1 Monday, 2nd August, 1999
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, the Prosecutor versus Dario
8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
10 MR. NICE: Before we return to the evidence
11 of Mr. Akhavan, can I explain what I'd intended to be
12 the witness position today, something I'd intended to
13 tell you on Friday but there wasn't time to do so.
14 There's a witness called Williams, whose
15 summary you have, who I believe is unable to stay
16 overnight because of business commitments in England,
17 and my plan had been for him to arrive on the early
18 plane this morning to be started, basically, whenever
19 he arrived, and for him to return the same day, because
20 I was confident that by dealing with his evidence in
21 chief, swiftly and efficiently, that would be
23 I had intended, with your leave, to call
24 Mr. Akhavan to continue with his evidence until such
25 time as Williams arrived. Unfortunately, Williams
1 missed the plane this morning in Manchester,
2 altogether, and the next plane that he can be on would
3 not bring him here much before, I think, 12.30. I'm
4 making inquiries to see whether he is in fact prepared
5 to stay overnight, given the problems that have been
6 caused, and, if so, then there would be a day of
7 evidence available for him, starting at about 12.30 or
8 1.00, until tomorrow, providing, of course, that the
9 Court were prepared to interpose him notwithstanding
10 the fact that Mr. Akhavan's evidence would be part
12 There are always problems with witnesses
13 coming from overseas, and this particular witnesses is
14 quite important -- that is, Williams is quite
15 important -- is probably always going to express the
16 same attitude towards overnight stays on any other
17 occasion, so it's a problem we have.
18 May I, in principle, communicate to him that
19 if he comes and is prepared to stay overnight, we'll
20 try and conclude his evidence between today and
21 tomorrow at lunchtime?
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 MR. NICE: Meanwhile, Mr. Akhavan has already
24 taken the solemn declaration. We were at paragraph 15
25 of his --
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
2 MR. SAYERS: May it please the Court, I have
3 one short matter I would like to take up once the
4 witness is through. It's concerning the question
5 related to fighting in built-up areas that was posed to
6 me last Friday.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, at a convenient moment, we
8 can deal with that.
9 WITNESS: PAYAM AKHAVAN (Resumed)
10 Examined by Mr. Nice:
11 Q. You told us the last time you were giving
12 evidence, Mr. Akhavan, about a contribution to a
13 meeting by the man Ante Valenta, and I think after
14 that, did you meet Mario Cerkez?
15 A. Yes, afterwards I was taken by members of the
16 British Battalion to meet Mario Cerkez.
17 Q. Whereabouts, what was he doing, what did he
19 A. I don't recall exactly where the building was
20 situated except that it was somewhere in Vitez, and
21 we -- I met with Mario Cerkez, initially, with myself
22 and a member of the British Battalion who was
23 accompanying me throughout my trip, and I began to ask
24 him about the events which transpired on the 16th of
25 April in the region of Vitez, focusing, obviously, not
1 on Ahmici and other areas which may not have been under
2 his control, but on Vitez, where apparently, according
3 to his own statements, where he was the commander of
4 the HVO forces.
5 He informed me that he was asleep on the
6 morning of April 16th when the hostilities began in the
7 region of Vitez, but that he was not entirely
8 surprised, because they had anticipated possible
9 hostilities with Bosnian Muslim forces in the area.
10 Halfway through the meeting, Colonel Bob
11 Stewart joined us, and we began to discuss more
12 specifically the duties of commanders in general in
13 dealing with such situations. And both Bob Stewart and
14 I informed Mr. Cerkez that it would be his
15 responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation into
16 the matter, and, if necessary, to discipline and ensure
17 the prosecution of his subordinates for violations of
18 humanitarian law in the Vitez region.
19 Q. What, if anything, did he say of what his
20 troops were doing, as he understood it, what, if
21 anything, did he say about any alleged involvement of
22 his troops?
23 A. Mr. Cerkez simply suggested that when the
24 attack began on the morning of the 16th, that chaos
25 reigned in the Vitez area, and that he was not
1 necessarily in control of everything that was
2 happening, that he was at home at the time. He did
3 not, to the best of my recollection, deny that any
4 atrocities had taken place, but we did not have a
5 detailed discussion about that, except that I informed
6 him that according to the padre of the British
7 Battalion, the overwhelming majority of casualties in
8 Vitez were Bosnian Muslims, and that there were only a
9 handful of Bosnian Croat casualties, and that many of
10 the Bosnian Muslims who were killed were women,
11 children, elderly people, who most probably were not
12 killed in a combat-related sense.
13 Q. What, if anything, did he say about what his
14 troops were doing, or what he thought they were doing,
15 and whether they were involved?
16 A. My impression was that he suggested that his
17 troops were simply defending themselves against --
18 Q. From?
19 A. -- against Bosnian Muslim forces in an attack
20 which they may not have fully anticipated.
21 Q. Did he acknowledge any involvement by the men
22 of the unlawful acts that you were suggesting had
24 A. Not to the best of my recollection, no.
25 Q. What was his general manner or demeanour when
1 he was speaking to you or to Colonel Stewart?
2 A. I would say that initially, during the first
3 half of the interview, that there was a somewhat
4 confrontational attitude between myself and
5 Mr. Cerkez. When Colonel Stewart appeared and we began
6 to speak about his individual responsibility for
7 conducting investigations and suggesting that he may
8 actually be held liable, I think that my impression was
9 that he appeared somewhat more intimidated than he had
10 in the first part of the meeting.
11 Q. Intimidated in what sense, how manifested?
12 A. His general disposition, his demeanour, from
13 what I could observe, was that of someone who was
14 concerned about possibly being held liable or
15 accountable for the acts of killing and other
16 violations against civilians in the Vitez
18 Q. Did you meet Dario Kordic?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. What day, if you can recall?
21 A. I believe it was on the same day that I had
22 met Mr. Cerkez and Blaskic. I don't recall exactly
23 what day that was, possibly May 3rd or 4th, towards the
24 end of my stay in Vitez.
25 Q. Where did you meet him?
1 A. We met him, I believe, in Busovaca. It was
2 outside of Vitez at his headquarters.
3 Q. Had you been trying to meet him before the
4 day when you actually met him or was this a meeting at
5 first attempt?
6 A. From what I recall, we had asked the members
7 of the British Battalion to arrange a meeting for us
8 and we had left it really in their hands. It may have
9 been that they had tried calling him perhaps one or two
10 days prior to the meeting, but eventually we met in
11 what appeared to be a contemporaneously arranged
12 meeting, because we were held waiting outside his
13 office for more than an hour, from what I recall, prior
14 to getting an audience with him.
15 Q. Who was instrumental from BritBat in getting
16 that audience?
17 A. There was a member of the British Battalion
18 whose name escapes me at the moment.
19 Q. When it comes back to you, if it does -- or I
20 can put it to you if it's not challenged. I don't
21 know. Was it Major Dundas-Whatley?
22 A. Yes, a young man.
23 Q. What was known by you of Kordic's role at
24 that time?
25 A. I was told by most of the people that I spoke
1 with that he was the most senior and influential figure
2 in the Bosnian Croat leadership in the Lasva Valley
4 Q. What offices did you know him to hold or
5 believe him to hold?
6 A. I was told, and this was confirmed during my
7 meeting with him, that he was vice-president of the HDZ
8 political party and of the HVO as well.
9 Q. When you saw him, how was he dressed? By
10 whom was he accompanied?
11 A. He was wearing military fatigue, as I recall,
12 and he was in a room or in a building which was heavily
13 fortified. There were, I would say, several armed men
14 in the building with him, apparently HVO soldiers.
15 Q. What about in the room where you met him?
16 A. I believe that in the room itself also, there
17 were a couple of armed HVO soldiers as well.
18 Q. Did you confront him with the allegation
19 about Ahmici and the HVO's responsibility for it?
20 A. Yes. That was the essence of my meeting with
21 Mr. Kordic.
22 Q. His reaction, first of all, in general terms,
23 if you will, in emotional terms?
24 A. In general terms, he categorically denied any
25 involvement on the part of the HVO, suggesting that
1 this crime could not have been committed by his
2 soldiers. He instead suggested that Bosnian Serb
3 soldiers may have penetrated the region under the cover
4 of night and committed these atrocities, or
5 alternatively that the Muslims themselves may have
6 committed the atrocities in order to provoke
7 international sympathy.
8 The general demeanour of Mr. Kordic, I would
9 say that the best word I can think about is somewhat
10 arrogant, and I did not recognise any serious concern
11 with the account of atrocities which I shared with
12 him. I think the attitude simply was that, "We have
13 not done it," and when the explanations that he offered
14 were not satisfactory, I suggested to him that he would
15 need to try harder to persuade me that the Bosnian
16 Croats themselves, the HVO forces, were not
17 responsible. He suggested that he would try his best
18 to come up with an even better explanation. I did not
19 sense at that point in time that there was any concern
20 or any desire to offer a serious explanation.
21 Q. Did he offer you any particular reason why
22 his men could not have done this thing?
23 A. One of the reasons which I recall was simply
24 a suggestion that his men, as good Christians with high
25 ethical standards, would never be able to commit such
1 acts. That was really the only explanation that I was
3 Q. Was the question of investigating the attack
4 raised with him?
5 A. Yes. I, as I had done with Mr. Cerkez and
6 Blaskic, reminded Mr. Kordic that as an individual with
7 senior responsibility in that region, that he should
8 inquire into these allegations, that he could conduct a
9 comprehensive investigation and ensure that those who
10 may have committed these crimes are brought to
12 Q. His reaction, if any, to that?
13 A. I think that Mr. Kordic was not pleased by
14 the fact that I was trying to tell him what to do. I
15 think the idea was that he was the man in charge and
16 that he would do as he pleased. But I think that the
17 idea of an investigation to him did not seem necessary,
18 because as he had said to me categorically that the HVO
19 could not have been involved, therefore, there was
20 really no need to conduct an investigation.
21 Q. In this discussion with you, did he identify
22 anybody superior to him to whom you should turn, for
23 example, Blaskic, or anything like that?
24 A. Clearly not. I think it was very clear from
25 my conversation with him and from my conversations with
1 Blaskic and Cerkez that he was the man in command in
2 Central Bosnia.
3 Q. Did you subsequently visit Ahmici in company
4 with Ambassador Thebault and other high ranking
5 officials, including Colonel Stewart?
6 A. Yes. As I recall, the day following my
7 meeting with Mr. Kordic, we returned to the village of
8 Ahmici together with Ambassador Thebault as well as
9 three ambassadors representing the European Community,
10 from the U.K., France, and Spain respectively.
11 MR. NICE: May the video Z1626.1 please be
13 (Videotape played)
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. As we see from that video, were you present
16 with the delegation when four charred bodies, including
17 two apparent children, were discovered?
18 A. Correct. That was the visit, as I explained,
19 with the three EC ambassadors and Ambassador Thebault.
20 The bodies which we discovered were based on the
21 testimony of one man, I believe, by the name of Sakib
22 Ahmic, who my colleague, (redacted), had interviewed
23 the previous day, and he had given us exact directions
24 to his home. He had apparently been hiding behind a
25 sofa --
1 MR. SAYERS: Objection to any double hearsay
2 from this gentleman, Sakib Ahmic, who was apparently
3 interviewed by Mr. Akhavan's colleague, Your Honour,
4 and not by Mr. Akhavan. So Mr. Akhavan did not
5 actually hear any descriptions that may or may not have
6 been given by Mr. Ahmic.
7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, do we really need this
8 part of the evidence?
9 MR. NICE: I'm not sure that it's
10 particularly necessary, although I'm not sure that it's
11 objectionable either, but I'm quite happy to move on.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Is there anything else arising from the film
15 that you want to cover or comment on that we haven't
16 yet touched upon? In the nature of the discoveries
17 that you made, you found the four bodies. Anything
18 else that you found that we haven't yet touched upon?
19 A. No. I think I, in my testimony earlier, had
20 indicated the extensive destruction which we had
21 witnessed in the village of Ahmici, and in this
22 particular case, I don't think there's anything to add
24 Q. On completion of your tour, did you, with
25 (redacted), draft a report which was sent to Geneva
1 and was edited and circulated as a United Nations
3 A. Yes, we did.
4 Q. Z942 is the exhibit for production, please.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, what I propose to do,
6 this document being available to the Defence, is to get
7 him to tell you himself what his conclusions are, and
8 the document's a work of reference available as
9 helpful. It's in English and French.
10 Q. Mr. Akhavan, what were your conclusions as to
11 which troops were involved in the attack?
12 A. Our conclusion was that members --
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
14 MR. SAYERS: A very brief objection, Your
15 Honour, and that is this: The report that Mr. Akhavan
16 authored or participated in authoring says what it
17 says. Any conclusions that he has are presumably
18 articulated in that, and so I object to this testimony
19 on that grounds.
20 JUDGE MAY: It seems to me that that's a
21 ground of objection. If the document already appears,
22 the witness can refer to it and expand on it if he wish
23 it. Perhaps you could refer to the --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry. The witness can refer
1 to the report, paragraph 38 onwards, and expand on it
2 if required.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. You have in front of you paragraphs 38 and
5 onwards. The easiest way is simply for you to read
6 those reports, and I'll ask you for any expansion to
7 those conclusions, 38 to 44. I'll ask for further
8 amplification, possibly, of one or two points.
9 A. Would you like me to read --
10 Q. Yes, just read it out. That's what's
11 required now.
12 A. "The information gathered in the preparation
13 of this report demonstrates that the recent eruption of
14 hostilities between Croat and government forces in
15 central Bosnia and Herzegovina involved massive and
16 systematic violations of human rights and international
17 humanitarian law.
18 "The forced displacement and detention of
19 civilians" --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could you slow down,
21 please. Could you please slow down.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Akhavan, could you remember
23 the interpreters, please, and slow down.
24 A. I'm sorry.
25 JUDGE MAY: Just read it slowly.
1 A. "The forced displacement and detention of
2 civilians, arbitrary executions, attacks on towns as
3 well as the destruction of villages and religious sites
4 have become part of a deliberate and systematic policy
5 of ethnic cleansing conducted by Croat forces in that
6 region. The fate of the civilian population of Ahmici
7 is a particularly shocking application of this policy.
8 "Arbitrary executions and torture have been
9 carried out by government forces. The danger of
10 retaliation for ethnic cleansing committed by Croat
11 forces against Croat civilians in towns such as Zenica
12 is a real one.
13 "The credibility of the parties' commitment
14 to human rights will be tested by their willingness to
15 bring to justice the perpetrators of such atrocities as
16 are outlined in this report.
17 "Commitments which all parties to the
18 conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina have repeatedly
19 entered into to respect human rights and international
20 humanitarian law, including written agreements
21 concluded upon international mediation, have been
22 systematically violated.
23 "The peace plan, according to which Bosnia
24 and Herzegovina would be divided along ethnic lines,
25 has been used in order to create ethnically homogeneous
1 areas. The lack of an effective international response
2 to counter the policy of ethnic cleansing perpetrated
3 by Serb forces from the beginning of the war created
4 the precedent of impunity which has allowed them to
5 continue and which has encouraged Croat forces to adopt
6 the same policy.
7 "Without stopping the war and without
8 applying sufficient pressure to force an end to human
9 rights violations any attempts to find a just and
10 lasting political solution will be doomed to fail."
11 Q. Those were your overall conclusions --
12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Mr. Nice,
13 could you ask the witness, Mr. Akhavan, whether his
14 conclusions, Item 43, in which he talks about the peace
15 plan, whether this means the Vance-Owen Plan, or which
16 peace plan?
17 A. Yes, Your Honour, it refers to the Vance-Owen
18 Plan. But I should explain that these are not my
19 personal conclusions. These are the conclusions of the
20 United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr. Tadeusz
21 Mazowiecki, who was the former prime minister of
22 Poland, and of course the conclusions are based in
23 large part upon the information and analysis which we
24 had supplied to him.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. And your conclusions, in relation
2 specifically to Ahmici, say what, as to the forces who
3 had conducted the atrocity?
