Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 17090

1 Wednesday, 12 April 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The witness entered court]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

7 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, may I just take a

8 second to update the Trial Chamber on the status of the

9 witnesses. The next witness is ready to testify.

10 We're just -- he's just in the office this morning

11 signing the final version of his evidence summary. The

12 third witness, unfortunately, appears to have travelled

13 from Sarajevo to The Hague via Istanbul and spent the

14 night over in Istanbul, and he's not here. We think we

15 will be able to get him here tonight, and we'll prepare

16 him tonight, and he should be ready to testify

17 tomorrow, assuming that we can get the second witness

18 finished. The fourth witness is ready, and we hope to

19 complete his testimony on Friday.

20 JUDGE ROBINSON: He might prefer Istanbul to

21 The Hague.

22 MR. SAYERS: Perhaps indeed, Your Honour.

23 Thank you.

24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we will try and get

25 through these witnesses. We must have a Status

Page 17091

1 Conference on your case generally, as I said at the

2 outset. We will, this week, sit into Friday afternoon

3 in order to try and finish the witnesses.

4 MR. SAYERS: Very well, Your Honour. I

5 actually have a flight at 5.00, so I may have to leave

6 a little bit early, with the Trial Chamber's

7 permission.

8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, let us know through

9 the usual channels what time you have to leave, and

10 we'll arrange the Status Conference at least before

11 then.

12 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.

13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.

14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,

15 Your Honours; good morning, my learned friends.


17 [Witness answered through interpreter]

18 Cross-examined by

19 Mr. Mikulicic: [Cont'd]

20 Q. Good morning, General. We shall take up

21 where we left yesterday. Let me just remind you. We

22 talked about the joint Croat-Muslim operation organised

23 to take the depot at Slimena, at that time held by the

24 occupational force, the JNA.

25 In addition to this operation of seizing the

Page 17092

1 depot, there was also a joint action to take the

2 barracks at Draga?

3 A. Yes. Slightly later, I think.

4 Q. That was also a joint operation planned by

5 Muslim and Croat combat forces, that is, HVO and ABiH?

6 A. Yes. They were Draga and the Silo. They are

7 two separate facilities, and both were taken over from

8 the JNA.

9 Q. So Draga in Busovaca and the Silo at Kacuni,

10 isn't it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. On that occasion, about 1.000 barrels were

13 seized from the JNA barracks. Is that a correct

14 figure?

15 A. I don't really know. I cannot confirm that

16 insofar as Draga and the Silo are concerned.

17 Q. Well, whatever the case, from these three

18 barracks, the Draga, the Silo, and Slimena, enough

19 weapons were collected, and then the initiative was

20 made to try to form a joint Croat-Muslim brigade in the

21 Vitez territory; is that correct?

22 A. It is.

23 Q. If I'm correct, General, with Mr. Cengic on

24 the Muslim side, you suggested to form such a brigade,

25 and you appointed Franjo Nakic and Sefkija Dzidic of

Page 17093

1 the TO to do that, to organise that brigade?

2 A. That was the idea.

3 Q. Is it also correct that even the name of the

4 brigade came up and that it was suggested to call it

5 the 1st Vitez Brigade?

6 A. If I remember correctly, yes, that was the

7 name proposed.

8 Q. After that, you again began to enrol

9 volunteers and keep some records.

10 A. Yes. We worked in the same premises in

11 Vitez, I mean, the command of the brigade.

12 Q. Do you know that Mr. Marijan Skopljak, the

13 then head of the municipal staff, also took it upon

14 himself to print military booklets for the members of

15 that brigade?

16 A. Well, some preparations were under way. I do

17 not know if they were indeed printed.

18 Q. However, unfortunately, that attempt failed

19 and that brigade did not come to life then. Could you

20 tell us why?

21 A. It is difficult to say. Mostly it was the

22 non-cooperation. From my point of view, it was

23 non-cooperation from the Muslim side but presumably

24 also on the Croat side because throughout the Lasva

25 Valley, that was the only true attempt to form a

Page 17094

1 brigade. Probably there was something in Travnik, Novi

2 Travnik, but the attempt was thwarted.

3 Q. So evidently, the area of the municipality of

4 Vitez, if you compare it with Travnik and Novi Travnik,

5 was in a different situation. The relations there were

6 relatively decent between the Croat and the Muslim

7 people.

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. At the same time, and I am referring to

10 mid-1992 -- you told us something about that

11 yesterday -- there was fierce fighting around Jajce.

12 You were also involved indirectly. You told us that

13 the front line was, which you had to hold on, about 100

14 kilometres long. General, do you know that the Vitez

15 HVO organised a shift of volunteers for the Jajce

16 front?

17 A. The first 20 men who went there through the

18 corridor, that is, who were to secure the corridor, of

19 those 20, 15 were from Vitez and then there were

20 subsequent shifts.

21 Q. It was very difficult and dangerous to go

22 through the corridor because the army of Bosnian Serbs

23 was controlling it. It had the artillery and infantry

24 weapons to control it.

25 A. Well, we were sometimes only 50 metres away

Page 17095

1 from their front line.

2 Q. How strong was, approximately, a shift from

3 Vitez of those volunteers who went to the Jajce front?

4 A. Between 300 and 400 men.

5 Q. And is it correct that Vitez volunteers held

6 Vrbica-Podovi, a section of the front line in the Jajce

7 pocket, Vrbica-Podovi?

8 A. I don't know exactly Vrbica, yes. Podovi I

9 can't remember because that's a local name.

10 Q. General, while we are talking about so-called

11 shift combat, could you tell us how did it function?

12 So the shift included volunteers who were not

13 professional soldiers and who were not stationed in

14 barracks in the Vitez municipality; is that correct?

15 A. An HVO member took up a shift, and I suppose

16 that was the same with the Mujahedin. So he would go

17 from his home. And it made the warfare all the more

18 difficult, because one always left one's family. Then

19 he would go, and then he would come back and would be

20 received back, welcomed back by his family, spend some

21 time there and leave again from his home.

22 Q. So when such a person would come back home,

23 such a person would -- such an individual would go on

24 to resume his old profession, whether farming or job at

25 a factory or something?

Page 17096

1 A. Well, yes. They were, shall I say, reserve,

2 in military terms, and a man lived normally, if one

3 could call it a normal life under the conditions.

4 Q. And that held to both the Muslim and the

5 Croat side, didn't it?

6 A. For the Croat and the Muslim side, save for

7 those individuals on the Muslim side who came and who

8 were soldiers around the clock; that is, those who were

9 then put up either in the Travnik barracks or some

10 other facilities.

11 Q. Could you tell us, from your personal

12 experience, how many positions on the Jajce front were

13 held by the HVO, and what was the percentage which was

14 manned by the TO, that is, the BH army?

15 A. In April and May 1992, I think it was 90 to

16 10, the majority being -- the former being the HVO.

17 The BH army slightly then assumed a larger role, but

18 the ratio never exceeded 70 to 30.

19 Q. So you're saying 70 per cent were the HVO, 30

20 per cent were Muslim forces?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. I see. Apart from the Jajce front, there was

23 also another difficult front to the north-west of

24 Travnik again against the Bosnian Serb army. You also

25 have direct knowledge about that part of the front,

Page 17097

1 don't you?

2 A. Yes. On across the Komar Ridge, the facility

3 Mravinjac and -- I can't remember now -- that is, some

4 12 kilometres were manned together by combatants from

5 Vitez and Novi Travnik, but mostly from Vitez.

6 Q. That is the so-called south sector, manned by

7 Vitez volunteers, Kraljevica, Strikavina, Mravinjac?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. At critical points in time in the defence of

10 Travnik, is it true that in most critical positions,

11 Dzelilovac, Potkraj, Skulji, Secevo, were manned by the

12 volunteers from Vitez?

13 A. Yes. When Jajce fell, the guard post also

14 fell, that is, west of Travnik municipality. That is

15 the Muslim area. There were many refugees from Karaula

16 and Croat villages, Dzelilovac and Potkraj, part of

17 Potkraj, and a further advance of the army of the

18 Republika Srpska was stopped. And the intervention

19 force was provided by Vitez, that is, combatants were

20 from Vitez, led by Cerkez.

21 Q. On the 25th of November, 1992, the Stjepan

22 Tomasevic Brigade was formed, which was made of men

23 from Vitez and Travnik; is that correct?

24 A. It is. I'm not sure about the date, but it

25 is.

Page 17098













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Page 17099

1 Q. And the seat of the brigade was in Novi

2 Travnik?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Was the reason for this the fact that Novi

5 Travnik was the nearest place to the front against the

6 army of Bosnian Serbs and the JNA and that, in military

7 terms, it was simply -- it stood to reason to put up

8 the command centre in Vitez?

9 A. Yes. Novi Travnik, yes, it was very close,

10 whereas Vitez was nowhere near the Serb front.

11 Q. Is it true that after the formation of the

12 brigade until February 1993, it was commanded by Boro

13 Malbasic?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And after that, until sometime mid-March

16 1993, the representative of the commander after

17 Malbasic's departure, it was Mr. Mario Cerkez, wasn't

18 it?

19 A. I wouldn't know the details about that, but I

20 know that Boro Malbasic was the commander, and

21 number two, if I may put it that way, was Cerkez.

22 Q. The 2nd Battalion from Vitez held the front

23 line against the Bosnian army Serbs until the 17th of

24 April, 1993, when they were cut off. Do you remember

25 those events?

Page 17100

1 A. I remember, and I talked to people

2 afterwards, that some men stayed behind because the

3 shift had not arrived, and some men were there even

4 later. But, yes, it was probably on the 17th of

5 April. The front we are referring to is in the Novi

6 Travnik municipality, and I was in Travnik.

7 Q. In Travnik, where you were, do you remember

8 when sometime in June 1992 some 20 buses with armed

9 combatants of Muslim ethnicity arrived, that is, about

10 1.000 men in full gear arrived, do you remember, in

11 Travnik?

12 A. Not in Novi Travnik, in Travnik. Yes, I do

13 remember. That was a turning point in the Travnik

14 area, because the Croatian forces were about 50/50.

15 That was the agreed ratio, everything was 50/50, and

16 all of a sudden more than 1.000 men turn up in buses,

17 in an organised transport, who are all Muslim ethnicity

18 and who are soldiers around the clock. My soldier is a

19 soldier two or three hours per day, and this one comes

20 and is a soldier around the clock. That completely

21 disrupted the balance in Travnik.

22 Q. Tell us, General, from your observation,

23 those combatants of Muslim ethnicity, where did they

24 come from in these buses?

25 A. Buses had the plates out of Split, that is,

Page 17101

1 the Republic of Croatia.

2 Q. And did they accept you as a commander at the

3 outset, those combatants who had arrived?

4 A. Basically and in practice, everybody accepted

5 me as their commander, or at least my experience and my

6 suggestions. But this brigade, which later on became

7 the 17th Krajina Brigade because those men joined it,

8 did not accept the leadership, neither the leadership

9 of Travnik Muslims, and they never accepted me, so I

10 cannot say that at any moment I commanded those men.

11 Q. In addition to this brigade, and you tell us

12 that it became the 17th Krajina Brigade later on, do

13 you remember in July and August 1992 something about

14 the position of the Kotor Varos Battalion, which was

15 also a mixed Croat/Muslim unit? What happened to the

16 Muslim combatants in this battalion at the time?

17 A. The Kotor Varos Battalion until July or

18 perhaps August was a joint battalion, Croats and

19 Muslims, and the command structure was joint, and they

20 were also funded by people from that municipality. And

21 that battalion fought in Polugarje, that is, near

22 Dobratici, and was trying to establish contact with

23 people in its municipality in Kotor Varos, and it was a

24 good battalion.

25 And then in Polugarje, I found General Merdan

Page 17102

1 and Petrovic, who were in a special meeting with

2 Muslims, who held their special meeting with Muslims,

3 and two or three days later I had to hold a meeting

4 with the battalion and try to prevail upon the men,

5 upon the Muslims from this battalion, to stay there,

6 that it was best for them to stay there. But

7 nevertheless, they all went to join the BH army or,

8 rather, they left the area.

9 The leadership, that is, part of the Croats,

10 wanted to prohibit it because it was -- they were

11 saying that it was treason, in a manner of speaking.

12 And I wanted that to be the individual act of every

13 individual. If he wanted to go, then he should be

14 allowed to go, nobody should stop them from that. So

15 they all joined the BH army, those are all men from

16 Siprak [phoen]. And as far as I know, most of them

17 were killed or wounded, because when new men come to

18 arrive in a new environment, then, of course, they are

19 all used to the maximum.

20 Q. So it is correct that those Muslim combatants

21 from the joint Kotor Varos unit, nobody forced them to

22 leave the unit?

23 A. Quite the contrary. Some were ready to use

24 force to keep them, because it meant breaking down a

25 good unit. They conducted such good combat operations,

Page 17103

1 they managed to repel attacks, a tank attack. And 30

2 men with backpacks and ammunition broke through the

3 Serb lines and reached their men who were in Kotor

4 Varos and Klarisa [phoen] and so on and so forth. So

5 it was a good unit and it was broken up.

6 Q. And what did you think? Why did those people

7 leave? Did they get instructions from the higher

8 echelons or not?

9 A. Well, I already said it was an interesting

10 line in the sense of identification, that is, the

11 strengthening of the BH army, the ethnic rounding of --

12 propaganda remained the same, this is the army of

13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, multi-ethnic, and so on and so

14 forth. But in practice, it was separation, it was

15 rounding off. I am not referring to that side only.

16 I'm referring to all three sides in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

17 Q. Do you remember Zoran Pilicic, the commander

18 of that Kotor Varos Battalion?

19 A. Zoran Pilicic was a figurehead. In point of

20 fact, he was involved most in procurement, logistics,

21 and so on and so forth. I remember some good

22 combatants. The nickname of one was Mjesec. I can't

23 remember all those.

24 Q. Right. We don't have to go into all those

25 details, General.

Page 17104

1 Let us move on to another subject which was

2 also touched upon yesterday, and that was your

3 involvement in the joint commission that was set up in

4 Travnik in 1993 and where the Croat side were

5 represented by General Petkovic, you, Andric, and

6 Totic, and the Muslims by Sefer Halilovic, Rasim Delic,

7 Stjepan Siber, and Dajdza, I think.

8 A. Totic was to be on the commission, but we did

9 not manage to do that. They refused to let him go,

10 release him, or I don't know. Dajdza was not there,

11 and the others, yes, that is correct. No, no, there

12 was Amidza, Amidza his name was, representing the

13 Muslim side, and that is the nickname of Vehbija

14 Karic.

15 Q. Very well. And the second level of this

16 commission, that is, the operative level, it was made

17 of Franjo Nakic and Dzemal Merdan; is that correct?

18 A. They were -- yes, they were heading it, but

19 there were other officers too.

20 Q. Which was the principal objective of the

21 commission?

22 A. Both were responsible for putting through the

23 agreement on the cessation of hostilities and

24 separation of forces and that is what we did in

25 practice.

Page 17105

1 Our first move was when Sefer Halilovic,

2 Petkovic, I, Delic, and Karic, and Andric, in Vitez we

3 immediately exchanged. That was the first thing we had

4 to do. We immediately exchanged or, rather, released

5 the captured soldiers, the prisoners in Mahala, that

6 is, in old Stari Vitez, some 80 individuals; in Vitez,

7 more than 100 persons. And we proceeded toward

8 Kiseljak and again separated, and on to Zenica, to

9 Konjic, Jablanica, and other places.

10 Q. Very well, but let us stay in Vitez for a

11 while. You said that you participated in the release

12 of prisoners from Stari Vitez and Vitez, and that was

13 the cinema in Vitez, wasn't it? We have heard a great

14 deal about the cinema in Vitez, and the Court has heard

15 many testimonies, but we have not heard anything yet

16 about the prisoners in Stari Vitez, in Mahala. Could

17 you tell us something about that?

18 A. In Mahala, in Stari Vitez, there were two

19 cellars that I went into, that I entered. So -- and

20 all those of Croat ethnicity were there, from children

21 to old women. In the cinema were military conscripts.

22 Q. What was your impression when you saw those

23 people in the cellars in Stari Vitez, in cellars in

24 Stari Vitez? What was their mental and physical

25 health?

Page 17106

1 A. I wouldn't go into detail, but when you see a

2 mother with a small child with a stunned look; "Will

3 this be resolved and how?" These are the impressions.

4 Q. General, throughout the Lasva Valley there

5 were various military units and they had different

6 areas of responsibility. In Vitez, in the hotel, was

7 the headquarters of the Operative Zone, which was at

8 that time headed by Colonel Blaskic. I will ask you

9 something which takes into account your military

10 education and your military experience.

11 So to an area such as Vitez, for instance, a

12 unit from outside the area arrives. Who is it

13 subordinated to? Is it true that it is subordinated to

14 the Operative Zone, that is, the commander of the

15 Operative Zone of the area?

16 A. Well, the supreme command is the command of

17 the Operative Zone, so that the -- so, therefore, the

18 commander of the Operative Zone. However, in all this

19 confusion, in all these events and developments, I

20 cannot really say that everything happened as it should

21 have happened.

22 Q. General, when you arrived to that area, that

23 is, when you left the JNA and came back to your native

24 turf, you also saw some units of the so-called HOS. Do

25 you remember that?

Page 17107













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Page 17108

1 A. HOS was present in Travnik and in Vitez and

2 in Novi Travnik. In Vitez it was already on the 14th

3 to the 15th of April that from my command, which was

4 then later on inaugurated by Blaskic, at 6.00 in the

5 morning I toured the HOS unit, which was commanded by

6 Mr. Kraljevic, and so that unit was then at Ribnjak,

7 and it was some 30 or 40 men strong, and it was not

8 under the HVO command.

9 Q. Do you know if later on when HOS in Zenica

10 was disbanded and when men left, that this unit, which

11 was commanded by Mr. Kraljevic, became a new unit and

12 took the name of "Vitezovi"? Do you know something

13 about that?

14 A. In the beginning, three men reported a man,

15 and they said they were allegedly heads of HOS for

16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It sounded rather funny to me.

17 I'm just trying to portray the atmosphere.

18 Later on -- I don't know when that was. I

19 believe it was summer 1992 -- HOS agreed to place

20 itself under the command of the HVO. I don't know the

21 exact date. In that sense, therefore, officially HOS

22 was part of the HVO.

23 Q. I see. In addition to these units in the

24 Lasva Valley, there were some small independent units

25 which operated in the area, and their motivation seems

Page 17109

1 to have been just robbery and looting.

2 A. Not only in Lasva River Valley. In Jajce, I

3 found three HOS units. One was Croat, one was Muslim,

4 and the third one was mixed. This is what happened in

5 Jajce, but there were other groups of people who

6 organised themselves and who assumed a position that

7 they could but need not take part in the resistance,

8 and their motivation was that they were not obliged to

9 place themselves under anybody's command but, rather,

10 do anything they wanted. And I will say that when they

11 felt threatened or when they felt that their properties

12 or families were threatened, then they would join with

13 the rest.

