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  1. 1 Tuesday, 9th March, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,

    5 have our witness come into the courtroom, please.

    6 (The accused entered court)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the

    8 interpreters, to make sure that we hear me and that

    9 everyone is feeling fine. All right. Thank you. Good

    10 morning to Prosecution counsel, to Defence counsel, to

    11 our witness, the accused.

    12 I'm saying this for the public gallery. This

    13 is part of the accused's testimony, who is fully

    14 entitled, according to our Statute, to appear as a

    15 witness at the request of his counsel, and he has been

    16 testifying now for about two or three weeks, and this

    17 is now the examination-in-chief which is being

    18 conducted by his Defence counsel, in this case,

    19 Mr. Nobilo.

    20 Mr. Nobilo, you may proceed.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. If

    22 you recall, when the witness spoke of the 16th of

    23 April, 1993, this relief map of the Lasva River Valley

    24 with these red marks, the places of conflict were

    25 marked. From the technical service, we got a printout

  2. 1 of this, so we would like to have this photocopied,

    2 please, in colour and submitted to all the parties.


    4 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    5 Q. But now we would like the witness to tell us

    6 the following: Is it true that this picture depicts

    7 the points of conflict in the Lasva Valley on the 16th

    8 of April, 1993 between the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    9 and the HVO, with the exception of Gacice where the

    10 conflict occurred three days later?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 MR. NOBILO: We would like this to be

    13 admitted into evidence, and then we would like to have

    14 it photocopied so that all the parties could have a

    15 copy of this picture.

    16 Q. In the meantime --

    17 THE REGISTRAR: This will be D544. That's

    18 for the transcript.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. We are continuing with events on the second

    21 day of the war in the Lasva River Valley. We stopped

    22 at around 13.00 hours. 13.38, I believe, was the last

    23 time that you spoke of.

    24 Please proceed.

    25 MR. KEHOE: 13.40.

  3. 1 MR. NOBILO: Okay.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: You see that you're being

    3 watched, Mr. Nobilo.

    4 MR. HARMON: Like a hawk.

    5 MR. NOBILO: That seems to say that you find

    6 these minutes interesting, and I'm glad to see that.

    7 MR. KEHOE: Riveting.

    8 MR. NOBILO:

    9 Q. All right. We've stopped at 13.40. So,

    10 General, what happened after that?

    11 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, at 13.45, I

    12 called the mixed artillery division, and I issued

    13 orders to shoot at target 1 and that the commander

    14 should inform me when he is prepared to fire.

    15 At 13.47, I had a conversation with the

    16 commander, Cerkez, and he informed me about the

    17 situation, and I asked him to take care of the

    18 soldiers. I told him to take care of the men.

    19 At 13.49, Darko Kraljevic called, the

    20 commander of the Vitezovi, and he asked for

    21 20-millimetre ammunition. Vid Jazbinski answered him

    22 saying that there was no 20-millimetre ammunition

    23 available.

    24 At 13.52, Commander Holman from Zenica called

    25 me, and he informed me about the situation in Zenica,

  4. 1 and I told him, "You got the order. People are needed

    2 up there and help is needed up there."

    3 Q. Could you tell me what "up there" was in the

    4 context of that conversation?

    5 A. It was the entire point, that is to say, all

    6 of Mount Kuber, and I told him that it was necessary to

    7 give assistance to Mount Kuber and to defend the

    8 positions at Mount Kuber.

    9 At 13.55, the commander of the artillery

    10 called me and informed me that they were prepared to

    11 fire at target 1, and I asked him to keep on waiting,

    12 saying that it was possible that the other side might

    13 wait.

    14 At 14.04, I received information that tanks

    15 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were firing at Vitez,

    16 and later, I received information that they were also

    17 using tanks against Busovaca.

    18 At 14.12, again I instructed the commander of

    19 the artillery to prepare for fire at target 2 and to

    20 wait.

    21 At 14.25, the head of the Military

    22 Intelligence Service submitted information that the

    23 command of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is often

    24 mentioning Krtina-Mahala, that one of the commanders

    25 was wounded at his command post somewhere in front of

  5. 1 the Krizanceve Kuce, and that by nightfall, the army of

    2 Bosnia-Herzegovina is supposed to reach Krizancevo

    3 Selo.

    4 Q. Krizancevo Selo was in the hands of the HVO;

    5 is that right?

    6 A. Yes. That is a village that is predominantly

    7 Croat, and it was held by the HVO. Also he submitted

    8 information to us to the effect that the army of

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina is going to get major reinforcements

    10 from the direction of Opara, Kakanj, and Zenica.

    11 At 14.30, we received a report from the

    12 brigade in Kiseljak, number 01-815-2/93.

    13 At 14.32, the commander of the artillery

    14 called and informed me that he was prepared for target

    15 2 as well. I commanded him to wait.

    16 At 14.35, Mario Cerkez phoned and submitted

    17 information about the situation in his zone.

    18 At 14.44, I called the hospital in Nova Bila

    19 and talked to the officer who had been wounded, Zoran

    20 Pilicic, and Zoran informed me that Mr. Marko Prskalo

    21 had to remain in hospital and that his wounds were

    22 serious and that he personally wanted to come back at

    23 his own risk with UN vehicles and to undergo his

    24 medical treatment at the Hotel Vitez, together with us.

    25 Q. Let us recall that Pilicic and Prskalo were

  6. 1 officers, your negotiators, who were wounded by the BH

    2 army; is that right?

    3 A. Yes. These were officers who were wounded by

    4 snipers from the BH army from Stari Vitez when they

    5 were coming back from negotiations.

    6 At 15.00 hours, Zoran Pilicic called again,

    7 called me and informed me that, in the hospital in Nova

    8 Bila, there was also Mile Vinac, an officer from the

    9 command of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia and

    10 that Mile Vinac --

    11 MR. NOBILO: Sorry. In the transcript, you

    12 should add a "C," Vinac, "V-I-N-A-C."

    13 A. Zoran Pilicic informed me that Mile Vinac was

    14 wounded last night, that is to say, on the 16th of

    15 April, 1993 around 23.00 hours, he was shot in the left

    16 leg.

    17 Q. General, Mile Vinac, is it the same Mile

    18 Vinac who called from Donja Veceriska from his house

    19 and said in a tearful voice that he would get killed

    20 and that you would never see him again, on the 16th of

    21 April?

    22 A. Yes. That was the same officer who said that

    23 this was our last conversation, that he felt sorry for

    24 his family, and that we wouldn't see each other again.

    25 Q. You mentioned on several occasions officers

  7. 1 of the command who were calling you from different

    2 places, including your typist, and saying that they

    3 could not reach the command. Tell me, tell the Court,

    4 in these war days of the 16th and 17th, how many

    5 officers did you have available at your headquarters?

    6 A. At headquarters, I had a total of seven

    7 officers available, including Zoran Pilicic and Marko

    8 Prskalo.

    9 Q. Who were wounded; right?

    10 A. Yes, who were wounded on the 17th as they

    11 were returning from the talks.

    12 At 15.16, Mr. Ivo Rezo called, chief of the

    13 civilian police of the Croatian Community of

    14 Herceg-Bosna, from Travnik, and he was interested in

    15 receiving information about the situation and events in

    16 Vitez and Busovaca, in that area. At the same time, he

    17 provided me with information on the situation in

    18 Travnik.

    19 At 15.20, we received a report from the Jure

    20 Francetic Brigade, number P92/43 from Zenica, and the

    21 contents of the report were as follows: "The members

    22 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina mobilised all units

    23 and engaged them, and tanks were driven out of the

    24 Zenica barracks into town, and one of the tanks was

    25 sent from Zenica along the old road towards Drivusa and

  8. 1 Janjici."

    2 At 15.30, we sent a report to the main staff

    3 of the HVO in Mostar, number 315/93, dated the 17th of

    4 April, '93.

    5 At 15.32, I asked for a phone call to be

    6 placed to the main staff, but the duty officer informed

    7 me that, at that point, the lines were dead and that he

    8 could not establish telephone contact.

    9 At 15.37, the head of the military

    10 intelligence conveyed recorded information of the army

    11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina which reads as follows, I quote:

    12 "Hit the top of the village at the white house. Just

    13 watch out. Near Princip, there are some of our

    14 people."

    15 Q. So this was a message of the army of

    16 Bosnia-Herzegovina to its own units; is that correct?

    17 A. Yes, yes, that is correct, of the army of

    18 Bosnia-Herzegovina to its own units.

    19 Q. Could you please explain this terminology?

    20 In the Lasva River Valley, what is "Princip"?

    21 A. "Princip" is an abbreviation for the factory

    22 of explosives. Before, it was called Slobodan Princip

    23 Selo, and the usual name that the people in the Lasva

    24 River Valley referred to was "Princip" or "SPS."

    25 Q. Please proceed.

  9. 1 A. At 15.40, I asked the artillery to fire at

    2 target 915 and to provide information accordingly.

    3 At 15.43, I received a call from the main

    4 staff of the HVO in Mostar, and I gave the main staff

    5 the following report: I said that we had sent

    6 representatives of the command of the Operative Zone to

    7 negotiate with the representatives of the army of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the UN base in Nova Bila and

    9 that both negotiators, on their way back, were hit by

    10 snipers from Stari Vitez, snipers belonging to the army

    11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I informed them that the

    12 officers in question were Zoran Pilicic and Marko

    13 Prskalo.

    14 I also provided information to the effect

    15 that we have publicly presented to UNPROFOR documents

    16 related to a cease-fire on the basis of the

    17 negotiations held and the agreements reached, but the

    18 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was bringing in fresh

    19 forces from the direction of Visoko.

    20 I also provided information that the

    21 situation was very difficult and critical in Zenica,

    22 notably in Gornja Zenica, and that the army of Bosnia

    23 and Herzegovina had driven out their tanks into the

    24 streets of the town of Zenica, and that one of the

    25 tanks was sent towards Drivusa and Janjici. I said

  10. 1 that I still believe that we shall hold out, but that

    2 we have sustained major losses.

    3 At 15.50, the head of the Military

    4 Intelligence Service called, and informed us that the

    5 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina would fire at the

    6 cemetery by the village of Safradini, in the immediate

    7 vicinity of the house of Marko Safradin.

    8 At 15.55, Slavko Marin called Commander Ivo

    9 Lozancic, in Zepce, but his deputy, Bozo Tomic,

    10 answered the phone, and we exchanged information. We

    11 informed them that there were tanks in the streets of

    12 Zenica and that they should be ready, according to the

    13 order on a false attack.

    14 At 16.00 hours, I talked to the deputy

    15 commander of the HVO of Zenica, Mr. Vinko Baresic, and

    16 I told him that they should not fear the tanks, and if

    17 the tanks are engaged, that we shall respond.

    18 At 16.03, we sent information to the

    19 International Monitoring Mission in Zenica, to UNPROFOR

    20 in Nova Bila, number 01-4-316/93, dated the 17th of

    21 April, 1993 at 15.40. The contents of the information,

    22 I do not recall.

    23 At 16.14, I called the commander of the

    24 artillery, and I asked him to fire at target 914.

    25 At 16.20, I called Cardinal Vinko Puljic in

  11. 1 Sarajevo, and I thanked him for the appeal he addressed

    2 for pacification, and I informed him that we had signed

    3 a document on a cease-fire, but that it was obvious

    4 that the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not

    5 observing the agreed cease-fire.

    6 I also informed him that I sent several

    7 messages to the effect that operations should be

    8 stopped, but that we did not receive a single message

    9 from the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop combat

    10 operations. I also informed him that it was critical,

    11 in Zenica, that tanks were in the streets of Zenica,

    12 and that two of our negotiators were wounded, officers

    13 of the Operative Zone, Marko Prskalo and Zoran Pilicic,

    14 who were returning from negotiations on the cease-fire

    15 from the UN base. I asked and beseeched the Cardinal

    16 that he call Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and that he ask

    17 him, that Alija Izetbegovic should personally intervene

    18 in Zenica and order the 3rd Corps to stop the fire.

    19 He told me, I mean Cardinal Vinko Puljic told

    20 me, that he had already talked about that to Alija

    21 Izetbegovic, and that Mr. Alija Izetbegovic was

    22 claiming that he had been informed that the agreed

    23 cease-fire was not being observed by the HVO.

    24 I asked the Cardinal once again, Cardinal

    25 Vinko Puljic, that he call up Alija Izetbegovic once

  12. 1 again, and that some kind of a written message be sent

    2 to the 3rd Corps in connection with a cessation of

    3 hostilities.

    4 At 16.32, Slavko Marin spoke with Dzemo

    5 Merdan.

    6 Q. Dzemo Merdan was the deputy commander of the

    7 3rd Corps of the army Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    8 A. Yes. Dzemo Merdan said to Marin that he had

    9 not received anything from Sarajevo.

    10 Q. What had you expected from Sarajevo?

    11 A. We had expected any kind of document relating

    12 to a cessation of hostilities and cease-fire, or

    13 perhaps a telephone call or some other kind of

    14 message.

    15 Q. Please proceed.

    16 A. At 16.35, I spoke with Mr. Dario Kordic, and

    17 I informed him about the current situation, and about

    18 the conversation I had had with his holiness, Cardinal

    19 Vinko Puljic.

    20 At 16.40, I was called up by Ignac Kostroman,

    21 who conveyed to me the information that Zivko Totic,

    22 the kidnapped commander of the Zenica HVO Brigade, had

    23 been seriously injured in the head.

    24 At 16.40, also, commanders called up from

    25 Novi Seher and Usora, and reported the following:

  13. 1 "People were on the alert, and things are going

    2 well." I said, "Fine. Wait, because we are expecting,

    3 from the BH army, the order to cease fire."

    4 This was, in fact, a false attack, which was

    5 carried out with the participation of Zepce, Usora and

    6 Novi Seher, in the direction of Zenica, the aim being

    7 to ease the pressure on Vitez and Busovaca.

    8 At 16.52, I had a conversation with the

    9 commander of the Vitez Brigade. I asked for

    10 information about the situation, and I told him,

    11 "Continue working, and provide utmost security."

    12 At 16.55, the head of the Military

    13 Intelligence Service submitted a report that the army

    14 of Bosnia-Herzegovina had discovered artillery pieces

    15 at Hum, and that they were correcting the fire, their

    16 intention being to destroy these artillery pieces and

    17 their personnel.

    18 Q. So you're talking about an HVO gun?

    19 A. Yes.

    20 Q. At 17.00, we sent a warning to the artillery

    21 commander to expect fire against the position at Hum.

    22 Q. Actually, you mean that you conveyed the

    23 report you had received from the head of the Military

    24 Intelligence Service?

    25 A. Yes. At 17.02, a protest was issued because

  14. 1 of the wounding of the officer/negotiator, to the

    2 commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, in

    3 person, the number being 08-4-317/93, dated 17th of

    4 April, 1993 at 16.45.

    5 At 17.07, I spoke to the deputy commander of

    6 the HVO Brigade in Zenica, and I asked him for

    7 information about the situation in Zenica, and he told

    8 me that the situation was tense, the same as it had

    9 been in his previous report.

    10 At 17.20, I was called up by the commander of

    11 the Viteska Brigade, Mario Cerkez, and I asked him to

    12 try to link up his defence lines with the Nikola

    13 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade from Busovaca, and to see

    14 whether we, from the command, could provide any kind of

    15 assistance. The idea was to link up the positions

    16 south of Kuber, a part of Gradina, Jelinak and Krtina.

    17 At 17.25, I called up the Nikola

    18 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, and requested that the

    19 commander also try to achieve a connection with the

    20 Vitez Brigade at positions in Krtina and the southern

    21 slopes of Kuber.

    22 At 17.27, Mario Cerkez called up again, and

    23 said that the greatest assistance to the BH army was

    24 coming via Kuber and Saracevica.

    25 At 17.31, I called the artillery commander,

  15. 1 and ordered him to prepare fire for the target

    2 Saracevica 2.

    3 At 17.38, I was informed, by the artillery

    4 commander, that the preparations had been completed,

    5 and I ordered opening of fire.

    6 Q. Tell us, what is Saracevica?

    7 A. It is a plateau at the very top of Mount

    8 Kuber. It is an elevation point, and an area at the

    9 peak of Mount Kuber.

    10 Q. Let us clarify another point. When you spoke

    11 about the first day of the war, you said that you woke

    12 up about 6.00, and we saw that you were active

    13 continuously until 4.00 a.m. the next day, that is,

    14 until the dawn of the 17th of April. After that, there

    15 was a break of about two hours, and already by 6.00 on

    16 the 17th, you're active again, you're working. Did you

    17 sleep during that day or did you keep working

    18 continuously?