4 A. It was clear from virtually every source of
5 testimony and evidence that we had that it was
6 overwhelmingly HVO forces that were responsible for the
7 atrocities in Ahmici.
8 Q. Number of soldiers, the quantity of
9 artillery, and to the degree you were able to assess
10 it, the amount of ammunition?
11 A. Once again, based on the assistance of
12 military experts and our own investigation of the area,
13 it was clear that the attack involved a significant
14 amount of military resources. It was hardly an attack
15 perpetrated by a group of rogue elements. According to
16 what we gathered, there must have been approximately
17 100, 150 soldiers involved in the operation -- a
18 company, according to members of the British Battalion
19 who accompanied us -- and it was clear that a wide
20 range of weapons, including mortars, including guns of
21 various sorts, including rocket-propelled grenades,
22 including also the use of incendiary devices, the use
23 of petrol to burn homes, that there was a significant
24 coordination and use of resources in the attack.
25 Q. Were you able to offer, on the basis of the
1 information coming to you, any opinion on the amount of
2 ammunition, by numbering the rounds and so on?
3 A. Well, we estimated that several thousand
4 rounds would have been used, based simply on the number
5 of spent shells which we could see around each of the
6 homes and making some sort of estimate.
7 Q. Finally, just help us with this: How near to
8 or far from the village of Ahmici were the HVO
9 commanders at the time of the attack?
10 A. From what I recall, the HVO headquarters of
11 Mr. Blaskic were maybe just a couple of kilometres down
12 the road from Ahmici.
13 Q. Did that feature in your considerations at
15 A. Yes, it was one of the factors that we
16 considered in assessing whether Mr. Blaskic, as well as
17 others in the HVO leadership, would have been aware
18 that there was a military operation on a large scale
19 taking place in Ahmici over several hours in one day.
20 To us, it added to the implausibility of their claim
21 that they may not have been aware that such an
22 operation was taking place.
23 Q. Returning to the question of the village of
24 Miletici, what view, if any, did you form or do you
25 hold about the attack on that village and its
1 comparison with what you saw at Ahmici?
2 A. Well, in a sincere effort to be evenhanded in
3 our investigations, we would always try and see whether
4 there were violations committed by other parties to the
5 conflict as well. The village of Miletici, as the
6 report explains, involves a group of, apparently,
7 members of the so-called Mujahedin, which were often a
8 mixture of outside mercenaries and locals, who had
9 beheaded some young Croatian men.
10 Our assessment of that atrocity was that it
11 was probably perpetrated on a small scale. It was not
12 the result of a large-scale, organised operation
13 involving significant resources. It was a handful of
14 men who had come to a hamlet where most of the people
15 were elderly, and they had simply taken out the three
16 or four young men of military age, had tortured and
17 killed them. We clearly indicated in our report that
18 the Bosnian government similarly should investigate
19 this matter, but there was no indication whatsoever
20 that this was part of a widespread or systematic
22 Q. Thank you very much. Did you give any
23 particular consideration to the possible connection of
24 the Mujahedin and the 7th Muslim Brigade in relation to
25 this topic?
1 A. We had heard from several people that the
2 so-called Mujahedin were actually operating alongside
3 the Bosnian army; others suggested that they were
4 simply rogue elements who answered to nobody and that
5 they were quite independent of the Bosnian government.
6 For the purposes of this particular investigation, it
7 was very clear to us that Miletici was very much an
8 isolated event in the Lasva Valley region, and we did
9 not really get into what the formal association was of
10 the Mujahedin with the regular army of Bosnia and
12 Q. Did your report draw criticism?
13 A. Yes, it did, from the authorities of
14 Herceg-Bosna, which was the Bosnian Croat entity.
15 Q. Was that criticism verbal, or in the form of
16 a letter?
17 A. It was in the form of a letter sent to
18 Mr. Mazowiecki.
19 Q. Do you have a copy of that letter? We
20 haven't been able to produce it yet, but do you have a
22 A. I have a copy, not with me at present, but I
23 have --
24 Q. And so you could find that in your office,
25 perhaps at the break --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- if we asked you?
3 Summarise its effect.
4 A. Well, the report basically -- the letter
5 basically suggested that our report had been one-sided;
6 that it unfairly accused the Bosnian Croats of having
7 committed atrocities, whereas, in reality, the Bosnian
8 Muslims were largely responsible for atrocities in the
9 region. It suggested that the investigators of
10 Mr. Mazowiecki, for one reason or another, were not
11 impartial, and it proceeded to mention two or three
12 details which were not accurate in order to challenge
13 the credibility of the report.
14 Q. We may be in a position to look at the letter
15 a little later today, but did the content of the letter
16 cause you to displace to any degree the conclusions you
17 had already reached?
18 A. Not really. I don't think that the letter
19 provided any satisfactory explanation as to why we
20 should not conclude that there had been massive
21 violations of human rights in the affected areas and
22 why we should not believe the overwhelming testimony to
23 the effect that the HVO was responsible.
24 Q. Did the HVO take steps to investigate these
25 crimes, to your knowledge, or not?
1 A. To my knowledge, no.
2 Q. Were there any suggestions or indications
3 that they did?
4 A. There was a discussion, after the events in
5 Ahmici, there were some discussions facilitated by the
6 European Community Monitoring Mission between the
7 Bosnian government and Bosnian Croat forces to have
8 some sort of commission which would inquire into the
9 matter. But as far as I know, no such investigation
10 took place.
11 Q. Had such an investigation taken place and a
12 report been prepared, would you have expected the
13 report to be forwarded to the United Nations, in light
14 of the report that you had filed?
15 A. Yes, I suppose that if the authorities could
16 send a letter of complaint to Mr. Mazowiecki concerning
17 the impartiality of our report, that they could equally
18 have sent us the results of an investigation, and I'm
19 quite sure that the results of that investigation would
20 have been reflected in future reports to the Human
21 Rights Commission.
22 Q. No such report was ever received?
23 A. No.
24 Q. What role, on the basis of your experience,
25 did Dario Kordic occupy in the Lasva Valley?
1 A. Formerly speaking, he had explained to me and
2 others had explained to me that he was vice-president
3 of the HDZ and HVO in the Lasva Valley region, and, in
4 fact, he appeared to be the most powerful and
5 influential figure in that region.
6 Q. Deal, if you will, with his relationship to
7 Boban and to Blaskic.
8 A. I can speak about his relation to Blaskic;
9 I'm not very sure about his relation to Boban. My
10 impression was that he was clearly in a position of
11 authority vis-a-vis Mr. Blaskic. My impression, based
12 on discussions I had with Mr. Blaskic, Mr. Kordic,
13 based on discussions I had with members of the British
14 Battalion and other sources in the region, was that
15 Mr. Kordic was, so to say, the mastermind of HDZ/HVO
16 policies in the region, and Mr. Blaskic was, if you
17 like, the executor of those policies. That, in a
18 general way, is how I would describe the relationship.
19 I had heard that Mr. Kordic occupied a
20 prominent place in the Herceg-Bosna political
21 establishment and that he was -- had enjoyed a close
22 relationship with Mate Boban. But as I said, I had no
23 opportunities to observe that personally, so that was
24 just my general impression.
25 Q. The line of demarcation between military and
1 political authority, how easy was that to be drawn in
2 the circumstances where you found yourself?
3 A. My impression is that it was extremely
4 difficult to separate the two, that the HDZ/HVO
5 structures were very tightly integrated and that there
6 was very little distinction between military and
7 civilian structures of authority and command.
8 Q. Thank you very much. That's all I ask, save
9 just to confirm that the filing system in your office,
10 is it such that within 20 minutes or half an hour, when
11 we have a break, you will be able to locate that letter
12 and have it copied for Defence and everyone else, if
13 they haven't got a copy already?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. NICE: Can I just check on the known
16 position of the other witness?
17 So far as the other witness is concerned,
18 Your Honour, he is, I gather, on the plane. It's not
19 known what his reaction to staying the night is, but,
20 of course, providing he can get up early tomorrow
21 morning, it's always possible he could go back, if
22 that's necessary, and return again tomorrow. I will
23 keep the Chamber posted as to events.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
25 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
2 Q. Mr. Akhavan, I believe that you were one of
3 the prosecutors who argued before the Appeals Chamber
4 of this Tribunal?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And that was in the Drazen Erdemovic case?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So you actually appeared as the prosecutor in
9 that appeal, I believe?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I believe that you may have authored an
12 article that appeared last year in the American
13 University International Law Review?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Let me just read to you a portion of that and
16 see if you agree with this. You said that the
17 Erdemovic case was actually the first case that had
18 been argued before the Appeals Chamber; correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And I believe that you made this observation
21 in the course of your article: "Of course, the
22 Prosecution tried to argue (and I am going to speak in
23 the third person in order to avoid implicating
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. I believe, sir, that you have given two prior
2 statements to the office for which you work, the Office
3 of the Prosecution, one dated December 13th, 1994; is
4 that right?
5 A. I believe so, in the Blaskic case?
6 Q. I believe it was with respect to
7 investigations generally, wasn't it?
8 A. Yes, yes, yes.
9 Q. That was a statement that you yourself
10 authored; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Then you gave another statement dated June
13 the 23rd, 1995; right?
14 A. I don't recall the exact date of these
15 statements. One was a statement that I myself
16 authored; another should be a statement which was
17 written by one of our investigators.
18 Q. Right. You actually signed that statement
19 two years after the interview, I believe, in 1997, just
20 before the Blaskic trial; right?
21 A. I'm not sure if I signed it two years after
22 the fact. It could be that I signed it at that time,
23 having read the statements and having found that it
24 accurately reflected what I had written in my own
1 Q. I believe that you testified in the Blaskic
2 case in December of 1997. In fact, you testified, I
3 believe, on December the 15th, 1997; right?
4 A. I believe so.
5 Q. That was two months after the Erdemovic
6 judgement was handed down by the Appeals Chamber. You
7 also testified for two days in Kupreskic on August the
8 27th and the 31st, 1998; correct?
9 A. Correct, yes.
10 Q. Now, you do agree, I believe, that your
11 investigations on behalf of the United Nations Centre
12 for Human Rights occurred during the midst of a complex
13 civil war between various ethnic factions in the
14 country of Bosnia-Herzegovina; right?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. The Muslims and the Croats occasionally were
17 locked in battle with the Serbs and forces from the
18 former JNA located in Bosnia-Herzegovina; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And occasionally, the Muslims and Croats
21 would fall to fighting amongst one another as well?
22 A. Yes, in a general sense.
23 Q. A complex and confusing situation, I think
24 you would agree?
25 A. In certain respects.
1 Q. How old are you, sir?
2 A. I'm 33.
3 Q. How old were you when you went to Central
5 A. Six years ago would take me to 27 years of
7 Q. Twenty-seven years old. When were you first
8 hired by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights?
9 A. I was hired one year prior to that. It was
10 in 1993.
11 Q. Have you ever done any work on this case,
12 apart from your testimony?
13 A. No, I have not.
14 Q. When did you start working as a legal
15 assistant for the Prosecution?
16 A. I started working as a legal advisor to the
17 Prosecution in April of 1994.
18 Q. Have you been working as a legal advisor for
19 the Prosecution for the last five years?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And occasionally arguing cases on behalf of
22 the Prosecution?
23 A. Yes, one appellate case.
24 Q. You actually argued some motions in the
25 Blaskic case, did you not?
1 A. I did not argue them but I drafted them for
2 the Prosecution, and they were all motions dealing with
3 doctrinal issues, not with factual issues.
4 Q. All right. Just a few questions, if I might,
5 regarding your experience, qualifications, and
7 You gave testimony about having graduated
8 from Osgoode Hall Law School at the University of
10 A. It's actually at York University in Toronto,
12 Q. When did you graduate with that degree, sir?
13 A. In 1989.
14 Q. Then you also informed the Trial Chamber that
15 you now have a law degree from the Harvard Law School,
16 I believe?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. When did you obtain that degree?
19 A. In 1990, the following year.
20 Q. In?
21 A. 1990.
22 Q. 1990?
23 A. Yes, correct.
24 Q. Have you ever practised as a lawyer?
25 A. No, I have not, not in -- I've never been a
1 member of a national bar, but I've practised as a
2 lawyer in this jurisdiction.
3 Q. Following your graduation from Harvard Law
4 School, where did you go to work?
5 A. I worked in a human rights non-governmental
6 organisation in Geneva, Switzerland which dealt with
7 U.N. human rights system in general.
8 Q. What was the name of that organisation?
9 A. The organisation was called the Bahai
10 International Community.
11 Q. How long did you work for the Bahai
12 International Community?
13 A. For a three-month period on a pro bono
15 Q. After that three-month period, where did you
16 go to work?
17 A. After that, I worked at the Norwegian
18 Institute of Human Rights in Oslo for a U.N. expert
19 dealing with ethnic conflicts in what was then the
20 Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
21 Q. This would have been in 1991?
22 A. This would have been in 1990 still, September
23 of 1990.
24 Q. That was the summer after law school, I take
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Do you have any kind of military
3 background at all?
4 A. No, I don't.
5 Q. Ever served in the armed forces of any
7 A. No, I haven't.
8 Q. Have you ever fired a weapon?
9 A. No, I haven't.
10 Q. Have you ever stripped or cleaned a weapon?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you have any police background?
13 A. No, I don't.
14 Q. Have you been trained in any way in
15 investigative or forensic techniques?
16 A. We were trained in investigative techniques
17 prior not only to my work with the United Nations
18 Centre for Human Rights, but also in connection with
19 two international missions that I participated in prior
20 to joining the U.N.
21 Q. Who gave you that training?
22 A. The training was given in one case by the
23 United Nations itself, in another case, because it was
24 a diplomatic mission, various foreign ministries that
25 we were involved in provided us with assistance with
1 training, as the case may be.
2 Q. How long did this training last?
3 A. The training in the case of the missions
4 would always be a couple of days prior to the actual
5 mission. In the case of the U.N. Centre for Human
6 Rights, there was ongoing training, as well as the
7 initial period of training, prior to being deployed on
8 the ground.
9 Q. Have you ever been given any systematic,
10 organised, detailed training in the performance of a
11 criminal investigation?
12 A. No, because we were not conducting criminal
13 investigations. We were conducting human rights
14 investigations, which are very different in nature than
15 criminal investigations.
16 Q. Do you have any familiarity with the concept
17 of giving warnings about constitutional or legal
19 A. Yes, I have a familiarity with that.
20 Q. In the context of a criminal investigation?
21 A. In the context of a criminal investigation,
23 Q. Were any recitations of those rights given to
24 Colonel Blaskic, Mario Cerkez, or Dario Kordic before
25 you met them in early May of 1993?
1 A. No, because the investigations were not in
2 the nature of criminal investigations. There was no
3 international criminal court in place at that time
4 even, so it seemed totally irrelevant at the time.
5 Q. Mr. Akhavan, isn't it true that the Security
6 Council resolution establishing the International
7 Criminal Tribunal was passed on February the 22nd of
9 A. Not strictly speaking. It was on May 25th,
10 1993 that resolution 827 was adopted. Resolution 808,
11 to which you refer, was simply the expression of an
12 intent on the part of the Security Council to look into
13 the establishment of a court, when, for that purpose,
14 the Secretary-General was asked to prepare a report.
15 The report which came out with respect to Ahmici is
16 dated 19 May, 1993, actually just one week prior to the
17 establishment of this court, and the investigation
18 itself had taken place even earlier. So I don't think
19 that the prospect of criminal investigations was at all
20 in the forefront of any of our minds when we were
21 engaging in preparing this report.
22 Q. Do you remember telling Colonel Blaskic,
23 Mr. Cerkez, or Mr. Kordic that they didn't have to say
24 anything at all to you, but that if they did, it could
25 certainly be taken down and used in evidence against
2 A. Once again, that was not at all in issue.
3 The investigation was not against any of those
4 individuals. A human rights report concerns itself
5 with state responsibility, and in the context of a
6 complex armed conflict, to which you yourself referred,
7 one looks at which are the parties which are in de
8 facto control of a particular territory and which
9 actually exercise governmental powers.
