1 Tuesday, 2nd November, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 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. Sayers.
10 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good
11 morning, Major Bower.
12 WITNESS: MARK WILLIAM BOWER [Resumed]
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
14 Q. My name is Stephen Sayers. Together with my
15 colleague, Mitko Naumovski, we represent the accused
16 Dario Kordic. Over to my left is Mr. Kovacic and his
17 colleague Mr. Mikulicic, and they represent the
18 co-accused Mario Cerkez.
19 Major, you have been a career officer in the
20 British army for the last 16 or so years; is that
22 A. Yes, that's correct, sir, yes.
23 Q. Have you reviewed any milinfosums that were
24 prepared by the 1st Battalion of the Prince of Wales
25 Own Regiment of Yorkshire in preparation of your
1 testimony in this case?
2 A. Yes, I have, sir.
3 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say, Major,
4 that you arrived in Central Bosnia in April of 1993 and
5 were confronted with a confusing, complex, civil war
6 with multiple parties representing the warring
8 A. Yes, I was.
9 Q. In the starkest outline, would it be fair to
10 say that the Croats and the Muslims were basically
11 surrounded by Serbian forces, Bosnian Serb army forces,
12 to the west, to the north, and essentially to the
13 south, with a few isolated pockets, but generally
14 speaking that's pretty accurate; wouldn't you agree?
15 A. In very, very broad outlines, yes.
16 Q. Within the area into which the Muslim forces
17 and the HVO forces had been compressed, there were also
18 isolated pockets of Croats that were fully surrounded
19 by ABiH forces; isn't that true?
20 A. That is also correct, yes.
21 Q. And then within those isolated pockets, there
22 were even smaller pockets that were surrounded by HVO
23 forces such as, for example, Stari Vitez, Novi Travnik;
24 is that correct?
25 A. It is indeed, sir, yes.
1 Q. Within those towns, basically there were
2 clearly-divided front lines that separated HVO forces
3 on the one side and Muslim forces on the other;
5 A. That's correct as well, yes.
6 Q. Okay. Would it also be fair to say, sir,
7 that throughout the six-month duration of your tour as
8 a G-5 liaison officer for the Prince of Wales Own
9 Regiment, all males in the country between the ages of
10 16 and 60 were mobilised to fight?
11 A. I couldn't say exactly what ages, but
12 certainly it appeared able-bodied males were certainly
13 engaged in military duties at some time or another. As
14 to exact ages, I don't know.
15 Q. Wouldn't you agree that it was absolutely
16 routine, in the Croat enclaves where the Muslim forces
17 and the HVO forces were warring, it was absolutely
18 routine for the two combatants to blame each other for
19 incidents that arose during the course of your tour?
20 A. Yes. There was a certain amount of denial of
21 responsibility, I would sense it, yes.
22 Q. On both sides?
23 A. On both sides.
24 Q. And also mutual finger pointing at the other
25 side to try to allocate blame; correct?
1 A. Yes. Very rarely would people agree to
2 accept responsibility for actions that had happened.
3 Q. All right. Now, as I understand it, sir, you
4 were interviewed first by investigators representing
5 the Prosecution on August the 13th of 1996. Is that
7 A. It would be in the summer of '96. I can't
8 remember the exact date, sir.
9 Q. Subsequently, approximately eight months
10 later, April the 9th and 10th, 1997, you gave a
11 statement to the investigators for the Prosecution
12 which you subsequently reviewed and signed?
13 A. That's correct, sir.
14 Q. Have you reviewed that statement in
15 preparation for your testimony today?
16 A. Yes, I have, sir.
17 Q. All right. You were asked, I gather, to
18 record every incident of significance in your tour, to
19 the extent that you could recollect; correct?
20 A. Yes. I was taken through the six-month tour
21 and asked to note what I could remember.
22 Q. As you prepared your statement, you had
23 access to milinfosums, which you reviewed, and also a
24 contemporaneous diary that you kept; correct?
25 A. When I was interviewed in April '97, I didn't
1 have access to the military information summaries, but
2 I had access to a notebook which I had maintained
3 during the tour.
4 Q. All right. You would agree, wouldn't you,
5 that Mr. Kordic's name is not mentioned anywhere in
6 your April 1997 statement?
7 A. No, as far as I'm aware, it's not.
8 Q. You have previously given testimony, I
9 believe, in the Blaskic case on June the 5th and June
10 the 29th of 1998. Is that correct?
11 A. That's correct, sir.
12 Q. Did you review a transcript of the testimony
13 that you gave in that case as you prepared for your
14 testimony in this case?
15 A. Yes, I did, sir.
16 Q. Wouldn't you agree that in the 150 or so
17 pages of testimony that you gave during those two days,
18 the name Dario Kordic is never mentioned by you?
19 A. I don't believe it was, sir, no.
20 Q. Just a minor point of detail and precision.
21 My understanding is that you arrived in Split, Croatia,
22 on April the 24th, 1993, to take up your duties.
23 A. Yes, I think that was the date.
24 Q. And travelled to Vitez the very next day?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. You left Central Bosnia on November the 7th,
2 1993; correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Would it be fair to say, Major, that you do
5 not yourself actually speak any Croatian?
6 A. No, I don't.
7 Q. Let me just address one general subject, your
8 duties as a G 5 liaison officer. I believe that you
9 said that you are responsible for humanitarian aid and
10 affairs in the BritBat area of responsibility as a G
11 5 liaison officer; is that fair to say?
12 A. That is correct, sir, yes.
13 Q. I believe also that then Captain Lee
14 Whitworth was the liaison officer specifically
15 delegated to cover the Vitez area; is that right?
16 A. That is correct. He was the military liaison
17 officer for that area.
18 Q. And Captain Boris Cowan was the liaison
19 officer for Busovaca?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. Now, your area of responsibility covered
22 Vitez, Novi Travnik, Travnik, and Zenica, but did not
23 include places such as Kakanj, Zepce, or Vares; would
24 that be fair to say?
25 A. On a regular basis I would not go to those
1 areas, but occasionally I would if requested to by the
2 aid agencies.
3 Q. I believe it's true to say that you visited
4 Busovaca only very occasionally during your tour of
6 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
7 Q. During the course of your tour, sir, you used
8 your armoured fighting vehicles regularly to evacuate
9 injured Muslims from Stari Vitez; is that correct?
10 A. I was actually equipped with soft-skin
11 vehicles. I would only use armoured vehicles if the
12 area I was going into was -- there was still active
13 fighting going on and there was danger to me. Rarely I
14 would use armour.
15 Q. In one of the operations you actually
16 smuggled an injured man out of Stari Vitez along with
17 Dr. Enisa Mulalic; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Then, at her request, you smuggled her back
20 into Stari Vitez after depositing the injured person at
21 hospital facilities in the city of Zenica?
22 A. That's correct, sir, after he had been
23 stabilised but then announced dead.
24 Q. When you started out your duties, Major,
25 isn't it true that you attempted to keep count of the
1 actual casualties that you encountered in your area of
2 responsibility, but this soon fell by the wayside
3 because the numbers were simply too large to count
4 accurately, on all sides?
5 A. I never consciously kept score. I merely
6 kept a log more of the names in case I had to trace
7 them later for the benefit of family members. That was
8 generally the reason I kept notes, but keeping score
9 was not an aim that I had.
10 Q. No, I'm just referring to the testimony that
11 you gave in the Blaskic case, where you stated on page
12 9451 that "When we first arrived, we thought we would
13 keep a count, but the count was too great, so we didn't
14 bother." And that's what I was getting at, and that's
15 true, isn't it?
16 A. For the whole of the Brit Battalion area,
17 that's correct.
18 Q. Now, sir, the situation you encountered when
19 you arrived in Central Bosnia, and actually throughout
20 the time that you spent there, involved front lines
21 pretty much along the main supply routes; isn't that
22 true to say?
23 A. The majority of front lines which I crossed
24 happened to be on the main supply routes, the main
25 roads. That was where we travelled mainly.
1 Q. Isn't it true that the objective of the
2 Muslim forces, at least one of their objectives, was to
3 secure the mountain road linking Zenica to Travnik and
4 actually passing through the village of Guca Gora?
5 A. I can't say whether it was one of their
6 objectives or not, but it was certainly what they
7 achieved later on in the tour.
8 Q. In the statement on page 6, the 1997
9 statement -- and I don't think this is different from
10 what you said-- it says, "The ABiH were attempting to
11 secure the mountain road linking Zenica to Travnik
12 which passes by Guca Gora." That's fair to say, isn't
14 A. Yes, it's certainly a period of action which
15 happened during the summer.
16 Q. To the north of this area, that was the area
17 of operations, as far as you were aware, of the 7th
18 Muslim Brigade; correct?
19 A. There were reports, certainly, that they had
20 been in this area and had been involved in fighting at
21 that time.
22 Q. Throughout the time of your tour, the six
23 months that you spent in Central Bosnia, there was
24 pressure from the ABiH forces on the Croat forces,
25 generally from the north, compressing the forces
1 southward into the Vitez\Busovaca pocket; that's true,
2 isn't it?
3 A. There was certainly ebb and flow of pressure
4 from ABiH forces towards HVO forces, along sort of an
5 east/west line, from the north.
6 Q. During your tour, Muslim forces actually
7 launched several attacks aimed at capturing points on
8 the main supply route east of Vitez; isn't that
10 A. Yes, certainly at that time. It happened on
11 a number of occasions.
12 Q. You would concede, as a military man with a
13 lot of experience in a fine army, that control and
14 protection of main supply routes is a valid and indeed
15 important military objective, isn't it?
16 A. It is indeed, sir.
17 Q. Just one question on the political structure
18 of the civilian government in Vitez: Did you have
19 occasion to interact very frequently with the civilian
20 governmental authorities in Vitez, sir?
21 A. On arrival in Central Bosnia, generally we
22 started with the mayor of Vitez, but as the situation
23 became more complex, it rapidly deteriorated that we
24 needed to speak to a higher authority and tended to
25 speak directly with the military elements.
1 Q. All right. But you, yourself, weren't
2 involved in those high-level negotiations?
3 A. Not at the high level. That was left to the
4 commanding officer.
5 Q. I believe that you had a few meetings with
6 the president of the HVO civilian government in Vitez,
7 Ivica Santic?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Anto Valenta?
10 A. Not that I can recall.
11 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Santic did not appear to
12 have any authority to facilitate your access through
13 crowds of civilians or military forces outside of
14 Kruscica, did he, sir?
15 A. No, he didn't.
16 Q. You gave some testimony about conclusions
17 relating to the authority of Colonel Blaskic. Just to
18 be absolutely clear, you never actually met him
19 yourself, did you?
20 A. No. I saw him when he came to meetings but
21 never actually interacted on a professional basis.
22 Q. So throughout the six months you spent in the
23 area, you never actually spoke to Colonel Blaskic?
24 A. No, sir.
25 Q. But you did understand that he was
1 responsible for all of the HVO forces in the Lasva
2 Valley; is that correct?
3 A. Certainly I was aware of the chain of command
4 and where he was in, and that's how I understood it.
5 Q. That included all the HVO forces in your area
6 of responsibility, I take it?
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. You testified in your direct examination
9 yesterday, Major, that on arrival in Vitez, you
10 received a briefing from the military intelligence
11 officer regarding the chain of command in the HVO.
12 That, I take it, was captain Simon Harrison?
13 A. Yes, it was.
14 Q. You were briefed that all of the various
15 groups within the HVO in the Lasva Valley were under
16 the direct command of the 3rd Operations Zone
17 commander, Colonel Blaskic; correct?
18 A. That is correct, yes.
19 Q. That included the HOS units about which you
20 testified yesterday; correct?
21 A. On the very, very first briefing, it was
22 generally outlined, and obviously, as we got more
23 information, it was obviously constantly updated. I
24 can't say exactly whether it was the very first one or
25 subsequently over the next couple of weeks.
1 Q. All right. But the point I'm making is that
2 all of the units about which you've given testimony --
3 the HOS, the Vitezovi, the military police and its
4 subunits -- those fell directly under the command of
5 the commander of the Operative Zone, Colonel Blaskic;
7 A. Yes, that's how it was explained to us.
8 Q. Indeed the briefing that you received, and
9 which was constantly updated regarding the chain of
10 command, enabled you to make the best use of your time
11 in dealing with issues such as access to front lines by
12 knowing exactly to whom you should go in order to
13 arrange that free passage; correct?
14 A. Yes, sir, that is.
15 Q. It would be accurate, factually accurate, to
16 state that whenever you wanted to achieve something or
17 to acquire permission to do something, you invariably
18 went to the military chain of command rather than to
19 the civilian chain of command; is that correct?
20 A. At the level I was operating in, yes, that
21 was correct.
22 Q. Let me turn to one different subject, the
23 chain of command in the opposing forces on the Muslim
24 side. Were you briefed as to the identity of the
25 commander of the Muslim forces in Zenica?
1 A. Yes, at the co-headquarters, I was briefed
2 and met him.
3 Q. And that gentleman, I take it, was General
4 Enver Hadzihasanovic.
5 A. It was indeed, yes.
6 Q. Was it your understanding that as commander
7 of the 3rd Corps in Zenica, he had approximately 10 to
8 12.000 troops under his command?
