1 Thursday, 18th March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 11.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, will you please have our
6 witness brought in?
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: I want to check that the
9 interpreters can hear me because this morning, earlier
10 on, there was a problem. Let me say good morning to
11 the counsel of the Prosecution, the counsel for the
12 Defence, and our witness.
13 For the benefit of the public, let me say
14 that we are still in the Blaskic trial, and the accused
15 is also the witness. According to the Rules of
16 Procedure, he is, of course, under oath.
17 Could the registrar please tell us how much
18 time remains for the Defence for the
19 examination-in-chief of General Blaskic? If the
20 registrar cannot give me an answer, could Mr. Hayman or
21 Mr. Nobilo give me an answer? Could Mr. Olivier Fourmy
22 tell us quickly where we stand with regard to the
23 timetable that we discussed at least up to the end of
24 May, because if we make timetables too far in advance,
25 the events prove us to be wrong.
1 Mr. Hayman, how many more days do we have for
2 the examination-in-chief? Have you re-evaluated the
4 MR. HAYMAN: I thought your question,
5 Mr. President, was how many days left do we have out of
6 our 60 allotted days. I was told, I think,
7 yesterday --
8 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think that much is
9 left, Mr. Hayman.
10 MR. HAYMAN: I think we are running out of
11 time, correct. Yesterday, I believe Mr. Dubuisson
12 indicated there were 12 or 14 or 16 days left,
13 something like that, in terms of the available time.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hirad?
15 THE REGISTRAR: I can just confirm what
16 Mr. Hayman has just said. There are about 12 to 13
17 days for the Defence.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. For General
19 Blaskic, when do you intend to finish? Today is the
20 18th of March. We have a short day today; tomorrow, a
21 long morning.
22 MR. HAYMAN: We do not think we will finish
23 today, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
25 MR. HAYMAN: As you know, the week was
1 shortened, and we have had at times what we think is a
2 very good and positive dialogue between the witness and
3 the Court, and that takes some time and we are happy
4 for that time to be taken, and we think it will shorten
5 the overall length of the judicial and parties'
6 examinations. In any event, we need, I would estimate,
7 another two trial day equivalents. Now, I think we
8 have a half day on Tuesday of next week and a full day
9 on Wednesday. I would estimate that by the end of the
10 day Wednesday, we could be getting near the end of the
11 direct examination.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. In those
13 circumstances, Mr. Fourmy -- you have taken note of all
14 this -- does this upset our plan a little bit perhaps?
15 MR. FOURMY: Yes, Mr. President. I have
16 tried to establish a provisional timetable which was
17 based on the idea that the Defence would finish the
18 direct examination of General Blaskic at the end of
19 this week and, in fact, that the Prosecution could
20 begin with the cross-examination even. This will put
21 off the proceedings by about one week. That brings us
22 to the 23rd of March. We have two days, two and a half
23 days for the Defence; that makes it the 24th of March.
24 Then the week of the 29th of March, the Chamber will
25 not be sitting, as the parties have been informed. The
1 week of the 6th to the 9th of April, the Prosecutor
2 will continue with the cross-examination, then again
3 the week of the 12th to the 16th of April. Then
4 between the 19th and the 29th of April, in view of the
5 obligations of the Judges, who have other duties, the
6 trial will not continue, so the cross-examination will
7 continue in the week of the 3rd to the 7th of May. In
8 fact, I think the whole of this week will be devoted to
9 ending the cross-examination by the Prosecution, which
10 does upset the provisional timetable because I thought
11 that this week could be devoted to the last witnesses
12 of the Defence and the beginning of the response of the
14 If this week of the 3rd to the 7th of May is
15 entirely devoted to ending the cross-examination of the
16 Prosecution and the response of the Defence and
17 questions by Judges, which will probably require a
18 short amount of time, the week from the 10th to the
19 14th of May, there will be no hearings, the week of the
20 17th to the 21st of May will then be devoted to the
21 last witnesses of the Defence --
22 JUDGE JORDA: The 10th to the 14th of May?
23 Perhaps we could put a question mark there.
24 MR. FOURMY: Yes.
25 JUDGE JORDA: This remains to be confirmed,
1 depending upon what happens today. It is not correct
2 to speak about another case, but it is true that we
3 will be occupied with another case so things may
5 MR. FOURMY: Yes, Mr. President. Perhaps
6 that week will give us some flexibility or we may lose
7 some days. So the 17th to the 21st of May, last
8 witnesses of the Defence, the reply of the Prosecution;
9 then the 24th to the 28th of May, we will complete the
10 reply of the Prosecution. So that in spite of
11 everything, I think this is rather an optimistic
12 timetable because the Chamber would like, as far as I
13 have understood, the trial to end at the end of June,
14 the week of the 22nd to the 25th of June.
15 JUDGE JORDA: This is rather symbolical
16 considering the beginning of this trial. You did that
17 on purpose, didn't you?
18 MR. FOURMY: Yes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. It is indeed not
20 easy to fix the timetable, but I think we need to hear
21 this so as to have a fair and just trial. Without
22 losing any more time, I wish to thank Mr. Olivier
23 Fourmy for his hard work.
24 Mr. Nobilo, can we resume? We had finished
25 to the 27th of May, 1993, as far as I recall.
1 MR. NOBILO: Quite correct, Mr. President.
2 Indeed, yesterday evening, we ended with the 27th of
4 I should just like to say by way of
5 introduction, the events in April and May were
6 numerous. Later on, we will be able to go much more
7 quickly through the rest of the months that remain of
8 1993, though we will need some time, but we will not be
9 going day by day but, rather, week by week or maybe
10 month by month in our reconstruction of the events.
11 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
12 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
13 Q. General, on the 28th of May, 1993, two
14 members of your command were deprived of their
15 apartments. Could you explain what happened and what
16 this is an indication of?
17 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, two members of
18 the command, Slavko Marin and Mr. Mirko Batinic,
19 informed me that exiled Croats had moved into their own
20 apartments. In the case of Slavko, his apartment; in
21 the case of Mr. Batinic, his family home. Without
22 informing anyone, they broke into the apartments and
23 moved in, and perhaps this also is an indicator of the
24 overall situation that prevailed at the time in the
25 Lasva River Valley.
1 Endless columns of refugees that were coming
2 in, in their attempts to find shelter, would simply
3 break into other people's apartments, including the
4 apartments of the members of the command of the
5 Operative Zone and HVO officers.
6 Because of the overall situation, which was
7 very bad in terms of security both in Vitez and Novi
8 Travnik, I asked that the police commanders, the
9 commander of the military police, should be in his
10 office in the headquarters so as to be able to react
11 immediately to any incidents. However, my request was
12 not followed through.
13 I also requested that Messrs. Miro Kozic and
14 Srecko Maresovic be arrested and disciplinary measures
15 be taken against them because of their breaking into
16 Muslim flats, and on the 28th of May, I received a
17 request from the security service to the effect that
18 UNPROFOR assistance was necessary to enter the village
19 of Ahmici and to continue the investigation. This
20 request was addressed to the United Nations, but no
21 response came with respect to providing security for
22 entry into the area of Ahmici.
23 In the course of the day, I also wanted to
24 know more about the background to the exodus of Muslims
25 from Vitez in particular because organised gangs were
1 behind some of these departures and were making a
2 profit from it. We also studied the possibility of
3 prohibited entry to certain armed groups into urban
4 environments, but the problem was, who would carry out
5 such an assignment because each town had a large number
6 of armed groups? I also asked that persons who had
7 been punished, who had a record, be removed from the
8 military police, and on that day, on the 28th of May,
9 according to reports of the security service, there
10 were about 100 persons in the military police against
11 whom disciplinary measures had been taken.
12 I also asked for the composition of the
13 security unit in the headquarters be changed --
14 Q. Just a moment, please. The translation is
15 not good. You said that in the military police, there
16 were 100 persons who had, in the past, committed an
17 offence, is that correct, whereas the translation says
18 "there were 100 persons ... against whom disciplinary
19 measures had been taken."
20 Will you please explain to the Court the
21 difference so that we can correct the translation?
22 A. I said that I received information from the
23 security service that within the military police, there
24 were 100 military policemen with a criminal record.
25 Q. When you say "criminal record," what does
1 that mean? Who keeps such records and what is entered
2 into those records?
3 A. These records are kept by civilian police
4 stations for individual persons who, at some point in
5 time in their life, had committed a criminal offence.
6 Q. According to the rules in the former
7 Yugoslavia and in the States that came into being with
8 the dissolution of Yugoslavia, was it the rule that no
9 one with a criminal record could work in the police?
10 A. Yes, that was the rule.
11 Q. Please continue.
12 A. I also received information or, rather, on
13 that day I asked for the people securing the
14 headquarters of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia
15 to be changed, that is, that better military personnel
16 be found to occupy those posts.
17 Q. Tell the court, please, which military unit
18 secured your headquarters in Vitez?
19 A. The military police of the 4th Battalion.
20 On the 29th of May, 1993, I had a morning
21 briefing, my regular briefing with my associates, and
22 at that meeting I asked that entry be prohibited of
23 armed groups to inhabited areas or towns. I also asked
24 that thefts of explosives be prevented from the
25 explosives factory.
1 I was informed that day that at the
2 checkpoint at Ovnak an armed clash had occurred --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please. When
4 you say, "I asked," you asked whom? "I asked for a
5 prohibition on armed groups." Your demand was
6 addressed to whom, the military police?
7 A. Yes, my demand was addressed to the military
8 police, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: How was that, General?
11 You mentioned your associates being with you. Did they
12 include a representative of the military police or did
13 you separately send a communication to the military
15 A. Most frequently, we would send a separate
16 request to the military police.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. Please continue with the 29th of May, '93.
19 A. There was an armed clash between smugglers
20 or, rather, armed groups at the Ovnak checkpoint,
21 between military policemen manning the checkpoint and
22 groups who were engaged in black marketeering. One
23 military policeman was killed in the clash. This was a
24 clash between armed groups coming from Travnik mostly.
25 On the other hand, on the other side, were groups from
1 Zenica, where highly profitable goods and materials
2 were being sold.
3 At 12.00 on the 29th of May, '93, I was
4 visited by the chief of the main staff of the HVO,
5 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic, who arrived with UNPROFOR,
6 escorted by the Spanish UNPROFOR battalion from
8 Q. Tell us, please, whenever Brigadier Petkovic
9 came, who would drive him? Who would transport him?
10 Was it always the Spanish battalion?
11 A. Yes. That was the rule. He always came with
12 the Spanish UNPROFOR battalion which was based in
13 Medjugorje, and its jurisdiction was over Mostar.
14 At the meeting with Brigadier Petkovic, I
15 informed him of the overall situation and we discussed
16 it, as well as the report that I received from the
17 security service.
18 Q. Linked to what?
19 A. Linked to the investigation into Ahmici. And
20 I confirmed to him once again that I felt that the
21 report was incomplete and that one could infer from the
22 report that the investigation would continue until the
23 names of the perpetrators were identified for the
24 purpose of criminal proceedings. Then I also discussed
25 with him problems in the military police, and I asked
1 that the process of substitution of commanders be
2 accelerated, that the command structure be changed and
3 that my command competencies to be changed so as to
4 give me command and control over the military police.
5 Q. Tell me, in connection with the military
6 police, why did you request all these changes and why,
7 in particular, did you want to be the commander of the
8 military police? Was it because you wanted to be the
9 absolute authority of this enclave on 1 by 12
10 kilometres to be able to defend the area or were there
11 some other reasons?
12 A. I had to create a military police which would
13 be an instrument of control and command, but also I
14 wanted to ensure the best possible conditions for the
15 assistant for security and his staff to be able to
16 carry out the investigation, because from the report
17 that I had received, there was no indication of names
18 and, obviously, the command structure of the military
19 police had remained intact.
20 Q. Your superior, Brigadier Petkovic, what
21 position did he take towards the investigation into
22 Ahmici and towards your request to have control over
23 the military police? Did he promise you his assistance
24 or did he refuse such assistance?
25 A. He gave his support. At the meeting he held
1 with the members of my command, he insisted that every
2 crime be noted, and said that it was an obligation and
3 a duty to carry out a comprehensive investigation into
4 the crime. He also insisted on every effort being made
5 to thwart the activities of criminal gangs, to prevent
6 all private arrangements and arbitrary behaviour by
7 individual commanders. He also gave priority to the
8 problem of defence, and he said that the conflict
9 between the Croats and Muslims is something we don't
10 need but it is obvious that the opposite does not hold
11 true. He probably meant that the Bosniak Muslims did
12 not see it that way.
13 Q. As for your request to take over the military
14 police in the Lasva Valley, what did he tell you in
15 your direct tete-a-tete conversation?
16 A. He told me that he would arrange that shortly
17 with the defence department. I underlined in
18 particular that in view of the fact that I was under
19 siege and in view of the situation that existed at the
20 time, I had to have a military police and the
21 competence to control and command it. The chief of
22 staff said he would arrange this with the head of the
23 defence department.
