1. 1 Wednesday, April 7th, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 11.57 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing will resume.

    5 Please be seated.

    6 Concerning the motion of the Defence

    7 presented this morning during the Status Conference

    8 which was held -- I'm sorry

    9 (Off-the-record discussion with registrar)

    10 JUDGE JORDA: No, I am rendering a public

    11 decision.

    12 Concerning the motion of the Defence relating

    13 to the prohibition of any prior contact before the

    14 witnesses called by the Court come to testify, the

    15 Trial Chamber will render the following decision:

    16 First, any contact with the Court witnesses,

    17 as of today and until their appearance, is prohibited,

    18 formally prohibited. We are talking about the Court

    19 witnesses, the witnesses concerned in the order of this

    20 Trial Chamber filed on the 25th of March.

    21 I remind you that we are talking about

    22 General Petkovic, General Morillon, General Bob

    23 Stewart, General Enver Hadzihasanovic, all commanders

    24 of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and Ambassador Jean-Pierre

    25 Thebault.

  2. 1 Secondly, these witnesses will be summoned or

    2 called by the Trial Chamber right after the end of the

    3 Defence case; that is to say, these witnesses will

    4 appear here before the Prosecution exercises its

    5 rebuttal right and before the rejoinder of the Defence.

    6 Thirdly, after the appearance of the Court

    7 witnesses, the parties will have the right, within the

    8 framework of their rebuttal and rejoinder cases

    9 respectively, to call all the witnesses they wish to

    10 call, including Court witnesses, if one or both parties

    11 judge it necessary. Within the framework of this

    12 rejoinder or rebuttal, contact with the witnesses will

    13 be authorised. Of course, the Court will still have

    14 the right to assess this right according to what the

    15 witnesses will have said in front of the Judges.

    16 Last point. During the hearing of the Court

    17 witnesses, during their testimonies, the parties will

    18 be allowed to ask the questions they feel are

    19 necessary, and these questions will have to be related

    20 to the questions of the Judges in accordance with the

    21 order of the 25th of March, but they will have limited

    22 time to do so. This time will be set when the witness

    23 appears.

    24 As a remark, I would like to remind you that

    25 after the end of the examination-in-chief of General

  3. 1 Blaskic and after the Prosecution's cross-examination

    2 and after we hear the last witnesses of the Defence --

    3 and I am turning to Mr. Registrar -- the Court

    4 witnesses will have to appear at that particular time,

    5 and please inform Mr. Olivier Fourmy of all the

    6 procedures engaged in front of all the authorities of

    7 the different countries of the various Court witnesses.

    8 This being done, we can now turn to the

    9 witness. The accused is now testifying and is

    10 answering the questions asked by his counsel,

    11 Mr. Nobilo.

    12 Mr. Nobilo, you can have the floor.

    13 MR. FOURMY: I'm sorry, Mr. President. Can I

    14 have one moment, please? I think it has to do with the

    15 French transcript only. If I understood you well, you

    16 said in your last comment that both parties would be

    17 allowed to ask the witnesses questions, and this was

    18 going to relate to what the accused has said but you

    19 were thinking about what the witnesses had said. Yes?

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you're right. Yes, of

    21 course. Depending upon what the witness would have

    22 said, that is, General Blaskic; isn't that right?

    23 MR. FOURMY: No, I think the parties will be

    24 allowed to ask questions to the Court witnesses

    25 depending upon what the Court witness will have said

  4. 1 before and not depending upon what the accused will

    2 have said.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I'm talking about the

    4 Court witness, but I was thinking that as far as the

    5 accused is concerned, questions will have to be asked

    6 on what the accused will have said.

    7 MR. FOURMY: Yes, that's what I meant too.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you very much for this

    9 remark, Mr. Fourmy.

    10 If there are no further comments, then,

    11 Mr. Nobilo, I shall turn to you.

    12 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I

    13 think that before the break of seven days, we were

    14 looking into the chronology of events, and we stopped

    15 with the 24th of October, 1993


    17 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:

    18 Q. General, if you recall where we left off,

    19 please continue.

    20 A. On the 24th of October, Your Honours, I had a

    21 meeting with the commander of the military police, and

    22 I asked him for an investigation with regard to the

    23 conflict between two local commanders in Novi Travnik,

    24 Tuka and Zuti, and I also sought an investigation for

    25 the security assistant with relation to the same event.

  5. 1 At the time, I was informed that disciplinary

    2 measures were taken against two policemen, that they

    3 were in a prison, in detention, and I was called from

    4 12.00 to 1.00 to attend a meeting with the head of the

    5 centre for the security service for the Vitez area,

    6 Mr. Miso Mijic, who informed me at the meeting about

    7 the cadres question, personnel in the centre for

    8 security, the head office for security, and supervision

    9 over helicopter flights and other issues that were

    10 discussed, and emphasis was laid on the fact that the

    11 security service centre was directly under the office

    12 in Mostar and that it was independent with regard to

    13 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone command.

    14 MR. NOBILO: Can we stop there for a minute

    15 and have these documents handed round, and may we have

    16 a number for the documents, please?

    17 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit D552 for the

    18 Croatian version and D552A for the English version.

    19 MR. NOBILO:

    20 Q. The text is short, and I will read out the

    21 main points. The document is from the defence

    22 department, the Central Bosnia Operative Zone SIS,

    23 Security and Information Service, the date is the 18th

    24 of June, 1993. It is a military secret and was sent to

    25 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, that is, yourself, the zone

  6. 1 commander, and the title is "Authorisation." (as read)

    2 "Further to the order number 02-4/1-533/93

    3 of the 19th of March, 1993, of Assistant Chief

    4 Mr. Ivica Lucic on the formation of the Central Bosnia

    5 SIS Centre, which gives Mr. Miso Mijic, the head of the

    6 centre, a free hand in selecting his associates and

    7 about which you have been informed and with the purpose

    8 of improving the work of the Central Bosnia SIS Centre,

    9 I hereby appoint Colonel Darko Kraljevic as the Deputy

    10 Chief of the Central Bosnia SIS Centre and at the same

    11 time authorise him to sign letters, reports, orders and

    12 other documents pertaining to the work of the Central

    13 Bosnia SIS Centre whenever the need arises."

    14 The signature is the Central Bosnia SIS

    15 Centre, Chief Miso Mijic, signed and stamped the Mostar

    16 Defence Department, and so on.

    17 There is a sentence at the end which states

    18 that:

    19 "The Mostar Defence Department has been

    20 advised of the above decision so we are hereby

    21 forwarding it to you for your information."

    22 That is the last sentence of the document.

    23 On the basis of this document, I would to ask

    24 you first: Do you recognise the stamp and the

    25 signature of Miso Mijic?

  7. 1 A. Yes, I recognise the stamp. It is the

    2 Security and Information Service, the defence

    3 department of Mostar, that is the stamp. I know Miso

    4 Mijic and I know his signature and that is his

    5 signature.

    6 Q. On the 18th of June, 1993, or around that

    7 date, did you receive a letter of this kind from Miso

    8 Mijic?

    9 A. Yes, I received this particular document

    10 probably around that date, the 18th of June, 1993.

    11 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber, on

    12 the basis of this document and on the basis of your

    13 recollections, were you able in any way to influence

    14 the organisation of the Security and Information

    15 Service and their selection of personnel, and tell us,

    16 please, in what way did Darko Kraljevic come to have

    17 the same rank as you yourself and what authorisation

    18 did Darko Kraljevic and Miso Mijic have in setting up

    19 this SIS centre?

    20 A. I did not have any authorisation or

    21 competence over the SIS Centre. The SIS Centre was

    22 directly subordinate with regard to chain of command to

    23 the head office of the security service, and it was not

    24 duty-bound even to inform me of their activities,

    25 intentions, and tasks and assignments. Colonel Darko

  8. 1 Kraljevic, as the commander of the special purpose

    2 unit, the Vitezovi, which was also directly subordinate

    3 to the defence department in Mostar, had the rank of

    4 colonel. This information, this document shows that

    5 along with his task of commander of the special purpose

    6 unit, he was assigned another task, and that is, he was

    7 deputy of the chief of the SIS Centre for Central

    8 Bosnia, with authorisations that are precisely defined

    9 in this authorisation, this particular document.

    10 Therefore, they worked completely

    11 independently of me and the command of the Central

    12 Bosnia Operative Zone.

    13 Q. You have already told the Court that in

    14 individual battles, the Vitezovi of Darko Kraljevic was

    15 attached to you. Could you please tell the Court, this

    16 new function of Darko Kraljevic, what did it mean for

    17 his independence vis-à-vis you?

    18 A. Well, first of all, it meant that his

    19 independence was enormously enlarged, and his powers of

    20 command, because with the new function that he took

    21 over for the entire region of Central Bosnia, he became

    22 the Number 2 man of the Security and Information

    23 Service, that is to say, the secret service, which did

    24 not have any responsibilities towards the Central

    25 Bosnia Operative Zone command, and it was, in its

  9. 1 functioning, completely independent and autonomous with

    2 regard to that command, so this new function increased

    3 the already high powers of command of the commander

    4 himself.

    5 Q. This independent SIS Centre, did it have any

    6 power of control over you, over your command and your

    7 staff in the command?

    8 A. Of course it did because it was a secret

    9 service and it held informative interviews with my

    10 associates, it would take them in for questioning and

    11 for interviewing, and I remember that some of my

    12 associates complained to me and said that they were not

    13 able to carry out the tasks that I had assigned to them

    14 because they had received invitations to obligatorily

    15 attend the informative talks with the officials at the

    16 SIS Centre, and also the officers from the command of

    17 the HVO brigades, the service would take them in too

    18 without informing me of this fact, and it would

    19 control, in terms of security, the entire command, so

    20 it would select the methods it used itself and select

    21 the cadres and personnel that it wanted to interview.

    22 Q. To round off the topic, with the formation of

    23 this new service of the SIS centre with Darko Kraljevic

    24 there, was your power of command in the Lasva River

    25 Valley increased or decreased?

  10. 1 A. It was considerably decreased, and the

    2 overall situation also became more complex, much more

    3 complicated. I found the situation very difficult

    4 because my powers of command were greatly reduced.

    5 Q. Please continue with the chronology of

    6 events.

    7 A. In the course of the day, I worked with the

    8 commander of the military police. On the 24th of

    9 October we worked on the elaboration of a plan of

    10 action against criminal groups in the Lasva pocket.

    11 On the 25th of October, 1993, at the morning

    12 briefing, the assistant for security informed me that

    13 high officials from the head office for security had

    14 come to visit the Lasva pocket and that they were

    15 checking the results of the investigation into the

    16 crime committed in Ahmici.

    17 I also had a meeting in the course of the

    18 day, that is to say, in the course of the 25th of

    19 October, with the command of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

    20 Brigade.

    21 On the 26th of October, 1993, when the UNHCR

    22 convoy was moving under the escort of the BritBat

    23 battalion and its forces --

    24 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sorry, General Blaskic.

    25 Did you meet these high officials who came to see if

  11. 1 all the orders given in the course of the investigation

    2 had been executed? Did you meet these officials?

    3 A. They never contacted me. The officials from

    4 the head office for security never contacted me, those

    5 which came to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. They

    6 never contacted me, and they didn't contact me on that

    7 occasion either. They just controlled their own

    8 services. I did not have a meeting with them, nor did

    9 they contact me at all.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr.

    11 Nobilo.

    12 MR. NOBILO:

    13 Q. Please continue, General, the events of the

    14 25th of October.

    15 A. On the 26th of October, 1993, as I have said,

    16 a convoy of the UNHCR was moving from the direction of

    17 Gornji Vakuf towards Novi Travnik, Vitez, and Zenica.

    18 The convoy was escorted by UNPROFOR. A sabotage group

    19 of the 7th Muslim Brigade took advantage of this

    20 movement of the convoy and infiltrated itself into the

    21 head of the convoy and stormed the village of Rastovci

    22 in the Novi Travnik municipality.

    23 In that village of Rastovci these people

    24 killed seven civilians, opening fire on the village and

    25 locals of the village. It was only after the military

  12. 1 police intervened that this sabotage group of the

    2 7th Muslim Brigade was made to retreat towards Ravno

    3 Rostovo.

    4 I also received information in the course of

    5 the day that in Vitez itself Commander Tuka had been

    6 killed. He was from the composition of the Travnik

    7 Brigade and that the suspects, the perpetrators -- the

    8 suspects were Ferdo Gazibaric, and two Biljaka

    9 brothers, and Ilija Dobodza, and they had all fled.

