1 Wednesday, 14th April, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, would you have the witness brought in,
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: I just want to check that the
9 interpreters can hear us and to say good morning to
10 them. We thank them for what they are doing. I should
11 like to ask all parties concerned to try and speak as
12 slowly as possible. Many of the interpreters come from
13 the countries that are being ravaged by war and the
14 reasons that I don't have to mention here, so some of
15 them have very difficult moments to keep up their work
16 here because very often their mind is also elsewhere.
17 So may we ask you all to speak a little more slowly so
18 that they can carry on their work serenely, calmly.
19 It is easy to say that mistakes have been
20 made but, of course, it would be a much better idea if
21 they also always had the documents to facilitate their
22 work which is generally very difficult. We also have
23 technical facilities, so we can place documents on the
25 I don't want to change the system, of
1 course. We are going to be working for approximately
2 one hour. I'm saying this for the public gallery. We
3 are engaged in the cross-examination of General
4 Blaskic, who is a witness under oath. So there is no
5 need to change the system. The Judges will set the
6 break and take into account the tiredness of the
7 witness, of course. A pause will be made between 45
8 minutes to one hour and, of course, taking into account
9 the coherence, the general deliberations in the
10 courtroom. So we shall be having our usual break.
11 That is what I wanted to say by way of
12 opening this morning's deliberation. I would like to
13 say good morning to one and all, and I call upon the
14 Prosecutor to take the floor.
15 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Good morning, Mr. President
16 and Your Honours. I'm sure I can speak on behalf of
17 all counsel, both my colleagues on the Defence and my
18 side, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of
19 the interpreters that do have families in besieged
20 areas. I will do my best to slow down my speaking
21 speed. I know that it's been a source of some
22 difficulty, and I will do my best.
23 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
25 Q. Good morning, General.
1 A. Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.
2 Q. General, I would like to go back and explore
3 the existence of a superior military structure that was
4 in existence in Herceg-Bosna during April and May of
5 1993 and your response to orders received from that
7 I would like to turn to the first document.
8 With this document for the witness, I would like him to
9 be shown Defence Exhibit 199. If we could show those
10 two documents in conjunction.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit number 585
12 and 585A for the English version.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Let's us take a look at Exhibit 199 first.
15 Now, General, this is the document that we were looking
16 at yesterday and you have spoken about both in your
17 direct and cross.
18 As we look at number 2 in this item, you note
19 in this order of 10 May, 1992 that, "The municipal HVO
20 commands are militarily subordinate to the main
21 headquarters of the HVO."
22 Now, that is the main headquarters that was
23 in Grude at that time; is that right?
24 A. Your Honours, I'm not quite sure where the
25 headquarters of the main staff of the HVO was at that
1 time and, as I said, when I spoke about the functioning
2 about control and command, I encountered, in May, the
3 commanders of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, that
4 is to say, Mr. Ljubicic, and Brigadier Tole, and
5 Mr. Zulu. I met them, and I told the Court already
6 that they had not --
7 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. With all due
8 respect. If we are going to move through this
9 promptly, the answer is either, "I don't know," or, "I
10 do know." With all due apologies, General, a long
11 discussion about meetings with Pasko Ljubicic, Zarko
12 Tole, et cetera was not responsive to this question.
13 A. Your Honours, I heard in the question that a
14 command structure existed, so before the last question
15 let's look at the transcript. It says that a command
16 structure existed.
17 MR. HAYMAN: There was a speech and then
18 there was a question.
19 "Q That is the main headquarters that was
20 in Grude at the time; is that right?
21 A Your Honours, I'm not quite sure where
22 the headquarters of the main staff was."
23 Then my client went on to explain why he
24 wasn't sure. He was answering the question and counsel
25 interrupted him, to which we object.
1 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, I think a
2 review --
3 JUDGE JORDA: I do share the concern somewhat
4 of Mr. Hayman with regard to Mr. Blaskic. You know
5 that we had a witness that was a little bit
6 complicated, that is, every time we asked him the
7 question -- I'm not going to say his name, but every
8 time we asked him a question he started out by a long
9 discussion, discourse. That is, of course, your
10 right. You can answer anyway you like. But it is also
11 our right as Judges to see when the frameworks of the
12 general debate and the procedure that you all know very
13 well, I'm sure the Prosecutor does and the Defence
14 does, procedure is made for us to get answers to the
15 questions asked. Now, you have a document. The
16 problem is very simple.
17 The Prosecutor has just mentioned point 2,
18 which says that the commands are militarily subordinate
19 to the main headquarters. It is a document.
20 Mr. Prosecutor, is the document signed?
21 Whose signature is it? Was it signed by
22 General Blaskic, this document? Is that right?
23 A. Yes, the document was signed by me,
24 Mr. President.
25 JUDGE JORDA: One moment, please, counsel
1 Nobilo. The Defence has just made an objection and now
2 it is the President who is speaking, that is to say,
3 myself. So my sentiments are to introduce order into
4 this debate.
5 The question is a very simple one. The
6 municipal HVO commands, are they militarily subordinate
7 to the main headquarters of the HVO? That is the
8 question that is being asked and what the Judges are
9 interested in. Now, whether you answer with a
10 commentary, that seems, to me, to be normal but if the
11 commentary is very long and you go back in time a great
12 deal then that will not give satisfaction to the
13 Judges. Maybe not to the Prosecutor either but
14 certainly not to the Judges.
15 So I should like to ask you, General Blaskic,
16 to make a effort. You have point 2 in a document
17 signed by you. You say, "Yes." You say, "No." You
18 say that it appears to be that way but in reality it
19 was different, but please try to be synthetic, to
20 synthesise, otherwise, I'm going to limit everybody's
21 time and I have the right to do so.
22 That is all I wanted to say.
23 Now, please, Mr. Kehoe, repeat your question
24 very clearly. Let me tell the Prosecutor, please ask a
25 direct question and not go into digressions and make a
1 discord before. I would like the witness to hear the
2 question you're asking him clearly.
3 After two years of debate we do know, within
4 the frameworks of this Court, what we're talking
5 about. So I expect clarity on the part of those taking
6 the floor.
7 So, Mr. Prosecutor, you have the document and
8 what is the question you have on document 199?
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, according to your order, the
11 military -- the municipal HVO command was subordinate
12 to the main headquarters of the HVO; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. Where was this headquarters?
15 A. At that time, on the 10th of May, 1992, I do
16 not know exactly where that headquarters was, whether
17 it was located in Grude or at the access to Mostar.
18 Q. Did you ask anybody?
19 A. I did not ask anybody where the main
20 headquarters were because I submitted all my reports to
21 the municipal crisis staff.
22 Q. So you are receiving orders from a main staff
23 implementing these orders, and you never asked anybody
24 where this main headquarters was?
25 A. I must clarify matters here. You're asking
1 me about the main headquarters, that is to say, where
2 the main staff was located. I did not directly receive
3 these reports. It was the commander of the municipal
4 staff of the HVO who received those orders, and I was
5 commander of the armed forces in the HVO of the
6 Kiseljak municipality.
7 I should just like to add, Your Honours, if I
8 may, that it is precisely point 2 which shows that the
9 chain of command and control is not functioning,
10 because here there is no command of the Operative Zone
11 between the main staff and the municipality. That is
12 clearly seen on the basis of this document.
13 So the chain of command and control is not
14 functioning from the command post in Central Bosnia,
15 Vakuf, Tomislavgrad, or whatever, and the municipal
16 staff. There is a command post which is lacking here.
17 Q. In point 4 of Defence Exhibit 199, you order
18 that, "All municipal HVO Commands must begin with
19 training and additional training of soldiers in
20 locations which must be under guard."
21 Did you receive orders from the main staff to
22 implement training?
23 A. I believe that the order that I received from
24 the commander of the municipal staff of the HVO, and
25 which stems from the main staff, contains these
1 provisions as they have been stipulated here, including
2 point 4. I cannot maintain for certainty that that is
3 so but I believe that is so.
4 Q. Let us turn to Prosecution Exhibit 585, the
5 new exhibit. If we could put the English on the ELMO.
6 This is a document, General, dated the 23rd
7 of April, 1992, signed by president Mate Boban. Let us
8 focus ourselves on point 1. It reads that, "All HVO
9 municipal staffs must begin the training and
10 supplementary training of combatants in locations
11 allocated for this purpose and select instructors for
12 this training."
13 That is an order that is given by Boban on
14 the 23rd and, you, in fact, implement that order on
15 your order of the 10th of May; isn't that correct?
16 A. Your Honours, in document 199, the orders are
17 applied dated the 10th of April and 8th of May, and
18 there is no reference to the order of the 23rd of
19 April, that is to say, document 585, but quite possibly
20 point 1 was contained in point 4. It was a fairly
21 confused situation, and we saw that president Boban
22 would issue certain orders in certain documents, and on
23 other occasions somebody in the main staff would do
24 so. So these were the beginnings of the establishment
25 of the HVO. I repeat once again that the HVO began to
1 be organised as of May, and these are, in fact,
2 administrative orders.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we understood that. Next
4 question, please. We can admit that the 23rd of April,
5 more or less, or whenever you order in document 199,
6 the 10th of May, I expect that you read the order of
7 the 23rd of April of Mate Boban. So let's not waste
8 time there and please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Let us move to point 4 of the Boban order
11 where he says, "Travel behind the municipal boundaries
12 must be prohibited for military conscripts and other
13 civilians without the approval of the HVO and, in this
14 connection, police patrols must automatically be
15 increased on roads crossing the municipality
17 Now, let's turn to your exhibit, your order
18 of the 10th of May, Exhibit 199, where you say in point
19 7, "I forbid all persons subject to military
20 constriction in the Kiseljak municipality, as well as
21 other civilians who may be needed by the OF HVO /armed
22 formations of the HVO/, to leave the boarders of the
23 municipality without the permission of the HVO.
24 Commanders of the Military Police units are personally
25 responsible for the execution of this task."
1 Now, General, would it be fair to say that
2 based on this order issued by Boban on the 23rd of
3 April prohibiting conscripts from leaving their
4 municipalities, that order went from Boban to the main
5 staff to the HVO municipal headquarters and to you, and
6 that you then issued this order that we see in Defence
7 Exhibit 199? Is that a fair assessment of how this
9 A. It is not because something has been left out
10 and that is the command of the Operative Zone or IZM
11 for Central Bosnia in the chain of command. I
12 underline that the situation on the terrain was such
13 that many points in this order could simply not be
14 implemented. I said that we had HOS and that we had
15 criminal groups in the field and the Patriotic League
16 and armed refugees, and these were our wishes, but it
17 is far from the realistic state of affairs on the
19 JUDGE JORDA: Just one moment, please,
20 General Blaskic. I would like to know at this point
21 whether there is a link between the Mate Boban order
22 and your own order? I think we must synthesise. We
23 know that on the 10th of May when you took your order,
24 it was two years after the HVO had been formally
25 constituted, but I would like to have a juridical,
1 technical, and didactic answer from you for the
2 Judges. The Judges are expecting a synthetic answer, a
3 concise answer, with regard to the probability of
5 Do they have anything in common? Are they
6 linked or do they have nothing to do with each other?
