1 Monday, 17th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.08 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Usher,
5 please have the witness brought in.
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the
8 interpreters, to the court stenographers. I see that
9 they are here again. Also, good afternoon to counsel
10 for Prosecution and the Defence, and good afternoon to
11 the witness.
12 This is a public hearing. Let me remind
13 those people who are in the public gallery that in the
14 trial which is being conducted by the Office of the
15 Prosecutor against General Blaskic, the accused chose
16 to testify. Like any witness, he is under oath. This
17 is now the cross-examination of General Blaskic.
18 I would like to recall, for reasons that all
19 of you working in the Tribunal know, and given certain
20 solemn ceremonies that are taking place at the Peace
21 Palace, after some hesitation, the Judges have chosen
22 for a minimal type of formula both to show that they
23 are participating in an important event a century ago,
24 that is an advance in International Humanitarian Law
25 which interests all of us and which marks the progress
1 of civilisation, and not to disturb the conduct of our
2 hearings, because our most important work is to render
3 tribute to International Law and in doing so to devote
4 ourselves primarily to the trial.
5 In agreement with my colleagues, as I always
6 wish to work, with their agreement we decided that we
7 would not have a hearing tomorrow morning but only
8 tomorrow afternoon, and we will resume our hearings but
9 we will begin at 2.00, in the beginning of the
10 afternoon, and we will stop at 5.30. So that tomorrow
11 afternoon the registrar has to note that there will be
12 a hearing from 2.00 until 5.30.
13 We don't have a great deal of time. Let me
14 remind the Prosecutor about the time constraints, and
15 remind the witness as well so he can answer as
16 concisely as possible those questions that have been
17 asked him -- that he's been asked by the Prosecutor.
18 Mr. Prosecutor, please proceed.
19 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
20 afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, Counsel. Good
21 afternoon, General.
22 THE WITNESS: Good day.
23 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
25 Q. General, let us turn our attention back to
1 Prosecutor's Exhibit 678.
2 General, 678 is the exhibit that we spoke
3 about at the end of last week concerning the burned
4 houses in the Busovaca municipality in the area under
5 HVO control, and of the 112 buildings damaged, we noted
6 in paragraph 1, 53 were burned down.
7 Now, General, both during your time in
8 Kiseljak and after you returned to Vitez on the 3rd of
9 March, you were aware of crimes committed by HVO troops
10 in Busovaca, in the Busovaca municipality, were you
12 A. As regards this document 678, it is only a
13 partial document that was used for the work of the
14 joint commission. As for the report --
15 Q. Excuse me, General, that's not my question.
16 My question for you is: Were you made aware or were
17 you aware of crimes committed by HVO troops in the
18 Busovaca municipality during January and February of
19 1993? Were you aware of that?
20 A. As regards the report pertaining to the crime
21 that was committed by individuals from the HVO when
22 they took two prisoners to dig trenches, I was informed
23 about that. I asked for an investigation to be carried
24 out. The investigation was carried out and the
25 criminals were prosecuted by the district military
1 court in Travnik whose seat was in Vitez.
2 I asked for an investigation to be carried
3 out about each and every individual crime that I heard
4 about through reports. I only know about the crimes
5 that I heard about through the reports of the --
6 JUDGE JORDA: I think that we've heard that.
7 Let's move to the next question, please.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, what were these crimes that you
10 heard about that were committed by HVO troops?
11 A. It was the crime of taking two prisoners or,
12 rather, taking them out of the district military prison
13 by force to dig trenches and then these two prisoners
14 were killed. This was done by a group of persons who
15 were identified and then criminally prosecuted before
16 the district military court in Travnik. The seat of
17 the court was then in Vitez.
18 Q. Was that the only crime that you were made
19 aware of?
20 A. I was informed about that crime, and I was
21 informed about the crimes that were committed in Lasva,
22 in the village of Dusina, in Visnjica. Then --
23 Q. Excuse me, General. If we want to clarify
24 this, please, we are talking about crimes committed by
25 HVO troops in the Busovaca municipality. Other than
1 the two individuals that you allege were convicted for
2 forcing Muslims to trench dig, what other crimes by HVO
3 troops were you made aware of that were committed in
4 the Busovaca municipality?
5 A. I do not remember having received any other
6 information related to crimes committed by members of
7 the HVO. As regards this document, I already said that
8 this was a partial document, document 678, because a
9 comprehensive document shows that there was house
10 burning on both sides. Actually, at a ratio 3 to 1,
11 Croatian houses compared to Muslims houses that were
12 burned down.
13 Q. Well, General, of the 53 houses that were
14 burnt down and the 112 buildings that were damaged as
15 we see in 678, did you investigate the method and means
16 in which those houses were damaged and destroyed, given
17 that they were in HVO controlled areas or did you just
18 disregard this?
19 A. I did not disregard a single report, but I
20 should clarify how these reports were processed by the
21 joint commission which was set up in order to take care
22 of everything that had happened as a result of the
23 conflict in Busovaca and Kiseljak municipalities, that
24 is to say, the joint commission collected comprehensive
25 reports and then it informed me about this as well as
1 the commander of the 3rd Corps. On the basis of the
2 conclusions that were reached at meetings, joint orders
3 were passed as well forbidding the burning of buildings
4 and other non-military conduct.
5 So over a longer period of time, this was
6 dictated by the chief of the European Monitoring
7 Mission, Mr. Thebault, and most things were done under
8 the mandate of the European Monitoring Mission within
9 this joint commission.
10 Q. General, listen to me very clearly. What HVO
11 soldiers were disciplined, arrested, or convicted for
12 burning Muslim houses in the Busovaca municipality in
13 January and February of 1993?
14 A. As regards disciplinary action, I already
15 said that house burning is a criminal offence.
16 Information reached the commander, then a criminal
17 report was filed on that kind of offence. So it is not
18 disciplinary action that could be taken against the
19 same soldier against whom criminal proceedings were
20 investigated against, that is to say, criminal
21 proceedings were initiated at the district military
22 court in Travnik.
23 This court was not under my jurisdiction and
24 I did not have the right to carry out this kind of
25 prosecution. According to the law on criminal
1 procedure, I did not have jurisdiction over the
2 criminal procedure and investigation.
3 Q. General, my question is very simple. What
4 information came to your attention about HVO soldiers
5 burning down houses in Busovaca? What information came
6 to your attention?
7 A. For a longer period of time, from January
8 almost until March, I did not receive any information
9 because I was isolated and cut off, that is to say, I
10 spent that time in Kiseljak. I only got information
11 from the joint commission, that commission which was
12 chaired by Mr. Dzemo Merdan and by Mr. Franjo Nakic.
13 The burning of houses is a criminal offence,
14 and I have no power or control over --
15 Q. Excuse me, General. Excuse me, General. The
16 question is: What information came to your attention?
17 You got back to Vitez on 3 March, 1993. After you got
18 back to Vitez on 3 March, 1993, what information came
19 to your attention about HVO soldiers burning houses in
20 the Busovaca municipality in January and February of
22 A. At that time I did not receive any
23 information, but only at the next meeting. I think it
24 was in March 1993, in Zenica. This was a joint meeting
25 between myself and the commander of the 3rd Corps.
1 At that meeting, in the presence of
2 Mr. Thebault, a report was submitted on buildings that
3 were burned down. This was a joint report, and at
4 these meetings we worked in accordance with the
5 conclusions of the chairman of this meeting, that is to
6 say, Mr. Thebault.
7 Q. Now, what individuals in the HVO were
8 responsible for these burnings? If you do not
9 understand the question, General, I will rephrase the
10 question. But I'm looking for individuals within the
11 HVO responsible for these burnings based on the
12 information you received.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, Mr. Kehoe is
14 prefacing his questions with "Listen to me very
15 carefully," and "You're not answering the question,"
16 and so forth. He's asking different questions. He's
17 trying to create the impression that he's asking the
18 same question and not getting an answer, but if you
19 look at the transcript over the last three or four or
20 five questions, he's changing the question every time
21 but making these speeches about how he's unhappy and,
22 "Oh, won't the witness listen to the question," et
23 cetera. He should ask questions and keep his comments
24 to himself, please.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Would you like to make a
1 comment, Mr. Kehoe, about what Mr. Hayman has just
3 MR. KEHOE: I think Mr. President and Your
4 Honours have seen the reluctance with which the witness
5 wants to answer a direct question. This has been going
6 on for weeks with the witness being reluctant to answer
7 a direct question not only from the Prosecutor but also
8 from Your Honours. In order to cut short that, given
9 the amount of time that the witness wants to waste
10 during the answering of those questions, I want to make
11 those questions very clear and very explicit.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Let me take your place,
13 Mr. Prosecutor.
14 I was wondering, General Blaskic, the
15 question that you were asked for the third time, that
16 is, whether you were aware of HVO soldiers who had been
17 sanctioned or punished for those crimes, you at one
18 point said that it was a procedure for the court, and
19 at the proper time we will see whether in wartime an
20 ordinary law court can judge that type of case. You
21 also said most recently that you held a meeting with
22 Mr. Thebault. I didn't change my question. I simply
23 want to know whether HVO soldiers were punished,
24 whether they were sanctioned. I assume that there
25 would be disciplinary sanctions. Answer very quickly,
1 please. A crime is committed -- quickly, please,
2 succinctly; otherwise I'm going to stop you -- were
3 there disciplinary measures taken as a result?
4 I wanted to remind you, Mr. Hayman, that
5 ordinarily the witness is alone when he has to answer.
6 Let me remind you of that.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Yes, Mr. President, but you're
8 pressing him to answer quickly, quickly, quickly. He
9 doesn't have the translation yet, and it is difficult
10 because Your Honour speaks very rapidly too. I'm
11 hearing it in English and it is difficult. In his
12 language, I'm sure it's difficult too, so please.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you're right, Mr. Hayman.
14 Excuse me. I will try to reformulate my question.
15 When you were asked whether HVO soldiers were
16 punished in Busovaca, I wanted to ask you only whether
17 they were sanctioned by the court, and at the same
18 time, were they the subject of disciplinary measures
19 that were taken?
20 A. Mr. President, the practice in the HVO was
21 the following: If a soldier commits a crime, then a
22 criminal report is filed against him to the district
23 military court, and it is not disciplinary action that
24 follows but criminal prosecution of that person. The
25 military district prosecutor and the district military
1 court are in charge of this criminal procedure against
2 a soldier, but if a disciplinary infraction is
3 committed --
4 JUDGE JORDA: I hate to interrupt you,
5 General Blaskic, but you've said that several times,
6 and we have the weakness of knowing that now, but that
7 is not my question. You, as the commander, did you
8 take any disciplinary measures? For example, they
9 would not be allowed to return to the HVO.
10 A. Your Honour, if I received a report that a
11 soldier, given his name and surname, committed a
12 disciplinary infraction, then I would certainly take
13 care of that particular case, and I would certainly
14 impose a disciplinary action.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I'm speaking to you about
16 crimes, burned houses. When an HVO soldier -- let me
17 speak slowly -- is suspected of having committed a war
18 crime, at the same time, did you begin a disciplinary
20 A. No. A criminal procedure is initiated.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Therefore, at that
22 point, you keep the soldier as one of your military
24 A. No. The soldier is placed under criminal
25 investigation, he is detained, and an investigation is
1 carried out against him, but it is the district
2 military prosecutor who is in charge.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We've got to where we wanted to
4 get. As a commander in the HVO, did your brigade
5 commanders, and specifically in Busovaca, did they say
6 that "Starting from such and such a day, we have ten
7 HVO members who, for alleged crimes, have been brought
8 to the district military court, and for the time being,
9 they are no longer part of the HVO army"? Did you have
10 information in that respect?
11 A. I did have information in this respect for
12 this case related to the killing of prisoners of war
13 who were digging trenches, that is to say, that these
14 soldiers were sent away from the unit, they were
15 detained, and a criminal prosecution was initiated
16 against them. They were no longer members of the HVO
18 JUDGE JORDA: For all the crimes in Busovaca,
19 did you have any other information which you might be
20 able to give to your Defence attorneys? It's important
21 to know because you're the one who is saying so.
22 A. Mr. President, I did not have the right to
23 supervise the work of the district military court;
24 however, specifically --
25 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not talking about the
1 military court's work, General Blaskic. Please listen;
2 try to focus. I'm asking you, among the members who
3 were there, with someone who was being brought before
4 the military trial because of a complaint, you're
5 saying that ipso facto he would no longer be counted
6 among the HVO military personnel; is that correct? Did
7 the Busovaca commander tell you, "Starting tomorrow,
8 there are ten HVO soldiers who will no longer be part
9 of the HVO army because they are being tried by the
10 military court. They are being prosecuted." That's my
11 question. It's very simple.
12 A. Yes, he did inform me. I said about this
13 concrete example of the killing of prisoners of war,
14 that is to say, that the suspects were sent away from
15 HVO ranks, that they were detained --
16 JUDGE JORDA: That one case then. There was
17 only that one case?
