1 Tuesday, 13th April, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.11 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning. Mr. Registrar,
5 please have the witness brought in.
6 (The witness/accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: We are resuming the hearing. I
8 should like to say good morning to the interpreters,
9 counsel for the Prosecution, counsel for the Defence,
10 the accused. I should like to point out that the
11 accused, General Blaskic, is here in the capacity of a
12 witness under oath, and he is answering questions by
13 the Prosecutor within the framework of the
15 Before beginning, Mr. Prosecutor, have you
16 thought about the question of the organisation of our
17 work and the possibility of using Rule 71, that is,
18 deposition testimony?
19 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Mr. President.
20 Good morning, Your Honours. We have not come to a
21 resolution of that yet. I will be hopefully discussing
22 the issue with the Prosecutor this afternoon or after
23 the session this evening.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I'm just drawing
25 your attention to the fact that it will be extremely
1 difficult to complete the presentation of evidence
2 before the end of the month of July, and that is why
3 I'm emphasising this matter.
4 In that case, we can go on with Mr. Kehoe, I
5 think, who is doing the cross-examination on behalf of
6 the Prosecution.
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
8 Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, Counsel.
9 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
11 Q. Good morning, General.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. General, we left off yesterday discussing the
14 three orders that you issued on the 15th and 16th of
15 April, Defence Exhibits 267, 268, and 269. Using your
16 own terminology concerning the HVO as a peasant army,
17 is it your opinion, General, that in dealing with a
18 peasant army, you as a commanding officer have to be
19 more careful or less careful in giving orders to that
20 peasant army?
21 A. Of course, it is necessary to be careful and
22 to issue orders precisely, and I always did so,
23 endeavouring always when I had occasion to clarify
24 orders to the commanders, to explain what they mean and
25 how the order should be understood and executed.
1 JUDGE JORDA: That is not the question,
2 General Blaskic. Please let's try and answer the
3 question. The question was of a general nature, that
4 is, if you have an army of nonprofessionals, whether
5 the orders have to be specifically oriented towards the
6 protection of civilians. Afterwards, you can justify
7 your answer if you wish to.
8 It is what was said, Mr. Hayman. The
9 question was, when you have a peasant army, a
10 nonprofessional army, shouldn't one, generally
11 speaking, take even greater precautions?
12 Will you please answer the question first?
13 Have you understood the question?
14 A. Mr. President, I have understood your
15 question, but I wrote down the Prosecutor's question as
16 I received it through the interpretation, and I can
17 answer your question now. Yes, of course, one must pay
18 attention, and I did pay attention to having the orders
19 be concrete and clear and defined according to the
20 targets, that is to say, the objective of each order.
21 Many of the orders that I wrote were quite certainly
22 written for the lowest possible level, so not the corps
23 commander but somebody far below him, so that the order
24 should be completely clear to everybody who was to
25 execute that order.
1 JUDGE JORDA: General, thank you.
2 Continue, Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. In issuing an attack order, an order to
5 attack, would you agree, General, that the care that
6 you must demonstrate must be very high, and would you
7 agree that you must explicitly tell your subordinates
8 to protect civilians during any such attack, given the
9 fact that you're dealing with a peasant army? Would
10 you agree with that?
11 A. I don't know which order of attack you're
12 talking about, Mr. Prosecutor, if you could specify.
13 I'm not sure what order of attack you're talking about.
14 Q. Let's talk about one that is very relevant to
15 our time frame, and that would be Defence Exhibit 299
16 and Defence Exhibit 300, which are the preparatory
17 attack order and the attack order that you gave for the
18 attack on the Kiseljak area to the Ban Jelacic
20 I know that you've seen those before,
21 General, but I ask you to take a look at them once
23 JUDGE JORDA: Which exhibit are we talking
24 about, D300?
25 MR. KEHOE: I'm going to try to use as many
1 exhibits as possible in unison, Mr. President, to move
2 this along, and I'm looking at Exhibit 299 and 300,
3 which counsel, during the direct examination of the
4 witness, said these are two documents that have to be
5 looked at together. They focus on the attack on
6 Kiseljak on the morning of the 18th of April.
7 Q. Have you finished reviewing them again,
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Before we focus on those two documents, I ask
11 you once again, do you agree with the general principle
12 that a commander who issues an attack order to a
13 peasant army, as you have described the HVO, must take
14 a greater degree of care to inform that army of its
15 obligations under international humanitarian law to
16 protect civilians?
17 A. He must, of course, do that in the time
18 preceding the use of those forces and not at a time
19 when he is issuing that order.
20 Allow me to answer this question by giving an
21 extra clarification. Whenever I was able to, I
22 personally addressed the soldiers that were to go into
23 combat activities and caution them of the need for
24 humane behaviour. Yesterday, I said that the way we
25 were trained in the former JNA, standard orders do not
1 contain a specific paragraph on the protection of
2 civilians. It is a legal obligation which is always
4 Q. General, in dealing with your peasant army,
5 you would agree that in the attack order given to the
6 Ban Jelacic Brigade on the 17th of April, 1993, there
7 is no paragraph in either of these documents informing
8 your subordinates to protect civilians, is there?
9 A. A paragraph as a paragraph is not there
10 because it wasn't the standard, as I have already said,
11 but allow me to comment on this order for preparation
12 of combat activities. I claim that this was at the
13 level of the commander of a platoon, and in writing
14 this order personally and knowing the kind of soldiers
15 that I was dealing with, I always wrote very precisely
16 in terms of the standards of the commander of a platoon
17 and not the commander of a corps.
18 Point 2 of the document, document 299,
19 Defence Exhibit 299, point 2 states that the mission of
20 the troops is to tie up the forces of the aggressor,
21 and then I go a step further and explain how this
22 should be done, and so you have 2(a), and 2(b), and
23 2(c), which means that I'm going down to the bottom
24 level to clarify to that commander how he should
25 execute that order, the methods that he is to use, the
1 way he is to do this, in order to direct himself
2 principally towards military targets.
3 If you look at point 5 of this particular
4 order where I tell the commander that when all
5 preparations have been carried out and "when you inform
6 me thereof, then the following command will be
7 issued." In the case of combat activities, this is,
8 once again, an exception or something very rare.
9 Q. The simple answer to my question is "No. No
10 such provision exists in these two orders"; is that
12 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered,
13 Mr. President.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Listen, we're at the
15 beginning of the cross-examination, and I want to make
16 a very simple point.
17 Mr. Hayman, I must admit that you are right,
18 but you must also recognise that the witness is not
19 providing a direct answer. It was a simple question.
20 The order that we have in front of us and the question
21 was "Were there any specific measures in that order?"
22 I'm going to engage in some pedagogy, which I
23 don't usually do. The witness says, "Yes, but I was
24 addressing myself to the platoon commander," which
25 means not to the troops directly, but then he also
1 adds, "Not only to the platoon commander, but you see
2 A, B, C, and point 5 in which I'm very precise." I'm
3 sorry, but that is not the answer to the question that
4 was put to him. I don't wish to preach, but from time
5 to time, I'm forced to.
6 General Blaskic, you were telling us how you
7 addressed a platoon commander, which means that your
8 answer to the Prosecutor is that you didn't address
9 yourself directly to the peasants, but you are not
10 answering the question, whether you told that platoon
11 commander anything specific and additional with regard
12 to the protection of civilians. That is the point. In
13 B, you are telling the platoon commander to take
14 control of Gomionica, but that is not the answer to the
16 The objection of Mr. Hayman is valid, but we
17 must also acknowledge that the witness is not giving
18 precise answers to the questions.
19 Mr. Nobilo?
20 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, quite obviously
21 the problem is in the interpretation. The witness
22 never said that he contacted the platoon commander; he
23 said that he ordered the commander of a brigade. But
24 as he did not have a top quality army, he wrote out in
25 detail -- the witness said that he ordered to the
1 commander of a brigade, but as the army was not a top
2 quality army, in the text of the order, he elaborated
3 in detail everything up to the level of a platoon, as
4 if he was addressing a platoon. As if he was
5 addressing the commander of a platoon. So he went to
6 this level for his instructions to be precise.
7 Although he was not duty-bound to do that by the
8 regulations, but he knew the army that he had before
9 him, so that is the way he wrote his orders. So he
10 didn't command the commander of the platoon.
11 A. May I clarify matters, please,
12 Mr. President?
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.
14 A. This order was addressed to the commander of
15 the brigade, and had I worked according to the
16 standards of the former JNA, I would have written this
17 order in much more generalised terms for the commander
18 of the brigade, but as I knew the kind of commander
19 cadres we had and the kind of soldiers we had, in
20 writing this order personally, I went far lower down
21 the hierarchy, and I said that I wrote it with the
22 commander of a platoon in mind. So I wrote it with
23 such great precision and in such concrete terms that
24 there could be no dilemmas in executing this order and
25 no dilemmas as to the objectives.
1 In point 5 of this particular order, I
2 stressed that when all preparations have been carried
3 out, that is, stating your readiness, that another
4 order would arrive. So this is a preparatory order. I
5 should just like to ask, in answer in what the
6 Prosecutor has asked me, Mr. President, according to
7 the standards of the former JNA, and I refer to all the
8 rules and regulations that govern the JNA, there is no
9 point of order for the protection of civilians. There
10 is no specific point there. But in assessing the
11 situation, when the commander receives this kind of
12 order, he must respect the rules on how to conduct
13 fighting in a built-up area. So he must have had that
14 in mind. This is the commander of the brigade in
15 Kiseljak, and he was a trained officer.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you see now, the answer
17 is that, according to you, General Blaskic, this order
18 does contain additional precautions regarding the
19 protection of civilians, because you are addressing
20 yourself to a trained commander.
21 Mr. Kehoe, we have taken note of your
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. Well, General, by your own testimony, after
25 you received Colonel Stewart's letter on the 22nd of
1 April of 1993, you, by your own testimony, then knew
2 that something terrible had happened in Ahmici. I ask
3 you, based on that and based on what you knew that your
4 peasant army had done, did you take additional
5 precautions in giving combat orders to your troops
6 after you learned what had happened to Ahmici? Did you
7 instruct that peasant army to protect the Muslim
9 A. There are several questions here so,
10 Mr. Prosecutor, can we go there one by one?
11 Q. Any way you want, General. I'll make it very
12 simple. Let me start from the beginning.
13 Did you think, after you learned what
14 happened in Ahmici, that you had to be more careful to
15 protect civilians when you issued combat orders?
16 A. Not only did I think that I should be more
17 careful after having learned what had taken place in
18 Ahmici, but I took several measures, including my
19 public condemnation of the incident, and I was
20 convinced that this position of mine had reached the
21 ears of every soldier and every family in the Lasva
22 pocket, because I appeared on television, and my image
23 was there as well as my voice.
24 But what you're saying here is that you're
25 implying that this was done by the peasants. However,
1 we can put Colonel Stewart's letter on there and see
2 what he has to say about it, what his position is.
3 Q. Well, in the combat orders that you issued
4 after the 22nd of April, 1993, did you include in those
5 combat orders a note of caution to your subordinates to
6 protect civilian lives and civilian property,
7 especially for the Muslims? Did you do that?
8 A. Of course, and I also tasked them in specific
9 orders, but let me just say, Your Honours, the
10 protection of civilians and their property, and let me
11 repeat this, was a legal obligation. The law had to be
12 respected and obeyed by every soldier.
13 I issued a number of orders regarding the
14 protection of civilians, especially Bosniak Muslims in
15 the area controlled by the HVO units. So there were a
16 number of such orders issued regarding both the
17 civilians and their property, including that my
18 subordinates -- so that my direct subordinates would
19 issue further orders down the chain of command in that
21 As far as the combat operations, either
22 defensive or offensive, all these orders would be
23 preceded by preparations. This was standard procedure
24 also in the former JNA. This is the training that we
1 This preparation is carried out at several
2 levels, with all the participants in such an
3 operation. One of the points is the assessment of the
4 enemy, assessment of the terrain where the operation is
5 going to be carried out, and within that preparation
6 the civilian targets and civilian objects are defined
7 with respect to the goals of the military operation.
8 So every operation was preceded by such preparation.
9 Q. General, my question is very simple. After
10 you learned about Ahmici, did you take additional
11 safeguards in your orders telling your subordinates to
12 protect the Muslim population, "Yes" or "No"?
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this question was
15 answered in great detail.
16 JUDGE JORDA: The objection is sustained.
17 You have asked the question. The witness is entitled
18 to answer in the way he wants to. You may not be
19 satisfied with the answer, Mr. Kehoe, but I believe
20 that the witness has answered the question put to him.
21 It was, "Yes," and, "I did so."
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. If we could
23 move to the next exhibit, which is 456/93.
24 MR. HAYMAN: While that's being gotten.
25 Clearly, Mr. President, Mr. Kehoe's technique is to
1 provoke the witness, repeat the question over and over,
2 demand a "Yes" or "No," and he shouldn't be allowed to
3 do so, and we intend to object when he engages in that
4 kind of conduct. We ask the Court's assistance in
5 regulating the cross-examination so that it's fair and
6 reasonable under the circumstances.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, your observation is
8 absolutely superfluous. The assistance of the Chamber
9 is not intended for either party. The Judges are
10 neutral and objective, and I respond to objections as
11 they appear. Just now I can considered your objection
12 valid. I am not here to assist the Defence or the
13 Prosecution but to deal with the problems as they crop
15 Very well. Mr. Prosecutor, you may
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, General, I would like you to take a look
19 at this order, which is 456/93, which has to do with a
20 battle order directed to the commander of the Stjepan
21 Tomasevic Brigade?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Of the Prosecution or Defence.
23 MR. KEHOE: Prosecution.
24 Q. The number of this order on the upper
25 left-hand side is 01, meaning it's coming from you,
1 6370/93. I think you can take a look at the contents
2 in this order. Will you agree that the date at the top
3 should be the 15th of June of 1993?
4 A. No. Your Honours, I have not been able to
5 review the entire document, but what I have seen so
6 far, this would not be in -- this could not have
7 happened in 1992. So can I please review the entire
9 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course, you may examine
10 the document.
11 MR. KEHOE: Just for the record,
12 Mr. President, I agree with the witness that it didn't
13 happen in 1992, that this happened in 1993.
14 A. I have reviewed it.
15 Q. Now, General, was this order, in fact, issued
16 in June of 1993 as opposed to 1992?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You, in fact, issued this order; did you not?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. KEHOE: With the Court's indulgence, if
21 at some point the registrar can correct the date on the
22 English translation to reflect the 15th of June, 1992,
23 with a pencil notation, because it's not clear from the
24 BSC version whether it's '92 or '93.
25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we are against
1 it. In the original there was '92. It was a mistake.
2 It was an error. Let it be reflected that mistakes
3 were made.
4 MR. KEHOE: That's fine. If the witness says
5 it's 1993, that's the point. That's fine. There is no
6 disagreement on it.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let us not waste any time over
8 this. It is in the record, but the Judges know that
9 this document is dated the 15th of June, 1993. So let
10 us continue.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Now, General, this document was issued or
13 this order was issued almost two months after the
14 events in Ahmici?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In paragraph 4(b) of this order, and we'll
17 read that, in your order of discharging tasks you
18 write: "Secret and safe evacuation of the people and
19 the wounded to the Mravinjac," pardon my
20 pronunciation, "facility, exclusively women, children,
21 and the elderly and the assigning of a group leader to
22 them with the objective of their transfer to the
23 Republic of Croatia."
24 Now, in that particular paragraph, which is
25 then followed by what exactly you want to do,
1 paragraph (c), preventing any surrender to the Muslim
2 forces as well as shelling by mortar rounds, in that
3 paragraph (b) you call for the safeguarding of Bosnian
4 Croat civilians, don't you, because you're talking
5 about the secret and safe evacuation? That's what you
6 want, the secret and safe evacuation of Bosnian Croat
8 A. These were the civilians who had been
9 surrounded. At that moment, the majority were probably
10 Croats, but I cannot preclude that there were some
11 Muslims or Serbs or whoever else happened to be there.
12 There were mixed marriages, so there could have been
13 some Muslims there too, but I assume that the majority
14 of them were Croats. I had no information who exactly
15 was surrounded there.
16 Point 4 does not refer to the tasks of the
17 unit to whom I'm issuing the order. It would be in
18 point 2 that the tasks would be reflected.
19 Q. General, is there anything in this record
20 calling for the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade to protect
21 the Bosnian Muslim population in that area? I'm
22 talking about the civilian population.
23 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I will give you
24 a direct answer to this question. I am familiar with
25 these events, and the area was surrounded. This is a
1 small area. I can show it on the map.
