Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 22019

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,

6 please.

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,

22 counsel.


24 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:

25 Q. Good morning, General.

Page 22020

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

24 operation.

25 Q. My question was what type of planning, and to

Page 22021

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

21 that.

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

Page 22022

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

Page 22023

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.


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?

Page 22024

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

8 example.

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

Page 22025

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

Page 22026

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)

25 (redacted)

Page 22027













13 Redacted pages 22027 22047 in private session













Page 22048

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (Open session)

4 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in public

5 session.

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

20 18912.

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?

Page 22049

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

4 Ahmici."

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

Page 22050

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

8 correct?"

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

17 Ahmici?"

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

21 Vitez?

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

Page 22051

1 fire, could you stand in front of the Hotel Vitez and

2 see the smoke billowing up to the sky? Could you do

3 that?

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.


23 MR. KEHOE: If we could show the witness

24 Exhibit 29C, which is this diagram, Judge

25 Shahabuddeen.

Page 22052

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

11 Ahmici?

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

Page 22053

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

4 16th?

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.

Page 22054

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

21 unit.

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

Page 22055

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

Page 22056

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?

Page 22057

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

5 range.

6 Q Please enlighten me. Are we talking

7 about some military means of

8 communication which would be reserved to

9 military?

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

24 happened?

25 A Well, my command was in Vitez.

Page 22058

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

7 rank?

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

17 16th.

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

Page 22059

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?

Page 22060

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

Page 22061

1 whether you've finished with this point.

2 MR. KEHOE: On the radio, Mr. President?


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.


25 Q. Let us move to Prosecution Exhibit 690, and

Page 22062

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

18 day:

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

Page 22063

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

15 you?

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

Page 22064

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?

Page 22065

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

22 round.

23 Make the question clear, Mr. Kehoe. We're

24 wasting time.

25 This has to do with the troops under your

Page 22066

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.


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?

Page 22067

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

6 that?

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

15 kind.

16 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We've got an

17 answer. Proceed, 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

24 it.

25 A. (Marks)

Page 22068

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

Page 22069

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

10 him.

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

Page 22070

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

4 Tisovac.

5 Q. Did you ask him?

6 A. Did I ask him what? Where he was exactly or

7 what?

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.

Page 22071

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

19 information.

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

Page 22072

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

Page 22073

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

8 him."

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

20 on.

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

Page 22074

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.

Page 22075

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

4 school.

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

Page 22076

1 immediately.

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

16 rationally.

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.

Page 22077

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

Page 22078

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.


Page 22079

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

Page 22080

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

Page 22081

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

20 Travnik.

21 Q. General, how far was the Hotel Vitez from the

22 cinema building where Cerkez's brigade headquarters

23 was?

24 A. Well, I can give an approximation. Perhaps,

25 I don't know, between 30 to 50 metres. I'm not aware

Page 22082

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.

Page 22083

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

15 Ahmici?

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

Page 22084

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

18 Ahmici.

19 JUDGE JORDA: All right.


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

Page 22085

1 695.

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

Page 22086

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,

Page 22087

1 General?"

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

Page 22088

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

Page 22089

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

21 Ahmici?

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

Page 22090

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

Page 22091

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 ..."

Page 22092

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

19 unmilked.

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?

Page 22093

1 A They were crying; the nurses were

2 crying."

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

Page 22094

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.















Page 22095

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

Page 22096

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.


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?

Page 22097

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

Page 22098

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,

10 D-z-i-g-o-n-j-a-m,

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

17 too.

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

Page 22099

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

20 municipality.

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

Page 22100

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

16 Zenica.

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

Page 22101

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

6 civilians."

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

Page 22102

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

19 village."

20 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, could you read the rest

21 of the answer?

22 MR. KEHOE: You can read it on redirect,

23 counsel.

24 MR. HAYMAN: If you're purporting to quote

25 the transcript, you should quote it accurately, Mr.