18 A. I had information about that case. During
19 the conflict, I was isolated in Kiseljak. I did not
20 receive all information from units. They arrived to
21 headquarters in Vitez. I received very little
23 JUDGE JORDA: You are a general and a
24 commander in chief who was very poorly informed. At
25 least that's all we can see.
1 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
2 You're missing a lot of information. That's
3 what can be said. That's the answer that would have
4 been sufficient to give.
5 Now, Mr. Prosecutor, please change the
6 subject area. We're starting with the idea that the
7 general, who was a colonel at the time, was badly
8 informed about what was going on in Busovaca.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Let us turn to the time when you were back in
11 Vitez, and you got back on the 3rd of March, and you
12 told us, in response to questions by my colleague, that
13 you then took steps to fight criminals and criminal
14 activity in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone; do you
15 recall that testimony?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. What types of crimes were you trying to stop?
18 A. All forms of criminal behaviour on the part
19 of HVO members, that is to say, any activity that
20 constituted a crime, regardless of whether this was
21 looting, robbery, highway robbery, the burning of
22 buildings, any form of criminal activity.
23 Q. When did you learn that this criminal
24 activity was going on? Was it a constant type of
25 activity? Was it intermittent?
1 A. There were such activities in different
2 periods of time depending on the situation, on the
3 military situation. Especially when larger groups of
4 refugees would come in, for example, from Jajce, then
5 there were more criminals on the ground as well.
6 However, the greatest problem was to establish, under
7 those circumstances, who the protagonists of crime
8 were, whether it was civilians or soldiers, because the
9 same person would play the role of a soldier from one
10 to seven days, and then after that, for 21 days, he
11 would be a civilian, this person, and live in a home
12 with his family.
13 So it was very difficult to establish whether
14 the perpetrator of the crime was a soldier or a
15 civilian, especially because criminal offences were
16 usually committed at night and in conditions when it
17 was very difficult to discover this.
18 Q. General, do you believe that you did
19 everything in your power to stop this criminal
21 A. Yes. I'm deeply convinced that I did
22 absolutely everything that was within my power to stop
23 this, and I also tried to extend my command
24 responsibilities because I kept insisting on changing
25 the structure of the HVO. Because I said that the
1 military police was an instrument of command and
2 control but also an important instrument of security
3 which was not under my command, which certainly made it
4 more difficult to prevent violence, terror, and crime
5 within my zone of responsibility. So we tried for a
6 longer period of time to eliminate the protagonists of
7 unrest and crime in the HVO.
8 Q. What steps did you take to eliminate these
9 criminals within the HVO when you came back in March of
11 A. I demanded from my immediate subordinates to
12 identify all the protagonists of destructive behaviour
13 and criminal behaviour, then to make out lists of such
14 persons, to try to disarm them, and also take their war
15 assignments way from them, that is to say, that the
16 competent civilian authorities give such persons a
17 different war duty, that it be work duty rather than
18 military duty, so that at least formally, they would be
19 prevented from carrying weapons and keeping military
20 equipment and other means in their hands which made
21 them even more powerful. So practically in every
22 brigade, we managed to identify lists with the
23 protagonists of such criminal behaviour.
24 In addition to this, I tried to change the
25 structure within the organisation of the military
1 police. The civilian authorities also passed decisions
2 on curfew in order to restrict the possibility of
3 committing violence against all citizens and improving
4 law and order within this area that was within the zone
5 of responsibility of Central Bosnia.
6 Q. General, tell us about these criminal groups
7 that you discussed on direct examination. What were
8 the names of these criminal groups?
9 A. These were groups in the Lasva River Valley,
10 practically in every municipality, and they were
11 organised round individuals, round their leaders. Most
12 often, individuals from these groups were infiltrated
13 into HVO units as well. There were different groups,
14 and usually they were called by the name of their
15 leader, Poskoci, Celavi, and they were readily
16 recognisable by their hairstyles. They had short
17 haircuts, and they were well-armed, well-equipped, and
18 they had high quality weapons.
19 Q. Well, was the Vitezovi one of these groups?
20 A. There were individuals within the Vitezovi
21 who took part in such groups, but the whole unit had a
22 total of about 120 soldiers, and it's not that the
23 entire unit belonged to this kind of a group.
24 However, the Vitezovi had a high degree of
25 autonomy and, otherwise, a high degree of independence
1 as well. One could not say, though, that all of them
2 were in a criminal group but there were individuals of
3 this nature in Vitezovi as well.
4 Q. So in addition to having, in your view, a
5 high degree of autonomy, there were criminals within
6 the Vitezovi as well; is that right?
7 A. Well, there were persons who had a criminal
8 record from the former structure, before they belonged
9 to the HOS. They were established from three different
10 municipalities, and most of them were young men from
11 Vitez who only changed their name from the HOS into the
12 special purpose unit Vitezovi, and they had a high
13 degree of autonomy. However, it is certain that the
14 whole unit was not a criminal one.
15 Q. Well, you told us during your direct
16 examination, on page 18085, that on the 15th of
17 November General Merdan was arrested and taken into
18 custody by the Vitezovi. That is on the page, as I
19 noted, 18085.
20 On 18095 you told us that on the 2nd of
21 January, in the town of Vitez, opening of fire as well
22 as active provocation by the special purpose unit
23 Vitezovi in the course of the 2nd of January. You also
24 told us, page 18267, that General Merdan informed you
25 that the Vitezovi were dealing with problems in the
1 individual villages by using ultimatums and he had in
2 mind Bosnian Muslim villages.
3 This is the same group that is controlled by
4 Darko Kraljevic, who, in response to Judge Rodrigues's
5 question on page 19510, you noted that: "The commander
6 of the Vitezovi had a selective approach to my orders,
7 so if he considered or if his position coincided with
8 the duties that I assigned to him, then he would carry
9 them out. If not, then he would not carry them out or
10 he would carry them out as he saw fit."
11 Now, that's one in the same group that
12 contains these criminal -- well, some criminal elements
13 that you wanted to remove from Central Bosnia; is that
15 A. I didn't understand the last question. I
16 don't know what it pertains to. I tried to remove
17 him? Who is he? Who is the person I'm trying to
18 remove from Central Bosnia, or perhaps the
19 interpretation was wrong.
20 Q. I apologise. You wanted to remove the
21 Vitezovi as an independent unit from Central Bosnia;
22 isn't that right?
23 A. Yes. I asked the members of the joint
24 command to do that. I wanted this unit to be
25 dislocated from Central Bosnia. I wanted it to be in
1 Mostar where its direct command and headquarters were.
2 But in relation to the abduction of Dzemo
3 Merdan, I would like to say a few words. It is true
4 that this happened. However, I found out about the
5 reason only later, because there were mutual arrests
6 between the Vitezovi and the army of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the commander tried to free
8 them, et cetera, et cetera.
9 As for resolving the problem of the
10 ultimatum, I think it is very important to understand
11 that I asked Dzemo Merdan to tell me in which villages
12 the Vitezovi were presenting ultimatums and solving
13 problems by ultimatums, and Mr. Dzemo Merdan didn't
14 give an answer, any answer, to that. He didn't say
15 which villages this concerned or where this was
16 happening. So I thought that this claim was made at
17 this meeting but it was unspecified.
18 Q. General, the bottom line with the Vitezovi
19 is, according to your testimony, there were criminals
20 within the Vitezovi and the Vitezovi and its commander
21 essentially did what they wanted; isn't that right?
22 A. Reading document 250 that I read through
23 several days ago, I saw that they did certain
24 operations on command, but I had no insight into the
25 orders they were receiving, and I thought they were
1 doing this arbitrarily, on their own, or following the
2 wishes of their commander. There were situations where
3 they took independent decisions, the commanders of the
4 Vitezovi that is, and sometimes they were following
5 orders from their superiors. However, in both cases,
6 in both situations, I was not informed about their
8 So what I found very difficult is I was not
9 able to establish control over their activities, in
10 fact, and this made it very difficult for me to operate
11 in the Central Bosnia area.
12 Q. Let us turn to the military police, and in
13 response to this question and answer by Mr. Nobilo at
14 18405 at line 2, Mr. Nobilo notes that:
15 "Q On 24 March --"
16 And that's 24 March, 1993, General.
17 "Q On 24 March there was something
18 relative to the military police. You
19 had a discussion with the deputy
20 commander. If you can tell us now so
21 that we don't have to repeat it every
22 day, because now we will encounter this
23 more frequently, what was the situation
24 like in the military police with respect
25 to crime?
1 A Within the military police, there was
2 some perpetrators of criminal acts. In
3 other words, individuals who had
4 previous criminal records, and on
5 several occasions, I insisted that
6 measures against such individuals be
7 taken as part of the reorganisation of
8 the military police."
9 Now, General, as of -- do I have the wrong
10 page, counsel?
11 MR. HAYMAN: 18405?
12 MR. KEHOE: I believe that's correct,
14 MR. HAYMAN: Wrong transcript, counsel.
15 MR. KEHOE: Then it's either 18394 -- top of
16 the page.
17 Q. General, as of the 24th of March, you were
18 aware of criminals within the military police; is that
20 A. I knew that as of that date there were indeed
21 individuals who had criminal records and who had
22 committed certain crimes. That is why I demanded that
23 corresponding measures be taken against them.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Answer the question, General.
25 There is no need -- well, you already said that
1 starting the 24th of March there were individuals with
2 criminal records. Please continue.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Approximately how many individuals within the
5 military police had criminal records? Would it be in
6 excess of 100 or in excess of 200? How many?
7 A. Approximately, taking the whole of the 4th
8 Battalion, about 100 individuals for which I sought
9 measures to be taken against them.
10 Q. What types of crimes that you were informed
11 had that these members of the military police
13 A. I did not receive specific information as to
14 the types of crimes committed. What I did receive was
15 information that they were individuals with criminal
16 records, that is to say, individuals who had previous
17 criminal records before the war broke out, and that
18 these criminal records were kept as records -- indeed
19 are kept by the police station in the towns and areas.
20 Q. Well, in addition to the criminal records
21 that these individuals had, you were also informed of
22 such things as abuse of prisoners in Kaonik camp, which
23 came after your discussion with Mr. Aleksovski, the
24 warden of the prison, and that conversation took place
25 on the 25th of March, 1993, is that correct, sir?
1 MR. KEHOE: That, I believe, is at 18398,
2 counsel, top of the page, lines 3 through 6.
3 Q. I can read it to you, General, if you see
5 "Q Did he ..."
6 Speaking of Aleksovski.
7 "... have any complaints about the
8 military police?
9 A Yes. He also had certain complaints
10 about the behaviour of individual
11 members of the military police and their
12 treatment of detainees and, also, their
13 treatment of the guards at the district
14 military police prison."
15 So you had that information as well.
16 A. I received that information at the meeting,
17 from the warden, yes.
18 Q. Did information about the military police
19 abusing detainees, and the guards -- you knew that
20 there were approximately 100 with criminal records in
21 the military police -- what other crimes were you
22 informed that the military police were committing in
23 Central Bosnia while you were under command? For
24 clarity's sake, if I might just shorten it, prior to
25 Ahmici. Prior to the 16th of April.
1 A. I did not have information that the members
2 of the military police had perpetrated war crimes
3 before that, before the events in Ahmici. I did not
4 have any information of that kind, not for any of the
5 members of the military police.
6 I spoke about the criminal records that
7 existed before the war broke out, for those individuals
8 whom I -- because I considered these individuals could
9 not be members of the military police if they had
10 previous criminal records.
11 Q. Well, General, let us turn to Tvrtko, the
12 special purpose unit Tvrtko. What was the status of
13 the members of the Tvrtko? Did they also contain
14 individuals with criminal records in their ranks?
15 A. I did not have any data on them, that is to
16 say, whether there were individuals with criminal
17 records. I don't remember receiving any information of
18 that nature.
19 Q. Now, there was another group that was
20 controlled by an individual by the name of Zuti which
21 Mr. Nobilo described in page 19612 as "Mafioso boss,"
22 and I quote. Tell us a little bit about Zuti and his
23 criminal activities.
24 A. Well, he was within the composition of the
25 military police unit when the military police was
1 organised to begin with. He was an influential
2 individual in the region and, for the most part, crime
3 groups would refer to him during their operations. As
4 I say, he was a mighty individual, a powerful
5 individual, and members of the UNPROFOR would contact
6 him as well. I think I mentioned that in the course of
7 my testimony previously. There were groups from
8 different local communities, municipalities, Travnik,
9 Novi Travnik, and Vitez, and they would refer to
10 authorisation from Zuti, although, there was little
11 data on his personal influence and personal activities.
12 Q. Tell us about the information that you
13 received about the crimes that Zuti was committing.
14 What crimes was Zuti and his Mafia group committing?
15 A. Most frequently it was looting and gaining
16 material, wealth, and black marketeering. Black
17 marketeering under wartime conditions. That would be
18 the best term to use. The looting of convoys, seizing
19 various goods from the convoy, high-profit goods,
20 cigarettes, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and the
21 individuals would refer to his name.
