1 Wednesday, March 24th, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Good morning
5 to the interpreters, the counsel for the Prosecution,
6 the counsel for Defence. I should like the registrar
7 to bring in the witness.
8 (The accused/witness entered court)
9 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the accused,
10 who is also the witness. I should like to remind you,
11 for the benefit of the public, that we are in a stage
12 of the proceedings when General Blaskic, who is the
13 accused, is also a witness under oath.
14 Mr. Nobilo, you may begin.
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
17 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
18 Q. We had left off at the 23rd of July, 1993,
19 but we omitted one event which took place on the 18th
20 of July, 1993, and this was an attack on Stari Vitez.
21 Can you tell us what you know about this event which,
22 as I said, took place on the 18th of July, 1993?
23 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, on the 18th of
24 July, 1993, I was in Busovaca, and I was attending holy
25 mass, followed by lunch with the parish priest in his
1 house in Busovaca. I returned sometime around 18.00 to
2 Nova Bila, to the forward command post there, and there
3 I was informed that there were offensive operations on
4 Stari Vitez carried out by the special purpose unit of
6 I called the Vitezovi special purpose unit
7 commander, Mr. Darko Kraljevic, and he informed me that
8 it was correct that they had carried out an attack --
9 that members of his unit had carried out an attack on
10 Stari Vitez under his command, and the objective of the
11 attack, in his words, was to eliminate the positions of
12 the BH army at the facility of Remiza and the
13 facilities facing the Catholic church in order to open
14 up this area between the Catholic church and these
15 facilities for traffic.
16 After I received this information from
17 Kraljevic, I warned him that this was an activity which
18 he had undertaken wilfully, that is, that it was
19 against my own orders prohibiting wilful actions, and I
20 requested a written report by the Vitez Brigade, and I
21 received a written report by the commander of the Vitez
22 Brigade, which was identical to what Commander
23 Kraljevic had stated, that is, that the special purpose
24 unit Vitezovi had come to the line of defence manned by
25 the Vitez Brigade members and, from those positions,
1 carried out offensive actions without previously
2 notifying or informing the commander or the command of
3 the Vitez Brigade.
4 In this attack, we had many casualties in the
5 HVO, that is, the special purpose unit did, and I was
6 informed that somewhere between 13 and 14 -- 13 to 15
7 soldiers had been killed. Also included in this
8 information which I received from the Vitez Brigade,
9 was that the Vitezovi and their commander had believed
10 that by carrying this attack across a clearing from a
11 direction where the BH army would not expect any
12 attack, they would surprise them because this was an
13 open, flat, clear space.
14 Q. In your view, was this kind of attack carried
15 out according to the military doctrine, logic, and was
16 it a professionally carried out attack?
17 A. Unfortunately, this was -- this attack was
18 miscarried, so to speak, because had the special
19 purpose unit managed to take Remiza and push back the
20 BH army, it could not hold this position because this
21 was a clearing. There were no access or approach
22 roads, and it was clearly impossible to resupply, to
23 bring in reinforcements, to access this position. So
24 from the military standpoint, this chosen area of
25 attack was very risky and practically impossible, and
1 which is why it also resulted in large casualties.
2 Q. When you came back at about 18.00, was the
3 attack still in progress?
4 A. No. I passed by going to Nova Bila, and
5 there was sporadic exchange of fire, which was a
6 normal, regular thing at the time, nothing that
7 resembled a major attack.
8 Q. So you said that, in a single day, there were
9 13 to 15 casualties among the HVO in Stari Vitez, so
10 that was a dark day for that unit and for the HVO. Did
11 the people blame Darko Kraljevic for this or did
12 they --
13 MR. KEHOE: If I can interrupt at this point,
14 if counsel can stop inserting his own factual
15 statements, such as he just did, and just ask
16 questions, I feel that early in the session, if we just
17 cut it off now and deal with questions, it will be more
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It was a statement which
20 was not of the nature to provoke an objection, I
21 think. He just said that this was not a very
22 favourable day for the HVO, but do try to avoid any
23 such commentaries, Mr. Nobilo.
24 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. When asking
25 such questions like "Did somebody blame Darko Kraljevic
1 for this," in that question, I just wanted to make the
2 point of what he was blamed for. The point was that he
3 was an unsuccessful operation, and who was to blame for
4 it, so this was the gist of my question.
5 Q. Let me ask you directly, specifically: Was
6 somebody blamed publicly for the failure of this action
7 and the losses incurred?
8 A. Yes. The failure of these actions and the
9 heavy losses sustained in this were blamed on me
10 because it was said that I had not approved the use of
11 artillery in supporting the attack, so I did not
12 approve artillery support of the attack.
13 Q. But what had actually happened? Did you
14 receive a request for artillery support?
15 A. No, I did not receive it at all, but perhaps
16 the wider public knew about my position, which I
17 expressed on the 25th of May, 1993 at the session of
18 the municipal civilian government, this was in the
19 morning session at 10.00, and I expressed my view that,
20 from a military standpoint, this type of operation did
21 not have any sense because it would incur a lot of
22 civilian losses, a lot of human loss, and would cause
23 great destruction, because we would not have been able
24 to distinguish between civilian and military targets,
25 and we could not guarantee the security for the
1 civilians who lived in the area.
2 Therefore, the assertion was made and spread
3 in the public that this was my fault because my
4 position was well known. I disapproved of the idea of
5 shelling Stari Vitez, and no one could start any
6 artillery support or fire without my approval.
7 Q. What is your opinion? Why did Darko
8 Kraljevic, without your knowledge, want to carry out
9 this offensive operation in Stari Vitez?
10 A. I can assume that he probably had certain
11 motives for this. He was a local man, and he had a
12 great reputation and influence in Vitez. Since the
13 position of the Operative Zone command and my personal
14 views were well known, and the Vitez Brigade command,
15 that there will be no offensive operations against
16 Stari Vitez, perhaps due to the great casualties and
17 losses which the population in Vitez sustained from the
18 sniper fire and mortar fire coming from Stari Vitez,
19 Darko Kraljevic may have wanted to prove himself or to
20 prove that there was a military solution for the area
21 of Stari Vitez, and he may have wanted to demonstrate
22 that he was able to solve this problem to the
23 satisfaction of the general population in Vitez.
24 I mean, this is my assumption, but what his
25 real motivation was, I cannot state very accurately.
1 Q. Did anyone from the International Community
2 or the BH army explain to you about the losses and
3 suffering and casualties on the other side?
4 A. No. According to my notes, nobody
5 transmitted such information to me, and I do not have
6 any complaints registered in my notes regarding this
8 Q. After you received this information from the
9 Vitez Brigade and Darko Kraljevic, what did you do?
10 A. With respect to all the information received
11 by the Vitez Brigade and the duty officer's report on
12 this, I merged all this information and sent it to the
13 main headquarters. I said that this was a wilful
14 action undertaken by the commander of the special
15 purpose unit, and I transmitted everything I knew to
16 the main headquarters in Mostar.
17 Q. Very well. Let me take you back to the
18 chronology. We are now at the 27th of July, 1993.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo. It is
20 an important point, and I should like us to go back to
21 it. What was the follow-up to all this? What happened
22 afterwards? Or do you intend to come back to it later
24 MR. NOBILO: No, Mr. President. This
25 operation was completed, no witnesses were ever
1 informed of any casualties on the other side, only the
2 HVO side, and this was just a one -- and then the
3 information was sent back to the main headquarters in
5 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but what happened then?
6 What did General Petkovic do? Or are we going to talk
7 about it later?
8 General Blaskic, do you intend to comment on
9 that? General Blaskic, an operation like this, the
10 commander is responsible, and I cannot be satisfied by
11 waiting. Perhaps you will tell me later, whether
12 Mr. Nobilo will present later the response of General
13 Petkovic. Otherwise, this system doesn't work. You
14 have a special unit that starts an operation in the
15 middle of the war. You inform the headquarters about
16 this. Are you going to speak about the response you
17 received from the main headquarters later on or tell me
18 straightaway? Otherwise, if we just proceed in this
19 way with the dates, the Judges will lose sight of this
20 very important episode. This was your responsibility.
21 You were head of the Operational Zone. If you accepted
22 it, you are responsible. If you did not accept it, you
23 reacted. What did you do? Or will you come back to
24 that later?
25 A. Mr. President, I had already issued an order
1 prohibiting wilful actions, and the special purpose
2 unit, in the chain of command, was directly
3 subordinated to the main headquarters in Mostar. I
4 assumed that General Petkovic had informed the head of
5 the defence department about this. This was obviously
6 a gross violation of discipline and perhaps even a
7 criminal act committed by this commander, but I had no
8 authority to start any disciplinary proceedings against
9 this commander because he was not directly subordinated
10 to me in the chain of command.
11 JUDGE JORDA: He was not subordinated, but
12 still, you often gave orders to the Vitezovi, I think.
13 I saw orders, I think I saw orders, addressed to the
15 A. It is correct, Mr. President, for a while he
16 was attached; in other words, I had operational command
17 over him and I was authorised to issue orders to him.
18 However, I was not his superior in the chain of command
19 like I had command over the units which were directly
20 subordinated to me. However, later on, in the
21 subsequent period, the units which we had talked about
22 which were a product of an unnatural state, which is
23 something that was there for a long time, were finally
24 dissolved. I had double command duty or twofold
25 command duty at that time.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. If that is all you
2 have to say, let's just continue with the chronology.
3 There is nothing more that I can say.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. General, can you just say on whose initiative
6 the Vitezovi unit dissolved and how did that come
8 A. It happened on my initiative, an initiative
9 which I communicated to the commander of the main staff
10 on several occasions, both orally and in writing, and
11 they were finally dissolved and then they were placed
12 under my direct command on the 15th of January, 1994.
13 Q. In the case when a unit was not directly
14 subordinated to you, like the Vitezovi, if they violate
15 discipline, what was your legal authority?
16 A. I could call the unit commander and ask him
17 to impose disciplinary measures himself and to inform
18 the chief of the main staff who was then to inform the
19 head of the defence department of this infraction. I
20 had no authority to punish or relieve of duty this
21 commander because these units were under the direct
22 control and command of the defence department.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, when you called
24 upon Darko Kraljevic for an explanation and when he
25 gave you an explanation, did it occur to you that you
1 were exercising some authority over him?
2 A. He informed me mostly as somebody which was
3 on his own level, equal to himself, and he said, "Yes,
4 I did that," and so on and so forth, and he told me
5 what had happened, but I never felt this dose of
6 superior-inferior, this superior-inferior
7 relationship. He was a colonel and I was a colonel by
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Didn't you indicate to
10 him that your position was that such attacks should not
11 take place without your approval?
12 A. I made him aware of that through my order
13 D360 and 361, and precisely to avoid this sort of
14 self-will, Your Honour, I sent it to him as well, which
15 meant that it referred to his unit as well. But,
16 unfortunately, in principle, he had his own
17 explanations as to his position with regard to the
18 Operative Zone, and in writing he sent his stand,
19 expounded in writing in January 1993 to the command of
20 the Operative Zone in which he stated that he was quite
21 independent, autonomous, and directly subordinate to
22 the ministry of defence.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Nobilo, have we got
24 that document in evidence?
25 MR. NOBILO: Unfortunately, we do not have
1 it, no.
2 JUDGE JORDA: If I understand well, General
3 Blaskic, ever since January '93, you knew that you
4 could not control Mr. Darko Kraljevic, at least you
5 were warned of this, and like Judge Shahabuddeen, I
6 would like to see that document. So it is now six
7 months that you knew that there was a commander of a
8 brigade called the Vitezovi which was not functioning
9 under your command, so you were not astonished. At
10 least we must give him credit for having warned you of
12 A. Mr. President, that is a general problem
13 regarding the organisation of the HVO, and there were
14 special purpose units set up, they were
15 ex-territorial --
16 JUDGE JORDA: I know all that, you have told
17 us that, but we are at the heart of the problem. We
18 see well that your command structure was not a
19 classical one. But here you have an illustration, a
20 dramatic, tragic example, with 13 to 15 dead, of the
21 serious dysfunctioning of your command. You warned
22 General Petkovic, and I assume that you asked that
23 Darko Kraljevic be court-martialled immediately or
24 dismissed or something. I assume you must have done
25 something like that.
1 A. Yes, I said that it was a disciplinary
2 transgression and that measures should be undertaken
3 against the commander of the unit.
4 JUDGE JORDA: This is not a disciplinary
5 offence. You're a military man; you completed the
6 military academy. We're in a state of war. Somebody
7 who commits a disciplinary offence is somebody who goes
8 out without permission. That is not a disciplinary
9 offence. It is a commander who launches an operation
10 contrary to your wishes. He warned you since January
11 '93 that he was independent of you, the consequences
12 are tragic, and I personally would ask General Petkovic
13 that he immediately be suspended, and you didn't do
14 that. You asked for disciplinary measures, eight days
15 of detention. I am waiting with impatience for the
16 answer of the chief of staff of the HVO, General
18 Do we have this document, this letter, I
19 think, Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo, the letter whereby
20 General Blaskic informs General Petkovic of this? Has
21 it been tendered?
22 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we do not have
23 the letter. We do not have any of the correspondence
24 between the Operative Zone and the defence department
25 or main staff. All the documentation going upwards
1 towards the higher structures were not accessible to
2 the Defence counsel, so we were not able to come by
3 those documents. We were blocked. So we have no
4 documents from the main staff which represents a link
5 between Blaskic and the main staff. On a daily basis,
6 General Blaskic sent two reports every day. None of
7 these reports were we able to come by.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Nobilo, I would like to
9 ask a question of General Blaskic.
10 You told us that the Vitezovi were attached
11 to your command or resubordinated to you. Could you
12 tell us something about the time frame? What was the
13 period during which the Vitezovi were attached to you,
14 something like you said for the military police?
15 A. Your Honour, the Vitezovi were attached to me
16 in the case of a general attack by the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the HVO, and that was the time
18 from the 15th onwards. As attachment is an act which
19 implied the right to use the unit in combat and to
20 assign duties but without other command authorisations,
21 I considered that they were resubordinated to me, and
22 that during the attack of the 3rd Corps, while that was
23 ongoing, and the commander of the Vitezovi considered
24 that the attachment process had been completed with the
25 act of signing an agreement on a cease-fire, which was
1 somewhere around the 24th, and so he had his own
2 explanation and I had my explanation and
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I didn't quite understand
5 you. You said since the 15th. Of which month?
6 A. From the 15th of April, I received from the
7 chief of the main staff an oral order that in case of
8 an all-out general attack, the Vitezovi would be
9 attached to me.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So this was the same order
11 as for the military police.
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question: In this
14 period of time, the commander of the Vitezovi obeyed
15 you, obeyed your order, or not?
16 A. He had a selective approach to my orders. So
17 if he considered or if his positions coincided with the
18 duties that I assigned him, then he would carry them
19 out. If not, then he would not carry them out, or he
20 would carry them out as he saw fit.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So one can conclude from
22 this that he did not obey, he did not follow your
23 orders, because he was the one who chose whether he
24 would obey your orders or not.
