1 Friday, 30th July, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers, if you could
10 finish as soon as possible, to give Mr. Kovacic his
12 MR. SAYERS: We've arranged an equitable
13 distribution, Mr. President. I will try to be through
14 between 10.30 and quarter to 11, and I believe
15 Mr. Kovacic anticipates having approximately one hour
16 of questions.
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll break rather before
18 then, at 10.15 or so, to 10.20, and you should aim to
19 be through by then.
20 MR. SAYERS: I will try to do that,
21 Mr. President.
22 WITNESS: BRYAN WATTERS (Resumed)
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
24 Q. Colonel Watters, we left yesterday discussing
25 the incident in which Commander Zivko Totic was
1 kidnapped in Zenica. Do you recall that event?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. All right. You felt, yourself, that with
4 that kidnapping, events were starting to run away from
5 you; correct?
6 A. Yes, that would be a way of phrasing it,
8 Q. And did you and your commanding officer ever
9 discuss the multiple murder, and kidnapping of the HVO
10 commander in Zenica, as a potential spark that could
11 cause the entire Lasva Valley to erupt in fighting?
12 A. No, we didn't discuss it. We certainly said
13 that it was not going to do anything to help the
14 situation. I don't remember saying anything about the
15 whole Lasva Valley going up in flames, no.
16 Q. Did Colonel Stewart ever express the view to
17 you, as far as you can recall, Colonel Watters, that
18 this kidnapping incident created a terribly volatile
19 atmosphere that could potentially be the catalyst for
20 the eruption of hostilities?
21 A. Yes, we discussed the fact that it was
22 certainly prejudicial to the current alliance between
23 the two factions. I remember discussing that.
24 Q. I would just like to show you a milinfosum,
25 number 94.
1 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
3 MR. SAYERS:
4 Q. And specifically the entry on this milinfosum
5 dated February the 2nd, 1993, that I would like to draw
6 your attention to, appears on page 2, note 4.
7 Was it your understanding that the 333rd
8 Highland Brigade of the BiH army had its headquarters
9 in Kacuni?
10 A. Sorry, can I just look at this note 4,
12 Q. Absolutely.
13 A. Yes, I've read note 4.
14 Q. Was it your understanding that the 333rd
15 Highland Brigade of the BH army had its headquarters
16 located in the village of Kacuni?
17 A. It certainly was BritBat's view on the 2nd of
18 February, according to this milinfosum.
19 Q. Do you have any disagreement with that?
20 A. I wasn't there.
21 Q. Did you know that elements of the 7th Muslim
22 Brigade had been deployed north of Kacuni?
23 A. I give you the same answer to that: That's
24 what it says in the milinfosum.
25 Q. Colonel Watters, was the BritBat contingent
1 ever able to develop any reliable information about the
2 7th Muslim Brigade at any time during your tour of duty
3 in Central Bosnia?
4 A. We had a wide variety of sources of
5 information on that and many other units. As to the
6 reliability of that information, I should think that
7 was always subject to question, because it largely
8 depended on the source from which we gained the
9 information, and we would evaluate the relevant merit
10 of that information. I would probably be sticking my
11 neck out to say that our judgement on these situations
12 was particularly reliable. It was the best we had at
13 the time.
14 Q. Fair enough. Let me turn your attention now
15 to the situation that confronted you on April the 15th,
16 in the -- at night. As I understand it, Colonel
17 Stewart was in Zenica; correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Leaving you as the commanding officer of the
20 BritBat contingent in Vitez?
21 A. I think that's a technical point. He still
22 was the commanding officer, but communications were so
23 difficult that if he was unable to be contacted on the
24 radio or for periods of time, as his deputy, I would
25 automatically assume command.
1 Q. Thank you for that clarification. As I
2 understand it, in the early morning of April the 16th,
3 you began to receive reports from the Dutch battalion,
4 based in Santici, of hostilities that had broken out?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And the Dutch battalion camp in Santici was
7 located right next door to Ahmici, was it not?
8 A. Yes, it was.
9 Q. In fact, right across the main supply route?
10 A. Yes, it was.
11 Q. And in fact, the Dutch battalion camp
12 overlooked the village of Ahmici, didn't it?
13 A. "Overlooked" would indicate it was on higher
14 ground. It was actually on level or slightly lower
15 ground, so it looked across and slightly up towards the
17 Q. All right. Now, you actually did see Colonel
18 Blaskic on April the 16th of 1993, didn't you?
19 A. Yes, I -- yes, I did. I'm sure I did.
20 Q. When you met him at his headquarters in
21 Vitez, I believe, he looked to you completely calm and
22 rational, didn't he?
23 A. Yes, he did.
24 Q. In fact, he looked like he was in control and
25 at war?
1 A. Yes, he did.
2 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that the
3 commander of the Muslim forces in Vitez was Sefkija
5 A. Yes, he was.
6 Q. And although hard pressed, he put up a
7 successful defence of Stari Vitez, did he not?
8 A. Yes, he did.
9 Q. It's true that notwithstanding what was, in
10 your view, a surprise attack on the morning of April
11 the 16th against the Muslim forces in Stari Vitez, the
12 Muslim forces nonetheless conducted a successful
13 defence of their positions?
14 A. Yes, they did.
15 Q. Did you know that they continued to defend
16 their positions in Stari Vitez for the ensuing ten
18 A. I am aware of that.
19 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that you
20 dispatched patrols in Warrior armoured patrol carriers
21 -- or armoured personnel carriers; I'm sorry.
22 A. Armoured fighting vehicles.
23 Q. Armoured fighting vehicles, up and down the
24 length of the Lasva Valley on April the 16th?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. And in the ensuing days as well?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. So it's true that these vehicles drove along
4 the main road past both the villages of Santici and
5 Ahmici; right?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say that your patrols
8 found dead bodies in Croat villages too, albeit not on
9 the same scale as in Ahmici?
10 A. That would be true.
11 Q. The same is true in Vitez as well, Croat
12 bodies were found, I think five dead bodies; not on the
13 scale of the Muslim dead, but nonetheless dead on both
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In your view, I think you've said this, this
17 was a military operation conducted by the Croats on a
18 regional military level; correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. By Colonel Blaskic, who was the regional HVO
21 military commander?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Colonel Watters, I believe you've already
24 identified two headquarters of the BiH army, one
25 located in the town of Vitez itself; correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And one located in the village of Kruscica,
3 approximately one kilometre to the south of Vitez?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Did you know that there were other --
6 A. I think it was actually a little further than
7 one kilometre south, but it was to the south.
8 Q. How far was it, approximately?
9 A. A couple of kilometres.
10 Q. Two kilometres. All right. Would it be fair
11 to say that you did not know that the BiH also had
12 headquarters for their forces in the villages of
13 Preocica and Poculica, did you?
14 A. Personally, I didn't visit those
16 Q. But did you know that the BiH army actually
17 had forces and headquarters located in those two
19 A. I suspect we probably did. I don't recollect
20 the detail of it.
21 Q. Now, looking at the forces on both sides on
22 April the 16th, Colonel Watters, would it be fair to
23 say that BritBat was aware that the BiH army consisted
24 of seven separate corps, including the 3rd Corps
25 headquartered in Zenica?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. How many soldiers are there in a corps?
3 A. It's impossible to say.
4 Q. Did you know that General Hadzihasanovic
5 estimated that the forces available to the BiH army
6 numbered approximately 52.000?
7 A. I wouldn't be surprised, but that would
8 probably be in the entire Central Bosnian region or the
9 whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Let me just ask you to take a look at
11 milinfosum number 112, dated February the 19th, 1993.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Document D62/1.
13 MR. SAYERS:
14 Q. I need not detain you very long with this
15 milinfosum, Colonel Watters. I would just like to
16 address your attention to item number 3. Approximately
17 halfway down, it says:
18 "The 3rd Corps commander, Enver
19 Hadzihasanovic, was also present at the school. He
20 stated casually, in a conversation with the LO, that
21 the Jajce Brigade formed part of the 52.000 BiH
22 soldiers in Bosnia-Herzegovina."
23 A. That will therefore have been what we put
24 down. That's what the 3rd Corps commander said.
25 Q. Is that accurate, in your view?
1 A. Well, it's what he said.
2 Q. I understand, but were you aware of any
3 information that led you to conclude that that estimate
4 of manpower was --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Will you please slow down?
6 A. I mean sitting here six years on, I can't
7 remember what corroboration we had. I mean we would
8 have listened to what the 3rd Corps commander said and
9 recorded it in our milinfosum. If that was the size of
10 the sort of BiH in Central Bosnia, it wouldn't have
11 surprised us, I suspect. As it says there, "a fair
12 assessment of the strength," that's the comment.
13 Q. Yes. Were you of the view that the HVO had
14 approximately 12.000 troops at their disposal in
15 Central Bosnia?
16 A. That figure does ring a bell, yes.
17 Q. You would concede, therefore, that the troops
18 available to the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina outnumbered
19 the HVO troops by a considerable margin?
20 A. Yes, I would agree with that, but that is not
21 how we assessed or would assess, as professional
22 soldiers, the combat power of the two relevant armies.
23 Manpower is only one factor, and it's a rather spurious
24 factor to look at the relevant combat power of two
1 Q. You actually saw BiH tanks in the area of
2 operations for which you were responsible?
3 A. Yes. I saw two T-55s.
4 Q. You never saw any HVO tanks, did you?
5 A. Yes, I did, in Prozor. I also saw tanks in
6 Maglaj of a joint BiH-HVO brigade that had been
7 captured from the Serbs.
8 Q. That was to the north of your area of
9 operations, I believe, the northernmost part.
10 A. Yes, it was.
11 Q. Did you ever see any tanks in Central Bosnia
12 along the Lasva Valley?
13 A. No, I didn't.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, would you agree that Vitez
15 is certainly within mortar range of Kruscica?
16 A. Yes, and vice versa.
17 Q. And vice versa. Colonel Watters, did you
18 have a soldier under your command by the name of
19 Corporal Gough (phoen), Vincent Gough?
20 A. We had 612 soldiers. His name doesn't
21 actually leap to my mind.
22 Q. All right. Are you familiar with the concept
23 of FIBUA or "Fighting In Built-Up Areas"?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is that a standard tactical doctrine in the
1 British army?
2 A. The term is now slightly outdated, but it is
3 a doctrine, yes.
4 Q. Was it a standard tactical doctrine in 1993
5 in the British army?
6 A. Yes, it was.
7 Q. All right. I would just like to ask you a
8 few questions in connection with this doctrine, if I
10 In the absence of earthen fortifications, it
11 would be completely normal, in military operations, to
12 use any available structure for defensive purposes,
13 would it not?
14 A. Yes, it would.
15 Q. In areas where fighting has occurred and a
16 village has been taken and retained by an opposing
17 force, that village is likely to be extremely heavily
18 damaged at the end of the hostilities, is it not?
19 A. Stalingrad was destroyed.
20 Q. It's common in the FIBUA doctrine for a
21 platoon commander to give orders to his sections or
22 manoeuvre units to secure a building or set of
23 buildings, is it not?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. The decisions on how to do that are actually
1 made by the section commander; is that correct?
2 A. I'm sorry, I don't follow that question.
3 Q. Decisions on how to effectuate the particular
4 tactical objective are made by the section commander?
5 A. The section commander would be given an area
6 of responsibility, yes.
