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
1 of this, so we would like to have this photocopied,
2 please, in colour and submitted to all the parties.
3 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
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.
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
24 At 13.52, Commander Holman from Zenica called
25 me, and he informed me about the situation in Zenica,
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
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
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
1 the Krizanceve Kuce, and that by nightfall, the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina is supposed to reach Krizancevo
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
1 again, and that some kind of a written message be sent
2 to the 3rd Corps in connection with a cessation of
4 At 16.32, Slavko Marin spoke with Dzemo
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
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:
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I've understood.
25 All right.
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
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?
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
25 Suffice it to say, and this will come out in
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
23 Q. So coded, what does this packet mean? Does
24 it mean personnel?
25 A. Yes, it means personnel.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
23 Q. Fine. Please proceed.
24 A. At 23.00, I asked the artillery commander to
25 fire at target 650.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
1 A. This is a hill above the village of
2 Gomionica. It's an elevation.
3 Q. This hill, does it have military
5 A. It is significant by all means, and it was
6 prepared from an engineering point of view for combat
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
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
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
1 say, that what we asked for in the preparatory order,
2 we expected it to be realised with this operative
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
1 January '93, captured the road between Kiseljak and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
19 MR. NOBILO: Yes, that's right.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Then we all agree. That's
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. Tell me, General, this is a report from the
24 HVO of Zenica; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
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
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
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.
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
1 population had started to move out towards the Travnik
2 municipality under pressure of the forces of the BH
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1 for Bosniak Muslims. How do you react? What do you
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
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
25 Q. Please proceed.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
25 At 12.25, Mario Cerkez called, the commander
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?
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
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
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,
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?
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
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
14 Q. And control? Where did you manage to protect
15 the population? Territorially speaking, where was
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
23 Q. The military units of Donja Veceriska, where
24 did they go?
25 A. They retreated gradually, first to Divjak and
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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,
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
1 content of the order is as follows: That members of
2 the military police should be replaced at the front
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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.