1 Thursday, 20th May, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
5 Registrar, have our witness brought in, please?
6 (The accused/witness entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. Good morning to Defence and
9 Prosecution. Good morning to the witness. Perhaps the
10 registrar could turn the heat up a little bit. The
11 administration must think that this is the summer.
12 Mr. Kehoe, we can now resume.
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Good
14 morning, Your Honours. Good morning, counsel. Good
15 morning, General.
16 JUDGE JORDA: I hope you're still watching
17 the clock, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE: Always, Your Honour.
19 Mr. Registrar, if I could return back to
20 456/58, which is the accused's letter to Kordic,
21 Stojic, and Petkovic of the 24th of April, 1993 that we
22 were talking about at the end of the session
24 WITNESS: TIHOMIR BLASKIC (Resumed)
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:
1 Q. Now, General, turning to your document where
2 you talk about what you think -- you say on page 1: "I
3 think that Mate Boban should have been in Vitez today,"
4 and one of your ideas was to talk about the extremely
5 one-sided emphasis on the suffering of only one
6 people, "expressing the suspicion that journalists are
7 being paid to report events untruthfully."
8 Now, General, you noted for us during the
9 course of your testimony that you wanted Mate Boban to
10 come to Vitez to lend support to your investigation
11 into Ahmici. My question for you is, General, tell the
12 Trial Chamber how Mate Boban, coming to Vitez and
13 "expressing the suspicion that journalists are being
14 paid to report events untruthfully" would lend support
15 to your investigation in Ahmici?
16 A. The arrival of Mate Boban to the area in
17 itself and his statements concerning the crime would,
18 of course, be a great support to me in conducting an
19 investigation because his voice would be heard in the
20 area by soldiers and by the people living in the area
22 As far as one-sided emphasis on the
23 sufferings of just one people, that was an additional
24 problem which undermined the support of the civilians
25 and soldiers living in the area because they did not
1 speak about the crimes that were committed against the
2 Croats as well, which, for me, in support of my
3 investigation, would have been a great help, had we had
4 a more balanced approach, that is to say, had we spoken
5 about the crimes committed on both sides, not in order
6 to justify the crimes in Ahmici but to create the
7 necessary support in public opinion to move for a
8 complete investigation. In that sense, there should
9 have been a loud voice on the crimes in Lasva,
10 Visnjica, and other areas.
11 Q. Excuse me, General. My question was this:
12 How would Mate Boban, coming to Ahmici and "expressing
13 the suspicions --"
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, do you want to make
15 a comment?
16 MR. HAYMAN: I just think that if you look at
17 the transcript, the witness was saying that if these
18 individuals came, they would create an atmosphere of
19 support and balance among the people, and the
20 Prosecutor, regrettably at this early hour of the day,
21 starts off by again cutting off the witness.
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I will continue to
23 cut off the witness when the witness does not answer my
24 questions, even if counsel is unhappy with that. The
25 question that I asked, and we can go back to the
1 transcript and see it is: How "expressing the
2 suspicion that journalists are being paid to report
3 events untruthfully" would lend support to his Ahmici
4 investigation? Now, we can go back to the transcript
5 and read what I said. That was what I said. That was
6 not the question that was answered by the witness.
7 Q. Now, my question remains the same, General:
8 How could Mate Boban, coming to Ahmici and "expressing
9 the suspicion that journalists are being paid to report
10 events untruthfully" lend support to your
12 A. If I have understood the question correctly,
13 I shall try and answer. The arrival of Mate Boban to
14 the area of Vitez and the Lasva pocket and the Ahmici
15 region and his statements and condemnation of the crime
16 would help me in conducting an investigation. I do
17 believe that he himself would undertake steps to ensure
18 that the top officials from the Defence Ministry come
19 with all the authorisation vested in them so that a
20 complete and comprehensive investigation could have
21 carried out in the field. So it was vital that I have
22 public support in the Lasva Valley.
23 Q. General, let me ask you a third time: How
24 would Mate Boban, coming to Ahmici and --
25 JUDGE JORDA: I don't agree here,
1 Mr. Prosecutor. The witness answered. He said to you
2 that Mate Boban allegedly came. I was also waiting for
3 something concrete from the witness, and he gave us
4 something concrete. He said that he arrived and that
5 "helped me to bring in those responsible in the
6 Ministry of Defence in relation to the others."
7 Perhaps you don't like that answer, but it is an answer
8 which is acceptable.
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, my question was
10 the witness's own statement in his letter where he asks
11 Mate Boban to "express the suspicion that journalists
12 are being paid to report events untruthfully."
13 JUDGE JORDA: Would you like to add something
14 to that, General Blaskic? Did he broadcast anything on
15 television? Did he give press conferences? Do you
16 want to add something? But do it quickly and then we
17 can move to another question.
18 A. I did not ask Mate Boban to say that, and I
19 said yesterday and I can repeat again today, this
20 document for me is not a complete document, as far as
21 I'm concerned.
22 JUDGE JORDA: We know that, General Blaskic.
23 We know that. Either you tell us what there was in the
24 document or we know that the document is incomplete.
25 Only you can know what was in it. We're not going to
1 start the conversation of yesterday again. If this
2 particular point about which the Prosecutor asked you a
3 question, and I consider that you answered, if now you
4 remember what was indicated in the letter in respect of
5 the Prosecutor's question, say so, and then we can move
7 A. It is a fact that at that time, there was a
8 very one-sided representation of the events in the
9 Lasva Valley, and one side had priority or the
10 exclusive right to their victims, so to speak, whereas
11 crimes on the other side were not shown. But I never
12 said, nor did I ever consider that crimes must be
13 justified by crimes. I needed Mate Boban's arrival for
14 me to have support in conducting an investigation.
15 MR. KEHOE:
16 Q. General, did you write that you suspected
17 that journalists were being paid to report events
18 untruthfully? Did you write that?
19 A. It says here that there is a one-sided
20 representation of the sufferings of one peoples. That
21 is the kind of information that I got. Information of
22 this kind was present at the time, and that is what I
23 wrote in my report, because there was not an equal
24 approach in the area, and this made it even more
25 impossible for an investigation to be conducted and for
1 public support in the Lasva Valley.
2 Q. General, I will read my question to you again
3 from the transcript word for word: "General, did you
4 write that you suspected that journalists were being
5 paid to report events untruthfully? Did you write
6 that?" Now, look at the exhibit that is before you,
7 your report of the 24th of April, 456/58.
8 A. I have already given an answer, and here it
9 says that there was one-sided representation, along
10 with the suspicion. I say "the suspicion" because that
11 kind of information reached me. The information that
12 reached me I forwarded, so I expressed my doubts,
13 suspicions, for the lack of balance and one-sided
14 emphasis. That was present.
15 Q. What journalists did you suspect were being
16 paid to report untruthfully?
17 A. Generally speaking, all the journalists
18 reporting from the area. There were a number of teams
19 at the time. There were foreign journalists and there
20 were local, domestic teams. I don't know their names
21 because I didn't communicate with all the journalists,
22 I did with some, but there was a trend of this kind.
23 The tendency was to show one-sided suffering.
24 Q. Well, General, these foreign journalists that
25 you say were being paid or you suspect were being paid
1 to report untruthfully, can you give us a name of a
2 journalist that falls into that category? One name.
3 A. I have already stated, and this can be seen
4 from this portion, I expressed my opinions on one-sided
5 emphasis and doubts and suspicions that reached me. I
6 don't have a list of journalists. The department for
7 information had a list of journalists, but I can't tell
8 you the names of those journalists now. I didn't even
9 keep a record of the names, and I can't remember them.
10 But the existence of suspicion and doubt did reach me.
11 Q. You would agree, General, that this is an
12 extremely serious allegation, to accuse foreign
13 journalists of lying in their reports in the media;
14 isn't that right?
15 A. They are doubts, that is to say, suspicions.
16 They reached me. They are not allegations. I just
17 said that there was anxiety over the one-sided
18 reporting of the situation in the Lasva Valley, where I
19 found myself in a total encirclement and where the
20 situation was extremely chaotic. I had a fighting, I
21 had a cease-fire, I had a joint command, I had a joint
22 front with the BH army in Travnik, and we were fighting
23 amongst ourselves in Vitez. Once again, I was
24 receiving information on the other side that we were
25 the attackers, and I had been brought into a situation
1 where I had to fight for my very physical survival in
2 the area.
3 As I say, it was a complete chaotic
4 situation. Different information kept coming in. As I
5 say, it's not an allegation. I just conveyed doubts
6 and suspicions that existed and that reached me at the
8 Q. Now, General, you noted for us that you
9 conveyed all of your concerns to the main staff and to
10 Kordic and Petkovic and Stojic in this document of the
11 24th of April, 1993.
12 In this document, General, and look at it
13 closely, is there one expression of concern by you for
14 the victims that were expelled and massacred in the
15 village of Ahmici, one expression of concern?
16 A. As far as expressions of concern for the
17 victims are concerned, I said during my testimony that,
18 at that time, I did not have all the information, all
19 the data as to the victims. But it is not essential of
20 whether we're talking about one victim or 100 victims.
21 I was concerned, very concerned, and tried to prevent
22 other crimes from taking place, and I was in favour of
23 having an investigation conducted so that the crimes
24 were not repeated, and all this under the circumstances
25 in which I was fighting for my own survival. That was
1 my concern. I still did not have complete information
2 as to the number of victims.
3 JUDGE JORDA: That was not the question. The
4 question was to know whether there was an expression of
5 concern. The Prosecutor wanted to know whether there
6 was any kind of trace of concern. You could say "Yes,"
7 "No," "I don't remember," "The document is
9 A. Mr. President, in this document now, there
10 isn't, but if I asked Mate Boban to come to the area,
11 then that is the greatest expression of concern. Why
12 am I calling the supreme commander to come there?
13 JUDGE JORDA: Well, yes, one could assume
14 that there were other answers. All right. I just note
15 there that's your answer.
16 Judge Rodrigues?
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I would
18 like to know whether there is any difference between
19 your concerns and the suspicions that you had, more or
20 less, about the journalists who, in your opinion, were
21 paid to report the matters in a certain way and the
22 suspicions that you had about the crime in Ahmici. Was
23 there any difference between the two suspicions for
25 A. Your Honour, as far as concerns with regard
1 to the reporting of journalists, it is a fact that the
2 crimes took place -- that crimes took place in Lasva,
3 Dusina, and Visnjica in January 1993. However, it is
4 difficult to blame just the journalists for not
5 conveying news of this in the public. Perhaps that
6 would have struck a better balance. Journalists went
7 to the positions that were accessible to them, and
8 sometimes they were taken there by UNPROFOR as well.
9 UNPROFOR would supply the armoured personnel carriers
10 and take the crews to film the individual positions and
11 scenes, and I once again say that I expressed
12 suspicions on the basis of the information that I
13 received about the ongoing activities of those
15 As far as the crime in Ahmici is concerned,
16 when I received Colonel Stewart's letter and when he
17 stipulated eight victims, then there was no doubt
18 whether an investigation should be undertaken. So I
19 was concerned as to how, under the prevailing
20 conditions, an investigation could be carried out and
21 further crimes prevented. It was a shock for me
22 personally because I was confronted with a tragedy of
23 that scope for the first time.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But, General Blaskic, it
25 seems to me that in that letter you had a fabulous
1 opportunity to ask that your superiors carry out an
2 investigation. Why didn't you do that at that point?
3 A. Well, the arrival of my supreme commander in
4 the field and for him to get to know the situation,
5 this would be a good opportunity for the whole team to
6 turn up, and the situation I found myself in was that
7 the same military police was ensuring security for
8 myself and my personnel, so it was the same police --
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, you already answered.
10 Thank you very much.
11 (Trial Chamber confers)
12 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed, Mr. Kehoe.
13 MR. KEHOE:
14 Q. Well, General, what was Stojic's response to
15 this letter?
16 A. I don't know exactly what Stojic's reaction
17 was. Perhaps the chief of the main staff would know
18 more about that. I know what the reaction of the chief
19 of the main staff was during the first visit when he
20 arrived in Vitez. I did not have occasion at that time
21 to meet Bruno Stojic for me to be able to tell you what
22 his response was.
23 Q. So, to your knowledge, Stojic did not react
24 at all, at least not to you, to this letter?
25 A. It is difficult for me to say whether he
1 reacted at all towards the chief of the main staff as,
2 in my presence, I cannot remember how he reacted. But
3 vis-à-vis the chief of the main staff, who was his
4 subordinate, did he react? I don't know. I have no
5 knowledge on that.
6 Q. What about Kordic? What was Kordic's
7 reaction to this?
8 A. He let me know that he supported the
9 investigation and he considered that the investigation
10 ought to be conducted. What he discussed with
11 Mr. Boban and what the reactions were there, I don't
12 know. As I say, I did not have occasion to share that
13 information with him.
14 Q. Well, did he do anything concrete to support
15 you, Kordic?
16 A. I don't recall whether he undertook any
17 concrete steps, but I know that he told me that he
18 supported the investigation.
19 Q. How about Milivoj Petkovic? What did he do
20 after he received this very serious letter from you?
21 A. Well, at the meeting, it was sometime at the
22 end of April, he held a meeting with my immediate
23 associates, and he publicly let it be known that the
24 investigation must be conducted in full. That was his
25 position expressed at the meeting. I think it was
1 around the 30th of April, 1993, in Vitez.
2 Q. Did any of these men issue any written
3 statement or documentation publicly condemning these
4 crimes so that the Tribunal can review their respective
5 positions when they got this letter? Did any of them
6 do that?
7 A. I don't know about that, and it is difficult
8 for me to speak about that on the basis of my own
9 information. I can only say what I actually know. I
10 know that according to my -- what I know, that I was
11 the only one publicly to condemn it on the 27th of
12 April. As to written statements, what the security
13 minister and the defence minister -- I don't know. I
14 just can't say.
15 Q. Well, let us move to a different subject,
16 General. We will move off this document. I would like
17 to talk to you about some of your conduct after you
18 received Stewart's letter.
19 Now, you noted for us that after you received
20 Stewart's letter but before -- excuse me. After you
21 received information from Merdan on the 20th but before
22 you got Stewart's letter, you did not send any order
23 out to your subordinates asking for information about
24 the killing of civilians by the ditch as described by
25 Merdan; is that correct?
1 A. I stated that I issued an order on the 18th
2 of April that data should be sent in to me about the
3 casualties, and if you're asking me about an order of
4 the 20th, then I would have to consult my chronology.
5 There were many orders issued at that time; I can't
6 recall them all.
7 Q. Well, do you recall telling us yesterday that
8 you did not file such an order after the meeting in
9 Zenica with Merdan and others but prior to receiving
10 Stewart's letter on the 22nd?
11 A. You asked me whether, after the information
12 that I received at that meeting, whether I requested
13 information be given me about the civilian casualties,
14 and I told you that I did that already on the 18th of
15 April in the order concerning the cease-fire and
16 cessation of hostilities. Whether I issued any order
17 after the 20th, any order, then I'd like to ask the
18 Court's indulgence and a little time to look at my
19 chronology because the cease-fire was on the 20th of
21 JUDGE JORDA: The question has to do with
22 your behaviour after you received Colonel Stewart's
23 letter, after the 20th of April. Please check with
24 your chronology, if you want to.
25 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. I'm
1 referring to the time period from the speech by Merdan
2 in Zenica on the night of the 20th till he received
3 Stewart's letter, and I would also like to ask him
4 about, once he received Stewart's letter, whether he
5 issued an order to all the subordinates asking about
6 Ahmici specifically, because in the Stewart letter,
7 Ahmici is concretely discussed.
8 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The first set of
9 questions deal with when General Blaskic received the
10 information from Merdan; is that correct?
11 General Blaskic, were you able to look at
12 your chronology?
13 A. Yes, I have had a quick look at my
14 chronology, Mr. President, and I was not able to find
15 whether any order was issued in the period from the
16 20th to the 22nd. Possibly there was an order issued,
17 but I can't remember all the documents that I issued.
18 I just have not looked through them all.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Of course. In any case,
20 perhaps at the break, if you find it, you will still
21 have time to talk about that to the Prosecutor.
22 All right. Move to the next question,
23 please, Mr. Kehoe.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Now, General, you at this time -- excuse me.
1 Let me withdraw that.
2 After you received Stewart's letter of the
3 22nd, which you told us you took seriously and
4 believed, you, as a prudent commanding officer, wanted
5 to find out as much information as possible about
6 Ahmici as soon as possible; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. After you received this order from Stewart on
9 the 22nd, did you immediately, or shortly after you
10 received it, send an order to all of your subordinates
11 saying, "I've received information about a crime in
12 Ahmici. I want all information concerning the events
13 in Ahmici to be delivered to me in an hour," or two
14 hours or six hours or a day? Did you do that?
15 A. I did not do that, and I consider that it
16 would have been very imprudent had any commander,
17 facing the situation that I faced, done that. What I
18 did was the following: When I received the letter, I
19 read it with my associates, there was Mr. Marin and
20 Mr. Saric, and I said that I would call for an
21 investigation to be carried out by the joint
22 commission, and then I ordered that all reports be
23 gathered together which had reached the command up to
24 the 22nd from my subordinates. Had I publicised the
25 letter to all my subordinates, I would, at the starting
1 point, have completely maybe blocked the investigation
2 and made it impossible because it would have meant
3 telephoning to those people that had lied to me in
4 their reports.
5 Q. Well, General, you had combat activities
6 going on at that time and you then knew that soldiers,
7 HVO soldiers, had committed crimes. Is it your
8 testimony that as a prudent commander, it would not
9 have been wise to demand information about the crimes
10 in Ahmici as soon as possible? Is that your
12 A. No. No, I'm talking about method. Of
13 course, information should be sought as soon as
14 possible about the crime but not in that way, not by
15 taking up the letter and sort of waving it around in
16 front of all of the commanders, including those who
17 never informed me, never sent me a single word that a
18 crime the taken place, and then to ask those same
19 people to help me would be like asking the military
20 police themselves to carry out an investigation over
21 themselves and into their own ranks. So when I
22 received the letter, I realised that this was the zone
23 of responsibility that came under the military police,
24 and so I had to protect the investigation itself, above
1 Q. General, you told us that you didn't call
2 Pasko Ljubicic in and ask him about Ahmici because he
3 had given you false information; do you recall that
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Did you call Vlado Santic, the member of the
7 military police who had an office in the Hotel Vitez,
8 and did you ask Vlado Santic, "Please, tell me what you
9 know about what happened in Ahmici"? Did you do that?
