1 Wednesday, November 3rd, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.10 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: Ms. Somers, perhaps I can address
10 you. The position, as you know, is that Judge Robinson
11 is not here this morning. The reason is that his wife
12 is in hospital expecting an operation. It had been
13 thought that it would be today, but there is now some
14 doubt about that. The upshot is that he will not be
15 here and may not be here tomorrow and the day after.
16 We are in a position, if everybody is
17 agreeable, to certainly finish this witness, which
18 would be desirable, with only two of us, taking
19 depositions under Rule 71.
20 Now, I hope the parties have had notice of
21 the position, have had a chance of considering it. As
22 far as the Prosecution is concerned, is there any
23 objection to that course?
24 MS. SOMERS: As to completing the direct, the
25 cross, and the redirect of witness Michael Buffini,
1 there is no objection. We have, in fact, during the
2 break, prepared the application that is necessary under
3 the Kupreskic holdings. It was our understanding that
4 it might be a joint one; I have been informed by Hunton
5 & Williams that they will simply not oppose ours. I am
6 not clear at this point of the position of Mr. Kovacic;
7 however, application will be filed, and no objection as
8 to this witness.
9 JUDGE MAY: It requires an application of
10 only one party, so that will be sufficient.
11 Yes, now, what about any other witnesses?
12 MS. SOMERS: First I have to express regret
13 that at this time Mr. Nice is not available, because of
14 the very late arrival of the next witness, and I have
15 been asked to convey that he would like to have an
16 opportunity to consider whether or not it would be
17 appropriate with the following witnesses to proceed by
18 deposition. Perhaps, if the Court would grant us,
19 after Mr. Buffini's testimony, a break, he would be in
20 a better position to inform the Court of his
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. He, of course, can address
23 us on it. But we can go on, then, until the break,
24 which will be at half past 11, and perhaps he can deal
25 with the matter then.
1 Mr. Sayers, is there any objection?
2 MR. SAYERS: Absolutely not, Your Honour, and
3 I believe a written notice of nonobjection has been
4 faxed to the legal officer.
5 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Kovacic?
7 MR. KOVACIC: Same with us, Your Honour. No
8 objection on it.
9 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers,
10 as you have just said, if I have understood you
11 correctly, you are presenting a written request which
12 is being presented pursuant to Rule 71(B); that is, a
13 motion which indicates the name of the individual who
14 is to be examined, the date, and the place, so that we
15 be in accordance with Sub-rule 71(B). Is that
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MS. SOMERS: Sorry.
19 The application has been submitted, I
20 believe, to the Registrar, and I believe the date is --
21 all the necessary points are in there, and we would be
22 so prepared to proceed.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE MAY: Judge Bennouna reminds me it is
25 the case that we have consulted Judge Robinson on the
1 telephone about this matter, and it's the decision of
2 the Trial Chamber that we should proceed by
3 deposition. We'll go on with this witness.
4 Mr. Buffini, I'm sorry you've been kept
6 WITNESS: MICHAEL BUFFINI [Resumed]
7 Examined by Ms. Somers:
8 Q. Mr. Buffini, yesterday, although I apologise
9 because I did not have the benefit of a transcript to
10 review the point from which I had left off, but going
11 back to yesterday, you were indicating that there had
12 been a discussion and complaint raised about the use by
13 the HVO of Muslim either civilians and/or prisoners of
14 war for trench digging and for human shields. This was
15 pursued, and --
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Were you, in fact, shown any of the areas
18 where the alleged trench digging and/or human shield
19 activity was to have taken place, and if so, what did
20 you see?
21 A. We were not taken and shown the areas, but we
22 were given the locations where the incidents were
23 supposed to have happened. We then went directly to
24 those locations to view for ourselves, and all we saw
25 were freshly dug trenches which had been done within
1 24 hours or so of our visit, but we saw no prisoners
2 and no civilians in the area at all.
3 Q. Did you seek permission to go there, or any
4 intervention and assistance by the HVO?
5 A. Yes, we actually asked Mr. Cerkez if he would
6 take us to the locations so that we could check the
7 complaint ourselves; this is Henk Morsink and I. But
8 after a general discussion, we weren't escorted. We
9 visited the location ourselves.
10 Q. Did you detect any delay in your having
11 access to said sites?
12 A. It was very clear that it was a time-delaying
13 tactic, because we insisted on moving there as quickly
14 as possible but then got embroiled in a discussion
15 about burning houses and other incidents that were
16 happening to HVO and Bosnian Croat troops at the time.
17 Q. Without spending unnecessary time in any
18 repetition of videos, as indicated yesterday, I would
19 ask that the third clip of the video which was
20 presented during prior testimony of Mr. Morsink be
21 shown to the Court, and as indicated yesterday, I would
22 request that the entire video, which has been submitted
23 to the Defence, be submitted to the Court so that
24 should the Chamber wish to view it in its entirety, it
25 can have it at its disposal.
1 At this time we would ask the audio people to
2 help out with that third clip.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, before that happens,
4 Mr. Kovacic, yes.
5 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, just to raise a
6 minor matter, that is the video we have seen on which I
7 have objection that the translation is not correct.
8 You ordered at that time that we should get an accurate
9 translation. We still haven't got it.
10 MS. SOMERS: May I respond?
11 JUDGE MAY: Right. That's something we need
12 to look into. Now let's play the video.
13 [Videotape played]
14 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Yes, but they
15 said in the other part.
16 In which part? He said that it was near the
17 place where the mines were placed.
18 MS. SOMERS:
19 Q. Mr. Buffini, the video which you have seen,
20 if you could comment on who the individuals are who
21 perhaps are not known to the Court, and if you could
22 indicate what the structure -- it appeared to be grey
23 brick-like in a field -- was just prior to the British
24 gentleman speaking was?
25 A. The characters involved, though, Henk Morsink
1 and another ECMM person was involved with our
2 translator. We'd also brought along one of the HVO
3 troops who had been sent by Mr. Cerkez to identify the
4 location of the burning house, but he obviously
5 couldn't pinpoint the exact location. And we saw
6 nothing anywhere in about an hour's driving around to
7 indicate that any houses had been set on fire or were
9 In the video you saw an anti-personnel mine
10 which was in the grass, which had had a trip wire
11 attached to it, so that people walking around that
12 area, if they weren't careful, could easily have
13 detonated that anti-personnel mine.
14 Q. Who was the British gentleman who began to
15 comment about the absence of burning houses?
16 A. The gentleman in the blue flak
17 jacket was Geoffrey Archer who at the time was a news
18 correspondent for the ITN news in the United Kingdom.
19 He's now an author of some books.
20 Q. Was the HVO representative who was with you
21 and who was in that video also present when Mr. Cerkez
22 gave the description of where the houses should be
24 A. Yes, he was. He had joined in the
25 conversation with Henk Morsink and myself and had been
1 given the location to investigate by Mr. Cerkez.
2 Q. Did that HVO representative ride in the same
3 vehicle with you to the locations?
4 A. Yes, he did. He was in the same vehicle as
6 Q. Was there a meeting at the end of April in
7 1993 at which Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault from ECMM
8 attended and also General Petkovic and General
10 A. Yes, that meeting was held in the ECMM house
11 in Vitez.
12 Q. Were you present?
13 A. I was for most of the meeting, yes.
14 Q. Who from the representative level of the HVO
15 and the ABiH were present, the local level rather?
16 A. From the local level we had our normal
17 representatives of Mr. Merdan, Mr. Nakic, and I believe
18 other commanders from the area there, including
19 Mr. Cerkez, and I don't believe Colonel Blaskic was
21 Q. Was this after Ahmici?
22 A. Yes, this was definitely after Ahmici.
23 Q. What, if anything, was agreed upon at that
25 A. The meeting agreed that there would be a
1 Central Bosnia-wide ceasefire which would take effect
2 that evening. There would also be an exchange of lists
3 of prisoners and close co-operation with the ICRC about
4 prisoner releases. And there was also an agreement
5 that troops on front-line positions would move back to
6 designated positions which were given behind their own
7 front lines.
8 Q. Based on your experience on the joint
9 commission, did you make any -- come to any conclusions
10 about the degree of authority that Mario Cerkez
11 exhibited as opposed to the degree of authority which
12 Franjo Nakic exhibited?
13 A. Yes, it was very clear that Mr. Nakic had
14 very little authority when asked to make decisions
15 agreed by the joint commission, whereas we felt that
16 Mr. Cerkez had far more authority in deciding
17 something. When he actually said that something would
18 be done, we knew that that would be achieved.
19 Q. Did you learn of the holding of 60 or so
20 Bosnian Muslim males in the Vitez cinema by the HVO at
21 some point?
22 A. Yes. We were actually taken there with
23 General Petkovic and General Halilovic during the tour
24 of the Stari Vitez, Vitez area. And I personally went
25 into the cinema with the group who were escorting the
1 two Generals and saw the 60 odd prisoners in the
3 Q. Are you able to estimate the ages of the
5 A. The ages of most of them were over 30 to 55.
6 There were very few, if at all, young people under the
7 age of 30.
8 Q. And these were males?
9 A. Yes, they were always males.
10 Q. Did their release come about?
11 A. The release was given when we attended, so
12 that both Generals agreed that all the prisoners were
13 free to go as of that moment, and were able to walk out
14 of the cinema, should they choose to do so.
15 Q. Did any or all of these individuals, to your
16 knowledge, express a fear about their safety at the
17 hands of the HVO?
18 A. I believe there were only six people who felt
19 confident enough to leave at that time. All the others
20 feared that as soon as they left the cinema, they would
21 either be shot or attacked by HVO troops in the local
22 area. So they actually stayed.
23 Q. Did they set any conditions for their leaving
24 the cinema?
25 A. The prisoners that were held specifically
1 requested protection from UNPROFOR troops before they
2 moved out. So they wanted escorting from the location.
3 Q. Did they receive it?
4 A. Not at that point, no. We couldn't provide
5 them at that time with that support.
6 Q. Are you familiar with a feature known as
7 Maklen ridge?
8 A. Yes, I was.
9 Q. I'd ask -- excuse me. I'd ask the usher to
10 distribute Z22612,7.
11 Mr. Buffini, looking at the map before you,
12 are you able to point to the location of Maklen?
13 A. Yes. Maklen was just north of Prozor. It
14 went up the steep hill. At the top of the hill was
15 Maklen ridge.
16 Q. Does the Chamber have a video of it? Okay.
17 That's fine. Thank you. Ours just came on.
18 What was the significance, if you know, of
19 this particular feature?
20 A. The significance that we were informed of was
21 that this was more or less a front-line position, which
22 was a natural feature between Prozor in the south and
23 Gornji Vakuf in the north and was a dominating position
24 for the whole area.
25 Q. When you completed your tour in Bosnia, what
1 did you then do? Excuse me. Before you answer that.
2 When you finished your tour in covering the matters
3 which have been the subject of this examination, did
4 you then work in the Sarajevo area and other areas in
6 A. Yes. Once the joint commission had moved to
7 Travnik, where the BiH Army and HVO army had set up a
8 joint headquarters, my job ceased to function and I
9 deployed my troops to different locations, and used to
10 visit those to investigate the type of roles they would
11 be deployed in. So we went to Maglaj, we went to
12 Sarajevo, Zadar and a few other places as well, even
13 including Dubrovnik and Prevlaka.
14 Q. When did you leave Bosnia and Croatia?
15 A. I finally left on the 12th of July, I think
16 it was, that I flew out of Split back to the United
18 MS. SOMERS: No further questions.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:
20 Q. Good morning, Mr. Buffini. My name is Steven
21 Sayers. Together with my colleague, Mr. Naumovski, we
22 represent the accused Dario Kordic. The gentlemen over
23 to my left here, Mr. Kovacic and Mr. Mikulicic, they
24 represent Mr. Cerkez.
25 I do not think that the questions that I have
1 for you will take particularly long, sir. There are
2 three areas that I would like to concentrate upon.
3 First, your duties as the chief intelligence
4 -- military intelligence officer in the area and the
5 liaison officers who were working with you.
6 Second, the chain of command issues that you
7 addressed in your direct testimony.
8 And third, the issue relating to the HV
9 troops that you say you saw in the area of Prozor and
10 areas to the south of that in the spring of 1993.
11 And I'll try to make it clear which area I am
12 questioning you about so that we all know where we are
14 As I understand it, Mr. Buffini, you were
15 actually the officer in charge of the United Kingdom
16 liaison offices, the UKLO's in the area; is that
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. And the primary task of the UKLO's, or one of
20 the primary tasks, correct me if I'm wrong, is or was
21 the gathering of military intelligence relating to
22 certain specific subjects that you were tasked to
23 investigate; is that correct?
24 A. That's not correct. It wasn't specific
25 gathering of military intelligence. It was gathering
1 information about activities along the main supply
2 routes and other areas where British and United Nations
3 troops were working to ensure that we were forewarned
4 of any difficulties or any problems that would impede
5 our tasks with the UNHCR.
6 Q. I stand duly corrected. Basically, what you
7 were doing was gathering all kinds of intelligence that
8 would effect the mission of UNPROFOR, if you like, and
9 British and other forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
10 provision of humanitarian aid to needy persons; is that
12 A. I was gathering that type of information for
13 those purposes, yes.
14 Q. Thanks.
15 You actually worked for an entity with the
16 acronym of "ComBritFor" from January the 15th, 1993, to
17 July the 12th, 1993. I think you've testified to
18 that. Could you just elucidate what ComBritFor
19 actually was, sir?
20 A. "ComBritFor" was the title for "Commander,
21 British Forces," which was deployed in Divulje barracks
22 and had the responsibility for support to the British
23 Battalion and other United Nations agencies working
24 through Croatia into Bosnia.
