1 Wednesday, 9th June, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.06 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. First of
5 all, good morning to the interpreters, to be sure that
6 everybody can hear me. Good morning to Prosecution
7 counsel, to Defence counsel, and I would ask the
8 registrar to have the accused brought into the
10 (The accused entered court)
11 JUDGE JORDA: Since everybody can hear, let
12 me remind you that this is a new phase -- I am saying
13 this for the public -- a new phase of the trial
14 conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor against
15 General Blaskic, and we are going to have witnesses
16 called by the Trial Chamber. I would like to have the
17 first witness brought in, who is General Enver
19 (The witness entered court)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me, General? Can
21 you hear the Presiding Judge? Please remain standing
22 for a few moments. I would first like for you to tell
23 us your name, your first name, your date and place of
24 birth, your profession, today your residence, and then
25 you will take an oath. After that, of course, you will
1 sit down.
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
3 I hear you very well -- Mr. President. I am Enver
4 Hadzihasanovic, General Enver Hadzihasanovic. I was
5 born on the 7th of July, 1950, in the municipality of
6 Zvornik in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I work at the Defence
7 Ministry of the army, at the Federal Defence Ministry
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I am the deputy assistant
9 minister for chief inspection in defence matters.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Did you keep your rank in the
11 army, General? Shall we continue to call you General?
12 THE WITNESS: That's correct, yes.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Where do you live? If you
14 could tell us, that would be good. You don't have to
15 tell us.
16 THE WITNESS: (redacted)
18 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. I would like you to
19 take an oath, and then you may be seated.
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
23 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. You may
24 now be seated.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
1 WITNESS: ENVER HADZIHASANOVIC
2 [A witness called by the Trial Chamber]
3 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to give you a few
4 words of introduction. You know what the origin and
5 the reason for your coming today is. We thank you for
6 coming, and we would also like to thank your government
7 which demonstrated its cooperation with the
8 International Criminal Tribunal.
9 You are before the International Criminal
10 Tribunal having been called by this Trial Chamber. You
11 are therefore one of the witnesses called pursuant to
12 the discretionary powers of the Judges pursuant to Rule
13 98 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence in the trial
14 at the International Tribunal of General Blaskic who,
15 at the time of the facts, was a colonel, and who is
16 present to your left. I suppose you recognise him. To
17 your right is the Office of the Prosecutor and Defence
18 counsel to the left.
19 At this trial, and at a point where this
20 trial is coming to an end, the Judges wished to hear a
21 certain number of major witnesses who occupied
22 important positions at the time of the facts when the
23 General was a General in Central Bosnia.
24 Through this summons that was given to you on
25 the 21st of May, 1999, we asked that you concentrate on
1 three or four themes which I will now point out to you
2 in rapid fashion, that is, the origin and development
3 of the situation, of the conflict, since there are two
4 versions which are completely opposed, one to the
6 We are also speaking about the organisation
7 and structure of the forces of the army that you were
8 the commander of, that is, its importance in respect of
9 the HVO.
10 You saw that there was also a third subject
11 which has to do with all of the meetings and
12 correspondence and discussions about organisations or
13 non-organisations in respect of cease-fires, civilian
14 populations, humanitarian assistance, and you saw that
15 in your summons.
16 There is also a fourth subject, which is the
17 perception that you have of the accused personally and
19 The Trial Chamber especially would like for
20 you to provide a synthesised envision of the questions
21 since this is a two-year trial and the Trial Chamber
22 has already heard a great number of testimonies and
23 read many documents both from the Prosecution and the
24 Defence. This is why your testimony will be limited to
25 a certain time period which is relatively -- I say
1 "relatively" -- short so that it will be directed in
2 the way that you want to present the facts, about an
3 hour and a half or an hour and fifteen minutes. I
4 think that if you have to take a little bit longer, of
5 course, you can.
6 Your testimony will be free. You can use
7 notes, but you cannot make a prepared statement. If
8 you are tired -- I know that you had an accident. If
9 you are tired, you can ask for a break. Ordinarily,
10 the break comes in at about 11.30.
11 Therefore, you will begin to testify in
12 respect of the things that were assigned to you in your
13 summons. After that, for about an hour, hour and a
14 half, the Prosecutor will ask you some questions, and
15 then questions will be asked by Defence counsel, and
16 finally, most likely, the Judges will ask you some
17 questions as well.
18 Please try to relax. You are before
19 international judges, professional judges. You can
20 speak without any hatred, without any fear, and we are
21 expecting you to tell us about what you experienced but
22 in a synthesised manner with all of the confidence that
23 we expect from a witness testifying before an
24 International Tribunal.
25 It is a quarter after ten, and we will now
1 begin to hear your testimony. If I interrupt you, it
2 will only be in order to bring you back to the major
3 themes that the Judges asked you to deal with. But
4 unless there are a few clarifications necessary,
5 theoretically, you will be able to speak freely. Thank
6 you very much.
7 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honours. Thank
8 you, Mr. President. I shall try to stay within the
9 frameworks that I have to say which you expect of me.
10 I should like to remind you that before I
11 came to Central Bosnia and taking over as commander of
12 the corps, I was the chief of staff in the 1st Corps in
13 Sarajevo, and partially, on two occasions, I was an
14 operative in the staff of the supreme command of the
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina army. So from that aspect, I knew
16 of the documents that defined the defence of the State
17 of Bosnia-Herzegovina as such and the constitution and
18 the law on defence, which underwent changes and
19 amendments, and I was also well aware of the structure
20 of the armed force of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time
21 in order to wage a successful defence against the
23 As such, I was involved in Central Bosnia, I
24 was included not as a corps commander -- and perhaps
25 this is something that you're going to hear for the
1 first time -- but I went with one more man from Central
2 Bosnia. I was entrusted with preparing several units
3 at brigade level to help the city of Sarajevo which was
4 under siege, in a complete encirclement and a very
5 difficult situation. When I say the city of Sarajevo,
6 I mean the people of Sarajevo. The order which came
7 from the supreme command to form a corps in the region
8 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was not implemented in Central
9 Bosnia, so those kinds of brigades had not been
10 established in that way for this task to be
12 In addition to me, four other men came with
13 the same intention from the direction of Igman, Mount
14 Igman, and two individuals came from the axis of
15 Trnovo, that is from the Neretva River Valley. I wrote
16 my report quite normally and said that I could not
17 carry out my task because the corps had not been set up
18 and such units had not been formed. Then I was told to
19 set up the 3rd Corps in Central Bosnia. That was my
20 assignment. The intention was the same, to define
21 units which would, as soon as possible, be capacitated
22 and organised and to assist Sarajevo, first of all, and
23 soon after, to form and conceive units which would hold
24 the line of the front on the front line against the
25 aggressor. Those were the basic tasks in that period
1 of time when I came on the scene.
2 The principles of organisation for the BH
3 army, I am going to give you. I just want to remind
4 you that the law provided for the fact that the armed
5 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina are made up by the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croatian Defence Council, and
7 all other armed formations which, in the system of the
8 chain of command, command and control, were used to
9 defend Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 I can give you here excerpts because I have
11 copied out excerpts from these provisions if that is
12 necessary. But as we had not defined, in general
13 terms, the status of the HVO, we adopted an amendment
14 and a decree, having the force of law, a decree law,
15 which defined the HVO and that it was a component part
16 of the army, and it was a valid part of the defence
17 system of Bosnia-Herzegovina but under a united
19 Coming to Central Bosnia, the system of
20 organisation for the units was based upon the
21 following: We applied the principles of organisation
22 and the establishment of an army as we had been taught
23 at military academy. I completed the military academy
24 in Belgrade for four years after my gymnasium, and
25 after I spent a certain amount of time in the JNA, I
1 also went to a staff academy which lasted for two
2 years, as a supplementary academic course. I knew the
3 principles well, and I had to implement them.
4 The problem of the entire region of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina lay in the fact that the previous
6 law envisaged a Yugoslav People's Army as an operative
7 army and the system of territorial defence as units to
8 protect an area if there should be an aggression
9 against the former Yugoslavia. But in view of the fact
10 that the JNA, at that moment in time, joined, that is
11 to say, was the army of the aggressor, it remained in
12 the territory of -- just the structure of territorial
13 defence remained in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and when an
14 immediate danger of war was proclaimed, territorial
15 organisations started, according to the principles and
16 laws. So these units of territorial defence were
17 commanded by the wartime presidencies of the
18 municipalities and districts and the political and
19 economic system of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that way,
20 there was no united command because each unit had its
21 own area and territory, and nobody was able to
22 dislocate it and remove it from one region to another.
23 In view of the fact that the law provided for
24 the creation of an armed force in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 that is to say, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was
1 necessary to have this territorial principle translated
2 into the principle of an army which was able to
3 function and manoeuvre according to requirements and
4 the assessments of the danger that existed and towards
5 the axes from which the danger came, and that was
6 precisely my task.
7 I, at that time, for the first time, met
8 General Blaskic. I had not met him before that. I am
9 going to say something about him later on, and if I
10 recall, that was the last subject matter in the
12 I formed the 3rd Corps with a lot of --
13 JUDGE JORDA: Sometimes we would ask you to
14 provide some dates, please. For example, the first
15 time you met him, perhaps you can give us some dates.
16 That would help us. Thank you very much.
17 THE WITNESS: I don't know whether I have the
18 exact date in my other notebook, but I think we met for
19 the first time when we toured the military factory, or
20 perhaps it was a little earlier. But I do recall that
21 date, and the reason was that it was the 22nd of
22 December, and we would make jokes because that was
23 Yugoslav People's Army Day, the 22nd of December. So
24 we would joke about it and say, how come we were
25 touring this factory on that particular date?
1 At that time, those were the problems that I
2 encountered. I had to form a corps and to set it on
3 its feet. After I met General Blaskic, I offered him
4 the opportunity of doing this together with me. I even
5 ensured, and we came to my headquarters, that is to
6 say, the command of the 3rd Corps, that was just being
7 prepared to function as a group of professionals, of
8 experts, people that were capable of doing certain
9 tasks and knew how to set up units and elaborate the
10 documents necessary, and Blaskic, Mr. Blaskic, did not
11 promise anything on that occasion, but he said he'd
12 think about it.
13 From that day on, it was difficult to discuss
14 this subject. I soon saw why, came to realise why,
15 because I had already worked in that area, and I knew
16 the problems that existed in the area, and that was
17 that I was disillusioned by the fact that the Bosniaks,
18 in some towns, had already been expelled, and they were
19 towns in which the Serbian army, the army of the
20 aggressor, was not even close by. I learnt about
21 Stolac, Capljina, and Prozor at that time had already
22 been definitely ethnically cleared because there were
23 no Bosniaks in it at all.
24 From the local civilian leaders, I received
25 information that they had a certain number of Bosniaks
1 who served to clean the streets and do auxiliary work
2 of that kind. I never received a list of those people,
3 I didn't ask for it either, because that was not the
4 task of the army. That was the task of the civilian
5 organs of power and authority, that is to say, to solve
6 those problems in other ways.
7 I also arrived at the time when the town of
8 Jajce was taken control of by the aggressor, and my
9 first, second, or third day there, I spent in Travnik,
10 actually, where I encountered enormous columns of
11 people who had been expelled, like what is happening in
12 Kosovo today, something similar. I do not have any
13 documents, but it is claimed that an agreement existed
14 that the town of Jajce be turned over to the Serbs for
15 some reason.
16 Following instructions issued by the supreme
17 command and attending what had been happening on the
18 political arena, I know that the Vance-Owen Plan was
19 currently being dealt with and that, in that
20 connection, efforts were being made to create
21 conditions to halt the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In
22 that climate, there were three sides taking part, and I
23 was disillusioned by that once again because I
24 considered that the HVO and the BH army was one side
25 and that the JNA and the extremist portion of the
1 Serbian people in Bosnia was the other side.
2 I know that the plan contained -- could I
3 just refer to my notes, please?
4 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, of course.
5 THE WITNESS: It contained four major
6 documents: the agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina; the
7 second document was an agreement on peace for
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that was a document offered on the
9 30th of January already; the third document was a map
10 for the provinces; the fourth document was an agreement
11 on transitional solutions offered on the 25th of March,
13 I know that these agreements were, in part,
14 signed at different periods of time and that a point of
15 contention was always the maps, the map for the
16 provinces and the transitional period, and in that
17 transitional period, the definition of military
19 In January, in Geneva, it was also a
20 well-known fact that all sides had signed two
21 documents. The agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina was one
22 and the other was -- most of the documents related to
23 peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Also in March, in New
24 York, negotiations continued on the remaining
25 documents. I know that at that time, the
1 representatives of the Soviet Union and the United
2 States of America were present in addition to England,
3 France, and others. I know that there were some
5 In Geneva, the HDZ leader signed, as far as I
6 know, three documents, so it is only the document on
7 the transition period that remained for them. The
8 president of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on
9 the 8th of March, signed the military document. So the
10 pending issues remained the following: Some
11 constitutional arrangements, the map of the provinces,
12 and the transitional arrangements.
13 The assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at its
14 meeting on the 15th of March, in its conclusions, gave
15 its support to the negotiators in New York, as far as I
16 can remember, because I was present at the assembly.
17 It was also said that the Vance-Owen Plan was
18 considered to be acceptable basically, however, with
19 certain modifications as regards the status of
20 Sarajevo, the protection of borders, the authority of
21 the government at the level of all of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that its implementation should
23 be an integral part of the agreement.
24 The Serbs held an assembly of their own, or
25 they had some kind of meeting, and I remember that they
1 tried to undermine the entire plan. So the New York
2 round of negotiations -- I found this in documents --
3 was concluded on the 25th of March with Alija
4 Izetbegovic's signature on the maps agreement and on
5 the transitional arrangements agreement, and also the
6 leader of the HDZ signed the transitional arrangements
7 agreement, and thirdly, the leader of the SDS refused
8 to sign the two mentioned documents.
9 I remember that the Security Council reacted
10 by a resolution and brought pressure to bear on the SDS
11 leader to sign this document. They signed it but said
12 that this was on the condition that the assembly in
13 Pale accepted this. As far as I can remember, the
14 assembly did not adopt this and they opted for a
15 referendum, and the referendum did not vote in favour
16 of this. So this document was not received as valid.
17 I think that the main problem was in these
18 solutions that the Croatian people, that is to say, the
19 HDZ, as far as I can remember, they wanted to have
20 Provinces 8 and 9 -- lest I make a mistake, could I
21 please use the map from the Vance-Owen Plan?
22 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Go ahead, General. If
23 you would like to put it on our ELMO, the usher will
24 help you, and this will also allow the public gallery
25 to follow your presentations because this is a public
1 hearing and you didn't ask for any other protective
2 measures. Therefore, it would be best for you to put
3 it onto the ELMO, if that's possible.
4 THE WITNESS: Actually, I suggest that this
5 be seen because I think that the core of the conflict
6 lies in some decisions of this nature.
7 The military plan part of the Vance-Owen
8 Plan -- well, I'm not criticising the plan. I was not
9 authorised then or now to criticise it. I'm just
10 trying to adopt an analytical approach and to base my
11 conclusions on this basis, that is to say, why the
12 military conflict took place.
13 First of all, the Vance-Owen Plan exclusively
14 envisaged three provinces respectively for each
15 majority people with a certain minority of the other
16 people. The Bosniaks got Province 1, 5, and 9; the
17 Croatian people, with a different minority, got
18 Provinces 3, 8, and 10; and the Serb people, 2, 4, and
19 6. That is where the problem was precisely.
20 When this was being signed, in the military
21 part, the solution for the military was the following:
22 That the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina exclusively, at
23 the point when this programme is to be implemented, if
24 it is to be adopted, that is to say, this plan, be
25 withdrawn into Province 1; the Croatian Defence Council
1 into Province 3; the Serb army, the army of Republika
2 Srpska, to Provinces 2, 4, and 6; and, together, the
3 Armija and the HVO would withdraw into Provinces 5, 6,
4 8, and 10.
5 The problem was as follows: These joint
6 parts -- I can't hear anything. I can't hear anything.
7 JUDGE JORDA: There seems to be an
8 interpretation problem here. I didn't hear the
9 interpretation. Is there a problem in the booth?
10 Yes, if you would please repeat the last
11 sentence? You were talking about the withdrawal of
12 each of the peoples according to the Vance-Owen Plan.
13 If you don't mind repeating that, because there was a
14 technical problem in the booth. Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: According to this plan, the
16 Armija and -- the Armija and the HVO should together
17 withdraw into Provinces 5, 9, 8, and 10. Since
18 Provinces 8 and 10, just like 3, was supposed to belong
19 to the Croatian people, according to this plan, given
20 that there would be certain minorities of other
21 peoples, there was a problem here as well. If this
22 were to be implemented, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
23 would have to be subordinated to the Croatian Defence
24 Council in Provinces 8 and 10, and the law that was in
25 force at that time, and documents speak in favour of
1 this, that the HVO was within the composition of the
2 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am going to show a
3 document later on.
4 I did not see this order, but I heard General
5 Petkovic commenting on this order, the Croatian side
6 had signed this plan, and an order was issued that the
7 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina would have to surrender to
8 the HVO in this area.
9 So I think the key problem with regard to the
10 signature of this plan was, all the other problems that
11 existed within this area of Central Bosnia, and as you
12 can see, they belong to Provinces 8 and 10.
13 I think that the HVO did not have any
14 interest in the front lines at Province 2 and also
15 vis-à-vis Sarajevo, and that is why some kind of
16 systematic control began behind the front line through
17 various points, various expulsions, various
18 provocations of incidents with the army of
20 I wanted to say another thing. I know that
21 General Petkovic spoke in public and explained on
22 television that, in this area, the army of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina was supposed to surrender to the HVO
24 because there was an order of the main staff to that
25 effect. I haven't got this document, but I think
1 there's also an order of Mr. Boban.
2 I had grave problems. Many people complained
3 about what the HVO did, starting from humanitarian
4 organisations to civilians, because they saw, in the
5 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, some kind of a protector,
6 and objectively we could not be that 100 per cent
7 because we had just been organised and we were very
8 poorly armed.
9 Secondly, we were estimating what valid
10 military objectives were. According to our own customs
11 and according to international regulations, civilians
12 were not supposed to suffer. At any rate, there was a
13 general problem concerning civilians in Central Bosnia.
14 As in Sarajevo in 1991, 1992, 1993, these
15 problems came into being mainly in 1992 and they
16 started at the end of 1992 and 1993, but they actually
17 started at the beginning -- at the end of 1991. At
18 that time, it was not clear to me why the area of
19 Kiseljak took part in the blockade of the town of
20 Sarajevo. I did not understand that. Because the only
21 part that was not held by the Serb army was that area.
22 There were many convoys where permission had to be
23 sought, they were supposed to pass through that area,
24 and also other military and logistics convoys, and many
25 of them did not even pass through this area.
1 I see the cause of these conflicts in the
2 decisions made by political leaders and in relation to
3 this plan which, in fact, was never accepted nor ever
4 became valid, and I see a cause in the decisions made
5 by certain persons who did not abide by the laws of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina and its constitution as it was, and
7 it was only the future and democracy that could change
9 As regards the causes of the conflict between
10 the Armija and the HVO and how they came into being,
11 that is my view. We expected that plan to be signed,
12 and I was au courant, and I was expecting many things.
13 Then the conflicts broke out openly.
14 At the end of 1992, when I came in October, I
15 wanted many times, behind the front line, with the
16 assistance of international organisations, to resolve
17 problems, and these were problems that were behind the
18 front lines and those were the problems I mentioned:
19 the freedom of movement, humanitarian assistance, not
20 touching civilians, et cetera.
21 In relation to this, several meetings were
22 held, and the HVO attended, namely, General Blaskic. I
23 attended several such meetings, and the following
24 issues were invariably discussed: I know that in
25 January, an agreement was signed between the staff of
1 the HVO and the general staff of the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina to stop hostilities and also to
3 remove checkpoints and basically to resolve these
4 problems behind the front line and to try to organise a
5 joint command, at least in the area of Travnik, which
6 was supposed to be a touchstone, and joint operations
7 were supposed to be carried out against the Serb
8 aggressor. Many things had been agreed upon, but they
9 were implemented with great difficulty. The reasons
10 were probably in a lack of willingness or perhaps
11 because such instructions were not received from higher
13 There are many details involved in these
14 conflicts. Mr. Chairman, you said that many witnesses
15 were heard and there are probably many documents. If
16 I'm supposed to clarify any of this, I'm here and I'm
17 ready to do so. I don't know if I took care of
18 Questions 2 and 3 --
19 JUDGE JORDA: Well, feel free to say what you
20 want to say, but we would like to know in general how
21 the conflict was carried out or what the enclaves were,
22 what was the relationship of the forces. All through
23 these two years, we've heard that the fighting was in
24 the enclaves, who was besieged, who was carrying out
25 the siege. As the 3rd Army Corps, we would like to
1 have your feelings about that question.
