1 Monday, 10th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.10 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. I would like
5 to have our witness brought in, please.
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the
8 interpreters, to the court stenographers, to the Office
9 of the Prosecutor, and to Defence counsel.
10 Good afternoon, General Blaskic.
11 For the public gallery, let me tell you that
12 this is the part of the trial when the accused is
13 testifying under oath, and this is the
14 cross-examination which is being conducted by the
15 Prosecution, which still has some days that are left
16 which was calculated very carefully at the end of the
17 morning on Friday.
18 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
19 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
20 afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, Counsel.
21 Good afternoon, General.
22 A. Good day, Mr. Prosecutor.
23 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
25 Q. Let us address ourselves, General, to
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/95, and we will complete our
2 analysis of Kiseljak.
3 Again, General, for the record, this is the
4 excerpt of the minutes of the Croatian Defence Council
5 of Central Bosnia 22nd September, 1992, and under the
6 heading dealing with the situations in municipalities,
7 in Kiseljak, Kiseljak reads as follows:
8 "The HVO is in complete control, however
9 there are frequent conflicts with respect to the
10 competencies of military and civilian authority.
11 Almost all enterprises are working. Salaries are paid
12 in Croatian dinars. After the conflict with the
13 Muslims, which was staged by the leaders from Sarajevo
14 through mujahedins, the situation is quite stable.
15 Military HVO authority is dominant."
16 Now, General, that particular paragraph
17 accurately reflects the situation in Kiseljak as of the
18 latter part of September of 1992 where the HVO was in
19 total and complete control of that municipality; isn't
20 that right?
21 A. This document does describe the document,
22 although it doesn't actually match the state of affairs
23 there because at that time, and we saw this from other
24 evidence, in the area of the municipality of Kiseljak,
25 there was a war presidency which was established for
1 the municipality of Kiseljak within the segment of
2 civilian authority, and that war presidency functions
3 as an entire civilian authority towards the Bosniak
4 Muslims of Kiseljak whereas the civilian authority of
5 the municipality of the HVO functions vis-à-vis the
6 Croats of the municipality of Kiseljak.
7 As for the military part, in September, there
8 weren't any major problems. After the conflict in
9 Duhri was taken care of and the staff of the
10 Territorial Defence operated in the same building where
11 the HVO staff was and the cooperation there was quite
12 good, which can be seen from my document which is
13 Defence Exhibit -- let me just recall that -- 395,
14 dated the 10th of August, 1992, when, after the meeting
15 with Dzemo Merdan, I issued an order in which, in
16 particular in item 6, it is obvious that I am recalling
17 an agreement and saying that it should be made possible
18 for the members of the Territorial Defence to function.
19 Your Honours, already on the 9th of August,
20 that is to say, only one day after the conflict was
21 taken care of, on the line against the Serbs we
22 established cooperation, we defended our positions
23 together, and we used HVO vehicles to transport army
24 from Bilalovac to the front line against the Serbs; and
25 the document as a whole certainly does not reflect the
1 actual state of affairs on the territory of the
2 municipality of Kiseljak.
3 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, General.
4 Mr. President, to move matters along, these
5 are two communiqués. The first is a communiqué from
6 the Muslims of Kiseljak dated the 16th of October of
7 1992 calling for the legal institutions of Kiseljak to
8 be involved in the democratic process and complaining
9 about the usurpation of power by the HVO. Naturally,
10 this is dated after the 22nd of September meeting where
11 the HVO notes that they have taken full control of
13 We are not going to read these documents,
14 Mr. President. We are simply going to offer them at
15 this point into the record and move on to the next
17 If I can also give the -- when the usher is
18 finished -- provide the usher with the next document
19 which is again another request for a meeting by the
20 Muslims of Kiseljak and they want to meet with members
21 of the HDZ Party to restore cooperation between the
23 THE REGISTRAR: This is 638, 638A for the
24 English version and 639 and 639A for the English
25 version, and these are Prosecution Exhibits. Sorry,
1 it's 638 and 639.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we are simply
3 placing these in the record at this time. We will move
4 on to the next series of questions.
5 Q. Now, General --
6 JUDGE JORDA: Are you changing subjects now
7 or are you still talking about Kiseljak, Mr. Kehoe?
8 MR. KEHOE: We are moving to Busovaca.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right then.
10 These exhibits have been tendered, and are they
11 accepted, 638 and 639; is that correct?
12 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
13 Q. Now, General, the next area that we would
14 like to discuss with you is the municipality of
15 Busovaca. During May of 1992, you made several trips
16 to Busovaca, did you not, to meet with people like
17 Pasko Ljubicic and Filip Filipovic and Zarko Tole;
18 isn't that correct?
19 A. Just a minute, please. At the beginning of
20 May 1992, I met Pasko Ljubicic, but it wasn't my
21 intention to meet up with him. The commander of the
22 HVO, Tomislav Trutina, of the municipal staff, that is,
23 he invited me to come to Tisovac, and that is where I
24 met Pasko Ljubicic --
25 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, for the time
1 being, let's try to focus things here. The question
2 was not to know whether -- why, under what conditions
3 you met Pasko Ljubicic. If that question was asked, I
4 think you will be able to answer it. But I think that
5 the question was to find out whether or not, in fact,
6 you did meet Pasko Ljubicic at the beginning of May
7 1992. I think the question was very simple, you can
8 just simply answer simply, and you will see what
9 follows in the next questions.
10 A. Certainly, Mr. President. If the question is
11 whether I met Pasko Ljubicic in May, I would have
12 responded straightaway "Yes." But, sorry, that is not
13 the kind of interpretation I received.
14 MR. HAYMAN: In English, Mr. President, the
15 question was: Did you go to Busovaca in May to meet
16 with people like Pasko Ljubicic? So the question was:
17 Did you go there with the purpose of meeting him? That
18 was the English translation (sic). I don't know what
19 the other translations were. Thank you.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Well, let's not get into
21 semantics here. We want to be sure that the
22 proceedings are efficient, rapid, and balanced.
23 All right, Mr. Kehoe, please ask the question
24 again; that is, whether or not the witness met with
25 Pasko Ljubicic.
1 MR. KEHOE:
2 Q. Did you meet with Pasko Ljubicic and Filip
4 A. Your Honours, at the beginning of May 1992, I
5 did meet Pasko Ljubicic at the reception desk of the
6 hotel and I was sitting at a table with Colonel Filip
7 Filipovic and I saw him --
8 JUDGE JORDA: You met him. All right. So
9 you met him then. All right. You saw him.
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Was this in the municipality of Busovaca?
13 A. Yes. It was in the municipality of Busovaca.
14 Q. Did you meet Zarko Tole?
15 A. Him? Around the 23rd of May, I also saw him
16 in the municipality of Busovaca, yes.
17 Q. Let me show you Prosecutor's 208. This is a
18 document that's dated the 10th of May, 1992, from
19 Busovaca, and it is signed by HVO vice-president Dario
20 Kordic and the commander of the municipal HVO
21 headquarters in Busovaca, Ivo Brnada. I focus you to
22 paragraphs 1, 2, and 3, General, the first paragraph
23 reading as follows. If we can move that up a bit,
24 Mr. Usher. Thank you. Up the other way. No, no, no.
25 Yes, thank you, 1, 2, and 3. Up a little. Thank you.
1 "1. The agreement between the HVO and the
2 so-called Busovaca (Territorial Defence) on the
3 distribution of weapons is hereby terminated, and it
4 has been decided that the Busovaca HVO forces take over
5 all weapons, equipment, material, as well as the
7 "2. The town of Busovaca is to be
8 completely blocked from all sides.
9 "3. All paramilitary formations (the
10 so-called TO), individuals and others are given the
11 ultimatum to hand over all weapons in their possession
12 by Sunday 1200 hours or to place themselves under HVO
13 command, which includes the wearing of HVO insignia."
14 Turn the page, please, Mr. Usher.
15 "7. The mobilisation of all Busovaca HVO
16 forces is to be completed.
17 "8. The SJS/Public Security Station/ is to
18 be taken over and the Busovaca Police Station is to be
19 established. Until the police station is established,
20 the only institution in Busovaca in charge of law and
21 order which will ensure that all HVO decisions are
22 respected is the HVO Military Police which is hereby
23 granted overall authority."
24 Lastly, number 11.
25 "11. The municipal Crisis Committee is
1 dismissed in accordance with the orders of the HVO and
2 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and the
3 Busovaca HVO is to take over all authority."
4 General, the date of this document is the
5 10th of May, 1992, one day before you issue your order
6 declaring that the Territorial Defence is illegal;
7 isn't that correct?
8 A. I don't know which document you're talking
9 about exactly because I haven't got that document with
10 me, the one that I issued --
11 Q. Excuse me, General.
12 MR. KEHOE: Show the witness Exhibit 502,
13 Prosecutor's 502.
14 Q. This is the document we discussed yesterday,
15 General. I would have thought you would have
16 remembered it. I apologise if we haven't done so, and
17 you can briefly take a look at this document.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Yesterday was Sunday, Counsel,
19 in case you don't remember.
20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you very much, Counsel, for
21 the reminder.
22 Q. This is your order of 11 May, 1992 in
23 response to an order by Ante Roso of 8 May, 1992. Do
24 you have that document before you, General?
25 A. Yes, I have the document 502. In document
1 502, the date is the 11th of May, and it invokes the
2 order I got from the main staff, signed by General Ante
4 JUDGE JORDA: We've already spoken about this
5 document already.
6 Mr. Kehoe, please ask the question. We don't
7 have to go through a whole discussion. We just want an
8 answer to the question that you want to ask.
9 MR. KEHOE: The answer to the question was
10 the 11th of May, which is, in fact, a day after the
11 order signed by Dario Kordic that we just examined.
12 Q. Let us look at the next document which is
13 Prosecutor's 209.
14 A. Your Honours, with regard to this document of
15 the Prosecution which I received, it is 208, I wish to
16 say that the first time I saw this document was in this
17 courtroom. As regards the contents of this document, I
18 never talked to the authors. I should like to say that
19 this document also shows what I testified to, and that
20 is the interlinkage between the civilian and military
21 matters, because the civilian and military authority
22 who signed this document, it also shows --
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, General. I interrupt
24 the witness because there is no question on the floor.
25 The witness is taking Prosecution time, and the
1 Prosecutor would like to ask questions on Prosecutor's
2 209. If the witness wants to say additional things on
3 this document, there will be more than adequate time on
5 Q. I apologise, General, but my time is limited,
6 and I want to move to Prosecutor's 209.
7 A. All right. I wanted to say something about
8 document 208 which was shown to me, and I didn't say a
10 Q. You will have an opportunity to do that on
11 redirect examination with your counsel, Mr. Nobilo.
12 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I would like to
13 object to the way in which the questioning is going
14 on. This is the third document that is being shown to
15 General Blaskic and no questions are being put to him.
16 Documents are supposed to be a basis for questions. We
17 also had two other documents from Kiseljak that were
18 introduced and no questions were put. These are not
19 the closing arguments.
20 JUDGE JORDA: This is not a final argument,
21 but we are counting the time that's going by.
22 Let me remind you and let me remind the
23 Prosecution as well that the Trial Chamber, under 90(G)
24 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, I must say this
25 slowly, it has the following powers:
1 The Trial Chamber has control over the way
2 the examinations are made and the presentation of
3 evidence, as well as the order in which they are going
4 to be made so that, first, the presentation of the
5 evidence will be effective for the ascertainment of the
6 truth and, secondly, to avoid any useless waste of
8 I want to exercise the power given to me by
9 Rule 90(G) so that the time the Prosecutor has is not
10 wasted with too many digressions on the part of all
12 Having said this, let me turn to Mr. Nobilo
13 and Mr. Hayman to say that you know that the rights of
14 the accused have been respected scrupulously, but we
15 must also respect the possibility the Prosecutor would
16 have to express himself. Therefore, the Prosecutor
17 must make the connections between the documents that he
18 thinks should be connected to one another, and if the
19 witness feels that there must be comments about the
20 documents, the Judge will ask him to do so.
21 Mr. Prosecutor, please proceed.
22 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. We are focusing, General, on Prosecutor's
24 Exhibit 209, and this is a document from the HVO in
25 Busovaca dated 22 May, 1992, signed again by Dario
1 Kordic. On this particular document, it is signed in
2 addition by the president of the Busovaca HVO command,
3 Florijan Glavocevic.
4 "1. The total blockade of the city of
5 Busovaca established in all the directions according to
6 the orders number 62/92 from 10 May, 1992 issued by the
7 Busovaca HVO Municipal Command is abolished and the HVO
8 forces in Busovaca are ordered to guard the important
9 buildings on the municipal territory in the future,
10 according to the order of the commander of the Busovaca
11 HVO Municipal Command. In charge of the realisation of
12 this order is the commander of the Busovaca HVO
13 Municipal Command."
14 Let us move down to 4.
15 "4. Because the HVO of the Busovaca
16 municipality is leading the whole organisation of life
17 and defence of Busovaca, the Busovaca Municipal
18 Assembly, Busovaca Municipal Executive Council, and the
19 Busovaca Municipal Crisis Command will not do their
20 duties any more, nor will they make any decisions,
21 until the conditions are improved.
22 5. The internal organisation and the
23 responsibilities of the governmental bodies of the
24 Busovaca Municipal Assembly will be regulated by a
25 special order of the Busovaca HVO Municipal Command.
1 7. This order will take effect
3 Again, General, this particular document that
4 was executed on the 22nd of May making the HVO the
5 pre-eminent authority in Busovaca is issued at the same
6 time the HVO is taking control of the Kiseljak
7 municipality where you are located; isn't that
9 A. No. I want to comment on this document too,
10 and I disagree that the situation in Kiseljak was the
11 same as it was in Busovaca.