    10 Q. Just one moment. Let's stop there, pause

    11 there. Would you please remind us why Commander Tuka

    12 was killed? The killers and the victims, were they of

    13 the same ethnic group?

    14 A. Yes, both the killers and the victim were

    15 Croats. Commander Tuka had previously, in Novi

    16 Travnik, and I have already spoken about this, wounded

    17 one of the chiefs of a local group there, Mr. Zuti, and

    18 then there was the settling of accounts and revenge was

    19 taken on him probably by the followers of Zuti. They

    20 wanted to revenge themselves on Commander Tuka.

    21 Q. Please continue.

    22 A. In the course of the day, I was informed by

    23 the assistant for information and propaganda that Radio

    24 Zenica, which was under the control of the BH army, was

    25 constantly broadcasting news over the radio on the

  13. 1 crime committed in Stupni Do, and I had a talk with the

    2 main staff and asked for information about that event

    3 and what had happened in Stupni Do. I had received

    4 information that there had been a conflict. A conflict

    5 had broken out between the HVO and the BH army, and

    6 that it was a purely combat operation with the

    7 participation of members of the HVO and the BH army.

    8 In the course of the day I had a talk with

    9 the followers of Colonel Tuka, who were from the

    10 Travnik Brigade, and I tried to reduce tensions and to

    11 take preventative measures in order to prevent a mutual

    12 settling of accounts between the members of the

    13 Frankopan and Travnik Brigades, for the most part.

    14 At 15.00, I had a meeting with an official

    15 from the Red Cross, but I have not noted his name so I

    16 cannot remember his name at the moment.

    17 The questions that we discussed on the

    18 occasion were the following: The freeing of the

    19 detained Croats, the free passage towards Stari Vitez,

    20 and I clarified, for the purposes of the Red Cross

    21 officials, the fact that it was necessary for us to

    22 receive, at least one day in advance, notification of

    23 the passage of the International Red Cross in the area

    24 of Stari Vitez which was under the control of the BH

    25 army because, otherwise, without this advance notice it

  14. 1 would be impossible for us to demine the front line,

    2 because our positions were subject to direct sniper

    3 fire from the BH army. Therefore, I asked them if this

    4 was at all possible, to inform us of their intention to

    5 enter Stari Vitez and give us that information one day

    6 in advance, and that no other limitations with regard

    7 to entry existed, at least from the part of the HVO.

    8 The problem was that you had to pass --

    9 either when entering or exiting -- you had to pass at

    10 least two front lines. One line was the HVO front line

    11 and the other front line was the BH army front line.

    12 I also asked the officials of the

    13 International Red Cross to try to tour the area of

    14 Vares and to send me information if it had any

    15 information about the situation in Vares and especially

    16 the events that had taken place in Stupni Do. I was

    17 promised by the officials of the International Red

    18 Cross that they would indeed visit the area and send me

    19 the information that they were able to collect

    20 regarding this matter.

    21 So we discussed the timing for a lecture for

    22 HVO commanders on the topic of the International Red

    23 Cross, its mandate, the Geneva Conventions, and

    24 international war law. This was a promise made to me

    25 by representatives of international organisations that

  15. 1 they would organise this seminar, and I requested that

    2 the date be fixed for that seminar. An officer of the

    3 International Red Cross told me that it would take

    4 place within a period of seven days, at the latest.

    5 I also informed the International Red Cross

    6 of the killing of seven civilians in the village of

    7 Rastovci, Novi Travnik municipality, by a sabotage

    8 group of the 7th Muslim Brigade.

    9 On the 27th of October, 1993, at about 10.00,

    10 I had a meeting with Colonel Duncan. We discussed

    11 quite a wide range of issues, one of them being the

    12 incursion of a sabotage terrorist group of the 7th

    13 Muslim Brigade on the previous day into the village of

    14 Rastovci.

    15 I underlined, speaking to Colonel Duncan, the

    16 security problems we were encountering because at

    17 checkpoints the HVO military police did not stop nor

    18 check UNPROFOR vehicles as well as vehicles of the

    19 UNHCR, and other vehicles that were white in colour and

    20 which belonged to international organisations.

    21 However, we had already been informed that

    22 some of those vehicles had been hijacked and that they

    23 were being used for incursions and sabotage operations

    24 such as the ones carried out in Rastovci and Novi

    25 Travnik. I expressed my concern that such incidents

  16. 1 could be become more numerous, especially during the

    2 night.

    3 At that meeting with Colonel Duncan, I asked

    4 him to check on the report that I had received about

    5 the execution of 30 Croats in Jeljezno Polje on the

    6 road between Zenica and Zepce, by the BH army. These

    7 were mobilised conscripts, Croats, which the BH army

    8 had mobilised, and they had refused to take part in

    9 combat operations against the HVO of Zepce.

    10 I did not receive any confirmation of this

    11 report from Colonel Duncan.

    12 At that meeting, I also asked for greater

    13 supplies of fuel which we were receiving for the needs

    14 of the hospital, as the Lasva pocket was without

    15 electricity. So we used that fuel to operate the

    16 generator in the church-cum-hospital during

    17 operations.

    18 We also discussed the passage of the Tuzla

    19 convoy, that is, the convoy carrying military equipment

    20 for the BH army which passed unhindered through the

    21 area of the Lasva pocket.

    22 In the course of that day, I reviewed the

    23 security in the explosives factory, that is where the

    24 security was provided by members of the military

    25 police, and I again attended a meeting of the brigade

  17. 1 command in Busovaca where we had a series of problems

    2 related to the abandoning of front lines on the part of

    3 HVO soldiers. These incidents were carried out in

    4 groups, collectively, and this was a threat to the

    5 security of our positions and the security of the

    6 overall defence of the area of Busovaca under HVO

    7 control.

    8 There were various proposals made by members

    9 of the command, including the proposal that radical

    10 measures should be taken, that is, that such

    11 individuals should be executed to set an example.

    12 I reacted resolutely and said that executions

    13 were out of the question but that we should continue to

    14 read my orders, to frighten the soldiers, and to tell

    15 them that this was one of the possibilities that could

    16 be resorted to.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: You're talking about front

    18 lines, Mr. Blaskic. You're saying that the soldiers

    19 left the front lines. I would like more details. Are

    20 you talking about the front lines against the Serbs or

    21 against the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    22 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I am talking

    23 about the front line towards the BH army. The front

    24 lines indicated here on the relief but for the area of

    25 Busovaca.

  18. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, please.

    2 MR. NOBILO:

    3 Q. Please proceed.

    4 A. On the 28th of October, 1993, I received a

    5 report from the military police that a car that had

    6 been seized by force had been returned by the military

    7 police from the Vitezovi and that this vehicle had been

    8 returned to its owner.

    9 Q. Was that exception when you took note of

    10 this, of the return of this vehicle from the Vitezovi?

    11 A. Yes. This was one of the miracles and this

    12 was a test for the military police. It was certainly

    13 an exception and a rarity.

    14 At 10.30, I had a meeting with brigade

    15 commanders in the Lasva pocket. We reviewed the

    16 overall question of defence, the questions regarding

    17 desertion on the front lines, the fatigue of

    18 personnel.

    19 I also addressed a message to all followers

    20 of one of the criminal groups, that they should report

    21 to the defence department in order to be given a war

    22 time assignment. This was, in fact, the beginning of

    23 the implementation of our plan to disarm and eliminate

    24 criminal groups operating in the Lasva pocket. This

    25 was a form of selective pressure against one of such

  19. 1 group.

    2 On the 29th of October, 1993, I was engaged

    3 in training in the military police practically the

    4 whole day, starting from reviewing military police

    5 ranks, then the question of organisation of the

    6 military police, the technique of control and command.

    7 At a meeting with the military police, I

    8 requested that they inform me what had happened with

    9 the investigation into the murder of the interpreter

    10 Dobrila. Actually, I demanded to know the names of the

    11 suspects, but I did not receive a report at that

    12 meeting of the names of the suspects for that murder.

    13 On the 31st of October, 1993, early in the

    14 morning, we had a severe attack launched by the BH army

    15 on the town of Vitez coming from the directions of

    16 Kruscica, Sljibcica, Stari Vitez, and Zabrdze towards

    17 the explosives factory. In the course of the day, I

    18 also received a request from the assistant for

    19 logistics who informed me that they were short of food

    20 for children or, rather, that we had one kilogram of

    21 powdered milk for a large number of children available

    22 for that day.

    23 On the 1st of November, 1993, we were

    24 encountering difficulties in control and command which

    25 was being blocked, especially in neighbouring

  20. 1 brigades. For instance, in the Frankopan Brigade, we

    2 were unable to regroup and to transfer a minimum number

    3 of ten soldiers to assist the people on the front lines

    4 for we were already in such a situation that the

    5 soldiers had trenches in their own back yards and

    6 nobody wanted to abandon his own home and join in the

    7 defence of the front lines where military logic

    8 required it, such as the front line at Vitez.

    9 Also on the 1st of November, in the Vitez

    10 Hotel, officials of the International Red Cross held a

    11 lecture, which had been agreed previously, and during

    12 that lecture on the mandate of the International Red

    13 Cross, the Geneva Conventions, and international law of

    14 war, there were about 30 officers from the Lasva Valley

    15 attending.

    16 On the 2nd of November, I received

    17 information that the supporters of Tuka's unit from the

    18 Travnik Brigade had abandoned their positions on the

    19 front line facing the BH army and that they were

    20 preparing to take their revenge on the followers of

    21 Zuti.

    22 I held another meeting with some of those

    23 members trying to persuade them that revenge would not

    24 be a solution and that the only way out was to carry

    25 out an investigation into that killing.

  21. 1 In the course of the day, I also had a

    2 meeting with the commander of the military police,

    3 trying to find a solution to this problem and the

    4 threats of revenge and also trying to find a solution

    5 to deal with the criminal groups and the potential of

    6 their mutual showdowns. The greatest problem was how

    7 to disarm those gangs.

    8 I received information from the assistant for

    9 logistics that the only foodstuffs available were rice

    10 and lentils and that the situation was extremely

    11 critical in terms of food supply as well as in terms of

    12 materiel and equipment for combat operations.

    13 I was also informed that talks were ongoing

    14 with representatives of the 3rd Corps through mediators

    15 from international organisations and that there were

    16 indications that the 3rd Corps, with a commission of 30

    17 per cent of the war tax, would allow the passage of a

    18 food convoy to reach the Lasva pocket. However, that

    19 convoy never arrived. There was also a serious

    20 shortage of cigarettes and fuel, and at the time, a box

    21 of cigarettes in the Lasva Valley cost between 60 and

    22 100 German marks, and a litre of fuel, about six, going

    23 up to ten, German marks.

    24 On that day, at Sljibcica, elevation 592, the

    25 BH army destroyed an electric pillar whereby it further

  22. 1 complicated the situation regarding power supply for

    2 the Lasva Valley. As for combat operations, they were

    3 most intensive in Novi Travnik in the immediate

    4 vicinity of the Stojkovici logistics base where the

    5 positions of the HVO and the BH army went along the

    6 very fence of that logistics base.

    7 At 21.15, I spoke to the chief of the main

    8 staff by phone and I informed him that the situation in

    9 the Lasva Valley was extremely critical and that we

    10 were about to fall and I asked him whether he had any

    11 information regarding developments in Vares and what

    12 was happening there and also as to what was happening

    13 in Stupni Do. The reply I received was that I should

    14 not worry but that I should continue working and trying

    15 to defend the Lasva pocket.

    16 I also inquired into the situation in

    17 Kiseljak and asked whether it was possible for

    18 operations to be engaged in from Kiseljak towards the

    19 BH army so as to alleviate the pressure on the front

    20 lines in the Lasva pocket or, if possible, to deblock

    21 the Busovaca-Kiseljak road. I said that in the Lasva

    22 enclave, there was hunger, and that the combat

    23 operations were highly intensive and that I didn't know

    24 how we would endure. The chief of staff told me that

    25 he would look into it and he would do what he could

  23. 1 from Kiseljak and that he would try and assist us.

