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
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
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
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.
14 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
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
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
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
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
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
1 Brigade, and these three soldiers were members of the
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?
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
1 sometime around the 19th of January, and they were now
2 reactivated. The front lines at Konjic were being
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
1 48 hours, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in his
2 opinion, would, from Zenica, launch an attack on the
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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
25 A. The problem was that in the Central Bosnia
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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
24 Q. The absence of the usual courteous meetings
25 and visits, was this a sign of some kind or did you not
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
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
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
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
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
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
1 through whose security the HVO was also providing an
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
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.
1 Q. Let's move on to 13 April, 1993. There was a
2 new incident in Zenica and there were some wounded
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
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
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
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
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.
1 Q. Who attended, representatives of which
3 A. Representatives of the HVO authorities and
4 the authorities -- that is, civilian Muslim
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
1 mortar attack.
2 Q. Can you give us more details about this
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
22 Q. So what did you do in this situation? Please
24 A. I first managed to have Stipo move to another
25 room and then talked to him for over an hour and
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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 --
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
17 "2.1. IV MILITARY POLICE BATTALION
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
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
25 "2.3 ASSIGNMENT TO THE HVO BRIGADES:
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
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
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?
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
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
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?
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
1 me to take measures with Commander Cikulja to sort this
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
25 A. This meeting took place somewhere around
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
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
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
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
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
24 JUDGE JORDA: You didn't speak about him very
25 much. Up to this point, you haven't spoken about him
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
24 JUDGE JORDA: Excellent proposal. We'll take
25 a break. Twenty minutes.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 --
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
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
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
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
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
25 A. That is correct, and ever since the January
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1 see and hear going on here in the basement of the
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
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
1 model. Just give us enough time for everybody to
2 approach the model so that we can see where it actually
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?
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
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
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.
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?
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
25 A. Yes. He was a member of the supreme command
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
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
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
1 two regular telephones.
2 Q. And that is all the communication systems you
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
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?
1 What contact did you establish with him? What
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
24 A. We used an ordinary telephone. It was a
25 telephone conversation.
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
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
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It must be a very tiring
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
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.