1 Tuesday, 2
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
9 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
10 and nothing but the truth.
11 WITNESS: DARKO GELIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
14 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Good morning, Your Honours. Our first
16 witness for this week is Major Darko Gelic.
17 Examined by Mr. Sayers:
18 Q. Major Gelic, we have provided the Court --
19 JUDGE MAY: Let him give his full name and
20 details in the usual way.
21 MR. SAYERS: Yes, sir.
22 Q. Your name is Darko Gelic, I believe.
23 A. Yes, I am Darko Gelic. I was born 23rd
24 September 1965 in Zenica. I'm married and have two
1 Q. Thank you. Major, you have prepared an
2 outline of the testimony that you propose to give
3 today, and I believe that you have signed that outline
4 on the 29th of April of this year. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. SAYERS: And, Mr. President, unless I'm
7 told otherwise, if I may, just for the purpose of
8 expediency, I propose to lead Major Gelic through most
9 of this, which should be relatively uncontroversial.
10 JUDGE MAY: No doubt you'll know what the
11 controversial areas are. Certainly the background can
12 be led briefly.
13 MR. SAYERS: Yes, and I would appreciate if
14 the Prosecution would indicate for me which paragraphs
15 they do not want me to lead.
16 Q. Major, is it the case that you did your
17 national military service in the Yugoslav People's Army
18 in 1983; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And following your completion of your
21 national service requirements, you left the JNA and
22 went to school for several years?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I understand that you were a member of the
25 Territorial Defence in Zenica before the establishment
1 of the HVO, the Croatian Defence Council. Is that
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you are one of the Bosnian Croats in
5 Zenica who left the Territorial Defence to join the HVO
6 once it was established; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you just tell the Court approximately
9 how many of the former Bosnian Croat members of the
10 Territorial Defence actually left that organisation to
11 join the HVO once it was established in the spring of
12 1992, sir?
13 A. Your Honours, first of all, in the TO units
14 at that time there were not many Croats. But out of
15 the number that were there, about 90 per cent of
16 Croats, to my recollection, left it.
17 Q. And, Major Gelic, I believe that you were a
18 company commander in the TO in the village of Broda,
19 just outside of Zenica. Is that right?
20 A. Yes. Those are the outskirts of the city of
22 Q. And could you tell the Court what you did
23 after you joined the HVO, sir?
24 A. After I stopped working at the Territorial
25 Defence, when we established ourselves as the HVO, I
1 was first commander of the reconnaissance company. And
2 then in June 1992, before the Jure Francetic Brigade
3 was established, I was appointed chief of the
4 intelligence service.
5 Q. And when exactly did you join the HVO, sir?
6 A. I joined the HVO in early April 1992.
7 Q. And after the formation of the Jure Francetic
8 Brigade, what were your functions within that brigade,
10 A. Throughout my tour with the brigade, I was at
11 first the commander of the reconnaissance company and
12 then the chief of the intelligence service. And once
13 the brigade was fully established in December 1992, I
14 was again reappointed chief of the intelligence service
15 for the brigade.
16 Q. All right. We'll get into this in a little
17 bit more detail later in your testimony, Major, but is
18 it right that the Bosnian Croats and the HVO were
19 attacked by Muslim armed forces in the city of Zenica
20 on the 17th of April, 1993?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And I think it's a fact that the two Zenica
23 brigades, the two Zenica-based HVO brigades, were
24 defeated after just a few days of fighting, and you
25 were subsequently forced to flee southwards to the town
1 of Vitez?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Could you just give the Court a thumbnail
4 sketch, sir, of what you did for the HVO once you
5 arrived in Vitez in, I guess it was, late April, early
6 May, 1993?
7 A. Your Honours, after I arrived in Vitez, I
8 became an advisor for the intelligence service in the
9 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. I stayed in that post
10 for about 45 days, and then I was appointed a liaison
11 officer with UNPROFOR and other international
12 organisations, including the ECMM, UNHCR, International
13 Red Cross, and other organisations.
14 Q. And I believe that you served in that
15 position from June of 1993 until January the 18th of
16 the following year, 1994.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And what did you do after January the 18th of
19 1994, sir?
20 A. After 18 January 1994, I was appointed chief
21 of the intelligence department of the 3rd Guards
23 Q. And how long did you stay in that position,
25 A. In this post, I stayed until 1998, when I was
1 appointed a deputy commander of the 3rd Guards Brigade
2 for the civil/military affairs.
3 Q. And I believe that you currently serve in the
4 army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, holding
5 the rank of Major.
6 A. Yes. At the time, as I said, I am assistant
7 commander for civil and military affairs for the 3rd
8 Guards Brigade, and I hold the rank of Major in the
9 army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Thank you, Major.
11 Turning to paragraph 10 of the summary that
12 you signed, I'd just like to ask a few questions about
13 the initial organisation of the HVO in Zenica.
14 Could you just give the Court a brief
15 description of the circumstances under which the HVO
16 was formed in Zenica and the background behind the
17 decision of the Bosnian Croats, who were formerly
18 members of the TO, to leave that organisation and join
19 the HVO, Major?
20 A. Your Honours, after the outbreak of the civil
21 war in our country, that is, in March and April 1992,
22 after the general chaos broke out, I took part in the
23 negotiations between the TO, and the discussions were
24 about the armaments for the Bosnian Croats that served
25 in the TO. And I was also part of the negotiation team
1 to form a joint command of the armed forces.
2 The purpose of the negotiations was to form a
3 joint command of the armed forces, but this was not
4 going as we had thought that it would. We could not
5 achieve the results which we wanted and what the other
6 groups in Bosnia wanted to get, weapons to organise
7 units so that we could fight for the liberation of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 In most of these negotiation sessions,
10 Mr. Jasmin Saric was a representative of the TO and
11 later the commander of the town of Zenica, and based on
12 all the statements which he made at the time during
13 those negotiations, it was clear that we were not
14 getting what we wanted. We never received any
15 weapons. And the argument that the Muslim side offered
16 was that the Croats could not get any weapons.
17 And then in Broda, which is one of the
18 communities on the edge of Zenica, the Croats there
19 held a meeting where we wanted to define things and
20 figure out what to do. And the conclusion was that we
21 had to give up the idea of joining the Territorial
22 Defence and that we had to establish ourself as a Croat
23 force in order to be able to defend our own people in
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 Q. Did Mr. Saric take the position that Bosnian
1 Croats would not be permitted the distribution of any
2 of the arms located in the former JNA barracks in the
3 city of Zenica?
4 A. Look, in essence, he publicly never stated
5 that, but from the context in which we were discussing
6 things, this was not the conclusion which only I
7 reached; everybody reached that conclusion, that the
8 Muslim side did not want to give any weapons to the
9 Croat side.
10 Q. All right. Turning to paragraph 11 of the
11 summary, and just a few questions in connection with
12 the military organisation of the HVO. What kind of
13 organisational structure did the HVO have in the
14 earliest days of its organisation, in April, May, June,
15 and July of 1992, sir?
16 A. The organisation of the Croatian Defence
17 Council at first was very poor. The Croatian Defence
18 Council was not really organised, so that there were a
19 lot of problems and it couldn't function properly.
20 Obviously, after July 1992 the organisational structure
21 of the HVO armed forces became much clearer because it
22 was much more firmly established, and the chain of
23 command which was then established was much clearer and
24 you could say that the chain of command at that time
25 was actually functional.
1 Q. In 1992, sir, who was the commander-in-chief
2 in the HVO general staff in the Mostar area?
3 A. In 1992 the commander of the HVO in Mostar
4 was Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic.
5 Q. And who was the military commander in the
6 Central Bosnia region, as far as you can recall, sir?
7 A. The commander at the time was Colonel Tihomir
9 Q. And it's correct, is it not, that the
10 military organisation that was imposed by the general
11 staff was for so-called operative zones to be performed
12 in particular areas where the HVO had armed forces?
13 A. Yes. As I said, starting in July,
14 approximately, of 1992, the HVO was restructured and
15 persons to order the brigades were established with
16 their commands and staffs of these commands, down to
17 the lowest level of command. So all these people were
18 appointed to these positions down this chain. I can
19 mention some examples, like Busovaca, Zenica, Travnik,
20 where these brigades, by such orders, were
21 established. They were replenished inasmuch as it was
22 possible, but all the command staff was appointed at
23 that time by orders from the superior command.
24 Q. Staying at the operative zone level for just
25 a second, Major, in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone
1 you've identified the commander as Colonel Tihomir
2 Blaskic, at least from July of 1992 onwards. I take it
3 he reported directly to his commanding officer,
4 Brigadier Petkovic at the HVO general staff
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And then you've talked about the
8 establishment of brigades. Is it correct that these
9 brigades were generally municipality-based and that
10 they drew their soldiers from the municipalities in
11 which they were based?
12 A. Of course, as I previously stated, all the
13 brigades which were established were established on the
14 territorial principle, where each unit was established
15 in the municipality where it was based.
16 Q. All right. And the brigade commanders, of
17 course, reported in turn to their commanding officer,
18 the commander of the operative zone; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And so in Zenica, for example, I think it's
21 correct to say that Commander Zivko Totic was the
22 commander of the HVO forces in that city, and he
23 reported directly in the chain of command to his
24 commanding officer, Colonel Blaskic, commander of the
25 Central Bosnia Operative Zone?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And once the brigades were established, sir,
3 is it correct that they had their own chain of command
4 and that the positions within those brigades were
5 generally filled?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Major, can you tell us whether, to your
8 knowledge, Mr. Dario Kordic ever occupied any position
9 within the military chain of command, either in the HVO
10 or within the Busovaca Brigade, the Nikola
11 Subic-Zrinjski Brigade?
12 A. No.
13 Q. All right. You actually yourself assumed a
14 position within the headquarters of the Central Bosnia
15 Operative Zone when you became a liaison officer,
16 liaising with UNPROFOR, the ECMM, and the UNHCR and
17 other international organisations; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And did you ever, throughout your time in the
20 headquarters of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, see
21 Mr. Kordic perform any military function?
22 A. No.
23 Q. All right. Turning Your Honours to paragraph
24 13 of the summary, could you just give us, sir, your
25 testimony regarding the relative armed strengths of the
1 Muslim and Croat armed formations in the city of
2 Zenica, where you were initially located before
3 mid-April of 1993?
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, there's not much
5 point in the witness simply reading out the answers
6 that are in paragraph 13 unless he can give some
7 foundation for his knowledge.
8 JUDGE MAY: Just give us a short answer on
9 that, please. What do you know about it, and tell us
10 how you know about it too.
11 A. Your Honours, regarding the HVO weaponry in
12 Zenica, it was not only inferior in comparison to that
13 of the ABiH, but we were very poorly armed in
14 comparison with the Muslim side. This knowledge is my
15 personal knowledge, because I worked on arming the
16 Croatian people in the Zenica area. There's another
17 question, how much I succeeded in this, in arming
18 Croats, but the percentage of weapons of Croats in the
19 HVO units in Zenica area was about 30 per cent level.
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. Approximately how many semi-automatic and
22 automatic rifles were available to your armed
23 formations, the HVO armed formations in the city of
24 Zenica throughout the time that you were there, Major?
25 A. In total, the Zenica HVO at that time had
1 about 300 pieces of weapons, that is, between the
2 automatic and semi-automatic rifles.
3 Q. And did the ABiH have control over former
4 military facilities run by the JNA in that city, sir?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you tell the Court approximately how
7 many rifles were stored in the military barracks and
8 facilities that were formally run by the JNA?
9 A. After the liberation of the Zenica barracks
10 from the former JNA during that liberation, and both
11 Croats and Muslims participated in this, we took about
12 10.000 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, a number of
13 anti-aircraft guns, a number -- I believe about 17
14 tanks. Most of them were T-55 model. But all of these
15 weapons in that barracks went to the Muslim side.
16 Perhaps a small part, and I say a very small part, may
17 have gone to Croats. But I'm talking about stuff that
18 was in the barracks.
19 After the fall of the barracks, it was taken
20 to the steel works in Zenica, where it was kept, and
21 later on it was distributed to the TO units and the
22 ABiH units, while the Croat side, that is, the HVO,
23 never received any part of that, of this package, if I
24 can call it so, that was in that barracks.
25 Q. You made some reference to tanks that were
1 formerly controlled by the JNA forces and taken over by
2 the ABiH. What happened to those tanks, as best you
3 can recall, sir?
4 A. Those tanks -- that is, a number of those
5 tanks were not in working order. They tried to fix
6 them, but a small number were deployed. I think one or
7 two were in the Usora area and one or two were deployed
8 in the Visoko area in order to help them in defence of
9 those areas. But the rest of them remained in the
11 Q. All right. Turning to the subject of
12 persecution, sir -- paragraph 14 of the outline, for
13 the Court's information -- the contention is made in
14 this case that the Bosnian Croats and, specifically,
15 the Bosnian Croat political leadership, advocated and
16 enforced a policy of persecution and harassment of
17 Muslim civilians by the HVO in the municipality of
18 Zenica and also in the municipalities that made up the
19 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. Were you ever
20 aware of such a policy, sir? Did you ever hear of
21 anything like that? Could you tell us, please?
22 A. Your Honour, first of all, to me it sounds
23 absurd. Never --
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, don't comment. If you will
25 keep your answers to the facts, Mr. Gelic.
1 A. Your Honour, we never were issued such an
2 order, nor did we ever have such a policy in place, to
3 persecute Muslims in that area. In fact, Croats in
4 that region were subject to this, and I can only say
5 that this was a policy that was conducted against the
6 Croats by Muslims. But I am not aware of any official
7 or unofficial order or any other form of document. I
8 have never heard of any such direction to persecute
9 Muslims and drive them out of the region of Zenica.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Sayers, is the
11 allegation that there was a policy of persecution or
12 that there was, in fact, persecution?
13 MR. SAYERS: I think the allegation in
14 paragraph 36 of the amended indictment, Your Honour, is
15 that there was a policy of persecution and that there
16 was persecution in fact. Both things are alleged. I
17 was just dealing with the policy issue with Major
18 Gelic, and with the Court's permission, I'll just
19 address the persecution-in-fact allegations in the
20 municipality of Zenica right now.
21 I just wanted to --
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, go ahead.
23 MR. SAYERS: I'm sorry. You had your
24 microphone on, Your Honour. I thought you were going
25 to say something.
1 Q. Major Gelic, as a matter of fact, is it the
2 case that Bosnian Muslims outnumbered Bosnian Croats in
3 the municipality of Zenica in 1993, anyway,
4 approximately six to one?
5 A. Yes. Before the war broke out in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ratio was perhaps a little
7 lower, three to one or four to one. But when the war
8 broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the Muslims were
9 expelled from the areas where they had lived, that is,
10 where the Serbs expelled them, then there was a large
11 inflow of refugees in the town of Zenica, so that that
12 figure -- that is, that ratio of three to one or four
13 to one rose to six to one.
14 Q. Now, you heard the Judge's question regarding
15 whether, in fact, Bosnian Croats persecuted Bosnian
16 Muslims in the municipality of Zenica and throughout
17 the territory of the Croatian Community of
18 Herceg-Bosna. Could you give us, sir, your experience
19 in that regard? Did Croats persecute Muslims or was it
20 the other way around?
21 A. As far as my experience goes, Your Honours,
22 it was quite the other way around. I remember the
23 first expelled Croat from that area under -- if I may
24 call it that, controlled by the army of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croat Defence Council,
1 because we were still together at the time, and that
2 was May, maybe June -- no, May, the first Croat was
3 expelled then from the area of Nemila or, rather,
4 Bistricak. I believe his last name was Kovacevic. He
5 and his family were expelled from the area, even though
6 there was no conflicts at all between the Muslims and
7 the Croats.
8 I was then ordered by my commander, Mr. Zivko
9 Totic, to go to the area and investigate the matters
10 and what could have been the immediate cause for
11 expelling this Croat family from there.
12 I went there. I could not gain access to
13 that particular locality for the simple reason that a
14 military camp had been set up there and in it were
15 quartered, from what I could see, foreign citizens who
16 had come to Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, the
17 Mujahedin. They were quartered in that area, and they
18 would not allow anyone to get there.
19 Why were they expelled from the area? I
20 think that that family was simply in the way. It was
21 the only Croat family there, and it was in the way.
22 They thought that it might obstruct their training or
23 whatever they wanted to do or, rather, to expel all the
24 Croats from the territory of Zenica at a later stage.
25 So that is the beginning of 1992, that is,
1 May or, rather, late of May, and that was the Croats
2 were expelled.
3 Q. Just a couple of formal questions in this
4 connection, sir.
5 Did you ever receive any orders from your
6 military commander, Commander Totic, or from anybody
7 else in the military chain of command to harass or
8 persecute anyone?
