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  1. 1 Wednesday, 10th March, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 1.51 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

    5 Mr. Registrar, could you make sure that the witness is

    6 brought in, please?

    7 (The accused entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Hello to the interpreters.

    9 Hello to the court reporters as well. Hello to Defence

    10 counsel. Hello to the Prosecution bench. Hello to the

    11 accused, who is also the witness today and who will go

    12 on testifying.

    13 Yesterday, with Mr. Olivier Fourmy, we tried

    14 to come up with a new programme which will take into

    15 account a number of obligations that we have. We would

    16 like to try coming to the end of this trial around the

    17 end of June. Maybe we could end on June 23rd, which, I

    18 remind you, was the date of the beginning of this

    19 trial. We must go on with our work, and at a later

    20 stage, we will give you the dates which we came up with

    21 yesterday.

    22 Mr. Nobilo, have you the floor.

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

    24 Yesterday, we had completed the chronology for the 18th

    25 of April, 1993. We spoke about two documents, the

  2. 1 order of Brigadier Petkovic and Blaskic for a

    2 cease-fire, and the General's order, D318, whereby he

    3 copies that same order instructing all units to cease

    4 fire and to undertake investigations about crimes

    5 committed.

    6 I should now like to proceed to the next

    7 document, D307, after which we will need D309, then

    8 D314, and D308.


    10 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    11 Q. I'm looking at document 307, which is the

    12 report of the Vitez Brigade at 6.00 addressed to you

    13 or, rather, the command of the Operative Zone.

    14 We won't read the whole report, it has been

    15 admitted into evidence a long time ago, just the

    16 central paragraph: "During the night, the Muslim

    17 population was evacuated from the village of Donja

    18 Veceriska in the direction of Bila/Han Bila, and they

    19 were evacuated through the mediation of UNPROFOR."

    20 Have you received this report? Did you

    21 receive it on the 18th of April, 1993?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. The information contained in this report,

    24 does it coincide with the oral information that you

    25 received by telephone during the day from various

  3. 1 sources, from the Military Intelligence Service to the

    2 civilian authorities?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Very well. Let us go on to the next

    5 document, D309. Please prepare the next documents, 314

    6 and 308. Please prepare documents D314 and D308.

    7 This document is a report from the HVO Zenica

    8 Brigade, and it says: "This morning around 5.30, the

    9 headquarters was attacked from three directions. We

    10 are surrounded."

    11 Tell the Court, what is the importance of

    12 this report? What can you learn from it, and can you

    13 issue orders on the basis of such a report?

    14 A. This is a typical report which does not allow

    15 the commander to command efficiently. Because of these

    16 and other similar reports, I reacted and requested that

    17 I be given complete and timely reports.

    18 In this case, I do not know what the real

    19 situation is of the command of the Zenica Brigade in

    20 relation to the attacker. Is it capable of defending

    21 itself or not? I also don't know which three

    22 directions are being referred to. I don't know what

    23 strength of forces carried out the attack. The only

    24 thing I see is that the command is surrounded, and this

    25 is inadequate information.

  4. 1 Q. Was this an exception or were there many such

    2 incomplete reports?

    3 A. This was typical of the time. There were

    4 many such reports that were highly superficial and that

    5 did not have the necessary content for control and

    6 command.

    7 Q. On the basis of this report, as a military

    8 expert, can you issue any kind of order?

    9 A. On the basis of the report itself, it is very

    10 difficult to issue an order because, I repeat, I don't

    11 know the strength of the forces that attacked. Also it

    12 is not clear who is the attacker. I could assume that

    13 it was the BH army, but also I don't know what the real

    14 situation is of the command and of the forces securing

    15 the command post.

    16 Q. Next document, please, D314. In this case,

    17 the Busovaca Brigade, on the 18th of April, 1993, that

    18 is, the second day of the war, is informing you that

    19 they have abolished all leaves, that they have raised

    20 the level of combat readiness of the brigade, and so

    21 on. What does this report say? Should these measures

    22 be taken far earlier or is it a routine matter for the

    23 combat readiness of the brigade to be raised on the

    24 second day of the war?

    25 A. If the command of the brigade had expected

  5. 1 intensive combat operations, they would have probably

    2 raised the level of combat readiness earlier on, but

    3 this report also says that the whole day elapsed before

    4 orders of the 17th of April, issued by me, were

    5 implemented, and this was the closest HVO unit to us,

    6 that is, the brigade in Busovaca.

    7 Q. Next document, please, D308, and prepare D305

    8 and D306, please.

    9 Document 308 is a report of the Vitez

    10 Brigade, dated 18 April. Allow me to read a couple of

    11 paragraphs before putting my question. I'm reading the

    12 second paragraph:

    13 "We have received information from our

    14 citizens, who have managed to flee before their

    15 frenzied neighbours, that Muhamed Sivro arrested Marica

    16 Kristo, Anto Kristo, a taxi driver, his wife, and his

    17 sister. All the prisoners are inhabitants of Poculica

    18 who were fleeing towards Krizancevo Selo after fierce

    19 attacks by Muslim forces.

    20 "As we have found out, the reason for this

    21 arrest was the alleged disappearance of Muhamed Sivro's

    22 son. His son is a soldier in the Muslim forces, and

    23 our check has confirmed that he is not among those

    24 arrested," et cetera, et cetera.

    25 Tell us, this is an example of individual

  6. 1 acts of violence towards Muslims by Croats. Were there

    2 any such individual motives --

    3 MR. KEHOE: With all due respect, I think

    4 that if we're going to ask questions about the

    5 particular document, that counsel ask the question as

    6 opposed to putting the proposition to the witness.

    7 Thank you.

    8 MR. NOBILO: I haven't posed my question

    9 yet. I was just --

    10 JUDGE JORDA: But you know that Mr. Kehoe has

    11 already demonstrated that he follows you very closely,

    12 and now he's demonstrating that he's even ahead of

    13 you. Please take into account what Mr. Kehoe has just

    14 said. Don't put the answer to your question to the

    15 witness. Ask your question and wait for the answer.

    16 Mr. Blaskic is your client, you must have discussed

    17 this at length, but please put precise questions to the

    18 witness.

    19 Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.

    20 MR. NOBILO: I was drawing attention to the

    21 contents of this document from which it follows that

    22 this is an act of individual violence by Muslims

    23 against Croats.

    24 Q. My question is as follows to the witness:

    25 Were there cases of individual acts of violence by

  7. 1 Croats towards Muslims prompted by such personal

    2 motives?

    3 A. Yes, over a long period of time.

    4 Q. What was the most frequent act of violence,

    5 and what was its purpose?

    6 A. There were private arrests and private

    7 exchanges. Then a very frequent form of persecution

    8 was expulsion from apartments carried out by exiled

    9 Croats from Zenica who would come to Vitez, and they

    10 would evict Bosniak Muslims. Also expelled Muslims

    11 from Vitez, when they arrived in Zenica, they would act

    12 similarly in relation to Croats in Zenica. This was a

    13 kind of chain reaction.

    14 There were even instances that, due to the

    15 malfunctioning of certain institutions, all these acts

    16 of private exchanges, private arrests, eviction from

    17 homes would be carried out at a profit. Again this was

    18 done by certain criminal groups.

    19 Q. Thank you. Next document, please, D305. It

    20 is a report from the Kiseljak Brigade.

    21 Yesterday, we were talking about two kinds of

    22 orders, preparatory and executive, that you issued to

    23 Kiseljak and the region around the villages of

    24 Svinjarevo and Gomionica. Document D305 is the return

    25 information which you received from Kiseljak. Could

  8. 1 you please comment on it, this return information, how

    2 it relates to your orders, and what facts can you learn

    3 from it?

    4 A. First of all, the unit did not act as I had

    5 ordered but undertook a frontal attack towards

    6 Gomionica, an all-out attack, and at the very beginning

    7 of the village, they were halted by the Mlava River, as

    8 is stated in the report.

    9 Q. Could you show us on your sketch, what was it

    10 you had ordered? Would you remind us? Also point out

    11 the route taken by the Kiseljak Brigade. We will put

    12 the sketch on the ELMO now.

    13 A. I am showing now the main road Busovaca to

    14 Kiseljak, and I had ordered that from the positions of

    15 Sikulje and Hadrovci, HVO forces should attack forces

    16 of the BH army and gain control of this elevation. The

    17 direction of attack was Sikulje to the west of the

    18 slope and Hadrovci to the west of this slope.

    19 Q. You mean hill? You mean a hill? It has been

    20 translated that both attacks are going westward. Would

    21 you repeat that?

    22 A. From Sikulje, the arrow clearly points to the

    23 west and from Hadrovci towards the east, although this

    24 is a hill here, this is not flat, so that such action

    25 is possible.

  9. 1 Q. From this report, what do you see that the

    2 Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade actually did?

    3 A. The forces came along the main road from

    4 Kiseljak, and as far as I can see from this report,

    5 they headed towards Gomionica and they were halted --

    6 and they were halted at the River Mlava.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, is Sikulje also

    8 a hill?

    9 A. Yes, Your Honour. Sikulje is also a hill,

    10 but there is another hill over here which doesn't have

    11 a name in the village of Hadrovci, and HVO forces were

    12 positioned on these two hills, whereas on the other

    13 hill were the forces of the BH army.

    14 MR. NOBILO:

    15 Q. Show us the Mlava River.

    16 A. The Mlava River would be here (indicating).

    17 Q. Parallel with the road? On the upper side of

    18 the road?

    19 A. The Mlava River changes direction here

    20 (indicating), so it is both on the upper side of the

    21 road and earlier on it flows on the other side of the

    22 road. We can show it to you on the relief.

    23 Q. In any event, is it between the road and

    24 Gomionica?

    25 A. Yes.

  10. 1 Q. Is the Mlava River an orientation point on

    2 the basis of which you concluded that the HVO forces

    3 were going directly towards the village and not as you

    4 had ordered?

    5 A. Yes, the HVO forces were halted because the

    6 river itself is a barrier. It was a barrier for the

    7 HVO forces.

    8 Q. In military terms, was it wise to directly

    9 attack the village across the river?

    10 A. In any event, the river as such is an

    11 obstacle which was protected by the BH army checkpoint

    12 in Gomionica and the forces of the BH army deployed in

    13 the immediate vicinity of the river, so that it was not

    14 professionally wise to stage a frontal attack against

    15 that village.

    16 Q. You said that the BH army forces had halted

    17 the HVO forces near the Mlava River at Gomionica. The

    18 report also says that -- please let's have the report

    19 on the ELMO again.

    20 The report also says that the villages of

    21 Jehovac, Gromiljak, as far as Mlava and Palez, have

    22 been disarmed. Was that your order in relation to

    23 Jehovac-Palez?

    24 A. As far as I can recollect, this was not

    25 stated in the order. I know that I did not order the

  11. 1 disarming of the villages.

    2 Q. Next document, please. It is also a report

    3 from the Kiseljak Brigade, D306, but at 16.45. On the

    4 same date, the 18th of April, but at 16.45. It is

    5 short. I will read it and ask you to comment on it.

    6 Mijo Bozic, the commander of the Kiseljak Brigade, on

    7 that same day sends you a new report saying:

    8 "The conflict has spread to the villages of

    9 Rotilj, Visnjica, Doci, Hercezi and Brestovsko. We

    10 have lost Zavrtaljka, we did not manage to handle

    11 Gomionica, but we did take around 1 km on both sides

    12 around Gomionica. Heavy fighting is in progress. We

    13 have had three killed and four wounded, the number of

    14 missing is unknown," et cetera.

    15 Tell us first, what was the most important

    16 thing in Kiseljak and what happened on that day and did

    17 you mention that in your order?

    18 A. In my order, I had stated that the main task

    19 of the HVO forces in Kiseljak was to secure Zavrtaljka,

    20 an object that was of the greatest importance in that

    21 area and which was of equal significance as Mount Kuber

    22 in the Lasva Valley.