7 Q. The section commander would decide which
8 soldiers would lay down the initial field of fire;
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And which ones would throw grenades into a
12 house; right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In fact, which soldiers entered the house
15 would be the decision of the section commander?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. In the FIBUA doctrine that the British army
18 was trained to use in 1993, one of the overriding
19 principles was the use of all available fire-power to
20 clear houses; was that not correct?
21 A. That was correct.
22 Q. Both direct and indirect fire; right?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Mortars and machine gun fire?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. The houses on either side of a particular
2 target would be neutralised with supporting fire as
3 well; is that right?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. Indeed, you taught your soldiers, under the
6 FIBUA doctrine, not to enter, if they could possibly
7 avoid it, through doors or windows, but rather to blow
8 a hole in the side of the house with a satchel charge
9 or a tank shell; correct?
10 A. I don't know where the tank shell came from,
11 but correct, yes.
12 Q. Then after this hole had been blown in the
13 side of the house, under the doctrine --
14 A. I see, you mean a tank to fire at the side of
15 a house?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. I wouldn't subscribe to that personally, but
18 you would try and enter the house by other means than
19 the normal doors and windows, yes.
20 Q. Because of the danger of being shot at
21 through those --
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. All right. Then the doctrine teaches that
24 grenades should be thrown in through any available
25 opening, be it a hole blown in the side of the house or
1 a door or a window; right?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. To neutralise any soldiers that might be in
4 the house, shooting at you; correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Then the troops would charge in, shooting
7 into the room; correct?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. They would also charge in, shooting through
10 the ceiling --
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. -- and through the floor?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. That is to avoid being shot themselves?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Would it be fair to say, Colonel Watters,
17 that you had not actually been to the village of Ahmici
18 yourself before April the 16th?
19 A. That's true.
20 Q. Driving along the main road, could you
21 actually see, on April the 16th, the fact that the
22 minaret had been toppled?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I wonder if I could show you or ask you to
25 look at Z1593,A, one of the Prosecution's set of
1 exhibits, 1593,A.
2 If the usher could put photograph number 22
3 on the ELMO, that might be helpful.
4 Colonel Watters, we've seen the photos that
5 you took from your Warrior armoured fighting vehicle,
6 and the minaret actually did not have any graffiti on
7 it. The photograph that I've just shown you has
8 graffiti on it. Do you have any idea who put that
9 graffiti on there or when?
10 A. No, and I don't know what it means either.
11 Q. You didn't see any graffiti at any time on
12 the minaret during your tour of duty through the Lasva
14 A. No, I didn't, no.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, in your opinion,
16 Colonel Blaskic was in full command of all HVO troops
17 before Ahmici, was he not?
18 A. No.
19 Q. All right. In your opinion, Colonel Blaskic
20 was in full command of all HVO troops during Ahmici,
21 was he not?
22 A. He was -- it's a slightly ambiguous
23 question. I've already stated that there were
24 occasions when soldiers appeared to disobey the orders
25 of Colonel Blaskic. Colonel Blaskic was the regional
1 military commander and therefore was in command of all
2 HVO troops in the region, but as our experience showed,
3 there were troops that did not follow the orders of
4 Colonel Blaskic. I've made that point yesterday.
5 Q. All right. In your opinion, Colonel Blaskic
6 was in full command of all HVO troops after Ahmici too;
7 is that correct?
8 A. In the same way as he was before, yes.
9 Q. Well, Colonel Watters, let me just address
10 your attention to your testimony in the Blaskic case
11 where you were asked those three questions by the
12 Prosecutor. Page 3454 and 3455. Let me just read the
13 questions and the answer.
14 Mr. Kehoe said:
15 Q. Sorry. Colonel Blaskic was in
16 command of the HVO troops before
17 Ahmici, was he not?
18 A. Yes, he was.
19 Q. During Ahmici?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And after Ahmici?
22 A. Yes.
23 That was the testimony that you gave; right?
24 A. Correct, and that's what I've just affirmed.
25 Colonel Blaskic was the regional military commander in
1 command of all troops. I was asked the question
2 yesterday were there any troops that didn't always
3 follow his orders, and I said, yes, there were.
4 He was still in command of the central
5 military district that we operated in, but as was
6 illustrated yesterday, there were incidents where
7 troops did not follow his orders. But he was in
8 command. That was the question I was asked. He was
9 the regional commander.
10 Q. Now, would it be fair to say that your
11 information about the reasons that you ultimately
12 concluded that Ahmici had been attacked came from
13 Muslim sources?
14 A. No. The initial report we received, as you
15 said yourself, was from the Dutch transport base, that
16 Ahmici was being attacked.
17 Q. I'm talking about the esoteric and psychic
18 reasons for the attack that you testified about
20 A. Yes, that's true.
21 Q. It's true that the sources for your
22 conclusions regarding the esoteric and psychic reasons
23 for the attack were exclusively from the Muslim side;
25 A. Yes, they were.
1 Q. During your personal observation of the
2 Ahmici battleground, you never saw any evidence of any
3 mortar or artillery fire, did you?
4 A. No, I didn't.
5 Q. Now, you described yesterday a conversation
6 with Colonel Blaskic in which he had claimed that
7 first, it may have been the Serb forces that attacked
8 Ahmici; and second, that it could have been the Muslim
9 forces themselves, that attacked themselves so to
10 speak, and you found that patently ludicrous. Do you
11 remember that today?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. But you don't know whether Colonel Blaskic
14 was aware of what had actually gone on at Ahmici when
15 you had that conversation with him, do you?
16 A. My belief at that time was he was fully
18 Q. But you don't know that for a fact, do you,
20 A. No, I don't.
21 Q. All right. Do you recall the quotation from
22 Colonel Stewart's book that I read to you yesterday
23 regarding conversations with Colonel Colm Doyle?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. If a person had not been aware of what had
1 gone on in Ahmici, given that state of affairs in
2 Central Bosnia, is it your opinion that it would have
3 been unreasonable for Colonel Blaskic to have
4 entertained that view?
5 JUDGE MAY: I don't think that these are
6 matters, really, for the witness. These are matters of
7 argument. Let's move on.
8 MR. SAYERS: I will move on.
9 Q. With respect to the truck bomb that you
10 testified about, I believe it exploded on April the
11 18th, 1993, in Stari Vitez, Colonel Watters; do you
12 remember that?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Did you know that the bomb had actually
15 exploded outside of the Muslim forces' military
17 A. It was certainly in the region of that, yes.
18 Outside the mosque.
19 Q. Yes. Now, you also testified that the
20 Muslims, Muslim forces in Stari Vitez, were holding
21 their own as of April the 17th, 18th, and 19th; right?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. How were they doing that?
24 A. With defended infantry positions.
25 Q. In other words, they were using weapons to
1 fire back at the Croat attackers?
2 A. Using rifles, yes.
3 Q. And they were doing so successfully?
4 A. Yes, they were.
5 Q. Turning to the subject of the shelling of
6 Zenica on April the 19th, 1993, about which you
7 testified, would it be fair to say that it is extremely
8 difficult, in your professional experience, with your
9 26 years of professional experience, to tell where
10 artillery has been fired from?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. The artillery shell and the mortar, in your
13 professional experience, are not particularly accurate
14 weapons, are they?
15 A. Yes, they are.
16 Q. Well, they're area weapons, aren't they?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And it's difficult to judge precisely where
19 the projectiles will fall; right?
20 A. That would depend on the skill of the users,
21 their experience, whether they fired ranging shots;
22 it's too general a question.
23 Q. Do you know whether any ranging shots were
24 fired on Zenica on April the 19th?
25 A. I don't believe there were.
1 Q. The point being, though, Colonel Watters,
2 that artillery is basically an area weapon rather than
3 a precision weapon; right?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And this is especially true as the range
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. At extreme ranges, the weapon is less and
9 less precise?
10 A. Correct. But there again, Zenica is a very
11 big target.
12 Q. Now, on April the 19th, just to summarise, I
13 believe that the Croats were faced with a very vigorous
14 and successful Muslim counterattack?
15 A. I'm sorry, the date?
16 Q. April 19th.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The Croats found themselves forced into a
19 dangerous defensive position; they were actually facing
20 military defeat. Would you not agree with that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. At the best, a prolonged village-to-village
23 firefight; right?
24 A. Yes, that's a fair assessment.
25 Q. And that would inevitably involve a
1 substantial number of both military and civilian
2 casualties; correct?
3 A. Correct. That was something that I discussed
4 with General Halilovic.
5 Q. And that is when Zenica was shelled?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Isn't it true, sir, that most large cities
8 and towns in Central Bosnia had been regularly shelled
9 in the civil war at some time or another?
10 A. I wasn't aware that Zenica had been shelled.
11 Q. But what's the answer to the question?
12 Travnik, for example?
13 A. Travnik was shelled, yes.
14 Q. Donji Vakuf, for example?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Novi Travnik, for example?
17 A. I would hardly call it a city. It's a
19 Q. It was regularly shelled, though, wasn't it?
20 A. The whole of Bosnia was regularly shelled,
21 and Sarajevo was regularly shelled.
22 Q. That's what I was getting at. Now, the 3rd
23 Corps actually had its headquarters in Zenica, did it
25 A. Yes it did.
1 Q. How do you know that the 3rd Corps
2 headquarters was not the target?
3 A. Because you -- I mean, that's a ridiculous
5 JUDGE MAY: Just a minute, Colonel. There's
6 a note here from the stenographers: "Kindly slow down
7 for the purposes of the record."
8 Mr. Sayers?
9 MR. SAYERS: I stand, once again, justly
10 accused and chastised.
11 JUDGE MAY: Judge Robinson points out that it
12 is the pause which is important between question and
14 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
15 JUDGE MAY: Now, the question was, how do you
16 know that the 3rd Corps headquarters was not the
18 A. I don't know that the 3rd -- the 3rd Corps
19 headquarters wasn't the target.
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. I think, as you put it in prior testimony in
22 other cases, sir, this was a, quote, "Stop attacking us
23 or we will flatten your city type of threat," unquote?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And it worked, didn't it?
1 A. Yes and no. I don't think, in the end, it
2 was the actual decision that caused General Halilovic
3 to decide not to press on and destroy Busovaca as a
4 reprisal for the destruction of Ahmici. I think he
5 actually evaluated other factors. Because he had
6 already demonstrated, as had the BiH, that they were
7 prepared to take civilian casualties in order to
8 prosecute their military objectives. So again, I think
9 it's a rather simplistic analysis to think that he
10 actually succumbed to it. It was certainly a very
11 visible threat to him.
12 Q. You initially confronted Colonel Blaskic
13 about the shelling; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And he suggested to you that it may have been
16 Serb artillery?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in fact, you thought that there was
19 actually a twisted logic to that suggestion, did you
21 A. There was a twisted logic to just about
22 everything in Bosnia.
23 Q. I believe that you would agree with me, sir,
24 that you cannot be sure that it was actually Croat
25 artillery that was used to shell Zenica; correct?
1 A. At the time, with an artillery officer, we
2 went to a great deal of trouble to try and ascertain
3 whether it could be Serb artillery, and we couldn't --
4 unless the Serbs had managed to move artillery in front
5 of their front lines, we couldn't see which Serb
6 artillery could have fired it.
7 Q. But you could never prove which artillery
8 piece had actually fired the rounds, could you?
