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  1. 1 Tuesday, 16th March, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 2.13 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

    5 Mr. Registrar, will you have the witness brought in?

    6 (The accused/witness entered court)

    7 JUDGE JORDA: I should first like to say good

    8 afternoon to our friends, interpreters, the court

    9 reporters, the Prosecution and the Defence counsel, the

    10 accused, who is our witness -- I am recalling this fact

    11 for the benefit of the public gallery -- a witness

    12 under oath like all other witnesses.

    13 May I make a few words of explanation?

    14 Mr. Registrar, there was some confusion over the

    15 beginning of this hearing, taking into consideration

    16 that one of our colleagues was in audience, so I may

    17 have made a mistake as to whether it was 2.00 or 2.30,

    18 but I see that the parties have adjusted to a Judge who

    19 has made a mistake.

    20 THE REGISTRAR: In that case, it is also my

    21 fault.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: So we only have the guilty in

    23 this courtroom now. Thank you for your understanding,

    24 I apologise once again, and we can continue now,

    25 Mr. Nobilo.

  2. 1 I suppose you were able to make a timetable

    2 regarding the end of the examination-in-chief.

    3 Mr. Registrar has told us an evaluation. Perhaps you

    4 can tell us now in public, though you need not be

    5 committed by what you state.

    6 MR. NOBILO: It is difficult to envisage the

    7 course of proceedings because, as you see yourself,

    8 sometime the discussion takes a particular turn, we

    9 spend more time than we had planned on it, but all this

    10 is in the interests of justice.

    11 When we came back to the days after Ahmici

    12 and all the talks that our witness had with various

    13 international agencies and all his activities in

    14 connection with the investigation over Ahmici, as we

    15 approach the end of the year, things will speed up

    16 because there are much fewer events. It is hard for me

    17 to evaluate but ...

    18 Two whole days, perhaps two and a half. That

    19 would be our estimate, two working days.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: I wish to tell you -- I can, I

    21 think, speak on behalf of my colleagues -- that the

    22 number of questions put by the Judges will not take

    23 this same form, so this time will be compensated in one

    24 way or another.

    25 Do you have any comments to make, Judge

  3. 1 Shahabuddeen? Any observations? No? Judge

    2 Rodrigues? No?

    3 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.

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


    6 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    7 Q. General, I think last week we finished

    8 sometime in April 1993, and we can now go on to the

    9 most important events as of May the 1st, 1993. So will

    10 you please, in summary form but, for the moment, leave

    11 aside the fighting and the war which is ongoing -- I

    12 think this is where Their Honours are aware of -- but

    13 within the context of those wartime events, could we

    14 focus on events that have a direct or indirect bearing

    15 on the charges against you?

    16 A. Mr. President --

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course, Mr. Nobilo. I

    18 congratulate you. I think that is how we should

    19 approach this issue, that is, that the witness should

    20 focus on the events that are relevant for the charges

    21 against him.

    22 So please continue, Mr. Blaskic.

    23 A. Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.

    24 On the 1st of May, 1993, I had a meeting with

    25 a member of the joint command, Mr. Franjo Nakic, who

  4. 1 requested from me that the joint command should be

    2 filled in with three officers so that it could fully

    3 function together with representatives of the army of

    4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and issue joint orders and work on

    5 the implementation of the agreements that have been

    6 signed with representatives of the BH army.

    7 I also had a meeting, a regular meeting, with

    8 my associates, later on during the day with my

    9 assistant for security, and we reviewed the

    10 manifestations of disturbances of order and discipline

    11 both in HVO units and in the pocket, that is, in the

    12 Lasva River Valley.

    13 I asked for more detailed information from

    14 the assistant for security and a proposal of measures

    15 to prevent privately-organised exchanges. These

    16 exchanges were particularly intensive between the towns

    17 of Vitez and Zenica, and a very high commission was

    18 charged for this.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. Tell us, General, most of these

    21 privately-organised exchanges, what was their

    22 substance, very briefly? Anyone who organised the

    23 exchange, would he force the person leaving his place

    24 of residence to go somewhere else, or was it someone

    25 who wanted to leave Vitez or Zenica asked the

  5. 1 organisers of the exchange to carry out the exchange?

    2 A. In most cases, the people who wished to leave

    3 Vitez which, in those days, together with Busovaca, was

    4 under siege, looked for mediators who would escort them

    5 across the front lines, at a price of course; and in

    6 the majority of cases these were exchanges due to the

    7 departure of prisoners released simultaneously, that

    8 is, Bosniak Muslims leaving from Vitez to Zenica and

    9 Croats leaving Zenica to go to Vitez. Then these

    10 released prisoners did everything they could to bring

    11 over their families as well by engaging mediators for a

    12 certain commission.

    13 Another manifestation of disruptions of order

    14 were thefts, particularly thefts of explosives, as in

    15 Vitez there was an explosives factory and these

    16 explosives were sold even on the front lines.

    17 Q. General, let us go back a little. You said

    18 that from your assistant for security you required

    19 information and measures to prevent exchanges. Why did

    20 you wish to prevent those exchanges? What was your

    21 position regarding them?

    22 A. I was guided by the positions of the UNHCR,

    23 and those were that there should be no resettlement and

    24 abandoning of homes. I didn't want those people to

    25 leave because I believed that once all the signed

  6. 1 agreements were implemented the security situation

    2 would significantly improve and that we would manage to

    3 separate the forces, that is, the HVO and the BH army,

    4 in terms of the front line, and create conditions for

    5 the implementation of the principle of freedom of

    6 movement and for full security of each citizen living

    7 there.

    8 Q. On that same day, the 1st of May, 1993, you

    9 also had a meeting with a representative of the Red

    10 Cross, de la Mota, and he raised an issue regarding the

    11 prevention of freedom of movement for Muslims. Tell us

    12 how this conversation evolved.

    13 A. This meeting was a rather lengthy one with

    14 Mr. de la Mota and there were a number of agenda items

    15 discussed. A special issue was the problem of Bosniak

    16 Muslims living in Gacice, and de la Mota underlined the

    17 problem that there were Bosniak Muslims living in seven

    18 houses, that they were from Gacice, whereas the other

    19 houses were not fit for accommodation, damaged, some of

    20 them burnt, or they had been moved into by other

    21 refugees; and de la Mota stressed that the Bosniak

    22 Muslims in those seven houses were actually hostages

    23 because they did not enjoy freedom of movement. He

    24 even said that each of the Bosniak Muslims whose house

    25 had been burned in the village of Gacice or which was

  7. 1 unfit to live in would voluntarily move to the area of

    2 Zenica or, rather, areas under the control of the BH

    3 army.

    4 Mr. de la Mota asked me to implement the

    5 principle of freedom of movement and said that the

    6 Bosniak Muslims wanted to leave Gacice to other areas

    7 under control of the BH army and that they were willing

    8 to sign a paper to that effect.

    9 At the time, I told Mr. de la Mota that his

    10 position was probably shared by the International Red

    11 Cross but that it was in contradiction with the

    12 position of the UNHCR because if Bosniak Muslims were

    13 to leave the village of Gacice, then the UNHCR would

    14 assess that as an instance of ethnic cleansing; and

    15 since they were still in the village of Gacice,

    16 Mr. de la Mota, the representative of the Red Cross,

    17 described this as not allowing them freedom of

    18 movement.

    19 As far as I can remember, this problem was

    20 later resolved in such a way that the majority of the

    21 Bosniak Muslims, escorted by the UN, left Gacice via

    22 Dubravica to Zenica, but I know that the army did not

    23 participate in that resettlement of the population.

    24 At that meeting, we also discussed the

    25 question of detained Croatian civilians; I also

  8. 1 requested the evacuation of the wounded from the church

    2 hospital in Nova Bila; I also asked for

    3 Mr. de la Mota's assistance in taking care of the

    4 displaced who were coming on a weekly basis in large

    5 groups from Zenica to Vitez. I also mentioned the

    6 example of the disappearance of Croats in Zenica. I

    7 gave a specific example of Mr. Nenad Gelic who had gone

    8 missing from Zenica, and also some of his neighbours.

    9 I also asked for information about Mr. Zivko Totic, the

    10 commander of the Zenica Brigade, and the four officers

    11 from the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade command in Novi

    12 Travnik. I also asked for information about private

    13 prisons in Zenica, such as the prison held by the 7th

    14 Muslim Brigade in the music school, and I inquired

    15 about the fate of Mr. Dobrica Jonjic, to see whether he

    16 was alive at all, then also I asked for information

    17 about prisoners being held in Kacuni, Tarcin, Rostovo,

    18 and I also promised that I would provide a list of

    19 casualties to Mr. de la Mota -- I'm thinking of HVO

    20 casualties -- and I asked him to also make efforts to

    21 ensure the implementation of the cease-fire agreement.

    22 That would roughly be the contents of our

    23 discussion.

    24 I also spoke with him about the need to act

    25 on the part of the joint commission, that is, that it

  9. 1 should investigate crimes or, rather, that the

    2 International Red Cross must participate in

    3 investigating all crimes committed in the area of the

    4 Lasva River Valley.

    5 After that meeting, I received information

    6 from the intelligence service that troops were

    7 gathering at Ravno and Rostovo of the 7th Muslim

    8 Brigade and that reinforcements were being brought from

    9 Bugojno to Novi Travnik. Mr. Filip Filipovic, a member

    10 of the joint command of the armed forces of Bosnia and

    11 Herzegovina, but representing the HVO, informed me

    12 during the day that in the gas factory in Bilalovac,

    13 there were about 59 detained Croats; and in the course

    14 of the day I was informed that the joint command of the

    15 3rd Corps and the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia

    16 would tour Pezici and Kruscica in the Vitez

    17 municipality as well as Tarcin and the Silo.

    18 Towards the end of the day, another issue was

    19 raised, and that is the passage of the convoy for

    20 Zenica and Gorazde, and the convoy for Zenica and

    21 Gradacac. Both these convoys were convoys carrying

    22 armaments and military equipment for the needs of the

    23 BH army.

    24 On the 2nd of May, 1993, I had a meeting with

    25 the command of the Vitez Brigade, and at that meeting I

  10. 1 was told that 130 Croats had already arrived from

    2 Zenica and had settled in Donja Veceriska, and that

    3 they were trying to bring their families from Zenica to

    4 Vitez, and that they were working on exchanges of

    5 apartments and houses with Bosniak Muslims in Vitez.

    6 I was also informed about the problems of

    7 combat operations and the large length of the front,

    8 the exhaustion of personnel, and the difficulty in

    9 finding replacements with more rested soldiers.

