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  1. 1 Friday, 12th March, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,

    5 would you have the witness brought in, please?

    6 (The accused entered court)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the

    8 interpreters and to the court reporters, who always

    9 work with a great deal of competence. Good morning to

    10 counsel, both Defence and Prosecution. Good morning to

    11 the accused, who is our witness. I'm saying this for

    12 the public gallery. The people in the public gallery

    13 don't know the proceedings as well as we do. This is

    14 the part of the Blaskic trial, and the accused is

    15 acting as a witness. He's under oath. The Trial

    16 Chamber is considering him to be a witness now.

    17 Mr. Nobilo, we can continue now. The morning

    18 will be long, but according to logical sequences, we

    19 can take our breaks, which will allow the accused or

    20 the witness to rest as he needs. We will try to take a

    21 break around 10.00, but according to what you consider

    22 to be the most appropriate.

    23 All right. Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

    24 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Good

    25 morning, everybody.


    2 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    3 Q. General, we ended yesterday with the

    4 description of the events of the 24th of April, 1993.

    5 So let us go on to the next day and days to see what

    6 happened of significance from the standpoint of this

    7 trial, rather than from the standpoint of the war.

    8 A. On the 25th of April already, about 7.50,

    9 there was strong tank shelling by BH army forces of

    10 Busovaca, and at 8.00, there was strong attack against

    11 the territory under the defence of the Nikola

    12 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade in Busovaca. We tried to send

    13 reinforcements, that is, some 20 men, and sometime in

    14 the afternoon, we managed to actually send them there.

    15 I had a rather brief meeting with Mr. de la

    16 Mota towards evening, about 19.00 on the 25th of April,

    17 and the immediate cause for the meeting was an incident

    18 and tensions that were running high between the

    19 inhabitants and soldiers of the village of Divjak and

    20 members of the UNPROFOR base at Divjak. The reason for

    21 this incident, as I was informed by Mr. de la Mota, was

    22 that the soldiers had asked UNPROFOR to participate in

    23 pulling out the bodies of the killed relatives from the

    24 village of Divjak. There were two civilians -- the

    25 bodies of two civilians and of three HVO soldiers that

  3. 1 UNPROFOR's assistance was requested for. There were no

    2 other consequences, except for tension between UNPROFOR

    3 and the village of Divjak.

    4 I also tried at the time to put in order the

    5 data from the front, though the front was some 80

    6 kilometres long in Travnik and Novi Travnik --

    7 Q. That is the front towards the Serbs?

    8 A. Yes. That is this front (indicating). In

    9 Busovaca, the front was about 38 kilometres long, and

    10 in Vitez about 28 kilometres long. That was the total

    11 width of the front. So that a large number of

    12 personnel, conscripts, and able-bodied men were engaged

    13 on those front lines.

    14 On the 26th of April, I had a meeting with

    15 Mr. Nakic, who was a member of the joint command, and

    16 at the morning meeting, he informed me about the

    17 activities of the joint command designed to set up a

    18 joint command in Travnik. Then we also spoke about the

    19 road corridors, about the removal of snipers from

    20 certain positions. I initiated this discussion, asking

    21 him to discuss it with Mr. Dzemo Merdan, to ask him to

    22 have sniper groups removed from the positions of

    23 Grbavica, Sljibcica, and Barin Gaj.

    24 We also pointed out that we also have to

    25 raise at the joint command the problem of water supply,

  4. 1 namely, the tanks for supplying Vitez and Zenica were

    2 under the control of the BH army, and there was a

    3 shortage of water already in the town of Vitez and the

    4 town of Zenica.

    5 Q. When you're talking about the shortage of

    6 water, was this due to natural causes or was it because

    7 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Kruscica had closed

    8 off the water supply or temporarily, at least?

    9 A. The water tanks were under the control of the

    10 BH army, and I checked with the mayor of Vitez, and his

    11 position and mine was that the army had closed off the

    12 water flow, so that later on, Vitez would be left

    13 without water for some time. Due to the low pressure

    14 of the system, Zenica was short of water as well. It

    15 will be evident from the later event that I frequently

    16 raised this matter with representatives of the UNHCR

    17 and the Red Cross, asking them to mediate so that the

    18 water supply could be restored to normal.

    19 I also asked Nakic to raise the issue of the

    20 separation of forces, that is, for UNPROFOR to begin to

    21 patrol the route from Vrhovine via Kratine, Jelinak,

    22 and Putis, so that the first stage of separation of

    23 forces could begin and security ensured for future

    24 activities, in the first place, for conducting the

    25 investigation.

  5. 1 In the course of the day, I received

    2 information from the military intelligence, and it

    3 actually came from the 111th Special Purpose Brigade in

    4 Zepce, and they reported that they had intercepted a

    5 conversation between the BH army -- among the BH army

    6 forces, saying that they would not give up their

    7 concept and that two nations or peoples could not live

    8 in the same area, that is, the faithful and the

    9 infidels.

    10 Q. The 111th Brigade is not a special purpose

    11 brigade but an XP brigade.

    12 A. It is not a special purpose brigade. It is a

    13 home guard's brigade. They said that the faithful and

    14 infidels could not live in the same territory, and that

    15 the key to everything was the explosives factory in

    16 Vitez, and the idea would be to have a black flag with

    17 Arabic inscriptions.

    18 In the night between the 25th and the 26th, I

    19 called up Dzemo again because of the information I had

    20 received that the 91st Anti-Sabotage Detachment of the

    21 BH army was opening fire on HVO positions, and I

    22 required that he too intervene and put an end to these

    23 provocations. As I was unable to reach him, I decided,

    24 with the help of Nakic and other associates in the

    25 joint command, to send a message to Travnik, to Dzemo,

  6. 1 saying that I was looking for him and that we were

    2 having problems because of these provocations by the

    3 Anti-Sabotage Detachment of the BH army.

    4 When my associate told Dzemo that we had been

    5 calling him all night, Dzemo's answer to my associate

    6 was the following: "You called me last night five

    7 times, and I have been running around after you for a

    8 whole year. The Mujahedeen will cost you your lives.

    9 It is our time now."

    10 On the 26th, in the afternoon, I received

    11 information from members of the joint command in

    12 Travnik that the commander of the 306th Brigade in Han

    13 Bila, the 306th Brigade of the BH army, commenting on

    14 the peace agreement signed on the 21st of April in

    15 Vitez had stated: "Whoever signed an agreement on the

    16 separation of forces is a fool," the separation of

    17 forces between the BH army and the HVO.

    18 After the officers of the joint command told

    19 him that it had been signed by two commanders,

    20 Halilovic and Petkovic, his comment was that Halilovic

    21 probably didn't know what he was signing or didn't see

    22 what he was signing.

    23 On the 27th of April, in the morning, there

    24 was a mist still. I went by the road that we managed

    25 to make between the 23rd and the 27th to the village of

  7. 1 Ahmici, and I toured a part of the village. I saw

    2 burned houses in the village, and there was still some

    3 embers. They may have been burned during the night or

    4 set fire to. I saw the minaret and mosque and other

    5 signs of destruction. I held a press conference in

    6 Busovaca.

    7 Q. Let us stop just for a moment. When you

    8 reached Ahmici, you said that it was misty. Did you

    9 have an armoured vehicle or did you use an ordinary

    10 vehicle and risk it?

    11 A. I had a regular vehicle. I never had an

    12 armoured vehicle, and we had only just managed to lay

    13 this road.

    14 Q. After seeing what had happened to Ahmici, for

    15 the first time, you went to hold a press conference in

    16 Busovaca. Will you explain to the Trial Chamber, was

    17 this a regular press conference, an extraordinary press

    18 conference, and what was the purpose of those press

    19 conferences that you held, and who were those present?

    20 A. These conferences were our regular

    21 communication with the public of the Lasva River

    22 Valley, because under conditions of a blockade of the

    23 media, that was the only way, by word of mouth, for us

    24 to address both conscripts and civilians, and all the

    25 inhabitants of this area.

  8. 1 Q. How did you address the people present? What

    2 medium did you use?

    3 A. Mostly these press conferences were recorded

    4 on VHS videotape, and then these would be broadcast

    5 where possible. These press conferences were carried

    6 live, but I think this was only possible much later in

    7 Busovaca. In most cases, they were recorded, and then

    8 immediately after the completion of the recording, they

    9 would be distributed to municipal studios which would

    10 broadcast them during the next few days and weeks

    11 because that was the only way to communicate with the

    12 entire population.

    13 They were very popular. They were open to

    14 the public, and almost always, they were attended by

    15 somebody from the UN or humanitarian organisations.

    16 They would be present with their interpreters so they

    17 could follow the proceedings directly.

    18 Q. Tell the Court, in Busovaca municipality and

    19 in Vitez municipality, did the municipal authorities

    20 organise some small local TV stations that could

    21 broadcast these tapes?

    22 A. Yes, there were, in Busovaca and Vitez

    23 municipalities, local municipal TV stations which

    24 rebroadcast these press conferences. There was a local

    25 TV station in Kiseljak as well, but after the corridor

  9. 1 between Kiseljak and Busovaca was cut, they could not

    2 take over these tapes.

    3 Q. Were there any important newspapers, or was

    4 the main purpose of those press conferences to address

    5 the people via the medium of television?

    6 A. There were no daily newspapers, except if a

    7 local unit, at the level of a company or battalion,

    8 managed to issue some kind of journal of its own, but

    9 there were no regular daily newspapers. As far as I

    10 know, there were no publications published in that

    11 area. This was the only way for us to inform the

    12 people there of what was happening, and I know that

    13 there was a great demand for information because there

    14 were very few.

    15 Q. Tell us, in the course of the day, and after

    16 the press conference, and on the day of the press

    17 conference, how frequently, on the average, would the

    18 recording of that press conference be broadcast?

    19 A. On the day of the press conference itself, at

    20 least three or four times or every subsequent hour.

    21 Also on the following days until the next press

    22 conference, because, in fact, there was no other

    23 programme except for local cameramen to try and make

    24 some video recordings locally, and to try to show those

    25 recordings on the television.

  10. 1 Q. At that press conference, what is it that you

    2 needed to tell the HVO army and the people of the Lasva

    3 Valley? Try to remember exactly, and to choose your

    4 words in telling Their Honours about this.

    5 A. I came to the press conference from the

    6 village of Ahmici, and I, roughly, said the following:

    7 That I was horrified, and that I condemned the crime

    8 committed in the village of Ahmici, that it was the

    9 duty of the joint commission to conduct an

    10 investigation because I still believed that the joint

    11 commission would devote its intention to this matter,

    12 with the help of international representatives. I said

    13 whoever committed it, committed an organised,

    14 systematic, and planned crime, and I'm sure that it was

    15 conducted under somebody's control. I also said that

    16 those responsible for the crime must be identified and

    17 must be called to task.

    18 Q. Before we go on to analyse your words, was

    19 the British journalist from the BBC present at that

    20 press conference?

    21 A. Yes.

    22 Q. What was his name?

    23 A. Martin Bell from the BBC. I'm not sure

    24 whether other journalists were present, but I think

    25 representatives from the Belgium and the Dutch

  11. 1 battalions were there. I'm not sure. I don't know

    2 their names. They had a base there, and they almost

    3 regularly attended our press conferences.

    4 Q. Why did you need to say to the army and the

    5 people that you were horrified by the crime in Ahmici?

    6 From this time distance, how would you explain it?

    7 A. There were two issues that were ever present

    8 in my mind at the time. One was to make it clear that

    9 this was a major tragedy that should never be

    10 repeated. Secondly, I also wanted to make it clear

    11 that the investigation would seek to identify and

    12 discover the perpetrators.