9 A. No, there was only coincidental evidence that
10 there was a weapon of -- a piece of Croat artillery of
11 sufficient calibre, with sufficient range, that was
12 firing at the same time, and that was documented. But
13 that, again, is not proof.
14 Q. And I believe that you would agree that
15 Colonel Blaskic was the artillery commander at that
17 A. Those resources were part of his command,
19 Q. He was in charge of the artillery?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Therefore the military action, in your view?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. All right. Now, let me turn to the ceasefire
24 negotiations that you either mediated yourself or
25 participated in. As I understand it, sir, the first
1 negotiation occurred between the commander of the
2 Muslim forces, Mr. Dzidic, and I believe that you said
3 the commander of the forces in Vitez or Colonel
4 Blaskic; you could not be sure which.
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. Was there any signed ceasefire agreement that
7 resulted from that?
8 A. I can't remember whether a document was
9 actually signed, but there was certainly an agreement
10 to a ceasefire. That was at about lunchtime, 12.00 or
11 so, on the morning of the 16th. I said that
13 Q. And you've already testified, I believe, that
14 Mr. Kordic took no part in those negotiations?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. He wasn't invited?
17 A. He wasn't -- he wasn't invited.
18 Q. All right. The next event, chronologically,
19 in the peace negotiation process, I understand, was the
20 announcement of a peace document that had been signed
21 by Mr. Mate Boban and President Izetbegovic on April
22 the 18th?
23 A. That's correct, as we said yesterday.
24 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Boban was a member of
25 BiH parliament?
1 A. I'm sorry? I don't understand the question.
2 Q. Was he a member of the parliament? Or do you
4 A. He was a -- as you said yesterday, he was the
5 senior member of the HVO government in Bosnia.
6 Q. As I understand the next item
7 chronologically, Colonel Blaskic issued a written
8 ceasefire order on April the 18th?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. But that was not accepted by the Muslim
12 A. No.
13 Q. And then the next development occurred in
14 Zenica, I believe, where high-level negotiations
15 between senior authorised representatives of the
16 hostile forces confronting one another --
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. -- were present, and I believe General
19 Morillon was there?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Along with ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And that resulted in a signed document, did
24 it not?
25 A. Yes, it did.
1 Q. I'd like to ask you to look at the document
2 that has previously been marked as D24/1.
3 Once again, Colonel Watters, this document
4 need not detain us long. Is this a copy of the
5 ceasefire agreement that was signed in Zenica on the
6 20th of April, 1993?
7 A. It certainly looks like that, yes.
8 Q. Mr. Kordic was never invited to attend these
10 A. I don't know. I wasn't involved in that
12 Q. As I understand it, the next item that
13 occurred in these negotiations was another meeting at
14 the BritBat base in Stari Bila, on April the 21st?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. The next day?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. That was attended by General Petkovic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Who was the chief of staff of the HVO --
21 A. Yes. We did all this yesterday.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I quite agree. We are going
23 over material which isn't in dispute. Can we move on,
24 please? If there's a general point that Mr. Kordic was
25 not involved in the negotiations, that, of course, can
1 be put. But that apart, I don't see there is much
2 point going over it again.
3 MR. NICE: While Mr. Sayers is finding his
4 place in his notes, I've noticed the long passage of
5 cross-examination about fighting in built-up areas --
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
7 MR. NICE: I wonder if the significance of it
8 might be explained.
9 JUDGE MAY: I have it in mind.
10 MR. NICE: Thank you.
11 MR. SAYERS:
12 Q. If I might turn your attention to the next
13 document I would like to show you.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Document D63/1.
15 MR. SAYERS:
16 Q. While we look at this, Colonel Watters, it
17 was suggested that we ask you whether you would agree
18 that Mr. Kordic was not involved in any of the
19 ceasefire or peace negotiations in April of 1993.
20 A. No, he wasn't directly, and as I said
21 yesterday, the only time his name was mentioned was
22 when I mentioned it to General Petkovic to be sure that
23 he wasn't going to unravel what was being agreed and
24 implemented by Colonel Blaskic, because in the past he
25 had appeared not to comply with Colonel Blaskic's
2 Q. Turning to Exhibit D63/1, have you ever seen
3 this document before?
4 A. Yes, I have.
5 Q. Do you know what the response was?
6 A. I mean, in general terms, yes. I mean, I
7 can't -- I'm not party to any individual conversations
8 that may have taken place between Colonel Blaskic and
9 Colonel Stewart.
10 Q. All right. Let me show you the next
11 document, which is dated April the 23rd, 1993, and is
12 Colonel Blaskic's reply to Colonel Stewart.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document D64/1.
14 MR. SAYERS:
15 Q. Colonel Watters, do you know whether a joint
16 commission was ever formed consisting of
17 representatives of the BiH army and HVO to investigate
18 the events at Ahmici?
19 A. I'm sorry, I'm just reading this letter.
20 I'm sorry?
21 Q. The question, I think, was, do you know
22 whether a joint commission was ever formed consisting
23 of representatives of the BiH army and HVO to
24 investigate the events at Ahmici?
25 A. Not during our time there. I don't remember
1 it. I remember Colonel Stewart being exasperated,
2 angered, and frustrated at the lack of preparedness of
3 the HVO, and specifically Colonel Blaskic, to take any
4 action against the people that we believed he knew had
5 conducted this atrocity.
6 Q. Do you know why such a joint commission as
7 the one suggested by Colonel Blaskic was not formed?
8 A. I have a vague memory that the BiH didn't
9 believe there was a point in forming a joint commission
10 to investigate an atrocity conducted by the HVO. But
11 again, I mean, the detail, I'm afraid, is long -- is
12 long gone from my memory.
13 Q. Well, that's perfectly all right, but it's
14 your recollection that the BiH representatives declined
15 to participate in such a joint commission?
16 A. The point of the joint commission was a
17 complete smokescreen to enable the HVO to avoid
18 investigating their own soldiers for the murder of
19 civilians. And the BiH declined to take part because
20 they also saw it as a smokescreen. I am not defending
21 the BiH; they were equally -- and did commit very
22 similar murders, as we have discussed. Neither side
23 were the good guys or the bad guys; they were both good
24 and bad guys. It just depended who was doing what to
25 whom at the time.
1 Q. All right. Well, let me move on to another
2 area. At some point, the representatives of the ECMM
3 and the U.N. Centre for Human Rights arrived in your
4 area of responsibility to perform an investigation
5 themselves, did they not?
6 A. Yes, they did.
7 Q. Who made the arrangements for these gentlemen
8 to visit your area of responsibility?
9 A. We did.
10 Q. Do you know when that was done?
11 A. There were several visits to the area. There
12 was certainly one conducted by United Nations
13 investigators shortly after the incident. I can
14 remember taking some of them around Ahmici.
15 Q. Did you personally brief those investigators?
16 A. As I said, there were several visits; some
17 Colonel Stewart briefed, some I briefed. I certainly
18 briefed some, yes.
19 Q. Do you recall who you briefed?
20 A. There were two: a gentleman called Payam,
21 and I can't remember the other gentleman's name. They
22 were two Americans.
23 Q. Does the name "Osorio" sound familiar?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. How long did you spend briefing these
2 A. They visited us for a couple of days. I
3 spent time talking to them, and I spent a few hours
4 with them in Ahmici.
5 Q. All right. Now, is it true that UNPROFOR and
6 various other organisations actually compiled a list of
7 suspects, those organisations believed to have been
8 involved --
9 A. We talked about this yesterday, yes. It
10 produced a list of names.
11 Q. And your testimony was, I believe, that
12 Colonel Blaskic was given a list of 11 suspects?
13 A. As I said, the number is to the best of my
14 memory. He was certainly given the list by Colonel
15 Stewart, as I remember. I wouldn't like the Court to
16 believe, from my evidence, that that was the total
17 number of people who took part. That was just a list
18 of some of the people who took part, as we believed.
19 Q. Do you remember giving this testimony in the
20 Blaskic case two years ago?
21 Q. So to your knowledge, the HVO was
22 never given any information derived
23 from the victims and survivors of
24 Ahmici from which they could build
25 and further their own
1 investigation; correct?
2 A. I think that would be correct.
3 A. Sorry, can you say that question again?
4 Q. Yes. This is from page 3553 of the
6 Q. So to your knowledge, the HVO was
7 never given any information derived
8 from the victims and survivors of
9 Ahmici from which they could build
10 and further their own
11 investigation; correct?
12 A. I think that would be correct.
13 A. That would appear to be different to what I'm
14 saying now. I would have to know the context of that
15 question, what the previous questions were before and
16 what I was actually being asked.
17 For example, we did not receive information
18 from the victims. We received information from other
19 sources, and it was that information from other sources
20 that we gave to -- as I remember it, Colonel Stewart
21 gave to Colonel Blaskic. You would need to actually
22 put that question and my answer in context.
23 I certainly don't remember saying we did not
24 confront the HVO with the facts as we knew them, as
25 they developed, so I don't quite understand my answers
1 to the question. It would need to be put in context.
2 Q. Well, are you sure that this list of names
3 was given to the HVO by Colonel Stewart?
4 A. Whether it was given or not, as I said
5 yesterday, I can't remember. Colonel Stewart certainly
6 had a list of names. He confronted Colonel Blaskic
7 with that list of names. I think Colonel Stewart gave
8 Colonel Blaskic the list of names.
9 The source of the list of names was very
10 sensitive, and I know that was an overriding factor on
11 Colonel Stewart's judgement as to what he did with that
12 list of names. You would have to ask Colonel Stewart
13 the question.
14 Q. Let me read you a passage from Colonel
15 Stewart's cross-examination.
16 JUDGE MAY: Is Colonel Stewart going to give
18 MR. NICE: I'm certainly intending to call
19 Colonel Stewart. He is a listed witness.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It's pointless to go on in
21 this way when we're going to have Colonel Stewart, who
22 can deal with the matters himself.
23 Yes, let's go on.
24 MR. SAYERS:
25 Q. Colonel Watters, you are aware that
1 Colonel Blaskic did endeavour to find out the names of
2 those whom he believed to be responsible for events at
3 Ahmici, are you not?
4 A. I mean I'm not aware what Colonel Blaskic got
5 up to, no.
6 Q. Do you remember giving this testimony at page
7 3456 of the Blaskic transcript two years ago?
8 A. I am aware that Colonel Blaskic
9 endeavoured to find out the names
10 of those he believed responsible,
11 and I understand that he passed
12 those names up his chain of
14 A. Sorry, can you read the whole context of my
15 evidence? That sentence, on its own, a little like the
16 ridiculous sentences you quoted yesterday from my
17 letter to my father, when taken in isolation can mean
18 something completely different, and I can't put in
19 context something I said two years ago about something
20 that happened six years ago with a single sentence, I'm
22 Q. All right. Let me read to you the question
23 and the answer, sir. Lines 17 through 23 of the
24 transcript on November the 10th, 1997.
25 Q. To your knowledge, Colonel, were
1 any such acts to investigate and
2 prosecute the individuals involved
3 in those atrocities done by the
5 A. I am aware that Colonel Blaskic
6 endeavoured to find out the names
7 of those he believed responsible,
8 and I understand that he passed
9 those names up his chain of
11 A. I would only caveat if I said that two years
12 ago, it's what I thought and believed when I said it.