9 A. Yes. In approximate figures, yes.
10 Q. It's true, is it not, sir, that around the
11 time of one of the incidents which we talked about, and
12 we'll cover that in slightly more detail in a few
13 minutes, but around June the 10th of 1993, BritBat was
14 informed by General Hadzihasanovic that it would have
15 to have his permission in order to obtain access to any
16 territory controlled by the 325th Mountain Brigade
17 between the towns of -- or the town of Vitez and the
18 city of Zenica, correct, and that was on June the 10th,
19 1993, around the time of the Convoy of Joy incident?
20 A. Yes, if it was the passage which was termed
21 the mountain road going through Poculica, yes, there
22 was -- at the Zenica side of the road, there was a
23 checkpoint which we requested to have permission to
24 transit through.
25 Q. Were you ever briefed about the objectives of
1 the 10 or 12 thousand troops under the command of
2 General Mehemed Alagic?
3 A. No, not specifically.
4 Q. Let me just show you a milinfosum from your
5 battalion, sir, number 72, dated July the 10th, 1993.
6 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
8 MR. SAYERS:
9 Q. I only have one question about this, Major.
10 It appears on page 3 under paragraph number 10.
11 Do you ever recall, in your commanding
12 officer briefings, being told that General Alagic was
13 in command of about 12.000 BiH troops and that his
14 current mission was to capture the remaining Croat
15 enclave at Vitez and Busovaca?
16 A. Yes, I vaguely remember it. But as to detail
17 and when, I can't say.
18 Q. That's fair enough, and that's understandable
19 after the passage of a substantial period of time.
20 In addition, there's reference to the
21 immediate tactical objective of the ABiH forces
22 fighting in July of 1993, and that was to capture the
23 ammunition factory. Were you aware of that tactical
25 A. Yes, it was certainly something which
1 appeared on a frequent basis as a general objective of
2 what they would like to have captured within the Lasva
4 Q. You gave some testimony regarding the visit
5 that you made to the village of Ahmici just at the
6 beginning of your tour. You actually visited refugees
7 from Ahmici in housing facilities in Zenica; isn't that
9 A. Yes, I did visit the population that had been
10 taken to Zenica.
11 Q. Isn't it true, Major, that in your opinion,
12 anyway, their housing conditions were appalling
14 A. They certainly were, yes.
15 Q. Let me turn to another subject, if I may, the
16 testimony that you gave concerning your encounter with
17 some HVO troops approximately the end of May 1993.
18 That encounter occurred in the vicinity of
19 the village of Krnjace [phoen], isn't that correct, the
20 item that you circled as Item 1 in Exhibit Z2624?
21 A. Yes, it was in that area I marked that map.
22 After some considerable time, that's the general area I
23 believe I was in at the time.
24 Q. Were you aware that that area is about five
25 kilometres north of Mount Tisovac?
1 A. The name, no, I don't recall it.
2 Q. Very well. Now, can you recall the exact
3 date of this encounter or is it just a vague memory?
4 A. No, it's a vague memory in that it was very
5 early on in the tour, and it was some time in May is
6 my -- my journal notes started very shortly after this
7 and as a result of this, so it was before the time that
8 I started making notes.
9 Q. So it would be fair to conclude, obviously,
10 that there's no reference in your contemporaneous
11 journal to that particular incident?
12 A. No, sir, there isn't.
13 Q. Have you ever seen any reference to that
14 incident in a milinfosum prepared by the information
15 cell at your battalion?
16 A. Not that I can recall, no.
17 Q. Just to summarise this incident, as I
18 understand it, you encountered approximately 10 to 12
19 soldiers in their early 20s.
20 A. Yes, that's correct, sir.
21 Q. They were dressed in a variety of uniforms?
22 A. They were dressed in the same combat clothing
23 but had slightly different jackets on or whatever.
24 Q. One or two of these gentlemen had an HVO
25 patch on their left shoulder; correct?
1 A. Yes, on one of their shoulders, left or right
3 Q. You yourself did not see any Jokers' patches
4 or insignia on any of these people, did you?
5 A. If you mean by "Jokers' patches" skull and
6 cross bones, those are what I saw. Whether they were
7 deemed Jokers' patches, I don't know.
8 Q. You yourself did not actually speak with any
9 of these individuals. They declined to engage you in
10 conversation; isn't that true?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. And no immediate translation was made to you
13 by Ms. Kolaba of what these individuals were saying
14 amongst themselves, was there?
15 A. There was nothing directed at the time, no,
16 as they wouldn't engage me in direct conversation, and
17 therefore she didn't translate.
18 Q. Let me turn to the one subject about which
19 you testified, and we'll discuss this a little more
20 later in your cross-examination, Major, but the subject
21 of snipers.
22 It's a fact, is it not, that snipers were
23 routinely used by both sides during the war, while you
24 were present in Central Bosnia?
25 A. Yes, they were.
1 Q. In fact, I believe that there was one
2 incident where you were attempting to arrange for the
3 repair of damaged electrical transmission lines or
4 distribution lines and the people that were engaged in
5 that work effort actually came under diligent and
6 accurate ABiH sniper fire; correct?
7 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
8 Q. Would it be fair to say that both sides were
9 equipped with 7,62-millimetre calibre weapons?
10 A. Yes. As a general rule, that was the weapon
11 which they were equipped with.
12 Q. Isn't it true that the ABiH also had, in
13 their inventory, 12,7-millimetre weapons?
14 A. Yes, sir, they did.
15 Q. And I think, sir, that you, as the
16 humanitarian liaison officer for the Vitez area, were
17 well aware that the Grbavica feature, a high-ground
18 village, was regularly used by ABiH snipers to shoot at
19 and actually hit people in the HVO, and civilians too,
20 unfortunately. Isn't that right?
21 A. Yes, that feature was used as a firing point.
22 Q. Now, the Grbavica village is actually on top
23 of a hill, isn't it?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. And that's to the north -- pretty much the
1 immediate north and a little west of the BritBat
2 compound at Stara Bila?
3 A. Yes, it's very close. It's the obvious
4 feature to the north of the battalion.
5 Q. Then on the low ground just to the east of
6 the BritBat compound and to the southeast of Grbavica
7 is the village of Divjak; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. I'd like to show you a milinfosum. I think
10 it's milinfosum 130, dated September the 6th, 1993,
11 which has been produced to us, anyway, in redacted
12 form. I would just like to ask you if you recognise
13 it, and I have a couple of questions based upon it.
14 JUDGE MAY: Has this been exhibited,
15 Mr. Sayers, yet or not or simply handed over to you?
16 MR. SAYERS: This was an exhibit in the
17 Blaskic case, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE MAY: But it hasn't been exhibited so
19 far in this case?
20 MR. SAYERS: No, it has not.
21 JUDGE MAY: It can have a new exhibit
23 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
25 MR. SAYERS:
1 Q. Major, this appears to be in a format
2 slightly different from the previous milinfosum which
3 we have looked at. Do you recognise this as the format
4 of a so-called combat form or milinfosum or don't you
5 recognise it at all?
6 A. I can't tell just from the extract here. I
7 honestly couldn't say what it's been taken from.
8 Q. This milinfosum is dated just two days, I
9 believe, before the assault on the Grbavica feature by
10 the HVO, and there's a reference here to two soldiers
11 recently being killed, complaints about constant BiH
12 sniping from the high ground. Were these the kinds of
13 complaints that you heard regularly regarding that
14 feature, sir?
15 A. At this moment in time, early September, yes,
16 it was becoming quite frequent.
17 Q. Thank you. I don't have any further
18 questions about that particular document.
19 One other subject I would like to cover is
20 the Busovaca joint commission. It may have been
21 renamed the Vitez joint commission by the time that you
22 arrived in the theatre, but you were familiar with a
23 joint body for the discussion of issues that arose as a
24 result of the fighting between the two sides; correct?
25 A. Yes, I was aware of such a body.
1 Q. Did you ever participate in any of the
2 meetings of this joint commission, sir?
3 A. Only in providing secure transport for
4 members of that commission.
5 Q. Let me turn to the June/July time period of
7 You were present in the Vitez area when the
8 Muslim forces initiated major offensives in the area of
9 Travnik and Kakanj in the period of time June the 8th
10 to the 12th of 1993; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Major, wouldn't it be fair to say that this
13 was a source of great concern to you as a humanitarian
14 officer because of the large numbers of refugees, Croat
15 refugees, that resulted from the military operations
16 being conducted in the area of the city of Travnik and
17 the surrounding villages?
18 A. Certainly any action which caused an
19 unfortunate reaction in the area of refugees and
20 humanitarian assistance required, one normally went
21 with the other.
22 Q. Would it be fair to say that there were 15 to
23 20 thousand Croat refugees that had to leave Travnik
24 and the environs of Travnik as a result of the ABiH
25 offensive in the second week of June 1993?
1 A. There was certainly a large number. The
2 exact figure, I can't remember. But, yes, a large
3 number of Croat refugees did have to leave.
4 Q. Were you aware, sir, that about 15.000
5 refugees had to leave the Kakanj area as a result of a
6 concomitant offensive by ABiH forces being launched in
7 that town?
8 A. Yes, sir, I was briefed about that by the
10 Q. Were you aware of separate ABiH offensives
11 being launched in the area of Fojnica to the south of
12 Busovaca in approximately the first week of July 1993?
13 A. Yes, sir, I was.
14 Q. And those also resulted in significant
15 numbers of Croat refugees having to leave their homes;
17 A. It certainly caused a humanitarian
18 requirement to try and get into that area, yes.
19 Q. In the Bugojno area, I don't know whether
20 that was in your particular area of responsibility, but
21 you were certainly aware that there was a major ABiH
22 offensive in the Bugojno area July and August of 1993;
23 isn't that correct?
24 A. I didn't actually get involved in that area.
25 We had the general brief from the company that was in
1 Gornji Vakuf and looked after that area, and so, yes, I
2 was made aware. But as to specific details, I can't
4 Q. Were you briefed about the house burnings and
5 lootings that were taking place in the Bugojno area, if
6 you can recall right now?
7 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm going to object
8 at this point. It's beyond the scope -- excuse me,
9 Your Honour. I'm going to object at this point as
10 beyond the scope of direct. We had nothing to deal
11 with in these areas. We understand we covered a broad
12 area, but still we're getting far afield, I think.
13 JUDGE MAY: What's the relevance,
14 Mr. Sayers?
15 MR. SAYERS: The relevance is, Your Honour,
16 that we're facing Count 1, which is the persecution
17 count, which is the most amorphous count that we face
18 particularly, and I think it's particularly significant
19 that in the area of Central Bosnia, where the Croats
20 are asserted to have been persecuting Muslims, what we
21 are attempting to show, and I think that we've been
22 attempting to show this throughout the course of our
23 cross-examination, that this is really -- and I think
24 the Major agrees with this -- this is a two-way
25 street. It's not a one-way street with the HVO forces
1 having the numerical superiority and the power to
2 impose a small minority. Essentially, you've got even
3 forces, both political -- or both civilian and
4 military, and they are both engaged in internecine
5 fighting in a wide variety of areas, including the
6 areas that the Major talked about.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but he had nothing to do
8 with Bugojno, and that's the point.
9 The other point is this, isn't it? While it
10 may be true, and I think it's accepted that there was
11 misconduct, using that word as neutrally as one can, on
12 both sides, we're still, on the evidence of this
13 witness, left with the shooting up of the convoy, and
14 we've seen that on the video, and the murders in Stupni
15 Do, the three women killed in that vegetable cellar.
16 Now, how does it help your case to say, "Oh, well, the
17 Muslims were doing very much the same sort of thing"?
18 MR. SAYERS: Well --
19 JUDGE MAY: All the background, this has
20 nothing to do with the accused directly because, of
21 course, it's got to be shown that they were in some way
22 involved. But as far as the background of the case,
23 the basic offences, what the Prosecution says, that
24 these incidents occurred, that they amounted to the
25 various crimes they allege, and as far as I see your
1 case, you don't dispute that the incidents occurred,
2 but what you say is, "Oh, well, the Muslims were doing
3 the same." I'm not sure how that really helps you.
4 MR. SAYERS: Well, Mr. President, we clearly
5 do not dispute that events occurred at places such as
6 Stupni Do. I don't think we have tried to dispute
7 that, nor could we. The events occurred. I hope that
8 I will get into this in some further detail with the
9 Major when I actually address Stupni Do, but let me
10 foreshadow that particular subject, since you raised
12 Our position is that obviously grave excesses
13 were committed by the troops that were present in that
14 village, but the village was defended. They received
15 advance notice of an impending attack. Notwithstanding
16 that notice, for some inexplicable reason the military
17 authorities in the village decided not to evacuate the
18 civilians, to keep them there, despite receiving a
19 specific order from the war presidency in exile in
20 Dabravine to evacuate them. So the civilians were kept
21 there, and I think that there was some kind of
22 house-to-house fighting that one saw in Ahmici occurred
23 using the same kind of FIBUA tactics. That's our
25 Excesses occurred, but during the course of a
1 military operation and in the context of sporadic
2 intercommunal fighting between the two ethnical
3 communities around that time.