12 My testimony, Your Honours, is based on the
13 following, that every municipality in Central Bosnia
14 was a state within a state, and we saw that in
15 Kiseljak. In Busovaca, though, the agreement on the
16 joint distribution of arms was abolished, and in
17 Kiseljak, it was done.
18 Further on, civilian authority in this
19 document too deals with civilian and military matters,
20 which is to say that the municipality, look at item 1,
21 gives a task to the military commander at municipal
22 level. Also in this other document, I don't know its
23 number, but it's dated the 8th of July, 1992, the
24 municipality of Kiseljak, which is being offered by the
25 members of the crisis staff of the municipality of
1 Kiseljak from the ranks of the Bosniak Muslim people,
2 we have seen that this was a democratic offer to reach
3 an agreement to the effect of maintaining good
4 relations and to reach agreement on setting up a war
5 presidency, and the war presidency had already been set
6 up, that is to say, that this is a trick, that they are
7 offering to meet and to set up a body which had already
8 been set up.
9 In Kiseljak, at least from July onwards,
10 there was a war presidency that was functioning
11 vis-à-vis the Bosniak Muslim people, and there was the
12 HVO that was functioning vis-à-vis the Croat people.
13 I'm talking about the civilian authorities. So in
14 Busovaca, the situation was quite different from the
15 situation in Kiseljak. These are like states within a
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. General, let us turn our attention again to
20 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/95. On this document, I ask
21 you to take a look at the situation in the Busovaca
22 municipality as of the 22nd of September, 1992. I
23 remind you, General, that you were in attendance at
24 this meeting described as part of the working
1 A. Yes. I was the only member of the presidency
2 never to have received a copy of the minutes and never
3 to have signed it, and all the other members had signed
5 Q. The agenda on the front page of this on
6 number 1, General, is the implementation of decisions
7 to establish HVO authority. If you could turn to the
8 situation in the Busovaca municipality, the first two
9 sentences read as follows:
10 "The HVO authority was set up on 9 May,
11 1992. The HVO is the only authority. However, the
12 setting up of the Muslim People's Council is a
14 By the 22nd of September, when the HVO is in
15 complete control of Kiseljak, they also note that the
16 HVO is the only authority in Busovaca; isn't that
18 A. I said that the situation on the ground was
19 as follows: I'm sure that I said that in September --
20 I mean, I'm talking about the civilian authorities.
21 There was a war presidency of the municipality of
22 Kiseljak that was functioning that consisted of Muslim
23 Bosniak representatives, and also there was an HVO that
24 was functioning. I don't know whether that was the
25 situation in Busovaca in September, but later on, I
1 know that in Busovaca also there was a war presidency
2 of the Muslim Bosniak people and the HVO authority.
3 There was dual authority on the ground, and I'm talking
4 about what it was like on the ground.
5 Q. Now, General, you were promoted to commander
6 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone as of the 27th of
7 June, 1992 to assist the HVO in solidifying its
8 authority in municipalities such as Vitez which had not
9 fully come under the HVO umbrella; isn't that right?
10 A. That is quite incorrect because I was not
11 promoted on the 27th of June; I was appointed to a
12 post, and that is not a promotion. Secondly, I had at
13 least two priority obligations: to organise the
14 defence at the front line and also to create armed
16 As for civilian authority, I did not
17 cooperate with them, except for this meeting and
18 perhaps another meeting. As regards the implementation
19 of civilian matters, at meetings with the
20 representatives of the SDA, et cetera, as for these
21 forms of activity, I practically did not have any
22 contact at all. I was not appointed as commander of
23 the Operative Zone in order to establish civilian
24 authority of the HVO in Central Bosnia. That was not
25 my line of work.
1 Q. Let us examine the situation in Vitez.
2 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we are moving now
3 to the Vitez municipality.
4 Q. Let us examine the situation in Vitez before
5 you took over and then we'll examine the situation in
6 Vitez after you took over. I ask you at this point to
7 take a look at three Defence Exhibits, and these are
8 Defence Exhibits 13, 14, and 15, which are Vitez
9 municipality crisis staff meetings from the 9th of May,
10 the 12th of May, and the 22nd of May respectively.
11 We are not going to read all of these
12 documents, General. I will focus your attention on
13 various portions of these documents and ask you
14 questions after I have focused your attention on these
16 A. As regards your first question, what the
17 situation was like in Vitez before I was appointed, I
18 can answer that I don't know because --
19 Q. General, there is no question on the floor at
20 this point, so I will have to stop you at this
21 particular juncture.
22 A. Sorry. Sorry. I heard that question in your
23 introduction. That's the kind of interpretation I got.
24 Q. General, examine these three documents
25 starting with Defence Exhibit 13. We will start with
1 Defence Exhibit 13, and I focus your attention on
2 paragraph 9.
3 Now, in paragraph 9, it notes -- and this is
4 a Vitez municipal crisis staff document, minutes,
5 signed by the president of the crisis staff, Ivan
6 Santic: (as read)
7 "9. It is necessary to establish up a
8 single operative defence body, consisting of two
9 representatives of the HVO, the Territorial Defence,
10 and the Ministry of the Interior MUP, who will draw up
11 the defence plans for the Vitez municipality and will
12 take care of all activities related to defence. The
13 operative body will consist of: the HVO Commander, the
14 TO Commander, the head of the MUP, and two members of
15 the HVO and TO chosen by the operative staff."
16 Let us turn to the next document. This is
17 the 12 May, 1992, which is Defence Exhibit 14. Again,
18 we are going to focus on those paragraphs where -- if
19 we can put that on there, Mr. Usher, 14? We are going
20 to focus on those paragraphs where the TO is working
21 together with the HVO.
22 Let us look at number 3 and number 7:
23 (as read)
24 "3. The HVO police and the TO must raise
25 discipline of the armed personnel during curfews to an
1 acceptable level.
2 "7. HVO and TO commanders are charged with
3 certifying absence for work for people assigned to the
4 HVO and TO. The conclusion is to be forwarded to
6 "9. It is necessary to hold a meeting with
7 representatives of HDZ and SDA branches in local
8 communities. The meeting is to be attended by
9 representatives of the parties of the municipality."
10 It is signed by again -- actually, the
11 document is from the crisis staff commander, Ivan
13 Then the last document is Defence 15, and
14 that is crisis staff conclusions as of the 22nd of May,
15 1992, concerning a conflict that took place at the
16 Vitez Hotel and notes: (as read)
17 "1. Commanders of the TO and the HVO and
18 the Chief of the Public Security Section should keep
19 police forces in a state of readiness and, if
20 necessary, mobilise additional carefully chosen
21 military units for the preservation of order and
22 peace. State of readiness should remain in force until
23 further notice."
24 So, General, for a time prior to your
25 appointment as the commander of the Central Bosnian
1 Operative Zone, the Muslims and the Croats in the Vitez
2 municipality appeared to get along, didn't they?
3 A. The Muslims were doing well in terms of
4 negotiating with Croats in Kiseljak, and at the time
5 described in these documents, I was not in Vitez, I had
6 not set my foot in Vitez until July, but from these
7 documents I can say that it is clear that the civilian
8 authorities are in command or have authority over the
9 HVO, and the municipal crisis staffs issued direct
10 orders to the commanders and units of both the TO and
11 the HVO in terms of military affairs, and as we saw,
12 the cooperation between the two was good in the Vitez
13 municipality in the previous period.
14 Q. Well, shortly after your appointment to the
15 position as commander of the Central Bosnian Operative
16 Zone, the HVO began to solidify its position in Vitez
17 in the same fashion as they solidified their positions
18 in Kiseljak and Busovaca; isn't that right?
19 A. No, that is not correct. I did not deal with
20 this issue of consolidation of Vitez at that time.
21 Whenever I identified the most urgent problems, such as
22 the situation in Jajce, I would go there. The only
23 role for the -- Novi Travnik and Vitez was to send
24 troops to -- reinforcements to Jajce so that we could
25 defend it against attacks of the army of Republika
2 Q. General, you, as a military commander, were
3 part of the overall plan of the HVO to take over
4 municipalities such as Kiseljak, Busovaca, and
5 thereafter Vitez, weren't you?
6 A. No, I never even saw such a comprehensive
8 Q. Well, let us look at and examine a few of the
9 protests by the Muslims that were filed after, and
10 shortly after, you took over as commander of Central
11 Bosnia, and the first one, Mr. President, is one dated
12 12 July, 1992.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Is this a Prosecution or
14 Defence Exhibit?
15 THE REGISTRAR: This is a Prosecution
16 Exhibit, it is a new document, 640, and 640A for the
17 English version.
18 MR. KEHOE: This document, unfortunately, is
19 not in French, Mr. President. I would read it slowly.
20 As I noted previously, the date is 12 July, 1992 --
21 JUDGE JORDA: Are you going to read the
22 entire document, or do you want to concentrate on a
23 specific point?
24 MR. KEHOE: I will concentrate on a specific
25 point, Mr. President, if that is acceptable to the
2 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you had better. It would
3 be better for you to define things.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Ask your question, and if the
6 witness wants to look at the entire text, then he, of
7 course, can. But what kind of document is it?
8 MR. KEHOE: This particular document,
9 Mr. President, is a protest coming from the SDA Party,
10 the Party of Democratic Party, which was the Muslim
11 Party, against the actions of the HVO, and it is a
12 press release, Mr. President, that speaks about a
13 meeting of the executive board of the Vitez SDA that
14 took place on 11 July, 1992, and in this particular
15 document, the Muslims discuss the setting up of a
16 coordination board for the protection of the interests
17 of Muslims.
18 Q. But the focus of my attention, Mr. President,
19 is the second-to-last paragraph, which notes as
20 follows, General:
21 "The Muslims of Vitez do not recognise --"
22 JUDGE JORDA: Please speak slowly. All
23 right. You say that in Vitez they did not recognise --
24 what was it?
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. " -- the Herceg-Bosna HVO as a body of
2 authority and consider its decisions to be invalid.
3 The Muslims in Vitez will respect the legally elected
4 bodies of authority but will recognise future changes
5 only if they are in conformity with valid laws, the
6 decisions of the Vitez/Municipal Assembly/ and the
7 platform of the BH State Presidency."
8 Now, General, how long after your appointment
9 as commander of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone was
10 this document issued?
11 A. This document was issued some 15 days after
12 my appointment, but it is clear that the document was
13 issued by the Party of Democratic Action, and I believe
14 that it sent it to the civilian authorities of the
15 Vitez municipality. It is signed by the Information
16 Committee of the Coordinating Board for the Protection
17 of the Interests of Muslims which then grew into the
18 war presidency of the Vitez municipality.
19 I was not part of the civilian authorities of
20 the Vitez municipality, and I believe that they did
21 correspond and that they did negotiate and make
22 agreements, but this has nothing to do with me. I, for
23 instance, incidentally, had set up my headquarters in
24 the village of Kruscica, which was a majority Muslim
1 MR. KEHOE: If I may move to the next
3 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
4 641, 641A for the English version.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. This again, General, is a press release that
7 emanates from the Vitez Coordinating Board for the
8 Protection of the Interests of Muslims from a meeting
9 dated 21 July, 1992, and I focus your attention to the
10 subject of taxes, a matter which you discussed in your
11 questions in response to Mr. Nobilo's questions --
12 excuse me, your answers in response to Mr. Nobilo's
13 questions, and it notes that:
14 "In respect of para-state institutions (of
15 the HVO Government), we believe that the taxes
16 introduced by the said institutions carry no legality,
17 given that the required approval was not received from
18 the Vitez / Municipal Assembly / board members. We
19 support the introduction of certain taxes in order to
20 fund the explicit needs arising from the circumstances
21 of war, but it is imperative that they be introduced
22 through the legal bodies of the authorities and on the
23 principles of budgetary expenditure."
24 Now, General, when the HVO issued these
25 particular taxes, they imposed these taxes on Muslims
1 as well as on Croats, didn't they?
2 A. I was not a member of any of the boards which
3 were adopting these decisions, but if you just show me
4 a document, I can comment on it, but from what I know,
5 taxes were collected in such a way that the HVO
6 collected it from the Croats and then the coordinating
7 board, committee, or the war presidency which consisted
8 of Bosniak Muslims, collected both taxes and other
9 contributions from the Muslims and which can be seen
10 from the document which reflects this tax collection
11 practice, and this shows that I have no influence in
12 tax collecting because it was the municipal government
13 bodies which were also paying for the military
14 structures. I was not a member of the civilian
15 structures. I would have to read the entire document
16 to perhaps see anything that I may have missed.
17 Q. Was it clear to you, General, that the
18 Muslims were unhappy about the imposition of taxes as
19 enacted by the HVO?
20 JUDGE JORDA: One second. I thought I saw
21 somebody in the public gallery who was making a
22 telephone call. I wanted to be sure that security
23 prevents that sort of incident. All right. You can
24 continue, please.
25 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. General, my question to you was: Was it
2 clear to you that the Muslims were unhappy about the
3 HVO's imposition of taxes?
4 A. First, if we're talking about imposing taxes,
5 nobody -- no authority is happy if they have to pay any
6 taxes when the whole system has collapsed, when
7 communication had broken down. What I was talking
8 about was the situation in the field, and we saw that
9 from the document in respect of the Kiseljak
10 municipality. The Croats were paying their taxes to
11 the HVO and the Muslims to the coordinating committee
12 or the war presidency. And then let me point out to
13 you that duties, custom duties, had been introduced in
14 the middle of Bosnia, and the Croats had to pay it for
15 the benefit of the 3rd Corps.
16 Q. General, let us turn your attention to
17 Prosecutor's Exhibit 503.
18 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, my apologies for
19 interrupting here, but a key word for understanding
20 this document has been interpreted as illegible. It
21 consists of about ten letters, and I think only three
22 are illegible.
23 Before the words which are in brackets, Vitez
24 HVO -- in the first paragraph, before it, there is the
25 word "institution" and before that -- and the word
1 before that has been called illegible, but in the
2 Croatian original, it says, "The functioning of
3 parallel institutions" so that P-A-R-A is legible and
4 then the next three letters are illegible and N-I-H
5 which is the ending, Croatian ending for "parallel,"
6 and this is what is a key word because our client here
7 is talking about these parallel institutions and this
8 key word was not rendered into English.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. If necessary, you
10 can refer back to that when you redirect.
