1 Thursday, 29th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 10.06 a.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. Have the
5 accused brought in, Mr. Registrar, please?
6 (The accused entered court)
7 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the
8 interpreters. Do you hear me?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE JORDA: Today also we are able to see
11 them. Good morning to the counsel for the Prosecution,
12 counsel for the Defence, the court reporters, the
13 accused, and without further delay, we will continue
14 with our work on these last days of this trial.
15 Mr. Nobilo, you have the floor.
16 MR. NOBILO: Thank you, Mr. President. I
17 should like to request that we go back into closed
18 session briefly so that we can finish the issue we were
19 discussing yesterday -- a private session, I beg your
21 (Private session)
13 page 24998 redacted – private session
13 page 24999 redacted – private session
13 page 25000 redacted – private session
13 page 25001 redacted – private session
13 page 25002 redacted – private session
16 (Open session)
17 MR. NOBILO: So there is a host of material
18 evidence of the Prosecution and the Defence confirming
19 the conclusion, in addition to what I had already said,
20 that the special purpose unit Vitezovi were not within
21 the chain of command of General Blaskic. They were
22 occasionally attached, as can be seen from the order
23 that we will be going back to and as was explained both
24 by General Blaskic and Slavko Marin. And to be
25 attached means that that unit may be used in a
1 particular battle, but no disciplinary measures can be
2 taken against members, the commander cannot be
3 dismissed, it is outside the plan of logistic supply,
4 so it simply means the right to deploy it. That is
5 what the military term "attachment" means.
6 There is another point to be made. When a
7 unit is being attached, and we mustn't forget that when
8 talking about the Vitezovi and the military police, the
9 main chain of command remains intact. So that the
10 commander of the Vitezovi unit or the military police
11 allows Blaskic to use that unit, but the main chain of
12 command always remains the same. That is why we talk
13 about dual command because throughout these two chains
14 of command are preserved, regardless if a unit has been
15 given to Blaskic to deploy. We will prove that both in
16 the case of the Vitezovi and of the military police.
17 One of the key documents, in the opinion of
18 the Prosecution, is Defence Exhibit 666. It is an
19 order whereby the Vitezovi were attached to Blaskic on
20 the 19th of January, 1993.
21 Let us place a document on the ELMO, please.
22 So on the 19th of January, 1993 -- we need to focus
23 better so that we can see the whole document. On the
24 19th of January, 1993, the Vitezovi were attached to
25 Blaskic. On the 19th of January, the Vitezovi were
1 attached to Blaskic. The question is: Did this mean a
2 reorganisation of the system of command in the HVO and
3 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, so that Blaskic
4 from that day onwards was in command of the Vitezovi,
5 as alleged by my learned friends from the Prosecution,
6 or was it something else? In fact, it was something
8 Document 508A, which is now on the screen,
9 dated the 15th of January, 1993 --
10 JUDGE JORDA: Excuse me. This is an exhibit
11 of the Prosecution or the Defence, 508?
12 MR. NOBILO: It is a Prosecution Exhibit,
14 JUDGE JORDA: I beg your pardon. Please
16 MR. NOBILO: On the basis of Prosecution
17 Exhibit 508A, which is an order for the attachment of
18 all HVO units and the BH army in Province 10, dated the
19 15th of January, 1993. Bruno Stojic, as you will
20 recall, in connection with the negotiations in Geneva
21 and the Vance-Owen Plan ordered -- just as Petkovic
22 ordered Blaskic that in some units or, rather, in some
23 provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the HVO would be
24 subordinated to the BH army, and in some places, the BH
25 army to the HVO. Province 10 is roughly the Operative
1 Zone of Central Bosnia. So look at point 1 now.
2 Petkovic is giving the order that all, and I underline
3 the word "all," all units of the HVO and the BH army
4 should be placed under the command of the commander of
5 the Operative Zone.
6 The meaning of this document was for the BH
7 army to be attached to the Operative Zone of Central
8 Bosnia. That was the main meaning of this. But that
9 principle could not be carried out for an entire BH
10 army in a province to be subordinated to a commander of
11 the Operative Zone, without all the units of the HVO
12 not being subordinated to the commander of the
13 Operative Zone. So the aim being for BH army forces to
14 be subordinated or placed under the command of the
15 commander of the Operative Zone in accordance with
16 document 508A. Four days later, Petkovic issues an
17 order for the Vitezovi to be attached too, which is
18 only natural, because in line with this order, all
19 units, both of the army and of the HVO, need to be
20 attached to that command. But the main reason was for
21 the army to be subordinated to the HVO.
22 What happened? It responded by saying no.
23 The army attached the HVO in Busovaca and refused
24 flatly to be attached to the HVO. On the 24th of
25 January, a conflict broke out, and this entire project
1 collapsed and became futile. As a result, the order on
2 the attachment of the Vitezovi was senseless because it
3 was only part of a broader project for these units to
4 be subordinated to this Operative Zone command.
5 As this order became empty, meaningless, so
6 did the order on the attachment of the Vitezovi, which
7 immediately after the conflict in January went back
8 under their previous command. Of course, the people
9 that provided that order to the Prosecution forgot to
10 provide the Prosecution with that other order with
11 which the Vitezovi are restored to their previous
12 command, and the Defence, of course, had no ability to
13 get hold of either of those orders, but we know that
14 they exist, and we will prove that the Vitezovi,
15 immediately after the conflict of the 24th of January,
16 were restored to their former state, that is, went back
17 under the command of Mostar.
18 That this was indeed so, is evident also from
19 a report of the Vitezovi, which we will see in a
20 moment. This is a part of Defence Exhibit 250, and it
21 shows that on the 15th of March, 1993, the Vitezovi
22 unit sent a report on their combat activities in
23 Central Bosnia, and those activities were in January,
24 that is, the conflict between the HVO and the BH.
25 To whom did they send that report? Of
1 course, to Bruno Stojic and Milivoj Petkovic, their
2 commanders. Commanders always send reports to their
3 superior command. If there had been a dual system of
4 command on the 15th of March, then a report would have
5 been sent to Bruno Stojic and General Petkovic but also
6 to Blaskic. Then we would have evidence of this dual
7 system of command. However, here, we have evidence on
8 a single chain of command, which means that the
9 Vitezovi were restored to the position they held before
10 the 19th of January when the order on their attachment
11 was issued, Prosecutor's Exhibit 666.
12 That the Vitezovi were under the command of
13 Bruno Stojic and Milivoj Petkovic is clearly evident
14 from Defence Exhibit 250. Could the technical booth
15 please switch back to the ELMO, and you see -- could
16 you blow it up a little bit? We're interested in these
17 highlighted portions where mention is made of Milivoj
18 Petkovic. We see the words following the order of
19 Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic. The Vitezovi wrote this in
20 their report, saying that they received an order from
21 Milivoj Petkovic and, also on the 24th of October, from
22 Bruno Stojic, and from this, we clearly see who was
23 their commander.
24 However, it is important to see who was their
25 commander in 1993, so I will quote several sentences
1 from Exhibit 250, which is a report on the whole of the
2 1992 and 1993, and we will place it on the ELMO now to
3 see what the deputy commander of the Vitezovi says as
4 to who was his commander in 1993. So I'm quoting:
5 "Communication with our superiors in the past period
6 was practically non-existent. We were forced to handle
7 the paperwork as we thought it should be done, as
8 nobody amongst us had any training. Each time we
9 called the General Corps and asked for instructions,
10 the answer was the same: 'Call Mostar'," and it is
11 well known how the communication lines worked back
13 "I had the first contact with my superior
14 when I ..." and the report is written by Drago Vinac,
15 Drago Kraljevic's deputy, "... was admitted to therapy
16 which I refused because of its length. I was in a
17 hurry to go back." So we can see from this sentence
18 that the Vitezovi in that period, in 1993, this was
19 written in 1994, had no communication with their
20 superiors, and the Vitezovi are from Vitez, and
21 Blaskic's headquarters was in Vitez too. When
22 confronted with administrative problems and when they
23 asked for instructions from the general corps, they
24 said, "Call Mostar." And if the Vitezovi had been
25 subordinated to Blaskic, then they would take care of
1 them as they did of all other units. Why would they
2 say "Call Mostar"? Quite clearly because they had
3 nothing to do with them. Their superiors were in
5 Finally, Vinac said: "My first contact with
6 my commander occurred when I went for treatment, but I
7 refused because I had to go back." So he went outside
8 the Lasva Valley for medical treatment, and only then
9 did he have personal contact with his direct superior.
10 So it is quite clear that the commander was not Colonel
11 Blaskic. He was not in command of the Vitezovi, but
12 somebody outside the Operative Zone; therefore, General
13 Petkovic, according to his own admission.
14 The sources do not only come from Croatian
15 HVO sources confirming that Blaskic did not have
16 control but from independent sources that we can
17 trust. The British officer Matthew wrote in his
18 notebook on the 12th of April, 1993, four words. He
19 doesn't have the power, Bruno, Vitezovi, and Mostar.
20 The witness noted this on the 12th of April, 1993, and
21 he could not remember the meaning of those words. But
22 you, Your Honours, who have heard a great deal of
23 testimony can decipher those words which the witness is
24 no longer able to do. Who was the general commander in
25 the Operative Zone? Blaskic. He doesn't have power.
1 That must be an exception. The word "Bruno," the only
2 person called Bruno in Central Bosnia is Bruno Stojic,
3 the Defence Minister from Mostar. The word "Vitezovi"
4 is linked to the word "Bruno." So Bruno Stojic,
5 Vitezovi, and the word "Mostar," the headquarters of
6 the man called Bruno. That is Bruno Stojic, the
7 Defence Minister in Mostar.
8 When you decipher those four words that the
9 witness could not do, it is clear that Tihomir Blaskic
10 had no power over the Vitezovi, that the commander was
11 Bruno Stojic from Mostar.
12 Next, during 1993, the headquarters from
13 Mostar still had the Vitezovi on a tight leash, which
14 can be seen from Exhibit 580, which we will place on
15 the ELMO right now. Can you just zoom in a little bit,
17 This is an order of Bruno Stojic, and now we
18 will place the Croatian text of it in order for you to
19 be able to see the signature and the stamp. On the
20 right side, you see "Bruno Stojic" and you see "Mostar"
21 and you see "Defence Department, Croatian Defence
22 Council." This is an order. And on the left-hand
23 side, we have the distribution, to whom this was all
24 delivered, and I now please ask you to put the English
25 version back on.
1 So from the distribution list, you can see to
2 whom the order was sent, and we see "Central Bosnia
3 Operative Zone, Number 3," and then "Professional
4 Battalion 'Vitezovi' Vitez" which proves that in June
5 1993 when this order was received, the Vitezovi had a
6 separate chain of command, separate from the Operative
7 Zone. So it was correct what we heard and what I had
8 explained in the private session. Had that been true,
9 in the military logic, that would not be possible.
10 Bruno Stojic would deliver his order to the Operative
11 Zone, and then the Operative Zone would distribute it
12 further down to its own units. So why was this not
13 delivered to Blaskic? Because they were under the
14 Operative Zone, like the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade,
15 but the Vitezovi were not, so it was not delivered to
17 The Prosecution has produced a single
18 exhibit, this is Exhibit 456/20, which states
19 otherwise. This is a letter of Darko Kraljevic to the
20 3rd Corps. Now, why is this so? This is on the 15th
21 of April. The day before, on the 14th of April, the BH
22 army tried to assassinate Darko Kraljevic. UNPROFOR
23 rescued him, and Cerkez's people also helped him escape
24 unharmed. The Vitezovi had a bad reputation with the
25 BH army. Darko Kraljevic felt threatened, and he sent
1 a message to the BH army, "If you attack me, you have
2 attacked the Central Bosnia Operative Zone." This is a
3 way for him to protect himself on the one side. And on
4 the other side, according to General Blaskic's
5 testimony, on 15 April, after an attempt was made on
6 his life, Darko Kraljevic came to Blaskic and said,
7 "They kidnapped Totic. They killed his escorts.
8 These tried to assassinate me. I place myself at the
9 disposal of the Operative Zone." At that point, Darko
10 made this decision, "They will kill us all one by one,"
11 so he placed himself under his command. When he felt
12 threatened, when an attempt was made on his life, that
13 is when he placed himself under Blaskic's command.
14 The next attempt at proving that Darko
15 Kraljevic was obeying Blaskic's orders is Blaskic's
16 order in which he prohibits attacks against Muslim
17 property, that is, breaking into their apartments, and
18 a certificate which he issued to a Muslim showing that
19 he was under the protection of the Vitezovi, if he was
20 attack. But this is absurd. This is meaningless. Had
21 Darko Kraljevic been under Blaskic's order and had he
22 received that order which prohibits him to break into
23 Muslim orders, he would have issued that order to his
24 subordinate command. What we see is that Darko
25 Kraljevic had the ability to issue individual orders or
1 certificates protecting Muslims, and we see that it was
2 his personal power.
3 Then we have in transcript 6436, line 9, we
4 have Mr. McLeod, who states: "It is clear that Darko
5 Kraljevic clearly had two chains of command," but he
6 was not able to investigate properly what those lines
7 were. He is also mentioning Ramiz Dugalic's account,
8 which was an intelligence officer. He told him this:
9 "The HVO has two formations: One is legal and one who
10 does the dirty work." This unit which does the dirty
11 work is commanded by Darko Kraljevic. Now, the
12 question is raised: Why the unit which has a direct
13 link to Mostar is doing the dirty work? How come the
14 BH army is pointing to that unit as the one which is
15 doing the dirty work and not to the units that are
16 commanded by Blaskic? And this is a very interesting
17 point to make.
18 Sefkija Dzidic, if you will recall, was one
19 of the commanders of Stari Vitez. He knows Cerkez. He
20 knows Darko Kraljevic. He was around for a long time.
21 On page 1369, he stated: "The Vitezovi were absorbed
22 into the HVO on 16 April, 1993." He points to that
23 date. He was surrounded in the Old Vitez, and he did
24 not have information what was going on afterwards, but
25 before 16 April, the communication was open. He knew
1 what was going on. So Sefkija Dzidic, BH army
2 commander, says that the Vitezovi were not incorporated
3 into the HVO before 16 April. And when he says the
4 HVO, he was referring to the brigade which was under
5 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone command.
6 The second Prosecution witness, Kavazovic, on
7 page 2425, he testified that Darko Kraljevic had a
8 private army which received orders exclusively from
9 him. This is how he perceived it. But on page 2455,
10 he explicitly states: "Kraljevic was separate from the
11 HVO and the military police and nobody could oppose
12 him." This is what a Prosecution witness states.
13 Prosecution witness Baggesen noticed a
14 difference between the HVO and the HOS, which is
15 another name for the Vitezovi because there was a lot
16 of confusion, and he noticed who had better arms,
17 better weapons.
18 Another Prosecution witness, Tudor, said that
19 the Vitez HOS can attack on its own. What is the
20 meaning of that? That means that they are not under
21 the command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
22 We will look into several more quotes. If we
23 can ask the technical booth for assistance now,
24 please. We also need the audio. I'm going to repeat
1 (Videotape played) 2 "Mr. Nobilo:
3 Q In your opinion, looking at it from the
4 sides, do you think that Blaskic could
5 have commanded Darko Kraljevic, Zuti,
6 and similar individuals as a commander
7 vis-à-vis his subordinates?
8 A Under conditions of this kinds, not at
9 all, at no events."
10 MR. NOBILO: This was witness Edvard Tolo,
11 and I now ask that we move into the private session,
12 please. Are we there yet?
13 (Private session)
23 (Open session)
24 MR. NOBILO: So on the basis of everything I
25 have said so far, it is clear that Darko Kraljevic and
1 the special purpose unit Vitezovi were not in the chain 2 of command of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
3 command. They had their own chain of command which
4 went from Darko Kraljevic to General Petkovic and Bruno
6 The Vitezovi, as of 16 April, were attached
7 in certain combat operations to General Blaskic but not
8 subordinated to him. That means they were attached
9 which means that he could use them but he could not
10 give -- that he could not dismiss, that he could not
11 give any disciplinary measures, he could not decide on
12 their salaries, on their logistics, and they were not
13 part of the integral or organic part of the Central
14 Bosnia Operative Zone command. So General Blaskic,
15 except in situations where he was directly conducting
16 combat operations, did not have command or order the
17 Vitezovi units.
18 Now, we will move to another unit which was
19 often mentioned in these proceedings, and it's another
20 unit which played a key role which General Blaskic has
21 been charged with in the indictment, this is the
22 military police.
23 On page 18066, General Blaskic said that on
24 the 13th of December, 1992, a meeting was held and that
25 several military police representatives were sent to
1 that meeting and that he was told at that meeting that
2 he could only use the military police only if he calls
3 Mostar and asks permission for their use in each
4 individual case. Despite this, Blaskic did not follow
5 this to the letter. He still sent direct orders to the
6 military police for certain tasks, and he left them to
7 call Mostar and confirm the task through them.
8 In the spring of 1993, new rules were issued,
9 and it was determined that Blaskic could use the
10 military police for daily tasks, but as far as the
11 combat operations are concerned, in other words, their
12 use in front against the enemy in combat situations,
13 can only be approved by Bruno Stojic, the defence
15 This situation continued until 1 August,
16 1993, that is, General Blaskic was surrounded on 16
17 April, 1993. The defence minister and the chief of the
18 military police administration were cut off, and
19 Blaskic took advantage of this situation, and with
20 constant pressure, he managed to have Pasko Ljubicic
21 relieved, and he first appointed Marinko Palavra, his
22 own man, as the commander of the military police, and
23 then he also brought it under his own command. So in
24 the Lasva Valley, the military police was, in the full
25 sense of the word, a subordinate to General Blaskic as
1 of 1 August, 1993.