14 Q. May I suggest that this was part of the

15 general breakdown of institutions and bodies which were

16 supposed to maintain law and order?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. General, I am almost done. I have just one

19 more area of questioning to cover. Is it true that in

20 1994, for the first time some Home Guard Units were

21 established?

22 A. Yes. This was a reorganisation of the

23 brigades. Whatever used to be a brigade became

24 regiments now.

25 Q. So in that context, the Stjepan Tomasevic,

Page 17110

1 which was in Novi Travnik, was transformed into the

2 90th Home Guard Regiment?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And the Travnik Brigade became the 91st Home

5 Guard Regiment?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And the Vitez Brigade became the 92nd Home

8 Guard Regiment?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade from

11 Busovaca became the 93rd?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you, General, for your answers.

14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I have no

15 further questions, Your Honours. That concludes my

16 questioning.

17 MR. NICE: I wonder if the usher could very

18 kindly move the ELMO so that the witness and I can see

19 each other when we need to. It's discourteous for me

20 to address him when he's behind an object.

21 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:

22 Q. I'm going to be asking you questions on

23 behalf of the Prosecution. First of all, I'd like,

24 please, some help from you with how you have come to

25 remember events and to give your evidence here today.

Page 17111

1 Have you at any time made statements about these

2 matters to any other agencies, Croatian intelligence,

3 Croatian police, bodies like that?

4 A. No.

5 Q. So that when you were first approached by the

6 lawyers for Kordic, was that the first time you were

7 obliged to put your memory back and recall events in

8 any formal way?

9 A. No. I made contact with the Defence team of

10 General Blaskic.

11 Q. That apart, no other earlier occasion to

12 discuss matters with lawyers or police officers or

13 anything of that sort?

14 A. No.

15 Q. And the statement or summary that was served

16 on us yesterday, when was that first being prepared?

17 Can you help us?

18 A. This was prepared the day before yesterday,

19 on Sunday.

20 Q. Never before? There had been no earlier

21 preparation or consideration of your evidence before

22 Sunday?

23 A. No. The testimony was considered. I first

24 had to agree to come and give evidence. I'm talking

25 about the document that is in front of me which I

Page 17112













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Page 17113

1 prepared and wrote, and the law offices then produce

2 it.

3 Q. Are you saying that the words in this

4 document are all your words, that they come from your

5 memory, or was it not like that?

6 A. Yes, these are my words. There's no doubt

7 about that.

8 Q. Very well. So far as the questions you've

9 very recently been asked on behalf of Mr. Cerkez --

10 just yes or no to this -- did you have any earlier

11 contact with the lawyers for Cerkez?

12 A. I had a conversation of 20 minutes.

13 Q. So you had some knowledge of the questions

14 you were going to be asked in advance?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. During your time working principally with

17 Blaskic, various documents were maintained in a

18 professional and orderly way, weren't they?

19 A. General Blaskic was used to writing a lot. I

20 could spend 12 hours in combat situations and then I

21 had enough, but he could spend an additional several

22 hours writing things up. So I don't know how much of

23 everything that was written was produced by me and what

24 was then produced by Mr. Blaskic and the other staff

25 officers.

Page 17114

1 Q. What we do know is that there was a great

2 deal of written material prepared, and it wasn't just

3 limited to orders that were sent, it included reports

4 of events, assessments of events, matters of that

5 sort.

6 A. I don't know whether I expressed myself

7 well. I said that those who worked in the staff, I

8 said Blaskic insisted that everything be written down.

9 I did not insist on this. This is just the way I am.

10 And I was on the front line; this is what I did. But I

11 do not dispute that many documents were compiled which

12 I was not involved in, and I was aware of them having

13 been produced.

14 Q. And there were also some documents, least for

15 the time when you were working for Blaskic, as his

16 deputy, there were some documents prepared by

17 yourself?

18 A. There were some. Given the period of time,

19 there had to have been some.

20 Q. Such documents would also cover troop

21 deployments, for example.

22 A. Among other things.

23 Q. The deployment of artillery pieces, for

24 example.

25 A. And artillery pieces.

Page 17115

1 Q. Not only was Blaskic detailed in the records

2 he kept, he made, but he was no doubt methodical in the

3 way those records were retained.

4 A. Probably.

5 Q. We know, from other sources, that he claims

6 to have kept and appears to have kept a diary. Did you

7 see him keeping a diary?

8 A. I already stated that writing was something

9 that was almost like a mania for him, and there were

10 notebooks. I don't know whether he kept a journal or

11 he wrote in some other form.

12 Q. Did you keep a diary?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Have you referred to that diary before giving

15 evidence here?

16 A. I have to admit that I did not, but I do

17 possess a journal.

18 Q. I see. And you haven't had to look at it at

19 all for the purposes of giving evidence?

20 A. I am talking about the last month. I did not

21 look into the diary, because it is in a place where I

22 don't have an easy access.

23 Q. As to the balance of the documents we've been

24 discussing, have you consulted any of them either

25 before considering evidence for the Blaskic trial or

Page 17116

1 before coming to give evidence at this trial?

2 A. Could you please help me understand what we

3 are discussing here? Is it my diary that we're

4 discussing?

5 Q. No. I'm thinking of the other documents, the

6 records kept by Blaskic and by others on his staff.

7 Have you consulted any of these documents before giving

8 evidence here?

9 A. I have nothing to do with Blaskic's diary or

10 these other documents. So the answer is no.

11 Q. And your own diary, you say it's in a place

12 that's difficult to get at. Is it held by an official

13 body?

14 A. No, no. It was a personal matter and --

15 Q. I won't press you further on that, but just

16 help us in this way: Those documents that were

17 undoubtedly -- well, were in existence in 1994, that

18 is, the documents of the Central Bosnian Operational

19 Zone, what happened to them?

20 A. The documents were officially archived at the

21 end. At the end of each year, the staff in the

22 Operative Zone headquarters were obliged to file all

23 the documents which were not in use any longer, and

24 they did so.

25 Q. The archive, at that stage, being where?

Page 17117













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Page 17118

1 A. The archive was in the headquarters in the

2 Operative Zone, and I'm referring to 1994 and 1995,

3 when things settled down.

4 Q. So when you say "the headquarters of the

5 Operative Zone," you mean precisely where?

6 A. In the headquarters in the Hotel Vitez.

7 Q. Do you know anything about how it came that

8 they left the Hotel Vitez and went somewhere else?

9 A. No. Officially, because of the danger,

10 potential danger, the archives were taken to the main

11 headquarters.

12 Q. In?

13 A. The main headquarters in Mostar or Posusje,

14 wherever they were at a given time.

15 Q. Before I turn to dealing with matters

16 chronologically, just a few odd points that I want to

17 deal with.

18 You said yesterday, of Mr. Kordic's rhetoric,

19 that he was very convincing. Of what was his rhetoric

20 convincing?

21 A. He was convincing in the way he lived, in his

22 ability to face danger, to communicate with people. I

23 don't know. His attitude, his choice of words. I

24 don't know how else to define it.

25 Q. What was the message then that you say he was

Page 17119

1 advancing?

2 A. To me personally?

3 Q. No, to the people who were listening. What

4 was the message he was advancing that was convincing?

5 A. The message or the gist of it was the need to

6 organise, to defend, to place one's own interest under

7 general needs and interests, whatever the occasion

8 was.

9 Q. You say he was never, in any sense, a

10 military man?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And if I understand you correctly, the rank

13 that you decided he should have for the purposes of the

14 discussions at Sarajevo was only ever attached to him

15 for that reason; is that right?

16 A. It was my initiative. I said, "Colonel, you

17 are now going to go to Sarajevo." I believe that it

18 came from me, but this position was accepted by Blaskic

19 and everybody else, including the main headquarters, I

20 believe. I don't know.

21 Q. He'd never been a colonel before then?

22 A. Before that he was not even a sergeant or

23 lieutenant, for all I know. He immediately became

24 colonel.

25 Q. After the meetings at Sarajevo, he had no

Page 17120

1 further need to use the rank of colonel, and it would

2 have been inappropriate for him to do so?

3 A. Yesterday, I tried to portray the situation.

4 Many people used ranks, that is, names of ranks,

5 because there were none, officially speaking. I have

6 the impression that those whom I had given to certain

7 individuals was treated in that environment as a fait

8 accompli. Perhaps I'm wrong. But in terms of the

9 military experience and authority, that I was the most

10 competent and this is what the position I took was.

11 Q. I go back to my question. After the meetings

12 in Sarajevo, he had no further need to use the rank of

13 colonel, and it would have been inappropriate for him

14 to do so, for the man had no military experience or

15 function; isn't that correct?

16 A. You cannot give a straightforward "yes" or

17 "no" answer, because you cannot place a man in a

18 situation in which everybody is wearing uniforms. And

19 yesterday I said he never abused it, but the rank of

20 colonel was never disputed by anyone, so he did not

21 need to give it up.

22 I don't know whether it is clear enough that

23 in the times in which we lived, the rank of colonel was

24 given or conferred for a special purpose, and he didn't

25 have to and it would not have been considered unethical

Page 17121

1 if he were to give it back when he had been confirmed

2 and approved by the International Community.

3 Q. In your statement or summary, you referred to

4 his being an influential local political figure. What

5 did you mean by "local"?

6 A. First of all, in the Lasva Valley, that is,

7 in Busovaca, it was Dario Kordic. In Novi Travnik, it

8 was Sekic; in Vitez, Santic; in Travnik, Matisic; in

9 Gornji Vakuf, Sekerija; in Jajce, Bilic, and so on and

10 so forth. Local in that sense. But his influence

11 reached outside of the municipality. Like Matisic had

12 also a wider reach outside and in the valley, and that

13 also was true of Kordic. He had influence beyond

14 Busovaca.

15 Q. With Matisic's departure, as you've explained

16 he did depart, he was the -- Kordic was the most

17 powerful figure in a wide area, wasn't he?

18 A. I am talking about my judgement, my

19 assessment of who the most powerful people were.

20 Q. And Kordic was the most powerful in that

21 region, wasn't he?

22 A. Again, over a period of time he probably

23 became this. But there were people -- for instance, if

24 somebody was from Travnik, he would have more authority

25 than somebody who was from Busovaca. But one needed to

Page 17122

1 work for the -- to achieve the position, as you're

2 referring to it.

3 Q. You tell us in I think it's paragraph 54 that

4 he functioned only on the political side of things

5 where necessary. What do you mean by that?

6 A. It depended on the area. There was a need to

7 work with the population. I worked with the military,

8 with soldiers. I was in the field. Somebody had to

9 work with the refugees, to find shelter, food for them,

10 provide fuel, and then provide salaries, funds and so

11 forth.

12 Q. Yes, somebody had to. I want to know what

13 you say Kordic did on the political side of things?

14 A. He spoke to people and he influenced people.

15 Q. Doing what sort of thing, please?

16 A. I don't know what you're asking me.

17 Q. You were there for a long part of these

18 unhappy events, and you were very close to Blaskic, and

19 you were in charge for a time. Could you please tell

20 us what political things you saw Mr. Kordic doing?

21 A. Performance, addressing refugees, addressing

22 people, meetings with certain possible organisers of

23 various affairs, taking a clear attitude to individual

24 events, press conferences which we organised in the

25 Lasva Valley. These were the duties, and visiting the

Page 17123

1 most critical points where people were getting killed

2 or could get killed.

3 Q. Yes. The activities you've described are all

4 peaceable activities?

5 A. Yes. Even when discharged in a war, they

6 become very important activities.

7 Q. And he was never involved in active military

8 decisions or active military discussions, was he?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. There are two things, please. Why was he

11 surrounded by armed bodyguards if he was simply a man

12 of peace, dealing with these social and associated

13 problems?

14 A. Every commander and every person who left his

15 house, let alone his municipality, it was inconceivable

16 to do that without escort. I always had two or four of

17 them.

18 Q. Kordic wasn't a commander, though, was he?

19 A. No, he was not a commander. But to go from

20 Busovaca to Jajce or to Travnik was impossible on one's

21 own.

22 Q. The second thing is why did he attend

23 military meetings, for what purpose?

24 A. I already said that they attended -- there

25 were other people who attended them, and I quoted

Page 17124

1 examples, you are correct. So as to familiarise

2 oneself with the situation, so as to be able to talk

3 people into doing their utmost to help Blaskic or me or

4 whoever else, to help that we defend ourselves, because

5 the enclave we were defending was see-through, one

6 could kill one's own, because one could see it as if in

7 the palm of one's hand throughout the war, and one

8 simply had to work with people.

9 Q. It must be my mistake. Apart from keeping

10 himself informed, he had no positive function at these

11 meetings, did he? He couldn't contribute to them in

12 any way, apart from keeping himself informed and then

13 going up, perhaps, and recruiting more volunteers; is

14 that right?

15 A. There was not a meeting which we had with the

16 Muslim side or the International Community without at

17 least 10 or 15 people present either from the

18 International Community side or from another side. It

19 wasn't only the commander of the BritBat in Vitez.

20 There were always hosts of people present. In that

21 regard, you are oversimplifying matters.

22 Q. Taking something slightly out of order, do

23 you accept, from your experience as a commanding

24 officer and from your subsequent long experience with

25 Blaskic, do you accept that the overall command of this

Page 17125

1 war was political?

2 A. Every side had a political decision or,

3 rather, was under political administration.

4 Q. Again, still a little out of order, but I'll

5 complete the question, as I've started it. How did

6 political leadership show itself at these meetings and

7 elsewhere in the Lasva Valley?

8 A. Through the mobilisation of all forces geared

9 to one objective, the defence of an area of the

10 territory. A manager of a company who no longer had a

11 company but nevertheless had some material assets

12 should -- had to be prevailed upon to give, for

13 instance, two excavators to fortify the lines, to get

14 sacks from the public amenity company, to fill them

15 with sand.

16 Q. It's my mistake and I haven't made myself

17 clear. In wars, when decisions of any major kind are

18 made, they either are made by politicians or approved

19 by them. Who made or who approved the military

20 decisions on behalf of the politicians, please?

21 A. The Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, as far

22 as the Croats, as a side in Bosnia-Herzegovina or as

23 far as we, in the Lasva Valley, are concerned.

24 Q. You were at the top of the military tree, so

25 you will know who, within the Croat Community of

Page 17126













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Page 17127

1 Herceg-Bosna, was giving the instructions or,

2 alternatively, approving of the decisions made by the

3 soldiers. Who was it, please?

4 A. There was the president of the Croat

5 Community of Herceg-Bosna and there was also the

6 government of the Croat Community Herceg-Bosna as

7 political bodies of that side.

8 Q. No doubt as a soldier, you've studied history

9 of wars in all sorts of places. You could imagine that

10 in the First World War, for example, soldiers on the

11 line would complain about or praise what political

12 leaders were making them do. What name would be used

13 by the Croats if they either approved of or disapproved

14 of what their political masters were telling them to

15 do? Who would they name?

16 A. I don't get your meaning. In World War I,

17 eight of my forebearers of my -- fought. They had a

18 king, they had a religion, they had emblems, they had a

19 state. I don't really know what you're getting at.

20 Q. Are you not prepared to name any individual

21 politician as the or one of the politicians who drove

22 this war?

23 A. In this war?

24 Q. Yes, for the Croats. Are you not prepared --

25 A. Oh, Croats. Croats in the Lasva Valley, that

Page 17128

1 is, in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, Herceg

2 Community of Herceg-Bosna, it was the president of the

3 Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna or by the will of

4 people, by the desire of people to be on his -- that

5 is, that side.

6 Q. Yesterday you said, in relation to this, that

7 you approached the political leadership through

8 Blaskic. What did you mean by that?

9 A. I did not say that yesterday.

10 Q. I think that's the way it came out in the

11 interpretation, if you did say it.

12 JUDGE MAY: Well, perhaps you could check

13 that over the adjournment.

14 MR. NICE: Yes, I will.

15 Q. Before I move on, just confirm this, please:

16 There was no politician on the ground in Central Bosnia

17 superior to Dario Kordic at the time that you were

18 there, was there?

19 A. In Central Bosnia, no.

20 Q. The quotation that I put can be found on page

21 17051, line 20, where you did say that you

22 approached -- you were dealing with Jajce, in

23 particular.

24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

25 Mr. Nice, please.

Page 17129

1 MR. NICE: Yes.

2 Q. You were dealing with Jajce, in particular,

3 and about how only 30 people volunteered to go there,

4 and then you said: "Then I approached the political

5 leadership through Blaskic, but I approached

6 Mr. Kordic." Would you like to explain now? I accept

7 it's slightly out of sequence, but would you like to

8 explain now what you meant by that, or would you rather

9 come back to it when we reach the appropriate time in

10 the chronology?

11 A. I am supposed to take a convoy of 300 men, 30

12 vehicles, right before the Serb lines to Jajce.

13 Instead of 300, 30 men arrived. I couldn't do anything

14 that night. I could take those men only the next

15 night. So I urged anyone to activate people, to

16 mobilise people, to do something, to find men.

17 Preferably Blaskic. I don't remember talking to Kordic

18 directly. That is, a shift did not arrive to Blaskic

19 from Busovaca or Novi Travnik. I don't know how many

20 men were supposed to arrive, or perhaps even Kakanj or

21 Kiseljak, and that for the following night a shift had

22 to be provided, had to go. So it was the night, it was

23 2000 hours, and things had to be done in order to

24 provide for the shift.

25 Q. This was something that needed political

Page 17130

1 leadership input?

2 A. Yes. Under the circumstances we worked, yes.

3 Q. And as we see, yesterday you told us that you

4 spoke -- I think, if it's correct, if the transcript is

5 correct, you spoke to Kordic.

6 A. Yes.

7 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, I

8 want to have a clarification from the witness.

9 You asked the witness, I believe, who was

10 giving him political instructions, and he said that it

11 was the president of the Croatian Community of

12 Herceg-Bosna. And then you told him -- you asked him

13 who was the person, in political terms, who was in

14 charge in Central Bosnia. And then he answered it was

15 Mr. Kordic, Mr. Kordic who had the political

16 responsibility, who was the most powerful political

17 figure in Central Bosnia.

18 General Filipovic, could you please tell us

19 if you remember having received instructions from

20 politicians during the time you were a commanding

21 officer there?

22 A. When I joined the struggle, it was my

23 personal attitude, my personal option. No politicians

24 took part in that. I was ready, as a soldier or a

25 general, if you will, to fight for what I believed in.

Page 17131

1 So as far as I was concerned, no politician influenced

2 my option or my actions related to military matters,

3 but I sought assistance from anyone in the area in

4 order to put up the best possible defence.

5 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] It's not

6 exactly the question I asked you. I want to know if it

7 ever happened to you, if it ever happened that you

8 received instructions from politicians. Did it ever

9 happen that you received any kind of instructions from

10 politicians about the strategy you should choose, and

11 did you receive that sort of instruction from

12 politicians during the time when you were a commander?