11 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. Let us move to Prosecutor's Exhibit 53 which
14 is another press release from the Coordination Board
15 for the Protection of Muslim Interests, and we are
16 focusing on the first paragraph. The date of this
17 press release is 10 September, 1992.
18 Mr. Usher, if you can just pull that down
19 just a little bit? Thank you very much.
20 "According to the decision of the so-called
21 Croatian Defence Council/HVO/Government of Vitez
22 municipality ... of 3 September 1992 it has been
23 decided that instruction in elementary and secondary
24 schools in the territory of the municipality of Vitez /
25 illegible words / 1992. The same decision states that
1 the schoolbooks published in the Republic of Croatia
2 shall be used during instruction and that the school
3 buildings and premises should be prepared in such a way
4 that all emblems, pictures, frescoes etc. associated
5 with the former (Yugoslav) State, the so-called
6 Yugoslav People's Army and its history or with people
7 from the enemy states (Serbia, Montenegro, and the
8 so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) are removed
9 from the school building and premises.
10 "We hereby voice our outrage at this
11 decision because it has been made by an illegal organ,
12 created on the principle of a single nationality."
13 In this particular document, General, the
14 Muslims are upset about the unilateral institution into
15 the schools of a curricula from the Republic of
16 Croatia, aren't they?
17 A. No. I listened to the interpretation very
18 well -- I did not read the entire document -- but in
19 listening to what you've said and the interpretation
20 that reached me, what they're talking about is
21 introducing the textbooks from the Republic of Croatia
22 in order to organise a curriculum, and we're talking
23 about September 1992 which means that it was the
24 beginning of the new school year, and they were not
25 able to buy the textbooks from Sarajevo because
1 Sarajevo had been under siege and I don't believe that
2 they had been printed. This is what shows that the
3 municipality is dealing with issues that were supposed
4 to be decided at the state level because the state was
5 supposed to organise the school curriculum. But what
6 they're talking about is removing all the emblems and
7 the symbols of the former Socialist Federal Republic of
8 Yugoslavia and the JNA, which was the aggressor which
9 was active in many parts of the territory of Bosnia.
10 So if this translation is correct, this
11 relates to the removal of these symbols which was
12 supposed to have been decided by the state level. So
13 the municipality was forced to take over the role of
14 the state organs because the state was not able to
15 regulate these issues at that level, municipal level,
16 and the emblems and symbols mentioned relate to the
17 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and as far as
18 Serbo-Croatian language or -- the Serbo-Croatian
19 language was the official language in the territory of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 Q. General, we will read the rest then:
22 "... we consider the structure of
23 instruction, as conceived by the nationally exclusive
24 HVO government of Vitez municipality, to severely harm
25 the Muslims' national interests. We cannot interpret
1 these actions by the illegal HVO government of Vitez
2 municipality as anything but crude disregard of
3 Muslims' demands to continue to live in these
4 territories as Muslims, just as their ancestors did for
6 Last paragraph, if we can move that up,
7 Mr. Usher.
8 "This is yet another example of the
9 so-called democracy in the Croatian Community of
10 Herceg-Bosna. We are stressing that for a long time
11 already, the nationally exclusive HVO authorities have
12 been gaining ground in Vitez."
13 Now, they are upset about the HVO
14 implementing a nationally exclusive programme into the
15 schools, aren't they?
16 A. You see that the document which you're
17 reading to me does not make mention of a programme,
18 only the textbooks and learning aids. If the printing
19 plant does not work in Sarajevo, I have to get the
20 textbooks from somewhere. So maybe I'm bringing it in
21 from the neighbouring country. The state had not
22 regulated these issues. All our classrooms had Tito's
23 picture on them, and after the aggression had started,
24 these symbols were ordered removed. But what is shown
25 here is the duality of power or maybe two parallel
2 Q. Let's talk about that duality of power.
3 Again, let's go back to 456/95 and address ourselves to
4 the situation in municipalities and now focus on
5 Vitez. Do you have that document before you, General?
6 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.
7 Q. It says: "There is still dual authority."
8 Again, this is as of 22 September, 1992.
9 "There is still dual authority. There is a
10 possibility of confrontation between the Croats and the
11 Muslims because of the HVO's taking power."
12 So at this juncture, the 22nd of September,
13 the HVO has taken power in Kiseljak, has taken power in
14 Busovaca, and is taking power, as opposed to "has
15 taken," is taking power in Vitez; isn't that what this
16 document reflects?
17 A. That is what is stated in the document, but
18 referring to the document of 10 September, which you
19 have just shown me, that is what I was referring to,
20 that there was dual power, that there was parallel
21 authority, and this parallel authority was
22 functioning. From the later documents, we can see
23 that -- if you have the document of 8 July, '92, there
24 was a war presidency in operation which was
25 communicating with the HDZ. But I was not a member
1 either of the war presidency or the civilian
2 authorities, so I can only comment on what I saw on the
3 ground and what I can see here in the document.
4 Q. There is a possibility in Vitez of a
5 confrontation, General, between the Croats and the
6 Muslims because the HVO wants the Bosnia-Herzegovinan
7 government out; isn't that right?
8 A. Whether this is so, we can see it from other
9 documents. The potential for conflict was in several
10 areas where the state authorities had completely
11 collapsed and you had parallel authorities. If we were
12 to have relied on the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
13 you couldn't have bought a single textbook because it
14 had just stopped functioning there.
15 So, of course, there was a potential for
16 conflict. For 50 years, people had no rifles in their
17 homes, and now everybody had weapons all of a sudden.
18 Even today, there may be 100 pounds of explosives
19 hidden in every house there. So the potential for
20 conflict was very much there.
21 Q. General, let us look at the area of this
22 document, 456/95, under the observations noted in all
24 The next page, Mr. Usher, the next page if we
25 could. Let us read this one area, General.
1 "Exiled Bosnia and Herzegovina Government
2 and its bodies with pro-Muslim policies are undesirable
3 on our territory and their possible activity contrary
4 to the principles of HDZ bodies shall not be
6 Now, that particular statement is what this
7 take-over in Central Bosnia is all about, isn't it,
9 A. I have already stated that in Central Bosnia,
10 there was dual authority functioning. We saw that from
11 many documents. I know that parts of the BH government
12 were also functioning in Zagreb. I also know that
13 parts of the military authorities were functioning in
14 Zenica, and I know that in July, August, September,
15 even October, there were various forms of cooperation
16 of the military authorities. It is obvious that the
17 civilian authorities were divided, that the Croats and
18 Muslims each had their own parts of the government.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe?
20 MR. KEHOE: Sorry, Judge Shahabuddeen.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, you just said,
22 "I know that parts of the BH government were also
23 functioning in Zagreb." Could you explain that a
25 A. Yes, Your Honour. Sometime in May or perhaps
1 in early June, I don't think that the date is
2 absolutely essential at this point, but I can look it
3 up later, there was a large convoy which had been
4 abducted. This was a TO convoy with equipment and
5 weapons, and it was travelling from Fojnica to Visoko
6 to the main logistics base of the armed forces of the
7 BH army in Visoko. This convoy was abducted by the
8 Fojnica HVO. When I got involved in order to return
9 this convoy, I met a person who worked on this, and he
10 said that he was in communication with his office in
11 Zagreb for the needs of the BH army in transferring
12 weapons and equipment. I know that this office was in
13 operation in Zagreb for quite awhile. Later on, it was
14 attached to the Bosnian embassy in Zagreb.
15 Since there was an embargo in force for
16 buying weapons, this could not have been done legally,
17 and they used their own channels. He was doing it on
18 behalf of the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina. I cannot say -- his father's nickname was
20 Hadzija, so I don't have his name right here, but I can
21 look for it in my notes.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you for the
23 explanation, General.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
1 Q. Just by way of clarity, General, this convoy
2 that the Fojnica HVO took was in May of 1992, wasn't
4 A. Yes, it was in May 1992. That wasn't the
5 first convoy. Many convoys had passed through, but
6 this convoy was partially robbed, looted, and we had
7 tried to bring it back to the checkpoint in Visoko.
8 This is when this gentleman appeared to have said that
9 he was working through his office.
10 Q. General, let us just change subjects for a
11 moment, and let us stay with this document that we have
12 before you, Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/95. I ask you to
13 go up one paragraph from Vitez, the situation in
14 municipalities, and I want to discuss with you the
15 issues in Novi Travnik.
16 Do you see that, General? That is the first
17 municipality discussed under the rubric "Situation in
18 Municipalities." The first sentence notes as follows:
19 "Novi Travnik: It is estimated that the HVO
20 holds about 70 per cent authority while the Muslims
21 hold about 30 per cent. The question of special
22 purposes production has to be urgently resolved."
23 Now, General, I want to talk to you first
24 about this special purposes production in Novi Travnik,
25 and that relates to the Bratsvo factory in Novi
1 Travnik, doesn't it?
2 A. Yes. In Novi Travnik, there was a military
3 factory that belonged to the former Yugoslav People's
4 Army, and it was called BNT, Bratsvo Novi Travnik. It
5 made various projectiles from 40 millimetres to 262
6 millimetres, practically all kinds of artillery pieces.
7 Q. And the HVO wanted it, didn't they?
8 A. The HVO wanted, together with the Territorial
9 Defence, for this factory to operate because, according
10 to the doctrine of the former Yugoslav People's Army,
11 every military factory had so-called war stocks in
12 order to continue its production unimpeded for about
13 six months.
14 When the war broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
15 the HVO and the TO made every effort for this quantity
16 of stocks to be manufactured so that the problem of
17 arming the HVO and the TO would be resolved for the
18 needs of defending Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Q. Now, how far is Novi Travnik from the front
20 line with the Serbs?
21 A. I could not say exactly how many kilometres
22 this is. I know where the front line against the Serbs
23 was, but the actual kilometres, that, I cannot say for
25 Q. General, you were the commander of the
1 Central Bosnian Operative Zone. Give us an
2 approximation. I'm not asking you specifically. Give
3 us a rough approximation.
4 JUDGE JORDA: For three or four weeks, you
5 were showing us with your pointer, showing us
6 everything that you knew about that area. The
7 Prosecutor is not asking you to indicate exactly where
8 it was.
9 A. If you're asking for an approximation, that's
10 different. But if you're asking me how far away the
11 front line is, I thought that I had to give a precise
13 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Let's not waste any
14 time here. We're not asking for the specific number of
15 kilometres that there were. We're just asking for
16 approximations here. If you can't tell us, then just
17 say that you can't tell us.
18 A. I would rather say that I didn't know how far
19 it is exactly.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's been noted.
21 A. But I know where the front line is, and I can
22 still show where it is.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Let's get to the crux of the
25 Mr. Kehoe, we're going to take a break soon.
1 Do you want to ask another question or should we stop
2 at this point? What would you prefer?
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Can I just say, General, would it be fair to
5 say that it's between approximately 15 kilometres, Novi
6 Travnik to the Serb front line?
7 A. Well, you see, now I'm getting a question in
8 relation to Novi Travnik.
9 Mr. President, with the best of intentions,
10 if I want to answer something, the town of Novi Travnik
11 in Bosnia is one thing and the municipality is another
12 thing. If the question is being put to me, how far
13 away the municipality of Novi Travnik is from the front
14 line, there is no distance because the front line is in
15 the municipality. But if the question relates to the
16 town itself, I'm not from Novi Travnik. I can't say
17 exactly. I spent very little time in Novi Travnik.
18 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Prepare your
19 question, and you can ask it after the break. The
20 General will think about the number of kilometres, and
21 then I think we will get an approximate proper answer
22 after a 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.20 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 3.46 p.m.
25 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
1 hearing. Please be seated.
2 Mr. Kehoe.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. General, the question again: From the town
5 of Novi Travnik to the front line against the Serbs, do
6 you have an approximate distance for us?
7 A. Yes, possibly about 10 kilometres, a
8 10-kilometre distance.
9 Q. Now, General, as we move into October of
10 1992, the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna wanted to
11 solidify their territorial claims by ensuring the
12 communication routes between Central Bosnia were
13 connected down through Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, and
14 Prozor; isn't that right?
15 A. I don't know if I got the proper
16 interpretation. The Croatian Community of
17 Herceg-Bosna -- could you please repeat your question?
19 Q. Certainly. Certainly. As we move into
20 October, the HVO wanted to solidify their territorial
21 claims in Central Bosnia by taking control of the
22 communication routes that led to Central Bosnia; isn't
23 that right?
24 A. Would you please tell me, since the HVO name
25 is the same for the military and the civilian part, are
1 you asking me about the command of the Operative Zone
2 of Central Bosnia, the military part of the HVO, so
3 that things will be clear to me?
4 Q. Both.
5 A. I was never a member of the civilian
6 authorities. I can give my comments, I can give you my
7 opinion about this, but the military command of the HVO
8 in October 1992 had a front line in Jajce of 107
9 kilometres, it was 107 kilometres wide, together with
10 the Territorial Defence and the members of the HOS, and
11 we did everything in order to survive and to defend
12 these areas, and a special priority was to get ready
13 for the winter and to carry out defence during the
14 winter in this mountainous terrain of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was our preoccupation in
16 October 1992.
17 Q. Well, let us stay with your statement,
18 General. In early October of 1992, did the HVO engage
19 in ceasefires with the VRS or the Bosnian Serb army on
20 the front line around Jajce?
21 A. As far as I know -- as far as I know, I'm
22 saying -- there were no ceasefires in practice, but I
23 know, on the basis of intelligence reports, that both
24 one and the other talked, negotiated about the
25 establishment of a cease-fire. Negotiations were
1 carried out by the civilian authorities of both sides,
2 that is to say, the Croatian side and the Muslim side
3 together against the Serbs, but it all ended by the
4 Serbs taking Jajce on the 28th of October, 1992.
5 Q. Well, General, let me have you take a look at
6 a document.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
8 642, 642A for the English version.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Now, General, this is an order coming from
11 the 1st Krajina Corps, which is the army, of course, as
12 you know, of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 and signed by Commander Major-General Momir Talic. Do
14 you know General Talic, General?
15 A. I saw him on television after the Dayton
16 Accords were signed and after the Republika Srpska was
17 established. I never met him in person, I never saw
18 him, I was never introduced to him, and I never
19 communicated with him personally.
