1 Thursday, November 25, 1999
2 [Closed session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
14 pages 10369 to 10430 redacted – in closed session
7 [open session]
8 JUDGE MAY: I should say the Brigadier. I
9 beg his pardon.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 WITNESS: ALASTAIR DUNCAN [Resumed]
12 JUDGE MAY: Brigadier, thank you for coming
13 back. You remain, of course, under the solemn
14 declaration which you took before.
15 THE WITNESS: Yes.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, I know you predicted
17 three hours yesterday. Perhaps you could try and
18 improve on that. See if we can get through the witness
19 today, because we've got a lot of business tomorrow to
21 MR. SAYERS: There is no way that I will be
22 able to be completed with the witness today, I regret
23 to say, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, let's move on.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers [continued]
1 Q. Brigadier, during your tour you had the
2 chance to sit down with the military leaders from the
3 Muslim forces and have a frank discussion with them
4 regarding their military objectives, didn't you?
5 A. Yes, I did. Yes.
6 Q. They confided to you, in fact, that their
7 strategic plan was to slice up the Vitez-Busovaca
8 enclave into a number of discrete pieces; correct?
9 A. That would have been -- yes, that was an
10 efficient way of doing it. Yes.
11 Q. They were completely confident of their
12 ability to do so, weren't they?
13 A. They were overconfident, yes.
14 Q. And indeed, throughout your tour, sir, which
15 lasted, I think we agreed in the last session that you
16 were here, seven months?
17 A. Yes, seven months.
18 Q. Throughout your tour they repeatedly
19 attempted to achieve this objective, did they not?
20 A. Yes, although I think in the last two months
21 of my time there they had begun to realise that this
22 task was beyond them, and they therefore stopped such
23 determined attacks, I would say.
24 Q. One of the military leaders with whom you met
25 fairly frequently, sir, I believe, was General Mehmed
2 A. Yes, it was. He is a commander.
3 Q. Did you ever discuss with General Alagic his
4 plans with respect to the position of the Muslims in
5 Stari Vitez?
6 A. It was a long-term aim of the BiH forces to,
7 if you like, liberate the Muslims of Stari Vitez.
8 Q. Were you aware that General Alagic had
9 actually published a book about the war in Central
10 Bosnia in 1997?
11 A. I wasn't aware, no.
12 Q. Let me just read you a section from page 26.
13 I would like to ask you whether these options and the
14 decision was discussed with you. He says:
15 "I was concerned by a specific issue, what to
16 do with the civilians if we entered Vitez. Should we
17 create conditions for their surrender? Or the second
18 option was to allow their movement to the south-west.
19 The third option was to keep them besieged and
20 pressured so that our supplies from Croatia would not
21 be completely withheld. Faced with this overall
22 situation, we chose the last option. Instead of
23 liberating Vitez, we chose to leave it as a strategic
24 vent for supplying of other parts of Bosnia."
25 Did General Alagic ever express those views
1 to you, sir?
2 A. Yes, he did. He did. The three options were
3 expressed. We discussed them. Yes.
4 Q. Were you aware that on the next page of his
5 book, General Alagic says:
6 "Through connections in the U.N., we
7 succeeded in getting some ammunitions, weapons into
8 Stari Vitez so that they could defend themselves."
9 A. I wasn't aware he put that in the book.
10 You've made me aware. He would use every effort he
11 could to get weapons, ammunition and food into that
12 pocket. Whether he achieved that or not, I do not
14 Q. And just to conclude this line of questions
15 regarding General Alagic, do you recall meeting with
16 General Alagic on the 6th of November, 1993, just
17 before you had lunch with the Croat leaders?
18 A. Yes, I did. I think that's in my diary, the
19 extract which you have.
20 Q. Yes. In fact, why don't we make this an
22 Mr. President, I will say that there are no
23 entries here of a personal nature, and I appreciate the
24 Brigadier making these available. The entries in this
25 diary are all relevant to the events in this case. So
1 I don't believe that there would be any personal
2 embarrassment factor through making these a public
3 exhibit, unless the Brigadier objects to that.
4 A. Yes, sir. That's what you've asked me to do
5 and I've expunged the bits that I believe were
7 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D133/1.
9 MR. SAYERS:
10 Q. If I might just ask you to turn to the last
11 page of this exhibit, sir.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Place it on the ELMO,
13 please, for the interpreters. Could the document be
14 placed on the ELMO for the interpreters, please.
15 JUDGE MAY: Have you got a copy for the
17 MR. SAYERS: If we could put this on the
18 ELMO. I have highlighted the portions with the
19 significant --
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but have you got copies for
21 the interpreters?
22 MR. SAYERS: I regret to say that we do not
23 have those copies with us today, for which I apologise.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, some seem to have gone.
25 But over the adjournment we ought to make sure that
1 there are copies.
2 MR. SAYERS: Yes, we will do that.
3 JUDGE MAY: Meanwhile the interpreters should
4 have copies.
5 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President. That's my
6 fault and I apologise to the Court and to them.
7 JUDGE MAY: I meant to say "should have."
8 They are getting them. They are in fact getting the
9 copies. So there is no need to put them on the ELMO.
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. Brigadier, the references to Enver, Dzemo and
12 Mehmed are all -- those are all first names or
13 diminutives, aren't they?
14 A. Enver Hadzihasanovic, Dzemal Merdan and
15 Mehmed Alagic.
16 Q. These gentlemen communicated to you that
17 there was a party line that they were prepared to
18 follow to the letter, and that was that the war would
19 go on as long as necessary to secure to the Muslim
20 side, if you will, their territorial gains; correct?
21 A. That's what they stated at that stage. They
22 told me a lot of things over the seven months, some of
23 which came to pass, a lot which didn't come to pass, a
24 lot which were good ideas, and a lot which I -- in many
25 cases they perhaps wanted me to know, or not, as the
1 case may be.
2 Q. Would it be fair to say that one of the
3 things that you were told was that there were plans to
4 shell the HVO headquarters at the Hotel Vitez at
5 approximately 5 p.m.; correct?
6 A. No, that's not correct. I said I was going
7 to lunch that afternoon with Blaskic and others, as a
8 farewell lunch, and Alagic said, "You had better be out
9 by 5.00." The locations weren't mentioned.
10 Q. And the last entry in your diary on that day,
11 I take it, refers to that: "The lunch went on a bit
12 long. The result was that the shells that Alagic had
13 promised came into the hotel area. Someone was
14 wounded, as we heard the screams."
15 And you conclude with the observation
16 that "Alagic will, of course, think the whole thing is
17 hilariously funny."
18 A. Yes, that's correct, yeah.
19 Q. Do you recall, on the subject of Stari Vitez,
20 Brigadier, a proposal that was made early on in your
21 tour, communicated, I believe, to Major Roy Hunter,
22 through Pero Skopljak, and that this proposal involved
23 permitting the troops or the Muslims in Stari Vitez to
24 leave Stari Vitez, provided that they surrendered their
25 weapons to UNPROFOR forces?
1 A. I can't honestly remember that proposal
2 directly. It is -- it is quite a reasonable proposal
3 to make. Whether the Muslims or the HVO or anyone
4 would agree with that, I don't know, but it is not an
5 unreasonable proposal to make.
6 Q. Let me see if I can jog your memory further.
7 As part of this proposal, the HVO government in Vitez
8 would guarantee the safety of the Muslim civilians in
9 Stari Vitez, and the forces in Stari Vitez, the Muslim
10 forces, actually turned down that proposal; does that
11 ring a bell?
12 A. That's quite possible. A not unreasonable
13 assumption. The track record, that far, of HVO forces
14 guaranteeing Muslims safety was not terribly good in
15 the Vitez pocket.
16 Q. Do you recall incidents where -- well,
17 actually, let me rephrase the question: You testified,
18 I believe, with respect to the killing of a UNHCR
19 driver by the name of Boris, and I believe that that
20 was August the 14th, 1993, as we had stipulated; do you
21 recall that?
22 A. Yes, I recall that the incident took place.
23 Q. Do you recall that ten days later, a UNHCR
24 convoy actually made it into Stari Vitez; lorries with
25 supplies, humanitarian aid, were permitted to enter
1 Stari Vitez. The lorries were unloaded, and as soon as
2 they left, the ABiH started blazing away at the
3 Croat-held part of town and the convoy?
4 Perhaps I can jog your memory, if the usher
5 would be good enough to show you Z1179, which is a copy
6 of milinfosum 117, sir, dated August the 24th, 1993.
7 The entry to which I would like to draw your attention
8 is a very short one. It's a paragraph numbered 3, just
9 under the "Vitez" entry.
10 Does that jog your memory, or do you have no
11 recollection of that particular event, sir?
12 A. Yes, I remember that -- yes, yes, I recollect
13 it now, having seen the milinfosum.
