario Cerkez. In Zenica, on the 14th of April, to

    20 celebrate Army Day, Mr. Zivko Totic went and Mr. Vinko

    21 Baresic. Mr. Zivko Totic personally conveyed

    22 congratulation, my own congratulations, to the

    23 commander of the 3rd Corps. In the town of Kiseljak,

    24 Army Day celebrations were held on the 14th of April,

    25 and once again, the members of the Josip Ban Jelacic

  49. 1 Brigade were present at that festivity.

    2 Q. A present was donated --

    3 A. Well, yes, in the desire for good

    4 cooperation, we presented the gift of a vehicle,

    5 heavy-duty vehicle, to the command of the municipal

    6 headquarters of the BH army, I think that was what it

    7 was called, from Kiseljak.

    8 Q. On the 14th of April, you still dealt with

    9 the convoy that had been abducted carrying the

    10 humanitarian aid. What reports did you receive as to

    11 that issue?

    12 A. Yes, that was one of my preoccupations, and I

    13 received initial reports according to which most of the

    14 vehicles that had been abducted were stationed in Nova

    15 Bila but that the goods taken from the humanitarian

    16 vehicles had already been distributed for the most

    17 part.

    18 Q. On that same day, the 14th of April, there

    19 was an abduction, an abduction took place. Who took

    20 whom from where, and what did that mean for the overall

    21 situation?

    22 A. I was informed of that kidnapping on the 14th

    23 of April, and it occurred in the afternoon hours or

    24 perhaps the evening of the 13th of April. It occurred

    25 in Novi Travnik where four officers were kidnapped from

  50. 1 the command of the Novi Travnik Brigade, the Stjepan

    2 Tomasevic Brigade of Novi Travnik, during their return

    3 from touring the front line.

    4 Q. The front line towards whom?

    5 A. The front line facing the Republika Srpska

    6 army and the zone of responsibility of that.

    7 Q. Were they HVO troops who controlled the

    8 front?

    9 A. Yes, they were members of the Stjepan

    10 Tomasevic Brigade who held the front line at Kamenjas,

    11 Mravinac, and in that direction.

    12 Q. Could you show us on the model to refresh our

    13 memories?

    14 A. That is the position there (indicating).

    15 Q. Did you receive any information as to where

    16 they had been taken and what their fate was?

    17 A. Well, we received information that it was

    18 possible that the kidnappers were perhaps members of

    19 the Mujahedeen who had a camp at Ravno Rostovo, and via

    20 the members of the joint commission, Nakic and Dzemo,

    21 we asked that already on the 14th a commission, joint

    22 commission, be sent to investigate the area, including

    23 the Mujahedeen camp there, so as to gain more

    24 information as to the fate of those kidnapped officers.

    25 After the abduction had taken place, all that

  51. 1 remained was a bashed-up vehicle, and we did not know

    2 whether the four individuals were alive or not.

    3 Q. From Konjic, information arrived that same

    4 day. What information was that?

    5 A. It were very disquieting, it was very

    6 worrying information for that area because Konjic

    7 itself was on the brink of a downfall, and the HVO in

    8 Konjic was in a total encirclement and had been

    9 beheaded, so to speak, whereas the army of

    10 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Konjic was in the final stages of

    11 taking control of the municipality.

    12 Q. So who made this encirclement, who formed the

    13 encirclement?

    14 A. This encirclement was formed by the members

    15 of the BH army, they held the encirclement, and the

    16 people who were encircled were the Croats.

    17 Q. On the same day, in addition to the usual

    18 difficulties that you had with communications and

    19 links, you received disquieting information as to the

    20 packet link disturbances and the fall of the packet

    21 communication and link. Who caused that?

    22 A. According to the information that I received,

    23 I heard that the communication line with the main

    24 headquarters had broken down ...

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, please. You can

  52. 1 resume. Just go back a little bit.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. Yes. The breakdown of communications with

    4 the main command, was that just by chance or through

    5 interference of any kind? What are your recollections

    6 of the event?

    7 A. Well, for the most part, from the beginning

    8 of April, we had very frequent interference in our

    9 communications by the BH army, but it is difficult to

    10 say whether this happened at that particular point

    11 because there was a breakdown in communications very

    12 often.

    13 Q. Snipers became active in April. Can you

    14 explain this to us?

    15 A. Snipers became active, the snipers of the BH

    16 army, in the part of the Travnik area which is called

    17 Kalibunar, and it was aimed against the windows of

    18 Croatian apartments. The victims were, for the most

    19 part, Croatian civilians in Travnik living at

    20 Kalibunar.

    21 Q. In Busovaca, what about that? In Busovaca,

    22 there was a fresh incident linked to an ambulance?

    23 A. At that time, we were forced to take severely

    24 injured people from Busovaca for therapy and treatment

    25 to Fojnica, we had to transport them to Fojnica, and we

  53. 1 used ambulances for that purpose; and there was

    2 agreement on both sides, between the BH army and the

    3 HVO, that is to say, and when they returned from

    4 treatment, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Kacuni

    5 abducted an ambulance. It detained the wounded and the

    6 medical personnel and subjected them to several hours

    7 of interrogation. The members of the staff, medical

    8 staff, were Croats and so was the injured individual.

    9 Q. On that same day, the 14th of April, there

    10 was an attempted killing of a commander of the special

    11 purpose unit of the Vitezovi, Darko Kraljevic. Who

    12 tried to kill him and in what way?

    13 A. This occurred, according to the information

    14 that reached me, on the road from Kruscica towards

    15 Zabrdje or, in other words, from Vitez via Kruscica

    16 towards Zabrdje. He was in his heavy-duty vehicle. He

    17 was stopped at a barricade. They opened fire on him

    18 and his escorts, that is to say, the members of the BH

    19 army opened fire on them. He succeeded in jumping out

    20 of the vehicle, and he was completely surrounded by

    21 members of the BH army.

    22 After having received information about this,

    23 I called the commander of the UN in Vitez, but the

    24 officer on duty called me, the UN officer on duty in

    25 Vitez, and I asked for aid and assistance from the

  54. 1 UNPROFOR forces to solve this serious incident.

    2 I asked the UN to reach that position in

    3 their armoured vehicles and to give assistance to

    4 Commander Kraljevic whose life was threatened.

    5 Q. In the course of the night, did Darko

    6 Kraljevic succeed in escaping from that situation?

    7 A. Yes, he did, because the members of UNPROFOR,

    8 with two light tanks, left for the place where he had

    9 been surrounded, and I insisted that the UN command

    10 should extend aid and assistance to him because if he

    11 were liquidated the situation in Vitez would quite

    12 certainly be completely out of anybody's control.

    13 Q. On the same day, information reached you

    14 about the Mujahedeen in Stari Vitez.

    15 A. Yes. I received information that, in Stari

    16 Vitez, Mujahedeen were being brought in and were being

    17 put up in facilities in Stari Vitez owned by Bosniak

    18 Muslims.

    19 Q. The commander of the military police, the

    20 chief of military police, Stipo Babrka, arrested Merdan

    21 and Nakic, and Baggesen was also present. What do you

    22 know about that event, how did it end, and where did

    23 all this take place?

    24 A. I was informed that all this occurred in the

    25 hotel, we referred to it as the new hotel in Novi

  55. 1 Travnik, which is where the headquarters of the Stjepan

    2 Tomasevic Brigade of Novi Travnik was located.

    3 At about 23.00 hours in the evening, I was

    4 called by Franjo Nakic, and he informed me that all of

    5 them had been arrested by the commander, the chief of

    6 military police, and when I asked who had been

    7 arrested, Franjo told me that he himself had been

    8 arrested as well as Dzemo Merdan and the head of the

    9 European Monitoring Mission, Mr. Baggesen.

    10 Q. What was the reason for this? Why had such

    11 prominent individuals been arrested?

    12 A. The chief of military police was not

    13 satisfied with their investigation which they had been

    14 performing throughout the day on the 14th of April in

    15 an effort to find out what had happened to the

    16 kidnapped officers from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade

    17 command.

    18 He told them, that is to say, Stipo, the

    19 chief of police, told them that he supposed that the

    20 Mujahedeen would liquidate the kidnapped officers.

    21 Q. What was your reaction in response to this?

    22 Was this a normal situation?

    23 A. This was a very serious situation because,

    24 first of all, we needed to calm down the chief of the

    25 military police who, at that time, was completely

  56. 1 beside himself. I'm convinced that those present in

    2 the room where those who were arrested were could hear

    3 cursing and everything else that the chief of the

    4 military police said to me also.

    5 I asked the commander to move to another room

    6 for fear that at a moment of extreme anger he could do

    7 something irrational and harm the arrested officers.

    8 Q. Why didn't you just say, "Stipo Babrka, I am

    9 Commander Blaskic, commander of the Central Bosnia

    10 Operative Zone. Release these men. You have two or

    11 three minutes." Would you have done so in the JNA?

    12 Why didn't you do it in the HVO?

    13 A. It was not possible to do so because I know

    14 that at least Dzemo Merdan would have been executed

    15 right there on the spot and perhaps the others too. I

    16 had never, throughout my career in the JNA, heard the

    17 number of abusive words directed at me by Commander

    18 Babrka in the presence of the gentlemen who were under

    19 arrest, and I could not order him this because he knew

    20 that I did not have authority to issue him such an

    21 order.

    22 Q. So what did you do in this situation? Please

    23 explain.

    24 A. I first managed to have Stipo move to another

    25 room and then talked to him for over an hour and

  57. 1 eventually convinced him to release the arrested

    2 individuals. This finally happened around 01.00 hours

    3 on the morning of the 15th of April, 1993, in Novi

    4 Travnik. It took almost two hours, our discussion and

    5 back and forth.

    6 MR. NOBILO: Could the witness please be

    7 shown Defence Exhibit 263?

    8 Q. Very well. On the 14th of April, 1993, you

    9 issued an order to the 4th Battalion of the military

    10 police in Vitez to organise a search for the kidnapped

    11 officers of the headquarters of the Stjepan Tomasevic

    12 Brigade in Novi Travnik. I'm not going to read the

    13 entire order, but, first of all, is this the order that

    14 you issued to launch a search?

    15 A. Yes.

    16 Q. This order is addressed to the commander of

    17 the 4th military police battalion in Vitez. Why could

    18 you issue such an order to this commander on the 14th

    19 of April, 1993?

    20 A. This was the time when the military police

    21 had already been reorganised and when I was able to

    22 issue orders to the military police in the form of

    23 daily tasks, but no more than just daily military

    24 police duties.

