1 Thursday, 27 July 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
7 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, only a small matter but I guess it is
8 better to get rid of that early on in the morning. You have requested
9 that we check which documents were tendered earlier and which possibly
10 not, so to make a cross reference on the numbers, and we did it.
11 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think as a matter of principle, we should work
12 on the Z numbers, the original numbers. So for the purposes of judgement
13 and submissions and things, those will be the governing numbers.
14 MR. KOVACIC: So as a general rule, if we have confusion or double
15 numbering sometimes, Z number is prevailing?
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 MR. KOVACIC: Is that the point?
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. NICE: On the question of exhibits, I think Mr. Kovacic has
20 also satisfied himself that D87/2, the document of the 24th of April that
21 he produced yesterday and relied on in relation to troop positions and the
22 map was not a document that had been produced in the Blaskic case, but it
23 is a document that has come into his possession more recently and from
24 elsewhere. It's a recent document. I don't know that he's exactly tied
25 down yet where it came from, but it's not a Blaskic production.
1 MR. KOVACIC: If I may, just as a matter of reference, in order to
2 have an absolutely clear record, we were trying to find out the source
3 exactly. Yesterday I was under the impression that the document was used
4 in Blaskic. In the meantime I checked, and I informed the Prosecution
5 that it seems it is not -- it was not. However, I am sure that I got this
6 document much earlier during the first phase of my investigation and, in
7 addition to that, the document was discovered in those recent discoveries
8 in Zagreb. But I had it much, much earlier. Thank you.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the little schedule that has just been
10 handed in can be added to in this way, I think. The first entry, D80/2,
11 is identical with Z516.2.
12 JUDGE MAY: That being an exhibit which has been produced?
13 MR. NICE: Yes.
14 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, as for the cross-examination of this
16 witness as the Chamber will, of course, be aware, depending on whether
17 Mr. Cerkez gives evidence himself or not, this may effectively be his
18 case, this and perhaps the following witness. Mindful of the overall time
19 constraints, it simply won't be possible for me to explore everything with
20 this witness or anything like, and I shan't even attempt to do so.
21 I shall, accordingly, explore some topics with him. I will review
22 the position at the break in order to thereafter give you and Mr. Kovacic
23 a timetable forecast, but I hope I will be excused for leaving for
24 argument things that it simply won't be possible in time to cover in
1 JUDGE MAY: You won't be criticised.
2 MR. NICE: Thank you.
3 WITNESS: ZELJKO SAJEVIC [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
6 Q. Major Sajevic, just a couple of things because they are not clear
7 to me. You lived and live in Vitez; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Your -- it's not entirely clear to me what your job was, your role
10 in 1992 and 1993. How do you describe yourself?
11 A. Well, at the beginning of 1992, I still worked at the Territorial
12 Defence headquarters. I think that in May 1992, I transferred to the
13 municipal staff of the HVO. Actually, we all did almost everything
14 there. The work that was there was more or less evenly distributed
15 amongst us. There weren't any clear-cut assignments and appointments
16 because it's not a military formation.
17 Q. When did you first have a clearly-defined military task in 1992?
18 A. I don't understand your question. What is a military task? In my
19 opinion, a military task is everything that we did as well in order to
20 prepare those groups that we had.
21 Q. When did you have a clear military job title first in 1992?
22 A. In 1992, I did not have any military title in the municipal staff.
23 Q. When did you first have a clearly-defined title and a
24 clearly-defined job?
25 A. The first time I had a clearly-defined title and clearly-defined
1 job was in the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, that is to say, the end of 1992
2 in December.
3 Q. Your job then was as?
4 A. I worked in the operations department as an operations officer.
5 Q. Your next job title or your next military job was what?
6 A. My next military title was within the command of the Viteska
7 Brigade, and I was chief of operations of the operations department.
8 Q. Cerkez's deputy, effectively?
9 A. Yes, yes, according to military hierarchy.
10 Q. So that, as it were, there's nobody between you and Cerkez who
11 would have a better view or should have a better view of what Cerkez was
12 doing at the material times; correct?
13 A. Well, that's hard to tell because Mr. Cerkez, as commander of the
14 brigade, had several assistants who were in charge of various divisions,
15 so I as head of the operations department --
16 Q. All right. We want to know who is the person next down from
17 Cerkez who can give the clearest picture of what he was doing on a
18 day-to-day basis and what he was doing at the time of Ahmici. If it
19 wasn't you, tell us who is the person to whom we should turn for the best
21 A. Well, I think those were all the assistant commanders who,
22 according to the establishment of the brigade, worked on these jobs. They
23 all had the same rank.
24 Q. How many of them were there and what were their names, quite
25 quickly, please?
1 A. I do apologise, but I don't know how fast I can explain all of
2 this. I would have to explain the entire structure of the command of the
3 Viteska Brigade or any other brigade for that matter; also its
4 establishment and various positions.
5 Q. Very well. It will seem that I'm racing you, but there are real
6 problems with time in these courts and therefore, if you can help with
7 precise answers to precise questions, it will help us. How many assistant
8 commanders, what were their names?
9 A. I'll do them one at a time. There was the chief of the operations
10 department, the assistant commander for logistics; then there was
11 assistant commander for security affairs, for intelligence affairs; then
12 within the operations department there were the officers in charge of
13 engineering, signals; again, within logistics, there were officers in
14 charge of quartermaster services, the ambulance, the medical unit,
15 et cetera. So that would be the main part of the command.
16 Q. A pretty well-formed brigade, in reality, wasn't it?
17 A. Well, in reality, it was far from a pretty well-formed brigade, in
19 Q. Can you look, please, at one entry on our Exhibit 353. It relates
20 to the previous witness. It's got a tag on it. If you'd lay it on the
21 ELMO so that we could see that entry, or some of it. Sorry, wrong Exhibit
22 number. This is 2332.1.
23 MR. KOVACIC: That's correct.
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. We can see there the name Slavko Jukic and you can see that name
1 there yourself. When we look to the right-hand side of what's displayed
2 on the ELMO overhead projector, we can see that he is registered as having
3 started on the 10th of April of 1992; is that correct?
4 A. I do not believe that that is correct, because these lists that
5 you are presenting, as far as I can see, were drawn up after the
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. So that the years of service of these persons would be registered,
9 so to speak, so that all the soldiers who took part in the war would
10 regulate their status in the best possible way. Did you say this was
11 April 1992?
12 Q. It's in front of you, if you'd like to look at it.
13 A. Just a moment, please. 1994? Well, possibly these were the
14 beginnings -- I don't know. I don't remember that some kind of actions
15 had started at that stage.
16 Q. My suggestion to you, or my question to you is this: The entry
17 beside this man's name does not fit with an account of his registering
18 first for work with the HVO on the 16th of April of 1993, does it?
19 A. Could you please repeat your question? I don't understand it.
20 Q. The entry for April 1992, which is a document of your
21 organisation, doesn't fit with, is not consistent with, the suggestion
22 that this person first registered with the HVO on the 16th of April of
23 1993, does it?
24 A. I do not know when this person first registered in the HVO. If it
25 was the 10th of April, 1992, I'm not aware of that, because at that time I
1 was not in the municipal staff and at the HVO.
2 Q. Very well. Any other document that you can point us to which
3 would give accurate start dates for people's engagement with the HVO?
4 A. I cannot provide any such document, because there was not a single
5 date when it was said: Well, from this date onwards, everybody was in the
6 HVO. People reported spontaneously to -- I don't know -- their friends,
7 in their villages, in their hamlets; in that sense, I mean.
8 Q. Very well.
9 A. It wasn't really an establishment.
10 Q. And the date in this column is the date when they are recorded as
11 first registering; correct?
12 A. I can't see very well. It's not very well focused. Can I have a
13 look at the document itself, please?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. Yes. Those are the dates. Those are the dates. That's what the
16 document says.
17 Q. Thank you. Before I turn to blocks of topics and indeed
18 chronological events, I want to ask you a couple of questions about
19 yourself. After Ahmici, your position of authority in relation to the
20 various detention facilities in Vitez was such that you were the person
21 who released a man called Zlotrg. Do you remember that? You drove him
22 home, I think.
23 A. My authority certainly did not include anybody's release. I think
24 it was agreed when the representatives of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
25 and the Red Cross came to visit. According to some kind of plan, this was
1 worked out. And it is true that I drove Mr. Nedim Zlotrg to his
2 apartment, but that was late in the evening, so the release stopped. This
3 evolved in a regular fashion. He was the last person to be released that
4 evening, and it continued on a regular basis the following day.
5 Q. Why did he have to sign a document saying that he had not been
6 tortured, please?
7 A. I am not aware of him having signed that kind of a document, or
8 anybody else, for that matter. I did not give them such documents to
9 sign. Truth to tell, that evening I did work on registering their
10 release; however, already the next day I was not involved in that.
11 MR. NICE: The next couple of questions, with the Court's leave,
12 can they be dealt with in private session for witness protection? It will
13 only be a couple of minutes.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 [Private session]
13 page 23334 redacted – private session
13 page 23335 redacted – private session
17 [Open session]
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. Major, this Court is concerned to find out who was responsible for
20 acts that may be shown to be criminal in Vitez in the time you were there
21 as deputy to Cerkez. Now, will you please tell us who was in charge of
22 the detention facilities including the Vitez cinema in 1993? Who had
23 responsibility for what was done there? Tell us.
24 A. As for detention facilities and the headquarters, it was the
25 military police, the 4th Battalion of the Military Police that was in
2 Q. I see. Where's this documented, please?
3 A. I don't know where this is documented, but that was the actual
4 state of affairs.
5 Q. You have said -- in fact, that it was in a private session.
6 For this purpose, the previous answer, Your Honour, I propose to
7 mention because it doesn't touch on the matter for which we were in
8 private session.
9 Your immediate previous answer, Major, when I asked you a similar
10 question was that, "If I was referring to the person who was in charge, it
11 was the commander of the brigade." Now, now that you've had explained to
12 you the significance of the person who was in charge of the detention
13 facilities, are you changing your evidence? Are you?
14 A. No, I do not change it. If you remember, we explained it
15 yesterday well or rather I explained it well that until August -- and
16 there is a document -- until August, I don't remember the exact date, the
17 commander of the brigade was not in charge of the military policemen who
18 were there, and it was only in August that Mr. Blaskic ordered the part of
19 the military police which was at the headquarters to place itself under
20 the command of the brigade commander. That was sometime in August. I
21 don't remember the exact date. And that document exists; I saw it
23 Q. I'm going to return to the military police as a separate topic
24 later in the questions I'm going to ask of you, Major. That's a rather
25 different question from the question I've asked you.
1 As to detention facilities throughout Vitez, and there were
2 several of them, is it your case that the brigade commander had nothing to
3 do with it or is it your case that the brigade commander for Vitez,
4 Cerkez, was in charge?
5 A. To begin with, there were no detention facilities in Vitez or
6 prisons or facilities specifically organised for the purpose. There were
7 departments where able-bodied of Bosniak ethnicity were brought in the
8 early days of the war. It was in that Workers' University cinema, it is a
9 cinema, and so on and so forth, but those were not detention facilities.
10 That is number one. And, sorry, I forgot your second question in this
12 Q. My question to you was: Is it your case, is it your evidence that
13 the brigade commander had nothing to do with the detention facilities?
14 A. Well, he had to do with those facilities in the sense that the
15 headquarters of the brigade were in that particular facility.
16 Q. I may have to return --
17 A. And if you mean -- you call them "detention facilities" and I
18 affirm they did not exist. The brigade commander had nothing to do with
19 them; yes, that is what I affirm.
20 Q. Your Honour, I may have to return to that later.
21 Let's turn to Ahmici, shall we? Now you, of course, were
22 unfortunately sick on the night itself. Certain questions follow from
23 that, but can you help me first, please, with an approximate timetable of
24 your presence at brigade headquarters, just giving us the times of the
25 night and the following morning when you went there, because I haven't
1 managed to isolate what time you did first go on the evening of the 15th
2 to the headquarters, roughly?
3 A. In the evening of the 15th, in the command, that is after the
4 second time phone call, I arrived somewhere between 2000 and 2100 or
5 perhaps half past 8.00. I can't really tell you a minute by the time I
6 got dressed and got there.
7 Q. That's fine. How long did you stay?
8 A. I don't think I stayed more than 45 minutes to about one hour, I
10 Q. Your next visit?
11 A. The next time I came, the next morning around half past 5.00,
12 perhaps quarter past 5.00. I can't remember.
13 Q. How long did you stay?
14 A. I cannot tell you exactly. I know it was past 7.00, that is,
15 other people had already arrived and I went to see the doctor. Whether
16 that was half past 7.00 or 8.00 or half past 8.00, I really can't remember
18 Q. And this is the period of time covering half past 5.00, 6.00, 6.30
19 when you are telling us absolutely nothing unusual was reported; is that
21 A. As far as I can remember, from somewhere on the ground, people
22 reported that one could hear a fire shot here and there roughly in the
23 northeastern part of the municipality, that is, in the direction of
24 Ahmici, Kuber, and so on and so forth. But no concrete reports came in as
25 far as I can remember.
1 Q. And then after having gone to the doctor, your next visit to the
2 brigade headquarters was when?
3 A. The next time I came, the next day in the morning again.
4 Q. On the 17th and at what time?
5 A. Yes. Well, I think around 7.00, half past, because I first went
6 to be given the injection and then I reported to the command, spent there
7 a short while and then went back home again.
8 Q. Very well. Now, because of your ill health, you are unable to
9 give us a full account or any account firsthand of what Cerkez was doing.
10 Will you now please tell us who, on his staff, would be able to tell us
11 what he was doing?
12 A. But since I wasn't there all the time, I naturally cannot know
13 which one of my colleagues was in the command all the time. I presume
14 there were certain jobs which took them elsewhere so I cannot really say
15 that so and so spent the whole time in the command, because he may have
16 gone after some business or other somewhere else.
17 Q. Major, you have been allowed by the rules of this Tribunal to give
18 your opinion on troop dispositions on whether Cerkez did things or didn't
19 do things. You were Cerkez's deputy. You know how the army works. Now,
20 please tell us so that we can go and speak to them. Who, on that night,
21 will know what Cerkez was doing?
22 A. That night, that should have been the duty officer of the brigade,
23 and he should have known where the commander was or what he was doing,
24 because when a commander leaves the command, he does not tell everybody
25 where he is going. He tells the person who is on duty that he is going
1 either to have a rest or home or whatever.
2 Q. Who was the duty officer?
3 A. The duty officer on the 15th, it was Josip Zuljevic, because he
4 was the one who called me on the telephone at home.
5 Q. That's a person that's going to be at base. Who would have been
6 out with Cerkez on manoeuvres or whatever he was doing that night? You
7 know the way he worked. You tell us.