2 THE WITNESS: Certainly. I don't know who
3 explained the siege of the enclave; however, there is a
4 valid military assessment in the area of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina, and that was to keep the territory and to
6 strengthen the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and
7 to start liberation, and that is how we re-oriented
8 ourselves in all areas in that period, including
9 Central Bosnia.
10 The 3rd Corps, as a corps at that time, had
11 about 32.000 men, soldiers, and they were organised in
12 brigades and later on in operative groups, and they
13 were made up of people who belonged to the former
14 structure of the Territorial Defence. Most members of
15 the army, 80 or 90 per cent even, were oriented towards
16 the front line against the aggressor. Those were their
18 Bearing in mind the problems that were there
19 previously, Stolac, Capljina, Prozor, everything I
20 mentioned, Jajce, and also certain symptoms that had
21 already prevailed in Central Bosnia and that were
22 present there as well and that ended with expulsions of
23 people, those were those problems that I mentioned:
24 the freedom of movement, various checkpoints, controls,
25 stopping convoys, mistreating people, and, finally,
1 killing people or detaining people.
2 A decision was made in respect of the danger
3 that was coming from behind, that is to say, that such
4 action should not be permitted to expand because these
5 actions did not take place in the Lasva Valley when
6 Stolac and Capljina were taking place. This happened
7 only later successively. Our only objective was to
8 prevent a further expansion and to create such an area
9 so that we could communicate with the front line,
10 towards the front line, and with the 2nd Corps,
11 because, as regards our general assessment, when I left
12 my post, I knew that there was a plan and I knew from
13 earlier on that the main idea was to bring the corps
14 together to help Sarajevo.
15 After the order relating to Provinces 8 and
16 10 was not accepted, then there was a conflict between
17 the army and the HVO, and this open conflict meant the
18 following: stopping troops that were moving to the
19 front line, removing them in part, detaining them in
20 part. And then Ahmici happened.
21 As far as I know, before April, in sections
22 of the front, there was a smaller portion of the HVO,
23 according to the different maps which I haven't got
24 here with me, but as I was convinced, as I had been
25 convinced by people, witnesses from Jajce, fighters who
1 were there, that part of the HVO in Jajce, that the
2 Serbian aggressor had gone into and passed through
3 Jajce, I was afraid that this would happen in Central
4 Bosnia where the HVO was also present, and I was
5 right. Prior to the conflicts in April, on no part of
6 the front line against the Serb aggressor was there a
7 single HVO unit. They had been withdrawn.
8 Blocking this area with a smaller portion of
9 forces, we wanted to prevent expansion, quite simply,
10 expansion of the conflict to engulf other regions.
11 Nobody can claim here that the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina did not trust the Croatian people.
13 It did. It also trusted the HVO. It had confidence in
14 them, but there could be no agreement, and I can
15 ascribe to that.
16 For the greater portion of 1991 and 1992,
17 there were Croats within the structure of the BH army
18 because the army was considered to be a united armed
19 force for the defence of the state of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I, myself, as a commander was not
21 bothered by that. My personal driver was a Croat. My
22 administrative worker at my headquarters, for example,
23 a lady there, she was of Croatian ethnicity, and I had
24 full confidence in her receiving documents, bringing me
25 the documents, and dispatching them. She one day left
1 me, crying. She said, "I apologise, Commander, but I
2 have to leave. I have been threatened and been called
3 by the HVO, both myself and my husband, and I have to
4 leave the army," and her name, the woman's name was Ana
5 Kurevija. She left the army, but she didn't go the
6 HVO. She went to a third country. I think she has now
7 returned to Bosnia.
8 There are a series of other examples that I
9 could quote to illustrate the situation in Central
10 Bosnia and in the 3rd Corps zone.
11 I think that these exclusive conclusions and
12 the orders, military orders that followed were at the
13 crux of the conflict, and in those conflicts, it is
14 quite logical to say, and I know that General Blaskic
15 was the commander in Central Bosnia, just as I was the
16 commander in Central Bosnia.
17 Is that enough on that topic?
18 JUDGE JORDA: In part, but only in part. We
19 would like to know, starting with the significance of
20 your forces in the conflict with the HVO, what was the
21 chain of command within the HVO? Also, when the
22 conflict broke out, did you speak with Colonel Blaskic
23 at that time? You saw the conflict arising with the
24 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. You had the impression
25 that HVO troops or HVO soldiers were deserting the
1 front line against the Serbs who were your common
2 enemy. That's part of the second theme that we've
3 asked you to speak to us about. If you could try to
4 concentrate on that, before you speak about the
5 cease-fires and meetings and also the crimes that were
6 committed inter alia at Ahmici.
7 Before you talk about that, we would like to
8 know how, at the time that the conflict was about to
9 become very, very serious, that is, the end of 1992 and
10 the beginning of 1993, how you saw the HVO chain of
11 command, what were the relationships between General
12 Blaskic and the political leaders, how the HVO command
13 exercised its authority over the special units or the
14 military police, and then we will take up, if you
15 agree, the question of Ahmici and the different
16 meetings, the cease-fires, and the organisation of
17 humanitarian assistance. Do you agree with that?
18 Could you concentrate on that type of question?
19 Then if you wish to take a break, just tell
20 us. Ordinarily, our break is around a quarter after
21 eleven or twenty after eleven. Can you continue now?
22 THE WITNESS: I shall continue up to that
24 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed.
25 THE WITNESS: I think you understood me when
1 I said that General Blaskic and myself attended and
2 graduated from the same schools, me perhaps at a
3 somewhat higher level, but the principles and standards
4 that we were taught, the chain of command was the
5 same. Whether they were applied in the HVO, I was not
6 able to check, but I think they were, and that is, we
7 knew the structure of the units, and we knew in each
8 unit the structure of command, who was the superior,
9 who was the subordinate, who issued orders to whom, who
10 was in command, and who received orders from whom.
11 To put it in simpler terms, in the BH army,
12 it was as follows: Tasks and assignments came from the
13 main staff, the headquarters, and the headquarters was
14 the headquarters in command of the presidency of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and orders of this kind would come
16 down to the corps who then elaborated them, assessed
17 them, determined the forces and the materiel,
18 battalions, support, and so on, and everything else in
19 line with the resources and manpower it had. Then it
20 would issue orders downwards, what their assignments
21 were in performing the individual tasks. I think that
22 that was the same principle in the HVO.
23 If a unit was given to me from other areas,
24 from another corps, for example, then I commanded that
25 unit up until -- as long as it was in my area and that
1 particular task or mission was being implemented. Once
2 this was over, it would be returned.
3 If there was a superior command and if a
4 superior command wanted to bring in more units to a
5 given area and to use those units in that area, on that
6 territory, then the rule was that that superior command
7 should form a provisional command to command the
8 mission in that area where the units were mixed, units
9 from two compositions. That was done when
10 approximately the same number of forces was being
11 brought in as existed in the area already. Then the
12 higher command would establish a forward command post.
13 If the number was smaller, if it was a
14 smaller number of forces compared to the existing
15 number of forces already deployed in the area, then
16 those units were placed under the command of the
17 commander in the region, already in the region. That
18 is what we call attachment. Those were the principles
19 and standards that we were taught.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I would like you to concentrate
21 on a very important point for the Judges, that is, once
22 the conflict had become open between you and the HVO,
23 from your point of view, what was the chain of command
24 of General Blaskic in relation to what seemed to be his
25 own hierarchy? So long as there was not an open
1 conflict, I understand, but I would like you to help us
2 in respect of the chain of command within the HVO.
3 Could you say something to us about that, starting with
4 the conflict?
5 THE WITNESS: I apologise for repeating.
6 They were the standards and principles that we were
7 taught at school. If General Blaskic was in command in
8 Central Bosnia, I do believe that he applied them, as I
9 myself did.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I'll be more
11 specific. The Judges, over quite a long time during
12 this trial, at least from the Defence, received the
13 idea, frequently supported by documents, that there
14 were units that were not part of the direct hierarchy
15 of General Blaskic, that is, the special units, the
16 Vitezovi, the military police, and that these units
17 were very frequently engaged in atrocities that were
18 committed in that area. If you would prefer that we
19 speak first about Ahmici, that would be fine, but we
20 would like to have your idea on this question.
21 You will be asked questions by the Defence
22 and by the Prosecutor. I did not want to interrupt
23 you, but if you prefer, I can guide you in respect of
24 this summons that was sent to you and for which we
25 would like to hear your point of view.
1 THE WITNESS: Perhaps I wasn't clear enough,
2 but I think I was precise. If the Operative Zone of
3 Central Bosnia had a number of soldiers, as far as I
4 know, at the time, if they had about 21.000 soldiers
5 and if units were brought in numbering 500 or 600 or
6 1.000 soldiers, doesn't matter, then the commander of
7 the military structure numbering 21.000 is in command
8 over that unit which has been brought in. There is no
9 logic that he should not command them. They were the
10 standards and principles that we were taught and
11 applied, and it is as I say. Had there been 5.000
12 soldiers there and 7.000 brought in, then the logic
13 would be that the person who had 7.000 would be in
14 command, that is, a superior command would define
16 I think that those units which were there,
17 that Blaskic knew about them and that he should have
18 and must have commanded them. If he did not know, let
19 me be precise, and if he could not, then he should have
20 undertaken measures to prevent them from doing what
21 they did because that is what I would have done.
22 The reason: In Central Bosnia, I had
23 problems with a group of foreigners that they called
24 the Mujahedin, and they came from different countries
25 of the world. I did not want them in the army
1 structure, but in cooperation with the Internal Affairs
2 Ministry, we expelled them and disarmed them, and this
3 was brought in a parallel position with the 7th Muslim
4 Brigade. Those foreigners were never within the
5 composition of that particular brigade, and while I was
6 the commander, they were never within the composition
7 of the Armija.
8 A written document or paper, a written
9 statement was given by me to Ambassador Thebault, the
10 head of the European Monitoring Mission, a document to
11 that effect. I don't know whether he has it and
12 whether he can present it, but that is how it was, and
13 he can confirm that.
14 This part, referring to me and the 3rd Corps,
15 I mention because I want to say that that or something
16 similar should have taken place within the HVO. I
17 could not have turned a blind eye if somebody
18 complained to me and said that somebody from the Armija
19 was making problems. I had to take measures to prevent
20 that from being so. As for the military conflicts,
21 that is another matter altogether. Those are different
22 questions, different problems.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, starting with
24 the third subject that we asked you to deal with, that
25 is, starting from April, the crimes, the atrocities
1 that have been recognised and objectively considered to
2 have been recognised in this trial, that is, in Ahmici
3 and Nadioci, and in other villages.
4 You were a major player at the time of those
5 events. What is your feeling? What were the
6 responsibilities in respect of the units that came into
7 those villages? Did those villages have strategic
8 interest? How did you experience that period, starting
9 with the 15th of April through the 16th of April? If
10 you could also tell us your feelings about the
11 political pressures that were brought to bear during
12 the preceding weeks, that is, the offensive that
13 started on the 16th of April in the morning, early in
14 the morning.
15 THE WITNESS: On the 14th of April, Mr. --
16 Ambassador Thebault came to my office and he asked me
17 quite openly, "Do you know that the HVO is preparing an
18 attack on the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?" He did not
19 say where or how; he just asked the question that way.
20 I said that I assumed so, that I did not know the day
21 or date but that I did assume that this could happen
22 very quickly.
23 He asked me further, "How are you going to
24 defend yourselves?" And my answer was that a commander
25 would be mad to want two fronts. I was in a very
1 difficult position. I did not wish that conflict to
2 take place, but in analysing with my associates the
3 overall situation, we could have assumed that something
4 of that kind was going to happen, but I could not have
5 supposed that it would be in villages between Zenica
6 and Vitez, so far in the rear.
7 The day before that, I had a telephone
8 conversation which bore that out, and I can only
9 suppose that the Court would not have accepted it
10 because it was on a tape. But from that telephone
11 conversation, I recognised General Blaskic's voice, the
12 second voice I think was the voice of Dario Kordic, and
13 the reason was because they referred to each other as
14 Kum or best man, godfather, and people who knew them
15 told me that they, in fact, took part in each other's
16 marriage ceremonies and were Kum.
17 The conversation was as follows: "You start
18 out from the east," and I can only suppose that that
19 meant Kiseljak, "and I will go here from Vitez and
20 we'll march towards Zenica."
21 I listened to that tape, and it was later
22 published after the events in Ahmici, and it was
23 broadcast by Radio Zenica and on Radio Sarajevo. I was
24 not able to get the tape and I don't know whether it
25 would be valid in a court of law, but it is convincing
1 enough for me, that is to say, that there would be an
2 open conflict in the region; but that it would have
3 taken place in the way it did, I could not have even
4 assumed that.
5 The military directives of the BH army did
6 not exist in any of the villages. We were armed, that
7 is to say, we had a third of the weaponry we would have
8 needed in 1992 and the beginning of 1993. All the
9 weapons were always left in the trenches and in the
10 bunkers when the shifts would change and when the
11 soldiers would be replaced.
12 Second, we didn't have as many barracks as we
13 needed to house all our soldiers and the people that
14 did not have weapons, and so a part of the people would
15 go home to rest for a certain period of time.
16 I did not have information, nor was it ever
17 confirmed, that in Ahmici and the other villages,
18 anybody who was armed and a member of the BH army was
19 there. Possibly, when we conceived the BH army, each
20 municipality staff received a portion of the army with
21 a little weaponry, and they were detachments or
22 platoons of Territorial Defence for which, by law, the
23 wartime presidency of the municipal council had at
24 their disposal. But I know there were none in those
1 In concrete terms, there was a Territorial
2 Defence detachment in Zenica. First and foremost, it
3 was in charge of defending the plateau above the
4 Vranduk tunnel, because at that time we expected a
5 dissent attack by the Serbian army in the area, and
6 there was a -- had there been a helicopter attack,
7 there would have been great problems in Central Bosnia.
8 I don't know whether I have been sufficiently
9 clear, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you were clear. You can
11 continue about the events as you experienced, starting
12 with the 16th of April. We would appreciate your doing
14 THE WITNESS: When I received the news of
15 Ahmici, naturally it was very hard for me. There was a
16 particularly complex issue involved, and that is, the
17 people who belonged to the army of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, who were soldiers and whose families were
19 killed or wounded, particularly people from the
20 neighbouring villages, were afraid whether they would
21 be next. I heard about all of this through the
22 relevant organs of authority, that is to say, the local
23 communes, municipalities, et cetera, and the question
24 was being put to me: "Commander, what are you going to
25 do?" I even unwillingly went to attend a press
1 conference to say publicly that the army of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina would not persecute Croats and destroy
3 Croat villages but that it would take measures to
4 prevent such events in the future.
5 Part of the forces at this very complex front
6 were set aside so that they would prevent such things
7 from taking place further on in the other villages, and
8 that is why this entire position was such in 1993 until
9 the cease-fire was signed, that is to say, that the area
10 of Busovaca and Vitez was under some kind of a siege.
11 At that time, had anyone wanted to wage war
12 against the HVO, various things had to be assessed.
13 The most important thing was the following: Since the
14 conflict had already been provoked, had we wanted to
15 disarm the HVO, as was already done in Zenica because
16 the HVO brigade in Zenica surrendered, they didn't want
17 to do what the rest were doing, we had to create this
18 buffer zone in order to prevent an escalation of
19 further open conflicts.
20 JUDGE JORDA: I would like to go back to
21 Ahmici. Perhaps we'll take a break now. I would like
22 you to focus, General Hadzihasanovic, on what happened
23 after April on the crimes, how you learned about the
24 crimes that were committed, to tell us, in your
25 opinion, which units were engaged in that, and how you
1 were able to manage what happened afterwards since
2 there were many discussions about cease-fires, and what
3 was the impression that you received from the accused,
4 what was the level of cooperation that you could count
5 on, what was the role that the international
6 organisations played as well as Ambassador Thebault and
7 UNPROFOR commanders. That's the third subject of your
8 testimony that was assigned to you and that the Judges
9 asked you to testify about.
10 All right. We'll take a 20-minute break.
11 Thank you very much.
12 --- Recess taken at 11.19 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.45 a.m.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We can now resume the hearing.
15 Please be seated.
16 General, Hadzihasanovic, were you able to
17 rest a little bit? Do you feel all right?
18 THE WITNESS: Quite well. Thank you.
19 JUDGE JORDA: We asked you to focus on the
20 third subject, which is rather general, about the
21 various meetings in which you participated, all having
22 to do with -- excuse me. I will repeat this for the
24 (The accused entered court)
25 JUDGE JORDA: We were so used to seeing him
1 in front of us that we have to get used to the change.
2 Excuse me, General Blaskic. I apologise. We
3 can now resume.
4 We asked you to focus on the third subject of
5 your testimony, that is, all of the meetings during
6 which you were able to hold discussions either with the
7 accused or his representatives about the organisation
8 of cease-fires, the correspondence that had been
9 exchanged; we would like to go back to Ahmici, the
10 crimes committed there; and, lastly, all of the matter
11 having to do with the transport of humanitarian
12 assistance, maintenance of order, discipline within the
13 HVO, if you have any idea about how military sanctions
14 were organised that were taken; that is, all of the
15 contacts that you had with the accused inter alia
16 starting with the 16th of April. Thank you. Please
18 THE WITNESS: Had there been a true intent to
19 cooperate and had Sarajevo been the first and foremost
20 objective -- well, I would like to give you a document
21 that I found because it shows the chronology of
22 events. This is a document from December. It shows
23 that I sought cooperation so that we organise ourselves
24 together and help Sarajevo. I got an answer that this
25 was not possible, that talks were being awaited between
1 Mr. Sefer and Mr. Petkovic, the 2nd of February, 1993;
2 that is to say, that this intent was there regardless
3 of the talks that were under way.
4 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, if the witness is
5 going to use a document, the Defence would like to have
6 a look at that document, please.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, you are right. Registrar,
8 have these documents copied, and they need to be
9 supplied both to the Defence and to the Prosecution.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. And this will be C3,
11 the document that was submitted earlier this morning
12 will be C2, and a copy has already been made and has
13 been distributed.
14 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Right after the
15 comment, I will ask the registrar to be sure that the
16 documents are copied for both of the parties present.
17 Please continue.
18 THE WITNESS: The first part of the document
19 is the letter of the HVO submitting our request.
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter asks for
21 the witness's microphone to be adjusted, please.
22 THE WITNESS: "In view of the combat
23 operations taking part around Sarajevo and in Sarajevo,
24 it would be a good thing if we were to have you take
25 part in active combat and --"
1 JUDGE JORDA: I ask the usher to be sure that
2 the documents provided by the witness are put on the
3 ELMO, which will allow the interpreters to work with
4 greater ease since these documents have not yet been
5 distributed. Mr. Usher, please try to do that, and
6 also position it in such a way that the document can
7 remain -- the witness can make comments about it. But
8 stay where you are, please, Mr. Usher, because we may
9 still need you. Yes. Thank you.
10 THE WITNESS: This is the participation of
11 units of the HVO in combat operations, and then comes
12 the following:
13 "In view of the combat operations in
14 Sarajevo and around Sarajevo, it would be a good thing
15 if you would accept this, and we propose that you take
16 part in active combat, and it is for that purpose that
17 during the course of tomorrow -- the following day,
18 that is to say, the 29th of December, 1992, you should
19 come to the command of the 3rd Corps by 8.00 a.m."
20 We don't have to read this. You can just
21 have a look at it. This is just an accompanying letter
22 of the HVO. And this is --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Can we ask the Presiding
24 Judge, please, to turn his microphone off?
25 JUDGE JORDA: What is the number?
1 THE REGISTRAR: This would be C4.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The Judge's microphone
3 needs to be turned off.
4 THE WITNESS: It says here:
5 "In connection with your request regarding
6 the participation of our units for offences operations
7 at Kobiljaca, we hereby inform you that, from the main
8 staff in Mostar we received an answer that the outcome
9 of the Geneva talks is awaited at which Mr. Sefer and
10 Mr. Petkovic are taking part on the 2nd of February,
12 I kept it there, so if you don't need it, I
13 can put it away.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue.