    25 Q. Would providing security for the HVO officers

  58. 1 and search for the HVO officers fall within the area of

    2 daily tasks?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I would now like

    5 to move to the 15th of April which is a very

    6 significant date, indeed, because it was on that date

    7 when the orders were issued which are in the

    8 indictment, so it would perhaps be good to address that

    9 in one try, one attempt.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, are you saying you

    11 prefer that we stop right now? I think that's what

    12 you're saying.

    13 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Your Honour, because what

    14 I'm about to start is one integral whole together with

    15 the events of the 16th of April in Ahmici, so I would

    16 prefer to do it as one whole.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We will resume at

    18 2.45.

    19 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.08 p.m.

    20 --- On resuming at 2.54 p.m.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    22 hearing. Please be seated.

    23 I would like to inform you of something,

    24 inform the parties. From now on, every Friday, having

    25 to do with the changes in the bench of Judges here and

  59. 1 out of our desire to accelerate the trial, we'll begin

    2 at 9.00. I'm saying this for the interpreters as

    3 well. Of course, we'll have two breaks, but we're

    4 going to begin at 9.00 on Friday mornings and will work

    5 until 1.30 with two breaks which will let us gain

    6 another three-quarters of an hour which I think will be

    7 welcome in respect of our schedule.

    8 I would also like to remind the Defence that

    9 at the end of tomorrow morning, if possible, before we

    10 leave for the week, we would ask for an evaluation of

    11 the testimony in progress, that is, of the accused, to

    12 let us know where we are and to allow us to think about

    13 how we're going to organise our work. Thank you very

    14 much.

    15 Let me now turn to Mr. Nobilo and ask him to

    16 continue with the examination-in-chief.

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

    18 said when we broke for lunch, we are moving to the 15th

    19 of April, 1993.

    20 Q. General, let us try to reconstruct this day,

    21 make a reconstruction of it. How did that morning

    22 start? Who did you meet first and then what happened

    23 next?

    24 A. It was usual for me to meet with my chief of

    25 staff in the morning, and I met with Mr. Franjo Nakic,

  60. 1 my chief of staff, that morning. He informed me of the

    2 results of his meeting with Dzemo Merdan and activities

    3 of the joint commission of the previous day and

    4 previous evening.

    5 He also mentioned that they had been released

    6 at 01.00 hours of the 15th of April, that is, when they

    7 were released from the custody of the military police

    8 in Travnik. Also the chief of staff told me that

    9 morning that he wasn't feeling well, and since he was

    10 diabetic, that his sugar levels were not right, that he

    11 was exhausted, and he requested to go home and spend

    12 the rest of the day resting. I agreed with his

    13 request, and very soon thereafter, I think sometime

    14 around 9.00, Nakic left. He left my office at around

    15 8.30 and went home.

    16 Q. In these morning hours, you also received

    17 information of an abduction and killing in Zenica.

    18 A. Around 8.30, I had a regular morning briefing

    19 with the other assistants, and all of my associates

    20 were there, with the exception of Nakic. It could have

    21 been 8.40 by the time we started the meeting, and the

    22 duty officer entered my office and said, "Zivko Totic

    23 was abducted this morning as he was going to work and

    24 his escort was killed." I asked him whether he had any

    25 additional information --

  61. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Totic was who? I don't

    2 remember. What was his position?

    3 A. Mr. President, Zivko Totic was commander of

    4 the Zenica HVO, that is, the HVO Zenica Brigade.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please continue.

    6 A. He was the brigade commander. After that, I

    7 asked the duty officer to stay on the line with the

    8 Zenica Brigade headquarters and to find additional

    9 information relating to the abduction of Zivko Totic.

    10 This was a regular morning briefing, and I immediately

    11 requested of the commander of the military police and

    12 the assistant for security to designate the

    13 professionals from their staffs who would help with the

    14 investigation of this incident which took place in

    15 Zenica.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Try to go to the essential

    17 points, please. I know this may appear essential, but

    18 try really to go to the essentials of your defence.

    19 I'm sure that you did many things on the 15th of April

    20 but try to concentrate on the essential points; all

    21 right?

    22 A. Very well, Mr. President.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: If it is essential, then say

    24 so, that's not the issue, but it is true that in a day

    25 many things happen from 8.00 in the morning until

  62. 1 midnight, especially in times of almost-war, so try to

    2 go to the most important things which will make the

    3 Judges' work easier, and we thank you for doing so.

    4 Please continue.

    5 A. Thank you, Mr. President.

    6 MR. NOBILO: That is correct, Mr. President,

    7 you will see from the next question.

    8 Q. On the basis of the event in Zenica, that is,

    9 the abduction of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in

    10 Zenica and a series of incidents which you experienced

    11 in the previous 48 hours, you decided to issue an

    12 order.

    13 A. Not only on the basis of all the incidents

    14 which we had mentioned but also the information I

    15 received from the military intelligence service. So on

    16 the basis of all these events, I decided to issue an

    17 order, and I personally started drafting this document

    18 in the period between 9.00 and 10.00 in the morning,

    19 focusing primarily on this executive part of the

    20 order --

    21 Q. Could we please show the witness Exhibit

    22 D267. This is an order issued by General Blaskic which

    23 will have very important consequences later.

    24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just one matter

    25 while counsel is collecting this particular exhibit,

  63. 1 with regard to Mr. Nobilo's statement, he described in

    2 his question, if you take a look at the transcript,

    3 he's discussing the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, and I

    4 believe what he meant was the Jure Francetic Brigade.

    5 So just by way of clarifying the record, that should be

    6 the Jure Francetic Brigade in Zenica.

    7 MR. NOBILO: That is correct. Apparently I

    8 misspoke. I had mentioned an abduction of four

    9 officers of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and the

    10 abduction of the commander of the Jure Francetic

    11 Brigade in Zenica.

    12 MR. KEHOE: I'm not finding any fault, just

    13 correcting the context, that the brigade in Zenica was

    14 the Jure Francetic Brigade. That's all.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. Let me

    16 turn to the accused. It might seem that I'm

    17 contradicting myself since I asked you to go to the

    18 essentials, but when you speak about the meeting you

    19 had with Franjo Nakic in the morning, he was the one

    20 who had been kidnapped the evening before, was he not?

    21 Am I right or am I wrong? Wasn't he arrested the night

    22 before on the 14th of April with Merdan? No, I wasn't

    23 wrong then. Okay.

    24 A. Mr. President, he was not abducted on the

    25 15th of April. He was abducted on the 14th of April.

  64. 1 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted to ask you that

    2 question without going into too many details. You

    3 spoke about the fact that he was a diabetic, but I was

    4 really surprised that you didn't speak about his

    5 kidnapping. It seems to me that if I were to be

    6 kidnapped today and released tomorrow, I would probably

    7 be talking about the time that I was kidnapped.

    8 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, there must be a

    9 problem in what you're hearing because the witness said

    10 a moment ago he met with Nakic on the morning of the

    11 15th, they talked about the events of the prior evening

    12 which is a reference to the kidnapping, and then,

    13 because of his health, he asked to go home. That was

    14 very clear in the English translation.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It was the

    16 connection that didn't really come through in the

    17 French interpretation, and I'm not blaming the booth

    18 for it at all because this is all very complicated, but

    19 that's reassuring because if one is kidnapped on the

    20 14th, obviously one would talk about the next day when

    21 one is released on the 15th, but I keep my main point,

    22 I go back to my point when I asked you to try to

    23 concentrate on the essentials; otherwise after awhile,

    24 we get lost because you do so many things, you're a

    25 captain in a war, you command things, you're busy

  65. 1 restructuring things, you're busy with discipline and

    2 hierarchy, you're conducting a war, you're doing many,

    3 many things, and for a young colonel, that's a lot. So

    4 really try to concentrate on the most important points;

    5 all right?

    6 A. Very well, Mr. President. Let me just

    7 mention that, in my response, I did mention that I had

    8 a discussion with Mr. Nakic about the kidnapping or

    9 abduction, and I'm not sure what interpretation you

    10 got.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sorry for having

    12 interrupted you. I'm afraid I'm the one who caused us

    13 to lose some time, but I'm going to count on you,

    14 Mr. Nobilo, in order to make up for the time we've

    15 lost.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Very well, Mr. President, but if

    17 you will just allow me to show that almost everything

    18 here is very important, one of the very important

    19 witnesses of the Prosecution accused the General that

    20 he had gotten rid of Nakic, who was leaning towards

    21 compromise, in order to be able to start the war. So

    22 this is why this is important, the whole thing about

    23 diabetes and blood sugar levels has some importance.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Let's continue. I'm sure that

    25 diabetes has its own significance. All right. Go

  66. 1 ahead.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. So around 10.00 or somewhere between 9.00 or

    4 10.00, you started drafting this order which we have in

    5 front of us. It is a long one. I don't even want to

    6 read it in its entirety, even though it is extremely

    7 significant, but I want to read certain parts. In the

    8 first part, you are describing a situation on the

    9 ground, which you already described to us, so I'm going

    10 to skip that part.

    11 Next, you are anticipating the directions of

    12 the attack or the assault by the BH army, and I'm going

    13 to read the fourth point of the order which says:

    14 "One --"

    15 Yes, on the first page, fourth paragraph:

    16 "One of their main tasks is the --"

    17 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: "One of their main assignments,"

    19 middle of the paragraph.

    20 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you. Thank you.

    21 Apologies from the booth.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. "One of their main assignments is, of course,

    24 liquidation of the Operative Zone Command and,

    25 considering their sabotage activities, its complete

  67. 1 destruction, for which in the night of 14/15 April,

    2 1993 they brought forces to the structures of the

    3 Firehouse in Vitez, the school in Kruscica, and the

    4 Nadioci and Ahmici villages in order to set up a

    5 blockade and to Gornja Rovna and Pezici in order to

    6 prevent aid, and 8 April, 1993 they brought the

    7 Krajisnici to Travnik for intervention activity," and

    8 then you are giving assignment to our forces, that is,

    9 the forces of the HVO.

    10 THE INTERPRETER: Can we see the top of the

    11 page, please?

    12 MR. NOBILO:

    13 Q. "To prevent the politically extremist Muslim

    14 forces from carrying out their assignments and to be in

    15 a state of preparedness for intervention activities

    16 with concrete assignments.


    18 "The commander of the IV Battalion of the

    19 military police is directly responsible for the

    20 security of the forward command post in Vitez; he must

    21 carry out an assessment of the condition and strengthen

    22 the security in order to prevent surprises. The

    23 Busovaca-Vitez-Travnik road must be free for unimpeded

    24 traffic to all persons and military formations, and any

    25 placing of barricades on the part of MOS is to be

  68. 1 prevented according to the rules for use of the

    2 military police force.

