1 Monday, 8th March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.07 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Registrar, please have the accused brought
6 into the courtroom, the accused who is still our
8 (The accused entered court)
9 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the
10 interpreters in the booths. Good afternoon. Good
11 afternoon to Defence and Prosecution counsel.
12 Let's wait for the witness to be properly
13 seated. Now that he is, we can say good afternoon, and
14 now we can resume --
15 THE ACCUSED: Good day, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE JORDA: -- our work.
17 All right. Without any further adieu,
18 Mr. Hayman, will it be you today?
19 MR. HAYMAN: It won't be, Mr. President.
20 Good afternoon to you and to Your Honours.
21 I wanted to raise a logistical issue with the
22 Court. We spoke to our client after the last session
23 on Friday a week ago, and both Mr. Nobilo and I
24 concluded that he was totally exhausted by a week of
25 testimony, and I think, in fact, he was exhausted by
1 the middle of the afternoon on Friday, and that's going
2 to cause us to go back to some of the testimony on
3 Friday afternoon, which I don't think was as clear as
4 it could have been.
5 What we would like the Court to consider is
6 shorter but more frequent breaks, so that roughly there
7 would be 45 minutes of testimony and a short break of
8 10 or 15 minutes for General Blaskic to have a hot
9 drink, relax a little bit, and then 45 minutes on, 10
10 or 15 minutes off, and so forth. If that could be
11 integrated with the Court's schedule, I don't think we
12 would lose very much time on a net basis, but it would
13 hopefully, as the weeks cumulate, and we do think we
14 have another three weeks probably of total testimony,
15 both the remainder of direct and cross, something like
16 that, we could possibly avoid a situation where the
17 witness becomes totally exhausted and is not in a
18 position to give his best testimony to the Court. We
19 would ask you to consider that request.
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I'll speak with the Office of
22 the Prosecutor and with my colleagues, of course,
23 whenever there is a problem of this nature, but we have
24 to make a concrete distinction between those days when
25 we work four days in which there are already two
1 breaks, and then there are those sequences that go on
2 for three hours, half days. In the half days, we take
3 20-minute breaks. We sometimes go a little bit longer
4 because the Judges may be required for other
5 responsibilities when they go back to their offices.
6 Are you making that distinction, Mr. Hayman?
7 How do you see that issue? Of course, I'll ask the
8 Office of the Prosecutor for its comments, and then
9 I'll afterwards turn to my colleagues for their
10 advice. What do you think, Mr. Hayman?
11 MR. HAYMAN: I think it is an issue of
12 cumulative fatigue from concentration and, I think,
13 stress. There's no question it's stressful to be on
14 trial for two years, it's stressful to be in custody
15 for three years, and it's stressful to testify day
16 after day. So I think it cumulates, the fatigue
17 cumulates both on a daily and a weekly basis. So
18 definitely at the end of a full day, there's likely to
19 be more fatigue, and as we get towards the latter part
20 of the week, there's likely to be more fatigue, but I
21 don't think one can say it's simply an issue on the
22 long days.
23 It was interesting, in discussing this with
24 the client, Mr. President, General Blaskic, and I don't
25 think I'm waiving any privileges, we asked him, "What
1 is it that you think is so fatiguing," and he said,
2 "For three years, I've had really very little contact,
3 personal contact, with other human beings. I haven't
4 had a lot of conversations." He's been in court
5 listening, but he doesn't talk. He has not been
6 verbalising for three years, in essence.
7 Now, certainly, he has visits and so forth,
8 and now he's called upon to verbalise 35 or 40 hours in
9 a very concentrated way per week for roughly six weeks,
10 it's going to be, so that is at least part of, I think,
11 the fatigue. He is using a part of his brain that has
12 been, to a certain extent, put in stasis during his
13 incarceration because of the nature of the limited
14 contacts and limited opportunities for speech and
15 conversation that he has, at least this was a theory
16 that he offered.
17 It's hard for the rest of us, quite
18 frankly -- I'm not a scientist, I'm not a doctor --
19 it's hard for us to evaluate that because none of us
20 have been put in that position, but it's of serious
21 concern to us, and that's why we raise it and make the
23 JUDGE JORDA: We'll ask the accused, but
24 before that, Mr. Kehoe, let me ask you what you think.
25 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. Harmon is asking me
2 I think, Mr. President, Your Honours, the
3 Office of the Prosecutor unilaterally agrees that Your
4 Honours are professional Judges. We simply leave it to
5 Your Honours' discretion on this issue. I simply would
6 encourage the witness, certainly as we have encouraged
7 our witnesses and, Mr. President, you have in the past,
8 that if witnesses tire at some time, that they simply
9 ask the bench for a break. I think it might
10 accommodate all concerns, and I leave it to Your
11 Honours' professional judgment in this regard.
12 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I suppose you
13 agree with everything that was asked by your counsel,
14 but the Judges would like to hear what you have to
15 say. What do you feel about what was said? Do the
16 days tire you very greatly and that you feel yourself
17 more and more tired as the weeks go by, or as the week
18 goes by? Would you explain that to us quickly and
19 simply, please?
20 THE ACCUSED: Mr. President, I support
21 everything that the lawyers said. I just wish to note
22 one more thing: I spent two years in total isolation,
23 that is to say, without any possibility to communicate
24 with anyone except for my family when they would come
25 to visit, and that is seven days per month.
1 From the 27th of December, 1998, until you
2 made your decision that I could go out and get some
3 fresh air after the trial here, I practically did not
4 spend even that one hour outdoors, and, indeed, as the
5 end of the week approaches, I'm truly fatigued by the
6 trial. I even fall asleep in the vehicle during that
7 10-minute or 15-minute ride back to the prison.
8 Although this is city driving, it's nothing much. So
9 if it is possible, I would appreciate it if I could
10 testify for 45 minutes and then take a short break.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I'll consult with my
13 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
14 JUDGE JORDA: Before we take a decision, the
15 Judges would like to know, General Blaskic, whether, if
16 we took a 10-minute break, you could leave the
17 courtroom. Could you go to your place for ten
18 minutes? If we were to grant 10 minutes, would the
19 security services allow that?
20 Let me turn to the registrar. I don't know
21 how that would work.
22 Judge Rodrigues, I think that you're familiar
23 with these questions, if you want to say something.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 I simply wanted to know, because we can take a break,
1 but if the break is very short, I think that you,
2 General Blaskic, would not be able to get out of the
3 courtroom, and I think it's very important for you to
4 leave the courtroom for the sake of rest. I was asking
5 Mr. Dubuisson whether, with a 10-minute pause, a
6 10-minute break, the General could leave the courtroom.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. He could leave a
8 courtroom, but it takes two or three minutes and then
9 two or three minutes to come back. If he only had ten
10 minutes, then he would only have five minutes outside
11 the courtroom.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, it would be
13 better to take 15-minute breaks?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that would be much
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my
19 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
20 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges would like to take
21 into consideration several parameters in order to be
22 sure that both parties have the proper position in the
23 courtroom. For the time being, we're going to listen
24 for one hour, that is, until 3.30, and then we will
25 render our decision after the 3.30 break.
1 Mr. Nobilo?
2 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
3 shall try to communicate for the moment, so to speak,
4 when we stopped the testimony before our one-week
6 Actually, before that, I would like to ask
7 the registrar to give you D280, the report from Ahmici,
8 and also the three orders from the 15th of April,
10 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC
11 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
12 Q. So you have before you the report from
13 Ahmici, D280, and last time, you said that it was not
14 true, according to what you know now, in view of the
15 events that took place in Ahmici. So can you tell me
16 how you came to this conclusion that this was not true?
17 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, this report is
18 not truthful because, in the first part, it says that
19 the Muslim armed forces, in the early morning hours,
20 attempted to launch an attack on the military police
21 units located in the Bungalow.
22 According to what I know now, on the basis of
23 the time I spent here in the courtroom, I believe that
24 this is not truthful because, in this report, obviously
25 this first part is being used to justify further
1 activities that followed in the territory of the
2 Bungalow, Nadioci, and Ahmici.
3 Q. What do you mean or, rather, what do you
4 think was falsely stated in that report that the
5 military police was attacked? Why was it necessary to
6 send this to you?
7 A. I issued two orders on the 15th of April,
8 1993, and in those orders, I raised the level of combat
9 readiness, and according to the order issued at
10 10.00 a.m. on the 15th of April, 1993, I allowed
11 members of the HVO to return fire conditionally, only
12 if there was fire from the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 directed at them personally.
14 Q. Could we get the order that you wrote on the
15 15th of April at 10.00 so that you would read exactly
16 what it says, that is, D267? So could you exactly read
17 out that part of your order?
18 MR. NOBILO: The other side, please.
19 Q. Have you found it? Then please read it out.
20 A. I'm reading 2.1.
21 Q. Could you please read it for us?
22 A. "In case of stronger attacks, in the event of
23 a rather strong attack by the Muslim extremist forces
24 from the direction of the villages Nadioci, Ahmici,
25 Sivrino Selo, Pirici, inform me, and if the fire is
1 opened directly at you, return the fire and neutralise
2 the attacker."
3 Q. In addition to this false report that the
4 military police had been attacked, in order to justify
5 your order, is there anything else that is missing in
6 this report, something that you know happened, now?
7 A. Yes. The attack on civilians is missing from
8 the reports, and the killing of civilians is missing,
9 and the torching of buildings, houses, and other
10 immovable property in the village of Ahmici is missing
11 as well.
12 Q. This is the report D280?
13 A. (No audible response)
14 Q. And the rest of the report? I said this is
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The rest of the report that describes the
18 fighting around the school, and the mosque, according
19 to what you know now, according to what you found out
20 during this trial, is that truthful?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You said to the Court that on the 16th of
23 April, 1993, you ordered -- you issued orders to the
24 military police, you commanded the military police,
25 although otherwise you did not command them especially,
1 you did not give them combat orders; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, the military police was attached to me.
3 Q. Could you please explain to the Court how
4 this came to be, this attachment of the military police
5 to you on the 16th of April, 1993?