10 Our interest was in affording Mr. Kordic,
11 Blaskic, and Cerkez an opportunity to counter the
12 testimony of members of the British Battalion, of the
13 survivors of Ahmici, along the lines of the audi
14 alteram partem rule, to allow both sides to give their
15 side of the story. There was absolutely no obligation
16 on their part to say anything to us, I think that was
17 very clear, and it was simply an opportunity for them
18 to give us their side of the story so that we could
19 write, to the extent possible, an impartial report.
20 I don't think at any point that the issue of
21 their individual criminal liability was really at the
22 forefront of our meetings. But we did, as part of the
23 general mandate of the human rights special rapporteur
24 to encourage authorities to comply with human rights
25 standard, suggest to them that they should, indeed,
1 they are responsible for conducting investigations and
2 for bringing the perpetrators to justice.
3 Q. In connection with the testimony that you
4 have just given this morning about Mr. Cerkez, for
5 example, I believe that you told the Trial Chamber that
6 Mr. Cerkez was informed by yourself and also by Colonel
7 Stewart that if he did not perform some sort of an
8 investigation, then he would be held liable; isn't that
9 what you said?
10 A. Yes, in general terms, correct, but we did
11 not suggest that we would be the agency conducting an
12 investigation and holding him liable. We simply said
13 that under international law, that he is responsible
14 and that he must take that responsibility seriously.
15 Q. Let me turn briefly to the statements that
16 you have given to the Prosecution.
17 The first one, the December the 13th, 1994
18 statement, is actually written in your own words;
20 A. I believe so, yes.
21 Q. In your interview with the investigators in
22 1995, you were asked to relate accurately what the
23 people you had interviewed had told you; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you remember that you did not even read
1 your June the 23rd, 1995 statement until mid December
2 of 1997?
3 A. You mean the statement -- the report which
4 the investigators made of the interview with me?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. Yes. I don't recall what the situation was
7 at that time, but I do recall having eventually
8 reviewed it and having asked the Prosecutor to clarify
9 one or two points which were somewhat ambiguous during
10 the testimony of the Blaskic trial.
11 Q. You actually stated, I believe, under oath
12 that the June the 23rd, 1995 statement was not,
13 strictly speaking, your statement but a statement that
14 was taken from you by two investigators; right?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And that there were some inaccuracies in it;
18 A. I think there were ambiguities which were
19 resolved at trial through explanations which I made.
20 Q. You testified that there was a significant
21 distortion in your statement --
22 MR. NICE: Page?
23 MR. SAYERS: Page 5364.
24 Q. -- concerning the contention that
25 Colonel Blaskic would not have the intelligence to plan
1 the offensive operations in the Lasva Valley but that
2 Mr. Kordic would have the knowledge; do you remember
4 A. Yes, I recall that. I'm not sure that
5 "significant distortion" would be the appropriate
6 term. I think that I objected to the way that sentence
7 was formulated in order to be respectful towards the
8 accused in that case, Mr. Blaskic, and I think the
9 point was not that he did not have the intelligence but
10 that he was not the mastermind, if you like, of the
11 policy of the HDZ and HVO in the region in the same way
12 that Mr. Kordic was. That was the point that I was
13 trying to make.
14 Q. Did Colonel Blaskic tell you that Mr. Kordic
15 was the mastermind in the area? He didn't, did he?
16 A. Of course not.
17 Q. And Mr. Cerkez didn't tell you that either,
18 did he, sir?
19 A. Not in those terms. I think both of them
20 conceded that Mr. Kordic was the highest ranking
21 authority in the region, but the idea of Mr. Kordic
22 being the mastermind, so to speak, was largely the
23 result of both my own observations and of what I'd been
24 told by members of various international organisations
25 which were present in the region.
1 Q. Now, I believe that you arrived in Zagreb
2 towards the end of April 1993 to take up your work on
3 behalf of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. As far as you best recall, I believe, it was
6 the European Community Monitoring Mission that actually
7 came to you concerning the need for an investigation?
8 A. While we were looking into the matter, there
9 were obviously in Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time a
10 large number of violations which one could have
11 investigated, and it must be recalled that Ahmici
12 occurred --
13 Q. Mr. Akhavan, the question was simple. Was it
14 or was it not the ECMM that came to you to ask you to
15 get involved in an investigation?
16 A. Yes, but they were not the cause for the
17 investigation. We had considered investigating the
18 matter, as I was trying to explain, among a wide range
19 of violations which had been brought to our attention,
20 and the meeting with the ECMM, of course, persuaded us
21 to give priority to that investigation. But they, of
22 course, did not decide for us what we would
24 Q. Did the ECMM tell you that it was actually
25 dispatching its own deputation to do precisely what you
1 proposed to do?
2 A. We knew that the ECMM had an office in the
3 field in the region of Central Bosnia. I don't
4 remember whether this was specifically discussed, but
5 the ECMM did believe that the United Nations would be
6 the most appropriate body to conduct the
7 investigation. When we were in the field, yes, we did
8 cooperate with ECMM representatives, and we were aware
9 that they were conducting a similar investigation,
10 although I think the nature of their investigation was
11 somewhat different than ours.
12 Q. How?
13 A. Well, I think they dealt with broader
14 security issues, which we would not have concerned
15 ourselves with, and their investigator, as I recall,
16 was, indeed, a military man who dealt not only with --
17 or not even primarily with the atrocities but with
18 their security implications for the region.
19 Q. Mr. Akhavan, as you prepared yourself to
20 perform this investigation that you've described, did
21 you have access to any written materials that described
22 recent events in the Lasva Valley involving interethnic
23 violence between Croat factions and Muslim factions?
24 A. Any written material?
25 Q. Yes, sir.
1 A. On occasion we would have access to what are
2 called sitreps, situation reports, or other summaries
3 which were provided through the U.N. Protection Force
4 chain of command, reporting on the situation in the
5 region. We had, I think, a very general sense about
6 the security situation in the region, but we didn't
7 concern ourselves too much with that. The point of our
8 investigation was to look at violations of humanitarian
9 law which had occurred and to try and prioritise those
10 which had been committed on a widespread or massive
12 We were aware that breaches of ceasefire and
13 other security-related matters were very complex and
14 that they were only relevant in a tangential sense to
15 our mandate, which was to look at human rights
17 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I wonder if the
18 witness might be shown Exhibit D25/1.
19 Q. Mr. Akhavan, I wonder, have you seen this
20 document before, the document entitled "Special Report
21 on Croats in Zenica, 20 to 21st of April, 1993"?
22 A. Well, since this goes back to some six years,
23 I don't recall whether we had visited this specific
24 document. But I do recognise the subject matter, which
25 is reflected more or less in the report of May 19th.
1 Q. Were you aware that significant numbers of
2 Croat civilians had been killed in the villages
3 mentioned in paragraph 2, the Croat communities in
5 A. We were not aware of those specific villages,
6 but we did indicate in our report that, as was the case
7 with Miletici, that there were isolated attacks against
8 Croats. And I think the report which I read out
9 specifically did indicate that the situation in Zenica
10 is very tense and that there is a fear of retaliation.
11 So in answer to your question, those specific
12 villages which are indicated in this report may not
13 have been mentioned, in part because we were not in a
14 position, with limited time and resources, to visit
15 everywhere, but we did, I think, reflect the fact that
16 the Croats in Zenica were in a difficult situation.
17 But in our opinion, there was nothing
18 approximating the scale of killings and atrocities
19 which had been committed against the Muslims. In order
20 to put forward a balanced report, I believe that we had
21 to concentrate more of our attention and resources on
22 situations such as that of Ahmici.
23 Q. What can you tell us about the massacres of
24 Croat civilians at the villages of Dusina, Lasva,
25 Nezirovici, and Gusti Grab on January the 26th, 1993,
1 sir? Anything?
2 A. Well, I was not even in the employ of the
3 United Nations Centre for Human Rights at that time, so
4 I would not have been involved in such an
5 investigation. But as I said, our reports are not
6 about who shot whom first; our reports are objective
7 accounts of violations which we believe happened to be
8 particularly serious. Obviously, throughout the war,
9 there were all sorts of atrocities committed by all
10 sides, and it was virtually impossible, with a small
11 staff, to investigate each and every atrocity, which is
12 why we concentrated on those situations which we
13 thought were particularly flagrant, and we believed
14 that Ahmici and environs did clearly fall into the
15 category of particularly serious offences.
16 Nonetheless, we did make the effort, to the
17 best of our ability, to reflect the fact that Bosnian
18 Muslims had also committed atrocities against Bosnian
19 Croats, but by no objective standard could we see any
20 form of equivalence between the two.
21 Q. When you were travelling throughout the Lasva
22 Valley, did you realise that hundreds of Croat
23 civilians were being held, imprisoned, in the town of
25 A. We did receive reports that people were being
1 imprisoned, but we did not receive reports that they
2 were being particularly seriously mistreated. We did
3 not receive any credible reports, for example, of
4 executions of these people, nor that they were being
5 held in concentration-camp conditions, for example.
6 And I think the report which you yourself have produced
7 also testifies that they were generally well treated in
8 prison in Zenica.
9 Q. Right, apart from the 30 that showed signs of
11 A. Excuse me?
12 Q. Apart from the 30 that showed signs of
14 A. Which 30? I'm sorry, I don't know what
15 you're referring to.
16 Q. If you could just take a look at the first
17 paragraph of Exhibit D25/1, I think you'll see it
18 there. Quote: "About 30 showed signs of brutality."
19 A. Yes. No, this is true. You see, this is all
20 relative to the context of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that
21 time, as I said. I would be surprised indeed if, in
22 most of these situations, there would not be
23 brutality. This was a brutal war, and as I explained,
24 virtually all sides were engaged in various degrees of
25 what we would consider, in objective terms, violations
1 of international humanitarian law.
2 But still, in terms of where we would
3 prioritise resources, the case of 30 prisoners who may
4 have, for example, been beaten or treated with
5 brutality, was simply not the same as the killing of
6 100 to 200 men, women, and children in the village of
7 Ahmici, not to mention Vitez and other surrounding
9 So we would, instead of spending two days
10 investigating the brutalities against 30 inmates, make
11 a sentence in a general sense in our report, as we
12 have, that the situation of Croats in Zenica is
13 difficult and perilous, but we would not spend the same
14 amount of time and energy investigating this as we
15 would have investigating the atrocities in Ahmici.
16 Q. I believe that you were in Central Bosnia for
17 six days performing your investigations; is that
19 A. One week, probably, from April 30th to May
20 the 6th. Seven days, I believe.
21 Q. Seven days; I'm sorry. Now, it would be fair
22 to say that all sides in this civil war, in your
23 experience, regularly accused each other of having
24 committed atrocities; isn't that right?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. That was, if you like, a standard defensive
3 A. Yes. It was part of the propaganda war.
4 JUDGE MAY: Have you finished with the
5 exhibit, Mr. Sayers?
6 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour, I have.
7 Q. Turning for a minute to the ECMM mission that
8 was visiting Central Bosnia simultaneously with you and
9 your colleague, did you ever speak to Jeremy Fleming?
10 A. I don't recall. I met several people from
11 the ECMM; I wouldn't remember the names of any of them
12 except Ambassador Thebault.
13 Q. Did you know that a joint body for the
14 investigation of incidents and other items, called the
15 Busovaca Joint Coordination Commission, had been
17 A. Yes, I remember being informed during our
18 first meeting with the ECMM that they had mediated
19 between the Bosnian Croats and Muslims and had created
20 some sort of investigative body.
21 Q. Do you know what Croat representatives sat on
22 that body, sir, what their identity was?
23 A. I don't recall.
24 Q. No one ever told you that Dario Kordic sat on
25 the Busovaca Joint Coordination Commission in any
1 capacity, did they?
2 A. It wouldn't surprise me if that were the
3 case, but to us, these investigative commissions very
4 often were quite empty, and they never really amounted
5 to anything. So we had, in many cases, even dealing
6 with Bosnian Serbs, all sorts of commissions which were
7 entrusted with investigating atrocities, and even in
8 the face of overwhelming atrocities, they very rarely,
9 if ever, resulted in a serious investigation or serious
11 Q. To return to my question, no one ever told
12 you that Mr. Kordic sat on the Busovaca Joint
13 Coordination Commission or had any connection with it,
14 did they?
15 A. I don't recall. I do recall, though, we met
16 the establishment of this commission with
17 understandable scepticism.
18 Q. Well, did you know that Colonel Stewart sat
19 on the coordination committee, this commission?
20 A. I do recall that he was involved in some
22 Q. And --
23 A. But all of these, I think, transpired after
24 our mission was completed. I believe that the
25 commission was, as far as I remember, not yet formally
1 constituted, in the sense that it was not yet engaging
2 in its activities, or had just begun to do so, when we
3 had arrived there. Because we had arrived there quite
4 soon after the acts had occurred in Ahmici and Vitez.
5 MR. SAYERS: I wonder if the witness could be
6 shown Exhibit D23/1, please.
7 Q. Mr. Akhavan, have you ever seen Exhibit D23/1
9 A. No, I have not.
10 I believe that I may actually have been
11 mistaken. The commission which the ECMM had informed
12 us about was probably not this, but another commission
13 specifically established to look into the events in the
14 Lasva Valley region.
15 Q. If you would turn to the third page, the
16 organisational structure of the joint coordination
17 committee is explained. We have the commanding officer
18 of BritBat, and that was Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart;
19 right? "Yes" or "No"?
20 A. Was the commanding officer of the BritBat --
21 yes, it was Colonel Stewart at that time.
22 Q. We have the ECMM chairman, and that was
23 Jeremy Fleming; correct?
24 A. I don't recall.
25 Q. We have the commander of the BiH 3rd Corps;
1 do you know who that was?
2 A. I don't remember the name, but I had, I
3 believe, even met this gentleman. But I don't recall
4 the name.
5 Q. If I mention the name General Enver
6 Hadzihasanovic, would that be someone that you've met
8 A. It sounds familiar.
9 Q. Well, have you met General Enver
10 Hadzihasanovic before, or have you not?
11 A. I believe I did during my stay there. To the
12 best of my recollection, after six years, yes, I did
13 meet a number of military personnel from the Bosnian
14 army as well.
15 Q. Would consulting your notes help you to
16 remember who you saw and what they said?
17 A. I don't recall actually having an interview
18 with any of these people. We were at the UNPROFOR
19 compound for one week, and there was regular traffic of
20 both Bosnian army and HVO personnel and a number of
21 others in that area, so I do recall that we had met
22 members of the Bosnian army who had come to discuss
23 with UNPROFOR, ECMM, the ICRC, several other
24 organisations which were situated there. But I
25 actually don't recall having had any sort of interview
1 with them, because we didn't think it was relevant to
2 what we were investigating at that time.
3 Q. Before we get on to the subject of your
4 notes, let me just ask you: Who was the commander of
5 the HVO central command?
6 A. The commander, in military terms, I believe,
7 was Colonel Blaskic.
8 Q. Do you know who the commander in chief of the
9 HVO armed forces was at this time?
10 A. I don't recall. I don't recall. It could
11 have been Petkovic, but I really don't remember at this
12 point in time.
13 JUDGE MAY: Would that be a convenient time,
14 Mr. Sayers?
15 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President, it would.
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn for
17 half an hour.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.36 a.m.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
21 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Mr. Akhavan, you made notes contemporaneously
23 as you visited various people and travelled around the
24 Lasva Valley during your one-week visit at the end of
25 April and May of 1993; correct?
1 A. Yes, I took notes where it was relevant to
2 the matter at hand.
3 Q. And you put down who said what to whom;
5 A. When it was relevant, yes.
6 Q. You made a note of who you met?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And when?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you made notes of what you were told by
11 the people that you met?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you've lost those notes, haven't you?
14 A. No. Those notes have been recovered.
15 Q. Where are they?
16 A. There are copies of the notes in my office.
17 Q. So the notes that you have are downstairs?
18 A. Upstairs, yes.
19 Q. Upstairs. Have you consulted those notes,
20 sir, in preparing for your testimony today?
