1 Tuesday, 18th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.05 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Registrar,
5 have the accused brought in. The witness, that is.
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good afternoon to the
8 interpreters. Is everybody in his or her seat? Good
9 afternoon. Good afternoon to the Office of the
10 Prosecutor, to Defence counsel, to our witness. I
11 think we also have to say good afternoon to our new
12 registrar who is here, and we would like to welcome
14 Are you ready, General Blaskic?
15 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon, Mr. President,
16 Your Honours. Yes, I am, thank you.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, let me remind you
18 that the hourglass is still running. I think you have
19 about four or five days left. Is it four, three, two?
20 How many is it?
21 THE REGISTRAR: Well, up to this point the
22 cross-examination has lasted for 9 days and 70 minutes,
23 and the examination-in-chief lasted for longer than
25 JUDGE JORDA: I'd like you to concentrate and
1 try to refer to all of the things that are in support
2 of your -- the charges that you've brought. You are
3 the ones who brought the charges, not the Judges. The
4 Judges support neither the Prosecution or the Defence
5 but are here to judge.
6 Having made these recommendations, let me ask
7 the witness, who is not an accused here, he is a
8 witness. I'm saying this for the public. The witness,
9 pursuant to his obligation, must answer as the Judges
10 have asked, that is, concisely and as clearly as
11 possible, because time is running and I think
12 Sub-rule 90(G) says that the Judges are here to avoid
13 any useless waste of the time.
14 Having said this, like a good father in a
15 family, I say to you, Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
16 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
17 afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel. Good
18 afternoon, General.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
22 Q. Now, General, you told us, during your direct
23 testimony, that you need approximately 48 hours to
24 prepare for the commencement of combat operations.
25 With that in mind, General, I ask you when you first
1 began troop movements on the 15th of April, 1993.
2 A. Could you ask me in more concrete terms?
3 What troops do you have in mind? There was no troop
4 movement, in fact.
5 Q. So on the 15th of April there were no troop
6 movements, according to your testimony, by -- HVO troop
8 A. The army, the HVO, on the 15th of April, was
9 still in their houses, that is to say, the HVO did
10 reside in their own homes and so there was no troop
11 movement on the 15th of April.
12 Q. Let me read you some testimony of
13 Mr. Sulejman Kavazovic, and that is at page 2305, and
14 he notes -- excuse me. It begins on 2306 and my
15 colleague, Mr. Harmon, asks on line 16:
16 "Q Mr. Kavazovic, I would like to turn
17 your attention to the 15th of April and
18 focusing your attention on that date."
19 Moving down to line 23 the question is:
20 "Q After you finished your work, and this
21 is the 15th, where did you go?
22 A When I finished work at 3:10, I headed
23 for my house where I was living."
24 On the next page at line 1 on 2307:
25 "A Along the route I noticed that the
1 situation in town was unusual. There
2 seemed to be no civilians. There were
3 groups of the HVO of two to three
4 soldiers in combat gear standing next
5 to buildings, and I thought it was
6 rather strange. So I concluded that the
7 situation was not good. There were no
8 civilians, obviously."
9 Line 20 on that same page:
10 "Q Mr. Kavazovic, after you returned to
11 your house, what did you do?
12 A I checked to see whether my wife was
13 there. However, my wife was with her
14 parents at their apartment. So I went
15 in the direction of my in-law's
16 apartment to see my wife, and passing
17 through the park, I saw three or four
18 groups of six to seven soldiers, each
19 running in the direction of the hotel.
20 Q How were these soldiers dressed?
21 A They were in full combat gear. They had
22 camouflage uniforms, helmets on their
23 heads, and automatic rifles."
24 Turning to the following page, on 2309, line
1 "A I was moving from my house through this
2 park and from this direction ..."
3 And he indicates on the map the town of
5 "... from the centre of town. There
6 were three or four groups of six to
7 seven soldiers, each running towards the
8 hotel from the park. They were running
9 through the park in the direction of the
10 Hotel Vitez.
11 Q Approximately what time of day was
13 A It was maybe 3.50 or 4.00 in the
15 Moving down to line 16:
16 "A Yes, they were running. Yes, that is
17 true. They were running in the
18 direction of the Hotel Vitez. They were
19 running along here and they were going
20 towards the centre, the part where the
21 hotel is."
22 Now, let me read you the testimony of
23 Witness G who lives in Ahmici, on the road between
24 Busovaca and Vitez.
25 MR. KEHOE: Witness G was a protected
1 witness, Mr. President, who testified in open. This is
2 on page 3852.
3 "Q How far was your house from the main
4 road that went from Vitez into
6 A About a hundred metres, perhaps.
7 Q On the 15th of April, were you at home?
8 A Yes.
9 Q Who normally lived with you at that
11 A I lived with my mother, my father,
12 and my sister.
13 Q On 15 April, did you see anything
14 unusual at home?
15 A Yes. I could notice that along the main
16 road an increased number of HVO vans
17 with clearly-marked signs of the HVO.
18 Q Where were they going, what direction?
19 A They were going into both directions,
20 both toward Vitez and Busovaca. They
21 were simply moving along.
22 Q What was unusual about those vans?
23 A There were many people in there and they
24 were all in uniforms. They were not
25 civilians, so that was a little unusual
1 to me."
2 So, General, there were, in fact, increased
3 troop movements during the 15th of April, 1993, weren't
5 A. No. You asked me about increased troop
6 movements, that is to say, whether the brigades,
7 battalions, companies, and platoons were moving on
8 orders. The witness was speaking about the movement of
9 groups of soldiers, two to three soldiers, in front of
10 the park towards the hotel --
11 JUDGE JORDA: Reformulate your question,
12 please. Rephrase it so the witness can answer it
13 specifically, otherwise, we'll be playing with words.
14 "Troop movements" or "troops moving around"? Be very,
15 very specific, please.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Did you order troops to move during the day
18 on the 15th of April, 1993, "Yes" or "No"?
19 A. I did not order troops to move during the day
20 on April 15, 1993, and there was no troop movement. It
21 was the comment that you read out, probably referring
22 to the moving about of soldiers to ensure security for
23 the Hotel Vitez. There was a regular group of 20 or so
24 military policemen in front of that building.
25 Q. Now, General --
1 JUDGE JORDA: Movements. All right. There
2 were movements of military personnel, HVO, who were in
3 charge of ensuring -- they were guarding over Vitez.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. General, the 15th of April was the expiration
6 day for yet another unilateral order by the HVO to
7 force the ABiH at cantons 3, 8, and 10 to subordinate
8 themselves to the HVO; isn't that right?
9 A. That is not so, because I never received an
10 order in that sense. The only order that I received
11 was the order from the chief of the main staff from
12 January 1993, linked to the attachment of the units of
13 the BH army and the HVO, but I did not receive orders
14 of that kind on the 15th of April.
15 Q. Well, let us turn our attention to
16 Prosecutor's Exhibit 25, if we can. It was next on
17 that list.
18 This, as you may recall, Mr. President, is
19 the newspaper article from Slobodna Dalmacija regarding
20 a press release of the HVO concerning the
21 implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you have a great deal of
23 confidence in our memories to say that we would
24 remember Prosecution Exhibit 25. That goes back quite
1 MR. KEHOE: I suppose it does, Mr.
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Thank you,
4 Mr. Registrar. We have the exhibit, that is,
5 Prosecution Exhibit 25. Let me give it to my
7 MR. KEHOE: I do believe there are French and
8 English copies of these.
9 Q. Now, General, this particular article is
10 written by Veso Vegar, who is the press information
11 officer for the HVO in Mostar; isn't that right?
12 A. For a time -- that is to say, it says here an
13 officer of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna for
14 information. I know that at one time he was the
15 Porte-parole in the ITD, the information and propaganda
16 activity of the HVO.
17 Now, when he performed what duty, I can't
18 really say. I haven't got any data on that because he
19 was in Mostar and not in Vitez.
20 Q. Well, pursuant to the order that was issued
21 by the HVO on the 3rd of April, 1993, the HVO ordered
22 the following in number 2:
23 "2. All armed forces of the HVO and the
24 police of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, as
25 well as the BH army and the BH Ministry of Defence,
1 which originate outside the provinces, shall have to
2 identify themselves and leave such provinces within
3 three days.
4 "3. Until the complete demilitarisation of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as envisioned under the peace plan
6 and for reasons of a more efficient defence against
7 aggression, the domicile forces of the HVO and the BH
8 army in provinces 1, 5, and 9 shall be placed under the
9 command of the main staff of the BH army, and provinces
10 3, 8, and 10 under the command of the main staff of the
12 "Those forces which cannot accept this
13 decision shall have a possibility to leave the
15 "4. Main staff of the HVO and the main staff
16 of the BH army shall set up a joint command no later
17 than 15 April, 1993."
18 Let us move down to the next two full
19 paragraphs after 6.
20 "The HVO of the Croatian Community of
21 Herceg-Bosna hopes that Izetbegovic, having understood
22 the exceptional importance of the statement, will sign
23 that document as well, because the document also
24 confirms the desire for peace which is so necessary for
1 "In the event that the statement is not
2 signed by the heads of the Muslim delegation in
3 provinces 3, 8, and 10, the HVO of the Croatian
4 Community of Herceg-Bosna has decided to apply the
5 provisions of the peace plan where each national armed
6 force will have to withdraw to its domicile province."
7 Once again, General, we see a unilateral
8 ultimatum by the HVO demanding that BiH troops
9 subordinate themselves to the HVO by 15 April, 1993 or
10 the HVO would unilaterally implement that
12 A. I did not have a chance of reading the
13 document when it was published because I didn't have
14 these press clippings. May I just have a moment to
15 read through it? Because I think that Mr. Veso Vegar
16 refers back to a meeting of the civilian authorities.
17 So if I may have some time to read through the
18 document, please.
19 Q. Well, briefly, before you read the document,
20 General, this document was read at the 13 April, 1993
21 press conference that you attended with Dario Kordic
22 where Dario Kordic read this document, didn't he?
23 A. I don't remember him reading that document.
24 It is possible. All I'm saying is that I didn't have
25 the document in my own hands and that I did not read it
1 before. I see this document for the first time here in
2 the courtroom. I don't remember whether Dario Kordic
3 read it or not. If you say he did, then probably he
4 did. But could I just have a look and read through it,
6 JUDGE JORDA: Was this disclosed to the
7 Defence, this exhibit?
8 MR. KEHOE: This particular document came
9 into evidence at the end of June 1997. I hate to bring
10 up that date so far away, but it's been in evidence for
11 quite some time.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I think that your
13 client had the opportunity to look through this
15 MR. HAYMAN: As has Your Honours, but it's
16 impossible to keep all these documents in one's mind,
17 Mr. President. It's impossible.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's right. Yes, you're
19 right, absolutely right, but that will give me the
20 opportunity to give the witness a little less time in
21 order to familiarise himself with the document.
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I might add, to
23 expedite matters, have the witness take a look at this
24 at the break, and I will reserve questions on this
25 exhibit until thereafter so we can move this along.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I think that you can ask your
2 question now.
3 General Blaskic, I think you should have had
4 enough time to familiarise yourself with the document.
5 I would like the Prosecutor to ask his questions.
6 Mr. Kehoe, please ask your question.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. General, there was a unilateral plan by the
9 HVO to implement the Vance-Owen Plan, and the
10 expiration date for that unilateral plan was 15 April,
11 1993; isn't that correct?
12 A. I don't know about any plan of that kind. I
13 was not aware of a plan like that, nor did I receive
14 instructions concerning that kind of plan. In this
15 document, we're talking about a government meeting,
16 that is to say, a meeting of the civilian authorities,
17 and in document number 25, the civilian authorities --
18 JUDGE JORDA: I think you've explained the
19 distinction. You said that you were the military
20 individual, they were civilians, and that the military
21 people don't know what the civilians are doing and the
22 civilians don't know what the military people are
23 doing. I think you've already answered that question
24 and it's been noted.
25 A. I should just like to add one more word, if I
1 may. Not even on the 15th of April --
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but do it quickly,
4 A. That is to say, not even on the 15th of
5 January when a number of orders on attachment were
6 brought in, in Central Bosnia, I did not even try to
7 implement them because it was unrealistic, whereas now
8 in April when I had six enclaves, it was even more
9 unrealistic, so that the HVO was not capable of even
10 giving thought to trying to implement an order of that
12 MR. KEHOE: Let us turn to the next document,
13 if I can, Mr. Usher.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
15 687 and 687A for the English version.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Now, General, this is an order coming from
18 the vice-president of the HVO of the Croatian Community
19 of Herceg-Bosna, Anto Valenta, on the 14th of April,
20 1993 to all the presidents of the municipalities in
21 Central Bosnia, and the order is:
22 "Because of the intensified tensions
23 following a number of incidents in the majority of the
24 municipalities in Central Herceg-Bosna and the
25 deterioration of the situation, I hereby order:
1 "A curfew to be imposed in all
2 municipalities in Central Herceg-Bosna from 2100 to
3 0600 hours and catering establishments not to remain
4 open after 2000 hours.
5 "The schools will cease working until Monday
6 19 April 1993, after which an assessment will be made
7 and a decision will be reached about whether to
8 continue work.
