1 Wednesday, 19th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.
5 Registrar, have the witness brought in,
7 (The accused/witness entered court)
8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to our faithful
9 interpreters who are at their stations. I suppose they
10 can hear me. Good morning to the Prosecution counsel,
11 to Defence counsel, and good morning to the witness.
12 Very well. Good morning, General Blaskic.
13 Let me remind everybody that these are public
14 hearings. I'm saying this for the public gallery.
15 This is the cross-examination of the accused who chose
16 to testify, and therefore he is under oath and,
17 according to the Judges and the Rules, he is considered
18 to be a witness.
19 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
20 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
21 morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. Good morning,
23 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
25 Q. Good morning, General.
1 A. Good morning.
2 Q. General, you told us during your direct
3 examination that after you viewed Ahmici on the 27th of
4 April, that you concluded, and I'm referring to page
5 19031 to 19032:
6 "A ... that Ahmici could not have been
7 done by a group of three to four drunken
8 soldiers. I was sure that the group who
9 committed it was under the control of an
10 elected commander of its own."
11 Now, General, having viewed Ahmici, what type
12 of planning was necessary to complete that task?
13 A. I believe that that action was organised,
14 planned, and following orders, and it is quite certain
15 that the commander of those groups must have prepared
16 and planned an operation of that kind. It is difficult
17 for me because I do not have all the information as to
18 all the circumstances at my disposal, and I can base my
19 testimony only on what I heard here from witnesses,
20 witness testimonies. But quite certainly there was a
21 level of planning for that operation on the part of
22 certain commanders who must have known the area and
23 who, I believe, were informed of the object of the
25 Q. My question was what type of planning, and to
1 focus that even more, General, tell us what is
2 necessary when you plan such an operation? I'm
3 referring to logistical supplies, the amount of
4 manpower, medical care for those who are possibly
5 wounded during any type of operation. What type of
6 planning is necessary for that?
7 A. What you enumerated, logistics resources,
8 manpower, medical care, that is necessary for every
9 operation. Now, the question is not clear enough.
10 When you're asking me what type of planning, there is a
11 tactical level of planning, and I don't know in
12 concrete terms what you have in mind when you ask me
13 about the type of planning. Would you ask me in more
14 concrete terms, please?
15 Q. I will ask you the open-ended question,
16 General, and you can explain to the Judges. To
17 complete that type of operation, what would a commander
18 in your position take into consideration and what would
19 that commander need to successfully complete this type
20 of operation? What would a commander do? Tell us
22 A. I have already said that it is my conclusion,
23 based on the fact that the operation was an armed one
24 and not the result of individual activity, on the basis
25 of the destruction and what I was able to view, the
1 destruction and everything else that took place, quite
2 obviously he would have had to include resources
3 necessary --
4 JUDGE JORDA: That's not the question. It's
5 a very simple one. What type of planning was needed?
6 You're a professional soldier. You visited the Ahmici
7 site where certain atrocities were committed. You
8 recognised them, you reported them, you condemned them,
9 and you were a commander. I think that the question is
10 as a military person, what kind of logistical assets
11 would have been necessary to carry out this type of
12 activity? Would it have been a large-scale operation,
13 a medium-sized operation? What kind of men were
14 needed? Did they need to be trained? Did they need a
15 lot of machine guns, many uniforms, many guns? This is
16 a question being asked of a professional. Or say that
17 you don't know.
18 A. I have already said, Mr. President, that it
19 is a tactical level of planning, if we're talking about
20 the type of planning involved. So it is the level in
21 which 30 to 50 individuals must have taken part,
22 perhaps even 100. But as I say, it is a tactical level
23 of planning where certain directions of activity are
24 defined as in any other operation, and the goals and
25 objectives are pinpointed, the targets for that kind of
1 action, including the planning of resources, logistic
2 resources, ammunition, equipment, and the number of
3 participants. But if I'm asked what type of planning,
4 then it is the tactical type of planning for an
5 operation of this kind.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Well, General, let's take very fundamental
8 things. We have ammunition for troops; is that right?
9 A. Yes, you need ammunition.
10 Q. Transportation for troops?
11 A. If you plan to bring in troops from outside,
12 then, of course, you need transport for the army. If
13 you plan to engage troops which are included on the
14 spot, those that are already on the spot, then you
15 don't need transport. So everything depends on what
16 the planner of the action had in mind and what kind of
17 troops he had at his disposal. So transport could be
18 necessary but need not be necessary.
19 Q. You have to feed these troops?
20 A. Yes, you have to feed the troops, depending
21 on how long the operation lasts. If it lasts for just
22 one hour, then you don't need that.
23 Q. You have to have some type of medical care
24 available should any of these troops be wounded or hurt
25 in some fashion?
1 A. In war, according to military doctrine, every
2 unit at the level of platoon or greater had at least
3 one person who was trained in first aid, that is to
4 say, he's not a professional but can administer basic
5 first aid, to attend to a wound and so on. So that is
6 something that exists in the very formation of any unit
7 numbering 30-odd soldiers or 30 armed villagers, for
9 Q. And you need communication capability between
10 and among the troops; isn't that right?
11 A. Yes. You need communication, means of
12 communication, or to have something that you have
13 agreed upon to use as communication. It is, of course,
14 very good if you have high quality communication
15 equipment, but you can use signals as well and decide
16 upon the mode of communication. You can use couriers
17 or any improvised means of that time.
18 Q. Now, given the scale of destruction in a very
19 small period of time, this particular attack on Ahmici
20 took place in a very efficient manner, didn't it?
21 A. Well, with regard to the level of destruction
22 and everything that took place, quite certainly, I
23 excluded the possibility of individual action on the
24 part of individuals. In view of the commands that I
25 issued, I think that the actions were effected
1 completely contrary to my own orders.
2 Q. Well, General, if you didn't order it, who
3 did? Give us a name, a person.
4 A. Well, a name was asked for in my orders. The
5 first order I issued for action asked for a name, an
6 action for investigation, that is. I asked that the
7 suspects be identified, suspects for that operation. I
8 also demanded that the circumstances under which the
9 victims fell should also be investigated, and a name is
10 something which it was most difficult to arrive at in
11 that region.
12 I know who the commander was of the overall
13 unit in whose region Ahmici was included, but who
14 directly effected the organisation, planning, and
15 implementation of the operation, I do not know anything
16 about names. But I do know, and that is what my
17 assistant for security told me, that the investigation
18 did result in names which were never sent to me, nor
19 were they accessible to me.
20 Q. Well, General, you have told us that Pasko
21 Ljubicic didn't order this operation on his own; isn't
22 that right?
23 A. I said that I believed that he alone, on his
24 own, did not decide upon that operation. He did not
25 take this decision himself. I said that it was
1 possible that he was included into the organisation of
2 that operation.
3 Q. Well, General, let me go back to my
4 question. Who could have ordered this massacre, the
5 Minister of Defence, Bruno Stojic?
6 MR. HAYMAN: We just note, Mr. President, we
7 have asked for a private session for certain reasons of
8 security. If it's not going to be granted, so be it,
9 but we note this is the only witness in this trial for
10 whom such measures are being denied.
11 JUDGE JORDA: What would you like to say to
12 that, Mr. Kehoe?
13 MR. KEHOE: With this particular series of
14 questions on these people, we can go into private
15 session on this. I have a few questions in this
16 regard. That's fine by the Prosecution on these
17 particular questions.
18 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to have
19 a private session for the few questions that are being
20 asked. Very well. It will be noted that he is not the
21 only witness who did not receive the measures that he
22 asked for, Mr. Hayman.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 (Private session)
13 Redacted pages 22027 – 22047 – in private session
3 (Open session)
4 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in public
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're now in public
7 session and you continue to ask your questions,
8 Mr. Kehoe.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 Q. I'm going to shift areas here and I'm going
11 to discuss with you, General, when you knew about the
12 events in Ahmici, according to your testimony. I would
13 like to just address myself first to Exhibit 456,
14 Prosecutor's 456/56, which is the letter from
15 Colonel Stewart to you, General.
16 Now, General, while you're examining that
17 letter, which I know you've seen before, let me just
18 remind you of your testimony. This is your
19 direct-examination from Mr. Nobilo's question at
21 "Q Was this ..."
22 talking about this exhibit,
23 "Q ... the first concrete and clear
24 reference to crime in Ahmici, as far as
25 you were concerned?
1 A Yes. This was the first letter and the
2 first concrete linking of the village of
3 Ahmici to the crime in the village of
5 On page 18916, the president, Judge Jorda,
6 asked you the following question, on line 10:
7 "JUDGE JORDA: I would like a clarification,
8 please. Many things have been said for
9 the past several days. I would like for
10 General Blaskic to make it very clear.
11 This was the first time that you had
12 heard anybody saying anything about
13 Ahmici; is that correct?"
14 (Trial Chamber confers)
15 JUDGE JORDA: Proceed.
16 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
17 Q. Again, this is Judge Jorda's comments to you
18 and question to you, General, at page 18916. At line
19 12 Judge Jorda asks:
20 "JUDGE JORDA: I would like for General
21 Blaskic to make it very clear. This was
22 the first time that you heard anybody
23 saying anything about Ahmici; is that
24 correct? That was the first time?
25 A Yes, Mr. President. That was the first
1 time that I was faced with the concrete
2 name of the village.
3 JUDGE JORDA: What I'm asking you is to tell
4 us specifically whether this was the
5 first time that you had heard something
6 spoken about Ahmici and what happened.
7 That was the 22nd of April; is that
9 your answer, on line 2 of page 18917,
10 "A I first heard Ahmici being mentioned in
11 this letter."
12 question by Mr. Nobilo on the same page at
13 line 120,
14 "Q Is Stewart's letter of the 22nd the
15 first information you received
16 specifically about the victims in
18 The answer is, "Yes," by you.
19 Now, General, let us ask some very basic
20 questions about Ahmici. How far is it from the Hotel
22 A. Approximately -- about five kilometres,
23 maybe. Although, in conditions of war this distance
24 did not play a very significant role.
25 Q. General, if a village such as Ahmici was on
1 fire, could you stand in front of the Hotel Vitez and
2 see the smoke billowing up to the sky? Could you do
4 A. I was compelled to be online all the time
5 because that was the only way in which I could
6 communicate with my subordinate commanders, and I was
7 compelled to stay in the shelter of the hotel and to be
8 in command in that way.
9 I did not receive any information about
10 flames, and I'm not sure whether you can see it from
11 the hotel because the hotel itself was a target too.
12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, when you say
13 that the distance was about five kilometres, are you
14 speaking about the distance along the road or as the
15 crow flies?
16 A. I'm talking about distance on the road.
17 Perhaps it's less as the crow flies. I'm not too
18 sure. I could measure this on the map, if necessary,
19 and give you an exact figure, but I was online all the
20 time in the hotel and the only way I could communicate
21 was online.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
23 MR. KEHOE: If we could show the witness
24 Exhibit 29C, which is this diagram, Judge
1 We can come back to this. It's okay. We can
2 come back to it at a later time, Mr. President. Let me
3 go back to my question, and we can come back to this
4 question at another time, Mr. Usher. It's no problem.
5 Q. General, given the fact that you noted that
6 Ahmici was approximately five kilometres away from
7 Vitez, did any of your subordinates that were coming in
8 and out of the Hotel Vitez during the course of the day
9 on the 16th note to you that there appeared to be a
10 large amount of smoke coming from the direction of
12 A. No, and there was no great coming -- there
13 was no comings and goings. It was general chaos and
14 conflicts in about some 20 points, and we had to
15 operate and command on the basis of information
16 received by telephone.
17 Q. Well, General, Vlado Santic, the commander of
18 the first active battalion of the military police, came
19 and went from the Hotel Vitez, didn't he, during the
20 course of the day?
21 A. I did not see him, nor did I have any contact
22 with him. He wasn't the commander of the first active
23 battalion of the military police. As far as I
24 remember, he was the commander of a company of the
25 military police, but I personally did not see him in
1 the course of those days at all.
2 Q. Did Brigadier Marin tell you that he had seen
3 Vlado Santic in the Hotel Vitez on the morning of the
5 A. As far as I recall -- I would have to check
6 in my notes, but as far as I recall, he did the not.
7 Q. How about Marko Prskalo who on the 16th you
8 sent with another, Piskulic, to the British Battalion?
9 Did they, when they were coming and going to the Hotel
10 Vitez, mention to you that there appeared to be a
11 tremendous amount of smoke coming from Ahmici?
12 A. No. Marko Prskalo did not speak to me about
13 that on the 16th. When he returned, he told me about
14 seeing civilians by the roadside, and they are being
15 taken in armed personnel carriers, completely closed
16 off. They could only see through the visors at a
17 limited distance, as far as you can see from one
18 armoured personnel carrier. UNPROFOR would come with
19 high protection to fetch them, because the hotel was a
20 target. There was artillery fire on the hotel and it
21 was hit, in fact.
22 Q. Well, General, during the course of the 16th,
23 the HVO had radio communications between and among its
24 troops, didn't they?
25 A. I don't know about radio communications.
1 Between me and the brigades, there was no radio
2 communication. Usually there were two telephones.
3 Whether some other units had small radio communicating
4 systems, quite possibly, or possibly not, but the plan
5 of radio communication for any operation at the
6 Operative Zone level did not exist and a plan of
7 communication of this kind was not devised. This is an
8 activity which comes prior to any activities at all.
9 Q. General, tell me what a RUP 12 is, in the
10 communication vernacular.
11 A. It is a radio transmitter, transmitting
12 device, of a tactical level. It was used in the former
13 JNA at the level of a company, up to 100 soldiers. It
14 is of limited range and it serves for links between a
15 company commander and a battalion commander. I think
16 the range, under ideal conditions, is between eight and
17 ten kilometres.
18 Q. General, let me read you some testimony.
19 This was testimony given by an individual by the name
20 of Anto Rajic, who was part of an anti-aircraft defence
22 MR. KEHOE: This testimony, Mr. President and
23 Your Honours, was testimony that was offered in the
24 case of Prosecutor versus Kupreskic and others. This
25 testimony of Mr. Rajic, which was given before another
1 Trial Chamber on the 18th of May, 1999, commences on
2 page 8683.
3 MR. HAYMAN: Do you have a copy, counsel?
4 MR. KEHOE: I do not.
5 MR. HAYMAN: Is it public?
6 MR. KEHOE: It is.
7 MR. HAYMAN: I would ask the registrar's
8 office, Mr. President, to give us the public testimony
9 in Kupreskic, because we haven't managed --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. All right. You are
11 right. I think that it would be self-evident that you
12 would have that, and when you want to contest that, you
13 can do so, and go to your redirect. For the time
14 being, the witness has to answer a comment about
15 something that comes from another trial.
16 Be sure that it's given to the Defence,
17 Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: That is, before the redirect.
20 MR. KEHOE: This commenced on page 8683 of
21 Mr. Rajic's testimony, on line 17:
22 "Q Tell us, were you there on the 16th of
23 April, '93, when the war in the Lasva
24 Valley broke out?
25 A Yes, indeed. I was right there at that
1 position at Prahulje.
2 Q Do you have any information as to what
3 was going on in a different part of the
4 Vitez municipality? Did you have any
5 communication with Vitez?
6 A We had communication with Novi Travnik
7 but, of course, we had the radio station
8 and around to -- well, we could, of
9 course, communicate with Vitez at a
10 different frequency, of course. I tried
11 to get some information, and I learned
12 that in Ahmici, the village of Ahmici,
13 there was shooting and that the village
14 was on fire, but they still didn't know
15 what was going on."
16 Additional questions were asked in this
17 regard in cross-examination of the same witness, at
18 page 8709 of the transcript, at line 15:
19 "Q Mr. Rajic, you said earlier on that, on
20 the 16th of April, 1993, you heard over
21 the radio that Ahmici was burning; is
22 that right?
23 A Over the radio station RUP 12.
24 Q Could you give us further specification
25 as to this RUP 12?
1 A Yes. RUP 12 is a radio station. I
2 think it's about half a metre tall and
3 about 30 metres wide, and you can choose
4 frequencies within a 12 to 15 kilometre
6 Q Please enlighten me. Are we talking
7 about some military means of
8 communication which would be reserved to
10 A Yes. RUP was of the Yugoslav army, and
11 it belonged to us as an AAD unit.
12 Q Who would you be sending information?
13 Who did you hear talking about Ahmici in
14 flames, in fire?
15 A I asked to establish contact with my
16 command in Novi Travnik, and I did not
17 establish it. Then I sought to
18 establish contact with Vitez and I got
19 it. It is from them that I heard that
20 Ahmici was on fire.
21 Q Could you be more specific? Who was it
22 in Vitez -- who lived in Vitez and was
23 able to give you information as to what
25 A Well, my command was in Vitez.
1 Q Could you be more specific? What was
2 the name of the individual who gave you
3 radio information at your request and
4 who told you that Ahmici was burning?
5 A Yes, I can. Mirko Safradin.
6 Q What was his position? What was his
8 A He was a member of the signals unit. I
9 don't think he had a rank.
10 Q Do you know where he had this
11 information from?
12 A I never managed to ask him. That was
13 all I heard, and then I lost contact.
14 Q Could you tell us what time you had this
15 radio contact with him?
16 A At around 9.30 in the morning on the
18 Q Could you be as specific as possible
19 with what Mirko Safradin told you on the
20 16th of April, 1993, around 9.00?