22 Q. Well, let us turn to a few of those
23 instances, and let me turn first to Defence Exhibit
25 Now, General, this is a Defence document
1 concerning the incident where one of Zuti's gang, Ferdo
2 Gazibaric, was brought in for questioning by the
3 military police. Then Zuti, Zarko Andric, and other
4 individuals from Vitezovi and Tvrtko II broke him out
5 of the gaol; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that's right. I was in Kiseljak when
7 the incident occurred.
8 Q. The person who wrote this is Pasko Ljubicic,
9 the commander of the 4th Military Police Battalion;
11 A. Yes. Pasko Ljubicic wrote the report to his
12 superiors, Valentin Coric and to the SIS head Ivica
13 Lucic in person, but I did not receive this document
14 and it wasn't addressed to me either.
15 Q. The other person that signs this document is
16 Miso Mijic, a commander of SIS; is that correct?
17 A. Miso Mijic, I don't know what his functions
18 in SIS were apart from the fact that sometime from
19 April he was the head of the SIS centre. He has signed
20 himself here as official -- SIS official for the
21 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. Perhaps that is within
22 the structure, although I don't know the structure but
23 I do know that he was head of SIS at one point.
24 Q. You were made aware of these events that were
25 taking place in Vitez and in Busovaca while you were in
1 Kiseljak, weren't you?
2 A. Yes. By telephone, the ordinary type of
3 civilian telephone, I was informed about the events and
4 I had the opportunity of talking to both the
5 participants, that is to say, with Pasko Ljubicic, who
6 informed me about it, and with Zuti, who was next to
7 Pasko in the same office. The events were also
8 witnessed by a major belonging to UNPROFOR.
9 Q. When you returned to Vitez on the 3rd of
10 March, 1993, did you order the arrest of Ferdo
11 Gazibaric for these events?
12 A. I demanded of the assistant for security that
13 a complete investigation be undertaken on the events,
14 what Zuti had done and what his group had done and,
15 once again, that Ferdo Gazibaric be returned to prison,
16 but the incident was a major incident and there were
17 some problems because it was an incident within the
18 military police itself.
19 Q. Nothing happened either to Ferdo Gazibaric or
20 to Zarko Andric, also known as Zuti, or to any members
21 of the Vitezovi, or to any members of Tvrtko II for
22 this breaking out of Ferdo Gazibaric from prison; isn't
23 that right? Nothing happened?
24 A. That is not correct. That is not correct.
25 Mr. Ferdo Gazibaric, after a certain amount of time,
1 committed another criminal act. Then, with
2 remuneration, monetary remuneration, and with the help
3 of the members of the BH army, he fled to south-western
4 Herzegovina. He escaped there.
5 When I received authorisation of direct
6 authority over the military police, I asked that the
7 commander of the military police dispatch a writ for
8 him to be returned, which was dispatched to Mostar and
9 Gazibaric, and he was arrested. He was returned on the
10 basis of this warrant. He was taken to the military
11 district prison and tried at the military district
12 court in Vitez.
13 Furthermore, measures were taken against the
14 other members who had taken part in these activities in
15 November 1993. When an attempt was made to arrest
16 them, there was an armed conflict between the members
17 of the military police and the members of this criminal
18 group, and eight to ten of them were arrested and put
19 into prison, the district prison, and they were
20 prosecuted at the military district court in Vitez.
21 So these members were prosecuted and one of
22 them lost their life in this shoot-out with the
23 military police. A military police member was also
24 wounded in this settling of accounts with the group
25 that called itself the Zuti group or whatever else they
1 chose to call themselves.
2 Q. General, this event that took place between
3 the 26th and -- between the 27th of February, 1993 and
4 the time when Zuti was shot and essentially paralysed
5 on the 22nd of October of 1993, did you arrest Zuti for
6 this outrageous act?
7 A. Zuti, at the time you're asking me about, was
8 a member of the military police, so I had no authority
9 to even issue a disciplinary measure, let alone detain
10 a member of the military police. This was not under my
11 competencies. It was under the competency and the
12 authority of the military police. So I wasn't able to
13 give a disciplinary measure to the members of the
14 military police. He was within the military police of
15 the 4th Battalion, and Mr. Pasko Ljubicic was his
16 superior. But I requested that an investigation be
17 conducted, and I asked the security service, in
18 addition to this material, the assistant SIS individual
19 investigate it within the military police.
20 Q. The bottom line, General, is that Zuti was
21 not arrested between the 27th or the 28th of February
22 and the 22nd of October, 1993 when he was shot; isn't
23 that right?
24 A. Well, he was not arrested, as far as I know,
25 but I did not have information as to what the military
1 police undertook against him, what measures they took
2 against him, because when he perpetrated this incident,
3 he was, as I say, a member of the military police.
4 Q. Let us turn our attention to Prosecutor's
5 Exhibit 97. If we can highlight 97 and the other
6 exhibits that I gave you a list of, please. It does
7 note in 213 of this report, does it not, that:
8 "From the rooms of the 4th Military Police
9 Battalion, communication was established with Colonel
10 Blaskic in Kiseljak. The situation they found
11 themselves in was described to him, as well as the
12 consequences which could result if their demands were
13 not met and armed conflict occurred. Blaskic's
14 suggestion was to do all this without the use of force
15 and without bloodshed."
16 Now, you were the one that was making the
17 decisions on how the military police was going to
18 conduct themselves in this matter, weren't you?
19 A. Let me clarify here, Your Honours. The
20 members of the military police attacked the command of
21 the military police, the military police headquarters,
22 and it was a settling of accounts within the military
23 police because the military police had arrested a
24 criminal and placed him in the district prison. When
25 the military police was completely disarmed and the
1 commander of the military police found himself in front
2 of his subordinate disarmed, he called me and informed
3 me that he had been completely disarmed and that they
4 threatened to liquidate him unless this particular
5 criminal, Gazibaric, were freed from the prison, the
6 district prison.
7 I then wanted to contact the chief of that
8 particular band, group of men, and told him not to free
9 the prisoner by force, that this was illegal, against
10 the law, and that he must be conscious of all the
11 consequences of acting in that way were he to opt to do
12 so. He told me over the telephone, he said, "Okay."
13 Now, this "all right," I understood this to mean that
14 he would not undertake the next step, that is to say,
15 to attack the district prison and free the prisoner by
17 Despite saying "all right" to me and despite
18 agreeing with my position, he went to the district
19 prison and forcefully freed the prisoner. The
20 individual writing the report did not hear my
21 conversation, the conversation that I had by
22 telephone. It was an ordinary civilian telephone that
23 I used for the conversation.
24 Q. In the third-to-last paragraph of that
25 document, Ljubicic notes:
1 "I received on time the information about
2 the intentions of this group to free Gazibaric by means
3 of firearms, and at the same time I warned about what
4 would happen, so that there were many possibilities to
5 organise the military police units and to prevent this
6 group on time in their intentions."
7 Now, on routine police matters, the military
8 police was under your command. While operating as
9 such, did Pasko Ljubicic warn you what was going to
11 A. Pasko Ljubicic, in that situation, was
12 directly subordinate to the military police command
13 according to the regulations on the organisation of the
14 military police and according to explanations given to
15 me by the officer of the military police in the
16 presence of General Petkovic at a meeting on the 13th
17 of December, 1992.
18 Pasko Ljubicic called me up on the 27th of
19 February, 1993 when the attack had already been
20 completed and when he had been disarmed. So this group
21 here, it transpired, was connected to other groups and
22 was far stronger than the military police at the time,
23 both with regard to their arms, the weapons they had.
24 They had tanks within their composition, guns, that is,
25 so it was very difficult to disarm these groups by
1 force. They were strong.
2 Q. You would agree, General, that this act or
3 crime by Zuti and his members was a very, very serious
4 matter in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, wasn't
6 A. Of course it was a serious matter, but the
7 situation in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone was
8 similar when the refugees from Jajce came into conflict
9 with the Croats in Novi Travnik, and I think that this
10 was an incident within the military police, as I say.
11 There were other attacks on the district prison --
12 Q. Excuse me. I have another question. If we
13 can turn our attention to Prosecutor's 97? In
14 prosecutor's 97, at 3D, this date is May the 11th,
15 "... were two Muslim families in Nova Bila forced out
16 of their houses by a special HVO unit, and two Croat
17 families took over the houses. The commander of the
18 HVO unit had the nickname Zuti or 'Yellow.'"
19 It is signed down at the bottom by Lars
20 Baggesen who was a witness before this Court and
21 another individual, Stavros, and I'm not sure what the
22 pronunciation of that Greek name is.
23 Nevertheless, Mr. Baggesen testified at page
24 978 about this incident: "Who did you complain to
25 about this incident?" We can move up to the top on
1 1978 on line 3:
2 "Q Where is Nova Bila?
3 A This is close to Vitez. We went to that
4 area and we witnessed two Muslim
5 families were forced out of their
6 houses, and their houses were given over
7 to Croat families.
8 Q Who forced them out of their houses?
9 A It was an HVO unit, we were able to see
10 that, and we were told the commander of
11 this HVO unit had the nickname Zuti. We
12 heard this name on other occasions as
14 Line 22 of 1978:
15 "Q Who did you complain to about this
17 A On our way back, we passed Colonel
18 Blaskic, and we complained about this to
19 Colonel Blaskic.
20 Q You said you passed Colonel Blaskic.
21 You passed the Hotel Vitez and you went
22 into his headquarters and you told him
23 about the incident? What did he say?
24 A He said he was sorry and he would try to
25 do something about it."
1 What did you do about it, General?
2 A. Well, I asked that all information be sent to
3 me on this incident and who the perpetrators were who
4 had expelled the Bosniak Muslim families. I can't
5 remember the names and everything else at the moment.
6 But in cases of that kind, I would have talks with
7 those who were expelled and ask the military police to
8 ensure their return. I have jotted down some of the
9 names that I found in my notes and records, but I can't
10 remember the specifics of each individual case at this
11 point in time.
12 Q. Did you order the military police to arrest
13 Zuti for expelling Bosnian Muslims from their homes,
14 after you had written all these orders prohibiting
15 that? Did you do that? If you did, when?
16 A. I issued an order to the military police to
17 arrest all the members of those criminal groups who
18 referred to Zuti, and that was sometime at the end of
19 October and beginning of November 1993, when I
20 succeeded in organising and forming and capacitating
21 the military police. I was not in a position to issue
22 and command the military police until July 1993 because
23 the military police was subordinate to the military
24 police head office. I just had the right to issue them
25 daily operative assignments.
1 Q. General, information was brought to your
2 attention on the 11th of May, 1993 about a military
3 policeman in your zone of operations committing crimes
4 against Muslims. Did you go to the district military
5 prosecutor and refer that information that Mr. Baggesen
6 had given to you so that Zuti could be arrested and
8 A. If information arrived that the members of
9 the HVO had committed a certain offence, then that
10 information -- what I did was I would ask the assistant
11 for security to check the whole matter, to investigate
12 the case, and then to file a criminal report with the
13 district military court. The military police had a
14 crime department within its composition who also had
15 the task of filing criminal reports with the military
16 district court.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe?
18 General, Mr. Kehoe asked you this question:
19 "Did you go to the district military prosecutor and
20 refer that information that Mr. Baggesen had given to
21 you so that Zuti could be arrested and prosecuted?"
22 Would you mind telling me what is your answer to that
23 question? Did you go to the district military
24 prosecutor, et cetera?
25 A. Your Honour, I do not recall how Major
1 Baggesen formulated his assertion. Did he say they
2 were members of the HVO or did he say in concrete terms
3 that they were members of the HVO and the Zuti group?
4 But if I did receive a complaint that individual
5 members of the HVO had done something wrong, then I
6 would ask the assistant for security to check it out,
7 to check out the information, and then to send in a
8 written report to me on what really took place. If
9 they were the members of the HVO and the home guard
10 units, then a criminal report would be filed with the
11 military district court. I have a case dated the 27th
12 of May, and it was a case of Nesib Ahmic who was thrown
13 out of his home and who was returned later on with
14 assurances from the military police.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do I understand your
16 position to be this, that you did not regard the
17 information which Mr. Baggesen gave you as sufficiently
18 concrete for you to refer to the military court?
19 A. If Mr. Baggesen informed me that the members
20 of the HVO did that without specifying who, I asked the
21 security service to check this out and to get the
22 actual names and surnames so that I could give this
23 information to the military court or, rather, the
24 military prosecutor.
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But you didn't have
1 information of that kind to enable you to refer the
2 matter to the military prosecutor; is that it? I'm
3 trying to understand you.
4 A. When Major Baggesen gave me this information,
5 I can only assume now that he did not give me the names
6 and surnames of the members of the HVO who committed
7 such an offence.
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Now, General, certainly you know that the
11 district military prosecutor has the capability and is
12 authorised to conduct investigations himself; isn't
13 that right?
