1 Friday, 26 March 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, would you like
7 to call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, case number IT-01-47-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Can we have the appearances for the Prosecution, please.
12 MR. WITHOPF: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning,
13 Your Honours. Good morning, Counsel. For the Prosecution, Daryl Mundis,
14 Ekkehard Withopf, and Ruth Karper, the case manager.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And now the appearances for the
16 Defence, who are complete this morning.
17 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President.
18 Good morning, Your Honours. On behalf of General Hadzihasanovic, Edina
19 Residovic, lead counsel; Stephane Bourgon, co-counsel; and Alexis
20 Demirdjian, legal assistant.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. And the other Defence
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. On
24 behalf of Mr. Kubura, Rodney Dixon, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and Nermin
25 Mulalic, legal assistant.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. The Chamber bids
2 good morning to everyone. The witness in the first place, who is here
3 present, the representatives of the Prosecution, the Defence lawyers, and
4 all the staff of this courtroom.
5 Before beginning or, rather, continuing the cross-examination of
6 the witness, two small points: The first has to do with the problem that
7 we had regarding the objections made by one or the other party during the
8 production of a document to be tendered into evidence. The rule is an
9 objection is made; the other party responds. There may be a replica, and
10 then a new response, and we stop there. Otherwise, this would go on for
12 The Chamber deliberated on this matter yesterday and finds that
13 when an objection is made, a legal explanation should be given for that
14 objection. Then the other party should be given a chance to respond. And
15 then if the party making the objection feels it is necessary to add
16 something, it does so. And then finally, the floor is given to the other
17 party, and thereby the debate is closed. Otherwise, this debate can go on
18 endlessly. That is the practice at hearings. I just wanted to remind us
19 of that.
20 Also, there was the production of a document entitled
21 "Milinfosum." And the Prosecution provided a translation in French for
22 which the Chamber wishes to thank the Prosecution, because it makes it
23 easier to compare the three different versions.
24 Those are the points I wish to make. Can we continue with the
25 cross-examination now.
1 I turn to Defence counsel, and I give them the floor for the
3 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Good morning, Madam Judge. Good
4 morning, Your Honour. Good morning, Mr. President.
5 WITNESS: MARK WILLIAM BOWER [Resumed]
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Bourgon:
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Bower.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. Major Bower, we have had the opportunity of meeting this week, so
10 you already know me. But for the record, I'd just like to say my name is
11 Stephane Bourgon, and this morning I am accompanied with my colleague,
12 Mrs. Residovic and my colleague Mr. Alexis Demirdjian and that together we
13 represent General Hadzihasanovic.
14 I take this opportunity, Major Bower, for thanking you for taking
15 the time to meet with us this week, which I believe should help us to move
16 more quickly this morning.
17 I would also like to confirm before I begin with my questions
18 that you have testified both in the Blaskic case and in the Kordic case
19 and that on both occasions you were called by the Prosecution. Is that
21 A. Yes, that's correct. It was for the Prosecution in both cases.
22 Q. And would I be right in saying that because of the two times that
23 you testified before the International Tribunal and the proceedings which
24 took place before you coming here this week, that you had a number of
25 opportunities to discuss your experience in Bosnia with representatives
1 from the Prosecution?
2 A. Which Prosecution?
3 Q. With investigators from the Prosecution that you met on a number
4 of occasions.
5 A. Yes, that's right. I have discussed my experiences in Bosnia
6 with a number of investigation teams and obviously with a number of
7 Prosecution counsels relating to those cases.
8 Q. And before coming here this week, am I right in saying that the
9 last time you met with investigators from the Prosecution was in 2001, at
10 which time you provided the investigators with a statement that you signed
11 to acknowledge that it was to the best of your knowledge true?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. Also before I begin, I'd just like to - out of curiosity --
14 because yesterday you mentioned that you had served as a military officer
15 in Canada. And as you know, I was a major, an infantry officer also in
16 Canada. So where in Canada did you serve?
17 A. Medicine Hat at the British army training unit, Suffield.
18 Q. In Suffield?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What year was that?
21 A. That was in 1994.
22 Q. Now, you also mentioned that you were a member -- now, that's
23 just at the point you arrived in Bosnia -- that you were a member of the
24 support weapons company. What exactly did you do in the support weapons
1 A. I was the anti-tank platoon commander in the support weapons
2 company of the battalion.
3 Q. Am I right in saying that at that time you were not involved with
4 the mortars platoon or with any type of indirect fire support?
5 A. No. I was not directly related to the mortar platoon or anything
6 to do with them at the time.
7 Q. Thank you, Major.
8 Now, you mentioned yesterday that the days that you were in
9 Bosnia were from approximately the 24th of April, 1993 until the 6th or
10 the 7th of November; is that correct?
11 A. From -- from what I can recall, those were the approximate dates,
13 Q. And you acknowledge that the mission or the aim of the UNPROFOR
14 mission was humanitarian in principle.
15 A. Yes, that was certainly how it was described to us. The mission
16 statement we were given was very much related to UNHCR and the provision
17 of humanitarian aid.
18 Q. And yourself, Major Bower, as a member of the United Kingdom
19 Army, the name -- the code name used for the operation in your particular
20 case was Operation Grapple II; is that correct?
21 A. Yes. That was the -- the term given for our deployment.
22 Q. And Operation Grapple I would have been the Cheshire Regiment,
23 which preceded you?
24 A. Yes. That's right. The number of the Grapple depicted the
25 number of the battalions going in.
1 Q. And with respect to the chain of command for an officer of the
2 British Army, you would respond first to your commanding officer of your
3 unit, which responded to the British chain of command; is that correct?
4 A. Is this during the deployment or in general?
5 Q. During the deployment.
6 A. Depending on which officer we mean. If it was an officer within
7 a rifle company, he would report to his company commander, who would then
8 report to the battalion commander. As a liaison officer, I reported
9 directly to the battalion commander, who -- he had a -- he had two chains
10 of command, a UN chain of command and a British chain of command. And the
11 British --
12 Q. Major, do you acknowledge that there is a difference between
13 operational control and operational command?
14 A. Yes, there is. But again, with the national support element
15 based in Split, we still had a British brigadier, who still had influence
16 over what we did within the mandate given to us by the British government.
17 Q. So can it be said, Major Bower, that the -- as part of the
18 UNPROFOR mission you were under operational control of the United Nations
19 and the United Nations BH command, located in Kiseljak, but nevertheless
20 you remained under operational command of the British Army through the
21 national support element located in Split? Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Now, with respect to disciplinary matters within your unit, would
24 I be correct in saying that any disciplinary issues arising during your
25 tour in Bosnia would be dealt with through the operational command, which
1 would be completely the United Kingdom chain of command?
2 A. These are disciplinary issues of British soldiers?
3 Q. Of British soldiers.
4 A. Yes, they would be dealt with internationally by the battalion
5 commander under his powers of judicial authority given to him. If he was
6 unable to deal with them, they would go to the -- the next British senior
7 officer, which would be based in Split.
8 Q. Now, for yourself and for other British soldiers, if we -- the
9 law in force or basically the applicable law with respect to military
10 duties was the law of the UK; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Now, would I be right in saying that during your tour in Bosnia
13 the -- the applicable law in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not something that
14 you paid much attention to because you knew what law applied to you?
15 A. We'd been given certain conditions with -- within which we had to
16 operate, which were briefed to us. I can't honestly say whether they were
17 specifically created for our deployment or by who, but we were certainly
18 given some parameters with which to operate within -- I'm unaware and I
19 don't know of any local laws, so I wouldn't be able to compare, I'm
21 Q. Thank you, Major Bower.
22 Now, would I be right in saying that during that tour in Bosnia
23 you were not particularly aware of the law which applied to the parties of
24 the conflict? For example, to the HVO or the ABiH.
25 A. Local law, no. Very -- very little information was given, if any
1 at all.
2 Q. And for yourself, Major Bower, in fact the legal status of the
3 HVO or of the ABiH, pursuant to the law of the Republic of Bosnia in force
4 at the time, is not something that you paid particular attention to.
5 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President.
6 THE WITNESS: No.
7 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, the Prosecution would appreciate if
8 my learned friend from the Defence side would explain to the Trial Chamber
9 and the Prosecution the relevance of these questions and the line of
10 questioning he's currently pursuing with that witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Bourgon. In the
12 question that you formulated, could you indicate the relevance of your
13 question so that we can grasp the meaning. Otherwise, the Prosecution and
14 the Chamber may get the impression that you are departing from the
15 subject. Could you indicate where you're heading so that we can all
16 understand better. Thank you.
17 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if my learned friend
18 would allow me to put my next question, everything will be quite clear.
19 But I can add at this stage already that this witness held a position in
20 G-5, which was a liaison position with the civilian authorities, and that
21 is why these questions are being put to the witness.
22 Q. [In English] -- And concerning the -- were you aware during your
23 time in Bosnia of the legal relationship which existed between the ABiH
24 and the civilian authorities?
25 A. No, unaware of any relationship.
1 Q. Now, Major Bower, I'll move on to another line of questioning
2 with respect to the preparations leading to your deployment in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. You mentioned yesterday that you were given very general
4 information on the background and only a very broad overview of the
5 current situation on the ground. Is that correct?
6 A. The broad overview we were given on arrival in Split. The -- the
7 detail was given to us on our ten-day handover between the Grapple I
8 battalion, and that was on a one-to-one basis with the individuals with
9 whom we took over from.
10 Q. And you mentioned yesterday that -- so -- that you had little
11 specific information before deploying, because then you concentrated on
12 deployment training. So such, for example, rules of engagement and
13 self-defence scenarios, stuff like that. But then when you arrived,
14 that's when they gave you in Split more detailed information.
15 A. Yes, that's right. It sort of very much started with general
16 overviews, general scenarios, the locations and the -- the overall
17 situation, political as well, what we call the big picture. And it only
18 went to specific on arrival, actually, in the Lasva Valley.
19 Q. Thank you, Major. But you knew from the information you were
20 given that the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had gained its independence
21 in 1992 and that it had been admitted as a member of the United Nations;
22 is that correct?
23 A. I remember we were given a briefing as to the overall situation.
24 I can't recall exactly what we were briefed, but that generally fits with
25 the very brief view we were given as the overall start of the -- those
1 troubles which were -- which forced us in in Grapple II.
2 Q. And did you know that the -- the day that the Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina was recognised as a state, that on the same day it was
4 attacked by the Yugoslavia -- Yugoslavian Army and the Serb forces? Was
5 that part of the information you were given?
6 A. I honestly can't remember at this moment in time. I've seen
7 programmes since, and so I can't recall whether it -- my memory is due to
8 the programmes I've seen or the briefing.
9 Q. Now, when you arrived in Split, the kind of information that you
10 were -- would have been provided with would include details on the warring
11 factions, personalities involved, location of units, capabilities, and, of
12 course, weapons system.
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. And, in fact, you probably were provided with some kind of org
15 charts, the military language, or organigrammes reflecting the armies
16 involved in the conflict?
17 A. Not in Split. We were -- it was still very much regional as to
18 what ethnic breakdown was in what specific territory, and very much it was
19 how the aid agencies were operating, what major routes were supplied, and
20 the overall UNPROFOR mission and how the British Battalion fitted into
21 that mission. What you're referring to is much more given on arrival in
22 Vitez, when we took over from the Cheshire Regiment.
23 Q. But -- and upon arriving in Vitez with the regiment, were you
24 ever given org charts?
25 A. Not organisation charts as you or I may recall of it. A wire
1 diagram, a flowchart. It was very much sort of the verbal briefings and a
2 map was used with the -- graphic symbols to depict which units were in
3 which geographic area.
4 Q. Now, by the time you deployed in Bosnia, Major Bower, you had
5 already -- you were already an experienced military officer; is that
7 A. I'd been on several deployments. You'd have to ask my commanding
8 officer whether he felt I was experienced or not.
9 Q. But if we compare with today -- of course, today you are an
10 instructor at the infantry school, and you've got more than 20 years in
11 the military. So of course we can't compare your detailed knowledge of
12 today with what you had then.
13 A. I think it would be safe to say that I had more experience
14 operationally than my peer group, due to my deployment in the Gulf War and
15 several years in Northern Ireland.
16 Q. Now, in -- as far as operational experience, which is exactly
17 what I wanted to ask you, this was -- you had been deployed before in
18 Ireland, so you had operational experience. However, am I correct in
19 saying that this was the first time you were deployed into a war where the
20 parties involved were foreign, where territory was new, where the locals
21 did not speak your language, and where you knew not too much about the
22 parties to the conflict?
23 A. Yes, I think that's a -- a safe summary. It was certainly
24 totally different from anything we'd experienced before, because we
25 weren't involved, actually, in the campaign. We were sort of very much,
1 you know, in -- in the middle or almost at points observers to what was
2 going on, rather than participants within. So it was a peculiar and I
3 think it was probably the first time that any of us, including the
4 commanding officer, had been in that kind of situation.
5 Q. And when you arrived, you were assigned by Lieutenant Colonel
6 Duncan, who was your commander, as the G-5 liaison officer. That's
8 A. Yes, that's right. I was assigned about two months before
9 deployment. When the roles were given out as to the breakdown of how the
10 officers were going to be employed.