2 They found themselves in a sandwich between
3 the army of the Republika Srpska and the front lines of
4 the BH army. There were the HVO soldiers and alongside
5 them there were civilians in this encirclement. I did
6 not have information what civilians were involved here,
7 nor did I give it special consideration. I just knew
8 that alongside the soldiers there were civilians
9 encircled there.
10 This order, if compared to the standards of
11 the former JNA, if it were to be translated, it would
12 be a combat order, that is, my task was to issue orders
13 in as short a period of time as possible to the local
14 commander. Had I had technical capabilities, I would
15 have just called him through the communications system
16 without writing an order.
17 Let me just try to comment on point 2. I
18 took all measures to protect the civilians in the
19 encirclements as if I was the commander on the ground
20 who was to carry out this order. Also, it says,
21 "Immediate preparations must be made for pulling out
22 and operations of the following deployed, frontal
23 security, scouts, patrols, units, flank security,
24 security for the main body of the column, and rear
1 Point 3 says that after deciding on the
2 direction of the pull-out, forces in front of the front
3 line must be given specific instructions for receiving
4 the units.
5 Then point 4, I laid out very accurately how
6 to carry out the orders from point 2 so that the
7 soldiers -- it would be very clear to the soldiers how
8 to do it. I said that organising a defence of the
9 people should be carried out, and I referred to the
10 "people." So that would be everybody.
11 In (c), I strictly forbid military conscripts
12 to act in contravention of these orders and so on.
13 It's all stated here.
14 Then in (f), the preparations and secrecy.
15 Then in point 5, prevent panic and defeatism,
16 lies, disorders, and prepare all structures for defence
17 and evacuation, and draw up lists of all villagers who
18 were encircled. So I did not say all the Croats,
19 because there were Serbs there in those villages,
20 perhaps even Bosnian Muslims.
21 JUDGE JORDA: I am very grateful to you for
22 commenting on the whole combat order, but was that your
23 question, Mr. Prosecutor?
24 MR. KEHOE: It was not, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE JORDA: No. I cannot take your place.
1 You are the accused, and it is up to you to try and
2 defend yourself as you will, but please make an
3 effort. It seems to me that the question was not to
4 know under which conditions, how and when, you made
5 this order, but the question referred to point 4(b),
6 and I think that you answered that question.
7 Perhaps we can go on to the next question,
8 Mr. Kehoe. I think that the witness answered that he
9 wasn't concerned specifically about Croats, that there
10 may have been other people too. You have an additional
11 question to what you have already put?
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, when, in fact, issuing this order,
14 you told these troops at point 5 in the information and
15 propaganda activity the following:
16 "Impress upon the people and the soldiers
17 the brutality of the aggression of the Muslim Armed
18 Forces and that the only way to prevent a massacre is
19 to fight the enemy and protect our own people and
20 pledge that we will eventually return to our
22 "Do not forget the suffering of the Croats in
23 Travnik, Kakanj, and the struggle HVO soldiers have
24 been waging to defend Croatian territory.
25 "Prevent panic, defeatism, lies, and the
1 spreading of unrest. Prepare all structures for
2 defence and evacuation and draw up lists of all
4 Did you write that in this order, General?
5 A. That is what is written in point 5, but the
6 translation of the first paragraph is not good, the one
7 that you read out. The first paragraph in translation
8 does not correspond to the original that I have here.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, that is the
10 translation that was provided by the translation
11 department. I, of course, don't speak the language and
12 must rely on the good services of that office to
13 provide the Chamber with the translations.
14 Q. General, let us move to a separate topic.
15 Now, General, you --
16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if we are now
17 rounding off a section, perhaps we could now have a
18 break in accordance with your decision to give a pause
19 after 45 minutes in view of the condition of the
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but we did envisage a
22 certain amount of flexibility, Mr. Nobilo. Therefore,
23 perhaps Mr. Kehoe could go on with another one or two
24 questions. We can go on until 11.00, and then we will
25 have the break.
1 MR. KEHOE: Certainly, Mr. President.
2 Q. Now, General, when you wrote these orders and
3 you became a member of the HVO, you had had years of
4 military training, and I believe you had been in the
5 JNA for approximately a little more than eight years;
6 is that right?
7 A. May I first answer the question regarding
8 years of training behind me? In the former JNA, I
9 completed two years of military secondary school and
10 the military academy. That is all the training that I
11 had behind me. I did not attend any special courses or
12 any additional training, and my command duty was a
13 company commander and deputy battalion commander. That
14 was the highest position that I held in the former JNA.
15 Q. General, the JNA was a formidable army and a
16 very large army, wasn't it?
17 A. It was a bulky army, an army that had its own
18 problems and was engaged in dealing with those
19 problems. It was a big army. It had a large
20 infrastructure which, for a time, was a burden for it.
21 For instance, in my case, out of 600
22 soldiers, we had to provide 200 for regular guard duty
23 over the infrastructure, so we didn't have enough
24 troops to train.
25 Q. General, it was an army with armed forces
1 with, in addition to infantry, mechanised units, an air
2 force, a navy; isn't that so?
3 A. In that army, motorised units started to be
4 introduced, as far as I know, in 1985. Before that,
5 there was the ordinary infantry lacking sufficient
6 means of transport. It had an air force; I don't know
7 at what level of development it was. It had a navy.
8 It had ground troops and the other branches and
9 services of the armed forces.
10 Q. This armed forces, the JNA, was grounded on
11 the principle of subordination, wasn't it?
12 A. It had a two-fold system: subordination,
13 which implied command duties, and ranks, so that
14 command was based on rank and on position, command
16 Q. And subordination in that ranking structure
17 was an intricate part in the JNA and command in the
18 JNA, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. When the HVO was formed, the HVO followed
21 this same model, didn't they?
22 A. Unfortunately, the HVO rejected -- at least
23 that's my personal conviction which can be corroborated
24 by the documents. In its concept of organisation, it
25 rejected everything reminiscent of the JNA, but it
1 didn't have a clear and elaborate model of its own,
2 though it had intended to follow this system of command
3 positions in subordination, which means that there were
4 no ranks and command duties based on ranks up until the
5 signing of the Washington Agreement, that is, in 1994
6 when ranks started to be introduced in the HVO with the
7 establishment of the army of the federation of
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we can take the
10 break now. I have a few more questions in this area,
11 but we can take a break now. That's fine.
12 JUDGE JORDA: A 15-minute break now.
13 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
15 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
16 Please be seated.
17 MR. KEHOE: May I proceed, Mr. President?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, please
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, let me show you Article 32 on the
22 decree of the armed forces, and I believe that we have
23 that pulled out.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecutor's Exhibit
1 MR. KEHOE: That's right, Mr. Registrar. We
2 are talking about tab 2, page 18, and in that page, I'm
3 referring to Article 32.
4 JUDGE JORDA: What article is that, please?
5 MR. KEHOE: Article 32, Mr. President. This
6 is part of the decree of the armed forces from the
7 Narodni List.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. All right.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, do you have Article 32 before you?
11 It's on the page that's tagged with a yellow sticker on
13 A. Yes, I have it.
14 Q. If we could put that on the ELMO and just
15 read that briefly:
16 "Command in the Armed Forces shall be
17 founded on the following fundamental principles:
18 a) unity of command and the obligation to
19 implement the decisions and carry out the command and
20 orders of a superior commander; and
21 b) commanders of the Armed Forces shall be
22 responsible to their superiors for their work, command
23 and control."
24 Now, General, that was a fundamental
25 principle of the former JNA and then had been
1 incorporated into the Narodni List and became a
2 fundamental principle of the HVO as well; isn't that
4 A. Partially, yes. The basic principles of the
5 former JNA were unity of command, subordination,
6 centralisation, continuity, operationalism, and the
7 secrecy of the command. That is what we were taught at
8 the academy in the JNA.
9 Q. Whether or not, according to your statement,
10 the HVO had ranks, that principle of subordination was
11 incorporated into the HVO, wasn't it?
12 A. Unfortunately, Your Honours, this principle
13 was negated by other legal acts in the HVO, such as the
14 rules and regulations and laws on the organisation of
15 the security service, then the military police and the
16 special purpose units, so that other legal acts came
17 into being on the structure of the HVO which vitally
18 upset the principle of unity of command.
19 With the existence of this duality and many
20 lines of command, this principle did not exist for any
21 length of time in the HVO and, as far as I know, up
22 until the Dayton Accords; of that, I'm sure.
23 Q. General, you left the JNA in 1991. Up until
24 the time you left the JNA, was there mandatory
25 conscription of the male population into the JNA?
1 A. There was the military obligation which men
2 and women had to respond to, as far as I know, although
3 I did not work on tasks of mobilising the civilian
4 population into the ranks of the armed forces of the
5 former Yugoslavia. But according to what I know, there
6 was this military obligation for both men and women,
7 for women as well, women conscripts as well.
8 Q. This was approximately a year's worth of
9 mandatory training; is that right?
10 A. It is not the same as military obligation and
11 training. If we're talking about training, then
12 training in the former Yugoslavia was military service,
13 and military service lasted 12 months for the majority
14 of members, except for the military conscripts who did
15 not want to take up arms, and their military service
16 was somewhat longer.
17 Q. During this year of military service, did
18 officers such as yourself instruct these conscripts to
19 learn how to take orders?
20 A. Yes. The soldiers were trained in the basics
21 of military action. The commanders of the platoons and
22 squads were trained on how to receive orders and convey
23 orders to their immediate subordinates. The soldiers
24 received orders from their commanders, the commanders
25 of squads or platoons, and would act on those orders.
1 So they had this executive obligation.
2 Q. A fundamental aspect of the principle of
3 subordination is that soldiers learn and know that they
4 must take orders and follow orders; isn't that
6 A. In principle that could be so. So it is the
7 duty of the subordinate to carry out the tasks of his
8 superior and to inform him thereof.
9 Q. Now, General, another intricate arm of the
10 military in the former Yugoslavia was the concept of
11 the Territorial Defence which was located on a local
12 area; isn't that right?
13 A. The concept of Territorial Defence existed
14 but let me clarify this. It was one of the components
15 of the armed forces of the former Yugoslavia, because
16 the armed forces consisted of the JNA and Territorial
17 Defence, but within the composition of Territorial
18 Defence, the core was also the officers cadre and
19 sometimes the units of the JNA themselves. So it
20 wasn't a pure, clear-cut division, the JNA component
21 and the Territorial Defence component, but the core and
22 nucleus of the Territorial Defence was also composed of
23 members of the JNA.
24 Q. Did these members of the Territorial Defence
25 receive any training during the course of their
2 A. Somewhere around 1983, I know well, because
3 at the time I served in a unit of that kind. It was
4 called the 14th Proletarian Infantry Division in
5 Ljubljana in Sentvid. The members of the Territorial
6 Defence, up to the level of battalion, were called up
7 in such a way that once in three years -- once every
8 three years a soldier was duty-bound to attend training
9 which lasted usually seven days. Every year they were
10 called up for the records to be brought up-to-date.
11 But somewhere from 1985 or 1986 onwards,
12 because there were not sufficient financial resources,
13 this system of training was abandoned and the call-ups
14 were far less frequent. For example, at the level of
15 the entire 9th Army, there was just one training
16 exercise in one year at the level of a brigade, a
17 brigade on the offensive and a brigade on the
18 defensive, where the members of the TO were called up.
19 So my answer is as there were less and less
20 financial resources, then the TO members would be
21 called up less and less for training of this kind.
22 Q. Was any training received in the Territorial
23 Defence in addition to the training that an individual
24 received when he or she was doing their military
1 A. Let me clarify matters. It was a military
2 obligation for one and all. After a recruit had served
3 his military service, up to the age of 60 if he was
4 a -- males up to the age of 60 are duty-bound as a
5 member -- as a civilian, but he still has his military
6 obligation to perform and would be called up for
7 military training. But as I say, as the financial
8 resources were lacking in the JNA, who paid for that
9 military training, organised and financed it, then
10 invitations to do this kind of training were less and
11 less frequent. Apart from this type of call-up to
12 training, I do not know of any other forms in which
13 those members were trained.
14 Q. General, my question was very simple and let
15 me read it to you again, and it was this: Was any
16 training received in the Territorial Defence in
17 addition to the training that an individual received
18 when he or she was doing his or her military service?
19 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, that is precisely
20 what the witness said exhaustively in his previous
21 answer. He said recruits did a year of military
22 service and then were later called up to do training
23 from time to time but less and less as there was less
24 and less finance.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Move on, Mr. Prosecutor. The
1 witness has already answered that question.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Within this area of the military you also had
4 a reserve officers corps as well.
5 A. Yes. I worked for three years and I trained
6 and educated them.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say, General, that within
8 the former Yugoslavia, a large percentage of the
9 population have had military training in some degree or
10 another? Would that be an accurate statement, in your
12 A. I could only say, in answer to that question,
13 that all young men, that is to say, males who were
14 military-able men and able physically to do their
15 military service were called up to do so, once they had
16 reached the age of 18 and going on to the age of 27.
17 Now, what percentage that was of how many
18 military-able men there were, I can say from my
19 experience because I worked in this here, that there
20 were many recruits that had limited military
21 capability, but they did do their regular military
22 service, that is to say, once in their life time they
23 did indeed spend one year doing military service if
24 they were military-able men. Now, what the percentage
25 was, I can't say.
1 Q. Well, in summary on this area, for all of
2 those men and women that you have been discussing, were
3 they all instructed in the need and the requirement to
4 follow the orders of their superiors?
5 A. All men who did their military service were
6 trained and instructed in the need to follow orders,
7 those that did their military service.
8 Women, in a brief period of time, it was an
9 experimental phase, I think it lasted for one year
10 whereby they did their military service, that for each
11 republic there were 30 females per republic. After
12 that that was given up. That experiment was abandoned,
13 and women were no longer called to the army to do their
14 military service, but as civilians they were the
15 protagonists of the military obligation, that is to
16 say, in a general war they would be duty-bound to
17 comply with the order for general mobilisation.
18 Q. Let us shift gears and topics, General, and
19 talk about your military service. Correct me if I'm
20 wrong, but I believe you noted, during your
21 direct-examination, that you received your commission
22 in 1993 and received your first assignment to
23 Ljubljana; is that right? Excuse me, 1983, I
24 apologise, and received your first assignment in
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was your assignment in Ljubljana within
3 the JNA?
4 A. I was in Ljubljana, in Sentvid. I worked
5 there at the 14th Proletarian Infantry Regiment, the
6 commander of the first instructors platoon, cadets
7 platoon for reserve officers of the JNA. The JNA, yes.
8 Q. Who were your superior officers? Who were
10 A. My immediate superior officer, the commander
11 of the cadet instructors company, was Alojz Vertic.
12 Q. Is he a Muslim, a Serb, or a Croat?
13 A. He was a Slovene.
14 Q. Above Mr. Vertic -- who was above him?
15 A. Above him was the commander of the 14th
16 proletarian regiment, Mr. Jovo Uzelac.
17 Q. Now, with regard to mister -- I'm trying to
18 get the spelling here. What ethnic group was this
20 A. Your Honours, I'm not quite sure there. I
21 can only suppose that he belonged -- he was either a
22 Serb or he was a Yugoslav by way of nationality. He
23 either declared himself as a Serb or he declared
24 himself as a Yugoslav. I'm not quite sure.
25 Q. Do you know what happened to him after the
1 war broke out, what side he was fighting for, if any?
2 A. I don't know what happened to him. I haven't
3 had -- I don't know what happened to him as of 1991,
4 because I went to another garrison and I have no
5 information as to what had happened to him.
6 Q. Now, sir, what was your next assignment after
7 this Ljubljana assignment?
8 A. After my assignment in Ljubljana you mean, my
9 service in Ljubljana?
10 Q. Yes, General.
11 A. I was assigned to the Pivka garrison, and my
12 assignment there was commander of the 2nd Motorised
13 Company, in the 1st Battalion of the 228th Motorised
14 Brigade. I was there from March 1986.
15 Q. Now, before you had been mobilised to Pivka,
16 you had been told to deploy to special forces that were
17 bound for Kosovo. I think you told us that in
18 direct-examination. Is that right?
19 A. Yes, that I was to be deployed to the
20 Postojna garrison, the battalion for -- as company
21 commander, and the units which would be is sent to
23 Q. In refusing you that assignment, you told us,
24 on page 17824 to 17825, that you were told that on four
25 separate occasions that you were insubordinate; is that
2 A. I apologise, but I got the interpretation
3 that I was insubordinate in four different situations.