9 A. No. I've already said so when His Honour
10 corrected me. There were no orders, official or
11 off-the-record, or any act, any document, that might
12 bear on such a matter. There was absolutely no order
13 to engage in the persecution or expulsion of Muslims or
14 Serbs, for that matter, from the area of
16 Q. Let's depart from formal orders for just a
17 minute. Did you ever hear anybody, either politician
18 or soldier, advocate the commission of acts of
19 violence, or harassment, or persecution against any
20 non-Croat ethnic group throughout the time that you
21 were in the HVO, sir?
22 A. As I have already said, there was nothing.
23 Not an official nor an unofficial example existed,
24 persecution of Muslims, or Serbs, let alone Muslims.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
1 Mr. Sayers. I should like to ask the witness about
2 what he understands, what he means. How does he define
3 "persecution" that he speaks about?
4 A. Your Honours, how would I define -- what do I
5 mean by "persecution" when I say that? It is when you
6 expel somebody, when you evict somebody from his home,
7 when you force him to leave the place where he's
8 lived. That is what "persecution" means to me.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Sorry. So
10 according to you, nobody was forced to leave their
11 place where they had lived, according to you; there was
12 no document, there was no act to that effect, to force
13 anybody to leave?
14 A. You mean the Croat Defence Council, do you?
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Yes, because
16 that was the question which Mr. Sayers was asking you.
17 A. Yes, quite so. As I already said, there was
18 neither an official nor an unofficial document which
19 would be regulating that.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Yes. But
21 the question that you were asked was beyond documents,
22 whether in fact you could see anything of that nature
23 which one could call persecution. I'm not talking
24 about documents. Apart from the documents but, in
25 point of fact, on the ground, in reality.
1 A. I believe I am repeating it for the second
2 time. There was neither an official or unofficial
3 policy in the military structure. That is, in the
4 military structure, there was neither an official or
5 unofficial policy to evict people from their houses.
6 MR. SAYERS:
7 Q. Let me tackle this another way, Major Gelic,
8 and maybe this will address the questions the Court has
9 been asking you.
10 Did you ever hear any advocacy by any soldier
11 or politician about giving Muslims generally a hard
12 time, harassing them, for example, during their daily
13 lives, blowing up their businesses, things of that
14 variety? Have you ever heard of anything like that
15 being recommended, or advocated, or urged by any
16 soldier or politician?
17 A. No.
18 Q. All right. You give one example, Major, in
19 your outline of Bosnian Croats being given a pretty
20 hard time by Muslim police in Zenica in May of 1992.
21 Rather than me putting words in your mouth, could you
22 just tell the Court, in your own words, what happened
23 in May of 1992, insofar as you can remember?
24 A. Look, to begin with, the Croats who were
25 there in Zenica were truly exposed to harassment, to
1 intimidation, and all sorts of other things by Muslims
2 in Zenica.
3 In May, for example -- and I will quote that
4 example -- in May 1992 the Muslim police tried to
5 orchestrate the roundup of their criminals, because in
6 their units there were many such men. So they
7 organised a kind of arrest of those criminals. But
8 that happened -- of course, the commander of the then
9 municipal headquarters of the HVO in Zenica, what was
10 the reason for that arrest, I really would not know. I
11 think it was all a frame-up, it was all orchestrated,
12 it was all thought up in order to provoke an armed
13 incident between Muslim and Croat forces in that area
14 through that operation of catching the criminals, as
15 they called it. But owing to the presence of the
16 Croats, the incident did not break out at that
17 particular moment.
18 However, a lesson could be drawn from that,
19 and that meant that we, the Croats in Zenica, were no
20 longer welcome in that town and there was no room for
21 us in the town anymore, even though it was our town
22 just as much as it was theirs.
23 Q. And I believe there was an incident involving
24 your wife, who was pregnant at the time in May of
25 1992. Could you tell the Court, in your own words,
1 what happened to her, sir?
2 A. Look, Your Honours, to begin with, it is
3 really not agreeable to remember those things, but that
4 was the truth at the time. We were trying to, as much
5 as possible, fight against the Serb forces while there
6 was still time for that, and when the Serb or, rather,
7 the air force, the air force of the former Yugoslav
8 People's Army or the Bosnian Serbs, whoever it belonged
9 to at the time, when they shelled more or less at
10 specific intervals, that is, there would be a day or
11 two without such shelling in Zenica but there would be
12 somewhere else, and during one of those shelling
13 spells, when the target of the Serb planes was the
14 steel works in Zenica, so the alarm was sounded.
15 People had to withdraw to shelters.
16 My wife was pregnant. My wife was expecting
17 at the time. She was five months' pregnant. And
18 Muslim military police stopped her somewhere on the
19 fourth floor of the building where we used to live,
20 made her go back to the flat in which we lived to
21 allegedly search that flat, because somebody, according
22 to them, was in that flat, that is, a Serb sniper or
23 something like that. However, they knew very well
24 whose apartment that was, and when they entered the
25 flat, they once again drove my wife out of the flat
1 because they did, in the flat, what they wanted to, and
2 the shelling went on all that time.
3 I lived in the immediate vicinity of the
4 building which is near the Zenica steel works. The
5 detonations were really on a large scale. And to do
6 such a thing towards an expecting woman, my wife, it
7 was beyond comprehension. Under those conditions -- so
8 this is just one of such instances.
9 Another such example or, rather, what
10 happened to me, I told about that to my commander,
11 Zivko Totic, hoping that he would undertake some steps
12 with the Muslim side. And I think he turned it into a
13 public issue, who is expelling whom from what areas,
14 because it was quite -- what was happening in Zenica
15 was quite conspicuous in that part. And when it
16 happened to my wife, it didn't happen only to my wife,
17 to my wife alone, it happened to all the Croats who
18 lived in that building.
19 My commander, as I've said, turned it into a
20 public issue, informed the media which were within the
21 Croat Defence Council, and I believe that -- what I
22 have told you right now, I believe that Mr. Dario
23 Kordic also raised it at a press conference when again
24 journalists asked him about what was happening to
25 Croats and with Croats in Zenica; not only Zenica, that
1 is, but also in other parts of Central Bosnia.
2 Q. Just turning back to the incident where your
3 wife was evicted, what happened to the personal
4 possessions that you and your wife had in the apartment
5 from which she was evicted, sir?
6 A. Look, all our belongings, all the personal
7 affairs were looted, not only mine, but everything that
8 belonged to Croats in that building. The Muslim side
9 simply availed itself of the shelling by the Serb
10 troops and they simply availed themselves of the
11 opportunity and simply plundered everything they could
12 find in our flats. Naturally, they couldn't take
13 furniture or things like that. They took personal
14 belongings or whatever they happened to like.
15 Q. All right. Let me just move on, Major, to
16 the next subject, which is Mr. Kordic, who's one of the
17 defendants in this case. I think you've already stated
18 that he did not have the authority to give military
19 orders, in your view. But let me just ask you this:
20 Throughout your involvement in the armed forces of the
21 HVO, did you ever see Mr. Kordic or hear of him
22 actually giving any military orders, sir?
23 A. No.
24 Q. What was Mr. Kordic's function, sir? What
25 was his position, as far as you understood it?
1 A. Look, I think it was a political position.
2 He was part of the political structure and that was the
3 kind of duties that he discharged.
4 Q. You realised that he was one of the
5 vice-presidents of the presidency of the Croatian
6 Community of Herceg-Bosna, is that right, or didn't you
7 know that?
8 A. Look, the political offices, I wasn't
9 particularly familiar with that, was he the president
10 or vice-president. I don't really know what kind of
11 offices they had in the HDZ organisation. I was not
12 familiar with that, because I was a military man, and
13 to begin with, I was not even allowed to engage in
14 politics. And secondly, I was never all that
15 interested in politics to try to learn about such
16 things: who held what office and so on and so forth.
17 Q. Let me move on fairly quickly through this,
18 in light of that testimony. Mr. Kordic was, I believe,
19 sometimes called a colonel in the press. What was your
20 understanding of his function as a colonel and the
21 nature of his duties in that position, if any?
22 A. Well, you see, I think it was a kind of an
23 honorary rank conferred upon him. As far as I
24 remember, there were some negotiations between Muslim
25 Serbs and Croats in Sarajevo. Now, what the
1 negotiations were about, I don't know, but I think that
2 was the reason why he had to be accorded a military
3 rank, so that he could parry properly other parties to
4 these negotiations so that he could act as a
5 counterpart, and I believe that was part of it. But I
6 think that that was merely an honorary title.
7 Q. Are you referring to the mixed military
8 Working Group negotiations that occurred or were held
9 in Sarajevo airport under the auspices of UNPROFOR at
10 the end of 1992?
11 A. Now, what was it called, I don't really know
12 whether it was mixed or what. I don't know. But that
13 was a group which operated under the auspices of
14 UNPROFOR. It was in 1992, I believe. There were those
15 negotiations conducted at the Sarajevo airport, or at
16 least that's what I thought.
17 Q. Now, were you ever asked by members of the
18 International Community about the military chain of
19 command within the HVO, sir?
20 A. Why, yes. I don't know what period of time
21 you mean. Do you mean 1992 or 1993? Because in 1993 I
22 had very many contacts with the International
24 Q. Very well. Let me just turn you to 1992. Do
25 you recall a discussion that you had with two Spanish
1 representatives of the International Community who
2 visited Central Bosnia and asked you questions about
3 the military chain of command and the political
5 A. Yes. They were Spanish representatives who
6 came there for different matters, including
7 intelligence reasons. And they wanted to talk to me
8 and a commander in the HVO, and they also talked to the
9 Muslim side.
10 But when they came to see me, they asked me
11 to first explain to them the command, the chain of
12 command in our army. And since my superiors had
13 advised me to receive those people, I explained to them
14 the chain of command and structure of the Croat Defence
15 Council, or rather I used my brigade as the example and
16 the immediate superior of our brigade, or rather the
17 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, which was Colonel
18 Tihomir Blaskic.
19 And after such discussion, I told them about
20 the chain of command and the matter of functioning of
21 the Croat Defence Council. But they also wanted to
22 discuss some political matters, and they asked to see
23 somebody who would be at the top of the policy pursued
24 in Central Bosnia, that is, to have a discussion.
25 And I consulted my commander, Zivko Totic,
1 and I was then asked to take them first to the HDZ in
2 Zenica to see Mr. Sarkic. But they were not really
3 willing to discuss it at a local level, that is, with
4 Mr. Sarkic. They asked for a higher level. And then I
5 tried to arrange a meeting for them with Mr. Dario
6 Kordic, and I believe they had half an hour, perhaps an
7 hour with him. I waited for them while they were with
8 him, and after that we went back to Zenica.
9 Q. Did Mr. Kordic have any military authority
10 over any units of the military police or any special
11 purpose units in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, as
12 far as you knew, at any time during your service in the
13 HVO, sir?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you ever see Mr. Kordic give orders to
16 Colonel Blaskic?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did you ever hear that Mr. Kordic had ever
19 tried to give orders to Mr. Blaskic or influence his
20 military decisions in any way, sir?
21 A. No.
22 Q. In connection with Mr. Kordic's public
23 activities, is it correct that he did give speeches to
24 soldiers, trying to raise their morale and encourage
25 recruitment efforts so that soldiers would enlist in
1 the HVO and go to fight on the front lines at Jajce
2 against the BSA?
3 THE INTERPRETER: We could not hear the
4 beginning of the answer.
5 A. Not against the Bosnian Muslims
6 MR. SAYERS: -- the question, and for that I
8 JUDGE MAY: No need to go over it again.
9 MR. SAYERS:
10 Q. Could you just give us an assessment, as far
11 as you saw it, Major Gelic, of the level of
12 Mr. Kordic's influence, if any, in the city of Zenica,
13 or the municipality of Zenica?
14 A. Well, insofar as Mr. Kordic is concerned, and
15 his influence, political influence in the town of
16 Zenica, I believe it was considerable. And from the
17 moral point of view, yes, he could affect, he could
18 influence Croats who lived in Zenica. Moral, I say,
19 because that was the only way that Zenica Croats could
20 help. What influence he had with other people, I know
21 he enjoyed the trust of many people as a politician,
22 and thanks to the manner in which he spoke at the time,
23 and I can say only the best about Mr. Dario Kordic
24 while I still lived in Zenica. And when I was expelled
25 from it, when I had to leave it and came to Vitez, I
1 continued to have a very high opinion of him.
2 Q. But as a practical matter, did he actually
3 have any power to influence the plight of Bosnian
4 Croats in the municipality of Zenica, one way or the
6 A. No. As I have said, yes, he could offer
7 moral support, but nothing else. He could not do it in
8 any other way.
9 Q. Just one final question along these lines.
10 Did Mr. Kordic have any power to remove Colonel Blaskic
11 from his position of command in the Central Bosnia
12 Operative Zone, as far as you knew?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Who had the power to remove Operative Zone
15 commanders from their commands, Major?
16 A. I don't know, but it could not be
17 Mr. Kordic. It had to be somebody who made part of the
18 military chain of command. In 1992, for instance, it
19 was Mr. Milivoj Petkovic, so he could replace a
20 commander of the Operative Zone. After that,
21 Mr. Praljak, then Mr. Roso. That is, all those
22 commanders of the Main Staff of the Croat Defence
23 Council could replace the commanding officers, but
24 nobody else could do that.
25 Q. All right. Let's see if we can move a little
1 bit more quickly, Major. Were you aware that there was
2 a brief outbreak of fighting in the Novi Travnik area
3 in June of 1992?
4 MR. SAYERS: I'm looking at paragraph 22 of
5 the outline now, Your Honours.
6 A. Yes, I'm aware of that conflict, and
7 according to my knowledge at that time, I worked for
8 the intelligence services in the Jure Francetic
9 Brigade, so we had the intelligence information
10 traffic. It was very limited in scope. It lasted one
11 day. And this took place in June of 1992.
12 Q. You just said, Major, that you believed that
13 you worked for the intelligence service of the Jure
14 Francetic Brigade, but this was June of 1992. Are you
15 sure that the Jure Francetic Brigade existed at that
16 time, or not?
17 A. At that time the Jure Francetic Brigade did
18 not exist at the time, but there was an HVO
19 headquarters in Zenica. This was in 1992. We were
20 working on the organisation, which is why I brought up
21 the name of Jure Francetic Brigade.
22 Q. Now, turning, or going forward in time just a
23 few months, to October of 1992, the Court has already
24 heard about an armed roadblock that was erected by the
25 ABiH at Ahmici on October 18th, 1992. And in that
1 roadblock a troop convoy containing volunteers from
2 Kresevo, Kiseljak, Busovaca, and elsewhere was
3 stopped. Where was that troop convoy heading, Major
5 A. Look, at the time there was heavy fighting in
6 the territory of Jajce municipality and all the
7 volunteers from Central Bosnia, which includes Zenica,
8 Kresevo, Fojnica, Vares, Kakanj, Vitez, Novi Travnik,
9 Travnik, all these municipalities that were there,
10 which were part of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone,
11 volunteers went to fight the Bosnian Serbs.
12 In that same period, the situation in Jajce
13 was very difficult. I can tell you this because I was
14 there on three times. In fact, on the third time I was
15 supposed to go there in order to help the Croats who
16 were fighting for bare survival in that territory.
17 But in October 1992 we were unable to pass
18 through this area to go to Jajce, because at Ahmici a
19 checkpoint had been set up by the Bosnian Muslims. And
20 in my view, they staged this conflict in Novi Travnik
21 in order to block our units from going to Jajce. And
22 the excuse was that we were going to reinforce our
23 forces in Novi Travnik, which was not true.
24 In fact, my unit, which was sent from Zenica
25 to Novi Travnik, went back to Zenica, and then they
1 tried again to go via Travnik and on to Zenica, but we
2 were not able to do so, because even there they tried
3 to block us. That was at Lokvine. We couldn't pass
4 through to go to Jajce. And so the result of that
5 was -- is known to everyone. Jajce fell to the Bosnian
6 Serbs, and the Croats who lived in that region were
7 driven out of the area.
8 Q. Is it true that about the same time the armed
9 forces of the ABiH seized control of the Bratstvo arms
10 factory in Novi Travnik?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And following that, Major, did the HVO ever
13 manage at any time during the ensuing one and a half
14 years of war to re-establish control of the Bratstvo
15 factory at all?
16 A. No. It never managed to reassert its
17 control, and in fact I can add that the Bosnian Muslims
18 took over all key armament factories. Konjica, Zenica,
19 Tuzla, and Bratstvo is included, then Bugojno. The
20 only thing that they were missing was Vitezit. And
21 their objective -- and this is what I referred to when
22 I talked about October 1992 and the tragedy at Jajce --
23 was to gain control over these military facilities.
24 Q. You mentioned the fact that the ABiH
25 controlled other military facilities, and you
1 specifically mentioned Konjic and Bugojno, I believe.