24 Q. Thank you. Please continue with your
25 reconstruction of the events.
1 A. On the 30th of May, 1993, at a meeting with
2 the chief of staff again, I issued an order to form a
3 communications centre of the command of the Operative
4 Zone of Central Bosnia.
5 Q. When you say at the meeting with the chief of
6 staff, you mean with your chief of staff, not
7 Brigadier Petkovic?
8 A. Yes. I'm referring to Nakic, the chief of
9 staff of the Operational Zone of Central Bosnia. Until
10 then we had used the services of the municipal
11 communications centre in Vitez municipality. We did
12 not have a communications centre of our own in the
13 headquarters of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
14 I also required that day that the military police take
15 into custody 60 soldiers from Zenica who were out of
16 control, and 30 soldiers from Travnik who had deserted
17 the front line and who were also roaming around Vitez
18 or Novi Travnik.
19 Q. This group of 60 and this other group of 30
20 soldiers, were they HVO soldiers?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Please continue.
23 A. In the course of the afternoon, an
24 assassination attempt was made at a vehicle driver and
25 the escort of the commander of the Frankopan Brigade
1 and in the area of responsibility of the 306th Mountain
2 Brigade of the BH army. The driver was killed, the
3 escort was killed, and the brigade commander happened
4 to have been detained at a meeting so he wasn't in the
5 vehicle at the time.
6 Q. For the sake of clarification, in Busovaca
7 and Vitez, in the territory of these two
8 municipalities, you had front lines, trenches. You
9 were in a state of war with the BH army. In another
10 part of the territory that should have been under your
11 control, in Travnik and Novi Travnik, was there any
12 confrontation there between the BH army and the HVO or
13 was the situation there different?
14 A. It was a different situation there. Units of
15 the BH army and the HVO were still not confronted
16 there. In fact, in the area of the Travnik
17 municipality, they were together manning the front
18 lines towards the army of Republika Srpska, and the
19 commanders sought, by dialogue, to deal with a large
20 number of incidents provoked by armed groups belonging
21 to both sides, and there was no front line in the
22 territory of Travnik and in the territory of Novi
23 Travnik municipality. But in the area of Novi Travnik,
24 there were no BH army soldiers from Novi Travnik on the
25 front line towards the army of Republika Srpska.
1 Q. When you are talking about these two
2 municipality, Travnik and Novi Travnik, that there was
3 no front line, you mean no front line between the HVO
4 and the BH army? You're not implying the front line
5 towards the Serbs?
6 A. No, because the front line towards the Serbs
7 remained almost the same throughout this period.
8 Q. Can we draw the conclusion from what you've
9 said that in the two municipalities in Busovaca and
10 Vitez you were at war with the BH army, and in another
11 two municipalities, that is Travnik and Novi Travnik,
12 you had some sort of a co-operation?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Please continue.
15 Excuse me. One further question. How do you
16 explain the fact --
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: In Novi Travnik, the
18 Croats had some sort of cooperation with whom? Did the
19 witness say that? I'm not sure. With whom?
20 MR. NOBILO: Yes. He said that in the
21 municipality of Travnik and Novi Travnik, there was
22 cooperation between the BH army and the HVO. But let
23 me put another question to the witness to make it
25 Q. How do you explain that in Vitez and
1 Busovaca, which are under your command, there was a
2 conflict with the BH army, whereas in Travnik and Novi
3 Travnik, which are also under your command, there was
4 no conflict between the BH army and the HVO?
5 A. In Travnik and Novi Travnik, the command of
6 the 3rd Corps obviously did not carry out an attack
7 against the HVO on the basis of a decision to that
8 effect, whereas in Vitez, such an attack was carried
9 out because the explosives factory was in Vitez and
10 that is the core of military production. All other
11 factories in the former Yugoslavia, and especially in
12 the area of Central Bosnia, were mostly linked in one
13 way or another to the explosives factory.
14 Q. Thank you. Please proceed. We were talking
15 about the 30th of May, you had a meeting with Franjo
16 Nakic, and you took the decision about establishing a
17 communications centre.
18 A. Yes, and we had this assassination against
19 the commander of the Frankopan Brigade in the area of
20 responsibility of the 306th Brigade of the BH army, but
21 the scenario and the consequences were similar as in
22 the case of Totic, but in this case, the brigade
23 commander was not in his vehicle and he, fortunately,
25 I received reports again that Bosniak Muslims
1 were being expelled from their homes and that private
2 exchanges were continuing. I was also informed that in
3 these privately-arranged exchanges between Vitez and
4 Zenica, Zoran Brkic and Mr. Grubesic were
5 participating, and I asked disciplinary measures be
6 taken against them.
7 On the 30th of May in the afternoon, the BH
8 army opened artillery fire on the town of Vitez, and
9 the family home of Safradin was hit, and I think that a
10 number of members of his family were killed.
11 On the 31st of May, the security situation
12 was upset in Travnik, there were explosions throughout
13 the night and exchanges of fire between members of the
14 HVO and the BH army, between members of the military
15 police, the civilian police in the town of Travnik
16 because armed groups were extremely numerous at that
17 time in the town of Travnik. In Novi Travnik, there
18 was a large-scale fight that broke out between the HVO
19 and members of the HVO military police, and I was also
20 informed that there were very serious problems with
21 food because for almost 40 days, the soldiers had
22 received only two meals a day on the front line, and
23 these meals consisted of vegetable fat, rice,
24 and lentils.
25 In the course of the 31st of May, I requested
1 of the commander of the military police to remove
2 persons with criminal records from the military police
3 in order to gradually break down their internal
4 solidarity and their concentration within the military
5 police, and also I was hoping that I would have the
6 approval for this reorganisation of the military police
7 from the main headquarters.
8 During the day of the 31st of May, I received
9 a visit from an elderly lady from Travnik. She came to
10 ask for --
11 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, General Blaskic. I
12 keep coming back to the same question, perhaps because
13 I didn't get the proper answer. When you asked -- of
14 course, you asked for a lot of things, but we never
15 know what happened. On the 20th of May, you asked that
16 100 persons with criminal records leave the military
17 police. You told us that about ten minutes ago. I
18 requested this. You were a colonel at the time, you
19 were commander of the Operative Zone; you asked this of
20 whom? I assume that you address your requests to the
21 commander of the military police. On the 31st of May,
22 you demand again that they remove persons with criminal
23 records. This is a repetition of demands. What power
24 did you have to impose those decisions? Did you
25 address Brigadier Petkovic? Because I assume tomorrow
1 you will tell us again that you asked for people with
2 criminal records to be removed. What did you do when
3 this was not done? Did you shout? Did you have a
4 fit? What did you do?
5 I think on the 2nd of June, you're going to
6 tell us that you asked again the commander of the
7 military police to remove these people. What did you
8 do then?
9 A. Mr. President, unfortunately, I had to repeat
10 a number of these requests and demands until I would
11 get the approval of the chief to carry out the
12 reorganisation of the military police, its structure
13 and its chain of command, and to be given the
14 competence, the authority, to assume command over the
15 military police. It was an unnatural situation. All I
16 could do was repeat myself, and I kept repeating myself
17 over and over.
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. General, in terms of law, when the military
20 police commander refuses to remove 100 criminals from
21 his ranks, what could you do about it?
22 A. Report to the chief of the main staff about
23 it. But let me just say that had I had any influence
24 on the criteria, they never would have joined the
25 military police because a person who had committed
1 several acts of crime had nothing to do in the military
3 Q. When a military police commander refuses to
4 implement orders, did you report to your superiors?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did that help in your achieving your
7 objective, which is effect the reorganisation?
8 A. Yes, but I had to go step by step.
9 Unfortunately, it was in a situation of war, and I had
10 to keep repeating myself. This was the only way I
11 could be effective in getting things to change.
12 Q. We will get there in our chronology, but just
13 for the Chamber, can you fix a date when you were able
14 to assume command of the military police?
15 A. In early August 1993, let's say starting on
16 4 August, 1993.
17 Q. So your efforts did produce a result. But in
18 your opinion, can you say what attracted criminal
19 elements to the military police? Why did so many
20 criminals join the military police?
21 A. What they did before the war, before they
22 joined, now they could do even better having joined,
23 especially at checkpoints, which were the best sources
24 of profit. It was very attractive, I mean financially
25 attractive, to be a military policeman at the time.
1 Q. Your soldiers ate rice and lentils and
2 vegetable fat. Meanwhile, what was going on at the
4 A. All convoys pass through checkpoints, and the
5 people who transported these goods new very well that
6 at every checkpoint they had to leave something either
7 in goods or money. Now, what amount, what quantity, I
8 don't know, but I know that it was very attractive to
9 work at those checkpoints.
10 Q. What do you think? Was that the reason why
11 the military police refused to turn over the checkpoint
12 to the civilian police?
13 A. Yes, that was the main reason. The main
14 reason was the profit, the gain.
15 Q. Let's go back to the old lady who came to see
16 you about ten kilos of food. What did she tell you?
17 A. She told me that she had been attacked and
18 robbed, that they took her son's car, a sports utility
19 vehicle, Nissan Patrol and another car, and when I
20 asked her to tell me who it was, she said that she was
21 the mother of the deputy mayor of Novi Travnik.
22 Q. Now, who took these things?
23 A. It was the military police from Novi Travnik
24 who took it.
25 Q. Go on, please.
1 A. I was also called by Mr. Mladen Makic who
2 also informed me about food being taken from his house
3 as well as beverages. There were again two military
4 police from Vitez and it was again on the 31st of May.
5 Q. The victims in both cases were Croats?
6 A. Yes, the old lady was the mother of the
7 deputy mayor of Travnik and she was Croat, and Mladen
8 Makic is also an ethnic Croat.
9 During the day, I had a meeting with
10 Mr. Thebault, with the European Monitoring Mission, and
11 we discussed three issues: the issue of the evacuation
12 of the wounded, the preparation of the BH army for the
13 pending offensive operations, and the issue of the
14 media and their activity in raising the tensions.
15 Mr. Thebault told me that he was requesting that the
16 legal authorities at the municipality level work in
17 accordance with the election results and that he
18 expected that the local governments function properly.
19 I told Mr. Thebault that these were issues which he
20 should raise with the civilian authorities in the
21 municipality and that I was not competent to discuss
22 them, and I requested that he mediate with the BH army
23 in order to avoid the pending attack and conflict, and
24 I also told him that I was not an elected
25 representative of the Croatian people and that I could
1 not discuss civilian matters with him.
2 Mr. Thebault told me that everything that was
3 going on at the municipality level has to be closely
5 Sometime around 15.00, I received information
6 which was transmitted to me by Mr. Dario Kordic at
7 Busovaca. He was told that Mr. Mate Boban had issued
8 an order to the chief of the military police
9 administration to return all goods to the Marelja
10 family in Novi Travnik who had been robbed by the
11 military police and if this did not happen, that the
12 chief of the military police administration was to
13 relieve the commander of the 4th Battalion Military
14 Police of his duty.
15 When I finished this conversation, I received
16 a call by the commander of the 4th Battalion of the
17 military police and he showered me with curses, and
18 said that I will have my comeuppance if I attempted to
19 relieve him of duty. I responded that, unfortunately,
20 I did not have the authority to relieve him of his duty
21 as commander of the military police, but that I would
22 have done so a long time ago. I also told him that he
23 call his own commander of the military police
24 administration in Mostar and seek any clarification
25 that he may need.
1 Q. When you received a visit from the mother of
2 the deputy mayor of Novi Travnik and she told you about
3 this incident, did you report that to the military
4 police administration?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Is that part of the reason why he blamed you
7 for wanting to have him relieved?
8 A. Yes, of course. He not only thought me
9 responsible but he threatened that I would pay the
10 price for this.
11 Q. This was the same family, the family of the
12 deputy mayor of Novi Travnik, whose mother came to
13 complain because of the incident with the military
14 police, and this was the reaction on your part and
15 further reaction. If you can just clarify that point.
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we can break now
18 if you agree.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will resume at a
20 quarter past twelve.
21 --- Recess taken at 11.59 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 12.23 p.m.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. General, will you proceed, please? You
1 completed your conversation with the commander of the
2 military police, but in those days a new organisation
3 was established in Vitez, which was not subordinated to
4 you and had significant authorities. This was the SIS
5 centre, so called. Can you address that?
6 A. Yes. On the 31st of May, 1993, I was
7 informed by the assistant for security that a new
8 organisation had been established in the Lasva Valley,
9 which was called Centre of the Security and Information
10 Services, and the chief of the centre was Miso Mijic.
11 He was appointed as its chief.
12 Shortly thereafter, several days later,
13 Mr. Darko Kraljevic was appointed deputy chief of the
14 centre, and this service numbered 25 to 30 armed
15 members who called themselves Alphas.