    2 On the 3rd of November, 1993, I was informed

    3 that at 11.00, Doctors Without Borders, the

    4 humanitarian organisation under that name, was entering

    5 Stari Vitez with ambulances, and the HVO assisted in

    6 their arrival and entry into Stari Vitez. Again, we

    7 reorganised the defence sectors for the town of Vitez

    8 in particular and the remaining area under HVO control

    9 because the pressure was particularly strong on the

    10 town of Vitez, that is, the explosives factory.

    11 I also received a request on the 3rd of

    12 November from the church-cum-hospital in Nova Bila,

    13 from the manager of that hospital, Dr. Tihomir Peric,

    14 that there were 86 severely wounded patients in the

    15 hospital and that all of them needed to be evacuated

    16 from the hospital.

    17 On the 4th of November, 1993, at the morning

    18 meeting with the commander of the military police, I

    19 insisted again that all military conscripts, for which

    20 such an order was issued by the district military court

    21 in Vitez, have to be processed regardless of their

    22 positions on the front lines --

    23 JUDGE JORDA: The French booth -- I think

    24 that the French booth is a little bit late. Yes, yes.

    25 MR. NOBILO: We will have to slow down a

  24. 1 little bit.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: I think the French booth is

    3 using the transcript, isn't it?

    4 By the way, we will take a break because we

    5 have to stop a little bit early today. But, please,

    6 slow down, General, for the interpreters. Thank you.

    7 A. Thank you, Mr. President. Forgive me.

    8 I asked for all the military conscripts to be

    9 processed regardless of their place and role at the

    10 front line. My position was that without them, we

    11 would manage to defend ourselves just as well.

    12 At 11.45, I received information from the

    13 IPD assistant that Radio Zenica, which was under

    14 control of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was

    15 saying that the town of Vares was liberated by the army

    16 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the day, with my

    17 co-workers, I talked about command responsibility and

    18 the problems that we had and familiarity and also that

    19 there were certain groups that were privileged in

    20 respect of the commanders.

    21 On the 5th of November, 1993, an

    22 anti-sabotage unit of the army of Bosnia and

    23 Herzegovina made an incursion from the area of Zabrdze

    24 into the explosives factory in Vitez. So for quite a

    25 long time that day, we were fighting just by the fence

  25. 1 of that explosives factory, on the southern side, near

    2 the warehouse for explosives. There were hundreds of

    3 tonnes of explosives there, and we were worried, we

    4 were afraid that one of these warehouses might be

    5 activated.

    6 From 18.00 until 24.00, the same problem was

    7 repeated with the Frankopan Brigade, which did not

    8 manage to send help to Vitez, and the entire brigade

    9 was supposed to send only ten soldiers to help fortify

    10 the positions at the Vitez front line.

    11 During the course of the day, a lady called

    12 me, she did not introduce herself by her name, but she

    13 said that she was the wife of Abdulah Tuco, and she

    14 phoned me and asked for protection and help, saying

    15 that in her family home in Rijeka, House No. 5, there

    16 were unknown men who were barging into her house and

    17 who were expelling her and her family from the house.

    18 MR. NOBILO:

    19 Q. Tell me, General, what was the ethnic

    20 background of the Abdulah Tuco family?

    21 A. They were Muslims, Bosniaks. They lived in

    22 Vitez.

    23 Q. How did you react?

    24 A. At that moment, I immediately dispatched my

    25 driver and one of my escorts to give help and

  26. 1 protection to this lady, the wife of Abdulah Tuco, and

    2 I told her that I was sending my driver right away,

    3 because I didn't have anyone else. I also called

    4 Commander Mario Cerkez, and I issued an order to him to

    5 send a patrol, a guard, there, and to place them in the

    6 immediate vicinity of that house, and that the guards

    7 should report to that family, the Tuco family, and to

    8 tell them that their task was to protect that family

    9 from other persecutions and incursions of this kind.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: We will stop ten minutes early

    11 today and we will resume at 2.45.

    12 Mr. Harmon, yes?

    13 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I'll be very,

    14 very brief. I just would like to raise a matter of

    15 clarification with the judgment, the decision that was

    16 raised by the Court.

    17 First off, I want to let you know that we

    18 accept the judgment of the Court and we're not

    19 contesting it and we're not trying to --

    20 JUDGE JORDA: (No interpretation)

    21 MR. HARMON: I think the judgment would

    22 preclude -- under the terms of the judgment would

    23 preclude the Kordic team, for example, from having any

    24 contact with witnesses whom they may well intend to

    25 call in their case in chief and they may well intend to

  27. 1 call those witnesses before the Court has an

    2 opportunity to listen to those witnesses, and I

    3 understand the thrust of the Chamber, in its decision,

    4 it would be that the Blaskic Prosecutors not contact

    5 these witnesses, but I would like some clarification as

    6 to whether or not the Chamber's order applies equally

    7 to the Prosecutors who are involved and will commence

    8 next week the Kordic prosecution because that raises

    9 and may well raise certain problems for the

    10 Prosecutor's Office.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: (No interpretation) ... the

    12 Chamber cannot rule regarding other cases.

    13 ... matter further, if need be, but, of

    14 course, this Trial Chamber cannot decide in other

    15 cases. Of course, the Prosecution, I'm sure, is trying

    16 to have contact with certain witnesses in other cases,

    17 and I am sorry to learn that there was this coincidence

    18 that maybe the three witnesses, or at least Colonel

    19 Stewart, are witnesses that the Office of the

    20 Prosecutor is trying to contact at the moment.

    21 I will just add that the Trial Chamber does

    22 not want any contact with Colonel Stewart,

    23 Mr. Thebault, General Morillon, Mr. Hadzihasanovic,

    24 et cetera, within the framework of the summons of these

    25 witnesses that will appear in the following days or

  28. 1 weeks, we don't want any contact, in the framework of

    2 the Blaskic case, of course. I can't forbid you to go

    3 and see these witnesses, but I just warn you,

    4 Mr. Prosecutor, if, during these contacts, you take

    5 this opportunity to try to exert pressure or to contact

    6 these witnesses on the content of their testimony in

    7 the Blaskic case, then it will be your

    8 responsibility and this will be against the order that

    9 we rendered. But the rest -- I mean, I can't and I

    10 don't think my colleagues can forbid any kind of

    11 contact with witnesses in the framework of other cases.

    12 MR. HARMON: As I said when I started my

    13 inquiry, Mr. President, I fully accept the decision of

    14 the Chamber. The Prosecutor's Office does not want to

    15 find itself in a position where prosecutors from the

    16 Kordic team, in the presentation of their case in

    17 chief, have got to contact these witnesses, and later I

    18 hear a complaint that the Prosecutor's Office has

    19 violated this Court's order. What I am seeking is

    20 absolute clarity in order to avoid a potential

    21 problem. As I understand, is I understand the Chamber

    22 to say that --

    23 JUDGE JORDA: It's very simple, Mr. Harmon,

    24 if you want to be reassured.

    25 First of all, this is a question of ethics

  29. 1 which is submitted to the constant control of the

    2 Chamber. Secondly, I will ask the registry and

    3 Mr. Fourmy that the meaning of this decision be

    4 transmitted to all the witnesses who have been

    5 summoned, and Colonel Stewart will know what he should

    6 expect if the Office of the Prosecutor needed to

    7 contact him before. Therefore, he will know what kind

    8 of questions he is allowed to answer and what kind of

    9 questions he should not answer, and I will make sure

    10 that this is done when Colonel Stewart comes to testify

    11 here. I will ask him, "Did you have any contact with

    12 the Office of the Prosecutor within the framework of

    13 the Blaskic case?" And since he will be taking the

    14 oath, he will have to tell the truth.

    15 Is that clear?

    16 MR. HARMON: So as I understand it, to make

    17 it perfectly clear, if the Kordic team contacts these

    18 witnesses in respect of the Kordic case, that will be

    19 permissible.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: It is none of my business. I

    21 just want to warn you that there may be some

    22 interference.

    23 MR. HARMON: I understand. Thank you very

    24 much.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.

  30. 1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.55 p.m.

    2 --- On resuming at 3.00 p.m.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please

    4 be seated.

    5 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.

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

    7 Q. Before the break, we spoke about the 5th of

    8 November, 1993. General, would you please continue and

    9 tell us about the last two months, in chronological

    10 order?

    11 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, on the 5th of

    12 November I received information that the special

    13 purpose unit, Tvrtko, had left the front line facing

    14 the BH army and of its own free will returned to base.

    15 About this event on the event of the 5th of November, I

    16 informed, in writing, the chief of the main staff and

    17 asked once again for them to allow me a reorganisation

    18 of the special purpose units and a change in structure

    19 for those units, and that the special purpose units be

    20 directly subordinate in the chain of command to the

    21 command of the Operative Zone during the encirclement,

    22 at that particular time.

    23 On the 6th of November, 1993, the BH army

    24 launched a strong offensive from its southern positions

    25 in relation to the town of Vitez and the explosives

  31. 1 factory.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: What were the results? You

    3 requested the reorganisation of special purpose units.

    4 What was the response you got?

    5 A. Mr. President, on that day and in that month

    6 I did not receive an answer from the chief of the main

    7 staff, but later on I did receive authorisation, and I

    8 will come to that as I go through the chronology of

    9 events, Mr. President.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue.

    11 A. Thank you. So on the 6th of November, 1993,

    12 there was a strong attack from the southern positions

    13 where the BH army continued to repel the HVO towards

    14 the explosives factory. In that attack we sustained

    15 losses, that is to say, we lost 71 soldiers, that is to

    16 say, 6 were skilled, 17 wounded, and 48 were missing.

    17 Later on, it was established that 43 of the 48 men were

    18 living. It was determined that they were alive.

    19 In the afternoon, after we had succeeded in

    20 consolidating our ranks at new positions, I once again

    21 had, in the military police, a meeting and training

    22 with parts of the units of the military police, that is

    23 to say, we trained them for military police

    24 assignments, for patrol work, and I tried to gain an

    25 insight into how the units were manned with the new

  32. 1 recruits, which we took for the most part from the

    2 front lines and from the defence lines to fill up the

    3 ranks.

    4 In the course of the evening, I issued a task

    5 to the logistics assistant to undertake the dislocation

    6 of explosives from the warehouse of the explosives

    7 factory and to take them to provisional warehouses and

    8 bases towards Novi Travnik and Busovaca.

    9 MR. NOBILO:

    10 Q. Tell us, please, General, what was the reason

    11 you wanted to evacuate from the explosives factory at

    12 the time?

    13 A. Well, the reason for that was the danger that

    14 due to combat operations and fighting, which already

    15 took place at the approaches to the warehouses in the

    16 explosives factory, that there could have been a

    17 detonation, an activation of one of the warehouses. As

    18 there were hundreds of tonnes of explosives there,

    19 about 500.000 tonnes of explosives approximately, and

    20 all the warehouses of the explosives were, for the most

    21 part -- that is to say, 50 to 100 metres away from the

    22 front, which meant that a sabotage unit could activate

    23 one of those warehouses, set them on fire. This could

    24 also have happened through fighting, that there could

    25 have been self-activation in the explosives

  33. 1 warehouses.

    2 Q. Please continue, General.

    3 A. On that particular day, that is to say, the

    4 6th of November, I spent most of the day in Gornja and

    5 Donja Veceriska, upper and lower Veceriska, that part

    6 of the front.

    7 On the 7th of November, I went to the front

    8 line, which was Sector 1, and it was the village of

    9 Zaselje in actual fact. When I toured that front line

    10 I ascertained that of the 90 soldiers that I saw up at

    11 the front line, 30 soldiers did not have any kind of

    12 weapons whatsoever and they, for the most part, were

    13 used to take out the injured and wounded. If any of

    14 the soldiers were to have been killed, then they would

    15 have taken over the weapons and rifles of those killed

    16 soldiers and taken up their positions. So we still

    17 needed many more weapons to man that part of the front

    18 line.

    19 On the 8th of November, 1993, we organised

    20 new positions and --

    21 Q. Would you slow down a bit, please, General,?

    22 Thank you.

    23 A. So south of the explosives factory we had

    24 positions there and would move some 50 to 100 metres.

    25 We moved slowly and withdrew gradually towards the

  34. 1 explosive factory itself and the fence there because of

    2 the attacks from the BH army.