4 JUDGE MAY: Well, I doubt this witness can
5 help very much about that. No doubt, you can call your
6 own evidence in due course.
7 But as far as Bugojno is concerned, going
8 back to the original question, it seems to me that if
9 you just look at the map, it's out of the area with
10 which this witness was concerned, and all he could do,
11 if he did, was to hear about things. I don't think
12 it's going to assist to go into a lot of detail with
13 this particular witness about that.
14 MR. SAYERS: I take your point precisely,
15 Mr. President, and I will move immediately on to
16 another subject.
17 Q. Major, in the area with which you were
18 concerned, one of the areas, the Travnik area, you were
19 aware that there were atrocities committed by Muslim
20 forces in the village of Cuklji and Maljina [phoen] in
21 the second week of June 1993; isn't that true?
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. And in the village of Miletici as well,
24 pretty much contemporaneously with your arrival in your
25 area of operations?
1 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
2 Q. Isn't it true that members of your battalion
3 actually themselves witnessed some of these awful
4 events where civilians were killed, Croat civilians in
5 the villages I've just mentioned?
6 A. Yes, I believe that was the case, sir.
7 Q. Let me turn to one of the events about which
8 you did testify, the Convoy of Joy.
9 Were you aware, sir, that on the evening
10 before the fighting actually broke out involving the
11 members of the convoy, and I believe that was June the
12 11th, 1993, the night before there had been an incident
13 in which artillery was used in Stari Vitez to fire a
14 round that landed in a playground right next to eight
15 children, and they were blown apart and killed as a
16 result of that shell fire?
17 A. I can't recall the numbers killed, but, yes,
18 that did happen.
19 Q. Would it be fair to say that that incident,
20 along with the incidents of mass exodus from the Croat
21 civilian population in the Travnik area, made the
22 civilians in your area of responsibility absolutely
24 A. Yes. The local population had been expanded
25 by the Croat population from the Travnik area. There
1 was a steady diversity of the two sides, a polarisation
2 of the two sides. A great deal of animosity had been
4 Q. This convoy, sir, was a purely private
5 convoy; it was not sponsored by any organisation
6 affiliated with the United Nations, was it?
7 A. No, sir, it was completely unsponsored and
8 unrecognised by the UNHCR.
9 Q. I appreciate that the policy of the British
10 Battalion may have changed as a result of this convoy
11 or the incidents that were connected with it, but it is
12 true, is it not, that prior to June the 11th, 1993, it
13 was not within the mandate of the British Battalion to
14 get involved with purely private convoys such as this
16 A. No, sir, it certainly wasn't the policy to
17 directly escort non-governmental organisations or
18 unsponsored convoys or, to that degree, any sponsored
19 or UNHCR ones at that time.
20 Q. We all saw the videotape of the events
21 connected with that convoy, but it is true, is it not,
22 that the drivers of the convoy had been warned that it
23 would be extremely dangerous to drive right through
24 Croat-held territory, especially in the midst of an
25 ABiH offensive immediately to the west?
1 A. Yes, the convoy were explained the dangers
2 that would happen, on a number of occasions, both
3 crossing the border from Croatia and to -- into
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, again at Gornji Vakuf, where we had
5 entered the BritBat area. So they had a number of
7 Q. We saw what I believe were Warrior armoured
8 fighting vehicles actually firing rounds apparently
9 into the air on the videotape, but it's true, is it
10 not, that actually two Croat soldiers were killed by
11 your battalion on that day?
12 A. Yes, they were. I think it was the Saturday,
13 midmorning, probably nearer midday, when the soldiers
14 were killed.
15 Q. Did your regiment ever earn the nickname of
16 "ShootBat" in an article authored by a gentleman by
17 the name of Edward Vulliamy from the Guardian
19 A. Yes, I believe we had been given that
21 Q. Let me turn away from that, sir, to the
22 subject that you dealt with involving the killing of
23 Ms. Dobrila Kolaba. This shooting incident was
24 actually the subject of an investigation that was led
25 by then Captain Whitworth, wasn't it?
1 A. I don't know if he actually led it, but he
2 was involved in gathering information, as the Vitez
3 liaison officer, to pass it back and forward to the
5 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say that he would be
6 in the best position to know what conclusions would be
7 reached regarding that particular shooting incident,
8 more so than you, because he was involved in the
10 A. Yes, if he was involved directly in
11 investigation, then he would be.
12 Q. And you would therefore defer to Captain
13 Whitworth regarding the results of the investigation
14 and the conclusions that were reached as a result of
16 A. Yes, that's right, although I'm unaware of
17 any conclusion reached.
18 Q. Just one question with respect to the
19 mechanism of aid delivery that you facilitated as the
20 liaison officer. As I understand it, sir, humanitarian
21 aid was not actually delivered straight to the civilian
22 population but was actually delivered to a warehouse
23 controlled by nongovernmental organisations such as,
24 for example, Caritas for the Croats or Merhamet for the
25 Muslims; is that correct?
1 A. That was the general method of distributing
2 aid, yes.
3 Q. Let me turn to another discrete subject, the
4 small town of Kruscica, just to the south of -- or it's
5 actually the southeast of Vitez. It's fair to say that
6 that town is approximately one kilometre away from
8 A. Yes sir, that's right.
9 Q. It's also fair to say that you were aware
10 that the civilian population in Kruscice and the
11 military forces headquartered there actually had a
12 supply route up from the south; isn't that the case?
13 A. Yes, sir, it is.
14 Q. So your access was basically barred from the
15 north, but you don't know what aid, if any, was getting
16 in through the road that came up through the -- from
17 the south, rather?
18 A. No, that's right. The track from the south
19 certainly wouldn't be of any use to the large vehicles
20 used by the aid agencies.
21 Q. You, yourself, gained entry to Kruscice on
22 September the 29th; correct?
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. And you found at that time that the 17th
25 Krajina Brigade, under the leadership of commander
1 Fikret Cuskic, had established a presence in the town;
3 A. Yes, sir.
4 Q. In fact, you yourself saw a large map in the
5 office of the 325th Brigade commander, Ramiz Dugalic,
6 with arrows showing the points at which the ABiH forces
7 intended to sever the Vitez/Busovaca pocket, didn't
9 A. Yes, I did, sir.
10 Q. Turning now to Stari Vitez, sir, in Stari
11 Vitez, it's true that there were combatants mixed in
12 with noncombatants; isn't that right?
13 A. Yes, sir, there were.
14 Q. There was a unit of the 325th Mountain
15 Brigade in Stari Vitez under the command of Sefkija
16 Dzidic; right?
17 A. Yes, sir, that's right.
18 Q. You also gave some testimony, Major,
19 concerning the fighting in Stari Vitez and your view of
20 it as a gradual process of attrition designed to wear
21 down the will of the opposing forces. Isn't that the
22 objective of every siege that has ever been embarked
23 upon since the dawn of time?
24 A. Certainly the aim appeared to be containment
25 and general wearing down of their military capability,
1 but never to any real conclusion.
2 Q. Didn't the ABiH forces surrounding the
3 Vitez/Busovaca pocket have precisely the same
5 A. Yes, it would appear so.
6 Q. It's true, is it not, that in your
7 discussions with commander Dzidic in Stari Vitez, he
8 had actually told you that the residents of Stari Vitez
9 had made their own decision to stay and fight to
10 protect their own homes rather than leave that part of
11 the town?
12 A. I was generally not too -- too concerned with
13 the military aspects of what was happening within Stari
14 Vitez. My main concern was the humanitarian side. But
15 I was given the impression that people wished to stay,
16 as they tended to say they had nowhere else to go.
17 Q. Very well. You also testified about linkage
18 demands made by both sides concerning the provision of
19 humanitarian aid. That was a general tactic that was
20 actually used by both sides, wasn't it, not just by the
22 A. Yes, it was widespread and very common.
23 Q. In fact, you perceived that the local
24 commanders on both sides, both the Muslim side and the
25 Croat side, routinely used their own injured persons as
1 pawns to obtain military concessions; right?
2 A. Certainly it happened in Nova Bila, yes.
3 Q. But it happened on both sides; isn't that
5 A. From my personal experience, I can only say
6 that it happened in -- to me, personally -- on an
7 evacuation from Nova Bila. It could well have been
8 used by both sides. I'm sure it was.
9 Q. On page 5 of your April 1997 statement, you
10 said that the local commanders of both sides would use
11 their own injured and starving as pawns in their
12 military games. You wouldn't disagree with that now,
13 today, would you?
14 A. As widespread across the Lasva Valley, yes.
15 Q. Do you remember one incident in August of
16 1993 when you visited a morgue in Zenica in an attempt
17 to locate the body of a 7-year-old Croat boy who had
18 been killed and that you undertook this effort at the
19 request of his parents?
20 A. Yes, that's correct, sir, Marko Bralo.
21 Q. When you went to the mortuary, you found
22 bodies laid out, covered very respectfully with white
23 sheets, but were told that all of those bodies were
24 Muslims; correct?
25 A. Yes, sir, that's right.
1 Q. You were also informed that there was a
2 separate mortuary for Croats located in a different
3 building; right?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. I'm sorry to raise these memories again,
6 Major, but you were absolutely appalled by what you saw
7 when you went to visit that building, weren't you?
8 A. Yes, sir, I was.
9 Q. And you were told to help yourself; correct?
10 A. Yes, I was.
11 Q. Actually bodies had been thrown into that
12 room in a random fashion, one on top of another;
14 A. Yes, sir. I would say there were
15 approximately 30, 35 bodies, naked and stacked one on
16 top of each other, in various states of decay, in a
17 non-refrigerated room.
18 Q. And that resulted in a complaint to the ICRC
19 by you, didn't it?
20 A. It did indeed, sir.
21 Q. On the subject of the Nova Bila hospital
22 about which you testified yesterday, that was one of
23 two Croat medical facilities in the Lasva Valley; is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. The Nova Bila hospital specifically was what
2 you referred to as a battle trauma hospital that had
3 about 120 makeshift beds that had been -- that resulted
4 from pushing pews in a church together; correct?
5 A. Yes, sir. There were makeshift, and they
6 would utilise the pews to maximise the space, the bed
7 space that they could get.
8 Q. And that facility had the ability to
9 accommodate about 120 seriously wounded people; right?
10 A. Yes, sir. That was the approximate figure I
11 was given by the administrators in the hospital.
12 Q. And, unfortunately, the facility was usually
13 full, in your experience, wasn't it?
14 A. Yes, sir, unfortunately, it was.
15 Q. In the hospital, you came across people
16 suffering from precisely the same kind of gunshot
17 wounds and battle-trauma wounds that you saw amongst
18 the people in Stari Vitez; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
20 Q. Including women and children?
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 Q. And these traumatic injuries were caused by
23 gunfire or shellfire aimed at Croat-held positions by
24 ABiH forces; isn't that correct?
25 A. Yes, that was the conclusion I came to.
1 Q. You found the surgical facilities, or your
2 medical colleagues in your battalion found the surgical
3 facilities very rudimentary and were actually rather
4 appalled by the primitive conditions that confronted
5 you there; isn't that right?
6 A. Yes, sir. I took the commanding officer of
7 the mobile surgical team up there to see if he could
8 assist, and that was his general impression.
9 Q. When you visited there, you actually found
10 operations being performed in the basement, as well as
11 in the side rooms, in these primitive conditions that
12 you've talked about; right?
13 A. Yes, sir, that's right.
14 Q. Two other -- or two final questions in this
15 regard. You did attempt to evacuate 55 wounded people
16 from the Nova Bila hospital to Kiseljak with the
17 ultimate aim of putting them into helicopters so that
18 they could be flown to obtain emergency medical
19 treatment; correct?
20 A. Yes, sir. We undertook a number of these, I
21 can't remember the exact number, how many times we did
22 it; three or four, maybe, approximately. It was always
23 50-or-so people each time.
24 Q. These are people who were extremely seriously
1 A. Yes, sir. The criteria was they couldn't
2 receive the medical attention they required in Nova
3 Bila, and it was either life-threatening or permanently
5 Q. The evacuation of these people was actually
6 held up by the ABiH side as they tried to negotiate for
7 collateral concessions in other areas; isn't that
9 A. The evacuations were held up on numerous
10 occasions, and that was one of the excuses that was
11 given, yes, sir.
12 Q. Isn't it true that the battle trauma hospital
13 was marked with big red crosses?
14 A. I can remember one large red cross. I can't
15 remember exactly how many there were, but I do
16 distinctly remember one.
17 Q. And notwithstanding that red cross, and
18 notwithstanding the fact that the facility was in a
19 church, it nonetheless came under ABiH artillery fire
20 in September of 1993, and you were actually in the
21 facility when it was hit three times by shells;
23 A. Yes, sir, I was.
24 Q. It blew out all of the windows and actually
25 killed two people; isn't that correct?
1 A. It certainly blew the windows out. As to if
2 people were killed there, right now -- I can't remember
4 Q. On the subject of ABiH artillery assets, we
5 have many milinfosums that we can go through, but I
6 don't think that it's necessary, Major, because there
7 is no question that artillery fire was regularly
8 targeted at Vitez and at the Croat enclave by ABiH
9 artillery; isn't that correct?