7 Answer, please. If you never saw the answer by Mate
8 Boban and if you were not inspired by it to write the
9 order, 199, it is your right to say so. If not, is
10 there a relationship, a link between the two orders?
11 This question seems to me to be quite simple, and that
12 is the question that I want answered. I think we can
13 move forward.
14 A. Formally, there is a link, Mr. President, and
15 I have already said so. In formal, legal terms, a link
16 does exist.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Please continue,
18 Mr. Prosecutor.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. General, based on your answer, there was a
21 superior military structure in existence in
22 Herceg-Bosna in April and May of 1993; isn't that
24 A. In formal terms, I say once again, in formal
25 terms, in the sense of the organisational and
1 administrative documents, yes, but when we're speaking
2 about a superior military structure, then, Your
3 Honours, I have in mind a structure to which I should
4 dispatch reports and receive assignments daily or
5 weekly or whatever. This kind of structure, the
6 structures that I got, I received orders by the crisis
7 staff, the Croatian-Muslim municipal crisis staff.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I think that now the
9 question has been established very clearly.
10 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Now, once you received this order to start
13 training people, you, in fact, gave orders to start
14 training soldiers, didn't you?
15 A. I issued orders, and this was my duty. If I
16 received an order from my superiors, I had to issue
17 orders. I wish I was in the position to continuously
18 train, I would have had a more trained army, but I was
19 forced to work at the line of defence.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor. Go
21 on, please.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Let me show you the next exhibit, General,
24 which is 406/23.
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I am pausing just
1 to give the accused the chance to review the document.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Now, General, this is an order, Exhibit
5 406/23, your order of the 24th of July, 1992 where not
6 only do you order reconnaissance training but you order
7 that training take place in the Republic of Croatia;
8 isn't that correct?
9 A. Yes, that is correct. I had been on duty
10 here for a month, that is, on duty as commander of the
11 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and I issued this order
12 to have the personnel sent to Grude for training until
13 the 30th of July, 1992.
14 Q. Well, the order says that the training will
15 take place in the Republic of Croatia, and that's
16 designated in paragraph 1, isn't it?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. Did you send a lot of troops or many troops
19 to Croatia to train?
20 A. I don't recall how many went. I would have
21 to have a report handy which speaks to this. I don't
22 know what you mean by "many," but some reconnaissance
23 units, I believe, did go to training in Croatia, and
24 here it is clear that I ordered that they should report
25 to Grude from where they would be taken to go to their
2 Q. You note in this order that a reconnaissance
3 unit was sent to Croatia to train. What other types of
4 units did you send to Croatia to train?
5 A. It is not correct that the reconnaissance
6 unit was sent there. Let me try to comment on point 1,
7 with permission of the Trial Chamber. If not, then it
8 is not correct that the reconnaissance unit was sent.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The Chamber allows everything,
10 and I would like this to be recorded in the transcript,
11 everything, all rights to the witness. You are the
12 witness, General Blaskic, and the Chamber expects the
13 witness to give precise answers to the questions posed
14 by the parties, but, of course, this does not limit any
15 of your rights. What I would like to avoid is
16 digressions and commentaries which are unending to
17 precise questions. Please go ahead and answer.
18 A. Thank you, Mr. President. I will try to be
19 as succinct as possible.
20 In point 1, it says the following, and I
21 quote: "Deploy one squad of men for reconnaissance
22 operations in every operative zone and in all municipal
23 headquarters engaged in war operations. The training
24 will take place in the Republic of Croatia in order to
25 carry out specific tasks. The training will take ten
2 In other words, this means that the Operative
3 Zone, Your Honours, does not have any reconnaissance
4 unit but that it is yet to establish them, that is,
5 villagers, and then send them off to be trained for
6 reconnaissance. In other words, it is not an
7 established reconnaissance unit that is being sent, but
8 it is just designating men to be sent for training and
9 to be brought back as a reconnaissance unit.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I think when reading the
11 documents, the Judges have understood that. You have
12 the right to make that comment, and I think that it
13 gives an answer.
14 But I think that your question might have
15 been a little different. Would you like to go on to
16 your next question, Mr. Prosecutor?
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
18 Q. General, you sent soldiers to receive
19 reconnaissance training. What other type of training
20 did other soldiers receive in the Republic of Croatia,
21 intelligence training, infantry tactics, any other type
22 of military training? What other type of training did
23 soldiers receive in Croatia?
24 A. I issued this order here for the training for
25 reconnaissance lasting ten days. It is possible that
1 there was -- it is possible, I say, because I'm not
2 sure, that there was some military police training, but
3 the military police had its own staff. There was the
4 Central Bosnia headquarters for the military police who
5 were sending them, and if they did not have their own
6 candidates, they were looking for candidates the same
7 way as the command which I was running was doing.
8 I do not preclude that there were some other
9 specialist training, but at this point, I cannot say
10 specifically what they were, but the military police
11 and the reconnaissance, yes.
12 Q. Now, was this training in the Republic of
13 Croatia conducted by the army of Croatia, the HV?
14 A. Your Honours, I cannot give you an accurate
15 answer because I did not visit any of these centres of
16 the Croatian army, but I can assume that they did and
17 that the instructors were members of the Croatian army.
18 Q. General, did you consult with members of the
19 HV to permit you to send troops for training in the
20 Republic of Croatia; if you did, who?
21 A. I was receiving orders as commander of the
22 Operative Zone from Grude in July and around that time,
23 and these were the orders that I followed. I do not
24 recall specifically having consulted with anybody about
25 it, and again I repeat, I was acting on the orders of
1 the chief of staff of the HVO, of the main headquarters
2 of the HVO.
3 Q. Was the person who gave you the order to send
4 these soldiers to Croatia, was that person Brigadier
5 Milivoj Petkovic?
6 A. The main staff of the HVO certainly was
7 behind this, and Milivoj Petkovic was its chief. I
8 cannot claim that he personally signed this document or
9 somebody in his staff.
10 MR. KEHOE: At this point, if we can move
11 back to Prosecutor's Exhibit 583, 584, and then 502.
12 Now, with regard to 502, Mr. President, we
13 discussed yesterday the fact that in Prosecutor's
14 Exhibit 502 there was a mistake in the preamble. I
15 returned to the translation section and received a
16 corrected copy of that document in an English
17 translation, albeit no French, I apologise, but they
18 have changed it and have given a revised translation
19 with the appropriate corrections. I don't know how we
20 should call this. Should we call it 502 bis or 502B?
21 I'm not sure.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, I think that
23 this has already happened once. Perhaps we can have a
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. We're going to update
1 the document and put a bis next to it.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I do have copies
3 for the appropriate parties, as well as the registrar.
4 Q. Now, looking at these items in sequence --
5 MR. KEHOE: Sorry, Judge.
6 Q. Looking at these items in sequence and
7 starting with the order of Mate Boban on 583, noting at
8 the bottom of that document that all military
9 formations -- it's the last paragraph there.
10 JUDGE JORDA: I haven't got Exhibit 583. I
11 have 582 bis. We've started with -- we are discussing
12 583, are we not? Is that right, 583, Mr. Prosecutor?
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. In sequence,
14 it will be 583, 584, and then 502. The document you
15 should have is 502 bis, and hopefully it's not 582
17 THE REGISTRAR: In fact, it will be 502B bis
18 because it was the corrected English version.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. For the moment,
20 let's make things clear. We're discussing Prosecution
21 Exhibit 583; that's correct, I think. The Judges do
22 not have the document because the sole version is being
23 placed on the ELMO; is that not so, Mr. Registrar?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE JORDA: So if you have a particular
1 point, Mr. Prosecutor, would you read it out? Read it
2 all out because I can only look at it on the ELMO.
3 I've got it now.
4 We can proceed. Thank you.
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
6 Q. In this order, General, of 10 April -- this
7 is the 583 -- 10 April of 1992 signed by Mate Boban,
8 Mate Boban orders, and this is the latter two
9 paragraphs of the document:
10 "The HVO has its main staff. The HVO has
11 municipal staffs in all the municipalities of HZ HB.
12 Starting today, 10 April, 1992, the main staff will
13 communicate only with the municipal staffs of the HVO.
14 "All other military formations in the
15 territory of HZ HB are either illegal or hostile. All
16 other names will be removed from official use."
17 The next document we move to, General, comes
18 from the main staff from Grude in 8 May --
19 JUDGE JORDA: What number is that, please?
20 MR. KEHOE: That's Prosecutor's Exhibit 584,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Please continue.
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. This document comes from Grude, the main
25 staff, dated 8 May, 1992. The number on the document
1 is 01-331-92. This is signed by Colonel General Ante
2 Roso, and the order is:
3 "On the basis of previous agreement and
4 existing needs, I issue the following order:
5 1. The only legal military units in the
6 territory of the Croatian Community of
7 Herceg-Bosna are units of the HVO.
8 2. All other military units in the above
9 territory must join the single defence
10 system and recognise the HVO main staff
11 as their supreme command.
12 3. Every member of the above military units
13 must wear HVO insignia, badge on cap,
14 and canvass HVO sign on the left
16 4. I prohibit the forming of private
17 military units. Persons disobeying this
18 order shall be brought to trial and the
19 units broken up.
20 5. This order supersedes all orders of the
21 Territorial Defence command, which shall
22 be considered illegal in this
24 Now, General, this particular order was the
25 order that you reference in Exhibit 502, in the order
1 that you gave on the 11th of May, 1992; isn't that
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In the order that you give on the 11th of
5 May, 1992, you note that on the basis of the orders
6 received from the main headquarters, confidential
7 number 01-331-92 of 8 May, 1992, and with the aim of
8 defining precisely the legal status of all formations,
9 I'm issuing the following:
10 "1. The only legal military units in the
11 area of Kiseljak municipality are HVO
13 2. All other military units in the
14 above-mentioned area must join the
15 unified defence system and recognise the
16 municipal HVO headquarters as their main
18 3. Each member of the above-mentioned
19 military units is obliged to wear the
20 HVO insignia (coat of arms on cap, linen
21 HVO patch on the left sleeve).
22 4. I forbid the establishment of private
23 military units. Persons who do not obey
24 this order or do not carry it out ..."
25 The words are illegible.
1 "... and the establishment of formation
2 militarily destroyed."
3 JUDGE JORDA: I've got it in French.
4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. The last point is:
6 "5. By this order, all orders of the
7 Territorial Defence commander rendered
8 invalid and the TO in this area
9 considered illegal."
10 Now, General, this is an order that came down
11 from Mate Boban, it went to the main staff, to Ante
12 Roso, where it is disseminated to you and you reference
13 it in your order, and then you give the same order to
14 render the Territorial Defence illegal. Is that
15 sequence correct?
16 A. Your Honours, in my order I refer to the
17 order of the main staff and this can be gleaned from
18 document 502. I issued the order on the basis of the
19 order of the main staff.
20 JUDGE JORDA: It seems to me that we have
21 understood that. The question does not lie there.
22 Please try and make a synthesis of it.
23 Was that the chain of command, that was the
24 question, as it existed on the basis of which you based
25 yourself to give your order? Don't repeat the whole
1 thing over again that you gave this order and so on.