8 A. I don't know who was out with Cerkez or where Cerkez was.
9 Q. Can you not give us any idea of who we should turn to, who we
10 should look to for a firsthand account of what Cerkez was doing on that
11 night? Is that what you're really telling us?
12 A. All that I am saying, I am saying as it really was. And the only
13 man who, in my view, or at least that is how it should be, who should have
14 known where Mr. Cerkez was or what he was doing was the brigade duty
15 officer. He is the one who needs to have this information because it can
16 also happen that the superior command needs the commander and then they
17 call the duty officer and ask him. They do not ask for anyone else; they
18 ask for him.
19 Q. And Josip Zuljevic, where does he live these days if he's still
21 A. He is alive, and he lives in Vitez.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. That is, a village near Vitez, a couple of kilometres, not far.
24 Q. Now, you told us yesterday that after Ahmici happened, you were
25 able to construct what had happened by speaking to the limited number of
1 people who had been engaged who were willing to talk. Your terms were,
2 "The few who were willing to talk." So can we have the names of those
3 people, please, the few people who were involved in Ahmici and the attacks
4 on the other villages who were willing to talk?
5 A. On the basis of these stories, and there were many of them, I
6 wasn't able to reconstruct the events, but I did talk to quite a number of
7 people because people talked between themselves about what had happened,
8 not the direct participants. I do not know any single participant, direct
9 participant in the Ahmici events. I can tell approximately, but I cannot
10 really point my finger and say this man was in Ahmici. And the first
11 information that I received that something had happened in Ahmici, I was
12 told that by a driver who, a couple of days later, was taking me to the
13 front line and we were talking in the car, nothing else.
14 Q. Well, I'll look up the quotation over the break and bring it back
15 to your attention, but unless my recollection is wrong, you spoke of
16 contacts with and information from a few people who were present who were
17 willing to talk. I must suggest to you, Major, it is inconceivable, in
18 your position, that you do not know, A, who was involved; and B, that when
19 you said you got information from the few who were willing to talk, you
20 weren't identifying people who had provided an account of what had
22 So let's break that down into two parts. Name us, please, the
23 people who you know to have been involved in the Ahmici crimes.
24 A. I claim under full responsibility that I do not know a single
25 name, that is, the name of a man who directly participated in the crime in
1 Ahmici, not a single one. I do not know a single name. And what you are
2 saying now, that I must have known about it, I wouldn't agree with that,
3 because simply the brigade, or rather that part which we called the Vitez
4 Brigade, the Viteska Brigade, had other tasks. We were holding the front
5 line against the Serb aggressor. And after all, the brigade command had
6 its hands full organising the brigade.
7 I claim again, under full responsibility, I do not know the name
8 of a single man who directly participated in Ahmici, and that is how it
9 is. And the stories were circulated later. The whole town talked about
10 it. Women partaking of coffee talked about this. But they are all talks
11 and rumours, and I also -- and guesses and conjectures. I also heard
12 that. People who did not want to talk about this -- well, I presume that
13 direct participants did not want to talk about that, and that is why we do
14 not know them.
15 May I continue?
16 Q. If it's in answer to my question, of course.
17 A. Because, as I was saying, later on, hearing those stories, I heard
18 that it was Jokers who took part in Ahmici. But from the outset, that
19 unit -- and I never knew that they had their unit systematisation book or
20 anything. To me they were just a group of people. So I heard that they
21 were in Ahmici alongside parts of the 4th Battalion of the military
23 This grouping, to call it that -- the Jokers, I mean -- was, as
24 far as I know, composed not only of men from Vitez but from all parts of
25 the Lasva Valley, so that I did not really have to know the names of all
1 those people, nor did we, as a brigade, have any points of contact with
2 them. So I really -- why should I know who those men were? True, I knew
3 two men from Vitez who were members of Jokers. I had known them from
4 before and I knew that they were with Jokers. But what they were doing,
5 where they were, I didn't -- I had no idea.
6 Q. Let's just go back to the first visit at 8.00 on the evening of
7 the 15th. Who was there?
8 A. There was the brigade duty officer -- I'm sure about him -- Josip
9 Zuljevic. Then whether at that same time, or perhaps he arrived five or
10 ten minutes later, the commander, Mario Cerkez. There was also Srecko
11 Petrovic, I think. He was, well, say, the cook for the command. They had
12 a small kitchen there. And there were other members of the command, but I
13 cannot really say who was there exactly, because I don't recall. The
14 command wasn't a large one, so I cannot really say exactly. We met every
15 day, and on that day, on that specific day, to remember who was there and
16 who wasn't, I really can't remember. But there was somebody else who was
17 on the command.
18 Q. This was an important meeting. You had been dragged in off your
19 sick bed. Apart from a cook and Cerkez, who else with any command over
20 any of the groups that were operating in Vitez was present at that
22 A. I never said that I attended the meeting. I said that I had come
23 to the command and asked the duty officer first why all the urgencies, as
24 he could see that I was ill. I then asked the commander, "So what's it
25 all about?" and the commander explained it to me that they were expecting
1 certain activities from the direction -- not as if they were expecting,
2 but that he had received information from the military district that they
3 were expecting the ABiH activities from the direction of Kruscica and
4 Vranjska and that we should reinforce or, rather, deploy a couple of men
5 if they started downhill to prevent them entering the town.
6 And then he told me to look at the operative documents, and I
7 said, "Well, can it be done in the morning, because I can barely stand on
8 my feet?" And he said, "Right. Yes, of course you can. Get back to
9 bed," because he would see that I was all in sweat and I could barely
10 stand. And whether there was a meeting after that, I don't know, because
11 I wasn't there.
12 Q. In your position within the brigade, and in your position in
13 Vitez, if there was a coordinated attack on the morning of the 16th of
14 April on a number of villages, with those attacking being supported by
15 artillery and perhaps protected from intervention by UNPROFOR, to which
16 I'll return, somebody had to coordinate the attack. On whose shoulders
17 did coordination in Vitez fall, please?
18 A. If you are referring to the attack which took place on the 16th of
19 April, in the morning, then you have to look for that coordinator amongst
20 the ranks of the BH army, because they were the attackers; that is, they
21 must have had within their ranks and in their command somebody who
22 coordinated that attack, as far as I know.
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, who then -- who coordinated the defence, if you
24 say it was a defence?
25 A. As regards the Vitez Brigade, the defence was coordinated by
1 Mr. Cerkez, in that part of the front, that is, in that area which had
2 been assigned to us through the orders.
3 JUDGE MAY: And your case, or your evidence, is that then the
4 Jokers and the 4th Battalion of the military police went off and committed
5 the massacre in Ahmici; is that what you say, you would ask us believe to
6 have happened?
7 A. I cannot say it with certainty, but from all these stories, from
8 all the information that one could obtain immediately afterwards in the
9 wake of it, and then later on throughout the conflict, that would be it.
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. Well, who had the artillery to go on Mosunj hill or feature and
12 fire the first shot that indicated the attack was to take place, please?
13 A. I am not aware that the first shot was fired from Mosunj and that
14 it signalled the beginning of the attack, because Mosunj is an exclusively
15 Croat village, which means that I do not really believe that anyone could
16 have given any sign, if you mean a sign for the beginning of combat
17 operations and so on.
18 Q. How could the Jokers or the military police have had artillery
19 support, please?
20 A. I am not aware that they had any artillery support, nor how they
21 could get it. How they could get it, it was through the military
22 district, because the military district included also the artillery
23 infantry unit.
24 Q. It's Cerkez's responsibility, isn't it?
25 A. No.
1 Q. All right. Then whose artillery would be supporting, please?
2 Whose artillery would be supporting the military police?
3 A. I repeat: I do not know that anyone's artillery lent support.
4 And if there was any support, I do not know about it. But if there was
5 any support, then in no case the Vitez Brigade could do that, because the
6 Vitez Brigade did not have its artillery, never, until the end of the war;
7 never, ever. In the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia there was the Mixed
8 Artillery Rocket Regiment, which was under the direct command of the
9 Operative Zone command, and throughout Central Bosnia no commander could
10 have that formation under his command.
11 Q. All right. So that's Blaskic, is it? Blaskic is responsible for
13 A. I cannot say that Blaskic was responsible for it, but Blaskic was
14 the commander-in-chief. And yes, he could command that artillery
15 battalion. But he also had his chief of artillery, and he was, of course,
16 the first disappearer of that battalion, of that formation.
17 Q. On your account, as you summarised it in answer to His Honour, the
18 military police and the Jokers committed these atrocities. Who directed
19 them? Who coordinated their activities, please?
20 A. I already said that it was through stories which have circulated
21 for days. But I think that they were true, and that is how I learnt about
22 the whole thing. But who was the Jokers' commander at that time, I don't
23 know. And I believe that the commander of the military police was Pasko
25 Q. But the coordination would have to come from what? Blaskic? Is
1 that what you're saying?
2 A. Well, I don't know how many times I have to repeat this. The
3 Vitez Brigade had no points of contact with the Jokers, and with the
4 military police only insofar as several military policemen provided
5 security for our command. And that was all. So I did -- I was not
6 concerned with those two units, nor could I or anyone else have any
7 influence on their work, nor did I know who coordinated their work. They
8 must have had within their ranks one man or perhaps a couple of men. I
9 don't really know what principles they were governed by.
10 Q. Did Kordic have a line of authority, to your knowledge, to the
12 A. No. I'm not aware of something like that at all, and I don't see
13 how, because Mr. Kordic was a politician. He wasn't a military.
14 JUDGE MAY: I thought you didn't know who commanded the Jokers.
15 How can you say that Mr. Kordic didn't if you don't know?
16 A. I said I think that Mr. Kordic didn't, does not, couldn't have
17 command in any way or have any influence on the Jokers, on the command,
18 because he was not a military man; he was not an officer. That is what I
19 meant. And it is true that I do not know who was the Jokers' commander at
20 that time. I really don't. I don't to this day.
21 JUDGE MAY: So you don't know, but your evidence is that it must
22 have been a military person; is that what you're saying, that you don't
24 A. I suppose it was a military person, because it was sort of an
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Nice. I should
2 like to understand what the witness is saying. In his answer to the
3 President, he said that the Jokers and the military police were the ones
4 who perpetrated the massacre. But could you tell us, when these
5 coordinated activities happened on the 16th of April, could you tell us:
6 Could they have intervened in a part of the territory which was covered by
7 the Vitez Brigade, which was under the Vitez Brigade? Because there was a
8 certain territory -- this brigade was covering certain territory, certain
9 area, didn't it?
10 A. Yes, you are quite right. The brigade did cover a certain area;
11 that is, the brigade was formed in the territory of the municipality of
12 Vitez. And in a manner of speaking, it was to control the territory of
13 the Vitez municipality, which was under the control of Croats, to put it
14 that way, because a large part of the municipality was under the control
15 of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, there was something else
16 there, and that is the existence of the military district at headquarters
17 in Vitez itself, and that was the superior command to the Vitez Brigade
18 and all the other brigades in Central Bosnia. This is one thing.
19 Secondly, the Vitez Brigade -- and I repeated it repeatedly,
20 several times -- was never organised in line with documents which
21 envisaged the formation of brigades. That is, it was never fully -- it
22 never existed in full strength and with all the materiel, with all the
23 armament, not to mention its organisation and the whole system.
24 So according to some army rules, and I believe they can be likened
25 to the rules that exist in armies in other countries, a brigade cannot
1 cover that size of the territory of that length of the front line. There
2 is no brigade in the world which could cover a front line 52 kilometres
3 long. Not even a division can do that.
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you, but you did not answer
5 my question. The events which happened on the 16th of April that we are
6 talking about, in a village, and I'm referring to the massacre in Ahmici,
7 did these things happen in an area which was under the responsibility,
8 even if formal, even if theoretical, which was under the full
9 responsibility of the Vitez Brigade?
10 A. Theoretically, yes, but across the municipality of Vitez -- and I
11 should say that the same thing happened in Busovaca, in Travnik -- these,
12 if I may call them so, these autonomous -- these groups, these special
13 purpose units, as they called them, could --
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So you're answering to me yes,
15 that in effect, yes, these things happened in a part of the territory
16 which was normally under the control of the Vitez Brigade.
17 Now, how is it possible that this brigade did not respond to an
18 event which was happening nearby? Because, after all, it was only a few
19 kilometres away, so why wasn't there any reaction? You tell us that the
20 Vitez Brigade did not react at all. Can one imagine that it would not
21 react at all at a time when it would be normally responsible for that part
22 of the territory? You know that the commander, who had some territorial
23 responsibility, that he should know what is going on around him.
24 A. Yesterday I tried to show, with the help of maps, the positions of
25 the BH army forces or, rather, the territory which was under their
1 control. The Vitez Brigade could not control Ahmici because not a single
2 member of the Vitez Brigade or a Croat was in that part. Those were men
3 from some units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was that.
4 You asked me how is it that the brigade did not react to the
5 events in Ahmici. Well, it did not react simply because we were not aware
6 of what was happening, at least I didn't. For a couple of days we simply
7 did not know what had happened.
8 Secondly, all those units which did not make part of the Vitez
9 Brigade, they freely moved around the area. They were not under a command
10 so we did not know where those units were at every given moment.
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] You are saying that in point of
12 fact the Vitez Brigade had no authority over the territory which was part
13 of the territory of the Vitez municipality.
14 A. Well, evidently, if one refers to the whole territory, the Vitez
15 Brigade was receiving its orders from the military district, full parts of
16 the front line which were held by men of the Vitez Brigade and that was
17 that area of responsibility, because in some cases later on in the course
18 of the war, there were such instances when we needed assistance from other
20 Then, at the level of the military district, that is the Operative
21 Zone, certain segments of the positions would be assigned which were then
22 helped, whether we were helped out by members of the Stjepan Tomasevic
23 Brigade, Zrinjski, and so on. And for a certain period of time when the
24 offensive was slackened, they would go back to their own units so that was
1 If the responsibility of the brigade amounted only to what had
2 been assigned to it by an order and the brigade, that is, that part which
3 we keep calling brigade because in no case can we --
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But your orders came from whom?
5 From whom did these orders come?
6 A. We were receiving our orders from the military district, that is,
7 from the superior command, the immediate superior command.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Who exactly?
9 A. It was the commander. It was Commander Tihomir Blaskic who was
10 the commander of the military district.
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Following Their Honour's questions, just these two supplementary
14 ones before we turn to look at some documents. If what you are telling us
15 is true, and that there was a perceived threat in the Vitez area, then
16 there should have been a coordinated defence involving the Viteska
17 Brigade, the Jokers, if they were available, the military police and so
18 on. Am I correct in that?
