1 Thursday, 25th March, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, will you please bring our
6 witness into the courtroom?
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
9 interpreters. I want to make sure that everything is
10 functioning well. Good morning to the court reporters,
11 counsel for the Prosecution, counsel for the Defence,
12 and good morning to the accused.
13 Let me remind you, for the benefit of the
14 public, that we are at the trial of General Blaskic who
15 is now also the witness under oath and who has been
16 testifying for several days, if not several weeks.
17 This is the examination-in-chief, and it is
18 Mr. Nobilo who is examining our witness.
19 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
22 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
23 Q. At the end of the working day yesterday, we
24 had mentioned the second written order for the
25 investigation into Ahmici. Could the witness be shown
1 Defence Exhibit D343?
2 So it is D343. It is your order issued on
3 the 17th of August, 1993. It is addressed to the
4 assistant commander for the Security and Information
5 Service, SIS, and it is headed "Continuation of the
6 Investigation in Connection with the Killings in the
7 Village of Ahmici." (as read)
8 "In order to establish the facts and to take
9 steps to further conduct investigations regarding the
10 killing of civilians in the village of Ahmici, I hereby
12 1. Continue with making records and
13 collecting information on the civilian casualties in
14 the village of Ahmici in order to unify the complete
15 material and provide them to the competent bodies of
16 the District Military Court.
17 2. While collecting information, pay special
18 attention to those data that have a decisive effect on
19 the entire course of the investigation.
20 3. The deadline for executing this order is
21 17 September, 1993, when a complete report must be
22 submitted to me so that we can proceed with further
23 procedure in front of the bodies that are in charge.
24 Commander Colonel Blaskic."
25 Tell us, General, what prompted you to issue
1 this written order after a series of oral orders and
2 after that first written order?
3 A. On several occasions, after the changes in
4 the military police occurred, I requested the
5 continuation of the investigation from the security
6 department considering that the circumstances had
7 aggravated, and following all these efforts on my part,
8 I wanted to exert additional pressure so that the whole
9 investigation documents should be completed, unified,
10 and submitted to the District Court for further
11 processing, for criminal proceedings to be instituted.
12 Q. Let us continue with the chronology of
13 events. This was the 17th of August, 1993, so let us
14 see what the key events were in the following weeks and
16 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please,
17 Mr. Nobilo. I apologise for interrupting you. It is a
18 question of Ahmici, and I don't think we can go over it
19 so quickly.
20 I should like to ask the witness if this
21 document, this order, D343, was it conceived as an act
22 of policing or is it an appeal made as a commander of
23 the Operative Zone? In other words, my question is:
24 Through this order, were you acting as the head of
25 judicial police, as you say that the material evidence
1 has to be collected -- these are usually orders issued
2 by an investigating judge -- or, in your capacity as
3 commander of the Operative Zone, were you disturbed
4 because you hadn't received any tangible results about
5 the investigation in Ahmici?
6 Do you understand my question? Because from
7 this order, we cannot see very well whether this was an
8 act of judicial procedure or was it an administrative
9 appeal to the security department to say that you were
10 still not satisfied with the result of the
11 investigation into Ahmici?
12 A. Mr. President, I issued this order in the
13 capacity of commander of the Operative Zone and
14 addressed it to the assistant for security, demanding
15 from him that he complete the investigation, believing
16 that the conditions for the investigations had changed
17 because there had been a change in the military police;
18 in other words, there were far more favourable
19 conditions for the assistant for security to continue
20 with the investigation.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but would you agree with
22 me, General Blaskic -- this is, after all, the 17th of
23 August, therefore, May, June, July, four months, and I
24 know that you are not a specialist in judicial
25 policing, but in a criminal affair, to reach the 17th
1 of August and to say that you need to collect relevant
2 evidence from the investigation -- a police
3 investigation is something serious. In criminal
4 proceedings, from the very first day, you have to find
5 the traces of bullets, to make ballistic
6 investigations, who were the people in black that
7 attacked the village and so on.
8 My question is: Did you consider this order
9 to be useful or was it an order that allowed you simply
10 to say that you had done something? Because, you know,
11 in one's life, there are useful orders and there are
12 alibi orders. One does so because they should be done.
13 Did you have a feeling that this was a useful
14 order? That is my question.
15 A. Mr. President, I think this order was useful
16 because I had ordered the assistant for security to
17 start the investigation on the 24th of April, 1993, and
18 I received a written report from him on the
19 investigation about the 25th of May, 1993; and by this
20 order, I am asking him to continue the investigation
21 and to complete the material and specifically to name
22 the suspects. I asked him to continue the
23 investigation, not to start the investigation.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course, not to begin
25 it, but still, you do remember, General Blaskic, that
1 on the 25th of May, that the results that you received
2 were highly lacking, they were totally inadequate from
3 a criminal point of view, and another two months
4 went by. But I take note of your observation that you
5 think the order was useful.
6 Then let me continue. In what respect was it
7 useful? Did you find the perpetrators and did you have
8 them prosecuted? You just said that the order was
10 A. At the end, I received information that the
11 whole brief, including the names of the suspects for
12 the crime in Ahmici, had been submitted to the
13 competent department for security, so that the
14 consequence of this order was that the assistant for
15 security continued the investigation but under
16 completely different circumstances because the entire
17 command structure of the military police had been
18 changed in the meantime and he completed the file and
19 forwarded it to the security administration, including
20 the names of the suspects, at least that is the
21 information I received from him.
22 JUDGE JORDA: You yourself, you had the names
23 of the suspects? You were the addressee of this whole
24 file; you received the file on those who were suspected
25 of murder in Ahmici.
1 A. Mr. President, I was informed by the
2 assistant for security that he had completed the file
3 and that the whole investigating material had been
4 submitted to the security administration. I personally
5 did not receive the report or the names of the suspects
6 nor the file --
7 JUDGE JORDA: This is what I don't
8 understand, General Blaskic. You are playing a role
9 through this order, you are attributing a role to
10 yourself, and you said that by the 17th of September,
11 you wished the investigation to be closed, and you had
12 no curiosity to request the results of the
13 investigation to be communicated to you, who were the
14 suspects. You were content to learn that the file had
15 been sent to another institution. I must admit, I
16 don't understand.
17 A. Mr. President, I will be commenting on that
18 in my chronology, but I was not satisfied, by receiving
19 the information from the assistant for security, that
20 the whole file was submitted to the administration for
21 security, I was not satisfied by this even in 1994, but
22 I am just saying what I received as a result of this
23 order from the assistant for security.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have at
25 least two questions to address to you. The first is
1 the following: We know that Pasko Ljubicic was
2 promoted; therefore, he was no longer the commander of
3 the military police. We now have Marinko Palavra as
4 the new commander of the military police I think as of
5 the 5th of August.
6 My question: Did you share this concern
7 regarding the investigation, the inquiry, and your wish
8 to know what happened in Ahmici, did you share all that
9 with Marinko Palavra or not?
10 A. I was certainly concerned about the
11 investigation in Ahmici and, Your Honour, I requested
12 the investigation to be resumed after the change over
13 in the command. I was not informed of all the
14 details. The first report that I received on the 25th
15 of May, I didn't inform him of that report, that is,
16 Marinko Palavra, who was the new police commander and
17 who never before had held such a position, so I devoted
18 my attention to the new military police and its
19 structuring in my discussions with him.
20 But regarding information and my suspicions
21 about Ahmici, I did talk to him about it, but I didn't
22 go into the details.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But it is true that you
24 spoke to him. Did you discuss with Marinko Palavra
25 your preoccupations?
1 A. I discussed with Palavra the existing
2 structure of the military police and the need for that
3 structure to be generally overhauled from the base up,
4 including the command structure, the new military
5 policemen, and everything else.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, General, you have
7 already said that, but in your conversation, did you
8 share with Marinko Palavra your concerns in relation to
10 A. I did in general terms. Anyway, he knew that
11 the crime had happened, but I didn't inform him about
12 all the details of the reports that I had already
13 received. I didn't discuss the details with him.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My second question is the
15 following: You invoked, as the reason for issuing this
16 order, changed circumstances. Actually, you said that
17 the circumstances had aggravated, and then you issued
18 this order; do you remember that?
19 A. Your Honour, I didn't say that the
20 circumstances had aggravated, deteriorated. That was
21 the interpretation I got.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I don't now have the
23 transcript, but that is what I understood, that
24 something had happened with the circumstances. They
25 had either changed or deteriorated. Do you remember
1 the reasons that you mentioned regarding the
2 circumstances? What I would like to know is which
3 circumstances you referred to as the reason for issuing
4 this order?
5 A. I said that the circumstances had changed and
6 that they had improved. What circumstances was I
7 referring to? The fact that I had a new military
8 police commander, that, together with him, I had
9 undertaken to reorganise the military police, and that
10 the military police had come under my command. As a
11 result, automatically, the assistant for security had
12 improved circumstances for conducting the
13 investigation. Never did I mean that the circumstances
14 had deteriorated.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,
16 General. Maybe I didn't understand quite well. I
17 understand now.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I would like to
20 return to a distinction which the President drew
21 between two kinds of orders. You remember that he
22 spoke of useful orders and alibi orders. Now, is my
23 recollection correct that, in the military academy, you
24 had learned about the Geneva Conventions?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Could you tell us, when
2 was the first time that you learnt of a proposal to
3 establish a war crimes tribunal to inquire inter alia
4 into the happenings at Ahmici?
5 A. Your Honour, if I understand you correctly,
6 there are two questions involved here. I had been
7 informed of the establishment of the Tribunal, I'm not
8 sure but I think sometime between May and June 1993, by
9 my assistant for information. This is the information
10 I had received regarding the Tribunal. But I did not
11 know whether the Tribunal would focus exclusively on
12 Ahmici until the moment when the indictment was issued
13 against me, which was in November 1995.
14 When I first said on the 27th of April that
15 what had happened in Ahmici was a crime, I never
16 thought that anything short of a full investigation,
17 including the names of the suspects, would be
18 permissible, and this is why I always thought that a
19 complete investigation of the crime should be
20 conducted. The crimes were committed on both sides at
21 that time.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, I think counsel on
23 both sides will accept that this Tribunal was
24 established on 25 May, 1993.
25 Let me shift away from Ahmici, which happened
1 on the 16th of April. When, for the first time, did
2 you learn of the proposal to establish a war crimes
3 tribunal to inquire into anything which happened in the
4 territory of the former Yugoslavia?
5 A. Your Honour, I'm trying to recall, but to the
6 best of my recollection, I heard of it when the
7 Tribunal was established. This is what I can say now.
8 In other words, I was informed of the establishment of
9 the Tribunal. It must have been after 25 May, so it
10 was either in late May or sometime in June of 1993.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, before the Tribunal
12 was established, did you ever learn of a proposal to
13 establish the Tribunal?
14 A. It is possible that I had heard, but I
15 couldn't put a date on it. I cannot say whether I had
16 heard of it or not. If I were able to review my notes,
17 maybe I would be able to find something regarding that.
18 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
20 MR. NOBILO: Let's try to clarify this
21 question which has not been fully resolved. Can we
22 perhaps move into a private session for a moment
23 because I would like to show the witness a document
24 which is under seal?
25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We are going into a
1 private session.
2 (Private session)
13 Pages 19629 to 19662 redacted – private session
21 (Open Session)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead, Mr. Nobilo.
23 MR. NOBILO:
24 Q. General, let us concentrate once again on the
25 19th of August, 1993, but very briefly, day by day,
1 chronologically, the important events related to that
3 A. On the 19th of August, I had a meeting with
4 Colonel Duncan, and we discussed the overall military
5 situation in the Lasva pocket, and Colonel Duncan asked
6 me whether we were going to survive at all or whether
7 we would be forced to evacuate and to leave the Lasva
8 pocket itself.
9 I told Colonel Duncan of my assessments. I
10 presented my assessments of the very serious situation,
11 and Colonel Duncan, at one point when I was speaking,
12 he showed me the possible directions of the military
13 taking over of the Lasva pocket and fragmentation.