10 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
11 Q. In connection with the artillery fire aimed
12 into the town of Vitez, you had absolutely no idea what
13 the targets were, do you?
14 A. From -- personally, me, no, I could not say
15 what they were going for.
16 Q. Turning to the Grbavica assault on the 8th of
17 September, isn't it true that your colleagues made the
18 training film comment, because they actually saw
19 standard FIBUA -- Fighting In Built-Up Areas --
20 techniques employed in the effective assault of that
22 A. Yes, sir. I think the comment arose because
23 it -- from a professional soldier's point of view, it
24 was a professional military operation.
25 Q. Right. There's no question, given the fact
1 that the Grbavica feature and the village buildings
2 were used as concealment spots for sniper fire, there's
3 no doubt in your mind that that was a legitimate
4 military target, is there?
5 A. To clear military out of an area, then
6 obviously you have to go into wherever they are.
7 JUDGE MAY: Major, the question was put in a
8 very tendentious way, so perhaps you would like to
9 think about it. What was suggested was that you had no
10 doubt in your mind; well, that's for you to say. But
11 the question really was, was Grbavica a genuine
12 military target? Can you help on that?
13 A. From a professional point of view, to secure
14 access across the road so it was not overlooked by an
15 opposing force, then yes, it would be a military
16 objective to take enemy off that hill.
17 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. I did
18 not mean to put the question in a tendentious way, but
19 looking at it on the computer, it certainly appears
20 that way. Thank you very much for clearing that up.
21 Q. You mentioned an exclusion zone around the
22 BritBat compound at Stari Bila. That was a 500-metre
23 circular exclusion zone in which no fighting at all was
24 supposed to occur; is that right?
25 A. I can't remember whether it was four or five
1 hundred metres. An agreement I believe was reached
2 with the commanding officer and the local military
3 forces that the two sides should not engage in sniper
4 activities at each other because to do so, they had to
5 shoot over the top of our camp, and we were taking
6 minor casualties because of the fall of shot, so we
7 tried to have an exclusion zone where no sniping would
8 take place. It was generally observed.
9 Q. All right. Let me turn to one of the final
10 subjects that I would like to cover, and that is the
11 visit that you made to the village of Stupni Do at the
12 end of October 1993. Is it not the case that Stupni Do
13 was actually in the area of responsibility of NordBat,
14 the Scandinavian battalion?
15 A. At this time, the Norwegian battalion were
16 starting to take over the responsibility for that
17 area. They arrived two or three weeks beforehand, I
18 think, sir.
19 Q. Were you aware from your briefings by the
20 military intelligence cell at your battalion, sir, that
21 there had been some significant fighting in the Stupni
22 Do area immediately before the assault on Stupni Do
23 that occurred on October the 23rd, 1993?
24 A. We had been briefed that fighting was in that
25 area, but I can't remember specifics at that particular
1 time, no. But fighting was certainly going on.
2 Q. I would just like to see if I can jog your
3 memory with a milinfosum prepared by your regiment on
4 the 22nd of October, 1993, milinfosum number 177.
5 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
7 MR. SAYERS:
8 Q. The passage of this to which I would like to
9 draw your attention is a short one on page 2, sir,
10 right up at the top, concerning a conversation between
11 General Merdan and one of your colleagues.
12 Were you aware that an attack on Kopljari was
13 undertaken as a punitive action and did not supposedly
14 presage a more general attack on the town of Vares
15 itself? Does this jog your memory at all?
16 A. No, sir, I'm afraid it doesn't, sir, no.
17 Q. No problem. Were you aware that actually a
18 more general attack was launched on Vares by the ABiH
19 in the first two days of November of 1993?
20 A. I can recall that there was fighting in that
21 area, around that area, but as to specifics, sir, I
22 can't recall.
23 Q. Were you ever instructed or informed by
24 anyone on the ABiH side or otherwise that evacuation
25 instructions had, in fact, been issued just two days
1 before the military action at Stupni Do on the 23rd of
2 October, 1993, and that those instructions had been
3 issued by the president of the war presidency in exile
4 immediately to the south, the Muslim authorities, and
5 specifically by Mrs. Mervana Hadzimotezic [phoen]?
6 A. There was certainly talk that a withdrawal
7 had been discussed, but I can't recall by who or to
9 Q. Would you agree, sir, that if military units
10 are given advance notice of an impending assault and
11 that the object of that assault contains a significant
12 civilian population, it is their duty to make sure that
13 the civilians are evacuated so that they aren't hurt?
14 A. It could depend on a lot of factors, and I
15 don't think I could really comment on that.
16 Q. In response to one of the Judges' questions,
17 you testified, I believe, that it looked to you as if
18 one of the three ladies in the basement identified in
19 the photographs that you covered had had her throat
20 cut, but I'd just like to put it to you, isn't it true
21 that she actually received a 7,62-millimetre round in
22 her neck and that the blood had run down her neck to
23 make it look as if the throat had been cut?
24 A. It could well have been, sir. Obviously, the
25 light was very poor, we were using torches, we weren't
1 allowed to move the bodies, but that was my general
2 observation at the time. If that's what's been found,
3 then I don't object to it.
4 Q. Very well. Finally, sir, isn't it true that
5 you never actually met Dario Kordic?
6 A. That's correct, sir.
7 Q. And you yourself don't have any specific
8 factual knowledge of what kind of political influence
9 or power, if any, he had in the Lasva Valley generally
10 or in Busovaca specifically; isn't that true?
11 A. That's correct, not personally, no, sir.
12 MR. SAYERS: Major, thank you very much
13 indeed. I don't have any further questions.
14 Thank you, Mr. President.
15 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, excuse me. Before
16 Mr. Sayers concludes his examination, I did want to
17 interrupt some minutes ago, but I would ask Mr. Sayers
18 to put to the witness the conclusions of Mr. Whitworth
19 concerning the shooting of the interpreter, because I
20 think there's perhaps either a -- well, let's assume
21 good-faith confusion on the issue between.
22 Mr. Whitworth testified there was an HVO commission
23 which said that an ABiH soldier had run into an HVO
24 position, fired the shot, and ran back across the
25 confrontation line, which Mr. Whitworth said was within
1 the realm of impossibility that that would have
2 happened. Once again, the question was put to this
3 witness without showing the document or putting the
4 conclusions in front of him, and I would ask either
5 Mr. Sayers to provide that document to him or provide
6 it to us so that we can redirect on it.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I hadn't understood that
8 myself. Were you referring to a document? I thought
9 you were referring to Mr. Whitworth's evidence.
10 MR. SAYERS: That's precisely what I was
11 referring to, Your Honour.
12 MR. SCOTT: Then how can this witness --
13 JUDGE MAY: If you want to re-examine about
14 it, Mr. Scott, you can.
15 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 MR. SAYERS: And if the Court wants, I can
17 address the point that was made by the Prosecution.
18 JUDGE MAY: No.
19 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
22 Your Honour.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic:
24 Q. Good morning, Major Bower. My name is Goran
25 Mikulicic. Together with my colleague, Mr. Kovacic, I
1 act as Defence counsel for Mr. Mario Cerkez.
2 Major Bower, at the very outset I should like
3 to ask you about the following: You said in your
4 statement that you met Mr. Cerkez on several
5 occasions. Can you describe the circumstances to us?
6 When and where did this happen, approximately?
7 A. Yes. The meetings were not arranged, they
8 were normally -- because I would be looking for either
9 Captain Whitworth or meeting a humanitarian aid person
10 and would be in the same location as Mr. Cerkez, and
11 that was the sum extent of the meetings. It was the
12 same time, same place, no prearranged meetings.
13 Q. Do you know who Mr. Cerkez's liaison officer
14 was at that time? Did you talk to that person?
15 A. The only liaison officer which I spoke to in
16 that area was Darko Gelic, sir, which I believe is the
17 Hotel Vitez liaison officer.
18 Q. So that was Mr. Blaskic's liaison officer;
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. Major Bower, do you know how the Vitez
22 Brigade was set up, the one that was headed by
23 Mr. Cerkez?
24 A. Not in detail, no.
25 Q. Are you aware of the other units that were
1 operating in the town and municipality of Vitez at the
2 time when you were there, in addition to the Vitez
3 Brigade, that is?
4 A. These are purely HVO forces?
5 Q. Yes. Yes, I'm referring to the HVO forces.
6 A. No, I was not aware of individual subunits
7 within that area. It was not really my concern.
8 Q. You mentioned earlier in your testimony that
9 you also encountered HOS units. Is it correct that you
10 could have seen these units throughout the Lasva River
12 A. Yes, sir, that is correct. I did see them
13 throughout the Lasva Valley.
14 Q. Is it correct that you saw them in Vitez
16 A. Yes, sir.
17 Q. You mentioned earlier on in your testimony
18 that these units were well equipped, that they had good
19 weapons, and that in this way they differed from the
20 usual recruits of the HVO; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, sir, that's an accurate summary.
22 Q. You also mentioned that they drove western
23 cars; in addition to others, Volkswagen Golfs. Is that
25 A. Yes, sir, that is one car which particularly
1 sticks in my mind about this particular unit.
2 Q. Major Bower, are you aware of the fact that
3 this vehicle, the VW Golf, was manufactured in
4 Sarajevo, only about 40 kilometres away from the area
5 that you were in?
6 A. No, sir, I was unaware of that.
7 Q. Let us move on to a different subject.
8 You mentioned, Major Bower, that on one
9 occasion you saw a HIP helicopter. Is it correct that
10 this was a white helicopter?
11 A. Yes, sir, I believe it was.
12 Q. Did you see any insignia in terms of its
13 military affiliation on it?
14 A. No, sir, I couldn't tell.
15 Q. Major Bower, do you recall that at that time
16 above all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was a no-fly
17 zone that was carried out by the International
19 A. That's correct, I was aware that there was a
20 no-fly zone trying to be imposed.
21 Q. Do you know that at that time, helicopter
22 flights called medevac were being carried out and they
23 had to be reported to UNPROFOR? This referred to
24 medical evacuations.
25 A. I'm unaware of that, but it would seem
2 Q. When we are mentioning the provision of
3 medical supplies, and that is what you were involved
4 in, you negotiated, for the largest part, with
5 Mr. Santic, the mayor of Vitez about this. He was a
6 representative of the civilian authorities, wasn't he?
7 A. Mr. Santic was a member of the civilian
8 authorities, but I only was involved in trying to get
9 aid through Gacice. I didn't speak to him about
10 getting aid into Stari Vitez.
11 Q. In addition to Mr. Santic, you talked to
12 Gelic, Mr. Blaskic's liaison officer whom we mentioned
13 earlier on; is that correct?
14 A. That is correct, sir.
15 Q. So your contacts on the provision of medical
16 assistance actually took place only in the Hotel Vitez,
17 where Mr. Blaskic's headquarters was; is that right?
18 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
19 Q. Major Bower, you know that Mr. Cerkez's
20 headquarters was at the Vitez cinema?
21 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
22 Q. Did you ever seek any kind of permit related
23 to your work, in terms of providing medical supplies,
24 in that particular building?
25 A. No, sir, I did not.
1 Q. Major Bower, a few minutes ago you talked to
2 my colleague Mr. Sayers about Kruscica and the
3 provision of medical assistance to Kruscica.
4 I would like to ask the usher to show Z2624
5 that was tendered yesterday. That's a map where you
6 marked the village of Kruscica, so I have a few
7 questions in that respect.
8 Major, you marked the village of Kruscica
9 with the number "4", didn't you?
10 A. Yes, sir, I did.
11 Q. Please, could you show us on the map the road
12 that you used for providing medical aid, bringing it
13 into Kruscica?
14 A. Yes. I would say it was either this one here
15 [indicates] or the one to the east, and I can't
16 honestly remember at this time now. It was one of the
17 two roads going south.
18 Q. If I saw it right on the screen, you showed
19 the eastern road leading to Kruscica. Right?
20 A. These two roads here [indicates]. I can't
21 remember now, after some seven years, which of the
22 roads it was. Obviously, just going off this
23 small-scale map now, it was one of those roads to
24 enter. I can't remember which one, I'm afraid.
25 Q. Does that mean that you always used one of
1 these two roads?
2 A. At the time, sir, there was only one road
3 available to enter Kruscica. I can't remember which of
4 those two roads it was, but it was always the same road
5 to try and enter Kruscica.
6 Q. Do you remember, Major Bower, why it was not
7 possible to enter Kruscica on the other road, because
8 it is obvious from the map that you can get into
9 Kruscica by taking two roads that are of the same
10 category, at least according to the markings on the
11 map. What was the reason why you could not take the
12 other road to Kruscica? Rather, why did you not use
13 the other road to get to Kruscica?
14 A. From what I can remember, one road was either
15 blocked, unsuitable, or unsafe. There was only one
16 road, otherwise obviously we would have used and
17 utilised whatever method we could. But there was only
18 one method of gaining entry into Kruscica, but I can't
19 honestly remember the reason now.
20 Q. Can you remember that there was a line of
21 delineation along this road between the HVO and the BH
22 army, and that practically went down the road?