16 Q. Can you tell me, this deputy chief of the
17 centre for security and information services, Darko
18 Kraljevic, did he keep his duty of the commander of the
20 A. Yes, and this new organisation had nothing to
21 do with the command of the Central Bosnia Operative
22 Zone. In other words, I had no authority and no
23 competence over their daily activities or even -- I was
24 not even entitled to information about their
25 activities. This is what I was told by the chief of
1 the centre. They were completely independent of the
2 command of the Operative Zone and the assistant for
3 security of the Operative Zone.
4 Q. The assistant for security in the Operative
5 Zone gave you information, and this was corroborated by
6 the civilian authority of the municipal authorities,
7 about the breaking into apartments --
8 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I've let this go on
9 for a period of time, and I try not to interrupt
10 counsel, but I would ask, Mr. President and Your
11 Honours, if counsel would not give his comments before
12 asking a question and limit his inquiry to simply
13 asking questions. I try not to interrupt. It's one of
14 those continuous things that counsel employs. I'd ask
15 that he would just ask questions.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Don't guide the witness,
17 Mr. Nobilo. Don't ask leading questions to the
19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we had
20 interrupted at a certain point and I just wanted to
21 bring it back to focus there. Of course, he will
22 continue with his own narrative, but I just wanted to
23 focus him again on where we had left off.
24 Q. Go on, General.
25 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I had received
1 information from the assistant for security that the
2 military police had, by that time, evicted Bosniak
3 Muslims from 34 apartments and 19 family homes. In
4 total, 53 residential units were taken control of by
5 the military police, not counting the apartments which
6 had been sold to other parties. So this only included
7 those residential units where the military police
8 members moved in themselves.
9 So on that day I received information from
10 the commander of the Vitez Brigade, who asked that the
11 members of the military police be curbed and prevented
12 from carrying out these illegal acts. When I addressed
13 this issue of 53 residential units with Ivica Santic,
14 the mayor of Vitez, he said that the civilian police
15 was powerless to do anything about it.
16 I also received a complaint from the priest
17 in Bucici, I believe his name was Jozo, who complained
18 that at a checkpoint the military police took his
19 off-road vehicle.
20 In the course of the 31st of May, Ivan
21 Ravlic, a priest, was also brought in for questioning,
22 and he was tied to a lamp-post in the course of his
24 Q. Who brought him in for questioning?
25 A. This was the officers of the new centre of
1 SIS. They had tied him to a lamp-post in the period
2 between 12.00 and 13.00.
3 On the 1st June, 1993, I received information
4 that the BH army had attacked the villages near the
5 boundary of the Fojnica municipality.
6 Q. Just a moment here. Let us clarify this
7 point. Apart from this information, did you take part
8 in the defence of Fojnica in any other way, except for
9 being informed about things there?
10 A. No, not at that point. So I only received
11 information that Fojnica had been attacked and that
12 these villages near the boundary of the municipality
13 had been attacked.
14 Q. Very well. Go on, please.
15 A. On the 2nd June, I received information on an
16 incident which was perpetrated by the HVO Travnik
17 Brigade when they stopped the vehicle of Mr. Mehmed
18 Alagic, who was president of the Bosnian Krajina
19 Brigade. They made him come out of the vehicle. One
20 of the soldiers had slapped him, and they shot around
21 his feet and demanded that he dance while they were
23 I sent two officers, Mr. Vid Jazbinski and
24 Mr. Lovrenovic with a letter of apology to Mr. Alagic,
25 and I promised to carry out an investigation, identify
1 the perpetrators, and impose disciplinary measures. It
2 was established that members of the Tuka's unit from
3 the Travnik Brigade were the culprits and the
4 disciplinary measures were taken against them.
5 On the 3rd of June, 1993, an all-out attack
6 on the town of Travnik was carried out by the 3rd Corps
7 of the BH army, and the main corps combat operations
8 was carried out by the operative group Bosanska
9 Krajina. The attack commenced on 3.00 the 3rd of June,
10 1993, and the commander of a battalion from the Travnik
11 Brigade arrived in my headquarters around 4.30 and
12 informed me of the attack.
13 Around 5.30 I received a call by Mr. Alagic.
14 In other words, he called and introduced himself as
15 Alagic, and he told me the following: "I will stop the
16 attack if you sign a capitulation and surrender. In
17 the future there can be no joint army. From now on
18 there will be one unified army of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
19 I replied to him that I could not sign a
20 capitulation, and the only thing left for me was to
21 defend. So the fighting was both in town and in the
22 surrounding of Travnik throughout the 3rd of June, and
23 the fighting continued on the 4th of June between the
24 BH army and the HVO in Travnik.
25 In Novi Travnik, on the 4th of June, the
1 commander of the 2nd Battalion Stjepan Tomasevic was
2 ambushed and killed when he was going from Travnik in
3 the direction of the front lines towards the Republika
4 Srpska army. The ambush took place in an area where
5 both the BH army and the HVO were deployed.
6 On the 4th of June, the all-out attack on
7 Travnik continued, and on the 5th of June, forces of
8 the 3rd Corps from Zenica joined in the fighting in the
9 Travnik municipality.
10 I transferred my headquarters to Nova Bila on
11 the 5th of June in order to be able to better carry out
12 my commanding duties at this front.
13 Q. So this command post was close to the front
14 line; is that what you're trying to say?
15 A. Yes. My headquarters was the feature called
16 Pescara which is the high ground above Nova Bila and a
17 key feature for the defence of Nova Bila and the
18 Vitez-Novi Travnik road, which was the only key feature
19 still under the control of the HVO. I stayed at
20 Pescara and Nova Bila for the entire month of June.
21 On the 5th of June, the units of the HVO were
22 attacked from behind, from the rear. They were units
23 that held the front line at Travnik, at the Mescema
24 feature, and, if necessary, I can point this out to
25 you, and they were attacked from the rear by the BH
2 Q. When you say the units of the HVO that held
3 the front line, who did they hold the front line
5 A. These units held the front line against the
6 army of the Republika Srpska on sector number 2 and the
7 feature was the Mescema feature, regardless of the fact
8 that in town, at the accesses to the town, there was an
9 ongoing conflict between the HVO and the BH army.
10 The attack, that is to say, the attack that
11 took place from the rear, compelled the members of the
12 HVO to withdraw and, for the most part, there was a
13 concentration of forces in the village of Paklarevo and
14 the village of Jankovici, that is to say, of the HVO,
15 and gradually we draw back to Paklarevo, that is to
16 say, all the other members of the HVO, from the town of
18 From the 3rd of June until the 5th of June
19 inclusive, although there was fighting every day, we
20 remained -- there was no possibility for us to evacuate
21 the casualties and take them to the hospital because
22 the hospital in the town of Travnik was under the
23 control of the BH army. So that along with invitations
24 for help, there were a lot of requests to find ways and
25 means, together with an agreement with the
1 international institutions, UNPROFOR primarily, to seek
2 ways for us to evacuate the injured to the hospital in
3 Travnik or the hospital in the church in Nova Bila. We
4 did not succeed in bringing an agreement of that kind
5 about so that the wounded were only given first aid
7 In the night between the 5th and 6th of June,
8 I received a request from the commander of the Travnik
9 Brigade to pull out the forces and manpower and units
10 from the Paklarevo area, and this document I sent on to
11 the chief of the main staff of the HVO and I informed
12 him about the military situation that existed in the
13 town of Travnik, and the chief of the main staff
14 allowed us to carry out this withdrawal of the HVO, to
15 pull it out of the Travnik municipality and the
16 Paklarevo area and the village of Jankovici via
17 Bukovice towards Guca Gora and further on towards Nova
19 In the night between the 5th and 6th of June,
20 I dispatched an order of this kind to the commander of
21 the Travnik Brigade so that this evacuation of the
22 soldiers began, and together with the soldiers, a mass
23 of civilians also followed. Somewhere around 10.000 at
24 least, perhaps even more, began to withdraw. They went
25 on foot on the road from Paklarevo via Bukovice towards
1 Guca Gora and Nova Bila.
2 Already on the 6th of June, 1993, in the
3 early morning hours, we had numerous displaced persons
4 who were moving in columns and flowing into Vitez and
5 Novi Travnik. From these displaced persons and part of
6 the Travnik Brigade, I was informed that a battalion
7 with about 500 soldiers in it had decided, together
8 with part of the population, part of the people, to be
9 evacuated via Paklarevo and to move on towards Vlasic,
10 to the area which was under the supervision of the army
11 of the Republika Srpska. After several days had gone
12 by, they ended up in the Manjaca camp.
13 Q. Tell us, please, did this battalion act
14 contrary to your orders?
15 A. Yes, contrary to my orders and contrary to
16 the order from the commander of the Travnik Brigade;
17 and with the battalion, members of the families of
18 these soldiers started out as well so that there were
19 about 500 recruits and about 2.000 civilians, that is
20 to say, they were probably their wives, children,
21 mothers, relatives, parents, fathers, and so on and so
23 Q. When you say that they ended up in the camp
24 in Manjaca, what status did they have in that camp?
25 A. As far as I know, they had the status of
1 prisoners of war and they were the subject of an
2 exchange and negotiations which were conducted by the
3 Commission for Detained Persons of the government of
4 Herceg-Bosna with the Serbian representatives, and I
5 know that later on they were indeed exchanged.
6 Q. Please continue. What happened next in the
7 days that followed?
8 A. On the 7th of June, 1993, for the most part I
9 dealt with the problem of finding accommodation because
10 it was a small area -- that is to say, accommodation
11 for the refugees -- because there was a very small area
12 with very many refugees from Travnik pouring into the
13 region, so that we tried to find whatever accommodation
14 was available, and the greatest problem was, of course,
15 food to feed these refugees because that morning, on
16 the 6th and 7th, we had approximately 10.000 refugees
17 in the area. I also had difficulties in reining in
18 individual members of the Travnik Brigade, and very
19 often there was a grouping and division of soldiers in
20 the Travnik Brigade generally forming two groups: one
21 group wanted to continue movement across Novi Travnik,
22 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, and on towards Mostar, and the
23 second group was in favour of continuing the defence of
24 what territory remained, and those were the areas
25 around Guca Gora and Nova Bila, the regions of the
1 Travnik municipality.
2 I received information on the 7th of June
3 that the forces, that is to say, that parts of the 1st
4 Corps of the BH army and the 3rd Corps of the BH army
5 had started provocative action against the HVO of
6 Kakanj, the town of Kakanj, Croats against the Croats,
7 that is to say, the members of the HVO.
8 On the 8th of June, 1993, from the direction
9 of Zenica, the forces which had attacked in the
10 direction of Guca Gora continued to repulse the
11 soldiers of the HVO, and, in the course of the day, I
12 asked Colonel Duncan to send his armoured personnel
13 carriers to protect the monastery at Guca Gora and the
14 civilians, Croats, who were fleeing into the monastery
15 and were taking refuge in the monastery. Colonel
16 Duncan reacted to my request and did send about ten
17 Warriors and several tanks and he surrounded the
18 monastery of Guca Gora and offered protection to the
19 priests who were in the monastery or convent and the
20 civilians and Croats who were fleeing from the
21 surrounding villages and taking refuge in the convent.
22 Also, on the 8th of June, there was a
23 complete encirclement and about 5.000 Croats were
24 blocked in the parish of Grahovcici and Brajkovici.
25 This once again belongs to the Travnik municipality,
1 these two parishes, but is the north-eastern part,
2 closer to Zenica.
3 In Busovaca, on that same day, we had another
4 provocative attack launched by the BH army from the
5 south on the Polom feature, which is the southern
6 section of the Busovaca municipality.
7 On the 9th of June, 1993, an all-out attack
8 was launched at about 5.00 on the municipality of Novi
9 Travnik by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Also,
10 forces were linked up and the attacks on Busovaca
11 continued, and all the days from, say, the 3rd of June
12 to the 9th of June, the offensive on the HVO in the
13 Lasva River Valley continued throughout those days.
14 I received information that the parishioners
15 in the Brajkovici and Grahovcici parishes were
16 maltreated, and there was even some information that
17 some priests had been killed by members of the BH army,
18 and I asked the members of the British battalion of the
19 United Nations to check out this information, and we
20 later on established that they were just rumours and
21 that they were not true.
22 I also asked that the evacuation of the
23 wounded be ensured, that is to say, the casualties from
24 the convent in Guca Gora under UNPROFOR protection, and
25 the UN did assist us in this because Guca Gora
1 remained cut off and completely encircled by the forces
2 of the BH army. During the evacuation itself, the BH
3 army allowed the wounded people to be taken out. The
4 civilians took advantage of this opportunity and,
5 together with the casualties under UN protection,
6 they also left the convent, and after that, the BH army
7 took over the convent.
8 On the 9th of June, we had about 25.000 new
9 refugees coming in, and we had this enormous problem of
10 accommodation and food, supplying food for such a large
11 number of people that were coming in carrying bags in
12 their hands.
13 On that day, on the 9th of June, from Zenica,
14 about 400 Croats arrived at the Lasva checkpoint on the
15 main road running from Zenica to Busovaca, and they too
16 were waiting for permission to be allowed free passage
17 towards Busovaca or towards Vitez. They waited to be
18 given permission from the BH army.