    19 A. No, I did not. From the moment I entered the

    20 basement, I never left it. I may have had a nap at the

    21 desk. I can't say that I was awake for 24 hours, but I

    22 did not go to sleep, to my bedroom.

    23 Q. When did you first go to sleep, to your room,

    24 if you can remember, for the first time?

    25 A. I'm not quite sure, but I think it was the

  16. 1 19th, at about 02.00, for about two or three hours.

    2 Q. You mean during the night?

    3 A. Yes. None of the five or seven, the officers

    4 that were with me, went to sleep. They mostly dozed

    5 off at their desks for awhile.

    6 Q. Please proceed.

    7 A. At 17.43, I was called up by the artillery

    8 commander who informed me that fire had been carried

    9 out as ordered.

    10 At 17.44, I spoke again to the artillery

    11 commander, and asked him to repeat fire against the

    12 same target.

    13 At 17.47, I had a conversation with the

    14 commander of the Operative Zone of North-western

    15 Herzegovina, Mr. Siljeg, and I asked him to get in

    16 touch with the commander.

    17 Q. And who was the commander?

    18 A. The chief of staff of the main staff, and to

    19 convey to him my need of food, and other materiel

    20 supplies, and equipment.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if you agree,

    22 perhaps now would be a good time to break or would you

    23 like us to proceed until the full hour?

    24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the

    25 Judge.

  17. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. We

    2 began a little late, about ten after, or quarter

    3 after. So we can continue for about another 15 minutes

    4 or so.

    5 MR. NOBILO:

    6 Q. Please proceed.

    7 A. I informed Siljeg that the tanks were out in

    8 the streets of Zenica, and at 17.50, we received

    9 information from Zenica about a terrorist attack. The

    10 number of the report was 276-8-1/93, dated the 17th of

    11 April, 1993 at 17.00.

    12 Q. Do you know what kind of terrorist attack?

    13 Who were the perpetrators? Who were the victims? Do

    14 you remember?

    15 A. In my notes it says that the terrorist attack

    16 was against Croats in Zenica, and that it was carried

    17 out by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I do not

    18 recall the details.

    19 Q. Please proceed.

    20 A. At 17.55, Marija Topic called up from the

    21 hospital at Nova Bila, and again she beseeched us to

    22 call the UNPROFOR commander to send a vehicle to

    23 transport Zoran Pilicic from the Nova Bila hospital to

    24 the Vitez Hotel.

    25 At 18.02, the artillery commander informed me

  18. 1 that he had carried out fire against the assigned

    2 target, as ordered.

    3 At 18.22, I called the assistant of the

    4 medical department, Dr. Dzambas, asking him that he

    5 personally call up UNPROFOR, and ask them to be kind

    6 enough to transport the wounded, Zoran Pilicic, from

    7 the hospital to the hotel.

    8 At 18.25, I was called up from the UN I'm

    9 not sure whether I spoke to Colonel Stewart or to one

    10 of his officers, but the office in question made it

    11 clear to me, in the conversation, that they were aware

    12 of the wounding of Marko Prskalo and Zoran Pilicic, and

    13 that they regretted the incident. I informed the UN

    14 officer that in addition to these two officers that I

    15 had temporarily lost, I had also lost another 20

    16 commanders, and that I did not know what the condition

    17 was of the commander of the Zenica Brigade, that is,

    18 Zivko Totic, nor of the condition of the four officers

    19 from the command of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in

    20 Novi Travnik.

    21 I told the UN officer that I had heard that

    22 UNPROFOR does not wish to transport wounded HVO

    23 soldiers, and that in the course of that day, he had

    24 not transported three seriously wounded persons from

    25 the medical centre in Vitez, who needed to be

  19. 1 transported to the Nova Bila hospital. I said that I

    2 was asking UNPROFOR to come and visit us at the

    3 hospital in Nova Bila, and that I was seriously

    4 distressed by losing so many commanding officers.

    5 Q. You mentioned 20 commanders. Did you mean in

    6 these two days or in the days preceding the conflict as

    7 well?

    8 A. Yes, that includes the period prior to the

    9 conflict, and during the two days of fighting.

    10 I asked them to show understanding, and I

    11 emphasised that as regards our own willingness to

    12 co-operate with UNPROFOR, we would continue to

    13 co-operate.

    14 I also said that I had been informed that

    15 fire had been opened from armoured transporters of

    16 UNPROFOR, and that when the situation improves, this

    17 matter should be investigated. I emphasised that I

    18 knew that the UNPROFOR command was not behind any such

    19 acts. I'm referring to the opening of fire.

    20 I also said that I would be grateful if they

    21 could give assistance to the three seriously wounded in

    22 the medical centre in Vitez, and if they could

    23 transport them to the Nova Bila hospital.

    24 I asked UNPROFOR to come and visit Zenica,

    25 where tanks were being used against the HVO. I

  20. 1 underlined, in particular, that they should visit the

    2 Croatian villages in the area of upper Zenica, meaning

    3 Kozarac, Stranjane, Zmajevac and other places.

    4 I also asked them to tell me if they knew

    5 whether the commander of the Zenica Brigade was alive,

    6 as well as the four officer from the Stjepan Tomasevic

    7 Brigade, if they could let me know this because that

    8 would significantly ease the tension in these parts.

    9 They promised that they would come, and that

    10 they would transport the three seriously wounded men,

    11 as well as the wounded officer, Zoran Pilicic, from the

    12 hospital to the Vitez hotel.

    13 At 18.29, the artillery commander called

    14 Slavko Marin, and inquired whether Kuber had fallen.

    15 Slavko Marin told him that he could still not confirm

    16 that.

    17 Q. According to your subsequent information,

    18 when did Kuber actually fall?

    19 A. The entire plateau of Kuber, according to

    20 knowledge I had later on, fell on the 16th, in the

    21 morning, at about 8.30.

    22 Q. But we are now talking about the 17th, at

    23 18.29. Does that mean that for almost two days, the

    24 command was not aware of the loss of the most important

    25 strategic position?

  21. 1 A. Yes.

    2 Q. Please proceed.

    3 A. At 18.34, the head of the Military

    4 Intelligence Service reported that Kuber had fallen,

    5 and that clearly, assistance should be extended to the

    6 HVO at those positions.

    7 At 18.47, I called the commander of the

    8 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, from Busovaca, and asked

    9 for precise information as to the positions that he was

    10 holding on Mount Kuber. I told him that it was

    11 essential that we know this, and that we have to be

    12 aware of the significance of Kuber for the defence of

    13 the Lasva River Valley.

    14 I also asked the commander of the Busovaca

    15 Brigade to inform me of the HVO positions at Busovacke

    16 Staje.

    17 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President. It is now

    18 11.00. Perhaps it is time for the break now.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We'll take a

    20 15-minute break.

    21 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.

    22 --- On resuming at 11.24 a.m.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.

    24 Please be seated.

    25 Mr. Nobilo, we can continue now.

  22. 1 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.

    2 Q. So, General, until the break, we dealt with

    3 the time up to 18.47, approximately. Please proceed.

    4 A. At 18.58, Slavko Marin talked to the

    5 commander of the Vitez Brigade, and he asked him to

    6 establish contact with the soldiers of the Busovaca

    7 Brigade in Loncari. Marin said, as regards Kuber, he

    8 told Cerkez that these were still rumours and that he

    9 did not have confirmed information about the situation

    10 in Kuber.

    11 At 19.02, I talked to the artillery

    12 commander, and I asked for him to prepare fire on

    13 target 2 and to inform me when he was ready.

    14 At 19.05, an order was sent to the Travnik

    15 Brigade, number 01-4-320/93, dated the 17th of April,

    16 1993 at 18.55.

    17 At 19.14, a written warning was issued to all

    18 units and to the attached units in terms of the quality

    19 of reports. Preciseness, accuracy, and completeness

    20 were required in terms of the reports they were

    21 submitting to the command of the Operative Zone. The

    22 number of this document was 01-4-321/93.

    23 At 19.17, the commander of the artillery

    24 called me up and informed me that he was ready to fire,

    25 and I gave him orders to fire.

  23. 1 At 19.22, I talked to the commander of Nikola

    2 Subic-Zrinjski, and I told him that we, from the

    3 Operative Zone, were also giving support to the

    4 fighting in Kuber with artillery.

    5 At 19.23, I asked the commander of the Vitez

    6 Brigade to inform me about the situation in the village

    7 of Krcevine, Tolovici, and Krizancevo Selo. The

    8 commander of the Vitez Brigade told me that the lines

    9 were not penetrated but that there were operations on

    10 both sides.

    11 At 19.32, the commander of the brigade from

    12 Busovaca sent information about the situation in his

    13 zone.

    14 At 19.35, I asked the artillery commander to

    15 prepare for fire on position 603.

    16 At 19.40, we received information from the

    17 municipal centre for observation and information,

    18 aerial observation and information, of Vitez, that the

    19 Mujahedeen were at Kuber and that they were slaughtering

    20 everyone.

    21 Q. So the municipal centre for reporting and

    22 observation, whose institution is that?

    23 A. That is a civilian institution that the

    24 municipality had. Practically every municipality had

    25 that institution and a communications centre for

  24. 1 reporting observation and information.

    2 Q. Please proceed.

    3 A. At 19.50, information was sent through the

    4 commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade that the

    5 commander of the village of Sebesic was trying to stop

    6 the forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from

    7 coming in from Opara towards Vitez.

    8 At 19.55, I again talked to the commander of

    9 the artillery, and I asked that he prepare for fire on

    10 target 860.

    11 At 19.58, I asked the artillery commander to

    12 fire at Kuber.

    13 At 20.00, the head of the Military

    14 Intelligence Service informed us that he recorded the

    15 message, or, rather, the intention of the army of

    16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they were preparing to fire at

    17 Cajdras, that they were asking for coordinates 700

    18 metres behind the lake. "Just give us the direction."

    19 At 20.04, I talked to the commander from

    20 Zenica, and I informed him about the intention of the

    21 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they were preparing to

    22 fire at Cajdras. I also asked him for information on

    23 the situation in Zenica.

    24 At 20.06, again I talked to the artillery

    25 commander in connection with fire at point 603.

  25. 1 At 20.10, I talked to the commander of the

    2 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, and I asked for information

    3 regarding the orders issued. I also talked to the

    4 commander of the Frankopan Brigade, and I told him that

    5 he should hurry up because all was aflame here, and I

    6 was actually talking about the Vitez front line.

    7 At 20.11, Slavko Marin talked to the

    8 artillery commander and asked for fire to be repeated

    9 at target 603.

    10 At 20.12, I talked to Mr. Dario Kordic and

    11 informed him that the line, the front line in Krcevine

    12 was penetrated and that there is the danger of Krcevine

    13 and Stari Vitez being linked up.

    14 At 20.14, I again talked to the commander of

    15 the Viteska Brigade, and I asked him to intervene and

    16 to try to close down that front line or, rather, to

    17 prevent that penetration.

    18 At 20.17, I issued order number 01-4-323/93,

    19 dated 17th of April, 1993 at 20.00. That was to all

    20 the immediately subordinated and attached units.

    21 At 20.18, I asked for assistance for Krcevine

    22 from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.

    23 Q. The order that you just mentioned, do you

    24 recall its contents now?

    25 A. No, I do not recall its contents now.

  26. 1 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps, Mr. President, I should

    2 mention that, at the end of this day, we shall go

    3 through the orders that the Defence managed to obtain.

    4 So some of these orders perhaps will be presented, but

    5 others, regrettably, we did not manage to find.

    6 Q. Please proceed.

    7 A. At 20.20, I asked the commander --

    8 JUDGE JORDA: In terms of methodology,

    9 Mr. Nobilo, it might appear paradoxical that the

    10 witness says that he issued an order, and you say that

    11 you have it but that we don't have at least the

    12 principal content of it. I made that comment

    13 yesterday. It's a methodology question. Of course,

    14 you are the one who chooses your own method.

    15 MR. NOBILO: I didn't say we had all orders.

    16 I said we have some orders. So when we do this

    17 chronology, we shall go through the orders that we do

    18 have and that are related to that day. At the end of

    19 the statement, we are going to go through what we do

    20 have.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: You see, here we have a

    22 chronology, but as I said yesterday, the witness is

    23 telling us what he wants to. He said, "I issued an

    24 order." Well, I don't know. Maybe he did. I suppose

    25 he did. But if you say, "I have a few orders," at

  27. 1 least for the few orders, the witness could have said,

    2 "I issued the orders saying this," but you're the one

    3 who makes the choice.

    4 All right. Please continue.

    5 MR. HAYMAN: There must be a

    6 misunderstanding, Mr. President, because it's not a

    7 question of methodology. We are not choosing one

    8 methodology over another. We are giving the Court the

    9 information we have.

    10 The witness made notes based on the operative

    11 diary that he had access to at a certain point in time,

    12 and we, through our defence investigation, we gathered

    13 the orders that we could get, and we're giving that

    14 information to the Court. There are references where

    15 the witness doesn't remember, and we haven't been able

    16 to determine what the order that he issued specifically

    17 was.

    18 Now, if you're asking the witness to omit

    19 those, certainly the Court can do that, but we're

    20 giving the Court the information we have, and it's not

    21 a matter of choosing not to mention what the content of

    22 a particular order is if we don't know, and he doesn't

    23 know.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I've understood.

    25 All right.

  28. 1 Any comments, Judge Rodrigues? Judge

    2 Rodrigues would like to say something.

    3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Hayman, in respect of

    4 this question, we already know that General Blaskic

    5 took notes before coming here, and now you are taking

    6 the orders to which he's referring to in his notes or

    7 did you have the possibility of having those orders

    8 beforehand?

    9 MR. NOBILO: During the investigation, we

    10 managed to collect some orders, not all of them, but

    11 those that we did collect we did put at the disposal of

    12 the Court.

    13 MR. HAYMAN: Earlier in the witness's

    14 testimony, he said he copied some of the data that he

    15 saw in the archives in Mostar. He was referring to

    16 these notes. He did not copy the archives. He did not

    17 copy the documents. When he came here, he brought his

    18 notes, but it was up to us, Defence counsel, to find

    19 the documents we could get.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, I understood. I did

    21 understand that, but as far as I know, General Blaskic

    22 has his orders or at least references to the orders

    23 which he took at least two years ago. Starting from

    24 those references, you are now trying to look for the

    25 orders; is that correct?

  29. 1 MR. NOBILO: Not quite. Not related to these

    2 notes, we asked for all of Blaskic's orders. We

    3 compared notes only later. The notes are an autonomous

    4 work of Mr. Blaskic, and we asked for all the documents

    5 we could get. It's as simple as that.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. What disturbs me is

    7 when a witness who is the accused says that he gave an

    8 order and that he doesn't know what the order is that

    9 he gave. This is a question of method, basic method.

    10 When an accused is a witness, which is the

    11 situation allowed by our Statute, it seems to me that

    12 somebody who is a witness but also an accused, when he

    13 says, "I issued the order," it seems to me that he is

    14 choosing to give an order and that he should say what

    15 the order was that he gave. Otherwise, it might be

    16 better for him not to talk about it. It's of no

    17 interest.

    18 We suppose that General Blaskic spent his

    19 time giving and receiving orders, but there is

    20 something here which is paradoxical, at least for me,

    21 that is, to know that an accused, who is a General or

    22 who was a Colonel at the time and who was the chief

    23 commander of the Operative Zone, issued an order and

    24 says, "The order is number 0," this or that, "April

    25 1st," and then that's all we know -- we don't know what

  30. 1 the order is -- we're expecting the Defence to say,

    2 either today or tomorrow or in a few weeks, "Here,

    3 we've found this order. We've found that order." I

    4 understand.

    5 Let me finish, please. When we look at

    6 method, you couldn't do anything else. I understand.

    7 No need to repeat it.

    8 You tried, by using what your client told

    9 you, to use some of the orders, and we're waiting for

    10 those orders, but I regret that when an accused says

    11 that, "I gave the Travnik Brigade an order," I regret

    12 that he cannot tell us the order said, "Do this or do

    13 that," or that he doesn't remember. At that point, I

    14 really don't see what is the point of telling us that

    15 he gave us many orders, rather than wasting time.

    16 I'm sure that he gave many orders. He

    17 remembers the reference, he noted the reference, but he

    18 doesn't know the content. Logically speaking, there's

    19 something which, in my mind, is paradoxical. At least

    20 you understand what concerns me.