    3 "In the event of an intense attack by the

    4 Muslim extremist forces from the direction of the

    5 villages Nadioci-Ahmici-Sivrino Selo-Pirici, inform me

    6 of it; and, if the fire is opened directly at you,

    7 return fire and neutralise the attackers.

    8 "Pay special attention to the security of

    9 command post and the commander.

    10 "2.2. The special purpose battalion

    11 'Vitezovi' will act on special assignment in the event

    12 of a breakthrough in the defence lines. Its assignment

    13 is to prevent enemy advancements, particularly in the

    14 direction of Stari Vitez" -- it's barely legible, but I

    15 think it says -- "in particular from the direction of

    16 Stari Vitez where the BH army military police, the

    17 civilian Muslim police, and anti-sabotage, a platoon of

    18 the BH army, are located, with the probable assignment

    19 to act against the high command of the Operative Zone.

    20 The essential assignment is to carry out a blockade of

    21 the above-mentioned forces and prevent them from

    22 attacking the command. Be in a state of preparedness

    23 for intervention activity according to the given

    24 assignments.


  69. 1 "Carry out the defence in your zone of

    2 responsibility and prevent the extremist Muslim forces

    3 from openly cleansing the territory and from carrying

    4 out a genocide of the Croatian people and realisation

    5 of their goals. Be in a state of preparedness to carry

    6 out a decisive defence of the territory of the Croatian

    7 people. Pull out the forces only after the people have

    8 been evacuated and provided for, and upon my approval."

    9 Commander - Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.

    10 Now, let me take you back to that morning

    11 between 9.00 and 10.00 when you started drafting this

    12 order. Did you have any contacts? Did you draft it in

    13 full? How did it go?

    14 A. Your Honours, about 9.00, after the briefing,

    15 I started drafting this order, but I knew that at 10.00

    16 that day, I had another meeting with Gianluca who was

    17 from the International Red Cross, so I was in a hurry

    18 trying to finish this draft, and in the first part, I

    19 wanted to define the assignments of our forces, the HVO

    20 forces. This is what is in heading 2.1.

    21 As I was working on it, Mr. Darko Kraljevic

    22 arrived, who recounted what had happened to him the

    23 previous night, on 14 April, 1993, during the attempt

    24 on his life, that is, the attempt at liquidating him by

    25 the forces of the BH army. At that time, he already

  70. 1 knew about the incident in Zenica, and he literally

    2 said, "Does this mean that there is a manhunt going on

    3 against us?" meaning the HVO officers.

    4 After this conversation, I reiterated that it

    5 was clear to me that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    6 had targeted the HVO commanders in Vitez, Travnik, Novi

    7 Travnik, and Zenica.

    8 I continued drafting this order but did not

    9 finish this introductory part by 10.00 because

    10 Gianluca, with whom I had previously arranged a meeting

    11 from before, had arrived.

    12 Q. Did you inform Darko Kraljevic of the order

    13 that you were drafting?

    14 A. Well, it was in my handwriting on my table.

    15 He saw the order, and I told him that I was issuing

    16 this preparatory order because it was quite obvious

    17 that attacks were being carried on against the members

    18 of the HVO.

    19 Q. Was there any mention of the use of the

    20 Vitezovi on the basis of that order?

    21 A. Well, first of all, he expressed his

    22 gratitude to me for having become involved the day

    23 earlier, and he placed himself at my disposal and said

    24 that he was ready to work according to the assignments

    25 that he would receive from me as the commander of the

  71. 1 Operative Zone.

    2 After Gianluca arrived, or while he was in

    3 the process of arriving, I called the deputy chief of

    4 staff, Mr. Slavko Marin, to come, and I handed him the

    5 order, the draft order, believing that he would

    6 complete it with regard to the introductory part and

    7 then dispatch it to the units.

    8 Q. Let us take a look at the order once again.

    9 You said that it was a preparatory order. What is the

    10 difference between a preparatory order and an executive

    11 order, combat order?

    12 A. Well, the word itself says for itself what it

    13 means, that is to say, none of these assignments is

    14 carried out but all measures are undertaken within the

    15 composition of the HVO units so that they can be ready

    16 to act at the moment they receive an executive order,

    17 and in simplified terms, it means that they are placed

    18 on the ready: Be ready but don't undertake anything

    19 until the executive combat order arrives.

    20 Q. Let us now take a look at point 2.1. You are

    21 ordering the 4th Battalion of the military police. The

    22 things that you are ordering the military police to

    23 undertake, how would you characterise them, these

    24 actions? Do they represent the combat use of the

    25 military police, or does it represent something else?

  72. 1 A. It stipulates in precise detail the fact that

    2 the military police should ensure the security of the

    3 forward command post, that is to say, Hotel Vitez, and

    4 that the commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion

    5 is responsible for the choice of manpower to ensure the

    6 security of the forward command post and that he would

    7 have to assess the existing situation and strengthen

    8 security with the aim of preventing any surprises.

    9 Q. What type of activities are these, without

    10 going into what this states, compared to military

    11 duties?

    12 A. They are regular military police duties, the

    13 regular kind of assignment that is undertaken daily.

    14 Q. The security for the command and headquarters

    15 and security and control of roads, does that fall

    16 within regular police tasks?

    17 A. Yes, they are regular daily tasks assigned

    18 the police force.

    19 Q. In comparison to the Vitezovi, what was the

    20 idea? What were they to do and under which conditions

    21 were they able to be included according to this order?

    22 A. As far as the Vitezovi are concerned, they

    23 were to perform the blockade of the onslaught

    24 operations of the BH army from Stari Vitez in the

    25 direction of the Vitez Hotel, that is to say, the

  73. 1 headquarters of the Operative Zone for Central Bosnia.

    2 Q. The word "blockade," in the military sense,

    3 what does it mean?

    4 A. It is a combat tactic operation, tactical

    5 operation, in which combat deployment is used to block

    6 movement or action by adversary forces, usually either

    7 shifts of guards are formed or patrols or defence

    8 groups which prevent any breakthrough.

    9 Q. If we were to qualify blockades as defence

    10 and attack, what category would this belong to?

    11 A. It is a defence operation, a defence type of

    12 combat operation or a defensive operation.

    13 Q. Well, let us leave this order for the time

    14 being. We will be going back to it later on.

    15 Tell us, just briefly, what the topic was of

    16 the visit by the Red Cross representative on the 15th

    17 of April.

    18 A. The main topic were the convoys and the

    19 abduction of the convoy, and another question was the

    20 question of the prisoners. The Red Cross

    21 representative brought up the problem of the abduction

    22 of the convoy and emphasised that it was not the first

    23 case and the first instance that this had happened but

    24 that it had become a practice.

    25 Q. Did he ask you to intervene in any way?

  74. 1 A. Yes, he did. He expressly asked that the

    2 goods that had been taken away and the vehicles be

    3 returned, and I tried to inform him about all the

    4 events that had taken place from the 8th of April to

    5 about the 15th of April, which means that I told him of

    6 the occurrences in Travnik and the things that had been

    7 going on in Novi Travnik, Vitez, Zenica, and emphasised

    8 that the situation had reached a peak and that it was

    9 very difficult to control the situation.

    10 Q. After the end of the meeting, did you take

    11 any concrete steps in order to uncover the goods and

    12 the vehicles?

    13 A. I gave orders and asked the military police

    14 to do what it could to uncover the missing vehicles

    15 from the convoy, taken from the convoy, and I ordered

    16 that all vehicles which the military police uncovered

    17 be parked in front of the headquarters of the Operative

    18 Zone for Central Bosnia in Vitez.

    19 Q. Let us go back for a moment to the meeting

    20 with the International Red Cross representative. You

    21 mentioned the term "prisoners." What prisoners did you

    22 have in mind?

    23 A. We discussed prisoners in the Operative Zone

    24 of north-west Herzegovina. I think there were some 20

    25 detainees. The representative of the Red Cross asked

  75. 1 me to take measures with Commander Cikulja to sort this

    2 out.

    3 Q. But it was outside your zone of

    4 responsibility, was it not?

    5 A. Yes, I told him that it was outside my zone

    6 of responsibility but that I shall endeavour to collect

    7 the necessary information for him.

    8 Q. At about 11.00 or a little after 11.00, you

    9 had contacts with Holman from Zenica. What news was he

    10 bringing?

    11 A. Holman called me and informed me about the

    12 kidnapping of Totic and confirmed that he was at the

    13 spot. After that, he told me that there was panic

    14 there and that the people in Zenica were in a high

    15 state of panic and disarray and fear, and that the town

    16 of Zenica had been blocked, that the army was in the

    17 streets, and that the police in Zenica were also in the

    18 streets.

    19 Q. After that, you had contacts with the crime

    20 military police and the security service. What did you

    21 discuss at those meetings?

    22 A. I talked to the security assistant and the

    23 deputy chief of military police, and I emphasised that

    24 it was necessary for all measures to be undertaken so

    25 that what had been taken away from the convoy be

  76. 1 returned to it, the goods that had been taken, and that

    2 the request that Gianluca had made be respected and

    3 complied with.

    4 Q. Did you know that the convoy would be looted

    5 and abducted? Did you have any information of this

    6 kind before it had actually happened?

    7 A. No, I didn't know that the convoy had started

    8 out in that direction nor did I have any information

    9 that it would be looted.

    10 Q. At 12.00, you had a meeting with the

    11 information officer. Can you tell us briefly about

    12 that meeting?

    13 A. Yes. It was Mr. Marko Prskalo. He came to

    14 inform me that tensions were running exceptionally high

    15 and that the situation was very tense and that there

    16 was a great deal of concern, particularly with the

    17 Croats in Zenica. He suggested that it would be a good

    18 idea if an extraordinary press conference were to be

    19 held, and in that way, to speak before the public,

    20 address the public, and to send out information and to

    21 present the positions of the command of the Operative

    22 Zone with respect to the events of that morning that

    23 had taken place in Zenica.

    24 Q. Did you accept that and did you hold the

    25 press conference?

  77. 1 A. Yes, I did accept, and I held the press

    2 conference in Busovaca. It was around 1.00 p.m.

    3 Q. After returning from the press conference in

    4 Busovaca, you wrote a new order. What prompted you to

    5 write that particular order? What was the motive in

    6 drafting the order?

    7 A. For the first time, at the press conference

    8 in Busovaca, I saw what was, in fact, going on in

    9 Zenica, and I came to understand that this type of

    10 conduct on the part of the members of the BH army was a

    11 scenario to eliminate the commander, and that this

    12 represented pure terrorism. That is why I looked into

    13 the question of whether measures should be undertaken,

    14 and I decided to issue an order to stop all movement by

    15 HVO members. I discussed whether to do this or whether

    16 to issue assignments which would limit movement to

    17 daily movement along with increased security measures.