14 A. I believe he is authorised, although I'm not
15 a lawyer, to carry out an investigation on this, but I
16 know that members of the civilian and military police
17 would file criminal reports concerning all events to
18 the district prosecutor who would then decide on
19 whether proceedings would be initiated. Then I would
20 receive information on the sum total of criminal
21 reports. During the first three months, there were 92
22 criminal reports altogether, which is a lot for that
24 Q. General, based on the event of the 11th of
25 May, 1993 where you were informed that Muslims were
1 being expelled from their homes in Nova Bila by members
2 of Zuti's group, did anything happen to either Zuti or
3 to any member of his group as a result of this event?
4 A. Measures were taken against all who were
5 expelling people. Already on the 21st of April, I
6 issued an order prohibiting expulsions and asking for
7 security and safety.
8 Q. I'm talking about the event of the 11th of
9 May, 1993 that was brought to your attention by Major
10 Baggesen concerning the expulsion of Muslims from Nova
11 Bila by Zuti and his members. Did anything happen to
12 Zuti or any of his members as a result of that crime
13 that you were put on notice of?
14 A. At this moment, I do not have individual
15 information here with me on all the disciplinary
16 measures that were taken or the criminal measures that
17 were taken. I had numerous information, but at my
18 level, I did not have information as to names.
19 Q. Now, General, let us move to another incident
20 on Zuti where you sent your chief of staff, Franjo
21 Nakic, up to deal with, and that had to do with the
22 theft of General Alagic's automobile by Zuti and Zuti's
23 members; do you recall that?
24 A. Could you tell me which date you're talking
1 Q. The 2nd of June.
2 JUDGE JORDA: I think we're going to take a
3 break. This is going to be a new area that you're
4 getting into. I suggest that we take a 20-minute
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.20 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 3.50 p.m.
9 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
10 Please be seated. Mr. Kehoe?
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. General, did you have a chance to look at
13 your chronology, and if you did, do you recall the
14 event where Zuti and his men stole Alagic's property
15 from him?
16 A. I did not recall such an event nor did I
17 speak of such an event.
18 Q. Do you recall sending your chief of staff,
19 Franjo Nakic, to meet with Zuti to get Alagic's
20 property back?
21 A. I do not recall having spoken about that. If
22 you have it somewhere. I did speak about the incident
23 with the commander of the Operative Group of Bosanska
24 Krajina, Alagic, on the 2nd of June, 1993 but and not
25 in that context and not about that event.
1 Q. In that context, did Zuti and his men take
2 Alagic's property?
3 A. Your Honours, perhaps the interpretation is
4 not proper. The question was whether Zuti and his men
5 take away Alagic's property. They did not. The
6 members of Zuti did not have an incident on the 2nd of
7 June, 1993 with General Alagic.
8 It was this way: Commander Alagic was
9 stopped and provoked by the members of the Travnik
10 Brigade of the HVO. If that is the incident that
11 you're referring to. I sent two officers,
12 Mr. Jazbinski and Mr. Lovrenovic, with a letter of
13 apology and they were supposed to report to Mr. Alagic
14 with that.
15 Q. Let us turn our attention to yet another
16 order of yours, General, and we'll look at 456/37. I'm
17 interested in the English version that was signed by
18 the General.
19 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. There is an English
20 version that is signed by the General. That is the
21 translation. There is an English version that is
22 signed by the witness. If we can go up just a little
23 further on that. Up the other way, Mr. Usher.
24 Q. Now, General, this was an order that was
25 signed by you on the 19th of June, 1993, and in number
1 3 it notes, among other things that: "Every stealing
2 and holding of property shall be punished and solved
3 through the military discipline measures and courts."
4 The distribution, in the lower left-hand
5 corner, is to all the HVO brigades and all the
6 independent units under the command of the HVO
7 3rd Operative Zone commander, MTD, 4th LTRD, the
8 4th Military Police Battalion, the Vitezovi, Tvrtko II,
9 and Zuti.
10 Now, this is signed by you, isn't it,
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You describe these units, the 4th Military
14 Police Battalion, Vitezovi, Tvrtko II, and Zuti as
15 being under your command; isn't that right?
16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, regrettably, once
17 again the interpreters are putting in words, key words,
18 that do not exist here and they work to the detriment
19 of our client. I thought that this was -- at first I
20 thought it was an accident but now I see it is not.
21 Look at this translation first. In the
22 bottom left corner --
23 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. Before you
24 make accusations, let us make sure that we are talking
25 about the document that is signed by the accused.
1 It is an English document signed by the
2 accused that is part of 456/37. In the lower left-hand
3 corner, in English, in the English version that the
4 witness signed, it notes: "All the independent units
5 under the command of the HVO, 3rd Operative Zone
7 JUDGE JORDA: We're talking about an English
8 document here.
9 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President. Perhaps I
10 have been misunderstood. I'm not talking about the
11 translation and interpretation unit of this court, I'm
12 talking about Blaskic's people.
13 I suggest that the original text in Croatian
14 be put on the ELMO, the one that Blaskic could have
15 read, and then you will see that it does not say: "All
16 the independent units under the command of the HVO, the
17 Commander of the 3rd Operative Zone," but it says --
18 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel.
19 Mr. President, this is a matter for redirect
20 examination if counsel so chooses to bring this matter
21 up in redirect examination.
22 This is an exhibit that was signed by the
23 accused where the witness makes representations to the
24 International Community that these units are under his
25 command. Now, if counsel wants to talk about this in
1 redirect, he's certainly free to do so, I would
3 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic has to answer.
4 Let me remind you once again that your client chose to
5 become a witness and he has to be allowed to testify as
6 he wants to. You will always be in a position to
8 It does seem that this is a document in
9 English which is signed by General Blaskic, who at the
10 time was a Colonel, Colonel Blaskic.
11 MR. NOBILO: Yes, Mr. President, but under
12 the same number you have the document in the Croatian
13 language and it is identical except for this part where
14 it says that these are units under the command of
15 General Blaskic. That's what I'm talking about. It is
16 the same number, 38. There is the Croatian version
17 that Blaskic understood and read. He doesn't
18 understand the English version. I'm just showing this
19 significant difference.
20 At first I thought that this was a mistake in
21 the interpretation here, but then after a few seconds I
22 saw that this was a mistake in translation at
23 Mr. Blaskic's office, but in this case we have the
24 Croatian original.
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. You can develop
1 that in your redirect. Perhaps Colonel Blaskic should
2 also have asked for disciplinary measures for his
3 translators at the time, but for now I would like the
4 Prosecutor to be able to ask the questions he wants of
5 General Blaskic.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General, in a document that you signed to the
8 International Community, you noted that these units,
9 the 4th Military Police Battalion, Vitezovi, Tvrtko II,
10 and Zuti were under your command, the command of the
11 3rd Operative Zone commander, which was you; isn't that
13 A. I have the document that you're talking about
14 here, 456/37, in the Croatian language and it is quite
15 clear. Unfortunately, at that time, I really did not
16 know a word of English and I did not understand
17 either. I did not mean to say that all --
18 JUDGE JORDA: What's in the Croatian
19 language? Let's not spend any more time on this. What
20 does it say in Croatian? Can we see it on the ELMO,
21 and let's have the interpreters interpret it for us.
22 Let's move forward. I think we're getting a little bit
23 lost this afternoon.
24 All right. Mr. Usher, would you give me the
25 French version, please? We have the version in
1 Croatian. Would you give the Judges the English
2 version, please? I have it in French.
3 It says: "To all brigades." Could I ask the
4 interpreters to translate the addressees of the
5 document, that is, for Judge Shahabuddeen and for Judge
6 Rodrigues, both the English and in French. I would
7 like the Croatian version to be put on the ELMO and
8 that it be translated in respect of the most important
9 point, that is, the addressees.
10 Mr. Nobilo, would you read it out, please?
11 Don't you have it?
12 Mr. Kehoe, yes?
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I note that the
14 witness sent out two versions, a version in B/C/S that
15 he signed and a version in English that he signed at
16 the time.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's right, but the
18 witness has the right to point out that perhaps this
19 was not exactly the correct translation even if his
20 defenders can do it during their redirect. So that we
21 don't waste too much time let's try to throw light on
22 the problem immediately.
23 I ask, in respect of what is on the ELMO,
24 whether the Judges can have the translation first of
25 the document that's on the ELMO. I have the
1 impression, in respect to the French version, that it's
2 addressed to all brigades. What does it say? Let's
3 continue. "To all brigades and autonomous units"; is
4 that right? Yes, go ahead. Please translate the rest.
5 MR. NOBILO: Perhaps I can read it out. It
6 says: "To all brigades and independent units." Then
7 the next line says, "MTD, LARD, the 4th Battalion of
8 the Military Police, Logistics Base Stojkovici, PPN
9 Vitezovi, Tvrtko II, and Zuti" and nowhere does it say,
10 "Under my command."
11 JUDGE JORDA: So there are two documents that
12 were issued on the same day. I'm going to ask the --
13 have the Prosecutor ask the witness were there two
14 documents. Do you have an explanation? Was the
15 addressee indicated on the -- perhaps it means the same
17 I have the impression that the version you're
18 referring to, Mr. Nobilo, talks about the distribution
19 here, which is exactly the same. Could we bring it
20 back up? For example, in the present version, on the
21 left lower corner it says, "Made in three copies."
22 Perhaps that is the only difference.
23 MR. NOBILO: But it also says, "Copies to,"
24 one to those whom it was addressed to, one to the
25 operative teaching department, and one to archives, but
1 these are two identical orders. Only this part is
2 different in terms of who copies are sent to.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Could we say that in the
4 document that you were referring to, and the Judges
5 thank you for having called their attention to this
6 point, could one consider that when the Prosecutor
7 says, "To all brigades and independent units" in one
8 the version, that is the English version, in actuality,
9 in the version that you're alluding to, "All of the
10 brigades" is at the bottom on the left side; is that
12 MR. NOBILO: In the Croatian version, in the
13 top right-hand corner it says who all the addressees
14 are, that is to say, all brigades, independent units,
15 et cetera, whereas in the English text, the addressees
16 are in the left-hand bottom corner. However, the
17 significant difference is that in the English text it
18 says that it is sent to special purpose units that are
19 under the command of the commander of the Operative
20 Zone. That does not exist in the Croatian language,
21 the one that Blaskic understood then.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. All
23 right. Mr. Kehoe, please ask your questions, because
24 we know that there is this slight problem here.
25 Mr. Kehoe?
1 MR. KEHOE:
2 Q. General, did you inform the International
3 Community that Zuti, this independent unit, was under
4 your command?
5 A. All special purpose units were under the
6 command of my superiors, that is to say, the head of
7 the defence department, the head of the security
8 service. If I had a conversation -- I do not recall
9 having had a conversation with representatives of the
10 International Community about the structure. Perhaps I
11 talked about that too but, specifically, I do not
12 recall whether we had a conversation, because these
13 documents, 456/37, pertain to agreements on a ceasefire
14 in June 1993, but these special purpose units under my
15 direct command, no, they were never under my direct
17 Q. Let us move on, General. Now, after the
18 military police commander became Mr. Marinko Palavra in
19 early August 1993, you mentioned to him in a
20 conversation, and I note on page 16752 of Mr. Palavra's
21 testimony, that there were criminal elements not only
22 within the military police but also the Vitezovi and
23 the Zuti. So as of August when Mr. Palavra took over,
24 there continued to be criminals within the Zuti unit;
1 A. There were persons with a criminal record,
2 but the greatest problem was to identify the
3 perpetrators of these crimes. That was the major
4 problem that the military police had in this area after
5 Palavra became commander.
6 Q. When Captain Whitworth testified on page
7 10361 at line 11 that "Zuti seemed to have an endless
8 supply of weapons," was that also true?
9 A. I don't know what kind of a supply of weapons
10 you are referring to that was under his control. I
11 know that Captain Whitworth was the organiser of the
12 meeting between Mr. Asim Fazlic, that is to say, to buy
13 explosives for the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Zuti
14 was a merchant and he traded with Bosniak Muslims, and
15 he had very good trade relations with them, especially
16 in view of the black market. But I don't know which
17 context you're placing this, that is, in terms of the
18 arms supplied during a total blockade and isolation of
19 this area, that is to say, Central Bosnia.
20 Q. Let me turn to the cross-examination
21 questions by Mr. Hayman of Mr. Whitworth concerning
22 Grbavica, and the question on page 10419 was:
23 "Q Did Zuti come with a group of men to
24 loot and scavenge?"
25 We're talking about after the Grbavica
1 attack. His answer is:
2 "A I don't recall seeing Zuti.
3 Q Zuti was from Nova Bila; correct?
4 A Nova Bila, Novi Travnik, yes.
5 Q How do you recall that people came from
6 Nova Bila specifically if you didn't see
7 Zuti or some indication of Zuti's men?
8 A There were a lot of people in Nova Bila
9 than there were Zuti, and there were
10 numerous flatbed trucks, and I knew a
11 lot of people in Nova Bila whom I dealt
12 with when doing the evacuations and
13 could identify items and trucks that I
14 had seen in the vicinity during the
16 Now, General, was Zuti involved in the
17 looting in Grbavica?