2 Is it a fact that the Konjic arms factory manufactured
3 bullets for small arms?
4 A. Yes. Not only the Konjic factory. There
5 were also resources in Zenica, where small arms
6 ammunition was also manufactured. And I note that
7 there was also one in Babine, near Crkvica. They also
8 produced shells, that is, parts of explosive devices.
9 But in the steel works at Zenica, there was -- a lot of
10 production facilities could be easily converted for
11 military use.
12 Q. All right. And the factory in Zenica, I
13 believe, was called -- forgive my appalling
14 pronunciation -- Zeljezara; is that correct?
15 A. Yes. Zeljezara, or steel works.
16 Q. And that was controlled by the ABiH forces in
17 Zenica throughout the war, I take it, sir?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You've also mentioned the arms manufacturing
20 facility in Bugojno. Is it correct that that facility
21 manufactured detonators for artillery projectiles,
23 A. According to my knowledge, yes, it did.
24 Q. And the Bratstvo arms factory, just to
25 complete this line of questions, I believe manufactured
1 the projectiles themselves for heavy artillery and
2 heavy artillery pieces as well?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. All right. Now, speaking as a soldier, Major
5 Gelic, could you give your views on the appropriateness
6 or lack of appropriateness of the selection of Ahmici
7 as the point where the armed roadblock was erected in
8 October of 1992 by the ABiH, by the Muslim forces?
9 A. From the military standpoint, the location
10 where the roadblock was erected, that is, at the
11 cemetery in Ahmici, was a very good position to --
12 because it cut off the Busovaca and Vitez
13 municipality. It is a choke point, and with a very
14 small force you could stop a much larger force,
15 regardless of where they come from, because it's a very
16 narrow area and it's a bottleneck. And from there it
17 then opens up, it fans out, and has many more
18 communications leading on either side. And also the
19 terrain itself is such that a very small force can
20 control a much larger one.
21 Q. And essentially that's what happened in
22 October of 1992, isn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. All right. Turning chronologically to
25 January of 1993, Major, and paragraph 24 of your
1 summary here. Just before the attacks launched on
2 Busovaca towards the end of January 1993, had there
3 been any movement of Muslim families from that town or
4 municipality into Zenica, or not?
5 A. In this period, that is, from New Year's
6 1993, and even before that -- at first it was less
7 intense, but after the New Year's, the number of people
8 coming from Busovaca increased enormously. And in the
9 Zenica area a large number of Muslims from Busovaca
10 also came. Now, whether they were from the town of
11 Busovaca proper, I don't know, because I didn't contact
12 with them, but they moved to houses where the Serbs
13 were expelled from and where the -- or the houses from
14 which the Croats had left. So I think that these were
15 mostly Muslims who were for the most part from the
16 surrounding villages around Busovaca. This is my
17 opinion. But there could have been some from the town
18 of Busovaca proper.
19 Q. Now, this movement of people from the
20 Busovaca area to Zenica, did this occur before the
21 fighting broke out or after?
22 A. Before the conflict broke out.
23 Q. And did you ever hear any of these people
24 contend that they had been forced out of Busovaca as
25 opposed to leaving of their own volition for whatever
2 A. No, I never heard any such story.
3 Q. Now, Major, about one month before the attack
4 on Busovaca on January 25th of 1993, did you or your
5 intelligence cell receive any information about the
6 amassing of Muslim troops in the area, or did you not?
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour, again, before the
8 witness answers, it might be helpful to know what
9 documents he's relied on, I think, for this sort of
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, you can ask him about
12 it in cross-examination. Let's move on.
13 MR. NICE: Very well.
14 MR. SAYERS: You can answer the question,
16 A. Before the attack of 25 January 1993, my
17 service operated in such a way that I received
18 information from not only the Zenica area, but from all
19 other areas. Based on the work of my subordinates and
20 certain things I learned myself, that the Muslim side,
21 the Muslim forces, were grouping in Biljesevo and
22 Kacuni, which is in Busovaca.
23 Obviously, we followed the development of the
24 situation and asked the Muslim side why -- what this
25 meant, because this was very close to Busovaca. Their
1 answers to my questions was that they were amassing
2 reserve forces for potentially enforcement at Visoko
3 against the Bosnian Serbs. But I can say that I had a
4 subordinate officer at the time in the 3rd Battalion of
5 the brigade, and I sent him to the Lasva area, that is,
6 to Biljesevo, more precisely.
7 I think at that time the 333rd Mountain
8 Brigade and 305th Brigades were -- the 333rd was in
9 Kacuni and 305th in Biljesevo. So there was a grouping
10 of forces in my area, and my subordinate officer could
11 not see much. He spent about three days in the area in
12 the field, but he couldn't see much, because the Muslim
13 forces had set up checkpoints and you couldn't reach
14 the area.
15 Q. Let me just interrupt you. The soldier or
16 the officer who you sent off to do this reconnoitring
17 work was a man by the name of Ivica Budic, I believe.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And also the explanation that you described
20 given to you by forces of the ABiH regarding the troop
21 accumulations in the Kacuni and Biljesevo area, were
22 these explanations given to you or to someone else?
23 A. Look, in the context which we had in the
24 field at the time, I could contact with officers from
25 the Territorial Defence and I could even come to the
1 ABiH command. So these answers were given to me, at my
2 insistence, by Mr. Jasmin Saric, because I went to him
3 to look for answers, so he gave me such explanations.
4 And there was another gentleman. I cannot recall his
5 name right now. But the two of them gave me such
6 answers, as well as Mr. Kulovic, who was one of the
7 commanders, Steel Works Battalion. They said that this
8 was the preparation of ABiH forces for the final
9 breakthrough from Visoko to Sarajevo.
10 Q. All right. So these weren't deductions that
11 you were making from documents, these were face-to-face
12 explanations given to you by high-ranking ABiH
13 officers; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. I believe, sir, that you have no
16 first-hand knowledge of the occurrences or the murders
17 that were committed in the villages of Dusina,
18 Miletici, Maljine, Cukle, and other places such as
19 that. Is that right?
20 A. Right, I have no first-hand knowledge. But I
21 have to distinguish between the massacres in Dusina,
22 which took place in early 1993, and Maljine, Cukle, and
23 others happened later, from April to June 1993. So
24 these two things need to be separated.
25 Q. All right. Did you ever write any letters to
1 UNPROFOR units concerning these atrocities?
2 A. Yes. At that time, I was already a liaison
3 officer with UNPROFOR in the Central Bosnia Operative
4 Zone, and a number of such letters, requests, were
5 produced in that context, to investigate those crimes,
6 to try to move the bodies to our cemeteries. I sent a
7 number of such letters to BritBat, but unfortunately we
8 never received any positive responses, except on one
9 occasion Mr. Stavros Kynigopoulos, who I believe worked
10 in the Zenica office, attempted to reach Maljine, where
11 some 43 Croats had been executed. But the Mujahedin
12 forces in the area simply did not allow him to approach
13 and see what had happened there. And then on his
14 return, he told me that he could not get through and
15 see what had happened. And the British forces which
16 were in the area at the time also could do nothing
17 about that at the time.
18 Q. All right. Let me move on to your
19 experiences in April 1993, sir.
20 Is it correct that the ABiH attacked -- well,
21 actually I think you've already said this. You've
22 already said that the ABiH attacked the Croats, the
23 Croat inhabitants of Zenica, and the HVO on April the
24 17th, 1993. Is it also true that a large part of the
25 two Zenica-based brigades, the Jure Francetic Brigade
1 and the Zenicka Brigade, surrendered after a brief
2 period of fighting with the ABiH troops in that city?
3 A. Yes, what you said is true. However, before
4 17 April something else happened which was preparation
5 for the open Muslim attack against Croats, that is, the
6 HVO forces in Zenica. At the time, the commander of
7 the Jure Francetic Brigade was abducted, that is,
8 kidnapped, near his command post, and his escorts were
9 brutally murdered. Thousands of bullets were shot into
10 them by unknown perpetrators.
11 Q. Major, unless the Court wishes to hear about
12 this, we actually have Brigadier Totic as one of this
13 week's witnesses. So in the interest of time, we're
14 going to hear about that from someone who was actually
15 involved in the incident, Major, so let's just move on
16 a little bit.
17 Could you tell the Court, in your own words,
18 basically what happened to the remnants of the two
19 brigades and the civilians in the Zenica area after
20 this successful ABiH attack upon the city?
21 A. Look, after the attack of 17 April, about
22 3.000 HVO soldiers, and even Croat civilians, gathered
23 in Cajdras near Zenica and surrendered to the ABiH,
24 that is, the Muslim forces. That is, there were not
25 just local ABiH forces, there were many others there.
1 Some of them were released to their homes after they
2 had turned in their weapons, and a number of HVO
3 members were taken to the KP Dom or the correctional
4 centre and some to the music school detention
5 facilities. A large number were taken to the Zenica
6 correctional facility, and among them were both
7 civilians and soldiers.
8 Q. I believe your brother was amongst the people
9 captured by the ABiH forces. Could you just, in two or
10 three minutes, tell the Court what happened to him,
11 Major Gelic?
12 A. My brother was not imprisoned immediately
13 upon the fall of Zenica. He was taken in several days
14 later. He was interrogated, then released, and
15 forcibly remanded into -- and mobilised and forced to
16 fight against the Croats.
17 After he had spent a certain period of time
18 in some units in Zenica, he was transferred to
19 Kruscica, near Vitez, where he was forced to dig
20 trenches and dugouts where there were no Muslim forces,
21 to burn fires -- so that he would be exposed. And he
22 was forced to live like an animal. I tried to contact
23 him through the Red Cross, but at the time, this was
24 not viable.
25 Q. There's one piece of testimony that you gave
1 which was not transcribed particularly clearly, Major.
2 You said that when your brother went to Kruscica, he
3 would be exposed to something. Could you just
4 elaborate upon that in two or three words, please?
5 A. Listen. This is mistreatment that no normal
6 person should be exposed to. One can survive, but
7 under what circumstances is something else, because
8 such mistreatment, such humiliation which he was
9 subjected to, are not for an animal, let alone for a
10 human being.
11 Q. As far as you're aware, was he or any of his
12 fellow captives used as human shields by the Muslim
13 forces in the Kruscica area?
14 A. I don't know. I don't want to talk about
15 things that I am not certain about. But for him, I
16 know for certain.
17 Q. All right. Now, was he in the military? Was
18 he a soldier before he was captured and forced to do
19 all of these things?
20 A. No, he was not a soldier at all. First of
21 all, he is partially disabled. He was before he was
23 Q. All right. You also give an example of some
24 Croat civilians being murdered in your statement. Is
25 it correct that three men were burned to death in a
1 house in Bilivode, as far as you know?
2 A. Yes. I had such information myself.
3 Q. And turning to the last subject I'd like to
4 cover just before the break, with the Court's
5 permission, paragraph 29 of your outline.
6 As a military man, Major, could you give the
7 Court your assessment of the capability that the HVO in
8 Central Bosnia had to mount offensive operations in
9 April of 1993 and thereafter?
10 A. As far as HVO forces after April 1993, the
11 forces which were available in the Lasva Valley at the
12 time, they were not prepared nor were they in a
13 position to conduct any offensive operations, simply
14 because they did not have enough ammunition or weapons
15 for any major military operation, and one knows what
16 one needs. But as far as local operations are
17 concerned, there were some in order to consolidate the
18 situation in the Lasva River Valley. But as far as any
19 major offensive operation is concerned, none was
21 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, for planning
22 purposes, I would estimate I have another, as you can
23 see from the outline, perhaps 40 minutes of questions
24 for the Major. This might be an appropriate time for a
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, very well. We'll adjourn
2 now for half an hour.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
6 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. Major Gelic, we've reached paragraph 30 of
8 the summary, and I'd like to turn to the Convoy of Joy
9 incident, about which the Court has heard much
11 As far as the HVO understood it, could you
12 just let the Court know what route this convoy was
13 going to take in June of 1993, sir?
14 A. The Convoy of Joy, as they called it that or,
15 rather, the Tuzla convoy, according to the information
16 I received from the British Battalion, was to go from
17 Novi Travnik to Vilenica, to the town of Travnik, and
18 then on whether either through Guca Gora to Zenica or
19 by Travnik, the Lasva Valley, and then again on to
21 However, the information that we had in the
22 Central Bosnia Operative Zone, that is, until the very
23 day when the convoy arrived, that was the information.
24 And then we were informed that it had changed, the
25 itinerary, and that from Novi Travnik, it went directly
1 through Novi Travnik, Bucici, Ovnak, Nova Bila, and
2 then on via Vitez and on to Zenica.
3 Q. Was this routing a surprise to the HVO or
4 not, the routing that the convoy actually took as
5 opposed to the routing that you were informed it was
6 going to take?
7 A. Well, look, at the time, we were not only
8 caught by surprise when we heard of the new route,
9 because it was planned for it to go through the Muslim
10 territory, and in addition to that surprise, that is,
11 the new route, at that time we were in a major
12 predicament, because at that time a very fierce and
13 very forceful Muslim offensive was under way at the
14 same time.
15 Q. The Court has already heard significant
16 evidence about this offensive. It's correct, is it
17 not, that approximately 20.000 Bosnian Croat refugees
18 and displaced persons resulted from the Muslim
19 offensive, military offensive, in early June of 1993?
20 A. Yes, indeed. During that offensive, the town
21 of Travnik fell or, rather, the Croats from Travnik had
22 to leave the town. And the remaining Croats -- the
23 remaining Zenica Croats who were in the area of Ovnak,
24 which is a part of the Travnik municipality adjoining
25 the Zenica municipality, Guca Gora, Maljine,
1 Brajkovici, Cukle, all the Croats who lived in that
2 area were driven out by the Muslims, so that about
3 20.000 expelled civilians and soldiers were in the
4 Lasva Valley at the time.
5 Q. Is it also correct, sir, that immediately
6 before the convoy was stopped, eight small children in
7 the town of Vitez had been killed as a result of an
8 artillery shell landing in their playground, a shell
9 fired from ABiH positions?
10 A. Yes, that is true. Right before the convoy
11 arrived, children were playing basketball or something
12 else, on a swing, and then that Muslim shell hit that
13 spot and killed -- blew to pieces those children. All
14 those eight children died then.
15 Q. Now, Major, were you actually in the Vitez
16 area at the time of this convoy incident on June 10th
17 and 11th of 1993?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The position has been taken in this case that
20 the apprehension of this convoy was a carefully planned
21 move on the part of the HVO and that Mr. Kordic had
22 some role in the planning of that -- of the stoppage of
23 the convoy. From your perspective as a soldier and a
24 member of the headquarters of the HVO, could you give
25 us your best recollection of exactly what happened to
1 this convoy in the second week of June of 1993, Major?
2 A. Well, look, this thesis that is being placed
3 is not true. There was no plan for that convoy. I
4 already said so. To begin with, we did not really know
5 about the convoy much in advance. Perhaps two or three
6 days before it was due we learned about its existence.
7 And basically we never even gave the convoy a thought,
8 because there were much more important things to think
9 about. Front lines were falling, Croats were being
10 expelled, and one had to deal with all that. So we
11 never really gave much thought to the convoy, let alone
12 planned how to stop it, or think about stopping it.
13 And as to Mr. Kordic planning some stopping of this
14 convoy or anything else, this has nothing to do with
15 the convoy. Such claims are completely untrue.
16 Q. Before your recent involvement in this case
17 in the last couple of months or so, Major, have you
18 ever heard anyone make the contention that Mr. Kordic
19 was somehow involved in the planning of the stoppage of
20 this convoy in any way?
21 A. No. I never heard such a claim. As you
22 yourself said, I heard this a short time before you
23 called me to come here to testify, so it must be a
24 month or so ago. Otherwise there was no story of that
25 kind in our area.
1 Q. Who actually stopped the convoy, as far as
2 you could see, Major?
3 A. Well, look, basically I could not see who it
4 was who really stopped the convoy in the area of
5 Travnik. According to the information that I received,
6 and it was from the liaison officer of the British
7 Battalion that I received my information, the convoy
8 was intercepted somewhere in the area of Novi Travnik
9 by civilians, and as such it was broken into pieces,
10 that is, into several parts, and then it continued its
12 And when I started off with the liaison
13 officer of the British Battalion, I was also stopped
14 around Bila, Stara Bila. Stara Bila, that is what I am
15 referring to, where there were three bodies by the
16 lorry. And we also could not get through because of
17 the civilians who were there.
18 Q. What was your understanding of Mr. Kordic's
19 role in regard to this convoy incident, if any?