    21 After that, I will yield to what you do.

    22 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, it is not

    23 illogical and paradoxical at all. Namely, the witness

    24 does not even remember the number of delivery. Six

    25 years have gone by. He copied this out of the war log,

  31. 1 out of the war diary, and that is how he knows it. So

    2 he does not even remember the number, because it is not

    3 possible after six years. So what's reading is what he

    4 wrote down.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Then, Mr. Nobilo, what is the

    6 point of him telling us minute by minute what he did?

    7 We know what time he went to bed, we know what time he

    8 had lunch. I know that was not an easy thing in the

    9 midst of a war. I'm sure that General Blaskic,

    10 Colonel at the time, was very busy, but do admit that

    11 there was a synthesis missing here.

    12 When there's an order in front us, why don't

    13 you tell us, "General Blaskic, you gave this order, and

    14 we found it," whereas this evening, or tomorrow, or

    15 next week, you're going to give us about ten orders,

    16 and then we've got to remember what was in it.

    17 That's the question I'm raising. It's a

    18 methodology question. That's what concerns me here.

    19 I'm only speaking personally of course, you understood

    20 that. I'm not speaking on behalf of the Trial Chamber,

    21 this is a personal opinion that I'm expressing in order

    22 to do my work better.

    23 MR. HAYMAN: There are two reasons, I think,

    24 Mr. President, that we are presenting this way, and

    25 perhaps I should explain so at least the Court

  32. 1 understands why we've chosen this path.

    2 The first is to present, we think, the most

    3 complete reconstruction we can of the events and is the

    4 most credible way to present the information and not to

    5 omit elements.

    6 We think there's inherent credibility in

    7 providing the Court with all this detail, which, quite

    8 frankly, it's then up to the Prosecutor to challenge.

    9 They have the burden of proof, after all. We are

    10 providing the Court with detail that the Prosecutor

    11 failed to provide.

    12 I'm not finished, counsel.

    13 MR. KEHOE: I haven't spoken, counsel.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: I think that Mr. Hayman had not

    15 completed what he wanted to say, and then I'll give you

    16 the floor, Mr. Kehoe.

    17 Mr. Hayman, you made two comments.

    18 MR. HAYMAN: I'm searching for it in my mind,

    19 Mr. President, if you can wear bear with me.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: If you don't mind, we can give

    21 the floor to the Prosecutor, and then, of course, you

    22 can take the floor again once you have remembered what

    23 you wanted to say. Perhaps what the Prosecutor says

    24 will spark your memory. We're going to speak about

    25 method here. I want to move forward.

  33. 1 Mr. Kehoe?

    2 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, Your

    3 Honours. The comment that counsel just made that the

    4 Prosecution has the burden of proof which, of course,

    5 we do, but that we are providing -- but that the

    6 defence is now providing the Court with detail that the

    7 Prosecutor failed to provide. We have several comments

    8 on that.

    9 First and foremost is, I don't know how long

    10 it's been that the Prosecutor, the Office of the

    11 Prosecutor, has been seeking this archive from the

    12 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, that we now have

    13 the recitation from by the witness. I hate to give an

    14 exact date, Mr. President, and Your Honours, but this

    15 question has been the subject of a binding order,

    16 orders issued by this Chamber, and pardon me for one

    17 moment if I might turn to my colleague --

    18 MR. HAYMAN: January '97.

    19 MR. KEHOE: January '97. At least this

    20 period of time. What we get at this point, as a

    21 criticism of the Prosecution's case, is a recitation of

    22 the timing of orders and incidents that take place,

    23 that were written down and edited by this particular

    24 witness.

    25 Suffice it to say, and this will come out in

  34. 1 our cross-examination, that this witness has left

    2 things out, and that will come out. So what we are

    3 getting here is this witness's edited version now being

    4 presented by the Defence.

    5 So I take serious umbrage at any comment by

    6 counsel that this is, this full recitation, minute by

    7 minute, of everything that happened on the 17th, when

    8 in truth and, in fact, by the witness's own admission

    9 that these are the things that he wrote down because he

    10 thought they were important.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Let's not get into too many

    12 details about that subject. That's not the right

    13 time. We're not talking about method, and I'm sure

    14 that the Defence is going to say that that's an exact

    15 version of the facts, and you'll say that it isn't.

    16 That's not the problem.

    17 Mr. Hayman, did you remember what you wanted

    18 to say? Your second comment and then we can continue.

    19 MR. HAYMAN: I've found it, Mr. President,

    20 and that is that we believe, at the end of this trial,

    21 the issue for the Court will not be whether

    22 General Blaskic ordered crimes. He didn't order any

    23 crimes. He didn't order any crimes. I think the Court

    24 knows that by now, the issue will be: Did he engage in

    25 wanton criminal negligence, under the applicable law,

  35. 1 in failing to prevent others from committing crimes?

    2 Was he boozing it up? Did he absent himself

    3 from the headquarters? Did he not take reasonable

    4 steps to gather information? Was he working on these

    5 critical days, the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th or was he in

    6 a brothel somewhere, drunk and not diligently pursuing

    7 his duties? That will be the central issue in this

    8 case, and for the Court to address that issue, we think

    9 it is important for the Court to know, was he working?

    10 Was he diligently seeking to discharge his duties as

    11 best as he could under the circumstances or was he

    12 doing something else? That is why we are presenting

    13 this information in this way. Thank you.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: But, Mr. Hayman -- well, I

    15 understand, but the witness must be specific at the

    16 points where specificity is required. To be specific

    17 doesn't mean to give every minute of one's schedule

    18 from midnight until the next day. He has to also be

    19 specific about what he chooses to say.

    20 I'm not the one who chooses to say, "I

    21 ordered that the target be fired on, this or that

    22 should be taken." If target 603 is a village, that's

    23 what's of interest to the Judge. It's the witness who

    24 chooses it, not the Judges. The witness chooses.

    25 The witness says that -- he chooses to tell

  36. 1 us that, "At 17.27, I gave the order on the 1st of

    2 April," with that and that number. He chooses to say

    3 that. He's the one who's making the choice, but then

    4 he has to go all the way to the end and say to us that

    5 this order said this or that, and at that point, I

    6 would understand your comment better, when you say that

    7 this is a testimony for history, and which would show

    8 that he was not at the place that you indicated.

    9 You said that he wasn't in a brothel, for

    10 instance. Well, I can understand that. Perhaps that

    11 was not the time to do that or to go there, all right,

    12 but he's choosing what he says. For instance, "I

    13 ordered firing." It's fine when he says that this is

    14 target 603, because then the Judges might know what 603

    15 is. But when he says, "I gave an order at 17.27, 28,

    16 29 or 30," you have to tell us what the order was. If

    17 the order was simply to say, "Attack this village,"

    18 that would be different from saying, "Defend that

    19 village," you understand, and that's why I'm trying,

    20 even if we've spent some time on this issue, to refocus

    21 the discussion, if we can.

    22 Perhaps we can continue now.

    23 MR. HAYMAN: We can, Mr. President. All I

    24 would say in closing is that, the details must be put

    25 together with his more general comments, such as every

  37. 1 artillery target he authorised or ordered to be fired

    2 upon was a military target. He will testify he never

    3 ordered an attack on a village. So when you put that

    4 together with the details, we believe it's very

    5 important.

    6 I agree it's frustrating at times when he

    7 says, "I issued an order, but I don't remember what it

    8 was," but we cannot provide detail that we don't know,

    9 and he cannot provide detail that he doesn't remember.

    10 It's not there.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to need

    12 a break after 45 minutes, General Blaskic. We may be

    13 more tired than you are.

    14 All right. We're going to give the floor

    15 back to you now for about 15 minutes. Please go

    16 ahead. Let's proceed.

    17 MR. NOBILO:

    18 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. I know it is

    19 frustrating to listen to this account minute by minute,

    20 but for the sake of orientation, the 16th of April is

    21 the event with the most details.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: I don't want it to be indicated

    23 in the transcript that the Judges found that this was

    24 boring. I object to that being indicated in the

    25 transcript. The Judges are not finding it boring.

  38. 1 They are here to -- well, we've been doing this for 20

    2 months in this trial, they're doing their work, it's a

    3 natural thing.

    4 That's not what I meant. I simply meant that

    5 the Judges have the right to ask that the proceedings

    6 be as clear as possible, so the ascertainment of the

    7 truth can occur. It's not a question of it being

    8 boring. If it were a question of being boring, but for

    9 the importance of the proceedings, we will listen to

    10 boring things. That's why we're here. We're here to

    11 do our work. That's what I wanted to make clear.

    12 MR. NOBILO: Maybe I was misunderstood. That

    13 is not what I meant. I was saying that the dynamics

    14 would gain in intensity after the 17th. We thought

    15 that it would be a good idea to cover the two or three

    16 days as they were, without any selection. There's no

    17 selection here. This is everything that Mr. Blaskic

    18 recalls about those days.

    19 Q. General, I don't know exactly where we had

    20 stopped. Perhaps you know?

    21 A. Yes, I do. It was at 20.20.

    22 Q. Please proceed.

    23 MR. KEHOE: I agree with the witness.

    24 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, at 20.20, I

    25 talked to the commander of the Vitez Brigade, and

  39. 1 informed him that he was going to get artillery support

    2 against target elevation 603, and I asked him to give

    3 me the coordinates of the targets.

    4 MR. NOBILO:

    5 Q. General, frequently before the number

    6 indicating the target, you use the word "kotor." I

    7 don't think the English translation is a good one. Can

    8 you tell us what the term "kotor" means in your

    9 language?

    10 A. On military maps and in military terminology,

    11 it is a marking for certain elevation points on hills,

    12 and for certain features. At Saracevica, for example,

    13 there is such a marking at the very top or in the Lasva

    14 Valley there are a number of mountains that are marked

    15 either by these elevation points or by trigonometric

    16 points.

    17 Q. They're being translated as elevation

    18 points. Therefore, for you, they mean the peaks of

    19 mountains, the dominant points geographically on

    20 geographic features; is that correct?

    21 A. Yes. These are exclusively mountain peaks.

    22 Q. The word "kotor," can it, in any sense, be

    23 interpreted as an inhabited area?

    24 A. No. A "kotor", an elevation point, cannot be

    25 a settlement. It is the peak, the mountain peak.

  40. 1 Q. Please proceed.

    2 A. At 20.22, I issued an order to the commander

    3 of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and to the commander

    4 of the Vitez Brigade. The number was 01-4-324/93,

    5 dated 17 April, '93, and the content of the order was

    6 assistance of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade to the

    7 Vitez Brigade in defending the Krcevine-Jardol front

    8 line. To the commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic

    9 Brigade the order was executive, and for the Vitez

    10 Brigade, it was for their information.

    11 At 20.24 hours, I had another talk with the

    12 artillery commander, and asked him to fire at target

    13 603, or elevation point.

    14 At 20.33, I had another talk with the

    15 artillery commander, and we discussed fire at target

    16 603.

    17 At 20.35, Slavko Marin spoke with the

    18 commander of the Frankopan Brigade, and asked for

    19 information as to whether the packet had arrived for

    20 us, implying reinforcements from the Frankopan Brigade

    21 for the Vitez Brigade in defending the lines at

    22 Krcevine.

    23 Q. So coded, what does this packet mean? Does

    24 it mean personnel?

    25 A. Yes, it means personnel.

  41. 1 Q. Please proceed.

    2 A. At 20.35, I received a report from the

    3 commander of the military police, Mr. Pasko, who

    4 informed me, and I quote, "We are in a situation to be

    5 or not to be, and my men have to arrive." He was

    6 referring to the front line at Barin Gaj-Krtina,

    7 south-west of the Kuber Mountain and north of Vitez.

    8 Q. The Barin Gaj line, in relation to the

    9 village of Ahmici, what is its position?

    10 A. It is 50 metres from the last house in the

    11 village of Ahmici, where the HVO was positioned, and

    12 then to the east along the main Vitez to Busovaca road.

    13 Q. When you say "from the last house," do you

    14 mean uphill towards the north?

    15 A. Yes, 50 metres to the north from the last

    16 house.

    17 Q. Please proceed.

    18 A. At 20.40, I was called by the commander of

    19 the Vitez Brigade, who informed me that the positions

    20 in the village of Krcevine had been recaptured or,

    21 rather, the breach that had occurred as a result of the

    22 breakthrough of the front line had been filled in.

    23 At 21.41, Slavko Marin spoke to the artillery

    24 commander, and asked for fire at elevation point 603.

    25 At 20.47, I called the artillery commander

  42. 1 and asked that he hurry up with the fire.

    2 At 20.52, I was informed by the artillery

    3 commander, and gave orders for fire.

    4 Q. We have an error. It says "21.45," and you

    5 said "20.45" was the time when Slavko Marin spoke to

    6 the artillery commander. 20.41.

    7 A. The time was 20.41.

    8 At 20.57, the artillery commander conveyed to

    9 me the information that he had been informed by the

    10 Frankopan Brigade commander that he had sent

    11 assistance, and at 20.58, this conversation with the

    12 artillery commander was resumed, and we asked that he

    13 prepare for fire at 914, 915, and 709 target numbers.

    14 Q. Are these targets from the artillery firing

    15 plan?

    16 A. Yes, they were part of the artillery fire

    17 plan, but he was assigned with the task to report on

    18 readiness and completion of the preparation for fire.

    19 Q. Can you remind us whether you personally

    20 signed the plan of artillery fire for the 17th of

    21 April, 1993?

    22 A. Yes, I did.

    23 Q. This plan of artillery fire, did it ever

    24 include a civilian village or a civilian target?

    25 A. No.

  43. 1 Q. Please proceed.

    2 A. At 21.02, Slavko Marin again called up the

    3 commander of the Frankopan Brigade, and tried to check

    4 as to what had happened with the reinforcements.

    5 At 21.05, I was called up by the commander of

    6 the Vitez Brigade, and informed that Novaci had been

    7 recaptured.

    8 Q. Tell us, where is Novaci in relation to Stari

    9 Vitez, for instance?

    10 A. It almost borders on Stari Vitez. They are

    11 north-east of Stari Vitez and south-east of Krcevine.

    12 Q. When Cerkez, the commander of the Vitez

    13 Brigade, reported that Novaci had been recaptured, who

    14 had recaptured them temporarily, and recaptured by

    15 whom?

    16 A. He didn't inform me, but I assume that

    17 because of the breakthrough in the front line at

    18 Krcevine, all HVO forces had retreated from Krcevine,

    19 Novaci, towards the centre of Vitez, and probably the

    20 forces of the BH army had continued their advance of

    21 Novaci because they had make a breakthrough at

    22 Krcevine.

    23 Q. Fine. Please proceed.

    24 A. At 23.00, I asked the artillery commander to

    25 fire at target 650.

  44. 1 At 23.15, we were informed by the head of the

    2 Military Intelligence Service as follows, and I quote,

    3 "If UNPROFOR doesn't arrive by 23.00, we will head

    4 towards UNPROFOR."

    5 At 23.15, I had a talk with Dario Kordic as

    6 well, and I informed him about the situation in the

    7 territory of Vitez municipality.

    8 Q. Tell us, General, the purpose of the war

    9 diary, on the basis of which you prepared your notes,

    10 as we have seen over the past two days, what is the

    11 relationship between documents that you produced on the

    12 16th and 17th, and the war diary or, rather, whether

    13 all the documents that you produced, did they have to

    14 be registered in the war diary? What was the

    15 organisation like?

    16 A. The war diary or, rather, this operations

    17 diary, primarily my activities were entered, and the

    18 activities of my associates, that is, mainly

    19 communications and telephone conversations. All orders

    20 and documents that were issued were mostly entered in

    21 the logbook, where they were given a registration

    22 number, and all the documents need not have necessarily

    23 been entered in the war diary.

    24 Q. You mentioned the logbook. Is it a book

    25 separate from the operations diary?

  45. 1 A. It is a separate book, distinct from the

    2 operations diary, in which registration numbers are

    3 entered, and all documents drafted are registered

    4 separately and entered into this book.

    5 Q. Do all documents have to be entered into this

    6 logbook?

    7 A. Yes. All written documents that are drafted,

    8 regardless of who did the actual drafting, have to be

    9 entered into the logbook, and all written documents

    10 need not be entered in the operations diary.

    11 Q. This operations diary, would it have to

    12 contain all oral communications that the officer on

    13 duty manages to take note of?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. I would now like to ask the registrar to give

    16 us document number D301, D300 and D299, please.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't quite understand. At

    18 23.15, the military information services mentioned that

    19 the UNPROFOR would not be there before 23.00. Was that

    20 the interception of a message that was intended for a

    21 message of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

    22 A. Mr. President, I assume, because the military

    23 intelligence gave us information only about the BH

    24 army, and I quoted the report in the original as it

    25 reached me at 23.15, from the Military Intelligence

  46. 1 Service.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: But you interpreted this as

    3 meaning what?