13 A. No.

14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you

15 very much.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. I may return to His Honour's question later,

18 but let's move to things chronologically. You were a

19 successful soldier from Travnik, and are we to take it

20 from your evidence, loyal to your home turf, as it's

21 been called this morning, I think, and to your home

22 republic?

23 A. To begin with, I was at first loyal to

24 Yugoslavia. When the International Community agreed

25 that that country no longer existed in its former form,

Page 17132













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Page 17133

1 then I became loyal to Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that

2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Croats were the same as the

3 Serbs or as the Muslims, so that there is a way of

4 life, tradition, education, there is everything. In

5 that regard, I was loyal to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I

6 voted for it, and I fought to keep it afloat. And we

7 could -- and to realise that, we worked through the

8 Croat Defence Council, that is, the Croatian Community

9 of Herceg-Bosna, and finally with a rifle in my hand.

10 Q. Would you describe yourself as in any way

11 particularly or fiercely loyal to Bosnia-Herzegovina or

12 just ordinary in terms of your republic's loyalty? How

13 would you describe yourself?

14 A. As a regular citizen, and at that time as

15 somebody who fought for Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the way

16 of life of Bosnia-Herzegovina, of Croats in

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because the Serbs from

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina are in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the

19 Muslims there are Bosnia-Herzegovinian.

20 However, there are forces, and I said it

21 yesterday, there were forces who first took the grazing

22 land on the Vlasic Mountain where for centuries my

23 forebearers owned that, where they grazed their

24 livestock, and from there they fired with 155s. They

25 wanted to take my Turbe. It was never -- they never

Page 17134

1 had the majority there. And in that sense, you have to

2 fight for Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the way of life that

3 you're living. So nothing special, just as any other

4 citizen.

5 Q. You had remained in the JNA throughout

6 Vukovar, hadn't you, where the JNA was attacking

7 Croatia? That hadn't been a problem for you.

8 A. It was a big problem for me. And Ravno in

9 Herzegovina, which is a purely Croat territory, Croat

10 village, and Vukovar, and it took -- one had to look

11 for months, for years, at something that is falling

12 apart that you still belong to and yet are no longer a

13 part of it. And I would like to compare it to the

14 French who emotionally supported Gaulle and yet had to

15 fight under Petar and die.

16 Q. Vukovar ended in about November 1991, and you

17 resigned only in April?

18 A. Well, what is the interpretation of what is

19 JNA, where it is leading to, one found in Vukovar. I

20 know which units were in Vukovar, and when I saw a

21 Chetnik column with its insignia which had nothing to

22 do with us, then I knew that the JNA -- that there was

23 no more room for me in it. Then my wife fell ill from

24 cancer. She was operated in Sarajevo, and war began,

25 but she had to go through three operations in order to

Page 17135

1 survive. So this is a personal element. That is why I

2 couldn't leave the JNA before.

3 Q. Might it be fair to say of you that you are a

4 soldier first, that soldiering is really what you like

5 and what you're good at?

6 A. I'm a professional, 100 per cent an

7 artilleryman. All my life I commanded artillery,

8 gunner units, but I'm not illiterate politically,

9 especially when you come from an area -- since I come

10 from an area which has, somehow, these built-in defence

11 reflexes in terms of the environment in which we grew

12 up.

13 Q. There is no criticism at all in what I was

14 suggesting and you should know you have been spoken of

15 well as a soldier by other witnesses in this case.

16 Your first appointment, it's not entirely

17 clear from your statement, so perhaps you'd like to

18 tell us. When precisely was it that you were first

19 appointed?

20 A. It was sometime in mid-April when I came

21 there, when I managed to transfer my wife to Split for

22 further treatment. I said, "Well, I have to be the

23 commander," knowing that nobody else was better

24 prepared for that situation, better trained than me,

25 that no one was a better professional than I.

Page 17136













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Page 17137

1 Q. Who appointed you?

2 A. I appointed myself. And this was then

3 confirmed or accepted by people who were there,

4 military commanders and political leaders, political

5 elders. For instance, from Zepce, people came to ask

6 me to help, because all of a sudden a colonel turns up,

7 and that was a rarity then, a rare phenomenon then. So

8 that's why I was immediately accepted as a commander.

9 I wouldn't have foisted myself upon them had I seen

10 anybody else with similar qualifications, but

11 Mr. Ljubicic and Mr. Vukovic, at that time, were people

12 who knew something about tactics, that is, at the level

13 of a company or something. They could not really deal

14 with strategic matters.

15 Q. And why did you join this army as opposed to

16 the ABiH in the way that Siber did?

17 A. The army or those who belonged to it in

18 Sarajevo placed my life in jeopardy. I was in the

19 barracks at Latinska Cuprija. There was constant fire

20 aimed at us. When I had to visit my wife in the

21 hospital, I had to put on civilian clothes, and then he

22 checks me 30 times, "Who are you? What are you? Yes,

23 no, or not?" That is, at that point in time, it was

24 not an army which I could accept as such -- it was some

25 Green Berets or the Patriotic League -- and my place

Page 17138

1 was in the area in which I was born at that time.

2 Q. You replaced Ljubicic. Why? Why did he need

3 replacing?

4 A. I repeat: A man who cannot command, who is

5 simply not up to the level, either operational or

6 strategic, and I was a commander until the

7 appointment -- until the official appointment of

8 somebody else. There was no order of appointment.

9 There was no decree appointing me.

10 Q. Now, Ljubicic was closely related to Kordic,

11 wasn't he? I think one of Kordic's sisters was very

12 close with Ljubicic. You knew about that?

13 A. I don't. I saw Ljubicic and Zvonko Vukovic,

14 who appeared to be Ljubicic's deputy.

15 Q. And since at the time of your

16 self-appointment, who on the political side did you

17 meet and discuss things with, Mr. Kordic?

18 A. Kordic in Busovaca, Santici in Vitez, Matisic

19 in Travnik, Sekic in Novi Travnik. I told you that. I

20 don't know if I am being clear enough. I was doing my

21 job, and my only contact with them was to tell them to

22 keep pestering them. This has to be done, and this and

23 that, and so on and so forth. I was never subordinated

24 to any one of them or to all of them taken together. I

25 was a man who had responded quickly, because it was a

Page 17139

1 matter of hours and days as it turned out, as it kept

2 turning out.

3 Q. And you were aware, right from the beginning,

4 that the HVO was a creature or a creation of the HDZ

5 BiH which was itself a creation of the HDZ of Croatia,

6 weren't you?

7 A. No.

8 MR. SAYERS: [Previous translation

9 continues] ... objection, Your Honour, on the grounds

10 that that lacks factual foundation in this case. I

11 think that the HVO -- it's absolutely clear -- was

12 formed by decree of the president of the HZ HB, Mate

13 Boban.

14 JUDGE MAY: The counsel is entitled to put

15 his case to the witness. Whether the witness agrees

16 with it is a matter for him.

17 Do you want to go on, in fact?

18 MR. NICE: I'll go on and come back to that

19 if necessary, unless the witness wants to answer my

20 question now.

21 A. I've already answered. No. Because it is a

22 construed question. It doesn't even come close to the

23 truth. And my patriotic activity had nothing to do

24 with a party or with the political views. It had to do

25 with the struggle for survival, for existence, for the

Page 17140

1 most basic thing that one had to do at that time.


3 Q. Well, now, just one more question before we

4 perhaps break, with the Chamber's leave. The man

5 Ljubicic, who you replaced, was for a time your deputy,

6 wasn't he?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thereafter, in your long period of duty under

9 Blaskic, he was a man who you will have known about;

10 correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Just so that we can know when we get through

13 to Ahmici, is he going to be one of the people you're

14 going to say was responsible for Ahmici or not?

15 A. I don't know. No.

16 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for half an

17 hour.

18 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.

19 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.

20 MR. NICE:

21 Q. General, I want your help, please, with some

22 of the things that happened during the time that you

23 were in command. It's clear, is it not -- I'll just

24 find the reference -- that by an order on the 10th of

25 April of Mate Boban, an order of which presumably you

Page 17141

1 were aware, the HVO became the only legal body with the

2 power to command defence forces; do you accept that?

3 A. I don't know about that document of 10 April

4 1992, but I accept that the HVO was or was supposed to

5 be a legal body for the defence against the aggression.

6 Q. The exhibit is Z71. I don't call for it.

7 The same order sought to make all other military

8 formations in the area illegal. Do you accept that?

9 A. I accept it as a logical thing.

10 Q. Within the period of your command, on the

11 22nd of April Dario Kordic issued an order -- it's

12 Exhibit 78 -- under the authority of the Ministry of

13 Defence concerning the delivery of artillery pieces

14 from the factory in Novi Travnik. Could you explain

15 that? If you want to see the exhibit, of course, it

16 will be made available to you.

17 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, from Mr. Kordic's

18 perspective, if there's going to be detailed questions

19 about a document, I think it would be safer and more

20 effective for the record for the document to be put

21 before the witness.

22 JUDGE MAY: That's a matter for the Court.

23 Now, there's no need to interrupt. Yes.

24 MR. NICE:

25 Q. Can you remember the occasion, please,

Page 17142

1 General?

2 A. I remember that I worked on having the

3 weapons from Bratstvo be moved out there as soon as

4 possible, otherwise it would be destroyed there, and

5 then mobilise all the forces necessary to get it out.

6 And I went to both sides, the Muslim, the Croatian

7 side, to convince the management. They had their own

8 security, I don't know, I think 50 to 100 people, so we

9 didn't want any fights with them, so that we would be

10 able to move that materiel out. Both the Muslim and

11 the Croatian sides were involved in this, both on the

12 political and military level. We succeeded in it. I

13 don't know if there was a document, I don't know how it

14 was done, but I know that the objective was reached.

15 Q. Does it fit with your understanding of

16 Mr. Kordic, the politician, that he should be issuing

17 orders under the authority of the Ministry of Defence?

18 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, I do object to

19 that. Exhibit 78 --

20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, I'm sorry. The fewer

21 objections we have, the quicker we can get on. Now, I

22 shall hear this, but bear in mind that you were not

23 interrupted or interrupted very rarely during your

24 examination, and you should behave in the same way.

25 Now, what is the point?

Page 17143

1 MR. SAYERS: I take Your Honour's point, and

2 I'll try to keep my objections to a minimum. But

3 Exhibit Z78 is not an order, it's a receipt. So the

4 suggestion in the question is that -- and it's an

5 important distinction -- the suggestion is that

6 Mr. Kordic has the power to issue orders as of this

7 date in some capacity, and it's simply not borne out by

8 the exhibit, Your Honour.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I don't have it. One of the

10 disadvantages of the layout of these courts is that it

11 is not possible for us to have our exhibits here, an

12 extreme disadvantage, so I haven't got the document in

13 front of me, which normally I would wish to have.

14 Yes.

15 MR. NICE: I'm quite happy to accept

16 Mr. Sayers' point on this issue, and in fact probably

17 in the circumstances, it's fairer for the witness to

18 have this exhibit on the ELMO in front of him.

19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Give him the document on the

20 ELMO.

21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, put it on the ELMO.

22 MR. NICE:

23 Q. If you have the original, please, General,

24 the English copy can be put on the ELMO. And what we

25 can see is that Dario Kordic signs for equipment

Page 17144

1 received, that equipment having been apparently

2 provided in accordance with an order of the Minister of

3 National Defence, and then it sets out the equipment

4 concerned.

5 The same question: Does it fit with your

6 understanding of Mr. Kordic, the politician, that he

7 should be dealing, as evidenced by this document, with

8 military equipment?

9 A. I could have missed this document. We did

10 everything we could to get the weapons out of the

11 Bratstvo. And I don't know under what authority this

12 was made. If there were any signatures, I would

13 probably have -- I would probably recognise it. But

14 this was not a type of document which we had in that

15 area or in the HVO. There was -- the heading is not

16 the same or anything else.

17 Q. I'm not particularly concerned with the

18 document. I just want your comment on the fact that

19 Mr. Kordic, the politician, is signing for the receipt

20 of military equipment on the 22nd of April of 1992,

21 when you were commanding the area as the senior

22 military officer. Why should he be doing that?

23 A. When you talk about the command, the

24 commander was the person whom you see before you.

25 There was no staff. It was only Filip Filipovic. I

Page 17145

1 involved whomever I could in order to reach the

2 objectives, and I always spelled out, as precisely as I

3 could, what those objectives were. If this document

4 helped reach that objective, I would go with that

5 document. Some people would just not accept anything

6 without a receipt, and Colonel Filipovic had to sign a

7 million documents in order to move things along. So

8 maybe this is one of those.

9 Q. Next, in order of date, there was a decision

10 about handing over the JNA barracks made by a crisis

11 staff of the HVO, and this is the barracks in

12 Kiseljak. Were you aware of that decision? It's Z83,

13 if anybody wants to find it.

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Put it on the ELMO,

15 please.

16 MR. NICE:

17 Q. Were you aware of this order or this

18 decision?

19 A. I see this for the first time. This is the

20 first time that it is in front of me. But I know that

21 I gave instructions based on an agreement to take over

22 the Kiseljak barracks, and it was the first barracks

23 which we managed to take over and it was for the combat

24 troops. And this was done by the HVO in agreement with

25 the TO. I think it was on the 24th, and I believe that

Page 17146













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Page 17147

1 General Blaskic was involved in this.

2 Q. Well, did you see any television press

3 conferences of Dario Kordic and Sliskovic at that

4 time?

5 A. In April of 1992?

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. No, I did not see it.

8 Q. We've heard evidence of such press

9 conferences, saying that Busovaca would be taken over.

10 Did you see any such press conferences?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Were you, nevertheless, from all your

13 contacts with the relevant politicians, including Dario

14 Kordic, aware that that was going to happen?

15 A. I don't understand. The taking over of

16 Busovaca as a town, as a municipality?

17 Q. Yes, as a town or as a municipality. Were

18 you aware of that at all as a plan of Kordic?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Was he wearing a uniform at this time?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And when you say "uniform," uniform with

23 emblems of what; with insignia of what?

24 A. A uniform without any insignia or perhaps

25 with some insignia, but it was a camouflage uniform

Page 17148

1 which separated the civilians from the uniformed

2 persons. So this has nothing to do with the insignia.

3 Q. At that time, did you count Vares as within

4 your area of responsibility?

5 A. As I stated, with the exception of Posavina

6 and Herzegovina, in practical terms, the remainder of

7 Bosnia.

8 Q. Were you, therefore, aware that in Vares,

9 Bosniaks were invited to join the HVO within the period

10 of time when you were in control but only if they wore

11 HVO insignia? Were you aware of that?

12 A. I wasn't aware of that, but as far as I can

13 recall, there were no insignia at that time. Somebody

14 had to produce them. In April and May, which is the

15 period that we're referring to, they were still not in

16 existence. I personally did not have any.

17 Q. Maybe, but, General, were you aware that the

18 territory you were effectively commanding was requiring

19 Bosniaks to sign up to the HVO if they were to join it,

20 sign up to the extent of wearing the insignia? Were

21 you aware of that?

22 A. That is not true at all, or at least I don't

23 know about it. The policy was that the Muslims and the

24 Croats should jointly organise the defence. We

25 couldn't do it alone, so the policy was to do it

Page 17149

1 together, and I implemented that policy. Tole for

2 eight or ten days, however long he was in command, and

3 then Zulu, and then Blaskic.

4 Q. I'm staying within your period of command,

5 and what I've put to you comes from a witness and deals

6 with that period. I want to know if while you were in

7 command, things were sufficiently controlled that

8 joining the HVO was conditional on wearing its

9 insignia. Can you help me, please?

10 A. Let me give you an illustration. For the

11 first parade from a battalion from Travnik, and this

12 was at a religious site that the ceremony took place, I

13 said that on one sleeve we will wear the insignia of

14 the Croatian people and on the other whatever we want,

15 but nobody will ever take off our Croatian emblems. I

16 am not aware that anybody made it conditional to be a

17 member of the HVO by wearing particular insignia, the

18 insignia of the Croatian people.

19 Q. Picking up on what you said not so long ago,

20 if you really wanted to organise defence jointly, why

21 not have one army? Why have two?

22 A. We had three armies in Bosnia and

23 Herzegovina; the Army of Republika Srpska, which

24 separated and took up arms to reach their objectives;

25 then we had the Muslim side, which wore the green

Page 17150

1 fezzes or their own flags, their own insignia; then we

2 had the Croatian component or party and represented the

3 interests of that side. And if you're talking about

4 the joint defence of Croats and Bosniaks, that is,

5 Muslims, that was jointly but not the same. At that

6 time, we could not have had the same army. That was a

7 purely theoretical concept.

8 Q. And you did nothing yourself to attempt to

9 bring about a joint army? You were happy to press on

10 with this single army, weren't you?

11 A. I focused on bringing some normalcy in

12 Bosnia, which was to have been under a single military

13 police, health care, and other services, but I was not

14 living outside of the time in which I lived. I saw

15 what the reality was, and the reality after the

16 break-up of Yugoslavia was also the breakdown within

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is the reality that I had

18 to deal with.

19 Q. Are you saying that even at that time, your

20 judgement was that the ethnic groups would have to be

21 separated and have separate representation?

22 A. Not to separate, but they were already

23 separated. The demise of Yugoslavia was long and

24 painful, and reality was already there on the ground.

25 All I did was understand that reality.

Page 17151

1 Q. Reality had been that the ethnic groups had

2 got on well together generally. That's correct, isn't

3 it?

4 A. For a time, yes.

5 Q. And the further reality is that the general

6 disintegration of Yugoslavia afforded to people eager

7 to exercise power the opportunity to arouse ethnic

8 dislike and hatred where it had previously not existed

9 or lay dormant. True, isn't it?

10 A. It seems to be all clear to you. I don't

11 know why we're here if everything is clear. It is not

12 that simple. It is not possible to give the answer in

13 such simple terms. I was there. I was loyal to

14 Yugoslavia, but then its continued existence became

15 impossible. In June of 1991, when Slovenia left

16 Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia could not survive, even

17 theoretically speaking, as far as Croatia and

18 Bosnia-Herzegovina were concerned, if you want to move

19 into politics now.

20 Q. I want your answer to the question. The

21 fragile, perhaps, or vulnerable condition of the

22 population in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina

23 allowed people who wanted to exercise power to arouse

24 ethnic dislike and hatred; correct or incorrect?

25 A. It is not exactly in the terms which you used

Page 17152

1 to define it.

2 Q. You, of course, weren't in Busovaca at any

3 time to see the early speeches made by Mr. Kordic, were

4 you?

5 A. I wasn't there.

6 Q. Have you ever seen them since?

7 A. No.

8 Q. But you tell us that you have seen, I think

9 by implication, several of his speeches to individuals,

10 groups, and so on?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. We're just going to play you a small clip of

13 a video, then, that you will not have seen, and I want

14 you to look at it, please. And then I'll ask you a

15 question about it afterwards.