10 A. Well, no. Vlado Santic is directly
11 subordinated to that commander, and how could I expect
12 the commander of Mr. Ljubicic to come to me and to
13 speak to me in such a way? After all, after that, I
14 gave an order for an investigation to be carried out by
15 his own methods --
16 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, is there a
18 MR. HAYMAN: In the transcript it reads
19 "... how could I expect the commander of
20 Mr. Ljubicic," and Mr. Nobilo informs me that what the
21 witness said is "... how could I expect the subordinate
22 of Mr. Ljubicic --"
23 THE INTERPRETER: No. "No," says the
24 interpreter. "Directly subordinated."
25 JUDGE JORDA: All right. General, would you
1 repeat your sentence, please?
2 A. Your Honours, I did not call him because
3 Mr. Vlado Santic is directly subordinated to Mr. Pasko
4 Ljubicic in the structure of the military police, and
5 that would have only been a signal. It would have been
6 too naive, and I'm sure, I'm convinced that that would
7 have only hampered an investigation.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. Well, General, you said that you were going
10 to consult your chronology concerning Cerkez. When did
11 you call Cerkez in to ask him about what he knew in
12 Ahmici, if you did?
13 A. I did talk to him about it. I think this was
14 after the 25th, at any rate, the end of April, but he
15 did not have any specific knowledge, any concrete
16 knowledge as to what had happened in Ahmici.
17 Q. General, how about Darko Kraljevic? After
18 you received this letter from Stewart, did you call
19 Darko Kraljevic, the head commander of the Vitezovi,
20 into your office and say, "Darko, please tell me what
21 you know about the crimes that took place in Ahmici"?
22 A. I did not call him for two reasons: First of
23 all, Darko's order was that he should not be in that
24 area, and that unit was directed at a different area;
25 the second thing was that I wanted to protect the
1 investigation. I had a priority. I was expected to
2 receive support from the joint commission or from my
3 superiors. If that would not happen, if I were to
4 carry out the investigation, I had to protect the
5 interests of the investigation. Had I called Darko
6 Kraljevic, I'm afraid that the investigation would have
7 been impeded in a major way or stopped altogether.
8 Q. General, the commander of the Nikola
9 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade from Busovaca was Dusko
10 Grubesic; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. During the combat activities on the 16th,
13 Dusko Grubesic's men were on the right flank of the
14 military police who were in Ahmici; is that right?
15 A. That is not right. His men on the right
16 flank of the military police were not there, and that
17 was not my testimony. At that time, Dusko Grubesic had
18 combat actions on the right-hand side in relation to
19 the deployment of the Vitez Brigade and in relation to
20 Busovaca, that is to say, at a completely different
21 area physically separated from the municipality of
23 Q. General, you told us, and let us clarify
24 concerning the deployment of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski
25 Brigade, you told us that at least on the 17th, the
1 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade was in Loncari; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you call Dusko Grubesic or anybody from
4 the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade to ask them what they
5 knew about what happened in Ahmici or what they
6 observed about what happened in Ahmici? Did you do
7 that? If you did, when did you do it and who did you
8 bring in?
9 A. Possibly I could have talked about what he
10 knew and whether he knew anything. I do not
11 specifically remember when this was. I know for sure
12 that I talked to Cerkez at the end of the month of
13 April. But when I handed over the investigation to the
14 security service, I insisted that the security service
15 continue their work and their investigation, because
16 simply at that time, I was faced with the impossibility
17 of discontinuing combat operations. There is the
18 fighting, there is the investigation, and there is the
19 common fight in Travnik, an absurd situation in only
20 two municipalities, practically an impossible
22 Q. Now, General, you told us that you were in
23 contact with Kordic during the 16th, and yesterday we
24 discussed that at 18.02, he informed you that Pasko's
25 men in Ahmici had completed their task and were heading
1 up the hill. Now, with that information, after you
2 received Stewart's letter, did you call Kordic and say,
3 "Dario, tell me what you know about what happened in
4 Ahmici on the 16th"? Did you do that? If you did it,
5 when did you do it and what did he say?
6 A. Sometime after the 24th or around that time,
7 I did talk to him, and I told him that I was expecting
8 a joint investigation and that I would seek a complete
9 investigation of the case in Ahmici, and he said that
10 he gave his full support to such efforts. He did not
11 give me any specific information of any other kind.
12 Q. Did you ask?
13 A. I already said that from the moment when I
14 asked the security service to carry out an
15 investigation, I did not carry out such an
16 investigation. It's not that I know whether he was
17 interrogated by the security service personally --
18 JUDGE JORDA: But did you ask? What time did
19 you make the request to the security service? You must
20 have said that, but I don't remember.
21 A. Mr. President, on the 24th of April, 1993,
22 sometime in the afternoon, I issued orders to the
23 security service, and I asked for an investigation.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. But one could
25 wonder whether at the point you received Colonel
1 Stewart's letter, why, since you had several potential
2 sources of information and that you had doubts that you
3 expressed yourself, why didn't people around you speak
4 about it more with you and gather together in order to
5 collect more information?
6 A. Mr. President, as soon as I received Colonel
7 Stewart's letter, I called my associates and I asked
8 for all the reports that we had received in that period
9 so that I could check.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You said that.
11 Mr. Kehoe, please go on.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, at any time, at any time while you
14 were trying to root out crime and trying to clean
15 criminals out of the HVO and trying to render order
16 into the HVO ranks, did you ever order Pasko Ljubicic
17 or Vlado Santic into your office or any other military
18 policemen into your office and ask them about the facts
19 in Ahmici?
20 A. I've already said that I asked the security
21 service to carry out an investigation because they were
22 in charge of that. The military police was not
23 directly subordinated to me, and I did not call Pasko
24 Ljubicic so that I could talk to him about it. I said
25 why I did not do that.
1 JUDGE JORDA: I understand that you've got a
2 very formal type of conception of the hierarchy of the
3 military units, but two steps from your office, there
4 was somebody who was a member of the military police,
5 and you know through Kordic that they went up the hill
6 on the 16th toward Ahmici probably, you yourself had
7 some questions, didn't you think that, well, what
8 happened? Did you think about asking what happened in
9 Ahmici? You said no, that you didn't. You said, "No,
10 that's the responsibility of the military police" or
11 Bruno Stojic or Mostar. But you wrote to Dario Kordic
12 on the 23rd of April about the questions that you had,
13 and you didn't have the idea that you had in front of
14 you Mr. Santic, who was from the military police, you
15 have doubts, and you don't say to him "What happened in
16 Ahmici?" You say, "No, that's the responsibility of
17 the military police and I don't deal with that." Could
18 you answer that question, please?
19 A. I did not -- for the purpose of protecting
20 the investigation, it is only the security service that
21 is in charge of investigating over the military police,
22 and I requested an investigation of the military
23 police. Had I told them openly that they should tell
24 me, and they did not tell me any of the previous
25 information, that would have probably been a signal to
1 them to completely impede or make impossible the
2 further investigation.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Over and beyond the signal,
4 wouldn't it have helped the investigation to have the
5 chief of the Operative Zone, that is, the highest
6 commander, that is, you to say to them, "What were you
7 doing in Ahmici?" After all, that was in your
8 territory, in your Operative Zone. Wouldn't that have
9 helped you? I'm trying to follow your reasoning and to
10 reason like you. You say that that would have
11 compromised the investigation. I say, might not it
12 have helped it, to the contrary?
13 A. I'm convinced to the present day that it
14 would have been naive on my part and that it would have
15 impeded the investigation or made it impossible
16 altogether, under those conditions when I did not have
17 under my direct command the military police, when I
18 could not punish the commander, when I could not
19 replace the commander, I couldn't do a thing, and they
20 are far stronger than myself and the 20 people in my
21 command. I believe that this would have completely
22 stopped or impeded any kind of investigation.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you that the
24 events had taken place a week before, that there were
25 still bodies, there were burning houses. The
1 indications and the clues were getting lost. I'm
2 saying this to you because you said to us that you were
3 so upset by what happened in Ahmici that as soon as you
4 received Colonel Stewart's letter, you wanted to get
5 information. It is true that legitimately one could
6 wonder how you went about getting the information. But
7 you've given me an answer. It's been noted.
8 Mr. Kehoe, please continue, unless my
9 colleagues have any questions they would like to ask.
10 Judge Shahabuddeen?
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, would you help
12 me to clarify things a little? Yesterday, you
13 indicated to us that you appreciated that the
14 international community, at very high levels, was
15 interested in the prosecution of a swift, thorough, and
16 vigorous investigation into the events which allegedly
17 took place in Ahmici, and I think you also recognised
18 that they were looking to you for responses as the
19 chief military officer in the area.
20 Now, did you, General, think it would be
21 satisfactory to the interest of the international
22 community for you to be saying to them, "Well, the
23 responsibility to investigate is not really mine; it
24 belongs to the ministry concerned"? Did you think that
25 might be received by the representatives of the
1 international community as a credible response?
2 A. Your Honour, the representatives of the
3 International Community at that time came to see me
4 briefly, and they were usually accompanied by some
5 UNPROFOR officers. There were different approaches and
6 different attitudes. I personally did not have the
7 approval, or perhaps not sufficient experience, to
8 share information with them that concerned the internal
9 structure and difficulties of the HVO and everything
10 else, in functioning, in terms of command, et cetera.
11 Perhaps their impression would have been different had
12 I had greater trust and had I acted differently in
13 contrast to the regulations that prevailed in the HVO.
14 Perhaps by way of comparison, the regulation
15 that dealt with the conduct of former JNA officers
16 vis-à-vis the public dated back to 1968, so I did not
17 have any experience in relation to that and I did not
18 know the extent to which I could have shared
19 information. But every meeting with them was reported
20 to my superiors. I did not have the authority to share
21 some experiences with them. I imagine that their
22 standpoints would have been different had I been able
23 to do so.
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, General, I am
25 interested in your state of mind at the time, so would
1 you please say to me whether at the time you considered
2 that to the representatives of the International
3 Community it would be a credible response for you to
4 say that the authority to investigate did not lie in
5 your hands but that it lay in the hands of the
6 responsible ministry?
7 A. It is hard for me to recall that. I know the
8 contents, approximately, and I noted the contents of
9 the discussions with the representatives of the
10 International Community. My impression was that they
11 were really in a hurry, and sometimes -- I don't know
12 how to define this -- it seemed to me that the priority
13 was to get certain activities over with as soon as
14 possible rather than to have an in-depth approach.
15 I was astonished when my letter of the 20th
16 of April remained without a reply in relation to the
17 letter to Colonel Stewart and especially after the 4th
18 of May when there were no activities whatsoever related
19 to the joint investigation.
20 It is hard for me to recall all these details
21 now. Perhaps it would have been different had I acted
22 in that way. But I repeat, I did not have the
23 authority to present before the representatives of the
24 International Community all the problems related to the
25 internal structure of the HVO and to explain to them
1 all the problems that were there; that is to say, I did
2 not have such authority.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me put one last
4 question to you. You told our Presiding Judge a moment
5 ago that there were relevant officers housed in another
6 part of the same hotel with you. Did you think that it
7 was in your interests to go to those officers or to
8 call them to you and to find out from them whatever you
9 might have been able to find out from them by asking
10 them what they knew about Ahmici?
11 A. Your Honour, if these officers were directly
12 subordinated to me, I certainly would have done that.
13 However, that structure provided for my security at the
14 same time, or, rather, those who attempted an
15 assassination against my person on the 1st of January
16 were precisely from that structure. Well, I acted in
17 the way in which I thought I could best protect the
18 investigation, and I left that part of the work to the
19 security service that was in charge of investigating
20 the military police. Until the present day, I believe
21 that in this way I would have warned the military
22 police officers and impeded the investigation for sure.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you recognise that
24 you were in this bind, that the International Community
25 was looking to you, as the chief military officer in
1 the area, for answers to questions which interested
2 them, but you were taking the position that those
3 answers had to be derived from an exercise of the
4 authority of other agencies?
5 A. Possibly due to the lack of information that
6 the representatives of the International Community had
7 about the structure of the HVO and about the mode of
8 organisation, that they did see me as the chief
9 military commander, but I tried to share with them
10 information that at that moment was accessible to me,
11 at that moment, at the time when we were holding these
12 meetings, bearing in mind the interests and the
13 protection of the investigation because, as I said,
14 these were brief meetings, sometimes they were highly
15 emotional. For example, the meeting with Mr. Akhavan,
16 from the very outset onwards, it was very difficult,
17 and there was a strange atmosphere. At least I
18 remember the approach.
19 So perhaps they did see me as the main
20 military commander in the area, but I think that this
21 was a misperception because authority was defined in a
22 different way there. Perhaps they thought that I was
23 the person who had top responsibility but perhaps they
24 didn't realise that there were two different lines of
25 responsibility or perhaps they did not have sufficient
1 knowledge about this.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thank you, General.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues?
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I have a
5 question I would like to ask you. If I add some of the
6 information that you have given to us, it brings a
7 question to my mind.
8 The first information is the following: You
9 told us that your subordinates frequently did not carry
10 out your orders.
11 Second piece of information: You were
12 shocked by the letter from Colonel Stewart about
14 Third piece of information: You answered
15 Colonel Stewart's letter by saying that you were
16 prepared to begin immediately an investigation.
17 Fourth piece of information: You had good
18 reasons to conclude that your subordinates hid the
19 information about Ahmici from you.
20 Fifth piece of the information: The clues
21 and the evidence about the crime had to be collected as
22 quickly as possible.
23 In the face of this situation, which can be
24 described as I have just done, I ask myself the
25 question and I ask you the question: Wasn't there
1 another way out of this problem, that is, to ask for
2 your own resignation, because ultimately those people
3 who deserved your sacrifices at the end no longer
4 merited those sacrifices? That's the question I have.
5 Just as Judge Shahabuddeen has done, I would like to
6 get back to your state of mind at the time. Did you
7 think about that: resigning?
8 A. I did not, and I am proud of not having done
9 so because that would have meant leaving a ship that
10 was sinking. I've been here for a long period of time
11 now and I've been testifying about all of that. I
12 could never leave that.
13 But allow me to comment in the same order on
14 each and every one of these items that you mentioned,
15 if possible. I shall be very brief.
16 As for my subordinates who did not carry out
17 my orders, that is true. However, I am convinced that
18 the crime in Ahmici was not a spontaneous thing. It is
19 not because subordinates did not carry out orders but,
20 on the contrary, it was because they carried out
21 orders. And I had major problems because I was a
22 commander without an army. Everything in the HVO was
23 built from the roof downwards. We have, for example,
24 the commander of the Vitez Brigade, and he was supposed
25 to establish his brigade after that, and he had already
1 been appointed to a brigade that, in fact, did not
3 As for Colonel Stewart's letter, Your Honour,
4 I read that letter. I picked up the telephone receiver
5 and I read it out to my chief of main staff, and then,
6 together with him, I defined an outline of the letter
7 that was in response to Colonel Stewart's letter. I
8 also meant (sic) this joint commission that had worked
9 until then because that commission would go to
10 investigate if a single house in Bilalovac or Kacuni
11 was burnt down.
12 My subordinates having concealed information
13 from me; it's not my subordinates and my headquarters
14 and my command that concealed information from me,
15 because when we look through all the documents, I did
16 not have any reports from my subordinates where I would
17 see that information was hidden from me. They sent me
18 inaccurate, false information. The commanders from the
19 military police did, specifically the commander of the
20 4th Battalion of the military police. So that's the
21 point. I did receive information from him on the
22 combat activities but not about the crime.
23 As for the need to collect indications of the
24 crime as soon as possible, I wrote this letter to
25 politicians and to the Minister of Defence and to the
1 main staff so that I could point out, to the Security
2 Council too, point out the consequences of the crime in
4 And as far as my resignation is concerned,
5 they could hardly wait. They tried to carry it out
6 through violent means once too, and they already
7 distributed all these posts who would be commander of
8 the Operative Zone and who would have been his deputy.
9 However, I believe that in that case there would have
10 been another Ahmici and this crime would have been
11 repeated perhaps even in larger proportions.
12 I had three imperatives before me: to
13 survive, to defend myself; to carry out an
14 investigation; and to prevent a repetition of the
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
18 Mr. Kehoe, would you go on, please?
19 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
20 Q. Now, General, you noted for us on several
21 occasions, approximately the 20th through the 30th,
22 that Brigadier Petkovic was in Vitez on several
23 occasions; is that right?
24 A. He was there twice. He arrived on the 20th
25 for the first time with UNPROFOR. They transported him
1 from Mostar, the members of UNPROFOR; and the second
2 time -- I don't want to check my chronology -- but I
3 think that it was on the 28th of April. He was brought
4 once again by UNPROFOR to Zenica. So he was present
5 twice in the region.
6 Q. You also told us, General, about the meeting
7 that Petkovic had with your staff in the Hotel Vitez
8 where he stated that the investigation must be
9 completed and that crime must be rooted out of the
10 area; isn't that right?
11 A. Yes, that's right. He spoke to that effect
12 at the meeting on the 30th of April that he had with
13 members of the command of the Operative Zone.
14 Q. Well, General, did you ask Petkovic to bring
15 Pasko Ljubicic or Vlado Santic or Mario Cerkez or Dusko
16 Grubesic or Darko Kraljevic into an office and demand
17 information from these men? Did you ask Petkovic to do
18 that? And if you did, what happened?
19 A. Before the meeting with my associates, I had
20 a meeting with the chief of the main staff, Brigadier
21 Petkovic. I informed him of all the measures taken
22 thus far with the files and with my suspicions of the
23 military police, and I informed him of the demand --
24 that I demanded the replacement of the commander of the
25 military police, Pasko Ljubicic, and he was informed of
1 this. After that, he had a meeting with my associates.
2 Q. The question is very simple: Did you ask
3 Petkovic to order Ljubicic, Santic, Cerkez, Grubesic,
4 Kraljevic into the Hotel Vitez to get information about
5 what happened in Ahmici? Did you ask Petkovic to do
6 that or did you not? "Yes" or "No"?
7 A. I did not ask all these individuals that you
8 enumerated because I expressed my doubts that it was
9 the 4th Military Police Battalion that was behind it,
10 and I gave him the file to look through, and I asked
11 for the replacement of the commander of the 4th
12 Military Police Battalion.
13 MR. HAYMAN: I think "doubts" was --
14 "suspicions" was used rather than "doubts" in the
15 Croatian, I'm told by Mr. Nobilo, in the last answer,
16 not "doubts" but "suspicions."
17 JUDGE JORDA: Well, if Mr. Nobilo says that,
18 we can say that there are no doubts anymore among the
19 interpreters. Very well. You can now move to another
20 question, please.
21 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. I
22 asked the witness if the accused asked Petkovic to
23 bring these men in. His answer was, "I did not ask all
24 these individuals --"
25 JUDGE JORDA: He gave you an answer. He
1 said, "No." He said, "No."