    4 A. I interpreted it as relating to the BH army.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but what did it mean?

    6 Well, I want to understand things here. I just write

    7 down notes. I don't understand.

    8 If UNPROFOR doesn't come before 23.00, we'll

    9 go to UNPROFOR. What does that mean? You're the

    10 General, and chief of staff, the Colonel, how did you

    11 interpret that?

    12 I would say that I simply do not understand

    13 what that means. Could you explain it to us please?

    14 Perhaps one of my colleagues understood it

    15 differently.

    16 "If UNPROFOR does not come before 23.00."

    17 Therefore, this is a message intercepted by your

    18 Military Intelligence Services, apparently a message

    19 from the army for Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that

    20 if UNPROFOR doesn't come before 23.00, but arrive

    21 where? To do what? How do you interpret this?

    22 You've got a crisis staff. You interpret it

    23 in a certain way. We're going back into the same

    24 problems. I don't really care that you put down 23.15

    25 from the military information services, but I want to

  47. 1 know what it means for you. What does it mean?

    2 A. I assumed that this was a request addressed

    3 to UNPROFOR to evacuate the wounded, and such requests

    4 at that time were addressed by us as well and probably

    5 also by the BH army, and UNPROFOR was the only one that

    6 had armoured transporters for the evacuation, but I can

    7 tell you, on the basis of this, where, what place was

    8 being referred to, because even at the time, I couldn't

    9 understand it.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then that's

    11 enough. That's all. That's enough. That's the

    12 illustration that I've been asking for for some time

    13 now. You received a message, and you have to tell the

    14 Judge what it means. You already asked about -- you

    15 referred to many people, as you indicated, as you must

    16 have done. All right. We will go back to the

    17 numbering of the documents, and then we will take a

    18 break.

    19 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    20 Q. Will you please first look at document D301.

    21 This is one of the orders that you mentioned that was

    22 entered in the operations diary. The number is

    23 01-4-325/93. The order is addressed to the commander

    24 of the Vitez Brigade in person. It is entitled

    25 "Organisation and Conduct of Vitez Defence." It was

  48. 1 written at 22.10 hours. You are organising the defence

    2 of Vitez by sector.

    3 Of course, we won't be reading the document

    4 because we all have it. Will you explain to the Court

    5 the significance of this document? What does it mean?

    6 A. Your Honours, by this order, we had actually

    7 tried, in formal terms, to structure the situation as

    8 it already existed in the villages of Vitez

    9 municipality because it had emerged that the Vitez

    10 Brigade, which we tried to form at the end of March '93

    11 and to structure it, could not function within such a

    12 short period of time. The villagers self-organised

    13 themselves in the villages, and if we look at these

    14 sectors, they already constituted positions at which

    15 the soldiers had organised themselves, and this order

    16 was meant to formally confirm the existing situation.

    17 Q. Will you please look in the order? It says,

    18 "Sector I," and the terms used, "Zabilje - Brdo -

    19 Jardol - Krcevine - trigonometric point 356." What are

    20 these names of?

    21 A. These are names of villages that we assumed

    22 were still under the control of the HVO and in which

    23 the farmers had self-organised themselves for defence.

    24 Q. Tell us, this transition to sector defence,

    25 when each village is a unit and several villages

  49. 1 constitute a sector, what does that mean in terms of

    2 the military deployment of a brigade? Is it a more

    3 advanced level or was it a step backwards in the

    4 structuring of the HVO Brigade in Vitez?

    5 A. This was a radical step backwards and

    6 actually an indication of the dissolution of the

    7 brigade because it emerged that this brigade could not

    8 be used in combat as a classical military unit and that

    9 we had to accept the situation such as it was on the

    10 ground for us to be able to survive.

    11 In this order, I was, in fact, forced to say

    12 that the sector commander would be designated by the

    13 brigade commander because I knew that even he could not

    14 name him by order, but he had to ask these villages,

    15 Zabrdje, Brdo, Jardol, Krcevine, "Who do you want to be

    16 the commander of the sector?" So he would formally

    17 confirm their choice and their position for each

    18 sector, sector 1 or sector 2, for instance.

    19 Q. This order, does it clearly indicate that you

    20 de facto did not have an operational military unit but

    21 only armed villages, as you did in 1992?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, with your leave,

    24 we could take a break now.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We're going to take a

  50. 1 break. We will resume at 12.30.

    2 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.

    3 --- On resuming at 12.37 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now,

    5 please.

    6 Mr. Nobilo?

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

    8 Q. I would like D299 to be shown. I think it's

    9 somewhere around there. This is your preparatory

    10 combat order, dated the 17th of April, 1993, written at

    11 9.10 and addressed to the commander of the Ban Josip

    12 Jelacic Brigade?

    13 A. Yes.

    14 Q. Can you say what the point of this

    15 preparatory combat order was, and why did you issue it

    16 precisely to the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade in

    17 Kiseljak.

    18 A. The point of this order was to alleviate the

    19 pressure and the attacks of the army of

    20 Bosnia-Herzegovina from Zenica, Visoko, and Brezen

    21 towards Busovaca and Vitez, because it became clear

    22 that our activities in terms of alleviation by way of

    23 Zepce and Usora were not fruitful and did not actually

    24 alleviate the situation, namely, reinforcements were

    25 coming to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the

  51. 1 attacks were stepped up throughout the 17th.

    2 Q. In this preparatory combat order, you gave

    3 the following tasks: Point 2, to carry out the

    4 blockade of the village of Visnjica "... and other

    5 villages that could be used by the enemy to launch an

    6 attack. B) Take control of Gomionica and Svinjarevo

    7 after a strong artillery support by VBR and MB. The

    8 attack of the main forces to be made from Sikulje and

    9 Hadrovci. Establish the line of defence and keep the

    10 troops together," added in handwriting.

    11 Tell us, why did you direct the Ban Josip

    12 Jelacic Brigade to Gomionica and Svinjarevo precisely,

    13 and why did you point out the directions of Sikulje and

    14 Hadrovci? What was the underlying idea?

    15 A. The headquarters of the army of

    16 Bosnia-Herzegovina from Kiseljak were in Gomionica, and

    17 above Gomionica and between Sikulje and the village of

    18 Hadrovci was the area where the forces of the 1st Corps

    19 were brought in, the 1st Corps of the army of

    20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Visoko.

    21 I wanted that area to be taken, that is to

    22 say, the slope above the village, and for it to be

    23 linked up and, in some way, to draw the attention of

    24 the forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from

    25 Visoko to that and gradually to stop troops from Visoko

  52. 1 being brought into the Busovaca and Vitez battlefields,

    2 that is to say, for the forces of the army of

    3 Bosnia-Herzegovina to be tied up there.

    4 Q. So the words "take control of Gomionica and

    5 Svinjarevo after a strong previous artillery support,"

    6 does that mean attack against civilians or attack on

    7 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    8 A. No. It meant to take a position between

    9 Sikulje and Hadrovci, and that was a position or a

    10 front line that was held by the army of

    11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is why it is mentioned in

    12 this point that the attack to be made from Sikulje and

    13 Hadrovci should be made by the main forces.

    14 Q. Could you show us on the map where the

    15 positions of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were as far

    16 back as January of 1993, and where did you direct the

    17 attack? What stems from this order? On the map first,

    18 please, and then if possible, we'll go on.

    19 A. This is Kiseljak (indicating). Gomionica is

    20 by the road from Kiseljak to Busovaca. I ordered the

    21 main forces to operate from Sikulje. This is the

    22 position that I'm showing (indicating). Towards the

    23 village of Hadrovci, this was also an HVO position, but

    24 from the village of Hadrovci too towards Sikulje, so

    25 that there could be a link-up somewhere around

  53. 1 Stojkovici, that is to say, it will be quite clear when

    2 we see it on the map.

    3 Q. In this way, would the villages of Svinjarevo

    4 and Gomionica come under your control if there would be

    5 a front line above them?

    6 A. They would but, at any rate, we would not

    7 have acted in keeping with this order by operating

    8 against the villagers of Gomionica.

    9 Q. Tell me, do you know whether the army of

    10 Bosnia-Herzegovina was already fortified in that area

    11 at that time? Did that front line exist already?

    12 A. It was a fully established front line with

    13 mine fields, and part of the front line I saw for

    14 myself in 1992 in the area of Sikulje, Jeskovica,

    15 Stojkovici, and Mladenovac. In Gomionica, forces were

    16 brought in and also concrete pillboxes, reinforced

    17 concrete pillboxes. These are fourth category defence

    18 devices, and in peacetime, they are usually used for

    19 arranging an area for a defence.

    20 Q. I suggest that you put a piece of paper on

    21 the ELMO, perhaps this particular piece of paper, and

    22 could you sketch this briefly, the road

    23 Svinjarevo-Gomionica, and also the directions of attack

    24 that you had requested? I think that it is going to be

    25 the clearest, from a military point of view, if we do

  54. 1 it that way to see the tactic that was employed. Put

    2 the directions of attack, please. Could you please

    3 place it on the ELMO and then explain it?

    4 MR. NOBILO: I would like the registrar to

    5 give this exhibit a number, and then we can have it

    6 handed out to all the interested parties.

    7 Q. Would you please explain all the elements on

    8 this sketch?

    9 A. This is the main road that leads from

    10 Busovaca to Kiseljak (indicating). This is roughly the

    11 village of Gomionica (indicating). Sikulje was the

    12 position that was previously held by the HVO. That's

    13 what I'm showing now (indicating). The village of

    14 Hadrovci, it's also a position that was held by the

    15 HVO.

    16 The area from the village of Hadrovci to the

    17 village of Sikulje was held by the forces of the

    18 Operative Group of Visoko, and among them was the army

    19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Kiseljak. When orders were

    20 issued for the main forces to act, it meant from

    21 Sikulje along a slope to the highest point above

    22 Gomionica.

    23 Q. Could we just stop at this point? We have a

    24 few concentric circles in the sketches of a military

    25 nature. What does this mean?

  55. 1 A. This is a hill above the village of

    2 Gomionica. It's an elevation.

    3 Q. This hill, does it have military

    4 significance?

    5 A. It is significant by all means, and it was

    6 prepared from an engineering point of view for combat

    7 action.

    8 Q. By whom?

    9 A. By the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they

    10 had bunkers there, trenches, mine fields, and

    11 everything else that meant preparation of a specific

    12 military position.

    13 Q. In your opinion, why did the army of

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina precisely use a hill above the

    15 village of Gomionica for establishing proper military

    16 positions with bunkers and military infrastructure?

    17 Why not on the road in Gomionica, down there?

    18 A. Well, with this kind of position, the army of

    19 Bosnia-Herzegovina had full control over the road

    20 between Busovaca and Kiseljak but also the auxiliary

    21 road that leads to Visoko over this hill (indicating),

    22 that is to say, that they had communication with the

    23 command of the 1st Corps of the army of

    24 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Visoko. They had a strong

    25 position also for exercising control over this area

  56. 1 (indicating) and the village and also over the Croatian

    2 villages that I haven't drawn, Krizici, Gromiljak,

    3 Sadrovan, and the other villages that stretch along the

    4 main road.

    5 Q. Why didn't you order the attack to go through

    6 the village of Gomionica straight to the hill? Is

    7 there a military reason for that? Is there a military

    8 reason why you're going around?

    9 A. At any rate, I wanted to avoid fighting in an

    10 inhabited area. Although I knew that the headquarters

    11 was in Gomionica, and I knew that at the very entrance

    12 there is a roadblock and also that there was an

    13 established front line going through the village, I

    14 ordered in this document, and we'll see this later too,

    15 that the main forces should attack on the other side in

    16 order to avoid any kind of combat operation in an

    17 inhabited area because there would be unwanted

    18 casualties in that case.

    19 Q. So one reason is unnecessary casualties, but

    20 on the other hand, in a military sense, isn't it

    21 smarter to attack from the other side or to attack

    22 directly, directly through the village?

    23 A. At any rate, this is a far more favourable

    24 solution and a military solution which makes it

    25 possible by taking this position (indicating) to create

  57. 1 a more favourable position for the HVO forces.

    2 Q. An attack through the village on the hill,

    3 when you said that this would cause unnecessary

    4 casualties, what casualties were you referring to?

    5 A. I was referring to civilian casualties,

    6 people living in the village of Gomionica and

    7 immediately around the village, because there would be

    8 destruction that was unnecessary.

    9 Q. Thank you.

    10 MR. NOBILO: I suggest that we give this

    11 exhibit a number, and we're going to ask the registry

    12 to have this copied.

    13 THE REGISTRAR: This is D545.

    14 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    15 Q. We move on to the next document, D300. This

    16 is an order that you issued on the same day but later,

    17 that is to say, on the 17th of April around 23.45, and

    18 it is entitled "Order for Combat Operations." It is

    19 also addressed to this same Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade.

    20 Before we start analysing this order, tell us, document

    21 D300 that we're looking at now and D299 that we just

    22 looked at a few minutes ago, how are these related?

    23 A. This was a preparatory order, the one at

    24 9.10, and this is an executive order for combat

    25 operation at 23.45 on that very same day, that is to

  58. 1 say, that what we asked for in the preparatory order,

    2 we expected it to be realised with this operative

    3 order.

    4 Q. These two documents, are they a whole?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. In the first part of the order you wrote the

    7 following: "Massacres against Croats in Zenica are

    8 continued, where Muslim forces are using tanks to fire

    9 at people and trample upon them, mostly women and

    10 children."

    11 On what basis did you write this sentence?

    12 A. On the basis of the information we received

    13 about operations that day in the villages of Gornja

    14 Zenica. That is to say the villages of Stranjani, then

    15 the village of Janjac, Zmajevac, and other villages or

    16 hamlets, Kozarci, mostly Croat villages of Gornja

    17 Zenica, and information I received from Deputy

    18 Commander Vinko Baresic.

    19 Q. In the second sentence you say: "All of

    20 today's attacks have been repelled, the enemy has been

    21 totally crushed, which compels him to continually bring

    22 in fresh forces."

    23 What would be your comment in relation to

    24 this sentence?

    25 A. Well, during the day, in the afternoon,

  59. 1 especially in view of the town of Vitez, we had major

    2 problems. Perhaps this could better be seen on the

    3 relief. There was a penetration of the line in

    4 Krcevine and Novaci, and there was a danger that the

    5 entire town could be taken. By engaging part of the

    6 forces from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and the

    7 Frankopan Brigade, we managed to take care of the

    8 situation, but because of lack of ammunition, and

    9 because of the threat of a new attack, I was aware that

    10 we could not hold out until we alleviated this front.

    11 So that is to say that we did manage to repel these

    12 attacks on the front line, but the situation, our very

    13 survival, was in question.

    14 Q. Could you bring in fresh forces into this

    15 enclave of yours, as the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    16 could?

    17 A. The greatest reinforcement will be evident in

    18 some of the orders that I managed to bring in from the

    19 Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, either 25 or 30 soldiers.

    20 That was the order I issued, and that was at the time

    21 when the line in Krcevine had completely been

    22 penetrated.

    23 I tried, throughout the day, by falsely

    24 animating Zepce, Seher, and Usora to disburden this

    25 front, but it seemed to me that didn't really have any

  60. 1 effect at that point in time.

    2 Q. Under point 2, you enumerate the assignments

    3 involved. The first one is the following: "Firmly

    4 hold Zavrtaljka, grid reference/ 1020."

    5 Could you show on the relief what Zavrtaljka

    6 is and what its significance was?

    7 A. Zavrtaljka is of significance for Kiseljak,

    8 similarly to the importance of Mount Kuber to Vitez,

    9 and Busovaca.

    10 Q. What does that mean?

    11 A. That means that who holds Zavrtaljka fully

    12 controls the area from Bilalovac, via Dugo Polje,

    13 Gromiljak, and practically all the way up to the

    14 entrance of the town of Kiseljak.

    15 From Zavrtaljka, artillery and other fire can

    16 completely keep this area under control, and that is

    17 the most important point. After Jasikovica, for the

    18 safety of Kiseljak, if viewed westward towards Busovaca

    19 and further on to Vitez and Travnik.

    20 Q. Thank you. Thank you.

    21 A. From a military point of view, that is the

    22 most important point.