23 A. I cannot remember at this moment in time now,
24 I'm sorry. It's just too far away.
25 Q. Thank you, Major. I won't bother you any
1 longer. I won't try to jog your memory endlessly.
2 Yesterday, you spoke about what you called
3 discriminatory artillery fire, and today you agreed
4 that this kind of fire actually prevailed in the Lasva
5 River Valley, notably in Vitez, from both sides, from
6 both armies, from both parties to the conflict. I'm
7 going to ask you about an incident that was referred to
8 just a while ago and you said that you remembered, when
9 at the school playground in Vitez, on the 10th of June,
10 ten children were killed by such discriminatory fire.
11 Major Bower, I carefully looked at all the milinfosums
12 and ECMM reports, but this event was not described
13 anywhere. Do you have any comment with regard to that?
14 A. I didn't produce the military information
15 summaries. We did not, as a matter of course, from
16 what I recall, log every single incident which resulted
17 in casualties. Obviously, the military information
18 summaries would just be too big to deal with.
19 I remember an incident where children were
20 killed or injured and around a play area. The exact
21 date, I can't recall, but I know that an incident like
22 that occurred.
23 Q. I shall remind you, Major Bower, that at that
24 time in June, there was also an incident that occurred
25 with the Convoy of Joy. You mentioned to us that this
1 convoy had been stopped at the so-called T-crossroads
2 by Novi Travnik. Is that correct?
3 A. I cannot recall exactly where it was stopped
4 at each time throughout the Lasva Valley, but it tended
5 to be at major crossroads on its route through the
6 Lasva Valley.
7 Q. Major, I was referring to the most important
8 incident that occurred when there was shooting and when
9 people were actually shot. Will you agree with me that
10 that was at the T-crossroads by Novi Travnik?
11 A. Yes, sir, that specific incident did happen
12 at that point.
13 Q. So that is outside the municipality of Vitez,
14 it is in the territory of the municipality of Novi
15 Travnik; right?
16 JUDGE MAY: Do you remember that?
17 A. The actual municipality or brigade boundaries
18 again weren't particularly my concern.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Mikulicic. It's 11.00.
20 Would that be a convenient time?
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank
22 you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn now for
24 half an hour.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Mikulicic.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honours, Major Bower,
4 several additional questions.
5 Q. I believe that on the map which we had been
6 talking about -- it's still on the ELMO; this is
7 Exhibit 2624 -- Major, you marked on this map the
8 location of Grbavica as number 6. In your testimony
9 you said that you personally observed the combat
10 operation in the Grbavica area from the vantage point
11 of your base in Bila; is that correct?
12 A. I observed the start and some of the period
13 of fighting, but not the whole battle. As you can
14 appreciate, there were times when obviously we had to
15 take cover, and obviously only what I could see from
16 the base itself, so the forward-facing slope of the
17 houses and the ground.
18 Q. Major, the hill and the houses you just
19 mentioned were part of the village of Stara Bila; isn't
20 that correct, and that was marked with a circle above
21 the number 6; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct, sir.
23 Q. Major, this location is due north from the
24 secondary road leading to the town of Vitez which has
25 also been marked on the map; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it's northwest of Vitez.
2 Q. Another location, which is to the southeast
3 of that road, is named Divjak. Can you see it on the
5 A. Yes, I can, sir.
6 Q. Major, it is not in dispute that these are
7 two separate locations which are about two kilometres
8 from each other; is that correct?
9 A. Are we talking Divjak to Vitez, or Divjak to
11 Q. We're talking Divjak and Grbavica.
12 A. I would say under two kilometres, but yes,
13 1,500 metres or so.
14 Q. Thank you. Major, you spent a fair amount of
15 time in Vitez and in the municipality of Vitez. Do you
16 know whether, during the conflict which took place in
17 this area, about 700 citizens of Croatian nationality
18 were killed and an additional 800 wounded throughout
19 this period of hostilities? Are you familiar with
20 these numbers?
21 A. No, sir, I'm not familiar with exact numbers
22 of casualties, alive or dead.
23 Q. Thank you, Major.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: I have no further questions.
25 MR. SCOTT: May I proceed, Your Honour?
1 Re-examined by Mr. Scott:
2 Q. Major, let's start with the last questions.
3 Looking at Exhibit 2624, I just want to be very careful
4 about this. Looking at the area generally around
5 number 6, the British Battalion camp was in Stari Bila;
6 is that correct?
7 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.
8 Q. And that's, in fact, what's reflected by, if
9 you will, the smaller circle above the handwriting
10 "Grbavica"; isn't that correct?
11 A. Yes, sir, that's the approximate location of
12 where I think the camp was.
13 Q. So not the village that was being attacked,
14 but, in fact, the camp, the British Battalion camp
15 itself; correct?
16 A. Yes, but --
17 Q. If you look, in fact, on this --
18 A. -- they were almost one and the same. They
19 were very close to one another. Certainly the houses
20 in Stari Bila which were attacked, yes.
21 Q. Exactly. If you're looking to the southwest
22 from the British Battalion camp, you're looking at a
23 forward-facing slope that would run along, if you
24 would, the spine -- roughly along this oblong shape
25 that you've put on the map; is that correct? At least
1 in part?
2 A. Yes, you could see some of the houses, but
3 obviously the majority of the actual village was on the
4 other side of the hill, which wasn't able to be seen
5 from the camp itself.
6 Q. All right. But the fighting that you've
7 described to us, albeit immediately -- even outside the
8 boundaries, and they even came into your house, you
9 testified yesterday -- was in that southwesterly
10 direction from the camp overall?
11 A. Yes, it was.
12 Q. Now, and to be clear, in reference to counsel
13 for Mr. Cerkez's questions, the name "Divjak," you see
14 that on the map; correct?
15 A. Yes, I do, sir.
16 Q. Do you see anywhere on this map, in that
17 particular locale, the name "Grbavica"?
18 A. Only that's been handwritten in.
19 Q. All right. Did you have occasion during your
20 tour in Bosnia, sir, to find that there were areas that
21 sometimes had more than one reference, or there might
22 be subparts of a broader populated area?
23 A. Certainly there were places where they were
24 referred to differently depending on which ethnic group
25 you spoke to.
1 Q. Concerning the lines of authority to gain
2 access to such places as Stari Vitez, sir, you did not
3 find that confusing, did you? You knew to go to Hotel
5 A. Yes, sir, that's right.
6 Q. Concerning counsel's questions whether you
7 were ever asked in your prior statements or testimony
8 about Mr. Kordic, when you were interviewed in April of
9 1997, do you even know if Mr. Kordic was in custody at
10 that time or not?
11 A. No, sir, I had no idea, in April of 1997, as
12 to what the state of anything which was happening with
13 our tour in Bosnia.
14 Q. You mentioned in connection with the victim
15 and a doctor being, in Mr. Sayers' term, being smuggled
16 out of Stari Vitez. Assuming that's a fair
17 characterisation, why did you find it necessary to,
18 quote, "smuggle" someone out of Stari Vitez?
19 A. In that particular incident, we had been
20 expressly told that no one was to enter or leave Stari
21 Vitez. The doctor had told me that this man -- I think
22 he was 50, 55 years old -- would die if he didn't get
23 to Zenica hospital. I tried to get the ICRC or UNHCR
24 involved. They refused because of the situation at the
25 time. I had to make a decision at that time on the
1 ground. The doctor agreed to accompany the casualty in
2 the back of the vehicle. It was the only thing that I
3 could do to try and save a life. Unfortunately, the
4 man died sometime later in Zenica hospital.
5 Q. Concerning the HIP helicopter, in the nightly
6 briefings that you've testified about, do you recall
7 any incident or any time when there was discussion that
8 helicopter flights into the Lasva Valley had been
9 cleared by UNPROFOR?
10 A. I personally can't recall whether there were
11 or weren't.
12 Q. But the information available to you was that
13 this helicopter was landing in a HVO-controlled area,
14 and Mr. Dalic [sic] had made comments to you about it
15 bringing in supplies?
16 A. It had been reported to us that -- I think it
17 was by Darko Gelic --
18 Q. "Gelic"; excuse me.
19 A. -- that it had brought in some -- I think it
20 was special equipment, or equipment.
21 Q. Concerning access to Kruscica, sir, whether
22 or not there may have been some other road from the
23 south, is it nonetheless the case that you were
24 repeatedly obstructed by the HVO from coming into the
25 village of Kruscica?
1 A. Yes, that's correct. It wasn't practical to
2 try and attempt from the south; to do so, we'd have
3 probably had to go to Gornji Vakuf and try and enter
4 that far south. It would have taken hours, over a road
5 which was unproven, not tarmacked. It was just -- it
6 was not practical.
7 Q. The visit by the mayor of Vitez, Mr. Santic,
8 to the roadblock at Kruscica, is it correct, sir, that
9 Mr. Santic came there for something approximating 20
10 minutes, perhaps a half hour?
11 A. Maybe a little longer. No more than an
13 Q. Do you have any information, in fact, or an
14 assessment of whether Mr. Santic, in fact, himself had
15 any real desire to accommodate or accomplish your
16 access into Kruscica?
17 A. There was an attempt made, but it waned very
18 early on. To me, it appeared he was going through the
19 motions of being seen to attempt to do something.
20 Q. What was your assessment of Mr. Santic, in
21 terms of your working with him, about his basic
22 attitudes towards assisting you and the humanitarian
24 A. It certainly wasn't a diligent approach.
25 Generally, it would always result in wanting something
1 in return for whatever we wanted to do. There was
2 always a quid pro quo about it.
3 Q. Let me be blunt: Was Mr. Santic someone that
4 you enjoyed dealing with?
5 A. Not particularly, no, sir.
6 Q. And why was that?
7 A. I felt that I couldn't trust him, and that I
8 wouldn't get the assistance that I needed for
9 humanitarian mission, what I was trying do.
10 Q. The Convoy of Joy, the drivers had been
11 warned that it was a possibly -- quite likely, perhaps
12 -- a dangerous situation. Did you have an
13 understanding that this relief convoy was intended for
15 A. Yes, we had been briefed on it as soon as it
16 started to form up in Croatia, and its intended
17 destination. It was obviously of great importance to
18 us, so we kept up to date on it throughout the days,
19 and certainly we knew that they had been briefed not to
20 enter, and its ultimate destination and its
21 composition, number of vehicles.
22 Q. Did you recall sir, that the humanitarian
23 situation in Tuzla at that time was severe?
24 A. Yes, at that particular time, there was a
25 subunit of our battalion based in Tuzla, with a liaison
1 officer, which reported back daily as to the situation
2 from the UNHCR.
3 Q. In short, sir, these drivers, although
4 warned, persisted in trying to get humanitarian aid to
5 Tuzla, and many of them paid with their lives?
6 A. Yes, the persistence was there, and a number
7 did die.
8 Q. Were you aware of any conclusions that your
9 colleague, Mr. Whitworth, came to concerning the murder
10 of your interpreter?
11 A. Personal conclusions, or conclusions of a
12 formed body?
13 Q. Any conclusions that he came to or discussed
14 with you.
15 A. There was general discussion amongst the
16 liaison officers as to what could have happened. It
17 was believed it had come from an HVO position. But a
18 formed opinion, I am unaware of any result of any --
19 any formed body.
20 Q. Were you ever aware -- sorry, Your Honour,
21 I'm trying to wait for the translation.
22 Did it ever come to your attention that some
23 HVO group or commission had concluded that your
24 interpreter had been shot by a member of the ABiH
25 forces who had crossed the confrontation line, entered
1 into a house otherwise under HVO control, fired the
2 shot that killed your interpreter, left the house, went
3 back across the confrontation line, all without being
4 otherwise detected or harmed? Was that proposition
5 ever put to you, or did you hear about it?
6 A. I can't recall hearing in that explicit
7 detail. I had heard a number of -- through a number of
8 discussions with other military liaison officers what
9 the various permutations of the incident were, but I'm
10 unaware up until today of any formed opinion as to what
11 actually happened at that time.
12 Q. Would you agree with Mr. Whitworth's
13 assessment that that explanation is within the realm of
14 the impossible?
15 MR. SAYERS: Objection --
16 JUDGE MAY: I agree. I don't think it's very
17 helpful. Let's move on.
18 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Directing your attention to Exhibit 2624, the
20 map, please, the reference to area 1, at the time --
21 I'm sorry.
22 At the time you marked that on the map, the
23 circle and number 1, did you have any contemporaneous
24 documents or other maps or sketches of the area
25 available to you in trying to determine this location?
1 A. No, sir, I didn't.
2 Q. At the time you were stopped by these troops
3 west of Busovaca, did you at that time attempt to make
4 a precise record of your location at the time that
5 these soldiers were threatening to kill you?
6 A. On return to the BritBat location, I would
7 have mentioned it to the military information officer
8 where I was, the general area. But I have no personal
9 record of exactly where I was.
10 Q. But is it fair to say, Major, that this large
11 area marked as number 1 is more or less a general
12 approximation simply indicating an area in the
13 mountains west of Busovaca?
14 A. Yes, that's correct. It's a general area
15 where I think I was at that time.
16 Q. In contrast, for instance, to your rather
17 more precise markings concerning number 2 and number 3?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. There have been several references to FIBUA,
20 fighting in built-up areas. Are you familiar with that
21 military doctrine?