4 Now, I don't know what the question actually was.
5 Q. No. Were you told on four different
6 occasions that your refusal to take this assignment was
7 an act of insubordination?
8 A. What I was told -- would you please allow me
9 to look at my notes so I can see what I was exactly
10 told, if that is the question, if you want to know what
11 I was told on those four occasions?
12 Q. Certainly, General.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Try to be more direct,
14 Mr. Prosecutor. Get to your questions more directly,
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. In your testimony, and I'm reading from page
18 17824 and 25, in your refusal to take this assignment,
19 General, you noted that your superiors said that this
20 would be an act of disobedience and insubordination
21 and, "I could be sanctioned for it." Do you recall
22 saying that, sir?
23 A. Yes, I found it, except here in the
24 transcript it says, "Commander of the 14th Regiment
25 said that this was insubordination and that I was going
1 to be sanctioned for it."
2 Q. Now, this was in 1985, wasn't it?
3 A. End of 1985, early 1986. Between December of
4 1985 and early 1986.
5 Q. Now, you were never punished for that act of
6 insubordination, were you?
7 A. I was never punished in the former JNA,
8 period, both during the period when I was a cadet and
9 later on when I was a commissioned officer.
10 Q. As a matter of fact, General, within a year
11 of your insubordination you received a review from the
12 JNA where you were evaluated with special distinction;
14 A. I don't know when I received this. I don't
15 know whether that was a proposal. It was, I think, an
16 evaluation but on the basis of -- but I was sent to the
17 Pivka garrison instead of Postojna because of my
18 refusal to go to Kosovo. Later on, I was never sent to
19 Kosovo, it was never even proposed to go to Kosovo,
20 even though my colleagues from the brigade were sent
21 down there.
22 Q. General, you refused for the forces to go to
23 Kosovo, and within a year, you received a review with
24 special distinction. Would you agree with me that your
25 officers, your superior officers, thought that you were
1 an outstanding officer; would you agree with that?
2 A. I don't know what they thought, but what they
3 thought they must have written down in the official
5 Q. Now, you said that in 1986, you went to the
6 Pivka garrison. Now, what was your job in the Pivka
7 garrison in Slovenia?
8 A. In the Pivka garrison in Slovenia, I took the
9 duty of the commander of the 2nd Motorised Company in
10 the 1st Motorised Battalion in the 228th Motorised
12 Q. What was your job there, sir, when you were
13 in the Pivka garrison specifically?
14 A. My duty was the training of soldiers of the
15 2nd Motorised Company in this 1st Motorised Battalion.
16 I had the duty of commander of the motorised company,
17 and I can explain exactly what this position involved.
18 If this is the question, I can say what the duties
20 Q. Please do.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Let's try to focus the
22 discussion here. The witness suggested that he would
23 make the question more specific, but was that, in fact,
24 your question, Mr. Prosecutor?
25 What I'm afraid of sometimes is that we seem
1 to be drifting away from our proper direction. I can
2 tell you, Mr. Kehoe, and with all the respect that I
3 have for you, that you cannot have one more minute for
4 your cross-examination than has been planned.
5 Therefore, you have to be the one to choose your
7 Sometimes I have the impression that we're
8 moving away from where we should be. Between you, who
9 asks very long, complicated questions, and the witness,
10 who answers, it's his right, of course, but in a long
11 way, I can repeat to you that there's not going to be
12 one extra minute granted for the cross-examination.
13 Was it important to know that the witness
14 would give specifications about all of these
15 responses? Because if we reconstitute all of the
16 elements of his military career, every act and gesture
17 that he made, I'm afraid that at some point we're not
18 going to get anywhere.
19 You know, Mr. Kehoe, when you've reached the
20 end of the time, you always say you have another 15 or
21 20 questions, and then you'll have to give them up
22 regrettably. I want to tell you this now, that is,
23 from the very beginning of the cross-examination, so
24 let's be sure we understand one another on that
25 subject. Please continue.
1 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
2 carve the questions down as sharply as I possibly can.
3 Q. Specifically, General, you noted that you
4 were an officer in the battalion in charge of morale.
5 Do you recall that testimony during direct?
6 A. Yes, I recall it. Later on, in the
7 subsequent period, I was transferred from the duty of
8 the commander of the company. In other words, I gave
9 that duty up and took over another duty which comprised
10 two duties. One was the deputy commander of the
11 battalion and assistant commander for morale.
12 Q. Now --
13 JUDGE JORDA: I'd like to make the comment to
14 you, General Blaskic. Try to answer concretely. As
15 regards the rights of the accused, you know that the
16 Judges are very conscious of those rights, but I would
17 like to ask you to try to answer the questions. The
18 question that the Prosecutor asked was very precise.
19 "Were you involved with morale?" If you have to
20 explain why and how and this and that, unless, of
21 course, it is really essential to your answer, please
22 don't. I'm afraid that we're wasting some time at the
23 start of this cross-examination. I know that I'm using
24 time as well, but we will have to try to make up the
25 time later on. Therefore, we want to know if you were
1 involved in troop morale. I suppose that you were, at
2 least that's what you said in your
3 examination-in-chief. All that was said.
4 Judge Rodrigues?
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Judge Jorda.
6 Before we continue, General Blaskic, I would
7 like to ask you a question. I believe that I remember
8 that the commander, after you refused to go to Kosovo,
9 put you at the Pivka garrison, and I believe that I
10 remember that the commander of that Pivka garrison made
11 a comment to you when you arrived. I have this in my
12 mind. I think he asked you, "What did you do wrong in
13 order to be sent here?" I have this thought in my
14 mind. Could you tell us whether there was that sort of
15 a comment and what it was actually?
16 A. Thank you, Your Honour. You do recall it
17 very well indeed. I also recall that meeting. For me,
18 it was a shock of sorts because this chief, he was the
19 chief of staff of the 228th Motorised Brigade in
20 Pivka. He was the lieutenant colonel, and his name was
21 Dusan Reljanovic. I put on my parade uniform. It was
22 my first day there. I saluted him, and when I greeted
23 him, he said, "What did you do wrong to be sent over
24 here to us?" At the time, as the chief of staff of the
25 brigade, he was actually an acting deputy commander of
1 the 228th Motorised Brigade, and I think the
2 commander's name was Kasim Smajlbegovic.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
4 Mr. Prosecutor, please proceed.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. General, in your role as being involved in
7 the morale of the actual battalion, did that involve
8 also being involved in the political affairs and
10 A. I was on this duty for a very short period of
11 time and had not completed the course, which was
12 compulsory for all officers because it was the
13 political situation at the time in Yugoslavia. My duty
14 was assistant for morale, so the focus of my duty was
15 dissemination of information and the lifting of morale
16 of the soldiers. So if there was something that we
17 needed to convey from the news that was being brought
18 from the government, I would do it once a week. In
19 other words, I would summarise the news, the current
20 news situation which I gained from the mass media.
21 Q. General, the role of the political officer in
22 the battalion was to instruct the military units of the
23 politics of the communist party; isn't that so?
24 A. Yes. Until 1989, until the communist party
25 broke up, this duty for morale had not existed. I
1 think that until then, it was the assistant commander
2 for the political affairs, but when the Communist Party
3 of Yugoslavia broke up - I think that there was a
4 congress which they had in 1989 - I think that this
5 duty was then phased out, and there was no assistant
6 commander for political affairs at the battalion
7 level. In fact, this ushered the multi-party system.
8 Q. General, were you or were you not for the
9 last eleven months of your career in the JNA the
10 assistant commander for political affairs?
11 A. I would have to look to find this order of
12 appointment, but I know that I was assistant commander
13 for morale and I was the deputy commander. Those were
14 my official duties. I was the assistant commander for
15 the building of morale among troops and the deputy
16 commander. I was not the assistant commander for
17 political affairs.
18 Q. Let me show you a document then, General. If
19 I may also give you another document as well.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, did I give you enough
21 copies of this other document? I don't believe I
22 have. There should be a cover letter from the Federal
23 Ministry of Justice in Belgrade, as well as a document
24 for the personnel department. In BCS, it's one page,
25 and in the English translation, it is two.
1 THE REGISTRAR: The first document, which is
2 not translated, will have the number 576, and the
3 second will be 577 and 577A for the English version.
4 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Mr. Registrar, there
5 are copies for that first document in English. I
6 neglected to give them to the usher. I'm sorry.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document 577 will also have a
8 second number which will be 577A for the English
10 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I think that was
11 576. I'm a little confused on your ordering. The
12 document dated the 4th of May, 1998, that should go
13 with the document that has the numbering in it 1
14 through 5 in the centre. That's right. What number is
15 that, sir?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Document 576 for the original
17 and 576A for the English version.
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the first document
19 is the letter sent to the Ministry of Defence on the
20 General's record in the JNA. The cover letter is
21 in Cyrillic and in English. The next document is the
22 actual report that was provided to the Office of the
23 Prosecutor by General Zoric, Dusan Zoric of the
24 Yugoslav army.
25 Q. You're more than welcome, General, to read
1 this entire document concerning your career, noted 1
2 through 5, but in number 5 of this document, it notes
3 that you were the motorised battalion assistant
4 commander for political affairs, at the same time
5 deputy commander, for 11 months; do you see that?
6 JUDGE JORDA: Let's begin. Are you talking
7 about 576 here?
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. We are
9 talking about 576, which is the document that is
10 information concerning General Blaskic's career in the
11 then JNA, now designated the Yugoslav army. They talk
12 about his military career, and in point 5 of that it
13 describes the General as the assistant commander for
14 political affairs.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
16 Yes, I see. All right. What's the question, please?
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, the question, General, is that the
19 assistant commander for political affairs is
20 significantly different than what you told this Trial
21 Chamber that you were just in charge of morale; isn't
22 that right?
23 A. Yes, it is true that it is significantly
24 different, but I was never assistant commander for
25 political affairs in the battalion. I received the
1 order of appointment. I signed it. I was given it in
2 the Postojna garrison, and I was told that the duty was
3 the assistant commander for morale and deputy
4 commander. At that time, when I was there, the duty of
5 the assistant commander for political affairs had been
6 dissolved because it did not exist at that time in the
7 history of the JNA.
8 There are further errors here because it says
9 I was reviewed in 1986. That is not correct. I was
10 reviewed in 1987. Then it says that I was reviewed in
11 1989. That is also not correct. I was reviewed in
12 1990, on the 30th of July, 1990. That is when I
13 received my official review, not in 1989.
14 Further, in this document -- just a moment,
15 please. My mother's name is incorrect. She was not
17 I applied for my -- tendered my resignation
18 on 12 August, and I think that the date shown here is
19 probably when my case was actually decided on. It is
20 also not true that I was the commander of a platoon for
21 two years. I received an order appointing me
22 the commander of cadet training of the 14th Proletarian
23 Brigade. I was not commander of the rifleman
24 platoon -- Rifle Platoon commander, and I never
25 received that duty. I don't know how it ended up
2 Number 3, I did receive an order appointing
3 me to the Motorised Company, acting commanding officer
4 in Pivka, and this order was communicated to me.
5 Number 5, I was not Motorised Battalion
6 assistant commander for political affairs. I never was
7 given a document appointing me to that duty and I never
8 signed such an order. So I was assistant commander for
9 morale and, at the same time, deputy commander.
10 Q. Well, the document speaks for itself,
11 Mr. President.
12 Let us talk, General, about your commanders
13 in Pivka. Who was your commander when you were at the
14 Pivka garrison?
15 A. I can't remember his name. Captain First
16 Class Stankovic, and he later became a Major. In
17 Pivka, when I came, the previous commander had
18 committed suicide, and before him, the commander of the
19 battalion also attempted suicide, so that there were
20 frequent replacements. Later on, when I came, it was
21 Captain First Class, I think his name was Mlodrag
22 Stankovic. The commander of the brigade was Colonel
23 Kasim Smajlbegovic.
24 Q. And what happened to Captain Stankovic? Do
25 you know what happened to him?
1 A. Before taking up his duties as battalion
2 commander, he told me that he was a clerk for sport in
3 the division of the 14th Proletarian, and after the
4 duty of commander of the battalion he received the rank
5 of Major, and he performed some sort of duty in the
6 operative and instructors' department of the command of
7 the 228th Motorised Brigade in Pivka and in Postojna.
8 I don't know his specific duties. But Stankovic is a
9 surname which is fairly frequent, and that is why I
10 said I think that his name was Mlodrag, because I know
11 that there were many people with the surname
12 Stankovic. Usually it was Stankovic, Petrovic, and so
14 Q. Do you know if he fought on one side during
15 the war?
16 A. I know that he was married in Slovenia. His
17 wife was from the Republic of Slovenia. I'm sure of
18 that. She was a Slovene. I don't know whether he
19 fought or not, but I can only suppose that if he lived
20 with his family in Postojna that he remained in
21 Postojna, but those are my assumptions. I really don't
22 have any information on that.
23 Q. When was Bosko Peulic your superior?
24 A. He was, as far as I know, first the commander
25 of the battalion in Vipava, and he was the next
1 commander after Captain First Class Stankovic. Quite
2 possibly this could have been in 1987 or 1988. I am
3 sure that he was for a time in 1988, but I don't know
4 exactly when the commanders of the battalions replaced
5 one another because there was more. There was
6 several. As I say, this was -- they were -- took each
7 other's place fairly often. They were changed fairly
8 frequently, but he was one too at some time.
9 Q. Well, Peulic fought for the VRS during the
10 war, didn't he?
11 A. Yes. He fought for the army of the Republika
12 Srpska during the war.
13 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 528.
14 Take a look at Exhibit 528. That is, in fact, the same
15 Bosko Peulic who is the Lieutenant Colonel of the 27th
16 Motorised Brigade for the VRS, isn't it?
17 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we should take a
18 ten-minute break which will allow General Blaskic the
19 time to familiarise himself with the document.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We'll resume the hearing now.
23 I suppose that you familiarised yourself with the
24 document, that is, Prosecution document 528. It is a
25 Prosecution document; is that not right?
1 A. Yes, Your Honour, that is correct.
2 JUDGE JORDA: All right, 528. There is no
3 version in French. The one that's in English on the
4 ELMO, how does that work? I'll give it to my
5 colleagues here. It's the only version that we have.
6 All right. Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
7 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Judge.
8 Q. Now, we know that Bosko Peulic fought for the
9 VSR during the war. Do you know of other Serb
10 associates from the JNA, General, who fought for the
12 A. I have, from the former JNA, my former
13 colleagues, so to speak, but I have not contacted with
14 them since I left the JNA and with some of them since I
15 was taken prisoner in 1992.
16 Q. Well, those are the colleagues I'm talking
17 about. Those colleagues -- you did have colleagues
18 that fought for the VRS. Who were they, sir?
19 A. I don't know what you mean when you say
20 "colleagues." I had colleagues who were associates of
21 mine previously, whom I worked together with. When I
22 left, however, when I left the JNA, I stopped all
23 contact with them and they were no longer my colleagues
24 and friends, if that's what you mean. I don't know
25 what you actually mean when you say "colleagues."
1 Q. Well, the Serbs that you served with and that
2 you knew when you were with the JNA, did any of these
3 Serbs fight for the VRS around the Central Bosnia
4 Operative Zone, your area of command? If so, who?
5 A. Now this is clear to me. So you mean the
6 Serbs who served in the JNA with me?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Did they take part on the other side? Just
9 one moment, because the zone is a large one.
10 According to what I know, there was Bosko
11 Peulic, and I also knew a Major, Balcojkic, but I don't
12 know exactly what duty he performed on the side of the
13 army of the Republika Srpska.
14 Q. Did you have contact with either one of these
15 men while you were in the HVO or, specifically, during
17 A. I never contacted them. I never had contacts
18 with them. According to my instructions, orders,
19 neither did any of my associates.
20 Q. Well, General, did associates and units under
21 your command fight in concert with Bosko Peulic in the
22 Zepce area? Specifically we're talking about June of
24 A. 1992 or 1993?
25 Q. 1993, General.
1 A. I don't know. At that time I was cut off in
2 the Lasva pocket. It is possible that there was
3 fighting in Zepce but I'm not sure. Perhaps Bosko
4 Peulic was up there at that time but, as I say, at the
5 time I myself was in the Lasva pocket, I was not in
7 Q. Well, General, did you ever learn of HVO
8 units under your command fighting in concert with VRS
9 units under the command of Bosko Peulic? Did you ever
10 learn about that?
11 A. Well, I heard about it. It was a propaganda
12 news item used by the BH army relating to co-operation
13 and so forth. So I did hear something of the kind, but
14 I said that according to my orders, that was not done.
15 I was in the Lasva pocket from the 16th of April, 1993,
16 and I could not have physically been in Zepce.