14 Q. General, did you understand that Colonel
15 Duncan was telling you of some enemy plans?
16 A. Well, I was surprised because similar data
17 and similar lines of thought were something that we
18 had, and myself as commander, I was thinking along
19 those lines. I asked Colonel Duncan, in view of the
20 fact that he did not spend a long time in an area of
21 that kind, how come he knew about data and information
22 of this kind and the possible axes of attack from the
23 BH army in a coming offensive on the Lasva pocket.
24 He told me that these axes were something
25 that he noticed himself on a working map that they had,
1 the commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army, and that
2 they coincide with his own thoughts on the matter. For
3 the most part, it considered the sectioning of the
4 Lasva pocket.
5 On the 21st of August, 1993, in Vitez at
6 about 9.30, Professor Borislav Jozic was killed.
7 Borislav Jozic was a highly respected citizen of Vitez,
8 and he worked in the civilian commission for exchanges.
9 Q. How was he killed?
10 A. He was killed in front of the entrance door
11 to his apartment building by a sniper belonging to the
12 BH army from Old Vitez, Stari Vitez.
13 From 14.00 on that same day, I had a visit by
14 the provincial Bosna Srebrna. Father Petar Andzelovic
15 came to see me, who had arrived with an UNPROFOR
16 escort. During the meeting in my own office, sometime
17 around 14.20, the command of the Operative Zone was hit
18 with a tank projectile directly above the main entrance
19 into the hotel, and considerable material damage was
20 caused. Luckily, there were only some lightly injured
21 people; there were no deaths.
22 The comment by Father Petar Andzelovic was,
23 "Are they still shooting now when they know that I
24 myself am present in the building and that Dzemo is in
25 Stari Vitez?"
1 From that comment, I was able to gather that
2 the deputy commander of the 3rd Corps, at the time that
3 the Father was visiting me, was on a visit to Stari
4 Vitez, to the command of the BH army there.
5 On the 23rd of August, 1993, I had another
6 meeting with the representative of the UNHCR, Mr. de la
7 Mota, and Colonel Duncan, and the topic was the
8 evacuation of wounded from the makeshift hospital in
9 the church. I presented the information that, for two
10 months already, we had been waiting for permission to
11 evacuate the seriously wounded individuals from that
12 particular hospital and that we had not been given that
13 permission by the BH army.
14 We also discussed on that occasion the
15 composition of the interpreters, the interpreters used
16 by UNPROFOR, and I considered that with regard to
17 fostering greater trust and better quality cooperation
18 with the UNPROFOR command, that it would be a good idea
19 if we were to balance out the number of interpreters,
20 that is to say, to have a similar number of ethnicities
22 Q. Why did you express this view? Would you
23 explain to us why?
24 A. Well, I presented this view, first of all,
25 because, under the prevailing conditions of a
1 total encirclement and when we had so many displaced
2 persons and refugees, all coming from the borderline
3 regions of these municipalities and who were embittered
4 because they had lost everything in the attacks
5 launched by the BH army, that a good quality
6 relationship could be fostered vis-à-vis UNPROFOR.
7 There were a considerable number of complaints coming
8 in from civilians, in the sense that instead of
9 bringing in humanitarian aid, what was actually
10 happening was that ammunition was being brought into
11 Kruscica and ammunition being brought into Stari Vitez
12 under the guise of humanitarian aid. Unfortunately,
13 this activity usually coincided with the onslaught of
14 the BH army from Kruscica at the time that the convoys
16 So I wanted to improve cooperation and to
17 balance out the numbers of the interpreters on both
18 sides, coming from all the groups.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Upon the request of you, we
20 shall now take a ten-minute break and start at half
21 past twelve.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.33 p.m.
24 JUDGE JORDA: We are resumed. Mr. Nobilo?
25 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We
1 took advantage of the break, and General Blaskic stuck
2 on the red flags, which he has been doing for several
3 days, and I would like to ask a few questions now and
4 then we could take a photograph of this on the model
5 and tender it into evidence.
6 Q. General, on the model we see red ribbons.
7 Could you tell us what the red ribbons represent, what
8 dates they refer to?
9 A. The red ribbon represents the approximate
10 line, front line, that is to say, the line where the
11 forces of the BH army were confronted with the forces
12 of the Croatian Defence Council, and this would have
13 been approximately the end of June 1993, and the line
14 remained more or less the same with negligible changes
15 up until the Washington Agreement.
16 MR. NOBILO: When we succeed in taking the
17 photograph of that, then we will ask for a number to be
18 accorded to that Defence Exhibit.
19 Q. But please continue, General, with the
20 chronology of events.
21 A. On the 23rd of August, 1993, at about 11.30,
22 the BH army shelled the centre of the town of Vitez and
23 five children were killed and two adult civilians. I
24 do not have any information -- that is to say, they
25 were casualties. I don't know if they were only
1 wounded or if they were actually killed.
2 On the 25th of August, 1993, at about 14.00,
3 I had a meeting with an official of the International
4 Red Cross. I also do not have a record of the agenda
5 in my notebook and, in fact, I don't remember the
6 agenda of that particular meeting.
7 On the 26th of August, 1993, the head of the
8 Military Intelligence Service of the Central Bosnia
9 Operative Zone informed me that at a meeting of the
10 staff of the supreme command of the BH army,
11 Mr. Izetbegovic had given an order that Vitez and
12 Busovaca must be taken regardless of the outcome of the
13 Geneva negotiations and that the 3rd Corps of the BH
14 army, for that particular operation, that is, the
15 take-over of Vitez and Busovaca, would be reinforced
16 with forces from the 1st and 6th Corps of the army of
18 On the 28th of August, 1993, the forces of
19 the BH army executed a breakthrough from their
20 positions at Grbavica on the areas supervised by the
21 Croatian Defence Council at the GP Bosna feature, and I
22 can show this on the model, if you like.
23 Q. Perhaps later on when we start to explain the
24 battle of Grbavica. But please continue, General.
25 A. On the 28th of August, 1993, from 11.00 to
1 12.00, I had a meeting with the head of the European
2 Monitoring Mission, Mr. Watkins, who informed me about
3 the situation in Bugojno, and I put forward the
4 question of the evacuation of the wounded from the
5 hospital put up in the church, and I said that we were
6 still waiting for permission from the 3rd Corps to do
7 this. I informed him that electricity and water were
8 being used for military purposes, that is to say, that
9 the hospital put up in the church had no water
10 whatsoever and that the town of Vitez, that is to say,
11 the citizens of Vitez, were without water and that they
12 had no electricity in the town of Vitez.
13 On the 31st of August, 1993, at 10.00, I had
14 a meeting with the deputy chief of the International
15 Red Cross from Zagreb -- no, I beg your pardon, from
16 Zenica, his name was Mr. Olivier Couteau and Philip
17 Lazzarini. We discussed a number of questions, first
18 of all, the humanitarian mission of the International
19 Red Cross itself, its goals, the goals of that mission,
20 and the support that their offices expected from the
21 HVO; as well as the question of civilian casualties,
22 that was another question discussed; and the
23 persecution and displacement of the population.
24 I told them that they were in the right place
25 where they could learn of all the aspects of the
1 suffering that had been going on if they were ready to
2 look at matters realistically, and what I had in mind
3 when I said this was the 35.000 displaced persons and
4 refugees in the Lasva pocket and about 15.000 children
5 and a terrible state of affairs which reigned amongst
6 these people, the terrible situation they were facing,
7 it was a situation of chaos, and all that we had in
8 plenty was death because people died every day.
9 I asked them to try to mitigate the suffering
10 of the people, and I talked to them, to these
11 gentlemen, about organising a seminar about their
12 mandate, a seminar which would be held for my immediate
13 subordinates, and they promised me that they would
14 indeed organise a seminar of this kind at the Hotel
15 Vitez venue, and, in fact, the seminar was held. The
16 seminar was attended by about 30 people. It was about
17 the mission, the mandate of the International Red Cross
18 and other topics. I talked to them also about private
19 prisons in Zenica.
20 On the 2nd of September, 1993, around 11.00,
21 the first evacuation was carried out after about 70
22 days of waiting, and these were the wounded from Nova
23 Bila. It was carried out in such a way that the
24 seriously wounded were transported in the UNPROFOR and
25 UNHCR vehicles from Nova Bila via Kakanj, Visoko, and
1 Kiseljak to Kiseljak, and then from Kiseljak by
2 helicopter were transported to the hospital in Split.
3 I think that the operation had the code name Medivac,
4 was organised by the international humanitarian
5 organisations. The convoy used the lateral roads,
6 secondary roads, which took about 45 minutes to one
7 hour longer than had we used the main road from Kacuni
8 and Bilalovac to Kiseljak.
9 Also on the 2nd of September, we received the
10 first generator from UNPROFOR. This was for the church
11 hospital in Nova Bila.
12 On the 3rd of September, 1993, snipers of the
13 BH army which were in the positions at Grbavica killed
14 Ivica Ramljak, a disabled civilian who was 53 years of
16 Throughout August and September, sniper
17 positions at Grbavica were very active, even the
18 foreign correspondents knew of them, and they were
19 manned by the BH army soldiers. There was also
20 artillery shelling of the town of Vitez, and at 17.00,
21 24 artillery and tank projectiles were fired on
22 Busovaca by the BH army.
23 On the 4th of September, 1993, around 10.00,
24 I had a meeting with Colonel Duncan, and the subject of
25 the meeting was the combat operations near the UNPROFOR
1 base and the fuel storage unit of UNPROFOR. I told
2 Colonel Duncan that on the basis of the agreement of
3 the 20th of April, 1993, the area surrounding the
4 UNPROFOR camp was to have been demilitarised, and
5 according to the agreement, an area up to 500 metres
6 away from the base had to be cleared of both the BH
7 army and the HVO soldiers. I said that instead of
8 demilitarisation, fresh forces were being deployed in
9 Grbavica and the settled area adjoining the UNPROFOR
10 base and that this was done by the BH army; and
11 according to my military intelligence, some 200 to 300
12 BH army soldiers had already been deployed in positions
13 around Grbavica and that we considered it a major
14 threat to ourselves.
15 I especially pointed out the sniper
16 activities and daily casualties which they were causing
17 because the BH army snipers were operating on a daily
18 basis from Grbavica, targeting either passers-by who
19 happened to be in the street or they were shooting
20 around the settled area next to the camp, and even
21 Father Vinko Trogrlic was badly wounded while sitting
22 in a civilian house.
23 I also mentioned some instances of civilian
24 casualties in Novi Travnik. Again, Novi Travnik was
25 without water, and when the citizens were attempting to
1 get some water, they were targeted by snipers. In the
2 course of those days in Travnik, a three-year-old
3 little girl was shot when she was walking with her
4 mother to get water.
5 Again, I addressed the issue of the
6 continuing flow of refugees, of Croat refugees, and I
7 told him that we really had run out of space where we
8 could accommodate these refugees, and then according to
9 the information that I had, some 75.000 people were
10 staying in the Lasva pocket out of whom 35.000 were
11 refugees, and that the food was becoming a big issue
12 for these desperate people. We had very big problems
13 in supplying them with foodstuffs.
14 I also requested of Colonel Duncan to mediate
15 so that we can get fuel for the generator in the church
16 hospital in Nova Bila. I told him that we were unable
17 to start using the generator because of the fuel
18 shortage. I also touched on the issue of the food for
19 the wounded in Nova Bila.
20 On the 5th of September, 1993, the BH army
21 attacked and took control of the village of Dzotle.
22 During this attack, 17 persons were taken prisoner and
23 taken away, according to the information I received
24 from the Military Intelligence Service. Later on, all
25 17 were later executed. These were villagers from
2 Also on the 5th, sniper fire was opened from
3 Grbavica, and children who were returning from church
4 in the morning hours were hit, and this fire from
5 Grbavica was opened by members of the BH army.
6 On the 7th of September, 1993, we started
7 preparations for pushing the BH army forces back from
8 Grbavica, and we started planning the taking control of
9 the feature 523, which was the high ground above
11 My associates were involved in the planning
12 of this operation, as well as commanders of some units,
13 and these preparations were carried out in two stages,
14 first, at the headquarters and the second phase on the
15 ground itself, where we did reconnoitring of the
16 position of the BH army, such as the command post of
17 the forces at Grbavica, the sniper positions, the
18 firing positions of the BH army. We also were
19 reconnoitring the limitations which we may encounter
20 there, such as the presence of civilians in Grbavica,
21 the built-up areas in Grbavica, the river that was
22 flowing by the village, the forces of UNPROFOR, and
23 places of worship which were also located in Grbavica.