    18 MR. NOBILO: Could the witness be shown

    19 Defence Exhibit D268 now, please?

    20 Q. It is an order that you yourself issued and

    21 signed on the 15th of April, 1993, at 3.45 p.m.

    22 It is an order dated the 15th of April, the

    23 time is 15.45, and it is "Order to Take Action," that

    24 is the title, and it is sent to a number of brigades

    25 and the 4th Battalion of the military police.

  78. 1 Tell us, General, is this a combat order, an

    2 executive order?

    3 A. This is still an order for raising the combat

    4 readiness and still is not a combat order.

    5 Q. Given the heading, "Order to Take Action,"

    6 can action be taken in terms of anti-terrorist

    7 measures?

    8 A. Yes, such action can be taken.

    9 Q. Very well. I'm not going to read the whole

    10 order, but you describe the 7th Muslim Brigade and

    11 their methods of operation and you issue orders to the

    12 brigades to establish groups at a strength of 15 men

    13 whose task is to destroy the sabotage units and groups

    14 within the 7th Muslim Brigade and so on.

    15 Can we call this order an anti-terrorist

    16 order, that its goal was fighting terrorism?

    17 A. This order was written following the press

    18 conference, and after I became satisfied that the

    19 activities which had been committed by the 7th Muslim

    20 Brigade, based on the information I had, did represent

    21 a classical case of terrorism, and this order still was

    22 directed against such terrorist activities.

    23 Q. Could you please look at this order? Who

    24 drafted this? Who wrote it up? Who typed it,

    25 et cetera?

  79. 1 A. I dictated it, it was taken down by Slavko

    2 Marin, and I signed it.

    3 Q. Was this order drafted, typed up, signed, and

    4 sent off at the time shown here?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. After this document, you received information

    7 on shelling at Puticevo.

    8 A. Yes, I received information that mortar

    9 shells were falling in the immediate vicinity of the

    10 checkpoint at Puticevo and that they were coming from

    11 the direction of the fortress, or Tvrdzava, in Travnik.

    12 Q. After that, you have another meeting dealing

    13 with the abduction of that big convoy, the 15 trucks

    14 and 30 passenger vehicles with humanitarian aid. What

    15 were the conclusions of this meeting?

    16 A. I had a meeting with the assistant for

    17 security because I was also interested whether anything

    18 had been done following that request for return of

    19 goods, and the conclusion was that the military police

    20 were not able to retrieve this equipment even though we

    21 knew at that time that the vehicles were parked on the

    22 side of the road between Han Bila and Nova Bila.

    23 Q. Why was the military police not able to

    24 retrieve those vehicles?

    25 A. One of the answers was that an armed group

  80. 1 was much more powerful than the police forces

    2 available, and that in order for the military police to

    3 be able to carry out this, it would have to use force,

    4 and the armed group that was holding the convoy was

    5 much stronger.

    6 The chief of staff, Mr. Nakic, happens to

    7 live very near Nova Bila, and he called me on the

    8 telephone and confirmed that the vehicles from this

    9 convoy were still in Nova Bila, but he told me, "I am

    10 afraid that force would mean nothing to these criminal

    11 groups."

    12 Q. So what did you decide to do in order to

    13 solve this problem?

    14 A. The assistant for security suggested that we

    15 invite members of the military police, that is, the

    16 commander of the military police to a meeting, also to

    17 invite the commander of the Vitezovi, a representative

    18 of this group, his name was Zuti, and a member of the

    19 Tvrtkovci unit, and to present to them the overall

    20 situation and problems that had arisen in connection

    21 with the taking of these goods and to ask for their

    22 assistance in retrieving them.

    23 Q. Was this meeting organised and did they show

    24 up?

    25 A. This meeting took place somewhere around

  81. 1 17.00 hours, and they did show up at it.

    2 Q. Now, let's, for a moment, disregard the

    3 agenda of the meeting, which was the return of the

    4 abducted goods, but how did the meeting actually

    5 proceed?

    6 A. Yes. The main topic of the meeting was this

    7 abducted convoy; however, in the course of the meeting,

    8 the duty officer came in with information that the army

    9 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was moving from Zenica in the

    10 direction of Kuber.

    11 Q. Could you please show Kuber and again point

    12 to the significance of Kuber within the Lasva Valley?

    13 JUDGE JORDA: If you don't mind, if you'd

    14 first show it to us on the map and then on the model,

    15 because on the map we have a better view, and then you

    16 can indicate it on the model.

    17 A. Of course, Mr. President. This is Zenica

    18 (indicating) and this is Kuber (indicating). In the

    19 course of the meeting which I was holding, I received

    20 information that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was on

    21 the move from the steelworks compounds, was passing by

    22 the HVO headquarters at Podbrezje and was moving in the

    23 direction of Kuber. This is the assessment which we

    24 received at the time, and on the model --

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. If you can show us

  82. 1 Zenica, you're still referring to a city that we are

    2 familiar with.

    3 A. That is correct, Mr. President. That is

    4 Zenica (indicating) and this is Kuber (indicating).

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. It's clear.

    6 MR. NOBILO:

    7 Q. Very well. So Kuber is a strategic point for

    8 the defence of the Lasva Valley; could we characterise

    9 it as such?

    10 A. Yes. This is a strategic point in the

    11 defence of the Lasva Valley, and whoever has control of

    12 this feature can basically control the entire Lasva

    13 Valley. They could carry out attacks in the direction

    14 of either Vitez or Busovaca. This is the most

    15 important point in the Lasva Valley in relation to

    16 Zenica.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    18 MR. NOBILO:

    19 Q. So this information came that the BH army

    20 from Zenica was on the move in the direction of this

    21 absolutely pivotal strategic point in the Lasva

    22 Valley. Did this news cause you some concern?

    23 A. Yes, of course, not the least because the

    24 duty officer came in and delivered it in a state of

    25 near panic, and he delivered it to everybody present so

  83. 1 everybody overheard this, and the question immediately

    2 arose what to do and what position to take with respect

    3 to this action on the part of the BH army.

    4 Q. So what was your reaction? Who did you task

    5 with following up on this?

    6 A. At that point, I told the participants of the

    7 meeting that I had already issued two orders, one that

    8 morning and one in the afternoon, and that I expected

    9 that these orders would be followed, that is, complied

    10 with. I asked Slavko Marin to bring me those orders,

    11 and I saw then that the preparatory order which I had

    12 issued at 10.00 hours had still not been sent to the

    13 subordinate units.

    14 Q. And the one from 15.00 hours --

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Just a clarification. Slavko

    16 Marin was with our witness for a few days. This is the

    17 first time that the accused is mentioning Slavko

    18 Marin's name. Could you remind us? He went back to

    19 your headquarters at the beginning of April. I'm not

    20 sure. Could you recall that for us, please?

    21 A. Mr. President, Slavko Marin arrived on 1

    22 November, 1992 in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone

    23 Command.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: You didn't speak about him very

    25 much. Up to this point, you haven't spoken about him

  84. 1 very much, you spoke about Nakic, but you almost never

    2 have spoken about this person who came to testify here

    3 and who seems to have played an important role. That's

    4 why I'm asking the question, since I'm hearing you talk

    5 about him for the first time as regards the writing of

    6 these orders.

    7 Would you like to intervene at this point,

    8 Mr. Nobilo, rapidly, of course, if you want to?

    9 MR. NOBILO: He has mentioned him once.

    10 Q. Why does Slavko Marin become important as of

    11 this day? Why does Slavko Marin merge as a significant

    12 figure as of the 15th of April?

    13 A. Mr. President, Slavko Marin was not my

    14 immediate subordinate. I was not his direct boss. His

    15 direct boss was Franjo Nakic, and when the chief of

    16 staff, that is, Mr. Nakic, was absent, then Slavko

    17 Marin was directly subordinate to me because he was on

    18 duty as the chief of operations within the Central

    19 Bosnia Operative Zone.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue.

    21 MR. NOBILO:

    22 Q. One more thing, General, on the 16th, 17th,

    23 18th, and 19th of April, did Nakic manage to come back

    24 or was his duty carried out by Mr. Marin throughout

    25 these first days of the conflict?

  85. 1 A. Nakic spent the entire period in his family

    2 home, he was blocked there -- I'm referring to the

    3 first days of the conflict -- he was blocked there, and

    4 he never managed to reach the command post, and Slavko

    5 Marin at that time was carrying out the duties, both

    6 his own, that is, as Nakic's deputy, and the one of the

    7 chief of staff.

    8 Q. So on the 15th, was he your immediate

    9 associate at the headquarters?

    10 A. Yes, because Franjo Nakic was not there.

    11 Q. You said that the order of 10.00 of the 15th

    12 of April, 1993 remained in its hand-written form and had

    13 not been sent. For purposes of the record, it is

    14 document D267. What happened with the order that was

    15 D268, the order written on the 15th of April at

    16 3.45 p.m.?

    17 A. That order was not sent either.

    18 Q. What happened next?

    19 A. I took both these orders and I read them out

    20 orally to the commanders present at the meeting. After

    21 I had read out the provisions of the order, after I had

    22 read them out, we concluded the meeting. I decided

    23 after that to call the commander of the Vitez Brigade,

    24 who was at that time in his family house.

    25 Q. Before we go on to the meeting with the

  86. 1 commander of the Vitez Brigade, Mr. Cerkez, who was not

    2 present at the first meeting, what happened to those

    3 two orders, that is to say, the one written at 10.00

    4 a.m. and the second one written at 3.45 p.m.? Were the

    5 orders dispatched, rewritten, typed out, or what?

    6 A. At that particular time, I was not able to

    7 send the orders out to be typed, the 10.00 order,

    8 because the typist wasn't around, wasn't in her office,

    9 because according to her regular work shift, she was on

    10 duty until 3.00 p.m. So after that, the order, the

    11 order that came later, the 3.45 p.m. order was sent out

    12 because it had been typed, whereas the 10.00 order was

    13 returned to the general services office for the typist

    14 to type it out, and I read out the assignments from the

    15 two orders orally to the individuals present.

    16 Q. After that meeting, you tried to establish

    17 contact with Cerkez, commander of the Vitez Brigade

    18 which was being formed at the time. Tell us what

    19 events followed.

    20 A. I called Commander Cerkez, he reported to me,

    21 he phoned me, and I presented the tasks at hand. I

    22 informed him of the movement of the BH army forces from

    23 Zenica to Kuber, and I orally stated the assignments

    24 from the 10.00 order, and once again orally, I gave him

    25 an executive order.

  87. 1 Q. What was the executive order given to the

    2 Vitez Brigade on the evening of the 15th of April,

    3 1993? What did you order?