19 A. No, you are not correct. First of all, because the Jokers and the
20 military police were never under the command of the Vitez Brigade, that is
21 what I keep saying. And secondly, you are right in as far as if there was
22 information that an overall attack was imminent, of course defence would
23 be organised, that would be normal. But it would be normal for a true
24 defence to be organised with the real units, who would be trained,
25 well-equipped, fully-manned, and we had none of that.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 As I said yesterday, the 300 men who were listed as members of the
2 Vitez Brigade --
3 Q. [Microphone not activated] ... because I want you to be responsive
4 to the questions I ask. I was asking you in general terms not whether
5 there would be coordination by the Viteska Brigade but whether there would
6 be a coordinated defence. And I think your answer to the question is: If
7 there was information of risk of the type I summarised, suggested, there
8 would be a coordinated defence coordinated, perhaps, by Blaskic.
9 A. Well, probably at the level of the superior command, they would
10 evaluate the situation and probably at that level, they would coordinate
11 the work of the Vitez Brigade, the Zrinjski Brigade, the Stjepan Tomasevic
12 Brigade. I assume that's how it was.
13 Q. You, with all your contemporaneous knowledge, and I'll just tell
14 you what it was you actually said to us yesterday, what you said was,
15 "Needless to say," -- this is page 77 of the way it's formulated
16 yesterday, line 14. You said this, "Needless to say, I have been
17 receiving more and more information about this to this day. Few people
18 were willing to talk about it, at least of those who participated in that
19 so far as I know." And you then went on to say something about the
20 specific reports or something in writing, "I never had in my hands. So
21 basically I do not know what happened there and how it happened."
22 Now, I come back to my question. With the information you've
23 received, you've been able to tell the Judges, quite emphatically, that
24 Cerkez and the Viteska Brigade had nothing to do with it so you've
25 obviously got a lot of detail. Are you really suggesting that at the same
1 time as the Viteska Brigade was ordered to conduct a legitimate defence,
2 other units were being coordinated to go and conduct an entirely criminal
3 attack? Is that what you're suggesting?
4 A. I assert that the Vitez Brigade, at the time in question, had a
5 clear and specific order from the superior command as to where and how
6 they should position some of their men, and the Vitez Brigade did this. I
7 also assert that the Vitez Brigade did not receive any order nor did it
8 take any action in the area where the village of Ahmici is located.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 MR. NICE: I can assist the Court in due course with specific
11 order because we are going to have to look at that if that's a matter of
12 concern. It's only a couple of questions away. I want to look at the
13 orders with this witness, in general terms, before I refocus on the
14 specific order that he's dealt with.
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I think the witness is talking
16 about a very precise order to take positions in certain places, that is,
17 could we have this -- what kind of a decision was that?
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. You've heard the learned Judge, Major. What kind of decision,
20 what kind of order was it that, as you understand it, Cerkez and the
21 Viteska Brigade received?
22 A. It was an order, the order that was here on the table yesterday,
23 that parts of the Vitez Brigade should take up positions facing Vranjska
24 and Kruscica and, if necessary, to prevent the passage of forces of the
25 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Kruscica in the direction of town. As far
1 as I can remember, that is what the order says.
2 JUDGE MAY: As far as your direct evidence is concerned, what you
3 can tell us directly was that you were ill at the headquarters the night
4 before for a short period, you spoke to Mr. Cerkez and heard certain
5 things from him. The next day, sometime before 7.00, again, ill, you
6 returned to the headquarters for a short time. You never saw where the
7 brigade was. You were merely told things. You can't give direct evidence
8 as to what happened at Ahmici. You've had conversations with people from
9 which you formed various views yourself or you were told various things.
10 Those conversations suggested that various units were the perpetrators,
11 but no individuals were mentioned.
12 Is that a fair description of what you can tell us?
13 A. Yes, that is correct. That's what I said.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Before we look at the documents then, just one more question for
16 you, as a military man, as you were. It would be utter folly for a
17 military commander to instruct units under his command to be doing
18 mutually contradictory things, one unit ignorant of what the other was
19 doing; correct?
20 A. Will you please repeat your question? I did not fully understand
22 Q. I'll ask it perhaps in another way. It would be folly to have
23 units under your command, if you are a commanding officer, ignorant of
24 what each other was doing. You've got one unit massacring Ahmici, and
25 another unit in an adjacent area acting in defence. It would be folly not
1 to keep one informed of what the other was doing.
2 A. Well, one unit may or may not know what another unit is doing. It
3 depends on where they are, how far away they are from each other, what
4 their assignments are and so on.
5 Q. Will you, as a military man, please, try to deal with the basic
6 propositions I have put to you, and then you can deal with it specifically
7 relating to Blaskic and these events. General principle, if you've got
8 people working on the same territory or an immediately adjacent territory,
9 under your command, you keep one informed of what the other is doing,
10 don't you?
11 A. Not necessarily. If you mean to say -- I don't understand you
12 fully. Are you saying that one brigade should inform another brigade of
13 its activities?
14 Q. I'll just deal with it specifically and then this really will be
15 the last question on this topic.
16 From all that you've learned, can you give any sensible reason why
17 Blaskic should have instructed the military police and the Jokers to have
18 carried out the attacks on Ahmici and other villages and yet to have kept
19 Viteska in the dark? Can you give any reason for that?
20 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I think that one fact was implied. I
21 would not like to warn the witness, but one fact which was implied which
22 was never said here, not particularly by this witness, he is not able to
23 understand that. That question should be rephrased.
24 JUDGE MAY: What are you objecting to?
25 MR. KOVACIC: Foundation for that question.
1 JUDGE MAY: The reference to Blaskic?
2 MR. KOVACIC: Correct.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, without a reference to Blaskic, perhaps you
4 could rephrase the question.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Could you think of any reason, please, whether it was Blaskic,
7 Kordic or anyone masterminding the events on the 15th and 16th should have
8 instructed the Jokers and the military police to go and attack certain
9 villages while keeping the Viteska Brigade completely in the dark about
10 what was happening?
11 A. I don't know whether these were the instructions, the orders.
12 Whether Blaskic issued them or not, I am not qualified to say, because I
13 don't know. I don't know how this happened. But why Mr. Blaskic did not
14 inform the Vitez Brigade, he probably did not think it necessary. He does
15 not have to inform every brigade if he issues an order to another unit.
16 He doesn't have to explain his orders or expand upon them so I don't know
17 the reason why he did not inform them. He probably did not think it was
19 Q. Can we now look, and I can save time by probably handing my copies
20 in straight away, at the original of 660, and -- because I want to look at
21 the document, if it can go straight on the ELMO, the original of 660.
22 JUDGE MAY: 660 being a reference to the exhibit?
23 MR. NICE: Yes. This is an order, focus on date, please, at the
24 top. This is an order of the 15th of April of 1993. I'm so sorry, can I
25 have it back? I've just noticed something that I haven't noticed before.
1 It is my mistake. Right. Well, I better deal with it in this way if you
2 put the English version on to begin with and I better explain something to
3 the Chamber that I was going to explain in any event in relation to
4 another document.
5 Your Honour, these orders from Blaskic, many of them were first
6 produced in the Blaskic trial. When they were first produced by counsel
7 for Blaskic, the numbers had been x-ed out and the document had been
8 recopied so the number didn't appear for whatever reason. In respect of
9 some documents, the numbers were subsequently retrieved so that in this
10 case, we can see that the document from another version has been
11 discovered as having the number 01-4-227 of 1993. In fact, if you look at
12 the original, this is obviously the generation that came in the Blaskic
13 trial, because if the usher would be good enough to show us the original,
14 we can see the number isn't there although the space for the number is.
15 None of this concerns the Major, and I'm sorry not to have, in
16 fact, realised this and got whatever document exists to support the
17 number. I'll try and find it. But if I can ask the Major this question,
18 looking now at the English version.
19 Q. Major, you don't have to trouble with much of what I have just
20 said to the learned Judges.
21 JUDGE MAY: He hasn't put the question yet, so you can't object.
22 MR. KOVACIC: I will not object on the question. I am objecting
23 to the document because it seems that we are talking about two different
24 documents according to --
25 JUDGE MAY: Wait for the question.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. If the documents are wrongly associated, I am very sorry, and,
3 again, that will have to be tidied up. But it would appear, Major, we can
4 satisfy everyone of this in due course, that on the 15th of April of 1993,
5 if you look at the English version, this much should be easily understood,
6 that there was an order from Blaskic at 1545 hours and its number was
7 227/93. You received orders from Blaskic. That's the way he did things;
9 A. Well, it's logical for us to receive orders from the superior
10 commander. That's the military hierarchy. That's the chain of command.
11 That's how it's done.
12 Q. The important point is he numbered his documents. He had serial
13 numbers, in this case, number 227 of 1993 for his documents or 227 for the
14 month of April. I don't know how it operated. And if you'd now like to
15 please look at -- in this case it does work, the original of 681 --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I don't think you've got a specific
17 answer to that question, but he numbered the documents.
18 MR. NICE: I was going to show him the next one and I think we'll
19 see the point, I hope. 681, and the original will serve the purpose.
20 Q. This is a Blaskic order, as we can see, at 9.15 on the morning of
21 the 16th of April, and we see the serial number now is 278. So assuming
22 that the serial numbers are used in an ordinary and obvious way, some 50
23 documents were generated by Blaskic in the intervening period of time. So
24 my question to you as a man who received, amongst other documents, these
25 orders is this: Blaskic used serial numbers for his documents in a
1 sequential way as suggested by these two documents; would that be
3 A. Well, I think, with all due respect, sir, I think you are
4 mistaken. I'll tell you why. The numbers that are put on documents are
5 the numbers in the entry book, the register, where all the documents are
6 entered. I do not know exactly what method was used in the Operative
7 Zone, how they entered their documents in the register, because every
8 brigade had its own method of recording documents. And what could have
9 happened was that orders would have a certain number -- an order would
10 have a certain kind of number, an instruction would have another kind of
11 number, another kind of document would have a third kind of number.
12 So in my opinion, it does not point to a sequence of documents.
13 These are not ordinal numbers which would show that between these two
14 documents 50 other documents had been issued. Simply this, as you see, is
15 entitled "Protest," so it's possible that it might have been entered in
16 another sequence. So all the documents issued sequentially from the
17 Operative Zone do not necessarily have ordinal numbers in sequence.
18 Q. I can entirely accept there may be more than one sequence, and
19 just, since you raise that point, I may be able to meet it, if the Chamber
20 will just indulge me for a minute. In fact, I don't think I can, at the
21 moment, in any event. But I'd like you now, please, to look at the
22 document that you concerned with yesterday --
23 JUDGE MAY: It's, in fact, 11.00. Would this be a convenient
24 moment, or do you want to ask about that particular document?
25 MR. NICE: After the break is as convenient as now.
1 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now for half an hour.
2 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.36 a.m.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, we have now located a version of Z660,
6 which doesn't have the number snowpacked out of it, and I'll make that
7 available to everyone in due course. Before I move on, the actions of
8 accounts in the Blaskic case in wiping the numbers out means that we've
9 got to be cautious before inferring anything from those generated
10 documents where numbers aren't there.
11 With that in mind, can the witness now, please, look at Exhibit
12 683.1, produced yesterday as D60/2, 683.1, which is indeed a document
13 which has had the number erased in the original. And it's the document I
14 think Judge Bennouna had in mind this morning in asking questions about
16 Q. Now, Major, you looked at this document yesterday, and I want to
17 know a few things from you, please. When are you saying you first saw
18 this document?
19 A. This document, I can't say for sure. Quite a bit of time had
20 passed until I saw it. I did not see it during that first time. I can't
21 say exactly when I first saw it.
22 Q. Well, did you see it simply by chance, or did you see it in the
23 course of considering the events of the night of the 15th, 16th, or what?
24 Just tell us.
25 A. As I said, I cannot say exactly when I first saw this document. I
1 think I first saw it when the archives were being sorted, this
2 documentation. Simply when -- when at one moment -- well, perhaps this
3 was the end of 1993, when the archives of our brigade were being sorted,
4 compiled, in order to have documents compiled in one place, because
5 documents were wandering about.
6 Q. When you saw it, you didn't associate it particularly with any
7 other document prepared and sent the same night, or did you?
8 A. Well, all these documents that came in during that night, I
9 actually saw only later. As far as the contents of this document are
10 concerned, I found out about this from Mr. Cerkez. He told me about it.
11 So I didn't think it was necessary in that chaos and all that to ask for
12 that document, to see that document.
13 Q. Mr. Cerkez what, told you about it? Well, when did he tell you
14 about it?
15 A. Well, on the 15th, in the evening. He said that it would arrive.
16 When I asked whether there was a written order for all the activities that
17 the brigade was supposed to carry out, or rather to take this area as
18 ordered, he said that the written order had not arrived yet but that it
19 was supposed to arrive during the night.
20 Q. And this, so that we can understand it, if it was on the 15th, it
21 has to be in that 45 minutes between 8.00 and 8.30; is that right?
22 A. That's right. I think it was then.
23 Q. And are you saying, so that I can follow this, are you saying that
24 all of what we find set out here on this document -- and please have
25 another look at it -- all of what we find here was already forecast by
1 Cerkez to you in that meeting on the evening of the 15th?
2 A. Well, I cannot say that he said all of this to me verbatim, but he
3 gave me the essence. I can't remember now. I mean, you know, he didn't
4 have the document in front of himself. He wasn't reading from it, but he
5 conveyed the essence of this document to me.
6 Q. Tell me: There was discussion of a possible Muslim attack, wasn't
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What intelligence had you had about a Muslim attack?
10 A. I can't remember that we had some special intelligence.
11 Intelligence was mainly channelled to the headquarters [as interpreted],
12 and whatever the command headquarters thought that we should know that
13 pertained to our brigade, that is what they sent to us. As for this
14 intelligence, well, the entire intelligence situation was being monitored
15 all the time, in view of the incidents that had occurred. There were some
16 indications that some sabotage groups were being prepared that could
17 possibly be sent into the territory of Vitez -- sabotage, diversion groups
18 -- and this information was heard even before the 15th, but I cannot
19 assess how correct this was.
20 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, just briefly, may I intervene? The
21 witness said -- "the intelligence which was channelled to the
22 headquarters": That is in the record. The witness said "to the higher,
23 superior headquarters." The word "superior" or "higher" headquarters is
24 missing, and that is changing the thing substantially. We need that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. NICE: Thank you.
2 Q. Major, what we can be sure of is this: At the very least, the
3 records of Blaskic will contain, or should contain, a document or
4 documents showing what attack was feared that led to these actions on the
5 night of the 15th, 16th.
6 A. I don't know now about the quality of the intelligence itself,
7 whether they were corroborated by some documents. In the military, the
8 intelligence service does not have to write a document accompanying every
9 piece of information. That is one thing. Secondly, every information can
10 be either 100 per cent sure, well-founded; then it cannot be thoroughly
11 checked out; and then there can be others that are yet to be checked out.
12 But information is information. I'm sorry. I don't know that there is a
13 document that would present the actual intelligence situation on the
14 ground to Mr. Blaskic. I didn't see anything like that.
15 Q. There also ought to be a record, written record, of Blaskic's
16 explanation of the risk to your Commander Cerkez, shouldn't there?