    23 Q. What happened? What do we see from this

    24 report?

    25 A. The commander in this report clearly states

  12. 1 that Zavrtaljka has been lost, which is an object of

    2 operative significance, that they had not managed to

    3 capture Gomionica, which is understandable, because

    4 from Zavrtaljka the BH army was able to give its forces

    5 support.

    6 MR. NOBILO: Is my colleague pointing to

    7 Zavrtaljka correctly, Mount Zavrtaljka? Very well.

    8 A. Yes. So it is the dominant feature, the

    9 dominant hill, for three local communities of Kiseljak

    10 municipality, the local communities of Bilalovac,

    11 Brestovsko, and a part of the local community of

    12 Gromiljak.

    13 Q. How did you take this report? Did the HVO

    14 enter the village of Gromiljak or not -- Gomionica.

    15 I'm sorry. The village of Gomionica.

    16 A. I can show this on the relief and on the map,

    17 and it is shown quite clearly that the HVO did not

    18 enter the village. It was stopped in front of the

    19 Mlava River as it says here in the report.

    20 Q. It says here that the conflict has spread to

    21 the villages of Rotilj, Visnjica, Doci, Hercezi, and

    22 Brestovsko. Do you know who attacked who in these

    23 villages? Can you tell by this report?

    24 A. A conflict is referred to here, and I

    25 understood that this was a conflict between the army of

  13. 1 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO because the

    2 commander says "the conflict has spread," and I don't

    3 know who attacked who, nor can we conclude this on the

    4 basis of this report.

    5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. The next documents,

    6 please, D310 and D311 and D312.

    7 The next document is D310. It is the report

    8 of the Vitez Brigade to the Operative Zone of Central

    9 Bosnia on the 18th of April at 1.00 --

    10 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I think we have the

    11 wrong document on the ELMO. We have a document from

    12 the Jure Francetic Brigade on the ELMO which is not

    13 310.

    14 MR. NOBILO: Just a minute, please.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Which is the document which you

    16 are interested in, Mr. Nobilo?

    17 MR. NOBILO: The mistake is mine. Three

    18 twelve. We need document 312, the report of the Vitez

    19 Brigade, and then we shall need 311.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: It's the document emitted on

    21 April 18th at 16.00 hours, right?

    22 MR. NOBILO: Sixteen hundred hours.

    23 Q. So this is the report of the Vitez Brigade,

    24 18th of April, D312. Just have a look at it, please.

    25 We're not going to read it out. And then could you

  14. 1 show this combat situation on the relief? How do you

    2 read this report so that the Trial Chamber can see,

    3 when you received this report, what does it tell you or

    4 what did it tell you at the time when you received it?

    5 Perhaps we can go point by point. You can read it, you

    6 can get up and show it to us -- not the entire

    7 document. First, point 1, then point 2, et cetera.

    8 A. On the map?

    9 Q. No, on the relief. Just a minute, please.

    10 Let us have our colleague, the Prosecutor, come up too.

    11 Now I would like to put a question to you.

    12 If you look at point 1 of this report, what does it

    13 tell you and what is the actual situation on the

    14 ground? How do you understand this report?

    15 A. Point 1 of this report says that the HVO

    16 forces of Vitez are firmly holding their positions at

    17 Kuber (indicating), that is position 708 and position

    18 808 -- we can show them later on the map too -- and

    19 they are still at those positions. There is no major

    20 fighting activity but there has been increased

    21 regrouping of enemy forces, and the brigade is asking

    22 for support from the HVO of Busovaca and who they want

    23 to link up to.

    24 Q. Tell me, who is holding the larger part of

    25 this area, the Vitez Brigade or the Busovaca Brigade?

  15. 1 A. At the very outset, it was the Busovaca

    2 Brigade that held a larger part of the Kuber Mountain.

    3 Q. In point 2, they mention --

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Just a minute, Mr. Nobilo. I

    5 have a slight problem remembering what was said

    6 yesterday. Yesterday I heard General Blaskic say that

    7 Kuber had fallen, and I don't understand anymore.

    8 A. That's right, Mr. President. That's right.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues asked the same

    10 question, actually, and I had remembered -- you know, I

    11 remembered that Kuber had fallen on April the 18th. So

    12 what happened?

    13 MR. KEHOE: Sixteenth.

    14 A. That's right, Mr. President, that's right.

    15 Kuber did not fall on the 18th. The summit fell on the

    16 16th of April and also another part, but we are

    17 commenting now on the report which is D312 which is

    18 dated the 18th of April and --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Please be concise. I am

    20 talking both to Defence counsel and to the accused.

    21 You know, it's a very complex issue, and if you try to

    22 say everything, we will have difficulty following you.

    23 My colleagues had also understood that Kuber had fallen

    24 on April the 18th, so I see that only part of Kuber had

    25 fallen, not the top of the mountain nor the bottom of

  16. 1 the mountain.

    2 A. That's right, Mr. President. It is the very

    3 top of Kuber that fell on the 4th of February, 1993,

    4 but I was just quoting the report, Mr. President.

    5 MR. NOBILO:

    6 Q. This report is dated April 18th; is that

    7 correct?

    8 A. Yes.

    9 Q. Point 2. Show us the combat situation

    10 related to point 2?

    11 A. The region of Gornji Santici, it would be

    12 this position here (indicating).

    13 Q. Please read the text.

    14 A. "In the Gornji Santici-Mahala hamlet region,

    15 there is heavy fighting against the far more numerous

    16 Muslim forces, who have intensified their attacks from

    17 the region of Sljivcica and Breza.

    18 "The villages of Santici and Donja Dubravica

    19 are under constant fire by Muslim forces from the

    20 villages of Sivrino Selo and Sljivcica, therefore

    21 multiple rocket launcher support is needed in order to

    22 try to neutralise the most pronounced firing positions

    23 in the village of Sivrino Selo and thus put a stop to

    24 the activities by Muslim forces."

    25 Q. Could you please show where the Croat forces

  17. 1 were, where Santici is, and where Sivrino Selo and

    2 Sljivcica where the Muslims were firing from?

    3 A. Santici, Gornji Santici, is just here, by the

    4 road (indicating), by the main road between Vitez and

    5 Busovaca. Sljivcica, I'm showing it now, that is this

    6 top -- this, and then Sivrino Selo is here

    7 (indicating).

    8 Q. Just below Sljivcica; right?

    9 A. Yes. And then the front line was in Sivrino

    10 Selo, in the wider region of Dzidica Kuce, 50 to 100

    11 metres to the north of the main road of Vitez-Busovaca,

    12 that is to say, the position of the unit of the army of

    13 Bosnia and Herzegovina was 50 or 100 metres away from

    14 that point.

    15 Q. And then point 3 speaks of the defence lines,

    16 the Croatian defence lines, Krizancevo Selo, Krcevine,

    17 and Jardol, that it remained unchanged. Can you show

    18 this to us, Krizancevo Selo, Krcevine, and Jardol?

    19 A. Yes.

    20 Q. Krizancevo Selo, Krcevine and Jardol, where

    21 would that line be?

    22 A. I am showing Vitez first and then Krizancevo

    23 Selo is over here where I'm pointing out now

    24 (indicating) and then Krcevine and the village of

    25 Jardol (indicating).

  18. 1 Q. Tell me, how far away is this from the main

    2 road?

    3 A. It is just by the main road. For example,

    4 Krcevine is about 150 metres away. It's a field, it's

    5 flat land, and there is a village in this field, but it

    6 also says here that the lines remained unchanged, and

    7 we did have a situation where the line had been changed

    8 at Krcevine and also partly at Jardol.

    9 Q. Point 4 is snipers from Grbavica, and we're

    10 going to leave that for the time being, but point 5,

    11 the region of Kruscica is still under attack from the

    12 Muslim forces from Vranjska and Gornja Rovna. Can you

    13 show us that?

    14 A. Yes. I said that the army of

    15 Bosnia-Herzegovina had taken trig. Point 603, it's

    16 called Pintra, and in Vranjska, position 502 by

    17 Baresina Kuce, and from the positions of the village of

    18 Kajmakovici, they could fire by mortars both at Santici

    19 and Krcevine, Jardol and the other areas. It also says

    20 here that negotiations are under way and that the

    21 dissolution is being sought.

    22 Q. Yes. We just wanted to see these positions.

    23 A. May I just add one more thing? We skipped a

    24 point here, point 4, where it says, "In the region of

    25 Divjak and Bila," et cetera, that's interesting because

  19. 1 the forces from Grbavica had this unhindered

    2 communication between Vitez and Nova Bila. The bridge

    3 across the Lasva River, they had it under their

    4 control, including the area of Divjak, that is to say,

    5 including control over the road that goes from Vitez to

    6 Travnik. The forces were in Divjak, Grbavica, and this

    7 was completely in the hands of the army of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    9 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to our places, to

    10 our seats, and then we are going to talk about the car

    11 bomb.

    12 Please, could we see document D304? That is

    13 the report of the Vitez Brigade on the occasion of the

    14 explosion. D304, that is the report that was written

    15 on the 18th of April, 1993 at 18.45, and it says here

    16 that it was sent from the Vitez Brigade to the command

    17 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.

    18 "At 17.00 hours and 30 minutes, a terrible

    19 explosion occurred whose exact location we still cannot

    20 determine, but it happened on the straight line

    21 Municipal enterprise 'VITKOM' - the store 'BORAC.'

    22 "According to data at our disposal and the

    23 intensity of detonation, most probably there was an

    24 explosives warehouse in one of the houses in the

    25 immediate proximity of the store.

  20. 1 "Because in that area at the time fierce

    2 battles were being waged, we suppose that the warehouse

    3 was hit by a mortar grenade, which activated the

    4 explosives.

    5 "On the basis of the intensity of the

    6 explosion, one can conclude that it was a matter of a

    7 large quantity of explosives.

    8 "We do not have any information about any

    9 casualties, but we can already affirm that huge

    10 property damage was incurred."

    11 General, did you receive this report of the

    12 Vitez Brigade, which is D304?

    13 A. Yes.

    14 Q. Around 17.30, did you register the explosion

    15 at the headquarters of the Operative Zone? Remind the

    16 Court what your operative log says in relation to this

    17 explosion. This was 17.20 in your log.

    18 A. Yes. It says, "The hotel was hit. A mortar

    19 shell, 120-millimetres. Probably Preocica."

    20 Q. So you thought that the hotel had been hit,

    21 and the Vitez Brigade, that it was an explosives

    22 warehouse. Tell the Court, what did you realise

    23 later? What kind of information did you receive

    24 later? What had actually happened?

    25 A. I asked the security assistant for detailed

  21. 1 information, and I found out that this was a cistern in

    2 which there was a certain amount of explosives, and

    3 these explosives caused a detonation in Old Vitez.

    4 Q. When you say "cistern," you're actually

    5 talking about a truck for transporting liquid fuel; is

    6 that correct?

    7 A. Yes.

    8 Q. Please proceed.

    9 A. The security assistant informed me that the

    10 complete findings of his investigation were submitted

    11 to his superiors in Mostar. In the information I

    12 received, it said that behind this were the members of

    13 the special purposes unit of Vitezovi.

    14 Q. You said "PPN," Vitezovi. What is "PPN" an

    15 abbreviation for?

    16 A. It is a special purposes unit directly

    17 attached to the defence department in Mostar. It is

    18 the Vitezovi.

    19 Q. Why didn't the security service submit a

    20 report to you so that you would do something in

    21 connection with the Vitezovi? Why did they send this

    22 report to Mostar? What was the reason for that?

    23 A. I never took --

    24 Q. What did you not take?

    25 A. I was not competent to take reports from

  22. 1 Vitezovi or to take disciplinary action with them. I

    2 did ask the commander of Vitezovi, for him to take

    3 disciplinary action possibly, but this unit was

    4 directly under the defence department in Mostar.

