1 Wednesday, 5th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.03 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Mr. Registrar, will you ask the witness to come in?
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters, the court reporters, the counsel for the
9 Prosecution, the counsel for the Defence. Good morning
10 to the witness, General Blaskic.
11 Mr. Registrar, I'm just waiting for the
12 witness to get set up and put on his headphones for me
13 to greet him.
14 Mr. Registrar, will you please keep track of
15 the time of the cross-examination?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President. I am
17 doing so as much as possible.
18 JUDGE JORDA: So that at the end of each
19 week, on Friday, you can tell the counsel of the
20 Prosecution how much time is left so that they can
21 manage the time better.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: We have made a provisional
24 timetable, and we'll be talking about that later, to
25 try and finish with our work by the end of the month of
2 Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you.
4 Good morning Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel.
5 Q. Good morning, General.
6 A. Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.
7 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
9 Q. Now, General, at the end of yesterday we were
10 discussing document 406/2 that was executed by Mate
11 Boban and Dario Kordic, and in there they wanted to
12 proclaim a Croatian Banovina. Now, General, what is
13 this Banovina? Can you explain that to the Judges?
14 A. I can try to explain. As far as I was aware,
15 this was an area which had been agreed in the former
16 Yugoslavia between Croatian political representatives
17 and Serbian political representatives, so as to avoid
18 the conflict over the institutional set-up of the former
19 Yugoslavia. That was the name of this administrative
20 entity or unit, the Banovina.
21 Q. Let us take a look at it and get a little bit
22 more specific.
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, if we could take a
24 look at, first, Prosecutor's Exhibit 16. If we could
25 put that on the ELMO. That's it. Thank you.
1 Q. Now, General, this is a map of the Croatian
2 Banovina that Mr. Donia talked about. Of course, this
3 is an agreement that was signed in 1939, sometimes
4 called the Cvetkovic Macek Sporozum, sometimes just
5 called the Banovina agreement but, nevertheless, take a
6 look at this map from 1939, and the green portion,
7 according to Mr. Donia's testimony, encompasses the
8 Croatian Banovina.
9 Now, you would agree with me, General, that
10 this map engulfs large portions of what is now
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina; does it not?
12 A. I don't know which map you're referring to.
13 I see two maps here. According to my knowledge and,
14 Your Honours, I'm really not a historian and I do not
15 consider myself qualified to interpret this, but this
16 map represents Yugoslavia and the organisation of
17 Yugoslavia into Banovinas, which we can see from the
18 map. There is no need for me to list them.
19 This other map --
20 MR. KEHOE: Let us move that back down,
21 Mr. Usher.
22 Q. That's what we're going to talk about,
23 General. We're going to talk about this larger map,
24 the large shaded green area which is the Croatian
25 Banovina. If you need to take that off the ELMO to
1 take a look at it closely you can do so, but in looking
2 at that map, that Croatian Banovina incorporates large
3 portions of the present day Bosnia-Herzegovina; doesn't
5 A. I would need to have a look at it closely,
6 because I don't know what you mean when you say "large
8 Q. Take a look at it, General.
9 A. Yes. From the map we see that it does
10 embrace parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, like the town of
11 Derventa, Gradacac, Brcko. Then to the south Livno,
12 Tomislavgrad, Konjic, Mostar, Ljubuski, Stolac,
13 Bugojno, Travnik.
14 Q. Based on this map, with Travnik and you see
15 Fojnica --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Could it be placed on the ELMO
17 again, General Blaskic, so that the Judges can see the
18 map too? Thank you.
19 MR. KEHOE: If we can move it over to the
20 left a bit because we're going to focus on that large
21 area. That's very good. Thank you.
22 Q. Now, General, can you point on that map to
23 Travnik for the Court so that the Court can get the
24 frame of reference here? That's Travnik. Now, that
25 area where you now have the pointer around Travnik is
1 the approximate area of the Lasva Valley; isn't it?
2 A. Yes. Travnik does belong to the area which
3 usually the local inhabitants call the Lasva Valley,
4 the area where the Lasva River flows.
5 Q. Now, just to once again reference this map,
6 Zenica is outside the Croatian Banovina; isn't it? If
7 you could point to that, please, the town of Zenica.
8 That is in white, is it not, outside the Banovina?
9 A. Yes. Zenica, Zepce, Maglaj, Teslic, all the
10 area of the Zepce region are outside the Banovina as
11 well as Kiseljak, Kresevo, Kakanj, and probably Vares
13 Q. Just to reference ourselves, General, I want
14 you to take a look at another map, which is Exhibit 17,
15 which is the independent state of Croatia map as of
17 General, take a look at this map. This, for
18 reference purposes, was testified to by Mr. Donia, as
19 the independent state of Croatia, basically the entire
20 area with Croatia proper being the matters in yellow.
21 Now, that is, again, a larger geographic area
22 than what we saw in the Banovina; isn't it?
23 A. Yes. This map shows a larger area, yes.
24 Q. Now, let us come up to the present day, and
25 we will move from 1939 to 1941, up to the issues that
1 we are talking about in the early 1990s, and I would
2 like to show you a particular article, sir.
3 MR. KEHOE: I think the documents in evidence
4 will demonstrate to this point -- I'm sorry,
5 Mr. President.
6 The evidence at this point, Mr. President and
7 Your Honours, will demonstrate, and this is in Exhibit
8 38, that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was
9 formed on the 18th of November of 1991. This
10 particular article that we are about to review is an
11 interview that took place on -- I'm sorry.
12 Mr. Registrar, before I begin to discuss this
13 article --
14 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit 624, 624A for
15 the English version.
16 MR. KEHOE: I apologise for the interruption,
17 Mr. Registrar.
18 The documents will reflect that Croatian
19 Community of Herceg-Bosna was enacted on the 18th of
20 November, 1991. This is an interview of Mate Boban
21 that took place in Mostar on the 19th of November of
22 1991, publish in Oslobodjenje, a newspaper with a
23 Sarajevo publication.
24 Q. Now, General, I am focusing on the first
25 paragraph of this interview with Mr. Boban. If we
1 could put it on the ELMO I would appreciate that.
2 We're focusing on the "In a situation"
3 paragraph. This, of course, is the interview of Mate
4 Boban and he says:
5 "In a situation when Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 is disintegrating, a situation primarily contributed to
7 by the Serbian people and its leadership, the Croatian
8 people has a right to express its interests and views
9 on the basis of its identity. This is not a response
10 to the plebiscite of the Serbian people, but the
11 continuation of a policy articulated by the Croatian
12 Democratic Community HDZ. The Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna represents a geopolitical, cultural and
14 economic whole and historically derives from the former
15 banovine as administrative divisions in inter-war
16 Yugoslavia, within whose borders the Croatian people
17 was living when World War II broke out. As long as the
18 legal, legitimate and democratic government of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina is in existence, our Community shall
20 fully respect this republic. However, if its authority
21 is deluded, if it ceases to exist, there is no
22 alternative for us."
23 Now, General, with that article in mind, I
24 will ask you to take a look at the next exhibit, if we
25 could put it on the ELMO, which is Exhibit 22,
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 22.
2 A. I apologise. May I read the interview?
3 Q. Absolutely, sir. Please do. Please do.
4 While we are getting his other exhibit, please, take
5 the time that you have to read the exhibit.
6 While we are waiting, Mr. Usher, we can put
7 that on. Thank you.
8 We have on the ELMO at this point, General,
9 Exhibit 22, which is the delineation of the
10 municipalities encompassing the Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna, and it is clear, is it not, General, that
12 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and the borders
13 of that were based, according to the statement of
14 Mr. Boban, on the former Banovina; isn't that correct?
15 A. I cannot quite answer that question, whether
16 it is right or wrong. My only answer could be to
17 comment on these events merely on the basis of what I
18 can read in this interview because I have already told
19 Your Honours I was not on the spot at that time, I was
20 in Austria, and I haven't had occasion to talk to the
21 author of this interview. However, as far as I know,
22 there was the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, there
23 was the Croatian Community of Croatian Posavina, and
24 there was the Croatian Community of Usora as well,
25 which I don't see on this map, then there was the
1 Croatian Community of Tuzla Soli, I think that was its
2 name, which I also can't see on the map.
3 Therefore, from this interview, when you go
4 on reading it, and I quote, "We do not accept any
5 Yugoslavia, former or future, because for the Croatian
6 people, it has been a prison for seven decades," but
7 also a statement of the municipality board of the SDS
8 of Mostar is referred to in which they claim that they
9 were unanimously in favour of Yugoslavia. Therefore,
10 this was a period when the first acts of aggression
11 took place on the part of the JNA in the south, and
12 this was a period of certain political turmoil, as can
13 be seen from this interview. But I was not there at
14 the time and I don't see marked on this map the
15 Croatian Community of Soli, which was here, Tuzla Soli,
16 and the Croatian Community of Usora, which covered the
17 area of Tesanj. It was formed, I don't know the exact
18 date, but it did exist although it is not marked on
19 this map.
20 Q. Well, General, these particular
21 municipalities that are outlined here are the
22 municipalities identified in the legislation setting up
23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
24 That is, for record purposes, Mr. President,
25 Your Honours, Prosecutor's Exhibit 38, tab 1, page 1.
1 Based on what you know, General --
2 A. It is possible that that is what it says in
3 the legislation. I'm not claiming that that is not so
4 because I'm not a lawyer, but I wish to tell Their
5 Honours that at this time, in 1991, I did not
6 participate in those events, I had no direct
7 information about them, and any comments I may make on
8 the basis of the -- on the existence of other Croatian
9 Communities are based on information I gathered later.
10 Q. Based on the information you gathered later
11 and know now, you now know that the Croatian Community
12 of Herceg-Bosna was based on the Croatian Banovina of
13 1939, wasn't it?
14 A. That is precisely what I would like to tell
15 Their Honours. I may not have a proper understanding
16 of all this. I know that I was in the area of the
17 Croatian Community of Usora; the 110th HVO Brigade was
18 there. In Zepce, there was the 3rd Operative Group and
19 the 111th XP Brigade. There were HVO units in Maglaj
20 too. Then in a small area of Teslic, in the Tuzla
21 region, the Croatian Community of Tuzla is not listed
22 here, but the 107th HVO Brigade was in Gradacac, the
23 108th Brigade was in Brcko. Today that brigade exists
24 as the Domobran Brigade. Then there was the 115th
25 Brigade in Tuzla. So there were other areas in
1 addition to those marked on this map.
2 MR. KEHOE: General, let us move to Exhibit
3 18, Prosecutor's Exhibit 18. There is a French copy of
4 this, Mr. President. Unfortunately, I will have to
5 read portions of this because there is not a B/C/S
6 copy, to my knowledge.
7 For the purposes of reference again,
8 Mr. President, this is an excerpt from a book by then
9 just Dr. Franjo Tudjman, not President, called
10 "Nationalism in Contemporary Europe," and the date of
11 publication of this document is 1981, and the reference
12 page that we will be discussing is 113, and I do
13 believe that the interpreters have a copy of that.
14 Thank you very much.
15 I do believe there was a French copy of this,
16 was there not?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. This is a portion of a Dr. Franjo Tudjman's
20 writing where he argues that Bosnia-Herzegovina should
21 be part of Croatia. Starting in mid-sentence on the
22 top of page 113:
23 "... according to the same yardstick," he
24 talks about "(Bosnia and Herzegovina) should have been
25 made a part of the Croatian federal unit. Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina was declared a separate federal republic
2 within the borders established during the Turkish
3 occupation. But large parts of Croatia had been
4 incorporated into Bosnia by the Turks. Furthermore
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina were historically linked with
6 Croatia and they together comprise an indivisible
7 geographic and economic entity. Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 occupy the central part of this whole --"
9 JUDGE JORDA: The booth doesn't appear to
10 have the text. Could you remind them of the page?
11 They don't seem to be able to find it.
12 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry. It's 113 in the
13 English text. I do have another copy of the English
14 text here. There is a French translation for it.
16 JUDGE JORDA: It's okay now.
17 MR. KEHOE: I'll start from the beginning.
18 In arguing that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be
19 part of Croatia, starting in the top line:
20 "... according to the same yardstick,"
21 insert "(Bosnia and Herzegovina) should have been made
22 a part of the Croatian federal unit. Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina was declared a separate federal republic
24 within the borders established during the Turkish
25 occupation. But large parts of Croatia had been
1 incorporated into Bosnia by the Turks. Furthermore
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina were historically linked with
3 Croatia and they together comprise an indivisible
4 geographic and economic entity. Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 occupy the central part of this whole, separating
6 southern (Dalmatian) from northern (Pannonian)
7 Croatia. The creation of a separate Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina makes the territorial and geographic
9 position of Croatia extremely unnatural in the economic
10 sense and, therefore, in the broadest
11 national-political sense, very unfavourable for life
12 and development and in the narrower administrative
13 sense unsuitable and disadvantageous.