17 Zepce directly communicated with the main
18 staff of the HVO, and I didn't know that there was
19 collaboration with the army of Republika Srpska in the
20 sense of communication, in the sense of seeing to the
21 wounded, logistic supplies for Zepce, and so on and so
22 forth, but not following my instructions or orders.
23 Q. General, the brigade commander in the Zepce
24 area was Ivo Livancic, and that is an individual that
25 we have noted his name in numerous correspondence that
1 the Defence has introduced; isn't that right?
2 A. There was a man called Ivo Lozancic, but I
3 underline that from the 16th of April I was in the
4 Lasva pocket and I was not physically present up
6 Q. General, at any point up till now, after the
7 Washington Accords and up till now, did you talk to Ivo
8 Lozancic and ask him whether or not he was operating
9 jointly with the VRS in Zepce?
10 A. After the signing of the Washington Accords,
11 possibly I did discuss matters of this kind with him
12 but, once again, I tell you I was aware of that
13 information, that is to say, that a form of
14 co-operation had got under way, but I repeat, not on my
15 orders and not on my instructions. So I did not order
16 Lozancic to hold those forms of co-operation.
17 Q. Well, what did Lozancic tell you about his
18 co-operation with the VRS?
19 A. That he told me, after the Washington
20 Accords, that they attended to the wounded in Banja
21 Luka, HVO injured persons, because there was no
22 hospital in Zepce at the time, and that food also came
23 into the region, and complete aid and assistance by a
24 ground corridor under the supervision of the army of
25 Republika Srpska and that all that was paid for through
1 commercial accounts. All this assistance was paid for,
2 in fact.
3 I also know that there were contacts linked
4 to mediation by the international organisations when it
5 came to an exchange of information as to missing
6 persons, as to detained persons, or an exchange of the
7 corpses of those who had been killed, but that was
8 prior to these forms of co-operation.
9 Q. Well, we'll come back to this at a later
10 time, General. Let me go back to your career. When
11 you left the JNA in 1991, you were eligible to take the
12 Major's exam, I think you said, but the Major's exam
13 was never given because of the conflict?
14 A. That's not correct. I did attend a Major's
15 examination but I only sat for one examination, not the
16 whole set of examinations, and I never passed my
17 Major's examination. I think that in 1990 I had the
18 necessary conditions to sit for the Major's
20 Q. That's fine, General. We're going to talk a
21 little bit about your career in the HVO. We will not
22 talk about the early part of your career, because we'll
23 do that in some detail in a little bit, but I would
24 like to ask you some questions at the outset from the
25 time frame when you became the deputy chief of staff of
1 the HVO until the time where you were promoted to the
2 HV, and specifically you noted for us, during your
3 direct-examination, that you were promoted to the
4 deputy chief of staff on the 6th of approximately May
5 of 1994. You delayed taking that position but you
6 ultimately took the position sometime in May of 1994.
7 My question for you is: When you took the
8 deputy chief of staff position, who was the chief of
10 A. The chief of staff was General Milivoj
12 Q. And how long did Petkovic stay in that
13 position as the chief of staff? Did he stay until you
14 received the chief of staff position in August of
16 A. Yes. He was in that duty until August. I
17 think, 5th or 6th of August, '94.
18 Q. General, when you came as deputy chief of
19 staff to the HVO, who was the HVO representative to the
20 federation army?
21 A. You mean when I became the chief of staff or
22 deputy chief of staff?
23 Q. I apologise for any miscommunication, but I
24 believe my question was when you were deputy chief of
25 staff, who was the HVO representative to the federation
2 A. As far as I recall, it was General Ante Roso.
3 Q. Now, this is the Ante Roso that originally
4 gave you your promotion or gave you your rank on the
5 27th of July, 1992, gave you your rank of Lieutenant
6 Colonel; isn't that right?
7 A. I had said how I was given this rank. It was
8 not on the 27th of June but the 27th of July, 1992, and
9 this document was signed by Mr. Mate Boban and General
11 Q. But this is the same Ante Roso; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How long did Roso stay in the position as the
14 head of the federation army?
15 A. I don't know exactly how long but I know who
16 replaced him. I do not know. I really don't know that
17 piece of information, how long he stayed in that duty.
18 Q. Who replaced him?
19 A. It was Brigadier Zivko Budimir.
20 Q. How long did Zivko Budimir stay in that
21 position as head of the HVO contingent to the
22 federation army?
23 A. Neither of them were the chief of the HVO
24 within the federation army. He was the deputy chief of
25 the HVO, both Roso and Budimir, and the chief of the
1 HVO in the federation army was the chief of staff --
2 the commander of the HVO, and Zivko Budimir stayed
3 there until sometime in November or December of 1995.
4 I don't know exactly when.
5 Q. Well, General, you became the chief of staff,
6 I think you told us, on the 6th of August, 1994; is
7 that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Who was your deputy chief of staff?
10 A. For a brief period of time, it was Brigadier
11 Nedeljko Obradovic, but again I don't know exactly for
12 how long a period, and then it was Brigadier Milenko
14 Q. When did Zarko Tole serve under you?
15 A. As far as I know, he never served under me,
16 that is, if I understood the question correctly, Your
17 Honours, when was Zarko Tole my subordinate. He was
19 Q. He was never your subordinate at any time?
20 A. As far as I know, he wasn't.
21 Q. Well, if he was your subordinate, would you
23 A. I know that in point of fact this man was
24 never my subordinate.
25 Q. We'll come back to that in due course,
1 General. My question ending this area has to do with
2 your promotion to the HV. Now, you received this
3 notification that you were promoted from chief of staff
4 of the HVO and the federation army to the HV. When did
5 that occur?
6 A. This was in November 1995. I was informed
7 that this order came that I was promoted to the HV
8 General, and I was appointed inspector in the chief
9 inspectorate of the HV.
10 Q. Who issued that order taking you or ordering
11 you into the HV from the HVO?
12 A. This order was read on HTV, Croatian
13 Television. I don't know who signed it. I know that
14 it came from the commander in chief of the armed forces
15 of Croatia, President Franjo Tudjman.
16 Q. Is it your testimony that you never saw a
17 written order ordering you to leave Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 and to go to the Republic of Croatia? You never
19 received any document telling you what to do?
20 A. I saw this document but I'm not sure whether
21 somebody had signed it on behalf of the commander in
22 chief, but I did see this document. This document was
23 shown on television, but I saw the document itself
25 Q. The signature line at the bottom of this
1 document, according to your testimony, was that of
2 President Franjo Tudjman; is that what you're saying?
3 A. No. I said that I am not sure who had signed
4 the document but that I did see that President
5 Tudjman's name was typewritten as commander in chief,
6 but I don't know who actually signed it, whether it was
7 somebody from the personnel on his behalf or something
9 Q. Well, General, was that a common occurrence
10 in the HVO, for officers in the HVO to be promoted to
11 the army of another country, the Republic of Croatia?
12 Was that common?
13 A. I don't know if that was a usual thing. I
14 know that for awhile you could apply. You could apply
15 for a request for active duty and then receive a reply
16 whether you were accepted to the HV. For awhile, the
17 HV did accept officers based on the requests, on
18 applications. I'm not sure whether you think that this
19 was just a regular procedure. Everybody had to apply,
20 in other words, send a formal request to be accepted,
22 Q. General, you told us in direct examination
23 that this appointment to the HV came to you as a
24 complete surprise. That's what you told us in response
25 to questions by Mr. Nobilo. Did you apply to be a
1 General in the HV?
2 A. I personally did not submit an application,
3 but President Zubak, who was my superior, who was
4 commander in chief, he was with the delegation in
5 Dayton, and I don't know how my appointment came
6 about. I said what happened and what I knew and what I
8 Q. My question, General, is is it normal for a
9 president of one country to order the officer of
10 another country to report to this second army? Is that
11 a normal course of events based on your career in the
12 HV and the HVO?
13 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, an objection
14 regarding the way the question is posed because it
15 suggests something that the witness never said. He
16 said that President Tudjman had appointed him into the
17 HV, but he did not say that this is a document by which
18 he was transferred from the HVO to the HV.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I understand what you're
20 saying, Mr. Nobilo, but I think that the question was
21 not quite that. Mr. Kehoe was asking a question in his
22 way of asking it.
23 Did you hear that, General Blaskic? The
24 question was to know whether it was a regular thing,
25 was it an ordinary thing to be promoted to a high
1 position in another army when one was in your situation
2 as the head of the army of the federation; is that
4 A. My chief was the president of the presidency
5 and president of the federation, Kresimir Zubak. I
6 know that there was an agreement on cooperation, that
7 is, military cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 and the Republic of Croatia. I don't know what
9 arrangements were made here because I did not take part
10 in that and I do not know of those arrangements.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, let me ask you this question: Do
13 you know of any other army in the world where a
14 president of one country can give orders to an army of
15 another country?
16 A. It depends on the military agreements. I
17 don't know how NATO works, its military alliance.
18 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the witness has
19 answered. It depends on whether there were cooperative
20 arrangements and agreements.
21 Judge Rodrigues?
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, Mr. Kehoe.
23 General Blaskic, I'd like to ask you the
24 following question: If I've understood you correctly,
25 the HVO officers were appointed to the Croatian army as
1 part of a cooperative agreement; is that what you're
3 A. Your Honour, I said that a military agreement
4 between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina,
5 which for awhile was called the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was in existence. I know that
7 there was some training, some equipping. There was a
8 later split agreement and split declaration. There
9 were joint operations for the liberation of certain
10 areas in which both the Croatian army and the Bosnian
11 army participated.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, the appointments
13 of officers in the HVO was not done as part of that
14 cooperative agreement or were they, in fact, part of
15 that cooperative agreement?
16 A. Your Honour, I never had this document in my
17 hands on the military agreements in order to be able to
18 fully answer your question, but I know that President
19 Zubak relieved me of my duty with the HVO. My duty in
20 the HVO ceased based on an order of the commander in
21 chief, Kresimir Zubak. I don't know whether this was
22 due to the indictment that was issued against me or
23 whether it was some other issue which had to do with
24 the Washington Accords.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I have two other
1 questions. You said that as part of those agreements,
2 those cooperative agreements, between Croatia and the
3 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were officers
4 from the federation who were participants in several
5 exchanges; is that correct?
6 A. I'm afraid the question I received was not
7 received. Your question was whether there were
8 officers involved in the exchanges?
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If I understood you
10 correctly, General Blaskic, you said that there was a
11 cooperative agreement between Croatia and the
12 Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and within that
13 cooperation, there was training, military training, et
14 cetera. I'm not sure if I understood what you said
16 A. I know of an agreement between the Republic
17 of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on cooperation,
18 and within the framework of this cooperation, I don't
19 know how it was organised, but I know that it was a
20 train-and-equip programme and then troops being sent to
21 the front lines and so on.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In that cooperation, did
23 only the officers of the HVO participate or were there
24 also participants by the officers of the army of
1 A. I would say that there were participants on
2 the part of the officer corps and soldiers of the army
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina but it was in various locations
4 and at various levels.
5 Let me just point out that I'm aware of three
6 brigades who were trained and equipped in Croatia and
7 sent to Central Bosnia to fight against the army of
8 Republika Srpska alongside the HVO, and those were
9 brigades of the BH army.
10 I'm also aware of the assistance which was
11 sent to Bihac in cooperation with the BH army officers
12 in the Bihac area for the defence of the Bihac pocket.
13 I'm also aware of the assistance in the Posavina
14 region, in the north of Bosnia, which was in
15 cooperation with the 2nd BH Army Corps in Croatia, but
16 I do not know the exact details of this agreement.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Here's the other question
18 I'd like to ask you: There were HVO officers like
19 yourself who were promoted in the Croatian army; is
20 that correct?
21 A. There were HVO officers who, on the basis of
22 their requests, joined, that is, continued their
23 service in the HV because their duties in the HVO
24 ceased on various grounds. Whether the duty was no
25 more or they were not needed any longer, there were
1 such cases.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I have another question,
3 perhaps a little naive, but I'd like to ask it anyway.
4 Were there officers of the BH army who were
5 promoted within that same framework? Do you know
6 whether there were any officers of the BH army who were
7 promoted also in the Croatian army, the HV?
8 A. In the 2nd Army Corps, I'm not sure, but I
9 think that somebody from the 2nd BH Army Corps was. I
10 know that there were officers in the BH army who, when
11 the federation army was created, did transfer from the
12 BH army to the HVO. It is possible that today there
13 were some who, from the army, did transfer to the HV,
14 but I do not have such specific information.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues. I
17 know that you haven't finished asking your question,
18 but if you agree, we can stop now, and we will resume
19 at 2.30.
20 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.04 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.37 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
3 Please be seated. Mr. Kehoe?
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Just a point
5 of order before the questioning commences.
6 Mr. President and Your Honours, if we could ask for
7 approximately 10 minutes at the end of the day for an
8 ex parte in camera matter concerning a recent incident
9 that has come to the attention -- not having to do with
10 this, but if we can take that period of time towards
11 the end of the day, the Office of the Prosecutor would
12 be grateful.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Let me turn to my colleagues.
14 We're always not comfortable when we ask for ex parte
15 hearings when we don't know what it is about. Since
16 you can't do it because you need to have ex parte in
17 order to explain why you need ex parte.
18 Well, we have enough trust in Defence counsel
19 and in the Prosecution counsel, so after we have had
20 the Defence agreement -- I assume there is no comment
21 that either of you wishes to make; is that correct?
22 Mr. Nobilo, you look a bit perplexed.
23 Mr. Hayman?
24 MR. HAYMAN: We don't know what it's about,
25 so we don't know what comments to make, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You are exactly in the
2 same situation as the Judges, Mr. Hayman. All right.
3 What I suggest -- well, let me first consult with my
5 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we trust the
6 court to exercise its proper discretion. If an ex
7 parte contact on whatever it is is not appropriate we,
8 of course, put that matter in the court's hands.
9 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
10 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges have confidence in
11 you, Mr. Kehoe, and for that reason we'll have the ex
12 parte but that means we'll stop at quarter after five.
13 Is that what you mean?
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. On that
15 issue, I believe Mr. Harmon will address the court, not
16 me, on the issue of the ex parte in camera matter.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I'd like to take
18 advantage of this occasion to say to you Mr. Kehoe, and
19 ask you and ask the witness as well to try to
20 demonstrate a spirit of synthesis both in the questions
21 and in the answers. You know that very frequently the
22 Trial Chamber makes efforts in order to synthesise
23 things. Instead of asking for a motion, we don't
24 always have to say we're going to suspend the hearing,
25 we're going to interrupt things, but we try to settle
1 things as quickly as possible. Therefore, try to make
2 an effort.
3 Having said this, Mr. Kehoe, please
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
6 Q. Good afternoon, General.
7 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Prosecutor.
8 Q. General, just one follow-up question to the
9 question that was asked by Judge Rodrigues. General,
10 do you know of any Bosnian Muslim officer from the army
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina who was appointed and ordered to
12 become a part of the HV by President Tudjman? Do you
13 know any such officer, and if so, the name, please?
14 A. Your Honours, the only thing I said was that
15 I had information that there were transfers of the BH
16 army officers to the HVO and HV. At this point in
17 time, I do not know what their ethnic background was,
18 whether they were Serbs, Muslims, Gypsies, whatever
19 their religion was, but I know they were members of the
20 BH army.
21 Q. General, let us move ahead and we will talk
22 about the period of time when you came back from
23 Austria to become a part and a member of the HVO. Now,
24 you noted during your direct-examination that you
25 arrived in Zagreb on the 5th of April, 1992, and my
1 question for you is: When you got to Zagreb on the 5th
2 of April, 1992, did you speak to anybody in the
3 government of the Republic of Croatia?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Prior to leaving for Kiseljak, did you speak
6 to anybody in the government of the Republic of
7 Croatia? I'm referring to the time frame when you were
8 still in Austria.
9 A. As far as I recollect, no, I did not. You're
10 talking about the period when I have left the JNA and
11 was in Austria?
12 Q. That's correct.
13 A. I did not talk to the officials there.
14 Q. Now, you did speak to Bosnian Croat officials
15 who were in Bosnia during this time frame, didn't you?
16 A. I talked to the officials in the Kiseljak
17 municipality. He was a Bosnian Croat from Kiseljak.
18 Q. What was his name?
19 A. His name was Pero Madzar.
20 Q. Did you discuss the Croatian Community of
22 A. No, absolutely nothing in that regard. Those
23 were short conversations where he conveyed to me the
24 position of the president of the municipality assembly
25 and conveyed his request that I come and provide him
1 with my expertise and assistance.