16 JUDGE MAY: The exhibit number.

17 MR. NICE: 2698, and it's being queued for

18 partway through what we all know to be a longer video.

19 2699 is the transcript.

20 [Videotape played]

21 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]

22 "To begin with, I will just say I wish all of

23 us the best with the independent State of Croatia.

24 "Croatia, Croatia.

25 "This planned and magnificent rally was worth

Page 17153

1 shedding litres of blood and sweat to experience this

2 dream which finally -- for nine centuries was just a

3 dream for the Croatian people, and an independent,

4 sovereign state recognised by more than 50

5 international states.

6 "If last night we feared perhaps there would

7 be no marking or celebrating here in Busovaca, many

8 were deceived. The Croatia spirit lives here in

9 Busovaca. This evening is proof that the Croatian

10 people in Busovaca are also part of the united Croatian

11 nation and how much the Croats in the Croatian state

12 will live, and Busovaca Croats live just as much with

13 the Croatian state.

14 "There were people from Kiseljak, Kresevo,

15 Fojnica, Vitez, who announced that they will be guests

16 this evening, and I hope they will come. If some of

17 them have arrived, I greet them warmly for coming here

18 to elevate this rally of ours.

19 "When I said that the Croatian people waited

20 for nine centuries for this union, we must remember

21 that tens of thousands of people died and gave their

22 lives for the Croatian state. Therefore, for all those

23 who throughout the centuries sacrificed their lives for

24 their homeland and those couple of thousand Croats who

25 lost their lives in this dirty war waged by the

Page 17154

1 aggressor, the greater Serbian army against the

2 Croatian nation, I would like us to observe a minute of

3 silence for the sake of eternal peace for all those

4 people, the Croats who gave their lives for that which

5 we are experiencing today. Dear Lord, may they rest in

6 eternal peace.

7 "When I made my initial remarks about

8 Busovaca, now I would like to say that this Croatian

9 Community of Herceg-Bosna, which includes Busovaca,

10 also has the right to celebrate the great day of the

11 creation of the Croatian state. I would also like to

12 say that today we are becoming part of -- the Croatian

13 people will be not a part of any other state, and this

14 is Croatian land, and this is how it will be.

15 "Please do not hold it against me, but I am

16 very excited, and I am almost never nervous, but I am

17 now. I must address two things.

18 "We must especially thank the German nation.

19 I would like to say that may the German people and

20 state, who have provided us with much help, live long.

21 "On the floor is nice words of our honourable

22 friend, the leader of the Croatian people of Vitez, who

23 said good always comes back to you, if this is true, I

24 would like to paraphrase then. The German people in

25 the German state similarly returned to the Croatian

Page 17155

1 people that which the Croatian people never betrayed in

2 history, and also everything that they kept in terms of

3 their Christian faith.

4 "Finally, let me say that those who did not

5 believe that they would ever live to see a day like

6 this and those few who believed can see today the dream

7 which was perhaps impossible but has come true, and

8 that the greater Serbian and Chetnik machinery have

9 been broken by the rock-solid Croatian warriors who

10 showed a superhuman morale and broke the military power

11 which was among the strongest in Europe.

12 "Croatian people have proven that they were

13 and will be strong and that they cannot cease to exist

14 so long as they stay together, and that here they are,

15 with God's help, if we place our trust in God and if

16 the Croats place their trust in God.

17 "It is not an accident -- it was not an

18 accident that the virgin showed us in Medjugorje just

19 before the events which were followed by the war and

20 which brought down the Communist system.

21 "Long live Croatia as an independent state."

22 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.

23 Q. General, does that speech match the other

24 speeches that you saw Mr. Kordic give?

25 A. This speech was delivered on the occasion, if

Page 17156













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17157

1 I can concentrate now, on the occasion of the admission

2 of Croatia into the United Nations or the recognition

3 of Croatia, that is, the Republic of Croatia, by other

4 states. And I think that apart from the term -- the

5 name of the Republic of Croatia, everything else is

6 correct, and I would also have clapped my hands,

7 applauded at this.

8 Q. Very well. So using the phrase "the

9 independent State of Croatia" wouldn't trouble you at

10 all, or might that be a bit dangerous if it referred

11 back to an entity of the Second World War, General?

12 What do you think?

13 A. He spoke on the occasion of the recognition

14 of the Republic of Croatia by democratic states. The

15 name itself, the official name of the state and so on

16 and so forth, in itself I think is the result of

17 ignorance or anything else. I would say to everything

18 else, I would applaud.

19 Q. Do you find anything dangerous or concerning

20 in his references to Germany's support?

21 A. No. Germany is a democratic state. All our

22 people work in Germany, all our people think in marks,

23 the traditional ties, so that I don't see that link at

24 all.

25 Q. General, you know full well that in the

Page 17158

1 course of this recent war, the name of the Ustasha was

2 revived at least in the minds of, as it were, the

3 opposition, but sometimes, on the evidence, on the very

4 caps of those fighting for the Croat interest. Now, do

5 you think there was any danger in paying special homage

6 to Germany in that speech or not?

7 A. On this tape, I did not see any Ustasha

8 emblems or a "U". If you want me to see that, then

9 will you please repeat the tape so that I see that? I

10 did not see it anywhere.

11 JUDGE MAY: We will get on more quickly,

12 General, if you answer the questions. That was not the

13 question.

14 Would you care to repeat it, please.

15 MR. NICE: Certainly.

16 Q. And I'll summarise it. Knowing what we do

17 about the use of the name "Ustasha" in the course of

18 this conflict, do you think there was any danger in

19 paying special homage to Germany historically or

20 otherwise in this speech?

21 A. No. In this war, it was our enemies who

22 called us Ustasha to humiliate us, to reduce us to

23 non-humans, and that is how they treat us on the 15th

24 of May, 1992. They killed 15 of my captured soldiers

25 on Vlasic. Fifteen captured soldiers on Vlasic,

Page 17159

1 justifying themselves by saying that they were

2 Ustasha. And they were men on their own land, on their

3 own grazing ground, in their own country, but they were

4 Ustasha, and that was -- that served as an excuse, as

5 if they had slain I don't know whom. So the term

6 "Ustasha" was used in that form to degrade my side.

7 Q. In that speech that you've just looked at, if

8 you had been a Muslim, would you have found anything of

9 comfort, please?

10 JUDGE MAY: I think that's a hypothetical

11 question and may be a matter for the Trial Chamber in

12 due course.

13 MR. NICE: Very well.

14 Q. May I take it, General, that apart from the

15 fact that this was a speech on a particular occasion,

16 the sentiments expressed and the manner in which they

17 were expressed were not significantly different from

18 what you'd seen Mr. Kordic do on other occasions?

19 A. The question was whether -- what I felt like

20 a Muslim. Perhaps a Serb might have, because "Greater

21 Serbia" was mentioned there and "Muslim" was never

22 mentioned. And as for the speech --

23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please,

24 Mr. President.

25 JUDGE MAY: That was the question before.

Page 17160

1 Would you repeat your second question, Mr. Nice.

2 Shortly.

3 MR. NICE: Yes.

4 Q. Were the sentiments expressed and the manner

5 in which they were expressed similar to that which

6 you'd seen from Mr. Kordic on other occasions, please?

7 A. I wouldn't say similar. On other occasions,

8 it was about something else, about the defence,

9 commitment to defence, at least what I saw. So that

10 those were not any more public rallies or meetings like

11 this one, those were meetings with people.

12 Q. Do you accept that it was Mr. Kordic, as we

13 have heard from a witness, who organised the Serb

14 army's withdrawal from Busovaca within the period of

15 your command in May 1992?

16 A. I don't think that it was Kordic who

17 organised it or commanded. He perhaps helped about the

18 Draga barracks and the Silo, but it was Pasko Ljubicic

19 that I tasked with that, and I think that he and

20 somebody else and a third facility in Busovaca.

21 Q. Could you specifically remember tasking

22 Ljubicic to do that, can you?

23 A. I must have asked. I can't exactly

24 remember. I did, yes, of course.

25 Q. Is it possible that you asked Kordic to do it

Page 17161

1 or is it possible he just took over and did it

2 himself?

3 A. I don't think so.

4 Q. Do you accept that, at this time, Kordic went

5 to the Bratstvo factory and obtained two

6 multiple-rocket launchers, and he went there with a

7 hundred soldiers?

8 A. I could accept that he took over materiel

9 from Bratstvo.

10 Q. He would have been in a position to go to the

11 factory with armed, uniformed soldiers to do so?

12 A. Yes. Well, not to lead them. I mean,

13 somebody had to be a commander, and at that time in

14 Busovaca, the municipal commander, at the commander at

15 the municipal level was -- the name eludes me, but in

16 military terms, the commander did it.

17 Q. What would be the explanation then, please,

18 of Kordic appearing to be in charge of the soldiers, if

19 he was?

20 A. Kordic could not be somewhere in the rear.

21 Kordic was always in front. Kordic was the most

22 prominent personality at a meeting, starting from his

23 height to his actual conduct, and everybody else might

24 have simply thought that that was it, but I am

25 talking -- I'm referring to the structure of the HVO.

Page 17162

1 Q. Before we move on; "He indeed was the most

2 prominent person at a meeting." Can you please

3 explain, because we may look at this if we have time

4 later, could you please explain to the Chamber why,

5 once seated and with military men, he should be the

6 principal speaker and not them?

7 A. You mean the speech that we just saw on the

8 tape?

9 Q. Generally at meetings. It's you who said

10 here, you see, your words: "He indeed was the most

11 prominent person at a meeting." We may see some

12 videotapes of meetings. The Chamber may have heard of

13 meetings. Can you explain, please, why, at meetings

14 involving qualified military men, he would take the

15 lead?

16 A. I did not say he ran those meetings or that

17 he was the worthiest person there. I said he was the

18 person who was up front always, who was always in the

19 forefront, but I do not think that he ever took the

20 lead over the army, or if he did, I wouldn't know when

21 and how.

22 Q. General, you know perfectly well that he was

23 the most prominent person at meetings because he was

24 the most powerful, and that's the truth, isn't it?

25 A. No. Power, name, goodwill, and so on and so

Page 17163

1 forth. I say a man who was simply most conspicuous

2 because of his appearance, his attitude, and so on and

3 so forth. As far as the HVO is concerned, the most

4 important, the most powerful man was Filipovic during

5 his time, and then Blaskic during his time, and so on

6 and so forth.

7 Q. There was in Travnik a technical maintenance

8 institute. Are you aware of, again in the period of

9 during your command, Kordic visiting that institute,

10 again with troops, to obtain equipment?

11 A. I don't know, but could you give me the date,

12 please?

13 Q. The date of this is sometime in May of 1992,

14 and the equipment that he wanted was communications

15 equipment and mobile communications equipment. Were

16 you aware of his going there and doing that?

17 A. No. What I am aware is that on the 4th of

18 June, we took over the office, the office 1523, that is

19 what it was called, the military -- the army office,

20 and that was that institute in Travnik.

21 Q. And you took it over because you wanted

22 equipment to assist in communications?

23 A. Yes. But the facility as such was a

24 prerequisite for the takeover of the barracks because

25 it makes part of the barracks. And we took the

Page 17164

1 barracks on the 6th, and the maintenance institute on

2 the 4th of June.

3 Q. I'm afraid slightly out of order. I must ask

4 you to look at an exhibit. It's a fresh exhibit,

5 76.1. It goes straight onto the ELMO. It doesn't have

6 translation yet, but it barely needs one.

7 You can see that this is a document signed by

8 Mr. Kordic. Just confirm what it is, please.

9 A. Was the same as the previous document, except

10 that the format is different. Again, two organs and

11 one organj.

12 Q. This is the formal receipt signed by him over

13 a stamp, isn't it?

14 A. I don't know if he signed that. I can see

15 the stamp, yes.

16 Q. Sorry that's out of order. My mistake.

17 On the 10th of May -- you can put that

18 document aside. On the 10th of May, were you aware

19 that Kordic ordered the takeover of Busovaca by HVO

20 forces, and the takeover included such locations as the

21 PTT building?

22 A. I don't know about that. I don't know what

23 it means to take over -- to take Busovaca over.

24 Q. Would it surprise you, and I don't want to

25 weary you with documents, but would it surprise you to

Page 17165

1 know that he signed documents at that time as deputy

2 president of the HVO?

3 A. I wouldn't be surprised by it because, at the

4 time, the HVO represented both the civilian and the

5 military authority, and I did say yesterday already

6 that as the time went by, the HVO began to develop as

7 an armoured force, that is, a military component of the

8 overall force. When I arrived in the area, everything

9 that functioned on the Croat side was the HVO, and then

10 gradually -- that is the government's -- municipal

11 government's role, so-called HVO governments.

12 Q. Were you aware -- this is Exhibit 100, if

13 anybody wants to look for it -- of Kordic and Brnada

14 annulling the agreement on distribution of weapons on

15 that same day, 10th of May?

16 MR. NICE: Don't hand it to the witness

17 unless he requires to see it.

18 Q. Were you aware that the order on distribution

19 of weapons was annulled by Kordic and Brnada?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Were you aware of the arrest of Dzemal Merdan

22 and Mr. Alagic the same day?

23 A. That is impossible. Impossible, because

24 Merdan and Alagic -- Alagic turned up in the summer or

25 autumn of 1992. But, no, I didn't know.

Page 17166













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Page 17167

1 Q. Would it surprise you to know, Exhibit 101.2,

2 that Kordic had enough authority to provide, on his

3 release, a permit of percentage for General Merdan, and

4 that his pass, as it were, would be counted as a good

5 document?

6 A. No, I wouldn't be surprised by this, because

7 I or with my name, I guaranteed to thousands of men not

8 only in Busovaca but to move around whatever area was

9 controlled by the HVO, and in a way, there were dozens,

10 hundreds of such signatures every day.

11 Q. General, you were a soldier. Why should

12 Mr. Kordic's signature provide safe passage to an area

13 that was run by soldiers, please?

14 A. Well, it wasn't a signature for soldiers

15 only, because it was not run by soldiers. I don't

16 really know how to make you see the picture there.

17 People used to have 15, dozens of passes with them, not

18 one pass only. That would allow him too, but a number

19 of them in order to be able to get through.

20 Q. Now, that brings us to the end of your period

21 of command, as I understand it from the statement or

22 the summary that you provided yesterday. Most if not

23 all of the events that I've summarised to you were

24 known to you. Were you happy yourself with what was

25 going on or not?

Page 17168

1 A. I don't understand the question.

2 Q. Were you happy with what you knew to be going

3 on in the area under your command? We can touch on

4 other social things, if you like, the introduction of

5 the Croatian currency. Were you aware of that?

6 A. The expression "happy," I don't know if there

7 is a better word. I don't know if you used it. One

8 cannot be happy or content about the situation which

9 existed at that time. It had to change, it had to be

10 improved, and I did my utmost to see that it is

11 improved.

12 The introduction of the Croatian currency is

13 an integral part of life there. All the currencies in

14 the area that we were legal tender, and to this

15 day, all these currencies in this area in which we are

16 legal tender.

17 Q. Were you aware that Kordic had dissolved the

18 Territorial Defence on the 10th of May? Again, just at

19 the end of the period of your command -- no, within

20 your period of command. I'm sorry.

21 A. No. I don't know about that.

22 Q. You see, General, there's been some evidence

23 in this court that you were, by instinct, both a

24 soldier first and in some ways a moderate, and so my

25 question to you at this stage is this: In that first

Page 17169

1 period of command, overall command, were you in any way

2 uncomfortable by what was being done by others? Did

3 you think they were going too far?

4 A. There were moves which lacked logic. There

5 were wrong moves. There were situations which could

6 always turn for worse, but as I said, we were under

7 constant fire. I did not agree with Kordic or with

8 Blaskic or with anyone else. If I thought that

9 something was wrong, then I said so.

10 I wasn't a moderate soldier, I was almost the

11 only soldier who went to places where shells fell.

12 Many of those who testified here became soldiers only

13 after the situation was resolved, but they never even

14 went near the soldiers or where the shells fell. So

15 the testimony at the time that I am a moderate soldier,

16 I am an immoderate soldier.

17 Q. You misunderstood me, and it's my error and

18 you must understand the position properly. When I

19 suggested that the evidence goes to show that you were

20 immoderate or may have been immoderate, that means

21 immoderate not as a soldier but immoderate in relation

22 to what was happening in the territory generally, that

23 you were by instincts, perhaps, inclined to get on well

24 with your Muslim colleagues. Now, do you accept that?

25 A. That is right. But with Serbs, you see, I

Page 17170

1 negotiated with Serbs too because I had to get 13

2 bodies. I gave over, healthy and live, 15 captured

3 men, because I thought that things had to be resolved.

4 So in that sense, I was moderate. And that others were

5 not moderate, or if you can put it that way, that is,

6 that is a problem we had to live with. So not only

7 with Muslims or with Croats, but with Serbs too or,

8 rather, a normal -- a professional interpretation of

9 the duties that I believed to be mine.

10 Q. Having clarified the question, I apologise to

11 you for your misunderstanding it in the first place.

12 Was it your opinion that your fellow HVO officials,

13 some of them, went too far?

14 A. Too far in what sense?

15 Q. Taking over Busovaca in the way they did.

16 Tell us.

17 A. If it is how you interpreted it, then, yes,

18 they went too far.

19 Q. Because you were replaced by this man Tole,

20 who replaced you, who made that decision?

21 A. Tole.

22 Q. What support did he have in order to take

23 over from you? Who backed him?

24 A. He came with a document from the main

25 headquarters. But before I met him, he had toured the

Page 17171

1 municipalities in the Lasva Valley and was immediately

2 accepted by both the Bosniaks, that is, Muslims and

3 Croats. And this support shocked me, because I was

4 unable to secure such a support as he was able to do

5 throughout. So immediately he was accepted as

6 commander in the Lasva Valley, and during my brief

7 meeting with him I was wondering whether I should have

8 him arrested, because I knew him as a security officer

9 from the garrison in Derventa.

10 Q. What Bosnian Croat support did Tole have that

11 you did not have?

12 A. I had it too, but in a very brief period of

13 time he gained support of both the Croats and Muslims,

14 and he immediately started to implement what he was

15 supposed to implement; in other words, to set up a

16 headquarters, a command, and he was going to do it in

17 Uskoplje, in Gornji Vakuf.

18 Q. Mr. Kordic was already, as we know, a

19 powerful and important figure. Did Tole have Kordic's

20 support?

21 A. I don't know.

22 Q. The document that you say he came with will

23 presumably show what support he had?

24 A. He had support from the headquarters of the

25 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

Page 17172

1 Q. He was only in charge for ten days, wasn't

2 he?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. On the first day of his being in charge, you

5 becoming his deputy for ten days, the man Trako was

6 murdered. Do you know anything about that?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Not even hear about it?