2 MR. KEHOE: No. What he answered, and it
3 came out in the English transcript, is "I did not ask
4 all these individuals that you enumerated because I
5 expressed my doubts that it was the 4th Military
6 Police ..." et cetera. My question is did he ask
7 Petkovic to bring these men in and demand information?
8 A. I answered, and let me repeat my answer, if
10 JUDGE JORDA: You answered, although one can
11 point out that there is no connection between the two
12 parts of your question. The question was whether you
13 asked General Petkovic to call in all those
14 individuals. You said "No, because I had doubts or
15 suspicions about the military police." That was your
17 My second comment, one considers that, in
18 your mind, the investigation was finished. In your
19 mind, the investigation was over, because not only did
20 you have suspicions about the fact that the crimes were
21 committed by the military police battalion, but you
22 come to the very end of the military commission, which
23 has not even been created, and you say to General
24 Petkovic, "Remove Pasko Ljubicic from his duties." You
25 have to acknowledge that perhaps there is not a very
1 fundamental connection between those two answers. But
2 that's your answer, and there's nothing further that
3 can be said about that.
4 A. I gave the answer that all the people named
5 by the Prosecutor, I did not ask for them because I
6 informed General Petkovic of all the material, and I
7 expressed my suspicion that that had taken place in the
8 military police zone. As for the replacement of the
9 commander of the military police, General Petkovic
10 issued an order for a meeting and --
11 JUDGE JORDA: This regards a suspicion. You
12 asked that the military chief be replaced. That's
13 because, according to you, Pasko Ljubicic committed the
14 crime in Ahmici.
15 Could you ask your next question before we
16 take our break in the next four or five minutes?
17 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
18 Q. Now, General, you noted that you didn't call
19 in Pasko Ljubicic because you didn't want to compromise
20 the investigation. My question to you, General, is:
21 If Anto Sliskovic or another member of SIS questioned
22 Ljubicic and the military police, would that also
23 compromise the investigation?
24 A. I believe that the security service conducted
25 an investigation with regard to the circumstances using
1 their own methods, and they have been trained and
2 equipped to do that kind of work. I don't know what
3 methods they used or what they did. I just received
4 the report on the results of the investigation which
5 was sent in to me, and I was able to inform myself as
6 to how the investigation was progressing.
7 Q. Let me read you the question that I asked
8 you: "If Anto Sliskovic or another member of SIS
9 questioned Ljubicic and the military police, would that
10 also compromise the investigation?"
11 A. The security service is in charge of
12 investigations even for the military police, so they
13 have the authority. Now, the methods, as to how they
14 will investigate members of the military police, was up
15 to the security service.
16 Q. Tell me, General, when you were travelling
17 around Central Bosnia after the 16th of April and you
18 were going to various meetings in Zenica and at the
19 British Battalion camp in Stara Bila, how did you get
21 A. I was transported by armoured personnel
22 carriers, by UNPROFOR, completely closed in in the
23 vehicles with an escort of UNPROFOR soldiers and with
24 an escort of one to two transporters, APCs, in a
1 Q. In your zeal to find out as much information
2 about the crime in Ahmici as possible, after you
3 received the letter from Stewart on the 22nd of April,
4 did you ask Colonel Stewart to provide you with an
5 armoured personnel carrier so that you could
6 immediately view what happened in Ahmici, as opposed to
7 waiting for your visit on the 27th of April? Did you
8 do that? If you did, when did you do it and to whom
9 did you speak, if you recall?
10 A. At that time, we were engaged in these
11 activities and meetings organised by the international
12 mission. I don't recall whether I specifically asked
13 for a vehicle for myself at that period to take me to
14 Ahmici, but I do know that I asked that of the security
15 service workers and that I did not receive those
16 vehicles, that is to say, my liaison officer with
17 UNPROFOR, Mr. Darko Bijelic asked, but I don't recall
18 whether I personally asked for that before the 27th of
19 April or not. I don't believe I did, but I'm not quite
20 sure. I would have to check in my chronology.
21 Q. Now, let us move to a different area.
22 MR. KEHOE: I'm about to move into a
23 different section here, Mr. President. I don't know if
24 you want to take the break now. I will gladly
1 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will take a
2 20-minute break.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.17 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.47 a.m.
5 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume the hearing now.
6 Please be seated.
7 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. Now, General, we left off with your answer
10 concerning asking BritBat to take you to Ahmici. My
11 follow-up question to that is this: Did you ask Colonel
12 Stewart if you could interview or gather information
13 from his soldiers so that you could quickly find out
14 what happened in Ahmici on the 16th of April? Did you
15 do that? If you did, when did you do it?
16 A. You mean for me to talk to the soldiers of
17 Colonel Stewart; is that what you're asking?
18 Q. You or anybody else that you ordered to do
19 so. Did you ask Stewart if he would make his soldiers
20 available for interview so you could find out as much
21 as you possibly could about Ahmici as quickly as
22 possible? Did you do that, and if you did, when did
23 you do it?
24 A. I did not do that. I did not ask Colonel
25 Stewart anything like that because reports of that kind
1 I heard -- I heard about the term "milinfosum" being
2 used here for the first time, and then I learnt that
3 his battalion in the Central Bosnia area was there, and
4 I believe that his mission was just a mission to ensure
5 the free passage of the humanitarian convoys. But when
6 I came to the Tribunal and when we received documents
7 from the Prosecution, I realised that it was also a
8 mission to keep data and information, supply
9 information about events in the area. Perhaps had I
10 read those reports earlier on, had he informed me and
11 made them available, then perhaps I would have tried to
12 arrive at information of that kind. But quite
13 honestly, at the time, I had no idea that the British
14 Battalion was doing anything other than ensuring safe
15 passage for humanitarian convoys and mediation in
16 negotiations and the work of the joint commissions.
17 Q. Well, General, let me shift to yet another
18 area of potential information, and let me read you a
19 portion of your testimony -- there's no question,
20 General. Excuse me.
21 A. I would just like to add something. Colonel
22 Stewart never said he disposed of information of that
23 kind, milinfosums, et cetera.
24 Q. Let me turn to another piece of information
25 on page 19062 and the question by Mr. Nobilo:
1 "Q Tell me, first of all, to the best of
2 your knowledge, in Vitez or in Busovaca,
3 in the enclave that was under your
4 command after the conflict broke out,
5 were there any imprisoned civilians,
6 women and children?
7 A There were. There were civilians who
8 were taken prisoner."
9 Now, General, you knew shortly after the
10 16th, did you not, that there were civilians, women and
11 children, in custody and in the custody of the HVO in
12 various locations, including the Dubravica school and
13 the cinema building; isn't that right?
14 A. I do not remember specifically the date. It
15 wasn't the 16th. It was after the 16th that I received
16 information of that kind, that is to say, that there
17 were civilians who were in custody, detained. But I
18 never ordered, nor permitted the arrest of civilians to
19 take place, and when I learnt about what had happened,
20 I appealed that they be treated in a humane manner.
21 Q. General, you had a meeting with -- again,
22 this is Major Morsink, Mr. President, Your Honours, now
23 Colonel Morsink -- as well as with a representative for
24 the ICRC on the 20th of April, 1993 where you, in fact,
25 discussed these prisoners and the locations of those
1 civilian prisoners; isn't that right?
2 A. I apologise. Could you tell me the date
4 Q. The 20th of April, 1993. The participants
5 were Henk Morsink of the European Monitoring Mission.
6 The other participant was Clare Podbielski, and the
7 spelling of that name --
8 A. No.
9 Q. Excuse me. The spelling of that name is
10 P-O-D-B-I-E-L-S-K-I, who was a representative of the
11 ICRC. You had a meeting with them in your office in
12 the Hotel Vitez on the 20th where you discussed the
13 civilian prisoners and other prisoners, didn't you?
14 A. No, that's not correct. It could only have
15 been after the 20th. I am certain that I did not have
16 a meeting with them on the 20th. I did have a meeting
17 with the officials of the International Red Cross, but
18 I'm quite certain of the date and that it wasn't the
19 20th. The only meeting I had on the 20th was the
20 meeting in Zenica.
21 Q. General, when did you learn that these
22 prisoners were in the custody of the HVO?
23 A. I think that it was between the 17th of
24 April, that is to say, from the 17th of April to about
25 the 18th, 19th, that there were people who had been
1 placed in custody. As I say, I ordered that they be
2 treated humanely, as I've already said, and said that
3 their freeing should be conducted according to the
4 protocol of the International Red Cross.
5 Q. General, when you received Stewart's letter
6 on the 22nd of April about the crimes in Ahmici, did
7 you order anyone to go to see these civilians, such as
8 in the Dubravica school, to ask them about the facts of
9 Ahmici and what happened in Ahmici? Did you do that?
10 A. The order for an investigation with regard to
11 Ahmici I issued on the 24th of April, and I know that
12 the security service conducted interviews with
13 eyewitnesses as to what had happened in Ahmici. That
14 can be seen from their statements. On the 22nd of
15 April, 1993, I do not recall -- as far as I can say
16 now, I don't think I issued an order of that kind to my
17 associates, that is to say, to go and visit the
18 civilians immediately, because the civilian detainees
19 were already under the control of the civilian
20 commission and the International Red Cross, who was
21 testing them and sounding out where they wanted to go
23 Q. Well, General, you also know that civilians
24 from Ahmici fled to Zenica after the attack on the
25 16th, and my question is: Did you ever ask the
1 Busovaca joint commission or anyone else if they could
2 interview victims of the crimes in Ahmici that were
3 residing in Zenica so that you could find out as much
4 information as possible about this atrocity as soon as
6 A. We can see that that was the trend from the
7 report sent in by the security service around the 25th
8 of May, 1993, and in that report, you can see that that
9 demand is present, that is, that an interview be
10 conducted with the civilians under the control of the
11 BH army and whether -- the eyewitnesses of the crime
12 committed and that that was something that was to have
13 been done at some time in the future.
14 Q. Let me narrow my question for you, General:
15 After you were made aware of the crimes in Ahmici, when
16 you received Stewart's letter on the 22nd, did you make
17 any request to immediately interview victims from
18 Ahmici residing in Zenica so that you, as a prudent
19 officer, could find out as much about this crime as
20 soon as possible? Did you do that?
21 A. Well, let me tell you this way: You must
22 bear in mind that the fighting was still ongoing in the
23 region, that is to say, combat activities were still
24 under way, we were still fighting; and when I issued
25 the order to the security service, I did expect that
1 they would conduct the interviews and conduct an
2 investigation as far as possible in the Lasva region.
3 So that this was with the fighting going on. I know
4 that it was the intention to hold interviews with the
5 expelled people under the control of the BH army.
6 Whether this was implemented fully to the end, I don't
7 know exactly.
8 Q. Let me ask you one further question on this,
9 General: Did you tell your chief of staff, Franjo
10 Nakic, to go to the Busovaca joint commission and
11 request their assistance in interviewing these victims,
12 these Bosnian Muslim victims from Ahmici, who were
13 residing in Zenica; and if you did, when did you do
15 A. On the 23rd of April, at the morning meeting,
16 I conceived with Franjo Nakic, that is to say, I wrote
17 a letter that I had written to Colonel Stewart on the
18 23rd, and he expected and I expected that a joint
19 commission would indeed come into being, and the
20 investigation conducted by the joint commission, as
21 this did not come about, I later on requested that the
22 burning questions be tackled: cessation of
23 hostilities, to separate the two parties in order to
24 conduct an investigation. What had to be done first
25 was to stop the fighting, and that is why I wanted to
1 engage Franjo Nakic as a go-between or to enable me to
2 have a meeting with the commander of the 3rd Corps to
3 stop the hostilities.
4 Q. So the answer to my question, General, is
5 "No," you never told Franjo Nakic to go to the daily
6 Busovaca joint commission meetings and request
7 interviews of these victims?
8 A. I have already said that the task of an
9 investigation and interviews with the victims and
10 eyewitnesses was taken over by the security service,
11 which is a professional service equipped to conduct an
12 investigation, and from the first report that it
13 submitted, we can see that its intention was to talk to
14 the victims who were under the control of the BH army
15 at the time, and because of insufficient cooperation,
16 those talks had not been conducted.
17 Q. General, you just noted for us that combat
18 activities were still ongoing. So you had an interest
19 to find out as soon as possible who the criminals in
20 the HVO were who committed these crimes; isn't that
22 A. No. It was in my interests, first and
23 foremost, to take all measures that the crime not be
24 repeated. That was my main preoccupation; that is to
25 say, that the crime not be repeated. It was certainly
1 in my interests to have combat activities stopped so
2 that a comprehensive, high-quality investigation could
3 be carried out, but my primary interest was not to have
4 the crime repeated. That is what I made every effort
5 to do and that is why I issued numerous orders, so that
6 such activities would never be repeated again, of
7 course to stop combat actions too, and perhaps it is
8 more important for an investigation to be comprehensive
9 and good quality than fast.
10 Q. General, let us talk about some gathering of
11 evidence. Now, when you received the letter from
12 Stewart on the 22nd, did you issue an order that Ahmici
13 be secured and that evidence be secured and that
14 evidence in the village of Ahmici be gathered as soon
15 as possible? Did you do that?
16 A. Your Honours, in the area of Ahmici, the
17 forces were confronted and combat operations were still
18 going on. That would have meant closing my eyes before
19 reality, if I issued orders that this area be secured.
20 There was no normal entry into that area without
21 armoured vehicles. Combat operations were still going
22 on and the front line was at the northern end of the
23 village of Ahmici. But I know that in spite of such
24 dangers, security service officers stayed in the area
25 and tried to collect evidence.
1 MR. KEHOE: Well, General, let us look at a
2 tape and with this transcript -- and if I may, this is
3 Exhibit 530. I have some extra transcripts here. I do
4 have some others for the booth, Mr. Usher.
5 This is a very brief tape, Mr. President,
6 from ITN news, which is a British communications
7 station, media station. The footage was taken by one
8 of their reporters, Dan Damon. It was previously
9 introduced into evidence. I believe that everybody has
10 one, Mr. President, and if we could just move to this
12 (Videotape played)
13 Q. Now, General, this footage reflects that a
14 week after Ahmici, approximately the 23rd of April,
15 bodies are being collected in Ahmici. Did you order
16 that, sir?
17 A. I did not see the date, that this was the
18 23rd of April.
19 Q. Well, General, the events in Ahmici -- excuse
20 me. I'll just read you the tape. The events in Ahmici
21 took place on the 16th and the reporter says, "Some are
22 still alive a week after they were hit."
23 Now, seven days from the 16th is the 23rd.
24 If you want to make it the 24th, that's fine too.
25 A. Yes, a week after the 16th is the 23rd. I
1 agree on that too. But I do not agree that this
2 activity was carried out on the 23rd of April.
3 On the 28th of April, there was a meeting in
4 Zenica, and I think there is an order issued by General
5 Halilovic and General Petkovic about taking care of all
6 the front lines. I think that the meeting was chaired
7 by General Morillon, and I'm sure that Mr. Thebault was
8 there. So the chairmen of this meeting issued an order
9 to this effect, that both sides of the front line
10 should be taken care of, and together with the 3rd
11 Corps commander, I issued such an order. I think this
12 was around the 29th of April. And this made it
13 possible for the security service to obtain information
14 about the corpses and the cause of death, that is to
15 say, to carry out post-mortems on the corpses from
16 Ahmici. That was not on the 23rd of April. I
17 profoundly believe that this was not on the 23rd of
18 April, and I know it wasn't.
19 Q. Well, let me show you Defence Exhibit 366,
20 and maybe we can clarify this matter further.
21 General, is this the order that you are
22 talking about of the 29th of April?
23 A. Yes, that is the order of the 29th of April.
24 Q. Let me read you some testimony and questions
25 from Mr. Nobilo from page 19077, where you noted:
1 Q General, the collection of the dead from
2 Ahmici, when you did that, did you
3 discover the number of dead, the
4 composition, how many were elderly,
5 women, children, civilians, or soldiers,
6 and the method in which they were
7 killed? Did you, by collecting those
8 bodies, discover those data?
9 A Yes.
10 Q Was a report written with a detailed
11 description and identification of the
12 dead that could?
13 A Yes, and an exchange on the basis of
14 the criteria of international
16 Q This collection carefully, with a report
17 indicating the sex, the identity,
18 et cetera, did this help in identifying
19 the consequences of the crime in
21 A Yes. Until then, we had only the data
22 given to us by Colonel Stewart.
23 Now, is it your testimony that this body
24 collection took place pursuant to that order, sir? And
25 the order that I'm referring to is Defence 366.
1 A. I know that this order was issued and that,
2 after that, the bodies were collected along the entire
3 front line, that is to say, on both sides, the BH army
4 and the HVO, because it was impossible only for one
5 side to engage in the collection unless combat actions
6 were stopped. So we had to agree on the security
7 measures so that this would be carried out. And I know
8 that this was on the 29th of April, 1993, or around
9 that date. But it was not on the 23rd or the 24th;
10 that's what I know.
11 Q. And it was based on this order that you were
12 able to gather information about Ahmici and obtain
13 autopsy information from those bodies so, as you told
14 Mr. Nobilo, you could know the sex and the age and the
15 number of people killed; is that correct?
16 A. No, no. The order to investigate -- we have
17 to make a distinction there -- the order to investigate
18 was given on the 24th of April, and from then onwards,
19 the security service was engaged in the investigation,
20 and this is an order to collect bodies, and I believe
21 that the security service used its own methods to reach
22 information that was required in order to compile
23 papers on the corpses.
24 Q. And, General, by your order, are you telling
25 us that you contemplated the collection of bodies from
1 Ahmici so you could get autopsy information from them?
2 Is that what you're contemplating by this order?
3 A. This order -- just a minute. It contains a
4 few activities related to lists of detainees in
5 paragraph 1, the release of civilians in item 2, then
6 taking care of the front line by way of joint teams and
7 the exchange of dead bodies and also guarantees of full
8 security for all civilians, and I think over here in
9 point 5, there is responsibility for carrying out this
10 order with a written report on specific lists of
11 persons who were detained, released, buried, et cetera,
12 and then cooperation with UNPROFOR, the International
13 Red Cross, the UNHCR, U.N. representatives; however, it
14 is based on the joint order of the two chiefs of staffs
15 respectively. I believe that this same order was
16 issued by the commander of the 3rd Corps because that
17 was the principle.
18 Q. Now, General, Mr. Marin said that this body
19 exchange was a big event. Is that right? A big event
20 in Vitez.
21 A. Well, the exchange of bodies was a
22 significant event and also a moving event regardless of
23 when it's taking place. Any exchange of dead bodies is
24 a significant event. There are bodies until the
25 present day that we haven't managed to exchange or,
1 rather, there are people who claim they're dead until
2 the present day.
3 Q. And approximately 96 bodies were given to the
4 Bosnian Muslims as part of this exchange, bodies taken
5 from Ahmici and the immediate environs; is that right?
6 A. According to the list that I looked at, I'm
7 not sure of the number, but between 96 and 103 bodies.
8 Q. General, the actual exchange and the burial
9 of these bodies took place the day before you ever
10 issued this order, didn't it?