20 Q. Now, this document is dated the 7th of
21 October, 1992, from the command of the 1st Krajina
22 Corps forward command post.
23 And, Mr. President, I know this will be a
24 little bit laborious, but I would like to go through
25 this. This is a cease-fire and reconnection of power
2 Now, before we go into this, there was a
3 power supply in Jajce that was of extreme importance to
4 the army of -- or the Bosnian Serb army; isn't that
5 right, General?
6 A. There are two facilities in Jajce that are of
7 exceptional importance if we're talking about
8 hydroelectric power plants, I think there are two, and
9 both are of exceptional importance for anyone who has
10 Jajce under his control, and especially for the Bosnian
11 Serbs because the entire region of Banja Luka gets
12 electricity from there.
13 Q. Let us read this document, General.
14 "Pursuant to the order of the Main Staff of
15 the Army of Republika Srpska ... of 6 October 1992
16 regarding the cease-fire and turning on of power from
17 the Jajce-2 hydroelectric PowerPoint, I hereby issue
18 the following order:
19 "1. Implement the cease-fire in the sectors
20 of the front line near Bosanski Brod, Jajce, Bugojno,
21 Livno, Travnik, Kupres, and in Herzegovina. The
22 cease-fire shall come into effect on 7 October 1992 at
23 2400 hours. The cease-fire also means a cessation of
24 the combat activities in Slavonski Brod, the left bank
25 of the Sava River, and in the areas surrounding the
1 above-mentioned towns.
2 "2. Create conditions for the repair of the
3 Jajce-2 hydroelectric powerplant so firing from all
4 firearms should cease for as long as the repair is
5 under way, for at least four hours, after which the
6 Croatian side will reconnect the power supply for the
7 needs of Republika Srpska.
8 "3. After the repair has been done and the
9 power supply reconnected for our needs, the water
10 needed for the functioning of other powerplants should
11 be released three hours after the electric power supply
12 has been reconnected at the latest.
13 "4. Prepare a prisoners exchange according
14 to previously compiled lists. The exchange will take
15 place on 11 October 1992 at a location agreed upon by
16 the representatives of the parties.
17 "5. During the cease-fire, take measures to
18 maintain the highest possible level of order and
19 discipline at the positions, among the units engaged in
20 combat and those in the rear. Therefore, forbid the
21 men to leave positions and units and to move outside
22 the combat area.
23 "Explain to the soldiers and officers the
24 purpose of the cease-fire, and be ready to open fire at
25 any time at the previously determined targets if the
1 other side does not comply with the cease-fire
3 Now, General, did you have many cease-fire
4 agreements such as this executed with the Serbs during
5 October of 1992?
6 A. This is the first time I see this document,
7 and I already said that I never talked to the author of
8 this document. The only thing I know in relation to
9 these agreements is that there were agreements at local
10 level too and that ceasefires were being agreed upon
11 because in Jajce the Serbs had water under their
12 control and the Croats and the Muslims had the
13 hydroelectric power plants under their control.
14 However, October was the month of the heaviest fighting
15 and of the fall of the town of Jajce.
16 Q. Well, you would agree with me, General, that
17 the control of hydroelectric power plant, Jajce-2, was
18 a very significant matter, wasn't it?
19 A. It was a significant matter, certainly, but I
20 wish to underline once again that with regard to these
21 questions, I never took part in these discussions but I
22 did have intelligence reports telling me that this was
23 being done at local level. For example, on the 6th of
24 October, I had a meeting with Colonel Sartre, the
25 commander of the French Battalion of UNPROFOR in
2 Q. Well, General, your troops were at the line
3 in Jajce, weren't they?
4 A. From Central Bosnia, that is to say, from
5 Jajce, and there was also the TO and there was the HOS,
6 all of us were defending Jajce.
7 Q. Is it your testimony, General, that you were
8 unaware that your troops at the front line were told
9 not to fire on the Serbs?
10 A. No, no. I am claiming that I never took part
11 in these negotiations. These negotiations were carried
12 out at municipal authority level, and probably they
13 cooperated along their own lines with civilian
14 authorities, perhaps even top authorities from
15 Herceg-Bosna, but I personally did not take part in
16 negotiations. I believe that when a cease-fire was
17 agreed upon, and there was quite a bit of this because
18 a lot of people were losing their lives there, that the
19 army did receive orders to stop firing.
20 At any rate, our objective in Jajce was to
21 stop combat operations because we were facing two
22 Krajina corps, the 1st and 2nd Krajina Corps wanted to
23 take Jajce, and in Jajce there were so few defenders
24 that we sent the troops in from Central Bosnia so that
25 they would help along those 107 kilometres of the front
1 line, but the Serbs did take Jajce on the 28th of
2 October, 1992.
3 Q. So you do know that your soldiers were told
4 to stop firing around the 6th or 7th of October, 1992;
5 is that right?
6 A. I don't know whether that was the date, I
7 can't recall whether it was the 6th of October when
8 they were told to stop, but if there were any
9 negotiations anywhere, and we can see from this
10 document that there were, certainly an attempt was made
11 to gain time, and therefore soldiers were issued such
12 orders. Whether this was specifically on the 6th or
13 before that or after that, that I do not know.
14 Q. I go back to my question, General: How many
15 times did the HVO soldiers on the Jajce front line, how
16 many times were they told to stop firing?
17 A. Every time when the front line was being
18 regrouped, so to speak, in Jajce, that is to say, after
19 heavy fighting, starting from July and all the way up
20 to October, sometimes perhaps once a month, sometimes
21 twice a month, in order to gather the corpses, exchange
22 them, et cetera. That is practically what is done by
23 all armies that clash at front lines.
24 Q. So, General, at the front lines, as we look
25 at this particular order, Prosecutor's Exhibit 642, the
1 HVO was dealing with the Bosnian Serb army; isn't that
3 A. I believe that at the front line, the HVO,
4 the TO, the HOS had contact with the Bosnian Serbs
5 because somewhere we were divided by a canyon,
6 somewhere only by a forest, in some places there were
7 only 100 metres between them. They could call out to
8 one another in these mutual contacts. But then the
9 bunkers were also facing one another and the fighting
10 was taking place and sometimes there were heavy losses
11 during one day only; for example, there would be 70
12 soldiers who would lose their lives in one day.
13 Q. General, with regard to Novi Travnik, the HVO
14 was looking for a reason to engage in a conflict in
15 Novi Travnik so they could take the Bratstvo factory;
16 isn't that right?
17 A. No, no, there was no need for that,
18 especially not at that time. If we are talking about
19 October now, October 1992, the HVO had excellent
20 cooperation, except for certain incidents, with the TO
21 in many municipalities, and this cooperation resulted
22 in an acknowledgement given in writing that I received
23 from the municipality of Olovo in November and then
24 later from Gorazde, the head of the war presidency came
25 to thank me in Maglaj and Zavidovici. In Maglaj, it
1 was most heavily attacked by the army of Republika
2 Srpska. There was a commander who was a Croat and
3 Sulejman Herceg, a Bosniak, was deputy commander in
4 Travnik and in other places. So I did not realise that
5 attempts were being made to take the factory although I
6 do not preclude the possibility of the civilian
7 authorities acting only one on behalf of that
8 particular one, the Bosniaks only on behalf of the
9 Bosniaks and the Croats and on behalf of the Bosniaks,
10 but this was not binding on me.
11 Q. Now, between the 19th of October and the 23rd
12 of October, 1992, when fighting was taking place in
13 Novi Travnik, the Serbs did not shell the HVO side, did
15 A. Where? In which part were they not
16 shelling? I don't understand.
17 Q. When the conflict was taking place in October
18 between the Muslims and the Croats in Novi Travnik, the
19 Serbs didn't shell the HVO, did they?
20 A. The HVO of Novi Travnik, is that what you're
22 Q. That's correct, sir.
23 A. Just a minute. Let me check this.
24 Q. Well, General, you were there, weren't you?
25 You were in Novi Travnik, weren't you?
1 A. No. No, I was not in Novi Travnik. On the
2 19th, I was in Mostar, and, sorry, Mostar is in
3 southern Herzegovina. I was not in Novi Travnik at all
4 on the 19th, and on the 23rd, I was in Sarajevo at a
5 meeting in the building of the presidency of the
6 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. What was happening in
7 Novi Travnik, I will have to check in the chronology.
8 On the 19th of October, I was in Mostar, and on the
9 23rd, I was in Sarajevo.
10 Q. How about, General, the 20th, the 21st, and
11 the 22nd? Were you in Novi Travnik then?
12 A. No, I was not. On the 20th, I was not in
13 Novi Travnik. On the 21st, I was there at 4.00 in the
14 morning, and that is the first time I came to Novi
15 Travnik, that is, at 4.00. This was after the meeting
16 that was held until 3.00, and it was chaired by Colonel
17 Bob Stewart, Brigadier Andrew Cumming, and the
18 interpreter and Captain Nick, and Dzemo Merdan. We
19 were agreeing on a cease-fire for Novi Travnik, and we
20 wanted combat activities to stop.
21 Q. How long did you stay in Novi Travnik after
22 you got there at 4.00 on the 21st?
23 A. I stayed until noon. In the afternoon, I
24 returned to the Hotel Lovac or, rather, the Motel Lovac
25 in Vitez and Kruscica, and I met with Marko Prskalo. I
1 was getting him ready to join the commission on the
2 cease-fire. On the 22nd of October, I was in Kiseljak
3 in order to meet the head of the main staff of the HVO,
4 Milivoj Petkovic, and together with him, I was supposed
5 to attend a meeting with General Morillon in relation
6 to preparing a meeting for Sarajevo.
7 Q. Let us talk about the conflict, General. You
8 said that on the 19th, you were down in Mostar with
9 Bruno Stojic, and then Bruno Stojic asked you about the
10 problems that were taking place in Novi Travnik on the
11 19th; do you recall that testimony?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On the 19th, did you or your headquarters
14 issue an order after the conflict broke out to block
15 all the roads coming towards Novi Travnik?
16 A. I personally did not, but I was not at
17 headquarters, so I cannot say for sure whether any of
18 my officers from the staff had issued such an order.
19 But at 10.00 in the morning, I attended a meeting with
20 Bruno Stojic in Mostar, and on that day, until I
21 returned to Kiseljak in the evening, I did not issue
22 any orders, nor did I receive any other information
23 related to the events in Novi Travnik.
24 Q. Well, General --
25 A. And I returned -- let me just say this: I
1 returned to Kiseljak on the 19th of October, 1992 at
2 ten past eight p.m.
3 Q. General, let me give you a document, and we
4 will move through these documents quickly.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecutor's Exhibit
6 643, 643A for the English version.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Now, General, this is an order that comes
9 from your chief of staff, Ivica Cobanac, to all
10 municipal staffs of Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak,
11 Fojnica, Gornji Vakuf, and Bugojno.
12 MR. HAYMAN: Could the witness be allowed to
13 read the document before the question -- I think it's
14 difficult --
15 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel.
16 MR. HAYMAN: -- for me to read it while
17 Mr. Kehoe is posing his question.
18 MR. KEHOE: I'm going to read the document,
19 Mr. President. Thank you, Counsel, for your
20 assistance. I'm going to read the document, given the
21 fact that we do not have a French copy at this
23 JUDGE JORDA: The document is going to be
24 read, Mr. Hayman, and the witness will answer in
25 respect of the points in the document that he has
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. This is the 19th of October, 1992 and it
5 "Owing to the current situation in the
6 territory of Novi Travnik municipality, I hereby
8 1. Block all roads in the territory of the
9 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, except for the
10 passage of units and goods of strategic importance.
11 2. Prohibit passage to all units, except
12 units of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna HVO.
13 3. Pay special attention to communications
14 leading toward Novi Travnik.
15 4. This order takes effect immediately.
16 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, Chief of
17 Staff, Ivica Cobanac."
18 General, this particular order was issued
19 immediately after the conflict began in Novi Travnik,
20 didn't it?
21 A. No, because as far as I know, in the early
22 evening of the 18th of October, fighting broke out in
23 relation to the gasoline station and the hotel in Novi
24 Travnik, that is to say, in the evening of the 18th of
25 October, there was a conflict already, and I know that
1 now, and this went on the 19th and the 20th. This
2 order was issued on the 19th. However, Mr. Cobanac was
3 not head of the staff of the Operative Zone of Central
4 Bosnia; he was head of operations in the staff of the
5 command for Central Bosnia. I don't know why his post
6 has been misquoted here.
7 Q. This particular blocking of all roads in the
8 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was a significant
9 event, wasn't it?
10 A. If I was moving through part of the TO and
11 the HVO on my way from Mostar and back on the 19th,
12 obviously, this order was not carried out, because I
13 passed checkpoints without any difficulty from Kiseljak
14 via Kresevo, Konjic, Jablanica, then Mostar, that is to
15 say, of the HVO and of the TO and --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, General Blaskic.
17 I'm sorry for interrupting you. Sometimes I have the
18 impression that you answer as if you're an outside
19 witness, as if you were looking at this Novi Travnik
20 battle somewhat from the outside. Try to help the
21 Judges. Were you in a position of responsibility or
22 were you not?
23 A. Mr. President, I'm trying to give as direct
24 an answer as possible to the question. Perhaps I
25 didn't understand the question very well. On the 19th,
1 I was in Mostar while the fighting was going on. I was
2 attending meetings, and I already said that I was not
3 in Novi Travnik. I wasn't there on the 20th when the
4 fighting was going on in Novi Travnik, and I wasn't
5 there on the 18th either. I arrived only on the 21st
6 in the morning, at 4.00 in the morning.
7 JUDGE JORDA: You were the chief. When you
8 had responsibilities, whether you were in Mostar or in
9 your Operative Zone, you did have responsibilities.
10 Reassure me, please. You're saying that you were in
11 Mostar, so we have the impression that what was going
12 on in your area did not concern you. Please try to
13 help the Judges. Did that concern you or did that not
14 concern you, this type of order? Were you or were you
15 not aware of this?