    5 Q. Did you have the competence to replace the

    6 commander of the Vitezovi, to punish him when he

    7 refused to take disciplinary action against his

    8 members? Did you ever have such authority?

    9 A. No, I never had such authority.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: I'd like to go back on

    11 something you just mentioned, Mr. Nobilo. I had

    12 understood that the military police, from the 16th of

    13 April at 11.42 onwards, was dependent from Colonel

    14 Blaskic; am I wrong?

    15 MR. NOBILO: You're right, Mr. President.

    16 This is not the military police. This is a special

    17 purposes unit, the Vitezovi.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: I've understood that, but the

    19 military police was dependent from General Blaskic, and

    20 as far as the special units, I had understood that

    21 General Petkovic had said to the accused that every

    22 force was at his disposal, and this took place on April

    23 16th.

    24 MR. NOBILO: That is correct too,

    25 Mr. President, but they were attached to him, that is

  23. 1 to say, that he could use these units in combat but not

    2 to replace commanders and to punish them. Attachment

    3 does not imply that. It implies only the use of these

    4 units. However, since I'm not the one who's

    5 testifying, let's ask the General whether he ever

    6 received the authority to not only use the units of the

    7 military police and the special purposes unit. Did you

    8 ever get authority to replace their commanders, to

    9 punish them, and to exercise other authority in terms

    10 of these commanders?

    11 A. No.

    12 Q. Did you inform your own superiors about this

    13 incident?

    14 A. Yes. About this incident, I informed them,

    15 and I also told them about the information I received

    16 from my own assistant for security, and I informed the

    17 main staff in Mostar about this.

    18 Q. It's quite clear from what you said, but I

    19 have to ask you explicitly: Did you order action

    20 related to the car bomb that took place in Vitez?

    21 A. No.

    22 Q. Did you have any indication, any information,

    23 before this action that it would take place?

    24 A. No.

    25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps --

  24. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Maybe this is a good time

    2 to take a break, a 15-minute break.

    3 --- Recess taken at 2.40 p.m.

    4 --- On resuming at 3.02 p.m.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.

    6 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

    7 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Could the witness be

    8 shown documents D310, D311, D313, and D315. These are

    9 reports from the Vitez Brigade, from the Zenica

    10 Brigade, and two reports from the Busovaca Brigade.

    11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The document now appearing

    12 on the ELMO, could this document be placed on the ELMO

    13 please once again? Thank you. Not this one, the other

    14 one, the first one.

    15 My question may be a bit ingenuous,

    16 Mr. Nobilo, but I read in some documents you handed

    17 over to us that on April the 17th, there was an

    18 explosion. A truck bomb exploded; a cistern truck

    19 exploded. This terrible explosion which is spoken of

    20 in the document, does it have anything to do with this

    21 particular truck bomb I mentioned a minute ago?

    22 MR. NOBILO: The big explosion occurred on

    23 the 18th of April, and perhaps it would be best for the

    24 witness to answer.

    25 A. Your Honours, this was a report that we

  25. 1 received from the Vitez Brigade about the explosion.

    2 Q. Is that the same big explosion of the truck

    3 bomb that you learnt about later?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,

    6 General.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.

    8 Mr. Nobilo, you can proceed.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    10 Q. One additional question, on the 18th of

    11 April, was there only one big explosion in Vitez?

    12 A. Yes.

    13 Q. The fact that the Vitez Brigade gives one

    14 explanation, the Operative Zone has another explanation

    15 for that explosion, and in reality, it occurred in a

    16 different manner, that is, with the help of a truck

    17 bomb, what can you conclude from these differences?

    18 A. That the commander of the Vitez Brigade

    19 himself did not have any information in connection with

    20 the explosion of the truck bomb.

    21 Q. Linked to the report that you received from

    22 your security service, did you understand exactly where

    23 the truck bomb had gone off?

    24 A. No. The report said that it occurred in

    25 Stari Vitez, which was under the supervision of the BH

  26. 1 army, but the precise location as to the house, near

    2 which house, or which part of the town, we didn't know.

    3 Q. Did you assume that the truck had been sent

    4 across the front line to the enemy side?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. Do you have these new reports now, D310,

    7 D311, D313, and D315? We won't read them. Just look

    8 at them, please, and tell me whether you received such

    9 reports on the 18th of April, 1993, and that brings to

    10 the end the 18th of April. Documents 310, 311, 313,

    11 and 315, four reports.

    12 A. Yes, I did receive these reports in the

    13 course of the 18th of April, 1993.

    14 Q. Thank you.

    15 A. Just a moment, please. In addition to

    16 D315 -- except for document D315, which was received

    17 just after midnight the next day.

    18 Q. Thank you. We won't go into any further

    19 detail, into those reports. They are self-evident. We

    20 can all read them.

    21 Let us now focus on the 19th of April, that

    22 is, the next day, and the 20th of April, and tell us in

    23 summary form what were the significant events of those

    24 days?

    25 A. On the 19th of April --

  27. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Forgive me, Mr. Nobilo, but

    2 before we go on to April the 19th, there's something

    3 that I still don't understand, and I'm talking to the

    4 accused/witness. Yesterday, you told us that the whole

    5 situation was chaotic. You are about to capitulate.

    6 Everything is going wrong. Everything is falling to

    7 pieces. You say you do not control the forces on the

    8 ground. I've noted that you had said that the

    9 situation was chaotic.

    10 Before we go on to April the 19th, I am

    11 looking at these three reports, they say that

    12 everything is going well, that the morale was good,

    13 that the front lines are holding out, that, from a

    14 logistical point, everything is going well. Everything

    15 seems to be going well, General; isn't that the case?

    16 Don't you agree? What was the situation like? Was it

    17 a good situation, a bad situation? Were you in

    18 control? Yesterday, everything seemed to be going

    19 wrong, and today we are looking at reports written on

    20 April the 18th, and they indicate that everything is

    21 going okay. So what was the situation like, good or

    22 bad?

    23 A. Things were all bad, and we were on the brink

    24 of collapse, and this can be seen from the situation

    25 illustrated on the relief. We were totally surrounded,

  28. 1 particularly on the evening of the 17th.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. How do you interpret that you see in the

    4 report a sentence speaking of a good situation?

    5 A. There were very few reports that really

    6 reflected the situation as it was on the ground. It

    7 was typical for the commander to avoid mentioning

    8 losing any territory, but he would mention if he

    9 regained any territory. So that I was never informed

    10 when any territory was lost which would, during the

    11 day, be recaptured. A typical example was Krcevine,

    12 when the commander informed me that they had managed to

    13 close the gap in the line that had been broken through,

    14 but I had not been informed when it had been broken

    15 through.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. But when you yourself

    17 send a report to General Petkovic, what do you tell him

    18 at the time? Do you tell him that the situation is

    19 good or do you say that the situation is not so good,

    20 and if you say that the situation is bad, on what basis

    21 do you make such an assertion?

    22 A. On the basis of the reports that arrived in

    23 the operations room and also on the basis of the

    24 situation on the ground. For example, the commander of

    25 the Zenica Brigade did not tell me that the brigade was

  29. 1 about to capitulate, and when he signed the surrender,

    2 he just informed me by phone that he had signed the

    3 surrender. When, in the course of the night, all the

    4 positions were to be reviewed and new hotbeds, one

    5 would see that there had been major changes on the

    6 front.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Finish your answer,

    8 and I think then Judge Rodrigues will have a question

    9 for you.

    10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Judge Jorda.

    11 Mr. Blaskic, before we go on to what happened

    12 on April the 19th, I would like to get some further

    13 information on a particular issue you mentioned. What

    14 I am interested in are documents 305 and 306 of the

    15 Defence. These documents were submitted to us to show

    16 that your orders were not always executed. Generally

    17 speaking, I don't think it is necessary to go over

    18 these documents again, but it seems to me that your aim

    19 was to show by these documents what the situation

    20 really was, a situation in which your orders were not

    21 executed. Have I properly understood what your aim

    22 was?

    23 A. Yes.

    24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But, General, in the case

    25 where you, in fact, gave orders, do you know if all the

  30. 1 orders you gave were received by the addressees?

    2 A. From the reports that I received in the time

    3 when they reached me, I could assume that my orders had

    4 been received. In this particular case, I was not in a

    5 position physically to check whether my order had

    6 reached its destination, to go to the spot to check

    7 whether the commander had received it, how he

    8 understood it in each particular case -- in this

    9 particular case, for document 305 and document 306.

    10 But judging from the reports, I assumed that he did

    11 receive my orders.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So that is what should have

    13 happened in principle, but you are not sure that your

    14 orders were received by the person they were addressed

    15 to.

    16 I think it was yesterday that you gave us an

    17 example of an order which only reached its destination

    18 ten days after it was transmitted, so are you sure of

    19 what you are saying now or are you trying to see what

    20 should have happened in principle? Were you assuming

    21 that your orders had been received but weren't you, in

    22 fact, quite sure of the fact that they had been

    23 received?

    24 A. I proceeded from the assumption that if the

    25 commander informs me about actions taken on the basis

  31. 1 of my order, that meant that he had received my order,

    2 but I was not able personally to check, to go to that

    3 destination to see how he understood my order and how

    4 he intended to act. I was unable to go and visit that

    5 commander. But reports usually, or some of the

    6 reports, referred to an order received.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues. We

    9 sometimes have to ask for a number of precisions,

    10 although this is not the line of conduct that we had

    11 adopted at the beginning of this trial, but now we feel

    12 we have to sometimes ask for further information.

    13 All right. Let us now proceed. We are now

    14 on April the 19th. Mr. Nobilo, you may proceed.

    15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. As we

    16 said earlier on, the Defence is very pleased when the

    17 Judges have questions and interrupt us at what whatever

    18 moment because, after all, the most important thing is

    19 for the Trial Chamber to understand fully what we are

    20 trying to say, and sometimes, if there is a lack of

    21 precision, this only helps the proceedings.

    22 Q. So, General, can you tell us, recount the

    23 most important events of the 19th of April?

    24 A. At 6.45 on the 19th of April, 1993, artillery

    25 shelling started against the town of Busovaca and the

  32. 1 surrounding areas of Milavice, Kula, Prosje, and

    2 Kratine.

    3 Q. Do I recollect correctly that yesterday we

    4 ended when we were talking about the peace agreement

    5 and your order on a cease-fire and your communication

    6 with the 3rd Corps? Did any of that bear fruit or not?

    7 A. I did address an order for the information of

    8 the command of the 3rd Corps, but the peace treaty was

    9 not observed; in fact, combat operations continued on

    10 the 19th of April on the part of the army of

    11 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    12 Q. Please continue with your review of events.

    13 A. As soon as these operations started, I was

    14 informed that these were forces of the 7th Muslim

    15 Brigade, parts of the 333rd Brigade of the BH army, the

    16 309th Brigade, and parts of the 305th Brigade of the BH

    17 army that had, about 7.00, started an artillery and

    18 infantry attack on the approaches to the town of

    19 Busovaca from the north and north-east. In more

    20 specific terms, the positions at Kula, Milavice,

    21 Prosje, and Kratine were attacked. I spent most of

    22 that day, as in the case of the previous days,

    23 assisting and communicating by telephone with the

    24 commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade.

    25 Q. Would it be correct to say that on the 19th

  33. 1 of April, the attack on Busovaca culminated on that

    2 day, when we are talking about that particular period?

    3 A. Yes, that was the fiercest attack against the

    4 town of Busovaca and the areas in which HVO units were

    5 stationed and probably that was the occasion when the

    6 enemy engaged the greatest forces.