    13 Addressing the people, most of whom I

    14 believed were decent people, I wanted their assistance

    15 in initiating and conducting the investigation. This

    16 was an issue that people didn't like to talk about,

    17 even later, and then in particular.

    18 Q. You said immediately it is a crime. Does

    19 that mean that you couldn't accept the interpretation

    20 that such devastation could be the result of armed

    21 conflict?

    22 A. Yes, I did not accept that that could be the

    23 consequence of fighting in inhabited areas because I

    24 saw that the damage was widespread and considerable.

    25 Fighting in inhabited areas certainly is accompanied by

  12. 1 the risk of collateral damage and casualties, but as

    2 far as I have been able to study, very few commanders

    3 opt for fighting in inhabited areas because it is very

    4 difficult to envisage the reaction and behaviour of

    5 soldiers in well-structured armies even. However, this

    6 devastation was vast in every respect.

    7 Q. At the time on TV cameras and addressing the

    8 entire population of the Lasva Valley, you said that

    9 the crime had been committed in an organised manner,

    10 systematically, on the basis of a plan, and under

    11 somebody's control or command. Could you explain those

    12 four points of your allegations? Why did you say that,

    13 first, that it was an organised systematic, planned and

    14 controlled operation?

    15 A. First of all, it could not have been done by

    16 a group of three or four drunken persons, drunken

    17 soldiers, and that they had done it of their own

    18 accord. When I said that it was organised, I felt that

    19 there must have been some preparation behind it,

    20 preparation for such destruction.

    21 When I said that it was done on a planned

    22 basis, if a single group would act arbitrarily, then

    23 certainly every single house along the road up to the

    24 mosque would not have been burnt. Also, it was never

    25 clear to me why a religious facility had been

  13. 1 destroyed, and when I say that it was under somebody's

    2 control, it means that I was sure that the group that

    3 committed it was under the control of an elected

    4 commander of its own.

    5 Q. When you say that this was done in a planned

    6 manner and under someone's control, do you make this

    7 conclusion on the basis of the type of operation and

    8 the consequences of that operation?

    9 A. Judging by the scope of the destruction,

    10 because there was fighting on the 16th in 22 different

    11 locations. There were conflicts in January 1993, but

    12 the intensity of destruction was not accompanied by

    13 such destruction of facilities, as was the case here.

    14 Q. At the time or later, did you manage to learn

    15 who had planned and organised and controlled this

    16 operation? Did you ever manage to find that out? Were

    17 you informed of it?

    18 A. No. I never got the names nor any kind of

    19 reports as to who was the perpetrator, who was the

    20 organiser, or who had planned the operation.

    21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo. Were you,

    22 General, able to make an assessment of the time period

    23 during which the destruction was undertaken? How much

    24 time do you think was needed for what was done?

    25 A. At that time, I thought it was about one or

  14. 1 two days, that is to say, all of the 16th possibly, but

    2 it was very difficult to make any kind of assessment

    3 because it was my very first time to see such

    4 destruction too.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What was the size of

    6 force which you think was required?

    7 A. I'm going to give you my assessment, Your

    8 Honour, from 20 to 40 men, 50 at maximum, perhaps.

    9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.

    10 MR. NOBILO:

    11 Q. At the time when you were at the press

    12 conference, you told the Honourable Judge that one or

    13 two days were needed. Tell me, after having heard all

    14 the witness and victims here in this courtroom, what do

    15 you think? How much time did it take for this crime to

    16 be committed?

    17 A. As far as I recall, from about 05.25, 05.30

    18 up to 07.30, 08.00 at maximum, having listened to the

    19 statements of the victims of this crime.

    20 Q. When you know this fact, does it increase or

    21 decrease your conviction that this was an organised

    22 crime, that it was carried out systematically and

    23 according to a plan?

    24 A. This only intensifies my conviction that it

    25 was so because the time period during which this

  15. 1 destruction took place was very short. During two or

    2 two and a half hours, everything began and ended, that

    3 is to say, that it had to be an organised activity.

    4 Q. General, are you the first one in the Lasva

    5 Valley to call what happened in the Lasva Valley and

    6 Ahmici a crime, in public at that time, not in a

    7 private conversation?

    8 A. If you're referring to HVO officers, yes, I

    9 believe I was the first, but it seems to me that

    10 Colonel Stewart sent that letter, and in the letter it

    11 said --

    12 Q. I was not precise. I'm talking about the

    13 Croatian side. Did anybody define that which happened

    14 in Ahmici as a crime before you did?

    15 A. As far as I know, no one did.

    16 Q. As far as you know, as I say, publicly, in

    17 the media, and perhaps we can even say until the

    18 present day, did anyone on the Croatian side in

    19 Bosnia-Herzegovina define Ahmici as a crime, publicly

    20 in the media, if you can remember?

    21 A. I do not remember anyone having defined it

    22 that way.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: General, in a press conference,

    24 questions are asked. You speak about that press

    25 conference as a kind of a statement that you would

  16. 1 make. There were journalists, I suppose, from the

    2 entire world or from the main organisations of the

    3 media. What questions did they ask you?

    4 A. Mr. President, at that time, this was a

    5 theatre of war and there were not journalists from all

    6 over the world. I remember that the BBC team was

    7 there, and I recall a journalist or an officer from the

    8 Belgian or Dutch battalion, and there were local

    9 journalists. The questions that were put at that time

    10 were aimed at the problems of investigation and

    11 survival and further developments in the war.

    12 As regards foreign journalists, there weren't

    13 any, only the BBC team and perhaps Sky news. At some

    14 point they were there, but whether it was that point, I

    15 don't know. I can't say for sure whether the Sky news

    16 team was there.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    18 MR. NOBILO:

    19 Q. Were you asked about what had happened in

    20 Ahmici and what your opinion was about that, or did you

    21 say it on your own?

    22 A. No, no one asked me about it. Nobody asked

    23 me about Ahmici. Questions that were put were

    24 primarily aimed at the front, the situation in the

    25 Lasva River Valley, the lack of observance in the

  17. 1 cease-fire, et cetera.

    2 Q. Were you the first to speak?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Did you open the press conference with that

    5 statement of yours?

    6 A. Yes, I started the press conference with that

    7 statement.

    8 Q. After that, did any of the local journalists

    9 ask you about this in greater detail or did they all

    10 keep quiet about it?

    11 A. I think that they all shared the initial

    12 shock with me, and no questions were put in this

    13 respect.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Were there many of you there?

    15 Were there officers from your staff, from your

    16 headquarters, or were you alone?

    17 A. Your Honour, I had two escorts with me and my

    18 driver. Officers did not come with me because there

    19 were very few of us anyway, and at the time, they were

    20 involved in the joint command, and others were involved

    21 in other affairs.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Were there still some villages

    23 there?

    24 A. No. In the part where we were, there was

    25 livestock that was killed, and there wasn't anyone.

  18. 1 Also, there were the remains of burned houses and

    2 things. If you're asking about the village of Ahmici,

    3 when I visited --

    4 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps, Mr. President, the

    5 question itself, was it related to the press conference

    6 or to the village? Was there anyone in the village or

    7 was there anyone at the press conference?

    8 JUDGE JORDA: No. I was asking whether

    9 General Blaskic, in the villages that had been

    10 destroyed, whether there were still any people there?

    11 Were there old people there or people who wanted to

    12 leave? Was the village completely deserted?

    13 A. The village was completely deserted when I

    14 was there.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Would you go into some of the

    16 houses?

    17 A. I passed by the houses, perhaps two or three

    18 metres away, but I didn't enter any houses, but I

    19 passed by houses.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

    21 MR. NOBILO:

    22 Q. We are going to finish with this. Now, let

    23 us proceed with the course of that particular day. A

    24 new agreement seems to have been signed between

    25 President Alija Izetbegovic and Mate Boban; is that

  19. 1 correct?

    2 A. Yes. On that day, at 15.30, I received

    3 information that a new agreement had been signed

    4 between President Izetbegovic and Boban, but I did not

    5 receive any additional information as to what kind of

    6 agreement this was, nor was I aware of the contents of

    7 the agreement.

    8 I also received information on the regrouping

    9 of forces of the 7th Muslim Brigade in front of the

    10 villages of Krcevine and Jardol, to the north of

    11 Vitez. On that day, for the first time, I received

    12 information from Nakic, the chief of staff, that a

    13 total of 12 Croats were imprisoned and that they were

    14 alive within the 7th Muslim Brigade. Nine of them were

    15 members of the HVO and three Croats were journalists of

    16 Radio Zenica.

    17 During the course of the day, I sent a

    18 request to the International Red Cross to visit these

    19 prisoners, these 12 prisoners that were held by the 7th

    20 Muslim Brigade, and to submit information to us on the

    21 condition that they were in. The answers received

    22 until then by the International Red Cross were to the

    23 effect that they had no possibility to check on the

    24 prisoners that were under the control of the 7th Muslim

    25 Brigade or to visit them or, rather, that the 7th

  20. 1 Muslim Brigade did not allow the International Red

    2 Cross to monitor the condition of prisoners at all.

    3 On that day, there was this capturing from

    4 both sides, Vitez, Travnik, Novi Travnik. So it would

    5 happen that during the course of the day, one person

    6 would be captured several times, brought into custody,

    7 and released.

    8 There were problems again in terms of moving

    9 between Zenica and Vitez. I spoke of that earlier.

    10 Q. General, let us stop at this point. What is

    11 the point of this capturing? Why did Muslims capture

    12 Croats and Croats capture Muslims?

    13 A. The purpose was to get housing facilities

    14 most often or to have private exchanges, but the most

    15 frequent motive was to resolve existential problems in

    16 a new area.

    17 Q. I wish to put a question to you that pertains

    18 to you personally. I believe that we have seen that

    19 quite a few Muslims had left the territory of Vitez.

    20 They left their houses, their apartments. Many people

    21 with weapons tried to move in. Could you explain to

    22 the Court, where did you live with your wife throughout

    23 the war in the Lasva River Valley? Did you ever get an

    24 apartment? Did you ever get a house?

    25 A. No, I didn't ask for an apartment or a

  21. 1 house. I had an office and I had a screen, and we used

    2 part of this space behind the screen as living

    3 quarters, and my office was on the other side.

    4 Q. So you lived in your headquarters, slept

    5 there and worked there?

    6 A. Yes. In Kiseljak, it was in the barracks,

    7 and at Vitez, at headquarters.

    8 Q. So that is to say, in the Hotel Vitez, at

    9 your headquarters there?

    10 A. Yes.

    11 Q. Perhaps one more question. At the very

    12 beginning of 1992, the municipal authorities of

    13 Kiseljak gave you an apartment. Did you take it?

    14 A. I never used that apartment that was

    15 allocated to me, and it is true that an apartment was

    16 allocated to me, but I never spent any time there, not

    17 even an hour.

    18 Q. You were commander of an army, regardless of

    19 the way this army was established and the extent to

    20 which this army was established. Why didn't you get an

    21 decent house for yourself or an apartment? Did you

    22 think about this? What were your motives?

    23 A. In a situation when every military conscript

    24 was somewhere on the front line, I didn't think that I

    25 needed a more comfortable dwelling, and I usually

  22. 1 lived, worked, and slept at headquarters. It is true

    2 that an apartment was allocated to me by the municipal

    3 authorities in Kiseljak, and it was empty for a certain

    4 period of time, but I thought it was not moral for me

    5 to use this apartment, knowing that most of the

    6 families of the persons who were killed were not taken

    7 care of properly, that there were many exiled persons,

    8 that there were many wounded, that there were many

    9 refugees from other sides where people had suffered.

    10 Q. Now let us skip the chronological order. At

    11 the time moment when you heard about this indictment on

    12 the radio, you were a chief of staff of the HVO of

    13 Herceg-Bosna?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. So this is a very high position. Tell the

    16 Court, where were you at that time when you heard about

    17 the indictment? Did you have a villa at your disposal,

    18 as most generals did?