24 The preparation of this operation took the
25 whole day, and I personally went to the feature of
1 Gradina and to the position near the bridge at the
2 village of Divjak where, along with my commanders, I
3 worked on the tactical matters for the Grbavica
5 Q. Was this the first offensive operation in the
6 Lasva Valley which you carried out and which you
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell me, what were the criteria which
10 you used to identify those who would participate in
11 this operation?
12 A. As far as the participants are concerned, we
13 selected certain resources. We took parts of certain
14 units, taking into consideration that these would be
15 soldiers whom we could control and who would carry out
16 the orders which they were given in full.
17 Since these were already known from before, I
18 specifically asked that a list be compiled by each of
19 the commanders which would be signed by them, and that
20 would be a guarantee that these soldiers would actually
21 carry out the orders as they were issued.
22 Q. Did you control these lists and manpower
23 which were put at your disposal?
24 A. Yes, I did that, together with my subordinate
25 commanders, and I conducted a review of the soldiers.
1 I talked to them about the responsibilities that were
2 involved in this task because this was a unique
3 opportunity for us, to carry out this action, giving
4 the limitations in ordnance and ammunition which we
6 Q. Can you tell me, is it a usual thing that
7 when you select manpower for a particular operation,
8 the reliability of soldiers, that they would carry out
9 orders as given, would be of paramount importance?
10 Would that be the main criteria in normal
12 A. Had they been professional soldiers, then
13 perhaps one or two may have been identified as special
14 cases, but here, these were armed villagers, so special
15 measures of caution needed to be employed in order to
16 ensure the appropriate behaviour and responsiveness to
17 orders and tasks. Since this was an operation that was
18 to be carried out in a settled place, we had to ensure
19 that the implementation of the task would be carried
20 out in full and any unnecessary casualties avoided.
21 Q. We have another couple of minutes. Can you
22 say how this operation evolved?
23 A. That night, at around 6.00, I briefed the
24 participants about the need to take the feature 523 and
25 that the BH army forces be pushed back and that the
1 sniper positions of the BH army be neutralised, and
2 that, at the same time, special care should be taken to
3 protect the civilians and properties, places of
4 worship, and UNPROFOR forces in the area of
6 We also specified the targets for each of the
7 groups, then the timeline of the operation, the
8 directions for each of the groups, and we had planned
9 the whole operation to take place over two days. We
10 had also determined the chain of command, the
11 communications system, and the elements of control. We
12 had envisaged that one of my associates would monitor
13 the events and the manner in which the tasks were
14 carried out by these units at every direction of
16 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps it would be good to take
17 a lunch break now because we need to go to a document.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We are going to resume
19 work at 2.30.
20 The hearing is adjourned.
21 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will resume.
3 Please be seated.
4 THE REGISTRAR: I would like to add
5 something. The photograph requested by the Defence is
6 just being photocopied, and it will be document D551.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Do you remember, Mr. Nobilo,
8 what this photograph is, of course, for the
10 MR. NOBILO: Yes, it is the enclave or,
11 rather, the borders of the enclave marked by General
12 Blaskic with a red ribbon. This enclave had this form
13 sometime in June 1993. That is what General Blaskic
15 THE REGISTRAR: I have a second comment.
16 There was a document submitted yesterday, the map and
17 the drawing on the transparency. The transparency is
18 number D550 and the new map that was made, because
19 there is a second copy, the first copy was not
20 complete, the second map then will be D550 bis and not
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
23 Okay. Let us go on with the direct
24 examination of the accused which is also the witness
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. If I am not mistaken, before lunch we had
3 stopped with the preparations for the offensive
4 operation of Grbavica of which you were in command, so
5 will you please tell us how the preparations went and
6 the operation itself? If necessary, you can use the
7 photograph, but we need to have it marked, I think.
8 This aerial photograph is Prosecution Exhibit
9 272 (sic), for the benefit of the transcript. If
10 necessary, General Blaskic may use it in explaining a
11 battle in an inhabited area where he was in command.
12 THE REGISTRAR: I think there was a slight
13 mistake. This is Exhibit 172. This is a Prosecution
15 MR. NOBILO: Okay.
16 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, this is the main
17 road going from Travnik via Stari Vitez to Vitez, and
18 this is the main road also going from Travnik to
19 Busovaca via Vitez municipality (indicating) and on the
20 relief --
21 JUDGE JORDA: So the north is on the bottom
22 part of this map, right, if we compare it with the maps
23 we usually use? Where is the north on this map,
24 please? Could you indicate it?
25 A. Travnik is here and north would be like this
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I see, okay. Because I
3 have Travnik on this map here (indicating), so we
4 should read this map in this direction; right?
5 A. Travnik is to the west, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Travnik is -- all right. Thank
7 you. Very well.
8 A. So we have two main roads from Travnik, one
9 passing through Stari Vitez towards the Vitez Hotel and
10 the town of Vitez itself, and another one from Travnik
11 going through Vitez municipality towards Busovaca. The
12 Grbavica feature, trig. point 523, is this position
13 that I am pointing to now, that is Grbavica
14 (indicating), and the military positions of the BH army
15 were as follows: The command post of the forces was in
16 a business building right next to the road, and that
17 was the command of the 325th Brigade, the strength of a
18 larger company. On the command building, the flag of
19 the BH army was hoisted.
20 Right next to the command, there were two
21 houses, which cannot be seen very well, but they are to
22 the right or to the east of the command, and they were
23 linked with a trench, and this was also a firing
24 position (indicating). Then these two houses, called
25 Marijanovica Kuce, "kuce" meaning "houses," one was
1 under construction and the other had not been finished
2 but it had been moved into before the conflict.
3 On this other house, the flag of the Muslim
4 armed forces in dark green was hoisted, and this was a
5 sniper position from which snipers shot across the
6 UNPROFOR compound in this direction I am showing now
7 (indicating), firing at this row of houses here
8 inhabited by reporters, and it was known as the
9 reporters' street.
10 A part of the BH army forces, a smaller part,
11 was positioned along this road leading to Sadovace and
12 Zabilje (indicating). This area here, a fenced-in
13 area, is the UNPROFOR compound, that is where the
14 British battalion was stationed, including this house
15 here, next to the road, which was the officers' club of
16 the British battalion of UNPROFOR (indicating).
17 The front line was from here, where the
18 command post was, that is, the front line of the BH
19 army, this group of houses here (indicating); then on
20 the left-hand side of this road leading to Stari Vitez,
21 the side I am pointing to now, there was an inn here
22 called Fap, there was a firing position there, and the
23 others were positioned along the houses as far as this
24 crossroads, and then it went in this direction, again
25 following a row of houses (indicating), including a
1 farm, and then it went on towards this group of houses
2 known as Kavazovica houses, I think, and then just
3 above the village of Jardol.
4 The line of the HVO was this position here
5 (indicating), this is an enterprise called IGM, a
6 factory manufacturing building material; then along the
7 road, this neighbourhood here is known as Krecane, as
8 far as this crossroads, and then again the road
9 separated the two forces until the main road here, and
10 then the northern edge of these houses, the northern
11 side of these houses (indicating).
12 From the Grbavica position, the BH army had
13 control of the main road, it had control also of the
14 roads towards Busovaca, it also had control over the
15 side road -- this is the explosives factory that passes
16 through the -- this side road passes through the
17 explosives factory and then via the village of Mosur,
18 as far as this crossroads here.
19 When I mentioned the murder that occurred on
20 the 5th of September, 1993, a group of children were
21 returning from the church, and they were killed here
22 (indicating) by sniper fire coming from BH army
23 positions at this crossroads.
24 Let me also mention that this was a very good
25 position to have held by the BH army to push back parts
1 of the HVO forces and capture this hill called Gradina
2 to place the explosives factory under their control and
3 then go on towards Donja Veceriska and thus cut across
4 the enclave and create two pockets.
5 The idea of the operation was as follows:
6 One assault group was to act towards target number 1,
7 command post, which was to be captured --
8 Q. You mentioned target 1. Tell us, how and who
9 decided what would be attacked in the area of Grbavica?
10 A. Your Honours, from the head of the Military
11 Intelligence Service, I was given the exact position of
12 the military targets. We placed them on a map in the
13 command. Previously, we went and reconnoitred the
14 area, and I defined each individual target and the
15 approximate time for its capture.
16 Q. In such an operation, is any improvisation
17 permitted? Can a soldier or a lower-level commander
18 change the targets?
19 A. No. It was clearly known which was target
20 number 1, what was number 2 of such an attack, and what
21 our main objective was in the first day of the
22 operation and also what was the general concept behind
23 the whole operation.
24 Q. Will you then explain to the Court the first
25 stage of the operation, please?
1 A. In order to achieve a surprise effect, as
2 this was very important as the command post was
3 secured, the operation started during the time of a
4 regular press conference, that is, about 13.15; in
5 fact, the first assault group started at 13.55.
6 Q. Whose press conference are you referring to?
7 A. It is the press conference that I held every
8 Tuesday at 13.00, and we acted as if we were going to
9 the press conference because we knew that we were being
10 watched by the BH army and we thought that it was very
11 important to achieve a surprise effect because the
12 possibility of any intervention from Preocica or Bukve
13 from the north was quite possible and achievable by the
14 BH army.
15 Q. Please continue.
16 A. The first assault group carried out an
17 incursion into this command post after exposing that
18 position to artillery fire, forcing the security units
19 to withdraw inside the command building, and from 13.55
20 until 15.27, a battle was waged to gain control over
21 the command post.
22 From this river along the road, this series
23 of buildings, but the actual command post was this
24 building in the shape of a double L (indicating).
25 After this group had gained control and captured the
1 command post, it used the woods and continued to
2 advance towards target number 2, the sniper nest at
3 Marijanovica Kuce. This took a little longer than
4 expected because there was resistance being put up from
5 the houses here. Actually, there were two groups of
6 houses, this one that I'm showing (indicating) and the
7 second group of houses.
8 The forces, operating from the direction of
9 Vitez, had their position here (indicating), and at the
10 beginning of the operation, they just neutralised the
11 front line of the BH army forces and crushed the
12 defenders here and forced them to withdraw. This
13 assault group did not make any advance at all in the
14 first stage, except for opening fire against BH army
15 positions on the front line.
16 Assault group number 3 was in the village of
17 Jardol. It reinforced our defensive positions in the
18 village of Jardol, and it waited throughout the first
19 day of the operation for the outcome of the operation
20 of the first group, that is, the capture of the command
21 post and the sniper position at Marijanovica Kuce.
22 I was at the feature Gradina, and I had
23 direct insight into the operation as a whole and as it
24 progressed. Sometime around 16.00, the assault group
25 captured Marijanovica Kuce, and then I gave a sign for
1 them to stop there at that line because if they were to
2 emerge into the clearing or the summit, it was still
3 not possible because the BH army forces were deployed
4 around the farm and were in contact with the HVO.
5 I temporarily handed over the command to my
6 deputy, whereas I personally went to the command at
7 about 16.15 or 16.30, where I organised a meeting in
8 the command building with the chief of staff,
9 Mr. Franjo Nakic, with the mayor of Vitez, Mr. Ivica
10 Santic, with the head of the defence department,
11 Mr. Marijan Skopljak, with the head of the police
12 administration in Travnik, Mr. Mirko Samija, and also
13 present was Zivko Totic, an officer responsible for the
14 engineers in the command and also the commander of the
15 civilian police station in Vitez.
16 Q. Just a moment, please. You said you left
17 your deputy. Who stood in for you in this combat
19 A. During the preparations of the operation and
20 its execution, my deputy was Colonel Filip Filipovic,
21 just during the time that I was absent.
22 Q. Tell us, when was that operation halted on
23 the first day?
24 A. It stopped at 18.30. Only at the position
25 Marijanovica Kuce, an assault group of about three to
1 five soldiers remained to secure that position. Then
2 also the group of houses I'm pointing to now
3 (indicating), another combat group remained consisting
4 of three to five soldiers, and at the command position
5 of the BH army, another group of soldiers remained.