17 A. I'm sorry, what kind of risk are you referring to, risk from an
19 Q. Yes, the risk from an attack should have been in a document sent
20 to Cerkez by Blaskic. We can see how meticulous Blaskic was with his
21 letter writing and his order giving.
22 A. In every order to a subordinate unit concerning combat operations,
23 it is necessary to have what is objectively possible and also the
24 information available about the enemy at that time. That is the
25 methodology according to which orders are worked out. So he probably
1 gave, through all the orders, what he deemed necessary to give.
2 Q. You see there are two possibilities I'm going to ask you to
3 consider, possibly three, but certainly two. One is that there was
4 intelligence about information about a possible attack and it was genuine,
5 that is it was genuine information. The other alternative is that
6 although an attack may have been talked about or a threatened attack may
7 have been talked about -- that although a threatened attack may have been
8 talked about, it was entirely fabricated and it was mentioned simply as an
9 excuse for what was to happen on the morning of the 16th. Now those are
10 two possibilities.
11 Can you help us by any document to show that the discussion of a
12 threatened attack by the BiH was genuine as opposed to something simply
13 being made up to justify what was going to happen?
14 A. I don't know why that would be an excuse. That's not clear to
15 me. I cannot show you any document about an attack of the BH army being
16 expected 100 per cent for sure. Very often, during the war, there has to
17 be an overall assessment of the situation on the ground where all factors
18 are considered that could bring about a worsening of the situation and
19 possibly lead to a conflict.
20 So this assessment, on the basis of which General Blaskic probably
21 issued such orders, is based upon something -- on some kind of information
22 that he had. That, I don't know. However, through this specific order,
23 one can also see that we should just be ready if there is a conflict.
24 MR. NICE: Very well.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, still in keeping with
1 this decision that I had asked a question about, it was said necessary to
2 have a look at it to have an idea of the type of orders that were
3 delivered on that day of the 16th of April.
4 Could the witness tell us how he understands paragraph two. I
5 read in English. [In English] "The assignment of your forces is to occupy
6 the defence region, the blockade of villages, and prevent all entrances to
7 and exits from the villages."
8 [Interpretation] Therefore, paragraph two, apparently deals with
9 the defence of the region. It mentions villages in general whilst the
10 first paragraph is more specific as to the direction to be taken.
11 Paragraph two mentions the defence region, the blockade of villages, and
12 the fact of preventing all entrances to and exits from the villages.
13 Could the witness tell us what the region is that he is speaking
14 about, the region which is supposed to be defended?
15 A. The specific region can be seen in paragraph one of this order,
16 that is the area that gravitates towards the villages of Kruscica and
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So when they mention villages in
19 general, what are the villages mentioned here?
20 A. These two villages that are mentioned in paragraph one. When it
21 says "villages," it is the plural, and it is those two villages.
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Therefore, you are of the view
23 that paragraph two does not deal with the specific territory that would be
24 under the command of the Viteska Brigade?
25 A. No. I think that paragraph two does deal with a specific
1 territory, a specific part of the municipality where the Viteska Brigade
2 has the task of locating that part towards these two villages. That's
3 specific for me.
4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. But, Major, you haven't even begun to address the letter as whole,
7 look at the heading, "Blockade the broader territory of Kruscica,
8 Vranjska, and Donja Veceriska." It's not the two villages to start with,
9 is it, nothing like?
10 A. Well, all right. I just paid attention to paragraph one, that's
11 true, the preamble says Donja Veceriska as well.
12 Q. And before we put the map on the ELMO, just look at the last
13 sentence, please, of paragraph one. "The enemy will probably use infantry
14 units, but will direct G/S at the command headquarters and other HVO
16 Was your activity really limited to just these two villages?
17 A. Our activity was limited to these two villages because as far as
18 the village of Donja Veceriska is concerned, as far as the village of
19 Donja Veceriska is concerned, it can be seen from this order that that's
20 where the civilian police forces were, that is to say, that the Viteska
21 Brigade had the exclusive task of dealing with those two villages that are
22 mentioned in paragraph one.
23 Q. Did you follow the Blaskic trial when it was going on in this
25 A. From time to time on television.
1 Q. Can you explain, please, how it was that Blaskic was talking to
2 Cerkez on the morning of the 16th with Cerkez being in Donja Veceriska and
3 seeking assistance?
4 A. I'm not aware of that.
5 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honours, if I may intervene. That is merely
6 assertion. That was not mentioned in no document, no testimony, nothing.
7 It is -- the purpose, I doubt, is something else.
8 JUDGE MAY: The witness says he doesn't know anything about it.
9 Counsel is entitled to put things. It's a matter of whether the witness
10 accepts them or not but it's not, of course, evidence if counsel puts
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I wanted to find out from the witness
14 the distance between those villages mentioned: Kruscica, Vranjska, and
15 Donja Veceriska on the one hand, and Ahmici on the other.
16 MR. NICE: If we lay the map on top of the document, because I
17 will be returning to the document, the map number is 273.2 -- I haven't
18 got the number, but I'll get it right in a minute.
19 This map, Your Honour, contrary to what I said on an earlier
20 occasion, the squares are two-kilometre squares so that if we look a
21 little bit to the left of where we are at the moment or focus down on to
22 Ahmici and Nadioci to the right with Pirici above them, and Santici on the
23 main road, one can see there the distance. And if we run to the left --
24 if the usher would be so good to move it across a little bit further to
25 the left as well -- we then come to Vitez and we can see the river running
1 up and crossing the road south -- north of Divjak. Then Donja Veceriska
2 lies just south-west of Divjak, and then I think I may seek the
3 witness' -- no, sorry, Kruscica we can see now dead centre and to the
4 bottom of the map marked as an area --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where are the other two?
6 MR. NICE: Perhaps the witness can help us with them. We need --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: We can see Vranjska.
9 MR. NICE: Yes. Vranjska, yes, is indeed an area there, yes. I
10 hope that helps because the scale of the map is shown at the foot of it,
11 and it seems clear that each square is two kilometres.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would he still try to give a distance?
13 MR. NICE: Yes, of course.
14 Q. You've heard the learned Judge's question, Major. Would you
15 please try and give what you understand to be the distance between
16 Kruscica, Vranjska, and Donja Veceriska and Ahmici?
17 A. You mentioned three villages now and there are three different
18 distances involved. That is to say Donja Veceriska -- Donja Veceriska,
19 just a minute, please. Donja Veceriska is about six and a half kilometres
20 away from Ahmici, Kruscica about five kilometres, and Vranjska about four
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. While we've got the map there and before I part from it, can we go
25 back just a bit to the left, please, and we see Divjak and Veceriska and
1 we remember that the SPS factory, this is right, Major, isn't it, that
2 lies on that road that is between Donja Veceriska and Gacice, correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. What are the other names for that factory or the other factories
6 A. It used to be a single factory there, Slobodan Princip Seljo and
7 then they made different companies, Vitezit, Sintevit, and SPS which is
8 also Slobodan Princip Seljo. Then there were three companies, that is to
9 say -- I can't tell you more about this. I never worked in this company
10 so I don't know about its current set up.
11 Q. If you look at the bridge, there must be a bridge, do you see, to
12 Divjak. There's a bridge there where the road crosses the river or the
13 river crosses the road, I can't remember which. What's that bridge
15 A. As far as I know, there is no special name.
16 Q. Very well.
17 A. The Divjak bridge, the bridge on Divjak.
18 Q. The UNPROFOR forces at the time were located to the north-west of
19 Divjak, beyond that bridge, weren't they?
20 A. One part -- one part was to the north-east of Divjak, that is to
21 say, before the bridge, and the other part to the north-west, in Bila.
22 Q. All right. Let's come back to the --
23 MR. NICE: Thank you very much, usher. That's very helpful.
24 Q. If we can come back to the document. And we've looked at
25 paragraphs 1 and 2, because we see the assignment of forces, paragraph 2:
1 to occupy the defence regions, prevent entrances and exits, and so on.
2 Time of readiness, 0530 on the 16th. A very precise time. Was that
3 because you were being told that the threat from the Muslim forces,
4 genuine or false, was expected at a specific time in the morning?
5 A. In the first part of your question, you say that item 2 shows the
6 intent to occupy villages and take certain positions. That is not true.
7 Item 2 shows that parts of the Vitez Brigade forces should take positions
8 in the territory controlled by Croats; in other words, ahead, in front of
9 the villages in Kruscica and Vranjska, and that they should be ready there
10 in case the BH army attempted to break through from Kruscica and Vranjska,
11 or rather than occupy any villages, they cannot occupy their villages.
12 They were in our own villages.
13 Q. Then we come --
14 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to answer the question now? You didn't
15 answer the question. You were asked about the time, the very precise
16 time. Can you offer any explanation as to that?
17 A. Well, every combat order indicates the time of readiness, and time
18 of readiness means the last -- the deadline by which the units need to be
19 ready for a possible action, that is, execute the order. And our
20 formations along this direction executed the order by the very fact of
21 taking those positions in our villages facing those two villages, so that
22 by that time they were expected to do it.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. Let's just come back to the time shortly. I suggest to you, you
25 know perfectly well that it's important, and I'll come back to that in a
2 If we move down on the document, if the usher could assist us, to
3 the lower paragraphs. That's fine. They're already there. Thank you
4 very much.
5 If we pass over 3 and 4 for the time being, would you look,
6 please, at paragraph 5, Major. Other points of the command conform to
7 earlier specified instructions. Now, you're being brought here to tell us
8 about what happened, so perhaps you'll tell us about the earlier specified
10 A. I can't really say much about item 5, because if these are earlier
11 specified instructions, they could have been transmitted to the brigade
12 commander by the Operative Zone commander either orally or by telephone or
13 perhaps in some other way. I mean, what do I know? I don't know what
14 this is about. I don't know what were those earlier specified
16 Q. Major, you see, you've come here to give us the benefit of what
17 you've learnt from talking to Cerkez, talking to everyone else, looking at
18 maps, and you're not going to tell us or you can't tell us what the
19 earlier specified instructions are? I'm going to suggest to you it's that
20 you're not prepared to.
21 A. Well, you are entitled to your impressions, but I really tell you
22 that I do not know which are those earlier specified instructions. And
23 what were those instructions, whether they were in writing, were they
24 oral, I don't know; I really don't.
25 Q. There was an earlier discussion, at which you may well have been
1 present -- I don't know -- of which you're aware, I'm going to suggest to
2 you, where it was agreed to launch an attack at half past 5.00 on various
3 villages, including Ahmici, and that's what's probably referred to here in
4 "earlier specified instructions."
5 A. I cannot agree with that. I did not attend any previous talks or
6 meetings. I don't know what you mean. I explained to you when I came to
7 the command of the 15th, in the evening, and all that day I hadn't been to
8 the command.
9 Q. At that earlier meeting the fate of Ahmici and the other villages,
10 and the villagers of those villages, was sealed, and you know it, Major;
11 so did Cerkez, on the night itself.
12 A. Excuse me. I do not know that that is correct, and I am not aware
13 of any previous agreements -- not agreements, I mean meetings at the
14 military district. Well, that's only natural. There was a meeting every
15 day there. But I was not present there and I wasn't present at a meeting
16 that possibly took place which you are mentioning. And I didn't know that
17 allegedly, as you claim, we were planning to attack Ahmici and other
18 villages, and so on and so forth. I do not know of any such agreement,
19 nor did I take part in any such agreement.
20 Q. If, as you say, there was some information -- let's call it
21 intelligence -- about a threatened attack by the ABiH, there would be
22 nothing to stop you discussing that with UNPROFOR, would there?
23 A. I don't understand. Could you repeat it, please.
24 Q. Would there be any reason why, if you had the general concerns
25 about a threatened attack, you shouldn't discuss it, you shouldn't mention
1 it to UNPROFOR?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. Would there be any --
4 A. I can't -- I can't answer that question now. I don't -- I don't
5 know in those moments how people thought and what they talked about seven
6 years ago. I don't know whether I would have talked to UNPROFOR if I were
7 in that situation.
8 Q. Well, there was certainly no need to keep UNPROFOR out of the
9 information, or come to that, no need to keep UNPROFOR out of the area,
10 was there?
11 A. No, no reason, as far as I know.
12 MR. NICE: Thank you.
13 Can the witness, see, please, and then I'm going to turn to
14 another topic, D85/2, the map that he produced yesterday. It may be that
15 this map will be easier to use now that we've reminded ourselves of the
16 map on the larger scale.
17 Q. The blue marks drawn by you represent, is this correct, the area
18 of activity of the Viteska Brigade?
19 A. Yes. For the most part, yes, the area of activity of the Vitez
20 Brigade, but in part also the positions of the military, that is, civilian
21 police, in the western part, or shall I say left part of the map, because
22 blue indicates the positions which were to be taken by Croat forces.
23 Q. So even on your drawing of the map, the right-hand extremity of
24 the Viteska's area of interest is very close to Santici and very close to
25 Ahmici and Nadioci?
1 A. Well, relatively, yes, relatively close, because this area was
2 throughout so narrow, so small, so restricted, that there was no room for
3 any manoeuvres on any larger scale. Quite simply, this area was
4 compressed from both sides, from the north and from the south.
5 Q. And the brigade from Vitez had to join up with the brigade from
6 Busovaca, and where did it join? Somewhere in the region of Rovna or
7 Hrasno? Would that be right?
8 A. No. It wasn't that one brigade joined another brigade, but the
9 points of contact were indicated, that is, the place where two brigades
10 came into contact, where they were to physically link up. But neither
11 brigade would enter the area of another brigade. But that was I think
12 somewhere at Rovna. It's difficult to say really, because the relief is
13 such there, it is hilly, there are woods, so even the boundaries of
14 villages are not quite clear. You can't really see them on the map.
15 Q. Now, the way you've drawn the green line to the north is that it
16 comes down almost -- indeed comes down to the road at Santici, and then a
17 little to the east of that, just south of Ahmici. You know, don't you,
18 that the attack on Ahmici, from all you've heard, was mounted from that
19 road; correct?
20 A. I don't know where the attack on Ahmici came from. And as for
21 this drawing on the map, we need to understand one thing. When you use
22 such a thick marker on the panel, you cannot really be very precise,
23 because the panel will show a cover of a map, so it cannot be to a metre
24 really precise.
25 Q. May I just, to correct the map, then, because we know that the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Bungalow of the Jokers was on, I think, the north side of that red road,
2 close to Ahmici and Nadioci. Can we take it that that green line should
3 really be regarded as some distance, at any event, some distance north of
4 that red road, exposing Ahmici and Nadioci to the attack that was made on
5 it from the road?
