Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 16946

1 Tuesday, 11 April 2000

2 [Defence Opening Statement]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

7 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

8 [Interpretation] The Defence of the accused

9 Mr. Dario Kordic yesterday made submissions on the

10 general thesis which have a bearing on this case and

11 provided the general context of the events which took

12 place in 1992 and 1993 in the Lasva River Valley and

13 the Vitez pocket. Of course, all these events have

14 their bearing on the charges on which the Chamber will

15 have to consider and the surrounding circumstances

16 provide a real picture of the events which took place

17 there.

18 However, what we're concerned with in this

19 proceeding is the individual responsibility rather than

20 the surrounding picture. Of course, we cannot consider

21 the evidence in this case separate from the realities

22 on the ground in a vacuum, and we will have to focus on

23 the role of the accused relating to the charges, and I

24 believe that this is the key point that one has to bear

25 in mind.

Page 16947

1 We are dealing with the events in Bosnia in

2 this period of time, and we are considering an

3 inter-ethnic conflict, and in this we are in

4 agreement. It started with the aggression of the JNA

5 and Bosnian Serb and other Serb paramilitary forces,

6 and gradually it resulted in the conflict between the

7 Croatian -- that is, the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian

8 Muslims at least in some areas of Bosnia, and to a

9 lesser degree, later on it resulted in the inter-Muslim

10 conflict.

11 What we'll have to address in our case is

12 that the conflict between the Croats and Muslims was

13 simply a consequence of the Serbian aggression in

14 Bosnia. And if we project that into time, and I will

15 come back to that when I discuss Count 2, the

16 persecution, it is only there that we will arrive at

17 the realistic picture of what took place, because in

18 1992, all efforts of the HVO were concentrated on the

19 struggle against the Serbs, whereas in 1993, there was

20 a shift which had its own logic.

21 So from the very outset, we beg to differ

22 from how the Prosecution had set out its case, because

23 in some points we depart from the reality, if we look

24 at the indictment, because the HVO that we're concerned

25 with, the part that was in the Vitez pocket, is being

Page 16948

1 painted as a foreshadowing of or the preparation for

2 the conflict with the Muslims rather than focusing on

3 the real fact that the only function of the HVO at that

4 time was the struggle against the Serbs.

5 All the events in Bosnia during 1992 and 1993

6 are very confusing, and it is not easy to gain the

7 proper picture of it. This is why these proceedings

8 take so much time, because a lot of time is needed to

9 arrive at the full picture of what had happened.

10 I will just quote an excerpt from

11 Colonel Stewart's book, because it touches on something

12 that is very relevant for what we're dealing with. At

13 one point -- and this quote was actually used in the

14 Blaskic case, at page 23824, but it is a quote from the

15 book, "Broken Lives", and I will quote it in -- the

16 original in English: [In English] "The differentiation

17 between military and civilian is impossible. Bosnia is

18 undergoing a classic civil war fought by civilians

19 against civilians."

20 And I want to highlight the last sentence:

21 [In English] "A civilian at one point, a soldier the

22 next."

23 This sentence contains a question that is

24 very critical to the defence of Mr. Cerkez, because one

25 of the questions that arises in our case is the

Page 16949

1 distinction between the civilian and military, and

2 military and military in terms of the membership of a

3 certain military unit. To make it very specific, the

4 Defence of Mr. Cerkez, in their case, will submit that

5 certain criminal acts committed during the latter part

6 of 1993 in Vitez, that is, following the conflict of

7 the 16th of April, that is, we will show that there is

8 no evidence that it was -- these acts were not

9 committed by the brigade for which Mr. Cerkez was

10 responsible, and I will later come back to fully fledge

11 this argument.

12 The second issue relating to the pocket is

13 why a tense and chaotic situation in late 1992 and 1993

14 exploded on the 16th of April, 1993. That is the

15 moment when the open conflict between the two ethnic

16 groups in Central Bosnia actually started. Of course

17 we are interested in the motive. Of course we must

18 learn why this took place.

19 In the course of this trial, in the

20 Prosecution case, the Vance-Owen Plan has been brought

21 up on several occasions. Of course the situation in

22 Bosnia was too complex, and no single effect can be

23 traced down to a single cause. However, it is also

24 beyond doubt that the Vance-Owen Plan was an important

25 factor in shaping the events and one of the important

Page 16950

1 causes of the war which ensued.

2 Let me again quote a very short excerpt from

3 a document which was submitted through the Officer de

4 Boer, and it's titled "From Intelligence", and an

5 analysis is provided here. We reviewed it, but at the

6 very beginning it says: [In English] [Previous

7 translation continues] ... "-- would go down in history

8 as the Vance-Owen Plan."

9 I would just like to point out that the

10 Vance-Owen Plan is, without doubt, the key, if not the

11 only cause of the confrontation between the Bosnian

12 Croats and Bosnian Muslims. In that sense, the Defence

13 will show that the Bosnian Croats and their

14 organisation, HZ HB, and the HVO as its executive body,

15 never dreamed up some kind of a master plan which they

16 wanted to put into operation in April 1993 or even

17 1992, as the Prosecution would let you believe, but

18 that the conflict broke out in an uncontrolled way

19 regardless of who even started it, who started an

20 offensive first. And we still do not have direct

21 evidence on who started it. It has been suggested it

22 was the HVO, but we do not have any direct evidence on

23 that.

24 The Defence of Mr. Cerkez believes that it is

25 not really that significant, which side threw a match

Page 16951

1 into the barrel of oil, because the situation may have

2 been ripe for this. The relationships may have been

3 such and the events may have been such that they

4 inevitably led to the conflagration, and we will show

5 that everybody was a victim and that one of the

6 important elements of the conflict was not only the

7 Vance-Owen Plan, as a piece of paper, but the entire

8 stage upon which the actors were staged, not only

9 because of the inner conflicts within the former

10 Yugoslavia and Bosnia but, in part, because of the

11 reaction or bad reaction of the International

12 Community, which may have had honourable motives in

13 getting involved but also did not find its way in this

14 situation.

15 The indictment against my client, Mr. Mario

16 Cerkez, contains 22 counts. In fact, in essence, if we

17 disregard the legal points, there are five criminal

18 acts charged, and the sixth is the persecution, which

19 has rather general underpinnings, and I don't think

20 that I need to belabour that.

21 What I consider essential for this Defence is

22 something that I want to point out, and that is the

23 timeframe. With the exception of the persecution,

24 which is a more general term, everything that has been

25 charged took place in April of 1993.

Page 16952

1 [In English] Your Honour, the transcript on

2 the monitor has stopped, but I don't see that that's an

3 obstacle to continue, I guess.

4 [LiveNote technical difficulties]

5 [Trial Chamber confers]

6 JUDGE MAY: I'm told it's a matter of

7 technical difficulty. It will take some minutes to

8 resolve, but a transcript will be made, so you can keep

9 going.

10 MR. KOVACIC: I will, Your Honour.

11 [Interpretation] In essence, everything that

12 takes place and what brought about this indictment

13 actually refers to the events of April 1993. In our

14 Defence, we will try to demonstrate this. But in our

15 case, we will also have to show that from April 1993,

16 if we are able to distinguish victims and perpetrators

17 in this civil war, then we must know that after April

18 1993 the victims change, that is, if we cannot claim

19 that everybody was a victim in that civil war.

20 In respect of Mario Cerkez as a person, I

21 don't think that I need to belabour this point. I

22 think that I made my submissions in the pre-trial

23 brief. We will call certain character witnesses who

24 will speak to the character of Mr. Cerkez, and as

25 professional in the criminal law, we will all agree

Page 16953













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16954

1 that the character of the accused also contributes to

2 the overall conclusions. And as an example, in the

3 presentation of our case, we will show that Mr. Cerkez

4 never harboured any ethnic bias, that he was brought up

5 in a multi-ethnic community, and that he had no reason

6 nor did he ever demonstrate any changes in this general

7 attitude. This may have bearing on the motives of the

8 accused, which in this case also have to be considered,

9 because there is no criminal act without a motive. And

10 we deeply believe that in respect of the acts which we

11 are considering here, the only motive can be a bias

12 against another ethnic community or group, and we will

13 show very clearly and unequivocally that none of that

14 ever was displayed in our client.

15 We also would like to point out a point of

16 law, which was the discriminatory intention, which is a

17 necessary factor to be considered in the charge of

18 persecution, because in the practice of this Tribunal

19 it has been established that this discriminatory

20 intention needs to be established and so the behaviour

21 of the accused before the conflict, that is, in his

22 regular life and even during the conflict, may shed

23 light or may be one of the factors which would have the

24 bearing on whether there was persecution or not,

25 because if there is no segregatist shading in whatever

Page 16955

1 Mr. Cerkez did, then the charges of persecution cannot

2 stand.

3 I believe there is no need to add anything on

4 the character of the accused. He was a family man, a

5 regular, upright citizen who was never in conflict with

6 the law, including misdemeanours, let alone criminal

7 acts or something serious like that.

8 The third main point that I would like to

9 point out is the Count 2 of the indictment, which is

10 persecution, and I would like to ask you for the

11 assistance of the usher to help me distribute a chart

12 and place a copy on the ELMO so that we could all

13 follow it easily.

14 [In English] Could we have one of the copies

15 on the ELMO.

16 [Interpretation] I prepared this chart merely

17 to illustrate my points better and to perhaps save

18 time.

19 The indictment charges my client with a crime

20 of persecution between April 1992 and September 1993,

21 and that is the line in the centre of this graph. I

22 indicated here the two basic periods of time that we

23 have been dealing with, and I think that in the

24 Prosecutor's case this has, I think, emerged quite

25 clearly.

Page 16956

1 Between April 1992 and April 1993 or, to be

2 more accurate, the 16th of April, 1993, general chaos

3 reigns, anarchy. There was a situation where there was

4 no government and no central authority in Bosnia, or

5 even local authority. The authority is governed by

6 improvisation, by extemporisation, and the ability or,

7 shall I say, lack of ability of people working for

8 local governments.

9 One needs to understand that the organisation

10 of authority in the former Socialist Republics of

11 Yugoslavia and in Bosnia was highly decentralised in

12 regard to many powers, even though there was a central

13 leadership. But the point is that the municipalities

14 had a very important role in the organisation of

15 authority and that they played an important role in the

16 discharge of the state authority or state powers when

17 chaos set in in Bosnia, when the new

18 formally-recognised State of Bosnia-Herzegovina could

19 not function because of the occupation and isolation of

20 its heart and the occupation of as much as 70 per cent

21 of its area. And in the circumstances, the local

22 authorities tried to do their best, as best as they

23 could. In some places, it functioned better. In some,

24 it functioned less well. We shall see how it was in

25 Vitez. We have seen some of that so far.

Page 16957

1 However, during this period of time, because

2 of the lack of authority there was lawlessness, there

3 was a situation in which organised but also

4 highly-individual disorganised gangs and individuals

5 acted. There was looting, robbery, contraband,

6 murders, and all the other common crimes which always

7 surfaced in the history of mankind wherever there is a

8 shortage of authority, regardless of whether there was

9 a war happening at the same time, an international war,

10 or if there was no war. But as soon as there is no

11 organised authority, then anarchy sets in, then

12 disorder and disarray sets in.

13 However, these incidents may not be

14 attributed to a people which lives there. One may not

15 claim that the only victims of that disorder or at

16 least that the only of victims of this are Muslims,

17 because that is not true. Everybody was a victim. The

18 degree of victimisation varied from time to time, but

19 everybody was a victim. That is why we submit that

20 there is no persecution, and that is beyond any doubt,

21 until mid-April, simply there is no widespread and

22 systematic persecution of one entity. In other words,

23 an element of this criminal offence is missing.

24 Of course, we do not admit that this offence

25 was committed after the 16th of April. We merely wish

Page 16958

1 to confirm, and we shall show it through the evidence

2 we shall submit, that until the 16th of April, 1993,

3 there could not have been the crime of persecution, and

4 after the 16th of April, 1994 -- 1993 -- excuse me --

5 the situation changes. We have a different interplay

6 of events. And the indictment also says that some

7 other crimes were perpetrated, very specific and very

8 precise, and not a general crime such as persecution

9 is, because the circumstances changed and because an

10 open conflict broke out between these two peoples.

11 In the lower part of my graph, I also

12 indicated what would be our second line of defence, if

13 I may put it that way, which was the position: What

14 was the role of Mario Cerkez during that period of

15 time?

16 There is a small error here, but I'll come to

17 that later.

18 To begin with, we cannot talk about the

19 period of time between April 1992 as the beginning of

20 the period covered by the indictment for this crime,

21 simply because the municipal staff of the HVO, which

22 was the umbrella organisation of the HVO in the

23 municipality of Vitez, was not even founded until

24 sometime in May or June, when it began to work, when it

25 found personnel, and when it was organised.

Page 16959

1 The indictment seems to be covering a period

2 which is about a month and a half too early, because if

3 we follow this logic, one could speak already about

4 1991, which is when, for the first time, the Serbs used

5 military force to attack Grude -- excuse me -- Ravno in

6 Bosnia.

7 The next point in time which I believe must

8 bear in mind is October 1992, when after the

9 reorganisation, the municipal staff of the HVO in Vitez

10 ceased to exist and when the defence office was

11 established. And the commander of that staff, until

12 that time, Mr. Mario Skopljak, and Mario Cerkez's

13 superior, his boss, became the head of that office. It

14 was the called the Ministry of Defence, so the

15 Municipal Ministry of Defence. And needless to say,

16 all the affairs and all the functions and duties were

17 transferred to this new body headed by Mr. Marijan

18 Skopljak, whereas Cerkez stayed at the headquarters and

19 his role there has never been explained, but we shall

20 show it during our case. But perhaps I might mention

21 it right now.

22 In the former staff, Mr. Cerkez was a man who

23 looked after the house until the new house was being

24 moved in, and there was a plan to send him to a new

25 post in the course of that reorganisation, and that is

Page 16960

1 what was done, because in November 1992, Cerkez

2 became -- Cerkez was designated, was appointed a member

3 of the command of the newly formed Intermunicipal

4 Brigade, that is, the joint brigade of two

5 municipalities, of Novi Travnik and Vitez, which was

6 then founded in order to strengthen and organise better

7 the struggle against the Serbs along the front lines

8 north-west of Travnik, that is, on Vlasic and around

9 Turbe.

10 The only objective and the only business of

11 that brigade was to fight against the Serbs. The only

12 duty which Mario Cerkez was to perform at the time was

13 to fight against the Serbs, who were occupiers, and

14 those were purely and clearly military relations.

15 In February 1993, and this is my comment --

16 it says February 1992, it should be February 1993, but

17 it is quite clear here -- Cerkez was appointed the de

18 facto commander of that brigade, of the Stjepan

19 Tomasevic Brigade. And we shall also be introducing

20 evidence, some of it has already been introduced, he

21 was never appointed the formal appointment. He was

22 never appointed the commander of the brigade in the

23 formal, in the fully legal sense of the word for

24 various reasons, and I do not think they are

25 particularly legally relevant. I shall say it had to

Page 16961













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16962

1 do with some personnel relations or plans of some of

2 the higher officers. But Cerkez was appointed, as that

3 order says, as the representative of the commander,

4 because, evidently, there were some other plans about

5 further transformation. So that was a kind of a

6 provisional solution. However, the Defence agrees that

7 for about a month or for six weeks, Mario Cerkez was a

8 de facto commander of the Stjepan Tomasevic.

9 At the time, he was quartered in Novi Travnik

10 where the headquarters of the brigade, where the

11 command of that brigade was, and that the command was

12 in Novi Travnik so as to be as close to the positions

13 on which this brigade was deployed, that is, its area

14 of operations, the front line against Serbs, to be as

15 close as possible to those positions, and there,

16 regardless of the period of time, Mr. Cerkez was only a

17 member of the command or even as a commander, but

18 again, his whole duty -- his whole activity came down

19 to the fight against the Serbs.

20 We have already submitted some evidence, and

21 we shall adduce new evidence, that in Novi Travnik at

22 that time, and that is late November until mid-March,

23 and that is the period of time when Cerkez was in Novi

24 Travnik, there were no -- any conflicts worth

25 mentioning between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats

Page 16963

1 in Novi Travnik.