    4 A. I ordered in the executive combat order to

    5 raise the level of readiness in order to perform a

    6 blockade, execute a blockade, from the Kruscica area

    7 and from Vranjska and Donja Veceriska.

    8 Q. Why did you choose this particular area to

    9 block in the Vitez municipality by the Vitez Brigade?

    10 What guided you in selecting this particular place,

    11 this particular position?

    12 A. I was principally guided by the fact that the

    13 previous assessment which I received from the military

    14 intelligence service indicated that the forces of the

    15 BH army would probably launch an attack from the

    16 direction of Kruscica and Vranjska, in part via

    17 Gradina, towards the explosives factory and, secondly,

    18 towards the village of Rijeka, Santici with the

    19 intention of joining up with the forces that, from

    20 Kuber, would most probably attack the main road.

    21 Q. What did Cerkez answer and what happened

    22 next?

    23 A. Cerkez told me, first of all, that he wanted

    24 a written order and that he wanted the written order so

    25 as to be able to inform his civilian representatives in

  88. 1 the Vitez municipality of the order, and at the same

    2 time, that his headquarters was being formed, that it

    3 was under the process of formation, and that this would

    4 facilitate his tasks for him. He added -- in fact, he

    5 asked me, when he was to come to the meeting, whether

    6 to wear civilian clothes or whether to wear a uniform

    7 because on that particular day at 6.30 p.m., he was to

    8 attend a wedding, so he was stopped on his way with his

    9 wife to attend a wedding in Vitez.

    10 Q. Was that his own wedding?

    11 A. Yes. He was going to his own wedding. His

    12 own wedding had been scheduled for that day. Cerkez

    13 also told me that he had engaged a shift of soldiers on

    14 the front line towards the Serbs on the Strikanjci

    15 feature. They were soldiers from within the Vitezovi

    16 composition. This is the feature here (indicating).

    17 It is located in Novi Travnik. He also said that a new

    18 shift of soldiers should be prepared for the following

    19 day to replace the previous shift.

    20 Q. Relatively late that night, the

    21 representatives of the civilian authorities came to see

    22 you. What was that about?

    23 A. At about 22.30 hours representatives of the

    24 civilian authorities from Vitez arrived, Mr. Santic,

    25 Mr. Nikola Krizanovic, and I think Mr. Skopljak was

  89. 1 there as well, and they informed me that it was their

    2 position that no combat activities should be undertaken

    3 in the Vitez municipality, all the more so as the

    4 explosives factory was not prepared and that there were

    5 500 tonnes of explosives in the factory itself and

    6 other parts for the production of explosive devices,

    7 components, and also because there were about 100

    8 tonnes of acid, and there could be a great catastrophe

    9 with 5 to 15 kilometres of destruction if some of the

    10 reservoirs containing the acid were to be hit.

    11 I told them that we did not wish nor had we

    12 planned any combat operations but that it was quite

    13 obvious that the BH army was moving and that we could

    14 not allow events to overtake us and to find us in our

    15 beds and not ready, so to speak. I also said that I

    16 expected combat operations to take place probably

    17 around the Kuber feature, which is relatively far off

    18 compared to the explosives factory.

    19 Q. While you were contacting with Cerkez, did

    20 you at one point tell him to undertake measures to

    21 reinforce Kuber?

    22 A. I told him to warn the defenders of Kuber and

    23 to tell them of all the information that we had

    24 collected, but we were still not in a position to

    25 reinforce this position from the Vitez Brigade nor did

  90. 1 we do so, except to issue a warning by phone and to

    2 convey this information about the movement of troops.

    3 Q. Does that mean that the HVO already had its

    4 positions up at Kuber?

    5 A. Yes, the HVO did have its positions at Kuber,

    6 but the situation was just the same as it had been on

    7 the 13th and the 11th of April and many days

    8 previously.

    9 Q. The members of what brigade held the

    10 positions at Kuber?

    11 A. The members of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    12 Brigade, members of the Vitez Brigade, and members from

    13 the Zenica Brigade.

    14 Q. They had held these positions at Kuber

    15 continuously as of which month?

    16 A. They had held these positions from the very

    17 beginning but not with the combat deployment of

    18 forces. At the beginning, it was a position against

    19 the air force and jointly manned, but from January and

    20 the first conflicts with the BH army, the positions

    21 were manned with a combat deployment.

    22 MR. NOBILO: We propose a break here at this

    23 point.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Excellent proposal. We'll take

    25 a break. Twenty minutes.

  91. 1 --- Recess taken at 4.04 p.m.

    2 --- On resuming at 4.30 p.m.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.

    4 Please be seated. Please proceed.

    5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    6 Q. We left off at the evening of the 15th of

    7 April, after the representatives of the civilian

    8 authorities left after you had told him what emergency

    9 steps you had taken.

    10 What further information did you receive late

    11 that day, somewhere between 23.00 and 24.00 hours?

    12 A. About 23.00 hours, I was informed that combat

    13 operations were in progress at Kuber and that there was

    14 shelling from Preocica in the area of Poculica. I was

    15 also informed that at Kuber there were some HVO wounded

    16 in the course of the combat operations.

    17 Q. After you received the information that this

    18 combat contact had taken place as early as the 15th of

    19 April, you issued another order, that is Exhibit number

    20 D269.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Is this the 16th of April now?

    22 MR. NOBILO: Yes. This is the night between

    23 the 15th and 16th. It is one hour after midnight, so

    24 it is technically the 16th.

    25 Q. I will read the order. It was addressed to

  92. 1 the Vitez Brigade, that is, to Commander Cerkez, to his

    2 attention, and the special purpose unit Tvrtko. The

    3 heading is "Combat Command - order to prevent attack

    4 activity by the enemy (extremist Muslim forces) and

    5 blockade the broader territory of Kruscica, Vranjska,

    6 and Donji Veceriska."

    7 Now, the body of the text I think everybody

    8 can read for themselves, but in military terms, why did

    9 you issue this kind of order? If necessary, you can

    10 also point on the model why it was necessary to carry

    11 out the blockade of specifically those villages.

    12 A. Your Honours, in addition to the information

    13 about combat activities around Kuber and Poculica, I

    14 also received information from the military

    15 intelligence service about the regrouping of the BH

    16 army forces, that is, about movements and about

    17 activities on the communication lines, the radio

    18 communications.

    19 The majority of the forces which had already

    20 been deployed, that is, 325th Brigade in Kruscica,

    21 which included some of the BH army forces which had

    22 been brought from outside and these were in the area of

    23 Kruscica, Vranjska; and as far as Donji Veceriska was

    24 concerned, Donji Veceriska needed to be blocked because

    25 this village was adjacent to the explosives factory.

  93. 1 Q. Could you show us on the model where these

    2 villages were, and what was the military objective

    3 here? What were you trying to achieve with this?

    4 Maybe if you came around, and if you would just wait

    5 for our colleague from the Prosecution to join us?

    6 A. As I stated, the village of Donji Veceriska

    7 is immediately next to the explosives factory. The

    8 edge of the village is adjacent to the compound, and it

    9 then goes on towards the villages of Divjak, Grbavica,

    10 and Han Bila. The communication line was controlled by

    11 the 306th Mountain Brigade by the very way in which it

    12 was deployed, and from there, they only needed to link

    13 up from Grbavica to Divjak in order to cut off the

    14 Lasva Valley.

    15 Q. Could you put down your pointer so that we

    16 can see how the Lasva Valley would have been cut off?

    17 Thank you.

    18 A. Next, Kruscica, Vranjska, and Rovna. There

    19 is only one hill here called Crveno Brdce or Red Hill.

    20 If the troops from Kruscica would take it, they would

    21 control the Vitez-Busovaca communication line, both the

    22 highway Vitez-Busovaca and the secondary road, and they

    23 would link up with the forces which had already been

    24 deployed at Sljibcica. This is this direction in which

    25 the Lasva River Valley would have been cut off.

  94. 1 Q. This would have been the second line of

    2 cutting off?

    3 A. Yes, and this is where the entire subsequent

    4 fighting is going to go on. The units in Rovna and

    5 Vranjska also could operate in the direction of

    6 Safradinove Kuce, or Safradin houses, and take control

    7 of the only bridge across the Lasva River, which was

    8 called Radak's bridge. So this is the second line --

    9 Q. You mean the third line?

    10 A. Yes. This is an alternate, so a third line

    11 of cutting off the Lasva Valley.

    12 Q. Can we say that you expected the main thrust,

    13 the main attack, to come from the direction of Zenica,

    14 and that the main idea that you thought of was the

    15 linking up of the troops coming from the north and ones

    16 coming from the south?

    17 A. The BH army had its main operational forces

    18 in that area, and subsequent events show that they

    19 never gave up that idea, in other words, to link up the

    20 forces from the north with the forces that were

    21 stationed to the south and cut off the Lasva Valley

    22 into two or three parts.

    23 Q. If this was their main objective, what

    24 measures did you take in order to prevent this?

    25 A. With this order issued at 01.30 hours, I

  95. 1 ordered to block the forces in Kruscica, Vranjska, and

    2 Donji Veceriska and to prevent the attack of the

    3 Bosnia-Herzegovina army.

    4 Q. The villages which you have just mentioned,

    5 are they all due south of the main road?

    6 A. Yes, all these villages are due south of the

    7 main road.

    8 Q. Let me read you point 3 of the order, and

    9 will you please interpret it on the model here? I read

    10 -- and you are addressing it to Cerkez and to the

    11 Tvrtko unit.

    12 "In front of you are the forces of the IV

    13 Military Police Battalion, behind you are your forces,

    14 to the right of you are the forces of the Nikola

    15 Subic-Zrinjski unit, and to the left of you are the

    16 forces of the civilian police."

    17 Could you please position those forces in

    18 this area on this model so that we know who is where?

    19 What does it mean, that the forces of the 4th Military

    20 Police Battalion are in front of you?

    21 A. The forces of the 4th Military Police

    22 Battalion are securing the main Vitez-Travnik-Busovaca

    23 road by police patrolling and they are in front of the

    24 forces of the Vitez Brigade. The forces of the Vitez

    25 Brigade are blocking --

  96. 1 Q. Excuse me a moment, General. So that

    2 everybody can understand, what is "in front," what is

    3 "behind" is relative. If I look at Their Honours,

    4 they're in front of me but --

    5 JUDGE JORDA: I would suggest that General

    6 Blaskic show it to us on the map. That way I think we

    7 can find our way. The two complement one another: The

    8 model allows us to see things in a more microscopic

    9 way; on the map, we have a broader view, a macroscopic

    10 view, showing the north and south. That helps me

    11 because that helps me to refer to other documents

    12 also. Could the witness show it to us on the map?