6 A. I can't understand what you are asking me. This green line that I
7 drew is an imagined line which simply separates the territory which is
8 under the -- how to put it? -- the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is,
9 parts of the municipality inhabited by the Bosniak population and where
10 the control was in the hands of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is
11 this imagined line which I marked in green. And nobody can say --
12 Q. Very well. Let's worry no more about it, because you can help me
13 with this. If what you're telling us is true and this operation was, so
14 far as the Viteska Brigade was concerned, a legitimate defence operation,
15 there will no doubt be contemporaneous documents, possibly including maps,
16 showing where your troops were disposed and recording what they did;
18 A. Could you repeat this, or at least split it into two questions,
20 Q. I'll break it down and make it as simple as I can. Where are the
21 documents prepared at the time showing the disposition of your troops and
22 recording what they did?
23 A. Documents dating to that time can show only the positions of parts
24 of the Vitez Brigade on the defence line towards Goles, that is, at Slatka
25 Voda and so on. As to this situation here, no combat documents were drawn
1 up. Quite simply, this was a normal situation, to pay so much more
2 attention to a certain part of the municipality, to perhaps send more men
3 there. But there were no special combat documents, nor was there any --
4 was there adequate, professionally-trained personnel to do that.
5 Q. Finally, if the document that we've been looking at for half past
6 1.00 in the morning for the 16th of April is a genuine document in the
7 sense that it was prepared at the time and reflected what orders were
8 given to the Viteska Brigade, would you accept, Major, that there must be
9 documents in existence going from Blaskic to the other parts of the
10 evening's activities, to the Jokers and to the military police?
11 A. I guess -- what do I know? I don't know whether Mr. Blaskic sent
12 any other orders to anyone else or any other documents. How can I know
13 such a thing?
14 Q. You have been at pains to say things about the military police for
15 the brigade. I'm not sure I understood your evidence yesterday, but does
16 it come to this: You're saying although the term "brigade military
17 police" was used, at the material times there was no such thing as
18 "brigade military police."
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. Is there any difference between what happened, so far as you know,
21 what happened to the Viteska Brigade and what happened with other brigades
22 under Blaskic's general command so far as military police was concerned?
23 A. When I spoke about the military police, I said it yesterday. From
24 the 4th Battalion of the Military Police, parts were sent, I wouldn't call
25 them platoons, but groups of military policemen were sent to other
1 brigades in order to perform those basic functions of the military
2 police. And the same applies to the Viteska Brigade. So that presumably,
3 not presumably but in all likelihood, all those other groups are called
4 brigade military police. But brigade military police not as -- the
5 organic part of the brigade, but simply because, at a given moment, it was
6 with the brigade.
7 Q. As to other brigades, there is no reason to believe that their
8 relationship with the military police was any different from the
9 relationship that the Viteska Brigade had with the military police;
11 A. I don't know how it was in other brigades. I think that it was
12 the same, but I don't know.
13 Q. You gave a lot of evidence yesterday about the distance, if I can
14 put it in that way, between the military police and the Viteska Brigade.
15 Did you understand that you were giving that evidence because of the
16 importance of there being a distance between the Viteska Brigade and the
17 military police on the night of the 15th, 16th of April?
18 A. I really don't know what you mean. I'm really sorry, but I am
19 simply completely confused as to what you are driving at. Could you
20 simplify your question?
21 Q. Very well. I'll abandon that question and take you through some
22 document swiftly, please.
23 MR. NICE: I'm afraid these are new documents. They arise from
24 the evidence given yesterday, and I'll try to deal with them quickly.
25 Your Honour, the purpose of this is to try to get the true picture
1 of the military police in Blaskic's area of command before the Chamber.
2 Q. This is a document, Major, it's not from your brigade, it's from
3 the Gornji Vakuf Brigade. It's dated the 11th of November of 1992 and
4 it's an order that, "Unit commanders are ordered to hold an inspection of
5 their units and describe the existing and spent MTS according to the
6 following schedule," and one of the identified units of that brigade is as
7 of November, 1992, we see third from the bottom, military police.
8 Now, that brigade, if this document is correct, appears to have a
9 military police unit as part of its formation. Can you explain why it
10 should be the case that the Viteska Brigade should be different in some
12 A. To begin with, I cannot properly comment on this document because
13 it has to do with Gornji Vakuf and we were cut off from it even
14 territorially, and I do not know what went on there. But one must bear in
15 mind that the brigade, that is the term "brigade", militarily speaking,
16 does not always denote the same thing. There are different types of
18 Now, which brigade was formed in Gornji Vakuf, I don't know.
19 There is infantry brigade, there is motorised brigade, mechanised brigade,
20 armoured mechanised brigade, and so on and so forth, and there are all
21 different types of brigades. So I do not know which is this and how was
22 it formed. And in Gornji Vakuf, presumably they had more time and more
23 opportunity to form a brigade, perhaps --
24 Q. All right. Next exhibit, 371.1, please. You weren't cut off from
25 Zenica, were you, at the time, or were you in January of 1993?
1 A. No, we were not cut off from Zenica formally, but I believe there
2 were some checkpoints up at Vjetrenice where the next entrance is from
3 Zenica that were controlled by the members of the BH army. Whether it was
4 their police or --
5 Q. All right. Well, on the 16th of January, 1993, the command of the
6 Jure Francetic Brigade of Zenica, pursuant to orders received from the
7 commander of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, and for replenishing
8 weapons, the order goes out, "Personal weapons distributed to be taken
9 from persons listed below." And then after that it says in paragraph two,
10 "The chief of security and commander of the military police platoon of
11 the Jure Francetic Brigade and the 3rd and 4th platoons of the 4th
12 Military Police Battalion is personally responsible for the implementation
13 of this order."
14 And then it was sent off to the commander of the 3rd and 4th
15 Battalions of the Military Police and to the platoon commander of the
16 Military Police of the Jure Francetic Brigade. So that brigade appeared
17 to have its own military police; do you accept that?
18 A. I don't know. This document doesn't really tell me anything in
19 particular. We cannot see from this document whether the individuals
20 indicated here were members of the Jure Francetic Brigade or were they
21 members of the 4th Battalion of the Military Police and then were attached
22 to that brigade. This document tells me very little.
23 Q. I see. Very well. Well, let's look at one for the Travnik
24 Brigade, also the 21st of January, 383.3. This is a document signed by
25 Filip Filipovic and it's to do with salaries. We need only look at the
1 beginning. It's a command of a payment of salaries according to payrolls,
2 and this is what it says under paragraph two, "I am determining those who
3 will effect the pay of salaries in the," presumed to read HVO, it's not
4 very clear, "according to the units as follows: 1st Battle, 2nd Battle,
5 3rd Battle, Brigade command, and then military police, and then brigade
6 military police."
7 Now, just help us, please. You have come here to tell us all
8 about the military police or a lot about them. Do you accept that the
9 Travnik Brigade had it's own military police?
10 A. I cannot accept that the Travnik Brigade had its own police. And
11 as for what it says here, it's quite possible that the person who was
12 supposed to pay out the salaries of these policemen in order to be more
13 efficient and faster, distributed their pay to them. That person probably
14 collected their pay from their command and carried it there because they
15 were there.
16 Q. I don't want to debate it with you but there's already an
17 instruction to the military police separately to Slavica Barovic. This
18 document makes it clear that there are two entirely separate units, there
19 is the military police and there is the brigade military police and you
20 know that, don't you, Major? Because you are trying to mislead the
21 Chamber into thinking there is a greater divide between the military
22 police and between the brigades than, in fact, there was?
23 A. I don't know what kind of divide you are referring to.
24 MR. NICE: All right.
25 Your Honour, for the sake of completeness, I'm not going to show
1 it; it takes time. The Chamber will remember that I put to an earlier
2 witness 545.2, the 16th of March document which was in the form of a
3 request to the HVO Military Police from Cerkez. That was a request not an
4 order. I've already dealt with that.
5 If we look at the next document it's 551.3. It's another request
6 which again, for fullness and fairness, I put in.
7 Q. This is a document, Major, from Cerkez, on the 18th of March
8 requesting people to be brought into custody and being sent to the Vitez
9 Military Police, all right? You'd accept that that's the sort of order
10 that Cerkez would have made, I imagine.
11 A. This, according to me, is the regular route to be followed when
12 the military police was used for the purposes of the brigade.
13 Q. Thank you. The next exhibit is part of an article from a magazine
14 called Bojovnik which is the HVO's bi-weekly military magazine, correct,
15 or was the HVO's bi-weekly military magazine?
16 Now, I'm just going to read a passage. It's the third sheet in
17 the English version, page six in the B/C/S. This is the article of a
18 soldier who became a military policeman. In the middle of the page in the
19 English version on the third sheet, third page, and I hope you can find
20 this, if necessary, on the sixth sheet goes as follows: "After I left the
21 special unit, I wanted to join the HVO police since there already existed
22 regional HVO police, the commander of which was Dobrica Jonjic who
23 promised to enrol me. On several occasions, I even had to insist to be
24 accepted in this police. I was told there was no positions. I was
25 invited to join the newly formed HVO Jure Francetic." And then after the
1 next question, the soldier says, "We have fair and professional
2 relationships. Everyone knows who is subordinate and superordinate to
3 whom." And then this: "The orders that we receive from the brigade
4 commander and from our platoon leader are carried out correctly,
5 honourably, and honestly, and we try, within our abilities, to complete
6 each task." He goes on to deal with the training.
7 Isn't that the reality that military police were within the
8 command of commanders?
9 A. You are presenting a document connected to the Jure Francetic HVO
10 Brigade in Zenica and this weekly was published by the Zenica HVO so it
11 has nothing to do with Vitez.
12 Q. Very well.
13 A. When I look at this text more closely, I have the impression that
14 this was a civilian policeman who had completed school in Sarajevo and
15 then probably worked somewhere. I haven't read the entire text.
16 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Nice. What is
17 being discussed here is whether the military police, as such, can somehow
18 be regarded as an independent autonomous unit or entity. However,
19 generally speaking, the military police are not autonomous in a military
21 Could the witness tell us as regards Vitez and what he has
22 testified about whether the military police there was autonomous in
23 relation to the military structure, in relation to the brigade? Is that
24 what you are maintaining, sir, that is, that the military police was
25 autonomous in regard to the brigade in Vitez?
1 A. That's exactly what I'm saying, but perhaps it should be clarified
2 that in Central Bosnia, there was the 4th Military Police Battalion, there
3 were also the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but at the level of the entire level of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the military police command was not in Vitez. I
5 don't know exactly what it was called. It was -- excuse me, it was
6 somewhere in Herzegovina, whether in Mostar or Grude, I can't remember.
7 That's where their main command was.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Therefore, the Vitez Military
9 Police would receive their orders from where, exactly, if I got you
11 A. Well, mostly I think orders arrived through the Operative Zone,
12 through the corps, because that was the highest level of command at that
13 time in Central Bosnia and in Vitez.
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Because you speak about the 4th
15 Battalion of the Military Police in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you say that the
16 command of the military police was not located in Vitez. So what is the
17 link between the Vitez Military Police and that battalion of the military
18 police you mentioned? What is the connection between the two?
19 A. Well, it was the same police. The entire military police in the
20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was divided into battalions, that was
21 the professional military police, and the 4th Battalion was in Central
22 Bosnia. I don't know where the others were, on which territories, but
23 they had their common command, and I'm not sure whether it was in Mostar
24 or Grude, but it was somewhere around there.
25 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. You understand, don't you, Major, that the significance of all of
3 this is as follows: If military police, whether from the brigade or
4 whether called brigade military police or from the 4th Battalion were
5 involved in Ahmici, and if they were in the command of Cerkez, then Cerkez
6 will bear responsibility for them; correct?
7 A. Well, they were not under the command of Cerkez. And that parts
8 of the 4th Battalion were involved in Ahmici, well, that's something that
9 I have already said that I heard.
10 Q. And you told us yesterday that although there were people called
11 brigade military police, they weren't, in any sense, under the direct
12 command of the commander of a brigade until August; correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And you're not really acknowledging any particular closeness
15 between the 4th Brigade of the Military Police and the Viteska Brigade
16 either in April of 1993 or at all, are you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. If we can look at the next exhibit, 902.2, please.
19 This is a document from -- only a draft translation at the moment,
20 I'm afraid. It's from Blaskic, it's dated the 11th of May, and it is
21 sent, I think, to the Vitez Forward Command Post. It's in respect of
22 carrying out sabotage and ambush operations and it goes to the commander
23 of the Vitez Brigade personally, to the commander of the 4th Military
24 Police Battalion, Vitez, for information. And it says this:
25 "Due to the intensification of activities by Muslim forces in the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 area of the farm feature Divjak, and due to constant supply of MTS and
2 fresh sources from Novi Travnik to Kruscica, and in order to prevent these
3 activities, I hereby order ..." And then 1 is evaluation, 2 is "Contact
4 the 4th Military Police Battalion and agree on engagement of members of
5 the Jokers unit in executing the planned operation. Prepare and conduct
6 the operation at the highest level of secrecy."
7 Now, that's the way things operated, is it, with the 4th Military
8 Police Battalion, that Blaskic would give an order to Cerkez and that
9 people like the Jokers and the 4th Military Police would cooperate, fall
10 into line, and do what they were told?
11 A. Well, first of all, it's a little illogical, in item 2, that
12 contact should be established with the commander of the 4th Military
13 Police Battalion and the Jokers. I think these are two separate units.
14 But this is a normal way for things to be done. Why not?
15 For this task, Blaskic could have issued an order to the commander
16 of the Vitez Brigade to establish contact with the commander of the 4th
17 Battalion of the military police. Why not? And this was for the carrying
18 out of this order. So the commander of the brigade could not have on his
19 own initiative taken men from the military police unit without contacting
20 their commander. So in this case alone, with Blaskic's command, he could
21 have contacted the military police commander to reach an agreement with
22 him not to issue an order to him.
23 Q. He could have done exactly the same sort of thing on the night of
24 the Ahmici massacre, couldn't he?
25 A. You mean he could have agreed with the commander of the 4th
1 Battalion of the Military Police on his own initiative? Do you mean
3 Q. He could have instructed Cerkez, whether in writing or otherwise,
4 to contact, to agree with, and to act together with the 4th Military
5 Police and the Jokers. This document shows how things happened, Major,
6 doesn't it, when there were joint operations? It's as clear as daylight.
7 A. This document shows how things were done in particular cases.
8 This case is connected specifically to a certain operation and refers only
9 to that operation and no other.
10 Q. I accept that, in the same way as I'm going to ask you to accept
11 that we haven't seen anything like all the orders that were issued on the
12 night of the 15th, 16th. Do you accept that you haven't produced all the
13 orders that must have been issued by Blaskic on the night of the 15th,
15 A. I don't understand. Where haven't I produced them?
16 MR. NICE: Perhaps that's a matter of argument. I'll move on to
17 the next document, and indeed I think the penultimate one in the series,
18 30th of May, Exhibit 997.2.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, may I just -- it's not interruption of
20 questioning. It's just for the record. We have never seen such
21 documents, so we do not -- we cannot be sure whether it is truthful,
22 whether it's authentic. We never saw it. And even I'm not sure whether
23 this document is coming from current discoveries in Zagreb, because all
24 the discoveries we are receiving from Zagreb are marked by the small stamp
25 on the upper right corner with the words "national archives." So it could
1 also be -- it could also be -- I'm not claiming that -- an earlier
2 document in the possession which was not discovered.