2 Now we go back to one of the elements of that

3 crime, the persecution, the territory, because the

4 indictment claims that Cerkez is responsible for that

5 criminal offence in the territory of Novi Travnik,

6 Vitez, and Busovaca. So during that period of time,

7 Cerkez was not in Vitez, and there were no incidents

8 which would lend credence to the claim that such crimes

9 were committed in Novi Travnik, and none of them were

10 adduced here, let alone that there was absolutely no

11 evidence that Cerkez took part in the persecutions in

12 Busovaca, because he has never been there.

13 Be that as it may, on the 23rd of March,

14 1993, that is, three weeks before the open conflict

15 between the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Muslims,

16 Cerkez was appointed the commander of the newly formed

17 Vitez Brigade, having been doing some preparatory

18 activities for some days or so in the municipal

19 government, and at the request of his commander,

20 rather, the commander of that particular area of

21 responsibility, Mr. Blaskic, he performed some

22 preparatory activities, wrote a report. And the

23 municipal government endorsed Cerkez's proposals and

24 suggested and proposed solutions to the commander of

25 the Operative Zone, Blaskic, and these solutions were

Page 16964

1 to set up a municipal brigade as it had been suggested

2 earlier by the municipality, to call that brigade Vitez

3 Brigade, to have its headquarters in the building of

4 the cinema where some vacant offices were found, and

5 that he should be the member of this -- and that the

6 municipal officers should be members of this command,

7 which shall all -- which -- and on the 23rd of March,

8 Colonel Blaskic appointed Mario Cerkez as the commander

9 of the Vitez Brigade, as the commander of that zone of

10 operations. That was three weeks before the beginning

11 of the operations. A newly formed brigade.

12 It is claimed that it was the crucial armed

13 force in the territory of Vitez, in the Vitez pocket,

14 and I believe it is beyond any doubt -- it will be

15 shown beyond any doubt that it was surrounded by much

16 strong forces, by incomparably strong forces of the

17 army of B and H, and as of that time, that is, the 16th

18 of April, the conflict with those superior forces

19 began.

20 The brigade was some 300 men strong. It did

21 not have even its internal organisation. When we begin

22 presenting our evidence, we will show what the

23 composition of that brigade was in terms of skilled,

24 that is, trained officers. There were hardly any. And

25 needless to say, men, soldiers, of whom some had done

Page 16965

1 their military service in the JNA, because the service

2 with the JNA was obligatory, but some of them had not

3 had any training whatsoever. They had some minimum

4 weaponry at their disposal. And this brigade was then

5 expected, on the 16th of April, to take part in a

6 conflict which, according to the Prosecution, marked --

7 was begun by the bad side, by the bad guy; that is, the

8 HVO. We do not think that this was proven. We think

9 there are elements pointing in the opposite direction,

10 and we shall endeavour to show it during our case.

11 As one of the commanders of one of the army

12 units in Vitez, on the 15th of April, was warned by his

13 commander that all the necessary measures should be

14 undertaken to raise the degree of preparedness and that

15 an attack could be expected. However, Cerkez did not

16 lend credence to this warning, whether he was right or

17 not. Evidently, the evidence pointed to the contrary,

18 that he was wrong.

19 However, it is a fact that on the 14th of

20 April, even though some witnesses claimed here it was

21 on the 15th, we will show this was on the 14th, Cerkez

22 personally spent the whole afternoon at the

23 headquarters, rather, with his colleagues from the

24 BH army. He participated in the celebration of the

25 first anniversary of the formation of the ABiH army,

Page 16966

1 and he spent the whole day in Vitez with officers of

2 the Bosniak side who, at that time, were his fellow

3 officers and colleagues, because at that moment, they

4 were still fighting together against the Serbs on the

5 front lines in the mountains, because at that moment,

6 on the eve of the conflict, two days before the

7 conflict and on the day of the conflict itself, a

8 shift, part of the Vitez Brigade of some 70 men, was on

9 the front lines against the Serbs, because they were

10 sharing this sector. To the right and to the left of

11 them were the forces of the army of B and H, because

12 throughout 1992, they were coordinating their defence.

13 In other words, Cerkez naturally took part in

14 the celebration, in the anniversary, in the first

15 anniversary of the army of B and H because they are his

16 comrades. They are his colleagues. It is quite true

17 that at that time, there was also some altercations.

18 There was also different views. There were political

19 differences, but these do did not stop the soldiers

20 from coordinating as much as it was necessary to

21 coordinate things in pursuit of their common objective,

22 which at that time was the struggle against the Serbs.

23 Not only because that was a task defined by the

24 military, but also because as the indigenous population

25 to that area, they also knew that that was a threat to

Page 16967

1 their life. The Serbs were advancing and somewhere a

2 line should be drawn, somewhere they should be stopped.

3 I only wish to say, and I believe it will be

4 clear from our case, that the soldiers did not blindly

5 comply with the orders that every individual, that

6 every recruit who was called to join the war did not do

7 it because he simply blindly complied with his orders.

8 They were doing it for a very normal human response.

9 That was, self-defence. The Serbs were advancing. At

10 that moment, the Serbs held 70 per cent of the Bosnian

11 territory. Everybody could see that on television, and

12 any citizen of Bosnia, who had any brains, knew what it

13 was all about. Sarajevo was being besieged. A huge

14 military force had almost subjugated Bosnia almost

15 completely. Everybody, of course, hoped that that war

16 would not happen in his own village.

17 The only difference was that some were naive

18 and just sat quietly, hoping that would resolve the war

19 for them, and others, to put it in quite simple terms,

20 others were brighter, more pragmatic, they did not

21 think that somebody would solve the war for them, so

22 they organised themselves, they armed themselves, and

23 they defended themselves. So that was on the 14th of

24 April.

25 On the 15th of April, Cerkez went to marry.

Page 16968













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16969

1 His wedding was in the church on the 14th -- or the

2 15th of April, in the afternoon. I believe it was at

3 1600. And we shall also be adducing evidence to that

4 effect.

5 True, he had already concluded a civil

6 marriage in 1980, but at that time, he decided to also

7 undergo a church ceremony and church marriage out of

8 respect for tradition, because before that and he could

9 not do that in view of the job that he held, because

10 during the former Yugoslavia, people who had church

11 weddings were not looked too benevolently upon. Cerkez

12 was a clerk in the municipality in the Secretariat for

13 Defence and in the SPS factory, and for those reasons

14 he simply did not undergo a church marriage. So he

15 decided, on the 15th of April, that is, on eve of the

16 war, to do so. Of course, he does not know that a war

17 will break out next day.

18 And I believe that some rules of logic allow

19 such a conclusion. Even though it is true that Blaskic

20 warned his troops to raise the degree of preparedness,

21 because one could expect the attack of the opposite

22 side the next day, but such calls for higher

23 preparedness had been issued before and nothing ever

24 happened. And so after consulting a man from his

25 command, Cerkez and all the others decided that it was

Page 16970

1 one of the alarms which would lead to nothing.

2 Unfortunately, they were wrong, and the war broke out

3 the next day.

4 In the evening of that day, the 15th of

5 April, 1993, Cerkez was issued a verbal order, and

6 after a conversation with Blaskic, Blaskic prepared the

7 defenders of Vitez and surrounding villages on the

8 basis of information that he had at his disposal, and I

9 will not go into that now. And Blaskic tried to get

10 ready for that possibility. He made Cerkez responsible

11 for blocking or, rather, for preparing the blockade,

12 the barricade of some roads, all possible directions of

13 attack of the Bosnia army from Kruscica and Vranjska,

14 which is slightly below it, towards the centre of the

15 town.

16 Why did he send him there? That is,

17 evidently, one of questions which needs to be

18 explained, and we shall do so. He spent him there. We

19 know that at that particular moment in time, the

20 brigade was some 300 men strong, men who were not in

21 the barracks, men who were on call, that is, who would

22 be summoned and report for duty. And he sent them

23 there, because at that time, a small unit or, rather, a

24 group, a shift, which was getting ready for the next

25 shift on the front line against the Serbs was staying

Page 16971

1 at a motel south of Kruscica, up on a hill, where the

2 shifts were being readied for the departure to the

3 front. That is, the system of work even before, during

4 the municipal headquarters and now when there was this

5 brigade, Vitez Brigade, was such, because the soldiers

6 were not quartered in the barracks, they were living at

7 home.

8 So the system was to simply call soldiers

9 from a list, and every shift should -- had some 100

10 men. So these men would then report when summoned, and

11 at that moment, they become mobilised soldiers. Then

12 they spent seven days getting ready to take up their

13 shift, training, weapons, ammunition, stocking, various

14 tasks, and then they would spend a week in the

15 mountains north-west of Travnik to the defence line of

16 the Serbs, that is, to defend themselves against the

17 Serbs. Then they go back to their village, and go home

18 and work their land, if they are farmers, or back to

19 their enterprises if they're salaried employees, or

20 whatever. Be that as it may, for two or three weeks,

21 they are free citizens; they are not soldiers.

22 So in that night between the 15th and the

23 16th, Cerkez was getting ready such a shift in a motel

24 south of Kruscica, and that group -- those troops were

25 used to form a possible -- to prepare a possible

Page 16972

1 defence if an attack ensued the next day.

2 What happened? In the morning when the

3 conflict started, and our submission and our position

4 is that it was the Muslim side that initiated it, the

5 members of the Vitez Brigade who were deployed due

6 north of Kruscica, that is, along the main supply route

7 and Vranjska main supply route, that is, between those

8 areas and the centre of town, were in their positions,

9 but they were unable to prevent the movement of troops,

10 and for all practical purposes, we can say that they

11 withdrew from their initial positions down towards the

12 main road, and this demonstrates very well what the

13 different forces were, to say nothing of their poor

14 equipment and lack of training on the part of them,

15 even though some of them had some experience in the

16 fighting against the Serbs, but the fighting against

17 the Serbs was really trench war, and from what I

18 understood in talking to these people, it did not

19 differ much from what went on during World War I,

20 except that there was no artillery support there. So I

21 think this is enough, as far as the events leading up

22 to the conflict are concerned.

23 Now, at the moment when the conflict broke

24 out, the brigade was deployed in their positions. And

25 the conflict also broke out in other areas, but we are

Page 16973

1 going to restrict ourselves only to the Vitez

2 municipality. And this horrible, tragic event in

3 Ahmici took place, but I want again to point out that

4 my client's brigade was not in Ahmici. Ahmici is

5 located due north, that is, the north side, north of

6 the road, and they were on the south side of the road,

7 and the evidence will show they were sharing these

8 positions with another unit. And all crimes that took

9 place in Ahmici took place on the 16th of April, and I

10 think enough evidence has been produced to support

11 that.

12 In the course of the conflict from the 16th

13 of April on in the territory of the Vitez municipality,

14 and partly even before the conflict, there were various

15 HVO units deployed in the area. We have seen so far

16 that the Operative Zone headquarters, that is, the high

17 command for that area of Bosnia, was in the town of

18 Vitez, in the Vitez Hotel, just several hundred metres

19 away from Mr. Cerkez' headquarters. That is where the

20 military police was stationed, the 4th Battalion of the

21 military police, a well-organised unit which had its

22 active personnel, had its specialised platoons for

23 various tasks, including combat, for the toughest jobs,

24 and also contained a unit named Jokers, who were

25 headquartered in another location, in a bungalow area.

Page 16974

1 And then there were Vitezovi who size-wise

2 were not perhaps as large, but they were significant

3 because they were mobile, well equipped, and also had

4 very good morale, very aggressive, and the evidence

5 will reflect that.

6 And also before the conflict, there were

7 troops there who were from outside, Ludvig Pavlovic and

8 Bruno Busic Brigades, who were brought in to reinforce

9 the position against the Serbs, but, unfortunately,

10 their activities may have been more eating, drinking

11 and looting, and they provided very little in terms of

12 contribution to the effort.

13 And there were also other brigades, the

14 Frankopan Brigade, which was part of the overall

15 defence system, and Tvrtko too as another

16 special-purpose unit, and some other units.

17 The Defence submits, and we will produce

18 evidence in support of this submission, that the

19 accused Mario Cerkez -- that is, he never committed any

20 criminal act, either as a direct or indirect

21 perpetrator, including all criminal acts charged in the

22 indictment, and the Defence submits that Mr. Cerkez

23 also cannot be held accountable based on the superior

24 authority because no soldiers under his command

25 committed any crimes.

Page 16975

1 We saw documents which were introduced

2 through the Witness Spork and which may raise some

3 doubts, but in the presentation of our evidence we will

4 show that these documents are not what they seem to

5 be. These documents do not provide a solid foundation

6 for any conclusions. And even if we took them at their

7 face value, they do not lead to conclusions that a

8 person who committed certain crimes at a specific time

9 in a specific place was ever a member of the Vitez

10 Brigade, which could then potentially trigger off

11 Mr. Cerkez' responsibility as the superior authority.

12 The next point in the Defence is that, of

13 course, a commander must know or, in given

14 circumstances, objectively could foresee or know that a

15 crime could take place or did take place. If so

16 construed, certain events where it was alleged that

17 members of the brigade had committed any crimes cannot

18 stand, because at the time of the commission of such a

19 crime, no information about the commission of the crime

20 was ever produced because the witness who mentioned

21 this said that this information reached the superiors

22 only much, much later. So if the superior commander

23 did not know about it at that time, he was not in a

24 position to act.

25 Another point that was made in the indictment

Page 16976













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16977

1 was that Mr. Cerkez was the superior commander in the

2 territory, and the interpretation of this criminal act

3 with which Mr. Cerkez is charged can only rest on the

4 premise that Mr. Cerkez was the commander in the field

5 because it is not clear how Mr. Cerkez would have been

6 the superior commander in relation to other units.

7 Mr. Cerkez can only be responsible for certain criminal

8 acts, in terms of his superior authority, only if these

9 criminal acts were committed by those who were his

10 subordinates. He cannot be responsible for acts

11 committed by other -- by members of other military

12 units, even if he was the local commander in the

13 field. He was not the superior commander in this

14 zone. His unit was a local unit and it was only active

15 in a front line against the Serbs, and he can only be

16 construed to be responsible if he was the commander in

17 the territory. I think that this theory has already

18 been demonstrated to be unfounded, and we will provide

19 further evidence in support of it. We will also show

20 that many other units were in the area for which

21 Mr. Cerkez never had any responsibility and which he

22 could not have any command of.

23 In terms of his responsibility for other

24 units, I believe that we need to submit to the Trial

25 Chamber -- and we only heard very little about the

Page 16978

1 brigade military police, so if it is a brigade military

2 police, the conclusion should be that they were under

3 Cerkez' authority. But in order to clarify things, I

4 want to point out that the brigade military police did

5 not exist until sometime in September 1993, when there

6 were some structural reorganisations, and despite the

7 theory that is being promulgated here on the basis of

8 the JNA concept or the NATO structures, despite all

9 these fine theories, the fact is that the Vitez

10 Brigade, in its organisation, even in its theoretical

11 model, let alone in its application in the field, did

12 not have military police.

13 The Trial Chamber heard something about the

14 organisation of the justice system. The Kordic Defence

15 touched upon this, and I will not elaborate. But I

16 would just like to point out that in order to fully

17 explain the theory of this brigade military police,

18 within the 4th Battalion of the military police, with

19 its headquarters in the Hotel Vitez, also contained a

20 platoon, a military police platoon, that was tasked

21 with security, that is, the physical security of the

22 staff of the Vitez Brigade. This was a small platoon.

23 The size of it varied; 20 to 25 men. In terms of

24 formation strength, there should have been 30, and they

25 were attached to the cinema theatre where the brigade

Page 16979

1 headquarters were. And so this detached platoon

2 provided security for the headquarters and for the

3 staff and everything that related to it. This is where

4 members of this platoon were deployed, and it is a

5 matter of semantics, that it was how the people called

6 them, that they were the brigade police, because that

7 is where they were deployed.

8 It is important not only in legal terms but

9 also in practical terms, to whom they were

10 subordinated, who had authority over them, and this is

11 what we will deal with, and we will show who it was who

12 was the commander of this platoon to whom they were

13 answerable and to whom they reported. We will show

14 that it was not Mario Cerkez but another person whose

15 name has been mentioned here before.

16 Next, let me turn to Ahmici, because it is

17 really the crux of this case.

18 In the evidence presented so far, and I

19 believe it is not necessary for us to prove it any

20 further but I think that it will become clear through

21 the presentation of our evidence, the tragedy of Ahmici

22 took place in the morning hours of the 16th of April,

23 1993. According to some evidence, everything was

24 finished by somewhere around 10.00 in the morning. But

25 in the conservative estimate, the conflict at Ahmici

Page 16980

1 was finished by the noon of that day.

2 As far as my client is concerned and his

3 brigade, among the outstanding documents, in addition

4 to hundreds of other documents, we received two

5 documents which showed that two members of the brigade

6 were killed in Ahmici on that day, so the conclusion is

7 offered because they were members of the brigade,

8 because they were killed in Ahmici, Mr. Cerkez is

9 responsible because he was their commander. First of

10 all, I don't think we have all the facts in place in

11 regards to that, but we will still show in the

12 presentation of our evidence that those two persons

13 were, indeed, members of the brigade. That is, we are

14 certain of one, that he was a member of the brigade,

15 but the other one, we're still not sure of the other.

