1. 1 Tuesday, 25th May, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 2.05 p.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

    5 Registrar, ask to have the witness sent into

    6 the courtroom, please.

    7 (The accused/witness entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: I would like first to say good

    9 afternoon to the interpreters and to the court

    10 stenographers and be sure that everybody can hear me

    11 properly, be sure that the booths are working right.

    12 Good afternoon to Prosecution and Defence

    13 counsel, and good afternoon to General Blaskic.

    14 General, have you rested? Do you feel all

    15 right?

    16 THE ACCUSED: Good afternoon, Mr. President,

    17 Your Honours. Yes, I have had a rest, and I feel quite

    18 well. Thank you.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Since you feel good, the

    20 Prosecutor can now continue with the

    21 cross-examination.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good

    23 afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel.


    25 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:

  2. 1 Q. Good afternoon, General.

    2 A. Good afternoon.

    3 Q. General, we left off with the 20th of April,

    4 1993 concerning individuals from Gacice who were

    5 downtown in the town of Vitez, and just to cover a few

    6 things that we left off with.

    7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, if I could give

    8 the witness Prosecutor's Exhibit 158.

    9 Q. General, so the record is perfectly clear,

    10 I'd like to give you the opportunity to examine 158 and

    11 again to get your bearings on 158, as it is an

    12 enlargement of Exhibit 45. So if you could take that

    13 exhibit and just compare it to Exhibit 45 so that

    14 you're comfortable in stating that the area designated

    15 "B" is, in fact, the Workers' University. Because

    16 when we spoke last on Friday, you expressed some

    17 reservation in that regard. If you could stand up and

    18 just take a look.

    19 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Usher, let the witness hold

    20 that exhibit in his hand so that he's comfortable with

    21 that assessment.

    22 Q. Now, General, as you can see in the

    23 comparison of these photographs, the area designated

    24 "A" is, in fact, the Hotel Vitez, whereas "B," some 30

    25 to 40 yards behind it, is, in fact, the Workers'

  3. 1 University where the cinema is; isn't that correct?

    2 A. Yes.

    3 Q. You noted for us, General, that -- let me

    4 return to the testimony of Brigadier Marin where he

    5 said on page 13554, at line 12, and he's talking about

    6 the village of Gacice, we can move to line 11:

    7 "A The village of Gacice is right next to

    8 the town of Vitez, and as far as I know,

    9 these civilians were in town, and I

    10 cannot say what the exact location was,

    11 I cannot say at this point. However,

    12 the town of Vitez is not a very big

    13 town, so it could have been between the

    14 post office, the municipality building,

    15 the cinema building, et cetera."

    16 Now, is it your testimony, sir, that while

    17 your chief of operations and your chief of staff at

    18 that time, Brigadier Marin, knew that these civilians

    19 were in downtown Gacice, that you did not -- excuse me,

    20 that these civilians were in downtown Vitez from

    21 Gacice, that you did not?

    22 A. I have already stated that Brigadier Marin

    23 had stayed to replace me when I had gone to Zenica to

    24 attend a meeting in the afternoon of the 3rd Corps. I

    25 believe that Marin during that period had received some

  4. 1 reports from which he could deduce that there were

    2 civilians, whereas at that time I was at Zenica at a

    3 meeting involved in other activities altogether. I did

    4 not receive any information of that kind while I was at

    5 the headquarters.

    6 Q. Well, did you receive that information after

    7 your return from headquarters?

    8 A. When I returned late at night, quite possibly

    9 some of the reports might have contained information

    10 about combat activities in the Gacice area and the

    11 status of the civilians in the region, and

    12 specifically, I can't quite remember, but I believe

    13 that some information contained reports of that kind

    14 from the Vitez Brigade commanders or other commanders.

    15 Q. Let us be clear from your prior testimony,

    16 General, you did not leave the Hotel Vitez to go to

    17 Zenica until 16.30 on the 20th; isn't that right?

    18 Well, after 16.30. Excuse me.

    19 A. Yes. About 16.30, I left the Vitez Hotel and

    20 started out at about 16.30 for Zenica, transported by

    21 UNPROFOR vehicles.

    22 Q. Now, General, did you get information when

    23 you returned from the meeting in Zenica that civilians

    24 from Gacice had been brought to downtown Vitez?

    25 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.

  5. 1 JUDGE JORDA: When was that question asked,

    2 Mr. Hayman?

    3 MR. HAYMAN: It's on the top of the screen

    4 now. "Well, did you receive that information after

    5 your return from headquarters?" It's referring to the

    6 exact same content of what Mr. Kehoe put in his

    7 question a moment ago.

    8 MR. KEHOE: Then the witness said, "... I

    9 can't quite remember, but I believe that some

    10 information contained reports of that kind from the

    11 Vitez Brigade commanders or other commanders," and I'm

    12 following up on that specific information, what

    13 information the accused received concerning civilians

    14 from Gacice coming to downtown Vitez.

    15 Q. Now, what information, General, did you --

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, it's almost the same

    17 question, a little bit different, but perhaps the

    18 witness can give us a very rapid answer.

    19 MR. KEHOE:

    20 Q. General, did you understand my question or

    21 would you like me to repeat it, sir?

    22 A. Would you repeat the question, please? Yes.

    23 Q. Certainly. What information did you receive

    24 when you came back from Zenica about civilians from

    25 Gacice being brought to downtown Vitez?

  6. 1 A. I don't remember receiving information that

    2 civilians from Gacice had been brought to downtown

    3 Vitez, but as I said, the possibility did exist, that a

    4 report of the Vitez Brigade contained data on combat

    5 activities in Gacice and that in that report or in

    6 reports of that kind, possibly there was reference to

    7 relationships with the civilians. If I were to see any

    8 report, this would refresh my memory because I'm

    9 talking according to what I remember.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Let's move on now.

    11 The question has been answered.

    12 MR. KEHOE:

    13 Q. General, let me show you Defence Exhibit

    14 364. General, this is a document that you signed on

    15 the 24th of April -- in fact, an order that you signed

    16 on the 24th of April, 1993, and in the preamble of this

    17 order, you refer to the basic principles of

    18 international humanitarian law. In this order, you

    19 demand in point 1:

    20 "1. Respect for and protection of the

    21 civilian population affected by the fighting;

    22 civilians, by definition, play no active part in these

    23 conflicts and therefore cannot be the target of

    24 attack."

    25 Now, General, I think you told us in direct

  7. 1 examination that you had had -- excuse me. I'm

    2 receiving a signal from the booth. Okay.

    3 General, you told us during direct

    4 examination that you had had some training in the

    5 Geneva Conventions; is that correct?

    6 A. You mean my own personal training when I went

    7 through military academy or do you mean training in the

    8 HVO that we organised?

    9 Q. I'm talking about your training in the

    10 military academy and training while you were an officer

    11 in the JNA. What I'm trying to focus on, General, is

    12 your knowledge of the Geneva Conventions in April of

    13 1993.

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. You knew, General, that in this period of

    16 time, the Geneva Conventions strictly prohibited human

    17 shields -- using either civilians or prisoners of war

    18 as human shields was a war crime. You knew that, did

    19 you not?

    20 A. I knew that the use of human shields was a

    21 war crime not only at that time in April of 1993, but I

    22 knew that from before, and I never allowed any

    23 activities of this kind, nor did I receive any

    24 information or reports that there was such conduct from

    25 my subordinates. I never received information of that

  8. 1 kind.

    2 Q. General, let me read to you a portion

    3 Article 51(7) of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions.

    4 This is the 1977 Geneva Protocol 1, Article 51

    5 Subdivision (7), which notes as follows:

    6 "The presence or movements of the civilian

    7 population or individual civilians shall not be used to

    8 render certain points or areas immune from military

    9 operations, in particular, in attempts to shield

    10 military objectives from attack or to shield favour or

    11 impede military operations. The parties to the

    12 conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian

    13 population or individual civilians in order to attempt

    14 to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield

    15 military operations."

    16 So, General, you would agree that not only

    17 can civilians not be used to protect your troops,

    18 civilians cannot be used as shields to protect military

    19 facilities? Would you agree with that, sir?

    20 A. I agree with that, and I should like to add

    21 that I undertook everything in my power to protect

    22 civilians, to enforce the protection of civilians and

    23 not to use civilians to protect the army.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: And your question, Mr. Kehoe?

    25 MR. KEHOE:

  9. 1 Q. General, my question to you is: Do you know

    2 of anybody in the HVO, in any capacity, that was

    3 punished, disciplined, arrested, convicted for using

    4 individuals as human shields around the Hotel Vitez on

    5 the 20th of April, 1993?

    6 A. I never received any information that a live

    7 shield was used for the Hotel Vitez, and information of

    8 that kind never reached me or my headquarters. So no

    9 measures were undertaken as far as I know.

    10 Q. But you would agree, sir, that on the 20th of

    11 April, 1993, your chief of operations and your chief of

    12 staff was Brigadier Marin, was it not?

    13 A. Yes, he was the chief of staff, that is to

    14 say, he replaced the chief of staff at that time.

    15 Q. General, during the course of the rest of the

    16 war, do you recall any other instance where civilians

    17 were brought to downtown Vitez and were placed in the

    18 vicinity around the Hotel Vitez? Do you recall any

    19 other instance where that occurred?

    20 A. That they were brought. I don't remember

    21 that. I know that throughout that time, in the

    22 situation of a civil war, civilians lived in the area

    23 together with soldiers, and all the families lived in

    24 their own homes along the very front line itself. So

    25 this was the same area, ten by six kilometres, where

  10. 1 over 70.000 people lived, 35.000 of them refugees,

    2 mixed civilians, et cetera. We had no where else to go

    3 from that region.

    4 Q. Well, you would agree, sir, that if civilians

    5 or prisoners of war were put in harm's way that would

    6 be a war crime?

    7 JUDGE JORDA: I agree with Mr. Hayman here.

    8 The question was asked. I don't think that the witness

    9 is denying the contents of the Geneva Conventions.

    10 Let's move forward, please.

    11 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.

    12 Q. Let's move ahead if we can, General, and I'd

    13 like to show you a series of photographs, starting with

    14 Prosecutor's 33. The ones that I'm looking for here

    15 are the ones that have the designations on it PH203,

    16 PH197, and PH198. I think that's 33/6, 33/7, and

    17 33/8. If we could place those on the ELMO. Why don't

    18 we just leave that on there, please. That will be

    19 33/8. Thank you very much.

    20 Now, General, this is, in fact, the cinema,

    21 which is also called the Workers' University, that you

    22 noted is 30 to 40 yards behind the Hotel Vitez; is that

    23 correct, sir?

    24 A. Yes. It is 30 to 50 metres away. So it's

    25 the cinema and the Workers' University building. It is

  11. 1 two buildings combined.

    2 Q. And in that building, sir, contains the

    3 headquarters of Mario Cerkez, the commander of the

    4 Viteska Brigade; isn't that right, sir?

    5 A. Yes. In the Workers' University section was

    6 where Mario Cerkez's headquarters were located.

    7 Q. Now, General, you noted for us on Friday that

    8 prisoners -- well, you found out that prisoners and

    9 civilians had been taken into custody in various

    10 locations in the Vitez area, and you found this out on

    11 the 16th or the 17th; is that right?

    12 A. I don't think it was the 16th. Possibly it

    13 was the 17th. I can't remember the date exactly, but I

    14 think that possibly it was the 17th, after the return

    15 of the negotiators. Those questions were brought up as

    16 well.

    17 Q. General, how many prisoners, Bosnian Muslims,

    18 did you know on the 17th were in custody in the

    19 cinema/Workers' University building?

    20 A. I don't remember the exact data, how many

    21 there were. I think the report, that is to say, some

    22 documents that I saw at the trial here, by a European

    23 Monitor, a figure was mentioned, but I know that there

    24 were individuals who came during that street fighting

    25 to seek shelter there. Some of them were brought in,

  12. 1 others came of their own free will, and others left the

    2 cinema building.

    3 Q. General, let me read you some of the

    4 testimony that has come into evidence, and we will

    5 discuss it after I read a few excerpts. General, first

    6 I will refer to the testimony of Mr. Sefik Pezer on

    7 page 1568, at line 2:

    8 "A At 2.00, HVO soldiers entered the

    9 staircase of the building, and they

    10 fired a burst of fire on the ground.

    11 They ran up the steps and said, 'All the

    12 Muslims come out.' What else could I do

    13 but go out, I and my wife?"

    14 Moving down to line 12, this is a quote:

    15 "A 'Do not be afraid. There will be

    16 no problems, you are just going to the

    17 cinema for an interview there and you

    18 will be released. Do not panic, do not

    19 be afraid.'

    20 There were seven or eight Muslims on

    21 my entrance. We all headed toward the

    22 cinema; my wife was one of the groups.

    23 When we reached the cinema they took us

    24 into the cellars of the cinema. There

    25 were already 20 or 30 people in there,

  13. 1 Muslims, of course, who had been

    2 arrested, and there were two or three

    3 women among them."

    4 On page 1569, at line 4:

    5 "A I already said that there were 20 or

    6 30 of us, and they kept bringing in

    7 more, and that night, that is 16th

    8 April, in the evening in the cellar

    9 where the boiler room was of the cinema,

    10 there were about 70 or maybe even 80 of

    11 us. It was too cramped. People could

    12 not lie down; we could hardly sit, never

    13 mind lie down. All day they kept

    14 bringing in people; this was on the

    15 16th, in the afternoon and in the

    16 evening."

