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  1. 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

    7 witness.

    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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

    22 request.

    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

  5. 1 something.

    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.

  6. 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

    12 colleagues.

    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,

  7. 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

    15 better.

    16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my

    18 colleagues.

    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.

  8. 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

    5 break.

    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,

    9 1993.


    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

  9. 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

  10. 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

    15 D280.

    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,

  11. 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

  12. 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

    16 Herceg-Bosna.

    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

  13. 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,

  14. 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

    15 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    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.

  15. 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

    12 Ahmici?

    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

  16. 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

    14 period.

    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

    18 time?

    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

  17. 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

  18. 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?

  19. 1 A. No. I never ordered the killing of civilians

    2 in the village nor the torching of houses in the

    3 village.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: What is the number, Mr. Nobilo

    5 or Mr. Registrar, of the document of 15 April of 15.45

    6 hours?

    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.

  20. 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

    10 April.

    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

  21. 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

    10 Battalion.

    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

    14 needed.

    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

    22 Brigade?

    23 A. No.

    24 Q. This order, was it directed exclusively to

    25 the terrorist groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade or can

  22. 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

    16 orders?

    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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

    15 advantageous?

    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

  28. 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

  29. 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,

  30. 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

    21 Travnik.

    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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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

    6 tasks.

    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

    15 page.

    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?

  34. 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

    25 civilians.

  35. 1 Q. You say that you preventively cautioned them,

    2 but did you know that a great crime had already been

    3 committed?

    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

  36. 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

    11 there.

    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.

  37. 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

  38. 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

    8 situation.

    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

  39. 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

  40. 1 number 01-4-297/93, dated 17th of April, 1993, at

    2 7.30.

    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

    10 army.

    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

    16 positions.

    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.

  41. 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

    12 casualties?

    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

    20 blockade.

    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

  42. 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?

  43. 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

    11 Kuber.

    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

    16 movement.

    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

  44. 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

    7 recorded?

    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

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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

    6 Mahala.

    7 Q. When you use the word "Mahala," you mean

    8 Stari Vitez, which was under the control of the BH

    9 army?

    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

  48. 1 action.

    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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

    7 targets?

    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

    22 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    23 Q. Did you ever in your military career set a

    24 civilian target as a target for artillery fire?

    25 A. No.

  51. 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

    4 Preocica.

    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

    12 intelligence?

    13 A. It is quite different from military

    14 intelligence, and it has nothing to do with military

    15 intelligence.

    16 Q. Did this officer inform you where the fire

    17 was coming from and why he couldn't get out of the

    18 hotel?

    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

  52. 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

  53. 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

    4 order?

    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

  54. 1 realise that this was the war, but was it the people

    2 who worked with you? Was it yourself? I would like to

    3 know.

    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

  55. 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

    16 events."

    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

  56. 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

    4 purpose?

    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.

  57. 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

  58. 1 activities are recorded, and the time is specified very

    2 precisely.

    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

    19 war.

    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 --

  59. 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

    7 war.

    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

  60. 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

    16 away.

    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

  61. 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

    25 me.

  62. 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

  63. 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

    6 Blaskic.

    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

  64. 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;

    4 right?

    5 MR. NOBILO:

    6 Q. Tell the Court when and where you last saw

    7 them.

    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

    25 obligation.

  65. 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.

  66. 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

  67. 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

  68. 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

    5 officer"?

    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

  69. 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

    13 investigations.

    14 Q. Tell us whether representatives of UNPROFOR

    15 or, rather, the United Nations participated in those

    16 talks?

    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

  70. 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

    8 simultaneously?

    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

    12 arrests?

    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.

  71. 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

    11 officers?

    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

    19 Corps.

    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

  72. 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

    10 mean?

    11 A. Military Intelligence Service.

    12 Q. Who was the head of the Military Intelligence

    13 Service?

    14 A. At the time, it was Ivica Zejko.

    15 Q. So it's the same Ivica Zejko who testified

    16 here?

    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

  73. 1 the United Nations in the form of ammunition, supplying

    2 them with ammunition.

    3 Q. Did UNPROFOR promise to supply the

    4 ammunition?

    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

  74. 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,

  75. 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

  76. 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

    6 protest?

    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

    16 fire.

    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

  77. 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

    5 correctly.

    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

    22 register.

    23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.

    24 MR. NOBILO:

    25 Q. Tell me, General, the war diary, would you

  78. 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

    6 stage.

    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

    12 case?

    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,

    18 01-4-312?

    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

  79. 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

    6 out.

    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

    11 elements.

    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

    16 Kuber.

    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

    25 information.

  80. 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,

  81. 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

    4 Honour.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Court stands

    6 adjourned.

    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.