19 On the 10th of June, I heard, that is to say,
20 I received information that, in the course of the day,
21 the Tuzla convoy was expected to pass, and I still had
22 the situation with the refugees that I had. So in the
23 course of the 10th of June, the struggle began for the
24 defence of the parish of Grahovcici and Brajkovici and
25 the villages that were left in the Travnik
1 municipality, and throughout the day, the fighting went
2 on between the BH army and the HVO.
3 On that day, we had an armed conflict between
4 the members of the Travnik Brigade in the circle of the
5 logistics base in Stojkovici, and the conflicting sides
6 were two groups from the Travnik Brigade, from the
7 HVO. It was an internal conflict, in fact. Luckily,
8 there were no casualties, nobody was killed, but there
9 was a burst of gunfire, an exchange of fire, and the
10 two stands were confronted. The one side wanted to
11 leave, and the other side wanted to remain and become
12 engaged in the defence operation.
13 At that time, the civilian municipal
14 authorities of Travnik were not functioning,
15 practically not functioning at all at the time. The
16 soldiers also came in groups and they hurled threats
17 towards me and their own commanders and they thought
18 that we were responsible for the situation they had
19 found themselves in.
20 In Kakanj itself, a truce was signed on the
21 10th of June between the members of the BH army and the
22 members of the HVO. However, despite the cease-fire
23 agreement that was signed, fighting continued, so that
24 what had been signed was not implemented in practice.
25 In Vitez, on the 10th of June, there was a
1 new shock because a mortar shell, in the afternoon
2 hours, fell on the basketball terrain, killing seven
3 children and another child died later in the hospital
4 in the church in Nova Bila. This was a shock for the
5 citizens of the town of Vitez.
6 In Busovaca, in the town of Busovaca itself,
7 there were tank operations by the BH army and fire was
8 opened directly on the town itself.
9 At about 20.00 or a little before 20.00, I
10 was visited by the chief of the main staff in Nova Bila
11 at this command post there. Once again, he was
12 escorted by UNPROFOR. They were UN vehicles, Spanish
13 vehicles from Mostar. I once again referred to the
14 events and endeavoured to brief the chief of the main
15 staff as to all questions related to the topical
16 military situation, and I told him that with combat
17 operations of this kind that I had knowledge of the
18 fact that the Tuzla convoy was to pass through --
19 expected to pass through the Lasva River Valley.
20 I also asked him what had happened to the
21 changes that I sought earlier on with regard to the
22 military police. He answered that I would be informed
23 of this in due course, when something had been agreed
25 After a very brief stay, perhaps one hour,
1 Brigadier Petkovic started out with the intention of
2 stopping the convoy before it entered the Lasva River
3 Valley and that the convoy, in the course of the night,
4 should be stopped from going into the Lasva River
5 Valley because there were ongoing combat operations. I
6 lost all contact with him there
7 Later on, at 21.30 hours, I received
8 information that UNPROFOR, at the Kaonik checkpoint,
9 that a member of the HVO had been killed, Jozo Prusac
10 of Busovaca.
11 Several days later, Colonel Duncan told me
12 about this incident and apologised for the killing.
13 Q. Did Colonel Duncan apologise for the
14 killing? Did he tell you that an investigation would
15 be under way? Did he tell you which member of UNPROFOR
16 had performed this killing? Did he give you any
17 information of that kind?
18 A. No. It was a killing by the side of the road
19 of this member. He just apologised for the incident
20 having occurred and nothing else. Everything ended
21 with his apology, in fact.
22 Q. Please continue.
23 A. Fighting continued. There was artillery fire
24 in the town of Novi Travnik, and I received information
25 that in the village of Stojkovici, in Novi Travnik,
1 that in the primary school there 200 civilian Croats
2 had been detained.
3 After 21.30 hours, I received information
4 that in the convoy which was expected, that there were
5 about 300 motor vehicles.
6 I headed the defence of Travnik, of Novi
7 Travnik, and was at my command post there, and at about
8 24.00, I received a call from the doctor on duty in the
9 hospital put up in the church at Nova Bila, informing
10 me that problems had occurred in Trenica, at the
11 entrance, which was controlled by the HVO of the Novi
12 Travnik municipality, and that a convoy was attacked by
13 a mass of refugees and that they were looting the
14 convoy, and that there were wounded in the hospital,
15 and that there were more wounded within the composition
16 of the convoy who had not been pulled out yet.
17 I also, in the second half of the night,
18 received a call from Brigadier Petkovic, who told me
19 that he personally had been together with
20 Colonel Duncan, held up for two hours, detained for two
21 hours in the immediate vicinity of the convoy while the
22 mass of refugees of displaced Croats had attacked the
23 convoy, and looted the merchandise in the convoy, and
24 everything in the vehicle, and that he personally had
25 tried, together with Colonel Duncan, to organise
1 protection for the convoy, but that they themselves had
2 barely managed to extricate themselves from this unruly
3 mass of people.
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps we could
5 take a break there before we go on to the 11th of June,
6 1993, if you agree.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will adjourn and we
8 will reconvene at 2.30.
9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
3 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
4 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. We had stopped at the 10th of June, '93, and
6 I think that we should go on to the events of the 11th
7 of June, '93.
8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, at about 3.00 on
9 the 11th of June, 1993, Croats started arriving in Nova
10 Bila, together with members of the HVO and civilians
11 from the parishes of Brajkovici and Grahovici. Among
12 them were Croatian Muslim civilians who had
13 already been expelled from Croatian villages in the
14 region of Gornja Zenica by the BH army during the April
16 That morning, a total of some 5.000 civilians
17 arrived, refugees, and parallel with my duties
18 connected with the defence of the remaining territory,
19 I worked on finding accommodation for the incoming
20 refugees. The roads in the Lasva Valley were full of
21 civilians carrying the few household belongings,
22 personal belongings that they could take with them.
23 Attacks by BH army units were resumed against
24 the remaining areas of the Travnik municipality, mostly
25 from the direction Zenica towards parts of Pescara,
1 Nova Bila, and other settlements around Puticevo.
2 At 10.00, I was called up by the UN or,
3 rather, I received a call from the base of the British
4 Battalion. I was called by Mr. Thebault to come to a
5 meeting in the base. Before that, I received
6 information from the Military Intelligence Service to
7 the effect that the BH army had continued its attacks
8 on the HVO of Kakanj, and that there were many killed
9 civilians in Kakanj.
10 I arrived, having been invited by
11 Mr. Thebault to the UN base in Nova Bila where a
12 meeting was held, chaired by Mr. Thebault. Also
13 present was Colonel Duncan, and the subject of
14 discussion was removal of the consequences of the
15 attack on the convoy.
16 On that occasion, I was informed in greater
17 detail about this attack on the convoy, and during the
18 meeting itself I pointed out that I couldn't give
19 written guarantees for the passage of the convoy and
20 that I had proposed alternative routes which I
21 considered to have been far safer.
22 At the meeting, I also said that we were
23 constantly exposed to attacks by the BH army, and that
24 I was ready to put aside all my duties and personally
25 to visit all positions as requested of me by
1 Mr. Thebault to recover the drivers, the vehicles, and
2 the goods from the convoy.
3 Shortly after that, we left Nova Bila in the
4 direction of Vitez in armoured vehicles of the United
5 Nations. I was there, Mr. Thebault, and UNPROFOR
6 officers and soldiers.
7 I saw some dead civilians or, rather, bodies
8 in a truck when we made a stop. I think it was in a
9 part of Stara Bila, and I saw three soldiers, I think,
10 killed alongside the road.
11 Q. Whose soldiers were they?
12 A. They were wearing black uniforms, so I assume
13 they were members of the Vitezovi, but the bodies were
14 in such a position and I wasn't close enough to see any
15 insignia, but I assume that they were members of the
16 Vitezovi. What I am sure of is that they were wearing
17 black uniforms.
18 I also mentioned there was a dead driver in
19 that part of Stara Bila, near the facility Impregnacija
20 in Vitez. This is a major crossroads at the entrance
21 to the town of Vitez. I saw a large crowd of
22 refugees. There were women, children, soldiers under
23 arms, and I addressed them and tried to explain to them
24 that we were trying to regain possession of these goods
25 and that we wanted to pass, but there was a great deal
1 of anger expressed and aggression towards me so that I
2 didn't have a chance to explain to them what it is we
3 really wanted to do, nor did they show any interest in
4 hearing me out. They were embittered, and the
5 situation was highly uncertain and dangerous, and
6 Mr. Thebault himself said that this wouldn't be a good
7 idea to speak to such crowds.
8 I spent most of that day with Mr. Thebault
9 and other officers collecting remains from the convoy
10 and regaining control of objects from the convoy.
11 Q. Tell us, what did you think Mr. Thebault had
12 in mind when he suggested that you shouldn't go out and
13 speak to the crowd?
14 A. He meant that the situation was extremely
15 dangerous, and the large group of people on the road
16 were extremely aggressive, and there was a danger that
17 somebody might open fire and then the situation could
18 become even worse.
19 I spend the rest of the day working on the
20 collection of these objects from the convoy, and I know
21 that only a small number of vehicles were found, as
22 well as a small quantity of humanitarian aid. I think
23 that what we managed to find of the convoy continued
24 its journey, but I think that this was a negligent
25 amount compared to the total convoy which consisted of
1 some 300 vehicles.
2 Throughout that day, the BH army continued
3 its attacks, and it was mainly mopping up the
4 Travnik-Zenica road through Guca Gora, suppressing the
5 HVO units, pushing them back, together with Croatian
6 civilians, so that we were crammed into an even smaller
7 part of the enclave.
8 In the course of the day, permission was
9 given for the evacuation of 65 seriously wounded from
10 the church that was used as a hospital in Nova Bila,
11 but in the afternoon, information arrived that the
12 3rd Corps had annulled that permission so that we were
13 unable to carry out that evacuation.
14 On the 12th of June, '93, an attack was
15 launched on the BH army on members of the HVO, the
16 Stjepan Tomasevic HVO Brigade in Novi Travnik. In the
17 part of the front Mravinjac-Kamenjas which the Stjepan
18 Tomasevic Brigade had held in relation to the army of
19 Republika Srpska. The soldiers who were on the front
20 line were attacked from behind, and what happened was
21 that a rather strange situation occurred, and that is
22 that HVO members fled from what had, until a short time
23 ago, been their allies from the municipality of Novi
24 Travnik. They headed towards Donji Vakuf.
25 In the night or early in the morning of the
1 12th of June, just after midnight, the battalion
2 commander from this unit was killed, again in his
3 vehicle on the road, in an ambush. I am referring to
4 the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade.
5 On the 12th of June, the BH army gained
6 control of the entire Vlasnica plateau, that is this
7 feature here, this whole area here, so that it had
8 control over all the approaches to the Puticevo
9 crossroads and any movement on the main road, Novi
10 Travnik-Puticevo-Vitez, the part leading from Novi
11 Travnik to Puticevo.
12 We also received information from the
13 Military Intelligence Service, addressed to me, that
14 the command of the 309th Mountain Brigade of the BH
15 army from Kakanj had addressed an ultimatum to the
16 Kakanj HVO that it surrender and lay down their arms.
17 At 3.50, that is in the early morning of the
18 12th of June, '93, HVO soldiers started pulling out
19 from Kakanj towards Vares, and together with the HVO
20 soldiers about 15.000 Croats left Kakanj for Vares.
21 Q. General, you just mentioned that the HVO lost
22 three territories, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Kakanj,
23 and each time you say that the army is losing the
24 battle, retreating, and all the Croatian population is
25 following the army. Why do you think this happened?
1 Was that unusual or was it organised by anyone? Why
2 did it happen that when the army of an ethnic group
3 loses a battle the people go with it?
4 A. It was customary that as soon as HVO soldiers
5 started retreating, their families would retreat with
6 them. This is the consequence of a civil war. When
7 the local inhabitants are holding the front line just
8 in front of their villages or in their very villages,
9 and if the head of the family, the father or the
10 husband has to retreat, then his family follows him, so
11 that in all these cases, when soldiers retreated, for
12 instance, from Kakanj, with them went about 15.000
13 Croatian civilians to the area that still remained
14 under control of the HVO. In this case it was the HVO
16 Q. How do you view this situation? Was the BH
17 army, in your view, ethnically cleansing this area in
18 these three particular cases, or were the Croats
19 leaving of their own accord even before the BH army
21 A. The BH army was not ethnically cleansing this
22 area, it was attacking units of the Croatian Defence
23 Council, and the Croatian Defence Council units were
24 forced, because of the supremacy of the BH army forces,
25 to retreat, and the moment they retreated, the army
1 retreated, then the people, or, rather, the civilians,
2 would follow their army.
3 Q. Please continue.
4 A. In the course of the 12th of June, from
5 Zenica towards Busovaca and Vitez, 170 Croatian
6 families were sent, and again they waited at the
7 checkpoint in Lasva for permission from the BH army to
8 go on either to Busovaca or to Vitez. In the course of
9 the day, attacks continued by the BH army units along
10 the front lines in Busovaca.