15 THE WITNESS: After the chief of staff
16 agreed, I think that on the 11th of December, General
17 Blaskic and I met in Kakanj, I think, with the
18 participation of international organisations, and we
19 signed seven documents or, rather, seven orders which
20 spell out, in precise terms, the prevention of
21 conflicts that had already broken out. Before I came,
22 there were conflicts in Novi Travnik, Bugojno, Travnik,
23 Busovaca, Kiseljak, already at the beginning of 1992.
24 We signed seven documents on the basis of
25 this agreement, and these documents defined -- well,
1 I'll have to be very accurate about this.
2 The withdrawal of units from positions, this
3 is an order that General Blaskic and I signed until the
4 13th of February, 1993, and in January, the agreement
5 was reached. Then the document we both signed, the
6 return of the population to their own homes, this is
7 also an order for those villages where people had been
8 expelled. Then that detained persons be released, that
9 checkpoints be removed. These are all separate orders,
10 so there is a document to prove each and every one of
11 these details. Then to remove roadblocks and
12 barricades from roads, and then the resolution of
13 incidents, and this is defined by the establishment of
14 commissions that are going to resolve each and every
15 incident, smaller incident on the territory of each and
16 every municipality. Then also an order to cover up all
17 trenches or possibly bunkers that were dug in those
18 areas, and an order to allow convoys with humanitarian
19 aid and other things to pass.
20 We signed all these documents in the presence
21 of international organisations, and the European
22 Monitors were there, the UNHCR, and, to the best of my
23 recollection, the International Red Cross.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nobilo?
25 MR. NOBILO: I apologise for interrupting
1 once again, but I noticed, from where I'm sitting, that
2 the witness had copies of these documents. The Defence
3 would like to have that too because he wasn't reading
4 from his notes now. He had the documents.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe?
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I certainly
7 would like those documents as well, and if we could
8 clarify, I believe the General was talking about
9 documents dated the 13th of February, 1993.
10 I think the transcript might have had some
11 confusion on that, General, but if we can clarify that,
12 I believe we are talking about a series of documents
13 that, for the most part, are in evidence, but
14 nevertheless, I think it would be helpful to have the
15 General's copies as well. It was the 13th of February,
17 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Registrar, once again, I
18 would like the usher to remain near the ELMO. I don't
19 want to have to repeat that, Mr. Usher. When a
20 document is ready, this is a particular type of
21 testimony, because this witness is not going to testify
22 for three weeks, each of the parties has to have the
23 documents in question.
24 Registrar, if necessary, be sure that once
25 the comment is finished being discussed, have it sent
1 for copying, so at the beginning of the afternoon, the
2 Prosecutor is in a position to question the witness,
3 and then later the Defence as well. Let me remind you
4 that the witness's time is limited, and his government
5 asked that he not be here for several days in a row. I
6 want things to be properly organised. Mr. Registrar,
7 organise things that way.
8 We would like to be sure that we understand
9 things correctly. You are talking about the order of
10 13 February, 1993, are you not?
11 THE WITNESS: Yes. I asked that I read the
12 authentic document so that I would not make a mistake,
13 and I could have had in my own notebook only the titles
14 of the documents.
15 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, go ahead.
16 THE WITNESS: I am presenting this for the
17 following reason: All the meetings that followed were
18 related to these matters in terms of the subject matter
19 that was discussed there, and whether these orders were
20 carried out or not, who did not carry them out, why
21 would they not carry them out. On several occasions,
22 joint commissions were informed of this, together with
23 international representatives, and they were supposed
24 to have a look and see whether this was carried out or
25 not. That is why I am presenting this, and I only read
1 the titles of the documents. However, there's no
2 problem. If you want me to, I can read out the entire
4 JUDGE JORDA: Give us your comment on the
5 carrying out of the orders, please, your comment on the
6 carrying out of the orders.
7 THE WITNESS: All the following meetings,
8 until the open conflict broke out, had on their agenda
9 these matters, the implementation of these matters,
10 because they were not being carried out.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed.
12 THE WITNESS: When I'm saying that they were
13 not being carried out, I'm saying that the army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina did carry them out and the HVO did
15 not carry them out. Because when you analyse these
16 documents, you will see that many things were handed
17 over to the Ministry of the Interior as regards
18 checkpoints and other obligations and also civil
19 defence and also the commissions that were supposed to
20 take all of this, and these seven issues were discussed
21 at all the subsequent meetings of the commission.
22 The first document, conditionally speaking,
23 the first one, this was a set of seven documents, I
24 believe, the withdrawal of units from positions, this
25 is an order that was signed both by General Blaskic and
1 myself. I don't know if I have to read it out.
2 JUDGE JORDA: No, absolutely not. The
3 documents will be given to the Office of the Prosecutor
4 and to the Defence and may be the subject of questions,
5 but I want to say for both the Defence and the
6 Prosecution, these are Trial Chamber witnesses
7 testifying under a special status, and let me remind
8 you that if you don't have time in your final
9 conclusions, you can discuss these documents in written
10 briefs that will be considered by the Judges.
11 Do you have any further comments about those
13 THE WITNESS: I do.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Please continue.
15 THE WITNESS: I swore that I would speak the
17 At these meetings that were attended by
18 General Blaskic, always, or in 90 per cent of all
19 cases, there would be a representative or a political
20 leader, as far as I could understand this, by the name
21 of Ignac Kostroman. He never uttered a word at any one
22 of these meetings, but at certain points in time,
23 because he always sat next to General Blaskic, he would
24 whisper quite a bit into his ear, and the General took
25 part in the meeting itself and explained certain
2 At any rate, these were troublesome meetings,
3 that is to say, once I was claiming that somebody had
4 done something and the other side was not claiming that
5 they had not done that, so my conclusion was that there
6 was no will to do this. International organisations,
7 headed by the monitors of the European Union, were
8 always supposed to have someone present to register
9 what had been done and whether everyone had done what
10 they were supposed to do. That is what I wanted --
11 that was the reason for the presentation of these
13 Next, the return of the population to their
14 homes. Because already in the beginning, that is to
15 say, the beginning of January and February 1993, there
16 were villages where the Bosniak population had left
17 their homes, and also there were some Croats who had
18 left their homes, but some were expelled and others
19 fled because of their own fear, so that document also
20 had to be defined. Their return was a complex affair
21 because if somebody would go back, others
22 would threaten them. With this document, we tried to
23 define the role of the HVO and the Armija, and it was
24 the Ministry of the Interior that was supposed to take
25 care of security matters, at least as far as
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina was concerned.
2 The next document, that is the release of
3 imprisoned and detained persons. That is also an order
4 that all persons who were possibly brought into
5 custody, detained, or imprisoned be released, and there
6 are deadlines there too, but I'm not going to read the
7 document now.
8 Next, the removal of checkpoints. Among
9 other things, it is these checkpoints that created the
10 greatest problems because there was not freedom of
11 movement, that is to say, it was fully restricted. The
12 checkpoints were supposed to be taken over by the MUP,
13 if they were supposed to exist and if there was
14 supposed to be any checkpoint at all, and some were
15 supposed to be abolished altogether. This also
16 pertains to certain roadblocks and barricades.
17 The next order, the problem of resolving
18 incidents. Reference is actually made to those
19 situations when groups or individuals would, without
20 any orders from their superiors, create problems, and
21 these persons had to be dealt with immediately.
22 At certain areas, apart from the front line,
23 there were some shelters, trenches, and foxholes, and
24 there were orders then to remove all of this and to
25 cover it up, fill it in, and since there were quite a
1 few problems in terms of letting convoys pass, there
2 was also an order as to how to ensure the freedom of
3 movement for these convoys.
4 All of this was done on the basis of
5 documents that were co-signed by the commander of the
6 general staff of the army and the chief of the main
7 staff of the HVO, and then we translated this into
8 orders. There were meetings that followed, about ten
9 approximately, I cannot say for sure, and they always
10 had to deal with the problems involved in the
11 implementation of these matters.
12 Then from the 15th onwards, there was a
13 problem of the open conflict because of the order that
14 was issued that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina should
15 surrender to the HVO in that area, and on the basis of
16 the law of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we could not do this and
17 we did not want to do this, and that is why an open
18 conflict broke out.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. Would you
20 now move to the point having to do with the crimes that
21 were committed in Ahmici? When did you learn of the
22 crimes? How were they managed or investigated by the
23 HVO party? What were your relations with the HVO after
24 the crimes had been committed at Ahmici?
25 THE WITNESS: After the atrocities were
1 committed in Ahmici, I lost all contact with General
2 Blaskic. Before, we communicated personally at
3 official meetings -- let me correct myself. At first,
4 this was done through personal requests and then at
5 official meetings in the presence of international
6 representatives, and after Ahmici, we lost contact.
7 Perhaps an occasional fax would arrive by telephone.
8 Whether the HVO investigated these crimes,
9 that, I do not know because this area was now under HVO
10 control, but I saw pictures of the crime on television,
11 the picture that Bob Stewart sent to the world, the
12 General, rather, the Colonel who was the commander of
13 the battalion in Vitez, of the international forces in
14 Vitez, of UNPROFOR.
15 I already said that enormous pressure was
16 being brought to bear against me, that the ordinary
17 people were terribly upset, and I said what I said at
18 the press conference, and they expected us to retaliate
19 in the same way. However, the conflict spread to
20 Gornji Vakuf, Bugojno. Our communications and help
21 from Central Bosnia, from Zenica to Gornji Vakuf was
22 made more difficult, so valid military objectives had
23 to be sought and communication for the purpose of
24 assistance. The choice made was via Guca Gora to
25 Travnik and then from Travnik across the mountains to
1 Gornji Vakuf, because Gornji Vakuf was held by Serb
2 forces, so we could not pass through there.
3 I already explained earlier on that our next
4 objective was to contain the internal conflicts so that
5 it would not spread further.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Did Ahmici have a military
8 THE WITNESS: No.
9 JUDGE JORDA: What information can you give
10 us about your contacts with Colonel Stewart or
11 Ambassador Thebault in respect of Ahmici? You no
12 longer had any relations with General Blaskic, who was
13 a colonel at the time, but you did have relations with
14 the commander of the British battalion and also with
15 Ambassador Thebault, who was responsible for the
16 European Mission. What complaints did you have? What
17 did you tell them? What did you demand? First of all,
18 when did you receive information about Ahmici, and then
19 what were your complaints that you made to Colonel
21 THE WITNESS: The first information I
22 received unofficially or, rather, officially on the
23 morning of the 16th from the first people who were
24 fleeing the area, and this information was brought to
25 me by the head of the Civil Defence from Zenica. The
1 municipality of Zenica and the Civil Defence had taken
2 in the first refugees. I asked Bob Stewart to help so
3 that at least the victims could be brought out.
4 JUDGE JORDA: You spoke to Bob Stewart
5 immediately? Are you the one who spoke to him
7 THE WITNESS: Not immediately. A few days
8 later. As for Ambassador Thebault, I talked to him not
9 specifically about Ahmici but about what would happen
10 later. I told him that I would do whatever it took so
11 that the conflict would not escalate further.
12 After that, Ambassador Thebault was there for
13 only a short period of time, and he was replaced by
14 another man and I can't remember his name. I think
15 that about two months later, the ambassador was
16 replaced by someone else. I don't know whether this is
17 certainly that way, but I know he left.
18 Another problem that I asked Ambassador
19 Thebault to deal with, and especially Mr. de la Mota,
20 is the problem of helping people in Stari Vitez because
21 there was a group of civilians, a large group of
22 civilians, and they were totally encircled all the
23 time, and the assistance sought was along the following
24 lines: to send them food, medicines, and other things
25 that the man in the street would need.
1 Otherwise, in Central Bosnia, valid military
2 objectives existed for which already, perhaps in 1991,
3 incidents broke out and conflicts, and those were the
4 military factories. If that can help the Trial
5 Chamber, then I could enumerate them and perhaps locate
7 JUDGE JORDA: Speak to us about the military
8 targets and tell us whether you remember anything about
9 the truck bomb. But I would like you to finish first
10 with Ahmici. Did your intelligence services tell you
11 more specifically who the perpetrators of the crimes
12 committed in Ahmici were?
13 THE WITNESS: Yes. Well, I don't have very
14 many details, but I do know that it was stated that
15 this was done by the special forces of the HVO, the
16 military police, the Jokers, I think they were, too,
17 and the Apostles, or something of that kind, but they
18 were special forces of the HVO, special purposes
19 forces, because we didn't have insight into that, and
20 the Vitezovi I think as well, something like that.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Let's go back to Vitez and
22 Stari Vitez, the explosives factory, the factory and
23 the truck bomb. Could you give the Judges any
24 information about that?
25 THE WITNESS: The factory in Vitez was an
1 explosives factory, a factory which belonged to the
2 military industry of the former JNA. It produced all
3 types of explosives and rocket fuel for multiple-barrel
4 rocket launchers.
5 Up until my arrival, I know that at the staff
6 of the supreme command in Sarajevo, they discussed the
7 stockpiles in the factory and how they were to be
8 distributed once the factory had stopped producing.
9 Perhaps, in 1992, it still functioned on a partial
11 In view of the fact that it was a factory
12 having exclusively chemical technology, it was highly
13 susceptible to any military procedure; but when I came
14 to Central Bosnia, nobody from the structure of the BH
15 army could enter it or visit it, and the explanation
16 given was that it had ceased to function.
17 The other military factory was Bratstvo,
18 called Bratstvo, in Novi Travnik. That was also owned
19 by the former Yugoslav People's Army and the army
20 industry, and it produced the following items and
21 weapons: guns for tanks, the T-55 type; guns for
22 tanks, M-84; it manufactured multiple-barrel rocket
23 launchers of the following type -- three types, that
24 is: multiple-barrel rocket launcher with 32 barrels of
25 a range of 10 kilometres which had to be tractored,
1 that is to say, a vehicle, heavy-duty vehicle, was used
2 to transport it; the same type with a 20-kilometre
3 range whose lancer was on the outer shell of the car;
4 and the third, Orkan, as it was called, at 50
5 kilometres with 12 barrels which used cassette bombs.
6 The next thing it produced were recoilless
7 guns, the type of guns used --
8 JUDGE JORDA: You don't have to go into all
9 those details, General. We don't have a lot of time,
10 and I suppose that you are very familiar with that,
11 better than we are. So that the factories had a very
12 important military and strategic function; is that
14 THE WITNESS: What I want to say is that the
15 conflict existed over that factory when I arrived that
16 year. Let me enumerate some others: Bugojno produced,
17 in a portion of it, a civilian factory produced fuses
18 for grenades and mines, for example. Also there was
19 the Klokoti at Bilalovac where fuel was produced, and
20 this was a target because it was used in the process of
21 production in producing the mechanical part of a
22 grenade, for the welding of steel and so on and so
23 forth. So in the area, there were a number of military
24 targets that were of interest, and the HVO and the
25 Armija, we thought that it belonged to us jointly, that
1 it was joint property.
2 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue if you have any
3 other comments to make. The Prosecutor and the Defence
4 and the Judges will ask you some questions, but I would
5 not like to ask you questions right now. But if you
6 prefer, we can ask you questions. I would like you to
7 ask for your interpretation and feelings about this
8 truck bomb. Were there snipers on the
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina side? Did you use "babies"? All of
10 this was dealt with in this trial, General
11 Hadzihasanovic. Could you tell us something about
12 that? If not, the Prosecutor or the Defence will
13 certainly ask you questions about it.
14 THE WITNESS: Yes. There were attempts from
15 one axis to help Stari Vitez, and that was also a valid
16 military objective. We tried but did not succeed.
17 Second, you asked whether there were any
18 snipers. There were snipers in every unit on both
19 sides. The question is only how much and what targets
20 they aimed at. So there were snipers, yes.
21 JUDGE JORDA: General, we asked you to tell
22 us, at the end of your testimony, what perception you
23 had, at least during the time you were in contact with
24 him, the perception that you had of the accused with
25 whom you worked throughout a period of time against the
1 Serbian aggressor, and what was your perception of that
2 same accused after the start of the conflict and after
3 what happened, particularly in January and then in
4 April of 1993?
5 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I shall repeat.
6 I did not know General Blaskic previously. I met him
7 for the first time when I came to Central Bosnia, and I
8 have known him to the extent that we attended meetings
9 together and had talks.
10 His military knowledge, I don't know how far
11 it extended. Had we worked together at the front line,
12 then perhaps I would have been aware of his and he
13 would have known mine. But I was not clear why
14 everything that had been done under the command of the
15 Operative Zone of the HVO in Central Bosnia, behind the
16 front line, why that was being done. I have presented
17 my assessments. The reason for the situation and who
18 issued the orders, I'm sure General Blaskic has said or
19 will say. I cannot claim anything because I was not
20 present anywhere nor did I hear anybody issue orders to
21 Blaskic, but I do know that that kind of thing did
22 happen, and we suffered the consequences, those of us
23 from the Armija and the ordinary man in the street,
24 ordinary people. That is how much I know about
25 Mr. Blaskic.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. Your
2 testimony is now complete.
3 Let me turn to the Prosecutor. We'll stop at
4 1.00. Mr. Prosecutor, you can begin to ask questions,
5 if you have any you want to ask.
6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, one or two.
7 JUDGE JORDA: You don't have six weeks to do
8 so, let me remind you of that, and I'll also remind
9 Mr. Hayman of the same thing. We heard Generals who
10 testified here for six weeks. I'm not talking about
11 General Blaskic.
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
13 I understand.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Be brief, and I will ask
15 Mr. Hadzihasanovic to answer succinctly when he's asked
17 When the questions are asked, look at the
18 person who is asking them, but when you give your
19 answer, please face the Judges.
20 Very well, Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Examined by Mr. Kehoe:
23 Q. Good morning, General. You and I have met
24 before, and welcome to The Hague, sir.
25 General, I would like to go back with you
1 just for a little bit and talk to you a little bit
2 about some of the things that were happening when you
3 were in Sarajevo when you first joined the Armija and
4 when it was being turned from the TO to the Armija, so
5 we have that time frame in 1992.
6 Let's go back to that time frame, General,
7 and during this time frame, the Croatian Community of
8 Herceg-Bosna and the HVO was being formed; is that
9 correct, sir?
10 A. Let me be as brief as possible. Yes, they
11 were being formed. Do you need an explanation? I can
12 give it if you do.
13 Q. Well, if you could, General, and can you give
14 the Tribunal the benefit of your views as to what the
15 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was attempting to
16 do, what they were attempting to accomplish.
17 A. I personally think, following the political
18 scene at the time, because I gave a lot of thought to
19 myself and what I thought and to my state, my country,
20 and Bosnia, as I saw it, so let me say briefly the
21 following: There were people who wanted Bosnia and
22 there were those who loved it. Those who wanted it
23 formed different types of associations, military
24 powers, to ensure that Bosnia would belong to someone
25 else, and I think that that was Herceg-Bosna because it
1 did not exist in the structure of state organisations
2 and the legal laws that existed in Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 which had, in fact, been internationally recognised.
4 Q. Well, General, can you be more specific? I
5 mean, who did Herceg-Bosna want to belong to?
6 A. There were assessments, that is to say, that
7 Herceg-Bosna could belong to the Croatian people in
8 Herceg-Bosna and the community there and probably a
9 referendum at some time in the future and to become a
10 part of the State of Croatia. That is my assessment,
11 my evaluation.
12 Q. Now, General, you talked to us a little bit
13 about your knowledge of events in the Kiseljak area
14 when you were in Sarajevo, and while you were not in
15 Kiseljak, I would like to talk to you a little bit
16 about what was happening in Kiseljak in mid 1992 when
17 you were in Sarajevo. Could you tell us, and tell the
18 Judges, what the HVO was doing and whether or not
19 Blaskic was the commander at that time in Kiseljak?
20 A. I was in the main staff of the Republic of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the general staff, and I dealt with
22 operations, that is to say, I helped devise plans to
23 stop the aggression on the territory of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I know that information arrived
25 about the problems in Kiseljak, and that is when I
1 heard about the name and surname of Tihomir Blaskic for
2 the first time because Vahid Karavelic, the present
3 general who had gone to military academy with him, had
4 known him and he said "I know the man. I went to
5 school with him."