    23 Q. In point 2.22, you say, "Using all available

    24 artillery, carry out fire preparations for the attack

    25 and -- with a fire attack by using 60, 82 and

  61. 1 120-millimetre mortar launchers. Regroup forces and

    2 carry out artillery preparations for launching an

    3 attack on and the capture of Bilalovac."

    4 Can you explain to the Court what that point

    5 means?

    6 A. The position in the hill above Gomionica here

    7 is noticeable, and I requested that the available

    8 artillery should carry out fire preparations for the

    9 hill itself. Then in the second part, the infantry

    10 forces could attack from Sikulje and Hadrovci, and they

    11 could take this position then.

    12 Q. This executive order, should it be read

    13 together with the preparatory order that you explained

    14 to us in the previous documents, when you drew the

    15 sketch for us?

    16 A. It is related, and that is why this

    17 preparatory order was issued. The preparatory order

    18 and the executive order comprise a whole. In the

    19 preparatory order, it says what should be done, and in

    20 the executive order it says when it should be done.

    21 Q. So everything that you've said in terms of

    22 the preparatory order, not to repeat all of that, could

    23 that be repeated now when explaining point 2.2 of

    24 document D300?

    25 A. Yes.

  62. 1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, it's 1.00. If

    2 you think this would be a good time to break.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we're going to break and

    4 resume at 2.30.

    5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.





















  63. 1 --- On resuming at 2.36 p.m.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. You

    3 may be seated.

    4 Mr. Nobilo, we will continue hearing

    5 Mr. Blaskic, the accused.

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

    7 Q. We had stopped at Defence Exhibit 300, which

    8 is actually an order --

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo, for

    10 barging in. When I'm saying, Mr. Nobilo, that the

    11 accused is testifying, I want this to appear on the

    12 transcript. I want the public to know that Mr. Blaskic

    13 is the accused present in this trial and is

    14 testifying. What I mean is that the accused in this

    15 case is testifying, and I would like this little nuance

    16 to appear on the transcript.

    17 Our hearings are public, and it is useful for

    18 the public to know exactly at what stage of the trial

    19 we find ourselves, a trial which, let me remind you,

    20 started some 20 months ago.

    21 All right. Let us continue. Thank you to

    22 the interpreters.

    23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    24 Q. We had stopped before the lunch break when we

    25 were discussing Defence Exhibit 300, which is the order

  64. 1 for combat operation which you issued to the Ban Josip

    2 Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak on the 17th of April, 1993

    3 at 21.45. We were starting to analyse and discuss

    4 Zavrtaljka, which is a key strategic point in that part

    5 of Kiseljak. Let me ask you in relation to point 2

    6 where you say -- in 2.2, you say, among other things,

    7 that mortars should be used to systematically target

    8 and capture this point.

    9 Could you please explain to the Court what,

    10 in your military terminology, the words "systematic

    11 fire" means?

    12 A. In this point, 2.2, it says, "By systematic

    13 targeting, by mortar launches of 60, 82, and

    14 122-millimetres capture Gomionica and Svinjarevo."

    15 "Systematic fire" implies the greatest possible

    16 precision when using mortars, especially when the

    17 targets are military, that is, the deployment or

    18 position of forces that are being attacked, the firing

    19 positions of individual artillery pieces which are the

    20 object of attack, but with the greatest possible

    21 precision and accuracy.

    22 Q. What would be the opposite term? If you were

    23 not to use this term, "systematic," how do you describe

    24 it then?

    25 A. Then the order would say, "Carry out firing

  65. 1 of the targets with 60, 82, and 120-millimetre

    2 mortars," and in practice, that would mean opening fire

    3 at the whole position where the enemy unit is

    4 positioned without the requirement of the greatest

    5 possible precision in respect to each individual

    6 point. Such a targeting of the object would be carried

    7 out in a far shorter period of time and with far less

    8 precision.

    9 Q. In this same point, you instruct the units,

    10 in continuation of the operation, to attack and capture

    11 Bilalovac. What was the reason for your instructions

    12 to direct them towards Bilalovac, and what did

    13 Bilalovac mean then?

    14 A. Bilalovac was the first point where the main

    15 communication between Kiseljak and Busovaca, the main

    16 road, had been intercepted. At that time, any attack

    17 or offensive operation towards Bilalovac would mean the

    18 stretching out of forces for Busovaca and Vitez, the

    19 stretching out of the front line, because the command

    20 of the 3rd Corps would resolutely defend that corridor

    21 which links Zenica via Fojnica with Konjic and Mostar.

    22 Therefore, my basic idea was to alleviate the

    23 pressure on Vitez and Busovaca by forcing the 3rd Corps

    24 to deploy a part of the forces at the Kiseljak front.

    25 Q. Please remind us in what area the BH army, in

  66. 1 January '93, captured the road between Kiseljak and

    2 Busovaca?

    3 A. I can show that to you. The Kacuni-Bilalovac

    4 segment of the road was captured. This was a land and

    5 air corridor enabling operational linkage of the 3rd

    6 Corps of the BH army with the 6th and 4th Corps of the

    7 BH army in Fojnica and Konjic or, rather, Konjic and

    8 Mostar.

    9 Q. If, by some good fortune for your units, you

    10 had managed to make a breakthrough from Bilalovac

    11 towards Busovaca, what would that mean for your

    12 operational position in Central Bosnia?

    13 A. That would certainly have radically changed

    14 the impossible situation we were in in Vitez, and it

    15 would give us greater hope that we would be able to

    16 hold on to these areas.

    17 Q. Let me summarise: Attacks in the direction

    18 of the villages of Gomionica, Svinjarevo, and

    19 Bilalovac, was their aim exclusively a military one or

    20 was it not?

    21 A. My view is that it was exclusively a military

    22 objective, and that was the only way for me to improve

    23 the situation in Vitez and Busovaca, which were

    24 virtually on the brink of falling.

    25 Q. To alleviate the situation in Vitez and

  67. 1 Busovaca, what did you have to attack? Who did you

    2 have to attack?

    3 A. I had to give an order for an attack against

    4 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina so that the main forces

    5 of the BH army would regroup and focus on the Kiseljak

    6 theatre of war.

    7 Q. Thank you. Let us go on to point 3. You say

    8 that Fojnica, according to your order, must secure your

    9 left flank and launch an attack on Dusina or a

    10 breakthrough towards Sebesic. What does that sentence

    11 mean in military terms?

    12 A. In the event that the Ban Josip Jelacic

    13 Brigade from Kiseljak were to start an attack towards

    14 Bilalovac, then the entire left flank would be

    15 vulnerable and that would enable a part of the forces

    16 of the Visoko Operative Group of the BH army to launch

    17 an attack somewhere and to inflict losses on the left

    18 flank.

    19 That is why I issued the order that Fojnica

    20 must secure the left flank, and it was alternatively,

    21 either that it should attack the Dusina detachment of

    22 the BH army, which was deployed in the region of the

    23 village of Dusina, or to take action in the direction

    24 of Sebesic and to deblock the Sebesic HVO, which was

    25 totally surrounded by BH army forces already at the

  68. 1 time.

    2 Q. Tell us in summary form, what was the aim of

    3 engaging HVO units from Fojnica? Was the aim to

    4 aggravate relations between Croats and Muslims in

    5 Fojnica or was there some other reason?

    6 A. The only reason was to alleviate the position

    7 of the forces attacking from Fojnica to the south of

    8 Busovaca by linking the main forces of the BH army and

    9 to ease the pressure on the southern part of the

    10 Busovaca theatre of war, Prosje, Polom, Kapak,

    11 Busovacke Staje.

    12 Q. In point 5 of your order you say, "To the

    13 commander of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade," and I

    14 quote, "Your estimates about certain forces are

    15 basically unfounded and unrealistic because the main

    16 forces are concentrated on Vitez and Busovaca."

    17 Could you please explain to the Court the

    18 meaning behind this sentence?

    19 A. According to the information available to us,

    20 the main forces of the 3rd Corps, to which the forces

    21 of the 1st Corps of the BH army had been attached, and

    22 which were organised into an operative group called

    23 Visoko, they were engaging in an offensive operation

    24 against Busovaca and Vitez, and auxiliary forces of the

    25 BH army were, ever since the January conflict, January

  69. 1 '93, on the point of contact between the Kiseljak

    2 line -- this is the Kiseljak theatre war and the HVO.

    3 Q. Could you remind us where this line was?

    4 A. That front line was from Zavrtaljka via

    5 Pobrdze, Velike Sotnice, Hrastovi, Male Sotnice,

    6 Barane, Gunjace, Kazagici, Grabovi, Hadrovci,

    7 Svinjarevo, Gomionica, Sikulja, Podastinjsko Brdo or

    8 hill, and Tusnjici.

    9 Q. The commander of the Ban Josip Jelacic

    10 Brigade, did he share your view that the main forces

    11 were at Kiseljak and Busovaca, and the auxiliary ones

    12 in Kiseljak?

    13 A. In his report, his view was that the main

    14 forces were concentrated at the Fojnica theatre war,

    15 that is in the zone of responsibility of the Ban Josip

    16 Jelacic Brigade, and that is why I told him that his

    17 assessments were not correct because I had information,

    18 and I was aware of the impossible situation in Vitez

    19 and Busovaca, and that is why I told him that the main

    20 forces were not on the Kiseljak front line, but on the

    21 front line of Busovaca and Vitez, that is, the main

    22 forces of the BH army.

    23 Q. To make it quite clear, did you believe that

    24 there were no BH army forces in Gomionica, Svinjarevo,

    25 and the part of the front which you have just

  70. 1 described?

    2 A. No. I looked upon this situation from the

    3 standpoint of the concentration of the overall forces

    4 of the 3rd Corps, and my position was that the main

    5 forces under the command of the 3rd Corps command were

    6 engaged in the attack on Busovaca and Vitez, whereas

    7 the auxiliary forces of the 3rd Corps, which were also

    8 quite strong but not as strong as the main forces were

    9 at the Kiseljak front line.

    10 Q. In your next point or one of the next points,

    11 that is point 7, it says, "All army forces, police

    12 forces (military and civilian) are to be placed under

    13 the command of the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade in

    14 Kiseljak."

    15 Tell the Court, on the basis of what

    16 authority are you giving this order for the military

    17 and civilian police to be attached to the Ban Josip

    18 Jelacic Brigade?

    19 A. On the basis of the authority given to me by

    20 the main staff in Mostar.

    21 Q. Point 8 says, "All assault operations must be

    22 successful, and to that end, use units of the military

    23 and civilian police for the mop-up."

    24 Could you explain what this mop-up, mopping

    25 up operations for a solder in this kind of operation,

  71. 1 meant?

    2 A. When a unit is carrying out an attack and the

    3 front line is broken through, the front line of the

    4 defender, what happens usually is the stage of retreat

    5 by the defence forces, and for the attacker, the stage

    6 of pursuit, and efforts to maintain combat contact.

    7 For the other pockets and strongholds of

    8 fire, these are usually neutralised by mopping-up

    9 forces.

    10 Q. How would you define the mopping up of the

    11 area? What does that mean for a soldier?

    12 A. For a soldier, that meant neutralisation of

    13 remaining pockets of fire, then of crew members left

    14 behind in bunkers or in firing positions, that is, the

    15 remainder of forces that are still resisting.

    16 Otherwise, mopping up is a tactical operation, which is

    17 regulated in the rules of the infantry, and in the

    18 rules of the companies, and platoons on which the basis

    19 of training is carried out in infantry units, from the

    20 level of a squad, through a platoon, and a company.

    21 The subject taught is usually a company in

    22 attack, a platoon in attack, and one of the subjects

    23 discussed or one of the issues that soldiers are

    24 trained for, are mopping-up operations.

    25 Q. Let us assume that HVO units make a

  72. 1 breakthrough, and push back units of the BH army, and

    2 pursue them deep in the territory under BH army

    3 control. Where do these pockets of resistance remain

    4 in relation to the HVO?

    5 A. In the rear of HVO units, behind the backs of

    6 those units.

    7 Q. Let me ask you quite openly. This military

    8 term from training sessions called "mopping up," does

    9 it have anything to do with ethnic cleansing, or the

    10 concept of expulsion of civilians?

    11 A. Your Honours, this can be checked in all the

    12 rules and regulations of the former JNA. There is

    13 absolutely nothing in common, and the infantry rules

    14 describe in detail the task of mopping-up groups.

    15 Q. One further point. You are writing to the

    16 Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade the following: "Maintain a

    17 sense of historic responsibility."

    18 What did you really mean? What did you use

    19 such strong words in this order?

    20 A. I was fully aware of the seriousness of the

    21 whole situation, and I knew that survival, especially

    22 in Vitez, depended exclusively on the actions of the

    23 Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade. If they had not carried out

    24 this assignment, further to this order, it is highly

    25 probably that on the 18th, in the morning, the area of

  73. 1 Vitez would have been captured by the BH army forces

    2 because we had started talks on a cease-fire, and we

    3 didn't manage to come to an agreement and implement

    4 them. Then we also tried using people of authority to

    5 mediate and affect a cessation of hostilities. That

    6 failed too.

    7 We tried to alleviate the situation with

    8 false attacks from the direction of Zepce. This did

    9 not reduce the intensity of attack either, and for some

    10 time in Vitez, we were logistically completely cut off

    11 from logistic bases of the main staff, which were

    12 located in Herzegovina, in the course of the fighting

    13 on the 16th, also from the logistic base in Stojkovici,

    14 so that we had a major shortage of ammunition, and

    15 there was no way out. The situation was, in fact, on

    16 the brink of collapse.

    17 Q. This Defence Exhibit, this order, was given

    18 to the Defence by the Office of the Prosecutor.

    19 Therefore, clearly, this is the form in which the order

    20 was drafted, and the form in which it was received in

    21 Fojnica, an area which was later captured by the BH

    22 army, but tell the Court how this order was seen, how

    23 it was dispatched. Was it by packet radio? If not,

    24 why not?

    25 A. I assume that it was sent by telefax and not

  74. 1 by packet, by radio.

    2 Q. Because, you mean, a stamp and a signature

    3 cannot be sent by packet radio?

    4 A. Yes. This order is signed and stamped, but

    5 not only on those grounds am I saying this. Our aim

    6 was primarily to ease the pressure on the

    7 Busovaca-Vitez front line, and I assume, I cannot be

    8 sure, but I assume that the command of the 3rd Corps

    9 also has this order because in Kacuni it could easily

    10 get a copy of this order from the telefax.

    11 Q. So you sent this by civilian telefax, using a

    12 civilian line?

    13 A. Yes, the most ordinary telefax line, from

    14 Vitez to Kiseljak.

    15 Q. Were you aware, at the time, that the BH army

    16 would be able to read it and recognise it?

    17 A. I knew that the mail in Kacuni was

    18 operational, the post office in Kacuni was operational,

    19 because it had been the subject of a discussion in

    20 February '93 already, between representatives of the

    21 joint commission of the HVO and the BH army, but my

    22 main purpose was to hold on to our territory and ease

    23 the pressure on the Vitez-Busovaca front. Even if they

    24 do get hold of this order, they will react sooner and

    25 withdraw their forces from this front.

  75. 1 Q. Can we say that it was, in fact, in your

    2 interest that they learn about it as soon as possible?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Let us proceed. Document D297, please.

    5 This document that you issued on the 17th of

    6 April, 1993, at 20.00, to the Stjepan Tomasevic

    7 Brigade, and to the commander of the Vitez Brigade, for

    8 his information, it has to do with reinforcements for

    9 the Vitez forces, and you're ordering that 25 to 30 men

    10 from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade in Novi Travnik come

    11 to Vitez, and place themselves at the disposal of the

    12 Vitez Brigade, and under their command, in order to

    13 help in the defence of Vitez.

    14 Q. Were 25 to 30 men sufficient in such a

    15 critical situation as you described? Why didn't you

    16 ask for 300 men to come to your assistance, armed and

    17 with ammunition?

    18 A. Twenty-five to 30 men were not sufficient.

    19 We needed much more, more than 300, in fact, but I had

    20 been in touch with the commander of the Stjepan

    21 Tomasevic Brigade, and I also realised that the Stjepan

    22 Tomasevic Brigade was holding the entire front line

    23 facing the Republika Srpska army in Novi Travnik, and

    24 that together with the Travnik HVO units, it held 80

    25 kilometres of the front with the Serb army, and this

  76. 1 was the maximum number of men that they could afford to

    2 give me, so that they may be placed under the command

    3 of the commander of the Vitez Brigade to assist in

    4 defending the village of Krcevine where the line had

    5 been broken through, and where the danger threatened of

    6 forces being linked with those in Stari Vitez.