    19 A. Most generals did, but I did not. I don't

    20 regret it. I lived in Citluk, in a ground-floor

    21 building that used to be a garage. I lived with Danko

    22 Dugandzic. It was his.

    23 Q. So that didn't belong to you either?

    24 A. No, that was not mine, never. It was just

    25 rented out during the time that I was chief of staff of

  23. 1 the HVO.

    2 Q. Thank you. Would you please proceed with the

    3 chronological order?

    4 A. On the 28th of April, I received information

    5 around 04.20 about a strong attack against Gradina

    6 launched by the BH army. It is to the south of Kuber,

    7 practically the last point behind the Zenica-Busovaca

    8 and the Zenica-Vitez roads.

    9 At 07.40, I received information that the

    10 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had taken Gradina and

    11 repelled the HVO forces and, in that way, brought the

    12 position of Kaonik itself under fire and control, that

    13 is to say, they had under their control most of the

    14 main road between Vitez and Zenica.

    15 The members of the joint commission,

    16 including Nakic and the other officers, before they set

    17 out to Travnik for a meeting, were also informed about

    18 this attack, and I asked for this question to be raised

    19 once again because it was obvious that in the early

    20 morning hours, new conquests were being made and that

    21 they were improving their already good tactical

    22 positions, that is to say, the army vis-à-vis the HVO.

    23 After that, I received information that the

    24 military police had looted the house of Vlado Baskarad

    25 from Vitez. Vlado Baskarad was a Croat. He had a shop

  24. 1 of his own. I asked for the equipment and everything

    2 else that was looted to be returned to the owner, and I

    3 was surprised when I realised that his goods were

    4 actually taken away from him and that he was given a

    5 receipt about that. So I thought that this was some

    6 kind of mobilisation that was unlawful.

    7 Q. What kind of goods was this; do you recall?

    8 A. I remember it was alcohol and some other

    9 goods, but I do remember alcohol, and that must have

    10 been the motive. A certificate had been given as if

    11 mobilisation had been carried out.

    12 Then I also received information that the

    13 members of the broken-up Zenica units of the HVO were

    14 arriving through forests, either individually or in

    15 groups, in the territory of the municipality of

    16 Travnik, that is to say, Grahovcici, Brajkovici, and

    17 the area of the Vitez municipality as they were

    18 crossing the front lines. Some of them arrived

    19 unharmed, whereas others were wounded as they passed

    20 through that area.

    21 Q. Tell me, at that time, how many refugees, how

    22 many new refugees, did you already have?

    23 A. Well, at that time, my assessment is that

    24 there was between 3.000 and 5.000 refugees from Zenica

    25 in the area of the Lasva River Valley.

  25. 1 Then around 13.50, I had a meeting with the

    2 mayor of Vitez, Mr. Santic, who conveyed to me the

    3 conversation or, rather, the content of conversation he

    4 had with the Vice-President of the municipal assembly

    5 of Zenica, Mr. Dominik Sakic.

    6 Dominik Sakic, at the same time, was the

    7 president of the HVO for Zenica, and Sakic informed him

    8 about the situation that prevailed at the time in

    9 Zenica, about the abduction of Commander Totic having

    10 been planned, and also about the disarmament of the HVO

    11 of Zenica by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, then in

    12 Zenica, about 24 civilians, Croat civilians, had been

    13 killed. Out of them, a little girl had been killed,

    14 and a Croat had his throat slit. Then also that the

    15 wounded could not receive visits by the Red Cross or by

    16 priests in hospitals, and that in the penitentiary

    17 there were about 450 Croat prisoners, that is to say,

    18 military conscripts, and civilians at that time.

    19 Q. Tell me, Zivko Totic and those four officers

    20 who were abducted before the war, were they still in

    21 prison? Did you manage to reach them?

    22 A. We did not manage to reach them, but

    23 fortunately, on the 27th of April, we received this

    24 information that it was certain that 12 Croats were

    25 held by the 7th Muslim Brigade, and we asked the Red

  26. 1 Cross to see them, to see the conditions that they were

    2 in.

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

    4 Perhaps we could stop at this point.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: If you prefer to stop now. Is

    6 that because you're going to move into another

    7 sequence?

    8 MR. NOBILO: Yes.

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

    10 15-minute break.

    11 --- Recess taken at 9.57 a.m.

    12 --- On resuming at 10.21 a.m.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    14 hearing. Please be seated.

    15 Mr. Nobilo?

    16 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. Could

    17 the witness be shown document D365?

    18 Q. On the 27th of April, '93, you are issuing an

    19 order to the Vitez saying: "Supplement to the order of

    20 24 April, '93, number 01-4-560, and the order itself

    21 says:

    22 1. I prohibit any treatment of temporarily

    23 detained civilians which is contrary to the basic

    24 provisions of the Geneva Convention.

    25 2. This order comes into effect immediately,

  27. 1 and the brigade commander is responsible to me for its

    2 execution."

    3 Tell us, please, did you issue that order?

    4 If you did, what were the reasons and what were your

    5 concerns?

    6 A. I did issue this order and draft it. A

    7 moment ago, before the break actually, I said that

    8 about 5.000 exiles or, rather, between 3.000 and 5.000

    9 exiles were arriving from Zenica and that there were

    10 some rather emotional reactions and even revenge among

    11 those refugees who were coming with their equipment and

    12 weapons, and they were, by force, breaking into

    13 apartments, capturing Bosniak Muslim civilians,

    14 persecuting them, and engaging in various other

    15 unlawful acts.

    16 I wish to underline once again, through this

    17 order to the commander of the Vitez Brigade, that the

    18 treatment of civilians has to be in accordance with the

    19 regulations in effect, that is, free of any violence or

    20 any other adverse behaviour.

    21 Q. Let us go on. We were talking about the 28th

    22 of April when you mentioned your meeting with Santic,

    23 who conveyed to you information about his conversation

    24 with Sakic in Zenica about the condition of Croats in

    25 Zenica. What happened then?

  28. 1 A. At that meeting, the town mayor of Vitez told

    2 me that the Croats in Zenica were out of their minds

    3 with fear, that they were fleeing Zenica in the

    4 direction of Zepce, Novi Seher. Some were fleeing

    5 towards Kakanj. The majority of Croats were fleeing to

    6 Vitez and Busovaca. He also told me that Croatian

    7 flats were being broken into by night in Zenica by

    8 members of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and that they were

    9 taking away Croatian men of military age for

    10 interrogation during the night, and then they would

    11 bring them back usually in the mornings. These

    12 interrogations were accompanied by physical

    13 mistreatment in most cases.

    14 Also that most of the able-bodied men in

    15 Zenica were not sleeping in their homes, fearing such

    16 abductions. They were hiding during the night in the

    17 woods or in some neighbouring settlements outside of

    18 town.

    19 He also told me that what caused the greatest

    20 fear was the prison of the 7th Muslim Brigade, in the

    21 music school in Zenica, also that every checkpoint held

    22 by the BH army had a list of able-bodied Croats from

    23 Zenica, and that at those checkpoints, Croats were

    24 being taken prisoner once they were identified on the

    25 list, regardless of whether they were members of the

  29. 1 HVO or not. The sole criterion was their ethnicity.

    2 Mayor Santic told me that Sakic's message

    3 from Zenica was that we should inform the International

    4 Red Cross about all this, as well as the European

    5 Monitoring Mission, and that we should ask for

    6 assistance for the Croats in Zenica.

    7 In the course of the day, in the command, we

    8 addressed the problem of evacuating the wounded from

    9 the hospital because there wasn't enough room in the

    10 hospital. So we put up the wounded in the neighbouring

    11 private houses next to the hospital.

    12 In the course of the day, I tasked my

    13 associates to check the implementation of the signed

    14 agreement with the BH army and to continue with the

    15 structuring and formation of the Vitez Brigade.

    16 It was already evident at the time, regarding

    17 military operations in the Lasva Valley, that there was

    18 combat from 02.00 to 07.00 carried out by members of

    19 the BH army, and as a result of that fighting, they

    20 captured better positions while concealing their

    21 activities by carrying them out in the early morning

    22 hours.

    23 In the course of the day, I again requested

    24 that my associates supply me with better quality, more

    25 comprehensive and more accurate reports because the

  30. 1 tendency continued of reports on combat operations

    2 arriving upon the completion of those same operations.

    3 This prevented me from providing proper control and

    4 command in real time.

    5 In the course of the day, the mayor of Vitez,

    6 Santic, came to me rather worried and conveyed a part

    7 of the conversation that he had had with Colonel

    8 Stewart, the commander of the British Battalion of

    9 UNPROFOR. Santic told me that at the meeting with

    10 Santic, Stewart had said the following, and I quote:

    11 "You, the HVO, are on the brink of military defeat,

    12 and you are in a far worse position than the forces of

    13 the BH army.

    14 Second, identify the perpetrators of Ahmici

    15 because the BH army will certainly come and react or,

    16 rather, take revenge for all the victims of Ahmici."

    17 After this conversation with Mayor Santic,

    18 sometime after 20.00, about 20.30, in fact, I was

    19 called up by phone and told to get ready, that I had to

    20 attend a meeting in Zenica. The call was from General

    21 Petkovic, who was Brigadier at the time, the chief of

    22 staff of the HVO, who informed me that UNPROFOR would

    23 provide transportation from Vitez to Zenica where I had

    24 to attend a meeting.

    25 At about 21.30, I attended a meeting between

  31. 1 representatives of the BH army and representatives of

    2 the HVO. Representing the BH army were the chief of

    3 the main staff of the BH army, General Sefer Halilovic;

    4 also the deputy chief of staff of the BH army,

    5 Mr. Stjepan Siber; a member of the main staff of the BH

    6 army, Mr. Vehbija Karic; the commander of the 3rd Corps

    7 of the BH army, Mr. Enver Hadzihasanovic; and also

    8 present was Mr. Rasim Delic. I'm not sure whether he

    9 attended in the capacity of commander of the main

    10 logistics centre of the BH army staff from Visoko or in

    11 some other capacity because I know that before

    12 April '93, he was the commander of the main logistics

    13 centre in Visoko.

    14 The HVO was represented by Brigadier

    15 Petkovic, the chief of the main staff of the Croatian

    16 Defence Council, Officer Andric, and myself.

    17 As the meeting started as soon as I arrived,

    18 I just managed --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Who chaired the meeting?

    20 Excuse me.

    21 A. The meeting was chaired by the head of the

    22 European Monitoring Mission, Mr. Thebault, but,

    23 Mr. President, I am not sure whether anyone accompanied

    24 him. I know that Mr. Thebault was there for sure.

    25 Before the beginning of the meeting, I

  32. 1 managed to brief Brigadier Petkovic on the current

    2 military situation, telling him that we had lost the

    3 position Gradina above Kaonik on the main

    4 Busovaca-Zenica road, and after that, the meeting

    5 started.

    6 In the course of the meeting, Brigadier

    7 Petkovic was given the floor and he said the

    8 following: "The separation of forces of the army and

    9 the HVO has not been carried out, and attacks by the BH

    10 army are continuing against the HVO of Busovaca and the

    11 HVO of Vitez."

    12 After that, Sefer Halilovic said: "The truce

    13 is not being observed, and let us resolve the problem

    14 of the cease-fire and let us then begin to discuss

    15 everything else."