    7 Q. However, it was not peaceful in Vitez either.

    8 A. Yes, there were artillery operations in Vitez

    9 too, but the operations were far more intensive in the

    10 town of Busovaca where tanks were being used by the BH

    11 army, whereas in Vitez, the operations were limited to

    12 Kratine, Dubravica, Krizancevo Selo, Krcevine, and

    13 Jardol.

    14 Q. These villages that you have listed, were HVO

    15 positions there?

    16 A. Yes, HVO positions were there, and all these

    17 villages are north of the main road, the

    18 Travnik-Vitez-Busovaca main road.

    19 Q. Can we go on to the 20th of April, '93, when

    20 you received some disturbing information from Travnik?

    21 So please tell us what happened in the morning of that

    22 day.

    23 A. On that day, that is, the 20th of April,

    24 1993, I received information that in Travnik there had

    25 been mutual arrests.

  34. 1 Q. What do you mean when you say "mutual"? Who

    2 arrested whom?

    3 A. The arrests were mainly carried out by HVO

    4 members on members of the BH army and vice versa;

    5 members of the BH army arrested HVO members. The

    6 situation was getting out of control, and the commander

    7 in Travnik; Filipovic, and the commander of the BH army

    8 forces; Alagic, tried to come to an agreement to pacify

    9 the situation and to gain control over the situation.

    10 Also, in Travnik, as I was informed, it was

    11 the 20th, but as far as I can remember, actually, it

    12 happened the previous night or the afternoon of the

    13 19th, there was an assassination attempt against a

    14 member of the Travnik Brigade command, Mr. Gaso, and on

    15 this occasion, his wife was killed. What, in fact,

    16 happened was that three members of the BH army came to

    17 the door of the apartment where Mr. Gaso lived, rang

    18 the bell, and when the wife tried to open the door,

    19 fire was opened from an automatic rifle, and the wife

    20 was killed on the spot.

    21 About 4.30 in the morning, I received

    22 information from the head of the Military Intelligence

    23 Service, VOS, that there was regrouping of forces by

    24 the BH army and that artillery fire had been opened and

    25 some provocations staged in Krcevine, Krizancevo Selo,

  35. 1 Zabrdje, and about 6.00 hours, an infantry attack

    2 started. In the course of the day, information reached

    3 us about operations in the region of Gacice and the

    4 region of Sljivcica. That day, exiles from Zenica

    5 started arriving in groups. There were whole families

    6 or only military conscripts, some with military weapons

    7 and equipment and others only with bags in their hands.

    8 Sometime around 6.00, from 6.00 until about

    9 16.30, I personally was engaged in providing assistance

    10 to the Vitez Brigade in a similar manner as the

    11 previous days, that is, the 17th and 18th, in the

    12 defence of Krcevine, Krizancevo Selo, and Kratine.

    13 About 16.30 hours, I was called by phone -- 16.30, I

    14 was called up by the chief of staff of the HVO staff,

    15 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, from Zenica, and he ordered

    16 me to prepare because UNPROFOR would come to pick me up

    17 and that I personally had to go to a meeting in Zenica.

    18 Q. Will you describe how you left the hotel on

    19 your way to Zenica and whether that was the first time

    20 you left the hotel from the beginning of combat

    21 operations?

    22 A. That was the first time I went out of the

    23 hotel. From the hotel basement, I used the side door

    24 or, rather, the back door, which had been hit on the

    25 very first day, and there were two armoured vehicles on

  36. 1 the left and right-hand side. They drove right up to

    2 the steps --

    3 Q. Excuse me. When you use the word

    4 "transporters," who did they belong to and what were

    5 they like?

    6 A. They belonged to the UNPROFOR British

    7 Battalion.

    8 Q. Are they armoured, resistant to bullets?

    9 A. Yes, they are armoured, and I think their

    10 armour is of a very high quality, and they first took

    11 up positions on the sides, and the vehicle in the

    12 middle, also an armoured vehicle, drove right up to the

    13 steps, the back door was opened, and I literally

    14 stepped from the door into this central Warrior

    15 vehicle. After that, the door closed, and we drove off

    16 to Zenica to the meeting.

    17 Q. You said that that was the first time that

    18 you left the hotel from the beginning of operations at

    19 dawn on the 16th of April.

    20 A. Yes.

    21 Q. Was it possible for you to leave your command

    22 post in the discotheque of the hotel, tour the front

    23 lines, personally command certain combat operations or

    24 not? If not, why?

    25 A. First of all, that was not a command post.

  37. 1 It was more of a disco club than a command post. The

    2 only difference being was that we were now there rather

    3 than other guests. We were there with two telephone

    4 lines rather than regular discotheque fans. So that we

    5 had to prepare, as we went along, to be able to work

    6 properly.

    7 Secondly, it was not possible because, in

    8 that event, I would have been left without any

    9 possibility of communicating with the brigade

    10 commanders and my other associates.

    11 Q. What would that mean? If you had gone to the

    12 front line and left the two telephones behind, what

    13 would that have meant for the system of defence which

    14 was, after all, established up to a sense in the

    15 Busovaca enclave?

    16 A. Between me and my associates at least, there

    17 would have been a total interruption of all

    18 communication, and I certainly would not have been able

    19 to communicate with them from any other position. As

    20 for mobile means of communication, such as they were in

    21 the former JNA, I didn't have any such mobile equipment

    22 at my disposal.

    23 Q. Tell me, in a situation when a commander does

    24 not have an armoured communication vehicle so that he

    25 could actually move all over the front line and

  38. 1 communicate with everyone, according to the JNA

    2 doctrine, which is the way that you were trained, where

    3 is your type of commander supposed to be: at the front

    4 line or somewhere else?

    5 A. Well, practically all rules of the former JNA

    6 envisage where the commander of a certain rank should

    7 be. I think that the place where I was went beyond all

    8 rules because the front line was about 150 or 200

    9 metres away. I tried to use the best communication

    10 devices possible, those that I had at the time, and I

    11 think that the hotel made it possible for me to

    12 communicate the best at that point in time.

    13 Q. When you say that your command post, so to

    14 speak, the one at the disco club, was beyond the rules,

    15 what are you trying to say when you say that?

    16 A. Well, in the briefest possible terms, the

    17 commander of a battalion is supposed to be a kilometre

    18 and a half away or two kilometres behind his front line

    19 units; the commander of a brigade should be three to

    20 six kilometres away; the commander of a zone, corps, or

    21 division should be a lot more behind so that he could

    22 receive all information and issue commands. However,

    23 the situation was such that it was not possible to

    24 establish a command post according to such

    25 requirements. We simply had to make do with what we

  39. 1 had available at the time.

    2 Q. Tell us, would it be in line with military

    3 logic for the commander of the Operative Zone to leave

    4 his command post and this centre of the entire system,

    5 so to speak, and go to the front line and supervise the

    6 immediate defence at the front line and to stay for a

    7 longer period of time there?

    8 A. Well, it would be if he had a communication

    9 centre at his disposal.

    10 Q. A mobile one?

    11 A. Yes, a mobile one, where he would be able to

    12 communicate with all participants and if he could take

    13 with him associates and everyone else he needed.

    14 However, in a chaotic situation, that would have meant

    15 the even faster fall of these lines which, as they

    16 were, were established with utmost effort and

    17 maintained.

    18 Q. If you were to get away from those two

    19 telephones without a mobile communication centre, that

    20 is to say, without a mobile communications vehicle,

    21 would that have meant a disconnection of all

    22 communications with your units, and what would that

    23 have meant in terms of your capacity to command?

    24 A. In that way, my capacity to command would

    25 have totally been broken off or it would have been

  40. 1 reduced to one or two participants only.

    2 Q. Thank you. You said that on the 20th of

    3 April, 1993, you set out for Zenica, and I imagine you

    4 arrived at this meeting with the representatives of the

    5 United Nations, the representatives of the 3rd Corps,

    6 et cetera. Can you mention who was present at that

    7 meeting, first and foremost?

    8 A. Well, I came to Zenica to the Hotel

    9 International where the meeting was held, and the

    10 following persons were present there: General

    11 Morillon; then the head of the European Monitoring

    12 Mission for the Zenica area, Mr. Thebault; then, on

    13 behalf of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was

    14 Mr. Ejup Ganic; and I think that there was the deputy

    15 head of the war presidency, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic; then

    16 there was Mr. Sefer Halilovic, the chief of the main

    17 staff of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina; then there

    18 was Enver Hadzihasanovic, commander of the 3rd Corps of

    19 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Dzemo Merdan,

    20 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps of the army of Bosnia

    21 and Herzegovina; Mr. Hodzic, president of the regional

    22 committee of the SDA.

    23 Q. That was the party of the Bosniak Muslims; is

    24 that correct?

    25 A. Well, yes, mainly Bosniak Muslims. Then

  41. 1 Mr. Stjepan Siber, deputy chief of the main staff of

    2 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr. Vehbija Karic,

    3 also deputy chief of the main staff of the army of

    4 Bosnia-Herzegovina; and representing the HVO were

    5 Mr. Kresimir Zubak, the Deputy Prime Minister of the

    6 Croatian Defence Council; then Brigadier Petkovic,

    7 chief of the main staff of the Croatian Defence

    8 Council; then Mr. Lucic and Mr. Bandic, officers from

    9 the main staff or, rather, the defence department, and

    10 I was also present at the meeting. And then there was

    11 also Mr. Pojavnik who was President of the Croatian

    12 Democratic Council from Zenica; and Mr. Dominik Sakic,

    13 vice-president of the assembly of the municipality of

    14 Zenica and president of the HVO of Zenica.

    15 Q. So let us see how the meeting began.

    16 A. The meeting was chaired by General Morillon

    17 and Mr. Thebault, the head of the European Monitoring

    18 Mission. General Morillon informed us about the

    19 agreement that was signed on the 18th of April, 1993,

    20 and he said that last night, probably referring to the

    21 19th of April, 1993, in Medzugorje, they had a similar

    22 meeting with the command of the Operative Zone of

    23 south-eastern Herzegovina, and the commander of the 4th

    24 Corps of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that

    25 today -- rather, on that day, the 20th of April, 1993,

  42. 1 this meeting that is being held is aimed at the

    2 implementation of the agreement reached on the 18th of

    3 April, 1993, which was signed between President Alija

    4 Izetbegovic and President Mate Boban.

    5 MR. NOBILO: Just a minute, please. We would

    6 like to have a document distributed. That is the

    7 agreement that the witness has been mentioning.

    8 THE REGISTRAR: This is document D546 and

    9 D546A for the English version.

    10 MR. NOBILO: While this is being

    11 distributed -- it's a brief document, so I'll read it.

    12 Zagreb --

    13 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel.

    14 MR. NOBILO:

    15 Q. Zagreb --

    16 JUDGE JORDA: What was the original language

    17 this document was written in, Mr. Nobilo? Did General

    18 Morillon write this in French?

    19 MR. NOBILO: This is a document, an agreement

    20 reached between Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban, and

    21 it is not very simple to say which language this is. I

    22 am going to say that it's Croatian, somebody else is

    23 going to say Bosnian so ...

    24 Q. Zagreb, the 18th of April, 1993. Alija

    25 Izetbegovic and Mate Boban.

  43. 1 "After talks on Croat-Muslim relations,

    2 Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban concluded the

    3 following:

    4 1. All misunderstandings in relations

    5 between the Croatian and Muslim peoples in Bosnia and

    6 Herzegovina should be resolved by political means.

    7 2. There is no reason for the conflict

    8 between the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO.

    9 3. We order all units to stop fighting

    10 immediately, release prisoners and eliminate the causes

    11 through agreements at all levels.

    12 4. Immediately establish the responsibility

    13 and intentions of the units and individuals with a role

    14 at the beginning of the conflict.

    15 On the right-hand side is the signature of

    16 Mate Boban and the left-hand side is the signature of

    17 Alija Izetbegovic.

    18 General, tell us first, do you know these

    19 signatures and can you confirm that the two gentlemen

    20 actually signed this document?