2 Slavko Marin testified here that the military
3 police could have been under operative command of the
4 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, in other words, only be
5 used by them, but that the defence minister did appoint
6 and relieve of duty its commander, but importantly, the
7 military police had its own body for disciplinary
8 measures. They had an autonomous system of
9 disciplinary sanctions, and we will get back to that
10 when we come to the disciplinary measures and that
12 (redacted), on page 16685, testified
13 that on the 1st of August, at the first meeting with
14 Colonel Blaskic, Colonel Blaskic told him, "Your first
15 task is to integrate the military police into the
16 Central Bosnian Operative Zone as soon as possible."
17 From that, we can conclude that the military police,
18 until 1 August, 1993, was not integrated into the
19 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
20 (redacted), on page 16708 to 16710,
21 testified that Colonel Blaskic had to ask for
22 permission from the main staff to use the military
23 police in combat, and the main staff would then
24 transfer those orders to the military police.
1 (redacted), explicitly states on page 16774 that
2 the military police units were under the direct command
3 of the defence department and that due to these dual
4 chain of command, there were frequent
6 We will now look at the military police
7 stamp, and in this stamp, it is fairly clear that the
8 bottom, the very bottom is the defence department, the
9 one above it is the military police administration, and
10 then above that is Mostar and the numeral 30. What
11 does that mean? This is the stamp used by Zvonko
12 Vukovic, the military police commander in Vitez at that
13 time. So the military police in Vitez used this
14 stamp. There is no mention of the Central Bosnia
15 Operative Zone there. Hierarchically, you see that you
16 have first the defence department and then the military
17 police administration.
18 There was only one military police battalion
19 in Central Bosnia. The number 30 above the word
20 "Mostar" means that there were 30 such stamps, which
21 means that it was all -- that this stamp was used in
22 all of Herceg-Bosna, which means that it was a single
23 chain of command, a single organisation.
24 Let's now go back to the table, please, on
25 the chain of command of the military police. This
1 table, which has two parts, contains quotations from
2 various sources and various exhibits speaking about the
3 chain of command in the military police. First, we
4 have quoted from Defence Exhibits D522 and D523, from
5 which it follows -- just a moment, please -- who could
6 use the military police for combat purposes.
7 In point 9, it is accurately stated from the
8 rules on the military police that combat use on the
9 front line can be only under the orders of the Minister
10 of Defence. However, the basis of a large number of
11 sources of knowledge regarding the chain of command in
12 the military police can be found in Prosecution Exhibit
13 457, which is the booklet entitled "Three Years of the
14 Military Police," and on page 8 of the Croatian text,
15 it says: "On the 8th of April, 1992, the HVO was
16 established, and two days later, on the 10th of April,
17 the military police of the HVO was established. On
18 that same day, it was determined that the commander
19 (the chief of police) should be Valentin Coric, who was
20 assigned the duty to unite all military police units
21 established in the municipalities until then and place
22 them under a single system of control and command."
23 Or the next quotation from the same exhibit,
24 page 12: "To unify military police activities and the
25 tasks of light military police battalions, the
1 assistant of the head of the military police
2 administration will be responsible to assign to each
3 Operative Zone, and the same persons are authorised to
4 command those battalions via the commanders of those
5 battalions." The command of the Operative Zone
6 appointed Pasko Ljubicic to that position.
7 All evidence shows that there was a dual
8 system of command throughout in the military police,
9 even when the military police was attached to Blaskic,
10 and proof of that can be found in Exhibit 457/1,
11 Prosecution Exhibit, page 14. We'll see it on the
12 screen in a minute. It says: "All military police
13 units are commanded and controlled by the military
14 police administration whose orders have absolute
15 priority in the implementation of assignments." If
16 those orders have absolute priority, then it means that
17 there must be at least two chains of command for the
18 orders of the administration to have absolute priority,
19 and so on and so forth.
20 You have a number of quotations in this
21 document that you have all been served with, as we see
22 on the screen and so as to save time, I don't wish to
23 quote all the documents, but from all those quoted from
24 so far and the written sources, it emerges without any
25 doubt that the military police had a dual system of
1 command and that the chain of command from Mostar was 2 never cut. 3 I should like to go into private session for 4 a moment, please.
5 (Private session)
1 (redacted) 2 (redacted) 3 (redacted) 4 (redacted)
13 (Open session)
14 MR. NOBILO: In addition to these witnesses,
15 there was another who had no reason to be of assistance
16 to General Blaskic, his opponent in wartime, General
17 Hadzihasanovic, commander of the 3rd Corps, a court
18 witness who testified here before you and said that
19 Colonel Blaskic, before the events in Ahmici, had
20 confirmed to him that some units were under the direct
21 command of the Defence Ministry. This is before the
22 events in Ahmici.
23 Yesterday, the Prosecution quoted Defence
24 witness (redacted), who said, in answer to a question from
25 the Prosecutor, he asked him whether from January of
1 1993 onwards Blaskic was in command of the military
2 police, but the witness answered something to this
3 effect: "Yes, he could because he was surrounded and
4 communication with Mostar was cut." So the witness
5 obviously didn't hear the date the Prosecutor was
6 referring to because, from the entirety of his answers,
7 it followed that when they were surrounded, then
8 Blaskic did gain command over the military police.
9 This certainly wasn't in January because at the time
10 there was no encirclement, and they were not cut off
11 then from Mostar.
12 An important question regarding connections
13 between Blaskic and the military police was whether
14 Blaskic could command the military police when
15 discovering the perpetrators of criminal offences.
16 No. Namely, according to Article 54 and Article 55 of
17 the rules of the military police, it follows that the
18 discovery of criminal offences was carried out either
19 by the military police ex officio, on its own, or upon
20 the request of the investigator or the court.
21 Therefore, within the structure of the military police,
22 on the basis of the legal regulations, when a criminal
23 offence was committed, they had to take action, but to
24 request certain procedures could be done only by the
25 appropriate prosecutor and the competent judge.
1 As I explained yesterday, the Law on Criminal
2 Procedure was the same for both the civilian and the
3 military police, and Colonel Blaskic, according to the
4 Law on Criminal Procedure, had to authority, except to
5 take into custody a person he finds committing an
6 offence until the investigator arrives.
7 This was confirmed by Mato Tadic,
8 former Minister of Justice and prosecutor, who said
9 that Blaskic could not order the military police in the
10 area of the discovery of criminal offences, but he
11 could request that the military police start to
12 investigate certain criminal offences. He explicitly
13 said that Blaskic had no command authority to order
14 that the military police engage in any specific
15 investigating procedures linked to criminal offences,
16 as is stated on pages 17176 and 17177. Blaskic could
17 request but could not order.
18 Though Blaskic usually wrote his orders, that
19 is his military method of communication, and as he
20 wasn't a lawyer, instead of making a request, he would
21 frequently entitle this an order, as he would want to
22 do when addressing anyone else.
23 So it follows from all this that units of the
24 military police constituted a unified military force
25 under the command of the head of the military police
1 administration in Mostar and the Defence Minister,
2 Bruno Stojic. That chain of command was the basic
3 chain of command, a vertical line that never changed.
4 The military police administration could attach the
5 military police for combat activity, but the chain of
6 command, the basic vertical chain of command, was never
7 changed. As we saw from the quotation, it always had
9 Blaskic could, in daily policing, use the
10 military police, but again, let us not forget that
11 throughout, the chain of command coming from Mostar had
12 priority, and the two chains of command never were
13 mixed, never ceased. If we find that the military
14 police acted otherwise than ordered, then we can
15 conclude from that that there was another chain of
16 command that was operational and not Blaskic's chain of
17 command. As for criminal acts and their detection,
18 Blaskic had no authority to command the military
20 We shall now see a table which will help us
21 to understand better, we have it in French and in
22 English, referring to Blaskic's ability to control the
23 military police when it was attached to it, and when it
24 was not attached, which authority he never had. You
25 have that table in front of you. Therefore, Blaskic,
1 both when the military police was attached to it and
2 when it was not, he could always order operations such
3 as the establishment of a checkpoint.
4 Similarly, in both cases, when attached and
5 when not attached, he could order daily activities,
6 such as securing certain facilities, but only when the
7 military police was attached to him could he order that
8 unit in combat operations. He could never replace
9 commanders when they were attached or not. That was
10 the exclusive right of the head of the military police
11 department and the Defence Ministry. He could never
12 discipline a member of the military police, whether
13 they were attached to him or not.
14 The next area that I will be talking about,
15 but very briefly, is the Security and Information
16 Service, SIS. It is an information and
17 counterintelligence service of the HVO. Prosecution
18 Exhibit 457/2, which is a report of the government of
19 Herceg-Bosna, gives us some information about that
20 service. We have very little information, as this is a
21 secret service, and we have to rely on what we were
22 told by witnesses. However, we can see from that
23 report that there is a SIS administration under the
24 Defence Ministry. Therefore, SIS is outside the main
25 staff. It has four centres and it acts in those
1 centres, as well as in operative zones.
2 The head of the SIS administration is
3 directly subordinated to the defence minister --
4 JUDGE JORDA: Shall we have a break perhaps
5 because you are now embarking on a new subject, the
6 SIS? Very well. Let us have a break until twenty to
8 --- Recess taken at 11.18 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.48 a.m.
10 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please
11 be seated. Will you please bring in the accused?
12 (The accused entered court)
13 JUDGE JORDA: Let us resume, Mr. Nobilo, on
14 the subject of the SIS.
15 MR. NOBILO: Correct, Mr. President. We
16 won't waste any more time.
17 Just briefly, from the reports that I have
18 mentioned, the report of the HVO government, it is
19 possible to reconstruct that the SIS administration was
20 under the Defence Ministry outside the main staff and
21 that the SIS also had a dual chain of command. They
22 were accountable both to Colonel Blaskic and to their
23 own administration, as testified to by many witnesses.
24 Let me refer to Exhibit D521/25. This is a
25 decree on district military courts within
1 Herceg-Bosna. It says that all the authorities in
2 criminal proceedings are equally shared by SIS and the
3 military police.
4 I should now like to go on to an area which I
5 consider to be very important to determine the
6 responsibility of General Blaskic in the area of
7 discipline. Namely, the Prosecutor has submitted the
8 theory that the territorial principle was the main
9 principle determining the authority of General Blaskic
10 in the area of discipline, that is, all military
11 affairs within the Central Bosnia Operative Zone were
12 under the responsibility of Blaskic and that he was
13 authorised to take disciplinary measures.
14 It was also said that criminal acts could be
15 punished as disciplinary acts and that Blaskic could
16 punish. It is true that Article 29 of the disciplinary
17 regulations, Prosecution Exhibit 38/1, says: "When the
18 authorised officer finds that a disciplinary offence is
19 at the same time a criminal offence, the case is handed
20 over, through regular procedure, to the authorised
21 prosecutor." If that is in the interest of the
22 service, then disciplinary procedures are carried out.
23 Therefore, according to the principle of
24 legality, the authorised officer sends a request to the
25 military prosecutor in the case that a criminal offence
1 has been committed, and if it considers that it is in
2 the interest of the service to start proceedings, he
3 may do so.
4 What actually happens in practice? In
5 wartime conditions, to duplicate proceedings causes a
6 great deal of problems. What would be achieved if
7 somebody would be punished with five days of prison,
8 plus 60 days of detention? There is no meaning in
9 that. The only meaningful act would be to dismiss
10 him. As this was wartime, Blaskic passed a general
11 order, all criminals, all perpetrators of criminal
12 offences must be dismissed from the HVO by unit
13 commanders. This was an automatic thing. There was no
14 need to take disciplinary measures against perpetrators
15 of criminal acts, but the case would be sent to the
16 prosecutor in accordance with the provisions of Article
17 29 of the disciplinary regulations.
18 Another thing that we have already discussed,
19 an exception which disproves the principle of
20 territorial authority is Article 52, which says that
21 the commander of the operative zone is not authorised
22 to institute disciplinary proceedings against the
23 brigade commanders, against commanders of independent
24 battalions. Such authority is vested in the commander
25 in chief, that is, Mate Boban, before the military
1 disciplinary court. Article 52 also proves that the
2 territorial principle was not present but that certain
3 command functions were exempted from the disciplinary
4 authority of General Blaskic.
5 This brings us to a very interesting area
6 that has not been discussed in the course of these
7 proceedings. Article 9 of the disciplinary regulations
8 exempts, from regular disciplinary authority, officers
9 working in the administrative bodies of the HVO. This
10 is Article 9. Which administrative bodies are we
11 familiar with? The administration of the military
12 police and the SIS administration. Officers in the
13 military police administration and the SIS
14 administration are exempted from regular disciplinary
15 proceedings, and a separate system is formed within
16 their administrations. And Article 9 is the legal
17 basis which explains why Colonel Blaskic could not take
18 disciplinary measures against members of the military
19 police, as has been confirmed by a large number of
21 The question now is what could Colonel
22 Blaskic, as the commander of an operative zone, do?
23 What was he authorised to do? There is a key article,
24 Article 67, which says clearly what his authority was.
25 We just need to read it. Let me read it: "A decision
1 to refer to military disciplinary courts shall be
2 issued by, Article 1, the commander of the armed forces
3 for persons described in Article 52, paragraph 1, of
4 the present rules," and they are brigade commanders,
5 commanders of independent battalions, and then we come
6 to paragraph 2 which says clearly what Blaskic could
7 do. "The commander of the Operative Zone for
8 non-commissioned officers and officers up to the rank
9 of brigadier serving in units or institutions which are
10 subordinate to the Operative Zone commander and
11 non-commissioned officers and officers up to the rank
12 of brigadier serving in administrative agencies and
13 enterprises and other legal entities within the area
14 under the authority of the operative zone
15 commander." .
16 What does this article actually tell us?
17 This article defines the authority of the commander of
18 the Operative Zone based on two principles: In the
19 case of military units, the authority is based on
20 subordination because it says that he is authorised to
21 institute disciplinary proceedings for officers and
22 non-commissioned officers, et cetera, in units
23 subordinate to the commander, not attached, but
24 subordinate to the commander.
25 That is the principle of subordination which
1 relates to subordinate units, whereas the territorial
2 principle does not apply to units but is directed
3 towards military institutions. There weren't any
4 military institutions in the Operative Zone of Central
5 Bosnia, but there were some in Mostar, for instance,
6 the military court or a military educational centre, an
7 institute, a military hospital. Institutions of that
8 kind in the territory are under the responsibility for
9 disciplinary proceedings of the commander of the
10 Operative Zone, whereas in the case of units, only
11 those units subordinate to him and not those attached
12 to him.
13 We need not repeat all this, but it is
14 consistent with the defence of General Blaskic and with
15 the testimony of Slavko Marin, who was disciplinary
16 prosecutor in 1993, and it is in accordance with a
17 number of disciplinary documents that have been entered
18 into evidence in the course of these proceedings.
19 Therefore, General Blaskic, as the commander
20 of the Operative Zone, was responsible for the combat
21 use of units subordinate to him. He was responsible
22 for the structure, development, and functioning of
23 those units. He was responsible for the personnel in
24 those units, the logistics required by those units and
25 discipline within those units. Everything outside of
1 that, there was a division of authority. General
2 Blaskic was not a governor. He was not the absolute
3 ruler. He had his powers, but so did others, and he
4 cannot be blamed for all the evil that occurred in
5 Central Bosnia.
6 I have now presented, and I am limited by the
7 available time, the legal basis for the authority of
8 General Blaskic and the authority of other organs in
9 Central Bosnia. However, Bosnia, in those days, was
10 not a country ruled by law, and authorities changed
11 frequently, in fact, and we will see that they were
12 revised frequently at General Blaskic's expense.
13 Slavko Marin spoke about this at length, that
14 the newly formed entities acquired all the functions of
15 states. They also assumed much of the authority of the
16 military commander. This can be seen from the case of
17 Fojnica, my colleague Russell Hayman will explain this
18 in detail, and we will see that Blaskic needed several
19 months to be able to replace a commander because the
20 local municipal authorities were opposed to it and they
21 refused to obey.
22 Prosecution Exhibit 456/53 or 456/50
23 represents a document of the Travnik municipality
24 whereby they address Franjo Tudjman, the president of a
25 neighbouring state, to send them an officer to be a
1 commander there. From this, we can see very well the
2 way in which the municipality dealt with matters. They
3 thought that the Travnik Brigade was their unit, and
4 they are looking around for a commander, as if he was a
5 football team coach. They are skipping over the
6 commander of the brigade in Travnik, they are skipping
7 over Blaskic, the commander of the Operative Zone, they
8 are skipping over the main staff and Mate Boban, and
9 they are addressing themselves directly to Zagreb,
10 because it is their belief that they are the authority
11 in that municipality and that that military unit is
12 their military unit.
13 There are a number of other factors limiting
14 his authority, but I should like to focus on one. The
15 Prosecutor never mentioned, except in some political
16 area, the name of Dario Kordic. The Trial Chamber
17 knows that upstairs, just one floor above us, there is
18 a proceeding against Dario Kordic going on, and in the
19 Prosecution's story, Dario Kordic does not figure at
21 General Blaskic testified that Dario Kordic
22 never issued him any orders, that he only received
23 orders from the main staff. However, from a number of
24 documents, which we will present now, as well as
25 testimonies, it is clear that Dario Kordic had a
1 factual impact on the units, and as Dario Kordic was
2 not part of any military structure, it is clear that
3 there were informal chains of command which do not
4 appear in any laws, in any rules, but that they were
5 there, and that such chains of command were there, they
6 were hidden, and sometimes they were even more powerful
7 than the regular official ones, such as General
9 My apologies to the interpreters. I do speed
10 up every once in awhile.
11 You will see that Dario Kordic did have
12 influence over the units whose chain of command ended
13 up in Mostar, and Dario Kordic was vice-president of
14 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. He was one of
15 Mate Boban's vice-presidents. What is interesting is
16 that the units which were commanded by Mostar, those
17 are the ones that Dario Kordic has his influence upon.
18 In Herceg-Bosna, and this is the crucial
19 point, because this was not a state ruled by law, there
20 were hidden power brokers. They were very powerful and
21 they had no responsibility. Nominally, our client's
22 responsibility was considerable, whereas it was often
23 very weak in the field, and in relation to certain
24 units, it practically did not exist.