3 MR. NICE: I'll clarify the position over the lunch adjournment
4 and explain it to Mr. Kovacic, and we can raise it with the Chamber if
6 Q. Now then, Major, you see, you've told us, quite emphatically, that
7 the document of August that you produced marks the opening day on which
8 there were command -- on which there were brigade military police subject
9 to the brigade's commander. This is a document dated the 30th of May of
10 1993. It comes from Blaskic. It's an order on the organisation of units
11 in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. It goes, as we can see, to the
12 commanders of brigades 1 to 10. It also goes to -- and Vitez is, of
13 course, mentioned there within the defence offices. It goes to the
14 commanders of the independent units, various kinds, and to the military
15 police battalions. And it reads:
16 "An assessment of the situation regarding organisation of HVO
17 units in the Central Bosnia Operative Zone and the quality of the command
18 and control system in the units showed numerous weaknesses, resulting in
19 duality of leadership and command, overlapping of authority, unauthorised
20 combat operations without orders from a superior commander, insecurity
21 among citizens in HVO-controlled areas, inability to prevent crime, and
22 large numbers of HVO and civilian casualties.
23 "In order to remedy these shortcomings I hereby issue the
24 following order: All units in a brigade zone of responsibility are
25 subordinate to the command and control of the brigade commander. The
1 combat use of units in a brigade's zone of responsibility and the
2 execution of combat operations is the exclusive jurisdiction of the
3 brigade commanders who are personally responsible for Blaskic. Units
4 which have been formed upon an initiative without an establishment decreed
5 and approved by the Mostar defence department shall be immediately
7 Now, I don't know if I need read the rest. You must have been
8 aware of this order, Major. It came in May of 1993. Were you?
9 A. I can't remember now. There were so many papers, so many orders.
10 But this order is very clear. It is not clear to me what is not clear
11 here. You have not asked me a question.
12 Q. I have. I've asked you if you were aware of this order, Major,
13 because you produced a later one and I want to know why this one wasn't
14 produced. Did you really not remember it or did you really not see it?
15 A. I don't remember it.
16 Q. Because what it says is that things have to be made regular, and
17 it makes it clear that all units are in the brigade commander's
18 responsibility. Now, that's not what you told us yesterday, is it?
19 Because you told us yesterday that military police, brigade and otherwise,
20 were independent until August. Why did you tell us that yesterday?
21 A. I don't know -- you're not giving me enough time to explain, and
22 it's evident that either you -- you are not aware of how things looked,
23 how things were.
24 So let's start from this order. An order saying that all units in
25 the brigade zone of responsibility are subordinate to the command and
1 control of the brigade commander is a framework order which I assert could
2 never have been carried out, because certain units could never be put
3 under the command of the brigade.
4 First of all, the Vitezovi PPN, Special Purposes Unit, and the
5 other units never permitted brigade commanders to issue them orders.
6 There were even cases when there were conflicts between them and the
7 commander of the corps and Colonel Blaskic when they openly refused to
8 obey his orders. So -- excuse me -- there is -- there was no chance of
9 putting these units under the command of the Vitez Brigade.
10 This order means that when, with the permission -- or if it is so
11 ordered by the superior command, if a brigade, in certain periods of time
12 or in cases of fierce fighting, helps with some of their men, this order
13 means that those men are put at the disposal, for a strictly limited
14 period of time, of the brigade. They are helping. And that those men are
15 then under the command of the brigade commander.
16 JUDGE MAY: Major, you are asking us to believe that, are you? If
17 that is what the order meant, why didn't it say so?
18 A. I have just said the order does say that all units are
19 subordinate, but I'm saying that it could never have been carried out in
20 practice, nor was it carried out as it's stated.
21 JUDGE MAY: You are trying to put a gloss upon the order and say
22 that it was only for limited purposes. There is no mention of that in the
23 order. Now, are you telling us the truth or not?
24 A. I'm telling you the truth, because I know for certain what the
25 situation was.
1 JUDGE MAY: Well, why didn't the order say what you say it meant?
2 A. Well, I don't know why the order didn't say that, because an order
3 can't say -- if it's a general order, you can't put exceptions in it and
4 say that special units are exempt. I don't know why this was not stated
5 in the order, but it wasn't stated, because all those units, those
6 independent units, were supposed to be under the command of the corps.
7 But I'm saying that at certain moments not even the corps commander could
8 give them orders, because they were self-willed, let alone a brigade
10 JUDGE MAY: That's a different point as to whether the
11 subordinates would obey the order. But the fact is that the words are
12 quite straightforward, and you are trying to suggest that it means
13 something different. I don't think we need debate the matter further.
14 We'll adjourn now.
15 We have again to take a longer adjournment, 3.00. Unfortunately,
16 we have a meeting at 4.30, so we're going to be limited for time.
17 MR. NICE: Can I help? I hope the Chamber will accept that the
18 topics I've covered are pretty central to the issue. There's one other
19 topic that's central, which I must deal with. I may make the decision, if
20 it is acceptable to the Chamber, frankly to abandon matters of detail,
21 like Mujezinovic and other named people, and leave those as matters for
23 JUDGE MAY: I think we'd be grateful if you would. Yes, 3.00,
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.08 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE: I just have, at most, four short documents on the same
4 topic. First, 1116.2.
5 Q. This, Major, is an order of Cerkez dated the 27th of June, so
6 before the date when you say there was command of the brigade military
7 police. It's an order in respect of Private Matosevic who is being
8 transferred from one company to another and under reasons, it says this,
9 "The commander of the 2nd company issued an order to the Brigade Police
10 to arrest Private Matosevic."
11 Now, the commander of a company is plainly subordinate to Cerkez
12 and here is a company commander recorded as issuing instructions to the
13 brigade police because the brigade police were under Cerkez's command;
15 A. I don't know. In your question you mentioned the 2nd army. What
16 were you referring to actually? The 2nd army?
17 Q. I think that must have been a translation error or alternatively a
18 slip of my tongue for which I apologise. I think I was referring to a
19 transfer from the 2nd to the 3rd Company.
20 A. Sorry, let me just read this. In this order, one can see that the
21 commander of the 2nd company asked -- requested the brigade to have
22 Vjekoslav Matosevic -- just a minute, please.
23 Yes, I'm reading the order. I don't think there's anything that
24 should be contested here. Every commander, if he deemed it necessary to
25 have a member of his battalion brought into custody, then he sent that to
1 the brigade and he probably emphasised the brigade because he wanted to
2 show what was involved because other requests were sent as well. However,
3 the commander of the 2nd Battalion could not directly ask the military
4 police to bring a soldier into custody. He could only do it through the
5 brigade, and the brigade through the command of the 4th Battalion of the
6 Military Police. And here it says in the upper part that this order will
7 be carried out by the 2nd Battalion of the Viteska Brigade, that is to
8 say, that he will carry this out.
9 Q. Do you not accept and --
10 JUDGE MAY: There's an objection.
11 MR. KOVACIC: Just in order to clarify the situation and in
12 accordance with earlier statements, there is definitely an error in
13 translation. The key word in the lower part of the document in the first
14 sentence is "request," and earlier the witness has told us what is the
15 difference between request and the order.
16 JUDGE MAY: Where does "request" appear?
17 MR. KOVACIC: The Croatian version, the word "request" is used not
19 JUDGE MAY: So it should read -- don't interrupt, please. It
20 should read, should it, "The 2nd company requested an order;" is that
22 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. Yes. The sentence should read, "The commander
23 of the 2nd company issued a request to the brigade police to arrest
24 private ..."
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, it is not the 2nd Company; it
1 is the 2nd Battalion. In the original it says battalion, bojno.
2 JUDGE MAY: Let's not waste any more time.
3 MR. NICE: The next exhibit, I'm sorry if there is a translation
4 error. Let's move on to 1337A briefly. I can hand my document in to save
5 time. If it can go on the ELMO.
6 Q. This document, Major, is a December 1993 record, I think probably
7 at the time you say you were making your archives recording deaths of the
8 Viteska Brigade, and it's as clear as can be. We see within the brigade
9 there's deaths one, two, three, four, five, associated with the brigade
10 military police, all those deaths happening on the 18th of July of 1993.
11 That is before the time when you say there was any brigade military police
12 under the command of the Viteska Brigade. So please explain to us why
13 there are these entries about deaths in July 1993 under brigade military
15 A. First of all, when I spoke about the classification and sorting of
16 these archives, these documents, I was not the only person who was
17 involved in this. I was involved least of all. Every one of us had
18 things to do. However, since you are asking this question, I have already
19 said that we called in the brigade military police because they were in
20 the brigade as proof that -- at that time, these men who were killed in
21 July, 1993, were under the command of their commander of the 4th Battalion
22 of the Military Police is the fact that I remember well, the action when
23 these men were killed. It was organised by the Operative Zone and it used
24 parts of the military police for this action.
25 These young men were temporarily in the brigade as the military
1 police from the composition of the 4th Battalion but they did take part in
2 this action, and they were killed during that action.
3 Q. I think that's your explanation for that document and we'll just
4 then look briefly at your own document and turn to another topic. Your
5 own document was D91/2. If I can have that document. This is a draft
6 translation, so we better check on the tense.
7 MR. NICE: With the Chamber's leave, it may be worth putting the
8 original on the ELMO and asking just the first sentence of paragraph one
9 to be read by the witness out loud and translated for us by our
11 Q. Would you be good enough, Major, please, to read from your own
12 document, the first sentence of paragraph one, please?
13 A. "The brigade military police is under the direct command of the
14 brigade --"
15 THE INTERPRETER: The witness will have to slow down.
16 JUDGE MAY: Can you read it again, please, more slowly.
17 A. "The brigade military police is under the direct control of the
18 brigade commander and it is situated in the establishment system of the
19 brigade and has the same status as other units in the brigade."
20 MR. NICE: Thank you.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Major, this document which you've produced,
22 I'm going to use words and if you don't follow them, I'll use other
23 words. It is descriptive, it is not prescriptive. It is describing a
24 state of affairs; it is not saying that that has to change. Do you
1 A. Could you please repeat that?
2 Q. Yes. This document is describing the state of affairs. It's
3 saying that the brigade military police is under the command of the
4 brigade. It's not saying that it will be or that it should be; it's
5 describing events as they were at that time.
6 A. Yes, it describes events, and this order states specifically that
7 from the day of the 18th of August, when this order was written, it will
8 be within the composition of the brigade. And point 2 says that the
9 commander can choose the persons he wishes to have, and he can make his
10 choice only out of the manpower he already has.
11 Q. I'm suggesting to you that the document says no such thing.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. I'm suggesting that the document says no such thing as "from the
15 18th of August"; it's simply saying that the police are under command of
16 the commander, and that your interpretation of the document is incorrect,
18 A. My interpretation is the correct one, as far as I'm concerned.
19 But now, the word order in the sentence, I don't know. But in the order
20 it says the date and the number and the hour when the order was issued,
21 and it says that the brigade military police will be under the direct
22 command of the brigade commander. If it had been that way before, then
23 this order would have been pointless. It wouldn't have been necessary to
24 repeat the same order ten times. So if it had been under the command of
25 the brigade commander before, then this order would have been superfluous.
1 Q. I'm going to move to two other topics, each of them fairly short.
2 Before I come to them, two other questions, and I think that will be all I
3 have to ask you. The first of the other questions is this: The man known
4 as Bralo, you know who I mean by that, don't you?
5 A. Bralo? You are probably referring to a person whose nickname was
6 Cicko; right?
7 Q. Thank you. He was detained in Kaonik until the night of the 15th,
8 16th. Who had the power to release him?
9 A. Believe me, I don't know. I know that he was at Kaonik. I don't
10 know whether the judgement was already in the stage of sentencing, whether
11 he had been sentenced. I think that it involved the killing of a
12 neighbour or something. But I heard later that he was in prison. But who
13 released him and on whose orders and who issued that order, that I really
14 don't know.
15 Q. Major, are you telling us that despite all your listening to
16 rumour and stories about Ahmici, you don't know or you haven't heard that
17 Bralo was released from prison in order to take part in the Ahmici
19 A. I'm saying that I don't know that he was released. I mean, if he
20 had not run away, if he had not escaped, then he was released, but I don't
21 know who released him or who had the power to release him from prison at
22 that point. Whether he was taken away at someone's initiative, I don't
23 know really. With your permission, I did not have any contacts with the
24 prison in Kaonik or -- I don't know. I know it existed.
25 Q. Just the last question on this so that I can follow it. From all
1 that you had heard about Ahmici from those few who, one way or another,
2 were able to talk about what happened, did you hear the rumour that Bralo
3 had been released and was engaged in the attack? Yes or no?
4 A. As for the rumour that he had been released, that I did not hear
5 of; and that he participated, that I did hear of.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. I heard that he took part.
8 Q. And what part did you hear he had taken, then? What had he done?
9 Who had he led? Who had he killed? Tell us.
10 A. I don't think he led anyone, because I thought he was a person who
11 could not -- he was an unaccountable person. And what he did in Ahmici, I
12 heard that again from rumour. Apparently he killed everything he saw.
13 Q. That's a little bit of the detail we've got from you. I think I
14 asked you about detail probably earlier today. What other details by way
15 of rumours did you hear about who killed whom in Ahmici, please, Major?
16 Can you tell us about anyone else?
17 JUDGE MAY: Now, what can the possible objection be?
18 MR. KOVACIC: I object to that line of questioning.
19 JUDGE MAY: Why?
20 MR. KOVACIC: The witness clearly said that he doesn't know any
21 details, that what he heard was briefly rumours, and he said what he
23 JUDGE MAY: Counsel is entitled to press him on a matter of this
24 sort, to test his credibility, amongst other things.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. Major, your initial evidence was that you heard a bit but you knew
3 very little. When pressed about Bralo, it appears you heard quite a lot.
4 Now tell us the rest that you heard, and in particular, who killed whom?
5 A. I cannot say who killed whom, nor do I know that, but this -- I
6 know about Bralo, because this same Bralo, as he was walking around cafes
7 and getting drunk, he talked about it himself. I'm not the only person
8 who knows about this. Masses of people know about this.
9 Q. Very well. I want to know about some other people. What about
10 Pasko Ljubicic? Do you know anything about him and what he did?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Not one word, are you telling us that, bearing in mind you've
13 taken a solemn affirmation -- declaration, I'm sorry.