11 A. As far as I know, the order was issued on the
12 basis of the order of the chief of the main staff and
13 the chief of the general staff of the army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I said around the 28th or 29th,
15 but I'm sure that it wasn't the 23rd.
16 Q. General, you told us and you told Mr. Nobilo
17 that the gathering of information from these dead
18 bodies was extremely significant in you finding out
19 what was happening in Ahmici, and you issued this order
20 so you could gather that information. Wasn't that your
22 A. I already said what the order contained and
23 what was fundamental to this order. After receiving
24 the order of the chief of the general staff of the BH
25 army and the chief of the main staff of the HVO, it was
1 my duty, as was the duty of the commander of the 3rd
2 Corps, to issue this order, and the collection of all
3 bodies is very important for the security service which
4 is professional and which is in charge of carrying out
5 the investigation.
6 Q. Let us move to another document, General.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, this is a United Nations Protection
11 Force daily situation report of the British Battalion
12 in Vitez sent to the United Nations headquarters. The
13 date is the 28th of April, 1993.
14 MR. KEHOE: If you can push that up,
15 Mr. Usher, I'm interested in the area under "Vitez."
16 Thank you very much.
17 Q. Under "General situation":
18 "B. Vitez. The area north of the Vitez
19 area remains relatively quiet. In Vitez BritBat
20 assisted in the removal of 96 corpses from the school
21 to a burial site."
22 Now, General, those are the bodies from
23 Ahmici that were buried on the 28th, weren't they?
24 A. Around the 28th or 29th. I see from this
25 report now that it is the 28th of April, 1993.
1 Q. General, this is a day before your order of
2 the 29th. My question for you, General, is: If it
3 happened before the 29th, who ordered the collection of
4 those 96 bodies that were in the Vitez school?
5 A. Let me just say one thing. In point 3 of the
6 order of the 29th, the front line is talked about,
7 taking care of the front line. I thought that this was
8 the case in all front lines, including the front line
9 in Ahmici. But I cannot recall at this point in time
10 who issued the order, although I know how this taking
11 care of front lines was organised, and I know that this
12 had to be through the joint commission, that is to say,
13 the joint commission that was chaired by Mr. Nakic and
14 Mr. Merdan.
15 Q. General, if it was safe enough to collect 96
16 bodies, it was certainly safe enough for you to go
17 there and safe enough for an investigation to be
18 conducted; isn't that right?
19 A. When speaking of the collection of bodies, I
20 already said that this was a two-sided activity that
21 had to be agreed upon between both parties, and on the
22 basis of the signed agreement, safety measures are
23 guaranteed. It is certain, and I believe in that, that
24 representatives of the security service were on the
25 ground during the collection of the bodies, and they
1 were collecting evidence for the purpose of the
3 Q. General, in your desire to gather information
4 about what happened in Ahmici, did you ever go to one
5 of your Tuesday press conferences that you had with
6 Kordic and Kostroman and Valenta and ask the public to
7 please provide information about what they observed in
8 Ahmici? Did you ever do that?
9 A. I had a press conference where I condemned
10 the crime in Ahmici, and all the rest was the
11 investigation of the security service. I made a
12 statement when I condemned the crime, and I expected
13 the public to provide certain information. I know that
14 statements were taken from eyewitnesses on the ground,
15 as well as from others who had information about this,
16 but the statements were collected by the security
17 service in relation to the events in Ahmici.
18 Q. General, you were the senior military
19 commander in Central Bosnia, and let us talk about the
20 press conference that you had where you condemned this
21 crime. During that press conference, did you ask the
22 public to provide or come forth with as much
23 information as they knew about what happened in Ahmici
24 because you wanted to get to the root of this? Did you
25 do that?
1 A. I do not recall everything that happened at
2 the press conference. If I could have a look at it
3 once again, perhaps that would refresh my memory. But
4 I know that basically I condemned the crime and made it
5 clear that an investigation would be carried out.
6 Q. Let us talk about your investigation, the
7 actual investigation that you ordered, General, and you
8 noted on page 18944 that after your meeting on the 24th
9 of April with Stewart -- I'm sorry. I got the
10 pagination wrong. The pagination for this is 18994.
11 You noted, General, that after your
12 conversation with Stewart on the 24th, I quote:
13 "A I organised a meeting of the command
14 and informed them of my conversation
15 with Stewart and issued an oral order to
16 SIS to conduct an investigation."
17 Now, General, who was present at this meeting
18 that you had?
19 A. My associates from headquarters were
21 Q. Who? Names.
22 A. I cannot recall all the names now, but the
23 assistant for security was there, the operations man
24 was there, I think that the IPD assistant was there,
25 and I can't remember the others who were present.
1 Q. Was Franjo Nakic, your chief of staff, there?
2 A. No, as far as I can remember, because Franjo
3 Nakic -- Franjo Nakic, I think, was engaged in the work
4 of the joint commission. I'm not sure, but I think he
5 wasn't there.
6 Q. How about Slavko Marin, your chief of
7 operations, was he there?
8 A. I believe that he was there.
9 Q. What was Marin's reaction to you ordering SIS
10 to start this investigation; do you recall?
11 A. It is hard for me to recall all individual
12 reactions. I mainly focused on familiarising the
13 command with all the major issues that I discussed with
14 Colonel Stewart, and I issued an order to the security
15 assistant, and I cannot recall the individual
17 Q. Now, as your chief of operations, did you
18 keep Brigadier Marin informed about what was happening
19 and the developments in the Ahmici investigation that
20 you had given to SIS on the 24th?
21 A. Marin got the task of collecting all the
22 documents beforehand, but I don't remember informing
23 him specifically about the investigation, because it
24 was the security service that was handling this and
25 submitting reports to me. Perhaps if he came by some
1 information, but I cannot recall at this point in
3 Q. In the entire testimony of Brigadier Marin,
4 who testified before this Tribunal for a significant
5 period of time, did you ever hear Slavko Marin mention
6 once this oral order that you gave to SIS on the 24th
7 of April, 1993?
8 A. I do not recall specifically whether he
9 mentioned that, but we communicated -- rather, the work
10 of the command that I was in charge of went as
11 follows: At these meetings where I would issue tasks,
12 each and every one of them had their own war diaries,
13 and that is where they registered the tasks that were
14 given to specific persons. For example, if an
15 assignment is given to SIS, then the SIS man will take
16 that down, and then if there was an order for Slavko
17 Marin, then Slavko Marin would take it down, et cetera,
18 et cetera. In my own personal war diary, I registered
19 tasks or assignments or a general outline as to what I
20 ordered which assistant to do. So I don't think that
21 Marin at all wrote down the assignments that were given
22 to my assistant for SIS or for logistics or for any
23 other activity.
24 Q. General, this issuance of this oral order to
25 SIS on the 24th was a significant event, was it not?
1 A. The work of the command, of all commands, of
2 brigades, battalions, and at a higher level is
3 organised in the following way: During briefings,
4 concrete assignments are given to each and every
5 assistant, and every assignment is an important one,
6 and every assistant is supposed to inform his
8 Q. General, would it surprise you to note that
9 your chief of operations, Slavko Marin, in testifying
10 before this Tribunal, did not say one word about an
11 oral order to SIS on the 24th of April, 1993? Would
12 that surprise you, General?
13 A. No. No, it would not surprise me. If you
14 would bring in any officer and ask him to remember
15 after so many years everything that happened -- every
16 service recorded its own assignments, that is to say,
17 the security service recorded its own assignments --
18 JUDGE JORDA: We're not talking about the
19 smallest details, not the smallest details, General
20 Blaskic. We're talking about a crime, as Judge
21 Shahabuddeen said and as you yourself said, it was a
22 crime which shocked the international community. They
23 are concerned that your closest collaborator, who
24 testified for six weeks here, and this was, after all,
25 not a crime -- we're not asking about small details
2 A. Mr. President, he is not the person who is in
3 charge of receiving that order. He worked in his own
4 sector, that is to say, he was in charge of combat
5 operations, he was in charge of combat documents.
6 That's the only sense I meant this in. Then the
7 assistant for security is in charge of his own line of
9 MR. KEHOE:
10 Q. General, do you have any document, any piece
11 of paper, in all of the paper that we have seen in this
12 courtroom, that reflects that you issued an oral order
13 on the 24th of April, 1993 to SIS? Any piece of paper?
14 A. There is my very own personal diary, war
15 diary from that period, but I do not have it in my
17 Q. Is that it? Is that all? Is that the only
18 item of evidence you have to support this oral order on
19 the 24th of April?
20 A. There is my own personal war diary, and there
21 is the personal war diary of the assistant for
22 security, so at least two official documents.
23 Q. Suffice it to say, and you would agree, that
24 we have seen no piece of paper in all of the paper that
25 has come into evidence here that reflects this order of
1 the 24th, this oral order of the 24th; isn't that
3 A. I do not have that document here with me. If
4 I had all the documents here with me, I would have
5 shown you all of them, but I do not. However, we were
6 officially duty-bound to have war diaries, and that is
7 what we were bound by duty to do, and that is an
8 official document of every commander.
9 JUDGE JORDA: But you have the war diaries.
10 Do you have it?
11 A. I do not have it here with me. It was my
12 duty to give that document back. That was standard
13 practice: When one was given a new post, when one was
14 being sent elsewhere, then one would have to hand that
15 document back and get a new one issued to him.
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. Now, General, let us move into or back to the
18 same day in which you issued this oral order, you
19 issued this letter to Kordic, Stojic, and to Milivoj
21 If we might, Mr. Registrar, just to move
22 things along, if we could give this document back to
23 the witness, that's 456/58?
24 (Trial Chamber confers)
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Now, General, in this top secret document
2 that you sent to these three officials, again, this is
3 the order of the 24th of April, 1993, the same day this
4 alleged oral order was given to SIS, do you tell these
5 three officials that you have issued this oral order to
6 SIS to commence this investigation? Is that fact set
7 forth in this document anywhere, or is that another
8 portion of this document that's missing?
9 A. This document that we're talking about,
10 456/58, is only an information about the discussion
11 with Colonel Stewart. It is not a document on all the
12 daily activities of my command and all the events that
13 took place in the Operative Zone. So it is only
14 information and events between 1300 and 1400 hours,
15 which is what the document says in its title, but
16 operative information is regularly sent to the chief of
17 the main staff on all the activities of the command and
18 everything taking place, including the meeting I had
19 after the meeting with Colonel Stewart and the tasks I
20 issued to my associates, at least the more important
22 Therefore, this document, which was issued by
23 fax, is only an information about the talks. Not all
24 the activities related to my activities related to
25 Ahmici. And when you stress "strictly confidential"
1 may I say that all the documents were labelled
2 "strictly confidential." There was practically no
3 single document which did not have "strictly
4 confidential" written on it.
5 Q. Well, General, this particular document
6 reflects a visit concerning the massacre of Muslim
7 people in the village of Ahmici, a visit by members of
8 the United Nations, and it indicates a meeting with
9 Stewart where he calls this particular event a
10 political catastrophe where individual civilians were
11 killed, and is it your testimony that in this document
12 you did not inform these three senior officials from
13 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna that you had
14 ordered an investigation? Is that your testimony?
15 A. I claim that this is information, information
16 about my talks with Colonel Stewart, and it is not a
17 complete document. It is not a document that relates
18 to all the activities I undertook concerning the crimes
19 committed in Ahmici. So this is only by way of
20 information, an informative document of my talks with
21 Colonel Stewart and the topics he raised --
22 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, you're not
23 answering the question. It's not only information
24 because, at the end, you speak about several other
25 points. But even assuming that it is an information
1 document, it seems to me that the Prosecutor's question
2 is legitimate, which has been supported by many
3 questions asked by my colleagues, starting with Judge
4 Shahabuddeen, having to do with the visit of the
5 Security Council, the question that was asked you by
6 Judge Rodrigues having to do with all the various sets
7 of information.
8 You call on the three highest-ranking people
9 above you, the politicians, Kordic; the Minister of
10 Defence, who, according to you, was the only one who
11 was responsible for military police; your own superior,
12 General Petkovic. You speak to them about what
13 interests them the very, very most, that is, the
14 reactions of the International Community to the
15 massacre in Ahmici, and you took the trouble to send
16 them this document, and on the very day, I think on the
17 very morning, since your meetings were held in the
18 morning, on that same day at 1550, you send a point in
19 the situation -- about this dreadful situation in
20 Ahmici, you are concerned about the investigation,
21 according to what you just said -- there is no reason
22 not to believe you -- so we really have the right to
23 wonder and to suppose that the three highest-ranking
24 people, who are only receiving information through
25 faxes that you send to them, that you don't say to them
1 that the measure that you took was to inform SIS.
2 Perhaps it is incomplete. Perhaps it is.
3 Perhaps there are three paragraphs missing. Perhaps
4 there are three paragraphs missing. I really don't
5 know. You are the only one who can tell us that. But
6 you do have to agree that the Prosecutor's questions
7 are legitimate in order to throw light on the situation
8 for the Judges, the Judges whose primary mission is to
9 ascertain what happened exactly.
10 We are talking about an exceptional
11 document. I would almost like to ask you this
12 question. It was an exceptional document, as Judge
13 Rodrigues has pointed out to me. You, who never were
14 involved in politics; you, whose evidence in the
15 beginning said that you are interested only in military
16 problems -- making a very subtle distinction there but
17 it's your distinction -- you called Dario Kordic, you
18 alert the Minister of Defence, and now you're saying
19 that it was a detail of the morning's meeting and each
20 person was taking some notes, "Yes, I informed SIS."
21 Well, you have to understand that the Prosecutor is
22 insisting on that question and that the Judges are as
24 A. Your Honours, I have already said about all
25 the events, we compile an operative report, and all the
1 events are then sent -- a report of them are sent to
2 the main staff of the HVO, including the orders issued
3 on that particular day, and these reports, on the basis
4 of these reports, tasks and assignments are issued.
5 That is my answer to the question posed by the
7 JUDGE JORDA: Would my colleagues like to ask
8 any additional questions? Judge Rodrigues? Otherwise,
9 we will move to another set of questions. I think
10 we've simply got to take note of the witness's answer
11 as it was given.
12 Judge Rodrigues, do you have another way of
13 allowing Judge Shahabuddeen and myself to understand
14 whether this was simply a detail and if you were
15 concerned about Ahmici only because the International
16 Community said that it was concerned about it or
17 whether you really conducted an investigation
18 conscientiously and convincingly? Help us, Judge
19 Rodrigues. Help us.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I will if I can. Excuse me
21 for asking this question -- perhaps I should know the
22 answer to it -- but I'd like to turn to Mr. Nobilo and
23 ask whether, in the direct examination of Brigadier
24 Marin, you asked the direct question of the witness,
25 that is, having to do with the oral order that the
1 General allegedly issued that morning during the
2 meeting, did you ask the question of the witness
4 MR. NOBILO: Your Honour, my colleague will
5 check this out, but I'll try and answer the question to
6 the best of my recollection; namely, I did not ask the
7 question, as far as I recall ...
8 MR. HAYMAN: May I, Your Honour? At pages
9 12527 to 12528, Brigadier Marin was shown the order of
10 May 10th, 1993, he was asked:
11 Q Did you see this document?
12 A No, I did not see it, it went directly
13 to the commander. As I told you, this
14 was not my area of work, that is the
15 investigating work. But I do know Anto
16 Sliskovic, assistant commander to the
17 Central Bosnia Operative Zone commander,
18 and I recognise his signature.
19 MR. NOBILO: Thank you. In fact, Your
20 Honour --
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for that
22 clarification, Mr. Hayman. Thank you.
23 MR. NOBILO: In fact, Your Honour, when we
24 investigate something that happened six years ago, we
25 can ask Brigadier Marin as to the fundamental
1 principles that remain in his memory, what he
2 remembers, we can ask him details only if we have a
3 document to refresh his memory because Brigadier Marin,
4 without the documents that we show him, would have been
5 able to remember very little without actually seeing
6 the document. Once he sees the document, then Slavko
7 Marin can, if he were to see a document, then Slavko
8 Marin would be able to remember and say something about
10 One event, an oral order given six years ago
11 during a war, it is impossible to remember, and we did
12 not want to suggest anything to him. The sources of
13 his knowledge are his own recollections after six years
14 and recollections once his memory has been refreshed by
15 the documents we showed him. Outside those two axes,
16 we didn't wish to go, because everything else would be
17 our suggestions to him.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
20 Mr. Kehoe, would you please continue?
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Just to follow up on that,
22 Judge Rodrigues. I checked the transcript, went
23 through it last night at some length, both the direct
24 and the cross. There is no mention or allusion to an
25 order on the 24th of April, 1992.
1 JUDGE JORDA: How much time did you spend
2 reading all that, Mr. Kehoe?
3 MR. KEHOE: Quite a bit.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
5 MR. KEHOE:
6 Q. Now, General, if you didn't tell Petkovic,
7 Kordic, and Stojic about your oral investigation in
8 this document, Exhibit 456/58, did you inform them
9 about your decision to commence this investigation at
10 any point?
11 A. The chief of the main staff, I, of course,
12 informed about the order regarding an investigation,
13 and practically all the tasks, I was duty-bound to
14 inform the chief of the main staff of them, and I did
15 so in the operative and extraordinary reports as well.
16 Q. Did you keep them apprised of what was
17 happening during the course of the investigation and
18 some of your difficulties in getting SIS to complete
19 the investigation?
20 A. The chief of the main staff, of course. He
21 was my direct superior. I informed him about the
22 course of the investigation, the difficulties that we
23 encountered, and everything else.
24 Q. Did you request the chief of the main staff
25 or Stojic or Kordic to intervene with the head of SIS
1 so that the investigation could be brought to a
2 conclusion quickly? Did you do that?
3 A. I never asked intervention from Kordic
4 vis-à-vis SIS nor did I consider him to be the person
5 to do that, but I asked the chief of the main staff to
6 intervene in the sense of completing the investigation,
7 and this in a report on the course of the investigation
8 and the problems concerning the investigation.
9 Q. Do you have any document in your possession
10 or in the court record to support what you just said
11 other than your chronology?
12 A. The document is my war diary and my
13 references, and that was in September 1993, references
14 to the chief of staff, and I spoke about this in my
16 Q. So the answer to my question is that you do
17 not have any documentation nor is there any
18 documentation in evidence to support your statement
19 that you asked Petkovic for assistance?
20 A. I do not have documents with me here, but I
21 know that documents exist in my war diary and in my
22 short brief for this report to the chief of the main
23 staff in September 1993. One of the questions was the
24 inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the investigation
25 into the crime in Ahmici.
1 Q. So, General, the bottom line is that the only
2 evidence that we have concerning this oral order from
3 the 24th of April, 1993, is your word; is that right?