13 I would only caveat it to say that that is what
14 Colonel Blaskic said he did, and if Colonel Blaskic
15 said that, then I would have acknowledged that he had
16 said it. I can't possibly say that I know he did it
17 because I didn't know he did it, but I would certainly
18 say he said he did it.
19 Q. Now, turning to the last few subjects that I
20 want to cover with you. First of all, your
21 conversation with Dario Kordic, this occurred in the
22 basement of a building in Busovaca, the town of
23 Busovaca; is that right?
24 A. It was the bank, as I remember.
25 Q. Right. The purpose of that meeting, I
1 believe, was to try to resolve issues of stolen
3 A. I don't remember any details of the meeting
4 other than I was going to be introduced to him, and I
5 think the conversation either -- conducted by the
6 liaison officer, through the interpreter, with me as a
7 party to it did cover a range of subjects, and I think
8 that was one of them.
9 We were certainly grateful to Mr. Kordic for
10 having arranged the release earlier of a soldier, this
11 BritBat from Kiseljak, and his involvement in the
12 returning of stolen vehicles, yes.
13 Q. Would it be fair to say that if you had
14 problems that needed to be resolved in the immediate
15 area of Busovaca, you would try to contact Mr. Kordic
16 for help in that regard?
17 A. Yes, that's true.
18 Q. You would never think of going to him to help
19 out with those kinds of problems in the town of Vitez,
20 for example, would you?
21 A. No. Well, that's not actually true, because
22 the Dutch vehicle was actually abducted from close to
23 Vitez. It wasn't abducted in Busovaca, and he enabled
24 the return of that vehicle due to, we presume, the
25 control he exercised over those elements of the HVO
1 that had taken that vehicle or had influenced
2 themselves over the criminal elements that had taken
3 that vehicle. So that's the context of it. It wasn't
4 confined just to the environs of Busovaca, his
5 influence, in our opinion.
6 Q. All right. Isn't it true that in your
7 opinion and experience, Mr. Kordic's influence, if any,
8 did not seem to stretch beyond Busovaca and its close
10 A. I have just answered that question. He
11 appeared to exercise a degree of military control in
12 Busovaca and its environs. His political control and
13 influence seemed to stretch beyond that, in that he was
14 able to return the Dutch vehicle that had been taken
15 from outside Vitez.
16 Q. Do you remember testifying in the Blaskic
17 case two years ago that Mr. Kordic's authority, if any,
18 "mostly applied to Busovaca and its close environs.
19 It did not seem to stretch much beyond that, in terms
20 of the particular problems that we had"?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. That's accurate; right?
23 A. Well, as I've just said, yes. And define
24 "close environs". I mean I was interpreting that as
25 the area around Busovaca that Busovaca influenced,
1 which also included areas of Vitez, hence the return of
2 the Dutch vehicle that Blaskic was unable to achieve
3 but Kordic was able to achieve.
4 Q. To your understanding, the local mafiosi were
5 unhappy about the return of that vehicle, weren't they?
6 A. Yes, they were.
7 Q. Now, you testified yesterday about some
8 perceived cooling, I believe was the word that you
9 used, in the relationship between Mr. Kordic and
10 Colonel Blaskic after the HVO had been surrounded and
11 pushed back on their heels; right?
12 A. That was a personal perception, yes.
13 Q. Right. Did you ever speak to Mr. Kordic
14 about that?
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 Q. Did you ever speak to Mr. Blaskic about that?
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. What were your sources?
19 A. The exchange at the meeting between myself,
20 General Petkovic, and Colonel Blaskic, when I had
21 raised the issue of Mr. Kordic, and also reports of
22 sort of the general conversation heard by our LOs
23 through their interpreters during the period
25 It was just a perception, as I said. It was
1 impossible to give a single piece of corroboration to.
2 It was my perception. It might have been wrong. It
3 was my perception.
4 Q. All right. Now, turning to the testimony
5 that you gave regarding the halted convoy, it would be
6 fair to say that there is no reference to that incident
7 in your September the 1st, 1994 statement; correct?
8 A. I'd have to read it. I mean I'm sorry, I
9 don't remember something I said in 1994. I was asked a
10 series of questions and I gave a series of answers to
11 those questions, and if I wasn't asked a question about
12 Mr. Kordic, I probably wouldn't have given an answer
13 about him.
14 Q. Well, I'm sure if there is a statement in
15 there, that will be pointed out to you.
16 Let me turn to the statement that you wrote
17 on April the 17th, 1997, consisting of some 23 pages.
18 There's no reference to the convoy incident in that
19 statement either, is there, Colonel Watters?
20 A. You ask that as if it's an accusation. I
21 mean if you say there isn't, well, there isn't.
22 Q. Do you know whether there is any reference
23 to --
24 A. Sorry, are you --
25 JUDGE MAY: Don't worry about the questions.
1 Yes, go on.
2 MR. SAYERS:
3 Q. Do you know whether there is any reference to
4 that incident in any milinfosum, Colonel Watters?
5 A. Off the top of my head, I don't. I would
6 have to read a milinfosum for every day of six months
7 to answer the question. I don't think there is, and I
8 have tried to find one and couldn't. But it is a clear
9 memory of mine.
10 Again, don't quote milinfosums as authority.
11 You showed me one yesterday on the 25th of April, and
12 on the first page was an absolute glaring mistake. The
13 milinfosums represented, as I said yesterday, what we
14 assessed at the time and often were only the judgement
15 of a sergeant major or a very junior captain on what
16 they had been told on debriefing patrols. They do not
17 necessarily represent the facts or, indeed, the opinion
18 of BritBat at the time. They were an internal document
19 for internal use.
20 We never expected, when we were producing
21 them, that they would be held at a criminal tribunal as
22 absolute fact. Some of it is absolute fact. Some of
23 it is assessment, and some of that assessment, with
24 hindsight, wasn't necessarily correct.
25 Q. Very well. But with no accusation intended
1 or implication or innuendo, Colonel Watters, I think it
2 would be fair to say that you have not seen any
3 milinfosum that contains any reference to that incident
4 that you have described.
5 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we need go over
6 this. I mean if there are none, you can point it out
7 to us in due course.
8 MR. SAYERS:
9 Q. Turning to my final questions for you,
10 Colonel Watters --
11 JUDGE MAY: Before we leave it, the witness
12 has given evidence that Dario Kordic was involved in
13 the release, as he understood it, of this convoy and
14 said it had been done, it had been stopped, to make a
15 point. Is that in dispute?
16 MR. SAYERS: I think it is in dispute, Your
18 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes, let's try and
20 MR. SAYERS: I think I will be able to do
21 that, Mr. President.
22 Q. Colonel Watters, you aren't aware of any
23 information or facts that established Mr. Kordic played
24 any role in the planning or execution of the military
25 campaign in the Lasva Valley in April 1993, are you?
1 A. And equally I'm not aware he didn't.
2 Q. Would it be fair to say, with respect to the
3 subject of the evocative term "ethnic cleansing", that
4 the Croats had also been victims of deliberate ethnic
5 cleansing in the Lasva Valley, as well as Muslims?
6 A. There was no monopoly in Central Bosnia, in
7 either the Serbs, Muslims, and Croats, on ethnic
8 cleansing or murder and dispossessing people of their
9 houses and burning those houses. There was no monopoly
10 on either of the three factions.
11 Q. I appreciate that, and it's your view that
12 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the time that you
13 were there, those sorts of affairs were going on on
14 both sides, or all three sides, really?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. My final question for you is you were
17 mentioned in Colonel Stewart's book. I would just like
18 to read you a section from it and get your views on
19 this particular observation, if I may.
20 This is page 318 to 319. Colonel Stewart
21 gives these views:
22 "Bosnia is certainly complex beyond anyone's
23 dreams. There are far more than three sides, Serb,
24 Croat, and Muslim, what we hear about in the media.
25 There are factions within groups and groups within
1 factions, and without an established order, these
2 different elements had created a situation as close to
3 anarchy as I have yet witnessed.
4 "Bosnia does not even recognise itself as a
5 country. The main political parties and armies are all
6 newly created. Even the differentiation between
7 military and civilian is impossible.
8 "Bosnia is undergoing a classic civil war
9 fought by civilians against civilians, as a civilian
10 one minute, as a soldier the next.
11 "Bryan Watters, my second in command,
12 remarked to me, when we were looking at an appalling
13 atrocity, that there were few noble acts in a civil
15 He also says:
16 "A civilian soldier probably knows little
17 about the established rules of war. The use of
18 detainees for digging trenches in the front line, where
19 they are liable to be shot by their own side, might
20 make sense to him, but both the ICRC and we were
21 incensed by it. 'It is strictly against the Geneva
22 Convention,' we shout in exasperation. 'What's the
23 Geneva Convention,' comes the reply.
24 "How can someone like Commander Lucko in
25 Turbe be expected to know all the details of the
1 'civilised' conduct of war? Less than two years ago,
2 he was a teacher. He's had very little military
3 training. What he is actually doing, of course, is
4 defending his home or what is left of it."
5 Did you and Colonel Watters [sic] discuss
6 subjects such as that towards the end of your tour in
7 Central Bosnia?
8 A. I'm sorry, your question is obviously in
9 error, because then I would be talking to myself. You
10 mean Colonel Stewart?
11 Q. Yes, I'm sorry.
12 A. Yes, we did.
13 Q. Did those reflect your views as well as his?
14 A. To differing degrees. I always took a view
15 that ignorance of the Geneva Convention and the chaos,
16 confusion, and bitterness of a civil war gave nobody
17 the authority to kill what I often described as the
18 victims of Bosnia, those least able to defend
19 themselves, and I don't think anyone had an excuse to
20 do that, no matter what they were doing and what they
21 were protecting. And so as I walked through fields of
22 dead bodies, I didn't believe that the end had
23 justified the means on any occasion.
24 Q. Actually, I have one final question, since I
25 have five minutes left.
1 Do you remember discussing with Lieutenant
2 Dooley what he did in Ahmici on the 16th of April,
4 A. I would have to be reminded, I'm afraid. I
5 had lots of discussion with lots of people.
6 Q. Do you have any recollection of Lieutenant
7 Dooley telling you that he had picked up six bodies in
8 Ahmici and then taken them to the cemetery that you
9 have identified in the photograph, the aerial
10 photograph, and dropped them off?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you have any recollection of discussing
13 with him returning to Ahmici, picking up yet more
14 bodies, about four or five, and then taking them to the
15 cemetery and putting them in the same place?
16 A. If you're saying that the bodies that I
17 photographed early on the morning of the 16th were the
18 bodies that BritBat had moved there, that is not
19 possible because --
20 Q. No, Colonel Watters, I'm not making that
21 suggestion at all.
22 A. Right. I mean I don't have a memory of
23 discussing that with Dooley. The only memory I have of
24 discussing, in any detail, the movement of people and
25 bodies was with a Colour-Sergeant Kicavinski (phoen),
1 who had moved about 16 people in one of his Warriors,
2 which was unusual.
3 We were moving tens of dozens of bodies all
4 over the place, and I don't, I'm afraid -- I
5 apologise. I don't have a single recollection of a
6 conversation with Dooley.
7 Q. And do you recall any reports that you
8 received on the morning of the 16th of April that at
9 least 17 civilian bodies had been picked up in Ahmici
10 by your forces?
11 A. I -- I couldn't give you the number, but I am
12 aware that Colonel Stewart gave the order that we were
13 to recover bodies, and our soldiers did it.