14 "These factors largely explain why the 1939
15 agreement between Belgrade (Prince Paul and the
16 Cvetkovic government) and Zagreb (Macek's Croatian
17 leadership) included the following areas of Bosnia into
18 the Banovina of Croatia: the whole of western
19 Herzegovina and Mostar and those Bosnian districts
20 where the Croats have a clear majority (Bugojno,
21 Fojnica, Travnik, Derventa, Gradacac, Brcko)."
22 General, this Banovina that President Tudjman
23 argues should have in -- the 1939 Banovina that
24 President Tudjman is talking about is the same Banovina
25 that was discussed by Mate Boban and by Dario Kordic in
1 the previous documents that we have been referring to
2 and is also the same Banovina in the map that you have
3 viewed before; isn't that correct?
4 A. I assume that is correct, but I did not
5 participate in any such discussions, as I have already
6 said --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, we know that. Please
8 answer the question. It is not an attempt to
9 incriminate you. These are historical facts. We are
10 not talking about you for the moment.
11 So please continue, Mr. Prosecutor, with your
12 arguments and, of course, the witness will make all the
13 comments that he feels are necessary.
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I'd like to read
15 just a small portion of a transcript -- unfortunately,
16 it was in closed session -- so if we could just briefly
17 go into a private session so I could read this? It
18 would just be a few moments and maybe one or two
19 questions on it.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course.
21 (Private session)
13 redacted pages 20999- 21022 – private session
20 (Open session)
21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
22 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. General, I'd like to talk to you briefly
24 about the President of the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna, your Commander in Chief, Mate Boban.
1 Initially, just his relationship, during the time
2 period when you were in the Central Bosnian Operative
3 Zone, I'd like to talk about his relationship with
4 President Tudjman.
5 I'd like to show you an article from Bojovnik
6 from November 1992, if I may.
7 A. Mr. President, if I may, as this is a
8 different subject and I have looked through my notes,
9 may I just state that the film on the mining of the
10 factory published by ITN was published about the 16th
11 of November, 1993. That is to say, November '93,
12 thereabouts, according to my reports. It was about the
13 16th of November. That is when the film crew was there
14 and filmed the alleged mining and everything else.
15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We take good notice
16 of that. Indeed, the date you have just put forward is
17 quite different from the first date we mentioned,
18 January 1994. Is that what you want us to understand,
19 General Blaskic?
20 A. Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
21 JUDGE JORDA: We have taken note of that.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 627 and
23 627A for the English version.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Now, General, what we have before us is an
1 article of an interview of President Mate Boban taken
2 from the November '92 issue of Bojovnik. Now, can you
3 explain to the Judges exactly what Bojovnik is, what
4 this periodical is?
5 A. I think that it is a local magazine which was
6 published by the HVO of Zenica. Whether it was the
7 municipal authorities or the military section of the
8 HVO I'm not sure, but "Bojovnik," translated from
9 Croatian, means "soldier." I think that it was a local
10 newspaper for the HVO of Zenica.
11 Q. Now, General, when you were the commander of
12 the Central Bosnian Operative Zone, you were certainly
13 aware of the existence of this periodical coming out,
14 were you not?
15 A. This magazine came out for a short period of
16 time because the HVO was expelled from Zenica by the BH
17 army in April 1993, but it was published in 1992 as
18 well. I knew about the paper, but did not read it
19 especially because it was a local newspaper at the
20 level of municipalities.
21 Q. Now, General, let us just read several
22 excerpts from this, and I would like to read the first
23 excerpt on the second page, which begins, "On one
24 occasion in the context of a question which related to
25 your meeting with Radovan Karadzic." Do you see that?
1 First excerpt on the second page of this document. Do
2 you see that, General?
3 A. Yes, I see that first section, although I did
4 not have occasion to read this interview previously,
5 but I do see the first section, yes.
6 Q. We're just going to touch on a few excerpts,
7 and the full development, I'm sure, can be conducted
8 during your redirect. Nevertheless, let us read this
10 "On one occasion" -- and this is a question
11 of Mr. Boban.
12 "Interviewer: On one occasion, in the
13 context of a question which related to your meeting
14 with Radovan Karadzic, you stated you undertook nothing
15 without informing the President of Croatian, Franjo
16 Tudjman, beforehand. To which extent is the policy of
17 Herceg-Bosnia Croats indigenous? One gets the
18 impression, at least for the public opinion in Croatia,
19 that there are frequent collisions - compatriots from
20 Croatia seem not to understand Croats from BiH.
21 "Mate Boban: The last part of your question
22 can apply to those who have never been in contact with
23 Croats from BiH, which means to the opposition parties
24 from Croatia, who lost their race in democracy when
25 they offered their notion of values of the state of
1 Croatia. The people voted for other values. There has
2 never been such a lack of understanding by HDZ,
3 (Croatian Democratic Union). HDZ BiH is a part of HDZ
4 as a whole, which is a movement of Croatian people for
5 freedom and independence, and all Croat politics should
6 be, once and for all, led from one place."
7 Now, General, in November of 1992, the leader
8 of the HDZ was Franjo Tudjman, wasn't it?
9 A. Yes. In November 1992, Franjo Tudjman was
10 president of the HDZ.
11 Q. Now, let us turn to another excerpt, and it
12 is -- two more excerpts. If we skip two, and the third
13 one which begins, "Do you estimate that the course of
14 war..." Do you see that, sir? Same page, three more
15 down. Do you see that, General, from where we just
16 read? Two more paragraphs down beginning with, "Do you
17 estimate that the course of war so far definitely
18 undermine..." Do you see that?
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, can I show you my copy
20 and then you can point it out?
21 A. Yes, I found it, but it doesn't begin with
22 "Do you estimate," but "Do you feel." Yes, I've found
23 the excerpt.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Thank you. This question reads as follows:
1 "Interviewer: Do you estimate that the
2 course of war so far definitely undermined some
3 political nostalgics' theses of Croatia spreading as
4 far as the River Drina, and of Muslims as Croats in
6 "Answer: The greatest value of the policy of
7 HDZ and its president, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, lies in the
8 rejection of myths and illusions, in objective and
9 realistic notion of rights that belong to Croats. This
10 value created the independent state of Croatia, and
11 this occasion ensures that the rights to a free,
12 constitutional, and equal nation of Croats in BiH."
13 So from these particular excepts, General,
14 would you agree that Boban is saying that the HDZ of
15 Bonia-Herzegovina is answerable to the HDZ which is
16 controlled or run by Franjo Tudjman?
17 A. Mr. President, I assume that the interpreters
18 have not received a text of this article, and the
19 interpretation that I received is not correct. I
20 consider that we should read this excerpt to the end,
21 because it says here that the Croatian people in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina ensures the Croatian people of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina the right to a free and equal
24 constituent peoples. I understand that to be the
25 Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina who are free, who
1 have equal rights, and who can create a state as a
2 constituent nation like all the other peoples.
3 Either it was not read properly or the
4 translation of the text is not correct. I had the
5 Croatian version before me.
6 Q. Well, let me synthesise this, General. From
7 these excerpts, do you conclude that the policies of
8 the HDZ and Mate Boban in Bosnia and Herzegovina are
9 answerable to the policies of the HDZ and Franjo
10 Tudjman in Croatia?
11 A. I was not an active member of political life,
12 and I can only conclude and comment on what is written
13 in this interview here; and in the first excerpt that
14 you read out, Mr. Prosecutor, it says that the HDZ of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina is a component part of the overall
16 HDZ union, and I understand it is a component, that the
17 HDZ in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a component of the
18 overall HDZ.
19 Now, whether they had communication and
20 cooperation and at what level and what responsibilities
21 they had in this relationship, I do not know because I
22 did not take part in that type of political life and I
23 have no information on that. Perhaps they did, perhaps
24 they didn't, but I have no direct knowledge on that.
25 MR. KEHOE: Well, let me read you a brief
1 excerpt from some testimony, and again, Mr. President,
2 this will be a brief private session for a protected
3 witness, and if I can just go in momentarily, with the
4 Court's permission?
5 JUDGE JORDA: Is there any objection from
6 Defence counsel?
7 MR. HAYMAN: We don't know what the testimony
8 is, so we have to wait and see. But if the registrar
9 could say when we're going in and out? I never heard
10 that we went back into public session. I thought we
11 were still in private session. So if it could be
12 stated on the record when we're going in and out, it
13 would help us organise the material and respect the
14 confidentiality that is obliged.
15 JUDGE JORDA: It seems to me that when the
16 hearing was resumed, I announced personally that we
17 were back in open session. Maybe it was not clear
18 enough, but I did say we were in public session. Sorry
19 if I was not clear enough, Mr. Hayman. Next time, I
20 will be clearer when I speak.
21 All right. But right now, we are facing a
22 request formulated by the Prosecution. I feel much as
23 you do, but I think Mr. Kehoe has in mind the
24 protection of your client more than anything else.
25 Isn't that the case, Mr. Kehoe? You want to protect
1 the witness and his family. Isn't that the reason you
2 are asking for a private session again?
3 MR. KEHOE: This is a witness that testified
4 in a closed session.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Oh, I see. All right. Very
6 well then. I guess I hadn't understood very well what
7 was said to me. The witness gave a statement in closed
8 session, so we are now going very briefly into private
9 session to be able to quote what he said. Is that
10 agreeable to everybody? Let's go then.
11 (Private session)
13 redacted page 21032 – private session
13 redacted page 21033 – private session
13 redacted page 21034 – private session
13 redacted page 21035 – private session
11 (Open session)
12 JUDGE JORDA: We are now back in open
13 session. Mr. Kehoe?
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. These
15 photographs are just being pulled out.
16 You can use mine, gentlemen, if need be. The
17 exhibit numbers are on the upper right-hand corner.
18 Q. General, quickly look at these documents, if
19 we could, or these photographs, starting with the first
20 one, which is Prosecutor's 80/7. Now, in that
21 particular photograph, from left to right are
22 Kostroman, Kordic, Valenta, and who is the gentleman in
23 the white shirt, if you know?
24 A. I know -- Your Honours, I know that his
25 surname was Spaic, but I'm not sure whether it actually
1 was Spaic. I know the man, but I can't remember his
2 name and surname.
3 MR. KEHOE: Let's go to the next photograph,
4 Mr. Usher.
5 Q. Again, in the foreground here, we have Anto
6 Valenta; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. Could you point to Mr. Valenta -- and
9 Mr. Santic, the mayor of Vitez is present there, is he
10 not? And Pero Skopljak, is he present? And who is the
11 gentleman in the middle with the beard, between
12 Skopljak -- yes.
13 A. Mr. Zoran Maric.
14 Q. Zoran Maric was the president of the HVO in
15 Busovaca; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You're in this photograph in the back, aren't
18 you? Can you point to yourself in the back of this
19 photograph? Do you see yourself?
20 A. (Indicating)
21 Q. Let's go to the next photograph. Now, you
22 are once again in this photograph. Can you point to
23 yourself, and to your back left is Dario Kordic, and
24 can you point to him?
25 A. (Indicating)
1 Q. That's you. And point to Kordic.
2 A. (Indicating)
3 Q. Okay. And the last photograph. In that
4 photograph, in the centre, we see once again
5 Kostroman. If you could point to him?
6 A. (Indicating)
7 Q. Kordic and Valenta.
8 A. (Indicating)
9 Q. Now, General, these are photographs that were
10 taken by an officer in the British Battalion,
11 Mr. Whitworth, Captain Whitworth. When was this, sir?
12 When was this meeting?
13 A. I cannot confirm with certainty, Your
14 Honours, but the photographs are all of one and the
15 same event. Perhaps it would be easier to tell if we
16 had a date. But I assume and believe that the event
17 was when parliamentary representatives were leaving for
18 a meeting either in Livno or perhaps in Grude. I think
19 this was towards the end of '93. Whether it was August
20 or even later, I am really not sure which event it was,
21 but I know it was a meeting of political officials and
22 that they were being transported to that meeting by
23 UNPROFOR. They provided transportation, security, and
24 escort for people to go to that meeting.
25 Q. Well, General, you were transported too,
1 weren't you?
2 A. As far as I can remember, I was not. If you
3 could give me a date or perhaps if the witness (sic)
4 has a document to that effect? I did not attend the
5 meeting in Livno, I was not present at the meeting in
6 August when the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was
7 proclaimed, so I don't know which meeting you are
8 referring to.