14 Q. All right. Thank you very much, Brigadier.
15 I've finished with that. Let's just move on quickly to
16 another subject, since time is precious here, if we
18 A. Can I just ask if you are making the
19 insinuation that a UNHCR convoy which I was responsible
20 for escorting had taken weapons into Stari Vitez? If
21 you're --
22 Q. Absolutely not.
23 A. -- making that insinuation --
24 Q. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
25 A. That's fine, then. Thank you.
1 Q. Now, there is no question, sir, that the
2 protection and control of main supply routes is an
3 overriding, important, and legitimate goal in an
4 infantry war; isn't that correct?
5 A. Yes, very important.
6 Q. In fact, you would agree that it's militarily
7 necessary to defend main supply routes to the maximum
8 extent of the power and ability of the forces having
9 those supply routes under their control; correct?
10 A. In balance; you would have to keep it in
11 balance. You would need to establish and maintain main
12 supply routes, with alternatives, in case they were
13 blocked. And you would adjust -- obviously adjust your
14 main supply routes as battle goes on.
15 Q. There's a certain amount of fluidity in any
16 kind of a warfare situation with the ebb and flow of
17 the military advantage between forces; wouldn't you
18 agree with that?
19 A. I would agree with that, yes.
20 Q. And in order to control main supply routes,
21 especially in areas such as Central Bosnia, which
22 consist of deep valleys and ravines and so forth, you
23 would agree that it would be vital to control any high
24 ground adjacent to the main supply route as an adjunct
25 to the overriding military objective of ensuring that
1 the main supply route remains under your control;
3 A. You would make an appreciation as to the best
4 way of protecting that main supply route. That may in
5 some cases mean picketing the high ground; in other
6 cases it may not. It's a question of the level of the
7 threat, the terrain, and a number of other factors.
8 Q. Right. But generally speaking, if high
9 ground can be captured by opposing forces, from which
10 they can fire down onto troops using the main supply
11 route for reinforcement, for example, or aid moving
12 back and forth, there is no question that the
13 protection or capture of high ground overlooking the
14 main supply route is a reasonable and legitimate
15 military objective?
16 A. It is a legitimate --
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters appeal to
18 counsel to slow down, please.
19 A. It is a legitimate objective, yes.
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. And you would agree, sir -- I don't think
22 there's any doubt about this -- that the key to the
23 defence of the entire Vitez/Busovaca pocket was the
24 main supply route that ran up from Novi Travnik,
25 through Vitez, along to Kaonik, and down through
1 Busovaca; isn't that true?
2 A. The key to the defence of Vitez was the
3 ability to move from -- quickly and rapidly across the
4 pockets. Whether that was on a main supply route or on
5 an alternative doesn't matter; it's the ability to
6 move, and not the main supply route, that's important.
7 Q. I was just picking up, sir, on a statement
8 that you made on page 4 of the statement you gave to
9 the investigators working for the Prosecution on the
10 12th of August, 1996, and the 16th of April, 1997. I
11 don't think there is any dispute about this.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, may I interrupt here
13 on a matter. This is not the first time you've put to
14 a witness a question beginning "Do you agree that."
15 The witness then says he either does agree, or often he
16 qualifies what he's said. You then produce his
17 statement and contradict him.
18 Now, we are dealing with events here which
19 lasted a very long time ago -- took place a very long
20 time ago. We are dealing with statements which
21 witnesses gave a long time ago, four or five years ago,
22 and I don't think it's fair to expect them to remember
23 precisely what is in their statements, even if they
24 have been able to refresh their memory from it.
25 If you want to put something from a statement
1 to a witness, the fair way to put it is to read out
2 what he said in the statement and then say, "That's
3 what you said; do you agree with that still," rather
4 than the other way around, which I'm sure you don't
5 intend it, but looks as though it's a trick or a trap.
6 MR. SAYERS: It was not intended to be,
7 Mr. President. I'm grateful for the guidance, and I
8 will do exactly as you suggest.
9 Q. On page 4 of the statement that you gave to
10 the investigators two and a half years ago, sir, you
11 said --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Sayers, could you
13 please slow down?
14 MR. SAYERS:
15 Q. -- "... Novi Travnik, Vitez, Busovaca."
16 A. I'm sorry, you're going too fast for the
17 interpreters. Could you read that out again, so I can
18 just --
19 Q. Certainly.
20 A. -- catch the whole thing?
21 Q. It says: "The key to the Defence of the
22 Vitez pocket was the main road, Novi Travnik, Vitez,
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you agree with that, don't you?
1 A. I agree with that, and I was -- I believe that
2 my statement goes on at that stage to describe how the
3 Vitez pocket was defended. It may not have been in
4 that particular part of my statement, but I did
5 describe in some detail the method, very similar to the
6 First World War, how the Vitez pocket was defended.
7 Q. Just a few final questions in this regard.
8 When your tour began and when it ended, the Croats had
9 essentially been squeezed into geographically isolated
10 enclaves; that's fair to say, isn't it?
11 A. They were -- during the -- they were quite
12 dominant in the Vitez area when I first arrived, but
13 during the course of my seven months, they were indeed
14 squeezed into a number of pockets, yes.
15 Q. You would agree that the Vitez/Busovaca
16 pocket was a vital area for the Croats for a number of
17 reasons, including the location of the armaments
18 factory or the explosives factory in Vitez itself;
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 Q. All right.
22 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, we've already
23 been over the offensive launched in June of 1993, and I
24 don't believe it would be necessary to revisit that
1 Q. Addressing your attention, Brigadier, to a
2 separate subject, which is the military chain of
3 command of the HVO, you were aware that the supreme
4 commander of the HVO forces was the president of the
5 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Mate Boban;
7 A. Yes. I was aware of that.
8 Q. And you were also aware that the chief of the
9 HVO general staff in Mostar was Brigadier Milivoj
10 Petkovic; correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Colonel Blaskic reported directly to
13 Brigadier Petkovic; correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And in your view, operational command of all
16 HVO forces in Central Bosnia was exercised directly
17 from the Hotel Vitez, wasn't it?
18 A. Operational command for the defence of the
19 pocket, using the troops, yes, was exercised from
21 Q. As a former battalion commander yourself, you
22 viewed yourself, in that capacity, as having sole
23 responsibility for the actions of troops under your
24 command, didn't you?
25 A. I was given that formal authority by the
1 commander of the British forces in former Yugoslavia
2 who was based in Split, who had delineated my
3 boundaries and those people under my command, yes.
4 Q. And that's a fairly normal situation for a
5 battalion commander, isn't it, to have sole
6 responsibility for the actions of the troops under your
8 A. Yes, but there can also be other people
9 stationed in your area who you're not -- you have no
10 action -- it's to do with command states. There are a
11 number of varying command states in most forces which
12 describe those forces directly under those command,
13 those in location, those in locations you have some
14 authority over, and those in locations you might be
15 providing administrative support for.
16 Q. All right. Let me just suggest to you that
17 you testified on page 9040 of the Blaskic case as
18 follows: that you were in "sole responsibility for all
19 of the actions of the troops under my command, which is
20 quite normal. That was absolutely standard practice.
21 There is one commander, who is directly responsible for
22 all actions of his troops, good or bad."
23 Do you still subscribe to that view today,
25 A. Yes, I do, but it again depends on the
1 command status. I was given that authority. It is not
2 always given to everybody. It is not a standard
4 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say that with a few
5 minor exceptions, Brigadier, you viewed the HVO as
6 similar to any modern professional army in the world?
7 A. Yes. And I've stated that their
8 organisation, with particular reference to their
9 territorial organisation, was the same as any modern
10 army in the world.
11 Q. The HVO, as far as you were aware -- and I
12 think it's been exhibited -- had a full code of
13 military discipline, didn't it?
14 A. Yes, indeed.
15 Q. Similarly, the HVO had established military
16 courts and also a district military prosecutor's
17 office; you were aware of that, weren't you, sir?
18 A. Yes, I was, and I have referred to it on a
19 number of occasions, when I've stated that I -- well, I
20 knew that something had happened; I couldn't actually
21 prove it had happened, but they -- soldiers had been
22 through jurisdiction. And I also stated on a number of
23 occasions that the HVO in the Vitez pocket, in their
24 command structure, had a different command structure to
25 the BiH, with this political element at the top. And
1 that has been produced, I believe, as an exhibit in the
3 Q. You viewed the existence of a detailed code
4 of military discipline, the existence of military
5 courts, and a military prosecutor, as the sign of a
6 developed army with a good command structure, didn't
7 you, sir?
8 A. It is part of the structure of a developed
9 army, yes. Provided those courts are used. I mean,
10 anyone can produce a structure and a code. If the code
11 is used and followed, that's fine. Just because
12 standing institutions are in place, doesn't mean that
13 the right practices are done.