22 A. Yes, I am, sir.
23 Q. Is it part of the accepted military practice
24 or part of that doctrine that fighting in built-up
25 areas allows the deliberate targeting and killing of
2 A. For -- for our army, for my army, no, the
3 Geneva Convention rules have to apply.
4 Q. Sir, what you repeatedly saw happening in
5 Stari Vitez in terms of the victims that you were
6 taking out, is it fair to say that what you saw and
7 encountered was the deliberate targeting of civilians
8 in a number of instances?
9 A. Yes, sir, I would say it was indiscriminate
10 over a protracted period of time, resulting in the
11 death and injury of civilians.
12 Q. Apart from the sniper fire, the other weapon
13 that we talked about in terms of these
14 fire-extinguisher bombs, did you find that again to be
15 a weapon that was used indiscriminately against the
16 civilian population?
17 A. Yes, sir, it was indiscriminate.
18 Q. The attack on Grbavica, when you commented
19 this was a professional military operation, sir, were
20 you commenting on the manner of its execution, or the
21 way that the civilians in that town were treated?
22 A. It was a comment on the overall tactical
23 plan, how the fighting started and how it progressed at
24 the lowest level, seeing the soldiers in combat. It
25 was a professional observation.
1 Q. Again, in terms of the manner in which the
2 troops were disposed, the disposition of forces, the
3 way they advanced, the way they conducted themselves?
4 A. From what I saw, sir, yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Is it correct, sir, that again, fighting in a
6 built-up area does not include the cleansing of Muslim
7 civilians out of their homes?
8 A. Certainly in the small area which we could
9 observe and had some limited control of, we were able
10 to gather the Muslim population together and evacuate
11 them. We did that because we feared that they would be
12 resultant casualties if we didn't.
13 Q. In fact what you saw was that the Muslim
14 houses were burned, destroyed?
15 JUDGE MAY: Well, this is all leading.
16 Mr. Scott, I must remind you you are reexamining. You
17 have been going for more than a quarter of an hour, and
18 it is time to let the witness go.
19 MR. SCOTT: I will conclude, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
21 MR. SCOTT:
22 Q. You recall, sir, just to conclude with this,
23 that after this attack on Grbavica, the Muslim houses
24 were looted and Bosnian Croat families were moved into
25 those houses, the ones that survived?
1 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
2 MR. SCOTT: No further questions.
3 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
4 Major, thank you for coming to the
5 International Tribunal to give your evidence. It's now
6 concluded and you are released.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 MR. NICE: So far as I know, the next witness
9 is outside and the usher will bring him in, but I
10 haven't been able to go outside and check since the
11 break. Ms. Somers will be taking the next witness.
12 There will be a change of counsel.
13 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, may it please the
14 Court, two minor things.
15 First, there was some insinuation that the
16 use of a word that I used in cross-examination was
17 somehow improper, the word "smuggle". That actually
18 came --
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, you needn't trouble
20 about this. I mean if there were allegations of
21 impropriety, we would take them seriously. Mere
22 forensic hyperbole we take no notice of.
23 MR. SAYERS: Very good, Your Honour.
24 Secondly, with respect to this witness, Major
25 or ex-Major Buffini, we've just been given a copy of
1 his proposed -- the outline of his proposed testimony.
2 I would like to draw the Court's attention to page 6,
3 paragraph 31. It appears that we have yet another
4 witness who is going to give some testimony about the
5 Convoy of Joy, once again a subject that has been
6 repeatedly covered and is not covered in the amended
7 indictment, and so at this point I think we would like
8 to make a formal application, if we may, to preclude
9 any further evidence on this subject. It's simply not
10 relevant. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll deal with it when we
12 come to the paragraphs.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
18 WITNESS: MICHAEL LESLIE BUFFINI
19 JUDGE MAY: If you would like to take a seat,
20 Mr. Buffini.
21 Examined by Ms. Somers:
22 Q. Would you please state your full name and
23 date of birth?
24 A. It's Michael Leslie Buffini, and 18th of
25 November, 1956.
1 Q. Mr. Buffini, are you currently employed?
2 A. Yes, I am.
3 Q. As?
4 A. An investment advisor working in Brussels.
5 Q. Were you employed or were you in some
6 capacity in the former Yugoslavia, and could you please
7 give the time frames?
8 A. I was employed in the former Yugoslavia
9 between the 15th of January of 1993 and the 12th of
10 July of the same year.
11 Q. Prior to your deployment in the former
12 Yugoslavia, had you been in the military, and if so,
13 could you describe your jobs?
14 A. Yes. I joined the Royal Marines in February
15 of 1977 as a recruit, commissioned during training as
16 an officer, and had a series of jobs from 1978 until
17 '88, first of all working in Malta as a troop command,
18 then in Cyprus with the United Nations in Dhekalia and
19 Nicosia, then went back to the United Kingdom, trained
20 as a mortar officer and deployed for four and a half
21 months in Northern Ireland, and then had a series of
22 jobs as recruiting for the Royal Navy, as staff
23 officer, recruitment -- sorry, not a recruiting, a
24 training officer's job at the commando training centre,
25 working as a staff officer in the Falkland Islands, and
1 then working with Commander In Chief Fleet in
2 Northwood, where I was responsible for Royal Marines
3 deployed throughout the globe, mainly working for the
4 navy on board ships responsible for nuclear security
5 and other types of jobs.
6 Q. Did you, during your period in the military,
7 did you leave the military and rejoin, if I understand
9 A. Yes. In 1988, I left and spent two years
10 working as an investment advisor in Hong Kong, before I
11 was asked to rejoin in 1990 for another five-year
13 Q. What assignment were you given when you
14 rejoined in 1990?
15 A. In 1990, I was assigned a job as the training
16 of systems team in the Royal Marines pool, so another
17 staff officer's job.
18 Q. Can you describe the period of deployment
19 when you went from the U.K. and your arrival in the
20 former Yugoslavia?
21 A. In December of '92, I was asked if I would
22 work with the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia
23 and deployed as a U.K. liaison -- OC liaison officer and
24 watchkeeper in January, so the 15th of January flew
25 into Split and worked from Divulje there.
1 MS. SOMERS: I would like to ask the usher,
2 please, to present a map, actually a couple of maps,
3 the first of which is in black and white from the
4 Croatian atlas, Z2612,9. If the usher would be kind
5 enough to place that on the ELMO.
6 Q. Would you indicate, if it's clear to you,
7 indicate to the Court the location of Divulje and the
8 places to which you first deployed?
9 A. Divulje is located here just west of Split
11 Q. Are you able to indicate on this map where
12 the boundary between the Republic of Croatia and the
13 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is? Is it in some way
15 A. Yes, it's delineated quite clearly with a
16 line up here.
17 Q. I would just like to confirm something. You
18 are no longer with the Royal Marines. Did you leave
19 for any particular reason?
20 A. Yes. I was medically invalided from the
21 Royal Marines because I have osteoarthritis in both
23 Q. Turning to the map, once you arrived and were
24 stationed in the Divulje barracks, what were your
25 principal roles?
1 A. I had two principal roles. The first was as
2 the OC -- the officer commanding the United Kingdom
3 liaison officers, and the second was as a watchkeeper
4 for commando British forces.
5 Q. Would you be able to describe the taskings
6 that would go with these positions, and under whose
7 supervision, and under who your chain of command was?
8 A. As part of commando British forces, I worked
9 for Brigadier Andrew Cummings and deployed nine teams
10 of UKLOs around Croatia and Bosnia.
11 Q. That acronym, UKLOs, stands for --
12 A. U.K. liaison officers, sorry. So I deployed
13 the teams and took the decisions as to where they
14 should deploy, based on discussions with Brigadier
15 Cummings and his chief of staff, and made sure that
16 they carried out the duties required from Brigadier
17 Cummings' orders, which is really the gathering of
18 various information about what was happening in both
20 Q. Did you have direct links with other units,
21 and if so, could you describe them, please?
22 A. Commando British forces worked directly for
23 United Kingdom land forces in the United Kingdom.
24 Q. Where in the United Kingdom?
25 A. It was in Salsbury, in Wiltshire, so from
1 their base at Wilton. Commando British forces also had
2 direct links to BritBat based in Vitez, they had direct
3 links with UNPROFOR headquarters in Kiseljak, and
4 commanded other British troops throughout various
5 places in Croatia and also in Tomislavgrad.
6 Q. Did you have direct links with UNHCR in its
7 various locations?
8 A. Yes. Part of my responsibility was a team
9 tasked with working in Metkovic, which is liaison with
10 the UNHCR for convoys and responsibility for passing on
11 information about what was happening with convoys.
12 Q. Where is Metkovic located, in what sovereign
14 A. Metkovic is located in Croatia.
15 Q. How did you task the teams that you had?
16 A. I took decisions with the chief of staff and
17 the brigadier about what information was required, and
18 I then ordered my teams to deploy to various locations
19 throughout Bosnia and also in Croatia.
20 Q. Can you describe the type of equipment you
21 were outfitted with?
22 A. Each of the nine teams had a soft-skinned
23 truck, which was a Renault Borton 44, which had a
24 maritime INMARSAT telephone system mounted in the back
25 of the truck. We also had GPS global positioning
1 navigation system. We had laptop computers with
2 fax/modems and HF radio systems in the truck as well.
3 Q. Would you describe your role in relation to
4 Brigadier Cummings? What was the relationship? What
5 were you to do for the brigadier?
6 A. We were the eyes and ears of the brigadier,
7 so we were tasked to gather information about what was
8 happening in the various locations, to make sure that
9 we were not surprised by events that were happening.
10 Q. At the beginning of February 1993, did you
11 find yourself going to Busovaca?
12 A. Yes. I was tasked to provide two teams to
13 work in Busovaca with the newly-formed Busovaca joint
14 commission, and I tasked Captain Mike Robison and Tom
15 Major to work with the team based in Busovaca. I went
16 up to have discussions about their deployment and what
17 they should be doing.
18 Q. What was their role to be?
19 A. Their role was to act as a communications
20 link and security advice to the European Community
21 Monitoring Commission, the ECMM.
22 Q. What were conditions like in Busovaca at the
24 A. Busovaca was in what I would probably call a
25 real state of conflict. Travel was very difficult
1 because of the roadblocks, checkpoints. We were shot
2 upon on numerous occasions, so a very hostile
3 environment to work within.
4 Q. Did you have adequate protection in your
6 A. No. This was something I became quite
7 concerned about, because one of my teams had been shot
8 at and had a round pass about a metre behind the back
9 of their cab, where the driver and the officer were
11 Q. What did you do about it?
12 A. I took the teams off deployment until we had
13 confirmation that we could get some armoured support,
14 because I refused to allow the teams to operate within
15 that environment without some armoured protection. So
16 in a meeting with Jeremy Fleming, I insisted that the
17 teams did not deploy until we had armoured support.
18 Q. What was the result of that meeting?
19 A. Within, I think, two days, we had armoured
20 support provided by the British Battalion in Vitez,
21 which was authorised by UNPROFOR headquarters in
23 Q. Going back for a moment to your duties as
24 watchkeeper while you were in Split, could you define
25 what a watchkeeper does?
1 A. A watchkeeper really sifts information coming
2 in from radio reports and telephones, so I'm the first
3 point of contact for ComBritFor. I log those details
4 that are coming in and then take decisions as to who
5 should respond or who should be called in to respond.
6 Q. What is route triangle?
7 A. Route triangle was the name given to a road
8 between Tomislavgrad and Prozor which was being
9 developed and graded by the Royal Engineers.
10 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher at this
11 time to distribute Z2618,2. On the ELMO, please, yes.
12 I'm sorry, our signal is not showing. I'm not sure
13 whether the Court is getting a projection on that.
14 JUDGE MAY: No.
15 MS. SOMERS: Is there something that we could
16 do about that or should we attempt to --
17 JUDGE MAY: Just keep going. We'll try to
18 get something done.
19 MS. SOMERS:
20 Q. We'll ultimately return to this exhibit, but
21 if you can describe what a route triangle is and its
22 importance to your work.
23 A. Route triangle was the connection from
24 Croatia into Central Bosnia, where the British
25 Battalion were working, and it was probably the only
1 route that stayed open whereby we had access from
2 Split, from ComBritFor, into Central Bosnia. To start
3 off with, it was very much a mountain track, which was
4 then upgraded to sort of a dirt road which covered the
5 distance between Tomislavgrad and Prozor.
6 Q. Are you able, by way of description and
7 looking at this map that everyone has in front of
8 himself, to give the parameters -- if you're familiar
9 with this map, why, and if you are, can you give a
10 description of the route so the Court can follow it?
11 And if you would care to get up, perhaps, and point it
13 A. The map was the one I used when testifying
14 against Colonel Blaskic or General Blaskic. I've
15 indicated Prozor on the map, which I think most people
16 can see in this area [indicates], and to the west of
17 Prozor there is a route running around a very large
18 lake which is indicated in this area [indicates], and
19 then around down here [indicates], and literally
20 following the edge of this map is where route triangle
21 went further down to Bosnia and Tomislavgrad, and that
22 was route triangle [indicates].