20 A. Well, look, I already said it. Mr. Kordic
21 had absolutely nothing to do with the convoy. However,
22 in view of the reputation he enjoyed, and the British
23 Battalion knew about that, and the European Monitoring
24 Mission, which in a manner of speaking supervised and
25 escorted their security, Captain Perry, as we called
1 him, in that area, I think his name was Clifford, he
2 transmitted the message from his commander, and from
3 the ECMM he requested that somebody with enough
4 authority, and that actually meant Colonel Blaskic,
5 should come to their base, or rather close to their
6 base, to a house, where they could meet, where they
7 could have a brief meeting, at which they would try to
8 once again organise their convoy and send it in the
9 direction in which it was supposed to go.
10 And then the BritBat liaison officer also
11 asked us to look for Mr. Kordic, to ask Mr. Kordic to
12 come to the meeting, because they thought that he was a
13 very prestigious person, that he enjoyed great
14 authority among the civilians in the area.
15 Q. You referred to a liaison officer and said
16 that you thought his name may have been Clifford. Let
17 me suggest to you, sir, or just mention to you a name
18 and see if this jogs your memory: Captain Lee
20 A. Yes. Yes. Yes. Whitworth.
21 Q. Is this the person who you refer to as
22 Captain Perry?
23 JUDGE MAY: I think it's better if the
24 witness gives the evidence rather than counsel.
25 MR. SAYERS: Yes, indeed, Mr. President.
1 Q. Who was Captain Perry, Major Gelic, as far as
2 you understood? Was that his real name or was that a
4 A. That's how he introduced himself to us. I
5 believe it was his nickname. And later on I did learn,
6 yes, his real name, and that was Lee Whitworth.
7 Q. All right. Let me just spring forward. You
8 could, Major, if asked questions about the Muslim
9 offensives against Krizancevo Selo just before
10 Christmas of 1993 and against Santici and Buhine Kuce
11 in January of 1994, if asked questions about those
12 offensives, you could answer them; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Turning to the next subject, paragraph 34 of
15 your summary, you've already described, sir, that you
16 fulfilled liaison officer functions from the middle of
17 May, or approximately the middle of May 1993, until the
18 end of the civil war in March of 1994 with the Central
19 Bosnia Operative Zone headquarters. Could you just let
20 the Court know the kinds of questions that you were
21 asked by representatives of the International Community
22 inquiring about the political structure of the HZ HB
23 and the HR HB?
24 A. Well, look, it looked a bit odd, all those
25 questions they asked, or the meetings, which were
1 practically a daily occurrence, either with the
2 military side or the ECMM. When I say "military," I
3 mean UNPROFOR forces which were there. The ECMM,
4 UNHCR, or the Red Cross, of all those organisations, I
5 really was baffled why most of these discussions bore
6 upon the political situation in Central Bosnia. Should
7 I say some 60 per cent of the questions related to the
8 political situation rather than the military
9 situation. That is, those were not the questions for
10 which -- which fell within my field of operation. They
11 had to do with something completely different.
12 Q. When the question of the political situation
13 or the political hierarchy arose, what did you inform
14 these representatives of the International Community
15 that they should do in order to find out the answers to
16 the questions they were asking you?
17 A. Well, you see, basically to all those
18 questions, because I really did not know the answers to
19 these questions, what was going on in the Croatian
20 Community of Herceg-Bosna and then the Croat Republic
21 of Herceg-Bosna, who held which political office, I
22 simply did not have adequate information. Perhaps I
23 did have some information, but very little, so that all
24 those political questions they were asking -- that were
25 asked by international representatives basically came
1 down to the fact that other politicians who lived there
2 and worked there, and could they go to them to seek
3 additional information. And also they had press
4 conferences which took place on Tuesdays, mostly, and
5 they could also ask those supplementary questions there
6 at those press conferences. And there were also local
7 politicians who also held their press conferences, and
8 simply those questions they were asking me about
9 politics should have been asked -- they should have
10 been addressed to those people.
11 Q. Just to summarise that position, would it be
12 fair to say that you were obviously a man with a
13 military background and you knew about military things,
14 but if questions arose regarding the political
15 situation, you directed the interrogators to the
16 politicians themselves or to their press conferences at
17 which those questions could be addressed and answered?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Now, is it also right, sir, looking at
20 paragraph 37 of your outline, that the military in the
21 Vitez/Busovaca area, the HVO military itself, held
22 regular press conferences separate and distinct from
23 the Tuesday press conferences that were held by the
24 political figures that you've just described?
25 A. You see, as liaison officer, my task was
1 similar. That is, Commander Colonel Tihomir Blaskic
2 issued such an order to us who were in the special
3 department which had to do with public relations, with
4 journalists, and the International Community, to
5 organise military press conferences which were held on
6 a weekly basis; not on a particular day of the week,
7 but we usually held them on Thursdays. And they were
8 taking place in the area of Bila or, rather, in the
9 immediate vicinity of the British Battalion, and all
10 the world TV companies and other media were there.
11 And the military therefore had their separate
12 military briefings, which did not have anything to do
13 with other briefings held in Travnik, or Busovaca, or
15 Q. All right. Is it fair to say that the person
16 who introduced or opened these military press
17 conferences was a man by the name of Marko Prskalo?
18 A. Yes, he started it.
19 Q. And then other persons such as Mr. Saric,
20 different from Jasmin Saric, obviously, and Ms. Topic
21 would cover other items during those press conferences;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Yes. Basically, I worked more with Mr. Saric
24 and Miss Topic. She was a "Miss" then. And I worked
25 more with them than Mr. Prskalo, because Mr. Prskalo
1 was there before I came to Vitez.
2 Q. All right. Turning to paragraph 38 of your
3 outline, two matters.
4 A contention has been made in this case that
5 Mr. Kordic once appeared on a television programme
6 shortly after the roadblock at Ahmici in October of
7 1992 and made certain threats to do things to Ahmici
8 and its residents. I believe the contention has been
9 made that he threatened to raze Ahmici to the ground.
10 Had you ever heard that story before in all of your
11 time in the HVO in the Central Bosnia area, sir?
12 A. No, I had never heard that before, before I
13 came here.
14 Q. There's another contention made by one
15 witness, I think, that shortly or the day before the
16 fighting broke out in Central Bosnia in April the 16th,
17 1993, Mr. Kordic supposedly appeared on a television
18 programme, for which we do not have a videotape,
19 stating that his soldiers were ready and just awaiting
20 orders of some sort. Have you ever heard that any such
21 TV appearance was made by Mr. Kordic, sir, at any time
22 during your tenure in the HVO?
23 A. I think it was on the 16th of April that
24 Mr. Kordic did appear on television or, rather, at that
25 press conference which they had organised on the
1 occasion of the abduction of the commander of the Jure
2 Francetic Brigade, Zivko Totic, and I watched it. I
3 believe it took place in the morning, but the system
4 was such that in Zenica, we could watch it only in the
5 afternoon. But it had to do with the abduction of
6 Mr. Zivko Totic, and nothing else was mentioned then.
7 Q. This television programme that you saw, sir,
8 was that aired on the same day that Commander Totic was
9 abducted and his guards killed, or the day after, or
10 can't you remember?
11 A. I think it was the day after.
12 Q. Now, one other matter I would like to cover
13 with you is an allegation that's been made in this case
14 to the effect that the HVO, within its military
15 organisation, had the functional equivalent of
16 political commissars or political officers, also known
17 as zampolits, of the type associated with the armed
18 forces of the former Soviet Union. Is that correct,
19 sir, is it true? Is there any substance to that theory
20 or not?
21 A. Well, look, such allegations are basically
22 untrue. I know that there's been talk about such
23 things, but the HVO never had any political officers
24 who would be responsible for that in the HVO, and the
25 law on the armed forces forbids officers to engage in
1 politics or deal with political matters.
2 Q. Did Mr. Kordic ever serve as a political
3 commissar of the HVO in any fashion, as far as you're
4 aware, sir?
5 A. No.
6 Q. All right. Turning very briefly to three
7 items that conclude your testimony, Major, I'd like to
8 address your memory, if I can, to July the 5th of 1993,
9 when a lady by the name of Dobrila Kolaba, an UNPROFOR
10 interpreter, was shot dead at the BritBat compound in
12 Did the HVO perform any investigation into
13 the killing of Ms. Kolaba on that day, and if so, could
14 you just tell the Court, in your own words, the
15 circumstances under which such an investigation
16 occurred and what your involvement was, if any, in it?
17 A. Yes. Quite true, as you said, Dobrila Kolaba
18 was killed on the 5th of July, 1993, and at the request
19 of the UNPROFOR British Battalion, which was then
20 quartering at the compound at Divjak, they requested
21 that an investigation be conducted.
22 I must say that the HVO highly appreciated
23 Ms. Dobrila as an interpreter there. We had a very
24 high opinion of her as a correct interpreter, and we
25 were very sorry when that happened.
1 Colonel Blaskic then also made a point of
2 requesting an investigation about the incident. And
3 since I was a liaison officer at the time, I played the
4 role of a -- a coordinating role between the HVO
5 investigating team and the British army which was
6 there; that is, I was a kind of coordinator or liaison
7 officer as a go-between in this investigation.
8 Unfortunately, we never managed to bring that
9 investigation to an end. That is, we could not arrive
10 at the exact evidence on that thing. There were
11 several possibilities, but the most important thing is
12 that we could not see Ms. Dobrila's body because the
13 British officers had already -- that place -- or her
14 body, they had already taken away her body from the
15 place where she had been killed.
16 Q. Were you able to reach any conclusions about
17 whether Ms. Kolaba was killed by an
18 individually-targeted shot, or by a burst of gunfire,
19 or not?
20 A. Well, look, from what one could see on the
21 house, that is, bullet marks, one could hardly say that
22 she was killed by a bullet, by one bullet. There could
23 have been several short bursts of fire or perhaps one
24 longer burst of fire, and then one of them hit
25 Ms. Dobrila. That is, according to what we could see
1 on the facade on the front side of the house.
2 Q. All right. Let me turn to the next subject,
3 sir, which was the shooting of the UNHCR driver in
4 Stari Vitez on August the 14th, 1993.
5 Does the name Boris Zevracic mean anything to
7 A. "Boris", yes. "Zevracic", I am not so sure
8 about it.
9 Q. Did you know the unfortunate person who was
10 shot on in armoured vehicle that day, sir?
11 A. Yes, I knew that person even from before the
12 war, because he lived in Zenica, in the same
13 neighbourhood with me.
14 Q. Could you tell us whether the HVO performed
15 any investigation into the circumstances of this
16 gentleman's death, and if so, what your role in it was,
17 if any?
18 A. Look, again the investigation of that murder
19 was conducted, but because of the site at which it
20 happened, we simply had no access to the scene. And
21 the truck in which they worked had immediately been
22 taken to the British Battalion compound, and the
23 investigation could not be performed in a proper
25 Moreover, the evidence which existed, one of
1 the key exhibits would be the bullet which hit the
2 driver, I know that Captain Perry then told me and
3 showed me the bullet, and there were the words "Steel
4 Works Zenica", "Zeljezara Zenica", on it. And then I
5 said that we simply could not have such a bullet, nor
6 could we make a bullet with that particular mark, and I
7 asked them to give that bullet to our investigating
8 team. But from what I can remember, there was never
9 again even a discussion about that murder or about that
10 incident, so that the investigation could not be
11 brought to an end.
12 Q. All right. The last subject I would like to
13 address with you, Major, is the subject of the use of
14 helicopters by certain persons.
15 To your knowledge, did Colonel Blaskic ever
16 use a helicopter at any time in 1993?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How many times?
19 A. I remember one occasion towards the end of
20 1993. He was in a helicopter to go to Herzegovina.
21 Whether he also used it before that, I can't say that,
22 because I simply don't know.
23 Q. All right. Other than UNPROFOR helicopters,
24 sir, did you ever hear of political figures like
25 Mr. Kordic or others ever using military helicopters
1 belonging to the HVO or at their disposal?
2 A. No, I don't know of any such instance.
3 Q. Were you aware of an occasion when shortly
4 before -- actually, immediately before the foundation
5 of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna in August of
6 1993, about 28 political figures from a number of
7 municipalities in Central Bosnia were taken to Kiseljak
8 and then flown in UNPROFOR helicopters from Kiseljak to
9 Medjugorje, where the convention to consider the
10 establishment of the HR HB was being held?
11 A. Yes, I am aware of that. It is, yes, true,
12 twenty-eight persons from Central Bosnia. They were
13 all politicians, and I believe Mr. Dario Kordic was one
14 of them. Yes, that was August 1993. UNPROFOR vehicles
15 took them from Vitez to Kiseljak, and then I think they
16 proceeded by helicopter. I believe it was an UNPROFOR
17 helicopter. They were taken further on to their
18 destination. I don't really know which one it was.
19 Q. Was that the only time that you ever heard,
20 in your entire time with the HVO, of Mr. Kordic
21 actually using an UNPROFOR helicopter, or not using but
22 being transported in an UNPROFOR helicopter?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. SAYERS: Major, thank you very much.
25 That concludes my examination. If you'll wait, you may
1 be asked some questions by Mr. Cerkez' counsel and then
2 by the Prosecution.
3 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Gelic.
6 We met. My name is Bozidar Kovacic, with
7 Mr. Mikulicic. We represent Mr. Cerkez in these
8 proceedings. I have only a very few questions for you
9 just in the way of clarification of certain things that
10 you stated.
11 The first topic that I want to address is the
12 Convoy of Joy that you have spoken about. This is June
13 of 1993. Would you agree that the convoy was stopped
14 by people for the first time in the territory of Novi
15 Travnik and on several occasions before it even reached
16 the territory of Vitez?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Regarding the incidents relating to the
19 convoy, also to place when the convoy reached Nova
20 Bila, that is, Bila, when it entered Travnik, there
21 were further incidents and civilians were stopping the
22 convoy; is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In addition, in the territory of Vitez
25 municipality, due to all these activities, and you
1 mentioned some of those, an attempt was made to
2 consolidate the convoy and allow it further passage; is
3 that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Mr. Gelic, is it correct that one of the
6 spots where this gathering of convoy was attempted was
7 near Mosunj?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And the second was near the Vitezit factory,
10 that is, the SPS factory?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. And throughout that day, together with Lee
13 Whitworth, whom you mentioned, you were engaged in
14 these activities?
15 A. Not only one day; this took two or three
17 Q. You said that you were called from Vitez when
18 they said that somebody from the Operative Zone, as
19 Blaskic's representatives, should be there to try to
20 resolve the problems with the convoy; is that correct?
21 A. Yes. As I said, Officer Perry came with his
22 Warrior, and we went there.
23 Q. When did he pick you up?
24 A. Between the Hotel Vitez and the post office.
25 Q. Immediately before this meeting with
1 Whitworth, were you in the post office building?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In the post office building, did you see
4 Mario Cerkez was present there, who is present here?
5 A. Yes, I saw both him and his two escorts who
6 were with him.
7 Q. And immediately after you set out with
8 Whitworth near the Impregnacija company, which is on
9 the main road near Bila, there was again a place -- a
10 location where the civilians had blocked the convoy?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How much later was that after you had seen
14 A. About an hour and a half later.
15 Q. At the Impregnacija location, did you see
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did Lee Whitworth say that he saw him?
19 A. No.
20 Q. In this melee, did you see any HVO officers?
21 A. I only saw one HVO officer, who was in front
22 of the civilians, and by the time we went back, that
23 is, those 100, 200 meters, by the time we approached,
24 he had left the scene.
25 Q. Was this person trying to make some order
1 among these civilians?
2 A. I don't know what he was doing there. I
3 don't know if he was just passing there, but he had
4 nothing to do with the civilians who were gathered
6 Q. Very well. Thank you. In that regard, we
7 heard evidence here, and it was said that in this
8 context efforts to resolve the situation. But let me
9 ask you the question in another way. Did you know a
10 person by the name of Anto Breljas?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was this person a member of the Vitezovi
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did he perform an IPD officer function at any
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And this Breljas, did you meet him at any
19 time while you were visiting and touring and trying to
20 resolve the situation about the conflict?
21 A. No. I don't recall.
22 Q. But do you know that Breljas at any time
23 would have figured as an interpreter to UNPROFOR or to
25 A. No. That would not have been possible,
1 because all British officers had with them their own
3 Q. Very well. Let's move on to another topic.
4 You talked about 1992 and how the HVO was
5 established and the problems concerning that
6 organisation. You said that the HVO was organised on
7 the territorial principle. Does that mean that the HVO
8 was always linked to the municipality from where it
9 drew its manpower?
10 A. Yes. The territorial principle was the basis
11 of organisation, and it was always in a municipality
12 where it was established.
13 Q. Would you agree with me that it was the
14 civilian authorities who -- the HVO civilian
15 authorities which were organising these units?
16 A. Can you please repeat the question?
17 Q. Would you agree with me that it was the
18 civilian branch of the HVO which was the organiser of
19 this defence, that is, of this organisation, of this
20 military organisation?
21 A. Look, that was the usual way, from the
22 civilian arm of the HVO, the HVO government, and
23 according to the principles and agreements, these
24 military structures were set up.