21 A Well, the whole conversation lasted not
22 more than 20 seconds. I do not know
23 what was going on. I didn't even know
24 there was shooting going on because we
25 could not hear. I asked him if there
1 was anything he knew down there and he
2 told me, 'Anto, Ahmici is on fire,' and
3 then he started another sentence and the
4 line went off.
5 Q Did he mention any victims?
6 A No, he did not mention it because
7 nothing was known yet."
8 Now, General, where is Prahulje?
9 A. Prahulje is a cemetery located in the Travnik
10 municipality, south-east of Travnik. The area belongs
11 to the municipality of Travnik. I can point it out to
12 you on the model.
13 Q. It's approximately in the Puticevo area,
14 isn't it, in Travnik?
15 A. Puticevo is nearby, yes. It is about one to
16 two kilometres away. I'm not sure.
17 Q. How far is Prahulje or Puticevo from Ahmici?
18 A. Perhaps it would be more exact if I were to
19 show you on the map or model. Like this I can just
20 make approximations. Fifteen to twenty kilometres,
21 perhaps. Up to fifty kilometres. I'm not quite sure.
22 Q. Well, General, at 9.30 in the morning, on the
23 16th of April, 1993, you and your other members of the
24 staff were in radio communication and in contact with
25 the other brigades; isn't that right?
1 A. No. I have already said that there was no
2 plan of communication links, and the command of the
3 Operative Zone, up until the end of May, did not have
4 its own communications centre. I was online with two
5 telephones with my subordinates. I had no other form
6 of communication and here, in this testimony, I know
7 that the commander of the company linked to the
8 military district was Zeljko Blaz. Mirko Safradin, as
9 far as I knew, was never the commander of the signals
10 company, so that I did not receive information of this
11 kind. The first information I did receive about Ahmici
12 was at 11.42 relating to the fighting in Ahmici.
13 Q. So at 9.30 in the morning, a radio operator
14 somewhere in Vitez knows that Ahmici is burning and you
15 don't; is that your testimony, General?
16 A. I maintain that I did not receive
17 information, even as to the fighting at that time, at
18 around 9.00 in Ahmici. I did not have any information
19 of that kind, and I had no radio links with my
20 subordinate commanders. That is what I claim.
21 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I'm going to move
22 to another document at this point. I see you looking
23 at the clock. I can continue and move on or as Your
24 Honour sees fit.
25 JUDGE JORDA: No. I just wanted to know
1 whether you've finished with this point.
2 MR. KEHOE: On the radio, Mr. President?
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.
4 MR. KEHOE: Yes. I was going to go to
5 another document.
6 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to take
7 a 20-minute break.
8 --- Recess taken at 11.22 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.47 a.m.
10 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
11 Please be seated.
12 Mr. Kehoe, let's continue.
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Just a point
14 of clarification. Mr. Fourmy noted for me that I could
15 possibly have had the wrong date on Mr. Rajic's
16 testimony in the Kupreskic case, which I, in fact,
17 did. I was looking at when it was printed off as
18 opposed to when it actually was. The date of that
19 testimony was the 23rd of March, 1999, so I just wanted
20 to clarify that in the record.
21 Q. Now, General --
22 JUDGE JORDA: Has the Defence noted that?
23 Thank you very much. Let's continue.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Let us move to Prosecution Exhibit 690, and
1 if we could put the third page on the ELMO. This,
2 again, General, is the military information summary of
3 the British Battalion from the 16th of April, 1993.
4 If we can focus in on that a little bit,
5 letters I, J, and K would be the important ones.
6 Now, General, this is a notation in the
7 British Battalion military information summary for the
8 time 14.15:
9 "C/S [call sign] reported heavy fighting in
10 the villages of Poculica," a grid reference, "and
11 Ahmici," gives a grid reference. "The HVO claimed that
12 BiH soldiers from the 7th Krajina Brigade were
13 responsible for attacking the predominantly Croat
14 village of Poculica. The predominantly Muslim village
15 of Ahmici had many houses burning with many more along
16 the main road to Dubravica."
17 The next insertion is at 14.45 on the same
19 "A reliable local source reported that a
20 number of civilians had been killed and houses
21 destroyed in the Muslim village of Ahmici," and it
22 gives the grid reference.
23 The next insertion is from 16.42 until 19.38
24 on the 16th of April, 1993:
25 "1 Cheshire C/Ss [call signs] report at
1 least 35 houses burning along the main road between GR
2 [grid reference] YJ 294906 and GR [grid reference] YJ
3 263919. Dead civilian bodies are lying on the road
4 verges and around the houses. C/Ss [call signs] report
5 at least 20-30 bodies, male and female between GRS
6 [grid references] 281912 and 274916. Heavy small arms
7 fire continued around the area as C/Ss [call signs]
8 were collecting bodies. An unidentified no. of
9 soldiers were clearing houses between Ahmici GR [grid
10 reference] 2792 and the main road. C/Ss [call signs]
11 moved out of the area as firing became more intense."
12 Now, General, during the course of the 16th,
13 you had troops moving up and down the road between
14 Vitez and Busovaca and from Busovaca and Vitez, didn't
16 A. When you say my army, my troops, I don't know
17 what units you mean. I did not receive information
18 from my subordinates, but I always asked the
19 information they gave me be as precise as possible. So
20 if it was a question of troops, could you please tell
21 me what troops you mean?
22 Q. All the troops that were under your command
23 or attached to you or subordinated to you during the
24 afternoon of the 16th of April, 1993. Let us focus on
25 the 16th of April, 1993 in the afternoon. Did you have
1 troops that were either subordinated or attached to you
2 that were moving up and down this road between Vitez
3 and Busovaca and Busovaca and Vitez?
4 A. For some troop movements, I do not have
5 direct information on. I don't remember having
6 received any direct information on that. The Vitez
7 Brigade was subordinate to me and Nikola
8 Subic-Zrinjski, but in the morning, only that part of
9 the mobilised soldiers of the Vitez Brigade, because on
10 the 16th of April, we did not conduct the mobilisation
11 of all military conscripts of the Vitez Brigade --
12 Q. Excuse me, General. The question is very
13 simple. HVO troops that were subordinated to you or
14 attached to you in the afternoon of the 16th of April,
15 focus on that time, General, and I ask you whether or
16 not those troops were moving from Vitez to Busovaca
17 along the road and from Busovaca to Vitez?
18 A. Would you specify, please, the HVO troops?
19 Because an HVO soldier is everybody carrying an HVO
20 uniform. Second, what time interval are you asking me
21 about? Tell me the times, and I'll look at my
22 chronology. On the 16th, there was a lot of --
23 JUDGE JORDA: Come on, you were the chief of
24 the HVO. From 11.42, everybody was somewhat attached
25 to you, or do you challenge that?
1 A. Mr. President, I am being asked a question
2 about the HVO army. Military conscripts who have still
3 not been called up for mobilisation were not
4 subordinated to me. They were still civilians living
5 in their own houses. They had not been mobilised yet,
6 although the conflict was ongoing.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I had understood that the
8 question dealt with the brigades under your orders as
9 the commander of the Operative Zone. It didn't seem to
10 be a very complicated question to me. Am I right, Mr.
11 Prosecutor? Is that what you meant?
12 MR. KEHOE: That's right, Mr. President,
13 including everybody that was attached to him after
14 11.42, which is the afternoon.
15 MR. HAYMAN: The term "brigades" wasn't
16 used. He may have meant it but that's not what he
17 said. We just want clarity. That's all,
18 Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: I think that after two years of
20 a trial, one should understand one another in respect
21 of certain questions. Let's stop going round and
23 Make the question clear, Mr. Kehoe. We're
24 wasting time.
25 This has to do with the troops under your
1 orders on the 16th of April in the afternoon, General
2 Blaskic. We're not talking about something very
3 complicated. One doesn't have to come out of an
4 military academy to know what troops were under your
5 orders on the 16th of April. Or say that you don't
6 know what troops were under your orders on that.
7 Mr. Prosecutor?
8 Mr. Nobilo, I asked the General a question,
9 and I'm not giving you the floor. I would like the
10 Prosecutor to continue with his cross-examination. I'm
11 sorry. The witness, for the time being, is alone
12 before the Judges.
13 General Blaskic, you did have troops under
14 your orders. You can agree that you did have HVO
15 troops under your orders on the 16th of April?
16 A. Well, I did have them, and I'm not
17 questioning that, but the question isn't clear to me,
18 Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The Prosecutor will
20 ask the question again.
21 MR. KEHOE:
22 Q. The question is: In the afternoon of the
23 16th of April, did you have any troops under your
24 command moving on the road between Vitez and Busovaca
25 and Busovaca and Vitez?
1 A. I must take a look at my chronology in order
2 to ascertain that. I cannot, off the bat, remember. I
3 did have troops under my command, I'm not questioning
4 that, but if you can tell me the time -- can I look at
5 my chronology and see the information that I had about
7 Q. Well, General, I'll move on to the next
8 question if you can't answer the question without
9 consulting your chronology. The troops that were in
10 the area of Ahmici or Nadioci and Santici or Vranjska,
11 did they tell you that on the afternoon of the 16th,
12 the village of Ahmici was in flames? Did any of these
13 troops tell you that?
14 A. I did not receive any information of that
16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We've got an
17 answer. Proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE:
19 Q. General, let us go to this map. If you can
20 stand up, General, and take the Magic Marker that's to
21 your right. It's in the holder right there, if we can
22 have some assistance. General, using that marker,
23 circle the village of Ahmici and put a number 1 next to
25 A. (Marks)
1 Q. Circle the village of Rovna and put a number
2 2 next to it.
3 A. Which Rovna? There are two, Gornja and
4 Donja, Upper and Lower Rovna.
5 Q. Both. Circle the entire area and put the
6 number 2 for Donja and Gornja Rovna.
7 A. (Marks)
8 Q. For the village of Bare, circle that and put
9 a number 3.
10 A. (Marks)
11 Q. Now, General, can you see the village of
12 Ahmici from both Rovna and Bare?
13 A. As for the village of Bare, I don't think you
14 can see because the village is located in a valley,
15 whereas the Donja Rovna village, as there is
16 Safradinovo Brdo hill, I'm not sure whether you can see
17 it from Donja Rovna either, but from Gornja Rovna, you
18 can't see Ahmici, that's certain, because the village
19 of Bare is situated in a valley, and there are hills
20 surrounding it.
21 Q. You can have a seat, General. Now, General,
22 at 18.02 on the 16th, you told this Court at page
23 18580, line 6:
24 "A At 18.02 hours, I received information
25 from Mr. Kordic who told me that Pasko's
1 people were going up the hill and that
2 he had done his part."
3 Now, Dario Kordic was watching the military
4 police move up the hill in Ahmici, up to the high
5 ground, wasn't he?
6 A. I did not say that Dario Kordic was watching
7 the military police but that he gave them information,
8 the one that we talked about a few minutes ago, over
9 the phone. That is the information I received from
11 Q. Well, General, where was Kordic when he told
12 that you Pasko's people were going up the hill?
13 A. I assume that he could have been at two
14 places, either at his headquarters in Tisovac or he
15 could have phoned me from his home, because he told me
16 that over the phone.
17 Q. General, are you testifying that somehow he
18 gets information from Ahmici, which is five kilometres
19 away from you, that is relayed to his house in
20 Busovaca, for Kordic to then tell you back in Vitez
21 that Pasko's people are going up the hill? Is that the
22 sequence of events here?
23 A. No. I'm claiming that at 18.02 I received
24 such information from him on the phone, and how he got
25 that information, whether somebody had phoned him and
1 told him this particular information, that, I don't
2 know, because I cannot confirm for sure the exact
3 position where he was. I assume that he was in
5 Q. Did you ask him?
6 A. Did I ask him what? Where he was exactly or
8 Q. Did you ask him where he was when he was
9 telling you this information that "Pasko's people are
10 going up the hill," because those are the words you
11 used "were going up the hill"?
12 A. I did not ask him where he was exactly. I
13 received information from him, and all this time, there
14 were combat operations going on. These were very short
15 conversations because there were very many calls, and I
16 only had telephone communications at my disposal.
17 Q. Well, General, when someone tells you that
18 Pasko's people were going up the hill, it would
19 indicate to you, would it not, that he was watching
20 them go up the hill; isn't that right?
21 A. Not necessarily. He could have received such
22 information from someone else and conveyed it to me.
23 Perhaps what you are claiming is true, but at any rate,
24 he could have received information over the telephone
25 and then conveyed it to me.
1 Q. Well, General, let's move on to the rest of
2 this line that you told us about. When Kordic told you
3 that Pasko, and I read you from line 8, "Had done his
4 part," what did you think that Kordic was talking about
5 when you said that Pasko's people were going up the
6 hill and that he had done his part? What did you think
7 he was talking about?
8 A. I believed that he was talking about combat
9 operations that were going on between the members of
10 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the military police
11 in the immediate vicinity of the school and the mosque
12 where BH army strongholds were. I believed that that
13 is where this combat was taking place and that part of
14 the BH army forces were withdrawing.
15 Q. Well, General, did Kordic tell you that the
16 whole village was in flames?
17 A. What Kordic told me is recorded, all of it,
18 in the operative logbook. He did not give me such
20 Q. Now, still, as of 18.06, on the evening of
21 the 16th, you still maintain that you don't have
22 information that virtually the entire village of Ahmici
23 had been burnt; is that right?
24 A. I did not have such information.
25 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, you're going to
1 move to another piece of evidence and, Mr. President,
2 this is Exhibit 270E. I have some extra copies of the
3 transcript. We are not going to be playing the entire
4 transcript. We're going to play a few pages in, and it
5 has to do with the burning of Ahmici on the 16th of
6 April, 1993 in the evening, and this is the tape that
7 came from Busovaca TV via the Bosnian government.
8 So I do have extra copies both for the
9 interpretation booth and for anybody else that needs
10 one. The copy of that transcript is 270E and there is
11 a French copy as well.
12 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Are we going to
13 give this another number?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Well, I'm just checking.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Well, in the meantime, let's
16 look at the video --
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I may, there's
18 no need to give this another number because this is a
19 copy of a piece of evidence that's already been
20 admitted into evidence, as well as the transcript. So
21 not to confuse matters, I just -- if we keep the same
22 number, I think it might be easier.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
24 MR. KEHOE: If I could ask the assistance of
25 the interpretation booths to assist us with the
1 transcript, as to where this actually starts as they
2 read it. If we could begin to play this and dim the
3 lights, please.
4 (Videotape played)
5 THE INTERPRETER: (Voiceover) "It is 19.00
6 and we are at the checkpoint at -- he was taken out of
7 the morgue and we didn't have an opportunity to see
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter
10 apologises. The sound is very poor.
11 MR. KEHOE: If we could back this up again,
12 please, and just put the volume up to assist the
13 interpreters. We are beginning in the transcript, Mr.
14 President and Your Honours, at the insertion that
15 begins 1.46.16.
16 Just back that up and just put a little more
17 volume for the interpreters. Thanks.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Oh, yes. I see. Okay. I can
19 find where we are. All right. That's fine. Can we go
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you.
22 (Videotape played)
23 THE INTERPRETER: (Voiceover) "Right now, at
24 21.30, passing by the house of the now late Arapovic,
25 who was taken out of the morgue, and we did not have a
1 chance to see his photograph. We are now heading to
2 Hrasno village from where we can take a look at what
3 happened in Ahmici. This is also Batinic. Drago
4 Smoljo is driving, and myself the cameraman.
5 Here is another rather important place from
6 the strategic point of view, on the border between the
7 Vitez and Busovaca municipalities. I think that in the
8 future Vitez and Busovaca will be twin cities.
9 What is on fire is Ahmici. We can hear
10 shooting in the background.
11 - Where is this shooting coming from? From
12 behind Ahmici.
13 - It's coming from Upper Ahmici. What's the
14 name of the farm there?
15 - What did you think of the fighting today?
16 Was it dangerous?
17 - A bullet went past my head. All day the
18 bullets were whistling. We could not move.
19 - Do you hear from this side now?
20 - What you see burning is Ravan. That's
21 where the old school is.
22 - That is our forces.
23 - So it means that we can finally say that
24 Ahmici has fallen, if this is so.
25 - There it was strongest.
1 - Unless Muslims entered from that side?
2 - It's impossible. They were all in that
3 forest. They were driven out of the mosque and the
5 - Their stronghold was near the mosque.
6 - We watched all night.
7 - We were watching the whole day from behind
8 the house.
9 - It was announced as street fighting and
10 that our forces were advancing through Kruscica step by
11 step and taking control.
12 - Kruscica?
13 - They were going upwards. They were going
14 towards -- they passed? Yes. Yes.
15 - And to link up with our forces at Pezici?
16 Are our forces in Pezici or Kovacevici?
17 - Could I go down to --
18 - It's not possible today.
19 - Just kidding.
20 - To clean it from oil, and again install
21 both of them, the reserve and the others.
22 - Okay. Come to agreement with them and get
23 it done immediately during the night.
24 - Yes, it should be done right now.
25 - As soon as they've done it, return here
2 - They thought that we first -- then we call
3 canyon one.
4 - The action must be coordinated, and you
5 must respect the one who is leading. Do you understand
6 that? You are here together and you must agree between
7 yourselves who, when and who is leading the patrol.
8 - We did that well.
9 - In future, whenever he's leading the
10 action, whether it is him, or maybe a Joker tomorrow,
11 or maybe it will be Alpha, who knows who it will be.
12 There is no problem. He must be respected.
13 - Listen, we did it without killing any of
14 our own people.
15 - There is ammunition, but it must be used
17 - There were police there, so they stopped us
18 when we were doing well.