9 Q. So, General, you're just kind of walking
10 along with this group as they're heading towards these
11 British Battalion vehicles; is that right? You didn't
12 get on the vehicles and go with them on the trip?
13 A. Could you please give me a date, because the
14 only way to travel was with the help of the British
15 Battalion. So I did travel often, but if this has to
16 do with the meeting in Livno or the meeting in August
17 1993, I did not go to that meeting. I was not present
18 at that meeting. I may have been there to see off
19 those officials in front of the Vitez Hotel. I don't
20 know which event or which meeting these photographs
21 relate to.
22 Q. So you have no idea of the context of this?
23 You don't have any idea whether or not you went to a
24 meeting with these guys or not; is that right?
25 A. No, I was quite clear. I assume that this
1 was when these people were leaving to a meeting in
2 Livno or in Grude. One was held in August '93 and the
3 other a little later. I was not present at those
5 Therefore, if this group shown on the
6 photograph is the group leaving for those meetings, I
7 did not go to that meeting. UNPROFOR provided
8 security, transportation, and they had the list of
9 names, so they knew exactly who was being taken there.
10 UN data must be available about that.
11 Q. Now, General, the senior political officials
12 in Central Bosnia that we just saw photographs with
13 that you were in their presence were Valenta,
14 Kostroman, and Dario Kordic; correct?
15 A. Yes, because the point of departure where the
16 senior officials boarded the UN vehicles was
17 determined by the UN I could not give orders to the
18 UN where they would pick up all the political
19 officials from Central Bosnia or how they would
20 transport them.
21 In this case, on these photographs, the
22 decision was taken by the UN on the basis of the
23 criteria of the British Battalion. That is why I'm
24 saying I'm not sure whether this had to do with the
25 meeting in Livno or in Grude but, in any event, I did
1 not attend that meeting.
2 Q. General, let me show you a tape, and this is
3 a tape that was previously received in evidence,
4 Exhibit 234.
5 MR. KEHOE: This tape, Mr. President, just to
6 clarify the record, was received in evidence with a
7 witness who was a protected witness. However, the tape
8 itself need not be protected so that the tape can be
9 played publicly. To the extent that extra copies are
10 needed, I have extra copies both in English and
11 French. I don't believe there's any need for the
12 translators to translate because certainly the witness
13 can understand the B/C/S version.
14 So if we can move to the tape. To the
15 extent, Your Honours, that there is a need to have a
16 French or English copy with Your Honours or anyone
17 else --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. If you have them, please
19 distribute them.
20 MR. KEHOE: Now, these are two clips from the
21 same rally that took place on 16 January, 1992.
22 Mr. President, could I play the first excerpt
23 from the tape? If we could play the first excerpt from
24 the tape, please.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead.
1 MR. KEHOE: Turn the lights down, please.
2 It's kind of hard to see. Could we play it back with
3 the volume? We can start from the beginning, if we
4 can, so we can have the volume.
5 (Videotape played)
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is the tape
7 that we previously played, and there was sound on it
8 when it was previously played. It's been in the
9 custody of the registry at this time. If we could take
10 a quick break and maybe try to organise what the
11 problem is.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Five minutes. Will that
13 be sufficient?
14 MR. KEHOE: Yes. This is, of course, the
15 same tape we played before, so if we could find out
16 what the problem is with the sound.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I remember very well. Do
18 you think it will take long, Mr. Registrar?
19 THE REGISTRAR: For the moment, they don't
20 seem to be able to find the sound, but they have just
21 asked me for a few seconds, maybe a minute, to deal
22 with the problem.
23 MR. KEHOE: Sure.
24 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We'll have a
25 five-minute break then.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.39 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume. Has Mr. Kordic
5 regained his voice, Mr. Kehoe?
6 MR. KEHOE: I have it on the best authority,
7 the registrar who says that he has. If we could dim
8 the lights, and with Your Honours' permission, play
9 this tape?
10 JUDGE JORDA: Fine.
11 (Videotape played)
12 MR. KEHOE: Before we play the next
13 excerpt -- I'm sorry. Before we play the next excerpt,
14 if we could go back to the timer at 1846. Could you do
15 that for me, from 1846, and play that one-minute
16 segment, please?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Could the video booth go
18 backwards with the film, because they don't have the
19 same system -- they don't have the same references as
20 you, so when they play it back could you tell them
21 where to stop?
22 MR. KEHOE: Sure. They could play it
23 backwards and I'll tell them when to stop. Stop. Just
24 a little further on. Stop, please. If we could dim
25 the lights, please.
1 Q. General, who is this individual, with the
2 beard, in the front here?
3 A. This is Mr. Ante Sliskovic, whom, on the 16th
4 of January, 1992, I did not know.
5 Q. This is the head of SIS in Central Bosnia to
6 whom you gave the assignment to conduct the Ahmici
7 investigation; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. Could we take the lights up. Before
10 we move to the next excerpt we have a few questions
11 concerning Kordic's speech.
12 At the outset of that speech, General, Kordic
13 notes, "I wish all of us the best with the independent
14 state of Croatia."
15 Now, the independent state of Croatia was the
16 name of the Ustashe regime from 1941 through 1945,
17 wasn't it?
18 A. Yes. That state, the independent state of
19 Croatia, was called in that way. It had a facist
20 regime from 1941 to 1945, as you say, but I would just
21 like to say to Their Honours that I saw this video for
22 the first time here in the courtroom, not today but the
23 first time they were played. I also heard these
24 statements for the first time, and that I never
25 commented or discussed these statements at these events
1 with the participants and the speakers.
2 At that time I was in Austria and I didn't
3 even know them, but I assume from the tape that the
4 meeting was convened on the occasion of the recognition
5 of the sovereign and independent state of Croatia.
6 Q. Now, the independent state of Croatia was a
7 Croatia that operated in conjunction with Nazi Germany
8 which inflicted significant hardship on the people in
9 the former Yugoslavia; isn't that correct?
10 A. Yes, that is quite certain. From 1941 to
11 1945, fascism, as a movement, provoked great
12 difficulties and unforgettable tragedy for all
13 civilised peoples.
14 Q. Now, do you recognise the locale of this
15 particular rally that takes place?
16 A. I don't know the location, I know the town.
17 This is Busovaca, because the speaker is saying so.
18 But the exact place, which building, I don't know. But
19 judging by this date, the 16th of January, 1992, and by
20 the contents of the speech, I see that it was on the
21 occasion of the international recognition of the
22 Republic of Croatia.
23 However, I wish to underline once again that
24 I never discussed these events with any one of the
25 participants because at that time I was in Austria.
1 Q. General, Kordic says in this speech, while
2 he's in Busovaca, that "This is Croat land," didn't he?
3 A. I didn't quite remember those words. He may
4 have said so. I didn't take note of what Kordic was
5 saying, I just listened to the meaning, and I gathered
6 that Kordic was speaking emotionally and nervously,
7 referring to the recognition of the independent
8 sovereign and independent state of Croatia, as he put
10 Q. During this period of time or when you
11 arrived in Central Bosnia, what was the approximate
12 population break-up in the Busovaca area between the
13 Croats and the Muslims and the Serbs?
14 A. I don't know the exact figures because I
15 hadn't lived in Busovaca before. I was born in
16 Kiseljak, and ever since 1975, when I was fourteen and
17 a half, I left to go to school in Zagreb and Sarajevo,
18 I served in Slovenia. I think that the population was
19 roughly divided 50-50, or maybe there was a slight
20 Croatian majority in relation to the Muslims, whereas
21 the Serbs were far fewer in Busovaca. But earlier --
22 until 1992, I didn't visit that town often because my
23 life was made elsewhere.
24 Q. At the end of this speech, Kordic says, "Bog
25 I Hrvati. And may the independent state of Croatia
1 live forever." Now, that "Bog I Hrvati," "God and the
2 Croats," that's a Ustasha expression, isn't it, from
3 the Second World War?
4 A. I don't know whether it is a Ustasha
5 expression from the Second World War, but I know that
6 it is a customary greeting throughout Croatia. You say
7 "Bog" or "God" instead of "Hello." It is widespread
8 among Croats generally, at least as far as my
9 generation is concerned. This is not associated with a
10 Ustasha greeting. It may be, but I don't know it. But
11 "Bog" is a customary greeting among Croats in Slavonia
12 and Dalmacija, Croats in Bosnia, anywhere.
13 MR. KEHOE: If we could then go to the next
14 excerpt, Mr. President, which is the excerpt involving
15 Mr. Kostroman. It just follows on the transcript, Your
16 Honours. If we could dim the lights and play that, I
17 would appreciate it.
18 (Videotape played)
19 MR. KEHOE: Can you back it up a little bit,
20 just start from the beginning? Just back it up a
21 little bit so we can hear it all. Okay.
22 (Videotape played)
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I have a
24 series of questions on this, and with Your Honours
25 permission, I will just undertake them after lunch.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will have a break
2 until 2.30.
3 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.07 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.34 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
3 be seated. Let me remind you that we are now in open
5 Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
6 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President, Your
8 Q. Good afternoon, General.
9 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Prosecutor.
10 Q. Now, General, I would like to ask you some
11 questions about this speech by Ignac Kostroman, and
12 Ignac Kostroman starts this speech off by addressing
13 people as "Dear citizens of the state of Croatia," and
14 as you noted at the outset, this was a rally to
15 celebrate the recognition of the Republic of Croatia.
16 Did you hear him say that, sir?
17 A. Yes, I heard that from the tape.
18 Q. He appeared to be addressing people while he
19 was located in the town of Busovaca which is in the
20 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; isn't that right?
21 A. At that time, Your Honours, Busovaca was in
22 the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as far as
23 I know, and in the Socialist Federal Republic of
24 Yugoslavia on the 16th of January, 1992.
25 Q. Now, General, as we move down Kostroman's
1 speech, he talks about this being "the realisation of
2 an historic dream." To your knowledge, sir, what is
3 this historic dream that Kostroman appeared to be
4 talking about? Could you understand that from the
5 tenor and the words that he was speaking, what he was
6 talking about?
7 A. Your Honours, I would once again like to
8 emphasise that I was not a participant in the events
9 and that I did not discuss these events with
10 Mr. Kostroman because in his speech, on several
11 occasions, he says, and I quote, "I claim." Those are
12 his words. If necessary, for the purposes of the Trial
13 Chamber, I can comment on what Kostroman thinks, but
14 directly with Kostroman or any other participant, I
15 never discussed this event, and I assume that when he
16 says that it is a historic dream, he was probably
17 thinking about the dream of creating a state of Croatia
18 and the proclamation of the Croatian state which was
19 internationally being recognised by the International
20 Community and European countries. I assume, I say,
21 because I never discussed this event with Kostroman
23 Q. General, do you also assume that when
24 Kostroman says "We will be an integral part of our dear
25 state of Croatia by hook or by crook," he means that
1 the area of Central Bosnia, specifically Busovaca, will
2 be a part of the Republic of Croatia by hook or by
4 A. Well, that was the assertion of an
5 individual, and as far as I was able to recall from the
6 video, he says, "I claim," that is to say, he claims
7 that the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna is a
8 component part of the Republic of Croatia. But I
9 attended a meeting several months later, in 1992, when
10 Mr. Jadranko Prlic said officially, in front of all the
11 authorities, that the sense of the creation of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina is to retain Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
13 there were different statements made by different local
14 politicians at the time.
15 But what I would like to stress as a soldier,
16 individual statements of this kind were not binding
17 upon me. I was bound by the decisions and orders of my
18 superiors and the chief of staff and official
19 positions. This is Ignac's own assertion. He says "I
21 Q. Well, sir, you were also bound by the
22 commands of your commander in chief, Mate Boban,
23 weren't you?
24 A. Of course. The official decisions translated
25 into orders issued by my chief of staff, which means
1 official decisions through official orders from my
2 chief of staff, and I acted on the orders I received
3 from my superiors.
4 Q. And as we move through this statement,
5 General, when Kostroman says that, "Most probably --"
6 excuse me. "We will do everything through negotiations
7 to become an integral part of the great state of
8 Croatia, and most probably the borders of our state
9 will be precisely in these areas."
10 You assume from that, do you not, that
11 Kostroman is putting the border of the Republic of
12 Croatia in Busovaca or in and around Busovaca; isn't
13 that so?
14 A. Well, once again, I am going to try and
15 comment on what Kostroman had in mind when he said
16 those words and what I think he thought on the
17 occasion. Quite possibly he did have that in mind.
18 But once again I say that this was an individual
19 appearance by Kostroman and perhaps he did think that,
20 but individual appearances and statements by
21 politicians of that kind were not binding upon me in
22 any way.