6 A. Well, on the 15th of April, when I returned
7 from the press conference, around 15.00, I talked to
8 the head of the main staff of the HVO, and informed him
9 about the situation, and the impressions I got after
10 viewing the video cassette and the abduction of Zivko
11 Totic in Zenica.
12 I emphasised to the head of the main staff
13 that, obviously, this is terrorism, as a form of
14 activity of extremist forces from the army of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina against the command cadre of the HVO.
16 The head of the main staff agreed, and said
17 that it was obvious that the army of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina would exhaust the HVO by terrorism, and
19 then that probably an all-out attack would be launched,
20 just as in Konjic.
21 I also told him that in case of an all-out
22 attack, we do not have the forces for proper defence,
23 because the Vitez Brigade was just in the stage of its
24 establishment of its formation.
25 After that, the head of the main staff told
1 me, "Well, if there were to be an all-out attack, then
2 all forces of the military police and the PPNs would be
3 attached to you." I asked him whether this was in
4 order, that in case of an all-out attack, I command the
5 military police and the special purpose units. The
6 head of the main staff said, "Yes, that's in order. In
7 case of an all-out attack, you will command both the
8 military police and the PPNs."
9 Q. When you say "PPNs," what are you saying?
10 A. I'm saying "special purpose units." And he
11 would agree on the attachment with Bruno.
12 Q. Who's Bruno?
13 A. Bruno was head of the defence department --
14 or the Minister of Defence of the Croatian Community of
15 Herceg-Bosna, later the Croatian Republic of
17 Q. In the case of attachment, how many orders do
18 we have? Who is ordering who, and who is issuing how
19 many orders so that we would have this attachment take
20 place, so that you would command units that were not
21 your own?
22 A. We would always do this by way of two orders,
23 one order that I would receive from the head of the
24 main staff of the HVO, and another order that the
25 commander of the unit that is being attached receives
1 from his immediate superior, or from someone at an even
2 higher level in military subordination.
3 In this case, the commander of the military
4 police was supposed to receive an order from the
5 defence department, or perhaps from the head of the
6 department of military police.
7 Q. Please tell the Court now, generally
8 speaking, from what point in time did this attachment
9 start? What was the moment when it actually started?
10 A. That is the moment when the commander from
11 the attached unit reports to the commander to whom he
12 is being attached, and then he puts himself at the
13 disposal of this commander, together with his unit.
14 Q. Tell us, General, generally speaking, what is
15 this usually like in the military? What are the usual
16 situations when there is this kind of attachment?
17 A. Well, these can be exercises, but it can also
18 be combat operations. When the commander of a higher
19 unit gives, as a reinforcement to a unit that is the
20 protagonist of combat operations, a special unit.
21 In order to clarify this, I'm going to give
22 an example. For example, if an infantry battalion is
23 there, a tank company can be attached to it in order to
24 carry out certain assignments. The commander of the
25 tank company, when he reports, together with his unit,
1 to the commander of the battalion, and when he is
2 placed at his disposal, at that moment the attachment
3 actually starts, and the use of these forces by the
4 commander of the infantry battalion. The order that he
5 should report, that is to say, the commander of the
6 tank company, he receives this from his immediate
7 commanding officer, or from a higher officer.
8 Q. Now let us move on to Ahmici.
9 In this specific case, what were you told?
10 When could you use the military police?
11 A. I was given an order by the head of the main
12 staff of the HVO, that I could deem the military police
13 attached to me if there is an all-out attack of the
14 forces of the 3rd Corps of the army of
16 Q. You said to the Court that attachment starts
17 from the moment when that unit of the military police
18 is put at your disposal; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell the Court, on the day of the 16th of
21 April, 1993, when did the unit of the military police
22 put itself at your disposal?
23 A. According to my notes, at 11.45 (sic).
24 Q. Do you have it noted what they exactly told
25 you? Let us recall that.
1 A. Yes. The commander of the military police
2 reported to me, and he informed me, and I quote, "We
3 are waging a battle. It is very tough. They are
4 persistent, and they are firing at us with all
5 available armaments, and even women, and the
6 toughest -- they are the toughest in the houses around
7 the school and the mosque."
8 Q. Can we deem that the military police unit was
9 attached to you at 11.42?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know when the fighting started in
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Can I interrupt you for a
14 moment, please? In the transcript, I think, 11.45 is
15 what I see. I think that General Blaskic said 11.42.
16 MR. NOBILO: Yes, exactly. The exact time is
17 11.42, so there must have been some kind of confusion.
18 Q. Did you know then, before 11.42, that in the
19 village of Ahmici there was fighting?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you know that in that sector, in that
22 area, there was some kind of fighting?
23 A. I did receive information that in the sector
24 north of the road there was fighting, but exactly in
25 the village of Ahmici, that I did not have any
1 information on until 11.42.
2 Q. At this court, did you receive information
3 from the witnesses of the Prosecutor when the fighting
4 actually started in Ahmici?
5 A. I learned about that as I listened here to
6 the testimonies of the witnesses of the Prosecutor, and
7 according to my recollection, it was about 5.25 or 5.30
8 on the 16th of April, 1993.
9 Q. Does that mean that between twenty past five
10 and 11.42, on the 16th of April, 1993, you do not know
11 anything that happened in Ahmici; is that correct?
12 A. I did not have any information as to what was
13 going on within the village of Ahmici in that time
15 Q. Could you please tell the Court, according to
16 what you heard from the Prosecution witnesses about the
17 victims, when were all these people killed, at what
19 A. As far as I remember, in the time between
20 5.30 and 7.00, or possibly 7.30.
21 Q. My question then is: At the time the people,
22 the civilians, were killed in Ahmici between 5.30 and
23 7.30 in the morning, was this unit attached to you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. You received the report D280. On the 15th of
1 April you issued three orders, or, rather, two,
2 relative to the military police. Could you compare
3 what it was you ordered with what you learned from the
4 reports, and what actually happened in Ahmici, and
5 which you were informed about during the proceedings
6 here? Please look at all three reports, or, rather,
7 two which are relevant.
8 A. Could I get the two orders, please?
9 Q. One issued at 10.00, and the other at 15.45.
10 Let us first look at the part relative to the
11 military police, the area of Ahmici, Santici, Nadioci
12 and Pirici. With reference to that unit and that area,
13 what were your orders?
14 A. The order issued on 10.00, point 2.1 says
15 that I ordered that in the event of any strong attacks
16 by extremist Muslim forces from the direction of the
17 villages of Nadioci, Ahmici, Sivrino Selo, Pirici, I
18 should be informed, and if the fire is opened directly,
19 therefore, only in that case, should the fire be
20 returned and the attacker neutralised.
21 In this order, I have not said that the
22 attacker should be destroyed, or that a counter-attack
23 be launched, pursuit, or any other kind of tactical
24 combat operation against the attacker.
25 Q. To neutralise the attacker, what kind of
1 response is that in relation to the enemy? What does
2 it exactly mean?
3 A. In any event, it is the mildest form of
4 response, when an endeavour is made to remove the
5 immediate danger, and that means self-defence. Of
6 course, neutralisation may be of various degrees.
7 Sometimes it's 25 or 50 per cent, but whether we
8 compare it with this report --
9 Q. D280 you mean?
10 A. Yes. In that case, it is obvious that my
11 orders were overstepped, because not only was fire
12 returned, as can be seen from the report, but combat
13 operations were undertaken, and actions with a view to
14 pursue and expel the attacker.
15 The order of 10.00, I had ordered the
16 neutralisation of the attacker, so there's no
17 counter-attack and no pursuit.
18 Q. This analysis was done by comparing your
19 order of the 15th of April, 1993, at 10.00, with the
20 report D247, and the report from Ahmici, D280.
21 Correction, D267 is the order, and the report is D280.
22 If we were to compare your order with what
23 actually happened, and which you learnt about here in
24 court, is there any link between your order and the
25 consequences that occurred in Ahmici?
1 A. No. I never ordered the killing of civilians
2 in the village nor the torching of houses in the
4 JUDGE JORDA: What is the number, Mr. Nobilo
5 or Mr. Registrar, of the document of 15 April of 15.45
7 THE REGISTRAR: That would be D268 for the
8 15.45 hours.
9 JUDGE JORDA: That's D268, yes. All right.
10 That was also addressed to the military police
11 battalion; is that right, Mr. Nobilo?
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes. We are talking about the
13 military police battalion which was in Ahmici, and the
14 General is analysing his order and comparing it with
15 the report he received and what actually happened
16 there. That was the meaning of this. We were talking
17 about document D267, but there is also the order D268.
18 So the General will tell us now whether the order D268
19 was observed.
20 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse us. You may proceed.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. A
23 couple of moments ago, the General compared his order,
24 D267, and the report from Ahmici, number D280, and the
25 information he obtained here in court.
1 Q. Could you now, General, in relation to the
2 military police, analyse your order, Exhibit 268, this
3 is the order of the 16th of April at 15.45, and could
4 you tell the Court what were your orders to the
5 military police in that document?
6 A. The document D268 -- it's the 15th of April.
7 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. It is the 15th of
8 April. I believe the witness picked it up. The
9 exhibit is the 15th of April and not the 16th of
11 MR. NOBILO: That is correct. Thank you.
12 Q. The date of the order is the 15th of April,
13 the time 15.45, and it is document D268.
14 A. In this order, 2.1 implies that combat
15 readiness should be increased of all units, including
16 the military police, and then in 2.3, in the zone of
17 responsibility of the 4th Battalion of the Military
18 Police, an anti-terrorist platoon is to be engaged in
19 the fighting against diversionary terrorist groups of
20 the 7th Muslim Brigade within areas of operation and
21 location of the units. Paragraph 1 of this order,
22 paragraph 1 indicates the location of the 7th Muslim
23 Brigade, and the places are listed, that is, Zenica,
24 Han Bila, Kakanj.
25 Then my order, in 2.3, says that by speedy
1 and resolute action diversionary terrorist groups
2 should be destroyed and taken prisoner, that is,
3 terrorist groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade, the
4 accommodation facilities should be destroyed, and
5 without excepting fighting, the unit should return to
6 base. The focus of activities should be within the
7 municipalities of Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi
8 Travnik, and Vitez. The time limits and time was to be
9 determined by the commander of the 4th Military Police
11 Then in 2.6, I ordered that reports should be
12 submitted to me in the evening by 18.00 hours and in
13 the morning by 6.00 hours and any special reports as
15 Therefore, this order relates to the
16 engagement of anti-diversionary and terrorist groups of
17 the 7th Muslim Brigade. I did not specify the time,
18 but I left it to the commander of the 4th Battalion to
19 decide himself.