4 A. I have already stated that there are at least
5 two documents on that: my personal war diary and the
6 personal war diary of the assistant for security.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Again, that's argument,
8 Mr. President, asking, "Is there any other evidence?"
9 We can argue about what the other evidence is, but I
10 think that's an inappropriate question to the witness,
11 to ask him to argue the state of the evidence in the
12 case. That is the job of counsel, and we are ready to
13 do that right now if the Court permits.
14 MR. KEHOE: Well, Judge --
15 JUDGE JORDA: I don't understand. Wait. I
16 don't understand something here.
17 MR. HAYMAN: The question, in essence, to the
18 witness is: Is there any other evidence in the case
19 that supports proposition X?
20 JUDGE JORDA: Well, I think we have to remain
21 reasonable. Remember that the Trial Chamber asked for
22 production of that war diary. I think you've just
23 answered the Trial Chamber. I think that we asked for
24 it under Rule 98. I haven't seen the French version of
25 your answer, but according to what Mr. Fourmy said to
1 me, you said you would not be able to provide it.
2 Therefore, it doesn't seem legitimate to me for the
3 Prosecutor to ask the witness, or witness who is a
4 witness -- he's not an accused but a witness -- to ask
5 him whether he has any evidence to support what he
7 It's not a question here of legal cultures,
8 the difference between what happens in yours and in my
9 own. Here we have this peculiarity of having a witness
10 who wanted -- of an accused who wanted to be a witness,
11 but he is a witness and he answers questions, and he
12 said "It's in my war diary." I think that the Trial
13 Chamber asked for that war diary, we're not going to
14 get it, so I'm anxious to hear what you have to say,
15 whether we have to go any further and whether this is a
16 discussion that my colleagues have to have amongst
17 themselves, but as regards that, I think that seems
18 legitimate. Perhaps the way the question was phrased
19 was a bit clumsy, but I don't think any more importance
20 than that should be attached to it. Do you agree?
21 MR. HAYMAN: Fine.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr. Kehoe, would
23 you continue, please?
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I'll move
1 Q. Let's turn our attention to your actual
2 investigation order, General, which we find at two
3 places, either 456/59, Mr. Registrar, or Defence 341,
4 whichever is convenient for you. It's the same
6 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, we have another ten
8 MR. KEHOE: I can get through an area, I
9 believe, in ten minutes in this regard.
10 Q. General, this is your order of the 10th of
11 May, 1993 to SIS concerning the investigation of
12 Ahmici. Now, this written order of the 10th of May,
13 1993 is issued three and a half weeks after the events
14 in Ahmici, is it not?
15 A. Yes, but this, of course, is the third order
16 which I issued to my assistant for security so as to
17 speed up the investigation and exert extra pressure by
18 way of coming out with results.
19 Q. General, this is after the visit by a United
20 Nations delegation to Ahmici which took place on the
21 24th of April, 1994 that we discussed previously and
22 that you discussed with Judge Shahabuddeen yesterday;
24 A. I know that there were a number of
25 delegations visiting Ahmici and that I talked to
1 Colonel Stewart about the delegation. I think it was
2 the 24th of April, 1993.
3 Q. This is after, General, your meeting once --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, continue. Please excuse
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General, this is after your meeting with
8 Stewart on the 4th of May, 1993 that we saw in
9 Prosecutor's Exhibit 695, where Stewart once again
10 stated that nothing had happened about the commission
11 of enquiry into Ahmici after 18 days. This order is
12 after that as well?
13 A. I have already said that throughout the
14 meeting of the 4th of May, I was not present. It
15 wasn't only a meeting with Colonel Stewart. The chief
16 of the European Monitoring Mission, Mr. Thebault, had
17 the main say, and I was invited to attend the meeting
18 which had already reached its conclusion. But the
19 meeting did take place, yes, on the 4th of May, 1993.
20 Q. Your order of the 10th of May is also after
21 your visit from Payam Akhavan, who was a representative
22 of the United Nations Human Rights Commission; isn't
23 that right?
24 A. Yes, that is the order that was issued and
25 that we're discussing now, but I already said that my
1 order to the SIS assistant was of the 24th of April,
3 Q. This order was after the meeting that you had
4 with Mr. McLeod from the European Commission Monitoring
5 Mission who was investigating the events in Central
6 Bosnia; isn't that right?
7 A. Just one moment, please. With Mr. McLeod, I
8 had a meeting at around the 8th of May, 1993.
9 Q. General, you would agree with me that this
10 meeting with McLeod took place two days before you
11 issued this written order to SIS on the 10th of May; is
12 that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. This document was also issued after you
15 learned that the United Nations was contemplating a war
16 crimes tribunal for crimes that took place in the
17 former Yugoslavia; isn't that correct?
18 A. I don't recall the date specifically when I
19 learnt of the formation of the tribunal, and I'm not
20 sure that I can remember that at present. But even
21 before this order, I received reports from the security
22 service on the investigation, I think it was a file on
23 the bodies, the corpses from Ahmici, sometime around
24 the 29th or 30th of April, 1993.
25 JUDGE JORDA: A small point. In my own notes
1 here, perhaps I was wrong, I had the feeling that on
2 the 9th of May, there was a meeting with Colonel
3 Duncan. Perhaps I was wrong. Am I wrong?
4 MR. KEHOE: There was another meeting on the
5 9th of May.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Thank you.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Staying with that, General, as the President
9 just said, this order takes place the day after you had
10 a meeting with Colonel Duncan where he inquired about
11 Ahmici; isn't that right?
12 A. The order was issued after the meeting, but
13 I've already stated that when I issued my first order,
14 I received a report about the 30th of April, 1993 from
15 the SIS assistant, and I once again issued an order
16 that the investigation be continued. In the
17 information that I received, the first information
18 included a list of bodies, that is to say, the bodies
19 connected exclusively with Ahmici.
20 Q. General, this order is issued by you after
21 you were well aware that the crimes in Ahmici had
22 created an international uproar and that international
23 organisations were extremely interested in finding out
24 what happened there and in the prosecution of the
25 perpetrators; isn't that right?
1 A. The order I issued to the assistant for SIS
2 on the 24th of April, 1993 was after I became conscious
3 of the fact that I had no certain assurances that the
4 joint commission would accept the investigation and
5 work on this investigation and the reaction by Colonel
6 Stewart. I received the first reports on the 30th of
7 April, 1993 when I issued my second order to the
8 assistant for SIS, and from this order, you can see
9 from the deadline that's given of only 15 days, that it
10 would have been impossible to conduct an investigation
11 of that scope in 15 day's time. So this order was an
12 additional pressure on the assistant for security that
13 a comprehensive investigation truly be carried out to
14 the full.
15 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, if you issued
16 an order on the 10th of May which, in your mind, was a
17 reminder order, because you weren't satisfied with the
18 response to your verbal orders that had been issued on
19 the 23rd or 24th of April, wouldn't it have been of
20 interest to you to state in that order, that is, the
21 order of the 10th of May, wouldn't it have been proper
22 for you to have said that you had issued verbal orders
23 and that in your eyes these orders had not been
24 followed sufficiently?
25 In addition to that, my first question is
1 that considering the first four lines, you say that for
2 several days various rumours have been running in the
3 public about Ahmici, since the 14th of May, et cetera.
4 In order to be able to analyse these events, my first
5 question is the following: Wouldn't it have been
6 important for you to say: "Despite any pressing and
7 urgent oral orders, I issue the following order"?
8 Then the second question is: In the order
9 itself, wouldn't it have been useful for you to have
10 said, "I reconfirm to the assistant of the security
11 service in order to carry out his investigation fully"?
12 Before you answer, my conclusion is that one
13 has the feeling when one reads this, there's no reason
14 not to believe this because you're saying this under
15 oath, but I have to state that when one reads the order
16 of 10 May, one has the impression that this is really
17 an initial order. You, who are someone who is very
18 attached to form, that is what it really appears to be,
19 that "For several days now, there have been rumours in
20 the public, and I order information to be collected and
21 I appoint an assistant." Do you understand my concern?
22 A. Your Honour, practically every day, I had
23 contact with the assistant for security, and I have
24 noted down in my notes, for example, on the 5th of May,
25 1993, when I demanded results of the investigation,
1 that is to say, a long time before. I received reports
2 from him that the service was working on it. Then
3 later on, once again, I asked for reports relating from
4 my order for an investigation. I did not receive the
5 results of the investigation.
6 On the 9th of May, I once again asked for a
7 report to be sent me. I once again was told that the
8 service was working on it, and when it concludes its
9 investigation, they would send their results to me.
10 That is why here I give a written order as additional
11 pressure on the assistant for security. Perhaps I
12 could have mentioned all the previous dates, the dates
13 of the previous orders and my correspondence with them,
14 but every meeting that I had with the SIS security
15 assistant is recorded in my own war diary and his own
16 war diary.
17 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you, since we're
18 all professionals here in criminal justice, that your
19 order is more like something that has been written by
20 an investigating chief. Read it. You said to us that
21 the specialist -- that you were not a specialist, that
22 you were concerned with combat and not investigations,
23 and that you had appointed a specialised service for
24 that purpose. Reread your order. In the first part,
25 you say: "I order all information to be collected."
1 Remember, General Blaskic, the information which, when
2 the Prosecutor or Judge Rodrigues asked, you answered
3 that these were not your tasks to gather them, and
4 here, oddly enough, under number 1, you say that "I
5 order that information be collected." Under 2, you
6 designate the assistant, that's true, but you designate
7 him as the person responsible for gathering
8 information. You don't say: "I appoint him to carry
9 out an investigation." One has the impression that
10 you're the one who is taking charge of the
11 investigation, and that's somewhat contradictory with
12 what you said up to this point.
13 A. Mr. President, in point 1, I demand
14 information. I don't know how the word was translated
15 "gather all the specific information as to the number
16 of casualties, the manner in which they occurred, and
17 the perpetrators." So, in particular -- it says "in
18 particular." It is true that it says "gather all the
19 information and submit a report" because there was
20 different information, there were different rumours
21 going around. But I asked that he gather all the
22 information and submit all the information in a report,
23 and then I go on specifically to speak about the number
24 of casualties, the manner in which they occurred, and
25 the perpetrators. I am not a professional in terms of
1 investigative procedures.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Why did you do it at that
3 point? Why at that point? Because the international
4 community was moved? Why that day, the 10th of May?
5 Why did you consider that you are responsible for
6 gathering information, whereas up to this point, since
7 the 16th of April, either you don't know, between the
8 16th and the 22nd of April when you had the letter from
9 Colonel Stewart, or since yesterday, you've been saying
10 "I ordered that an investigation be carried out."
11 Therefore, why not on the 23rd? Because you say that
12 "I want to know what happened," and you wait until the
13 10th of May in order to want to find out. Perhaps you
14 would answer that this was because you were given oral
16 A. If this were the first order, the initial
17 order, it would be unrealistic to expect it to be
18 implemented in 10 or 15 days because an investigation
19 and the gathering of even preliminary results would
20 require far more time. With this order, I wish to
21 exert additional pressure on the assistant for security
22 for him to send me written information as to what had
23 happened. The greatest problem was to arrive at the
24 names, written information, for somebody to write
25 something down, sign it, in those wartime conditions,
1 that such and such a thing had, in fact, taken place.
2 JUDGE JORDA: I have no further questions.
3 Judge Rodrigues perhaps does.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, you are a
5 military man, and you are used to questions from the
6 organisation, and we've spoken about that. It would be
7 more efficient, more effective, perhaps, to give this
8 order on the 23rd of April than to issue a verbal
9 order. Therefore, if, on the 23rd, you are so
10 concerned, as you say you were, I am as confused as the
11 Presiding Judge, Judge Jorda, is. Why didn't you do
12 that immediately on the 23rd? Because from the point
13 of view of organisation, it would be more efficient.
14 Your subordinate, if, in his mind, he has an oral
15 order, that's one thing, but if he sees a piece of
16 paper with a written order on it lying on his table,
17 that's something else, I think. What would you say to
19 A. Your Honour, the command functioned as
20 follows: We kept a record of all the daily orders and
21 assignments in our war diaries --
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But you were operating in
23 such a way that you could issue the order. The
24 question is only to know why on the 10th of May and not
25 on the 23rd of April? You had the same assets. You
1 have your paper, you have the possibility to write, and
2 you had someone to receive the order.
3 A. It is clear I did. I expected that already
4 in respect of the first order, the 24th of April, that
5 I would receive information, and then when there was
6 some kind of procrastination as far as the submission
7 of such information was concerned, after all the
8 requests I made, then with this order, I made an
9 additional pressure. However, a written order to my
10 very own associates is an exception, not a rule.
11 Within a command, irrespective of what the assignments
12 concerned are, the head of any command gives his
13 associates their -- he only issues oral orders;
14 however, the assistant for security did not give me a
15 comprehensive order, and he had to record that in his
16 diary, that I had given him such an assignment, and I
17 wanted to exert additional pressure on him in this
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I think it's time to stop
21 working. The interpreters are tired. We will resume
22 at 2.45.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.10 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.49 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
3 be seated.
4 Mr. Kehoe, you have the floor.
5 MR. KEHOE: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. General, I'd like to begin where we left off,
7 and that again was with, Mr. Registrar, Defence Exhibit
8 356 -- excuse me, Prosecution Exhibit 356/59 (sic) or
9 341, the order of 10 May, 1993. If the witness doesn't
10 have that, I would ask that he be given that document.
11 I would ask that he also be given Prosecution
12 Exhibit 532.
13 JUDGE JORDA: 456 or 356, Mr. Kehoe? What is
14 this exhibit's number, please?
15 MR. KEHOE: 456. If I can just clarify an
16 administrative matter here, Judge? This particular
17 document was introduced both by the Prosecution and the
18 Defence. For the Prosecution, it is numbered 456/59,
19 and for the Defence, its number, Defence Exhibit 341,
20 but it's the same document.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well.
22 MR. KEHOE: I would also like the General to
23 look at Prosecution Exhibit 532.
24 Q. Now, General, just again referencing the date
25 of your report of 10 May, 1993, I would like you to
1 look at Exhibit 532, which is a report of a meeting of
2 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna on the 29th of
3 April, 1993, and I would like to refer you to two
5 Mr. Usher, I am interested in page 3 in the
6 English; and, General, in the B/C/S version, it is on
7 the top of page 4.
8 A little higher. The "Ivica Santic" portion.
9 In the Ivica Santic portion of this document
10 dated the 29th of April, at this meeting where numerous
11 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna officials were
12 present, Ivica Santic, the mayor of Vitez, notes:
13 "Pointed out the acceptable attitude of the
14 HVO army towards the HVO government. Learned about it
15 by chance eight hours before the attack in Vitez.
16 Pointed out the initiative of the HVO in Central Bosnia
17 municipalities for work and activities in this part of
18 the (Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna) which have not
19 been accepted into the (Croatian Community of
20 Herceg-Bosna). Also pointed out the mistakes of the
21 HVO units. No one can justify the crime in Ahmici.
22 Great damage has been done. The reaction of
23 UNPROFOR ... is devastating for us. Believes that
24 Mr. Boban and Mr. Izetbegovic must come to Central
25 Bosnia. People must be resettled in an organised
2 Now let us turn to the last page, to the
3 concluding comments of President Boban.
4 That's it. Thank you, Mr. Usher.
5 It says:
6 "Instead of closing remarks, (Mr. Boban)
8 "1. Individuals on all levels must complete
9 their tasks or leave.
10 "2. In making a decision, certain limiting
11 factors must be taken into account, especially when it
12 concerns the Republic of Croatia.
13 "Due to the events in Vitez (the village of
14 Ahmici) EU ministers have almost announced sanctions
15 against Croatia."
16 Now, General, this meeting, which is noted in
17 this report as the 29th of April, reflects that the
18 European Community is just about to impose sanctions on
19 the Republic of Croatia because of the events in
20 Ahmici, and this meeting took place eleven days before
21 you issued this order on the 10th of May, 1993. Is
22 your reading of those numbers the same, sir?
23 A. This meeting in Citluk was held in accordance
24 with these documents which I now see and which I did
25 not have the opportunity of seeing, and I did not take
1 part in this meeting on the 29th of April, 1993,
2 either. However, I did issue the order to investigate
3 Ahmici on the 24th of April, 1993, and this written
4 order from May is just an indicator that something was
5 going on between myself and the SIS assistant and
6 obviously I was not satisfied with it. And it's an
7 exception, as I already said, because I would always
8 give my immediate associates oral assignments,
9 assignments orally, and this is one of the orders I
10 gave to my subordinates in my own staff.
11 Q. Now, Santic, Ivica Santic, was the mayor of
12 Vitez at this time; right?
13 A. Yes, he was mayor of Vitez at the time, and I
14 believe that it is UNPROFOR that took him to this
15 meeting in relation to those photographs on the basis
16 of which I came to the conclusion that I did not attend
17 the meeting. Those vehicles were in front of the
18 hotel, and I imagine that UNPROFOR must have helped
19 them to get to Citluk because otherwise they could not
20 have reached Citluk.
21 Q. During your direct examination, you told us
22 that you had contact with Mr. Santic; isn't that right?
23 A. Yes, I had contact with Mr. Santic. I looked
24 at this document very quickly too, and on page 3 are
25 interesting observations made by Mr. Kresimir Zubak,
1 President of the Federation --
2 Q. That's not the question, I'm sorry. And you
3 had contact with him between the -- after this meeting
4 on the 29th of April and before you issued this written
5 order to investigate on the 10th of May, 1993, didn't
7 A. In my chronology, I have every contact with
8 Mr. Santic recorded, and I would have to look at the
9 chronology to look at that particular period, that is
10 to say, from the 29th of April until the 10th of May.
11 Whether I had any contact with Mr. Santic or not, I
12 would have to check on this in my chronology.
13 Q. Well, sir, take a look at May 1st. May 1st.
14 On May 1st, did you not meet with UNHCR officials and
15 Santic and Skopljak in Vitez?
16 A. On the 1st of May, I met with
17 Mr. de la Mota from the Red Cross, and I do not have
18 any record of Mr. Santic and Mr. Skopljak having been
19 present there and I believe that they were not present
20 there. When I had the meeting with Mr. de la Mota,
21 that is. Perhaps Mr. de la Mota met with them
22 separately because that was customary and that was
24 MR. KEHOE: Can I just go into private
25 session just briefly on this point, Mr. President?
1 JUDGE JORDA: Certainly, if you deem it
2 necessary, Mr. Kehoe. We have no means of controlling
3 that -- such things may happen. We can only inform the
4 public of the fact that sometimes, because we are going
5 to speak of confidential testimony, we have to go into
6 private session for confidential matters to be raised,
7 and we do hope at this point the session will be
8 relatively short, Mr. Kehoe. Let us not forget that
9 this is supposed to be a public trial. Are you going
10 to read part of a testimony?
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
12 JUDGE JORDA: In which case we are going in
13 private session.