11 On the 13th of June, 1993, the BH army
12 totally captured Rostovo, and the Croatian villages on
13 the slopes of Rostovo fell into the hands of the BH
15 Q. Which municipality does Rostovo belong to?
16 A. It belongs to the municipality of Novi
17 Travnik, the southern part of it, which links onto
18 Gornji Vakuf.
19 In the course of the day, I received reports
20 that the president of the presidency of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, had issued
22 an order on cessation of combat operations and that
23 UNPROFOR had been called upon to supervise and to
24 assist in the implementation of this cease-fire. This
25 report reached me in this form on the 13th of June,
1 1993. However, in the course of the day, the attacks
2 against HVO units in the Lasva pocket were intensified
3 and continued by the BH army so that our focal problem
4 continued to be the accommodation of the wounded
5 because we didn't have any room for the wounded
7 On the 14th of June, 1993, an order was
8 issued on a truce, and on that same day, the BH army
9 captured the last point, known as Gostun, which gave it
10 full control of the Travnik-to-Zenica road, so that
11 irrespective of Vitez and the Lasva Valley, it had a
12 road link from Zenica towards Travnik which was fully
13 under the control of the BH army.
14 Q. General, let us cast a glance at this new map
15 which still hasn't been admitted into evidence.
16 Could the registrar give us a number for this
17 new map?
18 Could you describe to us what is shown on
19 that map?
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. My colleague is
21 suggesting, Mr. Nobilo -- what is the number given to
22 this map, Mr. Registrar, exhibit number?
23 MR. NOBILO: We hung it up yesterday or the
24 day before, but we haven't tendered it into evidence.
25 We should now like to tender it into evidence. It is
1 just that physically it has been hanging there for two
2 days now. Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
4 General Blaskic, continue.
5 A. Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honour. I am
6 showing you Vitez (indicating) and this green circle
7 here is Stari Vitez or the Mahala area under the
8 control of the BH army. Then here is Busovaca and Novi
9 Travnik (indicating). Mr. President, Your Honours, it
10 says here Pucarevo, but that is actually Novi Travnik.
11 For a time it was called Pucarevo; today it is called
12 Novi Travnik. But this is an old map, so it is called
13 Pucarevo on the map.
14 This map shows that at the end of the combat
15 operations in June 1993, the HVO still had under its
16 control about 20 per cent of the territory of Novi
17 Travnik municipality, about 10 per cent of the
18 territory of Travnik municipality -- this is this area,
19 this part of Nova Bila here (indicating) -- and north
20 as far as Puticevo --
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. Could you point to the town of Travnik, where
23 it is and under whose control?
24 A. Here is Travnik (indicating). The town of
25 Travnik, since the 6th of June, '93, is under the
1 control of the BH army, and on the Travnik
2 municipality, this position, ever since the 11th of
3 June, 1993, that is to say, since the 11th of June,
4 '93, about 10 per cent of the territory remained under
5 the control of the Croatian Defence Council, and the
6 refugees from Travnik were also here in the surrounded
8 Vitez, the HVO still had control about 35
9 per cent of the territory of the Vitez municipality.
10 This is the narrowest part of the enclave. This here,
11 the peak, is held by the BH army, the Dzidica Kuce, and
12 later on we will see that attempts were made several
13 times to link these two areas.
14 The territory of Busovaca municipality, again
15 about 40 per cent of that territory was under HVO
16 control whereas this whole area was controlled by the
17 3rd Corps from Zenica, the 3rd Corps forces from Zenica
18 and the 6th Corps of the BH army whose command post was
19 in Fojnica, but Fojnica is not shown on this map.
20 Q. For the benefit of the transcript, will you
21 indicate what colours indicate what?
22 A. The blue line indicates roughly the front
23 line, the blue line.
24 Q. Within the blue line, who controls the
1 A. These positions (indicating) are under the
2 control of HVO units with the exception of Stari Vitez.
3 Q. Outside the blue line, we see some greenish
4 areas. Who controls those areas?
5 A. These entire areas are controlled by the BH
6 army forces, as I said, depending upon the time period,
7 parts of the 1st Corps, the 3rd, 6th, and 7th Corps of
8 the BH army.
9 Q. On this map, there are several words. Could
10 you please read out what they say?
11 A. Yes, it says Muslims' area, implying area
12 under the control of the forces of the BH army, and
13 over here again it says the Muslim area, which means
14 the area under the control of the BH army, and in the
15 centre it says Croatian area, meaning the area under
16 the control of the HVO in this enclave which was 1 to 6
17 kilometres wide and 10 to 12 kilometres long.
18 Q. This enclave, did it remain like this for
19 more or less until the Washington agreement?
20 A. It remained like this until the Washington
21 agreement, but in December '93, it was seriously cut
22 here towards Stari Vitez, and in January '94, it was
23 completely cut here at Buhine Kuce, but we will come to
25 Q. Did the HVO regain control of that?
1 A. Yes, they did, and the enclave remained more
2 or less in this shape until the signing of the
3 Washington agreement.
4 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Can we have the
5 exhibit number for this map?
6 THE REGISTRAR: D548.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, was it your
8 assessment that the BiH wanted to eliminate the HVO
9 from the pocket which you have described?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Contrary-wise, if the
12 HVO had achieved all its war aims, could you show us on
13 the map what area of territory the HVO would have
14 succeeded in acquiring or controlling?
15 A. Your Honour, I have always believed that the
16 joint position of the HVO and the BH army was
17 liberation of the territory in the zone of
18 responsibility of the 3rd Corps and Central Bosnia
19 Operative Zone, and this zone of responsibility
20 encompassed the Mount Vlasic plateau -- I don't have
21 the entire map here -- but it also included the town of
22 Jajce, it included Tesanj and Usora, I believe that
23 Doboj was also part of the zone of responsibility as
24 well as Maglaj. In other words, by joint struggle, we
25 would liberate the territory which was temporarily
1 under the control of the army of Republika Srpska.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I think I follow you.
3 I'm not quite certain, but I think so.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. General, let me follow up on Judge
6 Shahabuddeen's question. Based on what you knew,
7 according to the objectives which you had, who was your
8 enemy? Who was your enemy, you as commander of the
9 Operative Zone?
10 A. My enemy was the army of the Republika
12 Q. In what directions did your effort go?
13 A. I spent almost the entire month of August,
14 most of the month of August, in Jajce, in the village
15 of Blazevici, defending the town from the army of the
16 Republika Srpska.
17 Q. That was in 1992?
18 A. Yes. The rest of the time I spent at
19 Mescema, at Travnik, in a trench organising the defence
20 as well as in Maglaj, and personally, I focused on the
21 fighting against the army of the Republika Srpska.
22 Q. General, did you ever receive an order to
23 sort of complete the territory of Central Bosnia and
24 turn your weapons against the army of Republika Srpska?
25 A. I never received such an order.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me put this little
2 question to you, General: The BiH, according to that
3 map, was controlling certain territory.
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was there any part of
6 that territory which the BiH was controlling which the
7 HVO would have liked to occupy if they could?
8 A. From the 25th of June, this is the situation
9 on the ground, and occupying the territories at the
10 expense of the BH army, if we're talking about
11 liberation of particular areas, we wanted to liberate
12 such areas in order to resolve the issue of
13 communication lines but not the areas where the Bosniak
14 Muslims were, rather, the areas where the Croatians
15 were, such as this bottleneck which I pointed to.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You wanted to open up
17 certain lines of communication as distinguished from
18 your wanting to occupy any particular areas of
19 territory; am I reading you correctly?
20 A. Yes, that is correct. We wanted to open up
21 the lines of communication.
22 MR. NOBILO: Let me just point out. There
23 was an error in the transcript. It was either in the
24 interpretation or in -- my question was whether you
25 wanted to solidify the positions against the Serbs and
1 turn your weapons against the army of Bosnia and
3 A. No.
4 Q. Whereas the transcript reflects that you said
5 that your plan was to turn your weapons against the
6 army of Republika Srpska. So a correction needs to be
7 made in the transcript, but move on through the
8 chronology, please.
9 A. On 15th June, 1993, I sent a request to UNHCR
10 asking for assistance in food for the refugees in the
11 Lasva Valley, and for the displaced persons in Vares,
12 mostly the Croats from Kakanj who had been expelled to
14 Also, at 14.00 on 15th June, I was called to
15 a meeting at the UNPROFOR base in Bila. I was again
16 called by Mr. Thebault. This was a meeting of the
17 joint command of the armed forces of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina. This meeting was attended by
19 Mr. Thebault; Mr. Stjepan Siber, deputy chief of the
20 main staff of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Dzemo
21 Merdan, deputy commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH
22 army. Also attending was Filip Filipovic as member of
23 the joint command of the armed forces of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina. Also present was Franjo Nakic, chief of
25 staff and member of the joint command of the HVO and
1 the armed forces of BH respectively; and Zivko Totic,
2 member of the joint command of the 3rd Corps and the
3 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
4 In this meeting which was chaired by
5 Mr. Thebault, we waited until about 15.00 for the
6 commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army to appear.
7 That is Mr. Enver Hadzihasanovic. He was coming from
8 Zenica. As he did not show up, the meeting was
9 adjourned until the following day.
10 Later on, at 18.00, I had a meeting with an
11 official of the International Red Cross. I do not
12 recall his name, and I had not taken it down on my
13 notes, but the issues discussed were mostly the
14 refugees in Travnik, Novi Travnik, and in Vares. That
15 was the issue which we discussed there, and an
16 additional issue was inability to get the wounded
17 evacuated. I thought that we needed this permission in
18 order to evacuate the wounded from the church
20 Also, I pointed out that the 70.000 people
21 who were in the enclave only had two surgeons, and one
22 hospital, and six general practitioners.
23 On 16th June, 1993, the BH army continued
24 their attacks in the villages of Rudnik, Donja and
25 Gornja Pecina in the Travnik municipality were
1 attacked. That included about 300 homes. I received
2 information that there were 30 casualties and about 80
3 wounded as a result of this fighting in the area of
4 Novi Travnik.
5 Until 16th of June, a total of 448 soldiers
6 had been killed and the wounded numbered 1.550. This
7 is excluding civilians.
8 Q. Is this just among the HVO?
9 A. Yes. On 16th June, 1993 at 15.00, we held
10 another meeting at the UNPROFOR base in Nova Bila and
11 again Mr. Thebault chaired this meeting. The
12 participants were the same as in the meeting of the
13 15th, because, again, the 3rd Corps commander did not
15 In this meeting Mr. Stjepan Siber said the
16 following: "Due to the incident provoked by the BH
17 army against the HVO, we relieved local commanders of
18 their duties."
19 I responded to this comment by saying that
20 almost 60.000 civilians had been expelled, that the
21 fighting was widespread in Vitez, Busovaca, Travnik,
22 Novi Travnik, Kakanj, Fojnica, and that this was not
23 the work of individuals, nor were these incidents.
24 This is an organised offensive military operation,
25 which is strategic in character, conducted by the BH
1 army and is led by its supreme command from a forward
2 command post in Zenica, and I said that Senkovici,
3 which is a village in Novi Travnik, that in this
4 village about, oh, 150 to 200 people were held
5 prisoner, that 27 civilians were kept prisoner in
6 another village, and for Opara we did not have
7 information, that Croats had been expelled from 35
8 villages and that the BH army is not permitting
9 evacuation of the wounded.
10 This meeting was concluded without specific
11 conclusions and members of the joint command went
12 back. But from the point in time when Travnik was
13 occupied, Croatian members, that is members of the HVO,
14 had no access to the joint command headquarters. In
15 other words, they were unable to go there to attend
16 meetings and go on about their work.
17 MR. NOBILO: Could I please have the
18 Exhibit number D370 shown to the witness? While we're
19 waiting for it, perhaps we can take a break now.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Perhaps we could have our
21 regular break of 15 minutes. The hearing is
23 --- Recess taken at 3.20 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 3.40 p.m.
25 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. I
1 think Judge Rodrigues would like to ask three questions
2 to the witness.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Sorry for the microphone.
7 Thank you.
8 General Blaskic, before going on, I would
9 like to ask you three questions. You mentioned the
10 date of the 28th of May. You said that two houses of
11 two HVO officers were occupied by Croats; you
12 remember? There was one apartment and a house which
13 were used by two HVO officers and these two places were
15 A. Yes, I remember that.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My question is this: Do
17 you know if the individuals who occupied these houses,
18 or the apartment and the house, knew that these were
19 places where HVO officers lived?
20 A. Your Honour, I don't know whether they knew
21 or not, but I was informed that they were refugees who,
22 quite simply, had come there, occupied the apartment,
23 that is to say, the house.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well. Thank you. My
25 second question is the following: On the 12th of June,
1 you mentioned that there was a convoy of refugees; am I
2 right? You gave some explanations. Mr. Thebault told
3 you that it was not convenient to do this?
