1 Monday, 12th April, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I was just saying that the
5 witness should be introduced.
6 (The witness/accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. Good morning to the counsel for the
9 Prosecution and the Defence, and the witness. I should
10 like to remind you that this morning the programme is
11 to end the examination-in-chief of General Blaskic.
12 I'm saying this for the benefit of the public, upon
13 which we will go on with the cross-examination.
14 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
15 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
17 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
18 MR. NOBILO: Could I ask Mr. Hayman to read a
19 part of the testimony of Charles McLeod from page
20 6370? The page will now be placed on the ELMO.
21 MR. HAYMAN: The reference, Your Honours, is
22 to Mr. McLeod quoting Ramiz Dugalic from an interview
23 he testified he had with Mr. Dugalic. I believe
24 Mr. Dugalic was the intelligence officer for the 3rd
25 Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Transcript page 6370, lines 18 through 24:
2 "Q Mr. McLeod, did he make any reference to
3 the truck bomb that had occurred in
4 Vitez itself? Can you tell the Judges
5 what he told you about that?
6 A Yes. He mention that had there had been
7 a car bomb in Vitez, and he said to me
8 that Blaskic had given the order to put
9 the man who drove the bomb into the
10 truck, and Darko Kraljevic had carried
11 out the attack."
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. General, do you know the exact position of
14 Ramiz Dugalic in the BH army?
15 A. Yes. I know that he was the officer for
16 security in the command of the 3rd Corps of the BH
17 army, but personally, I never met him, nor did I have
18 any contact with him.
19 Q. So my question is: Did you order Darko
20 Kraljevic to put the bomb in the truck and to board the
21 truck with the driver?
22 A. No, I never ordered any such thing, nor did
23 anyone in my command have any information about that.
24 MR. NOBILO: Next quotation from the
25 testimony of Mr. Lars Baggesen.
1 MR. HAYMAN: Testimony of Lars Baggesen,
2 transcript page 2049, lines 9 to 15:
3 "Q You were asked in your
4 direct-examination whether there were
5 troops of the army in the Lasva Valley
6 on April 16, 1993. Do you recall that
8 A Yes.
9 Q Your answer, as I recall, was "No."
10 Have I recalled it properly?
11 A Yes, that is correct."
12 The next quotation is from page 2050, lines
13 22 through 2051, line 1:
14 "Q Do you recall whether there were any
15 Territorial Defence forces in the Lasva
16 Valley as of 16 April, 1993?
17 A No.
18 Q That is, you do not recall or you think
19 there were none?
20 A I think there were none."
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. General, is this statement by the Prosecution
23 witness correct?
24 A. No, and with the permission of Their Honours,
25 I should like to say that those brigades that were in
1 the Lasva Valley in April 1993, I should like to name
2 them. In the town of Travnik, the 312th Brigade of the
3 BH army; the 306th Brigade of the BH army; the
4 1st Krajina and the 7th Krajina Brigades of the BH
5 army, later called the 17th Krajina Brigade; the 27th
6 Krajina Brigade; a battalion of the 7th Muslim Brigade,
7 police forces of the Ministry of the Interior. Also,
8 El Mujahed detachment, the Mecici special purpose unit,
9 and in Novi Travnik there were a 308th brigade of the
10 BH army. At Ravno Rostovo, a part of the forces of the
11 7th Muslim Brigade of Mujahedeen. Then there were the
12 PPN Sosini units and forces of the Ministry of the
13 Interior. The 325th Mountain Brigade of the BH army
14 was in Vitez. Then also Mujahedeen forces, MUP forces,
15 the Ministry of the Interior, and parts of the 17th
16 Krajina Brigade.
17 In Busovaca, the 333rd Mountain Brigade was
18 positioned, as well as forces of MUP, the Ministry of
19 the Interior. North of Busovaca in a locality called
20 Biljesevo, there were the 305th Mountain Brigade of the
21 BH army.
22 In addition to these forces that I have
23 listed, each municipality had a Territorial Defence
24 staff and territorial forces of defence. According to
25 records that I received from the military intelligence,
1 there were between 18.800 and 19.800 troops in the
2 area, plus BH army troops from Zenica, that is, the
3 301st Mountain Brigade, the 303rd, the 314th, the
4 330th, the Ministry of the Interior detachment, the
5 341st Tank Brigade or Battalion, and forces of the
6 7th Muslim Brigade.
7 In January 1993, the BH army had mobilised a
8 total of 250.000 to 260.000 soldiers thanks to an
9 operation in January 1993, and the cutting of the
10 Busovaca-Kiseljak road, operational linkage was
11 achieved between the 1st Corps in Sarajevo, the 2nd in
12 Tuzla, the 3rd Corps in Zenica, the 4th and 6th Corps.
13 Q. Thank you. We can now pass on to an excerpt
14 from the testimony of Mr. Brano Otocac .
15 MR. HAYMAN: Reporter's transcript page 3601,
16 lines 15 to 18:
17 "Q Did you, to your knowledge, or anyone
18 within the British Battalion or the ECMM
19 monitors, did anybody negotiate any such
21 A Not at this point on 18th April."
22 From the following page 3602, lines 5 to 10,
23 Mr. Waters went on to characterise the cease-fire of
24 April 18, 1993 as follows and I quote: "It appeared a
25 rather crude and naive attempt to seize land in an
1 operational offensive and then sue for peace when you
2 had achieved your objectives with no intent within your
3 statement of your cease-fire document of relinquishing
4 that land you had captured, so we did not give it any
5 validity at all."
6 MR. NOBILO:
7 Q. Tell us, General, in connection with this
8 quotation from a statement by Bryan Watters, your order
9 for a cease-fire dated 18th of April, was its aim to
10 retain control of what you had captured between the
11 16th and the 18th? Was that your own initiative or,
12 rather, how did your order come about on a cease-fire?
13 A. As far as the 18th of April, 1993 is
14 concerned, at 16.38, the chief of the main staff of the
15 HVO informed me that an agreement had been reached
16 between Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic and that on the
17 basis of that agreement a cease-fire was to come into
19 It was on that basis that I issued an order
20 to my subordinates and my superiors, and personally I
21 called up the command of the 3rd Corps in Zenica at
22 18.40 on the 18th of April, 1993, and read out to them
23 the content of the order which I had received from the
24 chief of the main staff. Then when the officer on duty
25 told me that they had had no such document, I addressed
1 such a document via UNPROFOR to the 3rd Corps command.
2 Q. General, shall we place on the ELMO D316A,
3 Defence Exhibit, and then we can read the preamble to
4 that document which says: "On the basis of the
5 conclusions reached after talks between Mate Boban and
6 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, which took place on the 18th of
7 April, 1993 in Zagreb, and in accordance with point 3
8 of the agreement, I hereby order..."
9 That is order issued by Mr. Petkovic. Is
10 this the order that you have referred to that you had
11 received and on the basis of which you issued your own
13 A. Yes. I did not, under any circumstances,
14 want to cement the status quo. I wanted to implement
15 the cease-fire and the agreement on the separation of
16 forces and everything else that follows from cessation
17 of fire.
18 Q. General, tell us, between the 16th and the
19 18th of April, what had you captured in the Lasva
21 A. We had not captured anything, not a single
22 tactical position. We were pushed back into the
24 Q. On the 18th of April, in military terms,
25 which army had created the conditions for winning the
1 battle over the Lasva Valley?
2 A. It was the BH army, having taken control of
3 the operative basis of Kuber, and breaking up all the
4 HVO forces in Zenica and having reached the fringes of
5 the municipalities of Travnik and Vitez, and placing
6 the HVO in an encirclement. The HVO had not surrounded
7 anyone there.
8 Q. To be surrounded, what does it mean in
9 military terms?
10 A. Certainly that is one of the most undesirable
11 military positions that every military commander does
12 everything he can to avoid. It is a hopeless
14 MR. NOBILO: Next quotation from Bryan
15 Watters' testimony, please.
16 MR. HAYMAN: Reporter's transcript page 3426,
17 line 1 partial to line 8 partial. I begin the
18 quotation in the middle of the sentence, and it's a
19 reference to a matter I think the Court is familiar
20 with but which portions were not in open session, and I
21 shouldn't be too specific.
22 "A ... and he took me outside the house and
23 explained that General Petkovic had been
24 angry -- this is more or less what he
25 said -- with Colonel Blaskic over what
1 had been happening over the preceding
2 few days. He wanted to know, and the
3 exact word he used was,' was it under
4 control,' and Colonel Blaskic had told
5 him it was under control and he was not
6 to worry about it."
7 MR. NOBILO:
8 Q. Do you remember that conversation with
9 General Petkovic that somebody overheard and passed on
10 to the witness? We will not mention the name of that
11 person. If you do remember, tell us when this happened
12 and what circumstances were referred to, that is, when
13 it is said that the situation is under control?
14 A. I do not recall all the details of the
15 conversation, but I do remember the topic of
16 discussion, and I think it was a meeting held in Nova
17 Bila on the 21st of April. It is not true that General
18 Petkovic was angry with me; I'm sure that he was not
19 angry with me. I had informed him on failure to
20 respect the cease-fire agreement on the part of the BH
21 army, the agreement that was reached on the 20th of
22 April in Zenica, and on the continuation of offensive
23 operations on the part of the BH forces against Vitez,
24 Busovaca, and I also mentioned other problems in
25 Travnik and Novi Travnik. But the question of control
1 referred to control of the front lines, which at that
2 time were held by the HVO.
3 Q. What was your response to General Petkovic in
4 Nova Bila? Would you manage to hold on to those
5 lines? Would you be able to defend yourself?
6 A. My comments were that we still held our
7 positions under control but that it was essential to
8 end hostilities; otherwise, in the long term, we would
10 Q. Thank you. Let us go on to the next
11 quotation from a statement by Remi --
12 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, if the name of
13 the interpreter was inadvertently mentioned, it should
14 be redacted. I don't recall if it was or not. If it
15 was, we would ask that it be redacted from the
17 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not sure myself.
18 MR. NOBILO: I think we didn't mention it,
19 and the General didn't mention it either, so we were
21 JUDGE JORDA: Can you check, Mr. Registrar?
22 THE REGISTRAR: I think that, indeed,
23 Mr. Nobilo is right.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman and
25 Mr. Nobilo. Please continue.
1 MR. HAYMAN: The next quotation,
2 Mr. President, is that of Mr. Remi Landry, transcript
3 page 7697, lines 17 to 21:
4 "Q Did you conclude that this change in
5 Mr. Nakic's status was a demotion?
6 A What I conclude is that Mr. Nakic was no
7 longer Colonel Blaskic's replacement
8 when he was not there."
9 Then I will read from the next page, 7698,
10 lines 1 to 7, and I quote:
11 "A Therefore, the conclusion that I drew
12 was that he had been given some type of
13 title and that he was not really in
14 authority, in a position to do anything
15 at all.
16 Q So you concluded that he had been pushed
17 aside, in substance?
18 A Basically that."
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. General, this is a testimony by a Prosecution
21 witness referring to Franjo Nakic. Could you tell us
22 what Franjo Nakic was until the 16th of April, '93 and
23 what he became after the 16th of April, '93 and whether
24 he was in any sense replaced or pushed aside? Is this
25 testimony correct?
1 A. No, this testimony is not correct, and with
2 the permission of Their Honours, I should like to place
3 a table on the ELMO in order to explain what Franjo
4 Nakic actually was, what position he held.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I have a question. These
6 statements were shown to the witness before in contacts
7 with your client or the table that he's going to show
8 us now was prepared for this examination? I'm just
9 raising the question of method. I just want to know
10 how all this was done because if everything was
11 prepared with you in advance, the Defence counsel, I
12 think then everything is very clear. I just wish to
14 General, these statements that were public,
15 they are part of the transcript, did you see them
16 before or did you see them now for the first time?
17 A. I listened to the testimony of those
18 witnesses here in court, and I took note of everything
19 I heard. You may have noticed that I do take notes all
20 the time.
21 JUDGE JORDA: That is what I wanted you to
22 clarify before showing us this table. Thank you.
23 MR. HAYMAN: He cannot read the English
24 transcript, Mr. President. The witness cannot read the
25 English transcript.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but it could be translated
2 to him after all.
3 MR. NOBILO: Certainly, in preparation, we
4 did refresh his memory of certain quotations.
5 JUDGE JORDA: But I think he has a good
6 lawyer that speaks English, doesn't he?
7 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, but I don't speak Croatian,
8 Mr. President, so there's still some difficulty. Of
9 course, we told the witness what we were going to ask
10 him about the relevant portions of the testimony, but
11 he could not review the transcript per se.
12 JUDGE JORDA: That is what I wanted to know,
13 Mr. Hayman. Thank you. I just wanted the discussion
14 this morning to be very clear.
15 Please continue, General Blaskic.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. General, you prepared a chart which would
18 help us explain the position of Franjo Nakic. Could
19 you please comment on it?
20 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, as of the 1st of
21 December, 1992, Mr. Franjo Nakic was chief of staff of
22 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone command until he was
23 retired sometime in 1996. I believe that is when it
25 Q. In terms of establishment, did you have in
1 early 1993 a deputy commander of the Central Bosnia
2 Operative Zone?
3 A. By establishment, the Operative Zone command
4 did not have a deputy commander, but for a period of
5 time after the fall of Travnik, this duty was held by
6 Mr. Filip Filipovic. Franjo Nakic, by request of the
7 international mediators, had been named to the joint
8 operative centre in Vitez, along with Dzemo Merdan, and
9 the position of the international mediators, that is,
10 Mr. Thebault and others from the European Monitoring
11 Mission, was that they should sign their names with
12 "deputy." The 3rd Corps had, by establishment, a
13 position of the deputy, and that was Mr. Merdan, but it
14 also had the chief of staff, whereas the Operative Zone
15 command had --
16 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, General.
17 Mr. President, I do believe we have been
18 through this at some length previously, so I object to
19 the repetition of this at this point.
20 JUDGE JORDA: It's a debate that we had on
21 Friday, Mr. Kehoe. We reached agreement that the
22 examination-in-chief would be over this morning.