19 - It's almost 10.00. What time is it? It's
20 almost 10.00. You must be back by half past one, half
21 past two at the latest.
22 - We'll do that.
23 - There will be those things, the cigarettes
24 and the rest.
25 - You will sleep.
1 - How do you know who can come? You should
2 never trust the devil.
3 - So we agreed. I know you are good guys and
4 you must listen to him.
5 - Don't worry.
6 - Here's my hand. We should all listen to
7 each other.
8 - See you. Okay.
9 - We can hear the shooting in the Vitez
10 municipality. Along the road to Vitez, on the left
11 side. Towards Vranjska.
12 - We are slowly leaving the village of Hrasno
13 from where we were able to see Ahmici, the village
14 which is burning, and hear the final shots of the
15 battle around Ahmici. The guys who are defending it
16 say that the mosque was also destroyed. We'll see that
17 tomorrow in the photographs.
18 - Because there is really a war here, a big
19 war here in the area of Central Bosnia.
20 - It is already around 22.30, and we are
21 entering free Busovaca. Every now and then a car comes
22 along. Mostly it is deserted. People are in their
23 houses, or else holding their positions. Women and
24 children at home.
25 - To Busovaca. The military police is
1 escorting us. Zeljo Komsic is driving and there are
2 two policemen here. One is Ljubo Akrap, and the other
3 one is Jozo Akrap. We are going somewhere down to an
4 area on the border between Busovaca and Vitez.
5 Something's happening down there. We are also going to
6 try to enter Ahmici. You have shots of Hrasno, now
7 we'll try to see what is going on in the village.
8 - Zeljo told me that he cried today like a
9 child, of course he did, brothers-in-arms die. We know
10 why they die. Freedom is expensive and it is better to
11 solve it in this way than for us not to exist at all.
12 - It's from Busovaca, take it.
13 - He found it.
14 - The report.
15 - Okay. Everything is fine now.
16 - This is the police headquarters here. We
17 are going towards the village of Ahmici, a village that
18 is now liberated. Up there we see a flame. It's
19 better to say, this is a village that has been
20 destroyed, it was liberated that much.
21 - We can see a flame here."
22 MR. KEHOE: That's it. Thank you. That's
23 the end of the tape. Thank you.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, General, you had an information and
2 propaganda officer in your headquarters, didn't you?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. That particular man's name was what?
5 A. Marko Prskalo.
6 Q. Was that man in contact with the local media
7 both in Vitez and in Busovaca?
8 A. When do you mean, before the conflict, during
9 the conflict, or after the conflict?
10 Q. Before, during, and after, General.
11 A. Before the conflict I believe he was. During
12 these activities there wasn't any special contact
13 because we had too few communications, and all of us
14 were in the Hotel Vitez and we had only the little
15 information that we received over the telephone.
16 Q. Well, did the TV Busovaca share this film
17 with your IPD officer that showed that Ahmici was
18 burning on the night of the 16th and that the reporters
19 covering that had seen the village burning on the night
20 of the 16th?
21 A. I do not have such information. Personally,
22 I first saw this film here in the courtroom, and
23 judging by what I heard in the comments made by this
24 local journalist, they came from Busovaca, that is to
25 say, not from Vitez but from Busovaca and from the area
1 of the municipality of Busovaca. That is where they
2 filmed this area and what they could see.
3 Q. Was your IPD officer, Mr. Prskalo, in contact
4 with the IPD officers from the brigades?
5 A. Before the conflict he was. During the
6 conflict, we could communicate only by way of certain
7 information releases, but any contact via telephone was
8 recorded in my operative diary that I testified about.
9 So I can only look at my chronology, the very precise
10 one, from the 16th onwards.
11 Q. Well, part of Prskalo's job as your
12 information and propaganda officer was to stay in
13 contact with the information and propaganda officers at
14 the brigade level so everybody had as much information
15 as possible; isn't that right?
16 A. Certainly. That is part of his job, but
17 sometimes circumstances make it incumbent to act within
18 one's own possibilities. The situation we were in,
19 with some seven co-workers, and a lack of
20 communications devices and, also, there was a large
21 area where combat operations were taking place, so it
22 was not possible to use these two telephones for some
23 additional communication.
24 Q. So the bottom line, General, is that TV
25 Busovaca knows that Ahmici is burning and been
1 destroyed on the evening of the 16th but you, the
2 military commander in the area, do not; is that right?
3 A. I knew what I received from the information
4 sent by my subordinates, and I never knew this
5 beforehand, and that's the way it is.
6 Q. Well, General, let us turn you to the next
7 day, the 17th, keeping in mind that you noted for us
8 that you received this letter from Colonel Stewart on
9 the 22nd.
10 Now, on the 17th of April, did Anto Valenta
11 or was Anto Valenta still using your or Mr. Nakic's
12 office in the Hotel Vitez?
13 A. He certainly didn't use my office, never, and
14 I don't know whether he used Mr. Nakic's office. I
15 imagine that he spent most of his time at his own home
16 on the 17th of April, but I do not preclude the
17 possibility of him having been in the office of
18 Mr. Franjo Nakic and the Vitez Hotel. What I know for
19 sure was that he could not go to his own office in
21 Q. General, how far was the Hotel Vitez from the
22 cinema building where Cerkez's brigade headquarters
24 A. Well, I can give an approximation. Perhaps,
25 I don't know, between 30 to 50 metres. I'm not aware
1 of these distances, but it's very close.
2 Q. On the 17th of April or thereafter, did Anto
3 Valenta or Mario Cerkez tell you that they had had a
4 discussion with Major Morsink of the EC Monitoring
5 Mission about the crimes and destruction in Ahmici?
6 Did they tell you that?
7 A. On the 17th of April, I'd have to look at my
8 chronology. I have to have a look at it there, but as
9 far as I can remember, I did not have any contact with
10 Anto Valenta. I can't remember. I'd have to look it
11 up and see whether Cerkez gave me this kind of
12 information. I'd have to have a look at my chronology.
13 Q. If he, in fact, gave you this information on
14 the 17th, that would mean, of course, that you learned
15 about what happened in Ahmici on the 17th as opposed to
16 the 22nd; isn't that right?
17 A. The first information about the events in
18 Ahmici I received on the 22nd of April, 1993.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We know that. We know your
20 thesis, General Blaskic. The Prosecutor is trying to
21 find out whether you mightn't have known something
22 before that. The Judges understand what your position
23 is, and they accept it as such for the time being, but
24 it's a very specific question. The Prosecutor asked
25 you a very specific question.
1 A. Mr. President, I would have to have a look at
2 my chronology for the 17th of April.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Do it quickly, please, since
4 you're very familiar with your chronology. You've
5 given us information minute by minute, so you should be
6 able to find things very quickly.
7 In the meantime, the Prosecutor might be able
8 to explain to the Judges what he's focusing on in the
9 question. We do agree or unless I misunderstood,
10 according to you, Mr. Prosecutor, Anto Valenta and
11 Mario Cerkez, who are neighbours, in the next offices,
12 they were what? I didn't quite get you. They had met
13 somebody who -- I don't remember. But allegedly, they
14 were in a position to know what was going on in
16 MR. KEHOE: I can show it by map, and I had
17 that exhibit on the list, Prosecutor's Exhibit 45,
18 which is the photograph. Mario Cerkez's office was in
19 the cinema building several metres, as the witness
20 said, 50 metres from the Hotel Vitez. There was a
21 meeting with the ECMM officials; Valenta and Cerkez
22 were there talking about Ahmici on the 17th.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Okay. The ECMM officer.
24 MR. KEHOE: The ECMM officer, Mr. President,
25 was one of them that was here to testify, Colonel
1 Morsink, who was then Major Morsink.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that's right. Morsink,
3 that's right. I remember now. Thank you very much.
4 THE REGISTRAR: You asked for 45, is that
5 right, Prosecution Exhibit 45?
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes. That was on the list.
7 We'll move on.
8 (Trial Chamber confers)
9 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, perhaps you
10 were able to find what you're looking for. This will
11 be a very important item. Your memory is very good.
12 Have you not found anything in your chronology about
13 that meeting?
14 A. I am trying to remember, and as far as I
15 recollect and looking at my chronology quickly, I did
16 not have any contact with Mr. Valenta, and Cerkez told
17 me nothing about his meetings or about the crime in
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. Let us move on then, General, and let me go
22 to another document. This document is an excerpt from
23 the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Stewart, and this is
24 for the 4th of May, 1993.
25 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
2 MR. KEHOE: I'm focusing on the second page
3 of that insertion, Mr. Usher, and it's the last
4 paragraph before "Wednesday 5 May." That's it. That
5 paragraph begins "When lunch was over." If we could
6 focus that in a little bit so that the interpreters can
7 see it. A little bit more. Okay.
8 Q. This is, as he noted, General, an excerpt
9 from the diary of Colonel Stewart on the 4th of May,
10 1993, and he notes as follows:
11 "When lunch was over I took the ambassadors
12 into Vitez and there met with Valentin and Blaskic. I
13 stated that nothing had happened about a Commission of
14 Enquiry into Ahmici for 18 days, that nobody was
15 charged or arrested to my knowledge and that I knew the
16 names of men accused -- which I would give to the ECMM
17 ambassadors. I insisted that the Government of Vitez
18 was also involved in 'complicity in genocide'. By that
19 I meant Valentin (who said he knew nothing about Ahmici
20 until 2 days later), Blaskic and Skopljak."
21 Now, General, here is an excerpt from a
22 comment about Anto Valenta who says that two days
23 after -- that he didn't know what had happened in
24 Ahmici until two days later which would then put it at
25 the 18th of April, 1993, isn't that right, given the
1 fact that Ahmici took place on the 16th?
2 A. I don't know when Anto Valenta learnt of the
3 events, nor did I share that information with Anto
4 Valenta. It's not true that I was at the meeting from
5 the beginning, as it says here in the diary, with
6 Mr. Valenta, but the meeting was between Mr. Thebault
7 and Colonel Stewart with Mr. Valenta. I myself was
8 invited to attend later on in the concluding part of
9 the meeting, that is to say, I did not attend the first
10 part of the meeting. I don't know what it was about.
11 When Valenta learnt of the events in Ahmici, I don't
12 know, but I do know that I received information about
13 it from Colonel Stewart on the 22nd of April, 1993.
14 Q. General, at this time, on the 18th of April,
15 Valenta was using Franjo Nakic's office in the Hotel
16 Vitez, wasn't he?
17 A. Throughout the time, from the 16th up until
18 the 19th, I spent communicating in the cellar of the
19 hotel, the basement of the hotel. As far as I know,
20 Valenta, if he had a meeting, he might have had it
21 there in Franjo Nakic's office, but he spent most of
22 his time at home, in his own apartment somewhere in the
23 town of Vitez.
24 Q. Well, did Valenta come to you on the 18th or
25 thereafter and ask you "What happened in Ahmici,
2 A. No, he didn't pose me that question. At the
3 meeting that was mentioned, I'm surprised that it is
4 not stated in his diary. It is the meeting where I
5 sought for the establishment of a joint commission to
6 investigate into Ahmici and when I asked assistance,
7 both from Mr. Thebault and from Mr. Stewart. I
8 explained this because I said that an all-embracing
9 investigation was needed and a joint commission, both
10 of the BH army and the HVO and the International Red
11 Cross and European Monitoring Mission. I sent a
12 letter --
13 Q. I'm sorry. General, the bottom line is,
14 according to this and in view of your testimony,
15 Valenta appears to be better informed on the 18th of
16 April than you were; is that your testimony?
17 A. I maintain that all the information that I
18 received from my subordinates I made a note of in my
19 operational diary and that I worked on the basis of the
20 information I received.
21 Q. Let us turn our attention to Prosecutor's
22 Exhibit 456/60 and then also pull out 456/55. We'll
23 start with 456/60 first.
24 Now, General, 456/60 is an order that is
25 written by Slavko Marin, your chief of staff at the
1 time or acting chief of staff or chief of operations,
2 dated 17 April, 1993 concerning the massacre of
3 civilians in Kuber. The first paragraph:
4 "On the basis of information received from
5 the civilian population living in the vicinity of the
6 villages of Jelinak and Putis in the Kuber area, we
7 would like to inform you that Muslim extremists are
8 killing the civilian population in the said villages
9 and in the broader area of Kuber."
10 Now, Brigadier Marin told us that this
11 information was not correct, but nevertheless, General,
12 you and your headquarters were getting information from
13 the civilian population about crimes that were taking
14 place in the Lasva Valley and the general environs,
15 weren't you?
16 A. First of all, this is not Slavko Marin's
17 order; it is just information seeking that the facts
18 about the massacre be checked out. According to my own
19 information, we do not know to this day what happened
20 to some persons missing, those who were missing from
21 the Kuber area. I think that there are a certain
22 number of individuals that were never found to this
23 day. What had happened to them, we don't know. We
24 asked the institutions who were better placed than us
25 to check out this report because we see here that it
1 says, "On the basis of information received ..." So
2 Slavko Marin endeavoured, in the best possible
3 intentions, to check the information that had reached
4 us, and that is why he sent it to UNPROFOR because
5 UNPROFOR had armoured personnel carriers and could use
6 these vehicles to check out any information received.
7 Q. General, let me be very specific so we can
8 move through this. You were getting information from
9 the civilian population concerning crimes, weren't you?
10 A. The largest number of that information was
11 sent by civilians to the civilian police. Very rarely
12 did we get information of this kind. Perhaps it went
13 to the communications centre of the Vitez municipality,
14 which was civilian, and people would call up there, and
15 then those messages were conveyed to us. But direct
16 calls from civilians, I don't think that occurred. I
17 don't think civilians called up the command because the
18 telephone lines were almost constantly engaged.
19 Q. Did you get information from the civilian
20 population about the crimes that had occurred in
22 A. I have already said when I received
23 information about the crimes in Ahmici, and I insisted
24 that my immediate subordinates inform me about
25 everything in precise detail, and I only had two
1 telephones at my disposal.
2 Q. Let us turn to Exhibit 456/55, which is your
3 order of the 18th of April, 1993. You issue this order
4 based on an order from the main staff, and in paragraph
5 4, you order:
6 "4. Gather the relevant data about the
7 actors of the conflict, the causes of banishing people,
8 murdering civilians and soldiers, burning houses and
9 other buildings."
10 This goes out to the commanders of all HVO
11 units in the Operative Zone of Middle Bosnia.
12 General, was this an order that you sent out
13 on the 18th, and did you get information from any of
14 the HVO units in the Operative Zone concerning the
15 crimes in Ahmici?
16 A. Data on the crimes in Ahmici I did not
17 receive. I wrote this order on the basis of the orders
18 I received from the chief of the main staff of the HVO
19 and which is identical to this particular order. Point
20 5 is a general point in which I called for the
21 gathering of relevant data, just as the chief of staff
22 had requested, and whether there was activity, and if
23 there was some in an inhabited area, then, of course,
24 buildings would have been destroyed as well.
25 Q. Let's move ahead to the 19th, General, and
1 I'll read you some testimony from Dr. Muhamed
2 Mujezinovic on page 1700 at line 12:
3 "Q Let me direct your attention back to
4 April 19th, 1993. Did the subject of
5 Ahmici come up on April 19th, 1993?
6 A Yes. I did not know until then about
7 Ahmici. Two nurses from Ahmici -- one
8 worked with me at the hospital in
9 Travnik; her name is Ankica Tudja. I
10 brought her to the health centre in
11 Vitez to work with me in the specialist
12 ward and another nurse who I did not
13 know from before who had not worked in
14 the health clinic, her name is Santic;
15 she was married in Ahmici; I knew her
16 father, Mate. We know them as Japanovi,
17 this Santic family. Ankica Tudja and
18 this other nurse asked me whether I knew
19 what had happened in Ahmici. I said
20 that I did not. They told me that about
21 1.00 at night HVO soldiers had evacuated
22 all the Croats from Ahmici towards Lasva
23 and that they had participated as
24 nurses. They started crying, they said
25 to me ..."
1 Judge Jorda notes:
2 "JUDGE JORDA: It was all the Muslims of
3 Ahmici that were chased out, I
4 think. According to the transcript -- I
5 want to make sure."
6 The witness says:
7 "A No, I said as follows: that the
8 nurses informed me that the HVO soldiers
9 in Ahmici had all the Croats, the women
10 and the children. They had pulled them
11 out of Ahmici towards Donja Lasva and
12 that not a single Croat civilian was
13 left in Donja Ahmici. In the morning
14 about 5.00 or 6.00, Ahmici was attacked
15 and they killed whoever they could:
16 children, women, animals, cows. They
17 told me that it was a most atrocious
18 sight, that the cows were roaming around
20 MR. HARMON: Dr. Mujezinovic, these two
21 nurses who told you this, were they
22 Muslims or Croats?
23 A She was a Croat.
24 Q What was her demeanour when she was
25 relating this story to you?
1 A They were crying; the nurses were
3 Now, General, you were in contact with the
4 medical staff and the medical ward in Vitez prior to
5 the 22nd of April, 1993, weren't you?
6 A. I don't remember having any contact with the
7 medical staff in Vitez, apart from the fact that I know
8 that on the 16th, in the morning, the medical centre in
9 Vitez was also attacked and that that facility was
10 moved to another position within the town of Vitez for
11 the doctors to be saved.
12 As far as the 19th of April is concerned,
13 that was one of the most difficult days that I was
14 preoccupied with, when the BH army endeavoured to take
15 control of Busovaca at all costs. The attack was
16 launched at 01.40 and went on until after midnight.