    21 A. Yes. I know the signatures, both of Mr. Mate

    22 Boban and of Mr. Ilija Izetbegovic.

    23 Q. Are those these signatures?

    24 A. Yes.

    25 Q. Is this the agreement that General Morillon

  44. 1 was referring to when he mentioned in his introductory

    2 remarks that an agreement had been reached?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Please tell us about the proceedings of this

    5 meeting.

    6 A. Later on, Brigadier Petkovic took the floor,

    7 and he asked for the meeting to be continued only when

    8 the commander of the Zenica Brigade of the HVO or,

    9 rather, the deputy commander, Vinko Baresic, was

    10 released, because we had received information that he

    11 was detained in prison in the penitentiary in Zenica.

    12 We waited some 20-odd minutes until Vinko

    13 Baresic arrived, and I used that time to inform

    14 Brigadier Petkovic about the difficult situation in

    15 Vitez and in Busovaca. I told him that in Vitez, the

    16 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, during the course of the

    17 day, had basically reached the main road between Vitez

    18 and Busovaca from the direction of Sljibcica and

    19 Vrhovine. I even told him that I wasn't sure whether I

    20 would be able to return at all, meaning that the road

    21 would completely be cut off.

    22 As we were commenting on the situation, Vinko

    23 Baresic arrived with a criminal report or, rather, a

    24 decision on his release from the prison, and it said on

    25 it that he was indicted because of his participation in

  45. 1 hostile units, enemy units. Brigadier Petkovic took

    2 that decision from Vinko Baresic and said, "Well,

    3 yesterday, we had discussions in Medzugorje and said

    4 that the HVO and the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina are

    5 integral parts of the armed forces of

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now members of the HVO are

    7 being charged with being members of enemy units." He

    8 also said, I quote: "I personally feel to be a member

    9 of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

    10 Q. That's what Brigadier Petkovic said?

    11 A. Yes. At that time, he was a brigadier, and

    12 that's what Brigadier Petkovic said, chief of the main

    13 staff of the HVO.

    14 General Morillon took the floor and asked

    15 that we focus on the need to implement the agreement,

    16 and again he gave the floor to General Petkovic, who

    17 spoke of the conflict, as he said, "This conflict was

    18 not carried out by five people, but this is a conflict

    19 of general nature. You," meaning the army of

    20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, "committed a terrorist act in

    21 Zenica when you abducted Commander Totic."

    22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Kehoe.

    24 MR. KEHOE: If the witness is reading from a

    25 report, and he does appear to have a report in front of

  46. 1 him, and these are not his notes, again to renew the

    2 Prosecutor's request and the Court's request for those

    3 typed matters that the witness is reading from.

    4 MR. NOBILO: We can ask whether he's reading

    5 out of a report or his notes.

    6 A. These are my personal notes, and I would

    7 really like to say very precisely who said what at the

    8 meeting. So that is what I had personally written

    9 down. These are my own notes.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Those are the notes you took

    11 down while the meeting was taking place; is that right,

    12 General Blaskic?

    13 A. Mr. President, I'm sorry. I didn't manage to

    14 get an interpretation of what you said.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: I was asking if what you are

    16 reading were, in fact, the notes that you took down

    17 during the meeting, while the meeting was taking place;

    18 is that the case? Are these notes that you have taken

    19 down during your detention in The Hague or are you

    20 reading parts of an official report that you would have

    21 obtained from a third party, for example, from the

    22 archive department of the Ministry of Defence? This is

    23 my question. What are you reading from?

    24 A. In my war diary, I took notes while I was

    25 present at the meeting, and I even wasn't present at

  47. 1 the meeting all the time. So these are my very

    2 personal notes that I kept in my war diary, and these

    3 are just points that I copied from my own war diary,

    4 from my own notes.

    5 Of course, I can talk about this meeting,

    6 Mr. President, and retell all of this, but then I don't

    7 think I'm going to be very precise on who said what at

    8 this meeting, and I think it's very important for this

    9 Honourable Court to know exactly who said what at this

    10 meeting. These are not official minutes from that

    11 meeting because I do not have official minutes of that

    12 meeting.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: You may proceed, General

    14 Blaskic.

    15 Mr. Kehoe, do you have anything to add?

    16 MR. HAYMAN: If counsel has a further

    17 request, I ask that it be made outside of the presence

    18 of the witness. I think he's trying to destabilise the

    19 witness. If he has a problem with the witness using

    20 personal notes, let's have a legal discussion about it

    21 outside the presence of the witness. I think this is

    22 wrong. This is the third time that they have attempted

    23 to do this, and they should do it outside the presence

    24 of the witness.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you know that these

  48. 1 kinds of incidents tend to happen just when we're about

    2 to take a break.

    3 First, I'll turn to Mr. Kehoe. Is this

    4 something that relates to the decision already taken by

    5 the Judges? You know that when the Judges have already

    6 taken a decision, they don't go back on that decision.

    7 MR. KEHOE: It is not, Mr. President, and I

    8 have done nothing to destabilise any witness, and I

    9 take great issue with that comment.

    10 My comment is simply this: We are dealing

    11 now with a typed statement. I can't read what General

    12 Blaskic is reading right now, but I can tell it's a

    13 typed statement. My statement was on the decisions,

    14 Mr. President, that you and Your Honours have made

    15 before. If it's a typed statement coming from a

    16 report, the Court is entitled to the report and the

    17 Office of the Prosecutor is entitled to the report, and

    18 that's how we have been operating for 20 months. My

    19 request is simply on that basis. If we are dealing

    20 with a report, the Office of the Prosecutor and the

    21 Court would respectfully request a copy, and any other

    22 insidious motive behind our request is simply

    23 misplaced.

    24 MR. NOBILO: The witness said clearly that

    25 this was not a report, and he said it ten minutes ago.

  49. 1 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Mr. Kehoe, I'm in a

    2 very difficult situation. It's very difficult for me

    3 to lean over to try to see what the witness is reading

    4 from. You know that we're trying to apply rules, but

    5 we have to be flexible in the way we apply these

    6 rules. You know what we have decided about these

    7 matters, Mr. Kehoe.

    8 Meanwhile, I'm going to ask to this witness,

    9 as we do to all witnesses and as it is done in all

    10 judicial systems, we are asking this witness not to

    11 come in the courtroom with something he has already

    12 prepared, prepared with the help of the Defence

    13 counsel, for example.

    14 Secondly, we are now hearing very special

    15 testimony. We are hearing the accused in this trial.

    16 The accused has some rights that cannot be violated,

    17 and whatever the fate of this witness may be, he is

    18 going through a very difficult experience and something

    19 he is not about to forget. So we have to apply rules

    20 with some flexibility.

    21 I have looked to my colleagues, and I think

    22 they are also of the mind that we should accept what

    23 the witness is saying right now.

    24 The other thing I would like to say is that

    25 the witness is testifying under oath. If he is lying,

  50. 1 we have some rules we can rely on in order to take some

    2 sanctions against the witness. The General is now

    3 telling us what he was doing at the time. Maybe he

    4 typed those notes. It is very possible that it may

    5 have been impossible for him during the 19th or the

    6 20th of April to type those notes. Maybe he remembered

    7 what was said at the meeting afterwards and typed those

    8 notes, but again, I remind you of the principle we have

    9 adopted, namely, that we have to apply the rules with

    10 some flexibility.

    11 At any rate, I think it is necessary for us

    12 all to take a 15-minute break. This will help every

    13 one of us to regain some calm. We are now taking a

    14 15-minute break.

    15 --- Recess taken at 3.55 p.m.

    16 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.

    18 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

    19 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    20 Q. General, we had stopped when we were

    21 discussing the important meeting held in Zenica on the

    22 20th of April, 1993. Could you tell us the proceedings

    23 at that meeting, and then we will come to the

    24 document?

    25 A. Yes. After General Morillon gave the floor

  51. 1 to Brigadier Petkovic, Brigadier Petkovic said, "This

    2 meeting was not provoked by five people. The meeting

    3 is of a general nature. You, in Zenica, abducted,

    4 through an act of terrorism, the brigade commander

    5 Totic, and in Konjic, you attacked the HVO. We still

    6 have no access so as to be able to establish what is

    7 happening with the Croats and the HVO in Konjic.

    8 Forces were brought in from the outside, from the 1st

    9 and 2nd Corps, and this is not a conflict of a local

    10 nature."

    11 After that, the chief of staff of the main

    12 staff of the BH army, Sefer Halilovic, asked for the

    13 floor, and he said the following: "First, we have to

    14 investigate the causes in order to be able to see what

    15 the consequences were. Our Military Intelligence

    16 Service has gained some information on the basis of

    17 which everything had been prepared long since under a

    18 plan called 'April '93.'"

    19 The closing address was made by Boban, who

    20 had attended a meeting on the 8th of April, 1993 held

    21 in Travnik.

    22 After that, Petkovic took the floor again and

    23 said, "Mr. Halilovic, you have brought to Vitez here

    24 400 soldiers from Travnik from the 17th Krajina

    25 Brigade. You have brought the 312th Mountain Brigade

  52. 1 from Travnik and the 306th Brigade from Travnik. You

    2 brought to Jablanica BH army forces also from the

    3 outside." A dispute ensued, that is, people started

    4 speaking without the chairman being able to give the

    5 floor to representatives of one or the other side.

    6 Then Dzemo Merdan took the floor without

    7 being given it --

    8 Q. Who was Dzemo Merdan?

    9 A. He was the deputy commander of the 3rd

    10 Corps. He said, "You have, down there, killed people.

    11 There are civilian corpses in the canal alongside the

    12 road, and about 500 people have been killed." I

    13 responded to Dzemo Merdan by saying, "Dzemo, if that is

    14 what you claim, I propose that a joint commission carry

    15 out an investigation and submit a report about those

    16 allegations."

    17 Q. General, killed civilians are lying in the

    18 canal alongside the road. Did Dzemo Merdan mention

    19 Ahmici or did he not mention Ahmici? What do you

    20 remember?

    21 A. I didn't note down mention of the village.

    22 He may have done so, but I believe he didn't because I

    23 would have taken note of the name of the village. But

    24 when he said that there were killed victims next to the

    25 road, my association was that this could be the region

  53. 1 of Nadioci, Sivrino Selo, and Ahmici, because Ahmici is

    2 one of the closest villages to the main road, and he

    3 was saying, "Down there, next to the road and the

    4 canal."

    5 Q. When you went to Zenica, which road did you

    6 drive along; do you know?

    7 A. I assume, with 90 per cent certainty, that we

    8 went along the Vitez-Kaonik road, and then Lasva

    9 turning towards Zenica, along the main road.

    10 Q. Why do you assume? Why is it that you can't

    11 say for certain?

    12 A. I didn't see the road along which I was

    13 driven because I was in an armoured vehicle. It was

    14 already dusk, and the lids were closed. I was sitting

    15 together with UNPROFOR soldiers, right next to them, so

    16 I couldn't see anything from the vehicle. But I'm very

    17 familiar with the road, and that is why I said that I'm

    18 90 per cent sure that I was driven along that main

    19 Vitez-Kaonik-Lasva-Zenica road.

    20 Q. When you proposed a joint commission to Dzemo

    21 Merdan, what commission did you have in mind? Were you

    22 referring to an existing commission or a new one?

    23 A. Up to then, all incidents and all

    24 allegations, and there were hundreds of them, between

    25 representatives of the BH army and the Croatian Defence

  54. 1 Council were addressed by a joint commission, which was

    2 chaired by Mr. Dzemo Merdan and Mr. Franjo Nakic.

    3 Together with them in that commission were

    4 representatives of the European Monitoring Mission, and

    5 UNPROFOR would occasionally provide security for the

    6 movement of that commission on the ground when it was

    7 thought that such security was needed.