11 Q. Now, just for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, maybe we could
12 confirm where the term "G-5" comes from, in terms of where do we use G-1,
13 G-2, G-3, G-4, and G-5, and what do these terms mean in the military con
15 A. The military use the terms G-1 through to G-9. It basically
16 identifies G-1, for example, as discipline, G-2 is intelligence, G-3,
17 operations, G-4 is administration, G-5 is now humanitarian liaison, local
18 liaison, and it goes all the way through to -- to G-9. It is just a -- a
19 number and a letter given to denote groupings within staff work and staff
21 Q. Would I be correct, Major, in saying that these numbers, from G-1
22 to G-5, are numbers that are used in many armies in the world and that
23 it's common language amongst a officer to use these terms?
24 A. It's a NATO terminology which is used throughout -- throughout
25 NATO. It may change from G-1 to J- 1, but other than that the number
1 remain the same.
2 Q. And Major Bower, the "G-5" stands for cimic [phoen], or civilian
3 military cooperation; is that correct?
4 A. That's what it stands for now, yes.
5 Q. And in your capacity as the BritBat G- 5, the focus of your work
6 was humanitarian issues, and that included the handling of the sick and
7 the wounded, as well as all liaison work with organisations such as ICRC,
8 UNHCR, and other NGOs; is that correct?
9 A. I didn't specifically get involved with the UNHCR, other than on
10 a case-by-case basis, as they had their own specific liaison officer
11 dedicated to them. But other than that, yes to everything else.
12 Q. Would you agree with me, Major Bower, that due to the nature of
13 your work if someone within the British Battalion saw the awful
14 consequences of an armed conflict within BritBat it would be the G-5 and
15 it would be you?
16 A. I think I could say that I -- I saw my fair share of the -- the
17 humanitarian impact or the impact to the -- the civil communities as a
18 result of the -- the war which was going on.
19 Q. And in your capacity as G-5, if I recall correctly from
20 yesterday, your area of responsibility went from Zenica to Travnik.
21 A. Yes, on a -- on an east-west line, that's -- that's fair. And
22 then it would sort of be maybe 20 miles either side of that main road.
23 Q. From north to south?
24 A. From north to south.
25 Q. And initially you mentioned that you dealt with doctors and aid
1 agency. But then as the tour progressed, you also had to deal with
2 military commanders and the object of these meetings was to obtain their
3 cooperation for humanitarian activities.
4 A. Yes, that's right. Again, it was a case-by-case, rather than a
5 routine liaison with the -- the military command.
6 Q. And with respect to the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you dealt
7 most of the time with Colonel Merdan, and you once had to deal directly
8 with General Hadzihasanovic.
9 A. Yes, that's right. It was Colonel Merdan, and only once from
10 what I can recollect with the general.
11 Q. And based on what you said to the Trial Chamber yesterday, the --
12 commenting upon your commander, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan, the
13 relationship between the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and British Battalion
14 was very good and highly professional; is that correct?
15 A. Yes. From -- from what I can recall, his -- his working
16 relationship with the 3 Corps headquarters was cordial.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please make a pause between
18 questions and answers.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... on hide and seek games with
20 the command of 3rd Corps.
21 Thank you for the information. I'm sorry for the interpreters.
22 I will take a pause between questions.
23 A. Sorry, could you repeat the question, please.
24 Q. We speak the same language, so sometimes it's difficult for
25 interpreters. I apologise.
1 So my question was that -- we were speaking about the
2 relationship between the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 3rd Corps
3 leadership with BritBat, and you mentioned that Lieutenant Colonel Duncan
4 said it was highly professional and that it was also very good. Now, my
5 question was: Did Lieutenant Colonel Duncan ever alluded to or mention
6 any hide-and-seek games with the 3rd Corps leadership that they would be
7 hiding things from him?
8 A. I -- I can't recall. Certainly the trade "hide and seek," I
9 don't know.
10 Q. Now, most of the time you yourself, Major Bower, were granted
11 freedom of movement and the cooperation you received from the 3rd Corps,
12 at least until September, when there might have been a change in the pace
13 of the conflict and to the military advantage that the cooperation you
14 obtained from 3rd Corps was very good. Is that correct?
15 A. I would say on the whole the cooperation was very -- there may be
16 one or two occasions throughout the tour where I may have hindrance
17 getting through. But as a general, yes, I would say that the relationship
18 and the movement that I had was -- in the first two-thirds of the tour was
19 better than it was in the last third.
20 Q. And until then, Major, you are in the position to acknowledge
21 that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina was in a very difficult position,
22 that they both needed and appreciated the assistance and cooperation, and
23 that for that reason their cooperation was probably better than what you
24 could obtain from the HVO.
25 A. My -- my time was very much dependent on who was being more
1 effective as a -- as a fighting force and creating more casualties. So I
2 was very much dealing with the resultant clashes. So the HVO were very
3 much in the ascendancy for the first two-thirds, from my perspective,
4 because I was very much dealing with the vast majority of Bosnian Muslim
5 civilians. And as a result, I think just naturally people wanted to help
6 people of their own ethnic grouping. So yes, I had, you know, cooperation
7 when -- when I needed it. There were times when it -- it didn't happen,
8 but that was infrequent, rather than frequent.
9 Q. Now, Major Bower, you -- when you testified in the Blaskic and
10 the Kordic cases, you made reference to a number of incidents involving
11 the HVO and the HVO not providing you with cooperation. Would that be a
12 fair statement?
13 A. Yes. There -- there were occasions when the HVO were -- were a
14 deliberate hindrance.
15 Q. And, Major Bower, even when the military advantage shifted later
16 in the tour the HVO nevertheless remained not cooperative in many respects
17 with respect to granting you the same type of freedom of movement that you
18 were obtaining from the 3rd Corps; would that be correct?
19 A. In the last eight weeks, when it -- the balance of fortune
20 shifted, the HVO certainly continued to -- to be unpredictable as to
21 whether they would help or not, but there were times when we didn't get
22 the assistance from 3rd Corps as well.
23 Q. Now, Major Bower, one thing that you did practice during your
24 tour as G-5 is certainly shuttle diplomacy. And if your own words, it was
25 a very frustrating experience. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it was frustrated because it was time-consuming, and the
2 original request was often lost in the resultant time and effort resolving
3 add-on linkages.
4 Q. And even though, Major Bower, you mentioned to me that the
5 British forces were at their beginning with respect to G-5 type of work,
6 you yourself saw or came to realise the importance of your job as G-5.
7 A. You know, I -- I certainly became aware of the impact that I
8 could have. But I was a small team of eight with a battalion of 600
9 trying to operate as best we could with the resources we had. But it
10 certainly -- it was an addition to the aid agencies who were in the area
11 who either couldn't or wouldn't deal with the -- the situation because of
12 their individual mandates as well.
13 Q. And, Major Bower, you -- you said earlier that you did see a lot
14 of suffering. And would I be right in saying that still today, when you
15 look back at your tour as G-5, it was something that was a very difficult
16 experience and very often you cannot understand all the misery you
18 A. Yes, I think that would -- that would sum it up. I mean, I was
19 only there for six months. I didn't live through it. But certainly it
20 was something which -- I certainly still can't understand some of the --
21 the actions that were taking place during my six months there.
22 Q. And this was, Major Bower, a very emotional job because you dealt
23 mostly with civilians, and there were days, as you said, when you were so
24 disgusted and felt so bad that you did not even attend the 6.00 meeting.
25 A. No, I don't recall not attending. It was a compulsory
1 attendance. There would be days when I would be so frustrated that we had
2 just not achieved anything, that we just didn't go out in the afternoon.
3 We had achieved whatever we could, and inevitably failed or things had
4 been cancelled, and so we would cancel the rest of the day. But the 18
5 hour groups were -- 1800 hour groups were compulsory.
6 Q. And this brings me to the issue, Major Bower, of the milinfosum,
7 the preparation of which you spoke about yesterday. Am I right in saying
8 that the name given to this document, i.e. military information summary,
9 is based on the fact that UNPROFOR units were not supposed to gather
10 intelligence because this was a Chapter 6 humanitarian mission? Is that
12 A. I'm afraid I -- I don't know what the chapter 6 humanitarian
13 mission is, so I -- I can't -- all I can recall is that we were
14 specifically informed that military intelligence was not why we were
15 there, because we weren't involved actively within the campaign. We were
16 very much in the observance role. But we had to capture data of some sort
17 to assist to understand what we were in. And I think that's the reason --
18 one of the reasons why "information" was the term used and we were
19 specifically told that the term "intelligence" is not to be used.
20 Q. For the benefit of the Trial Chamber, to try and make an
21 illustration, would you agree with me, Major Bower, that if your battalion
22 had been at war the gathering of intelligence would have been much more
23 important and proactive and that additional means, such as human
24 intelligence, electronic devices, satellite imagery and radio intercepts,
25 to name just a few, would have been used?
1 A. Yes, I think that's fair to say. But I think there would have
2 been more assets within the battalion applied to it. There was one
3 officer and one NCO who were an information cell. Whereas in a battalion
4 in operations of war a lot more would be getting intelligence from all our
5 neighbouring units and our high headquarters, which obviously we were
6 getting very little information at all. It was very much us within our
7 small area as to what we had seen.
8 Q. And major Bower, would you agree with me as the use of additional
9 means such as the ones I've mentioned and electronic devices would have
10 allowed you, your battalion - of course, it was a wartime situation or
11 even in this mission - to determine where attacks were to take place, when
12 they were to take place, and by which units coming from which area? Would
13 that be correct?
14 A. I think with the -- the asset which is were available today, if
15 we'd have had them 11 years ago, I think perhaps we'd have been able to
16 track troop movement, depending on which asset, to be able to say which
17 unit they come from would be dependent on the assets which we have. And
18 again, based on intelligence. So whether we could say it is a specific
19 unit or not, I -- I don't know whether we could have done that. We
20 probably may be able to do it now, but I -- it's difficult to say.
21 Q. Now, the reason, Major Bower, why such means were not used is
22 probably because, one, maybe they were not available, or, two, they
23 weren't required for your purpose. And as you said, it wasn't permitted
24 for that type of operation. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, as far as I'm aware, it was never discussed. Certainly, you
1 know, the gathering of intelligence that I can recall was just not an
2 option. It wasn't something which was available to us if we'd asked for
4 Q. Now, Major Bower, again for -- to allow the Trial Chamber to have
5 a good understanding of this information function, would you agree with me
6 based on your knowledge and experience that in a war situation the
7 movement of troops usually take place at night?
8 A. It -- it really does depend on the terrain, the forces you're
9 using, and, you know, the operation you're going to conduct, and what
10 assets the enemy has which you've identified which could detect you. So
11 yes, and --
12 Q. Sorry. I'm sorry. Let me be more precise. Final combat
13 preparations, final resupply before an attack, and the fact that an attack
14 is usually launched at least one hour before first light is common
15 knowledge amongst all soldiers. Am I correct?
16 A. I would say that that's a doctrine which has been adhered to, but
17 it certainly isn't current at the moment.
18 Q. And the idea of launching an attack at least one hour before
19 first light is to achieve total surprise and to profit from maximum
21 A. That certainly is one of the benefits of -- of launching an
22 attack at that time of day. But because now everyone expects it at that
23 time, it's almost lost its -- its surprise.
24 Q. And would you agree with me, Major, that in obtaining that type
25 of information, in terms of the movement of troops, combat preparations,
1 resupply operations, that would allow someone to know where an attack is
2 going to take place, when and which units would attack and in what
4 A. Yes, certainly the -- the tracking of -- of troops and certainly
5 key assets is -- is the vital thing, not just bodies moving. It's more
6 the -- the assets and the formations which are -- are being moved around
7 the battlefield can lead to an indication of where something is going to
8 happen, either a main effort or supporting effort. So certainly battle
9 tracking is an important information-gathering tool to now allow analysis
10 of future operations.
11 Q. And in your situation with the UNPROFOR, Major Bower, considering
12 that you did not gather intelligence and that you only worked during
13 daylight, this type of information was therefore not available to you;
14 would that be correct?
15 A. I wouldn't say it wasn't available. I mean, things moved quite
16 slowly. It wasn't the high-speed manoeuvre warfare which -- which I am
17 used to. It took time to -- to move assets around. But I would say that
18 there were still occasions to track that there was movement going on, but
19 it took a lot longer to build a picture, rather than necessarily today
20 with high-value intelligence-gathering assets we may get a much clearer
21 picture in a much shorter time frame. I would say it was very much
22 elongated and prolonged. Or it may be the fact it was after the event
23 that we identified what those movements were pointing towards. It wasn't
24 always a clear-cut picture that may be implied by CNN today.
25 Q. Now, with respect to the type of information which was obtained
1 by liaison officers, either by personal visual information or by speaking
2 to various locals, can you confirm that your headquarters, located in
3 Vitez, was in territory controlled by the HVO? Is that correct?
4 A. I would say that for the -- up until September we were in
5 HVO-controlled territory. But ABiH held the -- the high-ground feature
6 right next to -- adjacent to the camp because they used to shoot at each
7 other and we were in the middle. So we were in HVO territory, but we were
8 pretty much on -- or in between the two front lines. But after a -- an
9 offence by HVO in September, we were then totally an HVO-held area.
10 Q. Now, referring to your testimony in the Blaskic and Kordic cases,
11 as well as on your direct knowledge, would it be fair to say that the HVO
12 used propaganda as a very effective weapon?
13 A. It was -- is that propaganda directed at UNPROFOR or is it --
14 Q. Okay. Propaganda general -- especially with its own population.
15 A. I think there was -- it was safe to say that they certainly gave
16 the impression to the civilians who I dealt with that they were either
17 doing a lot better than they really were and that the situation was a lot
18 better than it really was. I -- I can't really comment as to what other
19 type of propaganda was given, I'm afraid.