2 We have it in front of our eyes. We can see it.
3 Please answer the question of the Prosecutor as you
4 like, as you wish to answer it, but try and be as clear
5 as possible.
6 Was it the right hierarchy?
7 A. I refer to the main staff's order, which I
8 received and I just repeat that.
9 JUDGE JORDA: The question is simple. Was it
10 the hierarchy that you followed? Don't, please, repeat
11 other things to me. Was it the right hierarchy? That
12 is the Prosecutor's question and I am repeating it as
14 A. I followed the hierarchy of the main staff.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Thank you very
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, General, would you agree that this order
19 that came down from General Roso and that you
20 implemented called for rendering the Territorial
21 Defence illegal? I point you to point 5 of your
23 A. Yes. You are referring me to point 5, but
24 you're implying that I had carried out that part. I
25 did write this order on the basis of the order received
1 by the main staff, and at that time the Territorial
2 Defence command was together with mine in Kiseljak. At
3 that time, we were compiling the armaments inventory
4 and all the military equipment and distributing it
5 among ourselves.
6 So, yes, I did write the order, but you are
7 implying that part of the order was implemented, which
8 I did not do.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we can go on to another
10 question, Mr. Prosecutor.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, you, as a good soldier, follow
13 orders; don't you?
14 A. My duty was to follow the orders of the
15 superior but also to take into account the specific
16 situation on the ground, because these are the
17 organisational orders which I've come about within a
18 period of a month.
19 Q. As a good soldier, you issued an order
20 rendering the Territorial Defence illegal and all
21 orders from the Territorial Defence invalid; didn't
23 A. With your permission, let me clarify this
24 issue. Yes. Formally speaking, I just copied the
25 order of the main staff, because I could not do
1 otherwise, that is, the order of the chief of the main
2 staff which I had received.
3 Q. This was the beginning of the take-over of the
4 Kiseljak municipality by the HVO; wasn't it?
5 A. That is not correct, because, at that time, I
6 was commander of the armed formations in Kiseljak, Your
7 Honours. Alongside with me, there were members of the
8 Patriotic League in the Kiseljak barracks, as well
9 as -- and then the Territorial Defence headquarters
10 were in the town of Kiseljak. I reported to the crisis
11 staff, which was mixed Croat/Muslim, and I received
12 orders from them and I sent reports to them. This was
13 in the period of May 1992.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. General, let's turn our attention to
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 54 -- I'm sorry.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe, I hope I'm
18 not derailing your scheme to much.
19 MR. KEHOE: No, no.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Before you leave this
21 document -- I suspect you were about to leave it --
22 MR. KEHOE: I was.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I ask you, General,
24 this question for purposes of clarification? The order
25 before me does not indicate to whom it was issued. If
1 that is right, could you supplement the material before
2 me by telling the trial Chamber to whom was this order
4 A. Your Honours, there was no proper structure.
5 It may need some time to explain. It applies to the
6 territory of Kiseljak municipality, but even the
7 municipal Kiseljak headquarters did not have their
8 internal structure.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: It's a slightly
10 different question. Physically, this order would have
11 had to be disseminated to certain people. Who were
12 those people to whom this order was sent?
13 A. Within the territory of Kiseljak
14 municipality, it would be the military conscripts from
15 among the Croatian people in the territory of Kiseljak
16 municipality, people subject to conscription, because
17 in those days there were no military units below the
18 municipal headquarters for this to be addressed to
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: The last sentence says,
21 "Company commanders are personally responsible to me
22 for the execution of this order."
23 That lays down an obligation. I'm asking,
24 General, to whom was the order sent? Would it have had
25 to be sent to all legal military units, to all military
1 units in the area?
2 A. In point 1 it says, "In the area of Kiseljak
3 municipality." So that is the territory covered.
4 Here, where it mentions company commanders, there were
5 units in the villages, in the local communes, which
6 called themselves different names. I spoke about
7 that. There was the Vrazja Divizija, HOS, Green
8 Legion, et cetera.
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was it sent to all of
11 A. It applied to all local communities in which
12 there were military conscripts coming from among the
13 ranks of the Croatian people.
14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You're saying it applied
15 to all of them. I'm asking you if it was sent to all
16 of them or published for all of them to become aware of
18 A. I can assume that it was but I'm not sure of
19 that. I assume it was.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
21 A. But I'm not sure.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Are we still discussing the
23 same document or shall we have a quarter of an hour
24 break, Mr. Prosecutor?
25 MR. KEHOE: We are going to discuss nuances
1 on this document, Judge, with an additional document.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. I suggest we have a
3 15-minute break then.
4 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
6 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
7 be seated.
8 Judge Shahabuddeen?
9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, if I may pursue
10 a little further the line of questioning I opened up, I
11 would ask you this: At the date 11 May, 1992 when you
12 issued this order, were there in existence private or
13 paramilitary organisations like the HOS or independent
14 organisations of any kind? I have in mind the Vitezovi
15 and so on. Did those organisations exist at that time?
16 A. They did exist at the time.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: In this order, were you
18 taking the position that all military units in the
19 Kiseljak municipality were to be answerable to you?
20 A. To me and my associate in the joint command,
21 that is, Mr. Bakir Alispahic.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was this order ever
23 later revoked or did it continue to operate?
24 A. The order was in effect. I do not remember
25 whether it was revoked, but at that time, it was
1 impossible to implement it.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Was there a similar
3 order in respect of the Vitez area?
4 A. At the time, I do not know, Your Honour,
5 whether there was a similar order because I was only in
6 Kiseljak. I didn't travel to Vitez at the time.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Later on when you
8 managed to travel to Vitez, would you, as from that
9 time, have operated in Vitez on a basis similar to the
10 basis set out in this order?
11 A. Your Honour, in Vitez, when I was the
12 commander of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, I
13 tried to include all HVO units into the command
14 structure and to engage them on the front at Jajce in
15 those days, including assistance coming from any other
16 quarter, such as the HOS, for example, which I would
17 accept in Vitez. But I do know that in Vitez, there
18 was a Territorial Defence staff and a municipal HVO
19 staff. There were two parallel and equal organisations
20 in Vitez when I was commander of the Operative Zone.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I'm trying to ask
22 you to focus on, General, is this: When you were
23 commander of the Central Operative Zone of Bosnia, were
24 you operating on the basis of the structure laid out in
25 this order, which I understood to mean that all
1 Croatian military units in the area were to be
2 answerable to you as commander of the Central Operative
3 Zone of Bosnia?
4 A. Your Honours, I sought to act in that
5 direction, but other orders coming from higher levels
6 prevented me in doing so, such as the orders of the
7 defence minister on the creation of special purpose
8 units, decisions on the establishment of the military
9 police which had its own chain of command, and
10 decisions on the establishment of security services.
11 So there were at least another three chains of command
12 that were created independently of me, and the legal
13 acts on the basis of which they were formed prevented
14 me from acting within a unified chain of command.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did members of the
16 military police wear on their shoulders any HVO
18 A. Your Honours, members of the military police
19 wore special military police insignia of the HVO. They
20 were not the same patches as HVO soldiers. They were
21 special patches, and they had a separate regional
22 headquarters of the military police for Central Bosnia
23 which was equal to my own headquarters, on an equal
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did those patches have
1 the letters "HVO"?
2 A. I shall try and remember exactly what it
3 said. I think it said "Military Police of the HVO."
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I see. Thank you,
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
7 I give the floor again to the Prosecutor.
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. General, moving back to some questions on
10 Exhibit 502 and the declaration of the Territorial
11 Defence as illegal, I would like to discuss with you an
12 article, and I'm talking about Exhibit 545,
13 Prosecutor's 545.
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, when this
15 particular exhibit was initially introduced into
16 evidence, believe it or not, there was not a French
17 copy from Agence France Presse. Believe it or not, we
18 had an English copy and not a French copy. From Agence
19 France Presse, we do now have a French copy in the
20 original. It seems a little ironic, but that was the
21 way it flowed. I do have the French copy at this
22 juncture for all the parties.
23 THE REGISTRAR: In fact, we do already
24 have ...
25 MR. KEHOE: There's a French one? C'est bon.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, I apologise.
2 THE REGISTRAR: We already have the French
4 JUDGE JORDA: It is a communique of the
5 Agence France Presse. It is reassuring that we could
6 have a report by the Agence France Presse in French.
7 THE REGISTRAR: It is 545A for the French
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I want the record
10 to reflect that, although he's absent, Mr. Cayley has
11 given me bad information.
12 JUDGE JORDA: You will have to issue an order
13 to regulate your problems within your office,
14 Mr. Kehoe.
15 MR. KEHOE: I'll leave that to Mr. Harmon,
16 Your Honour.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Kehoe, it's not
18 bad from time to time to have a relaxing moment because
19 all this is very serious.
20 Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
22 Q. Now, General, this is an article that
23 appeared in Agence France Presse on the 11th of May,
24 1992 where you were, in fact, quoted after an
1 MR. KEHOE: I'm not going to read the entire
2 article, Mr. President, but I will start on paragraphs
3 6 and 7 on the first page dealing with the General's
5 Q. It reads as follows:
6 "Tiho Blaskic, who leads the CVO forces in
7 Kiseljak, explained that the region was peaceful
8 because the Serbs, who make up only three per cent of
9 the town's population, 'have no designs on this land.'
10 "As for the embattled Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 government in Sarajevo, 'it has no legitimacy here,' he
13 If we can turn the page, on the second page
14 there are additional comments by the General. The last
15 two paragraphs:
16 "Kiseljak would henceforth be a part of a
17 Croatian canton, or administrative region, and would
18 look to the west rather than to the east, Tiho Blaskic
20 "'Its closeness to Sarajevo never
21 contributed much to our town anyway,'" he said.
22 Now, General, these particular comments by
23 you were made and published literally on the same day
24 that you issued your order declaring the Territorial
25 Defence illegal; isn't that correct?
1 A. It may possibly be so. I did not authorise
2 that interview, nor do I have it in its entirety to
3 look through it, but I would like to point out, and I
4 can show you on the relief, the circumstances under
5 which that interview was made, and that is the existing
6 front line towards the Sarajevo-Romanija core on the
7 slopes east of Kiseljak. When I say "the Serbs have no
8 designs," I was thinking of the Serbs in the local
9 community of Brnjaci, the villages of Drazevici, and
10 other villages inhabited by Serbs in the Kiseljak
11 municipality. I didn't expect any attacks from those
12 Serbs against the citizens of Kiseljak municipality.
13 In those days there were close to 300
14 displaced persons in Kiseljak from Rakovica belonging
15 to the municipality of Ilidza. All of them were mostly
16 Bosniak Muslims. To send any kind of war messages
17 towards the front line could have provoked an attack by
18 the army of Republika Srpska in those days.
19 Q. Well, General, approximately six weeks prior
20 to this, on the 6th of April, 1992, President Tudjman
21 recognised the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Six weeks later, you tell this Agence France
24 reporter that the Bosnia-Herzegovina government in
25 Sarajevo, "Has no legitimacy in Kiseljak;" isn't that
2 A. Yes. Let me explain why. Because we were
3 receiving orders from Sarajevo on the open telefax line
4 that we should launch a military action against the
5 Serbs and deblock the whole of Sarajevo. In those
6 days, when we were militarily incapable of undertaking
7 such an operation, that could only mean opening the war
8 with the Serbs in the municipality of Kiseljak, which
9 would have been a disaster for the population.