17 Q. According to your testimony, you did not
18 receive any information from the medical staff at the
19 clinic in Vitez that these atrocities had taken place
20 in Ahmici, is that your testimony?
21 A. I have already said that I did not have any
22 contact with the medical staff. I did not receive
23 information about the crime in Ahmici before the 22nd
24 of April, 1993.
25 Q. General, let us move ahead later on in the
1 day of the 19th, and I want you to identify a few folks
2 for the Court. Let me start with Zvonko Cilic. Do you
3 know Zvonko Cilic?
4 A. I know Zvonko Cilic.
5 Q. Zvonko Cilic was the IPD officer for the
6 Viteska Brigade, wasn't he?
7 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps Mr. Kehoe, we could
8 finish ten minutes early, if you don't mind.
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE JORDA: We'll resume at 2.30
11 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.50 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing.
3 Please be seated. Let me remind you of two things.
4 First of all, for the public gallery, this is the
5 cross-examination of the accused who has the position
6 of a witness, and I am giving the floor to the
7 registrar who wants to make a clarification.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. This
9 morning Mr. Hayman drew the attention of the Trial
10 Chamber to the fact that the Prosecutor had extracts of
11 transcripts from the Kupreskic case. I would like to
12 say that this transcript, as things stand now, that is,
13 there is -- no transcripts from the Kupreskic trial
14 have been finalised. They are being reviewed. We're
15 reviewing them now and then, theoretically, we do not
16 disclose them to the parties.
17 We would be prepared, if the Defence wishes
18 to help us, we would be prepared to make available to
19 the Defence the versions that have not been finalised
20 of those transcripts, even of those that were held --
21 of those held in public hearings, because the Victims
22 and Witnesses Unit, generally speaking, even when it
23 has to do with public hearings, reviews them, consults
24 them again.
25 JUDGE JORDA: You mean they consult with
1 them. They review them.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that's right.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, Mr. Nobilo, any
4 further problems?
5 MR. HAYMAN: We would treat them as such, Mr.
6 President. Thank you. Thank you to the registrar.
7 JUDGE JORDA: That seems natural to me and
8 appropriate that the Prosecutor has documents from
9 another trial and in that case he should disclose them
10 to the Prosecutor.
11 All right. We give you the floor, Mr. Kehoe,
12 so you can continue with your cross-examination.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. General, we had
15 previously spoken about a individual by the name of
16 Zvonko Cilic who, I believe before the break, you
17 testified was the IPD officer for the Viteska Brigade.
18 The next name I'd like to ask you for is Bozo
19 Jozic -- excuse me, Boro Jozic.
20 A. Boro Jozic. The name is familiar.
21 Q. Who is Boro Jozic, sir?
22 A. For a certain period of time he worked in the
23 commission for exchanges of detained persons.
24 Q. What was his position on the 16th of April,
25 1993, do you know?
1 A. I do not know his exact position, but
2 possibly he was an officer in the Vitez Brigade and
3 some of the units or, perhaps, he was a member of the
4 commission on missing persons and detained persons with
5 the civilian authorities. I'm not sure how long he
6 held which position.
7 Q. Well, sir, was he one of the HVO
8 representatives to the Busovaca joint commission?
9 A. That is the joint commission at lower
10 levels. Among brigades, I really don't know whether he
11 was. Perhaps he was, perhaps he wasn't. I know that
12 there were high representatives on the joint commission
13 between the operative command and the 3rd Corps.
14 Q. Do you know a man by the name of Stipo
15 Dzigonjam, D-z-i-g-o-n-j-a-m?
16 A. Stipo Dzigonjam? That is the interpretation
17 I got. I don't know that person.
18 Q. Zeljko Rebac?
19 A. I do not know Zeljko Rebac.
20 Q. Zeljko Sajevic, S-a-j-e-v-i-c?
21 A. I don't know him personally, but I know that
22 he held the post of officer in the command of the
23 Viteska Brigade, but I did not have the opportunity of
24 meeting him in person.
25 Q. Well, let us talk about a meeting at the
1 headquarters of the Viteska Brigade on the evening of
2 the 19th of April, 1993, where Mario Cerkez and others
3 participated with Dr. Mujenznovic.
4 I am reading from page 1705 of
5 Dr. Mujenznovic's testimony, on line 17:
6 "A In one office, Mario Cerkez was sitting
7 in that office with Zvonko Cilic, Boro
8 Jozic, Stipo Dzigonjam..."
9 And I'm reading it as printed,
11 "... Zeljko Rebac, and Zeljko Sajevic.
12 Q Were those people you identified all
13 members of the HVO?
14 A All of them were in uniform with HVO
15 insignia. I knew each one of these
16 people individually and relatively well
18 Q Mr. Mujezinovic, did you have a
19 conversation? Can you tell us what
20 happened when you arrived?"
21 I'm returning to page 1706, line 3.
22 "A Mario Cerkez, I knew him from before,
23 the commander of the HVO forces in
24 Vitez. He asked me whether I was aware
25 of the situation that I was in, and I
1 said that I was. Then he said to me,
2 'Then you have to do what we order you
3 to do.'
4 He asked me whether I had heard
5 about Ahmici. I said that I had heard
6 about it. Mr. Mario Cerkez repeated
7 that I had to do whatever he ordered me
8 to do."
9 So, General, on this testimony, your direct
10 subordinate, Mario Cerkez, knew about Ahmici, at least
11 on the evening of the 19th. Did you talk to him about
12 Ahmici and did you talk to him about this meeting with
13 Dr. Mujenznovic?
14 A. I personally did not talk about it to him,
15 because on the 19th of April, all day I was focused on
16 helping the defence of Busovaca, and that was my
17 priority activity, that is to say, carrying out defence
18 because of the attacks that were launched by the army
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the territory of the Busovaca
21 Q. General, you told us you got your first
22 concrete information about Ahmici from
23 Colonel Stewart's letter on the 22nd of April, 1993.
24 A. Concerning the crime in Ahmici? When you're
25 asking about Ahmici, are you referring to the crime in
1 Ahmici? Are you referring to the deaths of civilians
2 and to the burnings? Yes, that I heard about, but
3 whether I heard about combat operation, I heard about
4 that before. I had information about that, that there
5 was fighting between the HVO and the BH army forces.
6 Q. Let me read you the testimony of your then
7 chief of staff or chief of operations, Slavko Marin.
8 This starts on page 12507. He is discussing the
9 meeting that you had with him on the evening of the
10 20th of April, 1993. This is Brigadier Marin
11 testifying before this Tribunal, starting on line 2:
12 "A There are some events that remain clear
13 in my mind during the time that General
14 Blaskic was in Zenica. I shall now go
15 on to General Blaskic's return from
17 I have already said that I actually
18 met him during the war, so I noticed on
19 his face that he was worried and
20 depressed, and he uttered only one
21 sentence and I will try to remember it
22 fully. 'I have been informed that in
23 the conflicts in the territory of the
24 Vitez municipality, and especially in
25 Ahmici, there were a large number of
1 people killed, among whom there,
2 civilians.' That was the information he
3 conveyed, and it was then that I learned
4 that in Ahmici a large number of people
5 had been killed, among whom there were
7 Now, General, your chief of staff and your
8 chief of operations, Brigadier Marin, testified under
9 oath before this Court that you told him about crimes
10 in Ahmici two days before you received
11 Colonel Stewart's letter; isn't that right?
12 A. That is not right. In my statement I also
13 testified about this event, and this event occurred on
14 the 20th of April, 1993, at the meeting in Zenica, when
15 during a heated debate Dzemo Merdan said, "You killed
16 people down there by the road. There are people lying
17 in the ditch by the road or next to the road."
18 He did not specify that this pertained to a
19 particular position. He said, "Down there." That was
20 my association, and I testified about that before this
21 Court that this could have been by the road, along the
22 road, Ahmici, Nadioci, Sivrino Selo, Santici.
23 When I arrived, I asked Slavko Marin to
24 collect the reports for me, and I asked him whether we
25 had any information that we got from our subordinates
1 about this kind of a deed, but I was also surprised at
2 the meeting that this assertion of Dzemo Merdan's was
3 passed over when I reacted and when I said the joint
4 commission investigate that particular assertion.
5 Q. Well, General, in response to a question by
6 Judge Jorda, on page 18916, Judge Jorda was asking you
7 about Colonel Stewart's letter and said very clearly,
8 on line 12, Judge Jorda asked:
9 "JUDGE JORDA: I would ask General Blaskic
10 to make it very clear. This was the
11 first time that you heard anybody say
12 anything about Ahmici; is that correct?
13 That was the first time?
14 "A Yes, Mr. President, that was the
15 first ..."
16 Excuse me, General.
17 "... that was the first time that I was
18 faced with the concrete name of the
20 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, could you read the rest
21 of the answer?
22 MR. KEHOE: You can read it on redirect,
24 MR. HAYMAN: If you're purporting to quote
25 the transcript, you should quote it accurately, Mr.
1 President. That is the problem.
2 MR. KEHOE: Judge Jorda reads as follows:
3 "JUDGE JORDA: From Colonel Stewart. Yes, I
4 understand that, General Blaskic."
5 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel is misquoting the
6 transcript, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, let me tell you
8 that I don't want you to interrupt the Prosecution
9 counsel. You will have the right to redirect and you
10 will exercise that right. I have already made this
11 comment to you yesterday.
12 MR. HAYMAN: But I state my witness can't
13 read this himself. He doesn't read the language, and I
14 think that that is a difficulty.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Your witness is listening to
16 the excerpt of the transcript being read by the
17 Prosecutor. The Prosecutor cited the page to you. If
18 you don't agree with the entire transcript, when you
19 exercise your right to redirect you will state that the
20 Prosecutor truncated or, should I say, only took out of
21 the deposition what was of interest to him and you can
22 correct that situation.
23 What I contest in your interruptions is that
24 at the same time, you are giving indications on how to
25 answer to General Blaskic. That's not proper. The
1 General is a witness here.
2 You don't agree with me, but I know what the
3 Rules tell me I have to do. That's what I wanted to
4 tell you.
5 MR. HAYMAN: I don't agree with you,
6 Mr. President, because there is no way my client knows
7 what's in the rest of the transcript. He can't read it
8 and he doesn't have it in front of him. I am simply
9 pointing out that the Prosecution is not reading --
10 quoting an excerpt of the transcript. He's taking a
11 part of an answer and he's redacting parts and
12 presenting --
13 JUDGE JORDA: If, Mr. Hayman, we were to cite
14 all of the 25.000 pages of transcript so that the
15 General could answer you, we would admit that that
16 would be difficult. The right of redirect exists for
17 that reason. That's your right which you can exercise
18 in a few days. In a few days, you will have to say, on
19 your side, say that "At this or that moment, you made
20 my client say this or that. General Blaskic, you have
21 a statement that you want to make clarifications about
22 eight lines later." What I regret here is the way that
23 you are interrupting the proceedings at the time that
24 the Prosecutor is conducting his cross-examination,
25 which he can conduct the way he likes. That's all.
1 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. General, Judge Jorda asks at line 20:
4 "JUDGE JORDA: From Colonel Stewart, yes, I
5 understand that, General Blaskic. What
6 I'm asking is you to tell us
7 specifically whether this was the first
8 time that you had heard something spoken
9 about Ahmici and what happened? That
10 was the 22nd of April; is that correct?
11 A Mr. President, there are two questions
12 there, as far as I'm concerned. I first
13 heard Ahmici being mentioned in this
14 letter, but as far as the suffering of
15 civilians is concerned, I first heard
16 about that on the 20th of April, 1993 at
17 the meeting in Zenica ..."
18 A. I don't know. Could you please slow down?
19 Now I heard in the interpretation that I was, on the
20 22nd of April, 1993, at a meeting in Zenica. Never did
21 I say that I was in Zenica at a meeting on the 22nd of
22 April, 1993. This is way too fast, and I'm not in a
23 position to follow what you've been reading.
24 Q. General, you received a letter from Colonel
25 Stewart on the 22nd of April, 1993. Judge Jorda's
1 question is about that particular point.
2 "JUDGE JORDA: ... What I'm asking you is to
3 tell us specifically whether this was
4 the first time that you had heard
5 something spoken about Ahmici and what
6 happened? That was the 22nd of April;
7 is that correct?
8 A Mr. President, there are two questions
9 there, as far as I'm concerned. I first
10 heard Ahmici being mentioned in this
11 letter ..."
12 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
13 MR. HAYMAN: Can our client see the
14 transcript, Mr. President? I know you don't have it in
15 front of you. You can't see that counsel is redacting
16 my client's answer --
17 MR. KEHOE: I'll read the whole portion if we
18 can get through this. I'll read what I just read
19 before --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Let me repeat once again that
21 the witness is big enough to say what he needs to say.
22 I am sorry for having to repeat that, but I am prepared
23 to satisfy you on that point.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 "A I first heard Ahmici mentioned in this
1 letter, but as far as the suffering of
2 civilians is concerned, I first heard
3 that on the 20th of April, 1993 at the
4 meeting in Zenica when Dzemo Merdan, in
5 a heated debate got up and said, 'You
6 down there killed civilians.'"
7 Q. Now, General, did you tell Slavko Marin that
8 civilians had been murdered in Ahmici in your
9 conversation with him on the 20th of April, 1993? Did
10 you or did you not? "Yes" or "No"?
11 A. As far as I remember, I asked for all reports
12 to be submitted to me in connection with the murdered
13 civilians, that is to say, all the reports that we
14 received on that day and until that day. Possibly I
15 did not specify that area, but when he said, "By the
16 road," then I thought of the places near the road in
17 that village, and it was the unit of the military
18 police that was in that part of the front line near the
20 Q. So did you mention Ahmici to Marin or did you
21 not? "Yes" or "No"?
22 A. I do not recall having mentioned it to him.
23 I cannot recall at this moment whether I mentioned
24 Ahmici to him or not, but I still state that it is the
25 first time that I specifically heard of the village of
1 Ahmici in Colonel Stewart's letter on the 22nd of
2 April, 1993, that is to say, about the crime and
3 everything else that is mentioned in the letter.
4 Q. Well, General, you did know that the area
5 that Merdan was talking about was by Ahmici; isn't that
7 A. Merdan, and I'm quoting him now, "You are
8 down here. You killed people down here. Corpses of
9 civilians are in the ditch by the road and about 500
10 persons were killed." Then I said to him that I
11 suggest that there be a joint commission in order to
12 carry out an investigation and to have a report on all
13 these allegations, and Mr. Ejup Ganic interrupted this
14 discussion and said, I quote: "Let us leave the dead
15 aside. Let us behave responsibly. Let the commanders
16 agree on a cessation of fire, of combat now, and then
17 we will take care of the dead. This has to be
18 stopped," end of quote.
19 Q. Well, General, do you have any reason to
20 doubt that when Marin says that it was clear in his
21 mind that you told him it was Ahmici, that you, in
22 fact, told him it was Ahmici? Do you have any reason
23 to doubt Brigadier Marin's testimony before this
25 A. I do not know what Dzemo Merdan meant, what
1 he thought, because I did not have any opportunity to
2 share views with him on the allegation that he made.
3 But at that meeting, he did not mention the village
4 with a single gesture. I personally understood him to
5 be saying when he said "by the road," that he was
6 referring to all the villages by the road and on the
7 other side of Kuber, when he said "down there."
8 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I'd like to
9 ask a question. Between the 16th of April at 5.30 in
10 the morning and the 22nd of April, through the letter,
11 you discovered -- give me the letter. You learned from
12 the letter from Colonel Stewart about the massacre in
14 If I've understood correctly, Busovaca
15 Television was aware of what had happened. You were
16 aware that there were combat operations in Ahmici
17 because you were a military leader. Valenta was
18 aware. Cerkez was aware, apparently. Your own chief
19 of staff was aware. Your enemies were aware. Along
20 the road, you were aware. My question therefore is how
21 can you explain that you are the only one, you were the
22 commander in chief of the Operative Zone of Central
23 Bosnia, were not aware of what had happened? You had a
24 radio which allowed you to receive transmissions,
25 communications. Therefore, you were a chief who was
1 not at all aware of any massacres that had taken place
2 exactly five kilometres along the road from your Vitez
3 headquarters, and you even said this morning to Judge
4 Shahabuddeen that, as the crow flies, you could see the
5 glowing of the fires in Ahmici, and you know that there
6 were military operations being conducted in Ahmici.
7 How can you explain to the Judges militarily
8 that you were not aware of anything, really anything,
9 anything at all? You were the chief who was aware of
10 nothing. You were unaware of everything happening four
11 kilometres from your headquarters. Everybody knows
12 except you. Could you answer the Judges?
13 A. I can, Your Honour. Mr. President, Colonel
14 Stewart, who wrote this letter to me on the 22nd of
15 April, found out himself on the 22nd about what had
16 happened, although on the 16th of April, he had
17 armoured vehicles, and his vehicles were in Ahmici and
18 his scouts were in Ahmici. I did not have any armoured
19 vehicles, and I was not in a position to leave my
20 command post and to go into that area because then I
21 would have completely neglected my own duty. I did not
22 have a radio communication --
23 JUDGE JORDA: You're not answering my
24 question. You had staff meetings every morning. You
25 would gather together with your brigade commanders
1 every morning.