25 Q. And the head of ComBritFor, I think that you
1 testified to this, was Brigadier Andrew Cumming, based
2 in Split, Croatia; correct?
3 A. He was the first of the two brigadiers I
4 served under, yes.
5 Q. And the second one was?
6 That's okay. And you were detached to the
7 Busovaca area at the beginning of February 1993, I
8 believe, was your testimony?
9 A. It was the end of February, beginning of
10 March. I think it was March the 3rd I moved up.
11 Q. There were two officers under your command,
12 specifically two LOs, Captain Tom Major and Captain
13 Mike Robison; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct, and they deployed to the
15 Busovaca joint commission in early February,
16 mid-February, yes.
17 Q. Their role was to advise the European
18 Community Monitoring Mission on security matters and to
19 act as a communications link with you in ComBritFor via
20 their satellite telephones and radios; is that right?
21 A. Not quite. The communication was really to
22 provide links with the British Battalion for any
23 immediate support, and also back to UNPROFOR
24 headquarters in Kiseljak, as well as to us.
25 Q. Thank you. Would it be fair to say that you
1 were in fairly constant communication with your liaison
2 officers, and through them, with BritBat?
3 A. I was in daily contact most of the time with
4 the U.K. liaison officers, and occasionally had the
5 need to liaise with BritBat, yes.
6 Q. When you were actually deployed into the area
7 of Central Bosnia, sir, you obviously had personal
8 contact with the military information offices for the
9 two British battalions whose presence in the area your
10 tour of duty straddled; is that fair to say?
11 A. That's correct. We went to the daily
12 briefings which both battalions had in an evening, yes.
13 Q. That would be captain Chris Leighton for the
14 Cheshire Regiment and Captain Simon Harrison for the
15 1st Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own Regiment of
16 Yorkshire; correct?
17 A. I believe they were both the -- the officers
18 involved, yes.
19 Q. Now, you've previously given a statement to
20 the investigators for the Prosecution, I believe, dated
21 April the 2nd and 3rd, 1997, sir; is that correct?
22 A. I'm not certain of that. I don't relate to
23 which document.
24 Q. Well, do you remember actually giving a
25 written statement which you signed -- the date, I'll
1 represent to you, is April the 2nd and 3rd, 1997, but
2 the date that you signed it was actually April the 4th,
4 A. That's correct, yes.
5 Q. All right. And you testified, I believe,
6 sir, in the Blaskic case on December the 17th of 1997?
7 A. Yes, I believe I did.
8 Q. One issue that I was interested in in your
9 statement was you were involved in some heated
10 discussions between General Morillon and ComBritFor
11 regarding who actually had command and control over the
12 BritBat component of UNPROFOR; is that correct?
13 A. I received a phone call from General Morillon
14 to get Brigadier Cumming on the phone, yes.
15 Q. Who did have control over BritBat? Was it
16 UNPROFOR, or was it ComBritFor?
17 A. UNPROFOR had direct control, and they had
18 command of BritBat in the territory that they were
19 working in. ComBritFor provided the military support
20 for that battalion and did not have direct command of
22 Q. Turning very briefly to the situation that
23 you found when you travelled to Central Bosnia in the
24 early part of 1993, Mr. Buffini, there is no question
25 that you found a series of geographically isolated
1 Bosnian Croat enclaves essentially surrounded by ABiH
2 forces; would that be fair to say?
3 A. There were certain areas; I'm not certain
4 that they were enclaves. But, yes, certain Bosnian
5 Croat areas with BiH army surrounding most of those
6 places, yes.
7 Q. Just two specific questions on these. There
8 is no question that the Bosnian Croats controlled the
9 area between Vitez and Busovaca, but there is equally
10 no question that from Kacuni to Bilalovac, which are
11 two villages just to the south of Busovaca, that was
12 area controlled by ABiH forces; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. That essentially cut off the main supply
15 route between the town of Kiseljak to the south and
16 Busovaca to the north; right?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. The second question is, you gave some
19 testimony relating to the route triangle in the area of
20 Prozor and Gornji Vakuf. Isn't it true that the road
21 from Gornji Vakuf up to Central Bosnia was actually cut
22 off by the ABiH in January of 1993, and that made
23 travel for all persons, including you, incredibly
25 A. I wasn't certain that it was cut off by BiH.
1 We certainly knew that it was very difficult to travel
2 up that road because of unknown entities that were
3 working in that region.
4 Q. You were asked a question in your testimony
5 two years ago, on page 5623 of the Blaskic transcript,
6 whether in approximately January of 1993 the road north
7 from Prozor to Novi Travnik was cut to the HVO, in the
8 sense that it was taken over by the BH army. Your
9 response was, "It was cut in various areas and made
10 travel through there incredibly difficult." That's
11 still your view today, is it not?
12 A. That's still my view, because there was a
13 renegade -- gangs, certainly one known as the Fishhead
14 gang, that were operating on that route.
15 Q. Would it be fair to say that upon your
16 arrival in the area, and before the Busovaca joint
17 commission really got underway, you found in the area
18 of Vitez and Busovaca a state of military, political,
19 and social chaos, essentially?
20 A. Yes, throughout the whole area, yes.
21 Q. In fact, sir, it was routine to hear
22 complaints on both sides, to be fair, of ethnic
23 cleansing, attacks on remote villages, shootings and
24 snipings, and general harassment of women and children,
25 wasn't it?
1 A. It was, throughout the whole area.
2 Q. Indeed, there were general complaints, and
3 you've alluded to this just a second ago, on the part
4 of both sides, about gangs of thugs roving around the
5 countryside and generally harassing people, blowing up
6 houses and businesses and so forth; isn't that true?
7 A. There were some incidents of that.
8 Q. What I'm talking about is not just the
9 incidents, but general complaints on both sides about
10 that phenomenon to you?
11 A. There were general complaints to the
12 commission on harassment in villages, harassment of
13 civilians, harassment of women, burning of houses, and
14 aggression towards both Muslims in a Croat village and
15 Croats in Muslim villages.
16 Q. Thank you, sir.
17 When you arrived in the Busovaca area in
18 January of 1993, it's true, is it not, that the HVO had
19 recently lost control of the territory that we have
20 just covered, from Kacuni to Bilalovac, that area, the
21 main supply route had actually been captured by ABiH
22 forces shortly before you arrived; correct?
23 A. I wasn't aware that the BiH army had moved
24 into those areas. I actually thought they were Muslim
25 villages which were on those routes and not sort of
1 invaded territory, no.
2 Q. Were you aware that the 333rd Mountain
3 Brigade of the ABiH actually had located its
4 headquarters in the village of Kacuni?
5 A. I probably had been briefed at some stage,
6 but it didn't have any sort of relevance to me at that
7 stage of numbers, brigades, because there were just so
8 many different ones coming through.
9 Q. That's quite all right, sir. It is a
10 significant number of years ago.
11 Turning to the Busovaca joint commission, I
12 believe that you were sent to Busovaca to sit on this
13 commission, in fact, you were asked to head it up by
14 Brigadier Cumming; isn't that true?
15 A. I was asked to head up the military side of
16 the commission, yes.
17 Q. I think that you testified that the
18 commission moved from Busovaca and expanded its focus
19 or the spectrum of activities that it addressed once it
20 moved to Vitez; is that correct?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. Actually the name of the commission when it
23 was in Vitez was the Vitez joint commission, and it
24 subsequently became renamed the joint commission after
25 the fighting had broken out in the Lasva Valley in
1 April; isn't that so?
2 A. I think we initially started calling it the
3 Vitez commission but very quickly dropped it to just
4 the joint commission.
5 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
6 Mr. Sayers. I would like to ask the witness whether
7 during the time that he was part of the mixed Vitez
8 commission, whether the scope of that commission's
9 activities -- the scope of work of that committee has
10 changed in the meantime. That is, that the commission
11 had a broader jurisdiction through the change in name,
12 or was it the same scope of jurisdiction that it had
13 been before?
14 A. In the very first few days, it retained the
15 same scope, but very quickly expanded because of the
16 area we were operating from, we received complaints
17 from both BiH and HVO in and around the Vitez, Zenica,
18 up to Travnik area. So we were asked to include all of
19 that in our scope of operations.
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 MR. SAYERS:
22 Q. Thank you, Major. One minor detail: It's
23 true, is it not, that Mr. Kordic never attended a
24 single meeting of the Busovaca joint commission?
25 A. To my belief, that is correct.
1 Q. Similarly, he never attended any meetings of
2 the Vitez joint commission or participated in any of
3 the negotiations between the various parties throughout
4 the time that you sat on that body; isn't that correct?
5 A. Not to my knowledge, that is correct, yes.
6 Q. You made a decision to try to attend about
7 90 per cent of the meetings of that body, did you not?
8 A. As many as I could fit in and which were
10 Q. And that was about 90 per cent of them,
11 wasn't it?
12 A. It was -- it was, yes.
13 Q. Let me just turn to the second subject that I
14 want to cover with you, the chain of command that you
15 were able to determine with respect to the armed forces
16 of the HVO. There is no doubt in your mind, sir, is
17 there, that all of the HVO forces, including the
18 so-called special purpose units, were under the command
19 and control of Colonel Blaskic?
20 A. That was my understanding, that's correct,
22 Q. So, too, were the military jails and
23 detention facilities and the wardens in charge of those
24 facilities, as far as you were aware; isn't that true?
25 A. As far as I was aware, yes.
1 Q. And all of the commanders that you
2 encountered within the HVO, uniformly followed the
3 orders of their commanding officer, the commander of
4 the Central Bosnia operative zone; isn't that true?
5 A. Except for the one occasion which I outlined,
6 but, yes, the majority of the time they would go under
7 Colonel Blaskic's written or verbal orders.
8 Q. This was the conclusion of you as the chief
9 of the intelligence gathering facilities, if you like,
10 of the British forces in Central Bosnia?
11 A. No, I certainly wasn't chief of intelligence
12 gathering. That wasn't my role when I was with the
13 Busovaca Joint Commission or the joint commission. All
14 I was dealing with were the commission sort of local
15 commanders and the HVO and BiH troops in the area.
16 Q. All right. In that capacity, sir, it was
17 apparent to you that the local commanders with whom you
18 dealt with, the one exception that we'll get to in just
19 a second, but it was very apparent to you that the
20 local commanders all respected Colonel Blaskic's
21 authority over them and that you confirmed this in
22 speaking with them; isn't that correct?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. In fact, sometimes when you visited Bosnian
25 Croat villages and spoke with the local commanders,
1 they occasionally would not or declined to recognise
2 orders issued by the Busovaca Joint Commission; isn't
3 that true?
4 A. They wouldn't accept orders from the
5 commission unless it had Colonel Blaskic's written
6 letter of authority to do what was being asked of them.
7 Q. All right. In fact, it was clear to you and
8 your colleagues in the United Kingdom armed forces that
9 Colonel Blaskic had a very firm grip on all of the HVO
10 troops that were under his command in the Lasva Valley;
11 isn't that true?
12 A. That was our understanding, yes.
13 Q. In fact, sir, it was your view that the local
14 commanders were indeed scared of Colonel Blaskic? They
15 held him in high regard, right?
16 A. They had a bit of a fear for him, yes, and
17 held him in quite high regard.
18 Q. In fact, you testified, I believe, on page
19 5.580 of the Blaskic transcript, that:
20 "It was very clear that Colonel Blaskic had
21 full control of all the local commanders and very much
22 controlled those troops in Central Bosnia. Most of the
23 commanders that I met from the HVO were fairly scared
24 of Colonel Blaskic. They would not normally do
25 anything in disagreement to the orders he had given."
1 That's essentially the situation, as you
2 found it, when you were in Central Bosnia, correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Now, turning to the instance of what you've
5 described, I think, as a little bit of a revolt against
6 this general principle. It's true that you encountered
7 one instance where the Busovaca HVO area commander on
8 his own initiative had ordered a private aid convoy
9 searched because he was actually convinced that it was
10 being used to smuggle arms and ammunition. Isn't that
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. You were called in, actually, to negotiate
14 for the release of the detained vehicles with the local
15 commander, right?
16 A. I was not working with the joint commission
17 at that stage. I was assisting Henk Morsink because
18 he'd asked me to come along with him. But it was the
19 BritBat troops who had been called in to negotiate it.
20 We were just there as escorting and helping.
21 Q. Yes. Do you recall the name of the local
22 commander with whom you dealt, sir?
23 A. No, I don't.
24 Q. Now, it's true, is it not, that this
25 gentleman was clearly under the influence of quite a
1 bit of alcohol?
2 A. He'd had a few to drink, yes.
3 Q. He actually had a lot to drink, hadn't he, in
4 your opinion?
5 A. As I said, he had quite a bit to drink, yes.
6 Q. And he was actually extremely angry that the
7 convoy had been allowed through, -- was he not?
8 A. Yes, he was very bitter, very angry that the
9 convoy had been allowed to go through and had not been
10 stopped and searched for arms and ammunition.
11 Q. So on his own initiative he decided to stop
12 the convoy and search it, didn't he?
13 A. Yes, he did.
14 Q. After two hours of negotiations, that
15 situation was eventually resolved, right?
16 A. Right.
17 Q. Indeed, sir, you asked this person
18 specifically if he had Colonel Blaskic's authority to
19 do what he did, correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. He evaded your question, didn't he?
22 A. He made it reasonably clear that he didn't
23 have that authority to do what he had done.
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
25 Mr. Sayers. You are speaking about that individual.
1 The one individual, could you tell us exactly who that
2 is? I'm not really able to follow what person is it
3 you are talking about. Is it the same one who was --
4 who had drunk too much? Is it the same person?