    3 On the 9th of November, 1993, I received

    4 information that the new chief of the main staff of the

    5 HVO was appointed and he was General Colonel Ante

    6 Roso.

    7 On the 10th of November, 1993, in Gornja

    8 Veceriska, I had a meeting with the commanders of the

    9 sectors, and the topic we discussed was the defence of

    10 the access to the explosives factory, but once again,

    11 at that meeting, the commanders of the special purpose

    12 units did not attend the meeting. We were not able to

    13 find them to tell them to come to the meeting.

    14 Also on that day I received information from

    15 the commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade, and

    16 he said that during the 9th of November, on that

    17 particular day, the BH army had launched three attacks

    18 towards the Kaonik crossroads, that is to say, on the

    19 main road, the Vitez-Busovaca-Zenica main road. This

    20 information came to us one day late, almost a whole day

    21 late.

    22 Once again, with my associates, I looked into

    23 the need to reorganise the defence of the Lasva pocket

    24 and to reorganise the forces, the defence forces, for

    25 the area. I worked on elaborating a proposal for a new

  35. 1 chief of the main staff, that is to say, in the sense

    2 of reorganising the special purpose units and

    3 reorganisation for the guard units which would be under

    4 my direct command.

    5 This proposal I sent on the 10th of November,

    6 1993 to the chief of the main staff of the HVO, but I

    7 did not receive a response, an answer, to my proposal

    8 immediately.

    9 We also saw that individual group of the

    10 special purpose units were seeking money. They wanted

    11 to be remunerated and paid to be involved up at the

    12 front line. They asked for money from the wealthy

    13 individuals, and they asked them to pay for their

    14 services.

    15 The BH army, in the course of the day, used

    16 snipers and mortars, 60-millimetre mortars, from Old

    17 Vitez and artillery fire from Sljibcica, and Sivrino

    18 Selo, and Kruscica. That is where the firing came

    19 from.

    20 On the 11th of November, 1993, we assessed

    21 our possibilities to man the guard units in the Lasva

    22 pocket. The foundations for that would be the special

    23 purpose units, they would be the foundation for this,

    24 and recruits up to the age of 35, conscripts up to the

    25 age of 35.

  36. 1 I also attended a meeting that was held at

    2 the Vitez Hotel, and the topic of that meeting was

    3 public law and order and how to suppress crime

    4 generally. It was a coordination meeting in character,

    5 and I was there as the command of the Operative Zone.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: General, I should like to

    7 follow what you are saying because this is important

    8 for me. You engaged more men from the special purpose

    9 units. You required more men from the special purpose

    10 units, but what is important is what happened

    11 afterwards. What was the reaction?

    12 "I requested men from the special purpose

    13 unit to go to the front." My question is: What was

    14 the result of that request? Are you going to come to

    15 that later?

    16 A. Mr. President, I shall be speaking about this

    17 later, but I just wanted to mention that on the 9th of

    18 November a new chief of the main staff of the HVO

    19 arrived, and for that reason I once again had to

    20 elaborate a proposal for the reorganisation of the

    21 special purpose units. In my chronology of events, I

    22 will say when that reorganisation took place, that is

    23 to say, when I received permission from the chief of

    24 the main staff to undertake the reorganisation.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but that is not

  37. 1 authorisation, it is the terminology you're using. So

    2 please be careful. We're following very closely.

    3 "I took a decision to deploy more men coming

    4 from the special units." It was a decision that you

    5 take. It was not a proposal, it was a decision. Maybe

    6 it was due to an erroneous translation.

    7 Mr. Nobilo, perhaps you can help me.

    8 MR. NOBILO: I can help you. I think the

    9 translation was not precise enough. The General said

    10 that with his associates, he elaborated a plan for the

    11 creation of a new unit which would include individuals

    12 from the special purpose units and men up to the age of

    13 35. So that was a plan on paper still.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You told me very well,

    15 Mr. Nobilo, but you are not the witness.

    16 General Blaskic, is that what you wanted to

    17 say, "which one include" in the conditional tense; is

    18 that right? So please be very precise because I want

    19 to know what is specific. If it is a plan that you

    20 elaborated, we will see the results later on. If you

    21 actually engage men, that's something else. So what

    22 Mr. Nobilo has told us is that you drafted a plan for

    23 the new chief of staff, a plan which would include, in

    24 the conditional, the engagement of men coming from the

    25 special purpose unit. Is that correct?

  38. 1 A. Mr. President, I can repeat what I said. I

    2 am referring to the 10th of November, 1993 -- things

    3 are much clearer to me now -- and I reviewed with my

    4 associates the need to determine reorganisation, to

    5 look at a new organisation for the units, which would

    6 include the abolition of the special purpose units and

    7 have a new formation of a guard unit which would be

    8 under the direct command of the Operative Zone. A plan

    9 of this kind, that kind of plan, I sent to the new

    10 chief of the main staff of the HVO.

    11 MR. NOBILO:

    12 Q. Perhaps it would be a good thing, General, in

    13 order to clarify matters and make things clearer to all

    14 of us, and particularly the Trial Chamber, if you could

    15 recall the dates when the individual chiefs of staff

    16 were performing their duty because during 1993 this

    17 post was taken over by several individuals? So could

    18 you tell us the dates when they were the chief and when

    19 they ceased to be?

    20 A. According to my recollection -- I don't know

    21 the exact date when General Petkovic was replaced by

    22 General Praljak, who was the new chief of the main

    23 staff, but at the end of September 1993, I had a

    24 meeting with General Praljak and he was performing the

    25 role of the chief of the main staff. General Praljak,

  39. 1 according to my own notes, was replaced by General Roso

    2 on the 9th of November, 1993. So that was the third

    3 chief of the main staff.

    4 Q. General, did you repeat your concept for the

    5 creation of an army and abolishing the special purpose

    6 units to each of the chiefs of the main staff?

    7 A. Well, I had to do so in order to inform them

    8 of the situation and to effect a change in the

    9 structure itself because it was my intention to change

    10 the structure which was created and established

    11 probably by the defence ministry or the main staff of

    12 the HVO.

    13 Q. Let's move on with our chronology of events

    14 and draw closer to the time when you succeeded in

    15 abolishing the special purpose units.

    16 A. We stopped with the 11th of November, 1993,

    17 when I had a meeting devoted to public law and order

    18 and the suppression of crime generally, and that

    19 meeting was attended by the commander of the military

    20 police and the chief of the police head office of

    21 Travnik, the civilian police, also the deputy for

    22 security attended the meeting, and it was a meeting at

    23 which we elaborated a plan for disarming eight leading

    24 criminals in the Lasva pocket together with their

    25 supporters.

  40. 1 At the meeting, we also highlighted the

    2 problem of falsifying medical certificates which were

    3 issued to young men saying they were not able to

    4 perform their military service and thus these young

    5 people wanted to avoid doing military service up at the

    6 front lines facing the BH army.

    7 On the 12th of November, 1993, there was

    8 heavy fighting again, especially along the southern

    9 access to the explosives factory in the Vitez Brigade,

    10 and the fighting took place at 100 metres away from the

    11 explosives factory.

    12 In the afternoon, somewhere about 16.30

    13 hours, I received information that my father had died,

    14 and I asked the liaison officer, Mr. Gelic, to send a

    15 written request to the command of the BritBat to ask

    16 the commander to organise transport for me so that I

    17 could attend the funeral in Kiseljak, my father's

    18 funeral there.

    19 Q. Tell us, please, General, how and when did

    20 your father die?

    21 A. My father was killed in the Kiseljak area,

    22 the village is named Oglavak, and it is at the front

    23 line between the HVO and the BH army. He was in a

    24 trench. He went out of the trench to help a soldier of

    25 the HVO who had stepped on a mine and his feet were

  41. 1 blown off and he was lying there helpless. I don't

    2 know whether my late father tried to pull him out of

    3 that position or just to see to his wounds, but my

    4 father was hit by a sniper from a 762 rifle from behind

    5 and he was shot in the heart. It was just one bullet

    6 and he was dead on the spot. He was hit by this

    7 machine gun.

    8 Q. How old was your father when he was killed?

    9 A. My father was almost 61 years of age, so that

    10 he was not a military recruit, according to the laws of

    11 the former Yugoslavia.

    12 Q. How come he was in the trench? Was he a

    13 volunteer?

    14 A. Well, yes, he was a volunteer because that

    15 was the situation at the time, and everything I'm

    16 telling you about the Lasva pocket was the same or

    17 similar in the area in which he found himself.

    18 Q. Tell us, please, did UNPROFOR enable you to

    19 attend your father's funeral?

    20 A. No, it did not, and that is why I asked for a

    21 meeting with Colonel Duncan, to be able to ask him

    22 personally for him to do that. I said that I needed

    23 this only on that particular occasion for that

    24 particular purpose and that I needed no other

    25 assistance apart from being transported from Vitez to

  42. 1 the cemetery in Kiseljak and to bring me back. Colonel

    2 Duncan said that he did not have agreement from the BH

    3 army for a favour of this kind, and were he to do so

    4 without the knowledge of the BH army, he would have

    5 violated his officer's code.

    6 Q. Did you have any way of going to the funeral

    7 without UNPROFOR transporting you in one of its

    8 vehicles?

    9 A. Well, had I had some other way of getting

    10 there, I would have, but I had no way of getting there

    11 and so I did not go to the funeral.

    12 Q. Thank you. Please continue.

    13 A. On the 13th of November, 1993, I received

    14 information that -- rather, I got some information from

    15 the Military Intelligence Service that two friars had

    16 been killed in Fojnica, in the monastery in Fojnica,

    17 and through Gelic, the liaison officer, I asked

    18 UNPROFOR to check on this piece of information. The

    19 information later proved to be true.

    20 Also on that day I sent in the entire

    21 security of the command of the Operative Zone to the

    22 front line because we were sustaining great losses, and

    23 this was indeed necessary, these soldiers were needed

    24 at the front line.

    25 Before the night or, rather, during the night

  43. 1 between the 13th and the 14th, we carried out our first

    2 action, armed action, against a group of criminals.

    3 When the military police called out to them, they

    4 started shooting at them, and during this shoot-out,

    5 there were people who were killed and wounded during

    6 this action.

    7 Q. Tell me, why is it only on the 13th of

    8 November that you decided to take arms against one of

    9 these leading gangs of criminals? Why couldn't you do

    10 it earlier?

    11 A. Well, it could not have been done earlier

    12 because, first and foremost, the military police as

    13 such had to be established in order to be capable of

    14 reacting towards criminals in this way, and from August

    15 until November, I tried to organise, set up, and train

    16 the military police unit for its regular military

    17 police work, including, regrettably, things like this

    18 as well.

    19 Q. This kind of armed conflict where the

    20 military police of the HVO, that is to say, Croats,

    21 attacked other armed Croats in the Lasva Valley, what

    22 kind of an effect did all this have on other armed

    23 gangs, on the Vitezovi and the other independent units?

    24 A. Well, later, this turned out to be very

    25 favourable because it was no longer necessary to carry

  44. 1 out such large-scale operations because these were

    2 indeed the eight leading criminals in the region and

    3 this was a showdown with their followers. I actually

    4 had a press conference on this occasion too, and we

    5 showed some of the weapons and military equipment that

    6 we had seized as well as other things. So all of this

    7 had a favourable effect on the overall security

    8 situation and in terms of paralysing all other gangs in

    9 the area.

    10 Q. Please proceed with your chronology.

    11 A. On the 15th of November, 1993, as I said, I

    12 had a press conference, and we showed some of the

    13 weapons and military equipment that were taken from the

    14 group of criminals, and we also commented on this

    15 action a bit, we explained its point and the need to

    16 have it carried out.

    17 In the afternoon --

    18 Q. Just a minute, please. When you say "at the

    19 press conference," could you please remind us a bit

    20 what the main way was of informing the soldiers and

    21 citizens in the Lasva River Valley?

    22 A. Well, the main way of doing so was through a

    23 press conference which we held at least once a week and

    24 then the local television broadcast the contents of

    25 this press conference, from one press conference to

  45. 1 another, so every family and every soldier in the Lasva

    2 River Valley could see the pictures but also hear the

    3 most important pieces of information of the events in

    4 the past period.