16 They were both killed in front of their homes, at their

17 doorsteps. Why? From the documents offered so far,

18 this is not clear, because the documents which were

19 offered so far only show that a certain person was

20 killed.

21 In fact, I need to make a correction. One of

22 these individuals was only wounded.

23 And because Ahmici is so important and this

24 person was a member of the brigade, because he is on

25 the list of brigade members, certain conclusions are

Page 16981

1 made. But we will show that these people were killed

2 because they lived there and that it has nothing to do

3 with their wartime assignments, it has nothing to do

4 with any orders which placed them there, because they

5 simply found themselves there because they had not been

6 assigned to any particular duties at that moment in

7 time.

8 The charges against Mr. Cerkez were built on

9 circumstantial evidence, and I need to show that such

10 evidence cannot stand on its own. Later in the

11 presentation of our case, I will give some more space

12 to this, and we will use some portions of transcripts

13 from other cases. But suffice it to say that there

14 were other units in Ahmici which were clearly

15 recognised, including a unit of the 4th Battalion of

16 the military police and the Joker units, but the Vitez

17 Brigade members were not there, and the evidence

18 offered so far show clearly where the brigade was

19 supposed to be on that day, and we will demonstrate

20 that they were there on the 16th of April. It was

21 south of the main road on the 16th of April.

22 Mr. Sayers spoke quite a lot about the

23 investigation of Ahmici, but let me just add a few


25 Colonel Stewart told Mr. Cerkez that it would

Page 16982

1 be good if he launched an investigation on Ahmici, but

2 Colonel Stewart, only an hour before he addressed

3 Mr. Cerkez, had asked the same of Mr. Blaskic, who was

4 Mr. Cerkez' superior. Of course, Mr. Cerkez informed

5 Mr. Blaskic of his conversation with Colonel Stewart,

6 and it was then that he learned that Colonel Stewart

7 made such a request to Mr. Blaskic.

8 Second, Mr. Cerkez should have launched an

9 investigation within his own unit, but Mr. Cerkez had

10 no authority to do so, including the crime in Ahmici,

11 if it concerned another unit and not the unit of which

12 he was the commander. It follows from this very

13 logically that Mr. Cerkez should have started an

14 investigation on the crime in Ahmici only if he knew or

15 was aware that his unit was involved in this crime and

16 in this area or if he received such orders from his

17 superior officers. In this particular case, it is

18 clear that Mr. Blaskic did not order Mr. Cerkez to

19 conduct such an investigation. And why did he not

20 order him to do so? Because he knew who was deployed

21 there. We have seen which units were ordered to

22 conduct an investigation. He ordered it to the

23 military police. When he did not get any results, he

24 involved SIS as a service for which he assumed and for

25 which it was generally believed that it had

Page 16983

1 capabilities to conduct such an investigation.

2 Thirdly, in keeping with the regulations

3 which were in force at the time regarding an

4 investigation of a criminal act, and it appears to be

5 clear that Mr. Blaskic understood that there was a

6 criminal act involved at least since his conversation

7 with Colonel Stewart, according to the law the

8 competent authority was the justice system. So if the

9 military police was involved, it would have been the

10 military prosecutor which was competent and the

11 military court which was to conduct and get involved in

12 this case.

13 An outsider, according to the law, be it a

14 military person or a common citizen, could only suggest

15 that an investigation be launched, because there is a

16 provision in the law that if someone should learn of a

17 crime having been committed, they should inform the

18 proper authority about it. It is only a suggestion,

19 then, that if an individual believed -- and this

20 individual could be a citizen or a military person --

21 they could pick up the phone, or write, or walk into an

22 office of the proper authority, and this proper

23 authority would then initiate the proceedings. Of

24 course, if an officer, that is, a person of authority,

25 would report such a crime, the military prosecutor's

Page 16984













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16985

1 office will consider such information more seriously

2 and give it more weight. But according to the law, it

3 is clear that my client had no authority to conduct an

4 investigation, nor did he have any reason to do so.

5 Fourth, it was to be expected that Blaskic at

6 least would ask for some sort of report or an

7 explanation, perhaps even an investigation of

8 Mr. Cerkez, if -- during those initial days when the

9 Ahmici case arose, only if he had any suspicions that

10 the brigade or some elements of the brigade were in

11 Ahmici. But this was not the case. Not only did

12 Blaskic know what tasks he gave to which unit, and so

13 he did not ask any investigation at the brigade level,

14 but even in the subsequent dates after he may have

15 learned about some elements of what took place, he

16 still did not request any investigation on the brigade

17 level, which he didn't do because other units were in

18 Ahmici, as we heard.

19 Just one additional detail regarding Ahmici.

20 Even though the Defence accepts that a crime was

21 committed in Ahmici and that civilians were killed,

22 about 100 people -- it would have been a tragedy if

23 there had only been five dead -- still the Defence does

24 not accept that Ahmici was not a defended target. We

25 will provide evidence to support this, to show that a

Page 16986

1 small ABiH unit was deployed in Ahmici. There was

2 fighting there. There were HVO casualties there, after

3 all, even though this cannot justify the number of

4 civilian casualties there. But we cannot agree that

5 this was an undefended target.

6 In support of this, and that extends to some

7 other locations mentioned in the indictment which I

8 will name, it is not in dispute that in the Lasva River

9 Valley, where my client's unit was operating, the

10 strategic importance of the main supply route through

11 the Lasva River Valley is obviously very important to

12 consider. The military force that controls this road

13 and several key geographical features alongside the

14 road could have full control of the entire area. In

15 the Lasva River Valley, which includes the Vitez

16 pocket, which is surrounded by the ABiH forces,

17 according to all reasonable military standards the HVO

18 had to do its best to control the road, to maintain its

19 control, and that clearly put them on a collision

20 course with the Muslim forces.

21 The situation in the area was such that every

22 side protected their villages. Where there was a

23 Muslim majority, the ABiH protected the village, and

24 where the Croats were in majority, the HVO protected

25 the village. The only exceptions are key strategic

Page 16987

1 points, and this is where the two sides fought each

2 other.

3 An example of this is Stari Vitez, where,

4 according to all the facts that we have heard so far,

5 it was a legitimate military target there. There is no

6 doubt that there was an ABiH unit there which was an

7 armed and equipped unit which had its lines of supply,

8 a unit which kept its positions for 11 months, being

9 totally surrounded by the hostile force, that is, HVO,

10 and who kept it -- which held its ground in spite of

11 two HVO attempts to take over the area.

12 Why did the HVO want, aspire to take the area

13 of Stari Vitez? I believe that is quite clear. First

14 of all, because of the sniper fire which, to all

15 intents and purposes, blocked individual parts of Stari

16 Vitez and the remaining parts of the town; and

17 secondly, so as to control one of the two roads passing

18 through Ahmici and partial control of the other road,

19 the so-called roundabout, which was within the range of

20 snipers and artillery positions in Stari Vitez.

21 I'm now not going to list all the other

22 places, because I promised I would not. I wish to say

23 that in all those places where that was conflict

24 between the armija and the HVO and in which the Vitez

25 Brigade participated as of the 17th of April for

Page 16988

1 several days on, we do argue that these were all

2 legitimate military targets. And as of April, the

3 front lines practically were stabilised, with only

4 slight shifts, but the same positions were practically

5 held throughout the war.

6 And the luck of war, the forces of war

7 changed, and the HVO was obviously an inferior force as

8 of June if one looks at all the objective military

9 elements, that is the strength, the strategic

10 deployment, the level of equipment, the organisation,

11 number of professional officers, and everything else.

12 We also heard something about that, and we only need,

13 in our defence, to add some new elements in order to be

14 able to draw sounder conclusions.

15 So now the only remaining subject is the

16 international armed conflict. Some of the charges

17 would simply not exist if it were not as an

18 international armed conflict, but perhaps I should not

19 go into that, because Mr. Kordic's Defence covered

20 that, so as to avoid repetition, and maybe I should

21 only mention two sentences.

22 As for the evidence, we shall be using some

23 exhibits from other cases, and basically our thesis,

24 our argument, is that in this case, one cannot use the

25 so-called overall test from Tadic, because to simplify

Page 16989

1 it and waste as little time as possible, we believe

2 that the Croat-Muslim conflict, as already said, was

3 the consequence of the Serb aggression, and that it

4 was, in point of fact, another war from many different

5 points of view. We believe that we can submit many

6 conclusions in evidence that after the JNA aggression

7 supported by domestic and outside Serbs on Bosnia, that

8 is, Serbs, whichever, and the other side, Croats and

9 Muslims from Bosnia, in the first war, the consequence

10 of that was the conflict between the Muslims and

11 Bosnians in what we call, in inverted commas, the

12 second war. And if we compare those two wars, there we

13 see that there are major differences between them, and

14 that many elements are indicating that the Republic of

15 Croatia was not the Lord of that particular war, or the

16 master of that war.

17 I can go into that, but I think we shall be

18 dealing with it at greater length subsequently. This

19 is just a thesis that I wish to put forward, and only

20 two details that we shall use in defence merely to

21 illustrate some of the contradictions in the thesis

22 about Croatia as the master of that war, and that is

23 the fact that the explosives factory in Vitez, the SPS,

24 as it is usually called, as a powerful business

25 organisation, which also managed to relocate its money

Page 16990

1 and its organisation to Split before the war, that they

2 organised several helicopter flights which, yes, indeed

3 brought some equipment and which took away -- which

4 evacuated the wounded to the hospital in Split, and we

5 shall be producing some evidence to this effect.

6 So, for instance, a helicopter, and there

7 were some indications here that it was an HV

8 helicopter. We shall also show that there were

9 helicopters which were financed by a company from

10 Vitez, that is, a legal entity which has nothing to do

11 with Croatia.

12 We shall also be producing evidence, an

13 exhibit, showing that a soldier from Croatia but born

14 in Bosnia, in the summer of 1993 set off to Bosnia to

15 help his countrymen to defend themselves in a war.

16 When, from the Republic of Croatia he crossed the

17 border and wanted to enter the Republic of

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, then the border authorities

19 searched him, found a uniform and weapons, explained

20 that it was an infraction of regulations, that he could

21 not enter another republic with this equipment, and

22 took him to the misdemeanour magistrate. He was fined

23 there. The fine exceeded his monthly salary, and that

24 is a great deal of money. And so that all these

25 weapons were confiscated, were seized, and he was

Page 16991

1 turned back to Croatia. From what we could learn,

2 there were a number of such cases.

3 And another thing --

4 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Kovacic, it's now

5 nearly ten past eleven. Are you going to be very much

6 longer?

7 MR. KOVACIC: I will be finished in the next

8 three to five minutes. More than positive.

9 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] This is merely

11 an information which needs to be borne in mind when one

12 speaks about the correlation of forces and analyses the

13 reasons for that war.

14 The territory of the municipality of Vitez

15 was, of course, divided during the war and even before

16 the war because of the parallel authority. It had been

17 split up between the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian

18 Muslims, and everybody knew which area belonged to

19 whom, and we've already heard witnesses to that

20 effect.

21 Mathematically speaking, 75 per cent of the

22 Vitez territory was controlled by Bosnian Muslims, and

23 about 25 per cent was held by Croats and other peoples

24 present in the area. They were mostly Croats, but

25 there was a village of Roma, inhabited by Roma, and

Page 16992













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 16993

1 some Serbs who at that time, regrettably, did not have

2 any villages of their own any longer because they had

3 been evicted, but there were some individuals present

4 there, and I think that a witness called Kajmovic spoke

5 about that.

6 And to corroborate our argument which we

7 shall go into, we think that the events in Vitez, that

8 the developments in Vitez may not be viewed -- isolated

9 from everything else. We think that they are a part

10 and a consequence of a very complex and very

11 conflicting -- contradictory picture about Bosnia.

12 I should like to conclude by quoting two

13 sentences from a letter of Witness Watters, that was

14 exhibit for the Defence, 57/1, and it is something that

15 we shall try to show. I think this was the best worded

16 sentence about this war, and I shall do it in English:

17 "[In English] [Previous translation continues] ...

18 faction blame to a specific faction prosecuting its

19 military or political advantage. It is convenient to

20 identify the corporate and level the blame in his

21 direction. It is comfortable but too simplistic.

22 There are no," in brackets, "(good guys and bad guys)

23 in this bitter civil war, there are only victims."

24 [Interpretation] Your Honours, I truly

25 believe that in our case, in addition to all that we

Page 16994

1 proved in the Prosecutor's case, that they were only

2 victims, and even if some crimes were committed, they

3 may not be either described, nor proven in the manner

4 that the Prosecution set out to do, and by attributing

5 the guilt to one side only, attributing the

6 responsibility to one side only, and trying to derive

7 individual responsibility from collective

8 responsibility, as a specialist -- as criminal lawyers,

9 we simply cannot accept that an act of crime is always

10 individual, even when we talk about the command

11 liability. Even then, if it is individual

12 responsibility, even had all the HVO brigades been

13 criminals, we have to prove here that the

14 responsibility of my client does not exist and that

15 my -- or that my client could have foreseen that or

16 prevented or punished it.

17 We do not think that the Prosecutor proved

18 it, and we believe that we shall corroborate it during

19 our case. Thank you.

20 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Kovacic.

21 We'll adjourn now for half an hour.

22 --- Recess taken at 11.14 a.m.

23 --- On resuming at 11.46 a.m.

24 [The witness entered court]

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the

Page 16995

1 declaration.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly

3 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,

4 and nothing but the truth.


6 [Witness answered through interpreter]

7 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a

8 seat.

9 Mr. Naumovski, we've just been handed the

10 summary. It may be convenient, having heard what

11 Mr. Sayers said, and it seemed a sensible suggestion,

12 that the summary forms the basis of the evidence in

13 chief, it may be convenient then, and in order to save

14 time, if you simply went through it as quickly as you

15 can, dealing with any particular paragraphs you want to

16 draw our attention to.

17 MR. NICE: May I make one point at the

18 moment, Your Honour. We have only just received this

19 document. I have no idea whether I will be in a

20 position properly to cross-examine this witness, having

21 looked at it, and I have other observations to make

22 about the summaries and the way the evidence should

23 progress in any event in due course. Perhaps I can

24 reserve my position on that until we've heard what the

25 witness has to say.

Page 16996

1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I'll just make this point,

2 that you're not entitled, under the Rules, to any

3 statement at all, so you're better off than you

4 normally would be.

5 MR. NICE: That may or may not be the case.

6 There's a provision for summaries, and I have

7 observations I wish to make about this later, but

8 better out of the presence of the witness.

9 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's get on with this

10 anyway, because we want to get through these witnesses

11 this week.

12 Yes.

13 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

14 Your Honours. We shall, of course, abide with what you

15 have just said.

16 So only a couple of introductory questions

17 for this witness. And our witness is retired Major

18 General Filip Filipovic.

19 Examined by Mr. Naumovski:

20 Q. Mr. Filipovic, you have read and went through

21 your statement, and you have the copy of it in front of

22 you in Serbo-Croatian?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. All what is said here is what you stated to

25 the best of your knowledge and to the best of your

Page 16997

1 recollection, isn't it? What this statement says is

2 the extent and amount of your knowledge, isn't it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Now that you have taken the solemn

5 declaration, you also confirm under oath that what is

6 stated here is accurate?

7 A. Yes.

8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

9 then, in line with what has been agreed, I should like

10 to tender it into evidence, and I should like to get

11 the number for it.

12 JUDGE MAY: Any objection?

13 MR. NICE: Yes. I haven't had a chance to

14 read it, and in those circumstances, I can't express

15 any view as to the propriety of allowing this

16 particular document in as an exhibit at this stage.

17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. At this stage,

18 Mr. Naumovski, since there are challenges to it, the

19 best course would be this: The witness, having looked

20 at the document and confirmed its truth, those matters,

21 as I say, on which you rely, draw his attention to

22 them. You can get his evidence on the particular

23 point.

24 Now, the background matters I don't imagine

25 are particularly disputed; the first page, for

Page 16998

1 instance. Just take the witness quickly to -- I think

2 we can read the first two pages, for instance. If you

3 want to go to paragraph 16 and take the witness quickly

4 through that part of the evidence, you should.

5 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

6 Your Honours. Then we shall quickly go through this

7 first introductory part.