9 "This order takes place immediately."
10 Now, in conjunction with this particular
11 document, I'd like to read some testimony to you,
12 General, before I ask my question. This is the --
13 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, I apologise for
14 interrupting. I'm confused, Mr. President, because the
15 original has the 15th of April on it and the English
16 translation is dated the 14th of April. So does
17 counsel know what the date of this was? Of course, the
18 Totic kidnapping was the morning of the 14th and not
19 the 15th, so perhaps counsel can help us.
20 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, counsel. I just take
21 the translation.
22 MR. HAYMAN: Do we think that this was
23 authored on the 15th?
24 MR. KEHOE: I believe this is a translation
25 of what I have here, counsel. I have no reason to
1 believe otherwise, other than the transcription may be
3 MR. HAYMAN: Maybe we can also get this stamp
4 down at the bottom of the document which hasn't been
5 translated, Mr. President, which also appears to have
6 the 15th of April as some kind of transmission or
7 receipt date. Thank you.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman. Perhaps
9 we don't need the translation service to see that it's
10 the 15th rather than the 14th of April. Would that
11 change the sense of your question, Mr. Kehoe?
12 MR. KEHOE: It doesn't, Judge, no.
13 JUDGE JORDA: It doesn't change the sense of
14 the question. But having said that, we will do as you
15 like, Mr. Hayman, and will have the seal translated,
16 the seal at the bottom of the page, unless the
17 interpreters could do it immediately which would avoid
18 having to call upon the translation service. Do you
19 have the seal on the ELMO? We could put it in
20 Serbo-Croat on the ELMO and ask the interpreters to
21 interpret it quickly. The seal right under the
22 signature of Anto Valenta.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. Nobilo can read it, if
24 that's convenient, Mr. President.
25 The other thing, could we pen in the correct
1 date on the English translation so that the exhibit is
2 correct? Otherwise, I'm concerned that at the end of
3 the case, in final argument when referring to exhibits,
4 we may all get confused because we won't remember these
5 errors unless we actually make the change.
6 MR. KEHOE: I agree, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, absolutely. I agree as
8 well. Mr. Nobilo, please read the seal, and the
9 interpreters will interpret it quickly for us, under
10 the seal of Anto Valenta.
11 MR. NOBILO: The first line, it says: "Name
12 of body of HVO," and then we have the letters "TRA"
13 within the stamp, and then written in handwriting is
14 the letters "CV." Under that, it says, "Transmitted
15 and received, reference number 06/11971," and then the
16 figure was written in hand. The third line says
17 "Day," and then in handwriting, "15 April," then "09,"
18 and then there's a comma and another 9 written in by
19 hand, "in" and then the hour, "o'clock." Under
20 that "TLP," an abbreviation, and it says "TB, packet,
21 RV, ZV, RAV, RV, TLP." Those are the abbreviations of
22 certain resources or means. General Blaskic will be
23 able to tell us more. Then it says "Processed," and in
24 hand it says, "Vesna Stojak."
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, will you tell
1 the translation service that the date was April 15th
2 and not the 14th? But at times, that can be
4 I don't think that changes very much in
5 respect of your question, Mr. Prosecutor, so you can
7 Thank you, Mr. Hayman.
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Let me proceed with the testimony of Adnan
10 Zec on page 4273, beginning with the question on line
12 "Q What, if anything, unusual did you
13 notice when you went to school on
14 15th April?
15 A Yes, I noticed that certain Croatian
16 children, children of the Croatian
17 extraction, were not attending school,
18 especially the children from Ahmici."
19 Moving ahead to 4276, the witness notes, this
20 is again Adnan Zec, on the 4th:
21 "A Yes, when I returned, my parents
22 were commenting on why these children
23 from Ahmici did not go to school that
24 day. They saw them around on that day.
25 Then the Milicevic family, these are
1 three households, three families, they
2 had driven their families away in cars,
3 and in front of Ivo Papic's house,
4 different vehicles were constantly
5 coming and going.
6 Q The Milicevic family is Croat and the
7 Papic family you mentioned are also
8 Croats; is that correct?
9 A Yes."
10 So it would appear, General, based on the
11 testimony that we have, that the people in Ahmici at
12 least believe that something is about to happen that
13 would cause them to move their families out of the
14 area; isn't that right, sir?
15 A. Well, from this document that you gave, 687,
16 it is certain that there were high tensions. This is
17 an order by the civilian authorities that were sent to
18 the presidents of the civilian municipalities. I don't
19 recall having seen this kind of a document at all
20 because I wasn't in charge of regulating the school
21 year and when children would go to school and when they
22 would not go to school. However, many incidents
23 happened, and they probably made the author of the
24 document decide on this, and obviously this was sent to
25 the centre in Travnik, the communications centre of
1 Travnik, not the communications centre of the Operative
2 Zone of Central Bosnia.
3 I just want to say briefly that we should
4 recall these incidents in Travnik on the 8th of April
5 and in Novi Travnik on the 13th of April where officers
6 from the brigade from Novi Travnik were abducted by the
7 Mujahedin, and then on the 13th of April in the
8 Frankopan Brigade when an entire shift of soldiers was
9 taken prisoner by the BH army, and an attempt was made
10 to kill Mr. Ilija Nakic, commander of the brigade, and
11 his driver was killed. Then on the 12th of April, in
12 the town of Vitez, two officers from the Vitez Brigade
13 were taken prisoner, and the killing of Darko Kraljevic
14 was attempted on the 13th of April, and then Zivko
15 Totic was kidnapped in a terrorist manner on the 15th
16 of April, and all of Zenica was blocked.
17 In addition to that, a bomb was thrown in
18 Zenica, and six children were killed by the 314th
19 Motorised Brigade of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 from the --
21 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry.
22 A. There were many incidents, and tensions were
23 running high, and schools were not working. But I wish
24 to point out that the orders of the civilian
25 authorities are not binding on me as a military
1 commander, and I do not recall having received this
2 document at all.
3 MR. KEHOE:
4 Q. Well, General, what orders from Milivoj
5 Petkovic did you get on the 15th to take actions with
6 your troops? Did you get any?
7 A. I informed the chief of the main staff about
8 the incident, about practically all the incidents,
9 including the incident that occurred in Zenica --
10 Q. Excuse me, General. I'm going to cut you off
11 here. What orders did you get from Milivoj Petkovic to
12 move your troops anywhere on the 15th of April? That's
13 the question. Did you get that order? If my question
14 wasn't clear before, that's the question I want to ask
16 JUDGE JORDA: General, answer the question
17 precisely, please, specifically, please.
18 A. The order I received on the 15th of April
19 from General Petkovic said that after all the terrorist
20 actions, if the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina launches an
21 all-out attack against the HVO, then --
22 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not getting any
23 interpretation. I am just reading it here, but I
24 didn't get interpretation. Yes, it's coming through
25 now. There seems to be a problem in the booth. I hope
1 I didn't insult you. I didn't mean to. I just wasn't
2 hearing the interpretation, even though I was able to
3 read what was on the monitor. But the sentence was not
5 A. May I proceed, Mr. President?
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please continue.
7 A. So the order was that the forces of the
8 military police and the Vitezovi were being attached to
9 me and that I should organise the blockade and
10 protection of villages from this all-out attack by the
11 BH army.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. Is that the only order you received?
14 A. As far as I can remember, that was the only
15 order that I received from the chief of the main staff
16 of the HVO.
17 Q. Let me show you another document, General.
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution
19 Exhibit 688, 688A for the English version.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Now, General, this is an order from Milivoj
22 Petkovic directed to you on the 15th of April, 1993,
23 marked "Urgent, Urgent, Urgent." It notes as follows:
24 "In view of the newly created situation in
25 the region of Konjic municipality and the difficult
1 position of the Herceg Stjepan Brigade, I here order:
2 "1. A part of the Central Bosnia Operative
3 Zone forces shall be used to tie down the BH army
4 forces as follows:
5 "- Re-enforce a part of forces from Fojnica
6 to Pozetva in the south-east Herzegovina zone of
7 responsibility and thus link up with the northern part
8 of Klis.
9 "- With part of the forces in Kiseljak and
10 Kresevo to prevent the infiltration of fresh forces
11 from Bosnia and link up with Bradina, Repovci,
12 Stojkovici, and Gobelovina, deadline immediately.
13 "3. Due to the importance of the order, you
14 shall report to me on its execution in writing."
15 Now, General, this was a very urgent order
16 sent to you by Milivoj Petkovic for you to take action
17 immediately on the 15th of April, 1993.
18 Now, other than this order, did you receive
19 any other orders from Milivoj Petkovic for you to
20 deploy your troops?
21 A. First of all, in connection with this order,
22 I see that this order also has a stamp of the main
23 staff of the HVO and that it was issued, but it doesn't
24 have the stamp that was usually there that I received
25 it, so I'm not sure as to whether I received it or
2 I did not take any action related to
3 assistance except for taking in civilians that were
4 withdrawing from Pozetva, and I know that the HVO units
5 could not help Pozetva and Fojnica.
6 I remember, and I have this noted, that I
7 received an order from General Petkovic on the 15th of
8 April and I testified about that, but all the orders
9 that arrived I did not note. I mean, I did not
10 register them. They were registered in the registry
12 JUDGE JORDA: But in principle, you received
13 it; isn't that correct?
14 A. Mr. President, I do not recall. Perhaps I
15 did, but I'm surprised that there is not a stamp saying
16 that I received it, because all the orders that I
17 received would have to have a seal that it was
18 received. There is a stamp here saying that it was
19 issued -- that this order was issued at the main
21 JUDGE JORDA: That's your answer, simply that
22 there's no seal, and the Judges will evaluate this as
23 they see fit. Please move on.
24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, for the record,
25 this document was received from the Croatian side of
1 the federation and it was delivered to
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Pierre Capelle, retired, of the
3 French army, who is now on the staff of the Office of
4 the Prosecutor.
5 Q. Now, General, did you ignore this order?
6 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps another question,
7 General Blaskic, as my colleague has just pointed out
8 to me. It says "Urgent" three times. Do you remember
9 other orders that say "Urgent, Urgent, Urgent" on it?
10 Do you remember? "Yes" or "No"? It's possible, when
11 the document has the order "Urgent" on it three times,
12 you may not be particularly struck by it.
13 Quickly, please. Quickly.
14 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, with the
15 translation, it's not possible to answer that quickly.
16 I would please ask the Court to show patience when
17 you're urging the witness, "Quickly, quickly, quickly,"
18 in a foreign language. It takes some time to be
19 translated so that he can hear the question, and
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman. I
22 should have remembered my responsibility to try to keep
23 in mind there is interpretation here.
24 When an order is received on the 15th of
25 April at a time when there was all this tension that
1 you've spoken about -- you've remembered very well.
2 You have a very clear memory. You remembered a little
3 while ago all the incidents that happened on the 15th
4 of April.
5 When you have an order from General Petkovic
6 which is marked "Urgent" three times, do you remember
7 that or don't you?
8 A. I said, Mr. President, that it is quite
9 possible that this document arrived. I'm not
10 precluding that possibility, but I'm sure that no
11 action was taken in accordance with this document and
12 point 1 was not adhered to. I'm sure of that, because
13 on the 15th of April we had lots of problems
14 ourselves. I had lots of problems on the 15th and I
15 was not in a position to help someone else.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. What did you do with the order?
19 A. I already said that it is possible that this
20 order was received, but I'm surprised there was no
21 stamp on it. If it was received, then I certainly
22 informed them about the overall situation, that is say,
23 I informed the chief of the main staff. In the Lasva
24 pocket, the situation was highly tense and complex, and
25 there were a great many incidents, and I was not in a
1 position to give anybody help because I needed help
3 JUDGE JORDA: Let me speak slowly. When you
4 receive an order marked "Urgent, Urgent, Urgent," you
5 just don't send -- I suppose that you would inform
6 General Petkovic of what was going on. As the
7 commander in chief you received -- I can understand
8 that you didn't receive it, but if you received it,
9 would you send him back a letter informing him of the
10 situation or would you carry out the order?
11 A. Mr. President, I have to certainly take this
12 order into account, and if I received it, then
13 certainly when I had this telephone conversation with
14 General Petkovic, I informed him about the situation on
15 my side, and I believed that when he wrote this order
16 he did not have all information as to what was going on
17 in my environment but, of course, I could not turn a
18 deaf ear to the order as if I had never received it.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, this order would have the effect of
22 preventing the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina of
23 resupplying and moving troops further into Central
24 Bosnia; isn't that right?
25 A. Allow me to read this first, please. This
1 order was sent in order to have help delivered to the
2 HVO of the municipality of Konjic, primarily to
3 reinforce the village of Pozetva, which was about to
4 fall. Croats were fleeing from there towards Fojnica
5 and Kiseljak.