    17 Line 22:

    18 "A I went to the cinema hall, and I

    19 stayed

    20 there until the 30th of April.

    21 Conditions were more favourable there

    22 than in the cellar."

    23 This is now page 1575, line 17:

    24 "Q Mr. Pezer, you said previously that you

    25 were held in the cinema building until

  14. 1 30th April. Can you tell us about your

    2 release, exactly what happened on the

    3 30th and where you went after you were

    4 released?

    5 A On the 30th April in the afternoon, we

    6 heard from the HVO -- from the policemen

    7 that there would be some kind of an

    8 exchange, and on that day, Sefer

    9 Halilovic the army commander came,

    10 Sulejman Kalco, and another one, let me

    11 remember -- it doesn't matter, maybe I

    12 will remember later, on the side of the

    13 HVO there was Petkovic, who I did not

    14 know, and Mario Cerkez, and apparently

    15 they had a meeting."

    16 He notes on page 1577, at line 15 that he was

    17 released that evening and:

    18 "A We went home and the others stayed

    19 behind."

    20 So this document reflects that he was in

    21 custody until the 30th.

    22 If we could just briefly touch upon

    23 Dr. Mujenznovic's testimony as of the 19th, and this is

    24 page 1705, on the 19th, at line 22:

    25 "A They asked for me and I went with them

  15. 1 to Vitez, to the "Dom Kulture", the

    2 cultural centre, we called it the

    3 Workers' University, "Radnic

    4 Univerzitet", and a cinema hall was

    5 there, offices, and headquarters of all

    6 the political parties were also in that

    7 building."

    8 Line 12 on 1706:

    9 "A In one office, Mario Cerkez was sitting

    10 in that office with Zvonko Cilic, Boro

    11 Jozic, Stipo Dzigonjam, Zeljko Rebac,

    12 and Zeljko Sajevic.

    13 Q Were those people you identified all

    14 members of the HVO?

    15 A All of them were in uniform with HVO

    16 insignia."

    17 The next page Cerkez notes -- excuse me,

    18 Muhamed Mujezinovic notes the conversation with

    19 Cerkez:

    20 "A He asked me whether I had heard about

    21 Ahmici. I said that I had heard about

    22 it. Mario Cerkez repeated that I had to

    23 do whatever he ordered me to do. First,

    24 he said that the HVO lines in Vitez were

    25 broken through, as he said, in the

  16. 1 village of Dubravica from the direction

    2 of Zabrdje, and that the BH army was

    3 advancing, was entering the town towards

    4 the chemical factory and was getting

    5 into town."

    6 On line 15 Cerkez noted that:

    7 "A They have 2.223 captured Muslims. He

    8 emphasised women, children, and that he

    9 would kill all of them."

    10 Going on to 1709 at the bottom of the page on

    11 line 25 and over to 1710:

    12 "A Mario Cerkez said, 'No. You have down

    13 here in the basement about 300 people.

    14 Choose whomever you want.'"

    15 On line 8, Dr. Mujenznovic notes that some of

    16 them were pensioners who were sick. Again on page 1711

    17 at line 9:

    18 "A There was about 300 people there. I

    19 was

    20 told that I could choose from among

    21 these 300 a group for negotiations."

    22 So, General, the testimony indicates that

    23 there were approximately 300 prisoners in that building

    24 that were kept from the 16th of April until the 30th of

    25 April, 1993. Does that square with your recollection,

  17. 1 sir, of the events?

    2 A. Let me put it this way: I don't remember the

    3 exact number. I know the number oscillated. So there

    4 were those coming into the cinema during the night and

    5 would go home during the day. I know of this kind of

    6 occurrence.

    7 What I want to emphasise is that I did not

    8 allow, permit, or order in any way the detention of

    9 Muslim Bosniak civilians in any of the facilities.

    10 When I learned that they had been taken into custody, I

    11 ordered that humane treatment be exerted and wanted to

    12 effect a cease-fire and ensure that security measures,

    13 safety measures, and release according to the protocols

    14 of the International Red Cross.

    15 Because of the security situation and safety

    16 situation, I was not able to release them without an

    17 insight by the International Red Cross, and I know that

    18 the civilian commission, after negotiations in Zenica,

    19 had exact records on the number of detainees. I know

    20 that they were active under the Chairmanship of the

    21 International Red Cross and that the International Red

    22 Cross always kept precise records on the number of

    23 detainees, the way in which they were released, and the

    24 way in which safety and security measures were effected

    25 for these civilians to be set free.

  18. 1 Q. General, let me read you some testimony from

    2 your chief of operations and then chief of staff,

    3 Brigadier Marin. This is on page 13447 at line 18:

    4 "Q Now, that's the command headquarters of

    5 the Vitez brigade, approximately 100

    6 metres from the Hotel Vitez, and on the

    7 backside of this building was a

    8 connecting building where prisoners were

    9 being kept, Bosnian Muslim prisoners;

    10 right?

    11 A Behind this building, that is to say, on

    12 the other side, that is where the cinema

    13 should be, and I said that as far as I

    14 know, around that building or in that

    15 building there were some prisoners, that

    16 they were there.

    17 Q Now, based on your experience as an

    18 officer in the military, a military

    19 headquarters is a legitimate military

    20 target for the enemy, isn't it?

    21 A Yes."

    22 So you would agree, would you not, General,

    23 that the Viteska Brigade headquarters was, in fact, a

    24 legitimate military target for the army of

    25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, wasn't it?

  19. 1 A. Yes, the building in which the headquarters

    2 of the Vitez Brigade was located is a legitimate

    3 target, and the building where the prisoners were

    4 located is another building, and none of the

    5 international representatives of the Red Cross ever

    6 asked for the detainees to be dislocated or informed me

    7 up until the 30th of April that we were behaving badly

    8 with them.

    9 Q. General, let me read to you a question by

    10 Judge Shahabuddeen of Brigadier Marin and his answer on

    11 page 13964, line 16. Judge Shahabuddeen asked:

    12 "JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: ... Suppose the enemy

    13 wanted to shell Mr. Cerkez; do you, as

    14 a military man, estimate that there

    15 might have been a risk of a shell either

    16 falling on the part of the building

    17 occupied by the women or children, or

    18 falling hard nearby?

    19 A It was possible."

    20 So the shelling of the headquarters, sir,

    21 given the proximity to the prisoners, could very well

    22 put them in harm's way; isn't that right?

    23 A. I have already said that they're two

    24 buildings side by side. They could have been in harm's

    25 way, but I think that they would have been subject to

  20. 1 much greater harm in the town of Vitez, because there

    2 was street fighting there in downtown Vitez, and it

    3 wasn't safe. As far as I know, from the protocol of

    4 the International Red Cross, a precondition for any

    5 freeing of the people who had been detained, arrested,

    6 was that there should be a cease-fire, that the

    7 situation should be safe, and that the protocol of the

    8 International Red Cross be respected.

    9 Q. General, let us deal with an exhibit to just

    10 elaborate on your last answer about the safety for

    11 these individuals.

    12 MR. KEHOE: Again, Mr. President, this is

    13 just simply an enlargement of Exhibit 45 which is on

    14 the easel which will make it a little easier to deal

    15 with than just dealing with the enlargement.

    16 THE REGISTRAR: This is a new Prosecution

    17 Exhibit which will be given reference number

    18 47H (sic).

    19 MR. KEHOE: This is 45. I think it should be

    20 45H. This is an enlargement of 45.

    21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, 45H. I thought that's

    22 what I said.

    23 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry. I must have heard it

    24 incorrectly.

    25 Q. General, this is, of course, the similar

  21. 1 enlargement to that which we discussed previously.

    2 Now, the point here that is designated as point A is

    3 the Hotel Vitez, your headquarters, point B being the

    4 Workers' University and headquarters of the Viteska

    5 Brigade, and point C being the PTT building.

    6 Now, General, during the course of the 16th,

    7 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, until the cease-fire, the area

    8 depicted in this exhibit was shelled regularly by ABiH

    9 forces, was it not?

    10 A. The area was shelled on the 16th and 17th.

    11 On the 18th, there was infrequent shelling, very

    12 infrequent on the 19th, but the fighting was taking

    13 place on the northerly reaches, the approach to the

    14 town of Vitez, Krizancevo Selo, Dubravica, from the

    15 Zenica direction and from Zabrdze and Pintra. But this

    16 particular area from the 18th or 19th onwards was not

    17 shelled.

    18 Q. Now, let us talk just about some of the

    19 testimony that you just discussed with us about not

    20 being told by the international community about moving

    21 those particular prisoners. Let me show you, while

    22 you're looking at this exhibit, if we could also refer

    23 to Prosecutor's 529.

    24 General, let me read to you paragraph 6, if

    25 we can move that up, Mr. Usher, please, paragraph 6

  22. 1 deals with humanitarian -- no, it's on that page.

    2 Thank you. It notes as follows in A:

    3 "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners

    4 held in a prison under the HVO brigade headquarters in

    5 Vitez. The prisoners were treated well, although they

    6 were in a small space for such a large group. The

    7 location formally is a violation of the Geneva

    8 Convention."

    9 With that in mind, General, I would also like

    10 you to take a look at a document you received from the

    11 Viteska Brigade, Defence 327, which is an operations

    12 report from the Viteska Brigade.

    13 General, before we look at this particular

    14 exhibit, you told us that on the 16th of April, the

    15 hotel, the post office, the municipal building, and

    16 private homes were shelled. In your testimony, that's

    17 at 18513. In this exhibit, Defence 327, you are

    18 informed by the Viteska Brigade, about the second

    19 paragraph:

    20 "Around 1600 hours from the region of

    21 Vjetrenica, probably from the road, saddle

    22 Vjetrenica-Kuber, Muslim forces shelled the town area

    23 of Vitez from a tank (probably a T-34). The

    24 municipality building was hit, and the enemy was

    25 probably targeting the buildings of the Post Office,

  23. 1 the Hotel, Workers' University, as well as the civilian

    2 facilities in town."

    3 General, moving back, and if we can put 45H

    4 back on the ELMO, you knew, General, did you not, that

    5 the area of the hotel, designated "A," of the PTT

    6 building, designated "C," and the Workers' University,

    7 designated "B," were being shelled by the army of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina; isn't that correct, sir?

    9 A. I've already stated that they were shelled on

    10 the 16th and 17th. From document 327, we can see that

    11 the municipality building was hit, and it states that

    12 probably, that is, they assess, that the targets were

    13 other facilities as well, but these were not hit.

    14 Let me just add that sometime from the 17th

    15 or 18th, I ordered that civilians be treated humanely,

    16 and you can see that from this report, that there were

    17 62 individuals detained in the cinema. So the number

    18 oscillated, and the treatment of those prisoners,

    19 according to the assessment of the international

    20 representatives, was good. We achieved a cease-fire on

    21 the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th of April, but the

    22 problem was that the BH army did not respect the

    23 cease-fire, and it was not possible to have a halt in

    24 the hostilities. That would have solved the problem of

    25 releasing civilians and all the other questions related

  24. 1 to that.

    2 Q. Preliminarily, General, let me refer you

    3 back, and I will refer to this in English, of course,

    4 this is Prosecutor's Exhibit 529, and the ECMM monitors

    5 note: "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners held

    6 in a prison under HVO brigade headquarters in Vitez."

    7 Now, General, "under the brigade

    8 headquarters" means underneath what you describe as the

    9 Workers' University; isn't that right?

    10 A. No. They were held in the cinema, as far as

    11 I was able to understand, and that is what it said in

    12 the report you read out to me, 62 prisoners in the

    13 cinema building, not the Workers' University building,

    14 but the cinema building. They are two buildings and

    15 were always two buildings.

    16 Q. General, let me read this to you again.

    17 Mr. Usher, if you could put Prosecutor's 529

    18 on the ELMO, again, the humanitarian section:

    19 "The team visited 62 male Muslim prisoners

    20 held in a prison under HVO brigade headquarters in

    21 Vitez."

    22 Now, General, this report reflects that they

    23 were, in fact, under Cerkez's headquarters, in the

    24 basement under Cerkez's headquarters. Now, General --

    25 A. I know that they were in the cinema

  25. 1 building. I don't know that they were in the

    2 basement. I don't know the layout of the building

    3 well. I know that there's a hall downstairs and a big

    4 restaurant. So I understand this as being in the

    5 cinema building, the 62 that you mentioned.

    6 Q. General, isn't it a fact that this building

    7 which is connected was a legitimate military target for

    8 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    9 JUDGE JORDA: I think you've already asked

    10 that question, Mr. Kehoe.

    11 MR. KEHOE:

    12 Q. General, knowing that this building was a

    13 legitimate military target and knowing that there were

    14 Bosnian Muslim civilians kept under the headquarters,

    15 did you order these civilians removed so they were not

    16 in harm's way?

    17 A. Had I had any better solution, that is to

    18 say, had I had any safer building, I would quite

    19 certainly have issued an assignment like that, to

    20 change the accommodation. But the fact that nobody was

    21 hit there shows that it was the least bad solution, and

    22 it wasn't a bad solution because nobody was harmed,

    23 although it was not the best, of course.

    24 I talked to a representative of the

    25 International Red Cross sometime around the 20th or in

  26. 1 between meetings, perhaps it was the 21st, and nobody

    2 ever asked me to have the civilians moved. But in a

    3 situation, a chaotic situation, with ongoing fighting

    4 and general insecurity, I still firmly believed that

    5 they were safest there, and some of them even came

    6 there of their own free will to take shelter, and

    7 others were taken by commanders of the Vitez Brigade.