6 The others withdrew that night to rest, and the same
7 applied to units here (indicating) who were withdrawn
8 at 18.30 to take a rest.
9 Q. That operation was doing well. Why did you
10 stop it at 18.30? That is my question.
11 A. We stopped at 18.30 because I felt that it
12 was proceeding as planned and that, because of darkness
13 that was falling and the reduced ability to control my
14 soldiers, I felt it was necessary to stop all combat
15 operations to ensure that I controlled their behaviour
16 and to avoid unnecessary casualties, destruction, and
17 anything else that might occur.
18 Q. From 16.45, you attended a meeting with the
19 persons you listed. What was the agenda, what was the
20 topic discussed, and what measures were under
22 A. I was at the meeting with the persons I have
23 already listed, and the agenda item was protection of
24 civilians and the agreement that units or groups
25 carrying out the attack of the HVO would continue their
1 operations the next day until they captured point 523,
2 whereas security of an inhabited area --
3 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, could you
4 place this testimony, which relates to your activities
5 as chief of staff, in your main objectives? I don't
6 really understand what this is all about. I know that
7 you're talking about your activities as chief of staff,
8 fighting against the BiH army, but what do you want to
9 show with this testimony? Maybe it will help us focus
10 on the most important elements.
11 A. Mr. President, I actually wanted to show how
12 we carried out that military operation and what
13 measures we took to avoid unnecessary destruction and
14 to avoid civilian casualties, in other words, all the
15 things that we did to protect the civilians and also to
16 protect places of worship that were here in the area of
17 operations, as well as housing units which were also in
18 the zone of operations.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I will therefore ask you to
20 focus on these particular points. I now understand
21 what you want to prove, but until then, I thought you
22 were talking about a military operation, like many
23 others that you probably led since November 1992 when
24 you became commander of the Operative Zone of Central
25 Bosnia. For my colleagues and myself, please focus on
1 the most important elements.
2 Mr. Hayman?
3 MR. HAYMAN: Maybe I can also assist,
4 Mr. President. The Defence is offering this area of
5 testimony for two reasons: One, as General Blaskic
6 said, this is a good example of a military operation
7 which he directed, and he's showing the Court and all
8 of us how he would undertake such a project, and we
9 believe it will be instructive to compare the Grbavica
10 military action with actions such as the Ahmici
11 massacre, in which, it is our position, General Blaskic
12 had no role in any planning or execution of.
13 Secondly and importantly, destruction of
14 civilian property in Grbavica is a specific allegation
15 in the indictment, and we also intend to respond to
16 that allegation fully through this testimony.
17 Thank you.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you very
19 much, Mr. Hayman. This is how you should proceed when
20 you feel that your client may lose the Judges a little
21 bit. Because if we have to go back to all the military
22 operations led by General Blaskic, the trial may last
23 very long, even longer than what we want, for you, the
24 Judges, and the accused. You're right. Grbavica is in
25 the indictment, so please try to focus as Mr. Hayman
1 has just said.
2 Thank you very much, General. Go on.
3 THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 MR. NOBILO:
5 Q. General, after the first day, when you halted
6 the operation, you called a meeting. Could you explain
7 to the Trial Chamber, please, exactly how the meeting
8 evolved, what the purpose of the meeting was, who
9 undertook what obligation, and what the plan was for
10 the following day?
11 A. Well, the object of the meeting was to
12 protect the civilians and to ensure the security of the
13 village of Grbavica. The role of protecting civilians
14 and to secure the village was taken over by the
15 civilian police. In concrete terms, it was the chief
16 of the police station of Travnik, and his task he gave
17 over to the civilian police station of Vitez. He
18 passed it on.
19 Q. Why did you consider that it was better for
20 the civilian police force to enter the village rather
21 than the army?
22 A. Well, the civilian police was responsible for
23 public law and order and security, and I believed that
24 the civilian police force, which had educated
25 policemen, trained policemen, would perform this
1 function more successfully, the function of protecting
2 civilians, rather than an army which had taken part in
3 an operation and which might be taken up with the
4 general euphoria, so to speak, and do something that
5 would not be advisable.
6 Q. Tell us, please, what was the task of the
7 army? What did you intend for the army for the
8 following day? What were they supposed to do?
9 A. Well, the army was to complete the military
10 operation, that is, to take control of feature 523,
11 that is to say, the hill itself. It was also to
12 de-mine the minefields or the groups of mines -- clear
13 the minefields which were in front of the front line
14 and to elaborate defence positions on the lines which
15 were reached the following day.
16 Q. What happened the next day? Would you
17 describe the events as they came?
18 A. Well, the following day, we continued our
19 operation, that is to say, previously, in the course of
20 the night, reinforcements came from the BH army, and a
21 company was sent from the Bukve position, about 100 to
22 150 soldiers, and it was infiltrated into the Grbavica
23 area. In the course of the night, UNPROFOR, with its
24 vehicles, evacuated the civilian population from the
25 group of houses which were in the middle of the
1 Grbavica slope.
2 Q. Tell us, please, General, did the HVO know
3 that UNPROFOR was going to collect the civilians, and
4 did it allow the civilians to be evacuated? Through
5 whose ranks were these civilians pulled out of
7 A. UNPROFOR patrolled this area, and when they
8 moved towards the group of houses, we did not know
9 UNPROFOR's intentions, whether they were going to
10 evacuate all the civilians in the course of the night
11 or whether they intended to evacuate some other
12 individuals. So we did not know what UNPROFOR's
13 intentions were, in fact, but I do know for a fact that
14 nobody impeded UNPROFOR's mission. They undertook the
15 operation without any interference from the HVO.
16 Q. When they returned with the civilians, did
17 they pass through the HVO lines?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Please continue. What happened next on the
20 following day?
21 A. The operation was completed at around 14.30
22 with all HVO forces coming up onto feature 523 itself,
23 on the hill itself. We stopped at that position,
24 whereas the BH army forces withdrew to the next
25 position, that is to say, the position in front of our
1 own forces. The civilian police came with part of the
2 regular force and part of the reserve force and took
3 over the security of the overall settlement.
4 Q. Just one moment, please. At the time when
5 the army was completing its combat operation and the
6 civilian police was taking over security of the
7 settlement, how many civilians had died and did any
8 civilians lose their lives? How many houses were
9 burning during the combat operation?
10 A. At that time, according to the information --
11 that is to say, according to my information, I had no
12 information that a single civilian had lost his life or
13 even been wounded, so that means that no civilian was
14 even wounded at the time the operation was concluded,
15 and I'm talking about the 8th of September at 14.30.
16 There were some houses which had been set
17 fire to already on the first day, but they were houses
18 which were military positions, in fact, and fire was
19 opened from these houses by the BH army. The BH army
20 opened fire from these houses, but this is a very small
21 number of houses.
22 Q. Your rough estimate, General, how many was
24 A. Well, on the first day, not more than ten
1 Q. In the whole operation?
2 A. The whole operation.
3 Q. The second day?
4 A. On the second day, it's difficult for me to
5 say exactly, but not more, once again, than say five to
6 eight houses on the second day of the operation.
7 Q. Until the end of the operation?
8 A. Yes, until the end, until 14.30.
9 Q. What happened to the mosque?
10 A. I'm absolutely certain that the mosque was
11 not even touched, either on the first or the second
12 day. There were no combat activities from and around
13 the mosque, and so the mosque was left completely
15 Q. When did you leave the Grbavica area?
16 A. I left when the civilian police force arrived
17 and installed its patrols. In front of Grbavica, there
18 were police vehicles which were visible, and they had
19 installed their security features somewhere at 14.30 or
20 about 15.00, which is when I went to the headquarters,
21 thereabouts, from the command post at Gradina.
22 Q. Your command post was not in Grbavica, in
23 fact, was it?
24 A. No. It was on a hill called Gradina opposite
25 to Grbavica, and you could clearly see Grbavica from
1 that command post.
2 Q. Later on, in the course of the day, at your
3 headquarters, what information did you receive and who
4 sent you that information?
5 A. I received information from the officer on
6 duty, sometime towards the evening of the 8th of
7 September, 1993, that there had been a mass onslaught
8 of refugees from Donja Veceriska and from Nova Bila and
9 that the refugees had stormed towards Grbavica and that
10 the civilian police had opened fire, which was in
11 charge of securing Grbavica. During that burst of
12 gunfire, a refugee from Nova Bila was killed, and the
13 civilians started looting windows, doors, stoves,
14 various wood, firewood, and other things from the
15 houses, and the civilian police withdrew and did not
16 wish to open fire on those civilians.
17 Q. Did you have any contact with the
18 representatives of the United Nations who were
19 practically neighbours and could view the entire
21 A. UN representatives did observe the entire
22 course of the operation on the first and second day,
23 practically all of it, and I had contacts with -- I
24 know that he was a Major by rank, I'm not quite sure
25 what function he had at the headquarters of the British
1 battalion, but he visited me on the 18th of September,
2 1993, and personally congratulated me for the
3 professional military operation and also for offering
4 maximum protection to the UN base there, the
5 protection which was given during the course of that
6 operation. He expressed his congratulations on the
7 18th of September, 1993.
8 Q. We will stop there for a moment with regard
9 to Grbavica, but I would like you to go back to the 7th
10 of September because we skipped over what you had asked
11 SIS for on the 7th of September.
12 A. On the 7th of September, at a regular morning
13 meeting with my associates, I asked for information
14 from the security service about the results of the
15 investigation into Ahmici, and the assistant for
16 security asked me to extend the deadline. He said that
17 he didn't have enough time, that it was too short, up
18 until the 17th of September, for him to compile a
19 complete report, that he needed more time, and so I
20 gave him more time and said that the deadline would be
21 the 30th of September, 1993.
22 Q. On the 8th of September, the Grbavica
23 operation was completed. Let us move on from the 9th
24 of September and tell us of the major events that
25 happened then.
1 A. On the 9th of September, I had a meeting with
2 the commanders of the brigade of the Lasva pocket,
3 brigades of the Lasva pocket, and I informed them of
4 the operation that had been carried out, and I asked
5 them at the meeting, I asked the commanders of the
6 brigades to send me reports on how they had carried out
7 orders and especially the manner in which they had
8 implemented disciplinary measures towards their
9 immediate subordinates because we had ascertained, on
10 the basis of a control, that there were commanders who
11 had expressed disciplinary measures but they had not
12 been implemented, put into effect, and some of the
13 commanders justified themselves by saying that they
14 didn't have enough soldiers at the front line and that,
15 quite simply, it was not feasible, they were not able
16 to send soldiers to a detention centre. Regardless of
17 the justifications they gave, I demanded that every
18 disciplinary measure should be implemented, that is,
19 that each soldier should be sanctioned, and this should
20 be put into effect.
21 Q. When you say "put into effect," what does
22 this mean?
23 A. Well, for example, if he was given a sentence
24 of five days in prison, that he should go to prison for
25 five days regardless of the front line, and the
1 situation that would develop with five or ten soldiers
2 being sent off to be sanctioned.
3 Q. Please continue.
4 A. On the 10th of September, 1993, I was located
5 in Nova Bila and I was touring the soldiers there, the
6 new recruits which were being trained, they were
7 recruits, as I say, new soldiers, who were trained to
8 perform their military functions because they had not
9 done their regular military service up until then.
10 At about 12.35, a general attack started,
11 launched by the BH army on Vitez, Busovaca, and Novi
12 Travnik, and we felt that this might be a reaction to
13 Grbavica, but it turned out that it was a broader
14 operation unleashed by the BH army on the Lasva pocket.