6 The commander of the HVO in Kiseljak at the
7 time was Mr. Blaskic; I don't know if he had a rank or
8 not. I know that it was a problem, that the HVO had
9 surrounded the municipal staff of the Territorial
10 Defence and asked them to surrender and to give up
11 their weapons, and I think that was done at the time.
12 I did not have any influence as an operations man on
13 the process of decision making and reactions that
14 followed, but I do know that because I was present when
15 that was discussed.
16 Q. General, were you receiving information as to
17 what was happening with the Bosnian Muslim population
18 in the Kiseljak municipality when Blaskic was the
20 A. Yes. The population was expelled.
21 Q. Now, General, did you learn at a certain
22 point that Blaskic was promoted to the commander of the
23 Central Bosnia Operative Zone? Without giving us a
24 date, did you learn that that event took place?
25 A. I don't know the date because when I came to
1 Central Bosnia, Blaskic was already the commander in
2 Central Bosnia, and because he was successful in his
3 work, he was probably promoted to a bigger assignment.
4 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, motion to strike
5 the prior answer. If the witness doesn't know when the
6 accused left Kiseljak, then he doesn't know whether he
7 was the commander in Kiseljak when "the population was
9 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, counsel can draw
10 any conclusions he wants in argument or ask questions.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Could you explain what you
12 mean, Mr. Hayman? I didn't really understand what you
13 just said. You're saying there's an error in the
15 MR. HAYMAN: I'm asking the Court to strike
16 the prior answer of the witness because, in this most
17 recent answer, he has demonstrated or admitted he
18 doesn't have a foundation for --
19 JUDGE JORDA: You can argue that at the
20 appropriate time, but let the witness answer as he
22 Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.
23 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
24 Q. General, when you say "the reasons for his
25 promotion," could you elaborate that a little bit and
1 share with the Judges why you think Blaskic was
2 promoted from Kiseljak to take over control of the
3 entire Operative Zone?
4 A. I think because he had done his previous work
5 well. Usually, you are promoted for good work. Now,
6 whether it was good work, I don't know. I leave
7 that -- not for me. Perhaps for somebody else it was.
8 Q. Now, General, you noted for us that you came
9 to the Central Bosnian Operative Zone to form 3 Corps,
10 I believe you said, sometime in October or early
11 November of 1992; is that accurate? Again, we're not
12 talking about an -- just an approximation, General,
13 would be satisfactory.
14 A. Yes, that's correct, and I can tell you the
15 exact date. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. General, you gave us some view to this, but
17 could you give us a little bit more detail on the state
18 of the military affairs within the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time that you took over, with
20 regard to weaponry, ammunition, combat readiness of
21 your troops, et cetera?
22 A. Let me start with the following details:
23 Before the war broke out, the former JNA ordered that
24 the weapons belonging to the Territorial Defence be
25 handed in to the barracks of the JNA, and the
1 warehouses were on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
2 and they were, for the most part, empty.
3 When, by a decision of the presidency -- when
4 the presidency made its decision to proclaim a state of
5 war, that is to say, the imminent danger of war and the
6 proclamation of the Territorial Defence as the
7 legitimate force for the defence of the State of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was very little weaponry
9 because all the stores had been depleted. What existed
10 at the beginning was scant. If I were to give you a
11 percentage, it might have been ten per cent of the
12 overall amount that existed. Once again, everything
13 depended on the area concerned within
15 The Territorial Defence, in 1992, did get
16 some weapons when the barracks of the JNA were emptied,
17 and the weapons that were seized on those occasions
18 went up to, say, 20, 30 per cent, and we also got some
19 from other sides, by seizing weapons, et cetera.
20 Q. General, would you give us an approximate
21 percentage of how many of your soldiers actually had
22 weapons? I'm talking about the time frame when you
23 were formulating 3 Corps.
24 A. At that time, up to a third, at maximum. If
25 the brigade had 1.200 men, perhaps there were 400
1 rifles, or 1.500 at maximum, although not everybody had
3 Q. Let me ask you the same question, General, as
4 we move into 1993 and the events that took place in
5 1993. What was your status of weaponry within the
6 brigades going through 1993? Was it the same? Was it
7 different? Did it improve? Did it get worse? Can you
8 give the Judges an idea about that?
9 A. The situation was the worst in 1993. There
10 were no improvements then, so there was a status quo.
11 Q. Now, General, we were talking about
12 weaponry. Let's talk a little bit about ammunition.
13 What were your ammunition stores like at that time, in
14 1992 and 1993?
15 A. We didn't have any ammunition stores. If
16 there were any anywhere, they were very poor. I know
17 that my men at the front line asked for cigarettes and
18 bullets, and they were satisfied with that too. I know
19 there were some with ten bullets, up to 30 at maximum,
20 that is to say, one clip per rifle.
21 Q. Now, these soldiers that you had on the front
22 line, tell us a little bit about the front line. Who
23 was this front line against and how long a front line
24 was this, how many kilometres?
25 A. The front line that I talked about related to
1 the aggressor, and there's another thing I did not say
2 in respect of the front line before with regard to the
3 1st Corps and the 2nd Corps, and that was 500 to 600
5 Q. The aggressor that you're talking about are
6 the Serbs, is it not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Of this front line that you are covering,
9 between 500 to 600 kilometres, how much of that front
10 line was the Armija covering and how much was the HVO
12 A. In percentage terms, I mean, I only know the
13 area, so let me not make a mistake, there was very
14 little. There was the area around Zepce, the area
15 towards Gornji Vakuf, and then the rest was outside my
16 own zone. There was the Neretva Valley, I don't know
17 if that was part of the area facing the Serbs, and then
18 there was the area in Kiseljak.
19 Q. Let us concentrate, General, on the area that
20 you know about, which is the area covered by 3 Corps.
21 Again, give us the amount of front line you were
22 covering, how much you were covering, and how much the
23 HVO was covering on that front line against the VRS?
24 A. Would it be sufficient if I gave you
25 percentage terms? I cannot recall the numbers.
1 Q. That's fine, General. That's fine.
2 A. I don't know if it was ten per cent, but
3 before the conflict, it wasn't even a kilometre, in
5 Q. Now, let us talk about the series of
6 conflicts that came up, General, after you became the
7 commander of 3 Corps in October and November of 1992.
8 You had a conflict in Gornji Vakuf that commenced in
9 January of 1993; is that correct, sir?
10 A. That is correct. It started in January, but
11 it escalated in June.
12 Q. Let's talk first about the January conflict,
13 and give the Court your views as to what that conflict
14 was all about, in your opinion?
15 A. In that conflict, I think that what was
16 needed was to create incidents to keep the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina busy, and then the decision was
18 awaited in respect of the Vance-Owen Plan, and then it
19 would be thrown onto its knees, and then it would no
20 longer exist. That was the end of January. However,
21 the conflict escalated in June, and I am linking this
22 to what was happening in the area of Mostar and in the
23 Lasva area.
24 Finally and definitely, Gornji Vakuf had to
25 be seized, but in Lasva, problems were supposed to be
1 created so that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina could
2 not intervene from Central Bosnia, from Zenica. That
3 was the military assessment.
4 Q. Let's talk first about January of 1993, and
5 I'd like to show you a report, General, that I believe
6 you authored on the 17th of January, 1993, if I may.
7 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have another
8 couple of copies for the booths which may make life
9 more easier.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Usher, would you give copies to
11 the booths, please?
12 The Judges have decided that the exhibits
13 that were presented by the witness to the Prosecution
14 or the Defence would be marked as Prosecution or
15 Defence Exhibits. We are not going to set up a third
16 set of numbering, except for documents directly
17 produced by the witness.
18 Is this a Prosecution document?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, this is Prosecution
20 Exhibit 731, 731A for the English version, and I could
21 point out that the copies of the exhibits provided by
22 the witness have been copied and will be distributed
23 shortly, and there are 11 of them up to this point.
24 JUDGE JORDA: Do the booths have the
1 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
2 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. I'm just
3 waiting for the witness to get the document.
4 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Mr. Usher, please
5 put a copy on the ELMO so that the public can see it.
6 This is a public hearing. Thank you very much.
7 Mr. Kehoe, please proceed.
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, this is a document that you authored
10 concerning the negotiations for the resolution of a
11 conflict in Gornji Vakuf. The report is dated the
12 17th, and the negotiations took place on the 16th. If
13 we might read through this.
14 MR. KEHOE: If we might read through this, as
15 it's not in French, Mr. President. We only have an
16 English copy and an B/C/S copy. This is a report --
17 JUDGE JORDA: You seem surprised, Mr. Kehoe.
18 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President, I'm not
19 surprised. I deeply apologise.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Please continue.
21 MR. KEHOE: You caught me, Judge.
22 Q. This is a report for the attention of the
23 chiefs of the supreme command of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina armed forces.
25 "During the night of 15/16 January there was
1 intermittent artillery fire although less intense than
2 the previous day. The surrounding Muslim villages of
3 Voljevac, Here and Pridvorci were shelled with heavy
4 artillery. These places were shelled because the
5 movement of our troops towards Crni Vrh (trig point
6 1303) had allegedly been detected. The shelling of the
7 city was somewhat less intense than during the
8 preceding two days, although it intensified as night
10 "Around 1730 hours the HVO representatives,
11 colonels Miro Andric and Zeljko Siljeg, arrived. The
12 preceding night at around 2200 hours they had gone to
13 Prozor for consultations with General Slobodan
14 Praljak. They were accompanied by Mr. Ivica Lucic from
15 the Information Bureau of the Croatian Community of
16 Herceg-Bosna (we learned his real name once the talks
17 were over, outside the building; when the talks
18 started, he introduced himself as Mirko Radic). During
19 the meeting they set forth an explicit position with
20 the demands they wanted to be carried out, as described
22 - The HVO decision on the organisation of
23 provinces is a temporary decision based on
25 - If there are changes in the final agreement
1 in Geneva, the Croats will abide by them;
2 - The HVO forces explicitly demand that the
3 Armed Forces:
4 - withdraw units towards the villages;
5 - return all units to the places from
6 which they set out (this refers to the
7 units from Jajce);
8 - The HVO guarantees that it will do nothing
9 against Muslim soldiers or civilians who have
10 not perpetrated war crimes;
11 - Equality will be respected in all areas,
12 although the Armed Forces must be
13 subordinated to the HVO and their direct
14 commander will be the HVO commander;
15 - Abandon the trenches, especially the
16 repeater, and fill them in;
17 - The Army can no longer be commanded or
18 influenced through Topcic, Agic and Prijic;
19 - They are willing to accept a commander
20 designated by Commander Merdan, and who will
21 be subordinated to the HVO in his command
23 - Establish a joint checkpoint, with a
24 proportional number of Muslims and Croats.
25 It is also necessary to determine a specific
1 number of military policemen from both sides;
2 - All militant units should be withdrawn to
3 villages, and the town of Gornji Vakuf must
4 not have a single soldier with long weapons
5 with the exception of a mixed military police
7 - They demand a denial over the radio that
8 they have torched mosques, massacred
9 civilians and soldiers and killed civilians.
10 It should also be added that a civilian was
11 killed, the driver of an ambulance wounded, a
12 soldier butchered and another soldier killed
13 as he was assisting in carrying the wounded
14 soldier into the ambulance.
15 - Unless these requirements are carried out,
16 they shall not be responsible for any
17 consequences of a refusal to meet these
18 demands, which are intended to lessen
19 tension, halt the conflict and introduce law
20 and order in the area in which disturbances
21 have emerged.
22 "This envisages that everything must be
23 completed by tomorrow. If it is clear that these
24 demands will not be carried out by tomorrow at around
25 2400 hours, or if there is no desire to carry them out,
1 they will not wait for the following day. If the will
2 exists, the demands are carried out and they are duly
3 informed, they will check, with UNPROFOR mediation if
4 they are willing, whether everything has been
5 completed, the units withdrawn and the trenches
6 filled. The borders are closed and the Army is already
7 prepared to move. The borders will not be opened for
8 anything until the problem is resolved.
9 "When I pointed out that I was not
10 authorised to resolve all the requirements set forth
11 and that I needed to receive the necessary instructions
12 and directions, I was told to transmit the requirements
13 by packet communications to the superior command for a
14 reply. We were warned that the death of a single Croat
15 in the meantime could cause the deadline for the
16 execution of requirements to be shortened.
17 "In the part of the texts relating to the
18 influence on the Army, the reference is to Abdulah
19 Topcic, President of the Party of Democratic Action for
20 Gornji Vakuf and Deputy in the BH Assembly, Fahrudin
21 Agic, Commander of the Gornji Vakuf Municipal Defence
22 Headquarters, and Hanefija Prijic - Paraga, Commander
23 of the Military Police unit.
24 "Irrespective of their interpretation that
25 these demands do not represent an ultimatum but a
1 categorical position, I consider the demand an
2 ultimatum and believe they are prepared to use force if
3 we do not accept their demands, since they have already
4 grouped their forces from the direction of Prozor and
5 have carried out preparatory combat activities on this
7 "During the day two civilians were killed in
8 the Pridvorci village. The Army suffered no losses.
9 There was extensive material damage.
10 "Kindly reply IMMEDIATELY regarding the
11 demands; we would then transmit the reply to the HVO
13 "Kindly inform the President of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and President Izetbegovic of these
15 demands through the competent organ. We also suggest
16 that the demands be broadcast, as necessary, in the
17 media and especially over BH Radio and Television."
18 Now, General, do you recall this document,
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And were these particular demands given to
22 you by Colonels Andric and Siljeg?
23 A. In the territory of Gornji Vakuf at that
24 time, after the agreement, there was a commission for
25 resolving incident situations. On behalf of the 3rd
1 Corps, Mr. Merdan worked in this commission. As the
2 head and representative of the Armija in that
3 commission, he sent this information; and the points
4 that you quoted, that are marked by a dash, those were
5 the requests of the HVO, and I only sent this
6 information further on to the general staff in
7 Sarajevo, and I ordered in another document, which I
8 haven't got here, that the commission continue their
9 work and try to prevent incident situations.
10 Q. Now, did Merdan inform you that he was told
11 that Andric and Siljeg had been consulting with General
12 Praljak during the course of these events?
13 A. Yes, that's what he wrote.
14 Q. At this time, General, did you know that
15 General Praljak was a General in the army of the
16 Republic of Croatia?
17 A. I did not know that. I found out later. At
18 that time, no, not in January.
19 Q. Did you know at this time that Colonel Andric
20 was an officer in the army of the Republic of Croatia
21 at this time?
22 A. I am talking about January. At that time, I
23 didn't know, but I found out later.
24 Q. Now, General, did you abide by this ultimatum
25 or did fighting continue in Gornji Vakuf?
1 A. We did not abide by this ultimatum. The
2 fighting continued, first, of lesser intensity and
3 then, I don't know the exact date, I think it was the
4 26th or 27th of June, there was full intensity with
5 regard to these attacks, and there was a conflict going
6 on non-stop.
7 Q. General, my time is limited, so I'm going to
8 shift topics a bit, and I'm going to move ahead
9 chronologically but I'm going to move to a different
10 topic, and the topic that I'd like to talk to you about
11 just briefly -- and we will come back to combat
12 activities -- but one topic that I want to discuss with
13 you that follows chronologically is your comments to
14 the Chamber about Blaskic being in attendance at
15 meetings with Ignac Kostroman who, you noted for us,
16 sat next to Blaskic and whispered in his ear from time
17 to time. And I would like to show you a document, yet
18 another report of yours, General, from the 1st of
19 February of 1993.
20 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution Exhibit
21 732, 732A for the English version.
22 MR. KEHOE:
23 Q. General, take a look at this. We are not
24 going to read this whole document. This is a document
25 that reflects minutes, if you will, of a meeting that
1 you attended on the 1st of February, 1993, a meeting
2 that was chaired by General Morillon and also by
3 Mr. Fleming of ECMM.
4 Do you recall this document, General, or this
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, General, in the sequence of individuals
8 in this meeting, number 9, of course, is the accused in
9 attendance, Colonel Blaskic, and number 10 is Ignac
10 Kostroman, the general secretary of the Croatian
11 Community of Herceg-Bosna.
12 Is that the man that you were talking about
13 that attended these meetings with Blaskic?
14 A. Yes. When I talked about him here, I did not
15 remember -- I did not mention this exact title, but I
16 said that he was a leader of the HDZ.
17 Q. I understand, General. And, General, at how
18 many meetings that you attended with Blaskic was
19 Kostroman in attendance with Blaskic? How often?
20 A. Almost all that I attended. I don't know,
21 perhaps one or two, but mostly all.
22 Q. Now, based on your knowledge in the area,
23 what was Blaskic's relationship with these political
24 leaders? Was he in opposition with them? Did he seem
25 to agree with them? Did he say anything to oppose some
1 of their nationalistic views? What's your assessment
2 of the situation, General, if you could tell the
4 A. I can present my conclusion on the basis of a
5 specific event because I did not have an opportunity to
6 communicate with the political leaders of the HDZ, that
7 is to say, with the leaders.
8 This was in 1993, when I was invited as a
9 guest to the HVO staff in Vitez and this was at
10 Christmastime. That's when I saw Dario Kordic as well,
11 when I saw Ignac. That is the first time I saw Praljak
13 According to what was said while they were
14 extending Christmas greetings, it was obvious that they
15 had a close relationship, close relationships. I spent
16 only a short time there. I thought that I was supposed
17 to attend as a guest, but I spent only a short time
18 there. I didn't listen to all the talks. But in the
19 greetings they extended, they only spoke about Croatia,
20 about the Croatian people, et cetera.
21 Q. When you say "they had close relationships,"
22 General, could you be specific? Who are you talking
23 about had close relationships? Who are the individuals
24 you're talking about?
25 A. The ones I saw there and then. I repeat,
1 Ignac, Dario Kordic, Praljak; and I cannot remember,
2 there were some other people there too. But these
3 others were at municipal level, whereas these were
4 representatives who, on the occasion of this holiday,
5 sat at the top of the table, and that is where Blaskic
6 was too; that is to say, at the head table, and then
7 the other guests sat elsewhere.
8 Q. So Blaskic was there as well?
9 A. He was.
10 Q. Now, General, you noted this was -- was this
11 Christmas 1992 or Christmas 1993?
12 A. '93, because in '92, I was in Sarajevo.
13 Q. Well, if you -- that's fine, General. Was it
14 after you took over as your 3rd Corps commander that
15 this took place?
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I'm about to go
18 into another topic. It is 1.00.
19 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We'll resume at
20 2.30, and you have about an hour, an hour and fifteen
21 minutes left; is that right?
22 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: All right. The court stands
24 adjourned and will resume at 2.30.
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
3 hearing. Please be seated.
4 Mr. Prosecutor, we decided that you would
5 have until about a quarter after three -- twenty after
6 three, about twenty-five after three, of course, unless
7 you finish earlier. Then the Defence will have about
8 one hour and twenty minutes, and counting the breaks,
9 we will finish with the Judges' questions which will
10 take about 30 minutes.
11 Without any further ado, I now ask you to
13 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President,
14 Your Honours, counsel.
15 Q. Good afternoon, General. General, I would
16 like to ask you a couple of questions about some of the
17 things you said this morning, in particular, how they
18 bear on the outbreak of the conflict in the Lasva
19 Valley as of the 16th of April, 1993.
20 Now, you talked to us about the conversation
21 that you had with Ambassador Thebault where you noted
22 that you didn't want to open up a second front. Can
23 you tell the Judges, why was it not in your interest to
24 open up a second front? Can you explain that to the
1 A. Mr. President, it would be normal to have
2 responded in this way. The first and primary reason
3 was that we, indeed, did not want the second front.
4 The second front, even if somebody had forced us to
5 open it, we again feared it. We did not want it
6 because we did not have enough to open it up, and when
7 I say "not enough," I mean not enough ammunition or
8 materiel. But I think that what we were involved in
9 was the pure, physical protection, and the second front
10 would not have been right for us for this very reason.
11 Q. General, in your opinion, as an officer and
12 as the commander of 3rd Corps, what would have been the
13 result in your line of defence against the Serbs had
14 you decided to open up a second front against the HVO?
15 A. Mr. President, can I have the question,
16 please, repeated because I did not understand whether
17 this was --
18 JUDGE JORDA: Would you rephrase your
19 question, please, Mr. Kehoe?
20 MR. KEHOE: Certainly. Certainly.
21 Q. General, as a military man and as the
22 commander of the 3rd Corps, in your opinion, what would
23 have been the result or the effect in your front line
24 against the Serbs if you had -- if you had -- decided
25 to open up a front against the HVO?