5 Because I've kind of lost the thread here.
6 MR. SAYERS: I'm very sorry about that,
7 judge. That's my fault.
8 Q. Just so that we are clear, Mr. Buffini, the
9 local HVO commander who stopped the convoy on his own
10 initiative is the gentleman who was actually clearly
11 under the influence of drink, in your opinion, and
12 angry that the convoy had been allowed through; isn't
13 that true?
14 A. It's the same person, yes.
15 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Could we
16 have that person's name?
17 MR. SAYERS: I don't believe the witness
18 remembers the name. If it was the local commander --
19 Your Honour, let me just suggest to the witness that it
20 may have been a man by the name of Dusko Grubesic.
21 A. It wasn't Grubesic. It was somebody else,
22 because I knew Grubesic.
23 Q. And the suggestion of the name that I just
24 made to you just doesn't jog your memory, I take it,
25 all this time later?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Very well. Suffice it to say, Mr. Buffini,
3 that you intimated to this gentleman that you were
4 going to make a strong complaint to Colonel Blaskic;
5 did you not?
6 A. I didn't personally make it. I was with
7 Colonel Duncan and Henk Morsink when we were having the
8 discussion with this gentleman.
9 Q. And you heard those officers instruct the
10 local HVO commander in no uncertain terms that a strong
11 complaint was going to be made to Colonel Blaskic;
12 isn't that right?
13 A. That's correct, yes.
14 Q. Following that, would it be fair to say that
15 the local commander reconsidered his position, albeit
16 reluctantly, and allowed the vehicles that had been
17 detained to be released?
18 A. He was actually very reluctant to release the
19 vehicles, regardless of whether Colonel Blaskic told
20 him anything or else or not.
21 Q. But he nonetheless did so after you had --
22 after the threat had been made to report him up the
23 chain of command to Colonel Blaskic; isn't that
25 A. That was part of the reason why he released
1 it. The other reason was that most of the vehicles had
2 actually been searched and nothing had been found. And
3 we had persuaded him that it was time to let the rest
5 Q. Thank you. Turning to the final set of
6 questions that I wanted to ask you. This concerns your
7 sighting of HV troops in the area of Prozor. Did I
8 understand you to say that the sum total of instances
9 of sightings of HV troops that you were made aware of
10 throughout your tour from January to July was two?
11 A. No. I personally sighted on two occasions,
12 but there were more incidents that I was involved in
13 from the watchkeeping duties where reports came back
14 that HV troops were using route triangle.
15 Q. Now, did you actually speak to any of the
16 soldiers within these coaches yourself?
17 A. No, I didn't speak to anyone at all.
18 Q. Do you speak Croatian at all?
19 A. Not at all.
20 Q. Did you use any interpreters to try to pose
21 questions to any of the soldiers that were in these
23 A. No, we had no interpreters with us.
24 Q. All right. So it would be fair to say that
25 you don't know what the mission of the soldiers was,
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. You don't know who that commander was?
4 A. No.
5 Q. All right. And your conclusions regarding
6 their providence was based upon, first, HV patches on
7 their uniforms and, second, on Croatian licence plates,
8 I think you said, that you saw on the buses themselves?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. How did you know that they were Croatian
11 licence plates, specifically?
12 A. Having spent quite a bit of my time in and
13 around Split and in Croatia, I recognised Croatian
14 licence plates.
15 Q. Isn't it true that a Croatian licence plate
16 has a chequerboard symbol plus five little symbols on
17 the top of it denoting the five regions in Croatia?
18 A. I don't recall specifically, but I certainly
19 knew at the time what was -- what was what.
20 Q. Did you ever see any licence plates of
21 vehicles that were operating in the territory of the
22 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna?
23 A. I saw vehicles in and around sort of Vitez,
24 if that's what you mean, and other areas, yes.
25 Q. Do you know what the difference between a
1 Croatian licence plate is and a Croatian community of
2 Herceg-Bosna licence plate is?
3 A. I did at the time, but I can't exactly recall
4 at the moment.
5 Q. You also related an incident in which these
6 troops had, in your opinion, been fighting. You don't
7 know precisely where they had been fighting, though, do
9 A. No.
10 Q. And you don't know under whose command they
11 had been fighting, do you?
12 A. No.
13 Q. You never received any information whatsoever
14 that any of these HV troops had moved up the main
15 supply route from Herzegovina into Central Bosnia, did
17 A. Up -- sorry? Your definition of Central
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina locations.
19 Q. That's fair enough, sir. You never received
20 any information that any HV troops of the type that you
21 sighted had moved from the Prozor area up to the Lasva
22 Valley, for example, or to the Kiseljak area, did you?
23 A. We had no information specifically on that,
25 Q. And you never saw any such troops in the
1 central Lasva Valley or Central Bosnia, Kiseljak,
2 Vitez, Busovaca area yourself, did you?
3 A. No, I didn't.
4 Q. And, indeed, you are of the opinion that
5 wherever those troops had been fighting, they had not
6 been involved in combat activities in Central Bosnia
7 itself, in the Vitez, Busovaca, Novi Travnik, Kiseljak
8 area; isn't that correct?
9 A. Not in those areas, but in and around the
10 Prozor area, yes.
11 Q. Isn't it true that you have no specific
12 personal knowledge that either Colonel Blaskic or the
13 HVO was paid or financed by the Republic of Croatia?
14 A. I have no personal knowledge of that, no.
15 Q. And no personal knowledge that the activities
16 of any of the officers in Central Bosnia were directed,
17 coordinated or supervised by responsible military or
18 political officials within the Republic of Croatia,
20 A. No direct knowledge of it, no.
21 Q. Similarly, have you no personal knowledge
22 that the Republic of Croatia ever issued specific
23 instructions concerning the commission of actions by
24 Colonel Blaskic or by the HVO in Central Bosnia, have
25 you, sir?
1 A. I never saw any instructions, no.
2 Q. You have no specific knowledge that the
3 Republic of Croatia entrusted Colonel Blaskic with the
4 specific task of performing lawful actions on its
5 behalf, but that he, in discharging that task, breached
6 some sort of obligation owed by the Republic of
7 Croatia; isn't that correct?
8 A. I wasn't aware that -- of those actions, no.
9 Q. Certainly, it would be fair to say that you
10 never saw Colonel Blaskic or any other soldier in
11 Central Bosnia dressed in the uniform of the forces of
12 the Republic of Croatia; isn't that correct?
13 A. I never saw Colonel Blaskic dressed in
14 uniform, but obviously there were other HV soldiers
15 that I saw in the Prozor area.
16 Q. Right. But I am talking about the --
17 A. Not in the Vitez, no.
18 Q. Right. And it's true, is it not, that the
19 general staff of the HVO was headquartered in Mostar?
20 A. That's correct, yes.
21 Q. And you yourself had some dealings, I
22 believe, with the chief of the general staff, Brigadier
23 Milivoj Petkovic?
24 A. On one occasion, yes.
25 Q. Isn't it true that Brigadier Petkovic
1 reported to the President of the Croatian community of
2 Herceg-Bosna and to the Department of Defence of the
4 A. That was my understanding.
5 Q. Yes. And not to anybody in Croatia, as far
6 as you are aware?
7 A. As far as I was aware, no.
8 Q. The final series of questions that I've got
9 for you, sir, concern the ceasefire negotiations that
10 occurred, I believe April the 20th, 21st of 1993
11 involving Brigadier Petkovic and General Halilovic.
12 It's true, is it not, that in none of those
13 negotiations -- let me rephrase the question.
14 Mr. Kordic wasn't involved in any of those
15 negotiations, as far as you are aware, was he?
16 A. Not as far as I was aware.
17 Q. And after the ceasefire agreement had been
18 concluded, you took the senior military commanders of
19 both sides on a personal tour of the front lines in
20 Vitez, did you not?
21 A. I escorted them, but wasn't personally taking
22 them around.
23 Q. You've testified that Brigadier Petkovic was
24 the chief of the general staff of the HVO. It's true
25 that his counterpart, the commanding officer of the
1 ABiH forces, if you like, was General Sefer Halilovic?
2 A. That's correct, yes.
3 Q. You were present in person as General
4 Halilovic and Brigadier Petkovic were giving orders to
5 their troops on the ground, right?
6 A. I was present.
7 Q. Incidently, in the high level negotiations
8 that preceded the signature of the ceasefire agreement
9 on April the 21st, I believe it was, 1993, as far as
10 you are aware, the issue of the fighting in Ahmici and
11 the consequences of that fighting were never actually
12 raised or discussed between the negotiators, were they?
13 A. I don't believe they were. I can't recall
15 Q. Thank you very much indeed, sir. I have no
16 further questions.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
19 Q. Good day, Mr. Buffini. My name is Bozidar
20 Kovacic. I am the Defence counsel for Mr. Cerkez,
21 together with my colleague, Mr. Mikulicic.
22 At one point in time you mentioned that you
23 were passing by Sinj and you saw training grounds for
24 soldiers. Sinj is in Croatia; is that right?
25 A. The training camp was on the route to Sinj,
1 but not actually in Sinj. But it was in Croatia, yes.
2 Q. At that time Croatia was under the aggression
3 of the Yugoslav People's Army that was under Serbia's
4 control; is that right?
5 A. I believe so, yes.
6 Q. While you were in Divulje, essentially
7 Croatia was at a state of war, wasn't it?
8 A. Yes, it was.
9 Q. Is it strange, then, in any way to see a
10 concentration of military forces, including a training
12 A. No, it wasn't strange at all.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to put a few
14 questions to you. It seems to me that it is not clear
15 after your testimony, and after Mr. Morsink's testimony
16 some details remained unclear, so I would like to seek
17 your assistance on those matters.
18 Yesterday it seemed, on the basis of what you
19 said, as if the Busovaca commission was moved to Nova
20 Bila; that is to say, to the ECMM offices next to the
21 British Battalion already in March 1993. I'd like to
22 put the following to you: Mr. Morsink said here -- as
23 for the transcript, this is page 121 on the 71st day --
24 in response to the Prosecutor's question whether the
25 first meeting was held on the 8th of May, that is to
1 say, of the local commission in Busovaca, and whether
2 that was the first meeting in Vitez. Morsink said, and
3 I quote, "Then we saw a video and the pictures of the
4 persons present."
5 Do you agree on this, that the first meeting
6 of the commission at the new premises near the British
7 camp was only on the 8th of May?
8 A. No, the first meeting of the joint command,
9 which was the BiH and HVO armies, was in May. The
10 Busovaca commission was in March. And it moved to
12 Q. So, in your opinion, when did it have its
13 first meeting in Vitez, approximately?
14 A. The first meeting of the Vitez commission was
15 middle of March.
16 Q. I would like to present Exhibit Z548,1.
17 Could the usher please show it to the witness. Could
18 the Registrar help me on this.
19 This was tendered during the first part of
20 your testimony. You saw this document. This is the
21 ECMM report from the 17th of March. I would like to
22 draw your attention to the last page in this report.
23 Please look at the penultimate paragraph. Point 7. It
24 says "Proposal" in capital letters. It says here that
25 the commission -- well, I mean, this could have been
1 the 17th of March that the commission -- well, first of
2 all, it's called a proposal, so I'm not sure whether it
3 was a decision or not. Secondly, it says here that the
4 commission would move to Vitez when the office
5 premises, the building next door to the British
6 headquarters -- that's what it says in brackets --
7 together with all the necessary equipment, will
8 actually be able to be used, and it says explicitly not
9 before that. So it is only on the 17th of March that
10 this decision was passed. I imagine that under those
11 circumstances, the building that was used later for
12 meetings could not have been arranged in such a short
13 period of time. On the basis of this, it seems obvious
14 that the commission could not have held its meeting in
15 Vitez as early as you had said. Does this perhaps --
16 JUDGE MAY: I think it's time for a
17 question. The question is, does that make you change
18 your mind about the date, Mr. Buffini?
19 A. The date of this proposal was the 17th of
20 March. Within one week we were in the Vitez house.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. So we can agree that you were in that office
23 in Vitez somewhere toward the end of March, around the
24 25th, perhaps?
25 A. As I said before, towards the end of March we
1 were in the Vitez house, I believe, yes.
2 Q. And on the 4th of April, you went on leave?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Mr. Buffini, before you went on leave, you
5 did not meet Mario Cerkez, ever; right?
6 A. I don't believe I'd met him prior,
7 personally, at that stage, no.
8 Q. Actually, can one say that the events in
9 Vitez until the point when you went on leave were not
10 in the focus of your attention? I'm referring to the
11 ECMM and UNPROFOR.
12 A. There was very little happening in and around
13 Vitez itself at that stage, so that was not our focus,
15 Q. Thank you. You told us a lot about the work
16 of the commission, and you mentioned Cerkez's
18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I would like to
19 ask the registry for their assistance. Let us show the
20 witness the photographs from the meeting -- actually
21 I'm talking about Exhibits Z2531 and Z2529. Perhaps
22 you can use the copies I have so that we could move on
23 more quickly.
24 Q. These are photographs that we got from the
25 video that was shown during Mr. Morsink's testimony.
1 We see a person here with a badge. Can you recognise
2 this person? A patch, rather.
3 A. I recognise the patch, and I believe the
4 person is Mr. Cerkez.
5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Could we please
6 see the other picture now?
7 Q. Is this Mr. Cerkez?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. And you recognise him here today in this
10 courtroom, do you?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Mr. Buffini, as for the meetings in Bila, in
13 the time period when you were there, after the 25th,
14 Mr. Cerkez came to these meetings only twice; do you
15 agree with that?
16 A. It was either two or three times. It wasn't
17 more often.