    5 Q. All right. Would you please proceed?

    6 A. In the afternoon, on the 15th of November, I

    7 had a meeting with the representative of the Serbs from

    8 Vitez. This gentleman's name was Risto. He asked me

    9 whether he and some friends of his could be relieved of

    10 duty because they had some health problems so they

    11 couldn't carry out their obligations at the front

    12 lines, and he also sought assistance, he did

    13 specifically, he asked for boots and the others asked

    14 for some other parts of military equipment, and I

    15 helped him resolve these problems, I accommodated him.

    16 Again on the 15th of November, I spent some

    17 time with the Travnik Brigade. This unit was made up

    18 of refugees for the most part, and I also received

    19 information that groups of Vitezovi had barged into the

    20 command of the 1st Battalion of the Vitez Brigade and

    21 that they took away an automatic rifle, automatic

    22 rifles, rather, and a pistol and cigarettes for

    23 soldiers of the 1st Battalion. At that time, we

    24 distributed cigarettes in the following manner: an

    25 amount of tobacco contained in one cigarette would be

  46. 1 allocated to a group of three soldiers, that is to say,

    2 there was a great shortage of cigarettes. The same

    3 group of Vitezovi attacked the house of Ivo Lozancic in

    4 Vitez. He is a Croat too.

    5 I asked the military police to give me

    6 information about these events and these attacks, and

    7 at that time I was informed that the investigation of

    8 these events would be carried out by the military

    9 police of the Vitezovi unit. Since I knew that there

    10 was no such police, I called the commander and I asked

    11 him for an explanation. How come there was now a

    12 military police of the Vitezovi? I asked who had set

    13 up this military police, and the commander of the

    14 Vitezovi, Colonel Kraljevic, Colonel Darko Kraljevic,

    15 said that he had set up a military police unit which

    16 would only take care of the members of the Vitezovi.

    17 I asked him what the basis for this was. On

    18 the basis of which document did he establish that

    19 military police unit? He answered that he did not have

    20 to report to me.

    21 Q. What do you think about this, General? How

    22 come now, in mid-November, 1993, Darko Kraljevic

    23 established a military police of the Vitezovi? Now,

    24 when you view this from this time distance, what was

    25 the reason, the underlying reason?

  47. 1 A. Well, it is certain that one of the reasons

    2 was his position but, on the other hand, probably an

    3 effort was being made to exclude his members from the

    4 jurisdiction of the 4th Battalion or, rather, the 7th

    5 Battalion, at that time, which was under my direct

    6 command, and they tried and succeeded, to the largest

    7 possible extent, to carry out its military police

    8 duties. By establishing a Vitezovi military police,

    9 the members of the Special Purpose Unit Vitezovi were

    10 excluded from the jurisdiction of the 7th Battalion of

    11 the HVO and, in a way, they got a privileged status.

    12 Q. Please proceed.

    13 A. On the 16th of November, 1993, once again the

    14 family home of Ivo Livancic was attacked, and the IPD,

    15 during the 16th of November, organised a tour of the

    16 explosives factory with a foreign TV crew. I think the

    17 TV was called ITN, but I'm not sure about the name.

    18 This TV crew filmed part of the explosives

    19 factory that was partly mined, and the intention was to

    20 try to send a message to the members of the army of

    21 Bosnia-Herzegovina that it was pointless to attack the

    22 explosives factory. Through this propaganda message,

    23 an attempt would be made to alleviate the pressure on

    24 the Vitez front line.

    25 Q. What did the IPD officer tell the

  48. 1 journalists? What was your intention? Why did you

    2 mine the explosives factory?

    3 A. Earlier on, an explanation had been given

    4 that if the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina were to capture

    5 the factory, the factory would be blown up. That is to

    6 say that all the explosives in the factory would be

    7 activated. However, the largest part of the explosives

    8 we had already gotten out of the factory, and we had

    9 relocated it to other places.

    10 Q. Please proceed.

    11 A. At 15.00, I had a meeting with an UNHCR

    12 official. They asked me to guarantee safe passage to

    13 humanitarian convoys through the Lasva pocket towards

    14 Zenica, Zepce, and Maglaj. I informed them that

    15 personally I had difficulties in communicating with

    16 Zepce but that I would do my best to make it possible

    17 for these convoys to pass, that is to say, to the

    18 limits to which I can guarantee their safety.

    19 Another question that we discussed, and that

    20 is what I had brought up when talking to the UNHCR

    21 officials, that was the Lasva pocket itself, that is to

    22 say, the military setting, and also the fact that there

    23 was a lack of power, water, and food.

    24 Also, the officials of the UNHCR, and I think

    25 that there was a UN official there too, they asked

  49. 1 for my permission to have two soldiers evacuated from

    2 Stari Vitez to Zenica. I agreed at that meeting and

    3 that was done subsequently.

    4 On the 17th of November, 1993, I got

    5 permission from the chief of the main staff of the HVO

    6 to start reorganising the special purpose unit of the

    7 B-type. There was only one such unit in the Lasva

    8 pocket and that was the PPN Tvrtko. That is to say

    9 that this could be reorganised into the home guard

    10 brigades of the HVO.

    11 Also, on that day I received information that

    12 a group from the Vitezovi Special Purpose Unit barged

    13 into the house of Branko Mlakic, as far as back as the

    14 15th of November, 1993, but I received this information

    15 only on the 17th of November.

    16 In the afternoon, I worked on a proposal made

    17 by the mayor of Vitez, and his decision to close down

    18 shops. Namely, in order to improve the general

    19 security situation in the territory of the town of

    20 Vitez, the civilian authorities, the municipal

    21 government of Vitez, passed a decision to set a limit

    22 on the time during which catering establishments could

    23 be opened. That related to civilians and also to the

    24 military police.

    25 However, since the decision passed by the

  50. 1 civilian government of Vitez was not obligatory in

    2 terms of soldiers, the mayor asked me to issue an order

    3 too, by which I would formally confirm this decision of

    4 theirs and which would then pertain to all soldiers in

    5 the Lasva pocket. I did issue such an order imposing a

    6 time limit on the opening hours of cafes and

    7 restaurants in Vitez.

    8 I also received information that there were

    9 still private exchanges in terms of local criminal

    10 elements and that they were receiving money for this,

    11 but I also received information that such private

    12 exchanges were being carried out by members of UNPROFOR

    13 too, and also the International Red Cross, and the

    14 UNHCR, and even the representatives of the civilian

    15 authorities, according to their own criteria. I

    16 received this information from the assistant for

    17 security matters.

    18 At 15.45 --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Private exchanges? What do you

    20 mean when you use the term "private exchanges?"

    21 A. Mr. President, these are exchanges that take

    22 place apart from the municipal/civilian commission that

    23 is in charge of these matters. Individuals come and

    24 take away family members.

    25 I'll give you a specific example from Vitez.

  51. 1 For example, they would take Muslims from Vitez to

    2 Zenica, members of their family, and from Zenica they

    3 would also being in civilians, family members of

    4 Croats, to Vitez, but the municipal civilian commission

    5 of Vitez, predominantly Croat, was not informed about

    6 this, nor the civilian commission for exchanges in

    7 Zenica that was predominantly Muslim. That is to say

    8 that these two commissions were not involved in such

    9 exchanges. Military commands weren't either, only if

    10 the security and intelligence would find out about this

    11 through secret channels.

    12 MR. NOBILO:

    13 Q. Tell me, General, as far as these private

    14 exchanges are concerned, were these civilians forced to

    15 go from Zenica to Vitez or vice versa, or was it

    16 actually in the hands of these civilians to take the

    17 initiative to go away?

    18 A. In 99 per cent of all cases -- in most cases,

    19 it is the civilians themselves who took this

    20 initiative.

    21 Q. Did they often have to pay for this exchange,

    22 for them to be organised?

    23 A. I had received such information that these

    24 services were paid for, especially these groups of

    25 criminals made quite a profit in such dealings, but

  52. 1 this did not happen only in the Lasva pocket. I was

    2 aware of such situations in 1992 as well.

    3 For example, in Sarajevo, there were enormous

    4 profits in these exchanges, because in spite of all the

    5 blockade and the siege, Sarajevo could breathe, so to

    6 speak, along the road leading to Kiseljak, although the

    7 army of Republika Srpska and the HVO was there and

    8 everyone.

    9 Q. Please proceed.

    10 A. At 15.45, I had a meeting with Mr. Larry

    11 Hollingworth. He was the representative of the UNHCR.

    12 He asked me for guarantees, once again, for the safe

    13 passage of a convoy via Zepce to Maglaj. I repeated

    14 what the difficulties were in terms of communicating

    15 with the command in Zepce, and I said that I would do

    16 my best, including an open conversation on the phone

    17 with Commander Lozancic to provide guarantees and

    18 security for safe passage for the UNHCR convoy to

    19 Maglaj so that food supplies could be sent to Maglaj

    20 and to other areas where this was necessary.

    21 On the 18th of November, 1993, around 12.00,

    22 snipers from the BH army positions wounded my deputy

    23 commander Filip Filipovic but, fortunately, his wounds

    24 were not deadly.

    25 Also, I received information about the

  53. 1 installation of a private checkpoint in Nova Bila,

    2 where criminals had set up a checkpoint and they

    3 collected money from people who wanted to pass, but I

    4 realised that the military police had reacted and

    5 dismantled this checkpoint, which meant that the road

    6 was deblocked as well.

    7 During the course of the day, I was once

    8 again in the military police unit and helping them with

    9 their training and continuing to work on the

    10 establishment of the military police. I also received

    11 a request from the hospital in Nova Bila that it was

    12 necessary to evacuate seven children as soon as

    13 possible, and 33 heavily wounded persons, and I sent

    14 this request to the command of UNPROFOR in Nova Bila.

    15 Around 10.30, I had a meeting with the

    16 commanders of brigades from the Lasva pocket, and at

    17 that meeting I announced, quite openly, to all

    18 commanders that there would be a reorganisation of the

    19 B-type special purpose units and that soldiers from

    20 that unit would be sent to the appropriate defence

    21 offices in order to get their war assignments.

    22 At this meeting, I was informed by the

    23 assistant for security that the civilian government of

    24 the municipality of Vitez had passed a decision on the

    25 purchase of weapons from military-aged men regardless

  54. 1 of the origin of the military equipment and weapons

    2 concerned. Later, I asked for this decision to be

    3 stopped altogether because in spite of the good

    4 intentions to arm the Vitez Brigade, it led to more

    5 theft of arms and also the resale of arms which

    6 jeopardised the security situation.

    7 I sent this information, after the meeting,

    8 to the head of the main staff, that a military police

    9 had been set up, a military police of the Vitezovi

    10 special purpose unit. I asked the chief of the main

    11 staff to explain what the legal grounds was for

    12 establishing this kind of a military police, telling

    13 him that the consequence of this was the imperilment of

    14 the security situation and also the fact that my

    15 command capacity was lessened.

    16 I received an answer saying that the members

    17 of Vitezovi do not have the right to do this and that

    18 he would take care of it, together with the Minister of

    19 Defence.

    20 I also received information from the

    21 assistant for IPD that morale on the front lines was

    22 rather low and that the soldiers were exhausted,

    23 fearful, and they were panicking.

    24 At 14.20, I had a meeting with Colonel

    25 Williams. He was the commander of the British

  55. 1 battalion of the UNPROFOR forces who replaced Colonel

    2 Duncan. At that meeting, we discussed the evacuation

    3 of the wounded or, rather, I asked him to help me in

    4 finding a way to evacuate the wounded from the

    5 church-cum-hospital, and Colonel Williams asked me

    6 whether I had any knowledge about the Geneva

    7 negotiations. I answered that I knew absolutely

    8 nothing about those negotiations. After that, Colonel

    9 Williams asked me what I knew about the military

    10 situation in Gornji Vakuf. Again, my answer was that

    11 all that I was familiar with was the situation in 20

    12 per cent of the Travnik municipality which was under

    13 the control of the HVO and that I had no information

    14 about the military situation in Gornji Vakuf as that

    15 was the area of responsibility of the operational zone

    16 of north-western Herzegovina.

    17 We also discussed the incidents of crime in

    18 the Lasva Valley, and Colonel Williams expressed the

    19 position that there were criminal gangs in the

    20 immediate vicinity of the UNPROFOR base too which, in

    21 most cases, were stealing fuel from the tanks in the

    22 British battalion compound, and I thanked him for our

    23 cooperation until then with UNPROFOR and asked that the

    24 military police of the British battalion and that the

    25 civilian and military police of the Lasva pocket should

  56. 1 continue their cooperation in jointly suppressing

    2 crime.