6 This second section that says that part of
7 the forces from Kiseljak and Kresevo could prevent the
8 infiltration of fresh forces from Bosnia towards
9 Konjic, because the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that
10 time was launching an initiative against Konjic, and
11 the HVO was encircled, and the HVO army was expelled
12 from the municipality of Konjic around the 15th of
13 April, 1993. This is actually the end of the total
14 encirclement of the HVO of Central Bosnia through the
15 municipalities of Konjic and Gornji Vakuf by the army
16 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 Q. Well, General, let's move on to these
18 discussions with Petkovic. You told us at 15.00 that
19 Petkovic told you that in view of an all-out attack or
20 if there were an all-out attack by the ABiH, the
21 Vitezovi and the military police would be attached to
23 Now, you received information during your
24 meeting at 17.00 with Pasko Ljubicic, and Darko
25 Kraljevic, and Zuti, and others that there were ABiH
1 troop movements on Kuber. Do you recall that
2 testimony, sir?
3 A. I received information that forces of the BH
4 army were on the move towards Kuber, but during the
5 latter half of the meeting I think that Pasko Ljubicic
6 was present and the commander of Vitezovi, Darko
7 Kraljevic, was present too, and the commander from the
8 Tvrtko special purpose unit was present as well.
9 During the second half of the meeting, I think that
10 Zuti was not present, to the best of my recollection.
11 Q. Now, General, this information alarmed you
12 and caused you to read out the orders that you had
13 issued, Exhibit 267 and 268; isn't that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So it would be fair to say that you reacted
16 to this information concerning these Bosnian army troop
17 movements almost immediately, as a good commander
19 A. The situation was such that I had to react to
20 such information and that is what I did in order to
21 prevent the possibility of any surprise.
22 Q. Now, General, during this meeting, did you
23 tell Pasko Ljubicic and Darko Kraljevic that in the
24 event of an all-out attack, Petkovic had told you that
25 they were going to be attached to them? Did you tell
1 him that information?
2 A. At this meeting, I read the orders out to
3 them in case of an all-out attack and I spelled out
4 precisely what their tasks were. As far as I can
5 remember, they did not ask me specifically about this
7 Q. General, please. The question I ask you is:
8 Did you tell them during this meeting that you had
9 spoken to Petkovic four hours before and that in the
10 event of an all-out attack, the Vitezovi and the
11 military police were going to be attached to you? Did
12 you tell them that during the meeting, "Yes" or "No"?
13 A. I talk to them about the overall situation,
14 and earlier on Darko Kraljevic told me that he was at
15 the disposal, and I said that I had talked to the chief
16 of the main staff, and I said what the position of the
17 chief of the main staff was in case the BH army
19 Q. How about the military police? Did you tell
20 Pasko Ljubicic that Petkovic had said that in the event
21 of an attack the military police would be attached?
22 A. I said that to all the participants in the
23 meeting. Pasko Ljubicic was at the meeting and he
24 could have heard me say that.
25 Q. Now, at 23.00, General, you receive very
1 significant information concerning combat operations in
2 Kuber. If I might read those to you briefly. They're
3 at page 18502, or if the pagination is wrong, counsel,
4 it would be 18491, but at line 12 in response to
5 Mr. Nobilo's questions you noted as follows: "Around
6 23.00 I was informed that combat operations were in
7 progress at Kuber and there was shelling from
8 Preocica --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow
11 MR. KEHOE: I will. I'm sorry. I'll start
12 over from the beginning. Line 12: "At about 23.00, I
13 was informed that combat operations were in progress at
14 Kuber and there was shelling from Preocica in the area
15 of Poculica. I was also informed that at Kuber there
16 were some HVO wounded in the course of the combat
18 In addition to that information, General, you
19 noted for us that the military intelligence group told
20 you that there was a regrouping of the army of
22 Now, General, with this information that you
23 received at 23.00, did you contact the special purpose
24 units, Vitezovi, Tvrtko, Zuti?
25 A. I did not contact these units because at
1 Mount Kuber were the soldiers of the Vitez, Busovaca,
2 and Zenica brigades, respectively. When I talked to
3 Cerkez, commander of the Vitez Brigade, I asked him to
4 inform the members of the Vitez Brigade about
5 movements, troop movements, of the BH army on the 15th
6 of April, 1993, that is to say, to warn them that there
7 was such troop movement.
8 Q. Well, let us clarify that point, General.
9 You talked to Cerkez about the troop movements at Kuber
10 at approximately 18.00, and I am talking to you about
11 the information that you received at 23.00 concerning
12 combat operations at Kuber. My question concerning
13 that information, concerning combat operations, did you
14 contact the special purpose units and did you contact
15 the brigades with this new information?
16 A. I did not contact the brigades with this new
17 information because new information came from the
18 brigades, that is to say, that the brigades, in their
19 own system of reporting, sent to my duty officer this
21 Now, precisely whether the Vitez Brigade or
22 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade sent that information
23 to me, that I do not know exactly, but Kuber is a
24 pretty big mountain and it's quite far away. I don't
25 see any special purpose for this even if I had informed
1 these commanders about this kind of activity.
2 There were also operations against Poculica,
3 not only Kuber. Also, there was a break-off in
4 communications from time to time, but there were such
5 information too.
6 Q. Well, General, as a prudent commander,
7 wouldn't a prudent commander contact as many people as
8 possible within his organisation to tell them about the
9 onset of combat activities?
10 A. Well, may I just say this, at Kuber, the
11 forces were confronted from January 1993, that is to
12 say, that we never managed to delineate the front line
13 there. If anything would happen, I was receiving
14 information from my subordinates. I did not have my
15 own observer there at Kuber, and there is no point in
16 my informing someone who had already informed me about
18 Had I received information from some
19 independent source and in relation to that position, I
20 certainly would have forwarded that kind of information
21 to my commanders so that they could familiarise the
22 soldiers with that, as I did in the case of Mario
23 Cerkez at 18.00, 18.30, whatever, when I told him to
24 warn them that there was troop movement by the BH army
25 from the direction of Zenica towards Kuber.
1 So this was information that I was receiving
2 from them on the ground, and there was nobody else who
3 could have told me there was operations against Kuber
4 other than those soldiers there at Kuber.
5 Q. Well, General, did you contact the main staff
6 and tell them about these combat operations in Kuber?
7 A. I did not at that time, because there was an
8 exact timetable as to when we sent information to the
9 main staff about all events. If something
10 extraordinary had happened, then we would have to see
11 what this extraordinary thing would turn into, whether
12 this was just one incident or whether these were
13 operations that would go on against Kuber, Poculica
14 and, also, the radio communications, whether they were
15 cut off by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Q. If I could show you a photograph, Prosecution
17 Exhibit 258. If we could put that on the ELMO.
18 Who is that man, General?
19 A. That is Vladimir Santic.
20 Q. What position did he have in the military
22 A. I know that for a certain period of time he
23 was commander of a company of the military police and
24 for a certain period of time he was also acting
25 commander of the battalion of the military police,
1 except that I don't know for sure which periods of
2 time -- when he was commander of the company and when
3 he was acting commander of the battalion of the
4 military police, but I know him in both capacities.
5 Q. Well, on the 15th of April, 1993, Vladimir
6 Santic had an office in the Hotel Vitez, right down the
7 hall from you, didn't he?
8 A. He had an office in the Hotel Vitez not only
9 on the 15th of April but before the 15th of April and
10 afterwards at the Hotel Vitez as commander of a company
11 or deputy commander of the battalion of the military
13 Q. Well, General, as a prudent office who knows
14 that the military police is not in the Viteska Brigade
15 chain of command, did you inform Vlado Santic or
16 anybody else in the military police that combat
17 activities had started in Kuber at 23.00 on the evening
18 of the 15th?
19 A. I did not contact Vlado Santic. I'm not sure
20 whether he was at the hotel at that time at all. As
21 commander, I was in contact with the commander of the
22 battalion and there was no need for me to establish
23 contact with the commander of a company. It would have
24 been a surprise to me if he would be at the hotel at
25 the time. He lived in the immediate neighbourhood of
1 the hotel and, I believe, I'm not sure, but I believe
2 that he was at his own apartment then.
3 Q. Well, General, did you contact anybody in the
4 military police, Pasko Ljubicic or anybody else, about
5 this information that you received from Kuber that
6 combat activities had begun at 23.00?
7 A. I did not contact the military police,
8 because they do not have something to do with the Kuber
9 position. It was the home guard units that were there,
10 and this was an incident, and we had to wait and see
11 how this activity would develop further at Kuber. I do
12 not see any special reason why I would contact anyone
13 except for those who were at these positions at Kuber.
14 Q. Well, General, you had given the military
15 police the responsibility of ensuring that the main
16 road between Vitez and Busovaca was secured, and by
17 that I refer to your order, Defence Exhibit 267; isn't
18 that right?
19 A. That was the regular daily task of the
20 military police, and with the order I reminded them of
21 their daily task. It was not a new task assigned to
22 them because it was the basic duty of the military
23 police to ensure the security of the roads,
24 particularly the traffic police.
25 Q. Given that they were to secure that road, by
1 your own terms, that road could only be secured if, and
2 I read your testimony at 18563, that road can only be
3 secured, at line 6:
4 "A ... if you control the high ground and
5 positions and features around it. This
6 is very clear on this model because
7 whoever controls the high ground and
8 features absolutely controls the
9 communication line and traffic, because
10 at any time, with the artillery and with
11 fire, he can cut off the road and
12 prevent traffic."
13 Now, given that there were combat activities
14 in Kuber, according to your testimony, that there was
15 shelling of Croat villages by ABiH, and you believed
16 that the military police had to secure the road from
17 the high ground, you, nonetheless, took no steps to
18 inform the military police of what was happening up in
19 Kuber; is that your testimony, General?
20 A. First, you claim, not me, that there was
21 combat activities. "Combat activities" implies opening
22 fire and the start of fighting, and if there is
23 individual shelling, then it can be for the army to
24 take certain coordinates and it can be due to
25 provocation and so on. So the units did not enter into
1 fighting fully, but there was individual shelling up at
2 Kuber. Once there was fighting, that is to say, that
3 combat activities had started and that there was
4 shooting on both sides, I did not receive that
5 information. All I received was that there was
6 individual shelling going on.
7 Q. General, you noted for us again at line 12 of
8 18491 that:
9 "A About 23.00 hours, I was informed that
10 combat operations were in progress at
11 Kuber and that there was shelling from
12 Preocica in the area of Poculica. I was
13 also informed that at Kuber there were
14 some HVO wounded in the course of the
15 combat operations."
16 Now, General, using your own logic, you know,
17 based on what you've told this Court, if you admit that
18 you contacted the military police after you received
19 this information at 23.00, they would have been
20 attached to you; isn't that right?
21 A. I have already said that I received orders
22 that should there be a general all-out attack by the BH
23 army on the HVO positions, that all forces are attached
24 to me, and this is a question of an all-out, general
25 attack. In my testimony, I stated that a general
1 attack, an all-out attack, does not apply -- we see
2 that about 20 positions were in question, not only one
3 position. I already said that I received this
4 information from my subordinates, that is to say, from
5 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade or the Vitez Brigade,
6 and that they informed me of events up at Kuber. I did
7 not inform the commander of the military police of this
8 or the other commanders either because I considered
9 that it still was not an all-out, general attack.
10 Q. So the actions in Kuber where there is
11 shelling and HVO wounded doesn't qualify as an all-out
12 attack for an attachment; is that your testimony?
13 A. An all-out attack on the overall region was
14 undertaken by the BH army on the 16th of April at about
15 23 positions there, and here we're talking about
16 activities by the BH armies on one position.
17 Q. General, would you agree that the reasonably
18 prudent thing for you to do would have been to go to
19 the military police and tell them to take the high
20 ground outside of Ahmici, Nadioci, and Santici in order
21 to protect the road? That would have been the prudent
22 thing to do, wouldn't it?
23 A. We were still waiting for the attack. If I
24 were to look at it today, perhaps I would have made
25 different moves. But I had all the intelligence
1 assessments which showed us that there could be an
2 attack, whereas the decision was on the other side, and
3 it would have been a much better thing that there had
4 been no attack and that there were no combat activities
6 Q. General, given the fact that you did not
7 order the military police to immediately take that high
8 ground, that would indicate to a neutral observer that
9 they had another assignment first before they took that
10 high ground outside of Ahmici, wouldn't it?
11 A. Linked to taking the high ground, well, at
12 those positions, the 3rd Battalion or the 2nd Battalion
13 of the 325th Brigade of the BH army, and had I issued
14 an order to that effect to take the high ground, all
15 the high ground, perhaps that would have caused the
16 beginning of an attack and combat activities in the
17 area. I did everything in my power, truly everything
18 in my power, to avoid the beginning of any kind of
19 conflict because I had six enclaves, and that can be
20 seen from this model here. There is a great gap
21 between Busovaca and Kiseljak, and it was my interest
22 to achieve peace because I was in a disadvantageous
23 position. That is why I issued the order for a
24 blockade and not for the defence, that is to say, the
25 most passive possible self-defence order.
1 Q. General, the reality of the situation was
2 they had an assignment in the morning at 5.30 in Ahmici
3 before they took that high ground, and that was based
4 on your instructions, wasn't it?
5 JUDGE JORDA: The question reflects your own
6 opinion too clearly. Please rephrase it.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. General, is it true that the military police
9 had an assignment in Ahmici at 5.30 in the morning, and
10 their second assignment was then taking the high ground
11 outside of Ahmici thereafter?