25 I'm going to quote some witnesses.
1 Prosecution witness Watters on page 3378 says that if a
2 problem was not able to be resolved by Blaskic's
3 authority, the British Battalion would turn to Kordic
4 in order to have the problem resolved, and the witness
5 interpreted that -- actually perceived tensions between
6 Blaskic and Kordic and said that all problems in
7 Busovaca were solved by Kordic. The witness was
8 present when units in black uniforms said, "We do not
9 take orders from Blaskic. We take orders from
10 Kordic." In the Lasva Valley, only two units were
11 wearing black uniforms: The Jokers and Vitezovi. So
12 it must have been one of those two units.
13 Prosecution Witness Y, on page 5679, after
14 said that Kordic was very influential and that he could
15 command all the units in the Lasva Valley, and Blaskic
16 testified that he did not receive orders from Kordic.
17 It is clear that these were informal influences on
18 certain military witness.
19 Prosecution Witness Thomas, on page 2629,
20 said that Kordic admitted to him that he was the
21 commander of units in Busovaca, and since we know that
22 formally he was not the commander of these units, he
23 could only have claimed this based on the factual state
24 of things, being that he was the second man in
1 From Defence Exhibit 591/32, it is clear
2 that, as early as 21 June, 1993, the Black Knights,
3 that is, the Vitezovi, were under the control of Dario
4 Kordic, and they were identified as part of the 4th
5 Military Police Battalion, and since both the Vitezovi
6 and the Jokers were wearing black uniforms, there was
7 some confusion. So even though they identified them as
8 4th Military Police Battalion, it is clear that the
9 reference was actually to the Jokers.
10 In Exhibit 591/44, also from the report of
11 the U.N., it is stated that on 11 February, 1993, it
12 was Kordic who made decisions on setting up
13 checkpoints, and 591/44 talks about two checkpoints set
14 up on orders by Dario Kordic.
15 We will now see what Prosecution witness
16 Landry states.
17 (Videotape played)
18 "Mr. Hayman:
19 Q On page 3, paragraph 4, of that same
20 teletype, there's a statement, 'It was
21 reported by BritBat that even after the
22 release of the convoy, the local HVO
23 forces continued to stress their refusal
24 of Brigadier Petkovic's orders, claiming
25 they were releasing the convoy only on
1 Mr. Kordic's special orders.' Do you
2 see that passage and do you agree with
4 A What happened on the 28th of April, yes,
6 MR. NOBILO: Let us look at another
7 Prosecution witness.
8 (Videotape played)
9 "Mr. Hayman:
10 Q About a dozen lines down, there's the
11 statement, 'I stopped Petkovic and asked
12 if he would assist me in breaking
13 through the barrier of Croat civilians.
14 He spoke to the crowd but said they
15 refused to move.' Is that accurate?
16 A It is accurate.
17 Q Now, was it your belief at this location
18 that these were locals that had stopped
19 the convoy?
20 A These were local civilians, yes."
21 MR. NOBILO: Can we now please move for a
22 moment into private session?
23 (Private session)
1 2 3 4
13 page 25042 redacted – private session
13 page 25043 redacted – private session
1 (redacted) 2 (redacted) 3 (redacted)
12 (Open session)
13 MR. NOBILO: There are two other limiting
14 factors with respect to Blaskic's discharge of his
15 authority. One is the underdevelopment of the
16 organisation; Colonel Marin and General Blaskic
17 addressed that issue. We never said that Blaskic had
18 no responsibility or authority because the military
19 organisation was underdeveloped, but I'm going to point
20 out to the lack of trained officers. There were very
21 few people who had any command experience with troops.
22 It is one thing to have six months of formal schooling
23 and then not any practical application of it.
24 Also, this army was being created in
25 villages. Commanders were voted by villagers, and it
1 is obvious that they felt more responsible to their own
2 community than to the chain of command.
3 The Central Bosnian Operative Zone had about
4 25 staff, and there will only about six of them on the
5 16th of April, whereas, according to the organisation,
6 they needed about 235, and in Blaskic's own assessment,
7 they needed 105. So you see that there's a great
9 After the war and when the U.S. experts came
10 on a train and equip mission, they assessed that the
11 whole process of setting up and establishing a real
12 army in Bosnia would take until 2003, which also
13 reflects on what they saw as the level of organisation
14 of this army in the field in that period.
15 Another factor is who were the masters of war
16 here? Who were the warlords? It was Zuti; it was
17 Darko Kraljevic. They provided protection for the
18 Muslims when they wanted to; they did not protect them
19 when they didn't want to. Blaskic wanted to separate
20 Zuti from his unit, and he gave him a position which
21 was a non-existent position, to be in charge of the
22 professional troops which did not exist, but Blaskic
23 did manage to separate him from his soldiers. With
24 Darko Kraljevic, he only managed to do so in late 1993,
25 early 1994, when the Vitezovi was reorganised and when
1 Darko Kraljevic was transferred to Herzegovina.
2 But the local commanders, these local
3 warlords, were a separate problem, and they had
4 separate powers. For instance, Dr. Mujezinovic, a
5 Prosecution witness, said that Darko Kraljevic named
6 him the director of the hospital. It was Darko
7 Kraljevic who appointed him to that position. That
8 authority would not be his as commander of the
9 Vitezovi. So it was an informal position. So you
10 cannot neglect these warlords and their influence
11 during the war, and I'm just going to say that much on
12 that point.
13 Let me point to Defence Exhibit 583. This is
14 to define a body which we did not find in these rules
15 with force of law but which was in operation in Bosnia
16 at that time. It seems that a forward office of the
17 social activities under Pero Skopljak was active there,
18 so it was under the ministry in Mostar. It was part of
19 the office of that ministry in Mostar. We can see that
20 this body was a civilian body. It was obviously part
21 of the central Herceg-Bosna government, and from this
22 document, which is dated 8 May, 1993, we can see that
23 Pero Skopljak met with the representatives of the Red
24 Cross and the 3rd Corps and that the matter discussed
25 was the release of all detainees. So there were some
1 detainees, then they're exchanged and released, and so
2 a representative of the central government was put in
3 charge of that. This was Pero Skopljak, and D583
4 clearly speaks to that. So that is another body which
5 was active in Central Bosnia at the time.
6 Your Honours, we offered the solutions that
7 the Central Bosnian government had set up, and within
8 that framework, we tried to define the authorities of
9 General Blaskic and distinguish them from the
10 authorities of other bodies of that government. We
11 believe that this is the starting point for the
12 analysis of his criminal responsibility because Colonel
13 Blaskic can only be responsible for what he himself has
14 done and for the area and units for which he was
15 responsible. Do not allow him to be tried as a
16 symbol. Evil was done, and this injustice should not
17 be substituted for another one.
18 Thank you, Your Honours. Now I turn the
19 floor over to my colleague, Mr. Hayman.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, Mr. Nobilo. So now
21 it's going to be Mr. Hayman, I think, who is going to
22 develop other aspects of your client's case, I assume,
23 in accordance with the plan that you have indicated to
25 MR. HAYMAN: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President,
1 and good afternoon to you and to Your Honours.
2 I will now be taking the legal foundation and
3 structure that Mr. Nobilo has explained one step
4 further, in terms of factual development and in terms
5 of an analytical analysis of what does it mean for your
6 deliberations and what inferences you can permissibly
7 draw if we do have a situation of relative chaos in
8 Central Bosnia, with multiple lines of command,
9 resistance by local commanders, political influences,
10 and the like.
11 First, I would like to begin by noting that
12 there really are two component parts to the issue of
13 command and control. The first is whether units were
14 legally subordinated to Tihomir Blaskic. The second is
15 whether, with respect to subordinated units, Tihomir
16 Blaskic had the actual ability to control them. So
17 that's two different sides of the house, if you will,
18 and first I will speak to the issue of legal
20 Here, we submit the most important issues for
21 you to consider in your deliberations are what units
22 were actually legally subordinate to Blaskic, what
23 units may have been attached to him, and what powers
24 were conferred as a result of that attachment, and as
25 to what units were there multiple chains of command
1 over those units, two chains or even three, as I'll be
2 discussing in a moment.
3 General Blaskic is not trying to avoid
4 responsibility where he had responsibility, but he is
5 not volunteering his responsibility regarding persons
6 over whom he did not have legal authority or the actual
7 ability to control, and it is not legally required for
8 him to volunteer such responsibility, and we submit it
9 is too much to ask of any man, and the law so
11 Mr. Nobilo has already addressed, I think,
12 the issue of dual chains of command with respect to
13 SIS, the military police, and independent units such as
14 the Vitezovi. What are the consequences, if that is
15 true, for your deliberations? Dual command means that
16 there were two commanders at any given time who could
17 issue an order to the unit in question, and that was
18 true even if a unit was resubordinated or attached to
19 one of those two commanders here being, then Colonel
20 Blaskic. The situation that creates is that if you
21 assume actual command and control existed, the ability
22 to control the subordinate unit at the bottom of the V,
23 then if an action occurs, presumably, it was ordered,
24 and it could have been ordered by one or the other of
25 the two superior commanders.
1 We've spent two years talking about whether
2 General Blaskic ordered some of the terrible things
3 that happened in Central Bosnia. The Prosecutor spent
4 not one minute talking about whether the persons at the
5 top of these other lines of command may have ordered
6 these crimes, if, indeed, they were ordered. Not one
8 Our argument is that when you have multiple
9 lines of command, you cannot accept the thesis of the
10 Prosecutor, which is very clearly set forth in his
11 final brief and which is that if apparent organised
12 violative acts occur on the ground, they must have been
13 ordered, and because they occurred in the Operative
14 Zone of Colonel Blaskic, he must have ordered them.
15 That is the argument. Now, they also argue that he
16 hated Muslims and he was a political instrument. I
17 will talk about those. But the core argument is asking
18 you to infer from violative acts on the ground, up a
19 chain of command, and conclude they were ordered by
20 Colonel Blaskic.
21 But if there were multiple lines of command
22 over the units or soldiers that committed such acts,
23 what kind of logical inference can you draw? That is
24 our analytical point with respect to multiple lines of
1 Now, what is the second concept or side of
2 the house to command and control? That is the actual
3 ability to control subordinate units. Once a unit is
4 subordinate, does the commander have the actual power
5 to control it?
6 Whether you conclude that such power existed
7 under the circumstances and facts extant in Central
8 Bosnia during the war will affect your consideration of
9 the balance of the evidence in this case, for the same
10 reason that I've just described, that if the actual
11 ability to control does not exist from a commander to a
12 subordinate unit, then you cannot infer per se, you can
13 certainly look to other evidence, but you cannot infer
14 as a matter of logic, that from an event on the ground,
15 that it was ordered by a supercommander. It could have
16 been wilful. It could have been committed contrary to
17 the orders of the superior command, if that actual
18 ability to control did not exist or did not exist in a
19 uniform and consistent manner across time and the
20 relevant space.
21 The Prosecutor asked many of its witnesses
22 whether the HVO appeared to follow Blaskic's orders,
23 and they tended to answer yes. They would explain,
24 "When we needed to get a permit across a checkpoint,
25 we asked Blaskic. When we attended a cease-fire
1 negotiation, he held himself out to be the Operative
2 Zone commander, so we believed he had command and
3 control over all HVO units in the Operative Zone."
4 Those are honest witnesses. They believed what they
5 said. We don't fault them in the least. They are good
7 Indeed, the Prosecutor told you yesterday
8 that there were 19 of these witnesses. I haven't
9 counted them, but I don't doubt him for a moment, that
10 there were 19 military witnesses who came in here, took
11 an oath, and said, "I believe General Blaskic
12 controlled all HVO units in the Operative Zone."
13 Some of those 19 witnesses are experts, at
14 least in certain things. None of them were
15 professionals at gathering and analysing military
16 information, that is, none of them were professional
17 intelligence officers. Not one of the 19 witnesses
18 that the Prosecutor has referenced was a professional
19 intelligence officer, rather, they were other types of
20 soldiers who had other duties, who spent periods of
21 days or weeks or months in Central Bosnia. Charles
22 McLeod was there for nine days; Bryan Watters was there
23 for about 90 days.
24 The Prosecutor cited an example yesterday of
25 Mr. Buffini, and he quoted him and said that
1 Mr. Buffini was an authority on HVO command and
2 control, and what was the quote that he attributed to
3 Mr. Buffini? Let's look at it, please.
4 (Videotape played)
5 "A Again, it was very clear that Colonel
6 Blaskic had full control of all the
7 local commanders, and very much
8 controlled those troops in Central
10 MR. HAYMAN: Can you rely on this type of
11 opinion without knowledge of the witness's bases for
12 his opinion, without some details, without further
13 explanation? When we tested Mr. Buffini's opinions to
14 see if, indeed, he was familiar with the situation in
15 Central Bosnia, what did we find? First, we asked him
16 if the military police were under Blaskic's command and
17 control. What did he say?
18 (Videotape played)
19 "A To my knowledge, I wasn't aware that
20 there was a distinct difference between
21 military police and HVO troops operating
22 in and around the Vitez area."
23 MR. HAYMAN: Then we asked him if the
24 Vitezovi were under Blaskic's command and control.
25 Here was his answer.
1 (Videotape played)
2 "A I'm afraid I don't know Vitezovi. What
3 do you mean by that?"
4 MR. HAYMAN: He didn't know that the Vitezovi
5 were a unit in Central Bosnia, but he came in here and
6 he testified to you that Blaskic controlled all the HVO
7 units in Central Bosnia. Now, there's a reason that
8 Mr. Buffini didn't know that there were military police
9 units or independent units like the Vitezovi in Central
10 Bosnia. He explained that he travelled quite a bit,
11 but he spent most of his time at a desk in Split.
12 (Videotape played)
13 "A So I spent most of my time in Split on
14 the watch-keeping desk, but also some of
15 the time travelling throughout Bosnia,
16 visiting locations in Vitez, in Gornji
17 Vakuf when we were working through
18 there, and travelling up to Kiseljak to
19 obviously discuss the deployment of the
20 (inaudible) throughout Central Bosnia."
21 MR. HAYMAN: The Defence submits that Your
22 Honours know much more than witnesses like Mr. Buffini
23 learned from his brief visit to Central Bosnia
24 concerning the situation that existed there, concerning
25 what the rules and regulations and laws of Herceg-Bosna
1 were, and all the factual nuances that you have so
2 graciously given two years of your lives to listen to
3 and experience, and we, of course, thank you for that
4 great professional sacrifice, and General Blaskic
5 thanks you.
6 So the bases of knowledge of these 19
7 witnesses is very important. I don't have sufficient
8 time to review all 19 with you, but I will touch upon a
9 few more. What we ask you to do in your deliberations
10 with respect to all 19, as well as our own witnesses
11 and the court witnesses, is ask several important
13 1. How long were they in the territory of
14 Central Bosnia?
15 2. What were their principal tasks while on
16 the territory of Central Bosnia?
17 3. How regular was their contact with
18 elements of the HVO and at what level? Was it just at
19 checkpoints or did they interact with different levels
20 of the command structure to see the internal workings
21 of that command structure?
22 4. Did the witness have specialised training
23 or experience in evaluating command and control issues,
24 i.e., such as an intelligence background, or were they
25 the commander of a platoon supervising two or three
1 warriors, escorting convoys, and conducting other very
2 important work, but not work that comes with it any
3 specialised training or experience with respect to
4 gathering and analysing military information or
5 information about military structures and command and
6 control issues.
7 5. Lastly, and I've run out of fingers, did
8 they speak the language in Bosnia, or did they have the
9 full-time services of an interpreter with them during
10 their daily work tasks in Bosnia?
11 We submit that when you apply these criteria
12 to all the witnesses who spoke on command and control
13 issues, you will identify those who displayed true
14 expertise in their testimony and who had access to a
15 large amount of high quality information about command
16 and control within the HVO. We submit there are three
17 Defence witnesses and one court witness that stand
18 above all other witnesses who commented on these
19 issues. They are Matthew Whattley, the liaison officer
20 for Vitez and the surrounding area in the weeks and
21 months before the April 1993 conflict; Captain Chris
22 Leyshon, the intelligence officer for the British
23 Battalion, (redacted), and one other witness
24 whose identity is protected, but I will refer to him
1 Quantity of testimony cannot compensate for a
2 lack of quality of the information that was available
3 to other numerous witnesses. As I said, we're not
4 faulting common soldiers or platoon commanders or
5 company commanders who gave opinions about command and
6 control. They were asked by the Prosecution to help in
7 an important prosecution before this Tribunal, and then
8 they came here and they were asked to give opinions
9 about command and control. But unfortunately, at least
10 some of them, and perhaps many of them, were not
11 qualified to give those opinions. They didn't have an
12 adequate information base, nor did they have any
13 specialised training or experience.
14 When the opinions of that group of witnesses
15 are the opposite of a group of expert witnesses,
16 including trained professional intelligence officers,
17 that should cause alarm bells to go off in Your
18 Honours' minds. Something is wrong. Someone is
19 wrong. One group of witnesses or the other is missing
20 the mark. Both groups cannot be correct in their
21 testimony to Your Honours on this subject, and you must
22 decide which group is more qualified to give this type
23 of opinion testimony and on which group you will rely.
24 There was an interesting phenomena, I found,
25 when I was preparing this portion of our argument, and
1 that is, non-experts, on many occasions, made factual
2 observations in Central Bosnia about flaws in the HVO
3 command structure that they didn't fully understand,
4 but they knew it was important and they made a note of
5 it, and they remembered it. You're in a position, Your
6 Honours, to take those observations and see how they
7 fit into the broader construct of command and control
8 issues that the experts did describe in their
10 I'd like to give you an example. An officer
11 from the Canadian Battalion, Officer Liebert, noted
12 that there appeared to be a line of command running
13 parallel to the HVO military line that ran to the
14 assistant for SIS in the Vares municipality who was
15 named Zvonko Duzinovic. The other reference to this
16 passage is to the HVO military commander in Vares, Emil
17 Heral, who officer Liebert calls him Emil Herrick, but
18 it's Heral, you can tell, I think, from the passage.
19 This is what Officer Liebert noted.
20 (Videotape played)
21 "A It is for that reason, I believe, that
22 Mr. Zvonko Duzinovic was employed in the
23 Vares area. He was the head of a
24 security force that operated on a
25 separate chain of command. He did not
1 work for Mr. Herrick, and indeed, I was 2 given the impression through my dealings
3 with Mr. Herrick that the security force
4 intimidated him and threatened him."