4 A. Perhaps if it was a matter of a convoy, the
5 humanitarian aid Tuzla convoy, I think I spoke of the
6 11th of June perhaps.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, the 11th of June.
8 You're right. Yes, it took place on the 11th of June,
9 but I think it was a convoy of refugees, wasn't it?
10 A. No, Your Honour. Perhaps it was interpreted
11 incorrectly. The refugees had blocked the roads, and
12 at the request of Mr. Thebault, I went to bring back
13 the convoy, so we came across this section of the road
14 that was blocked.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: All right. I'm sorry, I
16 didn't understand well what you said. However, I will
17 take this opportunity to ask you this question: These
18 refugees, were they Croats, Muslims? What was their
20 A. They belonged mostly -- that is to say, they
21 were mostly Croats.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I see.
23 A. Perhaps some mixed marriages, Your Honour,
24 but mostly Croats.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes. My third question is
1 the following: We've seen this map, document number
2 D458, and referring to this map, you said that the
3 enemy was always the army of the Republika Srpska.
4 A. That, for the most part, it was the army of
5 the Republika Srpska, but at one point it was attacked
6 and I was brought into this situation by the BH army,
7 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: It means that at that stage
9 you changed your position, or you still thought that
10 your main enemy was the army of the Republika Srpska,
11 or then you started thinking that the enemy was the BH
13 A. For me as a soldier brought into the position
14 of fighting for my life, biologically speaking in this
15 situation, for me the adversary was the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in that particular situation.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Okay. Thank you very
18 much. Thank you.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
21 Q. To follow on from that question, what was
22 your aim during peacetime? Did you have any idea that
23 things would end up as they ended up while there was
24 still peace?
25 A. You mean between the BH army and the HVO?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. Well, I think that the joint command of the
3 3rd Corps and the HVO for the Central Bosnia Operative
4 Zone, which worked until the beginning of the attack on
5 Travnik, that is to say, the 3rd of June, 1993, has
6 documents on a jointly planned operation against the
7 army of the Republika Srpska at Mount Vlasic, and we
8 took part in an elaboration of the plan to free
9 Vlasic. The 3rd Corps and the command of the Operative
10 Zone worked together on this plan. Franjo Nakic and
11 Dzemo Merdan worked together.
12 Q. Let us move on to document D370. I'm not
13 going to read all of it out, just parts of the
14 document. It's dated the 16th of June, 1993, and you
15 wrote it. It is your order to all the brigades and
16 independent units. I'm going to read the last
17 point: "Based on the General Agreement on cessation of
18 conflict in Bosnina and Herzegovina of 15 June 1993,
19 signed by Major-General Milivoj Petkovic,
20 Brigadier-General Ratko Mladic, and General Rasim
21 Delic, witnessed by UNPROFOR members Brigadier-General
22 Lars-Eric Wahlgren, deputy Chief of Mission Cedric
23 Thornberry and Brigadier-General Phillippe Morillon,
24 Commander of UNPROFOR for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 "I hereby order."
1 And now a series of points within that order
2 linked to the cease-fire, and I am going to read points
3 6, 7 and 8.
4 "6. To allow the passage of humanitarian aid
5 and freedom of movement to the representatives of
6 international humanitarian organisations along with the
7 usual control measures.
8 7. Electricity, water, and telephones should
9 not be used as weapons and efforts should be taken to
10 maintain all facilities supplying water and
12 8. Lists with all prisoners of war and any
13 of those killed under their authority should be sent to
14 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and the names of the
15 officers are stipulated and the telephone numbers.
16 9. All HVO units of Central Bosnia Operative
17 Zone are duty-bound by the Geneva Conventions of the
18 12th --"
19 We cannot read the month, but the year is
21 "-- and the additional protocols, as well as
22 other instruments pertaining to wartime law and the
23 protection of human rights.
24 10. For the implementation of this order,
25 the commanders of brigades and independent units of the
1 3rd Operative Zone shall be responsible to me."
2 The commander is Colonel Blaskic.
3 Tell us, please, General, under what
4 circumstances was this order issued and compiled?
5 A. The order came into being under the
6 conditions of a signed truce on a cessation of
7 hostilities on the basis of an agreement reached by
8 three commanders, that is, the commanders of three
9 armies, as can be seen, the chief of the main staff of
10 the HVO, then the commander of the Republika Srpska,
11 and the commander of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. I should like to show you another document,
13 D371. The document is D371, and it seems it was
14 written on the 19th of June, 1993, although the date is
15 not very legible, at 15.55, and the text reads as
17 "Pursuant to the agreement signed on
18 cessation of hostilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina --"
19 JUDGE JORDA: Can you hear anything? Good,
20 Yes. Very well.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. "Pursuant to the signed agreements on a
23 cessation of hostilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 dated the 10th and 15th of June and the agreement with
25 the opposite side, on the operationalisation of the
1 agreement from Vitez dated the 10th of June, 1993, I
2 hereby order:
3 1. To prevent the arrest of civilians as a
4 function of wartime operations in the form of taking
5 them prisoner and taking hostages and to weaken --
6 allegedly to weaken the enemy ..."
7 Something has been added here in writing by
8 hand, I cannot read it, it is illegible, but perhaps
9 you can read it because the copy is not a very good
11 A. Yes, that is my own handwriting, and it says
12 "... in towns and villages which are under the
13 exclusive control of the HVO of the Central Bosnia
14 Operative Zone."
15 Q. Thank you. I now go on to point 2 which has
16 been typed and is legible.
17 "2. To prevent the burning of facilities
18 and the destruction of material goods, especially to
19 protect religious facilities such as mosques, the
20 mejtefs, the vakuf, and the mezars.
21 3. Any appropriation of property should be
22 sanctioned and should be solved by military
23 disciplinary measures and through the prosecution and
24 the courts.
25 4. For the implementation of these orders,
1 the commanders of brigades shall be responsible to me
2 and the commanders of independent units, and I should
3 be informed as to the implementation of my orders."
4 It is signed Colonel Tihomir Blaskic.
5 Tell us, please, General, we have new
6 conflicts in June. Why did you order that civilians
7 cannot be taken prisoner? Isn't that something that is
8 common knowledge and prohibited by law?
9 A. Yes, it is common knowledge, but I have
10 already said that in this enclave, a large number of
11 refugees carrying weapons had arrived and with military
12 equipment and carrying little bags in their hands, and
13 there were incidents of various kinds because, as I
14 say, there were perhaps 20.000 or more displaced
15 persons, and I tried to enforce preventive measures in
16 order to rein in any of these incidents or reactions
17 that could have been expected from them towards the
18 Bosniak Muslims who still lived in the area of the
19 Lasva River Valley.
20 Q. Tell us, please, you asked that burning of
21 facilities be prevented as well as the destruction of
22 material property, this you said in point 2 of your
23 order, but you mention separately the religious
24 buildings. Could you explain in brackets whose places
25 of worship these were and to whom they belonged?
1 A. They belonged to the Islamic religious
2 community, and I separated them and highlighted them
3 because from the 3rd of June, there were various
4 rumours and information circulated that the BH army had
5 killed priests in the parishes of Brajkovici and
6 Grahovcici and that a church had been burned down and
7 so on and so forth, and it was already common knowledge
8 that the 3rd Corps had put some of its forces into Guca
9 Gora in the convent there, that they had taken it over,
10 and I tried to enforce preventive measures to stop the
11 reactions of Croats in areas controlled by the HVO and
12 retaliation and revenge for activities of that type.
13 Q. You enumerate four types of places of worship
14 of the Islamic religion. Can you tell us what they
15 represent? We know "dzamija" is "mosque." Can you
16 explain the other three terms you use?
17 A. Well, the mezars were the cemeteries, they
18 were cemeteries or graves, tombstones of Bosniak
19 Muslims. The mejtef, as far as I know, were the
20 buildings for worship, places of worship heretofore, as
21 well as vakufs. A vakuf is an area owned by the
22 Islamic religious community. Mosques, of course, are a
23 place, a house of worship where religious customs are
25 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sorry, Mr. Nobilo. I have
1 some questions about dates. I didn't note that the
2 cease-fire had been signed on the 15th of June;
3 however, the two documents that you've just presented
4 refer to a cease-fire signed on the 15th of June. You
5 mention that there was a cease-fire ordered by Alija
6 Izetbegovic on the 13th of June, and I noted on the
7 14th of June at 14.00 hours, there was a cease-fire as
8 well. So are you referring to the one of the 14th of
9 June, because on the 15th of June, you had a meeting
10 with Mr. Thebault, Enver Hadzihasanovic did not attend
11 this meeting, you're asking for some food aid to the
12 UNHCR, there was a meeting with the Red Cross as well.
13 So my question is: Was this cease-fire signed on the
14 15th of June? Maybe there's a mistake in my notes.
15 A. It is not an error, Mr. President, yours is
16 not an error. The general agreement on a cease-fire
17 was signed on the 15th of June, 1993, by the three
18 military commanders, and I know, according to my notes,
19 that there was also a meeting on the 10th of June of
20 the military commanders, but I do not know if they
21 signed an agreement on that occasion, or perhaps on the
22 10th of June they just had a meeting, and then the 15th
23 of June, agreement was a result of that previous
24 meeting. But the general cease-fire agreement was
25 signed on the 15th of June, 1993, and it is Defence
1 Exhibit 370.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. Perhaps we can explain in the following way:
5 Is there a notion of a general cease-fire agreement
6 between all three conflicting sides, the Serbs, the
7 Croats, and the Muslims, and whether there were
8 cease-fires between the Croats and Muslims?
9 A. First of all, there was a general cease-fire
10 agreement of the 15th of June between three hostile
11 parties, warring parties, and there was an agreement
12 between the Croats and the Muslims as well which was
13 signed I think in Vitez, but I can't see the date very
14 well here, whether it was the 10th or the 19th of
15 June. I think it was the 19th of June.
16 Q. Please go on with the chronology of events.
17 Then we may come back to this later.
18 A. On the 17th of June, 1993, in the morning at
19 about 6.55, the BH army continued its offensive
20 operations in the municipality of Novi Travnik and, at
21 about 8.00, the other areas of Travnik municipality.
22 In the course of the day of the 17th of June,
23 in the afternoon, I was visited by Colonel Duncan, and
24 I had a conversation with him when I thanked him for
25 providing security for Croats in Guca Gora and for
1 other things, and we also discussed the question of
2 civilian and military HVO casualties. According to my
3 records, from the 10th of June until the 17th of June,
4 '93, UNPROFOR forces had killed 17 Croats, both
5 civilians and military men.
6 Q. When you use this word in B/C/S, it means
7 both wounded and dead.
8 A. Some of them were wounded and died from the
9 consequences and some of them were killed, including
10 some Croats at the time of the attack on the convoy,
11 that is, the night between the 10th and the 11th of
12 June -- yes, June 1993.
13 In the course of this conversation, Colonel
14 Duncan asked me, and I quote, "Your HVO forces from
15 Prozor, are they going to make a breakthrough to the
16 Lasva Valley and lift the siege that you're in?" My
17 answer to Colonel Duncan was that he knew very well
18 that a truce had been signed between the BH army and
19 the HVO, and I also added that I didn't have any
20 information about any planned breakthrough from Prozor
21 into the Lasva Valley.
22 Q. On the basis of your overall knowledge, was
23 ever an attempt made to deblock and free the Lasva
24 Valley or, rather, the enclave in Central Bosnia by HVO
25 troops from the south of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Go on, please.
3 A. I also added at that meeting with Colonel
4 Duncan that I was aware that we were totally surrounded
5 and that our situation was virtually hopeless, and
6 Colonel Duncan said to me, "I do not believe that you
7 will be able to bear out," and that is how we ended
8 this meeting on the 17th of June, 1993.
9 On the 18th of June, the BH army continued
10 its attacks against the Frankopan Brigade or, rather,
11 against the remaining territory we held, that is, about
12 10 per cent of Travnik municipality, and throughout the
13 day there was fighting over the Pescara feature.
14 On the 20th of June, 1993, the BH army, via
15 Igman, repositioned the 101st and 102nd Brigades from
16 Sarajevo, or parts of those brigades, and formed an
17 operative group of the 6th Corps and parts of the 1st
18 Corps, and I received information that they would be
19 engaged in the continuation of the offensive.
20 At my morning briefing with my associates,
21 the chief of staff, Mr. Franjo Nakic, complained and
22 said that ever since the 11th of February, 1993, he was
23 working together with Dzemo Merdan in joint commissions
24 and the joint command and that his associates in the
25 staff were complaining because of his protracted
2 The period from the 20th to the 23rd of June
3 I spent at the Pescara feature, and these were days of
4 intensified defence. These are the positions marked
5 with the blue flag (indicating). This is the remaining
6 part of Travnik municipality that we still controlled.
7 Q. Would you show it, please?
8 A. (Indicating)
9 MR. NOBILO: Let us look at two other
10 documents from that period. The first is D372.