    7 Q. Why didn't you order the whole brigade to

    8 abandon the front with the Serbs, and to transfer to

    9 the front with the new aggressor? Wouldn't that

    10 brigade have been very welcome to you?

    11 A. I personally did not believe that the

    12 situation was so critical that the BH army was the new

    13 aggressor, and my priority was still, at the time,

    14 defence against the army of Republika Srpska. HVO

    15 units did not abandon a single position that they held

    16 in '92, on the front line, toward the army of Republika

    17 Srpska in Novi Travnik, and also in Travnik, on the

    18 basis of any orders. The priority was to defend

    19 against the possible attack of the army of Republika

    20 Srpska.

    21 Q. This order talks about attachment or

    22 resubordination. We discussed yesterday the question

    23 of the unit that was attached to you, and you said it

    24 is the moment when a unit is reporting to the person it

    25 is being attached to, and this was at 11.42 in that

  77. 1 situation.

    2 Tell us, in this document, in this order,

    3 where can we see the moment when the commander of the

    4 Vitez Brigade becomes the commander of these 25 to 30

    5 men? Please read the order and explain it to us.

    6 A. This is point 2, and I am reading it, "In the

    7 execution of this order, make contact with the

    8 commander of the Viteska Brigade, whose duty it is to

    9 organise introduction into combat of your unit."

    10 Q. The question is: From what moment on does

    11 the commander of the Viteska Brigade command these men

    12 from Novi Travnik?

    13 A. From the moment when the commander of the

    14 Novi Travnik unit reaches Vitez and reports to the

    15 commander of the Vitez Brigade, saying that he was

    16 reporting, together with his unit, and putting himself

    17 and his unit at his disposal.

    18 Q. Is this stated in point 2, with the words,

    19 "Make contact with the commander of the Viteska

    20 Brigade"?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Next document, please, D298.

    23 So document 298 was also written on the 17th

    24 of April, 1993, at 20.00 hours. You are issuing an

    25 order to your brigades, and also independent units such

  78. 1 as the Vitezovi and the military police, and you are

    2 ordering maximum combat readiness. Among other things,

    3 you are abolishing all possibility of leave, furlough,

    4 and you say everybody must take part in the defence, et

    5 cetera, et cetera.

    6 Question number one: On the second day of

    7 the war, at 20.00 hours, practically in the evening,

    8 why are you ordering maximum combat readiness of the

    9 units? Isn't that action that was supposed to take

    10 place before the outbreak of the conflict? Isn't this

    11 a kind of action that is supposed to be done

    12 beforehand, rather than two days after the conflict

    13 breaks out?

    14 A. Certainly. Raising the level of combat

    15 readiness is sometimes done beforehand. However, the

    16 situation on the ground obviously showed that not all

    17 were yet aware that this was an all-out attack by the

    18 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that its ultimate

    19 objective was to take the Lasva Valley, and break the

    20 HVO in Vitez and in Busovaca.

    21 Q. In the preamble of this order, you are

    22 mentioning the order of the HVO main staff, and then

    23 the number is written by hand, dated the 17th of April,

    24 1993. Do you perhaps recall which order this was?

    25 A. It does have a hand-written number here, but I

  79. 1 presume that this order is actually simply an

    2 implementation of the order issued by the main staff.

    3 I cannot say that for sure, but it does say, "On the

    4 basis of the HVO main staff commander," and then the

    5 number is mentioned, "02-2/1-01-64," and I'm not even

    6 sure whether this is a zero, of the 17th of April,

    7 1993, "The aggression of Muslim forces against the HVO

    8 forces and the Croatian people, I hereby order..."

    9 I believe that all these points are also

    10 contained in the order of the main staff commander as

    11 well.

    12 Q. In point 3, you say, "All available

    13 potentials in the zone of responsibility should be used

    14 for defence purposes, and force to be used if

    15 necessary."

    16 What does this actually mean?

    17 A. That means that all men, weapons, and

    18 military equipment should be used for defence purposes

    19 in the zone of responsibility of those units to whom

    20 this order pertains.

    21 Q. When you say "force," what does "force" mean

    22 in the context of this order?

    23 A. It means military conscripts of the HVO.

    24 Q. You mean those who would refuse to go to the

    25 front?

  80. 1 A. Yes.

    2 Q. And now, please --

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Break. We could take a break.

    4 A 15-minute break maybe.

    5 --- Recess taken at 3.15 p.m.

    6 --- On resuming at 3.36 p.m.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.

    8 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.

    9 MR. NOBILO:

    10 Q. Document D288, did you receive that?

    11 A. I have 298.

    12 Q. D288, D289, D291, D292, D293, D294, and D295,

    13 so all of those documents, please. Very briefly, D288

    14 and the other reports too. Very briefly, though, D288,

    15 is that the report that you got from the Busovaca

    16 Brigade on the 17th of April, 1993?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. Thank you. Document D289, is that the

    19 document that you got on the 17th of April, 1993?

    20 A. This document was sent on the 17th of April,

    21 1993, but it says that it was received on the 16th of

    22 April, 1993 at 8.35. That's what the stamp at the

    23 bottom says.

    24 Q. So what is your conclusion? What happened?

    25 A. Probably there was a mistake with the date of

  81. 1 reception because it seems that it was received before

    2 it was sent.

    3 Q. But now you can see it; right?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 Q. The next one, 291, this is from Zenica. It

    6 is entitled "Request."

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, please, the

    8 document which appears on the screen, which appears on

    9 the ELMO, which document is it? According to the

    10 registry, it's document D291.

    11 MR. NOBILO: That's right. That's right.

    12 Yes, that is document 291 that we're going to be

    13 speaking about. It is precisely that document, the

    14 17th of April, 1993, at 10.20.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: It's number D291 which is on

    16 the screen; am I right? The one starting with the

    17 words "HVO members in the Stranjani village"; is that

    18 right?

    19 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that's right.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Then we all agree. That's

    21 fine.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. Tell me, General, this is a report from the

    24 HVO of Zenica; is that correct?

    25 A. Yes.

  82. 1 Q. The handwriting on this report, is this your

    2 handwriting maybe?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Take a look at one thing. It was written on

    5 the 17th of April, 1993 at 10.20, and it seems,

    6 according to the stamp, that it was received at 10.32

    7 on the 18th of April, 1993, that is to say, with a

    8 one-day delay.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Can we have this put on the

    10 ELMO, this document, please? Now we can see it, the

    11 original stamp. Could we have it blown up a bit,

    12 please, this stamp, so that we can see when it arrived

    13 in Vitez? Right.

    14 Q. It's the 18th of April, 1993 at 10.32. It

    15 travelled for an entire day. What's all this about?

    16 A. At that time, there was obstruction on the

    17 packet radio, and I think that there were other such

    18 cases too that these packet communications were not

    19 functioning or at least not functioning from time to

    20 time or with major delays.

    21 Q. Can you explain to the Court, technically,

    22 how does one obstruct packet communication? I know

    23 that it is not your line of work, but very briefly.

    24 A. Well, it would be sufficient to have one

    25 radio transmitter and an antenna and to work previously

  83. 1 on the same frequency of 146 megahertz, and in this

    2 way, the receiver could not receive the incoming

    3 messages, and, of course, the situation was even more

    4 difficult during combat operations and when the entire

    5 area from Zenica to Vitez was flooded with various

    6 messages and radio communications.

    7 Q. Please remind us, these packet

    8 communications, they went via computer and radio, that

    9 is to say, through airwaves, radio waves?

    10 A. Yes. In addition to that, you needed a

    11 modem, a computer modem, and a radio station, and these

    12 radio waves were used to send messages.

    13 Q. Let us have a look at the next document,

    14 D292. This is a report from the Busovaca Brigade of

    15 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski sent to you on the 17th of April,

    16 1993 at 12.00, and the stamp of reception shows that

    17 you received it only on the 27th of April at 13.40.

    18 MR. NOBILO: I would like to have this stamp

    19 shown on the ELMO, please, and I would like it to be

    20 enlarged as much as possible.

    21 Q. That is to say, there is a 10-day

    22 difference. How do you explain that?

    23 A. Well, there were the same problems,

    24 obstruction of the packet communications, and also

    25 there was interception, et cetera, by the army of

  84. 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    2 Q. However, realistically speaking, the elements

    3 of this report and of the previous report from Zenica

    4 and this one from Busovaca, did you, nevertheless,

    5 receive these facts on the day of the 17th of April,

    6 1993 when you found out about this?

    7 A. I had telephone communication with the

    8 commanders on an open telephone line so that I did

    9 receive information and facts from the commanders in

    10 direct communication with them.

    11 Q. If you were to rely exclusively on packet

    12 communication, and if you didn't have any telephones or

    13 if the telephone lines went through enemy territory and

    14 you knew that it would be intercepted through Kacuni

    15 towards Kiseljak, would packet communications, as such,

    16 be sufficient for you? Would you have enough

    17 information to be able to command?

    18 A. No.

    19 Q. Let us go on to the next document, D293.

    20 This is a report from the Vitez Brigade. We won't read

    21 it. Just tell us whether you received it on the 17th

    22 of April, 1993.

    23 A. Yes.

    24 Q. Next document, D295. D295 is also a report

    25 of the Busovaca Brigade dated the 17th of April, 1993.

  85. 1 Did you receive it?

    2 A. Document 295, in my hands, is a report from

    3 the Vitez Brigade.

    4 Q. Yes, that's right. It's a report from the

    5 Vitez Brigade. The number is 295. Did you receive it?

    6 A. Yes.

    7 Q. Apart from these reports and the reports that

    8 you received orally and which you mentioned in the

    9 operations diary in your testimony yesterday and today,

    10 did you learn anything else on the 17th of April that

    11 would lead you to believe that anyone was intentionally

    12 destroying civilian facilities or killing civilians?

    13 A. No.

    14 Q. Could you now tell us in a couple of

    15 sentences, on the 17th of April, was that day, for you,

    16 a day of military success or failure?

    17 A. That day, for the Operative Zone and the HVO,

    18 was, in military terms, unsuccessful and certainly one

    19 of the worst days from the standpoint of the military

    20 situation because we were totally encircled in Vitez,

    21 and all tactical positions north of the road, the

    22 Vitez-Travnik road, had been captured by the BH army.

    23 Also in the territory of Zenica municipality,

    24 the Croatian villages in the region of Gornja Zenica or

    25 Upper Zenica were surrounded, and the civilian

  86. 1 population had started to move out towards the Travnik

    2 municipality under pressure of the forces of the BH

    3 army.

    4 From the village of Cukle in Travnik

    5 municipality, one half of the villagers left the

    6 village in fear and under pressure of the army of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the situation in Busovaca

    8 municipality was such that we lost all the territory of

    9 Jelinak, Bakir, and a part of Prosje in Kacuni, and we

    10 found ourselves totally encircled.

    11 From the military standpoint north of Vitez,

    12 not a single tactical position was under the control of

    13 the HVO from the 17th of April, 1993, which would give

    14 us a chance to carry out our defence successfully.

    15 Q. Let us go on to the events of the 18th of

    16 April, 1993, the day when there were fewer events, but,

    17 in any event, this is the last day that we will deal

    18 with in such a chronological manner.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: The 18th.

    20 MR. NOBILO: Yes, the 18th.

    21 A. On the 18th of April at 00.20, I spoke to the

    22 main staff of the HVO, the main headquarters, and I

    23 informed them about the situation in Zenica according

    24 to the reports I had received from the Zenica HVO

    25 commander. I said that there were murders, arrests,

  87. 1 persecution, looting, torching which were being

    2 committed against HVO members and the Croats of Zenica

    3 by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    4 At 00.50, I talked to the deputy commander of

    5 the Zenica HVO Brigade and informed him that I had

    6 managed to pass on all information and to brief the

    7 main staff of the HVO in Mostar on the situation and

    8 the position of the HVO in Zenica. From the deputy

    9 commander of the Zenica HVO, I requested that he try to

    10 prevent panic within HVO ranks.

    11 At 00.51, a report reached us from the

    12 Military Intelligence Service that the positions of the

    13 BH army in Rovna and Pezici had had the following

    14 casualties: One dead member of the Muslim armed forces

    15 and three wounded, and that the troops of the Muslim

    16 armed forces who were on these positions were

    17 exhausted.

    18 At 00.55, I called the United Nations command

    19 and asked to speak to Colonel Stewart. I was not able

    20 to talk to him, but I did talk to the officer on duty

    21 from the UN Battalion, and I asked him for assistance

    22 for the Croatian villages of Upper Zenica, which were

    23 surrounded by BH army forces.

    24 At 06.00, the commander or the deputy

    25 commander, rather, of the Zenica HVO Brigade called up

  88. 1 and informed me that at 05.30 an attack had been

    2 carried out against the HVO brigade command in Zenica

    3 by the forces of the 3rd Corps of the BH army and from

    4 three directions and that the HVO command in Zenica was

    5 encircled. He also told me, I mean the commander of

    6 the Zenica HVO, Vinko Baresic, that he would have to

    7 abandon the command and pull out to the following

    8 position: In the direction of Cajdras.

    9 At 06.10, I issued an order, number

    10 01-4-337/93, dated 18, April, 1993, and the content of

    11 the order was destruction of documents of the command

    12 of the Zenica Brigade.

    13 Q. What was the reason for you to take such a

    14 measure?

    15 A. The command of the HVO brigade in Zenica, due

    16 to the assault by the BH army, had to abandon its

    17 command post, and they didn't have enough time to take

    18 with them the documents, and the documents they could

    19 not carry, I ordered them to be destroyed.

    20 Q. Is this a routine military measure in the

    21 event of evacuation?

    22 A. That is always done when we were not able to

    23 move, in a planned manner and organised manner, the

    24 command from one position to another.

    25 At 06.22, I received a report from Zenica

  89. 1 that all communication with the command of the Vitez

    2 Operative Zone had to be suspended, and that they were

    3 moving from the former command post, in the direction

    4 of Cajdras. They told me they would call once the

    5 moving had been completed.

    6 At 06.24, I spoke to the artillery commander,

    7 and asked that they prepare for fire against target 1,

    8 and to economise with the ammunition.

    9 At 06.31, I received a report from the

    10 Travnik Brigade, number 06-267/93, dated 18 April, '93,

    11 at 06.00 is the time it was sent, and the content of

    12 the report was that in the night, that is of the 17th

    13 of April, at about 22.00, the village of Cukle had been

    14 abandoned, and that half the population moved out, and

    15 UNPROFOR was informed of this. The village had been

    16 abandoned by the Croats. The UNPROFOR was probably

    17 also informed about it by the Travnik Brigade command.

    18 Q. Do you remember the reason for the Croats to

    19 flee their village of Cukle?

    20 A. This is a village on the fringes of the

    21 Travnik municipality, and the reason was the pressure

    22 of the BH army forces because the Travnik-Ovnak-Zenica

    23 road had already been blocked by the BH army forces.

    24 Q. Please proceed.

    25 A. At 06.54, the commander, Vinko Baresic, from

  90. 1 Zenica, called up by phone and asked for urgent

    2 assistance from UNPROFOR, complaining that the

    3 situation was very grave, and that they virtually had

    4 no way out.

    5 I told Vinko that I would immediately call

    6 UNPROFOR, and ask them to block the approaches to the

    7 Croat villages, so as to protect the Croats in Zenica.

    8 I also asked him to try and organise himself in order

    9 to gain time.

    10 At 07.05, I again called the main

    11 headquarters in Mostar, and conveyed to them the report

    12 I had received from Zenica about the very difficult

    13 situation there, and I informed the main staff that I

    14 had tried to get in touch with UNPROFOR, but that I had

    15 still not managed to do so, that is, to have the UN

    16 go to Zenica, and I told them that we needed food, and

    17 ammunition. I also told them that in Zenica there were

    18 about 100 dead, and I asked them to let me know when

    19 Brigadier Petkovic, the chief of staff, arrives in the

    20 main headquarters, so that I could inform him in

    21 person.

    22 Q. When you said a hundred casualties, what do

    23 you mean?

    24 A. I mean dead. At 07.06, I was called out by

    25 the commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, and

  91. 1 I gave him instructions and explanations on the basis

    2 of the written order that I had formerly issued.

    3 At 07.12, I again called the UN command,

    4 but nobody answered my call.

    5 At 07.15, I called Vlado Juric, from the air

    6 defence battalion, and asked him to send a light

    7 launcher to the Vitez Brigade.

    8 At 07.35, I was informed that the command of

    9 the Zenica Brigade had moved to the building of the

    10 command of the 1st HVO Brigade Battalion from Zenica.