25 Q. Is it true that in the municipalities, at
1 least in the majority of municipalities where the HVO
2 was present in Central Bosnia, there were bodies which
3 were known as the HVO staffs, and they were in charge
4 of the defence?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And these were the key administrative bodies
7 that engaged in the defence matters?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You told us that from July 1992, the brigades
10 were starting to be established, and you gave us the
11 example of the Zenica case. But is it true that in a
12 number of Central Bosnia municipalities, brigades were
13 not established until later that year, late fall and
15 A. All brigades were officially established in
16 December 1992. But this is a process. This cannot be
17 said to be -- to have been possible to establish in a
18 day. So it took months before all these brigades were
19 formed and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone was in
21 Q. Mr. Gelic, can you tell us, given that you
22 were in Travnik at the time, but do you know that in
23 Novi Travnik, from December 1992, the Stjepan Tomasevic
24 Brigade existed?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you know that that was a intermunicipal
2 brigade; that is, Novi Travnik and Vitez municipalities
3 both contributed to it?
4 A. I'm not very familiar with it, but I know
5 that it had members from both municipalities.
6 Q. Do you know that later in 1993, that is, in
7 the middle of 1993, the Vitez Brigade was established
8 in Vitez?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. As you knew the situation and the
11 circumstances, could you give us even the roughest of
12 estimates? Under normal circumstances, how much time
13 would it take for a brigade to be established?
14 A. In my previous answer, I said that it takes
15 months. It's not a month or two. In order to have a
16 quality organisation, you need five to six months.
17 Q. Can I understand from what you just said that
18 when an order was formally issued to establish the
19 Vitez Brigade in the middle of March, that it could not
20 have been established as a reasonable organisation for
21 about five to six months?
22 A. Yes, that would have been a reasonable amount
23 of time.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Gelic, in the period between
25 December 1992 up to April 1993, do you know whether --
1 there were no major conflicts between the two sides,
2 the ABiH or Territorial Defence in the HVO; that is, in
3 the territory of Novi Travnik?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can we agree that, in fact, after the October
6 conflict in Travnik, the territory of Novi Travnik,
7 until April 1993, the status quo remained?
8 A. Yes. There was the status quo.
9 Q. Would you agree that the status quo was a
10 consequence of an agreement of the two sides, on the
11 one hand and on the other hand, of a factual division
12 of town?
13 A. I think that it was a factual division of
14 town by the two sides.
15 Q. Is it true that in spite of this, the two
16 sides still held a joint defence line against the
18 A. Yes, a defence line was held against the
19 Serbs, but each side had its own sector.
20 Q. You mean its own sector of responsibility?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Just one follow-up question. You said that
23 in early 1993, or maybe even late 1992, the 305th ABiH
24 came to Biljesevo. Do you know whether this brigade
25 came to this area after the fall of Jajce?
1 A. Yes. That was a brigade from Jajce.
2 Q. Now, this 305th Brigade which arrived in the
3 Vitez pocket was not the only unit which arrived there
4 after the fall of Jajce?
5 A. Yes. That is not the only unit which arrived
7 Q. Could you tell, in military sense, that after
8 the fall of Jajce, the balance of forces was further
9 disrupted against the HVO because of the influx of all
10 the units that came after the fall of Jajce?
11 A. Even before the fall of Jajce a large number
12 of refugees came from Western Bosnia. They had been
13 driven out by the Serbs. And the ABiH organised these
14 people. They organised them into new brigades. And
15 especially after the fall of Jajce into Serbian hands,
16 this ratio was even more skewed.
17 Q. I understand. In this process of migration,
18 did the 17th Krajina Brigade also arrive there?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Into the Vitez pocket?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the 17th Krajina Brigade had a reputation
23 of being an aggressive and fairly radical unit?
24 A. Yes, that is correct. As I previously stated
25 when I talked -- when I referred to my brother, the
1 17th Krajina Brigade kept a part of their forces in the
2 Kruscica area.
3 Q. And is it true that those parts of the 17th
4 Krajina Brigade in Kruscica, in many of its activities
5 and through their behaviour, spread significant fear
6 among the civilians in the area and also among the HVO?
7 A. They had two brigades: the 7th Muslim
8 Brigade and the 17th Krajina Brigade, who, among the
9 civilians, if such civilians remained under the control
10 of the ABiH, lived in fear of them, lived in fear of
11 their passing through or being in the area.
12 Q. Do you know that the local commander of the
13 17th Krajina Brigade was Fikret Cuskic?
14 A. As far as I know, for a time, yes, he was.
15 Q. Was he known as somebody who engaged in
16 propaganda and misinformation?
17 A. Yes, all kinds of things.
18 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
19 Q. Mr. Gelic, I think you came here a couple of
20 weeks ago last Friday and you were expecting to give
21 evidence then, weren't you?
22 A. That was the plan.
23 Q. Had your summary been prepared by then?
24 A. In a way, I had given a statement then, but I
25 have worked on a summary on several occasions,
1 including several days ago.
2 Q. We'll come to the work you may have had to do
3 on it in a minute, but it's right that you've also
4 discussed the evidence you were going to answer to
5 Mr. Cerkez's counsel with his counsel; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. He asked me several questions regarding
7 the case.
8 MR. NICE: I wonder if the usher could very
9 kindly move the ELMO so that I can see the witness and
10 he can see me if he wishes to. Thank you.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could we also have the
12 microphone closer to the Prosecutor turned on for the
14 MR. NICE: Oh, I see. The other microphone
15 on the witness's side, please. Can you turn it on.
16 Q. One or two things aren't clear from your
17 evidence, but I hope to make them clear. Where were
18 you on the 16th of April of 1993?
19 A. In Zenica.
20 Q. So that you've been in Zenica from 1992
21 through to 1993?
22 A. I was in Zenica even before that.
23 Q. Yes, of course. And in Zenica you were
24 mostly involved in intelligence work?
25 A. Well, I was a member of the HVO units.
1 Q. Tell us, please, what that involved your
2 doing. Did you have an office?
3 A. It is a regular thing for every -- for the
4 establishment of any unit to have an intelligence
5 service which is scrutinising the enemy.
6 Q. Did you have an office?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And in your office you had a telephone, and
9 what other communication systems did you have, please?
10 A. I had a fax machine and I also had a
11 computer, not in my office but in the office next door.
12 Q. The fax machine would communicate with
13 anywhere that the telephone system could reach in
14 Bosnia or elsewhere?
15 A. Wherever we had links, this is where we were
16 able to send communications. But this fax machine was
17 not used that much, for both technical and security
19 Q. You also had mobile telephones?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did others have mobile telephones? If not in
22 Zenica, by the time you got to Vitez, did they have
23 mobile telephones there?
24 A. I saw the first mobile telephone in the Lasva
25 Valley sometime around 1995.
1 Q. And by "mobile telephone", I'm not
2 necessarily meaning a modern form of telephone, but
3 some form of hands-free radio telephone that enabled
4 people to communicate over distance. Did you see any
5 of those?
6 A. You mean like Motorolas?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Yes, we had that.
9 Q. So my mistake, of course, in calling it a
10 mobile telephone. But you had Motorolas right from the
11 very beginning?
12 A. Not all of us had it. The signals unit used
13 it most, not other officers; only if they went out into
14 the field someplace. Because the range is very small.
15 The good range is only three kilometers. And the
16 configuration of terrain in Bosnia is such that it does
17 not allow such communications because of the radio
18 waves. They get interrupted.
19 Q. In your office in Zenica, with whom outside
20 Zenica did you regularly communicate?
21 A. I had -- in my chain of command I had a
22 superior, that is, an official superior, the person who
23 was in charge of intelligence work --
24 Q. Who was that?
25 A. -- and so one was reporting to the superior,
1 which was at the Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
2 Q. The person at Zenica to whom you reported,
3 what was his name?
4 A. Zivko Totic.
5 Q. And in the Central Bosnia Operational Zone,
6 who was that?
7 A. In the Operative Zone it was Colonel Ivica
9 Q. How regularly did you communicate to him?
10 A. It depended on needs. Twice a day, three
11 times a day. But in principle, a report was sent one
12 in the morning and another one in the evening.
13 Q. So these were written or typed reports?
14 A. It depended. Sometimes they were written,
15 sometimes they were oral. Sometimes there was no need
16 for me to write anything down.
17 Q. And your reports to Zivko Totic would
18 sometimes be oral, sometimes be written?
19 A. Look, we did have regular morning briefings
20 with the commander of the brigade, and that happened
21 when Zivko Totic was there too. And it would detail
22 the situation as it was. And it included written
24 Q. Thank you. This pattern of communication,
25 and in particular the pattern of communication to the
1 Central Bosnia Operational Zone continued right up and
2 until the time you moved from Zenica to Vitez; correct?
3 A. Look, this type of communication was not
4 always -- how shall I put it? -- fully functional.
5 Sometimes there were a lot of holes in this whole chain
6 which had to be plugged, and obviously I did continue
7 to do so when I transferred to Vitez.
8 Q. You can't at the moment, can you, identify
9 any particular periods of time when there was a gap in
10 communication, for reasons of mechanical breakdown?
11 A. Mechanical breakdowns? I cannot recall such
12 instances, but after the fall of the HVO in Zenica,
13 there was a gap of about 15 days. I had to hide in
14 Zenica in order not to be captured by either Mujahedins
15 or the ABiH. I had to hide very well in order to avoid
16 being captured, and at that time obviously the
17 communication was interrupted.
18 Q. And what days do you say that was, just to
19 help us, please?
20 A. This was from 17 April and the following
21 about 15 days, until I crossed over.
22 Q. Once you were in Vitez and working there --
23 well, let me start again. You got to Vitez. Did you
24 start working there immediately?
25 A. Yes. I immediately became an associate for
1 intelligence in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
2 Naturally, one had to recover mentally to simply pull
3 himself back together in order to continue his work.
4 Q. Once in Vitez and in post, the process of
5 recording and reporting continued, but now you'd be
6 reporting directly in Vitez and communicating with
7 other stations elsewhere. Would that be correct?
8 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
9 Q. Yes. Once you were in Vitez, the process of
10 reporting regularly to your superiors there continued?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. There would also have been communication with
13 other places, other posts outside Vitez?
14 A. I could communicate only within Vitez,
15 because everything that we sent went through one packet
16 system. There was no other possibility of
17 communication. Everything went to one centre, to one
18 hub. So my reports went at that time towards Mostar.
19 Q. Very well. That's by the packet system for
20 distribution from Mostar; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. But the ultimate destinations of the
23 reporting that you were doing beyond Mostar were
24 where? Which places were you hoping to communicate to
25 if the Mostar system worked? Where else?
1 A. Mostar itself, the Main Staff.
2 Q. You never sent any communications to any
3 other area, to your knowledge?
4 A. You mean in the command of the HVO?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Only in HVO, through the HVO, could the
7 reports go to Mostar.
8 Q. Did you keep a diary?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Where is your diary?
11 THE INTERPRETER: We did not get the answer.
12 A. I know that I had it at home for a while,
13 sometime until '94, and then I think my son used it to
14 learn -- to practice writing in the same notebook. And
15 after that, I really don't know. I can't remember
16 where exactly I left it.
17 Q. In preparing your summary for this Court,
18 have you referred to any documents in order to give the
19 summary that's been provided?
20 A. I did not use any documents, simply things
21 that stuck in my memory, and it was on the basis of
22 that that I prepared this document.
23 Q. We will come back to what you said about
24 working on your summary. Within the last two weeks,
25 there have been no documents to which you've been able
1 to refer, so over the last two weeks, if you can help
2 us, what bits of memory have come back or what bits of
3 detail have you been able to deal with over the last
4 two weeks that you weren't able to deal with by a
5 fortnight ago?
6 A. As for this summary, as such, the only
7 document I saw was the one that the lawyers gave me.
8 But it was in English, so I just didn't really
9 understand it. I couldn't understand it properly, and
10 it concerned an ECMM report. And what I wrote here, I
11 amended it several times; that is, I expanded it here
12 and there. Simply, when one begins to put something on
13 paper, their memories begin to come back.
14 Q. But the document that you prepared a
15 fortnight ago didn't need correcting, even if it needed
16 amplifying; is that correct?
17 A. No, no, that is not correct. There were
18 quite a number of things that I added or to quote,
19 simply because I remembered certain things.
20 Q. Who, in the area, did exercise political
21 control, Major?
22 A. In what area?
23 Q. Zenica first.
24 A. In Zenica and -- there were two different
25 political areas. The Muslims had their own, and the
1 Croats had their own too.
2 Q. So far as conduct of military matters is
3 concerned, were the military men making the decisions
4 themselves or were they responding to political
5 leadership? Please tell us.
6 A. There is a chain of command in the army, and
7 decisions are taken on that basis; nothing to do with
9 Q. So when you were in Zenica, were you aware,
10 one way or another, of any political influence over any
11 decisions that were being made by the military?
12 A. Listen, as far as that is concerned, I wasn't
13 really particularly interested to know what politicians
14 did, because that was their daily work, and our daily
15 work was quite different.
16 Q. I'll ask the question again, in case you can
17 help us.
18 When in Zenica, were you aware of any
19 political influence over the decisions made by the
21 A. No.
22 Q. When you were in Vitez, were you aware of any
23 political influence over decisions made by the
25 A. No.
1 Q. Is it your evidence that the military men
2 made all the decisions about the conduct of this war
3 themselves and there was no political input, or is it
4 your position that you simply don't know one way or
5 another because you weren't sufficiently senior in rank
6 to know?
7 A. Listen, the system of command, as I have
8 already explained, is the fundamental manner of
9 functioning of the army, and that is how decisions are
10 taken. Whether there is some link with politics, I
11 really couldn't say.
12 Q. Just to complete this: For example, in
13 Vitez, did you have a lot of contact with Blaskic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. On a daily basis?
16 A. More or less, during morning briefings.
17 Q. And did he never identify any politician
18 taking any part in the decisions that were being made?
19 A. I believe I already answered it already
20 twice, or even thrice, and I always said, "No." So I
21 shall repeat it again: No.
22 Q. So from your position, your perspective, it
23 looked as though the war was simply being run by the
24 military completely, start to finish?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What part were the politicians playing at
2 all, please?
3 A. Well, ask them. I wasn't into politics.
4 Q. You were there, Major. What part did you see
5 the politicians taking in the conduct of affairs in
6 1992, 1993, when there was a war on?
7 A. Well, listen. Once again, I'm telling you I
8 am a soldier, and these political questions you should
9 ask of politicians, because that is what they deal
11 Q. The man Whitworth, you got on quite well with
12 him, didn't you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. No reason to doubt his honesty or reliability
15 at the time?
16 A. You say that, not me.
17 Q. I'm asking you. You were there. Any reason
18 to doubt his honesty or reliability at the time,
20 A. Well, it depends. I will keep my conclusions
21 to myself. I'd really rather not speak about it.
22 Q. This is your chance to give me your opinions
23 now, please, because if there's something that shows
24 he's unreliable, I'd like to know.
25 A. Listen, as for the performance of his tasks,
1 he also did as much as he could, considering the
2 situation. Whether all he did was done correctly, I
3 don't know, and it is his superior officer who can
4 judge that.
5 Also, how we saw what they were doing, I can
6 make my judgements. I worked with him, and I know that
7 some of his tasks he indeed performed correctly, and
8 yet there were some questionable moments. Let me put
9 it that way, "moments."
10 Q. I want you to feel free to tell us what the
11 questionable moments are when they come to your
12 memory. And this is the later part of your testimony
13 rather than the earlier part, but if he says that you
14 were a great facilitator in moving around the territory
15 when you were the liaison officer in Vitez, would you
16 accept that, that you were very useful, you were very
17 helpful, in getting by checkpoints?
18 A. Well, listen. As for that, not only me, not
19 only I, but the majority of officers and commanders in
20 the Central Bosnia Operative Zone did their best to
21 maintain the best possible cooperation with all
22 international organisations, UNPROFOR included.
23 Q. So you were able to get people by many
25 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
1 Q. You were able to get people, like Whitworth
2 and other members of the International Community, you
3 were able to get them where they wanted to go and to
4 get by checkpoints on many occasions?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. But there were some occasions when even you
7 couldn't do that; would you accept that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On those occasions, the people at the
10 checkpoints would want some other authority before they
11 would allow even someone like Mr. Whitworth to pass?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On those occasions, do you accept that
14 sometimes it would be a local brigade commander whose
15 authority would be requested and sometimes it would be
16 a name like Mr. Kordic that would be referred to?
17 A. No. In all those cases that I was involved
18 with, the responsible person could be the commander in
19 the area, or at worst, one would have to seek
20 authorisation from Colonel Blaskic.
21 Q. You're saying there was never any occasion
22 when you heard Kordic's name referred to as the person
23 whose authority was required?