Page 22103

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

Page 22104

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.

Page 22105

1 Please continue, Mr. Prosecutor.


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

Page 22106

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.


25 "A I first heard Ahmici mentioned in this

Page 22107

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

19 road.

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

Page 22108

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

6 right?

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

24 Tribunal?

25 A. I do not know what Dzemo Merdan meant, what

Page 22109

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

13 Ahmici.

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

Page 22110

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

Page 22111

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

16 saying?

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

Page 22112

1 the answers. Judge Rodrigues wishes to ask a

2 question.

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

Page 22113

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

9 fire.

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

Page 22114

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

Page 22115

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

16 time?

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

Page 22116

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

5 conclusion?

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

Page 22117

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,

Page 22118

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

4 20th.


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.

Page 22119

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

5 right?

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

Page 22120

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

13 testimony?

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

Page 22121

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

Page 22122

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

Page 22123

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.

Page 22124

1 One family would like to be evacuated. ICRC and UNHCR

2 responsible representatives," I suppose, "informed of

3 above-mentioned."

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

24 today.

25 Q. Well, General, let us go back to what you

Page 22125

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

20 allegations?

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

Page 22126

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

12 there.

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.

Page 22127

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.

Page 22128

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

21 command.'

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.

Page 22129

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

5 uniform?

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.

Page 22130

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

5 there?

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

13 bodies?

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

Page 22131

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

6 that?

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

20 Ahmici.

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

Page 22132

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.


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.


25 Q. Sir, you knew prior to receiving Stewart's

Page 22133

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

22 question.

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

Page 22134

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

Page 22135

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.


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

16 break.

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

20 seated.

21 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, with your

22 permission.

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

Page 22136

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

7 clarification.

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

16 true?

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?

Page 22137

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

Page 22138

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

Page 22139

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

Page 22140

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

16 Ahmici?

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

Page 22141

1 institutions take part in the investigation. Now I'm

2 just trying to check whether this was on the 23rd

3 exactly.

4 JUDGE JORDA: While the witness is looking

5 for something, who called together that joint

6 commission?

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?

Page 22142

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.

Page 22143

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

14 established.

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

22 clarification.

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

Page 22144

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

Page 22145

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

10 not?

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

25 Ahmici."

Page 22146

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

19 staff.

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

23 letter.

24 Further on, after this meeting I issued an

25 order to the assistant for security to carry out an

Page 22147

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

23 chronology.

24 I was with Nakic on the 23rd of April when I

25 wrote this letter to Colonel Stewart, and he was also

Page 22148

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.

Page 22149

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

Page 22150

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

7 458?

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.


Page 22151

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.

Page 22152

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.


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.

Page 22153

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

16 says.

17 JUDGE JORDA: Don't have him repeat things,

18 please. Ask questions.


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;

Page 22154

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

9 right?

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.

Page 22155

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

Page 22156

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.

Page 22157

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

11 Kordic?

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

16 investigation.

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

Page 22158

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

Page 22159

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.


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

Page 22160

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

15 myself.

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

21 signature.


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?

Page 22161

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.

Page 22162

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

Page 22163

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

14 Ahmici?

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.


25 Q. General, after you received this letter from

Page 22164

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

Page 22165

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

13 documents.

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.

Page 22166

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?

Page 22167

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.

Page 22168

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

4 too.

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

Page 22169

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.


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

Page 22170

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

13 it.

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.

Page 22171

1 Mr. Kehoe, we are noting the answer that the

2 General's given and that is his answer. Please

3 continue.


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

15 answers?

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

Page 22172

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

9 efficient.

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.

Page 22173

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.


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

15 committed.

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.

Page 22174

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

13 possible.

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.

Page 22175

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

Page 22176

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

Page 22177

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

Page 22178

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

16 intervene.

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.

Page 22179

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

Page 22180

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

Page 22181

1 proposal here.

2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General

3 Blaskic.

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.