14 Q. Let me just draw your attention to page 9106
15 of your testimony against General Blaskic. You
16 testified as follows:
17 "I was aware that there was a full code of
18 military discipline backing up the HVO, as published, I
19 believe, by the government of Herceg-Bosnia, which
20 details right down to the detail of how to deal with
21 court cases and process for disciplining. That is a
22 sign of a developed army that has a good command
24 And you agree with that today as well, sir,
25 don't you?
1 A. I do agree with that. But I must go back to
2 my reply to your previous question. Even if the code
3 is in place, it doesn't necessarily have to be used.
4 And you will recall -- if I could, sir, be allowed to
5 mention that on the 8th of September, I think --
6 wrong. I'll reclarify. After the convoy came through,
7 when I spoke to Kordic, one of the agreements he made
8 was that he would investigate the deaths of the eight
9 people who were killed. No such investigation took
11 Now we are saying there is a code there for
12 military forces, and the areas under martial law, and
13 no such investigation took place. That would imply to
14 me that the code wasn't being followed.
15 At other occasions the code was followed.
16 When I asked Blaskic to investigate the arrival of a
17 rocket in my camp, he dealt with that very swiftly.
18 Q. Just one question in connection with the
19 comment that you just made, Brigadier. Following the
20 deaths of the eight drivers in the Convoy of Joy, which
21 was a private convoy, wasn't it?
22 A. It was a Muslim convoy -- yes, it was not an
23 UNHCR convoy, that's correct.
24 Q. Did you ever have any further written or oral
25 communications with Mr. Kordic on that subject?
1 A. Of asking for an investigation?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. No, I asked him the once. And he didn't
4 follow it up.
5 Q. All right.
6 A. I didn't -- I mean, I could have badgered him
7 at every meeting. In fact, we didn't meet very often
8 after that, as you know. But there are other things to
9 be done.
10 Q. Do you know what role politicians played in
11 the process of military discipline within the HVO
12 military forces, sir?
13 A. I don't know directly, but I would assume --
14 Q. Well, there is no need to assume, sir. In
15 the British army what role, if any, do civilian
16 politicians play in the process of military
17 investigations and military discipline? None, isn't
18 that true?
19 A. Well, I think that's wrong, because every
20 year parliament has to vote and clarify that we are
21 allowed to keep our army. And in doing so it then
22 endorses the Army Act in the U.K., and we are allowed
23 to carry on soldiering for another year. Without that
24 vote, there is no authority for anything in the army.
25 Q. Right. I understand that, Brigadier. The
1 point I make is slightly different, and that is this:
2 Once a military investigation has been initiated, in
3 the British army civilian politicians don't play any
4 role whatsoever in that investigation or in the process
5 of court martial or military prosecution; wouldn't that
6 be fair to say?
7 A. There is a -- no, there is an organisation
8 sitting on top of the court martial process, which
9 ensures and audits all the trials that have taken
10 place, to make sure that they are acceptable within
11 military law and complying with civil law, and we don't
12 exceed any of our boundaries.
13 Q. All right. Once again, let me just ask you.
14 With respect to -- and I don't mean to badger you, but
15 I would like an answer to this question. With respect
16 to a regular investigation of a particular crime,
17 military crime, that is the subject of a court martial,
18 it's true, is it not, that civilian politicians in your
19 system, in the British army, play absolutely no role
20 whatsoever in the Prosecution or investigation of the
22 A. It depends on the -- I don't wish to evade
23 this. It does depend on the level of the crime. If a
24 soldier is caught drunk, he may well be dealt with at
25 the appropriate level. If he is caught committing a
1 murder, that will then escalate the level at which it
2 can be dealt with, and it certainly couldn't be a
3 commanding officer. It would then go to a court
4 martial. If it goes to a court martial, there is a
5 judge advocate general who sits on that, who is not a
6 military person. He is civilian. And he is there to
7 see we do our business again correctly. --
8 JUDGE MAY: No more questions on that point.
9 MR. SAYERS: I think the point is made, Your
10 Honour, and I will move on.
11 Q. With respect to the rules of military
12 discipline about which you testified, I think that it
13 was Exhibit Z200,1. I wonder if the usher would give
14 you a copy of that.
15 Do you have before you the English version of
16 this document, sir?
17 A. Yes, that's the one I recognise.
18 Q. Military discipline. All right. Let me just
19 go through some of these fairly lengthy provisions with
20 you in an expeditious way. Could you just turn to
21 Article 16.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not
23 have copies.
24 MR. SAYERS:
25 Q. You were aware that the Supreme Commander of
1 the HZHB armed forces, Mr. Boban, as you previously
2 testified, if so requested or proposed, could reduce,
3 mitigate or remit disciplinary measures of punishment.
4 Were you aware of that?
5 A. I wasn't aware. You have made me aware of
6 the sentence now.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could it be placed on the
8 ELMO, please. The interpreters do not have copies of
9 this document.
10 JUDGE MAY: How many of these Articles do you
11 want to go through?
12 MR. SAYERS: Probably four, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Why don't you just refer us to
14 them without --
15 MR. SAYERS: I will do precisely that.
16 JUDGE MAY: Because the interpreters don't
17 have copies and it's much more difficult for them.
18 What's the next one?
19 MR. SAYERS: For the Court's information, I
20 would just draw the attention to Article 51, which
21 provides that:
22 "Disciplinary offences shall be tried by the
23 general staff's military disciplinary courts of first
24 instance and superior military disciplinary courts."
25 The only question that I wanted to ask the
1 Brigadier in that regard was this: Were you aware that
2 there was a two-tier system of courts within the HZHB:
3 military disciplinary courts of first instance and
4 superior military disciplinary courts?
5 A. That's very similar to the system -- to the
6 one we have, yes.
7 Q. All right. Article 54 provides that military
8 disciplinary court trials shall be conducted by a
9 three-judge council, with one presiding judge. Is that
10 similar to the system that's in place in your armed
11 forces, sir?
12 A. Yes, that seems quite reasonable, and it's
13 very similar to most armed forces, yes.
14 Q. And the final provision to which I would like
15 to draw the Trial Chamber's attention is Article 95,
16 which provides to whom the presidents of the inferior
17 and superior Tribunals shall be accountable.
18 "The President of the first-instance military
19 disciplinary court and the prosecutor bear disciplinary
20 liability for their work in court and answer to the
21 chief of the general staff or commander of the
22 operative zone, where the military disciplinary court
23 is located."
24 Were you aware of that provision, sir, or are
25 you looking at it for the first time?
1 A. I am looking at it in detail for the first
2 time. Am I permitted to ask a question at this stage,
4 JUDGE MAY: Not normally, but on this
6 A. Thank you very much. I have a -- this is
7 fine, looking through all these Articles, but there's a
8 basic premise in the British military, is whether that
9 the crime is a military crime or a civilian crime. And
10 very often the civilian authorities may claim
11 jurisdiction and take it off the military. It depends
12 on the nature of the crime. I believe that's common to
13 most countries.
14 MR. SAYERS:
15 Q. Thank you for that, Brigadier. But that
16 never happened here, did it, with respect to, for
17 example, the Ahmici investigation about which you gave
19 A. I don't know. I'm not aware.
20 Q. The second part of Article 95, Mr. President,
21 to which I want to draw the Court's attention, is that:
22 "The President of the superior military disciplinary
23 court and the prosecutor shall bear disciplinary
24 liability for their work in court and answer to the
25 head of the Defence Department."
1 Now, sir, do you know who the head of the
2 Defence Department was of the HZHB, or the Republic,
3 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosnia, when you were
4 in Central Bosnia?
5 A. No, sir, I do not.
6 Q. All right. Let me just turn to a separate
7 subject, and that is the opinions you gave regarding
8 some units of the military police. I wonder if the
9 usher would show you first Exhibit Z881,1, which is a
10 milinfosum number 35 dated June the 3rd, 1993, and
11 about which you gave testimony in direct examination.
12 The page to which I would like to draw your
13 attention is the second page. Now, this is a
14 milinfosum dated June the 3rd, even though it appears
15 to be dated May the 3rd of 1993. I think you clarified
16 that, Brigadier?
17 A. Yes, I think we did. Yes.
18 Q. Who was the Vitez LO at the time of this
20 A. It would have either been Captain Angus Hay
21 or Captain Lee Whitworth, one of the two. They took
22 over. I'm not entirely -- my memory can't remember
23 when they took over. But one of those two.
24 Q. There is a reference here to the 4th
25 Battalion HVO MP, meaning, I take it, military police,
1 AKA Jokeri, and then in brackets "Black Knights." Were
2 you aware that the Croatian for Black Knights is Crni
4 A. I am aware that the town of Vitez means
5 knight, yes. I mean, the extrapolation of that would
6 be to do with knights, yes.