8 Q. General, you were born on the 1st of March,

9 1946, in Travnik. You're married and the father of

10 three children, aren't you?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And having completed your secondary education

13 in Travnik in 1965, you enrolled in the Military

14 Academy in Belgrade, and you rounded off your military

15 education by attending commander school at the Visoke

16 Oficire in Belgrade and graduating from it in 1979?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And at present you are the chief manager of a

19 de-mining operation which is under the jurisdiction of

20 the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. Now, a couple of remarks

23 regarding your former service with the JNA, and these

24 are points 7 to 15, and subsequently, of course, in the

25 HVO.

Page 16999

1 So in the JNA, you held responsible posts.

2 You had quite a nice career as a professional officer,

3 didn't you?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You left the JNA of your own free will on the

6 10th of April, 1992?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And clearly, at that time, you were a

9 colonel.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. In view of your military training, education,

12 you returned to your municipality, to your town, which

13 is Travnik, and you immediately placed yourself at the

14 disposal of your people and became the first commander

15 of all HVO forces which were still being organised in

16 Central Bosnia.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. However, you did that for a very short period

19 of time, sometime until the 20th of May, 1992. And

20 then until October 1992, you were a special

21 headquarters commander in the Operative Zone of Central

22 Bosnia, under the command of Colonel Tihomir Blaskic?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. In October 1992, in Travnik, the then

25 commander of the Travnik Brigade, Ivica Stojak, was

Page 17000













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17001

1 killed by members of the 7th Muslim Brigade, and you

2 came to -- and then you became the commander of the

3 Travnik Brigade?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. That was not a kind of demotion in terms of

6 the duties that you performed, it was your voluntary --

7 you wanted to come and do that in view of the gravity

8 of the situation, knowing what the army of the

9 Republika Srpska was doing?

10 A. Yes, that was my choice.

11 Q. And you performed that duty until the end of

12 April 1993, or to be more precise, until the 28th of

13 April, 1993?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you were then replaced by Jozo Leutar who

16 was killed in an assassination attempt in Sarajevo, and

17 he was Deputy Minister of the Interior of the

18 Federation of B and H?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. I think we are too fast, so shall we please

21 make a break, a pause between question and answer.

22 And now, very briefly, to go through the rest

23 of that period of time; at the end of April 1993, you

24 became a member of a joint commission of the ABiH and

25 the HVO that was created to deal with negotiations

Page 17002

1 about the ceasefire after the fighting in Travnik, and

2 you kept that duty until June 1993?

3 A. Yes. I was a member of this highest level

4 commission of the armija and the HVO.

5 Q. Could we clarify this? Under the command of

6 Mr. Petkovic, there was also Colonel Andric on the

7 Croat side, and on the side of the army of

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the commission included General

9 Sefer Halilovic, Rasim Delic, and Vehbija Karic.

10 A. Yes. You listed the most prominent

11 personalities there. On our side we also had

12 Mr. Totic, because we wanted to pull him out. He had

13 been abducted by Mujahedin forces. And on the Bosniak

14 side there were other officers sitting on the

15 commission. I cannot really -- I couldn't really list

16 exactly their names.

17 Q. If I understand you properly, the formal

18 appointment of Zivko Totic was to force the other side

19 to release him?

20 A. Yes, to begin with; secondly, he was a good

21 officer who could discharge a good job in this

22 commission.

23 Q. And in this introductory part, very briefly,

24 items 12 to 15 of the summary, on the 11th of June,

25 1993, you were appointed Deputy Commander for the

Page 17003

1 Operation Zone of Central Bosnia, that is, deputy of

2 Colonel Blaskic, and you were responsible for the

3 preparation of combat operations, and you kept that

4 post until March 1994, that is, the end of the war.

5 A. Yes. When I arrived in Central Bosnia or,

6 rather, on the 10th of June, in the evening of the

7 10th of June, it meant that in that highly unclear

8 situation that I should go quickly to the front lines

9 in order to stabilise the situation, because we had

10 suffered a complete collapse of our lines on the

11 western front, and along -- and in various other

12 segments of our front, the Muslim forces had broken

13 through.

14 Q. Thank you. In April 1994, you replaced

15 Colonel Blaskic at this post and you became the

16 commander of the Operative Zone, and you kept that post

17 for a year?

18 A. Yes. I was deputy commander to Blaskic

19 throughout the war, for the duration of the war,

20 between the Muslims and the Croats, that is, the BH

21 army and the HVO, until the agreement, the ceasefire

22 agreement after the conflict. When Blaskic had

23 departed, I was left there as the commander of the

24 Operative Zone.

25 Q. After a short stay in the second Operative

Page 17004

1 Zone, Tomislavgrad, in May 1995, you replaced

2 General Ante Roso in the joint command of the

3 Federation army; that is, you replaced an HVO officer

4 who used to be on the joint command?

5 A. Yes. The joint command of the Federation

6 army was headquartered in Sarajevo, and I entered

7 Sarajevo through a tunnel sometime in mid-May, and I

8 was the commanding officer there. I had the pendant,

9 that is, my counterpart was General Muslimovic and

10 Brigadier Backovic.

11 Q. Very well. Thank you. Just one question

12 more about your military career, that is point 15. On

13 the 31st of January, 1997, you retired from active

14 military duty, having attained the averaging of major

15 general in the army of the Federation of

16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, is that so?

17 A. It is.

18 Q. Now several questions to do with the initial

19 command structure of the HVO forces in Bosnia, and that

20 is item 16 onward. The Trial Chamber already has heard

21 something about that. Croats were discriminated in the

22 former JNA, and you were the first Croat from Central

23 Bosnia, from World War II up to that time, who went to

24 the school for high officers?

25 A. Yes. The 20 years after the war, it was

Page 17005

1 inconceivable for Croats to go to the military

2 academies, and only after the fall of Rankovic did it

3 become possible for the Croats to have military office

4 or careers.

5 Q. The military situation became uncertain and

6 dangerous for Muslims and Croats due to the aggression,

7 and the new Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was

8 just established, was never able to function properly

9 with all the institutions that country has.

10 A. It is very difficult to describe the

11 situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the days of

12 April and even March of 1992, but the fact is that

13 almost nothing functioned, and there was a general

14 collapse of the system.

15 Q. Due to this situation, the municipalities

16 which were isolated and with the difficulties in

17 communicating with them, the municipalities were left

18 to fend for themselves.

19 A. Not only municipalities but even at lower

20 levels. People organised themselves at the level of

21 the municipality, and that was considered at the

22 highest level, but they also did so in counties and in

23 individual villages. But the organisation at the

24 municipality level was the highest one that was still

25 functioning.

Page 17006

1 Q. In these difficult times, the HVO was

2 formally declared on the 8th of April, 1992?

3 A. I left the JNA on the 10th of April, 1992, in

4 Sarajevo and only later learned that the HVO was

5 established, and I arrived in the area of the Lasva

6 Valley on the 12th of April.

7 Q. You mean 1992?

8 A. Yes, 1992. And immediately I found this

9 chaotic situation, and knowing of the aggression of the

10 JNA and its further aggressive intentions, I

11 immediately offered my services because I knew that

12 among the Croats there was no person who was more

13 trained or more able to respond to the situation. So I

14 insisted myself to be made commander of the forces who

15 were on the ground in the area.

16 Q. This powerful attack by the Serb forces,

17 which were well trained, well equipped, and already in

18 the initial wave, occupied 70 per cent of the

19 territory, and this caused a flood of refugees in the

20 areas that were still not under occupation.

21 A. Perhaps there were not waves of refugees in

22 April, but in early May and on to June thousands of

23 people descended on the Central Bosnia area.

24 Q. We covered the establishment of the HVO.

25 That is point 9 of the summary. But in those days you

Page 17007

1 took an active part in the efforts to organise the HVO,

2 and you said that the biggest problem that you had was

3 trained officers because there were only about ten

4 career officers available, if I may call them that.

5 A. I tried to get involved not only in

6 organising Croats but also Muslims, because we expected

7 a very strong attack of the Bosnian Serb forces from

8 Mount Vlasic and the Komar Pass, which is the area of

9 Turbe. There were many armed individuals, but -- as

10 individuals, but there was no organisation in the sense

11 of professional command and control of these

12 individuals. And as far as Croats are concerned, at

13 that time there was almost no one available, and

14 through the war we were only able to gather less than

15 ten professional military officers who could be

16 involved.

17 Q. We will agree, I think, that in 1992 the HVO

18 developed as a military structure. The main staff was

19 formed, the operative zones were established, and at

20 the end of 1992 the HVO was fairly organised and

21 represented a significant force.

22 A. Yes. Between April and the end of 1992, we

23 were able to organise people, and the combat forced us

24 to train them to repel attacks from the areas, as I

25 said, of Mount Vlasic and Komar and the town of Jajce.

Page 17008













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17009

1 We also managed to link up with the Jajce enclave in

2 the summer of 1992, and that was all put together as a

3 whole.

4 Q. When the HVO developed, it separated itself

5 from the civilian authorities, and we know that in the

6 summer of 1992 an HVO civilian government was

7 established, led by Dr. Jadranko Prlic.

8 A. Initially, it was difficult to separate these

9 different parts of the HVO. First, it was all HVO, and

10 then later on obviously we separated out as a military

11 entity and we worked to establish it apart from the

12 other segments of society.

13 Q. Another detail relating to the organisation.

14 This is point 20. You said that the Muslims -- the

15 ABiH army had many more trained officers who had come

16 from the ranks of the JNA, including some of those who

17 were retired from the JNA, so that it was easier for

18 the ABiH to organise itself militarily than it was for

19 the HVO because it had more officer staff.

20 A. As early as May in 1992, and then it

21 continued in June, a number of ethnic Muslim military

22 officers arrived in this Central Bosnia territory, and

23 there were ten times more of them than there were

24 Croats. I could name you at least 20 right off the

25 cuff, and they represented a strong presence in this

Page 17010

1 area. It included a lot of professional military

2 officers who joined the ranks of the Territorial

3 Defence or the ABiH, as these names kept changing. So

4 by this influx, the balance which was in place in this

5 particular small area for a very long period of time

6 was significantly upset, and the units of the BiH army,

7 starting in June 1992, had developed a much larger

8 force not only in terms of the number of soldiers but

9 also professional staff, with perhaps the exception of

10 materiel and equipment.

11 Q. Paragraph 21 addresses the personnel which

12 came through the Operative Zone between May 1992 and

13 June 1992, when Colonel Blaskic became the commander of

14 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, we can read that

16 paragraph. You can take it very quickly.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

18 Your Honour. This is exactly the point that I was

19 trying to make.

20 Q. General, there's no need to list everybody

21 who followed you in the post, but you proposed, to

22 General Petkovic, Tihomir Blaskic for the commander of

23 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone in June 1992?

24 A. Yes. One of the commanders was taken

25 prisoner. Then, given the size of the problem that we

Page 17011

1 encountered in the area, it became very clear very fast

2 that we needed a professional soldier for that

3 position, and we had one in the person of Tihomir

4 Blaskic.

5 Q. Let's move straight to paragraph 22. After

6 Colonel Blaskic's appointment as commander of the

7 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, he undertook a series of

8 organisational measures and appointed Franjo Nakic as

9 chief of staff of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

10 And with this, the organisational structure of the HVO

11 forces in Central Bosnia was finally established.

12 A. Yes. Throughout 1992, we were looking for

13 the best way to organise, and towards the end of 1992

14 we developed a form which seemed the most efficient,

15 given the circumstances at the time.

16 Q. Moving to paragraph 23. When you arrived in

17 Central Bosnia in April 1992, you had a good

18 relationship with your counterparts in the Territorial

19 Defence. However, after about two months after you

20 returned to the Travnik area, the Muslims started

21 replacing their military commanders in the area with

22 persons who were new men who were members of the SDA

23 party, and you know that by mid-1992 the Muslims had

24 replaced all of their commanders who had previously

25 enjoyed good relations with the Croats in the Travnik,

Page 17012

1 Novi Travnik, and Vitez areas.

2 A. From the very start, I had established very

3 good relations with local commanders, Cengic in Vitez,

4 Trako in Novi Travnik, and the gentleman in Novi

5 Travnik, and we worked to facilitate an orderly

6 pull-out of the JNA from that area. I was involved in

7 the secure departure of the JNA garrison from Travnik,

8 which included the civilians who wanted to leave

9 alongside the military in a single convoy, and this was

10 all fine.

11 All of a sudden, new people arrived who were

12 not local, who imposed themselves as new leaders, and

13 the local people with whom I had worked until then in

14 those structures disappeared and people like Alagic,

15 Cuskic, Merdan, and others took their places.

16 Q. General Filipovic, were you ever a member of

17 the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Several questions relating to the chain of

20 command, which is paragraphs 24 through 28.

21 We talked about the military organisation of

22 the HVO, but parallel to that, the civilian

23 institutions of the HZ HB were also established, the

24 institution of the president was established sometime

25 in early July 1992, and the president of the HZ HB

Page 17013

1 became the commander-in-chief of the HVO. Is that

2 correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. According to the decree on the armed forces,

5 the Main Staff of the HVO was established as well as

6 defence departments, some kind of Ministry of Defence.

7 A. Yes, but I myself cannot speak very well

8 about it, because we only received information on that

9 indirectly. We did not have such direct links with

10 these institutions and with the president of the

11 HZ HB. Occasionally, yes, and we also received

12 communications about their work.

13 Q. Very well. Paragraph 25. In 1992 and until

14 late July or early August 1993, Brigadier Milivoj

15 Petkovic was the commander in chief of the HVO armed

16 forces. He was succeeded in this post by General

17 Slobodan Praljak, and then he in turn was replaced in

18 late November 1993 by General Ante Roso.

19 A. I'm not sure of the exact dates, but that was

20 the sequence of events as far as the commander-in-chief

21 of the HVO succession is concerned.

22 Q. Moving on to paragraph 26. The armed forces

23 of the HVO were organised into four Operative Zones.

24 Is that correct?

25 A. Yes. The first, second, third, and fourth.

Page 17014

1 Q. The one relevant for us here was the Central

2 Bosnia Operative Zone, which I believe was labelled as

3 the third Operative Zone. Let me just formulate the

4 question. It covered the municipalities, and we have

5 the names here. I think we don't need to name them

6 each. I think we can just agree on them. Is that

7 correct?

8 A. In essence, it was the entire Bosnia without

9 the Posavina region and without Herzegovina.

10 Q. After the initial organisational problems,

11 when finally Colonel Blaskic was appointed commander of

12 the Operative Zone in June 1992, for a short period the

13 headquarters was in Kruscica and then it was moved to

14 the town of Vitez, in the Hotel Vitez, where it

15 remained until the end of the war.

16 A. Yes. The headquarters of the Central Bosnia

17 Operative Zone was in Kruscica, in the Motel Lovac, in

18 the summer of 1992. This was a mixed village of

19 Croat-Muslim, but after the incidents which took place

20 in that area during that period, Colonel Blaskic

21 decided to move his headquarters to the Hotel Vitez,

22 and this was done in the fall of --

23 Q. 1992?

24 A. -- 1992, and it remained there until the end

25 of the war.

Page 17015

1 Q. Moving on to paragraph 27. In this area of

2 the Operative Zone, there were several brigades that

3 were operating. For instance, the Busovaca Brigade was

4 named the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski, and it was commanded

5 by Niko Jozinovic, and then when the brigade moved to

6 Zepce, he was replaced by Dusko Grubesic.

7 A. Yes, when we arrived at the point where we

8 were able to establish brigades. But you have to

9 understand the context. We were constantly shelled by

10 the Serb forces and there were frictions between the

11 Croats and Muslims. So the process was very slow and

12 painstaking. And the organisation, at first, went on

13 within individual villages and then groups of village,

14 and it went first, organisationally speaking, from

15 companies and then up to the brigades. The example you

16 have cited here is correct as you put it.

17 Q. So far in this case, we have often heard

18 about the HVO brigades. You are a person who is more

19 competent than anybody else to tell us what they were.

20 In its name, it may sound like the military unit that

21 is established along NATO and some other standards, but

22 what was it in reality?

23 A. We did it for a certain effect, for the

24 enemy, so that we would look as more sizeable. In terms

25 of inner organisation, this would not be described as

Page 17016













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17017

1 brigades. You could still exercise command and

2 control, but there was not enough time to set up a full

3 military organisation. You need a time of peace and

4 maybe a year or two to do so. You can move faster in

5 the case that we had, which was one of war. But it

6 could not have been called a brigade according to the

7 NATO standards or many other standards, for that

8 matter.

9 Q. Final paragraph, 28. In this part, the

10 brigades were organised into battalions, and they --

11 into a company. Each battalion company commander

12 reported directly to the brigade commander, who then,

13 in turn, reported to the commander of the Operative

14 Zone, and we know that that was Colonel Blaskic, and he

15 then was accountable to his commanding officer, that

16 is, the commander-in-chief of the Main Staff of the

17 HVO. Isn't that so?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. We can move on to another topic,

20 and that is the distribution of JNA weapons and

21 facilities. Excuse me. Just a question I forgot to

22 ask you.

23 When I spoke about the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

24 Brigade in Busovaca, I did say who was its commander

25 and so on and so forth, but since Mr. Kordic is our

Page 17018

1 client, I have to ask you: Mr. Kordic was never the

2 commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade or any

3 other armed forces in Busovaca, to your knowledge, was

4 he?