    8 For example, the chief of staff took one of the

    9 civilians to his own home, and so on.

    10 Q. I take it, General, from your answer that you

    11 did not order these civilians removed; is that correct?

    12 A. I had no better option at that time because

    13 what I wanted to effect was a cease-fire and general

    14 safety and security for the entire region, and that

    15 building was one of the safest buildings in Vitez.

    16 Q. General, is it your testimony that you had no

    17 other alternative in all of Vitez, in all of the

    18 buildings in Kolonija or anywhere else in Vitez, to put

    19 these prisoners except in the basement of the Viteska

    20 Brigade headquarters; is that your testimony?

    21 MR. HAYMAN: I think he's answered the

    22 question, Mr. President.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: I think that he's answered. He

    24 said what he wanted to tell you. He said that perhaps

    25 it wasn't the best solution but it was not necessarily

  27. 1 the worst either.

    2 MR. KEHOE:

    3 Q. Well, General, let me ask you this, sir: Did

    4 not the Bosnian Croat civilians remain in their

    5 apartments, or did you put all the Bosnian Croats in

    6 the basement as well?

    7 A. I have already stated that I never ordered,

    8 either orally or in writing, anybody to be detained,

    9 any civilians to be detained, but I did issue orders on

    10 the 16th in the morning, it was around 6.00 in the

    11 morning, to sound the general alarm.

    12 Vitez was a town that was shelled beforehand

    13 by the JNA, and I suppose that the civilians were in

    14 the basements and cellars of their own buildings once

    15 the sirens had sounded, and that they all expected

    16 hostilities to cease, and the creation of safer -- a

    17 safer situation for civilians to be set free. So I had

    18 no right, apart from the Red Cross, to bring in my own

    19 decision and to tell the civilians to go out in the

    20 streets. I think that would have been a far worse

    21 solution than the solution -- situation in which the

    22 civilians found themselves.

    23 Q. General, let me read you my question. If you

    24 didn't understand it, I'll repeat it again. Did not

    25 the Bosnian Croats remain in their apartments, or did

  28. 1 you put all the Bosnian Croats in the basement as

    2 well? Did you do that?

    3 A. I have already said that the siren had

    4 already sound off and there was general danger. Where

    5 they went, I imagine everybody was in the basement.

    6 Where was where, that I don't know. Everybody tried to

    7 make do. There was general chaos. There was an

    8 all-out attack. There were combat operations in 22

    9 different place and this is a very, very insecure

    10 situation.

    11 At that point in time, I did not have precise

    12 information as to whether everybody was in the basement

    13 or where they were. There were civilians in Stari

    14 Vitez who were protected in a similar way, that is to

    15 say, Croats by Muslim Bosniaks, that is to say, members

    16 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. There were

    17 civilians in Kruscica who were protected in a similar

    18 way, also in Vranjska, also in Vitez, but the situation

    19 then was one of general chaos.

    20 Q. Well, General, the reality of the situation

    21 is that it was only Bosnian Muslim civilians who were

    22 arrested and put in the basement of this building;

    23 isn't that right?

    24 A. I've already said that this went both ways.

    25 At that time it was very difficult to see who was

  29. 1 detaining who. I think that there is a Prosecution or

    2 Defence Exhibit, but I remember it, in relation to

    3 private arrests.

    4 For example, if a father sees that his son is

    5 missing, then he is going to carry out a private

    6 arrest. He's going to arrest the first person who

    7 comes along so that he could get his son back.

    8 The situation was very, very complex, and I

    9 focused on that, that is to say, protect civilians who

    10 were already detained or who had already been put away,

    11 to bring about a cease-fire and create safe conditions

    12 so that civilians could be released in accordance with

    13 the mandate of the International Red Cross, but the

    14 precondition was to have a cease-fire and to stop all

    15 combat activity.

    16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, are you saying

    17 that for the reasons which you have given, you cannot

    18 tell whether any Croats were held in the cellars?

    19 A. Your Honour, I already said that I believe

    20 that there were Croats in basements, perhaps in the

    21 basements of their own buildings or someplace. I

    22 already said that there were Croats. Everybody tried

    23 to do his best, what they could do. Some of these

    24 Muslim Bosniaks came to the cinema on their own because

    25 they were afraid and they believed there was safety

  30. 1 there.

    2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I'm talking about the

    3 cinema. There were people held there. Were any Croats

    4 held there, "Yes" or "No"?

    5 A. In the cinema, I believe that there were no

    6 Croats there.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.

    9 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.

    10 MR. KEHOE:

    11 Q. General, you had responsibility for the

    12 Bosnian Muslims who were being held captive in the

    13 basement of the Workers' University and the cinema;

    14 isn't that right?

    15 A. What do you mean? In what sense

    16 responsible? As commander of the Operative Zone I was

    17 responsible for the entire area, but I already said

    18 that I did not issue any orders, nor did I approve, nor

    19 did I receive any information to the effect that they

    20 would be detained or arrested.

    21 Q. When you as the commander of the Central

    22 Bosnia Operative Zone knew that these Muslims had been

    23 arrested and placed in the basement of the cinema and

    24 the Workers' University, you, as the commander, could

    25 have walked the 30 to 40 yards to that facility or

  31. 1 given an order to one of your subordinates to release

    2 those people and allow them to go back to their homes;

    3 isn't that accurate?

    4 A. That is not so, and in this way I would have

    5 broken a fundamental rule of the International Red

    6 Cross, which envisaged that each individual, at least

    7 that was our understanding and that's the way it was

    8 explained to us, perhaps I didn't understand it

    9 properly, that every detained individual had to be

    10 reported to the representatives of the International

    11 Red Cross, and by abiding to the mandate of the

    12 International Red Cross these persons should then be

    13 released.

    14 There was a person who was intermediating and

    15 who was deciding on this mutual release. That is not

    16 to say that I had competence over one side to release

    17 any detainee or did I ever do that. If there were any

    18 kind of detentions or arrests, then we would report all

    19 of this to International Red Cross. That is what the

    20 practice was on both sides, the HVO and the BH army, in

    21 the Operative Zone and in the 3rd Corps. This was

    22 during the January conflict as well.

    23 I remember when we agreed on the release of

    24 civilians. When the International Red Cross

    25 representatives disagreed, then we had to stop

  32. 1 releasing civilians, because they had said that the

    2 situation was not safe enough to have them released.

    3 Q. So, General, are you saying that you could

    4 not release prisoners from a potential military target

    5 until they, the civilians, were registered by the Red

    6 Cross? Is that what you're saying, sir?

    7 A. The practice and the rule, to the best of my

    8 understanding, was that releases had to take place

    9 through the intermediation of the International Red

    10 Cross. But there's one more thing I wish to mention,

    11 not only because of that but also because we did not

    12 manage to have a cease-fire, and we did not manage to

    13 create a safe environment so that all preliminary

    14 actions could be carried out by the International Red

    15 Cross and then the detainees could be released.

    16 Q. General, when did you find out that the

    17 civilians from Ahmici were being held in the Dubravica

    18 school? When did you find that out?

    19 A. I've already said that I do not remember the

    20 dates exactly, because I know that sometime around the

    21 20th, from the meeting in Zenica, all authority related

    22 to detained persons went to the civilian authorities,

    23 that is to say, the civilian commission of the civilian

    24 HVO government, that is, and of the army of

    25 Bosnia-Herzegovina through the International Red

  33. 1 Cross. They had all the specific information about

    2 civilians. The chairman of this commission for release

    3 was working on this. It was Mr. Skopljak on behalf of

    4 the HVO, and they were working on the releases and

    5 everything else.

    6 Q. When did the area around Dubravica become a

    7 front-line position?

    8 A. Well, the area around Dubravica, a bit to the

    9 north of Dubravica, the beginning of the conflict --

    10 well, I'd have to look this up in my chronology when

    11 this area was a battlefield. Sometime from the 16th,

    12 but if you need a precise date I can look it up in my

    13 chronology.

    14 Q. No, sir. Just sometime after the 16th will

    15 do. Did you ever issue an order, General, to evacuate

    16 those civilians from this front-line position so they

    17 wouldn't be in harm's way? I'm talking about

    18 evacuating them from the Dubravica school. Did you

    19 ever issue such an order?

    20 A. The front line was not in the immediate

    21 vicinity of the school in Dubravica, it was a bit to

    22 the north. I already said that none of the

    23 international intermediaries had asked me to issue an

    24 order to relocate the prisoners. Had anybody asked for

    25 that I would have done so, but the greatest problem was

  34. 1 that we were in such a situation that there was no safe

    2 area.

    3 Q. General, my question to you is this: Did you

    4 issue an order to evacuate the civilians from the

    5 Dubravica school, "Yes" or "No"?

    6 A. I did not issue any orders because I had no

    7 place to relocate them, and nobody had asked me to do,

    8 that. None of the international representatives who

    9 were in contact with me had asked me to do that. At

    10 that time we were working on a cease-fire and we were

    11 working on the creation of safe conditions for the

    12 mutual release of civilians.

    13 Q. Now, General when, did the shelling in Vitez

    14 stop between the 20th and the 30th of April? What

    15 date?

    16 A. I would have to look this up in my chronology

    17 to see when this happened exactly because the shelling

    18 was expressed in different ways. Sometimes the command

    19 was the artillery target and then a large number of

    20 projectiles were fired, and then sometimes only one or

    21 two shells were fired, and there was an effect to that

    22 too, of course, but, of course, there was no point to

    23 do that. But I'd really have to look this up if you're

    24 interested in the period from the 22th to the 30th,

    25 because I cannot remember.

  35. 1 Q. General, take a look at your chronology

    2 briefly and let's get a date as to when the shelling

    3 stopped in that area, if you can't recall, and we'll

    4 use the benchmark as the 30th of April and the frontal

    5 part being the 20th of April. So between the 20th and

    6 the 30th, when did it stop?

    7 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, were you able

    8 to look at your chronology?

    9 A. Mr. President, just a minute, please, because

    10 I have to look at ten days.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We're going to take

    12 a break and give you the time to consult your

    13 chronology quietly. For 20 minutes.

    14 --- Recess taken at 3.12 p.m.

    15 --- On resuming at 3.37 p.m.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: We can resume now. Please be

    17 seated. I want to say for the public that this is the

    18 cross-examination of General Blaskic who chose to

    19 testify and is under oath.

    20 Mr. Kehoe, you can continue with your

    21 questions.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I believe we had

    23 an outstanding question on the floor of when the town

    24 of Vitez ceased being shelled.

    25 A. I have looked through my notes, and sometime

  36. 1 from the 20th to the 30th, I haven't got any notes

    2 there on any more intensified shelling in the urban

    3 area of Vitez, but I do have notes saying that there

    4 was repeated sniper fire by the BH army and that there

    5 was shelling of the northern and southern lines of the

    6 front, so that the shelling increased on the northern

    7 and southern front lines of the Vitez municipality.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General Blaskic.

    9 There's your answer, Mr. Kehoe.

    10 MR. KEHOE:

    11 Q. During the period of time from the 20th to

    12 the 30th when there was no intense shelling of downtown

    13 Vitez, the Bosnian Muslim prisoners continued to remain

    14 in the basement of the Workers' University and the

    15 cinema; is that right, sir?

    16 A. They were in the cinema, and from the 20th

    17 onwards, from the period that you asked me about, that

    18 was the time when we worked towards establishing a

    19 joint command and a cease of hostilities and the work

    20 of joint commissions, according to the agreements of

    21 the 20th and 21st of April. At that time, we tried to

    22 stop all combat activities and to separate the forces

    23 and everything else following on from the Zenica

    24 agreement.

    25 Q. So if these prisoners were being used as

  37. 1 human shields, the tactic worked, didn't it?

    2 A. They were never used as human shields, nor is

    3 there one single order or document of any kind issued

    4 by me or my immediate subordinates on that. As far as

    5 I remember, I ordered in an order of the 18th of April

    6 that all prisoners be freed immediately but on the

    7 condition that the fighting had ceased and that the

    8 situation had been brought back to a safe one. I think

    9 that it would have been a far worse solution if all the

    10 people were turned out into the streets when fighting

    11 was still ongoing and when the situation was not safe

    12 which would enable these detained persons to be freed.

    13 Q. General, you just said to us that "They were

    14 never used as human shields, nor is there one single

    15 order or document of any kind issued by me or my

    16 subordinates on that." There is also not one single

    17 order issued by you, after you knew that these

    18 civilians were in custody in the Dubravica school and

    19 in the Workers' University, to remove them from harm's

    20 way; isn't that correct?

    21 A. Already on the 17th of April, I issued an

    22 order, an express order of the 17th of April that

    23 civilians must be protected. On the 21st of April, I

    24 issued an order that my subordinates must, along with

    25 signatures of their subordinates, issue an order for

  38. 1 full guarantee and protection of all civilians and that

    2 they must feed this information back to me, that is to

    3 say, that I receive it from the level of battalion

    4 commanders that they had received this order, that they

    5 are to issue full guarantee and protection to

    6 civilians. My order of the 18th of April was also

    7 along those lines, to free the civilians, but the

    8 problem was to ensure a cease-fire, to ensure that the

    9 situation was safe and secure.