14 Q. Colonel Stewart gave that order?
15 A. It was an order that Colonel Stewart had
16 given before, that if we found bodies, we were to
17 remove them from the scene of the fighting, and that
18 was something that the soldiers did as a matter of
19 course. We were -- usually we were removing wounded
20 people, but with the wounded people, we also used to
21 take bodies, and on occasion we would specifically
22 mount a mission to remove bodies. I think I explained
23 that yesterday.
24 Q. Colonel Watters, thank you very much for your
25 testimony. I know it's been difficult. I appreciate
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, before you conclude,
3 the passage which was alluded to before concerned
4 British army doctrines, I think it was called --
5 MR. SAYERS: FIBUA.
6 JUDGE MAY: -- of fighting in built-up areas,
7 and the witness gave evidence about it. Now, the
8 question here is, what is the relevance of this to this
10 MR. SAYERS: It seems to me, Your Honour,
11 that there has been considerable discussion about the
12 fighting that occurred in Ahmici, and it also seems to
13 me that the military officers who had received
14 extensive military training with the JNA, and who were
15 presumably familiar with standard tactical doctrines
16 such as those that prevailed in the British army, would
17 employ those techniques in built-up areas.
18 JUDGE MAY: So what is being suggested is
19 that what happened in Ahmici was or may have been the
20 result of the use of those sort of tactics; is that the
22 MR. SAYERS: Absolutely. Although I will
23 say, in light of the question that was posed to the
24 Defence yesterday, the Defence's position is that we do
25 not know specifically what happened in Ahmici; that's
1 been the subject of a trial which has gone on for two
2 and a half years and which is the subject of closing
3 arguments as we speak. And our position is that our
4 client had nothing to do with it.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, of course, I understand
6 that. But at the same time, what happened in Ahmici is
7 an issue in this case on which the Defence will put
8 forward a case. Now, it may be that you say that you
9 are not in a position to accept the evidence, but
10 you're not in a position to dispute it. It will be
11 helpful to the Trial Chamber to know what position you
12 adopt. But meanwhile, the witness should have a chance
13 to comment on the suggestion that what he saw in Ahmici
14 may have been the result of the use of the sort of
15 tactics he was describing.
16 Can you comment on that, Colonel, or not?
17 A. I can only comment, sir, on what I saw
18 afterwards. And the systematic destruction of every
19 Muslim house in Ahmici would not, in my experience,
20 have been what I would expect to see after a FIBUA
21 assault of the type described by the Defence counsel,
22 in line with British doctrine, which he asked me to
23 agree with. It was far too systematic and didn't -- I
24 mean, there weren't the marks on the walls of
25 suppressive fire; there weren't signs of mortar and
1 artillery; and the sniper positions that we identified
2 around the village, which I took around and pointed out
3 to the U.N. investigators, were more doctrinally in
4 line with other procedures that we would use to secure
5 an area and try and capture the people in it, having
6 put out stops to prevent likely enemy escaping.
7 Also within our doctrine is the opportunity,
8 (a), for civilians and noncombatants to be removed from
9 any area to be assaulted by a high-intensity assault,
10 and also the opportunity for people to surrender and be
11 taken as prisoners of war rather than to be killed.
12 And there was nothing in what I visited in Ahmici that
13 led me to believe that that assault had been conducted
14 within any rules of war or the Geneva Convention.
15 It looked to me, as I said yesterday, as a
16 massacre and a systematic destruction of animals,
17 people, and houses in a specific village, similar to
18 things I've seen in other parts of Bosnia.
19 JUDGE MAY: Do you want to ask any question,
20 Mr. Sayers, arising from that?
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. It seems to me that that is your opinion,
23 Colonel Watters, but wouldn't you concede that there
24 would be room for disagreement between professionals in
25 your area regarding that?
1 A. I would be happy to debate with other
2 professionals their view based on their experience.
3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: We can look forward to your
6 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I have no further
7 questions, unless the Trial Chamber has any for me.
8 JUDGE MAY: No, thank you.
9 MR. NICE: If there's going to be a break,
10 can I simply ask that the witness is allowed to look at
11 unmarked but tagged copies of the two passages of
12 transcript in respect to which he said they ought to be
13 seen in context? It will save time for later.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 We'll adjourn now for 20 minutes.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.45 a.m.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
19 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) thank you,
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
22 Q. Good day, Mr. Watters. My name is Bozidar
23 Kovacic. I am a lawyer from Rijeka, and with my
24 colleague, Mr. Mikulicic, we are the Defence counsel of
25 the second accused in this case, Mr. Mario Cerkez. I
1 do not speak the same language as you, so you know what
2 the method is: We have to have a pause between the
3 question and the answer, because of the interpreters.
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. I would like to go back to that part of your
6 testimony of yesterday in which you mentioned your
7 contact with the commander of the Vitez Brigade, and
8 that was on page 35, line 16. You said that you had
9 talked to the commander of the brigade. You mentioned
10 his last name, which probably because of the record --
11 because of language difficulties was hard to record.
12 You could not recall the first name, so let us clarify
13 this. Were you referring to Mr. Mario Cerkez?
14 A. Yes, I was, and I remember Mr. Cerkez's
15 Christian name is Mario now.
16 Q. Your knowledge of the chain of command of the
17 HVO led you to know that he was the commander of an HVO
18 brigade based in Vitez; is that correct?
19 A. That's correct, sir.
20 Q. Thank you. You also said that after that,
21 and we are referring to the morning of the 16th, you
22 went to the commander on the Muslim side in Vitez.
23 What was his name? Can you recall?
24 A. I'm afraid I'd have to look at my notes. You
25 mentioned language earlier; I'm afraid those names do
1 not stay in my memory very easily.
2 Q. Was it Mr. Sefkija Sivro (sic), if you can
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Was that the person who took part later on in
6 the negotiations -- excuse me; I apologise: Sefkija
7 Dzidic. I made a mistake. I made a mistake.
8 Was it the same person who on that day and
9 the following day came to your offices in Bila to
10 participate in negotiations?
11 A. As I remember, yes, sir.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) I would like to
14 introduce a document for the witness to look at, so
15 would the usher please take the document.
16 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
18 Q. Mr. Watters, the document I have shown to you
19 is a report by Colonel Blaskic to his main staff in
20 Mostar reporting about this meeting which took place on
21 the 16th in Bila, and the HVO representatives listed
22 here are Marko Prskalo and Zoran Pilicic, and you
23 mentioned these yesterday. Would you agree, because
24 lower down, the representatives of the Republic of
25 B and H, the army of the Republic of B and H, are
1 listed as Sefkija Dzidic and Sifet Sivro, do you agree
2 that the above-mentioned Prskalo and Pilicic, as
3 members of the command of the Operative Zone of which
4 Blaskic was the commander, represented him?
5 A. My understanding of the meeting at 12.30 in
6 Bila School was I was talking to representatives of the
7 opposing factions in Vitez, and at that time a scale of
8 the fighting was not yet clear in our mind, and I was
9 dealing solely with the fighting in and around Vitez.
10 I understood I was talking to representatives of the
11 two brigades or the two commanders within Vitez. As I
12 see, my own name is incorrect in this document. I'm
13 not sure what else might be correct or incorrect.
14 Does that answer your question, sir?
15 Q. Partly, yes. But from what you said, it is
16 evident that on the 16th, in the morning, as you said,
17 you immediately asked to contact the commander of the
18 Operative Zone, Blaskic, and you obviously agreed to
19 his sending representatives to the meeting. After
20 that, you looked for Mario Cerkez. It is not quite
21 clear from your response whether you actually met him
22 or not, but it seems that some kind of contact was
23 established which was sufficient, and he agreed to come
24 to the meeting. Do we agree on this?
25 A. Yes. I do remember seeing Mr. Cerkez in his
1 headquarters in the cinema building in Vitez on that
3 Q. That's correct. But up to 12.30 hours, or a
4 little before that when your people took their
5 representatives into their vehicle, were these
6 negotiations taken over at a higher level because their
7 representatives arrived at the meeting?
8 A. The imperative of that meeting was to stop
9 the fighting in Vitez, and I was willing to risk the
10 lives of my officers and soldiers to collect any
11 representatives to come to a meeting to stop the
13 My perception at the meeting was that those
14 people represented those forces fighting in Vitez, and
15 I conducted negotiations to try and stop that
16 fighting. Those negotiations failed, because the
17 fighting did not stop.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Watters, from what you said,
19 it is clear that you had some basic information about
20 the chain of command. Was Colonel Blaskic Cerkez's
21 superior, since he was in command of one of the HVO
23 A. That was our understanding and my
24 understanding, that Mr. Cerkez was a subordinate
25 commander to Colonel Blaskic. Mario Cerkez commanded
1 the Vitez Brigade, and Colonel Tihomir Blaskic was the
2 regional commander.
3 Q. Yes, thank you. If I can draw your attention
4 to Mr. Sefkija Djidic, whom we have just mentioned and
5 who was also mentioned in the Blaskic case, on page
6 1209, when referring to this meeting and in answer to
7 the question concerning the meeting of the 16th of
8 April and the agreement on a ceasefire, he responded
9 the following. I will read it in English, because I
10 have the original English transcript, so it will speed
11 things up. So he said the following.
12 I quote: (In English) " [Previous
13 interpretation continues]... of the British Battalion
14 managed to organise a meeting which was attended on the
15 part of the HVO by an officer called Zoran Pilicic. He
16 was a staff officer in the Operative Zone. I think he
17 stood in for Mr. Blaskic, and another officer called
18 Marko Prskalo [no interpretation]... the wish of the
19 British Battalion was to achieve an immediate
21 (Interpretation) So do you agree that this is
22 the meeting referred to?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Do you agree that Sefkija Djidic, as the
25 local commander of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was
1 more familiar with the personnel and the level of
2 command they had?
3 A. Of course.
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Sefkija Djidic referred to
5 the same meeting in his statement made to the
6 investigators on the 17th and 24th of July, 1995, and
7 we received this statement from the Prosecution. On
8 page 10, if I may read from the statement, he says the
10 (In English) "The joint meeting was organised
11 where peace was attempted, but it was not successful.
12 Lieutenant Colonel Stewart from BritBat was the
13 mediator. The main topic was a suggestion by the HVO
14 for the surrender of Stari Vitez and Gacice and
15 Veceriska. The HVO said that if this was not done,
16 those villages would be destroyed."
17 (Interpretation) He says:
18 (In English) "The negotiations continued for
19 three days. At this meeting, neither Blaskic or Cerkez
20 were present."
21 (Interpretation) So do you agree that at the
22 meeting, it was obviously representatives and not the
23 direct commanders of the HVO who took part at the
25 A. First of all, there is some confusion. There
1 were several meetings that day. The meeting I'm
2 referring to, which I think was the meeting you showed
3 me in the previous document, I chaired, and it was the
4 first meeting at about 12.00 or so. Colonel Stewart
5 returned from Zenica later in the day and chaired more
6 meetings, and so I think that this evidence is talking
7 about a later meeting that Colonel Stewart chaired.
8 Q. Very well. But we agree that there were at
9 least two or three meetings on three consecutive days?