14 (Private session)
13 Page 22275 redacted – in Private Session
21 (Open session)
22 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
23 MR. KEHOE:
24 Q. General, let's look at the order itself that
25 you issued on the 10th of May, and taking a look first
1 at the preamble, there is no mention of your oral order
2 in that preamble, is there?
3 A. In this order, no mention is made of my oral
4 order or of all the ongoing activities mentioned, all
5 of those that were under way in order to have
6 information received from the assistant for security.
7 Q. You testified to us that you're mentioning
8 here in the last sentence, and I'm reading the
9 preamble: "In order to be able to analyse the events
10 and establish the facts of the case and implement the
11 order of the HVO, I hereby issue the following." You
12 testified during your direct examination that that
13 refers to the order of Brigadier Petkovic of the 30th
14 of April; do you recall that testimony?
15 A. Brigadier Petkovic, I mean, in this part of
16 this order where I am invoking Brigadier Petkovic's
17 order at the meeting with all members of the command on
18 the 30th, he did require that the investigation go to
19 the end, that is to say, the names of the perpetrators
20 and the suspects in terms of this crime.
21 Q. Now, you told us on page 19081 and 19082 that
22 Brigadier Petkovic gave this order to your
23 subordinates. Now, who were your subordinates to whom
24 Petkovic gave this order on the 30th of April?
25 A. At the meeting that we had with Petkovic, and
1 I am the only one who was subordinated to Petkovic, and
2 the participants of the meeting on the 30th of April,
3 1993 at the meeting with Brigadier Petkovic, those were
4 the people who were members of my immediate command.
5 Q. General, was Mr. Marin part of that group
6 that was there to listen to Milivoj Petkovic give this
7 order on the 30th of April, 1993, having been your
8 chief of operations at the time?
9 A. Since he was chief of operations, if he was
10 not in the basement in the operations room, then he
11 must have been upstairs, because I don't know exactly
12 where Franjo Nakic was. If Nakic was at the meeting,
13 then Marin was not, and if Nakic was not there that
14 afternoon, then Marin certainly had to be at the
15 meeting, that is to say, that one of these two had to
16 be present at the meeting.
17 Q. Would it surprise you again, General, to know
18 that throughout the pages and pages of Brigadier
19 Marin's testimony that he had, both on direct and in
20 cross and redirect and the Judges' questions, he does
21 not say one word either about the meeting with Petkovic
22 on the 30th nor Petkovic's order regarding the
23 investigation of Ahmici, not one word? Would that
24 surprise you?
25 A. It wouldn't surprise me because Brigadier
1 Marin did not take Petkovic to be his immediate
2 superior, commander, and I believe that he never even
3 testified that he had a meeting with Brigadier
5 In any army, Brigadier Marin is the member of
6 a command, and the chief of the main staff is my
7 superior officer, not for Marin. So Marin is
8 subordinated to Nakic who is chief of my staff, and I
9 believe that in his own diary, he doesn't register a
10 single activity in relation to meetings between the
11 chief of the main staff and Marin, for example. He's a
12 member of the command, and the chief of the main staff,
13 when he issues orders, then in terms of subordination,
14 he issues orders to me, regardless of whether this is
15 at the meeting or not, and he has meetings directly
16 with me because he is my immediate superior.
17 Q. General, in your entire career as the
18 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, how
19 many times did Petkovic come in and give a direct order
20 to your staff in the Hotel Vitez? How many times did
21 that happen? Once, twice, ten, twenty, weekly?
22 A. Not every week, but I would have to have a
23 look at my chronology so that I would establish
24 exactly, throughout my command, how many times this
25 happened. He was at a meeting in Zenica on the 28th,
1 on the 30th of April, I know he held a meeting, and
2 then I know it was in June too, around the 10th of
3 June, he and I had a meeting again. The rest, I would
4 really have to look up in my chronology when I had
5 these meetings with General Petkovic.
6 Q. General, you can do that overnight. I will
7 move to the next question. Would it surprise you to
8 note, General, that Mr. Marin, Brigadier Marin, when he
9 is discussing the order of the chief of staff believes
10 that you are talking about not the order of the 30th of
11 April but Petkovic's order of the 18th of April that is
12 depicted in Defence 313? I will read you Marin's
13 testimony, "So Blaskic didn't even do it on his own,"
14 talking about the May 10th order. This is page 13684.
15 MR. KEHOE: I might add, Mr. President, that
16 this particular document was taken in closed session --
17 this particular portion of the testimony was taken in
18 closed session, so for these particular five or six
19 lines ...
20 JUDGE JORDA: Well, then we do have to go
21 into private session if we want to go back on them.
22 (Private session)
13 Page 22281 redacted – in Private Session
3 (Open session)
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please go on, Mr. Kehoe.
5 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Staying with this document, General, you
7 noted for us that you issued this written order, and
8 this is on page 19248, "because I wanted to exert
9 additional pressure on the assistant for security so as
10 to get a hold of all the important information."
11 Now, take a look at this document, General.
12 Did you issue this order and send a copy to the SIS,
13 the security administration in Mostar?
14 A. I did not issue -- I did not send orders to
15 the security administration in Mostar. It is the
16 assistant for security who reported to the SIS in
17 Mostar according to his own line.
18 Q. Sir, let's shift that question and talk about
19 people who you did send orders to, like Bruno Stojic in
20 the Ministry of Defence. Did you send this down to
21 Bruno Stojic in the Ministry of Defence?
22 A. I never sent copies to the Ministry of
23 Defence of any orders, at least that was not the
24 practice. It is quite clear that it was sent to
25 security and the security service is certainly
1 duty-bound to inform, about this, the Ministry of
2 Defence. I sent one copy to operations and one copy to
3 central archives.
4 Q. General, in your effort to exert pressure on
5 SIS, did you send a copy of this down to Milivoj
7 A. A copy of this document was not sent to
8 Milivoj Petkovic, but he was aware of all the
9 activities related to the issuance of orders. I think
10 that sometime around the 29th of April, he received a
11 report orally about this. I would have to check the
12 date, but it's around that date.
13 Q. General, if you wanted to exert pressure on
14 SIS, why didn't you send a copy or cc a copy of this to
15 the SIS administration in Mostar, to Bruno Stojic, to
16 Milivoj Petkovic, to Dario Kordic, or to any political
17 official or ministry official that could exert pressure
18 on SIS to finish this investigation?
19 A. I certainly wanted to exert additional
20 pressure, and I already said that the very fact that I
21 made an order in writing was an exception within my own
22 staff. And why I did not send copies to others, that
23 was not my practice. It was quite clear, according to
24 our internal rules and regulations, who I had to send
25 copies to. But on the 30th of April, I informed
1 Milivoj Petkovic about all the measures that I had
2 taken orally, and one should bear in mind the means of
3 communication that I had available at that time.
4 JUDGE JORDA: I don't want to interrupt you
5 too long, Mr. Kehoe. Just a second.
6 But what are these internal rules and
7 regulations you keep bringing up all the time and who,
8 as you say, is very precise on who you are supposed to
9 send copies to? I've heard the interpretation. Well,
10 you tell us it was not regular practice for you to send
11 orders or copies of orders to many people. But what
12 are these rules and regulations you are mentioning? Is
13 that the document which specifies to whom you are
14 supposed to send copies? I don't understand you very
16 A. There were internal rules and regulations on
17 official correspondence, internal rules, and this
18 included the way in which --
19 JUDGE JORDA: But how relevant is that in the
20 face of the atrocities committed in Ahmici? How
21 relevant is it to know that on the day that Colonel
22 Blaskic wants to exert additional pressure on a service
23 he wants to get help from and he is, all of a sudden,
24 giving himself the powers to investigate, how relevant
25 is it for him to look at the internal rules and
1 regulations to see if he has the ability to send copies
2 of his orders to such and such? It's not easily
3 understandable, General. Can you help us?
4 A. Well, Mr. President, if we're talking about
5 an order that was addressed to an associate of mine, it
6 was not my practice to send copies of this to political
7 leaders; however, my chief of main staff during the day
8 found out about all the activities that I had taken
9 through operative reports.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Oh, I see. I understand. And
11 I apologise, Mr. Kehoe, for interrupting you again. I
12 can understand that it is not very easy for you to deal
13 with my interruptions. But it will, you know, help us
14 move forward and we won't have so many questions to put
15 to the witness at the end. Because it is so long and
16 so time-consuming, we need sometimes to put the
17 question to the witness immediately.
18 General, I have taken good note of your
19 second answer which I find more satisfactory than what
20 you said about the internal rules and regulations of
21 your army as to who were the people you were able to
22 send copies to.
23 Mr. Kehoe, the floor is yours.
24 MR. KEHOE:
25 Q. Well, General, let's follow up on you not
1 sending the reports down there. You noted for us that
2 you had some difficulty in getting information from SIS
3 and you were unhappy with their lack of diligence, if
4 you will. Did you send a report down to Bruno Stojic
5 in the Ministry of Defence, to Dario Kordic, to Milivoj
6 Petkovic, to the director of SIS in Mostar, complaining
7 that SIS was not moving expeditiously on this? Did you
8 do that? And if you did, when did you do it and to
9 whom did you send your complaint?
10 A. After this order -- and from the order you
11 can see that I gave the deadline up to the 25th of May
12 -- I insisted the SIS assistant send me a report, and
13 on the 24th of May, when I did not receive a report, I
14 told him not to come to the headquarters until he had
15 sent me his report. To the extent to which they had
16 completed their work, I don't think that we were only
17 discussing the subjective weaknesses of SIS with
18 conducting the investigation but the objective
19 circumstances as well. The investigation was being
20 conducted at a time when the fighting was ongoing
21 practically all the time, when many, many refugees were
22 flowing in and when there was general chaos and a
23 situation which threatened our downfall, the downfall
24 of Vitez and the whole enclave.
25 So fighting was going on, combat activities
1 were going on, the BH army was attacking, and that is
2 when the investigation was conducted. There were, of
3 course, subjective problems and difficulties as well,
4 but there were objective ones too, and I, orally, on
5 the results of the investigation and the report that I
6 received on the 25th of May, I informed the chief of
7 the main staff on the 29th of May, 1993, and I told him
8 that we must insist on the names of the suspects, that
9 is to say, to go to the personnel department and
10 insist --
11 Q. Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me, General.
12 My question is very simple: Did you complain that SIS
13 was not being diligent enough? Did you complain, "Yes"
14 or "No"?
15 A. Well, I started to answer, but I didn't
16 complete my answer --
17 Q. The answer -- excuse me, General, with all
18 due respect. The question is very simple: Did you
19 complain to SIS? Did you complain to the Ministry of
20 Defence or to anybody else about the lack of diligence
21 in SIS, "Yes" or "No"?
22 A. On the 29th of May, I informed the chief of
23 the main staff of all the shortcomings of the
24 investigation, and I laid priority on two key issues:
25 the names of the perpetrators and the circumstances
1 under which the casualties took place. I did not
2 inform Dario Kordic of those problems because he was
3 not a member of my command nor was I called upon to
4 inform him of those activities. I did not inform the
5 Minister of Defence because the chief of the main staff
6 has regular briefings with the Minister of Defence.
7 However, the circumstances governing the investigation
8 were highly complex and very difficult.
9 Q. Now, General, the report that you sent to the
10 main staff giving your assessment on the 29th, is that
11 the report that we ultimately got on the 25th of May?
12 Is that the report that you're talking about that you
13 sent to the main staff?
14 A. The report was sent to the main staff on the
15 25th of May, but orally, on the 29th of May, I informed
16 in far greater detail the chief of the main staff of
17 the HVO at a meeting that I had with him.
18 Q. Now, General, when you ultimately got the
19 report -- and we will address that in a moment -- on
20 the 25th of May, did you get copies of the interviews
21 that SIS had conducted?
22 A. I cannot remember now all the details, but I
23 received a complete report with annexes. I'm not sure
24 whether this included the interviews or not. But I
25 received a report entitled "Report with Annexes."
1 Q. General, your testimony is that concerning
2 this event which we are so interested in finding as
3 much information about as possible, you can't remember
4 whether or not you got copies of interviews or not; is
5 that your testimony?
6 A. I claim that I remember receiving reports
7 from the security service, and there was Annex 1 and
8 Annex 2, I think. But a classical interview, written
9 statements, I did not receive written statements of
10 that kind in my hands.
11 Q. Well, who did SIS interview?
12 A. Well, they state that in their report, the
13 individuals they interviewed. If you give me the
14 report, then I can comment on it and refresh my memory,
15 who they interviewed. I think this is included in the
16 report of the 25th of May, 1993.
17 MR. KEHOE: Gladly. Could you show the
18 witness Exhibit 342?
19 JUDGE JORDA: While this exhibit is given to
20 the witness, I think Judge Rodrigues has a question to
21 put to General Blaskic. Quickly, please -- or maybe,
22 in fact, it will help the witness have more time to
23 look through the documents.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes. I will try to put my
25 questions as simply and directly as possible, and,
1 General, I would ask you to answer me as directly and
2 simply as possible.
3 Your order of the 23rd, your oral order by
4 which you asked SIS to carry out an investigation, did
5 it specify a particular deadline or not?
6 A. I issued an order to the assistant for
7 security to send me the preliminary results of the
8 investigation. I don't remember whether I defined --
9 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, could you
10 please try to answer the questions that are put to
11 you? Judge Rodrigues put to you a very direct
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Did this order have an
14 execution deadline or not?
15 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, you must not be
16 getting the same translation as the English because the
17 witness was answering the question, with all due
18 respect, and then he was interrupted by both of Your
20 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I know very well
21 that you have a lot of respect for at least my role
22 here -- and it may be an interpretation problem, I
23 don't know. I was slightly irritated by the witness
24 because I had the feeling that at least this time we
25 were having some difficulty in obtaining some direct
1 and simple answers. But maybe you're right,
2 Mr. Hayman.
3 Judge Rodrigues, maybe you can rephrase your
4 question, and I will ask the interpreters to be extra
5 careful with their work.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I will try to speak more
8 General, the oral order you issued, did it
9 include a deadline, an execution deadline? I think
10 that's quite clear. Either there was a deadline or
11 there was not a deadline.
12 A. As far as I know, the deadline was not
13 defined. It said, "Immediately undertake the
14 implementation of the investigation." "Immediately";
15 that's what it said.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So "immediately." Maybe
17 you used this expression, "Immediate execution of the
18 order." All right. That's fine.
19 Second question: How many times did you ask
20 your SIS associate if the investigation was well under
21 way and about to be completed?
22 A. Your Honour, do you mean up until this order,
23 how many times I asked reports or the total amount of
24 times I asked for a report and asked whether the
25 investigation had been completed? I don't know what
1 you're actually referring to.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Well, more or less, more or
3 less. You don't have to be that precise, and maybe you
4 don't have to go through your chronology. More or
5 less, how many times did you ask what was the state of
6 advancement of the investigation?
7 A. Up until May, you mean?
8 THE INTERPRETER: September -- interpreters.
9 A. It lasted for a year or more.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We talked about an oral
11 order which was issued on April 23rd, and now we are
12 speaking of a written order dated the 10th of May. You
13 told us that you must have issued this written order
14 because your associate had not concluded the
15 investigation you had asked for on the 23rd of April.
16 So here we have a time span of 15 days, the time frame
17 during which the oral order you have issued has not
18 been executed, and you have told us that it is for that
19 very reason that you gave a written order. But you
20 also told us that there were daily meetings.
21 So what I'm asking you is: How many times
22 did you ask your associate what was the state of
23 advancement of the investigation?
24 A. The first order I issued was on the 24th of
25 April, 1993, and then I expected to receive results.
1 Next, on the 30th of April, 1993, I once
2 again asked the SIS assistant how far he had got. And
3 then three times up until then I asked for a written
4 report on the results of the investigation, that is to
5 say, for him to inform me in writing of the results of
6 the investigation. I did not receive a written report
7 from the SIS assistant up until the 10th of May, that
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Fine. I have another
10 question to put to you: What were the reasons that
11 were put forward by your associate for not having
12 concluded the investigation?
13 A. Most often he said that he had encountered
14 difficulties in going in the field, on the spot,
15 because there were combat activities going on and that
16 the situation was still such that he was not able to
17 complete the preliminary results of the investigation.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: All right. The written
19 order, was it able, in a particular way which you might
20 explain to us, to abolish all these obstacles you have
22 A. After everything that took place, it
23 increased the pressure, and I wanted a written report
24 and I insisted in writing -- I insisted on a written
25 report from the SIS assistant on the 25th of May, as is
1 stated by the deadline in this document.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yet another question. Did
3 you stop any personal contact you might have had until
4 then with that associate?
5 A. I stopped having contacts with many
6 associates when I came here. You mean at that time?
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I'm asking you if, for
8 these different reasons, you stopped having personal
9 contact with that associate whom you had asked to lead
10 the investigation?
11 A. There was a lack of trust, that trust had
12 been upset on both sides, and so it would have been --
13 to give a written task and to ask in writing for him to
14 perform his assignment would have been not in order.
15 So after insistence being made to send me what I asked
16 for, I repeated myself on many occasions, and I told
17 him not to come to the headquarters until he had a
18 report ready for me to show.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: All right. So I understand
20 you to say that this written order, this written report
21 you asked him for was considered by him as an insult;
23 A. It was unusual for me to write written
24 requests and orders to my immediate associates. There
25 were only five orders of this kind to a person stating
1 name and surname. It was a bit insulting.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: By virtue of which powers
3 did you state that the military police would not be in
4 charge of leading the investigation?
5 A. I never forbid the military police to go
6 ahead, nor took away the investigation from them. I
7 personally did not consider it logical in that
8 situation, however, that the investigation be conducted
9 by the military police. I don't know if it did or did
10 not conduct an investigation, but I demanded an
11 investigation from the service that is in authority
12 over the military police to conduct that
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General. Thank
15 you, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Rodrigues.
17 General, I also have a question to put to
18 you, and I'm not sure, maybe this question was put to
19 you already. It's a question that deals with
20 authorities. You are a person that is very preoccupied
21 by authority and powers, but it is legitimate for one
22 to wonder when it was that you suddenly decided not to
23 entrust the military police with the investigation.
24 Did you consult with your superior officers and did you
25 receive from them a written authorisation authorising
1 you to entrust this associate of yours in charge of SIS
2 to lead the investigation? Did you really have the
3 power to act in the way you did?
4 A. Mr. President, when I received the letter
5 from Colonel Stewart, already then I informed the chief
6 of the main staff about my knowledge and a concept for
7 the response to Colonel Stewart. I considered at that
8 time that the joint commission would conduct the
9 investigation. Now, if the military police was
10 deployed in the area and if I received reports from the
11 commanders of the military police, then I considered
12 that it would be too naive to entrust the military
13 police to conduct an investigation into its own acts.