20 Q. I'd like to give you maybe, Major Bower, a few examples that you
21 may be aware of, again based on your prior testimony and your knowledge.
22 Can you confirm that HVO media reported that the Guca Gora monastery had
23 been set in flames and that upon verification it was determined that not
24 only the monastery had not been set in flames but that Bandol, a Muslim
25 village, had been burned to the ground? Are you aware of this fact?
1 A. I can't recall any specific HVO references to it. I know that
2 there was a lot of -- exaggerations, a lot of rumour was flying around as
3 to -- after various offences, who had done what to whom and atrocities
4 that are being committed and -- which caused us to try and investigate and
5 verify. But I can say yes, I mean the church in Guca Gora wasn't --
6 wasn't destroyed. But -- and I know that Bandol was, having been there.
7 Q. Can you confirm, Major Bower, just with respect to the propaganda
8 issue, that issues such as the following were reported and ultimately
9 found to be untrue: Things like the killing of the priest and the nuns in
11 A. I -- I recall that there was a rumour going round which was
12 prevalent during the summer that -- and I can't remember which village it
13 was from, but I -- I do recall there was a -- accusations going that a
14 priest and two nuns had been crucified on a church door or something like
15 that, which was being spread around, round the HVO area.
16 Q. And that ultimately it was proven to be untrue?
17 A. From what I can recall now -- I've not found anything which would
18 confirm that, and I can't recall being told that it was a confirmed
19 atrocity of any sort.
20 Q. And what about propaganda from HVO media with respect to the
21 hanging of Croats in front of the church in Zenica? Did you hear such
23 A. No. I -- I don't recall -- I don't recall that -- that incident.
24 Q. Can you recall any propaganda from the HVO with respect to the
25 arrest of 12.000 Croats in Zenica?
1 A. I can only recall that there was, again, rumours flying that
2 the -- the Croats within Zenica were being contained within a small area
3 and that they were not being treated fairly. You know, they weren't being
4 allowed to leave if they wanted to. But it just seemed to be sort of a --
5 a general paranoia, if you like, of when you had enclaves within enclaves.
6 There was very much a -- a hostage/siege mentality because there was the
7 Bosnian Muslim area of Stari Vitez within the Croat area of Vitez, which
8 was in a sort of larger pocket of ABiH. And so it went on. And I think
9 it was very much a -- just a general paranoia of what was happening to
10 their friends, relatives, who they'd lost contact with. There was no
11 means for them to communicate. And so rumours were rife around the area.
12 Q. Now, Major, is that fair to say that such propaganda around the
13 area is likely to influence the population and directly reduce the
14 reliability of information you can obtain from such people?
15 A. I would say that certainly the information which we were given we
16 couldn't take at face value. It depended on the source, who was giving it
17 to you, and the -- the stress that that person was -- was under and the
18 situation, the personal situation that individual would be in. If that
19 person was in -- either had wounded sort of friends, relatives they wanted
20 to get out, then they were liable to exaggerate the wounds, the whatever,
21 to get your assistance. So there was -- exaggeration was certainly
22 something we had to be aware of.
23 Q. And, Major Bower, on the military side, in terms of information,
24 can you confirm that the creation of the 8th Muslim Brigade was confirmed
25 in a milinfosum and it was later determined that there was never any such
1 unit called 8 Muslim Brigade?
2 A. I'm afraid I can't recall at all any reference to -- to an 8
3 Muslim Brigade. I'm sorry.
4 Q. No problem. If you -- there's something you don't know,
5 absolutely. No problem.
6 Can you confirm, Major Bower, with respect to the milinfosum --
7 now, you said a couple of things yesterday in response to questions from
8 the Prosecution. You said, for example, that it was not a record of the
9 6.00 hour group but, rather, it was a summary of what had been seen that
10 day in that it was a summary of one-to-one opinion or views?
11 A. Yes, I'd say that that's a fair statement, because the -- the
12 1800 hours' meeting discussed all sorts of administration and purely
13 British Battalion issues which were irrelevant really to any other unit.
14 So that's why it wasn't a -- a word-by-word record of that meeting.
15 Q. And you also mentioned yesterday that those views -- there was
16 views expressed at this meeting and ultimately sometimes taken into the
17 milinfosum would be difficult to confirm, either a second, third, or
18 fourth time. Would that be correct?
19 A. Yes. The -- the gathering of this -- this information was by an
20 individual, normally a patrol commander or a liaison officer. So it was
21 very much that individual with his interpreter, what he had seen, or what
22 he had learned from discussion with whoever he'd been conversing with. So
23 it was very much a one-to-one, and you would only get a second source of
24 agreement on it if by chance -- or somebody was specifically told to go to
25 another area to try and confirm or deny something.
1 Q. Moving on to another topic, Major Bower. You mentioned that you
2 had contacts with brigades from the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And
3 you mentioned specifically the 325 Brigade, because you had contacts with
4 them. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. You also mentioned, if I'm correct, that you were given
7 information to the effect that 7 Brigade was a manoeuvre unit which came
8 to be used as a combat indicator. Is that correct?
9 A. I would say after a period of time - and I think it was some
10 time; it wasn't an initial decision that was either given to us. It was
11 something which -- a conclusion which we came to after a period of time,
12 having seen how the situation started to -- to appear and how the overall
13 campaign was -- was being conducted.
14 Q. And you explained that a combat indicator is when a certain unit
15 is found at a certain place you can anticipate that an attack will take
16 place because this has happened before on more than one occasion. Is that
18 A. Yes. Either a unit or a high-value asset, a piece of equipment
19 which is unusual in that particular area, something of that nature
20 which -- but it has to be a pattern which builds up. It can't just be
21 taken once and therefore assumed that is a pattern. A pattern has to be
22 something which we've seen at least more than once. And normally it's a
23 chain of events rather than just one specific event.
24 Q. You also mentioned, Major Bower, that you were given information
25 about the presence of mercenaries in Central Bosnia; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's right. We were briefed in Split specifically about
2 the presence of mercenaries in the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina area.
3 Q. And you were also given information at some point that within 7
4 Brigade there was an element which strictly adhered to the principles of
6 A. I can't recall if it was put quite in those terms, but certainly
7 we were informed that there were -- there was an element. It wasn't a
8 large element. It was maybe 100, 150 people maximum. I don't think
9 anybody actually got a -- an exact number of mercenaries who were more
10 adherent to the Islamic codes.
11 Q. And Mayor Bower, you also said that you were given some
12 information which you obtained at some point that the Mujahedin in Central
13 Bosnia functioned as a formed unit and not in small individual groups; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes. I can't remember whether that was information given to us
16 or whether that was a conclusion which we drew to, but certainly it's --
17 it's what I feel as how that particular mercenary element were fought or
18 was used.
19 Q. And you yourself, Major Bower, you met the Mujahedin for the
20 first time working as some kind of -- what appeared to be a unit with
21 weapons on the 13th of June in Guca Gora; is that correct?
22 A. I -- I'm not sure of the exact date. June potentially, yes -- I
23 really -- I'm afraid I can't recall the exact date. But certainly the
24 first time I came across the Mujahedin was that time in Guca Gora with
25 Major Vaughan Kent-Payne.
1 Q. Now, we will come back to this event later on. From now what I
2 would simply like to review with you is what you said about the -- what
3 are the characteristics of a Mujahedin. And you mentioned yesterday that
4 they could be recognised by their features and that this would include
5 facial hair and the fact that they had beards, the fact that their
6 attitude towards UNPROFOR, which was negative; by the style of their
7 dress; by the fact that people were and should be scared of them; that
8 they were unpredictable; that they had more weapons, knives, rocket --
9 RPGs; and that they were arrogant and that you could only meet them by
10 accident because you did not know their location. All of these things,
11 would that be a fair summary of what you said, in terms of the
12 characteristics of the Mujahedin?
13 A. I would say so, and the fact that they -- they weren't European
14 in appearance as well. Certainly the majority which we saw were Middle
15 Eastern in appearance, rather than European in appearance.
16 Q. And with respect to uniforms, you mentioned that many of them had
17 combat jackets but they also had baggy trousers and it was nevertheless a
18 mix of clothing, military and other. Would that be correct?
19 A. Certainly with the ones which I saw on that day, that's -- that's
20 accurate, yes.
21 Q. And would it be fair to say that the Mujahedin had the reputation
22 for being ready to die for Islam, contrary to normal soldiers?
23 A. I -- I wouldn't say that that was a -- a predominant sort of
24 feature with us at the time. This was really our first encounter with
25 that particular element. It wasn't something which I would say was -- was
1 predominant on that aspect.
2 Q. And you mentioned that they were not the kind of troops which
3 would not -- which would be used to man checkpoints. Now, my question is:
4 You never met any Mujahedin at the numerous checkpoints that you had to
6 A. Is that correct --
7 Q. Is that correct?
8 A. I can't recall meeting any -- what I would term "Mujahedin"
9 that -- there were an element of people who, if I could say, were
10 pretending to be Mujahedin or would -- we called them pseudo- or plastic
11 Mujahedin. They would have the badges on, but really weren't involved.
12 You would see one or two of them at a checkpoint but I wouldn't -- we
13 wouldn't class them as that Mujahedin mercenary element.
14 Q. Cow con -- can you confirm some of the following facts with
15 respect to -- they had to deal with the characteristics that we discovered
16 of Mujahedin. The first one is the location of units of the Army of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina is a thing that was well known within your
18 battalion. Am I correct?
19 A. From what I can recall, the military liaison officers who dealt
20 specifically with military headquarters knew very good detail what
21 elements were within that specific area. I'm afraid I can't remember,
22 because I wasn't really involved in that aspect, so I'm afraid I couldn't
24 Q. Now, the -- most of the soldiers from the Army of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina, it wasn't a common thing to wear a beard; is that correct?
1 A. From what I can recall, no, it wasn't a -- a common thing.
2 Certainly the beards which we saw with the Mujahedin were, if I can phrase
3 it, a very full beard, rather than sort of a trimmed beard like what
4 you're wearing yourself.
5 Q. You are aware, Major Bower, that the weapons situation within the
6 ABiH was critical and in fact that they were so short of weapons that they
7 had about one weapon for each three men? Would that be a fair statement?
8 A. I can't recall the exact numbers, but certainly it would be -- it
9 would be fair to say that they weren't -- that weapons were not in
10 abundance and there were sort of -- there would be times you would find
11 checkpoints where not everybody had a weapon.
12 Q. And if we look at ABiH soldiers. In general, from your
13 experience of meeting with these soldiers, they had a good attitude
14 towards the UN and the relationship between the UN and BritBat was very
16 A. From my experience, you built up relationships with the
17 terrain-holding soldiers because you saw them on a regular basis and they
18 got to know you. But again, dependent on -- or if I could say, it
19 depended on what had happened that day. If they had suffered or they knew
20 that Bosnian Muslim civilians were suffering, then obviously they would
21 get frustrated and ultimately they would take it out on the only people
22 which they could, which would be us. So in hindsight, which is a
23 wonderful thing, as we know, I would -- I can now sympathise with how they
24 reacted. But at the time I couldn't. I was more focussed on what I was
25 trying to do. But certainly over a period of time with individuals at
1 certain areas we built up good relations.
2 Q. And Major Bower, the local population were not scared to hang
3 around close to checkpoints where the normal ABiH soldiers would be; is
4 that correct?
5 A. The -- the majority of checkpoints which I went there -- through,
6 the only one which I can recall was the Cajdras checkpoint, which yes,
7 there was -- there was a civilian population around it. But as you got
8 closer to the front line and pretty much a front-line checkpoint, I would
9 say there were less civilians there and, and quite understandable.
10 Q. Now, you mentioned something about the unpredictable character of
11 the Mujahedin, and you gave an example of the Mujahedin which -- whom you
12 met in Guca Gora who refused to speak to your female interpreter. Is that
14 A. Yes, it -- that's correct. Initially when we arrived, they
15 refused to speak to us, through our female interpreter. But obviously
16 after the incident with the firearm, they then did. But then again, as we
17 were moving to the village to look for this alleged grave site, there were
18 further Mujahedin who refused to speak to us and we had to sort of do a
19 three-way conversation.
20 Q. Now, the fact that a Mujahedin would refuse to speak to a female
21 interpreter may be an indication of a certain religious attitude, but
22 would you agree with me that it is not a characteristic which can allow
23 you to draw conclusions on command and control?
24 A. No. It would only allow us to -- to draw a conclusion on that
25 specific incident at that particular moment in time with that individual.
1 Q. You mentioned in response to a question from my colleague that
2 the Mujahedin would be seen in places where fighting then took place and
3 that this is the reason why you gained this conclusion that they were a
4 combat indicator. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, it was -- normally we would find out obviously after the
6 event about the fighting because I'd be involved in either prisoner
7 exchange or dead-body collection and Mujahedin were always -- they always
8 appeared as a separate entry with regard to prisoner release or dead-body
9 exchange. It would be 25 HVO, 30 ABiH, 5 of which are Mujahedin. It was
10 always a -- you know, a reference to it which allowed tracking, if you
12 Q. Well, we'll come to the exchange situation a little later, but
13 for now the -- would you agree with me that on the basis of what you
14 mentioned concerning the combat indicator that any one of your colleagues,
15 liaison officers or others - it could be the company commanders - if they
16 would spot or observe the presence of Mujahedin, they would then
17 immediately report it, at least to Captain Harrison, the intelligence
18 officer, so that this information could be included in the military
19 infosum, because it would signal that there was an attack in the planning?