14 A. I mean -- you mean this oath that I took here?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that I'm speaking under oath, and I
17 responsibly state that I do not know anything about what Pasko Ljubicic
18 did. I said that at that time Pasko Ljubicic was most probably the
19 commander of the 4th Battalion of the military police. That I know. But
20 what he did, I wasn't following that man, I was not in contact with him,
21 we did not meet each other, we didn't talk, nothing.
22 Q. Very well. One other tiny matter of detail before I move to the
23 only other two topics I'm going to trouble you with, Major. It's a tiny
24 matter of detail. It may help us. Central Bosnia Operating Zone, what
25 areas or municipalities did it cover?
1 A. At that moment, as far as I know, it covered Busovaca, Vitez, Novi
2 Travnik, Travnik, I think Kiseljak and Fojnica. But already after the
3 16th of April, they were cut off from the organic entity of the Lasva
5 Q. Thank you. The next topic is this: You've given an account of
6 the development of the Viteska Brigade, and you're really trying to tell
7 us, as I understand it, that it was only partly formed and small in size
8 by the time of Ahmici. Would that be a fair summary of your evidence?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The truth is that it was far more developed and probably larger
11 than you've led the Judges to believe, and I'm suggesting to you that the
12 only reason you could have for understating its size is to try and help
13 Cerkez by the evidence that you're giving. So do you follow the
14 suggestion I'm putting to you?
15 A. I am following you.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, there are a few documents, and there may
17 be some others for argument later, but there's a couple of new -- a few
18 new ones. 199.3 first.
19 Q. This document, dated the 31st of August of 1992, from Blaskic, is
20 an order improving the system of command, coordination and cooperation,
21 identifying operating zones, indeed including Central Bosnia, so perhaps
22 my last question was unnecessary, but making it clear that operational
23 zones were to be identified at that stage. You accept that that was
24 happening as early as August 1992?
25 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I'm deeply sorry to interrupt.
1 JUDGE MAY: It's not signed by Blaskic.
2 MR. KOVACIC: I have to.
3 JUDGE MAY: Is that the point?
4 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour --
5 JUDGE MAY: It's not signed by Blaskic.
6 Mr. Nice --
7 MR. KOVACIC: It is simply a matter of confusion, Your Honour. My
8 dear colleague said that the document is produced by Blaskic. That is
9 simply not the case. And that may confuse the picture.
10 JUDGE MAY: It's difficult to see the signature. Do you know who
11 it is?
12 MR. KOVACIC: It's obvious from the -- [Microphone not activated]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MR. NICE: It's coming from the main headquarters. Quite right.
15 It doesn't -- I withdraw that suggestion. In haste, or in speed, I'm
16 probably going too fast. My fault.
17 Q. But Major, the point is that here's an order, 31st of August,
18 territorial responsibility for zones already being established; correct?
19 A. Yes, according to this document.
20 MR. NICE: Thank you. 292.2, please.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: Mr. Nice, I would like to ask the witness about
22 what -- because here in -- we have a distinction between the Operative
23 Zones which are four: South-east, north-west, Central Bosnia, and
24 Posavina Operative Zone, OZ. And then we have in point two, the
25 territorial responsibility of the Operative Zone, zone by zone. And in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Central Bosnia, we have as -- in Central Bosnia Operative Zone we have a
2 territorial responsibility for Vitez. Vitez is described here as
3 territorial responsibility inside the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
4 I would like to ask the witness what does it mean for him, as a
5 military person, the territorial responsibility? What is the meaning of
6 territorial responsibility for him as a military person?
7 A. To my mind, the territorial responsibility for these Operative
8 Zones which are being set up, as far as I can see, is simply the word
9 describing the area in which that particular Operative Zone operates.
10 That's how I understand it.
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So according to you, what is the
12 responsibility of a commander who has some territorial responsibility?
13 A. I think this is a rather complex question, the responsibility of
14 the commander, the responsibility of the commander in that area. Two
15 things arise here, the territorial responsibility, I don't know, I tried
16 to explain what -- how I understand it. But there is also the area of
17 responsibility which is something completely different.
18 Now, you are asking me --
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] No, not at all. What -- you see,
20 within the framework of the Operative Zone, there are several people who
21 have territorial responsibility. For instance, for Central Bosnia, you
22 have Jajce, Donji Vakuf, Travnik, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca, Kiseljak,
23 Zepce. And these are regarded as part of the territorial responsibility
24 within the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia.
25 So please define for us what is the territorial responsibility of
1 a commander? What does it mean? You were in the Viteska Brigade. The
2 Viteska Brigade has a territorial responsibility over Vitez. What is the
3 commander's responsibility? Who has territorial responsibility?
4 A. I don't -- I'm not sure whether I will be able to define the term
5 "territorial responsibility" because I've never come across this term
6 before. In military terminology, I never came across the term
7 "teritorijalna obrana". I'm sorry, I really don't know.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I'm going to help you. Since you
9 were a member of the Viteska Brigade, do you know whether, normally
10 speaking, a commander must be aware of everything that happens on the
11 territory which is under his command? Must he -- does he have to look
12 after that territory? It is no longer simply hierarchical. It relates to
13 a territory, to some space.
14 A. Here, I believe we come to what I call the area of
15 responsibility. That is the commander, his area of responsibility, an
16 area in which his units conduct combat operations should be responsible
17 for that. But how far each commander is the master of the situation in
18 that particular territory, that is his business.
19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] But normally speaking, he must be
20 aware of everything that is happening and he must take actions
22 A. To begin with, he should be abreast of everything that has to do
23 with his formation, because he's a military man. And the principle
24 subject of his concern is his formation, the situation in the formation,
25 the strength of the unit, materiel, equipment, living conditions of his
1 men, their equipment, the manner in which they conduct their operations,
2 and so on. I think that's it.
3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. So perhaps if we look at the next document to follow on perhaps
6 His Honour's question in relation to that. The next document is 292.2.
7 Now, this document dated the 25th of November does come from
8 Blaskic and it now deals with, if we look at it, Major, the entire central
9 Operative Zone, and I think and it breaks that area down, as we can see,
10 into brigades which it says are to be organised in the following areas.
11 And number three is the Novi Travnik and Vitez Brigade with its seat in
12 Vitez. And under two, we can see that further reflected by the request
13 or -- for proposals for a consolidated name for that brigade.
14 Well, now, picking up the answers you were giving to His Honour
15 just now, is not the reality that there was an overall responsibility for
16 this entire zone falling on Blaskic?
17 A. It is logical that it be Blaskic because he was the commander of
18 the Operative Zone except that here, under three, there is a mistake.
19 There is an error here. It says, "Brigade Novi Travnik and Vitez with
20 headquarters in Vitez," which is not correct. So it must have been either
21 a typing error, because Novi Travnik and Vitez Brigade with the
22 headquarters in Novi Travnik.
23 Q. Well, that's the document. But in any event, by the 25th of
24 November, it was clear that there was organisation of the Central Bosnia
25 Operative Zone dividing it up into brigades as set out here; you agree
1 with that?
2 A. The Operative Zone, according to this document, was divided into
3 administrative subdivisions, that is, municipalities and every
4 municipality was to have its own brigade except that Vitez and Novi
5 Travnik created one brigade with the exception of municipalities where
6 there were no Croats from which they had been expelled. So that we have
7 the Jajce Brigade with its headquarters in the Travnik barracks under
8 nine, but I simply do not recall this brigade. As far as I know, members
9 of these formations -- sorry.
10 Q. I'm not going to trouble you about Jajce. I want to now focus
11 down on to the joint brigade that was formed, the Stjepan Tomasevic
12 Brigade, and that brigade had been a long time in the preparation, hadn't
13 it? It had been being prepared and recruited for what, for months already
14 by November?
15 A. No. I didn't know that this was being prepared. I didn't know
16 that the preparations for the establishment of Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade
17 for months. I do not know when it was decided to form that brigade, but
18 it was a very short period of time before we left to Novi Travnik and set
19 up the command there.
20 Q. Well, again, to save time, there's a document you can look at if
21 you like, but I'm going to make a suggestion to you and see if you accept
23 The Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade had a 2nd Battalion and it was that
24 2nd Battalion that became the Viteska Brigade; is that correct?
25 A. The 2nd Battalion of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade, yes. Later on
1 it became part of the Viteska Brigade.
2 Q. Thank you. And would you accept -- and there's a document which
3 is simply a list of names, and they can all be counted and they have been
4 -- would you accept that on the 27th of February of 1993, the 2nd
5 Battalion of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade already numbered 433 men or
6 maybe men and women, but certainly 433 soldiers? Would you accept that?
7 The document is Z505. And if you don't accept it, of course you can have
8 a look at the document.
9 A. I couldn't accept the figure because, as I've told you, we never
10 had that many soldiers in one place. When you say a battalion and you
11 think that you have 300 armed men and ready to engage in combat operations
12 at any time, the 2nd Battalion from Vitez is a reserve force from the list
13 of this battalion which covered the population from all parts of the
14 municipality and who were called up in shifts and sent to do their shifts
15 over ten days or something. They would come back home, and then they
16 stopped being soldiers.
17 Now, how many men passed through this list, I cannot say, but this
18 figure is much too high.
19 Q. Is it? Well, I'm not going to count the figures at the moment.
20 That can always be done later.
21 MR. NICE: Can the witness now please see 562.1, and while that's
22 coming to you, what would your understanding be -- no, just a minute.
23 Sorry, a mistake there in the documents. I'll have to come back to that
24 but I'm not going to take time. Can we have 557.3.
25 Q. By the 20th of March of 1993, Cerkez, pursuant to an order given
1 by the command and reforming of the Stjepan Tomasevic Brigade into two
2 brigades, requested a complete list of men of military age from Vitez in
3 order to provide a complete system and records of those included in the
4 units. Interestingly enough, he copied the document to the 4th Battalion
5 of the regional police. But by the 20th of March, things had reached this
6 degree of sophistication, hadn't they, getting complete lists of men in
7 Vitez? Correct, isn't it?
8 A. Excuse me, I didn't understand it was a question to me.
9 Q. I'm so sorry, my mistake. I'm trying to move too fast. By this
10 date, the 20th of March, the preparation for this part of the brigade,
11 which was to become the Viteska Brigade, was already seeking information
12 on all men from Vitez of military age. Was this an advanced state of
14 A. No, this is not an advanced stage of the preparations; this is one
15 of the initial stages. Because with this order, Mr. Mario Cerkez is
16 requesting simply the lists from the commander of the 4th Battalion of the
17 Military Police, the civilian police, and so on so forth to see what men
18 are engaged in those units in order to be able to count on other men
19 because he cannot request demobilisation of those men if they already have
20 their combat assignments in these units. So he simply wanted to go
21 through those lists to screen them, to sieve them, so as to know not to
22 have to call them up since they were already engaged with those units not
23 to issue double summons or be unable to mobilise them later on and -- so
24 things like that. And hence this order -- rather, this is not an order,
25 this is -- this is a letter in which he is asking for all this.
1 MR. NICE: All right. Let's go back to the document I was hoping
2 to show you earlier. It's 516.2, already produced. I'll make mine
3 available to save time. Original for the witness, English version for the
4 ELMO. Thank you very much.
5 Q. This much is right, isn't it, that as early as the 1st of March of
6 1993, there was a demand for the immediate formation of a brigade of Vitez
7 municipality, with the following organisational form: One battalion
8 of -- and I emphasise this -- active-duty personnel; and two battalions of
9 the Home Guard.
10 What did you understand by "active-duty personnel," if it wasn't
11 trained and existing soldiers, please?
12 A. Now, they are far from being trained or professional soldiers. It
13 was all -- there were all sorts of people in the municipality. This
14 battalion of active-duty personnel -- yes?
15 Q. What does "active duty personnel" mean as opposed to battalions of
16 the Home Guard, as you've been attempting to say, really, that the Viteska
17 Brigade is a sort of Home Guard unit. What's the difference between these
18 two parts, please?
19 A. In the beginning, some thoughts were aired -- I don't know. It
20 was said that perhaps such an active-duty formation could be set up, that
21 is, to have certain men who would become part of it would be getting some
22 kind of remuneration. I don't know. It would make part of their
23 seniority or their years of service, something of the sort. Because the
24 Viteska Brigade was all made of Home Guard men; there were no professional
25 soldiers. This term, "active duty," was used, but there was no
1 active-duty formation, no special active-duty formation, then or ever.
2 Q. All right. Well, let's have a look at 562.1. And if I can have
3 the other document back. This Home Guard Brigade that was being formed on
4 the 23rd of March of 1993 was already planning for its own Security
5 Service, wasn't it? It may seem a small point, but in view of what you're
6 saying, this Home Guard Battalion has got its own Security Service, it
7 being established, by this document, on the 23rd of March, because they
8 want furniture for them and fittings. Can you explain that for your Home
9 Guard unit, please?
10 A. There's nothing to explain. In the brigade formation, there is
11 also the Security Service and the Military Intelligence Service, according
12 to the formation, that is, according to the book which prescribes the
13 number, the type, and the kind of the personnel, and of course those
14 people have to work for the command.
15 Q. Do you remember this morning when I asked you who would be the
16 person most able to help us with what Cerkez was doing and you reeled off
17 half a dozen or more deputies? Do you remember doing that?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. Are you sure you're not attempting to understate the
20 sophistication and state of readiness of this brigade, Major?
21 A. I am positive. Not only that I'm not trying to understate it; I'm
22 simply trying to tell you what it really looked like, and that is what I'm
23 sure about.
24 MR. NICE: 570.1, please. Sorry, 570.2. And if it will help the
25 Chamber and my learned friends, on this exercise I've only got I think
1 about one more document to deal with, and then I've got a very short
2 further exercise, and that's it.
3 Q. On the 26th of March of 1993, Cerkez sends this letter:
4 "On the basis of operations, files, and documents for all MTS in
5 Vitez, we've come across the following information: Many of our members
6 of the Vitez Brigade, and also those of the Home Guard, have guns that are
7 out of service because there is no ammunition for them."
8 So the first point is: Contrary to what you're telling the
9 Chamber, there seems to be a distinction, even in Cerkez's mind, and as
10 early as March 1993, between his brigade and the Home Guard. Please
11 explain that to us, Major.
12 A. I think that you are trying all the time to tell us that we should
13 think that the Vitez Brigade was a particularly well-trained and equipped
14 formation of the army and that they all had their high-ranking officers
15 and so on and so forth. You must understand that under the circumstances,
16 when the Vitez Brigade was formed, we were all in a way -- no, not in a
17 way. We had all come from some other civilian jobs to join the army. We
18 do not have a proper military vocabulary, we are not familiar with
19 military terms, or anything like that.
20 Q. Would you be good enough to answer my question, please. What is
21 the distinction --
22 A. I do not know what Mr. Cerkez meant by this, but to my mind, there
23 was no difference, unless he perhaps meant Home Guard, that those were
24 only those village guards which used to exist before, but they had not yet
25 become a part of the formation until the conflict broke out.