    10 Let me say that one battalion of any army,

    11 for it to be able to take up defence positions, it

    12 needs three to six kilometres in depth. The broadest

    13 enclave was six kilometres, and then we could say -- we

    14 could put it this way: The position for the defence of

    15 the battalion, there is 75.000 people living there, if

    16 we look at the in-depth situation, that is to say, we

    17 are all in this position, and it wasn't safe for any

    18 civilian. I'm not thinking of any particular ethnicity

    19 but for all civilians living there. A brigade takes up

    20 positions in a depth of 35 kilometres, and we didn't

    21 have that depth.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I understand

    23 that the people who were in the Vitez cinema, I've

    24 understood you saying that these people in the cinema

    25 were saying that you would protect them. Did you

  39. 1 consider that you were responsible for their safety

    2 when they were in the Vitez cinema, or that's what

    3 you're telling us?

    4 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I consider that

    5 it was not possible and that it was far less secure to

    6 leave these people out in the streets in conditions

    7 where there had not been a halt to the fighting --

    8 JUDGE JORDA: But did you give them that

    9 choice? Did you ask them the question? Did you give

    10 them a choice? Are you the one who decided that their

    11 safety would be ensured by going into the cinema; is

    12 that what you're saying?

    13 A. In the course of the day, Mr. President, they

    14 went home, some to have a shower, some to change

    15 clothes, some to have something to eat, but I ordered

    16 on the 18th of April that they all be set free;

    17 however, this order of the 18th of April had two

    18 preconditions: the cessation of hostilities and the

    19 creation of safe positions. So I don't maintain --

    20 JUDGE JORDA: So you made a choice for them;

    21 you set the conditions. You made choices for them; you

    22 set conditions for their being released?

    23 A. Mr. President, those were the conditions that

    24 I knew about from the International Red Cross, that is

    25 to say, any individual can be freed only if there is no

  40. 1 more fighting and if the situation is safe for them to

    2 be released.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: But let's not have the

    4 International Red Cross speak, and it's not here to

    5 speak for itself. Perhaps it would have been satisfied

    6 if you did release them. Let's not put words into the

    7 mouth of the International Red Cross. You set those

    8 conditions. It seems to me that you are the one who

    9 set those two conditions.

    10 A. I received this kind of order from General

    11 Petkovic on the basis of an agreement reached between

    12 President Izetbegovic and Boban. So they had received

    13 a military and political agreement, and I received an

    14 order for a cessation of hostilities and the release of

    15 civilians and all the rest.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: That's all I wanted to ask.

    17 Judge Rodrigues?

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I hear you

    19 speaking about safety or security when you speak about

    20 detention. If we're speaking about security, were the

    21 security conditions different for the Croats and the

    22 Muslims? In other words, the Muslims were in the Vitez

    23 cinema and the Croats were at home. From the point of

    24 view of security, could you tell us why?

    25 A. Your Honour, I already said that I found out

  41. 1 that the Muslims were being brought in, that is to say,

    2 I did not order it and I did not ask that they be

    3 brought into custody. But then when I was surprised to

    4 hear that they were being kept at the cinema, then I

    5 thought that the best thing would be to work for a

    6 cease-fire, for creating safe conditions, and then for

    7 their release.

    8 The situation was similar where the army of

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Vitez was in charge of a

    10 particular area. I imagine that it was the same.

    11 Muslim Bosniaks were deployed in certain places, and

    12 Croats were brought to certain buildings and

    13 temporarily kept in these buildings because in that

    14 kind of a situation, it's difficult to have control

    15 over everything that goes on in town.

    16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But in respect of the

    17 conditions that you're speaking about, were those

    18 conditions transmitted to the army of

    19 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    20 A. The agreement was reached by the two top men,

    21 Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Boban. I think this was on the

    22 17th or 18th of April, the agreement on the cessation

    23 of hostilities and releases and everything else that

    24 was supposed to take place. I received orders from

    25 General Petkovic, and I sent a copy of the order that I

  42. 1 had written to the 3rd Corps, and I read the order

    2 issued by General Petkovic to the duty officer of the

    3 3rd Corps over the telephone. I'm sure that he wrote

    4 down all the conditions because I heard his voice. But

    5 these were orders issued by the two commanders, that is

    6 to say, the chief of the general staff of the army of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the HVO respectively.

    8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, if the

    9 agreement was reached on the 17th, why was detention

    10 extended until the 30th?

    11 A. Your Honour, the first agreement was on the

    12 16th of April, and it was not observed; then on the

    13 17th of April, it was not observed; on the 18th, it was

    14 not observed; on the 20th in Zenica, it was. Then the

    15 decision was that the release of all persons would be

    16 handled by civilian commissions under the leadership of

    17 the International Red Cross.

    18 I can give you my assessment, why so much

    19 time had to go by. There are three reasons, in my

    20 opinion: One is to have a cease-fire and safe

    21 conditions, and the second reason was that the

    22 International Red Cross asked to have some kind of an

    23 interview or test or discussion with each detainee so

    24 that they could get the personal details of the

    25 detainees and also hear where these persons wanted to

  43. 1 go after they were released. So there were problems in

    2 obtaining lists, but these were problems related to the

    3 commissions for release.

    4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But if you say, General

    5 Blaskic, that only you released the prisoners if there

    6 was an agreement, at the end you used the detainees in

    7 order to put pressure on the agreement.

    8 A. No, Your Honour. I'm not saying that I would

    9 release the prisoners. I never conditionally issued

    10 such an order, nor did I ever think in that way.

    11 I'm just saying that in the January conflict,

    12 I was a witness of the attitude and conclusion of the

    13 International Red Cross in which the International Red

    14 Cross defined the conditions and possibilities for the

    15 release.

    16 I think that the order from the 18th of April

    17 is there, and I never put forth as a precondition a

    18 cease-fire so that I would release all the prisoners as

    19 if it were my own precondition, no, and I was never the

    20 creator of any agreement, no. My superiors were

    21 discussing this.

    22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    23 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I'm getting a

    24 little lost here. I wonder if you can help me. Do I

    25 understand you to be saying that the position is this:

  44. 1 No decision by you for the release of any detained

    2 persons could be implemented without going through

    3 certain Red Cross procedures? Was that the position?

    4 A. Yes, and that's what we did from the January

    5 conflict onwards, Your Honour. I never thought that I

    6 had the sole right to write an order saying that

    7 persons could simply be released just like that without

    8 having full insight by the International Red Cross,

    9 that is to say, that they could register these persons,

    10 interview them, take their personal details, see where

    11 they wanted to go afterwards, et cetera, and then when

    12 the Red Cross officers thought that the conditions had

    13 been created for that, at a meeting this person would

    14 take the floor and say, "Yes, these conditions have

    15 been met," and there's going to be release under such

    16 and such conditions. That's the way we always did it.

    17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So that if you decided

    18 today that certain people should be released, and if it

    19 took another six weeks to go through the Red Cross

    20 procedures, that person could not be released until

    21 those procedures had been completed?

    22 A. In my notes, Your Honour, I certainly have

    23 this written down very precisely. I think that this

    24 was Mr. Fleming's viewpoint, from February 1993, when

    25 he decided that the release, mutual release, of

  45. 1 detained persons be carried out immediately. Then this

    2 conclusion was presented to myself and Mr. Merdan, I

    3 think.

    4 After that, Mrs. Iris called. She was a

    5 representative of the International Red Cross. She had

    6 an office in Zenica, and she was in charge of the

    7 Zenica region. She said that she believed that not all

    8 the conditions had been created for the release to take

    9 place. Then we bowed to the attitude of the lady

    10 representative of the International Red Cross.

    11 Whenever there were releases, it was the

    12 International Red Cross that dictated the conditions,

    13 when and how the release would take place, and they

    14 intermediated and everything else.

    15 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I understand you. Thank

    16 you.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe.

    18 MR. KEHOE:

    19 Q. General, let me show you the Defence 316,

    20 please, and if we could also pull out Defence 318,

    21 please.

    22 Now, General, in Defence Exhibit 316, you

    23 were ordered by Milivoj Petkovic, on the 18th of April,

    24 1993, to -- can you put that on the ELMO, please,

    25 Mr. Usher?

  46. 1 You were ordered to:

    2 "2. The exchange of prisoners, both

    3 soldiers and civilians, shall start immediately."

    4 In Defence Exhibit 318, we have the English

    5 version of the order that you sent copying Petkovic's

    6 order which is based on an agreement between Mate

    7 Boban, between Boban and Alija Izetbegovic.

    8 MR. KEHOE: If we could put 318 on the ELMO

    9 now, Mr. Usher.

    10 Q. So, General, you had the authority on the

    11 18th to release civilians from custody, didn't you?

    12 A. I already said how I understood this

    13 authority. If necessary, I can repeat that. On the

    14 17th already an agreement had been reached, on the 17th

    15 or 18th, I'm not sure, concerning the exchange of

    16 detainees. However, the problem was the cease-fire, and

    17 the creation of safe conditions and --

    18 Q. Excuse me, General. Excuse me, General. The

    19 question is: Did you have the authority to release

    20 prisoners as of the 18th of April, to release them so

    21 they could go back and live with their Bosnian Croat

    22 neighbours? Did you have that authority?

    23 A. I had to honour the protocol of the

    24 International Red Cross, and I asked my subordinates to

    25 do that too. That is what the prevailing practice was,

  47. 1 that is to say, although I had issued an order, the

    2 attitude of the International Red Cross had to be

    3 respected.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: But that's not what it says in

    5 the order. Well, continue, Mr. Kehoe. I don't think

    6 that's what it says in the order.

    7 MR. KEHOE: That's exactly the point,

    8 Mr. President.

    9 Q. That's not what the order says, does it,

    10 General, neither Petkovic's order, nor your order?

    11 A. I've already said that there is a procedure

    12 and a protocol for the release of prisoners, and I was

    13 duty-bound to honour the protocol of the International

    14 Red Cross. I worked in the faith that I was observing

    15 that protocol.

    16 In this order that you're asking me about --

    17 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I'm not saying

    18 that you didn't do it. I'm not taking sides. In

    19 respect to the Prosecutor's question, I just simply

    20 wanted to point that in number 2 in the paragraph it

    21 says that an exchange of prisoners must be effected

    22 immediately. That's what your superior said, Milivoj

    23 Petkovic. The word "immediately" there should be an

    24 exchange of military and civilian prisoners he did not

    25 add, "In accordance with an agreement we take, get into

  48. 1 contact with the Croats." That's all I'm saying. I'm

    2 not saying anything beyond that. I'm not asking any

    3 questions. The Prosecutor has to prove what he's

    4 putting forth, but in order to save some time, I would

    5 like you to answer the questions very specifically.

    6 Is says in Petkovic's order that an exchange

    7 of civilian and military prisoners should be carried

    8 out immediately. That's all it says, "Yes" or "No"?

    9 Then, of course, you can say what you like.

    10 A. Mr. President, I'll try to be as brief as

    11 possible. That's what it says in the document and

    12 that's what it says in document 318, I believe.

    13 However, we always observe the protocol of the

    14 International Red Cross.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's your

    16 answer. I respect your answer, but I wanted to be sure

    17 that we had both read the same document.

    18 All right. Mr. Kehoe, please continue.

    19 MR. KEHOE:

    20 Q. General, we heard the testimony of Sefik

    21 Pezer that was released on the 30th of April, 1993, but

    22 there were other Bosnian Muslims that were kept in

    23 custody until the 8th or 10th of May of 1993; isn't

    24 that so?

    25 A. I already said from the 20th of April the

  49. 1 release of all detainees was taken over by the

    2 commission consisting of two representatives. On the

    3 one side was a Croat, on the other side was a Bosniak

    4 Muslim, and it was chaired by a representative of the

    5 International Red Cross.

    6 How fast persons were released, that I don't

    7 have information about because the commission was not

    8 subordinated to me but to the governmental commission

    9 that belonged to the civilian authorities of

    10 Herceg-Bosna.

    11 Q. How long were they held in custody, General?

    12 How long were these civilians, these Bosnian Muslim

    13 civilians, kept in custody?

    14 A. I don't know. I don't have the exact

    15 information on how the exchange took place, because I

    16 already said that the commission on releases and

    17 exchanges was under the authority of the civilian

    18 authorities and this was carried out in accordance with

    19 the International Red Cross. Releases were two sided,

    20 that is to say, of Bosniak Muslims and of Croats.

    21 Q. General, is it your testimony that the

    22 Bosnian Muslims in the cinema and in Dubravica school

    23 were free to leave when they wanted to? Is that your

    24 testimony?

    25 A. I know that Bosniak Muslims from the cinema

  50. 1 would go home to take a shower. Somebody would go to

    2 take lunch at home and others had their lunch brought

    3 to them and, also, some members of the Vitez Brigade

    4 would take some of them home by car. There were such

    5 cases.

    6 So what the conditions were like, well, I did

    7 not receive any information concerning inhumane

    8 treatment of these persons. I never received such

    9 information.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: We agree that some would go

    11 home to take a shower and come back in the evening

    12 voluntarily? Do we agree that's what you're saying?

    13 A. That is what I was being told, that some of

    14 them would go home to have lunch at home, or some had

    15 their lunch brought to them at the cinema. So there

    16 were such cases too.

    17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, why would they

    18 return from their homes to the cinema? Would they

    19 return voluntarily or would their return because they

    20 were told that they had to return? Do you know?

    21 A. Well, it's hard for me to assess this now. I

    22 can only assume that probably every one of them was

    23 perhaps warned that they should come back. Perhaps

    24 there were cases when they thought that they were safer

    25 there, it was safer to stay there than at home.

  51. 1 It's hard for me to judge that, because

    2 high-quality safety conditions had not been created yet

    3 to guarantee the full safety of all.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, please continue.