20 A. I would agree that -- that certainly their presence of their
21 location would be reported on return to -- to the base. But whether on
22 its own it could indicate an attack is not -- is not true. I'd say that
23 other assets had to be identified. It -- I would say it's this pattern.
24 One -- one vehicle can't therefore, you know, determine a convoy. It
25 needed to be a number of assets to be identified to try and create a
1 picture as to what was happening. But certainly it would focus our
2 attention, was that an area which we needed to gather more sightings to
3 try and identify if that was going to be a -- an area where combat was
4 going to take place.
5 Q. And am I right, Major Bower, in saying that you personally never
6 reported to Captain Harrison that an attack was forthcoming because you
7 had encountered Mujahedin?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. In fact, looking at the milinfosums, which you consulted on a
10 daily basis, there were never such observations in the milinfosums; would
11 that be correct?
12 A. I honestly can't recall. It's been some years since I've read
13 any of the milinfosums.
14 Q. Now, the milinfosums themselves, am I right in saying that they
15 were not communicated to the warring factions?
16 A. As far as I'm aware, they weren't. They were a briefing tool.
17 I -- I don't recall any security classification on them. I mean, they
18 were certainly used to -- to brief aid agencies. Whether hard copies were
19 handed out, I -- I honestly don't know.
20 Q. But they were not meant to be given to the warring factions.
21 A. Again, I -- I honestly can't recall. I mean, Simon Harrison T
22 information officer, would be able to answer that one.
23 Q. Now, these milinfosums, Major Bower, were sent upwards -- the
24 chain of command to the United Nations' Central Bosnia command in
25 Kiseljak, if I recall, with the purpose of informing other units in your
1 area of what was happening in your own sector; is that a fair statement?
2 A. Yes, that's -- that's right. Because the aid agencies wanted to
3 know which routes could be used but also each independent battalion within
4 the UNPROFOR area needed to bring its own resupply convoys up from Split
5 and they wanted to know, you know, was it safe or was it not. The last
6 thing they wanted to do was drive up through Gornji Vakuf when, for
7 example, Gornji Vakuf was suffering some very, very heavy fighting.
8 Q. Now, due to the nature of your work, Major Bower, and the fact
9 that you travelled a lot in your area, did you yourself read the daily
10 sitreps, or situation reports, which were produced by the Central Bosnia
11 command in Kiseljak and which contained information on the other parts of
12 Central Bosnia, for example, as to what the Canadians were doing in Visoko
13 or what the French were doing in Kakanj?
14 A. No, I -- I never read any of those when I was in my general
15 liaison officer duties. There would be an overall summary given at the
16 1800 hours as a general overview of what was happening either side of us.
17 But I only read them, from what I can recall, the two weeks I was standing
18 in as the operation officer in the ops room.
19 Q. And so the same would apply, then, to the weekly military
20 information summaries, also produced by the Central Bosnia command in
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Moving on to another topic which you briefly touched upon
24 yesterday and today. I'd like to ask you a few questions about the
25 exchange of prisoners or dead bodies. My first question - I think I will
1 follow your lead - the first question deals with the -- whether you were
2 aware because you arrived in theatre at the end of April, whether the
3 commander of an HVO brigade had been kidnapped in Zenica by foreign
4 elements. I'm talking about the -- the name of the gentleman was Totic.
5 A. The name is familiar, but I -- I can't recall specifics, I'm
6 afraid. But the name is familiar.
7 Q. Were you aware that a request was presented by foreign fighters
8 to ECMM - ECMM being the European Community Monitoring Mission - and a
9 request was presented for the release of these foreign persons in exchange
10 for members of the HVO? Were you aware of this fact?
11 A. Again, I'm afraid I can't recall.
12 Q. Then I'll move on more quickly, then, because I had a series of
13 questions on this incident. But did you know that the exchange itself did
14 take place in Zenica on the 17th of May?
15 A. It may well have done. At -- at that particular time in May, I
16 was still building relations with the Red Cross and ECMM. We'd only been
17 active for less than a month, so we hadn't really gained the confidence of
18 the people who had already built up the relations. I don't think they
19 wanted the new boy in there who could potentially make mistakes. So we
20 didn't really get involved until much later, I think sort of later in May,
21 early June, with the body and prisoner exchange. So I'm afraid I can't
22 recall any details on that.
23 Q. Now, operational control of your unit was transferred, if I
24 recall correctly, on the 11th of May.
25 A. That would be about right. That would be about a week, ten days
1 after our -- our initial arrival of our main body, yes.
2 Q. Now, in one of the milinfosums about this Totic incident, it was
3 reported that the 3rd Corps had denied any link or involvement whatsoever
4 with this exchange, but at the request of the head of ECMM in Zenica they
5 had accepted to provide security for this exchange. Were you aware of
6 this fact?
7 A. Again, I'm afraid I can't recall.
8 Q. So I guess you are not aware either that your battalion was
9 involved in the exchange, in the transport of the people involved.
10 A. I can recall that we were continually asked to provide transport
11 or security for various exchanges, convoys, or whatever. But specifics,
12 I'm afraid, right at the beginning of the tour, I'm afraid everything was
13 a bit of a blur.
14 Q. And this specific event, even though it -- it concerned
15 Mujahedin, is not something which drew your attention.
16 A. It doesn't stand out in my recollection, I'm afraid.
17 Q. And the fact that it was extensively reported in milinfosums,
18 because you're telling us today that you're not aware, but --
19 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President.
20 MR. BOURGON:
21 Q. You wouldn't be surprised that it would be reported in the
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf.
24 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, I repeatedly noticed
25 that my learned friend from the Defence side is making reference to
1 milinfosums, to the contents of milinfosums he doesn't produce. It's not
2 possible for the Prosecution and it's also not possible for the Trial
3 Chamber to verify whether the portions of the milinfosums my learned
4 friend is making reference to do actually form part of such milinfosums.
5 I would therefore request that whenever my learned friend is making
6 reference to a milinfosum and he asks questions to the witness, he should
7 show the milinfosum to the witness.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Bourgon, you did
9 refer to some milinfosums, in particular to General Totic. We don't know
10 what the number of this document is. Perhaps if you had had the document
11 you could have shown it to the witness. But the Prosecution's comment is
12 relevant. You are referring to documents that the Trial Chamber can't
13 assess. We don't have it, nor does the Prosecution, nor does the witness.
14 But please carry on.
15 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I just
16 wanted to tell the Trial Chamber that it is the Defence's choice, since we
17 are speaking about milinfosums in general and not particular ones, we
18 don't want to go into all the details. It's a matter of probative value.
19 When I ask the witness a question without showing him the document, this
20 could reduce the weight that you might give to the information. But we
21 don't think that this is to the detriment of the defence of the accused,
22 because we are talking about general issues, about the type of information
23 contained in the milinfosums.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please carry on.
25 Yesterday you said that you would complete your cross-examination
1 at half past 10.00.
2 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. [In English] Major Bower, sorry, I lost the place I was on my
4 page. But now you would agree with me that if you would receive a request
5 when you were in Bosnia by 3rd Corps to exchange a Mujahedin or to
6 recuperate the body of a Mujahedin, this was an issue that was important
7 enough that it would be reported in the milinfosum. Would that be a fair
9 A. Whether it was reported in the military information summaries,
10 I -- after 11 years I really can't -- can't say. But -- but I know that
11 from notes, diaries which I've got which we -- we looked at -- it was more
12 of a much later part of the tour it became an issue. From what I can
13 recall, to me. How other liaison officers viewed it, I -- I can't comment
14 for them. But certainly I took much greater note later in the tour, when
15 from about September-time the ABiH gone to be in ascendancy, rather than
16 in a defensive posture. And that's -- that's when I sort of made more
17 note of it, if you like. What happened before that -- I can't recall
18 being involved in either dead-body or prisoner exchanges which included
19 Mujahedin earlier in the tour.
20 Q. Now, Major Bower, I -- I don't doubt the fact that you did obtain
21 requests concerning an exchange of a prisoner or the return of a Mujahedin
22 body. What I suggest to you, however, is that you never received and
23 you're not able to give us a specific incident today when 3rd Corps
24 requested an exchange of a Mujahedin or the return of a Mujahedin body
25 specifically. Would that be a fair statement?
1 A. I -- I can recall later in the tour that we were involved in a
2 dead-body exchange, about 50 or 60 dead bodies, with an exchange of
3 casualties from Stari Vitez and Nova Bila. And there was a request to
4 release Mujahedin - I can't recall whether he was a prisoner or whether he
5 was a dead body - and the exchange was for HVO to be released in exchange
6 for this and that we had to get the military liaison officer to talk to --
7 I can't remember whether it was Beba Salko or Beba in Travnik to -- as
8 part of the link to get this whole deal going. It was a very complicated
9 process, and this was the linkage which I referred to earlier. But whether
10 we physically had to go to 3 Corps headquarters, I honestly can't recall
11 whether -- I wasn't the 3 Corps liaison officer. We had somebody
12 specifically there to do that.
13 Q. Now, such a request, may I suggest to you, Major Bower, that it
14 was addressed to BritBat directly by Mujahedin themselves. Would that
15 refresh your memory?
16 A. Whether it was direct by Mujahedin to us, again -- I mean, I
17 normally got my information either from the ICRC with regard to prisoner
18 exchange. Dead body exchange would come through the civilian hospitals
19 because that's -- as soon as we arrived there, we'd be seen by the
20 civilian population themselves, who would, you know, be passing on -- or
21 pressurising us to do something. But ultimately, I would say that it's
22 the -- the military liaison officers would -- would get any formal
23 requests from any military headquarters on either side. I was very
24 much -- I would get it from the aid agencies or the civilian hospitals or
25 the civilians around those hospitals who I dealt with. I -- I can't
1 honestly recall where those requests would -- would come from, I'm afraid.
2 Q. Now, Major Bower, you mentioned the name of an individual named
3 Beba Salko. You are aware that Mr. Salko was -- had a role to play in the
4 exchange of prisoners and that he is the one who dealt with the ICRC and
5 other humanitarian organisations for this purpose; is that correct?
6 A. From what I can recall, whenever I met him or I heard his name,
7 it was -- it was either from the liaison officer from Travnik or from the
8 Red Cross, so yes, that would -- that would be fair.
9 Q. I would like now to move, Major Bower, to the incident of the 13
10 June, when you were in Guca Gora with Major Payne. Now, in this specific
11 instance I am able to suggest to you the date of 13 June on the basis of a
13 MR. BOURGON: And I would ask that the witness be given the
14 Exhibit DH71.
15 Q. Major Bower, if you can just look at the first page, paragraph 1,
16 Alpha to Golf.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf.
18 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, assuming that my
19 learned friend from the Defence side will ask this witness questions in
20 relation to this milinfosum number 45, dated the 13th of June, 1993, the
21 witness has said yesterday and he has confirmed today that he can't recall
22 the exact date as to when he was in the area of Guca Gora. My learned
23 colleague is suggesting to the witness that that day was the 13th of June.
24 However, the witness is not in a position and he has confirmed it at least
25 twice that he was in that area on that day. Therefore, the Prosecution
1 considers any questions relating to this milinfosum very problematic, and
2 the Prosecution objects to any questions asked.
3 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the purpose of
4 cross-examination when showing a document to the witness is just to
5 refresh the witness's memory. The witness can say that he can't remember
6 the date or that it's possible that the date is the right one. The
7 purpose of cross-examination is to suggest certain information to a
8 witness by having recourse to documents or leading questions, and the
9 witness can confirm a document perhaps. This is just -- this is the
10 objective of the cross-examination. I don't understand this comment.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. At the request of the
12 parties, we said that it was possible in order to refresh a memory's -- a
13 witness's memory. It was possible to show the witness a document. And
14 this is the purpose for which you want to show the witness a document.
15 Ask the witness your question, since the witness has had time to have a
16 look at the document.
17 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have five or six
18 questions that relate to this document. I have another 15 minutes for the
19 witness, and then I will have completed my cross-examination.
20 Would you like to have the break now?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We'll have the break now
22 and then you can continue for 15 minutes.
23 So we will adjourn now and resume at five to 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before giving the floor to
2 Mr. Bourgon, regarding the objection of the Prosecution, we told the
3 Defence that they could put the question to the witness. The problem was
4 the following: The witness could not remember the date exactly, and that
5 is why the Prosecution -- or rather, the Defence wanted to show him a
6 document, to remind him -- yes, the Defence, to jog his memory. And this
7 document, which came from his battalion, could be identified by the
8 witness but that document needs to be interpreted in relation to other
9 testimony that we have heard, and other persons have already been able to
10 authenticate that document by the date of the 13th of June. As he was not
11 the only one on the spot, this might remind the witness. And that is why
12 it was useful to put this question to the witness.
13 Mr. Bourgon, you have the floor to ask him your question.
14 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. [In English] Major Bower, a document was shown to you shortly
16 before the break. The only question I have based on this document -
17 because what I'm interested in is your recollection of the events and not
18 what is in this document - is simply that from your reading of this
19 document, would that document arise from your trip to Guca Gora with
20 Major Payne?
21 A. Certainly the -- the events which are listed in the paragraph 1,
22 they -- they look as if they refer to -- to that -- to that event, yes.
23 It's certainly everything which is in there less the last paragraph --
24 subparagraph F, everything in there does correspond with -- with the
25 events on that day. But I'm afraid the date ...
1 Q. No problem with that, Major Bower. Thank you very much for this
3 I'd simply like to go over the events as you recall them when you
4 travelled with Major Payne to Guca Gora. Can you please confirm that the
5 initial request was received from a gentleman called Thomas Osario?