23 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we will finish in
24 less than one hour. We will be very brief. What I
25 wanted to do is just give the General the testimony of
1 the Prosecution witness, but let me just move on to
2 Exhibit 406/26.
3 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges decided on Friday
4 that we would accept this document being shown to the
5 witness, after having a discussion amongst ourselves,
6 but once the document is shown to the witness, he will
7 make a very brief comment "It is true; not true," and
8 that is all. Is that acceptable, Mr. Kehoe?
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I believe we
10 were talking about the testimony at this juncture, but
11 now with the chart that the accused is going through,
12 it just appeared to be repetition of testimony we had
14 MR. NOBILO: My apologies. Let's go to
15 456/32, a different document.
16 JUDGE JORDA: At the request of Judge
17 Rodrigues, for which I thank him, I wish to ask you,
18 the document that the witness is going to comment on,
19 is it going to be tendered as an exhibit, the table
20 that the witness referred to?
21 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Please let's have it marked,
23 and I wish to thank Judge Rodrigues for this
25 MR. HAYMAN: We have a few other new
1 documents, Mr. President, and we have preassigned some
2 numbers to those. If we could give this map a number
3 later this morning, it would be most convenient, I
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Very well. Thank
6 you. Let's continue.
7 MR. NOBILO: This is document 456/32. It is
8 page 6 in the Croatian version.
9 Q. Yes. This is a Prosecution Exhibit, 456/32.
10 We will look at the conclusion, point 1. Let me read
11 it for you. This is your report addressed to the chief
12 of the main staff in the HVO in Mostar and to the
13 commander in chief of the HVO on 7 May, 1993, and to
14 the chief of the Ministry of Defence, and in conclusion
15 under 1 you say: "Command and control function
16 properly and all missions proceed in a planned fashion
17 according to orders with detailed knowledge of the
18 situation, full coordination, and control."
19 So could you please explain first, why did
20 you include this in your report and, second, whether
21 this was correct?
22 A. Yes. This report had a heading that it was
23 an extraordinary report and that this was a report on
24 the situation, not a report on command and control. In
25 this report, which should be viewed in its entirety, a
1 number of problems were listed which had to do with the
2 issues of command and control, such as point 3, 6, 7,
3 and others, and I'm not going to enumerate them all,
4 but this report does not refer exclusively to command
5 and control. So if you look at this conclusion, one
6 should view all problems which I was facing in the
7 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
8 Q. Why did you not mention in this report the
9 dual chain of command, that is, the PPN units, the
10 Vitezovi, the military police units who posed problems
11 for you?
12 A. I had contacts with the chief of main staff
13 on the 24th, on the 21st of April, 28th of April, 29th
14 April, 30th April, and I informed him about all the
15 problems, including the problems of dual command. I
16 assume that these reports were sent by telefax, so
17 there were certain points which could not be included
18 in such an open mode of communication, but I did not
19 create this situation. This was created at levels
20 above my own, but I fought to change that and to make a
21 unified system of command.
22 Q. Can you then say why this should say -- when
23 there are a number of problems that point to the
24 opposite, why did you say that in your conclusion that
25 command and control did function properly?
1 A. Because I thought that the report was going
2 to be read in its entirety. In other words, if you
3 take into account everything that had been stated
4 above, which names a number of problems, but taking
5 into account the number of problems, then the command
6 and control in the zone of responsibility in an overall
7 sense did work, but that was also the time when I could
8 not afford to sound defeatist. I was there to provide
9 a sense of conviction, that I would not be left alone
10 and on my own in that Lasva pocket.
11 Q. Can you say, at that time, were such rumours
12 in circulation, that you had been abandoned and left to
13 your own devices, that you would fall?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. NOBILO: A new document, please.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, are you saying
17 that when your superiors read the report in its
18 entirety, they would conclude that command and control
19 did not work satisfactorily?
20 A. Your Honour, I assume that when one reads the
21 report in its entirety, that then you can reach a
22 judgment on the extent to which the command and control
23 did function, taking into consideration all the
24 shortcomings which I'd enumerated earlier in this
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you intend that your
2 superiors should have the impression that command and
3 control worked satisfactorily, as you said in the
4 conclusions that it had, or did you intend that your
5 superiors should come to a conclusion different from
6 the conclusion which you had stated?
7 A. Your Honour, since my direct superior came to
8 visit me on several occasions, I believe that he would
9 be able to draw the conclusion that the command and
10 control did function, taking into account or
11 considering all the above-mentioned problems, that is,
12 difficulties. That is, in these circumstances, myself
13 and my staff were working to the best of our ability,
14 but I knew that I had not -- it was not me who had
15 created this dual chain of command but those whom I was
16 informing of this here.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand. Thank
19 JUDGE JORDA: Another question: In point 7
20 of this report -- have you found it? Point 7, please.
21 General, you said that it was difficult, I'm
22 reading the French version, due to insufficient
23 coordination, difficult because of the inadequate
24 coordination of military police forces.
25 How do you interpret this? How do you
1 explain this, because this could be read in two
2 different ways, General.
3 A. Mr. President, the establishment of the
4 military police was never done until -- it was not
5 completed until the end, and the military police had
6 its own interpretation of the orders of attachment, and
7 I had my own interpretation of it. They believed that
8 the attachment lasted only as long as a single combat
9 operation lasted and that it then ceased and they had
10 their own chain of command, except for the daily
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but don't you think it
13 would be simpler, because I understand that you didn't
14 want this report to be sent by fax?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE JORDA: But my question is as follows:
17 Couldn't you have placed this under this item, "I
18 remind the chief of staff of my previous conversations
19 in this connection," because this was an important
20 problem for you?
21 A. Mr. President, I did discuss this with the
22 chief of main staff on the 30th of April in Hotel
23 Vitez. He held the meeting on these issues in Hotel
24 Vitez with myself and the entire staff. This was an
25 open report, and a fax communication could also be
1 received by somebody to whom it had not been
3 JUDGE JORDA: I accept your explanation. It
4 is yours.
5 Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
6 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
7 Q. I was just going to quote this point 7. Its
8 heading is ensuring the action, and you say that it is
9 difficult because of the coordination of military
10 forces. Then in the last sentence you said that the
11 organisation has not been completed yet. What did you
12 mean by that? What had not been completed yet and what
13 was the problem of the coordination?
14 A. The problem was in the functioning of control
15 and command. There was a continuing problem. Also,
16 another problem was the establishment of the military
17 police, the creation of the 4th Battalion and other
18 groups, and bringing the military police under my
19 direct control as the commander of the Operative Zone.
20 Q. What did you believe with respect to the
21 military police? What was to be fully completed?
22 A. The military police should have been fully
23 subordinated to the commander of the Operative Zone,
24 that is, to me.
25 Q. Now, when you talk about it openly, who was
1 to blame for this flaw in the organisation with respect
2 to the military police?
3 A. In any case, the blame lies with those who
4 have created the system and these are the officials at
5 the Ministry of Defence. They approved it, and those
6 are people in the Ministry of Defence, if you assume
7 that command and control should be unified. That was
8 the rule in the establishment of the armed forces of
9 the HVO. Then if you, on top of that, create a dual
10 system, and if you, additionally, do not take into
11 account all the suggestions such as the ones I had
12 written, then perhaps there was somebody there who was
13 comfortable with this system, who wanted it, who could
14 make use of it, but I wanted a unified system because
15 the responsibility was unified.
16 Q. So you're addressing this to Mate Boban, who
17 is the commander in chief of the armed forces. From
18 your military training point of view, can you, in the
19 middle of the battle, write to the supreme commander
20 and say, "It is your fault that this is"? Can you do
22 A. I do not have a right to do this, and this is
23 why I addressed this directly to the chief of main
24 staff. I also addressed it to the head of the Defence
25 Ministry and to the commander in chief, and I did
1 everything I could to prevent this destruction of the
3 Q. But could you directly say to the commander
4 in chief, in an open fax such as it was, that this was
5 a detrimental system?
6 A. Of course not, and I did not.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let us not insist too much on
8 the fact of the fax, because you said it went by fax.
9 I think it was up to the General, a Colonel at the
10 time, to choose the means of communication. It was not
11 the fact that it was sent by a fax that was decisive.
12 It cannot be a decisive fact. I think when a
13 responsible official wants to say something important,
14 it is up to him to choose the best means of
15 communication to preserve confidentiality. You know,
16 it is said several times that it went by fax.
17 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, but the
18 witness did choose the telefax system means, and it was
19 good that he was suspicious, because the Bosnian
20 government received this fax and this is how it reached
21 the Prosecution. But it wasn't just a means of
22 communication. The witness said that he did not dare
23 say to the commander in chief, "You are to blame for
24 this system," because his military education did not
25 allow him to do so.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I think it would be better to
2 say that, otherwise, there are at least 5 or 20 other
3 assertions in this report that could not be sent by
4 fax. For example:
5 "I'm asking you for instructions when the
6 Vance-Owen Plan will be implemented.
7 2. Will you ask for approval of Alilovic? I
8 request means to be found to assist," and so on.
9 On every page I could cite places where the
10 fact that it was sent by fax could also be a problem.
11 So I think that we should make the real
12 points. The point is not that it was sent by fax and
13 that because of that the witness could not say
15 Yes, Mr. Kehoe?
16 MR. KEHOE: If I may just clarify the issue.
17 Defence counsel just said this was a document received
18 by the Bosnian government and intercepted by the
19 Bosnian government. This document, 456/32, was a
20 document given to the Office of the Prosecutor, was
21 given to Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Pierre Capelle,
22 retired, of the French army, working for the Office of
23 the Prosecutor, was given to him by the HVO, by the
24 federation in Mostor, this document. So this document
25 was not intercepted in any way, shape or form by the
1 Bosnian government, and we intend to clarify that issue
2 in cross-examination, and many of these documents, but
3 at this point I didn't want to let that go with the
4 cavalier comment that this was intercepted by the
5 Bosnian government, which it was not.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe. I think
7 the incident is closed. I was making a methodological
8 remark. Technical means cannot be used to explain the
9 content of a report. We first focus on the contents
10 and then on the technical means.
11 Mr. Nobilo, continue.
12 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. Quite right,
13 Mr. President, although, we must not forget that the
14 packet link was the only one that broke down and that
15 the civilian links were usually used, but I agree that
16 that is not an essential point.
17 Mr. President, in view of the time, perhaps
18 we could keep to our 45-minute rhythm of testimony and
19 take a break here. We really are drawing to the end
20 very nearly.
21 JUDGE JORDA: How much more do you have until
22 the end, please, not counting the questions that the
23 Judges may have, beginning with me personally.
24 MR. NOBILO: Yes, quite so. Another 45
25 minutes could cover it, I think.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let's have a
2 20-minute break.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
6 be seated.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,
9 MR. NOBILO: I propose that the witness be
10 given Prosecution Exhibit 74.
11 MR. KEHOE: Counsel, 74 is a series of
12 photographs, if that is what you're looking for.
13 MR. NOBILO: Quite obviously there is a
14 mistake. I want 95, Prosecution Exhibit 95. This
15 doesn't seem to be the right one either.
16 MR. KEHOE: Which document are you talking
18 MR. NOBILO: The Prosecution Exhibit which
19 states that an officer of the JNA be arrested and
20 executed. There seems to have been an error
21 somewhere. Mensud Alic.
22 MR. KEHOE: There are two of them. That's
23 fine. It's in 456. We'll pull it. It's not 456/95.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, tell us which one
25 you want.
1 MR. KEHOE: Well, I just have to look for the
2 one I want. I know it's in document 456. It's not
4 MR. NOBILO: 456/74, that is the document
5 that we're looking for, and we've just found it.
6 JUDGE JORDA: 456/74. Mr. Nobilo, is that
7 the exhibit that you wish to show to the witness?
8 MR. NOBILO: Yes, exactly so, Mr. President.
9 Would you place the English version on the ELMO,
11 Q. General, this is your order of the 24th of
12 October, 1992, and there is one particular sentence
13 that I want to read out:
14 "Mensud Alic, major in the JNA, is currently
15 in Trogir. If he should take the road to Travnik,
16 arrest him, and if he resists, execute him. Commander
17 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone headquarters,
18 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
19 General, did you write that order?
20 A. No, I did not write or sign this document,
21 and I do not know what it is about. I don't know Major
22 Mensud Alic, and I don't know anything in connection
23 with this document.
24 Q. It does not have a reference number, and
25 according to the aspect of the document itself, was
1 that what your orders looked like, documents written by
3 A. No, because the heading was different, our
4 heading was different, that is to say, and the document
5 would have had to have had a reference number. I did
6 not sign the document either, and I know nothing in
7 connection with this document.
8 Q. Did you ever see the document before this
10 A. No.
11 MR. NOBILO: May I have the next document,
12 please? It is 456/95.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Nobilo, excuse me.
14 General Blaskic, in your opinion, do you have
15 any idea regarding the reasons or the people who may
16 have drafted this document?
17 A. Your Honour, I saw the document for the first
18 time when I came to the courtroom, but I know nothing
19 about the document, nor do I know the individual by the
20 name of Mensud Alic.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, but why was this
22 document made, in your opinion? Do you have any idea
23 about that?
24 A. I really don't know.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
2 Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
3 MR. NOBILO:
4 Q. The next document is 456/95. It is a lengthy
5 document. We're not going to read it out, but we just
6 have several questions to ask you with regard to the
8 Let me make an introduction while it's being
9 prepared. It concerns a meeting and minutes from a
10 meeting of the officers of the Central Bosnia Operative
11 Zone, 1992. It was a meeting held in September. They
12 were civilian politicians from all the municipalities
13 in Central Bosnia.
14 Tell us, please, General, you attended the
15 meeting. What was the object of your presence at the
16 meeting? Was it standard practice for you to take part
17 in the work of meetings of this kind, and would you
18 tell us your recollections of the meeting but in two or
19 three sentences?
20 A. I was invited to attend the meeting to be
21 introduced to all the municipal officials in Central
22 Bosnia as the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
23 Zone. It was not standard practice for me to take part
24 in meetings of this kind, and I think that this was one
25 of two meetings that I attended of civilian officials
1 for the Central Bosnia municipalities.
2 At this particular meeting, as far as I
3 recall, I just addressed the meeting, said a few words
4 of address. I was being introduced at the meeting, and
5 I did not take part in the discussion.
6 Q. These meetings of the civilian authorities
7 for Central Bosnia, were they regular occurrences?