25 A. Well, he was in a position of this kind
1 because the organisation, as it was set up, allowed him
2 to choose. Parallel to me, he had logistics, he had
3 the administration, and everything else, and he was
4 completely independent of me. I told you earlier on
5 that what happened at times was that he would get an
6 order, he would go to Stolac, to the front line, for
7 example, at a time when the town of Jajce was falling,
8 and I had no information of this at all, neither did I
9 know that he went, I did not know that his men had
10 gone, I knew nothing.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So under those conditions,
12 what did you do? You received an order from the chief
13 of the main staff attaching the Vitezovi to you. You
14 found that the head of the Vitezovi was not obeying
15 you. What did you do, confronted with this situation?
16 A. All the daily activities, and I'm just
17 speaking about the daily activities where extraordinary
18 events of this kind occurred, I would inform the chief
19 of the main staff and would request that measures be
20 taken to effect a reorganisation of forces of this
21 kind, that is to say, that the command structure be
22 changed and that they be reorganised and directly be
23 subordinated to me, that is to say, to be within the
24 structure of command of the Operative Zone of Central
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you receive from the
2 chief of the main staff any hope that such a situation
3 would not persist, because there was an attachment
4 which wasn't functioning, actually?
5 A. Your Honours, unfortunately, and this will be
6 borne out by the chronology of events later on, in the
7 ensuing period, I was to get two new chiefs of main
8 staff, so I had to repeat everything that I had written
9 to the previous chief of the main staff, so I had to
10 write this once again to the new chief. But, luckily,
11 I got that. Of course, today, from the time distance
12 that exists, it seems a long time, but in the wartime
13 conditions, that was how it was. I received approval
14 from the defence minister and the chief of the main
15 staff to dismantle units of this kind and to form a
16 unit which would be directly subordinate to the
17 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. I
18 received that approval on the 15th of January, 1994.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, you referred to
21 daily activities. In the case of the military police,
22 there was a provision which said something to the
23 effect that, insofar as concerned military duties as
24 distinguished from combat duties, they were subject to
25 your authority. Was there such a provision in the case
1 of the military police?
2 A. Yes, Your Honour, there was such a provision
3 for operative daily tasks of the military police, but,
4 once again, this was a servicing, so to speak, which
5 meant that I had the right to use them for daily tasks
6 without command authorisation over the units directly
7 subordinated to me.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was there a similar
9 arrangement in the case of the Vitezovi? Did you have
10 normal authority over the Vitezovi in respect of daily
11 activities as distinguished from combat duties?
12 A. No, Your Honours. That was a unit which was
13 formed by the defence department, and it was directly
14 subordinated in the entire control and command, it had
15 its logistics, its cadres, its finances, absolutely all
16 the services coming from the defence department, and
17 this was differentiated from the police. The defence
18 department could use the Vitezovi unit for combat
19 operations anywhere, without the responsibility of even
20 informing me thereof, that is to say, that a unit
21 would, for example, go to Mostar or Orasje or
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The only situation in
24 which you would have any authority over the Vitezovi
25 was a situation in which an attachment order existed;
1 is that right?
2 A. Yes, in which an attachment order existed for
3 the attachment of that particular unit to me, but even
4 that kind of order did not give me the same command
5 authorisation and authority as I had with the home
6 guards of the HVO units, for example, because once
7 again, if a commander of that unit was to decide that
8 he would cease carrying out his tasks at twelve noon,
9 for example, I was not the one to write a report to the
10 defence department. He would write a report to the
11 defence department. I did not have the authority to
12 replace a commander, to discipline -- sanction somebody
13 for not carrying out the task as I saw that it should
14 be characterised. All that I could do was to take a
15 piece of paper and write to the chief of the main staff
16 complaining of the conduct of that particular unit.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Lastly, you're saying
18 that in the case of the Vitezovi, an attachment order
19 came into existence for the first time on the 15th of
20 April; do I understand you correctly?
21 A. On the 15th of April, the chief of the main
22 staff of the HVO issued an order, but, Your Honours, I
23 do not know when the Vitezovi received from the defence
24 department an attachment order because I almost never
25 received documents from the defence department but from
1 the chief of the main staff of the HVO.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
3 MR. NOBILO: There has been an error in the
4 transcript. There was an error earlier on, but I will
5 try to put that right through my next question.
6 Q. Tell us, please, where was the difference
7 between your conception of the attachment of the
8 Vitezovi and how Darko Kraljevic understood it? His
9 orders and your orders, where was the difference
10 between those two orders?
11 A. I considered that attachment, the state of
12 attachment, lasted for as long as the combat operations
13 of the Bosnia-Herzegovina army lasted on the Lasva
15 Q. How long did that operation last? How did
16 you define the duration of that operation?
17 A. Well, this offensive operation on the Lasva
18 pocket, with very small interruptions, lasted until the
19 Washington Agreements.
20 Q. What does that mean? What did you, in fact,
21 consider? That the Vitezovi were attached to you for
22 what period? Give us a date.
23 A. I considered that the Vitezovi were attached
24 to me from the 16th of April up until the Washington
25 Agreement, which means, in fact, until the Vitezovi
1 were disbanded, the 15th of January, 1994.
2 Q. What did Darko Kraljevic, as the commander of
3 the Vitezovi, tell you? What orders did he receive and
4 how did he understand those orders?
5 A. He maintained that this attachment lasted
6 only until the first battle lasted, which meant up
7 until the 20th of April, 1993, and he did not accept
8 the function of resubordination or attachment. He
9 accepted it selectively, in fact. I said that he
10 became the deputy head of the SIS centre.
11 Q. We'll say a few words about that later on,
12 not to complicate the situation at this point. After
13 the 20th of April, if you were to ask Darko Kraljevic
14 to be attached to you, what did he consider? Once
15 again, what time did this attachment involve?
16 A. It was a special separate procedure whereby I
17 was compelled, if I wanted to have that particular
18 unit, then I would have to confront him with the
19 consequences of not becoming engaged and quite simply
20 to try and convince him and prevail upon him that it
21 was necessary for him to become involved in a certain
22 activity, and this lasted until that particular
23 activity was ongoing.
24 Q. What does that mean? What did he, in fact,
25 consider? From when until when was he attached to you
1 in an operation of that kind?
2 A. From the moment that he decided to accept the
3 task up until the moment that he ceased carrying out
4 that task. There were cases, such as the Zabrdze case,
5 whereby he would make a decision and withdraw his men
6 or until that operation came to an end.
7 JUDGE JORDA: So, General Blaskic, if you're
8 logical in your own thoughts, what you have just said
9 in your answer to Mr. Nobilo, you considered the
10 Vitezovi and Mr. Darko Kraljevic to be attached to you
11 from the 15th or 16th of April until the Washington
12 Agreements. That is the logic that you pursue, that
13 you have adopted. We agree, don't we?
14 A. That was how I understood it but,
15 unfortunately, that was not his understanding.
16 JUDGE JORDA: So on the 18th of July, 1993,
17 General Blaskic, you are responsible for the death of
18 the 15 HVO members because you were the commander. You
19 considered yourself to be responsible as you considered
20 the Vitezovi to be subordinated or attached to you. So
21 you are the one responsible.
22 Let me explain my reasoning because I see
23 that the Defence doesn't seem to follow. It is the
24 answer given to Mr. Nobilo that has prompted me to put
25 this question.
1 You said that as far as you were concerned,
2 because apparently nothing functioned very well in
3 writing, which is rather strange, I must say, but let's
4 leave that in brackets, you have just told Mr. Nobilo,
5 I'm addressing myself to the Defence so that they
6 understand me well, that for you, the attachment of the
7 Vitezovi started -- this was your answer given to Judge
8 Shahabuddeen or Judge Rodrigues on the 15th or 16th of
9 April -- that you yourself felt that the Vitezovi are
10 subordinated to you until the Washington Agreement.
11 That is your understanding. Are we in agreement on
12 that point so far?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, when Mr. Darko
15 Kraljevic launched the attack on Stari Vitez, that
16 attack was apparently launched on your behalf. You are
17 responsible for it. You recommended it officially,
18 theoretically, because you felt that the Vitezovi were
19 under your responsibility.
20 A. Mr. President, regarding the attack on Stari
21 Vitez, I clearly defined my position to all the
22 commanders and the municipal government of Vitez, and
23 Darko Kraljevic did not receive an order from me to do
25 JUDGE JORDA: But let me repeat my argument.
1 I want you to understand it.
2 You said that you considered the Vitezovi to
3 be attached to you since the 16th of April until the
4 Washington Agreements. Therefore, normally, you are
5 the one responsible for the attack on Stari Vitez.
6 Officially, in your own mind, in your own head. I know
7 that it wasn't you that ordered it, but I want you to
8 accept a certain reasoning. I know very well that you
9 hadn't ordered the attack, but at the same time, you
10 said that "the Vitezovi belonged to me and were
11 attached to me." That is what I thought, that is what
12 you said. You agree so far.
13 So I come now to my third submission: Did
14 you tell General Petkovic, "It is I who is
15 theoretically responsible for the attack on Stari
16 Vitez. This cannot continue like this. Mr. Darko
17 Kraljevic must immediately be suspended or I will
18 resign my position"? That is what one would expect.
19 Everybody thought you to be responsible for the attack
20 on Stari Vitez. That is what you just said.
21 A. Mr. President, I am responsible,
22 unfortunately, for everything that happened, but in the
23 structure, there was a double or threefold chain of
24 command, and it is correct what you have just said. I
25 am responsible --
1 JUDGE JORDA: I have understood that.
2 Please, let us not repeat that. We have understood
3 perfectly. But here we are at the heart of the
4 matter. There was a lot of bad functioning as a result
5 of that structure. But this is a very serious offence
6 committed by Darko Kraljevic, and you yourself, in your
7 mind, were theoretically responsible because you
8 thought that the Vitezovi were attached to you from the
9 16th of April until the Washington Agreements. Did you
10 call Mr. Darko Kraljevic? Did you receive him?
11 A. Yes, I called him, and I asked him to inform
12 me as to what had happened.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. But once you knew what
14 had happened, did you call him in again to tell him
15 that you are going to dismiss him, that you are going
16 to request that he be dismissed? Did you say that to
17 Mr. Darko Kraljevic yourself?
18 A. I told him that I would submit an information
19 to my superiors about all this and that it wasn't a
20 disciplinary error but a disciplinary offence, which is
21 a far more serious offence which borders on a criminal
22 act and it involves also suspension from duty.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
24 MR. HAYMAN: I just want to note,
25 Mr. President, for the record, that use of the term
1 "responsible" or "theoretically responsible," without
2 further definition, it can mean at least four things:
3 "Responsible" can mean someone is going to be blamed
4 for something; "responsible" can mean someone feels
5 they have an ethical obligation to try and control;
6 "responsible" can mean a commander is subject to
7 military discipline; or "responsible" can mean a
8 commander is subject to individual criminal
9 responsibility. Any of those four.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you are quite right. I
11 gave myself the liberty, Mr. Hayman, I didn't, "I", as
12 the Judge, say that it is not in the indictment. I
13 didn't say that General Blaskic was responsible. I
14 said that if the logic that he himself adopts as the
15 head of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, knew at
16 that period of time, from the 16th of April until the
17 Washington Agreements, that the Vitezovi belonged to
18 him, were attached to him, that he was their commander,
19 then he must admit that if public opinion judged him
20 responsible for the attack on Stari Vitez, if he is
21 true to that same logic, he must consider that he is
22 responsible, and that is why I asked, what did he say
23 to General Petkovic? Did he say, "I cannot continue
24 like this, I am going to resign," or dismiss Darko
25 Kraljevic? That is what I wanted to learn.
1 Unfortunately, we do not have the correspondence nor
2 the letter of General Blaskic nor the reply of General
3 Petkovic, and that is why I wanted to see what
5 Judge Rodrigues has something to add, I see.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I just
7 want to know the following: When you drafted the
8 report to General Petkovic, you did so as the operative
9 commander who had the Vitezovi attached to him or you
10 did so only as the commander of the Operative Zone.
11 Have you understood my question?
12 A. I submitted this report as the commander of
13 the Operative Zone who considered the Vitezovi to be
14 attached to me.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In that case, you said to
16 General Petkovic, "The Vitezovi unit is attached and
17 placed under my command, and they did not follow my
18 orders." Is that more or less what you said?
19 A. Yes, they acted contrary to my orders
20 undertaking operations of their own free will,
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps now is the time for the
25 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
1 JUDGE JORDA: We will have a 15-minute
3 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.22 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
6 be seated.
7 Thank you, Mr. Registrar, for giving me
8 handkerchiefs. I think you want to avoid another Judge
9 being ill in this courtroom. This is very nice of you.
10 Mr. Nobilo, please go ahead.
11 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. May I
12 please have the document D167 offered to the witness?
13 I think it is probably sufficient if it is placed on
14 the ELMO. We will use it in the next series of
15 questions and answers.
16 Could we zoom in the central section? This
17 is good. Back up, please, a little bit, if you can?
18 Very well. Very well. Can you slide it off to the
19 side so that we can see the Vitezovi in it? Very well.
20 Q. General, you said that your position was that
21 the Vitezovi had to be attached to you in continuity,
22 let's say, between the 16th of April until the 15th of
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What was the position of the chief of the
1 main staff, Milivoj Petkovic?
2 A. Our positions were identical.
3 Q. In other words, he supported you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, can you tell me what Darko Kraljevic
6 told you? What was his position and the head of the
7 defence department?
8 A. I was told by Darko Kraljevic that he was
9 only attached for a particular battle, that is,
10 particular operation.
11 Q. Can you explain to the Chamber, as a military
12 man, in case the chief of staff has one view of the
13 attachment and the head of the defence department a
14 different one, whose opinion would prevail and why?
15 A. From a legal point of view, the position of
16 the head of the defence department will prevail because
17 the main staff is just an expert body which is
18 subordinated to the defence department, and the special
19 purpose unit was directly subordinated to the defence
20 department and it had direct superiority over it.
21 Q. Can you show us on this chart the Operative
22 Zone? Where were you in this chart?
23 A. (Indicating)
24 Q. Can you just now go up the chain to your
25 direct superior? Who was that?
1 A. That was the main staff of the HVO.
2 Q. Who was superior to your superior?
3 A. It was the head of the department of defence
4 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
5 Q. Can you now please find in this chart the
6 Vitezovi unit?
7 A. (Indicating)
8 Q. Can you now trace the line and find who is
9 the superior of the Vitezovi unit?
10 A. It is head of the defence department of the
11 HVO, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
12 Q. So when you complained to your superior,
13 Brigadier Petkovic at the time, General Petkovic later,
14 and when you asked for disciplinary measures, including
15 suspension of the Vitezovi commander, can your superior
16 do anything on his own or does he have to ask that
17 somebody else do something?