6 A. Yes. That's -- from what I can recall, that was his name. And
7 we'd had dealings with him a number of times before. Mainly because he
8 wasn't continually at our location, he'd arrive, deal with something, and
9 then leave. So there was a novelty to -- to him being there. But he
10 instigated it, rather than it came from -- from what I can recall, any
11 military or aid agency chain. It came from the UN chain.
12 Q. Now, Mr. Osario spoke to you because you were the G-5. He showed
13 you a map he had obtained from a refugee, which would indicate some kind
14 of a mass grave. And he basically requested if you would go and take a
15 look at this area. Is that how things happened?
16 A. Yes, that's -- that's pretty much it. It was -- there wasn't too
17 much detail. It was very much a can you go and find out what's in that
18 area to assist? He -- he didn't want to or couldn't or was unable to --
19 to follow it up and therefore requested us to do it, and specifically it
20 came to me.
21 Q. Now, this was, Major Bower, some kind of new issue because you
22 had not expected to be involved in war crimes related issue. If I am
23 correct, you had no prior experience in this field, but you nevertheless
24 decided, you and Major Payne, to take two Warriors up there, Warriors
25 because you thought that soft-skin vehicles would not be appropriate. And
1 you went to Guca Gora, and it was the second time you went to the Guca
2 Gora area. Is that correct?
3 A. I -- I can't recall if it was the second time I was in Guca Gora.
4 It was certainly the second time I'd been up there for a specific mission,
5 rather than my general driving around. But certainly it was the second
6 time I was up there in an armoured vehicle. That's correct.
7 Q. And that would be because the first time was related, as you
8 mentioned before, to the evacuation of the Croats which were in the
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. Now, when you arrived in Guca Gora, you were stopped by
12 Mujahedin. And you mentioned yesterday that there were 12 to a dozen of
13 them; is that correct?
14 A. Yeah, from -- from what I could recall or from what I could see,
15 because I was in the back of the vehicle and we had to wait until we were
16 stopped. And it was apparent that we were going to now get out and start
17 the negotiation process, which then allowed me to -- to get out of the
19 Q. And when you saw the Mujahedin, you described yesterday that they
20 had weapons. In fact, they had a heavy weapon and RPGs, and that you
21 described also the way they were dressed. And you mentioned yesterday
22 that their faces were covered. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes. Certainly some had their faces covered; not all. The
24 individual who did most of the liaising with us, the talking, the
25 negotiating with us, he didn't. But I would say that a -- the majority of
1 them around the church itself had their faces covered.
2 Q. And the gentleman who did most of the talking with you is the one
3 you recognised as coming from your area, who spoke the same kind of accent
4 as your soldiers do; is that correct?
5 A. No. The -- the Mujahedin who did the negotiating with us wasn't
6 the British Mujahedin. The one who did the negotiating was very much
7 Middle Eastern extraction. But we noticed, because we heard a British
8 voice, which we obviously latched onto and tried to get that individual
9 to -- to be more forthcoming, because we recognised his regional dialect,
10 coming from where we recruit our soldiers. But he was very reticent to
11 get involved in any discussion with us. So it reverted back to the
12 Mujahedin who was from the Middle East.
13 Q. So the Mujahedin you spoke to was definitely, in your opinion,
14 someone who came -- who was a foreigner?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. And he did not have his face covered.
17 A. No, he didn't.
18 Q. And he is -- is he the one who refused to speak to your female
20 A. Initially, yes, until we had this standoff. Basically two groups
21 of people looking at each other and then us trying to speak to them and
22 they refusing. So we were sort of just thinking what we could do. And
23 then there was the accidental discharge of the -- of the weapon.
24 Q. When we met earlier this week, Major Bower, you mentioned that
25 you did not recall the presence of any media reporters there on that
1 occasion. Would that be a fair statement?
2 A. Yeah, I -- I honestly can't -- excuse me. I can't recall if
3 there were any media there, but I know that the media were very interested
4 in -- we had a phrase "ambulance chasing." And they saw armoured
5 vehicles, then they would invariably follow because there would be
6 something of interest to report on. I can't recall if they followed us or
7 if they were in the second Warrior armoured fighting vehicle.
8 Q. Now, Major Bower, if I described a "standoff" in the following
9 way that, it really began with the accidental discharge coming either from
10 the Mujahedin that came from your area or some other, that luckily the
11 bullet went over your head, that no one was hurt, but nevertheless that
12 the traps of your vehicle were opened and immediately the crews adopted a
13 ready position, they loaded the guns, and the Mujahedin also reacted by
14 taking their RPG, and that for a second or a minute or part of some time
15 the situation was indeed very tense and it was a standoff? Would that be
17 A. Yes, that's -- that's a fair summary. It was -- it was a moment
18 which concentrated the mind.
19 Q. And if I recall from our conversation, you mentioned that the
20 fact that the position of your two Warriors, which were lower than the
21 church, from a military point of view this was placing you into a very
22 difficult position if you had had to react to an engagement?
23 A. Yeah, we certainly were not in an ideal position, because the --
24 the heavy weapon which the Mujahedin had -- because they stood on higher
25 ground to us, which was the level of the main hull of the vehicle. They
1 were actually looking down on our vehicles. So it was not an ideal
2 position to be in, and I think that's what made it more tense.
3 Q. Now, luckily enough nothing happened and the situation cooled
4 down due to the intervention of someone who was there, but we can't really
5 know who exactly, but the situation did calm down. And that's at that
6 point that Major Payne entered into negotiations in order to get on this
7 vehicle and to visit the village; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that's right. Negotiations then continued to -- to bargain,
9 I think, to allow us to proceed.
10 Q. And at that point, Mr. Thomas Osario was not there, but you had a
11 civilian with you called Randy Rhodes, who was basically the civil affairs
12 advisor or officer to Lieutenant Colonel Duncan; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's right. Mr. Randy Rhodes was in the back of the
14 Warrior with me.
15 Q. Now, at that point on, you -- the deal was that you went on this
16 Toyota pick-up truck with three or four Mujahedin, you left the troops
17 behind, Major Payne gave orders to the troops that if he was not back
18 after one hour that they were to force their way and find you.
19 Nevertheless, you had no radio communications between yourself and your
20 crew that was left behind. You had no weapons with you, or at least you
21 were asked to leave your rifles behind, but you had your pistols with you
22 under your flak jacket or your rain jacket, because it was raining. Is
23 that a fair representation of the events?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Now, you at that point had this map which had been given to you,
1 or this sketch, but you did not have a military map. And you recall that
2 Major Payne, just before leaving, because he was -- he knew this was an
3 important event and he was -- the way he felt about this event. He gave
4 his ring to his second-in-command telling him, "If something happens to
5 me, give it to my girlfriend," or as or as we discussed, maybe to someone
6 else. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, I recall him giving something to his 2IC.
8 Q. And as you drove on that pick-up truck, you recall Randy Rhodes
9 being quite upset and saying that you were taking unnecessary risks; is
10 that correct?
11 A. I recall that -- that Randy thought it was going beyond what --
12 what he thought we should be doing.
13 Q. And you realise today, looking back at these events, that what
14 was done, what was decided by -- under the command of Major Payne, to
15 leave the troops behind, to go with unknown personnel with whom he was
16 involved in a standoff minutes before, without weapons, without radio
17 communications, issuing strict orders to force their way after one hour,
18 and not having a map and not knowing exactly where you were taken is not
19 the best way for professional military officers to conduct business.
20 Would you agree?
21 A. I wouldn't agree that it's not a way for professional military
22 officers to conduct business. We were trying to get the job done. I
23 would say that there was an element of military naivety in -- in this
24 particular element. But we -- I think the British Army continues -- has
25 always tried to work around issues and work within initiative given to us
1 by higher authority.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Withopf.
3 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, my learned friend from
4 the Defence is asking questions which make the witness judge on the
5 professionality of his former colleagues. The Prosecution can't see the
6 relevance of such questions and the respective answers to such questions
7 to the issues which have to be determined in the course of this trial.
8 The Prosecution objects against such questions.
9 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
10 purpose behind the questions put to the witness is to get his appreciation
11 of how he viewed the situation he was in, and this might affect the
12 remarks that he made at the time. But I've finished with this line of
13 questioning, and I have no intention of judging the work of this witness.
14 It is simply to get an understanding of what he himself felt at the time.
15 Therefore, the objection has been regulated --
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you will have no further
17 questions in that direction. Please continue.
18 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. [In English] When you reached the location where you were
20 supposed to go, on that occasion you did not find anything but you saw
21 some smoke coming from a village called Bandol and you made your way back
22 to this village called Bandol; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. I would say after about 40 minutes, 45 minutes of fruitless
24 search, trying to relate the sketch map to an area on the ground which
25 proved virtually impossible, we decided to call it a day. But because
1 we'd already noticed there was a village which smoke was coming out of but
2 we didn't realise it was Bandol until we actually got there, we decided
3 that we would try and make better use of our -- our time, so we extracted
4 from the area, returned back to the Warriors, and then proceeded to the
5 village, which we then found was -- was Bandol.
6 Q. And Major Bower, before we take a look at what you saw in Bandol,
7 I'd just like to come back on the issue of what you call a military
8 naivety of how this operation was conducted, not that the operation
9 itself, but you mentioned something to me this week that the British
10 Battalion, of which you were a member, really understood the true nature
11 of the context in which you were when the issue of the Convoy of Joy
12 happened. Is that correct? And can you explain to the Trial Chamber what
13 is the Convoy of Joy.
14 A. The -- the military naivety, I think, is we were trying to put
15 some kind of military logic. And our perception over a -- a situation
16 which we -- we found incomprehensible, certainly from my perspective.
17 I -- I just couldn't understand the situation of how it could be created
18 that people would -- you know, currency became dead bodies. The bartering
19 to get casualties back to hospitals, although there'd be women and
20 children, could take precedence over anything else. It didn't appear to
21 be that kind of environment. So I think we were in this period trying to
22 understand the environment in which we were trying to operate; because up
23 until that point the operations the battalion had been in, we were a key
24 player. Whereas, in this situation, we weren't. We had very strict
25 guidelines with which to adhere to and a mandate with which to operate
1 within. So I think that's what created that -- the military naivety. The
2 episode of the Convoy of Joy I think culminated the -- the feeling of
3 frustration which the battalion felt because an aid convoy on nothing more
4 than humanitarian ideals wanted to make its way to Tuzla but because of
5 one particular ethnic mix of that convoy it was unwelcome travelling
6 through the Lasva Valley. But because it was not operating within the
7 United Nations mandate, we were not charged with protecting it. And so
8 even despite repeated protests that it should come through by the UN, by
9 the British Battalion, that it was not safe, we could not guarantee their
10 safety, it proceeded through the Lasva Valley, was subsequently attacked,
11 hijacked, a number of the drivers were -- were killed. A number of them
12 were beaten. A lot of the -- the aid was stolen. And all this was done
13 in the view of us because our mandate did not allow us to -- to get
15 And I think that was the final culmination in the feeling of
16 frustration which forced us to re-evaluate how we did business. And on
17 that day, we got actively engaged with combatants and killed combatants in
19 Q. Thank you very much, Major Bower. I know that these incidents
20 probably remind you of not-too-nice events. Could you confirm for the
21 Trial Chamber that the combatants that you were engaged in and this issue
22 of the Convoy of Joy, those people responsible for these events were the
24 A. Yes, that's right. It was the HVO.
25 Q. Now, moving on quickly, Major Bower, because I promised I would
1 finish within a certain number of time. When you reached Bandol that day,
2 you -- am I correct in saying that what you noticed was total destruction
3 and almost every house had been burnt to the ground and that it was
4 devastation? Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, I think that's an accurate description. We certainly termed
6 it a -- a cleansing, because the -- the roofs had disappeared off the
7 majority of the houses. There was little ability to move into any of the
8 houses to then rehabitate those houses. It had pretty much been
9 destroyed, ransacked, if you like.
10 Q. Now, in terms of -- if we look at the result of what you saw in
11 Bandol, in your professional experience this could not arise from battle
12 damage; is that correct?
13 A. I would say that -- I mean, I can't say every single house was as
14 a result of deliberate destruction. Some may have been from battle
15 damage, of incendiary devices, whatever. But I would say that it was just
16 too -- too complete to be -- to be as a result of purely battle damage.
17 Q. And, Major Bower, when you had the occasion early in your tour to
18 visit the village of Ahmici, in that particular village there were houses
19 still standing but you nevertheless came to the conclusion that this was
20 not battle damage. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber why?
21 A. In -- in Ahmici, there were certainly some houses to the west of
22 the -- of the road which were still habitated by -- by locals. And yet on
23 the other side of the road, there would be complete destruction. It
24 seemed to be selective, rather than complete clearing or destruction of
1 Q. Major Bower, one last question with respect to Guca Gora is that
2 when you travelled through Guca Gora around -- in June - I don't want to
3 get into a debate for the exact date - but you saw nothing in that village
4 and in the surrounding Croat village that came even close to what you had
5 seen in Bandol and Ahmici; is that correct?
6 A. Yeah, that -- from what I could see, in my entry into Guca Gora
7 and my exit - I was in the back of the Warrior - so I didn't have much
8 use. But certainly on the travel from Guca Gora in the Mujahedin in the
9 Toyota pick-up, I would say that -- I believe it was Maljine we went to.
10 It was not as -- devastating. I wouldn't say that every house had been
11 ransacked or that, you know, the roofs had fallen in or there was
12 systematic burning of -- of the houses. It certainly didn't compare to
13 what was found in Bandol.