5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I would have thought

6 that sort of question should not have been asked in a

7 leading form, but it's a matter for the Court.

8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. What's the answer, please?

9 A. I already said that what paragraph 27 says is

10 accurate, and that is a good example of the

11 organisation of the brigade in Busovaca, and I could

12 list all the brigades in that area, the Travnik, Novi

13 Travnik, Vitez Brigade, and others.

14 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] In view of

15 the objection, perhaps I should rephrase my question.

16 Q. Was Mr. Dario Kordic --

17 JUDGE MAY: You can ask, if you want, if you

18 want to ask: "Was Dario Kordic commander of any

19 military formation?" You can do that, yes.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] That's what I

21 was going to ask, Your Honours.

22 Q. Was Mr. Kordic the commander of any military

23 formation in Central Bosnia or outside?

24 A. I know that Mr. Dario Kordic did not command

25 any armed formation in the area of responsibility of

Page 17019

1 the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.

2 Q. Thank you. Now let us move on to what I have

3 just announced, and that was the next topic, and that

4 was the distribution, the division of JNA weapons and

5 facilities.

6 When the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina

7 broke out, the question of weapons, naturally for

8 Croats and Muslims, became the question of vital

9 importance; naturally, because one cannot defend one's

10 self without weapons. So there was an agreement

11 reached between the HVO and the army of

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina to partake, to divide the weapons

13 from the JNA.

14 A. When I came to the territory of Central

15 Bosnia, quite a number of individuals had weapons they

16 carried but those were personal defence barrels. We

17 knew that in the depots still kept by the JNA, there

18 was the armament of the Territorial Defence, that is,

19 those people there, the municipalities. Not the

20 property of the JNA but the property of the Territorial

21 Defence, that is, population of the area concerned, and

22 that it was kept at Slimena. And as of the first day

23 of my duty there, I focused on Slimena and the barracks

24 in Travnik.

25 Q. To simply clarify for the Court: Slimena is

Page 17020

1 a big barracks, the depot of the JNA, and three or four

2 kilometres away from Travnik?

3 A. Yes, because this facility is in the area

4 inhabited by Croats. So I obtained my information from

5 there and so on, and I could organise the blockade of

6 that depot to prevent these weapons from being taken

7 away.

8 Q. And the understanding was to divide the

9 weapons 50/50 between the Bosnian Croats and Muslims,

10 isn't it? However, some men arrived there,

11 uncontrolled. People simply pounced upon that

12 facility, and the weapons were taken from that JNA

13 barracks without any control whatsoever, in a very

14 chaotic manner, shall I say, if I may put it that way.

15 A. No, not on the first day when one could get

16 killed, when there was fighting. They came in large

17 numbers there when the commander there mined two

18 facilities within that compound and they blew up, and

19 one could see weapons in the meadow. First of all

20 Muslims, but then Croats simply pounced upon those

21 weapons. And since I knew that it was mined, and the

22 mines could be seen, they were visible, with what

23 forces I had, I tried to prevent them from entering

24 that compound until we demined the area. And we

25 managed to do that until about noon the second day, and

Page 17021

1 then the crowd simply pounced upon that area and they

2 took whatever they could lay their hands on.

3 Q. Very well. Subsequently, you paid visits to

4 various places in the area, and you could also assess

5 the number of the weapons. Those are the semiautomatic

6 weapons which the TO came by on that occasion.

7 A. Since these weapons belonged to the

8 Territorial Defence in that area, there were more

9 weapons than for a brigade, that is, over 2.000 barrels

10 of personal weapons and other armament. And in view of

11 a large number of Muslims who had come to take those

12 weapons, and many were -- fell prey to the mines, which

13 shows that they had already taken those weapons, I am

14 sure over 1.000 pieces of weapons came into the hands

15 of the Muslims and about 500 or 600 pieces came -- fell

16 into the hands of Croats.

17 As I am an artilleryman by profession, I just

18 don't know why people had to get some artillery pieces,

19 to have some artillery, so that the majority of the

20 theodolites, compasses, and various other computing

21 devices were taken by my men.

22 Q. And my last question related to this facility

23 at Slimena: This was a good school for you, if I might

24 put it that way. And you said you took steps in the

25 case of other barracks, meaning Kaonik and Travnik,

Page 17022

1 that is, the barracks in Travnik, to avoid this and to

2 do it in a much better organised and in a much safer

3 way.

4 A. There was an understanding reached before

5 that to split it 50/50, and so I insisted with all the

6 commanders, that is, both Croats and Muslims, then when

7 other facilities were taken and when the army was

8 evacuated from there, that the understanding needed to

9 be complied with, that is, it had to be done in an

10 organised manner and that the responsible persons

11 should organise it in order to avoid the repetition of

12 Slimena.

13 Q. Thank you. Talking about the distribution of

14 weapons, and we cannot avoid also the case of the

15 weapons in Bratstvo Factory, Travnik. That was also

16 split between the Armija and the HVO. You said that

17 one third went to the Territorial Defence or, rather,

18 the ABiH in Visoko, one third to the HVO in

19 Herzegovina, and one third was then distributed in your

20 area between the HVO and the army of

21 Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that correct?

22 A. It is.

23 Q. On that occasion you say, and you were an

24 eyewitness and the man who was responsible for the

25 distribution of weapons, that the Muslim side got not

Page 17023

1 less than 100 mortars, howitzer, nine of 122

2 millimetres and two of 152 millimetres, the howitzers

3 called usually Norahs?

4 A. Yes. That was done in May 1992.

5 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to our next topic,

6 and that is the fall of Jajce, very briefly.

7 Paragraphs 30 and 31.

8 In these paragraphs, you describe in

9 considerable detail that your area of responsibility

10 around Jajce was over 100 kilometres long. You also

11 say that the HVO had considerable forces to defend that

12 front. Do you agree with me that according to what

13 General Petkovic said, as many as 60 per cent of all

14 the armed forces of the HVO in Bosnia and Central

15 Bosnia were engaged there on that front line?

16 A. The defence of the Jajce pocket was a problem

17 unto itself. From the Lasva Valley, there was a very

18 narrow and precarious corridor across Vlasic or,

19 rather, across the Ranta [phoen] Mountain by forest

20 paths to the Jajce pocket. In the summer of 1992, the

21 proper -- the fiercest fighting took place in the Jajce

22 pocket, because that pocket was separated between the

23 32nd Krajina Corps of the Republika Srpska to the depth

24 of some 70 kilometres, and those two corps in the area

25 of Turbe had visual contact at their front lines and

Page 17024













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17025

1 there was then, in depth, a 70-kilometre area which

2 they could not control. Hence, the major effort of the

3 army of the Republika Srpska to liquidate that Jajce

4 pocket.

5 Q. We do not really have to go into all the

6 details about this, but just one more question related

7 to this matter.

8 You heard that some Muslims asserted that

9 there were no HVO soldiers along the front lines near

10 Jajce and that the HVO had simply made a pact with

11 Bosnian Serbs to surrender Jajce to them. Those were

12 the accusations against the HVO. Had you heard about

13 those?

14 A. The fall of Jajce distressed me no end,

15 because I had personally invested very much in the

16 defence of Jajce. Moreover, the army of the Republika

17 Srpska gained major operative and strategic

18 possibilities there, and I know that Travnik or,

19 rather, the Lasva Valley became much more vulnerable

20 now than before.

21 But a day after the fall of Jajce, the

22 propaganda -- the Muslim propaganda, rather, the

23 propaganda from Sarajevo said that the HVO had betrayed

24 Jajce. In the Lasva Valley, that caused indignation

25 among people, because how can you betray yourself? How

Page 17026

1 can you betray 20.000 men who now began to arrive in

2 the Lasva Valley? And this whole episode was the

3 result of a purposeful belittlement or even prevention

4 of the HVO.

5 Q. Thank you. We can move on to the next topic,

6 and that is the refugees or the persecution.

7 You said a while ago, and I'm moving on to

8 paragraph 32, that the result of the forceful attacks

9 of the army of the Republika Srpska against Muslims and

10 Croats, over 1.000 Muslim refugees flooded the area of

11 the Central Bosnia, including these lands which were

12 populated primarily by Croats. Those people had to go

13 through Croat lines. That is, you enabled all those

14 refugees, Muslims and Croats, to go through the lines

15 that you held against the Serbs and to go across them

16 into the area of Central Bosnia, didn't you?

17 A. The defence front in Travnik was some 70/30.

18 That was the correlation of forces, the HVO and the

19 territorial army, the army of B and H. Three roads

20 which the refugees could use to arrive from the

21 Republika Srpska or, rather, in places where they were

22 delivered by the army of Republika Srpska because they

23 could not come alone, the BSA simply delivered them

24 there, so these three roads were held by the HVO. I'm

25 talking about more than 100.000 people on those two

Page 17027

1 roads where, from the point where people would enter,

2 we had to provide some means of transportation. There

3 was a shortage of oil, of vehicles, and so on and so

4 forth, but we had somehow to take them down; down to

5 the Lasva Valley, that is. Those were not refugees. I

6 mean all these people were under stress. These people

7 were frustrated. It defies a description of what it

8 looks like when the army of Republika Srpska delivers

9 12, 15, 20 thousand people at a spot and then those

10 people descend -- climb down Vlasic towards the Lasva

11 Valley.

12 Q. Let us then move on to paragraph 33. To

13 avoid the objection of the opposite side that I'm

14 leading the witness, I shall try to phrase it as

15 follows:

16 General Filipovic, in Central Bosnia, from

17 what you know, did the HVO pursue an official or

18 unofficial policy of persecution of Muslims by the HVO?

19 A. I have already said about the reception of

20 refugees delivered by the army of Republika Srpska.

21 They were put up in our area, in our villages, in our

22 sacred objects, in the Jesuit secondary school which is

23 held sacred by the Croats, yet hundreds of Muslims were

24 put up there.

25 Had it been the policy, I could have agreed

Page 17028

1 easily with it, because I would have protested always

2 for refugees to be accommodated in the Jesuit secondary

3 school in Travnik. But had there been such a policy,

4 then all these events wouldn't have taken place,

5 because I could always mine the roads that the refugees

6 were using and refuse to help them find accommodation

7 or whatever.

8 So, in a nutshell, there was no such policy

9 in military, religious, or any other sense was there,

10 in the sense of inequitable treatment or refusal to

11 sympathise with the suffering of the refugees, of

12 Muslim refugees; not only Muslims, because Croats also

13 arrived from Krajina. Our policy was to help people,

14 and that help then came as a [indiscernible] to us.

15 Q. In this paragraph 33, you say explicitly what

16 would have been your reaction, your attitude, had there

17 been such a policy?

18 A. Fortunately, one cannot foresee the future.

19 Well, one can predict certain things but cannot foresee

20 what will happen. But I'm referring to that time. Had

21 anyone, by accident or purposefully, pursued a

22 different kind of policy than the policy of humane

23 relations, then I would have opposed it. There is no

24 doubt about that.

25 Q. Apart from the pressure of refugees on that

Page 17029

1 area, you made a very interesting observation, a

2 military kind of observation about what we are talking

3 about, and that is the banishment -- the persecution of

4 Muslims by the HVO had there been such a policy, and

5 we've agreed that there wasn't, that it would have been

6 tantamount to a military suicide and that it was your

7 great military experience, apart from the human

8 properties that you have, that your military experience

9 would have made you -- would have forced you to refuse

10 to pursue such a policy to hurt somebody who was much

11 stronger, much more powerful?

12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Naumovski, of course we're

13 encouraging you to go quickly, and you are, no doubt,

14 trying to summarise the evidence. It's better if you

15 don't give it and let the witness give it, but I think

16 we probably got the point.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] That isn't

18 what I tried to do. I wasn't really trying to put any

19 words in his mouth or say anything that the General had

20 not carefully analysed before he put his signature to

21 it. I'm not saying anything that the General did not

22 say. These are his words.

23 Q. Very well, General. Would you care to

24 answer, but only briefly, and then we can move on.

25 A. As a professional, but I've already said

Page 17030

1 something about it, the correlation of forces in the

2 Lasva Valley changed as of June and especially July

3 '92, and any policy that would lead to intensifying

4 the conflict would be tantamount to madness, and I

5 really wasn't mad to do any such thing. I'm referring

6 to the area of the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia,

7 and there there was no policy of persecution of

8 Muslims, and especially there was nothing organised,

9 that is, incidents, mishaps. There were, yes, daily,

10 and we know the causes, but there was no intent behind

11 that.

12 Q. When we tendered this summary into evidence,

13 I thought of not asking you anything about the 7th

14 Muslim Brigade, since this is our next topic, but we

15 were not given the number for this piece of evidence so

16 we shall move on to paragraph 34.

17 You say that the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina

18 and the HVO were organised along similar lines, more or

19 less. The HVO had operative zones and the army of

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina had corps?

21 A. Yes, because both peoples were faced with the

22 same problems, so that the ways and means of devising

23 solutions were the same. And the organisation of

24 brigades and the corps or, rather, operative zones were

25 similar or sometimes even identical, and in any event

Page 17031

1 it was always headed and run by people who had gone

2 through the same school, who had gone through the JNA.

3 But the 7th Muslim, and it was rather

4 characteristic of the kind of organisation that existed

5 in Central Bosnia, its organisation, I believe, began

6 sometime in the summer of 1992, and I think it was

7 completed sometime in the autumn or towards the end of

8 1992. It was an anomaly, because it was quite

9 different from the manner in which things were

10 organised elsewhere in Central Bosnia, and a hitherto

11 manner -- way of life of people in that area was

12 radically -- underwent a radical change when the 7th

13 Muslim Brigade was formed. The emblems of the combat

14 corps, such as Allah-u-ekber and the like, did not

15 exist in that area before that. The insistence of the

16 members of those forces that women's faces had to be

17 covered and certain other things fundamentally --

18 radically changing the way of life in that area single

19 out this brigade as a different one, as something that

20 was radically different from all the rest that existed,

21 from the military organisation or the way of life in

22 that area. Now, I think that the organisation of the

23 7th Muslim Brigade, subsequently Mudzahid, caused a

24 further -- disrupted the balance, tipped the scale to

25 one side in that area.

Page 17032













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17033

1 Q. We can agree, can't we, that the 3rd Muslim

2 Brigade and this specially-organised detachment of the

3 Mudzahid consisted of fundamentalistically-minded

4 persons?

5 A. It could not be joined -- or at least it was

6 my impression, the impression that I gained at the time

7 and I still think so, that it could not be joined by

8 those who held some different views regarding the

9 objectives of the struggle in that area. You know, I

10 am fighting for Bosnia-Herzegovina. I fight for my

11 people. I fight so that my daughters can use their

12 make-up or that my son can use a computer and so on and

13 so forth. And then forces come which refute all that

14 and do so with rifles in their hands. That is why I

15 insist on it, that it meant a disruption in that area

16 regarding the way of life, regarding the frame of mind,

17 the living conditions, and everything else.

18 Q. And who organised the 7th Muslim Brigade and

19 the Mudzahid, who organised them, who controlled them,

20 who was their superior commander, or where was their

21 superior command?

22 A. Officially it was the 3rd Corps, with

23 headquarters in Zenica. But I do know that even in

24 1995, the commander of the joint staff, when I sent

25 people from both components to tour some areas in Gluha

Page 17034

1 Bukovica or Han Bila, that even then I could not find

2 men who would do that from both components, I mean,

3 Muslim and Croat, because that formation was always

4 treated differently from any other formation of the

5 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in that area.

6 I really do not go further into it, but I

7 repeat: Officially it was subordinated to the

8 3rd Corps.

9 Q. Paragraph 35, very briefly, because the Court

10 has heard a great deal about how members of the

11 7th Muslim Brigade committed the massacre in Busovaca

12 on the 26th of January, 1993, and that was the first

13 massacre of the civilian population in Central Bosnia,

14 but you also know that the 7th Muslim Brigade played an

15 important role during the Travnik offensive, and we

16 shall come back to it again, in June 1993, and you took

17 direct part in it, then in the Kakanj offensive, also

18 launched in June 1993, then in Fojnica in July 1993,

19 and then in Bugojno in July 1993, and finally, Vares in

20 early November 1993.

21 A. All these operations conducted by the Muslim

22 side could not be launched without the Muslim brigade,

23 be it in whole or in part. From information, from

24 conversations with people and so on, I think also that

25 the crimes against Croats in that area, not Croats,

Page 17035

1 against people, were committed by members of that

2 brigade.

3 Q. And my last question related to this

4 brigade: Amongst the civilian population or even the

5 soldiers of the HVO, because of this lack of respect

6 for human life and so on and so forth, this Muslim

7 brigade had an awesome reputation. I mean, people were

8 simply afraid of it.