18 A. He had to ask this of the head of the defence
19 department of the HVO. He could not do anything
20 himself in his own right, and this is clear from this
21 chart because the department of defence of the HVO is
22 directly superior to the special purpose units.
23 Q. Can you tell me, did you, on one occasion, on
24 several occasions, report to your superior regarding
25 the actions of the Vitezovi special purpose unit?
1 A. This happened on several occasions. In fact,
2 I requested that these units be transferred out of my
3 Operative Zone because it would have helped my work,
4 and on several occasions, I made statements regarding
5 twofold command and a single chain of responsibility
6 regarding this.
7 Q. Are you aware that Darko Kraljevic was ever
8 sanctioned or punished by any legal judicial body?
9 A. No, I never received any such information.
10 MR. NOBILO: Can I now please ask that the
11 witness be shown Exhibit D250?
12 Q. Let's first look at the first page of
13 document D250. It is a report to the Vitezovi special
14 purpose unit. Can you tell me to whom this document
15 was addressed?
16 A. It was not sent to me in the Operative Zone,
17 and from the heading, I see that it was sent to the
18 office of the main staff of the HVO, that is, to the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, to the attention of
20 Ms. Mirjana Loncar. She was the secretary of the chief
21 of the main staff of the HVO.
22 Q. The date is 18 February, 1994. On this date,
23 did the Vitezovi special purpose unit exist legally,
24 and to whom were they subordinated in that area?
25 A. On the 15th of January, 1994, this unit had
1 been dissolved and was absorbed into the 3rd Guards
2 Brigade and, I believe, the HVO. I think that this
3 document was drafted by the commander of the Vitezovi
4 in order to regulate the social aspects, the families
5 of the killed, and so on.
6 Q. This document was sent to Mostar, but still
7 it has a stamp, a registration stamp, where it was
8 received in the Operative Zone of Herceg-Bosna. How
9 did it arrive there?
10 A. I believe that this document was received
11 through the communications centre of the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone because this type of receiving stamp was
13 used by the communications centre of the command of the
14 Central Bosnia Operative Zone at that time.
15 JUDGE JORDA: The document cannot be seen
16 very well on the screen. Can we have a better look at
18 MR. NOBILO: It only appears in the original,
19 not in the translation, but you can see to whom it was
20 sent. In other words, it arrived at the communications
21 centre, and this is how the Defence found it.
22 Q. Could you please turn to page 3 where we
23 start with 1993? We're not going to dwell on the
24 period of time prior to that.
25 I'm not going to read everything, but just
1 the first order immediately below the year 1993. It
2 states: "Following the order of the chief of the main
3 staff of the HVO, number 01-66/93 of 15 January, 1993,
4 the special purpose unit Vitezovi was put in a state of
5 mobile readiness of the highest degree."
6 Can you say on which basis the chief of the
7 main staff can issue such a command, and how can you
8 tell that they received this order directly from the
9 chief of the main staff rather than from you?
10 A. The chief of the main staff could issue
11 commands if the chief of the defence department
12 attached this unit directly to the chief of the main
13 staff of the HVO.
14 In this case, the unit received an order from
15 the chief of the main staff of the HVO in the same way
16 as I received an order from the chief of the main staff
17 of the HVO. In other words, the chief of the main
18 staff sent one order to me and another one to the
19 special purpose unit. In other words, we had either
20 the same or approximately the same status with respect
21 to the main headquarters of the HVO.
22 Q. Very well. Can you flip over to page 4? In
23 the Croatian text, it is the fifth paragraph from the
24 top, and I'm going to read it: To the chief of the
25 defence department, Mr. Bruno Stojic, and the chief of
1 the main staff of the HVO, Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic,
2 report number 2-091/93 of 15 March, 1993 was sent. It
3 reported about the actions of the Vitezovi special
4 purpose unit during the conflicts in Central Bosnia.
5 What does it say to you as a soldier, the
6 order I just read, that is, the report that was sent to
7 you as the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
9 A. I did not receive this report, but what it is
10 telling me is that the Vitezovi special purpose unit
11 was sending reports to the chief of the main staff of
12 the HVO and to the defence department, probably in
13 order to inform them regarding the tasks and the
14 implementation of the tasks which they were receiving
15 at that time from the main staff and the defence
17 Q. To whom does one send a report?
18 A. You send it to the one who had issued you the
20 Q. Then you have further down the 16th of April,
21 and let me read that:
22 "On 16 April, 1993, a battle team of 18
23 soldiers cleared the area of the gas station of
24 Kalenn - Rakita-Novaci. On that occasion, Mato
25 Jankovic, Dragan Safradin, Drago Zuljevic, and Mirko
1 Babic were wounded, and Ivan Julavic was killed."
2 There is no order involved here. How do you
3 interpret a report on a combat operation where it does
4 not state that an order had been issued for it?
5 A. It is clear that either this combat team or
6 part of the unit was acting wilfully and carried out
7 such an action of taking a gas station without the
8 knowledge or order of the superior.
9 Q. Can you now move to page 5? This is page 5
10 in the Croatian version, and this is the third
11 paragraph from the bottom. This is where we had left
12 off; this is on the day where we left off. The
13 Vitezovi special purpose unit sends the following
15 "On 18 July, 1993 following the order of the
16 commander of the Vitezovi special purpose unit, we
17 tried to break into Stari Vitez (Mahala). On that
18 occasion, Marinko Plavcic, Miroslav Jankovic, and Ivo
19 Babic were killed."
20 Is this the action that you were referred to
21 where the Vitezovi carried out a wilful action?
22 A. Yes, it is, but the number of killed is
23 incorrect because somewhere between 13 and 15 men were
24 killed, and only three were listed here as having been
1 Q. If we look at pages 3, 4, and 5, which cover
2 1993, can you review it, and you'll see orders such as
3 2-062/93, 2-089/93 or 1-143/92 and so on. Are these
4 the registration numbers which you used or are these
5 someone else's orders issued to the Vitezovi unit?
6 A. These are not the registration numbers of the
7 Central Bosnia Operative Zone command which we were
8 using because our registration numbers always included
9 a code of the command department. The second code was
10 the number of the month and the registration number in
11 the log. So probably these numbers are either the main
12 staff numbers or the defence department numbers.
13 Q. Let's move on to page 6 of the Croatian
15 JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, Mr. Nobilo.
16 I've had a look at the English version of this
17 document, and in the last paragraph, the attacks
18 launched against Sivrino Selo, if I understood well,
19 were launched in coordination with other units. Is
20 this a reference to other units placed under your
21 command, General Blaskic?
22 MR. NOBILO: What page are you referring to,
23 Your Honour?
24 JUDGE JORDA: That's what can be seen on the
25 screen, the English version. "The attacks on Sivrino
1 Selo that we performed in coordination with other units
2 had to be interrupted after two days."
3 General Blaskic, does that mean that this
4 Vitezovi unit was working in coordination with the
5 other units that were placed under your command?
6 A. Mr. President, can I just have a moment? I'd
7 like to review it. I am showing here that the attack
8 was carried out in coordination with other units, but
9 the date is not specified, when it was carried out, and
10 I don't know what units this coordination was done
12 JUDGE JORDA: Does that mean that these were
13 units under your command?
14 A. It is possible that these were units under my
15 command. I don't know whether this was part of a unit,
16 I don't know with whom they coordinated it. It doesn't
17 say with which unit. I don't know if there was another
18 special purpose unit because another special purpose
19 unit existed or some other unit which coordinated with
21 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed, Mr. Nobilo.
22 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
23 Q. The next page, page 6 of the Croatian text,
24 there is the first order which you had issued, and I
25 would like to read it now, and it says --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Which paragraph is this?
2 MR. NOBILO: It is the second paragraph on
3 the ELMO following the order. Let me read it again.
4 "Following the order of the commander of the
5 General Corps, Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, number
6 01-10-179/93, the Vitezovi special purpose unit took
7 over the control and the defence of Zabrdze, but not in
8 its entirety, because its two thirds were already under
9 the control of MOS."
10 General, this registration number, was it
11 your registration number? Can you tell when it was
12 registered and can you clarify this?
13 A. This registration number was entered in
14 October, and from the code 01, it shows that it came
15 from the commander, that means that I had issued it;
16 number 10 refers to the month, which means the tenth
17 month, October; number 179 is the log number, the
18 registration number in the log of the Central Bosnia
19 Operative Zone command; and 93 refers to the year in
20 which this order was issued.
21 Q. Did you issue this order?
22 A. Yes, I did issue this order, but in any
23 event, this was not the first order I had issued to
24 this unit. I had previously been issuing orders to
25 this unit but, unfortunately, the implementation of my
1 orders was very selective on the part of this unit.
2 Q. At the bottom of page 6, when you talk about
3 the administrative problems and your efforts -- can you
4 move on to the next page?
5 In the section called "Remarks," it says:
6 "We had practically no communication with
7 our superiors recently. We have been forced to handle
8 the paperwork the way we supposed it should have been
9 done, and no one among us had the professional
10 knowledge needed for such work. Each time we called
11 the General Corps and asked for instructions, the
12 answer was the same: 'call Mostar.'"
13 Can you comment on this passage, please?
14 A. Yes. What is referred to here are
15 administrative tasks, that is, the way in which the
16 administrative work should be handled, the logbook
17 kept, and other administrative jobs. We believe that
18 for such documents, we needed to refer to the competent
19 services in Mostar which were in charge of these
21 Q. The following sentence below says -- in other
22 words, the person who is drafting this document, the
23 deputy commander of the Vitezovi, and I quote:
24 "I had the first contact with my superiors
25 when I came for treatment," and then in parenthesis it
1 says, "(which I refused because of its length)."
2 Where did he go for treatment and with whom
3 did he have this personal contact when he did?
4 A. When he went for treatment, he went to either
5 Mostar or Split at the time, and I believe that he got
6 in touch with the head of the defence department and I
7 believe that this was a contact with the head of the
8 defence department in Mostar.
9 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. We don't need the
10 document any longer. Thank you.
11 Mr. President, we can now move away from the
12 problem with the Vitezovi and carry on with the events
13 that followed.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Go ahead. I see
15 Judge Shahabuddeen wants to ask a question.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Before you move away
17 completely, may I, General, ask you one question about
18 the Vitezovi attack on the 15th of July against Stari
19 Vitez? I gather from you that some 15 HVO soldiers
20 were killed; is that correct?
21 A. Your Honour, I have just received the
22 interpretation. I don't know of the attack on the 15th
23 of July. It reached me as the 15th of July. It was
24 the 18th of July. Perhaps I didn't get the right
25 translation through.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You got the right
2 translation. I was obviously in error about the exact
3 date. Then I take it you were referring to the 18th of
4 July. Did you say that 15 HVO soldiers were killed on
5 that day?
6 A. On that day, in that area of the battlefront,
7 between 13 to 15 soldiers of the HVO were killed,
8 between 13 and 15 soldiers.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Have you got any
10 information as to how many people on the other side
11 might have been wounded or killed?
12 A. No, I received no information about the
13 wounded on the other side.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. General, let us move on to the events of the
16 23rd of July.
17 COURT REPORTER: May I have just one moment,
19 JUDGE JORDA: May we have a moment, please,
20 for the court reporter?
21 (Technical problem)
22 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.17 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
25 MR. NOBILO:
1 Q. Let us move on with the chronology of
2 events. The 23rd of July, 1993; what happened there?
3 A. On the 23rd of July, 1993, we had, in the
4 early morning, an attack on the northern front lines in
5 the Lasva pocket, the village of Krizancevo and Lazine,
6 and in the course of the day, I received information
7 from the security service that there was a precipitous
8 increase in the number of soldiers in the special
9 purpose units and in other special units in the Lasva
10 pocket. The motive for inclusion into the special
11 purpose units was to avoid duties on the front line
12 towards the BH army.
13 In the course of the day, I issued an order
14 that such activities be stopped and that everybody who
15 left the front line without permission from the
16 commander of the front line would be in violation of
17 military discipline.
18 The largest number of soldiers went to the
19 PPN Vitezovi unit, the Vitezovi special purpose unit,
20 and received a certificate from the commander of the
21 Vitezovi special purposes unit saying that they are
22 considered as members of that unit. Those soldiers who
23 had certificates of the special purpose unit Vitezovi
24 were untouchable for the military police; that is to
25 say, they could not be taken into custody and returned
1 to the front line, for example, from whence they had
2 gone without any permission with weapons and military
4 In the course of the day, I called the
5 commander, Commander Kraljevic, and I talked to him. I
6 warned him that this kind of occurrence would upset the
7 entire defence system because the front lines were left
8 unmanned, without the necessary number of soldiers and
9 without weapons and military equipment which the
10 soldiers were taking with them when they were joining
11 up in his unit. He explained to me that the book on
12 organisation for the special purpose units of Vitezovi
13 provided for the possibility of him accepting soldiers
14 into his unit and that he was independent with regard
15 to the command of Central Bosnia and independent of me
17 After that conversation with him, I had a
18 meeting with an official of the International Red
19 Cross, it was about 10.30 or 11.00 a.m. on the 23rd of
20 July, and we discussed on the occasion the situation in
21 Novi Travnik, and the Red Cross official told me that,
22 in a skyscraper in the town of Novi Travnik, a
23 high-rise building there, Serbs were living as well as
24 Croats and Muslims, that they were all living in the
25 building, and that the high-rise itself was very
1 frequently a target of the BH army and its artillery
2 because it was located at the very front line between
3 the HVO and the BH army.
4 We also discussed the question of the inflow
5 of fresh refugees, predominantly Croats coming from
6 Zenica into Novi Travnik, Vitez, and Busovaca, and I
7 informed the Red Cross official that we had a great
8 problem with food and with feeding the refugees because
9 there was not sufficient foodstuffs.
10 In the afternoon, I had a talk with the chief
11 of the main staff, and I informed him of the negative
12 phenomenon of the fact that soldiers were leaving the
13 front line and were moving into the special purposes
14 units, and I asked that he too undertake measures to
15 prevent this from occurring, this negative occurrence
16 from taking place. The chief of the main staff told me
17 that he would indeed take the necessary steps vis-a-vis
18 the defence department, and he told me that permission
19 had been granted for the activity to replace in the
20 military police, replace the commanders of the military
21 police from the command structure, and that the
22 military police would be under my direct command, and
23 that in that direction I could, towards that end,
24 propose a new commander for the military police.
25 After I received that information, I
1 undertook to select a new commander for the military
2 police in cooperation with the assistant for legal and
3 personnel matters of the command of the Central Bosnia
4 Operative Zone.
5 On the 24th of July, 1993, at 16.00, I
6 replaced the commander of the Travnik Brigade for
7 health reasons. The commander up until then,
8 Mr. Leutar, was replaced, and a new commander appointed
9 and his name was Juric.