23 Q. In February of 1993, did you witness any
24 movements of HV soldiers going between Croatia and
1 A. Yes, I personally followed a convoy of
2 between six and eight coaches of -- Croat-identified
3 coaches with HV soldiers in them along route triangle,
4 so I spent about three hours, sat behind these coaches
5 as they drove into Prozor. Once the coaches stopped in
6 Prozor and we overtook them, then went on up to Gornji
7 Vakuf and Vitez.
8 Q. Okay. And is Tomislavgrad indicated on this
9 particular map or would you have to refer back to the
10 first map that was in front of you?
11 A. It's indicated on the first map, not on this
13 Q. I'll try to get it back just so that you can
14 pinpoint it and discuss distances. Again, we're a bit,
15 I think, disabled by the screen. If you are able to
16 point out the location of Tomislavgrad that would catch
17 the attention or give some indicator where it is on the
19 A. In relation to Split [indicates],
20 Tomislavgrad is up beyond the border between Croatia
21 and Bosnia and, on this map, is indicated right on the
22 right-hand edge. So that is Tomislavgrad in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina [indicates].
24 Q. In terms of time, if you know, to go from,
25 let's say, a point called Sinj, S-i-n-j, in Croatia,
1 which is also indicated on the same map, to
2 Tomislavgrad, could you give an approximate time frame,
3 travelling over land?
4 A. On a good day, somewhere between 40 minutes
5 to an hour.
6 Q. How were you able to determine that the
7 soldiers whom you saw were, in fact, HV soldiers,
8 Republic of Croatia soldiers?
9 A. There were two instances. The first one was
10 through the fact that the coaches were Croatian
11 vehicles, in the sense of their number plates, their
12 license plates were Croatian, and the second was that
13 the soldiers' insignia was very much "HV" as opposed to
14 "HVO", and we had been used to seeing those and had
15 been given recognition sort of lessons from our
16 intelligence officer in ComBritFor.
17 Q. The soldiers were going towards Prozor. Were
18 they also headed towards Tomislavgrad? Were there two
19 separate identifications you made of soldiers?
20 A. There were two separate identifications. The
21 first was when we followed the soldiers in the coach
22 from Tomislavgrad to Prozor, and the second
23 identification was a couple of days after that when we
24 were coming back from Vitez, driving through Prozor, we
25 saw six to eight coaches again parked just north of
1 Prozor with a lot of wounded soldiers wearing HV
2 uniforms and wearing the insignias of HV soldiers,
3 battle weary, bandaged, sort of lying on the grass,
4 very tired, getting ready to board the buses, which
5 were Croatian buses, to come back, we assume, through
6 the Tomislavgrad area.
7 Q. You personally saw this?
8 A. Yes, I personally saw this, witnessed it.
9 Q. Who is Gus Bryden?
10 A. Gus Bryden is a mercenary I met in Trogir, an
11 ex Royal Marine, whom I spent about an hour having
12 conversations with about his activities as a mercenary.
13 Q. Excuse me, but where is Trogir?
14 A. Trogir is west of Divulje barracks, about 5
15 kilometres west of Divulje barracks.
16 Q. In the Republic of Croatia?
17 A. In Croatia, on the coastline.
18 Q. Thank you. Please continue.
19 A. Gus Bryden had been working with the HV in
20 Croatia, training soldiers of the HV to go into
21 conflict in and around the Prozor area. He had also
22 been working around the Zadar area, actually fighting
23 with his son, who is also a mercenary, around the
24 Prozor area and Zadar.
25 Q. Were you curious about the deployment of
1 Croatian soldiers in the Prozor area, which is in
3 A. We were very curious, because again this was
4 something we had been asked to find out.
5 Q. By whom?
6 A. By ComBritFor, by Andrew Cummings, his staff,
7 and chief of staff and the intelligence cell. And we
8 specifically asked him if the soldiers he was training
9 were conscripts, which he confirmed, and he also
10 confirmed that they were fighting in Bosnia around the
11 Prozor area and not just restricted to Croatia.
12 Q. Was there a military training camp that you
13 observed on the route to Tomislavgrad?
14 A. We identified a training establishment or a
15 camp just south of Sinj, which is in Croatia, before
16 you come to the border. And we had identified this on
17 several occasions as a -- as a used training camp for
18 the Croatian army.
19 Q. I believe that the video is available, and if
20 in fact the map that has Sinj on there were convenient,
21 if you could point it out.
22 A. It's sort of northeast of Split.
23 Q. And can -- fine. Are you able to -- I know
24 Prozor is not on this particular map, but are you able
25 to give a general indication of where Prozor would be
1 and where Tomislavgrad is now?
2 A. Prozor -- well, Tomislavgrad is, as I say,
3 over on this this area here [indicates], and then
4 Prozor much further north -- northeast.
5 Q. Thank you. This training camp that you
6 observed, did you observe it again?
7 A. We observed it on a regular basis while we
8 were travelling backwards and forwards between Split
9 and Vitez. One incident, we saw that the camp was full
10 of soldiers, lots of trucks, lots of coaches, and was
11 obviously very much in use as a training establishment.
12 Q. Would this have been in February or March of
14 A. That's correct, yes.
15 Q. Then what happened? What did you observe?
16 A. Most other observations, that I observed that
17 it was empty. But while I was watchkeeping after
18 having seen it being used, subsequent reports coming in
19 showed that it was empty, that the troops had actually
20 been deployed.
21 Q. Had you received any reports of actual
22 fighting in Bosnia during that interim period between
23 seeing troops at Sinj and then seeing the camp empty?
24 A. The conflict at that time was ongoing, and on
25 a daily basis we were receiving reports that fighting
1 between Muslims and -- sort of Croats, Bosnian and --
2 Bosnian Croats, certainly around the Prozor area, on a
3 daily basis, yes.
4 Q. Was an injury of an HVO soldier reported to
5 you, and can you describe the injury?
6 A. I was watchkeeping and received a report from
7 the Royal Engineers on route triangle, from one of
8 their bases, that a coach carrying HV soldiers had had
9 an incident where a soldier playing with a grenade had
10 let the grenade off and had damaged himself, so he had
11 blown himself --
12 Q. Excuse me. Was this accident in Bosnia, or
13 was it in Croatia?
14 A. No, it was in Bosnia.
15 Q. What did you do about it, if anything? What
16 could you do?
17 A. I was asked to provide a helicopter
18 evacuation from the helicopter flight based at Divulje,
19 and I refused on the grounds that we --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker speak a
21 little more slowly, please, for the interpreters.
22 A. I was asked to provide helicopter evacuation
23 but declined on the grounds that it was not part of our
24 remit in providing humanitarian aid.
25 MS. SOMERS:
1 Q. To your knowledge, was some assistance
2 ultimately rendered to this soldier?
3 A. No. Not from the United Nations troops.
4 Q. Did you personally follow a convoy of --
5 sorry, a group of coaches carrying Croatian soldiers
6 into Bosnia? And if we've covered this in another of
7 the incidents --
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, you have.
9 MS. SOMERS: Fine. Thank you. We can move
11 Q. Did Brigadier Cummings ask you to become
12 involved in what was known as the Busovaca joint
13 commission at the beginning of March of '93?
14 A. Yes, he did. I was tasked to deploy to
15 Busovaca full time and to provide a higher level of
16 military support to the Busovaca joint commission.
17 Q. Just to clarify rank, you were what rank in
18 the Marines, and how was that accommodated to fit the
19 scheme in Bosnia?
20 A. I was a captain, Royal Marines, which is the
21 paid equivalent rank of an army major. Normally, when
22 Royal Marines are working with the army, we are
23 promoted to what is known as a local high rank, which
24 was major. So I became a local major.
25 Q. Were you to deal with any particular
1 individuals, or what were your tasks, primarily, on the
3 A. Tasks of the Busovaca joint commission had
4 been predetermined with two primary people, which was
5 Franjo Nakic from the HVO and Dzemal Merdan from the
6 BiH, with their representatives of local commanders.
7 Our responsibility was to investigate points of
8 conflict arising between each of the sides, to mediate,
9 and to try and resolve the issues.
10 MS. SOMERS: I would ask the usher to
11 distribute Z548,1.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please pause
13 between questions and answers, for the interpreters.
14 MS. SOMERS:
15 Q. Mr. Buffini, looking at this document, do you
16 recognise it?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. And if you turn to the page which will be the
19 third page -- it will be identified as having the
20 numbers 00475825 on it -- could you describe, please,
21 the identification of Mr. Nakic there?
22 A. Mr. Nakic is described as the deputy HVO
23 Operational Zone, Middle Bosnia. So our
24 interpretation, deputy commander of that organisation.
25 Q. How often did you meet with the commission?
1 A. On a daily basis.
2 Q. At a fixed time?
3 A. Normally at 9.00 each morning, providing
4 everybody could be brought in at the correct time.
5 Q. Among your tasks, was the investigation and
6 mediation of complaints included?
7 A. Yes, nearly on a daily basis.
8 Q. What about checkpoint removal?
9 A. That was all part of the ongoing discussions,
10 but our aim was to open the road between Vitez and
12 Q. Was there also an aspect about the
13 investigation of alleged atrocities, ethnic cleansing,
14 attacks on villages, harassment of civilians?
15 A. That became the main issue. On a daily
16 basis, before anything was done, investigation into
17 each of those circumstances would have to be done.
18 Q. Approximately 20th March, '93, did you have
19 to move locations?
20 A. Yes, we moved location from Busovaca to
21 Vitez, in a house next to the British Battalion camp
22 in --
23 Q. Who is Mats Torping, please? I forgot to ask
25 A. Mats Torping started off as the chairman of
1 the Busovaca joint commission.
2 Q. Did he remain chairman during your entire
3 time, or did it change?
4 A. No, it changed because of their time in the
5 job, so there were several chairmen.
6 Q. Was one of them Henk Morsink?
7 A. Yes, Henk Morsink in the latter stages took
8 over as chairman.
9 Q. Once you moved to Vitez, did the role change,
10 and did you take on more responsibility and
12 A. We found that once we were in Vitez, a much
13 larger area of responsibility came into question, so we
14 were asked to investigate instances on -- outside of
15 the Busovaca valley, yes.
16 Q. Did it extend to essentially the whole Lasva
17 Valley, and did it retain its name as "Busovaca joint
19 A. Because it had grown from the Busovaca area
20 to a much larger area, we decided to drop "Busovaca,"
21 and it just became known as the joint commission.
22 Q. Were there any conditions laid down about the
23 degree of authority that the representatives from each
24 side should have?
25 A. Yes. Both General Merdan and Franjo Nakic
1 were required to have the authority to act to
2 circumstances which the Busovaca and the joint
3 commission met on the ground, in providing orders to
4 local commanders and making decisions which were
6 Q. Did you find that to be the case?
7 A. Only in Djemal Merdan's case.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me; could you again
9 please pause between question and answer? Thank you.
10 MS. SOMERS:
11 Q. How did the case turn out to be with
12 Mr. Nakic?
13 A. Mr. Nakic was clearly not able to take any
14 responsibility for deciding things without referring
15 back to Colonel Blaskic.
16 Q. Did this cause tension?
17 A. It caused quite a bit of tension within the
18 joint commission, yes.
19 Q. If Mr. Merdan were unable to make a firm
20 decision, would he come halfway?
21 A. Mr. Merdan would make a provisional agreement
22 or authority and then would clarify the position with
23 his superiors.
24 Q. Did something occur with artillery going off
25 during a commission meeting?
1 A. In one meeting we had in Vitez, a number of
2 artillery rounds were fired very close by which shook
3 the house, at which point Mr. Merdan reacted very
4 violently against Nakic, asking why the artillery was
5 being fired when we were supposed to be negotiating
7 Q. Was it, then, HVO artillery?
8 A. It was HVO artillery, yes.
9 Q. Were you able to identify the type of weapon,
10 the calibre?
11 A. Because of the report, we had an indication
12 that it was certainly heavy, between 120 and 150
14 Q. Was there a particular weapon that was
15 suspected of being fired?
16 A. There was a heavy artillery piece that the
17 British troops around Vitez had nicknamed "Big Bertha"
18 which was a heavy artillery piece, yes.
19 Q. At the time of the firing, was there a
20 ceasefire in place, and if so, what was the result of
21 this incident?
22 A. I believe there was a ceasefire in place, and
23 Mr. Merdan reacted very violently and refused to take
24 any further part in the joint commission meeting until
25 the whole incident had been investigated.
1 Q. Do you recall how many shells were fired by
2 Big Bertha?
3 A. I believe there were approximately 10 or 11
4 shells fired.
5 Q. Was any investigation undertaken about this
6 firing, to your knowledge?
7 A. An investigation was undertaken, but we had
8 no reports coming back of a response as to who or why
9 it had happened.
10 Q. Based on your professional military
11 experience, can you characterise the degree of respect,
12 orders and decisions issued by Colonel Blaskic
14 A. Colonel Blaskic had a great deal of authority
15 over the troops that we met, the local commanders, and
16 they would not normally react to any incident without
17 his authority, either verbally or written.