    13 It's south of the valley, is it not?

    14 MR. NOBILO:

    15 Q. If you will just say, how did you set up your

    16 orientation anyway?

    17 A. Mr. President, I can do that, but in the

    18 military doctrine that I was trained in, the front was

    19 always where we expected an attack to come from. But

    20 let me move to the map and show you and try to make it

    21 more clear.

    22 Q. Very well. Let us now attempt to follow this

    23 point by point. First it says, "In front of you are

    24 the forces of the IV Military Police Battalion."

    25 Can you tell me, how did you orient

  97. 1 yourself? How did you define your position? What is

    2 in front for you, the person who is issuing the order?

    3 A. In this case, it is north, in front of me.

    4 Q. Why north?

    5 A. Because I am expecting -- in this specific

    6 case, I'm expecting an attack coming from the north.

    7 Q. When you are writing this order, you are

    8 orienting yourself according to where you think the

    9 main attack will come from. That is the crucial thing

    10 for you.

    11 A. Yes. For me, Kuber and Zenica are in front

    12 of me. So the answer to your question is "Yes."

    13 Q. Why, for Cerkez, the military police, which

    14 is on -- the main communication line is in front of

    15 him. Can you show on the map where the main road is,

    16 the highway, and where, in relation to that, is the

    17 Vitez Brigade supposed to be deployed so that this road

    18 is in front?

    19 A. The Vitez Brigade is along the Lasva River

    20 toward Gradina, in this area which I'm pointing at

    21 (indicating).

    22 Q. Is that below the road, that is, to the south

    23 of the road?

    24 A. Yes, the Vitez Brigade is to the south of the

    25 road.

  98. 1 Q. Can we say that from the position of the

    2 Vitez Brigade to whom you are writing this, both the

    3 military police and the BH army forces are in front of

    4 them?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. You are writing to the Vitez Brigade. "To

    7 the right," you're saying, "To the right of you is the

    8 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade." Could you point to

    9 that on the map?

    10 A. Yes, that is what I wrote, and that would

    11 mean that it was to the -- that it was due east. That

    12 means this area here (indicating) is covered by the

    13 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, of course taking into

    14 account the front lines, and here on the model you can

    15 see it even better, it's this line here (indicating).

    16 So that is due east of the combat deployment of the

    17 Vitez Brigade.

    18 Q. So in this specific case, to the right and

    19 due east is identical?

    20 A. Yes. In this specific case, it is.

    21 Q. So if we look in the direction of the main

    22 road and Zenica, to the right is the position of the

    23 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade and the Busovaca

    24 municipality?

    25 A. That is correct, and ever since the January

  99. 1 conflict, these positions were established, and this is

    2 where the sides were facing off.

    3 Q. In no order, you issue orders to the military

    4 police, but -- to the civilian police, but you say, to

    5 the left of you are the civilian police forces. In

    6 this combat situation, where is this?

    7 A. That means that due west of Kruscica and

    8 Vranjska are forces of the Vitez police station. That

    9 would be to the left.

    10 Q. To the left and due west. What would that

    11 signify in this specific case?

    12 A. That would mean that these would be the

    13 positions of the Vitez civilian police forces.

    14 Q. You mean the town of Vitez force?

    15 A. Yes. They would be there with respect to the

    16 Vitez Brigade.

    17 Q. So to the left and due west in this combat

    18 situation is identical?

    19 A. Yes, in this particular situation, it would

    20 be.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Your Honours, if this is clear,

    22 we can move on.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, the indications are

    24 clear. Judge Rodrigues?

    25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have a

  100. 1 question I would like to ask you. In order to have,

    2 under these conditions, a relationship or a proposed

    3 relationship between the model and the map, we have to

    4 turn the model 180 degrees; is that right?

    5 A. Your Honour, that is correct.

    6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: It was turned once or twice,

    8 Judge Rodrigues. We're not even sure quite how to turn

    9 it anymore, and that's why both of them are useful,

    10 that is, the map and the model.

    11 Thank you, Judge Rodrigues. Once again, all

    12 my compliments because you are involving yourself in

    13 this case with agility and dexterity which is really

    14 extraordinary.

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

    16 Q. General, this order, D269, which I read out

    17 and was issued at 1.30 a.m., is it identical to the one

    18 you issued to Cerkez?

    19 A. Yes, it is completely identical to the oral

    20 combat order that I issued to Cerkez at a meeting that

    21 I had with him at 6.30 p.m., or thereabouts.

    22 Q. Let me begin the question in another way.

    23 According to what we have just seen, on the 15th of

    24 April, you issued, either in written form or orally,

    25 but, in essence, you issued three orders: one at 10.00

  101. 1 a.m., one at 3.45 p.m., and at 1.30 a.m., that is to

    2 say, on the 16th already?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Apart from these three orders, prior to the

    5 war with the Muslims in the Vitez municipality, did you

    6 issue any other orders?

    7 A. No.

    8 Q. Did you then ever before or on the 16th of

    9 April or ever after issue an order which would order

    10 your subordinates to kill civilians, prisoners of war,

    11 to destroy civilian property, and to destroy religious

    12 premises?

    13 A. No, I never issued an order of that kind.

    14 Q. In your opinion, in any way possible but

    15 logical, if we were to interpret these three orders

    16 given in writing or orally, could one, from those

    17 orders, deduce what had happened in Ahmici on the 16th

    18 of April, 1993?

    19 A. No.

    20 Q. We now move on to the 16th of April, 1993.

    21 Would you describe to the Trial Chamber what your first

    22 recollections are with regard to the beginning of that

    23 day, and that is one of the key days in the entire

    24 events encompassed in the indictment and these

    25 proceedings.

  102. 1 A. Your Honours, sometime early in the morning

    2 at 5.00 or 5.05 a.m., perhaps around 5.00 a.m., I was

    3 awoken by noise, the noise of detonation, which echoed

    4 in the immediate vicinity of the Vitez Hotel, within

    5 the hotel itself. I got up and I heard knocking at my

    6 door, Slavko Marin was knocking at my door, who told

    7 me, "It seems that we have been attacked."

    8 I asked the duty officer to give me

    9 information, and he told me, the officer on duty, that

    10 he did not have complete data yet but that he had

    11 undertaken additional security measures and had checked

    12 in the neighbouring units.

    13 After that, Slavko Marin immediately asked

    14 whether it would be a good idea for him to go to the

    15 basement of the hotel and to prepare the basement of

    16 the hotel to take us in, to transfer us there.

    17 Q. What was located in the basement of the

    18 hotel?

    19 A. There was a discotheque in the basement and

    20 it was called the Discotheque 55 and it was open that

    21 night and it had been open until almost the early hours

    22 of the morning. I agreed with Marin's proposal, and he

    23 undertook measures forthwith and took as many

    24 assistants as there were available in the hotel and

    25 went to readjust the premises of the basement for us to

  103. 1 go there, to be transferred to the hotel basement.

    2 Q. Why did you go to the basement? What was the

    3 reason for the headquarters to be displaced and

    4 relocated in the basement?

    5 A. The detonations in the hotel woke me up, and

    6 in the course of the time that followed, that is to

    7 say, after 5.00 a.m. up to about 6.30 or 7.00 a.m.,

    8 there were very strong detonations, and you could hear

    9 the shattering of hotel glass and destruction in the

    10 hotel, and so the proposal made by Marin was

    11 exclusively for security reasons.

    12 Q. Please continue. What happened next?

    13 A. After a certain amount of time had elapsed,

    14 Marin told me that they had prepared the basement

    15 premises, and I arrived between 6.30 and 7.00 a.m. I

    16 managed, before my arrival, to inform the main staff

    17 that we had been attacked, that is to say, that I had

    18 heard detonations from all sides and that they were

    19 strongest at the hotel itself.

    20 When I arrived in the basement, there were

    21 just a few candles lit and three tables that we had

    22 adjusted for our work on the premises and for our stay

    23 there, and I told one of the workers to take a notebook

    24 and to -- "Write down everything you hear and you see,"

    25 that's what I said to him, "Write down everything you

  104. 1 see and hear going on here in the basement of the

    2 hotel."

    3 Q. Why did you do that? What was your motive in

    4 doing that?

    5 A. I wanted to make a record, for that assistant

    6 to make a record of all the events that took place

    7 because there were very few of us, and at that moment,

    8 we did not have well-trained and equipped teams capable

    9 of making a professional military record of all the

    10 activities that were going on, all the orders and

    11 everything else that would go on in the headquarters at

    12 that time. I also wanted to leave a trace and a

    13 document recording all the events that took place in

    14 that chaotic period.

    15 Q. Please continue. What other measures did you

    16 undertake in the morning straightaway in order to

    17 ensure the security of the population?

    18 A. Before I had gone down into the basement,

    19 about 6.10 or 6.20 a.m., the general alert was sounded

    20 throughout the area of Vitez from sirens in the

    21 explosives factory. The sirens went off to sound the

    22 alarm and all the other sirens that were functioning.

    23 I asked that this be done by the communications centre,

    24 to sound the alarm.

    25 After that, I sought out possibilities for

  105. 1 establishing contact with the UN headquarters, and I

    2 was informed that the links and telephone

    3 communications had broken down. I told Slavko Marin to

    4 call the headquarters of the 3rd Corps in Zenica

    5 immediately and to do everything they could to

    6 establish links, telephone lines, between me and the

    7 commander of the 3rd Corps, and he sent out these calls

    8 from 8.00 a.m. onwards.

    9 Q. Could you define and tell us who was at the

    10 headquarters in the morning when the conflicts had

    11 started? Could you give us their names and surnames,

    12 if possible?

    13 A. In the headquarters that morning were Slavko

    14 Marin, Vidja Zbinski, Zvonko Vukovic, then there was

    15 Zoran Pilicic, Marko Prskalo, and Ljubomir Jurcic.

    16 There were about seven members of the staff on that

    17 particular morning. The others were blocked and were

    18 not able to come to work.

    19 Q. Please continue. Did you, during the morning

    20 hours, succeed in getting information from the terrain

    21 as to the exact location of the conflict?

    22 A. I received reports that a conflict had broken

    23 out at the Kuber position and in Poculica.