21 A. Not in preparation for the testimony today.
22 I've consulted them, I would say, three or four weeks
24 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I wonder if we
25 might consult those notes over the lunch break.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Akhavan, you can retrieve
2 them during the lunch break and they could be handed
3 over; is that right?
4 A. Certainly, yes.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 MR. SAYERS:
7 Q. Did you make any tape recordings,
8 Mr. Akhavan?
9 A. No, I did not.
10 MR. SAYERS: At this point, Mr. President, I
11 think we need to go into a private session just for
12 about 30 seconds, if I may.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 (Private session)
13 pages 5980-5991 redacted private session
9 (Open session)
10 MR. NICE: If the witness was here, there are
11 a couple of questions that Mr. Lopez-Terres needed to
12 ask that haven't been asked because the Victims and
13 Witnesses Unit didn't tell him that the witness had
14 arrived. Another ten minutes is proposed. Is that
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, have you got
17 something you can deal with for ten minutes?
18 MR. SAYERS: Two things, Your Honour. I
19 don't think we need to detain Mr. Akhavan.
20 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to ask you if you would
21 like to ask him some more things, since he's here.
22 MR. SAYERS: It might be appropriate, Your
23 Honour, to go back into private session, since we're
24 dealing with a confidential witness's testimony.
25 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
1 (Private session)
13 page 5993 redacted private session
13 page 5994 redacted private session
13 page 5995 redacted private session
13 page 5996 redacted private session
13 page 5997 redacted private session
7 (Open session)
8 MR. SAYERS:
9 Q. Now, Mr. Akhavan, from the slits in the tank
10 that you were driving through Ahmici in on May the 1st,
11 1993, you could actually see men looting houses; could
12 you not?
13 A. What do you mean by "the slits in the tank"?
14 We actually were -- the tanks actually had a roof in
15 the passenger compartment where we could actually stand
16 up outside of the tank and observe. But, yes, we did
17 see people looting.
18 Q. You could not tell which side those people
19 belonged to, could you?
20 A. No. I could simply tell that they wore
21 military uniforms.
22 Q. You did not know what the disposition of the
23 front lines between the Croat forces and Muslim forces
24 on May the 1st, 1993 was, do you?
25 A. In a general sense, perhaps no, but we did
1 know specifically that Ahmici was under HVO control.
2 Q. Did you receive information from your
3 military briefers that the HVO, as of April the 30th,
4 1993, was on the verge of a crushing military defeat in
5 the entire Lasva Valley?
6 A. No, we were not given any such indication,
7 and even at the admission of Colonel Blaskic, the HVO
8 was in firm control of the Lasva Valley region,
9 including Ahmici, which we specifically discussed. I
10 don't recall Mr. Kordic either telling me at any point
11 that they were under a threat of imminent defeat from
12 the Bosnian Muslims. No one, as a matter of fact, said
13 that to me.
14 I am aware that sometime after the campaign
15 of ethnic cleansing in Ahmici and environs, that there
16 was a Bosnian Muslim counteroffensive. My
17 understanding at that time was that most of the Bosnian
18 Muslim army was caught up in trying to fight against
19 Bosnian Serbs and that they did not have a significant
20 amount of resources positioned against the Bosnian
21 Croats. That situation may have changed after the
22 events in the Lasva Valley, and I believe our reports
23 of May the 19th actually foresaw such a possibility.
24 And, of course, our concern being one of violations of
25 humanitarian law, we did express our concern in that
1 report, that if justice is not done, if there is not
2 some form of accountability for the events, that,
3 indeed, there may be some sort of retaliation.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, when you get to a
5 convenient moment. Would that be a convenient moment?
6 MR. SAYERS: This moment is as good as any,
7 Mr. President.
8 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Mr. Akhavan, thank
9 you very much. Would you be back, please, when you are
10 asked to conclude your evidence? Hopefully this week.
11 Meanwhile, would you perhaps get the copies of the
12 notes and hand them to the Prosecutors for onward
14 THE WITNESS: Certainly.
15 MR. SAYERS: May we also request a copy of
16 the letter to which the witness referred?
17 JUDGE MAY: The letter from Herceg-Bosna?
18 MR. SAYERS: Yes, indeed, Mr. President.
19 THE WITNESS: This is the letter from
20 Herceg-Bosna to the --
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, that's the one, the one that
22 was referred to by Mr. Nice.
23 THE WITNESS: Yes. I do not have a copy of
24 that letter in my own files. I will try and find it,
25 but I'm not in a position to promise that I can do so
1 in the short span of time.
2 JUDGE MAY: See if you can find it. Thank
3 you. If you would like to go now.
4 (The witness withdrew)
5 MR. NICE: Mr. Lopez-Terres will call the
6 next witness. I understand he is willing to stay
7 overnight, but because of the other witnesses who we
8 want accommodate, we will, nevertheless, try and take
9 him as quickly in chief as we can.
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the
13 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
16 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat,
17 Mr. Williams.
18 WITNESS: ANDREW WILLIAMS
19 Examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
20 Q. Your name is Andrew Williams, born on the
21 31st of May, 1958?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. You joined the British army in May 1976 and
24 you left in May 1998, didn't you?
25 A. That's correct, yes.
1 Q. You are now an owner of a pub in Manchester?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You were Colour Sergeant in the 3rd Battalion
4 of the 1st Cheshire Regiment?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. During the conflict in Bosnia, you served as
7 an intelligence officer in your regiment from November
8 1992 until May 1993, and you were stationed in Gornji
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Within the framework of your duties, you
12 moved around yourself, and daily, directly or through
13 the soldiers of your company, you received information?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. This information was then conveyed to your
16 officers, first Major Rule and then Major Jones, who
17 succeeded him?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Your area of responsibility covered the
20 municipalities of Bugojno in the north, Prozor in the
21 south, and Gornji Vakuf in the centre?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. After you yourself collected this
24 information, either directly or from your soldiers, you
25 drafted daily reports which were addressed to your
1 headquarters in Vitez; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Those reports were then summarised in Vitez
4 and distributed under the name of "milinfosum"?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. Mr. Williams, the town of Gornji Vakuf, in
7 which you were stationed, was it situated on an
8 important road, a communication line?
9 A. Yes, it was a very important road for both us
10 and the local militias. It was one of the few access
11 routes from the border up into Central Bosnia.
12 Q. As a former military man, would you say that
13 that town had a special strategic interest in view of
14 its position?
15 A. Yes, it would have a very special strategic
16 position because whoever controlled the town would
17 control the route and, therefore, would control one of
18 the entry routes into Central Bosnia.
19 Q. The majority of the population of Gornji
20 Vakuf were of Muslim ethnicity, weren't they?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Upon your arrival in Gornji Vakuf with your
23 company, what was the character and quality of the
24 relationship that you were able to see between the two
25 communities, the Croats and the Muslims?
1 A. They were united in that they had a common
2 enemy, the Bosnian Serbs, but there was a great deal of
3 mistrust between the two sides. They did not like each
4 other and didn't trust each other.
5 Q. Mr. Williams, I'm going to show you a
6 document. It is a document on which you will see most
7 of the localities that we have mentioned and
8 particularly the one we will ask you to comment on
9 during your testimony. It is Exhibit Z2612/6. Do you
10 see the document on your screen, Mr. Williams?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Can you show us, with the help of the pointer
13 that you have on the table, could you show us the
14 localities of Bugojno, Gornji Vakuf, and Prozor?
15 A. That is the town of Bugojno (indicating) at
16 the top there. In the centre here is the town of
17 Gornji Vakuf (indicating) or Gornja Vakuf. In the
18 south here is the town of Prozor (indicating).
19 Q. During your testimony, you will be asked to
20 talk about the Makljen pass, the villages of Bistrica,
21 Hrasnica. Could you show us these localities on the
22 map, please?
23 A. The Hrasnica area is here (indicating),
24 Bistrica is a small village just outside Gornji Vakuf
25 here (indicating), and the Makljen was a checkpoint on
1 top of the high feature just to the north of Prozor
2 here (indicating).
3 Q. You will also be speaking about three other
4 localities, that is, Uzricje, Dusa, and Rumboci. Could
5 you show them on the map, please?
6 A. The first two villages are here and Rumboci
7 is down here (indicating).
8 Q. Thank you. Mr. Williams, I'm going to show
9 you another document. It is a document issued in
10 January 1996 showing the borders of the various cantons
11 as envisaged by the Vance-Owen Plan at the time. This
12 is document Z2582.
13 Mr. Williams, you have that document before
14 you. As far as you know, the municipality of Gornji
15 Vakuf, was it supposed to go under the Croatian
16 administration, according to the Vance-Owen Plan?
17 A. Yes, it was. When they drew the lines on the
18 map, Canton 10, which covered this sort of northern
19 Herzegovina and Central Bosnia area, was supposed to
20 become a Croat-controlled canton or a Bosnian
21 Croat-controlled canton.
22 Q. The provisions of this plan, the Vance-Owen
23 Plan, how were they received by the Muslim community at
24 the time?
25 A. They were not very happy about the fact that
1 they were going to be placed under Croat control.
2 Q. The Muslim population of the municipality of
3 Gornji Vakuf, and you said that they were in the
4 majority, did they see their ranks increase as a result
5 of the influx of refugees?
6 A. Yes. There were a lot of refugees in the
7 Gornji Vakuf area that had come from a town called
8 Jajce, I can't pronounce it properly, a town called
9 Jajce or something, which is just to the northwest of
10 Travnik, and also from another town called Gornji
11 Vakuf, which is the other side of Bugojno, both of
12 which, Jajce and Gornji Vakuf, had fallen to the Serbs,
13 and a Muslim population had moved into the Muslim area
14 of Gornji Vakuf.
15 Q. According to the information that you were
16 able to collect at the time, what was the reaction of
17 the Croats of Gornji Vakuf in relation to those
18 refugees? Did they welcome them?
19 A. They wanted the Muslim refugees to be moved
20 further into Central Bosnia, into the Zenica area,
21 because they felt that the ethnic balance had shifted
22 too far in favour of the Muslims.
23 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: The usher may return to
24 his seat. Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Williams, in the course of your tour of
1 duty, you registered a number of incidents which
2 heightened tension between the two communities.
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. The Tribunal has already learned about some
5 of those incidents, so we will cover them very quickly,
6 some of them at least. Do you remember one particular
7 incident which involved the beheading of a Muslim by an
8 HVO soldier?
9 A. Yes, I do. I remember that.
10 Q. This murder, did it worsen relations between
11 the two communities of Gornji Vakuf?
12 A. Very much so. It also damaged the relations
13 between ourselves and the HVO.
14 Q. Were you informed of the return of the
15 perpetrator of this crime to the area of Gornji Vakuf?
16 A. When the fighting erupted in Gornji Vakuf
17 between the Croats and the Muslims, one of the problems
18 we had, as we were trying to broker ceasefires, was to
19 get both sides to trust each other. One of the reasons
20 that the Muslims would not trust the Croats was because
21 when the incident happened, the beheading, the soldier
22 concerned, the Muslims wanted him tried in one of their
23 courts, and the Bosnian Croats instead tried him in
24 Mostar. As the fighting erupted in Gornji Vakuf, that
25 soldier returned and took part in the fighting, and as
1 a result, the Muslims felt that they could not trust
2 what the Croats said.
3 Q. Do you also recall, Mr. Williams, that around
4 December 1992 or January 1993, a former school, which
5 was supposed to be used by the two armies, was taken by
6 a group of soldiers belonging to the HOS in Gornji
8 A. Yes. There was a small detachment of HOS who
9 lived in one of the small schools. They took
10 control -- it was a joint billet, and they cleared out
11 the Muslim soldiers that were sharing it with them.
12 Q. What do you know about this HOS group which
13 took control of the building? Do you have information
14 about that group?
15 A. They were only a small group, somewhere
16 around about a dozen to fifteen of them, one of which
17 was a woman and a couple of which were mercenaries.
18 They did not figure largely in anything in Gornji
19 Vakuf, and they just disappeared. They either moved
20 out or were absorbed into the HVO.
21 Q. You mentioned mercenaries. Were there one or
22 several mercenaries of British origin?
23 A. There was at least one British mercenary in
24 the HOS, and there was also a British mercenary -- at
25 least one British mercenary in the HVO, who I actually
1 used to speak to and used to get information from.
2 Q. This British mercenary which could have
3 belonged to the HOS, did you discover his identity, his
5 A. The mercenary that I used to use, who I used
6 -- who I knew his name properly, was in the HVO. The
7 one that was in the HOS, I'm not 100 per cent certain
8 of his name, other than he was, I believe, a former
9 tank soldier in the British army.
10 Q. Does the name "Chris Kenneth Wilson" say
11 anything to you?
12 A. That is probably the name of the mercenary
13 that was in the HOS who was the former tank soldier.
14 The other mercenary, that I used to speak to properly,
15 that I used to use as a source, was also a former
16 British soldier, but he was in the HVO.
17 Q. We will come back to that second mercenary a
18 little later in the course of your testimony.
19 At the time that we are now talking about,
20 you were informed, through your meetings with
21 responsible persons from the HVO, that they intended to
22 establish law and order in the region of Gornji Vakuf,
23 participants and that in that context, they were
24 charged with the protection of the Muslims by the
25 United Nations; is that correct?
1 A. In theory, if the Vance-Owen Peace Plan had
2 gone ahead, yes, that would have been correct.
3 Q. We're still talking about the same period.
4 Did you note that the HVO soldiers in the region for
5 which you were responsible started stopping all
6 vehicles bearing license plates from Bosnia and asking
7 the owners of these vehicles to have new license plates
8 posted carrying the flag of the Bosnian Croats?
9 A. At about the same period of time, there was
10 some agitation that -- that the Bosnian Croats wished
11 to form their own state of Herceg-Bosna. In the areas
12 in which they had control, or believed they had
13 control, they started to try to make the population
14 change the license plates of their cars to a license
15 plate that bore the shield of Herceg-Bosna in the
16 centre of it. They also instituted, at such places as
17 the Makljen checkpoint, that you could not go through
18 the checkpoint without a visa, and the only place you
19 could get the visa was from a HVO office, and you had
20 to buy it. So in effect, it was a form of tax.
21 Q. In January 1993, the conflict escalated and
22 became much more serious in Gornji Vakuf; would you
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You and your soldiers noted that HVO forces
1 coming from several other municipalities in the region,
2 and which were placed under the command of Colonel
3 Zeljko Siljeg, asserted themselves in the town of
4 Gornji Vakuf?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. As the fighting
6 escalated in Gornji Vakuf, a lot of external forces
7 from the HVO were brought into the area and used to
8 seal the town.
9 Would you like me to name the brigades?
10 Q. Yes, if you can remember, we would be glad
11 for to you to list them.
12 A. There were units or subunits from the
13 Tomislav Brigade; there were subunits from the Prva
14 Ramska Brigade, which was the Prozor HVO. There were
15 subunits from the Petar Kresimir or Kresimo (phoen)
16 Brigade, which came from Livno or Duvno, just the other
17 side of Tomislavgrad. There were subunits from
18 Mostar. Some of the Bugojno HVO moved down the road to
19 seal the road between Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno, and
20 there were also external troops from a brigade called
21 the Bruno Busic Brigade, although the Bruno Busic
22 Brigade did have a small detachment present in Gornji
23 Vakuf anyway. And there were also troops -- I can't
24 remember the names of the brigades, but there were
25 troops from a town called Grude and troops from another
1 town not far from Grude.
2 At one time during the fighting we actually
3 managed to have a ceasefire where each side agreed to
4 have liaison officers from the other side placed on
5 their gun lines in places like that. When the fighting
6 restarted, we got back one of the Muslim soldiers who
7 was put on an HVO gun line as a monitoring officer, and
8 he said -- when we asked him how many HVO soldiers he'd
9 actually seen, his reply was, "The whole of Herzegovina
10 is out there." Which obviously was an exaggeration,
11 but we took that to confirm that there were units from
12 all across northwest Herzegovina present.
13 Q. You were just speaking of a meeting that was
14 organised to try and appease the conflict between the
15 two parties and to achieve a ceasefire. Could you
16 indicate who were the participants in those meetings,
17 one or several?