9 A. No.

10 Q. You knew Cerkez by that time?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Did he not tell you anything about a murder,

13 and an inquiry, and an arrest, or anything of that

14 sort?

15 A. No.

16 Q. The sort of thing that you, being the deputy

17 to Tole, you should hear about, shouldn't you, some

18 serious act of loss of life, associated as it may be

19 with the breakdown of discipline or whatever; you

20 should hear about it, shouldn't you?

21 A. We're talking about the period of command of

22 Zarko Tole. We were in the area of Uskoplje/Bugojno.

23 The fighting was going on, and he disappeared. Whether

24 I was supposed to know about Trako or not, I don't

25 know. Perhaps when a deputy commander is appointed,

Page 17173

1 maybe in textbook terms this person should know

2 everything. But if you have fighting going on, if a

3 murder takes place somewhere, I don't know.

4 Q. Well, Tole only survived for the ten days.

5 Was it in that ten-day period that the Slimena barracks

6 takeover was dealt with?

7 A. No, it had nothing to do with Tole, the

8 barracks in Slimena.

9 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ...

10 period of time?

11 A. No. Tole appeared in late May 1992 and

12 Slimena took place -- was it late May? And Slimena

13 were taken over in that period. But they were not

14 connected. Tole and Slimena were not connected.

15 Q. In fact, you led the seizure of weapons from

16 Slimena, and you did so pursuant to an order of the

17 Vitez Crisis Committee; is that correct?

18 A. Not correct. I conceived, led, and carried

19 out this operation, and if anybody had made any orders

20 in the meantime, that's something else.

21 Q. Very well. I'm not going to take time with

22 that.

23 Zorica, known as Zulu, took over on the 30th

24 of May. You again stayed on as his deputy, and Zulu or

25 Zorica only survived for some 20 days, therefore until

Page 17174

1 about the 20th of June. Why were you still in the

2 junior position or the position of deputy? Why weren't

3 you allowed back into the position of being in command?

4 A. I think that the disappearance of Tole

5 somehow involved the suspicion that I was somehow

6 responsible for that, and it was not cleared up until

7 Tole was exchanged. This is why this mistrust towards

8 me.

9 Q. Is there a document somewhere appointing

10 Zorica, also known as Zulu?

11 A. I did not see it.

12 Q. And was Zorica a man of comparatively extreme

13 views, do you think?

14 A. No. He followed the same policy of

15 cooperation between Muslims and Croats. But in my

16 view, he was not capable of dealing with such complex

17 problems, and I intervened and I said that we should

18 appoint somebody who would be able to deal with this

19 and proposed Blaskic.

20 Q. We'll come to that in just a second. But

21 this history is somewhat difficult to draw from your

22 summary of your being first in charge and then deputy,

23 deputy, and as we're going to see, long-term deputy.

24 Does that reflect that your military skills were

25 required but your political caution or your political

Page 17175

1 moderation was not entirely to the liking of your

2 political superiors?

3 A. I cannot answer that question. That could

4 have been the view.

5 Q. Meanwhile, Mr. Kordic was still just that,

6 Mr. Kordic, wasn't he?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. The military establishment was developing

9 itself over this period of time, slowly becoming more

10 professional?

11 A. Not more professional but better, better

12 organised with better links, with appointments of

13 commanding officers. In order to make it professional,

14 people needed to be trained, and we practically had no

15 training.

16 MR. NICE: I wonder if the witness could see

17 another exhibit, Exhibit 134, a fresh exhibit. Again,

18 if the original could go to the witness in due course,

19 the English copy on the ELMO. The first sheet,

20 please. That's all I want at the moment.

21 Q. You can see -- we'll deal with the document

22 as quickly as we can, but take your time to look at it,

23 of course, if you wish to. This is a document dated

24 the 15th of June, so that's coming towards the end of

25 Zorica's term of office. It's a battle order from the

Page 17176

1 Republic of Bosnia, Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,

2 Defence, military secret, and it goes to the commander

3 of the Tomasevic Brigade in Novi Travnik. This would

4 appear to you, would it, to be a regular order?

5 A. 15 June, signed by Blaskic, 1992. It is

6 not -- doesn't look regular to me at all.

7 Q. The stamp looks regular enough, doesn't it,

8 "Herceg-Bosna, Travnik"?

9 A. Well, the stamp, yes. But the dates and the

10 signatory, they don't look right to me.

11 Q. Well, you've seen the point. Where there's

12 place for two signatures, there are two names, and

13 Kordic's name has the abbreviation for Colonel in front

14 of it. I wonder if you could explain that to us.

15 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, we would object to

16 this document in the absence of laying a proper

17 foundation. And might I just enquire if there's a

18 signed version of this document, because the Croatian

19 original appears not to be signed.

20 MR. NICE: They appear to be stamped.

21 JUDGE MAY: Is the document one which has

22 been produced before?

23 MR. NICE: No, no, it's being distributed for

24 production. No, sorry, it has been admitted already.

25 JUDGE MAY: Well, if it's been admitted,

Page 17177













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17178

1 there can be no object to it. Yes.


3 Q. I want you to have as much time as we need,

4 although we are pressed for time. Is there anything

5 about the content -- look at it, please, General, and

6 tell us, is there anything about the content that you

7 say shows it to be an untrue document? It deals with

8 the enemy regrouping its forces and attacking the

9 Croatian people, the mission to prevent operations of

10 the Muslim armed forces, preparations, effecting the

11 defence of people, and so on.

12 A. I could take this document seriously if it

13 were dated '93. But if it is dated '92, then I find it

14 meaningless.

15 Q. Very well. Is that because of the signature

16 on the back?

17 A. No, because of the date, 15 June 1992, which

18 mentions the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade and the

19 signature of the Colonel. That is absurd.

20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, just for my own

21 information, when is this in relation to the period

22 when the witness had ascribed to Mr. Kordic the title

23 Colonel for the negotiations?

24 MR. NICE: That doesn't begin until November

25 of 1992.

Page 17179

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: And this is 15th June '92?

2 MR. NICE: Yes, if the date is correct.

3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Okay, right.


5 Q. On the 20th of June, five days later, if the

6 date is correct, Blaskic replaced Zorica. Now, I

7 didn't understand what you said yesterday. Whose

8 decision was it that it should be Blaskic?

9 A. He was appointed by the main headquarters of

10 the Croatian Defence Council.

11 Q. Yes. But who recommended him?

12 A. I recommended him to the commander, Colonel

13 Petkovic, and to others. The communication links were

14 not so good. I sent messages that this issue had to be

15 resolved, that Zorica could no longer stay on as a

16 commander. He was not competent enough. It would have

17 been absurd to keep him as a commander. But as for the

18 decision and for other recommendations, I don't know

19 who made them.

20 Q. But, again, why not you, General? You had

21 far more experience than Blaskic, you were keen on

22 doing the job. Why were you only, as it were, acting

23 behind the scenes to promote someone else?

24 A. I have already said. On the 12th -- that is,

25 13th April, I followed logic. I saw that there was no

Page 17180

1 other way, that I had to be the commander. This was

2 not right. It would not have been all right had not

3 the situation called for it. I could not recommend

4 myself after that any longer, and I may have acted or

5 had even effected some kind of a coup had they not

6 replaced myself with Blaskic. But I was always at the

7 front lines and not working behind the scenes.

8 Q. Something I don't understand. Help me. You

9 were saying that you were associated with Tole's

10 departure and therefore until that was sorted out you

11 couldn't be promoted at the time that Zorica was. At

12 the time that Blaskic was, had the Tole business been

13 sorted out?

14 A. It was not sorted out at all. It was not

15 known, how he ended up in the hands of the army of

16 Republika Srpska.

17 Q. You see, in your summary that we had

18 yesterday, as you well know, you've given another

19 reason for why you couldn't be the top man, haven't

20 you?

21 A. I don't know whether I have mentioned any

22 other reason.

23 Q. Don't you remember giving an explanation for

24 why it was that you couldn't be the top man, about

25 being distrusted because you had been in the JNA?

Page 17181

1 Don't you remember telling us about that?

2 A. Of course, because I was a high-ranking

3 officer, I commanded a regiment, people had

4 reservations. People thought that I may have been

5 infiltrated and to be working for someone else's

6 interests, and certain doubts remained throughout the

7 war. But I wasn't an exception. Everybody suspected

8 everyone else.

9 Q. A great number of former JNA soldiers have

10 done extremely well, haven't they, and did at the time,

11 Petkovic for one of them. What was the reason that you

12 didn't get the top job; was it Tole, was it distrust by

13 the JNA, or was it something else?

14 A. These questions are very unpleasant. I am

15 not asking you why you did not become the president of

16 the Tribunal in The Hague, so --

17 JUDGE MAY: Don't, please, argue with

18 counsel. If you can't answer, just say so.

19 A. Thank you.

20 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on.

21 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.

22 Q. Throughout the time, and again, this is not

23 entirely clear from your summary but it is the case,

24 isn't it, from the time of Blaskic's appointment until

25 the end of the war, you were working for him?

Page 17182

1 A. Never for him. I did what I had to do.

2 Q. And the job you had, tell us again, what was

3 it?

4 A. I worked as the deputy commander of the

5 Operative Zone for combat operations, and from October

6 1992, I requested and was confirmed as a commander of

7 the Travnik Brigade, because I saw no one else who

8 could have stepped into that duty after Mr. Ivica

9 Stojak.

10 Q. I think, as a matter of fact, you were also

11 appointed, on the 4th of July, as commander of

12 Operational Zone number 2 at Dobrica, is that correct,

13 based in Vitez?

14 A. We split up the Operative Zone into operative

15 groups, four operative groups, and I was the commander

16 of one of those groups.

17 Q. At the same time, middle of 1992, various

18 things were happening in HZ HB, and I just want to know

19 this, I'm not going to test you: There are various

20 dates set out in paragraph 24 of your summary. Don't

21 turn to it, please. Are these actually dates you know

22 yourself or were they simply provided to you by someone

23 else? For example, can you give us the date of the

24 decree on the armed forces?

25 A. Some dates stay indelibly in one's mind but

Page 17183

1 some disappear. I thought that the date was the 3rd of

2 July. For instance, 24th of April, the takeover of the

3 Kiseljak barracks, and a date in June when the Travnik

4 barracks was taken over, those I remember.

5 Q. When did you first hear of the decree on the

6 armed forces on the 3rd of July?

7 A. I cannot say with precision.

8 Q. At the same time or later?

9 A. I could have heard of it a month later or

10 three days later, but the document is significant

11 enough for me to have remembered it.

12 Q. Was it distributed or promulgated in some

13 other way to people in your position or did you wait to

14 hear about it publicly?

15 A. I don't recall.

16 Q. Because it was only published, you see, in

17 September of 1992 for the first time. I wondered how

18 you learnt of it.

19 A. Then it was between July and September that I

20 somehow remembered it.

21 Q. In your position of being close to Blaskic

22 and doing the job you did, you must have had access,

23 one way or another, to pretty nearly all the detail of

24 what happened in the Lasva Valley; correct?

25 A. Yes.

Page 17184

1 Q. Whatever was said in the operational

2 headquarters or the headquarters, whatever was written

3 about what happened in Ahmici and all those other

4 places must have been available to you, General.

5 A. It was all available to me on my request or I

6 could request it.

7 Q. Thank you very much.

8 JUDGE MAY: That would be a convenient

9 moment?

10 MR. NICE: Yes, I think so.

11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we have a fairly tight

12 timetable this week.

13 MR. NICE: I understand.

14 JUDGE MAY: So we would be grateful for your

15 cooperation in trying to curtail your examination, and

16 it would be helpful if we start on another witness

17 today.

18 MR. NICE: I think that's unlikely. The

19 Court will recognise that this witness, subject to one

20 other, possibly becoming the most senior, covers the

21 whole of the territory of the Defence case. So doing

22 the best I can with this witness, I may have to be

23 still some time. I will, of course, do everything I

24 can to assist.

25 JUDGE MAY: Well, your cooperation would be

Page 17185

1 gratefully received.

2 Half past two.

3 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.03 p.m.























Page 17186

1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, in order to try and get

3 through as much as we possibly can, we'll sit a bit

4 later tonight. We'll sit until quarter to five. We'll

5 take a break at about quarter to four, of ten minutes

6 or so.

7 MR. NICE: I'm going to do my best to

8 finish. In order to do that, I shan't be able to put

9 the totality of my case. I will, by and large, reserve

10 document-heavy exercises more for argument at the end

11 of the case than for cross-examination, because I think

12 that's the only way of economising our time.

13 Two matters for correction, by slip of the

14 tongue or pen, in speaking of the arrest of Merdan. I

15 associated it with the wrong name. I should have

16 associated it with Alija Begic and I didn't. I'm sorry

17 for that.

18 Second point, as to the June 1992 document

19 that bears the imprimatur for "colonel," the witness

20 suggests that it's effectively a misprint in the date

21 at the top. It shouldn't be 1992, it should be 1993.

22 We are considering that, but it looks to us that as

23 thought he may well be right on that. So reserve any

24 question of significance on that issue for the time

25 being.

Page 17187

1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It relates to an occasion,

2 obviously, when there was conflict in Novi Travnik, and

3 I don't recollect June 1992 as a date but June 1993.

4 MR. NICE: So, therefore, that would seem to

5 be the position.

6 Q. General, a quick point. Do you accept that

7 on the 3rd of July, 1992, one of the various decrees

8 that was issued was one which actually took all the JNA

9 property to HZ HB? Do you accept that? Or to the

10 HVO? HZ HB really. I'm asking you in this way to save

11 having to look at a document.

12 A. I don't know if the document regulates the

13 ownership and whether the property rights are

14 transferred to the HDZ.

15 Q. Very well. I'll leave that for argument.

16 Going back just a month.

17 MR. NICE: Can we produce very quickly

18 Exhibit 128.

19 Q. While it's coming to you, this is a pass

20 issued to a soldier, but the significance is this:

21 That it's issued by Kordic and provides safe conduct

22 not only in the Community of Herceg-Bosna but in the

23 Republic of Croatia. Does that surprise you, General?

24 A. No, it does not.

25 Q. What does that show about the authority in

Page 17188













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17189

1 Croatia of the signatory Dario Kordic?

2 A. It only proves that this gentleman, the one

3 here, if the document is an authentic one, is enjoying

4 the help of all those he comes across. Here we see

5 Dario Kordic. As I have already said, there were

6 documents, Filip Filipovic and others.

7 Q. Just to complete it: Did you sign passes

8 that included the Republic of Croatia in their range?

9 A. Yes. People didn't go at all. It was in the

10 direction of the Republic of Croatia, and I did sign

11 such documents.

12 Q. Well, this document it says specifically:

13 "From Vares through HZ HB and the Republic of

14 Croatia." You never issued a pass of such breadth, is

15 that what you're telling me?

16 A. I issued passes, thousands of passes. People

17 could go through and reach their destination. If they

18 were going to Vares, to Zagreb, or anywhere, I signed

19 it to show that I was behind that and trying to help

20 that man to get through.

21 Q. Thank you.

22 MR. NICE: The next exhibit is a short clip

23 from a press conference or the opening part of a press

24 conference. It's Exhibit 173. I'll produce the whole

25 of the transcript, again on the basis that it may be

Page 17190

1 necessary to look at more of it at a later stage, but I

2 can deal with it shortly at this stage.

3 It's in the booth and it's ready to go, I

4 think. Except the booth isn't. Exhibit 173, please.

5 JUDGE MAY: What date are we dealing with?

6 MR. NICE: It's the 28th of July, I think.

7 There's supposed to be sound on it, but we don't seem

8 to have any.

9 [Videotape played]

10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot

11 hear any sound.

12 MR. NICE: Stop that and we'll freeze that

13 frame, please, in the booth. We'll deal with the

14 content of the tape later.

15 Q. General, this is a pretty typical press

16 conference, isn't it, with Kordic in the middle,

17 flanked by military men?

18 A. It is typical in a way.

19 Q. It wouldn't surprise you to know, if it be

20 the case, that he would be introduced as the --

21 Mr. Kordic would be introduced as the vice-president of

22 the Croatian Defence Council?

23 A. I repeat again: HVO meant very many things.

24 It was only at a later stage that this term began to

25 mean the armed force, the army of the HVO.

Page 17191

1 Q. And would it surprise you to know that on the

2 28th of July -- this is on the second sheet of the

3 transcript marked page 19 at the bottom right-hand side

4 in the English version, and if I'm going too fast for

5 the interpreters, will they let themselves be known in

6 some way -- that he says something like this: "I was

7 involved in resolving these problems that cropped up

8 yesterday and the night before on the territory of

9 Busovaca. There were, in the first place, certain

10 misunderstandings within the military section of the

11 Busovaca municipal headquarters and the Croatian

12 Defence Council." Then he goes on to explain things.

13 Would it surprise you to know that he says

14 that sort of thing?

15 A. It does not.

16 Q. He spoke about military matters, did he not?

17 A. Yes, about some misunderstandings, if I

18 understood well, in the army, in the HVO, that is, in

19 Busovaca.

20 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. I'll finish

21 with that exhibit, and if necessary and if we have

22 time, we can return to that later.

23 Q. A detail, please, next, General. You've

24 spoken about the location of the Ivancica Lodge at

25 Tisovac which was to begin with Blaskic's headquarters,

Page 17192

1 but only briefly. Who had been there before Blaskic;

2 do you know?

3 A. I spoke about Blaskic and his headquarters at

4 Lovac in Kruscica, in Vitez. And Ivancica, and that

5 was before I arrived there, was the headquarters, I

6 guess, of Pasko Ljubicic's, Zvonko Vukovic. That is

7 where they used to meet.

8 Q. I take it from paragraph 26 of your summary

9 you spoke of Tisovac as -- perhaps you didn't remember

10 saying this. You spoke of the headquarters of the

11 Operative Zone being initially located in the Tisovac

12 area just south of Busovaca at a former restaurant

13 called the Vila Ivancica. Do you not remember saying

14 that?

15 A. Yes. That was before my arrival, before I

16 took over the command.

17 Q. Very well. You went -- the summary we have,

18 you tell us, is your words, and what we have is that

19 that's where the headquarters was. And then you say

20 this: "When Colonel Blaskic was appointed, he moved

21 the headquarters to Kruscica for a time." Now, you've

22 confirmed this morning these are nobody else's words

23 but yours, and the clear understanding of that is that

24 the headquarters were there at the Tisovac building

25 until Blaskic. Is there something wrong in your

Page 17193

1 summary?

2 A. I shall repeat. When I arrived, I found the

3 state of affairs such as it was. The headquarters is

4 at Tisovac in Busovaca. As the combat was taking place

5 in the west, I insisted to be headquartered at the

6 Lovac facility in Vitez. Tole then came and said that

7 the command was in Uskoplje. He even began to do some

8 works there, brought excavators for shelters and the

9 like, so this means the relocation from Uskoplje, that

10 is, Gornji Vakuf to Lovac in Kruscica.