    6 MR. KEHOE:

    7 Q. Well, General, the situation was, was it not,

    8 that the men periodically were told to go home and come

    9 back, while their wives remained at their homes in

    10 Vitez while they were in custody in the cinema; isn't

    11 that right?

    12 A. There were such cases too, or their wives

    13 would bring them food from home. There were such cases

    14 too. Or some of the people from headquarters would

    15 take some of their neighbours from there to their own

    16 homes. So I heard of such information, and I didn't

    17 hear of any inhumane treatment of these detainees.

    18 Q. Well, let's talk about that, General. I

    19 mean, you would agree, based on what you just told us

    20 and told Judge Shahabuddeen, that these Bosnian Muslim

    21 civilians were not free to come and go and do as they

    22 pleased; isn't that right?

    23 A. To do as they pleased? Well, they certainly

    24 weren't free in the proper sense of the word, but they

    25 were -- but it was on the way to have mutual release

  52. 1 both ways, but the situation was such that for a given

    2 period of time it was perhaps the safest to be there.

    3 Q. Well, General, while these civilians were

    4 kept in the cinema, which is 30 and 40 yards away from

    5 your headquarters, and kept in the Dubravica school,

    6 the Bosnian Muslim men were taken out to dig trenches

    7 by HVO troops under your command; isn't that right?

    8 A. I already said that I never approved of such

    9 activity, nor did I ever order it. I was aware of

    10 individual cases of such activity, and I reacted by way

    11 of investigations and by way of prohibiting direct

    12 orders that would entail such behaviour.

    13 On the 20th of April, and even earlier, an

    14 order had been issued that detainees had to be

    15 respected and had to be treated in accordance with the

    16 Geneva Conventions.

    17 Q. Well, the reality or the fact is, General,

    18 that you knew that Bosnian Muslim civilians were being

    19 taken from the cinema and brought to the front lines to

    20 dig trenches, and they were brought to the front lines

    21 to dig trenches by your troops; isn't that right?

    22 A. I've already said that there were individual

    23 cases when persons were taken out, and there was

    24 information to that effect. This was as far back as in

    25 February, and that is when I started an investigation

  53. 1 in this respect. I prohibited this kind of activity,

    2 and I prohibited it in the same way in April, on the

    3 20th of April I prohibited this, and my position was

    4 that a soldier had to dig his own shelter, and that can

    5 be seen from my documents from September 1992. There

    6 were individual cases when people were taken out, and I

    7 tried to stop this because this was in contravention of

    8 my orders.

    9 Q. General, did you ever take the 30-yard to

    10 40-yard trip from your headquarters and go examine the

    11 conditions under which those Bosnian Muslim civilians

    12 were kept in the cinema? Did you do that?

    13 A. I had many meetings. I did not go simply

    14 because I had never received any information from the

    15 International Red Cross or from my associates that they

    16 were being treated inhumanely, that is to say, I did

    17 not have such information. At that time, I was working

    18 on activities related to the cease-fire and the

    19 implementation of the agreement that we had reached in

    20 Zenica.

    21 Q. So you never personally examined whether or

    22 not these civilians were being mistreated or misfed,

    23 nor did you ask any of them if, in fact, they had been

    24 forced to do labour on the front lines for the HVO; is

    25 that correct?

  54. 1 A. I personally did not carry out investigations

    2 because I had assistants who would take care of that,

    3 and I also had my subordinates who would inform me

    4 about this, that is to say, that I did not receive

    5 information that they were being treated inhumanely,

    6 and I did not go to visit them and I did not react. I

    7 only did in situations, as I already said, when I had

    8 received such information, and then I would request an

    9 investigation.

    10 Q. Let me show you Defence 365, General, which

    11 is your order of the 27th of April, 1993.

    12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, before you turn

    13 to that exhibit, could you help me with one area of

    14 some perplexity to me? I gather from what you said

    15 that some Bosnian Muslim men who were detained at this

    16 cinema would go home for a shower and would then return

    17 to the cinema out of a preference for the greater

    18 security which the cinema afforded them, but they would

    19 leave their wives at home. How do you reconcile the

    20 latter with the former? How do you reconcile their

    21 preference for the security of the cinema with their

    22 leaving their wives behind at home exposed,

    23 presumably? Could you help me with that problem?

    24 A. Regrettably, Your Honour, at that time, there

    25 were quite a few private arrests as well that I have

  55. 1 already spoken about, that is to say, that if an HVO

    2 member had been arrested, then a group or the relatives

    3 of that person would take into their own custody a

    4 member of the BH army or a conscript or someone, and

    5 then they would engage in these private exchanges, I'm

    6 sure that there was that problem, and then the

    7 existence of units that were out of control and others

    8 that could also engage in such efforts, that is,

    9 private exchanges.

    10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: We've now received D365 from

    12 the registrar.

    13 MR. KEHOE:

    14 Q. Now, General, in D365, you send an order to

    15 the Viteska Brigade commander, and in number 1, you

    16 say:

    17 "1. I prohibit any treatment of temporarily

    18 detained civilians which is contrary to the basic

    19 provisions of the Geneva Convention."

    20 Now, General, if there was no mistreatment of

    21 these prisoners, why did you specifically send this to

    22 Mario Cerkez, the commander of the Viteska Brigade?

    23 A. I've already said that it is possible that

    24 there were individual cases. This order is not the

    25 first order of this kind. I think that my first order

  56. 1 was issued before that, and there's a document from the

    2 21st of April, 1993 where I asked for full safety to be

    3 provided for civilians in the territory of the

    4 municipality of Vitez. This was the 21st of April.

    5 Then this is a supplement to the order issued on the

    6 24th of April, so ...

    7 Q. General, the individual cases that you just

    8 discussed of mistreatment of prisoners, did you punish

    9 those violators? If you did, what did you do and to

    10 whom did you mete this punishment out?

    11 A. Let me just look it up in my notes, please.

    12 If the information reached me and if it was under my

    13 competency, I did discipline.

    14 Q. General, let us narrow the question then. Do

    15 you have the name of one HVO soldier that you

    16 disciplined for abusing a civilian who was detained at

    17 the cinema? One name.

    18 A. I received information, I think it was from

    19 the Vitez Brigade, on the 14th of May, 1993, an

    20 incident that took place previously towards Hasan

    21 Gerdijanovic, and this incident was caused by the

    22 members of the HVO, Vlado Lesic, Bozo and Zeljko Babic

    23 and Zvonko Bilic. They were the perpetrators.

    24 Q. Excuse me, General. That was not the

    25 question I asked you. The question I asked you is do

  57. 1 you have the name of one HVO soldier who was

    2 disciplined for abusing Bosnian Muslim civilians who

    3 were held at the cinema?

    4 JUDGE JORDA: You didn't let the witness

    5 finish, Mr. Kehoe. I suppose that the witness wanted

    6 to mention an incident that happened in May, not in

    7 April.

    8 I think that now you're going to tell us that

    9 after the incident, you took some sanctions against

    10 somebody, and I suppose you're going to give us the

    11 name; is that right, Mr. Blaskic?

    12 A. Yes, Mr. President. On that occasion, I was

    13 informed about an incident which had taken place

    14 previously, so that particular individual, Hasan

    15 Gerdijanovic, was imprisoned, and this group of men

    16 provoked him, the group that I named earlier on. I

    17 demanded that they be sent away from the unit and that

    18 disciplinary measures be taken. The group was

    19 identified, that is to say, they were Vlado Lesic, Bozo

    20 and Zeljko Babic, and Zvonko Bilic. Those were the

    21 perpetrators, and that was what I did on the basis of a

    22 report that I received from the commander of the Vitez

    23 Brigade.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?

    25 MR. KEHOE:

  58. 1 Q. My question goes back to prisoners that were

    2 held in custody in the cinema, and my question for you

    3 is this: Were any HVO soldiers disciplined for abusing

    4 Bosnian Muslims who were held captive in the cinema?

    5 That was the question.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Did you understand the

    7 question, General Blaskic? Try to answer it, about the

    8 cinema.

    9 A. I am saying, on the basis of my

    10 recollections, that probably there was a meeting

    11 between one prisoner in the cinema, that is to say,

    12 Mr. Hasan Gerdijanovic, and this incident when one of

    13 these individuals mentioned either pushed him away or

    14 cursed him or --

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Are you sure that's in the

    16 cinema? Are you sure that that took place in the

    17 cinema?

    18 A. Yes. Yes.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: You're under oath, I remind

    20 you, General Blaskic. You just added that yes, it was

    21 in the cinema. Are you sure that it was in the

    22 cinema?

    23 A. I am sure -- I am sure that I received

    24 information that it was an incident that had taken

    25 place in the cinema. So that is the information that I

  59. 1 received from my subordinates. That is what I'm

    2 certain of.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, ask your question,

    4 please. Let's move things forward.

    5 MR. KEHOE:

    6 Q. My last question on the cinema, General. Was

    7 any HVO soldier disciplined for taking Bosnian Muslim

    8 civilians to the front lines to dig trenches from the

    9 cinema?

    10 A. That kind of activity represented a criminal

    11 act, and in concrete terms, the cinema, I know that an

    12 investigation was undertaken in one particular case,

    13 but I do not know the punishment and the course the

    14 proceedings took of that particular case. I think it

    15 was a case where somebody ended up dead and people who

    16 had taken this person trench digging were disciplined.

    17 Q. Now, sir, you, of course, are referring to

    18 the incident in February, and I am referring to the

    19 trench digging in April and May. Do you have a name of

    20 an HVO soldier disciplined or punished by the courts

    21 for forcing Bosnian Muslims to dig trenches at the

    22 front lines when they had been incarcerated in the

    23 cinema?

    24 A. I have already stated that it was my position

    25 that I ban such acts and that I remember that an

  60. 1 incident had taken place where they had been taken from

    2 the cinema to trench digging and that one individual

    3 died, one prisoner ended up dead, and that that case

    4 was investigated and proceedings taken at court. I

    5 haven't got the names of the individuals in question

    6 responsible for the incident and what the results of

    7 the punishment meted out by the military district court

    8 were.

    9 Q. That's fine, General. Thank you. We will

    10 move on to another subject. I would like to move back

    11 to the individuals, the civilians from Gacice. We had

    12 talked about those civilians previously being taken

    13 down to the Hotel Vitez, and I'm talking about the 247

    14 civilians.

    15 MR. KEHOE: If I can just go into private

    16 session briefly on this matter, Mr. President, because

    17 there is some testimony I would like to refer to that

    18 was taken in closed session.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Will that take a long time?

    20 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. It's very

    21 brief.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: I wanted the public to know

    23 that sometimes there are closed sessions which take

    24 quite a bit of time. All right. We're going to go

    25 into private session now.

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    2 (Open session)

    3 MR. KEHOE: General, I'd like to review with

    4 you briefly these 12 photographs which you can examine

    5 on the ELMO, and if we can, Mr. Usher.

    6 These are photographs taken by the British

    7 Battalion several days after the truck bomb explosion

    8 in Stari Vitez. This is, of course, 525/1. The next

    9 one. This is 525/2. The next one, please. 525/3.

    10 General, you can examine them on the ELMO if you want

    11 to, sir. 525/4, 525/5, 525/6, 525/7, 525/8, 525/9,

    12 525/10, 525/11, and 525/12. Thank you, Mr. Usher.

    13 Now, General, this is an explosion in Stari

    14 Vitez that took place approximately 400 metres from

    15 your headquarters at the Hotel Vitez; is that right?

    16 A. Perhaps that was the distance but I don't

    17 know exactly. Perhaps that was the distance.

    18 Q. I would like to read you a portion of the

    19 testimony of Brigadier Slavko Marin, on page 13433 and

    20 434. The question was asked on line 24 of page 13433:

    21 "Q Would you agree with me, Brigadier,

    22 that what happened in this truck bomb

    23 was an act of terrorism, wasn't it?

    24 A Yes. This is a very ugly act and an act

    25 which no army could resort to in its

  70. 1 conduct."

    2 General, do you agree with the sentiments

    3 expressed by your chief of staff at that time and your

    4 chief of operations?

    5 A. Yes.

    6 Q. Now, General, let us examine the level of

    7 this detonation first. If I could give this exhibit

    8 out.

    9 THE REGISTRAR: This is 706, Prosecution

    10 Exhibit 706.

    11 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just by way of

    12 explanation on this exhibit and the legend annexed

    13 thereto, the various statements that we have of witness

    14 Colonel Martin Thomas, Captain Tudor Ellis, Lieutenant

    15 Colonel Henk Morsink, and Advija Hrustic are designated

    16 by the letters on the maps A through D respectively,

    17 but it's also the location in which they were, as well

    18 as the lines of the transcript that verify their

    19 location when the explosion actually took place.

    20 Q. Now, General, just examining this particular

    21 map, the first location is Colonel Thomas, now Colonel

    22 Thomas, who is at location A which is the British

    23 Battalion camp, and the question asked him by my

    24 colleague Mr. Cayley, on page 2589, at line 14:

    25 "Q I think you returned to the Stari Bila

  71. 1 camp and now I want to take you forward

    2 in time to the 18th and 19th of April.

    3 I think it was whilst you were in the

    4 camp at Stari Bila that you heard a very

    5 large explosion; is that right?

    6 A Yes. I think it was Sunday evening,

    7 getting dark, and we heard an enormous

    8 bang coming from the centre of Vitez

    9 and, again, as we were at that time the

    10 Ops Company, I was sent down -- at that

    11 time I went with 2 Platoon, so we went

    12 down with five Warriors."