18 Q. May I remind you of the following: In
19 addition to that, you met him and talked to him at
20 least on one more occasion, and this was in front of
21 Cerkez's headquarters in Vitez, and probably one more
22 time, with the participation of other persons in Vitez,
23 but you do not know exactly when; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Mr. Buffini, is it correct that you never
1 came to Cerkez's office?
2 A. I never went into his office, no.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 The members of the commission, when it moved,
5 and also before that, when it moved to Vitez, were
6 Mr. Nakic on behalf of the HVO, you said, and actually
7 the level of the representatives of the parties to the
8 conflict was Nakic as the representative of the
9 Operative Zone of Central Bosnia and Merdan as the
10 representative of the 3rd Corps; is that correct?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. So in principle, that was the level at which
13 discussions were held and at which agreements were
14 reached when possible; is that correct?
15 A. Those were the levels that we asked for
16 cooperation and clarification of certain orders, yes.
17 Q. Is it correct that from time to time, for
18 practical reasons, lower commanders were also invited
19 to attend commission meetings, even down to the level
20 of commanders in villages, in individual villages?
21 A. Yes. We normally had at least three
22 representatives from local villages and other commands
23 to address the complaints and the problems that we were
24 dealing with.
25 Q. May I conclude, generally speaking, that when
1 these lower-level commanders attended, they were not
2 negotiators; they were there for practical reasons, in
3 order to obtain information and to convey information,
4 or to go for an on-site inspection? Is that correct?
5 A. They were there to facilitate our work when
6 we had to move into those areas, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. You said to us that Mr. Nakic,
8 the representative of the HVO, did not really have a
9 great deal of authority. Did you know that Nakic's
10 formal position in the Operative Zone was chief of
11 staff in the Operative Zone of Central Bosnia, so the
12 second person in line in the Operative Zone of Central
13 Bosnia? Did you know that?
14 A. We'd been informed that he was the deputy
15 commander of the Operative Zone in Central Bosnia.
16 Q. I believe that we will agree that regardless
17 of whether he was formally chief of staff or deputy
18 commander or assistant commander, he was the second man
19 in line, basically; is that correct?
20 A. That was our understanding.
21 Q. It was obvious that this second man in
22 command in the HVO, regardless of what his exact title
23 was, did not have a great deal of authority, at least
24 not judging by Nakic's example?
25 A. No, he didn't.
1 Q. When Cerkez attended meetings, and you
2 mentioned them, he acted as a local commander, didn't
4 A. He was the local commander for the area,
6 Q. On occasions when he was supposed to say
7 something related to the positions that were under the
8 control of his troops, he did that, and it was obvious
9 that he was independent and responsible for his troops;
10 is that correct?
11 A. It was clear to us that he had command and
12 authority over his troops in his area.
13 Q. Let us be quite clear on this. You never
14 said until now, but I imagine it is undeniable, you
15 know that he was the commander of the Vitez Brigade,
16 the Viteska Brigade; right?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. You know that this was a Home Guards brigade
19 with its seat in Vitez, its headquarters in Vitez?
20 A. I'm not sure of your definition of "Home
21 Guard," but it was certainly an operational military
22 unit in the Vitez area.
23 Q. You don't have any specific knowledge about
24 the concrete zones of responsibility of that brigade,
25 do you?
1 A. No, I don't.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, moving on ...
4 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you so much.
5 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn now for
6 20 minutes -- yes, Mr. Nice, you wanted to say
8 MR. NICE: I was informed that you probably
9 wanted to know what our position was in relation to
10 depositions for later witnesses.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
12 MR. NICE: The next witness, who has come at
13 short notice to make sure that we didn't waste time
14 this week, would be ready to start this morning,
15 although things might be a little scruffier than they
16 would be if we hadn't had him for such a short period
17 of time. I think if we were to start him either this
18 morning or tomorrow morning, we would probably have
19 pretty well a full week with no wasted time, so of
20 course we are anxious to proceed by deposition if
21 that's appropriate. My only concern about the next
22 witness --
23 JUDGE MAY: About the witness after?
24 MR. NICE: No, no, the witness coming this
25 morning --
1 JUDGE MAY: Let me interrupt to say this,
2 that we are in a position to sit this afternoon, so
3 there will be an extra hour and a half available.
4 MR. NICE: That's very helpful. My only
5 concern about today's witness, then, is that he would
6 be giving really quite detailed -- or capable of giving
7 quite detailed evidence in relation to maps and about
8 locations in and around Busovaca, and we don't yet know
9 whether the Chamber is going to be able to make any
10 site visit. Absent such a visit, such evidence may be
11 the more difficult for a judge to take second-hand,
12 without having the witness in front of him, and the
13 maps. That's our only concern. For our part,
14 obviously, we would like to get on, but we don't want
15 to commit the Chamber to having evidence in a less
16 satisfactory way when the evidence is quite important.
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, I understand that, but I
18 think it's not too difficult for somebody to pick the
19 matter up.
20 MR. NICE: Particularly if it's possible to
21 have a video of all the evidence.
22 JUDGE MAY: As there will be.
23 MR. NICE: So we will make an application in
24 the half-hour break, a written application for
25 deposition evidence for the remaining two witnesses
1 this week. I don't know how long Mr. Kovacic is going
2 to be with Mr. Buffini, but in any event, we can start
3 on the other witness sometime today.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 20 minutes, please.
6 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.55 a.m.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
9 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank
11 Q. Mr. Buffini, do you know the date on which
12 that unfortunate incident in Ahmici took place?
13 A. Not specifically, because it was during the
14 time I was back in the United Kingdom.
15 Q. Yesterday we heard from you that you know of
16 an explanation which Cerkez gave on why these troops
17 were in Ahmici. Did you hear this from Cerkez or you
18 heard him say this somewhere, or did you read about it
19 on a report?
20 A. Sorry. What statement?
21 Q. Yesterday you told us that you heard that
22 Cerkez had given a statement regarding Ahmici, in the
23 sense that the Muslims had attacked Ahmici. My
24 question is did he give this statement to you, did you
25 hear it from third persons, or did you read about it in
1 a report?
2 A. I'd actually heard it in one of the meetings
3 we were in, but I cannot definitely say it was directly
4 from Mr. Cerkez, person to person, but the quote was as
5 attributed to him.
6 Q. In this context did you, perhaps, ever hear
7 of Cerkez discussing and being asked about Ahmici by
8 Payam Akhavan, an U.N. investigator, and that on this
9 occasion Colonel Bob Stewart was also present?
10 A. I don't recollect that meeting.
11 Q. Mr. Buffini, from your monitoring the
12 situation, did you learn that in Novi Travnik there was
13 a large-sized HOS unit which was operating in
14 conjunction with the HVO? Did you have any knowledge
15 of that?
16 A. I didn't have knowledge of Novi Travnik. I
17 was aware, when I first arrived in Busovaca in January,
18 that HOS units were operating, but I wasn't sure where.
19 Q. Are you aware that they predominantly had
20 black uniforms?
21 A. Yes, I am.
22 Q. Did you know that in the early stages, before
23 the escalation of the conflict, there were both Croats
24 and Muslims within their units?
25 A. No, I was not aware of that.
1 Q. Very well. We'll not pursue that.
2 In the meetings of the commission, topics
3 ranged from attempts to negotiate to maintaining
4 ceasefire; is that correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Is there any reason, apart from mutual
7 accusations, to reopen the Ahmici incident which had
8 taken -- the incident which had taken place several
9 weeks earlier?
10 A. It was always our point at meetings to try
11 and find out what had happened and who had perpetrated
12 Ahmici, but before we could come onto that central
13 issue there were other smaller issues which had to be
14 decided first before anything serious could be
16 Q. Thank you. Let us move onto another topic.
17 You told us when you spoke with Cerkez, and that was
18 obviously the conversation in front of this cinema
19 theatre where you and Mr. Morsink were there, and he
20 told you about the house torched in Kruscica, he
21 complained. And you went with another representative
22 to take a look at them.
23 First of all, do you agree that this
24 representative of Cerkez was Boro Jozic? Does that
25 name ring any bells for you?
1 A. That certainly sounds familiar.
2 Q. I am referring to the person who we saw in
3 the videotape. Thank you. Second, in order for you to
4 come to arrive in Kruscica from Vitez, you needed to
5 cross a line of separation just before entering
6 Kruscica. Do you remember crossing that line when you
7 arrived at a location where you did not find any burned
9 A. We had to take a circuitous route because we
10 couldn't travel directly to the location because there
11 were mines on the road. So we had to travel to another
12 route to get to Kruscica.
13 Q. In other words, as far as the location is
14 concerned, we are certain that you arrived on the side
15 in Kruscica which was under the BiH Army control; was
16 that correct?
17 A. We visited houses both in the BiH Army
18 controlled area and also the HVO controlled area en
19 route to and from Kruscica.
20 Q. I believe that I made a mistake. I didn't
21 ask you properly. You went to search for a location
22 where, according to Cerkez's complaint, some houses had
23 been burnt down. My question is: Are you sure that
24 where you went to look and didn't find those houses,
25 you found yourself in the territory controlled by the
1 other side, the other army?
2 A. We were absolutely certain we had the right
3 location because we asked Mr. Cerkez's representative
4 for the exact location, and that's where we went.
5 Q. Mr. Buffini, the Cerkez representative, that
6 is Jozic, at the very end of the excerpt which -- that
7 we saw, he expressly states that there was another
8 location where those houses could be. In other words,
9 that there was another location where you were supposed
10 to look.
11 A. That's correct. And we went there as well.
12 Q. And you didn't find anything?
13 A. Nothing at all.
14 Q. A couple of points. One is Kruscica, and I
15 believe that you had a fairly good understanding of the
16 situation. Kruscica is a fairly large village, isn't
18 A. It's a reasonable sized village, yes.
19 Q. Did you have an opportunity to see whether
20 Krusica had completely separate parts? It is on a
21 hill -- in the hills and then there is -- on the slope
22 there is another built-up area and then there is an
23 additional one on the other side?
24 A. Yes, I seem to recollect that, yes.
25 Q. Do you allow for a possibility that you could
1 not have observed all points in the area called
2 Kruscica in order to confirm whether this allegation
3 was true or not, that, objectively speaking, you were
4 not in a position to do so?
5 A. We were in a full position to go where we
6 needed to go to identify the Croat houses which had
7 been -- which we had been told were on fire. We could
8 not find any houses in the Kruscica area or in the area
9 between Vitez and Kruscica.
10 Q. As regards this situation which was ongoing
11 at the time, that was in early May, militarily speaking
12 it was a pretty chaotic situation, given the
13 distribution of forces. On the basis of your knowledge
14 of the HVO at the time in that particular locale, do
15 you believe that the brigade commander, specifically
16 Mario Cerkez, had accurate and correct information, or
17 that, given the circumstances, it is reasonable to
18 believe that there was information that was not
19 accurate and up to date?
20 A. Most of the information was relayed by
21 hand-held radios which all of the HVO commanders had
22 that we met, and I believe that the information was
23 known to Mr. Cerkez on all the units under his
25 Q. In respect of this topic, just one additional
1 question. Did you ever know of any other occasions
2 when a commander had wrong or bad information?
3 A. There were incidences in very small, isolated
4 villages where some information wasn't getting back.
5 But on the whole, front lines, no, the information was
6 definitely available.
7 Q. Very well. Thank you.
8 Moving on to the trench digging, first, just
9 to clarify one small point, yesterday you said that the
10 representative of the Red Cross, Madam Claire
11 Podbielski, complained to Nakic and Cerkez in the sense
12 that she was learning about situations where prisoners
13 had been used to dig trenches; is that correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. This morning, you confirmed that you had
16 previously given a statement to the OTP
17 representatives, and in this statement, you expressly
18 stated -- and let me read it to you, and perhaps you
19 can clarify what the difference was. You said [in
20 English]: "Two or three meetings of the joint
21 commission were also attended by a representative of
22 the ICRC, Claire Podbielski, and her relief, whose name
23 I cannot recall. At those meetings, Claire told Nakic
24 and possibly Cerkez."
25 [Interpreted] If you had given this statement
1 in 1997 -- that is, more than two years ago -- can you
2 today confirm that Madam Claire Podbielski complained
3 to Cerkez, or is it possible that it was perhaps also
4 to Cerkez?
5 A. In the meetings, it was probably -- and I say
6 that with hindsight -- to Cerkez, but she definitely
7 addressed him, on an occasion I saw, with that
9 Q. That is, if Cerkez did attend that meeting;
10 is that correct?
11 A. Two separate instances. With the meetings,
12 when she came in, I believe Mr. Cerkez was there; and
13 on the occasion when Mr. Morsink and I had asked about
14 the burning houses and the trench digging,
15 Ms. Podbielski was also there and addressed Mr. Cerkez
16 at that time about prisoners and trench digging.
17 Q. So you recall that she was present at the
18 conversation with Cerkez outside of the meeting?
19 A. Outside of one of the meetings, yes, but I
20 believe also in one of the meetings as well.
21 Q. Can you recall, was that that conversation
22 which you had with Cerkez in front of the cinema
23 theatre? That is, his headquarters?
24 A. That was the conversation, and we were
25 videoed by the ITN news crew at that time, yes.
1 Q. Very well. Thank you. Then you said that,
2 in fact, with respect to this accusation about trench
3 digging, the most you saw was actually freshly dug
4 trenches; is that correct?
5 A. That's all we saw, yes.
6 Q. Could you perhaps describe this location for
7 us, the location where you saw this?