10 These messages were sent to me on the open
11 line by telefax, and they were received by the command
12 of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps in Ilidza. Then they
13 called me by phone asking when we would attack.
14 I kept all those orders that we had received
15 and put them in a file and handed them in person to
16 Mr. Bruno Stojic. In those days, members of the TO
17 were operating and working on the lifting of the
18 blockade around Sarajevo, and I gave them every
19 assistance that they asked of me.
20 Q. When you told this Agence France Presse
21 reporter that Kiseljak would henceforth be a Croatian
22 canton for administrative region and, "We would look to
23 the west rather than to the east," you were referring
24 to looking towards Croatian; weren't you?
25 A. I always thought that we would look towards
1 the west and be modelled on the west in relation to
2 those on account of whom I had to leave the JNA, and
3 that is the East Serbia and its aggressive policies
4 that it was pursuing. Anyway, even today we are
5 witnesses of those events.
6 I would like to have that interview in its
7 totality, but I was thinking of the west as a whole,
8 including Croatia and Slovenia where I had served for
9 all of eight years.
10 Q. Now, let us talk about a related topic,
12 MR. KEHOE: If I could just consult with
13 Mr. Harmon, Mr. President, just briefly.
14 Thank you for your indulgence,
15 Mr. President.
16 Q. Let us go back to these two documents we have
17 discussed previously, this 584 order by Ante Roso and
18 your order on the 11th of May, 502, where you were
19 ordered by Roso to render the TO illegal and you do
20 so. Do you have those two documents before you?
21 A. Just a moment, please. Yes, I have those two
22 documents and that is what they say.
23 Q. Now, you received an order from Ante Roso,
24 and you implemented that order as a good officer and a
25 soldier should; is that right?
1 A. Not quite right. The order was addressed to
2 the commander of the municipal staff of Kiseljak, that
3 is, the order from Ante Roso. He conveyed to me that
4 order, I assume, for me to see. Then I wrote this
5 order, that is, document 502, but I was not the
6 commander of the municipal staff of Kiseljak , and I
7 did not receive that order directly from the main
9 Q. How many orders did Ante Roso issue that you
10 received during this April/May time frame?
11 A. Very few, but I cannot tell you with
12 certainty how many. Very few are those that I
13 received. In April and May, not more than ten.
14 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, if we could have
15 clarity on received orders and what is meant by that,
16 because one meaning of "received" is to come into one's
17 possession. When one talks about an order, one usually
18 thinks of an order as being directed to and received by
19 the party intended. Our client was not the municipal
20 staff HVO commander. That was another individual. He
21 was under that person, together with a Muslim
22 representative, and so the questions are being blurred
23 here a bit and we just ask for clarity.
24 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, in response
25 to those comments, the witness had no problem
2 MR. HAYMAN: The test is not whether the
3 witness answers. The test is whether counsel is
4 expressing himself clearly so we have a record that is
5 clear in the case.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, quite, and I must
7 note that in your observation you spoke at some length,
8 which is your right, and I don't know what General
9 Blaskic can answer now but, first, I would like to know
10 whether Mr. Kehoe would like to engage in that effort
11 to make greater precision in asking his question about
12 the receipt of orders.
13 MR. KEHOE: Certainly, Mr. President.
14 Q. Is it your testimony, General, that Ante Roso
15 issued approximately ten orders that were sent to the
16 municipal staff and then handed to you? Is that your
18 A. I think I said not more than ten, and I said
19 very, very few. In the backdrop of those highly
20 confusing circumstances that prevailed at the time,
21 these were very few.
22 Q. So in the interests of clarity, not more than
23 ten orders were issued by Roso that went to the
24 municipal staff and then were given to you; is that
25 right, not more?
1 A. I just said, in reference to the orders that
2 I remember receiving, because a long time has gone past
3 since. I did not receive more than ten. How many he
4 issued and how many he sent, I don't know.
5 Q. Well, of the ones that you received, Ante
6 Roso's orders that went to the municipal staff and then
7 went to you, did you obey those orders?
8 A. I copied out those orders but under those
9 circumstances it was not possible to implement them.
10 This is my answer to your question as to whether I
11 obeyed those orders. I don't know what you mean when
12 you ask "obey."
13 JUDGE JORDA: Your distinction between "obey"
14 and "implement" is a bit confusing, General Blaskic.
15 You're a General. You were a Colonel at the time. You
16 headed an important military area, and I cannot quite
17 understand what you're saying.
18 The question was: Did you obey those
19 orders? So when you received those orders, if you
20 didn't have the intention to obey you would say, "I
21 will not obey." On the other hand, you said you obeyed
22 but you didn't implement. So the question -- it is of
23 absolute no importance whether you wrote them out by
24 hand, copied them out by hand.
25 The question is whether upon receiving an
1 order you implemented an order of your superior. That
2 is the question. Your distinction a highly subtle but
3 for the Judges, who are listening to you, it is only
5 You yourself were head of the Operative Zone,
6 you showed us, over a period of six weeks, that you
7 were very much present at the head of your
8 organisation. You had a minute-by-minute record of
9 everything you undertook, and now you told us that when
10 you received an order from a superior you obeyed, you
11 didn't obey. After all, this is perplexing, so please
12 be coherent. You can answer what you wish but be
13 consistent, please.
14 A. I will, Your Honour. When I receive the
15 order, not from Ante Roso directly, I received Ante
16 Roso's order from the commander of the municipal HVO
17 staff in Kiseljak. That was my position in the
18 Kiseljak municipality. I was commander of the armed
19 units of the HVO for the Kiseljak municipality. I was
20 not the commander of the Kiseljak HVO staff ever.
21 When I received this order, I formally wrote
22 it out, but I felt that the actual state of affairs on
23 the ground was such that it could not be implemented
24 because I was in the same building with TO commanders.
25 JUDGE JORDA: You must understand the
1 confusion of the Judges. I will follow on to what
2 Judge Shahabuddeen asked you.
3 You yourself copied this order. Five or six
4 years later you tell us that you copied it out. I must
5 say, militarily speaking, it is confusing but I accept
6 that hypothesis. So you copied it out.
7 My question is: The units to which you are
8 addressing this order, company commanders, or the
9 subordinates that you are conveying this order to, you
10 in the chain of command, how can they find their place
11 there? Do you understand my question? Are they going
12 to act in the same way as you? They're going to copy
13 it out just like that and -- you had a chain of command
14 below you. Let's leave aside your superior chain of
15 command. You tell us, six years later that you copied
16 it out but it could not be implemented. If it was not
17 possible to implement it, how could your subordinates
18 implement something on the basis of an order which you
19 say that it was formal only? What are they going to
20 do? I'm asking you and I'm talking about Kiseljak.
21 A. Mr. President, this was a time when my
22 subordinates invited me to be a guest at meetings at
23 which they elected their commanders. This was a time
24 when the commanders were accountable to their units and
25 not to me. I believe that some of them refused even to
1 read those orders in those days.
2 This was a time of General chaos,
3 preparations for defence, the existence of a large
4 number of units in a small environment. I can list all
5 those that I have registered as existing at the time.
6 That was how things were in that municipality. We had
7 a front line against the Serb corps, and it was in my
8 interest to engage every citizen, every soldier, for
9 the front line.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That is your
11 answer. Mr. Prosecutor?
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
13 Q. Now, General, this Ante Roso, who is in this
14 order Exhibit 584A and from which you received no more
15 than ten orders through the municipal command, he was
16 the same Ante Roso who was at your appointment meeting
17 on the 27th of June; wasn't he?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Who was Ante Roso?
20 A. I have already said that he was at the
21 meeting on the 27th of June. I assume that he assumed
22 duty in the main staff. I don't know which duty he
23 performed especially at that time, but I know that Ante
24 Roso was the chief of the main staff of the HVO as
25 well. Sometime at the end of 1993, in November,
1 November 1993, he was the chief of the main staff of
2 the HVO, Ante Roso was the chief. Later on, he did
3 service in the Croatian army.
4 Q. Well, General, when he was giving you these
5 orders that came down to you and when you met him in
6 Grude, what position did he have?
7 A. I know that when I was in Grude on the 27th
8 of June, 1992, that General Ante Roso was an officer in
9 the main staff of the HVO and that the chief of the
10 main staff of the HVO at that time was Milivoj
11 Petkovic. Now, what his position, Ante Roso's
12 position, was and his assignments, I don't know.
13 Q. Well, General, what rank did Roso carry with
15 A. I think that he was Major General. He was a
16 General, at all events. Now, what type of General, I
17 don't actually know, because we always refer to
18 Generals as Generals, regardless of whether they were
19 Major Generals or Lieutenant Generals, but I'm certain
20 that he was a General.
21 Q. What rank did Milivoj Petkovic have at this
22 meeting on the 27th of June?
23 A. I think that he was a Brigadier.
24 Q. Who was superior in rank?
25 A. In rank? General Roso was superior.
1 Q. So based on that, what role did he have when
2 he was giving you these orders that were coming down to
3 you and he was appointing you Lieutenant-Colonel on the
4 27th of June? What role did he have in the HVO?
5 A. I have already said that I assume that he was
6 one of the officers of the main staff of the HVO, but I
7 know for sure that from November 1993 he was the chief
8 of the main staff of the HVO. What duty he performed
9 in the previous period, I don't know.
10 Q. Is your assumption that he was an officer in
11 the HVO in June of 1992 based on the fact that he was
12 issuing orders such as 584, that you were then
13 implementing in Exhibit 502?
14 A. He was an officer of the main staff in May
15 1992, yes. I assume he was.
16 Q. Let me ask you something, General, and this
17 was a question for clarification that was asked by the
18 President, Judge Jorda, at page 17921, where Judge
19 Jorda asks:
20 "Q General Blaskic, I would like to ask you
21 for a clarification. General Ante Roso,
22 what was his position before yours?
23 A Mr. President, Your Honours, I don't
24 know what function he had at that time,
25 what rank. I saw him for the first
2 Were you telling the Chamber the truth with
4 A. Yes. I saw him for the first time --
5 personally, I saw him for the first time on the 27th of
6 June, 1992, and I said that I do not know what function
7 he performed. When I say "function," I mean commanding
8 function or any other duty in the main staff of the
9 HVO. As to rank, I knew that he was a general; I don't
10 know whether that was what was interpreted. But it is
11 true that I saw him there for the first time and that I
12 don't know what position he performed within the main
13 staff of the HVO.
14 Q. General, you told Judge Jorda in response to
15 a question that you did not know what function Ante
16 Roso played when you met him on June the 27th, 1992.
17 You had already received Exhibit 584 and up to ten
18 orders from this man. Based on that, General, were you
19 telling the Chamber the truth or were you misleading
20 the Chamber?
21 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the witness
22 answered in his previous answer. He fully answered
23 that question in his previous answer. This is clear
25 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not quite sure that he did
1 answer that question. He referred to an answer that
2 the accused gave in a question that I put to him, and I
3 would like to hear the witness now.