1 A. Mr. President, first of all, there was no
2 decision to open up the second front. Second, our
3 objective was to hold the front line against the Serbs
4 at the time, in other words, maintain it, stop losing
5 more territory, and regroup the army so that in the
6 future, it would be able to engage in liberation
7 operations, and had it happened in '94 -- what did then
8 happen in '94 and '95, this would have been different.
9 Q. During this period of time, General, April of
10 1993, were conflicts and major conflicts taking place
11 between the Armija and the VRS in Eastern Bosnia, and
12 by that I mean Srebrenica and some of the other
13 enclaves in Eastern Bosnia?
14 A. I have no detailed information on Eastern
15 Bosnia, but there were conflicts in Central Bosnia, but
16 they were of lesser intensity. Our assessment was that
17 there probably were some agreements between the HVO and
18 the Serb forces in order not to move from the lines
19 which they had kept. These were our estimates. But as
20 far as Eastern Bosnia is concerned, I could not really
21 tell you because I did not follow that situation as
23 Q. That's fine, General. I would like to show
24 you a series of your reports, if I can, Mr. Registrar,
25 and this is a series of reports from the 3 Corps
1 headquarters, your regular combat reports, General, and
2 the series I have, Mr. President, are April 10, 11, 12,
3 13, 14, 15, and 16 of 1993.
4 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, with your
5 permission, I'm not going to go through these
6 documents, as I went through the documents this
7 morning. I would like to show the witness all of these
8 documents at once and ask one general question.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Prosecutor, I want to say
10 that we absolutely agree with you. Had you not said
11 that, we would have asked you to do it that way. These
12 are documents from General Hadzihasanovic himself. He
13 merely has to identify them, say that he recognises
14 them, and then you would get to the central point, and
15 if necessary, the Defence, once it's read them, can
16 make comments it chooses to.
17 Mr. Registrar?
18 THE REGISTRAR: These are documents 733, 734,
19 735, 736, 737, 738, and 739 for the Prosecution, and
20 the English version has an "A."
21 JUDGE JORDA: Are you going to start with
22 733, Mr. Kehoe?
23 MR. KEHOE: No, Mr. President. I'm just
24 going to have the witness take a quick look at all of
25 them --
1 JUDGE JORDA: All right. It's a set. He can
2 look at them as a set.
3 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Does the Defence have all these
5 documents? No, it doesn't, and it has to be able to
6 question the witness, so the documents have to be
7 provided to it immediately.
8 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. Usher. I would
9 like to show the witness all of them at once, from 733
10 to 739. I just think this will move more
11 expeditiously, Mr. President, if he just looks at all
12 of them, and we can ask the General questions and move
13 from there.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Do you remember these
15 documents, General Hadzihasanovic? Do you remember
16 them all?
17 THE WITNESS: Yes.
18 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, the witness remembers
19 them. Now that the witness has all of the documents,
20 and the Defence does as well, you can ask your
22 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I can just take
23 one more moment to just allow the witness to just take
24 a quick look at the balance of the document, it's not
25 going to take long.
1 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. All right. That
2 will also give the Defence the chance to have a quick
3 look at them also.
4 Have you been able to look at them, General?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes.
6 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. Mr. Kehoe, please
8 MR. KEHOE:
9 Q. General, just a little background concerning
10 these documents. What are these documents?
11 A. These are regular daily combat reports which
12 were the practice in the BH army, and every unit in the
13 BH army had to have one sent to its superior command
14 within 24 hours. In some of these documents, there is
15 my signature; in some, there is not. This is not
16 essential, but sometimes my chief of staff signed some
17 because the commander sometimes is not around, but
18 these are the type of documents that have been produced
19 by my command.
20 Q. I was just waiting for the translation,
21 General. General, are these documents based on
22 information that you learned yourself and that you
23 learned from others?
24 A. These documents are based on the reports of
25 the subordinate units which were compiled throughout
1 the area of responsibility in the course of the day,
2 and then the essential information is then reduced to
3 these reports, and individual units then gather
4 information in different ways from its own members, by
5 reconnaissance and monitoring and by reporting and so
7 Q. General, in these reports, which date from
8 the 10th of April, 1993 to the all important day of the
9 16th of April, 1993, is there anything in any of these
10 reports that reflect that the Armija is preparing
11 offensive operations against the HVO? Is there
12 anything to reflect that?
13 A. It is certain that there are no such things
14 in these documents because the army did not prepare for
15 any such events.
16 Q. Well, General, on the 16th of April, 1993,
17 who commenced offensive operations: the HVO or the
19 A. It was the HVO.
20 Q. Where?
21 A. The beginning was in the village of Ahmici in
22 the early morning hours. I don't know exactly -- I
23 don't remember exactly when, about 4.00, 5.00 in the
25 Q. General, I would like to show you a document
1 that has been admitted into evidence and was signed by
2 the defendant, Colonel Blaskic.
3 Mr. Registrar, I'm looking for 456,
4 Prosecutor's 456/100.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you that these
6 exhibits should be prepared before the hearing begins.
7 We're wasting some time here.
8 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is my fault,
9 it's not the registrar's fault. However ...
10 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you that you have
11 already done this. This is a recurrent misdemeanour.
12 MR. KEHOE: However, the good news is, Judge,
13 the good news is I am almost through.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Well, of course, we're
15 delighted, but you do have time if you want to ask any
16 further questions, which will have nothing to do with
17 the time given to the Defence. We're not using the
18 same system for testifying as we did previously.
19 Four fifty-six, that is a Prosecution
20 Exhibit; is that correct?
21 MR. KEHOE: That's correct.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Defence? Defence or
24 MR. KEHOE: Prosecution.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Prosecution. Very well.
1 MR. KEHOE: Just for the record, if I'm not
2 mistaken, Mr. Nobilo, I do believe the Defence admitted
3 this document as well under a Defence Exhibit, but I'm
4 not positive. Nevertheless, we can just use it as a
5 Prosecution Exhibit.
6 Q. General, this is a document signed by the
7 defendant, sent to your headquarters, 3rd Corps
8 headquarters, on the secession of attack operations.
9 The opening line of this says:
10 "This morning your forces launched an attack
11 on the Central Bosnia Operative Zone Command. We are
12 surprised and outraged by such an act, on top of
13 everything else that your members have recently done."
14 General, is that true? Is what Blaskic is
15 writing in this on the morning of the 16th of April,
16 1993, true?
17 A. Mr. President, this is not true.
18 Q. Why is it not true, General?
19 A. Because it wasn't so, and there are other
20 similar documents in that regard as well as media
21 appearances, both in television and radio, which were
22 launched by the HVO as propaganda on the eve of the
23 attack. Our judgement was that this was all done to
24 justify the event which was then committed by the HVO
25 on the 16th of April.
1 Q. General, let me show you another document,
2 which is a letter that you sent on the 19th of April to
3 Monsignor Puljic, and once again, I do have several for
4 the booth.
5 THE REGISTRAR: This is Prosecution 740,
6 Prosecution Exhibit 740, and 740A for the English
8 JUDGE JORDA: Do the interpreters have the
9 documents? Very well. You can proceed now, Mr. Kehoe.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. General, this is a letter dated the 19th of
12 April, 1993, that you sent to Monsignor Vinko Puljic.
13 Do you remember this letter, sir?
14 A. Yes, I do recall this letter.
15 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, this is the last
16 document we have, we are almost through, and we would
17 like to read this document. It is a significant
18 document and by the --
19 JUDGE JORDA: That is your absolute right,
20 Mr. Kehoe.
21 MR. KEHOE: Thank you.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Please proceed. Are the booths
23 ready? Is the document on the ELMO so that the public
24 can follow? Mr. Usher, is it on the ELMO? Very well.
25 Let's proceed.
1 Go ahead, please, Mr. Kehoe.
2 MR. KEHOE:
3 Q. This is a letter sent on the 19th of April,
4 1993, to Monsignor Vinko Puljic, the Archbishop of
5 Bosnia, by the witness, Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic.
6 "We are witnessing these days in Central
7 Bosnia and in Herzegovina further armed conflicts with
8 tragic consequences between HVO and BH Army units. We
9 turn to you as a leader of the Croatian people and
10 someone in whom we believe, whose many previous
11 comments about Bosnia and Herzegovina as our only
12 homeland and the possibility of living here together we
13 fully support. We call upon you to use all of your
14 authority to prevent the rupturing of the centuries-old
15 ties between Muslims and Croats.
16 "The HVO leaders in Central Bosnia and
17 proponents of an extremist policy, Kordic, Blaskic,
18 Kostroman, Valenta, Sliskovic and Sakic, all want to
19 leave the impression at home and abroad of being
20 civilised people who are prepared to compromise while
21 secretly preparing and encouraging their units to
22 instigate terror, conflict and civil war with
23 unpredictable consequences for the Croatian and Muslim
24 peoples. They want to declare these territories, which
25 have been Bosnian for centuries, as Croatian
1 territories, because they believe that the time has
2 come to realise this idea, which so far they have been
3 skilfully hidden behind a smokescreen of verbal
4 support for a united, independent and sovereign Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina.
6 "While the HVO leaders are declaring their
7 support for an agreement and a peaceful solution of all
8 problems between the BH Army and the HVO, on the ground
9 the HVO is actually pursuing a policy of force,
10 constantly attacking and harassing the Muslim
12 "All previous efforts to overcome the
13 misunderstandings have failed due to this kind of
14 conduct by the HVO leaders. The BH Army units have
15 always been tricked. Their members have a very
16 difficult time explaining why they negotiate at all
17 when obligations agreed to in writing are usually never
18 complied with in practice, which is entirely the fault
19 of the HVO and their leaders.
20 "The open aggression of the HVO against
21 parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been continued
22 these days with the most brutal and heinous means,
23 whose application is most clearly seen in Vitez and the
24 surrounding villages.
25 "In the village of Ahmici on 16 April 1993,
1 HVO soldiers committed an unprecedented massacre. They
2 killed all human beings who were in the houses,
3 including even children in their cradles. According to
4 statements of eyewitnesses who managed to escape by
5 running away, about 200 people, including women and
6 children, were killed. We would mention that this
7 behaviour of the HVO soldiers was unnecessary as there
8 were no military formations in the village and no
9 resistance was offered.
10 "Many Muslims from Vitez, Busovaca and Novi
11 Travnik have had similar experiences, but so have
12 Croats who disagreed with this policy of genocide
13 committed against people solely because they are of a
14 different ethnic and religious background.
15 "In this situation and in order to push the
16 Croatian people into committing new crimes, the HVO
17 leaders /illegible/ the BH Army and the Muslim people
18 in Central Bosnia.
19 "No one from the Croatian people has given
20 the HVO leaders authority for such destructive conduct,
21 the goal of which is to spread distrust and to stir up
22 hatred between the two peoples, for which they will be
23 held responsible before history and above all before
24 their own Croatian people.
25 "Deeply convinced that this is not a policy
1 of the Croatian people, but rather of extremist
2 leaders, we once again appeal to you on behalf of the
3 Croatian and Muslim peoples to use your authority as
4 soon as possible to try to prevent the widening of the
5 artificially created gap between them.
6 "Not doubting for a moment that you will as
7 soon as possible prevent the catastrophe which has
8 clouded relations between Muslims and Croats, we
9 gratefully invite you on this occasion to visit the
10 Command of the 3rd Corps, where you will always be more
11 than welcome."
12 Signed Commander Enver Hadzihasanovic.
13 General, do you still stand by these
14 statements that you wrote in this letter on the 19th of
15 April, 1993?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, if I might have
18 one moment?
19 Mr. President, I have no further questions of
20 this witness.
21 General, thank you very much.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. It's 3.00. We will
23 apply an objective rule for the Defence. If it wants
24 to use its hour and twenty minutes, it can.
25 Would you prefer that we take a ten-minute
1 break, Mr. Hayman or Mr. Nobilo? We don't have a great
2 deal of time, so we won't take longer than ten-minute
3 breaks, but just long enough in order for you to become
4 familiar with all of the documents that were given to
5 you. But you will only have an hour and twenty
6 minutes. That will also allow the Judges to ask
8 All right. We will resume at ten after
10 --- Recess taken at 3.02 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 3.14 p.m.
12 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
13 be seated.
14 Mr. Nobilo, will it be you or Mr. Hayman?
15 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
16 MR. NOBILO: I will be asking the questions,
17 Mr. President.
18 Examined by Mr. Nobilo:
19 Q. General Hadzihasanovic, good afternoon. You
20 probably know that we are the Defence counsel for
21 General Blaskic, my colleague, Mr. Russell Hayman and
22 myself, Anto Nobilo. In keeping with the Rules of the
23 Tribunal, I should also like to ask you a few
24 questions, as did my learned friend, the Prosecutor,
25 before me.
1 Let us go back to the beginning of your
2 testimony. Can you tell us, before you came to Central
3 Bosnia, where were you in the BH army, what place?
4 What function and post?
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the
7 JUDGE JORDA: You can switch your microphone
8 on, please, General.
9 A. As far as I was able to understand, you're
10 asking me what function I performed before. I was the
11 chief of staff in the command of the 1st Corps in the
12 city of Sarajevo. As chief of staff, I also had the
13 task of territorial defence in Sarajevo and to reorient
14 it, that is to say, to turn it into the armed forces of
15 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. So you, quite obviously, were a high ranking
18 officer of the BH army. Tell us, please, in the JNA,
19 which rank did you have when you came to the BH army?
20 A. From the BH army, I was lieutenant colonel.
21 Q. How do you see yourself as an officer of the
22 BH army and before as an officer of the JNA? Are you
23 exclusively a military man, a soldier, or were you both
24 a soldier and a politician? How do you view yourself?
25 A. Before and today, I see myself as a soldier.
1 I have always been that.
2 Q. To be a soldier, as you understood it, does
3 that mean that you can meddle in political decisions?
4 Can you influence political decisions, decisions made
5 by politicians, or as a soldier, do you execute the
6 orders of the higher command? How do you understand
8 A. As a soldier, it is not my business to meddle
9 in the decisions of the official politicians. It is my
10 duty, as a soldier, if decisions are outside the law,
11 outside the constitution, that the civilian leader and
12 politician be cautioned of that, and it is up to me not
13 to carry things of that kind out, not to implement
15 Q. Now, which decisions you're going to
16 implement or not, that is, decisions made by the
17 politicians, do you assess that yourself and do you
18 consider that to be within the constitutional conduct
19 of a military man?
20 A. Mr. President, that is, according to the
21 constitution, the professional conduct of a soldier,
22 that is to say, if a politician makes a decision which
23 is not in line with the constitution and orders me to
24 carry that decision out, then as a professional, I am
25 duty-bound to say that it is not in conformity with the
1 constitution and is a violation of other laws, for
2 example, international ones, et cetera.
3 Q. General Izetbegovic signed the Vance-Owen
4 Plan and, within that framework, the attachment of the
5 BH army in Provinces 10 and 8 to the HVO and vice
6 versa, the HVO in Provinces 9 and 5. Was that rejected
7 by the BH army? Was it contrary to the constitution?
8 What is your opinion on that?
9 A. Attachment and a decision on that was never
10 signed. In the document of the Vance-Owen Plan, it's
11 stated that there should be a joint withdrawal into
12 these provinces of the military effectives, and the
13 order on attachment emanated from the structure of the
14 HVO and not President Izetbegovic. Before that, there
15 was a law in force, I have a copy of that law on
16 defence, which states what precisely the structure of
17 the BH army was.
18 Q. We are going to read something in relation to
19 this, we are going to read a document, but before that,
20 the law on the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who
21 passed it and when? The representatives of the Croat
22 people, did they vote for it? Did the representatives
23 of the Serb people vote for it?
24 Perhaps you didn't understand this as a
25 question. I actually put a question. When was the law
1 on national defence passed, in which year, and did the
2 representatives of all three peoples take part in
3 this? We don't need a date, just approximately.
4 A. Mr. President, may I again have a look at the
5 documents I have here with me so that I would be as
6 accurate as possible?
7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, do so.
8 A. I have here a copy of the decree with the
9 force of a law on taking over the law on armed forces
10 and its application in the Republic of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a republican law.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. Sorry. Just tell me which year this was.
14 A. Let me have a look. The 15th of November,
16 Q. We are not going to go into all of that now.
17 I'm interested in something else. What do you think?
18 If, according to the Vance-Owen Plan, an international
19 agreement that was signed, at least in part, by the
20 president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, recognises the HVO as
21 one of the components of the armed forces and also puts
22 them into certain provinces, does this give legality to
23 the HVO? What do you think?
24 A. I wish to answer this question on the basis
25 of a document, yet again. The armed forces of the
1 republic consist of, I'm reading the law on the armed
2 forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina: "The army of the
3 republic hereinafter 'the army' and also the Croatian
4 Defence Counsel units, as well as other armed forces
5 that are under the unified command of the army --"
6 Q. However, my question was something
8 A. The point is that this law says where the HVO
10 Q. All right. But I'm asking you something
11 else. Would you answer my questions, please, because
12 my time is restricted? Please, could you strictly
13 answer my questions?
14 A. Mr. President, I don't think I've finished
15 answering yet.
16 Q. I would like to draw your attention to the --
17 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. I'm a
18 spectator here, as the Court, but if counsel asks the
19 witness a question and the witness wants to answer the
20 question, I think counsel should let the witness answer
21 the question before he goes to his next question.
22 JUDGE JORDA: This is not always easy to do,
23 not always easy to do.
24 MR. NOBILO: Exactly, but he has to answer my
25 question, not move in a different direction.
1 JUDGE JORDA: The witness answered you. I
2 can sense that your time is limited. I see that you're
3 trying to get to the core of your questions, and I
4 congratulate you for that. Let's not waste any further
5 time, but allow the witness, as we did previously, to
6 familiarise himself with everything, as I did for the
7 Prosecutor. All right. Please continue, and let's not
8 waste any further time.
9 MR. NOBILO:
10 Q. All right. I would like to put a question to
11 you, General. The Vance-Owen Plan establishes that the
12 HVO forces and the BH army forces are being deployed in
13 certain provinces. The Vance-Owen Plan was aware of
14 the situation that the HVO was not part of the BH army,
15 as the national law of Bosnia-Herzegovina had said.
16 Don't you think that an international agreement that
17 was signed by the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 supersedes national legislation, "Yes" or "No"?
19 A. This international agreement was not legally
20 valid yet.
21 Q. A new question: Which constitution are you
22 invoking? Which is the constitution that was in force
23 in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992? Could you tell this
24 Court that?
25 A. I am saying how a military professional, a
1 soldier, is supposed to be behave towards the
2 constitution and towards his state. I have not been
3 dealing with the --
4 JUDGE JORDA: You're not answering the
5 question, General. Try to answer it. It was more
6 specific than that. Try to focus on the question
7 that's asked. Thank you. Perhaps you could provide
8 the decree that you referred to for the Trial Chamber.
9 If you have one, a copy can be made of it, and it will
10 become an exhibit for the Trial Chamber. But first,
11 concentrate on the specific question that Mr. Nobilo
12 asked you because you haven't answered it.
13 MR. NOBILO: I shall repeat the question.
14 Q. Which was the constitution that was in force
15 in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992?
16 A. I don't know exactly which official gazette
17 this was and where this was, but there was a
18 constitution. I don't know whether it was taken over
19 from the previous republic or whether it was
20 corrected. I don't know.
21 Q. If it was taken over from the Socialist
22 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who then, according
23 to the constitution, was the army of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, according to the constitution? According
25 to the constitution of the Socialist Republic of
2 A. I don't know. I didn't read this
4 Q. Do you agree that according to the
5 constitution of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, as an integral part of the Socialist
7 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the JNA was the only
8 legal armed force, that is to say, the army of that
9 state was the JNA? Do you agree with that?
10 A. Yes, I agree with that, but I don't know
11 whether that law was taken over or whether it was
12 changed. I don't know. I never read it.
13 Q. You said that you were not involved in
14 politics, not during this war, not while you were a JNA
15 officer. However, you completed high party schools of
16 the former communist government; is that correct? And
17 you were educated in Marxist doctrine; is that correct?
18 A. It is correct that I was in the high party
20 Q. In Kumrovec?
21 A. Yes, in Kumrovec.
22 MR. NOBILO: Can we please have this document
23 distributed and then let's go on?
24 JUDGE JORDA: I think that the usher is very
1 MR. NOBILO: All right. Perhaps we can move
2 ahead and just leave these documents aside and let's go
3 on because we're in quite a hurry.