    11 An order had also been issued, number 01-4-343/93,

    12 dated 18 April, 1993, at 07.30 hours, and I think it

    13 had to do with the designation of personnel to replace

    14 members of the military police on the front line. The

    15 order was addressed to the Vitez Brigade.

    16 At 07.55, I got in touch with the UNPROFOR

    17 command in Nova Bila, and I informed them that we

    18 needed assistance, and the touring of the villages of

    19 upper Zenica. The villages were Podbrezje, Broda,

    20 Cajdras, and Janjac, in which the Croat inhabitants had

    21 been surrounded by members of the BH army.

    22 At 08.50 (sic), I was called by the commander

    23 of the 1st Battalion in Zenica, who informed me that a

    24 large number of civilians was arriving in the village

    25 of Cajdras, and that many of them were gathering around

  92. 1 the church, and that among them there were some

    2 soldiers belonging to the HVO in Zenica. I gave him

    3 instructions that they should organise themselves, and

    4 protect themselves from shelling, and that for our

    5 part, we would do everything in our power to assist

    6 them, as far as we were able. I told him that we had

    7 already asked for UN members to block the roads and

    8 to protect the civilian population.

    9 At 08.10, I spoke again with the UNPROFOR

    10 command, asking them to protect the Croats of Zenica

    11 from BH army attacks.

    12 MR. NOBILO: 08.10. Previously there was a

    13 mistake. We see in the transcript "08.50," but it

    14 should be "08.05" in the previous paragraph.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Thank you.

    16 A. At 08.05, I spoke to the commander of the 1st

    17 Battalion, and at 8.10, I spoke to the UN command.

    18 MR. NOBILO: 08.05, five minutes past eight.

    19 That's been corrected now, please proceed.

    20 A. At 08.10, I spoke to an officer from

    21 UNPROFOR, asking again for protection for the Croats in

    22 the villages of upper Zenica, and his answer was that

    23 UNPROFOR forces were unable to provide assistance

    24 straightaway because it overstepped their mandate,

    25 until a representative of the International Red Cross

  93. 1 does not arrive and join in, but the UN promised me

    2 that they would visit the villages, as I had asked,

    3 that is, the village of Perin Han, Podbrezje, Broda,

    4 Cajdras, Janjac, and Raspotocje, and that they would

    5 convey to us what they learned about the situation in

    6 those villages.

    7 At 08.25, I was informed, by Mayor Santic, of

    8 the plan to pull out Muslims with the help of


    10 Q. What did that mean?

    11 A. It was a report that UNPROFOR forces were

    12 probably participating in the evacuation of Bosniak

    13 Muslims from certain areas of Vitez municipality, or of

    14 wounded, or endangered Bosniak Muslims, or dead Bosniak

    15 Muslims.

    16 Q. Apart from this information conveyed to you

    17 by the mayor, therefore, a civilian official, were you,

    18 in any sense, a participant in the organisation of this

    19 evacuation? When I say "you," I mean the HVO under

    20 your command.

    21 A. No. At 08.28 --

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Just a second. You were

    23 informed. What was your reaction? I did not

    24 understand what you said. You are informed of this?

    25 You are informed that there is an evacuation planned

  94. 1 for Bosniak Muslims. How do you react? What do you

    2 do?

    3 A. I only received information about a plan to

    4 have UNPROFOR get the Bosniak Muslims out,

    5 Mr. President. I did not receive information as to the

    6 localities involved. It was probably the area of

    7 Vitez. Which particular area, I did not know at the

    8 time. I don't know now, until this present day, what

    9 position was actually involved.

    10 MR. NOBILO:

    11 Q. So apart from what is written down here, you

    12 do not have any other information? You don't remember

    13 anything else?

    14 A. No, nothing except for this at 08.25.

    15 Q. Do you know whether action was taken

    16 according to this plan or not, or do you know anything

    17 else?

    18 A. I know, today, on the basis of the witnesses

    19 that were heard here, that there was evacuation, with

    20 the assistance of UNPROFOR, of Bosniak Muslims from the

    21 village of Veceriska, but I don't know whether this

    22 plan, about which I only received information in this

    23 form, pertained precisely to that village and to that

    24 area.

    25 Q. Please proceed.

  95. 1 A. At 08.28, I received information from the

    2 head of the Military Intelligence Service that a

    3 message had been intercepted or, rather, recorded, of

    4 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which reads as follows,

    5 I quote: "Convey Cajdras has been broken. HVO forces

    6 are moving towards you. Prepare a welcome for them."

    7 Q. This quotation is a message that was

    8 intercepted, and this was actually communication

    9 between two units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    10 Is that what you're saying?

    11 A. Yes.

    12 Q. Please proceed.

    13 A. At 08.35, I was called by Mario Cerkez,

    14 Commander Mario Cerkez, who informed me that there were

    15 frequent calls from Croats in Zenica. They were

    16 seeking help and reporting on the difficult situation

    17 there.

    18 At 08.45, I received a call from Commander

    19 Siljeg, from the Operative Zone of North-western

    20 Herzegovina, and I informed him about the situation in

    21 Zenica being critical, that during the course of the

    22 morning, the command of the HVO brigade in Zenica was

    23 attacked, and that it was expelled, and I told him that

    24 he should convey to the chief of main staff that the

    25 situation in my area, that is to say, the Vitez area,

  96. 1 was critical too.

    2 At 10.30, I asked the commander of the

    3 artillery to prepare for fire at targets trig 603, trig

    4 591, and target 594, 500 metres to the south.

    5 At 10.00, that is to say, 52 minutes past

    6 10.00 (sic), I talked to Fra Bozo, the parish priest

    7 from Cajdras, who informed me that many civilians had

    8 gathered around the church in Cajdras, and that they

    9 were afraid. I told Bozo that they should protect

    10 themselves from the shelling, and that we called the

    11 UN

    12 At 10.58, I had a conversation with UNPROFOR,

    13 and I asked whether they had visited Croat villages in

    14 the municipality of Zenica that I asked them to visit,

    15 and I had asked that at 08.10. I was informed from

    16 UNPROFOR that teams were on their way to these

    17 villages, and that I should call back within an hour or

    18 two.

    19 At 11.40, Commander Cerkez informed me that

    20 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was carrying out

    21 intensive operations from the positions of Sljibcica.

    22 At 11.52, the head of the Military

    23 Intelligence Service provided me with information to

    24 the effect that in the village of Kajmakovici, the area

    25 of Vranjska, there were mortars of the army of

  97. 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina that were firing.

    2 At 12.00, we checked with the Vitez Brigade

    3 the order to have a replacement carried out for 40

    4 soldiers.

    5 At 12.02, we received information on

    6 intensive operations that were carried out by the army

    7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the positions of Sivrino

    8 Selo.

    9 At 12.04, we received information from the

    10 communications centre that there was packet

    11 communication every now and then.

    12 At 12.06, information was sent about the

    13 situation in the zone of responsibility for the command

    14 of the 101st XP Brigade in Zenica, number 01-4-353/93,

    15 dated the 18th of April, '93.

    16 At 12.15, a worker from the prison in Zenica

    17 informed us that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was

    18 bringing in larger numbers of Croats to the

    19 penitentiary in Zenica, that is to say, to the gaol in

    20 Zenica.

    21 At 12.18, a statement was released to the

    22 public, to all the media of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and

    23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, number

    24 08-4-351/93.

    25 At 12.25, Mario Cerkez called, the commander

  98. 1 of the Vitez Brigade, and he provided information to

    2 the following: That the replacements for the mentioned

    3 40 soldiers were not ready yet, but that work on this

    4 was under way.

    5 At 12.35, I received a call from Mr. Dario

    6 Kordic, who conveyed a piece of information to me from

    7 Mr. Mate Boban, that we should hold out, and that they

    8 were working and trying to help the negotiations.

    9 At 12.38, I called the artillery commander,

    10 and I sought information on the situation regarding

    11 ammunition for the artillery. He asked for one hour in

    12 order to be able to provide information on this.

    13 At 12.50, I had a conversation with

    14 Mr. Franjo Boras, who called --

    15 Q. Could you please tell us which post Mr. Boras

    16 held then?

    17 A. He was a member of the war presidency of the

    18 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a member of the

    19 supreme command of the armed forces of the Republic of

    20 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    21 I told him the following: I am checking the

    22 situation there where there are no crazy people from

    23 our side.

    24 Q. Is that a literal translation of what you

    25 told him then?

  99. 1 A. Yes. "Here," and I'm referring to

    2 Zenica, "is where the situation is the worst.

    3 According to reports we've been receiving for there,

    4 they are slaughtering people in Zenica."

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Just a minute. I haven't

    6 understood you well. I think maybe there was a slight

    7 interpretation mistake. Maybe we will have a break

    8 shortly.

    9 You talk about the head of staff of

    10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. You tell that man, "I control the

    11 situation," and after that, I haven't understood what

    12 you've said. Could you please go over what you said to

    13 Mr. Boras, and I think that will also help the

    14 interpreter who had a hard time understanding you.

    15 After that, we will have a short break.

    16 What did you tell Mr. Boras, please?

    17 A. Mr. President, Mr. Boras was not a member of

    18 the main staff. He was a member of the supreme command

    19 of the armed forces of the Republic of

    20 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well then. What did you

    22 say to him?

    23 A. I told him the following: "I have under my

    24 control the situation there where there are no crazy

    25 people. Here, in Zenica, it is the worst. In Crkvica,

  100. 1 they are slaughtering, according to the reports that

    2 are coming in --"

    3 MR. NOBILO:

    4 Q. Please, let us stop at this point. Who is

    5 slaughtering who? When you are saying that they are

    6 slaughtering, who is slaughtering who?

    7 A. The members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    8 are slaughtering HVO soldiers and Croat civilians,

    9 according to the reports that I had been receiving. I

    10 told Mr. Boras too, according to reports that were

    11 coming into us, that is what I said specifically.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Maybe you are a bit

    13 tired, Mr. Blaskic. I think the interpreters may be

    14 tired as well. We will take a 15-minute break.

    15 --- Recess taken at 4.27 p.m.

    16 --- On resuming at 4.45 p.m.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.

    18 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. We stopped after the conversation you had at

    21 12.50 with Franjo Boras, member of the presidency of

    22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then the Presiding Judge, the

    23 Honourable Judge Jorda, asked you what you exactly told

    24 him. Could you please tell us what you talked about to

    25 him and what you told him exactly?

  101. 1 A. I informed Mr. Franjo Boras that I did have

    2 under my control the situation there where there were

    3 no madmen, that in Zenica, the situation was the worst,

    4 particularly in Crkvica, according to the reports that

    5 they were coming in, that they were slaughtering, that

    6 the church in Podbrezje was torched, looted, damaged,

    7 and that within the compound of the Zenica steelworks,

    8 there were BH army members, that they were getting out

    9 of there, and that UNPROFOR and the European Monitoring

    10 Mission did not see this, that I didn't know anything

    11 about Commander Totic from Zenica and the four officers

    12 of the command of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade from

    13 Novi Travnik, that two officers, members of the command

    14 of the Operative Zone, had been wounded as they were

    15 returning from negotiations held at the UNPROFOR base

    16 and that they were wounded by the army of

    17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that combat operations were

    18 still under way, intensive combat operations at that,

    19 that I sent three requests to the 3rd Corps concerning

    20 Zivko and the four officers, but for the time being,

    21 that I did not have any response.

    22 "Yesterday, UNPROFOR did not transport the

    23 wounded HVO soldiers from the medical centre to the

    24 church hospital," and that we were trying, through the

    25 European Monitoring Mission too, to pacify the

  102. 1 situation.

    2 Q. Please, could you just explain one thing:

    3 What did you mean when you said, "I have under my

    4 control the situation there where there are no

    5 madmen." Where did you have the situation under your

    6 control, and where were there madmen?

    7 A. According to the reports and information I

    8 had received, the situation was chaotic and out of

    9 control in the area of Zenica, and, literally, I was

    10 receiving information to the following effect: "They

    11 are crazy; they are slaughtering," and they were

    12 actually referring to the Mujahedeen from the 7th Muslim

    13 Brigade.

    14 Q. And control? Where did you manage to protect

    15 the population? Territorially speaking, where was

    16 this?

    17 A. Well, mainly Vitez and Busovaca.

    18 Q. Please proceed with this chronology. After

    19 this conversation was over, what happened in the

    20 Operative Zone?

    21 A. At 13.15, a press release was released,

    22 number 08-4-351/93.

    23 At 13.23, I asked the commander of the Nikola

    24 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade to send me more frequent reports

    25 and more complete reports about the situation.

  103. 1 At 13.50, I asked the artillery commander to

    2 fire at the Samar target.

    3 At 14.05, we instructed the IPD assistants.

    4 This was number 08-4-352/93.

    5 At 14.08, I informed Commander Kraljevic as

    6 follows: "You are getting support. Follow this and

    7 observe."

    8 At 14.16, I talked to the MTD commander, that

    9 is to say, the artillery commander, and I was checking

    10 whether he was actually firing as requested. He told

    11 me, "Yes," and he asked me to inform him about

    12 observation.

    13 Q. In the case of Commander Kraljevic and in

    14 this report of the artillery commander, when you're

    15 talking about observation, what does that actually

    16 mean?

    17 A. Well, the artillery commander had his own

    18 observation positions from which he could see whether

    19 the targets were hit and whether there should be any

    20 correction. We also asked that every commander who

    21 seeks support from artillery should have his own

    22 observers and that he should inform us about where the

    23 target was actually hit. So the artillery commander

    24 always received two pieces of information about a

    25 single shot. One piece of information was from his own

  104. 1 observers, that is to say, from the artillery

    2 observers, and the other piece of information was from

    3 the observers of that unit that support was being given

    4 to. So we corrected this, and we also checked whether

    5 the targets had been hit as we compared both sets of

    6 data.

    7 Q. Please proceed.

    8 A. At 14.18, I received information from the

    9 commander of the Vitez Brigade that Donja Veceriska was

    10 completely abandoned. There were neither soldiers

    11 there belonging to the BH army nor any inhabitants,

    12 Bosniak Muslims, in that village.

    13 Q. Later on, what did you learn? In what way

    14 did the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the inhabitants

    15 leave Donja Veceriska and with whose assistance?

    16 A. I learnt later on that UNPROFOR came, upon

    17 the request of the commander of the BH army in Donja

    18 Veceriska, to evacuate the wounded but that when the

    19 UNPROFOR vehicle set off with the wounded, it was

    20 followed by the entire population of Donja Veceriska,

    21 together with UNPROFOR, in the direction of the UN

    22 base.

    23 Q. The military units of Donja Veceriska, where

    24 did they go?

    25 A. They retreated gradually, first to Divjak and

  105. 1 then towards Grbavica, and they spent some length of

    2 time at Grbavica.

    3 Q. Please continue with the chronology.

    4 A. At 14.21, I called the commander from Zepce,

    5 the commander of the 111th Special Purpose Brigade.

    6 The officer on duty reported, and I asked them to

    7 remain in position for future assignments, and those

    8 assignments had to do with the staging of a false

    9 attack from Zepce towards Zenica.

    10 At 14.28, I was informed by the artillery

    11 that the target had been fired at as instructed.

    12 At 14.34, I called the commander of the

    13 civilian police in Vitez, Mr. Samija, and asked him, if

    14 possible, could his intervention platoon of the

    15 civilian police be sent as a reinforcement to the

    16 commander of the Vitez Brigade, underlining that the

    17 matter was urgent.

    18 At 14.35, the artillery commander called in

    19 connection with the report on the situation regarding

    20 ammunition, and the artillery commander said that, by

    21 packet communication of the head of the Military

    22 Intelligence Service, this report on ammunition would

    23 be sent to us.

    24 At 14.50, I talked to the officer on duty of

    25 the 4th Battalion of the military police, and I learned

  106. 1 from him that the civilian police was on the line

    2 facing Mahala and that the security of the hotel or,

    3 rather, the command of the Operative Zone would remain

    4 as for the two.

    5 Q. Mahala is also the region called Stari Vitez;

    6 is that so?

    7 A. Yes. At 14.55, I tasked Slavko Marin to

    8 draft a request for the supply of a telefax from the

    9 military police.

    10 At 15.00, I received a report from the head

    11 of the Military Intelligence Service in which he

    12 reported that the BH army was preparing an ambush for

    13 HVO forces in the area between the village of Jardol

    14 and Grbavica, which is the area of the Varupa houses.

    15 At 15.05, Slavko Marin called the command of

    16 the Vitez Brigade and conveyed to them this information

    17 and the warning regarding the ambush being prepared by

    18 the BH army.