20 Q. Tell us, did you mention anywhere Ahmici as a
21 base of the terrorist groups from the 7th Muslim
23 A. No.
24 Q. This order, was it directed exclusively to
25 the terrorist groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade or can
1 it, in any way, be interpreted as a command for an
2 attack against a village?
3 A. This order focuses exclusively on
4 diversionary terrorist groups which were part of the
5 7th Muslim Brigade and which were engaging in
6 activities against the command personnel of the HVO.
7 Q. Tell us, these diversionary terrorist groups
8 of this type, how strong are they usually?
9 A. They usually consist of three to five men.
10 They are often referred to as Trojkas.
11 Q. Do you see any link between this command and
12 what actually happened in Ahmici?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Apart from these orders, did you issue to the
15 military police on the 15th of April, 1993 any other
17 A. No.
18 MR. NOBILO: I should like to ask the
19 registry to show the witness Exhibits D271, D272, D273,
20 D275, and D277.
21 Q. Will you please look at these reports? They
22 are all reports addressed to the command of the
23 Operative Zone on the 16th of April, 1993. We will not
24 read them because they have been admitted into evidence
25 in the early stages of the trial. Will you please look
1 at them and tell us whether you did receive them and
2 read them?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Apart from these written reports and the oral
5 reports that you testified about last time, were you
6 informed of any other facts which would be of relevance
7 for the reports you have discussed?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Was there any indication on the 16th of
10 April, 1993 telling you that special attention needs to
11 be devoted to Ahmici because something special was
12 happening there in relation to other areas?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Were there any indications telling you that a
15 crime of such magnitude could occur?
16 A. No, because never until then had anything
17 like it happened in the area of Central Bosnia where I
18 was the commander.
19 Q. Could you tell Their Honours, on the 16th of
20 April, what did you lose, if anything? What was your
21 score, your total score on that day in the struggle
22 against the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. Your Honours, by the end of the day on the
24 16th of April, HVO units from Zenica at the feature
25 Kuber were crushed, and the town of Zenica was totally
1 blocked for any kind of movement. Within the territory
2 of Busovaca municipality, we lost our positions at
3 Kuber, the village of Putis, a part of the village of
4 Jelinak, and a part of Prosje.
5 In Vitez municipality, we also lost our
6 positions at Kuber, the entire area of Poculica, then
7 Grabak, north of Krcevine, trigonometric point 692,
8 Barin Gaj, Stozerac, trigonometric point 797, the
9 village of Sucici.
10 In Stari Vitez, family homes belonging to the
11 families Krizanac, Mlakic, Pavlovic, Miskovic, Mioc,
12 Simic, Prkacin, Stojak. Croats were expelled from
13 Grbavica. Further south at Kruscica, the BH army
14 captured the feature Pintra, 603 trig. point, and
15 surrounded Croatian civilians in the motels called
16 Lovac and Ribnjak, whereas the rest were captured and
17 taken to the elementary school.
18 In the area of Vranjska, Croats were expelled
19 from Zepackic and Barasin, and we lost a position,
20 trig. point 502.
21 At the operative level, what was most
22 important of all was that we lost all our positions at
23 Kuber, and the town of Vitez was totally isolated, as
24 was my command, so that there wasn't a single road
25 leading from Vitez towards the hospital and the
1 logistics base at Stojkovici nor did we have a safe
2 road that we could use towards Busovaca. The road was
3 cut at several points or under fire control of the BH
4 army forces.
5 Q. General, if you look at it from the military
6 standpoint only, if you compare, at the end of the day,
7 who had control of the key features in the Lasva River
8 Valley, what would your assessment be? Who had the
9 superiority on the 16th of April, which of the two
10 conflicting armies?
11 A. The army of Bosnia-Herzegovina certainly
12 gained significant operative advances, and if
13 necessary, I can show it to you on the relief.
14 Q. Could you please just very briefly point out
15 the key features for the defence of the Lasva River
16 Valley and who had control over them?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead, General.
18 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps later on the relief, we
19 can see it exactly.
20 JUDGE JORDA: First the map and then the
21 model, please.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 A. I'm showing Vitez, the road that leads from
24 Vitez towards Travnik and the road that leads from
25 Vitez to Busovaca. This is Busovaca (indicating). The
1 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the end of the 16th of
2 April, prevailed over Kuber and the entire heights
3 across Kuber, Vran Stijena, Kratina, Barin Gaj,
4 Sljibcica, Tolovici, Grabak, trig. 629, and further on
5 to Stozerac, 797, and this makes it possible to
6 exercise control over the road from the north towards
7 the south.
8 More precisely, Vitez, Busovaca, this main
9 road (indicating) was not free for traffic because the
10 forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina positioned
11 themselves at Sljibcica and Barin Gaj, and the road
12 from Vitez towards the hospital of Nova Bila or towards
13 Travnik was cut off physically by the BH army forces
14 that were positioned at Grbavica and Divjak, that were
15 practically connected with Donja Veceriska. The HVO in
16 Vitez was isolated and prevented from any communication
17 towards the west, towards Travnik.
18 In Kruscica, the Croats were expelled to
19 Motels Lovac and Ribnjak, but the position at Pintra
20 was also taken during the course of the day by the BH
21 army, and they controlled every approach towards Vitez
22 and Kruscica on the main road. In Vransjka, here is
23 502 (indicating). Position 502 was taken, and the only
24 thing left over was Crveno Brdce, and then there would
25 have been a physical connection with the forces
1 deployed at Nadioci, Vidovici, Sljibcica.
2 So already at the end of the 16th, the HVO
3 forces in the Lasva Valley were totally encircled and
4 physically separated from any possibility of help to
5 the HVO of Zenica.
6 On the operational point of view, the army
7 took Kuber, which is the operative base for any kind of
8 military actions towards Busovaca, towards Vitez, or
9 towards Travnik. That is the most important point in
10 the area of the Lasva River Valley.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. Let us simplify this and present it from a
13 layman's point of view. Who held the hills, and who
14 held the valleys in that area, and what is more
16 A. The hills were held by the BH army, and in
17 the valleys, the HVO forces were pressed in. Of
18 course, it's better to be on the hill, and it's a far
19 more advantageous position, and fighting always does
20 take place for hills. On the relief map --
21 Q. I'm sorry, just one more question. You
22 described this siege very -- in great detail. Did you
23 know all of this on the 16th or did you find this out
24 during the next few days in April?
25 A. No, I did not know all of this on the 16th of
1 April. Actually, typical practice was that commanders
2 of villages, or sectors, practically never informed
3 about the loss of positions, but only on the recapture
4 of positions. So very often it would happen that I
5 would be informed that we managed to recapture certain
6 positions, and that I had not been informed about when
7 those positions had been lost in the first place.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I suggest that
9 during the next break, the witness shows, with the
10 little flags, the front line on this relief map, and
11 then we can go back to that, because then it is going
12 to be a position that is going to remain all the way
13 until the Washington Accords. So that is to say,
14 throughout this week as well.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Aside from the
16 decision that we will take about breaks in general
17 during the accused's testimony, if you're agreed, we
18 can stop here and resume with the model. We're going
19 to take a 15-minute break.
20 --- Recess taken at 3.18 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 3.41 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: This is in respect of the
23 request from the accused: Every 45 minutes we will
24 take a 15-minute break. However, the Judges agreed
25 that we won't work as if it were the blade of a
1 guillotine. If there is an important explanation, the
2 explanation will be completed, and if one has to stop
3 before 45 minutes, we'll do that, in an intelligent
4 way, as we ordinarily do with all our work here.
5 There you have it, General Blaskic. You can
6 be sure that you will be able to testify under the best
7 conditions possible.
8 All right. Let me get used to this new
9 system. All right. We'll work then until 4.30. I
10 think that there is no problem, or objection from the
11 interpreters. All right. We can now go on.
12 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. General, at this point we have finished with
14 the 16th, but there is one more thing that we owe the
15 Court, and that is: Who took what on the 16th of
16 April? That is to say, how did that day end? Could
17 you please show this to us on the relief map, and could
18 you tell us which flags signify what?
19 A. All right. Mr. President, Your Honours, at
20 the end of the day, on the 16th of April, the entire
21 mountain of Kuber was under the control of the BH army,
22 and I'm showing the front line on Vrana Stijena, and
23 then the heights above Krtina, and north to the village
24 of Vidovici, Sljibcica, Tolovici, Grabak, Stozerac,
25 Grbavica, Divjak, Donja Veceriska, Gacice, Stari Vitez,
1 Pintra, Kruscica, position 502 Vranjska, Rovna. That
2 is the front line, and this is the region of Busovaca.
3 Q. Theoretically, from a military operational
4 point of view, who won and who lost the war on the 16th
5 of April, 1993?
6 A. It is quite evident from the relief map. The
7 most important point, Kuber, is in the hands of the
8 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as I already said,
9 it makes it possible for further operations to
10 continue, which would be logical, Nadoici, Sljibcica,
11 until they finally took the entire road from Vitez to
12 Busovaca, or to make an attempt to link Grbavica,
13 Divjak, and here there was an uninterrupted
14 communication with the forces of Donja Veceriska, and
15 in that way to physically, totally, encircle Vitez.
16 That is to say, that in this situation, on
17 the evening of the 16th, the town was already
18 encircled, without the possibility of any contact with
19 the Nova Bila hospital, or the logistics base in
20 Stojkovici, that is to say, with Novi Travnik and
22 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask the registrar
23 to give Exhibit 284 to the witness, please.
24 So D284, you write that during the night,
25 between the 16th and 17th of April, at 4.00 in the
1 morning, at dawn-break?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And the heading is "Defence of Consolidated
4 Positions." I would like to read out two sections to
5 you, and I would like to hear your comments.