8 A. Well, for the most part, they were held once
9 every 15 days or, depending on the situation, who was
10 able to attend, once a month perhaps, but I did not
11 attend the meetings, as I say.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. NOBILO: The next document is 456/107.
14 Prosecution Exhibit 456/107 is how work was distributed
15 in the barracks.
16 Q. Tell us, in practical terms, what barracks
17 did you write this document for?
18 (Technical difficulty)
19 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel.
20 Mr. President, we're not getting a BCS
21 translation, and I don't think the court reporter is
23 THE INTERPRETER: What about this microphone,
24 is it working?
25 JUDGE JORDA: I recognise the voice of my
1 traditional interpreters, and I have no problems.
2 MR. NOBILO: Very well. Let me repeat the
4 Q. This is the timetable of work, including
5 training, but for which barracks was it compiled?
6 Answer that question first.
7 A. This timetable of daily duties applied to the
8 barracks in Kiseljak.
9 Q. Why to that barracks in particular, not to
11 A. It was the only barracks in which the HVO of
12 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia could house some
13 troops. The other barracks were mostly not under the
14 control of the HVO but were being used by the BH army.
15 Q. Tell us, this programme of work, was it
17 A. I wanted this timetable to be observed, and
18 it was compiled on the basis of my previous experiences
19 from the JNA, but I had occasion to see for myself that
20 it was not being observed while I was in Kiseljak for
21 two months. Even though I did try to have it
22 implemented, there were quite a number of problems that
23 stood in the way of the implementation of this
25 MR. NOBILO: Next document, please. Document
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, did you indicate to
3 the registrar the list of documents - it would have
4 been quicker, after all - the list of documents that
5 you want to show the witness?
6 MR. NOBILO: We did, but we made a mistake.
7 We didn't indicate the number "456/111." We just said
8 "111," and that is causing the registrar some
9 difficulty and taking a little more time.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, do you have the
11 list of documents?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President, I do have
13 the list, but as you have been able to see, there are a
14 few minor problems.
15 JUDGE JORDA: How many more documents do you
16 have left, Mr. Nobilo?
17 MR. NOBILO: This one and one more after
18 that, and then we're through.
19 Q. General, this is a request addressed to
20 UNPROFOR, UNHCR, the International Red Cross, and the
21 European Monitors on an even distribution of
22 interpreters in terms of ethnic origin. Will you tell
23 me, was this letter written with your knowledge or,
24 rather, what was your position regarding this problem?
25 A. I did not write this document, but I support
1 it. It was written by Mr. Zoran Pilicic, who also
2 signed it. I believe that in a civil war, an even
3 number of interpreters would certainly have increased
4 the credibility of the United Nations and improved
5 cooperation with UNPROFOR and international
7 Q. Why are you saying this? Did you have a
8 negative attitude towards Muslims in this particular
9 case or was the problem elsewhere?
10 A. No, but I knew -- for instance, I had
11 information from the military intelligence that there
12 were members of the BH army who were interpreters in
13 UNPROFOR after discontinuing their service in the BH
14 army. As I was not familiar with the English language,
15 it was very difficult for me to communicate with
16 members and officers of the United Nations, so that I
17 could have suspected as to whether this information
18 would have been conveyed correctly to the opposing
20 MR. NOBILO: Next document please, it is
22 Q. So this is a letter to the monitoring mission
23 of the European Community, where your name was been
24 typed out and reference is made to political issues
25 such as the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan. So
1 tell us, did you write this? Did you sign it? Would
2 you have signed and sent such a document?
3 A. I did not approve this document. I did not
4 write it, and I did not sign it. This document was
5 written by Mr. Drago Dujmovic. He was the officer in
6 the department for information and propaganda
7 activities, and he never held such a position that
8 would authorise him to sign any document on my behalf.
9 I had quite a number of meetings with
10 Mr. Thebault, but never did I discuss with him any
11 political issues because that was not my duty, nor did
12 I have any such competence.
13 If I had known of this document, I would
14 never have approved it or approved it being sent to
15 this address.
16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, that would end
17 the showing of exhibits to the witness. We have a
18 series of new documents that we should like the General
19 to look at and confirm. We have prepared a set of
20 documents, and I suggest this set be distributed to all
21 the parties, and that we go from one to the other. We
22 won't read them, we just want to see whether the
23 authenticity of those documents can be confirmed.
24 So could the registrar distribute to all
25 parties in these proceedings the set of documents? It
1 is not necessary to put on the ELMO because we didn't
2 plan to read.
3 Q. The first document is D555. It is Sefer
4 Halilovic and Milivoj Petkovic's order.
5 General, do you recognise this order and do
6 you recognise the signatures of both Generals of both
8 A. Yes, I do recognise the signatures of both
9 Milivoj Petkovic and Sefer Halilovic.
10 Q. Thank you. The next document is D556, dated
11 the 16th of December, 1992, "Approval for movement of
12 persons and traffic." Can you confirm the authenticity
13 of this document? We have two signatures on it.
14 A. Yes. I recognise the signature of the town
15 mayor, Ivica Santic, and I signed this document.
16 Q. The next document is D557, "Request for
17 delivery of military equipment from the Slobodan
18 Princip Seljo factory in Vitez." Can you confirm the
19 authenticity of this document?
20 A. Yes. There's a stamp of the Operative Zone
21 of Central Bosnia and my signature.
22 Q. The next document is D558, "A request for
23 approval for the passage of BH army armaments," dated
24 8th of January, 1993. Do you recognise the document
25 and the signature?
1 A. Yes, this is the signature of General Rasim
2 Delic, and I do recognise that signature.
3 Q. The next document is 559, of the 10th of
4 January, 1993, also signed by Rasim Delic, "A request
5 for the passage of military equipment and armaments."
6 Can you confirm the authenticity?
7 A. Yes. I recognise the signature of Rasim
9 Q. The next document is D560. The heading is
10 "The first joint operative centre of the HVO and the
11 BH army." It was drafted in Bila on the 22nd of April,
12 1993, signed by Dzemo Merdan and Franjo Nakic. Do you
13 recognise the signatures and the document?
14 A. I do. I am familiar with the document and I
15 recognise the two signatures and the stamps of the
16 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia and of the 3rd Corps.
17 Q. The next document is D561, which you compiled
18 and it is a list of HVO prisoners of Arab nationality
19 that you had as prisoners of war in Central Bosnia. Do
20 you recognise the document, and the signature, and the
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. We have it in French and English.
24 The next document is D562, dated the 30th of
25 April, '93. It is an order signed by Generals Milivoj
1 Petkovic and Sefer Halilovic. Do you recognise their
2 signatures and the order itself?
3 A. Yes. I recognise the signatures of Milivoj
4 Petkovic and General Sefer Halilovic.
5 Q. The next document is D563, in which Major
6 General Milivoj Petkovic appoints to the joint command
7 several HVO officers. The document bears no
8 signature. Do you recognise the document by its
10 A. I do, and I know that officers from my
11 command were appointed. They are mentioned here,
12 Colonel Filip Filipovic and Colonel Zivko Totic, and
13 these related to the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
14 Q. The next document is D564. The heading is,
15 "Annex 1: The organisation of the command of the BH
16 and the HVO," compiled by Alija Izetbegovic, Mate
17 Boban, Sefer Halilovic, and Milivoj Petkovic, in Zagreb
18 on the 25th of April, 1993. It bears the incoming
19 stamp received by packet radio link. Do you recognise
20 this document by its contents?
21 A. Yes. I'm familiar with the contents of this
23 Q. The next document is D555, dated -- 565. I'm
24 sorry, D565, dated 10th of January, 1993. It is your
25 order, and in point 4 you say, among other things, "Do
1 not escalate the conflict because we do not need to do
2 that." You're referring to the conflict with the BH
3 army. Is that your order?
4 A. Yes, it is my order. I think it was signed
5 by Franjo Nakic. It bears the stamp of the Central
6 Bosnia Operative Zone.
7 Q. The next document is D566, dated the 14th of
8 April, 1993. It is a public announcement linked to the
9 kidnapping of Totic and the killing of his escort. Do
10 you recognise this document?
11 A. Yes. It bears the stamp of the Central
12 Bosnia Operative Zone and it was signed by Vid
14 Q. The next document is D567, dated the 22nd of
15 October, 1992, where with the mediation of
16 representatives of the International Community, local
17 leaders of Croats and Muslims from Vitez --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Which document was that?
19 MR. NOBILO: It was dated '92. 1992.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. It is document D567.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, 567.
22 MR. NOBILO:
23 Q. So it's an agreement on the removal of
24 barricades in Vitez municipality. Do you recognise
25 this document and the signatures. I recognise the
1 signatures of Pero Skopljak, Ivica Santic, and Mario
3 Q. The next document is D568, dated 15th of
4 March, 1993. It is an official record of the civilian
5 police on the situation in Donja Veceriska. It was
6 compiled by Slavko Franjic. Do you know Slavko
7 Franjic, and his signature?
8 A. Yes, Slavko Franjic was, for a time, the
9 commander of the uniformed civilian police in the Vitez
10 police station, and I do know his signature.
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, and for the
12 registrar, document D569 is a duplicate. I recognise
13 that it has already been tendered. Maybe I can find
15 It is -- document D564 and D569 are one in
16 the same document, so perhaps we could annul the
17 marking of 569 and have a new document admitted under
18 that number later on perhaps.
19 THE REGISTRAR: So document D569 will be
20 annulled because it is the same as 564?
21 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. President, I numbered
23 these documents during the break. Perhaps it is
24 possible to annul it and then revise the numbering, or
25 perhaps the sketch made by the General could be
1 inserted under this number, if the Defence agrees.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. So 569, regarding the
3 organisation of the BH army and the HVO, will
4 disappear, and this marking will now be given to the
5 drawing made by the witness on the position of
6 Mr. Franjo Nakic; is that correct?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. So this other document
9 will be annulled as number 569.
10 MR. NOBILO: Can we go on to the next
11 document, D570?
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, I think you
13 should give us D569 because we don't have one.
14 Just a moment, Mr. Nobilo. The Judges do not
15 have a copy of the new 569, so we're getting one now.
16 That is fine. We may continue now.
17 MR. NOBILO:
18 Q. D570 is an accompanying letter written to the
19 main medical headquarters, containing a list of
20 destroyed Croatian villages, homes, casualties, et
21 cetera. Do you recall this document and can you
22 confirm its authenticity?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The next document is D571. It is an order by
25 Dzemo Merdan, dated the 13th of November, 1992, asking
1 for accommodation for units of the armed forces of the
2 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Lasva Valley.
3 Can you confirm the authenticity of this document?
4 A. Yes. I recognise General Merdan's signature,
5 and this is a question I discussed both with Dzemo
6 Merdan, that is, finding accommodation for BH army
7 units, and with the commander of the 3rd Corps of the
8 BH army, Enver Hadzihasanovic.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, you numbered
10 this document 570. It should be 571, shouldn't it?
11 Document 571; right?
12 MR. NOBILO: Yes, 571. The Defence wrote the
13 numbers during the break, so we made an error as we are
14 not very skilled in the work of the registrar.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
16 MR. NOBILO: The next document is D572, which
17 represents an agreement on friendship and cooperation
18 between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
19 Republic of Croatia, signed by Franjo Tudjman and Alija
20 Izetbegovic on the 21st of July, which in point 6 says
21 that the armed forces of the HVO is a component part of
22 the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia and
24 Q. General, do you recognise the document and
25 the signatures of Dr. Franjo Tudjman and Alija
2 A. Yes, I do recognise the signatures, and I'm
3 also partly informed with the content of the document
4 relating to the BH army and the HVO.
5 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the next document
6 unfortunately was not returned to us in translation,
7 but it is very brief. It is document D573, and with
8 your permission, I would like to read it.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Is there no objection on the
10 part of the Prosecution, as it is a short document?
11 MR. KEHOE: No objection, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The interpreters,
13 who don't have a document, of course -- you don't have
14 two copies? Can we have a copy for each of the booths
15 or could you read it very slowly, please?
16 MR. NOBILO: We will give them copies and we
17 will read it slowly. It is the last document.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Everyone has a copy now, so
19 please proceed, Mr. Nobilo.
20 MR. NOBILO: Thank you.
21 Q. "Command of the Central Bosnia Operative
22 Zone, forward command post Vitez, number 01-3-565/93,
23 date, 15 March, 1993, time, 1640." It is addressed to
24 the BH army in Tesanj and the 110th HVO Brigade in
1 "Further to the request of the assistant
2 commander for logistics of the 110th Usora HVO Brigade,
3 Mr. Boro Simic and Anto Blazevic, and according to the
4 order, number 386/LM, dated 6 March, 1993, dispatched
5 by the BH army, I hereby issue approval.
6 "The unhindered transport is approved along
7 the Konjic-Tesanj-Usora road in line with the order
8 number 386/LM containing the following:
9 1. 7.62 bullets times 39, 70.000 pieces.
10 2. 7.9 bullets, 50.000 pieces.
11 3. 12.7 broving bullets, 5.000 pieces.
12 "All checkpoints are obliged to allow
13 unhindered passage of this materiel and equipment in
14 line with this specification.
15 Signed, Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic."
16 Do you recall this document, and was it
17 customary to proceed in this manner?
18 A. Yes, it was customary. The document was
19 signed by my assistant for logistics, Mr. Franjo
20 Sliskovic, and it was customary for each side to
21 approve the passage of convoys for the other side.
22 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, that brings to an
23 end the presentation of these exhibits.
24 As we do not intend to call General Blaskic
25 when we discuss character, we would like to end with
1 two or three questions linked to the family situation
2 and his private circumstances and conditions under
3 which he and his family are living now. With your
4 permission, we would suggest that we have a private
5 session to hear this because these are personal matters
6 relating to General Blaskic and his family.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't quite understand,
8 Mr. Nobilo. Did you mean to say that this will be your
9 only contribution to the part of the hearing that is
10 known as sentencing or general information on
12 MR. NOBILO: No, Mr. President. Of course,
13 that will not be the only evidence called, but we feel
14 that at this stage it would be more logical for General
15 Blaskic to answer a couple of personal questions.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I'm going to consult my
17 colleagues. But I wouldn't like us to start all over
18 again, if the witness wants to say something about his
19 private life. On the one hand, I would like us to
20 conclude by 1.00 so that we can begin with the
21 cross-examination and ...