24 A. I shall repeat: I sought authority from
25 Colonel Blaskic.
1 Q. That's not an answer to the question. Were
2 there any occasions at checkpoints where people were
3 not inclined to let you through on your own authority
4 but mentioned Kordic as the person whose authority they
5 would accept?
6 A. No, it did not happen in my case.
7 Q. Were you [indiscernible] first in Zenica and
8 then in Vitez, or if you were not at the hub, at a sort
9 of hub of the passage of intelligence, weren't you?
10 You were receiving intelligence from others and you
11 were properly communicating intelligence to others?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And when you were in Zenica, were you hearing
14 about -- for the proper interests of your side, were
15 you hearing about things that were happening elsewhere,
16 in Busovaca and in Vitez and so on?
17 A. I had my area of responsibility as far as
18 intelligence was concerned, and it covered Kakanj,
19 Zenica, up to Travnik, excluding Busovaca, Vitez, Novi
20 Travnik, because they had their brigades and it was
21 their area of responsibility. And as for the exchange
22 of information, we did it once a fortnight or once a
23 week when we would hold our joint meetings.
24 Q. So you did -- where did you hold the joint
25 meetings, by the way?
1 A. Vitez.
2 Q. And at none of those occasions, by meetings
3 or other communication, did you ever hear of Kordic's
4 name being required to free a checkpoint for passage?
5 A. Listen, you are taking me back, with your
6 questions, to go back to the checkpoints, and I'm now
7 talking about meetings. That was prior to 1992 until
8 April 1993.
9 JUDGE MAY: Major Gelic, don't worry about
10 the questions and where counsel is going. Just answer
11 "Yes" or "No," and we'll get on more quickly and we'll
12 finish your evidence.
13 A. Very well.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Starting now in 1992, the original allocation
16 of arms in Zenica, was that an allocation of arms
17 basically to the Territorial Defence, as it then was?
18 A. The first distribution of weapons in Zenica
19 was to be done by the Territorial Defence and the
20 reserve police force.
21 Q. And it was to those established and lawful
22 bodies that the weapons initially went?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You speak of the Zenica HVO being set up for
25 particular reasons, and I want to be quite sure I
1 understand this. What authority did the local Zenica
2 HVO have for coming into existence?
3 A. The legal authority, I couldn't answer this
4 because the answer will be too long. But I already
5 said that I was the commander of the Territorial
6 Defence at Broda, and since that group -- that is a
7 legal unit. It could not get the weapons from that
8 same Territorial Defence which had the supreme command
9 of that Territorial Defence in Zenica. And on the
10 basis of what people were asking, that we separate from
11 all of this, that was when we started setting up Croat
13 Q. And Broda is a Croat area, isn't it?
14 A. No, not purely Croat. It is a mixed area.
15 That is, there were also -- there were all Muslims,
16 Croats, and Serbs lived in the area.
17 Q. Now, I come back. What authority was there
18 for the establishment of something called the HVO?
19 A. To begin with, the HVO had its political
20 authority, political -- you know, the political part
21 which existed there. But in truth, what happened in my
22 case, because I'm talking about my case, people simply
23 refused to be part of the Territorial Defence any
24 longer because that Territorial Defence did not give
25 them any possibility to defend themselves. And that
1 was when we set up Croat defence forces, and then we
2 joined other units which were formed in the territory
3 of Zenica at the same time.
4 Q. Of course, all of this will be recorded in
5 writing somewhere, won't it, because the archives of
6 the local HVO should still exist somewhere?
7 A. Listen. When the HVO fell in Zenica, I do
8 not think that even a trace of all these papers
9 remains. Perhaps somewhere else; I don't know.
10 Q. Is that a guess or are you telling us, from
11 some evidence, that you believe that the documents were
13 A. Well, listen. I cannot prove that, but what
14 I can do is say that I have not seen those documents
15 since the fall of Zenica.
16 Q. Have you even looked for them?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You're aware that before the HVO in Zenica
19 was established, political moves had been made by
20 Herceg-Bosna to set up the HVO as the supreme defence
21 body; is that correct?
22 A. I think not.
23 Q. Well, then I come again. What authority was
24 there? You say it's too long an answer. You obviously
25 know the position. What body enabled you to set up
1 this new military force in Zenica, please?
2 A. We. There was no legal body. It was the
3 wish of the people.
4 Q. And purely by chance, it was called the HVO?
5 A. Listen. It was later on systematised,
6 brought together, organised in a body which was called
7 the HVO. But that organisation of Croats in the
8 beginning was, as I told you, people wanted it; that
9 is, we wanted it. And then subsequently, logically,
10 legal regulations were passed, a law was passed, to
11 make it officially the HVO.
12 The HVO did not exist as of the moment when I
13 said the word "HVO", but I believe that it was on the
14 8th of April, 1992, that the Croat Defence Council was
15 set up officially. And before that, we had already
16 formed those units.
17 Q. And so you were aware, certainly by the 8th
18 of April of 1992, that you were part of a military
19 force that was substantially monoethnic. It simply
20 reflected Croat support; correct?
21 A. Well, listen. The HVO was not a monoethnic
22 force, at least insofar as Zenica is concerned. I
23 cannot talk about other places, but that was not the
24 case in Zenica.
25 Q. To what extent do you say there was ethnic
1 representation of non-Croats in Zenica? What
2 percentage, please?
3 A. Well, I wouldn't know. I can tell you about
4 my brigade, the brigade that I was in. We had Serbs in
5 that unit, and there were also several Muslims who
6 joined the Croat Defence Council and who were quite
7 normal soldiers in that unit.
8 Q. Well, first of all, you said a law was passed
9 for the HVO. Who passed the law?
10 A. I do not know who passed that law.
11 Q. And you say in your summary, as I followed
12 it, that it was because of the difficulty with the
13 Muslims, really, and the allocation of weapons that you
14 had to set up the HVO. Is that what you're saying?
15 A. Could you help me, please? Tell me, which
16 paragraph are you referring to?
17 Q. Can you not remember, Major Gelic? Do you
18 need to look at the summary to tell us what happened?
19 A. Well, listen. You are asking me about things
20 which -- you are talking about the HVO, and this
21 paragraph speaks of the Territorial Defence.
22 I was the commander of the Territorial
23 Defence in a locality called Broda, near Zenica, and in
24 that same unit of Territorial Defence, the Croats and
25 the Muslims were together. And we could not get the
1 weapons from that same Territorial Defence, that is,
2 the higher-level Territorial Defence, because -- and
3 because of that, people at Broda decided not to
4 participate in the Territorial again because the Muslim
5 side would not allow us to have any weapons.
6 Q. Sorry, the Muslim side decided not to let you
7 have any weapons? Are you telling us, just so we've
8 got the picture, that you nevertheless had Muslims in
9 your group, which became the HVO, or not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. But you can't tell us how many?
12 A. No, I can't give you the exact number. Well,
13 it wasn't a very high percentage.
14 Q. And just maybe this is a convenient place to
15 break, but can you help us by telling us where, if
16 other than in Zenica, there would be any documents
17 going to reflect the creation of the HVO in Zenica in
18 the way you've described? Can you tell us where we can
19 find any documents about that?
20 A. I couldn't tell you that. I don't know where
21 they are.
22 MR. NICE: Very well. I'm not going to take
23 matters any further, it having not been the subject of
24 earlier notice and there being no documents that I
25 could find.
1 I don't know if that would be a convenient
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice, it would be. How
4 long do you anticipate you'll be?
5 MR. NICE: An hour, but I'll do it as quickly
6 as I can.
7 JUDGE MAY: Well, if you would, so we can get
8 through these witnesses this week.
9 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, could I inquire
10 whether the Prosecution intends to be through by this
11 afternoon, because we do have another witness lined
12 up. And if obviously Major Gelic is going to take the
13 whole afternoon, we would like to release the witness.
14 MR. NICE: I hope so, but I can't be sure.
15 JUDGE MAY: Have the witness here just in
17 MR. SAYERS: Yes, sir.
18 JUDGE MAY: Major Gelic, we're going to
19 adjourn now until half past 2.00. During that
20 adjournment, please don't speak to anybody about your
21 evidence, and of course don't let anybody speak to you
22 about it. That does include the members of the Defence
24 Half past 2.00.
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. Just before we leave May 1992, Major Gelic,
5 would you help us, please, with this. Filip Filipovic,
6 did you have much to do with him?
7 A. In that period, no.
8 Q. What was his job then?
9 A. I don't know during that period.
10 Q. Were you aware of him losing the position of
11 commanding officer generally and being substituted by
12 someone else?
13 A. As I said, in respect of Mr. Filipovic, I
14 don't know as regards that period.
15 Q. Well, you had come from the Territorial
16 Defence and had joined an HVO unit. He was in charge
17 of the HVO generally. Weren't you aware of that?
18 A. No. I didn't know that Mr. Filipovic was in
20 Q. Were you aware at that time, please, of any
21 plan involving General Merdan to set up a joint command
22 headed by Filipovic?
23 A. The period that is until May 1992, I am not
24 aware of any plan that Mr. Filipovic would make any
25 joint staffs or command structures with Mr. Merdan.
1 Q. Were you aware of any such plan at any stage?
2 A. Not as regards Mr. Filipovic.
3 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that there was
4 such a plan and that it was Dario Kordic who stood in
5 the way of the plan getting off the ground. Does that
6 fit with your memory at all?
7 A. I have stated that in late 1991 until April
8 1992, I was the commander of the Territorial Defence at
9 Broda and that in that capacity I spoke with officials
10 in Zenica TO about building a joint command armed
11 force. This is what we talked about. And we talked
12 about the arming of the population, but this didn't
13 take place. And I don't know of any other plans.
14 Q. Very well. Then you speak of the Muslims
15 rounding up criminals in May of 1992. You accept, I
16 think, from what you've told us, that there was a
17 genuine effort by them to round up criminals; yes?
18 A. No. I believe I said that this was an
19 attempt to provoke an incident with Croats who were in
20 that building -- actually, in the building across,
21 where supposedly the arrest of those criminals was
22 under way. Because as I'm aware, only one of these
23 criminals was ever arrested.
24 Q. But the suggestion that this was trying to
25 stimulate an armed response is mere speculation, isn't
2 A. It's not speculation.
3 Q. You don't have any piece of hard evidence to
4 go on for the suggestion that you've made?
5 A. The only firm evidence is myself, because I
6 was there.
7 Q. All you saw was an attempt to round up
9 A. I saw a different picture. This attempted
10 arrest of criminals seemed to me -- I believe that I
11 know how an arrest is to take place. It is not done by
12 blocking roads and streets.
13 Q. About this time, Kordic was appearing on
14 Radio Zenica from time to time, wasn't he? Did you see
15 those appearances?
16 A. I believe that it was on only one occasion
17 that I heard Mr. Kordic. It was something to do with
18 negotiations surrounding the takeover of the barracks
19 in Zenica.
20 Q. So what was this politician doing, discussing
21 on television the takeover of barracks, please?
22 A. I don't know exactly what he did. I believe
23 that he was involved in some negotiations with the
24 commander of Zenica barracks and some other people who
25 were there. I don't know exactly who they were.
1 Q. That's a military activity, isn't it, the
2 takeover of a barracks? It's not a political activity?
3 A. This was not a takeover of the barracks. I'm
4 not talking about the takeover; I'm talking about the
6 Q. Negotiations to take them over, and that's
7 different, is it?
8 A. Yes, something completely different.
9 Q. Your wife's removal from the apartment, you
10 weren't there yourself at the time?
11 A. No, I personally was not there.
12 Q. Were you living in that apartment at that
13 time, or not?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us who you say it was evicted
16 her, give us the name?
17 A. I don't know the name, because she herself
18 did not know the name, but this was the MOS police who
19 were involved.
20 Q. Was any complaint registered about what had
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In writing?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So tell us, please, where we can find it, and
1 we'll go and look for it.
2 A. I believe that it's in the 3rd Corps in
4 Q. The documents that registered complaint, did
5 you keep a copy yourself?
6 A. I had them until April of 1993.
7 Q. You speak of an expulsion of Croats in June
8 of 1992 in Zenica, by which time you were the chief of
9 HVO intelligence there. So, please, who was the first
10 Croat expelled, and by whom?
11 A. I believe that the family was Kovacevic from
12 Bistricak, and they were expelled by members of the
13 Mujahedin forces who, together with the local Muslims,
14 took them to a training camp. This is how they called
16 Q. And any record of this? Where will we find a
17 record of this?
18 A. About these expelled families or, that is,
19 this expelled family?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. Such a document should be in the
22 International Red Cross archives, because I think that
23 the case was reported to them.
24 Q. But kept anywhere else? Your local HVO would
25 have kept a record of it, presumably?
1 A. We only had -- I myself had an official
2 report. That's it.
3 Q. And that's no longer in existence or you
4 don't know?
5 A. As I said, from April 1993, I -- since April
6 1993, I never saw a single document which I used to
7 have in Zenica.
8 Q. By October 1992, you had been in your post
9 for some four months, and as I understand it, you were
10 communicating most with which other areas; Novi
12 A. I already said the zone of responsibility of
13 my brigade was Kakanj, Zenica, up to Novi Travnik and
14 up to Vares. But as I said, we had meetings in the
15 Central Bosnia Operative Zone.
16 Q. So ceasefires agreed, for example, in Novi
17 Travnik would be matters in which you, as
18 an intelligence officer, would have an interest?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you remember an incident where Colonel
21 Stewart, on the 20th of October of 1992, dealt with a
22 ceasefire in Novi Travnik?
23 A. No. At that time, I did not know this
25 Q. He was the colonel in charge of Cheshires,
1 who were doing their six-month tour of duty. Does that
2 ring any bells?
3 A. I only heard his name, but I never worked
4 with him and I never had an opportunity to meet him.
5 Q. But what I want to know is this: A
6 ceasefire, Major, is a military activity, isn't it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And such a military activity in Novi Travnik
9 would have come to your attention in some way and at
10 some stage, wouldn't it?
11 A. Well, of course we received information by
12 military means about the ceasefire.
13 Q. Can you think of any reason why any
14 politician should be involved in negotiating a
15 ceasefire in October 1992 at Novi Travnik?
16 A. Well, I believe that in most of these
17 matters, even what concerns military, it is the
18 politicians who first negotiate, and only later
20 Q. If that be right, then what is it that the
21 politicians are doing with the soldiers, if they are
22 not controlling them, please?
23 A. What the politicians do with soldiers, I
24 don't know that.
25 Q. I'll ask the question in another way. For a
1 politician to be able to negotiate a ceasefire means
2 that the politician is able to command the soldiers;
4 A. In your interpretation, it may be so. But in
5 our military system, it is not so.
6 Q. Very well. Then can you explain what your
7 answer two answers ago meant when you said this: "I
8 believe that in most of these matters, even what
9 concerns military, it is the politicians who first
10 negotiate, and only later the soldiers"? What is it
11 that politicians are able to do first if it doesn't
12 necessarily involve the ability to command the
13 soldiers? What is it they are able to do, please,
15 A. The politicians probably agree on certain
16 things at that political level. This is my
17 assumption. And then down the chain of command, I
18 don't know, there may be some extended arm and it is
19 passed down. But this is only my assumption.
20 Q. So "down the chain of command" means from the
21 politicians to the soldiers. It's quite simple, isn't
23 A. When referring to 1992, that wasn't that
25 Q. Well, you were there receiving and sending
1 messages, as you have confirmed to us. Do you accept
2 that on the 20th of October of 1992, as Colonel Stewart
3 has told us, a politician, Dario Kordic, was in a
4 position to negotiate a ceasefire?
5 A. Listen, Counsel. Perhaps you can ask Colonel
6 Stewart of that. I was not in a situation to be there
7 and to talk to them about it.
8 Q. You were on the ground. You're telling us
9 that Kordic had no military responsibility. Colonel
10 Stewart has already given his evidence, and I want you
11 to tell us, please, from your experiences, which is why
12 you're here, Major, do you accept that at that time
13 Kordic was in a position to negotiate the terms of a
14 ceasefire agreement?
15 A. From the political side, probably, yes.
16 Q. The next question: Because you were sending
17 and receiving information, including information about
18 Novi Travnik, did you or did you not know that Kordic
19 was doing such things as negotiating ceasefires?
20 A. I will repeat it one more time. My zone of
21 responsibility was Zenica, and this information came
22 from Travnik and Novi Travnik. I could only receive
23 information about the ceasefire or something of that
25 Q. Did you receive information that Kordic had
1 negotiated the ceasefire, please?
2 A. No, I did not receive such information.
3 Q. There would be no reason that you can think
4 of to keep such details from you?
5 A. There would be no reason to hide such details
6 from me, there was no reason for that, but I have to
7 remind you that time flew by in those days and events
8 succeeded each other very quickly, and one would be
9 replaced by another one the next moment.