23 Q. Well, General, let's move down, and he says
24 in this, "I would like to ask all citizens of the state
25 of Croatia to refrain from causing any incidents and
1 provocation during this interim period."
2 Did you assume, when you heard that, that
3 this "interim period" is the period before Busovaca and
4 other municipalities in Central Bosnia were to join the
5 Republic of Croatia?
6 A. Well, I don't know that a period existed in
7 which Busovaca joined the Republic of Croatia and other
8 municipalities in Central Bosnia. I think that through
9 my testimony so far it is quite clear that we were, in
10 fact, in an encirclement, encircled by the majority
11 Muslim population, and what the speaker had in mind
12 when he presented this thesis, I can only guess. The
13 interim period was perhaps the period in the creation
14 and proclamation of a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 because the Croatian people at the referendum opted one
16 and all in favour of a sovereign and independent
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is a well-known fact.
18 So I don't know what he thought at the time.
19 If he did think that, that is his own position, his
20 personal position, the personal position of Mr. Ignac
22 Q. Well, let us continue with Mr. Kostroman who
23 continued to be a senior political official when you
24 were the highest-ranking military officer, and he notes
1 "As for the remaining population in our
2 areas, the question asked is: What about the Muslims?
3 What about the Serbs and everyone else? We can say to
4 them, let them not worry about thinking. Let them live
5 in our state of Croatia and no one will miss even a
6 hair on their heads if they accept us as brothers and
7 accept the fact that they will be citizens of the state
8 of Croatia."
9 Now, General, what do you think the reaction
10 of the Muslims was when they found out that a
11 senior-ranking member of the HDZ party, and ultimately
12 the HVO, told them in Busovaca, a town which you said
13 was approximately 50-50 split in ethnicity, told them
14 in Busovaca that they would have to accept that they
15 were citizens of the state of Croatia? What do you
16 think was their reaction?
17 A. Let me say that I can assume that the
18 reaction was fairly chaotic, that is to say, that they
19 did not agree, and I fully understand that kind of
20 reaction and individuals must have condemned this sort
21 of statement.
22 But I would like once again to place this
23 event within the context of the time in which it
24 occurred, that is to say, the time when the Yugoslav
25 People's Army, together with the Territorial Defence,
1 was the legal armed force of the Socialist Republic of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina and when that republic, in turn, was
3 within the composition of Yugoslavia; and I do believe
4 that on every side of the three constituent peoples in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina that there were statements made of
6 this kind, and even the most tolerant part of the
7 population -- I'm thinking of the Bosniak Muslim people
8 and the Serbian people -- they must have felt anxious,
9 although it was an individual assertion because he, in
10 saying so, denies the rights of other nations in the
11 area with this message. But it was a turbulent time, a
12 time of transition, when Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
13 leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina decided to pave the
14 way toward the state's independence and autonomy.
15 Q. Just to follow up on your statement, you
16 noted "that individuals must have condemned this sort
17 of statement." Did you ever see anyone condemning this
18 sort of statement?
19 A. When I said that, I'd like to underline once
20 again, you asked me what the reaction was that this led
21 to from the Bosniak Muslims and when they learned about
22 it, and he said that it was, at the very least, anxiety
23 and that it was something that should be condemned; and
24 at the time I was not a participant in the events, as I
25 would like to repeat once again, and I never had
1 occasion to discuss the events that we saw on the video
2 with any one of the speakers there because, for the
3 first time here in the courtroom, I saw the event as
4 filmed on the video and shown on the monitor. I think
5 that the actual exhibit was introduced through the
6 statement of another witness.
7 Q. Well, General, let's put the particular
8 statement aside and let's talk about the substance of
9 what's in this statement.
10 Is it your testimony to this Court that at
11 all the times that you met with Ignac Kostroman and
12 Dario Kordic, they never said to you that they wanted
13 to absorb the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna into
14 Croatia? Is that your testimony, General?
15 A. Whether they had ever told me, perhaps as
16 officials, in a sense they did present their views, but
17 I should like to tell this Trial Chamber that I was
18 never -- I never found their positions binding upon
19 me. They were the positions of political officials.
20 As officials, I considered them to be responsible to
21 their superiors, their leaders. What I was interested
22 in was the official policy and official information
23 that I received from the chief of the main staff of the
25 Q. Well, let's take them one by one and start
1 with Dario Kordic. What did he tell you his position
3 A. I don't remember very well what he said to
4 me. I don't know what position and what time you have
5 in mind, what time frame. We discussed yesterday how
6 the policy changed and varied, and it had different
7 goals in different time periods. So explicitly he did
8 not present his position. He would always tell me if
9 there were any military assignments within this
10 framework and perhaps we would discuss military
11 assignments. Otherwise, I was not worried or didn't
12 pay any great attention to anything else, and Dario
13 Kordic was not within the framework of my command in
14 the Operative Zone.
15 Q. General, you just said, "Perhaps in a sense
16 they did present their views." That's what you just
17 testified to. My question for you, starting with
18 Kordic, is: What were the views that Kordic
19 expressed? What were you talking about when you just
20 said, "In a sense they presented their views"? Tell
21 the Trial Chamber.
22 A. Can you tell me the period you have in mind?
23 Q. Ever.
24 A. Well, there were periods when he would make
25 statements and present his views which reflected the
1 views of the representatives of the Croatian democratic
2 community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they oscillated.
3 There were periods when he would address these
4 meetings, address official representatives, or perhaps
5 he would be addressing military formations. So on
6 different occasions he would express different
7 positions. Sometimes they were rather more emotional,
8 more emotion there. At other times they were more
9 moderate. But his statements were never binding for
10 me, and I never received them as such. It was the
11 commands that I received and orders I received from the
12 main staff that I considered relevant and binding for
14 Q. Did these statements by Kordic include a
15 desire for Herceg-Bosna to be annexed to the Republic
16 of Croatia?
17 A. Perhaps so, perhaps not. I never looked at
18 my own records, notes, and diaries to see what any
19 local political leaders were saying. Quite possibly
20 they did, possibly they didn't, but it was a time of
21 war and there were different local politicians in the
22 region expressing different views. Those views
24 For example, if an international plan was
25 topical at the time, then they would try and assume
1 positions or expound upon their positions and stands.
2 So possibly there was, but I have no records of that.
3 Q. General, "Perhaps so and perhaps not." Did
4 Dario Kordic advocate the severance of Bosnia so areas
5 of Bosnia, specifically Herceg-Bosna, would merge with
6 the Republic of Croatia? Did he or didn't he?
7 A. I was not a member of the party in which
8 Dario Kordic held his high offices. At the meetings
9 that I attended, official meetings, I never heard
10 information of that kind personally. I can only tell
11 the Trial Chamber what I, myself, know.
12 I repeat once again, perhaps he did, perhaps
13 he did not. I was responsible for military matters,
14 and I functioned on the basis of the official positions
15 of the chief of the main staff.
16 Q. Well, when you said in the transcript,
17 "Perhaps he did express views," what were you talking
18 about, General?
19 A. Well, I had in mind the fact that once every
20 fortnight there would be meetings of civilian officials
21 in the Central Bosnia region. So once every 15 days in
22 a month. There were party meetings, and we saw a
23 moment ago a photograph here where party officials were
24 on their way to a meeting of some kind, but as I say, I
25 was not present at those meetings and I don't know what
1 kind of discussions were held at those meetings. I
2 know the official decisions which were made public in
3 the Official Gazette and other official documents, but
4 I did not take part in the work of the party for me to
5 be able to know specifically and exactly the positions,
6 and stands, and everything else in concrete detail.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I understand your answers,
8 General. However, there is something I am not
9 comfortable with. In view of these documents, do you
10 feel sure that the political trend set by Kostroman and
11 Kordic was one which aimed at separation?
12 A. In the statement, I attended what Mr.
13 Kostroman said with great attention and, of course, it
14 would seem to me at that time, that is, the 16th of
15 January, '92, Mr. President, but I wanted to say that
16 quite possibly, at different times, there were
17 different statements made, different options in the
18 offing in Bosnia-Herzegovina itself.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I understand you fully well,
20 General, and I understand your answer, but I wanted to
21 make sure that we were not dreaming. I wanted to make
22 sure that you agreed that these documents and this
23 video showed that at that particular time in this
24 euphoric atmosphere, the political idea embodied by
25 Kostroman, Boban, Kordic, was a tendency which aimed at
1 separation, if we look at it from the
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina point of view, or a tendency aimed
3 at incorporating something if we take the point of view
4 of a Croatian state.
5 So my second question for you would be:
6 Either at that time or either now, do you feel that
7 these arguments and comments were excessive in their
9 A. I consider that those words that I saw spoken
10 today were exaggerated, because officially, as far as I
11 know, all negotiations were held for the internal
12 structuring of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the interview
13 that we looked at a moment ago by Mr. Boban is
14 entitled, I think, "For a Free and Independent
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina." I believe that was the title.
16 I personally felt that the problem was only
17 in the kind, the type of internal organisation that
18 should be achieved between the three peoples that lived
19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Whether there was anything
20 unofficial, perhaps there was, but I don't know of it.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Then I will have a third
22 question for you, General. As a Croat, even if you'd
23 lived in Bosnia, as a Croat, did you share that point
24 of view, according to which one day Central Bosnia and
25 its Croatian majority would have to become part of
1 a greater state of Croatia? Did you share that
2 opinion? Was it your dream?
3 A. It was not, and I made statements many times
4 when I was asked this question. I always said that we
5 were fighting for a free and sovereign
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is our homeland too, in which
7 the Croats themselves would have equal rights like
8 everybody else, because I knew that this was
9 impossible. The Croats are a minority in the area.
10 What are we going to do with the Muslims of Konjic, for
11 example? What are we going to do with the Muslims of
12 Gornji Vakuf and the Muslims living in those regions?
13 Perhaps the situation in 1938 was different from what
14 it was in the '90s.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Fourth question: Do you have a
16 feeling that your appointment at the head of the
17 Central Bosnia Operative Zone was more a prolongation
18 of this particular political tendency than the result
19 of another political trend? Have you understood my
20 question? Maybe it was not that clear.
21 A. Mr. President, I'm going to try and answer
22 that question. I believe that I have understood the
23 question. I personally consider, in view of the
24 military situation which reigned in Central Bosnia at
25 the time, that this was the least popular appointment,
1 that is, to become commander of the Operative Zone, and
2 I was appointed because of my professional and military
3 qualities, because there was no other choice, quite
4 simply, in Central Bosnia.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Yet you have not answered my
6 question, General. I'm not asking whether you had been
7 appointed because of your qualities. We're sure of
8 your qualities and we've known what they are for some
9 time now.
10 My fourth question was the following: The
11 political trend which was in power and which resulted
12 in your appointment, was it that that was embodied by
13 Mr. Kostroman, Mr. Kordic, and Mr. Boban? If it's not
14 clear enough, maybe I could put it that way. Did you
15 feel that these people who were in power, these
16 civilians who were at the head of a very new Croatian
17 Community of Herceg-Bosna, were these people
18 responsible for your appointment at the head of the
19 Operative Zone? Is it to these people that you owe
20 your appointment at that post?
21 A. Mr. President, I cannot answer precisely who
22 because I don't know who put my appointment forward.
23 If I were to know in precise terms his name and
24 surname, I don't know. It could have been Colonel
25 Filipovic as a soldier. It could have been civilian
1 authorities in the Kiseljak municipality who nominated
2 me for the first time, but I profoundly believe that my
3 appointment emanated from my military potential, not
4 from any political qualities, because I had no affinity
5 or desire to deal in politics.
6 JUDGE JORDA: I have a fifth question. I
7 understand what you have just said and thank you for
8 reminding us of that particular point. I'll put my
9 fourth question in another way. I'll rephrase it. Do
10 you think your appointment could have happened without
11 their giving their opinion about it?
12 A. Mr. President, if I have understood you
13 correctly, without the opinion of Mr. Boban and the
14 others, Kordic and Kostroman; is that right?
15 JUDGE JORDA: Without their opinion and
16 against their wish. Would that have been possible?
17 No, I suppose it would not.
18 A. I also believe it would not have been
19 possible if it would have been in opposition to them,
20 but I am the fifth commander to take the appointment
21 within one month. I wasn't expected to last so long.
22 JUDGE JORDA: So you have answered in a
23 precise manner the five questions I have asked you. So
24 that brings me to the sixth and last question. When
25 one is, Mr. Blaskic, who does not share this kind of
1 views though one is a Croat by origin, didn't you have
2 the feeling that you risked encountering difficulties
3 with politicians whose opinions you did not share and,
4 in reality, would you not find yourself in very serious
6 Have you understood my question? You did not
7 share this opinion on Croatia. You are a Croat, a
8 legitimate one, if I can put it in that way. You
9 believed in Bosnia. You have just told us that. You
10 come from a multicultural, multi-ethnic background.