    16 Brigadier Petkovic responded by saying,

    17 "Halilovic, you did not issue the order in Konjic or

    18 Jablanica or in Busovaca or Vitez, and you see what is

    19 happening. The fighting is continuing. Order a

    20 cease-fire and stop these attacks or I will go back to

    21 Mostar from here. If your units have received orders

    22 to move forward, to advance, then they can also be

    23 given orders to retreat." This is what Brigadier

    24 Petkovic told Halilovic.

    25 Halilovic then asked his 3rd Corps commander,

  33. 1 "Dzedo, what are your reports?" The 3rd Corps

    2 commander, whose nickname was Dzedo, and his real name

    3 was Enver Hadzihasanovic, replied, "I was in the field

    4 all day, and I haven't yet studied all the reports."

    5 After some discussion, conclusions were

    6 adopted at this meeting of the following content:

    7 1. To immediately order a cease-fire.

    8 Then the next day, tomorrow, at 09.00, have

    9 another meeting in the same composition and work on the

    10 implementation of the cease-fire order on the ground.

    11 The location of the joint command of the

    12 armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be in Zenica

    13 and in Mostar, and the joint command will be composed

    14 of the chiefs of staff of the BH army and of the main

    15 staff of the HVO with their associates.

    16 The joint command of the 3rd Corps and of the

    17 Operational Zone of Central Bosnia will be designated

    18 at the next meeting, that is, the position or the

    19 location of that joint command.

    20 When the meeting ended, I returned the same

    21 way I had come, that is, in UNPROFOR vehicles, from

    22 Zenica to Vitez.

    23 On the next day, that is, the 29th of April,

    24 1993, at 09.30, we had a meeting in Vitez. The meeting

    25 was chaired by Mr. Thebault, and the BH army delegation

  34. 1 was composed again of the chief of staff of the main

    2 staff of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sefer Halilovic; his

    3 deputy Mr. Stjepan Siber; deputy Mr. Vehbija Karic; and

    4 Mr. Rasim Delic. The commander of the 3rd Corps did

    5 not come to the meeting in Vitez.

    6 On behalf of the HVO, there was the chief of

    7 staff of the HVO, Brigadier Petkovic; Officer Andric;

    8 Commander Filipovic; I was there; and the chief of

    9 staff, Mr. Franjo Nakic.

    10 The agenda of that meeting was as follows:

    11 First, the work of the joint command of the armed

    12 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then the situation in

    13 the territory of the 3rd Corps and the Operative Zone

    14 of Central Bosnia.

    15 It was agreed at that meeting that the joint

    16 command of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina would

    17 be based in Zenica, in the building of the theatre or

    18 the municipality, and that two weeks later it would

    19 move to Mostar. The idea was that this joint command

    20 would operate for two weeks of the month in Zenica and

    21 the other two weeks in Mostar.

    22 The main function of the joint command was

    23 planning and execution of a joint struggle against the

    24 army of Republika Srpska. For the base of the joint

    25 command of the 3rd Corps and the operational Zone of

  35. 1 Central Bosnia, the town of Travnik was chosen.

    2 Point 2, that is, the situation on the

    3 ground: There was also a discussion on the fighting on

    4 the front lines of the Busovaca front, and this

    5 fighting was most intensive at Kula.

    6 When the meeting ended in the second half of

    7 the day, I received a message from the head of the

    8 Military Intelligence Service who had recorded a

    9 conversation between the commander of the 306th Brigade

    10 of the BH army and the commander of the 325th Brigade

    11 of the BH army, in which they said the following:

    12 "We'll see one another at the bus station in Vitez.

    13 We will link up at Lasva."

    14 Q. Lasva is the river flowing through Vitez?

    15 A. Yes, through Vitez along the main road.

    16 "Everyone has not done everything they

    17 should. Now we have to work harder, and we must not

    18 relax but must use all means at our disposal."

    19 Q. Can we stop there for a moment and make an

    20 analysis of the military situation? If the Lasva River

    21 flows through the middle of the valley, where would the

    22 army forces come from to link up at the Lasva River?

    23 Could you show that to us?

    24 A. The conversation between the commander of

    25 the -- well, the 325th Brigade had most of its forces

  36. 1 here in Kruscica (indicating), and the command post of

    2 the 306th Brigade is in Han Bila, and this road leads

    3 to the main road between Vitez and Travnik, and it was

    4 mostly under the control of the 306th Brigade. The

    5 Lasva River, I'm showing it right now (indicating),

    6 passes along the main road through the valley and

    7 canyon to Kaonik and further on to the Bosna River.

    8 This conversation in which it was said, "See

    9 you at the bus station," the bus station is about 30 to

    10 50 metres away from the Vitez Hotel where my

    11 headquarters was. The Lasva River is nearby too. If

    12 linking up at the Lasva Valley was the message, that

    13 meant in this area between Vitez, Divjak, via Gradina

    14 and Kruscica. It is this direction (indicating).

    15 Q. Tell me, on that day, that is, the 28th of

    16 April, 1993, what were the closest positions of the

    17 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? In other words, how many

    18 metres did they need for this link-up?

    19 A. Their closest position was 50 metres away

    20 from the main road, that is, Dzidica Kuce and the

    21 forces from Kruscica. The maximum distance is 1.000 to

    22 1.500 metres.

    23 Q. That is to say, the northern and the southern

    24 forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were 1.500

    25 metres away; is that right?

  37. 1 A. Yes, but the position of Divjak, Grbavica,

    2 and then a few hundred metres, and then Stari Vitez,

    3 all of that was completely linked up, and also the

    4 bridge on the Lasva Valley was also under the control

    5 of the BH army.

    6 Q. Between the forces of the army of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Stari Vitez and the forces of the

    8 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Divjak, that was

    9 uninterrupted BH army-held territory. What was the

    10 distance?

    11 A. About 500 to 600 metres.

    12 Q. All right. Thank you. We can go back now.

    13 MR. NOBILO: D366, please, could we see that

    14 now? Could it please be given to the witness?

    15 JUDGE JORDA: I would like a clarification,

    16 Mr. Blaskic. There were two meetings on the 28th and

    17 the 29th of April, one in Zenica and one in Vitez. Was

    18 there never any question at all about Ahmici, not by

    19 Thebault or the Bosnian side or yourself, in fact, you

    20 who had held a press conference? It seemed to be a

    21 major problem for Colonel Stewart, but really nobody

    22 spoke about Ahmici?

    23 A. In my notes, I do not have anything written

    24 down about anybody's mention of Ahmici. Had anyone

    25 mentioned Ahmici, I imagine I would have written this

  38. 1 down. However, Mr. President, I was brought to this

    2 meeting and it started practically as soon as I walked

    3 into the room. I wrote down the agenda.

    4 After that, on the 30th of April, in the

    5 afternoon hours, after 16.40, Ahmici was discussed at

    6 yet another meeting that I shall be speaking of, but

    7 this is the 30th of April.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Judge Rodrigues?

    9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me. I would like to

    10 take this moment to ask the following question:

    11 General Blaskic said that before the beginning of the

    12 meeting, you had informed Petkovic about the situation,

    13 that is, the military situation; is that correct?

    14 A. Yes. That was at the moment as I was taking

    15 my seat by him, and it only took a few minutes in the

    16 sense of what the situation was and what the problems

    17 were.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you speak about Ahmici

    19 with Petkovic?

    20 A. During the meeting, I could not, and I

    21 did (sic), but I did speak about it on the 30th of

    22 April to Brigadier Petkovic because he was being driven

    23 by the members of the Spanish Battalion according to a

    24 special arrangement, so we were not together, except

    25 for the duration of the meeting.

  39. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, at the meeting,

    2 was Petkovic already informed about what had happened

    3 in Ahmici or was he not informed?

    4 A. During the meeting, he wasn't, but he was

    5 informed about it previously, that is to say, he was

    6 informed of the content of my talk with Colonel

    7 Stewart. Everything that happened on the 24th, I sent

    8 all of this in writing to the Brigadier, and he was

    9 informed about all activities as of the 24th of April,

    10 but not at the meeting, but earlier on.

    11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    12 MR. NOBILO:

    13 Q. We have document D366, which is actually your

    14 order from the 29th of April, 1993.

    15 MR. FOURMY: Your Honour, I would like to

    16 interrupt for a moment. I wonder if there isn't a

    17 difference between the English and French

    18 interpretation in respect of General Blaskic's answer

    19 to the question as to whether or not he had spoken with

    20 General Petkovic about Ahmici or whether General

    21 Petkovic had been informed about Ahmici.

    22 On the current page of the transcript, on at

    23 17 of page 38. In the English text, it says that there

    24 was a discussion with Colonel Stewart, whereas in

    25 French I heard about a conversation with General

  40. 1 Petkovic. Perhaps we could reconcile this or go back

    2 to the answer.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you heard what

    4 Mr. Fourmy said. So it was with General Petkovic; is

    5 that correct?

    6 A. I said that I did not discuss Ahmici at that

    7 meeting with General Petkovic because I was brought in

    8 just before the meeting started. I was not in a

    9 position to discuss this subject. But I also said that

    10 earlier he had been informed about these events,

    11 including the content of my meeting with Colonel

    12 Stewart.

    13 MR. NOBILO:

    14 Q. That is to say, that earlier on, you informed

    15 Petkovic about the content of your conversation with

    16 Colonel Stewart; is that correct?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: More specifically, I

    19 believe General Blaskic said that you had already

    20 informed Petkovic on the 24th of April; is that

    21 correct? Did I hear correctly?

    22 A. Yes. Yes, that is what I said.

    23 MR. NOBILO:

    24 Q. We will try to read the order D366 of the

    25 29th of April, 1993. The copy is not a very good one,

  41. 1 at least not in the Croat original, but I think that we

    2 will be able to read the key sentences.

    3 So I'm reading the order: "On the basis of

    4 the joint order of the chief of HVO main headquarters

    5 and the chief of the main staff of the BH army of the

    6 29th of April, 1993, in order to carry it out, I hereby

    7 order:

    8 1. Immediately draft lists of detained

    9 civilians (men, women, children) including the

    10 following information:

    11 a) personal information (day, month, year,

    12 and place of birth);

    13 b) address of residence and signature of the

    14 person concerned.

    15 RESPONSIBLE: Immediate subordinate

    16 commanders.

    17 DEADLINE: 30 April, 1993, 10.00.

    18 2. Release all civilians (men, women,

    19 children) arrested during the conflicts between the BH

    20 army and the HVO.

    21 RESPONSIBLE: Immediate subordinate

    22 commanders.

    23 DEADLINE: 30 April, 1993, 12.00.

    24 3. Joint operative teams shall establish

    25 contact and immediately commence clearing the

  42. 1 battlefield, i.e., the collection of the dead and their

    2 burial. There shall be no combat activities or

    3 provocation during the collection of bodies. The

    4 families of the dead shall be notified of the names of

    5 the dead and the place where the bodies were

    6 collected.

    7 RESPONSIBLE: Immediate subordinate

    8 commanders in respective zones of responsibility.

    9 DEADLINE: 30 April, 1993, 16.00.

    10 4. All released civilians must be guaranteed

    11 full safety in the locations in your zones of

    12 responsibility, and you shall be held responsible for

    13 the situation," unfortunately, the rest is illegible.

    14 "5. Immediate subordinate commanders and

    15 brigade commanders shall be responsible for the full

    16 execution of this order by 10.00 on 1 May, 1993. They

    17 must submit a written report with lists containing the

    18 following information:

    19 a) the name of released civilians;

    20 b) the names of those killed (should there be

    21 no changes, copy the data from the previous report);

    22 c) names of those buried.

    23 6. In carrying out this order, cooperate

    24 with UNPROFOR, ICRC, UNHCR, and EU representatives.

    25 Signed, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, Commander."

  43. 1 Tell me, first of all, to the best of your

    2 knowledge, in Vitez or in Busovaca, in the enclave that

    3 was under your command after the conflict broke out,

    4 were there any imprisoned civilians, women and

    5 children?