18 A. I am not aware of his participation, and I
19 imagine that the witness, Lee Whitworth, replaced this
20 by the Tvrtko unit from Nova Bila. They did take part
21 in the Grbavica operation because they came from the
22 same area, and they did take part, but they did not
23 loot Grbavica. Grbavica was looted by refugees, mostly
24 refugees from the municipalities of Travnik and
25 Zenica. The civilian police killed one of the refugees
1 during looting, but they were not in the position to
2 stop further looting.
3 Q. To your knowledge, you don't know if Zuti and
4 his men were involved in looting or not; is that right?
5 A. I do not have any information as to their
6 participation. I did not receive any information to
7 that effect, whether there were such individuals. I
8 really do not recall having received such information.
9 Q. Now, General, Zuti was shot and paralysed in
10 a gun battle between criminal groups on the 22nd of
11 October, 1993; is that right?
12 A. Well, this was a conflict in Novi Travnik,
13 and he was paralysed, and that is true, yes, that he
14 remained paralysed.
15 Q. That took place on the 22nd of October, I
16 think you told us, 1993?
17 A. I can check the exact date if it's important,
18 but it was around that date that this incident
19 occurred, in October 1993.
20 Q. Now, General, let me just refresh your
21 recollection about an incident and time, and you told
22 us that on the 30th of April, 1993 that Brigadier
23 Petkovic came to Vitez and gave a speech to you and
24 your staff. On page 19082 at line 13, he noted:
25 "... the town is full of snipers, gangs, and
1 the ordinary men in the street is tired of all of this
2 and they've had enough of all of this, and they're
3 waiting for this to be over. So take all measures to
4 control these groups in the area."
5 Now, one of the criminal groups that he is
6 talking about there is Zuti and his group; isn't that
8 A. Let me just have a look, please.
9 Q. The 30th of April, 1993.
10 A. I think that this context is related to what
11 Brigadier Petkovic or, rather, General Petkovic said,
12 and this was in relation to the general situation in
13 the town of Vitez. When he talked about snipers in the
14 town and that area, he was referring to the snipers
15 that were operating from Stari Vitez and individuals
16 from the HVO. However, he did not refer to the
17 criminal group of Zuti because they operated in the
18 territory of the municipality of Travnik, that is to
19 say, a completely different area. So that's not the
20 way I understood him, nor is that the way he emphasised
21 it in his statement, that is to say, he did not
22 specifically highlight that criminal group or another
23 criminal group.
24 Q. So is your testimony, General, so I
25 understand you correctly, is it your testimony that
1 when Petkovic noted, and I quote what you said:
2 "He said the town is full of snipers, gangs,
3 and the ordinary men in the street is tired of all
4 this, and they've had enough of all this and they're
5 waiting for this to be over. So take all measures to
6 control these groups in this area, and they should not
7 act as they wish to. Civilians have to be defended.
8 Chaos is a folly for all. Let the military police
9 arrest individuals."
10 Now, the criminal groups that Petkovic is
11 telling you and these others that must be suppressed,
12 do those criminal groups include Zuti and his men or
14 A. When Petkovic spoke about this matter, I
15 believe he had in mind the town of Vitez because the
16 meeting was held in Vitez, whereas Zuti and his group
17 were active in the Travnik municipality area, that is,
18 a neighbouring municipality, neighbouring on Vitez.
19 Whether General Petkovic had that group in mind or not,
20 I did not have a chance to exchange opinions as to
21 that. I just believe that he was talking about the
22 situation in Vitez because he held the meeting in
24 Q. Had you told General Petkovic, in all these
25 communiqués that you had back and forth, about the
1 problems you had with people like Zuti? Had you told
2 him that?
3 A. I don't know what contacts you mean. I
4 informed General Petkovic of all the more important
5 events and formations in the Operative Zone area. At
6 that time, we discussed the war crime that occurred in
7 Ahmici mostly, that is to say, prior to the meeting
8 that General Petkovic held with my command.
9 Q. Did you tell him in all of the reports that
10 you sent to him about the problem with this fellow Zuti
11 and his band of thieves? Did you ever tell him
12 anything about that?
13 A. I informed General Petkovic about all the
14 groups that were active in the region; however, Zuti as
15 an individual could not be recognised in the region by
16 criminal groups or criminal acts, but criminal groups
17 would use his name. He personally engaged in trade,
18 and with the Bosniak Muslims, he had communications
19 throughout and relationships with them throughout. So
20 it was not he himself that manifested activities of
21 this kind but groups who would use his name. Except on
22 the 27th of February, he didn't take part in any of the
23 events, and he was a member of the military police at
24 the time.
25 Q. Now, General, we're talking about the same
1 man who broke prisoners out of the Kaonik gaol, aren't
2 we? I mean, Zuti is the same man, isn't he?
3 A. Yes, we're talking about the same man, but
4 something else is being created here. He did not have
5 the same function. When he broke out the prisoners, he
6 was commander of the company, and it was an armed
7 uprising. So he was the commander of the company of a
8 military police company, and he stood up against the
9 command of the battalion because one of the soldiers or
10 sympathisers were placed in prison by the commander of
11 the battalion. So this was an incident and a settling
12 of accounts within the military police which is
13 subordinate to the head office of the military police.
14 Q. The bottom line, General, is that when he did
15 that, that was a very, very serious crime, wasn't it?
16 A. When he did that within the military police,
17 of course, it was a serious crime, but for that crime,
18 it was the head office of the military police that was
19 responsible, that is to say, within the institution of
20 the military police. That is where a crime had taken
21 place, perpetrated by the commander of a company
22 against the commander of a battalion.
23 Q. General, let me refer you to your typed-out
24 chronology, and take a look at the 4th of July, 1993.
25 While you're doing that, I'll read to you what you said
1 on page 19406, your --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Let the witness go back to his
3 own chronology, and then you can say what you want.
4 Thank you.
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes. I apologise,
6 Mr. President.
7 A. You said the 4th of July, 1993, did you?
8 Q. Correct.
9 A. I've looked at my chronology.
10 Q. Let me read to you, General, what you
11 testified to this Court:
12 "A On the 4th of July, 1993, I received
13 information from the Military
14 Intelligence Service that the BH army
15 was grouping significant forces in the
16 village of Zivcici which was in the
17 Fojnica municipality and that it was
18 bearing forces for offensive operations,
19 probably in the direction of Fojnica,
20 and from the security service, I was
21 informed that three members of the
22 Vitezovi had committed suicide while on
23 duty with that unit."
24 Do you have any information in your
25 chronology about Zuti, Zarko Andric?
1 A. I do not for that day. I have no information
2 for that day, and that corresponds to what I said.
3 Q. Let me show you an order, General.
4 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
5 685, 685A for the English version.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. There is no French copy of this, General, so
8 we will read this. Firstly, is that your signature,
10 A. Yes, that is my signature.
11 Q. Is that your stamp?
12 A. Yes, that is the stamp of the Central Bosnia
13 Operative Zone.
14 Q. Let us read this, dated 4 July, 1993, on HVO
16 "Pursuant to provisions of Article 34,
17 paragraph 2 of the Decree on the OS /Armed Forces/ of
18 the HVO /Croatian Defence Council/ of the HZ
19 HB /Community of Herceg-Bosna/ - Final Version, and the
20 approval given by the Supreme Commander of the OS HVO
21 HZ HB, number 396/2 of 27 June 1992, the Commander of
22 the OZ SB, hereby Appoints to the OZ SB Command:
23 1. Mr. Zarko Andric as Assistant Commander
24 for the Active Forces of the OZ SB.
25 2. This appointment and establishment post
1 are temporary and valid until further notice.
2 Signed, Commander Tihomir Blaskic."
3 Now, General, this man who your counsel has
4 described as a Mafioso boss and that you have described
5 as a criminal, you appoint as the assistant commander
6 for the active forces for the Central Bosnia Operative
7 Zone on the 4th of July, 1993, don't you?
8 A. Yes, that is true, and I did so to pacify him
9 and to place him under any kind of control. At that
10 time, for a military settling of accounts for him in
11 any way there wasn't the power to do so, and he became
12 assistant commander for the active forces which, in
13 fact, did not exist in the Central Bosnia Operative
14 Zone. We were only to create forces of that kind.
15 After that, there were no major incidents after this
17 Q. Except the fact that there was the shoot-out
18 in October where one boss was shot and killed and Zuti
19 was shot and paralysed; is that right?
20 A. Nobody was killed. The shoot-out did not
21 take place in that way. There was a settling of
22 account between two commanders. On the one hand there
23 was Zuti and on the other there was a commander called
24 Tuka, and Zuti was wounded.
25 Several days after that, there was -- a
1 killing took place perpetrated by his sympathisers,
2 Zuti's sympathisers in Vitez. So that the settling of
3 accounts was not between two criminals. Commander Tuka
4 was commander in the Travnik Brigade.
5 Q. Now, General, is this your idea of ensuring
6 that criminals are removed from the HVO and don't have
7 any influence in the HVO? Is this your idea of how to
8 bring that out, by making Zuti a commander within the
9 Hotel Vitez?
10 A. That was not my idea. Zuti was never
11 commander at the Vitez Hotel. From this order you can
12 see that he is assistant for the active forces. At
13 that time, in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, there
14 was not a single active unit. So professional units
15 began with the formation of a 3rd Guards Brigade on the
16 15th of January, 1994. Zuti performed his function in
17 a training centre in Nova Bila, and that is where he
18 was in charge of the training of recruits. He helped
19 logistically and so on. That was the only possible way
20 at that time of placing him under any form of control
21 whatsoever, because the military police did not have
22 the strength to settle accounts with him at the time
23 when we were under total encirclement.
24 Q. General, you didn't tell us about this
25 appointment when you were testifying in
1 direct-examination in response to questions by
2 Mr. Nobilo, did you?
3 A. My testimony did not contain details on every
4 report I issued. Here we can see that until the 4th of
5 September almost 70 documents were issued with the
6 reference number 01. Had I testified on every order,
7 it might have taken two years for me to testify. So I
8 did not have occasion to say anything in this regard
9 because it would have taken up much more time.
10 Q. General, after Zuti was shot, you issued
11 documentation to ensure that Zuti, who was shot in a
12 gunfight with another gang, would receive a pension
13 from the HVO?
14 A. First of all, let me repeat before this
15 Tribunal, Zuti was not wounded in this settling of
16 accounts with the gang but in the conflict with the
17 commander named Tuka.
18 Second, for every wounded individual,
19 regardless of the unit he belonged to, I cared for, and
20 that is what I asked my subordinates to do. So for
21 every wounded person to receive a pension and not only
22 a pension but medical treatment and everything
23 necessary under such conditions.
24 I don't know how these pension systems worked
25 and what the legal procedure was. That was done by a
1 separate service within the HVO, a separate department,
2 but I do believe that he received a pension as well
3 because in the first period, he was a member of the
4 military police. When he stopped working for the
5 military police, he was a member of the HVO, just as
6 any other military recruit in the enclave and in the
7 encirclement was.
8 Q. Let us turn to the next document on that
9 score, General, another order signed by you on the 24th
10 of October 1993.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 686, 686A
12 for the English version.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. General, this is an order of the 24th of
15 October, 1993. At 1600 -- actually, it is a
16 certificate signed by you delineating Zarko Andric,
17 also known as Zuti, a period of service in the HVO. We
18 will read it:
19 "Certificate. Mr. Zarko Andric, son of
20 Vinko, born 12 June, 1961 in Travnik, has held the
21 following posts in the HVO units:
22 "1. 1 September, 1992, he held the post of
23 commander of the 2nd Company of the 4th Military Police
24 Battalion. He was relieved of this post on 15 March by
25 the head military police administration.
1 "2. April 1993 until 4 July, 1993, he held
2 the post of commander of the special purpose unit of
3 the Frankopan Brigade.
4 "3. Pursuant to Article 34, paragraph 2 of
5 the Decree of the Armed Forces of the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna, final version, and the
7 approval of a supreme commander of the armed forces for
8 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna ..."
9 It gives the number of:
10 "... 396/92, dated 27 June, 1992 ..."
11 There's an illegible.
12 "... Mr. Zarko Andric was appointed commander
13 of the Vitez military district for the active duty
14 forces of the Vitez military district (document
15 no. 01-7-71/93)."
16 The previous order.
17 "He will hold this post until further
19 Now, General, this was a document that was
20 executed by you two days after Zuti was shot and
21 paralysed by Tuka and his men; right?
22 A. The document was compiled by my assistant for
23 personnel affairs, Mr. Zoran Pilicic, and I signed the
24 document. It can be clearly seen from the document
25 that he was commander of the military police company,
1 then a member of the Frankopan Brigade and, finally,
2 assistant for the active duty forces. The active
3 forces is something that we were to undertake to form
4 in the future.