4 I must remind you that you're under oath.
5 You're a witness, General Blaskic, and all the
6 obligations of a witness fall on you. So will you
7 answer very precisely the question put to you by the
8 Prosecutor, please?
9 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I told the
10 truth, and I am absolutely certain of that. I do not
11 know what duty in the main staff of the HVO General
12 Ante Roso had, but in answer to your question, I said
13 that I know for certain that, on the 27th of June,
14 1992, the chief of the main staff of the HVO was
15 Milivoj Petkovic. The main staff is not made up of
16 only two men. Each of them has his duty which they
18 In this document, 584, the standards are to
19 write the function, rank, name, and surname. There is
20 no duty here. It is a document from the main staff,
21 but what duty, on document 584, General Major Ante Roso
22 is performing, I don't know. I spoke the truth.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, proceed.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. If you have something to say, General, please
1 say it. I don't want to interrupt you. I'm sorry.
2 A. Well, I wanted to say, as opposed to document
3 502, where I state my name and surname and the function
4 that I perform but there is no rank there, that is
5 document 502, but I do state my position.
6 Q. General, at the time Ante Roso was issuing
7 these orders to you and you met him and he appointed
8 you Lieutenant Colonel, he was a General in the HV,
9 wasn't he?
10 A. First of all, as far as issuing orders to me,
11 that's what you said. I didn't say this before this
12 Court. He issued orders to the commander of the
13 municipal staff of the HVO in Kiseljak.
14 Second, as far as I know, he was an officer
15 of the main staff of the HVO, I say, as far as I know.
16 General Ante Roso did not take out his order of
17 appointment and say, "Well, that is the order and I am
18 so and so." He did not take out a document of that
19 kind and show me that, and I assume that he was an
20 officer of the main staff of the HVO.
21 JUDGE JORDA: You knew nothing about General
22 Roso? You knew nothing about General Roso in those
24 A. Mr. President, I saw that man for the first
25 time on the 27th of June, 1992. I saw him for the
1 first time. Up until then, I had never seen him
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor?
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Let's look at a couple of documents, General,
6 to clarify the situation.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Could I have the page and line
8 of the quotation you read?
9 MR. KEHOE: Certainly. Page 17921. The
10 question by Judge Jorda runs from lines 6 through 8,
11 and the answer runs from lines 9 through 11.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Let us look, General, at a series of
15 documents to clarify the position of General Roso, and
16 if we can, we will start with 406/11. That's
17 Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/11.
18 General, have you had a chance to review that
20 A. Yes, I have.
21 Q. Now, General, this is a document again signed
22 by General Bobetko on HVO stationery or HVO letterhead
23 from Grude on the 21st of April, 1992 assigning Major
24 General Ante Roso to be responsible for the Livno area
25 and Brigadier Miljenko Crnjec responsible for Duvno.
1 The name "Duvno," of course, had been changed to
3 MR. KEHOE: By way of clarity, Your Honours.
4 "Duvno" became "Tomislavgrad."
5 Q. Now, you noted yesterday that General Bobetko
6 was an HV officer. At this particular time, was
7 Brigadier Crnjec an HV officer?
8 A. Possibly he was.
9 Q. Of course, Livno and Tomislavgrad --
10 actually, the Tomislavgrad, Prozor, Konjic region,
11 those are all regions within Bosnia-Herzegovina; isn't
12 that right?
13 A. It is an area within Bosnia-Herzegovina, but
14 it is also an area immediately by the Kupres
15 elevation. It is the front there that had already been
16 taken over by the corps of the army of the Republika
17 Srpska. They were the front lines on the Glamoc part
18 of the front, and Konjic is the valley of the Neretva
19 River where the Serbs had reached Boracka Jezera, the
20 lakes there. We saw that on the map here.
21 Q. Let us turn to the next exhibit, General,
22 which is 406/15, again Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/15.
23 A. If I can comment on this document, 406/11, a
24 little more?
25 Q. Certainly.
1 A. Your Honours, the document came into being on
2 the 21st of April, which means seven days after my
3 arrival in Kiseljak when I was not appointed commander
4 of the armed formations in Kiseljak. In actual fact, I
5 performed no duties whatsoever.
6 Second, we see on the document that it is
7 signed by the main staff of the HVO, and then we see
8 the function of the command of the southern front,
9 General Janko Bobetko, so that this situation is
10 confusing. No. It says the Herceg-Bosna main staff on
11 the stamp.
12 Q. If we can turn to the next document, which is
13 406/15. Have you had a chance to review that document,
15 A. Yes, I have had a chance to look at it.
16 Q. General, this is a document that is, I guess,
17 less than a month from the previous document. This is
18 dated the 16th of May, 1992, and this is on HV
19 letterhead from the Republic of Croatia. In this
20 document, again General Bobetko and the General in the
21 HV is ordering Major General Roso to take over the
22 command staff in Tomislavgrad. Do you see that in
23 point 1? I can read it to you, General, if you want.
24 "1. I hereby order Major General A. Roso
25 immediately to strengthen --"
1 JUDGE JORDA: I think there's no point in
2 reading it. We have the English version on the ELMO.
3 I have a French version. You can take a few minutes if
4 you wish. Let us not waste too much time. You can see
5 what it's about, General Blaskic.
6 A. Mr. President, I see the document but I don't
7 know the question. Could you ask a concrete question,
9 JUDGE JORDA: It hasn't been asked yet.
10 Don't fear. The question will come. I gave you some
11 time to look through the document, but I assure you the
12 Prosecutor hasn't asked you a question or if he has, I
13 didn't hear it.
14 MR. KEHOE: Not yet, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Now, this is an order, General, by an HV
18 General to Major Roso to take over the command staff in
19 Tomislavgrad; isn't that right?
20 A. I'm not quite sure that is so because from
21 the first point, one does not deduce that General Roso
22 take over the command but to strengthen the command
23 staff of Tomislavgrad and use his influence and "most
24 energetic action to thwart all groups and individuals
25 who wish to promote themselves to commanders at various
1 levels." That means that General Roso is asked to
2 strengthen the command staff of Tomislavgrad, so that I
3 don't know from the first point, I'm not quite sure
4 that he is to take over. Had it meant take over, it
5 would have said, "Take over command in Tomislavgrad."
6 Q. Well, General, in the previous exhibit, we
7 have General Bobetko, in Exhibit 406/11, giving orders
8 to General Major Roso on HVO documentation, and here,
9 less than a month later, on 406/15, we have General
10 Bobetko giving orders to Major Roso on HV stationery.
11 Now, does this clear up which army General Bobetko is a
12 General of, the HVO or the HV?
13 A. First of all, I'll answer your question
14 directly. As far as I know, General Bobetko was a
15 General of the Croatian army, but from this document,
16 which you say is 406/11, it is not true that General
17 Bobetko was ordering General Roso to take over command
18 for Tomislavgrad but for the Livno area, point 1 of
19 document 406/11. You made an introduction and said
20 that in that document General Ante Roso was for
22 Q. Look at point 4. Who is General Roso's
23 subordinate and was supposed to be put at his disposal
24 at the Tomislavgrad command? Who was that? That's in
25 406/15, the 16 May, 1992 order of General Bobetko.
1 A. I see point 4 but it doesn't state the name
2 of General Ante Roso. Point 4 states: "The commander
3 of the IZM Grude, Milivoj Petkovic, shall be at the
4 disposal of the Tomislavgrad command until further
5 notice," but in document 406/11, point 2 states that
6 Brigadier Miljenko Crnjec is for the area of
7 Tomislavgrad, Prozor, and Konjic.
8 Q. General, would it be accurate to say, based
9 on this order by Bobetko, that Milivoj Metkovic is
10 being subordinated to Major General Roso? I'm talking
11 about Exhibit 406/15.
12 A. From this document, I still cannot conclude
13 that because were that so, then this document, I am
14 sure because General Bobetko is a soldier, would have
15 emphasised at the top where it says the address, to
16 whom the document is being sent, it would state the
17 commander IZM in Tomislavgrad, Major General Ante Roso,
18 whereas it only says "Major General Ante Roso." From
19 406/15, I cannot conclude that Ante Roso is the
20 commander in Tomislavgrad.
21 Q. In any event, General, Milivoj Petkovic is
22 the person who, on the 27th of June, was introduced to
23 you as the chief of staff of the HVO; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let's move on in this document. Petkovic is
1 to be replaced at the forward command post in Grude by
2 Major Ante Jelavic. Now, is that the same Major Ante
3 Jelavic who sent the letter to Judge McDonald stating
4 that there was no military archive or central archive?
5 Was that the same man?
6 A. I believe that it is the same man, but it
7 does not state here that he will replace him. In
8 military terminology, and I'm reading the document in
9 Croatian, it says that he will represent him which
10 implies provisionally. It can be five days, two, three
11 days, temporary. It is not a replacement of the
12 commander. That is how I understand the document read
13 in the original as it is written.
14 Q. Now, when Bobetko was giving an order to Ante
15 Jelavic to replace Milivoj Petkovic, was Major Jelavic
16 in the HVO or was he in the HV?
17 A. Your Honours, on the 16th of May, I still had
18 not personally met General Bobetko, and he is the
19 author of the document and the signatory. I don't know
20 what he had in mind. I don't know where Ante Jelavic
21 was, but I repeat, Bobetko did not order to replace, my
22 interpretation said "to replace Ante Jelavic." In
23 point 4, he ordered that he would be represented by
24 Ante Jelavic, and that is a substantial difference.
25 Q. While Jelavic was representing Milivoj
1 Petkovic at the forward command post in Grude, was
2 Jelavic in the HVO or was he in the HV?
3 A. I do not know, because they are dates and
4 times, May 1992, when I was in Kiseljak and I still was
5 not in Grude. Grude, for me, was unknown to me. I had
6 never been there before the 27th of June, 1992.
7 Q. Let's turn to the last paragraph in this
8 document which says, "The Republic of Croatia Minister
9 of Defence shall be notified immediately of the
10 situation in Tomislavgrad and be asked to visit that
11 town as soon as possible and to use his authority to
12 eliminate all groups and individuals who claim to
13 answer directly to the Minister."
14 Now, the Minister of Defence who was to be
15 notified, who was that?
16 A. It was the Minister of Defence of the
17 Republic of Croatia in May 1992. I believe that it was
18 Gojko Susak, but this document too shows the general
19 state of affairs on the terrain. That is to say, there
20 are groups, there are individuals who claim to answer
21 directly and are subordinate to that Minister. If you
22 read the document in its entirety then you will be able
23 to glean the situation that, in fact, existed.
24 Q. Now, General, you told us in
25 direct-examination, in response to questions by my
1 learned colleague, that your order of appointment to
2 Lieutenant-Colonel in Central Bosnia was signed by Mate
3 Boban and by Ante Roso. Do you recall that testimony?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Was that appointment signed on HVO stationery
6 or was it signed on HV stationery?