    6 A. There were. There were civilians who were

    7 taken prisoner. There were also private

    8 imprisonment. People were taken into custody

    9 according to private arrangements. This order was made

    10 so that this problem could be resolved according to the

    11 standards of the International Red Cross.

    12 Q. Could you comment on point 4 a bit, where you

    13 say that your subordinate commanders have to guarantee

    14 civilian persons whom they release full security in the

    15 locations where they will be released, and they will be

    16 held responsible, obviously, for the situation in those

    17 locations.

    18 A. Yes. It says here: "And you shall be held

    19 responsible for the situation in your zone of

    20 responsibility." According to the criteria of the

    21 International Red Cross, civilians, prior to their

    22 release, had to give their identification data that are

    23 sought in the first point, and then they had the right

    24 to say where they wanted to live after they were

    25 released. That is the question that I spoke of

  44. 1 earlier. The civilians could say that they wanted to

    2 go to areas that were under BH army control or they

    3 could remain in areas under HVO control.

    4 In this point, I repeated an action that I

    5 already ordered, that is to say, civilians who are

    6 released and who state that they wish to remain in the

    7 territory of Vitez and in the territory under HVO

    8 control, that they must be guaranteed full safety in

    9 the zones of responsibility of the brigades. For the

    10 Viteska Brigade, it's Vitez. For the Busovaca Brigade,

    11 it's Busovaca, and in Novi Travnik, the responsibility

    12 of the Novi Travnik Brigade.

    13 Q. Tell us, in terms of the implementation of

    14 this order, was there cooperation with the

    15 International Red Cross and did the International Red

    16 Cross monitor the process of release?

    17 A. This activity was carried out according to

    18 the standards of the International Red Cross both ways,

    19 and the International Red Cross did monitor this, and

    20 they also set the time for this and everything else.

    21 So if it was the standpoint of the International Red

    22 Cross that the release could not be carried out, then

    23 it was not carried out, that is to say, that the

    24 International Red Cross supervised this activity.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: I would like a clarification in

  45. 1 terms of the addressee. You say: "All commanders

    2 under my orders," and in parentheses you

    3 have "(Brigades and autonomous units, 4th LTRD)." What

    4 does that mean "autonomous units that are directly

    5 under your orders"? There were units that you

    6 recognised as autonomous and then there were those that

    7 you said which were under your orders. How can one be

    8 both autonomous or independent and under your orders?

    9 A. Mr. President, the order states directly in

    10 every point who is responsible and when this order is

    11 to be carried out, but it is also addressed to

    12 immediate subordinates and those who are within the

    13 zone of responsibility of Central Bosnia. They should

    14 receive it for their information, that is to say, that

    15 such and such a person is not responsible for the

    16 carrying out of this order but is present there.

    17 MR. NOBILO:

    18 Q. Could you tell me, in this enclave, who was

    19 immediately subordinate to you and who was autonomous

    20 and who was put at your disposal for certain actions?

    21 Could you define these units by name and could you

    22 separate them into two categories?

    23 A. For certain actions, I had the 4th Battalion

    24 of the military police and the PPN Vitezovi

    25 resubordinated to me, whereas all other units were

  46. 1 immediately subordinate to me.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. But there's perhaps a

    3 translation problem. We will go back to this directly

    4 and immediately. Perhaps we won't go back to that same

    5 discussion we had yesterday about "instantanement" and

    6 "immediatement."

    7 You're not really explaining what I need to

    8 know, General Blaskic. I understood that you always

    9 put the names of the people to who this was addressed,

    10 but then as Judge Rodrigues called your attention to,

    11 the responsible individuals are indicated under each of

    12 the points, under each of the points, but when you

    13 write "responsible" in the French version, you say,

    14 "The commanders direct under my orders," and on the

    15 top, we see "Commanders directly under my orders,"

    16 whereas in parentheses you have that they are

    17 autonomous units or independent units.

    18 You have complained several times that

    19 sometime some of the units didn't obey you. I

    20 understand that some the units are dependent, but if

    21 you give them the orders and at the same time you say

    22 that they are independent, you shouldn't be surprised

    23 that they don't obey. How do you justify that? What

    24 does that mean, these "independent" units? Was that

    25 the military police? Was it the Vitezovi? These are

  47. 1 special units, I suppose.

    2 A. The units that are not subordinate to me,

    3 Mr. President, were the military police and the special

    4 purpose units, but here, in every point, I specified

    5 who was responsible for carrying out the assignment

    6 concerned.

    7 MR. NOBILO:

    8 Q. Colonel, tell us --

    9 JUDGE JORDA: You're not making it clear.

    10 You're not being specific here, at least in the French

    11 version. It's not made specific because you write

    12 "Responsible --" let me look under 1. Look under 1.

    13 The person responsible, you say, "Commanded directly

    14 under my orders."

    15 You're not making it very clear, because when

    16 you look at the top, you say, "The directors directly

    17 under my orders are the brigades or the autonomous

    18 units or the 4th, as the LTRD, the Light Artillery

    19 Rocket Division, the Motorised Division, the 4th

    20 Battalion." There's an entire list. So don't tell me

    21 or don't tell us that you made it clear.

    22 I'm interested in this because the purpose of

    23 this discussion is to hear you frequently say that your

    24 orders have not been carried out properly, and I say

    25 that perhaps one shouldn't be surprised that they

  48. 1 weren't carried out.

    2 There were orders, General Blaskic, and

    3 that's what you told Judge Rodrigues, and we saw that

    4 they were very clearly indicated. They didn't say

    5 "Military police," they said, "This unit or that

    6 unit," and now you say, "Commanders under my orders."

    7 I don't want to add anything further, just to be

    8 mentioning that.

    9 A. In the structure of the Operative Zone of

    10 Central Bosnia, there were HVO brigades, and there were

    11 two units that we called independent units, autonomous

    12 units. One was the artillery and the other one was

    13 anti-aircraft artillery, but they were in the structure

    14 of command of the Operative Zone. They were directly

    15 subordinate to me. However, in the structure of the

    16 Operative Zone, the 4th Battalion of the military

    17 police and the PPN Vitezovi were not directly

    18 subordinated to me.

    19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I understand

    20 the President to be concerned with a question which is

    21 equally concerning me, as to how you understood this

    22 order.

    23 When you look at the upper right-hand side,

    24 do you say that in this order, you were regarding

    25 autonomous units as directly under your orders or do

  49. 1 you not say so?

    2 A. Units listed here as independent units, the

    3 4th Light Artillery Rocket Division and a mixed

    4 battalion are directly under my control, whereas the

    5 4th Military Police Battalion was attached to me for a

    6 particular task.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I mean, General, is

    8 at the particular time when this order was issued on

    9 the 29th of April, 1993, were you taking the position

    10 that autonomous units, including the 4th Battalion,

    11 were directly under your orders?

    12 A. At the time this order was written, they were

    13 resubordinated to me. At that time, they were

    14 resubordinated to me, but they did not become a part of

    15 the structure. The structure did not change. They

    16 were under my control and command, but the structure of

    17 the formation did not change.

    18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand you. Thank

    19 you very much.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have got

    21 two questions. I think that we're not going to go back

    22 to that discussion that we had yesterday that we all

    23 know so well, but I do find that in the English version

    24 of your order, we still have the word "immediately"

    25 or "immediate." The word "immediately" keeps

  50. 1 returning, "all immediate subordinates."

    2 However, in the French version, they say

    3 "commanders directly under my orders" and "commanders

    4 immediately under my orders." They use "immediatement"

    5 and "directement." These are different things. I'm

    6 not sure whether General Blaskic is trying to make a

    7 distinction between "directement," "immediately under

    8 my orders," and "immediatement," "immediately under my

    9 orders." That's one question. I'll ask both questions

    10 together because I think they are related to one

    11 another.

    12 My second question is the following: You

    13 issue an order to all the commanders directly under

    14 your orders. Here is my question: Who defined the

    15 criterion for issuing the orders? Imagine, General

    16 Blaskic, that I say: An order to all the people in

    17 this room who are subordinate to me. General Blaskic

    18 says, "No, I'm not your subordinate." Perhaps the

    19 usher might say, "I'm not your subordinate."

    20 Therefore, you are not following my orders. You say,

    21 "To all commanders directly under my orders," but

    22 perhaps there might be a commander who says "No, I'm

    23 not under your orders." "I have a list," you say, "I

    24 have criteria and I know," therefore, I take the name,

    25 the address, and send the order.

  51. 1 Do you understand my question? From the

    2 point of view of the execution of the order, you say:

    3 "To all my subordinates." However, there might be

    4 people who would say, "No, I am not subordinate to you,

    5 General Blaskic." Who defined the terms?

    6 Let me go back to the two questions. If the

    7 distinction between "commander directly under my

    8 orders" and "commander immediately under my orders," if

    9 there is an operative distinction or not, whether or

    10 not that distinction is valid, that's the question, and

    11 who defined to whom the order should be directed, that

    12 is, all your subordinates? But from the point of view

    13 of execution, who gave the definition?

    14 MR. NOBILO: If I may, Your Honours, but this

    15 affects the very substance. However, as regards this

    16 document, the same word is used in the Croatian

    17 original. It's the same case that we had yesterday,

    18 but in the French translation, two terms are being

    19 used. In the original Croatian, the same word is being

    20 used.

    21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Perhaps in this Tribunal we

    22 should have a dictionary.

    23 MR. NOBILO: We can put it on the ELMO, and

    24 you will see the same word. We have highlighted in

    25 yellow the word, all three words. They are identical

  52. 1 and -- though the question is one that the Defence

    2 counsel would like the witness to answer.

    3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I agree that in the French

    4 version the words "commander directly under my orders"

    5 and "commander immediately under my orders" are two

    6 different things, at least that's what I think.

    7 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but the Croatian word is

    8 the same. Perhaps it would be best to ask the General

    9 whether there were different interpretations. The

    10 question that you have put, whether there were

    11 different interpretations between him and his

    12 commanders.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic has to answer

    14 this, but I want to point out that it's a very relevant

    15 question that's been asked by Judge Rodrigues. Not the

    16 same as the one we asked yesterday. Yesterday we

    17 noticed that at least in the English and French

    18 versions "instantanement" and "immediatement," these

    19 two words in French are very close to one other.

    20 However, Judge Rodrigues has pointed out correctly, at

    21 least as far as my own language is concerned, that

    22 "immediatement" and "directement", "immediately"

    23 and "directly," are not synonymous.

    24 It is General Blaskic who will try to answer

    25 the question that our colleague Judge Rodrigues has

  53. 1 asked.

    2 A. I shall try, Your Honours. You asked the

    3 question: "Who defined the criteria for this order?"

    4 The criteria for this order were interpreted by the two

    5 chiefs of staff of the main staff, at the time,

    6 commanders of the joint command of the armed forces of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Therefore, their order said that I

    8 should issue an order to brigade commanders and

    9 independent units which were directly subordinated to

    10 me, that is, within my formation, and I would also

    11 issue the order for their information to units that

    12 were resubordinated to me, in this case, the 4th Police

    13 Battalion which was attached to me on the basis of an

    14 order for a particular assignment, whereas later, it

    15 goes back to its original structure.

    16 Who creates this kind of structure? In the

    17 HVO, it was called the administration for organisation

    18 attached to the Defence Ministry. They set up the

    19 structure of an Operational Zone saying, "It will be

    20 such and such. These will be the units within the

    21 Operational Zone, and these other units will spend a

    22 month in that Operational Zone, and then they will be

    23 reassigned to somewhere else. Then they will be

    24 linked, some to the defence department and some to the

    25 main headquarters."