6 First, we're going to read the third
7 paragraph from the bottom of the page, where you are
8 giving the following orders to the Vitez Brigade: "Use
9 main forces to defend access roads to and from the
10 town, especially from the direction of Poculica, and
11 Preocica, and toward Vranjska. To achieve this, link
12 up with police forces, and with these police forces
13 maintain -- and with auxiliary forces maintain a
14 blockade of the forces in the areas of Veceriska, if
15 possible, seize Donja Veceriska; Vatrogasni Dom, the
16 fire brigade headquarters; Kruscica; and Vranjska, with
17 the blockade being the priority."
18 Please tell the Court, out of these
19 assignments that you gave to the Vitez Brigade, what
20 can the conclusion be? What is the operative position
21 of the Vitez Brigade in the night between the 16th and
22 the 17th?
23 A. The position was highly unfavourable, and I
24 asked that the main forces be used to defend the access
25 roads to the town of Vitez itself, because it was
1 evident, from the knowledge we had, that there would be
2 an attack that would be launched to take the town of
3 Vitez itself, by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Does this order constitute a continuity with
5 the order issued to the Viteska Brigade on the 16th of
6 April, at 1.30 a.m.?
7 A. Yes, because I'm highlighting that the
8 blockade is the priority, as well as the last defence.
9 Q. Now I'm going to read the last paragraph of
10 your order from the night between the 16th and the 17th
11 of April, 1993. "We have accomplished 80 per cent of
12 our task today, and still need to do our utmost today.
13 Soldiers are to be specifically cautioned about how to
14 treat civilians." In brackets it says, "(The elderly,
15 women and children), who are not to be killed because
16 that is a CRIME," the last word being in capital
17 letters. "The Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic," at
18 4.00 in the morning.
19 Why did you write that?
20 A. It was obvious that the brigade hadn't been
21 established yet, and that, actually, there was
22 disarray. I tried to encourage them to succeed in the
23 defence of the villages and the areas that remained
24 under HVO control.
25 Although the situation was unfavourable, and
1 apart from all of Poculica, from which about 460
2 civilians had been expelled then, and the civilians of
3 Kruscica, Vranjska, and Grbavica, in these other areas
4 we managed to hold on even with these forces, and,
5 therefore, I encouraged them to persevere in these
7 Q. When you say "We have accomplished 80 per
8 cent of our task," 80 per cent of what? What was the
9 task of the Viteska Brigade on the 16th of April, 1993?
10 A. The task of the Viteska Brigade was to defend
11 the access roads to the town and also, as a priority,
12 to carry out a blockade, a blockade of Vranjska,
13 Kruscica, and the other areas, and this can be seen
14 from this point of paragraph 3 from the bottom of the
16 Q. But in paragraph 3 from the bottom of the
17 page, those are the tasks for the next day, the 17th,
18 but then when you are summarising here, when you say
19 "We have accomplished 80 per cent of our task," then
20 that is what happened on the 16th, and what was the
21 task of the Viteska Brigade on the 16th?
22 A. It was the blockade of Kruscica, Vranjska,
23 and Donja Veceriska.
24 Q. Is that in keeping with the orders that you
25 issued, D267?
1 A. The order issued at 1.30, I don't know the
2 exact number, so if that's it, then yes, that is in
3 keeping with that.
4 Q. At 1.30 is 269. So this assessment, "80 per
5 cent of our task," is that in line with the orders you
6 issued on the 16th of April at 1.30?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, let us move on to the other part of the
9 sentence. You are cautioning soldiers as to how they
10 should treat civilians, and you say that they should
11 not be killed because that is a crime. What motivated
12 you to put that in your first order after the end of
13 the first day of war in the Lasva River Valley?
14 A. The first day was when a meeting was held
15 through the mediation of UNPROFOR between the
16 representatives of the Operative Zone and the
17 representatives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
18 Nova Bila, in Vitez, and when returning from these
19 discussions, Marko Prskalo informed me that, during the
20 ride, he saw killed civilians just by the road from the
21 UN base to the Hotel Vitez, and I wanted to state it
22 to all military conscripts that violence against
23 civilians is a crime, and I wanted to caution them
24 preventively that they should particularly take care of
1 Q. You say that you preventively cautioned them,
2 but did you know that a great crime had already been
4 A. No.
5 Q. Could you tell us, according to the reports
6 that you received, the fighting took place in Vitez and
7 in other inhabited areas. This type of battle, does it
8 speak of a difficult situation for civilians in terms
9 of military theory?
10 A. It is certain that fighting in inhabited
11 areas is very complex, when civilians can get hurt, and
12 during such fighting in inhabited areas, it is very
13 difficult to foresee operations, destruction, and
14 casualties on the civilian side.
15 Q. For a moment, we're going to leave aside this
16 first order of yours, and could you please tell the
17 Court now -- I imagine you went to sleep sometime
18 around 4.00 in the morning -- what the next day was
19 like? So could you tell us about this on the basis of
20 your own notes and on the basis of your own
21 recollection without my intervention? Please tell us
22 about this.
23 A. At 6.15 on the 17th of April, 1993, I was
24 called up from the Vitez Brigade and asked for a
25 particular kind of ammunition, that is, 20-millimetre
1 and 40-millimetre ammunition. We checked to see
2 whether we had such ammunition in stock or not --
3 Q. I said I wouldn't intervene, but I have to.
4 Regarding the previous order that we discussed, and if
5 you wrote that order at 4.00 a.m., and you have a
6 contact with the Vitez Brigade at 6.15, does that mean
7 that you slept roughly two hours?
8 A. That night, there was no time to sleep. I
9 was in the basement of the hotel. If I slept, I may
10 have dozed off at one of the three tables that we had
12 Q. Please continue.
13 A. At 6.35, we sent information to the Viteska
14 Brigade, the mixed artillery battalion, the number was
15 01-4-295/93, and another information to the Nikola
16 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, the number was 01-4-296/93,
17 dated the 17th of April, 1993. I cannot recall at this
18 point the contents of that information.
19 At 6.40, I called up the commander of the
20 111th Brigade in Zepce, Mr. Ivo Lozancic, but the
21 officer on duty answered the phone, and I warned him
22 that, in the course of the day, he would be receiving a
23 document and that it was important for the commander,
24 Lozancic, to study it and to call me up in person after
25 doing so.
1 Q. Can you tell Their Honours what the plan was
2 for Zepce?
3 A. In view of the extremely unfavourable
4 situation for Vitez, when our very survival there was
5 in question, I had intended to caution Zepce, Novi
6 Sehir, and Usora and to stage demonstrative operations
7 and to arrange them by phone so as to resist the
8 pressure coming from Zenica towards Vitez.
9 Q. When you say "demonstrative attacks," what
10 are they?
11 A. False attacks. They begin and end with
12 telephone calls and an open conversation, so that we
13 hoped that the intelligence service of the 3rd Corps
14 would probably be able to register those conversations
15 and would react to them, to those conversations.
16 Q. The translation is not correct. What kind of
17 attack did you mean?
18 A. I said "false attack."
19 Q. What happened then?
20 A. About 6.40, we received a report from the
21 Viteska Brigade, the number was 02-125-16/93, dated the
22 17th of April, 1993 at 06.00.
23 At 06.50, I spoke to the main headquarters of
24 the HVO in Mostar, and I informed them of the movement
25 of strong forces from the direction of Zenica in the
1 direction of Vitez and Busovaca and the obvious
2 regrouping in the region of Kuber and Saracevica.
3 At 6.53, I spoke to the commander of the
4 artillery, and I asked for a summary report about the
5 tasks accomplished from the previous day.
6 At 6.55, I was called up from Fojnica, and we
7 exchanged information about developments and the
9 At 7.00 -- rather, 7.06, I also spoke to the
10 Travnik Brigade, and again we exchanged information on
11 the situation, and before that, I had sent a warning to
12 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade not to issue orders on
13 the open telephone line.
14 At 7.16, Commander Lozancic called me up from
15 Zepce, and I repeated to him the instruction that when
16 he receives an order, he should study it and inform me
17 whether he understands it. This was the order for
18 false attacks.
19 At 7.18, such an order was issued, the number
20 was 01-4-298/93, dated 17th of April, 1993 at 6.45, and
21 this order was addressed to Zepce, and the content is a
22 false attack of Zenica.
23 At 7.20, the deputy commander of the civilian
24 police station in Vitez called, and he informed me that
25 snipers belonging to the BH army were firing from Stari
1 Vitez towards Kamenjaca, a Croatian village, and that a
2 firing position had been identified in Polje, the
3 second house with three stories, and from the middle
4 level, from the first floor, M-34, and left and right
5 of it were sniper positions.
6 At 7.35, I had a talk with the town mayor,
7 Mr. Santic, who asked, "Who was the organiser of the
8 meeting at 9.00 on the 17th of April between
9 representatives of the HVO and the BH army in Vitez?"
10 We told him that the meeting had been organised by the
11 British Battalion of the UN and that it would be held
12 in the UN base. Mayor Santic also called the chief
13 of staff, Franjo Nakic, but we told him that Nakic was
14 absent and that he was at home.
15 Q. Why was Nakic at home? Could you explain
16 that to the Court?
17 A. Franjo Nakic, the chief of staff, was blocked
18 in his village of Zabilje. He was blocked by forces of
19 the BH army, and he could not reach the Vitez Hotel,
20 but he did call up by phone, and on the 15th, at his
21 own request, for reasons of health, he asked to be
22 allowed to go home.
23 Q. Please proceed.
24 A. At 7.38, I requested the commander of the
25 Fojnica HVO battalion to report to me following order
1 number 01-4-297/93, dated 17th of April, 1993, at
3 At 7.50, I received a report from the
4 commander of the Viteska Brigade, and I gave him
5 instructions regarding further action.
6 At 7.55, command officer of the Operative
7 Zone called, Mr. Dragan Kopcalija, and he informed us
8 that he could not arrive to the Hotel Vitez as he was
9 supposed to do, because he had been blocked by the BH
11 At 8.00, with the artillery commander, I
12 corrected the firing positions.
13 At 8.02, I spoke to the commander of the 1st
14 Battalion from Zenica, and he inquired about the
15 situation, and informed me that he was at the Gudelji
17 At 8.06, a protest was issued, because of the
18 offensive actions by the BH army, to the European
19 Monitoring Mission to the United Nations, and
20 representatives of the European Community, and the
21 number of that process is 08-4-299/93, dated 17th of
22 April, 1993, at 7.45.
23 At 8.15, a public announcement was issued.
24 The number was 08-4-300/93, dated 17th of April, 1993,
25 at 8.00.