16 A. This is the first time I see this order.
17 Today is the first time I see this order, and also this
18 signature is not correct or, rather, there is no
19 signature. The post that is mentioned here, the chief
20 of staff, that is something that Mr. Cobanac never
22 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, but there is
23 the command of your zone. Otherwise, the Prosecutor
24 could tender these documents and the Defence could
25 answer subsequently. If the witness was not there,
1 even though he was the commander, he doesn't seem to
2 recognise the documents or know what was going on, I
3 think we have to note that. We want to know actually
4 whether you felt that you were in a position of
5 responsibility. You were the chief, after all; isn't
6 that correct?
7 A. Mr. President, perhaps I do not understand
8 this right or perhaps I don't have a good
9 interpretation of this, but what are you referring to?
10 JUDGE JORDA: Military responsibility is what
11 I'm talking about.
12 A. Certainly, as military commander of this
13 area, I was responsible for what was going on in my
15 JUDGE JORDA: When roads that you are
16 responsible for are blocked, you would know that the
17 roads are being blocked, and you said, "Well, I was
18 able to walk around." You speak as if you are a
19 foreign wanderer who said, "Well, obviously, this
20 hadn't been applied because I was able to go through.
21 So it didn't matter." You see, I'm interested in how
22 this trial is being conducted. I don't want to waste
23 time. We're noting your answer, and then we will move
24 to another area.
25 I would ask the Prosecutor to ask the
1 question again, this is in order to assist the Judges,
2 because, otherwise, we really don't know what we're
3 talking about. Roads are blocked; strategic roads are
4 blocked in your Operative Zone, and you're either in
5 Mostar and you don't know or you say that it wasn't
6 carried out, "I was walking about," or at least, "I was
7 there. Everything was fine." If that's your answer,
8 then we will keep that as your answer, and that's all.
9 Would you ask your question again, Mr. Kehoe,
10 in a very specific manner?
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. General, you knew that an order had been
13 issued by your command post to block all roads in
14 Herceg-Bosna; isn't that right?
15 A. I did not know because I was not at my
16 command post. I did not know, but I can explain what
17 this order meant.
18 JUDGE JORDA: That's it. You didn't know.
19 You just said you didn't know. If you want to explain,
20 you can, but don't be too detailed. I think you're
21 simply saying that you don't know, and that's your
22 right to say, "I don't know."
23 A. I did not know that this order was issued
24 because I was away on a trip to Mostar, but I assume
25 that my command issued such an order so that the
1 conflict would be localised. On the other hand, there
2 were roadblocks all over, on both one side and the
3 other. But I'm saying that not a total blockade had
4 been carried out because I passed all checkpoints
5 without being stopped, that is to say, of the TO and of
6 the HVO.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for the
8 clarification. All right. Let's continue.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, this particular document is sent by
11 the packet system, isn't it?
12 A. This document should have been sent by the
13 packet communication, but again I have already spoken
14 about the unreliability of the packet communication
15 because other persons could have been involved.
16 Q. Let me show you another document, General,
17 concerning your activities on the 20th.
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
19 644, 644A for the English version.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, is this your order?
22 A. This is my report of 12.07 on 20th October,
23 1992. This is not an order.
24 Q. I apologise. Your report. So you're having
25 acknowledged that it is your report, and it is a report
1 on the situation in Novi Travnik and Travnik as of
2 12.07, and it goes to Mate Boban, Bruno Stojic, and
3 Milivoj Petkovic, and all Croatian Community of
4 Herceg-Bosna Municipal Staffs.
5 "1. The situation in Novi Travnik is
6 deteriorating. Territorial Defence forces are fiercely
7 shelling the entire town area using 120 millimetre
8 Howitzers, 120 millimetre mortars, 20/3 PAT/
9 anti-aircraft guns/ and other weapons.
10 "Rasim Delic, the Commander of (Territorial
11 Defence) units from Visoko, and the (Territorial
12 Defence) Supreme Command Staff from Sarajevo are in
13 charge of the operation. Zejnil Delalic, the commander
14 of (Tactical Group) 1, who is providing logistic
15 support and sending reinforcements from Gornji Vakuf
16 and Bugojno, is cooperating with them.
17 "The probable objective of the TO forces in
18 Novi Travnik is to completely destroy and drive HVO
19 forces from the town, and then do the same in Travnik
20 and other places in the entire zone of responsibility.
21 "Everything is well-planned and there is
22 good coordination, especially with the TO forces from
23 Konjic, which are manoeuvring and bringing equipment
24 and materiel through Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno.
25 2. Our forces:
1 (A) All routes and convoys have been blocked.
2 (B) The troops are in full combat readiness.
3 (C) There have been heavy losses and numerous
4 civilian casualties (Croats, Muslims and Serbs) because
5 the elementary school in the village of Rankovici in
6 Novi Travnik municipality was hit and many apartment
7 block are on fire.
8 (D) At the moment, we have reliable
9 information that the Commander of the Travnik HVO,
10 Mr. Ivica Stojak, has been seriously wounded at the
11 Plave Vode checkpoint. The commander of the Travnik
12 HVO Military Police and the Assistant for SIS, Zvonko
13 Gaso, have also been wounded, but their condition is
14 not critical. So far, five soldiers have been killed
15 and 20 wounded (exact data).
17 (A) Block all routes to all TO members.
18 (B) We urgently need an intervention
19 battalion with the strength of 150 to 200 troops on the
20 Prozor - Bugojno - Novi Travnik and the Prozor -
21 Bugojno - Novi Travnik axes, and the Gornji Vakuf- Novi
22 Travnik and Bugojno - Novi Travnik roads need blocking.
23 (C) If I do not receive reinforcements by
24 this evening, I will be forced to withdraw units from
25 Jajce. I therefore ask you for an urgent reply.
1 (D) I need logistic support due to the
2 fighting which has continued here without break since
3 1500 hours on 19 October 1992.
4 (E) The Novi Travnik TO Command is in partial
5 encirclement and retreating along the Novi Travnik -
6 Gornji Vakuf and Novi Travnik - Ravno Rostovo -
7 Bugojno axes. They receive support from Bugojno."
8 Now, General, this particular document which
9 notes that you are here, this particular document
10 reflects that you are in Novi Travnik on the 20th of
11 October, 1992, doesn't it?
12 A. No. This is a report on the situation in
13 Novi Travnik, and at 1207 hours, I was in Busovaca. I
14 never passed the roadblock on the Busovaca-Novi Travnik
15 road which had been erected by the BH army at Ahmici.
16 So I could not even go to my headquarters because my
17 headquarters was also completely surrounded. This was
18 in Kruscica. So on the 20th of October, 1992, I was in
19 Busovaca and not in Novi Travnik.
20 Q. Now, you say you were in Busovaca and not in
21 Novi Travnik. Is it your testimony you never went to
22 Novi Travnik on the 20th?
23 A. I went to Novi Travnik at 0400 hours on
24 21 October 1992. On the 20th, I was not in Travnik at
1 Q. Let me show you a document, General.
2 A. And I was not in Travnik on either the 18th,
3 19th, or 20th. This is what I assert.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Can we move to the next
5 document, please?
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. While we're waiting for this document,
8 General, is it your testimony that the fighting
9 commenced on the 18th at this gas station? Is that
10 your testimony?
11 A. I say that the incident was caused by the
12 attempts to take over the gas station on the 18th in
13 the evening, and then on the 18th, in the evening, the
14 confrontation started, and there were sporadic
15 incidents. So the very beginning, the first
16 indications of the conflict were on the evening -- or
17 around the 18th, but it was in the evening of the 18th.
18 Q. General, in this rather detailed document
19 that you send -- and we're talking about 644 -- in this
20 detailed document that you sent to Boban, Stojic, and
21 to Petkovic, you make no mention of that, do you?
22 A. I mention the combat operations and the
23 intensity of fighting as of the 19th, but I know from
24 what I learned later that it had all started on the
25 18th because of the gas station and the hotel, and as
1 for the shelling of schools, the children had gone to
2 school that morning, this was in Rankovici in the
3 Croatian part of Novi Travnik, and they were hit by the
4 Muslim forces.
5 Q. This incident at the gas station was the
6 provocation that the HVO was looking for to take over
7 Novi Travnik; isn't that right?
8 A. The conflict was actually a renewed conflict
9 from June and it had to do with the old part of the
10 hotel and the gas station, and the conflict was about
11 who was going to control the gas station and the
12 hotel. Now, who wanted what and how it all went at the
13 very beginnings of this conflict, I am not familiar
14 with, but they are the same causes as in June of 1992
15 except here it is clear that the preparation had been
16 advanced on the part of the BH army because there were
17 mortars, 120-millimetre mortars, shelling the
18 residential areas.
19 Q. Now, during the course of your testimony in
20 response to questions by my learned colleague,
21 Mr. Nobilo, you noted that you had gone to Mostar to
22 secure logistics and supplies for the Central Bosnian
23 Operative Zone; is that right?
24 A. No, I went to secure logistics for Jajce and
25 the defenders of Jajce at the request of Stjepan
1 Blazevic who was commander of the defence. He and the
2 president of Jajce were desperate and they wanted me to
3 go to Mostar to look for assistance, but I wanted to
4 point out that the HVO from Novi Travnik only had about
5 30 to 50 soldiers there, so most of them were at the
6 front lines against the Serbs.
7 Q. Excuse me, General. I apologise. The
8 question concerning HVO troops in Novi Travnik was not
9 the question on the floor. I have limited time, and I
10 apologise for interrupting, but I must move to my next
12 And the next question is this: When you went
13 to Mostar, it was well-known, was it not, that the
14 military commanders in the Central Bosnian Operative
15 Zone knew that you were going down there to secure
16 these logistics; is that right?
17 A. I never told my staff, even my closest
18 associate, where I was going. It wasn't the right
19 thing to do when one was going. So my officer on duty
20 obviously knew and perhaps just a very limited number
21 of my staff, but the rest of them did not know I was
22 going to Mostar, especially not the commanders of
23 municipal staffs because this was a time of war, so it
24 was -- wartime.
25 Q. General, is it your testimony to this
1 Tribunal, that you, the most senior military officer in
2 Bosnia, did not inform anyone on your staff that you
3 were going down to Mostar? Is that your testimony?
4 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, he's answered the
5 question. He said who he informed and who he didn't,
6 and Mr. Kehoe is repeating his questions and he
7 shouldn't be allowed to do it.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's right. All right.
9 Sustain the objection. Move to the next question,
10 Mr. Kehoe, please.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Your testimony is that on the 20th of
13 October, 1992, you were not in Novi Travnik. Now, I
14 will show you a document at this --
15 A. Yes, yes, I say that I was not in Novi
16 Travnik on the 20th of October, 1992, and I say that
17 the first time I went to Novi Travnik was after a
18 meeting with Colonel Stewart, Cumming, and Dzemo
20 JUDGE JORDA: The witness has already
22 MR. KEHOE: Let's turn to the next document,
23 Mr. President, which is a diary excerpt from
24 Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Stewart's diary for the 20th
25 of October, 1992. It is in English. I apologise,
1 Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
4 JUDGE JORDA: We're not going to blame
5 Colonel Stewart for having written in English,
6 Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE: When he comes, Your Honour, you
8 can blame him.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Absolutely. You're not going
10 to read the whole document, I hope.
11 MR. KEHOE: Heavens no, no. The particular
12 document that I would like to read, starting at the
13 outset, if you could put the front page, Mr. Usher,
14 beginning with Tuesday, 20 October. That's good.
15 Q. "We had arranged to meet Tihomir Blaskic,
16 Commander of Central Bosnia, in the Hotel Vitez at 0900
17 hours. But when we went into town we discovered the
18 whole place was electric. Blaskic was not there. We
19 cocked our weapons after some close firing by HVO
20 soldiers in the vicinity of Hotel Vitez. They claimed
21 to be shooting at Muslim snipers.
22 "Mario Cerkez explained that Blaskic was in
23 Novi Travnik where there was now serious fighting
24 between both Croats and Muslims."
25 MR. HAYMAN: Is counsel going to read the
1 whole thing, Mr. President? The next page is Colonel
2 Stewart going to Novi Travnik and Colonel Blaskic is
3 not there. Could he read the whole thing, please?
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, they're welcome to
5 read the whole thing. My first question concerning
6 this particular document, counsel, is ...
7 Q. Mario Cerkez, who is the brigade commander --
8 or not that time --
9 JUDGE JORDA: I don't want a dialogue to
10 start. For the time being, the Prosecutor is
11 indicating to the Judges, and specifically to the
12 witness, the passages that he wants to have read. At
13 the proper time, when you redirect, Mr. Hayman, if you
14 find other things in the documents that you want to
15 bring up, you can bring them up. But we are going to
16 first hear what the witness has to say.
17 All right. Mr. Prosecutor, concentrate on
18 those parts of the document that you want the attention
19 of the Judges to be called to. You're referring to
20 Mario Cerkez; is that right?
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Mario Cerkez. Mario Cerkez maintains to the
23 commander of the British Battalion that you, General,
24 were in Novi Travnik.
25 A. I don't know how Colonel Stewart phrased his
1 question, Your Honours. If you were to read the entire
2 text, Your Honours, it would be very clear, but let me
3 repeat, I was not in Novi Travnik. This is not
4 correct. And I can -- the only comment I can make is
5 that I did not need to be in the Hotel Vitez because my
6 headquarters was in Kruscica and obviously Colonel
7 Stewart did not know that I was not to be looked for in
8 the Hotel Vitez but, rather, in the Hotel Lovac in
9 Kruscica, which is about 3 k from the Hotel Vitez, so I
10 didn't even have an office in the Hotel Vitez.
11 Next, Mario Cerkez was not the brigade
12 commander. There was no brigade in Vitez at the time.
13 He, at that time, was in a post of a member of the
14 military municipal staff of HVO, and it is possible
15 that Colonel Stewart had asked him where his commander
16 was. But I, having given a solemn declaration here, I
17 repeat, I was not in Novi Travnik on the 20th of
18 October, and it is not correct that I was in Novi
20 Q. Well, General, on the 20th of October, did
21 you order troops to pass by Ahmici and to go to Novi
22 Travnik where they were stopped at a roadblock where,
23 ultimately, fighting ensued?