11 Q. You visited Tisovac when Kordic was there?

12 A. I was only once or perhaps twice in Tisovac.

13 Q. When Kordic was there?

14 A. Kordic was there too.

15 Q. It's a place quite deep in the woods, up a

16 very narrow country track, and when Kordic was there it

17 was very well protected by armed men, wasn't it?

18 A. It was a resort area of a company, so there

19 were even rooms one could take and everything else.

20 And as for the surroundings, for the landscape, it was

21 not different from any other part of the landscape in

22 Central Bosnia.

23 Q. Well, we'll maybe be in a position to provide

24 a video later, but help me with this: Immediately

25 opposite the Ivancica Lodge, there are the fish ponds,

Page 17194

1 so-called, fish farming ponds, where we know that

2 prisoners were held. You presumably knew about that?

3 A. I don't know. I don't know that prisoners

4 were kept there.

5 Q. Did you ever have any concerns, in the course

6 of your duties, that Blaskic was keeping anything from

7 you?

8 A. Blaskic or anyone else could hide things from

9 me. But the powers that I had were to do with things

10 that fell within my field of competence, and in that

11 respect I didn't have the impression that he was hiding

12 something from me.

13 Q. And you would be able to confirm that the

14 fish ponds are actually visible, the fish-breeding

15 ponds, are visible from the villa, they are that close;

16 correct?

17 A. I'm not sure. But from somewhere, yes, from

18 some places you could see it. It is a densely-forested

19 area.

20 Q. And you're not suggesting, are you, that

21 other people were using this as a residential lodge at

22 the time that Kordic was there, or is that what you're

23 suggesting?

24 A. I do not think that other people used it as a

25 resting facility, as a holiday resort.

Page 17195

1 Q. Now, I want to be quite clear on this. Are

2 you saying that Mr. Kordic was no more than a press

3 spokesman or are you saying, as I think you are, that

4 he had rather more function than that?

5 A. He was not the press spokesman. There is no

6 doubt about that. He was a leader primarily in

7 Busovaca and, to a degree, in the Lasva Valley too;

8 that is, in the area of responsibility of the Central

9 Bosnia Operative Zone. He had very many duties. He

10 performed different kinds of activities.

11 Q. Can you point to any one of his duties, which

12 we described this morning as essentially peaceable,

13 which would require him to have a secluded, private,

14 armed headquarters, please?

15 A. Let me see. The command or the centre where

16 things were happening in 1992 simply had to be in some

17 secluded place. In Vitez, I told you it was an

18 auxiliary building, it was a shed which belonged to a

19 private business. Because I wasn't happy with that, I

20 moved it to Lovac in Kruscica. That is also in the

21 woods, also a place with difficult access, easy to

22 defend, and so on and so forth. There were armed men,

23 there were many men under arms, and if somebody wasn't

24 protected --

25 Q. To save time, I'm not concerned with where

Page 17196

1 commanders, military commanders, might be based. But

2 in line with his peaceable activities, can you explain

3 why he required a secluded, private, armed

4 headquarters?

5 A. I did not speak about his peaceable

6 activities, or is there something wrong with the

7 interpretation? I spoke about civilian duties which

8 had to be discharged. I do not know whether they were

9 peaceable or not.

10 In wartime, in wartime, love does not grow,

11 so if you use the word "peace-loving", that is a term

12 that I don't find particularly happy.

13 Q. I'll move on. You tell us that

14 Bosnia-Herzegovina was, as it were, your country for

15 which you were working. Your country declared

16 Herceg-Bosna unconstitutional in September 1992. You

17 heard about that, didn't you?

18 A. Constitutional, unconstitutional? I've heard

19 about various activities, but Bosnia-Herzegovina is a

20 country I was born in, where I grew up, and I hope to

21 die in it. But Bosnia and Herzegovina, as I see it,

22 among other people, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- and also as

23 part of my world view, I already said yesterday I don't

24 want anyone to force my daughters to cover their faces,

25 or use the Cyrillic alphabet, and so on and so forth.

Page 17197

1 So Bosnia-Herzegovina is my country too; not only mine,

2 but it is mine too.

3 Q. I'm still not sure I understand. By the time

4 of the September 1992 declaration that Herceg-Bosna was

5 unconstitutional, had you decided that your state was

6 now committed in some way completely to the Muslim

7 interest and was going to force your daughters to cover

8 their faces and so on?

9 A. You spoke about an unconstitutional state,

10 and I did not understand you well. What did you mean

11 by "unconstitutional state"? Could you please be more

12 specific?

13 Q. General, you were occupying a very senior

14 position in the HVO, which was serving the interests of

15 Herceg-Bosna. Did you not realise that the country in

16 which you lived had made a pronouncement that the very

17 institution for which you were effectively working was

18 unconstitutional?

19 A. The documents I received or I issued, if that

20 was technically possible, were Bosnia-Herzegovina,

21 Herceg-Bosna, either Croat Community or Croat Republic,

22 and then Municipality of Travnik Operative Zone, and so

23 on and so forth. I do not see what is unconstitutional

24 about that, and what are we talking about?

25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice,

Page 17198

1 maybe we should ask General Filipovic if he had heard

2 of a decision taken by the highest judicial organ or

3 body of Bosnia-Herzegovina regarding the

4 unconstitutionality of the Community of Herceg-Bosna.

5 Had he heard about that pronouncement about the lack of

6 constitutionality of the Community of Herceg-Bosna?

7 A. I did not, and had I heard it, I would have

8 thought it was the propaganda of somebody else and not

9 the propaganda waged by my people and my side.

10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Pardon,

11 Mr. Nice. You have just told us that you had the

12 feeling of belonging to the Croatian people and also a

13 feeling of belonging to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is it

14 correct or not?

15 A. Yes.

16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

17 MR. NICE:

18 Q. Had you not even heard earlier in the

19 newspapers that the constitutionality of the body you

20 were working for was being challenged by your

21 government? I don't want to put the newspapers in

22 front of you, but had you not heard about it?

23 A. You must realise that in Bosnia-Herzegovina,

24 there are many papers. Some of them are read, some are

25 not, automatically in advance. I'm one of those who

Page 17199













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Page 17200

1 keeps up with the press, but I did not read that

2 decision, and I don't know which constitutional court,

3 which court pronounced it unconstitutional. That is

4 the point.

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I'm not sure that we're

6 going to get very much further with this.

7 MR. NICE: I agree. I move on --

8 JUDGE MAY: You hadn't heard about this

9 decision at all, is that what you say?

10 A. I never heard about that.

11 MR. NICE: Before I move on -- sorry.

12 [Trial Chamber confers]

13 MR. NICE:

14 Q. Oath-taking ceremonies are an important part

15 of a soldier's life, aren't they? They commit him to

16 his cause, don't they?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. At such ceremonies, salutes can be given and

19 received, can't they?

20 A. It is supposed to be an official ceremony.

21 Q. In the summer of 1992, why was Mr. Kordic

22 taking and giving salutes at oath-taking ceremonies if

23 he was but a politician, please?

24 A. In -- oath-taking ceremonies are attended by

25 politicians.

Page 17201

1 Q. Did you see Mr. Kordic giving the salute

2 associated with the HVO?

3 A. I attended one or two ceremonies when -- the

4 oath-taking ceremonies where Mr. Kordic was also

5 present.

6 Q. Did he give the salute?

7 A. He probably did.

8 Q. Would it embarrass you to show us what that

9 salute is, please, General?

10 A. As far as saluting is concerned, the new

11 signals were looked for first. The ABiH started with

12 this [indicates] and then moved to something else. We

13 tried to make it similar to what it used to be in the

14 JNA and what is similar to the British and the US armed

15 forces salute.

16 Q. Was there any use of an earlier salute or a

17 different salute associated with the word Za Dom

18 Spremni? Was there ever a salute of that kind used?

19 A. Many people used this slogan. It's a

20 Croatian expression, Za Dom Spremni, and I don't see

21 anything specific. "Dom" means "home," so, "For

22 homeland ready." And as far as myself and those to

23 whom I commanded, I tried to teach them some kind of

24 order.

25 Q. That other "For homeland ready" salute, was

Page 17202

1 that used at this time?

2 A. Officially it was not. But I don't know

3 about these salutes, except for the individuals who did

4 different things in that regard. There were

5 individuals who were wearing swastikas, some even had

6 horns, some had some huge patches and emblems. This is

7 all in the initial months of our organisation.

8 Q. Did you see Mr. Kordic use that old salute,

9 please?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Are you sure?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Let's move on. On the 21st of October,

14 Exhibit 243 coming your way, you were in Novi Travnik.

15 MR. NICE: Original for the witness, English

16 version on the ELMO, part of this document already in

17 the Novi Travnik binder.

18 Q. Page 1. Well, first of all, General, in the

19 course of your preparation for giving evidence, have

20 you seen this document?

21 A. No.

22 Q. Look at it very swiftly. It's an

23 announcement on the situation in Novi Travnik and

24 Jajce, and its dated the 21st of October of 1992. Can

25 we turn to the third page in the English and to the

Page 17203

1 last page, which I think is the fourth -- I don't know

2 what it is in the original, but the last page.

3 Paragraph 10 reads as follows: "While

4 defence operations are being conducted, the

5 vice-president of HZ HB, Dario Kordic, and I are in

6 Novi Travnik, continuously leading the military

7 operations with deep knowledge of the situation and by

8 keeping all the forces under control. Commander

9 Colonel Filip Filipovic is also here." Further

10 references. It's signed by Commander Blaskic and

11 deputy president of HZ HB, Mr. Dario Kordic.

12 You were there. Is the rest of the letter

13 right? Were defence operations being conducted by

14 Mr. Kordic and Colonel Blaskic?

15 A. It was signed by the commander of the

16 Operative Zone, Tihomir Blaskic. At least that is what

17 is stated here, which means that he led the operations

18 in terms of command. And I was there, and in that

19 capacity, carried out activities in Novi Travnik in the

20 time referred to by the order.

21 Q. Colonel, you've told us that Mr. Blaskic was

22 an enthusiastic writer, a careful recordkeeper. This

23 letter or report is clear. It doesn't say what you've

24 just said. It says: "Kordic and I are in Novi

25 Travnik, continuously leading the military operations

Page 17204

1 with deep knowledge of the situation and by keeping all

2 the forces under control."

3 Now, has Colonel Blaskic got it right or

4 not?

5 A. We are in Novi Travnik, and we are

6 continuously leading the military operations with deep

7 knowledge of the situation and by keeping all the

8 forces under control. Commander of the Operations

9 Group, Colonel Filip Filipovic, is also there in Novi

10 Travnik.

11 I do not have -- I don't think that this --

12 the authenticity needs to be questioned. It was

13 probably to counter the rumours that Blaskic or Stojak

14 or some others were killed. Stojak was killed, but not

15 there where the real operations took place but at the

16 checkpoint elsewhere.

17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation]

18 General Filipovic, for the second time, you are not

19 answering the question that has been asked to you. How

20 can you explain that in military-type documents,

21 documents related to the conduct of military operations

22 where your name is mentioned, how come these documents

23 are signed both by Mr. Blaskic and by Mr. Kordic? In

24 other words, why did Colonel Blaskic find it necessary

25 to have also on these documents the signature of

Page 17205

1 Mr. Kordic? Why did he find it necessary?

2 There are two signatures on this document,

3 because he could have signed the document alone

4 himself, but what we see here are two signatures, and

5 he says that Colonel Kordic is somebody who conducts

6 all the operations jointly with himself.

7 According to you, was this part of the

8 organisation? That is the question that has been put

9 to you.

10 A. Your Honours, this is an information to all

11 municipal headquarters of the HVO to suppress rumours,

12 to prevent panic. And this is signed by Colonel

13 Tihomir Blaskic. And there can be one or several

14 co-signatories, but this is signed by Colonel Tihomir

15 Blaskic, who signed the order, and there may be many

16 co-signatories.

17 If you ask me: "Why Kordic?" He was an

18 important figure in Central Bosnia. And I'm surprised

19 that he's mentioning Filip Filipovic at all, but

20 perhaps Blaskic considered it important, as part of a

21 suppression of rumours, that I was not killed. Filip

22 Filipovic was not killed but continues to do his job.

23 MR. NICE:

24 Q. Technically, there's no handwritten

25 signatures on this document, General, although we can

Page 17206

1 see that there is a handwritten acknowledgement of

2 receipt on the 27th of October, at 7.00 in the morning,

3 by something marked HBIBUS. You've got that on the

4 original.

5 Before I part from this document, I just want

6 to know: Are you offering as an explanation that in

7 some way Colonel Blaskic said that which was untrue

8 when he said that Kordic was involved in leading

9 military operations? Is that what you're suggesting?

10 A. I said that this command structure existed

11 and that it was known, and if Kordic or anyone else

12 commanded some troops apart from Blaskic and his staff,

13 then you have to show me this. So this was the main

14 structure and the assistance came from many other

15 sides.

16 Q. I'm not going to take that any further.

17 Thank you.

18 Just chronologically: As you've already told

19 us, it was three days after this, on the 24th of

20 October, that you were appointed to head the

21 headquarters, Travnik HVO. Is that correct?

22 A. Yes. I was appointed commander of the

23 Travnik Brigade, that is, the Travnik staff.

24 MR. NICE: That document is available.

25 Rather than burden the Court, his acknowledgement means

Page 17207

1 I may not have to produce it.

2 Q. We come on to the mixed military working

3 group in Sarajevo. You claim to be the person who

4 decided that Mr. Kordic should have the rank of

5 colonel. First, is there any document that you can

6 think of that will go to explain how it was that this

7 decision to give him the rank of colonel was made?

8 A. I said that I initiated and that I insisted

9 that we needed to replace Blaskic, who was wasting two,

10 three days at a time in negotiations, and that we

11 should replace him with someone else. I don't know who

12 came up with the name of Kordic, but I supported it.

13 And then they said he didn't have a rank, and

14 I said, "How come he doesn't have a rank?" I have it,

15 so he could have it, and this was the context. I don't

16 know whether there is a document which later confirmed

17 his appointment. Whether that exists, I do not know.

18 Q. You've just really confirmed, when dealing

19 with that last exhibit for the 21st of October, you

20 confirmed that your understanding is that Kordic was

21 still not a military man. Despite everything that the

22 document says, you say that effectively he was still

23 not a military man; is that correct?

24 A. He was not a military man, yes.

25 Q. A month later, when they need a person of

Page 17208

1 military experience and with military leadership to

2 negotiate in Sarajevo with military men of high rank,

3 what, please, is the purpose of sending someone with no

4 military experience?

5 A. Colonel Blaskic went to two or three

6 meetings, and he was a competent person. When the

7 others, both Mladic, that is, and Halilovic, started

8 sending their deputies, then Blaskic too should have

9 started to send a deputy. But there was no need for

10 Blaskic or Filipovic to go. We needed to find a person

11 who would be fit to negotiate and that we did not

12 suffer on the defence in which we were devolved. This

13 was not taking the negotiations less than seriously,

14 but it was really looking at the reality of the

15 situation as it was.

16 Q. How could a non-military man make any

17 undertakings about what the military could do, please?

18 A. Messrs. Mladic and Sefer needed one hour to

19 come to the meeting and leave, so it was very

20 convenient to them. Nothing was being resolved in

21 those meetings. That was our experience with it. So

22 this was my perception of that issue.

23 Q. Well, if the real reason was the difficulty

24 of getting to Sarajevo, why not send Mr. Kljujic? He

25 was just around the corner. Why send Kordic?

Page 17209

1 A. Had I known Mr. Kljujic, perhaps I would have

2 recommended Mr. Kljujic, but I didn't know him.

3 Q. It didn't occur to anybody else to take his

4 time on this dangerous and wasteful exercise, did it?

5 Did it, General?

6 A. Let me repeat again. This was a problem

7 which was forced upon me, and I had to deal with it as

8 I went along.

9 Q. You're not telling us the truth about this,

10 General. The truth is that Kordic leapt at the

11 opportunity, I dare say, of taking over and dealing

12 with this himself. Do you accept that he might have

13 gone down there and introduced himself to Brigadier

14 Cordy-Simpson as Blaskic's superior, not his delegate?

15 A. I do not accept that.

16 Q. I see. I'll move on. We come to the end of

17 1992 and move to 1993. You've now had eight months of

18 experience of life in Herceg-Bosna, and you told the

19 Judges yesterday -- I beg your pardon. No, you

20 didn't. Mr. Naumovski told the Judges yesterday that

21 you were the person to ask about political influence,

22 you were the right person to ask. In those eight

23 months, please, how had political influence been

24 exercised, and by whom?

25 A. I was talking about the political influence

Page 17210













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17211

1 in order to carry out activities which are vital for

2 the community. I said that in the summer of 1992, the

3 parties officially ceased to function and the HVO

4 governments -- I don't know whether they changed that

5 name later -- engaged in the political activities and

6 worked with the population and so on.

7 Q. You can't bring yourself to answer the

8 question, who was giving political direction in

9 Herceg-Bosna to the military, can you?

10 A. Your Honours, I am only asking for specific

11 questions and you will get a specific answer, not the

12 questions that you wish answered. As to who was

13 leading the policy in Herceg-Bosna, I said several

14 times that if there was such a person, then it was the

15 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna.

16 Q. Your position now, General, is much the same

17 as it was at the turn of the year 1992/1993, isn't it?

18 You're under pressure from other interests.

19 Do you remember walking up a hill with a

20 journalist called Vulliamy in a rather public way,

21 taking quite a risk, I think; do you remember that?

22 A. I remember the hill you say, so it must be

23 Mount Vlasic. I must have been with Alagic, and there

24 was a journalist there. I don't know who it was.

25 Q. Correct. And you were making quite a gesture

Page 17212

1 by being with Alagic and with this journalist in

2 public, weren't you?

3 A. I did not consider it quite a gesture, I

4 considered it a part and parcel of our fight to

5 survive, because we had a knife under our throats at

6 all times.

7 Q. That's not quite what you said about a knife

8 when you spoke to Mr. Vulliamy, because what you said

9 to him was -- cursing both Boban and Blaskic -- is that

10 they were putting you in a position that you didn't

11 want to be in. Do you accept that you said that?

12 A. I do not accept it in that way.

13 JUDGE MAY: When is it alleged that that was

14 said?

15 MR. NICE: January 1993.

16 Q. Did you say to them that they are making you

17 walk the edge of a knife?

18 A. I probably did.

19 Q. Yes. And the knife that you were walking was

20 the knife that lies between the politicians and the

21 military; would that be about right?

22 A. No. If I may be permitted, I would like to

23 give a wider explanation.

24 From my perspective, when I criticise someone

25 or something, I first have to look at myself. This is

Page 17213

1 how I function. If I'd speak about Alija Izetbegovic,

2 I cannot take into consideration Mate Boban. That is

3 how I operate. Both -- that is, Izetbegovic, Boban and

4 Karadzic were all guilty for the conflict. If I would

5 mention Boban, I don't know if others would dare

6 mention Izetbegovic and Karadzic. And that was the

7 context in which that statement was given, if and when

8 it was given or if there were others given.