1 At 8.17, I had a conversation with Mr. Dario
2 Kordic, and I informed him that attacks by the BH army
3 had started at 5.25, from the region of Grablje, and
4 Dvor against Gavrine Kuce, and Jelinak. Then I also
5 informed him on the casualties, 15 dead, and that
6 during the day a meeting would be held at 9.00, between
7 representatives of the HVO Operative Zone, and the BH
8 army, and the UNPROFOR base, and that the subject to be
9 discussed was a cease-fire.
10 Q. These 15 dead that you informed Mr. Kordic
11 about, who were they? On whose side were the
13 A. On the HVO side. Those were the figures that
14 I had at that point in time, on the basis of the
15 reports I had received.
16 Q. Please continue.
17 A. At 8.30, a typist from the headquarters of
18 the Operative Zone called up to say that she couldn't
19 come to work because of the operations and the
21 The 8.40, we received information from the
22 Military Intelligence Service, warning us of these open
23 conversations between the Vitez and the Travnik
24 Brigades, and at 8.50, I addressed a written report to
25 the chief of staff of the main staff of the HVO
1 regarding the current situation, and the number of that
2 report is 01-4-302/93, dated the 17th of April, 1993,
3 at 8.00.
4 At 9.00, Mr. Prskalo, Marko Prskalo, and
5 Zoran Pilicic, officers of the Operative Zone command,
6 and my assistants, went to the meeting at the UN
7 base, and they were transported there by officers and
8 soldiers of UNPROFOR, and taken to the Nova Bila base.
9 The meeting was with representatives of the BH army.
10 Q. What was the aim of the meeting, the purpose
11 of the meeting?
12 A. The meeting had been scheduled already on the
13 16th of April, 1993, and the aim was a cessation of
14 hostilities, and improvement of the situation, and a
15 general cease-fire.
16 At 9.40 (sic), I received a call from
17 Commander Cerkez requesting assistance and support from
18 artillery against targets 836 and 894 (sic).
19 At 9.17, I spoke to the deputy commander,
20 Vinko Baresic, in Zenica, and I inquired about the
21 situation in Kuber, and I asked him to re-establish the
22 link between the members of the HVO in Zenica and the
23 members of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade.
24 Q. Can we go back to 836 and 897, the targets?
25 Are you aware which positions they were?
1 A. I couldn't say just now what positions they
2 were, but probably we already had a plan of artillery
3 fire at the time.
4 Q. Please proceed.
5 A. Talking to the commander of the HVO brigade
6 in Zenica, I said that Mount Kuber was of extreme
7 importance, and that he should try to keep control of
8 it at all costs, at least of the slopes of Kuber,
9 because our very existence would be called in question
10 if we were to completely lose Kuber, lose control of
12 At 9.21, I spoke to commander Lozancic in
13 Zepce, and required that he proceed as ordered, and
14 that he direct his forces according to orders received,
15 and that his main forces should be mobile and ready for
17 Q. Are you talking about the false order for an
18 attack on Zenica?
19 A. Yes. I spoke on the phone, and these were
20 the words I openly used on the telephone when speaking
21 to Ivo Lozancic.
22 At 9.22, I addressed a warning to the
23 commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade,
24 cautioning him that he should implement orders received
25 from me, to the letter, and that he should supply me
1 with precise, accurate, and timely reports regarding
2 the situation.
3 Q. Tell us, General, is it customary for the
4 commander to ask a subordinate to be accurate in his
5 reports, and to specifically require that his orders be
6 carried out? Why did you ask that, and why was this
8 A. It is not customary, but it was almost a
9 regular occurrence. I have already said that
10 commanders, as a rule, would not issue precise reports,
11 and this was a hindrance to us in our ordering, and
12 command, and control, and I did everything to learn, in
13 detail, what was happening.
14 Q. Please continue.
15 A. At 9.25, I spoke to the main staff of the
16 HVO, and I informed them that attacks by BH army
17 forces, from the direction of Zenica, were being
18 intensified, that throughout the front line there was
19 evidence of regrouping, and that the whole front line
20 was active.
21 I briefed the main staff of the fact that I
22 had sent an order to the commander in Zepce, in
23 accordance with permission received from Brigadier
24 Petkovic, and this was a false attack, and I asked the
25 main staff for information about the situation in
1 Jablanica and Konjic.
2 I checked whether it was true that Konjic had
3 fallen, and that the Croats had been driven out of
4 Konjic, or, rather, that the HVO had been driven out of
5 Konjic. I received the answer that that was not true,
6 and I also said that the main staff should inform the
7 public that we were under attack by about 1.500
8 Mujahedeen, that is, members of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
9 At 9.30, Pero Skopljak called up, and learned
10 about the exchange of prisoners.
11 Q. Pero Skopljak was a civilian official at the
12 time; wasn't he?
13 A. Yes, he was a civilian official at the time.
14 At 9.40, I provided instructions for the
15 drafting of an order, number 01-4-303/93, dated 17th of
16 April, 1993, at 9.10. This was preparation and linking
17 of forces which were attacking the HVO. The purpose
18 was to relieve pressure of the Vitez and the Busovaca
19 front lines.
20 At 9.45, I requested a contact with the
21 commander of the military police, Pasko or Vlado. They
22 told me that he was not available, and I left a message
23 saying that when they come, they should call me up, on
24 the phone.
25 At 9.50, the commander of the Vitez Brigade
1 asked for assistance in personnel, for the purpose of
2 defence from attack coming from Sljibcica. The attacks
3 were being carried out by the BH army.
4 At 9.52, I called up the commander of the
5 artillery battalion, and gave him the target, elevation
6 point 592, which he was supposed to gain control of.
7 Officer Vlado Juric called up from the
8 artillery, and informed me that firing would start in
9 10 to 15 minutes, against target 592. He required
10 surveillance in order to correct the range.
11 Q. Do you remember this elevation point? Was
12 that Sljibcica?
13 A. Yes. It was the dominant feature from which
14 one has control of the main Vitez to Busovaca road.
15 Q. Thank you. Please proceed.
16 A. At 10.05, Mr. Slavko Marin spoke to the
17 commander of the artillery, and reminded him that we
18 had requested elevation point 592, but that we insist
19 that only the artillery commander should respond to our
20 telephone calls, in order to have accuracy of reports
21 and orders for fire.
22 At 10.25, we again spoke to Commander Cerkez,
23 that is, Slavko Marin spoke to him, and he asked that
24 Cerkez report to us the positions with precision from
25 which the BH army was staging an artillery attack
1 against the Vitez HVO. Cerkez reported that it was
2 either Preocica or Bukve.
3 At 10.30, the intelligence officer asked me
4 for permission to go towards Mahala to record the
5 combat operations between the HVO and the BH army in
7 Q. When you use the word "Mahala," you mean
8 Stari Vitez, which was under the control of the BH
10 A. Yes. At 10.32, I was called up by the
11 artillery commander who informed me that he had fired
12 towards Sljibcica and that he would be ready to fire
13 towards Kuber.
14 At 10.45, I required from the artillery
15 commander that he should fire at targets in the
16 direction of the villages of Merdani and Gumanci, 500
17 metres to the south.
18 At 10.46, there was a call from the commander
19 of the Travnik Brigade to whom we conveyed the message
20 that Zdravko Lovrenovic would remain chief of staff of
21 the Travnik Brigade, and the commander of the Travnik
22 Brigade confirmed receipt of that message.
23 At 11.00 hours, I spoke to the artillery
24 commander to check whether he was ready to fire and
25 requiring from him that he expedite preparations for
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the 45 minutes
3 has expired, so I propose a break.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course. All right. We
5 will have to try to adapt things to the circumstances.
6 Let's take a 20-minute break, and when we resume at a
7 quarter to five, we will be able to continue until a
8 quarter to six.
9 THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 --- Recess taken at 4.30 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.55 p.m.
12 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume now.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. General, we stopped somewhere around 11.00,
15 if I remember correctly.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Please proceed and tell us how the events
18 unravelled from there.
19 A. At 11.02, we called the commander of the
20 Viteska Brigade, and we sought information as to who
21 was firing, and the answer was that the firing came
22 from the HVO. The firing was in the immediate vicinity
23 of the hotel, so we didn't know what all this was
24 about, whether it was artillery fire against the hotel
25 or whether it was HVO soldiers that were opening fire.
1 At 11.10, the commander of the Viteska
2 Brigade called Slavko Marin and gave him the
3 coordinates for the Samar target and for the Kuber
4 target. Both targets are to the north of Vitez.
5 Q. Who was at the targets of Samar and Kuber?
6 What was there?
7 A. At the target of Samar was the artillery of
8 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and at Kuber also,
9 there were military and artillery formations of the
10 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, including at one part, at
11 the west of Kuber, tank positions as well of the army
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. All right. Please proceed. By the way, did
14 you have any tanks at that time in Central Bosnia?
15 A. No, not at that time and not ever, until the
16 Washington Accords, did we have a tank in the HVO in
17 Central Bosnia in the Lasva River Valley.
18 Q. All right. Please proceed.
19 A. At 11.12, I called the commander of the
20 artillery, and I sought information as to whether he
21 was preparing to fire against these targets, and I
22 asked for target 915, to fire one artillery piece
23 against that.
24 Q. On several occasions, you mentioned targets
25 that are marked either "915" or any other number.
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. Last time, you said that on the 16th of
3 April, on the first day of the war, you did not have a
4 plan of artillery fire against the Muslims. Could you
5 tell us, when did you make this plan of artillery fire,
6 and what did you mark with these numbers that were the
8 A. The plan of artillery fire, I do not recall
9 exactly, but it must have been the 17th of April,
10 during the course of the morning, that we had already
11 made it, and these numbers depict military positions of
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina that were already
13 observed on the 16th of April during combat operations.
14 Q. Today, do you recall what target this number
15 exactly meant?
16 A. No.
17 Q. But do you remember the principle that was
18 your guiding principle when you were making this plan
19 of artillery fire?