5 MR. HAYMAN: By itself, without a theoretical
6 construct, without the laws and regulations and the big
7 maps and so forth that we've tried to provide you with,
8 this testimony would be thoroughly puzzling and
10 Now I need a short, private session to
11 further elaborate, if we could.
12 (Private session)
13 page 25060 redacted – private session
13 page 25061 redacted – private session
1 (Open session) 2 MR. HAYMAN: There were other lay witnesses,
3 if you will, who noted the existence of these dual
4 lines of command, such as Captain Whitworth. Captain
5 Whitworth was the liaison officer for the British
6 Battalion in Vitez during its second tour. He had a
7 feeling that the military police reported to a second
8 chain of command, but he wasn't sure. This really
9 wasn't his area. Let's look at what he said.
10 (Videotape played)
11 "Mr. Hayman:
12 Q You have an understanding of to
13 whom these four military police
14 battalions report, if anyone?
15 A It think it might have been to Mostar or
16 something like that."
17 MR. HAYMAN: We saw similar reports, Your
18 Honours, from an EC monitor, Mr. Morsink, who had an
19 encounter with the commander of the 4th Battalion of
20 the regional military police concerning a dispute over
21 seized goods, and what did the commander of the
22 regional military police tell Mr. Morsink?
23 (Videotape played)
24 "A In the end, the police commissioner
25 said to us that he would first consult
1 with his chief in Mostar and that we
2 should come back the next day in order
3 to pick up the merchandise."
4 MR. HAYMAN: So it is our hope, Your Honours,
5 that at least when you combine Mr. Nobilo's analysis of
6 the law and regulations with my discussion of the
7 facts, that together you will find us persuasive on
8 these very, very important points for the defence of
9 our client.
10 These witnesses, Mr. Morsink and
11 Mr. Whitworth, I believe these are two of the 19
12 witnesses on whom the Prosecutor relies.
13 Aside from dual lines of command, as I said,
14 there is the issue of actual control. Has the
15 Prosecution proven an actual ability to control? We
16 submit that not only was there a dual line of command
17 or lines of command over the Vitezovi, but Darko
18 Kraljevic was a person who would not be controlled, and
19 this is Martin Bell's perspective on that question.
20 (Videotape played)
21 "Mr. Hayman:
22 Q How would you characterise Darko
23 Kraljevic in terms of his role in the
24 war in Vitez, briefly?
25 A He was an extraordinary character, and I
1 had the impression that although he held
2 a very vulnerable part of the front
3 line with men under his command, I felt
4 he was not really under Colonel
5 Blaskic's command. He had his own -- he
6 was kind of a warlord, a very
7 charismatic, brave man, if you like."
8 MR. HAYMAN: If we could go into private
9 session for just a moment, there's one other important
10 witness who commented on that very same question.
11 (Private session)
23 (Open session)
24 MR. HAYMAN: With respect to these units, it
25 not only appears there were dual lines of command but
1 triple lines, two legal lines and one extralegal or de
2 facto line leading to political authorities. Where
3 that is the case, there is even less of a rational
4 basis to make any kind of automatic inference up the
5 chain of command from an event on the ground to one of
6 those three commanders. The fact is that based on the
7 fact that an event occurred, one might as well flip a
8 coin to try and figure out which of the two or three
9 superior commanders might have issued an order to
10 commit that violative act. You have to have other
11 evidence, which, of course, I think Your Honours
13 Now I'd like to turn back to actual control,
14 the second aspect of command and control. Again, there
15 are 19 witnesses here, we'll accept that proposition
16 from the Prosecutor, but those 19 witnesses again did
17 not have the job of collecting and analysing military
18 information about military structures. Who had that
20 Chris Leyshon graduated from Exiter
21 University, attended Sandhurst Military Academy, and
22 was commissioned as an officer in the British army. He
23 rose to the level of Battalion intelligence officer in
24 the British Battalion and served as the head of the
25 military information cell during the Cheshire's tour in
1 Vitez. If you will, the milinfocell was a wheel. At
2 the centre of the wheel was the hub which was Chris
3 Leyshon. He received information from all the spokes.
4 Some of those spokes were liaison officers, some of
5 them were platoons making reports at the end of the
6 day. He gathered it in the middle of the wheel,
7 produced a daily military information summary. He
8 briefed people who needed to know what was going on and
9 what the situation was in Central Bosnia. It was his
10 full-time job, seven days per week, as he explained to
11 Your Honours.
12 We submit he had more detailed information
13 about what was specifically going on and what the
14 structures of the militaries or militias in Central
15 Bosnia were during his tour from November of 1992 until
16 he left in May of 1993. And, of course, he had formal
17 training in the gathering and analysis of intelligence
18 about military organisations. I will be referring to
20 The first concept I'd like to suggest to Your
21 Honours, is that the bones of any command and control
22 system are its communication pipelines,
23 communications. Without communications, you cannot
24 have command and control. Without bones, a body has no
25 form. Chris Leyshon, Captain Leyshon, explained what a
1 lack of real-time communications means to a military
3 (Videotape played)
4 "A If you haven't got real-time
5 communications, you cannot command a
6 unit from the ground that are engaged in
7 any sort of action."
8 MR. HAYMAN: Let me play that one more time.
9 I was fiddling with the volume, and I apologise,
10 Mr. President. We're trying to -- the booth and I have
11 dual command over that issue.
12 (Videotape played)
13 "A If you haven't got real-time
14 communications, you cannot command a
15 unit from the ground that are engaged in
16 any sort of action."
17 MR. HAYMAN: Was Chris Leyshon right? Does
18 he know what he's talking about? We suggest you
19 compare his testimony with his commander officer,
20 Colonel Stewart.
21 (Videotape played)
22 "A This is a written order, Your Honour,
23 and written orders are fine, but in
24 military situations, a written order
25 doesn't last longer than the first shot.
1 From then on, it's verbal command and
3 MR. HAYMAN: For the reasons Captain Leyshon
4 and Colonel Stewart explained, it's important to this
5 case whether the HVO had real-time or anything close to
6 real-time communications, to serve as the bones, if you
7 will, of their command and control system.
8 The Prosecution appears to recognise that,
9 and they now argue that the packet radio system that
10 the HVO used is not the real system that they used,
11 that instead they had a much more elaborate radio or
12 some other type, including mobile radio systems of
13 communicating that supported real-time or near real-time
14 communications. Is that true?
15 Well, we submit that if the HVO had such a
16 system, and there may be documents indicating that some
17 equipment existed somewhere, maybe it was even shipped,
18 I don't know, there are a lot of documents in this
19 case, it's hard to keep track of all of them, but if
20 the HVO had such a system, why did they still use the
21 packet radio system? Many of the actual
22 communications, the documents that were actually
23 relayed, are in evidence in this case, and a good
24 number of them show exactly how they were
1 If we could turn on the ELMO, please? This
2 is Exhibit 456/49 enlarged. We don't need to -- I'd
3 like to focus in on the stamp. That's fine. Thank
4 you. If you could move it slightly to the right. This
5 is part of the document. This is the last page. It's
6 a communication from Tihomir Blaskic to the Kiseljak
7 Brigade on the 19th of April, and here's a stamp at the
8 bottom. If Your Honours, please, would take a quick
9 look at that stamp, and now if we could put the English
10 and French versions on sequentially, you could see that
11 this is a stamp recoding the transmission of the --
12 no. Please stay focused in on the stamp. I don't need
13 the whole document. I just want the box. It was fine
14 just the way it was, thank you. You can see the date,
15 there's a control number, and there are a series of
16 acronyms, and it indicates it was processed by
18 If we could put on the French, please. These
19 are stamps indicating when it was sent or when it was
20 received, typically when it was received, because you
21 will see the time on these stamps is frequently
22 different from the time that the document reflects it
23 was written. Now if we could go back to the B/C/S
24 original. If you look on this, it didn't make it in
25 the translation, Your Honours. The translations note
1 "Illegible word underlined" but if you look at the
2 word that I have highlighted in yellow, it's
3 "P-A-K-E-T", paket, and it was underlined, or it
4 appears to be underlined, and it's marked in a lot of
5 these stamps.
6 If you look at a lot of different documents,
7 if you care to make an inventory or have your staff
8 make an inventory, you will find a lot of documents
9 with this stamp where the packet system is usually
10 circled. This one -- it is not circled. But on a lot
11 of them it is circled, and you can see that that
12 document in question was sent by packet. This, by the
13 way, is a Prosecution document. You will find this
14 same notation on both the documents that the Defence
15 was able to obtain and documents the Prosecutors were
16 able to obtain.
17 Thank you. We're done with the ELMO now.
18 Our point is that you can look to the actual
19 communications to see what kind of system the HVO was
20 using, and you can look at the dates and times that
21 they were recorded, both going out and coming in, and
22 you find that these communications reflect delays in
23 their transmission of sometimes an hour, sometimes four
24 hours, eight hours, twelve hours, two days, five days.
25 It varies. And why is that? Why would these
1 communications not have been as rapid as voice
2 communications, such as over radio? That's because
3 this packet radio system -- and I'll finish on this
4 point, Mr. President. I see my time has expired this
5 morning. This packet system required that the message
6 be typed up, someone qualified to run the equipment had
7 to be found, first radio contact between the two radios
8 had to be established, then modem contact has to be
9 established. Modems have to shake hands, so you had to
10 get a good radio signal, then you had to get a modem
11 handshake, then you had to spend time sending the
12 document through the modem over the radio waves, and
13 then the document had to be recovered from what was a
14 data file, a computer data file, at the other end, and
15 then delivered. We know in Vitez, the packet system
16 came in to the PTT building and would then have to be
17 taken over to the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
18 This would be a convenient breaking point,
19 Mr. President.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. The hearing is
21 adjourned. We will resume at 2.30.
22 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.02 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Have
3 the accused brought in.
4 (The accused entered court)
5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, it is your turn to
6 continue your closing arguments in defence of the
7 accused in the trial that should be completed
9 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. I now
10 have the unenviable task of speaking after lunch, which
11 is always a challenge. We will try and keep it
12 interesting for all of us at this late stage in what
13 has been a very long trial.
14 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman, I do not authorise
15 you at all to imagine that the attention of the Judges
16 may differ in any sense after lunch as opposed to
17 before lunch.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Of course, Mr. President. I was
19 referring to the public gallery.
20 JUDGE JORDA: Fine. We're going to have
21 another difficult task to make the Judges particularly
22 attentive. It's all yours.
23 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you. Before lunch, I was
24 speaking about communications and how can the Court
25 decide what system was actually used and how reliable
1 was it and with what speed could orders be dispatched,
2 reports received, and so forth. One way, I suggested,
3 is you can look at the actual communications
4 themselves, at the stamps, to see if they were, indeed,
5 sent by the packet system and what kind of lag time or
6 delays there might have been. The other thing you can
7 use, Your Honours, to evaluate this issue is to look at
8 internal reports of the HVO about this subject. There
9 are some reports which describe the situation with
10 respect to HVO communications.
11 This is one such report, Defence Exhibit 406,
12 which should be on your monitors now. This is an
13 excerpt of it, the excerpt which deals with
14 communications, and it's a report from the chief of
15 staff, Franjo Nakic, sent to Colonel Blaskic, who at
16 the time was in Kiseljak, and I'll get to that in a few
17 more minutes. Suffice to say from now, he was cut off
18 in Kiseljak. So his own chief of staff is telling him,
19 on the 26th of January, and I will start with the
20 second bullet point:
21 "There is a need for checking identification
22 documents due to a frequent appearance of foreigners
23 (Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina)."
24 What does that mean? This paragraph is
25 entitled "Report on the Sending of Wires by Packet
1 Communications." I said earlier that to send,
2 apparently, messages over the packet system, there had
3 to be radio contact. It's not always easy to know. I
4 don't know if any of Your Honours ever had a short-wave
5 radio as a child, but it's not always easy to know who
6 you are talking to on a short-wave-type radio. There's
7 a frequency, and you speak, and then you listen and see
8 who speaks back.
9 This third bullet is saying that we have to
10 be careful because frequently the BH army is appearing
11 on the frequencies that they are trying to use to send
12 messages. What happened if the BH army was the other
13 party that they were in radio contact with? Well, if
14 the BH army switched on their modem too, the message
15 would go to the BH army, not to the Kiseljak Brigade or
16 whomever the intended recipient was. That's what the
17 third bullet point says -- the second one, rather.
18 "3. There is a high overload of the entire
19 packet network.
20 "4. There is a high frequency of packet
21 network interceptions."
22 "Interceptions" means the message is going
23 into the wrong hands.
24 The last bullet talks about certain
25 locations, certain brigades; the packet system
1 apparently isn't working at all.
2 We don't suggest that was always the case,
3 but we are suggesting to you is the system was an
4 amateur system that was not particularly reliable, and
5 at least here we know, in late January, which is an
6 important time for the case, the system was not working
7 well at all, and this is an internal HVO document, a
8 confidential document, one in which there's no reason
9 Mr. Nakic would have been misleading Colonel Blaskic
10 about problems in the packet network. If anything, he
11 might have been inclined to tell him it's not as bad as
12 it was.
13 What does it mean that there were problems
14 with the packet system and delays in messages? It
15 means that, on a regular basis, Colonel Blaskic
16 received news about battles after they were fought. He
17 received information about events that may have
18 occurred during those battles, after those events had
19 occurred. So strictly from the technical standpoint,
20 there was a lag time between the information he got and
21 between -- and a lag time in any additional orders or
22 instructions that he would want to send out to the
23 parties in the field.
24 Because there was a relatively fragile
25 communications system, we should also ask, when do
1 these systems perform best and when do they perform
2 worst? This same document, D406, talks about a high
3 overload of the network. This is on the 26th of
4 January, 1993. There's a lot going on. People are
5 trying to send a lot of messages. But how many
6 frequencies can you use? How do you keep switching
7 around frequencies to tell the other party where to be
8 and at what time to receive the message? It was a
9 problem that we can see from this report, and the
10 milinfocell, based on everything it learned, was able
11 to give this Court an appraisal of how well the
12 communication system might have functioned on the
13 morning of the 16th of April, 1993.
14 (Videotape played)
15 "Q Would you describe the situation on the
16 16th of April, 1993 in the Lasva Valley
17 as chaotic, and, if so, why?
18 A It was very chaotic. There was a lot of
19 fighting going on across the Lasva
20 Valley on both sides, and when things
21 are chaotic, even a professional army
22 would have problems finding out what was
23 going on, and we didn't know what was
24 going on all the time in all the places,
25 but we had a rough idea of what was
1 going on most of the time. I don't
2 think either commanders on both sides
3 would have had a clear idea of what was
4 going on because their lines of
5 communication were poor."
6 MR. HAYMAN: Those are my comments, Your
7 Honours, on the technical means of communication
8 available to Colonel Blaskic, both to disseminate
9 instructions and receive information.
10 But even if the technical means were working,
11 did he get accurate reports? Thus we introduce a
12 further human element in the command and control
13 equation. To exert control, you have to have accurate
14 information, and, of course, the paradigm for lack of
15 information in this case is Exhibit D280, Pasko
16 Ljubicic's report written and sent on the afternoon of
17 the 16th of April. I asked Mr. Leyshon about it.
18 (Videotape played)
19 "Q Exhibit 267 is the order, the order to
20 defend and, if attacked, notify Colonel
21 Blaskic and then neutralise the
22 attacker. Exhibit D280 is the report.
23 Now, the report does not contain any
24 information concerning murdered
25 civilians or burned homes. Let's
1 assume, for purposes of this question,
2 that civilians were murdered and homes
3 were burned on the morning of the 16th
4 of April, 1993. That being the case,
5 what are the consequences for command
6 and control if a commander receives
7 orders such as Exhibit D280?
8 A This report doesn't show a true
9 reflection of what happened in Ahmici.
10 Therefore, if you are receiving
11 inaccurate reports, the command cannot
12 make the right decisions. Good command
13 and control needs real-time reporting,
14 but also something which is obviously
15 important is the accuracy of the
17 Q Is it fair to say that without accurate
18 information, the commander is in the
20 A Absolutely."
21 MR. HAYMAN: There are other examples of
22 problems in the accuracy of the reporting, but I will
23 address those when they come up in the sequence of
25 The quality of reporting is affected by
1 training and experience. I don't want to dwell on the
2 issue of training, but I would like to say that the
3 evidence is clear that the HVO did not have a training
4 centre, there was no regular training programme
5 implemented, and that was because of lack of resources,
6 lack of people to train. There was some basic training
7 beginning in September of 1993, as Mr. Tolo testified.
8 But Colonel Blaskic did order training; he
9 tried to encourage training. He knew it was important.
10 You can gauge whether there was a regular training
11 programme across the territory in place by observations
12 of some of the witnesses in this case. Normally,
13 militaries train all the time. Certainly when they are
14 not in wartime, they train all the time. That's what
15 they do. That's what professional armies do in order
16 to ensure discipline, uniformity, and control within a
17 military. As they say, practice makes perfect.
18 But it is clear in the Lasva Valley, and the
19 region, the international observers did not see HVO
20 troops training. First, Mr. Baggesen of the ECMM made
21 that observation:
22 (Videotape played)
23 "Mr. Cayley:
24 Q Now, in terms of training, did you see
25 any training of HVO soldiers going on
1 whilst you were down in Bosnia? 2 A No, I didn't. Not at all, no." 3 MR. HAYMAN: I also asked that question of 4 Mr. Leyshon, or at least I believe I asked the
6 (Videotape played)
7 "A Well, we had a lot of people out on the
8 ground for seven months, and not once
9 did we see any existence of any training
10 going on."
11 MR. HAYMAN: Perhaps it was Mr. Kehoe. I'm
12 not sure what that meant. The question obviously
13 wasn't in the clip.