9 Q. So, what, Boban and Blaskic were making you

10 walk some kind of knife?

11 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, might it make sense

12 for the context of this to be shown to the General so

13 that he can understand exactly what it is that's being

14 put to him, because I'm not sure I do. I think it's

15 important --

16 JUDGE MAY: It's perfectly plain. What is

17 being put is that he made remarks to Mr. Vulliamy in

18 the presence, as I understand it, of Mr. Alagic. Yes.

19 MR. NICE:

20 Q. Were Boban and Blaskic making you walk some

21 kind of knife's edge?

22 A. No, but I don't believe that Blaskic was put

23 in that context. If I had mentioned Boban, this was in

24 the context of Izetbegovic and Karadzic. And if I had

25 mentioned Blaskic, then it was in relation to

Page 17214

1 Hadzihasanovic, who was the commander of the 3rd Corps,

2 and Blaskic as the commander of the Operative Zone in

3 Central Bosnia.

4 Q. Let me make it quite plain to you, General.

5 I don't challenge for one minute that you were keen in

6 your defence of the position against the Serbs and you

7 were keen on being a soldier. You understand that,

8 don't you?

9 A. I was keen in discharging my military duties

10 in defence of both -- against the Serbs and Muslims.

11 There was a myriad of operations, of actions, of

12 events, and from this kaleidoscope of events you cannot

13 just separate out one small facet and focus only on

14 that and disregard everything else.

15 MR. NICE: Moving on, and, Your Honour, I'm

16 going to miss out large numbers of incidents and

17 details of attacks for the saving of time, but there's

18 just one matter of detail we must deal with.

19 Q. In January '93, you've told us or you tell us

20 in your summary, the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade was

21 under Jozinovic until the end of January, when he was

22 replaced. But you haven't given the date in January.

23 Can we have the date, please, when Dusko Grubesic took

24 over? And so that there's no doubt about it, I want to

25 know because I want to know who was responsible, on or

Page 17215

1 about the 25th, when Busovaca was attacked. So can you

2 tell us, please?

3 A. Mid-January '93 is when there was this change

4 between Jozinovic and Grubesic.

5 Q. Thank you. So he was in charge by the 20th,

6 25th, when Busovaca was attacked. What did you know

7 about the attack at Busovaca in January '93; nothing or

8 something?

9 A. All I know is the rumours which I received

10 about the crime in Dusina, about the defence of the

11 territory. And afterwards, in April '93, when the

12 commission began to work, now within the activities of

13 the commission I toured Jelinak. I visited Jelinak and

14 another village from which the Croats had been

15 expelled. That was with the commission.

16 Q. So there have been all sorts of other things

17 we could have touched on, attacks in Vitez and so on,

18 but are you really telling the Court, so that we can

19 understand the position, that you were entirely unaware

20 of any misfortune was suffered by the residents of

21 Busovaca on or around the 25th of January of 1993?

22 A. The inhabitants of Busovaca. I know about

23 the defence of Busovaca. I'm speaking about outside

24 Busovaca. And if you mean events -- the inhabitants of

25 Busovaca, that is, the townspeople of Busovaca, I don't

Page 17216

1 know what happened, nor did I have an opportunity of

2 finding out.

3 Q. Can we remind the Judges just how small this

4 area is. Where were you living at the time in January

5 1993?

6 A. Travnik-Turbe. Between those two places.

7 Q. How many kilometres from there to Vitez?

8 A. Sixteen kilometres.

9 Q. And from Vitez to Busovaca?

10 A. I believe 12 or 15 maybe.

11 Q. This is a small area geographically, where

12 subject to roadblocks and checkpoints, you can travel

13 swiftly; correct?

14 A. Yes, but if you go around the checkpoint at

15 Sarena Dzamija, you have to cross Vlasic or Vilenica to

16 avoid the checkpoint. Alagic cannot protect me there.

17 So I could get killed there any minute. If I need to

18 go to Vitez, I have to cross the mountain, and that

19 means several hours walking there and going there and

20 then several hours going back. So the checkpoint in

21 Travnik at Sarena Dzamija, that was a place which one

22 couldn't go around.

23 Q. And at this time, you were in communication

24 with others by telephone, portable or otherwise?

25 A. There were no mobile telephones, and even

Page 17217

1 those others. I was nowhere on the air, not even on

2 the telephone. I'm not a telephone operator.

3 Q. Are you really telling us that you had had no

4 knowledge of any attack in Busovaca in late January

5 1993?

6 A. The attack on Busovaca, from what I knew, was

7 launched by the army of B and H, the Territorial

8 Defence, with a view to taking positions, with a view

9 to taking Busovaca. That was what I know about

10 Busovaca.

11 Q. Let's go back five days before what happened

12 to Busovaca, to the 20th of January. You're telling

13 this Court that you knew or knew nothing about the

14 murder of Mirsad Delija that maybe triggered it all

15 off? What did you learn about that, General?

16 A. This is the first time I hear that name from

17 you, and his murder.

18 Q. I must ask you again. Was Blaskic or was

19 Kordic in some way keeping you in the dark about what

20 was going on?

21 A. Well, they did not inform me and didn't have

22 to. At that time, I was the commander of the Travnik

23 Brigade, and I was busy up to my neck in Travnik to try

24 to prevent an open conflict because conflict loomed

25 heavily on the horizon. And besides, they came to

Page 17218

1 Travnik so seldom that I really don't see how could

2 they keep me abreast.

3 Q. Were you aware that at this time, that is,

4 January, late January 1993, telephone communications

5 were difficult to Kiseljak?

6 A. I think they were non-extant.

7 Q. Non-extant but for one line. Are you aware

8 of the use that was made of the one line between the

9 post office and maybe another post office?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Well, I'm going to ask you to consider the

12 transcript of a tape recording and tell us how this

13 fits with your evidence of Mr. Kordic at the time.

14 MR. NICE: This is 2801.2A and 2B, already

15 produced, and if the usher would be good enough. It's

16 coming up. If the witness could have 2801.2A, the

17 original version. If not, I've got one here to save

18 time. And 2801.2B for the ELMO, please.

19 Q. What you have and -- have you got the

20 original in front of you -- not the original, the

21 Croatian language version, please. It's three pages

22 and you'll see the lines are numbered.

23 This is a tape recording that was made

24 between Kordic and Blaskic. Do you understand,

25 General?

Page 17219

1 A. After the war, I happened to come across

2 these things in newspapers.

3 Q. You've now got a chance of seeing the

4 transcript. If you go to the second page, you'll see a

5 male voice -- and it's at the top of the second page on

6 the English version -- which says this in the English:

7 "Let's have that VBR," which is a multiple rocket

8 launcher, "friend. Get it ready for me for Kacuni and

9 Lugovi over here. Let me hear it roar."

10 Have you got that line? I think it will be

11 on the second page.

12 A. Yes, I found it.

13 Q. Now, the next line says, it's another voice,

14 the next line says: "It doesn't have to be right

15 away." The next line says: "Well, you tell me when."

16 The next line says: "Listen, you prepare everything.

17 Select the targets for the mortars and the VBR and

18 everything there is. Let's burn everything."

19 Now, this is a conversation between Blaskic

20 and Kordic. Does that sound to you like a conversation

21 between Blaskic and Kordic?

22 A. It doesn't sound to me like a conversation

23 between Blaskic and Kordic, although the names and all

24 the rest --

25 Q. You see, it's Kordic saying: "Let's have the

Page 17220

1 multiple rocket launcher, let it roar." It's Kordic

2 saying: "Prepare everything. Select the targets.

3 Let's burn everything." It shows how much authority he

4 had over Blaskic, and that's the truth, isn't it

5 General, and you know it?

6 A. To begin with, I'm not sure; that is, I don't

7 know if that is a conversation between Blaskic and

8 Kordic. If he has the authority, as you say, then it

9 must have to do with the personal relationship between

10 them.

11 Q. And that's the other alternative. Are you

12 allowing for the possibility that entirely unknown to

13 you and --

14 A. I am not allowing any possibility. I am

15 saying what should have been, what was, and how it was,

16 and that is what I'm talking about.

17 Q. Just go to the middle of the page, and we'll

18 end quite shortly on this topic. In the middle of the

19 page, probably line 17 -- line 15, Kordic saying: "Get

20 a howitzer and a VBR ready for Zenica," and then saying

21 at line 17: "I told him. I told him. He won't do

22 anything without an order. I told him we would strike

23 if Zenica reacts. Otherwise, we won't, just Kacuni."

24 Does that fit with what you were being told

25 about?

Page 17221













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17222

1 A. It does not fit into anything. I'm -- from a

2 different film. This looks something that was nicely

3 done and construed for the Prosecution.

4 Q. I see. Well, how about line 29? "Two of our

5 boys, they killed them perfidiously from behind at the

6 checkpoint in Kacuni."

7 I expect you know that does fit --

8 A. Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me. Please.

9 Numbers which the Prosecutor is giving me do not tally

10 with the numbers that I have.

11 Q. Sorry. Towards the bottom of the page: "Two

12 of our boys, they killed them from behind."

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. "At the checkpoint in Kacuni."

15 Now, the death of two of your boys in Kacuni

16 would be something you would know about, and you do

17 know about it.

18 A. I don't and I can't.

19 Q. I see. And what about the last line on our

20 page, which is about four lines further on: "One

21 hundred should be killed for every one."

22 Does that fit with your understanding of the

23 things Mr. Kordic was saying at the time?

24 A. Will you please give me the number again?

25 Q. Of course. Well, the numbers may not be the

Page 17223

1 same, but if they are, it will be line 34, and it will

2 start off, I think, with "One hundred," which I think

3 you will be able to recognise.

4 A. You're not even close.

5 Q. Thank you. We're going to discover in due

6 course, General, that you haven't, for all your loyalty

7 to this cause, been particularly well rewarded in the

8 end, have you? You've been retired from the army and

9 you now have a not particularly elevated status and

10 job.

11 A. I was not decorated with decoration I

12 believed I not only earned but which seemed to be, to

13 me, a part of a due course of events, that is, the

14 command of a large unit. I am confident that it was

15 due to ignorance or weakness of those who were

16 nominating people. As for the rest, I don't know what

17 you're talking about.

18 Q. Just looking back, of course you must only

19 allow the possibility that that conversation is

20 accurate, it will be for the Judges to decide in due

21 course if it is, but do you think it's possible you

22 were, in fact, kept in the dark at all from some of the

23 things that were going on?

24 A. I don't believe it was being done

25 deliberately, to keep in the dark about certain things,

Page 17224

1 but there are many things that I did not know about,

2 just as there were very many things that I knew about.

3 Q. A matter of detail, because I simply can't

4 cover every point at the moment or probably this

5 afternoon, but a matter of detail: When you were

6 dealing with payrolls, the 21st of January, which is

7 383.2 coming up --

8 JUDGE MAY: Once you've dealt with this,

9 we'll adjourn, Mr. Nice.

10 MR. NICE:

11 Q. General, this is an order of yours, in fact,

12 about pay, and although it's interesting to see that

13 people were paid and how they were paid, that's not the

14 real purpose for exploring it with you.

15 In paragraph 2, you deal with the people

16 appointed to pay salaries, and then you set out the

17 units. It's quite clear that apart from the three

18 battalions and the brigade command, the military police

19 of the 4th Battalion, the brigade military police,

20 Tvrtko II and all sorts of other units all fell within

21 your command, didn't they, or within Blaskic's command

22 in 1993? Because you were organising their payment.

23 A. I ordered the payment of people who came from

24 the Travnik Brigade, from Travnik, because it was the

25 municipality of Travnik which had come up with the

Page 17225

1 funds. It wouldn't really do for some to get their

2 salaries and others not to get them.

3 Q. Quite.

4 A. And these units --

5 Q. But the point is that the military police and

6 the brigade military police are all being paid by you

7 in much the same way, as I think you'll tell us when we

8 come to Ahmici, that they were under the control of

9 Blaskic. Won't you?

10 A. There was a military police company which --

11 of the Travnik Brigade was under my command. It also

12 was made part of the 4th Battalion of the military

13 police, or, rather, joint company of Novi Travnik and

14 Travnik. So it was a company of the 4th Battalion of

15 the military police.

16 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now. Ten minutes.

17 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.

18 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.

19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, we

20 expect that you will complete your cross-examination

21 before the break.

22 MR. NICE: I have already 50 per cent ... [no

23 interpretation]. We're apparently getting French on

24 the English, which is an agreeable experience but

25 probably not as good for my comprehension at speed as

Page 17226

1 if I had English.

2 The first thing I have to do, General, if

3 we're getting the correct interpretations --

4 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear English now?

5 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. I can.

6 -- is a swift documentary exercise. I think

7 it will be the last.

8 May we look at, first, Exhibit 631. Your

9 Honour, most of this will be left for argument.

10 Q. General, this is the 8th of April, minutes of

11 a meeting of the presidents on the steering committee

12 of this Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian

13 Democratic Union. On the steering committee we see in

14 the middle of the block Blaskic, a military man. We

15 see over the page, nine lines down, your own name

16 present at a political event. It's important to note,

17 since I'm going to omit all the points I will rely on

18 later, if I get a chance, with other witnesses or in

19 argument or otherwise, it's important to note, on what

20 is page 4 under "Operation of HV bodies," line 4, that

21 there's a note about proportionality to include a

22 certain number of Muslims. I draw that to everyone's

23 attention.

24 If we go on to page 5 in the English, we see

25 that, in the middle of the page under "2", "Office of

Page 17227

1 the HZ HB has been established in Travnik as a branch

2 office of the organs of authority of the Croatian

3 Community of Herceg-Bosna in Mostar for this area in

4 order to ensure that the temporary executive authority

5 of the HVO operates more effective and rationally."

6 That's the truth, isn't it? Travnik, as an

7 area, was a forward post for, as it were, headquarters;

8 is that correct, General?

9 A. I know that an office had been set up. It

10 was Mr. Anto Valenta's office, and then for about ten

11 days he was in Travnik in the office in Sebesic.

12 Q. And the document is signed "Colonel Kordic",

13 and I'll move to the next document. But this is the

14 time of the flying of the flags. Just one question.

15 Flying of HVO flags, a pretty inflammatory act, wasn't

16 it?

17 A. Not HVO flags but the flags of Croatian

18 people, and they were hoisted on holidays. And I don't

19 know that that was so inflammatory except if any

20 expression of national feelings was to be suppressed.

21 Q. Thank you. Can we now look at the next

22 exhibit, which is -- this document, which is dated the

23 9th of April, "Conclusions", signed by Travnik

24 Municipality, Pervan, but says this at number 2:

25 "The following gentlemen are to be informed about the

Page 17228

1 previous events," and that's the burning of Croatian

2 flags, "Dr. Tudjman, Boban, and Prlic." And I think

3 you were the person at one stage delegated to go and

4 tell Tudjman about all this, weren't you?

5 A. I see this for the first time, and it would

6 have been an honour for me to have gone there but I

7 didn't.

8 Q. Why involve another country and another

9 country's president in your problems, if you were an

10 independent body working for the best interests of

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

12 A. I already said yesterday we needed

13 assistance, and we needed a lot of assistance because

14 our survival literally was at stake. Croatia was the

15 closest to us, there's no one closer than them. We

16 also looked for international help. We went to all

17 factors or entities who could provide help.

18 Q. And you did get help, because you got it in

19 the form of various forms of military assistance,

20 didn't you?

21 A. No.

22 Q. What about Andric? He was on Blaskic's

23 staff, wasn't he?

24 A. No. Andric was in the commission of which I

25 was also a part for some ten days, and he was from

Page 17229

1 Bijelo Polje near Mostar.

2 Q. He had been provided from Croatia, hadn't

3 he? Think back.

4 A. No. He came from the main headquarters in

5 Mostar.

6 Q. I'll deal with that later, then. The next

7 exhibit, please, is 636.3, an unofficial translation,

8 for which a proper one will have to be substituted, and

9 a handwritten original.

10 Now, you're looking at some minutes. You may

11 never have seen them since or you may not have seen

12 them at all. But if you would look at, for example,

13 the minutes that have your own name beside them where

14 you're speaking, are you able to accept, at first

15 sight, that they would appear to be minutes of a

16 meeting of yours -- not a meeting of yours -- of the

17 meeting of the 10th of April?

18 You've seen your name there and had a look at

19 one or two of the entries, General? These minutes show

20 that, amongst other things, Muslims must be forbidden

21 to cross borders. On flags, you were saying that you

22 didn't dull the blade of political struggle but weren't

23 anxious to destroy it. Was that because you weren't

24 very happy yourself with the flag-flying issue because

25 you thought it did create problems?

Page 17230

1 A. There were many meetings. I don't know who

2 took down notes for these minutes. I'm not saying that

3 this is not -- that this didn't happen, but this is in

4 keeping with what I always advocated. There are some

5 strong expressions here, like the knife's blade, and

6 this does not deviate much from what I did throughout

7 the war.

8 Q. Were you unhappy about the forced flying of

9 Croatian flags?

10 A. There was no forced flying of Croatian

11 flags. We flew them both together, both Muslim and

12 Croat ones, in the barracks in 1992. At that time,

13 nobody minded this. But when the other side became

14 strengthened, then they started imposing rules about

15 flags, about soldiers not being able to be -- not being

16 able to wear uniforms but this is what happened. As I

17 said, that the Muslim side was getting too strong.

18 Imagine that there was a commander in 1992

19 whom everybody accepted as a commander and in 1993 he

20 couldn't even walk freely in the streets. This is what

21 happened. And the incident over the flags was the way

22 it was, and perhaps I did say that they were not

23 supposed to be flown, not in those numbers, because it

24 was to be expected that the 7th Muslim Brigade would

25 respond by creating bloodshed. So maybe that is what

Page 17231

1 entered these minutes.

2 MR. NICE: 645.1, please. These, I suggest,

3 are the handwritten minutes of the 10th of April. I

4 beg your pardon. The 12th of April. My apologies.

5 Again, a proper translation will have to be provided.

6 Q. If you turn to the third sheet of it as an

7 example, you will see an entry beside your name where

8 you explained, I think, how a soldier called Matic was

9 given a task that he failed to fulfil properly. And

10 later on --

11 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,

12 my apology. I just ask for assistance. This is a new

13 document which we did not have an opportunity to object

14 to it. We don't know who the author is. They are not

15 signed. So it is very difficult to know anything about

16 its authenticity. So this is what the objection is.

17 Thank you.

18 JUDGE MAY: Well, you can ask the witness

19 about it.

20 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.

21 Q. I think if you look further on, General, you

22 can find another entry. We can see it on the fourth

23 sheet of the unofficial translation, where you seem to

24 be saying something like this: "As long as we do not

25 have the forces, we cannot go into conflict. We cannot

Page 17232













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17233

1 present an ultimatum, and we cannot stop talking with

2 the Muslims. We cannot approve incidents within our

3 units," and so on.