2 A. I did not have a meeting on a single
3 morning. I practically put together three mornings
4 into one single day, as much as my physical abilities
5 allowed me to do so. Fighting was going on. From the
6 16th of April onwards, there was incessant fighting,
7 including the 20th of April, four days of fighting. I
8 was tied up at my command post. Also, it is not
9 mentioned here what is this that Mr. Valenta knows? I
10 know that there was fighting in Ahmici and I never
11 denied that in this Court, but I don't know that a
12 crime was committed in Ahmici, and that is the core of
13 the matter here. Does Valenta say in his statement --
14 is he saying that a crime had been committed or does he
15 know that something happened in Ahmici? What is he
17 Further on, I did not have radio
18 communications at any point. I know that there was
19 fighting in Ahmici, and that a crime was committed,
20 that I learned of regrettably only from Colonel
21 Stewart's letter. I wonder how come he didn't know
22 earlier than the 22nd when he had his own soldiers in
23 Ahmici on the 16th.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Well, we will find that out
25 when Colonel Stewart comes. That's when we will get
1 the answers. Judge Rodrigues wishes to ask a
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I think we already have the
4 answer to that question. One does not need Colonel
5 Stewart to know that on the 16th of April, 1993 a
6 document which we read today, it is Exhibit 690 which
7 says on page 3, I think it's page 3, yes, at 14.15
8 hours, he refers to Ahmici as having burned houses
9 along with other things along the road. I think that
10 Colonel Stewart already knew by the 16th of April at
11 14.00 hours, 14.45 I think it was actually.
12 I would like to go back to the question that
13 the President asked you, General Blaskic. You answered
14 several times when the Prosecutor asked you a question
15 that you could not see the fire. I could go a little
16 further back. We also spoke about logistics and we
17 spoke about munitions. What type of munitions, in your
18 opinion, were used to destroy Ahmici? What kind of
19 weapons? What kind of ammunition?
20 A. I'm going to present my opinion. If we're
21 talking about the type of weapons, it is mostly light
22 infantry arms, that is to say, automatic rifles, and
23 possibly there might have been some smaller calibre
24 anti-armour weapons.
25 As for the type of munitions, infantry
1 weapons use regular bullets and also incendiary
2 bullets. I'm not sure and I do not have information on
3 what was used, but infantry weapons could have used
4 both one and the other; however, when there is fighting
5 in built-up areas, and there was fighting in some 20
6 built-up areas in Vitez, then it is possible for a
7 regular bullet to cause a fire. For example, if there
8 is dry straw or hay in a shed, even that can put it on
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Was it possible to hear the
11 noise coming from those weapons, the explosions in
12 Vitez or was it not possible?
13 A. That morning, the entire town was
14 reverberating with detonations and different explosions
15 in some 20 places, so it was hard to detect what was
16 going on where. It was the easiest to hear the
17 explosions that were directed at the hotel itself.
18 Those I heard very well myself.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But it was normal to see
20 other people coming in and going out or going back and
21 forth between Vitez and to a place close to Ahmici.
22 Since you were the commander of the Operative Zone, it
23 would be normal to acknowledge that someone gave you
24 the information? It would be completely natural. My
25 question is that -- well, you don't know. You didn't
1 know. That was what Judge Jorda asked you. But I
2 would almost like to ask you the following: You didn't
3 know, but did you want to know?
4 A. Well, certainly. I talked on these two
5 remaining phones, and I cautioned commanders that they
6 should submit to me information on all events, and I
7 asked them to be as precise as possible and for the
8 information to be as timely as possible. But that
9 morning, I did not even have all my co-workers there
10 because they didn't manage to come.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I am only speaking about
12 this morning, between the 16th and the 17th of April.
13 You had at least two telephones. You were in the
14 basement of the Hotel Vitez, and you had two
15 telephones, at least two of them. Did nobody from
16 outside inform you? Because for your tasks, for your
17 command, it was important to know that.
18 A. Certainly, it was important, and I received
19 regular reports and extraordinary reports and reports
20 that I had specifically asked for, and I did receive
21 reports that fighting was going on in Ahmici. However,
22 the problem was that these reports were not correct.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, if, for
24 you and in your opinion, the information was important,
25 on the 22nd of April at least, you noted that all the
1 people hid that information from you, and, therefore,
2 Mario Cerkez knew, Dario Kordic knew, everybody knew,
3 everyone except you. What were your thoughts at the
4 time? If it was important, you were the commander of
5 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, you knew that all
6 responsibility that happened in Ahmici would fall on
7 you, and you noted that everybody hid the information
8 from you. What were your thoughts at that moment, at
9 that very moment?
10 A. Your Honour, at that moment, then, I did not
11 believe that all these people were concealing this
12 information from me. I did not hold that position.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: That was true. You
14 realised that all of those people were hiding that
15 information from you. What were your thoughts at that
17 A. At that time, I only established that I was
18 receiving false reports from the commander of the 4th
19 Battalion of the military police and that he had not
20 submitted correct information to me. Until this
21 present day, I do not know whether Valenta, Cerkez, and
22 Kordic had such information about what was mentioned a
23 few minutes ago.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me, but we already
25 know that. We have the conclusion, and you have the
1 same conclusion as well, that those people, that is,
2 your colleagues, hid that information from you. Let us
3 start with that hypothesis. What were the conclusions
4 you drew? What were your thoughts about that
6 A. If you are referring to my immediate
7 associates, I --
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm speaking about you; I'm
9 thinking about you. What did you think? What lesson
10 could you draw from those facts, from those
11 conclusions, from those observations?
12 A. Your Honour, perhaps I didn't understand this
13 right, but the way I understand you is that I came to
14 the conclusion that the commander of the 4th Battalion
15 concealed information from me that he was aware of.
16 Not at any moment did I --
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: What about Mario Cerkez --
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: -- did he hide the
20 information from you? What about Dario Kordic, did he
21 hide information from you?
22 A. I don't know what he knew. I don't know what
23 he knew, but I'm convinced that Mario Cerkez did not
24 hide information before me. He knew about the
25 fighting, I knew about combat operations, but about the
1 crime, there is an essential difference here. Until
2 this present day, I don't know that Mario Cerkez knew
3 that and that he concealed it from me.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But, General, I think I
5 have to go back. At least by the 22nd or on the 22nd
6 of April you noted that there were many people inter
7 alia who knew about the crime and they hid that
8 information from you?
9 A. On the 22nd of April, Your Honour, I became
10 conscious of the fact that the commander of the 4th
11 Battalion had been sending false reports to me. My
12 associates in the command had all the reports that they
13 received, and they were all unified into one list.
14 From those reports and the operative diary, I never
15 received information similar to the information that
16 Colonel Stewart got.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Perhaps we'll go back to
18 that question later, but I think that there is a doubt
19 which has to be dispelled. I think, for the time
20 being, that's all we'll say about that.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
22 Mr. Kehoe, let me remind you we have not yet reached
23 the 22nd of April, we're still on the 19th of April.
24 Is that right?
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Actually,
1 we're at the 20th at this juncture. The conversation
2 between Marin and Blaskic was the evening of the 20th.
3 JUDGE JORDA: I'm sorry. That's right, the
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. General, just using your own logic, you
7 assumed that when Merdan stood up at this meeting in
8 Zenica and told you about these 500 people killed by
9 the ditch, you assumed that that was the ditch near
10 Ahmici, didn't you?
11 A. He said that they were lying alongside the
12 road in the ditch, and the ditch passes both through
13 Ahmici, Nadioci, Santici, and I assumed that it was
14 that main road that was in question.
15 Q. Well now, on the 21st of April, knowing or
16 assuming that these bodies are lying in that ditch, did
17 you call Pasko Ljubicic on the phone, bring him into
18 your office or talk to him on the phone and say "Pasko,
19 what happened down there?" Did you do that?
20 A. I did not do that, but I asked Slavko Marin
21 to collect all the reports, to unify them, and to check
22 and see whether we had information of that kind,
23 because I was surprised that through that assertion of
24 Dzemo Merdan in Zenica that this had been passed over
25 and that nobody had reacted to something of the sort.
1 Q. General, the one person that could provide
2 you the most information, the one commander that could
3 provide you the most information was Pasko Ljubicic,
4 concerning the activities around Ahmici; isn't that
6 A. Quite certainly, but he should have given me
7 that kind of information on the 16th, 17th, 18th, and
8 19th already. If he had been supplying me with false
9 information up until then --
10 Q. That's fine, General. Yet you, on the 21st
11 of April, after hearing about the massacre of
12 civilians, don't try to call or meet the most important
13 commander that could tell you about what happened in
14 Ahmici; isn't that right?
15 A. That is not right, because he told me what
16 happened up until the 20th and even up to the 22nd, if
17 you will. His reports were signed and clearly testify
18 to the fact that he was not telling me the truth.
19 Q. General, you came back from this meeting on
20 the 20th of April, 1993. On the 21st of April or up
21 until you received the letter from General Stewart on
22 the 22nd, did you make any effort to contact Pasko
23 Ljubicic and ask him what he knew about these dead
24 civilians in Ahmici, "Yes" or "No"?
25 A. I could not ask him what he knew about the
1 dead civilians in Ahmici because nobody specified
2 them. What was specified was civilians along the
3 roadside. I gave instructions that all reports should
4 be collected together and that they should be
5 preliminarily studied to see whether we had reports of
6 that kind in our operational reports. On the 21st, in
7 the morning, I was at the meeting in Vitez chaired by
8 the UN
9 Q. So the answer is you never bothered to ask
10 Pasko Ljubicic one question on the 21st or the 22nd
11 until you receive Stewart's letter about these dead
12 bodies down in the ditch by that road. Is that your
14 A. I have said and told you what measures I
15 took, and it was not specifically stated that it was
16 the village of Ahmici until I had received
17 Colonel Stewart's letter. Once I had received that
18 letter, I became conscious that all the reports were
19 incorrect, that is to say, that they were false.
20 Q. But you assumed that the village was Ahmici,
21 didn't you, General, because in response to a question
22 by Judge Shahabuddeen, when Judge Shahabuddeen was
23 talking to you about what Merdan said, you noted on
24 page 18930, he said:
25 "A 'Look, you have killed hundreds of
1 people down there. There are civilians
2 there too in the ditch by the road.
3 There are 500 people who were
4 killed,' and he sat down."
5 Judge Shahabuddeen asked you where was the
6 ditch of which he was speaking, and your answer was:
7 "A I assumed that this might have been in
8 the area of Ahmici."
9 A. Well, in the area along the roadside. The
10 whole road which goes from Ahmici, Santici, Sivrino
11 Selo, et cetera.
12 Q. Well, General, let me move to another point.
13 When you got this information from Merdan on the
14 evening of the 20th, did you bother to go down to the
15 area by the ditch on the 21st to find out what had
16 happened, if there were bodies down there, if civilians
17 had been killed? Did you bother to do that or did you
18 send anybody down there to do that?
19 A. I returned late at night, at 23.00 or
20 something of that kind. I was returned by the UNPROFOR
21 vehicles, in the same way that I was transported by
22 UNPROFOR. Then the focus of our activities was to halt
23 combat activities.
24 Had I been able to, I would certainly have
25 toured the area. However, it was very difficult to
1 affect a ceasefire.
2 Q. Are you saying that the area was inaccessible
3 to you and other members of your staff or other members
4 of the HVO?
5 A. No. I'm saying that at that time, in view of
6 the circumstances under which I was functioning and the
7 possibilities of communication, priority was given to
8 achieving a halt to the shooting, and that was
9 General Morillon's priority and the other people
10 present at the meeting.
11 Already, on the 21st, I had another meeting
12 where these questions were discussed, and the leaders
13 of the BH army and the HVO attended the meeting. Even
14 then, nobody went to Ahmici. They visited Kula in
15 Busovaca, because I believe they did not attach,
16 although they too were present at the meeting in
17 Zenica, they didn't attach any importance to the
18 assertions made by Dzemo Merdan, because they had been
19 passed over in silence.
20 Q. Well, General, on the 21st, isn't it a fact
21 that ECMM sent a team down to Ahmici to inspect it?
22 A. I don't know what the European Monitors did
23 on the 21st, but I know full well that at the joint
24 meeting between the chief of the main staff of the BH
25 army and the chief of the main staff of the HVO, a
1 decision was reached to tour the position of Kula at
2 Busovaca and that in no detail was the village of
3 Ahmici mentioned, although Dzemo Merdan was there too.
4 Q. Let me show you an ECMM report, sir. It is
5 from the 21st of April, 1993.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution
7 Exhibit 696.
8 MR. KEHOE: I'm interested, Mr. Usher, in
9 part (D) at the bottom. It should be 9(D). It starts
10 with, "During the afternoon."
11 Q. This is a Busovaca joint commission report of
12 the 29th of April, 1993, excuse me, 21st of April,
13 1993. The author, cut off, is Major Morsink, now
14 Colonel Morsink.
15 "(D) During the afternoon, the team and
16 ICRC went on their own coordinated mission. The team
17 investigated in (1) Ahmici west - All Muslims gone and
18 in prison in Dubravica. (2) Ahmici east - 90 per cent
19 of all houses as well as the mosque destroyed. No
20 people left. One dead body in a garage 15 metres
21 south-east of mosque. Reported to the local
22 authority. (3) Novaci - Approximately 200 Muslim women
23 and children living in three houses. Half of them
24 would like to be evacuated. (4) Rijeka - A few Muslim
25 families, NTR. (5) Grbavica - A few Croat families.
1 One family would like to be evacuated. ICRC and UNHCR
2 responsible representatives," I suppose, "informed of
4 Now, these teams, General, include -- or the
5 ECMM team for the Busovaca joint commission, those
6 teams include HVO representatives, don't they?
7 A. In the European Monitoring Mission, the
8 information that you're asking me about, it was not
9 sent to me by the representatives, although I attended
10 the meeting of the 21st. I know about the joint
11 commission for Busovaca dating back to 1993, January
12 1993, with the members of the HVO and
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which took part in the work of that
14 commission. On the 21st of April, 1993, I think that a
15 joint commission was set up on that particular day for
16 Vitez. I do not have information that the commission
17 spent any time in Ahmici or do I have the information
18 that you have just read out to me. I'm hearing this
19 for the first time.
20 Q. Well, do you know that a member of the HVO,
21 Boro Jozic, went with this Busovaca joint commission
22 team for this inspection of Ahmici on the 21st?
23 A. No. I had no knowledge of that up until
25 Q. Well, General, let us go back to what you
1 did. You did not bother sending anyone over to the
2 Ahmici area to find out whether or not the killings of
3 civilians, as alleged by Merdan, was true, did you?
4 A. That is not true. I received that
5 information with a certain amount of reservation
6 because all the officials at the meeting asked to stop
7 this information. Merdan did not continue to react.
8 That was the only time that Merdan reacted.
9 After the discussion of Ljubo Ganic,
10 everybody agreed that we focus on halting the
11 hostilities. Apart from that, in my own command, I had
12 far fewer associates at that time because two of my
13 associates had already been wounded, Pilicic and
14 Prskalo. Had my proposal been adopted on the occasion
15 that a joint commission check Merdan's assertion, then
16 I would have undertaken the tour, and had the ceasefire
17 been achieved as well.
18 Q. Well, did you take Merdan's allegations
19 seriously? Do you think they were serious
21 A. I think that he overemphasised the number --
22 exaggerated the number of casualties but I did take
23 what he said seriously. I did take what Merdan said
24 seriously, even if he did not repeat his allegation.
25 As soon as I returned, I asked that all information
1 that came into the command of the Operative Zone be
2 checked out to ascertain whether there would be any
3 information to bear out Dzemo Merdan's allegation. I
4 had no information from the command which would go to
5 support this assertion by Dzemo Merdan.
6 Q. Well, the fact is, General, that you never
7 sent anybody specifically down to that area to see if
8 what Merdan was saying was true in any respect.
9 A. Under those conditions, I wasn't in a
10 position to send anybody to the area. I had commanders
11 in the area who informed me about all the goings on
13 Q. Well, General, who ordered the bodies to be
14 started to be cleaned up on the 21st of April in the
15 village of Ahmici? Who ordered that?
16 A. On the 21st, is that what you're asking me?
17 Q. 21st of April. Who in the HVO ordered that
18 bodies, dead bodies, be picked up in Ahmici, given the
19 fact that you had received these allegations from
20 Merdan on the night of the 20th?
21 A. I did not issue an order of that kind and I
22 don't know that any such order was issued. I know
23 there was an order that the civil protection should see
24 to the area, and that was on the basis of an order from
25 General Petkovic and General Halilovic.
1 This clearing up was on both sides, and this
2 was performed by the civil protection units. Civil
3 protection receives orders exclusively from the
4 civilian authorities.
5 Q. Well, General, led me read you the testimony
6 of Witness K, who recounts the picking up of bodies in
7 Ahmici on the 21st. At 4191:
8 "A On the 21st we heard some strange
9 noise. We saw personnel carriers, the
10 U.N. ones, which came up from the main
11 road and stopped in front of the mosque
12 in Ahmici. We saw some U.N. soldiers
13 climbing out of these personnel carriers
14 and as we were observing, we saw that
15 there were three men who approached the
16 house where we were staying. They had
17 blue uniforms and they had gas masks on
18 their heads.
19 We were in this house and one of
20 these men entered the kitchen. The
21 other one went upstairs and the third
22 stayed behind.
23 We pulled back further under that
24 staircase. They went through the house
25 and then they came out.
1 We thought that they were UNPROFOR
2 and we started to come out. My father
3 went out first, and then my uncle, and
4 then myself. Father said, 'People,
5 do not be afraid. We will not do
6 anything to you,' and then one of those
7 men in the blue uniforms jumped up. He
8 was startled and he said, 'Jesus
9 Christ. We're looking for the dead ones
10 and there are still some alive.'"