7 Q. You are aware, I take it, that there is a
8 separate detachment of special forces known as the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Whose comment appears in this milinfosum? Is
12 that the comment of the military information officer
14 JUDGE MAY: That was the evidence.
15 MR. SAYERS:
16 Q. All right.
17 JUDGE MAY: The intelligence officer Captain
18 Harrison, is my note.
19 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Captain Simon Harrison.
20 Q. You would concede, sir, that there was doubt,
21 as of the date of this milinfosum, June 3rd, 1993, as
22 to whether the control of the Jokeri or the 4th
23 Battalion of the military police came under the direct
24 control of Mr. Kordic, wouldn't you, and apparently it
25 indicates that there is doubt on that subject; correct?
1 A. It says apparently, yes.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. That doesn't mean it's 100 per cent
4 confirmed, but --
5 Q. Right. Absolutely. And once again the
6 comment says that if this is the case, then it would
7 confirm that Mr. Kordic would be senior in status to
8 Blaskic and that the HDZ controlled the HVO. So that
9 was still an open question at this time?
10 A. That is a comment, as we've said, from
11 Captain Harrison based on the information he received.
12 And I would assume he would have added it to
13 information he had also received in the past, in
14 gaining a body of evidence, if you like, about the
15 various organisations and command structures.
16 Q. And thank you for pointing that out. I think
17 that it's clear that these milinfosum, while they
18 represent a snapshot in time, if you like, when put
19 together show the evolution of BritBat's knowledge of
20 what was going on on the ground, with the politicians,
21 with the military. Would that be fair to say?
22 A. That would be fair, yes.
23 Q. All right. If we could -- the next
24 milinfosum I would like to show to you is in a
25 different format. And I apologise; I only have a
1 snippet of it. It's August the 8th, 1993. And if I
2 could show it to you. And there are sufficient for the
3 translators, my colleagues point out, Mr. President.
4 This milinfosum appears to contain some
5 further information regarding the Vitezovi. Apparently
6 this organisation, at least according to the relator,
7 Borislav Jozic, was controlled by Mostar and was
8 commanded by one Bruno Stojic. Did you ever have any
9 conversations with your military information officer or
10 liaison officers on this particular subject, sir?
11 A. Well, the inference is made by Borislav
12 Jozic, the statement as described here. Yes, we would
13 have discussed it. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Jozic, unfortunately, was killed in --
15 later in August of 1993; isn't that true? Shot by an
16 ABiH sniper?
17 A. Yes. I mean, I don't know.
18 Q. And this staff officer in the headquarters of
19 General Blaskic's office denied that the Vitezovi
20 worked to Dario Kordic's direction. You were aware of
21 that particular piece of information as of the date of
22 this milinfosum in August of 1993, weren't you?
23 A. Yes. But, I mean, that doesn't make the
24 statement true or false. That was made by that staff
25 officer. It's merely a statement that was made and
2 MR. SAYERS: Could we have that marked as the
3 next exhibit, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document marked D134/1.
5 MR. SAYERS:
6 Q. And the final military information summary,
7 milinfosum, that I would like to show to you in this
8 regard, sir, is dated August the 10th, two days later.
9 Thank you. It's military information summary 103.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D135/1.
11 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
12 Q. The particular part that I would like to draw
13 to your attention appears on page 5 of this document,
14 sir, under the heading of orbats. And apparently the
15 PWO liaison officer, or whoever was the source of the
16 information upon which the military information officer
17 relied, finally confirmed that the Jokeri and the
18 Vitezovi were different units; correct?
19 A. That's what he concluded at that time, yes.
20 Q. And is that consistent with your recollection
21 of the organisational structure, that in fact those two
22 units were completely separate units with different
24 A. Sorry, can I just read through this again?
25 Q. Absolutely.
1 A. Yes, I can confirm that at that stage we
2 believed that there were two separate organisations.
3 Q. Now, sir, with respect to the Jokers and the
4 4th Battalion of the military police, I suggest to you
5 that the commander of that unit and of the military
6 police in your area of responsibility was Pasko
7 Ljubicic, with his headquarters in the Hotel Vitez.
8 That's true, is it not?
9 A. I don't know that. I don't recognise the
11 Q. All right.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we will adjourn now.
13 We will sit this afternoon until half past 4.00, in the
14 hope that we can finish. We'll take a short break at
15 some appropriate time.
16 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, I wasn't aware
17 that we would be sitting this afternoon. If we are,
18 then I may be able to be finished with the Brigadier.
19 Thank you.
20 JUDGE MAY: I didn't imagine you were going
21 to finish in half an hour. But perhaps you might in an
22 hour and a half.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.55 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.45 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry we're late starting.
3 There was a hold-up with a local demonstration.
4 Now, Mr. Sayers, I have a note from the -- or
5 had representations from the interpreters about speed.
6 Now, I recognise the difficulty, because you're under
7 pressure of time, not least from the Bench; but you
8 won't be criticised for speaking slowly. So perhaps
9 you can practice that.
10 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President. It
11 certainly makes a large difference knowing that we have
12 the afternoon as well as the morning.
13 Q. Brigadier, just to give you some notion of
14 where this cross-examination is going, and the Trial
15 Chamber too, there are four subjects that I would like
16 to cover with you. The first is continuation of the
17 discussion of the chain of command and your dealings
18 with Colonel Blaskic in that regard; the second is your
19 meeting or meetings with Mr. Valenta about which you
20 testified; the third is the five meetings that you had
21 with Mr. Kordic about which you have also testified;
22 and then a short final subject will be the civil
23 affairs office, Mr. Randy Rhodes, and the reports that
24 he generated.
25 So without further ado, let me start out into
1 the first subject. You would agree, sir, that Colonel
2 Blaskic was, like you, a professional soldier; correct?
3 A. Yes, he was. I understood he had been a
4 captain in the JNA before these events.
5 Q. You knew that he was a graduate of the
6 military academy in Belgrade, I take it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. He had a full education, as far as you were
9 aware, in the rules and regulations of war?
10 A. As far as I was aware, yes.
11 Q. And in tactics, how to plan operations, how
12 to conduct them; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And in your view, sir, his mission was to
15 defend the Vitez pocket, the Vitez/Busovaca pocket;
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I believe that you are of the opinion that he
19 did an effective job in that endeavour?
20 A. Yes, I am. He did an extremely effective
22 Q. You, yourself, sir, never had occasion to
23 discuss the Geneva Conventions, or the rules and
24 regulations of war, if you like, with Colonel Blaskic,
25 did you?
1 A. [No audible response]
2 Q. And it would be fair to say that you made the
3 decision only to deal with the military leaders of
4 Colonel Blaskic's status and not with his subordinate
5 commanders; correct?
6 A. Yes, I have already stated that we had
7 established a hierarchy to deal -- so we didn't have
9 Q. And it is also true that you met with Colonel
10 Blaskic about once a week; correct?
11 A. Yes. As -- as and when we could, but
12 obviously it was difficult from time to time.
13 Q. In your view, sir, Colonel Blaskic exercised
14 full and complete operational command of all of the HVO
15 forces in Central Bosnia directly from his headquarters
16 at the Hotel Vitez; correct?
17 A. He was the senior military commander. I do
18 not know the exact command status of all the units, and
19 we have discussed and talked about the Orbat, Order of
20 Battle diagram, before, where we showed those main
21 units, those main brigade units, are under command, but
22 are not the detail of the other units that would have
23 been in the area.
24 Q. Isn't it true that on several occasions you
25 actually took the opportunity to question Colonel
1 Blaskic on the subject of whether he was in fact in
2 command in the Operative Zone covering each of the
3 isolated pockets about which we've spoken, and he
4 confirmed to you, when you asked him specific questions
5 on that subject, that he was indeed in command?
6 A. Yes, he always said he was the military
7 commander of the Ops Zone.
8 Q. Yes. The point I'm making is that you took
9 the opportunity to clarify with him that particular
10 subject on several occasions, didn't you?
11 A. Yes, I did, yes.
12 Q. And as to his status as a commander, as he
13 described to you, it was quite clear to you that he was
14 in fact very much the commander, wasn't it, sir?
15 A. He had -- he had the headquarters and the
16 capability of commanding, certainly.
17 Q. Right. You testified at page 9061 in the
18 Blaskic case about a year and a half ago, quote: "As
19 for his status as a commander, it was quite clear to me
20 that he was very much the commander."
21 And that's what you are saying today as well,
22 isn't it?
23 A. Yes, sir, it is.
24 Q. In fact, sir, he had all of the trappings of
25 command: for example, a large headquarters; correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Well-equipped staff?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Deputy commanders, such as Franjo Nakic?
5 A. Yes, Franjo Nakic was there.
6 Q. And liaison officers, such as Mr. Gelic?
7 A. Gelic, yes, was the liaison officer.
8 Q. In fact, in your view, he was a capable and
9 successful commander, wasn't he?
10 A. Yes, he was.
11 Q. This was not just your view; this view was
12 shared by other people in your area of responsibility,
13 was it not?