15 On the 11th of September, 1993, we intended
16 to repeat an operation similar to the Grbavica
17 operation on the Sljibcica feature, and preparations
18 for that operation were practically identical to the
19 Grbavica operation, that is to say, our objective was
20 feature 529 on the Sljibcica feature itself, to deblock
21 the main road running from Vitez to Busovaca. We
22 undertook preparations throughout the day for that
23 particular operation, including all measures of -- we
24 took all measures to attack only military features, we
25 took all necessary precautions, and the operation was
1 to take place the following day after we had a joint
2 meeting and had defined all the aspects in which this
3 operation was to be conducted.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to ask a
5 clarification, General. You are talking about an
6 all-out attack or general attack against Vitez; you
7 mentioned this a couple of times. I do not understand
8 very well, though, because you never say what the
9 results are of these attacks. You have been talking
10 about general attacks against Vitez, Travnik, Busovaca,
11 and others; and then today, it struck me because you
12 are saying, okay, on the 10th of September, there was a
13 general attack against Vitez, Busovaca, and Novi
14 Travnik. I'm not a military expert, so I think it is
15 very important General Blaskic is trying to get ready
16 to counter this attack. And then afterwards, the day
17 afterwards, you are launching an attack on a village
18 that I've never heard of.
19 So when you have an attack against you, what
20 do you do? Do you counter this attack? Various times
21 you have mentioned this general attack, so it looks
22 like it is the final attack, and then suddenly, the
23 next day, we talk about the Sljibcica operation. It
24 gives a strange impression from a military point of
1 A. Mr. President, when I say "general attack" or
2 "all-out attack," I imply that this is an attack
3 operation commanded by the 3rd Corps of the BH army and
4 which includes all the front lines which overlap; it is
5 the red band, the red ribbon. So if necessary for this
6 process -- I'm not going into all the details of the
7 all-out attack or general attack -- but I can tell you
8 what we did, what I myself did, and so on --
9 JUDGE JORDA: No, no, no. This is just a
10 question of language. I would like to know, when you
11 use the term "general" or "all-out attack," does this
12 mean that this attack gave you new positions or did you
13 lose positions? I don't want you to use the map or the
14 model. I just want to know what happened at the end of
15 this attack. You mentioned an attack on the 10th of
16 September against Vitez and Busovaca. Did you win?
17 Did you lose? Are you desperate? Are you locked in a
18 new enclave? Because the next day, there is a rebirth,
19 on the 11th of September, and you start yourself a new
20 attack at Sljibcica, like the one you led at Grbavica.
21 That's why I don't understand. But I don't want you to
22 go into details. Please, don't do that. I just want
23 to know what a general attack is.
24 A. Mr. President, the general attack launched on
25 the Lasva pocket, this was something that was written
1 about in the papers; it wasn't a military secret. The
2 top officials of the BH army talked about an ultimate
3 attack to take over the Lasva pocket, and I mean there
4 a situation where all the front lines are attacked, or
5 at least the key features. We didn't have any very
6 great key features, unfortunately, because it was
7 bunker next to bunker, it is 6 kilometres in depth, it
8 is a sort of battalion in depth.
9 Now, why did we take resort to these
10 operations? For example, the Grbavica operation was
11 one of desperation. Had I waited, we would have
12 fallen. So we tried --
13 JUDGE JORDA: (No translation) ... against
14 Vitez, Travnik and Busovaca.
15 MR. KEHOE: I am not getting an
16 interpretation in English for some reason.
17 A. Mr. President, I did not speak of the 17th of
18 September at all, and I keep getting the interpretation
19 that it is the 17th of September.
20 I said that on the 10th of September, Vitez,
21 Busovaca, and Novi Travnik were attacked by artillery
22 fire, and, if necessary, if you want detailed
23 positions, then I can tell you the detailed positions
24 that were attacked.
25 JUDGE JORDA: No, I don't think you
1 understood my question, General. I'm not concentrating
2 on details. I want a greater picture of the whole
4 When you mentioned the attack against Vitez,
5 Busovaca, and Novi Travnik, I could go back to my notes
6 but I'm sure you said various times this day there was
7 a general attack. Could you tell me what the
8 repercussions were of this attack? Did you lose? Did
9 you resist? Did you counterattack? That's all I want
10 to know. I don't want any details. Did you lose? Did
11 you win? What happened? This is what I don't
12 understand. In this particular case, on the 10th of
13 September, there was a general attack against Vitez,
14 Busovaca, and Travnik. And then afterwards, we go to
15 the next day, "I counterattack with an operation at
16 Sljibcica." So what happened during the general attack
17 that took place on the 10th of September?
18 A. After that general attack, we did not lose
19 any significant positions. We did have losses in men,
20 but we prepared to attack Sljibcica on the 11th.
21 JUDGE JORDA: That's what I wanted to hear.
22 Thank you very much. Go ahead.
23 MR. NOBILO: May I continue now?
24 Q. This general attack; does that refer to the
25 scope of attack or to the quality of attack, so to
2 A. It is a scope of attack which was carried out
3 against Busovaca, Vitez, Novi Travnik, Kiseljak. I was
4 not involved in the planning of this attack, but all
5 those areas were involved in this attack, they were
6 engulfed in it.
7 Q. The shape of the enclave or the pocket which
8 you marked with that red line, did it essentially
9 change? In other words, did you lose any more
10 territory from then until the period of the Washington
12 A. Your Honours, on the 22nd of December, 1993,
13 by that date we had lost an enormous amount of
14 territory and were on the brink of falling, but we
15 managed to come back. Something similar happened on
16 the 9th of January, 1994, this is the operations at
17 Krizancevo Selo and Buhine Kuce, but the overall shape
18 of the Lasva pocket as it is marked here on this model
19 has not changed significantly.
20 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, what was the
21 price, what was the cost of keeping that territory in
22 human lives?
23 A. The cost was about 2.000 dead in the Lasva
24 pocket out of which about 1.300 soldiers.
25 Q. You had planned to attack Sljibcica. Was
1 that a village or a hill?
2 A. That is not a village, that is a feature,
3 529. Five two nine refers to the sea level, and
4 somewhere it is called Sljibcica, somewhere it is just
5 marked as feature 529. That is by the road
6 Vitez-Vjetrenice, and I can show it on the map. It is
7 not a village.
8 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have just gone
9 55 minutes. Perhaps that's a good time to break.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we will take a break right
12 --- Recess taken at 3.25 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 3.51 p.m.
14 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
15 MR. NOBILO: May the witness please be shown
16 Defence Exhibit 380, please?
17 Q. This is Defence Exhibit 380, which is your
18 order of 26 August, 1993. It is addressed to all the
19 brigades, the special purpose units, and the military
20 police. The heading is "Arrest of persons who --"
21 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. "Pursuant to Article 184 from the Law on
24 Criminal Procedure Act, I hereby order:
25 1. Those who are suspected, accused, and
1 indicted are to be brought in or taken into custody
2 through the said person's respective Brigade Command
3 and independent unit which are responsible for ensuring
4 the presence of these persons at the main hearing or
5 investigation, pursuant to Article 184, Paragraph 5 of
6 the Law on Criminal Procedure as adopted."
7 JUDGE JORDA: I apologise. Please continue.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. Let me continue. I repeat: "Those who are
10 suspected, accused, and indicted are to be --"
11 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. The booths are
12 only getting the image sporadically. Sorry. Now the
13 ELMO channel is working.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. Let me repeat paragraph 2:
16 "2. If, for objective reasons (putting up
17 stiff resistance, etc.), the brigade command or
18 independent unit command fails to ensure that the
19 person against whom criminal proceedings are being
20 conducted is brought in for investigation or the main
21 hearing, it must duly report the matter to the
22 Commander of the Military Police VII Battalion who will
23 take all measures necessary to ensure that the said
24 person is brought in for the hearing or trial.
25 3. Witnesses or injured parties in the
1 investigation and main hearing are brought in by means
2 of the Military Police VII Battalion.
3 4. The commanders of brigades and
4 independent units, and the Deputy Chief of the Military
5 Police Administration are responsible for the execution
6 of this task.
7 Signed by Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
8 General, under what circumstances and why was
9 such an order issued?
10 A. The order was issued at the end of August
11 when we were surrounded, and it was issued in order to
12 ensure more effective work of the district military
13 court in prosecution of all criminal acts.
14 I have already mentioned that there were
15 previous requests of the brigade commanders, due to the
16 exceptional circumstances, that persons be kept at the
17 front line, but I insisted that all persons should be
18 arrested and be prosecuted, and thereby, I wanted to
19 ensure more efficient work of the district military
21 MR. NOBILO: Very well. May I now proceed to
22 Exhibit D382, please?
23 JUDGE JORDA: [No interpretation]
24 A. Mr. President, all criminal acts which were
25 handled by the district military court, in other words,
1 all in which the --
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, your question was
3 not interpreted, and I believe that even the order may
4 have been --
5 JUDGE JORDA: I think the accused heard it
6 because he answered it.
7 General Blaskic, you heard me, I think. I
8 have the impression that you did.
9 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but the English
10 interpretation was missing, and it was not entered in
11 the record.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Let me repeat my question
13 then. Is the English booth ready now? Yes. Please
14 don't make me speak English.
15 I just wanted to repeat my remark. This
16 order clearly is an order when you are acting as
17 somebody with police powers, the powers of a criminal
19 A. Mr. President, in this order, I am addressing
20 my immediate subordinates, in other words, the
21 brigades, the special purpose units, and the 7th
22 Battalion of the military police, and I asked that the
23 particular persons be remanded to custody and that the
24 investigation be conducted and the prosecution
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. You may continue.
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. At the moment when this order was issued, had
4 you taken over the command of the military police?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. NOBILO: May I now ask for a new Defence
7 Exhibit which is D382?
8 Q. I'm going to read this document of 12
9 September, 1993, which you issued to the 7th Battalion
10 of the military police in Vitez, and the heading is
11 "Submission of an incomplete report. Order." The
12 subject references "Your document number
13 02-4/3/III-07-8/93 of 11 September, 1993. The Official
14 Note was too general and too sweeping.
15 1. Who arrived and how many of [them] were
16 there (name, surname and number);
17 2. Who are the persons of Muslim nationality
18 being sought;
19 3. How did the authorities of the Military
20 and Civilian Police treat the suspects brought in from
21 the enemy side;
22 4. Who are the soldiers who, at their own
23 initiative, organised the exchange (name and surname);
24 5. Descriptions of the course of exchange
25 are irrelevant.
1 It was your duty to collect information on
2 the actual situation and, by virtue of your office, to
3 initiate proceedings. Instead you submitted a
4 superficial report without the necessary arguments.
5 Carry out a detailed investigation of this
6 case and submit the entire case for my inspection by 14
7 September, 1993.
8 Signed, Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
9 Can you say, what was the basis for this very
10 severe tone of this order which you issued?
11 A. At that time, on 12 September, 1993, I was a
12 direct superior to the military police, and they
13 superficially and incompletely informed me of an
14 exchange conducted between the BH army and the HVO. As
15 the directly superior officer, I could use this severe
16 tone to address the military police.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues?
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have a
19 question. This order and the previous one, D380, I
20 think, have they anything to do with a meeting that you
21 held, I do not recall the date, but you had a meeting
22 with the military judge of the military court in
23 Travnik, I think, a few days prior to this?
24 A. I had a meeting with the president of the
25 district military court which were the coordinating
1 meetings and meetings to further the cooperation. They
2 were requested both by him and me.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think it was Judge
5 A. Yes, Your Honour. You're right.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: These orders that we have
7 just seen, do they have anything to do with that
8 meeting or the conversation that you had with the
9 president of the military court in Travnik?
10 A. Your Honour, I had that conversation in Vitez
11 because neither I nor he could go to Travnik. Judge
12 Percinlic did say that everybody should act within the
13 scope of their terms of reference, but the previous
14 order is more related to the meeting held on the 9th of
15 September that I had with my associates when they were
16 saying that they didn't have enough men and that they
17 needed each and every soldier, regardless of whether he
18 had committed a criminal offence or not. I wanted to
19 express my position and the request that the court
20 should have access to each soldier, even if the front
21 line was in jeopardy.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
23 MR. NOBILO: The next order is dated the 13th
24 of September. D384, please?
25 Q. D384 was written on the 13th of September,
1 1993, you wrote it, and the subject is Treatment of
2 wounded soldiers taken prisoner." It is addressed to a
3 number of units. I won't read their names. Let me
4 just read the text:
5 "In order to prevent wilful behaviour by
6 individuals in respect to captured wounded soldiers who
7 are being treated in our hospitals for their wounds, I
9 1. Any form of maltreatment of captured
10 wounded soldiers taken prisoner who are being treated
11 for their wounds in our hospitals is strictly
13 2. In all instances, a failure to obey this
14 order, request assistance from the commander of the 7th
15 Military Police Battalion in Vitez, telephone number
16 711 308, and report to me personally.