10 On the 25th of July, 1993, an attack was
11 launched by the BH army on the town of Novi Travnik,
12 the HVO of Novi Travnik, in fact, and in the town of
13 Vitez itself there was artillery fire from 14.30 hours
14 up until 22.00. During that firing, two children were
15 killed and four women were killed as well. In Jardol,
16 on the front line Jardol-Krcevine, an onslaught was
17 performed by the 7th Muslim Brigade and there too we
18 had casualties.
19 On the 26th of July, 1993, the head of the
20 Military Intelligence Service informed me that the BH
21 army had taken over the town of Bugojno and had forced
22 the HVO units to withdraw from their positions in the
23 Bugojno area.
24 On the 26th of July, 1993, I had a meeting
25 with the president of the military district court,
1 Mr. Zeljko Percinlic at his request. The meeting was
2 also attended by the representative of the district
3 military prison and my assistant for legal affairs and
4 the security assistant.
5 The topic of the meeting was logistic
6 assistance for the work of the military district court
7 of Travnik in Vitez and coordination in processing
8 disciplinary acts. Judge Percinlic insisted upon the
9 fact that we worked within the frameworks of law and
10 legal authorisation, and he asked for assistance in
11 administrative matters from me.
12 On the 27th of July, 1993, we had once again
13 sniper fire from the BH army coming from Stari Vitez,
14 and Kata Jukic, the woman Kata Jukic, an elderly woman
15 of 60 years old, was killed on the occasion. Once
16 again, the water supply was cut off to the town of
17 Vitez. It was cut off by the members of the BH army in
19 On the 28th of July, 1993 at 10.00, I had a
20 meeting with the representative of the UNHCR, Mr. de la
21 Mota, and also with a European monitor, who was
22 together with Mr. de La Mota. They asked me for
23 assistance in securing the free passage of a convoy
24 carrying food to Kruscica and Stari Vitez. They also
25 asked me to assist in passing the front line between
1 the HVO and the BH army, and I asked them to mediate in
2 issuing permits from the BH army for the evacuation of
3 the wounded from the hospital in Nova Bila.
4 We also discussed the auxiliary road running
5 to Kruscica, and I informed them that the road was open
6 and that, from Novi Travnik, across the territory under
7 the control of the BH army, there was free passage and
8 you could arrive in Kruscica and the Vitez municipality
9 without being hindered.
10 From 22.10 until 23.00, at intervals of ten
11 minutes throughout the night, there was tank fire and
12 artillery fire by the BH army in the town of Vitez.
13 On the 29th of July, 1993, there was a
14 repeated attack launched by the BH army on the front
15 line at Novi Travnik, and artillery fire continued on
16 the town of Vitez. Six children were wounded up until
17 10.30 on the 29th of July in Vitez. I myself that day
18 had a press conference, and I informed them on the
19 occasion of the conflict between the former commanders
20 of HOS, Mr. Kraljevic and Mr. Jandric, and that
21 Mr. Jandric was taken into custody by the security
22 service in Vitez.
23 MR. NOBILO: I should like to show D376 to
24 the witness, please, Defence Exhibit 376.
25 Q. While waiting for the exhibit, General, last
1 week you mentioned that Darko Kraljevic had become
2 deputy chief of the SIS centre, an independent
3 organisation. Tell us whether he still retained the
4 position of commander of the Vitezovi and what this
5 appointment meant? Did he have greater or lesser
6 independence in relation to you?
7 A. From the end of May '93, the SIS centre was
8 operating quite independently. There was no
9 possibility even of a twofold chain of command. This
10 was an organisation that was totally independent from
11 me and my command.
12 Mr. Darko Kraljevic had the position in that
13 organisation of deputy chief of the SIS centre. Of
14 course, that position increased his command power and
15 also his independence in relation to the Operative Zone
16 and the command of the Operative Zone, because he
17 retained his position as commander of the special
18 purpose unit and acquired another position, that is, of
19 the deputy chief of the SIS centre.
20 Q. Let us look at the document now, D376, dated
21 21st July, 1993, written by you. The heading is:
22 "Treatment of Prisoners and Civilians.
23 Order: On the basis of the order of the chief of the
24 HVO main headquarters, number 02-2/1-01-1432 of 20
25 July, 1993 and obligations as regards the international
1 law of war and the provisions of the Geneva Conventions
2 and other positive regulations, I hereby order:
3 1. Members of the HVO must treat captured
4 soldiers and especially captured civilians in
5 accordance with international standards.
6 2. Commanders at all levels and HVO soldiers
7 have the obligation to prevent wilful behaviour on the
8 part of individuals and groups.
9 3. Prevent the destruction of property.
10 4. Give full guarantees and protection to
11 women, children, and the elderly.
12 5. The directly subordinate commanders are
13 personally responsible to me for the execution of this
15 Tell us, General, you repeat similar orders
16 every so often. Why was this necessary?
17 A. I already said a moment ago that efforts were
18 repeatedly made to upset the organisational structure.
19 There were groups that were outside the control of the
20 command, and there were individuals who, despite
21 orders, undertook unpermitted acts, and I sought to
22 sanction such behaviour and to prevent violence,
23 terror, and all the other occurrences that could occur
24 in the Lasva pocket.
25 Q. Was the chief of the main staff aware of
1 this, because we see that a day earlier he addressed
2 the same order to you?
3 A. Yes. He was aware of it, and he was familiar
4 with all developments because, in addition to oral
5 reports, there were regular written reports addressed
6 to the chief of the main staff, so that he was aware of
7 these activities. The orders that I referred to here
8 issued by him were quoted by me to strengthen the
9 weight of my own orders to prevent such incidents.
10 Q. Let us go on to August. At the beginning,
11 the 4th or the 5th of August, a new commander of the
12 military police was appointed. Tell us how this
13 happened, who was appointed, who appointed him?
14 A. I was given permission by the chief of the
15 main staff to appoint the commander of the military
16 police, and this appointment was carried out by the
17 military police department, and Mr. Marinko Palavra was
18 appointed the new commander, whereas the former
19 commander, Mr. Pasko Ljubicic, was relieved of that
20 duty. But this change is important also because it
21 made it possible to completely break up the command
22 structure of the military police and because also it
23 gave me the opportunity to be the direct superior in
24 the control and command over the military police units.
25 Q. Tell the Court, upon whose initiative was
1 this reorganisation carried out and upon whose
2 initiative was Pasko Ljubicic replaced?
3 A. It was upon my insistence and upon my
4 initiative and as a result of my oral and written
5 requests that I had addressed to the chief of staff of
6 the HVO.
7 Q. Tell us, could you now summarise and tell us
8 the reasons why you insisted on the dismissal of Pasko
9 Ljubicic and the subordination of the military police
10 to you personally? Will you give us a summary review
11 of those reasons?
12 A. There were several reasons, but the main one
13 was that I had insisted that it was impossible to
14 conduct a proper investigation into the crime in Ahmici
15 for as long as the same command structure remained
16 within the military police.
17 One of the reasons also was certainly my fear
18 that the crime in Ahmici could be repeated, especially
19 in view of the fact that we were all crowded in the
20 Lasva pocket, that we had the problem of numerous
21 displaced persons, the problem of hunger and constant
22 attacks, so that the situation was rather chaotic.
23 Another reason certainly was the fact that I
24 was aware that the crime in Ahmici had been planned
25 behind my back, that I had received false reports. I
1 had suspicions that there was a conspiracy behind it
2 and that I had been sacrificed as the formal
4 Then also there was the question of crime and
5 the struggle to combat crime in the Lasva Valley, in
6 which the military police was expected to have the
7 leading and most prominent role, whereas in the
8 military police itself, we had 100 members, according
9 to our reports, who had a criminal record. So it was
10 hard to expect that the people who themselves were
11 perpetrators of criminal offences would combat and seek
12 to discover criminal acts and bring the perpetrators to
14 One of the reasons also was crime for which
15 national interests were used as an excuse, whereas, in
16 fact, they were all motivated by profit. I'm referring
17 to eviction of Muslims from their homes so that later
18 those same flats would be resold to Croat refugees from
19 Zenica and Travnik.
20 Additional reasons had to do with the control
21 and command system because I was the person who was
22 responsible but without the possibility of really
23 influencing the overall and direct control and command
24 of the military police, except in daily activities.
25 This means that I could not replace a commander; I
1 could not suspend a military policeman with a military
2 record; I couldn't punish a military policeman with
3 disciplinary action. All these were command powers
4 which I did not enjoy at the time.
5 With regard to control and command, the
6 military police should have been an instrument of my
7 control and command, but such as it was at the time
8 until this reorganisation occurred, it couldn't be that
9 because the military police, within its own ranks, had
10 quite a number of problems regarding the proper
11 functioning of the force.
12 I mentioned the checkpoint at Ovnak, but most
13 checkpoints, in fact, were used to make a profit by
14 seizing goods coming in humanitarian convoys or by
15 simply charging a certain amount.
16 So these would be the reasons for the
17 replacement and change in the military police.
18 MR. NOBILO: Before we go on to the measures
19 that you undertook after this, can a Prosecution
20 Exhibit be shown to the witness, Exhibit 457/1. It is
21 a document entitled "Three Years of the Military
23 Q. Let us look at page 41 of the Croatian
24 version; page 62 of the English version, the bottom of
25 that page and the beginning of page 63. It is a
1 Prosecution document which is actually a booklet or a
2 newspaper article headed "Three Years of the Military
4 These are recollections of various
5 commanders, and this one was written by Radislav
6 Lavric. I should like to read the relevant part, and
7 could the General then give an explanation? The
8 discussion is about the formation of combat units in
9 the military police, and it says: (as read)
10 However, even though this professional
11 brigade was formally organised from the military police
12 (the fourth was not of battalion strength but in fact
13 there were four of them) it was later realised after
14 the chief of staff had reacted that such an operative
15 military force could not be attached to the military
16 police administration but that it should be a part of
17 the main staff, that is, attached to military
19 With the reorganisation which took place
20 after the arrival of new officers from the Croatian
21 army and the setting up of professional brigades, we
22 lost many, one might call them, of the best members of
23 the military police.
24 I believe that this was a coup in the
25 military police which made its work more difficult then
1 and is still making it difficult now. What actually
2 happened was sudden personnel changes in the structure
3 of the military police and, it should be noted, that we
4 had directed our best men into these units. Later, by
5 the decision taken at the level of the defence
6 ministry, that is the main staff, those people joined
7 the professional brigades which perhaps was an
8 understandable decision.
9 General, could you explain what this is
11 A. This is a commentary on the reorganisation of
12 the military police, the idea being that the military
13 police should have among its structure a combat brigade
14 consisting of light assault battalions which were a
15 follow-up to the former anti-terrorist groups.
16 Q. What were they called in Central Bosnia,
17 these anti-terrorist groups?
18 A. In Central Bosnia, these anti-terrorist
19 groups, within the framework of the military police,
20 were called the Jokers, and the battalion which grew
21 out of that anti-terrorist group was called the Light
22 Assault Battalion. It was directly subordinated to
23 this Light Assault Brigade which should have had its
24 command in Mostar, and these were combat units of the
25 military police with professional status who were
1 directly subordinated in the command and control system
2 to the defence department or, rather, the assistant
3 minister for security.
4 However, in the report here, it is said that
5 upon the initiative of the main staff and the defence
6 ministry and, in the first place, the main staff, the
7 organisation of such units was halted and, in fact, a
8 radical about-turn was made in the sense that
9 professional guard brigades were formed which were
10 directly subordinated to the commanders of the
11 Operative Zones. This too was in line with my efforts
12 and requests addressed to the main staff, that is, that
13 military police units and special purpose units should
14 be directly subordinated to the commander of the
15 Operative Zone and that the faults in the structure of
16 the HVO be eliminated, that is, that the twofold
17 command and single-line responsibility should be
19 I have written requests addressed to all
20 chiefs of staff who were in those positions at the time
21 to this effect.
22 Q. Let us now look at page 65, please, which is
23 a reminiscence by Pasko Ljubicic, commander of the
24 military police for Central Bosnia; the Croatian
25 version, page 43.
1 Page 65, the very top of the page, please.
2 So let me read:
3 "... the Chief of the Military Police
4 Administration --"
5 These are reminiscences by Pasko Ljubicic. I
6 am beginning to read from the middle of the paragraph:
7 "... the Chief of the Military Police
8 Administration, Mr. Valentin Coric --"
9 Fifth line from the top, and the quotation is
10 from a text written by Pasko Ljubicic, and the heading
11 of that text, "Both a Command Unit and the Police."
12 "... the Chief of the Military Police
13 Administration, Mr. Valentin Coric, appointed me
14 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion and
15 Mr. Vlado Cosic deputy commander ..."
16 I won't be reading any more. Then we have a
17 description of the events linked to Ahmici.
18 Pasko Ljubicic says:
19 I can mention here Grbavica, Sivrino Selo,
20 Zabrdze, Kruscica, Ahmici and several other places
21 which I am sure and which I can prove that were
22 successfully protected by military police units, thanks
23 to their commitment.
24 These two quotations about who appointed
25 Pasko Ljubicic and about who fought in Ahmici, are they
1 consistent with your knowledge regarding those two
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps this is a
5 good time to break before we go on to the next
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will resume at 2.30.
8 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.37 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will resume.
3 Please be seated.
4 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.
5 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
6 are continuing with Prosecutor's Exhibit 457/1, page 11
7 of the Croatian text and 15 of the English text at the
8 top of the page. I will be quoting from the top of
9 that page, page 15 of the English version. Could it be
10 placed on the ELMO, please?
11 Q. So this is still an extract from the book
12 "Three Years of the Military Police" written in 1995.
13 Please switch on the ELMO. An official of the military
14 police, Major Pavo Loncar, wrote a text from which we
15 will read the following extract when the ELMO is
16 switched on.
17 So I am reading from the second line.
18 (as read) "... commanders of battalions of
19 the military police," is implied in the Operative Zone,
20 "in their daily tasks were directly subordinate to the
21 commander of the operative zone and they carried out
22 all orders regarding military police tasks within the
23 competence and authority of the military police."
24 We are leaving out one sentence, and then
25 continuing the text:
1 (as read) "The administration of the military
2 police commanded and controlled all military police
4 Could we please ask the interpreters to
5 assist us? The word "uprava" has been translated in
6 this text as "administration." Could there be a better
7 name? Would "department" be a better translation?
8 THE INTERPRETER: No, we don't think so.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. But we'll ask the General: What was the
11 police administration? Could you describe this body
12 for us?
13 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the military
14 police administration is a department attached to the
15 defence ministry which is directly responsible for the
16 control and command of the military police.
17 Q. The text that we have just read refers to
18 "daily tasks" as opposed to control and command of the
19 military police. A distinction is made. Is this in
20 accordance with what you were told by representatives
21 of the military police at the time?