    8 Q. Remind us, when was that commission set up,

    9 and what was the purpose?

    10 A. The commission was founded at a meeting held

    11 in Busovaca, and it was usually referred to as "the

    12 joint commission for Busovaca." Its purpose was to

    13 implement joint orders issued by Brigadier Petkovic and

    14 General Halilovic in February 1993 in order to remove

    15 all the consequences of the January conflict between

    16 the BH army and the Croatian Defence Council.

    17 Q. When you offered that the commission, which

    18 was routinely dealing with such matters, to carry out

    19 the investigation in Ahmici, what happened then at the

    20 meeting?

    21 A. I didn't specifically say "an investigation

    22 in Ahmici." What I said was, "Dzemo, if that is what

    23 you claim, I suggest and propose here that the joint

    24 commission carry out the investigation and report on

    25 its findings, that this report should be submitted both

  55. 1 to the commander of the 3rd Corps and to me."

    2 After that, Mr. Ejub Ganic asked for the

    3 floor.

    4 Q. Tell us his title.

    5 A. As far as I know, he was deputy president of

    6 the war presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the

    7 deputy of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. Today, he is

    8 vice-president of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    9 and until the 1st of January, 1999, I think he was

    10 president of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    11 Mr. Ejub Ganic said, "Let us leave the dead

    12 aside. Let us act responsibly. Let the commanders

    13 agree on a cessation of fighting first, and later on,

    14 we'll come to the dead. This needs to be stopped."

    15 When he said this, I assumed he was referring to

    16 hostilities.

    17 After that, General Morillon again took the

    18 floor, and I soon received information that I had an

    19 urgent call from Vitez, and I left the meeting room

    20 where the meeting was being held and went to the room

    21 next door on the same floor and received a report from

    22 Slavko Marin that forces of the army of

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina had captured the school in Dubravica

    24 and that the front frontal troops of those attackers

    25 had already reached Impregnacija.

  56. 1 Q. Did you leave Slavko Marin in the command to

    2 act as your deputy?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. The school in Dubravica and Impregnacija, how

    5 far is it from this key main road, Vitez-Busovaca?

    6 A. Impregnacija is south of the road, I can

    7 point it out for you, and the school is on the north

    8 side of the road. Therefore, according to the report I

    9 received after 18.00, this meant that the road had been

    10 cut.

    11 Q. Let me rephrase my question. When you were

    12 leaving the command of the Operative Zone in order to

    13 attend the peace negotiations, had the road been cut

    14 then?

    15 A. No, but there was fighting in front of the

    16 school at Dubravica. There was fighting to defend that

    17 area.

    18 Q. Does that mean that, during the negotiations,

    19 the BH army achieved a key victory?

    20 A. According to the report that reached me in

    21 the hotel, it meant that the road had been cut

    22 precisely while I was attending the meeting, because

    23 Slavko Marin called the command of the 3rd Corps

    24 because he didn't know the number of the Hotel

    25 International, and from the chief of staff of the 3rd

  57. 1 Corps, he got the number and called me at the meeting.

    2 Q. How did you react, attending the meeting with

    3 Hadzihasanovic, Sefer Halilovic, whom you were

    4 negotiating with, while behind your back they are

    5 continuing the attacks? What was your reaction?

    6 A. I immediately returned to the meeting room

    7 and addressed the chief of staff, and I conveyed to him

    8 this report in the original, saying that I had received

    9 a call from Slavko Marin that the road had been cut,

    10 that the BH army had captured this area, that is, the

    11 school in Dubravica, and that the forward troops had

    12 already reached Impregnacija.

    13 After that, Brigadier Petkovic informed the

    14 meeting about this report and asked for an explanation

    15 from Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic. Enver

    16 Hadzihasanovic said, "I did not approve that." He was

    17 referring to the attack. "Perhaps my orders have not

    18 reached the units on the ground." He also said that he

    19 could not convey his orders so quickly because the

    20 units were engaged in fighting and it took time for an

    21 order to reach each unit at all their positions.

    22 The suggestion made then was that me and

    23 Enver -- I am not sure whether the suggestion came only

    24 from Brigadier Petkovic or also from Halilovic -- the

    25 suggestion was that the two of us get up immediately,

  58. 1 me and Enver, that we go to the room next door, and

    2 that we all call up -- he, that he should call up his

    3 chief of staff, Mr. Mekic, and me, Slavko Marin in

    4 Vitez, and that we should order an immediate cessation

    5 of hostilities. That is what we did. So we left the

    6 meeting again.

    7 I don't know what form the meeting then took

    8 after that because I was with Enver Hadzihasanovic and

    9 we were making these telephone calls in order to

    10 achieve a cease-fire.

    11 When we returned after having issued our

    12 orders, I was present when General Morillon was reading

    13 the conclusions of the meeting. I took note of them in

    14 my official war diary. I noted them down in

    15 handwriting, of course, and the conclusions of the

    16 meeting were as follows: At 19.30, the British

    17 UNPROFOR battalion will patrol the streets of Vitez and

    18 position armoured carriers at the lines of

    19 confrontation between the forces of the BH army and the

    20 HVO. Then the joint command of the armed forces of the

    21 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was appointed by

    22 the Supreme Command and the main staff of the HVO,

    23 shall be equally treated, on a footing of equality.

    24 Then he addressed the chiefs of staff, that is,

    25 Brigadier Petkovic and General Halilovic, and said,

  59. 1 "You are responsible for what is happening because

    2 there is no reason for any of this."

    3 After that, the head of the European

    4 Monitoring Mission took the floor, Mr. Thebault, and he

    5 continued to dictate the conclusions of this meeting.

    6 First, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the

    7 Croatian Defence Council are components of the armed

    8 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and shall enjoy equal

    9 treatment.

    10 Second, all commanders at all levels of

    11 command must immediately implement the order on a total

    12 cease-fire.

    13 Third, in Vitez, a joint operations centre

    14 shall be formed which was the beginning of the

    15 establishment of a joint command in the days that would

    16 follow. To head that joint operations centre would be

    17 the deputy commanders. He was referring to the deputy

    18 commander of the 3rd Corps and to my deputy, that is,

    19 the deputy commander of the Operative Zone.

    20 Q. Let us be quite clear on this. Did you have

    21 a person whose formal title was deputy commander? If

    22 you didn't have such a person, who did you have in mind

    23 and what was his title?

    24 A. I did not have a person acting as deputy

    25 commander because the command of the Operative Zone in

  60. 1 structure differed from the structure of the command of

    2 the 3rd Corps, but, of course, my subordinate,

    3 according to the military hierarchy, was my chief of

    4 staff, Franjo Nakic, and the 3rd Corps did have a

    5 deputy commander of the 3rd Corps. He was Mr. Dzemo

    6 Merdan.

    7 Q. Fine. Please proceed.

    8 A. The next conclusion was that the centre in

    9 Busovaca --

    10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, did this

    11 difference in the structures of the HVO and the BiH

    12 produce any practical difficulties of administration

    13 for one side or the other?

    14 A. Your Honours, certainly it did cause

    15 difficulty in practical terms because for me this meant

    16 that my headquarters would be left without a chief of

    17 staff for the ensuing period which meant that I was

    18 short of staff anyway and now I had to assign my chief

    19 of staff to another task. That is one thing.

    20 Secondly, in the 3rd Corps, the chief of staff retained

    21 his original function and his regular assignments

    22 whereas the commander of the 3rd Corps appointed his

    23 deputy to the joint operations centre. That is the

    24 only difference. So one command was left without a

    25 chief of staff and the other had one in real terms and

  61. 1 formally.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. For the conduct of combat operations, will

    4 you tell the Court who is the second person in

    5 importance in both the 3rd Corps and the operative

    6 centre?

    7 A. Everywhere it is the chief of staff. That is

    8 the centre where all information is gathered, where all

    9 decisions are taken, and the chief of staff, in fact,

    10 prepares all decisions for the commander and reports to

    11 him.

    12 Q. Since we have the conclusions in writing, I

    13 would suggest that document 339 be shown to you, and we

    14 should like to distribute copies of this new document,

    15 and these documents refer to the conclusions of the

    16 meeting in Zenica. The only thing is that one document

    17 was by those who signed the agreement and the other one

    18 is an internal document from the HVO.

    19 So will you please give a copy to the

    20 witness?

    21 THE REGISTRAR: Document D547.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. General, please look at the document D339 and

    24 tell us, please, whether those are the conclusions of

    25 the meeting that you were referring to today. This is

  62. 1 an old document, D339.

    2 I am referring first to document D339. Does

    3 it contain the conclusions of the meeting in Zenica,

    4 the meeting that you just described?

    5 A. Yes, they contain all the conclusions, but

    6 there is one addition that I had taken note of -- I

    7 cannot see it in this document. This addition was

    8 proposed by Colonel Stewart to the chairman, Thebault,

    9 that is, the chief of the European Monitoring Mission.

    10 Q. What did it relate to?

    11 A. When all these conclusions that are contained

    12 in the document had been dictated, I described how they

    13 came about, but after that, Colonel Stewart took a

    14 military map and showed it to the head of the European

    15 Mission, Mr. Thebault, who then gave the floor to

    16 Colonel Stewart, and the HVO and the commander of the

    17 3rd Corps were required, in relation to the UNPROFOR

    18 base in Nova Bila, that an area around the base, 500

    19 metres around the base, should be demilitarised; in

    20 other words, that all military effects should be

    21 withdrawn in an area of 500 metres diameter.

    22 Q. Did the BH army do that?

    23 A. No.

    24 Q. If it had done so, which area would it have

    25 had to evacuate?

  63. 1 A. Most of Grbavica and a greater part of

    2 Divjak.

    3 Q. Very well. Please look now at the new

    4 document that we have just distributed, D547, which is

    5 the agreement, and pay attention to the signatures on

    6 the last page. Do you perhaps recognise any of those

    7 signatures?

    8 A. I recognise the signature of Brigadier

    9 Petkovic, General Sefer Halilovic, and General

    10 Morillon.

    11 MR. NOBILO: We are not going to read the

    12 document. It is self-explanatory in terms of the

    13 conclusions at the Zenica meeting.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I ask this question,

    15 General? In this document, paragraph 3, fifth line

    16 refers to "both deputy commanders." Should I

    17 understand that on your side to be referring to your

    18 chief of staff?

    19 A. Yes. Yes, Your Honour. I did not have a

    20 deputy, and that was a well-known fact to the chairman,

    21 Mr. Thebault, as well.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. Very well. So this meeting was over, you

    24 went back to your headquarters. Do you recall whether

    25 the fighting had abated -- or, rather, you didn't tell

  64. 1 us whether you went to the phone and made phone calls

    2 to certain units, you and Hadzihasanovic.

    3 A. Yes. Both of us were in a room which was on

    4 the same floor as the meeting room, and from one

    5 telephone, the commander of the 3rd Corps, Enver

    6 Hadzihasanovic, called his chief of staff, and later I

    7 called Slavko Marin too, and we dictated the decisions

    8 of this meeting through an order, and we both asked

    9 that the orders be sent to our subordinates on the

    10 ground straightaway.

    11 I told Slavko Marin that he should not wait

    12 for my return from Zenica to Vitez but that he should

    13 immediately prepare this order and have it sent out to

    14 certain units, this order on the cease-fire.

    15 Q. Very well. How did you go back? How did you

    16 return to the hotel, to your headquarters?

    17 A. That was quite late in the evening, perhaps

    18 about 23.00, I'm not too sure. The same way I went to

    19 Zenica, that is to say, with three UN armoured

    20 vehicles and our vehicle was in the middle and, again,

    21 we went to the back door of the hotel, and I think that

    22 somewhere near Kaonik, that part of the road, there was

    23 sporadic gunfire, but I'm not sure, and I couldn't see

    24 a thing because, again, the visors were down and it was

    25 night-time and we were going back to the hotel.