20 A. That, I do recall. These were exclusively
21 military positions and military targets of the army of
23 Q. Did you ever in your military career set a
24 civilian target as a target for artillery fire?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Please proceed with the chronological order.
2 A. At 11.12, we also received information that
3 UNPROFOR armoured vehicles were in the village of
5 At 11.14, the assistant for IPD returned. He
6 did not manage to go towards Mahala because there was
7 heavy sniper fire from Mahala.
8 Q. When you say "IPD," what service is that?
9 A. That is "Information Propaganda Service,"
10 that is to say, information service.
11 Q. Is that something different from military
13 A. It is quite different from military
14 intelligence, and it has nothing to do with military
16 Q. Did this officer inform you where the fire
17 was coming from and why he couldn't get out of the
19 A. Yes. He said that he could not get out
20 because of sniper fire by the army of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina from the group of houses above the
22 bus station of Stari Vitez.
23 Q. Please proceed with the chronological order.
24 A. At 11.18, I talked to the commander of MTD,
25 that is to say, of the artillery once again, and I
1 asked him to speed up preparations, and he informed me
2 that he had certain difficulties and that he would let
3 me know when he was ready. We also sent a protest
4 because of the sniper operations of the army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, number 08-4-304/93, from the 17th
6 of April, to the European Monitoring Mission and the
7 International Red Cross.
8 At 11.20, I received information from the
9 Military Intelligence Service in which they informed me
10 that the wounded soldiers of the army of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina were changing into civilian clothes
12 and then using UN vehicles in order to be transported
13 to the hospital. He also sent me information as
14 follows: If HVO soldiers had to retreat from Kuber,
15 they should destroy buildings for shelter.
16 Q. What kind of buildings are these?
17 A. These are mainly shelters, trenches, small
18 buildings, military buildings that are built for
19 protecting men and in order to make it possible for
20 them to stay at combat positions, and also they can
21 easily be altered and used by the party that was taking
22 them over. This side, the BH army could take over
23 these pillboxes and use them for their own purposes.
24 Q. All right. Would you please continue?
25 A. At 11.22, I sent an order, number
1 01-4-305/93, from the 17th of April, 1993, at 11.10 to
2 the commander of the Zenica Brigade of the HVO.
3 Q. Do you know now recall the content of this
5 A. I cannot recall the content of the order now,
6 but in my notes, I have the number of that order.
7 Q. Please proceed.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I have a bit of a
9 problem. I'd like to ask something of Mr. Nobilo and
10 of the witness. When you say, "These are my notes,"
11 General Blaskic, you say, "I don't remember the
12 contents of the order, but I noted 01-04/" and the
13 various numbers. I don't think this was tendered. I
14 could speak of other orders at this time as well, but
15 the witness said, "I gave this order."
16 Therefore, now I want to speak directly to
17 the witness. You've got a good memory because you say
18 "At 11.20, 11.21, 11.22," et cetera. So you took
19 04-4 -- you had the time to take all of those numbers
20 down, "01," et cetera. How many telephone lines did
21 you have, first of all? There was one point I wanted
22 to ask you that. I don't know whether Mr. Nobilo can
23 answer it or you, but how many telephone lines did you
24 have? I have the impression that you spent your time
25 moving from one telephone to another telephone, and I
1 realise that this was the war, but was it the people
2 who worked with you? Was it yourself? I would like to
4 A. Mr. President, there was a total of two
5 telephones, and you're right, they were practically
6 online all the time, and there were very many orders,
7 and what I have noted is the original number of the
8 order, but I cannot recall the content of that order.
9 If I were to see it, it would probably refresh my
10 memory, and would I probably remember it.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but we have to realise
12 that what's important today for us, of course, is the
13 number of the order. Since we're not going to see the
14 order, we don't know. You have to remember what the
15 contents were, so that the Prosecutor can also do his
16 work, because you had the time to write 01-4-305/93.
17 That's very good. That's excellent that you were able
18 to do that in the midst of battle, you were able to
19 take notes like that.
20 I could ask Mr. Nobilo the question, because
21 I don't want to worry you, this is part of your
22 testimony, I realise that, but how could that be, Mr.
23 Nobilo, you who have an answer for everything
24 ordinarily. Could you explain that to me?
25 MR. NOBILO: Of course, I wasn't there in
1 1993, but I learned from the witness. I can tell you
2 very briefly, but I think it's better for the witness
3 to tell you.
4 Q. So, first of all, tell me, General, in the
5 middle of the war, as the President of our Trial
6 Chamber has asked, how did this happen that somebody
7 would be noting exactly what was happening? How did
8 you do this? Who did this?
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, on the 16th of
10 April, in the morning, as I arrived in the basement of
11 the hotel, I told one of the men there, his name was
12 Ljubo Jurcic, I said, "Write down everything you hear,
13 and everything that happens here, every word I say,
14 every contact Slavko Marin and I have via telephone,
15 and write down the contents and the time of these
17 Q. And what about Jurcic? Did he do anything
18 else during those two or three days of war, except
19 write down this diary?
20 A. He didn't do anything else, except for this
21 diary. He's not a military man anyway. He is not a
22 professional from the military, so that he could be
23 engaged for any other job.
24 Q. And now --
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me for interrupting
1 you. I think this is the right time.
2 General Blaskic, you gave that order to the
3 NTC. What was the reason for it? What was the
5 A. Your Honour, I wanted to have some kind of
6 testimony, some kind of record about everything that
7 happened, and everything I did, and everything that my
8 associates did, on the 16th, and on all these other
9 days, in terms of these activities that were ongoing,
10 so that we would know precisely what the time was when
11 things happened.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You said that already, but
13 didn't you have some type of a log of some kind?
14 Perhaps you would have needed that person for the war.
15 A. I don't know if I understood the question
16 correctly, I mean, in terms of this record-keeping.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My question was to know
18 whether or not -- wouldn't it have been easier to have
19 had a recording of it?
20 A. Now I understand. Now I understand the
21 question. I'm going to explain it to you now,
22 although -- Your Honour, on the 16th, in the morning,
23 we went down into the disco club of that hotel. There
24 was a disco club in the hotel, that was open late into
25 the night between the 15th and the 16th.
1 We had three desks. There were seven of us,
2 and three candles, at the beginning, and out of the
3 seven men there, as far as I can remember, I did my
4 best to involve everyone in some kind of particular
5 work. Ljubo Jurcic had only completed a higher
6 administrative school, and he wasn't even a regular
7 student. He didn't really have any military knowledge,
8 except that he was a soldier, I imagine.
9 I wanted to have some kind of diary. Of
10 course, a cassette recording would have been better,
11 but we had two telephones, and three candles at the
12 very beginning, and that is how we worked.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, let me follow
15 up the question which my colleague asked you, with this
16 little question: At the time, you, doubtless, thought
17 that you would need, at some later time, to make some
18 use of the record which you had asked to be prepared.
19 At the time, what kind of use did you have in mind?
20 A. In terms of the education I received in the
21 former army, whenever there is an exercise going on, or
22 any kind of military activity, always there is some
23 kind of log of operations, of things that are going
24 on. Sometimes in wartime, this is called a war diary
25 too. Then in a very abbreviated form, certain
1 activities are recorded, and the time is specified very
3 I wanted this kind of a diary to exist, and
4 to have some kind of document remain. I thought that
5 any document was better than no document whatsoever.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you this:
7 Apart from the events which occurred on or around 16th
8 April, there were other events which involved military
9 clashes. Did you have a similar record prepared of all
10 the activities of which you were aware in respect of
11 those other clashes?
12 A. From the month of April, for example, and
13 then practically until the Washington Accords, to the
14 best of my recollection, there was an operational
15 logbook. I'm not sure if it was called operational
16 logbook, or whether it was called the war diary, or the
17 logbook of the officer on duty, or whatever, but there
18 was some kind of record that was kept throughout the
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: As regards this document of
22 Mr. Ljubo Jurcic, did he give it to you at one point?
23 Did he give it to your Defence counsel? You don't have
24 to answer if you don't want to, but did you have it,
25 because you were so specific when you say that I --
1 well, sometimes one wonders if you even had the time to
2 get an answer on the telephone. You said you made a
3 telephone call at 11.20, then 11.21. I'm not very good
4 at telephoning, but it seems to me that even if I call
5 my secretary by phone, I wouldn't be able to make three
6 phone calls in one minute, but, of course, I'm not in a
8 My question is, Mr. Blaskic, it's important,
9 I say it somewhat jokingly, but here you're giving us
10 your version of the facts, and you're saying that, "I
11 gave the order, number 01-4-493." You're the only one
12 who can say whether you gave that order or not.
13 Let me go back to the military log. Was it
14 given to you at some point? What it given to the
15 Defence? If you don't want to answer, don't, it
16 doesn't matter to me, but if you want to, that would
17 throw some light on what we're doing. But is it your
18 memory on which you're relying in order to say that, "I
19 called at 11.00," for example? Do what you like. Your
20 counsel prefers that you not answer, there's no problem
21 with that.
22 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, he's already
23 explained that. It was before the break of last week.
24 So we certainly have no objection to him explaining it
25 again, and perhaps in the translation it didn't come
1 across clearly, but we would ask that he do so.
2 JUDGE JORDA: But as regards the military log
3 of Mr. Ljubo Jurcic, I don't think that an answer was
4 ever given to a question, because I never -- I myself
5 never asked the question, nor did my colleagues, I
6 believe, a question about what happened to Ljubo
7 Jurcic. Is he still alive? Does he still have his
8 military log? Did he give it to you? How do you use
9 it? I don't know that.
10 MR. NOBILO: Yes. Yes, our witness will be
11 very happy to answer your question, where this document
12 is, when he last saw it, and how it happened that he
13 has all these data laid out so very precisely, and that
14 he's now in a position answer all your questions.
15 JUDGE JORDA: You don't have to answer right
17 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
18 A. I can answer, Your Honour, Mr. President.
19 Mr. President, Your Honours, when I found out
20 about the indictment, I was still head of the main
21 staff of the HVO, and during November and December, or,
22 rather, the end of November and beginning of December,
23 1995, I tried to get a hold of all the important
24 documents, and I literally copied some of these
25 documents as I was preparing my notes for my encounter
1 here, for my testimony, and for my trial.