9 A. I've already said that it changed the image

10 or the way of life that came through that brigade. I

11 wouldn't say that we were afraid of it in the

12 beginning. Naturally, in the beginning, it was rather

13 successful in creating that image of itself which it

14 was trying to project through combat and other

15 activities, but as the time went by, in 1993, when we

16 were all crowded in the enclave or pressed in, and when

17 members of this and other special units were conducting

18 the attacks, each was a combat formation as any other,

19 as far as we were concerned, it inflicted more losses.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Yes. I was

21 about to suggest that, Your Honours. Yes, it would be

22 quite convenient.

23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now.

24 Major General Filipovic, would you be back,

25 please, at half past two to continue your evidence. I

Page 17036

1 must warn you, as I warn all witnesses, not to speak to

2 anybody about your evidence until it's over, and that

3 does include members of the Defence.

4 Half past two.

5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.





















Page 17037

1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.

3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

4 Your Honours. With your permission, Your Honours, I

5 have made some progress with respect to the plan that

6 we have started out with, and I think we can cut things

7 short. I believe that the Prosecution had some time to

8 review the summary, and perhaps we can now tender it

9 into evidence, in which case, we would not have to go

10 paragraph by paragraph.

11 MR. NICE: I'm not in a position to make that

12 concession at this stage. I've only had time to review

13 some of the statement, not all of it.

14 JUDGE MAY: Take it, Mr. Naumovski, as

15 quickly as you can, but, of course, if there are any

16 matters which you particularly want to draw our

17 attention to or to particularly bring out in evidence,

18 you may, of course, do so.

19 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

20 Your Honours.

21 Q. General, we can continue where we left off

22 before lunch, and we stopped off where we said -- this

23 is paragraph 37, where the political institutions

24 ceased to function. This is both 37 and 38. Even

25 though you said you were not a member of the HDZ, you

Page 17038

1 know that this main political party of Croats ceased to

2 exist during the summer.

3 A. I do not know much about this, but I know

4 that the HDZ and Demo-Christians and the Party of Right

5 were not active at the time, and I also heard that

6 officially the position was taken that members of the

7 HVO could not participate actively in political

8 parties. So I know that as of June 1992, these parties

9 were not active.

10 Q. We also mentioned today about the activities

11 of the civilian authorities, and let's break it down

12 into two parts. We agree that in 1992 there were

13 difficulties, and due to these difficulties, the normal

14 life continued to get organised at the municipal level

15 and, as you said, even at the level of individual

16 villages.

17 A. Yes. There were political problems which

18 were continuous, and somebody still had to carry out

19 these activities. But I must say that the majority of

20 the civilian activities just died down.

21 For instance, the educational system

22 stopped. Children couldn't be let to go to school if

23 you expected shelling every day. Also, the health care

24 was reduced to the basements of health centres. But in

25 short, some -- life needed to go on, and there were

Page 17039

1 bodies that were involved, and what really became very

2 important was the humanitarian organisations in the

3 area, in the field.

4 Q. These problems in the organisation of

5 civilian life emerged, especially in 1993, after the

6 conflict of April 1993, because everybody was

7 mobilised. Everybody was put in the line of defence,

8 if I can put it that way.

9 A. When we were reduced to an enclave, very few

10 civilian activities were still carried on. So it was

11 characteristic that the entire life was organised in a

12 military way or through the military.

13 Q. Very well, let's move on to paragraph 38.

14 You had information which you received in the course of

15 this case that the British army military intelligence

16 report seemed to say that there were some connections

17 with the HVO and HDZ. In other words, that there was

18 some kind of a political commissar or zampolit, as in

19 the Soviet Union.

20 You would be the right person to ask this

21 question: Were there any political commissars in the

22 HVO, in the sense that this word was used in the former

23 Soviet Union?

24 A. I can state that there was no place and there

25 was no such practice on the part of political officers

Page 17040













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17041

1 in the military. There were only officers which were

2 liaisons with the public sector for raising the morale,

3 and these were people who liaise between the military

4 and the civilians.

5 Q. In other words, it is a post that is to be

6 found in any other army, but was there any

7 representative of the HDZ who worked on either combat

8 plans, combat operations, the use of troops, or

9 something like that?

10 A. At no level of command, including platoon,

11 company, battalion, Operative Zone, or brigade was

12 there such a post, such a function.

13 Q. Let us repeat one more time. According to

14 the decree on the armed forces adopted by the

15 Bosnians --

16 JUDGE MAY: [Previous translation

17 continues] ... to repeat something which we know

18 already.

19 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

20 Your Honours.

21 Q. We're moving on to paragraph 39, which is the

22 HVO defence in the Lasva Valley. Was the HVO prepared

23 for the conflict with the TO and the ABiH in 1992,

24 General?

25 A. I can talk about the Central Bosnia Operative

Page 17042

1 Zone and the Travnik Brigade, which was really the

2 focus of my activity at the time.

3 We had our hands full with the defence

4 against the Army of Republika Srpska, and the problems

5 where the enclave -- where the population was mixed,

6 and the Muslim offensive showed that the HVO was

7 unprepared for the military tasks which it had to deal

8 with, and the incidents show that we could be

9 attacked.

10 And if we compare our soldiers to those of

11 the army of the Republika Srpska, and we depended on --

12 we had to provide the corridor between the Republic of

13 Croatia and the enclaves, but we were not preparing,

14 and we could not count -- we could not foresee what the

15 whole situation would turn out to be, because we had

16 formed a commission which was supposed to work on

17 separation of forces and other issues which were the

18 burning ones at the time.

19 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, what were

20 some of the main objectives which the ABiH had in

21 Vitez?

22 A. I can speak to the entire Lasva Valley. ABiH

23 had several key objectives, which was to encircle --

24 that is, to consolidate the area which it controlled,

25 and the Lasva Valley was an obstacle to its full

Page 17043

1 control of the territory to which it aspired. And then

2 there were two very significant factories. One was

3 Bratstvo, which was producing all ammunition up to

4 150 millimetre, and the second was the explosives

5 factory in Vitez.

6 In October 1992, they managed to cut us off

7 from the Bratstvo Factory, and throughout 1993, they

8 endeavoured to take control of the explosives factory

9 in Vitez. And in the course of 1993, it became

10 transparent, what the real objectives of the ABiH were,

11 and that was to cut through the Lasva pocket once,

12 through Ahmici, Santici, Vranjska, which is about eight

13 to nine hundred metres in a straight line. And in

14 Central Bosnia, also one of the objectives was the

15 headquarters of the Operative Zone, which would mean to

16 cut off the head and the rest of the body would have

17 died.

18 In Vitez, we had about 150 to 200 fighting

19 men per shift involved in the defence. And from June

20 1993, anyone who could carry a weapon was engaged, and

21 so the number of casualties also rose proportionately.

22 There were about 800 Croat casualties for that small

23 area, and it's a very substantial percentage, and that

24 is because of the forces that it had in the area. It

25 also had it in Travnik, Novi Travnik, and Busovaca, but

Page 17044

1 it was very characteristic for this particular area.

2 Q. And just to wrap up this line of questions,

3 in addition to this enormous number, that is, the

4 disproportionate number, there were also about 2.000

5 wounded in the area?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. We're moving on to paragraphs 40 and 41, the

8 HVO military police.

9 With respect to the military police, there

10 was a chain of command in the Central Bosnia Operative

11 Zone, in the operative sense of the word. The

12 operative commander in the Operative Zone was the

13 commander of the Operative Zone; is that right?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. So this is how the 4th Battalion of the

16 Military Police, which was stationed in Vitez, was also

17 used?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. But the military police, and we know this

20 from other armies, in the organisational sense, in a

21 sense of -- in an administrative sense, in a sense of

22 appointment of officers, it was also linked to the

23 military department?

24 A. Yes. In respect of -- that is, the context

25 of the military police within the military organisation

Page 17045

1 overall is that it has its own duties, which was to

2 ensure that all the recruits are brought into the

3 units, into the front line, and to ensure the full

4 strength of the armed forces, which is why -- which is

5 one of the reasons why the military police is separated

6 out from the main body of the military organisation.

7 Q. I think that there will be more questions on

8 this in the cross-examination, but let me ask you just

9 one more question in that regard.

10 During your time in the command positions in

11 the HVO, did Mr. Blaskic ever have any responsible

12 towards the military -- that is, did Mr. Kordic have

13 any responsibility with respect to military police?

14 A. I said that Mr. Kordic never had command over

15 any military unit in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,

16 including the military police.

17 Q. Thank you. Let's move on quickly. These are

18 paragraphs 42 through 48, the fighting in 1992 and

19 1993.

20 Several questions relating to the October

21 1992 conflict in Novi Travnik, when there was -- when

22 we had several days of fighting. You spoke about it,

23 but what was the strategic objective of the TO, that

24 is, ABiH, in October 1992?

25 A. This conflict did not only occur in Novi

Page 17046

1 Travnik, it was part of the conflict, and in that

2 context the commander of the Novi Travnik Brigade,

3 Ivica Stojak, was killed.

4 During that period, I could not come to

5 Travnik. This was part of a larger-scale operation,

6 and I imagine that it was the conquest of territory.

7 But we lost ability to control about 70 per cent of the

8 territory in Travnik, including the Travnik factory

9 which employed, if I remember correctly, over 4.000

10 people.

11 This conflict in October also led to the fall

12 of Jajce, and this was mentioned before. But people

13 who could cross over the mountains in Jeep-type

14 vehicles knew that they would be unable to use those

15 mountain roads in the next six months, and the conflict

16 between the Croats and Muslims shook the confidence of

17 the defenders of Jajce, and the enclave of Jajce, which

18 was key to the defence of the Lasva River Valley

19 against the Bosnian Serb army, was lost.

20 Q. You mentioned the Bratstvo Factory in

21 Travnik, and you said that the HVO completely lost

22 control over this factory in October?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Can you tell me, who issued combat orders in

25 Travnik during the conflict between the HVO and TO,

Page 17047

1 that is, ABiH?

2 A. The system of command and control was such

3 that the Novi Travnik Brigade, that is, the people from

4 Novi Travnik -- I was there the whole time and the

5 Central Bosnia Operative Zone commander. As I said,

6 there were conflicts in several areas, and it was the

7 chief of -- the area commander, then his deputy, which

8 was myself, and ...

9 Q. The Trial Chamber knows that Mr. Kordic --

10 where Mr. Kordic was during this conflict. Did

11 Mr. Kordic have any military command duties during this

12 conflict?

13 A. Mr. Kordic would always come where the

14 situation was critical. I know that, for instance,

15 when it was critical in Jajce, he would come to Jajce,

16 and then Vitez, Travnik also. But as far as the

17 command-and-control system are concerned within the

18 HVO, he was not involved at all.

19 Q. I understand that. You speak generally

20 within the system of command and control. But let's

21 talk specifically. You were in Novi Travnik. You were

22 overseeing all the operations. Did you ever see

23 Mr. Kordic issue any order during those seven or

24 however many days the conflict in October 1992 lasted?

25 A. I will repeat for the fifth time, I never

Page 17048













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17049

1 heard of it, I never saw it. No, it never happened.

2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]

4 Mr. Naumovski, I would like to ask -- excuse me. It is

5 there where there were serious problems, but was he

6 abreast of events? He didn't give orders -- did you,

7 General Filipovic, know if Mr. Kordic was receiving

8 instruction from superior political and military

9 structures in cases where there were serious problems?

10 Did you know whether he received any instructions

11 during those difficult moments?

12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

13 Q. You understood the question?

14 A. I don't know whether he received

15 instructions. I know what the activities in the field

16 were. You do not need instructions if you're

17 attacked. You have to defend yourself inasmuch as you

18 can.

19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] General, you

20 say that Mr. Kordic was still there, but was he

21 communicating with the military hierarchy at the time?

22 Do you know? Did you have and did he communicate with

23 the military hierarchy? Do you know anything about

24 that?

25 A. Mr. Kordic was there. Because I was there, I

Page 17050

1 communicated with him. He was there with General

2 Blaskic. He was there with other persons. But again,

3 I repeat, at any, at any moment, he was free to get

4 involved in any problem which arose, but it was the

5 military structure which issued orders. If you want a

6 specific example, Mr. Kordic never could or did give

7 any orders to me or any of my subordinates.

8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Can you tell

9 us, General, what type of problems Mr. Kordic was

10 dealing with?

11 A. Mr. Kordic contacted people in the sense that

12 he provided political support. If there was a crisis

13 and it affected the entire population, their leadership

14 has to be there for them. And people voted for him.

15 And through his activities he showed leadership, and

16 this is -- and I will repeat, this is why he was in

17 Jajce in the summer of 1992. I think that it was in

18 August or when Jajce fell and then part of Travnik area

19 fell, and both HVO and the ABiH lost ground, then

20 Mr. Kordic intervened, and he sent in earthmovers to

21 dig trenches and to re-establish lines of defence, and

22 that was also the case in Travnik in August 1992, which

23 is not different from his overall activity throughout

24 the war.

25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

Page 17051

1 Your Honours.

2 Q. General Filipovic, we were going to come to

3 that later, but since you mentioned Jajce and the

4 support of Mr. Kordic in efforts to defend Jajce --

5 this is paragraph 53. What was the role of Mr. Kordic

6 specifically? Since we touched on this, can you tell

7 us: In what ways did he mobilise people?

8 A. In those situations when one loses one's

9 life, when one loses one's freedom or part of a body,

10 there are not always people who should act as they

11 should. Doctors are leaving the area even though their

12 fundamental mission is to stay there where there is

13 suffering. Teachers should teach, at least in places

14 outside of the range of shells and so on and so forth.

15 But Mr. Kordic -- and I profoundly believe that -- the

16 man who was responsible to the people, he really

17 devoted himself to see that his people live better, to

18 live the life that people chooses, and as far as I

19 know, he never left the most critical areas, the most

20 critical points.

21 In that regard, Mr. Kordic's position in

22 overall developments in the Lasva Valley was such, and

23 usually where one could get killed at any given

24 moment.

25 Q. Very well. Thank you. Let us move on. That

Page 17052

1 is paragraph 44. But those were some incidents, and

2 the Court has already heard something about that, but

3 incidents that happened around Easter in 1993 in

4 Travnik, when Croats hoisted some of their flags in

5 order to mark Easter. What happened to those flags?

6 A. In March and April 1993, I had to keep up

7 with a whole number of incidents in the area of

8 responsibility of the Travnik Brigade. Then I was -- I

9 also had the murder of Zvonko Gaso's wife in the

10 doorway of their apartment, then Medancic's murder in

11 his flat, the eviction of the family Rimac from their

12 flat and so on and so forth. But the most

13 characteristic, the most glaringly obvious attack was

14 the removal of the flags, of our flags, of my flags

15 along the streets and the singing of songs,

16 Allah-u-ekber or Tekbir or something, right up to our

17 office.

18 And when I began to take them down from those

19 buildings, then we opened fire to drive them away.

20 This was the picture of the disrupted balance,

21 equilibrium of normal life, and the jeopardy to the

22 overall situation in which I found a person that one

23 could negotiate, that we could talk things, and he did

24 what he could.

25 I might also mention that the incidents and

Page 17053

1 the things that happened were not only -- that the

2 blame for them should not only be laid down at the door

3 of Muslims but at Croats as well.

4 Q. You mentioned whom? Who was the head of the

5 HDZ in Travnik? You mentioned a Croat name. Who was

6 that?

7 A. I would not say he was the front man, but he

8 was from the HDZ.

9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not

10 get the name, I'm sorry.

11 A. He was an officer in the command of the

12 Travnik Brigade. That is, during the time when Stojak

13 was killed, he was wounded, but that happened in

14 October 1992, and in March or early April -- I don't

15 know exactly -- his wife was killed on the threshold of

16 their apartment.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

18 Q. Just to make it clear for the transcript, I

19 gave the name "Gaso." I don't see that.

20 Let us move on. Paragraph 45. To follow up

21 on your previous thought, there were also incidents in

22 March, then in April, and so on and so forth.

23 General, did -- in 1993, was Mate Boban in

24 Travnik? Did he ever visit Travnik that year?

25 A. No. I'm sure that he never was in Travnik,

Page 17054

1 but from what I know, in the Central Bosnia Operative

2 Zone, he visited it only once and that was in September

3 or October 1992, and that was for a few hours only.

4 Q. You mean that was the only time that he came

5 there in 1992?

6 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nodded.

7 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

8 Q. I did not hear an answer. Did you say

9 "yes"?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Let's move on. Paragraph 46, your initial

12 information about the events in Ahmici received from

13 Colonel Bob Stewart when he visited you in Travnik and

14 when you spoke about the problems that you, the Croats,

15 faced in the town of Travnik, is that so?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. You mean, did he tell you anything,

18 anything? Did he give any details about that or did he

19 simply inform you that a crime happened?