    10 Q. The appearance of exiled people from Zenica

    11 in Donja Veceriska, were they given permission from the

    12 civilian or military authorities, do you know? If you

    13 do know, did the military participate in those

    14 exchanges for the benefit of their families from

    15 Zenica?

    16 A. I know that they were not given permission

    17 from the military authorities, nor did the military

    18 authority participate in those arrangements, linked to

    19 their moving in in Donja Veceriska, but I don't know

    20 whether they were given permission by the civilian

    21 authorities or not, I have no such information.

    22 Q. Please continue.

    23 A. I was informed at the meeting that the

    24 heaviest fighting was in Kruscica, Vranjska, Gradina,

    25 Krcevine, Jardol, Dubravica, Nadioci, Grbavica, and, in

  11. 1 fact, the entire northern part of the front line of the

    2 Vitez Brigade. There was also some discussion about

    3 crime and various forms of criminal activity, looting,

    4 eviction of people from homes and various other forms

    5 of violence. The perpetrators mostly were military

    6 conscripts coming from the area of Zenica, who wanted,

    7 at all costs, to resolve their vital problems and were

    8 ready to engage in illegal activities to do so.

    9 In the course of the day, I was also informed

    10 that equipment had been seized from a press team, and

    11 this was another manifestation of roadside burglaries,

    12 when certain groups would steal and then return this

    13 property after receiving compensation.

    14 I spoke to Croat civilians from Poculica who

    15 had been exiled already on the 16th from their homes,

    16 but I didn't get any information from the brigade

    17 commander about them. He briefed me by saying that

    18 this was a problem that was being dealt with by the

    19 civilian exchange commission, which was headed by

    20 Mr. Pero Skopljak.

    21 Around 18.37 and 19.00, a sniper from BH army

    22 positions in Stari Vitez opened fire on the command of

    23 the headquarters of the operational zone, that is the

    24 hotel building, and late in the evening I was also

    25 informed that the exiled Croats of Komusine, Jajce, and

  12. 1 Kotor Varos had again been evicted from villages in the

    2 municipality of Vitez and Busovaca as a result of

    3 combat activity with the BH army in the period between

    4 the 16th and the 20th or 21st of April.

    5 On the 3rd of May, 1993, I received

    6 information from the Vitez Brigade that on some 28

    7 kilometres of the front 1.600 soldiers were engaged,

    8 that is, mobilised conscripts, but that a major problem

    9 was the shortage of weaponry for all the soldiers.

    10 I was then also informed of the problem of

    11 the shortage of food, and during the day of the 3rd of

    12 May, I received for the first time a list from the

    13 Vitez Brigade command and a list of the 1st Battalion

    14 of the Vitez Brigade. Until then, we didn't have any

    15 lists and this, perhaps, was an indicator of the level

    16 of organisation in the Vitez Brigade.

    17 I was also informed about the soldiers who

    18 had been put out of action and about the tendency of

    19 desertion of the front in Novi Travnik.

    20 At 10.50, I had a meeting with the commander

    21 of the Frankopan Brigade of Travnik municipality, who

    22 informed me that the situation was extremely complex in

    23 their area, that they were receiving messages from

    24 their neighbours, Bosniak Muslims, to abandon their

    25 villages, and that they should have no reason to

  13. 1 continue waiting in their homes or staying in their

    2 homes. He also said that the greatest difficulties

    3 were in the villages of Maljine, Podovi, Suhi Dol,

    4 Simule (phoen), Zume, Bukovci, Humac.

    5 In the course of the day, after this meeting

    6 with the commander of the Frankopan Brigade, I had some

    7 reports that a convoy would be passing carrying weapons

    8 and military equipment for the BH army for Tuzla, that

    9 is, the 2nd Corps, and partly for Brcko. This is the

    10 2nd Corps of the BH army.

    11 Then the military service notified me that in

    12 the area of Zenica, under the supervision of the BH

    13 army, there were captured Croats kept in private

    14 prisons, in the barracks in Arnauti, Bilimiste, in the

    15 penitentiary at Zenica where about 640 Croats were kept

    16 under detention. Then I was informed that at the music

    17 school in Zenica there were also some captured Croats

    18 being kept, and during the military operations, about

    19 24 Croats were killed, and 47 houses were burnt in

    20 Zenica, and the rest of them were devastated.

    21 According to the information I received from

    22 the Military Intelligence Service, altogether Croats

    23 had been evicted from about 20 villages in the upper

    24 part of Zenica, that is, to the south-west that adjoins

    25 the Travnik municipality.

  14. 1 At 14.00, I received the information from the

    2 assistant for security that members of the military

    3 police were forcibly evicting Bosniak Muslims from the

    4 flats or their family houses in Vitez and that they

    5 were taking these flats and houses for themselves, so

    6 that some members had as many as two flats.

    7 That afternoon, on the 3rd of May, I also had

    8 a meeting with the representative of the International

    9 Red Cross. I think the person's name was Clare.

    10 Colonel Stewart was accompanying her. They told me

    11 that an understanding had been reached between the

    12 representatives of the 3rd Corps of the BH army to

    13 carry out an exchange of 9 HVO members, including

    14 abducted officers of the Stjepan Tomasevic and Zenica

    15 Brigades, and 3 journalists, that is, 12 altogether, to

    16 exchange them for Mujahedeen who were being detained at

    17 a district investigative prison in...

    18 After that first part of the meeting and the

    19 information that exchange would be governed by the

    20 International Red Cross criteria and with the mediation

    21 of the International Red Cross, Colonel Stewart said

    22 that because of the events in Ahmici, the HVO would

    23 earn a bad name.

    24 He told me on that occasion that

    25 representatives for human rights of the United Nations

  15. 1 had been, on the 2nd of May, in Ahmici and that they

    2 were exposed to sniper fire in spite of the UNPROFOR

    3 escort and one of his soldiers had been wounded by

    4 protecting them. Fortunately, he said, his life was

    5 not in danger.

    6 I also told him that because of the ongoing

    7 fighting, the security situation in Ahmici was very

    8 bad, and it was almost impossible to enter the area

    9 because the houses in the village immediately next to

    10 the front line, that is, some ten metres away from the

    11 last house, and the forces were still in contact.

    12 Colonel Stewart said that he wanted peace to return,

    13 that is, recommend a cease-fire between the BH army and

    14 the Croat defence council, and I said that is what I

    15 wanted too. That meeting, on the 3rd of May, 1993,

    16 ended in this fashion.

    17 Q. In relation to the information you received

    18 at 14.00 from CIS that military policemen were evicting

    19 Muslims from their flats, will you please tell us if on

    20 one of the following days you did something?

    21 A. Yes, I organised a meeting, and you will see,

    22 according to chronology of events, when that happened.

    23 I also spoke to the military police, referring to my

    24 command, and the contact contrary to my orders

    25 regarding the attitude to housing. This was counter to

  16. 1 my orders.

    2 Q. Please proceed.

    3 A. On the 4th of May, the BH army attacked at

    4 the front in Busovaca, and they endangered the

    5 Busovaca-Kacuni road and the Busovaca-Kaonik road too.

    6 I had a meeting in the morning with

    7 Mr. Nakic, and I asked him to suggest to Dzemo Merdan

    8 to try, at the joint meeting, to resolve the problem of

    9 eviction of Croats from Zenica and Travnik and Bosniak

    10 Muslims from Vitez and Busovaca, as it was evident that

    11 the phenomenon was interrelated or, rather, that all

    12 bad that happened to Croats in Zenica found its

    13 reflection in the situation and that the fate of

    14 Bosniak Muslims in Vitez, and the reverse held true as

    15 well.

    16 Q. Before you proceed, I should like to show you

    17 D369. So Exhibit D369, 3rd of May, 1993. It was

    18 written by Mario Cerkez, the commander of the Vitez

    19 Brigade. It begins that: "It is forbidden for all

    20 members of HVO units to enter by force the houses and

    21 flats of families of Muslim nationality. All members

    22 of the HVO units are here by ordered immediately to

    23 move out of all forcibly occupied flats and houses, and

    24 to inform the People's Protection (library building)

    25 about their moving out."

  17. 1 So will you please tell me, this order, was

    2 it taken at your order, with your knowledge?

    3 A. Yes, it was the result of my order issued

    4 before that, and it clearly shows that some people

    5 behaved contrary to provisions of this order.

    6 Q. Even though chronologically it came a few

    7 days later but it, nevertheless, is related. So can we

    8 see D368, Exhibit D368, please?

    9 So this is D368 and you invite -- rather, you

    10 order your commander, the commander of the 4th military

    11 police battalion, and this is the process actually too

    12 because it is significant.

    13 "Actions contrary to the given orders and

    14 assignments, order.

    15 "On 30 May 1993, the officer on duty in the

    16 Central Bosnia Operative Zone informed me that

    17 Mr. Franjo Ramljak and Mr. Slavko Hrgic, both members

    18 of the Military Police, were expelling Muslim families

    19 by force. This was despite the order which bans such

    20 actions for which the above-named gentlemen are

    21 responsible. In order to prevent further actions that

    22 hinder the execution of orders and the correct

    23 behaviour of Military Police members in carrying out

    24 their assignments,


  18. 1 1. Conduct an investigation into this case

    2 and take disciplinary measures against the culprits in

    3 this incident.

    4 2. Report to me explaining why, despite a

    5 number of warnings, certain members of your unit are

    6 still causing such negative occurrences instead of

    7 protecting public order, and suggest further actions to

    8 prevent such occurrences in future.

    9 3. The deadline for execution of this order

    10 is 5 June 1993."

    11 Signed by Commander Tihomir Blaskic.

    12 General, will you please tell us the

    13 circumstances under which you issued this order and how

    14 do you see -- as the commander Operative Zone yet you

    15 have to address the matter of a concrete police in a

    16 concrete flat in a concrete incident?

    17 A. Well, to begin with, we were completely

    18 surrounded. Fighting was still going on, and I said

    19 that the military police was a tool for the command and

    20 control, which was not under my command and control. I

    21 expected that the military police, while performing

    22 their daily tasks, would sanction individual cases of

    23 persecution, of eviction of Bosniak Muslims from their

    24 flats and implement -- do something to implement the

    25 orders I issued in this sense. However, instead of

  19. 1 such an activity, I was faced with the phenomenon that

    2 the military police evicted Bosniak Muslims from flats

    3 and houses, and in this order, I requested that this

    4 case be investigated and that the commander take

    5 disciplinary measures. As I was not able, it was not

    6 under my jurisdiction to take disciplinary measures in

    7 person.

    8 Q. Tell me whether -- or, rather, if and did the

    9 commander of the military police refuse to act upon

    10 your orders, or did he do that, but then what did you

    11 do, or what could you do?

    12 A. Well, it depended on what happened, I would

    13 see then, but my strongest weapon was to repeat the

    14 order, that is, ordered upon order, that is, I would

    15 write, "Please be so kind as to execute the order and

    16 quote the number," and then I would repeat it, of

    17 course. I would also inform the commander of the chief

    18 of the headquarters.