14 Q. Thank you very much, Major Bower.
15 I have now a few questions related to the military situation as
16 you perceived it when you were on the ground. And the military situation
17 of the 3rd Corps itself. Were you aware that the 3rd Corps military
18 situation was that it was -- it had to man front line with the Serbs of
19 more than 100 kilometres?
20 A. I honestly can't recall that -- you know, the distance or who was
21 manning what, I'm afraid.
22 Q. Would you remember, Major Bower, that there was many kilometres
23 of front line between the ABiH and the Serbs?
24 A. I -- I can recall that -- the map itself. I mean, it was a large
25 area of front line between them, HVO and BSA. So yes, I mean, it was a
1 long front line.
2 Q. And can you confirm, Major Bower, that in addition to this
3 conflict -- or initially in this conflict - sorry - the HVO and the ABiH
4 had been fighting together against the Serbs? Are you aware of this fact?
5 A. Certainly I recall that the briefings we had just before we
6 arrived that there was a -- it was a two-way conflict and either just
7 before or as we arrived in the beginning of 1993 it, for some reason,
8 turned into a three-way conflict. But I can't recall the reasons why
9 or -- or when.
10 Q. And would you agree with me, Major Bower, that the opening of a
11 second front for the 3rd Corps, meaning having to fight the Serbs but also
12 the HVO, in its own area of responsibility was a very difficult military
14 A. Certainly it would not be ideal and it would stretch whatever
15 capacity that they had.
16 Q. And would you agree, Major Bower, from your observations that the
17 HVO used the blocking of roads and the stopping of resupply as an
18 effective weapon against the 3rd Corps?
19 A. I'm not sure about how it could be against the 3rd Corps. I know
20 that aid convoys were -- were prevented from travelling through
21 checkpoints, which would affect the civilian population. But how convoys
22 could affect 3rd Corps, I'm not sure. I'm unsure of their military supply
23 routes and how HVO could affect that.
24 Q. And if it was convoys addressed towards the civilian population
25 that were stopped, would that have an impact on the commander of the 3rd
1 Corps because he would have to then probably use more resources to get
2 those convoys through to ensure that the local population could eat?
3 Would that be a fair statement?
4 A. Again, I'm unsure as to how 3rd Corps fitted in with the
5 resupply -- the civilian assistance. I just saw that the impact to the
6 humanitarian effort and how the impact of closing roads would deny aid,
7 I'm afraid.
8 Q. I'll move on more quickly to a few issues that I'm sure you will
9 be able to confirm that. As far as Zenica is confirmed -- is concerned,
10 sorry, there was a very important lack of food and medical supplies. Is
11 that correct?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Briefly, please. You have five
13 minutes. You've already overstepped your time.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry; could you repeat the
16 MR. BOURGON:
17 Q. Would you agree that there was in Zenica a lack of medical
18 supplies and a lack of food?
19 A. I -- I can only comment on the Zenica hospital, which was main
20 hospital I went to. I would certainly say that they didn't have
21 everything that they needed but they certainly had enough to give me to
22 take to Stari Vitez.
23 Q. Were you aware, Major Bower, of the opening of a new front in
24 Zepce in June when you were on the ground?
25 A. Yes, I'm aware that a campaign was -- was then started in the
2 Q. Were you aware, Major Bower, that the -- the HVO, who up until
3 1993 had been manning the line against the Serbs, withdrew from this line
4 and that caused major problems for the 3rd Corps?
5 A. Again, all I can remember is there was reference to 3rd Corps,
6 1st Corps, but I can't remember exactly who was -- was where. And it was
7 pretty much out of my area of responsibility.
8 Q. One last question concerning -- are you aware that at some point
9 during your tour the HVO and the Serbs starting to deal together against
10 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that this was reported into the
12 A. I'm afraid, again, I can't recall.
13 Q. Now, Major Bower, in looking back at your tour and everything you
14 saw when you were there and looking at your military experience, would you
15 agree with me that the commander of the 3rd Corps was placed into a
16 situation that was extremely difficult and that it would be almost
17 impossible to imagine a more difficult scenario for a commander to be in,
18 militarily speaking?
19 A. Dealing with -- with a civil war I imagine is -- is incredibly
20 difficult, especially with a humanitarian aspect which -- which was
21 prevalent. I mean, that was my focus, was the humanitarian aspect. And
22 the suffering was -- was widespread. I don't think anybody was exempt
23 from the implications of the effect of humanitarian aid not getting
24 through or just the general day-to-day requirements to -- to survive. And
25 so, yes, I'm sure the pressures were -- were quite considerable.
1 Q. Major Bower, we spoke a lot of the milinfo summaries not being
2 given a lot to -- but can you confirm that the orders, whether it be from
3 the HVO or the 3rd Corps, were not given or that you did not have access
4 to all the military documentation and flow of orders from the warring
6 A. From what I can recall, military liaison officers could -- were
7 given some indication to future operations. But generally, I think there
8 was -- it was generally what they could gain from discussion, rather than
9 a formal briefing or any formal documents from warring factions as to
10 formal intent on the warring sides. But I do know that hints were given
11 that -- for example, we were advised not to be in a certain area at a
12 certain time on a certain date. And when a hint like that was given, it
13 was to allow us for the humanitarian aspect and for our safety rather than
14 anything else. But certainly no formal orders were given.
15 Q. Now, I have only two questions: Based on all the fighting that
16 you saw in the area, would you agree with me that it would be impossible
17 for 3rd Corps to have had only one manoeuvre brigade?
18 A. I'm -- I'm afraid I honestly couldn't comment on that. I really
19 didn't get into the military capabilities of the whole corps. I only
20 really saw it face to face at the ground level, I'm afraid.
21 Q. And my final question, Major Bower: We -- we met this week with
22 my colleague Mr. Dixon, representing the accused Kubura, and you -- do you
23 remember telling us at that time that you thought that the Mujahedin were
24 an element within 7 Brigade, that this is what -- that was your opinion
25 but that you could not be sure of this conclusion?
1 A. It's the opinion which I formed, based on the information which I
2 either saw myself or gained from briefings, speaking to other liaison
3 officers. It's the impression and the opinion which -- which I came to,
5 Q. But you mentioned that you could not be sure and you did not have
6 the information to be sure of this conclusion.
7 A. I can't recall if I was physically told formally in -- whether it
8 be a written document or a formal briefing, this was the organisation and
9 responsibility, but I can recall that it was the -- the opinion which was
10 formed and I can't recall how that opinion was formed, other than it would
11 have been from discussion and from what I saw.
12 Q. Thank you very much, Major Bower. I went over my time.
13 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] I apologise to the Trial Chamber,
14 Mr. President. This concludes my cross-examination.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 I will turn to the other Defence team now.
17 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Dixon:
19 Q. Major Bower, I have a few questions on behalf of Mr. Amir Kubura
20 for you.
21 Your role when you were in Central Bosnia was a reactive one;
22 would you agree? You arrived on the scene to deal with humanitarian
23 issues after the military operations had occurred.
24 A. Yes, certainly it was a result of -- it was the resultant impact
25 of either failure of humanitarian aid to get through or the impact of
1 specific fighting operations which caused further humanitarian issues. So
2 it was reactive rather than proactive.
3 Q. Yes. You didn't yourself observe any military operations on the
4 ground. You weren't involved in any combat on the front lines, were you?
5 A. I'm sorry, do you mean by me physically involved in combat
7 Q. You weren't caught up on any operations on the front lines, were
9 A. If you mean did I get shot at, yes.
10 Q. But were you ever on the front lines observing military
12 A. The only time I observed operations was when the HVO attacked the
13 hill feature behind the camp, which was where we lived. And we -- that
14 lasted a couple of days, I think. That was the only one I physically
16 Q. Right. You were of course very interested in where military
17 operations were taking place, because, as you said, that could assist you
18 to plan your humanitarian efforts -- efforts and to this end you used
19 combat indicators to try and find out where operation were taking place;
20 is that right?
21 A. Yes, that's right. For two things. Really to try and assist the
22 aid agencies to predict -- there are aid requirements that they're going
23 to need. To try and predict any ethnic migration which is going to result
24 as a result of that operations, but also the fact we didn't want to be in
25 the middle of a civil war in soft-skinned vehicles, for our own
2 Q. So you avoided being involved on the front lines where military
3 operations might be occurring.
4 A. That was the aim, but there were occasion when we would just
5 happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and drive down a road
6 just as two sides started against each other and we would be in the middle
7 of it.
8 Q. Yes. When you mentioned the term "combat indicators," really all
9 it means is -- it's a signal or an indication of where military operations
10 might be occurring.
11 A. Yes. An indication of combat, rather -- rather than combat is
12 physically taking place at that time.
13 Q. Yes. And you mentioned that the 7th Brigade was one such
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. There were other indicators as well other brigades, other factors
17 that you had to take into account.
18 A. Yes. There were a number of things we had to try and identify
19 to -- to give us some information to try and assess future intent.
20 Q. Were you aware that there were other manoeuvre units in your
21 area, including the 314th Brigade of the 3rd Corps, the 17th Krajina
22 Brigade, and the 303 Brigade of the 3rd Corps?
23 A. I can't recall the exact numbers, but certainly I -- I recall the
24 phrase "the Krajina Brigade." But as for the specific numbers, I'm afraid
25 I can't remember.
1 Q. But you were aware that there were other manoeuvre units.
2 A. There were -- there were certainly other units, but also we would
3 look for specific vehicles which would indicate -- or road closures or
4 whatever. You know, it was a number of assets, a number of situations
5 which would become a combat indicator, rather than just a -- a formed
6 body. But as what the name of those formed units were, I'm afraid I
7 honestly can't remember now.
8 Q. So to gain an accurate picture, you would agree that it was
9 always a combination of factors, not a single factor.
10 A. Yes, very much so.
11 Q. It's correct that you never observed the 7th Brigade involved in
12 combat on the front lines. You mentioned earlier on that you observed the
13 HVO in combat, but not the 7th Brigade.
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Did you know that the 7th Brigade was involved in military
16 operations in Ovnak, which was in your area, at the beginning of June
18 A. I can't recall the name of -- of that place, no.
19 Q. And did you know that the brigade thereafter was involved in
20 military operations in Kakanj, which was not in your area, but did you
21 know this after that in June 1993?
22 A. No. Again, I'm afraid, I can't.
23 Q. And did you know that the brigade was involved in military
24 operations towards the end of July in Fojnica and Kiseljak?
25 A. Again, I believe afraid after 11 years I really can't recall.
1 It's been sometime since I read a milinfosum.
2 Q. Mm-hm. What about in August and September on Mount Igman, near
3 Sarajevo? Did you know the 7th Brigade was involved in operations there?
4 A. Sarajevo was so far away from -- we couldn't even get to it, so
5 I'm afraid we had little interest in what was happening there.
6 Q. But did you know anything about where they were at that time?
7 A. I honestly recall. Whether we were briefed, whether we weren't
8 briefed, I really don't remember.
9 Q. What about in November in Vares?
10 A. November I would have been looking at leaving. I think I left
11 about the 6th or 7th of November. So I think my last thing was in Stupni
12 Dol [phoen]. So I don't recall anything about that.
13 Q. Yes. You said that the 7th Brigade headquarters, to your
14 knowledge, was situated at the music school; is that right?
15 A. That's correct, yes.
16 Q. You never went into the music school, did you?
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. You never met any of the commanders of the 7th Brigade.
19 A. No, I didn't.
20 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Amir Kubura?
21 A. I -- I can't recall. I don't think so.
22 Q. Did you know who he was at the time?
23 A. I would have known who he was at the time, but -- but now I'm
24 afraid I can't recall what position he held.
25 Q. Mm-hm. But you never met him when you were there.
1 A. No.
2 Q. Did you know that there was an assassination attempt on him by
3 the foreign mercenaries that you described earlier on?
4 A. No, I'm afraid I -- I don't recall that incident.
5 Q. You didn't know that the headquarters of the 7th Brigade was
6 actually at a place called Bilmiste, did you?
7 A. No. As far as I was aware, it was at the music school near --
8 near the ICRC.
9 Q. Did you know where Bilmiste was? Does the name ring a bell?
10 A. I'm I afraid, no. No. Right now I'm afraid I couldn't recall
11 where it would be on a map.
12 Q. So you don't know it's about a kilometre -- just over a kilometre
13 away from the music school.
14 A. I'm afraid to say. 11 years after leaving Zenica, I'm afraid,
15 you know, I would have trouble finding my way from UNHCR to ICRC.
16 Q. 11 years on, assessing the situation now, would you agree with me
17 that your knowledge of the 7th Brigade at the time was fairly limited?
18 A. I would say that when it related to what I had to do, you know,
19 it's -- it's still quite clear. But as to -- to how it was in the overall
20 campaign, unless it impacted on what I was trying to do, or it created
21 work for me, I'm afraid no -- the same as any other unit. I'm afraid I
22 can't recall the majority of names of any other units I dealt with --
23 dealt with there. Their bodies, their prisoners, or the resultants of
24 their clashes.
25 Q. So you didn't have detailed knowledge of the structure of the 7th
1 Brigade, the subordination and composition of the brigade, did you?
2 A. Along with any other unit, no. I wasn't the military liaison
4 Q. You mentioned that you first came across foreign fighters. You
5 called them mercenaries in your testimony - when you went up in May -- it
6 appears the date now is June -- with Major Kent-Payne. At that time, you
7 didn't meet any members of the 7th Brigade when you met with these
8 mercenaries you described, did you?