14 To summarise on command and control, I need
15 to go into a very short private session,
16 Mr. President.
17 (Private session)
13 page 25081 redacted – private session
13 page 25082 redacted – private session
13 page 25083 redacted – private session
13 page 25084 redacted – private session
1 (redacted) 2 (redacted) 3 (redacted)
6 (Open session)
7 MR. HAYMAN: So we simply point out,
8 Mr. President, that the Danas article is not only
9 contrary to the body of more considered evidence on
10 this point, but it's perfectly understandable for a pep
11 talk article of this type to find its way into the
12 media, and the Court, quite frankly, would be naive to
13 rely on it as evidence of actual conditions on the
15 Now, what about the report of the 7th of
16 May? What we've done to try and illustrate this, Your
17 Honours, is we've made a chart concerning this report,
18 and there are two columns on the chart. The left-hand
19 side are specific statements in the report that bear on
20 communications, control, and those types of issues.
21 The right-hand side of the chart are the generalised
22 positive-spin statements that Colonel Blaskic put at
23 the end of the report. They only appear at the end,
24 and that's where they are.
25 What are the specific indicia of poor
1 communications or control on the left? The first three
2 bullet points deal with isolation of territory, lack of
3 communications, and so forth. I won't read them
4 verbatim. The fourth bullet point says "Training is
5 inadequate," and you do have a copy of this chart in
6 the batch we handed out yesterday.
7 The fifth bullet point is that the Fojnica
8 HVO battalion is in a state of mutiny or rebellion, and
9 I will talk about that in greater length at the
11 The sixth bullet point, and this is a quote
12 from the -- I'm sorry. I haven't handed these out yet,
13 Your Honours. I've been hoarding them, but I would
14 hand them out now, although I think this one is fairly
16 So, Your Honours, to continue, and I
17 apologise for losing my own documents here, the fourth
18 bullet point is a lack of training, it's not adequate.
19 The fifth, the Fojnica battalion is in a state of
20 mutiny or rebellion. The sixth, and this is a quote
21 from the report: "Organised gangs with notorious
22 ringleaders are taking advantage of the times and
23 circumstances to rob and steal."
24 The last bullet point: "Loose cannon who
25 damage the reputation of the HVO are present in the
1 area of combat operations." 2 On the right-hand side are the 3 generalisations that he ended the report with, and he 4 said that cooperation is good, and command and control
5 function properly.
6 We submit to you that it is human nature to
7 try and put a bad situation in the best light and it's
8 human nature to tell your commander that you're doing
9 or trying to do a good job, the best job that you can.
10 We simply ask you, Your Honours, with respect to the
11 Danas article and the May 7th report, to consider them
12 in light of the other evidence, and in light of the
13 type of documents they are.
14 Further, to the extent the Prosecutor has
15 urged you to rely on them as indicia of Blaskic's inner
16 thoughts on the subject of command and control, there
17 is other evidence on that score, and I need to go into
18 private session for just one minute to present it to
19 you, please.
20 (Private session)
13 page 25088 redacted – private session
1 (Open session) 2 MR. HAYMAN: The Prosecutor offered one other 3 argument on command and control that I would like to 4 reply to, and that is Stjepan Tuka and the Fojnica
5 Battalion. They maintained yesterday that Colonel
6 Blaskic could dismiss brigade commanders without the
7 support of civilian authorities, and that the Tuka
8 incident demonstrated as much. In fact, the Prosecutor
9 told you that Blaskic "Dismissed Tuka" and "Tuka was
10 out." Is that what happened with respect to Mr. Tuka?
11 We have made a chart, Your Honours, that
12 consists of two pages, and the first page sets forth
13 the initial events involving the dispute or
14 disagreement between Colonel Blaskic and battalion
15 commander Tuka. What does it set forth? It sets forth
16 that on the 18th of April, Colonel Blaskic ordered
17 Mr. Tuka and his battalion to take action. On the
18 19th, he issued a follow-up order to them to take
19 action, because apparently nothing had happened. On
20 the 20th, Tuka sent a letter to Blaskic saying, "I
21 refuse to execute the order." And on the 20th, Colonel
22 Blaskic ordered his replacement, the 20th of April,
24 It is there that the Prosecutor would like to
25 end this saga of insubordination with respect to the
1 Fojnica Battalion, but the story does not end there.
2 It continues.
3 Also on the 20th, Tuka sent a response to
4 Blaskic indicating that there would be a meeting among
5 various parties, religious, civilian, and so forth, and
6 then in addition, certain civil authorities sent their
7 own letter to Colonel Blaskic, saying they rejected his
8 attempts to replace Mr. Tuka. That was on the 20th of
10 The next item of correspondence in this
11 exchange doesn't occur until the 7th of May. That's
12 between two and three weeks later, when Colonel Blaskic
13 again sends an order threatening that Tuka be replaced,
14 instructing that he be replaced, resign, what have you,
15 or he would be subject to penalties for
16 insubordination. Tuka was still not replaced at that
17 juncture, that is the evidence in this case, and,
18 indeed, in June, he is finally replaced, some two
19 months, six weeks, six to eight weeks after an order
20 for immediate replacement occurred, six to eight
21 weeks. I ask you, what kind of command and control did
22 Colonel Blaskic have over the Fojnica Battalion during
23 that six to eight weeks, at a minimum?
24 I asked a witness that question, again,
25 Captain Leyshon.
1 (Videotape played)
2 "Mr. Hayman:
3 Q This exhibit is entitled 'Decision from
4 the HVO Battalion in Fojnica, the HVO
5 civilian authority, the Franciscan
6 monastery,' and others, and it states in
7 short that an order of the Operative
8 Zone command is being completely
9 rejected. What does that mean for
10 command and control, when a subordinate
11 unit rejects an order of a superior
13 A Well, obviously, there is no command and
15 MR. HAYMAN: What happened in Fojnica? There
16 was a conflict there between the BH army and the HVO in
17 July, the following month, and the BH army took control
18 of Fojnica. That's really aside the point though,
19 whether Colonel Blaskic's order -- whether any of us
20 like it or don't like it -- the fact is command and
21 control did not exist over the Fojnica Battalion at
22 that time and for that period. So for the Prosecutor
23 to suggest that the Tuka incident establishes command
24 and control, we suggest on the contrary. It gives you
25 considerable insight into whether Colonel Blaskic
1 really could tell a brigade or battalion commander,
2 "Carry out my order or you are out of here." He
3 certainly didn't have that power and authority over
4 Mr. Tuka.
5 The other thing I'd like to say about the
6 Tuka documents is the 19 Prosecution witnesses on whom
7 the Prosecutor relies; they never saw the Tuka
8 documents. Why was that? That's because we didn't
9 get, the Defence didn't get the Tuka documents until
10 the 22nd of July, 1998 when the Prosecutor introduced
11 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456, the big binder of HVO
12 documents. That was after the last Prosecution witness
13 and their case in chief had testified.
14 What would Mr. Buffini have said if we had
15 the opportunity to share the mutiny, the insurrection,
16 if you will, in Fojnica with him? What would the other
17 18 Prosecution witnesses have said?
18 In sum, there were dual or even triple lines
19 of command over the military police and the Vitezovi.
20 Communications were unreliable and were certainly
21 nothing close to real-time within the HVO. The experts
22 agree that command and control was poor and the command
23 structure was in its infancy, at best. So we simply
24 suggest from that, Your Honours, that the Prosecutor
25 cannot sustain their burden by urging general
1 inferences of command responsibility from events on the
2 ground. Such an inference is not sustainable, is not
3 logical, in these circumstances, and the Court must
4 look for actual proof.
5 I'd like to do that and discuss that with
6 you, beginning very briefly with 1992. There was a
7 suggestion in the Prosecution argument that Tihomir
8 Blaskic came to Bosnia as part of a master political
9 plan to break up Bosnia and annex parts of Bosnia to
10 Croatia. That's an interesting conspiracy theory, but
11 what is the evidence? The evidence is he was asked to
12 come to Kiseljak by the municipal council, a
13 multi-ethnic group, to urgently assist in the defence
14 of that municipality against the Serbs who were very
15 close to the Kiseljak municipality and were bearing
16 down on it. I think you could hear the gunfire, you
17 could hear the artillery fire against Sarajevo easily
18 from the Kiseljak municipality. Think how those people
19 felt when they heard that artillery on a regular basis,
20 knowing that they had no army, neither the BH army nor
21 the HVO existed. They had no army to defend themselves
22 against the JNA with all of their equipment and fire
24 The Prosecutor also asserted that Blaskic was
25 selected for the Operative Zone commander position
1 based on political criteria. Is there any evidence
2 that he was even interviewed for the job? No. The
3 first time he met a political leader of Herceg-Bosna in
4 Herzegovina was on the 27th of June, 1993, and he went
5 there to receive his appointment -- I'm sorry. Did I
6 say 27th? That's what I meant if I said it. The 27th
7 of June, 1993 -- did I misspeak, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: 1993?
9 MR. HAYMAN: I'm sorry. 1992. I knew there
10 was something wrong with that date. 1992. Thank you.
11 He met Mate Boban for the first time and he
12 received his appointment. There was no interview,
13 there was no questionnaire. He was not a member of any
14 political party.
15 What are the facts? The facts are the HVO
16 had gone through four purported Operative Zone
17 commanders in the prior four months. You may recall
18 that Pasko Ljubicic was the commander of the Operative
19 Zone for a time. There was a commander named Zulu, not
20 known by any other name, a mysterious figure who walked
21 in the room with no papers, no documents, no
22 recordkeeping and said, "I am the commander now," and
23 then left. They had been through four commanders in
24 four or five months. Nothing was getting done. They
25 needed someone who had some real military training, and
1 they asked Blaskic to help. That's not a crime.
2 Is there any evidence that he went for any
3 political or personal motive? We know his family
4 didn't want him to go. His family wanted to get out of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He went and he stayed at
6 considerable personal sacrifice, but he felt he had an
7 obligation to help the people in that region organise
8 for self-defence. You heard about him talk about this
9 yourselves. You're professional Judges. You can
10 assess whether he spoke sincerely or not.
11 In early August 1992, what happened? There
12 was a conflict. The Territorial Defence attempted to
13 cut the Kiseljak enclave by erecting checkpoints or
14 roadblocks in several locations. This is an excerpt
15 from an order from the commander, the municipal defence
16 headquarters commander in Kiseljak, dated August 5th,
17 1992, and what did he order?
18 "3. Immediately select the objects, and
19 especially the points on the main and secondary
20 communication lines, to be used for the blockade of
21 territory and roads, and select a fraction of the
22 forces to execute it ...
23 "4. Execute all measures needed to equip the
24 soldiers ..."
25 This is the key one.
1 "5. You must intensify the control of the
2 movement of troops and vehicles on the main
3 communication line of the municipality."
4 We showed you, during the testimony, I think
5 we put up little yellow pieces of paper on the main
6 road to show the four or five different roadblocks that
7 are described and that actually took place. Now, this
8 wasn't illegal. We're not blaming the Territorial
9 Defence. Tensions were building up, and there was the
10 beginnings of a struggle to take control of this
11 territory. That's what happens when civil war breaks
12 out. It wasn't wrong for the Territorial Defence to be
13 subject to the normal fears and concerns that anyone
14 would have in that situation, and it wasn't wrong for
15 persons within the HVO to be concerned about control
16 and safety and security. It's what happens in a civil
17 war situation.
18 But it happened first in the Kiseljak
19 municipality on the part of the TO. Again, that's not
20 wrong. It just happened. For purposes of the law, the
21 fact is it happened, and this is contrary to the
22 Prosecutor's theory that there was a conspiracy to
23 expel Bosnian Muslims from a particular territory that
24 was carried out by Colonel Blaskic or planned or aided
25 and abetted by him in any way. The fact is there were
1 two communities and two armed forces forming that were
2 overlayed on the same territory, and they began to
3 compete for resources, barracks, weapons, and so
4 forth. The Court has heard all about the types of
5 things that start to happen when you have competing --
6 not only armed forces, but competing municipal
7 governments on the same territory.
8 The next to last incident in 1992 I will
9 discuss is the arrest of Mr. Sinanbasic, who was a TO
10 official also in Kiseljak, and the claim has been made
11 that Colonel Blaskic, who by this point, I think in
12 August or the fall, he was already in Vitez, but their
13 claim has been made that he allowed Sinanbasic to stay
14 in gaol in order to promote a take-over or something
15 like in the Kiseljak municipality.
16 Sinanbasic was arrested by the civilian
17 police in Busovaca. That's fact number 1. Fact number
18 2: Blaskic endeavoured to get him released, but it
19 took some time, because I believe this is the same
20 period of time that Jajce was under extreme pressure,
21 and Colonel Blaskic was spending a great deal of time
22 there. Fact number 3: They got Sinanbasic released.
23 They got him out. This incident, it may be
24 unfortunate, but it doesn't prove what the Prosecutor
1 Finally, there is a claim that Colonel
2 Blaskic tried to outlaw and expel the Territorial
3 Defence from the Kiseljak municipality. It is true he
4 repeated an order from General Roso, director of the
5 TO, but again it should come as no surprise that there
6 was some sparring and posturing for power throughout
7 the territory that these two militias overlapped.
8 But it's also true that Blaskic took no steps
9 to force the TO in Kiseljak to come under HVO control,
10 and we even know, Your Honours, that that didn't happen
11 even much later in 1992 in Vitez, and we know that
12 because Sefkija Dzidic, the TO commander in Vitez, in
13 Stari Vitez, was asked about this issue, and this was
14 his reply:
15 (Videotape played)
16 "A On one occasion, Mr. Blaskic, at a
17 meeting when I went to him, said that no
18 one had the right to force anyone to
19 come under his command, which was
20 correct on his part."
21 MR. HAYMAN: That's all we have to say with
22 respect to 1992. If you look at the documents and look
23 at all the testimony, you can see that Colonel Blaskic
24 was trying to establish a system. He was trying to
25 establish a headquarters, he tried to establish a
1 staff, he tried to establish meetings of the staff, he
2 tried to start training, he tried to start forming an
3 army, which is what you do if you care about command
4 and control and you want to try and create command and
5 control and order out of relative chaos. That's the
6 story of 1992.
7 What about 1993? The drama in 1993, Your
8 Honours, begins in the Busovaca municipality in
9 January. The Prosecutor has referred to the January
10 conflict as, on the part of the HVO, a "dress
11 rehearsal" for the April conflict. What actually
12 happened in January 1993, and has the Prosecution
13 proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Blaskic had
14 either direct or command responsibility for any crimes
15 in the Busovaca municipality in January?
16 What was the situation as it existed at that
17 time? You will recall the Vitez enclave, encircled by
18 red tape on the relief map in its current state, was
19 still connected to the Kiseljak municipality. The road
20 was open for all and there was free passage.
21 On the 23rd of January, 1993, which was a
22 Saturday, Blaskic left Vitez, after finishing his
23 two-thirds or three-quarters day of work, to visit his
24 parents at their family home in Brestovsko. Brestovsko
25 is on the other side of Bilalovac as you go towards
1 Kiseljak, but before you get to Kiseljak proper. So
2 it's on the other side of the Kacuni-Bilalovac
4 It's quite clear from the evidence that the
5 conflict, which erupted the following day, late on the
6 night of the 24th, was totally unforeseen by Colonel
8 What happened? Well, the BH army had
9 previously erected a new checkpoint, and this did not
10 go unnoticed by the United Nations Protection Force.
11 UNPROFOR reported on the 20th of January that "The BH
12 army in Busovaca has erected a new checkpoint at
13 Kacuni. This is the only BH checkpoint on the route
14 from Vitez to Kiseljak, and it is located just north of
15 the BH Brigade headquarters." That's on the 20th of
16 January. Even Blaskic was unsuspecting when he passed
17 through this checkpoint on the way to Brestovsko on
18 Saturday, January 23rd.
19 On the night of the 24th to the 25th of
20 January, that's late Sunday night, getting close to
21 Monday, the 7th Muslim Brigade at Kacuni attacked HVO
22 vehicles passing through Kacuni and murdered an HVO
23 policeman and a Croat passer-by, and, indeed, this was
24 reported at the time.
25 This is a report received by Colonel Blaskic
1 informing him that at 1.00 a.m. on the 25th, these
2 murders occurred. You can see it was directed to
3 Colonel Blaskic through the Kiseljak headquarters. So
4 this is 25 January; it's a Monday.
5 The conflict, however, quickly escalated.
6 The Prosecutor has referred to a milinfosum which
7 speaks of Croatian extremists burning Muslim properties
8 in Busovaca, and that may well have happened. There
9 hasn't been much actual testimony to that effect.
10 There was testimony of at least one murder that
11 occurred by someone who has been indicted by this
12 Tribunal for it.
13 But what we also know is that the BH army
14 took advantage of this situation to sever the
15 Vitez-Kiseljak territory, and it moved units from
16 Visoko down into the area and quickly took control of
17 approximately a seven-kilometre swath of territory from
18 Kacuni to Bilalovac. This was not a very good dress
19 rehearsal on the part of the HVO for anything. It
20 seems, on the contrary, that all witnesses in this case
21 concede that the BH army initiated the January conflict
22 (Videotape played)
23 "Mr. Hayman:
24 Q To the best of your recollection, when
25 you spoke to Hadzihasanovic and said,
1 'You, the BH army, you started the
2 conflict in January in Busovaca,' were
3 you referring to that ambush and
5 A Yes, I probably was."
6 MR. HAYMAN: Now, here again, the taking of
7 this territory by the BH army, the fact of taking it,
8 that's a legitimate military objective. How they went
9 about it and the consequences of that, is another
10 matter. We're not here, and certainly the Defence
11 isn't here, to fault any military for their strategy
12 when it involves legitimate military aims. But why
13 this is important in the case is the Prosecutor's
14 theory is very different. It is a theory basically of
15 a conspiracy to expel Muslims, take control of a
16 territory, initiated, planned, implemented by Tihomir
18 Here we have a very successful BH army action
19 in January 1993 cutting the Croat enclave into two much
20 more vulnerable pieces. That doesn't fit in the
21 Prosecutor's theory. It doesn't fit. What it does fit
22 with is a situation where you have overlapping military
23 and civilian authorities struggling, posturing for
24 control, and when it broke out into open violence,
25 what's most important is our client was visiting his
1 parents. He got cut off. Does that sound like he
2 planned and implemented some military action in
3 Busovaca in January 1993? He was at his parents'
4 house. He missed the party, to use the Prosecutor's
5 analogy, not that it was a party, and I don't mean to
6 imply anything of that sort.