2 Q. So you had no discussions whatsoever about
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, what it was
4 about, what it stood for, what its plans were for the
5 future; is that your testimony?
6 A. Yes. At that time when I was in Austria, the
7 only conversation I had was to the effect of my coming
8 to help the defence of Kiseljak municipality against
9 the potential aggressor which was the army of the
10 Republika Srpska, actually at that time still the JNA.
11 Q. Now you left Zagreb for Kiseljak on the 6th
12 of April, and when did you think you were going to get
13 to Kiseljak?
14 A. I believed that I would arrive in the course
15 of the day of the 6th of April, sometime in the
16 evening, that I would reach Kiseljak, but I did not
17 have full understanding of what the passibility of the
18 roads was at that time. That was the beginning of the
19 conflict, so travel on those roads was actually fairly
21 Q. General, this was the 6th. It was one day
22 before the Republic of Croatia recognised the Republic
23 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and offered dual citizenship
24 within the Croatian nation, and two days before the
25 formation of the HVO; is that right?
1 A. I said when I had planned on getting there.
2 If you say so, it is possible that it is so, but I
3 know, on the 8th of April the HVO was established. So
4 that was two days prior. I'm not sure about the exact
5 date when both the Republic of Croatia and
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina were recognised. It could be the
7 day that you refer to.
8 MR. KEHOE: I'll move through this quickly,
9 Mr. President, as opposed to going through all of these
10 documents seriatim.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I can only agree with that
13 MR. KEHOE: Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/5 is the
14 recognition by the Republic of Croatia, by Dr. Franjo
15 Tudjman, dated the 7th of April, 1992. Prosecutor's
16 Exhibit 38, tab 21, page 4, is as the witness just
17 reflected, the formation of the Croatian Defence
18 Council, or HVO, on the 8th of April, 1992.
19 JUDGE JORDA: If it isn't being contested,
20 because it depends upon you -- do you want to have the
21 witness confirm that it was the 7th of April or do you
22 have any other questions you want to ask about that
23 same document?
24 MR. KEHOE: It's quite all right,
25 Mr. President. The document speaks for itself.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I think it's simply a date that
2 has to be recognised. It's in the case file, I
3 believe, already. Is that not true, Mr. Registrar, or
4 is it something new?
5 THE REGISTRAR: As regards 406/5, yes, that
6 exhibit is in the case file.
7 JUDGE JORDA: It's not indispensable. I
8 don't believe that the witness contests the date.
9 Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the question was
11 improperly put to the witness. Three questions were
12 merged into one.
13 There was one question that was slipped into
14 this question, which was that on the same date that
15 President Tudjman had offered dual citizenship to the
16 Bosnian Croats. We would like to see that document.
17 MR. KEHOE: We can put it on the ELMO. We
18 can show the witness 406/5. That's fine. I figured
19 we'd do this more quickly, but if we have to do it the
20 slow way around, please. We could give that exhibit to
21 the witness.
22 (Technical difficulty)
23 THE INTERPRETER: Is it working now? Do you
24 hear? Is it all right now? Does everybody hear?
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I don't know if
1 you were telling me to do something because I didn't
2 get the translation of your last comments.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I simply noted that
4 Mr. Nobilo preferred that the document be produced;
5 therefore, we're going to produce it. That was what I
7 MR. NOBILO: Yes, because the witness
8 testified nothing about the dual citizenship issue.
9 JUDGE JORDA: We're going to look at the
10 document. Let's move forward. As long as we can,
11 let's do so. We will go forward as quick as we can.
12 If we have to take a step backward when we have to,
13 then we will.
14 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
15 General Blaskic, you've read the document; I
16 suppose you're familiar with it?
17 A. I had not seen this document before, Your
18 Honours. I did review it just now.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. In paragraph 2, the recognition of the
21 republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Republic of
22 Croatia, number 2 says: "This act of recognition
23 grants the right of dual citizenship to the members of
24 the Croatian nation who wish such citizenship."
25 That was the reference point to which I was
1 addressing the Court to prior to this discussion about
2 the documents.
3 A. Mr. President, with your permission,
4 paragraph 2 has not been read in its entirety, "and we
5 suggest that this issue be agreed to by a bilateral
6 agreement process," which means that, in paragraph 2,
7 they are saying -- just pointing out the guidelines as
8 to how to go about this dual citizenship issue.
9 Q. Now, General Blaskic, you were in Zagreb on
10 the 5th, you were in Kiseljak on the 6th -- excuse me,
11 due to leave for Kiseljak on the 6th and due to get in
12 the next day, except for your capture. This particular
13 document, 406/5, is dated the 7th, is that correct, the
14 7th of April?
15 A. Yes, this document is dated 7 April, 1992.
16 Q. And the HVO was established on the 8th of
17 April, as you noted just previously; correct?
18 A. The HVO was established on the 8th of April,
20 Q. General, was it an organised plan to bring
21 Bosnian Croat officers such as yourself back to Central
22 Bosnia and other areas that were covered by the HVO
23 during this time frame?
24 A. I don't know anything about some organised
25 plan, nor did I have any conversation about any
1 organised plans. The only thing I know is that at that
2 time in the Kiseljak municipality, which is my
3 municipality, there were the former JNA officers, both
4 Croat and Bosniak, who were engaged in the defence of
5 the municipality because it borders on the Ilija,
6 Rakovica, and Hadzici municipalities which were already
7 under Serb control.
8 Q. What is the exact date that you reported to
9 the municipal authorities in Kiseljak?
10 A. On 14 April, 1992.
11 Q. By the 23rd of April of 1992, you had been
12 appointed the commander of the armed formations of the
13 municipal crisis staff in Kiseljak; is that right?
14 A. Your question came across that I had been
15 appointed by the 23rd of April. Can you repeat the
16 question, please?
17 Q. On the 23rd of April, were you appointed the
18 head of the armed forces of the municipal crisis staff,
19 23 April, the 23rd?
20 A. Yes. I was appointed by the president of the
21 municipal crisis staff as commander of the armed
22 formations of the Kiseljak municipality together with
23 Bakir Alispahic.
24 Q. Now, General, were you in agreement with the
25 political positions of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna that were being expressed in Kiseljak
2 during the time frame when you got there?
3 A. At that time, in April, that is, the
4 municipal crisis staff was active in Kiseljak. It was
5 composed of representatives of Croats and Muslims, and
6 this staff was appointed by the Kiseljak municipality
7 assembly, so it was not appointed by the Croatian
8 Community of Herceg-Bosna but the Kiseljak municipality
10 Q. Well, sir, with regard to the Croatian
11 Community of Herceg-Bosna, were you in agreement with
12 the political policies of the Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna when you arrived in Kiseljak and by the
14 time you were appointed on the 23rd of April, 1992?
15 Were you in agreement with those policies?
16 A. I perceived the Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna as an organisation of the
18 self-organised -- as a community of self-organised
19 Croatian people against the aggression of the Serbs.
20 At that time, I had not enough basis to form any
21 political opinion, nor was I particularly interested in
22 that. My preoccupation in Kiseljak was of a military
24 Q. Let us discuss some paragraphs in
25 Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/2, a document dated the 12th
1 of November, 1991, sometime before you got to Kiseljak
2 but, nonetheless, being drafted by Mate Boban and Dario
4 Let us put that on the ELMO, and this is the
5 minutes or conclusions of a joint meeting of the
6 Herzegovina Regional Community and the Travnik Regional
7 Community. The president of the regional crisis staff
8 for Herzegovina is Mate Boban, and the president of the
9 Travnik Regional Community is Dario Kordic.
10 Let's go to the conclusions, and I will read
11 this slowly:
12 "1. The Croatian Regional Community and the
13 Travnik Regional Community remain of the opinion stated
14 in the conclusions adopted at earlier meetings, that
15 the Croatian people of this region, and of all Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina, still support the unanimously accepted
17 orientation and conclusions adopted in agreements with
18 president Dr. Franjo Tudjman on 13 and 20 June, 1991 in
19 Zagreb. On basis of the conclusions of the
20 above-mentioned meetings and agreement in Zagreb, as
21 well as the separate conclusions of 15 October, 1991 in
22 Grude, and 22 October, 1991 in Busovaca, and on this
23 occasion, 12 November, 1991, these two regional
24 communities have unanimously decided that the Croatian
25 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina must finally embrace a
1 determined and active policy which will realise our
2 eternal dream - a common Croatian State.
3 "In order that historic goal may soon also be
4 our reality, these two regional communities ask that
5 legal and political documents be prepared and published
6 (proclaiming a Croatian Banovina in BH and the holding
7 of a referendum on joining the Republic of Croatia) as
8 the first steps on the road to the final solution of
9 the Croatian question and the creation of" and then
10 "words illegible."
11 Let us move down to 3(a) of this document
12 which notes that:
13 "3. In order to implement the conclusions
14 from the first two items of these conclusions, we
16 a) clearly define the party politics of the
17 HDZ and BH, strengthen its membership, and select
18 people who can see these tasks through to end."
19 Now, General, were you one of those people
20 who was selected by officials such as Kordic and Boban
21 to see their tasks to the end, that is, the fulfilment
22 of their eternal dream, a common Croatian state? Were
23 you one of those people?
24 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, vague as to
25 "officials such as Kordic and Boban." Why doesn't
1 counsel ask the witness if he ever met Mr. Kordic, if
2 he ever met Mr. Boban, if he had any contact. Was he
3 invited by any of the people listed in this document to
4 come to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, we already
6 have in the record numerous pictures of the two of them
7 together --
8 JUDGE JORDA: I would like the Prosecutor to
9 be able to ask his questions properly.
10 Mr. Kehoe, ask your questions. You see, the
11 question has not even been asked and then there's an
12 objection. The Prosecutor can ask whether the
13 witness -- the witness wants to answer the way he wants
14 to answer. That's all. Simply try to ask your
15 question more clearly. Ask your question again and
16 then let's hear the answer, but objections are being
17 made before answers are given.
18 The Judges realise what this means because
19 when one makes an objection, Mr. Hayman, that requires
20 an answer from the witness. You understand what I
21 mean? I don't think that you did that on purpose. I
22 know you didn't do that on purpose, but that can be
23 interpreted that way.
24 MR. HAYMAN: My training, Mr. President, is
25 to object to an objectionable question because the
1 witness shouldn't have to answer an objectionable
2 question. That was my purpose. I apologise if the
3 Court is offended by that.
4 JUDGE JORDA: My training, Mr. Hayman, my
5 training is to direct the proceedings so that they are
6 carried out equitably.
7 Mr. Kehoe, ask your question as you want to
8 ask it.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Now, General, given the goal of bringing the
11 Croatian people together as part of the Republic of
12 Croatia, were you one of those people that was brought
13 in and ordered to see that task to the end?
14 A. Let me first answer like this: I do not feel
15 that that is what it was and, Your Honours, I had never
16 seen this document before. This document was not
17 signed. I did not talk to the creators, the drafters
18 of this document, and I never attended this meeting.
19 There are several meetings quoted here. I never
20 attended any one of those. If I can only be given a
21 moment to review these two conclusions --
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You've got the right to
23 review the document, and I pointed out to your counsel
24 that you have the right to answer as you wish. All
25 right, look at the document. How much time do you need
1 in order to look at it, a minute, two minutes?
2 A. Maybe a couple of minutes so I can see what
3 it is about, because as I said, I did not attend this
5 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Take two or three
7 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
8 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, now that
9 you've familiarised yourself with that document which
10 you never saw before; right?
11 A. Yes. I familiarised myself with the
12 document, and I have already stated to the Trial
13 Chamber what my motivation for coming to Central Bosnia
14 were. That was my expertise and assistance in
15 preparation for the defence of my municipality together
16 with all other citizens of the municipality.
17 I consider this document to be a political
18 one. I never discussed it with the authors on any of
19 these issues.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Well, General, prior to you coming to
22 Kiseljak, were you told that officials in Central
23 Bosnia were having contact with the Republic of
24 Croatia, seeking their advice and/or support during
25 that time frame, before you got to Kiseljak?
1 A. I was only told to provide assistance, even
2 on a temporary basis, to my municipality in
3 preparations for the defence. That was my expert
4 military assistance. In other words, I was asked to
5 provide my expert military assistance on the basis of
6 my military training. I was never offered any other
8 MR. KEHOE: Let us look at Prosecutor's
9 Exhibit --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues?
11 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I believe
13 that the contacts that occurred with you when you were
14 in Austria, I believe that those contacts were made by
15 the President of the municipality of Kiseljak; is that
17 A. Your Honour, his duty was that of the
18 president of the Kiseljak municipality assembly.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you for the
20 clarification. Here's my question: How did these
21 contacts come about?
22 A. I don't know whether -- are you referring to
23 the -- you mean technically how they were conducted?
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Well, I don't want to leave
25 you with the answer. When I say "how," I meant was it
1 by telephone, was it by mail, was it by
2 video-conference, was it by -- in some way? How did
3 you communicate?
4 A. Thank you, Your Honour. Now you've made it
5 clear for me. We communicated on the telephone, this
6 is Mr. Pero Madzar, and he conveyed to me these
7 requests on the part of the president of the Kiseljak
8 municipality assembly.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Do you remember about how
10 frequently this contact occurred? Was it one contact
11 or were there several contacts?
12 A. There were several contacts. If it is
13 important I can look in my chronology, but it was more
14 than one contact. There were multiple contacts. I
15 remember that we talked -- that we had one contact
16 every 7 or maybe every 15 days.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you. I understand
18 now. Thank you, General.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
20 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. General, in this document, the writers, Mate
23 Boban, who subsequently became the Commander in Chief
24 of the HVO, and Dario Kordic, who was one of the
25 vice-presidents of the Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna, note that this, "Joining of the Croatian
2 people in a common Croatian state is an eternal dream
3 and a historic goal." Do you see that, sir?
4 A. Yes, I can see that in the document.
5 Q. We can show the witness Defence Exhibit 300.
6 I apologise. This was not on the list but it is one we
7 discussed this morning.
8 Now, Exhibit 300, General, is your attack
9 order to the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade on Kiseljak, on
10 the 17th of April, 1993, at 23.45, where you instruct
11 the attack to commence the next morning at 5.30. In
12 paragraph 9 of that document you tell that brigade to,
13 "Maintain a sense of historic responsibility."
14 Now, General, this eternal dream, and this
15 historic goal, and your reference to "historic
16 responsibility" are all referring to the same thing,
17 aren't they? Carving out a common Croatian state,
18 isn't it?
19 A. No. That is absolutely not so. On the 17th
20 of April, I was on the brink of total collapse and the
21 loss of all positions in the Lasva pocket.
22 Unfortunately, I was forced to take steps to relieve
23 the burden on the front line in the Lasva pocket.
24 Being in such a situation, it was quite normal that as
25 the commander, I should encourage my subordinates to
1 carry out that task. My fundamental position was to
2 relieve the pressure on the Lasva pocket, which was
3 about to fall. If the Ban Josip Jelacic Brigade had
4 not reacted, I'm confident that we would have lost the
5 Lasva pocket.
6 So this was meant to encourage the combat
7 morale of the soldiers and the command. It is
8 something that any commander would do.
9 Q. This eternal dream and this goal and historic
10 responsibility have nothing to do with each other; is
11 that your testimony?
12 A. I'm not talking about goals here. I don't
13 know what your question is, but point 9 is quite clear,
14 "Bear in mind your responsibilities," that is, the
15 responsibility for the combat assignment given.
16 According to the standards of the former JNA, one of
17 the points for the security of combat operations was
18 the security of morale, so that the military
19 assignments would be carried out.
20 Q. Going back to the Republic of Croatia, did
21 you know that officials in Central Bosnia were meeting
22 with the Republic of Croatia before you got to Kiseljak
23 on the 14th of April?
24 A. That the offices -- could you repeat the
25 question, please?
1 Q. Did you know that officials in Central
2 Bosnia, including Dario Kordic, were meeting with
3 officials of the Republic of Croatia, including Gojko
4 Susak, the Defence Minister? Did you know that?
5 A. No, Your Honours. I never knew the president
6 of the municipality of Kiseljak before that date.
7 Physically we never met. I left to attend school, when
8 I was 15, in Zagreb, and I spent most of these years in
9 military training. As a military man of the former
10 JNA, I lived in a completely autonomous system, without
11 any need to communicate with my original municipality.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, what year did
13 you mention? Could you be more specific about the
15 MR. KEHOE: 1992.
16 JUDGE JORDA: The document is what? Please
17 be very precise, because the document that you showed
18 the witness was the 17th of April, 1993. So there is a
19 time gap that we have to be aware of. Please
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Let us move to Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/4.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Kehoe, perhaps before
24 going forward, General Blaskic, I should like to go
25 back to my previous question. The President of the
1 municipal assembly of Kiseljak called you once, twice,
2 three times. It's irrelevant, but several times. Do
3 you remember well the words used, how he spoke to you?