10 MR. NICE: I wonder if the Registry could
11 just dig out Exhibit 243, please.
12 While we're coming to that in just a minute,
13 a word or two about Jajce.
14 Q. The position about Jajce is this, isn't it:
15 At the time, it had a broadly even distribution of
16 Croats and Muslims, with the Serbs in the minority;
18 A. I don't know the prewar population structure
19 of Jajce.
20 Q. What you can confirm is that when Jajce fell,
21 as it in due course did to the Serbs, it wasn't
22 associated with any bloodbath or killings or anything
23 of that sort; it just fell?
24 A. I didn't understand the question.
25 Q. There wasn't any bloodbath, any major or
1 significant losses of life associated with the fall of
2 Jajce, I'm suggesting to you.
3 A. I don't know if -- in your place, I wouldn't
4 be so sure. There were a lot of casualties in Jajce.
5 Q. You certainly can't point to any known or
6 publicised loss of life associated with the fall of
8 A. I believe that even monuments have been
9 erected to commemorate that.
10 Q. You were in intelligence, therefore receiving
11 intelligence from various sources. Is it the case that
12 Jajce was subject to an agreement between the Croats
13 and the Serbs, that it should pass to the Serb hands?
14 A. Sir, I went to Jajce on three occasions with
15 my unit, and I believe that should -- that speaks
16 volumes about the so-called agreements. Why would I be
17 taking my men to Jajce to be killed if there was any
18 agreement available?
19 Q. Let's look at this next exhibit. You're
20 saying it's a genuine battle involving and requiring
21 military input.
22 MR. NICE: Shall we look at the next exhibit,
23 Exhibit 243, please, the original for the witness. Can
24 I have -- if you could put the English version. It
25 will be the last page of the English version.
1 Q. Now, this may not be a document you've seen
2 recently, or at all. First of all, do you recollect
3 seeing it at all, ever?
4 A. I never saw this document, and I also believe
5 that this document has not been signed either.
6 Q. If you'd like to look, nevertheless, at the
7 last page, what is paragraph 10, you'll see a paragraph
8 that reads, and I'll read it slowly:
9 "While defence operations are being
10 conducted, the vice-president of the HZ HB, Dario
11 Kordic, and I, are in Novi Travnik, continuously
12 leading the military operations, with deep knowledge of
13 the situation, by keeping all forces under control.
14 Colonel Filipovic is also here and the Novi Travnik HVO
16 The names at the foot of that are Blaskic and
17 Kordic, and there is a handwritten received note dated
18 the 27th of October of 1992.
19 Now, this is at Novi Travnik. This isn't at
20 Jajce. But just tell us: Do you still maintain that
21 Kordic had no military involvement of any kind?
22 A. Yes, I still maintain this. But first of
23 all, I've never seen this document before, and to me,
24 this document is not a valid one, because I don't see
25 any signatures or a stamp on it.
1 Q. Now, I want you to look at a video, moving on
2 from the first Ahmici incident, for reasons of speed,
3 to the end of the year. I want you to look at a
5 MR. NICE: Just give me one minute, please,
6 Your Honour.
7 [Prosecution counsel confer]
8 MR. NICE: The position, Your Honour, is that
9 there's a short video for which we have a transcript
10 available. The present quality of the video is
11 apparently appalling, although it may be capable of
12 being improved, but not today. There are three courts
13 sitting today and the technical staff are fully
14 stretched. I haven't even seen it yet myself, but I'm
15 informed how bad it is. What I'd like to do, just for
16 identification purposes, is to play the first small
17 passage so that we can know what the video is. It can,
18 I gather, be corrected, possibly by tomorrow, but then
19 I'll ask the witness a question or so about the
20 transcript which we'll be able later to connect to the
22 Here are the transcripts. It's Exhibit 330.
23 Q. Just before the attempt to play the video is
24 made, Major, were you present at an oath-taking
25 ceremony in Zenica in December of 1992?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. NICE: Very well. Then we'll just have a
3 look at this video, with the technical booth's
4 assistance. But we may not see very much of it,
5 because it's in very poor quality at the moment.
6 [Videotape played]
7 "DARIO KORDIC: Dear Croat soldiers, I greet
8 you on behalf of the Croatian Community of
9 Herceg-Bosna, and also on behalf of the greatest son of
10 the Croat people of Herceg-Bosna, president of the
11 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Mate Boban.
12 "I'm glad that we're here on Croat
13 territory. You've heard these days the messages. They
14 are telling us what we are fighting for -- for the
15 liberation, for a political solution for the Croat
16 people -- because we never again want to repeat the
17 mistakes that were repeated in history.
18 "Therefore, I would like to say, from this
19 place, today on this ceremony of oath-giving of this
20 brigade, Jure Francetic, that these Croat soldiers are
21 brave, as the previous speakers have said, and that we
22 shall certainly, with full hearts and souls, carry out
23 this task which is placed in front of us by the
24 generations of Croat soldiers of the past centuries and
25 our families and children. So long live all. Merry
1 Christmas and Christmas holidays and for Za Dom
3 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
4 Q. You were there. Do you still maintain from
5 even that speech and that appearance that Mr. Kordic
6 had nothing whatsoever to do with the military?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And how do you interpret what he's saying
9 there about fighting for this and that? How do you
10 explain that?
11 A. What he said was pure politics. He addressed
12 people in a political way; that's all.
13 Q. Well, if you look at the transcript, it says:
14 "We are fighting for a political solution.
15 We're fighting for liberation and for a political
16 solution because we never again want to repeat the
17 mistakes that were repeated in history. Therefore, we
18 want to liberate all the occupied territories, return
19 all that which is ours, and Jajce and Kupres, and
20 Komusina and Posavina, to liberate once and for all the
21 Croat territory, Croatian Community Herceg-Bosna, which
22 no one will take away from us, so that this will for
23 centuries be ours."
24 You don't feel there's any even remote
25 suggestion of military activity in any of that?
1 A. I already said that from the top of his
2 address and all the way down, it's all political. In
3 this excerpt, I see nothing military, nor did I sense
4 any of that when I was down there in Zenica.
5 Q. You saw General Praljak there, of course, to
6 the right of the screen, I think.
7 A. I don't remember that General Praljak was
9 Q. You saw him around Zenica from time to time?
10 A. Yes, on one occasion, in Travnik.
11 Q. He, of course, was a Croat general, wasn't
13 A. No. He was the commander of the Main Staff
14 of the Croat Defence Council.
15 Q. Let's move to 1993. You were still in
16 Zenica. Did you have any recollection or do you have
17 any recollection of any bombs going off in the area of
18 the Radio Zenica building at about New Year's Eve in
20 A. I can't remember.
21 Q. 1993, you will have started a new series of
22 communications, of written communications to various
23 bodies; would that be correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So that the serial numbers will start off
1 with number 1 of 1993 and go up; number 2, number 3,
2 number 4, and so on?
3 A. It won't be the case when I'm concerned.
4 Q. I wonder if you could help us at all with
5 roughly how many written communications in any form or
6 series, however they were numbered, how many such
7 communications you would be sending out per week. Give
8 us an idea.
9 A. I can't give you the exact number. I'm
10 telling you, it all depends on the situation and
11 developments on the ground. So sometimes you would
12 send 30 such documents a day, and the next day not a
13 single one. I'm telling you, it all depended on the
14 situation on the ground.
15 Q. All right. I'd like you to look, just for
16 clarification, please, at a document, new Exhibit
17 672.2A, or 672.2, actually.
18 Now, this is a document for which we have a
19 translation, and we have a translation of the date.
20 But if you would look at the date on the original,
21 which I'd ask the Chamber to do as well, it's not
22 entirely clear. It's sixteen o something 1993, and
23 then the number of the document appears to be -- well,
24 it looks as if it's some figure, and then "69 of 93".
25 That's the only things we've got.
1 If we come to the English translation, Major,
2 I can tell you how it's been translated or deciphered
3 as to date. It's been suggested that it's the 16th of
4 April, with a query, 1993, and that there is an
5 indecipherable number followed by "69 of 93".
6 Now, first we can see the numbering system
7 and we can see that this is over your name. Is this a
8 document of yours, please?
9 A. It could be my document, because there is my
10 signature. But it could have also been typed by
11 somebody else, because there is no actual signature,
12 even though my name is indicated. Just a moment, just
13 a moment.
14 If I may, Your Honours, in my documents I
15 always put the initials of the person who wrote the
16 document. So somewhere in this document should be my
17 initials, capital D, small A, capital G. And then once
18 again the same thing, I don't see it on this document.
19 Q. Well, the document itself goes from the Jure
20 Francetic Brigade command to the head of the Vitez
21 something, Tomo Krizanac. Can you tell us who it's to,
23 A. Tomo Krizanac was the head of the Military
24 Intelligence Service in Vitez.
25 Q. And we see the message is short: "Please
1 submit data regarding events in Vitez." Well, now, is
2 that a typical message of the type you would be sending
3 on a daily basis?
4 A. I already told you that we exchanged some
5 information at meetings, and also we exchanged
6 information in this form at my request.
7 Q. The translation suggests, with a question
8 mark, that it's the 16th of April, and we can't read
9 the first digit of the number of the series. Do you
10 think this was the 16th of April?
11 A. As far as I can read, it's not really very
12 visible. I should say it was the 16th of January,
13 1993, and the figure below is "569-93".
14 Q. That's why I was asking you originally about
15 how many documents you would send a day or a week. Is
16 it really the case that by the end of the second week
17 of January, you would already have sent 569 documents?
18 A. The records of our unit were formed in
19 December 1992, after the Jure Francetic Brigade was set
20 up, and it was as of that date that we began to send
21 documents on the basis of new files, of new records.
22 It had nothing to do with the end of the year, as such.
23 Q. You can remember that now, can you, that "569
24 of 93" really means 569 document starting in December
25 of 1992; can you really remember that?
1 A. I shall merely repeat. You're guessing at
2 the date and at the figure, and whether I can remember
3 that particular figure, that particular digit, hardly.
4 Q. There are obviously two possibilities. One
5 is that this document was sent, as has been interpreted
6 or deciphered, on the 16th of April. I wondered what
7 reason there might be to send information from Vitez on
8 the 16th of April, please, Major.
9 A. I shall say it once again. The date, if it
10 is the 16th of April --
11 JUDGE MAY: There was a question. If you
12 don't know, just say you don't know. But don't keep
13 saying, "I've said it already."
14 MR. NICE: I shall take that as an, "I don't
15 know," I think, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Between January and March of 1993, then, you
19 were in Zenica, and as we can reasonably guess from
20 this document, sending, at least for six weeks,
21 something in the region of 500 communications in a
22 six-week period, as a possibility. Do you accept that?
23 A. Could be.
24 Q. And although, of course, some of those
25 documents might have been lost when you left Zenica,
1 they would also all exist in copy form at the other
2 end, wouldn't they, unless they had been destroyed
4 A. I suppose there must be documentation at the
5 place to which I was sending it, except that I don't
6 know about it.
7 Q. Are you aware of any efforts made, either for
8 the giving of your evidence or any efforts made at all,
9 to try to track down the documents that must have
10 passed between the intelligence services of one town
11 and another and that will clearly document events from
12 the HVO perspective? Are you aware of any efforts made
13 to try and get hold of those documents, please?
14 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, just give me one
16 minute, please.
17 Your Honour, I have a document that I haven't
18 yet had copied or yet presented for formal translation,
19 and it's my error, of course. It was available to me.
20 But can I ask the witness to look at the original of it
21 or the Croat language version of it, place the English
22 version of an unofficial translation on the ELMO, and
23 get Ms. Verhaag to give it a number, and we'll produce
24 it and get additional copies in due course.
25 Q. Now, you have the original of the document
1 that we are seeing on the screen there, Major. It's
2 dated the 21st of March of 1993, and it's a proposal
3 for reconnaissance and monitoring. And it reads, as we
4 can see, that:
5 "Considering that in the responsibility zone
6 of the Brigade Francetic, there are no aggressive
7 activities or confrontation along the line in relation
8 to an order, and for the purpose of monitoring of ABiH
9 movements and their grouping, I propose ..."
10 And then at the last entry number 4:
11 "Reports to be submitted daily, ref. VOS by
12 battalions, or personally to the aide of the chief of
13 brigade for VOS."
14 And then it's got a typed signature:
15 "A. To the chief of brigade for VOS, Darko
17 Do you remember that order or that proposal?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And so that can just inform us of the volume
20 of paperwork that there must have been covering the
21 HVO's perception of events as they developed. On a
22 daily basis, there were to be reports, if that proposal
23 was to be accepted?
24 A. Well, since there is no number up there at
25 the top, it means that the proposal was not accepted.
1 Q. The letter was sent or the proposal was sent
2 somewhere, but you say that the fact that it was not
3 numbered means nobody acted on it. Was it roughly once
4 a day, nevertheless, that there were reports prepared?
5 A. Well, I've already said that I sent my
6 reports, depending on the developments on the ground,
7 once, twice, three times, or maybe 30 times a day.
8 Q. Move on, please, to Ahmici itself and to what
9 was happening in Zenica. You were still in Zenica.
10 What did you know of the build-up to the events in
12 A. I know nothing about the preparations.
13 Q. At the time of Ahmici, you were in Zenica?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I've got a couple of documents I may want to
16 show you that come in between that, but they are not
17 available at the moment so I'll have to come back to
18 that, and I apologise for that. You were in Zenica,
19 doing your normal job?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. These fall on the ground in Zenica at the
22 beginning of April?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Well, what do you say was the developing
25 pattern of violence?
1 A. There were targeted operations of the army of
2 B and H units. Their task was to first try to
3 undercut -- to reduce the combat power of the Croat
4 forces or, rather, the Croat Defence Council. And
5 another task was to provoke incidents, to arrest the
6 highest-ranking officers, so as to leave the Croat
7 Defence Council without the commanders. And there were
8 such instances.
9 Q. I'm going to come back to that, because I
10 think I can properly now revert to chronological
11 ordering of events -- I hope so -- but with just one
12 other intervening question.
13 You've spoken of your knowledge of other
14 places in communications. Were you aware of any attack
15 on Busovaca in January of 1993?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Well, tell us, who was the attack by and who
18 was the attack on?
19 A. The units of the 3rd Corps of the army of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina launched the attack from the
21 direction of Zenica and Kacuni and the Lasva on
23 Q. You're genuinely saying that that is where
24 the attack came from. Can you account for the attack
25 on Muslim premises or Muslim shops in that town in any
1 way from the intelligence coming to you?
2 A. I was receiving only intelligence information
3 corroborating the fact that prior to these attacks, the
4 Muslims had left the area of Busovaca. And most of
5 those people, as I have already said, tended to move to
6 villages around Busovaca, and they simply moved to
7 Busovaca. They were not expelled, they were not
8 banished from it, they simply moved to Busovaca.
9 Q. What about attacks on premises, on Muslim
10 businesses; can you account for that at all from what
11 you learned by way of intelligence, please?
12 A. I did not get such information about attacks
13 on Muslim facilities, business outlets.
14 Q. Well, I'm not going to trouble you further
15 with that, because that wasn't your immediate area at
16 the time.
17 Can we now look at a new document, 557.2.
18 Sorry, 606. I'm sorry. I'm sorry about the quality of
19 the original. It's not very strong. We'll put the
20 English version on the ELMO, and I hope that if you can
21 listen over the headphones, the nature of the document
22 will become clear.
23 This is dated the 5th of April of 1993, and
24 we can see it's an invitation and it's signed by Dario
25 Kordic and Kostroman and Valenta, and we see it goes to
1 the vice-presidents and presidents and secretaries of
2 the municipal boards of the HDZ of various places. And
3 then in the next entry it goes to presidents,
4 vice-presidents and secretaries of the HVO
5 municipalities, and Zenica is referred to there. And
6 it's an invitation to attend a meeting on Thursday, the
7 8th of April, which will be chaired by Mr. Kordic.
8 What do you say, if anything, to the fact
9 that the HVO governments are referred to in this
10 invitation? Would you have got to know of this
11 invitation yourself?
12 A. HVO governments operated in all
13 municipalities. They were politically structured
15 Q. Would you have got to know this?
16 A. No.
17 Q. But just so that we can clarify the position,
18 the HVO government in a local municipality would be
19 responding to an invitation from Mr. Kordic?
20 A. I wouldn't know.
21 Q. And you don't suggest, do you, that the local
22 military would be responding to the local HVO
23 government in any particular way?
24 A. No.
25 Q. And you still say you simply don't know who,
1 if anyone, in the political chain exercised control
2 over the military?
