1. 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.


    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

  2. 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

    11 order:

    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

  3. 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

    15 months.

    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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

    9 useful.

    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.

  7. 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

  8. 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?

  9. 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

    9 Ahmici?

    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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 1 private session.

    2 (Private session)











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    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,

  2. 1 chronologically, the important events related to that

    2 date.

    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,

  3. 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?"

  4. 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

    21 represented.

    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

  5. 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

    15 arrived.

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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

    17 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

    15 age.

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 1 Dzotle.

    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

    10 Grbavica.

    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

  14. 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

    4 operation.

    5 Q. Was this the first offensive operation in the

    6 Lasva Valley which you carried out and which you

    7 commanded?

    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.

  15. 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

    5 had.

    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

    11 circumstances?

    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

  16. 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

    5 operations.

    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

    15 attack.

    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.





  17. 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

    9 transcript?

    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

    14 said.

    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

    21 D550A.

    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

    25 today.

  18. 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

    14 Exhibit.

    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

  19. 1 (indicating).

    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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

    18 operation?

    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

  26. 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

    21 preparation?

    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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

    6 Grbavica?

    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

  32. 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

    23 that?

    24 A. Well, on the first day, not more than ten

    25 houses.

  33. 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

    14 intact.

    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

  34. 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

    20 operation?

    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

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

    25 view.

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 1 understood my question, General. I'm not concentrating

    2 on details. I want a greater picture of the whole

    3 situation.

    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

  42. 1 speak?

    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

    11 Agreement?

    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

  43. 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

    11 now.

    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

  44. 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

  45. 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

    20 courts.

    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,

  46. 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

    18 police.

    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

    25 instated.

  47. 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.

  48. 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

  49. 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

    4 Percinlic?

    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,

  50. 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

    8 order:

    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

    12 forbidden.

    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.

  51. 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

  52. 1 receiving treatment at our hospitals is most strictly

    2 forbidden.

    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

    15 Saric."

    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

  53. 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

    5 September?

    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

    21 expected.

    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

  54. 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

    17 pillar.

    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.

  55. 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

  56. 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

    6 territory?

    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

  57. 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

  58. 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

    7 rule.

    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

  59. 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

    7 activities?

    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

  60. 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

    7 line.

    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

    18 Tolovici.

    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

  61. 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

    15 ammunition.

    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,

  62. 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

  63. 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

    5 company.

    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

    16 done?

    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

  64. 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

  65. 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

    12 meeting.

    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?

  66. 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

  67. 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

  68. 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

  69. 1 army.

    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

  70. 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

    8 officer.

    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.

  71. 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

    14 Kraljevic?

    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

    22 Herzegovina.

    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

  72. 1 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

    2 Q. In other words, are you saying the chief of

    3 SIS?

    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

  73. 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

  74. 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

  75. 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

  76. 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

    5 location.

    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.

  77. 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

  78. 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

    16 security.

    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.

  79. 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

    18 control.

    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

  80. 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

    10 then?

    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

  81. 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

    6 anymore."

    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

  82. 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

  83. 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

  84. 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

    7 made.

    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

  85. 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.