7 So what happened on the 25th of January?
8 Tihomir Blaskic got up early to drive back to Vitez,
9 which was frequently his habit, to try and get away on
10 Sunday and come back to Vitez either Sunday night or
11 early Monday morning, but when he got to Bilalovac, he
12 was told that the road to Busovaca was blocked and no
13 traffic was being allowed through. So he went to the
14 Kiseljak barracks to try and find out what was going
15 on, and he got some messages there, as the Court saw a
16 moment ago.
17 But events were moving very quickly, and by
18 the next day, the 26th of January, this Court has heard
19 that the 7th Muslim Brigade was clearing villages
20 northeast of Busovaca of Croats. The Trial Chamber has
21 heard of events in Dusina and Lasva that day, and,
22 indeed, the large swath of territory was -- if it
23 hadn't fallen by the 26th, it was very close to it.
24 Dusina and Lasva, again, we're not here to
25 accuse others of crimes in that village, that's not
1 what this case is about, but what happened in Dusina
2 and Lasva also doesn't fit in with the Prosecutor's
3 theory. We do believe and we do submit that prisoners
4 were executed, HVO prisoners, and civilians, Croat
5 civilians were killed, and the Court is in a position
6 to judge, even if only from the pictures of some of the
7 victims, including Zvonko Rajic, whose heart was cut
8 out, and I apologise to the Court that you had to view
9 that, I won't show it again.
10 Because these events are important to
11 understand the fear that was starting to spread in this
12 region, and it was on all sides, but fear among the
13 ordinary people, the general population, was starting
14 to spread. It is impossible for us really to imagine
15 for those of us who live in wonderful cities like The
16 Hague, or visit here as the case may be, to think what
17 we would feel like if our own community starts to pull
18 apart, you hear the gunfire at the front line in the
19 distance, there's a massacre in a nearby suburb, and
20 then your neighbour starts digging a trench faced
21 towards your property. Those are unimaginable things
22 to us. But, in this case, you're being called upon to
23 try and understand how ordinary citizens, whether
24 educated or uneducated, what goes on in their minds
25 when those types of terrible things start to happen
1 right there in their lives?
2 While the crimes were being committed in
3 Dusina on the 26th of January, where was Blaskic? He
4 was in Kiseljak. First he requested a meeting mediated
5 by UNPROFOR with the BH army, and a meeting was held at
6 U.N. headquarters in Kiseljak. I believe Brigadier
7 Cordy Simpson presided. I think that's reflected in
8 the documents. And Blaskic ordered a cease-fire. That
9 occurred and that order was issued on the 27th of
10 January, 1993. So the Court knows that the violence
11 broke out on the 25th with the killing at the
12 checkpoint, escalated on the 26th, those crimes in
13 Dusina, that is literally during the cease-fire
14 negotiations, as the Court may recall from the
15 testimony, and then on the 27th, Blaskic, he's readily
16 agreed to a cease-fire, and he had ordered it.
17 As part of that cease-fire, he ordered that
18 all prisoners should be exchanged, this is paragraph 5,
19 through the office of the committee of the Red Cross,
20 he puts someone in charge of that, and he puts the
21 deadline "As agreed with ICRC." He looked to them for
23 Why would he, you may ask? He's a trained
24 military officer. Why would he say, "Let's do what
25 ICRC says with respect to whatever prisoners may have
1 been taken on the other side of this new barrier
2 cutting off these two enclaves"? General Blaskic had
3 been a captain in the JNA, principally responsible for
4 training members of the company with whom he was
5 involved. So his speciality was training. He hasn't
6 fought in a war, he had never been a general, he had
7 never commanded more than the deputy commander of
8 perhaps 120 men in a company, a battalion perhaps, and
9 here he's cut off, he's in Kiseljak, there are horrible
10 things happening, he's told, on the other side of the
11 barricade, certainly in Dusina, and the Court can
12 imagine what happened at this meeting, at the U.N.
13 headquarters. The United Nations representative said,
14 "We've been told there are some detainees. We want
15 them exchanged. We want you to work with the Red Cross
16 and get that done." And this document reflects what
17 Colonel Blaskic said. He said, "I agree. Let's write
18 it down." And the language is agreed upon and it's
20 Now, an important question for you is why, if
21 the HVO was in a position of military superiority,
22 which has always been the Prosecutor's theory, why
23 would Blaskic agree to a cease-fire when his territory,
24 the territory he was supposed to protect, has been cut
25 in two? Why not win it back, if he's in the superior
1 position? The fact is the HVO was horribly surprised
2 by the January conflict, badly outnumbered vis-à-vis
3 the BH army, and soundly defeated in January 1993. It
4 was not much of a dress rehearsal for anything.
5 Now I will turn to the Prosecutor's
6 contention that Blaskic was in Busovaca during the
7 January conflict actually directing military activity
8 there. It is central to the arguments you've just
9 heard that Blaskic himself designed, participated in,
10 and executed a conspiracy to expel Muslims from
11 Busovaca and else where in the Lasva and Kiseljak
12 Valleys. Part of that theory, and they presented this
13 particular piece through one witness who I will discuss
14 in a moment, but it will need to be in a private
15 session because it was private-session testimony, they
16 presented evidence, attempted to persuade this Court
17 that Blaskic was personally, in January of 1993,
18 directing the effort there.
19 They needed to argue that, Your Honours,
20 because if Blaskic wasn't there, then who was? Who was
21 directing those activities in Busovaca, if it wasn't
22 Blaskic? That's the problem that they faced and why
23 they took the position, at least at an earlier point in
24 this case, that Colonel Blaskic was personally in
25 Busovaca directing military activities there.
1 If I may have a moment. We need to go now 2 into private session briefly, Your Honour, and if we 3 could have the ELMO activated but turned off in the
4 public gallery, please.
5 (Private session)
22 (Open session)
23 MR. HAYMAN: Why did the Prosecution abandon
24 the argument that Blaskic was in Busovaca in January
25 during the fighting there? Well, the evidence on which
1 they were relying collapsed. Even the BH army
2 recognised that Blaskic was in Kiseljak and was cut
3 off. This is Exhibit D188. It's a BH army document.
4 I think it's actually signed by General Hadzihasanovic,
5 and he confirmed it. In the document, paragraph 3
6 begins, but let me first remind Your Honours of the
7 date, February 12th, 1993, in paragraph 3, General
8 Hadzihasanovic is telling the supreme command of the BH
9 army that: "We assume that Colonel Tihomir Blaskic is
10 isolated in Kiseljak and that his readiness to solve
11 the problems is a lie, that somebody else is solving
12 the problems instead of Tiho Blaskic and that there's
13 no point in negotiating," that is, with Blaskic, "as
14 whatever is agreed upon will not have any result."
15 Everybody knows that Tihomir Blaskic was cut
16 off in Kiseljak starting on or about the 23rd of
17 January, 1993 all the way through February and up to
18 approximately the 3rd of March, 1993, even the BH army
19 knew it and didn't want to negotiate with him because
20 they didn't believe he could possibly exert any control
21 over what was happening in other enclaves.
22 Similarly, HVO documentation from this time
23 period uniformly indicates that Tihomir Blaskic was in
24 Kiseljak. I'll just read off the dates: "26 January,
25 1993, addressed to Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, Kiseljak."
1 Again, "26 January, Tihomir Blaskic, Kiseljak." This
2 is an order issued by Tihomir Blaskic "29 January
3 1993," and you can see he was there because he signed
4 it, and if you look at the stamp, it's the stamp of the
5 Kiseljak brigade. You can see the word "Kiseljak"
6 under the slight outline of the checkerboard. Not only
7 did Blaskic not have a headquarters in Kiseljak, he
8 didn't even have a headquarters stamp. Even Deborah
9 Christie, if Your Honours will remember the filmmaker,
10 she confirmed that Blaskic was cut off in Kiseljak,
11 because when she went to get a permit for her film,
12 this is the permit that she got and she brought it to
13 Your Honours in the course of this case and her
15 A long time ago, many questions were asked in
16 this trial concerning the existence of a mountain path
17 or mountain road between Kiseljak and Vitez.
18 Fortunately, Judge Rodrigues, you were spared all those
19 questions. They really got rather silly, and I know
20 the Defence was perhaps as guilty as anyone for
21 pursuing that point as vigorously as we did, but we did
22 that, Your Honours, because we firmly believed and
23 still believe that that testimony was erroneous.
24 There may have been UNPROFOR soldiers in
25 their armoured four-wheel-drive vehicles that went
1 overland, but there is absolutely no evidence that the
2 HVO ever did or could or would want to subject
3 themselves to such risk. As the territory that was
4 pointed out to Your Honours as being the path of these
5 mountain paths went through BH territory, and not
6 witness was able to indicate on a map exactly where
7 this path existed.
8 Now I'd like to turn -- unless we're at a
9 break point. I'm not sure when Your Honour would like
10 to break. I don't recall.
11 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. It's usually at ten to
12 four that we break, but if this would be more suitable
13 for you, we can do that. We will have another hour and
14 fifteen or twenty left. You have spoken at length.
15 The Judges don't mind. So if you prefer, we can have
16 the break now and resume at five past four, whichever
17 you prefer.
18 MR. HAYMAN: Let's keep going.
19 JUDGE JORDA: For a few more minutes, until
20 ten to four. The interpreters are managing. I think
21 Mr. Hayman is speaking rather more slowly than
22 Mr. Nobilo, so we will continue for another ten minutes
23 or so and then we will have the break. So, please,
25 MR. HAYMAN: The next logical question, Your
1 Honours, is from Kiseljak where he unquestionably was
2 from the 23rd of January until the 3rd of March, 1993,
3 did Blaskic exert operative control over HVO units in
4 Busovaca and did he receive any information that war
5 crimes were being committed or had been committed? And
6 I'd like to look at that question.
7 The Prosecution has taken the position that
8 physical presence is not necessary to exert command.
9 We would like to point out that at best, the testimony
10 on that subject is mixed. One of their witnesses said,
11 "No, physical presence is not important." One of
12 their witnesses said, "Yes, it is important." That was
13 Captain Lanthier.
14 (Videotape played)
15 "A There were several means of
16 communication, but, at any moment in
17 time, a commander must impose his
18 commands through physical presence. He
19 cannot continually impose his command at
20 a distance, and so a commander must be
21 able to make his command known to his
22 troops and --"
23 MR. HAYMAN: So the testimony on that point,
24 Your Honours, is mixed. What we do know is I've
25 already discussed the packet radio system and its
1 capabilities. We also know that General Blaskic, then 2 Colonel Blaskic, he didn't have a headquarters or a 3 headquarters staff in Kiseljak. That was confirmed for
4 the Court by Mr. Friis-Pedersen, the EC monitor.
5 (Videotape played)
6 "Mr. Hayman:
7 Q Do you have any information, any
8 specific information, suggesting that he
9 had a headquarters staff in Kiseljak?
10 A No."
11 MR. HAYMAN: Now I have some private-session
12 testimony, Your Honour, briefly to present.
13 (Private session)
13 page 25115 redacted – private session
17 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
19 (Open session)
20 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. The hearing
21 is resumed. Have the accused brought in, please. We
22 are continuing.
23 (The accused entered court)
24 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Hayman?
25 MR. HAYMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. I
1 believe we are back in open session. 2 I would like to refer back to a concept I 3 spoke of at the beginning of my remarks today, and that 4 is that there were bits of information and observations
5 made by international observers in Central Bosnia that
6 fit in with the expert opinions that have also been
7 rendered, and this is also true with respect to the
8 chain of command over the Busovaca HVO.
9 You heard, before the break, what witnesses
10 with direct knowledge said of that, but here's what one
11 of the EC Monitors, Mr. Remi Landry, perceived with
12 respect to the Busovaca Brigade.
13 (Videotape played)
14 "A ... perhaps some action by the
15 commander of Busovaca who seemed to be
16 disobeying his orders or seemed to be
17 taking his orders from another
19 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. Remi Landry was talking
20 about an incident where he participated in trying to
21 resolve it with the Busovaca Brigade commander, and as
22 he noted, he felt that the Busovaca Brigade commander
23 was responding to an authority other than the Operative
24 Zone military structure.
25 Of course, the BritBat officer who dealt most
1 with problems in Busovaca during the critical time
2 period, the Cheshire Regiment tour, Martin Forgrave,
3 who was the liaison officer, he was not called to
4 testify by either side.
5 Now I'd like to call your attention to during
6 this critical time period, January 1993 and the
7 aftermath, who was actually making decisions of a
8 military nature with respect to the Busovaca area?
9 This is a military information summary, and
10 the date is important: February 22. This is during
11 the time period that Colonel Blaskic is cut off in
12 Kiseljak. "Paragraph 5: Busovaca:
13 "At approximately 09.00, 22 February, HVO
14 Busovaca inserted two checkpoints on access routes into
15 Busovaca. These checkpoints were reportedly placed
16 following direct instructions from Dario Kordic."
17 What did the British Battalion report in this
18 same vein three days later on the 25th of February?
19 Again, still while Colonel Blaskic is isolated in
20 Kiseljak. This is a reference also to checkpoints:
21 "Paragraph 6: Busovaca:
22 "Both positions were eventually removed later
23 in the afternoon following discussions between LOs and
24 Dario Kordic." That reference to an "LO," that would
25 have been Martin Forgrave, the witness not called by
1 the Prosecutor.
2 Then also earlier in February, on the 11th of
3 February, here's another report from the British
5 "Paragraph 2: Zenica Road Checkpoint:
6 "Kordic further stated that the HVO
7 checkpoint at ..." grid reference "... could not become
8 a combined checkpoint until the following problems were
9 resolved," and then he lists problems with respect to
10 BH army activities and other matters, both military and
12 So the Court need not speculate who was
13 issuing orders, who was engaging in negotiations with
14 respect to military matters in Busovaca in January
15 1993. It was recorded and documented by the United
16 Nations, and I'm sure these very same documents are
17 being presented in another courtroom in this
18 courthouse, and I can hear the arguments of that
19 Prosecutor ringing through the halls of this building.
20 What information did Colonel Blaskic receive
21 about the conflict in Busovaca while he was isolated in
22 Kiseljak? Those reports are in evidence, you can
23 review them, and they indicate that he got general
24 information, he did not receive detailed reports, and
25 he was generally told, "We were attacked, we've
1 sustained a lot of casualties, and we've lost a lot of
2 territory." That's what he was told in those reports.
3 He agreed to a cease-fire and he agreed to everything
4 that international organisations asked him to do with
5 respect to all issues, and the documents speak for
6 themselves in that regard.
7 Now we turn to the April conflict and the
8 preceding weeks. As I said, on the 3rd of March,
9 Colonel Blaskic did get to Vitez. He hitched a ride
10 with UNPROFOR. There was a meeting of some sort, and
11 he stayed in Vitez. He escaped the return trip. That,
12 no doubt, was intended. He didn't show up for it and
13 he was thereby able to stay in Vitez and to effectively
14 return to Vitez on the 3rd of March.
15 What did he do in Vitez? It's instructive.
16 He called his staff together and he asked to be briefed
17 on all events and all information that they had
18 concerning events in his absence. He learned of
19 allegations that HVO soldiers had been out of control
20 in the recent fighting in Busovaca, and he asked for an
21 investigation. But more importantly, in some ways, he
22 took preventative action, and I would like to show you
23 an order, an extraordinary order, that he issued which
24 was not discussed in the Prosecutor's arguments.
25 This order was issued on the 17th of March by
1 Colonel Blaskic, and it's entitled "Treatment of
2 Persons Inclined Towards Criminal and Destructive
3 Conduct." This order instructed -- let's go back and
4 see -- it instructed in the first few paragraphs for
5 all unit commanders at the platoon, company, and
6 battalion levels to assess the conduct of HVO soldiers
7 inclined towards destructive and criminal conduct, and
8 he set a deadline of twelve days, if I'm not mistaken,
9 the 29th of the March.
10 He ordered them, in paragraph 2, to evaluate
11 each conscript with respect to this problem, and he
12 ordered, in paragraph 3, that "persons prone to
13 disruptive conduct shall return their weapons, uniform,
14 and other equipment and should be deleted from the
15 active list and given an appropriate wartime assignment
16 according to Decree." In other words, they are to be
17 removed from active military units.
18 Yesterday, when discussing the issue of
19 failure to punish, the Prosecution stated that Blaskic
20 never directed that persons who had committed wrongful
21 acts or other acts of violence be removed from the
22 HVO. Is that true? The Prosecutor also asserted that
23 when Blaskic did order remedial actions, including an
24 investigation into Ahmici, he merely did so to paper
25 the file and because he was concerned after the CNN
1 report on Ahmici. This order is March 17th. This is
2 long before the crime in Ahmici.
3 He ordered, in paragraph 4 of this order,
4 that should a member of an HVO unit decline to
5 surrender, he shall be arrested and disarmed, and
6 disciplinary and other measures shall be taken against
7 him, and he made all unit commanders responsible. He
8 not only ordered that criminals and persons prone to
9 disruptive conduct be removed, he ordered them to be
10 arrested and charged if they resisted.
11 Now, one thing we must say in this case is
12 that there has been a lot of criticism levelled by the
13 Prosecution at Colonel Blaskic for giving orders.
14 "Well, all he did was give an order." What we ask the
15 Court to consider is that there were 7.000 or 8.000
16 soldiers in the Operative Zone for which Colonel
17 Blaskic had at least formal authority. What do you do
18 if you have 7.000 or 8.000 people that you have formal
19 authority over and you want to try and change things,
20 you want to try and identify criminals or persons who
21 are prone to disruptive conduct and remove them from
22 the units? Do you issue an order or do you set up
23 8.000 interviews in your office and undertake personal
24 one-on-one action? You can't do that, Your Honours.
25 You can't. You have to use the mechanisms available to
1 you. You have to use subordinate level commanders.
2 You have to issue orders, and you have to repeat those
3 orders if you have difficulties getting them enforced,
4 and that is what Colonel Blaskic did.