5 Q. So from April 1993, when he took a position
6 in the Frankopan Brigade, until the date of this
7 certificate, the 24th of October, 1993, Zuti was under
8 your command as a member of the Frankopan Brigade and
9 then as a member of your staff; isn't that right?
10 A. Zuti was under the command -- my direct
11 command, and from point 3 you can see that was so from
12 the 7th, 1993. From April 1993, as commander of the
13 special purposes unit of the B formation, he was not
14 under the direct command of the Operative Zone but he
15 was under the direct command of the chief of the main
16 staff or the defence department, depending on how the
17 special purpose unit was registered, although I'm not
18 sure whether that particular special purpose unit ever
19 completed its registration process and the signing of
20 an agreement and whether it was introduced into the
21 structure of the HVO by registration, because there
22 were a lot of changes.
23 If a professional agreement was not signed
24 with the defence department, then he was under the
25 command of the Frankopan Brigade and my own command.
1 JUDGE JORDA: You've answered.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. General, are you saying that when he was in
4 the special purpose unit of the Frankopan Brigade, you
5 had no authority to discipline members of the special
6 purpose units of the Frankopan Brigade? Is that your
8 A. Could you repeat the question, please? I
9 wasn't able to follow it.
10 Q. The Zuti special purpose unit that were part
11 of the Frankopan Brigade, did you or did you not have
12 authority to discipline members of the special purpose
13 unit Zuti which was part of the Frankopan Brigade? Did
14 you or did you not have such authority?
15 A. If that special unit was of the B type and
16 registered with the defence department, then I did not
17 have the authority. Neither did the commander of the
18 brigade. If I was not -- I'm not certain whether it
19 had defined its statistic with us and the defence
20 department. So if he did not sign the agreement and
21 contract with the defence department, then that unit
22 was in the formation of the Frankopan Brigade and then
23 I did have disciplinary authority over it.
24 Q. Let me show you Defence Exhibits 237 and
25 239. Take a look at both of them, General.
1 JUDGE JORDA: This is D239; correct?
2 MR. KEHOE: And 237.
3 JUDGE JORDA: We don't have the 237, D237.
4 We don't have it. So try to explain this to us, since
5 you're making comparisons, explain what you're doing,
6 to us, please.
7 MR. KEHOE: These are two disciplinary
8 orders, that were signed by the accused, of two
9 individuals that were in the PPN Zuti unit as part of
10 the Frankopan Brigade.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you very much.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Now, General, these two Defence documents
15 reflect that you had the authority to discipline
16 members of the Zuti PPN unit, the special purpose unit,
17 which was part of the Frankopan Brigade and you did, in
18 these two Defence exhibits, 237 and 239; isn't that
20 A. (No translation)
21 Q. Excuse me, General. We're not getting a
22 translation. If you can just hold on. I apologise.
23 A. The date is the 26th of November, 1993, and I
24 just have to look it up in my notes, please. I would
25 like to look at my chronology just to find one date, if
1 possible. Thank you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, have you found
3 what you're looking for? I think -- do you really need
4 your chronology immediately? I think this is a simple
5 question. On the 26th of November, 1993, did you take
6 disciplinary measures?
7 Is that what you're asking, Mr. Prosecutor?
8 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
9 A. Mr. President, there was a reorganisation of
10 the HVO, and on the 23rd of July or the beginning of
11 August 1993, I had direct command over the military
12 police. Then the special purpose units of the B type
13 were dismantled, that is to say, Tvrtko and all the
14 other B-type units.
15 I do believe that in November that no PPN
16 special purpose unit Zuti existed. So that kind of
17 unit did not exist at all by that time because
18 reorganisation had come into being.
19 Now, I would like to see when that
20 reorganisation actually started. That's why I need to
21 look it up.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Well, General, if you want to look at that
24 during the break, we'll move on to a different question
25 and we'll hold that question in abeyance. We'll just
1 talk about the period of time --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you could do that during
3 the break because these orders have to do with special
4 units. Mr. Boro Lovrenovic, who was sent to the
5 special unit, and Biljaka, who was sent to a special
6 unit. All right. You'll check on that.
7 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, as of the 4th of July, 1993, when
10 you appointed Zuti as an assistant commander of the
11 military district for active duty forces, you certainly
12 had the power to discipline him at that point, didn't
14 A. Power over whom? To discipline who?
15 Q. A member of your staff, Zarko Andric. Zuti.
16 You, as the commander of the Central Bosnia Operative
17 Zone, had the power, after you appointed him as a
18 commander, to discipline him, didn't you?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. After the 4th of July, 1993, Zuti did not
21 stop being a thief, did he?
22 A. I do not have any information of that kind.
23 That he continued to be a thief, I already said that,
24 in fact, he was a merchant and that that's what he --
25 he traded. So apart from the incident with the
1 military police, there were those who would use his
2 name, but to discover the perpetrator and arrive at
3 him, that was pretty tough, a difficult thing to do.
4 Q. General, on page 19788, you described Zuti as
5 a local criminal gang leader. Now, after the 4th of
6 July, 1993, did he stop being a local criminal gang
8 A. Those were rumours that were present in the
9 region, circulating in the region. He never ceased
10 being a leader. But at all events, at that time that
11 was the only way of placing him under control of some
12 kind. I think it was worse to let him do what he
13 wanted, according to his own free will and have him
14 outside any kind of control.
15 Q. General, how big was the convoy that Zuti and
16 his men stole on the 15th of April, 1993? How many
18 A. There were -- I think that was -- the
19 incident with the convoy took place before that,
20 because we tried to return it on the 15th of April, but
21 there were about 30 to 35 motor vehicles in all. There
22 was some passenger cars. I'd have to have a look at my
23 data to see exactly how much.
24 Then we looked at the position where the
25 convoy disappeared from, Putici to Nova Bila. Once
1 again, we had to contact the local leaders. This was
2 in April 1993.
3 Q. And Zuti did it, didn't he? He stole the
4 convoy, he and his men.
5 A. Direct information as to the perpetrators,
6 that is to say, who hijacked the convoys, linked to the
7 complete investigation, I never received this
8 information to determine the actual perpetrator, but
9 his men were suspects, yes.
10 Q. This is the same guy who breaks people out of
11 gaol, steals convoys, loots - on the 15th it's brought
12 to your attention - that you make the commander on the
13 4th of July, 1993, it's all the same man, in your
14 efforts to suppress crime; is that right?
15 A. Yes. But you must bear in mind the context
16 in which all this took place. When he attacked the
17 military police, he was a member of the military
18 police. Later on, the military police wouldn't have
19 anything to do with him and left him to work on his own
20 bat, at his own initiative. That was the only way that
21 we could place him under some kind of control, to
22 appoint him commander of an army that did not exist.
23 JUDGE JORDA: I think we're going round and
24 round. We're repeating things here. I think the
25 witness has already said all of that. He says that
1 Zuti was appointed by Colonel Blaskic, and then each of
2 you can argue what should be concluded from this or
3 should be deduced from this. Remember your time is at
4 issue here, Mr. Prosecutor.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Now, General, let us move ahead to the period
7 of time when you ran your anti-crime programme
8 Operation Pauk or Operation --
9 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me, Mr. Kehoe. Let me
10 take advantage of this moment to remind you that there
11 are essential points which are being discussed here.
12 The Judges realise that you still have this week and
13 next week; is that correct? We're going to take a
15 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. That's what's left
17 JUDGE JORDA: You, of course, are going to
18 speak to us about Ahmici in the next two weeks, aren't
20 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, we're going to get
21 there rapidly.
22 JUDGE JORDA: You organise your work as you
23 see fit, and, of course, far be it for me to tell you
24 what to do, but we do have some powers according to the
25 Rules. All right. We're going to take a 10-minute or
1 15-minute break. We're going to suspend the hearing
2 for a few moments.
3 --- Recess taken at 4.53 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 5.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume the hearing
7 Mr. Kehoe?
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Now, General, let us turn to Operation Pauk.
10 Was Zuti arrested during Operation Pauk?
11 A. As far as I remember, no, but it's very
12 difficult for me to answer because there were over 360
13 persons who were arrested during the Operation Pauk,
14 during a very short period of time, but I think he was
15 not arrested because the executive part of the
16 Operation Pauk, I'm not sure whether it was carried out
17 in that area. But I believe that during the
18 preparatory stage, they did look at him, but there was
19 a problem of evidence.
20 MR. KEHOE: Let us give the witness Defence
21 Exhibits 267, 268, and 269, please.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Is this Defence or
24 MR. KEHOE: Defence.
25 Q. These, of course, are your orders of the 15th
1 of April and the early morning hours of the 16th of
2 April. Now, General, before we get into those orders,
3 I want to read some of your testimony beginning on
4 page, I believe it is, 18490. If there's a pagination
5 problem, counsel, it may be 18479. It begins on line
6 12, questioned by Mr. Nobilo:
7 "Q After that --"
8 And we are talking about the 15th of April.
9 "Q After that, you had another meeting
10 dealing with the abduction of that big
11 convoy, the 15 trucks and 30 passenger
12 vehicles with humanitarian aid. What
13 were the conclusions of that meeting?
14 A I had a meeting with the assistant for
15 security because I was interested
16 whether anything had been done following
17 that request for return of goods, and
18 the conclusion was that the military
19 police were not able to retrieve this
20 equipment, even though we knew at the
21 time that the vehicles were parked on
22 the side of the road between Han Bila
23 and Nova Bila.
24 Q Why was the military police not able to
25 retrieve those vehicles?
1 A One of the answers was that an armed
2 group was much more powerful than the
3 police forces available and that an
4 order for the military police to be able
5 to carry out this, it would have to use
6 force, and the armed group that was
7 holding the convoy was much stronger."
8 Before we continue on with the reading,
9 General, this armed group that was much stronger than
10 the military police was Zuti and his men; isn't that
12 A. The armed group that held up the convoy
13 mostly consisted of members of the criminal groups from
14 the municipalities of Travnik, Novi Travnik, and partly
15 the municipality of Vitez too. Some of them said that
16 they were members of Zuti but not all of them were from
17 that part of the Travnik municipality, that is to say,
18 there were groups from Novi Travnik and from Vitez. It
19 was hard to identify who stood behind this, but these
20 were very strong and very mobile armed groups.
21 Q. Let me continue reading on at 18480, line 6,
22 the continuation of your testimony:
23 "A ... The chief of staff, Mr. Nakic,
24 happens to live very near Nova Bila, and
25 he called me on the telephone and
1 confirmed that the vehicles from this
2 convoy were still in Nova Bila, but he
3 told me, 'I'm afraid those forces would
4 mean nothing to these criminal groups.'
5 Q So what did you decide to do in order to
6 solve this problem?
7 A The assistant for security suggested
8 that we invite members of the military
9 police, that is, the commander of the
10 military police to a meeting and also to
11 invite the commander of the Vitezovi, a
12 representative of this group, his name
13 was Zuti, and a member of the Tvrtkovci
14 unit and to present to them the overall
15 situation and problems that had arisen
16 in connection with the taking of these
17 goods and to ask for their assistance in
18 retrieving them.
19 Q Was this meeting organised and did they
20 show up?
21 A This meeting took place somewhere around
22 17.00 and they did show up at it."
23 So you have described the individual who was
24 a representative of this group who stole the convoy as
25 Zuti, did you not?
1 A. This was an individual who was present or,
2 rather, invited to attend the meeting on the basis of
3 the proposal of the assistant for security, together
4 with the others who were present at the meeting. We
5 certainly believed that he was the one who could help
6 in returning the convoy because, unfortunately, the
7 armed force of the military police was out of the
8 question there.
9 Q. Now, on page 18485, we begin the discussion
10 of the reading of Defence Exhibit 267 and 268, the
11 preparatory combat order which is 267 and the order to
12 take action which is 268. You say at line 19, "I took
13 both these orders and I read them out orally to the
14 commanders present at the meeting." Now, the
15 commanders who were present at the meeting to whom you
16 read those orders were Pasko Ljubicic; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Darko Kraljevic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Zarko Andric, Zuti?
21 A. Just a minute.
22 Q. At about line 18 of your testimony, you note
23 that Zuti was present.
24 A. I note that a member of Tvrtko was present.
25 Let me just find this.
1 Q. General, would you like me to read your
2 pertinent testimony regarding Zuti again, as being
3 present at this meeting?
4 A. I know that he was present at the meeting,
5 but I'm not sure whether he was present when I was
6 reading the order, during that part of the meeting, but
7 I know that he was invited to the meeting and that he
8 was present at the meeting. Could you please read that
9 part of my testimony to me just to remind me?
10 Q. You note: "I took both these orders and I
11 read them out orally to the commanders present at the
12 meeting. After I had read out the provisions of the
13 order, after I had read them out, we concluded the
15 MR. KEHOE: My pagination may be a tad off
16 here, counsel, but I think it's 18485 at 19 or 20.
17 MR. HAYMAN: It is. Where is the reference
18 to Zuti? Do you have that?
19 MR. KEHOE: The reference to Zuti, I believe,
20 is at 18480, and his specific reference is line 18.