10 A. At least.
11 Q. At least, yes. Do we agree that at least on
12 the first two days, Cerkez did not participate in the
14 A. I certainly had a meeting with him, as we
15 referred to earlier. Whether Mr. Cerkez attended the
16 meetings personally, I don't remember, and as the
17 military commander who was fighting with his soldiers,
18 I would be surprised if he was able to attend those
19 meetings. But I have a vivid memory of a meeting with
20 him and the BiH commander, in which we discussed a
21 range of topics including, I think, the fact that
22 Mr. Cerkez's family actually lived in Kruscica that his
23 forces were attacking, and I remember saying that this
24 was a very screwed-up place.
25 Q. In any case, from what you have said so far,
1 you drew a distinction both as regards the location and
2 the level of command between the command of the
3 Operative Zone, which was based at the hotel, where the
4 commander was Blaskic, and the command of the Vitez
5 Brigade, which was based in the cinema building or the
6 open university building, as they called it, where
7 Cerkez was the commander; there is no doubt about that?
8 A. No doubt at all, sir.
9 Q. Thank you. On the morning of the 16th, you
10 attempted to establish contact and to organise a
11 meeting for peace talks; we agree about that?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. You achieved this, to a certain extent,
14 because the first meeting was held at around noon on
15 your premises and was attended by representatives of
16 the HVO?
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. Am I correct in understanding that the only
19 thing that you are not certain of is whether the
20 persons mentioned, Prskalo and Pilicic, were
21 representing the brigade or the Operative Zone?
22 A. To be honest, sir, I didn't give it any
23 thought, as the esoterics of where they came from
24 within the HVO wasn't my concern, as long as they
25 represented those people who could stop the fighting.
1 I have no further comment to make about that.
2 Q. Thank you. Let us go on to another topic.
3 I would like to ask the usher to take out
4 document D24/1.
5 You have already seen this document. I would
6 like to draw your attention to the signatures on the
7 second page.
8 As far as I can understand, you later
9 learned -- I apologise. As far as I was able to
10 understand, you later learned that this ceasefire had
11 been agreed on.
12 A. Correct, sir.
13 Q. Isn't it confusing, or how did you explain
14 the fact that between the 16th and the 18th, you were
15 attempting to persuade the representatives of the local
16 forces of both of the sides involved in the conflict to
17 sign a ceasefire or to withdraw, and only four days
18 later, at the top level, their commanders in chief,
19 Petkovic and Halilovic, signed an agreement that in
20 paragraph 1 it is evident that they were members of the
21 same army; how did you explain this to yourself?
22 A. I would probably explain it by drawing your
23 attention to the document from Colonel Blaskic in which
24 he described the BiH forces in Vitez, in that document
25 you've just shown me, as the enemy.
1 Q. So it is all confusing and contradictory?
2 A. That was our welcome to Bosnia, sir.
3 Q. Thank you. In your testimony, you mentioned
4 on page 15 the checkpoint on the road where there was
5 soldiers in black uniforms who belonged to the Croatian
6 side and who seemed to belong to a kind of special
7 purpose unit and who made problems about the passage of
8 the convoy, and in spite of Blaskic's authorisation for
9 the convoy to pass through, they said they did not get
10 their orders from Blaskic and refused to let it pass.
11 Do you remember that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. One of your aims, as you explained, was to
14 find out what the chain of command was, what the
15 relations were, to get to know who the commanders were
16 and where they were so that you could communicate with
17 the local forces; is that correct?
18 A. Correct, sir.
19 Q. Do you know which units, at least in the area
20 of Central Bosnia, or maybe only in Vitez, what forces
21 made up the HVO under the command of Colonel Blaskic?
22 A. Yes, I had a detailed understanding as far as
23 we knew it, and it was put into our milinfosums and
24 situation reports. I can't actually today recite the
25 names of the different operational zones, the brigades
1 they all contained, and who their commanders were. I
2 don't retain that sort of information in my head.
3 MR. KOVACIC: May I ask the usher to show the
4 Witness D27/2. Could you place it on the ELMO, sir?
5 Or if you need time, please take it.
6 (Interpretation) I apologise for the fact
7 that the copy is not very good, but we have seen
8 worse. However, this is part of the supporting
9 material we were given, and we do not have a better
10 copy available.
11 Q. Do you agree that this document was drawn up
12 by UNPROFOR, as is stated on it?
13 A. I mean, I don't remember the specific
14 document, but it says "U.N., Restricted." It looks
15 like the sort of document we used to produce.
16 Q. Do you agree with me that this diagram shows
17 that in the Central Bosnia Operative Group, which is
18 the little box at the top, that from the part we see on
19 the left, there is the Vitez Brigade commanded by Mario
20 Cerkez; the next little box to the right is the
21 Frankopan Brigade, and it is -- the name is not quite
22 legible, but it's obviously based in another area; and
23 then there are the two at the end, the Vitezovi, SPF,
24 special forces, probably; and to the right, the
25 military police, which seems to be based in Vitez and
1 commanded by Ljubicic.
2 Do you agree that we can conclude from this
3 that in the operational zone, there were at least four
4 units, and the Frankopan Brigade seems not to have been
5 based in Vitez?
6 A. This is part of a document. It would show
7 other operational zones that came under the regional
8 command, but as you say, that would appear to be that
9 the Frankopan Brigade was not the Vitez Brigade;
11 Q. I'm not sure I understood you. Frankopan is
12 one brigade and Vitez is another brigade?
13 A. Correct, sir.
14 Q. And the two to the very right are not
15 brigades, but some other kind of units?
16 A. Correct, sir.
17 Q. Is it correct that they all evidently fall
18 under the command of Blaskic's operational zone?
19 A. You'll see a question mark above the "Special
21 Q. Very well, with a certain reserve, if there
22 is a question mark there.
23 A. Yes. We would have to explain our
24 understanding of the use of special forces, who can be
25 grouped under a brigade or region, but who also will
1 have additional chains of command, which is why they're
2 called "special." So I don't want to state in evidence
3 that because this picture shows them underneath on a
4 wiring diagram, that that is the chain of command in
5 which they operate. They would operate additional
6 chains of command, which is why they would be
7 designated as special forces.
8 Q. Correct. But can they be under the command,
9 in this case, of the brigades which are in the same
10 line of hierarchy, at least in this diagram?
11 A. Yes, they can be.
12 Q. But this is not evident from this diagram?
13 A. That's why I said you cannot treat this
14 diagram as doctrine. It is merely a way of trying to
15 express to ourselves particular groupings. Those
16 special forces units could operate from the very
17 highest levels, directed by central government, or they
18 could operate subordinate to a battalion or brigade
19 commander. It would all depend on their orders.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me, you said
21 that in Vitez you recognised some units. Which units
22 did you recognise as separate units forming part of the
23 HVO? Which of them can you enumerate today? Evidently
24 the brigade was there, because we have been talking
25 about it; but in practice, during the time you were in
1 Vitez, did you see any other HVO units who were active
3 A. Yes, there was another HVO unit that was
4 based in what we called the Bungalow, which dressed
5 differently, held itself apart from the Vitez Brigade
6 unit, and appeared to operate sometimes on similar
7 tasks and sometimes on different tasks. They wore
8 different uniforms and tended to carry different
9 weapons on different days. We didn't consider them to
10 be part of, routinely, the Vitez Brigade.
11 Q. Thank you very much. Could you tell us if
12 you managed to become more familiar with the chain of
13 command in the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. I wouldn't say "better"; I would say we
15 grappled all the time to remain familiar with the two
16 chains of command and their dispositions.
17 Q. Would it be correct to say that in the area
18 of the Lasva Valley, there were also active parts of
19 the 3rd Corps, based in Zenica?
20 A. Yes, sir.
21 Q. Do you remember if the 7th Muslim Brigade was
22 also active there?
23 A. The 7th Muslim Brigade operated or was
24 alleged to operate throughout Central Bosnia, and yes,
25 we had reports of the 7th Muslim Brigade operating
1 south of Zenica, down towards Dubravica.
2 Q. Did you know that the 314th Mountain Brigade
3 operated there?
4 A. Today, sir, I can't remember. But if you say
5 that it was in our milinfosums, at the time, we
6 believed that.
7 Q. I see. Thank you. And do you still remember
8 the name of any of the Muslim commanders of the time in
9 the area?
10 A. We've mentioned the commander in Vitez, and I
11 mostly dealt at 3rd Corps with Enver Hadzihasanovic and
12 his deputy, Merdan.
13 Q. Does the name ^ "Dzananovic" ring a bell?
14 A. Not today, sir, no.
15 Q. The commander of the 325th?
16 A. No, sir. Our liaison officers may well have
17 known him. I don't recollect having any personal
18 relationship with him. I may well have met him.
19 Q. And Merdan, again, in relation to the 325th,
20 would that mean anything to you? Does it say anything?
21 A. Merdan was the deputy commander of 3rd Corps,
22 so by definition would have been the deputy commander,
23 and at times, in the absence of his commander, he would
24 have commanded those units of the 3rd Corps. If there
25 was another man called Merdan, I haven't met him.
1 Q. Yeah, right. This is the man I meant, and I
2 also meant the 325th, yes.
3 Let us move on to some other subjects. Some
4 place in the beginning of your testimony here, I
5 believe it was page 12, you spoke about a strong
6 offensive of Serb forces from the direction of Banja
7 Luka; that is, from the north-northwest, southward. As
8 a matter of fact, you said they were headed for Gornji
9 Vakuf, and that they were stopped somewhere near Turbe
10 or Novi Travnik. Do you remember the context? Do you
11 remember what I'm talking about?
12 A. Yes. I think I said they were heading for
13 Travnik, not Gornji Vakuf, and they stopped at Turbe,
14 having captured Jajce.
15 Q. Sorry. Do you know, why did they stop, or
16 how were they stopped? Did they do it themselves at
17 Turbe, or rather on Vlasic, near Turbe, to the
18 north-northwest of Travnik, or they simply could not
19 move forward because of defence forces?
20 A. Our judgement at the time was if they had
21 wanted to, they could have swept completely through.
22 There wasn't sufficient resistance to stop them. They
23 decided to stop. The reasons they decided to stop, we
24 don't know.
25 Q. I see. And that weak resistance that was
1 offered, did you know at the time that individual
2 sectors north-northwest of Novi Travnik, or rather
3 above Turbe, on Vlasic, were held both by the HVO and
4 Muslim forces?
5 A. Yes, I was aware that they were holding
6 sectors along Vlasic and around through to Turbe. Our
7 assessment at the time, and that of Colonel Stewart,
8 was that the Serbs had the capability to push through,
9 and we had made contingency plans as to what we were
10 going to do if the Serbs actually overran Vitez and the
11 base we were in.
12 Q. So although both the ABiH and the HVO held
13 certain sectors on Vlasic, they would nevertheless have
14 not been able to prevent the onslaught of the Serb
15 forces had they been bent to move on? They wouldn't
16 have been able to stop them?
17 A. That was our assessment.
18 Q. Thank you. Do you know something about
19 something that happened before you arrived, but perhaps
20 during your briefings you might have learned something
21 about that, and that is that sometime in late 1992, in
22 November, the HVO forces on that Vlasic line, they were
23 joined by some forces from Herzegovina as a
24 reinforcement on that defence line, and there were
25 names, ^ Anto Prkic and ^ Dzanana were mentioned in
1 that regard. Do you know anything about that?
2 A. Not in detail, no, sir. My background
3 reading was just that, to establish the situation. I
4 was more concerned with the present than the past.