22 Looking at this text, can you explain the
23 meaning of "daily police tasks" and what does the
24 sentence which reads "The military police
25 administration commanded and controlled all Military
1 Police units" mean?
2 A. The military police administration, as a part
3 of the defence ministry, is competent regarding command
4 and control of all military police units, and the
5 commanders of Operative Zones had the right to use or
6 deploy the military police in their regular daily
7 policing tasks.
8 Q. When Pasko Ljubicic was replaced, what
9 position was he appointed to; could you explain that to
10 the Court?
11 A. By the head of the administration of the
12 military police, he was temporarily appointed to the
13 post of assistant chief of the military police
14 administration for Central Bosnia, and he held that
15 position for about one month in the area of Central
16 Bosnia. I do not know what his next positions were
17 after he was withdrawn from that area.
18 Q. How do you assess his new position? Was it,
19 in essence, a promotion or only in formal terms and how
20 did it occur?
21 A. In my personal opinion, this was a formal
22 promotion so that with regard to the military police
23 members, this substitution in the leadership would go
24 down well because I said that according to information
25 of the security service, I had learned that there were
1 100 persons in the military police with a criminal
3 Q. But in substantial terms, though he stayed in
4 Central Bosnia for another month or so, did you succeed
5 in taking over the military police even though he was
6 appointed to a higher position?
7 A. Yes, because I was accorded the right to
8 control and command the 4th Military Police Battalion
9 or the 7th Military Police Battalion and to have
10 control over the commander of the military police,
11 whereas Pasko was responsible for the Light Assault
12 Battalion of the military police which was a combat
13 unit of the military police over which I had no
15 Q. This new Light Assault Battalion, was it
16 developed from the former Jokers?
17 A. Yes, and also as a result of an attempt to
18 form a Light Assault Brigade attached to the military
19 police as we had mentioned before the break.
20 Q. You mentioned the term "4th Military Police
21 Battalion or the 7th Military Police Battalion." What
22 do you mean?
23 A. It is the same unit, only for one period of
24 time it was called the 4th Military Police Battalion
25 and later on, with the reorganisation, it came to be
1 called the 7th Military Police Battalion, but it is
2 actually the same military police battalion.
3 Q. Let us read another part of this text on page
4 12 of the Croatian original of the book "Three Years of
5 the Military Police," published in 1995, and in the
6 English version, it is page 17, third paragraph. I
7 shall read it: (as read)
8 "To unify military police activities and
9 duties and those of light assault battalions and
10 battalions of the military police in the respective
11 Operative Zones, the Assistant Chiefs of military
12 police administrations are charged, those who were
13 appointed for each Operative Zone. The same persons
14 are also authorised to command those battalions through
15 the commanders of those battalions."
16 And a few rows further down, it says:
17 "The Assistant Chief for the Operative Zone
18 of Central Bosnia ... Mr. Pasko Ljubicic."
19 This text from 1995, is it in conformity with
20 what you knew and what you have just told the Court?
21 A. Yes. It says here that, in order to unify
22 military police activities and tasks of the light
23 assault battalions and the military police battalions
24 in the respective Operative Zones, the Assistant Chiefs
25 of military police administrations have been assigned
1 these duties.
2 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please, 523.
3 Defence Exhibit 523.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo.
5 May I ask you, General, this question: I am
6 trying to put together the various pieces of evidence
7 to which we have listened and to compose some kind of a
8 macro picture of the situation.
9 Now, I gather from the text which we just saw
10 that there were a few Operative Zones in Bosnia.
11 A. Your Honour, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a
12 time there were four Operative Zones.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Four. This may have
14 been said already. In a sense I am only retracing the
16 So there were four Operative Zones, and the
17 military police, was operating in each of those four
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And they were answerable
21 to a central command situate where?
22 A. Your Honour, you mean of the military police?
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes, yes.
24 A. They were accountable to the military police
25 administration which was based in Mostar.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mostar.
2 A. And for a time also in Ljubusko, but I don't
3 know the exact dates, from when until when it was in
4 Mostar and from when until when in Ljubusko. For a
5 time it was also in Posusje.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So the Central Bosnia
7 Operative Zone was one of the four Operative Zones?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, what was the
10 relationship between the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
11 and the Lasva Valley; were they one and the same thing?
12 A. Your Honour, it was not the same area because
13 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia included also a
14 part of the area under HVO control in Kiseljak, Zepce,
15 and, for a time, also a part of the area of Sarajevo
16 that was under HVO control.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So the Lasva Valley was
18 smaller in area than the Central Operative Zone of
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Don't bother. I'm only
22 trying to perfect my macro appreciation of the
23 situation. Now, would I be correct in supposing that,
24 in each of the Operative Zones, each of the four
25 Operative Zones, there was a military contest going on
1 at one level or another between the HVO and the BiH?
2 A. I apologise, but I had some difficulty with
3 understanding, but I do understand.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Are you sure? Would you
5 wish me to try again? I'll try again.
6 A. Thank you.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was it the situation
8 that, in each of the four Operative Zones, there was a
9 military contest going on at some level or the other
10 between the HVO and the BiH?
11 A. Your Honour, perhaps there may have been but
12 not on the same scale. In the Operative Zone of
13 Bosanska Posavina in the north of Bosnia, as far as I
14 know, there were no conflicts between members of the
15 HVO and members of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 There, the units were joint. They acted jointly in the
17 HVO, that is, both Bosniak Muslims and Croats of
18 Bosanska Posavina were in the HVO, but eight
19 municipalities of Bosanska Posavina, seven to eight
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Then in what Operative
22 Zones would you say that a military contest was going
23 on between the HVO and the BiH?
24 A. In the Operative Zones of southeastern
25 Herzegovina with the command in Mostar and which had
1 competence over the southeastern Herzegovina; then in
2 the Operative Zone of northwestern Herzegovina with the
3 command post in Tomislavgrad; and in the Operative Zone
4 of Central Bosnia.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Thank you.
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. As we mentioned the Lasva Valley and the
8 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, tell Their Honours,
9 from the 16th of April, 1993 onwards, which part of the
10 Operative Zone did you, in fact, control?
11 A. I had control over the Lasva pocket, which
12 means this part here that is surrounded.
13 Q. Could you show us on the map, please?
14 A. Yes, I can show you on the map. It is this
15 area here (indicating).
16 Q. Which municipalities are they?
17 A. Twenty per cent of the municipality of Novi
18 Travnik, about 10 per cent of the municipality of
19 Travnik, about 35 per cent of the municipality of
20 Vitez, and about 40 per cent of the municipality of
21 Busovaca. That is the area here (indicating).
22 Q. Could you enumerate the municipalities that
23 formally belonged to the Operative Zone of Central
24 Bosnia but over which you were not able to have any
25 effective command or any command, for that matter?
1 A. Yes. Those were the municipalities of
2 Kiseljak, Kresevo, Fojnica, Kakanj, Vares, Stup
3 Sarajevo, a part of Hrasnica, Zepce, Maglaj, a part of
4 Teslic, Usora.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour,
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Would it be helpful if
8 the witness would demonstrate very briefly on the map
9 what size of area he's talking about, so that one could
10 then make a comparison between the pocket as described
11 and the other area which he thinks really constituted
12 the Central Operative Zone?
13 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, if I may be of
14 assistance, there is an exhibit in the Prosecution
15 Exhibits early on, and I can pull it, where we have put
16 that into evidence. The Central Bosnia Operative Zone
17 is delineated on a map municipality by municipality. I
18 don't think it's a subject of contention.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Very good, Mr. Kehoe.
20 Would it be convenient at this particular
21 stage if the witness would briefly demonstrate with his
22 pointer on the map what is the other area that is being
23 talked about?
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. Perhaps on the map below if it is bigger.
1 A. I think it's bigger. I would be very willing
2 to show you, Your Honours, but we don't seem to have a
3 map here.
4 Q. What about the other map?
5 A. No. It's more or less the same.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I wouldn't be able to
7 follow from the other map. The one on the easel is
8 convenient for me, but I understand your position.
9 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Judge Shahabuddeen,
10 it's Exhibits 27 and 28, Prosecution Exhibits. I think
11 the witness testified there were minor variations in
12 the Operative Zone, so the appropriate exhibit is
13 Exhibit 28.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Number 27 or 28?
15 MR. KEHOE: It's 28 for this time frame, Your
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What year was that,
18 Mr. Kehoe?
19 MR. KEHOE: There was a change in the
20 Operative Zone in October of 1992, so what we have in
21 Exhibit 28 is October of 1992 onward through 1993,
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I wouldn't proceed with
24 it, Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. NOBILO: Your Honours, the exhibit that
1 my learned colleague mentioned is on the ELMO, and the
2 green letters denote the municipalities of the
3 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia. The witness can now
4 indicate what he controlled in 1993, mid 1993, and what
5 was not under his control.
6 Q. Would you please point out what you
7 controlled in mid 1993?
8 A. In mid 1993, I was located in the area from
9 the Travnik municipality, Nova Bila, 10 per cent of the
10 area there; from the Novi Travnik municipality, 20 per
11 cent of the area; of the Vitez municipality, 35 per
12 cent of the area; and Busovaca, about 40 per cent of
13 the area. That is what we call the Lasva pocket
15 Q. Tell us, please, who was around you, around
16 that Lasva pocket?
17 A. We had the forces of the BH army, the 3rd
18 Corps, the 6th Corps, and parts of the 1st Corps of the
19 BH army.
20 Q. Around the pocket, was it a continuous front?
21 A. Yes, and this can be clearly seen here
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone please, Your
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question.
1 There's a large area in green on the map which is on
2 the ELMO. If you look at the ELMO -- are you looking
3 at the ELMO? There is a large area in green. Is that
4 whole area of the Central Operative Zone?
5 A. No.
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No.
7 A. Part of the area, Your Honours, are but the
8 municipality of Teslic, the complete -- that area was
9 not in the Central Bosnia area.
10 MR. NOBILO:
11 Q. Could you point to Teslic, please?
12 A. Teslic is here (indicating), the municipality
13 of Teslic. Just a small portion of the Teslic
14 municipality leaning on the Zepce municipality, in the
15 borderline region, was within the composition of the
16 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, but the complete
17 municipality of Teslic never was.
18 Then we have the municipality of Tesanj.
19 That was not within the composition of the Central
20 Bosnia Operative Zone but only a part of the Usora
21 municipality which is part of it.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Can you help me this
23 way, General? I know it's difficult, but I'm trying to
24 compose a macro view of the situation. Can you
25 indicate what fraction of the whole of the Central
1 Bosnia Operative Zone was represented by the pocket as
2 it has been drawn on the map there? You were enclosed
3 within a pocket. Well, now that pocket constituted a
4 quarter, a half, three-quarters, or what portion of the
5 total area? Can you do it that way?
6 A. I can show you, Your Honour, but I don't know
7 how much it is of the overall area of Central Bosnia.
8 I can show you and tell you in relation to the
9 municipality --
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: As roughly as you can,
11 can you say that it was about a half or about a
12 quarter? We wouldn't hold you down minutely.
13 A. Well, Your Honour, this is the smallest area
14 of the remaining part of the Central Bosnia Operative
15 Zone. A similar pocket to this existed in Kiseljak,
16 and we called it Operative Group 2, and a similar
17 pocket to this pocket was in Zepce as well, and we
18 called that Operative Group 3, and an even smaller
19 pocket existed in Usora, but we considered that it was
20 with Operative Group 3, under Operative Group 3. If
21 you look at it in relation to the Kiseljak and Zepce
22 areas, then that is the smallest area surface-wise of
23 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do I understand you this
25 way: Then the HVO controlled other pockets within the
1 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, other than, shall we
2 say, the Vitez-Busovaca pocket?
3 A. Yes, Your Honours. There were three other
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Thank you.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I need a clarification. If
7 I've understood correctly, there was a disparity
8 between the opinions of the Defence and the accused in
9 respect of the boundaries of the Central Bosnia
10 Operative Zone.
11 Mr. Kehoe, is that so? Because a little
12 while ago when we looked at the map, I thought that I
13 understood that this was a Prosecution document.
14 MR. KEHOE: It is a Prosecution document, and
15 I'll tell you how this was put together.
16 During an interview with the accused some
17 time ago, the questioner asked the witness what
18 localities, what municipalities were part of the
19 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Now, in fairness to
20 both the questioner and the witness, whether or not
21 they actually had a map to delineate where Teslic or
22 Tesanj -- the Central Bosnia Operative Zone cut off or
23 not, I'm not certain. Nevertheless, this particular
24 exhibit is based on that discussion, and to the extent
25 that there are imperfections in this exhibit vis-a-vis
1 Teslic and Tesanj, we stand corrected.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me. General
3 Blaskic, on the map which is on the ELMO, Visoko does
4 not appear to be in the Operative Zone of Central
5 Bosnia, but I think that Visoko was included, was it
7 A. Your Honour, you are right, that is to say,
8 Visoko was not in the composition of the Central Bosnia
9 Operative Zone. It was not in the composition of the
10 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, even the Zavidovici area
11 and Maglaj. There were certain HVO units in Zavidovici
12 and Maglaj, but practically the whole time, they were
13 together, or at least up until the 24th of June, 1993.
14 There was a joint command in existence for the defence
15 of Maglaj, so the BH army and the HVO together, but the
16 HVO never supervised the whole of Maglaj and
17 Zavidovici, just as it did not for the whole of Teslic
18 and Tesanj.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
20 JUDGE JORDA: But I do think that, during
21 these discussions, we have to clarify the Central
22 Bosnia Operative Zone. There must be a document. When
23 you took command in the fall of 1992, there must have
24 been a document from your superiors which would
25 delineate your zone of responsibility?
1 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I only had a
2 blue notebook, a wartime diary, that is to say, but
3 there was no precisely drawn-out map. I can return and
4 enumerate the municipalities which entered into the
5 Central Bosnia Operative Zone when I took over my
7 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I hope that you had a
8 clear idea. There is enough confusion already in
9 respect of which units you commanded. We would like to
10 know on the territory or on the ground, what it was
11 that you commanded. When you took over the command,
12 when you went through command, through village or, I
13 think they were called, brigade commands -- I think it
14 was a Defence or Prosecution Exhibit; I don't
15 remember -- but I seem to remember that all the
16 municipalities were well indicated. In any case, you
17 knew what it was that you commanded, at least I hope
19 A. Mr. President, that is correct. As far as I
20 know, without my notebook, I can say that on the 25th
21 of November, 1992, a document on the establishment of
22 the HVO brigades, that exists. But as far as I know
23 and recall, I spoke at the beginning about that, I
24 can enumerate the municipalities of the Central Bosnia
25 Operative Zone for you now, if need be.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Well, could you just tell us
2 whether today you recognised map as being valid, that
3 is, theoretically, that is, valid in respect of
4 covering your theoretical command of the Operative
5 Zone. Then I do understand, I assume that in respect
6 of the military situation and the war with the Bosnian
7 army, I do understand that the zone was formed, and
8 then other enclaves were added to it, that there would
9 be enclaves. But theoretically, did you make any
10 comments about the map? According to the Prosecution,
11 in some way, you approved the map, or approved of the
12 map which is on the ELMO.