  54. 1 For instance, my chief of staff didn't have a

    2 single military police unit, whereas the Defence

    3 Minister had several military police battalions. That

    4 is how I understood the question. I don't know whether

    5 I answered it fully.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: I'd like to get into the

    7 specifics of the order before we take our break. You

    8 issue orders, and we're taking note of the -- look at

    9 point 3. How do you apply point 3 to Ahmici? You're

    10 talking about clearing out the battlefield and then to

    11 collect the dead, that is, to pick up the bodies should

    12 not cause any provocations or combat activities.

    13 When you issued that order, specifically to

    14 the 4th Military Police Battalion, how did you think

    15 that that was going to be applied? Didn't you think

    16 that there was something a little theoretical in that

    17 order? Remember things. You had gone two days earlier

    18 to Ahmici. That is an area which is no longer under

    19 fire, that you didn't need armoured vehicles to go to

    20 Ahmici. Concretely speaking, how could you conceive

    21 the collection of dead people in Ahmici? Specifically,

    22 how did you --

    23 A. Mr. President, that was an agenda item at the

    24 meeting, and that is why reference is made here to

    25 joint operative teams, which means Dzemo Merdan and

  55. 1 Franjo Nakic will form a joint team consisting of

    2 representatives of the HVO holding that front line, in

    3 this case, just about Ahmici, and representatives of

    4 the BH army who are also controlling the front line

    5 above Ahmici, and they would, together with the

    6 UNPROFOR forces, go to the site, and with the

    7 assistance of the civil defence team, clear the area.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: I understand that. I reconcile

    9 that with your constant or permanent request for

    10 investigation. You're going to clear out the

    11 battlefield. Each party would pick up its dead, and

    12 you think that it would be possible to carry out the

    13 investigation, since you are very concerned with the

    14 idea of finding those responsible for what happened,

    15 you even organised a press conference in order to make

    16 sure that these people who committed these crimes be

    17 prosecuted and punished. You might even have had some

    18 suspicions. Then you set up operational teams.

    19 During the meetings of the 29th and the

    20 30th -- the 29th and 30th of April, nobody speaks about

    21 Ahmici at those meetings, not even you, and now the

    22 bodies are going to be collected, with teams that are

    23 going to be working together, joint teams, whereas a

    24 few days ago they had massacred one another.

    25 This is my question: Don't you think that

  56. 1 this is somewhat theoretical, perhaps a bit

    2 theoretical? A theoretical document is produced. Do

    3 you see it in practical terms, implementation of the

    4 document, and perhaps all of this being given to the

    5 military police battalion? Don't you find this a bit

    6 theoretical?

    7 A. No, Mr. President, it was not a theoretical

    8 order because the battlefield was, indeed, cleared on

    9 that day, not completely, but in Ahmici, among others.

    10 I ordered an investigation on the 24th of April, '93,

    11 and the security service is conducting the

    12 investigation.

    13 This was the task of the joint operative

    14 centre, and it was certainly in the interests of

    15 representatives of the BH army and the HVO for the

    16 battlefield to be cleared, and this item was the result

    17 of an agreement reached at the meeting on the 29th of

    18 April. This was agreed by the two chiefs of staff.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: My point, nobody said that once

    20 all the dead had been collected, it had to be done very

    21 quickly, of course, but perhaps the investigation, in

    22 the end, wouldn't serve much purpose. Nobody said

    23 that. Once the battlefield had been cleared out in

    24 Ahmici, I suppose that the investigation would have

    25 been compromised, severely compromised.

  57. 1 A. My order for an investigation was not made

    2 after this but before, that is, on the 24th of April,

    3 my order for an investigation, and this operation was

    4 to be done on the 29th of April, which means five days

    5 after the order for an investigation was issued.

    6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'll ask you the question

    7 in a different way, General Blaskic: If you wanted to

    8 have the investigation, as Judge Jorda has just said,

    9 that you were very angry about the situation, you had

    10 asked for this and that, you organised a press

    11 conference, et cetera, and then on that day, with this

    12 order, you accepted to have all proof, all remnants of

    13 any proof that could have been used for the

    14 investigation. All the proof was gone. So if you

    15 agree to have the battlefield cleared out, your own

    16 priority, in my opinion, if you were really concerned

    17 about the investigation, would have been -- just a

    18 moment -- carry out the investigation to see what

    19 happened, to collect all vestiges and remnants and then

    20 the field would be cleared.

    21 I think that's the question. Why didn't you

    22 say that during the meeting, "Before collecting the

    23 bodies, let's carry out the investigation. Let's get

    24 the proof. Let's get the evidence, the vestiges and

    25 things." That's the question.

  58. 1 A. First of all, this was not my choice. I had

    2 to implement the order of two commanders who were my

    3 superiors. All my positions, including my requests and

    4 my orders, were given in writing to the chief of staff

    5 of the main staff, on the 24th of April, 1993.

    6 I was concerned about the investigation and

    7 the bodies were not delivered on the same moment.

    8 That's another issue, the conditions under which we

    9 worked. But this order emanates from an order that I

    10 was given by two superiors, two people who were

    11 superior to me, both the chief of staff of the main

    12 staff of the BH army and the chief of staff of the main

    13 staff of the HVO, and I gave the order for an

    14 investigation on the 24th of April, '93, and I was,

    15 indeed, keen that it should be implemented.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps before we break, could I

    17 put a question to the witness for the sake of

    18 completeness, because this is a very interesting

    19 question.

    20 Q. General, the collection of the dead from

    21 Ahmici, when you did that, did you discover the number

    22 of dead, the composition, how many were elderly, women,

    23 children, civilians, or soldiers, and the method in

    24 which they were killed? Did you, by collecting those

    25 bodies, discover those data?

  59. 1 A. Yes.

    2 Q. Was a report written with a detailed

    3 description and identification of the dead that could?

    4 A. Yes, and an exchange on the basis of the

    5 criteria of international organisations.

    6 Q. This collection carefully, with a report

    7 indicating the sex, the identity, et cetera, did this

    8 help in identifying the consequences of the crime in

    9 Ahmici?

    10 A. Yes. Until then, we only had the data given

    11 to us by Colonel Stewart.

    12 MR. NOBILO: We had planned to come to that

    13 later, but I thought it would be better to raise that

    14 now.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: We will take a break. We will

    16 take 20 minutes because General Blaskic has had to

    17 answer a great number of questions. We'll take 20

    18 minutes.

    19 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.

    20 --- On resuming at 12.02 p.m.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    22 hearing. Please be seated.

    23 MR. NOBILO:

    24 Q. So we are continuing with your statement.

    25 We're talking about the 30th of April, 1993. We have

  60. 1 completed the previous day with the order that we

    2 discussed a few minutes ago. Tell me, what were the

    3 most important events on the 30th of April, 1993?

    4 A. On the 30th of April, 1993, again we had

    5 refugees coming in from Zenica to Vitez and Busovaca,

    6 and then there was the question of the meeting with

    7 Mr. Franjo Nakic and my intention to authorise him to

    8 have powers equal to mine in the joint commission in

    9 terms of adopting orders, that is to say, we were

    10 agreeing on new forms of work in the joint command.

    11 I also gave instructions to speed up the

    12 establishment of the Vitez Brigade, and I told my

    13 security assistant to cooperate with the civilian

    14 defence in order to collect all the necessary data, and

    15 then I ordered him to investigate fully up to the names

    16 and surnames of the perpetrators of the crime.

    17 Q. You're saying "investigation." What

    18 investigation?

    19 A. Investigation into the crime committed in

    20 Ahmici. Again I told him to go to the very end, that

    21 is to say, to the names and surnames.

    22 Q. You said that you sent an SIS officer, who

    23 was in charge of the investigation of what happened in

    24 Ahmici, to cooperate with the civilian defence. Could

    25 you please explain to the Court what you meant by

  61. 1 this? Why the civilian defence? Why would that be

    2 related to the investigation of Ahmici?

    3 A. Well, the practice was that whenever the

    4 front line was being taken care of, it was never done

    5 by members of the military units but by the members of

    6 the civilian defence, that is to say, civilians who

    7 were mobilised for tasks related to the civilian

    8 defence, and then they collected corpses and, as much

    9 as possible, post-mortems were conducted by civilians.

    10 Soldiers did not take part in this and --

    11 MR. NOBILO: Just a minute.

    12 (Trial Chamber deliberates)

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue.

    14 MR. NOBILO:

    15 Q. So we stopped at the point when we were

    16 discussing civilian defence units who were collecting

    17 dead bodies from the front line. Tell me, specifically

    18 in the case of Ahmici, who collected the dead bodies?

    19 A. The members of the civilian defence of the

    20 municipality of Vitez.

    21 Q. Do you know what they ascertained, how long

    22 the list was of the persons they found in Ahmici, and

    23 did they submit this to your investigating authorities?

    24 A. I was informed that between 96 and 103

    25 victims were collected.

  62. 1 Q. Tell me what happened then.

    2 A. In the afternoon, there was another meeting

    3 between the chief of the main staff of the army of

    4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, General Halilovic, and the chief of

    5 the main staff of the HVO, Brigadier Petkovic, and the

    6 subject discussed was the release of all prisoners.

    7 At this meeting, General Halilovic requested

    8 to see the persons who had been at the cinema, and I

    9 know that he went to the cinema, and I used that time

    10 for having a meeting with Brigadier Petkovic. At the

    11 office in my headquarters, I told him in detail about

    12 everything that I knew and everything that I had

    13 undertaken so far in respect of Ahmici, and I asked

    14 General Petkovic to have a meeting, by all means, with

    15 my associates and to support me in carrying out this

    16 investigation.

    17 I gave him -- I showed him an entire list of

    18 all the documents that we had, all the files, including

    19 these two orders that I spoke of related to the

    20 assistant for security, and I think it was around 17.00

    21 or perhaps 17.30 at the maximum when Brigadier Petkovic

    22 had a meeting with the entire command of the Operative

    23 Zone of Central Bosnia.

    24 Q. After the meeting with you, what did General

    25 Petkovic say to your subordinates?

  63. 1 A. Brigadier Petkovic said, first of all, that

    2 Ahmici was a crime and that that was very bad for the

    3 HVO, and I condemned this, and the investigation must

    4 go up to the end, to names and surnames. He said,

    5 "Your attitude towards civilians and detainees must be

    6 in the spirit of the Geneva Conventions, and you must

    7 have full cooperation with the International Red Cross,

    8 the UNHCR, and UNPROFOR."

    9 Further on, he said, "This area," he was

    10 meaning the Lasva River Valley, "we cannot and do not

    11 want to cleanse this area of non-Croats, and we shall

    12 not do that, but we have to defend it from all who are

    13 attacking us." He said, "The town is full of snipers,

    14 gangs, and the ordinary man in the street is tired of

    15 all of this, and they've had enough of all of this and

    16 they're waiting for this to be over.

    17 So take all measures to control these groups

    18 in this area, and they should not act as they wish to.

    19 Civilians have to be defended. Chaos is a folly for

    20 all. Let the military police arrest individuals. Your

    21 main attention should be focused on defence and on the

    22 positions because you're almost at the point where you

    23 have nothing to lose. You are encircled. Even several

    24 soldiers may be killed, but if a single civilian loses

    25 his life, that is a very bad thing."

  64. 1 Then he said, "Can 20.000 Croats in Zenica

    2 attack 100.000 Muslims? In Konjic, we were attacked by

    3 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the back, while

    4 the HVO held the front line against the Serbs. None of

    5 you have the right to stop convoys of the International

    6 Red Cross, UNHCR, and UNPROFOR."

    7 So this is an outline of what General

    8 Petkovic said.

    9 Q. Tell me, General, the conversation that you

    10 had separately from the command, the conversation you

    11 had with General Petkovic, how is that related to what

    12 Petkovic told them? Did Petkovic accept your

    13 positions? Was it your positions that came to the

    14 fore? Explain this to the Court. What kind of a

    15 conversation did you have with Petkovic?