11 You're a liberal man. That is more or less what you
12 are telling us. Here we have the politicians in power,
13 Kostroman, Boban, Kordic. You're appointment cannot be
14 made without them.
15 Didn't you ask yourself whether you would be
16 having serious difficulties because, "We don't share
17 the same objective"? Didn't you go home one night and
18 say to your wife, "I find myself in a very strange
19 situation. I'm at the highest military position with
20 men like this who talk about Croatia, or Central Bosnia
21 attached to Croatia," et cetera, et cetera?
22 So my question is very specific. If you're
23 going to say that you wanted to struggle against the
24 Serbs, I know that and you did that, but I'm trying to
25 go to the heart of this examination. I want to know
1 whether you asked yourself that question or not at
3 A. I did not ask myself that question,
4 Mr. President, but allow me just to say that I didn't
5 even know many of these men. In 1992, I was 32. I
6 reached this area coming from the JNA which was under a
7 glass bell, one might say, in relation to the civilian
8 authorities, whereas in Central Bosnia, the struggle
9 was ongoing for survival, and I was most concerned with
10 my military task, the fall of Jajce, Komusina, and if I
11 was confronted with any politics at all, then it was
12 the politics of survival. So that none of these
13 leaders placed before me such radical ideas as an
14 official assignment.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, General, it's true -- I'm
16 going to stop there. I think it is true that you are a
17 skilled professional. But when you have such a high
18 post in the main staff, one must ask oneself: Who are
19 the politicians nominating you? One must ask oneself,
20 "Who made me king?" You are a cultured person. So
21 who made you king? Who made you the chief general?
22 And so one must know where one is being led.
23 A. I was made general by Mr. Kresimir Zubak and
24 the presidential council that took place after
25 Mr. Boban resigned, that is, after the signing of the
1 Washington Agreement and everything else that happened
2 in the political arena. Mr. President, I ask myself
3 who gave me the cross rather than who made me king
4 because my imperative, my main task, was to survive in
5 the encirclement.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues, you have some
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, we have here this
9 document, 627, "The Soldier." Did you read that paper?
10 A. I did occasionally, not regularly, but if I
11 got hold of it, I would at least look through it if I
12 happened to come across it.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did you read through other
15 A. I didn't much because there were very few.
16 If a company, a unit, or a brigade would publish a
17 newsletter of their own, I would read it, but in those
18 days, the daily newspapers did not reach us, so I did
19 not. In most cases, I did not.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Was there television?
21 A. Very rarely. I personally, in my office,
22 actually throughout '93, did not have a TV set. I
23 spent my time at command posts, in bunkers, or in the
24 cellars of half-destroyed houses, and I can indicate
25 all the positions that I went to. I had very little
1 time for watching television. But occasionally, I did,
2 if there was time. What we had was local television,
3 the municipal television, the Busovaca municipality,
4 but we didn't have a central programme aired from
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Even in the bunkers, did
7 you talk with people who were with you about other
8 things aside from military matters?
9 A. Very rarely, Your Honour. Very rarely.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Should one then conclude
11 that you were in a bunker in the full sense of the
12 word, which means you didn't speak about anything else
13 but military things, you didn't speak to other people
14 except military men, you didn't know anything but
15 military matters?
16 A. There is no such extreme condition under
17 which I could say that I knew nothing about anything
18 but military matters, but I spent most of my time and
19 most of my attention was focused on military matters,
20 including things like evacuation of the wounded, the
21 passage of convoys, things that had to do with
22 survival --
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We understand that,
24 General. But there was other information that was not
25 of a military nature. You didn't speak to people who
1 were not military men. So you had various types of
3 A. In view of the circumstances in which I was,
4 I, of course, did receive information, but by far the
5 largest quantity was military information.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: If we look at the pocket,
7 you were not alone. You had 35.000 refugees, I don't
8 know how many soldiers, there were other civilians
9 there. So one can conceive of it as a small world in
10 itself, and there's information circulating within that
11 world and I think that you must have been exposed to
12 all that information.
13 What I'm trying to say is the following. We
14 can imagine the separation of several sectors: one is
15 information, another opinions, and a third actions.
16 You had a diversity of information, and perhaps you
17 knew that there were people who were, in the sense as
18 described by the President, those who were for
19 integrity and others who supported secessionism. Did
20 you know these distinctions or not?
21 A. I understand better what you're asking me.
22 There may have been such statements, but in the Lasva
23 pocket, the most important policy was the policy of
24 survival --
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Is it possible that you
1 knew these people?
2 A. I'm afraid I don't quite understand your
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Let me repeat it. Maybe I
5 wasn't quite clear. There were certainly people who
6 defended a future of integration from the standpoint of
7 Bosnia; people who advocated that Central Bosnia should
8 belong to Croatia, on the other hand. Perhaps there
9 were other people who advocated the opposite opinion,
10 and that is that Bosnia needed to be an independent
11 state. Were you aware of these different opinions?
12 A. At the time when I was the commander, there
13 were different ideas about the set-up of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and different official positions
15 that reached me. I was aware of those official
16 positions and was informed about them, at least as far
17 as they concerned me. There were certain individual
18 presentations which were, at times, radical, but as far
19 as I knew, they never had the stamp of official
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So there were many. There
22 was a lot of information and you were familiar with
23 diverse positions, and even if we could go even
24 further, one could say that each individual had a
25 different opinion. Is that possible?
1 A. Your Honour, when I had to deal with some
2 35.000 refugees, they were not persons, they were
3 desperate people. They were looking from the valley at
4 their houses on fire. They were desperate people.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, what I would like
6 to say to you, there was the information domain and
7 there was a lot of information, even at the level of
8 the individual. Now, if we go to the level of
9 opinions, what was your opinion, confronted with
10 this diversity of information, did you support
11 independence or secession? What was your opinion?
12 Because I wish to be able to understand your actions.
13 A. I conveyed my opinion to all the co-locutors
14 I had, and I think Mr. McLeod testified here and he
15 even cautioned me that my opinion differed from that of
16 some local politicians, and that opinion was that we
17 have to live in coexistence with the Bosniak Muslims in
18 this part of the area which I controlled, and I did
19 everything for the joint command to become operational,
20 and also, as a commander of the main staff, I was also
21 the commander of the joint command in the
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Now, if we go on to the
24 action domain, as to what you actually did, could it be
25 said that you defended in practice these opinions that
1 you held, your method, your way of seeing things, of
2 seeing reality?
3 A. I tried to put into effect this position of
4 mine, yes.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General. I
6 think you have helped me.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
8 Mr. Prosecutor?
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, let us be very clear based upon some
11 of the answers that you gave to Judge Rodrigues.
12 The political position -- now we are talking
13 about before the encirclement, if we will -- the
14 political position of the HVO, shortly after you took
15 over as commander of the Central Bosnian Operative
16 Zone, was to establish and firmly establish HVO
17 authority; isn't that right?
18 A. I don't know exactly what the political
19 position of the HVO was at that time, whether it was to
20 firmly establish the authority of the HVO or not. I
21 know that when I was the commander of the HVO, that the
22 HVO collaborated well with the TO. I considered the
23 HVO to be a component part of the armed forces of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this is indicated in the
25 agreement signed between the army and the HVO and their
1 supreme command.
2 Q. Well, let us follow up on that, General, and
3 let us talk about one of the meetings you did attend,
4 where you did participate, and let us show the witness,
5 if I can, Mr. Registrar, 456/95, and I ask you to look
6 at the front page on the agenda, General, and look at
7 number 1 on that agenda.
8 Now, General this is a document that we have
9 spoken about quite a bit, it is the excerpt of the
10 minutes of the meeting of the Croatian Defence Councils
11 and municipalities of Central Bosnia, 22 September,
12 1992, where you, General, along with Kordic, Kostroman,
13 and Valenta, are described as part of the working
14 presidency, and number 1 on that agenda is: "The
15 implementation of decisions to establish HVO
17 So you, General, were well aware very early
18 into taking command that the political desires of these
19 guys, Kostroman, Kordic, et cetera, was the HVO to take
20 control of these municipalities in Central Bosnia;
21 isn't that right?
22 A. May I answer by saying that I was invited as
23 a guest. This was my first meeting. I was the only
24 one among the working presidency who did not sign nor
25 receive these minutes, which can be seen from the last
1 page. It does say in the agenda, "The implementation
2 of decisions to establish HVO authority," but allow me
3 to suggest that we look at page 5 from which we can see
4 what the situation was like at the time.
5 Already in September or October, we had very
6 good cooperation with the BH army, and the joint
7 command was operating in Travnik in November, and
8 before that I was in Jajce with members of the
9 Territorial Defence, with representatives of the SDA,
10 the HOS, and we cooperated very well in the defence of
11 that city.
12 From the fifth page, we can see how the
13 Bosniak Muslim representatives behaved as described by
14 participants in the meeting.
15 Q. General, were you or were you not aware of
16 the fact that the political powers in Central Bosnia
17 sought to establish HVO control throughout Central
18 Bosnia? Were you or were you not?
19 A. I knew that efforts were being made to
20 establish personal control rather than territorial
21 control, that is, that when the central authorities
22 ceased to function, then that authority would be shared
23 between SDA representatives representing the Bosniak
24 Muslims and the HVO representing the Croats. That was
25 the functioning of the civilian authorities. I did not
1 participate in other meetings of this kind, but I did
2 know that that kind of practice was being implemented.
3 Q. Well, General, so as of September 22nd, 1992,
4 were you aware that the HVO was attempting to establish
5 their authority in these municipalities to the
6 detriment of the Bosnian Muslims? You were aware of
7 that at that point, weren't you?
8 A. I knew that the authorities varied from one
9 municipality to another, that in August an assembly
10 meeting was held in Kiseljak, that in some places there
11 was a crisis staff consisting of equal numbers of
12 Croats and Muslims, that in some places they were
13 divided, that in some places there was just the HVO and
14 in others the war presidency. In any event, the
15 authorities consisted of representatives of the
16 Croatian and the Muslim peoples respectively.
17 Q. Well, General, while you knew that at least
18 Kostroman and Kordic were making efforts to establish
19 this HVO authority in Central Bosnia, after you knew
20 this, you, nevertheless, nominated these guys to
21 negotiate with General Morillon on behalf of the HVO in
22 international ceasefire negotiations, didn't you?
23 A. No, that is not correct. I did not nominate
24 these guys to negotiate with General Morillon. That is
25 quite incorrect and not true. Allow me to explain.
1 Sometime at the beginning of October, Colonel
2 Sartre, the commander of the French battalion in
3 UNPROFOR, informed me there would be a tripartite
4 meeting which General Morillon wished to organise. I
5 told Colonel Sartre then that I was firmly convinced
6 that the position held of my chief of staff would be
7 that prior to any kind of tripartite meeting, a meeting
8 should be held between representatives of the HVO and
9 representatives of the BH army so as to coordinate
10 their views and agree on the stand they would take.
11 I informed the chief of staff,
12 Brigadier Petkovic, of this, and Brigadier Petkovic
13 designated to that delegation myself. He was there,
14 and several officers from the main staff, and Ignac
15 Kostroman. We were designated by the head of the
16 delegation, the chief of staff of the HVO.
17 Before the meeting which was organised by
18 General Morillon, in the building of the presidency of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo, we met with
20 high-ranking officials of the Bosniak Muslims,
21 politicians as well as military man, I think they were
22 led by Mr. Ejub Ganic, Sefer Halilovic, and Stjepan
24 After that meeting and an agreement reached
25 on the stand we would take, we went to the airport in
1 Sarajevo to attend a tripartite meeting. Mr. Kordic
2 was appointed subsequently to be a member of that
3 delegation. When Travnik was attacked, this was
4 sometime in November 1992, and when, due to the
5 military situation, I was unable to attend those
7 So Kordic did attend those meetings when I
8 was unable to go because the town of Travnik was being
9 threatened. The Serbs knew when these meetings were
10 being held, and their combat operations, in most cases,
11 coincided with the timing of these meetings.
12 Q. Let me show you a document, General.
13 THE REGISTRAR: This is Exhibit 628, 628A for
14 the English version, Prosecutor's Exhibit.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. Let's take a look at this document, General.
17 This is a document that's sent in the packet system;
18 isn't it? Did you hear my question, General?
19 A. I was reading the document, so I didn't hear
20 your question.
21 Q. My question is: This is a document that is
22 set on the packet system; isn't it?