4 Q. General, a few words about the fall of
5 Jajce. Can you tell us who gave you this information
6 that the Croats had sold Jajce, that they had handed it
7 over to the Serbs without any fighting? Who said that?
8 A. Mr. President, I did not say that the Croats
9 handed it over. At the time of the fall of Jajce, I
10 was getting out of Sarajevo, I was travelling, and I
11 received orders to go towards Travnik to see what could
12 be done so that more territory would not fall.
13 The people who had fled were saying that, and
14 they were saying very derogatory things about this
15 matter. That is what I heard from the masses that were
16 passing by, and I compare this to the current situation
17 in Kosovo.
18 Q. In such situations, is it often the case that
19 people say "They've sold us down the river"? And
20 didn't you hear things like that on all sides in
22 A. No, there were other cases as well.
23 Q. You said, in Kiseljak, that the Territorial
24 Defence was expelled from Kiseljak while Blaskic was
25 there. Can you say specifically whether the
1 Territorial Defence was expelled from Kiseljak before
2 August 1992 or after August 1992?
3 A. I think it was expelled before that.
4 Q. I would like to show you Defence document
5 D132. We're not going to read the document. It has
6 already been tendered and everybody is familiar with
7 it. You can read it, though. This is an order of the
8 commander of the supreme command of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
9 Sefer Halilovic, and he is writing to the commander of
10 the municipal defence of Kiseljak. He is sending an
11 order on the 8th of August, 1992.
12 A. And where was this staff? In Kiseljak?
13 Q. That is what I'm asking you.
14 A. I don't think it was.
15 Q. You think that the order went to Kiseljak and
16 that the staff was not in Kiseljak?
17 A. Yes, that's what I think. There were other
18 staffs that were deployed elsewhere, outside their own
20 Q. Wouldn't it be logical then to say that this
21 was a forward command post or deployed elsewhere or
22 redeployed, whatever?
23 A. No. They were kicked out, expelled.
24 Q. Very well. Do you think that the civilians,
25 the population of Kiseljak, were expelled from Kiseljak
1 in 1992, or do you think that this pertains only to the
2 Territorial Defence?
3 A. And quite a bit of the civilian population,
4 the majority.
5 Q. Would you be surprised if you heard that we
6 heard quite a few Bosniaks from Kiseljak here, that
7 before April and notably June, nobody had been
8 expelled? Would you be surprised if you heard that?
9 In 1993.
10 A. I don't think that's correct.
11 Q. Can you tell us one village where Bosniaks
12 were expelled from in Kiseljak in 1992?
13 A. I do not have specific data about Kiseljak
14 because I was not involved in Kiseljak, and while I was
15 commander of the 3rd Corps, Kiseljak was not related
17 Q. At one point this morning, you said that you
18 did not understand -- of course, I cannot quote you
19 exactly but I can interpret what you were saying --
20 that you did not understand why Kiseljak, which was
21 under HVO control, took part in the blockade of
22 Sarajevo. Do you remember having said something to
23 that effect?
24 Well, then I'm asking you the following:
25 Where was the HVO of Kiseljak in touch with the
1 defenders of Sarajevo so that it could take part in the
2 blockade of Sarajevo? Please go ahead.
3 A. The HVO of Kiseljak was together with the
4 Chetniks in the area between Kiseljak and Sarajevo.
5 They never wanted to carry out combat operations
6 together with us vis-à-vis Sarajevo, that is to say,
7 via Kobiljaca.
8 Secondly, they created problems from Hadzici,
9 conditionally speaking -- it's really Tarcin and
10 Pazaric -- to pass via Fojnica to Kiseljak towards
11 Central Bosnia and Visoko, and then people had to go
12 elsewhere, roundabout, because they could not pass this
13 way. So, in fact, in my estimate, they took part in
14 the blockade. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
15 Q. In order to put the question very precisely,
16 did the HVO of Kiseljak have a front line with the
17 defenders of Sarajevo? Were they in touch? Were they
18 facing them? Did they have territorial contact with
19 the territory that was defended by the defenders of
21 A. I'm going to answer with a counter-question.
22 On the other side, from Sarajevo, in the region of
23 Stup, in the area facing Kiseljak, that is where an HVO
24 unit was. Why did they not establish contact? So
25 physically they did not have contact. But with the
1 defenders of Sarajevo, this could have been done.
2 Q. So did I understand you correctly, that the
3 HVO of Kiseljak did not have physical contact with the
4 defenders of Sarajevo; is that what you said just now?
5 Territorial, physical contact?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it correct that between the HVO of
8 Kiseljak and the defenders of Sarajevo, there was the
9 army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did I understand you correctly that the key
12 question of cooperation or differences between the HVO
13 and the BH army in the first part of 1992 and possibly
14 afterwards was to agree on the deblockade of Sarajevo
15 or, rather, that the HVO did not agree to that? Was
16 this a key point for you in terms of the differences
17 between you and the HVO?
18 A. The beginning of '92?
19 Q. All of 1992. Was this the key issue for you
20 personally and in relation to the HVO?
21 A. I did not make any decisions to that effect
22 and I did not plan such matters. I personally did not.
23 Q. However, did you suggest this to the HVO,
24 that you deblockade Sarajevo?
25 A. I am telling you, I did not take part in such
1 a plan. Other commands did. And probably the staff of
2 the supreme command. I personally did not. I shall be
3 lying if I tell you anything.
4 Q. However, this morning you said that you
5 proposed to Blaskic that you go and deblockade
7 A. But on this side, when I came here to be the
8 commander of the corps.
9 Q. Yes, well, that's what I am saying, when you
10 came in 1992 to command the corps.
11 A. Yes, that we participate in this and that he
12 help and that we take part in it together, yes.
13 Q. But this is January 1993. That is not 1992.
14 Or the end of December, something like that.
15 A. And you were asking me about the beginning of
16 1992. In the beginning of 1992, I did not take part.
17 Q. I shall be more specific. I was referring to
18 all of 1992. When you became commander of the 3rd
19 Corps and onwards, was this a point of contention
20 between you and the HVO, their refusal to go and
21 deblockade Sarajevo or, rather, was it your wish to
22 have this carried out?
23 A. This was not a special point of contention
24 but this is what we wanted. We wanted to act
25 together. When I'm saying "we," I'm talking about the
1 3rd Corps and the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
2 because I got out of Sarajevo and I know exactly what
3 the people in Sarajevo were experiencing, how they died
4 and how they were famished, and that is why I suggested
5 that we move on this together.
6 Q. And now tell the Court: Ever, until the end
7 of the war, was Sarajevo deblockaded by the force of
8 arms, ever? Or was this done by way of an agreement?
9 A. No, but it could have been done had there not
10 been obstacles. That is my assessment.
11 Q. What about this encirclement of Sarajevo; was
12 this a professional military siege, encirclement?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you have a lot of casualties when you
15 attempted the deblockade of Sarajevo?
16 A. I don't know exactly what the fatalities
18 Q. Well, just give me an estimate: small,
19 medium, large?
20 A. There were casualties, but it is relative,
21 what is small and what is big. There were greater
22 casualties because we did not have anything to act
23 with. We did not have anything to act with, and we
24 could not obtain what we needed because others were in
25 the way.
1 Q. Now we are going back to January, February
2 1992 [as interpreted]. You told us here about the
3 joint orders that you made with Blaskic in Kakanj on
4 the 13th of February, 1993 -- and the transcript says
5 February '92 but it's supposed to say February 1993.
6 So we have several joint orders that you presented to
7 us here and that we are going to read because they are
8 now part of the evidence.
9 Tell us, why was it necessary to negotiate?
10 What happened before the 13th of February, 1993? You
11 didn't tell us a thing about the conflict between the
12 HVO and the BH army in Busovaca in January 1993. What
13 is it that happened there in January 1993? Can you
14 tell us about that in a few sentences, please?
15 A. The conflict in Busovaca was not only in
16 January 1993, it began in 1992.
17 Q. Was there any conflict on the 6th?
18 A. The Bosniaks were expelled to Kacuni and the
19 Croats remained in Busovaca.
20 Q. Were the Croats expelled from any villages
21 perhaps, as far as you know?
22 A. I don't believe they were expelled, but I do
23 believe that somebody fled because there were
24 conflicts, because there was shooting going on. But
25 that the intention was to expel anybody, no.
1 Q. Were any Croatian houses burned, possibly?
2 What do you think about that?
3 A. You're asking me questions and,
4 Mr. President, I have to answer them in the following
5 way: Just as if I was the commander of a platoon
6 there, I was the commander of a corps, and that is very
7 small tactics, but I cannot keep everything in my
8 head. Quite possibly there was.
9 Q. Well, 400 houses, that is small-scale
10 tactics, is it, when you set fire to them and several
11 hundred people are ethnically cleansed from the
12 Kacuni-Bilalovac area, the Croats disappeared? Is that
13 petty tactics? What do you think about that, General?
14 A. When was that?
15 Q. After the conflict in January 1993. You know
16 nothing about that.
17 A. That wasn't then.
18 Q. Well, let me help you then, and D450, the
19 document, would it be -- could it be shown, please?
20 D98? May I have D98 first, please, and we'll try to
21 work with that document first.
22 Take a look at these documents, General,
23 please. For example, in document 98, you will see a
24 list of villages and the heads of households, the
25 owners of the houses that were destroyed and burned.
1 They're different places, Kacuni, Nezirovici, Zirovici,
2 Poculica, Bukovci, Kula, Prosije, Gusti Grab --
3 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, which is that?
4 MR. HAYMAN: D450/98.
5 MR. NOBILO: 450/98.
6 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. We were
7 pulling 98.
8 JUDGE JORDA: Would you make it clear what
9 document we're talking about, please, Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: I'm now looking at document
11 D450/98, so it's "/98."
12 Q. Then we come to the village of Bakije,
13 Jelinak, Putis, Kovacevac, I'm not going to go on
14 reading, but they are lists, as you can see from the
15 other documents as well, of the individuals whose
16 houses were burnt, and in all those villages, there
17 were no more Croats. Did anybody inform you about
18 that? Do you know anything about that?
19 A. Mr. President, these are documents dating to
20 1996 and 1997 that somebody had compiled and made lists
21 of. They do not date from 1992 and 1993.
22 Q. The witnesses spoke about that, sir. I'm
23 asking you whether you know that, in January, these
24 villages were burnt and the Croats expelled?
25 A. That is not correct.
1 Q. And ought you to know about that, or do you
2 consider, in view of your position, that you don't have
3 to know about that?
4 A. No, I'm saying that I consider that that is
5 not correct.
6 JUDGE JORDA: General, I didn't understand.
7 The interpretation I got was that it's not right.
8 What, that the villages were burned or that you should
9 have known? Could you make your answer clearer for us,
11 A. It is not true that in 1992 and 1993, January
12 1993, that these villages were burnt then.
13 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. General, I'm going to ask you the following
16 question: Tell us, please, when you issued these joint
17 orders, we have the return of the population, we speak
18 about checkpoints, we speak about limitations to the
19 free passage, did this exist in the BH army and in the
20 HVO or only in the HVO? Did phenomena of this kind
21 exist? Were these things taking place?
22 A. Yes, in the army as well, but at certain
23 regular points which led up to the front line, and to
24 the rear, for the most part, that was the HVO.
25 Q. General, you didn't hear about the villages
1 that I enumerated. Did you hear about the first crime
2 that was committed in the area of Central Bosnia, about
3 Dusina, the village of Dusina, Lasva, where people had
4 been taken prisoner and where a woman who viewed that,
5 whose husband was killed and his heart pulled out, that
6 it was the HVO soldiers that were taken prisoner and
7 killed and civilians taken prisoner and killed? I'm
8 sure you know where the village is, that is to say, in
9 the territory under your control. Did you hear about
10 that event that took place in January 1993, about the
11 23rd of January, 1993?
12 A. In January 1993, there were certain groups in
13 existence still which did not enter the structure of
14 the BH army, because the process of forming corps took
15 three to four months, and as the brigades grew, so the
16 reports were sent out that, one by one, the brigades
17 were set up, and as to the alleged crime in Dusina, I
18 do not know about that.
19 Q. Did you ever hear about the crime, from that
20 day to the present?
21 A. This alleged crime in Dusina was mentioned by
22 the HVO, but I don't know, I did not order or command
23 anything of that kind, any crime of that kind to take
24 place, and I don't want to feel as if I am the accused
25 here by the way the questions are being posed, if
2 Q. I'm sorry. I'm speaking about crimes. I did
3 not consider that the commander of the 3rd Corps had
4 ordered anything in this regard, and if you understood
5 it that way, then I apologise. I'm just speaking about
6 crimes and whether you heard about them.
7 JUDGE JORDA: No. There was no ambiguity
8 here on this point, General. On the part of counsel,
9 there was absolutely no desire to do that, but the
10 Defence can ask whether, in respect of other crimes
11 that were committed, including Ahmici, you might have
12 heard about what had happened. That's how the question
13 should be interpreted. That's how I interpreted it.
14 Please continue, Mr. Nobilo.
15 MR. NOBILO:
16 Q. A moment ago, I don't know if you really
17 wanted to say that, you said that up to the present
18 day, you heard about the crime in Dusina by the HVO or
19 the BH army?
20 A. No, I didn't mention the HVO. I didn't
21 mention anybody. I said that there were rumours about
22 the crime in Dusina, but I don't know who perpetrated
23 it, nor did I order it.
24 Q. The husband of the woman, that is to say, she
25 said that this was done by the 7th Muslim Brigade and
1 that she said that it was done by Serif Patkovic who,
2 at the time, was an officer in the 7th Muslim Brigade
3 and that she recognised him on a photograph. What do
4 you have to say to that? Is that possible?
5 A. I don't know. That kind of thing was never
6 planned or ordered or, indeed, possible. I don't
7 believe it.
8 Q. But did you ask at joint meetings? Were
9 there any comments with regard to burnt villages
10 between Bilalovac and Kacuni in Dusina? Did you bring
11 anybody to justice? Did you conduct an investigation?
12 A. Why should I conduct an investigation?
13 Because I didn't know.
14 Q. I agree. I'm now going to read you a
15 document, 732. It is a document dated the 1st of
16 February, 1993. You submitted it today as evidence,
17 and I'd like to read something under point 4, the one
18 but last section above your own signature, where you
19 are ordering your own forces "to prevent the members of
20 the BH army to loot and pilfer and burn, and the
21 protagonists should be detained and brought to justice
22 immediately. For the implementation of this
23 assignment, I make responsible the commanders of the
24 brigades and staff."
25 General, if soldiers under your command did
1 not loot and pilfer and burn, because it is forbidden
2 by law, why then do you have to write this down in an
3 order? If they did not do that, what prompted you to
4 write an order of this kind?
5 A. In war, there are always people that make use
6 of war for their own ends, and there is profiteering
7 and looting, and then they say that was done by the
8 army, the soldiers. To prevent that from taking place,
9 I just issued a warning.
10 Q. Were there no such instances before this
11 order was compiled?
12 A. The army is also accused of doing things like
13 that, whereas it is the profiteers that make use of the
14 situation, and I felt duty-bound to issue this
16 Q. So we understand you, and you must be
17 commended, but were you prompted by incidents of this
18 kind or were there no incidents of this kind and you
19 took this measure to prevent them from occurring?
20 A. Do you want me to answer you a third time?
21 Q. Yes, please, because I didn't understand
23 A. As I say, in every war, just as in this one,
24 there were profiteers who did things like that. There
25 were those who looted convoys of the UNHCR, for
1 example, and didn't belong to any military formation
2 whatsoever, just to take the goods, seize the goods, to
3 engage in black marketeering, and so on, and I just
4 cautioned that this must not be done by any member of
5 the army.
6 Q. Let us move forward then, General. At the
7 negotiations of the 13th of February, 1993, you
8 negotiated with Colonel Blaskic. How did you find
9 him? Was a commander in control of the situation,
10 sovereignly in command of his units, or not? At those
11 negotiations, what was your opinion of him?
12 A. Colonel Blaskic was a very balanced man, a
13 highly built-up professional man, and very precise and
15 Q. Did you consider him to be a person of
16 relevance with whom you could negotiate and achieve a
17 peace agreement?
18 A. Mr. President, I was not able to assess
19 individuals representing the HVO with whom to sign an
20 agreement. He was the representative of the HVO, and
21 that is how my relationship was.
22 Q. So you had no comments?
23 A. No.
24 MR. NOBILO: D188 is the next exhibit that we
25 would like to discuss, please.
1 Q. General, would you read this document,
2 acquaint yourself with it, and I am going to read out
3 just one sentence from the document in a minute or
5 This is your document, a document of the 3rd
6 Corps, dated the 12th of February, 1993, where you, in
7 the second paragraph, state the following, and in the
8 English text, it is the third paragraph, in fact. You
10 "We assume that Colonel Tihomir Blaskic is
11 isolated in Kiseljak and that his readiness to resolve
12 the problems is a lie, that somebody else is solving
13 the problems instead of Tiho Blaskic and that there is
14 no point in negotiating as whatever is agreed upon will
15 not have any result."
16 General, did you write that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you then alter what you said before the
19 Tribunal, and can you tell us --
20 A. This is the 12th of February. This is a
21 concrete meeting at which this occurred when Mr. -- I
22 can't find his name and surname. Just one moment,
23 please. The document was signed by an unauthorised
24 person, in our view, and it was our assumption that at
25 that meeting, at that particular time, Tiho was
1 isolated in Kiseljak, and in the previous statement, I
2 speak about our other meetings and the following
3 meetings and how I experienced him during those
5 Q. If he was isolated in Kiseljak, who then
6 commanded, in Busovaca, the troops that were fighting
8 A. Just a minute, Mr. President. That is my
9 assumption. It need not be a correct assumption.
10 Q. Yes, but what did you base your assumption
12 A. I say this because the number two man signed
13 the document, not Tihomir.
14 Q. So who signed the document, General?
15 A. I can't remember.
16 Q. The situation that Blaskic was isolated in
17 Kiseljak, what did you assume, that he was not master
18 of the situation in Kiseljak? Was that the essential
20 A. I'd like to read through this document
21 slowly. You just read out one paragraph.
22 Q. We don't have much time, so we have to move
23 forward. I have one more question that I want to ask
24 you. Did you consider that Blaskic --
25 JUDGE JORDA: What do you mean when you say
1 that you're withdrawing your question, Mr. Nobilo?
2 MR. NOBILO: No, no, Mr. President, I just
3 asked the questions I asked, but I said that I'd like
4 to move forward.
5 JUDGE JORDA: I heard in the answer that the
6 witness doesn't have the time to read the document. Is
7 it a long document? Because we don't have the English
8 version on the ELMO. What would you prefer to do,
9 Mr. Nobilo?
10 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have obtained
11 an answer, we're satisfied with the answer, and we'd
12 like to move forward because our time is limited, of
14 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. We're going to take
15 a break at a quarter after four, and we will resume at
16 4.35, and then you can finish around 5.00, which means
17 that you have about 35 more minutes, unless you're like
18 Mr. Kehoe and you finish earlier. That would be
19 another problem. You have the right to use all your
20 time, Mr. Nobilo. Proceed, please.
21 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. We'll
22 see how things proceed and whether we'll be able to end
23 before time. Why not?
24 Q. You said this morning, General, that the 3rd
25 Corps had 32.000 soldiers and that a third was armed.
1 Do you maintain that now?
2 A. Yes, at that time, yes.
3 Q. What time was that? Can we be more specific?
4 A. I should like to remind you that I was
5 commander of the corps from the end of 1992 up until
6 October or November of 1993, and I'm speaking about
7 that time and in that name.
8 Q. So if my calculations are correct, a third of
9 32.000 is about 10.300 -- 10.600, 10.700 soldiers under
10 arms; is that it?
11 A. Yes, at the front line, a big front line, a
12 big number.
13 Q. The front line, you said, was 500 kilometres?
14 A. A lot of time has gone by, Mr. President, and
15 I apologise, so I can't remember everything. I'm just
16 seeking confirmation.
17 Q. So we said a third, did we?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. After that --
20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, that is what you said.
21 MR. NOBILO:
22 Q. First of all, you said this morning that in
23 Vitez and in the villages around Vitez, there were no
24 military formations, and you used the term "military
25 effectives." Is that correct? Before the open
1 conflict, the 16th of April.
2 A. No.
3 Q. So there were not. We can understand your
4 answer in two ways. Are you saying that there were no
5 military effectives in the villages around Vitez before
6 the conflict of the 16th of April, 1993?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Furthermore, you said that in Stari Vitez,
9 the civilians found themselves in an encirclement, from
10 the 16th of April onwards, 1993. Do you maintain that
11 now still?