20 A. He often came to see me and Alagic. It went

21 all the time. And I remember one occasion when I

22 complained about what the Muslims were doing or the

23 army of BH, what they were doing against the HVO, he

24 said, "And what do you do? What do you, the Croats,

25 do? What do we do?" Then he mentioned Ahmici, that

Page 17055

1 there were very many fatalities there, and it was the

2 first time that I heard about the crime in Ahmici.

3 Later on, in that commission and even before

4 that, neither a Delic's, nor a Vehbija Karic's, nor a

5 Siber's, nor at -- What was the gentleman's name? --

6 rather, General -- What's his name? -- Dzemal Merdan or

7 any other -- I did not hear about that crime within a

8 series of such incidents, of such crimes. This did not

9 seem to be singled out as something special. It was

10 only until 1994, 1995 when this began to grow into

11 something that's seen -- that looked to me like an

12 orchestrated, like a fabricated picture of anything,

13 questioning everything, or at least the purest defence

14 of the HVO since the world began, because there is

15 nothing else for ten months, locked out from everybody,

16 separated from any help, thousands of victims are the

17 targets of that defence are brought into question.

18 JUDGE MAY: We're not going to be helped by

19 this. If you would --

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,

21 Your Honours.

22 JUDGE MAY: If you want, Mr. Naumovski, to

23 ask anything more about Ahmici, you can. Otherwise,

24 let's move on to a different subject.

25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very briefly,

Page 17056













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17057

1 Your Honours.

2 Q. I was about to ask -- we're still at

3 paragraph 46 -- as a trained military, as a

4 professional military, as a responsible military, I

5 think to your mind, every civilian casualty is one too

6 many. That is the question. You don't dispute that,

7 do you?

8 A. I condemn crime as such. I condemn crimes

9 against people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, not only my

10 people but against people, and I hope that the

11 perpetrators of the crimes will be called to account

12 and that they will be punished. I believe that this

13 august Court is helping to bring the life in

14 Bosnia-Herzegovina back to normal and to avoid any

15 further crimes.

16 Q. Thank you. And in a nutshell, you heard that

17 the HVO conducted an investigation about the event in

18 Ahmici, but did you personally play any part in the

19 investigation? Did you take part in the investigation,

20 and so on and so forth?

21 A. Well, my concern in Travnik had to cover so

22 many things that I could not make a contribution

23 anywhere else. I heard and I know that investigation

24 was conducted. I did not have any part to play in

25 that, but I can have an idea about this in view of

Page 17058

1 everything that was happening in that area during the

2 period that we are talking about.

3 Q. There will be more questions about that, and

4 you will have another opportunity to talk about that,

5 but we have now move on to the next paragraph, which is

6 47.

7 You're a career soldier, and while you worked

8 in the Operative Zone before and after the Travnik

9 Brigade, before and after you were quite familiar with

10 the military situation in Central Bosnia or, rather, in

11 the Lasva Valley. To your knowledge, on the 16th of

12 April, 1993, fighting broke out in several places, not

13 only in one small restricted area.

14 A. When the 16th of April became the "D-Day," if

15 I may call it that, I toured cemeteries and could

16 see -- and I'm referring to the HVO young men -- I

17 could see how many young men who were killed on that

18 day were buried in the cemeteries in the Lasva Valley.

19 So that what I know about that, my knowledge about

20 that, is the result of that tour.

21 Well -- but, anyway, the crime happened. One

22 cannot deny that. And I repeat once again, I condemn

23 the crime, and I hope that those responsible for it

24 will be called to justice.

25 Q. And the paragraph 48. The attacks of the

Page 17059

1 ABiH in Krizancevo Selo in 1992 and early 1994 -- no, I

2 think I was wrong. I'm referring to December 1993,

3 Krizancevo Selo, and January 1994 in Buhine Kuce, when

4 many civilians and captured soldiers were killed. Do

5 you know something about that? Some of your former

6 soldiers lost their lives there, in Buhine Kuce in

7 particular.

8 A. I already spoke how the enclave was shrinking

9 and about its narrowest part which were under the

10 severest attacks of the BH army, and that is Ahmici,

11 Santici, Buhine Kuce, and Krizancevo Selo.

12 We were told that the Christmas of 1993 would

13 be bloody and so it was. In Krizancevo Selo, we lost

14 almost 100 men, and then in Buhine Kuce about 20. It

15 is true that that was in combat, but that was the

16 product of crimes against civilians and captured

17 soldiers, because captured soldiers were also victims;

18 that is, a crime was committed against them.

19 Q. I apologise. I already mentioned Dusina as a

20 place where a crime happened. But in the area that you

21 know best, and that is the municipality of Travnik,

22 there were crimes, and around the Travnik municipality,

23 there were crimes in Miletici, in Buhine, in the

24 village of Cukle, and that was June 1993. You have

25 relatives in Miletici, so you would know about that?

Page 17060

1 A. I had. I'm talking about the attacks, ethnic

2 cleansing crimes, after a military operation.

3 That whole area or the fighting for the area,

4 the struggle for survival and the fighting to get hold

5 of a passage -- of a corridor, an enclave, they

6 produced victims and produced crimes on both sides,

7 because there were numerous incidents when one did not

8 deal with them as crimes. But a mass crime is a mass

9 crime. Whether 20 or 30 or 70 human lives, then that

10 is a crime. There is no other word for it. I am

11 therefore trying to portray the events or what we call

12 the defence of the Lasva Valley.

13 Q. General, with many officers who are your

14 opponents in the war, that is, amongst the Muslim

15 ranks, when you were in the joint army, in the federal

16 army, and you worked with General Merdan and others,

17 did you ever hear from any one of them that the

18 perpetrators of crimes against the Croats in the

19 villages you mentioned had been punished?

20 A. They were not punished. They were not even

21 brought to trial. They were not even prosecuted. So

22 they could not be punished, because there were no

23 proceedings conducted against them.

24 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to the next

25 topic. The Court knows about it as the Convoy of Joy.

Page 17061

1 You know about it as the Tuzla Convoy, and that is

2 paragraph 49.

3 Before we address that, however, will you

4 tell the Court in two sentences, at that time, a couple

5 of days before that convoy, four or so very well

6 planned and organised offensives of the BH army against

7 the HVO began throughout that area of the Travnik and

8 Novi Travnik municipalities; is that so?

9 A. Well, on the 9th and 10th, I conducted

10 negotiations with Siber or, rather, Delic in Kiseljak,

11 together with Petkovic, and the evening of the 10th,

12 UNPROFOR took us to Vitez. Then I sensed an atmosphere

13 of panic, of fear, of disarray in Vitez. That is, I

14 learned that eight children had been killed that day

15 next to Crnogorka -- that was a building there, we

16 called it that -- and very many other casualties. And

17 no sooner did we finish that sort of a meeting,

18 Petkovic -- then Petkovic went to the headquarters and

19 I went to the Travnik Brigade, because Travnik or,

20 rather, the Travnik Brigade had suffered most from the

21 previous offensive; disarray, panic, nerves. Those

22 were not humans any longer. It was all nerves and

23 emotions. I immediately set about organising the

24 defence, but it was not easy at all, because people who

25 had fled their homes, they looked up at the hills, at

Page 17062

1 their homes burning. They knew who had perished, who

2 was no longer there, who was not down, who had not come

3 down.

4 That day or the next day, the Tuzla Convoy

5 arrived amidst that -- into that state of affairs

6 between Travnik and Novi Travnik, that is, on that

7 road. It landed in the middle of that situation, and I

8 know that it was impossible to control. I'm referring

9 to those men, to refugees who a few days before that

10 had lost everything they had and arrived there having

11 nothing.

12 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] All right,

13 thank you.

14 Your Honours, I forgot to say, when I began

15 to examine Mr. Filipovic, that we had no exhibits to

16 tender. But we do have a videotape, so could we show

17 it today? It's very short. It's a BBC clip, and it's

18 about the convoy. Could we show it now?

19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

20 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

21 [In English] An exhibit number, please.

22 [Videotape played]

23 THE REGISTRAR: The videotape will be marked

24 D204/1.

25 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

Page 17063

1 Q. General, you had just begun describing the

2 situation, the wartime situation in that area. What

3 you saw now, does it properly reflect your

4 interpretation of the circumstances under which these

5 things -- these incidents around the convoy happened?

6 A. Here I see the role of several soldiers

7 isolating somebody. I don't know who or in what

8 capacity. I also see a priest who is presumably trying

9 to calm people down, and he comes to a woman who bars

10 his passage. That is inconceivable in that part of the

11 world, to resist a priest, and it merely confirms what

12 relations were in the Lasva Valley during those days

13 since the loss of Travnik, that is, between the loss of

14 Travnik and the fear that the whole area would be lost.

15 Q. General, it is claimed that this convoy was

16 stopped in a planned manner, that it was stopped

17 deliberately, that is, that there was an organised

18 attack and that it was all premeditated. You were

19 there. You were familiar with the conditions under

20 which all this happened. Is that statement -- is that

21 claim accurate?

22 A. There was no plan to defend it, plan. There

23 was a plan, but the situation to establish a front

24 line, not to lose any more territory, any more ground,

25 not to lose houses. No, there was no plan to attack

Page 17064













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17065

1 the convoy. I'm describing the situation when one is

2 losing ground, losing thousands of houses, when people

3 are getting killed. And when the HVO or the Croats

4 there are being corralled in a very small area, and to

5 plan an attack on a convoy, no, I think it is simply --

6 it is out of the question.

7 Q. You had to deal with this convoy at the time

8 when this happened and much later. Could you tell us

9 if you have ever heard, through the cooperation with

10 all the HVO officers, could any HVO officer run these

11 events? Could anyone really keep control over these

12 events, or any HVO high-ranking representative, could

13 anyone keep it under control and control these things,

14 manipulate those things?

15 A. From Tomislavgrad to Kiseljak, where I was

16 supposed to go there for negotiations, and I know that

17 its passage was postponed for days and I know perhaps

18 even weeks on end because it was to enter a

19 highly-hazardous area, yet it was decided that it was

20 to go through, knowing in advance that it couldn't --

21 you know, a Muslim convoy, a Muslim convoy, one

22 could -- which was taking weapons and armaments, or at

23 least supposedly taking that, and we were at that time

24 losing our people, losing our property, so that convoy

25 should not have been allowed to go through, especially

Page 17066

1 at that particular period of time, that it shouldn't

2 have been allowed to enter the area.

3 But the area where the convoy was attacked is

4 that same area where, in 1992, the JNA was not allowed

5 to pull out the weapons from Bratstvo. I've already

6 spoken about that.

7 JUDGE MAY: General, we'll make quicker

8 progress if you could just concentrate on the

9 question. The question was: "Could anybody control the

10 convoy or what would happen to it?" Could you just

11 briefly give us an answer to that?

12 A. I am not a legal person, so please guide me

13 in terms of the procedure.

14 My answer is nobody ever heard that anyone

15 organised an attack against this convoy.

16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, let's move on.

17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Just one

18 follow-up question, Your Honour.

19 Q. How many refugees did flee the area engulfed

20 in the conflict in those days?

21 A. At least 20.000 Croats from the Travnik

22 municipality, some areas in Novi Travnik, Vitez, and

23 Busovaca municipalities, which would come to a total of

24 about 30.000 people.

25 Q. Another question related to paragraph 50.

Page 17067

1 You remembered when Mr. Kordic told some people to let

2 the convoy go. What do you know about that?

3 A. I was told from -- I heard from people in

4 Novi Travnik, and when you -- when they arrived in the

5 Lasva pocket, in this corral, if we can call it that,

6 they related that they were received by a number of

7 people, including Kordic and Blaskic -- I don't know if

8 they were there together or not -- and that they all

9 trained their weapons at Mr. Kordic and his escort, and

10 that he barely got out of there alive. I think that

11 Mr. Blaskic was also present there.

12 I never even considered going into such

13 perilous situations. I always went directly against

14 the enemy, because I would -- I thought that I would

15 rather be killed by the enemy than be involved in

16 situations where I had people that were out of control.

17 Q. We will now move on to the next area of

18 questioning, which we bring under the common heading of

19 "Dario Kordic". Paragraphs 51 through 56.

20 When you arrived in Central Bosnia, you said

21 that you mentioned people who were the key persons in

22 that area. Mr. Kordic was one of them, but there were

23 others in addition to him; isn't that right?

24 A. My profession also implies a judgement of

25 people and seeing who is best able to do a certain job,

Page 17068

1 and if I look at the Lasva River Valley, the four

2 municipalities, Matisic in Travnik, and there were some

3 others. It's all here in the summary, but there were

4 people who really wanted to place themselves in the

5 service of their people.

6 Q. You partially answered the questions

7 contained in paragraph 52, but can you tell us a little

8 bit about your view of Mr. Kordic? You said that he

9 was a political leader, that he was able to motivate

10 people?

11 A. I would not like to repeat myself too much.

12 I could elaborate on some of these things. But without

13 a doubt, Mr. Kordic was a person who was able to

14 motivate people or try to do so. It was very

15 convincing. He had very strong -- very clear views.

16 He had the courage to go into difficult situations.

17 When we went to Jajce, there was a

18 16-kilometre stretch, very dangerous. Only about 30

19 people volunteered to go there. Then I approached the

20 political leadership through Blaskic, but I approached

21 Mr. Kordic. It wasn't very formal, though. I asked of

22 him to do something, because we had to do it, and

23 Mr. Kordic and others interceded. And after that, we

24 had regular shifts of people going to Jajce and

25 elsewhere.

Page 17069

1 So this was the climate, and this is the role

2 that political leadership had. It wasn't just

3 political structures. You needed to involve other

4 people in order to get things done and individuals

5 involved.

6 Q. Can you please tell us, did you ever -- you

7 heard him speak, you heard his speeches -- did you ever

8 hear him use any derogatory terms in relation to other

9 ethnic groups, especially the Muslims, as they were

10 called at the time?

11 A. Never, in terms of ethnic groups. But with

12 respect to extremists within those ethnic groups who,

13 in those circumstances, were our enemies, he was very

14 sharp and also very realistic in terms of what needed

15 to be done and how things needed to be approached.

16 Q. If I understand you correctly, he never had

17 anything against groups as a whole.

18 A. No, just extremists and perhaps some groups,

19 but in relation to them, perhaps there were some

20 harsher words too.

21 Q. Let's move on to paragraph 53. You said that

22 Mr. Kordic was in Novi Travnik. Could he come and

23 learn about the military situation there?

24 A. Mr. Kordic and others like Matisic in

25 Travnik, and Pero Krizanac also in Travnik, could at

Page 17070

1 any time attend the briefings and meetings wherever it

2 was necessary in order to familiarise themselves with

3 issues and not infrequently they did so. And again, I

4 repeat: They had no commanding role or meddling, if I

5 can put it that way, in military matters, but simply in

6 order to facilitate their later activity in mobilising

7 forces and so on and so forth.

8 Q. Yes. You said that a number of times. No

9 civilian, including those who you just mentioned, had

10 any role or part in that chain of command.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Paragraph 54. When you arrived, you found

13 Mr. Kordic in the role of one of the early organisers

14 of institutions in the area, but later, you and

15 Mr. Blaskic, who were trained officers, took over all

16 these jobs. In other words, you organised the military

17 aspects of the HVO.

18 A. I don't know specifically what Mr. Kordic's

19 role was before my arrival there -- I can only guess --

20 but after I took over the regional headquarters and

21 then Blaskic the organisation and especially combat,

22 was always within the chain of command. As far as the

23 logistics is concerned, for instance, supply of fuels,

24 food, we did not have facilities for that. This is

25 what the civilians did, and also the municipal

Page 17071

1 government would also provide with us salaries. They

2 were doing the payrolls if there was money. So that

3 was 20 or 30 marks a month. So Colonel Filipovic

4 received a salary of 20 to 30 marks a month, and this

5 was provided to me by the municipal government.

6 Q. General, you were a trained soldier. You are

7 a trained soldier. Can you give us your assessment of

8 whether Mr. Kordic had any military knowledge of any

9 kind?

10 A. If he had it, he did not display it, but I

11 don't think that he did have any, nor did he ever try

12 to make it appear as if he did.

13 Q. You know that he just did his military

14 service just as all men of military age were obliged to

15 do in the former Yugoslav army?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. General, did you ever hear Kordic issue any

18 order to any special purpose units or any other regular

19 HVO unit or any part, any minutest unit of the HVO in

20 the Central Bosnia area while during your stay there?

21 A. My answer again is "No."

22 Q. When I spoke about the smallest or minutest

23 units, I refer to Jokers and Vitezovi and Alfa Force or

24 whatever their names were. Is your answer the same for

25 all units?