11 Turning to the next page, 4192:
12 "A The one standing next to him waved, and
13 I noticed from the house that the two
14 soldiers were running up the road, one
15 in a camouflage uniform and one in a
16 black uniform. Then the curses started
17 immediately. They cursed our Balija
18 mothers and they said, 'Kill,' but the
19 man who said 'Jesus Christ,' he said,
20 'Take these men up in front of the
22 So we started from there and they
23 took us up there. We had to put our
24 hands behind our heads and we had to
25 look down.
1 Q Let me stop you there, Witness K. Did
2 you notice any insignia on the uniform
3 of either the soldier in black uniform
4 or the soldier in the camouflage
6 A On the black uniform I only saw the word
7 'Joker' embroidered. I do not know
8 which arm.
9 Q At this point had you concluded that,
10 these soldiers and the men dressed in
11 blue, with the gas masks, were not with
13 A Yes. We concluded that these men were
14 not UNPROFOR.
15 Q When you went outside, and they took you
16 outside and you said you had to put your
17 hands on your head, did you see any
18 bodies, any dead bodies?
19 A I saw a body by the gate leading up to
20 the house. It was like a skeleton. It
21 was all burnt out, singed below the
22 knees. It was more singed than burnt,
23 this body. I noticed shoes on the
24 body's feet, the same kind of shoes that
25 our neighbour from number 7 owned.
1 Q Witness K, you said you recognised it by
2 the shoes and that the body was singed.
3 Did you think that the body had been
4 dumped there or the body had been burnt
6 A It was dumped there because you could
7 not see any grass that burnt around the
8 body, and we had also heard some voices
9 beforehand, something to the effect that
10 this body was dumped there.
11 Q Earlier, had one of these men told you
12 that they were looking for the dead
14 A He said, when he said, 'Jesus Christ, we
15 were looking for the dead ones and there
16 are still some live ones here.'"
17 Now, General, the individuals that are
18 dressed in the blue uniforms, those are the Civil
19 Defence people who were assigned to the body pick-up;
20 isn't that right?
21 A. I know that the members of the Civil Defence
22 wore blue uniforms, but I know that I did not issue
23 orders to the Civil Defence to collect dead bodies, and
24 I believe that nobody from my command did so.
25 I do know of one operation to clear up the
1 battlefield. I think it was on the 28th or the 29th of
2 April, on both sides.
3 Q. Well, General, would you agree that somebody
4 in the HVO command had to order the Civil Defence to go
5 clean up these bodies in Ahmici? Would you agree with
7 A. The Civil Defence orders are issued by the
8 civilian authorities to the Civil Defence, so I don't
9 see how that could have happened. I know for certain
10 that nobody from my command issued any command of that
11 kind, nor did I issue an order of that kind.
12 Q. Well, General, this was the day after your
13 meeting with Merdan in Zenica; wasn't it?
14 A. The date corresponds, but I underline that I
15 hear about that order of the 21st of April, 1993 for
16 the first time. I never issued an order like that.
17 Q. Well, let us turn to the 22nd and the meeting
18 of the Busovaca joint commission where Major Morsink
19 disclosed before the joint commission what he saw in
21 Now, your representative to the Busovaca
22 joint commission was Franjo Nakic; isn't that right?
23 A. Franjo Nakic was a member of the joint
24 commission, together with Dzemo Merdan.
25 Q. Did Franjo Nakic come back to the Hotel Vitez
1 on the morning of the 22nd and tell you what
2 Major Morsink had discussed and what he had seen in
3 Ahmici the previous day? Did Nakic tell you that?
4 A. I don't recall Nakic coming back. Usually
5 every morning he would go to work with the joint
6 commission and would stay there until late at night,
7 but I'll take a look at my chronology.
8 Q. General, you can look at that at the break.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, as opposed to
10 taking the time, we will hold the question in abeyance
11 and let the witness look at it during the break so that
12 it doesn't take up court time.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You can look for it
14 during the break and then answer the question. Move to
15 the next question, please.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. General, the fact of the matter is that you
18 knew exactly what happened in Ahmici well prior to
19 receiving the letter from Stewart on the 22nd; isn't
20 that true, sir?
21 JUDGE JORDA: You have to ask questions, not
22 make assertions. If we're beginning with an assertion,
23 you have to follow it up with a question.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Sir, you knew prior to receiving Stewart's
1 letter exactly what happened in Ahmici and that
2 civilians and citizens had been massacred there; isn't
3 that right, sir?
4 A. No.
5 Q. The fact of the matter is, sir, that any
6 number of individuals around you knew, and according to
7 your testimony, you are the only person who didn't; is
8 that your position?
9 A. I have already said that I knew about the
10 information that I received from my direct subordinates
11 and the information that was recorded in my operative
12 diary, that is to say, the diary of the command.
13 Perhaps individuals --
14 JUDGE JORDA: That's not the question,
15 General Blaskic. That was not the question. The
16 question was whether all the people who were named to
17 you and had responsibilities, whether they were
18 political individuals or subordinates or superiors,
19 seemed, I repeat, "seemed," we don't know, but seemed
20 to know certain things that you apparently, and I
21 repeat, "apparently," did not know. I think that's the
23 A. That is not how I understood the question.
24 If that is the question, then I can say that I believe
25 that the members of my command who were together with
1 me in the basement of the hotel quite certainly did not
2 have information that they would hide from me.
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then rephrase the
4 question. It's a very important question,
5 Mr. Prosecutor.
6 It has to do with knowing whether you were in
7 a command position and could, therefore, know certain
8 things or if you were a commander who, in the end,
9 between those units directly subordinated to --
10 civilian units and units that received their orders
11 from Mostar, that's the military police, and the
12 politicians, because you weren't involved in politics,
13 that was for the politicians. As far as the civilians
14 go, no, because they were civilian authorities and you
15 were a military person, and between the point you were
16 a military person and this point, you were taking care
17 of the front with the Serbs. Do you accept that you
18 could not know a certain number of things that all
19 those people around you knew? That's the question. I
20 think it's a very simple one.
21 A. I can only accept that certain individuals
22 outside my command perhaps, that is to say, some of
23 them in the field. For example, we heard testimony
24 from, I think it was, Dr. Mujezinovic who was able to
25 talk to the people living there, living in the village
1 of Ahmici and got information there, and he got
2 information only on the 19th. But I was not in a
3 position to talk to anybody because I was in the
4 basement throughout that time and I was in command down
5 there. So I had to rely on reports from my associates,
6 and I believe that my closest associates knew nothing
7 more than I did myself.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. Let us move to another topic, General, and
11 let me show you --
12 MR. KEHOE: I don't know if you want to take
13 a break now, as I move to another topic, Mr. President,
14 but anything that Your Honour sees fit.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. We will take a 20-minute
17 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.04 p.m.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We will resume now. Please be
21 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, with your
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, please.
24 THE WITNESS: I checked in my chronology, and
25 I established that on the 22nd of April, in the
1 morning, I met with Mr. Nakic. After that meeting, he
2 went to the meeting of the joint commission, and I had
3 my next meeting with Nakic only on the 23rd of April,
4 1993, that is to say, after he finished his work in the
5 joint commission, I believe he went home to rest.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Thank you for the
8 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. If the
9 witness can be given Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/56,
10 456/57, and 456/48.
11 Q. Now, General, taking a look at this first
12 exhibit, which is Stewart's letter to you of the 22nd
13 of April, 1993 concerning the atrocities in Ahmici,
14 General, when you received this letter and you examined
15 it, did you believe what Stewart was telling you was
17 A. When I received this letter, I believed these
18 allegations and I thought they were true.
19 Q. Now, General, your response to this letter is
20 contained in 456/57 where you note in the opening line
21 of number 1:
22 "I am ready to send immediately the
23 investigating commission to the village of Ahmici."
24 Now, General, what investigating commission
25 are you talking about?
1 A. I'm talking about the joint commission that
2 had visited all the contested places until then and
3 where my representatives were.
4 Q. So you are talking about the Busovaca joint
5 commission; is that what you're talking about?
6 A. The joint commission from Busovaca, should I
7 say this once again, was established at the meeting on
8 the 20th or the 21st of April. That's the joint
9 commission I'm talking about where my representatives
10 were, Nakic and his associates.
11 Q. General, did you ever request that joint
12 commission, the Busovaca joint commission, to conduct
13 an investigation of Ahmici? Did you ever request that?
14 A. From my letter of the 23rd of April, it is
15 quite clear that I am referring to the joint
16 commission, and I wish to send them to carry out an
17 investigation. The practice until then was that all
18 contested places where crimes occurred were to be
19 resolved by the joint commission. On the joint
20 commission were certain officials of the security
21 service on behalf of the HVO and I believe security
22 officials from the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina too. For
23 example, such a joint commission went to the village of
24 Katici as well and carried out an investigation when
25 the hostages were taken. I think that it visited
1 Dusina, Lasva, Visnjica, and other places.
2 Q. Did Colonel Stewart understand you to be
3 talking about the Busovaca joint commission when you
4 wrote this letter to him on the 23rd and when you met
5 him on the 24th of April?
6 A. I believe that he understood it because this
7 commission could only have been taken care of by his
8 own people, and they were the only ones who could have
9 driven them there too. He was also present at
10 meetings, and he probably knew what the thesis for the
11 "joint commission" were. At the meeting on the 4th of
12 May, I was quite clear, and I also told him what the
13 composition of the joint commission should have been
14 like too.
15 Q. General, let's look back again at Exhibit
16 695, which is again Colonel Stewart's diary from the
17 4th of May.
18 MR. KEHOE: Again, Mr. Usher, if we could
19 refocus it on page 2, that last paragraph that we
20 chatted about this morning.
21 Q. General, let me read you this paragraph that
22 is now on the ELMO:
23 "When lunch was over, I took the ambassadors
24 into Vitez and there met with Valentin and Blaskic. I
25 stated that nothing had happened about a Commission of
1 Enquiry into Ahmici for 18 days, that nobody was
2 charged or arrested to my knowledge and that I knew the
3 names of men accused -- which I would give to the ECMM
4 ambassadors ..."
5 Colonel Stewart is looking for you to set up
6 an investigating commission, isn't he?
7 A. No, it wasn't that way. At the meeting that
8 I was invited to, I requested, when I took part in the
9 discussion, from Colonel Stewart and from the chairman,
10 Mr. Thebault, that a joint commission be set up. I
11 explained my point of view, saying that that was the
12 only way in which the results of the investigation
13 could be acceptable and that the investigation itself
14 be comprehensive and full. When I was asked how I see
15 the composition of this joint commission, then I
16 explained what I thought the composition of this joint
17 commission should be like.
18 Q. General, did you ever instruct any of your
19 representatives or did you yourself go to the Busovaca
20 joint commission meetings, which were held daily, and
21 ask them to conduct an investigation of Ahmici? If you
22 did, tell us when and who made that request.
23 A. I composed an answer to the letter, and it
24 was quite clear to Colonel Stewart on the 23rd of
25 April, 1993. At the meeting, that is, this document
1 that was here a few minutes ago, the 4th of May, 1993,
2 again I asked two persons in the highest
3 responsibility, that is to say, the chief of the
4 European Mission, Mr. Thebault, and Colonel Stewart,
5 that a joint commission be set up and that this joint
6 commission carry out an investigation. On the 24th of
7 April, I ordered the security service to start an
8 investigation, because after the meeting with Colonel
9 Stewart --
10 Q. I hate to interrupt you, sir, because my
11 question has to do with the Busovaca joint commission
12 that met on a daily basis. My question with regard to
13 those meetings is: Did you ever instruct your
14 representative Nakic or anyone else from the HVO to go
15 to those meetings and request an investigation of
17 A. Just a moment, please. Let me check this in
18 my chronology.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Please, General Blaskic.
20 A. I am trying to check on my meeting with
21 Mr. Franjo Nakic on the 23rd of April. I know that I
22 was together with him, and I know that already on the
23 22nd, I presented my point of view to my associates,
24 that I would ask for a joint commission and for a joint
25 investigation, that I would ask that international
1 institutions take part in the investigation. Now I'm
2 just trying to check whether this was on the 23rd
4 JUDGE JORDA: While the witness is looking
5 for something, who called together that joint
7 MR. KEHOE: As the witness noted, there were
8 the weekly meetings of the Busovaca joint commission
9 that had started and had been ongoing for some time.
10 There were some --
11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
12 MR. KEHOE: These particular meetings were
13 daily meetings. One of the individuals who, as we saw
14 from some of the films and pictures, presided over them
15 was Major Morsink and others. Mr. Friis-Pedersen, I
16 believe, testified about those meetings.
17 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, this is the
18 question: It seems to me, and you will tell me if I'm
19 wrong, on the 23rd of April, if you decided to send an
20 investigating commission, didn't you think that it
21 would have been necessary in your letter to specify
22 with the words saying, for instance, "I'm ready to set
23 up a commission immediately, and I suggest that we set
24 up a joint commission, which seems most appropriate,
25 for establishing the facts." Don't you think so?
1 A. Mr. President, already from the month of
2 January, that is to say, for four months, they had been
3 working through a joint commission, and this had
4 already become a routine thing, that the joint
5 commission actually investigates --
6 JUDGE JORDA: But we're not talking about
7 routine things; we're talking about a crime which, at
8 least theoretically, you had some awareness of, and
9 these are important facts, so important, in fact, that
10 you called for a joint commission to investigate.
11 I don't think that it's self-evident that it
12 was the joint commission. You were not the one who was
13 in charge of that joint commission. You were not the
14 owner, as it were, of that joint commission. You
15 assigned it an investigating role, which it could
16 certainly play, but it seems to me that when one reads
17 the sentence in the French version, I put myself in
18 Colonel Stewart's place, he might legitimately believe
19 that you were going to create an HVO investigating
20 commission at your own initiative, all the more so
21 because you say, thank you, Judge Rodrigues, you say
22 "... send an investigating commission immediately,"
23 and you're not the one who sets it up like that,
24 because in that commission, there were people who were
25 your enemies.
1 My question is: Don't you think that when
2 you chose to write that way, you would mislead Colonel
3 Stewart who might think that you were establishing an
4 investigating commission on your side? It isn't
5 self-evident that it was the joint commission, and if
6 that was self-evident for you, it seems to me that I
7 would have written, "I believe, Colonel, that the joint
8 commission would be the most appropriate."
9 A. Mr. President, perhaps I was not precise when
10 I was saying "routine thing." I was not trying to say
11 that crimes were a routine thing. I was trying to say
12 that the work of the joint commission was. We had
13 already had a joint commission that had been
15 Of course this was a crime. I was not saying
16 that crime was a routine thing, but the form of work of
17 the joint commission was readily recognisable to all,
18 Colonel Stewart and Mr. Thebault included, and the
19 commander of the 3rd Corps.
20 JUDGE JORDA: All right. You've given me
21 your answer. Judge Rodrigues would like a
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, you said
24 that in your letter, and I'm reading, you say, "I am
25 prepared, I am ready," that is right away, "to send
1 immediately an investigating commission." That was
2 your answer to General Stewart. You said to your
3 collaborators in the joint commission, "I'm going to
4 ask that an investigation be carried out with the
5 participation of international organisations." You
6 said that you yourself were very moved when you learned
7 that there had been crimes committed in Ahmici.
8 Therefore, you're saying one thing to
9 Colonel Stewart, you're saying something else to your
10 collaborators, but what were you doing? What action
11 did you take? Because, ultimately, you did not have
12 available to you a commission in order to send
13 something to Colonel Stewart immediately.
14 A. Your Honour, until then, that is to say,
15 until this investigation, all investigations were
16 carried out by the joint commission. My officers, who
17 were on the joint commission, worked according to my
18 instructions too. I understood that on the 23rd, in
19 the morning, that I would issue an order to Franjo
20 Nakic, with whom I drafted this letter, that at the
21 joint commission an investigation be started of the
22 case in Ahmici.
23 Until then, it was a routine thing. Whatever
24 was supposed to be investigated, in Busovaca, and I
25 talked about Lasva, Dusina, Visnjica. At least it was
1 this joint commission that went out to the ground and
2 it was UNPROFOR that provided for their safety.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Excuse me for interrupting
4 you. You said to Franjo Nakic, "Ask immediately that
5 an investigation be carried out into Ahmici." That's
6 what I understood. You said to Nakic, "I'm going to
7 ask for an investigation." Did you give the order to
8 Franjo Nakic to ask the commission to carry out an
9 investigation immediately? Did you do that or did you
11 A. That is what I was looking for here in my
12 notes and that is what I was looking for in my
13 chronology as well, to know exactly what it was like,
14 but I know when I was writing the letter that I told
15 Nakic that that would be our position, my position.
16 The joint commission should carry out an
17 investigation. He was there with me when I was writing
18 this letter, and now I was looking for this piece of
19 information in the chronology.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
21 MR. KEHOE: General, let us look then just a
22 little bit further on this in sequence. Taking your
23 letter to General Stewart, you note, "I am ready to
24 send the investigating commission to the village of
1 In your note to Kordic, Stojic, and Petkovic,
2 and that's 456/58, you note that Stewart is complaining
3 because no commission has been formed.
4 I'm sure you heard Martin Bell testify that
5 during the press conference on the 27th, you stated
6 that a commission was being set up. On the 4th,
7 Stewart again says that nothing had happened about a
8 commission of enquiry into Ahmici for 18 days.