    16 A. After I informed him, he accepted my

    17 positions, and he gave me full support then. At the

    18 meeting too, he emphasised this, as he met the command,

    19 and I knew that he had quite a problem because he

    20 didn't have much time. He was brought in UNPROFOR

    21 vehicles, and he had to go back, and he didn't have

    22 enough time to stay longer.

    23 Q. In this separate conversation that you had,

    24 did you express to General Petkovic your suspicions as

    25 to within which units there could be those individuals,

  65. 1 you were looking for the names and surnames, that might

    2 have committed the crime in Ahmici?

    3 A. Yes.

    4 Q. Did you tell him who you ordered to carry out

    5 an investigation and that this investigation was under

    6 way? Did you inform him about that?

    7 A. I informed him about all the action that had

    8 been taken so far and about all the documents that I

    9 otherwise could not send him by mail because I didn't

    10 want to have it retyped. So I informed him of all the

    11 documents concerned.

    12 Q. You said that you didn't want to have these

    13 documents retyped. What did you actually have in mind?

    14 A. The letter of Colonel Stewart, the letter

    15 that I sent to Colonel Stewart, that is to say, all the

    16 documents that existed until then. They were shown to

    17 General Petkovic.

    18 Q. In the original?

    19 A. Yes, in the original. The original copies

    20 were shown.

    21 Q. Does that also mean the report from Ahmici

    22 and the orders that you gave on the 24th?

    23 A. Yes. I said "all documents." The orders,

    24 the reports, everything that had accumulated until

    25 then, all of it was made available to him.

  66. 1 Q. On that day --

    2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo.

    3 General Blaskic, you said that you had communicated

    4 with Petkovic who, from your perspective, was suspected

    5 of involvement in the crime in Ahmici. You also spoke

    6 about the unit and the names. Did I hear you

    7 correctly?

    8 A. Yes, you're right, Your Honour. I was

    9 talking about the unit, and I informed him that I had

    10 issued an order asking to have a list of names of the

    11 perpetrators submitted to me. I also asked General

    12 Petkovic, who was then a Brigadier, that at the meeting

    13 that he would have with my commanders, that he give

    14 support to this request so that the investigation would

    15 have to go all the way up to the names and surnames

    16 involved.

    17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But General, you said

    18 specifically -- did you give -- did you tell Petkovic

    19 the name of the unit?

    20 A. That was engaged in that area? Yes, I did

    21 mention that to Brigadier Petkovic. I mentioned this

    22 to Brigadier Petkovic through the reports too.

    23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If I recall correctly, you

    24 mentioned the military police. You mentioned the

    25 military police here. Therefore, did you tell Petkovic

  67. 1 that the unit was the unit from the military police?

    2 A. That it was my suspicion that individuals

    3 from that unit had done it, that that was my

    4 suspicion.

    5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So you told Petkovic that

    6 you suspected certain individuals from the military

    7 police. That's what you said expressly?

    8 A. The military police was in that area, engaged

    9 in that area, and my suspicion was that some

    10 individuals from that unit were engaged.

    11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you also mention some

    12 names, names of individuals?

    13 A. I did not mention any names. Brigadier

    14 Petkovic knew who the commander of the military police

    15 was, and until then, through the reports from the

    16 assistant for the security service, I did not receive

    17 any names.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. General, let us define this. I think we

    21 didn't and we should have. The battalion of the

    22 military police, how many soldiers does that involve?

    23 A. The battalion of the military police is about

    24 300, up to 700 or 500 soldiers. I did not have it

    25 directly under my control so that I would know, and

  68. 1 directly under my command, but it shouldn't be less

    2 than 300 or more than 700 soldiers. So 300, perhaps

    3 500.

    4 Q. Did you think that it was opportune, lawful,

    5 and to the point to blame the entire unit or were you

    6 looking for individual responsibility?

    7 A. That's not the way I was brought up and

    8 educated at the academy, that I should seek collective

    9 responsibility. It always had to be individual

    10 responsibility.

    11 Q. On that day, there was a discussion on the

    12 petrol station Kalen. That is a very interesting

    13 question. Please tell us, what happened earlier on,

    14 what happened that day, and then afterwards, about the

    15 Kalen station, which is very telling in its own right.

    16 A. It was a strange problem, and there were many

    17 such which were illustrative of the prevalent chaos at

    18 the time. On that day, the mayor of Vitez --

    19 Q. What day are you referring to? The 30th of

    20 April?

    21 A. Yes, the 30th of April. I was informed that

    22 a special purpose unit had militarily captured the

    23 petrol station Kalen.

    24 Q. Which special purpose unit?

    25 A. The Vitezovi Special Purpose Unit, that they

  69. 1 had captured the Kalen petrol station and that they

    2 were distributing and selling petrol at that station.

    3 Q. Tell us, when they captured it, who was the

    4 owner of that station, and what did petrol mean in

    5 those days? What was its value?

    6 A. According to the information I received from

    7 the mayor, I think it was captured either on the 16th

    8 or the 17th of April, that is, this petrol station.

    9 The owner was a Bosniak Muslim. I think his surname

    10 was Kalen. Probably that was his name. I'm sure,

    11 however, that he was a Bosniak Muslim.

    12 As to what petrol meant in those days, I can

    13 illustrate by the fact that we would allot ten litres

    14 per brigade, and at the station, there were several

    15 thousand litres of petrol, and this petrol was being

    16 sold by members of the Vitezovi Special Purpose Unit,

    17 and the mayor asked for my assistance to put an end to

    18 illegal business.

    19 I first required from the commander that he

    20 restore the station to the competence of the civilian

    21 and military authorities.

    22 Q. Which commander?

    23 A. The commander of the Vitezovi Special Purpose

    24 Brigade, Mr. Kraljevic. He refused. Then I wrote a

    25 report to the head of the defence department in Mostar

  70. 1 and briefed him on the problem.

    2 Q. Why did you, as the commander of the

    3 Operative Zone to whom the Vitezovi unit was

    4 resubordinated on that day, why are you writing to

    5 Mostar?

    6 A. That was the only measure left to me because

    7 I had no other authority. This is something that the

    8 commander of the Vitezovi Special Purpose Unit was

    9 aware of because he himself said that he was directly

    10 subordinated to the defence department.

    11 Q. Tell us, in the course of these proceedings,

    12 you said that the mayor told you that the Vitezovi had

    13 captured the station on the 16th or the 17th, but in

    14 the course of these proceedings, from the testimony of

    15 members of the British Battalion, did you remember when

    16 exactly that petrol station was captured? During these

    17 proceedings here, not according to your recollection,

    18 but according to the testimony here in court.

    19 A. Perhaps it was at dawn on the 16th of April

    20 but I'm not a hundred per cent sure.

    21 Q. Where is that petrol station? Could you just

    22 tell us? Describe the place.

    23 A. On the main Vitez-Busovaca road. The main

    24 road is south of the village of Krcevine.

    25 Q. On which side?

  71. 1 A. North in relation to the town of Vitez.

    2 Q. Is there a crossroads there? Is there an

    3 intersection of roads?

    4 A. Yes, there is a cross-section there, one road

    5 going to Vjetrenica and Zenica and the other to

    6 Krcevine and Stari Vitez.

    7 Q. Was there a bear there, a stuffed bear at

    8 that petrol station?

    9 A. I'm afraid I'm not sure. I couldn't confirm

    10 that.

    11 Q. Never mind. So you write to the commander of

    12 the Vitezovi and what did you ask him to do?

    13 A. I asked him what the mayor had asked of me,

    14 and that is that the unit should return the captured

    15 petrol station to the civilian municipal authorities.

    16 I received an answer from the defence department for my

    17 information, in which he ordered the commander of the

    18 Vitezovi to return to the municipal authorities the

    19 captured petrol station.

    20 In the course of the day, that is what he

    21 did. Only a day later -- actually, he returned it

    22 fictitiously, but then he came to see me with a

    23 decision of the municipal authorities, which stated

    24 that the municipality was giving him the petrol

    25 station. I realised then, and I later checked, that

  72. 1 even the order of the head of the defence department

    2 had not been carried out, but, in fact, the situation

    3 remained unchanged.

    4 Q. But Santic came to complain to you and asked

    5 you to intervene in Mostar, that they order the

    6 Vitezovi to return the petrol station, and then he

    7 makes a gift of that station to the Vitezovi. Did you

    8 establish how it came about that Santic changed his

    9 mind all of a sudden?

    10 A. I asked him how this had happened, and then

    11 he told me that he had been forced to put the issue on

    12 the agenda of a government meeting, and to take such a

    13 decision, and that he had no other choice.

    14 Q. You said that he was forced. Do you mean

    15 that he was threatened by force?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. We have here a rather interesting situation

    18 regarding the functioning of the chain of command of

    19 the resubordinated units. Let us focus on that for

    20 awhile.

    21 The Vitezovi were resubordinated to you, and

    22 yet you had to contact their commander for him to give

    23 them an order. Tell the Court, when a unit is attached

    24 to you, to what extent do you become their commander?

    25 Is there a part of the command function that you never

  73. 1 assume? Will you explain that, both with regard to the

    2 police and the Vitezovi?

    3 A. When a unit is attached to me, I am in

    4 command for the deployment of that unit for a

    5 particular task. Once the task has been accomplished,

    6 the unit goes back to its regular functioning, but even

    7 with regard to the implementation of a task, the

    8 commander is aware that he does not have such command

    9 authority as he has over his own regular units.

    10 Q. But what is it that is lacking in this case

    11 and that is present in relation with your own unit,

    12 even when you're deploying the military police or the

    13 Vitezovi?

    14 A. I never have authority for sanctioning,

    15 authority for logistics support, or some other

    16 authority that I have over my directly subordinated

    17 units.

    18 Q. Can you replace a commander, even during

    19 deployment?

    20 A. No, that would be unfeasible.

    21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, would you say

    22 that the 4th Battalion of the military police was

    23 deployed by you or with your authority in or around

    24 Ahmici on the 16th of April?

    25 A. It had already been stationed in the Bungalow

  74. 1 without my authority. It was stationed there before.

    2 But patrolling as a daily duty along the

    3 Vitez-Busovaca-Travnik road, as a daily task, was under

    4 my authority.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would the whole

    6 battalion have been present in Ahmici on the 16th of

    7 April or part of the battalion?

    8 A. Not the whole battalion, and how many of them

    9 would be there, that depended on the battalion

    10 commander, but not all of it. There were some military

    11 policemen securing the hotel.

    12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question: From

    13 your observations of Ahmici after the event, would you

    14 be able to help this Court by giving us your judgment

    15 as to whether it was possible for what was done at

    16 Ahmici to have been done by some, only of the military

    17 police who were there, without the knowledge or support

    18 of the other military police who were also there?

    19 A. The area is quite large, but without any

    20 knowledge hardly, but maybe in view of the kind of

    21 terrain involved, it could be possible because the

    22 front line was there, and there was fighting between

    23 the BH army, but certainly a number of them knew what

    24 the perpetrators did. Maybe not all of them knew.

    25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question if I

  75. 1 may.

    2 General, when did you first suspect that some

    3 members of the military police might have done what was

    4 done at Ahmici?

    5 A. For the first time, when I received the first

    6 report from Colonel Bob Stewart. That means on the

    7 22nd of April, '93.

    8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. I would

    10 like to add to something that my colleague said.