18 A. There were several meetings. It became a
19 bit -- us trying to negotiate ceasefires and both sides
20 agreeing to ceasefires became a bit of a standing
21 joke. In the end, we stopped calling them
22 "ceasefires"; we called them "periods of calm"
24 There were delegates -- at various meetings
25 taking place, there were delegates from Mostar,
1 delegates from Zenica. On our side, initially, it was
2 my company commander, at times it was my commanding
3 officer from Vitez, Colonel Stewart, and at times -- on
4 one of the meetings, it was even General Morillon. The
5 ECMM ambassador, Ambassador Bousseau, also took part in
6 one meeting. There were delegates that came from the
7 Red Cross who took part in some of the meetings.
8 Names that spring to mind as being there on
9 various meetings were a Bosnian army Muslim officer by
10 the name of Merdan from Zenica; a major from the
11 Bosnian army from the Corps headquarters, 3 Corps
12 headquarters, called Selmo Cikotic, or Cikotak (phoen);
13 a colonel from Mostar, from the HVO, called Colonel
14 Andric, or something similar to Andric; Brigadier
15 Petkovic; Colonel Siljeg; the local commanders from the
16 two local Gornji Vakuf brigades, the HVO and the Armija
17 Bosna. Zrinko Tokic was the commander of the HVO
18 brigade in Gornji Vakuf. There were several meetings,
19 and there were different delegates on each one.
20 Q. You mentioned, among other people, you
21 mentioned the name of a colonel from Mostar by the name
22 of Andric.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would you remember that he read a kind of an
25 ultimatum to the Bosnian and Herzegovinian army?
1 A. Yes, he did read -- he read an ultimatum
2 which -- we had just spent several hours trying to
3 negotiate a ceasefire, whereupon he produced this
4 ultimatum, which was already pretyped on a piece of
5 paper, which surprised us, because it meant to us that
6 he had no intention of negotiating a settlement to this
7 at all, or he wouldn't have had the ultimatum already
9 The ultimatum was to the effect that Gornji
10 Vakuf was, under the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, to become
11 part of a Croat-controlled opstina -- Croat-controlled
12 canton, and that therefore they wished to take control
13 of it. They wished the BH army to hand in their
14 weapons. They wished the head of the Bosnian army
15 brigade and the head of the Bosnian military police and
16 the head of the Bosnian police to be detained and tried
17 as war criminals. They wished all the external Muslim
18 troops to be removed from the town. Anybody who did
19 not want to be under Croat rule was to leave, and that
20 they had two brigades formed up in Prozor ready to
21 attack the town unless they agreed to those terms.
22 They also wished the media to publish that
23 all the incidents that had happened prior to this were
24 the results of Muslim gangsters, and that the HVO were
25 attempting to bring law and order to the municipality,
1 and that they had not killed anybody, and they had not
2 damaged any house and had not committed any other form
3 of crime.
4 This, of course, the Bosnian army or the
5 Muslim Bosnian army were not going to agree to, and as
6 a result, a major attack started on the town the next
8 Q. During those negotiations held in Gornji
9 Vakuf, did one of the negotiators on the Croat part,
10 Colonel Zeljko Siljeg, use your fax machine, the one
11 that was installed in your office? Do you remember
13 A. Yes. The office I worked from contained the
14 only phone line that we had in our base, and it was an
15 INMARSAT, satellite telephone, that was also connected
16 to a fax. He used to make phone calls, and after he'd
17 made the phone calls, I used to print out the numbers
18 that he had dialled and pass the numbers up the chain of
20 Q. Could you establish which ZIP code area,
21 which area was he calling?
22 A. The area code for the phone numbers that he
23 phoned would indicate that they were from Split, or the
24 Split area. It was the Split area code.
25 Q. Split is in Croatia, isn't it, Mr. Williams?
1 A. That is correct.
2 Q. You also placed at the disposal of another
3 Croat representative your own telephone; that is an
4 INMARSAT telephone, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And that other representative, was he General
8 A. General Milivoj Petkovic, yes.
9 Q. Could you establish, which area code was he
10 dialling when he used your equipment?
11 A. It was the same area code. It was the Split
12 area code.
13 Q. Mr. Williams, when you answered the questions
14 in May 1995 of one of our investigators, you gave us a
15 sketch and organisation of the HVO forces in the
16 region, and there was a sketch, an organisational
18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) It is
19 Z2763. This is a three-page document, and I'm
20 referring to page 3 of the document. Subsequently, I
21 shall go back to page 1 of the same document.
22 Usher, could you please turn to page 3, which
23 is an organisational diagram. Yes, this is the one;
24 organisational chart, page 3.
25 Q. Mr. Williams, do you recognise this document
1 as the one that you handed over to the investigators in
2 May 1995?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. You mentioned the name of Colonel Zeljko
5 Siljeg, and could you explain to us, what was his
6 function? Where was his place on this chart?
7 A. He commanded Op Zone Northwest Herzegovina,
8 so he would be here. Op Zone Northwest Herzegovina
9 consisted of these brigades and probably also other
10 assets as well.
11 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the names of a
12 number of brigades which you remembered and which were
13 at the basis of this organisational chart.
14 A. Yes, sir. Do you mean the Northwest
15 Herzegovina brigades?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. The Petar Kresimir or Kresimo Brigade,
18 something similar to that, Petar Kresimir or Kresimo
19 from the Livno/Duvno area; the Tomislav Brigade, which
20 was commanded by a Canadian national called Nick
21 Glasnovic; the Prva Ramska or 1st Rama Brigade, which
22 came from Prozor; the Ante Starcevic Brigade, which was
23 commanded by Zrinko Tokic, which came from Gornji
24 Vakuf; and the Bugojno Brigade, which was commanded by
25 a gentleman called Babic.
1 Q. Thank you. Now I should like to show you
2 another document, which is Z2414. As you can see, this
3 document was written in Tomislavgrad on the 12th of
4 April, 1993, and it is from the command for the
5 Northwest Operative Zone. It is signed by Colonel
6 Zeljko Siljeg.
7 A. I can see that, yes.
8 Q. Mr. Williams, do you know if Colonel Zeljko
9 Siljeg was the same one who took part in the Gornji
10 Vakuf negotiations that we spoke about before?
11 A. Yes. This is the same Colonel Siljeg. We
12 had a nickname for him. We used to call him "Colonel
13 Eyebrows" because he had big, bushy eyebrows.
14 Q. You already told us -- you told us about
15 those two ceasefire agreements and the negotiations in
16 January 1993 in Gornji Vakuf, and now I should like to
17 show you two milinfosums. The first one is of the 22nd
18 of January, and the second, of the 24th of January,
19 1993. They are documents Z3881 and Z3901.
20 Mr. Williams, will you please look at page 3
21 of the report of the 22nd January, 1993. In the upper
22 part, the paragraph about Gornji Vakuf, which is
23 paragraph 4 of the report, can you read that?
24 A. Yes, I can read it.
25 Q. Does this report refer to the negotiations
1 about the ceasefire that we mentioned earlier?
2 A. Yes, it refers to one of the ceasefires,
4 Q. And now would you mind looking at the other
5 report, of the 24th January, 1993, the first page.
6 Does it also refer to the negotiations that you spoke
7 about before and the ceasefire agreement which was
8 signed? Paragraph 1, Gornji Vakuf.
9 A. I'm looking at a different document here.
10 The one I'm looking at is Z388,1.
11 Q. This is Z390. The first page.
12 A. Yes. We have the correct document now.
13 Q. And these two documents, therefore, talk
14 about negotiations which took place at the time?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. Thank you. Mr. Williams, in the course of
17 the hostilities in the Gornji Vakuf area, did you and
18 your soldiers observe that several villagers in the
19 village had been attacked and destroyed by the HVO
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did this destruction appear to you as
23 something systematically done?
24 A. Yes, it was -- one village in particular was
25 deliberately cleansed. There was no other word for
1 it. All of it was deliberate.
2 Q. These villages that you have in mind are?
3 A. The two where the worst incidents took place
4 were the village of Bistrica and the village of
6 Q. As for the second village, Hrasnica, you
7 observed that that village had been destroyed and
8 attacked on several occasions by the military police;
9 is that so?
10 A. It was visited and systematically destroyed
11 on three occasions. Each time it was destroyed more
12 and more severely in order to prevent people from
13 coming back, until eventually, on the third occasion,
14 it was completely levelled.
15 Q. It is true that before the village was razed
16 to the ground, it was also dynamited?
17 A. On the first instance, they just forced the
18 population out, burned the houses. On the second
19 visit, they then dynamited the houses to stop people
20 returning because people had started to come back. On
21 the third visit, they actually bulldozed it and
22 flattened it completely.
23 Q. At the time, you had to write, to compile
24 these reports, milinfosums, in which you described
25 those attacks, didn't you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I now want to show you two documents. One of
3 them is a milinfosum of the 11th of January, 1993 and
4 the 1st of February, 1993. These are documents Z385
5 for the first one and Z429 for the second one.
6 Could you have a look at document Z385? It
7 is page 3 that I'm looking at. I don't think that is
8 the page. Do you see paragraph 5 of the document,
9 Mr. Williams?
10 A. I can, yes.
11 Q. Does this document report one of the attacks
12 that you told us about?
13 A. Yes, it does.
14 Q. Would you now look at this second document,
15 Z429, page 2? Can you also confirm that this report
16 concerns another attack on the village of Hrasnica?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Could you
19 tell us, what part of the document are you referring
20 to, please, Mr. Lopez-Terres?
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: As to the first document,
22 Z385, I'm referring to page 3, paragraph 5. It
23 concerns the municipality of Gornji Vakuf, and it says
24 there that the HVO forces destroyed the predominantly
25 Muslim village of Hrasnica.
1 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) And the
2 second one?
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: The second one is the
4 document of the 1st of February, 1993, page 2. It is
5 document Z429. So on page 2, there are two
6 paragraphs. At the end of the second paragraph, it
7 says that there was extensive damage to many Muslim
8 villages, including the almost total destruction of the
9 village of Hrasnica.
10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: (Interpretation) Thank you.
11 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES:
12 Q. Mr. Williams, you have already mentioned
13 another locality, and that is the locality of Bistrica,
14 and you explained to us that artillery hit that
15 particular Muslim village; is that so?
16 A. It was a BM-21-type multi-barreled rocket
17 launcher which fired a full salvo of rockets onto the
18 village. The rockets contained bomblets called KB-2
20 Q. Do you remember, where did this artillery
21 fire come from?
22 A. It came from near the village of Rumboci,
23 just outside Prozor. Major Jones, who was my
24 commanding officer at the time, was actually stood near
25 to the multi-barreled rocket launcher when it fired,
1 and he got back to the base and he said, "You won't
2 believe what I've just seen. I've just seen a
3 multi-barreled rocket launcher fire a full salvo," and
4 we said, "Yes, we know. It's just landed on the
5 village behind the base."
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, when you find a
7 convenient moment.
8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: If I may, Mr. President, I
9 should merely like to show the witness two documents
10 referring to that village, the village of Bistrica.
11 They are milinfosums of the 23rd of January, 1993,
12 Z388, and milinfosum 417 of the 29th of January, Z417.
13 So the two documents I want to show are Z388 and Z417,
14 it's a new document, Z388 and Z417.
15 Q. Mr. Williams, will you please look at the
16 first document, Z388, page 2, the last part on page 2?
17 It is a paragraph which speaks about the village of
18 Bistrica, and is it referring to the fact that you just
19 mentioned to us?
20 A. Yes, it's referring to the multi-barreled
21 rocket launcher attack on the village, yes.
22 Q. I should like to ask you to look at the
23 second document, Z417, page 4. You can't see the
24 number 4, but it is the fourth page. Can you see at
25 the end of it, paragraph 5, "Gornji Vakuf," and it
1 again relates to the village of Bistrica?
2 A. Yes, it does refer to the village of
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
5 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: I believe that I have
6 finished for the morning, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn now until 2.35.
8 Mr. Williams, could you remember, during this
9 and any other adjournments, maybe not to speak to
10 anybody else about your evidence? That does include
11 the members of the Prosecution.
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: We are, in fact, going to move.
14 It's already getting warm here. So we will move to
15 Courtroom 2, where we will remain for the rest of the
16 week. Perhaps somebody could direct the witness.
17 Very well. At 2.35.
18 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.06 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Lopez-Terres.
3 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation)
4 Q. Mr. Williams, this morning you told us before
5 we broke for the break that you had information on the
6 attack on the villages of Bistrica and Hrasnica. I
7 should now like to ask you to tell us about other
8 villages that were attacked, that is, the villages of
9 Uzricje and Dusa.
10 A. These were two villages just to the southwest
11 of Gornji Vakuf. For the assault on the actual town of
12 Gornji Vakuf itself, we believed that Colonel Siljeg
13 had his forward headquarters, his tactical
14 headquarters, situated in or near to a town -- a small
15 village called Pidris, which was not far from both of
16 those two towns. We believed that in order to have or
17 to maintain the local security of his headquarters,
18 that the Muslim population from those two villages was
19 forcibly removed.
20 Q. As we did this morning, I'm going to show you
21 a milinfosum report, 124, of the 3rd of March, 1993,
22 the number being 520. Will you please examine the
23 first page of that document, paragraph 1, relating to
24 Gornji Vakuf, and could you confirm that the two
25 villages we have mentioned are those appearing in this
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Williams, do you recall an
4 artillery unit that called themselves Crnice Thunder in
5 the Bugojno region? The Thunder of Crnice?
6 A. Yes, I do. They were situated on a hill
7 overlooking the town of Bugojno.
8 Q. Do you remember something in particular
9 regarding the way in which the guns of that unit were
10 turned towards Bugojno?
11 A. It's common amongst mortar lines and
12 artillery lines that when they are not actively
13 engaging targets, they lay the guns on to what they
14 consider to be their priority target or final
15 protective fire. The guns of Crnice Thunder were laid
16 on to the Muslim sector of Bugojno, so it would be fair
17 to assume that they regarded that as their prime or
18 final protective fire target.
19 Q. This manner of pointing guns towards a
20 village is quite unusual; it is not part of military
21 practice, is it?
22 A. Ordinarily, like I said, the guns were not in
23 action. It's customary amongst all armies, when guns
24 are not in action, they are laid on to your final
25 protective fire. In a defensive position, the final
1 protective fire would be just in front of your own
2 soldiers' forward positions, so that if you were
3 assaulted, you would be able to bring the fire down
4 straightaway. The guns would already be laid on. It
5 is unusual to have your final protective fire target as
6 a civilian-occupied area of a town.
7 Q. Could you talk to us now about your mission
8 of assistance and relief to a group of villagers in the
9 villages of Bolkovac and Voljevac?
10 A. I was tasked, as the patrol commander, to go
11 and supervise the handover of a large group of
12 civilians at a checkpoint just outside Gornji Vakuf.
13 These civilians came from the two villages you just
14 mentioned: Voljevac, Bolkovac. There were a mixture
15 of children, old people, and women. Also, at the same
16 checkpoint, at the same time, was a truck containing
17 approximately a dozen dead Muslim militia, and one
18 severely wounded Muslim militiaman stacked on top of
19 the dead bodies. The women and children and old men
20 had all obviously been mistreated. They were visibly
21 distressed, they had no belongings, and they obviously
22 did not wish to leave.
23 Q. Do you remember asking the commander of the
24 HVO unit, who was present, why the wounded man, the
25 Muslim person, had not been treated?
1 A. He said, "He's going to die anyway." He said
2 he -- he said he hadn't been treated because he was
3 going to die anyway.
4 Q. Were you, yourself, able to give some
5 treatment to this wounded person?
6 A. There was a heated exchange between me and
7 the commander of the HVO unit at the checkpoint, and
8 after about an hour, he finally agreed to allow me to
9 remove the body -- or to remove the wounded man from
10 the dead bodies, and I started to treat him at the side
11 of the road and then summoned for proper army medical
12 assistance, and we had him removed and taken to the
13 Muslim first-aid post. He had severe shrapnel wounds
14 in both legs, one of which was very, very infected. He
15 was dehydrated, in shock, in a great deal of pain. I
16 splinted one of his legs for him and injected him with
17 my morphine syrette that every soldier carries around
18 his neck.