23 A. Yes. It was sent by packet link, yes.
24 MR. KEHOE: We do not have a French copy,
25 unfortunately, Mr. President, so I will read it slowly
1 in English. There is, of course, a B/C/S copy for the
3 Q. It is the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, 10
4 November 1992, 22.00. Forward command post. This is
5 sent to Mostar, Grude via Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf.
6 HVO commander in chief or chief of defence department.
7 Report on the proposal for a meeting to:
8 "1. In relation to the talks that
9 General Morillon had with the representatives of the
10 Serbian side, official invitation issued for a meeting
11 with the top level HVO politicians as soon as
13 "2. Serbian proposal, 11 November, 1992, at
14 Sarajevo airport or wherever we propose in Central
15 Bosnia, Kiseljak, Busovaca, Vitez.
16 "3. Representative on the Serbian side is
17 Mr. Koljevic.
18 "4. Subject of talk: Immediate ceasefire in
19 Mostar. I propose that our side is represented by
20 president of Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
21 Mr. Dario Kordic, and secretary, Ignac Kostroman.
22 "5. I am asking you to send the
23 authorisation or approval on attending the meeting or
24 should we refuse.
25 "6. Chairman is General Morillon.
1 "7. I must have the reply by 09.00 on
2 11 November '92 and delivered to General Morillon.
3 "Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
4 Hand-written on the left-hand side is:
5 "Received on 10 November, 1992 at 23.55," and some
6 initials thereafter.
7 Did you send this, General?
8 A. Of course, and it could be seen here that I
9 had a talk. I know for certain that on the 5th of
10 November I attended a meeting in Sarajevo. I was there
11 before that, beginning with the 23rd of October, 1992,
12 at all the tripartite meetings held by General Morillon
13 as the chairman of the meeting.
14 The meetings always had their topics, and I
15 always represented the Croatian Defence Council,
16 including the 5th of November, 1992.
17 I believe that as it states here, on the
18 basis of the talks with General Morillon that this
19 invitation for a meeting arose. The information that I
20 received from the General, I sent them to Mostar, and
21 here it says via Gornji Vakuf and so on and so forth.
22 I sent them off, and you can see this from point 2 and
23 3 the information that I received and the topic of the
24 conversation. I made a proposal as to who could take
1 I don't know whether my proposal -- I can't
2 remember whether my proposal was accepted or not, and
3 as we were dealing here with a meeting to be held in
4 the Central Bosnia region, for technical organisational
5 purposes, I suggested that these individuals be
6 present. Kostroman had been a participant at all the
7 tripartite meetings held up until then chaired by
8 General Morillon.
9 I stated, at the meeting, General Morillon
10 would indeed be chairman and that he would like an
11 answer by 9.00 on the 11th of November and that I was
12 to convey it to General Morillon.
13 I believe that on the 12th of November,
14 because the meetings were held every seven days, that
15 on the 12th of November in Sarajevo a tripartite
16 meeting was indeed held, chaired by General Morillon or
17 perhaps Brigadier-General Cordy-Simpson, because if
18 General Morillon was absent Crody-Simpson would be the
20 Q. General, going back to my initial question,
21 after you learned that Kostroman and Kordic wanted to
22 establish HVO control in these municipalities, after
23 you knew that that was their political agenda, you,
24 nonetheless, nominated them to go to the meetings. So
25 when you told this Court that you didn't, you, in fact,
1 did; right?
2 A. That is not correct. You asked me a question
3 linked to who had nominated Mr. Kostroman to attend the
4 meetings, as I understood them, in Sarajevo, and
5 Mr. Kordic. This is a proposal, not an appointment.
6 Apart from that, Kostroman, as I told the Trial
7 Chamber, attended meetings from the 23rd of October,
8 1992, but not appointed by me but by appointment of the
9 chief of the main staff. I did not put him forward at
10 that time and appoint him. Therefore, he was already
11 at those meetings and there are documents to testify to
13 Here Mr. Koljevic is not a soldier. Had we
14 told it that it would have been General Gvero, I would
15 have proposed that it be a military participant of the
16 meeting, that is to say, somebody from the military
17 part of the HVO.
18 This was also a time when the meetings were
19 being held in Sarajevo with all the parties and the
20 time when the joint command was functioning. It was
21 November 1992 when the joint command was functioning on
22 the basis of a decision by Mr. Bozo Rajic, the Defence
23 Minister. This joint command was made up of
24 Mr. Pasalic and Mr. Prakcin for Central Bosnia. I know
25 that they had good co-operation with the BH army.
1 Q. General, let me turn your attention back to
2 Exhibit 495/95 and look at the area that says:
3 "Observations noted in all municipalities." This, of
4 course, is the document executed by Kostroman, Valenta,
5 and Kordic.
6 Do you see that section, General?
7 A. Yes, I see that section on page 5.
8 Q. Look about halfway through and I'll read it
9 to you. About halfway through and I'll read it to
10 you. The document from the working presidency of which
11 you were a part and executed by Kostroman, Valenta, and
13 "Exiled B and H, Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 government and its bodies with pro-Muslim policies are
15 undesirable on our territory, and their possible
16 activity contrary to the principles of the HDZ bodies
17 shall not be tolerated."
18 This, General, was the political position of
19 which you were aware when you nominated, and I
20 emphasise "nominated," Kostroman and Kordic to go to
21 this meeting with General Morillon; isn't that right?
22 A. It was not an official political stand. That
23 is what it says here, but in practice this did not --
24 was not true, because this is a document from -- dated
25 September, and the Ministry of the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina held a press conference in
2 Busovaca. I think it was on the 3rd of November, 1992,
3 and then there were other officials. The Prime
4 Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I think, was either
5 Mile Akmadzic or Jure Pelivan. So from the ranks of
6 the Croatian people.
7 Then I would also like to say that there were
8 officials such as Mr. Franjo Boras who took part, and
9 he was at the meeting here as well as a guest, in the
10 capacity of a guest. He is a member of the supreme
11 command of armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he's
12 also a member of the wartime presidency of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is what it says here in the
14 section that you read out. But in fact, in the field,
15 the situation was different.
16 Q. Well, General, let's stay with Franjo Boras.
17 Franjo Boras was an advocate of the severance of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina and its absorption into the Republic
19 of Croatia, wasn't he?
20 A. I don't know his political activities for me
21 to be able to give an opinion. I'm talking about the
22 times when I was present at the meeting attended by
23 Franjo Boras as well, and I recall very well what he
24 said on the 26th of March, 1993 in Zenica, for
25 example. It is not what he followed. The complete
1 political activity of Franjo Boras's presidency of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I don't know the details. I had
3 very little contact with him.
4 Q. Well, you're well aware of Mr. Boras's
5 meetings with the Serb side of the Bosnian presidency,
6 Mr. Koljevic, where they hatched a plan for the
7 severance of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the transplanting
8 of the Muslim population out of their respective
9 areas. You're aware of that; aren't you?
10 A. That Franjo Boras had a meeting with Nikola
11 Koljevic. I had no information of that kind
12 particularly at the time. Perhaps there were meetings
13 of that kind, but I'd like to underline once again that
14 I had official information and official stands, and
15 possibly meetings of that kind did occur but I had no
16 knowledge of them and Franjo Boras never told me about
17 activities of that kind.
18 Q. We'll come back to the politics of Franjo
19 Boras later. Let us just complete our analysis of this
20 transcript, General. We're talking about Kostroman's
21 speech on the 16th of January. He says, toward the end
22 of this speech:
23 "I would like to stress just one more thing
24 as we see it. Perhaps there will not be any conflict
25 in our areas if we succeed reaching agreements as
1 brothers, if one may say, so fortify the boarders of
2 the state of Croatia in a peaceful way. If we do not
3 succeed, you understand that the boarders of every
4 state will have to be defended and so will these
5 borders. We are the best guarantee to defend them."
6 Now, based on that, General, do you assume
7 that Kostroman was advocating military action to defend
8 the decision or the goal to make Central Bosnia part of
10 A. Well, first of all, you are talking about a
11 decision. It was an individual statement, and he said,
12 "I claim," "I maintain." So it is his personal
14 Secondly, I can comment on what I assume he
15 had in mind, because at the time the Yugoslav People's
16 Army, located in the area, was the sole armed force in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So he could have sent that kind of
18 message both to the Yugoslav People's Army and to its
19 components, as well as to the members of all the others
20 who were opposed to that personal idea of his. But as
21 far as I know, it was not an official stand, an
22 official idea. That idea was not handed down to me
23 through the system of command from my superiors.
24 Q. Well, General, you talk about official
25 ideas. Let's be very clear. When you were in Central
1 Bosnia, what was Kordic's duties and responsibilities
2 as a political officer, political official?
3 A. I really don't know what they were. If you
4 are asking me about my own, I would be very ready to
5 answer you, but the duties that he performed I don't
6 know. I know that he was the vice-president of the
7 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and that he was a
8 member of the HDZ party. He was at one time its
9 vice-president, but what his duties were as a
10 vice-president I don't know. I never attended party
11 meetings, nor was I a member of the party, and I cannot
12 say what his duties were. I know my own duties full
13 well, but what his were I cannot say.
14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we can take a
15 break now if you so choose.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It's very convenient. A
17 20-minute break.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 4.08 p.m.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. We shall
21 resume our work.
22 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I apologise.
23 Could I just make a brief comment as regards 628,
24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 628, because I have read through
25 it in its entirety during the break.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead, General
2 Blaskic. Six hundred and twenty-eight, you said. Yes.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President. From
4 point 1 of this document, it is visible that General
5 Morillon is sending out an invitation for a meeting
6 with top-level politicians and that the topic is the
7 ceasefire in Mostar and that the proposal -- that from
8 the Serbian side, Mr. Koljevic would be taking part, he
9 was the vice-president at the time, and probably that
10 is why I suggested to the competent authorities that
11 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna be represented
12 by the deputy, Dario Kordic, which is on a political
13 par with Koljevic, he is his counterpart. I should
14 also like to say that it was a meeting to be chaired or
15 which should have been chaired by General Morillon and
16 that I was to have received an answer in the course of
17 the night, on the 12th of November, in fact, for that
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General Blaskic.
20 The Trial Chamber is happy to hear you bring these
21 details to its attention. It does seem important for
22 your defence.
23 Mr. Kehoe, are we going on to another subject
24 or are you staying on that particular issue?
25 MR. KEHOE: Just a few more questions on this
1 issue, and I would like to follow up on a statement
2 that the General made concerning public statements by
3 Mr. Kordic and Kostroman concerning potentially racist
4 or ethnic matters.
5 Q. Is it your testimony, General -- well, let me
6 rephrase that question.
7 Did you ever hear Dario Kordic make any
8 public statements denigrating the people of Muslim
10 A. Never. I think in all these questions, it is
11 difficult for me to pinpoint the time because we are
12 talking about January '92 and September and November,
13 and there were a lot of events in Bosnia-Herzegovina
14 which were taking place and which affected the
15 statements of local politicians and others.
16 I heard that he was perhaps speaking in a
17 more inflammatory way against perhaps the officials or
18 leadership of the Muslims or Bosniaks and possibly he
19 did at times make unnecessary statements which had a
20 bit of what you mentioned a moment ago and that I heard
21 something similar. But his statements were not for me,
22 as I say, binding. What was binding for me were orders
23 from the chief of the main staff and the official
24 documents of the community, but I did not see any
25 racist approach, no.
1 Q. Well, did you ever hear him make statements
2 along the lines that "Bosnia and Herzegovina will cease
3 to exist"?
4 A. Well, that is the problem, in fact. Which
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina? You see, on the 16th of January,
6 1992, it did cease to exist, but the Socialist Republic
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina ceased to exist within the
8 formation of the Socialist Federal Republic of
9 Yugoslavia, and that was a process and, as such, it did
10 cease to exist, and a referendum was called and the
11 state called the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
12 continued. So perhaps the statements were along those
13 lines. I don't know what time period you actually have
14 in mind, Mr. Prosecutor.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Kehoe. Try to be more
16 precise. When you want to demonstrate something, try
17 to, you know, go directly to the aim you want to
18 reach. If you have one fact you want to put to the
19 witness, just tell it to the witness. You must know
20 that Mr. Kordic, for example, was saying such and such,
21 the witness will say "Yes" or "No," and then you can
22 refer him to a document; otherwise, we are going to
23 lose a lot of time. Let's try to move forward.
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I will just
25 present a document at this time.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
2 629, 629A for the English version.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. General, this is a press release by the Party
5 of Democratic Action, the SDA, in Vitez, dated
6 2 February, 1993, signed by the Executive Board of
7 Vitez -- we can place this on the ELMO, if you can?
8 Thank you. I'll read it as follows:
9 "In an interview with Dario Kordic, the
10 vice-president of the so-called Croatian Community of
11 Herceg-Bosna, aired on HZ Herceg-Bosna TV for Studio
12 Vitez on 1 February, 1993, it was stated among other
13 things that both the Muslims and Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 will cease to exist.