    11 During the meeting of the 30th of April, you

    12 informed General Petkovic about your concerns that the

    13 military police was implicated, at least some of the

    14 people were. At the same meeting, General Petkovic

    15 apparently said that the military police had to arrest

    16 the criminals, and the military police reported to

    17 General Petkovic. How do you explain that then?

    18 A. Mr. President, in the discussion when

    19 Brigadier Petkovic spoke about violence and crime in

    20 Vitez and about armed gangs that were looting, he said

    21 that the military police must arrest individuals.

    22 Unfortunately, that military police was not

    23 subordinated to General Petkovic either but to the

    24 defence department and the head of the administration

    25 for defence in Mostar.

  76. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Was he present at that meeting,

    2 that commander, I don't remember his name, that is, the

    3 commander of the military police, was he present at the

    4 meeting?

    5 A. I'm not sure of that because it was a meeting

    6 of the members of the command of the Operative Zone,

    7 which mean members of the command of the Operative Zone

    8 were present. He wasn't present.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Rodrigues?

    10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, you have

    11 already said here that you didn't agree with the

    12 position within the organisational structure of the

    13 military police. I think that I'm right when I say

    14 that.

    15 A. Your Honours, of both the military police and

    16 the special purpose units, I never agreed with that.

    17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But speaking now about the

    18 military police, why did the people who decided, who

    19 chose this type of organisation, this model of

    20 organisation, do you have some idea of why they chose

    21 that because we are now checking to see whether you

    22 were right.

    23 One could have an organisation which, in and

    24 of itself, cancels itself out and would represent a

    25 risk for you, that you could be a very good General,

  77. 1 theoretically speaking, as Judge Jorda already referred

    2 to in his question, that's theoretically, but when you

    3 look at all of your orders from a theoretical point of

    4 view, we would not have so many problems, but we know

    5 that, in fact, there were problems.

    6 Why do you think the people chose that

    7 model? Was it a way to "divide and conquer" or was it

    8 something else?

    9 A. First of all, I never agreed with such a

    10 model of organisation, and this increased my command

    11 impotence, and with an army structured in that way,

    12 you're asking me why such a model was created. In my

    13 view, one of the reasons could be that they didn't know

    14 what kind of model they were developing, but I

    15 discussed this, and we will see later on that I wrote

    16 about the negative effects of such a model on my

    17 command powers. So if they didn't know, they could

    18 have changed that model. It is hard for me to tell

    19 what the other reason was, but in any event, I believe

    20 that such reasons existed. To hold a unit of 500 men

    21 directly connected, could provoke behaviour contrary to

    22 the positions of the command that I was in charge of.

    23 In my talks with representatives of the UN,

    24 I tried to explain this. I had a single responsibility

    25 and multi-level commands. I asked for that to be

  78. 1 changed. What the real motive was, I can only assume.

    2 I don't know.

    3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, once the model had

    4 shown itself not to be effective, was there somebody

    5 who suggested that the model be changed or was there

    6 not, or did you make that suggestion?

    7 A. Yes, and I managed to change that model.

    8 Unfortunately, not soon enough. I could go on, I could

    9 elaborate on this, but I was the one who had proposed a

    10 change of the model, and I succeeded eventually, but it

    11 took more time.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Perhaps at another time,

    13 Mr. Nobilo, we will go back to that.

    14 MR. NOBILO: Next week, we will show how the

    15 special purpose units were abolished, as well as the

    16 autonomy of the military police and what a major

    17 undertaking that was, but in order to deal with this

    18 crucial issue comprehensively, I would suggest that

    19 document D523 be shown to the witness, but now we're

    20 going to have a small break.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: I think we will take a

    22 10-minute or 15-minute break, and then we will work

    23 until 1.30, which will allow the General, who is not

    24 only answering the questions of his attorney but

    25 responding to the questions of the Judges' curiosity in

  79. 1 respect to very important points in the case.

    2 All right. We'll take a 10-minute to

    3 15-minute break.

    4 --- Recess taken at 12.40 p.m.

    5 --- On resuming at 12.59 p.m.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please

    7 be seated.

    8 Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.

    9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. As I

    10 already said, we would like to have D523 shown to the

    11 witness, please, and after that, D518, but that is a

    12 document that is under seal, so that is why we would

    13 like to move into private session when we examine that

    14 document. But now we're examining D523; could you

    15 please place it on the ELMO? Another article, number 8

    16 and 9.

    17 MR. NOBILO: That article was not translated,

    18 the one that is of interest to us. All right. I can

    19 read it too.

    20 Q. Document D523 is part of the rules of the

    21 military police.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I'm not sure that I

    23 understood that. You were mentioning a document. Has

    24 that already been tendered? I suppose it has been

    25 because it has a number. Is it a new exhibit, 523?

  80. 1 MR. NOBILO: That's right. D523, but only

    2 Article 10 was translated, but Articles 8 and 9 were

    3 not translated, and they are part of the same

    4 document.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I think that the

    6 Prosecutor is going to make an objection, first of all,

    7 to say that he doesn't have the translation and then

    8 say that they only translated two relevant articles and

    9 that the context is not there. I'm making the

    10 objection for you to speed things along.

    11 MR. KEHOE: Judge, absolutely.

    12 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, these are two

    13 short articles, and we tendered this a few months ago

    14 as evidence.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. What I suggest is

    16 the following: The interpreters have taken an oath. I

    17 suggest that we continue to work. Mr. Nobilo will read

    18 the article which he thinks is relevant, but your

    19 objection has been noted, Mr. Kehoe, and I ask the

    20 registrar to ensure that in the next few days, the

    21 entire document be translated. We know that the

    22 accused will not have to come back because he's here,

    23 he is the accused, and then he can explain if there is

    24 a problem in that area.

    25 Let me remind you, Mr. Kehoe, that you've got

  81. 1 all the time that you need for your cross-examination.

    2 Do you agree with that suggestion?

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

    4 Honours. Thank you.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Having both

    6 objected and answered, I don't have to go any further.

    7 I leave it to you now, that is, the work of reading the

    8 relevant articles that you feel are necessary for the

    9 demonstration of your argument.

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

    11 Q. Document D523 is part of the rules of the

    12 military police which was admitted in document 518 and

    13 which we tendered a few months ago, and we gave it to

    14 the Prosecutor too.

    15 I'm going to read Articles 8 and 9. The

    16 title is "Chapter 2, Control and Command." So this is

    17 the rules of the military police.

    18 THE REGISTRAR: I'd like a clarification. Is

    19 this D523 or are we going to start with 518, because if

    20 we do, we would have to move into closed session.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: No. It's the 518 which is

    22 covered by seal. That's what I understood.

    23 MR. NOBILO: That's right.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're now talking

    25 about D523; is that correct?

  82. 1 MR. NOBILO: That's right.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. We

    3 will listen to the translation, but please read it

    4 slowly so that the interpreters can do a proper job.

    5 MR. NOBILO: That's right, and we've placed

    6 on the ELMO what I'm reading in the Croatian version so

    7 the interpreters have it.

    8 Q. The title is "Control and Command. Article

    9 8: All units of the military police are subordinated

    10 to the administration of military police of the

    11 Ministry of Defence of the Croatian Republic of

    12 Herceg-Bosna under the control and command of the chief

    13 of administration of the military police.

    14 Article 9: In carrying out daily operational

    15 military political tasks, the units of the military

    16 police are subordinated to the commander of the

    17 military district, i.e., to the highest ranking

    18 commander of the HVO in the area of responsibility of

    19 the units of the military police."

    20 Now I would like to move into private

    21 session, and we are going to see a document concerning

    22 the military police where you can see this much

    23 better.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: If I've understood things

    25 correctly, the administration of the military police

  83. 1 answers to the defence department but that the other

    2 part is under -- the operations depend on the

    3 operational commander. I would like you to be very

    4 careful here. Would you please reread Article 9?

    5 MR. NOBILO: Very well. After that, I

    6 suggest that we put a question to the Colonel, for him

    7 to explain. It is not operations, it is daily

    8 operational tasks. We will read it out.

    9 "In carrying out daily operational military

    10 police tasks --"

    11 JUDGE JORDA: The word "daily," I don't have

    12 that in my translation. That's why there was a very

    13 valid objection by the Prosecutor. We're not talking

    14 about daily things.

    15 Mr. Nobilo, I'm very serious now. I always

    16 am, in fact, even if I smile sometimes. Ahmici is

    17 behind all of this. We want to know about the military

    18 police in its operations. We're not talking about

    19 daily activities. I would like to have the article

    20 reread very slowly and translated once again.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, it's quite

    22 wrong. I did not add "daily operative military police

    23 tasks." That's exactly what it says here, that is to

    24 say, in carrying out daily/operative military police

    25 tasks, and now I'm going to ask the Colonel.

  84. 1 Q. What are daily/operative military police

    2 tasks? Explain this, Colonel. Then it's all going to

    3 be clear to you from the next document.

    4 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, these are

    5 patrols, then securing command posts, work at command

    6 blockade points, and all other daily military police

    7 tasks, like bringing in military conscripts, et cetera,

    8 that is to say, daily, day-to-day things that the

    9 military police is engaged in.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It's done on a

    11 current basis.

    12 MR. NOBILO: Right. Right.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did I understand you and

    15 the witness to be drawing a distinction between daily

    16 military duties, as you have described them, and

    17 employment in the course of an armed confrontation with

    18 the enemy? I would take it that your position is that

    19 they would be subordinated to you in the latter

    20 situation only; is that it?

    21 A. In the other situation, according to orders

    22 of the head of the defence department, they would be

    23 attached to me because in Article 8, Your Honour, it

    24 says that "all units of the military police are

    25 subordinated to the administration of the military

  85. 1 police," and that is under the control and command of

    2 the chief of administration of the military police.

    3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.

    4 MR. NOBILO: May I propose the following,

    5 Your Honour: The next document is going to clarify all

    6 these dilemmas. With your permission, I would like to

    7 suggest this, and it is truly going to deal with all

    8 the dilemmas concerned.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: I asked you to be patient.

    10 Judge Rodrigues?

    11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I believe, Mr. Nobilo, this

    12 is the time to clarify another question that I had

    13 asked beforehand. Who decided to establish the

    14 military police under those terms? Who did that? Who

    15 established it on these terms, that is, going back to

    16 the question and by putting the organisation within the

    17 organisational chart in a way that all reasonable

    18 people would not agree with. Who decided that?

    19 A. Your Honour, I do not know the name and

    20 surname. I know the structure. I know who was the

    21 head of the defence department. I know who was the

    22 chief of the main staff. But who passed the decision

    23 on this kind of structure, that, I do not know, but I

    24 know that the head of the defence department, the first

    25 head of the defence department, was Mr. Bruno Stojic,

  86. 1 that the next Minister of Defence was Mr. Perica Jukic,

    2 that the commander in chief was Mr. Mate Boban, but who

    3 reached the decision to organise it -- to organise the

    4 military police and the special purpose units in this

    5 way, so wrongly, I don't know who stands behind that

    6 decision.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: The other question is the

    8 date. What date was it?

    9 A. The HVO was first established, as far as I

    10 know from the documents, from the 8th of April, 1992.

    11 When the military police of the HVO specifically was

    12 established, I think that this will be shown in certain

    13 rules or something, but I don't know the exact date,

    14 exactly when the military police of the HVO was

    15 established because I never worked in the military

    16 police of the HVO, in 1992 at any rate.

    17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In any case, we will see

    18 the date because I think we can understand or at least

    19 perhaps understand the reasons if we put ourselves in

    20 the political and social conditions which may have

    21 given reason for that. In any case, we will see that

    22 afterwards. Thank you very much.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, the document then

    24 should be done in a private session, is that right,

    25 518?

  87. 1 (Private session)












    13 Page 19106 redacted – in private session













  88. 1












    13 Pages 19107 to 19117 redacted – in closed session








    21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

    22 1.40 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,

    23 the 16th day of March, 1999, at 2.00 p.m.