3 A. I cannot tell you that. I don't know it.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MR. SAYERS: Your Honour, if I might, this
6 was one of the residual documents that was outstanding
7 at the end of the Prosecution's case and we were
8 awaiting a translation of it. I hate to interrupt, but
9 I have no idea how the first and second items on the
10 agenda could be translated, since they are completely
11 illegible. I wonder if there's a more legible copy of
13 MR. NICE: There must be a better copy, and
14 it's just that I haven't been able to retrieve it in
15 the short time available. But yes, you're quite right;
16 there must be a better one in order for the full
17 translation to be there. I'll do our best to find it.
18 Q. I'm going to move on, although I may have to
19 come back to one small point in this part of the
20 sequence, Major.
21 In April, then, you knew nothing of what was
22 going to happen at Ahmici.
23 A. I didn't.
24 Q. You would have been in daily communication
25 with Vitez?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would it be important for someone in your
3 intelligence position to be aware of troop movements
4 that were planned in another municipality, or not?
5 A. Yes. Naturally, I should have known about
6 it, and of course I would be interested in receiving
7 such information.
8 Q. And so are you telling us that you weren't
9 alerted to any troop movements, just so that we can
10 have the picture clear?
11 A. I was not.
12 Q. Very well. And then you say there was an
13 attack, or there was fighting in Zenica starting when?
14 A. On the 17th of April, 1993.
15 Q. And what, if any, part did you take in that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What part did you take in it?
18 A. When we were pulling out from the command
19 post, lock, stock, and barrel, with the protective
20 forces who were there, and that would be a company or
21 something, we pulled out to Zmajevac. We tried to
22 organise our defence. And we were to link up without
23 forces which were at Stranjani and then at Onak. But
24 since the forces at Stranjani had already retreated
25 towards Onak, there was nobody that we could link up
1 with, and we remained alone at Zmajevac.
2 Then we headed for Cajdras, where both troops
3 and civilians gathered. There were around 3.000 people
4 all together: women, children, civilians, soldiers,
5 everybody together. And most of those soldiers
6 surrendered to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and they
7 were later on taken to the penitentiary at Zenica,
8 imprisoned, some of them to the ill-famed musical
9 school, and some other places which we didn't know
10 about and we didn't know where people were. I did not
11 surrender, so that I stayed there. And that was how I
12 participated in it.
13 Q. And how many days did this account for,
15 A. All together, between the attack and
16 surrender, one day.
17 Q. And how far were you from Zenica at the time
18 of the surrender? Just tell the Judges and me so that
19 we can know roughly how far it is.
20 A. From the town of Zenica?
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. I was at about, roughly, from the centre of
23 the town, some 15, 16 kilometres.
24 Q. Had you by this time -- presumably you had --
25 heard of the kidnapping of Totic, and Kordic speaking
1 about that at a press conference?
2 A. That was before the attack of the ABiH units.
3 Q. And as to the alleged attack by the ABiH
4 units, isn't the position -- or is the position this:
5 Far from them attacking, in fact it was the HVO that
6 engaged in an attack on this day, however ill-advised?
7 A. Your Honour, first of all, this was not some
8 alleged ABiH attack against the HVO; it was a direct
9 attack with a well-known objective. Not an alleged
10 attack of the army; it was a direct one.
11 Q. And are you saying that ABiH soldiers would
12 have been visible to international observers at about
13 that time in Zenica and in the area of Zenica?
14 A. The international monitors and all the
15 international organisations that were in Zenica were in
16 the Hotel Internacional. That is where there were
17 headquarters. All roads leading to Zenica during the
18 attack of ABiH against the HVO were completely
19 blocked. Nobody could move anywhere. I doubt that
20 anybody from any international organisation could have
21 had any access there. However, after the fall of
22 Zenica and after we arrived in Cajdras, the BritBat
23 Battalion of UNPROFOR forces arrived. I don't know --
24 it was a motorised platoon, but I don't know who was
25 their commander. We asked them to protect the people
1 and to help us move to Vitez. They firmly refused it
2 and went back to Vitez.
3 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that Cajdras was
4 a sensible place to retreat to after the attack by
5 Blaskic on the metallurgical facility had come to an
6 unhappy end, so far as the Croats were concerned, that
7 that's the reality.
8 A. The attack against the metallurgical
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Your Honours, these comments on the part of
12 the Prosecutor are misplaced. The HVO never attacked
13 any ABiH unit in Zenica.
14 Q. Now, after that one day that you've spoken
15 of, you were still at liberty?
16 A. I was at liberty throughout this time.
17 Q. Where did you go next?
18 A. I went to Vitez.
19 Q. Straight away, or did you go back to Zenica
20 first, or anything like that?
21 A. I first hid in the surrounding villages from
22 Mala Broda, Broda, and that area, and then went on to
24 Q. Where were you, do you think, on the 19th of
25 April, the 18th of April? 19th of April, then.
1 A. I think that I was hiding from the Mujahedin
2 in order not to be captured by them in Mala Broda.
3 Q. You see, there was a shelling on Zenica,
4 wasn't there? You know that?
5 A. I don't know the date. It could have been
6 the 19th or the 20th. But I know of it.
7 Q. Did you know anything of that at the time?
8 A. About shelling?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. I only heard those shells whizzing by and
12 Q. Let's just get that. Where are you? To the
13 west, the north, the east, or the south?
14 A. North-west.
15 Q. I see. And you can say you actually heard
16 them whizzing, can you?
17 A. Anybody could hear a shell if it flies over
19 Q. Those shells were coming from the west,
20 weren't they?
21 A. I cannot give you the estimate where it came
22 from, because, first of all, I do not know where it
23 came from. I can only make guesses.
24 Q. You see, those shells needed someone to guide
25 them to their target in Zenica, on the evidence we've
1 heard, somebody with military experience. Were there
2 HVO soldiers and officers left in Zenica after this
3 battle that you speak of?
4 A. I can serve as an example. I had remained in
6 Q. When you eventually got to Vitez, did you
7 document your movements from the time that you had left
8 Zenica? Did you make a record of what had happened and
9 where you had been?
10 A. The entire period between the Zenica HVO fall
11 until I left the area, I put down in writing all the
12 facts as to what had befallen the Croats in those
13 days. I also listed the reasons why things happen. I
14 wrote all this down.
15 Q. And that document is where?
16 A. I don't know where it is now.
17 Q. This isn't the document, the diary, that you
18 let your son write over?
19 A. No.
20 Q. And obviously a document like this, you would
21 recognise, as a military man, would be an important
23 A. Very important.
24 Q. And there's no reason to believe that the
25 archive of Vitez, to which this document may have gone,
1 would have been destroyed?
2 A. I said that I really did not know what
3 happened to this document.
4 Q. And yet even when preparing to give evidence
5 here today, you didn't yourself make any efforts to
6 track down such an important document, did you?
7 A. I did not. I did not search for this
9 MR. NICE: I wonder if the witness could just
10 see Exhibit 812.1, please. Sorry not to have given you
11 advance notice.
12 Q. This is not a document of yours.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel,
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. This is not a document of yours. It comes
17 from the ECMM regional centre in Zenica. Did you have
18 dealings with the ECMM before you left Zenica?
19 A. No.
20 Q. You were aware of their existence there and
21 aware of what they were doing in your territory
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you find, from what you knew of them on
25 intelligence, did you find the ECMM to be a reliable
1 source of information and intelligence and assessment?
2 A. If they were in the right place, yes.
3 Q. You see, this reporting monitor, for the
4 period 17th to the 24th of April of 1993, covering
5 Zenica and areas elsewhere, of course, says -- and
6 maybe you understand English. I'm not sure. But he
7 says this, in summary: that the clear position of the
8 authorities to implement the Vance-Owen Plan, pressing
9 the Muslim population to leave the so-called provinces,
10 provoked their reaction with very strong and cruel
11 fighting and actions against the civilian population.
12 Now, is that the reality of what happened?
13 You were there as an intelligence officer. Was it the
14 Vance-Owen Plan and the possibility of enforcing it
15 that led to reaction?
16 A. What this gentleman wrote down in this report
17 did not reflect reality. As far as I know, the Croats
18 did sign the Vance-Owen Plan, but it was never
19 implemented, and the reasons for its nonimplementation
20 I think again lie squarely with the politicians.
21 Q. From neither your Zenica position nor from
22 your next Vitez position, because you had two different
23 perspectives, did you see anything to support this
24 suggestion that it was the pressure to have the
25 Vance-Owen Plan that led to reaction and to the unhappy
2 A. The Vance-Owen Plan was signed by the Croats.
3 MR. NICE: May he see, please, Exhibit 832.
4 Q. When you were in Vitez, was there still the
5 possibility to communicate with HVO soldiers left in
6 Zenica, if there were any?
7 A. No.
8 Q. What did you do to rely on for intelligence
9 coming from Zenica?
10 A. The source of information for an intelligence
11 officer is not just a regular soldier. And on the
12 other side, when I arrived in Vitez, I had already had
13 done some intelligence work, but I ceased that work and
14 I became a liaison officer.
15 Q. Did you nevertheless continue to receive some
16 information, as one of the comparatively senior
17 officers in Hotel Vitez, coming from your former town?
18 A. Such information as I was able to gather I
19 obviously did process, because it is a duty of every
20 officer to transmit the information that he receives,
21 as is the duty of any soldier.
22 Q. If you look at this document, paragraph 2,
23 which is a daily report on a man called Morsink, and
24 it's for the 26th of April, so it's still at the end
25 of -- well, you're now in Vitez, but I'd just like your
1 comment on this, as somebody from Zenica.
2 He says, at paragraph 2, in short, that they
3 heard of the HVO in Travnik ordering refugees from
4 going back to their houses and saying they had to go to
5 Nova Bila. That is, I think, refugees who were heading
6 back to Zenica. Can you explain why that was happening
7 at that time you were there, broadly?
8 A. These are only words put down on a piece of
9 paper. This was not so.
10 Q. You're saying that this officer must have got
11 this completely wrong?
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Nice, that's a
14 MR. NICE: Very well.
15 Q. In Vitez, what were you told about what had
16 happened at Ahmici, please?
17 A. We never spoke about it.
18 Q. Let me see if I understand that. Do you mean
19 it was never spoken about, as a matter of fact, or do
20 you mean that there was some clear policy that it would
21 not be spoken about?
22 A. I mention no policy. I just said that we
23 never spoke about it at all.
24 Q. You must have become aware at some stage that
25 something had happened in Ahmici that was regarded by a
1 wider observing population than just Central Bosnia as
2 an outrage. When did you become aware that something
3 had happened that was regarded as an outrage, Major,
5 A. You see, I only heard about Ahmici from
6 certain stories, what had happened. These were just
7 stories and rumours. But time flew by while I was in
8 Vitez, and every day brought something new. You had
9 the same scenes repeated every day. Attacks were a
10 daily occurrence. So each one of us first was focused
11 on what was happening on that day rather than what had
12 happened the day before.
13 Q. Were you not aware that the international
14 observers were carrying out an inquiry or had carried
15 out an inquiry into Ahmici?
16 A. I didn't know, even though these European
17 Monitors and all others did communicate with me on a
18 daily basis.
19 Q. Were you aware of any proper inquiry being
20 conducted for Colonel Blaskic about what had happened
21 at Ahmici?
22 A. I didn't know until this Tribunal got
23 involved in this matter.
24 Q. But as liaison officer --
25 JUDGE MAY: When are you going to finish,
1 Mr. Nice, please? The Chamber is concerned about the
3 MR. NICE: I shall finish quite shortly, and
4 I shall finish, with the Chamber's leave, when I've
5 concluded the questions that I'm going to ask. There
6 are not very many more, but they are important.
7 I have to say that if we are going to be
8 permanently under the timetable pressure, it's going to
9 make our job very difficult. It's difficult enough as
10 it is.
11 JUDGE MAY: It is difficult to complete a
12 case of this sort in a reasonable time. It requires
13 the cooperation of counsel. We dealt with the
14 cross-examination of the Defence by requiring them to
15 conclude within a timetable. It seems to me that it is
16 only fair that the Prosecution should be treated in the
17 same way.
18 MR. NICE: I am certainly not going beyond a
19 reasonable period of time. I have to say we feel
20 already that we are under very considerable pressure to
21 take things too quickly. It is extremely difficult,
22 coming to this material, when the material comes to us
23 late. Cross-examination, it may not immediately be
24 obvious why, is here to help you, not to help us, and I
25 will repeat the difficulties I find myself in if I am
1 over-hurried. I will do my best to complete this
2 afternoon, if the Chamber gives me a little more time.
3 I cannot guarantee that I will do so.
4 JUDGE MAY: For sure, this afternoon we do
5 not have the time. We have to rise at 4.00. No doubt
6 that will give you this evening to tailor your
7 cross-examination, Mr. Nice.
8 MR. NICE: Very well. Let me just see where
9 I was. Yes.
10 Q. As a liaison officer, it would have been
11 extremely important for you to be able to assure
12 international observers that matters concerning them
13 were being dealt with properly; that's correct, isn't
15 A. With -- I spoke very openly, correctly, with
16 not only the monitors but any other international
17 representatives, and it wasn't just my passing on my
18 own opinions. They could have come to their own
19 conclusions based on what I communicated with them.
20 Q. I think you're missing the point, and I want
21 to press you on this as my last question on the topic
22 and before I move on. But the question is this:
23 If Blaskic had been conducting -- or having
24 conducted a proper, careful inquiry into the massacre
25 that we know happened at Ahmici, it would be pretty
1 important for him to know that you could tell the
2 International Community that things were being done
3 properly, wouldn't it?
4 A. I told you that I did not know about the
5 Ahmici case; nor did anyone from an international
6 organisation ask me any question regarding that case.
7 Q. And nor did Blaskic tell you that he had
8 commissioned an inquiry?
9 A. I see no reason for him to have done so,
10 because this had happened before I assumed the duty.
11 MR. NICE: May Exhibit 2546 go on the ELMO,
13 Q. Would that be about June of 1993?
14 A. I cannot recall this period, what date
15 exactly this was.
16 Q. Was that on the road to Tisovac or
18 A. That is at Tisovac.
19 Q. You went there from time to time, what, to
20 see Kordic?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Why?
23 A. Why should I go to see Kordic?
24 Q. Why did you go there, then?
25 A. I went there to Tisovac altogether twice, and
1 I believe the reason for at least one of these visits
2 is obvious in this picture.
3 Q. Well, that's a social side to it on this
4 occasion. But you went there on other occasions. What
5 was it to see, if not Kordic?
6 A. I told you, I went to Tisovac once or twice,
7 maybe three times.
8 Q. All for social reasons or for other reasons?
9 A. From what I can tell in this photograph,
10 these were not social reasons, these were business
11 reasons, because an officer of the British Battalion,
12 and I think that he was the liaison officer, insisted
13 on it. The second time, I think the occasion was
14 similar for my going to Tisovac. And whether I had
15 been there for a third time, that I question myself,
16 and I may have contacted with a gentleman in the
17 photograph on that occasion.
18 Q. What other troops or units were stationed up
19 at Tisovac, apart from Kordic's own headquarters?
20 A. I don't know. As far as I can recall, the
21 facility where I went was not Kordic's headquarters at
22 all, it was something else completely.
23 Q. Very well. In the interests of speed, I'll
24 move to Exhibit 881.1, please.
25 This is a document, the version of which says
1 it's the 3rd of May but has been written over "the 3rd
2 of June", and the information I want you to look at on
3 this milinfosum number 35 relates to paragraph 4,
4 Vitez, where the Vitez liaison officer, who would be
5 the man Whitworth of whom you have spoken, confirms the
6 following details on the 4th Battalion HVO Military
7 Police, also known as the Jokers, sets out that they
8 were commanded by Ljubicic, with deputy commander
9 Kosic. That's accurate, isn't it?
10 A. As far as I know, Pasko Ljubicic was for a
11 period of time, but I don't know until when, and I
12 really don't know who his deputy was.
13 Q. It then says they apparently come under the
14 direct control of Dario Kordic and are under the local
15 control of Tihomir Blaskic, and it makes a comment.
16 Now, Whitworth spoke to you quite a lot,
17 didn't he? Didn't he?
18 A. Yes, he spoke a lot.
19 Q. And there was nobody else, apart from you as
20 the base liaison officer, to speak to at that time and
21 in that area, was there?
22 A. I think that the British Battalion liaison
23 officer communicated a lot, not only with me.
24 Q. Did he get that information and did he form
25 that view as a result of something that you told him
1 about Kordic?
2 A. I wouldn't know on the basis of what he was
3 forming his conclusions. He couldn't have done so on
4 the basis of his talks with me.
5 JUDGE MAY: Is that a convenient moment?
6 MR. NICE: Yes.
7 JUDGE MAY: Major Gelic, will you be back,
8 please, tomorrow morning at half past 9 to conclude
9 your evidence.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
11 4.03 p.m., to be reconvened on
12 Wednesday, the 3rd day of May, 2000,
13 at 9.30 a.m.