1 Q. Well, then let's look at the next sentence. He says of the
2 brigade and of the Home Guard that they have guns that are out of service
3 because there's no ammunition for them. And he then says: "It's
4 indicative that this is the case with a large number of guns,
5 approximately 500 pieces of various types," and he lists them. Are you
6 going to suggest that each member of the Home -- sorry.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Are you going to suggest that each member of the Home Guard, or
10 many of them, had more than one gun, or does these 500 guns, which can
11 only be part of the brigade in the Home Guard, that these 500 guns reveal
12 as a reality there's rather more than 500 men already signed up in one way
13 or another? Tell us.
14 A. At this moment, this document says that there are more barrels,
15 but the men did not have those barrels. That is, there were less men than
16 barrels. And these barrels mostly come from the Slimena depot and I think
17 they were stored in our depot, but they practically could not be used
18 because we lacked ammunition for them. However, we counted on them, and
19 when we eventually obtained ammunition for them, that then we would issue
20 them to the men of the Vitez Brigade, of course, if we could get the
21 ammunition for them.
22 Q. Do you accept that at the time of the writing of this letter,
23 there must have been, frankly, at least 500 men in what was the Viteska
24 Brigade? Yes or no?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And what do you say was your rate of recruitment, approximately,
2 per week or per month in the spring of 1993?
3 A. It's not easy to answer that, because I was not involved in these
4 matters, and I couldn't really give you any more exact explanation of what
5 the rate was. I know that my colleagues from the department for
6 organisation and personnel were looking around enterprises for lists of
7 the former employees in former formations and were trying to compile some
8 lists which could then be used for mobilisation purposes. But that was
9 for some kind of keeping record. But at the end of the story, of course,
10 the mobilisation was a matter for the defence office.
11 MR. NICE: Then let's look at your own exhibit, very briefly,
13 And if the Chamber looks at the second sheet in English, this is a
14 document dated the 24th of April, from the Vitez Brigade. And the second
15 sheet deals with Defence Sector 1, signed by Cerkez.
16 Q. And you, Major, can see this at the foot of the first page and
17 onto the second. And what we can see here, if we look at the second sheet
18 of the first page, the third paragraph: "At the time of maximum combat
19 readiness, there are 244 defenders on the sectors line of defence," and
20 that's Defence Sector 1.
21 If the usher would be good enough and we can turn to the next
22 sheet, we can see at the top of the page Defence Sector 2's figure, about
23 six lines down, which is 120 defenders. If we cast our eyes down to the
24 bottom of our screen, Defence Sector 3 is 190 defenders. If the usher
25 would be good enough to turn over to the next page, please. Defence
1 Sector 4, about a third of the way down the screen, 160 men. And Defence
2 Sector 5, we can see just at the bottom of the screen, 160 men. Total
3 number of men, 874.
4 Is that about right for the number of men actually engaged,
6 A. I agree with that number, but you will allow that the date is the
7 24th of April. You were asking me about March. This is a month later.
8 And then the conflict had already started and our Home Guards were joined
9 by the village patrols and others, which is why the number grew. But a
10 month before that day, it couldn't have been 500 men.
11 Q. Thank you. Well, I've asked you about the rate of recruitment and
12 you were unable to help me. That's why I asked you.
13 Can we turn to the next issue -- I don't know what time the Court
14 is sitting to this afternoon. It's about three documents on this
16 You've been asked about a man called Marko Lujic and you tell us
17 something about him. Just in summary, what is it you want to tell us
18 about him?
19 A. I didn't want to say anything. I was just answering the question
20 of the Defence as to whether I knew Mr. Marko Lujic, and I said yes.
21 Whether he was the chief of the artillery in the Vitez Brigade, I answered
22 no. There was nothing special I wanted to say about him.
23 Q. And you say he had nothing to do with the Viteska Brigade at all?
24 A. I'm saying that he was not a member of the command of the Vitez
25 Brigade and he was not a soldier. He was not a member of the Vitez
1 Brigade. That's what I'm saying.
2 Q. What was he, then? You tell us.
3 A. I heard that in Princip, that is, the enterprise, he was the
4 director of wartime production. What his exact duty was, I don't know. I
5 didn't go into it. But I know he was involved in wartime production and
6 he was some kind of director or chief boss, but I don't know exactly.
7 Q. Are you aware of evidence about an intercepted call between him
8 and Cerkez on the 16th of April?
9 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
10 MR. NICE: On the suggestion that he's not a member or never was a
11 member of the Viteska Brigade, can the witness have Exhibit 2480.2. I
12 think that's already in. Sorry. I'm so sorry not to have given notice,
13 if we haven't.
14 Q. Again, if you'd like to have the original, please. The English is
15 in two pages. The first page, recommendation for an award, refers to
16 Marko Lujic, son of a man of the same first name, and it says then, under
17 paragraph 3: "In the reserve since the 16th of April of 1993."
18 If we then turn to the second page -- and I hope you'll be able to
19 follow this in the original -- under paragraph 8, details of duties,
20 subparagraph B, says this:
21 "Member of the army of the Republic of Croatia July 1991 to the
22 end of the same year. Logistics support for HR and HB armed forces in
23 Croatia until the 1st of March, 1992. Carried out the same duties in the
24 area of Vitez municipality in Central Bosnia, as a member of the HVO, from
25 March 1992 to the 16th of April, 1993." And then this: "Member of the
1 Vitez Brigade units working on missile systems from the 16th of April,
2 1993 to the 1st of August, 1993. Chief of war production from the 1st of
4 Absolutely nothing inconsistent, is there, between what is
5 revealed about this man and his firing weapons on the 16th of April? He
6 was in the Vitez Brigade, wasn't he?
7 A. This document which you have just presented, there are many such
8 documents, and it confirms that Marko Lujic was a member of the Vitez
9 Brigade. I am certain, however, that this was written only so that he
10 could be given a certain rank. But I assert again, as far as I'm
11 concerned, Marko Lujic was never a member of the Vitez Brigade. I don't
12 know if ever I saw him in the command throughout the conflict. I'm not
13 sure I ever saw him in the command, nor did I ever see him in any unit of
14 the Vitez Brigade, never. And if you were to ask all the survivors, all
15 the surviving members of the Vitez Brigade, I guarantee that every one of
16 them would say the same thing. That's one point.
17 Another point is that the Vitez Brigade did not have any rocket
18 systems. Where would we get rocket systems?
19 Q. Look, please, at this page, which has been prepared by the chief
20 of the defence office, or prepared for him to sign, and it sets out, quite
21 specifically, working on missile systems from the 16th of April, 1993, to
22 the 1st of August. And the evidence that's been given in this Court is of
23 an overheard conversation between him and Cerkez about firing rockets or
24 other projectiles at religious objects in Kruscica. The evidence suggests
25 that this man asked for a break so that he could have breakfast.
1 Can you explain, please, why simply to give someone a rank, you're
2 going to prepare a document falsely stating "working on missile systems,"
3 especially if, as you're trying to tell us, there weren't any available to
4 the Viteska Brigade? Can you explain that, please?
5 A. I have to apologise. When I talked about missile systems, I was
6 referring to real missile systems, so to speak, that is, missile systems
7 which were in use in the JNA before that, you understand; those that,
8 according to the establishment, belonged to certain units. It's another
9 question if you are referring to the small guns and entire fire
10 equipment. These were not real missile systems. And I assert that we did
11 not have any missile systems.
12 Q. Let's just get this quite clear, Major. You were at home on your
13 sick bed on the 16th of April, and you can't provide any evidence to
14 suggest that this man, Lujic, was not firing guns at the religious objects
15 in Kruscica to Cerkez's order, can you? You can't provide any evidence to
16 counter that.
17 A. I cannot offer any evidence that Lujic did not fire out of
18 those -- out of that equipment, nor can I prove that this was in agreement
19 with Mr. Cerkez, of course. Whether it was Marko Lujic who did that, I do
20 not know, and I do not know on whose orders, if he did, he did so.
21 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to bother with the other
22 exhibits that may relate to this topic. There's a link exhibit, 2480.3.
23 And literally the last document and my last question, a slightly different
24 topic and then I'm done, it's 1147.4, please.
25 Q. Slightly different topic, Major. Sorry to change -- the last
1 change and the last question. This is the 20th of July of 1993. It's an
2 order from Blaskic and it's an order in respect of one of the special
3 purposes unit, on this occasion the Vitezovi. And it says: "Send a
4 strengthened platoon to help regain the broken line. It doesn't matter
5 where." And then it says this: "The unit will be subordinated to the
6 Vitez Brigade commander and will remain so until the task is carried
8 To achieve coordination of activity in your area, from time to
9 time special units were subordinated to your commander; correct?
10 A. You see, this order was written by Franjo Nakic. Franjo Nakic
11 worked for a long time in the manoeuvring units in the JNA, and he wrote
12 this from a purely military point of view. There were cases when Viteska
13 Brigade was helped by the PPNs, the Vitezovi and others. I don't know
14 which ones, which ones are there. It says here that they would be
15 attached during the duration of that task, but once this task is over,
16 then they would be returned to where they came from. That is what the
17 order clearly says.
18 Q. Don't overlook the fact that at the top it says rejected and not
19 carried out, but I think you answered my question by agreement. Sometimes
20 special purpose units were indeed subordinated to Cerkez. A simple answer
21 to that question is yes, isn't it?
22 A. I beg your pardon. I said that there were cases when special
23 purpose units did come to help the Viteska Brigade. However, these same
24 units would leave the positions whenever they wanted to and in any way
25 they wanted to. Even General Blaskic could not have stopped them.
1 I was personally a witness of things like that happening on
2 several occasions. So commanding them is --
3 JUDGE MAY: You've got about five minutes. Will that be
5 MR. KOVACIC: I think that may be just about that time.
6 Re-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sajevic, I know it's late, I know you are
8 exhausted already. We all are. But please concentrate for another few
9 minutes. I am going to put some very clear and concise questions to you
10 and try to answer them as briefly as possible in a word or two.
11 My first question is the following: Is it correct that every
12 brigade in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia had its own established
13 zone of responsibility at least on the 16th of April when the war broke
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is it correct that those zones of responsibilities were
17 established through orders to those brigades there in Central Bosnia by
18 Colonel Blaskic who was the commander of the Operative Zone of Central
20 A. Absolutely.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Kovacic please slow down.
22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Could anybody else issue orders to them in this zone?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Is it correct that there were exceptional situations? For
1 example, the BH army would attack, your line would fall, and then in
2 the -- in your zone of responsibility where the Viteska Brigade was, any
3 unit would come to help you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The last document that we saw now, isn't that precisely that kind
6 of a situation?
7 A. It is that kind of a situation, but it is also obvious how it
9 Q. Well, never mind. But this did not end.
10 A. Exactly.
11 Q. Is it correct that from time to time, it is precisely this help,
12 this overlapping. We have two units in the same place at the same time
13 that led to various misunderstandings in terms of the chain of command.
14 A. Yes. It led to misunderstandings very often.
15 Q. Is it correct -- let me just -- is it correct that the order that
16 was shown to you, Z997.2, that it actually regulates that particular
17 matter because it uses the term that shows that? In the introduction, it
18 points out the problem that is in question.
19 A. Yes, yes, yes, I remember.
20 Q. Do you remember that this introduction actually shows that it was
22 A. Yes, yes, yes, that is what was shown.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Kovacic please slow down.
24 JUDGE MAY: You are being asked to slow down, Mr. Kovacic.
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Let us just go back to the order that we've been dealing with for
2 quite sometime, and that is being brought into question. This is the
3 famous order of 1.30 at night on the 16th of April. We discussed it at
4 length. I think that you don't even have to be shown this order anymore
5 because I think you've had it in front of you for hours. If necessary, I
6 am going to show it to you.
7 A. No, it's not necessary.
8 Q. Do you remember that in point one, in paragraph one, it says
9 Vranjska, Kruscica, and that this is the possible direction from which an
10 attack may come?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. This paragraph one, does it give the possibility of any different
13 kind of interpretation to illiterate or an illiterate soldier when he
14 reads that paragraph one?
15 A. No, it is crystal clear.
16 Q. Paragraph two now explains in greater detail what the activities
17 -- what the activities that the unit has to undertake in order to carry
18 out the order from paragraph one; is that correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. Did you notice that there is a small sentence on the left-hand
21 side by the margin that says Donja Veceriska. There is Veceriska, Donja
22 Veceriska, and Vranjska?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It is correct that in no other place in the text of this order
25 does the author go back to Veceriska and to the task concerning Veceriska?
1 A. Exactly.
2 Q. So it is only in paragraph two that Vranjska and Kruscica are
3 mentioned in terms of the elaboration of this task?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In one sentence, please, a layman soldier or an average soldier
6 like the ones you had in the brigade, if he had got that kind of order,
7 that is to say, someone below you, what would his understanding have been
8 of this order?
9 A. His understanding would have been, for example, if he was a squad
10 leader, that with his men, he should go to the territory ordered, the area
11 ordered, and to carry out the other points of the order. If the order
12 says Vranjska and Kruscica, then of course he's not going to go
13 elsewhere. He knows very well where that is. Also all soldiers know that
14 very well.
15 Q. Do we agree it is quite clear even for an average soldier?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Just two minor points now, or rather only one. The Prosecutor on
18 the 19th of July, a few days ago, tendered document Z1406.1. That
19 document, I'm going to describe it to you now, was introduced during the
20 testimony of a protected witness.
21 I'm saying this for the Court now, that was Witness DL. I'm going
22 to read a sentence to you now because we don't have enough time to get the
23 document out right now.
24 But let me describe it so that it will be clear what I'm talking
25 about. That is a document dated the 21st of March, 1994, and it is
1 entitled, "Office of National Security of the Republic of Croatia." It is
2 addressed to Dr. Franjo Tudjman. The subject is massacre in Ahmici. It
3 is signed by the director of HIS. It says Doctor -- Professor Miroslav
4 Tudjman in print, I think I've described it sufficiently. And in this
5 document, inter alia, there is the following sentence, "It can be said
6 with certitude that Mario Cerkez is not involved in the massacre in the
7 village of Ahmici and that he did not have any influence on the events
9 Witness Sajevic, do you agree with this kind of statement?
10 A. Absolutely, yes.
11 Q. Did you ever have a different opinion in this regard?
12 A. No.
13 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have thus
14 concluded. I just wish to draw the attention of the Trial Chamber to one
15 thing. I'm not going to argue, but let us just bear this in mind. This
16 document was drawn up considerably before the indictment against Mario
17 Cerkez was written. I'm just saying this for the sake of authenticity.
18 JUDGE MAY: You can make all those points in your submissions and
19 no doubt you will.
20 Major Sajevic, thank you for coming to the Tribunal to give your
21 evidence. It is now concluded. You are free to go. And the Chamber will
22 sit tomorrow morning at half past 9.00.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.27 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Friday, the 28th day of July,
2 2000, at 9.30 a.m.