11 Q. This document, Exhibit D372, the date is
12 illegible, but one may assume it was sometime around
13 the 19th of June in view of the registration number,
14 and you say:
15 "Pursuant to agreements reached by the joint
16 command of the BH army, the commander of the 3rd
17 Operational Zone of Central Bosnia, and the commander
18 of the 3rd Corps of the BH army, I hereby issue the
19 following order:
20 1. Ensure unhindered passage of the convoy
21 of food to the village of Kruscica on the 21st of June,
22 1993, which will be escorted by the UNHCR, the
23 International Red Cross, and the European Monitoring
25 And then you go on to say that mines have to
1 be cleared and that the police have to make sure that
2 this is carried out.
3 Tell us, which forces were in Kruscica?
4 Whose forces were there and which ethnic group?
5 A. Most of the 325th Mountain Brigade of the BH
6 army from Vitez were there, as well as reinforcements
7 from the 308th Mountain Brigade from Novi Travnik, and
8 the majority population or, rather, the only population
9 living there at the time were Bosniak Muslims.
10 As for mines and other things, these were
11 mostly along the front lines, and the convoy was to
12 have passed across front lines held by the HVO and a
13 second front line held by the BH army.
14 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please, number
16 Q. So this is an order which is again not too
17 legible. I shall try to read the parts that are
18 legible. The document is D373. It has a date, the
19 21st June, 1993, and it is addressed to all brigade
20 commanders and wardens of military prisons. The
21 heading is "Treatment of Prisoners of War." And it
22 says: "Based on the provisions of the Geneva
23 Conventions of 12th August, 1949, which regulate the
24 treatment of prisoners of war, I hereby order:
25 1. The treatment of prisoners of war...,"
1 and then a couple of words are illegible and then it
2 says that, "...mistreatment, beating, and psychological
3 torture are forbidden."
4 Then in point 2 it says:
5 "2. I forbid the use of prisoners of war for
6 engineering projects on the territory, digging
7 shelters, trench cover-ups, road bunkers, et cetera.
8 3. I draw attention of brigade
9 commanders" --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, just a moment,
11 please. There's a problem of translation into French.
12 I prefer the translation I was given on the basis your
13 reading. It talks about engineering projects here, but
14 one can understand, though it is a big word, I prefer
15 the French. It is really not a question of large scale
16 engineering works, it is more engineers' projects, in
17 military terms.
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, that is what
19 it says here, engineers' projects. It is a military
20 term referring to the digging of trenches, shelters,
21 bunkers, and so on.
22 Q. So we come to point 3:
23 "3. The attention of brigade commanders and
24 military prison wardens is drawn to the fact that the
25 use of prisoners of war as a work-force for engineering
1 projects on the territory constitutes a war crime and
2 that an international court for war crimes has been
3 formed which will investigate and sanction such
5 4. I hold responsible brigade commanders and
6 wardens of military prisons for the implementation of
7 this order.
8 Commander, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
9 General, were you referring to this Tribunal
10 when you threatened your commanders with an
11 international court?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Had you then already received some
14 information? Why did you use this term? Why did you
15 refer to the fact that an international court had been
16 formed, in an order of this kind?
17 A. I had tried to act preventatively and to
18 exert pressure on commanders, fully aware of the
19 overall situation we found ourselves in, and I used all
20 means at my disposal to prevent violations of the
21 provisions of the Geneva Conventions and other
22 humanitarian laws and international war law in
23 circumstances I was in at the time in June 1993.
24 Q. Why then did you use this fact that the court
25 had been founded?
1 JUDGE JORDA: I just wanted to address myself
2 to General Blaskic. Did Colonel Duncan speak to you
3 about the formation of the Tribunal or Mr. Thebault or
4 did you learn from the media, from the press, about
5 it? Were you told by members of the UNPROFOR, by
6 Colonel Duncan, for instance, about the Tribunal?
7 A. As far as I know, Mr. President, I never
8 discussed this Tribunal with Colonel Duncan. I know
9 that the assistant for information had conveyed to me
10 the information that this Tribunal had been formed. He
11 must have heard it from the media. I have no record in
12 my notes that I spoke to Mr. Thebault about this
13 Tribunal either. From the press I couldn't learn about
14 it because there was no press at that time in our
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. So your officer for information and
18 propaganda activities informed you about this, but why
19 did you put that fact in this order? What was the aim
20 you were trying to achieve by threatening your
21 commanders with this Tribunal?
22 A. I wanted to prevent any acts which were war
23 crimes, because I said that my most important task was
24 to prevent a repetition of crimes, under those
25 circumstances, in the Lasva Valley.
1 Q. You're addressing this to brigade commanders
2 but also to the prison warden. Were you the superior
3 of the prison warden or did you write this to him on
4 some other grounds?
5 A. This is a preventative order. I just
6 asked -- I was just looking for a way of informing the
7 prison warden of my position and of my warnings. I was
8 not his superior. I was aware of that fact, that I
9 wasn't the superior of the prison warden, but I wanted
10 to inform the prison warden too of my personal position
11 and my position in relation to the International War
12 Crimes Tribunal.
13 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please, D374.
14 Q. This is another in a series of orders issued
15 on the 19th of June, 1993. It is addressed to several
16 addressees. I'm not going to read that out. Let me
17 just read two points from this order, which is the
18 substance of the order. First:
19 "I prohibit evictions of non-Croat
20 inhabitants from family homes and apartments in the
21 zone of responsibility of the 3rd Operative Zone of
22 Central Bosnia.
23 2. Provide maximum security for non-Croats
24 in towns and villages under the exclusive control of
25 the units and authorities of the Operative Zone of
1 Central Bosnia and of the HVO of the Croatian Community
2 of Herceg-Bosna," and you make commanders responsible
3 to you, mentioning the army, the HVO, the military, the
4 civilian police, et cetera.
5 What prompted you to issue this order? It
6 was not the first, but why did you issue this order on
7 the 19th of June, '93?
8 A. I have said that we had the problem of a
9 large number of exiles and that the civilian
10 authorities, even if it had functioned in the best
11 possible manner, it simply did not have the facilities
12 to accommodate so many refugees. So again, I tried to
13 act in a preventive manner and to prevent any action, I
14 could even call it attempts at revenge by Croatian
15 refugees towards non-Croats living in the areas under
16 the control of the HVO. These were, in most cases,
17 Bosniak Muslims, but there were also Serbs and there
18 were also Gypsies or Romanies.
19 We had also reached agreement within the
20 joint command to prevent any such activity, that is,
21 mutual expulsions, evictions and so on.
22 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please, D375,
23 dated the 21st of June, 1993.
24 Q. This is an order issued by the commander of
25 the 2nd Battalion of the Vitez Brigade, and on the
1 basis of the order of the commander of the Vitez
2 Brigade, he orders the following, I'm just going to
3 read out a couple of points:
4 "1. Prevent arrest of civilians and the
5 taking of hostages intended to weaken the enemy in the
6 areas controlled by units of the 2nd Battalion.
7 2. Prevent the torching of buildings and the
8 destruction of property, and in particular, protect
9 places of worship, mosques, mejtefs, vakufs, and
11 3. All appropriations and robberies must be
12 severely punished and dealt with by military
13 disciplinary measures, by the public Prosecutors'
14 offices, and the courts.
15 4. Do not permit any mistreatment of
16 prisoners and immediately make records of any such
17 mistreatment," and so on and so forth.
18 Do you recognise in this order a literal copy
19 of entire sentences from another order? What does this
20 tell you regarding the chain of command and the
21 transfer of orders?
22 A. Obviously, that the battalion commander here
23 has literally copied the order of the brigade
24 commander. If we were to take the order that was on
25 the ELMO a moment ago, then we see that this is a copy
1 of the same, that is, the battalion commander has
2 copied the brigade commander's order.
3 Q. In your view, whose order was copied?
4 A. In this case, my order. But our greatest
5 problem was with the implementation of orders. That is
6 where the difficulties arose. If we were to see on the
7 ground what the impact of this order was, we would see
8 the problems because I am familiar with the area of
9 responsibility of this battalion. It is, in fact, the
10 northern part of Vitez, which was most frequently the
11 target of attack by BH army units.
12 Q. Tell us, did you require that the order that
13 you issued at the level of the Operative Zone should be
14 implemented right down the chain of command and should
15 be conveyed to the soldier at the bottom of the line?
16 A. Yes. That can be seen from the documents.
17 When I asked that the order should be conveyed on to
18 the lower levels, with a signature, which would mean
19 that the battalion commander would have to sign to
20 confirm that he had received it and that he must have
21 the certification that the battalion commander had
22 received the order. I required the same procedure to
23 be applied right down the line, that the battalion
24 commander should insist that the low-level commanders
25 had received such an order and that they should confirm
1 it with their signature.
2 MR. NOBILO: Shall we have a break now?
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We're going to have a
4 15-minute break now. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 4.28 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 4.55 p.m.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume the hearing.
8 Please be seated.
9 Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. General, let's continue with the chronology
12 of events?
14 On the 23rd of June, 1993, I received
15 information from the chief of the Military Intelligence
16 Service that the president of the district military
17 court was wounded, this was Mr. Percinlic. There were
18 gunshot wounds to both of his feet. It was committed
19 by criminals by shooting at him from close range, from
20 several metres.
21 On the 24th of June, 1993, an all-out attack
22 by the BH army, that is, its 3rd Corps, was launched
23 against the HVO in Zepce, and this date was probably
24 picked up for a reason, with good reason, because that
25 was the day of pilgrimage to Zepce when most Croats go
1 to the Brankovac parish for the holiday of St. Ivo.
2 At 12.30, I had a meeting with
3 Mr. de la Mota, and he asked that I provide assistance
4 for the passage of a convoy which was destined for
5 Zenica through Vitez. I do not recall where the convoy
6 was coming from; I have not noted it down.
7 Q. Did you provide assistance for the safe
8 passage of this convoy?
9 A. Yes, I provided assistance, but I don't know
10 specifically where the convoy was coming from.
11 On the 26th of June, 1993, I had a meeting
12 with Mr. de la Mota --
13 JUDGE JORDA: This was in the zones under
14 your control, I assume? Yes?
15 A. Yes. To assist him with the passage of a
16 convoy through an area controlled by the HVO.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. Very well. Go on.
19 A. On the 25th of June, 1993, I had a meeting
20 with Mr. de la Mota, and he informed me that he had
21 difficulties in carrying out his duty.
22 Q. That he had problems with Croats?
23 A. Yes, with Croats. That his movements were
24 being monitored and that people were shouting at him,
25 that he was noticing a change of behaviour compared to
1 what the behaviour was before. I told him that the
2 Lasva Valley was full of refugees, that these are
3 desperate people, and that it would be good if he
4 addressed the population through the local media and to
5 explain what his mandate was and the nature of his
6 mission because these were mostly people who had been
7 driven out from Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Zenica,
8 these were Croats who probably did not know very well
9 what the mandate of the International Committee of the
10 Red Cross and the UNHCR and other international
11 institutions was.
12 I also told Mr. de la Mota that I had
13 personally organised a seminar for my staff in order to
14 inform them about the mandate of the international
15 institutions but that it would be much better and more
16 efficient if he himself could address the population of
17 the Lasva Valley through the local television. This is
18 what he did in the following days. He was a guest of
19 Vitez Television, and I think that his appearance there
20 and the explanations he gave at that time had an
22 I also pointed out a problem which by that
23 time had spread, and that was that whenever food
24 arrived through the international organisations in
25 Kruscica, after the convoy passed and carried out its
1 mission, the BH army from Kruscica almost, as a rule,
2 opened fire on the settlements around Vitez or Vitez
4 Q. How was this interpreted in the Lasva Valley?
5 A. What the people thought, how they understood
6 it was that these organisations had delivered
7 ordinance, ammunition, and they insisted that their
8 representatives monitor these deliveries so as to be
9 sure that along with humanitarian aid, no ammunition
10 was also being delivered. I even told Mr. de la Mota
11 that there is a good road from Novi Travnik to Kruscica
12 via Opara and that we could use that road for
13 deliveries to Kruscica if we were unable to resolve the
14 problem with the behaviour of civilians. I also asked
15 Mr. de la Mota to help provide assistance with delivery
16 of clothes, evacuation of wounded, and that he should
17 visit Vares, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Zenica.
18 On the 25th of June, 1993, early in the
19 morning, Sebesic was attacked, this is an area due
20 south-east of Novi Travnik, and the HVO lost its
21 positions there and pulled back in the direction of
22 Gornji Vakuf along with Croats from Sebesic, Ravno
23 Rostovo, and other areas. This evacuation of civilians
24 was assisted by the UNPROFOR from Vakuf who provided
25 protection for civilians as they were withdrawing.
1 In the course of 25 June, we were forced to
2 deploy some of the civilian police forces at the line
3 of defence so that only the chief of the police station
4 and an associate of his, a lady, remained in the police
5 station, and everybody else went to the front line.
6 In the area controlled by the HVO, a vehicle
7 was taken from a judge of the district military court,
8 and he himself was physically attacked and beaten up by
9 a gang of criminals.