9 Is it your testimony that the commission
10 that's being discussed is the Busovaca joint commission
11 that's been in existence since February of 1993? Is
12 that your testimony?
13 A. First of all, I have about five questions
14 here, so I'll try to answer them one by one. Document
15 456/58 is not a comprehensive document, that is to say,
16 that this document does not contain everything that I
17 said to Colonel Stewart and everything that I wrote in
18 the original part, that is to say, vis-à-vis the main
20 Secondly, I asked for a joint commission, and
21 I told Colonel Stewart about that too, that whatever I
22 have to say to him is contained in my answer to his
24 Further on, after this meeting I issued an
25 order to the assistant for security to carry out an
1 investigation, but I still believed that a joint
2 commission would be set up after all and that is why,
3 on the 27th of April, I said that the joint commission
4 would carry out the investigation. I asked at this
5 meeting, both from Thebault and from Mr. Stewart, that
6 a commission for Ahmici be a joint commission after
7 all. They asked me why. I said for the sake of the
8 objectivity of the findings and the comprehensiveness
9 of the investigation. So that the investigation
10 results would be acceptable to the BH army. They have
11 to have their representatives on the commission too,
12 and I need the help of the U.N., and I need the help of
13 the European Mission, and I need the help of the
14 International Red Cross.
15 Q. General, your representative on the Busovaca
16 joint commission was Franjo Nakic; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you ever order Franjo Nakic to go to the
19 daily Busovaca joint commission meetings and request an
20 investigation of Ahmici, and if you did make that
21 request of Nakic, when did you do so?
22 A. I have to look something up in my
24 I was with Nakic on the 23rd of April when I
25 wrote this letter to Colonel Stewart, and he was also
1 aware of the contents of the letter then and of my
2 position, that is to say, that I would ask for a joint
3 commission to work on the investigation of Ahmici.
4 Q. My question is this: Did Nakic request an
5 investigation of Ahmici by the Busovaca joint
6 commission, and if he did so, when did he do it?
7 A. I don't know whether he asked for this joint
8 investigation, but I know that I did in this letter to
9 Colonel Stewart. On the 24th, I realised that it would
10 be difficult to achieve, and I ordered the assistant
11 for security to carry out an investigation.
12 Q. Do you have any piece of paper, any order,
13 any document that you gave to Franjo Nakic to authorise
14 him to request such an investigation of the Busovaca
15 joint commission, any document to support that?
16 A. That I gave an order in writing to my own
17 chief of staff? I do. In my war diary, I have the
18 meeting with Nakic recorded on the 23rd in the morning,
19 and that he was present when I talked about the letter
20 and the answer to Colonel Stewart, and I know for sure,
21 on the basis of what we discussed today, that he was
22 aware of the fact that I was asking for a joint
23 commission to investigate, but I did not communicate
24 with my own chief of staff by way of issuing written
25 orders. He is my immediate associate.
1 Q. Well, General, let's turn to the document
2 that you discussed before and you refer to 456/58,
3 which is your order of the 24th of April, 1993.
4 Now, during the course of your testimony, you
5 made various references to this order. At page 19077,
6 you noted that: "All my positions were given in
7 writing to the main staff on the 24th of April."
8 On page 19166, you noted that: "Military and
9 political leaders should be in Vitez, and this would
10 give momentum and support to the work of the
11 investigating commission."
12 On 19239, you said: "I sent a letter on the
13 24th of April and expressed to my superiors my stands
14 including that the highest officials should come to the
15 Vitez region."
16 On 19659 to 60 you noted that: "I believe
17 there is a report in which I asked the supreme
18 commander to visit Vitez in order to support us in
19 conducting the investigation."
20 At 20116, you noted that: "Mate Boban had to
21 be in Vitez today." It refers to making a statement
22 about the crime in Ahmici and receiving support from
23 the top political leadership in terms of carrying out
24 an investigation regarding Ahmici.
25 Now, you also noted during your testimony, at
1 page 20115, and again, you reiterated it today, that
2 this document is not complete. Before we look at the
3 contents of this document, General, take a look at the
4 document itself. If we could put the actual original
5 in your hand on the ELMO as opposed to the English.
6 JUDGE JORDA: You're speaking about 456 and
8 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. I'm talking about 58,
9 456/58. I want the Serbo-Croatian copy on the ELMO.
10 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges don't have any
11 version here. What are you going to give us,
12 Mr. Registrar? The witness cannot have the English and
13 the Croatian and the Judges don't have any at all. I
14 don't have it in French, I understand. I never do.
15 Well, almost never, but at least I'd like to have the
16 English version for my colleagues and myself, and the
17 witness has the version in Croatian. There you go.
18 Thank you very much.
19 This is a document, let me say this so that
20 everyone understands what is happening, in the public
21 gallery. This is a document from General Blaskic; is
22 that right?
23 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE JORDA: The minutes of the meeting.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, General, let's take a look at this
2 original. You wrote this document, didn't you?
3 A. I wrote it down in writing. I did not type
4 it out, I wrote it in my own handwriting.
5 Q. Your initials are on page 2 in the lower
6 left-hand side -- excuse me, left-hand side, top left,
7 on page 2. Those are your initials there?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You just noted that it was typed for you?
10 A. The document was written by hand and then the
11 typist typed it out on a typewriter in the form that
12 you see it now.
13 Q. General, this was typed out in your native
14 language, wasn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. To whom did you address it? Who were the
17 individuals to whom you addressed this letter? The
18 vice-president of the Croatian Community of
19 Herceg-Bosna, the head of the Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna defence department, and the HVO
21 headquarters chief, who were those three?
22 A. The vice-president of the Croatian Community
23 of Herceg-Bosna was Dario Kordic; the representative of
24 the defence department was Bruno Stojic; the chief of
25 the main staff of the HVO was Milivoj Petkovic.
1 Q. Now, General, these are very significant
2 people within the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna;
3 isn't that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Before you sent this letter to them, you were
6 very careful, were you not, to ensure that the contents
7 of this were correct; isn't that right?
8 A. I always endeavoured to ascertain whether the
9 contents of a letter were the right ones. Sometimes,
10 depending on the situation, I found myself more or less
11 so, but I always tried to ensure that they were under
12 the given circumstances.
13 Q. So you reviewed it before you sent it out to
14 these three very important people?
15 A. I don't remember. Probably I read through it
16 very quickly.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Don't argue, please. Just ask
18 your questions. Let's move on.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. Did you review it before you sent it out,
21 before you signed it?
22 A. It's difficult for me to say now because it
23 was in 1993, but at all events, I do believe that I
24 cast a quick glance over it and read through it
25 quickly, but I know how I wrote my reports.
1 Q. Now, General, this was a top secret document,
2 wasn't it?
3 A. Well, you see there are no documents written
4 there at the time that did not bear that stamp. On
5 every document, it says "Strictly Confidential," and if
6 every document is strictly confidential, then the
7 question arises as to just how confidential it is and
8 how far we were trained in designating documents as
9 such, that is to say, my associates. But this too has
10 the heading "Strictly Confidential," as, indeed, did
11 every other document at that time.
12 Q. It also has the designation "Top Secret,"
13 doesn't it?
14 A. That is what I'm saying. On all the
15 documents, all military documents, that is what it
17 JUDGE JORDA: Don't have him repeat things,
18 please. Ask questions.
19 MR. KEHOE:
20 Q. General, you authorised the transmission of
21 this document to these three officials within the
22 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; isn't that right?
23 A. Yes, I authorised it. But as I say, I was
24 surprised that only this particular document, that it
25 is not the usual type of document that I usually wrote;
1 it's not like my usual reports. Because I was in
2 Sarajevo with the representatives of UNPROFOR, and I
3 had a lot of meeting of that kind, and this is an
4 exception, that a document of this kind came into being
5 at all.
6 Q. General, take a look at this document. The
7 document flows from page 1 to page 2 where you sign on
8 the second page in the signature block area; isn't that
10 A. I signed it. I'm not questioning that,
11 contesting that, that is as you say, but the form of
12 the document is not logical for me personally because I
13 never wrote documents in this particular way. I don't
14 know how it came about, how there was an error, but
15 this is not a comprehensive, complete document.
16 Q. General --
17 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not following things now.
18 On the ELMO, I see 456/58. We agree, Mr. Prosecutor,
19 that you're speaking about 456/58; is that right?
20 MR. KEHOE: That's right, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: What isn't complete? We don't
22 have all the versions. What isn't complete, in your
23 opinion? General Blaskic, what isn't complete?
24 A. Mr. President, I shall try, in the briefest
25 possible terms, to explain.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Try to be brief. What is
2 incomplete in respect of the version that you have in
3 front of you?
4 A. Well, in this document, on page 1 ...
5 JUDGE JORDA: Put it on the ELMO, and that
6 way everybody, including the public, can see things and
7 the proceedings will be clear. You've got 456/58,
8 which is a report which is addressed to Dario Kordic,
9 Bruno Stojic, and General Petkovic about a discussion
10 that you had with Colonel Stewart on the 24th of April,
11 that is, the day after the one you wrote to Colonel
12 Stewart that you were going to send an investigating
13 commission. That's the document you have before you.
14 We have the version in English. You are saying that it
15 is not complete. What is not complete? We're waiting
16 for you to tell us.
17 A. When, on page 1, I wrote "Colonel Stewart,"
18 then I said what Colonel Stewart told me at the
19 meeting, and I had a dash for each particular point. I
20 would always then write my own name and surname and
21 then go on to say what I told Colonel Stewart at the
22 meeting and divide it up that way. I would usually end
23 the document with my proposals and suggestions
24 possibly, and that is lacking here. It does not say
25 what I told Colonel Stewart at the meeting, and the
1 meeting was between myself and Colonel Stewart.
2 JUDGE JORDA: What's missing?
3 A. What is missing is the section in which I
4 reply to Colonel Stewart's assertions and statements.
5 Then there is no assertion connected to the shelling, I
6 think that was a topic discussed on the 24th of April,
7 1993, that is to say, the shelling, for example, of
8 Zenica, and this is stated on page 2, but that is
9 something that Colonel Stewart said. He told me that.
10 That must have been in the section which speaks about
11 what Colonel Stewart said, his statements, his
12 assertions. So the whole document seems to me to be
13 lacking in one particular section.
14 Then there is the report of the 21st of April
15 which clearly shows the type of report that I wrote.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to give the
17 document back to the Prosecutor. I have nothing
18 further to add.
19 Judge Rodrigues?
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, the
21 document that we have all seen, which is on the ELMO,
22 is it civilian or military in nature?
23 A. The document is of a military nature, and I'm
24 sending out information about a meeting that I had with
25 Colonel Stewart.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Then why did you send this
2 information to the vice-president, Dario Kordic, and to
3 Bruno Stojic? Why did you send it to those two people?
4 A. As far as Bruno Stojic is concerned, he was
5 the defence minister and, therefore, in charge of the
6 military police via the head of the military police
7 administration and, on the other hand, the top official
8 in the army who could influence the sending of an
9 investigation --
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, but why to Dario
12 A. Because I believed that he would inform Mate
13 Boban about this, and if he was not able to inform --
14 if Mate Boban would not be able to come, then this
15 would be important political support in conducting an
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But you always said to us
18 that you received orders only from your superiors,
19 assuming that the information would be going the other
20 way, but through your superiors; am I wrong?
21 A. That is true. Most of the information went
22 in the opposite direction, that is to say, via the
23 superiors, although there were exceptions to this. But
24 if information or if general support was necessary in
25 the field, then it could go -- or if it referred to the
1 political part, then it went to the civilian
2 representatives as well.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, but if you
4 send the information only to your superior, he would
5 have to decide whether the information should be sent
6 to Dario Kordic or to the minister of defence, so that
7 you be consistent with everything you said previously?
8 A. Well, this information was sent, Your Honour,
9 to the meeting, and the meeting was linked to many of
10 the events that occurred, and it was important for me
11 to have the support of leaders from the region.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Kehoe, I want to
14 attract the General's attention to the third paragraph
15 headed "Subject: The massacre of Muslims people in the
16 village of Ahmici, Vitez municipality, and the visit of
17 the Security Council delegation today, 24 April 1993."
18 Have I missed an explanation that might have been given
19 about the reference to the Security Council? Can you
20 help me?
21 A. That is true. That is what it says. Now,
22 whether the delegation was called the Security Council,
23 the U.N. Security Council, or not, I'm not quite sure,
24 but I do know that it was some sort of delegation which
25 visited the area. But what was important for me was
1 that the document was sent to political leaders, for
2 them to be conscious of the fact that the Security
3 Council was dealing with this problem, and that was
4 important for me, to have support in conducting a
5 comprehensive investigation.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
7 Mr. Kehoe, go back to the question about the
8 document, please.
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, this particular document, nobody
11 removed anything from the original text that you sent
12 to these three officials, did they?
13 A. I do not know how it came about that the
14 document was not complete, whether it was a typing
15 error or whatever, but the document is not an original
16 document. It is not as I wrote it because there is a
17 portion missing.
18 Q. General, this is a document that Lieutenant
19 Colonel Jean-Pierre Capelle, retiree of the French army
20 and of the Office of the Prosecutor, was given by the
21 HVO side of the Federation in this form, and this is
22 the form in which you sent it out on the 24th of April,
23 1993, isn't it?
24 A. I did not at any time claim that somebody
25 from the Prosecutor's office edited the document. I
1 just say that it is not the form of document that I
2 usually wrote and that this truly is an exception.
3 Now, whether the typist left out a portion of the
4 document or when the document was sent out or faxed
5 that the error occurred, I don't know. But the
6 document, as far as I'm concerned, is not logical and
7 not complete. I never wrote reports of this kind in
8 this form from meetings.
9 Q. General, this is the document that you signed
10 in this form, isn't it?
11 A. I can see on page 2 that I signed the
12 document, and I am not contesting the fact that that is
13 my signature, but I maintain that the document is
14 incomplete. Why it is incomplete, I don't know
16 JUDGE JORDA: The document is not being
17 contested, Mr. Prosecutor; therefore, continue. But
18 the Judges have heard what the witness has to say about
19 his customs in respect of writing documents. I think
20 he said that it is not complete but that it is his
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. Now, General, this top secret document that
24 you had, how did you transmit this document to Mostar
25 with the signature on it? How did you do that?
1 A. I think it was by an ordinary fax line.
2 Q. Was this a secure fax that you sent this top
3 secret document on?
4 A. I never had a fax like that in the command
5 headquarters. It was the ordinary type of standard,
6 usual fax machine.
7 Q. Now, General, you're saying that this top
8 secret document was just sent over normal telephone
9 lines; is that your testimony?
10 A. I have already stated that while I was the
11 commander of the Vitez military district, I never had
12 occasion to use the crypto-fax. So I used the
13 standard, normal, usual fax that anybody could have
14 taken using another neighbouring fax.
15 Q. Now, General, let us turn to this meeting
16 with Colonel Stewart on the 24th and let's just discuss
17 some of the things that you did or didn't do prior to
18 this meeting. Now, this meeting with Colonel Stewart
19 on the 24th was an important meeting where you
20 discussed serious allegations; isn't that correct, sir?
21 A. Yes, I did have a meeting with Colonel
22 Stewart. Let me just look it up.
23 Q. It's on this document 358, so we don't need
24 to take any -- 456/58, General, reflects the meeting on
25 the 24th, the document that you just looked at.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Colonel Stewart was the highest ranking
3 military person in your particular area around Vitez at
4 the time; is that right?
5 A. In the vicinity of Vitez, in my area, there
6 was also General Morillon, he was head of UNPROFOR for
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because my particular area was not
8 only Vitez but the Lasva pocket, and Colonel Stewart
9 was in the Lasva pocket. Perhaps somebody was from the
10 Dutch and Belgian battalions, but I don't know what
11 rank they held.
12 Q. After you got Stewart's letter on the 22nd of
13 April and prior to this meeting, did you contact
14 Petkovic or Stojic or Kordic about what allegations
15 Stewart had made in his letter to you?
16 A. After I had received the letter from
17 Colonel Stewart, on the 22nd of April, I did, by
18 telephone, inform the chief of the main staff about it,
19 Brigadier Petkovic, that is, and I read him the
20 contents of the letter. Then I discussed the thesis
21 for an answer to Colonel Stewart.
22 Q. Well, did you and Milivoj Petkovic discuss
23 calling Pasko Ljubicic, or Mario Cerkez, or any other
24 officers into your offices on the 23rd so you could
25 ascertain as quickly as possible what had taken place
1 in Ahmici? Did you discuss that?
2 A. With General Petkovic, I discussed the letter
3 from Colonel Stewart. That was an open telephone
4 line. I discussed the answer to the letter, a response
5 to it. As to my doubts, the doubts that I had, I
6 informed, orally, General Petkovic. I think that was
7 sometime around the 28th of April, 1993, that is to
8 say, several days later.
9 Q. General, after you got this letter on the
10 22nd, did you issue an order to all of your
11 subordinates and all independent units that within two,
12 or three, or four hours they should provide you, in
13 writing, all the information in their possession about
15 A. I apologise. I just cannot follow something
16 at that speed. It is a mass of information, but could
17 you slow down, please. I hear you very well but I just
18 cannot follow at that speed.
19 MR. KEHOE: Certainly.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, slow down. The witness
21 has to be able to understand.
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. General, after you received this letter from
1 Stewart on the 22nd of April, did you hand out or send
2 out a written order to all of your commanders and all
3 independent units demanding within two, within three,
4 within four, within five hours, all information in
5 their possession about the events in Ahmici? Did you
6 do that?