9 A. I can't recall, you know, whether there was a specific
10 identification of a brigade, other than the badges they had on their arms,
11 the way they looked, the way they appeared, and the way they acted was an
12 indication that they were Mujahedin, which I think is, you know, how we
13 referred to them at that time.
14 Q. They were all foreigners, weren't they?
15 A. The ones which I saw and interacted with, or tried to interact
16 with were certainly foreign, yes.
17 Q. You said earlier on in your testimony when you withdrew from that
18 area you went through a -- a buffer zone and then you came across soldiers
19 from the Bosnian Army; is that right?
20 A. Yes. The -- the we would -- when we left the area of Guca Gora
21 with the Mujahedin in it, we then entered into this buffer area where
22 there were ABiH, because they were then manning their checkpoints. And
23 then we moved into the HVO area.
24 Q. Mm-hm. The foreigners that you met up in Guca Gora, they never
25 mentioned anything to you about the 7th Brigade. You never discussed that
1 issue, did you?
2 A. They weren't that talkative.
3 Q. You were only discussing getting access to the area.
4 A. We found that it was best not to try and broaden a fairly
5 difficult time. It was to try and keep things fairly simple, very narrow
7 Q. You had no intelligence on these foreign fighters, did you?
8 A. We had information to -- to suggest that there were a -- an
9 element of foreign mercenaries on both sides. But information as to who
10 they were specifically and from which regions by number was -- was very
11 sketchy. It was purely on what people had seen.
12 Q. So you had no intelligence about under whose control they were,
13 did you?
14 A. Me personally, no.
15 Q. There's no intelligence report, there's no document which shows
16 under whose control they were, is there?
17 A. I -- I can't say whether Simon Harrison, the military officer,
18 had anything which he dealt with at a higher chain. I wasn't involved in
19 that element of the -- of the campaign, so I'm afraid I honestly can't say
20 whether there is or there isn't.
21 Q. But you haven't got anything yourself, have you?
22 A. I personally have got nothing, no.
23 Q. Thank you, Major Bower.
24 MR. DIXON: I have no further questions.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Dixon.
1 I turn now to Mr. Withopf.
2 Re-examined by Mr. Withopf:
3 Q. Major, I have a few questions covering four different issues.
4 And they all are a result of the cross-examination by my learned friends
5 from the Defence side.
6 Major, you described your relation with the HVO in answering a
7 question of my learned friends from the Defence side as being some sort of
8 shuttle diplomacy. Did there come a time during your tour in Central
9 Bosnia you would describe the difficulties you may have experienced with
10 the ABiH 3rd Corps in using the very same term?
11 A. Yes, I would. It would very much at the end of the tour and the
12 last eight weeks or so, when the ascendancy had changed.
13 Q. And can you please describe for the benefit of the Trial Chamber
14 what these difficulties thereabout about which made you now describe as
15 "shuttle diplomacy."
16 A. Initially there would be a request. It was invariably for an
17 evacuation of civilians who were going to die if we couldn't get them out
18 of normally a surrounded pocket. Invariably it would be Croats out -- out
19 of the Nova Bila hospital or it would be Muslims out of the Stari Vitez
20 pocket. So there would need to be negotiation with -- initially with an
21 HVO side or a BiH side, because we were going to have to cross the
22 opposing side's front line to get permission to move civilians in my
23 vehicle, which was something that obviously they wanted to be sure that we
24 weren't moving combatants. So you would enter into a negotiation. And as
25 soon as you went to the opposing side to say, for example, "I need to move
1 three wounded people through this checkpoint. I don't want them to be
2 captured or taken off our hands," there would invariably be,
3 "Yes, you can but we won't." And there would then be a condition attached
4 to the initial request, which would require me to go back to the
5 initiator, where we're talking about people who are going to die, to say,
6 "Yes, we're going to move them," but they now attached a position, "Do you
7 agree?" And that would result in a toing and froing of negotiation while
8 the wounded people are pretty much almost left out of the original request
9 and they get lost in the negotiations. And it would result normally in --
10 in failure, because it became too difficult.
11 Q. Let's move on to -- to the second issue. Major, to your
12 knowledge, is propaganda and false information of the public something
13 that is used in wartimes by all warring factions?
14 A. Yes, I would -- I would certainly agree that there is an element
15 of misinformation which is -- which is employed by -- by all warring
16 sides. It's -- you always want to try and gain an advantage.
17 Q. And does this general statement also apply for the ABiH 3rd Corps
18 while you were in the area of Central Bosnia in 1993?
19 A. I would say that there -- again, rumour was -- was rife on both
20 sides. And to be honest, unless it was a claim which was clearly
21 outrageous which we, you know, just didn't have the time to investigate,
22 you know, we would ask about it, but if we couldn't verify, deny, confirm,
23 we would just sort of leave it be. But I would say that certainly I can't
24 recall any one side sort of being markedly different in one way or another
25 using this -- rumour was rife.
1 Q. Let's move on to the third issue out of the four I wish to
2 address with you, Major Bower.
3 MR. WITHOPF: Can the witness please be provided with Prosecution
4 Exhibit P100 and Prosecution Exhibit P101. The first one is the
5 milinfosum number 37, the 5th of June, 1993; and the second one is the
6 milinfosum of 23rd June 1993.
7 Q. Major, before you actually do read the milinfosums - and I will
8 draw your attention to certain portions - when in the course of
9 information that formed part or when it became known to the person who
10 provided the information that finally formed part of the milinfosum, when
11 the source was questionable, or in situations in which the source had to
12 be confirmed, was this made clear in the milinfosum, to your knowledge?
13 A. From what I can recall, the standard practice of trying to
14 identify a source, whether it was confirmed, unconfirmed, reliable,
15 unreliable, or if it was from a -- a certain person who was known
16 regularly, then their name may appear. But I can't recall if it was a --
17 if it was a set requirement to have information entered, that it had to be
18 attached to a name.
19 Q. I'm not necessarily talking about certain names. If you,
20 however, Major, could have a look, please, at the milinfosum of 5th of
21 June, 1993, page 1, paragraph 2. There's a section at the very end which
22 starts with "Comment." And it reads as follows: "The reliability of this
23 information cannot be assessed."
24 And if you would also, Major, please have a look at the other
25 milinfosum of 23rd of June, 1993, page 3, at the top under "b" there is a
1 section, "Comment". It's a section of fine -- of five lines, and it
2 reads, B/C/S: "Attempted to verify this claim by visiting the areas
4 From what you got to know about the milinfosums, would you
5 describe or was it typical that such information about the reliability of
6 information was contained in milinfosums?
7 A. I would certainly say that there was a desire to confirm from --
8 certainly something which -- if something was deemed important, it would
9 invariably try and find, if we can, another way of identifying or
10 confirming or -- or denying. I don't think it was possible to do it every
11 single time, but it was certainly -- it was a benefit if you could.
12 Q. Was it, Major, was it typical in order to bolster the reliability
13 of the other information contained in the milinfosums to include such
14 comments which actually identify areas which may be questionable?
15 A. Certainly that's the aim. I mean, the battalion had recently
16 before this deployment come out of West Belfast, where we were very much
17 in the an intelligence-gathering role, and so it was standard practice for
18 us to try and lend some credence to commanders who were going to have to
19 make a decision as to the reliability of -- or the strength of the
20 information contained in the summary.
21 MR. WITHOPF: Can the two milinfosums please be removed from the
23 Q. Major, there's -- there is the fourth and the last issue I wanted
24 to address with you in re-examination, and that concerns the exchange of
25 prisoners and dead bodies. You said yesterday during the
1 examination-in-chief - and you confirmed it today during the
2 cross-examination - that Mujahedin were exchanged together with other ABiH
3 soldiers and that the regular phrase used in such exchange --
4 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't think that
5 the witness confirmed what the Prosecution has just mentioned, allegedly
6 that Mujahedins were exchanged for -- with soldiers from the BH Army. He
7 certainly mentioned exchanges. He should elaborate on that. But he never
8 confirmed that soldiers had been exchanged at the same time. He said the
9 contrary, in fact. He said that they were always separate issues, as far
10 as the Mujahedin are concerned. Thank you, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Withopf, have you
12 taken note of these comments? Your question suggests that there were
13 exchanges that concerned soldiers and Mujahedin. According to the
14 transcript and according to what the witness said, the witness did mention
15 exchanges but he wasn't that precise.
16 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, I am very well
17 prepared to rephrase the question.
18 Q. Major, whilst you were or at occasions you were involved in the
19 exchange of prisoners and dead bodies, were there occasions in which
20 Mujahedin were exchanged for HVO soldiers together with other ABiH
22 A. At the latter part of the tour, yes, there was.
23 Q. How were such exchanges organised? Can you please provide the
24 Chamber with some detail in that respect.
25 A. The information would -- would come to me normally from the Red
1 Cross, and they would require protection, so the military liaison officers
2 would negotiate local cease-fires, and a containment area would be set up
3 by the battalion cordoning off an area normally between the front lines,
4 providing the protection. We would arrange for the bodies to be
5 collected. And if it meant digging them up, that's what we did. The
6 prisoners would be -- normally that would be done by the Red Cross, but
7 they would pretty much be brought into a centre. And then verification
8 would have to take place until both sides were happy, and then we would
9 collapse the cordon and everyone would go away.
10 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
11 witness's answer is something that we heard yesterday. We heard about the
12 organisation of the exchanges. We heard about the information obtained.
13 We heard about the bodies on the ground. We've heard all of this
14 information. We heard this information yesterday. I don't know what the
15 question is that the Prosecution wants to ask. Maybe it's the same one
16 that I wanted to ask: Were there any requests for prisoners or for the
17 bodies of Mujahedin, were there any requests made by the BH Army? And I
18 think that's the question that should be asked and I think that the
19 witness has already answered this question. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, my learned colleague from the
21 Defence had sufficient time to answer his questions [sic] during the
22 cross-examination, and he should please leave it to the Prosecution to ask
23 further questions which are a result of questions my learned colleague
24 asked during the cross-examination. The issue of the exchange of
25 prisoners, that's correct, that has been discussed yesterday in
1 examination-in-chief. The issue has been revisited by my learned friend
2 from the Defence today. And resulting from the answers the witness has
3 given in answering questions during cross-examination, the Prosecution
4 wishes to ask the witness follow-up questions.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So ask your
6 follow-up questions, because the Trial Chamber was in any event going to
7 ask this witness about this matter. So it would be best to have this done
8 immediately. Please proceed.
9 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you very much, Mr. President, Your Honours.
10 Q. Major, you were just - for the benefit of the Trial Chamber -
11 describing how such exchanges were organised on the ground, and it, from
12 your answer, becomes obvious that both parties to the conflict were
13 involved in it. Was the ABiH -- were representatives of the ABiH involved
14 in the exchange of prisoners, including in the exchange of ABiH soldiers
15 together with Mujahedin, to your knowledge, please?
16 A. From what I can recall, there -- the groupings came together,
17 depending on which prisons they had been held in. How the military
18 liaison officers had negotiated with the various HVO, ABiH headquarters to
19 arrange the cease-fires and the agreement in numbers - because there was
20 always contention - the HVO would systematically say that if they were
21 going to release some Mujahedin, then they wanted two HVO in return, which
22 again started further negotiations. So there was a great deal of set-up
23 for these exchanges and invariably the exchanges would collapse because
24 agreement couldn't be reached. From what I can recall, I can just recall
25 total numbers and we would be informed that there were a number, if there
1 were any Mujahedin in that group, it was a number that was set alongside
2 the -- the ABiH. So, for example, 25 ABiH, 5 Mujahedin would be
3 incorporated in an exchange for however many HVO the agreement was for.
4 But as to how the negotiations for those numbers were reached, I wasn't
5 involved in those specifically. I was very much sort of on the ground
6 with the ICRC doing the face-to-face checking of who they were and
7 transporting of the bodies or prisoners.
8 Q. Major, to enable the exchange of prisoners on the ground and to
9 come to cease-fire agreements for the exchange of prisoners on the ground,
10 to your knowledge at what level was this decided in respect to both
11 warring factions?
12 A. Depending on the number and what we were trying to do, from what
13 I can recall, local cease-fires dealing with local commanders could be
14 arranged for casualty evacuations. But for large -- for large elements,
15 because it normally involved gathering prisoners from further afield,
16 rather than close to the front line, it normally resulted in having to go
17 higher up the chains of command within HVO and ABiH.
18 Q. And just in clarification of an answer you gave just a minute or
19 two minutes ago. The exchange was on the one hand side HVO soldiers or
20 dead bodies, dead HVO soldiers' bodies, and, on the other hand, ABiH
21 soldiers and Mujahedin?
22 A. Yes, it -- the numbers were generally grouped together to the two
23 opposing sides.
24 Q. And the ABiH soldiers and the Mujahedin were considered being one
25 of the two opposing sides.
1 A. They were. But I would -- I would say that the numerical value
2 in the Mujahedin by the -- viewed by the HVO, hence they would sometimes
3 request a one-for-two element.
4 Q. Thank you very much, Major Bower.
5 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, the Prosecution has no
6 further questions at this time.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Judges will have some
8 questions for you.
9 Has the Defence, following the re-examination, anything to say?
10 No. Good.
11 Questioned by the Court:
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Major, this question of
13 exchanges is absolutely not clear. What we would like to know is whether
14 you were a witness and took part in an exchange, you yourself, not what
15 you knew about it but your own personal involvement during the six-month
16 period between June and November, did you take part in an operation of
17 that kind?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It was only one operation or
21 A. I think it was several. No more than three or four. The Red
22 Cross liked to do it on their own. It was invariably when the situation,
23 the military situation, was too dangerous for them, they needed the
24 protection of us. Generally they would try and organise it on their own.