19 Q. Do you remember the attitude taken by one of
20 the HVO soldiers in relation to this wounded Muslim
22 A. While I was treating him at the side of the
23 road, one of the HVO soldiers prodded him with a
24 bayonet and kept going, "Muslimski, Muslimski."
25 Q. This morning, you mentioned the names of the
1 various units fighting in the area for the HVO, and you
2 mentioned the name of Nick Glasnovic as being the
3 commander of the Tomislav Brigade.
4 A. That's correct. He's Canadian, a former --
5 he claimed to have also served in the French Foreign
7 Q. Do you remember the citizenship of the second
8 in command of that brigade? His name was Mr. Schmidt.
9 A. Lieutenant Schmidt was on formal secondment
10 from the Croatian army. He was killed during fighting
11 or the cleansing of -- one of the cleansing raids on
13 Q. You also spoke this morning of two units, the
14 Bruno Busic Brigade and Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This Bruno Busic unit had a special patch.
17 Do you remember it?
18 A. The detachment that was stationed in Gornji
19 Vakuf was called the Alfa Forse, and their patch
20 consisted -- one part of that patch consisted of an
21 eagle with the words "Bruno Busic Alfa Forse".
22 Q. During your testimony in May 1995, you
23 provided a drawing of that patch. I'm going to show
24 you the document issued at the time so that you can
25 confirm whether that is the document. It is Z276.3,
1 which I have already referred to this morning, but this
2 time we are looking at page 1, 276.3, page 1.
3 A. Yes. That's the drawing that I made.
4 Q. Thank you. You met the commander of that
5 unit, Alfa Forse, that was stationed in Gornji Vakuf.
6 Do you remember the kind of accessories he had to
7 decorate the walls of his office with?
8 A. He had a large World War II Nazi-style flag
9 hanging behind his desk.
10 Q. Did you ask him why he had this flag in his
11 office, and what was his answer?
12 A. He said it was to annoy the Muslims.
13 Q. I should like to ask you to talk now about
14 the second brigade, the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade. Do
15 you remember the insignia worn by that unit?
16 A. It was a maple leaf or a leaf similar to a
17 maple leaf and a sword or dagger.
18 Q. In the course of your duties, you were able
19 to note that within those units, Pavlovic and Bruno
20 Busic, there were mercenaries.
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Those units, were they equipped with the best
23 military material at the time?
24 A. They were better equipped and seemed better
25 organised than the normal HVO brigades.
1 Q. In the course of your mission, you had
2 opportunity to meet one of those mercenaries who came
3 from Wales originally and belonged to the Bruno Busic
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. Do you remember the name of that mercenary?
7 A. His real name was Llewellyn Thomas and his
8 nom de guerre was Chris.
9 Q. Was he a former soldier of the British army?
10 A. Yes, he was.
11 Q. Is it true that this mercenary told you that
12 he was paid by the Croatian government in Zagreb?
13 A. Yes. He said that he originally came to the
14 Balkans and fought with the Croatian army, and as the
15 war in Croatia wound down, the Croatian army sent him
16 to the HVO. He was still paid by the Croatian
17 government, his money was in the bank in Zagreb, and he
18 had both a Croatian army and an HVO ID card.
19 Q. I'm going to show you another milinfo report,
20 the 14th of March, 1993, document Z543.1. On page 2 of
21 that report, which I should like you to look at,
22 paragraph 5, "Gornji Vakuf," that a British mercenary
23 was interviewed and provided certain information. Is
24 this the mercenary you were referring to?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Attached to this milinfosum, there is a
2 report concerning the structure and the mission of the
3 Bruno Busic Brigade. This is page 3 of that document.
4 So could you look through it, please?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Is this the information that was conveyed to
7 you at the time by this mercenary?
8 A. That is the information that was published in
9 the milinfosum. He also provided more information
10 which was handed over separately, because the
11 milinfosum was an open source of material, and some of
12 the information that he provided us with was too
14 Q. You dealt directly with this mercenary,
15 didn't you?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. He was not the only mercenary that you met at
18 the time. You spoke to us also about another mercenary
19 called Carl or Charles Rutter. Do you remember that
21 A. Carl or Charles Rutter was a former soldier
22 from my regiment and served in the same platoon as me
23 in the early 1980s when we were based near London. On
24 leave from the army, he became a professional
25 mercenary, and he actually served in Bosnia twice with
1 the HVO.
2 Q. As far as you know, this mercenary, Carl or
3 Charles Rutter, was he stationed in another part of
4 Central Bosnia?
5 A. He fought near Gornji Vakuf, and he also
6 fought in the big eruption of fighting that happened in
7 Mostar the following year.
8 Q. On the basis of the information that you were
9 able to obtain from these mercenaries and the commander
10 of the Alfa Forse unit in Gornji Vakuf, were you able
11 to conclude that these two units, Bruno Busic and
12 Ludvig Pavlovic, were elite troops used by the HVO or
13 shock troops?
14 A. The way it was explained to us was that the
15 HVO consisted of locally raised brigades under the
16 command of the various op zones and that there were two
17 special brigades, the Bruno Busic Brigade and the
18 Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade, which were brought in as
19 reinforcements or to bolster things up and that they
20 were a better type of soldier than the normal HVO
21 soldier and that they were better motivated, better
22 led, and they were used as sort of, yes, shock troops.
23 Q. I'm going to show you a new document,
24 Mr. Williams. It is milinfosum number 163 of the 11th
25 of April, 1993, referenced Z641.1. Could you please
1 look at page 3 of that document, though it's numbered
2 2, it is actually page 3, and paragraph 6 relating to
3 Gornji Vakuf, the last paragraph on this page, page
4 number 3 really?
5 A. Yes, I remember that.
6 Q. The commander of this Alfa Forse unit, this
7 gentleman, Ivica Budimir, is he mentioned in this
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is he the person who told you that these two
11 units were used as some sort of strategic reserve?
12 A. Yes, it was. He was the person who told us
14 Q. And that those units represented the basis,
15 the nucleus, of the future army of Herceg-Bosna, the
16 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
17 A. Yes, that's what he said. It was also what
18 the mercenary, Llewellyn Thomas, said.
19 Q. Thank you. You yourself and your colleagues
20 from the Cheshire Regiment were able to obtain
21 information to show that these two units, Ludvig
22 Pavlovic and Bruno Busic, were engaged in Vitez and in
23 Novi Travnik; isn't that so?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. Did your service follow the movement of these
1 two units as they moved around the territory of Central
3 A. Yes, we did. We used to monitor those two
4 units in particular. They were what we called combat
5 indicators. If they suddenly started appearing
6 somewhere, then we knew that trouble would start very,
7 very soon after.
8 Q. The French translation just said that you
9 knew that things would happen very soon when they
10 appeared somewhere. What things are you referring to?
11 A. Usually a rapid rise in ethnic tensions and
12 an outbreak of fighting.
13 Q. I will now show you four documents, four
14 milinfosums, covering the period from the 9th of
15 January, the 10th of January, and the 11th of January,
16 1993, and an milinfosum of the 23rd of April, 1993.
17 These documents are D41/1 which is a document that the
18 Defence has already tendered. The second is -- so
19 D41/1, Z355.1. This is a document which was just
20 produced this morning, Z355.1. I believe that the
21 usher has it in his hands already.
22 (In English) I think the usher has got this
23 document in his hands. So Z355.1, Z355.2, and Z795.1.
24 Q. (Translation) As for the Document D45/1,
25 page 4, Mr. Williams, could you please confirm to us if
1 it deals with the movement of one of those units.
2 A. Yes. That would be a movement of troops that
3 we would have been monitoring.
4 Q. And now will you look at 355.1, Z355.1.
5 355.1, page 3 and 4. Under 5, Novi Travnik, could you
6 please tell us if this is indeed the same troop
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And on the next page, page 4, that it is
10 again those same units moving to Novi Travnik? It is
11 the end of page 4.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And then the next document, Z355.2, page 1,
14 segment 3, about Vitez. Could you confirm to us that a
15 soldier with this oak leaf or maple leaf on their patch
16 are the ones addressed in this report?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Then on page 4, the last page of this
19 document, could you confirm the information that you
20 had at the time?
21 A. Yes. That, again, that's referring,
22 actually, to the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade.
23 Q. And now will you look at document Z795,
24 page 2, paragraph 4, relative to Gornji Vakuf. Did you
25 write the last two sentences of this paragraph?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Mr. Williams, to your knowledge, were these
3 two units placed at the disposal of local HVO
5 A. The interpretation that we got was that they
6 were a strategic reserve that was controlled from
7 Mostar and would be brought into areas for specific
8 operations. When not in use for those specific
9 operations, they would slide -- for instance, the Alpha
10 Forse that were in Gornji Vakuf would, on their normal
11 day-to-day-type business, come under some form of
12 operational command of the local brigade; but once they
13 were tasked to do more important things, they would
14 then be controlled directly from Mostar. For want of a
15 better word, a sort of rapid reaction force.
16 Q. I should now like you to look at another
17 document, Z370. This document is an order signed by
18 Colonel Blaskic, the commander of the Operative Zone
19 Central Bosnia, of the 16th of January, 1993. You can
20 see that among various things in this order, there are
21 formations which are sort of addressed. There are two
22 units specified, and these are Bruno Busic and Ludvig
23 Pavlovic Brigades.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Could you tell us, how would you comment on
1 this document? That is, the issue of such an order
2 confirms the fact that these units could be placed at
3 the disposal of local commanders; how would you comment
4 on that?
5 A. It would appear on this particular document
6 that the Ludvig Pavlovic and the Bruno Busic units that
7 were subjected to this order had been seconded to the
8 Op Zone Central Bosnia for a specific operation.
9 Q. Would you look at the second page of this
10 document, please.
11 A. Yeah, that's one I'm looking at now.
12 Q. At the bottom of this page, we see that
13 Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade is stationed in Vitez and Bruno
14 Busic in Novi Travnik. Does this corroborate the
15 information that you had at the time?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Williams, we shall now move
18 on to another subject. Do you remember Colonel
19 Siljeg's reaction, and you spoke about him this
20 morning, when, at a meeting with ECMM representatives,
21 he asked me (sic) why were the soldiers of the 4th
22 Split Brigade of the Croatian army fighting in the area
23 of Gornji Vakuf?
24 A. When Ambassador Bousseau asked Colonel Siljeg
25 that, Colonel Siljeg just smiled and looked out of the
1 window. He didn't answer.
2 Q. That is, he simply did not answer this
4 A. He gave no answer at all. He didn't even
5 shake or nod his head. He just smiled and then looked
6 out of the window.
7 Q. He did not deny it?
8 A. He gave neither a denial nor a confirmation.
9 Q. Mr. Williams, in March 1993, did you,
10 yourself, meet those soldiers from the 4th HVO Brigade,
11 Split Brigade? Did you come across them in Prozor?
12 A. I met a group of Croatian soldiers in Prozor,
13 in the town centre. They were from the Croatian army
14 and were wearing Croatian army insignia, a Tigers head
16 Q. They were in uniforms, relevant uniforms?
17 A. Yes, they were armed and in uniform.
18 Q. And when you asked them why they were in
19 Prozor, what did those soldiers tell you?
20 A. They laughed and said they were there for a
22 Q. And did you accept this explanation as a
23 serious explanation at the time?
24 A. We believed that it was a joke, and that the
25 wedding was actually something to do with Herceg-Bosna
1 and Croatia.
2 Q. Now I will show you a report of the 20th of
3 March, 1993, and it is the document Z557.1.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, there's a limit
5 to the amount of paper that we can take in. Now, is
6 there very much more coming?
7 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) It is the
8 last new document which I intended to produce.
9 Q. I should like to ask you to look at page 3 of
10 the report, paragraph 5, relating to the municipality
11 of Gornji Vakuf. The third part of this paragraph
12 concerns this meeting that you just mentioned, the
13 soldiers of the 4th HV Brigade.
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. At the bottom of the same page, it seems that
16 another unit from Croatia had been spotted in the
17 region, the 163rd Brigade of the Croatian army. Could
18 you tell us something about that?
19 A. As I recall, they were -- it was actually
20 me -- if it is the unit I think -- I recall it as
21 being, it is a detachment of air defence soldiers that
22 I met just outside of Bugojno town.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: (Interpretation) Usher, you
25 can take your seat again.
1 Q. During your mission, Mr. Williams, you could
2 see that the Croatian army had set up a military
3 hospital in the village of Rumboci?
4 A. There was a military field hospital just on
5 the edge of the village of Rumboci. I visited it on
6 one occasion -- well, I visited it on more than one
7 occasion, but on one occasion I actually spoke to the
8 doctor, the surgeon that was there. He was in
9 uniform. He identified himself to me as being from the
10 Croatian army. When I asked him why he was in Rumboci
11 if he was from the Croatian army, he told me that they
12 regarded that part of Bosnia as being part of the Split
13 military region.
14 Q. Was this hospital also equipped with a
15 helicopter landing pad?
16 A. Yes, the hospital was on the side of a sharp
17 incline, and down on the field below it, they had a
18 fully marked-out helicopter landing site. Casualties
19 were flown from there -- they were patched up, the
20 seriously injured ones were patched up and stabilised
21 and then flown to Split for further treatment.
22 Q. Could you also see what was the quality of
23 the medical supplies used by the hospital?
24 A. It was all very good condition, nearly all
25 brand-new. Most of the drugs and medical-type supplies
1 originated from Switzerland. Most of the equipment had
2 originated from Austria and Germany.
3 Q. Colonel Siljeg asked you on one occasion if
4 he could use the UNPROFOR landing site to transport his
5 wounded; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. He asked, during one of the
7 conferences, he had some severely wounded soldiers. He
8 needed to get them out of the area as fast as he could,
9 and he wanted permission to use the HLS, helicopter
10 landing site, that we had inside our base.
11 Q. And those soldiers were then sent on to
13 A. If we would have allowed it, presumably, yes,
14 but we didn't allow it.
15 Q. One of your patrols met, in the beginning of
16 1993, a convoy of some three or four vehicles in the
17 area, and one of them was particularly conspicuous
18 because of a large antenna. Do you remember that
20 A. Yes. Officially, we were not supposed to
21 stop vehicles, but the patrol commander, his curiosity
22 was aroused because of the number of antennas that
23 particular vehicle had, and so we stopped it. There
24 were a group of officers, military officers, in the
25 vehicles, one of whom identified himself, or through
1 one of his officers who could speak English identified
2 himself, as being the commander of the Croatian
3 military, which we took to mean that he was, in fact,
4 General Bobetko, although he never said that he was
5 General Bobetko. He just identified himself as the
6 commander of the Croatian military.
7 Q. Do you remember what this high officer looked
9 A. He's described as short, stocky.
10 Q. And you believed that those vehicles belonged
11 to the Croatian army rather than the HVO?
12 A. There was a report in one of the big papers a
13 couple of days later, because we used to get all the
14 newspapers sent out from England, and it was either The
15 Telegraph or The Times, but on that particular day,
16 General Bobetko had been involved in a conference in
17 Knin or with the autonomous Republic of Serbian
18 Krajina. We believed at the time it was possible,
19 because of the way the front line zigzagged over the
20 routes and the accessibilities, et cetera, et cetera,
21 that it may well have been General Bobetko.
22 Q. This convoy was then blocked by your patrol.
23 Whoever was responsible for this convoy, did he then
24 contact your headquarters in Vitez in order to obtain
25 authorisation to go on?
1 A. What happened was they used their own
2 satellite phone to phone Vitez and ask Vitez -- or
3 phone the HVO in Vitez to ask the HVO in Vitez to ask
4 our headquarters in Vitez to ask our patrol to get out
5 of the way.