12 A. Civilians in an encirclement?
13 Q. Yes, that is what you said this morning.
14 A. Yes, I maintain that now. I also said -- I
15 don't know whether you noticed that -- that when people
16 would go home to rest, what happened was that some of
17 them would take their rifles with them; and also, when
18 there was a reconstruction of the Territorial Defence
19 and when it became the Armija in the municipality, as a
20 structure of Territorial Defence, under the competence
21 of the wartime presidency president of the
22 municipality, then there were platoons and so on which
23 were not within the army structure.
24 Q. Was that true for the Vitez municipality as
25 well, what you have just described?
1 A. I think there was something like that. There
2 were some people there.
3 Q. The 325th Brigade, Mountain Brigade, was it
4 within the composition of the 3rd Corps?
5 A. Yes, it was.
6 Q. And where was the command post on the eve of
7 the conflict of the 16th of April, 1993?
8 A. I'd have to take a look at the map. I can't
10 Q. Do you accept that it was in the village of
11 Kruscica near Vitez, the 325th Mountain Brigade command
13 A. Yes, possibly above Vitez.
14 Q. Do you accept that in Stari Vitez, according
15 to the words of Sefkija Dzidic, who was in command of
16 the forces there, that there were 250 soldiers and
17 policemen in Stari Vitez?
18 A. I don't know about the policemen, how many
19 there were, but no soldiers. That was not possible.
20 Q. What about Ahmici; were there any units of
21 Territorial Defence there or BH army?
22 A. No.
23 Q. I should like to ask the usher to show the
24 witness the following document: 196. Please check
25 whether it is under seal. I don't think it is.
1 General, please look at this map, this map,
2 and tell me only whether you agree or disagree with the
3 forces deployed as they are here.
4 Just give it to the General.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Just a moment. I would like
6 the Judges to see the map as well. It should be on the
7 easel. This cannot be a dialogue between Mr. Nobilo
8 and the witness. The usher will put it on the easel,
9 and we will ask the technical booth to ensure that both
10 the Judges and the public gallery can be participants
11 in these proceedings.
12 MR. NOBILO:
13 Q. General, I suggest that you get closer to the
14 map. It is very difficult to see the letters, they are
15 so small --
16 JUDGE JORDA: I think that there is a
17 microphone that the witness can use with the map, isn't
18 there? You can stand, General Hadzihasanovic, but we
19 are going to give you another microphone and another
20 headset, and if you wish to approach the map,
21 Mr. Kehoe, please do so, and Mr. Nobilo will ask his
23 Mr. Nobilo, if you want to approach the map,
24 you can, but be careful and be sure that the Judges can
1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have a copy
2 here, so perhaps you would like to have it. Perhaps it
3 would be of help to you.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you.
5 MR. NOBILO:
6 Q. General, the question is a simple one: Do
7 you agree with the facts that are depicted on this map?
8 A. First I have to have a look.
9 JUDGE JORDA: Take your time. These are
10 sensitive questions that are being asked. I want the
11 witness to reflect carefully about what he is going to
12 say, Mr. Nobilo.
13 General --
14 THE WITNESS: Mr. President?
15 JUDGE JORDA: General Hadzihasanovic, you
16 have seen the map.
17 What is the question, Mr. Nobilo? Perhaps
18 the witness may have to concentrate again when
19 answering your question. Oh, the witness doesn't hear.
20 MR. NOBILO: Can you hear me, General?
21 JUDGE JORDA: Do you hear me? Do you hear
22 me, General?
23 What's your question, Mr. Nobilo? Perhaps
24 the witness will need to concentrate on the map once
25 he's heard the question.
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. My question: The deployment of forces of the
3 BH army and the HVO, on this map, at this given point
4 in time, does it match what you know about this subject
6 A. This is my answer: I would have to collate
7 this map with a map from the headquarters where I was
8 in command.
9 JUDGE JORDA: I would like you -- well, so
10 that everyone can follow what you're saying, I would
11 like you to mention the colours of the different
12 fronts, Mr. Nobilo.
13 MR. NOBILO: I have to get closer too. It's
14 a bit too far for me. I think that blue is the army of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina and red is the HVO.
16 JUDGE JORDA: So that the proceedings are
17 clear. The blue is the Bosnian army, the orange
18 represents the HVO forces; is that right?
19 MR. NOBILO: That's right. That's right,
20 Mr. President.
21 JUDGE JORDA: And then the Serbs are in red.
22 MR. NOBILO: In red, red, that's right.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Now, General Hadzihasanovic,
24 this is an exhibit being given to you by Mr. Nobilo.
25 The question is ...
1 MR. NOBILO:
2 Q. To the best of your recollection, is this map
3 a truthful one?
4 A. Mr. President, in order for me to give a
5 precise answer, this map would have to be collated to a
6 map from the headquarters where I or my associates had
7 maps. Generally speaking, it could be accepted, if we
8 look at the HVO positions, but all the details, I don't
9 know if I can say for sure, and I would need time to
10 check this out and to give you an accurate answer.
11 Q. I'm going to put a very precise question to
12 you. Look at Ahmici. It doesn't say so there -- I
13 mean, you can't see the actual letters -- but you know
14 where Ahmici is by Nadioci, and tell me, what was the
15 army that was there?
16 Right by Nadioci, on the left-hand side, and
17 what is the designation there? What is the army
18 there: the BH army or the HVO, according to this map?
19 With your permission, Mr. President, perhaps
20 I can show it to him?
21 A. The print is very fine. It's very hard for
22 me to tell.
23 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, it's very difficult to see
24 Ahmici on the map, Mr. Nobilo.
25 Mr. Kehoe, if you want to approach the
1 map ...
2 MR. NOBILO:
3 Q. Could you please give us an answer?
4 A. Yes. I just wanted to give you an answer,
5 Mr. President. The circle is in blue. There is no --
6 there is nothing else that it says there. I don't know
7 who drew this, and I said, this really has to be
8 checked out. I don't know who drew this. I didn't.
9 Q. Thank you, General. Could you please sit
10 down? And I would like you to see document 475.
11 Before that, you said that in Ahmici, there were no
12 military forces, and in that connection, I'm asking for
13 document 475 to be given to you. That is a Prosecution
15 General, you wrote this order on the 16th of
16 April, 1993, and you ordered the units of the 3rd Corps
17 to take positions. After the words "Order," after the
18 word "Order," point number 1, line number 5 in the
19 Croat language reads as follows -- I am going to read
20 it. You are asking for a battalion and you are asking
21 for it to be sent, and now I'm quoting:
22 " ... in order to give assistance to our
23 forces in the village of Putis, Jelinak, Loncari,
24 Nadioci, and Ahmici."
25 The point is, "our" forces in Ahmici. What
1 do you say to that, General? Is this order in line
2 with what you testified before this Honourable Court?
3 A. The order has to be read in its entirety, not
4 only partially.
5 Q. Well, please go ahead.
6 JUDGE JORDA: If you agree, perhaps we should
7 take a break. It's a quarter after four. That will
8 give the witness time to read the order, take a
9 20-minute break, and resume at about twenty-five to.
10 All right. Court stands adjourned until
12 --- Recess taken at 4.17 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.39 p.m.
14 JUDGE JORDA: We will now resume the
15 hearing. Have the accused brought in, please.
16 (The accused entered court)
17 JUDGE JORDA: You're not too tired, General?
18 All right. Let's continue.
19 MR. NOBILO:
20 Q. General, the question is related to document
21 475. How do you explain your testimony before this
22 Honourable Court that in these villages around Vitez,
23 there were no army troops, especially not in Ahmici,
24 and in this order that we read now, this is your own
25 order, you are talking about helping "our" forces in
1 Ahmici, Nadioci, et cetera.
2 A. This map, Mr. President, as it stands here,
3 is December 1992, January 1993. If this is a working
4 map that follows the situation as it is on the ground,
5 there should be a precise date on it. The document
6 that I am holding in my hands now, my document,
7 pertains to the 16th of April, and it says very nicely
8 on it "Urgent." And part of the troops are supposed to
9 move from Zenica, that is, the direction from Zenica to
10 Ahmici, because since Ahmici had already happened, the
11 Territorial Defence detachment was already running from
12 Zenica towards Ahmici, towards Ahmici. That is what
13 this order refers to, not this map. I don't know who
14 drew this map.
15 Q. I forgot too, to tell you the truth. We are
16 concentrating on your order of the 16th of April --
17 forget about the map. That was for a certain period.
18 On the 16th of April, you said that when the
19 conflict breaks out in April 1993, when the conflict
20 broke out, there were no forces of yours there, and on
21 the basis of this order, it says that you are sending
22 help to "our" forces, I quote. You are saying that you
23 are sending someone to help "our" forces in Ahmici and
24 in other villages. So ...
25 A. Mr. President, after the events in Ahmici, I
1 repeat, the detachment from Zenica was the first one to
2 react, the Territorial Defence detachment, in order to
3 prevent a further escalation, and I wrote the order in
4 the morning to this unit to prepare a unit and to move
5 it, if necessary, if help is necessary. So we are
6 talking about after Ahmici. There was no army in
7 Ahmici. And then when you move the army, you're
8 supposed to give them grid points, et cetera, to go
9 here, and that is not to say that there was an army in
10 Ahmici at that time. Ahmici has an area of its own.
11 Q. But, General, you are saying "our" forces in
12 Ahmici, your forces are in Ahmici. That is what you
13 say in this order.
14 A. I am interpreting this to you, what it means,
15 and please look at the map, see in which direction they
16 are moving and who is exactly supposed to help the
17 Territorial Defence detachment, the first one that went
18 out after the massacre in Ahmici.
19 Q. But at what time in the morning did you write
20 this order?
21 A. I cannot remember, but if you would check the
22 signal system, you would be able to find out when it
23 was sent.
24 Q. So, General, the document is
25 self-explanatory. And now I'm asking you the
1 following: On the 16th of April, were there any forces
2 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina or of the Territorial
3 Defence in Ahmici?
4 A. No.
5 Q. There is something else I wish to ask you.
6 On the 16th of April, 1993 [as interpreted], Ambassador
7 Thebault told you about the intentions of the HVO to
8 attack you. Did you take the ambassador seriously or
9 did you think that he was joking or what?
10 A. I had estimates and information, intelligence
11 information, that something like that was being
12 prepared. So Ambassador Thebault did not surprise me
13 greatly. As a matter of fact, it is correct that on
14 the 15th of April and on the 14th, we were preparing
15 ourselves to commemorate the first anniversary of the
16 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our activities were
17 considerably within the scope of our possibilities,
18 symbolically focused on those activities, and we hoped
19 this would not happen.
20 MR. NOBILO: There is a mistake in the
21 transcript in my question. I was asking about
22 Ambassador Thebault and his warning. I said that this
23 took place on the 14th of April, 1993, not the 16th, as
24 it says here in my question.
25 Q. So you had intelligence reports, and
1 Ambassador Thebault confirmed this. Did you inform
2 your subordinate units about this information that you
3 had received?
4 A. I warned subordinate units that this might
5 happen, but precisely where and when, in which time and
6 place, no, because the previous conversation I had was
7 turned to Zenica.
8 Q. General, you said that you had under your
9 control all the units in the 3rd Corps except for
10 certain groups of Mujahedin, and now I'm asking you the
11 following: These groups of Mujahedin, were these
12 smallish groups of foreigners or is this the El Mujahed
14 A. Mr. President, groups or units of Mujahedin
15 were not within the composition of the BH army. The
16 El Mujahed detachment was established only in 1994.
17 Q. What about these Mujahedin, foreigners,
18 whatever you choose to call them? When did you disarm
19 them and expel them? When did that happen?
20 A. I did not say that I disarmed them. I did
21 not say that I expelled them. There were individuals
22 and groups that made problems, even in the town of
23 Zenica, and the MUP had to deal with them. When they
24 sought our help, then we took part in their disarmament
25 as well. They were not members of the BH army in '92
1 and in '93. For me, they were outside the structure of
2 the army.
3 Q. How many such armed persons were there within
4 the zone of responsibility of the 3rd Corps, these
5 people who were armed but not under your control?
6 A. Perhaps about 30, perhaps 35.
7 Q. And all the rest, the 7th Muslim in its
8 entirety, was it under your command, under your chain
9 of command and your control?
10 A. The 7th Muslim was in the chain of command of
11 the 3rd Corps.
12 Q. You said that you ordered to control the
13 Zenica-Travnik route so that you could go around Vitez
14 and ensure supplies and communication; is that true?
15 A. This was in June when Gornji Vakuf was
17 Q. Are you aware that in June 1993, the 7th
18 Muslim, along with some local forces of the army of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, was from Zenica to Travnik and that
20 they ethnically cleansed 50 Croat villages of the
21 municipalities of Zenica and Travnik and the entire
22 population was expelled from there? Have you ever
23 heard of this piece of information? These houses are
24 burned until the present day, and they were not
25 repaired at all.
1 A. The army did not carry out ethnic cleansing.
2 Because there was a war, who went where is a different
3 matter. Do you know that the Croat population, on the
4 instructions of the HVO, had to leave these areas, that
5 is to say, this was not done by the army.
6 Q. You are not aware of the mass graves, for
7 example, near Bikosi? Over 30 people were shot by the
8 7th Muslim, that those were Croat men, mostly
9 civilians, some of them prisoners of war. Do you know
10 about that? A man testified here who escaped his own
11 shooting. Did you hear that?
12 A. No. No, I don't know that.
13 Q. Do you know that these villages between
14 Zenica and Travnik, all Croat villages were burned, all
15 of them?
16 A. They were not burned.
17 Q. Did you perhaps complain in 1993 that you did
18 not have the 7th Muslim under your own control?
19 A. No. Only once, in a conversation, I think I
20 told Blaskic that there were foreigners that were not
21 under my control and that could create problems, and
22 those are the foreigners I talked about.
23 Q. Very well. I would like to read a document
24 to you, that is, Prosecution Exhibit 242. It is in
25 English, so perhaps we could put it on the ELMO, annex
1 D, Prosecutor's Exhibit.
2 MR. NOBILO: In order to speed things up, we
3 can put a copy of this document on the ELMO.
4 MR. HAYMAN:
5 Q. General, this is a portion of a report
6 prepared by the European Community Monitoring Mission,
7 and it proports to memorialise an interview that
8 Charles McLeod had with you on or about the 7th of May,
9 1993. I'm going to read you the second paragraph, and
10 the question is: Did you, in substance, state what is
11 recounted here in that interview?
12 "Regarding the movement of troops,
13 Hadzihasanovic said that this was only a rotation.
14 Access to the prison is no problem for ECMM or Fr
15 [Friar] Stepin. He claimed no knowledge of the other
16 prisons such as the music school and MUP. He did say
17 that there were other forces at work."
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. Tell me, the music school, who held that
20 prison under its control?
21 A. I don't know that this was a prison.
22 Q. Were there imprisoned and detained Croats
24 A. I do not have such information.
25 Q. Did you say this? What my colleague just
1 read out to you, did you say this to Charles McLeod?
2 A. This was taken out of context of a particular
4 Q. But do you recall having said that?
5 A. Could you translate this sentence once
6 again? I don't want to give an inaccurate answer.
7 MR. HAYMAN: Paragraph 2, I quote:
8 "Regarding the movement of troops,
9 Hadzihasanovic said that this was only a rotation.
10 Access to the prison is no problem for ECMM or Fr
11 [Friar] Stepin. He claimed no knowledge of the other
12 prisons such as the music school and MUP. He did say
13 that there were other forces at work."
14 A. What does this mean, "other forces at work"?
15 I don't understand that.
16 MR. NOBILO:
17 Q. We're asking you. Did you say that?
18 A. But look, I am the one who is supposed to
19 answer this question, and I don't understand the
21 JUDGE JORDA: I'm asking you to concentrate,
22 General Hadzihasanovic. I think the question is
23 clear. We're talking about a report of a meeting where
24 allegedly you said this sentence. We don't have to
25 read it for the third time, especially since Defence
1 time has almost come to an end. We want to see what
2 your answer is.
3 A. Mr. President, I agree, and I am going to
4 give an answer, but I'm afraid that I'm going to make a
5 mistake. The last sentence in this paragraph is
6 unclear to me.
7 JUDGE JORDA: I think there were two
8 questions, Mr. Nobilo, one on the prisons and one on
9 the last sentence which, in fact, isn't really very
11 MR. NOBILO: Yes. The key question is
12 whether he said it. If the General doesn't remember,
13 we're satisfied with that, and we can move on. So a
14 simple question: Did he say it? That's the first
15 thing we wish to know. Does he remember saying this?
16 JUDGE JORDA: Are you talking about the
17 prison or are you talking about the last sentence,
18 Mr. Nobilo?
19 MR. NOBILO: Everything that was read out,
20 both sentences, both with regard to the prison in the
21 music school and the last sentence.
22 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We will repeat it
23 for you a third time.
24 Mr. Hayman, please, I will give you another
25 five extra minutes. Actually, I don't -- well, I
1 didn't cause the electricity to go out. I can assure
2 you that I'm not the one.
3 We do have to try to clarify this point.
4 Mr. Hayman will read it for the third and last time.
5 Try to answer. You know, you don't know, or you don't
7 MR. HAYMAN: "Regarding the movement of
8 troops, Hadzihasanovic said that this was only a
9 rotation. Access to the prison is no problem for ECMM
10 or Fr [Friar] Stepin. He claimed no knowledge of the
11 other prisons such as the music school and MUP. He did
12 say that there were other forces at work."
13 A. Apart from the last sentence, the rest is
14 probably correct, but I do not understand the last
15 sentence and what it means, and so my answer does not
16 apply to the last sentence because I don't understand
17 it. What other forces and what does this --
18 MR. NOBILO:
19 Q. But, General, two minutes ago, you said that
20 there was no prison at the music school.
21 A. I said that again here. I said the ECMM was
22 going to check out and see whether there was one or
24 Q. Before you came to the Tribunal, General, did
25 you talk to the representatives of the Office of the
1 Prosecutor from The Hague? Did you make a statement to
3 A. You mean me personally?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. I gave an initial statement on the 6th or
7 Q. General --
8 JUDGE JORDA: I would be interested in
9 knowing that. When did you make that prior statement?
10 [Technical difficulty]
11 JUDGE JORDA: I didn't get the interpretation
12 in French for that. Please continue. There was no
13 interpretation in French. All right. Let me ask the
14 question again. When did you make your statement to
15 the Office of the Prosecutor, General Hadzihasanovic.
16 [Technical difficulty]
17 A. I haven't got the documents with me, but I
18 think it was 1996 or 1997.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Is there interpretation in
20 French now? Do you hear me? Can the interpreters
22 All right, Mr. Nobilo, please continue.
23 [Technical difficulty]
24 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. We're not getting any
25 translation from the English booth.
1 MR. HAYMAN: Only five more minutes.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear this side?
3 Can you hear this microphone?
4 JUDGE JORDA: The technical problem is solved
5 now. We will give you the equivalent amount of time
6 that you need. Don't worry. We will work like in
7 football games and we'll take into account the pauses.
8 But I'd like to know why there was a translation
9 problem. Do you need another three or four minutes?
10 Help us, Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: There is no more problem.
12 The technical problem has been solved.
13 JUDGE JORDA: No further problems. Is the
14 French booth all right? Okay. We can resume. You
15 have until five minutes after five.
16 MR. NOBILO: Yes.
17 Q. General, did you say on that occasion --
18 JUDGE JORDA: You know, this is taking up the
19 Judges' time. Go ahead.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. General, in that talk, did you say that you
22 had under your command 87.000 people and not 32.000, as
23 you said before this Trial Chamber here today?
24 A. The 3rd Corps numbered at that time 32.000,
25 but it kept growing. However, I solved problems for
1 almost 87-odd-thousand people, because from the staff
2 of the main command, I was given the responsibility
3 that because the 2nd Corps with the 7th JUG Group could
4 not command, and it had physical links with me in
5 Tesanj, Teslic, towards Doboj, and I had to solve the
6 problems which they had asked me to solve.
7 Q. We're going to read out the sentence, and
8 tell us, please, whether you said that or did not say
10 MR. HAYMAN: Page 3, paragraph 3, third
12 "In the 3 Corps area, I had 87.000 soldiers
13 and approximately one third had weapons."