5 Q. Would you agree -- of course, if you can
6 remember -- whether the Brigade Stjepan Tomasevic was
7 based in Novi Travnik and was active in the area, an
8 HVO brigade?
9 A. I don't remember the specific names of the
10 brigades there. I am clear that the line in Turbe was
11 held by joint forces of the BiH and HVO, who would
12 continuously argue over the proportion of their
13 soldiers who were in the line. It wasn't a very easy
15 I was also aware of other areas, specifically
16 Maglaj, where there was a joint BiH/HVO brigade, and
17 that brigade, in my view, was the only one that
18 actually was cohesive as a joint brigade. The
19 remainder were fractioned between BiH and HVO and
20 weren't properly integrated.
21 Q. Thank you. And to round off these operations
22 against the Serbs, would you -- do you know if on the
23 very day when the conflict broke out in Vitez -- that
24 is, on the 16th of April, 1993 -- both armies were
25 still on the defence lines with some forces? I mean on
1 that defence line on Vlasic above Turbe. Did you have
2 any knowledge and information about that?
3 A. I have a memory of visiting Turbe and being
4 told that the HVO forces had largely left the line and
5 the BiH forces were more or less on their own there.
6 Q. You were told this by representatives of the
7 army of B and H?
8 A. I was told it by the commander in Turbe.
9 Q. Who belonged to the army of
11 A. Yes, he did.
12 Q. Have you had an opportunity of checking, of
13 seeing with your own eyes, if the HVO was still there
14 in that sector which they used to hold before?
15 A. On that visit, I couldn't see any HVO
16 soldiers, and within the command group, I didn't see
17 any represented, which in the past, they had been.
18 Q. That visit was when?
19 A. I couldn't tell you exactly which day. It
20 was prior to the 15th of April. It was in April. It
21 might even have been quite early in April. I would
22 probably have to go back and check our logs to see when
23 I went to Turbe, on which day, if that's important.
24 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to another area.
25 You mentioned that on the 15th, HVO commander
1 Zivko Totic was abducted, and that his escort in the
2 vehicle had been killed, and that you thought that it
3 might be the turning point in the relations. But do
4 you remember that three days before that in Novi
5 Travnik, four officers of the HVO had been abducted and
6 it also led to mounting tension?
7 A. I think that's the incident where they were
8 going to move at night down the road from Novi Travnik
9 to Gornji Vakuf. If that's the incident, yes, I do
10 remember that, and they were abducted, and that
11 certainly raised tensions.
12 Q. I believe we shall agree that in that former
13 half of April, there were a whole series of incidents,
14 bigger or smaller, and the ones we just mentioned were
15 simply more significant and that it rendered the whole
16 situation much more complex. Would you agree?
17 A. Yes, sir.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you have any information in
19 relation to attempts to trace Zivko Totic and those HVO
20 who had been abducted? Have you heard of some contacts
21 and even cooperation between army BH units and HVO
22 units in Novi Travnik itself, and that, in a manner of
23 speaking, your men also tried to help, rather mediated
24 in those attempts to try to trace those men?
25 A. That's correct, sir. Colonel Stewart did it
2 Q. Did you hear if local commanders in Novi
3 Travnik, that is, Sabljic, who commanded the Stjepan
4 Tomasevic Brigade in Novi Travnik, and Bislim Zurapi,
5 who commanded the 8th Brigade, had also agreed to and
6 even maintained joint roadblocks on all the entrances
7 and exits from Novi Travnik precisely because of those
9 A. Yes. There was an initial proposal for joint
10 checkpoints. I don't think they lasted very long, and
11 there was no doubt in our minds that the hierarchy of
12 the BiH appeared to be angry at these abductions and
13 did not appear to have orchestrated them.
14 But as I've said, when dealing with all sides
15 in Bosnia, and you alluded to it yourself earlier,
16 things were not always what they seemed, and we
17 remained or we tried always to maintain an open mind on
18 everything that we observed.
19 Q. Thank you. Yes, right, but wouldn't you
20 agree that that road, in view of all those checkpoints,
21 that it was the road to Vitez which was kept under
23 A. As I've said, I mean all roads around Central
24 Bosnia were patrolled and there were checkpoints on
25 them, and the checkpoints tended to be manned by the
1 soldier -- were always manned, with one or two
2 exceptions where there were joint checkpoints, were
3 always manned by the forces that actually either were
4 the ethnic majority in the area or physically
5 controlled the area in terms of soldiers.
6 Q. Thank you. Let us then move on to another
7 matter. It has to do with Novi Travnik.
8 You mentioned that the conflict in Novi
9 Travnik also began on the 16th of April, and I should
10 say it was quite clear, from a number of documents,
11 that there were three conflicts in Novi Travnik; one in
12 June '92 -- as early as June '92. It burst out and
13 then calmed down. Then in December '92. I believe you
14 know about that. The third conflict in Novi Travnik
15 occurred only in June; that is, the 9th of June, 1993.
16 In Novi Travnik, there were no conflicts that would be
17 simultaneous with the conflicts in Vitez. Was that
18 simply a slip of the tongue or is it that you hold a
19 different opinion as to that?
20 A. There was conflict in and around our location
21 in Bila School, which we used to describe as being in
22 Novi Travnik or close to Novi Travnik, and there was
23 fighting on the night of the 16th, 17th, 18th between
24 HV and BiH all around the area of our school and we
25 ourselves were fired on and mortared repeatedly, and
1 that was why I described fighting being in Novi
3 Q. Geographically speaking, Bila, where you were
4 based, is in the Lasva Valley, and not far from it is
5 where the road to Novi Travnik forks off, isn't that
6 correct, and there are about 15 kilometres to Novi
7 Travnik, isn't it?
8 A. I would have to look on a map. I mean I
9 don't think Bila, as a name, was on our maps, the
10 nearest sort of town to where we were. Halfway between
11 Novi Travnik and Vitez, sometimes we would describe
12 ourselves as in Vitez; other times we would describe
13 ourselves in Novi Travnik.
14 The actual fighting I don't think was centred
15 on Novi Travnik. It was in the village down the road
16 from Novi Travnik, shortly down the road towards Gornji
17 Vakuf. I can't remember the name of the village. I
18 wouldn't specifically say and have no recollection of
19 specific fighting in the middle of Novi Travnik.
20 As I say, it's an esoteric argument. We
21 considered ourselves sort of halfway between Vitez and
22 Novi Travnik.
23 Q. Right. I believe we've clarified it. Thank
24 you. Let us move on to another area.
25 You spoke about artillery weapons, large
1 calibre. I believe you said 155 millimetres, relating
2 to the shelling of Zenica?
3 A. Of that sort of calibre, yes.
4 Q. Yes. I believe you said that those weapons
5 were around Mosunj; that is, not far from the place
6 where your base was located. Is that true?
7 A. Yes. There was one particular piece not far
8 away that we heard regularly firing.
9 Q. Who commanded those artillery pieces; did you
10 know that?
11 A. We did know the names of the individual
12 officers who commanded the individual pieces. The
13 actual artillery would be controlled, in our view and
14 on our information, at regional level. Whether the
15 regional commander would chart the authority or support
16 of those particular mortars and artillery pieces to
17 individual brigade commanders would be a matter for the
18 regional commander. We wouldn't necessarily know the
19 detail of that at all.
20 Q. By "the regional level", you mean the
21 Operative Zone in our particular case?
22 A. In the Operational Zone, the regional
23 commander or the brigade commander. Those assets would
24 probably be commanded or come under the overall command
25 of the regional commander. Who he would delegate
1 authority to have support for those artillery pieces
2 would be his decision.
3 MR. KOVACIC: (Interpretation) May I ask the
4 usher, please, to assist me to show D60/1, to show it
5 to the witness.
6 Q. I should like to draw your attention to
7 paragraph 3 on page 2, so it's the paragraph in the
8 middle of the page. It refers to those artillery
9 pieces that you just mentioned, but it also says that
10 the commander of that particular unit told you that the
11 army of B and H was launching an offensive north of
12 Kula and that that was their operational target, and
13 that he also told you, and that is the last sentence,
14 that, "I had never conducted any operations in the
15 direction of Zenica," and that their role, their
16 operations, were purely defensive.
17 I presume this was the kind of information
18 which was then put in the milinfosum by your people, by
19 your men, just as they heard it. Would that be correct
20 to assume?
21 A. Yes. What that is simply a recording of
22 what was said to some of our soldiers by a particular
23 HVO commander.
24 Q. In other words, as we already said, it may
25 but need not be true, but somebody must have told it to
1 your people; would that be true?
2 A. Yes, absolutely.
3 Q. Thank you. To conclude, I should like to ask
4 one more question.
5 You spoke about it and also showed us on the
6 map, all the main roads in that particular area, and
7 you said that to the west, Vitez and Busovaca, and that
8 all the main roads to those towns were cut off or,
9 rather, that the Croat community there was cut off and,
10 to all intents and purposes, isolated.
11 My learned friend for the Prosecution asked
12 you then if one could say that on the 18th and 19th and
13 the 20th of April, the Muslim counteroffensive proved
14 very successful, and you agreed with that. You said
15 that it had been very successful. I do not want to
16 dispute that.
17 All I want to ask you is to confirm, if you
18 can, or, rather, to say whether it would be fair to
19 conclude from that that any kind of supply that is at
20 the very survival of the population in that besieged
21 area, in that surrounded area of Vitez and Busovaca,
22 had been cut off and that it really -- that their life
23 depended on the goodwill of the Muslim side, which held
24 all the access roads to the area, would that be true,
25 would that be correct?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you very much,
3 Mr. Watters.
4 Thank you. I have no further questions.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Two passages of transcript put to you by
8 Mr. Sayers. Have you now looked at them in their
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. Do you have any comments to make?
12 A. Yes, sir. The question I was actually asked
13 was, "Did the ICRC, the International Committee for the
14 Red Cross, hand information over to the HVO?" And the
15 answer I gave was, "No. They wouldn't give information
16 to us either."
17 Q. The second passage, the passage dealing with
18 knowledge of Blaskic providing names or sending names
19 up his chain of command, did you read that in its
20 context overall?
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 Q. What's the actual context of that passage?
23 A. The actual context is the fact that although
24 Colonel Blaskic may or may not have passed names of
25 those that he had been told or, indeed, himself knew
1 had conducted the massacre in Ahmici, he took no direct
2 action against those soldiers, which I believed and my
3 colleagues believed was a total dereliction of duty.
4 Q. You also make plain, at page 3461, that what
5 you were speaking about was information that had come
6 to you about Colonel Stewart handing or supplying the
7 names in whatever way he did to Blaskic?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. The same as you've explained to this Tribunal
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. Picking up on just a few of the points that
13 you have been asked about, the convoy in Mostar, was
14 any other name identified, apart from Kordic's, as a
15 person able to release that convoy?
16 A. No, sir, and we specifically -- I
17 specifically asked headquarters, U.N. in Kiseljak, to
18 speak to Mostar, to General Petkovic, to ask him to
19 specifically order Mr. Kordic to release that convoy
20 before I ordered an assault on Busovaca to take it back
21 by force of arms, which was raising the stakes so far
22 as we had not at that point directly attacked the HVO.