4 I am going to suggest to you that this sounds

5 again like your moderate or more moderate tone that I

6 suggest you actually had at the time. Does that fit

7 with your recollection?

8 A. I don't know exactly what the question is.

9 We need to see what was said. But what I did was warn,

10 in military terms, that we were inferior and that

11 nobody was to provoke any conflicts. And as far as my

12 solutions to the problems over incidents and accidents

13 were with Mr. Alagic in order to prevent the conflict

14 which was sort of hanging in the air every day.

15 I was not more moderate than anyone else. I

16 will state that I was more extreme in relation to which

17 I just spoke. I interpreted, in military terms, what

18 was possible and was not possible in terms of

19 undertaking certain measures, operations, and so on.

20 Q. We also have a letter that went, as a result

21 of these meetings, to President Tudjman. I'll produce

22 that perhaps at the end with other documents in order

23 that I ensure to do my best to meet the deadline that's

24 sought of me.

25 But would it interest you to know, General,

Page 17234

1 that a very senior member of the European Monitors was

2 concerned about the reduction of your authority because

3 he thought that you were a good influence on peace and

4 that your replacement by others was a matter for

5 concern? I can't name the senior official concerned.

6 Does it interest you to know that?

7 A. I think that this is an impression by a

8 certain individual in this case.

9 Q. You see -- very well. Now, these meetings

10 that we've put some documents in for happened just a

11 few days before Ahmici. Are you going to tell the

12 Court you knew nothing in advance about the attacks on

13 the 16th of April?

14 A. I didn't know anything about the activities

15 of the 16th of April in the Central Bosnia Operative

16 Zone, that is, in the Lasva Valley.

17 Q. Where were you on the 16th?

18 A. I believe that I was in Travnik or perhaps in

19 Jankovici, at the forward command post.

20 Q. You have followed the trials to a degree in

21 the press, and in order to deal with matters swiftly,

22 you know in general terms what is the case that's made

23 for the Prosecution about the widespread nature of the

24 attack on that day, the number of villages involved,

25 and so on. You would accept, as a military man, that

Page 17235

1 if it be right that the attacks were of the scale

2 alleged in these cases, there would have had to have

3 been planning?

4 A. Was this a question?

5 [Prosecution counsel confer]


7 Q. Yes, this is a question. Knowing what you

8 must, in general terms, about what is alleged in

9 respect of the attacks on the 16th of April, you, as a

10 military man, must also know that if the Prosecution

11 case is right, then there must have been planning,

12 advanced planning for those attacks to take place in

13 view of their scale and so on.

14 A. In principle, attacks are planned. They are

15 prepared.

16 Q. And attacks of this scale, if based in any

17 way in Blaskic's headquarters, would have been

18 documented because of his practice of documenting

19 things?

20 A. I don't know the scale of planning you are

21 referring to and of the attacking, but in principle, it

22 is put down in writing, that is, in the form of an

23 order.

24 Q. At that time, mid-April 1993, what was

25 Sliskovic doing? I'm interested to know what he was

Page 17236

1 doing generally, but in particular, what was he doing

2 then? Who was he? Anto Sliskovic.

3 A. Anto Sliskovic was the assistant responsible

4 for the security of the commander of the Operative Zone

5 of Central Bosnia. I think that is what he was.

6 Q. So what does that actually mean he did?

7 A. He was responsible for the security of the

8 command. He was the superior to his assistants in

9 brigades who were directly in charge of the security of

10 the brigades, a possible uncovering of internal hostile

11 activity, and duties like that.

12 Q. What, if any, role might he have had in

13 something like Ahmici?

14 A. I don't know.

15 Q. Are you really telling this Tribunal that

16 after Ahmici occurred, nobody really talked about it in

17 the HVO? Is that really your account or is this you

18 trying to keep a distance between yourself and what you

19 must know, General?

20 A. Ahmici is just one ring in the chain, one

21 link in the chain of events in that area at that time.

22 I already said that they grew into a symbol. They came

23 to epitomise something in 1994, 1995, and to me it

24 epitomised everything. It was one in a series of

25 attacks and counterattacks and crimes, if you wish, in

Page 17237

1 the area in which I operated.

2 Specifically in the case of Ahmici, I could

3 see that members and inhabitants showed considerable

4 embarrassment because they had spoiled everything that

5 we had achieved in the positive defence in the Lasva

6 Valley, that is, in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.

7 Somebody managed, which it is a crime and without

8 question that it is a crime, has turned it into such a

9 stain that it has become impossible for us to do

10 anything or to overshadow all the other links in the

11 chain of events which were taking place as of 1992 and

12 ended in 1995.

13 Q. When you say the "inhabitants showed

14 considerable embarrassment because they spoiled

15 everything," who are you referring to?

16 A. I meant every individual in the Lasva

17 Valley. You mention Ahmici, and all of a sudden a

18 curtain drops. You said the crime has been committed,

19 there is responsibility for an event which is

20 unquestionably a crime, and that was a shock for

21 people. Was it possible for such a crime to happen?

22 Personally, I told you I visited the

23 cemeteries, and that is how I learnt the dates of when

24 various people in the Lasva Valley were killed, and

25 they number dozens of young men.

Page 17238

1 Q. General, your visit wasn't until the end of

2 1993, on your evidence, and I'm going to press you:

3 Are you saying that this massacre of whatever it was, a

4 hundred people, was not even the subject of discussion

5 by Blaskic with people as close to him as you were?

6 A. To begin with, I was not all that close to

7 Blaskic. I cooperated with him; that is, I was under

8 his command. So that is wrong to begin with. But we

9 or I did not heed to what had happened, to what had

10 happened in the past, because one had to go on working,

11 had to go on surviving. I did not encourage any

12 investigation in Krizancevo Selo, even though some

13 people from the HVO were responsible for what happened

14 in Krizancevo Selo, because they'd omitted things and

15 thus allowed the crime to happen. Or Buhine Kuce, for

16 instance.

17 I did not initiate or did not take part in

18 the investigation of Ahmici, so that insofar as Ahmici

19 is concerned, I learnt about that from Bob Stewart

20 sometime after the 20th of April, and --

21 Q. Do you know anything of Blaskic instructing

22 you, in April 1993, to investigate war crimes but on

23 limited information? Did that happen? You may know

24 that that's what he said. Were you asked to

25 investigate --

Page 17239

1 A. No.

2 Q. -- war crimes in April 1993?

3 A. No, I didn't. I wasn't asked or designated,

4 nor did I investigate war crimes.

5 Q. When you told us yesterday, "As I understand

6 it, fighting broke out on April the 16th," just where

7 did you first understand it, that fighting broke out on

8 April the 16th, when and where?

9 A. Not the fighting but incidents in the area of

10 Travnik, the Travnik municipality. In other words,

11 there were constant interceptions, checkpoints, plunder

12 of property -- I don't really remember -- and murders.

13 I don't remember the dates, but those that I remember,

14 the wife of -- was his name Mr. Zvonko Gaso

15 Meljancic -- in his flat, bombs were thrown and so on

16 and so forth.

17 There was a big meeting in Travnik. Thebault

18 was there, the European Union, Alagic and myself, and

19 those political officials. There could have been 16 or

20 perhaps 15 people. I don't know exactly. I would have

21 to look it up in my diary. But the attacks did not

22 stop not only from the Muslim side, I repeat that, in

23 all those incidents, because Croats were also

24 participating in these incidents.

25 Q. I'm not going to take any more time with you

Page 17240

1 on these attacks, because you say you know nothing

2 about them. But I don't accept that.

3 Two other things before we part. Your

4 description of Sliskovic, does that mean he's in the

5 military police or not?

6 A. He is not a member of the military police,

7 but he does have an authority over it to use it for

8 certain purposes.

9 Q. The next point: Tuka you know or know of,

10 don't you, Mr. Tuka?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. A couple of days after Ahmici, he declined

13 instructions -- he's a Croat -- he declined

14 instructions to attack Dusina, south of Fojnica, in the

15 Fojnica municipality, because he was concerned about

16 the possible repercussions of that sort of attack.

17 Were you aware of that, and if so, is that something

18 you would sympathise with?

19 A. No, I don't know anything about his having to

20 attack Dusina, Fojnica, or whatever.

21 Q. Very well. Marin, you know who Marin was,

22 don't you?

23 A. Marin? Does he have a last name?

24 Q. Slavko Marin.

25 A. Oh, Slavko Marin, yes, I know, an operative

Page 17241

1 man in the Operative Zone.

2 Q. And you wouldn't disagree with any account

3 that he's given that at this time in April 1993 there

4 were howitzers of both 122 and 152 calibre west of

5 Zenica at Puticevo, but can you confirm that?

6 A. In the broad area of Puticevo, yes, that was

7 one of the positions of the howitzers; 122, that is,

8 155.

9 Q. Thank you. And that applies for this period

10 of time, April of 1993?

11 A. I wouldn't know exactly. But the positions,

12 yes, were in the region of Puticevo.

13 Q. And the use of that artillery will be

14 confirmed in documentation retained at central

15 command? The documents will confirm that in the

16 archive, won't they?

17 A. They should.

18 Q. Were you present on the 26th of April, or

19 possibly the 29th, in the cinema hall at Vitez where

20 the prisoners were given an account that they were

21 going to be released, but it turned out to be a false

22 account? Do you remember that? We've had evidence to

23 that effect, Witness G, that you were there. Were

24 you?

25 A. Within the context of the commission, I

Page 17242

1 already said that Petkovic and myself, Sefer Halilovic

2 and Delic both sat in Mahala, in Stari Vitez, and in

3 the hotel, that is, at the headquarters of the

4 Operative Zone, and in the cinema where those prisoners

5 were.

6 Q. Were you a party to giving those prisoners,

7 on that occasion, misleading information that they were

8 going to be released?

9 A. As a rule, when we come to an area where

10 there are Croats imprisoned, then we stop, talk to

11 people. And when we come to where the Muslims are

12 imprisoned, then Sefer -- that is, Delic talked to

13 people. I don't know what they talked about.

14 Q. Remembering, General, that I have allowed you

15 on several occasions the possibility to accept that one

16 of your problems with your fellow leaders was that they

17 wanted things with which you were not comfortable, does

18 it come as a surprise to you to know that, if it be the

19 case, in the Washington Post, on the 2nd of May of

20 1993, you were credited, along with Alagic, of trying

21 to preserve Travnik from the wholesale destruction that

22 befell Vitez? If that was published, does that reflect

23 the truth, that you thought Vitez had suffered and that

24 you, with Alagic, were still trying, even in May 1993,

25 to do your best to preserve Travnik?

Page 17243













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14 the French and English transcripts.













Page 17244

1 A. In May 1993, I was not with Alagic, I was in

2 this commission. I already said so. But in April

3 1993, yes. But since the article appeared in May, then

4 it must have covered Alagic's and my activities in

5 Travnik. But we were there in April, but we had to do

6 with Travnik only.

7 Q. In May, you and Dzemal Merdan tried to set up

8 a joint command, I think. Is that right?

9 A. May, what, 1992?

10 Q. Well, you tell me if I've got it wrong. Was

11 it May 1992 or May 1993?

12 A. I never established command with Dzemal

13 Merdan; that is, we were never counterparts. But

14 within that commission that I talked about, as a member

15 of it, I went to Zenica, and they showed me there where

16 the joint command was supposed to be in Zenica, the

17 joint command of the BH army and the HVO.

18 Q. Well, do you remember discussions with Merdan

19 about a joint command?

20 A. I talked about the joint command with Sefer,

21 with Delic, and then in Zenica with Siber. Perhaps

22 Dzemal Merdan was there, but I just don't remember it.

23 I can't remember now.

24 Q. Do you accept the discussion, whether it was

25 1992 and perhaps not 1993, do you accept that in the

Page 17245

1 discussion with Merdan about a joint command, you said

2 to him that Kordic didn't agree but that you couldn't

3 stand up to Kordic and that that's why you had been

4 replaced by Blaskic?

5 A. No. It was -- the counterpart for Dzemal

6 Merdan was Mr. -- what is it -- Franjo Nakic, so these

7 discussions between the two of them could have been I

8 don't know how many. I did not have discussions with

9 Dzemal Merdan, cooperated or negotiated. I used to see

10 him, but the subjects that he was responsible with and

11 the ones that I was responsible with were not the

12 same. We did not have any points of convergence.

13 Q. You can't remember anything you said that

14 might be roughly like what I suggested to you, that you

15 said that on some topic, Kordic didn't agree with you,

16 you couldn't stand up to Kordic, and that's why you

17 were replaced?

18 A. But I was never replaced. I don't know what

19 you are referring to. Perhaps Kordic was concerned

20 with Dzemal Merdan, because Dzemal Merdan is from

21 Busovaca. But why should I discuss that with him? I

22 don't know.

23 Q. I'm moving so fast in order to cover the

24 territory that I've overlooked a couple of things that

25 I must just go back to, and I'll deal with them now.

Page 17246

1 249, I think, is now available. It was

2 accidentally included in 243. I'm sorry this is out of

3 date order, but I must just deal with it in light of

4 what you say about Mr. Kordic.

5 This is a document that says it's signed by

6 Kordic and Blaskic, in the sense of typed names, but

7 with a manuscript acknowledgement of receipt. It says

8 this, following some information: "Message for HVO

9 Bugojno. Should these units participate in the

10 fighting, we shall use long-range artillery on

11 Bugojno," and then there's a deadline and both Kordic's

12 and Blaskic's signature. Do you still maintain he

13 wasn't part of the military decision-making process?

14 A. From what I can see here is the 24th of

15 October, 1992.

16 Q. Yes, indeed. It's out of sequence. I

17 apologise.

18 A. No, but I just don't see any possibility for

19 the existence -- that such a document can exist at

20 all. It is absolutely beyond any rules or any custom.

21 Our documents had "Bosnia-Herzegovina" and so on and so

22 forth. I simply don't believe this.

23 Q. Let's look at another document, 769, already

24 tendered. Now, this document, General, is signed

25 "Blaskic". It has a stamp.

Page 17247

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, if we go back to

2 249, the witness appears to be doubting the -- not

3 appears -- he's in fact questioning the document, the

4 authenticity. I would like to find out on what basis

5 he's questioning the authenticity of the document.


7 Q. General, you remember your doubting of the

8 previous document. Is your doubting of it restricted

9 to the fact that Kordic's signature follows a clear

10 instruction about the use of long-range artillery?

11 A. No. It's the whole paper. I simply cannot

12 conclude anything about it. I can't see that it can be

13 a document of any relevance for this.

14 Q. The Judge would like to know why you're

15 doubting it, if there's some reason other than the fact

16 that Kordic had not signed it but his name is there.

17 Is there any other reason for doubting its

18 authenticity, please?

19 A. The document, as such, is not authentic. I

20 don't know who is sending it to whom, what it's

21 supposed to mean, and so on.

22 Q. Of course, you would accept that there's

23 something called packet communication, effectively

24 something like facsimile communication, wouldn't you,

25 that operated between headquarters and outposts?

Page 17248

1 A. Then at least it should say something or a

2 facsimile, who sent it, who received it, who guarantees

3 that such and such document exists. As I said, I

4 simply can't see that such a document could exist at

5 all.

6 Q. You saw the handwritten receipt on it, didn't

7 you?

8 A. No. The copy that I had did not have it.

9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, for pressure of time,

10 unless the Court wants me to go further, I think I'll

11 have to press on.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, please press on.

13 MR. NICE:

14 Q. The next document we're looking at is 769,

15 and this one is stamped, signed, and just note what it

16 is, please, General. It's dated the 21st of April of

17 1993, shortly after Ahmici. It's actually to Kordic,

18 reflecting a fairly large meeting, and all I want is

19 your comment on the last page, paragraph -- no, not

20 paragraph -- something headed "Other Observations,"

21 number 7 of which -- and it's worth noting that this is

22 from Blaskic himself to Kordic -- says, under "Other

23 Observations," "Of me, they said, that I would be all

24 right without Kordic giving me orders, and that is a

25 big problem for everyone." That's Kordic himself

Page 17249

1 describing -- Blaskic himself, I'm so sorry, describing

2 something that had happened. Does that fit with your

3 experience of these men, or may it be that you simply

4 never had enough experience with these men to know,

5 General?

6 A. All these documents in this format in which

7 I'm given do not look authentic to me and do not

8 reflect the times in which they were supposedly

9 written. I could quote exactly what does not make part

10 of what was happening.

11 Q. Well, I'm going to ask you to deal with that

12 in re-examination, if there is any, because of the

13 pressures of time. I'm going to ask you to look at the

14 next document, please, 1477.

15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, there's a meeting I've

16 got to attend at 5.00. Can you finish by then?

17 MR. NICE: I think in truth, there will be

18 one exercise that will be outstanding that I must do.

19 It follows on a denial that's been given earlier, and

20 I'd be grateful for ten minutes tomorrow morning but no

21 more.

22 JUDGE MAY: Ten minutes.

23 MR. NICE: Thank you. Can I deal with this

24 point tonight?

25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

Page 17250


2 Q. This document, General, is the award given to

3 Kordic by the State of Croatia. I think you were given

4 an award but a much, much lower one. Is that correct?

5 A. I suppose so. I mean, that my direction was

6 of a lower order.

7 Q. He was given the King Petar Kresimir IV, with

8 sash. And we can see from part 4 that this was for his

9 role: "As chief of the Busovaca defence office at the

10 very start of the aggression against Croatia, he

11 organised and started all activities aimed at blocking

12 the Serbo-Chetnik military in Central Bosnia. For his

13 outstanding contribution to the formation of Croat and

14 Croatian Defence Council units and the creation of war

15 strategy and for his great success in leading and

16 commanding the Croatian Defence Council units during

17 the Muslim aggression against the Lasva Valley and the

18 wider region. During the bloodiest moment of the

19 ordeal of the Croats in Central Bosnia, he played a key

20 role in all the battles and was a source of hope and

21 faith in their survival in the areas of Bosnia and

22 Herzegovina inhabited by Croats for centuries."

23 Did they get it completely wrong, General?

24 A. Well, these are the words of a bureaucrat who

25 was trying to paint the picture of his participation in

Page 17251

1 the struggle and produce as much as he could. I didn't

2 have such a bureaucrat with me, so presumably that is

3 why I didn't get this decoration.

4 MR. NICE: Well, perhaps, Your Honour, that

5 will -- I don't want to strain the Court's patience

6 beyond 5.00, and if I've got ten minutes tomorrow, I'll

7 deal with the one exercise and a couple of ancillary

8 points, and I'm grateful.

9 JUDGE MAY: Would you be back, please,

10 General, at half past nine tomorrow to conclude your

11 evidence.

12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

13 5 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,

14 the 13th day of April, 2000,

15 at 9.30 a.m.











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