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this is a
14 Prosecution Exhibit, the map that is on the ELMO. We
15 would like to suggest that we place a translucent foil
16 over these municipalities so that the witness can draw
17 in by hand what was formerly within the composition of
18 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Perhaps that would
19 help us most. So to place this foil over the map.
20 JUDGE JORDA: My colleague is speaking about
21 the operations using the map that he has in front of
22 him, but I do understand that your command zone
23 evolved. But for General Petkovic -- if today General
24 Petkovic were here, would he recognise that that was
25 the Operative Zone which he had given to you,
2 I can see Mr. Hayman is not pleased with
3 this, and therefore, there must be a discrepancy in
4 respect of the delineation of the zone.
5 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps that is why it would be
6 best for the witness to draw in the boundaries.
7 Perhaps he knows best.
8 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, there is a
9 document in the record -- excuse me, Mr. President --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
11 MR. KEHOE: There is a document in the record
12 that Mr. Harmon is looking for now, and I do believe it
13 is a Defence document concerning the reformation of the
14 brigades as they formulated in November of 1993 where
15 these particular municipalities are delineated. This,
16 of course, was prior to the conflict in January of
17 1993. Prior to that time, municipalities such as
18 Gornji Vakuf, et cetera, were part of the Central
19 Bosnian Operative Zone. They then were taken out of
20 the Central Bosnian Operative Zone as of October of
21 1992 and made part of the Northwestern Herzegovina
22 Operative Zone under the command of Colonel Siljeg. We
23 then had the particular municipalities that are set
24 forth in this exhibit which were then part of the
25 Central Bosnian Operative Zone. To the extent the
1 witness says that there were areas that were not part
2 of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone in Teslic and
3 Tesanj, that is not reflected in the exhibit, the
4 document that's in evidence to date.
5 JUDGE JORDA: What worries me is the word
6 "operational material." I think we have to be --
7 unless, of course, in the archives, with
8 transparencies, I am afraid that if we just clip
9 things, they will get lost, because the transparency is
10 valid only if it is really attached properly to the
11 map. Otherwise, the usher is going to be put in as an
12 exhibit as well.
13 A. (Marks)
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. General, would you please explain the
16 symbols? You have an uninterrupted line and a dotted
17 line. Would you explain what it's about?
18 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this dotted line
19 on the map encompasses the municipalities of Bugojno,
20 Gornji Vakuf, Prozor, Jablanica, and Konjic. Those are
21 the municipalities which, at the beginning, that is to
22 say, 1992, when I took over my duties, that is June and
23 July, were within the composition of the Central Bosnia
24 Operative Zone. Sometime in October 1992, these
25 municipalities were conjoined to the Operative Zone of
1 Northwest Herzegovina with headquarters in Duvno, or
2 Tomislavgrad, rather.
3 The other parts of the map, with this full
4 uninterrupted line, is the Central Bosnia Operative
5 Zone in that it was never agreed -- the authority over
6 this, it was never agreed between the 3rd Corps and the
7 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, the 3rd Corps of the
8 Bosnian army, because the areas are superimposed.
9 There are two armies, two authorities, they overlap,
10 and the 3rd Corps kept authority over Bugojno and
11 Gornji Vakuf.
12 JUDGE JORDA: But, General, when General
13 Petkovic, in the defence department in Mostar, at the
14 point where the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
15 set up, when that General gave you a command, he was
16 not concerned with the 3rd Army Corps. He gave you a
17 command, a territory. Here's where I think the
18 ambiguity lies. In other words, my question -- well, I
19 can tell you it is a very simple question -- perhaps it
20 is also complicated.
21 When General Petkovic or the minister of
22 defence at Mostar, when the entity was constituted,
23 that entity which was called the Croatian Community of
24 Herceg-Bosna, when he gave you command of the Operative
25 Zone in Central Bosnia, was Teslic part of that? I
1 think it's simple.
2 A. Mr. President, part of the Teslic
3 municipality was. That is, we're talking until the
4 12th of August, 1992, when this territory was lost.
5 The Serbs had conquered it I think somewhere between
6 the 8th and 12th of August, 1992.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, did you want to
8 clarify something? Then I think we're going to stop.
9 MR. KEHOE: Maybe we're talking at
10 cross-purposes here. The bottom line is Teslic, for
11 instance, was part of the Central Bosnian Operative
12 Zone just like Jajce was part of the Central Bosnian
13 Operative Zone, and the fact of the matter is, as
14 combat activities with the Bosnian Serbs progressed,
15 part of Teslic was lost, part of, of course, Jajce was
16 lost, but they still remained part of the Central
17 Bosnian Operative Zone. That issue never changed.
18 Now, when and where the line at different
19 times changed is a separate issue, but it was still
20 part of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone and still
21 part of what was declared as the Croatian Community of
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, thank you. Thank you,
24 Mr. Kehoe. I think that this is a difficult discussion
25 because I believe that you, who are a leader in a war,
1 a military commander in the midst of a war, you see
2 this territory moving, depending upon battles that were
3 either won or lost. I have to say that today what I'm
4 interested in is to whether there was an agreement, of
5 course with you, among the leaders, that is, an
6 agreement in order to define the frontiers of the
7 Operative Zone which was given to you as your
8 responsibility. Then, of course, if you lose
9 territory, of course, I understand it is no longer
10 there, and, of course, I understand as well that the
11 operative map is going to change.
12 But when you were given the Operative Zone in
13 Central Bosnia, and I think that you answered my
14 question, but at that point, Teslic was not a part of
16 A. Mr. President, a part, a small part -- I
17 cannot tell you accurately what percentage -- but I can
18 say that it wasn't even 10 per cent. I think that it
19 is called the Komusina parish, in other words, a
20 village, a parish, which is bordering the Zepce
21 municipality made part -- so that part of the Teslic
22 municipality did make a part of the Operative Zone. In
23 other words, that small part. But I never had an
24 opportunity to enter Teslic because a brigade of the
25 Bosnian Serb army was there, and the Teslic
1 municipality was always under the control of the
2 Bosnian Serb army, and when I was in Jajce, I spent
3 over a month and a half working on the defence of the
4 town of Jajce. Now, that is a completely different
6 In Jajce, I was there together with the BH
7 army, and the BH army and we have controlled most parts
8 of the Jajce municipality, then lost it to the Serbs,
9 but with respect of the Teslic municipality, we didn't
10 even control 10 per cent.
11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I think it's
12 clear. During the cross-examination, the Prosecution
13 can ask the questions that it wants.
14 Judge Shahabuddeen?
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, General, one last
16 question: You were in the Lasva Valley pocket.
17 A. Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The HVO controlled two
19 or three other pockets within the Central Bosnia
20 Operational Zone; is that correct? Kiseljak was one
21 and I think you mentioned two others.
22 A. Your Honour, let me try to be specific here.
23 The HVO controlled additional four pockets, that is, in
24 addition to the Lasva Valley pocket. One of them was
25 Kiseljak, the second was the village of Dastansko in
1 Vares municipality, the third was Zepce, and the fourth
2 was Usora.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I am trying to be
4 clear about in my own mind is this: Were you in
5 command of these other HVO pockets within the Central
6 Bosnia Operative Zone?
7 A. On paper, I indeed was the commander of those
8 surviving four pockets, which I basically did not even
9 enter until the Washington Accords except when I was
10 taken to Kiseljak in U.N. vehicles for meetings.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I appreciate your help.
12 Thank you very much.
13 MR. NOBILO:
14 Q. I would like to suggest that the witness mark
15 with a red marker the Busovaca-Vitez area where he was
16 able to move, that is, on the transparency, if you
17 would show in red, if you can shade the area to which
18 you had physical access, in other words, where you
19 could move around physically?
20 A. (Marks)
21 MR. NOBILO: Very well. So now we are seeing
22 what the Operative Zone looked like and what the pocket
23 within that Operative Zone looked like.
24 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. President, just by
25 way of qualification? I mean, this exhibit, of course,
1 is talking post November of 1992, and I think counsel
2 will agree that the witness is talking post April 1993
3 with regard to this red marker there.
4 MR. NOBILO: That is correct, Your Honours.
5 This is why I suggest that the witness write down the
6 date as of which the Lasva Valley looked like this, and
7 perhaps mark the eastern border of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina so that we can then offer it and enter it
9 as a separate exhibit.
10 Q. Just the eastern border, and this is how we
11 will be able to always put it on top of a map of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina and find our proper bearings there.
13 A. (Marks)
14 Q. General, if you will just write in the date
15 as of which this enclave, that is, mark in red,
16 existed, where you would move around without
17 encountering a BH army presence. So you can just mark
18 it on the transparency itself.
19 A. (Marks)
20 MR. NOBILO: May I now ask the registrar to
21 mark this for identification?
22 THE REGISTRAR: This is D540 -- pardon me,
24 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. It can be removed
25 now, and now if I can have the witness please be
1 shown D --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Can counsel repeat the
3 number of the exhibit?
4 JUDGE JORDA: It would be enough to simply
5 put a line on the right side in order to find the match
6 there. I think that Judge Rodrigues would prefer to
7 have a line on the left side. I don't see any problem
8 with that.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. Yes. If we can just adjust it so that it
11 covers it completely? In black marker, please.
12 A. (Marks)
13 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Thank you. Please,
14 Exhibit D523.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I find this so very
16 helpful, that may I suggest that we leave it on the
17 ELMO, or wherever, until we return? I may ask the
18 witness to be so good as to indicate some of the other
19 positions which he mentioned on the transparency, but I
20 won't do that now. It is a matter for the Presiding
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Judge Shahabuddeen, I
23 agree with you. I suggest that we now take a 15-minute
25 --- Recess taken at 3.32 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.57 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
3 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President? Just excuse me,
4 Counsel, before we begin.
5 Judge Shahabuddeen, before the break, I did
6 refer to an exhibit wherein the accused had delineated
7 the various municipalities in the Central Bosnia
8 Operative Zone. That is Defence Exhibit 200.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you say "Defence
10 Exhibit" or "Prosecution Exhibit"?
11 MR. KEHOE: It's Defence Exhibit 200 put in
12 through Brigadier Marin. In that document, it is dated
13 the 7th of October, 1992, there is a reformation of the
14 Central Bosnia Operative Zone discussing the various
15 municipalities that are now in the zone, as well as
16 those in the various groups within the Central Bosnia
17 Operative Zone. I knew there was an exhibit in there
18 some place, Judge, and I, with the assistance of
19 Mr. Harmon, just found it.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Now we have to give
22 it a number, that is, the transparency itself is a
23 Defence Exhibit; is that correct?
24 THE REGISTRAR: All right. We took a
25 transparency that was superimposed on a Prosecution
1 Exhibit, and in the meantime, we made a colour copy of
2 the transparency superimposed on the map.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Which could be given a number
4 then. So we have to give a number to the colour
5 photocopy that was just made; is that right?
6 MR. NOBILO: Yes. This would be the Defence
7 Exhibit number D550, and now I --
8 JUDGE JORDA: 550 or 505? 550.
9 MR. NOBILO: No, 550.
10 JUDGE JORDA: You're 45 exhibits behind,
11 Madam Interpreter. It's 550.
12 MR. NOBILO: I would like to suggest that we
13 introduce the transparency as 550 and the complete
14 picture which comprises both the transparency and the
15 underlying --
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. That's just as
17 clear as the transparency itself. All right. I think
18 we all understand what we're talking about now. It is
19 the transparency which will be given the number 550,
20 and all of us in our files will have the copy which
21 will have the same number. We can now continue.
22 Judge Shahabuddeen?
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I hope I'm not making
24 matters too difficult, but I wanted, pursuant to an
25 earlier indication, to invite the witness to indicate
1 on the same transparency some other positions to which
2 he had, indeed, referred.
3 In the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, you
4 said that there were three other HVO pockets; Kiseljak
5 was one, and I think there were two others. Would it
6 be possible for you to indicate on the transparency
7 where those other HVO pockets were?
8 A. Your Honour, would you like me to draw it in
9 or just point?
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I would prefer to see
11 you draw it in. Maybe there are other colours of
13 A. (Marks)
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Could you go over that
15 again to give it some more brightness?
16 A. (Marks)
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That's the Kiseljak
18 area, I imagine?
19 A. That is correct, Your Honour. This is the
20 Kiseljak area (indicating). The next one is the area
21 of Vares (indicating).
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. So there are five
24 A. That is correct, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last thing. You
1 said that there were four Operative Zones; the Central
2 Bosnia Operative Zone was one of the four Operative
3 Zones. Is it possible for you to indicate on the map
4 where the other three were?
5 A. Yes, I can show it. I can both draw them in
6 or show them, point to them. The municipality of
7 Orasje --
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I don't know if you have
9 another coloured pen which can be used. If you can
10 indicate it with a pen, I will be very grateful. Yes.
11 MR. NOBILO:
12 Q. It got set off a little bit. Can you just
13 readjust it? Let's try to make it as accurate as
14 possible, please.
15 A. (Marks)
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: It's not cooperating
17 with you.
18 MR. NOBILO: Yes. This is the registry pen.
19 The other pens were the Defence pens.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I don't know of the
21 exact connotation to be affixed to those remarks.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We have to make the date clear,
23 Judge Shahabuddeen. Please ask them to specify a date
24 because we put down a date.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The Presiding Judge is
1 quite right. There's a date which you have indicated.
2 Would you indicate the positions with reference to this
3 date, "April 1993"?
4 A. (Marks)
5 JUDGE JORDA: I think we have to go back to
6 the Defence marker.
7 A. Your Honour, it is correct. The dates are
8 different, but I can also write them down on the
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: No. The President is
11 quite right. There is a date on the map, "April
12 1993." Would it be possible for you to keep that date
13 in mind and, as of that date, to indicate where were
14 the other Operative Zones?
15 A. Yes. If I may, using this marker.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. It got set off again, so if you can just put
18 it back.
19 A. (Marks). This is the area of the Bosanska
20 Posavina Operative Zone, headquartered in Orasje, and
21 it covers predominantly the Orasje municipality
23 This is the northeastern Herzegovina
24 Operative Zone with its command post in Tomislavgrad,
25 and the command post was in Prozor (indicating). I
1 don't know the exact dates when it was in Prozor and
2 when it was in Tomislavgrad.
3 This is the southeastern Herzegovina
4 Operative Zone with the command post in Mostar
5 (indicating). For awhile, it was also in Citluk, that
6 is, the command post of the command of the southeastern
7 Herzegovina Operative Zone. Again, I do not know the
8 exact dates as to when it was in Citluk and when it was
9 in Mostar.
10 Then I do not have enough transparency for
11 the Orasje Operative Zone and for the Neum Operative
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last point,
14 General. Can you indicate on the map the position from
15 which overall command was exercised over all these four
16 Operative Zones?
17 A. Your Honour, you mean the command post of the
18 HVO main staff?
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes.