12 A. I said exactly what I ordered to the military
13 police and what instructions the members of the
14 military police received from me. I do not know
15 whether there were other activities or not. What I
16 heard here from witnesses, from Prosecution witnesses
17 here at the Tribunal, convinced me that probably some
18 individuals were acting on orders, because in that
19 short space of time, they could not have committed such
20 a great crime with somebody having organised and
21 planned this.
22 Q. General, other than the exhibits that we have
23 seen, Exhibits 267, 268, and 269, what other orders did
24 you give to your brigades and independent units prior
25 to 5.30 in the morning on the 16th?
1 A. It was an order to the Vitez Brigade, I don't
2 know exactly what number, it was issued at 01.30 on the
3 16th of April, 1993 and refers to the blockade of
4 certain villages in the municipality of Vitez.
5 Q. Let me show you, General, Prosecutor's
6 Exhibit 521.
7 While we're waiting for that, General, based
8 on your testimony that there was no activity by the
9 military police on the evening of the 15th of April,
10 1993, where was the front line on the evening of the
11 15th of April, 1993? Excuse me, General. I'm asking
12 you a question first, and then we'll get to that
13 document. Where was the front line?
14 A. I don't know which municipality you mean. If
15 you want me to talk about the entire front line, I can
16 do that too.
17 Q. The front line between Vitez and Zenica.
18 Where was the front line in that area?
19 A. In that area, there was only one position at
20 Kuber, and it was called feature Vran Stijena where
21 there was the anti-aircraft defence position
22 previously. I think it was the trigonometry -- I would
23 have to see which elevation it was exactly. That was
24 the position, there was no other position, because the
25 members of the Vitez Brigade had the front line against
1 the Serbian army at the Travnik and Novi Travnik
2 municipality at Strikanci Slatka Vode. That was the
3 position. That was where the soldiers of the Vitez
4 Brigade were located up at the front line, together
5 with the members of the BH army from Travnik and the
6 members of the Travnik HVO.
7 Q. Now, General, let us turn back to Exhibit
8 521, which is the exhibit identified as being received
9 in the Hotel Vitez by your chief of operations, Slavko
10 Marin, and it is an operation report from the morning
11 of 16 April, 1993 from the Jure Francetic Brigade
12 noting at 06.00:
13 "The night was quiet in the zone covered by
14 the brigade. All units are holding the positions they
15 had seized. The town is under control and our units
16 are letting unarmed civilians who are going to work
17 pass through."
18 When did you issue an order to the Jure
19 Francetic Brigade to seize positions and what positions
20 did they seize?
21 A. First of all, I'd like to say something with
22 regard to this document. It was received by the
23 operative official on duty. It is an operative report
24 sent at 6.00 every morning --
25 Q. Excuse me, General. That's not the
1 question. The question is very simple, and I'll repeat
2 it to you again. When did you issue an order to the
3 Jure Francetic Brigade to seize positions, and what
4 positions did they seize as of this report at 06.00 on
5 the 16th of April?
6 A. In document 267, a task was issued, an
7 assignment was issued to all the HVO brigades. It was
8 a preparatory assignment, and point 3 is stipulated to
9 perform defence in the zone of responsibility and to
10 prevent extremist Muslim forces in realising an open
11 clearing up of the area and genocide over the Croatian
12 people and the realisation of their own goals, to be on
13 the alert for a defence of the Croatian people and to
14 withdraw forces only once the people had been evacuated
15 and taken care of and once I give the okay for that.
16 Probably there was self-organisation on the
17 part of the forces after the terrorist act, that is to
18 say, when the commander of the Jure Francetic Brigade
19 was kidnapped, and there were the Croatian villages in
20 the Zenica municipality that were concerned.
21 Q. General, you told us during your testimony
22 that you never sent Exhibit 267, the order of the 15th
23 of April at 10.00, you never sent that to the brigades
24 because it hadn't been typed and it had to be sent back
25 to be retyped; do you recall that?
1 A. I remember that the order had not been typed
2 and sent at 17.00 on the 15th of April, 1993, but I do
3 believe that later on, the order was sent. But it was
4 not typed out even later on in April '93, and on the
5 22nd or 23rd of April, it was typed out.
6 Q. The bottom line, General, is that on the 15th
7 of April of 1993, you never sent out Exhibit 267 to the
8 brigades. Given that information, I ask my question to
9 you again: What positions did they seize and on what
10 orders did the Jure Francetic Brigade seize these
12 A. The Jure Francetic Brigade, I already said,
13 had taken up positions in Croatian villages of the
14 Zenica municipality. I believe that that was so, and
15 at this point in time, I cannot remember the number of
16 the order. But quite certainly, after the terrorist
17 act and the seizing of the commander of the Jure
18 Francetic Brigade, the soldiers from the brigade itself
19 became activated.
20 Q. Now, was it pursuant to an order that you
21 issued, given the fact that you're the commander in
22 chief of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
23 A. I have already said that I believe that it
24 could have been order 267 because that order refers to
25 the brigade. It was the order that had not been
1 retyped but was written in handwriting and given to
2 Slavko Marin to complete.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Was the order sent or not
4 sent? Could we have that point clarified?
5 MR. KEHOE: We will pull the portion of the
6 witness's testimony where he reflects that it was not
7 sent to the brigades. That was the testimony in
8 response to the questions by Mr. Nobilo.
9 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will have to
10 clarify that later.
11 It has to be clarified, General Blaskic. We
12 have to know exactly whether you sent it or didn't send
13 it and what is the proper statement that you made.
14 I think that we should take a break now to
15 allow everyone to think about that.
16 --- Recess taken at 3.23 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 3.50 p.m.
18 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
19 hearing. Please be seated. Mr. Kehoe, you can now
21 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with regard to
22 Exhibit 267, I referred Your Honours to a series of
23 pages starting with 18482, with a question by Mr.
24 Nobilo that reads that --
25 JUDGE JORDA: I would like the registrar to
1 give us 267. Thank you very much. Yes, you can
2 continue, please, because we remember that exhibit. We
3 saw it yesterday.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
5 At line 19:
6 "Q So this information came that the BH
7 army from Zenica was on the move from
8 that absolutely pivotal, strategic point
9 in the Lasva Valley. Did this news
10 cause you some concern?
11 A Yes, of course, not the least because
12 the duty officer came and delivered it
13 in a state of near panic, and he
14 delivered it to everybody present.
15 Everybody overheard this and the
16 question immediately arose what to do
17 and what position to take with respect
18 to this action on the part of the BH
20 Q And so what was your reaction? Who did
21 you task with following up on this?
22 A At that point I told the participants of
23 the meeting that I had already issued
24 two orders, one that morning and one in
25 the afternoon, and that I expected that
1 these orders would be followed, that is,
2 complied with. I asked Slavko Marin to
3 bring me those orders and I saw then
4 that the preparatory order which I had
5 issued at 10.00 had still not been sent
6 to the subordinate units."
7 This is the meeting at 17.00. Carrying on a
8 few pages to 18485, at line 11, by Mr. Nobilo:
9 "Q You said the order of 10.00 of the 15th
10 of April, 1993 remained in its
11 handwritten form and had not been sent.
12 For purposes of the record, it is
13 document D267. What happened with the
14 order that was D268, the order written
15 on the 15th of April at 3.45?
16 A That order was not sent either.
17 Q What happened next?
18 A I took both these orders and I read them
19 out orally to the commanders present at
20 the meeting. After I had read out the
21 provisions of the order, after I had
22 read them out, we concluded the
23 meeting. I decided after that to call
24 the commander of the Vitez Brigade who
25 was at that time in his family house."
1 On the next page, 18486, at line 6:
2 "A At that particular time I was not able
3 to send the orders out to be typed, the
4 10.00 order, because the typist wasn't
5 around, wasn't in her office, because
6 according to her regular shift, she was
7 on duty until 3.00. So after that, the
8 order -- the order came later. The 3.45
9 order was sent out because it had been
10 typed whereas the 10.00 order was
11 returned to the general services office
12 for the typist to type it out, and I
13 read out the assignments from the two
14 orders orally to the individuals
16 We had a list of the people who were there
17 and, of course, the Zenica Brigade commander was not at
18 this meeting. There was also a series of -- a
19 conversation in closed session with Your Honours, from
20 page 18951 to 18960, concerning 267 bis, which was the
21 numerical issue.
22 Q. So, General, 267 was never sent to the Zenica
23 brigades, was it?
24 A. Yes, I checked in my notes and that order was
25 not sent to the Zenica Brigade, and I do believe that
1 after the commander of the brigade, Totic, had been
2 seized, the soldiers and command of the brigade
3 organised themselves and raised their combat readiness
4 in their region of deployment, which is an expected
5 reaction of soldiers in that brigade. It could have
6 been expected.
7 Q. So when this individual writes that units are
8 holding positions that they had seized at 06.00, that
9 was done unilaterally by the unit and not ordered by
10 you; is that your testimony?
11 A. I have already said that quite possibly
12 they -- that unit organised itself and that I agreed
13 with that. On the 15th of April, I was, in fact,
14 absent from my office for a time and these orders were
15 on the table belonging to the duty officer on duty and
16 perhaps some of the operative officials read it out,
17 but document P21 is a regular report by the duty
18 officer of the Jure Francetic Brigade of Zenica.
19 Q. So, General, just to compare these two
20 situations, when you received this information from the
21 officer on duty at 17.00 about the movement of troops,
22 when he's near panic, you take immediate steps --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please speak slowly,
24 Mr. Prosecutor. The interpreters are having difficulty
25 following you.
1 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen.
2 Q. General, when we look at these two
3 situations, you receive information about troop
4 movements at 17.00, you react immediately, yet when you
5 receive information at 23.00 about combat operations in
6 Kuber, you do nothing. Would that be a fair assessment
7 of these two situations?
8 A. It is not a good assessment because it is not
9 true that I did nothing concerning Kuber. I received
10 the information as to what was going on at Kuber, and I
11 endeavoured to attend to the developments there. That
12 was perhaps just one incident where a soldier was
13 wounded and not an all-out attack.
14 Throughout that time, I tried to avoid, as I
15 say, an all-out attack and a general conflict. Let me
16 also say, with regard to this document P21, it is not
17 correct that the town was under the control of the HVO
18 units. That is absolutely untrue. The town of Zenica
19 could never have been under that control and that must
20 be clear to one and all.
21 Q. Well, General, let us talk about what you did
22 do, and I refer again to your testimony and the
23 statement by Mr. Nobilo referring to the combat
24 operations in Kuber. After you received this
25 information that this combat contact had taken place as
1 early as the 15th of April, you issued another order,
2 and that is Exhibit number D269. If the witness could
3 be given Exhibit D269. If we could also pull out D267
4 as well?
5 JUDGE JORDA: These are Defence exhibits; is
6 that right?
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes. I apologise, Judge.
8 They're Defence exhibits.
9 Q. Now, after you received this information and
10 you issued D269, you don't say anything about Kuber in
11 this order, do you?
12 A. In this order I did not mention it, but I did
13 in an oral order which I issued to the commander of the
14 Vitez Brigade, Mr. Cerkez, at about 18.30, that the
15 soldiers at Kuber should be informed that the movement
16 of forces --
17 Q. Thank you, General. We're talking about
18 after 23.00. After you received your information at
19 23.00 and you issued this order, you did not include
20 anything about Kuber in it, "Yes" or "No"?
21 A. In this order, no, but in the executive order
22 that I issued at 18.30 the answer is yes.
23 Q. Thank you, General. You answered the
25 Now, General, this order has the Vitez
1 Brigade taking action at 5.30 in the morning. This
2 action is in conjunction with the action of the
3 military police who you have ordered, in Exhibit 267,
4 to secure the road between Vitez and Busovaca; isn't
5 that right?
6 A. I don't know. Perhaps there was a mistake in
7 the interpretation but this is an order issued to the
8 Vitezovi and to the military police. Could you please
9 repeat your question to me?
10 Q. The question is that this order to the Vitez
11 Brigade that has them performing a task at 5.30 in the
12 morning, is supposed to be done --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Which one are you speaking
14 about now? Are you speaking --
15 MR. KEHOE: 269. 269, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: 269. All right. Continue,
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. Now, that order contemplates the Vitez
20 Brigade operating in conjunction with the military
21 police who are taking over the road; isn't that right?
22 A. Point 2 of this order is written down, and
23 that is a task according to the standards that I
24 learned in the Yugoslav People's Army. This is a very
25 precise assignment as to what should be done, that is
1 to say, what the Vitez Brigade is supposed to do. In
2 point number 2, I do not see the take-over of a road
4 The task issued to the Vitez Brigade in
5 document 269 is written up very precisely. That is in
6 point number 2.
7 Q. General, in Exhibit 267, you have the
8 military police ensuring that the road between Vitez
9 and Busovaca is free and open; do you recall that?