14 JUDGE JORDA: General, I'm sorry, but this
15 was not the question I just put to you. You are a very
16 well-trained and disciplined officer, we know that, and
17 you even wondered to whom you were supposed to send a
18 copy of an order, and here suddenly you give yourself
19 the power to do something when you've always told us
20 that the hierarchy, according to which you're granted
21 that power, was not yours?
22 A. [Interpretation obscured] ... it away. It
23 was a crime. So for this criminal procedure, I asked
24 this to be done. Now, whether the military police
25 conducted an internal investigation, I don't know, but
1 I considered it to be logical that it was the security
2 service which was to investigate over the military
3 police as it had the right to investigate everybody,
4 including myself.
5 JUDGE JORDA: You've answered me. Thank you,
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. We can move
8 to Defence Exhibit 342.
9 Q. Now, General, this is the report, a Defence
10 Exhibit submitted into evidence without enclosure.
11 General, when you were examining the archives in Mostar
12 after you were indicted, did you see the enclosure to
13 this document?
14 A. An enclosure to the document, you say, I'm
15 not quite sure when I saw it, but I know that when the
16 information was sent out that it did contain an
17 enclosure to the document.
18 Q. In the enclosure, did the enclosure include
19 who SIS had interviewed?
20 A. Specific details, I cannot recall, but I know
21 that the enclosure was rather vague. It did not
22 provide any clarifications as to the names of the
23 suspects, and it was not written in concrete terms, and
24 that is why I asked an additional investigation, that
25 is to say, a continuation of the investigation.
1 Q. General, you noted during the course of your
2 direct examination, and this is on page 19 -- excuse
3 me. Now, General, you noted during the course of your
4 direct examination in response to questions by
5 Mr. Nobilo, and I'm referring to page 19299, question
6 at line 7:
7 "Q Tell us, please, did it contain the
8 names of the perpetrators of the crime?
9 A No, it did not contain concrete names of
10 the perpetrators of a crime, but it is
11 possible that it did speak about one or
12 two or three names. That is possible."
13 General, who were these one, two, or three
14 people that were mentioned in this very important
16 A. I said that it is possible that it contained
17 it. Now, whether this was exactly in this particular
18 report -- I think that one of the names was Cicko, but
19 I'm not sure. I think that Cicko was one of the
21 Q. Let us take Cicko. When you received Cicko's
22 name on the 25th of May, 1993, did you take steps to
23 remove Cicko from the HVO?
24 A. As far as I know, he was in -- would have to
25 have been in prison for previous crimes, so that I'm
1 not sure what was undertaken, but I believe that he was
2 already in prison.
3 Q. Listen to my question, General. My question
4 is this: When you received this very important report
5 that carried the name of Cicko, Miroslav Bralo, in it,
6 did you, as the commander for the Central Bosnia
7 Operative Zone, take steps to remove this man from the
8 HVO, throw him out, get rid of him from the ranks?
9 A. If a name like that existed, then I'm certain
10 that steps were taken to remove him from the HVO, but I
11 do believe that Cicko had already been removed from the
12 HVO, from the HVO units. I say "if" because I don't
13 remember the details of the report.
14 Q. Do you recall that you specifically took any
15 steps, I'm talking about you, Colonel Blaskic, took any
16 steps to discipline Miroslav Bralo for what information
17 you received in this report?
18 A. I have already stated that if names were
19 mentioned, and I'm not certain whether they were or
20 not, you asked me whether I could remember that, but if
21 they were mentioned, then quite certainly I took steps,
22 but I'm not certain because I can't remember all the
23 details at this point in time.
24 Q. General, you told us that this was the most
25 significant crime that happened during your military
1 career. Did you not say that in direct examination?
2 A. Yes, I did say that, and I said that in this
3 report and in every report to the security service, I
4 always insisted upon the concrete names of the
5 perpetrators of the crime.
6 Q. Are you telling us that based on this report
7 that you had received concerning this most significant
8 crime, you don't recall whether there were one, two, or
9 three names and you don't recall whether you
10 specifically got rid of these people from the HVO?
11 A. No. No, if there were specific names such as
12 the perpetrators of the crime, I would have remembered
13 that and I would have made a note of that in my
14 chronology and I would have certainly undertaken steps,
15 but you asked me, linked to this piece of information,
16 whether I remember any name mentioned as a suspect for
18 Q. General, let me ask you this: You, as the
19 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, have
20 the power to refer information concerning crimes to the
21 military district prosecutor for prosecution or, if the
22 prosecutor sees fit, further investigation; isn't that
24 A. As far as I know, my competence was that if I
25 receive names of those suspected of committing war
1 crimes, that I'm duty-bound to send those names to the
2 military district prosecutor, and I knew about that
3 competence. I was neither trained nor a professional
4 man so as to be able to conduct an investigation
6 Q. General, did you take the information
7 concerning Miroslav Bralo and just refer the
8 information to the military district prosecutor? Did
9 you do that; "Yes" or "No"?
10 A. I personally did not receive from the
11 security service any specific information for me to be
12 able to hand it on to the military district prosecutor,
13 but I know that the military district court did
14 prosecute Miroslav Bralo for a previous killing that he
15 had committed.
16 Q. General, let's talk about Miroslav Bralo and
17 his eviction from the HVO, and let me show you
18 Prosecution Exhibit 191.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you, General
20 Blaskic, that you can always ask for a closed session
21 if you want to say something in particular. I'm just
22 reminding you of this, of course.
23 A. Thank you, Mr. President. I didn't know of
25 JUDGE JORDA: You know that you have the duty
1 not to speak against yourself. That's a right of
2 yours, and it's a right that is granted to you by our
3 Statute, but you are also free to speak and you are
4 free to say whatever you choose to say. Of course, the
5 Trial Chamber will order a closed session if you think
6 it's necessary for you to speak within a closed
8 Let us move on, please.
9 MR. HAYMAN: May I inquire? Is this exhibit
10 under seal?
11 MR. KEHOE: I just inquired, Counsel. I
12 believe that the testimony was under seal and I believe
13 the exhibit is not; is that correct, Mr. Registrar?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Apparently, this exhibit was
15 filed under seal.
16 MR. KEHOE: That's fine, Mr. President. We
17 can go to private session. We can talk about the
18 exhibit later on. I don't think there's any need for
19 that continuously. The testimony was, but we can
20 operate in private session with this exhibit, if that's
21 okay, Mr. President?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. If there's an official
23 request for a private session, then we will have a
24 private session.
25 (Private session)
13 Pages 22303-22304 redacted – in Private Session
2 (Open session)
3 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We have now moved
4 back into public session.
5 All right, General Blaskic. You did not give
6 the military prosecutors this investigating case file
7 or this information.
8 Mr. Kehoe, please continue with your
9 questions for another five minutes or so --
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
11 JUDGE JORDA: -- and then we'll take a break.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. General, you noted during your testimony, and
14 I am referring to page 19299 at line 15, you noted that
15 the report did not mention the military police. Well,
16 General, who did it mention as being responsible for
17 the massacres in Ahmici?
18 A. In that report, there was some vague mention
19 of persons in uniform. Some persons were wearing
20 camouflage uniforms, some persons were wearing black
21 uniforms, but in this first report, no names and
22 surnames were specified; that is to say, there weren't
23 any names. And that's why I insisted later on that
24 names finally be given, that a specific investigation
25 be carried out.
1 JUDGE JORDA: What report are you talking
2 about? I didn't follow this very well. You're
3 speaking about the report of 25 May?
4 MR. KEHOE: That's the reference.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't understand.
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE JORDA: But I thought that you had told
8 us that there were two or three names. Perhaps I'm --
9 perhaps I made a mistake.
10 A. I've already said that I indeed cannot
11 remember all the details, but possibly they were
12 mentioned as names of persons who were talked to as
13 eyewitnesses, but I do not remember any names of
15 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to take
16 a break. You must be tired, General Blaskic. But I
17 would ask you to try to focus on the questions that are
19 Before we take a break, I would like to make
20 a comment. You must have been very disappointed, ever
21 since the 22nd of April, when you learned about the
22 crime in Ahmici, you had the intuition that it was the
23 military police, and on the 25th of May, you have this
24 answer which allegedly was the result of an
25 investigation, and you don't remember any longer
1 whether there were names or whether there were not
2 names. Didn't you look at it immediately to see
3 whether that confirmed your intuition about the
4 military police? Didn't you rush to see that report?
5 And can't you tell us today, "Yes. I don't have the
6 annexes, but it was the military police. Yes, there
7 were people responsible who gave orders." You don't
8 remember that at all?
9 A. Mr. President, I remember quite well that
10 there were not any concrete names of suspects. I
11 cannot remember all the details in these annexes, but
12 the specific names and surnames of suspects for this
13 crime, no, there weren't any.
14 JUDGE JORDA: All right. I think we're going
15 to stop our work for a little while to allow the
16 witness to rest and allow the Judges to rest as well
17 and both the Prosecution and Defence counsel.
18 Twenty-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 4.02 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.25 p.m.
21 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the hearing.
22 Mr. Kehoe?
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Now, General, just discussing this report of
25 the 25th of May, 1993. As we noted previously, you
1 stated that the report did not mention the military
2 police. Now, what was your reaction to that, General?
3 A. Well, the report was rather superficial and
4 rather vague, and I already said that specific names
5 were not mentioned, and I was surprised that the unit
6 of the military police was not mentioned either.
7 I sent the report further on to the chief of
8 the main staff and to the Minister of Defence, and in
9 the report it was mentioned that a continuation of the
10 investigation was expected when the situation improved.
11 At my meeting with the chief of the main
12 staff on the 29th of May, I informed him about my
13 position concerning the report and the fact that the
14 report had to go to the very end in terms of the
15 circumstances and the names. In view of the military
16 police, I thought that it would be very difficult to
17 carry out the investigation while the existing
18 structure of command and the existing structure of the
19 military police was still there.
20 Q. Well, General, on the 25th of May, 1995, you
21 told us that combat activities were still under way, so
22 that means, accordingly, General, that the criminals
23 that were involved in this crime were still part of the
24 HVO structure; isn't that correct?
25 A. Combat operations were on and the situation
1 was rather complex, and there were certainly some
2 individuals who were possibly within the HVO during
3 these combat operations because the investigation had
4 not been carried out or, rather, under those
5 circumstances, it was very difficult and very complex
6 to carry out an investigation.
7 Q. Well, General, at that stage, when you were
8 in combat activities, as a prudent officer, would you
9 not call Pasko Ljubicic and Vlado Santic and Darko
10 Kraljevic and Mario Cerkez and Dusko Grubesic in at
11 that point so you could again make an attempt to find
12 out the facts in Ahmici, so that you could get rid of
13 these terrible soldiers from the HVO forces?
14 A. I took all measures and issued numerous
15 concrete orders to commanders related to behaviour, and
16 I personally sent a public message to the military and
17 civilians and my commanders, and I condemned this
18 crime. At that point in time, I took all measures to
19 prevent any kind of repetition of Ahmici or, rather,
20 any repetition of a crime.
21 Q. Well, you say you wanted to prevent Ahmici,
22 yet even at this stage, when you got this report, you
23 didn't call in Pasko Ljubicic or Vlado Santic or Dusko
24 Grubesic or Darko Kraljevic to talk about what happened
25 or what they knew about Ahmici, did you? You didn't do
2 A. Well, the report itself was rather vague, and
3 not in a single detail did it tell me about the
4 military police. I thought it was rather confusing and
5 rather superficial, and that is why, first and
6 foremost, I tried to change the structure and to create
7 more favourable conditions for carrying out a report,
8 an investigation against the military police, and that
9 was supposed to change the structure of command within
10 the military police, and I still was not in charge of
11 the military police.
12 Q. Well, General, let us move ahead to Defence
13 Exhibit 343. Now, General, 343, Defence Exhibit 343,
14 is your order of the 8th -- excuse me, the 17th of
15 August, 1993, where you issue another order to SIS for
16 further investigation of Ahmici.
17 So you waited, General, from the 25th of May,
18 1993 till the 17th of August, 1993 to obtain or attempt
19 to obtain more information on the crimes in Ahmici;
20 isn't that right, sir?
21 A. I did not wait, and one must bear in mind the
22 context of all these events. From May almost until
23 August, I worked as well as I could, first of all so
24 that we could defend ourselves in this area and
25 survive, and first and foremost, I received about
1 30.000 refugees. Also during that period I managed to
2 change the structure of military command. Then, in the
3 military police, I changed the command structure, and I
4 managed to create far more favourable conditions for
5 the security service to carry out a much better
6 investigation, and incessantly, I was in charge of
7 defence activities that were under way all the time.
8 We were all at the front line all the time, at a big
9 front line with a large number of refugees where we
10 didn't know that we would survive until the next day,
11 and I was forced to function, to build up the system,
12 the establishment, and also to train a new structure of
13 the military police.
14 The commander of the military police was an
15 ordinary soldier, that is to say, Mr. Palavra had never
16 been a military policemen before that, that is to say,
17 the conditions had to be created for the security
18 service to carry out the investigation up to the very
19 end, that is to say, to get to the names and surnames
20 of the perpetrators.
21 Q. General, with the knowledge that you had
22 killers and murderers in the HVO, you waited almost
23 three months, or two and a half months, to issue
24 another order for the further investigation of Ahmici.
25 Those are the facts, aren't they?
1 A. In my chronology, I spoke of requests
2 addressed to the security service to carry out an
3 investigation, and I insisted on that investigation.
4 However, the circumstances involved, both objective and
5 subjective ones, were such that the situation was very,
6 very uncertain.
7 One must bear in mind the fact that every
8 month there were over 60 soldiers that were killed in
9 Vitez. We were about to fall. In that kind of
10 situation, I personally carried out training within the
11 military police, and I trained the military police and
12 I struggled with my superiors that I get powers and
13 authority over that military police so that I could
14 command them, so that their command structure could be
15 changed, so that I would finally effect all these
16 changes and ultimately create changes for the security
17 service to carry out an investigation.
18 Q. Well, General, you noted, when you issued
19 this particular order on the 17th of August, that you
20 again wanted to exert additional pressure so that the
21 whole investigation documents could be completed and
22 sent to the -- excuse me -- completed and submitted to
23 the district court for further processing.
24 Now, this additional pressure that you wanted
25 to exert, in your asserting or exerting this additional
1 pressure, did you send a copy of this to Milivoj
2 Petkovic, your order of the 17th of August, 1993? And
3 look at the cc's in the lower left-hand corner.
4 JUDGE JORDA: We don't have a copy. I'm
5 going to ask the usher to move it up. Thank you.
6 A. I'll have a look at my notes.
7 MR. KEHOE:
8 Q. Well, General, let us first start with this
9 document. Did this document reflect that you sent this
10 document to the main staff --
11 JUDGE JORDA: Let the General finish looking
12 through his notes, please.
13 Did you find what you're looking for, General
15 A. I do not have this recorded, that the order
16 was sent, but I already said that --
17 JUDGE JORDA: No, just a moment. You don't
18 have any notes there. All right. We had better
19 proceed. But would you ask your question again,
20 please, Mr. Kehoe?
21 A. I would just like to add one thing,
22 Mr. President, and that is that every day I sent
23 operative reports to the chief of the main staff about
24 my activities, that is to say, that this was twice a
25 day at a minimum, to send operative reports about
1 everything that was happening in the zone, and all
2 important activities were there, including orders and
3 all important events, that is to say, that if a
4 document did not go, then certainly information was
5 sent that measures were taken.
6 MR. KEHOE:
7 Q. General, you wrote this document, did you
9 A. Yes, I am the author of this document.
10 Q. This document does not reflect that it was
11 sent to the main staff, to the Ministry of Defence, to
12 SIS, or to any other person in authority within the HVO
13 and the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; isn't that
15 A. I already said that there were operative
16 daily reports that we would send to our immediate
17 superiors. We did not send orders in such a way
18 because we did not have secure means of communication.
19 I could not use an ordinary fax to send every order I
20 sent; however, I could, in a succinct matter in my
21 report, tell the chief of the main staff about
22 everything that I did.
23 Q. General, if you truly wanted to exert
24 additional pressure on SIS to complete this task, you
25 would have sent this document to Bruno Stojic, to
1 Milivoj Petkovic, to someone within authority in the
2 HVO or the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna; isn't
3 that right?
4 A. Now I have to repeat once again what I
5 already said. First of all, it is the situation that
6 I'm in and, secondly, the means I had available. Had I
7 had a crypto-fax, it would have been the easiest for me
8 to fax all my orders to the chief of the main staff.
9 Again, I'm saying that there was not a single activity
10 that I took without having informed my chief of the
11 main staff about it because there were regular
12 operative reports, daily operative reports, and
13 extraordinary operative reports, and he had to be
14 informed about my activities, if the communications
15 were functioning at all. So that was a priority, for
16 the chief of the main staff to know what I was doing.
17 Q. How did you send the report from the 25th of
18 May, 1993 concerning the investigation down to Mostar?
19 Because you told us that you did send this to Mostar.
20 A. The report was sent to Mostar, and it was
21 sent by a packet link to Mostar.
22 Q. General, the document that is before the
23 Court, Exhibit 342, is, in fact, a signed document by
24 Ante Sliskovic. That wasn't sent by packet at all, was
1 A. Document 342 was sent by packet link at the
2 very moment when it was received, that is to say, the
3 complete report of Ante Sliskovic. I don't know, this
4 copy, how it was obtained.
5 Q. So why couldn't you send your order of the
6 17th of August, 1993 in the same way?
7 A. I already said that the orders I issued I
8 issued either on the basis of the orders of the chief
9 of the main staff or on the basis of the situation that
10 prevailed. However, orders are kept in archives. It
11 is not customary for orders from the staff to be sent
12 to their superiors. I'm sure that that's the way any
13 headquarters operates. They are sent to archives and
14 to the operative department, but as far as issued
15 orders are concerned, only a short brief is made.
16 Q. General, you noted or you stated that you
17 waited to issue this second order on the 17th of
18 August, 1993 because you wanted to wait for more
19 favourable conditions that were brought about after the
20 removal of Pasko Ljubicic as head of the military
22 A. That was not the only condition. That was
23 one of the conditions that was there. The structure in
24 the command structure of the military police had to be
25 changed, and also the new commander of the military
1 police had to be trained, the new military police, as
2 such. Of course, there was intensive combat activity
3 going on. In the period that we are discussing, all of
4 Travnik fell, that is to say, 20.000 people or 15.000
5 to 20.000 people in one day who came with little bags
6 in their hands; 50.000 Croats from Kakanj had to flee.
7 So I had to face thousands of refugees, about 35.000 of
8 them, according to the records kept by international
9 observers, not according to my records. So this was a
10 struggle for basic survival, and I was obliged to stop
11 the possibility of Ahmici being repeated and also
12 making sure that an investigation could be carried out
14 Q. General, did Sliskovic or anybody from SIS
15 ever tell you that the military police or Pasko
16 Ljubicic was preventing them from conducting the
17 investigation? Did they ever tell you that? If they
18 did, when?