22 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. We don't
23 intend to call General Blaskic again for him to testify
24 as a character witness, and that is why we propose that
25 now, very briefly, he answer a few questions about his
1 personal situation and that of his family.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We will have a
3 closed session. This would be a part of the evidence
4 on which the Prosecutor can cross-examine. Let's have
5 a closed session, but we will adjourn at 1.00 or even
6 before, if you finish before then.
7 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, a private session
8 would be sufficient without pulling down the blinds.
9 JUDGE JORDA: A private session. Very well.
11 (Private session)
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Pages 20187 to 20197 redacted – in private session
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 (Open session)
3 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
4 be seated.
5 Mr. Kehoe, as this is a public hearing, let
6 me say that the accused is testifying under oath. We
7 have completed the examination-in-chief by the Defence,
8 and we are now going to start with the
9 cross-examination by the Prosecutor, that is,
10 Mr. Kehoe, who will be conducting the
12 Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, Your Honours,
14 thank you very much.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
16 Q. Good afternoon, General. I trust that after
17 all this time in the same courtroom together, no
18 introductions are necessary. Let us just move ahead.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 Q. Now, General, let me ask you a few questions
21 before we move into some of the substance of the
22 testimony about some of the collection of information
23 that you gathered and that you have been speaking to us
25 Before I ask you that specific question, let
1 me ask you, exactly when did you learn about the
2 indictment, that you had been indicted by the
3 International Criminal Tribunal for the former
5 A. I don't remember the exact date, Your
6 Honours, but I think it was the eleventh month, that is
7 to say, November 1995. I learned of it by the media,
8 that is to say, my wife telephoned me to tell me that
9 the news had been published in the news bulletin put
10 out by the HTV, Croatian Television.
11 Q. What position did you hold at that time?
12 A. At that time, I was the chief of the main
13 staff of the Croatian Defence Council and the
14 commander, that is to say, one of the commanders of the
15 army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
16 second commander was Mr. Rasim Delic.
17 Q. Now, General, during the course of your
18 direct testimony in responding to questions by my
19 learned friend, you noted that after you found out
20 about the indictment, you tried to get a hold of all
21 the important documents, and that's a quote from page
23 My question to you, General, is these
24 important documents, what were these documents that you
25 wanted to get a hold of?
1 A. They were, for the most part, all the
2 documents which were located in the archives of the
3 Defence Ministry of the Croatian Republic of
4 Herceg-Bosna up till then and which, for orientation
5 purposes, dealt with the time period incorporated in
6 the indictment, that is to say, from April 1992 until
7 May 1993, that is to say, the commands, orders,
8 operative information and reports, and other reports
9 that I received, but generally speaking, all the
10 documents that I could lay my hands on at that time.
11 Q. Now, General, this archive that is at the
12 Ministry of Defence of the Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna, is it at the actual Ministry of Defence
14 building where you had your office?
15 A. Your Honours, I did not have my office -- I
16 never had my office in the Defence Ministry building.
17 Part of the archives were located at that time in part
18 of the Feal factory at Siroki Brijeg, and the
19 headquarters of the Defence Ministry was in Mostar. I
20 had to ask permission from the defence minister for
21 access to those documents and to make my own notes on
22 the basis of the documents.
23 Q. Now, the location of the documents that you
24 reviewed, where was that? Was that in the Ministry of
25 Defence or was that in Siroki Brijeg?
1 A. The documents that I reviewed were at Siroki
3 Q. Now, what is the difference between the
4 documents that are located in Siroki Brijeg and the
5 documents that are located at the Ministry of Defence;
6 do you know?
7 A. I don't know what the difference is because I
8 reviewed the documents in the archive which had its
9 headquarters at the time at Siroki Brijeg. I did not
10 review documents in the Defence Ministry.
11 Q. My question is, do you know what the
12 documents are that are located in the Ministry of
13 Defence, if any? Do you know what type there are,
14 what genre they are, if you will?
15 A. In the Defence Ministry, I was not in a
16 position to know. I don't know what documents were
17 located there.
18 Q. General, who was the defence minister that
19 you asked and received permission from to review the
20 documents in Siroki Brijeg? Who was that?
21 A. The defence minister was Mr. Vladimir Soljic.
22 Q. General, the documents that were located in
23 Siroki Brijeg, was there a name for that archive?
24 A. It was called the archive of the Defence
25 Ministry. I don't know whether any other name existed
1 for it.
2 Q. Let me show you a document, General, if I
3 may, with the assistance of the usher.
4 MR. KEHOE: This, for the record,
5 Mr. President, is a series of decisions from the
6 Narodni List dated the 25th of March, 1993 and --
7 JUDGE JORDA: The official gazette, I see. I
8 didn't quite hear that.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. The Narodni
10 List. I'm sorry.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Generally speaking,
12 Mr. Prosecutor, while the registrar is looking for the
13 document and at the request of my colleagues also, I
14 hope you will tell the registrar all the documents that
15 you will need and that you intend to show so that he
16 can prepare in advance and we avoid any waste of time.
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we will seek to do
18 that in the future. The usher, the registrar, and I
19 had a discussion about that at the break, and I will
20 seek to expedite it with those exhibits in the future.
21 I must confess that I haven't done it yet.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 574 and 574A for the
24 English version.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. If you could take a few minutes, General, and
2 just peruse these documents. They aren't particularly
4 MR. KEHOE: I apologise at this point,
5 Mr. President, for the lack of a French version. That
6 will be forthcoming.
7 Q. Nevertheless, the first decision on the 25th
8 of March, 1993 sets up the war archive for the Croatian
9 Community of Herceg-Bosna. The next decision of 2
10 June, 1993 appoints the director of the war archive as
11 Stjepan Ivankovic. The next decision of the 27th of
12 August, 1993 appoints Jure Brkic of Siroki Brijeg as
13 the deputy director of the archive.
14 General, did I accurately summarise those
15 three documents that are before you?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment, please.
17 General Blaskic, have you had time to look
18 through those documents?
19 A. Yes, I have looked through the documents. I
20 don't recall having encountered these documents
22 JUDGE JORDA: What is your question, please?
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. My question, General, is I just summarised
25 these documents as the setting up of the war archive
1 for the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 25th
2 of March, 1993, the appointment of Stjepan Ivankovic as
3 the director of the war archive on 2 June, '93, and the
4 deputy director Jure Brkic of Siroki Brijeg being
5 appointed as the deputy director on 27 August, 1993.
6 Without reading all these documents from
7 beginning to end, is that an accurate summary of these
8 three documents?
9 MR. HAYMAN: Improper question,
10 Mr. President. The documents speak for themselves.
11 They are what they are. If there's a question for the
12 witness, pose it, but of course these documents state
13 an archive was set up, someone was appointed the
14 president --
15 MR. KEHOE: With all due respect, I think
16 that it's better to let the witness answer.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I should like to
18 take advantage of this first incident to tell you that
19 my colleagues and I will not tolerate any incidents.
20 Of course, you have a legitimate right to make any
21 objections, but not just any objections.
22 Mr. Prosecutor, will you put your question?
23 Don't repeat what it is about. We have seen that it
24 has to do with the establishment of the archive of
25 Herceg-Bosna and the appointment of its directors.
1 Let's go on to your question, please.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Now, this war archive, is this the archive,
4 General, that you reviewed when you were going through
5 your documents in Siroki Brijeg? Is that the archive?
6 A. I reviewed documents in the archive in Siroki
7 Brijeg. In this archive, article 3, it says that there
8 is some other material. I did not review everything
9 that is stipulated in this document on the formation
10 and setting up of the war archive.
11 Q. During your testimony, and I'm referring
12 to -- and I just want to clarify this once and for all
13 concerning these archives, General. In your testimony
14 at page 18677, you noticed there was documents, and
15 this is pursuant to a series of questions by Judge
16 Jorda and Mr. Nobilo followed up, you said documents
17 were kept for ten years and also where they were being
18 kept, either in the central archive, or in the archive
19 of the main staff, or the commander actually kept this
20 log. We're talking about the log.
21 My question for you is: Is this the central
22 archive, the archive of the main staff? I'm asking you
23 for a little clarity on what the war archive was and
24 what the name of the archive was that you reviewed.
25 A. The archive, the war archive, had its
1 headquarters in Siroki Brijeg and that is what I
2 reviewed. It contained military documents from the
3 main staff and documents from the Operative Zone of
4 Central Bosnia and other Operative Zones as well.
5 I reviewed documents in that part of the
6 archive. I never encountered this document before, and
7 I don't know what the Central Archive of the Croatian
8 Community of Herceg-Bosna incorporated.
9 Q. When I refer, General, to the "central
10 archive," that's your words, and I quote from line 16
11 and 17 of 18677. You speak of a central archive. Is
12 this the archive that you're talking about, this war
14 A. Yes. That is the war archive or part of the
15 war archive that I reviewed documents from.
16 Q. Now, where is the rest of the war archive, if
17 you know?
18 A. I know that in this part, this part included
19 the portion of documents that I reviewed, and I know
20 that it was dislocated, particularly under previous
21 wartime circumstances, dislocated in several locations,
22 but I don't know all the places where the war archive
23 was dislocated. I know this part.
24 Q. General, you were --
25 A. Which was in Feal.
1 Q. You, in November of 1995, were the chief of
2 staff for the HVO Feal. Are you saying that you don't
3 know the locations of the war archive for your military
5 A. I maintain that I don't know where the
6 headquarters and locations of the complete archive of
7 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was for the
8 wartime, but I do know the portion that was in Feal at
9 Siroki Brijeg because the war archive was not
10 subordinated to the main staff but to the Minister of
12 Q. Well, as part of this archive in Siroki
13 Brijeg that you reviewed, did that archive include the
14 archives of the main staff?
15 A. Yes. In that part there was the archive of
16 the main staff as well.
17 Q. So in that archive in the main staff, that
18 would include all of these documents and reports that
19 you allegedly sent to Milivoj Petkovic, discussing
20 these problems with the military police, and problems
21 with the Vitezovi, and problems with Zuti, et cetera;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you see those documents when you were
25 reviewing, and preparing, and "trying to get a hold of
1 all the important documents" after you were indicted?
2 A. Yes, I saw them. I even recopied some of
3 them, but I did see most of those documents, yes.
4 Q. Did you copy any documents where you complain
5 to Milivoj Petkovic, or General Praljak, or Ante Roso,
6 or to anybody else about the problems that you were
7 having -- the alleged problems you were having with the
8 military police? Did you copy any of those?
9 A. No. I did not receive permission for that,
10 nor was I able to copy documents.
11 MR. HAYMAN: I have an objection to the line
12 of questioning. The burden of proof lies with the
13 Prosecutor. The Prosecutor is suggesting that the
14 accused has the burden of proof of producing certain
15 documents, and we think that's wrong. The Prosecutor
16 cannot shift the burden of proof. The burden of proof
17 lies with them.
18 JUDGE JORDA: You are right in absolute
19 terms, but in this particular case you are wrong, in my
20 opinion, and I will explain why. In the
21 examination-in-chief over six weeks, there were various
22 warnings that your client, General Blaskic, here
23 present, made, to his hierarchy, that is
24 General Petkovic, on the poor functioning of the
25 military police. So I think, it seems to me, that it
1 was legitimate for the Prosecutor to ask the witness
2 whether he found those documents in the archives.
3 So please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
5 Q. So, General, you found those documents but
6 you didn't copy them, and you noted that you didn't
7 copy them because you didn't receive permission for
8 that, but you noted prior to that you did receive
9 permission to copy other documents. We can roll back
10 the transcript and read it if you want to.
11 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I think that my
12 learned friend is wrong. The witness never said that
13 he copied any document.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Kehoe. I think
15 for the moment -- maybe it's a problem of translation.
16 Please repeat your question so it should be quite clear
17 from the standpoint of the Defence objection.
18 MR. KEHOE: I will repeat the questions and I
19 will read the question as it is in the transcript. The
20 question is:
21 "Q Did you see these documents when you
22 were reviewing, and preparing, and
23 'trying to get a hold of all of the
24 important documents' after you were
1 A Yes, I saw them. I even recopied some
2 of them, but I did see most of these
3 documents, yes."
4 My next question:
5 "Q Did you copy any of the documents where
6 you complain to Milivoj Petkovic, or
7 General Praljak, or Ante Roso, or to
8 anybody else that the problems that you
9 were having -- the alleged problems you
10 were having with the military police,
11 did you copy any of those?
12 A No."
13 Is the answer: "I didn't receive permission
14 for that, nor was I able to copy documents."
15 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I think that the
16 problem is with the interpretation. The witness said
17 that he copied in hand, prepisati, he copied out in
18 hand, and it was translated in English "recopied,"
19 "copy," and I think that that is where the error
20 occurred, "copy in hand, by hand."
21 JUDGE JORDA: Did you photocopy, rewrite, by
22 hand copy it? You went to the archive, you took the
23 documents that interested you, you photocopied them,
24 you wrote them out by hand, what did you do?
25 A. Mr. President, I took the document, I read
1 the document, and what I considered to be very
2 important from the document I made a gist of it in my
3 notebook and I wrote in hand my notes, but when the
4 question was repeated just a moment ago by the
5 Prosecutor, I once again heard that he asked the
6 question of whether I copied or wrote it out in hand.
7 That was the interpretation that I got that I answered
8 "No." That is not correct.
9 I did have a document in my hand. I read the
10 document, and in handwriting I wrote out what I
11 considered to be important, the important points.
12 Sometimes it was half the document, other times it
13 wasn't. A date or anything else, I would write it out
14 in hand.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you have the answer
16 to your question now.
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
18 Q. General, did someone deny you the right to
19 actually copy these documents with a Xerox machine and,
20 if so, who?
21 A. The archive had a war room, and no
22 photocopying could be done there. I believed that my
23 attorneys would have free access to all those documents
24 and at the time I didn't copy all those documents. I
25 took down my personal notes.
1 Q. So, General, nobody denied you the right to
2 copy those documents, nor did you try to copy any of
3 those documents; is that correct?
4 MR. HAYMAN: Again, shifting the burden of
5 proof, Mr. President.
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this particular
7 witness went through a litany of six weeks of a
8 blow-by-blow description of all --
9 JUDGE JORDA: Continue. Your client has
10 described a certain process to support his thesis. It
11 seems to me quite normal that your opposing party, the
12 Prosecutor, should ask under which conditions he was
13 able to reach a certain source of documents and, if
14 necessary, the Judges could have asked that same
15 question under Rule 85.