21 JUDGE JORDA: What are you looking for,
22 General Blaskic? What is the purpose of your search?
23 You have just been read your statement.
24 A. Mr. President, I'm trying to find in the
25 transcript my own testimony in order to remind me of
1 this, and I'm trying to find this meeting and the
2 circumstances. I know who was invited to the meeting,
3 but a different part of the meeting was read out to
4 me --
5 JUDGE JORDA: For the time being, you've
6 simply been asked whether Zuti was at the meeting.
7 Isn't that right, Mr. Kehoe?
8 A. The Prosecutor explicitly told me that in my
9 testimony, I highlighted that Zuti was present at the
10 meeting too when I read the order out, and now I tried
11 to find it in my own testimony, that part of my
12 statement, because I know that the order related to the
13 members of the military police, Vitezovi, and Tvrtko,
14 the commander of Tvrtko in that part in which I read
15 the orders.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. General, you can find it at another date.
18 We'll eliminate Zuti from the equation at this point,
19 and we'll ask the questions about the other special
20 purpose units and the military police in reference to
21 Exhibits 267 and 268.
22 You noted for us in Exhibit 267 and 268 that
23 there are actual activities to be taken in the field by
24 the 4th Military Police Battalion in Exhibit 267 and
25 the Vitezovi, also in 267, and yet further activity to
1 be taken by the anti-terrorist platoon of the military
2 police in Exhibit 268. General, my question concerns
3 those units. At the time you issued those orders, you
4 knew that there were criminals in the military police
5 and you knew that there were criminals in the
6 Vitezovi - we won't go into Zuti at this point - but
7 for those two particular units, you knew that there
8 were criminals. In those orders, did you order any
9 special precautions to ensure that those criminals in
10 those two units did not engage in any activities
11 pursuant to these orders?
12 A. First of all, we have to make certain
13 distinctions in terms of criminals until these orders,
14 and according to the information I received, not a
15 single one of these persons committed a war crime.
16 According to the information I had, it was not
18 Secondly, I did particularly bear in mind
19 that all protagonists of criminal activity should be
20 expelled from these units, and this can be seen from my
21 chronology. I kept sending in requests to that
22 effect. In 268 and in document 267, I very
23 specifically defined this, particularly because of all
24 the problems involved, I defined the objective of this
25 activity and I limited the use of force, especially
1 from the point of view of command and control. I
2 spelled out very precisely in a special section that I
3 had to be informed about all extraordinary events, that
4 is to say, that the orders are very specific and
6 Q. General, did you do anything in these orders
7 to ensure that the people that you wanted to eliminate,
8 these criminals that you wanted to eliminate from the
9 military police and the Vitezovi, did not engage in
10 activities that you ordered in 267 and 268? Did you do
11 anything, and if you did, what did you do?
12 A. First of all, you're asking me about these
13 people, the 4th Battalion of the military police. I
14 said that they had people who had a criminal record,
15 and the ATG platoon of the 4th Battalion, I don't know
16 whether it had such persons or not, this was a newly
17 established unit according to the criteria of the
18 military police administration.
19 Furthermore, in order to prevent any kind of
20 arbitrariness on the part of these individuals within
21 the units, I spelled out very precisely in one of the
22 items of this order, I said very specifically and very
23 precisely -- if you read each and every point, you will
24 see that it is very clearly defined, very precisely
25 defined, what should be done, how it should be done,
1 when it should be done, and when I should be informed
2 about this.
3 Q. General, the bottom line is that you took no
4 precautions, did you, to ensure that these criminals
5 were not involved in these operations; isn't that a
7 A. I acted according to the provisions that were
8 binding on me as commander, and I spelled out all the
9 documents precisely. As for the decision, it can be
10 seen in document 268. The commander of the unit knows
11 his soldiers best of all, and it is up to him to decide
12 who he is going to engage and how. I used all my
13 abilities in order to exercise the greatest possible
14 command control.
15 Q. General, did you include any admonition in
16 any of these orders to these brigades and these units
17 that they have to protect and watch out for civilians?
18 Did you include that anywhere in any of these orders,
19 and if you did, could you point it out to us?
20 A. The protection of civilians is a legal
21 obligation for all, absolutely all persons, and in
22 orders, we said what the doctrine of writing orders
23 contains. Every order that I wrote was written in
24 accordance with the doctrine that I was trained
25 according to, and you can also look at a document
1 called "Guidelines for Writing Orders," and you can see
2 that it is all spelled out very precisely. This is
3 done in great detail. It should be done this way by a
4 platoon commander or a company commander at the most.
5 Q. Now, General, you testified in response to
6 questions by Mr. Nobilo to two things, that you were
7 dealing with a peasant army and that you had criminals
8 in these units. Under those circumstances, as a
9 commander, do you believe that you had to do more to
10 ensure that the troops would protect civilians or
12 A. You see, this question, what I think and what
13 I thought would perhaps require a longer answer. From
14 the moment I came, I did my best. There were thousands
15 of soldiers going to Jajce, and I tried to tell every
16 one of them about the importance of humane treatment in
17 the battlefield and the humane treatment of all
19 In September 1992, I issued a special
20 document which specifically establishes the code of
21 conduct for soldiers on the battlefield. However, I
22 did not have any information as to anyone having
23 committed a war crime before the 16th of April, and not
24 a single one of these units committed a war crime
25 according to the information that I had.
1 These orders were written according to the
2 doctrine according to which I was trained, and they are
3 far more precise because of the level of the
4 commanders. Each and every one of these items can be
5 analysed, and you can see that the place of operation,
6 and the point of operations, and the purpose of
7 operations, and the command over this command. Had
8 every one of these commanders acted the way they should
9 have, they would have informed me about each and every
10 one of these events, et cetera.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I think you've already said
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. General, you had information, prior to
15 issuing this order, that in Busovaca, at least where
16 the Vitezovi was involved, that 53 houses had been
17 burnt to the ground and another 112 had been damaged in
18 the HVO-controlled area.
19 A. I have already said that the problem of the
20 conflict in Busovaca was regulated and resolved through
21 the joint commission in Busovaca and that it was being
22 resolved through the European Monitoring Mission. The
23 total number of houses burnt is three times larger,
24 although this is not really an argument, on the
25 Croatian side as compared to the Bosniak Muslim side.
1 The problem was the identity of the perpetrators.
2 In order to understand this sufficiently, you
3 have to bear in mind the situation prevailing in
4 Busovaca and where the houses were burned.
5 JUDGE JORDA: That was not quite the question
6 asked of you, General Blaskic. I think the question
7 was to know whether, in light of why it was done in
8 Vitezovi, specials measures were necessary.
9 I think you've already answered. You said
10 that you had taken certain specific measures. I think
11 we have got to move forward.
12 A. Mr. President, Vitezovi does not take part in
13 Busovaca, according to my orders. This can be seen
14 from the 250 documents related to Vitezovi, and I did
15 not give any orders of this nature then and nor did I
16 have any information that the Vitezovi took part in
17 what happened in Busovaca.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. Well, General, you said with these orders
20 that you gave very specific instructions to your
21 troops. Take a look at 268. In 268, you tell the
22 anti-terrorist platoon, the Jokers, to engage in
23 activities to eliminate these terrorist groups; is that
25 A. Sorry, which item are you reading now?
1 Q. I'm reading paragraph 2. Paragraphs 2.2 and
2 2.3 in Exhibit 268.
3 A. 2.3 relates to the military police; 2.2 does
4 not pertain to the military police.
5 Q. Your counsel said that you should read this
6 and the other order together. Is that wrong or do we
7 read these paragraphs individually?
8 MR. HAYMAN: Form of the question,
9 Mr. President.
10 MR. KEHOE: I'm just trying to understand
11 which way we should read these. Mr. Nobilo asked the
12 witness whether or not we should read these two orders
13 together and these paragraphs together, and the witness
14 said, "Yes."
15 JUDGE JORDA: You have to demonstrate what
16 you're trying to show, Mr. Prosecutor. We're a bit
17 lost here. What is the point of your question? You
18 want to show that the witness has given very specific
19 argument, especially in points 2.2 and 2.3; is that
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. Let's look at the specificity of your
23 orders. We have established that you didn't include
24 any special cautions on the protection of civilians.
25 Let's talk about what you told the anti-terrorist
1 platoon, to engage in fighting diversionary terrorist
2 groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and we'll focus just
3 on 2.3. You gave specific instructions to them to
4 fight diversionary groups of the 7th Muslim Brigade; is
5 that right?
6 A. 2.3 is quite clear here. Within --
7 JUDGE JORDA: Let me try to put things back
8 in order because things are not moving right. I think
9 that the witness answered -- well, you asked him
10 several times whether he had taken any measures insofar
11 as he was in a position to know things about the
12 qualitative composition of delinquents and criminals in
13 the units. You want to know whether he took any
14 precautionary measures.
15 Now we're having a dialogue of deaf people
16 here. The witness says that very specific orders were
17 given, 267, 268. I think the question is to ask
18 Mr. Blaskic whether, in the very specific orders, one
19 finds a trace of measures having to do with a certain
20 degree of prudence in light of the composition of some
21 of the special units like the Vitezovi or the Jokers.
22 The witness also answered that question,
23 Mr. Prosecutor. He said, more or less, that he had
24 applied orders according to military doctrine that he
25 had learned at the academy, I assume, and that as
1 regards the law, it was self-evident.
2 Perhaps the question that could be asked,
3 even if it is self-evident, is: General Blaskic, in
4 268, for example, is there a trace of any type of
5 prudence that you had demonstrated? That's what I want
6 to be brought out. Then you can argue about that in
7 the final arguments. Otherwise, we're not going to get
8 out of this.
9 Listen to my question, Mr. Blaskic. In the
10 different orders, can we find a trace of any precaution
11 that you would have taken in light of the fact that
12 your units are composed of peasant soldiers, criminals,
13 thugs, people who always wanted to get into fights?
14 That's the question.
15 Look at 268. It seems that that's the
16 document that we were looking at.
17 A. Can I answer that question?
18 JUDGE JORDA: Not only can you, you can
19 answer it, but you must answer it. All right. We're
20 waiting to hear what you have to say.
21 A. Mr. President, in document 268, in point
22 number 1, everything I knew was spelled out in detail
23 about the forces of the 7th Muslim Brigade, that is to
24 say, a religious unit within the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is to say, about its activity,
1 its terrorist activities, about acts that are
2 well-known until then, and their forms of operating.
3 Also, what is mentioned in detail is the deployment of
4 this unit, in the first point. Then it --
5 JUDGE JORDA: You're still not answering the
6 question, General Blaskic, or else it's going to be
7 very long. Try to be more concise.
8 The question is a simple one. Is there a
9 trace in your order of any measures which show certain
10 precautions in respect of the civilian populations?
11 I understand the answer you want to answer,
12 saying that in light of the terrorist nature among the
13 Muslims, you wanted to counter the terrorism. That's
14 not really what the question is.
15 A. Mr. President, I took special measures
16 because in 2.3, when I gave tasks to the 4th Battalion
17 of the military police, I once again said that the task
18 of that unit is to act in the areas where the
19 7th Muslim Brigade was deployed. You see, it says so
20 in 2.3, that is to say, within areas of operation,
21 location of the unit.
22 JUDGE JORDA: It has a double meaning. We'll
23 move to another question and you can argue that in your
24 closing argument.
25 You're giving a two-edged argument because
1 points 2 and 3 state clearly that you are in the act of
2 establishing some kind of anti-terrorist brigades that
3 were particularly rapid and energetic. Now, when you
4 have a brigade that is to fight terrorism rapidly, one
5 could ask whether they might be a little too energetic
6 and too rapid in their responses.
7 A. You see -- Mr. President, let me just say one
8 thing. It is unusual that in point 2.3, again I'm
9 referring to point 1, that is outside the doctrine,
10 that is to say, that I'm telling the commander once
11 again, in 2.3, to bear in mind point 1. So this is
12 deviation from the doctrine because I want to underline
13 once again what the point of this operation is.
14 Furthermore, as far as security and safety
15 measures are concerned --
16 JUDGE JORDA: But safety measures for whom?
17 Let me read this for the public:
18 "3. Security and protection measures." The
19 title is attractive, but we have to understand what is
20 being protected, what is being made secure.
21 "Security measures at command posts and
22 commanding officers." The Prosecutor's question was
23 not that. It was to prefer all useless, pointless,
24 movements, to ensure protection of all information.
25 This has to do with protecting civilians, not
1 information that is moving between the superiors and
3 I think this is a dialogue which isn't going
4 anywhere, and you can go back to it when you have your
5 final arguments. You say what you say, the Prosecutor
6 says what he says, and the Defence says what it says.
7 I don't think we can go any further than that. We want
8 things to move forward, after all.
9 I don't want to take the floor from you,
10 General Blaskic, but try to move things forward. You
11 speak about protective and security measures in the
12 order, if I understand you correctly, but they're not
13 protective measures for civilians, if I understand the
14 translation correctly.