    13 Moving to the next person on the map, who is

    14 Captain Tudor Ellis, who was in Sivrino Selo, and he

    15 notes at page 3011, line 13:

    16 "Q What did you feel?

    17 A I was in my vehicle and we had stopped.

    18 We had seen the green car disappear, and

    19 I remember feeling that this big force,

    20 this shock wave hit me. At the same

    21 time a huge bang, a massive explosion.

    22 I looked down to where the bang had come

    23 from and there was a huge plume of smoke

    24 rising from the town of Vitez. I

    25 remember at the time we had a patrol in

  72. 1 the town who reported that there had

    2 been a massive explosion. There were

    3 large amount of casualties, and they

    4 needed callsigns in the town as quickly

    5 as possible.

    6 Q How far were you from Vitez at the

    7 time?

    8 A I was about two kilometres again, in

    9 the village of Sivrino Selo."

    10 The next locale is the locale of Colonel

    11 Morsink who was in Gornja Rovna, and he is in locale

    12 3 -- excuse me, C. He is on page 9820, who notes that,

    13 on line 23:

    14 "A When the bomb exploded, I was with the

    15 ECMM team in a place that was called

    16 Gornja Rovna which was five kilometres

    17 away from the centre of Vitez. Gornja

    18 Rovna is on the hill and from it you can

    19 see Vitez very clearly. When we would

    20 have a discussion with the local

    21 commanders on the front line, we could

    22 see that there was artillery fire on the

    23 neighbouring hills, and all of a sudden,

    24 I think it was at the end of the

    25 afternoon around 5.00, when I heard an

  73. 1 enormous explosion in Vitez. We saw

    2 that there was smoke, there was a huge

    3 cloud of smoke that was rising, and at

    4 that time we did not react."

    5 The last person on the list is Advija

    6 Hrustic, at point D in Gacice, who notes on page 4805,

    7 line 13:

    8 "A We heard the shelling, the fire, and

    9 there was a very powerful explosion.

    10 One had the feeling that the house was

    11 coming down. On my house the glass,

    12 together with the frame, came down and

    13 a balcony door also fell to the floor

    14 from the explosion. The house was

    15 shaking as if it was going to tumble

    16 down. All glass panes in the

    17 surrounding houses were broken."

    18 That is point D. So, General, you would

    19 agree, would you not, that this was the most powerful

    20 explosion that took place in the Vitez area during the

    21 course of the hostilities; isn't that right, sir?

    22 A. This was the most powerful explosion,

    23 although there was another explosion in October, I

    24 think it was, 1993, but not in the town of Vitez, in

    25 the position at Zabrdze, it was.

  74. 1 Q. You would agree, sir, that what happened in

    2 Stari Vitez at approximately 5.00 on the 18th of April,

    3 1993, was a war crime?

    4 A. Yes.

    5 Q. Now, let us talk about some other testimony,

    6 if we can, beginning with the testimony of

    7 Dr. Mujenznovic. If I may hand out another exhibit

    8 prior to that.

    9 MR. KEHOE: This, Mr. President -- I will

    10 wait until the copies are handed out before an

    11 explanation.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: You know that we're going until

    13 6.00 this evening. We should take another break. When

    14 would you like to take the break? What seems to be the

    15 most consistent with what you're doing in your

    16 cross-examination?

    17 MR. KEHOE: Any time, Mr. President.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Well, perhaps we should take a

    19 15-minute break now then.

    20 --- Recess taken at 4.47 p.m.

    21 --- On resuming at 5.03 p.m.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the

    23 hearing. Please be seated. I think that the break

    24 could be used in order to distribute the Prosecutor's

    25 documents which means that the Prosecutor can begin

  75. 1 immediately and continue until 6.00, please.

    2 MR. KEHOE: Actually, that was my negligence

    3 with one exhibit that I didn't give, unfortunately, to

    4 the registrar, and I apologise to the registrar for

    5 that, but it was a larger exhibit which is an expansion

    6 of the particular exhibit that we have. So I do

    7 apologise for not doing that promptly.

    8 THE REGISTRAR: The big map will be 707 as a

    9 Prosecution Exhibit and it will have a copy in reduced

    10 form which will be 707/1. We're going to distribute

    11 that now.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Are you going to use the same

    13 method, that is, these are excerpts of reports of

    14 testimonies; is that correct?

    15 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, same methodology,

    16 Mr. President. On these five locales, we will just go

    17 through them briefly.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: You tried to summarise things

    19 so that we can move along more quickly. Thank you.

    20 Please proceed.

    21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. This has to

    22 do with those who knew of this truck bomb explosion

    23 prior to the actual explosion taking place, and we will

    24 be moving in chronological order from top to bottom.

    25 Q. The first individual is Dr. Fuad Zeco who was

  76. 1 in custody in the veterinarian station on the 18th of

    2 April, 1993 at approximately 5.00. His testimony

    3 reflects that:

    4 "A ... But at that point, the same person

    5 came in, this person who organised this

    6 prison of ours, Zeljko Matkovic --"

    7 By the way, I'm reading, I'm sorry, at page

    8 2815:

    9 "A ... Zeljko Matkovic, and he said, 'all

    10 of you, each and every one of you should

    11 go to the basement and that is it.

    12 Something is going to happen now.' He

    13 said that we had to go to the basement.

    14 We were curious, we were surprised,

    15 wondering what it was. It was not clear

    16 at all, but he specifically asked us to

    17 hurry and to go down to the basement.

    18 The staircase was narrow, and those

    19 people who got downstairs had to make

    20 room for others, so we were not moving

    21 at the speed they wanted. Nevertheless,

    22 we all did manage to get down and

    23 we huddled in there, it might be a room

    24 3 metres by 6 to 7 metres, and a few

    25 moments after we got down there, we felt

  77. 1 an explosion which was really strong.

    2 There had been explosions until then

    3 too, but none of them matched this one.

    4 It was long, it was strong, and to the

    5 best of our knowledge, it was pretty far

    6 away, but it was something big."

    7 The later question on page 2869, this is at

    8 line 25:

    9 "Q Zeljko Matkovic who, as you said, was

    10 some kind of a commander, to which unit

    11 did he belong to in the HVO?"

    12 The witness didn't know what unit and said:

    13 "A I do not know ..."

    14 The next one we have as we move down,

    15 Mr. President, is number 2, and this is Dr. Mujezinovic

    16 who, in Exhibit 45B circled the area that he lived, and

    17 that's in the area of Vitez called Kolonija. That is

    18 designated as number 2 on the map. He notes on page

    19 1697, question on line 15:

    20 "Q At some point in time, while you were

    21 in your apartment building, did you

    22 receive a warning of some kind?

    23 A Yes, on Sunday around 5.00, Katava

    24 Marinko warned us we were not allowed to

    25 go out anywhere, because in the hallway

  78. 1 there were local people with arms. They

    2 were mostly wearing civilian clothes,

    3 some of them were in camouflage uniforms

    4 with rifles, and we did not move

    5 anywhere. Then Marinko Katava warned me

    6 and my neighbours, or rather my wife, my

    7 children, my in-laws -- he did not talk

    8 much to me -- that we should not be

    9 afraid, that a strong explosion would be

    10 heard."

    11 Turning to page 1698, line 14:

    12 "Q Was there, in fact, a powerful

    13 explosion that occurred shortly

    14 thereafter?

    15 A It was dusk. First there was a powerful

    16 light and then a very strong explosion.

    17 We did not know what it was and then

    18 Marinko Katava said, 'Do not be afraid.

    19 We have hit Djuda's ammunition depot,'

    20 as he put it, and Dzevada Topcic,

    21 known as Djuda, held in Stari Vitez a

    22 warehouse, and he claimed that an

    23 ammunition depot in Stari Vitez had been

    24 blown up and that that was the

    25 explosion."

  79. 1 The next one is C, and that is Sefik Pezer.

    2 Mr. Pezer testified that when the explosion went off,

    3 he was in the Vitez cinema building as a prisoner.

    4 That is on page 1573, line 19:

    5 "Q Mr. Pezer, after you were in the cinema

    6 for several days, did you have a

    7 conversation with any military policemen

    8 concerning an explosion or shelling that

    9 he said was going to take place, and if

    10 that did happen, can you explain it to

    11 the judges?

    12 A Are you thinking of the cistern that

    13 went off in Stari Vitez?

    14 Q Yes, sir.

    15 A On that day, a soldier, an HVO soldier,

    16 came to the basement. I was in the

    17 basement at the time, and we used the

    18 toilet which was on the ground floor of

    19 the building, and as there were a lot of

    20 us we would come and go. We would go

    21 to the hall where the toilet was, and

    22 then the soldier came and said, 'No one

    23 should go out because we are expecting

    24 some heavy shelling', so that nobody

    25 would get hit. Only a little while

  80. 1 after that, we heard a powerful

    2 explosion. We knew immediately that it

    3 was not any shelling, because the

    4 explosion was very powerful. It was

    5 nothing like a grenade or any other

    6 device of that kind."

    7 The next person is Witness E, and Witness E

    8 did have protective measures, Mr. President, but she

    9 did testify in open session. She testified concerning

    10 the warning, and she is living at point 4, which, as we

    11 can see from the exhibit on the right-hand side, was

    12 depicted in Prosecutor's Exhibit 45E. This begins on

    13 page 2912, line 21, she noted:

    14 "A ... We were terrified for our husbands

    15 and our fathers. One day there was some

    16 sort of an alert in the basement.

    17 Women, Croat women, were talking and one

    18 woman whose husband, a Croat, had to go

    19 to another part of the Kolonija. She

    20 called me and another neighbour, a

    21 Muslim, and she was closer to the

    22 telephone because in the meantime all

    23 the telephones were cut."

    24 If we move down on line 4 of page 2913:

    25 "A ... she said that something was being

  81. 1 prepared, an explosion or something, and

    2 she had left her keys so that we could

    3 use them and that we should open the

    4 windows, because there might be an

    5 explosion."

    6 Line 14 of the same page:

    7 "A Anyway, when I entered the corridor

    8 of my apartment, I do not know what came

    9 first, the sound of the explosion or the

    10 dust that was choking me in my nose and

    11 mouth. So I ran down to see whether the

    12 children were alive, whether there was

    13 any destruction. At first, we did not

    14 know what it was. Later on, when I went

    15 to visit my husband, as women were

    16 coming from all over Kolonija, we learnt

    17 that there had been an explosion in

    18 Stari Vitez."

    19 On page 2914 at line 8:

    20 "A She said that, if we could, we should

    21 go to her apartment and to our own

    22 apartment to open the windows, because

    23 something terrible was in the offing,

    24 that we should not risk anything and

    25 that we should stay in the basement

  82. 1 because something would happen."

    2 Question on line 20 of 2914:

    3 "Q What had these Croat women learned from

    4 the radio and the TV?"

    5 If I can back up on line 13:

    6 "Q In the basement, were the Croat women

    7 talking to one another about something

    8 during this period of time?

    9 A Yes, they were talking. I later learnt

    10 that they had also heard on the radio

    11 and the TV, because in the meantime a

    12 TV set and a radio had been brought down

    13 to the basement, because we spent eight

    14 nights and nine days in the basement.

    15 Q What had these Croat women learned from

    16 the radio and the TV?

    17 A I do not know exactly. I think their

    18 husbands could have told them too,

    19 because another neighbour had moved away

    20 to another building. She also called up

    21 another neighbour saying that something

    22 was going to happen, that her husband

    23 had told her that and her husband

    24 was a HVO soldier.

    25 Q But it clear, Witness E, that all of

  83. 1 these people knew that some type of

    2 large explosion was going to take place

    3 before it happened?

    4 A Yes, maybe even two hours before it

    5 happened. I do not know exactly how it

    6 happened, we were all very afraid, but

    7 much earlier, anyhow."

    8 The last witness is a Defence witness,

    9 Mr. President, Marijan Strukar, which is at number 5,

    10 who lived south of Stari Vitez, and it is in the area

    11 of number 5. Mr. Strukar, on page 16833 notes that --

    12 excuse me, on that page, he notes the approximate

    13 location of his home, and on page 16884, at line 21, he

    14 notes:

    15 "Q Yes, and would you please explain the

    16 symbols you used to denote the Croat

    17 houses and the Muslim houses?"

    18 And he picks his house, saying:

    19 "A This is my house here (indicating), and

    20 the Muslim houses I have marked in the

    21 following way."

    22 [Page 16933]:

    23 "A ... houses where civilians were housed.

    24 We would go and have something to eat

    25 and drink. At one point in the house in

  84. 1 which I was located, one of the men up

    2 there came into the house and told us to

    3 take refuge because there would be a

    4 loud explosion.

    5 Q Who told you this?

    6 A Somebody, that man that came to the

    7 house. There was information from all

    8 sides, and at this particular point, a

    9 man walked in and told us not to leave

    10 the house, not to leave the premises,

    11 because there would be a strong

    12 explosion. And, yes, indeed, three to

    13 four minutes later, there was a terrible

    14 explosion which shattered the windows of

    15 the houses."

    16 The question on cross on page 16991 of

    17 Mr. Strukar, line 9:

    18 "Q My question was: Who was it who

    19 warned you about the bomb?

    20 A I can't remember because, as I say, we

    21 weren't just sitting there and somebody

    22 came up to us to tell us something. It

    23 was just somebody shouting. For

    24 example, I would like to say something

    25 that isn't appropriate for this court,

  85. 1 and they would just say, 'Get the hell

    2 out of there. Get inside. Get

    3 inside.' So that they thought that

    4 something might be happening."