    19 At 15.07, I spoke to the artillery commander

    20 and asked him to fire at target 810, and the commander

    21 informed me that, for the moment, they were unable to

    22 hit that target.

    23 Q. Tell the Court, we see that you often

    24 communicate with the artillery commander. Where was he

    25 based? Was he based where the artillery pieces were

  107. 1 stationed, and how was it organised?

    2 A. He had his base in Nova Bila, and the

    3 artillery pieces were positioned at firing positions.

    4 Then also there is the commander of the firing position

    5 who received orders from the artillery commander for

    6 the opening of fire and supervised work at the firing

    7 position, and the artillery commander spent most of his

    8 time in his command post at Nova Bila.

    9 Q. Thank you. Please continue.

    10 A. At 15.12, I checked again with the artillery

    11 commander to see whether he was preparing for target

    12 810.

    13 At 15.25, I asked him to fire at target 810.

    14 At 15.34, I was visited by a captain from the

    15 UN, I think his name was Captain Matthew, and he

    16 asked to visit Rovna. I told him that he should wait

    17 for awhile so that we could inform the forces that were

    18 in contact so that they could provide security for his

    19 safe passage to Rovna.

    20 Q. Who held Rovna? Under whose control was it?

    21 A. A part of Rovna was in the hands of the BH

    22 army and a second part in the hands of the HVO, but the

    23 border between the two was between the municipality of

    24 Busovaca and Vitez, so it was rather complicated to

    25 provide complete security. The front line was

  108. 1 virtually passing through the middle of that area.

    2 Q. Please proceed.

    3 A. I asked Captain Matthew whether UNPROFOR had

    4 visited Cajdras and whether he had any information

    5 about the Croatian villages of Zenica, and he told me

    6 that Colonel Stewart himself had gone to Zenica but

    7 that, for the moment, he was not aware of the exact

    8 whereabouts of Colonel Stewart nor the information

    9 available to Colonel Stewart himself.

    10 At 15.43, I spoke again with the artillery

    11 commander and inquired about the execution of fire, and

    12 he told me that he was still having difficulties.

    13 At 15.48, the artillery commander called me

    14 and informed me that there was a problem with the

    15 second artillery piece.

    16 Q. What do you mean by this problem?

    17 A. It means that there were certain technical

    18 difficulties and that the crew manning the artillery

    19 piece was unable to carry out fire as requested, and,

    20 if possible, every effort was made to remove the

    21 problem.

    22 Q. Please proceed.

    23 A. At 15.59, I called the artillery commander

    24 again and asked him to check who was or, rather, which

    25 crew was currently manning the artillery pieces.

  109. 1 At 16.07, Slavko Marin called the commander

    2 of the Travnik Brigade and checked with him the

    3 information received that Travnik was absolutely

    4 blocked for any traffic. The commander of the Travnik

    5 Brigade confirmed this report, that Travnik was

    6 blocked, that is, all the roads were blocked, and that

    7 negotiations were under way between representatives of

    8 the HVO and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that

    9 once any agreements were reached, they would inform

    10 us. Travnik, at the time, was blocked by checkpoints

    11 held by BH army units.

    12 At 16.09, I required that the artillery

    13 commander fire at target 915 with one projectile, when

    14 he was ready to do so.

    15 At 16.12, I received a message from the

    16 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, number 783/'93, dated 18

    17 April, '93 at 14.00. The report contained data

    18 regarding the number of dead. This report said that 9

    19 soldiers had been killed, and 21 soldiers wounded. I

    20 don't remember the rest of the contents of that

    21 report.

    22 At 16.20, I had a report from the head of the

    23 Military Intelligence Service, to the effect that the

    24 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was preparing to open fire

    25 on the position Apoteka, or the pharmacy, in the town

  110. 1 of Vitez, and that it was necessary to remove from that

    2 position both personnel and artillery. This is an

    3 information that we conveyed to the Vitez Brigade.

    4 Q. You said "artillery," and you used the word

    5 "artillery piece." Did you mean anything else?

    6 A. I cannot say with precision what was next to

    7 the pharmacy. Whether it was an infantry or an

    8 artillery weapon, I don't know.

    9 At 16.22, Slavko Marin called the commander

    10 of the 111th Special Purpose Brigade in Zepce, Mr. Ivo

    11 Lozancic, and asked him to be ready at 18.00, for

    12 movement as ordered. Again, this was part of the

    13 staging of a false attack.

    14 At 16.38, I was called by Brigadier Petkovic,

    15 the chief of staff of the main staff of the HVO, who

    16 informed me that a truce had come into effect with the

    17 BH army, and he ordered me to call Enver, and to check

    18 whether Enver had received any order from Sefer.

    19 Q. Tell us, please, Enver was the commander of

    20 the 3rd Corps, and Sefer was the chief of staff of the

    21 main staff of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    22 A. Yes. I informed Brigadier Petkovic that I

    23 was having serious problems in Zenica, that I too

    24 wanted to receive that order in person, the order on

    25 the cessation of fire that he had referred to, and I

  111. 1 said that I would call the commander of the 3rd Corps,

    2 and immediately inform him, orally, about the order for

    3 a cease-fire.

    4 At 16.40, I was called by Vinko Baresic, the

    5 deputy commander from Zenica, who informed me about the

    6 very difficult situation there, and I told him that an

    7 agreement on a truce had been signed, and that we were

    8 awaiting an order on a cease-fire, and that we were

    9 suspending combat operations, but if the BH army

    10 continues its attacks, we would have to defend

    11 ourselves.

    12 Q. General, let's stop just a moment to combine

    13 the orders with your own statement.

    14 MR. NOBILO:

    15 Can I have D316, and D318, please?

    16 Q. So Exhibit D316 is the order of the chief of

    17 staff of the HVO, Brigadier Mile Petkovic, issued to

    18 your Operative Zone, and to another three Operative

    19 Zones where HVO units were stationed. The heading is,

    20 "Cessation of Hostilities Between the BH Army and the

    21 HVO. Order. On the basis of the conclusions reached

    22 after the talks between Mr. Mate Boban and Mr. Alija

    23 Izetbegovic, which took place on the 18th of April,

    24 1993, in Zagreb, and in accordance with point 3 of the

    25 agreement, I hereby order:

  112. 1 1. All HVO units shall immediately cease

    2 hostilities with BH army units.

    3 2. The exchange of prisoners, both soldiers

    4 and civilians, shall start immediately.

    5 3. The wounded shall be cared for,

    6 regardless of which forces they belong to.

    7 4. Reliable information shall be gathered

    8 concerning the protagonists of the conflict, the

    9 expulsion of the civilian population, the killing of

    10 captured soldiers and civilians, the torching of houses

    11 and other buildings.

    12 5. Contact shall be established with the BH

    13 army command, asking them to implement the same order.

    14 6. All HVO units shall be familiarised with

    15 this order immediately."

    16 As I said, it is addressed to Central Bosnia,

    17 the Operative Zone of Northwest Herzegovina, the

    18 Operative Zone of Southeast Herzegovina.

    19 During the talks, or after the talks, did you

    20 receive this order in writing, by packet

    21 communications?

    22 A. After the conversation, I received the order

    23 from the chief of staff, Brigadier Petkovic, and I

    24 said, a moment ago, that already at 16.40, I informed

    25 Vinko Baresic, the HVO commander in Zenica, about the

  113. 1 order on cessation of hostilities, but at that moment,

    2 I did not convey all the points to him because I didn't

    3 have the document in my hands at that time.

    4 Q. Let us go on to document D308.

    5 It is your order, in English, 01-4-363/93,

    6 and it is addressed to the commanders of all HVO units

    7 in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia; to the BritBat

    8 commander, Colonel Stewart; the European Monitoring

    9 Mission; and the 3rd Corps of the BH army in Zenica.

    10 A. Yes.

    11 Q. Will you look at that order, please? Did you

    12 write that, and sign this order, and send it to the

    13 addressees indicated in the heading?

    14 A. I did sign it. I wrote the order in

    15 Croatian. I gave it to Ms. Vanja Saric to translate

    16 it. She translated it into English. I signed the

    17 order.

    18 I called Colonel Stewart, or the officer on

    19 duty in the UNPROFOR command in Nova Bila, and I asked

    20 them to mediate in conveying this order to the

    21 3rd Corps commander in Zenica, because we'll say later

    22 on in the chronology, I was told, in the 3rd Corps,

    23 that they had not received the order on a cessation of

    24 hostilities. So in order that the UNPROFOR should not

    25 waste time translating the order, I sent it immediately

  114. 1 in English to the UNPROFOR command.

    2 Q. As far as you can remember, is it correct

    3 that all the six points from the order of

    4 Brigadier Petkovic, regarding cessation of fire,

    5 exchange of prisoners, investigating the protagonists

    6 of the expulsions, and killings, and torchings, et

    7 cetera, that you literally copied all six points, and

    8 included them in this order and dispatched them to

    9 various units?

    10 A. Yes, that is true because the order of my

    11 commander was based on an agreement which I didn't have

    12 a copy of, so I based my order on the order of the

    13 commander of the main staff. So literally, whatever is

    14 contained in the first order, is contained in the order

    15 that I wrote.

    16 Q. Fine. Let us go back to the chronology of

    17 events in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. You

    18 ended your conversation with Brigadier Petkovic, and

    19 then with Baresic from the Zenica brigade, at 16.40.

    20 What happened next?

    21 A. At 16.48, I was called by the duty officer

    22 from the main staff of the HVO, and he asked to hear

    23 about the situation briefly. I told him that I had

    24 already submitted a report, and that we had many

    25 casualties. I also said that from here, meaning Vitez,

  115. 1 they could not expel us because we had no place to go,

    2 and that they can only make another Vukovar out of us,

    3 but that we had no place to go.

    4 Q. Could you please explain to the Court what

    5 kind of a symbol Vukovar is with Croats? Why did you

    6 say, "You can make another Vukovar out of us"? What

    7 does that mean?

    8 A. At that moment, what I told the duty officer

    9 of the main staff is that the army could not drive us

    10 out of Vitez. He sort of laughed because he said,

    11 "Yes, you have no place to go to."

    12 Vukovar was a symbol of suffering at that

    13 time, the greatest suffering in Croatia, and that was

    14 my association, that now we were in a situation of

    15 total encirclement, total siege, and without any

    16 possibilities to get out of that encirclement.

    17 Q. Is it true that the town of Vukovar, the

    18 Eastern Slovenia-Croatian town of Vukovar, was fully

    19 under siege, and that it was totally destroyed as it

    20 was being taken?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Please proceed.

    23 A. At 16.55, I sent an order to the

    24 4th Battalion of the military police, number

    25 01-4-359/93, dated 18th of April, '93 at 16.30. The

  116. 1 content of the order is as follows: That members of

    2 the military police should be replaced at the front

    3 line.

    4 At 17.00, again I had a conversation with the

    5 main staff of the HVO at Mostar, and I provided them

    6 with information that there were still problems in

    7 Zenica, and that attacks coming from Zenica were the

    8 strongest, that I received an order, and that I

    9 informed them about the cease-fire, that the town of

    10 Travnik was blocked, and that currently there were

    11 negotiations under way in Travnik between the commander

    12 of the Travnik Brigade, and the commander of the forces

    13 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that in Novi

    14 Travnik, there was high tension.

    15 I also said that many people were afflicted,

    16 and at 17.20, I had the impression that the hotel had

    17 been hit, and, at that time, we thought that was a

    18 shell, a mortar shell from a 120-millimetre mortar,

    19 because the entire building of the hotel shook, and we

    20 thought that the hotel itself was directly hit.

    21 Q. Could you please tell the Court what entry

    22 was made then in the operative log, that you think that

    23 it was hit, or that it was hit?

    24 A. Literally, it said that the hotel was hit by

    25 a 120-millimetre shell, from the direction of Preocica.

  117. 1 Q. What does Preocica mean? What did you mean

    2 by saying "Preocica"?

    3 A. It was the position of the forces of the army

    4 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that was Preocica, on the right

    5 hand of Preocica, actually, between two hills, where

    6 there was artillery and/or tanks all the time.

    7 Sometimes it was a tank, and sometimes it was

    8 artillery.

    9 Q. Please proceed.

    10 A. At 17.27, the Military Intelligence

    11 Service --

    12 Q. You mean the Military Intelligence Service?

    13 A. -- yes, the Military Intelligence Service,

    14 that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was firing with

    15 artillery at Kovacevac, 500 metres to the south.

    16 At 17.30, the head of communications from the

    17 main staff of the HVO of Mostar called, and he asked

    18 who held the post office, the PPT communications, in

    19 Travnik. We informed him that communications were

    20 under the control of the members of the army of

    21 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    22 At 17.30, an answer was sent to the Zenica

    23 Brigade, number 01-4-354/93, dated 18th of April, 1993,

    24 and it was related to a document that we had received

    25 from Zenica, number 6383/93, dated 18th of April, '93,

  118. 1 at 10.32. I assume that this was information in

    2 writing about the situation in Zenica, but do I not

    3 recall the contents.

    4 At 17.40, I talked to a member of the command

    5 in Fojnica, and I asked for a report on the situation

    6 in Fojnica.

    7 At 17.50, I received information from the

    8 head of the Military Intelligence Service, that the

    9 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina would soon operate in the

    10 area around the church in Stari Vitez.

    11 Q. Is that a Catholic church?

    12 A. Yes, it is a Catholic church. Information

    13 was intercepted on orders to open artillery fire

    14 towards the Catholic church, towards the area of the

    15 Catholic church, because that is literally what it says

    16 here, it says the "area." So it wasn't actually the

    17 church that was a target.

    18 At 17.55, I received information that Jure

    19 Krezic, Commander Jure Krezic, was killed.

    20 At 18.26, I received information from the

    21 head of the communications centre that the packet

    22 communications with Zenica were dead once again.

    23 At 18.40, I received information from the

    24 commander of the Vitez Brigade about the situation, and

    25 the officer of this district, Mr. Vid Jazbinski,

  119. 1 established contact with the commander of the

    2 3rd Corps, and he checked whether they received orders

    3 on cease-fire, that is, the order that we looked at a

    4 few minutes ago.

    5 The reply of the officer from the 3rd Corps

    6 was that they did not receive orders to cease fire. I

    7 personally talked to the representative of the

    8 3rd Corps then. I'm not sure whether it was the

    9 commander of the 3rd Corps or, that is to say,

    10 Mr. Enver Hadzihasanovic, or the duty officer of the

    11 3rd Corps, but I read all the points of the order that

    12 I had received from the main staff regarding the

    13 cease-fire, and I said, "Well, we are going to send you

    14 now, via UNPROFOR, a copy of the order that we had

    15 issued to our units."

    16 At 19.30, I was informed, by Vinko Baresic

    17 from the Zenica Brigade, that he was compelled to sign

    18 a surrender of the HVO in Cajdras, in Zenica.

    19 At 20.40, Slavko Marin talked to the

    20 commander of the Vitez Brigade in connection with the

    21 organisation of the defence, according to sectors, and

    22 the way in which smaller roads would be built in order

    23 to link Vitez with the hospital.

    24 At 21.00 hours, I had a meeting with

    25 Commander Cerkez, with the head of the defence

  120. 1 department in Vitez, and the mayor of Vitez, in

    2 connection with the organisation of defence according

    3 to sectors, and also the building of smaller roads for

    4 wartime purposes, in order to link Vitez to Busovaca

    5 and the hospital.

    6 At 22.00, I sent an oral report to the main

    7 staff of the HVO, on the momentary situation in Central

    8 Bosnia.

    9 At 23.00, I talked to Brigadier Petkovic, and

    10 I informed him that the situation was quite critical

    11 and serious, and that I was asking for help from a top

    12 political level, in order to carry out the signed

    13 cease-fire, that is to say, the signed agreement and

    14 the order on cease-fire.

    15 At 01.40, on the 19th of April, I received

    16 information on regrouping and concentrating strong

    17 forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the area to

    18 the north of Busovaca.

    19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, in this way we

    20 have completed the chronology for the 18th of April,

    21 and it is 5.30. It's past 5.30 now, so perhaps we

    22 could finish for today.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, absolutely. We won't go

    24 any further today. We'll meet tomorrow at 2.00 -- no,

    25 sorry, 1.30. As tomorrow is Wednesday, we'll meet at

  121. 1 1.30 in the afternoon.

    2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

    3 at 5.33 p.m., to be reconvened on

    4 Wednesday, the 10th day of March, 1999

    5 at 1.30 p.m.