14 MR. NOBILO:
15 Q. Did you say that or did you not?
16 A. I don't know how this was typed out. I am
17 explaining to you how it was. I am explaining the
18 sentence, making it clearer. Thirty-two thousand is
19 correct, and I was added an operative group. It was
20 called the Istok Group, East Group, 7th JUG Group, 7th
21 South Group, and if I were to look at my documents
22 again, then this surpassed 80.000 men.
23 Q. So you did command over 80.000 men, did you
25 A. I did not command them. I solved the
1 problems when they referred those problems to me, and
2 the most frequent problems were of a logistic nature
3 because there were no roads or communications.
4 Q. So you do not agree with the assertion that
5 you had so many people in the 3rd Corps.
6 I am now going to read you another
7 quotation. You said that you did not have any
8 knowledge about the internal structure of the special
9 purpose units and the military police, that you do not
10 know whether they got orders from anybody else and that
11 you assume that they must have received their orders
12 from Blaskic because that was the case in the JNA and
13 that was the case where you were commanding, and now I
14 am going to read what you told the investigators. I'll
15 do it in Croatian. It's quicker.
16 "Always, when I would talk to him, Blaskic
17 maintained that those units were under the command of
18 somebody higher in the chain, and I believe him. But
19 he was always conscious of the existence of the
20 operations of those units."
21 Did you say that or did you not?
22 A. Yes, I did, and I also said that he should
23 have known about that. Read it once again, if the
24 President will allow you to do so.
25 Q. Let's move forward. Did you state:
1 "Kordic could have ordered the gathering of
2 the special purposes units. The special purposes units
3 that I'm talking about are the military police and the
4 intelligence people. The military police was led by
5 the command at Grude together with the intelligence
7 Did you say that?
8 A. I said that and I wrote it down. Do you need
9 an explanation?
10 Q. No. I want to know whether you did say that
11 or not. Next document --
12 A. Well, you will have to hear me out. Please,
13 Mr. President, would you hear me out?
14 MR. NOBILO: Well, this will be at the
15 Court's time, not on our time, Defence time.
16 JUDGE JORDA: Well, you're persuasive. By
17 asking a question, we are wasting even more time.
18 Well, anyway ...
19 Yes, go ahead.
20 MR. NOBILO:
21 Q. Do you agree with this sentence:
22 "Commanding of HVO units and special HVO
23 artillery, weapons, and rocket launchers is disturbed
24 and that this not under the HVO commander's Operative
25 Zone control."
1 It is the alleged shelling of Zenica on the
2 26th of March, '93, from a multiple-barrel rocket
4 A. What date, did you say?
5 Q. The 26th -- 1993. Is that your signature,
6 and do you agree with that statement?
7 A. This is the English version.
8 JUDGE JORDA: General Hadzihasanovic, try to
9 concentrate. It is a new judgement, a new document.
10 The Judges have to have it and the witness has to be
11 able to see it so that he can think about the answer
12 that he is going to give.
13 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, it is an original
14 in English signed by the witness, we believe, but it is
15 in English, so it has to be read to him so there is a
16 translation. Unless he reads English. I don't know.
17 MR. KEHOE: I think counsel noted that this
18 was March of 1993. It appears, counsel, to be June of
20 MR. HAYMAN: He said June.
21 MR. KEHOE: He said March. He said March.
22 It doesn't make any difference. The document speaks
23 for itself. It's June.
24 MR. HAYMAN: We agree. We agree.
25 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, let's not transform
1 this procedure into something it isn't, into one with
2 direct examination and cross-examination. Things have
3 been made clear. You can bring out anything you like
4 in your final arguments.
5 I want the sentence to be re-read carefully
6 for the witness, I want him to be familiar with it
7 before he gives us an answer, and then your questions
8 will come to an end, Mr. Nobilo.
9 THE REGISTRAR: This will be D585.
10 MR. HAYMAN: I suggest, Mr. President, I read
11 the introductory paragraph for context and to remind
12 the witness of what this is, and then I'll read the
13 paragraph about which we asked our question.
14 The document is entitled, "Report about
15 shelling Zenica" to UNPROFOR Vitez, ECMM, RC Zenica."
16 Paragraph 1:
17 "The meeting held in Stara Bila Vitez
18 (UNPROFOR camp) on 21.06.1993, between representatives
19 of a B&H and HVO shelling Zenica on 20.06.1993 were
21 Then six lines from the bottom --
22 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, counsel. Given the
23 fact that this is in English and it's one page, I
24 think, in deference to the witness, Mr. President, it
25 would be helpful for him just to read the whole
1 document. It is simply one page.
2 JUDGE JORDA: All right. Then read the
3 entire text.
4 MR. HAYMAN: "3 Corps Command Komission for
5 finding consequences of shelling found out that this
6 shelling was done from south-west direction, using a
7 rocket launcher.
8 "Considering a rocket range, from which
9 fragments at the ground were found, we can say for sure
10 that those rockets were sent by HVO side most probably
11 from large region south-east from Vitez. We know for
12 sure that HVO units in this region have such a rocket
13 launcher and they move it from one to another region.
14 "After this today held meeting Zenica was
15 shelled again with 9 missiles. A B&H observers
16 informed us that this shelling was done from S. Bucici
17 and Mali Mosunj direction and using two kinds of
19 There appears to be a word missing and
20 then ...
21 "Will inform you about that next day.
22 During this shelling two civilian were wounded very bad
23 and few civilian were easier wounded. We are asking
24 you to send to HVO command a very strong protest
25 because of shelling Zenica and because of those wounded
1 people. There are Croats among them also. Yesterday,
2 during shelling Zenica," someone, perhaps "Merkic Amir
3 was killed, and bad wounded are: 1. Hronic Dragica.
4 2. Crnkic Zahid. Easter wounded are 1. Sunjic
5 Mirjana. 2. Sunjic Vincenc. 3. Predojevic Bozica.
6 "We think that commanding of HVO units and
7 specially HVO artillery weapons and rocket launcher is
8 disturbed and that is not under HVO commanders
9 OZ MB control.
10 "This artillery HVO attacks which hurt
11 innocent people provocate a B&H member, special armed
12 civilian group which will maybe use their weapons but
13 not under 3 Corps Command Control."
14 General, did you write this letter?
15 A. I signed the letter as it's an English
16 version. This is a little perplexing, this sentence,
17 "All the artillery was under the HVO control." But
18 whether it was under direct control of General Blaskic
19 or it came -- those were our assumptions.
20 Q. One more question: Did you know that the
21 Jokers, the military police, when they were used in
22 combat, were under the command of the Ministry of
23 Defence of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,
24 according to the laws of Herceg-Bosna; did you know
25 that fact?
1 A. I did not know of that fact, but General
2 Blaskic, at our meetings, told me that that was not
3 under him, and I was not able to check that.
4 Q. We have a problem here with the
5 interpretation. Do you say that Blaskic told you that
6 those units were not under his command in 1993?
7 JUDGE JORDA: No, no, no. It's not -- let's
8 be very clear here. We're talking about the sentence
9 which is signed by you, General, which has to do with
10 knowing whether the artillery command was perturbed and
11 was not under HVO control.
12 What's the question, Mr. Nobilo? Ask the
13 question clearly; then we will come to an end because I
14 would like to release the witness tonight. It is an
15 important question. Take your time. Explain to the
16 witness what it is you are expecting from him, and then
17 I'm asking the witness to concentrate so that he can
18 give a very specific and clear answer. Mr. Nobilo,
19 please go ahead.
20 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, we have finished
21 with the document and have asked a new question. This
22 is a new question. And in that question, I asked
23 General Hadzihasanovic the following: Whether he knew
24 that, according to the laws of Herceg-Bosna, only the
25 defence minister can use the Jokers and other military
1 police for combat purposes.
2 Q. And, please, General, would you repeat your
4 A. I did not know the laws of Herceg-Bosna. I
5 was not acquainted with those laws, and I did not know
6 whether that was so under those laws. But Blaskic told
7 me this at one point during a pause in the meetings,
8 Blaskic told me that, but I was not aware of the laws
9 of Herceg-Bosna.
10 Q. Was that in 1993, during the war?
11 A. Well, if I were to look at my notebooks, I
12 would find a date, but it was at one of our meetings.
13 Q. Did he tell you, and did you know, that the
14 special purposes units, such as the Vitezovi, the other
15 ones in the -- were under the direct command of the
16 defence minister of Herceg-Bosna?
17 A. No, he did not mention the names to me.
18 MR. NOBILO: General, the Defence thanks you
19 for being so kind and answering sometimes boring
20 questions, but that is our business here. Thank you,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE JORDA: Strange sentence, like the
23 Judges' questions.
24 Judge Shahabuddeen, perhaps you have a
25 question. We'll try to release the witness this
2 Questioned by the Court:
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, very few
4 questions. Possibly two or three.
5 My recollection is that you were saying that
6 in January 1993, there were some armed groups fighting
7 on the side of Bosnia-Herzegovina who were still
8 outside the structure of the Armija. Did you say
9 something to that effect?
10 A. We turned the Territorial Defence into the
11 army, and the Territorial Defence was based at a
12 different conception. In addition to the Territorial
13 Defence, there were some people who were coming in from
14 foreign countries, various countries, who had weapons,
15 but as we conceived the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
16 we did not want these people in because they were
17 groups and small groups. It was easy to put a
18 Territorial Defence detachment of a city, for example,
19 into a brigade. It was not possible and I did not wish
20 that because I did not know their status. Their status
21 was defined only in 1994, and I don't know how many of
22 them there were then because I didn't take part in this
24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Apart from these armed
25 foreigners, were there any other armed groups who were
1 outside of the structure of the Armija?
2 A. No, no, except perhaps a criminal or two.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well, there may be --
4 A. There was -- but this was before the army was
5 established, as far as I can remember, in Zenica.
6 There was a group of armed persons called the HOS.
7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: And the HOS were on the
8 side of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. I insisted that they should be on that side
10 too, but the commander of this group, I don't know
11 whether he had a rank at that time, was Mr. Holman. He
12 kept telling me that he was commander of all the
13 members of HOS on the territory of all of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And then I referred him to
15 Sarajevo. If he is such a personality, if he seeks
16 cooperation with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that
17 he should do so through the general staff. He never
18 appeared after that, and later I heard that he joined
19 the HVO structure. I am not aware of his future.
20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did he take with him the
21 whole of the HOS or some elements of it over to the
22 side of the HVO?
23 A. I think that all of HOS left Zenica because I
24 think that it existed there, and elsewhere I did not
25 have any information that there were such units.
1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, let us talk a
2 little about what happened at Dusina. You said, I
3 believe, that you heard about it. I think you used the
4 word "rumours." And you also explained that you did
5 not inquire. Did you feel that although what reached
6 you reached you by way of rumour, that the matter was
7 sufficiently grave to warrant investigation by you as
8 the commanding officer of the 3rd Corps?
9 A. It's customary in Bosnia that when you say
10 "rumour," you are talking about what the man in the
11 street is saying when they are retelling events, when
12 they have heard of some kind of an event.
13 Honourable Judge, I did not receive any
14 official information from anyone that anything had
15 happened in Dusina so that I would officially take
16 action, any action.
17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: One last little
18 question: Was there, at any stage, any degree of
19 cooperation between the Armija and the Serbs?
20 A. No.
21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did the 3rd Corps ever
22 buy fuel or equipment from the VRS?
23 A. When I said "no," I'm referring to the 3rd
24 Corps. In that period of one year, when I was there,
25 no, we got fuel from the authorities of the
1 municipality of the district or some of the companies
2 that had some kind of reserves of their own.
3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, General.
4 A. Thank you too, sir.
5 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
6 Judge Rodrigues?
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 General, further to Judge Shahabuddeen's
9 question, I would like to ask you somewhat the same
10 thing. In relationship with the Croatian army, did you
11 have any cooperation, you in the army of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina, did you have any cooperation from
13 the Croatian army? I'm speaking about the conflict
14 between the army of the HVO and the Bosnian army.
15 A. Cooperation is a broad notion; however, I do
16 not remember any form of cooperation with the Croatian
17 army, because that's what you're asking about, the
18 Croatian army, right?
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question: You
20 spoke about the relationship between General Blaskic
21 and several politicians, Dario Kordic and Kostroman, as
22 well as others, and you used an image, if I've
23 understood correctly, when you said that Kostroman
24 would frequently say to Blaskic or he would frequently
25 speak with Blaskic, was there a connection between the
1 military man that Blaskic was and the politician that
2 Kostroman was and also Dario Kordic? Did you
3 understand that there was any type of relationship
4 between the political and the military levels?
5 A. Your Honour, as for Dario Kordic, there were
6 cases when we sought to resolve an incident, and then
7 we would receive an answer from General Blaskic saying,
8 "I have to consult Kordic," and I physically saw, that
9 is to say, with my very own eyes, that Ignac at
10 meetings sat right next to General Blaskic. He did not
11 speak publicly at meetings. He just whispered into his
12 ear, and what he whispered to him, that, I could not
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Therefore, if I've
15 understood you correctly, General, at least in the
16 examples that you gave us, there was some type of
17 subordination to Kordic by Blaskic; is that correct?
18 A. One could draw that conclusion.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But it is true that at
20 times, in order to resolve a problem, Blaskic would
21 answer and say, "Now, just a moment. I've got to
22 consult with Dario Kordic." Is that correct?
23 A. Right.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I have another question.
25 The problem that was being resolved was a military,
1 economic, cultural, social, or other type of problem;
2 is that correct? What kind of a problem was it?
3 A. Yes, I understood. Well, on several
4 occasions, the nature of the problem was the
5 following: Vehicles that were taken, convoys, bigger
6 or smaller, that were stopped, things that were taken
7 away, perhaps persons brought into custody, those were
8 the problems, by and large.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So there was an
10 organisational side in respect of how the military
11 operations were conducted; is that correct or is that
12 not correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You spoke about your
15 conversation about Ahmici, and you said that you had
16 contacts with Colonel Stewart. Do you remember the
17 date that you spoke about Stewart about Ahmici?
18 A. I don't remember the date, but it was a talk
19 without writing anything down in a notebook or anything
20 else, but several days did elapse. I can't remember
21 the date exactly.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, you said that you
23 learned about Ahmici on the same day, in the morning.
24 About how many days passed before you had that
25 conversation with Colonel Stewart? Do you have an idea
1 of that?
2 A. Perhaps several days, 10 or 15, because I
3 asked him to have the bodies taken out so that they
4 could be buried.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You also said about Ahmici,
6 that it was under HVO control. I would like to ask you
7 something. From your perspective, was it reasonable
8 for Blaskic to be familiar with the events in Ahmici
9 only on the 22nd of April, that is, almost a week
10 later? Is that reasonable or not? There was
11 communication. There was possibility of information
12 circulating. What is your opinion on that?
13 A. I think that Blaskic had to know on that very
14 same day or perhaps even earlier, in my opinion.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: That's your opinion. Thank
16 you. Another question: You spoke about your
17 invitation to celebrate Christmas at General
18 Blaskic's. There were many people, including Dario
19 Kordic, Kostroman, General Praljak. Ordinarily, under
20 the circumstances of that type, there are speeches.
21 Were there any speeches on that occasion?
22 A. I've just said that the first speech that was
23 made was made, I think, by Dario Kordic, and it was
24 unacceptable to me, so I apologised and left. Probably
25 there were other speeches as well.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I would like to go back to
2 that question. When you say, "it was not acceptable,"
3 the speech was not acceptable to you, why?
4 A. Because in that speech, it was said that this
5 part of Bosnia-Herzegovina is eternally Croatian and
6 that that is what it was today and that that is what it
7 will be in the future.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General. I have
9 no further questions. I would have a lot of questions,
10 but we have to respect my colleague's time, especially
11 in respect of what the President said, so that's all I
12 will ask you.
13 JUDGE JORDA: We decided that this testimony
14 would synthesise things because, for the last two
15 years, the Judges have received a great deal of
16 documentation from both sides. But I will give the
17 floor once again to Judge Shahabuddeen who has another
18 question to ask.
19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Who has half a question
20 to ask, General. It's my way of clarification of an
21 answer you gave to my brother, Judge Rodrigues.
22 I think you said to him that General Blaskic
23 had to know of what happened at Ahmici on that same day
24 or earlier. When you said "on that same day," to what
25 day were you referring?
1 A. The 16th of April.
2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you.
3 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Judge Shahabuddeen.
4 I'll ask you a quarter of a question because many
5 questions were asked by my colleagues.
6 When Colonel Blaskic at that time said to you
7 that some of the units were subordinate to Mostar, that
8 was before Ahmici; is that correct? They came under
9 the authority of the Ministry of Defence?
10 A. I think, yes.
11 JUDGE JORDA: When you learned that at
12 Ahmici, there were special units that had committed
13 crimes or that there were suspicions that there were
14 special units there, were you surprised or not?
15 A. I did not know immediately which units had
16 done it, but I knew that it was the HVO. After some
17 time, comments were being made about these units, that
18 they had done it.
19 JUDGE JORDA: When Colonel Blaskic said to
20 you that they were uncontrollable units or could not be
21 directly controlled by him, did you make a parallel
22 with your own Mujahedin, who, according to you, were
23 also not very easy to control?
24 A. These people who were called the Mujahedin,
25 at that time, were not a military formation, and they
1 were not my Mujahedin. Sorry for having given such an
2 answer, but that is correct.
3 JUDGE JORDA: In general, do you think that
4 in the structure, as it existed at that time, where
5 there was the issue of the HVO policy that Judge
6 Rodrigues referred to and military personnel, was it
7 conceivable that the commander of the Operative Zone of
8 Central Bosnia was simply a military man and was not at
9 all involved on any political level, or to the
10 contrary, do you think that at that level of
11 responsibility, one must accept the political plan of
12 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
13 A. I think that he was a participant at the
14 political level, although he was commander of the
15 Operative Zone. To what extent, that, I could not
17 JUDGE JORDA: In a military structure, which
18 is ordinarily hierarchial, units like the military
19 police in wartime fall under the responsibility of the
20 operative command, or could it be conceived that they
21 would be under the authority of the Ministry of
22 Justice? You, as a professional, what do you think?
23 In wartime.
24 A. If principles from training in the former
25 Yugoslav People's Army were being applied, and I
1 believe that they were, there were units of the
2 military police at different levels. So, for example,
3 a brigade would have some kind of a unit of its own of
4 the military police. The commander of the brigade,
5 with his military police, would resolve problems within
6 his own brigade.
7 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. I thought that you
8 had finished.
9 A. Excuse me. Just an addition. If there was a
10 corps for example, the corps could also have a military
11 police unit which would make it possible for the
12 commander of the corps to resolve problems within the
13 corps, problems of the corps. He could give such a
14 unit to his subordinate commander of the brigade too.
15 If he would give such a unit to the commander of the
16 brigade, then the commander of the brigade would have
17 to be in a position to command it. He never would give
18 the entire unit.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Did you ever report crimes to
20 the military police, crimes or other offences, when you
21 were the commander of your army corps, that is, to your
22 own military police?
23 A. I'm sorry. I did not quite understand the
24 question. I mean, the word "denounced," that, I did
25 not understand.
1 JUDGE JORDA: During your command, did you
2 ever ask your military police to investigate crimes
3 that had been allegedly committed by your subordinates?
4 A. I would send things to be checked out on the
5 ground, and very often, the returned information would
6 be that there was no crime, and when I say "very
7 often," I'm saying to the extent to which I asked for
8 things to be checked out. But I always tried, in
9 addition to the military police, to have the
10 international organisations participate in the
11 investigation too, and in Zenica, there were quite a
12 few of them.
13 JUDGE JORDA: When you would ask for that
14 type of information, would you follow up on them?
15 Would you ask for periodic reports so that you would
16 know the results of the investigations, the
17 investigations that the military police carried out?
18 A. Naturally, after such a task is completed, it
19 is only natural to write out a report and to say what
20 had happened and what had not happened.
21 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. This was a
22 long day for you, but that will prevent you having to
23 come back tomorrow. I think I can speak for my
24 colleagues when I say how grateful we are to you and
25 for all the information that you were able to give to
1 us about the events that you experienced at the time of
2 the facts ascribed to the accused. We wish
3 you bon voyage back to your country. Once again, thank
5 Court stands adjourned, and we will resume
6 tomorrow, Mr. Registrar, at 10.00, is that correct,
7 with a witness who is Colonel --
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Colonel
10 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Court stands
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
13 5.41 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
14 the 10th day of June, 1999, at
15 10.00 a.m.