    5 Now, General, you noted for us that you had

    6 no knowledge about the detonation of the truck bomb

    7 prior to that detonation; is that right?

    8 A. It's not only that I didn't know about it

    9 before the detonation took place, but I didn't even

    10 know about it during the detonation itself. I know

    11 that at that time I recorded this as the hotel being

    12 hit, and we thought that the hotel had been hit with a

    13 122 millimetre mortar, and we were in the basement of

    14 the hotel.

    15 Q. General, we had testimony that some of the

    16 information came from HVO soldiers and other

    17 information came from an individual by the name of

    18 Marinko Katava. Do you know Marinko Katava?

    19 A. Well, I met him when he arrived in

    20 detention. I didn't know him before that. I never

    21 knew him before that. I never met him before that. I

    22 first met him here in The Hague detention unit, but if

    23 I heard about his testimony well, then that coincides

    24 with what I received from the Vitez Brigade, that is to

    25 say, that the warehouse was hit, either Vitkom Borac.

  86. 1 That is a warehouse of ammunition and explosives.

    2 Q. Was Marinko Katava a member of the HVO?

    3 A. I don't know whether he was a member of the

    4 HVO, because there were perhaps 10.000 members of the

    5 HVO. I never knew him before. I had never heard of

    6 him before he came to The Hague detention unit.

    7 Q. General, how is it possible that the HVO

    8 soldiers at the cinema, guarding prisoners, HVO

    9 soldiers guarding prisoners at the veterinary school,

    10 individuals in apartments in Kolonija, both north and

    11 south Kolonija, and we're talking about

    12 Dr. Mujenznovic, and Witness E, and even a Defence

    13 witness, Marijan Strukar, all these people knew that

    14 this detonation was going to take place and you didn't?

    15 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, that's not a

    16 question, that's argument. It's not a question, it's

    17 just argument.

    18 MR. KEHOE: It's not argument at all, Judge.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: No, I don't agree with you at

    20 all, Mr. Hayman. It is a question. I don't agree with

    21 you.

    22 First of all, the form is a question, it is

    23 interrogative. That is, how is it that some people

    24 know? That's a question. I'm sorry. The Prosecutor

    25 has the right to ask it, and I would invite the witness

  87. 1 to answer.

    2 A. Your Honours, at that time I was in the

    3 basement and the only communications I could have was

    4 via the telephone and it was only on the telephone that

    5 I could receive information. I did not receive such

    6 information at any point in time, even that there would

    7 be an explosion. When the explosion actually took

    8 place, I know we recorded it as the hotel being hit by

    9 artillery fire. Later, when we contacted the Vitez

    10 Brigade, we heard that the warehouse in Stari Vitez was

    11 hit. This is on the other side of the front line, that

    12 is to say, under BH army.

    13 MR. KEHOE:

    14 Q. So, General, was this publicised on the TV

    15 and the radio in Vitez that, in fact, an explosion like

    16 this was going to take place?

    17 A. No. At that time I was in the basement of

    18 the hotel. I didn't watch television. I didn't listen

    19 to the radio. I don't know about this at all, because

    20 at that time -- well, my activities were there from one

    21 minute to another, and I didn't really hear such

    22 information. I didn't even listen. This is the first

    23 time I ever hear of this, this claim of yours. I don't

    24 know if any of my associates knowing about it either.

    25 Q. Well, General, you were in communication with

  88. 1 Mario Cerkez and other individuals in the Vitez area

    2 during this period of time, were you not?

    3 A. I communicated with Mario Cerkez on the

    4 telephone most often, and every one of these

    5 communications is in my operative diary.

    6 Q. As a military man, would you also assume that

    7 Mario Cerkez was in communication with his

    8 subordinates?

    9 A. Well, to the extent possible, that is to say,

    10 as much as he could have under the circumstances. I

    11 believe that he was in communication with his

    12 subordinates.

    13 Q. So the bottom line, General, is that women

    14 and children in the basement of a building in Kolonija

    15 were better informed about the situation than you

    16 were. Is that accurate?

    17 A. I received information from my immediate

    18 subordinates, and I acted on the basis of that

    19 information. Whether somebody had more or less

    20 information than I did, I cannot be the judge of that,

    21 but on the basis of the information I received, I could

    22 act only on that.

    23 Q. Well, let's look at the information you

    24 received from the Vitez Brigade. Exhibit 304. Defence

    25 Exhibit 304, excuse me.

  89. 1 Now, General, this is your report that we

    2 have discussed. You discussed this at some length on

    3 direct-examination with my colleague Mr. Nobilo.

    4 General, this reflects that it was the detonation of a

    5 quantity of explosives in Stari Vitez that caused the

    6 bomb.

    7 Now, General, when were you informed that it

    8 was, in fact, a truck bomb that went off in Stari

    9 Vitez?

    10 A. I do not remember exactly when this took

    11 place. At any rate, I remember that later on,

    12 information -- we received information that it was a

    13 truck bomb, but I cannot remember when this was.

    14 Q. Well --

    15 JUDGE JORDA: If you'd like to look at your

    16 chronology you can, but it's a very specific question.

    17 When did you receive the information about the truck

    18 bomb?

    19 A. I cannot recall. I don't know whether this

    20 is entered in my chronology. I can look it up, but I

    21 cannot remember exactly when I received that

    22 information.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Continue, please,

    24 Mr. Kehoe.

    25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.

  90. 1 Q. Let me read you some testimony by

    2 Mr. Morsink -- Lieutenant Colonel Morsink, questions by

    3 my colleague, Mr. Harmon. This is on page 9822

    4 "Q Now, Colonel Morsink, the next day, the

    5 19th of April, 1993, was the matter

    6 raised? Was the issue of the truck bomb

    7 and the explosion in a civilian area of

    8 Stari Vitez raised with local military

    9 and political figures?

    10 A In the morning of the 19th of April, the

    11 HVO Vitez Brigade commander, Mr. Mario

    12 Cerkez, in his office I brought up the

    13 subject together with my monitor

    14 colleague, Pedersen. I remember that

    15 Mr. Pedersen said that this was not a

    16 normal thing that one would do in a war,

    17 that it was really a terrorist act, and

    18 I remember that shortly afterwards

    19 somebody from the meeting came who was

    20 outside the meeting. He introduced

    21 himself as Mr. Anto Valenta. He had a

    22 political function in the region, I

    23 don't quite remember which one exactly

    24 it was, but I think that it was -- it

    25 was the -- he was the vice-president of

  91. 1 the HDZ.

    2 When Mr. Valenta came in, we went

    3 back to the issue of the truck bomb, and

    4 Mr. Valenta, like Mr. Cerkez, recounted

    5 the event as they saw it.

    6 I remember Mr. Valenta said that

    7 there had been a munitions depot which

    8 had been hit by a shell and that was why

    9 the truck exploded.

    10 Mr. Cerkez explained the things to

    11 us somewhat differently. He said that

    12 the truck had been hit by a grenade or

    13 by firing, and I remember my colleague,

    14 Pedersen, insisted on the fact that this

    15 was not a sufficient explanation. He

    16 insisted by saying that an investigation

    17 needed to be carried out, and Cerkez

    18 stated that he would do so."

    19 Now, General, you would agree, would you not,

    20 that the information that Mario Cerkez gave to Colonel

    21 Morsink on the 19th was significantly different than

    22 the information that he gave to you in a report that we

    23 have, Defence Exhibit 304?

    24 A. Well, yes, because this is the 18th of April,

    25 1993 at 18.45. So Mario Cerkez probably gave

  92. 1 information on the 18th of April, 1993 at 18.45, that

    2 is to say, the kind of information that he had. On the

    3 19th of April, he probably learned new things and I

    4 imagine that's the way it was. But on the basis of

    5 this report that he gave on the 18th of April, 1993, it

    6 is quite obvious that he speaks about the explosion of

    7 the warehouse. I think that Katava mentioned this too,

    8 if I listened carefully.

    9 Q. Well, General, did Cerkez tell you about this

    10 truck bomb on the 19th? Did he give you the

    11 information that he gave to Lieutenant Colonel

    12 Morsink?

    13 A. I cannot specifically remember who told me

    14 that it was a truck bomb, but I know that after that,

    15 after having received such information, I requested an

    16 investigation from the security service about this

    17 truck bomb.

    18 Q. Now, General, this was a terrorist act 400

    19 metres away from your headquarters, and is it your

    20 testimony you do not specifically recall when someone

    21 told you what the source of this terrorist act was?

    22 A. It is correct that this is 400 metres away

    23 from my headquarters, but it is also correct that it is

    24 on the other side, that is to say, behind the front

    25 line. This position was held by the BH army, and I

  93. 1 cannot specifically recall the details, who told me,

    2 but I know at one point in time I found out too that

    3 this was a truck bomb. I didn't learn about all the

    4 details, and I asked the security service to carry out

    5 an investigation.

    6 Q. Well, General, what was your reaction when

    7 you heard about this terrorist act?

    8 A. Well, I already said that I asked the

    9 assistant for security to start an investigation and to

    10 provide me with all the information that he had about

    11 this activity, that is to say, about everything that

    12 had happened and everything else, under which

    13 circumstances this happened and who the suspects were.

    14 Q. Well, let me narrow that question a little

    15 bit more, General. Were you angry? Were you upset?

    16 Were you outraged at this terrorist act? What was your

    17 reaction as a human being?

    18 A. Well, of course I was surprised by this

    19 activity, and I was astonished by this activity.

    20 Q. Well, let me read you some testimony from

    21 Colonel Morsink on page 9824. Question on line 4:

    22 "Q Let me ask you, the next day, on the

    23 20th of April, 1993, were you at a

    24 meeting with Colonel Stewart, Clare

    25 Podbielski, who was from ICRC, and

  94. 1 Colonel Blaskic, where the incident of

    2 the truck bomb was raised?

    3 A Yes, I was present. I was in the

    4 headquarters. It was at the Hotel

    5 Vitez, and I remember it was the first

    6 time that I was in that particular

    7 headquarters building. I also remember

    8 quite well that Mr. Bob Stewart was also

    9 quite excited. He was furious. He was

    10 furious to see that the HVO were not

    11 reacting after this truck exploded. He

    12 was also furious because the Croats had

    13 accused the British of having

    14 participated or to have been active in

    15 that event because there were only

    16 Muslims that were wounded and also --

    17 only the Muslims, rather, were being

    18 evacuated by them. He protested very

    19 strongly.

    20 Q What was Colonel Blaskic's reaction to

    21 those protests?

    22 A I recall he was listening but he didn't

    23 make any objections. He simply listened

    24 to the statements made by Stewart, nor

    25 did he exclude the possibility of an

  95. 1 investigation, but nor did he really

    2 react."

    3 Line 18, 9825:

    4 "Q Was Colonel Blaskic fully aware of the

    5 truck bomb explosion, where it had

    6 occurred and that there was a demand

    7 for an investigation into that event?

    8 A Yes. That happened a few days earlier,

    9 not more than a kilometre from his

    10 headquarters.

    11 Q So the explosion could be heard from

    12 five kilometres away?

    13 A Of course, yes."

    14 Now, General, you were informed of this truck

    15 bomb at least by Colonel Stewart on the 20th of April,

    16 1993, were you not?

    17 A. I've already said that I did not meet with

    18 Mr. Morsink, with Colonel Stewart, and with Clare

    19 Podbielski from the International Red Cross on the 20th

    20 of April, 1993. I do not have this date recorded at

    21 all in any of my notes, and I know that had I met any

    22 one of these officials, I would have recorded that. On

    23 the 21st I had my first meeting in Zenica in relation

    24 to negotiations.

    25 Secondly, I first saw photographs of the

  96. 1 explosion here in this courtroom, and that's the first

    2 time that I tried to recognise where this had happen.

    3 Before that I only had information that it was on the

    4 other side of the front line, under BH army control,

    5 but on the 20th of April I have all the meetings that I

    6 had recorded, at least the date and the contents, but I

    7 did not meet these officials. Later on there was a

    8 meeting with Colonel Stewart and Clare Podbielski.

    9 Q. Well, General, when did you give this

    10 investigation to SIS?

    11 A. Immediately after I realised that this was a

    12 truck bomb, I asked the SIS assistant to find out

    13 exactly what had happened. Possibly this was the 19th,

    14 or the 20th, or the 21st, or the 22nd. I'm not sure of

    15 the exact date.

    16 Q. So to your recollection, the time when you

    17 learned about the truck bomb was somewhere between the

    18 19th and the 22nd of April; is that correct?

    19 A. Possibly so.

    20 Q. Now, General, had you given this

    21 investigation to the military police, the military

    22 police, of course, would have been obliged to give you

    23 their final report, isn't that right, as this was a

    24 routine police matter?

    25 A. I did not understand the question. I said

  97. 1 that I asked the assistant for security to provide me

    2 with a report.

    3 Q. Listen to my question. Had you asked the

    4 military police for a report on the facts, the military

    5 police would have been obliged to give you that report?

    6 A. Most of the investigations that I requested I

    7 requested from the security assistant, because the

    8 military police is directly subordinated to the

    9 military police administration, and they submitted most

    10 reports according to their own line.

    11 Q. Listen to my question and I will repeat it

    12 again. My question is: Had you asked the military

    13 police for a report on the facts, the military police

    14 would have been obliged to give you that report; isn't

    15 that right?