7 A. HVO.
8 Q. So we have a situation, sir, where Ante Roso
9 is giving orders to you in May on HVO stationery. We
10 then have orders given to him on HV stationery by
11 General Bobetko. Then we have your appointment order
12 in the latter part of June, early July, on HV --
13 A. I apologise. Just one moment. I cannot
14 follow you. It is too fast for me. If you can slow
15 down and go claim by claim. I can't follow the
16 interpretation. It's too fast for me.
17 MR. HAYMAN: It was compound in any event,
18 Mr. President. The questions need to be
19 straightforward and clear and tripartite or have four
20 different parts to them. It's just too hard to
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You're quite right, the
23 more so as we're going to have a break very soon, but I
24 would like us to complete the questions on this point.
25 So please ask your question, not several questions at
1 the same time.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. Well, to summarise your testimony, you were
4 receiving orders in May from Ante Roso, General Ante
5 Roso, on HVO stationery?
6 A. Yes. In May 1992, by the commander of the
7 municipal staff of the HVO of Kiseljak who was Tomislav
8 Trutina. He directly received orders from Ante Roso
9 and I got them from Tomislav Trutina in Kiseljak.
10 Q. During that same month we have orders on HV
11 stationery by a Croatian General to this same Ante
13 A. By which General?
14 Q. Bobetko.
15 A. Yes. Those are the documents that I have
16 seen here.
17 Q. Then, thereafter, you receive your
18 appointment from Roso and Boban on HVO stationery
19 again; is that accurate?
20 A. Yes, that's accurate. I was appointed by
21 Mr. Mate Boban, and he signed it on the document, on
22 the right-hand side, officially, and the subsignatory
23 was Ante Roso on an HVO document.
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the next series of
25 questions that I have to go into have to be in private
1 session because of the provider's request, which I can
2 explain in private session.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Let's have a 15-minute break
4 and then you can prepare private session,
5 Mr. Registrar, please.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.41 p.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume. We're in
9 private session, aren't we, Mr. Registrar?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
11 (Private session)
13 Pages 20469 to 20504 redacted – in private session
4 (Open session)
5 MR. KEHOE: The next document, Mr. Registrar,
6 is Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/12.
7 Q. If you could take a look at that document,
8 General. Have you completed your review, General?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, General, this is another document signed
11 by HV General Bobetko on the 21st of April, 1992,
12 ordering General Roso, General Praljak, and Brigadier
13 Crnjec to a meeting in Grude on the 23rd of April,
14 1992. Now, at this particular time, those three
15 officers were HV officers; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes. That is what it says in this document
17 and that is how it was.
18 Q. On the letterhead -- this is an order that is
19 written on HVO letterhead; isn't that right?
20 A. Yes. The letterhead is of the HVO.
21 Q. So again we have an HV General,
22 General Bobetko, ordering three HV Generals to act and
23 giving that order on HVO letterhead; is that right?
24 A. Yes. In that order he mentions his command
25 and the letterhead is of the HVO.
1 MR. KEHOE: If we can move to the next
2 document. Mr. Usher? The usher is missing in action.
3 MR. FOURMY: Excuse me. I'd like to know
4 whether there might be a problem here between "HVO" and
5 "HV" in the last intervention of the Prosecutor.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Let's try to make things
7 clear. I have the interpretation in French which talks
8 about letterhead, which Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna with the Croatian Defence Council. Is
10 that correct?
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. The letterhead is HVO letterhead, is it not,
13 General, on the document that we just reviewed?
14 A. Yes. That is what I said.
15 MR. KEHOE: I think we corrected that at this
16 point. Okay. Now, if we can move to the next
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is 595, 595A for the
19 French version, 595B for the English version.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Have you completed your review of that
22 document, General?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, General, this is a document that is
25 issued again by General Bobetko approximately two and a
1 half weeks after the previous document, only this
2 document is on HV letterhead; is that right?
3 A. It is right. The letterhead is of the HV,
4 but the previous one had the letterhead of the command
5 of the southern front, signed by General Bobetko.
6 Q. The previous document that we just reviewed,
7 General, 406/12, has the letterhead of HVO; does it
9 A. The previous document does have the
10 letterhead of the HVO but beneath that it says,
11 "Command of the southern front, Forward command post,
12 Grude." That is what it says.
13 Q. Yes. This particular document that we have
14 before us, 595, has the HV letterhead, again signed by
15 General Bobetko. As opposed to signing it on behalf of
16 the Herceg-Bosna main staff as he did on the previous
17 Exhibit, here he signs it on behalf of the southern
18 battle zone command; correct?
19 A. No. Here too he indicates his position,
20 commander. Document 406 says, "Commander of the
21 southern battle zone, General Janko Bobetko," and the
22 stamp says, "The main staff of Herceg-Bosna, number
24 Q. Fine. This particular document, and I'm
25 talking about 595, is an order by Bobetko on behalf of
1 the Minister of Defence, Gojko Susak, to two officers;
2 isn't that right?
3 A. It applies to two officers or, rather, three
4 officers, as far as I can see here.
5 Q. I believe you're correct, General, there is
6 three officers.
7 The area that Praljak and Brigadier Andabak
8 were involved in was what area?
9 A. The area is Mostar, Siroki Brijeg, Citluk,
10 Capljina, Neretva River valley which links on to the
11 southern front or battle zone.
12 Q. Now, that area is in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
13 isn't it?
14 A. These are the doors of the Neretva delta, the
15 doors to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. So we have the Minister of Defence telling
17 General Bobetko to give an order to two officers that
18 are serving -- or one officer serving in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina to be replaced by another officer.
20 Is that an accurate assessment?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, this was dated the 7th of May, 1992.
23 What did Praljak do after this; do you know?
24 A. I don't know what he did. In May 1992 I was
25 still in the municipal staff in Kiseljak and at that
1 time I didn't even know General Praljak.
2 Q. Well, did he take a position in the Ministry
3 of Defence for the Republic of Croatia, to your
5 A. He did have a position in the Defence
6 Ministry of the Republic of Croatia for a time, but I
7 don't know in which time period, but he did have that
8 position for a time.
9 MR. KEHOE: If I can move to another
10 document, Mr. President. Mr. President, this
11 particular document is an official document from the
12 United Nations, in both French and English, and it is a
13 letter from the 2nd of November, 1992 from the Charge
14 d'affaire of the permanent mission of Croatia to the
15 United Nations and it is addressed to the President of
16 the Security Council. Again, this is dated the 2nd of
17 November, 1992.
18 I'm sorry, we didn't get the number yet. I
20 THE REGISTRAR: This is 596, 596A for the
21 French version. 596A is the English version.
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have no
23 intention of reading this entire document except to
24 address the court to the final paragraph that notes
25 that as of the 2nd of November, 1992, General Major
1 Slobodan Praljak was the deputy Defence Minister of the
2 Republic of Croatia. Of course, Mr. President, the
3 Croatian Defence Minister has also listed as attending
4 these talks was Mr. Gojko Susak.
5 May I proceed, Mr. President? Thank you.
6 Q. Now, General, this document reflects that as
7 of the 2nd of November, 1992, at least, Slobodan
8 Praljak is the deputy Defence Minister for the Republic
9 of Croatia. You told us that as of the 23rd of
10 December, 1992, during that swearing-in ceremony that
11 Praljak attended, he was a General in the Croatian
12 army, the HV. Is that accurate?
13 A. I said that he was a General of the Croatian
14 army who had been invited to a Christmas cocktail party
15 and that alongside with him -- and that he had been
16 invited to the swearing-in ceremony at the Zenica
17 Brigade together with us.
18 Q. Well, General, when Praljak was in the HV
19 during this time frame from at least the 2nd of
20 November of 1992 through the point when he became the
21 chief of staff in 1993, did he continue to give orders
22 to the HVO?
23 A. You mean from the 2nd of November, '92 until
24 June of '93?
25 Q. We have established from this document that
1 he is the assistant Minister of Defence. From the time
2 he became the assistant Minister of Defence, and let's
3 just put it up until the time you went to this
4 swearing-in ceremony, November/December of 1992. Did
5 you receive any orders from Major General Praljak who
6 was, at that time, an HV General?
7 A. From November '92 to December '92, if that is
8 what you're asking about, which is my understanding, as
9 far as I know, he did not issue any orders. He may
10 have, but if he did so I do not recall now.
11 Q. Let me show you a document, General.
12 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit 597, 597A for
13 the French version, and 597B for the English version.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. If you could take some time and review that
16 document, General.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps we can speed up things
18 a little.
19 General Blaskic, you've seen this order.
20 It's not too long. We can go through it quickly.
21 Mr. Prosecutor, what is your question?
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
23 Q. Now, General, having reviewed this document,
24 four days after Major General Praljak appears as the
25 deputy minister of defence at a talk with the United
1 Nations, he executes an order on the 6th of November,
2 1992 on HVO letterhead, doesn't he?
3 A. On the paper with the HVO stationery, I see
4 it, but I see that document for the first time. I see
5 the joint command of the BH army and the HVO. I also
6 note that in November 1992, the joint command was
7 established by the minister of defence of the Republic
8 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. General, in Mostar, while he was an HV
10 General, Slobodan Praljak issues this order to all
11 members of the HVO and the BH army; isn't that correct?
12 A. This is what it says in this document, yes.
13 Q. Now, General, while Slobodan Praljak was an
14 HV General, did he issue orders to any units in your
15 area in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
16 A. As far as I know, he did not issue orders to
17 the units in Central Bosnia.
18 Q. Let's look at Defence Exhibit 250. Now,
19 General, this is a Defence document that I'm sure
20 you've seen. I want to direct your attention to the
21 bottom of page 2 in the B/C/S/ version, and it reads as
23 "Following the order of major general
24 Slobodan Praljak --"
25 Do you see that, General? Now, this is a
1 document that was introduced by the Defence as a
2 recitation on Vitezovi activity, dated 18 February,
3 1994. One of the notations that I just pointed out to
4 you reads as follows:
5 "Following the Order of major general
6 Slobodan Praljak, issued on 19 November 1992, the Order
7 no. 1-108/92 was issued, sending a formation of the PPN
8 'Vitezovi' under the command of captain Berislav
9 Sapina to battle actions in the area of
10 Potkraj-Dzelilovac. The formation numbered 29 soldiers
11 of the PPN."
12 In fact, General, during the time when
13 Slobodan Praljak was a General in the army of the
14 Republic of Croatia, he was giving orders to the
15 Vitezovi in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone; isn't
16 that right?
17 A. The Vitezovi were a unit of the defence
18 department, and they had their own chain of command. I
19 did not receive this report by the Vitezovi. This
20 report was sent to the defence department. It is
21 possible that what is said here is true, but the
22 Vitezovi were not part of the Central Bosnia Operative
23 Zone command, of which I was the commander.
24 Q. General, this was a Defence Exhibit. Is this
1 A. Yes, it's true that this is a Defence
2 Exhibit, but my comment is that, as far as I know,
3 Mr. Slobodan Praljak was not the commander. The
4 Vitezovi PPN were part of the defence department. They
5 had their own chain of command, and they were directly
6 subordinate to the minister of defence of the Croatian
7 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
8 Q. Well, General, if this document is accurate,
9 then, in fact, a Croatian General was giving orders to
10 special purpose units garrisoned in the Central Bosnia
11 Operative Zone in November of 1992; isn't that right?
12 A. If it is correct, that is what it would be,
14 Q. General Praljak also, when he was an HV
15 officer, stayed concerned and involved himself in the
16 Vitez area and various defence related matters, didn't
17 he, specifically involving the military defence
18 industry; isn't that right?