6 Q. Regarding the Bosnian Muslim forces in the
7 area of Gornji Vakuf, during your mission there, you
8 noted that there was a local brigade, which was the
9 308th Brigade, and also some soldiers who formally
10 belonged to the Jajce Brigade.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you also note the presence of other units
13 or brigades of the BH army in that particular area in
14 Gornji Vakuf?
15 A. No.
16 Q. I shall now ask you to read a document which
17 was already produced before this Tribunal. It is the
18 record of a press conference of January 1993, and it is
19 Z382, and it was of January. Z382 and Z593.
20 Will you please look at this document,
21 Mr. Williams?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you write here that on the day preceding
24 the attack, the HVO attack on Gornji Vakuf, that the
25 Muslim forces were concentrated in a particular
1 sector. Did you say that?
2 A. No. The only soldiers that were in Gornji
3 Vakuf were the soldiers from Gornji Vakuf and the
4 remnants of the Jajce Brigade.
5 Q. Could you tell us how many were there, the
6 soldiers of the former Jajce Brigade?
7 A. Approximately 50 of them, and they lived in
8 the villages of Bolkovac and Voljevac. There were
9 probably more scattered about in places as far away as
10 Zenica and things like that, but in the Gornji Vakuf
11 area, there were just the 50.
12 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: Thank you, Mr. Usher, you
13 may go back to your seat.
14 Q. Mr. Williams, during your mission there, did
15 you receive any information that would be indicating
16 that Dario Kordic played or did not play a role in
17 these conflicts which took place in the area?
18 A. As far as I'm aware, he had no direct
19 influence in what was happening around Gornji Vakuf at
21 Q. Did you hear the accused, Dario Kordic,
22 mentioned during the months of your tour there?
23 A. Can you repeat the question, please?
24 Q. Did you hear anybody refer to the accused,
25 Dario Kordic, during the months that you stayed there
1 in the area?
2 A. He was a known personality, but he was not,
3 to my knowledge, active in my area. His activities
4 were more along Central Bosnia.
5 Q. What is it that you learned about him? What
6 kind of information reached you?
7 A. He was a very, very influential figure within
8 the HDZ in Central Bosnia, part of the actual HDZ
9 hierarchy for the whole of the Croatian area of
11 Q. When you say "HDZ," do you mean the Croat
13 A. Yes, the Bosnian Croat party.
14 Q. Would you know if he had a particular duty,
15 if he played a particular role in the HVO?
16 A. As far as I'm aware, he was either the
17 political leader or very nearly the political leader of
18 the Central Bosnian region.
19 Q. Would you know what kind of relationship
20 existed between Dario Kordic and Mate Boban, the
21 president of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?
22 A. He was referred to as Mate Boban's right-hand
24 Q. Do you know the second accused, Mario Cerkez?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You have never heard of --
2 A. Yes, I've heard the name. I don't know him.
3 Q. What information did you get about him when
4 you heard him referred to?
5 A. Again, he was an influential figure in the
6 HDZ setup. He was more in Central Bosnia and not my
7 area. My area was Gornji Vakuf, which was more
8 Herzegovina than Central Bosnia.
9 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: Thank you. I have no
10 further questions.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you.
12 Yes, Mr. Sayers.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
14 Q. Mr. Williams, my name is Steve Sayers. I
15 represent Dario Kordic. You have been a most
16 accommodating witness, so we will try to get you out of
17 here at the end of the day, if possible.
18 Let me explain to you one endemic problem
19 that we have here. We both speak the same language, so
20 it's very important to make sure that there's a pause
21 between the question and the answer, and it's important
22 for me to ensure that there's a pause between the
23 answer and the next question; otherwise the translators
24 get behind and it's not really fair to them. Is that
25 all right?
1 A. Okay.
2 Q. As I understand it, Mr. Williams, you were
3 the Colour Sergeant in the 1st Cheshire Regiment
4 stationed with Bravo Company in the area of Gornji
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. You were responsible for the milinfocell that
8 was operated by the Bravo Company in your immediate
9 area of responsibility?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. Would it be fair to say that Sergeant
12 Connelly, back at brigade headquarters in Vitez, was
13 essentially in charge of the information gathering
15 A. Yes, because he was actually from the
16 intelligence corps. It was the battle group
17 headquarters. The brigade headquarters was in Split.
18 Q. Thank you very much. The person that was
19 responsible for reviewing and authorising the final
20 version, if you like, of the milinfosums, for example,
21 would be Captain Chris Leyshon, I understand?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. All right. The battle headquarters of your
24 regiment was actually located in Vitez?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. Do you recall that there was another
2 detachment of soldiers with the Dutch Battalion
3 actually stationed in Busovaca?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Mr. Williams, I would like to say that you
6 have a spectacular recall of names and troop
7 dispositions, it's very impressive, but do you speak
9 A. I do not speak Croatian, no. I only have
10 firsthand knowledge of what I was talking about of what
11 happened in Gornji Vakuf, and because I was there and I
12 wrote it and I wrote it down at the time, I remember
14 Q. Absolutely. Did you use translators at all
15 in your dealings with both Bosnian Croats and Bosnian
17 A. Yes. We had two interpreters from the civil
18 population, and we also had an officer who spoke
20 Q. Who was he?
21 A. Captain Nick Short.
22 Q. As I understand it, Mr. Williams, you arrived
23 in Central Bosnia in November of 1992?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you left with your regiment on May the
1 10th, 1993?
2 A. I left slightly before that. I left about
3 May the 4th or 5th.
4 Q. Very well. Would it be fair to say that
5 during the course of your tour of duty in Central
6 Bosnia, sir, that the whole reason for UNPROFOR and
7 BritBat being in the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina
8 between 1992 and 1994 was because there was a terrible
9 and bloody civil war raging in the country between
10 three ethnic factions?
11 A. That was the reason why UNPROFOR was there,
12 but UNPROFOR's actual role was to escort humanitarian
13 relief to where it was needed.
14 Q. That was your initial mission statement --
15 A. The war had nothing to do with us or we were
16 not to get directly involved in it.
17 Q. You've already spoken about the strategic
18 significance of the main supply route that ran, I think
19 you said, from Prozor up through Gornji Vakuf to
20 Bugojno and points north?
21 A. Gornji Vakuf sat astride the route that went
22 up through to Bugojno, but it also sat astride the
23 route that went up through to Vitez.
24 Q. So Gornji Vakuf essentially controlled two
25 important strategic routes?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And there's no question of the military
3 significance, the importance of Gornji Vakuf as a choke
4 point, to use a phrase?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. Would it be fair to say, from a military
7 perspective, at least, that if someone controlled this
8 town, they also controlled the roads?
9 A. Yes, they would control the access to Central
11 Q. Let me ask you a few questions generally
12 about the intelligence gathering process.
13 We've already heard from your commanding
14 officer up until January of 1993, Major Rule, and he
15 informed us that you had great experience in the
16 intelligence gathering process. Would you say that's a
17 fair assessment?
18 A. Information gathering and processing.
19 Intelligence is the finished product at the other end.
20 Q. All right. You were told, I believe, to
21 gather as much information as possible and then to
22 collate it, analyse it, and report it in what would
23 ultimately become milinfosums?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. Would you agree that the purpose of these
1 milinfosums was to pass on all valuable and important
2 military information up to the battle group
3 headquarters in Vitez?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Basically, you presided over that task in
6 Gornji Vakuf?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And these milinfosums are regularly consulted
9 by your colleagues and by officers to inform themselves
10 about what is going on in various areas?
11 A. It's used as one of -- it was used as one of
12 several sources of information of what was going on in
13 various areas.
14 Q. I just have a few questions more on this
15 subject. You mentioned that milinfosums are one of
16 several sources. Would you also agree that daily
17 situation reports would be another one of those
19 A. Yes, along with the UNHCR representatives who
20 drove around the country, and other agencies like that.
21 We would use everything that we could, and
22 cross-reference it and compare it and ...
23 Q. Did you actually receive from the UNHCR and
24 other organisations that you've referred to --
25 A. There were other reports that came from other
1 organisations, but I cannot remember which ones
2 actually produced paper ones and which ones it was just
4 Q. Was it a regular practice to draft documents
5 known as orbats, or orders of battle?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I believe that those provide a sort of a
8 structured graphic detail relating to the subordination
9 of units and also to personalities of the various
10 warring factions?
11 A. Yes, that's correct, and it would then be
12 used -- the orbats would be used by various other
13 agencies so that they knew who to ask for when they
14 were in a certain area.
15 Q. These orbats would be distributed to
16 organisations that would have an interest in your area
17 of responsibility?
18 A. Yes, organisations such as the ECMM, European
19 Community Military Monitors, and people like that.
20 Likewise, they used to supply us with bits and pieces
21 of the orbat, and together we would just cobble it all
22 together and make a proper one.
23 Q. And those were updated on a relatively
24 regular basis, every month or so?
25 A. The -- we also had a team of liaison officers
1 who would visit brigade commanders and other
2 personalities. As personalities were promoted or moved
3 to different jobs or whatever, they would update that.
4 And in fact, if you read through all the milinfosums,
5 you will see that it will say sometimes, the new
6 commander of is, and things like that.
7 Q. Did you ever, yourself, obtain any
8 information about the disposition of HVO forces in the
9 town of Busovaca, for example?
10 A. No. Busovaca was Central Bosnia; it was not
11 my area.
12 Q. That was a completely different Operative
13 Zone, I take it?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The HVO troops in your Operative Zone were
16 included in the command of the Northwest Herzegovina
17 Operative Zone. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that's correct. Or so we believe.
19 Q. Right. Did you also -- or did BritBat
20 prepare, on a fairly regular basis, maps called
21 disposition of warring factions maps?
22 A. Yes, with the front line, recent incidents
23 that had happened. They were basically a visual
24 briefing aid for the soldiers, something that they
25 could see.
1 Q. So these would actually be given to the
2 soldiers in order to facilitate an understanding of
3 significant events or the disposition of the actual
4 competent factions in their area?
5 A. Yeah. They were pinned up on the wall for
6 the soldiers to look at.
7 Q. Those maps are different, I take it, from the
8 current situation maps which were produced weekly by
9 the battle group headquarters?
10 A. It was -- you obviously know the map itself,
11 but there were several different variants of it. The
12 base map was the same, but you could get different
13 types. Some would show ethnic breakdowns, some would
14 show the routes, some would show the front lines, some
15 would show recent incidents, and things like that.
16 There were different variants of the same map.
17 Q. Two final questions with respect to the
18 milinfosums. Anything which could be described as
19 affecting the provision of humanitarian aid, which was
20 your primary mission, would be something that would be
21 considered sufficiently important to put into a
22 milinfosum; would that be a fair statement?
23 A. Yeah. Blockages of the route, shelling of
24 the route, or mining of it; whatever. Things like
25 that, where the routes were closed down, either
1 permanently or temporarily.
2 Q. Those are the sorts of --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Would you slow down,
5 A. Sorry.
6 Q. Those are the kinds of information that would
7 routinely be included in milinfosums?
8 A. Yes. The location of checkpoints, we monitor
9 the checkpoints, because sometimes the checkpoints
10 would not allow vehicles to move through, and things
11 like that. So we used to monitor the locations of
12 checkpoints, how many soldiers were on them, what sort
13 of weaponry they had. A sudden increase in the number
14 of soldiers on a checkpoint would indicate that they
15 were going to clamp down in some way.
16 Q. Would it be fair to say, when you were a
17 sergeant in the British army in Central Bosnia, sir,
18 that you found yourself confronted with a confusing and
19 complex situation, militarily and ethnically and
21 A. Yes. At the very start, we were blind. We
22 were the first unit to go. Nobody had been before. We
23 were the first British unit to go, and so we had to
24 build everything from scratch, basically, and so at the
25 very beginning, an awful lot of information gathering
1 was targeted at trying to find out who the local
2 commanders were, where the troops were, even where the
3 front line was, because we weren't too sure where the
4 front line was at the start.
5 Q. Immediately prior to your arrival in Gornji
6 Vakuf, did you understand that the town of Jajce had
7 been captured as a result of a Serb offensive?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. That resulted in a huge efflux of refugees
10 from the Jajce area into Central Bosnia and down into
11 your area, in Gornji Vakuf, as well; right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. This Serb offensive resulted in very heavy
14 shelling of the city of Jajce; do you recall that?
15 A. It happened just before we deployed, and so I
16 don't really -- other than watching it on television in
17 Germany just before we went, and the commanding officer
18 having to rethink his plans, because he hadn't planned
19 -- as he had worked his deployment plan out to deploy
20 the battalion, he had worked on the front line as it
21 was then, and now the front line had moved quite
23 Q. Do you recall what the local population had
24 swelled to as of, say, March the 29th, 1993?
25 A. The local population of where?
1 Q. The Gornji Vakuf area, sir.
2 A. I have no idea. I would assume it would
3 be -- for the whole opstina, do you mean, or just the
5 Q. Well, let's take it one at a time. We have
6 previously stipulated in this case that before the
7 civil war broke out, the opstina population was
8 25.131. And "opstina" refers to the --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. -- municipality around the sort of county
11 seat, if you like, Gornji Vakuf. And the town
12 population, at least according to the 1991 census, was
14 I don't know that we need to burden the Trial
15 Chamber with too much more paper, but let me just read
16 you from milinfosum 150 on the 29th of March, 1993. It
17 says, "B Company" -- this is on page 1 -- "reported
18 that the population was now approximately 60.000" --
19 A. That would be for the whole opstina.
20 Q. -- right -- "of whom one-third were
21 refugees." So about 20.000 refugees. Is that pretty
22 much consistent with your recollection?
23 A. There were a lot of refugees.
24 Q. All right. Turning to a different subject,
25 sir, the chain of command that you've given some
1 testimony about, was it your understanding that the
2 central headquarters of the HVO military forces was in
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the commander in chief of the Bosnian
6 Croat armed forces was, I think you've previously
7 stated, Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic?
8 A. Yes. He was either the commander in chief or
9 the chief of staff, one of the two.
10 Q. And was it your understanding that the
11 commander of the Northwest Herzegovina Operative Zone
12 and the Central Bosnia Operative Zone both reported
13 directly to Brigadier Petkovic in Mostar?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The commanding officer of the Northwest
16 Herzegovina Operative Zone, I think you've previously
17 testified, was Colonel Zeljko Siljeg?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Did you know that Colonel Siljeg, the
20 gentleman with the eyebrows, actually did get married
21 in March of 1993 in Prozor?
22 A. I did not know that. I know he had a
23 girlfriend, because he used to bring his girlfriend to
24 the peace talks, and she wore a uniform. But I did not
25 know he got married in Prozor.
1 Q. All right. You have stated that the name of
2 the brigade stationed in Gornji Vakuf was the Dr. Ante
3 Starcevic Brigade?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the CO of the brigade, I believe, was
6 Zrinko Tokic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Would he be the person that you would
9 normally go to or that your commanding officer --
10 A. The actual person who, on the day-to-day
11 business, where the OC wanted to speak or the liaison
12 officer wanted to speak, they normally spoke to the
13 2IC, Luka.
14 Q. Luka Sekerija?
15 A. Yeah.
16 Q. Do you know who the commanding officer of the
17 Central Bosnia Operative Zone was?
18 A. Colonel Tihomir Blaskic was the person that
19 we had down on the orbat.
20 Q. Have you ever met Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. I have seen him once. I had him pointed out
22 to me, and I have also seen a photograph of him in
23 Colonel Stewart's book. I didn't go to Vitez that
25 Q. All right.
1 A. It was a one-hour drive, and it was -- too
2 many hierarchy around there. We tried to stay out of
3 the way.
4 Q. As well as being rather dangerous.
5 Did you ever meet Brigadier Milivoj Petkovic
7 A. I have seen him, yes.
8 Q. Have you been introduced to him?
9 A. No.
10 Q. All right. You gave some testimony about
11 various people faxing materials to locations that had a
12 Split prefix?
13 A. Yes, a Split area code.
14 Q. And the same thing with respect to INMARSAT
15 telephone calls, I believe?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know to whom those items were faxed or
18 the persons to whom the telephone calls were made?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you know that there was a foreign press
21 bureau located in Split?