17 3. All soldiers are to be informed of the
18 content of this order through subordinate commanders.
19 4. This order enters into force instantly.
20 Responsible for its full implementation are brigade
21 commanders, commanders of independent units," and then
22 they are listed, "MTD - Mixed Artillery Division, 4th
23 Light Artillery Missile Division, Light Assault
24 Battalion, Chief of Staff, and Commander of the 7th
25 Military Police Battalion.
1 Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
2 General, tell us, what was the reason for the
3 issuing of this order?
4 A. It was protection and humane treatment of
5 captured and wounded soldiers who were being treated in
6 the church-cum-hospital, and I remember that at one
7 point, there was some reaction because this was a
8 makeshift hospital, in fact, a church, in which certain
9 groups of soldiers, when learning that a captured
10 soldier of the BH army was being treated there, would
11 try to resort to violent acts, and I tried to prevent
12 that. Fortunately, we managed to implement this order.
13 MR. NOBILO: Let us see an order that is
14 linked to this one. It is Exhibit D387, Defence
15 Exhibit 387.
16 Q. So D387 was written on the 16th of September,
17 1993, written by the command of the 2nd Battalion from
18 Bila, and it says:
19 "Further to the order of the Vitez Brigade
20 command, number 01-1137-2/93, and in connection with
21 the prevention of reckless behaviour on the part of
22 individuals in the treatment of captured wounded enemy
23 soldiers, I hereby order:
24 1. Abusing and assaulting wounded enemy
25 soldiers who have been captured and are currently
1 receiving treatment at our hospitals is most strictly
3 2. Immediately report to the operative on
4 duty in the 2nd Battalion or the operative on duty in
5 the Vitez Brigade all cases of failure to comply with
6 this order and to seek assistance from the 7th Military
7 Police Battalion commander in Vitez by calling him on
8 the telephone number 711-308.
9 3. Inform all members of our units of the
10 contents of this order through subordinate commanders.
11 4. This order comes into effect immediately,
12 and company commanders are responsible to me for its
13 full implementation.
14 "The command of the 2nd Battalion, Zarko
16 Tell us, General, is there any link between
17 these two orders, D384, I think it was, and D387?
18 A. There is. The main points of the order have
19 almost been copied, but in this case, the battalion
20 commander is referring to an order that he received
21 from the Vitez Brigade, and clearly, through the system
22 of the chain of command, document 384 was passed down
23 to the grassroots level, that is, the soldiers, and
24 this order was to be conveyed to all soldiers regarding
25 the attitude they should take towards captured and
1 wounded soldiers of the BH army.
2 Q. Let us go back to your chronology of events.
3 On the 11th of September, you were preparing the attack
4 on the Sljibcica hill. What happened on the 12th of
6 A. On the 12th of September at about 7.30, the
7 operations started on feature 529, Sljibcica.
8 Q. Just a moment, please. The legal officer
9 showed me that the number 592 was placed on the map.
10 Which is the correct marking, please?
11 A. Perhaps it would be best for me to look at
12 the map, if possible?
13 Q. General, would you use the microphone because
14 of the transcript? What is the elevation of that hill?
15 A. 592.
16 Q. Please proceed. The operation started about
17 7.30 and it lasted until the morning at 8.55. I then
18 issued an order for halting the operation and we
19 stopped the operation because, at the very beginning,
20 the operation did not produce the results that we had
22 Q. Tell us, at the 592 point on Mount Sljibcica,
23 what was it? Was it a village or something else?
24 A. It was a completely regulated position where
25 air defence weapons were installed of 20-millimetre
1 calibre, at times there was a tank too, and also some
2 sniper rifles, and this position provided control over
3 the area to the south towards the main
4 Vitez-to-Busovaca road, and this was a classical
5 regulated point of resistance for a unit of a
6 strengthened platoon, possibly a company.
7 In the immediate vicinity was the command
8 post of the 2nd Battalion of the 325th Brigade.
9 Q. Of which army?
10 A. Of the BH army.
11 Q. Tell us, were there any civilian dwellings
12 and civilians there?
13 A. No. The only other thing there was a
14 electricity pillar which was destroyed by the BH army,
15 and later we had a lot of difficulty putting it up
16 again because it was a long distance electricity
18 On the 13th of September, 1993, I received
19 information from the International Red Cross that 70
20 Croat civilians from Fojnica had been released and that
21 they had been dispatched to Kiseljak.
22 On the 14th of September, 1993, I asked for
23 information about the loss of the position at Prosje,
24 which is on the Busovaca front line, which we had lost
25 several days previously.
1 On the 16th of September, 1993, I had a great
2 deal of difficulty in the Travnik Brigade where there
3 was a split again within the brigade ranks and a
4 division into two groups within the brigade.
5 On the 18th of September, 1993, I was visited
6 by the commander or, rather, an officer of the British
7 battalion of UNPROFOR who was a Major by rank, and he
8 expressed his gratitude for our cooperation and respect
9 of UNPROFOR forces during the Grbavica operation.
10 That same day, I was visited by
11 representatives of the European Monitoring Mission, and
12 they thanked us for our cooperation, the cooperation of
13 the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in the
14 execution of their mission.
15 In the course of the day, I asked that the
16 head of operations prepare a summary review for me of
17 all requests and responses to those requests which we
18 had addressed to the assistant for security, including
19 all requests in connection with the investigation in
20 the village of Ahmici.
21 About 23.00, I went to visit the hospital in
22 Nova Bila, and I visited about 80 wounded in that
23 church-cum-hospital, and on the 19th of September,
24 1993, there was an artillery and infantry attack on the
25 defence lines in Vitez, that is, the front line of the
1 Vitez Brigade.
2 Q. Did the front lines remain unchanged?
3 A. No, they did not. The positions had moved
4 from Zabrdze towards the explosives factory.
5 Q. The question is: Did you gain or lose
7 A. We lost territory. Urgently during the
8 night, at 22.00, I had a meeting with the commanders of
9 the southern sector, the villages of Donja Veceriska,
10 and with me was Colonel Filipovic and other associates,
11 and this was one of the more dramatic situations that
12 we had because we couldn't find out where our positions
13 were in this southern part of the front. There was a
14 meeting at which we discussed the current situation,
15 the reaction towards orders, the great fatigue felt by
16 the personnel, and at that meeting I requested that all
17 commanders leave their offices and that our place was
18 to be with our soldiers in the trenches, on the front
19 lines where our positions were. That is when we
20 divided up the sector. A part was taken over by
21 Colonel Filipovic and a part by me. Actually, the part
22 towards the explosives factory from Zabrdze was within
23 my zone, and the area from Kruscica towards Stari Vitez
24 was in the zone of responsibility of the commander of
25 the Vitez Brigade, who was always given a part of the
1 front line. He was more or less the commander of a
2 300-metre long front line.
3 That night my associates and myself spent
4 together with our soldiers in the trenches.
5 Q. Tell us, please, when you forbade your
6 officers to remain in their offices, now, your
7 headquarters, your offices, how far away was that from
8 the front line?
9 A. Well, the headquarters in the Hotel Vitez was
10 never further away or nearer than 150 metres from the
11 first sniper positions of the BH army, and Marko
12 Prskalo and Zoran Pilicic lost their lives in that way
13 coming back from negotiations.
14 Q. For us to be able to understand the situation
15 better in your pocket, can you tell us, when you have a
16 classical front, what is the depth of the deployment of
17 a brigade and after how many kilometres does the
18 territory where civilians are located begin, according
19 to the military doctrine that you were taught?
20 A. The depth of brigade deployment is a minimum
21 of 12 kilometres from the first front line, and
22 depending on the terrain and the type of brigade, it
23 can be up to 35 kilometres of the front with the
24 proviso that the command post of the command of the
25 brigade on the defence is usually behind the deployment
1 of the forces of the first echelon which would mean a
2 minimum of 6 kilometres from the first front line.
3 That, as I say, is according to the rules and
4 regulations of the former JNA, but that is
5 approximately the same in every other army. Of course,
6 there are always exceptions, but that is the general
8 Q. As a rule, in the zone of combat activities
9 on the front, are civilians allowed to be there?
10 A. In classical warfare, that should not be the
11 case, civilians should not be there, located there, but
12 the question is whether there are any other options
13 open and what the circumstances are, of course.
14 Q. If we look at the northern front, that is,
15 the one up above Ahmici running towards Zenica, what
16 was the breadth of the front and the depth of your
17 units, that is, in the rear? How many metres would you
18 had to have gone to reach the second southern front?
19 A. Well, it was a minimum of 1.000 metres which
20 means that it was less than a company engaged in
21 defence because a company has one thousand and a
22 half -- 1.000 to 1.500 metres in depth and the maximum
23 was 6.000 metres which means one battalion in defence.
24 I am counting 6.000 from the northern front
25 line to the southern front line, and all rules
1 generally provide for the fact that behind you, you are
2 leaning on the forces of the same army, not hostile
3 enemy forces, but this, of course, was fighting within
4 a total encirclement.
5 Q. According to military definition, the entire
6 pocket, did it represent the first zone of combat
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Please continue. What happened next,
10 according to the chronology of events, and what events
11 were important for us?
12 A. Already on the 20th of September, the
13 assistant for information informed me that Radio Zenica
14 had broadcast a news item according to which a new
15 commander had taken command of the Central Bosnia
16 Operative Zone, he had been appointed, and that I was
17 relieved of my duties. The new commander, over the
18 radio, the name that was read out, was Zuti, and they
19 said that he had taken over command of the Central
20 Bosnia Operative Zone. In general, the information put
21 out -- there were rumours, and this kind of information
22 spread across the Lasva Valley, and we had to deny
23 these rumours and say that they were not true.
24 At the position at Donja Veceriska, I once
25 again had a meeting with my co-workers, the ones that I
1 could invite to the meeting, to discuss the situation
2 on the battleground, and my command post was to be
3 Gornja and Donja Veceriska from then on. I was no
4 longer in the Vitez Hotel but was in the villages right
5 up by the front line. My associates also had their
6 command posts in the individual sectors of the defence
8 On the 21st of September, 1993, Vitez was
9 attacked and an operation was unleashed which continued
10 for five days, four to five nights, and the BH army
11 attacked with its artillery and with its tanks and it
12 was a very severe attack.
13 In the course of the 21st of September alone,
14 on the Lazine feature, which is in the Krizancevo Selo
15 area, almost 300 projectiles fell, artillery mortar and
16 other projectiles launched by the BH army, and we lost
17 these positions north of Krizancevo Selo towards
19 In the course of the day, I said that in
20 Busovaca, a false attack should be launched on the
21 lines of the BH army so as to alleviate the Vitez
22 positions, particularly when we had lost our positions
23 at Lazine and Krizancevo Selo, and I went there myself
24 personally and I saw the commander of the 2nd Battalion
25 from the Busovaca Brigade on that day. He wasn't able
1 to move around, he was on crutches. He was severely
2 wounded in both legs, but he refused to lie in
3 hospital. He told me that he was still in command of
4 his battalion although he could only move around on
5 crutches, and that is what the commander of that
6 battalion -- that was his state of health, but he
7 remained at the front.
8 On the 22nd of September, 1993, at 11.10,
9 Hotel Vitez was hit again by an artillery projectile,
10 and there were some wounded people in the Vitez Hotel.
11 At 15.40, I received information from the
12 Military Intelligence Service that UNPROFOR was
13 bringing into the village of Radojcici some crates for
14 the army of BH, and they were crates containing
16 I also asked for a meeting on that day with
17 the officials of SIS, Darko Kraljevic and Miso Mijic,
18 and they informed me once again that they were
19 autonomous and independent in their activities and that
20 they were not going to give any reports or be
21 accountable to me, answerable to me for their actions.
22 I issued a written order because of the lack of
23 ammunition, the shortage of ammunition, to all
24 commanders up at the front line, requesting that they
25 only open fire -- that single firing should take place,
1 single bullets. We had difficulty with reinforcements
2 at the Vitez battleground.