16 So please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. General, going back to the question. The
19 question is: Nobody denied you the right to copy these
20 documents, nor did you try to copy any of these
21 documents; is that correct?
22 A. At the time, I didn't consider it necessary
23 to photocopy them because I thought that that is
24 something that my attorneys would be able to do, but I
25 wish to underline that it was the practice not to copy
1 anything in the archive.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, I think the witness
3 has answered your question, so please go on to the next
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Help us out, General. What else is in this
7 particular archive? Tell us what's in this archive, as
8 much as you can. What type of information, logbooks,
9 orders, your reports, Petkovic's reports? Tell us
10 what's in there.
11 A. Those were operative logbooks, logbooks kept
12 by the officer on duty, various reports, agreements,
13 orders, books regarding organisation, and other
14 documents which are kept in military commands.
15 Q. Would that include your notebooks that you
16 took throughout your tour in Central Bosnia?
17 A. Yes. My operative notebooks, yes.
18 Q. Well, you mentioned, during the course of
19 your testimony, an operative logbook and a war diary.
20 Could you tell us the difference between those two and
21 whether or not those two documents were in this
23 A. The difference between these two documents is
24 as follows: The war diary includes the more important
25 orders issued during the day and it is kept at the
1 level of the commander of the company, battalion,
2 brigade, and higher-level units. Also, meetings held
3 during the day with immediate subordinates and the most
4 important conclusions and assignments emanating from
5 those meetings.
6 The operative logbook is used to enter
7 operative activities by a particular command, broken
8 down by time and content of those activities, which
9 means that the operative logbook is far more detailed
10 than the war diary.
11 Q. Both of these documents are in this archive;
13 A. Yes. Those documents too are in the archive.
14 Q. Does it also include all of your orders?
15 A. Yes, it does include all orders.
16 Q. Now, tell me, General --
17 MR. KEHOE: We can take a look at the first
18 Defence Exhibit 268, which is the order -- second order
19 of mid-afternoon on the 15th of April, 1993. If we
20 could also take 269 while we're at it.
21 If we can start first on Exhibit 268, and
22 that is your order, General, of the 15th of April, 1993
23 to all the brigades, as well as the independent units,
24 the latter part of the afternoon of the 15th. My
25 interest, of course, is where this document went to for
1 record-keeping purposes. If you go to the last page on
2 the lower left-hand side, you have a notation there
3 that says "A/A"; does it not?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Usher, will you place it
5 properly under the ELMO?
6 What part of the document do you wish us to
8 MR. KEHOE: Just by the signature.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The last page, Mr. Usher,
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Do you see that, General?
13 A. Yes, I do. A copy of this document was
14 addressed to the archive.
15 Q. Now, that's the war archive, is it not, the
16 war archive in Siroki Brijeg?
17 A. I'm not sure whether it was sent there on
18 that day, but in any event, a copy was prepared for the
19 archive, for the war archive in Siroki Brijeg, yes.
20 Q. So eventually it was supposed to get to the
21 war archive, per your instructions on this order?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Let's look at the signature line on 269.
24 Again, this is Defence Exhibit 269.
25 MR. KEHOE: I believe it's the next page,
1 Mr. Usher, all the way to the bottom. I'm sorry. This
2 is only one page. I apologise.
3 Q. Now, General, this is the order, 269, the
4 order that is allegedly issued to Mario Cerkez at 0130
5 in the early morning hours of the 16th of April, 1993,
6 and it has no designation there sending it to the
7 archives; do you see that? This is a Defence Exhibit.
8 This has no designation there.
9 A. That is correct. It has no designation
10 because this order is typed by the operations officer
11 in the communications centre and not by the typist or
12 somebody else who is trained to correctly keep records,
13 but this order, like all others, was sent to the
14 archive of the Operative Zone and later on to the war
16 Q. General, if I can clarify your statement,
17 whether or not it has a designation to send it to the
18 archives, all of these documents that you have signed
19 go to the archive one way or another; is that right?
20 A. All documents of the Operative Zone command
21 went to the central archive, only this took a little
23 Q. Let's talk about some of the other documents
24 in this archive. Did this war archive contain the
25 investigative files on Ahmici that you discussed?
1 A. All documents that the Operative Zone command
2 had were filed in the archive. The archive did not
3 include all the documents that the security service had
4 related to the investigations or, rather, I did not
5 have access to those documents.
6 Q. Were the investigative files on Ahmici
7 contained in the war archive? Were they there? Mind
8 you, you were doing this review when you were the chief
9 of staff for the entire HVO. Were they at the war
11 A. The documents which the assistant for
12 security forwarded to the command of the Operative Zone
13 relating to the investigation in Ahmici were in the war
14 archive, and I was informed by an officer from the
15 security service that he did not have access to the
16 whole file on the investigation into Ahmici, but he
17 informed me that such a file exists. The same applies
18 to the last report dated the 30th of September, 1993.
19 This was conveyed to me by the assistant for security
20 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, that is, that he
21 handed the whole file to the security service
23 Q. So the information that was sent to you when
24 you were the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
25 Zone concerning Ahmici was in these archives; is that
2 A. I was given such information then, that is,
3 in September 1993, that the whole file had been handed
4 to the security service administration and that that
5 administration had undertaken an investigation into
6 that file. I did not have access to the whole file in
7 the war archive.
8 Q. General, let me make this very clear. Were
9 there any Ahmici investigation documents in the war
10 archive when you were reviewing them in November of
11 1995? Were there any, "Yes" or "No"?
12 A. I have already said that the whole file on
13 Ahmici was not accessible to me. Whether they were in
14 the war archive of Herceg-Bosna somewhere else, I do
15 not know.
16 Q. You said that the entire war archive was not
17 available for your review. Does that include the
18 Ahmici investigation?
19 A. I said that as regards Ahmici, I did not gain
20 insight into the order of the 17th of August. I
21 received an oral report from the assistant for security
22 who informed me that the whole file had been handed in
23 by him to the security service administration.
24 Q. Well, General, when you were in Siroki Brijeg
25 in November of 1995 reviewing these records that you
1 have talked about for the past several months, did you
2 attempt to try to look at the investigative file --
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, just a moment,
4 please. The questions and answers are a little
6 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Mr. President. There
7 used to be a time when we could pick it up in the
8 headphones, but the equipment, I guess, has gotten
10 Q. General, when you were in Siroki Brijeg
11 reviewing these documents, did you attempt to obtain
12 the investigative file on the Ahmici massacre?
13 A. I tried to get hold of all the documents that
14 were available to me at the time, including the whole
16 Q. Who did you ask?
17 A. I addressed all my requests to the defence
18 minister, and I asked for access to all those documents
19 from the defence minister.
20 Q. Who was that defence minister?
21 A. The defence minister was Vladimir Soljic.
22 Q. This minister of defence, Vladimir Soljic did
23 he deny you access to this Ahmici investigative file?
24 Was he the one who denied you the opportunity to review
1 A. I reviewed all the documents which I
2 considered to be important, but I was not able to get
3 hold of that file.
4 Q. That's not my question, General. My
5 question, and I'll read it for you very clear was
6 this: Now, we're talking about Vladimir Soljic. Was
7 he the individual who denied you access to review the
8 Ahmici investigative file? Was that the man who denied
9 you access?
10 A. I have already said that he gave me
11 permission to have access to documents in that archive,
12 and I reviewed those that I could find. In that
13 archive, I did not find the whole file on the
14 investigations into Ahmici, but I had information that
15 such a file had been completed and that it existed.
16 Q. General, I asked you whether or not you
17 attempted to get a review, obtain a review of the
18 Ahmici investigative file, and you said "Yes." Then
19 you said that the minister of defence, Mr. Soljic, gave
20 you permission. My question is, this minister of
21 defence, Mr. Soljic, was he the man who denied you
22 access to review that investigative file, this file
23 that has been at the very core of this case? Is he the
24 one who did it?
25 A. I have already answered, saying that I
1 reviewed all the documents I could find. The defence
2 minister at the time did not say to me, "You cannot
3 look at that." I was in such a position that I wanted
4 to find as many documents as possible as soon as
5 possible. I believe that my attorneys would be able to
6 get hold of all the documents.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, General Blaskic, but
8 you said that you were sure that the file on the Ahmici
9 massacre existed in that archive; is that what you
10 said? It existed, that file.
11 A. Mr. President, I was informed that the file
12 on Ahmici had been compiled, on the investigation into
13 Ahmici, that it was within the jurisdiction of the
14 security administration. I already said that the
15 archive was not all in one place. I don't know where
16 the security administration holds its files, and I had
17 no access to the administration for security.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. Well, General, did you specifically ask the
20 minister of defence to review the Ahmici files when you
21 saw that they were not at the war archive in Siroki
23 A. I reviewed, as I already said, the archive in
24 Siroki Brijeg and the documents which I had access to
25 in that archive. I did not review the archive of the
1 security service, and I did not ask the minister to
2 give me permission to review the security service
3 archive because I assumed I would not be given
4 permission to review those documents.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues has a
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, I should like to
8 know, how did you word your request to the defence
9 minister and in what way did he answer you in
10 authorising you to consult the archives? Can you give
11 us a general idea of this? "I asked for such and such
12 a thing and the answer was so and so."
13 A. Your Honour, I submitted a request to the
14 minister of defence asking that I be allowed access in
15 order to review all documents during the period from
16 '92 until May 1993 linked to the events in the Central
17 Bosnia Operative Zone and in the main headquarters of
18 the HVO.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And the answer? What was
20 the answer that you received?
21 A. I was granted permission to review those
22 documents in the war room of the archive, to read them
23 and to make notes about those documents.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, General. What
25 was the reply of the minister in answer to your
2 A. The answer of the minister was, as I was
3 saying, that he was allowing me to review the documents
4 and to make notes about those documents.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So if I have understood you
6 well, the defence minister authorised you to consult
7 all the documents?
8 A. All the documents of the Central Bosnia
9 Operative Zone command and the main headquarters of the
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, all documents
12 which were within the framework of your request. Let
13 me repeat. I have a feeling that you haven't heard
14 me. The defence minister authorised you to consult all
15 the documents which were within the confines of your
16 request, that is to say, the command of the Operative
17 Zone from such and such a date until such and such a
19 A. Yes, to review all those documents.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Allow me to say that you
21 have already told us here several times that the events
22 in Ahmici were always the focus of your concern. Is
23 that true? I think I understood that well.
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: What did you do when you
1 reached the section, if we may call it that, or the
2 building where those documents could have been
3 present? What did you do? What did you do in relation
4 to the documents concerning the infamous file on
6 A. I reviewed the documents which were
7 accessible to me in that section of the archive,
8 including orders and reports inclusive of the 25th of
9 May --
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, General. I'm
11 now speaking only in relation to the Ahmici documents.
12 What did you do upon arriving to the place where you
13 thought you might be able to find those documents?
14 Only in relation to the Ahmici documents, what did you
16 A. I took note of all the documents that I found
17 there. I made notes about the contents of those
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, but I'm going to
20 insist because I think this is the third time that I'm
21 saying the same thing. I don't know whether it's a
22 problem of translation. The purpose of my question is
23 only Ahmici. Therefore, what did you do in relation to
24 the hypothetical Ahmici documents? Have you understood
1 A. Let me try and answer to the best of my
2 ability. The question I got was what did I do with the
3 documents I found in connection with Ahmici. If that
4 is the question --
5 JUDGE JORDA: Not quite. That was not quite
6 the question. I don't think that is the question. I
7 share the concern of my colleague. Let me try again
8 for the fourth time.
9 You said throughout the examination-in-chief,
10 General, that this massacre in Ahmici and the
11 investigation that followed was a very major concern
12 for you as the commander and head of the Central Bosnia
13 Operative Zone. We are now in November 1995. You have
14 been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal.
15 You held a high post in the military hierarchy. You
16 have access to the archive, and you had a minister who
17 allowed you access to the archive.
18 The question which I'm also interested in is
19 what was your attitude towards that archive? Did you
20 find it to be too small in relation to the
21 investigations at the time of two years previously?
22 We're still talking about Ahmici. "I said this. I
23 said that. This is lacking. That is lacking," or on
24 the contrary, "There is nothing." I think that would
25 be the reasonable questions one would ask oneself or
1 were you satisfied in telling us, "I consulted the
2 documents that were at my disposal"?
3 The minister told me, "Look." I look, I find
4 that and that's all.
5 So the question was: Did you have any
6 additional curiosity in relation to this terrible
7 massacre which you yourself said was something that
8 left a mark on your command in Central Bosnia? Could
9 you please try and help us, help the Judges?
10 A. I think I have understood your question. I
11 believed that my attorneys would, without any problem,
12 be able to reach all the documents. At that time, I
13 reviewed the documents, and in the section of the
14 archive where I reviewed the documents, I couldn't find
15 any documents linked to the Ahmici file.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. General, just to follow up on that
18 statement --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
20 MR. KEHOE: I apologise.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I know you
22 received a number of questions on this point, so I
23 myself would like to be brief. If I do add to the
24 questions, it's only out of the recognition of the
25 importance of the point.
1 Did you tell the minister of defence that you
2 were indicted?
3 A. The Defence Minister learned that just as I
4 did, probably through a television or the newscasts
5 but, yes, later on I did tell him this, but he had
6 learned this just as I did.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: He knew. He knew that
8 you had been indicted?
9 A. Your Honour, he knew, because I assume that
10 he had also heard it because it was news that was
11 broadcast on television.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was it your impression
13 that he knew that you were searching for documents
14 which could assist your defence?
15 A. It seemed to me that he knew this and that he
16 understood it but, at the time, I myself did not have
17 legal counsel. Not being an attorney, I was looking
18 for documents without specifying which one. In other
19 words, I just asked for access to all documents, all
20 orders in an attempt to gather as many of those as
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I gather from your
23 previous replies that you understood that the Ahmici
24 file was a file of importance to your case. Is that
1 A. I understood this, and I attempted to have
2 this process brought to a conclusion. As commander of
3 the operation Spider, or Pauk, I did everything I could
4 to have this case thoroughly investigated.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What do you say to the
6 court on this point: Suppose you had told the minister
7 of defence that that file could be of importance to
8 your defence. Do you think he would have helped you to
9 find the file?