5 But this order, as I said, please mark this
6 in your notes, March 17, 1993, Defence Exhibit 211,
7 long before the April conflict, before any associated
8 crimes occurred in April of 1993.
9 Did he fail to react to the problems in
10 Busovaca in January or did he take specific and, quite
11 frankly, stern action and direct that it be
13 Let me say a word about the period February,
14 March, leading up to April. Things generally improved,
15 tensions calmed, but there was a nagging issue between
16 the BH army and the HVO. On the 13th of February,
17 General Hadzihasanovic and Colonel Blaskic signed a
18 series of joint orders designed to calm the situation
19 and restore the Croat-Muslim alliance, quite frankly.
20 It also involved forming the Busovaca joint
21 commission. One term in that order, which was a joint
22 order issued both to all HVO units and all BH army
23 units, was the order that is indicated here on this
24 chart, that "all barricades and obstacles be removed
25 from all communication routes to ensure an unimpeded
1 flow of two-way traffic."
2 You have these orders. You have copies from
3 the parties. You have a copy from General
4 Hadzihasanovic. He signed this order in agreement to
5 open all roads, including the Kiseljak-to-Busovaca main
6 road. Now, we're not faulting General Hadzihasanovic
7 for never doing that. He had his own legitimate
8 military reasons, we're sure, and we're not blaming
9 him, but this, the BH army, never did. They agreed on
10 the 13th of February to reopen the road, and everyone
11 in this case, I think, agrees that that, they never did
12 do. They never opened the road until after the
13 Washington Agreement. So the Vitez enclave and the
14 Kiseljak enclave remained cut for the duration of the
16 We ask you to consider that piece of
17 information from the perspective of Colonel Blaskic.
18 Whatever was signed and agreed to by General
19 Hadzihasanovic, it must have been clear to Colonel
20 Blaskic, as he waited in February, March, and even
21 early April, and at every meeting with the ECMM and
22 every meeting of the Busovaca enclave, and it's
23 throughout the documents in that time period, if you
24 look at the record in this case, he asked, he begged,
25 he pleaded, "Please, can we open the road? When can we
1 open the road between Busovaca and Kiseljak?" Because
2 clearly that would have indicated to Colonel Blaskic
3 that the wounds were really healing and the
4 Croat-Muslim alliance was back on track.
5 Colonel Blaskic tried to heal those wounds.
6 In March, on the 12th, he approved the delivery of some
7 6.000 kilograms of explosives to the BH army logistics
8 base in Visoko, and then on the 15th, this document was
9 executed by him. This is the original, but I can tell
10 you what's in it. He approves the transhipment
11 through HVO territory of 125.000 rounds of ammunition
12 of the 7.62 millimetre, 7.9, and 12.7 calibre to the BH
13 army. That is Defence Exhibit D537.
14 So even though the road was not being
15 reopened and his requests were falling on deaf ears, he
16 still took steps to try and improve the relationship,
17 and he was not suspicious. He did not think he would
18 be attacked. What commander, if they thought they were
19 going to be attacked or if they thought they were going
20 to attack the other side, would allow weapons in these
21 quantities to pass into their prospective enemy's
22 hands? And there are lots of these types of orders,
23 Your Honours.
24 The situation changed dramatically in April
25 of 1993. The Prosecution maintains that this change
1 occurred as a result of an ultimatum, that a joint
2 command be formed by the 15th of April, and generally a
3 desire to implement the Vance-Owen Plan by force. The
4 fact is the Vance-Owen Plan was involved in the
5 escalation of tensions, but the actual triggering
6 events that led to the conflict between Muslims and
7 Croats in Central Bosnia was a series of terrorist
8 attacks by the 7th Muslim Brigade on that territory
9 against the HVO and the HVO command cadre.
10 But I do think, and we submit, that the
11 tensions and the 7th Muslim Brigade activities can be
12 at least linked in part to the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
13 Again, we're not faulting Mr. Vance or Mr. Owen,
14 particularly, but this is how the cards played out
15 unfortunately on the ground, despite what, we're sure,
16 are the best of intentions at a higher diplomatic
18 What do we know about the BH army reaction to
19 the Vance-Owen Peace Plan proposal to seize control of
20 predominantly Muslim areas, like Travnik, to the HVO?
21 What was their reaction to that proposal? We know that
22 at approximately Easter, in April of 1993, when
23 Croatian civilians or Bosnian Croat civilians tried to
24 raise Croat flags in Travnik next to existing Bosnian
25 flags, the 7th Muslim Brigade took down those Bosnian
1 Croat flags, burned them, and violence broke out.
2 There would be no Bosnian Croat flags in Travnik, not
3 in April of 1993, and, indeed, within two months of
4 that time, there would be no HVO in Travnik and there
5 would be some 10.000 fewer Croats in Travnik as well.
6 A BH army commander made this perfectly clear
7 to the liaison officer of the British Battalion prior
8 to April 16th, 1993, and that was Captain Whattley. I
9 would like you to hear that testimony, if you will.
10 (Videotape played)
11 "Mr. Hayman:
12 Q Is there a reference in your notebook to
13 this discussion?
14 A Yes. There are three things in my
15 notebook which relate to the Vance --
16 relate to this. The first one, the
17 commander, the Bosnian army commander in
18 Kruscica is asking me to provide him
19 with a written version of the Vance-Owen
20 Plan because he hadn't had it. He then
21 went on to say, 'Never under command
22 HVO,' and then he said, 'Muslim
23 provinces full.'"
24 MR. HAYMAN: Now, if we can go into private
25 session for just 30 seconds, there's another important
1 piece of evidence I'd like to refer to. 2 (Private session)
22 (Open session)
23 MR. HAYMAN: Again, we're not, Your Honours,
24 trying to assign fault with respect to who fired the
25 first shot or what caused the actual spark. It doesn't
1 matter, from a legal perspective, what caused the
2 actual spark. What matters is that this body of
3 evidence is utterly inconsistent with the theory that
4 the Prosecution has advanced. What you have is
5 undoubtedly on both the Croatian and Bosnian side,
6 there are persons who are agitated by the Vance-Owen
7 Plan and are eager to destabilise the situation, take
8 advantage, and grab land. It's a regrettable but
9 symmetrical situation.
10 The evidence is, however, that Tihomir
11 Blaskic tried to calm the situation, tried to repair
12 the ruptured alliance, and he was in the position where
13 he had the most to lose from the outbreak of a war with
14 the BH army, because he was in an extremely vulnerable
15 position, and he was in that position before April
16 16th. He was already cut off in his tiny little
18 But because of this view of the Vance-Owen
19 Plan, which certain extreme elements of the BH army and
20 certainly the 7th Muslim Brigade had, it was in those
21 persons' interests to destabilise the situation in
22 Central Bosnia and to launch attacks designed to drive
23 the HVO and the Bosnian Croats from certain lands in
24 Central Bosnia so that the implementation of the
25 Vance-Owen Plan would be impossible in places like
1 Travnik, whatever President Izetbegovic might sign on
2 his foreign travels.
3 In early April, this reign of terror against
4 the HVO started. It began on or about the 12th of
5 April, 1993 with the kidnapping of four HVO officers
6 from the Novi Travnik Brigade who were returning from
7 the front against the Serbs. The HVO was still manning
8 a portion west of Novi Travnik against the Serb front
9 line, as they were in other locations.
10 It continued two days later, approximately
11 two days later, with an unsuccessful assassination
12 attempt on Darko Kraljevic, the commander of the
13 Vitezovi. The BritBat liaison officer, Captain
14 Whattley, learned of this attempt on Kraljevic's life
15 on the 13th of April from Sefkija Dzidic.
16 (Videotape played)
17 "Mr. Hayman:
18 Q Did you learn from Mr. Dzidic on
19 the 13th of April, 1993 of another
20 incident that had occurred?
21 A Yes. He told me that -- it's probably
22 best I just read it from the notebook
23 and then explain it afterwards. He told
24 me, 'Forest open fire. Damaged
25 vehicle. Darko Kraljevic, commander
1 HOS,' and what he's telling me about
2 there was an attempt at murdering
3 Mr. Darko Kraljevic by people opening
4 fire from woodland --"
5 MR. HAYMAN: So on the 13th of April, on the
6 heels of the kidnapping of four officers on the 12th,
7 an attempt is made, apparently by the 7th Muslim
8 Brigade, on Darko Kraljevic's life, and we begin to see
9 Mr. Kraljevic's response: First with paper, then with
10 actions, leading to a further destabilisation of the
12 On the 15th of April, he sent a protest to
13 the BH army, to the 325th Battalion in Kruscica, as
14 well as to the Territorial Defence staff, which is
15 Mr. Dzidic in Stari Vitez, telling them, in substance,
16 that "members of the Vitezovi are being mistreated by
17 you, and we aren't going to take it any more." He
18 doesn't copy Colonel Blaskic. Colonel Blaskic never
19 sees this. This is a further indication that Darko
20 Kraljevic corresponds directly with the main staff,
21 directly with the Ministry of Defence, and directly
22 with the BH army, and without any heed or tipping of
23 his hat even to Colonel Blaskic.
24 I'll review in a moment what actions of
25 retaliation Kraljevic took, because he did retaliate
1 against the BH army for the attempt on his life on the
3 Matters deteriorated much further on the 15th
4 of April when Zivko Totic, the HVO brigade commander in
5 Zenica, was kidnapped and his three bodyguards killed,
6 as was a Muslim passer-by. The kidnapping was followed
7 by a demand note that foreign Mujahedin arrested for
8 being in Bosnia illegally or for possessing illegal
9 weapons and explosives, or both, that they be released
10 from Kaonik or else the HVO officers taken hostage
11 would be executed.
12 All of this had a tremendous effect on
13 raising tensions between the two ethnic communities, as
14 well as the two militias. The liaison officer for
15 BritBat described the effect, first on the Novi Travnik
17 (Videotape played)
18 "Mr. Hayman:
19 Q How would you characterise the effect of
20 this apparent kidnapping on the 13th of
21 April, 1993 on the level of tension in
22 the region?
23 A In Novi Travnik, it had a -- in the town
24 of Novi Travnik, this had a major
25 effect. Checkpoints sprung up
1 everywhere, and the tension level went
2 very high."
3 MR. HAYMAN: After Totic was kidnapped,
4 Colonel Stewart described the situation as follows:
5 (Videotape played)
6 "Mr. Hayman:
7 Q Would you agree, and I'm reading from
8 page 281 of your book, 'this kidnap of a
9 senior Croat officer in a Muslim
10 stronghold created a terribly volatile
12 A I would agree with that."
13 MR. HAYMAN: To make matters worse, scenes of
14 the murder of the Totic entourage in Zenica were shown
15 on television, indeed, in footage that you yourselves
16 have seen, and it is grisly footage, indeed, further
17 creating an atmosphere of fear among the general
19 Now, we ask Your Honours, in this case, to
20 consider the question: What should a diligent
21 commander in Colonel Blaskic's position have done to
22 respond to what was a serious threat to the HVO and to
23 its command cadre? Was some type of response necessary
24 and prudent or should he not have responded at all and
25 waited for the next attack, perhaps against his own
1 headquarters or on himself?
2 We submit that it is in that light, a
3 situation of crisis, that the three orders Colonel
4 Blaskic issued on the 15th and 16th, the early morning
5 hours, that is, of the 16th of April, should be
6 judged. They should be judged reasonably under the
7 facts and circumstances that existed at the time and
8 based on the information that he had at the time.
9 He knew of the January attack which severed
10 the Vitez and Kiseljak enclaves. He had seen
11 progressively over that week in April three different
12 attacks on the HVO and Vitezovi commander. He had
13 received intelligence reports that the BH army was
14 preparing a more general attack. He had received a
15 report of troop movements in both Travnik and Kruscica,
16 major BH army troop movements.
17 He issued three orders on the 15th and the
18 early morning of the 16th, and the Defence submits to
19 you that these orders were legal, they were proper,
20 and, indeed, they were reasonable and reasonably
21 necessary, if judged from the perspective of Colonel
22 Blaskic at the time.
23 I don't think, by the way, there's a claim
24 that they're illegal orders. We didn't hear that in
25 closing argument. We heard a different argument that
1 there must have been other secret orders to kill
2 civilians, and I will address that. But for now, I
3 want to address the three orders that Your Honours do
5 The first, D267, was a preparatory combat
6 order, not an order to engage in combat, and it gives
7 assignments to certain forces so that they will be in
8 "a state of preparedness for concrete assignments."
9 You're familiar with this order, I think.
10 The Vitezovi were given the assignment of protecting
11 the headquarters and responding to any breakthrough in
12 the front line that the BH army might achieve. The
13 military police were given the assignment, pursuant to
14 their daily police tasks, of keeping the Vitez-Busovaca
15 road open, and importantly, he gave them very specific
16 instructions: "Keep the road open, and if strongly
17 attacked from the area Ahmici, Nadioci, Pirici,
18 Santici, inform me, and if fire is opened directly at
19 you, return fire." He gave the military police a very
20 specific and very limited task. The brigades were told
21 to defend against any attack. So D267 is an order to
23 Was it necessary to give assignments to the
24 Vitezovi and the military police? The Prosecutor
25 hasn't made this argument, but we ask you to consider
1 on this issue that the Vitez Brigade had only been
2 ordered to be formed in March of 1993. The Vitez
3 Brigade was in its first days of existence by mid April
4 and that there were no trained, equipped, mobile units
5 in the Vitez municipality, other than the Vitezovi and
6 the 4th Battalion of the military police. They were
7 the only units that Colonel Blaskic could move around.
8 Everyone else was a villager, a citizen living in his
9 home, without any additional training, experience, or
11 Was it reasonable and prudent to assign the
12 military police the task of protecting the road? Given
13 the roadblocks in Kiseljak in August of 1992, the
14 January attack on the road between Busovaca and
15 Kiseljak, and the October 1992 barricade of the
16 Vitez-Busovaca road, it would have been negligent for
17 any commander not to take steps under the
18 circumstances, to try and protect the road. Had the
19 Vitez-Busovaca road been severed in any subsequent
20 conflict or any significant period of time, the HVO in
21 those two small towns would have been finished.
22 The second order was written in the mid
23 afternoon on the 15th of April, and it is D268, and
24 this orders various units to form small units of up to
25 15 soldiers to counter the terrorist threat posed by
1 the 7th Muslim Brigade, and it appears to quote from a
2 military manual giving instructions to destroy enemy
3 terrorist groups by quick action and return to base
4 without engaging in fighting. In other words, the
5 concept is not to start a conflict, but if a terrorist
6 group is identified, strike against them, try and
7 eliminate them, and return to base.
8 Given the attacks that were occurring on the
9 officers from Novi Travnik, the Totic attack, it was
10 reasonable and prudent by any standard. In any event,
11 it wasn't carried out due to intervening events when
12 the war broke out on the following day.
13 The third order was written at 1.30 in the
14 morning on the 16th of April. Here's the top half. It
15 was to the Vitez Brigade and the Tvrtko unit to block
16 any advance by the BH army from the south of the main
17 Vitez-Busovaca road, which is where the areas of
18 Vranjska, Kruscica, and Donja Veceriska are, in
19 approximately that order, moving from east to west. So
20 this too is a defensive order, and the purpose of this
21 order again is to keep the main road open, because any
22 military logic would indicate that an attack on Vitez
23 would come, attempting to link up forces of the BH army
24 from below and above the road and cut the road at or to
25 the east of Vitez, and that is what this order most
1 clearly is directed at, preventing, should such an
2 attack occur.
3 I also want to call your attention, Your
4 Honours, to paragraph 2, in which, in the second
5 sentence, very specific instructions are given, and I
6 will quote it: "In the event of open attack activity
7 by the Muslims, neutralise them and prevent their
8 movement with precise fire from P/N." P/N has been
9 defined in this case in the testimony; it means small
10 arms weapon. Even if attacked, he ordered the brigade
11 and the Tvrtko unit to return only precise fire from
12 small arms. Now, what would not fit into the category
13 "precise fire of small arms"? Any form of indirect
14 fire would not count, does not qualify as precise
15 fire. What is indirect fire? Indirect fire are
16 mortars, projectiles that you blast into the air and
17 they come down, and they are less specific, they are
18 less focused than pointing a rifle at another soldier
19 and firing. So he gave a specific task and he
20 specifically limited any combat activity by the Vitez
21 Brigade or the Tvrtko unit.
22 Now, because, we believe, because these
23 orders are legal, not only legal, but prudent and
24 reasonable, in their final argument, the Prosecutor has
25 advanced their theory for the first time, it certainly
1 was not in their opening statement, that these orders
2 are not complete, that Blaskic must have issued other
3 combat orders prior to the 16th of April, and they
4 further ask the Court to conclude that these orders, if
5 found, would confirm that Blaskic secretly ordered that
6 Ahmici be razed and its civilian inhabitants murdered.
7 That is the theory of their case.
8 What do they use to support this argument,
9 that there's a secret order to kill civilians and raze
10 the village of Ahmici? Well, they argue that there
11 must be other orders because we know it from these
12 orders or other reports, and they gave three examples.
13 You may remember them. The civilian police, Busovaca
14 Brigade, and the Zenica Brigade, and I'll define what
15 their claim was with respect to each one because I
16 would like to respond to each one.
17 Specifically, they claim that Blaskic must
18 have issued an order to the civilian police because
19 otherwise in D269, he would not have referred to the
20 civilian police being on the left of the Vitez
21 Brigade. You'll recall that I think in the bottom --
22 one of the bottom paragraphs of this order, he tells
23 the Vitez Brigade, "The civilian police will be on your
24 left, the military police are in front of you, and the
25 Busovaca Brigade are on your right," and that is told
1 from the position of the Vitez Brigade defending,
2 blockading, Kruscica, Vranjska, Donja Veceriska, south
3 of the road looking north towards the road, towards
4 Zenica. The civilian police are on your left, the
5 military police are in front of you, that is, on the
6 road, and the Busovaca Brigade is on your right, to the
7 east. So the Prosecutor reasons, but there's no order
8 to the civilian police, so there must be secret
10 Well, who would have issued an order to the
11 civilian police to maintain law and order and police
12 Vitez? That would have come from the chief of police.
13 That would not have been an order issued by General
14 Blaskic. And Mr. Nobilo had a chart around in the past
15 couple of days that showed the organisation of these
16 different municipal entities, and the civilian police
17 were not within Colonel Blaskic's competence.