22 A. I did not know. Split was our brigade
23 headquarters. That was two levels above me.
24 Q. Your conclusion, in the statement that you
25 gave a few years ago, Mr. Williams, was that Brigadier
1 General Petkovic was intimately and personally involved
2 in making military decisions in the Gornji Vakuf area
3 throughout your tour. Would that be fair to say?
4 A. He would -- as overall commander, he would be
5 responsible for making decisions regarding HVO military
6 activity throughout the whole of Bosnia. However, when
7 the fighting was at its peak in Gornji Vakuf, he was
8 involved directly then.
9 Q. The intelligence and information sources
10 available to you gave you no assistance in determining
11 to whom these faxes were sent and the telephone calls
12 were made, I take it; would that be fair to say?
13 A. Yeah. All I did was print -- got the machine
14 to print the numbers out and sent the numbers further
15 up the chain of command.
16 Q. Would you agree that throughout your time in
17 Central Bosnia, sir, that Split was actually a central
18 logistics centre and base for supplies into Central
19 Bosnia and into your area as well?
20 A. Yes, it would have to be, because of the Serb
22 Q. Right. And it would be fair to say, as well,
23 I think, that it would have been used as such by not
24 only the Bosnian Croats, but also the Bosnian Muslims
1 A. Yes. It would be fair to say that.
2 Q. And by UNPROFOR as well?
3 A. Yes. It was a very busy road.
4 Q. You had spoken about two incidents that, in
5 your view, sparked or provided the immediate spark to
6 the fighting that broke out in Gornji Vakuf in January
7 of 1993, and one of them was an incident in which a
8 person was beheaded by a sheet of glass, I believe. Do
9 you know whether that was a handicapped person or a
10 mentally retarded child?
11 A. The victim had a disability of some sort, be
12 it either he was a paraplegic or mentally retarded.
13 Q. And would it also be fair to say that that is
14 simply what was related to you? In other words -- let
15 me see if I can rephrase my question.
16 A. What was told to me?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. Yes. Our OC at the time, Major Rule, was
19 actively involved in trying to defuse -- they very
20 nearly went to war over that. Both sides got the
21 weapons out, and they were tooling up, ready to go, and
22 our OC got both commanders in and managed to defuse the
23 situation, but there was an awful lot of antagonism
24 over it.
25 Q. You did not actually see the incident
2 A. No.
3 Q. Or its aftermath, other than the negotiations
5 A. Yes. There was no denial that it happened,
7 Q. And would it also be fair to say that once
8 the fighting actually did break out in January of 1993,
9 that the local population from both sides, Bosnian
10 Croat and Bosnian Muslim, went to arms?
11 A. Yes, that's correct. It was -- the initial
12 fighting was the local -- the locals from both sides.
13 Both commanders, the Muslim commander and the HVO
14 commander, knew each other and were both very
15 distressed by what was going on, and did try their
16 hardest to stop it at the start, but then externals got
17 involved, and it just snowballed.
18 Q. You've also provided some testimony about the
19 arrest of the culprit in this incident and his supposed
20 sighting in combat on the front lines at some point
21 later. Did you, yourself, see this gentleman back on
22 the front lines?
23 A. I didn't, but the Muslims repeatedly brought
24 it up during the ceasefire negotiations, and the
25 Bosnian Croats did not deny it.
1 Q. You also gave some testimony about military
2 police operations conducted in the village of --
3 forgive my pronunciation -- Hrasnica?
4 A. It's probably better pronounced than I
5 pronounce it.
6 Q. Did you see these units yourself?
7 A. We saw the units moving around. I did not
8 actually see those units do that particular thing, but
9 those units were there. We saw them at the side of the
10 road before it and after it, and we saw them moving
12 Q. And basically you put in the milinfosums what
13 had been reported to you by Muslim sources?
14 A. Muslim sources, patrols, what I'd seen, what
15 the liaison officers had seen, and in fact also from
16 Croatian sources.
17 Q. With respect to the testimony that you gave
18 regarding the 4th Brigade of the Croatian army, or the
19 20 or so people that you saw from that brigade, are you
20 sure that it was the 4th Brigade?
21 A. The insignia that they wore gave the
22 impression that it was -- that the number was
23 4 Brigade. It was a tiger's head, which I believe
24 actually is linked to the 1st Brigade as opposed to the
25 4th Brigade, but the insignia they wore was 4 Brigade.
1 They said they were Croatian soldiers from the Croatian
2 army. They had "HV" as opposed to "HVO" insignia, and
3 the difference between them and HVO was marked, very
4 noticeable. They were proper soldiers and not what we
5 used to call -- well, without being derogatory, we used
6 to refer to the HVO as Mickey Mouse soldiers.
7 Q. It would be fair to say -- and there's been
8 testimony on this; I don't think there is any
9 disagreement that the HVO military units and the BiH
10 military units could be seen in a wide variety of --
11 A. Yes, correct.
12 Q. -- attire?
13 A. A wide variety of weapons, a wide variety of
14 wearing their equipment. No set pattern of
15 uniformity. The HVO were probably more -- were less
16 tatty than the Muslim soldiers, but they were tatty
17 nonetheless. But these were different; the difference
18 in these was marked. They were proper soldiers, from a
19 proper army.
20 Q. And these soldiers told you, in a jovial
21 manner, that they were in town for a marriage?
22 A. A wedding.
23 Q. A wedding; I'm sorry. Did you ever see these
24 soldiers engaged in combat activities in
1 A. No, but they were armed to the teeth. It's
2 slightly strange attire to wear for a wedding: full
3 uniform, 5,56 millimetre Austrian Sig rifles, all the
4 gear, backpacks, sleeping bags. Some wedding, anyway.
5 Q. But pretty sensible gear to wear if you're in
6 the middle of a civil war; wouldn't you agree?
7 A. Prozor was a fairly peaceful town. It
8 occasionally got shelled, and that was it.
9 Q. You also gave some testimony about a Croatian
10 hospital in Rumboci?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Do you know whether any Muslim wounded were
13 treated at that hospital, sir?
14 A. I have no idea. I didn't ask who he treated
15 at all. I just asked where he was from.
16 Q. Would it be fair to say that during the
17 fighting in Gornji Vakuf in January, I believe it
18 erupted on the 14th or 15th of January?
19 A. It's hard to put an exact time and date that
20 it started because it was sporadically ongoing at the
22 Q. Would you agree that the Muslim forces in
23 that town gave a pretty good account of themselves?
24 A. They gave a very good account of themselves.
25 There again, they were surrounded. They weren't going
2 Q. You have previously given some testimony
3 about the numerous ceasefire negotiations and
4 agreements, or lack of agreements. Did you ever see a
5 general ceasefire agreement that was issued on January
6 the 20th of 1993?
7 A. I am aware of its existence, but at the time,
9 Q. If you need to see it, we'll be happy to show
10 it to you, but would it be fair to say that that was an
11 agreement signed on behalf of the Bosnian Croat
12 military by Brigadier Petkovic and by the Muslim
13 forces, the 4th Corps, under the signature of Arif
15 A. Yes. I know the document that you're talking
17 Q. Indeed, the order actually states that the
18 senseless conflict in the Gornji Vakuf area has got to
19 come to an immediate stop; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Would it be fair to say that with the
22 exception of sporadic gunfire, the general violence,
23 the general open warfare, if you like, in Gornji Vakuf
24 in January of 1993 gradually petered out in February,
25 March, and April?
1 A. Yes, it became calmer.
2 Q. Indeed, the fighting that erupted in the
3 Lasva Valley in the middle of April 1993 did not
4 actually spread over into your area of responsibility.
5 Your area of responsibility remained relatively
6 peaceful and calm during that time; correct?
7 A. Yes, that's correct. At that particular
8 time, we had undertaken the role of police in Gornji
9 Vakuf, and so our presence was on the ground all the
10 time. We had checkpoints out in the town, foot
11 patrols, all this sort of stuff, to underpin the
12 ceasefire agreement in Gornji Vakuf.
13 Q. One final question in connection with the
14 ceasefire agreement that we've just been talking
15 about: One of the arrangements that was reached
16 between the formally competent forces, the Croats and
17 the Muslims, was for the dismantling of all
18 fortifications in the town and for the filling in of
19 defensive positions, such as trenches; do you recall
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Actually, UNPROFOR, specifically the forces
23 in your detachment, Bravo Company, oversaw the
24 implementation of those arrangements, did they not?
25 A. Yes, we did.
1 Q. And they were pretty successfully concluded,
2 I think you would agree?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Turning to my final series of questions:
5 Since I represent Mr. Kordic, I think you will
6 anticipate that I would ask some questions about him.
7 I don't believe you've met him?
8 A. I've seen him.
9 Q. But you've never met him?
10 A. Not formally, no.
11 Q. You've never spoken to him?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Have you ever seen him in your area of
15 A. In the Gornji Vakuf area, no.
16 Q. Did you ever see him on the television or
17 hear him on the radio?
18 A. I've seen him in newspapers, I've seen
19 photographs of him, I've seen one brief clip of him on
20 television, and I saw him once in reality, just
21 somebody pointed him out to me.
22 Q. I think you've agreed that, as far as you
23 could determine with all the means of information and
24 intelligence available to you, he had absolutely no
25 involvement in local decisions, local military
1 decisions, as far as you were concerned; is that
3 A. For my area, as far as I'm aware, he had no
4 major decisions -- he had no major role to play.
5 That's as far as I'm aware. It was more of a Central
6 Bosnia sort of thing.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, as my final
8 question, that you really don't know anything specific
9 about Mr. Kordic at all?
10 A. Other than he was a very, very high ranking
11 person in the HDZ and was referred to as Mate Boban's
12 right-hand man.
13 Q. Referred to by whom?
14 A. The milinfosums and the verbal briefings that
15 we used to go to. Once a week, I had to go to Vitez
16 for a verbal briefing, and they would talk about -- we
17 would talk through things with various other people.
18 In fact, in Mr. Kordic's case, he did not
19 come to my attention, because he was not from my area,
20 until probably -- as I started to pay more and more
21 attention to what was starting to happen up in Central
22 Bosnia, which would probably be late January onwards,
23 is when I started to notice his name more and more
24 often, because other than that, what happened up in
25 Central Bosnia was really not my area, and so ...
1 Q. Would it be fair to say then that the
2 information that you received that he was, to use your
3 phrase, "Mate Boban's right-hand man," was information
4 that you received from your colleagues rather than from
5 Bosnian Croats or from local people?
6 A. The actual expression "Mate Boban's
7 right-hand man," as I recall, came from an ECMM
8 monitor --
9 Q. All right.
10 A. -- who worked out of Grude.
11 Q. That's basically all that you've told the
12 Trial Chamber that you know about Mr. Kordic, I take
14 A. Mm-hmm.
15 Q. Is that the case?
16 A. Basically, yes.
17 MR. SAYERS: I have --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: You say that he was pointed
19 out to you. In what circumstances was he pointed out
20 to you?
21 A. If you were up in Vitez, if people were
22 knocking about, we used to go for drive-arounds and
23 things like that, and you might see the local brigade
24 commander somewhere, and I might have, say, somebody
25 from Vitez with me, and I would say, "That's Zrinko
1 Tokic," sort of thing. It was just a personality. He
2 was just pointed out to me as Dario Kordic. It was
3 not, "That's Dario Kordic, blah, blah, blah, blah,
4 blah," just "That's Dario Kordic." It would be the
5 equivalent of, say, if you were out shopping and you
6 saw a film star and somebody said, "Oh, that's so and
8 MR. SAYERS: I have no further questions,
9 Your Honours. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MAY: Have you any questions?
11 Mr. Mikulicic, we are running fairly late,
12 and we must adjourn at twenty past. Can you finish by
14 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation) Your Honours,
15 I'm aware of the shortness of time, but I will need
16 even less time than you envisage, I assure you.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
18 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Williams. I am
19 Mikulicic, attorney from Zagreb, and in this case, I
20 represent Mr. Mario Cerkez. I have a few questions for
21 you and will be done very soon.
22 You have already told us unequivocally,
23 during your testimony today, that the area of Vitez and
24 Busovaca was the area of the Central Bosnia Operative
25 Zone and that this Operative Zone was not your area of
1 responsibility; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Mr. Williams, from this area of Central
4 Bosnia, did any people come to negotiate a ceasefire in
5 Gornji Vakuf?
6 A. To the best of my knowledge, no.
7 Q. To the best of your recollection,
8 Mr. Williams, what is the distance in kilometres
9 between Gornji Vakuf and Vitez, roughly?
10 A. The actual road distance, I couldn't tell
11 you, but it used to take an hour in an armoured vehicle
12 to drive, which is why nobody used to like going
13 there. So I would have to say that it is probably in
14 the region of 30 kilometres, maybe slightly more, maybe
15 slightly less, but it took an hour in an armoured
17 Q. Though I realise that the area of Vitez did
18 not belong to your field of interest, I shall ask you
19 whether you know some people from Vitez. Do you know
20 somebody called Ivica Santic or have you heard anything
21 about him?
22 A. Is it, what, Santic?
23 Q. Santic.
24 A. No.
25 Q. Marijan or Pero Skopljak?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Dr. Mujezinovic?
3 A. No. I did not -- it was not my area, so you
4 could probably get somebody from Vitez and ask them
5 about people in Gornji Vakuf and they wouldn't ...
6 Q. Let me now ask you the same question that my
7 colleague, Mr. Sayers, put to you, as I represent
8 Mr. Cerkez. Answering his question, you said that you
9 knew, and I will quote, "an influential person in the
10 HDZ." Is that what you are saying?
11 A. Can you say that again, please?
12 Q. When answering a question put to you by the
13 Prosecutor and when the Prosecutor asked you whether
14 you had heard of a man called Mario Cerkez, you said
15 that you didn't know him but that you had heard that he
16 was an influential person in the HDZ. Is that what you
18 A. I have seen his name on paper, and as I
19 recall, it was linked to him being an influential
20 person within the Bosnian Croat community, the HDZ.
21 Other than that, that is only as I recall. He's not
22 somebody that springs to mind for me.
23 For instance, I know Colonel Blaskic by
24 name. I've seen him once. I've seen pictures of him.
25 But Colonel Siljeg, I actually know like this, if that
1 makes sense.
2 Q. My last question, Mr. Williams, for you:
3 Could you please tell me what the term "HDZ" means to
5 A. "HDZ" is a political party, Bosnian Croat
6 political party, very closely linked to the HVO, which
7 is the Bosnian Croat defence force. There is a lot of
8 overlap between the two or we believed at the time that
9 there was a lot of overlap between the two. You could
10 say that the HDZ is the political wing of the HVO or
11 you could say that the HVO is the military wing of the
12 HDZ, if that makes sense.
13 Q. I see. So the most important thing is that
14 when you say "HDZ," you mean a political party of the
15 Bosnian Croats; isn't that so?
16 A. Yes, but they are side-by-side organisations
17 that overlap.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: (Interpretation) I have no
20 further questions.
21 JUDGE MAY: One question.
22 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: A single question,
23 Mr. President, one only.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:
25 Q. Mr. Williams, in connection with those
1 telephone calls -- there seems to be a translation
3 A. No, it's coming through fine.
4 Q. In connection with those telephone calls made
5 by General Petkovic and the use of the telecopying
6 machine by Colonel Siljeg, you confirm that your
7 telephone and your telecopier were being used in the
8 middle of the negotiations?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. And your understanding at the time was that
11 those messages were being sent to solicit possible
13 A. Yes. There seemed to be no decisions made
14 until after a phone call. They talked, a phone call,
15 then a decision.
16 Q. Your interpretation is quite that it wasn't a
17 question of calling Mrs. Petkovic or Mrs. Siljeg, but
18 rather calling the offices in Split?
19 A. Well, calling somewhere with a Split area
20 code for instructions.
21 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: Thank you.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Williams, thank you for
23 coming to the International Tribunal to give evidence.
24 You are now released.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MAY: At 9.00 tomorrow.
2 (The witness withdrew)
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
4 4.18 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
5 the 3rd day of August, 1999, at
6 9.00 a.m.