23 Q. Blaskic saying that it was the Serbs who had
24 attacked Ahmici or may have done, did he give, in your
25 presence or to your knowledge, any other possible
2 A. When he was told that that was blatantly
3 ridiculous, he also then said that the Muslims had done
4 it themselves. I can't remember the exact words, but
5 it was something along those lines. Essentially,
6 everybody but the HVO had conducted the massacre in
8 Q. Questions this morning about fighting in a
9 built-up area and your comments on that, just these
10 additional points.
11 A. If I can --
12 Q. Sorry, yes.
13 A. If I can just add something to that, I was
14 trying to put in context why it did not conform with a
15 FIBUA attack on a defended locality, and the most stark
16 reason that presented itself was the absolute lack of
17 damage to the Croat houses that abutted the bottom of
18 the Muslim area of Ahmici, and the doctrine for
19 assaulting an armed locality or defended locality could
20 not possibly have been so surgical in destroying
21 certain houses and leaving others totally unscathed.
22 It was just beyond comprehension.
23 Q. That was one of the points I was going to
24 raise. Under this so-called doctrine, once a house is
25 taken, is it necessary to burn it and destroy it?
1 A. You certainly wouldn't do that, because you
2 would use it yourself as a defended locality, which
3 would be the purpose of you capturing the location.
4 Q. If, in taking any such house, there were
5 occupants, civilian or otherwise, would it be
6 appropriate to kill them?
7 A. I mean, it would be a contravention of the
8 Geneva Convention, and a war crime.
9 Q. It's been suggested to you that there might
10 be expert opinion to the contrary effect. First, have
11 you at any time heard, seen, read, any expert opinion
12 to the effect that this was mere evidence of
13 performance of fighting in a built-up area?
14 A. It was put to me during the last trial that
15 that's what it was, and I refuted it. As I said
16 earlier, I would debate with anyone of military
17 experience who would put it to me.
18 Q. Have you in fact ever had the chance to see
19 anybody's expert report or to hear any expert witness
20 advancing this theory?
21 A. No one has ever done it in my hearing, sir.
22 Q. If anybody were to provide you with an expert
23 report that they may hold, would you be prepared to
24 assist us with your comments on it?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 Zenica, the inaccuracy or limited accuracy of
3 artillery at distance: You acknowledge that. Is that
4 something that must, of necessity, be generally known?
5 A. Of course, sir, yes.
6 Q. What do you say of the legitimacy of
7 attacking with such imprecision a town where there may
8 be a military base?
9 A. I've been to that military base. It's
10 located in a factory complex in the town. Without
11 giving a very detailed explanation of how you
12 coordinate and direct artillery fire, in my
13 professional judgement, it would be impossible to
14 engage that building with artillery fire, specifically,
15 knowing the dispositions of the HVO and the BiH. The
16 HVO would have to be able to have eyes on that building
17 to direct the fire into it, and the risk of correcting
18 the initial fire onto a specific building in a civilian
19 city is not an act of war.
20 Q. Is your opinion about Zenica, and its
21 similarity to the truck bomb and its characterisation,
22 displaced in any way by the proposition relating to the
23 military headquarters there?
24 A. No. Not at all.
25 Q. You were asked about accusations of attacks
1 on Croats, and I think there was one passage in the
2 summary that I overlooked dealing with, but which
3 arises in connection with that. It's paragraph 29.
4 On the 24th of April, was there an allegation
5 of massacres committed by Muslims?
6 A. There were allegations of massacres committed
7 by Muslims, and each one of those we investigated to
8 the very best of our ability.
9 Q. In particular, villages of Grahovici and Guca
11 A. Yes. I personally went to those two
13 Q. Did you find any evidence of massacres?
14 A. No, I think we found two bodies in
16 Q. Whose ethnicity you assumed or calculated to
17 be what?
18 A. I -- I assumed that they were Croat. They
19 were two -- they were two old men who were lying dead
20 in a field, without shoes on. It looked like they had
21 been either running away and shot or told to run away
22 and shot. I took them to be Croats. Because I'd been
23 asked to go and investigate it by the Croats, I made
24 that assumption.
25 Q. The legitimate --
1 A. Sorry, I also investigated an allegation,
2 personally, of a massacre in Jelinak, which is just
3 above the Kaonik junction out of Busovaca, which was a
4 Croat town, and there was the -- there was the scene of
5 fighting, and buildings had been damaged, and there was
6 one partly-burnt body of a man, and that was the only
7 evidence we found. But the buildings had not been
8 destroyed in the way that they had been in Ahmici, but
9 they had bullet strike marks on them, RPG-7 rocket
10 marks on them, but they had not been destroyed. And we
11 did not find the evidence of any bodies other than one
12 man -- which is still one too many, of course.
13 Q. You distinguished between combat power and
14 manpower. Are you able to express a view, or the view
15 held at the time, as to the comparative combat power of
16 these two forces?
17 A. Yes. The point I was making there was I
18 didn't want the Court to draw from the fact that in
19 manpower terms, the 3-to-1 approximate sort of
20 differential would mean that the Muslim forces actually
21 had three times the capability. They were less
22 well-armed. They didn't have the quantities of heavy
23 weapons. They didn't have the quantity of the
24 anti-aircraft weapons, that you saw yesterday, mounted
25 on flatbeds, which were very powerful weapons indeed.
1 A great many of these people we saw had shotguns and
2 sort of farmer's-type weapons.
3 Now, within the BiH, there were equally
4 professional units as existed in the HVO, but they also
5 had sort of vast numbers, if you like, of poorly armed
6 infantry. One of the differences which possibly
7 accounted for the success of their counterattack was a
8 greater willingness on the part of the BiH to mount
9 infantry assaults, which didn't seem to be a favoured
10 option of the HVO, and possibly because the BiH had
11 more infantry and more numbers. But the actual combat
12 power and capability of those large numbers of infantry
13 was extremely limited, due to their lack of mortar,
14 artillery, and automatic weapons.
15 Q. The objective of controlling supply routes
16 you accepted as a legitimate objective; does that
17 affect, one way or another, your opinion on the
18 legitimacy of attacking the villages in the way that
19 we've heard about?
20 A. No. What I said was the defence and the
21 control of arterial routes was a strategic objective to
22 secure the political cohesiveness and survival of those
23 Croat communities. I also said that the end state
24 didn't justify the means, and the ethnic cleansing that
25 I personally witnessed, and the wholesale destruction
1 of villages, and the murder of the people in those
2 villages to secure the routes, certainly wasn't
3 justified at all.
4 The military operations should be looked at
5 separately from the requirement to remove people of
6 different cultural or ethnic groups from your specific
7 area, and I think I tried to explain that in the
8 context of the double objectives with the establishment
9 or the potential establishment of the Vance-Owen Plan,
10 which we saw both within the Serb- and the
11 Croat-dominated areas, of removing the ethnic
12 minorities to establish a firmer control.
13 I'm sorry, I haven't answered that
14 particularly well.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice --
16 MR. NICE: I have three more questions, I
17 think, Your Honour, all of which will be short, or may
18 be short.
19 Q. When did you first form the view that you
20 held about the existence of a dual chain of command?
21 A. Personally, after the incident with the
22 convoy and the -- outside Busovaca, which Mr. Kordic
23 had abducted.
24 Q. Did other evidence at the time fit with or
25 contradict that?
1 A. It was quite clear that it existed. My first
2 personal evidence that it existed, and at times
3 contradicted itself, was that incident.
4 Q. Thank you very much. You made reference to
5 the letter to your father and a sentence being taken
6 out of context. Is there anything more you want to add
7 to that? I'm not sure that we dealt with it in that
8 way yesterday.
9 A. I was quite surprised to see that letter. I
10 was -- I mean, I was writing a letter to my father, who
11 had fought in the Second World War, to try to explain
12 to him what we were doing. And I was slightly
13 surprised, having been told that the Defence counsel
14 and I spoke the same language, that he didn't
15 understand the first sentence.
16 I hadn't written to my father since I had
17 been in Bosnia, and that was playing heavily on my
18 conscience, so I wrote to him. The letter, which I
19 wrote quite late at night, gained a little more
20 momentum that I originally intended it to, and if it
21 was read by the Defence counsel, then he would
22 understand what I meant by the movement of forces.
23 I would also just like to explain -- which I
24 don't think I really did properly -- the movement of
25 those injured people from just south of Vitez, from
1 Kruscica, on the night of the 16th. We went into the
2 village of Kruscica, which was under attack by Croat
3 forces, by ground forces, artillery, and mortars. As a
4 precursor to the ceasefire agreements of the 16th, the
5 BiH had told us that because the HVO had cut the road
6 from Kruscica to Vitez, they were unable to treat their
7 casualties in the medical centre which their doctors
8 were stationed in Vitez. They also had heard
9 rumours that their doctors had been killed. I later
10 went to that medical centre, and there were two dead
11 men wearing doctor's clothes in that medical centre.
12 That night, when I arrived in the village, my
13 soldiers and myself were actually quite frightened,
14 because it was a very dangerous place. We had already
15 had two of our soldiers killed earlier -- or one killed
16 and the other one who killed himself because he
17 couldn't face what he was doing -- and I was very angry
18 when I went in the cellar and found that I had been
19 lied to by the BiH forces, and that that there were men
20 wounded in the cellar, and not women. They were in
21 civilian clothes, and they had lumps out of their
22 bodies and were bleeding to death. I had to make a
23 decision, whether I left them to die or I put them in
24 our ambulances and took them to the hospital. I
25 believed that, in all consciousness, I could not leave
1 them to die, even though they weren't the people I had
2 been told about. So we put them in our ambulances.
3 I registered my anger at being lied to with
4 the BiH commander and returned to Vitez and took them
5 to hospital in Travnik. I then reported to Colonel
6 Blaskic personally what had happened, because the Croat
7 authorities had given their permission for us to go and
8 get these wounded civilians. And having recorded with
9 him what I'd done, undertook to do something of equal
10 consequence for Colonel Blaskic on a future occasion,
11 should he require it, which he did later, and we moved
12 a comparable number of wounded Croat soldiers from
13 Vitez to their hospital in Novi Travnik.
14 And so I would just like to make sure the
15 record is straight that at no time did we ever move
16 armed Muslim or Croat soldiers within our protection,
17 other than with the agreement of their own commanders,
18 to facilitate our mission statement.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice --
20 MR. NICE: Last question. One document that
21 I can help everyone with.
22 Q. You were asked questions about the firepower
23 of the Warriors, and also I think their presence in the
24 area of Ahmici early on the relevant morning. What
25 were they doing there?
1 A. Their purpose was actually to reconnoitre the
2 scenes of fighting, and they used the considerable
3 protection they have to be able to move into areas of
4 fighting, taking quite a lot of direct hits themselves,
5 and they were used on the initiative of the individual
6 vehicle commanders and platoon commanders to move
7 civilians caught up in the fighting to places of
9 Q. Thank you very much.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I notice that the
11 document D27/2, the wire diagram that the witness was
12 asked about, does not have the footnotes clearly on
13 it. I've managed to find a better version. I can
14 distribute that straight away. I don't think any issue
15 will arise from it.
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well. It can be distributed
17 on Monday morning. We're going to adjourn now.
18 Colonel, thank you very much for coming to
19 the International Tribunal to give your evidence. You
20 are now released.
21 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
22 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn until Monday
23 morning, half past 9.00. Court III again; we will try
24 and sit there.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
1 12.10 p.m., to be reconvened on
2 Monday, the 2nd day of August, 1999,
3 at 9.30 a.m.