18 Q. Did any violations of his orders come to your
20 A. Only one incident, which was during the
21 Convoy of Peace or Convoy of Hope, where some trucks
22 had been taken in the Busovaca area, and when we
23 questioned --
24 MR. SAYERS: Objection, Your Honour, for the
25 grounds previously stated.
1 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, this is --
2 JUDGE MAY: What's the witness going to say
3 that we haven't heard already, Ms. Somers?
4 MS. SOMERS: The witness will simply indicate
5 that this is the one time that a violation of an order
6 was reported to him. There is no specific
7 identification of any of the party, but this is a very
8 focused question.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
11 MS. SOMERS:
12 Q. Mr. Buffini, when you referred to a convoy,
13 was it the Convoy of Joy of June of 1993?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. I'm sorry, could you just clarify what the
16 issue was with Blaskic's order on that?
17 A. The local commander, who had hijacked about
18 seven or ten vehicles and was searching them for arms
19 or ammunition, refused to allow the vehicles to go,
20 despite the fact that we had asked and had authority
21 from Colonel Blaskic to do that.
22 Q. Where was this local commander?
23 A. It was just north of Busovaca. I forget the
24 name of the actual village.
25 Q. Did you go on R & R in April of '93, and if
1 so, did you make any observations just before departure
2 about the presence of helicopters in the area?
3 A. There were several incidents of helicopters
4 which we personally cited, or I personally cited, in
5 and around the Vitez and Zenica area, yes.
6 Q. And this would have been the early part of
8 A. Both the early part of April and also in
10 Q. Was this restricted to one side, or did you
11 see helicopters on both sides?
12 A. I saw helicopters on both sides.
13 Q. Generally speaking, were there no-fly
14 restrictions in place, and if so, for what purpose
15 would a helicopter undertake a risk?
16 A. There was a no-fly restriction on the whole
17 of the Central Bosnia area, and the only reason we
18 could see that helicopters would fly into this area was
19 for the resupply of ammunition and evacuating wounded
20 troops out of the area.
21 Q. Could you describe the general atmosphere in
22 the Lasva Valley when you left for your temporary R & R
23 on or about the 4th of April of '93?
24 A. With the work of the joint commission, we
25 felt that the Lasva Valley had quietened down quite
1 considerably, and there was a semblance of normality
2 returning to the area just prior to my leaving, so most
3 of the conflict had been restricted to very small
4 areas, and we felt quite pleased with the job that we
5 had achieved at that point.
6 Q. You indicated that the meetings were daily
7 for the commission. Was there any indication at these
8 daily meetings of an attack, an imminent attack, about
9 which you found out when you returned from your leave?
10 A. None at all. We were very surprised -- I was
11 very surprised, when I returned, at the extent of the
12 activity in the area.
13 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, I beg your pardon,
14 but I believe that the transcript has stopped. Is
15 there a technical...? Our screens are not moving, so
16 we've stopped at --
17 JUDGE MAY: Let's see. Where did you get
18 to? There was a no-fly restriction?
19 MS. SOMERS: Yes, and I've moved on well
20 beyond that.
21 JUDGE MAY: Is there any problem with the
23 There's none that I can see, Your Honour, but
24 I -- my computer is working fine.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yours is working, but ours
1 isn't. We're stuck at "no-fly restriction." Just wait
2 a moment.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE MAY: If we just see what the position
5 is, we are going get a transcript, are we, since yours
6 is working?
7 THE REPORTER: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MAY: So there's no reason why we
9 couldn't go on, as it were, although we haven't got the
10 transcript ourselves?
11 THE REPORTER: That's correct.
12 JUDGE MAY: Let's go on.
13 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, if the reporter could
14 just read back to me the last question, I would
15 appreciate it, or if somebody could.
16 I'm sorry. I'm told that they cannot move
17 backward on their screen, so I will attempt to just
18 reconstruct the question, repeating myself, I'm sure.
19 Q. Prior to your departure, having had daily
20 meetings with the joint commission, was there any
21 indication at these daily meetings that an attack of
22 the nature of Ahmici, various attacks about which you
23 became aware when you returned from leave would occur?
24 A. No, there was no indication of any buildup of
25 hostilities, any buildup of forces and, in fact, we
1 felt we had done a pretty good job with the joint
2 commission in calming the whole situation down in the
3 Lasva Valley prior to my departure.
4 Q. Was that shock shared -- excuse me. Was that
5 surprise shared by other international organisations
6 and UNPROFOR?
7 A. Yes, all of the organisations of BritBat,
8 UNPROFOR, and even the UNHCR agencies were all
9 surprised by what had happened during that period.
10 Q. Did Mario Cerkez -- sorry, I'll wait.
11 Did Mario Cerkez come to play a role on the
12 commission during this time?
13 A. Yes, he did, as the representative of HVO
14 troops in the Vitez area.
15 Q. Generally, if you can characterise the
16 attitude of the members of the BiH, or some of the
17 members, towards Mr. Cerkez.
18 A. Some of the other local commanders of the BiH
19 were openly, in my view, openly hostile towards the
20 presence of Mario Cerkez at the meetings, to such a
21 point that I used to sit with an armed -- loaded pistol
22 in my belt.
23 Q. Were questions posed to Mr. Cerkez by the
24 commission as to the reasons for the ceasefire
25 violations, and if so, what types of answers were
2 A. We asked, on numerous times, why violations
3 had happened, and on most instances where the questions
4 were directed at Mario Cerkez, the response was very
5 flippant, detracting, and normally answered in the
6 sense of another question or allegation of other
7 atrocities against HVO.
8 Q. In connection with the question posed about
9 who perpetrated Ahmici, do you recall Mr. Cerkez's
11 A. I recall a response from him that he actually
12 accused the BiH of perpetrating the act themselves on
13 the grounds that it put the HVO in a very bad light and
14 curried favour with the BiH with UNPROFOR and other
16 Q. What was the reaction of the BiH
17 representatives to such responses?
18 A. Pure derision. It was a ludicrous statement,
19 and both the BiH and ourselves, as the British forces,
20 ECMM, felt the same way.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
22 Ms. Somers. I would like to ask the witness
23 something. He said that the representative of the HVO
24 himself had the same impression. I want to ask him if
25 he could give us some more clarification about what his
1 impressions were.
2 MS. SOMERS:
3 Q. Mr. Buffini, are you able to directly answer
4 the question for the Judge?
5 A. If I'm to understand, it was the BiH
6 representatives who were amazed at the accusation and
7 the statement.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] I meant both
9 the representative of the BH army and yourself, and I'm
10 going to correct my own question, did you have the same
11 impression? After the interpretation given by
12 Mr. Cerkez, could you give us some more details about
13 what impression you had?
14 A. The impression I had was that it was
15 impossible for the BiH to perpetrate such an act
16 against themselves. With the extent of the damage,
17 with the extent of the casualties, that it was
18 impossible for the BiH to have done that to their own
19 people and that it had to have been HVO troops who
20 actually perpetrated Ahmici.
21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MS. SOMERS:
23 Q. Had you become aware of complaints on the
24 part of BiH forces concerning the HVO's use of
25 civilians as human shields on front lines between,
1 particularly, the areas of Vitez and Stari Vitez, as
2 well as the use of Muslim civilian prisoners to dig
3 trenches on these front lines?
4 A. Yes. We encountered several incidents where
5 accusations had been made that the HVO around the Stari
6 Vitez area were using civilians and prisoners of war
7 both to dig trenches and to provide human shields to
8 protect their soldiers.
9 Q. Did you do something about this enquiry, this
11 A. Yes. We made several investigations and
12 visits to those locations, and on one specific occasion
13 made an appointment with Mario Cerkez to discuss the
14 situation in the area.
15 Q. Just for the benefit of those following the
16 outline, there would be a jump in this response to
17 number 47, but we can either go on or just go in
19 Could you describe your encounter with
20 Mr. Cerkez, if you had one, and what his explanation
21 was? What was done on his part?
22 A. The chairman of the ECMM, Henk Morsink, and I
23 had a meeting with Mr. Cerkez in Vitez to really get
24 permission to investigate, on a more thorough basis,
25 the grounds of the accusations being laid against his
1 troops. Again we met with a very flippant response, to
2 the point that he said that Muslims were burning Croat
3 houses in and around the Kruscica area and that we had
4 to investigate that first before we could really
5 investigate the use of prisoners and human shields.
6 Q. Did you, nonetheless, respect the request of
7 Mr. Cerkez and check this out, and did you do it?
8 A. Yes, we checked thoroughly with one of his
9 representatives on the ground and visited several
10 locations to try and identify these burning houses, but
11 found nothing at all.
12 Q. In what area were these houses allegedly
14 A. They were allegedly burning in the Kruscica
15 area, between Vitez and Kruscica.
16 MS. SOMERS: If the usher would distribute
18 Q. Mr. Buffini, if you would be kind enough to
19 indicate the location of Kruscica on this map.
20 A. Kruscica is here [indicates], just a short
21 distance south of Vitez.
22 Q. Was a representative of Mr. Cerkez's present
23 when the location, the alleged location, was given?
24 A. Yes. This was discussed with Mr. Cerkez, his
25 representative, Henk Morsink, and myself.
1 Q. And was that individual also unable to locate
2 any burning houses?
3 A. We escorted him personally to several areas
4 that were pointed out, and he could not identify any
5 burning buildings in the whole of the area.
6 Q. What conclusion did you come to about the
7 veracity of the complaint?
8 A. Our conclusion was that again it was a
9 distraction to take our attention away from the
10 accusations of using troops to dig trenches and using
11 prisoners to act as shields in and around the Vitez
12 area, so that we were detracted from investigating that
13 fully by going on a bit of a wild-goose chase.
14 Q. Did you find it to be false?
15 A. We found the whole accusation of the burning
16 houses completely false, yes.
17 MS. SOMERS: In order to save time, I was
18 going to offer the same video clips that were shown
19 during Mr. Morsink's testimony just to indicate that
20 Mr. Buffini was, in fact, present, as well as to show
21 one segment which has been provided to the Defence on
22 the excerpts or actually on the entire tape of
23 Mr. Buffini at the site of the examination of the dead
24 bodies of two BiH soldiers. I think, if the Court has
25 no objection, unless the Court wants to see it now, it
1 will save considerable time. Again, the point was to
2 confirm his presence there, and also, I think it will
3 be available for you to view later, if you care to see
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. Returning to the issue of trench digging, the
8 use of Muslim detainees for trench digging, and
9 mistreatment of Muslim prisoners, did the ICRC express
10 a concern about this as well?
11 A. Yes. The ICRC came into several of our
12 meetings. Ms. Claire Podbielski represented the ICRC
13 and complained very bitterly towards the assembled
14 group of HVO-BiH that this was unacceptable in the
15 terms of the Geneva Convention and that it had to stop
17 Q. Were these complaints of Ms. Podbielski's, as
18 well as anything you had information on, raised with
19 the HVO, with Mr. Nakic, with Mr. Cerkez?
20 A. Because most of the incidents, the
21 accusations, were against the HVO, Ms. Podbielski
22 directly made the accusations to Mr. Cerkez, Mr. Nakic,
23 and other local commanders that were present at our
25 Q. What were the responses?
1 A. The response was that the HVO would not do
2 such acts, they were against the Geneva Convention, and
3 that they did not know of incidents where this was
4 happening, so flat-out denial.
5 Q. Was that outright denial by Cerkez, Nakic, or
7 A. It was by both, and the other commanders as
9 Q. Did you and Henk Morsink investigate the
10 report of the bodies of two Muslim soldiers having been
11 recovered? And if you could describe what you did
12 about that report to the Court.
13 A. We received a complaint from the local
14 commander -- Bosnian Muslim commander in Kruscica that
15 two bodies had been recovered after about 22 days in
16 the open and had been brought back to a small village,
17 where they asked us to inspect the bodies because they
18 had signs of torture and mutilation. So we went to
19 investigate at the village given to us but understood
20 that the bodies had had to be buried that morning
21 because of their state of decay. But a Muslim reporter
22 had actually videoed the bodies before they were
23 buried, which he then allowed us to see on his video
25 Q. What were your observations when you viewed
1 the videotape that was made?
2 A. The videotape confirmed that the bodies were
3 in a very bad state of decay, with maggots over most of
4 the body, and flies, but it clearly shows that the neck
5 had been severely cut, probably by a thin wire,
6 strangulation, but very definite marks there. There
7 were also very definite lacerations, deep lacerations,
8 around both wrists on one body, as well as several
9 fingers missing on one of the bodies which had been
11 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Somers, it's coming up to
12 1.00. Are you moving on to another topic?
13 MS. SOMERS: Yes, if it's convenient to stop
14 and I will take ten minutes in the morning to finish,
15 that would be fine.
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
17 Mr. Buffini, I'm afraid you'll have to come
18 back tomorrow, half past 9.00, please, to finish your
20 Could you remember, in this adjournment and
21 any others there may be, not to speak to anybody about
22 your evidence, and that includes the Prosecution, and
23 of course not to allow anybody to speak to you about
25 THE WITNESS: I will, Your Honour, yes.
1 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
2 Very well. Half past 9.00 tomorrow morning.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
4 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on
5 Wednesday, the 3rd day of November,
6 1999, at 9.30 a.m.