10 A. I do you recall that. That is a regular
11 military police task, that is to say, the traffic
12 police of the military police has this as a daily task,
13 to ensure the road --
14 JUDGE JORDA: Please answer the question
15 specifically. Try to be very specific, Mr. Kehoe. Try
16 to bring out the two orders, to contrast them, the one
17 of the 15th of April, which is 267, and the 16th of
18 April, which is given at 1.30; isn't that correct?
19 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, try to answer
21 specifically when the questions are asked, and then
22 afterwards, you can make comments.
23 Please rephrase your question so that you can
24 ask the question that you want to ask.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, did you, as the commander, want these
2 two forces to operate in a coordinated fashion?
3 A. I think that this task is quite clear to
4 all. There has to be a certain degree of coordination
5 so that there would not be mutual activity. But your
6 question is not quite clear. Did I want them to
7 operate in coordination? Well, of course. I didn't
8 want to have any lack of coordination in terms of
9 carrying out the tasks that they were ordered to do.
10 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you noted for us
11 during direct examination that combat activities ensued
12 in the Lasva Valley at 05.30 in the morning. What time
13 did you begin to use your artillery, General?
14 A. Just a moment, please. Let me have a look at
15 my notes. According to my notes, I was awakened by a
16 detonation in the immediate vicinity of the Hotel Vitez
17 itself at 5.00 in the morning or ten past five,
18 approximately, but not at 5.30.
19 Q. General, let me help you out, at 9.45 in the
20 morning, the artillery commander told you that he was
21 ready for action; is that right?
22 A. At twenty-five minutes past nine, the
23 commander of the artillery informed me that he was
24 prepared for action at the request, that is to say, at
25 the request.
1 Q. Then there was no firing prior to that time;
2 is that right?
3 A. There was firing. The Hotel Vitez was hit
4 before that. Now who is firing? You tell me.
5 Q. Excuse me. Was your artillery firing prior
6 to 9.25?
7 A. The artillery that I commanded did not open
8 fire before 9.25.
9 Q. Now, General, you had exclusive control over
10 your artillery, didn't you?
11 A. Yes, I had control over the artillery of the
12 command of the Operative Zone.
13 Q. The artillery that was in part of the
14 Operative Zone, there were artillery pieces in motion
15 in the rock quarry, weren't there?
16 A. It included the artillery that was in the
17 rock quarry, yes.
18 Q. Let me show you something, General.
19 MR. KEHOE: If I can begin with a map, I have
20 smaller, individual copies as well. This is the
21 exhibit you can show to the witness. You can put one
22 on the ELMO.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The map will be referenced
24 689 and the reduced versions will be 689/1.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, General, the area on the map that is
2 designated with the yellow dot is the approximate area
3 of the rock quarry where you had artillery pieces on
4 the morning of the 16th; correct, General?
5 A. It is the area of Mali Mosunj, whereas the
6 precise position of the artillery pieces is better
7 known to the commander of the artillery. At one point
8 in time, it was there, but whether it was there
9 specifically on the 16th of April --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Approximately the area. It was
11 approximately the area. Move to another question,
12 Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE: If I can return to the milinfosum
14 of the morning of the 16th of April, 1993,
15 Mr. President. This is a military information summary,
16 Mr. President, of the British Battalion of 16 April,
18 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Now, with regard to this particular exhibit,
22 I would like to turn to the second page, Mr. Usher,
23 which has "Vitez." It says in the last sentence:
24 "The main incidents are listed below:
25 "A. At 0645 hours, an [unidentified] U/I
1 field gun started to fire from the area of the hill
2 feature centred on [grid reference] GR YJ 196945."
3 Now, General, this particular field gun,
4 according to the map to your left, has the grid
5 reference of Mosunj, and it indicates that the British
6 Battalion reports that your weapons were firing at
7 06.45 in the morning, and by "firing," I'm talking
8 about your artillery. Now, that, General, is some
9 three hours prior to you admitting that your HVO
10 weaponry had begun to fire.
11 A. I did not look at all the requests, but the
12 first time I got a request for firing was at 8.55. I
13 do not believe that my artillery could have opened fire
14 without a request from the commander of the Vitez
15 Brigade, and the commander informed me that he was
16 ready to fire at 9.25.
17 Q. Now, General --
18 A. And that is my answer to this question.
19 Q. Well, General, you are the one who told us on
20 direct examination that you had exclusive control as to
21 when that artillery battery fired; didn't you say that?
22 A. That's right, I said control over the
23 artillery that was under my command. I had a commander
24 of the artillery -- the commander of the artillery was
25 on the line, and at 9.25, he informed me on the 16th of
1 April, 1993 that he was ready to fire. The artillery
2 was aimed at the front line against the Serbs in the
3 early morning hours of the 16th.
4 Q. Are you saying, General, that this particular
5 individual fired without your authorisation at 06.45?
6 A. No. I'm saying that at that time, I did not
7 receive any request to open fire, and the artillery
8 that is under my command did not receive orders to open
9 any kind of fire before 09.25.
10 Q. So given that you told us on page 18519 that
11 "... nobody could issue," and this is at line 18,
12 "... nobody could issue orders for artillery fire
13 except myself," this person, according to your
14 testimony, fired on positions without your
15 authorisation; is that right?
16 A. No. I already said that fire could not have
17 been opened before 9.25 when the commander informed me
18 that he was ready to open fire. Whether the artillery
19 of the Operative Zone was specifically at that position
20 or not, that, I'm not sure of because there were
21 changes in firing positions.
22 I have to explain here that the artillery
23 pieces were aimed at the front line against the Serbs,
24 that is to say, towards the Travnik front line, and a
25 certain time had to pass before the artillery would
1 turn in another direction and be relocated, et cetera.
2 Q. You say it's directed towards the Serbs. Let
3 us go down to the next insertion at 07.30. It's the
4 same page, Mr. Usher.
5 "B. There were a number of houses reported
6 to be on fire in the predominantly Muslim village of
7 Preocica, grid reference 2597. This was believed to be
8 as a result of the serial A," i.e., the firing that was
9 taking place as of 06.45 from Mosunj.
10 So your artillery batteries, General,
11 according to this military information summary are
12 firing on Muslim villages in the early morning hours of
13 the 16th of April, 1993 at the same time when Ahmici is
14 being ransacked, burnt, and the citizens being
15 murdered. Did you realise that that's happening at the
16 same time?
17 A. In that information that you're reading out
18 to me, it is not mentioned which artillery is in
19 question, at least from what I heard. I said which
20 artillery was under my command, and my answer is still
21 that I could not issue an order to fire in that
22 direction when the artillery was not ready before
23 9.15 -- sorry, 9.25. Twenty-five minutes past nine.
24 Q. Let's move down to (G) where we also focus on
25 your artillery batteries, and we're talking about the
1 same grid reference in Mosunj. In (G) it reflects a
2 multi-barrelled rocket launcher, MBRL, fired two
3 salvo's, one, of 12 rounds, the other, of 8 rounds, ten
4 minutes later from the area of grid reference 196945.
5 Now, that is your area. That is Mosunj,
6 where you had artillery pieces; isn't that right?
7 A. Well, you are saying to me now that there was
8 a MBRL, and you're talking about a gun within the span
9 of two hours. It is illiterate, from a military point
10 of view, to put in position these two different
11 pieces. It was either a gun or a multiple barrelled
12 rocket launcher. It was either/or, but not the both.
13 Not both kinds of artillery pieces. So it is said
14 that --
15 JUDGE JORDA: Why?
16 A. Your Honour, never according to the rules and
17 according to the regulations governing --
18 JUDGE JORDA: What rules?
19 A. The rules of the JNA on the combat use of
20 artillery. Never are two of the same artillery pieces
21 put on one in the same position because for practical
22 reasons. If one discovered and destroyed, then the
23 other one is deployed too. And the distance is over
24 one kilometre, that is to say, one artillery piece from
25 another artillery piece.
1 Second, I would have to ask the following:
2 Which MBRL, a 122-millimetre, multiple-barrelled rocket
3 launcher I returned on the 8th of April, 1993? A
4 multiple-barreled rocket launcher, 122 millimetres, the
5 one that was under my command. And for a
6 multiple-barreled rocket launcher that was 128
7 millimetres, we never had the missiles for that because
8 the factory for the production of these projectiles was
9 under the control of the army of Republika Srpska and
10 not a single rocket could have been fired from it.
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: But, General, didn't we
12 all see movie pictures of the Second World War with
13 artillery pieces massed closing by each other and
14 firing at the same time or am I mistaken?
15 A. Your Honour, time did not allow me to explain
16 about the artillery. We are equating different things
17 here. The other day when we talked about Merdani, when
18 the Prosecutor asked me about the artillery, everything
19 is the artillery for us over here, you see, whereas
20 artillerymen have a clear distinction between what the
21 artillery is, the one that I command, and what is the
22 artillery that each and every soldier has.
23 There are multiple-barreled rocket launchers
24 of 60 millimetres. That is what one soldier can carry
25 and lose. Then there are rocket launchers of 82
1 millimetres, mortars that belong to infantry units, and
2 I commanded an artillery that had larger calibres, and
3 special vehicles are needed in order to move that, to
4 relocate it.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You say that that was
6 the position prescribed by JNA military regulations?
7 A. Yes. I still adhere to that, my claim that
8 in this case, in the case of Mali Mosunj, it is
9 illogical, from a military point of view, to have two
10 artillery pieces, a howitzer and a multiple-barreled
11 rocket launcher. We never positioned it that way.
12 Q. Well, General, who commanded your other field
14 A. You mean my artillery pieces?
15 Q. That's right.
16 A. Part of the artillery pieces, very few, were
17 held by HVO brigades. One or two mortars of 120
18 millimetres, and these artillery pieces were commanded
19 by HVO Brigade commanders. Then part of the artillery
20 pieces were held by commanders of battalions. That's
21 an 82-millimetre mortar or 60-millimetre mortar.
22 According to artillery theory, this belongs to infantry
23 weapons. So it was commanders of battalions who were
24 in charge, and sometimes commanders of companies could
25 control 60-millimetre mortars, now that we are talking
1 about mortars and artillery.
2 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President.
3 Q. Now, General, according to your logic, you
4 noted that it would be illogical under JNA practice to
5 put two artillery pieces next to one another. Using
6 your own logic, it would also be illogical for an HVO
7 brigade commander to put an artillery piece next to the
8 Operative Zone's artillery piece in Mosunj; is that
10 A. First of all, that is not my logic. Again,
11 I'm invoking the rules, that is to say, I'm only
12 conveying what I knew and what I learned. I'm invoking
13 the rules of the former Yugoslav People's Army. It is
14 illogical to have at one firing position two firing
15 artillery pieces, one next to another.
16 What you are saying is also illogical too, by
17 all means, that is to say, to have artillery pieces
18 right next to one another, regardless of whose they
19 are, whether this is the position of the Operative Zone
20 or the commander of the brigade. It is even more
21 illogical to put, at the same position, two different
22 artillery pieces.
23 That is not my interpretation. I am invoking
24 the rules on the combat use of artillery.
25 Q. General, did you move your artillery pieces
1 around, given the fact that they had wheels and they
2 could be towed?
3 A. I'm just waiting for the interpretation. I
4 don't know what period you're referring to, but, of
5 course, we moved artillery pieces. According to the
6 rules on the use of artillery -- well, if you're asking
7 me, it depends on the type. This is anti-armour
8 weapons, for example, recoilless guns, but this is an
9 82-millimetre calibre. It moves after each projectile
10 is fired.
11 As soon as the artillery feels that their
12 position has been discovered, then they move to a
13 reserve position if this is one. As for special
14 vehicles for towing are concerned, we didn't really
15 have any. So it really required a lot of time for them
16 to be moved from one place to another. These
17 relocations are carried out by the commanders of
18 artillery units.
19 Q. Staying with this military information
20 summary at the insertion of 08.15, it notes as
21 follows: "Callsign reported heavy fighting in the area
22 of the village of Rijeka, grid reference 2491,
23 predominantly Croat, with many houses burning in the
24 adjacent village of Vranjska, grid reference 2490
25 (predominantly Muslim)."
1 Vranjska, General, is the village that you
2 ordered the Viteska Brigade to block in Exhibit 269;
3 wasn't it?
4 A. Could you please give me this exhibit,
5 because I don't have it here? Could I also have a look
6 at my chronology to see whether these events took
7 place, 18.15?
8 Q. It's 08.15.
9 A. 08.15 or 18.15.
10 Q. Zero eight one five. General, in 269 you
11 ordered the Viteska Brigade to block an expected attack
12 from Vranjska, and that order was at 05.30. Then by
13 0.15 on that same morning that village was burning.
14 Another Muslim village was burning, Vranjska.
15 A. Well, I was talking about Vranjska, and I'm
16 talking about the chronology now, without my
17 chronology, because I did not manage to recall this. I
18 ordered the blockade of exits and the protection of the
19 Croatian village from attacks from Vranjska.
20 Yes, Vranjska was on fire because Baresine
21 Kuce -- Croat houses in Vranjska were on fire and other
22 houses that were populated by Croats in Vranjska, that
23 is to say, that Croats lived in Vranjska.
24 Truth to tell, the majority population was
25 Bosniak Muslim, but it is the Croats in the village of
1 Vranjska that were attacked on that day, and the
2 blockade was carried out -- this position is called
3 Crveno Brdce, between the village of Rijeka and the
4 village of Vranjska, but I would like to look at my
5 chronology at 08.15.