8 A. The location was between Stari Vitez and
9 Vitez, on the HVO side of Vitez, facing Stari Vitez.
10 Q. Mr. Buffini, may I perhaps remind you, you
11 saw with your own eyes that the town of Vitez, the Old
12 Vitez, Stari Vitez and Vitez, the urban area, was
13 divided. The army did not need any trenches on that
14 location. They didn't have trenches there at any time
15 during the conflict. I put it to you that you saw
16 these trenches somewhere else.
17 A. The trenches we saw were around the area of
18 conflict between Stari Vitez and Vitez, and it was in
19 that area.
20 Q. You cannot say where it is between Stari
21 Vitez and the town of Vitez, or between Stari Vitez and
22 the other direction, towards the church, the Catholic
24 A. Specifically recollecting churches, I'm not
1 Q. So all you recall is that it was somewhere in
2 that area, but you cannot say specifically exactly
3 where, very well. Can you tell us you agree that at no
4 time did you see members of the Vitez Brigade using
5 prisoners for trench digging?
6 A. We saw no incidents of them using prisoners
7 trench digging, no.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A couple of questions on another topic. You
10 told us about two decomposing bodies which the BH army
11 soldiers had buried just a couple of hours before you
12 arrived, and then it was shown to you on the video.
13 You know what I'm referring to?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. On that occasion, you again were present with
16 Mr. Morsink?
17 A. Yes, it was the same day as we met
18 Mr. Cerkez.
19 Q. Unless I missed it, yesterday you said -- I
20 don't think that yesterday you said what location that
21 was at.
22 A. No, I mentioned no location because it didn't
23 ring a bell. I couldn't recall the name.
24 Q. If I can refresh your recollection, you said
25 to the investigators that that was in Zaselje, but in
1 the tape we saw, that could not have been Zaselje
2 because there was forest there, and the tape which was
3 shown to you showed a location where there were
4 houses. So couldn't it perhaps have been Kruscica
6 A. No, it was definitely not Kruscica.
7 Q. But you cannot say for sure that it was
9 A. No, I can't identify the town specifically,
10 but it was definitely not Kruscica.
11 Q. But it was definitely somewhere in the Lasva
13 A. Yes, definitely in the Lasva Valley.
14 Q. Can I perhaps put it to you -- I mean, can
15 you, in fact, say where -- was it closer to Vitez,
16 closer to Busovaca, closer to Travnik?
17 A. On a map, looking at a map, it was probably
18 three or four kilometres south of Kruscica, somewhere
19 in that area, but very, very small tracks leading up to
20 it, which maps I have seen don't show that area.
21 Q. And as far as regards Zaselje which we
22 mentioned here, did you perhaps know that this was
23 actually a Serb village, that there were no Muslims
24 there? Did you have an opportunity to find this out?
25 There were no Croat Muslim hostilities there?
1 A. No, I wasn't aware it was a Serb village,
2 just that that was the location we were told to go to.
3 Q. Very well. We'll let that alone regarding
4 location. You said that the local commander, the
5 Muslim local commander, you said because of a terrible
6 stench they had buried the bodies a couple of hours
7 before you had arrived. Is that correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Then you were told that again a Muslim
10 journalist had filmed these bodies before they were
11 buried, that he videotaped, made a videotape of that;
12 is that correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. And it was said that there was no dispute
15 that for 22 days those bodies were lying on no-man's
17 A. We had been informed that they had been out
18 in the open in no-man's land for about 22 days.
19 Q. And that they could not have been removed
20 because they were in a minefield?
21 A. I'm not sure whether it was a minefield or
22 just an area where there was still fighting going on.
23 Q. And then you viewed this tape; is that
25 A. Yes, I viewed the short tape.
1 Q. Then you viewed this tape through the camera
2 viewfinder; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Mr. Buffini, that screen, and forgive my
5 technical education, that screen where you can view
6 this image is some three by three centimetres big; is
7 that correct?
8 A. It's quite small, yes.
9 Q. Mr. Buffini, maybe I am hurrying you to a
10 conclusion. But you have no forensic education based
11 on your previous experience?
12 A. No, I have no forensic experience.
13 Q. Did, perhaps, Mr. Morsink say anything about
14 him having any such forensic experience?
15 A. Not to my recollection, no.
16 Q. And there was no one else with a similar
17 experience of that kind who was around?
18 A. There were no forensic experts around at that
19 time, no.
20 Q. The person who drew this expert conclusion
21 was Mr. Morsink?
22 A. I'm sorry. We both concluded from our
23 sightings that things had happened to those bodies.
24 Q. The conclusion about the cause of death?
25 A. No, not the cause of death. The fact that
1 the bodies had been mutilated.
2 Q. Let me rephrase the question. What was the
3 cause of the mutilation? And we are talking the
4 summer, this was in the middle of the summer, so the
5 cause of this mutilation may have been a mine which --
6 on which they may have stepped?
7 A. No. The marks on their necks was definitely
8 of something of a wire or a knife. It was a straight
9 line mark. And on the wrists it was evident that it
10 was a straight line and not a mine or a bomb, which I
11 have seen bodies and pictures of those damages to
13 Q. On an image which was a size of three by
15 A. The video camera went quite close up on the
16 areas that I discussed.
17 Q. And the location in which the corpses were
18 found was on the edge of a forest? This was a densely
19 forested area, isn't it?
20 A. I wasn't aware of the location where the
21 bodies were found. All I knew is that they had been
22 brought back to their village.
23 Q. Okay. Could you conclude on the basis of any
24 insignia in the image that these were members of either
25 Croatian or Bosniak Muslim forces?
1 A. No. The areas of the body we saw had
2 camouflage clothing, but no insignias were seen
3 anywhere at all.
4 Q. Mr. Buffini, you cannot exclude that the
5 Muslim commander who had produced the tape had given
6 you information which he wanted because you only got
7 his side of the story?
8 A. We got several sides from the BiH Army, plus
9 one of the bodies recovered was the son of one of the
10 people in that village, and he was very upset about
12 Q. But you don't know in which -- in whose zone
13 of responsibility it was, or did you know whose zone of
14 responsibility it was?
15 A. I probably did at the time, but today I
16 couldn't say the exact location where it was coming
17 from. It was in and around the Vitez area. That's as
18 far as I can go.
19 Q. Very well. Thank you. And let's move on.
20 You told us that representatives of the ABiH, that in
21 the meetings in which they were present with Cerkez,
22 they obviously projected a hatred against Cerkez.
23 A. Very much so.
24 Q. Mr. Buffini, can you perhaps recall whether
25 this was a general attitude of everyone sitting on the
1 ABiH side or was it the attitude or the position of
2 only one of them?
3 A. It was very specifically the attitude of one,
4 but the feeling was that for most of the others as
6 Q. If I may ask the usher to please place this
7 picture on the ELMO again.
8 Mr. Buffini, do you recall that in several
9 meetings one of the members of the ABiH team was
10 Mr. Klestura, a very sort of a strong built, dark
11 looking man, a dinara type. He is wearing a hat. Can
12 you see him in that picture? Was that the man who
13 really hated Cerkez?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Out of the three persons in the picture, you
16 cannot identify him as any of them?
17 A. Very much so, yes. This man here
19 Q. So the one in the middle?
20 A. The one in the middle.
21 Q. But that is Sefkija Djidic. You knew
22 Sefkija, correct? You had contact with him, as you did
23 with other representatives of the ABiH?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Thank you. Mr. Buffini, did you ever hear of
1 Sefkija Djidic and Cerkez having worked together for 12
2 or 15 years and that they were very close friends, as a
3 matter of fact? Are you quite sure that it was Sefkija
4 who projected this hatred?
5 A. Absolutely positive.
6 Q. In your previous statement made to the
7 investigators, you never mentioned this hatred, did
9 A. I think I mentioned the fact that in some
10 meetings the BiH commanders, when they came in, and
11 Mr. Cerkez was there, were rather angry, they were
12 upset, and they felt very uncomfortable.
13 Q. Very well. You also said to us that Cerkez
14 on several occasions flatly rejected the accusations
15 levelled at his units, that they would jeopardise the
16 ceasefire. Is that right?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. Actually, Mr. Buffini, will we agree that
19 Cerkez always mentioned in these words or others the
20 very same argument, the very same response,
21 so-to-speak, "It is not my units. It is not units
22 under my command. It is units that are beyond
23 control. Bandits, hooligans, whatever." But did he
24 consistently say that, "They were not my units." Is
25 that correct?
1 A. He often gave that as an excuse, yes.
2 Q. Mr. Buffini, you are a professional soldier.
3 Please tell me, a commander is responsible only for
4 troops that are under his command; is that right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. If somebody else does something, if somebody
7 else breaks the ceasefire, that is to say a person who
8 is not a member of Cerkez's unit, should Cerkez be held
9 responsible for the fact that he broke the ceasefire
11 A. If the person is not under the command and is
12 not part of that unit, then Mr. Cerkez has no authority
13 over him and should not take the responsibility.
14 Q. Wouldn't it be natural, then, that when a
15 commander is faced with such accusations, "This is not
16 my unit and I do not wish to discuss it," from a
17 military point of view isn't that a relevant answer?
18 A. It's an answer which is a good excuse for the
19 fact that the troops operating in that area should be
20 under his command. So if it's happening in that area,
21 then he should have been advised or given indication
22 that these troops were in his area of operation, and
23 therefore coming under his command.
24 Q. Mr. Buffini, yesterday and today we
25 ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt that there were
1 other units as well. For example, yesterday we heard
2 the story about the unit that was moving around
3 throughout the valley in Golf vehicles. Is Cerkez
4 responsible for that kind of a unit too?
5 A. If that unit is operating under the guise of
6 the HVO forces, then if they are operating in his unit
7 and he's given command of them, then, yes, they are.
8 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
9 Mr. Kovacic. I would like to ask the witness -- he's
10 just said some words about the various chains of
12 In your opinion, Major Buffini, could
13 Mr. Cerkez be considered as having had a territorial
14 area under his responsibility?
15 A. Yes, sir, he would have a very definite area
16 that he was responsible for.
17 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Could you
18 tell the Chamber what, in your opinion, that
19 territorial area of responsibility was?
20 A. Not specifically, sir, but it was definitely
21 an area around Vitez, the town of Vitez, and some of
22 the outlying areas close to Vitez.
23 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your
25 Honour. We asked the witness earlier on whether he
1 knew that, and he said that he didn't, and he repeated
2 the same answer once again now.
3 Q. However, you touched upon another subject a
4 few minutes ago. You said if other units were
5 subordinated to him; actually, you cannot claim on any
6 basis that any other unit was subordinated to Cerkez in
7 the Lasva River Valley area, with the exception of the
8 Vitez Brigade. Is there any other knowledge you would
9 like to share with us on that note?
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I'm going to stop
11 this. This is argument which you are engaging in with
12 the witness. You are not asking him to give evidence.
13 He has stated what he has known. His answer in
14 relation to the other questions was, as I understood
15 it, hypothetical. I shall, in order to clarify the
16 position, ask the question, but I'm not going to allow
17 more argument on this very point.
18 Mr. Buffini, just to make it plain, did you
19 know of any other units under the command of Mr. Cerkez
20 in the Lasva Valley at the relevant time?
21 A. No, sir, I was not aware of any other units
22 that were under his command. We had no such
24 JUDGE MAY: And I understood you to be giving
25 a hypothetical answer about units being under the
1 command of a particular commander.
2 A. If other troops are moved into an area, a
3 specific task force, or special forces, or engineers of
4 some kind, normally they would be given a commander who
5 they would report to in that area, so they would be
6 either under control or under command of that area
8 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
9 So the answer is that the witness knows of no
10 other units under the command of the accused.
11 MR. KOVACIC: I apologise, Your Honour, for
12 going too far, perhaps, but ...
13 JUDGE MAY: No need for apologies. Let's go
15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Just a small question related to your visit
17 to the cinema, where there were persons who had been
18 detained, when the important generals came in and when
19 they said to these persons that they would be free.
20 There is no doubt, on the basis of what you have said,
21 that all those persons were military able persons,
22 military able men; is that right?
23 A. My understanding is that all men between the
24 ages of 18 and 55 were considered military men. So
25 yes, all of them in that building were.
1 Q. And you also said that the vast majority
2 claimed that they would not feel safe if they were to
3 get out without UNPROFOR protection?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. That was their feeling, that objectively
6 speaking it was dangerous outside, and that is why they
7 did not want to leave without protection?
8 A. They felt they would be shot or harassed in
9 moving back to their own home locations.
10 Q. Just in passing, Mr. Buffini, those days when
11 you came to the centre of Vitez, and you did go to the
12 centre of Vitez, did you notice that there were traces
13 of any shelling on the main buildings in the centre of
14 Vitez, like the post office, the medical centre, all
15 these other buildings around the cinema? Did you
16 notice any traces of that?
17 A. Most of the buildings in the whole Vitez area
18 had some form of damage from shrapnel, direct gunfire,
19 that type of incident, yes.
20 Q. Finally, I just want to be sure about this.
21 On the ground in Vitez, in the immediate vicinity of
22 Vitez, you spent a total amount of two months there as
23 you worked for the commission. Let us confirm the
24 dates. You came to Busovaca on the 6th of March, 1993;
25 is that correct?
1 A. On and around that date, yes.
2 Q. You went on leave on the 4th of April; is
3 that correct?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. That is to say about a month, you worked
6 there for about a month, and then you returned from
7 leave on the 25th of April; is that correct?
8 A. I actually think it was a bit earlier when I
9 came back up.
10 Q. The 25th is mentioned in your previous
11 statement, and that's what you said yesterday, I
12 believe. But all right, we agree on that, don't we?
13 A. It was probably two or three days -- round
14 about that time frame, yes.
15 Q. And you left the area, as you said in your
16 statement, towards the end of May, so that is --
17 A. No, I didn't specifically leave the area. I
18 left my duties with the joint commission towards the
19 end of May. I stayed in the Vitez area probably for
20 another two, three weeks, until early June.