20 A. For a while, the main staff was in Mostar and
21 then in Citluk, but it had its forward command posts in
22 Prozor and, for a period of time, in Kiseljak.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
24 MR. NOBILO:
25 Q. General, I would like to follow on from what
1 Judge Shahabuddeen has said and ask you: Can we say,
2 when the HVO lost control over certain municipalities
3 such as Gornji Vakuf, Konjic, Jablanica, and so on, or
4 at least the period of the year, what time of year it
5 was, if you remember?
6 A. Yes, I can tell you this, as regards the
7 period of the year. In 1993, somewhere up until the
8 20th of April, 1993, the HVO lost control over Konjic
9 and Jablanica, I think; that is to say, up to the 20th
10 of April, 1993, I'm certain, but I think it was until
11 the 15th of April, 1993, so Konjic and Jablanica.
12 In Gornji Vakuf, this already took place in
13 January 1993, that is to say, January, when there was a
14 positioning of forces of the BH army and the HVO, so
15 that in the later period, part of the town was under
16 the control of the BH army and the other part of the
17 town was under the control of the forces of the HVO.
18 I know today the exact boundaries, but I
19 didn't know at that time who held what. But, for the
20 most part, the road from Gornji Vakuf up to Novi
21 Travnik, that is, this road here (indicating), Your
22 Honours, this road was completely under the control of
23 the BH army forces of the 308th Brigade from Novi
24 Travnik and the Mountain Brigade from the composition
25 of the 3rd Corps from Gornji Vakuf. I'm not sure of
1 the number of that particular brigade.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. You mentioned Bugojno.
4 A. Bugojno fell, that is to say, it was taken
5 over by the BH army, on the 26th of July, 1993.
6 Bugojno, here we have it (indicating), and Kiseljak was
7 brought into this situation between the 16th and 17th
8 of July, 1993. Vares and the expulsion from Vares
9 occurred between the 3rd and 4th of November, 1993, and
10 Zepce from the 24th of June, 1993. In the next 15 to
11 20 days, it was brought into a position of this kind.
12 Q. Can you show us the border of the Republic of
13 Croatia and the two Herzegovina Operative Zones on the
15 A. Yes. In the area of the Livno and Duvno and
16 Posusje municipalities, that is the Operative Zone of
17 Northwest Herzegovina, and then we have Grude,
18 Ljubuski, Capljina, and Neum, that is the Operative
19 Zone of Southeast Herzegovina, and that is the border
20 with the Republic of Croatia, that's the frontier.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, I have a question
22 which won't take very long to answer.
23 When the General speaks about losses, I
24 believe that most of the losses were among the Serbs;
25 is that correct? We already know that Bugojno was lost
1 for the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 Let me ask the question a different way:
3 During the fighting between the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, did the HVO and the
5 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina lose territories to the
6 Serbs and, if so, what were those losses?
7 A. Your Honour, I am trying to think, because it
8 relates to the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina, not Central
9 Bosnia, and I was in the pocket then, but perhaps I can
10 use the knowledge that I have today and tell you
11 exactly because during the fighting, the Serbs took
12 over the territory, in my opinion, and that is my
13 personal opinion, it was the territory that was
14 necessary for them to take over for the purposes of
15 their strategy, that is to say, Eastern Bosnia,
16 directly along the border of the River Drina, that is
17 to say, Srbrenica and the other regions, Zepa, part of
18 Gorazde, and so on.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, when you say
20 "during the fighting," you're talking about the
21 fighting between the HVO and the army of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's how I understood the question.
24 That means during the conflict between the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO, what the Serbs took
1 over during that time, they expanded their corridor of
2 Posavina to the north, they expanded the corridor, and
3 they took over the region along the eastern borders,
4 that is to say, Srbrenica, Zepa, Konjevic Polje,
5 Cerska, so on and so forth.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. General, you said what the Serbs had taken
9 control of, but tell the Trial Chamber now, please, the
10 municipalities that you mentioned and said that they
11 were the Operative Zone of southeastern Herzegovina
12 which was lost, but who took control of those
14 A. In Central Bosnia, all the municipalities
15 were taken over by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
16 placed them under its control, and as there was a
17 withdrawal of HVO forces in one of two ways that I
18 described earlier on, then the Croats withdrew together
19 with the HVO to the remaining territories under HVO
21 Q. Now, if we forget about the area of the
22 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and if we were to look at
23 the territory of Northwest Herzegovina, Konjic,
24 Jablanica, Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno, who took control of
25 that region?
1 A. That was taken control of by the BH army and
2 the forces of the 4th Corps of the BH army, to be
3 precise, parts of the 6th Corps of the BH army, parts
4 of the 1st Corps and 3rd Corps of the BH army.
5 Q. In this entire region which does not lean
6 upon the Republic of Croatia, border with the Republic
7 of Croatia, did the HVO have an expansion of territory
8 under its control anywhere?
9 A. No, it did not because the overall
10 municipality of Bugojno, from the 26th of July, was
11 taken over by the BH army, and most of the Croats there
12 left the area, and about half and perhaps more of the
13 municipality of Gornji Vakuf, as well as the whole of
14 the municipality of Konjic and, according to our
15 intelligence data, in Jablanica, at the end of 1993 and
16 the beginning of 1994, there were only 14 families
17 left, 14 households left living in Jablanica.
18 Q. You mean Croatian?
19 A. Yes, Croatian. So that area was taken over
20 by the BH army.
21 Q. What about the territory that was compactly
22 leaning and bordering on Croatia; did the HVO lose
23 anything there or did it hold its positions or did it
24 win over any territory, perhaps?
25 A. This territory bordering on Croatia, that is
1 to say, the municipalities of Livno, Duvno, Posusje,
2 Ljubuski, Capljina, Neum, and part of the municipality
3 of Stolac, for the most part, were retained in the same
4 composition; they were not taken over, for the most
5 part, by the BH army. But there was fighting, there
6 were battles in that area as well.
7 MR. NOBILO: May we move on to document
9 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. I'm sorry.
10 We're not getting a translation.
11 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the microphone
12 wasn't switched on.
13 MR. KEHOE: If you can ask it again?
14 MR. NOBILO: Yes. I will repeat the
16 Q. Therefore, you have before you a Defence
17 Exhibit, it is D523, and it represents part of the
18 rules and regulations of the military police from 1994,
19 the beginning of 1994.
20 In Article 10, points 1 to 10 enumerate all
21 the tasks of the military police. Would you take a
22 look at them, please? We're not going to read them all
23 so we don't lose much time, and tell the Trial Chamber,
24 please, whether the military police tasks and jobs were
25 the ones stipulated here when you took over. That's
1 the first question.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, could you delineate for the Court, by
4 looking at the ten principal tasks of the military
5 police, which tasks are daily operative police tasks
6 and which tasks are the military use of the military
7 police, point by point? Which points are the military
8 use and which were the daily military police tasks;
9 could you differentiate?
10 A. All the points except, with the exception of
11 point 9, are, for the most part, daily tasks, and with
12 the exception of point 8. Point 9, "Taking part in
13 accomplishing military tasks at the front line under
14 the order of the minister for defence of the Croatian
15 Republic of Herceg-Bosna."
16 Q. That is a combat task, is it not?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. What about point 8? Point 8, is it a combat
19 task or is it a daily operative task?
20 A. Well, point 8 talks about "taking part in
21 fighting terrorist, rebellion and other enemy
22 formations," and taking part in fighting tasks come
23 under the orders of the defence minister, so that point
24 8 could be a combat task, although it is not expressly
25 stated in Article 10.
1 Q. If it is not expressly stated that it comes
2 under the command of the minister of defence, from
3 those positions, what status would point 8 have?
4 A. Well, point 8 would be a daily operative task
6 Q. Did this kind of division exist in 1993,
7 according to the best of your knowledge?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Let us go back to August 1993 and you
10 appointed Palavra as commander. Tell us what happened
11 next in the days that followed?
12 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Nobilo.
13 General Blaskic, when the military police
14 were given to you for what they call daily tasks, when
15 was that? Starting from the 16th of April, do you
16 remember, 11.42, for example -- were you always told
17 that the military police had been sent to you for daily
19 A. For daily military police tasks, that is to
20 say, daily tasks, this was in January 1993, sometime in
21 January '93, for daily tasks.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Under point 10, it says that
23 you needed a special authorisation.
24 MR. NOBILO: Point 9, Your Honour. Point 9,
25 Your Honour, of Article 10.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, point 9 under Article 10.
2 It says that you needed special authorisation from
4 A. Yes. There was to have been attachment of
5 the military police for me to have the right to utilise
7 JUDGE JORDA: What I would like to know is --
8 I would like you to talk about point 8. That's what
9 I'm interested in. Here's my question: If the
10 military police went to Ahmici on the 16th of April in
11 the morning, between 5.30 in the morning and 11.42, in
12 your opinion, it went into Ahmici -- if it went in --
13 under what point, according to this Article? I suppose
14 it must have been covered by point 8.
15 A. No, point 9, point 9. It could only take
16 part in the fighting according to point 9.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, the police went, in
18 your opinion, if it went, it went to Ahmici based on
19 point 9 between 5.30 and 11.42 whereas it was not
20 attached to you; that's what you're telling us?
21 A. The military police were attached to me from
22 the moment when the commander of the military police
23 reported to me.
24 JUDGE JORDA: But when you were not contacted
25 by the military police commander, did the military
1 police -- did it depend on you or was it subordinate to
2 you for daily tasks? Was it subordinate to you for
3 daily tasks?
4 A. For daily tasks, yes, but not for combat
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, all right. Let me go back
7 to my question now: Could one conceive that between
8 5.50 or 5.30, rather, in the morning, and 11.42, the
9 military police was acting in Ahmici on the 16th of
10 April under point 8, and at that point, the military
11 police was attached to you, that is, it was taking part
12 in fighting terrorist, rebellion, and other enemy
13 formations. I'm asking you: Could one consider that
14 the military police penetrated into Ahmici between 5.30
15 in the morning and 11.42 acting on daily tasks covered
16 by point 8 but for which you would be responsible?
17 What feeling do you have about that?
18 A. Mr. President, I don't think we can because
19 we're talking about the combat use of forces of the
20 military police, and the military police, for it to be
21 used in combat operations, had to have an order issued
22 by the defence department. That is my opinion.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I understood that. That's
24 point 9. Now you're repeating point 9 to me. I
25 understood that for a military operation, a combat
1 military operation, the military police could not act
2 with you and under your orders unless it had
3 authorisation from the ministry of defence. But what I
4 am interested in is point 8, and the question that I
5 was asking you is to know whether, for the daily tasks,
6 the military police was attached to you? That's my
7 first question. Was the military police attached to
8 you for daily tasks, "Yes" or "No"?
9 A. Yes, the military police, but not --
10 JUDGE JORDA: But you yourself are telling me
11 that all the points that are in this Article 10 are
12 points which indicate daily tasks except for point 9.
13 So let's take 9 by itself. Point 9 says that you are
14 responsible for the military police starting from
15 11.42. Do we agree on that? That's how I understood
17 Now, I was asking whether one could consider
18 that the military police acted within the scope of
19 point 8 which, in your opinion, is a point which
20 involves daily tasks.
21 A. Mr. President, this is why I said that in
22 point 8 -- point 8 talks about taking part in fighting
23 and it lists against whom, so if you imply and if you
24 assume the use of the military police, then we go to
25 point 9.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you see, but this is where
2 you're not being clear enough, General Blaskic. Do you
3 acknowledge that it is only point 9 which provides for
4 an order from the ministry of defence, only point 9
5 that provides for the order from the ministry of
7 A. Mr. President, as far as I recall -- perhaps
8 I was not clear enough -- but point 8 says, and I
9 quote, "Taking part in fighting," which means that the
10 use of the military police is permitted, and this is
11 why I said, when counsel asked me, that point 8 could
12 also be made part of point 9 because it implies the use
13 in combat.
14 JUDGE JORDA: But you acknowledge that you're
15 adding things to the text because that's not in the
16 text. It isn't in the text.
17 A. I am only offering you an opinion. It is
18 true, it is not in the text, but it says in the text
19 "Taking part in combat." Mr. President, with your
20 permission, if what was meant was fighting the
21 anti-terrorist groups, I don't know what the legislator
22 had in mind there. Perhaps it would be clearer. But
23 if you mean the military police, as it says here, the
24 whole Article says the use of the military police; in
25 other words, if you were talking about the tasks of the
1 military police. My understanding of it is that it
2 implies taking part in combat by the military police in
3 fighting, and for that, you need permission of or an
4 order of the minister of defence.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I don't know whether
6 you're right or whether you're wrong, General Blaskic.
7 Nonetheless, in respect of command structures, once,
8 under point 8, it has not been provided that a specific
9 order from the Ministry of Defence attaches a police to
10 you, one could assume and suggest, one could assume
11 that the military police went to Ahmici thinking that
12 it would be fighting rebels, terrorists, and other
13 enemy formations, considering that it was under your
14 command, daily tasks, that is.
15 I assume that you don't agree. I'm quite
16 sure that you don't agree. I'm sure that you don't
17 agree, but I'm using your reasoning when I allow myself
18 to say to you that you are the one who is interpreting
19 "taking part in fighting" as meaning, under point 9,
20 under the order of the Ministry of Defence, and I say
21 that you are adding things to the text. We can't go
22 any further than that. I simply wanted to take the
23 liberty of raising this question with you.
24 I won't say anything further. I'm not
25 drawing any conclusions from that, but it is starting
1 from your logic that I allowed myself to ask that
2 question. I think we can continue.
3 Judge Shahabuddeen?
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I, General, pursue
5 just a little the inquiries opened up by the
6 President? Between 5.30 in the morning of the 16th of
7 April and, I think, 11.42, the military police were
8 subordinate to you for purposes of military duties not
9 involving combat operations; is that the position, as
10 you saw it?
11 A. The military police had been attached to me
12 for the daily police tasks, which do not include combat
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, is it correct to
15 say that the military police were attached to you by an
16 order, as it were, for ordinary military duties or was
17 that the general rule under a document which you
18 discussed with us last week? For ordinary military
19 duties, was there any necessity for an attachment order
20 to be made?
21 A. For the usual or ordinary police duties, no
22 order of attachment was necessary.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: All right. Now, you
24 later saw what was done at Ahmici. What was your view,
25 that what was done was done in the course of ordinary
1 military duties or was it your view that what was done
2 was done in the course of combat duties?
3 A. I believe that this was a combat task, that
4 is, combat activity. But from whom this task was
5 issued, I cannot say, but in any event, it was not
6 regular police activity like patrols, control of
7 persons, or such.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, to your knowledge,
9 was any order issued by anyone authorising the military
10 police to engage in such combat duties?