    16 A. A report on the investigation, on the

    17 findings of the investigation, the military police

    18 submits to the administration of military police, as

    19 far as I know, and if the case has been closed, then a

    20 criminal report is filed with the district military

    21 court. They are not directly subordinated to me, and

    22 they didn't have to submit that report to me, that is

    23 to say, that this report did not have to be submitted

    24 to me, to the best of my knowledge at least.

    25 Q. Is it now your testimony that the military

  98. 1 police is not subordinated to you for routine police

    2 tasks? Is that your testimony?

    3 A. Daily operative police tasks, yes, the

    4 military police is subordinated to me for that.

    5 However, when crimes are concerned and investigations

    6 of crimes, then also this is done on the basis of the

    7 Law on Criminal Procedure, and the military police

    8 cooperates together with the civilian police and the

    9 district military prosecutor.

    10 Q. In the normal course of business, you get a

    11 copy of this report as the commander of the Operative

    12 Zone, and you can decide whether or not you're going to

    13 discipline a particular soldier or you're going to

    14 possibly refer this information to the district

    15 military prosecutor; isn't that right?

    16 A. If it is a crime, then it is compulsory to

    17 submit a criminal report if the names of the

    18 perpetrators are known. The district military

    19 prosecutor decides whether there are going to be

    20 criminal proceedings or disciplinary proceedings.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: We've already spoken about

    22 Article 29 of the decree. The Judges are familiar with

    23 your interpretation. Let's move forward. Who was

    24 asked to do the investigation, your assistant, your

    25 assistant for security?

  99. 1 A. Yes, the assistant for security who was in

    2 charge of this investigation.

    3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I would

    4 only like to ask you whether your assistant for

    5 security was your subordinate or not.

    6 A. Not directly subordinated to me. He's

    7 subordinated to the security administration from

    8 Mostar. Also, the chief of military police is not

    9 directly subordinated to me but to the administration

    10 from Mostar.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Thank you, Judge

    12 Rodrigues. Are we going to know who was asked to carry

    13 out the report and whether there was an investigation?

    14 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.

    15 MR. KEHOE:

    16 Q. Now, General, who was it in SIS that you

    17 asked to assist to carry out this investigation?

    18 A. The security assistant, Ante Sliskovic, who

    19 was at that time assistant commander for security.

    20 Q. When did Sliskovic tell you that he found out

    21 it was the Vitezovi who were behind the truck bomb and

    22 that the information had been sent to Mostar? When did

    23 he tell you that?

    24 A. That was a few days later, but I do not know

    25 the exact date.

  100. 1 Q. Can we have approximation? Would it be the

    2 24th, 25th, 26th of April? Would it be prior to May

    3 1st, just to give us approximation?

    4 A. This was approximately in May.

    5 Q. Can you give us a little bit closer? The

    6 early part of May, the latter part of May?

    7 Approximately when?

    8 A. I can't. I could not remember the exact

    9 date. I don't remember.

    10 Q. Now, General, this is the same Ante Sliskovic

    11 to whom you gave an order to investigate Ahmici and who

    12 responded to you in a report dated the 25th of May,

    13 1993; isn't that right?

    14 A. Yes.

    15 Q. So when he got this report concerning the

    16 Vitezovi, did you demand a copy of that report?

    17 A. He informed me about this orally. I think, I

    18 think he also gave me a copy of this report, but he did

    19 make it clear to me that he sent the entire report to

    20 his superiors in Mostar, and about that I informed the

    21 chief of the main staff of the HVO.

    22 Q. So Sliskovic did, in fact, give you a copy of

    23 the report concerning the Vitezovi being involved; is

    24 that right?

    25 A. I'm not sure, but I assume that he gave me a

  101. 1 copy of the report.

    2 Q. At the time this crime took place, the

    3 Vitezovi was attached to you; isn't that correct?

    4 A. Well, this problem of attachment was always

    5 there as far as the Vitezovi were concerned. It was

    6 selective. They interpreted it one way and I

    7 interpreted it another way. Attachment related to

    8 battle and it would be over as soon as that particular

    9 operation was over.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: The question was whether you

    11 were attached -- whether he was attached, in your

    12 opinion, whether that person was attached, in your

    13 opinion. That's the question.

    14 A. Yes, they were attached, but I never had

    15 legal authority over them in terms of punitive

    16 measures, et cetera.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: All right. For the time being,

    18 we can say that he was attached.

    19 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.

    20 MR. KEHOE:

    21 Q. General, when you received this report

    22 concerning this war crime, did you give the report to

    23 the military district prosecutor so that he could file

    24 charges?

    25 A. I probably put the report in the archives,

  102. 1 and I informed the chief of the main staff about this.

    2 I did not directly cooperate with the prosecutor, but

    3 had I had the names of the suspects or the

    4 perpetrators, I certainly would have filed a criminal

    5 report with the military district prosecutor.

    6 Q. General, wasn't that your obligation as the

    7 commanding officer, to ensure that the military

    8 district prosecutor had as much information in your

    9 possession about this horrific crime?

    10 A. I've already said that it was not specified

    11 individually who was the suspect and who was the

    12 perpetrator. Had I had that, I certainly would have

    13 provided the names to the district military prosecutor,

    14 but there wasn't anything like that in the report,

    15 except that the Vitezovi was behind this.

    16 Q. When you got this report from Sliskovic and

    17 you saw that it didn't have names, did you demand names

    18 from Sliskovic, just like you wanted names on the

    19 Ahmici investigation?

    20 A. I certainly did ask for the investigation to

    21 be extended and to be continued. I did not get any

    22 subsequent reports from him, but I did receive

    23 information from him that he sent his report to the

    24 security administration in Mostar.

    25 Q. That's not my question, General. Listen to

  103. 1 my question. My question is: When you got this report

    2 from Sliskovic and you saw that it didn't have names,

    3 did you demand names from Sliskovic, just like you

    4 wanted names on the Ahmici investigation? Did you

    5 demand the names or did you not?

    6 A. I've already said that I asked and that I

    7 expected to receive this, but I did not receive these

    8 names from him.

    9 Q. Were there names in any of the files? Did

    10 Sliskovic tell you that there were names that were sent

    11 to Mostar?

    12 A. He told me that the details concerning this

    13 were sent to Mostar, but it was not my impression that

    14 he sent the names. In my conviction, there were no

    15 names in the report.

    16 Q. Did you send him back out, in your zeal to

    17 find out facts about this crime, to gather information

    18 concerning names of the Vitezovi who were involved?

    19 A. I asked the commander of the Vitezovi for

    20 that too, that he insist on it personally and that he

    21 gather information about this and that he take

    22 measures, because he was in charge in terms of

    23 discipline, and I was not in charge in terms of

    24 discipline. I insisted on the names, that is to say,

    25 who was behind this; however, I did not receive such a

  104. 1 report from the commander of the Vitezovi or from the

    2 security assistant.

    3 Q. My question concerning your dealings with

    4 Sliskovic: General, after you received the report from

    5 Sliskovic, did you send Sliskovic back out to

    6 investigate this horrific crime so you could have the

    7 names of those members of the Vitezovi who were

    8 involved? Did you do that; "Yes" or "No"?

    9 A. He continued to do so, and I requested that

    10 the investigation be continued, but every investigation

    11 which never ended and did not turn up with names and

    12 surnames was supposed to continue.

    13 Q. What happened, General? Did you continually

    14 ask for the names while you were chief of staff and

    15 until you went to Croatia in November of 1995? What

    16 did you do? Do you have any paper to show us as to

    17 what you did?

    18 A. I did not receive the names behind the crime

    19 at any time, but I received information that the

    20 perpetrators were the members of the Vitezovi, so I got

    21 that kind of information.

    22 Q. General, the Vitezovi were involved in the

    23 attack on Grbavica in September of 1993, weren't they?

    24 A. Not the whole unit, but part of the unit,

    25 yes. They took part according to a list of chosen

  105. 1 soldiers, and it was their duty to send me a list of

    2 all the participants in the operation before the

    3 operation had begun, that is to say, in the preparatory

    4 stage of the operation. There were between 15 to 20

    5 members of the Vitezovi, a maximum of 20 who took

    6 part.

    7 Q. You noted for us, on page 19676, in your

    8 testimony concerning the Vitezovi to my learned friend,

    9 Mr. Nobilo:

    10 "A We took parts of certain units taking

    11 into consideration that these would be

    12 soldiers whom we could control and would

    13 carry out the orders which they were

    14 given in full."

    15 Were the Vitezovi soldiers that you picked

    16 for the attack on Grbavica involved in the truck bomb

    17 attack in Stari Vitez on 18 April, 1993?

    18 A. I cannot answer that, whether they took part

    19 or not, but I know that I demanded of the commanders to

    20 select soldiers and that the soldiers that took part in

    21 the Grbavica operation fulfilled the orders they had

    22 received.

    23 Q. So when you told us that you personally

    24 selected these soldiers for the Grbavica attack because

    25 they'd follow orders, you don't know whether or not

  106. 1 these same soldiers were involved in this horrific

    2 crime in Stari Vitez, do you?

    3 A. I never received a list of participants, the

    4 people who took part in the crime in Stari Vitez, the

    5 names of the Vitezovi, but for the Grbavica operation,

    6 I did demand that each commander should write and sign

    7 a guarantee for the soldiers selected. So the

    8 commander commanding the Vitezovi had to have a list of

    9 20 or 15 soldiers, whatever the number, and he had to

    10 sign his name guaranteeing that they would perform

    11 their military duties, and there is a whole elaborated

    12 report on the Grbavica operation.

    13 Q. General, had you demanded the names of the

    14 perpetrators of this crime, you would have known

    15 whether or not the soldiers selected for the Grbavica

    16 attack in September had participated in this crime;

    17 isn't that a fact?

    18 A. I asked, on several occasions, the commanders

    19 of the Vitezovi to conduct an investigation vis-à-vis

    20 his soldiers and everything related to the truck bomb

    21 and the crime committed, and for the Grbavica

    22 operation, I demanded that they be selected soldiers

    23 and that their commanders should guarantee their

    24 conduct and steps. Judging by their conduct, I judged

    25 that there were no soldiers of that kind in September

  107. 1 1993.

    2 Q. How do you know that, General?

    3 A. I followed the operation that took part in

    4 September 1993; I followed the conduct. I saw what the

    5 soldiers were doing and what the commander was doing,

    6 and it was a purely military operation which was

    7 attended by the offices of UNPROFOR as well, and a

    8 Major by rank came to congratulate them for the

    9 operation.

    10 Q. The fact is that you don't know one way or

    11 the other what Vitezovi soldiers were involved in the

    12 Grbavica attack who may have committed criminal acts in

    13 Stari Vitez; isn't that right?

    14 MR. HAYMAN: Asked and answered.

    15 MR. KEHOE: We'll move on, Mr. President.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Continue.

    17 MR. KEHOE:

    18 Q. You told Darko Kraljevic, for him to take

    19 disciplinary measures against his soldiers; is that

    20 correct?

    21 A. Not only him, but I informed the chief of the

    22 main staff of the HVO about everything that had taken

    23 place. I sent out an extraordinary report to him, and

    24 I asked him to undertake measures, of course, because I

    25 was not in the power to do so, to issue disciplinary or

  108. 1 any other measures vis-à-vis these units who were

    2 independent and set apart from the structure of the

    3 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

    4 Q. I'm sure that you demanded that Darko

    5 Kraljevic be disciplined as well, is that right, for

    6 this crime?

    7 A. I did not demand that Darko Kraljevic be

    8 punished. I just sent a report as I received it from

    9 the assistant for security, and I sent an extraordinary

    10 report to the chief of the HVO main staff. In that

    11 report, it did not say that he was the perpetrator. It

    12 said that it was the Vitezovi unit, and that is the

    13 report I sent out to the chief of the main staff.

    14 Q. General, as the commander in chief of the

    15 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, did you send any request

    16 or demand to your superiors that members of the

    17 Vitezovi be punished?

    18 A. Could you repeat the question, please?

    19 Q. As the commander in chief of the Central

    20 Bosnia Operative Zone, did you send a demand or a

    21 request to your superiors that members of the Vitezovi

    22 be punished for this terrible crime?

    23 A. I sent the information which I had about the

    24 crime, and I know that the assistant for security sent

    25 the administration for security information about that

  109. 1 crime which he had gathered. I could not ask

    2 individual punishment because I did not have the names

    3 of the perpetrators of that crime.

    4 Q. General, do you have one piece of paper --

    5 one piece of paper -- that will demonstrate that you,

    6 in fact, sent this information to the main staff?

    7 A. Unfortunately, I do not have many papers

    8 which would show a lot of things. I have no single

    9 operative report. The only paper I have is the one I

    10 received from you on the 24th of April, the report or

    11 my report to the chief of the main staff. But there

    12 were many, many such reports, at least three a day and

    13 sometimes more, but I haven't got them with me.

    14 MR. KEHOE: Just to be accurate,

    15 Mr. President, the report that the witness is talking

    16 about on the 24th of April came from the HVO. The HVO

    17 gave it to us, and then we gave it to the Defence just

    18 to make the record accurate.

    19 It is 6.00, Mr. President. I'm about to go

    20 on to another area.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. That's where we

    22 will leave things for this evening.

    23 Tomorrow, we will resume at 10.00; is that

    24 correct?

    25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. That's

  110. 1 correct.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: The court stands adjourned.

    3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

    4 6.03 p.m., to be reconvened on

    5 Wednesday, the 26th day of May, 1999, at

    6 10.00 a.m.