6 Q. General, you can look at that on the break,
7 because I want to move to the next question.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Move to the next question,
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. General, let me read you something because
12 we're going to move back to Ahmici.
13 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you have the
14 right to consult your notes. You will be able to do
15 that in a little while.
16 A. Mr. President, I found the answer. What I
17 was saying, in the area of Vranjska, the Croats were
18 expelled on that day, the 16th April, from Zepackica
19 Kuce, Baresine Kuce, and the BH army took in Vranjska
20 point 502. You can see that on the map.
21 Q. General, let us turn back to Ahmici while
22 Vranjska is burning and artillery fire is taking
23 place. Let me read to you a portion of testimony of
24 Witness G, on page 3855, who was one of the Bosnian
25 Muslim women expelled from Ahmici. On line 6:
1 "Q You said the five men that surround
2 your houses were dressed in uniforms.
3 Did you see any identifying marks or
4 patches on those men?
5 A Yes. I saw that clearly as they were
6 pushing us into the room, because they
7 too entered the room. The insignia were
8 the Jokers, the Vitezovi, and the HVO.
9 That is what they had on their
11 Turning over the page to 3856, on line 1:
12 "A I know they all had different
13 patches. They were either HVO,
14 Vitezovi, or Jokers, because it was very
15 clear on their jackets.
16 Q Did it appear to you, Witness G, that
17 these five men with different arm
18 patches were working together?
19 A Yes, because the three of them were from
20 the lower side of the house and the two
21 of them from the upper. Then they got
22 together and they together pushed us
23 into the room, and all five of them
24 entered the room, and one of them was
25 ordering me to go and get the neighbours
1 and ask him whether there were any men
2 among them, and the other one pulled
3 out from his jacket, from a pocket, a
4 walkie-talkie and he said everything was
5 going according to plan."
6 So in the morning of the 16th of April,
7 General, there were units from the Jokeri, the
8 Vitezovi, and regular HVO units during that attack,
9 weren't there?
10 A. I already described the events of the morning
11 hours, and I could have reacted only on the basis of
12 information that I received. I requested information
13 and I received information that morning, very many
14 calls, and there was general panic and general chaos.
15 The hotel had been hit.
16 I said that I received the first information
17 about the events in Ahmici at 11.42, and before that I
18 received information from the commanders who were
19 sending me this information.
20 Q. General, excuse me. That was not the
21 question. The question was: On the morning of the
22 16th, in addition to the Jokeri, there were individuals
23 from the Vitezovi and regular HVO units that were
24 participating in the attack on Ahmici; isn't that
1 MR. HAYMAN: Your Honour, we object. My
2 client was describing the information he has received.
3 He has interrupted no fewer than 30 or 40 times today.
4 I think he has been interrupted 30 or 40 times today.
5 It's an outrage. I have not seen any witness in this
6 case treated in this way. We object to it.
7 MR. KEHOE: Well, if the witness would answer
8 questions, Mr. President, there would be no
9 interruptions, but the witness sees fit to answer the
10 question he wants to answer and neither the questions
11 offered by the Prosecutor nor the questions offered by
12 the Court. So while that goes on, we will continue to
13 interrupt the witness so the witness stays on track,
14 given the fact that it is our time.
15 MR. HAYMAN: The record is what it is,
16 Mr. President, but let it be clear that no witness has
17 been abused and interrupted in the way that my client
18 has today in this trial.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I have to acknowledge,
20 Mr. Hayman, that it's frequently very difficult for
21 this witness whom, as I can remind you, is not acting
22 as an accused in this courtroom, let me remind you of
23 this for the third, fourth, and fifth time. It is true
24 that what is happening is a bit exceptional, although I
25 would remind you that there was a witness who sometimes
1 answered in the same way. I think it was
2 General Marin. I would take the liberty of reminding
3 you of that. Sometimes we were obliged to intervene in
4 order to have him answer as directly as possible the
5 questions that were asked, but I would also point out
6 to you, Mr. Hayman, that we always are careful, because
7 we do not forget that this witness is an accused, and
8 we are always careful to be sure that we maintain a
9 balance between the position as a witness and the
10 position as an accused. That is not my legal system,
11 as you know. Nonetheless, it is true that for the time
12 being, General Blaskic is a witness and has the
13 obligation of all witnesses. You know this very well.
14 Let me remind you that he is under oath.
15 In the second place, he must try to answer as
16 concisely as possible and especially since this is
17 Prosecution time.
18 I am trying, if the accused feels too
19 pressured by the Prosecutor, to ensure that his rights
20 are always respected, but it is true that for each
21 question the witness goes into a great deal of
22 commentary. We don't know if he is making this
23 commentary as an accused or as a witness.
24 But I am also forced to maintain the most
25 equitable balance possible between the rights of the
1 Prosecution and the Defence. For the time being,
2 there's the Defence on one side and the Prosecution on
3 the other. But General Blaskic is a witness under
4 oath, and I'm also counting the contradictions when
5 there are any, and let me remind you that a witness has
6 obligations. That's where things stand.
7 Rest assured, Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman, you
8 do not need to tell us. If your witness were really in
9 danger, we would be the very first, my colleagues and
10 myself, to be sure that his rights are not sacrificed.
11 But it is true that if for each question we have to go
12 back to the chronology which was explained over a
13 period of several weeks, minute by minute, that was
14 your choice, minute by minute, therefore, he remembers
15 events, nonetheless, one cannot go back to the entire
16 chronology in order to allow General Blaskic to
17 answer. He has to make a choice. He cannot both have
18 a fabulous memory when he was answering your questions
19 and suddenly need to rely completely on his chronology
20 for any question asked. You have to make a choice.
21 He is a witness here, and it is true that
22 very frequently when questions are asked, he takes a
23 great deal of space, a great deal of time. That, of
24 course, is his right, and I can't interrupt him. But
25 the Judges have an initial mission, that is, to defend
1 neither the Prosecution nor the Defence but to arrive
2 at the truth in this case. That's what we're going to
4 That's what I wanted to say to you, Mr.
5 Hayman. Rest assured that we're being careful as
7 MR. HAYMAN: We accept your comments, Mr.
8 President, in the spirit they're offered, but we ask
9 you to understand please that a man who has spent three
10 years in prison waiting to give his testimony to this
11 Court, he wants to be as precise as possible. He
12 consulted his notes frequently on direct examination,
13 and he wants to be precise --
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, that is true.
15 Mr. Hayman, I appreciate your comments, but let me
16 remind you that on a few occasions during the two years
17 that this trial has been taking, almost two years, I
18 have said to you that this is not the time for General
19 Blaskic to express himself as a witness. You
20 remembered that and you said, "We didn't choose that
21 moment to have him testify." Perhaps it would have
22 been easier at times.
23 For example, do you remember that weekend
24 when he was isolated in the Kiseljak enclave and where
25 everyone was speaking about that schedule for the
1 weekend when he had gone on Friday with someone, and we
2 didn't know if he had come back on Monday morning or
3 Sunday night, and that General Blaskic was there. I
4 turned to you, Mr. Hayman and Mr. Nobilo, and said to
5 you, "Don't you think that we could ask him," and you
6 said, "No. No, we can't. We will make the choice when
7 the time comes." That was your right, and it was
8 honoured. That is your right.
9 It is true that for him, perhaps things are
10 more complicated. We are taking this into account. I
11 know that detention for three years certainly does
12 force the accused, who is now a witness, to make an
13 effort. But the effort must not be done at the expense
14 of the Prosecution's rights to present, in its time,
15 its case, and the Prosecutor knows that I will not give
16 him one extra minute. Therefore, I put myself in their
17 place. They have to have questions answered
19 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Let us start, General, with an exhibit and go
22 to Defence 245.
23 General, this is a document, a Defence
24 Exhibit, from the 14th of April, 1993, and it reflects
25 the list of personnel, their number, from the 1st
1 Battalion positioned in the villages. We're going to
2 focus on the First Company with its commander, Slavko
3 Papic. In and around Ahmici, positioned in the
4 villages were 20 soldiers in Nadioci, 12 soldiers in
5 Santici, 19 soldiers in Dubravica, and 13 soldiers in
6 Poculica. Now, these are Viteska Brigade soldiers,
7 General, directly under your command that are
8 positioned in these villages with their commander,
9 Slavko Papic; isn't that right?
10 A. That is right. But these are people,
11 military conscripts, and it says, "A list of
12 personnel," that is to say, people, and that is
13 important to understand, that these are military
14 recruits who sleep in their villages. When they
15 receive orders for mobilisation and once they become
16 mobilised, then they become soldiers. So we did not
17 have a static army. They are villagers working in
18 their fields, and once they received the order to
19 become mobilised, they become soldiers. So this is a
20 list of personnel from the 1st Battalion, and I repeat,
21 "personnel," that is, people.
22 Q. Now, these people, as you noted, in these
23 units are different from the Jokeri and different from
24 the Vitezovi, aren't they?
25 A. Of course. The Vitezovi were a special
1 purpose unit and the Jokers were a unit of the military
2 police. These, however, were civilians waiting for
3 their call-up or orders to mobilise and become
4 soldiers. So what they do is they live in their homes,
5 they sleep in their homes with their families, and go
6 about their daily business, tending to their fields or
7 whatever for livelihood.
8 Q. Let us turn to two other documents, General.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just for the
10 record, these are two documents that were seized during
11 a search in Vitez that took place within the last
12 year. Counsel for the Defence has been informed of
13 that to allow him to make any appropriate objections.
14 In any event, we just wanted that cleared for the
15 record, that concerning these next two exhibits coming
16 up, these are seized documents.
17 JUDGE JORDA: I give the floor to the Defence
18 as soon as it has been given the two documents.
19 MR. HAYMAN: What I suggest, Mr. President,
20 is that we look at them, and if we have any objections,
21 we'll make them. Those potential objections are along
22 the lines of we haven't seen a warrant, we don't know
23 what legal process was by which they were seized and
24 whether that process was adequate.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Hayman. They
1 have to be given to the Defence immediately.
2 Mr. Registrar, do you have them? First to
3 the Defence and then to the Judges.
4 THE REGISTRAR: I have a question for
5 Mr. Kehoe. The second document has a version in
6 Serbo-Croat, a translation into English, and a third
7 page. Is the third page part of the English document?
8 MR. KEHOE: No. I think that's internal.
9 I'm sorry. What is that document? Can I see it?
10 THE REGISTRAR: This is 691 and 691A for the
11 English version, 692 and 692A for the English version,
12 and these are Prosecution Exhibits.
13 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, using the date on
14 the top, either the 27th of June, 1994 or the 29th of
15 June, could we have the respective numbers?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Which one is 691,
17 Mr. Registrar? Is that the one of the 9th of June?
18 MR. KEHOE: The 29th of June is 691,
19 Mr. President, and the 27th of June is 692.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. That's what the registrar
21 was saying to me. All right.
22 Let me turn to the Defence and ask whether
23 there are any specific objections. These are two death
24 certificates, if I'm not mistaken.
25 MR. KEHOE: They are the wounding
1 certificates, Mr. President.
2 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, we'll ask the
3 Prosecutor if they are willing to show us the affidavit
4 and warrant, and then we will go from there. If we
5 have an objection, we will lodge it with the Court.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
8 MR. KEHOE: These two documents are wounding
9 certificates, Mr. President, for two members of the
10 Viteska Brigade which reflect that they are wounded on
11 the 16th of April, 1993 in Pirici and in Ahmici in
12 fighting with the Muslims.
13 Q. General, my question to you is, in addition
14 to the Jokeri and the Vitezovi, you had units of the
15 Viteska Brigade in the Ahmici area on the 16th of
16 April, 1993, didn't you?
17 A. I believe that there were people, military
18 recruits, living in the area of Ahmici. On the 16th of
19 April, they were there. But the Vitez Brigade received
20 precise orders from me as to how to behave and how to
21 behave under given circumstances. I know that in
22 Pirici it was Miskovic that was taken, and the whole
23 family was taken prisoner.
24 Q. Well, General, with your knowledge that there
25 were members of the Viteska Brigade in and around
1 Ahmici, did you ever call the commander or any member
2 of that brigade into your office to ask them what
3 happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April, 1993?
4 A. I said, first of all, the conditions under
5 which the soldiers of the Vitez Brigade were in Ahmici,
6 that is to say, they were civilians living in their own
7 homes who had not received call-up for general
8 mobilisation, that is, they had not received calls to
9 become soldiers of the Vitez Brigade, and I also said
10 everything that I undertook for an investigation into
11 Ahmici, and I did not --
12 Q. My question was very simple --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Let's try to focus on the
14 question. The certificates were -- at some point, the
15 Vitez Brigade or the HVO, that's 691, apparently he was
16 wounded in combat, this member of the HVO. Please
17 answer the question. Perhaps you don't know. I don't
18 know myself. In any case, the certificate says that
19 there was at least one person that was wounded who was
20 a member of the HVO in the Vitez Brigade.