14 A. Within my -- within my command, that view was
15 shared; but others, from other aid agencies, I can't
16 speak for them, obviously.
17 Q. You said in the Blaskic case, just a few
18 pages after the passage that I read to you, at page
19 9063, that "It was quite clear to me he was a commander
20 exercising command, issuing orders, controlling events
21 as and when required, in the classic style of any
22 military commander operating a large headquarters."
23 And I take it, Brigadier, that that remains
24 your view today as well?
25 A. Yes, sir, it does.
1 Q. And you also stated -- and I believe this
2 will be the last subject on that -- the last question
3 on that subject -- at page 9065, that:
4 "In order to operate the defence of the
5 Vitez-Busovaca pocket successfully, there must be one
7 Secondly, he must have everything in that
8 area directly under his command. And he must have an
9 adequate information and communication system in order
10 to be able to operate that defence. I have to say that
11 Commander Blaskic operated that defence superbly
12 because he had all of those ingredients."
13 And that also remains your view today, sir;
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. One of the command characteristics, if you
17 like, which you saw yourself exhibited by Colonel
18 Blaskic, was his power to sign ceasefire agreements
19 without consulting anybody else; correct?
20 A. That's correct, yes.
21 Q. And he actually signed such a ceasefire
22 agreement, I believe, on June the 19th, with General
23 Enver Hadzihasanovic?
24 A. I would be uncertain of the date without
25 seeing the agreement, but yes, there were joint
1 signatures on a number of documents.
2 Q. On a related subject, sir, the subject of the
3 investigation into the terrible events at Ahmici was
4 raised, and you gave some testimony on that. You were
5 aware that Colonel Blaskic had in fact initiated an
6 investigation into the events at Ahmici, were you not?
7 A. I was aware that, one, an investigation had
8 been initiated. I wasn't aware of how far it had got.
9 And I think it was due to a report in May sometime, the
10 25th as a date that springs to mind, but I couldn't be
12 Q. Now, did you have any discussions with
13 Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, the departing CO of the
14 Cheshire Regiment, regarding communications back and
15 forth between Colonel Blaskic and BritBat in connection
16 with how that inquiry was to be structured?
17 A. I didn't, no. All I had was the fact that an
18 inquiry was going to take place. We had communications
19 by fax and telephone at an early stage with Colonel
20 Blaskic's headquarters.
21 Q. Let me just suggest to you these documents
22 are already in evidence, and I don't think there is any
23 necessity to belabour this, but Colonel Stewart sent a
24 letter to Colonel Blaskic on the 22nd of April asking
25 him to initiate an investigation. Were you aware that
1 one day later Colonel Blaskic offered to convene a
2 multi-lateral investigative commission consisting of
3 the HVO forces, or representatives, ABiH
4 representatives, and BritBat representatives as well?
5 A. I wasn't directly aware of that, but it would
6 seem an entirely reasonable thing to do, to get to the
7 bottom of the problem.
8 Q. You were present in the area when
9 representatives from the United Nations Centre for
10 Human Rights actually came into the area and performed
11 an investigation into the events at Ahmici, correct?
12 A. Yes, we had a number of people came. Yes.
13 Q. Were you aware that the results of their
14 investigations turned up four specific names of people
15 believed to have been present at the Ahmici fighting on
16 April the 16th of 1993, and that those names were
17 subsequently put into a letter that was communicated to
18 Jean-Pierre Thebault, the ECMM regional centre head in
20 A. I wasn't aware of that at all, no.
21 Q. Were you aware or did you have any
22 discussions with Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart about the
23 fact that a deliberate and conscious decision was made
24 to withhold those names from Colonel Blaskic and the
1 A. No.
2 Q. Brigadier, did you have any discussions with
3 Colonel Blaskic, after your first meeting with him,
4 which I think you said was on May the 9th of 1993, did
5 you have any other discussions with him regarding the
6 progress of the investigation into the Ahmici events?
7 A. There tended to be a standard list of
8 questions for most meetings, which after two or three I
9 realised were pointless. And I think on one occasion
10 we both agreed it was pointless, if we both sat down
11 and made the same five demands. So I stopped asking.
12 I had a responsibility to get the aid through the
13 pocket. It was therefore in order to ease the wheels;
14 there is no point in irritating people. And there
15 comes a point where you ask question after question,
16 and at that stage there was very little point in going
17 on any further.
18 Q. So would the answer to the question be that
19 after May the 9th of 1993 you did not actually raise
20 the events at Ahmici or the status of the investigation
21 with Colonel Blaskic again?
22 A. That's true, yes.
23 Q. All right. Let me address this subject a
24 little cautiously, Brigadier. Would it be fair to say
25 that you and Colonel Blaskic had a tense, distrustful
1 relationship, one of animosity and distrust?
2 A. If you are saying I disliked Colonel Blaskic,
3 that would be wrong. If you are saying I liked Colonel
4 Blaskic, that would also be wrong. But if you are
5 implying that my personal feelings against anybody I
6 dealt with in Bosnia at any time would cloud my
7 judgement, then I would -- I would dispute that. And I
8 dispute that because that is not the way the British
9 army does it. That is not the way I command it. And
10 having recently come from a military ethics conference,
11 of which I submitted a paper, it's something that I
12 think is immoral almost, to allow judgments like that
13 to cloud decisions.
14 Q. All right. You discussed an incident when a
15 RPG 7-round or rocket-propelled grenade hit the BritBat
16 base in Nova Bila, and that actually left you
17 absolutely furious, didn't it?
18 A. Yes. I think it's quite a natural reaction
19 to be extremely angry when somebody tries to kill one
20 of your soldiers, when you are actually there to keep
21 people alive as best you can by the provision of aid.
22 Q. That's perfectly understandable, Brigadier,
23 and you actually sent off a blistering complaint
24 immediately to Colonel Blaskic once that round had hit
25 your army base; correct?
1 A. Yes. He sent off blistering complaints to me
2 at regular intervals as well.
3 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, that at the end
4 of your tour you reviewed Colonel Blaskic's conduct and
5 concluded that he had demonstrated a pattern of failure
6 to act when it deemed -- when he deemed it not to be in
7 his own interest?
8 A. I understand the question. I have some --
9 are you asking for my feelings about Colonel Blaskic or
10 an estimation of his professional skills?
11 Q. Let me go through here. I am just referring
12 to page 9094, the testimony that you gave in the
13 Blaskic case on June the 3rd of 1998. You said:
14 "But when I look back, I see throughout these
15 events a pattern of failure by Commander Blaskic to act
16 when he deemed it was not in his own interest. He
17 would act only if he saw it as a direct benefit."
18 Does that remain your view today?
19 A. That does remain my view, yes.
20 Q. In fact, Colonel Blaskic made statements to
21 you that were, as you testified, I believe, on the same
22 page, blatantly not true; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And, in fact, so untrue as to be almost
25 completely unbelievable?
1 A. Yes, that is -- but I found over the seven
2 months I was there, that whether it is a feature of
3 that part of the world, but there was a certain naivete
4 in threats and the way people did business. Some of
5 the suggestions made were in some cases childly naive
6 and rather foolish in the eyes of -- in my eyes and in
7 my country's eyes. We got -- you got used to that.
8 There was no point in going back and questioning it,
9 because that would have been rude and it wouldn't have
10 been very constructive at all.
11 Q. Well, along those lines, in your very first
12 meeting with Colonel Blaskic on May the 9th of 1993,
13 your conclusion was that the explanations that he
14 offered for what had happened at Ahmici were plainly
15 and completely, absolutely ludicrous, to use the words
16 that you used on page 9056 of the transcript one and a
17 half years ago; isn't that right?
18 A. Yes, it is. But I believe I also stated that
19 it was Colonel Bob Stewart who was leading that
20 meeting. And I was sitting in the back row and not
21 making any comment.
22 Q. But you concluded that the three reasons he
23 came up with were ridiculous, to use your words?
24 A. Yes, I did. Yes.
25 Q. In fact, sir, to go one step further, it was
1 your conclusion that Colonel Blaskic was deliberately
2 lying to you in your very first meeting with him;
4 A. I would say evading the truth rather than
5 deliberately lying.
6 Q. On page 9057, sir, of the transcript of your
7 testimony one and a half years ago, you said, in
8 response to this question:
9 "Brigadier, and pardon my directness in this
10 question, did you conclude that the defendant was lying
11 to you?"
12 And the answer was:
13 "Oh, yeah. There was no other conclusion.
14 He was lying. And the problem was, it wasn't even a
15 clever lie. It was very naive."
16 That's true, is it not?
17 A. Yes, that's -- I mean, that's what I have
18 said over the last two replies, I hope, that it was a
19 very naive reply.