    24 Q. Perhaps it would be a good idea if you

    25 approached the model and indicated these places on the

  106. 1 model. Just give us enough time for everybody to

    2 approach the model so that we can see where it actually

    3 happened.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: The army that was responsible,

    5 the army corps that was responsible for re-establishing

    6 the telephone line was which one? Does the witness

    7 hear me? Was it the Bosnia-Herzegovina army corps that

    8 re-established the telephone line? You tried to call

    9 the UN headquarters and you couldn't because you

    10 didn't have a telephone line, and according to what I

    11 heard, you were trying to get into contact with the 3rd

    12 Army Corps. Which army was that?

    13 A. Mr. President, sometime in the morning, from

    14 8.00 onwards, with the 3rd Corps of the army of

    15 Bosnia-Herzegovina from Zenica, we tried to telephone

    16 them and contact them but the lines were not broken

    17 down with them, the telephone lines were still

    18 functioning, but the line going from the Hotel Vitez,

    19 which had been functioning until the 15th, to the

    20 command of the United Nations in Nova Bila, that line

    21 had broken down. That was the information I received

    22 by the workers in the communications department.

    23 MR. NOBILO:

    24 Q. What was your intention? Why did you order

    25 Slavko Marin to establish contact with the 3rd Corps?

  107. 1 What was your objective in doing so?

    2 A. My objective was to bring about a cessation

    3 of all combat operations and to establish a cease-fire,

    4 and I asked him to call the commander of the 3rd Corps

    5 so that he could talk to him personally and discuss

    6 that topic, that issue.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. Let us forget minutes and chronology for a

    10 moment. In the morning hours up until noon, the

    11 information that you received in any way, what did they

    12 tell you? Where were the units of the BH army and the

    13 HVO? Where had they collided? Where was the

    14 conflict? At the same time, would you explain to the

    15 Court on the model what these red pillars represent?

    16 A. Well, these are the approximate positions of

    17 the combat operations on that particular morning, that

    18 is to say, on the 16th of April, at Kuber (indicating),

    19 this represents the Vrana Stijena position but it is

    20 also the Kuber Mountain range, then we have Poculica,

    21 Grbavica, Jardol, Krcevine, Nadioci and Ahmici, the

    22 village of Bare, and next we have Kruscica, Vranjska,

    23 Donja Veceriska, and the Gacice area (indicating).

    24 Q. Was Stari Vitez included?

    25 A. Yes, I'm pointing to Stari Vitez now. This

  108. 1 is Stari Vitez (indicating), next in the area of

    2 Busovaca, Prosje, Donje Polje (indicating). The

    3 positions at Kuber were the positions of the Nikola

    4 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade. Here in the local households

    5 we have Kamenjace. That is the term that is generally

    6 known. It is not included on the map. It is either

    7 Mlakica Kuce or Kamenjace. That is what they're

    8 called.

    9 Q. Approximately, you said that these were

    10 figurative approximations, just so that we could know

    11 the zones in which this happened, so this is not

    12 exactly precise. Tell us, at how many places did the

    13 conflicts in the municipality of Busovaca break out in

    14 the early morning hours of the 16th of April, 1993?

    15 A. There were about 14 positions of combat

    16 operation. The ones that I have enumerated are the

    17 exact positions, but they are not exactly represented

    18 on the model because some of the villages are very

    19 close together, so it is impossible to see, to

    20 differentiate between the two, but the names of the

    21 places are quite correct, as we received them on the

    22 16th of April, 1993.

    23 Q. This was not in the municipality of

    24 Busovaca. This was in the Vitez municipality. There

    25 seems to have been an error.

  109. 1 A. In the Vitez municipality was where all the

    2 positions were, except the position in the village of

    3 Bare and this part of Kuber, Vrana Stijena, and Donja

    4 Polje and Prosje, so these are positions of the

    5 Busovaca municipality and these are the positions of

    6 the Vitez municipality.

    7 MR. NOBILO: Very well. I should like our

    8 technical service to provide us with a photograph, a

    9 still, of these positions which will be tendered as

    10 evidence tomorrow.

    11 You may return to your place, General.

    12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, would you say

    13 that a north/south line running through the Kuber

    14 feature roughly separated the Vitez municipality from

    15 the Busovaca municipality?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 MR. NOBILO:

    18 Q. We can say that half of Kuber was covered by

    19 the Busovaca Brigade and half of it the Vitez Brigade

    20 and that is where they had contact.

    21 A. They always had contact at Kuber, but the

    22 very top of Kuber was held by the BH army, and we were

    23 on the slopes of Kuber but in contact.

    24 Q. Very well. Let's move on. How did events

    25 develop during this first day of combat?

  110. 1 A. We kept receiving mostly telephone calls, up

    2 until about 9.00 in the morning, from citizens in

    3 Vitez, and there were a number of complaints about the

    4 activities of snipers. A lot of people expressed

    5 concern and wanted to know what was going on in this

    6 chaotic situation. I asked of Marin to establish

    7 contact through the civilian police in Vitez and that

    8 the civilian police be more involved in disseminating

    9 information and providing the control in the area of

    10 the town of Vitez itself, in the centre of town.

    11 Q. Somewhere around 8.30, you received a call

    12 from Franjo Boras, a member of the supreme command, who

    13 at that time was in Zenica.

    14 A. Yes, at that time he was in Zenica, and he

    15 asked me and wanted to know what was going on. Zenica

    16 had already been blocked but he now must have also

    17 heard these explosions coming from Kuber and from the

    18 hinterlands of Zenica. I told him that we had been

    19 attacked earlier that morning, that we heard a number

    20 of explosions but that we still did not have control

    21 over the situation, that is, that we still did not have

    22 full control over the situation on the ground.

    23 Q. Did you perhaps ask him to intervene in some

    24 way?

    25 A. Yes. He was a member of the supreme command

  111. 1 of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I asked

    2 him to mediate, either with the 3rd Corps or with

    3 Sarajevo, so that the combat activities would stop.

    4 Q. Sometime around 8.55, the Vitez Brigade, for

    5 the first time, asked for artillery support.

    6 A. The Vitez Brigade sent a request for

    7 artillery support at 8.55; however, we were not able to

    8 provide this artillery support at that time.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Can I have Exhibit number D299.

    10 I'm sorry. That is a mistake. This relates to the

    11 17th of April. I will come to that tomorrow.

    12 Q. Around 9.00 hours, you had telephone contact

    13 with Cerkez regarding the situation around the

    14 firehouse in Vitez.

    15 A. Yes, that was in Old Vitez. Cerkez called me

    16 to tell me that, from the direction of Old Vitez, there

    17 was combat activity in the direction of Mlakica Kuce.

    18 I ordered Cerkez to block these approach lines and, in

    19 the case of an outright attack from Stari Vitez towards

    20 Mlakica Kuce, fire be returned.

    21 Q. At 9.00, representatives of the UN arrived,

    22 they came to you. What did they want and what decision

    23 was taken then?

    24 A. They initiated a meeting which was held later

    25 on the 16th, and they requested of me to appoint

  112. 1 members who, on behalf of the Central Bosnia Operative

    2 Zone, would negotiate a cease-fire. So the objective

    3 was mediation in organising a meeting between the

    4 Operative Zone Command and the 3rd Corps Command.

    5 Q. Who did you appoint as your representative in

    6 these negotiations?

    7 A. I assigned Mr. Marko Prskalo because

    8 Mr. Franjo Nakic was not available. He was a deputy of

    9 Franjo Nakic in the joint commission of the 3rd Corps

    10 and the Operative Zone, and I also designated Mr. Zoran

    11 Pilicic.

    12 Q. At that time, your military intelligence

    13 service told you about interferences.

    14 A. Yes. We received information from the

    15 military intelligence service that our communications

    16 were being -- that there was eavesdropping, that is, of

    17 the communications between the commanders of the

    18 brigades and the command. That morning we had used

    19 regular civilian telephone lines and any other means

    20 available at the time to communicate amongst ourselves.

    21 Q. Speaking of communications and telephones, in

    22 this discotheque, did you have any communication

    23 systems? The four or five staff members that were

    24 there, because two had left, what did you use?

    25 A. Your Honours, in the discotheque, we only had

  113. 1 two regular telephones.

    2 Q. And that is all the communication systems you

    3 had?

    4 A. Yes, this is all in terms of the

    5 communication systems we had available on the 16th and

    6 17th, and later on, and I'm going to address that, we

    7 received instead of one a telephone/fax machine, and I

    8 will mention that. We replaced one of the regular

    9 phone sets with a phone/fax machine.

    10 Q. At 9.00, the artillery again shelled the

    11 hotel, the post office, et cetera. Can you say, based

    12 on your overall experience, where were the positions of

    13 the BH army artillery which was shelling you at that

    14 time?

    15 A. Yes, I can identify the positions, and this

    16 is the wider high ground or plateaux of Kuber and

    17 Preocica where a tank was stationed, and there were

    18 other positions where the mortars were placed, and at

    19 that time on that day, the hotel was hit, the post

    20 office, the municipal building, and private homes of

    21 the Mlakic family. We assumed that these mortar shells

    22 had come from Old Vitez. Some homes near the church in

    23 Vitez were hit. We also assumed that the shells had

    24 come from Stari or Old Vitez.

    25 Q. At 9.05, Kordic called. Where was Kordic?

  114. 1 What contact did you establish with him? What

    2 happened?

    3 A. He called on the telephone from Busovaca. I

    4 do not know exactly where he was at that time but I

    5 assumed that he could have been calling from his family

    6 home or from the motel, I believe it was called Villa

    7 Tisovac which is the name of that building.

    8 Q. How did the conversation proceed? What did

    9 he ask?

    10 A. He asked to get proper information about the

    11 events, and I said that there was intense artillery

    12 shelling in progress. I told him which structures had

    13 been hit by that time, of which I had information. I

    14 also let him know that I still had reports but not full

    15 reports on the developments.

    16 Q. At 9.10, Colonel Filipovic called.

    17 A. Colonel Filipovic called from Travnik. He

    18 also wanted to know what the situation was, and I asked

    19 him to get in touch with General Alagic and to try to

    20 cooperate so that the main forces would not start

    21 advancing towards us from Travnik.

    22 Q. At 9.15, the local parish priest called.

    23 What did he want?

    24 A. He may have called a minute or two earlier.

    25 He asked for contact with the UN headquarters because

  115. 1 the UNPROFOR tank had broken through the wall of the

    2 church yard and trained its gun at the church

    3 entrance. I wrote a letter about this incident to the

    4 UN commander, but later on I learned that the UN

    5 representatives responded to the reports that the

    6 Bosniak Muslims were kept inside the church as

    7 hostages, which was untrue.

    8 Q. But you received this information later on,

    9 not when you responded to it.

    10 A. Much later, some maybe ten days later.

    11 Q. At 9.25, the artillery commander finally

    12 informed you that he was ready for action.

    13 A. Yes. He said that he was ready for action

    14 upon request.

    15 Q. Could you now tell me what the procedures

    16 were about the use of artillery on request?