21 MR. KEHOE: There's two, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Two. Excuse me. Two.
23 MR. NOBILO: But the second was wounded in
24 Pirici, and from the document, we can see that they
25 live in Santici, which is the neighbouring village,
1 that is to say, they were wounded in front of their own
3 MR. KEHOE: Well, Mr. President, if you live
4 in Santici, Pirici is probably 500 metres away from
5 both Santici and Ahmici.
6 Q. The question still stands, General. Knowing
7 that there were Vitez Brigade soldiers stationed in
8 these villages and that they had a commander, Slavko
9 Papic, did you call any of these people in to ask them
10 what happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April? "Yes" or
12 A. You said that I knew. I had information from
13 the Vitez Brigade how many were wounded, and at that
14 time, I did not have this information and this
15 document. I'm looking at this document for the first
16 time here today. But I do know that the Croats were
17 living in neighbouring villages or the villages of
18 Ahmici and Pirici and Santici. I did not receive --
19 Q. General, please, my question is very simple.
20 Did you call anybody in from the Vitez Brigade, Slavko
21 Papic or anybody else in the Vitez Brigade, to ask them
22 what happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April? "Yes" or
23 "No." If you did, tell us who you called in to speak
25 A. I did not call Slavko Papic. I don't know
1 offhand the commanders of the companies. May I say,
2 Your Honours, that a brigade has over ten commanders,
3 company commanders. I was not the commander of the
4 Vitez Brigade, which was to have been formed at the
5 time, I was commander of the Operative Zone, and in
6 that position, I had my six or seven associates, and I
7 had brigade commanders. I did not have information of
8 this kind. All the information that I received I have
9 handed in to the Court. So I can only work on the
10 basis of the information that I myself received. I did
11 not order the mobilisation of the Vitez Brigade.
12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you, General.
13 Question, please?
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Now, in addition to the Vitez Brigade who
16 were under your command, you also had home guard units
17 in the villages throughout Central Bosnia, including
18 around Ahmici, didn't you?
19 A. I don't know which home guard units you
20 mean. The Vitez Brigade is an entire home guards
21 brigade. It's not a professional brigade. They are
22 all home guards. It is a brigade of the "R"
23 composition, as we referred to it, and those were the
24 Domobrani, the home guards. So I don't know what you
25 actually mean.
1 Q. Let's take a look at a number of documents,
3 JUDGE JORDA: I suggest that we work until a
4 quarter to six; therefore, we will take a ten-minute
6 --- Recess taken at 4.59 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 5:11 p.m.
8 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
9 take your seats. Mr. Prosecutor?
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes. If we could turn to these
11 two documents on the home guards.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 693 and
13 693A for the English version, and 694 and 694A for the
14 English version.
15 JUDGE JORDA: What is this about? These
16 orders of March 1993, we're going backwards now.
17 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. In addition
18 to the members of the Viteska Brigade, the Colonel had
19 home guard units there as well. As we can see here,
20 this is the home guard unit establishment, as we can
21 see in 693 that the -- in number 2: "The command and
22 leadership of the home guard units shall be exercised
23 by the provisional command of the home guard units in
24 the municipalities. These units and commands shall be
25 under the command of the commander of the Central
1 Bosnia Operative Zone," which is the accused.
2 In 694, we have further instructions to the
3 home guards about setting up round-the-clock duty and
4 providing reports to the Central Bosnian Operative
6 Q. So, General, within the Central Bosnia
7 Operative Zone, in addition to the brigade structure,
8 you had a home guard structure that was under your
9 command as well; isn't that right?
10 A. No, that's not right. This order, let me
11 just see the number it bears, 693, is an attempt to
12 establish the home guard units or formations because
13 for a time, the tendency was such from the HVO
14 headquarters to set up home guard units of this kind.
15 However, this was never undertaken, and this project
16 was not completed because of an all-out attack that was
17 to follow. Later on, all the wartime brigades were,
18 for the most part, mobilised from all the available
19 conscripts. We did try, beforehand, to set up home
20 guard formations of the more mature individuals, but we
21 did not complete this task.
22 In point 1 of document 693, when it says:
23 "Begin the organisation of the home guard formations
24 units," that is to say, something that should be
25 created in the future, organised and formed in the
2 Document 694, Prosecution Exhibit 694, in
3 point 2 it also states, on the 13th of March, I am
4 seeking for a report on the organisation of the home
5 guard units but, in fact, the situation in the field
6 was such that the formation for people to make these
7 home guard units did not exist, and we were not able to
8 form the home guard units, but these brigades which I
9 said were termed R, like the Vitez Brigade and all the
10 others, later on became the home guard regiments.
11 One Guards Brigade was formed for the whole
12 Operative Zone, but that was in January 1994, much
13 later, and in March and April 1994.
14 Q. So, General, the bottom line is -- your
15 testimony is that the home guards were never organised;
16 is that right?
17 A. I maintain that we tried to form the home
18 guard units but that we never succeeded completely
19 following these documents, in this kind of way. So all
20 the R-type brigades were, later on, home guards, and
21 the 3rd Guards Brigade, which was a professional
22 brigade, was set up later on.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues would like to
24 make a comment.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, you spoke about
1 the Domobrani which had something to do with that --
2 did they have something to do with that order, the
4 A. Your Honour, I don't know in relation to
5 which order. I have two orders here.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I have the document in
7 English, and my question is to know whether the
8 Domobrani have something to do with these orders that
9 deal with the home guards. That's 693 and 694. The
10 subject is home guards.
11 A. Your Honour, this project, that is to say,
12 according to documents 693 and 694, had it been
13 implemented fully -- that is to say, the home guards
14 would never fully form. So this document, in actual
15 fact, was not implemented in the field because we had
16 to engage in fighting.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: What were the Domobrani?
18 A. Domobrani is the term given to the soldiers
19 of the Croatian people from Bosnia-Herzegovina and
20 soldiers of the Croatian people. So the Domobrani did
21 exist. We called them Domobrani, that is, home
22 guards. That is the term. They were people who slept
23 in their own home, in their own houses, and only from
24 time to time when they were called up for certain
25 assignments would they become military men. So they
1 were not professional soldiers.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But I think that the
3 Domobrani were given guard functions and, as far as I
4 know, the Domobrani, I believe, were inspired after
5 some solution that was arrived at after the Second
6 World War.
7 A. Your Honour, I am not a good historian, but I
8 know that the term "Domobran" is the accepted term for
9 a Croatian soldier, a soldier from the ranks of the
10 Croatian people, a non-professional soldier. The term
11 dates back to 1868 or '69, the actual term "Domobran"
12 from the times of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The
13 Domobrani existed as a stationary, non-mobilised army
14 in Croatia.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: As far as you know, there
16 were no Domobrani in your command zone, is that what
17 you are telling us?
18 A. No, Your Honour. According to my knowledge,
19 in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, there were
20 different forms of organisation, so that for a time
21 there were the Domobrani regiments or home guard
22 regiments. On the other side, there was the
23 professional Guards Brigade. But in this kind of
24 situation, in 1993, we're talking about March '93, we
25 intended to form the home guards but we did not succeed
1 in doing so. The actual state of affairs in the field
2 was that the soldiers of the Vitez Brigade were all the
3 Domobrani or the home guards.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: In order to conclude,
5 General, the Domobrani, if they existed, they were part
6 of this order then; is that correct? That the
7 Domobrani were covered by this order?
8 A. They would have been covered by this order
9 because this order relates to the formation of the home
10 guards but --
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
12 JUDGE JORDA: I have a question. If these
13 Domobrani were not constituted, what was the point of
14 issuing an order at 15.30 hours and then another one at
16 A. Mr. President, document 693, point number 1
17 says: "Start the establishment formation of the home
18 guards formations units," that is to say, they were
19 just supposed to be set up. That is what point 1
21 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, I understand, but you
22 realise that for someone who reads this from the
23 outside, it's a bit difficult to understand. When an
24 order is given at 15.30 to home guard commanders, the
25 home guard units, one could assume that they existed.
1 All the more so since the first four lines of the order
2 says, "Pursuant to Article 10 of the decree," et
3 cetera. They didn't just fall out of the sky.
4 If you say that the order says, "Begin the
5 organisation," that is, point 1 -- I don't know how I
6 translate this into Serbo-Croat, but to begin the
7 organisation, in any case. It's the order that was
8 issued at 15:30. But if they didn't exist, then I
9 don't know what the commander was doing there, your
10 deputy. When it's 16.30 he gave another order saying
11 that they should immediately set up around-the-clock
12 duties and guard services. He didn't really go crazy
13 if they didn't exist. You said you weren't able to set
14 them up. So that when you issue an order to the HVO
15 units, how can one make a distinction here? I don't
16 know how to make a distinction here. 15.30 and then
17 16.30. I don't understand.
18 A. In document 694, Mr. President, again in
19 paragraph 2 it says that a report should be submitted
20 on the question regarding the establishment of the home
21 guards. I'm saying that these were the first steps,
22 when the home guards were supposed to be set up, but
23 the military formations of the home guards did not
24 exist at that time. I'm talking about military units
25 of the home guard.
1 If a unit exists, there has to be a book of
2 this unit, a logbook, and there has to be a number and
3 it has to be registered with the Ministry of Defence.
4 JUDGE JORDA: You would also have to have
6 A. Commanders can exist even before the unit is
7 established, because someone has to establish that
8 unit. For example, in the Vitez Brigade, first we
9 appoint the commander and then we establish the
10 brigade. Unfortunately, we were making the house from
11 the roof.
12 JUDGE JORDA: All of these commanders existed
13 then, since you're issuing an order to them, Travnik,
14 Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Kakanj. In both orders
15 it says that the commanders existed. When did you
16 appoint them?
17 A. It is possible that some commanders did
18 exist. I was saying that this was a project that was
19 in its inception, because in paragraph number 2, I'm
20 asking about a report on the establishment of the home
21 guards but we did not manage to establish home guard
22 units in this period of time. This was a stage that
23 was just about to begin.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Judge Rodrigues?
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, did you
1 receive the report that's mentioned under point 2 of
2 document 694?
3 A. I do not recall the details, Your Honour.
4 Possibly I did receive such a report, possibly, I say,
5 but I do not recall the details.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. General, who was the commander of the home
9 guards in Santici?
10 A. Well, see, you're asking me about the
11 commander of the home guards in Santici and I don't
12 know. I was commander of the Operative Zone. I know
13 all the commanders of brigades. I know the members of
14 my command too, but commanders of the home guards in
15 Santici? I don't even know if they existed in Santici
16 or not. I did not have any information that there was
17 a military unit of home guards in Santici.
18 At that time, all were home guards. In fact,
19 the entire Vitez Brigade are home guards. These are
20 people who live at their own homes. Only when they
21 receive call-up papers for mobilisation they become
22 soldiers for one day up to a maximum number of seven
23 days. The rest of the time they are mere civilians.
24 Q. General, you said you didn't know if there
25 was a commander of the home guard units in Santici.
1 While you were investigating what was going on with
2 Ahmici, did you ask?
3 A. Well, I'm not a person who is capable of
4 investigating the events of Ahmici. I ordered and
5 insisted that my assistant for security and the
6 security service, which is in charge and capable of
7 investigating a crime, these were not events, this was
8 a war crime. What happened in Ahmici was a car crime.
9 I personally did not go out and investigate these
10 events because I wasn't trained or educated for that
11 kind of activity.
12 Q. General, did you ask if there was a commander
13 of the home guards there and if there was, did you ask
14 that man to come into your office so you could talk to
15 him about what happened in Ahmici and what he
16 observed? Did you do that?
17 A. I'm going to give you the following answer to
18 this question: I did not do that for the following
19 reason, I repeat. I am commander of the Operative
20 Zone, and I'm supposed to keep records only two levels
21 below my own and that is the way it is in any army in
22 the world. I'm not commander of a village. I,
23 personally, was not capable of, professionally
24 speaking, ever carrying out this investigation. This
25 was done by the security service. How and by which
1 methods, they were the ones who were capable of doing
2 that and they were in charge of investigations.
3 To the best of my knowledge, at that time,
4 there weren't any commanders of home guards in those
6 Q. General, let us shift to a different subject,
7 and that has to do with your analysis of the crimes in
8 Ahmici. You have noted that according to your
9 position, the military police were not attached to you
10 until 11.42 on the 16th. You also noted that you
11 believe that most of the crimes -- counsel?
12 MR. NOBILO: I'm sorry. I apologise to my
13 colleague. Mr. President, I suggest that we move into
14 private session for the reasons that we mentioned at
15 the beginning of cross-examination.
16 MR. KEHOE: I don't see any reason to go into
17 private session. What I'm going to talk about is a
18 series --
19 JUDGE JORDA: The entire -- we can't keep
20 having closed sessions. We spent a great deal of time
21 in closed session with the military police. Ahmici was
22 one of the most serious crimes in the indictment. If
23 that has to be completely heard in closed session, I
24 have to consult with my colleagues. We have to be
1 You said that when you asked the previous
2 question, that we would go into private session or
3 closed session on a case-by-case basis. That's what we
4 say. We can't suddenly take a piece of the case file
5 and hear it in private session or closed session. The
6 Prosecutor has not even opened his mouth to say
7 anything about Ahmici and already you're asking for the
8 session to be closed.