15 "Dario Kordic's statement comes precisely at
16 a time when we are investing great efforts to overcome
17 all problems by peaceful means and when concrete talks
18 are being held on the establishment of a joint
19 government and single MUP, Ministry of Interior, and it
20 jeopardises the course of the talks.
21 "The Muslim people of the Vitez municipality
22 are embittered by this statement which reminds them of
23 an identical statement made at one time by the war
24 criminal, Radovan Karadzic, in the BH parliament.
25 "We will forward this statement to foreign
1 news agencies and the relevant UN bodies so as to
2 show who is provoking the hostilities in Central
4 "We call on the Croatian people to distance
5 themselves publicly from such inflammatory statements
6 by their extremists in order to be able to continue
7 building a joint life and communal spirit of these two
8 peoples in this area."
9 Signed Executive Board of the Vitez SDA, and
10 the date is, of course, 2 February, 1993.
11 Now, General, you would agree with me that
12 these are particularly inflammatory statements by
13 Kordic in saying that "the Muslims and
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina will cease to exist"; isn't that
16 A. Allow me to read the document because I never
17 had occasion to see this document before, so if I may
18 read it? And I was not in the area of Vitez in
19 February 1993.
20 I don't remember the question. Could you
21 repeat it, please?
22 Q. The question is that this statement by
23 Kordic, "that both the Muslims and Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina will cease to exist," is a very
25 inflammatory statement, is it not?
1 A. Your Honours, this statement, which was
2 apparently made in February 1993, that is, at the time
3 of the January conflicts, is certainly a statement
4 causing concern among those who heard it, but from this
5 document, one can see the vast differences there were
6 and the turmoil. While there was a conflict in
7 Busovaca, there were talks in Vitez on the formation of
8 a joint government and a unified MUP. These must have
9 been talks between the Croats and the Muslims in the
10 immediate neighbourhood of the municipality in which a
11 conflict was ongoing between the HVO and the BH army,
12 that is the municipality of Busovaca.
13 I was in Kiseljak at that time, cut off and
14 under siege, but I did attend this meeting at the UN
15 base, and I can only comment on what I read in this
16 statement. If that is what was said, that both would
17 disappear, certainly it is not a well-intentioned
18 statement, but there is no official document which
19 would show that this was the official position of the
20 HVO nor did I receive any orders in that direction.
21 Q. Well, General, this statement, "that Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina will cease to exist," is consistent
23 with Kordic's prior statements and Kostroman's
24 statements concerning the division of Bosnia in making
25 a part of Central Bosnia as a part of Croatia; isn't
1 that so?
2 A. It is a rather complex question,
3 Mr. President, Your Honours. We viewed a videotape
4 dated 16 January, '92, when the state of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina had still not been formed, so we
6 skipped over a period in which the state of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina was formed. I am not very familiar
8 with this nor am I an expert, but I know that the state
9 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was proclaimed by referendum.
10 Then there was the period when the authentic military
11 forces committed aggression, and now we are going on to
12 the January conflict of 1993, the signing of a
13 ceasefire between the HVO and the BH army, and a
14 statement which I see here for the first time on this
15 piece of paper and which I am asked to comment on and
16 to draw conclusions from. So very large leaps forward
17 are being made, and the political, state, and military
18 situation was changing from the situation where there
19 was no state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, then a period of
20 excellent cooperation, and then the period of
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. I share
23 the opinion of the witness there. One has to be
24 careful when we compare various excerpts from a
25 different context, political, military and so on. So
1 it is rather delicate to list one after another as if
2 they followed in sequence.
3 You have other documents, Mr. Prosecutor?
4 We're still dealing with the political arena, are we
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE JORDA: We're still talking about what
8 you consider, you the Prosecution, consider to be the
9 political beliefs of the witness as regards the
10 secessionist tendencies, so please continue.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
12 Q. Well, General, let us talk about, and we'll
13 move back to the time frame in January of 1992,
14 subsequent to the meeting, and shortly after you
15 arrived back or several months before you arrived back
16 in Central Bosnia, and I ask you to take another look
17 at another document, and I also ask you, when you're
18 looking at this document, and I also ask you, when
19 you're looking at this document, to see if one of the
20 attendees was, in fact, Josip Boro, the man that you
21 first met in the Kiseljak municipality when you
22 returned in April. If I can give you this document.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecutor's Exhibit
24 630, 630A for the English version.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, General, this is a document which is the
2 excerpts from the minutes dated 27 January, 1992, from
3 a meeting of the Travnik subregional community of
4 Herceg-Bosna. It is signed by Dario Kordic and Ignac
5 Kostroman, and is one of the attendees from Kislejak
6 Josip Boro? Take a look at the front page there.
7 JUDGE JORDA: If you're sure of that, there's
8 no point in asking the witness. We see that Josip
9 Boro, president of the Kiseljak municipal assembly, was
11 MR. KEHOE: That's fine.
12 JUDGE JORDA: So let's not waste time. You
13 know, you will run out of time in the end. You should
14 say that, "We note that Mr. Josip Boro participated in
15 that meeting," and then you go on to your question. If
16 the witness challenges that, that's another matter. So
17 please go on to your question now.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Now, Josip Boro, he was the person that you
22 first met with when you came back to Kiseljak in the
23 second week of April of 1992; isn't that correct?
24 A. Yes. He held the position of president of
25 the municipal assembly of Kiseljak. He was president
1 of parliament of Kiseljak municipality.
2 Q. Now, I direct your attention on this document
3 to the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3. I will
4 read it, as it's not in French.
5 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. Usher. That would
6 be paragraph 2 in the English version. Down a little
7 bit. That's it.
8 Q. It reads as follows:
9 "The Presidency of Herceg-Bosna is asked to
10 proclaim the Bosnia and Herzegovina assembly decision
11 on the referendum illegitimate because it does not
12 reflect the actual attitude of the Croatian people in
13 these areas and to hold a referendum for the citizens
14 of Herceg-Bosna about their wish to join the Croatian
15 areas to the Republic of Croatia and this is
16 recommended for the Posavina Croatian community."
18 MR. NOBILO: I apologise to my learned friend
19 but, Mr. President, I think we again have a problem
20 with the translation. That is one point.
21 I have another. Namely, it was translated
22 into Croatian that the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna is
23 requesting that the referendum be proclaimed illegal,
24 but in the original it says that these people are
25 asking the Presidency of Herceg-Bosna to proclaim this
1 referendum illegal.
2 MR. KEHOE: That's what it says, counsel.
3 MR. NOBILO: Yes, but the Croatian
4 interpretation that reached me was different.
5 Another point I wish to make, I would suggest
6 that the witness be given time to look through the
7 document and only then should we go on to questions,
8 because a document has to be reviewed in its entirety
9 rather than in abstracts.
10 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, this
11 particular methodology was employed by the Defence
12 counsel all through the direct-examination,
13 highlighting particular points that the Defence wanted
14 to discuss. At this particular point, if the witness
15 wants to review every document, we will be here for
17 JUDGE JORDA: You are conducting the
18 cross-examination, but could the booth retranslate the
19 disputed paragraph? I suppose that the booth has the
20 text in Serbo-Croatian. Could we have the
21 Serbo-Croatian text and have it retranslated on the
22 basis of the original? Perhaps Mr. Nobilo could read
23 it to us, this paragraph.
24 Will you read it slowly?
25 MR. NOBILO: I can read it and it is hardly
2 "It is requested of the presidency of
3 Herceg-Bosna to proclaim the assembly decision of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina on a referendum as being
5 illegitimate because it doesn't represent the real view
6 of the Croatian people in these areas and that a
7 referendum be called at which the citizens of
8 Herceg-Bosna would state their views regarding joining
9 the Banovina Croatian parts to the Republic of Croatia,
10 and this is also recommended for the Posavina Croatian
12 JUDGE JORDA: "Banovina" is the word used?
13 Was the word "Banovina" used? I heard the word
14 "Banovina." Is that what you read? I'm asking the
15 booth. The interpreters heard the word "Banovina."
16 MR. NOBILO: Yes, yes. At one point mention
17 is made of "Banovina." It is stated: "Of the Banovina
18 Croatian parts of the Republic of Croatia." That is
19 parts belonging to the Banovina. At the end, the same
20 is recommended to the Posavina Croatian community.
21 That is the Croatian community in the north of
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. I think
24 perhaps that by now the witness has reviewed the text.
25 General Blaskic, I will ask the Prosecutor to
1 put his question to you.
2 A. Yes, I have, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Please go ahead, Mr. Kehoe.
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we'll get this
5 translation corrected because, obviously, the
6 translation is not complete.
7 Q. Now, General, when you met Josip Boro in
8 early April -- excuse me, the second week of April of
9 1992, did he inform you that he had represented the
10 interests of the Kiseljak area at meetings such as this
11 where they are advocating joining this Banovina? Did
12 he tell you that?
13 A. He did not inform me about those matters. I
14 have never seen this document before. I was never
15 familiar with such a request dated the 27th of January,
16 1992. At that time, I was not in Central Bosnia and,
17 personally, in those days, I did not know Josip Boro.
18 I can see here that this regional Travnik
19 community is addressing such a request but, as far as I
20 know, the referendum was a valid matter and, as far as
21 I know, this request was not implemented.
22 Q. So your testimony is that Josip Boro never
23 told you that his desire, at least, was for Central
24 Bosnia to join with the Republic of Croatia? Is that
25 your testimony?
1 A. You asked me a question in relation to this
2 document. Maybe I didn't understand you properly.
3 Josip Boro did not convey to me personally any
4 information about his participation in a meeting of
5 this kind, nor did I hear anything from Josip Boro
6 linked to this document.
7 Also, regarding the questions of joining to
8 the Republic of Croatia, I don't know which period we
9 are talking about, but I'm trying to recollect. I
10 cannot remember Josip Boro talking to me about these
12 Q. The period that we are talking about is when
13 you came to Central Bosnia in April of 1992 until you
14 were made the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
15 Zone on the 27th of June of 1992. During that period,
16 did Josip Boro tell you about what his political aims
17 were and about his goal of joining Central Bosnia to
18 the Republic of Croatia?
19 A. To me personally, I cannot recollect. I
20 can't remember that Josip Boro spoke about those things
21 at the time he was president of the municipal crisis
22 staff and of the municipal assembly of Kiseljak.
23 Q. So to summarise your contact with these
24 political leaders, Josip Boro never told you about his
25 desire for Central Bosnia to join Croatia, and neither
1 did Kordic, and neither did Kostroman. Is that your
3 A. I claim that in this period that you have
4 indicated, I never got any official information from
5 them, nor do I know that that was the official
6 position. When I say "official position," I imply
7 official documents published by the Croatian Community
8 of Herceg-Bosna and those that were binding upon me as
9 the commander.
10 Q. Well, General, how about unofficial comments
11 from these three men?
12 A. I have already said that there were
13 statements. We watched today that in January '92 there
14 were radical, emotional, and very sharp-toned
15 statements, but these were various statements at
16 different periods of political, military, and other
17 events in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
18 Perhaps that is the best description for this period
19 we're talking about.
20 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President.
21 I would note, Mr. President, just for the
22 sake of completeness, that on the attendance list, Ante
23 Sliskovic attended this particular meeting as well.
24 With the Court's permission, if I could
25 possibly just go into private session to discuss some
1 testimony that was taken in closed session, I would
2 appreciate it.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. I am explaining for the
4 benefit of the public gallery that testimony was taken
5 in closed session and we have to protect that testimony
6 again and, for that reason, we are going into private
8 (Private session)
13 redacted page 21103 (private session)
13 redacted page 21104 – private session
13 redacted page 21105 – private session
17 (Open session)
18 MR. KEHOE: If we could put Prosecutor's
19 Exhibit 572/1 back on the ELMO?
20 If we can pan back on that just a little
21 bit? Yes. Thank you.
22 Q. Now, General, if you could, could you point
23 out Anto Valenta in this photograph?
24 A. Yes, this is Mr. Anto Valenta (indicating).
25 MR. KEHOE: Just for the record,
1 Mr. President, Anto Valenta was an attendee at the
2 meeting on the 27th of January, 1992, that is depicted
3 in Exhibit 630.
4 Q. Now, tell us, General, what were Anto
5 Valenta's views on the removal of Muslims from land
6 that he believed should be controlled by the Croats?