10 A. I talked to the minister of defence on all
11 activities relating to the preparation of defence. I
12 gained access to certain documents and to certain
13 orders relating to the Ahmici file. I took down
14 copious notes, and I thought that there would be no
15 problem -- at least at that time I believed there would
16 be no problem getting any documents, making them
17 available to my counsel, including all the documents
18 under the control of the war archive.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thought you said that
20 you assume that if you asked the minister for the
21 documents which were with security, that the minister
22 would not allow you to see the documents. Did you say
23 something to that effect?
24 A. That I had requested the documents?
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thought you had said,
1 and I may be in error, that you had assumed that if you
2 asked the minister for the documents which had been
3 handed over to security, that the minister would not
4 allow you to see the documents, or am I mistaken?
5 A. Your Honour, I believed that the door to this
6 archive would be open to my lawyers and that they would
7 have access to these documents. At that time, I was
8 attempting -- and this was a limited time that I had at
9 hand. I wanted to make as many notes as I could.
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me put it this way:
11 Is it your submission that there was no point asking
12 the minister for these documents?
13 A. I had assumed that that should my lawyers
14 request, these documents, that they would be given
15 access to them, my legal representatives.
16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was that a reason why
17 you yourself did not ask the minister for the
19 A. I became personally involved in taking notes
20 based on the documents which I had available, but I had
21 counted on my lawyers preparing a full defence.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But you had recognised
23 that the Ahmici file could be important to your
25 A. Yes. It is crucial for my defence, of
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues?
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have one
5 question. Who was the Defence Minister on the 16th of
6 April, 1993?
7 A. This was Mr. Bruno Stojic.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So the minister of defence
9 that you addressed yourself was another person? It was
10 not the same person?
11 A. Yes, that was a completely different person.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
13 JUDGE JORDA: I don't quite understand the
14 distinction that you're making. What could be conveyed
15 to your representatives and what could be conveyed to
16 you? I don't quite understand the distinction. You
17 said that if there was a file on Ahmici, they would
18 have refused access to you but that they would have
19 given access to your attorneys. Why would they have
20 refused access to you?
21 A. Mr. President, I said that I had used the
22 time that I had available to take down the notes from
23 the documents which I gained access to, and it was a
24 number of documents there. I believed that all the
25 documents would be made available to my lawyers. I am
1 not a lawyer and, at that time, I had not worked out my
2 entire defence.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, we insist on this
4 question. Perhaps it is just an opinion of mine, but
5 it is also my question for you. Was it necessary to
6 have a legal assistant to consult the Ahmici file?
7 A. As chief of main staff, when I had an
8 opportunity to have some influence over the SIS, I
9 tried to gain access to this file and I was denied it.
10 I don't know, Your Honour, what the reaction on the
11 part of the security service would have been had I
12 attempted to go further.
13 In other words, I used what I was given at
14 that point, and I was given the documents which I had
15 mentioned. Had I tried to go a step beyond that, I may
16 have been denied access to any documents, so I did not
17 want to experiment and push that, but I know as a
18 commander of the Pauk, or the Spider operation, I
19 should have been given access to that.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General.
21 Mr. Kehoe, continue, please.
22 Yes, Mr. Nobilo, you have an objection?
23 MR. NOBILO: No, Mr. President. This time
24 I'm just pointing that we have been examining the
25 witness for an hour and ten minutes, and to conform
1 with your decision, maybe we should stop now.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Have you finished with this
3 point, Mr. Kehoe? Do you have other questions
4 regarding these documents on Ahmici?
5 MR. KEHOE: I do, Mr. President. I have some
6 follow-up points on this particular issue, yes. I
7 would pursue it and finish approximately --
8 JUDGE JORDA: Let's have a 15-minute break
10 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 3.59 p.m.
12 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
13 be seated.
14 Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you,
16 Your Honours.
17 Q. Now, General --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Don't ask the same questions,
19 please, as the Judges.
20 MR. KEHOE: Just a wrinkle on the question.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Let's go on.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. On a similar note but not the same question,
24 General, after you realised that these Ahmici
25 investigations weren't in the central archive, did you
1 request of anybody in the security service to see if
2 you could see the investigation?
3 A. I did not request that of anybody in the
4 security service. I said that my primary goal was to
5 draw up a chronology of all the documents that I had
6 obtained with the hope that my attorneys would be able
7 to come by the documents that were not accessible to
9 Q. General, let us put Defence Exhibit 167 on
10 the ELMO, if we could. That's it, if we could take
11 that out. Thank you.
12 General, this is an organogram that was
13 introduced by the Defence. According to this
14 organogram, the security service, if you can put to
15 that on the chart, the security service answers to the
16 minister of defence, doesn't it?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you ask the minister of defence to order
19 the security service to allow you to look at the Ahmici
20 investigation, keeping in mind that at the time you are
21 the chief of staff of the entire HVO?
22 A. No, because after the indictment was raised
23 against me, I asked the defence minister for access to
24 all documents referred to in the indictment, and that,
25 of course, included documents on Ahmici. But I did ask
1 for access to the Ahmici file via the function of the
2 chief of staff of Operation Pauk, spider operation, and
3 I was informed by the security service that he himself
4 was blocked in that access. I believe then had I taken
5 a hard-line towards the minister and said that I only
6 wanted the Ahmici file at the time when the indictment
7 was raised against me, that I would have been left
8 without the chronology that I received.
9 Q. General, in November of 1995, you had been
10 indicted, and correct me if I'm wrong, but the bottom
11 line is you did not ask the minister of defence to
12 order SIS to produce this file for your review; isn't
13 that correct?
14 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered,
15 Mr. President.
16 MR. KEHOE: We are not talking about during
17 Operation Pauk, Mr. President. We are not talking
18 about sometime prior to 1994. We're talking about
19 after this particular accused was indicted and knew he
20 was indicted and that Ahmici was the crux of that
21 indictment. The question, Mr. President, is knowing
22 full well that this investigation or, according to the
23 investigation, that this investigation is with SIS, he
24 never went to the minister of defence to order the
25 minister of defence to have SIS, the security service,
1 produce this. This is a very simple point.
2 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness has
3 answered very simply and clearly. "At that time," the
4 witness said, "when I was indicted for Ahmici, when I
5 was not able to receive the Ahmici file during the Pauk
6 Operation, I believe that I would not have got it
7 subsequently either, and had I taken a hard-line, I
8 would have received nothing and everything would have
9 broken down," and the witness did answer along those
11 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo, I'm not quite sure
12 that that was what your client wanted to say, but that
13 is not my problem. I think Mr. Kehoe's question was
14 quite clear, I must say.
15 Can you try, without any comments - this is
16 obviously a very important point - but no comment
17 please, could you please rephrase very simply your
18 question without any commentary? Just rephrase the
19 question, and we're going to listen solely to the
20 answer of the witness.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, after you were indicted in November
23 of 1995, did you ask the minister of defence to order
24 the security service to produce the Ahmici
25 investigation to you for your review?
1 A. I did not ask the minister of defence to
2 issue that order, and if you will allow me,
3 Mr. President, let me clarify my answer, if I may.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead.
5 A. I did not ask because when I addressed the
6 defence minister, I asked to have an overview of all
7 the documents, and in 1995, that is to say, in 1994, as
8 the commander of Operation Pauk, I did not get the
9 files on Ahmici. I endeavoured to look through all the
10 documents and to make my own chronology of events, to
11 make a little notebook of that, and I was worried that
12 at that time --
13 JUDGE JORDA: You've already told us that, so
14 that is your only answer to the question of the
15 Prosecutor. Let us not go any further. The Prosecutor
16 asked you a question, you have answered that question,
17 and let us go on to the next one. I think the question
18 was clear and so was the answer. Please continue.
19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if I may, the
20 witness wanted to continue to explain, and I think that
21 the explanation is the most important part of the
23 JUDGE JORDA: I thought you were going to
24 criticise Judge Jorda. I would not give you that
25 satisfaction, that pleasure. I apologise, General
1 Blaskic, if you wanted to add something. I thought you
2 had finished, but I was wrong, so please continue after
3 my interruption, but try not to repeat what you have
4 already said.
5 A. Mr. President, thank you. I only wanted to
6 say that I was afraid that I would be left without any
7 documents whatsoever, that I would be left with nothing
8 in a situation of that kind.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Is that all right now,
10 Mr. Nobilo?
11 MR. NOBILO: I'm not satisfied with the
12 witness because he did not say why he would be left
13 with nothing. He did not finish his thought, the
14 thought that he expressed some ten minutes ago.
15 JUDGE JORDA: This time it is not the fault
16 of the President, so let's go on to the next question.
17 Next question, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. General, this war archive that you reviewed
20 in November of 1995, this was an archive that was in
21 existence when the federation was in existence; is that
23 A. Yes, it was the archive when the federation
24 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was in existence.
25 Q. I believe you were promoted to the position
1 in the HV in December of 1995; is that right?
2 A. In 1995, the year is correct, but I know
3 that, from the duty of the chief of the main staff, I
4 was replaced on the 1st of December, 1995. I don't
5 know the exact date when I was promoted to my next
7 Q. Did these records remain in that location
8 after the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in December
9 of 1995, in both Dayton and then the final accords
10 being signed in Paris? Do you know about that, sir?
11 A. I apologise. I'm not sure what notes you
12 have in mind, my own or which ones?
13 Q. I'm asking you a simple question concerning
14 the continuation of these archives, this war archive,
15 after the Dayton Peace Accords were signed, agreed to
16 in Dayton, I believe, and finally executed in Paris.
17 My question is did this archive remain in this location
18 after that?
19 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, the
20 interpretation that I received was where were the notes
21 from the previous question, and that is why this
22 question was not clear to me. Now I have been asked
23 where the archive was. If you're asking me where the
24 archive was, that is to say, after the signing of the
25 Dayton Accords, I cannot confirm with any certainty,
1 apart from saying that in the period from November to
2 the beginning of December, that I did my notes in the
3 archives at Siroki Brijeg in Feal.
4 Q. General, did you have access to these
5 archives after your promotion to General in the
6 Croatian army? Did you continue to have access to
7 these documents?
8 A. I took my notes with me, and I already had my
9 attorney and then did not enter into this file myself
10 personally after that.
11 Q. Now, when you went to the Republic of Croatia
12 and you were in the Chief Inspectorate, did you have
13 access to the Croatian files of the Republic of
15 JUDGE JORDA: The witness told us that he was
16 not a General Inspector, so we have the same error
18 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Mr. President. I
19 think he was an inspector in the Chief Inspectorate
21 Q. But I do believe, General, you were a General
22 in the HV when you took your office in December of
23 1995; is that right?
24 A. Yes, Your Honours. I was never the Chief
25 Inspector, but I was in the Chief Inspectorate of the
1 Defence Ministry of the Republic of Croatia, and at
2 that time I never --
3 JUDGE JORDA: I don't quite understand that.
4 Let us clarify once and for all what you were.
5 This morning we were told that you were
6 Inspector, a General Inspector. You said, "No." So I
7 took the liberty to correct Mr. Kehoe.
8 You were a General in the Inspectorate. When
9 you say you were a General in the Inspectorate, then in
10 the army of my country you would be the General
11 Inspector. Maybe Mr. Kehoe was not wrong after all but
12 only you can tell us.
13 A. Mr. President, perhaps the problem is in the
14 interpretation, but I always say the same. What you
15 said is correct. In the army, the Croatian army, there
16 is the duty of the Chief Inspector, but I was never the
17 Chief Inspector. There is a body which is called the
18 Chief Inspectorate. It is an institution. I was one
19 of the Inspectors in that institution of Inspectorate.
20 JUDGE JORDA: At the rank of General?
21 A. Yes, with the rank of General.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I solemnly declare that I have
24 Mr. Kehoe, you can continue with your
25 questions. Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe. I think the
1 meaning of your question was that in view of the level
2 in the hierarchy that the witness had, he could have
3 had access.
4 MR. KEHOE: Exactly.
5 Q. Did you have access to the files of the
6 Republic of Croatia?
7 A. I did not have access.
8 Q. Did you ask or make any request to access the
9 files of the army of the Republic of Croatia?
10 A. I did not make any request, and I personally
11 did not consider that I should do so.
12 Q. Now, General, do you have any idea what
13 happened to the war archive that you reviewed in Siroki
15 A. Your Honours, at that time I was preoccupied
16 with questions of layman's preparation for a defence,
17 whether professional -- how professional I don't know.
18 I also went to the clinic every other day where my wife
19 was to give birth. In preparation to come to The
20 Hague, my attorney discussed matters with the chief
21 Prosecutor. So those were my main preoccupations at
22 the time.
23 Q. My question is: Do you know what happened to
24 that archive?
25 A. I don't know. I don't know what happened to
1 the archive. I have no knowledge as to that matter.
2 Q. General, are you aware of the fact that the
3 Office of the Prosecutor had been attempting to review
4 and examine, with Court orders and binding orders from
5 this Chamber, to review the documents that were located
6 in that archive and that reviewed commenced -- or that
7 request commenced as early as January of '97? Were you
8 aware of that?
9 MR. HAYMAN: Relevance, Mr. President?
10 JUDGE JORDA: I'm waiting for the follow-up
11 to that question to see whether this objection of
12 Mr. Hayman can be sustained or not.
13 MR. KEHOE: My simple question is: Did he
14 know that the Office of the Prosecutor was attempting
15 to get that information?
16 MR. HAYMAN: In 1997, Mr. President. So
18 JUDGE JORDA: You see, from time to time,
19 Mr. Hayman, you also need to ask a question. So we'll
20 ask Mr. Kehoe to pose his question.
21 What is your question, Mr. Kehoe?
22 MR. KEHOE: I'll rephrase the question in a
23 different fashion.
24 Q. General, who was Ante Jelavic?
25 A. Ante Jelavic is a member of the presidency of
1 the federation, that is, a member of the presidency of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and president of the HDZ of
4 Q. Was he a colleague of yours in the HVO during
5 the war?
6 A. During the war he was employed by the Defence
7 Ministry, and I had very rare meetings with him,
8 infrequent, because it is not the same department. He
9 worked as assistant minister of defence, and I was
10 never one of the assistants of the Defence Ministry. I
11 knew him personally but we were not close friends.