  65. 1 Q. Do you remember whether you saw Marin and did

    2 you briefly tell him what you heard in Zenica?

    3 A. I was with Slavko Marin, and I conveyed to

    4 him the substance that Dzemo Merdan had communicated to

    5 me, and I told Slavko Marin that Dzemo Merdan had

    6 established at the meeting that there were quite a few

    7 casualties, including civilians, and he mentioned a

    8 figure of around 500. I asked Slavko Marin also

    9 whether he had received a report and whether we have

    10 received any information whatsoever on that figure, and

    11 Slavko then said that we didn't. Slavko also told me

    12 about what had happened in the school of Dubravica and

    13 at Impregnacija and how the front line fell and how it

    14 was recaptured again. After that, I went to rest.

    15 Q. On the 21st of April, you had another meeting

    16 with the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Nova Bila

    17 but only at 12.00. Tell me, what kind of information

    18 did you receive in the morning of the 21st of April,

    19 1993?

    20 A. Information was coming in, into the

    21 operations staff, and around 2.00, again it became

    22 evident that the forces of the army of Bosnia and

    23 Herzegovina were on the move. At 3.00, we received

    24 information from the Vitez Brigade that fire had been

    25 opened against the positions at Kratine and Nadioci

  66. 1 from Kuber, and we received the recording of a

    2 conversation from the head of the Military Intelligence

    3 Service, and I quote:

    4 "We have to take Vitez regardless of the

    5 price involved and the sacrifices involved."

    6 Q. Who said that?

    7 A. That was a conversation between the commander

    8 of the units of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina that

    9 the Military Intelligence Service had intercepted and

    10 recorded probably via radio communications.

    11 Q. That day, in the morning, disturbing news

    12 also came in from Travnik; right?

    13 A. Yes. At 10.30, we received information that

    14 the situation in Travnik was very critical and that the

    15 snipers of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina are

    16 operating in the area of Kalibunar and also they are

    17 shooting at Croat apartments and that two women, two

    18 Croat women, were hit by snipers of the army of Bosnia

    19 and Herzegovina in the town of Travnik.

    20 Tensions were very high and, around 11.30, a

    21 delegation arrived, a delegation of the army of Bosnia

    22 and Herzegovina, at the Vitez Hotel, and they were

    23 escorted either by the European Monitoring Mission and

    24 UNPROFOR or only by UNPROFOR.

    25 On this delegation was Mr. Sefer Halilovic,

  67. 1 Stjepan Siber, the deputy chief of staff of the army of

    2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, then Mr. Vehbija Karic,

    3 Mr. Dzemo Merdan, and on behalf of the HVO, there was

    4 Brigadier Petkovic, chief of the main staff of the HVO,

    5 and there was Mr. Lucic and Mr. Bandic, and I was

    6 present too.

    7 It was a brief conversation just before the

    8 meeting in Nova Bila in which we mainly discussed the

    9 agreement that was signed last night, on the 20th of

    10 April, 1993. After that, we set out for Nova Bila.

    11 Q. How did you do that? Could you tell us the

    12 mode of transport?

    13 A. Again, we were transported separately,

    14 escorted by UNPROFOR, of course. That is how we were

    15 transported to Nova Bila to a house that is across the

    16 street from the UN base. It was a civilian house

    17 that was rented by the European Monitoring Mission.

    18 Q. Could you please tell us of the content of

    19 the discussion of this meeting, briefly?

    20 A. Before the meeting, I told Brigadier Petkovic

    21 about the disturbing news I had about operations in

    22 Vitez, Busovaca, and Kiseljak, and I said that the

    23 agreement was not being enforced yet and that it was

    24 obvious that either information did not come in or

    25 perhaps it was not even sent. I mean information

  68. 1 regarding the signing of this agreement between the

    2 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO.

    3 At the meeting on the 21st of April, at

    4 12.00, there was the head of the European Monitoring

    5 Mission, Mr. Thebault, and another high official of the

    6 European Monitoring Mission. I imagine that his name

    7 was Mr. Ford, but I'm not too sure.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Are you talking about the 21st

    9 or the 24th of April? I'm a bit lost.

    10 MR. NOBILO: The 21st.

    11 A. Mr. President, the 21st of April, 1993, at

    12 12.00. The meeting in Nova Bila.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much.

    14 A. At that meeting, after he took the floor,

    15 Brigadier Petkovic said we could not or did not wish to

    16 stop combat operations from last night until now and

    17 the members of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina have

    18 not only not stopped combat operations but have

    19 expanded military operations, combat operations, and at

    20 the moment, Busovaca and Kiseljak are being attacked

    21 and also there are operations taking place in Vitez.

    22 Then he said, General Petkovic, I mean, said,

    23 "Since last night, you have been phoning units of the

    24 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the attacks,

    25 instead of being stopped, are only spreading from

  69. 1 Travnik to Kiseljak. The village of Badnje and the

    2 region around the village of Badnje was attacked by you

    3 and taken militarily." He was referring to the attack

    4 for the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    5 Mr. Thebault, the chairman, said,

    6 "Commanders," as he was addressing Sefer and Brigadier

    7 Petkovic, "it is your credibility that is at stake

    8 now. Let us enforce on the ground what we signed last

    9 night. If you're not in a position to do that, then it

    10 is going to be very difficult to find a solution. The

    11 one who does not wish to enforce this should get up and

    12 leave this meeting. The situation is far too serious

    13 today for us not to do a thing."

    14 After that, General Halilovic took the floor,

    15 the chief of the main staff of the army of Bosnia and

    16 Herzegovina, who said, "Combat operations are a

    17 consequence of the situation at the front because units

    18 are still in combat contact. In Travnik, in Novi

    19 Travnik, there are two-way operations of groups of HVO

    20 and of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Vitez,

    21 Busovaca, and Kiseljak, the units are in combat

    22 contact, and it is very difficult to keep the situation

    23 under control and bring it to a halt all of a sudden.

    24 I am prepared to go to these lines of conflict

    25 straightaway and to solve all the problems right

  70. 1 there."

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. Tell me, General, Sefer Halilovic, the first

    4 soldier of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so to

    5 speak, if we do not mention the head of state, he said

    6 that he would go to the front line and resolve

    7 problems. Wouldn't it be more correct from a military

    8 point of view for two commanders, Halilovic of the army

    9 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Petkovic of HVO, to issue

    10 orders, every one of them to his subordinate, Petkovic

    11 to you and Halilovic to Hadzihasanovic, and then,

    12 according to firm military subordination, a firm chain

    13 of command, shouldn't there be a cease-fire and

    14 wouldn't it be normal to enforce the orders of the

    15 commander in chief rather than have the commander in

    16 chief go to the trenches?

    17 A. That's what they did at the meeting of the

    18 20th of April. Petkovic ordered me, and Halilovic

    19 ordered Enver to get up and to go immediately and call

    20 our subordinates and to dictate orders on the cessation

    21 of combat operations from that hotel, both of us, and I

    22 know that Enver called Mekic and dictated the

    23 conclusions of this meeting from the 20th of April,

    24 1993 to him.

    25 Q. Who is Mekic?

  71. 1 A. The head of the staff of the 3rd Corps of the

    2 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    3 Q. Did you call your own people?

    4 A. Yes, I called Slavko Marin and I dictated it

    5 to him, and I told him immediately to send this order

    6 out and not to wait for me to come back but that he

    7 should send it out to the ground immediately.

    8 Q. How do you explain the fact that this is not

    9 sufficient, that these orders were not obeyed, but now

    10 Sefer Halilovic, who is the chief of general staff of

    11 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, would have to go to

    12 trenches to see that the cease-fire is enforced right

    13 there?

    14 A. Certainly there were problems in the

    15 functioning of the chain of command, both on the side

    16 of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also from the

    17 further proceedings of the meeting. Both the head of

    18 the general staff of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    19 and the head of the main staff of the HVO indeed did go

    20 to the front line to see that combat operations were

    21 stopped.

    22 Q. Thank you. Would you please proceed? Did

    23 Halilovic say anything else?

    24 A. Yes. Sefer Halilovic addressed Brigadier

    25 Petkovic at the time. He said, "Petkovic, this morning

  72. 1 your artillery fired at Zenica. Three or four shells

    2 fell." And I heard that.

    3 Q. This is the 21st of April, 1993; right?

    4 A. Yes, that's right. After that, Petkovic said

    5 again that it was not the HVO that was firing, he

    6 established that Busovaca and Kiseljak were under

    7 attack at present and from the positions of Kuber,

    8 Kacuni, and the village of Badnje, and he said,

    9 "Halilovic, you can stop these attacks."

    10 Mr. Ford -- I mean the gentleman who I think

    11 is called Ford -- asked to take the floor then, he

    12 greeted all the participants in this meeting, and he

    13 suggested that we should not waste our energy on that

    14 that has been but that we should concentrate on that

    15 which will come.

    16 The conclusions after this meeting were that

    17 combat operations should be stopped and that the

    18 movement of all members of the European Community and

    19 UNPROFOR should be guaranteed freedom of movement and

    20 to create a neutral zone between HVO units and BH army

    21 units, and in that neutral zone, only UNPROFOR forces,

    22 that is to say, the British battalion forces, should be

    23 the only ones patrolling, and also to guarantee the

    24 safety of the civilian population with special emphasis

    25 on the Bosniak Muslims of Vitez and the Croats of

  73. 1 Zenica and that public law and order should be improved

    2 and the institutions in charge of this should make

    3 every effort in that direction. Also, support was

    4 given to the joint commission that was supposed to work

    5 on all these tasks and common problems.

    6 Q. On the basis of that meeting, you wrote an

    7 order, and I would like D336 to be handed out, please,

    8 D336.

    9 Please look at the document. First its

    10 general appearance. Is it an order which you issued to

    11 your forces after the meeting in Nova Bila, the meeting

    12 you have just described?

    13 A. Yes. I wrote this order personally, and I

    14 signed it.

    15 Q. You addressed the order to the chief of the

    16 main staff of the HVO, for his information, to the

    17 European Monitoring Mission, to the United Nations

    18 command, and to all immediately subordinated

    19 commanders.

    20 Could you explain to us, are you giving

    21 orders to the European Monitoring Mission and the

    22 British Battalion, and why did you put them together

    23 with your immediately subordinated commanders? Could

    24 you explain the actual process of writing this order?

    25 A. Of course. It should have said "for the

  74. 1 information of the monitoring mission and also for the

    2 attention of the United Nations command," so this was

    3 probably an error on the part of the typists. I never

    4 issued any orders to the monitoring mission and the

    5 UN command at Nova Bila, but in each of the points, I

    6 indicated who was responsible for implementing specific

    7 tasks.

    8 It was my habit that any agreement reached

    9 with representatives of the BH army should be regulated

    10 through an order so that we would know exactly what we

    11 needed to do.

    12 Q. In the heading, it says: "Implementation of

    13 the agreement between units of the army of

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO. Order," and then it

    15 says: "At 12.00 on the 21st of April, 1993, a meeting

    16 was held in Nova Bila," on the basis of which you are

    17 issuing an order. However, it is quite clear in the

    18 text that the meeting was held on the 21st of April at

    19 12.00, but in the heading where the date is indicated,

    20 it says: "9.10."

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. Is this an error, perhaps?

    23 A. Yes, clearly this is an error on the part of

    24 the typist. We often had such mistakes, partly due to

    25 my extremely illegible handwriting and perhaps because

  75. 1 of the fatigue of the typist.

    2 Q. In any event, the meeting started at 12.00.

    3 How long did it last for?

    4 A. I couldn't say with precision but certainly

    5 not less than two hours. Perhaps longer.

    6 Q. This order, when could it have been written?

    7 A. In the afternoon, perhaps around 21.00,

    8 21.10. I'm not sure.