    19 Q. But could you replace the military police

    20 commander?

    21 A. I told you no, I could not dismiss him

    22 because the command or control of the military police

    23 units were not under my jurisdiction. They could carry

    24 out my orders, but I had no competencies over them, over

    25 the military police units.

  20. 1 MR. NOBILO: I have some terminological

    2 problems, my colleague warns me, with commander of --

    3 with "commander of the chief of the headquarters."

    4 A. So far, we used the term "chief of staff."

    5 MR. NOBILO: So we used "chief of the main

    6 staff."

    7 Q. That is the supreme commanding body of the

    8 HVO in Mostar.

    9 A. Yes, the chief of staff in Mostar -- chief of

    10 staff in Mostar.

    11 Q. There was, I think, something else that was

    12 not quite clear. What did you think? Were the

    13 military police subordinated to you or not? Was there

    14 a difference between your view and the view of the

    15 military police commander? It was after the 63rd that

    16 was -- it was after the battle when the military police

    17 were resubordinated to you. So what did you think in

    18 the wake of the battle? Were they still resubordinated

    19 to you or not?

    20 JUDGE JORDA: I believe we have already

    21 addressed this question, Mr. Nobilo. I think we have

    22 discussed it. We discussed already the question of

    23 hierarchy.

    24 MR. NOBILO: Yes. Yes, we did, in the course

    25 of the battle, during the war, but now we have

  21. 1 approached the end of May, so maybe there is not a

    2 direct battle, and under those peacetime conditions,

    3 say, were the military police still resubordinated or

    4 perhaps only during the fighting? Only one sense.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I interrupt to ask a

    6 question, General? I understand the position to be

    7 this, that you could issue directions to the military

    8 police warning against evictions and you could request

    9 disciplinary action to be taken by the proper

    10 authorities for any infractions of your directions but

    11 that you yourself lacked the power to pursue the matter

    12 further, you had no competence over the actual

    13 sanctioned procedure; is that correct?

    14 A. It is correct, Your Honour. I was not the

    15 superior to the military police. I could only ask them

    16 to do certain things, that is, to implement some of my

    17 requests.

    18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I want to ask is

    19 this: Do you have any knowledge to give to the Trial

    20 Chamber as to whether any sanctions were ever imposed

    21 by the proper authorities for any infractions of your

    22 directions that there were to be no evictions?

    23 A. Your Honour, do you mean by the command of

    24 the military police, for instance?

    25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: By anyone who happened

  22. 1 to be the proper authority to impose sanctions.

    2 A. Yes, they were pronounced.

    3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: They were pronounced.

    4 Some cases? How many cases?

    5 A. It is difficult to be accurate about that,

    6 but sanctions for such offences or any other offences

    7 were pronounced, and in the latter half of 1993,

    8 summary records were kept on them, that is, we had the

    9 summary of discipline measures pronounced for such and

    10 similar offences.

    11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What kind of

    12 disciplinary measures were pronounced?

    13 A. Well, the mildest one was admonition, then

    14 military detention of three days, seven days, fifteen

    15 days, thirty days, and a maximum of sixty days of

    16 military detention.

    17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I wonder whether I have

    18 been as clear as I should have been. I didn't want to

    19 know what were the maximum punishments which were

    20 possible, I was asking -- or, rather, I intended to ask

    21 what kinds of punishment were, in fact, administered?

    22 A. Punishment by military detention and the

    23 punishment of admonition; those were disciplinary forms

    24 of punishment. Punishment for crimes pronounced by the

    25 district military court, I have no information about

  23. 1 that, but I do know that for a while, the district

    2 military court worked, but they conducted criminal

    3 cases rather than disciplinary infractions or offences.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me try a little

    5 more -- I acknowledge that the fault is entirely on my

    6 side. Were there any infractions of these directions

    7 which you issued against eviction of people? Were

    8 there any infractions, any breaches?

    9 A. Yes, there were, and there were actions which

    10 were contrary to my orders.

    11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I'm asking about is

    12 this: Were any punishments imposed for those

    13 infractions and, if so, what kinds of punishment were,

    14 in fact, imposed for those infractions?

    15 A. Your Honour, I'm not sure I understood you

    16 properly. You mean the infraction, as in infraction,

    17 actions contrary to my orders?

    18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That's right. Were

    19 people sent to gaol --

    20 A. You mean in this specific case, the military

    21 police commander?


    23 A. No, never, because I had no jurisdiction over

    24 him. I was not his superior and I could not take any

    25 measures.

  24. 1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand you very

    2 well. You couldn't send the police commander to gaol;

    3 you could report that there were certain breaches of

    4 your instructions and you could ask that the military

    5 police disciplinary procedures be activated. After

    6 that I understand you to be saying the matter was out

    7 of your hands.

    8 What I'm asking, General, is this: Were

    9 there, in fact, any cases in which anyone was, in fact,

    10 punished for violating your orders that there were to

    11 be no infractions, no evictions, and, if so, what kinds

    12 of punishment were meted out to those people? Were

    13 they admonished? Were they sent to gaol?

    14 A. Instances of their being in gaol, I do not --

    15 no, not to my knowledge, but there were certain

    16 measures that were taken of particular duties. Perhaps

    17 you will see later from the chronology. Not only in

    18 this particular case but in relation to all other

    19 actions, I wrote to the commander, to the chief of

    20 staff, and asked him to intercede and see that these

    21 people are taken off duty. Unfortunately, this did not

    22 take place automatically but it did eventually happen.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.

    24 Mr. Nobilo, I apologise for interrupting you.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps it is now time to make

  25. 1 a short break. Thank you. A quarter of an hour

    2 break.

    3 --- Recess taken at 3.10 p.m.

    4 --- On resuming at 3.35 p.m.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please

    6 be seated. Mr. Nobilo.

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

    8 Q. General, before the break, in answer to a

    9 question by His Honour Judge Shahabuddeen, you said

    10 that some persons were dismissed from duty, that you

    11 had requested this from the chief of staff but,

    12 unfortunately, this did not happen automatically but it

    13 did happen eventually. So could you tell us, whose

    14 dismissal did you request and why did you consider this

    15 to be important for your Operational Zone and when did

    16 this happen?

    17 A. I intervened with the chief of staff of the

    18 main staff, that he replace the commander of the

    19 military police, and that he change the organisational

    20 structure of the military police, which I considered to

    21 be wrong, and that he reorganise the military police in

    22 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone as a whole. The

    23 replacement of the commander of the military police

    24 happened about the 4th of August, 1993, and after the

    25 4th of August, the entire command structure of the

  26. 1 military police was changed.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I didn't quite

    3 understand. When did you ask for this replacement?

    4 When did you make the request? I think that is what

    5 Mr. Nobilo asked you. When did you make the request

    6 for the replacement? I beg your pardon. Please

    7 continue.

    8 A. Mr. President, the replacement occurred on

    9 the 4th of August, 1993.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: No, but the question was: When

    11 did you ask for this replacement? When did you ask for

    12 the replacement?

    13 A. I asked for the replacement to take place, at

    14 a meeting with the chief of staff of the main staff on

    15 the 30th of April, 1993, then again on the 29th of May,

    16 1993, and on the 10th of June, 1993. I insisted on the

    17 replacement of the commander, but I also insisted on a

    18 change of the total command structure of the military

    19 police, on its reorganisation and a change of the

    20 system of control and command within the military

    21 police.

    22 MR. NOBILO:

    23 Q. We will be discussing that in detail later

    24 but, tell us, at this moment when the commander of the

    25 military police was changed, did you manage to get

  27. 1 authority to command the military police in the Lasva

    2 River Valley?

    3 A. Yes, I did. I managed that with the new

    4 commander, Mr. Marinko Palavra who was appointed the

    5 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion, and I

    6 acquired authority to command the military police

    7 during the period we were surrounded.

    8 Q. Were there any important personnel changes in

    9 the military police personnel?

    10 A. Not only were there personnel changes, but

    11 the whole command structure of the military police was

    12 changed, and we embarked, step by step, upon the

    13 reorganisation of the military police. That was one of

    14 my key duties, and I was personally involved in the

    15 training of the new commanders of the companies, the

    16 military policemen, and the organisation of the

    17 military police as a whole.

    18 Q. Thank you. We will go into details later,

    19 but now I have another question for you. Document

    20 D368, we see a direct command to the commander of the

    21 4th Military Police Battalion, Pasko Ljubicic, and in

    22 this order you draw attention to negative tendencies in

    23 the military police and request changes.

    24 I should like to know what was the reason for

    25 this, the reason why, correction, after the event in

  28. 1 Ahmici you did not also, in writing, issue a command to

    2 Pasko Ljubicic, or why didn't you call him to report to

    3 you and tell him, "Why did you give me false reports as

    4 to what you did in Ahmici?" Why didn't you do that?

    5 Could you explain that to Their Honours?

    6 A. Personally, I thought that such a step would

    7 be naive on my part because upon receipt of the letter

    8 from Colonel Stewart, I became aware that this

    9 commander was sending me false reports throughout and

    10 that just to confront him with the facts would caution

    11 the commander of the military police, which would make

    12 it possible for him to take measures to make difficult

    13 any investigation or even to prevent an investigation

    14 into the crimes in Ahmici. This was a crime that I had

    15 publicly condemned and this was the first time that we

    16 witnessed such a tragedy of that proportion.

    17 Therefore, the investigation had to be at the highest

    18 possible level and it would have to involve also a

    19 break-up of the command structure of the military

    20 police.

    21 Q. Why did you feel that that command structure

    22 of the military police needed to be broken up within

    23 the context of the investigation into the crime in

    24 Ahmici?

    25 A. Precisely because I'm confident that if the

  29. 1 same command structure were to remain, ties of

    2 solidarity would be strengthened among the members of

    3 the military police, and probably the same hierarchy

    4 within the police would have been retained, and this

    5 would have only encumbered and even made impossible the

    6 conduct of investigations.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: I have a little problem,

    8 General Blaskic. We're talking about Exhibit D368.

    9 We're talking about the 31st of May, 1993, and the

    10 events in Ahmici occurred on the 16th of April.

    11 I don't quite understand. You said that you

    12 would have been naive, but don't you think it was also

    13 naive on your part to ask somebody you didn't trust,

    14 that is, the commander of the 4th Military Police

    15 Battalion, to investigate evictions, whereas for

    16 several weeks you have a great deal of distrust towards

    17 this commander?

    18 We're not talking any more about the Ahmici

    19 investigation. I don't know whether you even mentioned

    20 it at the meeting of the 3rd May. We're now on the

    21 31st of May, and we are discussing an investigation on

    22 evictions. But you are, after all, not naive. You

    23 knew that the commander of the Military Police

    24 Battalion was somebody who was involved, at least as a

    25 commander, in the event in Ahmici. How would you not

  30. 1 be naive in sending this order and be naive if you had

    2 sent another order? What is the naivetes in this?