10 On that day, I also received information that
11 Ivan Ravlic, the priest, was again detained and brought
12 to questioning by the SIS centre, and the priest came
13 to me himself and cried as he related the story of his
15 On the 26th of June, 1993, I received
16 information from the security service that a private
17 businessman in Vitez had manufactured a multiple rocket
18 launcher, and they kept it in their possession. I
19 ordered that this weapon be taken from them and that it
20 be given to the Vitez Brigade for use. This was later
21 carried out.
22 On the 27th of June, 1993, I asked for
23 information about single-barrel rocket launchers which
24 were also being produced in dozens, first in the
25 weapons factory in Travnik and then in Vitez. I was
1 informed by the commander of the Vitez Brigade, also on
2 the 27th of June, that this multiple rocket launcher
3 had been taken from this private group.
4 Also on the 27th of June, I attempted,
5 through the main staff, to learn what was going on in
6 Zepce and what the military situation in Zepce was.
7 On the 30th of June, 1993, I was informed by
8 the chief of the Military Intelligence Service that he
9 had information that the soldier Ivan Dzilic Bukal had
10 been taken as a prisoner of war in the Travnik barracks
11 and that he had been killed overnight and his body
12 taken to the front line and dumped there.
13 On the 1st of July, 1993, I requested
14 information about the investigation of the robbery of
15 the Tuzla convoy from the security service.
16 On the 3rd of July, there was shelling of
17 Vitez by the BH army with shells which had
18 additional chlorine filling.
19 Q. Did you in any way record this fact, that
20 chlorine was used as a charge in these shells?
21 A. We just had suspicions and we passed them on
22 to the UNPROFOR, and we also compiled medical
23 information on the basis of examination of the injured
24 and attached it to all the other information we had
25 gathered and sent it off to UNPROFOR.
1 On the 4th of July, 1993, I received
2 information from the Military Intelligence Service that
3 the BH army was grouping significant forces in the
4 village of Zivcici, which was in the Fojnica
5 municipality, and that it was bearing forces for
6 offensive operations probably in the direction of
7 Fojnica, and from the security service I was informed
8 that three members of the Vitezovi had committed
9 suicide while on duty with that unit.
10 On the 5th of July, 1993, I was informed that
11 the BH army had attacked the HVO units in the village
12 of Dezevice, this is in the municipality of Kresevo,
13 and that it had driven out both the HVO units and the
14 civilians also fled and arrived in the town of Kresevo.
15 On the 6th of July, 1993, I asked for the
16 involvement of the military police and the civilian
17 police regarding the killing of the interpreter.
18 Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the
19 killing of this interpreter and what happened?
20 A. Her name was Dobrila, and I think it was near
21 the officers' club of the UN forces. I think it was
22 near this UN officers' club in Nova Bila.
23 Q. Do you know any circumstances of this
25 A. She was killed by snipers from an area which
1 we assessed should have been demilitarised from the
2 24th of -- from April 1993, after the cease-fire was
3 agreed to.
4 On the 8th of July, 1993, the BH army carried
5 out an attack on the north-western approaches of the
6 town of Vitez from the direction of Zenica. Also,
7 about ten truckloads of soldiers arrived to the
8 positions at Grbavica; and on the 9th of July, I
9 received a report on the robbery of a Tuzla convoy, and
10 I asked for more detailed information because it was
11 just sketchy information, and this information reached
12 me through the security service.
13 On the 10th of July, 1993, the BH army again
14 attacked from the direction of Zenica on the town of
16 On the 11th of July, 1993, the BH army
17 carried out an artillery attack on the part of the town
18 of Novi Travnik controlled by the HVO. A civilian was
19 killed. On that day, I sent a written memorandum to
20 the chief of the main quarters of the HVO insisting
21 that he release the military police commander, that he
22 fire the staff, and that he carries out a
23 reorganisation of the military police, including giving
24 me the command of the military police.
25 On the 12th of July, 1993, our telephone
1 links with the UN were cut off, and according to the
2 information which I received, they were cut off in
3 Stari Vitez.
4 In the course of the day, I had a meeting
5 with the official of the UN Monitoring Mission. This
6 was Mr. Stavros. He transmitted to me the position of
7 Commander Alagic, in which Alagic asked of me to move
8 his positions in Puticevo forward at the expense of the
9 HVO by some 300 metres. I told Mr. Stavros that if I
10 was allowed, that I might as well give up the defence
11 of Novi Travnik because this would amount to a
12 surrender of Novi Travnik and Novi Travnik
13 municipality. So I could not agree to such a request,
14 and I let the representative of the European Monitoring
15 Mission know of that.
16 I also had a meeting with a representative of
17 the monitoring mission from Zagreb. I believe his name
18 was Deer or something like that, I'm not sure. He
19 asked me to give him an update on the situation in the
20 Lasva Valley.
21 At 19.00, I received information from Nakic
22 on the activities of the joint command, which had
23 resumed its work based on the agreement of June 1993.
24 On the 14th of July, 1993, I asked an
25 investigation from the security service regarding the
1 killing of the Mujkic family from Vitez.
2 Q. What ethnic group were the Mujkics?
3 A. They were Bosnian Muslims.
4 And on the 15th of July, 1993, at 9.00 in the
5 morning, the BH army opened artillery fire as well as
6 tank fire at the centre of Vitez.
7 During the day, I also asked for
8 investigation of the murder of Ciklas, and learned that
9 Radinko Skoro, Mirko Kvasina, and a man last named
10 Jotland (phoen), I don't have the first name, were
12 Q. And the victim was a Bosniak Muslim?
13 A. Yes, the victim was a Bosniak Muslim and the
14 perpetrators were Croats?
15 Q. We need to slow down because the interpreters
16 and court reporters are not able to keep pace.
17 A. On 16th July, 1993, I was told that the HVO
18 had lost its positions in Fojnica and that the HVO
19 units had pulled back from Fojnica, along with the
20 civilians, and that they had pulled back into the area
21 of Kresevo and Kiseljak to the areas controlled by the
23 In the course of the day of 16 July there was
24 another attack against Dominik Sakic, HVO president in
25 Zenica, and Zivko Totic. They were attacked and
1 physically abused. Persons called Zaga, Jole, and
3 On the 17th of July, 1993, the BH army
4 launched an artillery attack against Vitez but I have
5 no information on casualties, but I have recorded that
6 there had been casualties. Also, BH army had offensive
7 operations in Novi Travnik and Zepce. I asked for
8 information from the security service about what
9 measures were taken against the attackers on Sakic, and
10 Totic, and the Tuzla convoy attack.
11 On 21 July, 1993, I again requested an update
12 on the investigation of the security service regarding
13 the Mujkic family murders.
14 On that day, early in the morning, we had an
15 attack against the villages of Zabilje and the northern
16 defence line of Vitez and parts of the Novi Travnik
18 On the 22nd of July, 1993, sometime after
19 12.00, strong explosions could be heard in the
20 explosives factory. A large amount of explosives had
21 exploded spontaneously in an area called Susine.
22 Fortunately, there were no casualties.
23 I contacted Lido Dragan Kvasina, who
24 was a legal advisor, and I was looking for legal
25 assistance even though it was not proper for me to do
1 so, but I wanted him let me know about the legal
2 proceedings, disciplinary measures, and maintenance of
3 law and order. What I wanted was for him to organise
4 seminars so that we would educate our staff about
5 disciplinary measures and of processing of disciplinary
7 Q. The name of the legal advisor whom you hired
8 on your own?
9 A. His name was Dragan Kvasina.
10 Q. Did anybody else in any other Operative Zone
11 have such a staff position?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did he start working for you?
14 A. On that day he started work. He was a
15 disabled person and he wanted to work, and I had need
16 for such a person.
17 Q. And did he, from that moment on, become a
18 member of the headquarters of the staff?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Go on, please.
21 A. On that day, there were attacks on Novi Vitez
22 and Travnik by the BH army, and this period is -- can
23 be characterised by these offensive operations, but it
24 was predominantly artillery attacks and less infantry
1 I also received information and transmitted
2 it through the liaison officer to the UNHCR of the UN
3 that the hospital in Pakovici was without water
4 supplies and that the safety of about 520 patients was
6 Q. Colonel, let me stop you here for a moment
7 and take you back to a document that was issued on 20th
8 June, 1993. We have it in all three versions, in all
9 three languages, and I would like it distributed
10 appropriately. This is the best copy.
11 MR. NOBILO: Can we have the number of the
12 exhibit, please?
13 THE REGISTRAR: 549, 549A for the French
14 version, and 549B for the English version.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. Let me read the document. It is a short
17 one. The Croatian Defence Council, Vitez, 20th of
18 June, 1993, and the heading is "Certificate."
19 "Whereby the special purpose unit Vitezovi,
20 PPN Vitezovi" --
21 "Certificate: Whereby the Vitezovi, the unit
22 for special purposes, confirms that the apartment at
23 Marshall Tito Street, number B-4/22, occupied by Mahmut
24 and Javra Tuco shall not be appropriated and that the
25 same people will continue to use it. This certificate
1 is issued for the purpose of protection against
2 eviction. Colonel Darko Kraljevic," and a stamp which
3 says, "Defence Department, Special Purpose Unit
4 Vitezovi, Vitez." Above that it says, "Croatian
5 Community of Herceg-Bosna."
6 General, do you recognise this signature it
7 says here of Colonel Darko Kraljevic?
8 A. Yes, I do recognise his signature.
9 Q. Is this his signature?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Is this the stamp that he used?
12 A. Yes, that is his stamp, the stamp of the
13 Special Purpose Unit Vitezovi.
14 Q. What about Mahmut and Javra Tuco? What
15 ethnic group do they belong to?
16 A. They are Muslims, Bosniaks. The Tuco family
17 is a family whose name I know from Vitez.
18 Q. Could you explain to the court how did it
19 happen that a special purpose unit, the Vitezovi or,
20 rather, Colonel Darko Kraljevic, decide who would be
21 evicted or who would not be evicted from his own
22 apartment? Could you explain that?
23 A. This was behaviour contrary to my orders, and
24 even this certificate is an indication of his autonomy,
25 and independence, and the fact that he engaged in
1 activities beyond his sphere of competence, because the
2 Tuco family are probably not his soldiers, and a
3 military commander has no competence regarding the
4 confiscation or return of apartments of civilians. At
5 least I was never aware of any such authority.
6 Q. What does such a certificate tell you about
7 the position of Darko Kraljevic and how he was treated
8 by the civilian authorities?
9 A. It is certainly a reflection of his power and
10 his complete independence of any other institution.
11 Q. What do you think: If Darko Kraljevic were
12 to protect somebody for some reason, would this be
13 respected? For instance, could these people be evicted
14 after such a certificate?
15 A. No. This is the most powerful document for a
16 family who had possession of it. It gave that family
17 complete protection.
18 MR. NOBILO: Please continue with the
19 chronology or perhaps we could close there.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Have you finished with the 22nd
21 of July?
22 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
23 JUDGE JORDA: With the document or do you
24 have more questions about the 22nd of July? Perhaps
25 let us finish off with that day.
1 MR. NOBILO: No, no more questions about the
2 22nd of July or this document.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. In that case, we
4 are going to adjourn for various and multiple reasons.
5 First of all, the health of General Blaskic.
6 Were you able to see the nurse this morning?
7 Were you treated this morning? Did everything go
9 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President, for
10 your inquiry. Yes, I was treated for my eye. Thank
12 JUDGE JORDA: Tomorrow morning the Chamber
13 will still be dealing with the Blaskic case but without
14 Mr. Blaskic, so you will have a long weekend. On the
15 other hand, some Judges are engaged in another case on
16 the 22nd and the 23rd of this month, so we'll continue
17 with the Prosecution tomorrow morning at 9.30.
18 Is that right, Mr. Registrar?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Secondly, as regards the
21 continuation and the position of the accused as a
22 witness, we will resume on Wednesday (sic) the 23rd at
24 Mr. Hayman? Yes, Mr. Hayman? So we will not
25 be sitting on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
1 MR. HAYMAN: I'm just slightly confused,
2 Mr. President. The 23rd is Tuesday. The transcript
3 says, "Wednesday the 23rd," and the schedule we've been
4 given is we will be sitting in the afternoon on
5 Tuesday, the 23rd. Is that not correct?
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, quite correct. That is
7 what I just said, 2.30 p.m.
8 MR. HAYMAN: The English translation is we
9 would continue on Wednesday --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Slip of the tongue.
11 JUDGE JORDA: No. I think that the reporters
12 are this tired, as General Blaskic, as the Judges, as
13 you, for that matter.
14 We will be resuming on Tuesday the 23rd at
15 2.30 rather than 2.00, because one of our colleagues
16 will be sitting all morning in another case.
17 Therefore, the hearing is adjourned.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
19 at 5.32 p.m., to be reconvened on
20 Tuesday, the 23rd day of March, 1999
21 at 2.30 p.m.