    3 At 15.00, I had a meeting with officials of

    4 the European Monitoring Mission. I know that they were

    5 based in Zenica, but I do not have any record of their

    6 names and I cannot recollect those names. They voiced

    7 their gratitude to me for the attitude of cooperation

    8 taken by the HVO towards their mission, and I asked

    9 them for information about developments in Vares. I

    10 received information that the situation in Vares was

    11 rather confusing and that a large number of refugees

    12 had left the town in the middle of winter. The

    13 European Monitoring Mission officials mentioned the

    14 possibility of the return of refugees to Vares, voicing

    15 the view that representatives of the BH army and

    16 representatives of the Bosniak Muslim authorities would

    17 not oppose this.

    18 We also discussed the question of freedom of

    19 movement, and I informed representatives of the

    20 European Monitoring Mission that in the areas within my

    21 zone of responsibility they had full freedom of

    22 movement.

    23 On the 19th of November, 1993, at 8.30, I had

    24 a briefing with my associates, and the assistant for

    25 security informed me that officers from the security

  57. 1 service administration were visiting him again to check

    2 the results of the investigation into the crime in

    3 Ahmici. I asked at that meeting that assistance be

    4 given to the military police in supplies, logistic

    5 support, and in organising the work of the military

    6 police command, and we also discussed our regular

    7 tasks, especially regarding the security of

    8 humanitarian convoys passing through the Lasva pocket

    9 in the direction of Maglaj and Zepce under conditions

    10 when the Lasva Valley itself was suffering from

    11 hunger. I was afraid that the refugees might, on their

    12 own accord, try to attack one of those convoys.

    13 At 10.00, I had a meeting with the

    14 commanders, low-level commanders, of the military

    15 police, they were platoon and company commanders and

    16 members of the command of the military police

    17 battalion, and I requested from them that they inform

    18 me, in relation to my order, about the investigation

    19 and restoration of goods taken from the Tuzla convoy,

    20 and we also discussed reinforcements for the military

    21 police, the problems regarding the proceedings and

    22 witnesses in cases before courts because I was told

    23 that witnesses were fearful when they had to testify at

    24 the district military court against perpetrators of

    25 criminal acts. I also asked that the process of

  58. 1 seizure of equipment and goods seized from the Tuzla

    2 convoy should continue.

    3 I also received information during the day

    4 that new units of the BH army were being brought in to

    5 the front lines at Busovaca and Vitez, and that in

    6 eight or ten days' time, a new attack of broader

    7 proportions would take place.

    8 On that day, I also visited the training

    9 centre in Nova Bila to which I had been invited by the

    10 commanders, and the problem they were encountering was

    11 food for recruits. All they had was rice and margarine

    12 and they had no bread. The same difficulties were

    13 being encountered with respect to food for the hospital

    14 in Nova Bila. They were mainly short of flour to be

    15 able to bake bread.

    16 We were also again confronted with the

    17 transfer of conscripts to the Vitezovi special purpose

    18 units and other institutions so as to avoid going to

    19 the front because the combat operations were gaining in

    20 intensity.

    21 I ordered the military police to take all

    22 necessary measures to guarantee full security for

    23 officials of the International Red Cross, the United

    24 Nations, the UNHCR, and I also requested the

    25 coordination and adjustment of procedures in assisting

  59. 1 the district military prison if the warden of that

    2 prison were to request such assistance from the

    3 military police commander.

    4 I also received information from two surgeons

    5 -- they were the only surgeons, in fact, in the Lasva

    6 pocket -- who complained that they were being

    7 threatened when engaging in surgery by HVO soldiers who

    8 demanded that their friends had to survive operations

    9 at whatever cost.

    10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, perhaps before we

    11 go on to the 20th of November -- we have been working

    12 for roughly one hour -- perhaps now would be the

    13 appropriate time for a break.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I agree. We shall

    15 have a twenty-minute break now.

    16 --- Recess taken at 3.57 p.m.

    17 --- On resuming at 4.30 p.m.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. The hearing

    19 will resume.

    20 Mr. Nobilo, please proceed.

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

    22 Q. We had stopped at the 20th of November, 1993,

    23 so please, General, continue with your presentation of

    24 the chronology of events.

    25 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, on the 20th of

  60. 1 November, 1993, I received information from my

    2 associates that we had a total of 1.698 soldiers

    3 engaged on the front line, out of which 1.175 were

    4 armed, which means that five hundred and something

    5 soldiers were without any weapons, or without barrels,

    6 as we would put it in military terms.

    7 On the 21st of November, 1993, I asked the

    8 military police and the security service to undertake

    9 additional measures to secure and protect foreign TV

    10 crews in a part of the Vitez municipality which we

    11 called The Reporters' Street.

    12 On that same day, the special purpose unit,

    13 Tvrtko, began its transformation. This was a special

    14 purpose unit of the B-type which was being reorganised,

    15 actually it was disbanded, and the soldiers from that

    16 unit were sent to the competent defence department

    17 which informed them of their new wartime assignment.

    18 I also had a meeting with the president of

    19 the district military court who again asked me to

    20 provide him with logistics support in sending soldiers

    21 to the court to be tried if such warrants should be

    22 issued by the court.

    23 For the rest of the day, I continued working

    24 on a proposal for the chief of the main staff regarding

    25 the formation of a guards unit in the Lasva Valley and

  61. 1 the reorganisation of the existing defence system

    2 because of a major loss of territory and personnel. I

    3 addressed that document to the chief of the main staff

    4 of the HVO.

    5 Throughout that day, that is, the 21st of

    6 November, 1993, snipers and mortars were active from

    7 the BH army lines against the front line of the Vitez

    8 area. In the course of the day, I received information

    9 that the military police had seized six vehicles from a

    10 captured criminal gang, that one of those cars had been

    11 returned to its owner, whereas five had been left in

    12 the Stojkovici logistics base as it was established

    13 that they had been seized from the Tuzla convoy.

    14 I was also informed that in the direction of

    15 Stari Vitez, the Vitez Brigade had engaged about 260

    16 soldiers in one shift for one day. These troops were

    17 blocking Stari Vitez and they had no right to engage in

    18 any kind of offensive activities against Stari Vitez.

    19 On the 22nd of November, 1993, tanks of the

    20 BH army fired at the town of Vitez and infantry attacks

    21 continued, focusing on the explosives factory. The

    22 battles went on all day and the whole communications

    23 system was damaged. I spent that day with the troops

    24 in Zaselje, and in the evening, at the forward command

    25 post in Donja Veceriska, I had a meeting with all the

  62. 1 commanders of the defence sector of Vitez.

    2 On the 23rd of November, 1993, I received

    3 confirmation of the report that the new unit which had

    4 been formed earlier and which was called Alpha was

    5 commanded by the chief of the security service centre,

    6 Mr. Miso Mijic. I was also informed that the chief of

    7 the security service centre was detaining officers from

    8 the command of the Operative Zone and was interviewing

    9 them.

    10 Q. So these were your officers, your deputies?

    11 A. Yes, they were my immediate associates, and I

    12 asked for an explanation from the head of the security

    13 centre, Mr. Miso Mijic, why this was being done, and he

    14 repeated again that his service was independent and

    15 that it had the authority to process, in security

    16 terms, all the military, including myself and my

    17 command.

    18 I had a meeting with an official of the UNHCR

    19 on that day, I don't remember his name, and I asked

    20 that equal treatment should be given to all in the

    21 delivery of humanitarian aid. When I say "equal

    22 treatment," I meant both for areas under control of the

    23 HVO and the areas under the control of the BH army.

    24 The commander of the Military Police

    25 Battalion informed me that stolen equipment of the

  63. 1 Reuters TV crew had been found and that the suspect had

    2 been taken into custody, his name was Mr. Bosnjak, and

    3 that the equipment would be returned to the Reuters

    4 crew the following day.

    5 The assistant for IPD informed me, in the

    6 course of the day, that there was hunger and exhaustion

    7 among the troops, and that one of the main problems was

    8 hunger and freezing of soldiers on the front line, and

    9 that the names of conscripts that had abandoned the

    10 municipalities were being read out so as to raise the

    11 morale of the defending troops. I was informed that

    12 sniper nests had been reactivated in Stari Vitez,

    13 firing at areas under HVO control including the Vitez

    14 Hotel. The commander of the Vitez Brigade reported

    15 that criminal gangs were breaking in around town and

    16 causing chaos. These were mostly gangs coming from the

    17 area of Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Busovaca.

    18 On the 24th of November, 1993, I got a report

    19 from the security service that a burglary had been

    20 carried out in the food storage depot in Vitez and that

    21 a certain quantity of food had been taken away. We

    22 were still receiving information on the incidence of

    23 neuroses and exhaustion among troops on the front

    24 line.

    25 I asked the security service to report to me

  64. 1 about the military police formed by the Vitezovi

    2 special unit, and my assistant for security told me

    3 that as far as he knew, they indeed had no right to

    4 form any military police unit.

    5 We also reviewed the question of the passage

    6 of humanitarian convoys through the Lasva Valley and

    7 the potential for security problems which we envisaged

    8 because of widespread hunger in the pocket.

    9 In the course of the day, I had a meeting

    10 with Colonel Williams and with a representative of the

    11 UNHCR, Mr. Larry Hollingworth, who informed me that a

    12 convoy with food would soon arrive from Banja Luka and

    13 Metkovic for the Central Bosnia area and that ten

    14 truckloads of food would arrive in Vitez to be

    15 distributed in the following way: Seven trucks for the

    16 part of the Vitez municipality under Croatian control,

    17 and two truckloads for Kruscica under the control of

    18 the BH army, and one truckload of food for Stari

    19 Vitez.

    20 After this meeting, I was again informed of

    21 clashes between the assistant for security and the

    22 chief of the security centre.

    23 At about 18.55, I spoke to the chief of the

    24 main staff of the HVO and informed him of these

    25 problems in the relationship between the SIS centre and

  65. 1 the assistant for security, also about the problem

    2 regarding the role of the head of the SIS centre and

    3 the problem of command and control over special purpose

    4 units, and I asked him to speed up the resolution of

    5 all these problems. He told me, "Hold on. I will

    6 assist as much as I can. We will meet soon."

    7 About 19.30, there was another attack on

    8 Vitez and combat operations continued.

    9 On the 25th of November, 1993, a convoy

    10 consisting of about 18 trucks carrying food from the

    11 UNHCR passed through without any obstruction or

    12 difficulty. The convoy passed through towards Zenica.

    13 The commander of the Military Police

    14 Battalion informed me that the military policeman Anton

    15 Zepackic was persecuting and participating in the

    16 persecution of Muslims and their eviction from flats in

    17 Vitez. I ordered disciplinary measures to be taken

    18 against him and for this military policeman to be

    19 dismissed from the military police. This was indeed

    20 done.

    21 I asked the assistant for security to report

    22 to me regarding all my requests up to the 30th of

    23 November, 1993. The assistant for security informed me

    24 that the overall situation in the Light Assault

    25 Battalion was very poor.

  66. 1 At 10.00, I had a meeting with all the

    2 brigade commanders in the Lasva pocket. The subject of

    3 discussion was the implementation of orders received in

    4 the month of November 1993. We discussed, in

    5 particular, the problems of the movement of soldiers

    6 from Busovaca to Vitez and vice versa, depending on

    7 where the fighting was more intensive. There were

    8 sometimes arbitrary and spontaneous drain-off of

    9 soldiers from one battlefield to another.

    10 I was also informed on that occasion about a

    11 new problem, and that is that Croats were persecuting

    12 Croatian refugees. In the villages of Krcevine and

    13 Jardol, Croat refugees from Zenica had been housed

    14 together with their families. When the need arose for

    15 some of the military conscripts to be transferred from

    16 Krcevine and Jardol to Zaselje and Gornja Veceriska,

    17 hospitality was withdrawn for those conscripts which

    18 were transferred to Zaselje and Gornja Veceriska, so

    19 that once again we had a rather complicated situation

    20 in regard to finding accommodation for displaced

    21 persons from Zenica.

    22 At a meeting which I had with the commanders,

    23 the command of the Light Assault Battalion did not

    24 attend but he sent a message that they were under the

    25 control of the military police and that they would

  67. 1 invite me to attend a meeting at their own headquarters

    2 when they were able to organise a meeting of that

    3 kind.