11 A. I do not know by whom the military police may
12 have received such an order. I believe that the
13 military police commander should have received an
14 order, and I assume that he had received an order on
15 attachment. I do not know from whom he received such
16 an order for combat operations, but my impression is
17 that it was an organised and systematic activity.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You also considered that
19 what was done amounted to serious crimes.
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you check your
22 assumption that the commander of the military police
23 would have received an order authorising him to engage
24 in such combat duties?
25 A. I checked all the reports which I had
1 received, and later on, I launched an investigation
2 after I had learned of what had taken place in Ahmici.
3 I did not check the military police commander because
4 the commander never reported in his reports on what had
5 taken place. I considered this to have been done
6 behind my back and that he must have had some knowledge
7 of this, but he never informed me of it in any way,
8 shape, or form.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you ever discover
10 the existence of any order from anyone authorising the
11 commander of the military police to engage in combat
12 duties between 5.30 in the morning and 11.42 in the
13 morning of the 16th of April?
14 A. I later on received information from the
15 security service that the investigation in the
16 territory of Central Bosnia had been completed and that
17 the file, including the list of the suspects, had been
18 sent to the security administration in Mostar, but I
19 was not in a position to ever open that file and
20 familiarise myself with its contents regarding the
21 investigation of the crime in Ahmici.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So as you sit there
23 testifying to the Trial Chamber today, you cannot say
24 that you discovered any order authorising the commander
25 of the military police to engage in the combat duties
1 which led to the commission of the crimes at Ahmici?
2 A. Personally, I did not see such an order.
3 Whether the commander received it or not, Your Honour,
4 I do not know this.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last question.
6 Assuming that the military police are answerable to you
7 for daily tasks and assuming that they engage in combat
8 duties without any order from any superior authority,
9 would you say that that was an act of insubordination
10 to you?
11 A. I may not have fully understood your
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'll put it again. Let
14 it be assumed that the military police are answerable
15 to you for daily tasks. Let it also be assumed that
16 they engage in combat duties without any order from any
17 superior authority authorising them to engage in combat
18 duties. Would you have taken the position that the
19 military police, in engaging in such combat duties in
20 such circumstances, were guilty of an act of
21 insubordination to you?
22 A. In any event, this would have been the
23 self-will of the military police, but I was not
24 authorised to issue them combat tasks without the
25 proper foundation.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I know that and I
2 wouldn't pursue it. Thank you.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. So if you cannot issue combat tasks and the
5 military police acts without an order of their superior
6 officer, to whom are they insubordinate to at the time?
7 A. To the one who is competent to issue orders
8 to them, in other words, to the command and to the
9 chief of the defence department.
10 Q. Did you have any information that any
11 terrorist group or something like that had been in
13 A. I had no information of any terrorist groups
14 in Ahmici.
15 Q. Did you consider the army of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, its 3rd Corps as a
17 terrorist group?
18 A. No.
19 Q. On the 16th of April, was there a front line
20 developed through the village of Ahmici?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Please look at point 9: "Taking part in
23 accomplishing military tasks at the front line." What
24 happened on the 16th of April, if we can for a moment
25 set aside the crime, how can we define what took place
1 in Ahmici?
2 A. If we think of the front line, then it is the
3 taking part in accomplishing military tasks at the
4 front line, point 9.
5 Q. Can you now describe for us point 8? A
6 typical situation from life which would be covered by
7 point 8; in other words, what was behind this taking
8 part in the fighting of the sabotage terrorist groups?
9 A. We had such a situation when there was an
10 incursion of a group in the village of Jardol. Early
11 in the morning, around 5.00 a.m., a group of Mujahedin
12 entered the village of Jardol, opened fire and started
13 killing everything in sight. Special forces, special
14 intervention forces, are used to break up such groups,
15 but it only takes place when a terrorist group had been
16 discovered and its area of operation had been
17 identified, and then both the military and the police
18 forces come in and fight them.
19 Q. If you look at your enclave, we know that you
20 had a front line all around your enclave. Would the
21 catching of a terrorist group be a task of the units
22 which are defending the outside line of defence of the
23 enclave or of the units which are working in the depth
24 of the territory?
25 A. According to any doctrine, both in the JNA
1 and in Bosnia, it was a task of the civilian police and
2 the military police and the civilian authorities, that
3 is, in the depth of the territory. Sometimes it is
4 defined as combat control of the territory.
5 Q. The sabotage terrorist groups, are they
6 inserted into the front lines or into the depth of the
8 A. Your Honours, they are always inserted behind
9 the front lines, that is, into the depth of the
10 territory, and usually they are the best equipped and
11 best trained members of units.
12 Q. Let's disregard all the points here, but tell
13 the Trial Chamber, did you send the military police to
14 the village of Ahmici to accomplish any task?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did you order them to commit the crime in
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you have
20 answered many questions already. Let's take a
21 10-minute break.
22 --- Recess taken at 4.54 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 5.10 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We can resume now.
25 Mr. Hayman?
1 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. The
2 Defence wanted to note for the record that there is a
3 translation problem with the English translation of
4 Defence Exhibit 523. This was a version we had
5 translated, I think, the night before we used it the
6 first time by a staff member in Mr. Nobilo's office in
8 Your Honour, Mr. President, noted problems in
9 the translation on the 19th of January of this year at
10 transcript page 17216 and asked that a professional
11 translation be done by the Registrar's office. We
12 haven't gotten that back yet, and we would ask that
13 that be done.
14 One of the issues, Mr. President, is that I
15 believe that the proper translation is not going to
16 be -- in point 8, it's not going to be "formations" but
17 "groups," suggesting smaller, perhaps internal groups
18 of persons, as opposed to formations on the front line
19 posing an external threat to the territory under
21 We apologise that we weren't able to provide,
22 back when we first used the document, a professional
23 translation, but we would reiterate your prior request
24 that a professional translation be made.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. This is an important
2 point for our discussions, and it would be good for the
3 registrar to be sure that a perfectly correct
4 translation be made of that point specifically.
5 Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. General, after you installed Marinko Palavra
8 as the commander of the military police, and before you
9 go on to further activities of the military police,
10 from the 10th of August 1993 onwards, tell us about the
11 activities included.
12 A. Well, on the 10th of August, 1993, I asked
13 the assistant for security to continue the
14 investigation with regard to the crime in Ahmici
15 because the results of the investigation thus far, I
16 was not satisfied with. I considered that all the
17 changes in the military police would create a far more
18 favourable climate for the assistant for security to
19 implement a complete investigation as to the crime in
21 In addition to that, on the 10th of August, I
22 received information on the killed soldiers in the
23 Lasva pocket, that is to say, the Central Bosnia
24 Operative Zone, in fact, and there were a total of
25 1.293 soldiers that were killed; injured, 3.750
1 soldiers, so about 5.043 soldiers who were
2 incapacitated on the front line.
3 Q. When you say "soldiers," do you mean HVO
5 A. Yes, I mean HVO soldiers.
6 Q. Please continue.
7 A. From 16.10 to about 18.00 or 18.40, I had a
8 meeting with the representative of the UNHCR, Mr. de la
9 Mota. He came to me and he complained that the
10 military police had made it impossible for him, from
11 Stari Vitez, to evacuate to Zenica two Bosniak Muslim
13 I told him on the occasion that this evacuation
14 was contrary to his mandate of the UNHCR and any
15 movement of the population was ethnic cleansing, and I
16 told him that in that case, he himself was working
17 against his own mandate. Mr. de la Mota told me that
18 this was an exception and that it was necessary to
19 transport the family to Zenica so as to be able to link
20 it up with the other family members who were already in
22 We discussed the issue once again, that is to
23 say, the problem of freedom of movement and the issue
24 of ethnic cleansing and contrary stands of the
25 International Red Cross and the UNHCR.
1 On the 11th of August, 1993, I had a meeting
2 with the European Monitors, that is to say, with
3 Mr. Watkins, who tried to inform me of the events in
4 Bugojno, and he requested of me information about the
5 events in Zepce and Kiseljak, he asked me to tell him
6 of those events, and I told him that Bugojno was not in
7 my zone of responsibility and that the situation in
8 Zepce and Kiseljak for me was something I did not know,
9 I didn't know about that, because I was receiving only
10 superficial information which reached me after a
11 considerable lapse of time. Mr. Watkins, at that
12 meeting, told me that the Croats of Central Bosnia were
13 the greatest casualties in the aggression.
14 On the 12th of August, 1993, I was informed
15 in the late afternoon that a meeting had been held in a
16 private cafe, privately-owned cafe, at Mr. Drago
17 Kajic's place, between 15.00 until 18.00, and the
18 participants in that meeting were the head of the
19 centre for security on behalf of the Muslim Bosniak
20 police forces, this was Mr. Asim Fazlic from Zenica and
21 together with him was also Mr. Ivan Nedoklan, and on
22 the other side, we had representatives of local armed
23 groups or bands, Mr. Andric, Zuti, nicknamed "Zuti,"
24 and Mr. Dzandara and Mr. Boro Lovrinovic.
25 This meeting was organised through the
1 mediation of a liaison officer of the UNPROFOR command
2 in Nova Bila, and the topic of the meeting was the
3 possibility of giving over the explosives factory and
4 the Lasva pocket, rendering it to the BH army along
5 with monetary remuneration for that, recompense, and a
6 price was even discussed, the price to be offered for
7 the local armed groups to take control of the factory
8 and forcibly take over command in the Lasva pocket and
9 to surrender, to turn over the factory in the Lasva
10 pocket to the 3rd Corps of the BH army.
11 Later on, in the days that followed, I told
12 Colonel Duncan that I knew of the meeting, I intimated
13 to him that I knew that the meeting had taken place and
14 that this was below the level of officers to enter into
15 organising meetings of that kind between various local
16 groups and the head of the security service of Zenica.
17 On the 14th of August --
18 Q. Just one moment, please. May we hear
19 Duncan's reactions?
20 A. At that moment, he just looked down. He
21 didn't deny that the meeting had taken place. The
22 officer, liaison officer, from his battalion introduced
23 himself as Mr. Perry, he was a captain by rank, and he
24 mediated in transport from Zenica to the cafe, the
25 officers from the 3rd Corps and the Bosniak Muslim
1 representatives from Zenica.
2 Q. Would you remind us, please, one of the
3 representatives -- you say in a very nice way "the
4 members of an armed group," but I would like to say
5 Mafioso groups -- you mentioned Zuti. Is it the same
6 Zuti that witnesses from the International Community
7 mentioned who was responsible for the hijacking of
9 A. Yes, it was. He was one of the bosses in the
11 Q. When we're discussing this matter, tell us,
12 please, in the days that followed, were candidates put
13 forward for command of the Operative Zone, and if the
14 answer is "Yes," then tell us, in 1993, who was one of
15 your competitors? Tell the Court that.
16 A. Well, candidates began to make themselves
17 known at the end of May 1993, and I received
18 information later on about a talk between Zuti and
19 Darko Kraljevic, that they would take over command of
20 the Operative Zone, and Zuti was even offered a certain
21 post in the command of the Operative Zone, and Darko
22 would have been the commander, Zuti would probably have
23 been the deputy commander.
24 Q. What do you think, with hindsight and at this
25 point in time, had you been able to tender your
1 resignation, had that been possible in those war days,
2 would it have been realistic to say that Darko
3 Kraljevic and Zuti would have taken over the Operative
4 Zone or the pocket in which you moved?
5 A. I am absolutely certain that that would have
6 happened, that the command would have been taken over
7 by one of those two men. I believe that it would have
8 been Darko Kraljevic, I am inclined to believe that it
9 would have been Darko Kraljevic, because he was more
10 powerful, he had a strong unit, and he had the type of
11 status and he was a local man and he was deputy head of
12 the security service.
13 Q. Please continue.
14 A. On the 14th of August, 1993, a general
15 offensive was launched by the BH army on Vitez and
16 there was exceptionally heavy fighting from the morning
17 up until 21.00. In the course of that entire day, we
18 had civilian casualties from Grbavica from the BH army
19 and their snipers caused this.
20 On the 16th of August, 1993, I once again
21 insisted, with the assistant for security, that a
22 complete investigation into Ahmici be continued, and I
23 was also engaged, in the course of the day, in ensuring
24 free passage for the UNHCR convoy and the International
25 Red Cross towards Kruscica and Stari Vitez, and I had
1 talks with the representatives of the International Red
2 Cross about mediation to receive a permit for the
3 evacuation of the wounded from the Nova Bila hospital.
4 MR. NOBILO: Before you continue, may we have
5 document D379 because it is dated the 17th of August,
7 Q. Therefore, we have document D379. It is your
8 own order dated the 17th of August, 1993, and you
9 issued the order to the commander of the Josip Ban
10 Jelacic Brigade in Kiseljak. The title is "Demolition
11 of a religious object (a place of worship)."
12 "Today, the 17th of August, 1993, we have
13 been informed of a demolition of" as it says "a
14 religious object in Kiseljak, (a place of worship).
15 "In order to establish the facts and conduct
16 investigation, I hereby order:
17 1. You are to send in a detailed report
18 about the demolition of this place of worship.
19 2. You are to inform me what you have done
20 in respect of conducting an investigation and finding
21 the perpetrators.
22 3. You are to inform me what facts you have
23 established and what action you plan to undertake
24 regarding this incident."
25 Typed in three copies. TB/SV.
1 Tell us, please, is that your own order?
2 A. Yes, this is my order. I wrote it. This can
3 be seen by the initials at the bottom, TB, Tihomir
5 Q. Tell us, what does it mean when you order the
6 commander of the brigade which is formerly -- command
7 to say that you have been informed on the 17th of
8 August that a demolition took place of a place of
9 worship? Should he not have informed you of that?
10 A. Well, this means that I received information
11 from another source and not from a report sent by the
12 commander because, as I have already said,
13 communications were sporadic and very brief, and that
14 is why I ask him, under number 1, to "send in a
15 detailed report" as to the circumstances of the
16 demolition of this place of worship. I do not know
17 which place of worship it was in the Kiseljak
18 municipality and I don't know whether it was
19 intentionally demolished or whether the demolition took
20 place in the course of combat operations.
21 Q. Point 2, you ask him to conduct an
22 investigation and to identify the perpetrators. Can we
23 draw any conclusions as to the information you
24 received, how this facility was demolished?
25 A. I received information that the place of
1 worship that was demolished was a mosque, and I
2 therefore asked for an investigation to be conducted
3 and to find out who the perpetrators were because this
4 conduct was contrary to my order on the protection of
5 places of worship, including mosques, and we talked
6 about this earlier on when we looked at other exhibits,
7 so other places of worship as well.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the next order,
9 another order on investigation into Ahmici. I think it
10 is so important that perhaps we should not start
11 discussing it at the end of the day but to leave it for
12 tomorrow morning perhaps.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I agree with you,
14 Mr. Nobilo. All right. We will resume tomorrow,
15 tomorrow's Thursday, and we will resume at 10.00.
16 Court stands adjourned.
17 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
18 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
19 the 25th day of March, 1999, at
20 10.00 a.m.