18 Now, what's the next example? They say,
19 "Well, there's no order for the Busovaca Brigade to be
20 out in the field, so there must be an order missing,
21 because in this same order, Blaskic tells the Vitez
22 Brigade that the Busovaca brigade will be on your
23 right." From that, they reason that there's an order
24 missing, and that missing order must say, "Kill
25 civilians," because there was an attack on civilians
1 and they died. This is what I was speaking of
2 earlier. From an event on the ground, they want you to
3 infer up a chain of command and send the commander to
4 prison for life. That is what they've asked you to
6 The Busovaca Brigade had been on the front
7 lines since January of 1993. Those front lines formed
8 on or around the 25th and 26th of January, and they
9 were still on those front lines on the 10th and 12th
10 and 13th and 14th of April. The two militias were
11 still squared off, trench to trench, looking at each
12 other along the area of the Busovaca municipality, and
13 that's reflected in every report during the two-week
14 period prior to the 16th of April. If you look at
15 D259, D260, D265, or D277, they all reflect that the
16 Busovaca Brigade is out there in the field because they
17 had been there in the field in these positions since
18 the January 1993 conflict.
19 Did Colonel Blaskic order them on the 15th of
20 April, "Stay on the front line. Don't withdraw." Of
21 course not. That's silly.
22 That's two of the three reasons they tell you
23 that there must be a secret order to kill civilians and
24 raze Ahmici. There's only one left, and that is that
25 they assert, based on a report from the Zenica Brigade,
1 which was received at about 06.00 or so on the 16th of
2 April, that from that report, well, there must have
3 been an order, a secret order, to the Zenica Brigade
4 causing them to do what they report that they did in
5 that order. What did they report that they did in that
6 order? That's P521.
7 The Zenica Brigade reports in that order that
8 the night was quiet and the units are holding the
9 positions they had seized. Civilians going to work are
10 being allowed to pass through. What does that tell
11 us? Well, first of all, this is 6.00 in the morning on
12 the 16th. What happened in Zenica on the 15th of
13 April? The HVO brigade commander was kidnapped and his
14 entourage murdered. What would the HVO in Zenica have
15 done when their brigade commander was kidnapped and
16 three of their fellow soldiers murdered? Would they
17 have reinforced checkpoints or established new
18 checkpoints to improve security? Most probably. Do
19 you think they would have waited to do that for an
20 order from Colonel Blaskic? Not if they were good
22 But also from the report itself, in sentences
23 that follow one after the other, they say, "We're
24 holding the positions we seized. Civilians going to
25 work are being allowed to pass through." Now, are
1 civilians passing through Kuber Mountain to work, or
2 are they going along the road into town, passed
3 Croatian villages like Cajdras and others that you have
4 heard testimony about. These are checkpoints. That is
5 it. That is the argument that the Prosecutor bases his
6 claim that there are secret orders missing, secret
7 orders to kill civilians and burn and raze the village
8 of Ahmici.
9 You will have to decide, Your Honours,
10 whether they have met their burden.
11 Now, there was one other argument related to
12 this, and that is that Blaskic must have wanted to
13 order an attack on Ahmici on the morning of the 16th,
14 because after the Totic kidnapping -- or on the 15th
15 otherwise, he didn't send reinforcements to Kuber
16 mountain. I didn't fully understand this argument when
17 the Prosecutor made it, but he made it, and I'm going
18 to respond because it's very important, whatever
19 arguments he made in support of his secret order
21 The evidence, Your Honours, is that Blaskic
22 was very concerned about Kuber, and he was very
23 concerned about Kuber on the 15th. If you recall,
24 Mladen Holman, the HOS commander in Zenica, a big,
25 tough fellow who achieved discipline in his units
1 through, at times, administering beatings. As an
2 aside, Tihomir Blaskic, he's not that kind of person,
3 he's not going to beat someone physically with a pistol
4 butt or otherwise to order to try and impose
5 discipline. Maybe that's what it took in Central
6 Bosnia to maintain the kind of discipline that we all
7 would of wanted, or an Ivica Rajic style of discipline
8 where people were executed and murdered in order for
9 him to consolidate and achieve his power.
10 Unfortunately, Tihomir Blaskic isn't that
11 kind of person, where he's going to take the law into
12 his own hands and execute others in order to ensure his
13 own power. But returning to Mr. Holman, what did Mr.
14 Holman testify that Tihomir Blaskic asked of him when
15 they spoke by telephone on the 15th of April, 1993?
16 (Videotape played)
17 "A In response, Mr. Blaskic told me that I
18 should send all the troops I could
19 afford in the direction of Kuber."
20 MR. HAYMAN: This is in the transcript, Your
21 Honours, at 14785. It's a phone conversation that
22 occurred on the 15th of April, 1993, according to
23 Mr. Holman.
24 Now, the Court will also have to ask itself
25 why would Blaskic issue an order to raze the village of
1 Ahmici and kill civilians? Is there evidence in this
2 case that he harboured a personal hatred or animosity
3 towards Muslims, or is the evidence to the contrary?
4 Mr. Nobilo, in some final remarks, will add to the
5 summary of our position on that issue.
6 There are some other issues though that don't
7 fit in with the Prosecutor's thesis. If Blaskic
8 ordered murders and burning in Ahmici, then why did
9 the military police send him a false report? Why did
10 they send him a report that wasn't true, if he had, in
11 fact, given them an order to do what they truly did?
12 That doesn't fit with the Prosecutor's theory.
13 In fact, if you look at the report that came
14 in from Pasko Ljubicic, you'll see that it was sent in
15 as a result of his receipt of an order, which Colonel
16 Blaskic testified, now general, was an order to
17 report. Blaskic sent an order to Ljubicic saying,
18 "Give me a written report on the combat in Ahmici,"
19 and that's the reference line, "acting in accordance
20 with your order number 01-04-243/93 of 16 April 1993,
21 we hereby report," that's the line at the top of this
23 If he ordered the military police to kill
24 civilians and raze the village of Ahmici, why would he
25 send an order ordering the military police to give him
1 a report? And why would the military police then give
2 him a false report? It makes no sense.
3 Your Honours, either this is all a ruse, all
4 the evidence in this case, all the paper, all the
5 documents is a ruse, a big ruse designed to fool,
6 trick, and deceive, or their theory just doesn't fit.
7 It's one or the other. You have the very hard job of
8 deciding that issue, but that is the issue, because
9 their theory doesn't fit with all the documents,
10 documents they got, documents we were able to get
11 through Mr. Nobilo's hard work and backslapping and
12 many trips to Central Bosnia. Their theory doesn't
13 fit. Either it's all a ruse or their theory is
14 complete speculation and inconsistent with, in fact,
15 events on the ground.
16 Now, there's another aspect of their theory
17 that I would like to address in the final minutes
18 today, and that is that they asserted that the BH army
19 made no preparations for a conflict in mid April 1993.
20 Again, we're not assigning any blame on the BH army.
21 They had legitimate reasons to prepare for conflict.
22 They may even have had legitimate reasons to attack the
23 HVO and try and take territory. Of course, in wartime,
24 people do that type of thing. But it's inconsistent
25 with the Prosecutor's theory if, in fact, preparations
1 were made by the BH army units in the area for a
3 Your Honour, I need to inquire of the
4 registrar whether D189 (sic) is under seal. I don't
5 know about the order of the other Chamber. That's the
6 diary that was just recently admitted. I didn't see --
7 D197, I didn't see anything in the order from the other
8 Trial Chamber that put it under seal, and I don't
9 believe it's under seal in the other case, but I just
10 ask the clerk to confirm that because I don't want to
11 make an error.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D197 is not under
14 MR. HAYMAN: Very well. I may not be able to
15 say anything about the author of the diary, suffice it
16 to say I think it is clear that this is a diary written
17 by a resident of Ahmici.
18 Again, the thesis I'm responding to is that
19 the BH army made no preparations for a conflict in mid
20 April 1993. The last page of D197 is a map, which I'll
21 return to later. I want to show it to you now because
22 it is a map of portions of Ahmici, showing the main
23 road, north-south road, going from the Vitez-Busovaca
24 road. If you look at your monitor, that main road is
25 depicted in a vertical manner, and one of the Ahmici
1 mosques is also depicted in the diagram. It has the
2 crescent, of course, on the top. I just wanted to
3 orient you with respect to the -- that this is a diary
4 depicting certain events and matters in the village of
6 Now I'd like to turn to some of the diary
7 entries. On the 17th of March, 1993, there's an
8 indication that the BH army unit in Ahmici went to a
9 troop inspection with a larger unit, a battalion, in
10 Preocica. This will become relevant, Your Honours,
11 later with respect to certain comments by international
12 observers with respect to whether or not there was some
13 kind of military unit in Ahmici.
14 On the 8th of April, and this in part is just
15 to further assure Your Honours concerning this diary,
16 there's a passage, the last sentence here is: "The
17 reason for this was allegedly the shooting in Travnik.
18 Croats had started hoisting out flags in the town. The
19 Mujahedin went out and set fire to them and then the
20 shooting started."
21 So this diary, which begins roughly in March,
22 we're now on the 8th of April, which is a day that the
23 Court has heard from other witness testimony certain
24 events of this type occurred in the town of Travnik.
25 On the 11th of April, "There was a meeting,"
1 it says, "at 5.00 at the Zumara school. It was agreed
2 where to form the line if shooting started. I was on
3 guard from 22.00 to 00.00 and at about 23.00 received
4 information that a telegram had arrived
5 ordering 'units to be placed on first degree alert.'"
6 Then he talks about other shifts.
7 So on the 11th of April, there's a meeting in
8 Ahmici by the BH army or TO unit there, they agree on
9 some kind of a defensive plan, and they get a
10 telegram ordering first degree alert.
11 The 15th of April is another entry in the
12 diagram which I need to show you via the ELMO, if we
13 could activate the ELMO, please, and we'll start with
14 the French version, if we can activate the ELMO,
15 please. Thank you.
16 This reads: "15 April 1993, Thursday," and
17 we know the 16th of April, of course, was a Friday.
18 "Before nightfall, took my wife to Preocica. When I
19 returned home, I heard that the Croats were grouping
20 around the Kupreskic houses. At 20.00, we (the
21 command) held a meeting at my house. We agreed where
22 to form the line in the event of trouble and how to
23 act. Sisko, Hidro, and I agreed to meet at 14.00 the
24 next day to discuss the line towards Gudura. I
25 assigned the following ammunition and weapons from the
1 depot: 7.62 ammunition, 6.9 ammunition, grenade rifle
2 launchers, explosive devices," and so forth. Now let
3 me put the English on the ELMO.
4 By the way, there's a typographical error in
5 the English translation, Mr. President, it was listed
6 as 1992, but the original is clearly 1993, and that's
7 why I have pencilled in the change.
8 So we know that on the 15th, I won't comment
9 on who it is, but it appears the author of the diary's
10 wife has been evacuated from Ahmici, and a meeting was
11 held and weapons were distributed, and there was
12 agreement on where to form the line.
13 It does appear -- I'm sorry, if we can switch
14 back to the PC display -- it does appear from the last
15 page of the diary that there was a scheme or design for
16 a defensive plan regarding at least a portion of the
17 village of Ahmici with individuals assigned to certain
19 Now, again, we are not suggesting in any way
20 that the murder of civilians and the intentional
21 burning of civilian homes resulted from solely
22 legitimate military activity, or even largely. We're
23 not suggesting that at all. There was clearly an
24 attack on Ahmici by the military police targeting
25 civilians and the targeting of civilian property, and
1 it was a crime. We don't dispute that in the least.
2 We wanted to point this out to Your Honours
3 because it's inconsistent with the theory of the
4 Prosecution that the BH army made no preparations for
5 conflict, indeed, for war, and I'm going to be talking
6 about what actually happened on the night of the 15th
7 and the morning of the 16th. This is important
8 background though.
9 I spoke earlier of Darko Kraljevic's reaction
10 to the assassination attempt on his life. What did he
11 do in response to that attempt? One thing he did was
12 he put up a rogue checkpoint near Travnik, and we heard
13 about that from the liaison officer, again,
14 Mr. Whattley. In addition, he took prisoners on the
15 night of 15th April, BH army prisoners, and
16 Mr. Whattley described it.
17 (Videotape played)
18 "Mr. Hayman:
19 Q ... an incident on the 15th of April,
20 1993 from the BH army representative you
21 met with?
22 A Yes. At 19.55 hours that evening, in
23 Vitez at the Bosnian army headquarters
24 in the town, I was told that three
25 members of the Bosnian army had been
1 arrested by the HVO in Vitez and that it
2 had happened at 5.15 and that they were
3 members of the Bosnian army military
5 MR. HAYMAN: Now, who did that? Mr. Whattley
6 was also told enough information that you can conclude
7 who took these prisoners.
8 (Videotape played)
9 "Mr. Hayman:
10 Q Did Sefkija Dzidic tell you, on the
11 evening of the 15th, where he believed
12 these three or two of the three missing
13 BH army military policemen had been
15 A He said, and I'll read it, he
16 said, 'Taken from house by HVO to
17 elementary school, Dubravica (HVO).'"
18 MR. HAYMAN: Now, who had their headquarters
19 at the Dubravica school? Darko Kraljevic. Darko
20 Kraljevic was based and controlled the Dubravica
21 school. He took three prisoners, BH army military
22 policemen, on the evening of the 15th of April, clearly
23 in an act of retaliation and anger based on the attempt
24 on his life.
25 Then what happened? There's a further
1 escalation. What did Mr. Whattley, the liaison
2 officer, report that he was told?
3 (Videotape played)
4 "A Yes. 'I do remember a threat being
5 given to me, and the threat was, if the
6 two Bosnian army military men that had
7 been kidnapped are not released, I, as
8 the commander, cannot be responsible for
9 the actions of my soldiers.'
10 Q Was it the British Battalion's
11 assessment at the time that this meant
12 that imminent retaliation by the BH army
13 was likely, that is, by the BH army
14 against the HVO was likely unless the
15 missing -- two missing BH army personnel
16 were recovered?
17 A That was my assessment and the
18 assessment of the milinfo officer as
20 MR. HAYMAN: This threat was relayed by the
21 BH army commander in Kruscica on the 15th of April, and
22 the context appears in the transcript at page 14069.
23 The BH army military policemen were not recovered who
24 were kidnapped by Kraljevic on the night of the 15th,
25 and the report that Mr. Whattley, Captain Whattley,
1 made made its way into the milinfosum of that night,
2 which was typed up that night, 15 April, 1993.
3 I have highlighted it in yellow, and, simply,
4 it adds a little bit to the account a moment ago. It
5 states: "The liaison officer then visited the
6 headquarters of 325 Brigade and spoke to the deputy
7 commander, Ramiz Dugalic, who reiterated the fact that
8 if the release of the two BH soldiers did not happen
9 soon, the situation would deteriorate rapidly ..." and
10 so forth.
11 Was this a serious threat by BH army
12 elements, to retaliate and attack the HVO? Well, we
13 know that the BH army detachment in Ahmici was on alert
14 and they had distributed weapons on the night of the
15 15th, we know the threat emanated from Kruscica, where
16 the 325th Battalion was, and you heard from Sefkija
17 Dzidic that he spent the night of the 15th, all night,
18 at the TO headquarters in Stari Vitez. That's in the
19 reporter's transcript, page 1443.
20 What about General Hadzihasanovic? He said
21 he expected an attack by the HVO on the 16th of April
22 because Ambassador Thebault had told him on the 14th or
23 15th of April that the HVO would attack the BH army.
24 That was at reporter's transcript 23124.
25 Now I need to go into private session for
1 just a moment, Your Honour. 2 (Private session) 3 (redacted) 4 (redacted)
13 page 25156 redacted – private session
13 page 25157 redacted – private session
13 page 25158 redacted – private session
1 (redacted) 2 (redacted)
5 (Open session)
6 MR. HAYMAN: If this evidence was in error,
7 Mr. President, that's what the rebuttal case is for.
8 The Prosecutor had every opportunity to bring in
9 witnesses, to discredit or explain this report, and you
10 can bet your last penny that they tried and they
11 inquired and they interviewed and so forth, and there
12 was no such evidence in their rebuttal case. They left
13 a lot of time on the table in their rebuttal case, a
14 lot of time, days and days.
15 So this exhibit, this evidence from the
16 United Nations, is unrebutted.
17 Mr. President, I'll be changing subjects.
18 This would be a convenient time to break.
19 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Let us break. I wanted
20 to ask you something. How do you intend to use all the
21 time you have left tomorrow? Will we be finishing
22 tomorrow at half past five or do you envisage anything
23 different? I'm not imposing upon you. It's simply to
24 know, for the benefit of the Judges and myself.
25 MR. HAYMAN: It may be an error in our
1 strategy, Mr. President, and I wish there was a way we
2 could finish before the end of the day, but I think
3 it's unlikely. I think we will probably need the whole
4 day to finish. Obviously, we're done at 5.30, but I'll
5 tell you exactly what we're going to do. I'm going to
6 talk about the rest of April, the truck bomb, the July
7 Stari Vitez attack, Grbavica, then I'm going to talk
8 about some discrete areas, detention crimes, forcible
9 transfer, failure to punish, religious objects, and
10 Mr. Nobilo will close with a few words about potential
11 sentencing considerations, and I think all that is
12 going to take the day, and less than an hour, but some
13 period of time on international armed conflict. So it
14 sounds like a full day to me.
15 JUDGE JORDA: I see. That will be a full
16 day. I would like to remind you that the Prosecutor
17 finished five minutes ahead of time, but I'm not asking
18 you to do the same, but certainly not to finish five
19 minutes later.
20 The hearing is adjourned and we will resume
21 tomorrow morning at 10.00.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 5.28 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
24 the 30th day of July, 1999, at
25 10 a.m.