19 A. That is correct. He did visit military
20 factories. He was negotiating the purchase of ordnance
21 and other products. He held meetings with the
22 management; I believe on two or three occasions he did
23 so. He also secured the raw materials for these plans
24 in Novi Travnik and Vitez.
25 Q. Was the HV in control of the military
1 industry in Vitez, certainly by November of 1992?
2 A. No, but Mr. Salih Lemes, who was in the
3 logistics base in Visoko, met with me both in November
4 and December 1992 and requested of me to jointly try to
5 get the military industry going, and I assigned my
6 logistics assistant for that task. The commission
7 appointed by Salih Lemes went both to the Republics of
8 Croatia and Slovenia in order to conduct talks about
9 intensifying the military production in Novi Travnik
10 and Vitez.
11 Q. General, how many times did Praljak come to
12 Vitez to deal with the military industries in Vitez?
13 A. As far as I know and as far as I can tell,
14 because I was not following the military industry that
15 much, I think he came twice to Vitez, Novi Travnik, and
16 Travnik to discuss this issue. He may have been there
17 more than twice, but I know that he met with the
18 management of Bratstvo from Novi Travnik and SPS in
19 Vitez and then perhaps even the political leaders
20 there. They were negotiating the purchase of the
21 products and also supplies of raw materials for the
23 Q. When were these meetings, General, if you
25 A. I think I can specify the month, this was
1 November 1992, but I couldn't tell you the exact date.
2 Q. But clearly, in your mind, when he came in
3 November of 1992, he was a General in the HV; is that
5 A. Yes, he was the General of the Croatian army,
6 and he went there and held meetings with civilian
8 Q. Let me show you another document, General, if
9 I may, Mr. Usher.
10 While this is being processed, General, when
11 Prosecution witness, and I'm referring to Witness Y,
12 for the record, testified that General Praljak visited
13 the SPS factory in Vitez, this Prosecution witness,
14 Witness Y, was telling the truth, wasn't he?
15 A. Could you please specify the date and time
16 because it's a bit vague?
17 Q. I'm sorry. It was Witness Y. I'm looking
18 through the transcript, General. I don't have the
19 date, General, but I will clarify it with you and get
20 back to you.
21 MR. KEHOE: In the interim, if we could move
22 to the next exhibit.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It is Exhibit 598, 598A for
24 the English version.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Have you had a chance to review this
2 document, General?
3 A. Not yet. I've reviewed the document.
4 Q. General, this is the minutes of a meeting
5 that took place on the 28th of November, 1992 which
6 reads in the beginning:
7 "Pursuant to the orders issued by the
8 Defence Command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,
9 as well as authorisation from General Praljak, a
10 meeting of the presidents of the HVO municipalities and
11 representatives of the military industry of the HZ HB,
12 Central Bosnia, was held on 28 November, 1992."
13 Now, was this pursuant to an order issued by
15 A. This is pursuant to the order of my assistant
16 for logistics relating to cooperation and the
17 restarting of the military industry's production. So
18 it wasn't myself who issued this order but, I assume,
19 my logistics assistant.
20 Q. Did you know your logistics assistant had
21 issued such an order?
22 A. Yes. I became familiarised with this order
23 issued by my logistics assistant.
24 Q. Was this order issued in consultation with
25 General Slobodan Praljak?
1 A. Certainly there were consultations regarding
2 the restarting of production in the military industry,
3 and I already stated that the logistics of both the HVO
4 and the main staff of the BH army, they were travelling
5 around and looking for ways to restart the military
6 production. I had a meeting with the chief of the 3rd
7 Corps and then Salih Lemes, and we were looking for
8 ways to restart the military production.
9 Q. This meeting was conducted, it notes in the
10 preamble, upon the authorisation not only of you but of
11 General Praljak while General Praljak was an HV
13 A. I don't know who chaired the meeting, but I
14 know that General Praljak attended the meeting. At
15 that time he was a General of the Croatian army.
16 Q. Well, look at the paragraph, and I believe on
17 your copy it would be the top of the next page, page 2,
18 and let me check the B/C/S copy, where it notes that
19 the meeting was chaired by Marijan Skopljak, head of
20 the defence office of the Vitez municipality and the
21 person authorised to do so by General Praljak and
22 Franjo Sliskovic, assistant for logistics of the
23 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
24 A. Yes. That is what it says, except my
25 interpretation came that Marijan Skopljak was the head
1 of the defence office of the Kiseljak municipality, but
2 I see here on the ELMO that he was the head of the
3 Vitez municipality defence office. He was an official
4 of the defence department of the Croatian community of
5 the Herceg-Bosna. In other words, the person chairing
6 the meeting comes from the civilian authorities.
7 Q. Now, General, what was the purpose of this
9 A. The purpose of the meetings was to restart
10 the military industry production and finding ways and
11 means, that is, the raw materials in order to have the
12 production restarted in Central Bosnia, because the
13 factories were sitting idle and we needed them for
14 improving the quality of defence.
15 If we look at the time frame, this is
16 following the fall of Jajce and when there was the
17 defence of Travnik and Novi Travnik.
18 Q. Well, General, you say the purpose of the
19 meeting was to restart the military industry
20 production. For the benefit of whom?
21 A. This is also a period when the joint command
22 was functioning. So that would be for the benefit of
23 the HVO and the BH army, because the materiel was
24 distributed, produced in these military plants both to
25 the HVO and the BH army, and I think it was evenly
1 split between the two. I think that the Croatian army
2 also used some of that materiel, especially the
3 ordinance, in exchange for other goods.
4 Q. General, that's not what the document says;
5 does it? The document says that the goal was to
6 improve the combat readiness of units of the HVO of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and says nothing
8 about assisting the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Look at the second paragraph from the top,
10 and I'll lead it to you: "Everyone present at the
11 meeting participated actively in the discussion and
12 unanimously welcomed the initiative presented during
13 the introductory speech of Mr. Skopljak, which referred
14 to the involvement of the military industry and the
15 possibility of reviving production with the goal of
16 improving the combat readiness of units of the HVO of
17 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna."
18 A. I did not take part in this meeting, but I
19 know for sure that distribution of materiel between the
20 BH army and the HVO was conducted on a daily basis, and
21 I know the manager of that plant was an ethnic Croat,
22 his deputy was an ethnic Muslim, and I know that we
23 talked about it with Generals Prkacin and Pasalic
24 sometime around this period in November '92. Dzemo
25 Merdan was present, myself, and the two commanders of
1 the joint command.
2 Q. Well, General, let's continue on in the
3 document and look at the names listed in the operative
4 body who were to be formed to look into the matter.
5 Look at those names. Are there any Muslims on that
7 A. In this document and in this list there are
8 none, but I had already stated that there were Bosniak
9 Muslims in management positions in these factories and
10 this activity was coordinated with them.
11 Q. General, let's continue on this document and
12 read paragraph 3. "The task of the operative body,"
13 the operative body of those names, "is to achieve the
14 following within the shortest possible time." Let's go
15 to (b).
16 "(b) Record the needs of the Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna."
18 Then let's go to (f) at the bottom of the
20 "(f) Distinguish between the HVO and the
21 ABiH (sic) at all levels."
22 Do you see that, General?
23 A. I see it but I don't know what that means,
24 because if we have a joint command established based on
25 the main staff's order, and if I issue orders to the
1 main staff, and I believe that in this period we had
2 the best co-operation with the BH army until the period
3 of the Washington Accords, and so I don't know what the
4 author meant here to distinguish between the HVO and
5 the ABiH.
6 Following this meeting I went to the plant in
7 Travnik, which was a large factory. I went with a
8 representative of the BH army and the co-operation was
9 very good. We talked with the employees there.
10 Q. Well, your logistics officer, Franjo
11 Sliskovic, was at this meeting, and participated in
12 this meeting, and gave permission for it to be held,
13 didn't he?
14 A. He gave approval and attended a meeting, but
15 he did not draft this document. The head of the
16 defence department wrote it, and I did not talk to him
17 but I know what the situation was. I met on the issue
18 of the military factories on 21/12/92 in Zenica with
19 the first man in the BH army who was in charge of the
20 military industrial production, that was Salih Lemes,
21 and we discussed these issues.
22 Q. If the military munitions are supposed to go
23 equally to the Muslims and to the HVO, there is no need
24 to distinguish between the HVO and the ABiH; is there?
25 A. There was no need, but I don't know what the
1 author of this draft had in mind when he said to
2 distinguish, to separate. If you have an artillery
3 piece and you have two Croats and two Muslims manning
4 it, I don't know what kind of distinction you find,
6 At that time there was unity between the BH
7 army and the HVO, and the military industry was
8 organised in such a way that both myself and Enver
9 Hadzihasanovic, the commander of the 3rd Corps, jointly
10 visited them.
11 Q. Well, General, let's look at the last page,
12 paragraph (h).
13 "(h) The military industry is set up in
14 co-operation with the Ministry of Defence of
15 the Republic of Croatia."
16 Do you see that, sir, 3(h)?
17 A. I can see the conclusion, yes.
18 Q. General, there's nothing in this document
19 that says that the office of military industry is going
20 to be set up in co-operation with the army of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina or the Republic of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina at all, is there? Not a word.
23 A. That is not what it states here. I did not
24 talk to the author of the document, but I know that I
25 personally spoke to the number one man for the military
1 industry at that time, and that we sent delegations not
2 only in November but also in November to the Republic
3 of Croatia, to the Republic of Slovenia to help us find
4 manufacturing components for joint production. I know
5 that that state was such for the military industry, and
6 that I toured with the commander of the 3rd Corps the
7 factory. I visited the factory to see how production
8 was progressing, to talk to the workers, and the
9 management tried to help us to defend ourselves. This
10 was November, when one village after another was
11 falling around Travnik.
12 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I don't know if
13 you wanted to take a break now or move ahead. Anything
14 Your Honour wants to do.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Have you completed this
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes, I have, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE JORDA: We'll have a 15-minute break
20 --- Recess taken at 4.52 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 5.07 p.m.
22 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
23 be seated.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Now, General, the document we just reviewed
1 was talking about a meeting on the 28th of November,
2 1992 that was attended by General Praljak, and we
3 previously discussed the swearing-in ceremony in Zenica
4 on the 23rd of December, 1992 that Praljak attended.
5 Was General Praljak spending a lot of time in Central
6 Bosnia during this period of time, keeping in mind that
7 he had two visits in less than a month, at least?
8 A. I said that, as far as I know, there were
9 very few visits because his preoccupation and his work
10 was directed towards the military factories. As far as
11 I know, they were two or three visits, a maximum of
12 five visits. I don't know exactly. But on the 23rd of
13 December, he was invited as a guest to attend the
14 Christmas cocktail party with the representatives of
15 all the -- with the BH army, religious dignitaries, and
16 so on.