12 Q. Well, General, what rank did Ante Jelavic
14 MR. HAYMAN: Relevance, Mr. President? We
15 have a relevance objection. I think I know what
16 inference Mr. Kehoe is suggesting and it's insidious.
17 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, that question is
18 just absurd.
19 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have a proffer.
20 MR. KEHOE: We will get to the proffer.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Listen, this is a highly
22 knowledgeable debate between the two of you, but I
23 would like the Judges to be able to participate in this
25 For the moment, I would like to know what was
1 the question of Mr. Kehoe. So please rephrase your
2 question. For the moment you are asking questions
3 about the identity of Mr. Jelavic, but for Mr. Hayman
4 this seems to evoke questions which are not relevant.
5 So what would you like to ask Mr. Kehoe?
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. The question is: What rank did Ante Jelavic
8 have when he was in the HVO?
9 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I know that he
10 had the rank of General, but which General exactly,
11 whether Major General or a higher or lower rank, I'm
12 not quite sure, General three star, whatever. I know
13 when he had the rank of Brigadier as well.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Kehoe.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. General, Ante Jelavic, was he a member of the
18 A. I don't know of that fact. I don't have
19 knowledge of that. I know that he was a member of the
20 logistics of the HVO.
21 Q. One last final exhibit in this area. If I
22 could just show the witness and have the witness
23 confirm a piece of information from this letter. This
24 is a letter to Judge McDonald of the 14th of March,
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, you see that I have
2 rejected your objection because I cannot judge the
3 relevance of a question which apriori doesn't seem to
4 be fully grounded in view of everything that has been
5 said this afternoon regarding the access of your client
6 to the archive, and we have to know what we're talking
7 about for the future.
8 For the moment, Mr. Registrar, we'll provide
9 this exhibit.
10 Is it a new exhibit of the Prosecution
11 Mr. Kehoe?
12 MR. KEHOE: It is, Mr. President.
13 MR. HAYMAN: I agree, Mr. President, that the
14 relevance of this line of inquiry hasn't been apparent,
15 but I would submit that it is the Prosecutor's burden
16 to tell the Court why it's relevant before we get five,
17 six, seven, eight questions and spend ten minutes on
19 JUDGE JORDA: I think that's what he's about
20 to do. For six weeks you made questions and nobody
21 queried the relevance for the Defence. I think that we
22 must also allow the Prosecution to continue.
23 The Judges are here to preserve a balance.
24 The Judges have no particular interest in the
25 proceedings, they are just trying to maintain a balance
1 between the right of the Defence and the right of the
2 Prosecution. Why? Because the Judges need to
3 establish the truth. For moment, we will see whether
4 the Prosecution is going to prove the relevance of this
5 question regarding Mr. Jelavic. If now, we will see.
6 THE REGISTRAR: So it is exhibit 575 and 575A
7 for the English version.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, if you will, could you take a look
10 at this letter, please?
11 JUDGE JORDA: Let me repeat Mr. Hayman's
12 question. I have the document in English. I may be
13 wrong in some points, but could you explain the meaning
14 of the question that you are asking, Mr. Kehoe?
15 MR. KEHOE: The preliminary question, of
16 course, Your Honour, is that this carried with it a
17 subpoena signed by, first, Judge McDonald, where the
18 various documents were the subject of this litigation,
19 including the Ahmici investigation, including all of
20 the information that this witness has discussed for the
21 past six weeks, was requested by the Office of the
23 This particular letter was written by the
24 federation minister of defence who, during his tenure
25 in the HVO, was a flag officer. Initially, he had been
1 an officer in the HV. He was a flag officer rising to
2 the rank of General. Certainly as a General, he knew
3 full well that there was a war archive.
4 Nevertheless, in paragraph 2 of this
5 document, after requesting the information in the
6 subpoena litigation, this witness -- this particular
7 individual, Ante Jelavic, tells Judge McDonald,
8 "According to the information at my disposal, the
9 Croatian Defence Council ("HVO") as an army formed
10 during the war, never had a centralised military
12 This particular -- I'm sorry.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. Have you
14 completed your question, because Mr. Hayman wants to
15 respond? Continue if not.
16 MR. KEHOE: I have a specific question
17 directed to the accused concerning that statement by
18 Mr. Jelavic because it pertains not only to the
19 Prosecutors but also this Chamber's request to gain
20 access to this information for almost two years or over
21 two years.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I must say that is a Sisyphus
23 task that we have had, but what is your question,
24 Mr. Kehoe.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. My question is this, General: When Ante
2 Jelavic told Judge McDonald in this letter on the 14th
3 of March, 1997, that the HVO never had a centralised
4 military archive, Mr. Jelavic was lying to Judge
5 McDonald; wasn't he?
6 MR. HAYMAN: Now we have the question,
7 Mr. President, and we can frame the issue, which is
8 relevance. Is General Blaskic to be judged in whole or
9 in part based on whether some other official, years
10 after he was indicted and years after General Blaskic
11 came to The Hague, whether they lied, whether they
12 practised deceit or deception towards the Office of the
13 Prosecutor or towards this Tribunal?
14 The inference the Prosecutor is offering is
15 that somehow General Blaskic is responsible for the
16 Prosecutor's failure to access this archive.
17 Otherwise, what's the relevance? Otherwise, what is
18 the relevance?
19 JUDGE JORDA: Wait a minute. It is your
20 conclusion, Mr. Hayman. Secondly -- you have something
21 else to add perhaps, Mr. Hayman?
22 MR. HAYMAN: It's my conclusion because the
23 Prosecutor still hasn't stated the grounds of relevance
24 for this line of questioning or this document. So some
25 gentlemen wasn't candid, if that's the argument. So
1 what? The question is: How is it relevant to the
2 guilt or innocence of our client?
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please reserve your comments
4 for your closing statement and do not dictate to the
5 Judges what is relevant and what is not. You know
6 there was a binding minding order, and the Judges are
7 rather interested about orders for the production of
8 documents because you know very well that this order by
9 Madam McDonald affects this case which had a very long
10 Calvary and which is still not over.
11 So please be kind enough, Mr. Kehoe, to
12 continue with your questioning.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. General, my question is very simple. When
15 you wrote this letter, was Ante Jelavic lying to Judge
16 McDonald about the existence of a central military
17 archive of the HVO?
18 A. Your Honours, my answer to that question
19 would be as follows: The minister of defence and the
20 Ministry of Defence was in charge of the establishment
21 of the war archive. I do not know the de facto state,
22 that is, how far they had gone towards the
23 establishment of a war archive. All I know is what I
24 reviewed on the basis of the permission given to me by
25 the Defence Ministry, and that was documents of the
1 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and the main staff of the
2 HVO. I don't know where the other parts of the archive
3 were located, how the archive was organised, whether
4 that organisation had been completed or not.
5 This document was dated the 14th of March,
6 '97, and it is the Ministry of Defence of the
7 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as far as I can see.
8 I don't know. I can't make a decision as to the
9 document and what Ante Jelavic had in mind and whether
10 he was telling the truth or not.
11 Q. Well, General, you being chief of staff and
12 Mr. Jelavic at one time being a flag officer in the
13 HVO, he certainly would have known about the existence
14 of a war archive that you have been talking about for
15 the past two hours; isn't that correct?
16 A. I spoke about that part of the war archive
17 which I reviewed. The Ministry of Defence has a number
18 of departments, Your Honour. The main staff is only
19 one of the departments of the Ministry of Defence.
20 There is the department for the military police, for
21 security, for logistics, for health, personnel, and so
23 Q. General, let's shift subjects away from the
24 archive issue.
25 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Mr. President. I
1 don't know if you wanted to ask any questions in that
2 regard because I was going to move to another subject.
3 JUDGE JORDA: No, but this whole document is
4 extremely interesting for the continuation regarding
5 binding orders on the production of evidence, and we
6 Judges have to devote extreme attention to this
7 document within the framework of our debate.
8 For the moment, go on to your next question,
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
11 Q. Let us shift gears, General. Mr. Usher, I'm
12 done with that document for the moment. I'd like to
13 talk about your military career, and I'm, of course,
14 not going to go into everything, General, but it will
15 be more episodic in nature.
16 Now, what year did you go to the military
18 A. I went to the military academy when I was 18,
19 almost 19.
20 Q. What year would that have been, sir?
21 A. This was the 1979/1980 academic year, but I
22 also completed the military secondary school for two
23 years, so that would have been between 1977 to '79.
24 That would have been the third and fourth year of the
25 military secondary school.
1 Q. Now, in response to some questions by my
2 learned friend, Mr. Nobilo, you talked about your
3 living accommodations when you were at the military
4 academy in Belgrade and how your living accommodations
5 encompassed a multi-ethnic type of arrangement. Do you
6 recall that testimony?
7 A. Yes. This was the case both in the military
8 secondary school and the military academy, so that
9 would mean from my sixteenth or seventeenth year on.
10 Q. Now, General, this was the procedure that was
11 employed at these military academies as the standard
12 practice; isn't that correct?
13 A. I assume that it was so. My secondary school
14 was called the Brotherhood and Unity school, and our
15 accommodations were arranged so that the ethnic key was
17 Q. So you are not testifying on those issues
18 before this Trial Chamber -- concerning the
19 multi-ethnicity of your living arrangements, you were
20 not trying to infer that that was an indication of your
21 ethnic tolerance, were you?
22 A. I'm afraid I did not fully understand your
23 question. Could you please repeat it for me?
24 Q. Well, I'm just asking a question because this
25 was brought out in some detail by my learned friend,
1 Mr. Nobilo, and he seemed to describe a situation
2 within the military academy where all the ethnicities
3 were in one building. You just stated that that was
4 the standard practice in the military academy, also the
5 secondary military academy. My question, based on that
6 evidence brought out by Mr. Nobilo, was by delivering
7 that evidence, you were not trying to give those living
8 arrangements up as an appearance of ethnic tolerance,
9 were you, given the fact that this was the standard
10 practice in the academy? Is my question clear?
11 A. Not fully clear but let me try to answer it
13 Mr. President, Your Honours, I was born in a
14 local commune which was multi-ethnic. There were
15 Croats, Muslims, Bosniaks, Gypsies there. I completed
16 my elementary school with members of different ethnic
17 groups. These were my first door neighbours, and I was
18 brought up in that spirit. This continuity went on
19 through my military education, and also later on when I
20 was in the residential hotels for military personnel, I
21 always socialised with everyone.
22 Q. My point is that the multi-ethnicity of JNA
23 facilities and in the academy was something that was
24 standard practice; correct?
25 A. Perhaps it was the practice.
1 Q. Let's follow that up. Ratko Mladic went to
2 the same military academy as you did.
3 A. I don't know whether he went to the same
4 military academy as I did.
5 Q. Trust me. He did.
6 A. He's quite a bit older than me. It is
7 possible. I don't know. I just said that I did not
9 JUDGE JORDA: Let us not raise such matters
10 here. It is very simple. The question was whether
11 this was a generalised practice in the JNA, to have an
12 ethnic mix in the dormitories and the barracks? That's
13 all. Can you answer that quickly? Then go on to your
14 next question.
15 A. Mr. President, I think that it's much clearer
16 to me now. Yes, there was a practice that the
17 criterion of national or ethnic composition be
18 respected, and that was so not only in the military.
19 JUDGE JORDA: That's the answer, isn't it,
20 Mr. Kehoe?
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, it is, Mr. President.
22 Q. Now, General, you also noted during the
23 course of your direct examination that in the military
24 academy, you had taken a military law course; do you
25 recall that?
1 A. Yes. In the first semester in 1979, there
2 was a course in military law.
3 Q. As part of your training in the academy with
4 the military law course and also the infantry training
5 that you took, you were instructed and taught in JNA
6 procedures on how to issue orders; isn't that right?
7 A. I'm sorry. It was a bit lengthy, the
8 question, if you could just repeat the point.
9 Q. In your training in the military academy,
10 were you trained in JNA procedures concerning the steps
11 to be used to issue an order, an order to be issued to
12 your subordinates?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In that order that you were taught to present
15 to your subordinates, a feature of that order,
16 especially attack orders, was a provision concerning
17 the protection of civilians; isn't that right?
18 A. I would need some extra time to answer this
19 question. It was a matter of securing combat
20 operations, and within that, this measure included an
21 obligation to conduct combat operations against
22 military targets. However, there was little practical
23 training in the JNA relating to the application of
24 these provisions of the international law of war. I
25 think that it was sometime in 1989 when certain rules
1 were issued.
2 In the units where I served, no seminars or
3 other forms of practical applications were ever
4 organised because the concept of the former JNA was,
5 for the most part, defence from the outside enemy which
6 would include all the structure of the former
7 Yugoslavia. According to this concept, the combat
8 operations in the depth of the territory were not
9 foreseen as something that would be a major thing.
10 Q. General, within the JNA, the JNA had a manual
11 of instructions on giving orders, and in that manual,
12 you were instructed that part of the orders that you
13 were to give had to contain a section concerning
14 protection of civilians; isn't that right?
15 A. I'm not aware of such orders as you have put
16 them verbatim, but I know about securing the combat
17 operations, and within those, there is a provision
18 relating to the protection of civilians. There was a
19 standard procedure of issuing orders in the JNA. It
20 had its models.
21 Q. In that standard procedure, part of the
22 standard procedure called for a paragraph warning
23 subordinates to protect civilians; isn't that right?
24 A. Yes. In this standardised procedure, I wish
25 I had it handy so I could refer to it, but I don't
1 believe that it was as you are interpreting it
2 verbatim. This provision had to do with the --
3 somewhere it was articulated that security and
4 protection, and sometimes it was as the securing of --
5 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I have the
6 feeling that you're a little tired. Would you like us
7 to have a break?
8 THE ACCUSED: Yes, Mr. President. That would
9 be nice.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Let's have a break now.
11 --- Recess taken at 4.44 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.58 p.m.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Better now,
14 General Blaskic? Is everything all right?
15 A. Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor?
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, thank you.
18 Q. General, let's go back to this topic
19 concerning these JNA procedures on orders. Could you
20 tell us, this provision in the JNA instructions that
21 calls for a part of an order that requires the army to
22 protect civilian population, tell us about those
24 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I'm not clear to
25 which order it is referred. Is it for the attack or
1 defence? So let me try to explain in general the
2 points of this order as part of the standard procedure
3 of the former JNA.