9 If names are going to be stated and said,
10 then the Prosecutor would be the first to ask that the
11 session be closed. These should be public sessions.
12 We've already taken the decision. It should be done on
13 a case-by-case basis. If there are circumstances that
14 warrant it, at that point we would go into closed
16 Continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
17 MR. KEHOE:
18 Q. Now, General, you noted that the attachment
19 of the military police did not take place, according to
20 your testimony, until 11.42.
21 Now, many of the crimes that we have heard
22 about took place throughout that day, and you have
23 stated, General, that the witnesses that describe those
24 crimes you believed; didn't you?
25 MR. HAYMAN: That's four questions already,
1 Mr. President. To make good speed here, we need one
2 question at a time. Counsel has stated four
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's true. Yes, that's
5 true. Too many questions, Mr. Kehoe, too many
6 questions at the same time, that is.
7 MR. KEHOE: I'm trying to get through this as
8 quickly as possible, Mr. President.
9 Q. General, the attachment that you noted --
10 JUDGE JORDA: But not to the disadvantage of
11 the witness who has to understand each of the
13 MR. KEHOE: I understand.
14 Q. The attachment for the military police,
15 according to your testimony, took place at 11.42; is
16 that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you believe the witnesses that testified
19 before this Court concerning the crimes that took place
20 in Ahmici?
21 MR. HAYMAN: That is compound, to say the
23 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I also thought that up to
24 this point, the problem was not so much a question of
25 contesting what happened in Ahmici. It seems to me
1 that your client -- well, I say that he is a witness.
2 He has to answer for himself. But I can say that I
3 thought up to this point, that is, as regards the
4 crimes that were committed in Ahmici, the problem was
5 to ascertain whether they were committed with his
6 knowledge or by the military police. I don't think
7 it's that compounded for the time being.
8 Let's hear the question and then hear what
9 your client, who is a witness now, has to say. I'm
10 sure he can manage on his own, as all witnesses do.
11 Mr. Kehoe, please ask your question.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, did you believe the witnesses who
14 testified here when they described the crimes that took
15 place in Ahmici and in Santici?
16 A. As for the crimes in Ahmici, you read out a
17 statement to me today in which one of the witnesses
18 mentions that there were members of the Vitezovi
19 there. I do not understand this at all. It is very
20 hard for me to believe this kind of thing because the
21 Vitezovi had very precise orders as to where they
22 should be, and even from report 250, we can see that
23 Ahmici is not mentioned at all. I don't believe until
24 the present day that the Vitezovi as a unit were in
1 JUDGE JORDA: That wasn't quite the
2 question. The question was to know whether you
3 believed the witnesses. Now I am asking you -- I want
4 to call you back to order. The witness is here as a
5 witness. That's clear. I return to the Prosecutor,
6 and I would like to not be interrupted.
7 General, I thought that -- you may be seated,
8 Mr. Hayman. I thought that I had understood -- yes,
9 please be seated. I thought that I had understood that
10 the question was whether you had believed the witnesses
11 when they spoke about the atrocities that happened in
13 Mr. Kehoe, please ask your question again.
14 A. I understood your question, Mr. President. I
15 believed Colonel Stewart, that a crime had been
16 committed in Ahmici. I believed what the witnesses had
17 said, that a crime had been committed, but all the
18 details, the way they were presented here, including
19 the participation of, I don't know, the Vitezovi and
20 other units, now we're talking about the circumstances,
21 I cannot believe until the present day that the members
22 of the Vitezovi were there when they did not have such
23 orders, nor in their document D250 do they say at all
24 that they were in Ahmici. Perhaps an individual member
25 or two might have been there.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Your answer is very clear.
2 Thank you.
3 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. General, do you believe that all the crimes
6 in Ahmici, Nadioci, and Santici took place before
8 A. You are talking to me about the crimes in
9 Nadioci and Santici, that they all happened --
10 Q. And Ahmici.
11 A. I did not see the final report of the
12 security service that was carrying out the entire
13 investigation, so I cannot answer with certainty under
14 which circumstances and when the crimes occurred.
15 However, I deeply believe, on the basis of what the
16 witnesses said here, that all the crimes happened
17 within an hour or two, in the early morning hours.
18 Q. General, let's review a little bit, not all,
19 and we'll just take a small survey of some of those
20 witnesses. Adnan Zec talks about "in the afternoon,
21 before dusk perhaps," on the 16th of April, and I'm
22 reading from page 4286, where he says it's "... in the
23 afternoon, before dusk perhaps." Now, by the afternoon
24 before dusk, General, the military police were attached
25 to you, weren't they?
1 A. They were attached to me, and they were
2 submitting information to me that --
3 Q. Thank you, General. You answered the
5 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, just a moment.
6 First of all, I have an objection to the question. The
7 question was, "The afternoon, before dusk," there is no
8 question. There's no intelligible question. Counsel
9 did not say what Mr. Zec said with respect to the
10 afternoon before dusk. It was just, "The afternoon
11 before dusk, General, answer me," and then he
12 interrupted our witness again which we object to.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. General, the question was were they attached
15 to you in the afternoon before dusk? That was the
17 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to consult with my
18 colleagues, please.
19 (Trial Chamber confers)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, rephrase your
21 question and be careful how you speak to the witness.
22 After having spoken with my colleagues, I would like to
23 warn the Defence about confusing roles, a confusion
24 that has been arising more and more frequently. Let me
25 remind you, I've had the occasion to say this several
1 times but today especially, that the accused chose to
2 be a witness. Ordinarily, he is alone before the
3 Judges. We agreed to hear your interventions
4 frequently. I say we agree to hear them if they are
5 made after the questions, if there has been a
6 discussion. But for some time now, the Prosecutor has
7 not finished asking his question before you start to
8 intervene. Let me remind you that you are not in your
9 role here. The witness is choosing to testify, and he
10 is like any other witness. He is under oath. He
11 cannot incriminate himself. Ordinarily -- aside from
12 that, he is in the position of a witness.
13 I cannot agree to have you intervening
14 prematurely, which, of course, helps the witness, and
15 it's a problem for the Judges to ascertain the truth.
16 I ask you very, very strongly, and the Prosecution as
17 well, to be very, very careful, I cannot stop you from
18 speaking, you understand that, because if the rights of
19 the accused are threatened, of course, we would thank
20 you for intervening. But trust the Judges, and the
21 witness must say whether or not he has understood. He
22 has to understand whether there's been a mix-up of
23 questions. He's the one who has to say whether the
24 Prosecutor's questions seem to be false to him.
25 He has chosen to testify, and he testified
1 for four weeks with his chronology and all his
2 documents. It's true that he spent three years in
3 prison, and we are trying to take that into account.
4 However, now he's in front of us as a witness. Let me
5 remind you that, in addition to this, you have your
6 right to redirect. We will never forbid you to speak,
7 but I'm asking you to measure your interventions.
8 Now, Mr. Prosecutor, please rephrase your
9 quote of the witness.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. General, this is Adnan Zec talking about the
12 16th, "In the afternoon, before dusk perhaps," again,
13 this is at page 4286, the bottom of the page:
14 "A In the afternoon, before dusk perhaps,
15 I sort of fell asleep. I do not know if
16 I really fell asleep or whether I simply
17 fainted, I cannot remember that, but I
18 was simply awakened by a lot of noise,
19 the clamour of soldiers who were
20 standing next to me when I opened my
21 eyes, there were 20 or 30 of them
22 altogether. Then at Almir's shed, some
23 of them were trying actually to break
24 down the door of the garage where the
25 car was. They wanted to torch it.
1 Others were protesting, saying that it
2 should not be torched, but he did set it
3 on fire after all and one of them was
4 talking into a radio."
5 Now, General, that burning took place after
6 11.42 on the 16th in Ahmici. Those soldiers were under
7 your command, weren't they?
8 A. The soldiers of the military police were
9 attached to me as of 11.42, but I did not receive any
10 information about any crime having been committed in
11 Ahmici, nor did I order that crime, nor did I receive
12 information about the torching of any shed at the
13 time. I was by the telephone, the only way to
14 communicate at that time. And at that point in time, I
15 could act only on the basis of information that I had
16 received, and such information, I had not received,
17 unfortunately. The tragedy is that I received
18 information about the crime in Ahmici from Colonel
19 Stewart on the 22nd of April, 1993.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
21 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I hate to repeat
22 the question, but the question was a simple one. It
23 was whether or not these soldiers, when they committed
24 this crime, were under the accused's command. That was
25 the question.
1 A. I gave an answer, which unit was attached to
2 me, and that was the 4th Battalion of the military
3 police. If you identify the soldiers in question to
4 me, then I can answer if I knew whether they were from
5 the battalion of the military police.
6 Q. Let us turn to Adnan Zec just talking from
7 the night of the 16th to the 17th of April, 1993, on
8 page 4288:
9 "A I woke up sometime during the night or
10 perhaps it was already morning. I
11 cannot remember what woke me up, the
12 detonation from the mosque or the heat
13 that was coming from there because I
14 woke up."
15 Now, when the mosque was destroyed, either on
16 16 or 17 April, 1993, by HVO soldiers, were those
17 soldiers under your command?
18 A. I said from which point in time the units
19 were attached to me and when they were under my
20 command. I did not receive any information on the
21 destruction of the mosque, nor did I ever issue an
22 order to destroy religious facilities. All my orders
23 say that religious facilities have to be protected, and
24 I started investigations on the damage done to
25 religious facilities.
1 Q. Let us turn to another witness, Abdulah
2 Ahmic. On the 16th, he stayed in the water the whole
3 day, and in the morning, at about 10.00 or 11.00, and
4 I'm referring to page 3750 and 3751:
5 "A ... in that water the whole day, and in
6 the evening about 10.00 or 11.00, I
7 decided to pull out, because I was all
8 wet all day, so I headed in this
9 direction ..."
10 Now we're turning to the morning of the
11 17th. Page 8753:
12 "A So about 8.00, I heard that, and
13 nothing else of significance until about
14 noon. At noon, I noticed a vehicle
15 coming from the direction of Busovaca to
16 point 12, they stopped there, two
17 military policemen came out and they
18 headed in the direction of the village
19 of Ahmici. The vehicle stayed behind.
20 Shortly after that, somewhere around
21 here, I noticed some black smoke, very
22 thick black smoke, and shortly after
23 that, I heard a very powerful explosion,
24 it was probably the minaret of the
25 mosque that was blown up."
1 He notes:
2 "A A little later ... explosions could be
3 heard, rifle shots and several houses
4 were set on fire ..."
5 That was in the upper part of Ahmici. That
6 is at the bottom of page 3753.
7 Now, when those soldiers set those houses on
8 fire on the 17th in and around Ahmici, were they under
9 your command?
10 A. I already said that the soldiers were under
11 my command but that I did not receive such information
12 and that I did not order the burning of any houses,
13 facilities, or the destruction of any facilities. My
14 orders were very precise and according to all norms and
15 military rules, and I made every effort that they be
16 carried out.
17 Q. Well, General, later on that day, Abdulah
18 Ahmic talks about the attempt on his life by HVO
19 soldiers at 3754:
20 "A I was sitting in the room here
21 (indicates) and I saw his face ..."
22 Talking about an HVO soldier.
23 "... he was fair, he had a cap, he had
24 wavy blond hair, he was about 24 years
25 old, 24 or 26. He threw a hand grenade,
1 a black one, it fell about a metre from
2 me. I watched it, I did not even move
3 far away. It went off, all the walls
4 were shattered by the fragments, it
5 exploded right next to me, and the burnt
6 remains of the house blew up into a
7 cloud of smoke. It hit my head a little
8 and my ear went deaf. I still cannot
9 hear too well from that explosion on
10 this area."
11 Line 19:
12 "Then these men who had come from
13 Busovaca started to demolish -- there
14 was a small factory, a small plant here
15 under construction ..."
16 "Q Who did the factory belong to?"
17 On page 3755, he responds:
18 "A Cazim Ahmic, with a Croat from Vitez,
19 had planned to open this factory, it was
20 supposed to be producing washing
21 powders ..."
22 And he describes exactly what it is.
23 Now, that attempted killing and the burning
24 or destruction of that particular facility and that
25 crime, when those soldiers did that, were they under
1 your command?
2 A. At what time?
3 Q. The 17th of April, 1993.
4 A. Which soldiers of the HVO?
5 Q. HVO soldiers, sir?
6 A. HVO soldiers were under my command, but I
7 repeat, I did not receive information about that,
8 information of this kind, and I did not issue orders to
9 have any crime committed.
10 My orders were of a defensive nature. I
11 issued orders to carry out an investigation, and I did
12 my best to have that carried out. I came here so that
13 the truth could be established.
14 MR. KEHOE: This is the final testimony, and
15 this is Witness F, and, Mr. President, I believe this
16 is partially in closed -- in private session, this
17 Witness F testimony. If I could just take this briefly
18 into private session.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, very well. We're going to
20 go until 6.00, let me say that to the interpreters.
21 (Private session)
11 Pages 22009-22017 redacted. Private session
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
9 at 6.10 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Wednesday, the 19th day of May, 1999,
11 at 10.00 a.m.