3 Q. Very well. It's been interpreted. When you
4 say "single firing" or "single bullets," what is
5 another -- the opposite term, that is, a burst of
6 gunfire which can be continuous, you can have a longer
7 or shorter burst of gunfire, but it means that you are
8 going to use more ammunition when firing in that
9 particular fashion.
10 Thank you. Please continue.
11 A. In the course of those days, we had a great
12 deal of difficulty with attempts to bring
13 reinforcements to the front line in Vitez, that is to
14 say, soldiers from the neighbouring brigades, because
15 at the Vitez battleground, lives were being lost most,
16 and nobody wanted to go there, to go to that front
17 line, so that we had a great deal of problems with
18 respect to supplying reinforcements.
19 We also located a howitzer belonging to the
20 BH army, 105-millimetre calibre, which acted from the
21 Krpeljic feature.
22 On the 23rd of September, 1993, I received
23 information from the head of the Military Intelligence
24 Service that five buses had arrived from Zenica to
25 Poculica and that they were reinforcements, that fresh
1 forces were being brought in by the BH army.
2 I also received information from the Military
3 Intelligence Service that, in Kruscica, a further 120
4 soldiers had arrived; that is to say, one entire
6 On the 23rd of September, I requested from
7 the security service that an investigation be carried
8 out with regard to the damage done to the mosque in
9 Busovaca, and I was informed that the damage to the
10 mosque occurred on the 21st of September, 1993. I
11 received information about this later on and was told
12 that unidentified perpetrators had carried this out and
13 that the organs of the civilian police had conducted an
14 investigation --
15 Q. What had these unidentified perpetrators
17 A. Well, there was arson in the mosque in
18 Busovaca, fire was planted there.
19 Q. Was there an intervention?
20 A. I was informed that the fire brigade was
21 called out and that it intervened and that the civilian
22 police dealt with this case further.
23 Q. Was it able to identify the perpetrators?
24 Were they found?
25 A. I was not informed whether the civilian
1 police found the perpetrators of that act or not.
2 Q. Please continue.
3 A. At 12.50 in the course of the day I received
4 information, according to which the BH army was said to
5 be preparing an attack on the Zabrdze Mountain with the
6 probable aim of continuing on towards the explosives
7 factory, and that is the southern position, south-lying
8 position dominant above the explosives factory.
9 I invited the commander, who was at the front
10 line, I called him and cautioned him, warned him of the
11 intentions of the BH army, and he informed me that the
12 situation was under his control and that the situation
13 was very stable where he was, and we even managed to
14 tape the conversation between the commander of the BH
15 army who envisaged that they would be taking over
16 Zabrdze up until 14.00 on the 23rd of September, 1993.
17 After a certain amount of time had elapsed,
18 at about 16.30, the commander of the HVO from the
19 Zabrdze feature asked for assistance and reinforcement
20 for his defence, and at about 16.38, I received
21 information that the position had been lost and that 68
22 soldiers belonging to the HVO had withdrawn from their
23 positions below Mount Zabrdze.
24 I succeeded, in the course of the afternoon,
25 to send reinforcements but a very small number of
1 them. First of all, I sent 12 soldiers, and then later
2 on about 15 soldiers at about 20.15.
3 At 22.00 on that same day, the 7th Muslim
4 Brigade attacked the village, that is to say, the
5 positions of the HVO in front of the village of Jardol
6 and the village of Krcevine, which is the northern
7 front line, and that attack was refuted, repelled.
8 On the 24th of September, 1993, I was also
9 situated at the Donja Veceriska command post, and I
10 received an order coming from the main staff of the
11 HVO, urgently to go to the headquarters to attend a
13 MR. NOBILO: Before you go to that meeting,
14 the first outside the enclave, perhaps we can take a
15 break, if the President agrees.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We're going to have a
17 15-minute break, and we will finish at 5.30.
18 The hearing is adjourned.
19 --- Recess taken at 4.40 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 5.00 p.m.
21 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. General, sometime around 24 September, you
24 went to Herzegovina on an order. To whom did you
25 report there? What was it all about?
1 A. I received an order to report to the chief of
2 the main staff of the HVO, and sometime in the evening,
3 I went by helicopter, and at around 20.30, I met with
4 the chief of the main staff, who at that time had his
5 office in Citluk. There, I reported to the chief of
6 the main staff, and I reported on the situation.
7 Q. Please tell the Chamber, for us who are
8 following the trial here, the chief of the main staff
9 was Brigadier Petkovic; was that the person with whom
10 you talked?
11 A. No. I talked to the new chief of the main
12 staff of the HVO. This was General Praljak. At that
13 time, that is, on the 24th of September, General
14 Petkovic was deputy chief of staff of the HVO, and I do
15 not know exactly when this substitution was made,
16 General Praljak for Petkovic.
17 Q. Very well. Move on. What did you talk about
18 with him there?
19 A. I informed him about the military situation
20 and the defence issues, the problems relative to the
21 investigation. I told him that I had given the
22 assistant for security a final deadline of the 30th of
23 September for the investigation.
24 Q. What investigation?
25 A. The investigation of Ahmici. I asked that he
1 lend support to this deadline so that the investigation
2 may be completed by that time, that he intervene with
3 his superiors.
4 I also informed him on the reorganisation of
5 the military police, on the problems which we had with
6 the SIS and the assistant for security in the Central
7 Bosnia Operative Zone, and about the problems relating
8 to the special purpose units who were very selective in
9 carrying out my orders, that is, they carried out my
10 orders in a manner which they saw fit without my being
11 able to influence the manner in which those orders were
12 carried out.
13 I also suggested that these special purpose
14 units be placed under my direct command, just as the
15 military police units had been, and that they too be
16 reorganised, that they dissolved and that a special
17 unit be established which would be under the direct
18 command of the commander of the Central Bosnia
19 Operative Zone.
20 After this meeting, I asked the chief of the
21 main staff to allow me to visit my family. I was given
22 this permission, and I went to visit my son and my wife
23 in Austria, in Kapfenberg, where my son was staying
24 with my in-laws. At that time, my wife was also
25 temporarily staying with them, and my son was already
1 going to kindergarten.
2 Q. How long did you stay in Austria?
3 A. I stayed there until the 27th of September.
4 On the 28th of September, I came back to Citluk, and I
5 waited for an opportunity to be taken by helicopter
6 back to Central Bosnia, that is, to Vitez.
7 I had another meeting with the chief of the
8 main staff there, and in that meeting, I was informed
9 that for several months, the forward main post had
10 already been there for several months and that the
11 Operative Zone in Kiseljak was directly linked to the
12 main HVO staff as its forward command post.
13 We also discussed some logistics issues, and
14 I thought that that was some of the best assistance I
15 would get in the defence of the Lasva pocket.
16 Q. How was the logistic assistance to be
17 delivered to you when you were in this Lasva pocket?
18 A. It was to have been parachuted from an
19 aeroplane or from a helicopter, and for a helicopter,
20 that would have been a very high altitude, because the
21 ground was controlled by the BH army, for the most
22 part, and the helicopter had to fly at an altitude of
23 about 3.000 to 3.500 metres, which decreased the
24 accuracy of drops. So some of the ordnance would have
25 actually been dropped to the area controlled by the BH
2 Another mode of assistance, but this came
3 only later, was to land helicopters in an
4 improvised heliodrom, but that was only during
5 night-time, and one needed very skilful pilots because
6 it was a very complex manoeuvre for a helicopter to
7 land from 4.000 metres to an area which was somewhat
8 sheltered from the possible operation of the BH army.
9 Q. Did you, at that time, get any special
10 authority over the special purpose units during this
11 conversation with General Praljak?
12 A. I was not given any authority, but I was
13 given some promises that General Praljak was going to
14 convey these requests, in other words, that he was
15 going to work on my getting such authority from the
16 Ministry of Defence.
17 Q. When did you come back to Vitez?
18 A. I came back on the 29th of September by
19 helicopter, and I had a meeting with the deputy
20 commander, that is, my second in command, Mr. Filip
21 Filipovic, in the Hotel Vitez.
22 He informed me about the events which had
23 taken place during my absence, including that the
24 positions at Zabrdze had been lost, that is, the HVO
25 positions there, that in Stari Vitez on the 26th of
1 September, 1993, a humanitarian organisation and media
2 representatives from the areas controlled by the BH
3 army had visited, also that the chief of security of
4 the explosives factory had blocked the entire compound
5 because he had not received any cigarettes to
6 distribute among his employees. In other words, it was
7 again a wilful act on the part of this security
9 There was a conflict between the assistant
10 for security, Mr. Sliskovic, and the deputy chief of
11 the centre of security, Mr. Kraljevic. Also that there
12 was shooting in Vitez.
13 Q. When you say "Kraljevic," this is Darko
14 Kraljevic, the former commander of the Vitezovi?
15 A. Yes, this is what I was informed by
16 Mr. Filipovic, that also there was shooting in Vitez,
17 and that Mr. Dario Kordic, Mr. Ignjac Kostroman, and
18 Mr. Anto Sliskovic, assistant for security, visited
19 Darko Kraljevic, but they were not allowed to leave
20 Vitez, in other words, that they were released by him
21 only after a call had come in from Mr. Mate Boban and
22 personally ordered Kraljevic to release Mr. Dario
23 Kordic as well as Messrs. Ignjac Kostroman and Anto
24 Sliskovic, but Darko Kraljevic forbid them to return to
25 the town of Vitez.
1 Q. General, you said that Darko Kraljevic had
2 basically taken Dario Kordic prisoner. Can you tell
3 the Chamber what Dario Kordic's post or duty was in
4 Central Bosnia in 1993?
5 A. He was the vice-president of the HDZ for
6 Central Bosnia, and he was the vice-president of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. This, as far as I
8 know, were the two positions which he held.
9 Q. Does that mean that Dario Kordic was Mate
10 Boban's deputy?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What duty did Ignjac Kostroman have in 1993,
13 that is, the second person taken prisoner by Darko
15 A. He was the secretary-general of the Croatian
16 Democratic Community, and I think that he was on that
17 duty both in 1992 and 1993; in other words, he was the
18 secretary-general of the HDZ.
19 Q. Was this only for Central Bosnia or for the
20 entire Herceg-Bosna?
21 A. This was for the HDZ in the entire Bosnia and
23 Q. And the third person who was detained by
24 Darko Kraljevic was Anto Sliskovic. Who was he?
25 A. He was assistant for security with the
1 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
2 Q. In other words, are you saying the chief of
4 A. Yes, he was the chief of the SIS for the
5 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
6 Q. He said that Mate Boban had intervened so
7 that the three of them would be released.
8 A. Yes, so that they would be released and they
9 would be permitted to leave the town of Vitez. Mato
10 Boban's intervention was for that.
11 Q. Do you know whether anything happened to
12 Darko Kraljevic? Was he arrested? Was he tried for
13 this abduction, if you will, of three very high-level
14 functionaries of Herceg-Bosna?
15 A. As far as I know, he was not tried and no
16 proceedings were instituted against him for this act.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: My mind may have strayed
18 a while, General, so do forgive me in case you did
19 explain this. Tell me, did you have any understanding
20 at the time as to why Darko Kraljevic abducted these
21 people, Kordic and others?
22 A. Your Honour, at the time I had just returned
23 from Herzegovina and I was briefed about it by my
24 deputy. I did not have any knowledge then nor do I
25 know today what was the real motive for such behaviour
1 and why he did that. I don't know.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: During the three days you went
4 to Austria, nobody told you about your command, there
5 were no telephone contacts with these people?
6 A. Mr. President, for those three days, my
7 deputy stood in for me, so I didn't have any contact
8 because I was on a family visit.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Even while you were with your
10 family during a time of war, you were not wondering --
11 you were not saying to the people at the command post,
12 "If there is something urgent, maybe you could call
13 me?" You leave three days without any contact?
14 A. Mr. President, I never left without leaving
15 all my telephone numbers to my deputy where he could
16 find me, if necessary, and at any point in time, he was
17 able to contact me, of course, if the lines were open.