    4 Q. Tell us, please, General, the Light Assault

    5 Battalion, what was its name previous and what type of

    6 unit was it?

    7 A. In fact, it was created by expanding the ATG

    8 unit, that is, the anti-terrorist group which was named

    9 the Jokers, Jokeri, and was directly subordinate to the

    10 head of the military police.

    11 Q. Please continue.

    12 A. In the course of the day, I received a report

    13 from the commander of the Vitezovi, Darko Kraljevic,

    14 with regard to his military police. I asked for a book

    15 regulating the formation of the special purpose unit

    16 because if it was allowed then there would be a special

    17 group for the military police, but I did not receive

    18 that book of regulations to have a look at it and the

    19 military police was still functioning.

    20 From the Military Intelligence Service I

    21 received information that preparations were under way

    22 by the BH army to launch a broader attack and that the

    23 bulk of the forces were to be engaged from Sivrino Selo

    24 and Kruscica with the aim of taking control of the

    25 explosives factory and the centre of the town of Vitez

  68. 1 itself. I also received information, according to

    2 which the ammunition supply was being carried out in

    3 Stari Vitez via a humanitarian organisation and that

    4 payment for the BH army to that humanitarian

    5 organisation, which was to the tune of 30.000

    6 Deutschmarks, German Marks, for one convoy carrying

    7 ammunition and payments were paid into giro accounts

    8 abroad.

    9 On the 26th of November, 1993, I once again

    10 asked the Vitezovi for their book of regulations, but I

    11 did not receive it.

    12 Sometime between 10.00 and 13.00, I was at

    13 the training centre doing training with the instructors

    14 from the centre. I talked to the commander for the

    15 security detail at the explosives factory, and the

    16 commander informed me that he had released a military

    17 policeman for looting, because they had undertaken

    18 stealing.

    19 On the 27th of November, 1993 -- that is, he

    20 had fired them -- I received a report from the military

    21 police that he had a well-trained unit to ensure the

    22 security of the convoy, and that all equipment had been

    23 returned to Reuters, and that in Busovaca an armed

    24 attack had been carried out by the members of the Light

    25 Assault Battalion on the headquarters of the company of

  69. 1 the HVO military police in Busovaca.

    2 Q. General, the Light Assault Battalion,

    3 formation-wise, who did it belong to?

    4 A. The Light Assault Battalion was within the

    5 composition of the military police administration.

    6 Q. Please continue.

    7 A. On the 28th of November, the IPD workers

    8 organised at the Vitez Hotel a seminar which was, in

    9 fact, a repetition of a seminar that had been held

    10 previously for lower-ranking officers, commanders of

    11 sectors and commanders of companies. The topic

    12 discussed was international humanitarian organisations

    13 and their mission, their mandate, the mandate of the

    14 Geneva Conventions and international war law.

    15 Once again that day, I received an invitation

    16 from Mr. Abdulah Tuco, who complained to me that four

    17 HVO soldiers had asked him to leave his family home,

    18 his house, and I asked protection from the military

    19 police for that family.

    20 On the 29th of November, 1993, I received a

    21 report from the assistant for health because jaundice

    22 had broken out and there were a great many problems

    23 with relation to hygiene amongst the soldiers up at the

    24 front lines. The health assistant also complained that

    25 the seriously wounded had not been evacuated despite

  70. 1 requests and promises that had been given and that some

    2 of the wounded people had died in the

    3 church-cum-hospital.

    4 On the 30th of November, 1993, I sent out a

    5 written report to the main headquarters of the HVO

    6 regarding the problem of theft and crime in the Lasva

    7 pocket, and I had a meeting on that same day with

    8 Mr. Tjorborn (phoen), he was a member of the European

    9 Monitoring Mission, he was an officer of that mission,

    10 and he informed me about the situation in Vares, and I

    11 informed him for my part that according to our

    12 information, the BH army had been using, in the Lasva

    13 pocket, artillery projectiles with chloride and that we

    14 had proof in the form of shrapnel, parts of these

    15 projectiles, and the findings of physicians who had

    16 examined patients.

    17 On the 1st of December, 1993, we received a

    18 threat at our headquarters, the Operative Zone command,

    19 from criminal groups, and they said that there was

    20 going to be a showdown with the military police and

    21 with the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,

    22 a settling of accounts, and we once again came up with

    23 a problem of water supplies and electricity used for

    24 wartime purposes, that is to say, we continued to be

    25 without water and without electricity in the Lasva

  71. 1 pocket, particularly in the Novi Travnik, Vitez, and

    2 part of the Travnik municipalities, including the

    3 hospital there.

    4 On that day, an initiative was launched by

    5 the soldiers from the Vitez Brigade to form a club, a

    6 civilian association, which said that it could tackle

    7 the problem of food supplies and hunger in the Lasva

    8 pocket, and one soldier was demobilised from the Vitez

    9 municipality and Busovaca and Novi Travnik and part of

    10 the Travnik municipality, one soldier from each of

    11 these municipalities, in order to set up this sort of

    12 businessmen's association to deal with the food supply.

    13 On the 2nd of December, I was at the Nikola

    14 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade command and had a meeting there

    15 to discuss security issues up at the front line and

    16 once again to deal with crime suppression.

    17 During the 2nd of December, once again the BH

    18 army used its artillery, and as far as we knew, it used

    19 these projectiles filled with chloride, and I sent a

    20 message about this to the chief of the main staff and

    21 via the assistant for IDP and the liaison officer with

    22 UNPROFOR, I asked that a physician from the UNPROFOR

    23 British battalion go to the church-cum-hospital to

    24 examine the patients there who had been hit and injured

    25 by those projectiles.

  72. 1 Q. Let us now move on to D389, Defence Exhibit

    2 389, dated the 1st of December, 1993.

    3 This is Defence Exhibit 389, document D389,

    4 and you sent it on the 1st of December, 1993, to a

    5 number of units in Central Bosnia and services there.

    6 The title is "Treatment of Prisoners of War - Command."

    7 (as read)

    8 "On the basis of the memorandum GS number

    9 02-211-1-01-4117/93 of the 30th of November, 1993, in

    10 connection with the treatment of prisoners of war on

    11 the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna,

    12 I hereby command:

    13 1. In the zones of brigade responsibility,

    14 to ensure that the military prisoners of war (these are

    15 persons who bear a visible sign of belonging to enemy

    16 formation and firearms) at the time of capture are to

    17 be treated in the following manner:

    18 (a) Compulsory disarmament, taking away

    19 personal documents and sorting them by military

    20 classes, more precisely: rank and file soldiers,

    21 noncommissioned officers, officers and higher officers

    22 according to rank;

    23 (b) Military prisoners of war are sent off

    24 from the front line at least --"

    25 There's an illegible word there in the

  73. 1 original.

    2 "-- more precisely: without fail, they must

    3 be placed outside the war zones in the district

    4 military prison of Busovaca, the OVZ of Busovaca;

    5 (c) Military prisoners of war must perform

    6 daily specified tasks and set their lodgings in order.

    7 They have the right to receive letters and prisoners'

    8 packages through the International Red Cross;

    9 (d) All evidence, legal and administrative,

    10 on the question of prisoners of war and persons who

    11 have this status must be maintained in an orderly

    12 manner and strictly kept;

    13 (e) All activities of the military prisoners

    14 of war must be justified;

    15 (f) The treatment of military prisoners of

    16 war must be within the framework of the Geneva

    17 Conventions and international law concerning the

    18 treatment of military prisoners of war.

    19 2. Familiarise all soldiers with the

    20 contents of this command through unit commanders and

    21 PD authorities.

    22 3. The order comes into force immediately.

    23 Commanders of brigades and independent units in

    24 ZP Vitez are responsible to me for its complete

    25 execution."

  74. 1 Signed by Commander Tihomir Blaskic.

    2 Tell us, please, General, did you write this

    3 order, did you send it, dispatch it, because it is

    4 titled "To all units"?

    5 A. Yes. This order was also discussed as a

    6 subject at the seminar with the military commanders,

    7 organised by the offices of the International Red Cross

    8 and the IPD workers for the Central Bosnia Operative

    9 Zone.

    10 Q. Well, I think the order speaks for itself.

    11 We're not going to analyse it. I should just like to

    12 ask you to continue with the chronology of events now,

    13 please.

    14 A. On the 3rd of December, 1993, we were

    15 confronted with an epidemic, a flu epidemic, so that I

    16 had received reports that in the space of two days,

    17 from the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski in Busovaca, 84 soldiers

    18 had gone down with the flu and were therefore not up at

    19 the front lines because they were suffering from flu,

    20 and the situation was similar in the Vitez Brigade.

    21 I was invited to a meeting that day by the

    22 commander of the light assault battalion in Busovaca,

    23 and we discussed a series of issues at the meeting. I

    24 specifically asked that they try to introduce law and

    25 order and professional military conduct in their unit

  75. 1 and to define their internal structure and also to

    2 dovetail their conduct and the role of the unit with

    3 the existing military regulations.

    4 There were other questions under discussion

    5 like guarantees for a future in the encirclement, and I

    6 stressed in particular that regardless of the final

    7 outcome, that a state governed by law would be built up

    8 in the Central Bosnia area and in Bosnia and

    9 Herzegovina regardless of anybody's personal views and

    10 stands.

    11 On the 4th of December, 1993, I wanted to

    12 finish the operative plan of the fight against crime

    13 along with coordination from my other associates, and I

    14 once again worked on the elaboration of a paper for the

    15 chief of the main staff with regard to the disbanding

    16 of the special purpose units and to abolish the A-type

    17 special purpose units in the Central Bosnia Operative

    18 Zone.

    19 On the 6th of December, 1993, I had a meeting

    20 with an officer of the International Red Cross, his

    21 name was Dominik, and the questions that we discussed

    22 at the meeting were how to link up families that had

    23 been separated as a consequence of war, and I asked the

    24 representative of the International Red Cross to tell

    25 me what the standard criteria were for linking up

  76. 1 families, bringing them back together again, but I was

    2 not given any clarification as to those criteria. What

    3 I was told was that this was done only in exceptional

    4 cases, families were reunited in exceptional cases.

    5 I also introduced the officer of the

    6 International Red Cross to the problem of the suffering

    7 of children in the Lasva pocket, and I said that we had

    8 about 100 killed and injured children in the Lasva

    9 pocket and that there were some 15.000 children up to

    10 the age of 14. I informed him about the lack of

    11 medical personnel in the Lasva pocket, the use of

    12 chemical weapons, and the hunger that we had to face in

    13 the Lasva pocket.

    14 On the 7th of December, I received permission

    15 from the chief of the main staff to engage a legal man

    16 in the commands of the brigades, and the object of

    17 these legal men was to provide professional legal

    18 assistance in disciplinary action and disciplinary

    19 measures and that in that way they should contribute to

    20 consolidating law and order and discipline generally.

    21 I also had a meeting with Colonel Williams,

    22 the commander of the British battalion attached to

    23 UNPROFOR, and with Major Lara (phoen), he was an

    24 UNPROFOR officer from the UNPROFOR command for

    25 Bosnia-Herzegovina from Kiseljak, and at the meeting we

  77. 1 discussed the following issues: the question of water,

    2 water supply, for Novi Travnik, Nova Bila, and Vitez,

    3 and I was told that Commander Cuskic, that is to say,

    4 the commander of the 7th Krajina Brigade of the BH

    5 army, in the course of the day would switch on the

    6 water supply for Novi Travnik and Nova Bila.

    7 We also discussed the electricity problem,

    8 and I agreed to give maximum assistance for teams to be

    9 able to see to the maintenance of the electricity

    10 supply system, and I asked the colonel to convey to the

    11 commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army our proposal

    12 that all combat activities be halted during the

    13 Christmas holidays and festivities and that I

    14 personally proposed that the same be done by the HVO

    15 for the Bajram festivities, that is to say, the

    16 festivities of the Muslim community members.

    17 On the 8th of December, at headquarters, we

    18 were working out the documents on planning,

    19 coordinating our work.

    20 On the 9th of December, at headquarters, we

    21 organised a methodological exercise dedicated to the

    22 work of a military disciplinary court at the level of

    23 brigade and level of Operative Zone, and we gave all

    24 the participants auxiliary documents which make it

    25 possible to initiate proceedings in terms of

  78. 1 infractions of military discipline. Then we showed, on

    2 a practical example, how a military disciplinary court

    3 functions.