4 Could you now perhaps make a summary of that
5 conversation, how he invited you to come? What did he
6 tell you?
7 A. Your Honours, I never said in my testimony
8 that I was called by the President of the municipal
9 assembly of Kiseljak. It wasn't he who called me. I
10 was contacted by Mr. Pero Madzar.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, you're right,
12 General. I apologise. But anyway, the person who
13 spoke in the name of the president and who contacted
14 you, what expressions did he use in speaking to you?
15 Do you understand my question? Yes, I take into
16 account your correction.
17 A. Your Honours, I again got a different
18 interpretation. "The person who had contacted you,
19 holding the position of president of the
21 I must repeat, it was not the President of
22 the municipality who contacted me by phone while I was
23 in Austria. Maybe something's wrong with the
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, that's true. My
1 question is: The person who contacted you, and
2 according to you, on behalf of the president of the
3 municipal assembly. Is that okay now, General?
4 A. (No translation)
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: How did that conversation
7 A. Mr. Pero Madzar said to me that he had
8 contacted me on the authority of the president of the
9 assembly of the municipality of Kiseljak, and that he
10 was asking me to come back to the municipality of
11 Kiseljak to provide professional assistance in
12 preparing and organising the defence of the
13 municipality of Kiseljak. That was the substance of
14 that conversation.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did he speak to you about
16 reasons or motives, why they were calling you?
17 A. Yes. He said that in the territory of
18 Kiseljak municipality they lacked professional military
19 men and that they would welcome my professional
20 military assistance. I told him later on that I would
21 agree to come only temporarily, and he conveyed that
22 position further.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question, General.
24 In relation to the President of the municipal assembly,
25 you said that you had never met him personally, because
1 you left to study, et cetera.
2 Mr. Pero Madzar, did you have any personal
3 contact with him before? Did you know him from before
4 or not?
5 A. He was my neighbour living some 700 metres
6 away from me. After I had left to study, that is, in
7 1975, I may have come across him but we never had any
8 particular contacts after that. He's four years my
9 senior, so that even before we didn't have much
10 contact, but I know him well, I know where his house
11 is, and very rarely did I have contacts with officials
12 of the Kiseljak municipality while I was serving in the
13 Republic of Slovenia.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My last question for the
15 moment: Did you know how he was able to get in touch
16 with you?
17 A. Yes, I do. He asked my parents to give him
18 my telephone number, and my late father gave him my
19 telephone number and that is how he called me.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. If we could
23 move to 406/4.
24 Q. This is a document that's in evidence, dated
25 the 21st of March, 1992, concerning a meeting with the
1 Minister of Defence. The request is to the Ministry of
2 Defence of the Republic of Croatia and reads as
3 follows: "At the meeting of the commanders of Central
4 Bosnia held on 17 March, 1992 in Busovaca, a meeting
5 with the Minister of Defence of the Republic of
6 Croatia, Mr. Gojko Susak, was considered imperative.
7 We would like to request a meeting with you in order to
8 inform you about the current situation in Central
9 Bosnia and the problems we encounter and to receive
10 your instructions for further actions in this area.
11 The following representatives would attend
12 the meeting: Mr. Pasko Ljubicic, commander of the
13 Central Bosnia command; Mr. Zvonko Vukovic, head of the
14 Central Bosnia command; Mr. Dario Kordic, head of the
15 Crisis Committee for Central Bosnia, Vice-President of
16 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; and Mr. Boris,"
17 the name is illegible, "President of the Executive
18 Board of the Travnik municipal assembly.
19 We would be very grateful if you would meet
20 with us and, if possible, schedule the meeting for next
21 week." Signed by Pasko Ljubicic.
22 Now, Pasko Ljubicic, General, is the
23 individual that you met on the 5th of May, 1992 as the
24 commander of the Central Bosnia command; is that
1 A. Yes, I met him. Could you repeat the date?
2 I didn't quite get the date because I was reading the
4 Q. The date you told us that you met Pasko
5 Ljubicic was the 5th of May, 1992. That's what you
6 testified to on the record?
7 A. Yes. Pasko Ljubicic is the man I met on that
9 Q. You know Zvonko Vukovic? He was the initial
10 commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion, and
11 then he was also the commander of the home guards in
12 Central Bosnia. You know that gentleman, do you not?
13 A. Yes, I do. I know him. I know Zvonko
15 Q. And, of course, you know Dario Kordic?
16 A. I know him too. I met him at the same time
17 as Pasko Ljubicic. I think it was in May, 1992.
18 Q. Well, General, did this meeting take place
19 with Gojko Susak and did these gentlemen tell you about
20 this meeting with Gojko Susak?
21 A. Your Honours, my answer to this question is
22 that I do not know whether this meeting took place and,
23 secondly, at the time this document was drafted, I was
24 in Austria. I did not attend the meeting on the 17th
25 of March, 1992 in Busovaca. I did not speak to the
1 author of this document, Pasko Ljubicic, about this
2 document, and I know nothing about these events or this
3 document, including whether the meeting was held or
5 Q. Do you know whether or not troops of the HV
6 for the Republic of Croatia were ordered to Bosnia
7 shortly after this scheduled meeting?
8 A. I said that I don't even know whether this
9 meeting took place. I don't know what the question
11 Q. The question is this: By April of 1992, were
12 there HV troops in Bosnia?
13 A. In April '92? When in April? I was still in
14 Austria in April.
15 Q. Let's start with by the time you got there on
16 the 14th of April, 1992. Were there HV troops in
18 A. I came to the Kiseljak municipality, and I
19 can speak about that municipality. I didn't see any
20 Croatian army troops there. Whether there were any
21 such troops elsewhere, I do not know and I cannot
22 provide an answer. I don't know whether at that time
23 there were any Croatian army troops. There weren't any
24 in the municipality of Kiseljak. If you're asking me
25 about the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there may
1 have been some, but I have no information about that.
2 Q. General, let me read a portion of your
3 testimony, and I'm reading on page 17867. This is you
4 from lines 7 through 23:
5 "At the session of the municipal crisis
6 staff, around the 23rd of April, 1992, I was appointed
7 the commander of the armed formations by the municipal
8 crisis staff in Kiseljak, and I was not, either in the
9 first contact or later, led to believe that there was a
10 military structure superior to the municipality from
11 which I was to seek either approval or which was to
12 verify this appointment of mine.
13 "Also, as far as my work is concerned, I
14 never was aware of any superior structure, something
15 that I could relate to my previous work, in other
16 words, an entity to which I would report my daily
17 activities. I would only occasionally inform members
18 of the municipal crisis staff in Kiseljak on my
19 activities or members of the HVO headquarters in
20 Kiseljak, and there was no superior military structure
21 in existence at the time above this."
22 Do you recall that testimony, General?
23 A. Yes, I do recall that testimony.
24 Q. That wasn't true, was it?
25 A. It is true on the 23rd of April, if that is
1 what you're talking about. A military structure had
2 not been established. I reported to the municipal
3 crisis staff and members of the Kiseljak staff, and
4 that is correct.
5 Q. Let me start with this exhibit.
6 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have the page? It's
7 not on 17867.
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, it is. 17867, Counsel.
9 MR. HAYMAN: Lines 7 to 23?
10 MR. KEHOE: That's right. I have the page
11 here. What can I tell you?
12 MR. HAYMAN: I have the page. It's not
14 MR. KEHOE: It's right here.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 578.
16 MR. KEHOE: If we could put that on the ELMO.
17 Q. General, do you recognise that man?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Who is it?
20 A. General Janko Bobetko.
21 Q. And he is wearing a general's uniform from
22 the HV similar to yours; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. KEHOE: I turn to the next exhibit which
25 is 406/6.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, was this a general
2 of the Croatian army or of the HVO? I didn't quite get
4 MR. KEHOE: The Croatian army, never the
5 HVO -- well, I shouldn't say "never the HVO." It
6 depends what day you're talking about. He has "HV" on
7 his lapels.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. Please continue.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Let us turn our attention to 406/6,
11 Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/6. That's on the ELMO. This
12 is an order from President Franjo Tudjman, and it
14 "Pursuant to Article 52, paragraph 1, item
15 of the Law on Defence, and in view of the extraordinary
16 circumstances in connection with the escalation of the
17 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which also threatens the
18 border regions of the Republic of Croatia, I hereby
19 issue the following:
20 "Order: By which I appoint General Janko
21 Bobetko, commander of all units of the Croatian army on
22 the southern front, from Split to Dubrovnik.
23 "In this regard, all commands in that sector
24 including those of the Croatian navy shall be
25 subordinated to him.
1 "A staff of the southern front shall also be
2 formed from their ranks as needed.
3 "This order shall take effect immediately.
4 10 April, 1992.
5 Signed, President Franjo Tudjman, Republic of
7 Now, General Blaskic, the southern front
8 discussed in this particular document encompasses
9 Central Bosnia, the area that you were operating in
10 which ultimately became the Central Bosnia Operative
11 Zone, didn't it?
12 A. No. The southern front is here delineated by
13 the region of Split and the region of Dubrovnik;
14 therefore, it doesn't include Central Bosnia. This is
15 the first time I hear of any such statement. According
16 to my military training, Central Bosnia was never part
17 of the southern front. According to the former
18 division of the JNA, when military geography was
19 studied, there was a strategic axis called Split-Vrbas
20 going from Split via Kupres towards Jajce and Banja
21 Luka but never from Split towards Central Bosnia. This
22 is the first I hear of it.
23 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/16,
24 if we could put that on the ELMO.
25 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if we're going to
1 go on to another document, we've been working for an
2 hour, so, if possible, could we make a break now?
3 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I could finish
4 this document, this particular area on this document
5 before we take a break.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor?
7 MR. KEHOE: I beg the Court's indulgence that
8 we finish this particular document.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Finish, yes. Go ahead.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. If we take a look at Prosecutor's Exhibit
12 406/16, this is a document on the Republic of Croatia
13 letterhead, "Southern Front Command, Split Operative
14 Zone Command, Ploce Forward Command Post." The date:
15 "19 May, 1992." This document is dated four days
16 before you meet Zarko Tole; isn't that right?
17 A. Yes. I met Zarko Tole in Busovaca, but I
18 didn't see this document.
19 Q. Formation of the forward command post
20 "Central Bosnia."
21 "With the aim of organising effective defence
22 and integrating the existing Commands in Central
23 Bosnia, I hereby order:
24 1. Establish forward command post Central
25 Bosnia in Gornji Vakuf.
1 2. I appoint Brigadier Zarko Tole commander
2 of the forward command post.
3 3. Brigadier Zarko Tole has all the
4 authorities of coordinating and commanding forces in
5 the Central Bosnia region (Busovaca, Vitez, Novi
6 Travnik, Travnik, Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, Prozor,
7 Tomislavgrad, and Posusje).
8 4. Brigadier Zarko Tole shall appoint the
9 necessary number of officers and non-commissioned
10 officers for effective work at the forward command
12 5. This order shall take effect
14 Commander of the southern front, General
15 Janko Bobetko."
16 This is a document, General, signed by a
17 three-star general in the Croatian army giving command
18 for Central Bosnia to Zarko Tole on the 19th of May,
19 four days before you meet him as the commander of the
20 Central Bosnia command; isn't that correct?
21 A. That is correct, only he was the commander of
22 the southern front along the Dubrovnik-Split axis, and
23 I said that it covered the Split-Vrbas direction. I
24 can show this to you on the map, the region of Split
25 leading across the Kupres plateaux along the Vrbas
1 River Valley, and the Vrbas River flows through Gornji
3 At that time, I was the commander in the
4 municipal staff of Kiseljak. Kiseljak is not in this
5 order. There is no Kresevo. There is no Fojnica. I
6 don't know what General Bobetko was guided by when he
7 issued this order, and I never discussed this document
8 with him.
9 Q. The fact of the matter, General, is that a
10 general in the Croatian army is both setting up the
11 forward command post for Central Bosnia and appointing
12 Brigadier Zarko Tole as the commander for Central
13 Bosnia four days before you meet Tole.
14 A. All I can say is what I see on the document.
15 Whether forward command posts were established or not,
16 I don't know. I wasn't there to check. I was one of
17 the commanders of units in Kiseljak municipality.
18 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I think that
19 your answer has to be connected to your previous
20 answer. I think that's the point. In your previous
21 answer, you said that the southern front went from
22 Split to Dubrovnik, and you said, in a rather
23 authoritative way, that you don't see how Central
24 Bosnia could be part of this southern front. Now you
25 have a document before you offered by the Prosecutor
1 which, if I understand well, contradicts what you have
2 just said.
3 A. Mr. President, I was commenting on the
4 document that I had before me, and that was the order
5 of President Tudjman to the order of the command of the
6 southern front where mention is made of Dubrovnik and
7 Split. I said that, as far as I know, Split includes
8 the Split-Vrbas axis, that is, the Vrbas River Valley
9 towards Banja Luka. That is the military division.
10 At that time, I was in Kiseljak, and Kiseljak
11 is not part of this. The Prosecutor said, "Your area
12 was part of the southern front." At that time, I was
13 in Kiseljak, commander of the municipal staff or,
14 rather, the armed units of the municipal staff.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not insisting, General.
16 I'm just drawing your attention to your replies to
17 these two documents.
18 Have you any further questions on this
19 document, Mr. Prosecutor?
20 MR. KEHOE: Not on this document,
21 Mr. President, but I have others.
22 JUDGE JORDA: On this document?
23 MR. KEHOE: No. I have other questions on
24 other documents.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let's have a
1 15-minute break because we will be having another break
2 later on.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume our work. Please
6 be seated. Mr. Kehoe?
7 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Now, General, was General Bobetko in the HV
9 or the HVO?
10 A. Your Honours, General Bobetko was in the
11 Croatian army. From this document of May 1992, he was
12 commander of the southern front of the Croatian army.
13 Q. The document that you're talking about is the
14 document that's dated the 19th of May, 1992, which is
15 Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/16.
16 With the assistance of the usher, I'd ask
17 you, General, to take a look at Exhibit 406/10. Again,
18 this is a Prosecutor's exhibit. I apologise without
19 the preliminary description.
20 Now, General, this is a document that's dated
21 approximately a month prior to the order to Zarko Tole
22 on the 19th of May, 1992, again another order or
23 appointment signed by Janko Bobetko, but this document,
24 as you can see -- let's read it.
25 It says, "The Croatian Community of
1 Herceg-Bosna. Croatian Defence Council, southern front
2 command. Grude, forward command post. Dated 20 April,
3 1992. Appointment of officers to the defence command
4 of Tomislavgrad.
5 In order to achieve effective, operational,
6 and secure command in the units of the HVO of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna the following are
9 1. Tole Zarko, Colonel, commander.
10 2. Siljeg Zeljko, Major, deputy commander.
11 3. Smiljanic, Jozo, Captain, chief of
12 operations and training section.
13 4. --"
14 JUDGE JORDA: If the witness has the document
15 in front of him, as we all do, perhaps we can wait for
16 a moment for the witness to look at it and then
18 General Blaskic, are you ready? I mean, it
19 doesn't take long to read it.
20 Your question, please, Mr. Kehoe?
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. My question is, General, this document that
23 we're talking about, 406/10, dated the 20th of April,
24 1992, appointing Zarko Tole, a Colonel, and it's on HVO
25 letterhead, and 406/16, approximately a month later, is
1 another document signed by General Bobetko, appointing
2 now Brigadier Zarko Tole to the Central Bosnia forward
3 command post. I ask you, with these two documents, one
4 where Bobetko is signing on HVO letterhead and the
5 second one on HV letterhead, which army is Bobetko a
6 member of or are they the same army?
7 A. It is not the same army and, Your Honours,
8 allow me please to answer. From this document and from
9 the document that came into being one month later, it
10 is clearly visible that at that time in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina there was not an organised armed
12 force of the Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
13 neither Muslim Bosniak people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 That I believe the command of the southern front
15 prevented, with this attempt, the downfall of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina overall into the hands of the army
17 of the Republika Srpska, because had there been a
18 joining up of forces, Serbian forces from eastern
19 Herzegovina via Kupres, Bosnia-Herzegovina would be
20 completely surrounded, whereas this document appoints
21 Mr. Zarko Tole as commander of the command of the
22 defence of Tomislavgrad.