    3 A. Mr. President, I sent this order to the

    4 commander of the military police but also to the

    5 assistant for security who had to have this order in

    6 mind, and who would supervise the reaction of the

    7 military police commander. I tried to affect a

    8 replacement of the military police commander, among

    9 other things, by sending orders of this kind and

    10 gauging the reaction to them.

    11 So after all, this was a disciplinary

    12 infraction on the part of his soldiers, but my message

    13 was that he was acting contrary to my orders. In my

    14 efforts to have him replaced, I went step by step.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: I understand and it is normal

    16 for you to have had a plan, but here you have sent an

    17 order to the 4th Military Police Battalion on organised

    18 expulsions by two individuals, Ramljak and Hrgic. The

    19 date is the 31st of May. Did you make a written report

    20 to the commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion

    21 in Ahmici, because after all, it's been a month and a

    22 half since those events in Ahmici. It seems to me that

    23 I would have sent a much firmer, clear-cut order.

    24 There's Ahmici, there's expulsions, there's this, and

    25 there's that, "a meeting tomorrow in my office."

  31. 1 I appreciate your position, but one is a bit

    2 astonished. You're not obliged to answer. I

    3 understand your strategy, but we must admit that

    4 certain questions do arise.

    5 This is six weeks after Ahmici. You yourself

    6 say that it is a major crime. The International

    7 Community is horrified by what it has learned.

    8 Colonel Stewart, whom you met on the 3rd of May, you

    9 don't even mention Ahmici again, according to my notes,

    10 and then you write a little letter to the commander of

    11 the 4th Military Police Battalion saying, "You see, you

    12 have two individuals who are not acting properly and

    13 mistreating Muslims. Make an inquiry, submit a

    14 report," and so on.

    15 I won't say any more, but it's because you

    16 spoke about naivetes. You said you would have been

    17 naive to have done otherwise. So my question is:

    18 Wasn't it naive to do this? But I think

    19 Judge Rodrigues has a question.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.

    21 I take advantage of this interruption to ask

    22 you a question, General Blaskic.

    23 You said that after some time you became

    24 aware that this commander was sending you false

    25 reports; yes?

  32. 1 A. Yes.

    2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My question is the

    3 following: Did you, at the time, know the reasons or

    4 do you now know the reasons why this commander was

    5 sending you false reports because we are talking here

    6 about false reports, not reports that are lacking and

    7 incomplete, you are talking about false reports? Why

    8 at the time and why now, after the knowledge that you

    9 now have?

    10 A. I didn't know until I was confronted with

    11 Colonel Stewart's letter, I was not aware that I was

    12 receiving false reports until then. When I read the

    13 letter by Colonel Stewart, I became aware that I was

    14 being misled and that I was receiving false reports.

    15 But what the motive of that commander was, what the

    16 background was to all this, I don't know, but I became

    17 aware that he was sending me false reports, and I

    18 thought to myself: If I were to call him and tell him,

    19 "Look, here's Colonel Stewart's report, here is your

    20 report," in that case I would have made even more

    21 difficult, or even prevented, an investigation knowing

    22 that I had no jurisdiction over the control and command

    23 of his units because it was not a question of just one

    24 individual but a unit of which he was the commander

    25 independently from me.

  33. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, allow me to go

    2 back to the question. Certainly you became aware of

    3 that. This situation became a very serious situation

    4 for you.

    5 A. It was serious and tragic and perhaps the

    6 worst situation for me, and I became aware of that.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, I agree, but at least

    8 did you yourself ask yourself: Why is this person

    9 doing this to me?

    10 A. I did try to ask myself what was the reason

    11 and why this was happening, why this had happened.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, but in your thoughts,

    13 in your reasoning, did you have any hypothesis at

    14 least, any assumptions to explain this?

    15 A. On the 27th of April, at the press

    16 conference, I said publicly that this was a crime that

    17 had been planned, that had been organised, and that was

    18 carried out under somebody's control, and I was indeed

    19 interested to find out not only who the perpetrators

    20 were but what was at the root of this crime, and it did

    21 not occur to me that the command of the military police

    22 could have been the one who had planned it. The entire

    23 background was not clear to me nor any links that may

    24 have existed between the commander of the military

    25 police, myself, and any other authority.

  34. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But, General Blaskic, let

    2 me go back to my question: Did you find any

    3 hypothetical explanations for the false reports that

    4 this commander was sending you?

    5 A. On the basis of my knowledge at the time and

    6 of what I know now, I believe that either he himself

    7 was aware of the tragedy and didn't have the courage to

    8 report to me about it or he believed in protecting

    9 certain people in authority who were more powerful than

    10 me and who were closer to him. I really have no other

    11 explanation what could have prompted him to send me

    12 false reports or, rather, not to inform me about what

    13 had happened.

    14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I don't want to induce your

    15 answers, but what about this hypothesis, that this

    16 commander was against your command or perhaps that he

    17 had objectives that differed from your objectives?

    18 Have you understood my question?

    19 A. I'm sorry, I -- I didn't quite understand the

    20 translation I received. Perhaps it is the

    21 interpretation.

    22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My question is, as I have

    23 said, that I'm not going to put any explanations in

    24 your mouth, so I leave open all possible hypotheses.

    25 But what would you say with regard to this hypothesis:

  35. 1 (1) This commander was opposed to your position as

    2 commander. He did not agree that General Blaskic

    3 should be the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative

    4 Zone; perhaps he wanted to see somebody else in that

    5 position or something of that kind.

    6 The second hypothesis: He had objectives

    7 that differed entirely from the objectives that you

    8 pursued, that you put in your orders, that you

    9 expressed in various ways of communication. So it was

    10 a personal matter, he was opposed to you, or a more

    11 substantial reason, he was against your policies. What

    12 do you think about these hypotheses? Have you

    13 understood my question now?

    14 A. Yes, Your Honour. Yes, I did understand your

    15 question. It is difficult for me to say whether he was

    16 against me personally. I did not see any reason why

    17 this commander should be against me, why he should

    18 dislike me, but whether he was against my convictions,

    19 be that as it may, I always condemned such misdeeds and

    20 I never -- I mean, I could really never dream that

    21 anything like the crime in Ahmici could ever happen.

    22 It is difficult for me to judge him, but he was against

    23 my convictions.

    24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General Blaskic.

    25 A. Thank you very much.

  36. 1 JUDGE JORDA: I should like to turn to the

    2 Defence. I do not have a question for the witness

    3 because I do not want to embarrass him and I do not

    4 think that we should do it here before the Tribunal,

    5 and I should also like to reassure you, Mr. Nobilo and

    6 Mr. Hayman, that I should really like to know if it is

    7 the official thesis of the Defence to consider that the

    8 Ahmici massacre was organised by the commander of the

    9 military police battalion with the complicity, more or

    10 less, of somebody who was above General Blaskic.

    11 Let me repeat this. Let me do this:

    12 Mr. Blaskic does not talk about Ahmici at present and

    13 he -- and he is saying that it was a systematically

    14 planned operation. I don't know whether -- are you

    15 having any difficulties with the --

    16 MR. HAYMAN: One thing I don't understand,

    17 Mr. President. It was interpreted as "Mr. Blaskic does

    18 not talk about Ahmici at present." I don't understand

    19 what you mean. We've been talking about it for weeks,

    20 if not years.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: No, no, no. No, no, no, no.

    22 No, no, no. No, please. It is a problem which arises

    23 both for the Prosecution and for the Defence. I did

    24 not want to embarrass the accused because he is now our

    25 witness, but I have noted that for several days -- and

  37. 1 I am trying to speak slowly -- and especially this

    2 afternoon, we are talking about Ahmici, and we find

    3 that Ahmici was programmed, planned -- not by the

    4 accused, naturally -- that the accused finds it is a

    5 crime, but now we say -- we find that it is the

    6 commander of the military police battalion, and our

    7 witness is also saying, at least he answered Judge

    8 Rodrigues that perhaps he was conniving with some

    9 higher echelons.

    10 Now, my question, and perhaps I don't expect

    11 an answer either from the Prosecution or from the

    12 Defence, but as a Judge I am entitled to ask it, and

    13 that is whether the commander of the military police

    14 battalion has been indicted by this Tribunal.

    15 Gentlemen, you do not have to answer today, of course.

    16 Now I turn to the Defence. In your system of

    17 defence, are you now affirming the idea -- at this

    18 point at which we are now -- that the Ahmici massacre

    19 was planned by some HVO elements which were of the

    20 military police, HVO police. You do not have to answer

    21 this question now, you may wait, but after all that we

    22 heard today, I simply cannot but interfere because we

    23 are talking about this and we shall now hear that Mr.

    24 -- I can't remember his name, that he programmed the

    25 massacre in Ahmici and so on and so forth.

  38. 1 So I am not asking you to answer me today,

    2 either the Prosecution or you, the Defence, but I

    3 believe that my colleagues also share my view to ask

    4 this question because we are now in a public session

    5 and we see an interpretation which seems to make it

    6 clear to everybody because in -- Ahmici happened

    7 because we had the military police here, and the

    8 military police commander had also his superior.

    9 I am turning therefore to the Prosecutor to

    10 ask them regarding their strategy and also I am posing

    11 this question too. As I said, you do not have to

    12 answer it now, but will you please think about that?

    13 MR. HAYMAN: I would like to answer the

    14 question in private session.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We are going into

    16 private session.

    17 (Private session)

    18 (redacted)

    19 (redacted)

    20 (redacted)

    21 (redacted)

    22 (redacted)

    23 (redacted)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

  39. 1












    13 Page 19156 to 19163 redacted – in private session














  1. 1 (redacted)

    2 (redacted)

    3 (redacted)

    4 (redacted)

    5 (redacted)

    6 (redacted)

    7 (redacted)

    8 (redacted)

    9 (Open session)

    10 MR. NOBILO:

    11 Q. Thank you. We must now go back to the

    12 testimony of General Blaskic. The question was why he

    13 didn't call Pasko Ljubicic after hearing from

    14 Colonel Stewart about the crime in Ahmici. Among other

    15 things, he said that that would have been naive, that

    16 the entire command structure needs to be broken up --

    17 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. I don't

    18 think there's any need for counsel to recite the

    19 testimony that was before the Court, unless counsel, of

    20 course, has another question in this regard. Thank

    21 you.

    22 MR. NOBILO: A half an hour has gone by in

    23 the meantime, so I thought it necessary to focus on the

    24 point which we had reached before the break.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, trust the Judges.

  2. 1 They will not lose the thread in half an hour. If so,

    2 they would have long since lost the thread of the trial

    3 in view of the 22 months that we have been working. So

    4 please continue.