25 So it was very much in the latter parts of the tour when we had this
1 multiple linkage that I would get involved. And it was generally either
2 setting the conditions or it was assisting in transport, because the ICRC
3 had little in its own integral vehicles to move large numbers. As the end
4 of the tour came, it moved from one or two prisoners to numbers.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you transported prisoners in
6 your vehicles. These prisoners, when the HVO wanted prisoners, did they
7 have a list with the names of prisoners or did they say, "We have 20; take
8 20"? Did they have a list with their names on them.
9 A. It could vary. But generally it would come down to their wanting
10 a list of names. Initially it would start with numbers. And then as the
11 negotiations proceeded, lists of names would be required, certainly by the
12 Red Cross. And they would get involved in that. We would tend to stand
13 back and let their experience and expertise run with that.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] These lists, which apparently
15 existed, they were given to the Red Cross. But did the British Battalion
16 have in its possession such lists, or were you simply satisfied by putting
17 the individuals in your vehicles and transporting them from point A to
18 point B without knowing who exactly you had in those vehicles, unless the
19 Red Cross gave you a copy of that list? You're a military officer. My
20 question is a very specific one. A military man would normally answer
21 with precision this particular question. Was it carried out in an
22 empirical manner, or was it part of a military process, which is not quite
23 the same thing? So what could you tell us?
24 A. The primary role and the prime mover in all these were the aid
25 agencies, not the British Battalion. The Red Cross would furnish the
1 lists. All we would be required to do was set conditions of safety and
2 protection. We would ensure that the right people were in the right
3 place - those are the aid agency people - and any commission people which
4 had to be moved to the front lines to verify who the individuals were.
5 But it was up to the aid agency, who had prime responsibility, to
6 ascertain who was being put on those vehicles and that they are the right
7 people who would be accepted for exchange. That was not our concern. We
8 were there to protect and to transport and to set conditions to allow this
9 exchange, whether it be prisoners or dead bodies, to take place. The only
10 times we got involved with lists was during the Nova Bila evacuations from
11 the hospitals.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A final question, and then I
13 will give the floor to the other Judges. When these persons boarded your
14 vehicles, these vehicles belonged to the British Battalion. You said a
15 moment ago that there were soldiers, that is, Mujahedin. On what basis
16 are you saying that they were soldiers and what leads you to believe that
17 among the prisoners there were no civilians? How do you make a
18 distinction between military people and civilians?
19 A. Again, who got onto the vehicles was not our concern. We
20 provided the transport, the driver and the vehicle. It was up to the Red
21 Cross to identify the individuals, walk them to the transport, and put
22 them on the transport. We were concerned with looking out to any threat
23 and not looking in. It was a Red Cross, from the experiences which I had,
24 it was a Red-Cross-run operation. We were providing the assets and
25 setting conditions to allow it to happen. The Red Cross would have
1 preferred not to -- not to have us there at all, I'm sure.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One more question, because I
3 could go on like this for hours because the subject is so important that
4 it would merit many questions. You told us that in your battalion there
5 was an intelligence officer with a team under him, but this intelligence
6 officer certainly existed. Was your intelligence officer present and did
7 he debrief the prisoners during the exchanges?
8 A. Absolutely not. He had no recourse to go out there at all. It
9 was -- again, and the Red Cross wouldn't have let us do it. It would have
10 jeopardised further Red Cross issues.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE SWART: Good morning, sir. Just a few questions on that,
14 what you have said yesterday and also today on the subject of looting.
15 Yesterday you told us something on the phenomena of looting you have seen
16 in Guca Gora, and you also told us something about looting in general,
17 especially the different stages of looting, if I remember correctly the
18 whole thing.
19 As far as Guca Gora is concerned, you were visiting the town
20 with -- together with Kent-Payne and Randy Rhodes and you were in a
21 vehicle on your way to Maljine. And if I recall well, you said this
22 morning: "Apart from this incident at the roadblock we didn't leave our
23 vehicle." So you just crossed Guca Gora; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, sir. When we arrived in -- in Guca Gora, it was only when
25 the vehicles stopped and it was quite clear that the interpreter in the
1 back of the vehicle had to get out, that's when I then got out. And it
2 was -- that's when I saw where we were. But obviously in a very localised
3 part of -- of the village.
4 JUDGE SWART: You didn't descend from your vehicle at other parts
5 of Guca Gora.
6 A. No. The only time I had seen Guca Gora was then when we drove
7 from that checkpoint, where we were stopped, on the route in the back of
8 the vehicle with the Mujahedin to go to Maljine. That was the only part
9 which I saw.
10 JUDGE SWART: Okay.
11 A. And then back the same route to -- back into the vehicle, inside
12 it, and then to leave.
13 JUDGE SWART: So what you saw in Guca Gora concerning looting was
14 exclusively based on -- on your view in this vehicle. That is right?
15 A. That's correct, sir.
16 JUDGE SWART: You said something about looting. And if I recall
17 it not correctly, please correct me. You saw objects on the street and
18 there was a lot of traffic. You also said, if I recall well, furniture
19 was taken also from the church. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes. What -- what I can recall is that there were -- there was
21 furniture outside the church.
22 JUDGE SWART: Yes.
23 A. And the houses which we saw, although not in the destruction of
24 what we saw in Bandol, but there were house objects, whether it be chairs,
25 bedding, that kind of thing, was outside or had been thrown outside. And
1 it was -- you know, searches, you know, the places had been searched. And
2 that's really all I can describe. The physical looting -- I would say
3 that we saw people carrying items. But whether it was just moving stuff
4 around, searching, it's difficult to say because we couldn't stop and
5 assess over a period of time. We were driving through.
6 JUDGE SWART: Did you report this to -- to Captain Harrison,
7 the -- were you debriefed by Captain Harrison on this topic?
8 A. Major Vaughan Kent-Payne spoke to Captain Harrison and I spoke to
9 him very briefly because he was going to get the same thing, and Major
10 Vaughan Kent-Payne, obviously being in the command turret, could obviously
11 see a lot more than I could. So I just told the result on what I had been
12 asked to do. And to be honest, it didn't really feature on the
14 JUDGE SWART: So you saw people being active in looting; is that
16 A. I saw people carrying household items.
17 JUDGE SWART: Yes.
18 A. But I couldn't ascertain from, you know, where --
19 JUDGE SWART: Whether it was looting or not.
20 A. I couldn't ascertain where those items had come from and where
21 they then were taking them too.
22 JUDGE SWART: Yes. And who were -- who were those persons?
23 Like, civilians or other people?
24 A. Again -- no, the military aspect. It was all within the
25 Mujahedin who we saw in that area.
1 JUDGE SWART: But the person who you saw carrying objects, were
2 they Mujahedin or civilians?
3 A. From what we could tell from the distance, obviously we were
4 still in a -- in a moving vehicle. It was all within the area where the
5 Mujahedin were, because from Guca Gora to the village where we started
6 looking for the -- the grave site, it was Mujahedin in both locations.
7 So, you know, the -- the assumption was that if they're in Guca Gora and
8 the village we were looking in and they were along the road which we
9 travelled to, that's how we made the assumption that all those people in
10 that area were the Mujahedin.
11 JUDGE SWART: But those people you saw carrying objects in that
12 place, did they have military uniforms or ...?
13 A. From what I can recall, yes, they did.
14 JUDGE SWART: Yes. And was there any attempts to -- to stop the
15 looting? Have you seen in the short moment you passed probably this --
16 this village?
17 A. No. I would say -- I would say it was relatively calm in the
18 area that we were in. There didn't seem to be -- there were a lot of
19 people walking around not necessarily concerned about potential shoots
20 against them. So I would say that it was -- it was a generally calm
21 atmosphere which we were in from -- from that perspective.
22 JUDGE SWART: Nevertheless, you said yesterday there was quite a
23 lot of traffic.
24 A. There was a lot of foot traffic.
25 JUDGE SWART: Foot traffic.
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE SWART: Did you also see lorries or things of that kind?
3 A. I can't recall, sir. I don't think so.
4 JUDGE SWART: Yesterday you also talked about looting in general
5 and the various stages of looting. If I remember well, you described
6 three different stages of looting. I take it - but I'm not sure - that
7 you saw this phenomenon at various times.
8 A. Yes, but --
9 JUDGE SWART: Not only in Guca Gora but other places.
10 A. More often than not the whole set we saw was actually when it
11 happened outside our camp in September/October-time. But generally we may
12 catch the latter element of it, either families moving into -- into houses
13 which had previously been occupied by others, you know, the moving of
14 items being moved across streets in barrows, that sort of thing. But the
15 only time I can say I physically saw, you know, the full spectrum of it
16 was during the attack at Grbavica.
17 JUDGE SWART: I'm sorry, I don't hear you. The attack on ...?
18 A. During the -- the full spectrum of this -- of this looting.
19 JUDGE SWART: Yeah.
20 A. The initial, then, sort of subsequent and then actual taking
21 houses over was during the attack at Grbavica, next to our camp, which is
22 when the HVO attacked the ABiH.
23 JUDGE SWART: I see. So your observations were prior to HVO
24 territory, so to speak, and to -- to the territory under the -- the
25 domination of the Bosnian Army.
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE SWART: Did you see other occurrences of looting on the
3 territory of the Bosnian Army?
4 A. No, sir, I didn't.
5 JUDGE SWART: You didn't. Okay. Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon, do you wish to
7 make any further clarifications following the answers given to the
9 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] The Defence has no questions
10 relating to exchange, but just a point of clarification regarding looting,
11 which might perhaps be of assistance to the Chamber.
12 Further cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:
13 Q. Major, can you confirm that when you were in Guca Gora the
14 situation was calm, as you said, but the fighting was over for some time?
15 Am I correct in saying that?
16 A. Yes. It -- it's fair to say that the -- the fighting had
17 actually finished by that stage. It was -- there was definitely not a --
18 a requirement for the forces to -- to take precautions from being engaged
19 by HVO forces.
20 Q. And one last question, which basically it's a comment you made
21 when we met earlier this week, and I thought that was a very good
22 illustration. When referring to Bosnia, you said that you tried to
23 establish a parallel. And you mentioned to me, "In the UK, people play
24 football and smoke. And in Bosnia, people wear parts of uniforms and they
25 have weapons." Can you explain that a bit for the benefit of the Trial
2 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, the Prosecution noticed several
3 times that my learned friend from the Defence is making reference to what
4 has been said in previous meetings of Defence counsel with the witness.
5 The Prosecution is aware of such meetings, and this is by no means what we
6 object to, by no means. However, there are two issues involved: Whenever
7 my learned friend from the Defence side reports about such meetings, he's
8 basically testifying and he's providing hearsay evidence to the Chamber.
9 And the second issue is the question he just asked the witness,
10 that does not result from any -- at least, it is not obvious that it would
11 result from any of the questions which have been asked in the course of
12 the cross-examination, the re-examination, or in respect to questions
13 which have been asked by the Trial Chamber. The Prosecution objects
14 against the question.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] With regard to the question
16 about looting only, it is very difficult to see a link. Could you please
17 explain what the link is between looting and the fact that Bosnians bore
18 weapons; whereas, the British played football and smoked. It's rather
19 difficult to see the link. Maybe we must have misunderstood.
20 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Chamber -- the
21 question by the Chamber was whether the people carrying personal
22 belongings were wearing uniforms. And I was going to say that there were
23 many people wearing uniforms in Bosnia. My learned friend says it is
24 hearsay. I don't think so, because he is the person who observed this.
25 The meeting -- the purpose of these meetings is to specify what he said in
1 his statements, so I see no problem.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You can ask him the question
3 whether the people carrying fridges and I don't know what were wearing
4 uniforms. That question is directly linked to the other questions. So go
5 ahead with your question.
6 MR. BOURGON:
7 Q. Major Bower, the question was put to you whether those people
8 were wearing uniforms, and your response to the Honourable Judge was yes.
9 Is it right that many people in Bosnia wear uniforms, whether they are
10 soldiers or not soldiers?
11 A. Yes, I -- I would say it's fair to say that there would be some
12 element of people would wear a uniform or a camouflage jacket or a pair of
13 camouflage trousers. They may not be carrying a weapon. It -- it really
14 did depend. It comes back to -- we had the impression of the army was the
15 people and the people was the army. It depended on what they were doing
16 in that particular area at the time. But I'd say yes, people wore uniform
17 or didn't wear uniform.
18 MR. BOURGON: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. The
19 Defence has no more questions.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Dixon, any more questions?
21 MR. DIXON: Thank you, Your Honours. No further questions for
23 MR. WITHOPF: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours. The
24 Prosecution has no further questions.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Mr. Bower, your testimony that took place over two days is over.
2 You have answered questions from the Prosecution, also from the Defence
3 during the cross-examination, as well as questions from the Judges. Thank
4 you for coming from the United States to testify and contribute to the
5 establishment of the truth. And, of course, we wish you a safe journey to
6 your residence, where you are an instructor, and we wish you every success
7 in your military career.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Withopf, what about the
11 planning for next week?
12 MR. WITHOPF: Mr. President, Your Honours, there are actually
13 three issues the Prosecution wishes to address. I don't think it will
14 take longer than ten minutes. And one of them, of course, is the planning
15 for next week.
16 For that purpose, can we please go into private session?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's go into private
18 session. Please proceed.
19 [Private session]
12 Pages 5240 to 5245 – redacted – private session.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.42 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Monday, the 29th day of
1 March, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.