20 Q. And moving forward to the Dobrila Kolaba
21 incident, and this is the only question I have on
22 that: Your conversation with Colonel Blaskic in
23 connection with the HVO investigation into that item
24 resulted in conclusions that you found to be almost
25 ludicrous, right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. In fact, you concluded that he was telling
3 you a complete lie. Not only was it a small lie, it
4 was such a huge and elaborate lie, as you stated one
5 and a half years ago on page 9079 of the transcript;
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Departing from this subject a little bit and
9 getting back into the chain of command, sir, and the
10 last set of questions on that. You were familiar with
11 the fact that a joint operations command had been set
12 up in early June of 1993, following the outbreak of the
13 hostilities in April and the ceasefire agreements that,
14 temporarily anyway, resolved those; correct?
15 A. Yes, the Travnik joint command.
16 Q. Yes. And that commission was established by
17 order of Colonel Blaskic for the HVO and General
18 Hadzihasanovic for the 3rd Corps in Zenica; correct?
19 A. Sorry. Yes, as the senior commanders, they
20 would be responsible for that.
21 Q. And as a result of that, there were a series
22 of joint meetings held between senior Croat and Muslim
23 military leaders in an attempt to try to defuse
24 tension; correct?
25 A. Yes, at which myself, the ECMM and UNHCR,
1 and, where possible, the Red Cross and others, would be
3 Q. But one person was never present at any of
4 those meetings, and that was Mr. Kordic; isn't that
6 A. Yes, it was a meeting of the military people
7 for a ceasefire.
8 Q. And indeed, the military commanders issued a
9 series of joint orders dealing with things such as
10 forbidding the expulsion of citizens from their homes;
12 A. As a result of the meetings, I issued a
13 record of the decisions taken, and then I asked them to
14 issue, down their chain of command, similar orders, to
15 make sure that the word was carried down to their
17 Q. And as far as you know, those orders were
18 passed down the chain of command by both sides;
20 A. Yes, they would be passed down. I mean, I
21 can't say that they got down to the lowest level; I
22 have no knowledge of how far they went. On some
23 occasions, I saw the published paper, which, when it
24 was translated, gave that effect. But as to how
25 effective they had been done, I have no knowledge.
1 Q. Other subjects addressed by these joint
2 commands were things such as maintaining peace in the
3 various communities; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. As well as controlling criminal elements in
6 those communities; right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You would concede, sir, that that was a
9 pretty pervasive problem throughout your tour of duty
10 in the area, was it not?
11 A. It's a wonderful excuse, and I think
12 everybody throughout Bosnia -- and I mean wider
13 Bosnia -- used it. There were always criminal elements
14 somewhere. It's a -- it was used by everybody
15 consistently. The great criminal element; I'd like to
16 find him.
17 Q. But to be fair, those kinds of complaints you
18 found to be routine on both sides, the HVO and the
19 ABiH, did you not?
20 A. Yes. It's a -- it's a very convenient way of
21 denying responsibility.
22 Q. There were also joint orders issued dealing
23 with the treatment of prisoners as well; right?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And my final question on this subject is, the
1 joint commission was actually disbanded; it fell into
2 complete disuse, if you like, following the ABiH
3 offensive in Travnik in June of 1993. Isn't that fair
4 to say?
5 A. That's -- that's absolutely correct, yes. It
7 Q. All right. We don't need to identify this
8 order unless you wish to see it, but you actually
9 issued an order which contained exactly that
10 observation: As a result of recent offensive
11 activities in the area, the joint commission should be
12 disbanded because it was no longer serving any useful
14 A. Subsequent to a meeting where one side failed
15 to turn up, and I think it was the ABiH failed to turn
16 up, it was quite apparent there were so many violations
17 of all of the provisions that we were trying to work
18 for that it was pointless.
19 Q. One thing I simply don't know, and I don't
20 know whether any evidence has been adduced on this
21 subject; I suspect not: Do you know whether any such
22 joint commission was ever revived after June of 1993,
23 during your tour?
24 A. It would have been revived, I suspect, later
25 on in '94, in the latter half of '94, when the country
1 was -- the U.N. decided to have sectors, and at those
2 sectors, the concept of the joint commission was
3 revived, from the top to the bottom, in order to get
4 both sides working together. When it worked, it's
5 fine; but it relies on cooperation and understanding by
6 both sides. If that trust and cooperation breaks down,
7 it's very difficult to generate it.
8 Q. And if I have my history correct, that trust
9 and cooperation did break down, and there were no joint
10 commissions from the dissolution of the joint
11 commission in Travnik and Vitez in June of 1993 up
12 until the signature of the Washington Agreements in
13 March of 1994; would that be fair to say?
14 A. That would be fair to say, and that was
15 replaced by, if you like, a shuttle diplomacy at the
16 various levels, trying to calm tensions. Not very
17 successful, but we tried.
18 Q. Was Colonel Blaskic one of the shuttle
19 diplomats, Brigadier?
20 A. Colonel Blaskic was one of the people I used
21 to go and see, yes.
22 Q. All right. Let me depart this subject and go
23 into talking about Mr. Valenta, if I may. Did you ever
24 discover what Mr. Valenta's actual political position
1 A. I think it's recorded in the back of one of
2 the milinfosums that's already been produced here as
3 evidence. He was deputy, I think, for the Vitez area
4 -- or head of the Vitez area HDZ. I wouldn't, off the
5 top of my head, be able to tell exactly what it was.
6 Q. Let me just suggest to you -- and I
7 appreciate that there's a confusion of acronyms and so
8 forth, and it's sometimes difficult to keep one
9 straight from the other, but in terms of the HVO, did
10 you know that he was actually a vice-president of the
11 HVO and had held that position since October the 17th
12 of 1992?
13 A. That -- that sounds about right, yes, I would
14 think, yes.
15 Q. And did you know that the president of the
16 HVO, who had held that position since August, I
17 believe, of 1992, was Dr. Jadranko Prlic?
18 A. That name does not ring a bell. I can't
19 remember that.
20 Q. All right. And just contrasting his position
21 a little bit with Mr. Kordic's, did you know that
22 Mr. Kordic was never a president, or vice-president, or
23 really an officer of the HVO, or held any office in the
24 HVO, other than on the commission of personnel, I
1 A. No, but I wouldn't -- I mean, Mr. Kordic had
2 influence. He may not have had an official position,
3 but he had influence. He spoke to me on behalf of the
4 Croat population of the pocket on one occasion. I
5 mean, that is somebody who feels he has influence. He
6 also appeared, I'm aware, a number of times on
7 television in that pocket. He was a man we thought had
9 Q. In your mind, sir, you actually placed
10 Mr. Valenta hierarchically higher, if you like, than
11 Mr. Kordic; you saw Mr. Kordic as really one level down
12 from Mr. Valenta. Isn't that correct?
13 A. In terms of -- I think I placed Mr. Valenta
14 as the author of -- and the man with the ideas; but
15 then the separate plans to initiate those ideas were
16 put by Mr. Kordic. And then, as I said before, I
17 believe that Colonel Blaskic was the one who provided
18 the soldiers to initiate those plans. So the
19 hierarchy, if you like, has gone from the concept to a
20 plan and to putting it into effect.
21 Q. You said in the Blaskic case a year and a
22 half ago, page 9054, that "The doctrine was there by
23 Anto Valenta. I assumed that Dario Kordic was a
24 politician, the next level down."
25 Is that still your view today?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Now, sir --
3 A. Sorry, can I qualify that? I wouldn't say
4 that Dario Kordic was following the direct orders, as
5 it were, in a hierarchical -- it's not a military
6 hierarchical structure. It's a political structure.
7 It's to do with influence, and talking, and people
8 playing various parts. I wouldn't say they were
9 Number 1 and 2; they had influence in different
11 Q. Well, you did assume that Mr. Kordic was the
12 next level down, so one could infer from that --
13 correct me if I'm wrong -- that he basically took
14 direction from Mr. Valenta, in your view, or at least
15 that was your conclusion a year and a half ago?
16 A. It was my conclusion a year and a half ago,
18 Q. All right. Now, Mr. Valenta never tried
19 to --
20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Pardon me,
21 Mr. Sayers; I think that we need to clarify this
22 situation for the benefit of the Chamber. I should
23 like to address myself to Brigadier Duncan.
24 In your view, was there a hierarchical
25 relationship between Mr. Valenta and Mr. Kordic?
1 A. No, sir, I don't believe there was a
2 hierarchical relationship. They were, if you like,
3 working on different subjects within the same
4 organisation. So they were -- there was left and
5 right; one being concepts and one making the plans. I
6 don't think anyone had primacy over the other. It is
7 easy to draw a diagram and put them down in a neat
8 little box, and that's what a military mind would try
9 to do; but this was a political organisation, not a
10 military organisation.
11 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] When you
12 refer to the concept, to the idea being established by
13 Mr. Valenta, what do you rely on to say that?
14 A. I rely on -- sir, I rely on the big -- the
15 large briefing he gave to me very early on in my tour,
16 I think it was on the 12th of May, when I went to the
17 Hotel Vitez and he explained to me his book and the
18 ideas in his book for how the country of Bosnia should
19 be organised. And he explained that in some detail.