    9 Q. Will you please take note of point 6, which

    10 I'm going to read: "The commanders of the HVO brigades

    11 are obliged to guarantee full security of the civilian

    12 Muslim people and all other peoples in their zone of

    13 responsibility, and the competent bodies of the HVO are

    14 obliged to ensure public law and order, especially with

    15 regard to the Muslim inhabitants of the town of Vitez

    16 and the Croats of the town of Zenica."

    17 Could you please explain this sentence, why

    18 you wrote it down? What was your purpose?

    19 A. At the meeting, we had discussed this problem

    20 and the chain reaction that things had. Anything bad

    21 that would happen to Croats in Zenica and Travnik in an

    22 area under the control of the BH army would have a

    23 chain reaction in the areas of Vitez, when the victims

    24 in that case were usually Muslims. That is why I

    25 insisted that one of the points should reflect our

  76. 1 effort to prevent any violence towards Croats in Zenica

    2 and towards Muslims in Vitez, in order to stop these

    3 chain reactions.

    4 Q. But you cannot have any influence over the

    5 situation in Zenica, can you?

    6 A. Certainly I could not, especially not after

    7 the 18th of April, when the Croatian Defence Council in

    8 Zenica ceased to function and when I personally had no

    9 access to Zenica. But I knew that all the trouble

    10 coming with the exiled Croats from Zenica, who were

    11 finding accommodation in Vitez, was reflected upon the

    12 Muslims of Vitez, who later became the object or victim

    13 of persecution by those Croats from Zenica, and I

    14 wanted to interrupt that chain of events.

    15 Q. Let me draw your attention to point 8 of that

    16 order. Let me read it and then ask my question.

    17 "Brigade commanders are obliged to issue written

    18 orders to their subordinated commanders on the basis of

    19 this order and to start implementing it. They are to

    20 send one copy of their order to the Vitez Operative

    21 Zone command of Central Bosnia."

    22 Tell us, why did you put this sentence in

    23 your order?

    24 A. Ever since the January conflicts, there were

    25 quite a lot of problems with the functioning of the

  77. 1 chain of command, and we would form a special set of

    2 documents for any agreement. After such an agreement

    3 was reached, we would have orders, as well as orders

    4 issued by the immediate subordinates, because sometimes

    5 it was simply not clear to the European monitors that

    6 we would order one thing and something quite different

    7 would happen on the ground. That is why we wanted to

    8 make sure that the commanders would issue orders on the

    9 basis of our orders and that they would try to ensure

    10 the implementation of those orders on the ground.

    11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm sorry for interrupting

    12 you, Mr. Nobilo.

    13 General, is this the first time you used this

    14 method of trying to have feedback on your orders or did

    15 you try other times before?

    16 A. We had done so before. It was not the first

    17 time.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.

    19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I'm in a dilemma

    20 now as to how long we are going to go on working today,

    21 this afternoon. Are we working until 6.00 or until

    22 5.30?

    23 JUDGE JORDA: We will work until 5.30. That

    24 is the reason why I did not allow us to take a break.

    25 Maybe the accused is very tired. I mean, it's his

  78. 1 right to be tired. If that is the case, of course, we

    2 can take a short break.

    3 General Blaskic, do you feel able to continue

    4 until 5.30 without a break?

    5 THE ACCUSED: I can, Mr. President. It is up

    6 to you. I can. I'm at your disposal.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Very well then. We are going

    8 to work for another fifteen minutes.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    10 Q. Having finished with this order, we can go on

    11 to the 22nd of April, 1993. Will you please tell Their

    12 Honours how that day began? What did you focus on?

    13 What were you doing on the 22nd of April, 1993? What

    14 were your main concerns?

    15 A. On that day, the 22nd of April, 1993, I had a

    16 meeting with the commanders, and the subject of the

    17 meeting was implementation of the order on the

    18 implementation of the agreement of the 21st of April,

    19 1993, and we mainly discussed the points and the

    20 contents of this order, as well as the methods of its

    21 implementation.

    22 I also requested special guarantees for the

    23 safety of civilians, and I stressed to the commanders

    24 that this was one of our priority tasks. I also

    25 instructed the assistant for information to put in

  79. 1 order all the information that we had received so far

    2 regarding civilian casualties, that is, all information

    3 and our reactions to that problem.

    4 I also tasked the assistant for security at

    5 this meeting to take preventive measures to protect

    6 civilians, and I also gave instructions to the head of

    7 operations to work on a plan of work for the command.

    8 At that meeting, I also discussed the plan on

    9 the separation of forces, which was perhaps one of the

    10 fundamental points of this order of the 21st of April,

    11 because the plan was for the entire area between

    12 Zenica, Vitez, Kaonik, and Lasva to be demilitarised

    13 or, rather, for only UNPROFOR to be present there and

    14 to patrol the area. This would mean the withdrawal of

    15 the forces of the BH army towards Zenica, that is, from

    16 Kuber and the lines they had captured, and also the

    17 withdrawal of the HVO towards Vitez and Busovaca.

    18 I was also informed on that day by the head

    19 of the Military Intelligence Service that movement had

    20 been prohibited for all HVO motor vehicles, including

    21 ambulances.

    22 Q. So you came across, for the first time,

    23 different criteria of the UNHCR, the International Red

    24 Cross, and UNPROFOR on this day. Can you explain to

    25 the Court what kind of criteria these were and how they

  80. 1 differed?

    2 A. I'll try to explain, though I must say at

    3 first I found it rather complicated.

    4 The position of the UNHCR, and I'm speaking

    5 only of the area where I was the commander, that we

    6 commanders have to provide full security for the

    7 civilian population, and any movement or any

    8 resettlement of civilians and their movement from their

    9 places of residence constituted ethnic cleansing,

    10 according to the criteria of the UNHCR.

    11 The position of the International Red Cross

    12 and UNPROFOR was that we commanders had to ensure full

    13 freedom of movement for all civilians living in the

    14 area under the HVO and probably the area controlled by

    15 the BH army, I assumed, though I didn't know that. So

    16 that these two positions were in contradiction with

    17 each other.

    18 Q. In a situation of a civil war and

    19 inter-ethnic conflict where we have two armies, each

    20 belonging to a different people, what does "freedom of

    21 movement" mean?

    22 A. I tried to explain this to the International

    23 Red Cross, and I told them that if we were to allow

    24 freedom of movement, then no one would remain to live

    25 in Vitez. Vitez could be an example, but we also had

  81. 1 data about Busovaca.

    2 Q. Nobody would stay to live there?

    3 A. Neither the Muslims nor the Croats if, in an

    4 area of about six kilometres away, there were combat

    5 operations. Everybody would try to find a safer place

    6 to live.

    7 On the other hand, the position of the UNHCR,

    8 which was conveyed to me, was that the safety of

    9 civilians had to be fully guaranteed, and there should

    10 be no movement of the population. I was frequently

    11 confronted with certain arrangements made by the

    12 International Red Cross. Let me just give you an

    13 example. When the Croats held prisoner in Zenica were

    14 released, all of them, or at least a vast majority of

    15 them, 90 per cent perhaps, came to live in Vitez.

    16 Q. Can you explain why the Croats from Zenica

    17 wanted to go to Vitez when there is fighting there too?

    18 A. Out of fear for their personal safety. Some

    19 of them were mobilised, or they assumed they would be

    20 mobilised by the BH army, and taken to the front line

    21 between the HVO and the BH army; some, that they would

    22 be taken in custody subsequently for interrogation; and

    23 when they had a chance, according to the criteria of

    24 the International Red Cross, to opt for a place where

    25 they wanted to live, those prisoners chose for their

  82. 1 next place of residence Busovaca and Vitez, and their

    2 families stayed on in Zenica, in their own apartments

    3 and homes.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I understand

    5 you to be saying that if there was freedom of movement,

    6 all the Croats and all the Muslims in Vitez would have

    7 left Vitez because of the occurrence of armed conflict

    8 in the vicinity. How do you reconcile that with the

    9 fact that Croats left Zenica and came to Vitez?

    10 A. Your Honour, having to choose from two bad

    11 solutions, and this is my assumption and I spoke to

    12 them, they chose the one that was least bad. When I

    13 said that both Croats and Muslims would have left, I

    14 remember that in March, the second half of March, I

    15 received information from Busovaca, I think it was an

    16 information from the IPD, Information Propaganda

    17 Service, that about 60 complete Croatian families from

    18 Busovaca had reported to the Busovaca police station

    19 and about 74 to 80 Muslim families saying that they

    20 wanted to leave Busovaca, which means both Croats and

    21 Muslims. Of course, some wanted to leave to third

    22 countries, that is, leave Bosnia-Herzegovina entirely,

    23 whereas others wanted to go to Zenica or other areas

    24 under the control of their army because there was a

    25 danger that Busovaca would fall.

  83. 1 MR. NOBILO:

    2 Q. In a situation when it is not possible to

    3 abandon a country at war, everyone did not have such a

    4 chance, what did each ethnic group decide? Where did

    5 they prefer to go if they did not have the possibility

    6 of leaving the war zone?

    7 A. They went where the army of their entity had

    8 control: the Croats to the areas under the control of

    9 the HVO and the Bosniak Muslims to the areas under the

    10 control of the BH army.

    11 The situation was particularly grave when

    12 male members of families -- this was not a question of

    13 a hundred people. On one day, we received about 300

    14 military conscripts from Zenica, whereas all their

    15 families were left behind in Zenica.

    16 Q. What happened then? What happened with those

    17 Croats who came to Vitez and their families stayed

    18 behind in areas under the control of the BH army?

    19 A. They tried to do everything they could to

    20 have their families join them. Some sought to do so

    21 through the mediation of the International Red Cross,

    22 and I had a talk with a representative of the

    23 International Red Cross on the 22nd of April when I

    24 became aware of the existence of these different

    25 criteria. According to one set of criteria, every

  84. 1 movement was assessed as ethnic cleansing, and

    2 according to others, I had to ensure full freedom of

    3 movement.

    4 Others, apart from applying to the

    5 International Red Cross, sought out personal

    6 arrangements. They would knock at the door of a

    7 Bosniak Muslim whom they knew and they would ask his

    8 families, because there were similar situations on the

    9 other side, that is, released Bosniak Muslims who chose

    10 to live in Zenica and Travnik also sought to achieve

    11 reunification of their families who were left behind in

    12 Vitez. So such personal arrangements were made

    13 independently of international organisations. As far

    14 as I know, a civilian agency was formed, attached to

    15 the civilian authorities in Vitez municipality, for

    16 mediation in the exchange of apartments and

    17 reunification of families.

    18 Q. What did you tell the representatives of the

    19 International Red Cross and UNPROFOR? What was your

    20 position? What did you ask of them?

    21 A. First of all, I said that the UNHCR had

    22 another criterion and that was that it joined in the

    23 evacuation of Bosniak Muslims and Croats from

    24 territories controlled by the army of Republika Srpska,

    25 and there were cases of population resettlement from

  85. 1 the territories under the control of Republika Srpska

    2 army --

    3 Q. Let us say that once again because the

    4 transcript -- there's an error.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, this is a complex

    6 question you're about to put to the witness, so maybe

    7 it would be a better idea to go back to this question

    8 tomorrow when we start working again in the morning. I

    9 think that we all want the witness to tell us exactly

    10 how these negotiations went with the UNHCR and with the

    11 International Red Cross. We all want to know exactly

    12 what the consequences of these negotiations were for

    13 the populations. That's a crucial issue. I think the

    14 witness is a bit tired. We will go over this point

    15 tomorrow morning.

    16 The hearing is adjourned. We will meet

    17 tomorrow morning at 10.00. The hearing is adjourned.

    18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

    19 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,

    20 the 11th day of March, 1999 at

    21 10.00 a.m.