15 A. I meant to draw your attention to point 6
16 where command and control is mentioned, where, for the
17 purposes of command and control, I'm saying that the
18 system of control and command should be in continuity
19 at all levels, that there should be an uninterrupted
20 system of direction, and the command is to be secured
21 at all levels, and that the regular reports are to be
22 sent in, that is to say, in order to exercise the
23 command and control over these units.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Well, that's your
25 answer. We note it as having been given that way, and
1 we have no further comments to make about it.
2 Mr. Kehoe, move on to another question in
3 this subject or another subject or have I completely
4 demolished your cross-examination? Excuse me if I
6 MR. KEHOE: It's quite all right, Judge.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I'm just trying to move things
8 forward. Let's proceed.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Now, General, let's look at order 268 where
11 you give this order to the anti-terrorist platoon of
12 the military police, in 2.3. This is the
13 anti-terrorist platoon of the military police, the
14 Jokers; isn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, in this order where you allege that you
17 are being specific, do you anywhere describe what one
18 of this terrorists looks like, how they're dressed? Do
19 you describe that?
20 A. Which terrorists? I don't know which you
22 Q. The terrorists from the 7th Muslim Brigade
23 that you're discussing in 2.3.
24 A. All the data that I had about the 7th Muslim
25 Brigade is contained in point 1. A description of what
1 they looked like, of what the members of the
2 anti-terrorist group looked like, I don't know. I
3 never saw a military order of that nature.
4 Q. Well, I assume that you had reconnaissance
5 platoons out patrolling, trying to find out who these
6 people were, what they looked like, and where they were
7 located specifically, didn't you, before you issued
8 this order?
9 A. Well, of course we had information who those
10 individuals were and where they were located. We had
11 that information, and that is what point 1 states.
12 Now, as to what they looked like, those in the field
13 knew what they usually looked like, what those members
14 usually looked like, but I don't know the order of any
15 commander who would say they look like that, they wear
16 such and such a uniform, and their aspect is the
17 following, because the diversionary groups are usually
18 made up of three to five soldiers. They're very speedy
19 in their operations. They are usually masked in some
20 way and are detected too late.
21 Q. You tell this anti-terrorist group, the
22 Jokeri, that they are free to operate in the
23 municipalities of Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi
24 Travnik, and Vitez?
25 A. In point 2.3, it is stated that they should
1 act according to the diversionary terrorist groups of
2 the 7th Muslim Brigade where it is located in point 1
3 of this particular order. So in the first paragraph, I
4 refer to point 1 of order 268, and the bulk of the
5 activity should be in the municipalities of Busovaca,
6 Zenica, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Vitez. That unit
7 was intended to counteract diversionary terrorist
8 groups, and the diversionary terrorist groups appear
9 suddenly in the area.
10 Q. That's fine. Let's take that comparison. In
11 paragraph 1, where are the 7th Muslim Brigade troops in
12 Busovaca? Where do you describe them in paragraph 1?
13 They're not there, are they?
14 A. They are not in the Busovaca area, but they
15 are in the first neighbouring municipality. The
16 diversionary terrorist groups never base themselves in
17 the territory in which they are operating. They will
18 go out, perform their operations, and withdraw to their
19 base. So when, in point 1, the deployment of forces is
20 mentioned, it mentions that part of the men are from
21 Kakanj in Zenica, in neighbouring municipalities, that
23 Q. Where are they in Vitez, according to
24 paragraph 1? Because you tell the Jokeri that they can
25 operate in Vitez as well. Where are they, the
1 7th Muslim Brigade, listed in paragraph 1?
2 A. I have already said that the diversionary
3 terrorist groups are manifesting their activities, that
4 is to say, we usually learn about it once they have
5 completed their operations. But parts of the
6 7th Muslim Brigade units were in Stari Vitez and in the
7 area of Preocica, Poculica. That's where those
8 sections were. They could launch their operations from
9 that area in any of the positions in Vitez
10 municipality, and so could the ones from Zenica,
11 because it wasn't very far off either.
12 In fact, they did come in October 1993. They
13 came from Ravno Rostovo and were operational in
14 Rastovci, in the Novi Travnik municipality. They
15 weren't in the town of Novi Travnik, but they launched
16 their operation in Novi Travnik, in the town proper,
17 and they came from Rastovci with the help of a convoy.
18 Q. Now, General, do you think it was important
19 for the Jokeri to know that you knew that there were no
20 anti-terrorist groups in Ahmici? Do you think that was
22 A. I know and everybody knows that there were no
23 anti-terrorist groups in Ahmici. According to all the
24 reports that we received, no such groups existed in
1 Q. That's not my question. My question was: Do
2 you think it was significant to inform the Jokeri that
3 there were no anti-terrorist groups in Ahmici? Do you
4 think that was important?
5 A. In point 1, it was important to enumerate all
6 the data and information we had as to where the 7th
7 Muslim Brigade was based. Had I enumerated all the
8 villages where there were no anti-terrorist groups,
9 then it would be important to mention all the villages
10 in the Vitez-Busovaca municipalities and, in fact, all
11 the municipalities in Central Bosnia, but I set out in
12 precise detail all the information I had in paragraph
13 1, that is to say, where the units of the 7th Muslim
14 Brigade were located and everything that we had
15 knowledge of at that particular time.
16 Q. Now, General, looking at this particular
17 order, the actual choice of when the Jokeri was to
18 operate was up to the commander of the 4th Military
19 Police Battalion; isn't that right?
20 A. That was also said to the other commanders as
21 well, because we cannot know when a contact would be
22 made and when a diversionary terrorist group would be
24 Q. So by your order, General, the Jokeri was
25 permitted to operate in Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi
1 Travnik, and Vitez with no specific instructions as to
2 where the 7th Muslim Brigade was located, and they were
3 allowed to do it at their own time frame; isn't that
5 A. That is not right, because in point 2.3, I
6 refer back to paragraph 1 of this order, paragraph 1
7 stipulates, in great detail, everything that was known
8 about the members of the 7th Muslim Brigade, that is to
9 say, everything that they had done up till then, what
10 they intended to do in the future and the concrete
11 deployment of all command elements that we had linked
12 to the 7th Muslim Brigade, so that it was very
13 precisely stated.
14 The basic command of the anti-terrorist
15 groups, from the regulations of military groups, was to
16 fight diversionary terrorist groups because that is why
17 these units existed, for assignments of this kind, and
18 that was their intentions. The term says so,
19 "Anti-terrorist platoon." But I limit it to the
20 municipalities where there had already been terrorist
21 activities of this kind.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen?
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, when you said a
24 moment ago, "Everybody knows that there were no
25 anti-terrorist groups in Ahmici," would you have been
1 including in that the 4th Military Police Battalion and
2 the Jokers?
3 A. Well, Your Honour, I did because the Jokers
4 were used from the end of December 1992. They used a
5 facility near the village of Ahmici, and there were
6 never any major incidents. I do believe that had
7 anti-terrorist groups existed, then probably they would
8 have become manifest.
9 However, there could have been the
10 involvement and engagement of anti-terrorist groups
11 from Preocica in the area of the village of Ahmici,
12 which means that they weren't based there, they did not
13 have their base there, but they could have been
14 infiltrated into the region because that is what
15 usually happens. They are infiltrated into the area in
16 which they engage in their operations.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you another
18 question. Exhibit D268A was issued by you on 15 April,
19 1993 at 15.45.
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You issued an order of
22 action. What's the English, Mr. Kehoe? I have the
23 French before me.
24 MR. KEHOE: It is "Order to take action" on
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: "Order to take action."
2 Is my impression correct that this order was issued by
3 you both to independent brigades, such as the 4th
4 Military Police Battalion, and also to normal HVO
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Is my impression then
8 correct that in this order, you were issuing
9 instructions on the basis of authority to all of these
11 A. On the basis of the competence I had and the
12 orders which, on the 15th of April, I was given by the
13 chief of the main staff in the case of an all-out
14 general attack by the BH army.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And this order would
16 remain in force on the following day?
17 A. Yes, this order was to have remained in
18 force. In the case of an attack, then all the units
19 which were not directly subordinated to me were to be
20 attached to me.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. General, let us summarise this particular
24 order. You tell the Jokeri to go and "Take prisoner
25 and destroy by quick and energetic actions diversionary
1 terrorist groups of the 7th [Muslim] brigade ..." You
2 then tell them to "... destroy the accommodation
3 facilities and return to base without accepting
4 fighting." The area that they are to cover are the
5 municipalities of Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi
6 Travnik, and Vitez, and the commander of the 4th
7 Military Police Battalion can decide when he wants to
8 do this.
9 General, that is a carte blanche to this unit
10 to go and do what you want to do, go where you want to
11 go, and go and do it when you want to do it; isn't that
13 A. First of all, the interpretation I had
14 received was that I commanded that prisoners of war be
15 taken prisoner or even to be destroyed. That is not
16 correct and that is not what this order states.
17 Second, I have already said why I mentioned
18 the areas of operation. You see that Busovaca, Zenica,
19 Novi Travnik, and Vitez are mentioned, and they were
20 the only areas in which the unit could be effective,
21 that is to say, units intended to fight diversionary
22 terrorist groups. This task, this assignment was
23 copied out from the regulations of any, if we were to
24 open it, military regulations treating fights against
25 diversionary and terrorist groups. I refer to the
1 rules of company, platoon, battalion, brigades, rules
2 and regulations governing them, the armed forces of the
3 former Yugoslav People's Army, in fact.
4 This was the type of formulation that was
5 used in fighting diversionary terrorist groups. These
6 were the principles to be adhered to, linked to arrests
7 and so on, but I never read that prisoners should be
8 liquidated, and it is not true. In order to ensure
9 command control, I demand that the system of command be
10 allowed to function intact.
11 JUDGE JORDA: I think that's been said
12 already. I didn't hear any question when you were
13 speaking about liquidating prisoners.
14 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. I don't know
15 what the translation was. I was reading the order, Mr.
16 President, which says: "Take prisoner and destroy by
17 quick and energetic action diversionary terrorist
18 groups of the 7th [Muslim] brigade." That is the first
19 line in the second paragraph at 2.3.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. If the interpretation is
21 not good, of course, you cannot answer the question
22 properly, General. But the question remains, and I
23 would like you to try to answer it, we have a few
24 moments left, the question is to know whether you gave
25 carte blanche to those units to carry out quick and
1 energetic actions in the zones within the
2 municipalities of Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi
3 Travnik, and Vitez. If you say that that was in
4 accordance with the military doctrine of Yugoslavia,
5 well, I wouldn't know whether that is so, but the
6 question is an important one.
7 A. I did not issue an order, as the Prosecutor
8 maintains, and I refer to point 6 of this order where I
9 demand, in very precise terms, that I be informed of
10 all the details and exceptionally if the need arises.
11 So I demand reports.
12 JUDGE JORDA: But the reports are done after
13 the action has been carried out. We're talking about
14 taking "quick and energetic actions in order to destroy
15 diversionary terrorist groups of the 7th [Muslim]
16 brigade," to destroy accommodations, and to "return to
17 the base without accepting fighting." The activities
18 are to be undertaken within the municipalities of
19 Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Vitez.
20 That's what it says.
21 A. I have already stated that this is the point
22 that corresponds in content to all the principles and
23 regulations of the former Yugoslav People's Army. When
24 we describe, according to the rules of the former JNA,
25 fighting against diversionary and terrorist groups,
1 then these are the actions that have to be stipulated
2 in the second half of 2.3.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Well, that's an answer. You
4 can continue.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. General, the reality of this situation is
7 that when the Jokeri went in and massacred those people
8 in Ahmici, you have provided yourself a perfect out by
9 giving a vague order allowing these guys to do anything
10 they wanted to do; isn't that right, General?
11 A. That is not so. So please give me any rule
12 and regulation for us to see whether the order was
13 written in precise terms, as required by the rules and
14 regulations, when dealing with fighting diversionary
15 groups. I demanded that the system of the chain of
16 command, control and command, be affected and when they
17 entered. Then I learned at this Tribunal from the
18 Prosecution witnesses what happened, but until the 16th
19 of October, until 12.45, I had no direct knowledge as
20 to the events that had taken place in the area.
21 On the basis of this order, I say that they
22 cannot have committed a war crime and that no soldier
23 could have committed a war crime on the basis of this
24 document because the order is very precise, and there
25 is no corps commander who writes an order in as much
1 detail as this order has been written.
2 Q. General, they did go in there on the morning
3 of the 16th and massacre those people, didn't they?
4 A. You quite possibly know this. I told you
5 what I knew about what was linked to the perpetrators.
6 Unfortunately, I do not have the identity of the
7 perpetrators to this day. If I did have, I am certain
8 that they would have been prosecuted.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, it's after 6.00.
10 I'm about to move on to another topic.
11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I think you're
12 right. We're going to stop here. We are adjourning
13 until tomorrow at 2.00.
14 The court stands adjourned.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 6.03 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
17 the 18th day of May, 1999, at 2.00 p.m.