2 What I'm testifying to here now is not the
3 war diary of Ljubo Jurcic, but allow me to explain
4 this. Ljubo Jurcic was an officer in the command of
5 the Operative Zone, and this is part of that operative
6 diary which Ljubo Jurcic, as an officer, only wrote
7 then. So this is the contents of the logbook of the
8 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia at the time when I was
9 present there.
10 Q. In order to clarify this, because my
11 colleague tells me it is not quite clear in English, is
12 there one diary or two diaries? Is there one that is
13 owned by the Operative Zone, or was it Ljubo Jurcic who
14 only took these notes? Is that your testimony?
15 A. Yes, there is only one diary, which was then
16 written by Ljubo Jurcic, but that is the operative
17 logbook of the command of the Operative Zone.
18 Q. And this that you are using now, is that the
19 operative logbook, or are these your own personal notes
20 you made while you were still in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
21 and while you were preparing to go to The Hague?
22 A. These are my notes that I copied out of this
23 operative logbook, which, at the time when I was the
24 head of the main staff of the HVO, was accessible to
1 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues?
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, so that I
3 understand all of this clearly, I'd like to ask you
4 another question.
5 I remember that when you assumed your duties
6 in Gornji Vakuf, you received a diary, a log, but in my
7 mind, it seems to me that there was nothing in the log,
8 the names of the commanders were not in it. However,
9 when you speak about the journal today, or the log
10 today, it's very detailed, and as you said, you chose
11 something that was important from your perspective.
12 Are we speaking about the same diary, that is, the
13 diary that you received in Gornji Vakuf when you took
14 your command responsibilities, or something else,
15 another one?
16 A. Your Honour, what you said is true. In
17 Gornji Vakuf I did receive a war diary, and it is
18 different from the operative log, as follows:
19 According to the way I was trained and educated, and
20 the way in which we worked, in the operative log the
21 precise timing for every document is given, and the
22 time of issuance is stated, whereas the war diary, the
23 way we kept it in Gornji Vakuf and in Vitez, contained,
24 for example, information that on such and such a date a
25 meeting was held, and sometimes the participants of the
1 meeting were mentioned there, and sometimes even the
2 entire discussion. Actually, this was information as
3 to what happened during the course of one day, but it
4 wasn't that rich in content in terms of actual events.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General
7 JUDGE JORDA: You may proceed.
8 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. I would like to continue along the same line
10 of your questioning. Keeping an operative log, is that
11 a routine matter for all trained officers?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. According to the JNA doctrine, according to
14 which you did your military education, is every unit
15 supposed to have this kind of a log or a similar log?
16 A. If we are talking about peacetime conditions,
17 then already from the level of battalion, there is an
18 operative log that is kept by the duty officer in that
19 battalion. If we're talking about conditions of war,
20 then from the level of commander of the battalion in
21 the former JNA, that's the way it was, a war diary is
22 kept as a combat document, and also there is an
23 operative log, but the lowest rank in the former JNA
24 was that of battalion.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Are these documents in the
1 archives? You still had official responsibilities.
2 Are they in the official archives? I suppose they
3 are. The ones who had them didn't really keep them;
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. Tell the Court when and where you last saw
8 A. Mr. President, when I was chief of the main
9 staff, these diaries and logs were in the archives,
10 that is to say, November 1995.
11 Q. Just to clarify matters further, are these
12 documents official documents that commanders must keep?
13 A. Yes. Yes, and there's also a prescribed way
14 in which they should be kept and also a time limit
15 until when they should be kept, some for ten years, and
16 also where they are to be kept, either in the central
17 archives, or in the archives of the main staff, or the
18 command that actually kept this log, et cetera.
19 Q. Can we conclude that this was not your
20 private affair or a question of your own will, whether
21 you were supposed to do this, but according to military
22 doctrine, you were supposed to keep this?
23 A. This is the duty of every commander in war,
24 from battalion commander upwards. It is his duty and
1 Q. Thank you. Thanks to your observance of
2 military obligations, we continue now with the 17th of
3 April, 1993 at about 11.22.
4 A. At 11.22, we had stopped with the order that
5 I have already mentioned that was addressed to Zenica,
6 to the Zenica HVO Brigade.
7 At 11.26, I had a talk with Mr. Dario Kordic
8 who inquired about the situation and developments in
9 the Lasva River Valley.
10 At 11.29, the commander of the 312th Mountain
11 Brigade of the BH army in Travnik called me up, the
12 name is Mr. Ahmed Kulenovic, and he asked me to assist
13 and protect his family who were living in Divjak.
14 Q. Did you do that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Will you tell us, where is Divjak?
17 A. Divjak is in Vitez municipality. I assigned
18 officer Zvonko Vukovic the task to take care and
19 protect this family.
20 At 11.35 --
21 Q. One further question: Ahmed Kulenovic, is he
22 a Muslim?
23 A. Yes, he is a Muslim Bosniak, the commander of
24 the 312th Mountain Brigade of the BH army in Travnik at
25 the time.
1 Q. Please proceed.
2 A. At 11.35, the artillery commander called and
3 informed me that he had fired a missile, and I asked
4 him to prepare fire for the next target. I also asked
5 surveillance of targets by the commander of the Nikola
6 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade.
7 At 12.00, I again talked to the commander of
8 the MTD who informed me that firing had not been
9 carried out, but that it would be shortly.
10 At 12.02, we received a report from the head
11 of the intelligence service telling us that the forces
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina were linking up.
13 Q. How does the Military Intelligence Service
14 learn about these things?
15 A. In most cases, it was by intercepting
16 conversations on the open line, probably between
17 commanders of lower units of the 3rd Corps of the BH
18 army but --
19 Q. But which medium was used?
20 A. An open radio link. Also all reports and
21 information that would reach them were used by the
22 intelligence service.
23 Q. Please continue.
24 A. At 12.05, I sent my response to a query, the
25 response had the number 01-4-308/93, dated the 17th of
1 April, 1993, issued at 11.35 and addressed to the HVO
2 Zenica Brigade.
3 Q. Do you perhaps remember the contents of your
4 response and the query?
5 A. I'm afraid I do not remember the content of
6 the question nor the response.
7 Q. Please proceed.
8 A. At 12.05, we were informed that Mr. Marko
9 Prskalo and Mr. Zoran Pilicic, officers of the
10 Operative Zone command, had been wounded in front of
11 the main entrance to the Vitez Hotel and that they were
12 being given first aid in the hall of the hotel.
13 Q. Tell the Court, these officers who were
14 wounded in front of the Vitez Hotel, who wounded them
15 and where were they coming from? Could you give us
16 more details about that event?
17 A. The officers were returning from a joint
18 meeting which had been organised with UN mediation
19 between the HVO and the BH army at the UN base in
20 Nova Bila. They got off at the petrol station in front
21 of the main entrance to the Vitez Hotel where they had
22 been brought in an armoured vehicle by UNPROFOR. When
23 they tried to cross the open space to reach the Vitez
24 Hotel, accompanied by a communications officer from the
25 UNPROFOR command in Nova Bila and by another person who
1 was the interpreter, sniper fire was opened at them by
2 the BH army.
3 Q. Just a moment. There's a mistake in the
4 translation. You said "a UN communications
6 A. It should be a liaison officer, that's what I
7 meant, a UN liaison officer, who was escorting and
8 protecting the two negotiators, Marko Prskalo and Zoran
9 Pilicic, and BH snipers from Stari Vitez opened fire at
10 them and wounded the two officers.
11 Q. They were parliamentarians, negotiators on
12 your behalf. You had sent them to this meeting with
13 the BH.
14 A. Yes, they were just returning from that
15 meeting. The meeting had ended only some 10 or 15
16 minutes before that. They were negotiators on behalf
17 of the command of the Operative Zone with the
18 representatives of the BH army.
19 Q. Please proceed. What happened then?
20 A. At 12.07, I had another talk with the
21 artillery commander requiring him to repeat operations,
22 and later, at about 12.10, I talked to Zoran Pilicic,
23 who was slightly wounded, and he came to the basement
24 and informed me about the negotiations and the
25 agreement reached at those negotiations with
1 representatives of the BH army.
2 Q. Could you tell us briefly, as far as you can
3 remember, what was the agreement reached with the BH
4 army? What did your negotiator tell you?
5 A. Zoran, at the time, was under stress, but he
6 had taken note of the points of the agreement, and I
7 have them in the way that they were conveyed to me at
8 12.10 on the 17th of April: A cessation of fire had
9 been agreed, then an exchange of all prisoners, the
10 withdrawal of forces, the positioning of UNPROFOR
11 armoured vehicles in town at the flash points, and the
12 formation of a joint commission for joint
14 Q. Tell us whether representatives of UNPROFOR
15 or, rather, the United Nations participated in those
17 A. The meeting was chaired, as far as Zoran
18 informed me, at first by Major Waters and later by
19 Colonel Stewart, and they were the mediators, and they
20 participated in the drafting of that agreement.
21 Q. At the time, how did you understand the link
22 between a cease-fire and the release of prisoners?
23 A. My understanding was based on the information
24 that I had both from the International Red Cross, and I
25 knew that their position was that the release of
1 prisoners should be preceded by a cease-fire and the
2 assurance of safety and security for the release of
3 prisoners, and virtually all agreements contained this
4 provision and this sequence of events, a cease-fire and
5 the removal of the consequences of the conflict.
6 Q. Is your opinion that a cease-fire has to
7 precede the release of prisoners or can it take place
9 A. It is very important that a cease-fire must
10 precede the release of prisoners by both sides.
11 Q. On the 16th of April, did you order any
13 A. No.
14 Q. What would it have actually meant if you had
15 unilaterally released all the prisoners when you learnt
16 about them without previously having achieved a
17 cease-fire? What would that have meant in Vitez?
18 A. They would have been exposed to killings, and
19 I would be acting contrary to the position of the
20 International Red Cross because their position always
21 was, and I think it was a positive attitude, that
22 safety had to be ensured first before prisoners could
23 be released. Without safety, it would mean exposing
24 people to the threat of being killed as a result of
25 combat operations.