    5 MR. NOBILO:

    6 Q. General, did you have any competencies, very

    7 briefly, to go to the police, military police, and

    8 break up their command structure?

    9 A. No. In my letter, when I wrote it on the

    10 23rd, to Colonel Stewart and in all the subsequent

    11 discussions with representatives of the International

    12 Community, I sought assistance in carrying out the

    13 investigation, hoping that the international

    14 institutions at the highest level, as well as

    15 representatives of the BH army and the HVO, would join

    16 in this investigation.

    17 Q. Why are you seeking assistance from the top

    18 leadership of the HVO, the BH army, and international

    19 institutions? Why did you need assistance in the

    20 investigation in Ahmici?

    21 A. I asked for assistance because I knew that on

    22 my own I do not have the necessary strength to carry

    23 out a comprehensive investigation. When I say

    24 "investigation," I mean to identify the perpetrators

    25 as well as those who had planned and organised the

  3. 1 whole operation. I was not competent to break up the

    2 command structure, but nor did I have the actual power

    3 to carry such a thing out within the military police,

    4 to replace the commander of the military police, to

    5 arrest 20 or 30 military policemen, to interrogate them

    6 and so on.

    7 Q. What did you ask the top leadership of the

    8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna in terms of the way

    9 you thought the investigation should have been carried

    10 out?

    11 A. I was assisted by the suggestion made by

    12 Colonel Stewart, and I accepted his idea, and I put it

    13 down in my written report, that the military and

    14 political leadership should be in Vitez, and that this

    15 would give momentum and support to the work of the

    16 investigating commission.

    17 I thought that a joint investigating

    18 commission, when I say "joint," I mean with

    19 representatives of both the BH army and the HVO, should

    20 be of the highest level and should have comprehensive

    21 powers. That means that it could be able to dismiss

    22 any commander on the spot, within the military police

    23 structure, who may have in any way -- who may in any

    24 way be suspected, or even if he concealed knowledge

    25 about the impending crime and, of course, it should

  4. 1 have the right to arrest all the perpetrators.

    2 I thought it particularly important that

    3 representatives of the BH army should participate, so

    4 that investigation could be complete with regard to the

    5 soldiers and civilians who were already in the area

    6 under the control of the BH army, and the results of

    7 the investigation would have been more convincing and

    8 more complete if representatives of the BH army had

    9 participated together with the highest representatives

    10 of the HVO.

    11 Q. Did anyone that you addressed for assistance,

    12 that is the BH army, UNPROFOR, the European Monitors,

    13 the political and military leadership of Herceg-Bosna,

    14 did any one of those give you assistance in the

    15 investigation in Ahmici in 1993?

    16 A. No. I was left on my own, confronted with

    17 three, for me, most important problems at the time, and

    18 those were the investigation; two, measures to prevent

    19 a repetition of crime; and three, defence of biological

    20 survival in an area in which we were totally encircled

    21 and in which the forces of the BH army were eight to

    22 ten times more powerful in personnel and in terms of

    23 weaponry as compared to us in the enclave. This

    24 enclave was between one and six kilometres wide, and

    25 its maximum length was 10 to 12 kilometres.

  5. 1 Q. How do you interpret the fact that the BH

    2 army did not show interest in the crimes in Ahmici in

    3 the sense of investigating those crimes in 1993? How

    4 do you interpret that? Up to perhaps a hundred

    5 Bosniaks were killed there.

    6 A. This is a question I have given thought to

    7 myself, because not at a single of the numerous

    8 meetings of the joint command did anybody insist on

    9 discovering and identifying the perpetrators of the

    10 crimes in Ahmici.

    11 I personally believe that the crime in Ahmici

    12 was a good reason for the top leadership of the BH army

    13 to launch operations to conquer Croatian territories in

    14 Travnik, Novi Travnik, Bugojno, Fojnica, Kakanj, Vares,

    15 and Zepce but, unfortunately, the crime in Ahmici also

    16 served as a motive for revenge among members of the BH

    17 army, so that there were a series of crimes that

    18 occurred in Bikosi, Maljine, Miletici, Krizancevo Selo,

    19 Buhine Kuce, Kiseljak near Zepce, Grmace in Kakanj,

    20 Gornja Zenica, Fojnica, Ostruznica, and partly in Novi

    21 Travnik, the village of Rostovci.

    22 Your Honours, Judge Shahabuddeen has a

    23 question.

    24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, do forgive me.

    25 You may have said this before and I may have missed a

  6. 1 thread. On the 16th of April, were the military police

    2 attached to you?

    3 A. As of 11.42, it was -- they were attached to

    4 me.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That means as of 11.42,

    6 Pasko Ljubicic was within your command?

    7 A. He was attached to me because of the all-out

    8 attack, but the time of that attachment or

    9 resubordination was interpreted differently but nothing

    10 changed in terms of the structure. He continued to be

    11 directly subordinate to the police administration, but

    12 temporarily he was resubordinated to me as of 11.42.

    13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, General, you have

    14 described the occurrences at Ahmici as crimes, and they

    15 were the subject of writings in the media; is that

    16 correct?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You had a proper concern

    19 in the matter.

    20 A. Yes.

    21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, when did you first

    22 discover that Pasko Ljubicic was sending you false

    23 reports?

    24 A. I established that when I received the letter

    25 from Colonel Stewart on the 22nd of April, the 22nd of

  7. 1 April, 1993.

    2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, within your

    3 military training, would you regard it as a serious

    4 matter if, on a serious question, false reports were

    5 submitted to you?

    6 A. Yes, I would consider it a serious matter.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would you normally

    8 institute disciplinary measures against the person

    9 submitting a false report to you on a serious matter?

    10 A. Yes, if the person is within my structure or,

    11 rather, if I am competent for instituting such

    12 measures.

    13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand that. Now,

    14 did you either institute any disciplinary measures

    15 against Pasko Ljubicic for submitting false reports to

    16 you on a serious matter or, if you felt you did not

    17 yourself have the competence to institute disciplinary

    18 measures against him, did you request the proper

    19 authorities to institute disciplinary measures against

    20 him?

    21 A. I informed my superiors about everything I

    22 learnt on the 22nd of April, and in my letter of the

    23 23rd to Stewart -- actually, before that, I contacted

    24 the chief of staff of the main staff and asked that the

    25 commander be replaced because this was a grave criminal

  8. 1 offence.

    2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So your reaction was to

    3 request his replacement?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Did you ask for that in

    7 writing?

    8 A. At one point in time, in writing as well, but

    9 I requested that orally, in oral reports, when I had

    10 the occasion, and also in writing. I made the request

    11 for the replacement of the commander and for the

    12 disbanding of the military police as a whole.

    13 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Shall we have the break now?

    15 Shall we have the break now? Do you think this is a

    16 good time?

    17 Yes. We will have a 15-minute break.

    18 --- Recess taken at 4.36 p.m.

    19 --- On resuming at 5.04 p.m.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: The session is resumed. We

    21 shall continue until 6.00, if that is all right with

    22 you.

    23 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.

    24 Q. General, you said that the B and H army was

    25 not interested in conducting an investigation in

  9. 1 Ahmici. Will you please tell us, in all those

    2 negotiations, which were frequent after the conflict on

    3 the 16th of April, 1993, did the representatives of the

    4 BH army propose an investigation? Did they inquire

    5 about an investigation? Did they ever talk about the

    6 need to punish those who perpetrated crimes in Ahmici?

    7 A. No, they did not. We had a number of joint

    8 meetings of the joint command representatives of the BH

    9 army and the HVO and a daily matter in the town of

    10 Travnik, and even the joint command did not go to the

    11 area of Ahmici nor were there any requests for

    12 investigation or participation in an investigation.

    13 Q. If you remember the work of the joint

    14 commission for Busovaca after the January case and the

    15 Travnik commission after the Travnik conflict, how then

    16 would you explain it that earlier they went together to

    17 all scenes of conflict, into every village in Kiseljak

    18 or Busovaca, whenever a house was set on fire, Croat or

    19 Muslim, and then such a major crime and yet not once

    20 voiced an interest in going to Ahmici. Could you

    21 please explain that?

    22 A. Well, I already said that the crime in Ahmici

    23 served as a reason for broader operations by BH army in

    24 which they tried to get hold of the whole area of the

    25 Lasva Valley and Central Bosnia and, as a priority, the

  10. 1 explosives factory and to gain control over

    2 communications and create a compact territory that

    3 would include the areas of the Central Bosnia Operative

    4 Zone.

    5 Q. Will you please describe to the Court, if the

    6 BH army had conquered the Lasva Valley, what would they

    7 be able to establish links with?

    8 A. Well, they would have established a link

    9 between the Tuzla region, with the Zenica and Travnik

    10 region, that is, parts of east Bosnia, which were

    11 already controlled by the BH army, in Central Bosnia,

    12 and in the south, all the way to the southern part of

    13 Mostar. So forces of the 1st Corps, the forces of the

    14 2nd Corps from Tuzla, the 3rd Corps from Zenica, the

    15 4th Corps from Mostar, the 6th Corps from Konjic and

    16 Fojnica, and the 7th Corps from Travnik, it makes about

    17 200.000 maybe 210.000 soldiers of the BH army which

    18 would all be connected in one compact territory with

    19 the exception of the exit to the south because the BH

    20 army had the command of the 4th Corps in Mostar down

    21 there to the south, rather, between Mostar and

    22 Caplijna.

    23 Q. Tell me, UNPROFOR, they accepted your

    24 suggestions regarding joint investigation. What did

    25 UNPROFOR focus in this way? Assistance in the

  11. 1 investigation or something else?

    2 A. From what I could observe at the time,

    3 UNPROFOR focused on a unilateral media presentation of

    4 the crime in Ahmici.

    5 Q. You say "unilateral media presentation."

    6 What do you mean by that?

    7 A. Well, I mean that they invited journalists,

    8 that they participated in giving interviews, that they

    9 were taken to places where the victims, Bosniak Muslims

    10 were, but unfortunately, they either did not want to

    11 see or hear, even though I wrote and sent information

    12 to that effect, but there was not an equitable

    13 distribution envisaged in places where Croats were

    14 victimised.

    15 Q. Why was it important for you that those

    16 places where Croats were victimised be shown? To

    17 justify the crime in Ahmici or why?

    18 A. No, I did not think that a crime can be

    19 justified by a crime on the other side, and that was

    20 not in my interest at all. I wanted -- that is, I was

    21 aware, I realised that a certain adverse reaction was

    22 being created, indignation among people who lived,

    23 surrounded completely, in the Lasva Valley, among

    24 honest people and among honest HVO soldiers, were aware

    25 of that unilateral approach, and by creating this

  12. 1 indignation, such an approach also made it more

    2 difficult for me to enlist the support of the public in

    3 conducting the investigation. My command authority,

    4 which was limited anyway, was further limited by this

    5 fact, that is, I lacked the public support. Such an

    6 action, when only the victims on one side are presented

    7 unilaterally, evidently benefited the extremist part,

    8 and they maybe wanted the crime to be forgotten or

    9 hushed up.