23 The object of this document is quite clear.
24 "In the aim of achieving effective, operational, and
25 secure command," as it says. It doesn't say -- it says
1 ucinkovito, effective, efficacious. In order that one
2 month later the previous order that we looked at today
3 shown to me by the Prosecutor, Colonel Zarko Tole
4 became Brigadier, and I am asking myself whether he had
5 the time to organise this command post while he had
6 become commander of another command post at the same
8 What I want to add, Your Honours, that the
9 Central Bosnia mentioned in the previous document does
10 not include the Kiseljak municipality. It does not
11 include Kresevo municipality or Fojnica municipality.
12 It does not include Zepce or the central Operative Zone
13 of Central Bosnia that I'm talking about. Now, why is
14 this? It is because the HVO was not functioning,
15 because the HVO was established in this stage, the
16 stage we're talking about, this point in time.
17 I said that from the previous commander, I
18 received a blue notebook, which was called the wartime
19 diary, two secretaries, but there was no operative
20 command. Never as the command of the Kiseljak
21 municipality did I ever write a report to the commander
22 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Brigadier Zarko
23 Tole, because the command did not function. This was a
24 period of time when in Bosnia-Herzegovina the fight was
25 being waged for the survival of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did that previous order
2 to which you refer and which was signed by
3 General Bobetko, did it specify Vitez and Travnik?
4 A. I'm not sure, Your Honour. I think the best
5 thing would be for us to have a look at it. It is with
6 the Prosecutor's office.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Have a look at it again,
9 A. But at that time I was in Kiseljak. I was a
10 small commander of the armed forces in Kiseljak at the
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Look at item 3. I have
13 the French before me, and so I will not attempt the
14 impossible, but I do see the names Busovaca, Vitez,
15 Novi Travnik, Travnik.
16 A. But there is no Kiseljak, there is no
17 Kresevo, or Fojnica, or Kakanj, or Vares, or Zepce, or
18 Maglaj, or Usora.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I grant you that, but do
20 these names suggest that General Bobetko was thinking
21 that Vitez, and Novi Travnik, and Travnik were part of
22 Central Bosnia command?
23 A. This command, the command stipulated in this
24 document here, Your Honour, I suppose that he had that
25 in mind, but I still maintain that it was contrary to
1 the former literature and manuals relating to military
2 geography which we used to prepare examinations for the
3 Major's examination. This central area was never in
4 the Split-Vrebac direction, axis.
5 For me as a soldier, it is very strange to
6 note that he included these towns into that operative
7 and strategic axis.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you. I've now got
9 the English. Yes. Thank you.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, did you get an
11 answer to your question?
12 MR. KEHOE: My question was this, Mr.
13 President, and I did not get an answer:
14 Q. My question is: Looking at these two
15 documents, 406/10 dated the 20th of April, 1992, and
16 406/16 dated 19 May, 1992, my question is: Was
17 General Bobetko, after signing these orders, a General
18 in the HVO, or a General in the HV?
19 A. When he signed these orders, at that time I
20 did not know him and I don't know what he was. I know
21 him as a General of the Croatian army, but I did not
22 have any contact with General Bobetko at that time, and
23 I don't know what he thought, neither did I talk to him
24 about these documents.
25 Q. Well, let's look at 406/10. You told us
1 there were no ranks in the HVO. Let's look at that
2 order by General Bobetko of the 20th of April, 1993.
3 Sorry, 1992. I apologise. Tole's a Colonel, Siljeg is
4 a Major, a couple of Captains. Four Captains, a
5 Lieutenant, Major Lieutenants. Those are all ranks,
6 aren't they?
7 A. Well, you said yourself an hour ago that a
8 decision was created on the 8th of April 1992 on the
9 creation of the army.
10 Your Honour, ranks are obtained on the basis
11 of professional knowledge, and structure, and
12 professional qualifications, and I don't think that any
13 army in the world can, in 12 days, elaborate all the
14 different ranks, mobilisation, development, and assign
15 ranks to its members. Therefore, this order, I would
16 say, was -- I maintain that the HVO did not have any
17 ranks. It was only the commanders of the Operative
18 Zones that had ranks and the chief of the main staff,
19 but ranks as processes, as a form of command and
20 control, was not instituted up until the Washington
22 Q. Well, General, were these HV ranks?
23 A. Of these individuals, I know two. That is to
24 say, I know the Colonel who in one month was promoted
25 to Brigadier, and Zejko Siljeg who is mentioned here as
1 Major. I don't know whether they are ranks referring
2 to the Croatian army. I can read that it is Grude of
3 the southern front, and I suppose that they could be
4 ranks from the Croatian army, but I don't know that the
5 HVO had a command of the southern front, that the HVO
6 had its structures.
7 Q. Well, General, were these nine officers in
8 the HV at the time of this order on the 20th of April,
10 A. I have already said that I don't know their
11 status. I know two of them with whom I had contacts.
12 It is possible that they were officers of the Croatian
13 army engaged in the IZM of Grude. I said that here in
14 the order it says, "In order to have more effective
15 command." As far as I can recall, this was operations
16 at Kupres, and preventing the complete encirclement of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina by the army of Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Well, who did you know in this list in
19 addition to Tole? Who did you know?
20 A. I knew Colonel Zeljko Siljeg.
21 Q. Well, was either Siljeg or Tole in the HV at
22 some time or at this time, either one?
23 A. I said that I don't know their status.
24 Possibly they were. I cannot confirm that, because I
25 never saw a document as to their status.
1 Q. Well, you know that at one time Zarko Tole
2 was in the HV, don't you?
3 A. I know that he was, but I said that his
4 status documents, that is to say, had he had some
5 something from the Personnel Department of the Croatian
6 army, a document to that effect, I never saw it and
7 never discussed his status with him.
8 Q. Did you talk to him about that?
9 A. About their status, you mean?
10 Q. No, about his service in the HV and the fact
11 that he was with the 114 Brigade of the HV?
12 A. I did not discuss that fact with him, no.
13 Q. Did you -- excuse me. Let me turn to a
14 particular document. This is a new document, if I may,
15 and it's a document prepared by the UN Civil Affairs
16 in December of 1994.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe?
18 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Judge.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If I may, just before
20 you leave this document.
21 General, would you look at the opening lines
22 again, which you read? "In order to achieve effective
23 operational and secure command in the units of the HVO
24 of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, the
25 following are appointed." What was your impression
1 from that, that these gentlemen are appointed to
2 military positions in the HVO or that they're appointed
3 to military positions in the HV and merely assigned to
4 function in the HVO?
5 A. Your Honour, the title of the document is,
6 "Appointment of officers to the defence command of
7 Tomislavgrad." Tomislavgrad is a municipality south of
8 the Kupres heights. It is a strategically important
9 high ground for the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But
10 I too find it unclear, because in the introduction that
11 you read out, Your Honour, the commander wishes to
12 achieve, "effective operational and secure command in
13 the units of the HVO of the Croatian Community of
14 Herceg-Bosna," but they are not -- the HVO units did
15 not exist only in Tomislavgrad. The order itself is
16 slightly contradictory, and I believe it is the command
17 of the HVO in Tomislavgrad which is oriented towards
18 the Kupres battleground.
19 Quite possibly at that time in that command
20 there were also officers of the HV, but that is my
21 belief because I did not actually see their documents.
22 So I can only suppose that to be so.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
24 JUDGE JORDA: It's not impossible. According
25 to the knowledge you had of Mr. Tole and Mr. Zeljko
1 Siljeg, it is not at all impossible that at least these
2 two persons and, therefore, the others too could have
3 been part of the Croatian army? It is not impossible?
4 A. Mr. Chairman, I said that it was possible
5 that some of these officers were also officers of the
6 HV, Croatian army. That's what I said. Perhaps there
7 was a different interpretation. I don't know.
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you. No, I don't think
9 there was any error in the interpretation.
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. This is a
11 document that has not been translated either into BCS
12 or into French, but it is a document prepared by the
13 UN Civil Affairs. If we can put -- and the bottom of
14 the page is 00263649 on, which is the sixth page.
15 That's the page.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit number 579.
17 MR. KEHOE: Thank you.
18 Q. Now, in this particular document prepared by
19 UN Civil Affairs, General, and the date of this
20 document is the 10th of December, 1994, this reflects
21 that Brigadier Zarko Tole is your chief of staff.
22 A. Would you repeat the date, please?
23 Q. The date here is 10 December, 1994. That's
24 the date of this report.
25 MR. HAYMAN: Can the witness see the
1 document, please, Mr. President? He's being asked
2 about a document in a foreign language, that he hasn't
3 been shown and I think he should be shown the document.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I agree with Mr. Hayman.
5 And more so as I didn't quite understand where this
6 document comes from and I don't know what page we're
7 talking about. Thank you for wanting to proceed
8 quickly but, still, we have to know where we are.
9 MR. KEHOE: This is a document,
10 Mr. President, that is prepared by the United Nations
11 Civil Affairs section, and six pages in, the number on
12 the bottom should be 00263649. Six pages in is the
13 page that's on the ELMO, or was on the ELMO.
14 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, did you find
15 the relevant page of this document?
16 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. General, is the Zarko Tole that is named as
19 your chief of staff the same Zarko Tole that we have
20 been talking about in these exhibits that are signed by
21 Janko Bobetko? Is that the same man?
22 A. Your question seems to imply something that
23 is not correct.
24 Mr. President, Your Honours, Brigadier
25 General Zarko Tole was never the chief of staff while I
1 was the chief of the main staff, and it is illogical --
2 just one moment, "Brigadier General," in Croatia, that
3 is a rank that is two steps higher -- that he be
4 subordinate to a Major General.
5 I also wish to comment on this document
6 further. I was never the commander of the main staff,
7 as it is written in the document. I was the chief of
8 the main staff of the HVO, and my deputy was Brigadier
9 Major Miljenko Lasic on the 10th of December, '94.
10 Nedjeljko Obradovic who is third on the list in this
11 document, Your Honours, at that time was the commander
12 of the military district of Mostar.
13 In this document, there is something else
14 that is incorrect, and that is, it is incorrect that
15 the commander of the Operative Zone, if I'm reading it
16 properly, of Northeast Herzegovina, Bozo Raguz, at that
17 time, that Operative Zone did not exist. What existed
18 was the Mostar military district, and the commander of
19 that was Nedjeljko Obradovic.
20 Furthermore, another thing is incorrect in
21 this document, and that is that the commander of the
22 Operative Zone of Northwest Herzegovina was Colonel
23 Zeljko Siljeg. That operative zone did not exist
24 either. What existed was the military district of
25 Tomislavgrad, and the commander of that at that time
1 was Brigadier Zeljko Glasnovic.
2 Another thing is incorrect in the document,
3 and that is that General Filip Filipovic, commander of
4 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, he was a
5 commander of the Vitez military district rather, and
6 General Dzuro Matuzovic was the commander of the
7 military district of Bosanska Posavina. So to all
8 events, Brigadier Zarko Tole was not in the main staff
9 of the HVO when I was the chief of the main staff of
10 the HVO.
11 Q. So this document is wrong, that he was never
12 your direct subordinate; is that your testimony?
13 A. I'm not referring to the document but to this
14 page of that document, which says that Brigadier
15 General Zarko Tole was the chief of staff or the chief
16 of the main staff - I do not understand English so I'm
17 not quite sure - but he was never chief of the main
18 staff while I was the chief of the main staff of the
20 Q. And he was never your direct subordinate; is
21 that right?
22 A. He, as a person, was never my direct
24 Q. Okay, sir. You have never had a discussion
25 with him about his service in the HV; is that right?
1 A. I spoke to him in person on the 19th or,
2 rather, the beginning of May - if necessary, I can
3 check in my chronology - at a meeting in Busovaca. If
4 it is important, I can repeat what we discussed in
5 1992, and after that, I had no further contact with
6 him --
7 Q. Okay, sir.
8 A. -- re any kind of conversations or
9 discussions, and I was not his superior.
10 Q. Let's go to two other photographs before we
11 move to the other documents. These are two new
13 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit 580 and 581.
14 Exhibit 581 is the one showing three persons on the
16 MR. KEHOE: This is 580 and this is 581. All
17 right. We will go with 580 first.
18 Q. Going through these photographs, of course,
19 you recognise the individuals in those photographs,
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. Who are they?
23 A. President Franjo Tudjman and the chief of the
24 main staff of the Croatian army, General Janko Bobetko.
25 Q. Let us move to the next photograph,
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 581. Those three individuals from
2 left to right?
3 A. The late defence minister, Gojko Susak,
4 President Franjo Tudjman, and the chief of the main
5 staff of the Croatian army, General Janko Bobetko.
6 Q. With regard to Gojko Susak, he is the
7 minister of defence for what country, sir?
8 A. He was the minister of defence of the
9 Republic of Croatia.
10 Q. Thank you. If we can move to another
11 document, but before that, I would like to ask you a
12 few questions about your subsequent meetings after
13 Tole. You noted for us during your testimony that you
14 met with an individual by the name of Zulu on 5 June,
15 1992; do you remember that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You told us during your interview with
18 Mr. Leach on the 12th of June, 1993, at page 00410998,
19 that this individual's name was Zoric. I think the
20 first name is Bruno. Do you now know the name of this
21 individual whose nom de guerre you had as Zulu?
22 A. Just a moment, please. Which page were you
23 referring to or rather when was that conversation with
24 the gentleman?
25 Q. The conversation with the gentleman was on
1 the 12th of June, 1996. The page reference is
2 00410998, where you referred to a Bruno Zoric. Excuse
3 me, 12th of June -- that's right, 1996.
4 MR. KEHOE: While we're waiting, Mr. Usher,
5 if you can just take this so we can move this along.
6 Q. General, maybe I can help you out and we can
7 move this along. Was the individual you knew as Zulu's
8 last name Zoric?
9 A. I'm not sure as to his identity, whether it's
10 "Zoric" or "Zorica" or "Zorice." That is why I wanted
11 to check because I am not sure of his identity.
12 Q. Maybe we can help you out with the next
13 exhibit, General. We may be able to move things along
14 with the next exhibit.
15 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 582, 582A for
16 the French version, and 582B for the English version.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, reading this document again, this is an
19 order signed by General Janko Bobetko on Republic of
20 Croatia stationery, and it talks about dispatching the
21 Frankopan battalion to Central Bosnia. It's very short
22 and we'll just read it quickly, not too quickly for the
24 "In order to strengthen the defence of
25 Bugojno and to secure and strengthen the Donji
1 Vakuf-Bugojno line, I hereby order:
2 1. The Frankopan battalion shall be prepared
3 and dispatched to Bugojno.
4 2. The Commander, Major Ivan Zoric -- "
5 JUDGE JORDA: Please go on to your question
6 as soon as the witness has familiarised himself with
7 this document because it is rather brief. There's no
8 need to read it.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 Q. This Major Ivan Zoric, Zulu, that is the
11 individual who you met on the 5th of June, 1992 who
12 described himself as the commander for Central Bosnia,
13 isn't it?
14 A. I can answer what I told Mr. Leach during the
15 interview. I know a man who introduced himself as Zulu
16 on the 5th of June, 1992. I later learnt that his name
17 was Bruno Zorica but somebody else told me that, that
18 is, his deputy. His name was Bruno Zorica, and that is
19 what is stated in my statement given to the Office of
20 the Prosecutor. "Surname, Zorica," and first name, I
21 think, was Bruno. I cannot confirm whether that is the
22 same man under point 2, though the nickname is the
23 same, "Zulu," but here it says, "Ivan Zoric."
24 Q. Well, General, during your entire career in
25 Bosnia, did you meet anybody else with the nom de
1 guerre of "Zulu"?
2 A. I said that I met one man with the nom de
3 guerre "Zulu." I remember him well. If you have a
4 photograph, I could identify him on the photograph, but
5 he introduced himself -- not he, but rather I learnt
6 that his name was Bruno Zorica, "Zorica" being the
7 surname and "Bruno" the first name.
8 Q. This individual that you met as "Zulu" on the
9 5th of June, 1992 introduced himself to you as the new
10 commander in Central Bosnia, didn't he?
11 A. That is correct. That person, Zulu,
12 introduced himself as the commander of the Central
13 Bosnia Operative Zone on the 5th of June, 1992. That
14 is what I heard and saw.
15 Q. The Brigadier Zarko Tole that we see
16 referenced in number 3 is the Brigadier Zarko Tole that
17 we've been talking about throughout the afternoon,
18 isn't it?
19 A. Yes. It is the brigadier who, a month
20 earlier, was a colonel assigned the task to form a
21 command post in Tomislavgrad.