24 A. I believe that the fighting took place on the
25 20th and it started out spontaneously when the shift,
1 which was en route to Jajce, came into conflict with
2 those who were at the barricade at Ahmici. I don't
3 remember having issued such a command. There could
4 have been such an order, but I was focusing that
5 afternoon on setting up an appointment with the main
6 commander of the HVO. But I do not exclude the
7 possibility that there were some conflicts at the
8 barricade itself and in this area around the barricade.
9 Q. Now, General, were these troops going to Novi
10 Travnik pursuant to your orders or were these troops
11 going to Jajce?
12 A. If we're talking about the forces from
13 Kiseljak, they were sent to Travnik and then on to
14 Jajce. Those forces were.
15 MR. KEHOE: Let's go to a tape. I have an
16 English translation of this tape. If I might hand this
18 Mr. President, there is a reporter talking in
19 this particular tape from Busovaca TV that is the
20 journalist that we hear throughout.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. There is a tape that
24 goes with this. The tape is 646 and ...
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, the tape is --
1 JUDGE JORDA: I see that the interpreters do
2 not have the text.
3 MR. KEHOE: We have some extra copies,
4 Mr. President.
5 JUDGE JORDA: That would be good, yes.
6 Please give it to the interpreters. Would the usher
7 have the copies brought to the interpreters, please?
8 THE REGISTRAR: To be clear, the tape is 646
9 and the transcript of the tape would be 646/1.
10 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Is everybody
12 MR. KEHOE: I think there is one -- one needs
13 to go up to the booth here. If we can dim the lights
14 and play this tape, Mr. President?
15 If we could dim the lights, please?
16 THE REGISTRAR: The audio booth has an
17 audiotape. Is that the one that you gave them?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Well, let's hope so.
19 MR. KEHOE: I hope so too. It's a videotape
20 I believe that my colleague gave to them.
21 JUDGE JORDA: All right, Mr. Prosecutor. You
22 will tell us immediately if it's not the right one.
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
24 (Videotape played)
25 JUDGE JORDA: Is this right?
1 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
2 (Videotape played)
3 THE INTERPRETER (Voiceover): "Voice in the
4 background: That is in the direction of Vitez, that is,
5 Busovaca. After that we shall go to the village of
6 Ahmici, where the conflict partly originated. We are
7 just passing by the gas station. Here in the car with
8 me are Mile, the driver, and Vlado from the
9 intervention platoon. They have two four-barrel guns,
10 Darko, Predrag Cunojka, up there is Vinko Petrovic and
11 up there is Mladen Petrovic.
12 "This is part of the route, the so-called
13 Vitez route, and on our right is the area from which
14 the units of the Croatian Defence Council of Vitez
15 fired. This is part of Rovna, and on the left is the
16 part called Hrasno.
17 "Now we are going to the place known as Kod
18 Picana and to the village of Ahmici. Here on the other
19 side were some of the roadblocks set up near the
20 cemetery. We'll stop here and film certain details.
21 "KRISTO: Yes. You see the village of
23 "Voice in the background: Yes. This is the
24 village of Hrasno. It's alive and well ...
25 "KRISTO: ... the Busovaca untis of the HVO...
1 "Voice in the background: Yes, yes. The
2 Busovaca units of the HVO fired on the village of
3 Hrasno or from Raska Beraja. For many of those who
4 will be watching this, here are some pictures to
5 remember, pictures which will cause this area to be
6 free. Here is the mosque, the upper part of which has
7 been destroyed because there were snipers there. The
8 units neutralised it.
9 "KRISTO: A house.
10 "Voice in the background : Yes. The film is
11 from here. There, the tricolour flag is flying down
13 "KRISTO: Slobodan Milosevic?
14 "Journalist: ... keine Serbisch, Serbisch
15 niks. Do you speak Croatian? No, Serbian, mixed
17 "KRISTO: Where are you from? From Jajce?
18 "Voice in the background: Vinko, I'm coming
19 toward you. I'm going to take you.
20 "Journalist: Ahmici is the first and last
21 stronghold of the Muslim armed forces. This is the
22 point where they tried to stop members of the Croatian
23 Defence Council who were on their way to the positions
24 in Novi Travnik. After all the negotiations and
25 agreements, the Muslim forces abandoned all the talks
1 of negotiations, and the response of the Croatian
2 Defence Council is well-known."
3 MR. KEHOE: If we can bring the lights up.
4 Thank you.
5 Q. Now, General, that particular tape reflects
6 that these particular soldiers were being sent to Novi
7 Travnik, doesn't it?
8 A. I do not know the soldiers, but I see that
9 the soldiers were moving from Novi Travnik towards
10 Busovaca. I assume that it is possible that they had
11 been in Novi Travnik and that now they were going
12 back --
13 Q. Let me interrupt you, General. I'm talking
14 about the tape itself. The journalist says:
15 "Ahmici, the first and last stronghold of
16 the Muslim armed forces. The point where they tried to
17 stop the members of the Croatian Defence Council who
18 were on their way to positions in Novi Travnik. After
19 all the negotiations and agreements, the Muslim forces
20 abandoned all talks and negotiations, and the response
21 of the Croatian Defence Council is well-known."
22 According to that account, the troops that
23 were stopped in Ahmici were headed to Novi Travnik and
24 weren't headed to Jajce, were they?
25 A. No. Your Honours, the soldiers who had been
1 stopped at this barricade were supposed to go to
2 Jajce. The conflict broke out, and there was a
3 casualty from Bilalovac. He was in the Kiseljak
4 municipality; his name was Vidovic. They were on their
5 way to Jajce. I know that Jajce was a difficult
6 destination in the sense of the road. The vehicle that
7 you saw here was of the make TAM, and the vehicle used
8 for the transportation of soldiers to Jajce was a model
9 150. This is at the time when the conflict broke out.
10 I know the soldier who died. His name is Vidovic, and
11 I know his last name because he is a distant relative.
12 Q. General, let's move to another one of your
13 orders --
14 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, what about the
15 rest of 645?
16 MR. KEHOE: We're not finished with it.
17 Please, with all due respect, Mr. President,
18 the witness has just answered questions concerning
19 Ahmici. I am conducting the cross-examination on this
20 particular version. Counsel has more than enough time
21 during his redirect examination to clarify any points
22 that he believes the Prosecutor has left out.
23 MR. HAYMAN: No, Mr. President. The witness
24 was presented with a document that's only in English.
25 He wasn't allowed to read it; it wasn't translated for
1 him. The rest of the document, which is Colonel
2 Stewart's diary, describes the fact that Colonel
3 Stewart went to Novi Travnik, that Colonel Blaskic was
4 not there, and then later, as the witness described,
5 there's a meeting. I think the witness should be
6 allowed to read it and --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, the question has
8 just been resolved by myself. Let us not get into a
9 discussion. We said that in your redirect, you could
10 ask what you like. You could say that the Prosecutor
11 only used the parts of it that were of interest and
12 advantage to him, which, I think, is frequently done by
13 both parties, as you know. We are professional judges,
14 Mr. Hayman. You will have the right, at the time you
15 carry out your redirect, to bring out the
16 contradictions or to criticise the method that the
17 Prosecutor has been using in his cross-examination.
18 But for now, the Prosecutor has the initiative to
19 conduct his cross-examination as he pleases.
20 MR. HAYMAN: I object to the Court being
21 misled in that matter, only having part of the document
22 read to it when the rest of the document absolutely
23 confirms what the witness has said. We object to
25 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this particular
1 point --
2 JUDGE JORDA: This is not the first or the
3 second time but the last time that the Defence and the
4 Prosecution, in the two years that this trial has been
5 going on, when they have the initiative and when they
6 are in charge of the proceedings, they bring out
7 exhibits which support their thesis.
8 First of all, after both parties have spoken,
9 both have presented their evidence, the Judges will
10 have to reach what ideas they have about the relevance
11 of both sides' arguments. If the Prosecutor has only
12 taken part of the report and if, during the
13 cross-examination, he points out that in this or that
14 sentence, Mario Cerkez said that Blaskic was or was not
15 in Novi Travnik or on the next page, at line 35, it
16 shows that Mario Cerkez says the opposite, then it will
17 be for you to bring out the contradiction at the
18 appropriate time, that is, during redirect, and then
19 the Judges will withdraw from that all of the
20 consequences. Let us not waste any further time
21 because we have to take a break.
22 Do you have any other questions about the
24 MR. KEHOE: I have quite a few questions
25 around that area, Mr. President. If you want to take a
1 break now --
2 JUDGE JORDA: That's a very good technique.
3 Every time an incident occurs, I suggest that we take a
4 15-minute break, which allows serenity to reenter the
6 --- Recess taken at 4.52 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5.08 p.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing
9 now. Please be seated.
10 Mr. Prosecutor, please resume with the
11 document that you showed the witness.
12 MR. KEHOE: Before we move to that document,
13 Mr. President, just referring to 645, which is the
14 document that counsel made much ado about, we will read
15 the pertinent portion. The document does speak for
16 itself, but I think it's significant, given the
17 allegations by counsel, to read this. It reads on page
18 23 of this diary:
19 "At HVO headquarters, we were taken to meet
20 Kordic. I produced Ilija and told Kordic how I came to
21 have him with me. After that I asked if a cease-fire
22 could be arranged."
23 JUDGE JORDA: Where are you there? Page 23,
24 did you say?
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. On the
1 particular diary that we have, it would be the second
2 page, the third full paragraph of that second page.
3 MR. HAYMAN: In Novi Travnik,
4 Mr. President --
5 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Counsel. Excuse me,
6 Counsel. The document reflects a meeting between
7 Lieutenant Colonel Stewart and Kordic in Novi Travnik.
8 It says nothing about Blaskic being there or not being
9 there, period, the entire insertion. It has Blaskic at
10 a meeting later on in the day, but with regard to that
11 time, it says nothing one way or the other.
12 Q. General, with regard to Kordic in Novi
13 Travnik, was he in Novi Travnik on the 20th?
14 A. I believe that he was in Novi Travnik on the
15 20th. But I'm underlining once again that I was not
16 there. A few minutes ago, I heard of Colonel Stewart
17 meeting with me --
18 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you already
19 said that -- you're saying that you're under oath.
20 What is your question, Mr. Prosecutor? Let's
21 move to the next question.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. The next question, General, is what was Dario
24 Kordic's role in Novi Travnik?
25 A. It is hard for me to assess what his role was
1 specifically. I was not with him, but I do know which
2 post he held in that region. He was vice-president of
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. And why he
4 went there or when he went there, he certainly didn't
5 go there on my orders, because I did not have the power
6 to order him.
7 Q. Were you ever together with Dario Kordic in
8 Novi Travnik either on the 20th or the 21st of October,
10 A. On the 20th of October, I was not with him.
11 I did not even see him on the 20th of October. On the
12 21st, I already said that I went there at 4.00 in the
13 morning, and in the afternoon, as I was returning from
14 Novi Travnik, I met him. But when I was at
15 headquarters, he was not at headquarters. I'm talking
16 about the headquarters of the military component of the
17 HVO in Novi Travnik at the new hotel. I was there on
18 the 21st of October, and he was not at those
19 headquarters at the time.
20 Q. Before we move to the next document, I'd like
21 to ask you about the negotiations that took place on
22 the afternoon of the 20th of October, 1992. You
23 participated in those negotiations with Colonel Stewart
24 and others, didn't you?
25 A. If you mean the negotiations in Vitez at the
1 Vitez Hotel, I did take part because Colonel Stewart
2 had sent a message asking that I take part in these
3 meetings, and I did. By all means, I wanted that
4 meeting with Dzemo Merdan, commander of the TO for the
5 region of Zenica.
6 Q. Why did you want this meeting?
7 A. In order to stop the combat action in Novi
8 Travnik and to stabilise the situation and in order to
9 help the front at Jajce and, first and foremost, to
10 bring the conflict in Novi Travnik to a halt because I
11 believed that I would manage to stop that with him.
12 Q. Let us go to another section of Colonel
13 Stewart's diary on that day, and this is the last page
14 of that three-page diary, Your Honour, about midway
15 through, where Colonel Stewart writes as follows:
16 "Blaskic, who represented the HVO, was
17 adamant that the Territorial Defence force should
18 unconditionally surrender. In particular though they
19 must surrender their weapons, come under HVO control
20 and give Lendo to the HVO as well. After about 45
21 minutes Andrew Cumming joined us. We were getting
22 nowhere when Andrew suggested a harder line. He
23 suggested that the Territorial Defence force should
24 remove Lendo. But it also emerged that the HVO
25 Representative had written instructions not to
2 General, did you demand that the Territorial
3 Defence come under the control of the HVO, and did you
4 have instructions from your superiors not to
6 A. No. I must say that the environment in which
7 the meeting took place -- I think I should describe
8 that, and then it would be clearer what I asked for.
9 Captain Nick interpreted at the meeting. He had a very
10 poor understanding of the Croat language. At that
11 meeting, two bottles of whiskey were consumed. I don't
12 know how come it doesn't say so there. Dzemo and I
13 don't drink alcohol at all. The meeting went on from
14 23.00 until 03.00, and Dzemo spoke at this meeting
15 saying that he was being asked that the Territorial
16 Defence hand over its weapons to the HVO. In relation
17 to that, I said to Dzemo Merdan that that was not
18 true. I said, "Dzemo, that is not true. That is not
19 the position of the HVO. Tell me who presented that
20 position before you? I'm telling you now that that's
21 not what the HVO is asking for. The HVO does not need
22 weapons and the HVO is not asking for weapons from the
23 Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik." I did ask for
24 Commander Lendo to be handed over because I considered
25 him to be responsible for the killing of the commander
1 of the HVO in Travnik, the one who was killed at the
2 checkpoint of -- rather, at the roadblock of the army
3 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and his deputy was heavily
4 wounded there and they were from Travnik, and when
5 Brigadier Cumming, at around 2.30 a.m., he asked for
6 Dzemo Merdan to replace Commander Lendo from his
7 position, we agreed on that and we parted on that and
8 we said that we would continue our talks but that this
9 should all take place as soon as possible.