19 A. The security service sent me information
20 about the difficulties they encountered in conducting
21 an investigation, so they would send me information of
22 that kind. But, as I say, the circumstances were such
23 in which I found myself that it was not possible to act
24 in any other way because we were fighting for
25 survival. As I said a moment ago, we had to receive
1 refugees coming in every day and we had to fight for
2 our own physical survival.
3 Q. That's not my question, and I will read my
4 question to you again: "Did Sliskovic or anybody from
5 SIS ever tell you that the military police or Pasko
6 Ljubicic was preventing them from conducting the
7 investigation?" "Yes" or "No"?
8 A. I haven't noted all the reasons that Ante
9 Sliskovic told me. But I know that the first report
10 was highly superficial because he did not say that the
11 investigation would move towards the military police --
12 JUDGE JORDA: That wasn't the question,
13 General Blaskic. Please try to answer the question.
14 At some point, did your assistant for security say that
15 the military police prevented him from carrying out
16 investigations; "Yes" or "No"? It's a simple
18 A. I cannot remember now whether, at one point,
19 he expressed himself or not, but I do believe that
20 there was a general opinion of that kind and that he
21 was not able to conduct the investigation fully.
22 Whether he told me, it is possible that he did, but I
23 cannot recall that at this point.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Then you're saying
25 that you don't remember. That's much simpler.
1 Mr. Prosecutor, please proceed.
2 MR. KEHOE: I believe that Judge Shahabuddeen
3 has a comment.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me.
5 Judge Shahabuddeen?
6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I didn't
7 intervene at the correct time because Mr. Kehoe was in
8 full flight, but I was interested in a side remark you
9 made to the effect that you had these concerns about
10 accommodating refugees, and you also did not wish to
11 see that there was any recurrence of Ahmici. I didn't
12 take down your words, but do you remember saying
13 something like that?
14 A. Yes, Your Honour, I do remember that. All
15 the time that we're talking about, the time of the
16 investigation, was a time when we struggled for basic
17 survival. We could either go underground, and in a
18 situation of the encirclement, I had to fight for basic
19 survival. The only other -- we only had a lot of
20 death. We had a lot of death and a lot of refugees
21 fleeing in the face of the BH army, 35.000 frustrated
22 people I had to take in into my region.
23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I only wanted
24 to recall you to that part of your evidence. Now, when
25 you said that you wanted to ensure that there was no
1 recurrence of Ahmici, were you thinking of any
2 recurrence of Ahmici on the part of soldiers under your
4 A. I always consider that the soldiers who
5 committed crimes in Ahmici were not under my command
6 and that they were individuals and formations from
7 within the overall formations of the military police.
8 I had in mind that I did not want this to recur in the
9 area under my authority, that this should not happen at
11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If there should be any
12 recurrence of Ahmici as a result of the activities of
13 people like the military police, who you say at the
14 time were not subject to your authority, what would you
15 have done about that?
16 A. I am happy that that did not occur, but that
17 region and that people, I would never have left them,
18 and God forbid, had a tragedy of that kind happened, I
19 would have never have left. I would not have resigned;
20 I would have stayed there and gone down with the
21 sinking ship.
22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If the military police
23 were to repeat Ahmici somewhere else at a time when
24 they were not under your authority, was there something
25 that you would have done?
1 A. At all times, I endeavoured to launch an
2 investigation for similar crimes if I was able to do
3 so, if I was in a position of doing so, and from day
4 one, I did not agree with the set-up of the military
5 police as it was. Unfortunately, some of the heads
6 that created that military structure needed more time
7 to come to realise that that military structure was
8 untenable, a structure in which a man was responsible
9 for everything, whereas objectively, he was not in the
10 position to command at all. Because the time that
11 we're talking about, the investigation and everything
12 else, the military police was there to secure my own
13 command and headquarters, whereas I was not able
14 directly to command that military police, whereas they
15 were providing security for me but they were not
16 directly subordinate to me which meant that I could not
17 directly have command over that military police
18 structure, and there was still this duality of
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Let me ask you this:
21 Suppose that the military police were later to repeat
22 Ahmici at some point within your area of
23 responsibility, although they were not subordinate to
24 you, would you have thought that this would reflect
25 adversely on your position or on your reputation?
1 A. Well, the first crime which occurred had an
2 adverse effect on my position, not only my own
3 position, perhaps -- I was the least important -- but
4 it had an adverse effect on the whole people which were
5 brought into a situation in which they had to die in
6 order to survive in the region. It's a small region,
7 ten times six kilometres, with 2.000 or over 1.300
8 soldiers killed. So this had an adverse effect on them
9 too. Perhaps there are periods in one's lifetime when
10 one doesn't think about one's reputation at all, but of
11 course it would have had an adverse effect. Perhaps I
12 did not have enough experience, and I know that I did
13 not have enough knowledge, especially professional
14 knowledge in investigation procedure, to react
15 differently, but I am convinced that I did the best I
16 knew how. I did not know any better.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One final question.
18 When you said something to the effect that you were
19 concerned to ensure that Ahmici was not repeated, what
20 measures did you employ to ensure that there would be
21 no repetition? Did you issue any circulars or any
22 interactives to your people?
23 A. Well, I issued numerous orders, perhaps 60
24 orders in all. I endeavoured to see that radical
25 changes were brought. I know that Herceg-Bosna was
1 never a state, but I effected changes within the
2 structure of an army, that is to say, within an army,
3 through my reports and insistence, but that required a
4 long time, so I did effect this reorganisation in the
5 army. I got direct command of the military police, I
6 disbanded the special purpose units, thanks to the
7 support that I gained, and I needed time to do that
8 too; we created a guard's brigade under the direct
9 command of the commander of the Operative Zone.
10 Perhaps, had there not been that many changes in the
11 chiefs of the main staffs, because they changed
12 frequently, perhaps I would have been able to do this
13 in a shorter period of time. But there was a war on,
14 and there were three chiefs of staff, and sometimes I
15 had to use arguments and repeat my arguments and go to
16 each new chief of staff to present my arguments.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you --
18 A. I apologise, Your Honour. If I may just add
19 this? I asked international officials to organise
20 seminars, additional seminars, in the Hotel Vitez for
21 my own commanders because they were not an
22 educated cadre. We keep speaking about an army whereas
23 the first man after me was a commercialist by trade, a
24 tradesman/commercialist, and my assistant for
25 IPD graduated from the faculty of economics. His
1 deputy was a vet, for example. So he had nothing to do
2 with the military profession in actual fact.
3 But to return to what I was saying and what I
4 had undertaken, I also asked an official of the UNHCR,
5 I said, "Go on television and explain to the people
6 that you have a humanitarian mission to perform because
7 the people don't know that." They were not educated
8 people; they did not have this information. And I just
9 had to explain the mandate of UNPROFOR prior to its
10 actual arrival in the region. But the people of
11 Central Bosnia, when they saw white vehicles, they
12 thought it was all UNPROFOR. So there were a lot of
13 problems. I had to inform them of the mission of the
14 UNHCR, of UNPROFOR, and of all the other missions, and
15 it was a situation of chaos. Different mandates of the
16 UNHCR with regard to population movement, for example.
17 So this was chaos once again, and we had to try to
18 function normally in conditions where nothing was
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, did you protest
21 to the ministry in question along these lines: Did you
22 say to the ministry, "Look, I, Colonel Blaskic, find
23 myself in an invidious position. The International
24 Community is looking to me for answers which I am
25 powerless to provide. Will you please see to it that
1 the military police does not repeat what it did?
2 Otherwise, my personal reputation would suffer." Did
3 you say something like that to the ministry?
4 A. All the knowledge that I had linked to
5 meetings with the International Community and any of
6 its representatives I sent on to my superiors, all the
7 knowledge I had. It's difficult for me to
8 concentrate. Just a moment, please.
9 MR. HAYMAN: I don't know how late Your
10 Honours are intending to go, but I can see that the
11 client is quite tired today. I think he's quite tired
12 after the week. But we will go as long as you like. I
13 think he's losing his concentration. That's what it
14 appears to me.
15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Hayman, I would hate
16 to think that I in any way contributed to that result.
17 I'm in the hands of the Presiding Judge.
18 JUDGE JORDA: We could take a five-minute
19 break. I don't want anyone to say that your client
20 could not concentrate about an answer. But, you know,
21 very often he himself is the one that puts himself into
22 that situation because he answers with an enormous
23 amount of detail. All of us are tired. If you want,
24 since we're all tired, we'll take a five-minute break,
25 which will allow General Blaskic to regain his
1 composure and answer Judge Shahabuddeen's questions.
2 And then we'll stop at 5.30, not at a quarter to six.
3 But if you have any positive influence over
4 your client, Mr. Nobilo and Mr. Hayman, perhaps you
5 could also ask him to try to answer and to concentrate
6 more directly on the questions because -- it's normal,
7 but it happens frequently that he tries to argue about
8 a fact, and I understand that that can be very tiring,
9 and time is running for the Prosecution.
10 All right. Well, think about this for five
11 or six minutes, and that will allow us to relax a
12 little bit.
13 --- Recess taken at 5.03 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 5.15 p.m.
15 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume. General
16 Blaskic, how do you feel? First of all, how do you
18 A. Much better, but tired, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: You're tired. Of course,
20 you're also tiring yourself. It's not the Judges
21 tiring you. All right.
22 A. I am not criticising the Judges. I know that
23 there are difficulties.
24 JUDGE JORDA: I'm not quite sure where we are
25 now. I'm tired as well. I think that you wanted to
1 add a detail to the question from Judge Shahabuddeen.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. I will make a
3 contribution to progress by suggesting that we pass
4 on. I will renounce my question.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I'm going to censor
6 Judge Rodrigues, and I won't ask any questions until
7 5.30, and we give all of the controls back to the
8 Prosecutor until 5.30 because one of our colleagues has
9 a lot of responsibilities in another case.
10 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you
12 very much.
13 Q. Now, General, you noted for us during your
14 testimony that at the end of September, Sliskovic told
15 you that the entire report on Ahmici had been completed
16 and that the files and the names of the suspects had
17 been sent to the security office in Mostar and that the
18 whole matter was "no longer your affair or concern."
19 Now, General, you received the report from
20 SIS on the 25th of May, 1993. So who prevented you
21 from receiving Sliskovic's report at the end of
22 September of 1993?
23 A. Well, when I asked for the report from the
24 assistant for security somewhere around the 30th of
25 September, he told me that the entire file had been
1 handed over to the administration for security in
2 Mostar, including the names of the suspects, and that
3 that was no longer within my authority. And that was
4 his position. He himself stated that this was no
5 longer within my authority, that he had sent the file
6 over to Mostar.
7 Q. General, you received Sliskovic's report on
8 the 25th of May that we saw in Defence Exhibit 342.
9 Who decided that you were not going to get SIS's report
10 at the end of September of 1993 -- excuse me --
11 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.
12 MR. KEHOE:
13 Q. At the end of September of 1993, who decided
14 that you were not going to get that report?
15 A. The SIS assistant gave me that answer, and I
16 can only assume who passed that kind of decision and
17 told him.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman is right. He's
19 already answered that.
20 MR. KEHOE:
21 Q. General, did you ask Sliskovic? Was there
22 some change in the law or some change in circumstances
23 that prevented you from getting this report?
24 A. I asked him for the entire file, and I told
25 him personally, sometime before the end of September,
1 that that was the deadline and that I wanted the entire
2 file. On the 30th of September, he told me what I had
3 told you a few minutes ago, that now that was within
4 the authority of the administration for security.
5 Q. Listen to my question, General, and I'll
6 repeat my question to you again: Did you ask Sliskovic
7 whether there was some change in the law or
8 circumstances that prevented you from getting this
9 report? Did you ask him that question?
10 JUDGE JORDA: It's a clear question, General
12 A. I asked him for the file, and he gave me that
13 answer, that his bosses had so decided.
14 MR. KEHOE:
15 Q. Okay. Now, his bosses had decided. Who were
16 the bosses that made that decision?
17 A. I do not -- I don't know exactly who his
18 bosses were who made that decision. I just know that
19 the SIS was headed by the SIS administration and the
20 head of the SIS administration, and it was subordinated
21 either to the Minister of Defence or the assistant for
22 security of the Minister of Defence.
23 Q. General, you noted on several occasions and
24 you noted today that you wanted to avoid another
25 Ahmici, and you also told us that you had 100 criminals
1 in the military police. Is it your testimony that you
2 did not inquire as to who decided that you could not
3 have this report? Is that your testimony?
4 A. First of all, as for this, that I did not
5 try, I tried to go to the limit which was permissible.
6 That's what I thought. I don't know who gave the order
7 to the assistant for security to send the file to
8 Mostar and not to give it to me.
9 Secondly, I did not have 100 criminals within
10 my own military. That's what the military police was
11 like earlier on. In the military police that was
12 reorganised, trained, when it was under my direct
13 command, was proclaimed the best unit within the
14 military police. That is the police that was commanded
15 by Marinko Palavra.
16 Q. General, when you did not get this report,
17 did you talk to Petkovic and demand this report so that
18 you could remove criminals that were in the military
19 police and ensure that Ahmici would not happen again?
20 A. Just a moment, please. Let me have a look at
21 the chronology.
22 I know that at the end of September 1993, I
23 informed the chief of the main staff personally about
24 the inefficiency of the investigation of the assistant
25 for security, and when the assistant for security told
1 me that the file was handed over to the administration
2 for SIS and that this was within their authority, then
3 I thought that the administration for SIS would
4 continue the investigation.
5 Q. General, my question was this: After
6 Sliskovic told you at the end of September that you
7 were not going to get this report, did you go to the
8 chief of the main staff and ask the chief of the main
9 staff to demand this report so that you would know the
10 perpetrators and you could prevent another Ahmici from
11 occurring? Did you do that, "Yes" or "No"?
12 A. I informed the chief of the main staff that I
13 did not receive the report from Sliskovic, but I could
14 not have gone to the chief of the main staff whenever I
15 felt like doing it. I could do that only when I was
16 invited to do so and when it was possible for me to do
17 so. I was within an encirclement, and the chief of the
18 main staff had been informed that I was not given the
19 complete file.
20 Q. So the answer to the question is, you never
21 asked the chief of the main staff to demand the
22 identity of these perpetrators?
23 A. The assistant for SIS told me that the
24 administration for SIS was taking over the entire
25 investigation, that is to say, that the chief of the
1 main staff was informed that I did not receive the
3 JUDGE JORDA: I don't want to intervene. I
4 said I wouldn't ask any questions. I would just like
5 to act as the intermediary somewhat between the
6 Prosecutor and yourself. There seems to be a slight
8 I think that the Prosecutor is trying to
9 learn the following: You state that you were very
10 concerned about not having what happened recur. I
11 think that was the answer that you gave to Judge
12 Shahabuddeen. You had the intuition that it was the
13 military police perhaps, and you entrusted an
14 investigation to SIS. It seems to me that the
15 Prosecutor is trying to find out why and how you
16 allowed the results of this investigation to be taken
17 away from you, when for you it would be important to
18 know that, if it was the military police, you have a
19 certain number of significant criminals in among them,
20 and I think that's what the Prosecutor was asking.
21 I don't want the witness to become too tired
22 because we're going to stop, but I would like us to
23 stop after having gotten that answer because it was one
24 of your great concerns.
25 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I believe that
1 the assistant for SIS received an order from his
2 superiors, from the administration for security, to act
3 in that way, that is to say, that that was a decision
4 of his superiors.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Next question, Mr. Prosecutor?
6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I hate to repeat
7 the question that I asked, but the question that I
8 asked was in accordance with the question Your Honour
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It's an important
12 If you would prefer to answer tomorrow
13 morning, I don't really care. It's a very important
14 question. Let me remind you, and then we're going to
15 stop, let me remind you that you were the one who, on
16 your own authority, when you answered one of Judge
17 Rodrigues's question, you said that it was not the
18 military police that would carry out an investigation.
19 We don't really know why you were competent all of a
20 sudden, but in any case, you were appointing the
21 assistant from SIS. You took the things into your own
22 hands. You were the one who was almost the director of
23 the investigation.
24 You received a report on the 25th of May.
25 Three months later, you -- well, we can understand that
1 you make the request again because you're not satisfied
2 with the results, and then that same assistant who is
3 your assistant, your security assistant, you say that
4 he transmitted the report to Mostar, in any case, to
5 his hierarchy, his superiors, and the Prosecutor is
6 asking whether you weren't more curious than that, that
7 if you couldn't get the report, why, by what right you
8 couldn't get it? Because it was important. The
9 Prosecutor is not repeating anything. You told Judge
10 Shahabuddeen that you were very concerned about this
11 not happening again, that is, crimes like the one in
12 Ahmici, that you were so concerned that you were
13 organising the reorganisation of the military police.
14 I have to say that I understand the question,
15 but if you want to think about it between now and
16 tomorrow morning, you can do that, but I would like
17 this to be clear and for us to finish this. Would you
18 prefer to answer tomorrow morning?
19 All right. If you're tired, General
20 Blaskic -- I don't want you to feel that we're putting
21 pressure on you, but you do have to answer the
22 questions that are asked of you, and this question
23 merits an answer because it's important. Would you
24 prefer to wait until tomorrow morning?
25 A. Well, I'll try, if I understood this
1 sufficiently. Mr. President, the SIS has priority over
2 my own competencies --
3 JUDGE JORDA: You're answering now in a
4 formal way. You always answer us by referring to
5 regulations, but when, for example, you had to decide
6 that it was SIS who would be responsible for the
7 investigation, you didn't look at the regulations; you
8 consider that you were competent.
9 All right. I think that everybody is tired.
10 Mr. Hayman is exhausted. You can see that he is.
11 Mr. Nobilo is anaesthetised. The Prosecutor is tired.
12 The Judges are tired. You're tired. I suggest that we
13 stop. Think about this, but I authorise the Prosecutor
14 who will think about a way to rephrase his question.
15 I ask you, Mr. Kehoe, to present the question
16 in a different way. I tried to present it
17 differently. Judge Shahabuddeen asked you questions
18 which really concerned that same problem, because we're
19 not in May anymore, we're in August, and you were
20 afraid that things were going to recur, that is, those
21 crimes. Judge Rodrigues had a question to ask, and I
22 censored. I apologise for that, as a friend.
23 All right. It is now 5.30. Everyone is
24 tired. You need to rest.
25 Tomorrow morning, Mr. Kehoe, you can go back
1 to that question, but perhaps you can present it
2 somewhat differently, okay?
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The court stands
5 adjourned. We start tomorrow at 9.00. Tomorrow is
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
8 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Tomorrow at 9.00.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
10 5.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
11 the 21st day of May, 1999, at 9 a.m.