20 That's why I thought he was the man with the ideas for
21 the future of his country.
22 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Brigadier
23 Duncan -- and this will be my last question -- I would
24 like us to be quite clear on this, because we are all
25 searching for the truth, which is why we are here.
1 When you say the concept on the basis of that book, did
2 you or any of your assistants or people on the ground
3 have -- did they address you, did you address
4 Mr. Valenta, when you had any strategic problem, to
5 seek a solution with him?
6 A. We -- I tasked my liaison officer in Vitez to
7 see Mr. Valenta to do with some problems to do with the
8 local area of telephones and -- and what I call
9 internal matters, as a political man, and I think that
10 Mr. Randy Rhodes would have had dealings with him later
11 on, as my political adviser. We only talked,
12 Mr. Valenta and I, on two or three occasions at the
14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Did you
15 address Mr. Valenta for problems connected to military
16 actions or operations?
17 A. No, sir, not at all. Not the military side.
18 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. You actually had occasion to send a formal
22 complaint about HVO activities at Trnovac on May the
23 31st, 1993, both to Mr. Valenta and to Colonel Blaskic,
24 didn't you, sir?
25 A. That may well have been. I also recollect I
1 sent a strongly worded message to Mr. Valenta because
2 he complained about my choice of interpreters.
3 Q. But the point I'm making is a complaint was
4 made on a variety of topics, including some military
5 topics, to Colonel Blaskic and to Mr. Valenta in June
6 of 1993; isn't that true?
7 A. That will be true. I was not always entirely
8 clear who to address complaints to, and therefore some
9 of them you will see information copies and, if you
10 like, action copies.
11 Q. All right. Let's move on a little. You gave
12 some testimony concerning a book that was given to you
13 by Mr. Valenta. He never tried to contend at any time
14 to you, sir, that this book had been adopted as the
15 official policy of the Croat political institutions,
16 did he?
17 A. No, sir, but when you -- as I've said, I
18 think, on the record already, when you are briefed
19 by what seemed to be a senior political figure in that
20 area, within days of arrival, he takes the time and
21 trouble to brief the commanding officer of the
22 battalion there, who effectively is the senior United
23 Nations person on the spot, he takes three hours of one
24 morning to take me slowly through the ideas in that
25 book, you have to ask yourself why. I mean, clearly he
1 is not doing it out of benign interest; he wants me to
2 understand his ideas in that book. And he must have a
3 reason behind that; otherwise it would be wasting
4 everybody's time.
5 Q. Well, neither Colonel Blaskic nor Mr. Kordic
6 ever intimated to you that that book in any way
7 reflected the official position of the Croat political
8 institutions, did they, sir?
9 A. Well, no, they didn't, no. But I wouldn't --
10 I wouldn't expect that the subject of the book would
11 come under conversation, certainly with Colonel
13 Q. When we were discussing Mr. Valenta in your
14 previous testimony, I asked you a question, which was
15 whether you were aware that he had recently returned to
16 Vitez. Did you know that he was actually a teacher in
17 Vitez prior to moving his office to Travnik?
18 A. I did know he was a teacher in Vitez, because
19 we discussed at that time a problem he had with, I
20 believe, another teacher, who was of a different
21 religion, who had left -- who had left the area.
22 Q. All right. And did Lieutenant-Colonel
23 Stewart tell you that he did not even know that this
24 gentleman existed prior to the time that Mr. Valenta
25 apparently moved back from Travnik to Vitez towards the
1 beginning of May of 1993?
2 A. I am not aware that Colonel Bob Stewart knew
3 that Mr. Valenta actually existed.
4 Q. Right. So there is no way that
5 Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart would have been in a
6 position to brief you regarding the --
7 JUDGE MAY: No.
8 MR. SAYERS: Very well, Your Honour. I take
9 your point.
10 Q. Let's take a look at the evidence that we
11 have relating to this meeting, sir. And I think that
12 you have reviewed your -- the notes that you made on
13 May the 13th of 1993; correct?
14 A. Yes. I think you will find I submitted, I
15 think, seven pages, which are -- the first items, which
16 are the direct photocopies from my diary taken after
17 those meetings.
18 Q. And the second source that we have consists
19 of your typewritten diary?
20 A. Yes, sir.
21 Q. And this was done contemporaneously?
22 A. That was written at about 10.00 that evening.
23 Q. And it summarised, to the best of your
24 ability, all of the significant events, conversations
25 that you had had during the preceding day; correct?
1 A. It's a diary. It doesn't summarise every
2 event. It summarises those I thought about, I wished
3 to record. It was a personal diary. It's not meant to
4 indicate anyone's views except my own.
5 Q. Well, apparently, sir, on the 12th of May of
6 1993, a delegation from Vitez town arrived at your
7 office at 4.30, including the mayor and Mr. Valenta;
9 A. That's correct, yes. In fact, I spoke to him
10 outside the back door of the school and at that time we
11 arranged a meeting for the next day in Vitez.
12 Q. All right. So the views that you've
13 described to the Trial Chamber were not articulated to
14 you on May the 12th, 1993, were they?
15 A. On the 12th. No, they were articulated on
16 the 13th in Hotel Vitez.
17 Q. Very well. This was just outside the back of
18 your office, was it?
19 A. It was indeed, yes.
20 Q. And you've got a reference in your diary to
21 the fact that Mr. Valenta has said that he would not
22 accept the Vance-Owen Plan, that he's the architect of
23 a holocaust throughout Central Bosnia. Where did you
24 get that information from?
25 A. The big question would be whether I typed my
1 diary that night or the next night, and I do not know.
2 I can't tell you that, in all honesty. I mean, you are
3 taking -- I have submitted my diary, as was requested.
4 I've struck out all the things I think were personal,
5 the things I've got in there, what I felt at the time.
6 I mean, if the day is wrong, the day is wrong.
7 Q. As you say, sir. Let me just show to you
8 milinfosum for the 12th of May, 1993 and the 13th of
9 May, 1993.
10 JUDGE MAY: We seem to be spending a long
11 time. This is Mr. Valenta that this is about,
12 Mr. Valenta's views. And I wonder how far it's going
13 to assist the Trial Chamber to go into it in this
15 MR. SAYERS: There is one detail, I think,
16 Your Honour, that is significant. Let me see if I can
17 wrap it up in just one question.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. SAYERS:
20 Q. Colonel, you would agree that with respect to
21 all of the terrible views that you described, the "I
22 hate them" comment that you testified about just a
23 couple of days ago in 1999, in none of the
24 contemporaneous sources -- not in your notes, not in
25 your diary, not in the milinfosum -- is there any
1 reference at all to any of that, is there?
2 A. Sorry, reference to what specifically?
3 Q. The views that you described Mr. Valenta as
5 A. The views -- you will see my reply to his
6 views in my notebook. I think it's important to point
7 out that those -- that my notebook records a number of
8 things, or can record a number of things. It can
9 record my thoughts before a meeting. It can record my
10 thoughts during a meeting. It can record the output of
11 a meeting. In general terms, I tried to avoid, as I
12 think I mentioned before, scribbling during a meeting,
13 which always appears to be quite rude.
14 If you look closely at what I produced in the
15 notebook, on that first issue of pages, the seven
16 pages, those are my replies to what was expounded by
17 Mr. Valenta. I don't list what is expounded. I put
18 the replies down.
19 Q. All right. Just to --
20 JUDGE MAY: You see, you put to him, to the
21 witness, that there is no mention of hating Muslims,
22 but the reference to the architect of a holocaust
23 throughout Central Bosnia suggests something of that
24 sort, doesn't it?
25 MR. SAYERS: Do you want a response from
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I am asking you. You put
3 the question, and there is your answer in the diary.
4 MR. SAYERS: With all due respect, Your
5 Honour, I completely disagree. That was dated May the
6 12th, and the views that the Brigadier has stated were
7 expressed to him were on May the 13th. And there is no
8 reference to those views in the contemporaneous notes
9 that he prepared. There is no quotation or any kind of
10 paraphrase even of what was supposedly said to the
11 Brigadier by Mr. Valenta on the 12th or the 13th.
12 There isn't any reference in a milinfosum to that
13 either, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter about the
15 milinfosum. It's in the diary.
16 You've heard what counsel has said,
17 Brigadier. What is your answer to that?
18 A. Well, sir, looking at my diary, and the bit
19 that is quoted about the architect, I am pretty
20 unlikely to have made that comment on the 12th, having
21 met Mr. Valenta for the first time outside the back
22 door of my headquarters and received a number of
23 complaints which he wanted sorting out. I'm much more
24 likely to have actually thought about that and made the
25 observation after my meeting on the 13th. If my diary
1 is wrong, it's wrong. It won't be the first time my
2 diary's been wrong. It's my recollections.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, let's move on.