    10 Q. General, were you given efficient and

    11 expedient help from the leadership to investigate the

    12 crime in Ahmici?

    13 A. After I presented and submitted a file with

    14 all documents and after I informed the leadership, I

    15 was verbally helped. It did not produce much effect.

    16 I remained most of all alone with my command, faced

    17 with the duty to conduct an investigation and to fight

    18 for their survival and also with a duty to prevent a

    19 repetition of the crime that happened in Ahmici. Apart

    20 from the verbal support, at that time I received no

    21 other form of help.

    22 Q. So in a situation when you were left alone,

    23 all those who took part in the investigation, in the

    24 solution, such as the international factor, the

    25 leadership of the HDZ and everybody else, they all

  13. 1 stayed aside and you were left alone. What happened

    2 then? Will you please explain it to the Court and why?

    3 A. In that situation, I decided to launch an

    4 investigation to hire the security service which were

    5 then through investigation by a secret --

    6 Q. You said security service. You mean -- you

    7 mean ...

    8 Shall we define who was to conduct the

    9 investigation? Will you give us the full title and the

    10 authority of the service?

    11 A. It is the Information and Security Service

    12 which also had control over the military police and

    13 with whose help I intended to collect evidence which

    14 would then serve to prompt the military and political

    15 leadership of Herceg-Bosna to join in the investigation

    16 of the crime in Ahmici.

    17 Q. So you asked the information and security

    18 service. The acronym is SIS?

    19 A. Yes.

    20 Q. What did you expect from them? What were

    21 they supposed to hand over to you?

    22 A. They were to give me evidence that I would

    23 use to prompt the arrival of a commission from the very

    24 top of the Croat community of Herceg-Bosna, which would

    25 then conduct a complete investigation on the site.

  14. 1 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to the period of

    2 time where we were before we made this digression,

    3 where you explained why you did not call Pasko Ljubicic

    4 immediately after you received from Colonel Stewart

    5 information about Ahmici.

    6 Will you please tell us, as of the 4th of May

    7 onward, which were the key talks which representatives

    8 of the International Community about Ahmici and what

    9 did you meet with them about?

    10 A. On the 4th of May at 15.00, I was off to

    11 attend a meeting that was taking place in the

    12 neighbouring office where Mr. Thebault was present, he

    13 was the head of the European Observer Mission for the

    14 region of Zenica, Colonel Stewart. There were also

    15 other members of the European Observer Mission, but I

    16 do not know their names as I did not know these persons

    17 and they did not participate in a discussion.

    18 The meeting took place in the office of Ante

    19 Valenta, who was temporarily staying at the Vitez

    20 Hotel.

    21 Q. Will you please tell the Court who Ante

    22 Valenta was? What was his office and what was the

    23 relationship between you and Ante Valenta?

    24 A. As far as I know, Ante Valenta was a

    25 coordinator in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,

  15. 1 responsible for the Central Bosnian region, and he had

    2 his office in Travnik.

    3 Until the 8th of April, 1993, and after the

    4 incidents broke out between the HVO and the BH army of

    5 8 April, he temporarily used the office of the chief of

    6 staff, Mr. Franjo Nakic, in the Vitez Hotel, and

    7 between me and Ante Valenta, there were no official or

    8 any kind of hierarchical relationship.

    9 Q. Will you please -- then the question is:

    10 What was the most important thing said at the meeting?

    11 A. Immediately after I entered, I guess the

    12 meeting was ready and away, Colonel Stewart turned to

    13 me and asked me, "Who ordered to kill civilians in

    14 Ahmici?" I told Colonel Stewart, "I did not. It was

    15 not under my command and these are not my units."

    16 Colonel Stewart said after that, for the

    17 commission of genocide in Ahmici, the Vitez authorities

    18 will be accused. He said that his soldiers had seen

    19 HVO soldiers, they secured Muslims in Ahmici.

    20 After that, he picked up a blue folder and

    21 said, "You see? I have the names of perpetrators of

    22 the crimes, and I shall turn over these names to

    23 Mr. Ambassador." He meant Mr. Thebault, the head of

    24 the European Observer Mission.

    25 He also, I mean Colonel Stewart, emphasised

  16. 1 also, "I have names here on the list. The survivors

    2 know who they were attacked by, and the authorities in

    3 Vitez bear the responsibility for the rehabilitation of

    4 that place." "The mission, which is investigating the

    5 crimes, from the United Nations will visit all the

    6 villages. The mission has not yet arrived at clear

    7 results and facts, but this is a crime,"

    8 Colonel Stewart said.

    9 Immediately after Colonel Stewart, the floor

    10 was taken by Mr. Thebault, the head of the European

    11 Observer Mission, who said, "You must investigate what

    12 happened as soon as possible, because so far it has

    13 been discovered that five people, five persons, had

    14 been burnt, and if it is established that more people

    15 were killed then it is a deliberate crime. You must

    16 see to it." That's what he said to me, Mr. Thebault, I

    17 mean, "You must ensure the freedom of movement for

    18 civilians, their protection, and the protection of

    19 their right to life."

    20 After that, the floor was taken by

    21 Mr. Valenta and he said the following: "The people are

    22 frustrated. The collapse of public law and order and

    23 safety has taken place. Serbs are procrastinating with

    24 implementation of the Vance-Owen plan and the

    25 activities regarding the implementation of the plan, if

  17. 1 the Serbs sign it or if they do not sign it, will be

    2 quite opposite. The BH army and the Muslim forces are

    3 terrorising Croats, and the BH army has territorial

    4 pretences to the Lebensraum, the living space, of the

    5 Croats. We are completely surrounded."

    6 When I was given the floor I told those

    7 gentlemen the following: "I need help to investigate

    8 the crime, and the commission must be of a mixed

    9 composition in order to arrive at objective results. I

    10 request that it be representatives of the HVO, of the

    11 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, European Monitoring

    12 Mission, UNPROFOR, and the International Red Cross.

    13 The British Battalion needs to assist both when going

    14 into or leaving Ahmici and in providing security

    15 conditions."

    16 I also said that we first had to separate the

    17 forces of the BH army and the HVO in keeping with the

    18 agreement signed on the 21st of April, 1993, and we

    19 also needed to provide the conditions for UNPROFOR

    20 patrols, and only then would we be able to have

    21 sufficient security for the movement of civilians and

    22 building of renewed trust and confidence between the

    23 Muslim and the Croat people.

    24 Q. Did he say something about fears that crimes

    25 such as the one in Ahmici might be repeated?

  18. 1 A. He only emphasised -- as a matter of fact,

    2 before Thebault stepped in, I also said that the

    3 security situation was very complex because we were

    4 surrounded, and Thebault said that Celebici and

    5 Ostrosac are major problems for humanitarian missions,

    6 and what happened in Vitez, in Ahmici, may not be

    7 repeated. He repeated it once again, "Ahmici may not

    8 happen again."

    9 Q. General, your first statement was, when you

    10 were asked who ordered to murder civilians in Ahmici,

    11 you said, "Not me nor my units." Did you lie to

    12 Stewart and Thebault or did you tell them the truth?

    13 A. I told them the truth, because we always, and

    14 that is how I was brought up and trained, we called

    15 "our" units the units directly subordinated to me.

    16 That was the principle in the secondary military school

    17 at the military academy and whilst I was with the JNA.

    18 We always called "my" units those units which were

    19 under our direct command that were directly subordinate

    20 to us.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen.

    22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I understand

    23 the distinction you are making between units which were

    24 directly answerable to you and the other HVO type units

    25 which were not answerable to you. Did you, at the

  19. 1 time, think that your interlocutors understood this

    2 distinction, that they understood that there might be

    3 HVO units that are were not legally answerable to you,

    4 or did you have the impression that they understood

    5 that all of the HVO units were under your command?

    6 A. Your Honour, I had quite a number of meetings

    7 with Colonel Stewart, and I am deeply convinced that he

    8 understood what I was saying, because I tried to

    9 explain to him what the HVO actually was and that it

    10 was still the armed people. I don't wish to repeat

    11 myself as to the explanations I gave. I think he

    12 understood me.

    13 However, the situation at the time was such

    14 that I myself was confronted with the problem of the

    15 investigation, and perhaps it would not have been

    16 prudent on my part if I had come out openly and told

    17 him, "Members of the military police are suspected for

    18 this," and if then the next day such a report would

    19 appear in the media, which I believed he would have

    20 done, and this would have had a disastrous effect, I

    21 think, not only for me personally but also for the

    22 command, which that same military police was securing.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, did you, at the

    24 time, think that Colonel Stewart was understanding you

    25 to mean that it was the military police who were

  20. 1 responsible, but that you were taking the position that

    2 the military police were not answerable to you?

    3 A. I believe that he understood when I said that

    4 it hadn't been done by my units, but I wouldn't be so

    5 bold as to claim that he understood who I meant from

    6 what I said, that is, when I said, "Not my units."

    7 MR. NOBILO:

    8 Q. Tell us openly here at this trial, you are on

    9 trial and perhaps we don't have to be so cautious, how

    10 did Bob Stewart operate after Ahmici? What methods did

    11 he use? How did he work?

    12 A. From Ahmici on, I got to know another Bob

    13 Stewart. For me, it was not the same man that I had

    14 known until Ahmici when it comes to his attitude

    15 towards the HVO. I can, up to a point, understand that

    16 he himself was distressed by what he saw in Ahmici, but

    17 he generalised the problem of Ahmici to implicate the

    18 whole HVO, and in his activities he used the media, and

    19 he gave emphasis to that problem. I'm more than a

    20 hundred per cent sure that he would have used the media

    21 to place any other information, if I had given them to

    22 him, when I was left on my own facing the need to

    23 conduct an investigation.

    24 Q. When you said and Bob Stewart repeated on the

    25 CNN that the military police had committed the crime in

  21. 1 Ahmici, if you had done that, what do you think would

    2 have happened in such a situation? What would have

    3 happened to you and the whole enclave?

    4 A. I'm confident that a reaction would have

    5 ensued, probably by those same members, which would

    6 have had serious consequences. I think that is clear

    7 and understandable.