    4 During the day, I also had an open telephone

    5 conversation with commander Lozancic in Zepce, so that

    6 I would organise safe passage for 30 trucks of UNHCR

    7 aid for the town of Maglaj.

    8 On the 13th of December, 1993, I had a

    9 meeting with the UNPROFOR commander of the Nordic

    10 Battalion. It says here in my notes that his name was

    11 Harry Smith, but I'm not sure that was his name. He

    12 informed me about the situation in the town of Vares

    13 and said that in town there were about 200 Croats, that

    14 the surrounding Croat villages were torched and looted

    15 in the municipality of Vares.

    16 On the 14th of December, I received a report

    17 from the commander of the military police on the

    18 investigation concerning the looting of the Tuzla

    19 convoy. I was also informed that the vehicles from the

    20 Tuzla convoy were being recorded and that they were

    21 going back to the Stojkovici Logistics Brigade and that

    22 a special book of records has been opened for motor

    23 vehicles and for equipment that is being returned.

    24 On the 15th of December, 1993, at 15.00 I had

    25 a meeting with Mr. Budstaf (phoen) and Brian Cartner

  79. 1 (phoen). At that meeting they asked me to inform them

    2 about a previously held meeting between General Rasim

    3 Delic and the chief of main staff of the HVO, Ante

    4 Roso, in Visoko. I told them that I had not even heard

    5 of this meeting being held and that I knew nothing in

    6 connection with that meeting.

    7 On the 17th of December, I had a meeting with

    8 Colonel Williams, commander of the UN Battalion, the

    9 British Battalion, in Vitez, at 9.30. At that meeting

    10 I was informed that the convoy Bijeli Put was being

    11 prepared and also the Convoy of Peace. The convoy

    12 called Bijeli Put was supposed to bring assistance to

    13 the Croats, and the Convoy of Peace was being organised

    14 by the Embassy of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zagreb for

    15 Bosniak Muslims in Central Bosnia.

    16 Colonel Williams also informed me that the

    17 commander of the 3rd Corps had accepted the proposal of

    18 a cease-fire that I had offered. The decision of the

    19 commander of the 3rd Corps of the army of

    20 Bosnia-Herzegovina was that the cease-fire would start

    21 on the 23rd of December at 00.01 and it would go on

    22 until the 3rd of January at 24.00. That would be the

    23 Christmas cease-fire as accepted by the 3rd Corps

    24 commander.

    25 On the 19th of December, 1993, I worked in

  80. 1 the command of the military police together with the

    2 members of the command and the commanders of the

    3 companies on elaborating a book for training members of

    4 the military police at the level of squad and platoon.

    5 These were internal books that we were working on.

    6 From the 19th of December until the 22nd of

    7 December, these convoys, Bijeli Put and the Convoy of

    8 Peace, arrived in Central Bosnia.

    9 On the 22nd of December, there was an

    10 ultimatum by the 3rd Corps that the Bijeli Put convoy

    11 had to be returned.

    12 Q. Tell us, General, the Bijeli Put convoy, was

    13 that the first assistance that you had received in

    14 terms of food from Croatia after you remained under

    15 siege as of the 16th of April, 1993?

    16 A. Yes, that is the first assistance that we

    17 received. Within it only 32 tonnes of flour had

    18 arrived, and we were using 2 tonnes of flour per day.

    19 Q. Please proceed.

    20 A. On the 22nd of December, the Bijeli Put

    21 convoy had to go back. At 5.50, early in the morning,

    22 a very intensive attack was launched by army of

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina from the direction of Zenica and

    24 from the direction of Zabrdze. The fighting went on

    25 until 23.00, and the most intensive operations took

  81. 1 place against Krizancevo Selo and Gornja Veceriska and

    2 Zaselje.

    3 During that day, until noon, we had lost 217

    4 soldiers, out of which 75 had been killed at Krizancevo

    5 Selo and 157 were either missing or wounded. While on

    6 the southern side toward Zabrdze and the explosives

    7 factory, a total of 60 soldiers were disabled.

    8 The aim of this attack was to take the

    9 explosives factory and the city of Vitez itself. The

    10 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina managed to take Krizancevo

    11 Selo, and then the road was opened towards the town of

    12 Vitez and Stari Vitez. Simultaneously, the Bijeli Put

    13 convoy was being seen off, and they were leaving Vitez

    14 around 9.00 under fire.

    15 I was at the headquarters of the 1st

    16 Battalion over there at Impregnacija, in the direction

    17 of Krizancevo Selo. Deputy Commander Filipovic was in

    18 Donja Veceriska. During the second half of the night

    19 we exchanged places. I was in Donja Veceriska and he

    20 was in Impregnacija.

    21 At 23.00, we had to face a shortage of

    22 ammunition. I asked the chief of the main staff for

    23 assistance, and early in the morning we received 14.000

    24 762 bullets by parachute. So this is a combat kit for

    25 90 soldiers. This is such a small quantity. A soldier

  82. 1 should not be sent to the front line with such a small

    2 quantity of ammunition.

    3 Throughout the 23rd of December, Radio Zenica

    4 were broadcasting calls to HVO soldiers to surrender

    5 and attacks were continued from Bukve towards Jardol,

    6 and then between Sljibcica, Krizancevo Selo and towards

    7 Stari Vitez, and from Kruscica towards Bobasi and

    8 towards the explosives factory.

    9 Once again, on the 23th of December or,

    10 rather, between the 23rd and 24th of December, during

    11 the night again I called the chief of the main staff so

    12 that he would do something from Kiseljak in order to

    13 alleviate the burden of the positions in Vitez. I said

    14 that it would be very difficult for us to hold on if

    15 these attacks continued. I also told him about the

    16 very heavy losses that were sustained and also the lack

    17 of ammunition for defending ourselves properly.

    18 On the 25th of December, we worked on the

    19 consolidation of the defence positions in Krizancevo

    20 Selo, where part of the front line went through the

    21 village itself and behind the village. We also worked

    22 on new positions in Donja Veceriska.

    23 On the 27th of December, the army of

    24 Bosnia-Herzegovina carried out an attack on Polom,

    25 Radzenovici, and Busovaca. Around 01.30, attacks were

  83. 1 continued against Zaselje from Zabrdze at the Vitez

    2 front line.

    3 On the 28th of December, 1993, Mr. Franjo

    4 Nakic, the chief of staff, toured Sector 2 of the

    5 defence of the Viteska Brigade. During this tour, he

    6 realised that half of the positions, rather, trenches

    7 had been lost in that sector. The head of that sector

    8 had not informed the commander of the Vitez Brigade

    9 about this, and we did not know either when the combat

    10 operations started and when that position was lost. So

    11 that was typical as well, that information was the not

    12 being sent about the losses sustained.

    13 On the 31st of December, I received

    14 information from the Military Intelligence Service that

    15 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had established another

    16 headquarters, another command post, in the monastery in

    17 Guca Gora for the 3rd Corps.

    18 On the 1st of January, 1994, I issued an

    19 order to the military police that they should protect

    20 immovable property in Krizancevo Selo from looting,

    21 arson, and devastation. However, it was virtually

    22 impossible to protect it from the refugees, and they

    23 could not be stopped in terms of taking away timber,

    24 blankets, food, and other supplies from that village.

    25 Q. General, tell us, who took it away, and the

  84. 1 owners of these houses and property in Krizancevo Selo,

    2 what ethnic background were they?

    3 A. The Croats were taking it away, and the

    4 owners of this property in Krizancevo Selo were also

    5 Croats. However, in spite of the efforts made, it was

    6 virtually impossible to stop this because hunger

    7 prevailed and people felt this need to survive.

    8 Q. Please proceed.

    9 A. On the 1st of January, 12 military policemen

    10 were expelled from the military police because of lack

    11 of discipline, and because of their attitude towards

    12 their work in general, and because of thefts.

    13 On the 2nd of January, the attacks of the

    14 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina continued against Vitez and

    15 in part against Busovaca also.

    16 Q. Could you please slow down if possible?

    17 A. The main direction was towards Prosje from

    18 Kacuni. Again, we elaborated a new plan. We tried to

    19 reorganise ourselves in the Lasva pocket, my associates

    20 and I, and we defined our defence tasks under the given

    21 conditions in terms of reorganising units and also in

    22 terms of speeding up the training of members of the

    23 military police. Then we focused on our main tasks.

    24 We said that our priority was defence, and fighting

    25 against crime, and disarming groups of criminals. Then

  85. 1 also defining the relationship between the commander

    2 and the soldier. I'm talking about the chain of

    3 command as such.

    4 Then also resolving questions related to the

    5 theft of property, and the usurpation of apartments,

    6 and also improving reporting. We tried to persuade the

    7 subordinate commanders that it was necessary for them

    8 to give us timely and accurate information so that we

    9 would know what was actually happening, and where, so

    10 that we could command.

    11 I also asked to be given a summary report on

    12 all disciplinary action that was being taken within the

    13 brigades. Usually once a week I would spend an entire

    14 day in military police units during their training.

    15 On the 3rd of January, I dislocated my

    16 command post to Nova Bila, and during the day I

    17 received orders to report to the chief of the main

    18 staff of the HVO in Mostar.

    19 During the night of the 3rd of January, I was

    20 taken by helicopter to the main staff of the HVO.

    21 I was received by the deputy commander of the

    22 main staff of the HVO on the 5th of January. I

    23 informed the deputy chief of the main staff about the

    24 military situation, about the letters I had sent in

    25 relation to the reorganisation of HVO units in the

  86. 1 Lasva pocket, and the need for all units to be placed

    2 under direct command, and also about problems between

    3 the centre of SIS, and the assistance for security.

    4 I also asked for clarification in terms of

    5 what I should do with vehicles and equipment from the

    6 Tuzla convoy which the military police was finding, and

    7 then they were taking this away from the people who had

    8 stolen it in the first place. I was told that for the

    9 time being that equipment and those vehicles should be

    10 concentrated in the logistics space of Stojkovici.

    11 After this meeting on the 5th of January, I

    12 was given permission to visit my family, and on the 6th

    13 of January, I went to Austria, and on the 8th of

    14 January already, the Minister of Defence asked me to

    15 come back urgently because of the situation that was

    16 getting increasingly complicated and that I had to go

    17 back to Vitez. I travelled to Austria by car, and I

    18 went back by plane and by car.

    19 On the 8th of January, I returned, as I was

    20 told to do, and I reported to the chief of the main

    21 staff of the HVO. There I was told that the

    22 establishment of a guards brigade was agreed to by the

    23 Minister of Defence and that I could reorganise special

    24 purpose units of the A-type, that is to say, the

    25 Vitezovi, and that I could also reorganise the light

  87. 1 assault battalion to belong to the 3rd guards brigade.

    2 MR. NOBILO: This is a very important subject

    3 matter, and our working hours are about to expire now,

    4 Mr. President, so I suggest that we adjourn at this

    5 point, and perhaps we can continue tomorrow because we

    6 are getting closer to the end of the statement.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted to ask you where you

    8 were. I am talking about the end of the

    9 examination-in-chief.

    10 MR. NOBILO: Yes. We are getting closer to

    11 the end. I have my notes here, and there are two or

    12 three pages of a chronology, and after that, we would

    13 like to show certain documents to this witness and also

    14 some statements of other witnesses, and then we would

    15 also like to summarise a few key points related to his

    16 statement. So on the whole, we would not need more

    17 than three or four hours, and then I think that we

    18 could conclude.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Therefore, we can expect to

    20 finish tomorrow.

    21 MR. NOBILO: If we have another witness

    22 tomorrow, then we couldn't tomorrow.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Tomorrow another witness will

    24 come, and it may last for the whole day. We are going

    25 to hear this witness in a closed session. I hope we

  88. 1 won't spend the whole day on this witness.

    2 Anyway, we will resume tomorrow at 10.00.

    3 Mr. Registrar, please note that we are going to hear

    4 the witness tomorrow in a closed session, and it would

    5 be nice if we could end the testimony of the accused

    6 tomorrow afternoon.

    7 Thank you very much, Mr. Nobilo. We stand

    8 adjourned, and we will resume tomorrow at 10.00.

    9 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at

    10 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,

    11 the 8th day of April, 1999, at

    12 10.00 a.m.