7 A. As soon as I received the letter I called
8 Slavko Marin, the head of operations, and asked him to
9 complete all the information that had arrived from the
10 immediate subordinates. The order you're talking about
11 was already issued on the 18th of April, 1993. Point
12 4, in which the commanders immediately subordinate to
13 me were duty-bound to tell me of all the events not
14 only on Ahmici but any other events in their zones of
15 responsibility, and that order was issued on the 18th
16 of April, 1993.
17 Q. Does the order on the 18th of April, 1993 say
18 anything about Ahmici? If you want to see the
19 document, we'll show it to you, General.
20 A. You asked me whether I issued a written order
21 to have information sent in to me in writing linked to
22 the events in Ahmici and the letter. I said that the
23 order had already been issued, and what was essential
24 for me was to complete the file and to review all the
25 information that we had received to date, that is to
1 say, all the information received up until then. So it
2 is an order -- there was no need to issue an order
3 following an order.
4 Q. General, so the answer to my question is
5 after you received this information from Stewart
6 concerning the atrocities in Ahmici, you did not send
7 another order to your subordinates asking for all
8 information concerning crimes in Ahmici; is that right?
9 A. I did not issue an order to my immediate
10 subordinates, but I did issue an order to my immediate
11 associate, the head of the operative section, asking
12 him to complete the file. The file included some 100
14 Q. Now, before you sent this document to
15 Petkovic, and I'm talking about Exhibit 456/58, of the
16 24th of April, before you sent this document to Kordic,
17 Petkovic, and Stojic, did you speak with them on the
18 phone, after your meeting with Stewart but prior to
19 sending this letter?
20 A. I don't remember a conversation of that
21 kind. There were a lot of ongoing activities, and I
22 was with General Petkovic on the 21st in Vitez, at a
23 meeting there. We went there together. He went to
24 Mostar later on and was taken by UNPROFOR. I don't
25 think I talked to him. I don't think I did.
1 Q. General, is this the only letter that you
2 sent to Petkovic, Stojic, and Kordic on the 24th of
3 April, 1993?
4 A. Well, I sent General Petkovic operative
5 reports on all the events. I did this daily, on a
6 daily basis, so that I -- that is the only thing, if
7 you mean connected to the meeting.
8 As to everything that happened on the 24th, I
9 would have to look it up in my chronology, because
10 there were many orders, a lot of activities, and many
11 meetings, and combat activities were ongoing in the
12 region as well.
13 Q. Well, you can examine your chronology at the
14 break or at the end of the day, General, but let me
15 move to the next question concerning the contents of
16 the letter and look at 456/58, and you can pick it up
17 now in its original so you can have it before you, with
18 the assistance of the usher.
19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, could we give the
20 document to him?
21 Q. Now, you noted for us, General, that all of
22 your positions were given to the main staff in writing
23 on the 24th of April. Now, you note at the bottom of
24 the first page that, "I think that Mate Boban should
25 have been in Vitez today." Do you see that?
1 A. Yes, I see that.
2 Q. Now, tell us in this document, General, where
3 you ask or tell these three individuals that you
4 believe there should be an investigation into Ahmici?
5 Show us that in the document.
6 A. Well, I already said that this document is
7 not a complete document at all and that it does not
8 contain all the details that I wrote in relation to my
9 answer to Colonel Stewart at the meeting and related to
10 my positions and the reasons why Mr. Boban came. I
11 didn't think that he was supposed to come to Vitez for
12 a vacation after everything that had happened. I
13 thought that he should come to Vitez after everything
14 that had happened there, and that he present his views
15 clearly and give his political support to carrying out
16 an investigation.
17 Q. Let me change the question and look at this
18 document again, General, and tell us where in this
19 letter, where you even ask for a commission to
20 investigate Ahmici.
21 A. I already said that this document is not
22 complete. This document is an information about the
23 meeting I had with Colonel Stewart, and what
24 Colonel Stewart told me, and what I told
25 Colonel Stewart at that meeting.
1 On the 23rd of April, in my letter to
2 Colonel Stewart, I asked for a joint commission. On
3 the 4th of May, I asked for that orally at the meeting
5 JUDGE JORDA: Everybody's repeating
6 themselves now. I would like to know whether you
7 remember whether in your letter to Dario Kordic, or to
8 General Petkovic, and Bruno Stojic, you said to them,
9 "I've taken the initiative of establishing or ordering
10 an investigating commission. I've received all the
11 information. I'm trying to get an idea for myself
12 about that what happened." Is that what you're talking
13 about, which does not appear in the document?
14 A. Mr. President, before writing this letter on
15 the 23rd of April, I informed General Petkovic about
16 this, about my positions, in this letter, including my
17 views on the joint commission. I could not, on behalf
18 of Petkovic, without him knowing it, call a meeting of
19 the two top commanders, that is to say, Petkovic and
20 Halilovic. I think this is -- I don't know exactly
21 which point this is. I haven't got the letter here
22 with me now.
23 JUDGE JORDA: You haven't answered my
24 question. I would not like to move into a kind of
25 statement of improbability of the documents being
1 complete as into a certainty that it isn't complete.
2 Do you think that it's incomplete and now, when each
3 question -- that you're saying since it is
4 incomplete -- I'd like to remind you that we've got a
5 document here.
6 Mr. Kehoe, please continue.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Well, let's continue with this document,
9 General. You noted that you wanted Boban to come to
10 Vitez to support the investigation. That's not in the
11 document either. You say nothing about requesting
12 Boban to be in Vitez to support an investigation.
13 A. I've already said that on the basis of
14 documents -- on the basis of this document, it seems
15 that Colonel Stewart met with himself, that I didn't
16 say a thing to him. It is clearly written here, you
17 can see it here, what Bob Stewart said. That's what it
18 says here. That's what's written here. But I said
19 something at this meeting too, and it doesn't say that
20 anywhere. There's only one sentence here, but my name
21 and surname would have to be here, right here.
22 Now, everything that I said to
23 Colonel Stewart at this meeting about which I'm sending
24 this information should be written down here.
25 JUDGE JORDA: It's a little difficult for the
1 Judges. You can't complain about the document, which
2 is signed by yourself, is incomplete, whereas we don't
3 even have an explanation about why it's incomplete.
4 Personally, it seems to me that when I'm
5 reading it -- you have your idea when you read it, but
6 when I read, "I think that Mr. Mate Boban should have
7 been in Vitez today." I have to say that I cannot
8 imagine that Bob Stewart is the one saying that.
9 If we're speaking about the form, there are
10 spaces. There are three space which show that at one
11 point there were dashes, and then there's something
12 which is, I think -- so you're the one who's signing
14 Please, I just wanted to say we could
15 continue discussing this endlessly, but it's your
16 document. Don't forget that. You can't both ask the
17 question and give the answer.
18 I respect your opinion when you say that
19 probably it's not complete, and I think we have to not
20 go any further. But, little by little, let's not go
21 the other way, move from probably it's complete to
22 certainly it's not complete, and soon it's going to be
23 Colonel Stewart's fault if the document has been
24 written that way. You've got to remain reasonable when
25 you give your answers, please.
1 Mr. Kehoe, we are noting the answer that the
2 General's given and that is his answer. Please
4 MR. KEHOE:
5 Q. We will move to a different subject on this
6 letter, General. I'm sorry.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thought you were
8 moving away completely from the letter.
9 General, I want to return your attention to
10 the reference which you made to the Security Council.
11 You explained that. I thought you said that you
12 intended to refer to members of the delegation whom you
13 regarded as having the standing of members of the
14 Security Council. Do you recall that portion of your
16 A. I remember that part, but I would have to
17 check in my chronology whether Colonel Stewart informed
18 me that the delegation of the Security Council visited
19 the Vitez area.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. Well, I wouldn't
21 burden you with that task at the moment, General,
22 because my question will take a somewhat different
23 line. Did your reference to a visiting delegation from
24 the Security Council mean, to your mind, that the
25 International Community, at the very highest level, had
1 an interest in the efficient, thorough, and quick
2 investigation of the events which took place there?
3 A. Certainly I believed that if I mention in
4 this letter that top levels of the International
5 Community were interested in the investigation, it
6 would be easier for me to achieve the leaders' of
7 Herceg-Bosna's arrival in this area and that in that
8 way the investigation would be far quicker and more
10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you think that the
11 methods which you employed were proportionate to the
12 kind of efficiency, and vigour, and swiftness which the
13 interests of the International Community would have led
14 you to believe was necessary?
15 A. Your Honour, I profoundly believe that under
16 the given conditions, those that existed, I used the
17 best possible methods, to my mind, in order to carry
18 out an investigation. Whether this was satisfactory --
19 well, I think that officials of the International
20 Community never knew, until I testified here, what the
21 circumstances actually were, or perhaps they did not
22 have all the information about what was going on within
23 the HVO itself, how many chains of command existed,
24 whether I was commander with command abilities that
25 were proportionate to my rank.
1 I don't want to tire this Court with all of
2 this, but I'm deeply convinced I used the best possible
3 methods under the circumstances. I did not know of any
4 better ones.
5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. Now, General, going back to this document,
8 you told us previously that a war crime had been
9 committed in Ahmici, and you also told us that you
10 suspected, upon receiving Bob Stewart's letter of the
11 22nd of April, that the military police were involved,
12 is that right, sir?
13 A. Yes, that a complete unit of the military
14 police was in the area where the crime had been
16 Q. You also told us that because Pasko Ljubicic
17 had given you a false report, you saw no need, after
18 receiving Stewart's letter, to communicate with him
19 further on Ahmici; is that right?
20 A. That is right, because I wonder what he would
21 have to say to me that would be new because he hadn't
22 told me anything until then. I believe that that was
23 the only way in which the investigation could have been
24 protected under the circumstances under which I had to
25 carry it out.
1 Q. General, in this letter where you set forth
2 all of your positions to Kordic, Stojic, and Petkovic,
3 did you request the removal of Pasko Ljubicic from his
4 position as commander of the military police? If so,
5 point it out to us in the letter.
6 A. I've already said that this letter is
7 incomplete. I really cannot recall all the details
8 related to the contents of this letter, and therefore I
9 cannot give a comprehensive answer of whether I'm
10 asking for this or not. I know that under the
11 circumstances, I wanted to have the most comprehensive
12 possible investigation carried out and as soon as
14 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I'd like you
15 to focus on the question that was asked of you. The
16 Judges here acknowledge that the letter is not
17 complete. That would not be the first or last time
18 that documents are incomplete. But you are the only
19 one in this case who can tell us that it is
20 incomplete. It's a letter which you signed, addressed,
21 as Judge Rodrigues pointed out, addressed to political
22 people. You always said that you were a soldier and
23 that you were never involved in politics and,
24 therefore, you sent it to Dario Kordic.
25 Please focus on the question I'm asking.
1 Assuming that the letter is incomplete, and I'm not
2 asking you to speak about the paragraph where "Blaskic"
3 should have been written in the margin or "Colonel
4 Stewart" should have been in the margin, because that
5 has to do with form. I'm asking you today, since the
6 Ahmici massacre was a very important thing, since, for
7 you, Pasko Ljubicic had lied to you, because you were
8 expecting to receive information ever since the 18th of
9 April, at least I say this because you thought that the
10 18th of April was the date where the Ahmici atrocities
11 had taken place, let me ask you to concentrate on this
12 question now: Do you remember what it is that's
13 missing in the letter?
14 A. I do not remember all the details, but I
15 remember that what is missing is the entire contents of
16 what I told Colonel Stewart at the meeting on the 24th
17 of April. The very point of this letter is to make it
18 possible for the leadership of Herceg-Bosna to come
19 here, and they would replace not only Pasko but the
20 entire leadership of the military police and carry out
21 an investigation on-site.
22 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to say the last
23 page. The second page of the letter, the last page, I
24 would like to see it on the ELMO.
25 My question is if you were really asking the
1 most highly placed people in the Croatian Community of
2 Herceg-Bosna, if you spoke to them about your
3 discussions with Colonel Stewart, at some point,
4 wouldn't it have been necessary or shouldn't the letter
5 have been concluded by saying, "Do you approve what I
6 did? Do you disapprove of what I did? I'm waiting for
7 your instructions"? Or are you going to tell us that
8 there's also something missing at the end of the letter
9 above your signature? Is there still something else
10 that's missing? Did you understand my question?
11 A. I think that I have understood the question.
12 I think or, rather, I believe that this part, that is
13 to say, above the stamp, is all right, but I cannot
14 remember the details. However, I did not end letters
15 to my superiors by saying "Do you agree or do you not
16 agree?" I thought that my obligation was to inform
17 them about all my positions and to suggest to them what
18 I thought about whatever.
19 JUDGE JORDA: But you can conceive of my
20 going into the way you're reasoning, when you say that
21 according to all the contacts you had with Colonel
22 Stewart, everything concerning that is missing. You
23 can imagine that the letter, as you describe it to us,
24 you're putting your -- you're confronted them with
25 a fait accompli. Therefore, I have the right to think
1 that there is something illogical in waving before the
2 army, in which you find the most important people in
3 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna -- put the first
4 page on, please, Mr. Usher. The first page. Raise it
5 up. There you go.
6 When you say that the consequences of the
7 Ahmici massacre will have international significance,
8 very serious ones for the HVO, you can imagine that
9 even if we reasoned the way you do, when you say that
10 there are very important things that are missing and
11 you are entitled to say that what's missing is what you
12 said to Colonel Stewart, you can imagine that it is not
13 very logical not to say whether you acted well or
14 didn't act well, if you were waiting for instructions
15 or you weren't waiting for instructions. Otherwise,
16 what's the point of the letter?
17 A. Mr. President, I did not put my superiors
18 before a fait accompli because the letter of
19 Mr. Stewart that I received in its authentic form, I
20 read it to my chief of the main staff over the
21 telephone, and I received instructions from him for the
22 reply that I was supposed to send to Mr. Stewart. This
23 document, 456/58, is information on the meeting with
24 Mr. Stewart on the 24th of April, 1993 and my proposals
25 and my suggestions as to what the further steps taken
1 should be in order to carry out the investigation and
2 everything else. Unfortunately, it is incomplete.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but I think that your
4 answer is incomplete as well, General Blaskic. If we
5 reasoned the way you do, you report to your chiefs
6 about your entire conversation with Colonel Stewart,
7 you report to your chief about the fact that you took
8 the initiative of organising an investigating
9 commission, and at that point, all that's left or is
10 spoken about is the shelling of Zenica. It seems to me
11 that there are two places that are not complete, that
12 is, the first page and the second page, but perhaps
13 when you look into your chronology, you will be able to
14 help us on that point.
15 I think that Judge Rodrigues would like to
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, you
18 answered the Prosecutor by saying that you do not
19 remember whether you asked your superiors to have Pasko
20 Ljubicic removed from his position as the commander of
21 the military police. You're answer was, if I'm not
22 mistaken, "I don't remember." Your answer, if I
23 remember correctly, was "I don't remember." I think
24 that that answer is not acceptable, and I'm going to
25 ask you some questions.
1 If your letter reproduces everything that you
2 said to Colonel Stewart, the question was really,
3 really important and you should remember because
4 Colonel Stewart and you, if you're speaking about the
5 removal of Pasko Ljubicic, if you're speaking about
6 that with Colonel Stewart, you would certainly be able
7 to remember that now because the question was such a
8 hot one, such a hot issue that you could remember.
9 Since somewhere you said to us that you had
10 not received conclusions from the investigation and,
11 therefore, it was not appropriate to speak with Colonel
12 Stewart about that issue, and therefore, if, for that
13 reason, you did not speak with Colonel Stewart, it
14 would be perfectly -- it would be very reasonable for
15 you to say now that you didn't speak with him. I'm not
16 sure if you understood my question. How can I
17 understand your answer when you say, "I don't
18 remember"? "I don't remember that I asked my superior
19 that Pasko Ljubicic be removed from office." How can I
20 understand that?
21 A. Well, the question was put to me "Where does
22 it say here or does it say here at all in this letter,"
23 and in reference to that, I said, "I don't remember."
24 In reference to that letter, I do not remember whether
25 in these details it said that I asked for a replacement
1 of the commander of the military police.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, if that's
3 your answer, I'm asking you, do you remember -- forget
4 about the letter. Forget about the letter that you
5 sent to Dario Kordic. Do you remember now whether you
6 spoke with Colonel Stewart saying that you were going
7 to ask that Pasko Ljubicic be removed?
8 A. I never had -- I never had the authority to
9 share such information with Colonel Stewart. As far as
10 such information was concerned, Colonel Stewart was not
11 somebody that I was supposed to talk to about that, so
12 the chief of the main staff did not let me share that
13 kind of information with him.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, your
15 answer should be that "This part did not have the
16 information that I sent to my superiors, because even
17 at that time, I was not authorised to speak about that
18 question with Colonel Stewart."
19 A. Your Honour, I'm trying to explain how I
20 wrote these reports, and there are many reports here
21 that I wrote, but I personally wrote down everything
22 that Colonel Stewart said to me, and then I wrote down
23 what I said to Colonel Stewart, and I would usually
24 finish with my own proposals to my superiors,
25 proposals, but, unfortunately, there is only one
1 proposal here.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, it's 5.30. I'm
5 about to go into another section of this. I don't know
6 what Your Honour's inclinations are.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't know that you had
8 finished that point, but if you have finished with that
9 point, yes, it is 5.30, and we're going to suspend our
10 hearing until tomorrow morning at 10.00.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
12 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
13 the 20th day of May, 1999, at 10 a.m.