1 Q. Linked to these wounding incidents, you took
2 certain measures. You protested. I'm referring to the
3 wounding of your parliamentarians.
4 A. Yes. Already at 12.15, we addressed a
5 request to UNPROFOR asking them to come and transport
6 the two wounded officers to the hospital because we
7 didn't have any road open to us which we could use to
8 do it ourselves.
9 Q. When you say "we," let us make it quite
10 clear: Did you personally call them or one of your
12 A. I cannot remember that because, in my notes,
13 it just says "a call to the UN"
14 Q. Please proceed.
15 A. At 12.17, a protest was drafted, the number
16 being 01-4-307/93, dated the 17th of April, 1993, and
17 it was addressed to the monitoring commission, the
18 UN, the European Union, and the commander of the 3rd
20 At 12.23, a warning was drafted, the number
21 being 08-4-309/93, dated the 17th of April, 1993, and
22 addressed to all assistants for information activities,
23 IPD. I personally spoke to the artillery commander,
24 trying to verify why there were no reports from them
25 for a whole hour and why they still had not carried out
1 the requested firing.
2 At 12.28, I spoke to the commander of the
3 police station, the civilian police station in Vitez,
4 Mr. Samija, and inquired about the security situation
5 in the town of Vitez.
6 At 12.28, the head of the HOS (sic) sent a
7 report saying that --
8 Q. There's a mistake in the translation. You
9 said "head of VOS," rather than "HOS." What does VOS
11 A. Military Intelligence Service.
12 Q. Who was the head of the Military Intelligence
14 A. At the time, it was Ivica Zejko.
15 Q. So it's the same Ivica Zejko who testified
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Please proceed. What did Ivica Zejko inform
19 you about?
20 A. Ivica Zejko reported that the obvious
21 intention of the BH army forces in Donja Veceriska was
22 to link up with the BH army forces at Grbavica via
23 Divjak. However, for the moment, the forces of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina army, in Donja Veceriska, were short
25 of ammunition, and they had requested assistance from
1 the United Nations in the form of ammunition, supplying
2 them with ammunition.
3 Q. Did UNPROFOR promise to supply the
5 A. Yes, yes. Sejko reported that UNPROFOR had
6 promised to supply them with the requested ammunition.
7 Q. Tell us, how did Sejko learn about this, as
8 far as you know?
9 A. I assume, again, that this was a recorded
10 conversation between the command in Donja Veceriska and
11 the command of Grbavica.
12 Q. You assume that this conversation was by
13 radio link?
14 A. Yes. At 12.32, the commander of the mixed
15 artillery battalion informed me that firing had been
16 carried out, and he required surveillance for the purpose
17 of making any corrections.
18 I called UNPROFOR again, asking them to come
19 and transport the wounded officers, emphasising that if
20 in the case that they do not have an ambulance, they
21 could come with a transporter, an armoured transporter,
22 because Prskalo urgently needed aid, as he had been
23 seriously wounded.
24 At 12.35, Slavko Marin spoke to an United
25 Nations officer, on the same subject, the
1 transportation of the wounded officers.
2 At 12.37, I again spoke to the artillery
3 commander, who informed me that he would be ready to
4 fire very shortly.
5 At 12.38, Slavko Marin called the commander
6 of the air defences, and asked for a report regarding
7 the artillery pieces, their deployment, and their
8 functioning order.
9 At 12.39, the artillery commander informed me
10 that he had fired at the target, as requested.
11 At 12.50, I asked for a report from the
12 commander of the military police, and the commander of
13 the HVO brigades in Zenica, Vitez, and Travnik.
14 At 12.57, there was another conversation with
15 the artillery commander, who was asked to fire, upon
16 making corrections.
17 At 12.59, a written request was issued. The
18 number is 01-4-311/93, dated 17 April, 1993. It was a
19 request for provision of information on the situation,
20 and the request was addressed to the following
21 brigades: The Viteska, Novi Travnik, Kiseljak, Zenica,
22 Busovaca, Travnik, Frankopan Brigades, and the
23 artillery command, the command of the air defences, and
24 of the 4th Military Police Battalion.
25 At 13.01, I spoke to the artillery commander,
1 and corrected the firing range, and asked that he
2 repeat the firing from one artillery piece.
3 At 13.04, a request was again addressed to
4 the artillery, by Slavko Marin, to prepare to fire at
5 the target at Samar.
6 At 13.07, we checked with the artillery,
7 whether this fire had been carried out.
8 At 13.10, a reply was sent to the Travnik
9 Brigade, the number was 01-4-312/93, dated 17 April,
10 1993, and the content of the document was a request for
11 the issuance of artillery.
12 At 13.13, I personally spoke again to the
13 artillery commander, to check whether fire had been
14 carried out as requested. He informed me that it had
15 not been carried out yet.
16 At 13.14, Mr. Dario Kordic called me,
17 inquiring who was operating on Busovaca. I answered
18 that according to the information available to us, the
19 fire was coming from the BH army.
20 At 13.17, Mario Cerkez called Marin Slavko,
21 my associate, and asked for assistance for Novaci.
22 That is a village on the main road from Vitez to
23 Travnik, where, as we learned later, the front line had
24 been broken through.
25 At 13.20, a protest was addressed to
1 UNPROFOR. The number was 01-4-310, dated 17 April,
2 1993. I was informed by the artillery that firing had
3 been carried out, and they asked us to check so as to
4 be able to make corrections.
5 Q. Do you remember or not the contents of this
7 A. I'm not sure. I know that one of the
8 protests was addressed to them because of the wounding
9 of the officers Prskalo and Pilicic, but I'm not sure
10 that that is this particular protest.
11 Q. Please proceed.
12 A. At 13.24, I called the artillery commander
13 again, and asked him to prepare for fire at the next
14 target. The number of the target was 1, and the
15 artillery commander required some time to prepare to
17 At 13.30, I was called up by Mario Cerkez,
18 who informed me about the situation in Novaci, and I
19 cautioned him, "Not against civilians," meaning that
20 the civilians in Novaci should be protected.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: -- interrupting you,
22 Mr. Nobilo.
23 General Blaskic, I have some questions here.
24 Could you throw some light on this? What was the
25 process used for numbering your orders? Was it
1 descending order, ascending order? I don't know if
2 I've understood correctly, but your order 312 is before
3 your order 310, and ordinarily, the 310 would come
4 before the 312. I don't know if I've understood you
6 In any case, I would like to know how the
7 numbering of the orders was done.
8 A. Your Honour, the first number, "01," meant
9 that the order was being issued by me, number "4" is
10 the number of the month, and number "312" is the number
11 under which it is registered.
12 The moment the order reaches the typist who
13 keeps that record book, she enters it under the first
14 available number in the register, but at the time, this
15 job was being done by one of the five, six, or seven
16 officers who were in the command. I personally did not
17 make any entries, and the typist still had not arrived,
18 whose duty it would have normally been.
19 It was rather confusing, the whole situation,
20 and there may have been some errors made, but the rule
21 was to fill in the first available space in the
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Tell me, General, the war diary, would you
1 enter the time a document is being sent, or the time
2 when it is being registered?
3 A. In most cases, when the document is being
4 drafted, it is entered into the operative logbook.
5 When it will be delivered, that is left for a later
7 Q. Let me draw your attention to 13.20. It
8 says: "Approach test, addressed to the British
9 Battalion, 01-4," et cetera. What does that mean?
10 What happened at 13.20? Was that document written
11 then, or was it sent at that time, in this particular
13 A. I assume that that was the time when the
14 document was sent.
15 Q. Is it possible then that if the document was
16 sent to the British Battalion at 13.20, that it may
17 have been drafted before the document at 13.10,
19 A. Yes, it could have been drafted before.
20 Q. Please continue. We have another three
21 minutes left. If I remember correctly, we had reached
22 13.30 hours, your warning to Cerkez that in the village
23 of Novaci, where the front line was being broken
24 through, that he should take care of civilians.
25 A. At 13.31, the artillery commander informed us
1 that target 1 had been fired at.
2 At 13.37, we again received a report from the
3 Military Intelligence Service that a group of the BH
4 army forces had been surrounded in town, without
5 ammunition, and the UN is requesting their pulling
7 Q. When you say "in town," what do you mean?
8 A. I mean the territory of Vitez municipality.
9 At 13.38, I again addressed the artillery
10 command to fire at target 1, giving them the same
12 At 13.40, I was informed, by the Military
13 Intelligence Service, that the situation was bad at
14 Kuber, and that the Muslim armed forces were active
15 there, and that they were carrying out massacres at
17 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps this
18 would be a convenient time to break, if you agree.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. In order to avoid
20 interrupting you too often, General Blaskic, when you
21 resume with the chronology minute by minute, of course,
22 I understand it's your way of testifying, but if you
23 might try to work in such a way that the Judges don't
24 have some information, the contents of some
1 What I was struck by is that often your
2 counsel says you don't know the contents of the
3 document. You say, "No. That's correct, I don't."
4 Well, if nobody knows the contents, if you don't, if
5 the Defence counsel doesn't, I don't know what the
6 Prosecution is going to do, and that causes a bit of a
7 problem to us.
8 In the second point, I was speaking about
9 methodology here, this would help us: Sometimes you
10 say, "I asked for such a such information," and then we
11 don't know whether there was an answer, or whether
12 anything happened afterwards. If something is
13 important to you, of course, I understand. Not
14 everything is always important, and you're the only one
15 that can know that, and we will evaluate that later on,
16 but do not try to leave us drifting, because sometimes
17 you say, "13.30, I asked for this, in this amount of
18 time," but I'm not sure after that the answer is going
19 to follow, or the contents of a document. If a
20 document has been definitively lost, it's not going to
21 be very useful to know that you numbered it, because we
22 don't know anything about it.
23 Those are a few comments I wanted to make,
24 only in order to facilitate the proper conduct of the
25 trial. I think we can stop now, it's 6.00. Rest up,
1 and we'll try to rest as well. The registrar, we begin
2 tomorrow at 10.00; is that right?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that's correct, Your
5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Court stands
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
8 at 6.03 p.m., to be reconvened on
9 Tuesday, the 9th day of March, 1999,
10 at 10.00 a.m.