7 A. I know that perhaps earlier on, before the
8 beginning of the war conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 he wrote a book, and in that book, he presented some of
10 his views which he formulated in the following manner:
11 How to avoid conflicts and war and how to decide upon
12 the division and he had his own approach to the
13 question linked to the division of, so to say, along
14 with avoidance of a conflict, that is, an agreed-upon
15 division, but I also know that the official stands were
16 not a reflection of those personal views, as far as I
17 know. He performed different duties, he was
18 coordinator, he was prime minister of the Croatian
19 Community of Herceg-Bosna. He spanned a wide range of
21 Q. Well, he advocated a position that he called
22 "humane resettlement"; isn't that right?
23 A. Yes, he personally advocated that position
24 and he published that in his book, and I do believe
25 that the book was published before the war broke out in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, perhaps at the beginning of 1992
2 but I'm not quite sure. I personally did not discuss
3 those matters with him.
4 Q. Well, explain to the Judges this concept of
5 "humane resettlement." What are we talking about
7 A. It was not my conception for me to be able to
8 know about it fully, but I know that Valenta published
9 this concept in his book and they were his views, and
10 according to him, it meant the resettlement of a
11 certain section of the population from one area to
12 another with the aim of avoiding a war. That is how he
13 formulated it, at least, in that book of his.
14 Q. This particular policy was a policy that came
15 down to Central Bosnia from Dr. Franjo Tudjman, didn't
17 A. I don't know where the idea came from.
18 Probably he cited the literature that he used to help
19 him write his book. I don't know where he got the
20 affinity from as a technologist and engineer of
21 technology, why he delved in demography, whether that
22 was an affinity of his or what it was, but I have no
23 information that this idea came to him. Perhaps it
24 did, but I personally have no information as to that,
25 whether the idea came from Dr. Franjo Tudjman or from
1 somebody else, and let me also say in passing that I
2 have not read any book by Dr. Franjo Tudjman and I have
3 no information of the kind.
4 Q. Well, you were present when Valenta publicly
5 articulated this position, weren't you?
6 A. Valenta articulated his positions in front of
7 various officials. I remember I was present on one
8 occasion, but I don't remember all the details of what
9 he said. They were his views, they were quite
10 certainly not my own views as he presented and
11 articulated them, and Valenta later on did not take
12 part in the press conferences but organised his own
13 press conferences as a civilian official of the powers
14 that be.
15 Q. Well, General, one of the Defence witnesses,
16 Martin Bell, testified, did he not, that Valenta
17 publicly articulated this humane resettlement view at a
18 press conference where you were in attendance. Do you
19 recall his testimony in that regard?
20 MR. KEHOE: For reference purposes, counsel,
21 I'm referring to pages 17619 through 17621.
22 A. Not only did he publicly articulate those
23 views, quite possibly on that occasion I doubt that
24 that was so. He wrote the book, he wrote a pro memoria
25 which he sent to the officials of the European
1 Monitoring Mission as well.
2 But I repeat once again, for me they were not
3 binding positions. He presented his views before the
4 conflict actually arose in Bosnia-Herzegovina that his
5 book is about, or the book that he published. I state
6 once again possibly he did say things of that kind at a
7 press conference in my presence, but they are not my
8 own positions or views.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, he noted this at a press conference
11 in the presence of you, and in the presence of Kordic,
12 and in the presence of Kostroman, the three senior
13 political people in Central Bosnia.
14 A. He said this probably in reply to the
15 question that was put to him, and I have already told
16 the Trial Chamber here that if the question is related
17 to military matters, I would answer that a question of
18 that kind. If the questions refer to civilian matters,
19 then one of the civilian officials attending the
20 conference would respond to them. Political questions
21 were answered by the political representatives. So I
22 don't know what context he said this in and I can't
23 remember at the moment. If I were to see the document,
24 perhaps that would refresh my memory.
25 I do not doubt that he said it. I know that
1 at that conference he stated that and he wrote about it
2 but, once again, I would like to emphasise that I
3 received orders from the chief of the main staff, and I
4 didn't base myself on individual views.
5 Q. Well, if we could take a look at Prosecutor's
6 Exhibit 460.
7 MR. KEHOE: If I may, Judge, I will be
8 referring to this document, so if I could give it to
9 the respective booths. I think it would be helpful
10 during the course of the translation. There is a
11 French copy of this document.
12 Q. This was a document received by international
13 agencies in May of 1993. I will not read all of it,
14 General, and I realise it is in English. The first
15 paragraph that I will read is on page 1. You can put
16 it up, Mr. Usher, a little bit.
17 It is on the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 HVO stationary, and it is entitled "Enabling People in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina Life in a Safer, Healthier, and
20 Happier Surroundings."
21 Just up a little bit, Mr. Usher.
22 "What would be considered human and civilised
23 is helping people interchange places where they live,
24 apartments, family houses, or vocations no matter what
25 intentions or causes make them do so."
1 Can we turn the page, Mr. Usher, and we'll
2 start with the first full paragraph beginning, "Muslims
3 do not allow..." Just down a little bit. Thank you.
4 "Muslims do not allow migrations or
5 interchanging apartments and houses in Croat majority
6 provinces no matter how much it is wanted on either of
7 the sides in question. The reason for such an attitude
8 is their hope that the increase of the population will
9 make them the majority people not only in the
10 municipalities with a slight Muslim majority but in
11 those with Croat majority as well. For example, there
12 are 25,000 Croats in Zenica. Most of them express the
13 wish to move to Vitez or Busovaca, but the Muslim
14 authorities in Zenica do not allow them too. They
15 would rather keep them in Zenica where they are
16 detained and harassed. Muslims of Vitez and Busovaca
17 are ordered not to arrange the exchange of apartments
18 or houses with Croats of Zenica.
19 "Anyway, this pressure will have no affect.
20 Croats will move into provinces where they are the
21 majority of people."
22 Just move it up a little bit more, and start
23 with "For hundreds of years..."
24 "For hundreds of years, Islam and the bysant
25 Serbian culture have been imposed on Croats. What they
1 felt as a pressure that made them immigrate from
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina to Croatian, Western Europe, and
4 "What exactly does it mean? About a thousand
5 mosques were built in the past 50 years, all of them
6 having high minarets. Approximately the same number of
7 religious schools, mejtef, is built. Over 5.000
8 wide-range sound boxes are installed in them. The
9 minarets are rather a dominating sign showing that the
10 area under them belongs to Muslims, that that is a part
11 of their religious heritage. Even in the smallest
12 ethnically clean Muslim village (of a mixed one) there
13 must be a mosque, a minaret, a powerful sound box. For
14 three minutes, four times a day, you can hear the
15 screaming of the Muslim prayer. For Croats and Serbs,
16 melodically primitive Arabian song, which if imposed to
17 be their future, frightens and scares. All this
18 resulted in their revolt.
19 "To be honest, churches have bells too but
20 they toll for only 20 seconds a day.
21 "Muslims never wonder if anyone else minds
22 that the children sleep and elders rest. Teachers and
23 professors stop their lectures during the prayers while
24 their pupils laugh. Croats and Serbs whose houses are
25 in the very vicinity of these buildings can hardly wait
1 for the moment to move away. Muslims know that, so
2 they are building more and more."
3 Can we turn the page, Mr. Usher, to the
4 bottom of the page beginning with the paragraph "If we
5 add up all this evil..."
6 "If we add to this evil all the incidents
7 that happen in Travnik (burning down Croatian flags,
8 murders, stealing property, burglaries into Croatian
9 apartments and houses, and violence moving into
10 Croatian apartments and houses) then the conclusion is
11 evident: The mistrust and hatred between the two of
12 the peoples is so high that it becomes a burden to live
13 together; there has to be a way that could provide
14 either of the two a safer, healthier, and happier
16 "It is clear by itself that human migrations
17 should be considered for the benefit of both nations."
18 Now, this was the view, this human migration
19 view that was articulated in your presence at the press
20 conference; isn't it?
21 A. This view -- I wasn't able to see date of the
22 document, but I know that he wrote the document and
23 that Mr. Valenta expressed that view. However, I would
24 like to say at this point that in a civil war, which
25 existed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the views of the UNHCR,
1 which I spoke about, were not unified with regard to
2 the resettlement of categories of the population. I
3 explained to the Trial Chamber the problems that I
4 myself was confronted with.
5 I do not support this material, regardless of
6 all the problems that we encountered in the field. So
7 what Mr. Valenta wrote here, I don't support those
8 views, and I think that on one occasion I stated that
9 clearly to (redacted), in the course of our
11 The document was written by Mr. Valenta and
12 was probably sent to (redacted) as well, but I don't
13 understand the language and didn't have the document in
14 my own language to read through.
15 I would just like to remind the Trial Chamber
16 that the UNHCR had one set of views in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled by the army of the
18 Republika Srpska as with regard to the resettlement of
19 the population, and they resettled the casualties of
20 the conflict to areas controlled by the HVO forces and
21 the BH army forces. It had other criteria in areas
22 controlled by the BH army and the HVO, and that is that
23 any movement of the population, even due to the dangers
24 of war within that civil war, represented ethnic
25 cleansing, whereas at the same time the International
1 Red Cross and UNPROFOR advocated the theory of complete
2 freedom of movement under wartime conditions of that
3 kind. So this was a confusion of views and stands that
4 I mentioned earlier on.
5 I would like to say that May was a month when
6 we once again had a joint command in operation of the
7 armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, made up of
8 General Petkovic and Halilovic, that is to say, at a
9 lower level, and I myself and the commander of the
10 3rd Corps, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and this statement and
11 this document, that is to say, it is a document by
12 Mr. Anto Valenta.
13 Q. You didn't agree with this view but you
14 agreed with the views of Mayor Santic; didn't you?
15 Isn't that what you said on direct-examination?
16 A. With the views of Mayor Santic or with the
17 majority of his views I did agree with, yes, because he
18 had a rational approach to many questions and
19 problems. I did not agree with all his views but I did
20 agree with some of them. I worked in the direction of
21 ensuring survival and life in the region. From
22 Travnik, Zenica, and other areas, the Croats had been
23 expelled and the Croats came to the Lasva pocket as a
24 result of that.
25 Q. Did you agree with Santic's views on
2 A. I think that the views of Mr. Santic were
3 radically different from Mr. Valenta's, and that within
4 the context of a possible war and the situation that
5 existed, he put forward certain views, but I know full
6 well that for many Bosniak Muslims, Mr. Santic offered
7 assistance and protection. He would send me
8 information which enabled me to undertake measures,
9 probably, not sufficiently efficacious, to provide
10 protection for all the citizens of that Vitez area,
11 including Muslims, Bosniaks, Romanies, Serbs, and
12 everybody else who lived there, thanks to the
13 information I got from Mr. Santic.
14 Q. Did you agree with Santic's view on
16 MR. HAYMAN: Could we know what it is,
17 Mr. President? What --
18 MR. KEHOE: He knows.
19 MR. HAYMAN: What is it?
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this witness was
21 the one that was dealing with Santic. The witness
22 knows what Santic's views are. Let the witness
24 MR. HAYMAN: We have to have a record,
25 Mr. President. We can't have a secrete communication
1 between anyone in the courtroom. There has to be a
2 record of what is meant by a question and what is meant
3 by the answer. That's elementary, absolutely
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, can you try to be
6 more precise in the way you formulate your question?
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Did Santic have a view, a position, on the
9 resettlement of the Muslim population and on the Croat
10 population in the Lasva Valley?
11 A. I have already said that he had a
12 diametrically contrary view to Mr. Valenta and that he
13 endeavoured, and we saw this in the previous document,
14 that whereas the -- while the conflict existed in
15 Busovaca, the document that you showed me a moment ago,
16 in Vitez a meeting was being held on the creation of a
17 joint government, a Croatian and Bosniak Muslim
18 government, and I know that he did everything in his
19 power to ensure coexistence with the Bosniak Muslims.
20 Now, whether at some stage when the situation
21 was one of conflict, I don't know what his views were
22 then, but as a consequence of the situation in the
23 field, I don't know that. I do know that like me, he
24 was against the evacuation of Romanies from the Vitez
25 municipality, and that thanks to the information that
1 he gave me, those people remained living in Vitez and
2 the Romanies continued to live in the Vitez
3 municipality, although they were to have been resettled
5 For me, Mr. Santic did everything in the
6 framework of his possibilities to ensure coexistence
7 amongst all citizens living in the Vitez area.
8 MR. KEHOE: If we could go into private
9 session briefly, Mr. President?
10 JUDGE JORDA: All right then.
11 (Private session)
8 redacted pages 21120 – 21130 – private session
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
21 5.25 p.m., to be reconvened on
22 Thursday, the 6th day of May, 1999, at
23 3.30 p.m.