17 Q. General, let us look at our next exhibit
18 which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/56.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Is it necessary to read the
20 whole document to put the question? I should like to
21 recall once again that we have a time constraint. Does
22 the question apply to the substance, to the form or ...
23 MR. KEHOE: The question is a simple question
24 regarding one sentence from the document, but I'm in a
25 bit of a quandary, Mr. President, in not allowing the
1 witness to review the document and proceeding at pace,
2 but I'll be guided by any instructions,
3 Mr. President --
4 JUDGE JORDA: It is up to the President and
5 the Judges to achieve the right equilibrium between
6 possibilities and the rights. Once the witness has
7 perused the document, that is his right, but also the
8 parties have to be able to do their job. On Friday, I
9 shall ask the registrar the time allotted to the
10 Prosecution, and they will not have a minute extra.
11 But I'm also here to make sure that the time is used in
12 such a way as to allow the Prosecution to do its work.
13 Therefore, does the question apply to the
14 contents or only to the form, Mr. Prosecutor?
15 MR. KEHOE: It applies to one sentence within
16 the document concerning General Praljak, and that
17 particular sentence on General Praljak --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Please ask your question. We
19 have been talking about General Praljak all afternoon,
20 and I think everyone understands what the Prosecutor
21 wants by now. Please let's go on with your question.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. General, this is a letter written by the
24 president of the Travnik municipality of the HVO,
25 Zeljko Pervan, and at the bottom of the page 2 of the
1 B/C/S version and page 3 of both the French and English
2 version, Mr. Pervan writes to President Tudjman:
3 "You would help us a lot if you issued once
4 again the order to your aides to send to this region
5 senior officers of the Croatian army led by General
6 Praljak who would join our ranks in the Lasva Valley."
7 Do you see that?
8 A. I see that part of the letter. Let me just
9 say that I had not been given the document previously.
10 This is the first time that I've seen it in the course
11 of the court proceedings.
12 Q. General, when Mr. Pervan asks President
13 Tudjman to once again issue the order for senior
14 officers of the Croatian army to come to the Lasva
15 Valley, what does he mean by "once again"? Had this
16 happened before?
17 A. General Praljak, according to the business
18 that I knew of, did spend time - I said two or three
19 times - in the Lasva River Valley. In more concrete
20 terms, he visited the military factories. Mr. Pervan
21 is a civilian representative of the civilian
22 authorities in Travnik. He did not send me the
23 document and he did not talk to me about this document,
24 nor did I discuss the document with him. He was
25 probably not satisfied, which can be seen from HVO
1 organisation, and this indicates that the civilian
2 authorities tried to retain supervision over the
3 military part of the HVO, and probably he would have
4 liked to get in the area of Travnik officers of the HV
5 and the HVO.
6 Q. Well, General, quite simply, had Franjo
7 Tudjman ordered that HV officers come to Central Bosnia
8 prior to this time? Had he ordered that?
9 A. I don't know of anything of that kind,
10 whether he ordered it or not, but I do know that I did
11 not have, within my structure of command at the
12 Operative Zone, any officers of the HV.
13 Q. This document has got nothing to do with
14 military industries, does it?
15 A. This document, if you read it in its
16 entirety, has something to do with the events during
17 the Easter festivities in the Lasva Valley, and I know,
18 in part, the events that took place. I don't know
19 whether the document has any relation to military
20 industries, but it talks about material and technical
21 means which are lacking, so on and so forth. I think
22 it does have something to do with and it goes on to
23 speak of a defence from the Chetnik aggressor. That is
24 what the document talks about. So if we look at
25 technical resources, those are finished products of the
1 military industry, ammunition, mines, and other
2 materiel, and that is on page 3 at the very top.
3 Q. Would you agree, General, that if Mr. Pervan
4 asks that Tudjman once again send HV officers to the
5 Lasva Valley, that that would indicate that it happened
7 MR. HAYMAN: You know, Mr. President, the
8 witness wasn't at any meeting, never saw the document
9 in the theatre. What the document means is whatever it
10 is. If the witness had some special knowledge to put
11 together with the document, perhaps, but we object to
12 the form of the question. Let's ask the witness about
13 what he knows, not to construe and guess and speculate
14 about documents that he hasn't seen before that are
15 being put to him.
16 MR. KEHOE: Well --
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Nobilo?
18 MR. NOBILO: Before you decide, I would like
19 to make a comment of substance once again. My learned
20 colleague, the Prosecutor, has read out the sentence
21 incorrectly. It asks Tudjman once again to give an
22 order for, but it doesn't say that the officers come
23 again, and that is an essential difference.
24 JUDGE JORDA: On the second point, I share
25 the opinion of Mr. Nobilo. It is a question of
1 translation. It asks for renewed instructions, not for
2 sending assistance again which is slightly different,
3 which may mean that the first instructions or orders
4 were not implemented. So I share the interpretation of
5 Mr. Nobilo.
6 As for the rest, I think that you have used a
7 lot of time over this document. I don't want to
8 interfere with your strategy, but I think that the
9 witness has given his answer. You can infer the
10 necessary conclusions during your closing statement,
11 but remember that that too will be timed, and I'm
12 warning both the Defence and the Prosecution of this.
13 Wouldn't you like to go on to another
14 document, Mr. Prosecutor?
15 MR. KEHOE: Absolutely, Mr. President. I
16 know when to move on. We'll go to another document.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Document 599, 599A for the
19 French version, and 599B for the English version.
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, I think there was
21 some confusion concerning the numbering, if we can just
22 clarify that for the record.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It is 599, 599A for the --
24 JUDGE JORDA: I think the "A" is the French
25 version. Usually the "A" version is the French
2 THE REGISTRAR: I was just looking at the
3 transcript, and I said 599A for the French and 599B for
4 the English.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Thank you.
6 MR. KEHOE: In this particular document,
7 Mr. President, we're not going to ask any questions
8 about it. It is simply a document signed by the
9 Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Gojko
10 Susak, and the pertinent paragraph dated the 21st of
11 December, 1993, after Praljak rotates back into the HV
12 and notes that: "Major General Slobodan Praljak,
13 advisor to the Minister of Defence, is authorised to
14 take charge of all activities regarding the
15 establishment of a central archive of the Ministry of
16 Defence and coordinate all bodies of the Ministry of
17 Defence in the Croatian army main staff in order to
18 effectively carry out this task."
19 Q. Now, my next document to discuss with you,
20 General, is the Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/26.
21 Now, General, this is an order that you
22 issued -- I'm sorry.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Go ahead, please.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. General, this is an order that you issued on
1 the 5th of October, 1992, concerning information
2 regarding HV officers in units throughout the Central
3 Bosnia Operative Zone; is that correct?
4 A. I understand what you said. Very well. Yes,
5 I issued this order, and I believe on the basis of the
6 order from the chief of the main staff of the HVO who
7 asked me to perform this check, but I repeat that in my
8 Operative Zone I did not have officers of the HV.
9 Q. Did you have any soldiers in the HV in your
10 Operative Zone?
11 A. In the Operative Zone. What time do you have
12 in mind? What time period?
13 Q. The entire time that you were the commanding
14 officer of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, did you
15 have HV soldiers in your Operative Zone?
16 A. Soldiers of the HVO I had in the Operative
17 Zone the whole time. That was the question that I got
18 through my headset, whether I had HVO soldiers in the
19 Central Bosnia Operative Zone throughout the time I was
20 commander. I did have soldiers of the HVO. I did not
21 have soldiers of the HV.
22 Q. Now, this particular order requests an urgent
23 response; isn't that correct?
24 A. Yes. This order requests an urgent response,
25 urgent submission, because I was limited by the chief
1 of the main staff of the HVO most probably. He gave me
2 a deadline.
3 Q. Your urgency was responding to the order
4 coming from the main staff; is that right?
5 A. No. I probably received an order from the
6 chief of the main staff to execute a check regarding
7 this data, and I undertook measures to do so.
8 Q. Is it your testimony that when you requested
9 an urgent response from all of these commanders in all
10 of these municipalities you knew that there were no HV
11 soldiers in those municipalities?
12 A. I performed the check because it was my duty
13 to execute the check. I have no information and I do
14 not have today that I had soldiers of the HV in the HVO
15 in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
16 Q. What data did you receive, sir, that you
17 didn't have such soldiers and who did you get it from?
18 A. I got the data that I did not have soldiers
19 of the HV from my immediate subordinates.
20 Q. When was that?
21 A. In that period. I can't tell you off the bat
22 exactly when it was. Probably in this period. It was
23 sometime in October 1992.
24 Q. I mean before this order, after this order?
25 Help us out here, General.
1 A. This was not the only order. I know that we
2 had to do periodical checks. In all these checks I
3 would receive the same information, that is to say,
4 soldiers of the HV in service in the HVO in Central
5 Bosnia I did not have.
6 Q. Well, sir, the issue of HV soldiers in the
7 Central Bosnia Operative Zone and orders on that issue
8 didn't stop after you received your responses to this
9 order, did it?
10 A. I don't understand the question.
11 Q. Well, were there additional questions from
12 the main staff about the presence of HV soldiers in
13 Central Bosnia after October of 1992?
14 A. I answered a moment ago that this was a check
15 on the basis of the order from the chief of the main
16 staff and that I know that there were orders from the
17 main staff which asked us to perform this check. This
18 is not the only order. I believe that other checks of
19 this kind existed. I followed orders coming from the
20 chief of the main staff, and I was duty-bound to
21 perform those investigations or checks.
22 Q. General, you responded back to the main staff
23 that there were no HV soldiers in Central Bosnia. Why
24 would commanders under your command issue orders to HV
25 soldiers about how they should wear their uniforms,
1 approximately a month after this?
2 A. Because there were individuals from
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina who, at the time of the aggression
4 against the Republic of Croatia by the Yugoslav
5 People's Army, had left as volunteers, had gone into
6 the Republic of Croatia and had become members of the
7 Croatian army, and once the agreement was signed and
8 the international peace force came to Croatia, they
9 went back or after they were demobilised, and for the
10 need to show an image of some kind and to raise their
11 own esteem, they would place the insignia of the HV,
12 but these were individuals, individual cases of people
13 who had been demobilised but still carried with them
14 the insignia of the HV. These were individual cases,
15 as I say, or perhaps from my own personal locality I
16 know that there were some individuals who signed a
17 professional contract with the Croatian army, but they
18 would come to visit their families or their parents.
19 They would come to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 I remember very well a case like that. His
21 name was Komsic Pero, a individual who came to visit
22 his parents. He came to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He
23 was a professional soldier in the HV, but those were
24 individual cases. He was not an HVO soldier.
25 Q. Let us turn to another document, General, and
1 let us turn to 406/31. Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/31.
2 JUDGE JORDA: It will be the last document,
3 Mr. Prosecutor. I think everyone is tired.
4 We're going to stop here. I should like to
5 remind you that we resume tomorrow at 10.00 a.m. and in
6 the afternoon again at 2.30. Mr. Fourmy, an ex parte
7 hearing; isn't it? Anyway, we will be resuming
8 tomorrow at 10.00.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
10 at 5.33 p.m., to be reconvened on
11 Thursday, the 15th day of April, 1999
12 at 10.00 a.m.