    17 A. If a commander needed artillery support, he

    18 would call the command, that is, specifically me, in

    19 the hotel, and would say to me that he is asking for

    20 artillery support in a certain position. After we

    21 identified the position on the map that had been

    22 identified by the commander, I personally would then

    23 transmit the order to the artillery battery, and the

    24 commander of the artillery battery, after reviewing the

    25 possibility of use of artillery fire on that position,

  116. 1 he would come back to me and inform me whether it was

    2 or was not possible to carry out such a request, and

    3 then an order to open fire would follow from me.

    4 Militarily speaking, we did not have a plan

    5 of artillery fire, which slowed down the whole

    6 procedure.

    7 Q. Could you explain why you did not have a plan

    8 of artillery fire, and how does that look?

    9 A. We did not have a plan of artillery firing

    10 because we had not planned a conflict and we had not

    11 expected a conflict of such intensity.

    12 Q. A conflict with whom?

    13 A. With the 3rd Corps. Such a plan did not

    14 exist in any of the HVO brigades. Of course, any such

    15 plan would accelerate the procedure because had any

    16 commander asked for target 1, I would just pass on the

    17 information, "Open fire on target 1."

    18 Q. Translated into layman's terms, does that

    19 mean that the enemy positions would be assigned in

    20 advance, identified in advance --

    21 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. With all due respect,

    22 I think it is probably best that the witness testify as

    23 to exactly what he means and how he means it.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I think Mr. Nobilo can ask

    25 the questions as he wishes. Mr. Nobilo is trying to

  117. 1 put for us into non-military language what had happened

    2 to help us out. Mr. Nobilo has become a military

    3 strategist. He's very lucky. He knows that the Judges

    4 are not military strategists, and so he's retranslating

    5 or reinterpreting the witness's answers.

    6 Continue with your questions, please,

    7 Mr. Nobilo.

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. So could you, in your own words, explain in

    10 as "unexpert" words as you can what that means?

    11 A. Your Honours, it would mean that a man would

    12 be compiled with very detailed positions.

    13 Q. Whose positions?

    14 A. The enemy positions, and with certain

    15 coordinates for every target and with all the

    16 corrections relating to these targets. In layman's

    17 terms, that would mean speeding up the whole process of

    18 artillery fire several times.

    19 Q. If there is no plan of artillery fire, does

    20 the artillery man first have to do all the calculations

    21 before he can proceed with the fire?

    22 A. Yes. Not only that, but the officer who is

    23 asking for support and the commander of the artillery

    24 battery have to first send a person who will monitor, a

    25 forward man, and that further slows down the entire

  118. 1 procedure.

    2 Q. So the first shelling happened, finally.

    3 What were the first subsequent steps taken?

    4 A. Yes. When this was done and when the

    5 commander of the artillery told me that the first

    6 firing had been executed, I called Commander Cerkez,

    7 commander of the Vitez Brigade, and asked him to send a

    8 person who would assess the hit and then to ask him to

    9 report to the artillery commander so that, if

    10 necessary, a correction would be achieved.

    11 We always had two such officers, one from the

    12 artillery battery itself and one from the command of

    13 the unit which was calling for support.

    14 Q. At 9.50, Prskalo returned from the meeting

    15 with UNPROFOR. What news did he bring with him?

    16 A. Marko Prskalo came and informed me that the

    17 meeting would be held at about 12.00 but that the

    18 representatives of the United Nations had asked him to

    19 clarify how the conflict started, to inform them in

    20 full where the shelling was coming from, from what

    21 positions, and Marko told me that he told them what he

    22 had experienced that morning and that that was that he

    23 was attacked by the BH army.

    24 Q. At 9.55, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    25 introduced fresh forces towards Vitez. From where did

  119. 1 these come?

    2 A. The fresh forces were brought in from the

    3 direction of Zenica and faced Kuber and Vjetrenice.

    4 Q. At 10.00 a.m., you had, on the phone, Mile

    5 Bozic phoning from Kiseljak. He was the commander of

    6 the Ban Jelacic Brigade.

    7 A. Yes. I had a talk with Mijo Bozic, and I

    8 asked him to be cautious in view of the combat

    9 operations and the events that had taken place in the

    10 Busovaca municipality.

    11 He informed me that the positions at Kalica

    12 Hill and Lisova Hill, Svinjarevo and Gomionica, had

    13 already been taken over by the forces of the BH army.

    14 Q. At 10.05, you ordered the artillery to start

    15 devising a plan for artillery fire which you did not

    16 have organised against the BH army?

    17 A. Yes. I asked them not only to devise an

    18 artillery-firing plan but I also said that nobody could

    19 issue orders for artillery fire except myself, for the

    20 artillery to open fire except me, and that the

    21 commander of the artillery battalion should only

    22 execute my orders if I gave them, and I asked that they

    23 take into account the security zones because there was

    24 still no recognisable front line. There was still ...

    25 Q. When you asked the artillery man to take into

  120. 1 account the security zones, what does a security zone

    2 mean in military terms and in this particular case with

    3 the use of artillery?

    4 A. That is to say, only those targets for which

    5 he is certain that, along with any deviation in

    6 fire-power, that there can be no serious damage, that

    7 he attacks only safe targets.

    8 Q. Just one moment, please. You said that he

    9 was shooting at targets that he was certain that no

    10 damage could be done outside the range, but I suppose

    11 that you are shelling to create damage. Could you

    12 clarify this?

    13 A. Well, if he is not certain in the possibility

    14 of executing the task, the exact task, and if he

    15 believes that he could miss the target, then that no

    16 such task be carried out. So it was up to him to tell

    17 me, "We cannot perform that task because inaccuracies

    18 could occur in hitting the target."

    19 Q. Who were you protecting in this way? Who

    20 were you protecting when you talk about target

    21 precision and inaccuracy?

    22 A. First of all, we were protecting the forces

    23 who were already out there on the terrain, and these

    24 were heavy artillery guns of a higher calibre, and what

    25 we wanted to do was to protect the positions of the

  121. 1 individual villages in the environs and the civilian

    2 facilities in the environs.

    3 Q. This is perhaps a good time for us to define

    4 what type of artillery was included in the artillery

    5 division in the battalion under your command and

    6 whether there was any kind of artillery under the

    7 command of the inferior units, brigades, infantry, and

    8 so on, all the special purpose units, subordinated?

    9 A. Under my command in the artillery division,

    10 we had a howitzer, howitzer weapon, weaponry, we had

    11 the howitzer, 233-millimetre howitzer, at that time

    12 without ammunition, then there were two howitzers of

    13 152 millimetres, and we had one 122-millimetre

    14 howitzer. We also had two mortars, 120 millimetres,

    15 and one multi-barrel grenade launcher, 128-millimetre

    16 rocket launcher with 32 barrels without projectiles.

    17 At the level of the brigades of the artillery

    18 weaponry, we had mortars, 122-millimetre ones, and

    19 mortars of 82 millimetres, but they were classified as

    20 small arms and not artillery pieces. There were also

    21 60-millimetre mortars. Once again, these were

    22 considered small arms.

    23 Of the anti-armour combat weapons, we had a

    24 gun, a 76-millimetre gun, it was called Zis, a domestic

    25 manufacturer and was named Zis.

  122. 1 Q. So when you speak of your orders for

    2 artillery fire, then this refers to the howitzers and

    3 the mortars, two 120-millimetre mortars, but not the

    4 other smaller-calibre mortars; is that correct?

    5 A. The 120-millimetre mortars which were within

    6 the composition of the brigades, because some of the

    7 brigades did have the 120-millimetre mortars. I

    8 commanded only the mixed artillery gun division.

    9 Q. At 10.05, Filipovic phoned you once again

    10 from Travnik. Did he succeed in arranging anything

    11 there?

    12 A. He informed me that he had not succeeded in

    13 making contact with Commander Alagic but that he was

    14 working on it, to establish contact, that is. I

    15 received information that, from Travnik, there was a

    16 regrouping of the members of the 17th Krajina Brigade.

    17 Q. At 10.12, you had a talk with Baresic from

    18 the Zenica HVO Brigade. What information did he give

    19 you? It was a telephone conversation, I believe.

    20 A. Yes, it was a telephone conversation, and he

    21 sent me information that there was a regrouping of

    22 troops in Zenica and troop movement on the part of the

    23 BH army.

    24 Q. What did you order him?

    25 A. I ordered on that occasion that he should

  123. 1 monitor these troop movements and send us reports and

    2 information as to the direction they were heading; at

    3 the same time that he should be on the alert and check

    4 all the reports coming in from the Zenica region.

    5 Q. At 10.15, Darko Kraljevic phoned. What did

    6 he have to report?

    7 A. He informed me that there were three dead

    8 soldiers who had died at the time, and I received

    9 information from the brigade, the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    10 Brigade, that seven soldiers had been killed.

    11 Q. When Darko Kraljevic, at 10.15, says that

    12 there were three dead soldiers, those were members of

    13 the Vitezovi, I suppose?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. At 10.17, you managed to establish contact

    16 with Petkovic and the main staff in Herzegovina.

    17 A. Yes, I established contact with the chief of

    18 staff, main staff, and I informed him that the front

    19 lines had still not been stabilised and that we were

    20 trying to stop the onslaught of the BH army, the

    21 advance of the BH army.

    22 Q. How did you have this link with the main

    23 staff?

    24 A. We used an ordinary telephone. It was a

    25 telephone conversation.

  124. 1 Q. You had another conversation with Dario

    2 Kordic at 10.30.

    3 A. Yes, we had another conversation and

    4 exchanged information on the situation and events in

    5 the region.

    6 Q. At 10.45, you tried to gain certain

    7 information from the Vitez Brigade. What did you ask

    8 them?

    9 A. In fact, they asked for resources for an

    10 anti-armour struggle, and I saw whether we had

    11 resources of this kind to counteract attacks by

    12 armoured vehicles in our logistics space, and I told

    13 them that we didn't have devices of this kind in our

    14 logistics base at Stojkovici.

    15 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps we can break?

    16 JUDGE JORDA: You choose the break that you

    17 think would be the best, Mr. Nobilo. If you think that

    18 you still need a few moments, you can use them, but

    19 it's as you like.

    20 MR. NOBILO: If you agree, Mr. President, I

    21 think that we could adjourn for the day. I see that

    22 our witness is rather tired as well. It has been

    23 taxing.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It must be a very tiring

    25 exercise.

  125. 1 We will meet tomorrow, Friday, and on all

    2 Fridays, with our new composition of the Trial Chamber,

    3 we will begin at 9.00. The morning will be long, but I

    4 can assure the interpreters that we will take two

    5 breaks.

    6 Court stands adjourned.

    7 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at

    8 5.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,

    9 the 26th day of February, 1999, at

    10 9.00 a.m.