21 Q. Correct. But you were involved with the
22 commission until the end of May, towards the end of
23 May; right?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. That is the only period during which you
1 dealt in this subject matter, that is to say, the
2 Muslim/Croat conflict in Vitez and its surroundings;
3 after that, you were involved in other matters. Is
4 that correct?
5 A. I was involved in other matters but obviously
6 had a close link with Henk Morsink, who was still
7 involved with matters in the Vitez area.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Buffini. I have no further
10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your
11 Honour, for your attention.
12 MS. SOMERS: A few points. I'd like to just
13 address, before I start redirect, a point that arose
14 during cross-examination. A question was posed to the
15 witness by counsel, and to the best of my quotational
16 abilities, you have no specific knowledge that the
17 Republic of Croatia entrusted Colonel Blaskic with the
18 specific task of performing lawful actions on his
19 behalf, but that he, in discharging those tasks or that
20 task, either breached or reached, depending on the
21 transcript, some sort of obligation.
22 It is unclear, and in a sense hampers our
23 understanding of what we can ask on redirect as to this
24 point, what possible lawful actions might have been
25 referred to. Perhaps the witness would benefit by
1 having some inclination; we certainly would. I think
2 it was inappropriate for us to object at the time, but
3 I am concerned that there was no explanation to the
4 witness of what type of lawful action the Republic of
5 Croatia could possibly have that would be fulfilled by
6 Colonel Blaskic on the territory of BiH.
7 JUDGE MAY: I don't imagine the witness can
8 help us very much about that, if at all. It's not a
9 very clear question, I quite agree, and it's probably
10 something which should have been dealt with at the
11 time. Perhaps counsel could note what's been said, and
12 in due course, enlighten us as to what he means.
13 Can you help anything about that,
14 Mr. Buffini?
15 A. No, I can't, sir, no.
16 JUDGE MAY: No.
17 Re-examined by Ms. Somers:
18 Q. However, it was raised that the Republic of
19 Croatia was engaged in conflict during this time, and
20 would you have been aware of -- or would you think it
21 within the normal course of military prudence to assign
22 military resources to another sovereign state, if in
23 fact that state from which the resources were coming
24 was engaged in some conflict?
25 A. There would certainly be good reasons for it,
1 if they could prevent their state being attacked in
2 other locations by supporting and offering assistance
3 in other places.
4 Q. In other words, a political -- sorry, let me
5 give the interpreters a chance.
6 A political or military objective or purpose
7 would have to be served for the Republic of Croatia to
8 engage in such activity?
9 A. Very much so, yes.
10 MR. SAYERS: I object to the leading nature
11 of that question, Your Honour. This is redirect
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MS. SOMERS:
15 Q. The fact that Mr. Kordic was not present, to
16 your recollection, at any of the joint commission
17 meetings, did that indicate to you that -- or are you
18 familiar with any other political representatives or
19 any other representatives of the political parties
20 early on in the commission days, from the SDA or from
21 the HDZ party, being present?
22 A. To my knowledge, I don't think they were
23 present in either the Busovaca or the Vitez meetings,
24 but I was certainly aware of their presence when I
25 attended a meeting in Zenica at the hotel there.
1 Q. Was Mate Boban ever present at any of these
3 A. No. Not that I can recall.
4 Q. The fact that Colonel Blaskic may have had
5 defined command and control powers in his Operative
6 Zone, does that in your mind mean that there is no
7 other authority who could override an order of Colonel
8 Blaskic or who could influence his orders?
9 A. From a military perspective, I don't believe
10 that anybody under his command or working under his
11 rank of responsibility could counteract any of his
12 authority, no.
13 Q. An individual, however, operating in
14 territories of the former Yugoslavia -- excuse me, let
15 me rephrase that.
16 There could be an individual who would fulfil
17 the role of political officer? Are you familiar with
18 such role?
19 A. Yes, very familiar with political officers,
20 and we suspected that there must be some element of
21 political input because of the pure nature of the
22 Yugoslavian military, having had such close links and
23 working on Soviet-style lines.
24 Q. Had you been made aware expressly that when
25 Mario Cerkez came to these meetings, that he had
1 previously been an acting commander of the Viteska
2 Brigade and had been a deputy commander of the Stjepan
3 Tomasevic Brigade? Did you know of his extensive HVO
4 command experience?
5 A. No, I didn't specifically know that.
6 Q. You described the discipline that Colonel
7 Blaskic imposed in his Operative Zone as one that
8 caused fear by soldiers. Did anyone take to task the
9 soldier who refused, albeit in perhaps a questionably
10 sober state, to honour the order of Colonel Blaskic?
11 Or in the alternative, did you find it strange that
12 someone under such a strict chain of command could get
13 away with that and be left in that position in an
14 obviously well-known convoy?
15 A. Yes, we found it very strange that somebody
16 would contravene orders which had clearly been given
17 that the convoy could pass through, and very strange
18 that he actually stayed in the position he was in after
19 that incident.
20 Q. Just to confirm, the HV soldiers who were
21 described as battle weary, were they viewed by you
22 solidly within the territory of the sovereign state of
24 A. Yes, they were literally one kilometre north
25 of Prozor, and I viewed them personally with my driver.
1 MS. SOMERS: Nothing further. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Buffini, that concludes your
3 evidence. Thank you for coming to the International
4 Tribunal to give it, and you are released.
5 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much, sir.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
8 MR. NICE: May I start the next witness this
9 afternoon and use the other seven minutes this morning
10 to start dealing with one of the administrative matters
11 that is outstanding?
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We have to adjourn promptly
13 at 1.00, I should say, and we won't be sitting again
14 until 2.45.
15 MR. NICE: Can we deal with the
16 administrative matter in private session, for good
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 [Private session]
13 page 9414 redacted – in private session
13 page 9415 redacted – in private session
13 page 9416 redacted – in private session
13 page 9417 redacted – in private session
6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.50 p.m.
2 [Open session]
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
4 MR. NICE: Before I deal with the next
5 witness, a small point to tidy up. I distributed a
6 couple of weeks ago two maps, showing front lines, with
7 various markings on them. Lest I overlook the point, I
8 am informed that there is an error on each map; it's a
9 simple error to correct. In each case, the legend or
10 chart showing to what various shapes relate should be
11 taken as correct, but where particular units are
12 marked, there are two errors. That which is marked
13 "16" should be marked "17," and that which is marked
14 "17" should be marked "18," and then the units will
15 correctly tie up with the legend.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 MR. NICE: The witness Jennings produced a
18 useful map last week, the JNA map that he said was
19 provided to him by the defendant Kordic. We had a part
20 of it copied in colour and a part of it copied in black
21 and white, but the full map in colour has now been
22 reproduced, and to make sense, should be given not the
23 exhibit number that's been put on it in bold but the
24 Exhibit Number 2781,2, and I think that is now
25 available for distribution.
1 All right. Apparently it's been corrected
3 JUDGE MAY: And has it been distributed?
4 MR. NICE: It may be useful in relation to
5 this witness's evidence, although I think an even
6 better map may serve us well on this occasion. But
7 nevertheless, that JNA map is available.
8 I turn to this witness, in respect of whom an
9 application for protection by way of face distortion
10 and pseudonym is sought. His summary shows his
11 proximity to one of the defendants and his ability to
12 identify by name wrongdoers at a nasty level, and his
13 evidence is of course, arguably, of considerable
14 importance as against one of the defendants.
15 He lost between 11 and 16 members of his
16 immediate family in the conflict, I am informed. He is
17 a person who will have, in due course, to return to
18 Busovaca, I think by reason of the rehousing programme
19 that obliges people in certain circumstances to be
20 returned to their original homes. In his judgement,
21 the people doing things in the war are still in power
22 in the same locality. His job involves driving through
23 areas of different ethnicity in any event, and he has
24 concerns for his safety if his full identity is known.
25 He has proved otherwise entirely cooperative
1 and helpful in providing as much detail as is
2 apparently available to him through his memory, and we
3 would ask that he be granted protection limited to
4 facial distortion and the use of a pseudonym.
5 JUDGE MAY: Is there any objection?
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
7 the Defence of Mr. Kordic is not opposed to these
8 suggestions, but we would like to have the open session
9 as usual.
10 MR. KOVACIC: The Cerkez Defence does not
11 have any objection. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, this is to be in open
13 session, but with the distortion; is that right?
14 MR. NICE: Yes, please.
15 JUDGE MAY: And the pseudonym?
16 MR. NICE: Yes, please.
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll make the order,
18 the pseudonym being --
19 THE REGISTRAR: The pseudonym of the witness
20 is Witness T.
21 MR. NICE: Before the witness is brought in,
22 if the usher could just help me for one second, there's
23 a map that will be of use to the Tribunal, and it's
24 sometimes helpful if preparation is done before the
25 witness comes and fumbles with things on the ELMO.
1 This map may be distributed as 2271, and if I can have
2 a copy of it, or I can provide this one and have
3 another one back for me.
4 The area we need lay on the ELMO is -- and we
5 can probably go in closer than that, if the technical
6 booth would like to move in closer onto Busovaca.
7 I guess that's probably about far enough.
8 That's fine.
9 The witness will produce his own maps,
10 hand-drawn. They are two sheets that join together.
11 The Chamber can see the road running initially
12 south-southwest and then effectively south from -- no,
13 it can't.
14 To the right of the last "A" of Busovaca,
15 there's a road running -- a white road running south.
16 Further east of that, there's a coloured road running
17 south-southwest and then bearing south. And the
18 witness's drawing, as I understand it, is of that road
19 or track, although by the way he has drawn it, it would
20 appear to travel in an entirely different direction.
21 But it may be helpful if I indicate that that is the
22 road leading down to Kupres, and possibly further, that
23 he will have drawn for us. And it may be possible to
24 speed things up by laying his map on top of the formal
25 map and removing his map as and when necessary. Thank
1 you very much.
2 There are little clips of exhibits that can
3 possibly be distributed to the Judges now, if that's
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the
8 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
9 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you would like to sit
13 WITNESS: WITNESS T
14 Examined by Mr. Nice:
15 Q. For the purposes of giving evidence, you will
16 be known as Witness T. I'm going to ask you first a
17 few questions about your history.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, because some of them
19 may reveal matters of identity, may we have, just for a
20 couple of minutes, a private session to deal with
22 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Paragraph 3 and 4. In the spring of 1991,
23 when the HDZ started, did you see anything of Kordic,
24 and was there any conversation about --
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic. Yes. I'm sorry,
1 Mr. Naumovski.
2 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] My apologies,
3 Your Honour, but the spring of '91 was mentioned. This
4 is outside of the scope of the indictment, so I don't
5 see the relevance of that question. The indictment
6 starts with the end of 1991.
7 JUDGE MAY: Counsel may lay the foundation
8 for his questions and deal with relevant matters of
9 background. Yes.
10 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
11 Your Honour.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Witness T, was there a conversation with the
14 defendant Kordic about his having been a Communist? If
15 so, tell us just in a sentence what was said.
16 A. Yes, I talked in 1991, I believe that was in
17 November, so I talked to him on the occasion when the
18 HDZ and the SDA had an electoral win in Busovaca; that
19 is, when they jointly won the elections and came into
20 power. We ran into each other on the street on the way
21 between the bus station and the intersection of my and
22 his streets.
23 On the way there we made jokes, jokes about
24 the Communist having lost power in Busovaca. Among
25 other things, the topic of the authority was raised,
1 that is, whether the Communist government was going to
2 prove to have been better or the Muslim Croat, or that
3 is the SDA/HDZ coalition. At that time on that
4 occasion he said that this new government was certainly
5 going to be better.
6 Q. Witness T, I should have asked you to look at
7 this piece of paper that the usher will bring you,
8 simply to confirm by the answer "yes" if it be the case
9 that that is your proper name that's being shown to
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Paragraphs 5 to 7 I'll deal with summarily.
13 Did Mate Boban take over as President of the entire
14 HDZ, whilst Cicak, Zvonimir Cicak, the local President,
15 a person who was not, in your judgement, an extremist,
16 was he replaced by --
17 JUDGE MAY: We are not going to get on with
18 constant interruption. Your last interruption,
19 Mr. Naumovski, had no point. Now, what is it this
21 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
22 my apologies for standing up, but I believe that this
23 witness was no member of HDZ, and there are questions
24 asked about the HDZ without any foundations having been
25 laid for it. My apologies again for raising this
2 JUDGE MAY: Well, is it disputed that
3 Mr. Boban was the President of the HDZ?
4 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] What is in
5 question is the date when he became the President of
6 the HDZ, because Mr. Boban was not the President of the
7 HDZ throughout this period.
8 JUDGE MAY: As for Mr. Cicak, we've heard
9 evidence about that.
10 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] That is
11 correct, and he was not the President of the HDZ, as is
12 stated here. This is the ground for my objection.
13 JUDGE MAY: Insofar as it's relevant, the
14 witness can say what he understood, but there is other
15 evidence about it.
16 MR. NICE: I think I am just going to move on
17 to save time, thank you.
18 Q. Paragraph 9. Witness T, we are going to pass
19 over your knowledge of local politics. But just to
20 paint the picture, is Busovaca a big or a little town,
21 and just "yes" or "no," did you as a local resident
22 come to know who the local political party leaders
24 A. Busovaca is a small town. It is a developing
25 town. I had an opportunity to walk about in this town,
1 this small town, and I came to meet most of the people
2 there. And I knew a majority of the local leaders
4 Q. What was your experience of and judgement of
5 the position and power of Kordic in the municipality
6 once he became President of the local HDZ or once he
7 became President of the HDZ for Central Bosnia? What
8 was your experience of and impression of his power and
10 A. At that time he had a political authority in
11 the territory of Busovaca municipality, and not only in
12 Busovaca municipality, but that would include Vitez,
13 Novi Travnik, Fojnica, Kiseljak, Stari Travnik and
15 Q. Apart from --
16 A. After the state of war was declared in
17 Busovaca, all the civilian power structures were
18 mobilised and turned into military ones.