18 He knew where I was.
19 JUDGE JORDA: [interpretation cuts in]
20 ... reassure me, because you said a moment ago that
21 you were a professional soldier, and I was very
22 surprised that you could leave a war without leaving
23 any number.
24 Now, my question is: Did your deputy do a
25 good job by not telling you what was going on while
1 Mr. Kostroman, Mr. Sliskovic, and the other person were
2 arrested? It was not a minor event, was it?
3 A. He informed the chief of the main staff and
4 Mr. Mato Boban probably, since Mate Boban was the one
5 who intervened. He did not inform me personally when
6 that happened.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
8 MR. NOBILO:
9 Q. General, would there have been any point if
10 you had been informed? Could you order Darko Kraljevic
11 to release Dario Kordic?
12 A. I could issue such an order, and even after
13 Mr. Mate Boban issued the order, Dario Kordic was
14 issued an order by Darko Kraljevic that he could not
15 return to Vitez. Therefore, judging by his reaction to
16 Mr. Mate Boban's order, it is clear that he didn't even
17 fully respect his order.
18 Q. Tell me the difference between your authority
19 over Darko Kraljevic and the authority of Mate Boban;
20 was there any difference?
21 A. The difference is vast. I was equal in rank
22 to Colonel Darko Kraljevic, and the difference was vast
23 between Mate Boban and myself.
24 Q. In whose favour?
25 A. In Mate Boban's favour because he was also
1 the supreme commander.
2 Q. Do you consider that Colonel Filip Filipovic
3 acted correctly by not calling you in Austria but,
4 rather, calling Mate Boban?
5 A. It would have been better if Colonel
6 Filipovic had called me up at least to let me know that
7 this had happened, but I believe that he realised that
8 his capacity to deal with the problem was equal to his
9 own, and in his effort to deal with it as quickly as
10 possible, he probably contacted the main chief of staff
11 who then contacted Mr. Mate Boban. But it would have
12 been a good thing if I had at least been informed so I
13 would know what was happening.
14 Q. Let us go on then. You had some other
15 meetings with UNPROFOR representatives?
16 A. Yes. This was probably in the afternoon. I
17 had a meeting with Colonel Duncan and Colonel Williams
18 who was announced as the new commander of the British
19 UNPROFOR battalion based in Nova Bila and we discussed
20 daily matters. This was more like a courtesy visit
21 because it was my first encounter with Colonel
22 Williams. There were questions also related to
23 difficulties in the passage of convoys towards Stari
24 Vitez and Kruscica. When I say "difficulties," I mean
25 the behaviour of Croatian civilians who demonstrated
1 their suspicion that those convoys were transporting
2 ammunition for the needs of the BH army, and they
3 demanded that their representative participate in
4 inspecting the freight which could be done at any
6 Then Colonel Williams also inquired into the
7 situation in Zepce, Kiseljak, Vares, and I said that
8 occasionally we were in touch and that I had some
9 general information but that I was not aware of the
10 detailed situation and I was not informed about all
11 developments. We also discussed electricity, because
12 Vitez was most of the time without electricity, then
13 also the question of the shortage of water for Novi
14 Travnik, the church-cum-hospital and the whole town of
15 Vitez, and also problems related to the evacuation of
16 the wounded from the church-cum-hospital.
17 In the afternoon, I received information
18 after this meeting from the chief of staff on the
19 situation on our positions north of the town of Vitez
20 on the front lines. I was also informed by the
21 assistant for information that rumours were spreading
22 in Vitez and they were being spread by Mr. Darko
23 Kraljevic that Central Bosnia had been sold out and
24 that there was no point to continue the struggle for
25 survival in Central Bosnia.
1 Q. Tell us, General, these stories that Central
2 Bosnia had been sold out, by whom and for what purpose
3 and to whom? Could you explain that a little?
4 A. These were rumours that were circulating in
5 Central Bosnia, that there would be a swap of
6 territories, that the whole of Mostar would belong to
7 Herceg-Bosna and Central Bosnia -- to Herzegovina and
8 the Croats, that is, Mostar, whereas Central Bosnia
9 would be given to the Bosniak Muslims and that there
10 was no purpose to continue the struggle for our
11 presence in the Lasva pocket as, in any event, all of
12 it would be in the hands of the BH army.
13 Q. Those rumours, what was their effect on the
14 morale of your combatants?
15 A. They certainly had an effect and they
16 undermined the confidence of the soldiers because if
17 people were getting killed on a daily basis, then
18 soldiers asked themselves: What was the purpose of
19 getting killed and trying to defend this territory if
20 it would in any event fall into the hands of the
21 attacker? Why risk one's life? Why struggle then? We
22 had difficulties in calming down and stabilising the
23 situation and rejecting those rumours as unfounded.
24 Q. Do you, by any chance, know how come Darko
25 Kraljevic had such information when you and your
1 soldiers did not have it?
2 A. He, at the time, held two high-ranking
3 positions, commander of the special purpose unit and
4 deputy chief of the security centre, so that he was
5 directly subordinate to the defence department and he
6 probably had access to high-level sources of
7 information, although I don't know on what grounds he
8 had that information nor where the source was.
9 Q. Please continue.
10 A. On the 29th of September, the assistant for
11 security of the 1st Battalion was killed, that is,
12 Mr. Ivan Budimir, he was killed by an unidentified
13 perpetrator, and Mr. Ivan Budimir was very well-known
14 as a special person who opposed crime and all criminal
15 activities, especially in his capacity as assistant for
17 Q. Tell us: Ivan Budimir, is that the same Ivan
18 Budimir whose reports we read at the beginning of your
19 testimony and they had to do with the end of 1992, the
20 beginning of 1993, when he reported that the arrival of
21 units from Herzegovina had raised to boiling point the
22 inter-ethnic relations between Croats and Muslims; is
23 that the same man?
24 A. Yes it is, assistant for security of the 1st
25 Battalion of the Vitez Brigade.
1 Q. Continue, please.
2 A. On the 30th of September, 1993, I asked the
3 assistant for security to report to me about the
4 investigation into the crime in Ahmici, and he informed
5 me that the whole complete file, including the names of
6 the suspects of the crime in Ahmici, had been handed
7 over to the competent administration for security and
8 that it was no longer my concern because they had taken
9 over the whole file, the whole case.
10 In the course of that day, Darko Kraljevic
11 fired, in the town of Vitez, from a heavy machine gun,
12 about 600 bullets, and his superior, the head of the
13 security services, took control of the ammunitions
14 factory and prohibited entry into the factory to all
15 persons, including myself, declaring that as of the
16 30th of September, the centre of the security services
17 was taking over the ammunition factory under its
19 Q. Tell us, General, what was the name of the
20 head of the Security and Information Service who was
21 superior to Mr. Darko Kraljevic?
22 A. His name was Mr. Miso Mijic.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Before adjourning, I would like
24 to ask you two questions, General: The investigation
25 about Ahmici, you were told that you had nothing to do
1 with it anymore, and you said, "Okay, I will not deal
2 with it anymore." You were a very disciplined soldier
3 then. Do you agree with me?
4 A. At that point in time, Mr. President, when I
5 was told that the entire case had been completed and
6 the names of the suspects had been handed over to the
7 security administration, I felt --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Were you not asking any
9 questions to learn the conclusions of the investigation
11 A. I asked the assistant for security whether
12 the whole file was complete --
13 JUDGE JORDA: It's an official request. But
14 that's not my question. There is no point in going
15 further. I understood that you were not dealing with
16 the investigation anymore; am I right?
17 A. Mr. President, I did concern myself with that
18 matter later on.
19 JUDGE JORDA: But you think that it is not
20 part of your duties in your chain of command.
21 The second observation, which is linked to
22 the first one, relates to Darko Kraljevic. You are a
23 very disciplined soldier within the chain of command.
24 Ahmici, you have explained to us, was not in your chain
25 of command, that it's not part of your duties, and this
1 is the conclusion that you have on the 30th of
2 September, 1993, a report has been written, and you
3 have nothing to do with it anymore; and since you are a
4 disciplined soldier, you say, "This is not part of my
5 chain of command and I shall not deal with this
7 My question relates to Darko Kraljevic.
8 During the various days before the 30th of September,
9 Mr. Darko Kraljevic is guilty of a disciplinary mistake
10 because one of his deputies shoots at a factory. I
11 think it's one of his deputies; right? No? It's not
12 one of his deputies? I thought that 600 bullets were
13 fired, but on what? Did I misunderstand you?
14 A. Mr. President, he fired in town 600 --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, yes, okay. I'm trying to
16 link two different points of view, two different ways
17 of seeing the chain of command. When you are a
18 subordinate, you're a very disciplined soldier. The
19 army chief is an example. This concerned military
20 security, and this had nothing to do, you agree. But
21 when we have to deal with Mr. Darko Kraljevic, he is
22 acting in your zone of responsibility, he is
23 intervening in the operations by shooting 600 bullets,
24 while you are yourself in a very complex situation from
25 a military point of view and, at the same time, he was
1 bringing down the morale of the troops by saying that
2 Bosnia would be sold out.
3 My question is therefore the following: You
4 have just met General Praljak, he is the new chief of
5 staff, so do you tell this General, "This is enough.
6 Either you keep Kraljevic or I will resign"? Did you
7 think about saying this to General Praljak?
8 A. Mr. President, I informed the chief of the
9 main staff of what I had achieved with the
10 reorganisation of the military police, and I told him
11 that I asked that the same model be applied to the
12 special purpose units, including Mr. Darko Kraljevic.
13 However, Darko Kraljevic was not only the commander of
14 that unit but he had been promoted in the hierarchy; he
15 was also deputy head of the security centre, over which
16 I had absolutely no jurisdiction. So he held two very
17 high-level positions attached to the defence ministry.
18 I did ask for that but, Mr. President, these
19 incidents did not occur before my visit for me to be
20 able to react to them, but I received even this
21 information through an investigation and a report on it
22 submitted to me by the assistant for security about the
23 incident in town. Everything I learnt I forwarded to
24 the main chief of staff, and I managed to achieve the
25 disbanding of the special purpose unit and the forming
1 of a guards unit directly subordinated to me, but this
2 took time.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I've understood that, but
4 I have the feeling that, in fact, whenever there is a
5 chain of command above you, whatever the situation, you
6 decide not to say anything. Can I interpret your
7 testimony like this: Whenever you have a chief or a
8 superior above you, whenever you're in a situation in
9 which you are part of a chain of command, and above you
10 someone tells you, "This is the way things should be,"
11 because you are a subordinate, then you choose not to
12 act, whatever the situation is.
13 A. I sought to respect everything, but,
14 Mr. President, even in this situation, when I received
15 the information from the assistant for security on the
16 report into the investigation in Ahmici, I did not give
17 up my efforts to discover whether criminal proceedings
18 had been instituted or not.
19 JUDGE JORDA: That's all. Are there any
20 other questions?
21 Judge Shahabuddeen?
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, this assistant
23 for security was superior to you or subordinate to you
24 or did he hold a parallel position?
25 A. Your Honour, he was directly subordinate to
1 the administration for security, and he would service
2 my requests, which means that I could make requests to
3 him, but his vertical chain of command, as we saw on
4 the schematic, was the administration for security in
5 Mostar, and the orders of that administration had
6 absolute priority over any requests that I may have
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One final question. I
9 gather that you considered that the rumours being
10 spread by Darko Kraljevic about a possible exchange of
11 territories were unfounded. Did you gather why Darko
12 Kraljevic was spreading about those rumours?
13 A. Your Honour, I did my best to stabilise their
14 will for defence among my soldiers, believing that, in
15 such a situation, those rumours were unfounded, but,
16 Your Honour, I don't know whether Darko Kraljevic got
17 such information from because there was a big
18 difference between me and Darko Kraljevic in relation
19 to the Defence Ministry.
20 Above Darko Kraljevic, there is the Defence
21 Ministry on two grounds, as deputy head of security and
22 information and as head of the brigade. So I never
23 managed to establish whether those rumours had any
24 grounds or not. I personally felt that they were
25 unfounded because our priority was to retain our
1 presence there.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I think tomorrow we
3 will resume at 9.00, since it's Friday. Thank you.
4 The hearing is adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
6 5.37 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
7 the 26th day of March, 1999, at
8 9.00 a.m.