Page 17072













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17073

1 A. There were many other units who were -- with

2 different names and who skirted their obligation to be

3 part of the chain of command and who looked for ways

4 not to be part of the defence but, rather, be involved

5 in things other than the defence.

6 Q. Yes, I understand you, but we are here to

7 defend Mr. Kordic. So my question to you is: Do you

8 know of any connection of Mr. Kordic to any of these

9 units?

10 A. No.

11 Q. General, we're turning now to paragraph 56.

12 We spoke a lot here about Mr. Kordic's rank of

13 colonel. You were the only real colonel, which is a

14 rank that you brought from the JNA, but do you know how

15 Mr. Kordic was given this honorary rank?

16 A. My rank was implicit, so to speak. I did

17 not -- I was not reappointed in that rank for the HVO,

18 but everybody just respected it. I insisted that

19 Blaskic also be conferred the rank of colonel because

20 that was the commanding position that he was carrying

21 out, and I addressed him as "colonel" and that was the

22 practice.

23 In the summer of 1992, the negotiations

24 started in the Sarajevo airport. General Mladic and

25 General Halilovic were representatives of the other two

Page 17074

1 sides, and Colonel Blaskic was representing our side.

2 Technically speaking, Generals Mladic and Halilovic

3 took about an hour to come and go, whereas for

4 Colonel Blaskic, it took one or two days. And this

5 happened a couple of times, and I said, "This cannot go

6 on like this. We have to appoint a different person to

7 go to the Sarajevo airport."

8 Q. Why?

9 A. Because the commander cannot be absent from

10 his post for such a long period of time. And the

11 possibility arose that Mr. Kordic would be such a

12 person, but he couldn't go there without a rank. So I

13 said, "If I'm a colonel, he can be a colonel, and this

14 is something that he needs in order to get the job

15 done." So I insisted that we all call him "Colonel."

16 And I think that this was done for this

17 specific purpose. I know that there was a Colonel

18 Jovic who was appointed major general in order to go on

19 a mission to Africa. As far as Mr. Kordic is

20 concerned, whether he was officially confirmed, and I

21 believe he was in this rank, but nobody ever questioned

22 his rank. He did not abuse it, and it was understood

23 that this is what it was.

24 Q. So his rank remained, but he never had any

25 command duties and he never commanded over any units?

Page 17075

1 A. This rank was confirmed in a moment of

2 necessity, but he never abused it, and the rank was

3 never revoked or taken away.

4 For instance, Mr. Mesic, who is now president

5 of Croatia, he was confirmed the rank of major general,

6 even though he was never a military man. That's how it

7 went.

8 Q. Very well. I'll just touch on paragraph 57.

9 Excuse me.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'd like to ask the witness

11 why he formed the view that Mr. Kordic would not be

12 able to participate in the negotiations unless he was

13 styled "Colonel."

14 A. Your Honour, I did not conclude this, I knew

15 it.

16 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation]

17 Q. Maybe you should explain to the Judges what

18 kind of negotiations these were.

19 A. These were negotiations of the military

20 commanders of all three parties.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: And only military

22 personnel --

23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.

24 JUDGE ROBINSON: And only military personnel

25 could participate in them?

Page 17076

1 A. Only military personnel. And to my

2 knowledge, the first meeting was attended by both

3 Mladic and Sefer Halilovic and Blaskic. In the second

4 meeting, some of them delegated other persons.

5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Could I ask you to explain

6 another statement. You said that, "If I'm a colonel,

7 he could also be a colonel." I didn't quite understand

8 that, but you are a professional soldier. Could you

9 explain that?

10 A. In the HVO, there were no official ranks

11 until April of 1994. It had to do with the -- there

12 was organisation and combat was going on, so there was

13 lack of organisation and just the lack of trained

14 personnel that staffed -- that was staffed by the

15 Ministry of Defence. There were not enough

16 higher-ranking professional officers. People gave

17 themselves ranks or other people gave them certain

18 ranks.

19 For instance, in the Travnik Brigade or at

20 the front line in Jajce, I addressed certain persons by

21 certain rank publicly before everybody else, because I

22 personally considered that this was the rank that a

23 certain person should have. This was not official.

24 Usually these ranks are confirmed at the top level

25 down, but the combat required more efficiency and this

Page 17077

1 is what was more efficient.

2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Continue, Mr. Naumovski.

3 MR. NAUMOVSKI: Thank you very much.

4 Q. [Interpretation] I just wanted to close this

5 paragraph 57. Who had authority to initiate

6 disciplinary measures against their subordinate

7 soldiers at various levels?

8 A. Commanders. Commanders.

9 Q. My last question: According to the best of

10 your knowledge and recollection, did Mr. Kordic have

11 any role in the military disciplinary investigations or

12 cases?

13 A. Dario Kordic did not. Others who were in the

14 hierarchy, in the chain of command did, but Mr. Kordic

15 did not it, because he had no role to play in this.

16 Q. General, I believe that we have made good

17 progress. I think we have only one area left, and that

18 is paragraph 58, the HVO [sic] troops in Central Bosnia

19 or absence of them, as you said.

20 Were there any HV units or soldiers in the

21 Central Bosnia area or even military vehicles of the

22 HV, to your knowledge?

23 A. As far as Central Bosnia is concerned, there

24 were no individuals, let alone HV troops. And when I

25 refer to "HV troops," I mean the troops from the

Page 17078

1 Republic of Croatia. Unfortunately, there were many

2 military personnel from all around the world, but not

3 from Croatia, and the reason is simple. The Croats in

4 Central Bosnia were in such a -- in a position to

5 defend themselves, and the Croatian army was not strong

6 enough to help them defend that territory.

7 When soldiers ask me why we didn't get any

8 assistance from the Croatian army, I told them that

9 this was like -- that it was like a newborn child and

10 that it was not strong enough to do such a thing.

11 There were individuals from Bosnia, those who

12 were born in Bosnia, who grew up in Bosnia and

13 Herzegovina, who wore badges or insignia of the

14 Croatian army and there were those who wore insignia

15 of -- there were others, British, German, and so on.

16 I'm talking about the Croatian side. But people from

17 Croatia, those who were born and bred in Croatia, they

18 were not in Central Bosnia. Unfortunately, they were

19 not there.

20 Q. You say "unfortunately" as a professional

21 soldier, somebody who knew what they could have used at

22 the time.

23 A. Thousands of -- I don't know how I should

24 call them -- people who were against me, who were

25 against my way of life, people who carry weapons, who

Page 17079

1 march under different flags, but as for the assistance

2 of the army of Republic of Croatia, which would have

3 been legitimate, it was missing. I know that this may

4 reflect negatively on the image that the Croats have

5 created for themselves, but, unfortunately, the

6 assistance in Central Bosnia, which was badly needed,

7 was missing.

8 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

9 I just said that I made good progress, but on the other

10 hand, I think it could have been better too. So maybe

11 we can come to an agreement in order for this progress

12 to be better. Perhaps these summaries could be made

13 part of the record so that we wouldn't have to go

14 through all the points and we can focus more on the

15 cross-examination, but this will, in any event,

16 conclude my examination of General Filipovic. Thank

17 you.

18 JUDGE MAY: We did not exhibit the

19 Prosecution summaries, and I don't think it would be

20 right to exhibit these unless there is a measure of

21 agreement between the parties that that should be done

22 in order to save time. But, in fact, you've covered

23 the summary, because I've been following it.

24 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Very well.

25 Thank you.

Page 17080













13 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between

14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17081

1 [Trial Chamber confers]

2 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]

3 Mr. Naumovski, I believe that the witness has just told

4 us that there was no assistance coming from Croatia,

5 even though this assistance, this help, would have been

6 justified. He believes that assistance from Croatia

7 would have been justified, legitimate, but there was

8 no -- there was no assistance, because the state of

9 Croatia was like a newborn child. I would like to ask

10 you, General, whether it would have been legitimate for

11 Croatia to help you.

12 A. In my opinion, if people are suffering, if

13 the French people, Americans, Germans are suffering

14 anywhere in the world, France, the US, Germany has to

15 help with whatever means are available.

16 We were suffering in Lasva Valley. Half of

17 the population no longer lives where it used to live

18 there. My family lost all it had. In this context,

19 Croatia has an obligation to help and this was our

20 understanding, and we expected that help.

21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But did

22 Croatia have the obligation to assist you because you

23 yourself were Croats, because, ethnically speaking, you

24 defined yourself as a Croat, or was it because Croatia

25 shared the same objectives as you?

Page 17082

1 A. I'm not talking about objectives, I am

2 talking about living in the area of which we are

3 talking. If the Serbs are superior with the assistance

4 of Serbia or whoever else, if the Bosniaks are superior

5 with the assistance from I don't know who throughout

6 the world, so in this context, it has an obligation to

7 help Croats in Central Bosnia. And not just Croats, to

8 help people survive in that area.

9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you

10 very much, General.

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you.

12 Mr. Kovacic, Mr. Mikulicic, perhaps you'd

13 like to make a start, and we'll go on until about ten

14 past four.

15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,

16 Your Honours.

17 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:

18 Q. Good afternoon, General Filipovic. My name

19 is Mikulicic. I'm a lawyer from Zagreb, and with my

20 colleague Mr. Kovacic, I represent Mr. Mario Cerkez.

21 I will ask you several questions. I will be

22 much shorter than Mr. Naumovski, and I will ask you to

23 answer them to the best your recollection.

24 General, you said, in the beginning, that on

25 the 12th of April, 1992, you came to the Lasva Valley.

Page 17083

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Will you please try to remember what was the

3 situation at that time and later in the course of 1992,

4 the situation that prevailed in Vitez? What kind of a

5 military structure, military organisational layout did

6 you find upon your arrival?

7 A. Your Honours, I said that I left the JNA on

8 the 10th of April. I went to Doboj, talked with my

9 wife about the evacuation, her and children and

10 parents, and then I went to Travnik, that is, Vitez, as

11 I knew Mr. Marijan Skopljak. So it must have been as

12 early as the 12th that I was in Vitez and was talking

13 with Mr. Marijan Skopljak about the evacuation of my

14 family from Doboj. That was where I met Mr. Cerkez,

15 who at that time was a jack of all trades in that

16 municipal command or that stage of organisation in

17 Vitez.

18 They managed to put together ten men who then

19 travelled to Doboj in vehicles, and that was far from

20 simple, and they got my wife, my children, and my

21 parents out of Doboj and took them to Travnik.

22 Q. So at the time Mr. Marijan Skopljak, when you

23 came there, was, if we may define it so, the key person

24 in the municipal headquarters of the HVO in Vitez?

25 A. Correct.

Page 17084

1 Q. General, do you remember being present at the

2 talks and those talks taking place in a pub in Vitez,

3 in a pub which was owned by Mr. Marijan Skopljak?

4 A. That is Mr. Marijan Skopljak's house. I know

5 the lower floor, that is, on the ground floor, there

6 was a restaurant. I believe it was called Konaba

7 [phoen].

8 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Will the

9 usher please show Exhibit D66/2. It is a photograph.

10 Could it be, please, shown to the witness to see if he

11 can identify it, D66/2. [In English] Could I ask

12 Mr. Usher to put it on the ELMO, please, the colour

13 one.

14 Q. General, can you recognise the house that we

15 were talking about, that is, Marijan Skopljak's house,

16 and the restaurant Konaba?

17 A. Yes. This is the restaurant Konaba, and we

18 met in this auxiliary building [indicates].

19 Q. And is it correct that that was a kind of

20 operative headquarters of the staff of the Vitez

21 municipality?

22 A. Yes. I remember that in two smallish rooms

23 which had not been furnished properly or even finished

24 properly, there was no plaster or anything but there

25 was a table and a couple of chairs, and that was, among

Page 17085

1 all the things, where we met and also discussed the

2 evacuation of my family from Doboj.

3 Q. Thank you. General, you already said that

4 the principal objective the HVO pursued in the

5 municipality of Vitez and beyond it in Central Bosnia

6 was to structure itself, to organise itself, so as to

7 better resist the advancing forces of the army of

8 Bosnian Serbs and the JNA; is that correct?

9 A. It is.

10 Q. Likewise, you mentioned that you participated

11 and that there were certain military operations

12 organised with a view to moving out the JNA units from

13 the barracks in adjacent places and takeover of the

14 weapons?

15 A. Organised with me as the head of the

16 operation, that is, after my arrival.

17 Q. And this action was not participated only by

18 the HVO members but also members of the Territorial

19 Defence, that is, Bosniaks; is that correct?

20 A. It is, insofar as they were able to take part

21 or, rather, insofar as I could trust the units that I

22 had.

23 Q. One of these actions was the taking over of

24 the barracks at Slimena. If I am correct, you took

25 part in that action personally; rather, you commanded

Page 17086

1 that action.

2 A. It is.

3 Q. Do you remember if my client, Mr. Cerkez,

4 under the orders of Mr. Marijan Skopljak, was also to

5 take part in that action?

6 A. He was to take part in that action, and he

7 did.

8 Q. On that occasion, General, you managed to get

9 two anti-aircraft cannons for that action from the

10 municipal staff of the TO?

11 A. A three-barrel cannon of 20 millimetres and

12 Bofors, and they were manned by mixed crews of the TO

13 and the HVO; not only those cannons. But I found, when

14 I arrived and then participated in equipping that

15 battery, because we wanted it to serve as an example to

16 all the other units, it was a mixed crew made up of

17 Muslims and Croats, but the majority were Muslims.

18 Q. Very well. But this was an action which was

19 jointly organised. It was no secret action that would

20 have been conducted by only and exclusively by the HVO?

21 A. Well, it was secret insofar as when you

22 organise something, it does require certain secrecy,

23 but not an action conducted by the HVO. There had

24 been, before that, negotiations with Cengic, with

25 Hamdija Cengic in Vitez, and I think that General

Page 17087

1 Merdan and Dugalic also took part in it as regards the

2 activity and distribution of the weaponry in that

3 depot.

4 Q. I apologise, General, if I was somewhat

5 confused. When I said "secret," I meant secret in the

6 sense that it was hidden from the Muslims or, rather,

7 the TO. It was you did not conceal that action from

8 them. But you've already answered my question.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Very well. You also said that Mr. Cerkez

11 took part in that operation. Was his task to bring the

12 volunteers from Vitez at a certain time to a certain

13 place where the action was to start?

14 A. As far as I can remember, yes, that was his

15 task. But he wasn't a surety, but he was a kind of a

16 man I could trust, really, so he made me feel more

17 secure, because I negotiated with the chief of that

18 depot under sniper fire.

19 Q. His name was Kostic?

20 A. Yes, Kostic, to try to resolve it in a manner

21 worthy of military and saying that they should be

22 allowed to leave with their personal weapons in a

23 manner that military should do; that is, not to

24 surrender but simply to pull out and go to their

25 people, that is, in the barracks in Travnik.

Page 17088

1 Q. But those negotiations failed?

2 A. I saw it in his eyes, that nothing would come

3 out of these negotiations, and at night he just blew up

4 the depot.

5 Q. And then the HVO and TO came by a certain

6 quantity of weaponry. Could you tell us, how was it

7 distributed?

8 A. These weapons, I mean, from Slimena were not

9 distributed, but the crowd went through the security

10 guards that we had positioned to avoid any casualties.

11 But the crowd simply passed upon that field and began

12 to grab it, to grab the materiel which was there

13 scattered over all the meadows and fields and whatnot.

14 And I know that General Merdan and Dugalic arrived with

15 several trucks, and I also know that from the municipal

16 staffs of the HVO, groups came in vehicles and took

17 materiel away. So it was not distributed. It was

18 snatched, grabbed, and plundered.

19 Q. Very well. I used the wrong term. It was a

20 misnomer. I should have said -- I should have asked

21 whether the TO army, that is, the Bosnian side, got any

22 of the weapons that had been kept in the depot.

23 A. As far as the barrels and personal weapons

24 are concerned, they took much more -- a much larger

25 share than the HVO. And that is what I claim, what I

Page 17089

1 affirm, because there were wounded and I believe there

2 were even some fatality, and they show that they were

3 all Muslims.

4 That day, I did not have a single Croat

5 casualty, but that night there was fighting, and two

6 HVO members were killed and eight of them sustained

7 severe injuries. When the commander blew up those

8 facilities, then that and all the rubble and materiel

9 simply buried the men who were besieging the barracks.

10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I

11 would now like to move to another topic, so perhaps

12 this would be a convenient time to break for today. I

13 mean you said that we would be working until 4.10.

14 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now. Half past

15 9.00, please, tomorrow morning.

16 Would you be back, Major General Filipovic,

17 then, for half past 9.00.

18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

19 4.14 p.m., to be reconvened on

20 Wednesday, the 12th day of April, 2000,

21 at 9.30 a.m.