19 Q. Paragraph 11. Before the existence of the
20 HVO, is it right that the Croats and Muslims were
21 participating together in Territorial Defence fighting
22 the Serbs, and were you a member of the Territorial
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Paragraph 10. At the time of the formation
1 of the HDZ, were you aware of Kordic's position in the
2 War Presidency?
3 A. He had a duty of the deputy vice-president of
4 the War Presidency of the local government.
5 Q. Paragraph 13. I want some short assistance
6 with certain formations and with what uniforms or
7 markings they displayed. The ZNG, Peoples Guard Unit,
8 what uniforms did they wear? Did they show their
9 markings in any other way, their identity in any other
11 A. The ZNG was established in 1991. Its
12 original purpose was to provide military security of
13 the religious places of worship of the Croatian
14 people. They wore camouflage uniforms with insignia
16 Q. HOS, what about their uniforms and any
18 A. The HOS members wore black uniforms with
19 insignia stating "HOS."
20 Q. At that time did the defendant Kordic have
21 headquarters somewhere in Busovaca? If so, where? And
22 using the pointer that the usher will provide you and
23 using the map on the right, but not moving your head,
24 you can point out very approximately where it was.
25 A. At that time, while the ZNG and HOS troops
1 were still in existence, the headquarters was not in
2 the urban area itself. Later on, that is in 1992,
3 there were -- there was more of a -- there were more
4 units, such as special police units, then intervention
5 platoons and MUP, which had mobilised Croats, were all
6 in the -- were all gathered in this area and their
7 headquarters was in the Hotel Tisa.
8 Q. Can you point to the Hotel Tisa? Was it on
9 the main road running through Busovaca? If so, just
10 give us an idea where it was, familiarising yourself
11 with the map again. And you have to point, I'm afraid,
12 to the map on the overhead projector, and you'll see
13 that your pointing will then become visible on the
14 television screen.
15 Now, you're pointing on the main road that
16 runs from Kaonik to the --
17 A. From Kaonik to Kiseljak, in the direction of
18 Kiseljak. And here [Indicates] you can see an
19 intersection where the main road and the road leading
20 into the centre of town meet, and then also an
21 intersection leading to Tisovac, which was an area with
22 weekend houses. And then 500 metres in the direction
23 of Kiseljak from the intersection is where the Hotel
24 Tisa is located, on the left-hand side of the road.
25 Q. And so --
1 A. If you look from the direction going from
2 Kaonik to Kiseljak.
3 Q. And so Kordic shared those headquarters or
4 was in the same headquarters as the other units,
5 military police, special units, HOS --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The SIS, the internal security services, were
8 headed by whom?
9 A. The person heading the SIS in Busovaca was
10 Anto Sliskovic, son of Branko.
11 Q. The headquarters remained there, I think,
12 until the arrival of UNPROFOR?
13 A. The headquarters of SIS and the seat of the
14 civilian authority -- that is, the police -- was in the
15 police administration building in Busovaca, and the
16 seat of the SIS and the military police was on the
17 premises of Meraja, which was right behind the bus
18 station. And even today, Anto Sliskovic has his
19 business premises there.
20 Q. Did they move to those places after the
21 arrival of UNPROFOR, having been based at the hotel --
22 A. No. The police force, both the civilian and
23 military and the SIS, were always there; that is,
24 behind the bus station.
25 Q. And I must just clarify: With which other
1 units, if any, did Kordic share his Hotel Tisa
3 A. In Hotel Tisa, there were the intervention
4 platoon, and special military police units, and ZNG,
5 and HOS.
6 Q. Thank you. Before I come to the new
7 headquarters for Kordic, I want to ask you about some
8 other particular brigades. First of all, the Zrinjski
9 HVO brigade: Can you tell us about that?
10 A. The Zrinjski Brigade was established towards
11 the end of 1992. It consisted of all units; that is to
12 say the HOS, ZNG, the special military police, the MUP,
13 and the rest of the mobilised population.
14 Q. Second, Skorpions: What can you tell us
15 about the Skorpions?
16 A. The Skorpions were part of the intervention
17 platoon. They were the bodyguards of Dario Kordic.
18 Q. What did you see of those bodyguards around
19 the town?
20 A. I saw a lot.
21 Q. How were they dressed? What arms did they
22 have? What were their apparent duties?
23 A. They, the Skorpions, were Dario Kordic's
24 bodyguards. They guarded him day and night. They were
25 his drivers. They escorted him from one place to
2 Q. What arms did they have?
3 A. They were privileged in terms of weapons;
4 that is to say that they had long-barrelled guns and
6 Q. Did they have personal body protection as
8 A. From time to time, yes.
9 Q. Was that common for Croat soldiers, or was
10 that particular to them?
11 A. They always had this, whereas the other young
12 men wore it as kind of a fashion.
13 Q. Always wore what?
14 MR. NICE: This is paragraph 23.
15 Q. I was concerned with protection, with
16 protective clothing they may have had. What particular
17 protective clothing did they have that others may not
18 have had?
19 A. Well, they had bullet-proof vests.
20 Q. Thank you. A few personalities,
21 paragraph 17: Who was the commander of the Zrinjski
23 A. The commander was Dusko Grubesic.
24 Q. I want you to deal with a few names. Milenko
25 Arapovic, Milijan Kristo.
1 A. They, Milenko and Milijan, were persons who
2 belonged to the Skorpions, who were bodyguards.
3 Q. How did Kordic dress at this time?
4 A. I personally saw him in camouflage uniform.
5 Q. Did he wear a badge of rank and any
6 insignia? If so, what?
7 A. I would see HVO insignia when the HVO was
8 established, and some kind of a rank. I did not find
9 the rank to be clear.
10 MR. NICE: I think the transcript has got the
11 last name of the -- it's been corrected. Thank you.
12 Q. Did you see something the celebrations
13 concerning the founding of the HVO held in the stadium
14 of Busovaca, paragraph 27?
15 A. Yes. Well, since Muslims were not allowed to
16 move freely, there was a curfew from 10.00 until 10.00
17 the next day. The Muslim population was watching, and
18 they saw what was going on by way of television,
19 through TV Busovaca. I had the opportunity of watching
20 this ceremony on television in Busovaca.
21 Q. Was that celebration shown on television
22 once, or more than once? In any event, what was the
23 nature of the celebration that you saw, and did Kordic
24 say something that you can recall about a Muslim mosque
25 in Busovaca?
1 A. The ceremony was recorded. It was recorded
2 by Zoran Jovanovic. It was filmed in its entirety, and
3 it was played publicly every day; that is to say it was
4 repeated several times.
5 As for the mosque and Dario Kordic, he had
6 films shown on television, and on one occasion when he
7 was talking to Zoran Jovanovic, that was in '93, that
8 is, in January, perhaps the 29th, when the conflict in
9 Busovaca broke out, or later, he said -- or rather
10 Zoran asked him, "Well," he said, "our municipality is
11 a Croatian municipality now; we got rid of the
12 Muslims. What do you think about the mosque?"
13 Among other things, Kordic said that there is
14 a mosque in Rome, too, so why shouldn't there be one in
15 Busovaca as well?
16 Q. In the event, what happened to the Busovaca
18 A. The Busovaca mosque was mined and torched
19 during 1993.
20 Q. I'll maybe return to paragraph 30, press on,
21 and we've dealt with 31 already.
22 Ante Sliskovic, was he well known to you?
23 A. Yes, I knew him.
24 Q. What was his relationship with Kordic? By
25 "relationship," I mean relationship in terms of who
1 had authority over who.
2 A. Kordic was Ante Sliskovic's superior. Their
3 relationship was a friendly one. Ante Sliskovic's
4 brother, Franjo, got married to the sister of Dario
5 Kordic's wife.
6 Q. Had Ante Sliskovic been commander of the
7 reserve police forces in 1991 and '92, and did he
8 become the head of the SIS in 1993?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I'm going to turn now to geography in a
11 little more detail. It will help the Court if, with
12 the pointer, and just to remind us, you indicate the
13 main road again running through Busovaca, and just
14 leave the pointer on that junction of the road that
15 leads up to Tisovac.
16 Thank you. At that junction we see a
17 V-junction where, if you were coming from Kiseljak to
18 the south, you could bear left and go into the centre
19 of Busovaca, or you could stay on the main road and
20 continue on to Kaonik; and just into that V-junction,
21 you could turn left up the road towards Tisovac.
22 MR. NICE: So if the witness may now have and
23 lay on top of the coloured map the first two sheets of
24 the Exhibit 1725, which is -- I hold up my version of
25 these; they actually belong together. They form a
1 composite document, and I'm sorry that they haven't
2 been stuck together in your papers, but one has been
3 prepared in this format, I think, for the witness, or
4 he can have mine. It's only stuck together with paper
5 clips, but if he has this one, it'll be easier.
6 This may be difficult, but if we -- it's
7 going to be easier, if the usher gives it back to me,
8 it will save time. I'm sorry. My mistake.
9 If you would like to lay it --
10 Q. And if the ELMO could go back a bit. Thank
11 you very much. And then move it a little -- a little
12 to the left, but only a tiny bit to the left. The
13 other way. The right. Right. That's fine. And
14 staying exactly there. Thank you so much.
15 Do we see at the top of this drawing of
16 yours, running right to left, the main road from
17 Kiseljak on the right going towards Kaonik on the
18 left? And do we see where you just put the pointer
19 that same "V" junction that you pointed out on the
20 former map?
21 A. [indicates]
22 Q. Thank you. Did you then draw, leading down
23 from that junction, the road that goes to Tisovac?
24 A. [indicates]
25 Q. Thank you very much. I am going to ask you
1 about various features of that map in due course.
2 Before I do so, Your Honours will appreciate that I
3 generally prefer all maps to be oriented to the north
4 and find it difficult to reinterpret them any other
5 way. Doing it this way means that we have to read
6 things upside down. I hope that's not unhelpful.
7 Did you on a day in July 1992 with a
8 companion Arif Delija go to go fishing along that road?
9 A. Yes, but not along that road. We walked
10 along the river. This is the river of Ivancica. Here
11 it is [indicates]. And in the area of Tisovac it
12 touches the road and at other places it goes away from
13 the road.
14 Q. Did you come to an area where there is a
15 bridge near a location called Meraja?
16 A. Yes. That's this part here [indicates].
17 Q. Thank you. When you got there, did you
18 encounter some soldiers? If so, can you give us the
19 names of any of them and then tell us what they did or
21 A. Yes. Here. Here. See, over here
22 [indicates]. This is the road to Tisovac. So this is
23 Meraja, this is the river of Ivancica. This is the
24 road, only a few houses and then this bridge. That's
25 the way it was. Then this stream. That comes from
1 Orlovaca. See, it flows into the Ivancica. Then there
2 is a bridge, a bridge to cross this little river. Then
3 over here, this is where there was a HVO checkpoint.
4 Here. Right here.
5 This is where a flag was flying, a
6 chequerboard flag [indicates]. We walked along the
7 river. We were fishing. This is about 30 metres away,
8 that is to say the stream is about 30 metres away from
9 the river, and it flows into it. So we were fishing
10 there. And then we came here, here [indicates]. This
11 is the road that leads to the house of -- the house on
12 the other side of the bridge. So there is this small
13 settlement here.
14 This area over here [indicates] is just a
15 field. There is grass. They were sitting there, two
16 men in uniform. One was Spomenko. The other one was
17 Boban. When we came there, there is trout, there is
18 whirlpools, we were surprised and they were surprised.
19 And they said, "You can't go any further. We are
20 securing this area. This is where the HVO headquarters
21 is and we've been ordered not to allow any ethnic
22 Muslims to get in here." So that's how we came there,
23 since they didn't let us go beyond this Meraja.
24 At the checkpoint was Jozo Akrap, Ivica Akrap
25 and, I don't know, some other guys. We knew each other
1 very well, though.
2 Q. Now, if you remember any of the other names
3 of the people at the checkpoint, let me know and give
4 us the names. But these people that you knew, from
5 where did they come?
6 A. These people, for example Jozo and Ivica, are
7 brothers. They are from the area of Carica that you
8 can see here on the map. So the local commune of
9 Carica and the municipality of Busovaca. Then this
10 Boban, he's from the local commune of Juriceve Bare.
11 Q. The name Boban, is that a first name or a
12 last name, and do you know any other part of his name?
13 A. Boban is his real name. At school we called
14 him Bobi, though. And the other one was Vrhovac. His
15 house was here on the other side when you cross the
16 little bridge [indicates]. He wore civilian clothes.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I am going to stop you
18 for a minute. Are we going to be assisted with quite
19 all this detail?
20 MR. NICE: Names may be material because, of
21 course, records may turn up later and issues may be in
22 dispute. But I've got as far as I want with those
23 names and I was going to move on.
24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, I
25 think that all this is all right for the background,
1 but I think we should go a little faster, because,
2 after all, it's almost 50 minutes now since we started
3 with this testimony, and we are still in the
4 preliminary stage. So I do think that we should speed
5 things up a little. Even if it is necessary, it can be
6 done more speedily.
7 MR. NICE: Well, I am very much in the hands
8 of the manner of delivery of the witness, and I'm not
9 going to lead unless I am allowed to.