    8 Q. Tell us, how did the meeting with

    9 Colonel Stewart end, Colonel Stewart and Ambassador

    10 Thebault?

    11 A. The meeting ended -- actually, I noticed,

    12 while I was speaking, that Colonel Stewart was taking

    13 notes. Colonel Stewart had a blue diary, like an

    14 ordinary notebook, and Mr. Thebault had a similar one,

    15 and they were taking note of our comments. Towards the

    16 end of the meeting, I received a report on the grouping

    17 of BH army forces in the broad area north of the Vitez,

    18 the village of Janjac, and after I received that report

    19 we parted without having reached any concrete

    20 conclusions, and as no one spoke after I had suggested

    21 the formation of a joint commission, I had expected a

    22 reaction to my proposal to form such a joint

    23 commission, the more so as I had repeated at the time

    24 that because of the greater weight of the results and

    25 in order to create the best possible conditions for the

  22. 1 investigation, a joint commission would be far more

    2 successful.

    3 Q. On that same day, later on, about 18.00

    4 hours, de la Mota came. Can you tell us what you

    5 discussed with de la Mota?

    6 A. Mr. de la Mota told me that there were

    7 further cases of persecution of Muslims in areas under

    8 HVO control.

    9 Q. Could you please tell us which organisation

    10 Mr. de la Mota belonged to?

    11 A. I think he was the representative of the

    12 International Red Cross, but I need to check that.

    13 Q. According to your recollection, tell us, what

    14 did you discuss?

    15 A. He told me explicitly that extremist HVO

    16 forces were acting, and he mentioned the case of the

    17 expelling of Nihada Sivro, a Bosniak Muslim family from

    18 Podgradina, and apparently the house had been looted

    19 and the family had been thrown out and moved to the

    20 elementary school in Vitez. I later gave orders for an

    21 investigation into the case, and I established that

    22 this incident had been provoked by members of the

    23 Vitezovi special purpose unit.

    24 Q. When you received that information, let us

    25 follow the chronology, did you react? Did you take any

  23. 1 measures when you realised that the Vitezovi were the

    2 culprits?

    3 A. Yes, I requested an investigation be

    4 conducted; however, though I was told that the Vitezovi

    5 were behind this incident, I was not given the actual

    6 names of the perpetrators because the Vitezovi unit

    7 retained its status of direct communication with the

    8 defence department.

    9 Q. Did you tell Darko Kraljevic that one of his

    10 men may have done it?

    11 A. Yes, I told him that I had heard that and

    12 that his behaviour was contrary to the orders I had

    13 issued prohibiting persecution and expelling of Bosniak

    14 Muslims from Vitez.

    15 Q. Did he promise an investigation or did he

    16 refuse to cooperate?

    17 A. He promised he would take measures, but he

    18 didn't inform me as to whether he had taken any

    19 measures or not.

    20 Q. Let us go back to the meeting with

    21 Mr. de la Mota.

    22 A. Mr. de la Mota also pointed out that in front

    23 of the British battalion camp in Nova Bila, there were

    24 Bosniak Muslim families who had been exiled from Jajce

    25 and who had previously been accommodated in the Divjak

  24. 1 neighbourhood, Vitez municipality, and de la Mota said

    2 again that HVO extremists were in action and that they

    3 had exiled these Bosniak Muslim families to the area of

    4 the UN compound.

    5 I told Mr. de la Mota that I had issued an

    6 order prohibiting persecution of Muslims, and I said to

    7 Mr. de la Mota that it would be far easier to improve

    8 the security situation if we were to separate the BH

    9 army forces from the HVO forces on the front lines, and

    10 if we were to implement the agreement of the 21st of

    11 April, 1993, thereby the conditions would be created

    12 for the freedom of movement and for the security of

    13 citizens.

    14 Q. Tell us, did de la Mota notice the difference

    15 between your positions and the positions held by some

    16 other people in power in Central Bosnia?

    17 A. Yes. When I spoke about these matters, such

    18 as freedom of movement and security for the entire

    19 population living in the Lasva River Valley, de la Mota

    20 said to me that my stances were contrary to the

    21 positions held by Mr. Valenta, and I responded to

    22 Mr. de la Mota that Mr. Valenta was a representative of

    23 the civilian authorities and that he was only

    24 temporarily staying in Vitez because he couldn't go

    25 back to Travnik and that he does not have any functions

  25. 1 in the town of Vitez -- I meant no military functions

    2 -- and also at the level of the municipality, I knew

    3 that he didn't have any civilian functions.

    4 After that, Mr. de la Mota told me that the

    5 situation was extremely complicated and confusing, the

    6 media were heightening tension, which certainly did not

    7 contribute to an overall settlement.

    8 Q. Could you summarise, in two or three

    9 sentences, where did Mr. de la Mota notice the

    10 differences between your positions and those of

    11 Mr. Valenta? What was the difference?

    12 A. I told Mr. de la Mota that I didn't see any

    13 problems in coexistence in the Lasva River Valley in

    14 any sense except for security because the enclave is

    15 very small and the front lines are sometimes only one

    16 kilometre to the north and the south of the enclave.

    17 Q. Coexistence between whom?

    18 A. Between the Muslims and Croats in this area

    19 of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.

    20 Q. So you felt you could live together, Muslims

    21 and Croats. What was the position of Mr. Valenta?

    22 The answer wasn't interpreted. You believe

    23 that Croats and Muslims could live together; is that

    24 true?

    25 A. Yes.

  26. 1 Q. What was the position of Mr. Valenta,

    2 according to Mr. de la Mota?

    3 A. Mr. de la Mota told me that Mr. Valenta held

    4 the opposite view.

    5 Q. How did you understand that? What was

    6 Mr. Valenta's position, if it was opposite to yours?

    7 A. I assume and believe that he advocated

    8 separation of areas, that the Croats should live in one

    9 area and the Muslims in another area.

    10 Q. Thank you. Please continue.

    11 A. During the day of the 4th and the 5th, I also

    12 had a meeting with Mr. Akhavan, and he wanted me to

    13 tell him what had happened on the 16th of April, 1993,

    14 and briefly I described the events of the 16th of

    15 April, 1993.

    16 Q. Mr. Akhavan, how did he introduce himself?

    17 In what capacity had he come to Central Bosnia?

    18 A. I don't have a note of his position, so I

    19 cannot recollect exactly.

    20 Q. Was that the same person that testified here

    21 as a witness?

    22 A. Yes.

    23 Q. Please continue.

    24 A. After I briefly described the events,

    25 Mr. Akhavan said, "Your units, on your orders, carried

  27. 1 out the massacre in Ahmici and killed civilians." My

    2 answer to Mr. Akhavan was that they hadn't committed a

    3 crime under my orders because I hadn't ordered the

    4 commission of a crime and I know for certain that my

    5 units had not done that.

    6 Q. Was Akhavan familiar with the situation in

    7 Central Bosnia? Was this the first time that he

    8 appeared?

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Every time, when

    10 you ask this question, Mr. Blaskic, you're not

    11 astonished to see that the same question is being asked

    12 of you, that you are every time obliged to say "Those

    13 are not my units"? I'm referring to all the questions

    14 that we have been asking you. Doesn't that make you

    15 see that external neutral observers keep asking you the

    16 same question and you always answer, following your own

    17 logic, "They are not my units." But one must

    18 acknowledge that for an external observer, military

    19 man, UNPROFOR, a monitor, or in this case Mr. Akhavan,

    20 it's rather difficult. You have your own logic. You

    21 say, "I didn't give such orders. Those are not my

    22 units." But one must acknowledge that the military

    23 police, after all, was a part of the HVO, and you were

    24 the commander.

    25 How do you experience personally this

  28. 1 constant contradiction? The crime was committed, you

    2 acknowledge that it is a crime, they say, "You ordered

    3 it," and you answer every time, "I did not order it."

    4 That is your right to say that. But you add, "But

    5 those are not my units."

    6 Does that mean that every time you repeated

    7 how they were not your units? How did you do it? You

    8 said, "I did not commit that crime and they are not my

    9 units," but it is very difficult for your interlocutor

    10 to understand that those were not your units. You

    11 repeated every time that the military police was

    12 reattached to you since the 16th of April, 11.42, but

    13 this was only for a specific assignment, and when the

    14 conflict stopped, et cetera, did you repeat that whole

    15 explanation every time or not?

    16 A. I did not repeat that every time,

    17 Mr. President. That depended on the question of the

    18 interlocutor. I saw Mr. Akhavan for the first time

    19 then and the next time here in the courtroom. At the

    20 time, I didn't even know who he was except that he had

    21 come with another representative of the UN

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Did you say to yourself -- you

    23 don't need to answer this if you don't want to -- these

    24 same questions, did they bother you or not, the same

    25 questions being your units and you said, "They are not

  29. 1 my units"? Did this bother you? Did this annoy you?

    2 After all, you were the commander of Central Bosnia.

    3 Every time you would say, "Yes, but on the 16th of

    4 April at 11.42, the military police," et cetera.

    5 A. There were many, many problems in evidence.

    6 When I was asked questions, I did my best to answer

    7 them as best I could under the conditions that existed.

    8 As far as I knew, I would give them my answers.

    9 MR. NOBILO:

    10 Q. We see already, and this will be visible

    11 every day, two or three people would come, one after

    12 another, with the same question, "Who committed the

    13 crime?" Let us make it quite clear. Did you name or

    14 identify the military police to anyone and did you

    15 explain this question of attachment as of 11.42 to

    16 anyone except here in court?

    17 A. No, I did not ever mention to anyone except

    18 here in the courtroom what I said on the basis of my

    19 notes. Those people were unknown to me at the time.

    20 Q. Is it normal for a commander to be confronted

    21 with a series of people he doesn't know and for that

    22 commander to enter into the internal problems of his

    23 army, the internal structure, and to present the dirty

    24 laundry, so to speak? Would that be normal for a

    25 commander to discuss these matters in public?

  30. 1 A. No, these are usually internal affairs that

    2 are kept internal and are not discussed in public.

    3 Q. Did you inform your superiors, your command,

    4 about those problems?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. So Mr. Payam Akhavan appeared from somewhere,

    7 you don't know who he is, and what happens then? What

    8 did he say and what did you say?

    9 A. He was very angry after that. He started

    10 shouting, "Ahmici was in your area of responsibility,"

    11 he kept repeating this, and he was perhaps irritated.

    12 I answered, "Yes, Ahmici is in my zone of

    13 responsibility, it is also in the zone of

    14 responsibility of the 3rd Corps," I told him that there

    15 was a conflict, and after that, that meeting ended.

    16 Q. A man comes you never saw or heard of before,

    17 he comes to your command, you're a colonel, you're the

    18 commander of an Operative Zone, he yells at you, he

    19 accuses you. What was your reaction? How would Darko

    20 Kraljevic have reacted in such a case?

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, Mr. Nobilo.

    22 Judge Shahabuddeen has a question for you.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let us go back a little

    24 to Colonel Stewart. Did you then think that Colonel

    25 Stewart was understanding you to mean that no elements

  31. 1 of the HVO had participated in the commission of the

    2 crimes at Ahmici, whether or not they were under your

    3 command?