22 Q. Again, this is signed by Janko Bobetko on
23 Republic of Croatia letterhead.
24 A. Yes, that is correct. The aim of sending
25 these forces is to strengthen the defence along the
1 Donja Vakuf-Bugojno line. Donja Vakuf had been
2 captured by the Serbs and the front line was in the
3 immediate vicinity of the town of Bugojno.
4 Q. How many troops did General Bobetko have at
5 his disposal that he was ordering around, both HVO and
7 A. I really do not know the answer to that
8 question. I have already said that at the time I was
9 commander of the armed units in Kiseljak municipality,
10 and I was engaged in defence preparations for the
11 Kiseljak municipality.
12 Q. Now, General, during the course of your
13 testimony, in questions from my learned colleague,
14 Mr. Nobilo, you noted, and I can pull the page
15 references out for you, that you weren't getting any
16 orders from Pasko Ljubicic, and you didn't get any
17 orders from Zarko Tole, and then you didn't get any
18 orders from Zulu; do you recall that testimony?
19 A. I said that while I was in Kiseljak, I
20 submitted my reports to the municipal staff of Kiseljak
21 or, rather, the crisis staff there and that the control
22 and command on the ground was not operational, in fact.
23 Q. That's not my question, General. Did you
24 testify in response to questions from Mr. Nobilo that
25 you weren't getting any orders after your meeting with
1 Pasko Ljubicic, and you didn't get any orders after
2 your meeting with Zarko Tole, and you didn't get any
3 orders after your meeting with Zulu? Did you say that
4 on direct examination?
5 A. I did not, as the commander of the armed
6 units of Kiseljak - I must repeat once again my
7 position - I did not receive orders from the persons
8 you mention.
9 Q. Now, were you, by that testimony, attempting
10 to lead this Chamber to believe that you weren't
11 receiving orders from a command structure? Were you
12 attempting to lead this Chamber to believe that?
13 JUDGE JORDA: Please rephrase your question
14 better. I think that it is not easily understandable.
15 Could you rephrase your question, please?
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. You noted that you didn't get any orders from
18 your three --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Take your time. Be more
20 precise as to what the witness said in the
21 examination-in-chief and leave aside for the moment
22 whether the Judges were led to believe this or that.
23 It is up to them to make their own conclusions. Please
24 try and rephrase your question.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. General, the reality is that when you were
2 meeting with these three commanders, you were receiving
3 written commands from a superior command structure;
4 isn't that so?
5 A. You're referring to meetings with whom?
6 Which meeting? Could you try and be more specific in
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Please give a specific
9 date. I can understand General Blaskic. He needs to
10 place this within a certain date. The accused
11 certainly never said that he did not receive any
12 superior orders, maybe in this time frame. Could you
13 be specific about the date?
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. General, from the time you took over, from
16 the 23rd of April, 1992 through May, were you getting
17 orders from a command structure superior to you?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Now it's clear.
19 A. From the 23rd of May --
20 JUDGE JORDA: April.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. From the 23rd of April, when you took over as
23 the head of the military and the municipal staff in
24 Kiseljak, from the 23rd of April through May, were you
25 getting orders from a superior command structure?
1 A. From commanders from the command of the
2 Operative Zone, you mean?
3 Q. Anyone.
4 A. Anyone in the sense of certain organisational
5 documents or administrative orders, there may have been
6 some. I could look it up in the chronology, if
7 necessary, but I was speaking about orders for the
8 functioning of the system of control and command.
9 I did not have any organised control and
10 command system from any superiors. That is what I
11 said. There may have been some administrative
12 organisational documents, because these were the
13 beginnings of the formation of the HVO. But the
14 command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in the
15 military and professional sense was not functioning,
16 and I still stick to that assertion. That was the
17 actual state of affairs.
18 I just wish to underline that I was
19 simultaneously engaged in organising defence and
20 creating the HVO.
21 Q. According to your testimony, you didn't
22 receive any orders for the functioning of the system of
23 control and command, and I'm reading the transcript
24 that's on the screen.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Not quite. I understand,
1 Mr. Kehoe. The witness has just made a statement as to
2 what he did in that period when he took over command in
3 Kiseljak. The Prosecutor is connecting this in
4 relation to the statement he made before. I think the
5 question is clear.
6 General Blaskic, please answer that
8 A. I have already answered that the functioning
9 of the control and command system did not exist. That
10 was the situation in reality, but there may have been
11 certain organisational orders regarding the
12 establishment of the HVO because these were the
13 beginnings of the HVO.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but globally, if I
15 understand you well, you're saying that you confirm
16 that overall there was no command structure. I think
17 that is the gist of the question.
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Please. Fine. Please
20 go on, Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Let me show you a series of exhibits,
24 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps, Mr. President, so as
25 not to interrupt later on, perhaps we could have a
1 break now, because we have been working for more than
2 45 minutes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Allow the President to be
4 flexible with regard to the breaks. We are managing
5 the time for the benefit of the witness but it is,
6 after all, not acceptable, whenever there is a delicate
7 question, that we should have a break. So allow us to
8 go to the core of the question.
9 Does this document have to do with the same
11 MR. KEHOE: Oh, yes, Judge.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Let's at least show
13 the witness the document and then we'll see.
14 MR. KEHOE: Judge, it's actually a series of
15 documents. If we're not going to get through all those
16 documents, I'd prefer not to start with one.
17 MR. HAYMAN: That's what we were suggesting,
18 Mr. President. We weren't trying to interrupt
19 counsel's flow. He said he had a number of documents
20 to look at. It made sense, if we're going to have
21 another break, to have it so that we didn't interrupt
22 counsel's presentation. That was our only intent.
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, may I suggest that
24 if we're going to go to --
25 JUDGE JORDA: Allow me to consult with my
2 (Trial Chamber deliberates)
3 JUDGE JORDA: Let's go into private session
4 for a few minutes, please.
5 (Private session)
4 --- Recess taken at 4.56 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 5.09 p.m.
6 (Open session)
7 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.
8 Mr. Prosecutor, let us look at your documents.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I just can get
10 a time frame as to how long to go.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You're quite right.
12 We're going to go on until 5.30, in agreement with my
13 colleagues. So we'll be working on the
14 cross-examination for 20 minutes. Then we will adjourn
15 the cross-examination. We will have a ten-minute break
16 to allow the interpreters to have a rest and to
17 organise the courtroom. Isn't that so?
18 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Then we will resume at 5.40,
20 5.45 for a brief ex parte meeting. Is that clear now?
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. If I could
22 move to the next document.
23 JUDGE JORDA: The ex parte will not be too
24 long, Mr. Prosecutor? I'm thinking of the
25 interpreters. Five minutes?
1 MR. KEHOE: Five minutes.
2 JUDGE JORDA: That means ten? The
4 THE INTERPRETER: We'll manage.
5 THE REGISTRAR: So is Exhibit 583 and 583A
6 for the English version.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. General, if you could take a look at this.
9 This is an order that is written by the HVO president
10 Mate Boban on the 10th of April, 1992. Before we go
11 into this, General, this is the same individual that
12 you met in Grude on the 27th of June, 1992; is it not?
13 A. I met him then for the first time.
14 Q. Now, if you could review this particular
15 document, General?
16 JUDGE JORDA: As I don't have the French
17 version, could you summarise it very briefly? It's a
18 document concerning --
19 MR. KEHOE: This is a document,
20 Mr. President, that is dated the 10th of April, 1992,
21 two days after the formation of the HVO, executed by
22 the HVO president Mate Boban, and that it calls for or
23 says that the Croatian Defence Council is the only --
24 well, it says, "This body is the only legal one and
25 only this name is official."
1 In the bottom paragraph it says, "All other
2 military formations in the territory of the Croatian
3 Community of Herceg-Bosna are illegal or hostile."
4 JUDGE JORDA: I see. Thank you. So you are
5 placing the emphasis on the last part of the document;
6 aren't you?
7 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Thank you. Have you
9 been able to look through it now, General Blaskic?
10 Have you been able to look through it quickly?
11 A. Mr. President, just a couple of more moments,
12 because I'm reviewing it for the first time.
13 JUDGE JORDA: But you have it in
14 Serbo-Croatian, do you?
15 A. Yes, yes. Just one more minute perhaps.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. Go ahead.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Have you had a chance to review that,
20 A. Yes, I have now, but I had never seen the
21 document before. I see that the document was signed by
22 president Mate Boban. Again, I did not talk to him
23 regarding the authorship of this document.
24 Q. Well, this document does call for all
25 military formations, other than the HVO, in the
1 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna are now illegal or
3 A. Hostile were probably the military formations
4 of the Republika Srpska or the Territorial Defence as
5 components of the JNA who, as you can see from the
6 document, had already been attacking Ravno. This is as
7 early as 1991. Then Kupres, Mostar, and so on.
8 In April when, I arrived there, there were a
9 number of military formations there, including armed
10 peasants, criminal groups, and other military
12 Q. In the second to last paragraph, General, it
13 does reflect, does it not, that the HVO has a main
14 staff, that the HVO has municipal staffs in all the
15 municipalities of the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna, and starting today, 10 April, 1992, the
17 HVO main staff will communicate only with the municipal
18 staffs of the HVO and that was, of course, the staff
19 that you became a part of on the 14th of April; isn't
20 that right?
21 A. No. This is an order, and it is clear that
22 the main staff was to be formed. It does say that the
23 HVO has its main staff, but if the decision was taken
24 on 8th of April, on 10 April I don't think that the
25 factual state of affairs was such that all the main
1 headquarters at the main staff and all the municipal
2 staffs were already established. That did not
3 correspond to what I have found on the ground, in the
4 field. In fact, during that period I was arrested.
5 Q. Well, General, based on this order by Mate
6 Boban, you received orders from the main staff to
7 implement those things that Boban calls for, i.e.
8 declaring any other military formation illegal; did you
10 A. All military formations, as I pointed out,
11 including armed criminal gangs and formations which
12 were in existence in the areas of particular
13 municipalities and which were not part of the system of
14 command and control, but these were attempts at
15 establishing the armed forces. However, the factual
16 state on the ground was different.
17 Unfortunately, these were just attempts.
18 This order is two days later than the decision to
19 establish the HVO. Who can establish the headquarters
20 and all the formations within two days? I had never
21 seen these documents before today, bearing the
22 signature of Mate Boban.
23 Q. General, did you or did you not receive
24 orders from the main staff to implement the order of
25 Boban, i.e. to declare all other military formations
1 illegal within the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
2 Did you receive such orders from the main staff?
3 A. I was receiving orders to that effect. I
4 think that this was from the main staff, but let me
5 repeat again. The factual state of affairs on the
6 ground was that this was the beginning of the
7 establishment of the HVO.
8 So let me repeat. The HVO was established on
9 the 8th of April, and on the 10th it claims that both
10 the main staff and the municipal staffs are all
11 operational. That is just within two days.
12 Q. Let me show you the next document, General.
13 MR. KEHOE: Again, this is a new document,
14 Mr. Usher.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 584, 584A for the
16 English version.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, General, this is an order that you
19 received that's dated the 8th of May, 1992, signed by
20 General Ante Roso. In this document, again it
21 declares, in number 1, that all legal units -- "Only
22 legal military units of the HVO. All other military
23 units must join the HVO and recognise the HVO main
24 staff as their supreme command."
25 In number 5, "This order supersedes all
1 orders of the Territorial Defence command which will be
2 considered illegal in this territory."
3 Now, you received this order, did you not,
5 A. Yes, I received this order, but at the time,
6 the only legal force defending Bosnia was the JNA.
7 This was the 8th of May, 1992. And a component of
8 these armed forces was the Territorial Defence, so this
9 same Yugoslav People's Army, whose component was the
10 Territorial Defence which was attacking
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was, according to the constitution
12 or whatever else, was the only legal armed force in
14 Q. Based on this order coming from General Ante
15 Roso, you issued orders, didn't you?
16 A. Yes. On the basis of this order, I had an
17 obligation to issue this type of order for the area
18 where I was the commander.
19 Q. Let's take a look at two of those orders,
20 General, first starting with Defence Exhibit 199. This
21 is a Defence Exhibit, General, so I assume you've read
22 it before, and in the prefatory paragraph, you note two
23 orders coming from the main staff, and that order that
24 you reference coming from the main staff is 01-331/92,
25 and that's the order of General Roso that was two days
2 A. Yes. I referred to those orders. Yes.
3 Q. At this particular juncture, by Defence
4 Exhibit 199, the order that we looked at coming from
5 Boban has been passed down to the HVO main staff, and
6 the HVO main staff in the name of General Ante Roso has
7 issued an order to the municipalities, and you have
8 implemented that order?
9 A. I don't know who received the order from Mate
10 Boban that you're referring to and whether it was Ante
11 Roso that did so, but in this order, I referred to the
12 order from the main staff, and I provided the reference
14 Q. Ante Roso's order from the main staff;
16 A. No. The chief of the main staff was
17 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic. In the document which you
18 are referring to, which is Defence Exhibit 199, it does
19 not state that Ante Roso was the chief of the main
20 staff, and as far as I know, he was not chief of the
21 main staff of the HVO at that time.
22 Q. Look at this prior order from Ante Roso, and
23 what, in fact, is the number on that document?
24 A. Yes. I recognise the 01 -- I can read it but
25 I can't read the next one. Is it "93"? This is "331"
1 or "931"?
2 Q. 01-331, and what you have listed in your
3 prefatory paragraph is 01-331 also, isn't it?
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, an objection to
5 the fact that the registration number is 01-331/92. It
6 is hardly legible, and in my opinion, it could very
7 well be 01-931/92.
8 MR. KEHOE: Well, the document speaks for
9 itself, Mr. President.
10 Q. You would agree with me, General, that the
11 content of this document, this order coming from
12 General Roso, is an item that's reflected in Defence
13 Exhibit 199; isn't that right?
14 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, no objection to
15 the question whether he remembers what the prior order
16 was, but the order -- it is the same number, I think,
17 but it's a different date. This order is dated the
18 8th, and in the order which is Exhibit D199, the order
19 of that number is dated as having been the 10th of
20 April, two days later. So if he remembers, fine, but
21 the documents, there's some lack of clarity in the
22 documents, and he shouldn't have to say, "Yes. The
23 documents integrate in a certain way or they don't."
24 The documents are what they are.
25 MR. KEHOE: We will clarify the date by
1 moving to the next document which is --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Objection sustained. It is a
3 fact that the order D580 alludes to the date of the
4 10th of April, refers to the date of the 10th of
5 April. The 8th of May has another number. Something
6 is not clear there, Mr. Prosecutor.
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, and I think
8 that we can clarify it by looking at Prosecution
9 Exhibit 502 where the same number --
10 JUDGE JORDA: I think we will leave the
11 clarification of this matter for tomorrow morning. You
12 wish to clarify it straightaway?
13 MR. KEHOE: If I could clarify this quickly,
14 yes, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very quickly, please.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Do you have Exhibit 502 before you, General?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Do you have it now?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Read the top paragraph of Exhibit 502.
23 A. "On the basis of the orders received from the
24 main staff, confidential number 01-" and then crossed
25 out "331/92," it says "of 8 or 9 May, 1992 and with the
1 intention of defining precisely the legal status of all
2 formations, I issue the following order."
3 This is the document dated 11 May, 1992.
4 Should I read the rest of the order?
5 Q. Not at this point, General. But you would
6 agree with me that the date is 8 May, 1992 and reflects
7 the number 01-331/92, which is the same number and the
8 same date as Roso has on his order; isn't that right?
9 A. The "3" has been crossed out. I don't know
10 why. It says, "01-3," and then the next digit 3 is
11 crossed out, at least in my copy, and then "1/92."
12 Q. Absent the crossing out of that particular 3,
13 is that the same number and is that the same date?
14 A. Yes, but can I just review the contents of
15 the document?
16 MR. KEHOE: The mistake, if any, in 502,
17 Mr. President, is on the translation in the English
18 version that has got the date wrong. The date is
19 correct in the original BCS version.
20 With that, Mr. President, I will go into the
21 content of these documents in greater length tomorrow,
22 unless Your Honours want to proceed. I'm at the
23 Court's disposal.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I think that we are going to
1 Will you take these documents,
2 Mr. Registrar? Let us have about ten minutes. Will
3 that be sufficient, Mr. Registrar?
4 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The hearing is
6 adjourned as concerns the cross-examination of the
7 witness, and we will resume in another format in about
8 ten minutes.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
10 5.34 p.m., to be reconvened on
11 Wednesday, the 14th day of April, 1999
12 at 10.00 a.m.