10 Q. Paragraph 39. These soldiers who barred your
11 progress, were they armed? Just "yes" or "no" to
13 A. Yes. Yes, they had long weapons.
14 Q. The Croat headquarters itself, is that shown
15 on your plan? If so, point it out.
16 A. [Indicates] Yes. When the U.N. forces came
17 to the area of the municipality of Busovaca, they took
18 the Tisa hotel premises. The military structures of
19 the HVO government that were organised by the HDZ were
20 relocated and brought to Tisovac --
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. -- by the mountains.
23 Q. Were you barred from approaching that
24 headquarters by these soldiers, and did you decide to
25 press on up the river towards the Grad Mountain Lodge?
1 Just "yes" or "no" will do for this. But before
2 leaving the checkpoint, did you notice something in the
3 ground, and if so, what was it?
4 A. Yes. When crossing from the river to the
5 checkpoint, we passed by some buried bodies. That's
6 over here [indicates].
7 Q. How did you know they were buried bodies
9 A. Parts of their fingers could be seen. They
10 were sticking out of the ground. And also parts of
11 their legs, feet. Through the conversation --
12 Q. Yes, carry on. Did one of the soldiers tell
13 you something about these bodies? If so, which soldier
14 and what did he tell you?
15 A. He said -- Boban said that these were some
16 imprisoned Serb soldiers, that they were taken
17 somewhere by Kotor Vares and that they were executed
18 over here. We talked there and they did not let us
19 pass any further. They could not guarantee our safety
20 by the Ivancica river. We asked for them to let us
21 pass at our own responsibility. And we were not
22 supposed to tell anyone. If anyone were to stop us
23 later by the river, that they had let us get through.
24 We went on fishing. We proceeded there
25 towards the Vatrostalna villa. You cannot see it
1 there. And also there was a fish pond for raising
2 Californian trout, and we reached the Busovaca
3 waterworks. This is the main station for providing
4 drinking water to the town.
5 We were stopped there by the soldiers. We
6 were surrounded. We heard them and we were also at a
7 lower point. Among others, Arapovic, Milenko Arapovic
8 walked up to us. He ordered us to put our fishing
9 tackle down and to raise our hands. And they were
10 cussing at us. They said that we were extremists who
11 were sent to sabotage the headquarters, et cetera.
12 We did not want to drop our fishing tackle at
13 that point and he uncocked his pistol, 765, and he shot
14 above our heads.
15 Then he -- then we realised that he was not
16 joking. And we dropped our tackle and raised our
18 Q. Were you taken to the so-called fish farm,
19 and since this is a feature in the ground which can be
20 proved, I hope, by a photograph, is that a series of
21 concrete structures built for the breeding of
22 Californian trout to serve the hotel restaurant before
23 the war? Paragraph 50.
24 A. Yes. Yes, they escorted us with weapons to
25 the fish pond and they insulted us. They abused us
1 verbally. They insisted that we strip down to our
2 underwear so that they could search us. We refused to
3 do that. We did not know the reason for that. And we
4 did not know of any reason why they should mistreat
5 us. So we were quarrelling with him. "Who are you?
6 Fishing Lasva, which river is ours," et cetera.
7 Q. Were there other soldiers present there whom
8 you can name? If so, just give us the names? If you
9 can't name anybody at the moment, we'll move on.
10 A. There were five or six soldiers there. One
11 of them was Herman Lastro. I think his surname was
12 Lastro. The other one was Boban Lastro. The third was
13 Zarko Goran or something like that.
14 Q. All right. The fish ponds themselves, did
15 they have covers over the top of them, metal covers?
16 A. No. The ponds were made out of reinforced
17 concrete and they were linked in threes. They had a
18 two-metre wire fence around them on the outside. They
19 didn't have nets covering them.
20 Q. Very well. Were they visible from the
21 headquarters building which you've already indicated
22 and which I'd like you to name? Could you see that
23 headquarters building from the fish pond?
24 A. The HVO headquarters, or rather the think
25 tank, was in the Ivancica villa, and the ponds were
1 further up. The ponds were here [indicates], and only
2 the trees could be seen above the ponds, because they
3 are in a valley. So it was not possible to directly
4 see the pond itself, or the water in the pond. But
5 above the fence, from the balcony of the villa, one
6 could see the treetops.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. And the small hut that had been left there.
9 Q. In the event, were you released from the
10 control of these soldiers because a man called Nikica
11 Grubesic, who knew you, came by and ordered your
13 A. Yes. Just then, we thought that we would be
14 executed in the course of this argument. We were
15 unaware where we were going. We didn't know that the
16 headquarters was there. They kept repeating to us that
17 the headquarters was there, and that we had been
18 infiltrated there by the TO.
19 Q. Whose headquarters was it that was there?
20 A. At the time, this was the headquarters of the
21 HVO of Busovaca municipality.
22 Q. And do you know where Kordic was? Was this
23 Kordic's headquarters?
24 A. He would come occasionally to those
25 headquarters, though his -- I don't think he was there
1 permanently, but he was present. I'm sure of that.
2 MR. NICE: Can the witness see, please, the
3 exhibit that is a rather poor photograph at the end of
4 the exhibit? It's 2703. Just lay it on top of the
5 existing maps because we may return to the maps.
6 Q. The background to this photograph, which
7 we're just losing, includes a flag -- if the technical
8 booth could just go out -- that's fine.
9 We can see a background of trees. Are you
10 able to help at all with the location or possible
11 location of that photograph?
12 A. I think -- I believe this photograph was
13 taken in the environs of the Ivancica villa, the
14 Tisovac villa. This flag, these flags, or flags like
15 this, were present on all roads. At the entrance to
16 Tisovac, at command posts, everywhere where there was a
18 Q. And the trees behind the defendant, does that
19 accord with the general area of Tisovac? Is that a
20 wooded area?
21 A. Behind the villa, yes, there is a wooded pine
22 wood, or a mixed wood, with oak and pine trees, behind
23 the villa, going from Busovaca towards the villa.
24 Q. Thank you. Having been --
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Naumovski.
1 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] I don't have
2 a normal objection, but as the Prosecutor is tendering
3 this photograph through this witness, perhaps it would
4 be useful for us to ask when this photograph was taken
5 and where it was published.
6 MR. NICE: The photograph, I'm afraid, has to
7 speak for itself, insofar as it can't be the subject of
8 evidence. It's -- the identity of the subject is
9 clear. I'm at the moment attempting to establish its
10 likely location.
11 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
12 Now, Mr. Naumovski, we are professional
13 judges; we're not a jury. Now, what is the next
14 point? This photograph, we've heard the evidence. If
15 you want to ask the witness about it, you can. Now,
16 what can your objection be?
17 MR. NAUMOVSKI: It is that the witness has
18 been shown a photograph that we know nothing about, and
19 he is not the author of that photograph, and how can
20 the witness recognise it when it is not a clear
21 photograph anyway? So that is our objection.
22 JUDGE MAY: We understand that. If you are
23 objecting to the admissibility of the evidence, it is
24 admissible. As to its weight, we will have to
25 determine what weight it has. We have heard what the
1 witness has said about it, and we can see the
2 photographs. We can make up our own minds. There
3 should be a broad approach to admissibility. As to
4 weight, well, we'll have to decide whether we think
5 it's got any weight.
6 MR. NAUMOVSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you,
7 Your Honour.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Having been saved by the man Grubesic, were
10 you returned to the checkpoint in Meraja and able to go
11 home in due course? Just "yes" to that, please.
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. NICE: The photograph and the hand-drawn
14 map can be removed, leaving the coloured map.
15 Q. Was there an occasion at the end of July 1992
16 when you and your companion, same companion, had been
17 on Mount Busovaca -- I think you were a mountaineer and
18 things like that -- and did you come to a place in the
19 Peska forestry work site north of Busovaca by some 12
20 to 15 kilometres?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you there hear some noises which led to
23 your hiding behind some trees, in due course to see
24 some HVO soldiers whom or some of whom you recognised?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, you're pointing at something that is
2 southwest of Busovaca, so if what I've put is incorrect
3 about the place being to the north of Busovaca, you
4 must correct me.
5 A. It is above Kupres.
6 MR. NICE: In which case the summary is
7 wrong. I apologise for that.
8 Q. First of all, name, please, the soldiers whom
9 you are able to name, and then we'll ask you for a
10 quick summary of what it is that you saw them do.
11 Names of the soldiers.
12 A. Among them were Zoran Marinic; a Petrovic;
13 Zeljo Vukadinovic; Miro Petrovic; Nedeljko Glibo,
14 Akrap, who used to work in Sumarstvo, forestry
15 administration; Mile, who used to drive a
16 three-barrelled gun --
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. -- and a --
19 Q. Did they have with them a prisoner Serb
21 A. Yes, a man most probably of Serb ethnic
22 origin --
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, you can take this
24 evidence shortly.
25 MR. NICE: Very well.
1 JUDGE MAY: We've read it. I don't know that
2 it's going to assist very much, although of course it
3 was an important incident at the time.
4 MR. NICE: Very well. I'm much obliged.
5 Q. Was there a freshly dug grave? Had the man's
6 ears been cut off? Was he moaning and asking the
7 soldiers to put an end to his suffering? Did he get
8 killed in circumstances which you were not able to see
9 directly, and after he was killed, did one of those
10 soldiers say something to the other soldiers about how
11 a real Ustasha does it?
12 A. Yes. We were on our way back from the Crni
13 Vrh, or Black Peak --
14 Q. I'm sorry to have to interrupt you,
15 Witness T, but you'll understand that time is limited,
16 and where questions can be dealt with by a yes or no,
17 that's, I'm afraid, the way we have to deal with it.
18 Did you also hear a rifle, it appeared the
19 Kalashnikov you had seen, being fired?
21 A. I did hear it.
22 Q. Although -- and just for the completeness of
23 the picture and to help my learned friends opposite,
24 you didn't see the killing, and you've seen your
25 statement to the Bosnian authorities, and you can't
1 explain the detail that's provided in that statement
2 apparently taken from you; is that the position?
3 A. Yes. We saw the event up to the killing, and
4 the actual killing was something we couldn't see
5 because this three-barrelled gun appeared behind our
7 Q. Yes. Very well. And then I think we can
8 look very briefly at the exhibit, the next part of the
9 same drawings exhibit, which is a sheet with the
10 number 00685930 on it, and just identify this is the
11 drawing that shows the location.
12 Just confirm, please, that this shows your
13 drawing of the event. The various terms have not been
14 translated into English. Can you just point out with
15 the pointer where it was in relation to the other
16 features shown on the plan that the killing occurred?
17 A. Yes [indicates].
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. This is the road to Rovna, and here it
20 branches off to the left about 100 metres.
21 Q. Very well. Did the soldiers drive away in
22 the direction of the Peska forestry enterprise in a
23 vehicle that was ex-JNA and painted in camouflage with
24 "ZNG" marked on the doors in white letters?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you return to the area later, and were
2 you given some information from a man called Ivan
3 Petrovic, of the community of Ravan, about the capture
4 and killing of Serb soldiers in Ravan?
5 A. Yes, but they didn't speak of one man and
6 they didn't mention the location Peska, but they spoke
7 of a number of killings in the area of Tisovac,
8 killings of Serbs, people, or rather soldiers that were
9 captured in the area of Skender Vakuf, Kotor Varos,
10 Jajce; somewhere there, in that area.
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I shan't read the
12 names of the two informant companions or acquaintances,
13 in the interests of their safety. They are given at
14 paragraph 66.
15 Q. In August '92, was the Busovaca Territorial
16 Defence disbanded along with a mixed military force,
17 and at that stage, did you notice anything of people
18 from outside Herceg-Bosna in the area of Busovaca?
19 A. The Territorial Defence operated up to the
20 25th of January 1993. As far as the authorities
21 permitted as they supervised -- they were supervised by
22 representatives of the HDZ and by military authorities,
23 the command of the Territorial Defence was disbanded in
24 the town centre and it was transferred to the area of
1 Q. Thank you. Let's turn then to the presence
2 of outsiders in your town --
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's, in fact, call it a
5 MR. NICE: Yes.
6 JUDGE MAY: I notice that you are coming up
7 to paragraph 70. That would not seem to me admissible.
8 I don't know whether you thought of leading it, but it
9 seems to me something of a view of that kind, an
10 opinion of that sort is not a matter for the witness.
11 What he can tell us is what he knows about it.
12 MR. NICE: Yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: I.e., what he saw and heard,
14 rather than what he believes.
15 MR. NICE: Certainly. But his proximity to
16 an eyewitness follows in the subsequent paragraphs, but
17 of course his belief has nothing to do with it.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I mean, the evidence about
19 facts is one thing, but unless it can be substantiated
20 in some way, it's not evidence.
21 MR. NICE: His belief is neither here nor
22 there. But he may be able to tell us what somebody
23 else said, if that person is sufficiently approximate
24 to the events.
25 JUDGE MAY: That's correct.
1 MR. NICE: I'm sorry, the witness is being
2 slower than any of us would have wished, but we all
3 have different ways of delivery. And I'll try and make
4 assumptions about my rights to lead without offending
5 the defence a little more tomorrow.
6 JUDGE MAY: The witness, of course, is not to
7 be criticised.
8 MR. NICE: Of course not.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Unless there are any other
10 matters, we'll adjourn.
11 Witness T, could you come back, please,
12 tomorrow morning at half past nine to go on with your
13 evidence. Would you please remember in this
14 adjournment and any others there may be not to speak to
15 anybody about your evidence until it's over. And that,
16 of course, includes the members of the Prosecution.
17 Half past nine tomorrow morning.
18 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at 4.18
19 p.m. to be reconvened on Thursday, the
20 4th day of November, 1999 at 9.30 a.m.