    4 A. I believe that Colonel Stewart assumed that

    5 the HVO had participated in the crime in Ahmici because

    6 he showed me a list and a file claiming that the names

    7 were in there, the names of the perpetrators.

    8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand that you

    9 are saying to me what you think Colonel Stewart

    10 understood of the factual situation. I am asking you

    11 whether you then thought that he then had the

    12 impression that you were saying that no HVO elements

    13 had participated in the commission of those crimes?

    14 A. I was clear in what I said to Colonel

    15 Stewart. I said "my" units, "my" HVO units did not

    16 commit the crime. I did not say to Colonel Stewart

    17 that no element of the HVO had committed it. I said

    18 "my" units, the units under my command had not

    19 committed the crime. That is what I said to him, and I

    20 believe that he was able to understand because he did

    21 discuss with me the structure of the HVO; in fact, I

    22 think that he was familiar with that structure.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, you are quite

    24 consistent in your narrative of what you told Colonel

    25 Stewart. That is not my question. My question is:

  32. 1 Did you then have the impression that whatever you told

    2 him, he understood you to mean that no HVO elements had

    3 participated in the commission of those crimes?

    4 A. I think that he believed that some elements

    5 of the HVO had participated in the commission of the

    6 crime.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, I wouldn't

    8 pursue it.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Alas, you don't have a chance

    10 to put your question because my colleague Judge

    11 Rodrigues wishes to put a question to the witness.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.

    13 General Blaskic, I should like to try and

    14 understand this question; that is, I should like to

    15 know whether, throughout those conversations and

    16 meetings, was there not a dialogue among the deaf

    17 because you kept saying to Thebault, to Stewart, to

    18 Akhavan, to de la Mota, "My units did not do those

    19 crimes." But the question is the following: Perhaps

    20 for you, you knew well that the military police were

    21 only attached to you; they were not a part of your

    22 units, they were not included in the concept of "my"

    23 units. But for the others, for Thebault, for Stewart,

    24 for Akhavan, for de la Mota, the military police was

    25 one of your units because it is normal, as we have seen

  33. 1 here, it is normal for the military police to depend on

    2 you.

    3 In your opinion, at which point did you

    4 explain to all these people, "Wait, wait. It should be

    5 said my units didn't do it, and I wish to inform you

    6 that the military police is not a part of my unit"?

    7 Did they know this or not because you have already

    8 admitted here in this courtroom that it is not normal

    9 for the military police not to depend on the command of

    10 the Operative Zone. What do you think about that,

    11 General Blaskic? What is your impression? Was there a

    12 dialogue of the deaf or was your communication clear?

    13 A. There were people there who attended a

    14 meeting for the first time, Your Honour, and it is

    15 difficult for me to tell what prior knowledge they had

    16 about the HVO structure and everything else, but the

    17 dialogue between me and Colonel Stewart I believe was

    18 not a dialogue of the deaf, the more so as he knew the

    19 organisational structure of the HVO, he had it in his

    20 possession, at least a global organogram, and he was

    21 able to understand it. As for the other associates, it

    22 is hard for me to tell.

    23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I am sorry for interrupting

    24 you. So Bob Stewart knew well that the military police

    25 was not part of the structure of the HVO, that is, the

  34. 1 military police was not included when you use the

    2 expression "my units"?

    3 A. I assume that he knew. I never questioned

    4 Colonel Stewart to be able to say with certainty that

    5 he did know, but I believe he did know.

    6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So, General, would you say

    7 the same of the other people, Thebault, Akhavan, and

    8 de la Mota, did they know?

    9 A. Let me answer that in this way: Whatever

    10 questions they put to me in concrete terms, I tried to

    11 answer in the way the question was put.

    12 When they said that my units had done it, my

    13 association was that they meant units under my direct

    14 command. I don't know whether Akhavan and the others

    15 were familiar with the HVO structure. That I really

    16 don't know.

    17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Just a further point,

    19 Mr. Nobilo, but for Akhavan, for instance, what

    20 surprises me for Mr. Akhavan is that you didn't explain

    21 once again the same thing as Judge Rodrigues just said,

    22 and you said, "You know there was a conflict between

    23 the Bosnia army and us." You just said that, I think.

    24 It's in the transcript. I'm repeating it. But I'm

    25 sure you counsel are very vigilant in order to defend

  35. 1 you properly.

    2 I have listened with interest to your answers

    3 to the questions of my colleague, but as regards

    4 Akhavan, if you pursued your logic, it seems to me that

    5 what you should have told Mr. Akhavan is not what you

    6 did tell him but simply, "Yes, since the 22nd of April,

    7 I think that HVO units committed this crime, but I wish

    8 to tell you that they are not under my

    9 responsibility."

    10 I don't have the transcript before me now,

    11 but I think Akhavan said to you -- you said to Akhavan,

    12 "I did not give orders for this crime to be committed,

    13 and there was a conflict between the BH army and the

    14 HVO."

    15 By giving such a reply, I think you provided

    16 doubt. You said that actually, the crime could have

    17 been committed just as well by the HVO as by the BH

    18 army.

    19 Let me summarise that slowly for the benefit

    20 of the interpreters. Let's me summarise once again.

    21 It seems to me that with regard to Mr. Akhavan, we are

    22 talking about the 4th of May, Ahmici took place almost

    23 a month before that, you knew, since the 22nd of April,

    24 in any event, Colonel Stewart persuaded you that there

    25 was considerable reason to believe that HVO units, and

  36. 1 he thought they were your units, participated in that

    2 crime, and you yourself were convinced of that. I note

    3 with regard to Mr. Akhavan, when he said to you, "Your

    4 units under your orders killed civilians," your reply

    5 was, "I did not perpetrate that crime and, anyway,

    6 there was a conflict between the BH army and the HVO."

    7 So my question is the following: It seems to

    8 me that if you were faithful to your own logic, then

    9 you should have said, "Yes, I think that HVO units most

    10 probably did participate in the commission of that

    11 crime. I wish to tell you that as far as I'm

    12 concerned, I did not give any such orders and those

    13 units are not subordinated to me on the operational

    14 level."

    15 Do you understand my question?

    16 A. Mr. President, I do understand the question,

    17 but never did I say to Mr. Akhavan that the crime was

    18 committed by units of the BH army. I got an

    19 interpretation to that effect.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You didn't say that, but

    21 you said that, "You see, there's a conflict between the

    22 Bosnian army and the HVO." At least that's the

    23 interpretation that I received.

    24 It seems to me that the 4th of May, according

    25 to the answer you gave to Judge Rodrigues and to Judge

  37. 1 Shahabuddeen, it seems to me that ever since the 22nd

    2 of April, in your conscience at least, and today also

    3 you're fully conscious and eager to discover the truth,

    4 since the 22nd of April you tell us you were not

    5 formally convinced because there was no commission of

    6 inquiry, but still you had serious suspicions regarding

    7 the military police.

    8 At least, Colonel Stewart really distressed

    9 you, and to Akhavan, you said, "But there was a

    10 conflict between the BH army and the HVO. I did not

    11 perpetrate that crime," whereas in substance, it seems

    12 to me that following the logic of what you have told

    13 us, it would have been simpler for you to say, "Yes.

    14 First, an investigation needs to be conducted. Second,

    15 I think that there is a probability that a unit which

    16 apparently belongs to the HVO is behind it," and then

    17 repeat once again, "But you see, I'm the operational

    18 commander but not for all the units."

    19 So can you help me in providing an answer to

    20 this, after which we shall break, except if Mr. Nobilo

    21 has a question to put, and as the Defence is always the

    22 last to speak, we will give him a chance to do so.

    23 Do you understand why I am asking you this

    24 question following the questions of my colleagues?

    25 A. Mr. President, I shall try.

  38. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Maybe you can answer tomorrow.

    2 I don't mind. Perhaps you're too tired. Perhaps you

    3 can answer tomorrow.

    4 A. I'll try to answer it now. I'd rather not

    5 leave it for tomorrow.

    6 Akhavan said to me literally this: "Your

    7 units, under your orders, committed a massacre in

    8 Ahmici." That was his allegation, and to this

    9 allegation I answered, "Upon my orders they did not

    10 commit the crime. I did not order the crime. I know

    11 for certain that my unit did not commit it." And this

    12 was my first encounter with this person. I saw him for

    13 the first time then. Until I came here to the

    14 Tribunal, I never met him again, as far as I can

    15 remember, and judging by my notes.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Just one question.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, you are entitled to

    18 put your question. We interrupted you, and if the

    19 interpreters can bear with us a few more minutes.

    20 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour, of

    21 course.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, proceed with your

    23 question.

    24 MR. NOBILO:

    25 Q. It has to do with the very substance of the

  39. 1 matter you have raised. General, an unknown person,

    2 you don't know who he is, and he accuses you personally

    3 of having ordered a crime in your area of

    4 responsibility, in an area in which you have several

    5 thousand soldiers. You told him what you did. How

    6 would he have fared in any other command in

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    8 A. I could tell you. I assume that would have

    9 been his last visit.

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

    11 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't hear the end. Just a

    12 moment, please. I didn't get the end of it. Could you

    13 repeat the sentence? "That would have been his last

    14 visit"?

    15 Very well. That is the last question from

    16 the Defence. It is 6.10, and we're going to break to

    17 resume tomorrow morning. We have to have a hearing

    18 that we missed. That is why we're going to work

    19 normally tomorrow, from 10:00 to 1.00, and from 2.30 to

    20 5.30. The hearing is adjourned.

    21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, according to the

    22 plan that we received, only the afternoon hearing was

    23 planned for tomorrow. Is this a change, according to

    24 the schedule we received, Mr. Dubuisson?

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, there is a change.

  40. 1 Perhaps we were not specific enough. Maybe I wasn't

    2 quite clear.

    3 THE REGISTRAR: No, we're making up for last

    4 Wednesday. It was decided at the end of last week that

    5 we make up for this Wednesday.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Does it bother you to have a

    7 hearing tomorrow morning? It is to make up lost time.

    8 Is that acceptable? It is up to you to choose. I

    9 don't mind either way.

    10 MR. HAYMAN: We gladly accept the time, but

    11 this is the first time we've heard of that.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Maybe I did not explain it

    13 well. Maybe it's the dialogue of the deaf, as

    14 Judge Rodrigues mentioned a moment ago, so I

    15 apologise.

    16 General Blaskic, do you agree for tomorrow

    17 morning? Will you be ready for tomorrow morning?

    18 A. Yes, Mr. President.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Tomorrow morning at

    20 10.00 a.m. The hearing is adjourned.

    21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

    22 at 6.10 p.m., to be reconvened on

    23 Wednesday, the 17th day of March, 1999,

    24 at 10.00 a.m.