10 After the meeting, I left immediately during
11 that night, and I arrived in Novi Travnik at 4.00 in
12 the morning of the 21st of October; and at headquarters
13 in the new hotel at Novi Travnik, I conveyed this to
14 the commander, that is, everything that we had agreed
16 Q. So your testimony is that this meeting that
17 you attended with Bob Stewart and others was conducted,
18 at least on your end, in a spirit of conciliation; is
19 that right?
20 A. I said what this meeting was like and I said
21 that I openly stated to Mr. Dzemo Merdan at this
22 meeting that no one from the HVO, I'm talking about the
23 command that was under my command, that the TO
24 surrender its arms and that no one was asking for the
25 TO to surrender to the HVO; but at the outset, the
1 position was as follows, that I had asked for the TO to
2 hand over Commander Lendo because of everything that
3 had happened that day and during that conflict.
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, approximately what
5 time will we be going to this evening?
6 JUDGE JORDA: Until 6.00.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Let me show you another document, General, if
9 I can?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
11 647, 647A for the French version and 647B for the
12 English version.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Now, General, take a look at this report.
15 This is your report.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Would you have a copy for the
18 MR. KEHOE: I believe we do.
19 Q. Now, General, this is your report to all HVO
20 municipal headquarters dated 21 October, 1992, at 2100
22 Now, before we read through this, which we
23 will do, General, I ask you to go back and take a look
24 at the last paragraph on this document, document 10 --
25 excuse me, paragraph 10, I'm sorry, paragraph 10 of
1 this document, which notes:
2 "While defence operations are being
3 conducted, the vice-president of the Croatian Community
4 of Herceg-Bosna Dario Kordic and I are in Novi Travnik,
5 continuously leading the military operations with deep
6 knowledge of the situation and by keeping all the
7 forces under control. Commander of the Operations
8 Group Colonel Filip Filipovic is also here and the Novi
9 Travnik HVO HQ."
10 So, General, when you told us a couple of
11 minutes ago that you weren't in Novi Travnik with Dario
12 Kordic, you weren't telling us the truth, were you?
13 A. You asked me about the 20th of October,
14 whether I was with Dario Kordic. On the 21st, I said
15 that I met Dario Kordic, but I did not find him at
16 headquarters in the morning at 4.00 when I was at
17 headquarters of the municipal staff of Novi Travnik at
18 the new hotel. He was not there. But I did say that I
19 saw him later during the day.
20 Q. So, General, where were you continuously
21 leading the military operations with Dario Kordic?
22 A. This report was written at 2100 hours on the
23 21st of October, and I would have to study this
24 document, to read this document, it has two pages, and
25 I should see what it's all about. But I still claim
1 that on the 21st, in the morning, at headquarters in
2 the hotel in Novi Travnik, I did not see Dario Kordic,
3 and at that time, he was not at the hotel when I was
4 there. But I did see him on the 21st in Novi Travnik
5 but at another place.
6 Q. And, General, this document is dated 2100
7 hours, 9.00 at night, so when you told us that you left
8 Novi Travnik at noontime on the 21st, that wasn't true
9 either, was it?
10 A. I returned to the Hotel Lovac in order to
11 prepare, on the 21st of October, Mr. Marko Prskalo, who
12 was supposed to be president of the commission, and
13 later he was, for implementing the agreement on the
14 cease-fire in Novi Travnik and on looking into the
15 causes of the conflict. I gave him instructions and
16 later I probably went to Novi Travnik from Vitez.
17 Q. Well, did you tell us that?
18 A. You did not ask me. You are asking me now
19 whether it is correct that I left Novi Travnik and
20 whether I went to Vitez, and I'm saying, yes, I did do
21 that in order to meet with Marko Prskalo, an officer
22 from my command, so that I would agree on these things
23 with him related to the agreement on the cease-fire.
24 Q. Well, General, during the course of your
25 direct questioning by Mr. Nobilo, did you tell the
1 Court that you had, in fact, been involved in Novi
2 Travnik during combat operations on the 21st of October
3 of 1992? Did you tell the Judges that?
4 A. In my statement, I said that I arrived in
5 Novi Travnik on the 21st at 4.00, and now I should look
6 at the rest to see what are the other details that I
7 spoke of, but I concentrated on the most important
8 segments of my statement.
9 MR. KEHOE: Well, I think the record will
10 reflect itself, Mr. President, that the witness made no
11 commentary about his activities in Novi Travnik on the
13 Q. Let us read this document, General.
14 A. No, no. On the 21st of October, I ...
15 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, this method is
16 also unacceptable. The witness did not speak about
17 many things during the examination-in-chief because we
18 were in a hurry. We thought that we should make a
19 selection of relevant and irrelevant things. That's
20 what you asked for.
21 First of all, the conflict in Novi Travnik is
22 not part of the indictment, and the witness did say
23 something about it but we did not go into details
24 because it was not in the indictment.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Let's be careful here. I don't
1 want it to say in the transcript that it was pursuant
2 to instructions from the Trial Chamber that the parties
3 did not judge that it was essential to call attention
4 to relevant things. I want to make it clear on behalf
5 of my colleagues that you choose your own strategy, and
6 let me remind you that there are always time
7 constraints for which we are responsible pursuant to
8 several Rules, especially Rule 90(G). Don't put any
9 words in my mouth that I never said. I'm just speaking
10 about time constraints, but within the time
11 constraints, everyone is free to act according to his
12 own strategy.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, for the record,
14 Novi Travnik is part of the indictment in Count 1 of
15 the indictment, and with regard to the Novi Travnik
16 issues itself, Blaskic begins to talk about Novi
17 Travnik commencing on page 8007 and then continues to
18 talk about it for 45 pages of the transcript.
19 Let us look at this document, General.
20 Excuse me.
21 I have been corrected by my colleague,
22 Mr. President. The issue of Novi Travnik comes up in
23 paragraph 5.2 of the indictment.
24 Q. Let us look at this document, General, dated
25 the 21st of October, 1992, at 2100 hours, your
1 announcement or report on the situation in Novi Travnik
2 and Jajce.
3 "1. SITUATION AT THE NOVI TRAVNIK FRONT:
4 "(a) Muslim forces continue intensive
5 artillery operations aimed at the town itself and
6 operate generally using 122 mm howitzers. The most
7 fortified positions of the Muslim forces are the
8 village of Opara where the command is based,
9 Kasapovici, the village of Isakovici south of 612 by
10 500, the village of Vejzovici, Sinokos, Senkovici, and
11 Turalici. The enemy has disarmed HVO units in villages
12 inhabited by an unknown number of Croatian people.
13 Some Croats have been taken prisoner in the villages of
14 Kopilo, Torine, Senkovici, and Bugojcici."
15 Moving down towards the end of that
17 "The enemy is attempting to plant
18 misinformation about alleged successes of its forces
19 which is a downright lie and certainly has a
20 counterproductive effect on its units.
21 "The loudspeaker of the mosque in the
22 village of Ahmici, Vitez Municipality, was used to call
23 upon the Croatian people to hand over their weapons.
24 "(b) HVO UNITS:
25 "1. All roads to the town of Novi Travnik
1 have been blocked and no access will be granted to the
2 town without our permission for the time being, after
3 1945 hours. In other words, the town is under a
4 complete blockade.
5 "2. The blockade of all roads was lifted
6 along with singing of the songs Cavoglava ... and
7 Evo zore, evo dana. The amplified singing shook the
8 town. Muslim forces were pushed back towards the
9 villages with a majority of Muslim inhabitants. The
10 villages of Kasapovici, Isakovici, and Lasine were
11 completely blocked and exposed to intense firing from
12 our forces.
13 "3. The situation in Travnik, Zenica,
14 Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak, Fojnica, Kresevo, Vares, and
15 Kakanj is under complete control of the HVO, but the
16 behaviour of the HVO military and civilian personnel in
17 Travnik was incomprehensible. They began negotiations
18 and arrangements for a cease-fire after the
19 assassination of the commander of the Travnik Command
20 HQ, the late Ivica Stojak, without the knowledge of
21 their superior command and taking advantage of our
22 preoccupation of the situation in Novi Travnik and
24 "4. Tensions are really high in Travnik and
25 Zenica, but it was made clear to the Muslim forces that
1 our units will prevent any movement of the Territorial
2 Defence towards Novi Travnik and therefore the units
3 are currently passive.
4 "5. The barricade on the Busovaca - Vitez
5 main road, in the village of Ahmici, Vitez
6 Municipality, was completely destroyed and the Muslim
7 forces were driven out of the village and crushed
8 entirely. The Muslim forces also surrendered their
9 weapons on their own initiative. In Ahmici, the mosque
10 was used for military purposes (with the loudspeaker to
11 call on HVO defenders to surrender weapons). As a
12 result, fire was opened on the tower. Since yesterday,
13 the village is under full control of the HVO."
14 Let us move to the last sentence in paragraph
16 "6. The activities of our forces are
17 organised, fully coordinated and controlled by the
19 "8. Casualties on our side:
20 (A) 10 dead
21 (b) 32 wounded
22 (c) 5 known to be missing.
23 Casualties on the Muslim side are unknown
24 since they do not transport their wounded to the
25 Travnik hospital but we saw them transporting the dead
1 on two tractors. Many have been taken prisoner.
2 "9. The additional personnel I had asked
3 for will NOT BE REQUIRED FOR NOW since the situation in
4 all the municipalities is under control. The road from
5 Gornji Vakuf to Novi Travnik has been blocked by forces
6 of the Fojnica Municipal HQ and the Bugojno - Novi
7 Travnik road by the Bugojno HVO forces. The personnel
8 which was sent by you and which has reached Prozor
9 (according to our sources) may remain there temporarily
10 or return. We have irrefutable proof that the mosque
11 towers are being used as shelters by snipers. Whenever
12 we launch any operations against them, they identify us
13 as Chetniks.
14 "10. While defence operations are being
15 conducted, the vice-president of the Croatian Community
16 of Herceg-Bosna Dario Kordic and I are in Novi Travnik,
17 continuously leading the military operations with deep
18 knowledge of the situation and by keeping all the
19 forces under control. Commander of the Operative Group
20 Colonel Filip Filipovic is also here and the Novi
21 Travnik HVO HQ.
22 "The misinformation about any of our
23 commanders being taken prisoner persistently being
24 spread by the so-called 'Supreme Command of the
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina Army' is incorrect, since UN
1 vehicles must be secured for the transfer of their
2 commander of the District HQ of the Zenica TO to their
3 zone of responsibility."
4 This document, of course, is signed by you as
5 commander of the Central Bosnian Operative Zone and
6 also by Dario Kordic.
7 General, this is your document, isn't it?
8 A. Yes, this is my document, on the 21st of
9 October at 21.00.
10 Q. Now, it is clear that on the 21st of October,
11 the HVO is in control of virtually all of Central
12 Bosnia, and read paragraph 3: "Travnik, Zenica, Vitez,
13 Busovaca, Kiseljak, Fojnica, Kresevo, Vares, and
14 Kakanj," they're all under your control?
15 A. There was no conflict there and only HVO
16 members are under the control of the command, and
17 Travnik cannot be under HVO control when there is the
18 TO there too, and at that time the Mujahedin too and
19 members of other units or, I don't know, Zenica. In
20 Zenica is the headquarters of the 3rd Corps, and the
21 3rd Corps is not under my command, and all the forces
22 of the 3rd Corps. And you also mentioned Vitez. In
23 Vitez, the 325th Brigade is not under my command; in
24 Busovaca the 333rd Brigade is not under my control; in
25 Kiseljak, the 310th Brigade is not under my control;
1 and so on and so forth. In Fojnica, the BH army forces
2 are not under my control; in Kresevo, in Vares and
3 Kakanj; but the HVO forces are under my control.
4 Because it says "the situation," that is to say, the
5 state of affairs there; it doesn't say that the area is
6 under control.
7 Q. General, did you write this document?
8 A. Yes, but I don't know why this part was
9 omitted in terms of treatment of the wounded. In this
10 situation, we did not have a hospital either. I don't
11 know why you omitted that, but the document does speak
12 about that --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Try to focus on the question
14 that was asked. That will help us to understand things
16 Mr. Kehoe, you asked a question about
17 paragraph 3 regarding the sentence about areas under
18 the control of the HVO.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. And the dominant military force in all of
21 these municipalities was the Croatian Defence Council,
22 wasn't it?
23 A. Your Honours, at that time, Zenica had a
24 population of 100.000 Muslim Bosniaks, I mean, and
25 perhaps only 20.000 Croats. What are these dominant
1 forces of the HVO in Zenica as related to the TO? I'm
2 referring to the situation that was under control in
3 terms of the soldiers, that is to say, that there was
4 no escalation of the conflict in Zenica. There
5 wasn't. There wasn't in Kakanj and elsewhere too.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General --
8 JUDGE JORDA: General, I think we've got to
9 move to another question. You're asking us the
10 questions when you're the one that's supposed to
11 answer. You're not a neutral observer here, but,
12 rather, a privileged witness. Otherwise, I think we
13 have to move to another question, and your answer has
14 been indicated in the transcript.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. General, the town of Travnik had a tradition
17 of conciliation and ethnic brotherhood between the
18 Croats and the Muslims, didn't it?
19 A. Not only the town of Travnik but the entire
20 region before these problems and incidents. Not only
21 Travnik. Travnik was not special in that regard with
22 respect to the other parts, areas. It was a similar
23 situation in Kiseljak and other areas.
24 Q. Yet you, General, just told us that you came
25 to the meeting on the 20th with Colonel Stewart in the
1 spirit of conciliation, but in this document you are
2 outraged that Travnik has entered into a cease-fire with
3 the Muslims, and that's in paragraph 3.
4 A. That is right, but if you look at the further
5 history of these ceasefires, you will see what took
6 place, but this document, 647, when you describe the
7 situation under (a), you have the "intensive artillery
8 operations at the town itself ... using 122 mm
9 howitzers" were continued. They were fired against
10 residential areas. I came in a conciliatory mode, but
11 things were not going in that direction. Later on, the
12 minister had to intervene in order that we reached a
14 Q. Now, General, the HVO had completely
15 blockaded the town of Novi Travnik, hadn't they?