4 It consisted -- the information on the enemy,
5 that would have been the first standard point, then the
6 tasks of your own units, then information on the
7 neighbours, then the decision of the commander, and
8 then the tests of deployment and securing the combat
9 operations, and then within that point there was a
10 subpoint on security, but the question that was asked
11 of me regarding the protection of civilians was an
12 issue that was regulated by the law and it was not part
13 of the standard orders. Its application was implicit.
14 Q. General, do you recall giving a statement in
15 the presence of your then Defence attorney Mr. Hodak on
16 the 12th of June, 1996, and let me read to you the
17 question and read your answer.
18 "Q Starting with the JNA but at any time
19 were you given legal instruction in
20 relation how to avoid civilian
21 casualties or what you should do, what
22 your legal obligations were in relation
23 to civilians in an area where you were
24 conducting military operations?"
25 Your answer:
1 "A Okay. We did cover this in the JNA. We
2 worked on certain instructions and on
3 certain warnings that we had to issue to
4 civilians as to how they should act in
5 event of a military operation, and we
6 also learned what kind of warnings we
7 should issue to soldiers involved in a
8 military exercise.
9 Q These instructions, were they contained
10 in any kind of text, legal text or
11 manual of instruction?"
12 Your answer:
13 "A In 1990, we were issued a set of
14 instructions in the ex-JNA, in the
15 former JNA, regarding the provisions of
16 the international law of war, but as
17 regards written, when you ask me about
18 written instructions, they were
19 incorporated in the organisational order
20 for a particular military exercise or
21 drill, and one of the items in that
22 organisational order concerned this
24 Do you recall being asked those questions and
25 giving those answers?
1 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have a page and what
2 interview, with whom?
3 MR. KEHOE: The page is 00410961. That is
4 the page, iffing page, the internal Office of the
5 Prosecutor page. The transcript is from the 12th of
6 June, 1996.
7 Q. Do you recall being asked those questions and
8 giving those answers?
9 A. Yes, and allow me to clarify something.
10 Today, Your Honours, I was asked about standard
11 procedures. With that, I mean standard procedures for
12 issuing orders as regulated by the former JNA or
13 something that was called a framework to the staffs,
14 and I am not aware that this existed as a separate item
15 in this general order.
16 I said that the protection of civilians was a
17 legal obligation in the form of a warning. It was
18 issued to the soldiers, and in terms of the planning of
19 the organisational orders it was also included, and
20 this international law of war manual was issued in
21 1990. I personally read it in 1991, but it did not
22 have a practical application. In other words, it was
23 not used in training. If they were military exercises,
24 of course the measures of protection were implicit
25 there, but the document of combat order is not the same
1 as this warning or other documents which had been
3 Q. General, you noted during that interview, and
4 I quote you, "When you ask me about written
5 instructions, they were incorporated in the
6 organisational order for a particular military exercise
7 or drill."
8 Now --
9 A. Yes, except this organisational order is a
10 whole manual. It was a document that looks something
11 like this, and here you ask me about the combat order.
12 I think you quoted the one that relates to the attack,
13 and within that order there is also a warning about how
14 to treat civilians.
15 Q. So the bottom line, General, is in an attack
16 order you, as a responsible officer, should include a
17 paragraph concerning the protection of civilians; isn't
18 that correct?
19 A. I need and have to include a paragraph which
20 says the security of combat operations. This is the
21 doctrine of the JNA. The doctrine of the JNA was
22 relating more to the protection of the outside borders,
23 and the protection of civilians was implicit as
24 something that was mandatory.
25 Q. My question -- did you understand my
1 question, General? My question is: In the order are
2 you required, as a JNA officer, to include a provision
3 concerning the protection of civilians? "Yes" or
5 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.
6 Mr. President, the witness does not have to answer a
7 question "Yes" or "No" if it cannot be answered "Yes"
8 or "No." He's answered the question, in any event.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, he gave us an
10 operational command. The question is very simple, and
11 that is he required by these JNA instructions that he
12 received in 1990 to include such information in an
13 attack order, in an order? Is he required to do that?
14 That's a "Yes" or "No" answer.
15 MR. HAYMAN: He's answered the question, but
16 I would also comment. Mr. Kehoe, he's talking about
17 orders, and then works in there "attack order," back
18 and forth. Is it a standard procedure? Does it have
19 to be in an attack order? He's switching back and
20 forth. It's a sleight of hand. I want to say that to
21 the Court.
22 MR. KEHOE: Well, I'll tell you,
23 Mr. President, he's talking about military exercises
24 here. The JNA wasn't even at war and they were
25 required to put a provision in there on protection of
1 civilians. So I'll just say any order. If you want to
2 call it an attack order, a defence order, any type of
3 order. If there are times when he has to include it
4 and not include it --
5 JUDGE JORDA: It seems to me that it was your
6 client that introduced this distinction as to the kind
7 of order in question. We heard from the beginning of
8 the answer in that way. Your client said, "But you're
9 asking me questions regarding orders. The distinction
10 must be made between combat orders and current
11 operational orders."
12 Be that as it may, Mr. Kehoe, put your
13 question and, General Blaskic, please answer as simply
14 as you can. So rephrase your question, please.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. General, in an order, and we'll limit it to
17 the two you limited it to, a defensive order or an
18 attack order, were you required in the JNA to include a
19 provision instructing your soldiers on the protection
20 of civilians?
21 A. I just received -- what is this, instructions
22 to protect civilians, or to the soldiers, or for --
23 could you just ask -- I'll just ask you: What was the
24 reference that you base your question on? I want to
25 know what the investigators were using at the time.
1 MR. NOBILO: Your Honours, I think I
2 understand what the misunderstanding here may be. When
3 giving a full foundation for the question, he quotes
4 General Blaskic's interview three years ago, which has
5 to do with the manual on military exercise which is the
6 size of the file which is in front of General Blaskic
7 right now. Then when asking questions, he only talks
8 about an order, which is a single sheet of paper, and
9 he seems to identify those two as the same. Then he
10 says, "I have, in this manual on the military exercise,
11 which was submitted to the Prosecution, there must have
12 been a separate item relating to this protection of
13 civilians." I believe that the Prosecutor is confusing
14 these two, the whole file and this single document. I
15 think that's where the confusion comes from.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I think simply we have to know
17 whether at the level of the hierarchy that you
18 occupied, General Blaskic, in the procedures which you
19 studied at the military academy and which you
20 implemented during war, was protection of civilians a
21 component part of current procedure, defensive or
22 offensive orders? That is all that I see to this
23 question. It seems to me rather simple, so please try
24 and answer it.
25 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, as far as I
1 know, and I base my knowledge on the rules regarding
2 the infantry, company, battalion, brigade, there was a
3 standard order point which was called "Security of
4 Combat Operations." There was no standard point or
5 item in the order which would be called "Protection of
6 Civilians," but within the framework of security of
7 combat operations, under that point a measure was
8 envisaged for the protection of civilians, but it was
9 implicitly implied as a legal obligation. If we open
10 any manual of the former JNA, there is no separate
11 point called "Protection of Civilians," as far as I
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Now, General, this particular point was
15 incorporated in this paragraph on security of combat
16 operations and you noted to us, during the course of
17 your direct testimony, that you maintain that you were
18 dealing with an army of peasants. My question for you,
19 General, is: Given your belief that you were dealing
20 with an army of peasants, do you think it was more
21 important or very important to instruct this army of
22 peasants on their obligation to civilians when you
23 issued combat orders? Do you think that was important,
24 given your JNA training and given your training in the
25 military academy?
1 A. I thought it was important, but if I may, I
2 should like to clarify this answer briefly. The
3 question of armed peasants and the question of humane
4 treatment were something that I discussed in April 1992
5 with representatives of the humanitarian organisation
6 Medecins sans Frontière and with Mr. Kouchner in
7 Kiseljak, with officials of the International Red
8 Cross, requiring training for those armed peasants and
9 commanders so that they should be taught how to
11 I personally, in 1992, distributed, to my
12 commanders, calendars containing obligation to respect
13 the Geneva Conventions and other provisions of
14 international law. We organised a number of seminars
15 in the command. One of the items, when assessing
16 preparations for an operation, was protection of
17 civilians and the behaviour towards civilian
18 facilities. This was an item within the framework of
19 an assessment of the territory where combat operations
20 can be expected to take place.
21 Q. Well, General, let's look at Defence
22 Exhibit 267, 268, and 269, your combat orders on the
23 15th and 16th of April of 1993.
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, after showing
25 General Blaskic those three, just have Defence
1 Exhibit 299 and Defence Exhibit 300. The first three,
2 267, 268, and 269. Just the first three first, 267,
3 268, and 269.
4 Q. General, look through those documents. Those
5 documents have been the subject of much discussion
6 during the course of this trial. I expect it'll be a
7 discussion quite a bit more.
8 Peruse those documents, and I may be wrong,
9 but the only provision on security that I see in these
10 three exhibits is in 268, paragraph 3, but I'd like you
11 to take a look at them and answer for yourself.
12 Have you finished reviewing all three,
14 A. Not all three of them. Can I have another
15 minute, please?
16 Q. Sure. Take your time, sir. I thought you
17 were through.
18 A. Yes. I have reviewed the documents.
19 Q. Now, General, in none of these three orders,
20 these three Defence exhibits, is there any caution to
21 your peasant army concerning protection of civilians,
22 is there?
23 A. First of all, the document, Your Honours,
24 267, Exhibit 267, is a preparatory order rather than an
25 executive order. Generally speaking, it says what one
1 has to be ready for rather than what needs to be done.
2 It is not an executive order.
3 Secondly, document 268, there is a paragraph
4 on security and protection measures, but the order is
5 clear and precise and has to do with action in relation
6 to sabotage terrorist groups. So when the task of our
7 forces is discussed in this paragraph -- actually, what
8 I wanted to say was when the task is mentioned, then it
9 is clearly specified that action must be taken against
10 sabotage terrorist groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade.
11 In order number 269, it says, "Other points
12 of the order are in conformity with previously
13 specified instructions." I wish to point out that the
14 standard procedure, as I have already said, envisaged
15 security of combat operations and measures of security
16 and protection, but the procedure did not envisage
17 protection of civilians according to the standard
18 doctrine and documents, command documents of the JNA.
19 In the first half of 1993, we organised a
20 seminar in Busovaca on the Geneva Conventions, on the
21 protection of civilians, and before issuing orders, an
22 assessment of the situation was made when one of the
23 points was protection of civilians. When I explained
24 the operation on Grbavica, I mentioned this, and I wish
25 to underline that the question of protection of
1 civilians was addressed through the training of
2 commanders by distributing brief instructions, as we
3 did in 1992, or by holding lectures or giving specific
4 written instructions or warnings to that effect.
5 Q. General, the bottom line is there is not a
6 single word about the protection of civilians in these
7 three exhibits, is there? Not a single word.
8 A. In these three orders, the aim of the
9 operations clearly defined. I already said that the
10 first order was exclusively of a preparatory nature,
11 whereas the other two orders were executive in nature
12 with a clearly defined aim of operations, both in terms
13 of area and in terms of military objectives.
14 Protection of civilians was an obligation envisaged by
15 law, and the standard regulations of the JNA did not
16 envisage such a point in orders. We were not trained
17 to have a special point on that matter in our orders.
18 Q. Didn't you say about ten minutes ago,
19 General, that in the security section of an order, the
20 JNA called for a comment concerning the civilian
21 population? Didn't you just say that?
22 MR. HAYMAN: He said it was implicit. If
23 counsel has a page and a line, we would be happy to
24 look at it. We can go back to it, but we would like a
25 page and a line.
1 MR. KEHOE: Let me ask the witness if the
2 witness would answer, as opposed to having counsel
3 answer, because I think the recollection of everybody
4 in this court other than counsel is that this witness
5 said that in the security section, there was a comment
6 that was normally included concerning the protection of
7 civilians, and the security and protection measures
8 section in these orders is in 268, paragraph 3.
9 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, at least three or
10 maybe five times, the witness has said that, according
11 to the JNA doctrine, he was not obliged to include
12 protection of civilians in the combat orders but that
13 that was a legal obligation. He has said that at least
14 three to five times.
15 A. Mr. President, may I add that I'm not
16 familiar with any rule in the former JNA that envisaged
17 a separate item in the order devoted to protection of
18 civilians. For example, as in document 268, the first
19 item, the enemy --
20 JUDGE JORDA: But it was not prohibited.
21 Surely the JNA did not prohibit you to include a point
22 concerning protection of civilians.
23 A. Mr. President, possibly it did not prohibit
24 it, but I'm talking about standard procedure,
25 regulations on the basis which we were educated,
1 trained, et cetera. I did introduce such a procedure
2 in the HVO as well as when I was the chief of staff.
3 This point was always included.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Let's be logical. I think the
5 Prosecution has shown you three orders envisaging no
6 specific protection of civilians. That is quite
7 clear. The questions were put to you. You have
8 answered them. The Defence is entitled to comment on
9 it in its possible rebuttal.
10 Anyway, we must stop now as it is 5.30. Let
11 me remind you that for tomorrow and the days that
12 follow, I think the Prosecution should be able, like
13 the Defence was, to do its job. We realise it is all
14 very complex and difficult.
15 Have you finished with this point,
16 Mr. Kehoe?
17 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President, I haven't.
18 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to break now for
19 this evening. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and we resume at
20 10.00; isn't that so?
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I simply draw your attention to
23 this matter. We are constrained in time. The
24 Prosecutor owes us a reply on Article 71, and I like
25 the observations that you make and which we do listen
1 to, that they be made in such a way that they do not
2 keep interrupting the debate. Of course, if they are
3 inevitable, they have to be made. Otherwise, we won't
4 finish by July, according to the Greek calendar, as we
5 in French like to put it.
6 Mr. Prosecutor, do you have an answer on Rule
8 MR. HARMON: Not at this time,
9 Mr. President. The Prosecutor has returned from
10 Africa. I need to consult with her. I have started
11 those consultations but I haven't an answer.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Don't forget the matter,
13 please. Thank you very much.
14 We will resume tomorrow at 10.00 a.m.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
17 the 13th day of April, 1999 at
18 10.00 a.m.