16 A. It blocked all the access roads which it
17 could in order to localise this conflict.
18 Q. Also, in paragraph 9, the HVO controlled the
19 roads from Gornji Vakuf to Novi Travnik and from
20 Bugojno to Novi Travnik; isn't that right?
21 A. At that time, yes, the HVO had erected
22 barricades on those roads from Novi Travnik to Gornji
23 Vakuf, and the barricade from Bugojno to Novi Travnik
24 was erected by the Bugojno HVO.
25 Q. General, when you were at the model and you
1 were showing us all the places where the Bosnians had
2 checkpoints and control, you never told us that in
3 October of 1992, the HVO had control of all the access
4 roads between Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf and Novi
5 Travnik and Bugojno, did you?
6 A. I had stated to this Trial Chamber when the
7 attack on Medenik happened, that is, on the Novi
8 Travnik-Gornji Vakuf road in '93, and the BH army had
9 broken up and dispersed the HVO troops and taken
10 control of this road, I said that the BH army had
11 deployed 200 soldiers at the Vora Vode school
12 in Novi Travnik, that they put Mujahedins in Rostovo on
13 the Novi Travnik-Bugojno road and that through these
14 operations, it was assuming control over the roads. At
15 Medenik, the HVO had held these positions, and the BH
16 army attacked it in January. I believe it was on 14
17 January, 1993. I think it is in my testimony
19 Q. General, did you tell the Chamber that by the
20 21st of October, 1992, the HVO was in full control of
21 all access roads going to Novi Travnik from Bugojno and
22 Gornji Vakuf? Did you tell the Trial Chamber that?
23 MR. HAYMAN: Objection as to form,
24 Mr. President.
25 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, we heard
1 days and days and hours of testimony --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Rephrase your question.
3 Rephrase your question, please. Make it specific.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. Did you testify, in response to questions by
6 Mr. Nobilo, that the HVO controlled all the access
7 roads into Central Bosnia through Novi Travnik on the
8 21st of October? Did you tell the Court that?
9 JUDGE JORDA: Take your time. Take your
11 A. I either did not understand the question or
12 something was wrong with the interpretation. Could you
13 please just repeat the question?
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. During your answers to questions by
16 Mr. Nobilo in direct examination, did you tell the
17 Trial Chamber that on the 21st of October, the HVO had
18 full control over the roads through Novi Travnik, from
19 Bugojno to Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf to Novi
21 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, here's the
22 problem. Counsel could repeat the question for every
23 day of the war. "Did you tell the Court that on the
24 18th of July you controlled this road or you didn't?"
25 It's an objection as to form. If counsel believes that
1 the witness misled the Court, then --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, your client is the
3 one who didn't understand the question. Therefore,
4 don't jump up with all the excitement that you
5 display. It's simply that General Blaskic asked that
6 the question be repeated. I think that we can wait for
7 the witness to answer.
8 Take your time. Think about it if you need
10 A. Your Honours, I did not speak of all the
11 details because I focused on what was the most
12 important. As regards the control, this situation is
13 presented here based on the reports which I had
14 received and which were in force on the 21st maybe
15 through the 25th of October. But I explained how the
16 operations developed and how all these roads in the
17 course of time came under the control of the BH army.
18 (Trial Chamber confers)
19 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, please, Mr. Kehoe.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Let's move to paragraph 5, General, where you
22 noted that with regard to the village of Ahmici, the
23 barricade was completely destroyed and that the Muslim
24 forces were driven out of the village and crushed
25 entirely; is that correct, sir?
1 A. This is the Busovaca highway, and it is
2 correct that the barricade had been destroyed and that
3 the Muslim forces were driven out and crushed. Yes,
4 that is correct.
5 Q. So when you told the Court on page 18012 that
6 the barricade had been dismantled, what actually
7 happened was significantly more violent; isn't that
9 A. There was fighting over the barricade, and I
10 know that the barricade was removed under fighting. I
11 don't know exactly what I stated, I would have to look
12 at it, but there was some fighting going on around the
13 barricade, and that was the circumstances under which
14 it was removed.
15 JUDGE JORDA: We don't know whether it was
16 crushed, whether it was diminished, whether -- let's
17 move on. Go on.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. In paragraph 5, you say it was crushed
20 entirely. In your testimony, you note that this
21 barricade was dismantled. My question for you is that
22 what you write in this report, that it was completely
23 destroyed, is significantly more violent than just
24 dismantling the barricade, isn't it?
25 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, let's show the
1 witness his testimony if we're going to engage in
2 this. He stated at page 18013 that people were killed,
3 there was a death on the Croatian side, a death on the
4 Bosnian side, and that structures were burned. That's
5 in his testimony to this Court on direct.
6 MR. KEHOE: There were Muslim houses too that
7 were burnt. Muslim houses were burnt. What he said
8 with regard to this particular barricade as opposed
9 to --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I'm going to speak
11 on behalf of the Judges. I'll ask the question;
12 otherwise, we're never going to move forward at all.
13 General Blaskic, when you write in paragraph
14 5 that the roadblock was completely destroyed and that
15 the Muslim forces, who had to take people out of the
16 village, were completely crushed, was that your
18 A. I can confirm this sentence, and when I
19 talked about the conflict in Ahmici --
20 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation obscured] ...
21 the Judges, they have texts in front of them, and they
22 can distinguish the difference between "completely
23 destroyed" and "completely crushed." We understand the
24 difference between "crushed" and "destroyed."
25 Let's move to another question. It's now ten
1 to six.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. General, it's also true, is it not, that the
4 Muslim forces in Ahmici surrendered their weapons
5 voluntarily? Paragraph 5, second full sentence.
6 A. The sentence reads that they surrendered
7 their weapons on their own initiative in Ahmici. They
8 don't say how many there were, just the forces who did
9 so in Ahmici.
10 Q. Was that true?
11 A. This is the report that I had received, and I
12 consider it correct, that I received it like that.
13 Q. Now, you also note that at this juncture, on
14 the 21st of October, 1992, in this last sentence at
15 paragraph 6, "The activities of our forces are
16 organised, fully coordinated, and controlled by the
17 command." By that statement, General, in October of
18 1992, you are noting that command and control is
19 operating, aren't you?
20 A. According to the information at my disposal
21 at the time, I believed that this was so, in other
22 words, that the activities had been coordinated, and
23 this is how I stated it. I stated it as I believed it
24 to be at that time.
25 Q. Now, once again, at paragraph 10, General,
1 when you note that you and Kordic are in Novi Travnik
2 continuously leading military operations, I ask you,
3 what was Dario Kordic's role in leading these military
5 A. When I say this, I am referring to the
6 disinformation that we had both been captured by the
7 Muslim forces. That information was disseminated in
8 the media. It was true that the commander from Travnik
9 had been killed, but there was this disinformation. I
10 already stated what his duty was. He was the deputy
11 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.
12 Q. What was Dario Kordic doing in leading the
13 military operation? What was he doing?
14 A. Dario Kordic, together with -- was with the
15 civilian authorities, that is, with the municipal
16 government of the HVO, the president and other
17 officials. I did not directly communicate with him; I
18 don't know what duties they had at the time. But I
19 know that the problem we had at the time was that we
20 could not reach the hospital in Travnik, so I believe
21 that he was involved in trying to find a solution for
22 the wounded because we had been cut off, and our access
23 to the hospital was cut off.
24 Q. When you saw him in Novi Travnik, was he
25 wearing a uniform? I'm talking about Dario Kordic
2 A. The whole time, I think, until the Dayton
3 Accord was signed, he was wearing a uniform. In fact,
4 I don't know that I ever saw him not wearing a uniform
5 in Central Bosnia. He may have not worn one, but he
6 usually wore it, just like all the other officials at
7 the time.
8 Q. Who was he with when you saw him in Novi
9 Travnik on the 21st?
10 A. It was mostly the officials of the civilian
11 authorities, so it would be the president of the HVO,
12 vice-president. One's name was Jozo; I think his last
13 name was Sekic. Another one was called Marinko. Then
14 the head of defence for civilian defence in Novi
15 Travnik and other officials.
16 Q. General, when you met in Novi Travnik on the
17 21st, what did you talk about, you and Kordic?
18 A. I informed them on what agreement we had
19 reached with Merdan and what I had expected of the TO
20 and what else we should do in order to stabilise this
21 cease-fire. So that was the direction that the
22 discussion took.
23 Q. I mean, the bottom line is, did he or did he
24 not lead military operations?
25 A. When I was there, I am sure that he was not,
1 and I came on 21 October, '92. Whether anything
2 happened before I arrived or afterwards, because I left
3 on the 22nd to Kiseljak, the 23rd to Kiseljak, I do not
4 know what he did specifically. But when I was there,
5 he did not lead any military operations.
6 Q. So when you write in the report that you and
7 Kordic were leading military operations, you don't know
8 of any military operations that Kordic led; is that
9 what your testimony is?
10 A. I say what I have just stated, that when I
11 was there, I know and I'm convinced that he did nothing
12 in terms of military affairs, and this is my
14 Q. Then why did you put that in the report?
15 A. I was referring to myself, that I personally
16 was leading the operations and conducting them while I
17 was there.
18 Q. No. General, the document says very
19 clearly: "The vice-president of the Croatian Community
20 of Herceg-Bosna and I are in Novi Travnik continuously
21 leading the military operations."
22 A. I have already stated what issues he was
23 dealing with, and what I did, for the most part, was in
24 reference to the information that we had both been
1 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think you're really
2 answering the question, General Blaskic. Either we're
3 not going to have that question answered or something
4 else. "Dario Kordic and I remained in Novi Travnik,"
5 we knew all about that question, "and we were aware of
6 all the forces under our control." Keep the answer the
7 same as what you had given. It only involves
9 A. Mr. President, when I was there, I did
10 command, and control and command involves and
11 leadership also involves other issues like
13 JUDGE JORDA: But you're the one who wrote
14 this, General Blaskic. We're not the ones who are
15 giving answers. We're asking you to help us. The
16 Prosecutor is asking, when you say that "Dario Kordic
17 and myself will stay here in order to continuously
18 direct military operations," you're not talking about
19 civilian operations. You're the one who wrote that. I
20 can't answer for you. You're the only one who can
21 answer. Say that you don't know or you can't remember
22 or that it doesn't match the actual facts. I don't
23 know. All of us are trying to understand things here.
24 I think that Judge Shahabuddeen also wishes
25 to ask a question, as well as Judge Rodrigues.
1 What is your last answer in respect of this
2 question, this point, this very specific point, when
3 you write this?
4 A. When I state that I am leading military
5 operations, I am saying that I am commanding the
6 military operations. For instance, there was also an
7 issue of caring for the wounded, and he was dealing
8 with that.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I don't think we can go any
10 further than that. That's your answer. That's your
11 right. That's the witness's right.
12 Do you have another question before I give
13 the floor to Judge Shahabuddeen in respect of the
14 various aspects of this report?
15 MR. KEHOE: No.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Do you still have any other
18 MR. KEHOE: No.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Let me turn to Judge
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, this report is
22 dated the 21st of October, 1992, that is, some seven
23 months before the events which occurred at Ahmici; is
24 that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Look at paragraph 5 and,
2 in particular, the last sentence. You state there:
3 "Since yesterday, the village," I take it that refers
4 to Ahmici, "is under full control of the HVO."
5 Did the BiH army ever subsequently dislodge
6 the HVO from the position of full control of Ahmici
7 which it had acquired on 20th October, 1992?
8 A. Yes, Your Honour. In Ahmici was the 3rd
9 company of the 325th Mountain Brigade of the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina from Vitez. Then on the slopes
11 behind Ahmici was the position of these forces, that is
12 to say, that this was the situation probably in
13 October. The command of that company was in the
14 elementary school in Ahmici.
15 Cooperation between the HVO in the area of
16 Vitez, like in other municipalities, was dynamic. It
17 varied. For a certain period of time, it would be very
18 good. For example, after the conflict, we had very
19 good cooperation, and then there were incidents, and
20 then it would repeat itself. That is what life was
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What I'm trying to clear
23 my mind on is this: On the 20th of October, 1992, the
24 HVO, so you say, had acquired full control of Ahmici.
25 I'm asking whether the HVO lost that control or
1 terminated that control later on or was dislodged by
2 the BiH army later on? Can you answer that as clearly
3 as you can?
4 A. I think that the most precise way of putting
5 it is that this control stopped when the cease-fire
6 agreement came into being, and when the commission was
7 set up by the Minister of the Interior of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, it was set up for implementing all
9 agreements relating to the joint command, and the TO
10 or, rather, the BH army was no longer in the focus of
11 attention, and we focused on the front line and on the
12 Serbs together and together we reconstructed various
13 facilities in Ahmici, so this was stabilised at local
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: When was this cease-fire
17 A. This general agreement at the highest level
18 was around the 3rd of November, 1992, and the local
19 agreement was between the 20th and the 25th, in that
20 period, the 20th and the 25th of October in 1992, and
21 at that time, the joint commission was set up as well
22 which was supposed to ascertain the causes of the
23 conflict in Novi Travnik. However, this joint
24 commission stopped working because the Muslim officials
25 no longer participated in this commission as of the 4th
1 of November in 1992. The killers of Commander Stojak
2 were supposed to be handed over and also the
3 protagonists of the conflict in Novi Travnik.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'm only asking,
5 General, whether the HVO continued in control or lost
6 control. I think I've got the answer from what you've
7 said. Thank you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
9 MR. KEHOE: No.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you that tomorrow
11 we have a day from 10.00 to 1.00 and then from 2.30 to
12 5.30. The same thing on Wednesday. On Thursday, we
13 will meet from 9.00 to 1.30, and we will not sit in the
14 afternoon nor on Friday morning.
15 All right. Court stands adjourned. We will
16 resume tomorrow at 10.00.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
18 6.07 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
19 the 11th day of May, 1999, at 10.00 a.m.