4 MR. SAYERS:
5 Q. All right. Just one final question on this.
6 Your liaison officer, then captain, I suppose, Angus
7 Hay, accompanied you to the Hotel Vitez to meet not
8 only with Mr. Valenta, who, as you point out, is the
9 deputy minister in the HVO, but also with Mr. Santic
10 and Mr. Skopljak; right?
11 A. That's right. Yes, sir.
12 Q. I take it that these views were articulated,
13 these extremist views that you've related, were
14 articulated in front of all four gentlemen?
15 A. No, they weren't. They were just articulated
16 in front of myself, and Major Burton may have been
17 there, who was my bodyguard, and Mr. Valenta,
19 Q. Let's leave that subject, Brigadier, and go
20 on to the third topic that I wanted to cover with you,
21 the five meetings that you had with Mr. Kordic. You
22 say that the first one occurred on May the 19th, 1993,
23 and Colonel Blaskic was also present; right?
24 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
25 Q. Isn't it true, sir, that Mr. Kordic came in
1 just as everyone was about to leave that meeting, and
2 that a round of drinks was enjoyed by all involved: by
3 you, by Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, Colonel Blaskic and
4 Mr. Kordic?
5 A. I thought he came earlier than that, but we
6 certainly would have finished with a round of drinks.
7 That was quite normal.
8 Q. All right. You would agree that Mr. Kordic
9 -- in fact, I think you said on page 35 of your
10 testimony on the previous day that you do not recollect
11 that Mr. Kordic made any comments at all?
12 A. No, I don't recollect he made any. He was
13 merely sitting at the back and listening to the
14 exchange of views between Colonel Stewart and Commander
16 Q. All right. And yet your contemporaneous
17 diary entry says that you were later joined by a man
18 called Kordic, who was nominally a Colonel in the HVO,
19 but is in reality a hardline HVO political commissar.
20 Who actually told you that?
21 A. Colonel Bob Stewart told me that. And that
22 is an impression gained at that time from Colonel
23 Stewart and from what he told me. And, as I've said
24 before, it's an impression reinforced during my time in
25 Bosnia on a number of occasions.
1 Q. But it's true, isn't it, that
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart never referred to Mr. Kordic
3 as a commander; he only ever referred to Colonel
4 Blaskic as the real commander of all of the HVO forces
5 in Central Bosnia, and that's what he told you?
6 A. He would, I think -- I mean, I have stated in
7 the past in this Court that I referred to the local
8 colonels, brigade commanders, as commanders, out of
9 politeness. It was very difficult to tell what rank
10 they were. When you meet somebody who is in uniform,
11 who is obviously a man in authority, I would call them
13 Q. All right. At your request, Brigadier, I
14 believe that milinfosums relating to the dates of all
15 of these meetings have already been provided to you and
16 reviewed by you. There is no reference in your diary
17 or in any of the milinfosums that contains any
18 reference to the three stories that you say that
19 Colonel Blaskic articulated to Lieutenant-Colonel
20 Stewart and you, is there?
21 A. No. And you will remember I stated before, I
22 didn't take notes at the meeting between Colonel
23 Blaskic and myself, the one on May the 9th. I didn't
24 take any notes during that meeting.
25 Q. With respect to this Colonel's status that
1 you've talked about, your view, as expressed to the
2 investigators for the Prosecution three and a half
3 years ago and two and a half years ago, was that
4 although Dario Kordic was a Colonel in the HVO, he was
5 not formally in command of HVO soldiers; his role was
6 more political. Right?
7 A. Yes. And in the same way that we have, as it
8 were, civil service ranks for civilians in Great
9 Britain which match military ranks. And it gives
10 people status.
11 Q. He was a sort of a honorary colonel, then, in
12 your view? Yes?
13 A. Well, he was of the status and -- I mean, he
14 had the car to take him round and the sort of things
15 that a commander had.
16 Q. In connection with the May the 19th meeting
17 that you discussed, there is a reference in here in
18 your notes. Would it be fair to say that there is no
19 -- we don't need to belabour what the notes say, but
20 there is no question that there is no record of
21 anything that Mr. Kordic said in this social luncheon;
23 A. No. It's a bit out of place, when you are
24 having lunch, to produce a notebook and start writing
25 just as the fish arrives.
1 Q. But you actually made these notes up at 10.00
2 that night on May the 19th, 1993; right?
3 A. They would have been made up afterwards.
4 Q. And the only recorded conversation that you
5 wrote about on the 19th of May was a comment made by
6 Colonel Blaskic, who told you to shoot snipers if they
7 caused you a problem within 500 metres of your base at
8 Nova Bila; right?
9 A. Yes, because we discussed the problem of
10 military action close to the bases. I should add,
11 though, that after all these meetings, every single day
12 in my headquarters I had a conference at 1800 hours, in
13 the evening; where those who had been out on the ground
14 would, as it were, download the information they had
15 heard. So that was done as quickly as possible. That
16 would have been incorporated to increase our body of
17 knowledge, if you like, and also in milinfosums.
18 Q. All right. So you had a commander's briefing
19 and that information was distilled down -- filtered
20 through the military information officer and later put
21 into a milinfosum?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I wonder if the usher could show you D132/1,
24 which is a milinfosum from the 19th of May, 1993. The
25 only part that I would like you to concentrate upon,
1 sir, is in item number 1 under Vitez, where it says:
2 "The HVO in the area appear to be commanded
3 by an 18-year-old and are clearly beyond the control of
4 a normal HVO hierarchy. When both Blaskic and his
5 deputy, Nakic, were independently appraised that the
6 fire was uncomfortably close and that the guard might
7 return fire, they agreed that this was the only means
8 of resolving the problem."
9 And that's the same comment that's reflected
10 in your contemporaneously made diary notes of May the
11 19th, right?
12 A. Yes. It's a nice way of putting that I would
13 be forced to open fire, if we look like being in grave
14 danger in the camp.
15 Q. All right. The third meeting that you had
16 with Mr. Kordic was in connection with the Convoy of
17 Mercy incident on June the 11th of 1993; correct, sir?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. As you stated, this was a private Muslim
20 convoy headed towards Tuzla, but it was actually headed
21 through Croat-held territory in the middle of a Muslim
22 offensive that had been launched in Travnik and had
23 resulted in large numbers of refugees flooding into the
24 Vitez-Busovaca pocket as a result; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. These were people who had been evicted from
2 their houses; correct?
3 A. Yes. I mean, at this stage there were large
4 numbers of displaced people in the Croat pockets and
5 large numbers of Muslim people in the BiH-controlled
7 Q. Just one question, sir, on one other
8 subject. Were you aware that eight small Croat
9 children were killed when a shell fired from Stari
10 Vitez exploded in a playground in Vitez, blowing these
11 eight children apart at about 8.00 on the evening of
12 June the 10th, 1993?
13 A. I was aware -- I mean, that sort of instant,
14 I'm afraid, was happening all over Bosnia. It's not at
15 all unique. You will find that a few days before an
16 UNHCR truck ran over, I think by accident, a
17 four-year-old Croat child. These things, I'm afraid,
19 Q. The result of the convoy moving through what
20 was at that time enemy territory was that it was
21 apprehended by a huge mob of civilians in a very ugly
22 mood. Wouldn't you agree with that?
23 A. Yes, I will. But you will remember that
24 there was an agreement, a signed agreement with papers
25 from Mr. Boban allowing that convoy through. And the
1 military and political commands were entirely aware
2 that that convoy was coming through that pocket.
3 Q. Thank you, Brigadier. But isn't it a fact
4 that those papers were signed before the ABiH launched
5 its offensive in Travnik on June the 8th?
6 A. To say that -- I mean, they may have attacked
7 on June the 8th, but there was -- I mean, there was a
8 war zone on. I would not put any significance in the
9 date of signing of those papers and military activity.
10 I think it's an artificial inference.
11 Q. Your best estimate of the numbers of Croat
12 refugees in the Novi Travnik and Vitez area was about
13 20.000; correct?
14 A. That sounds about right, yes.
15 Q. And those people had been squeezed into the
16 area exactly where the convoy was routed; correct?
17 A. That's correct, yes.
18 Q. All right. Let me just ask you, Brigadier,
19 wouldn't you agree that it would be a difficult thing
20 for displaced and hungry Croat refugees to watch a
21 convoy going past them, loaded with aid destined for
22 their enemies?
23 A. I can't speculate on a Croat, who suffered
24 horribly in a pocket, what his views or her views are.
25 I can't speculate what the Muslim views are. All I do
1 know is that the aid came through that pocket under
2 U.S. -- UNHCR auspices all the time, and that didn't
3 get raided.
4 And also we were providing aid back into the
5 Vitez pocket from the warehouse at Zenica. And we
6 spoke on a number of occasions, myself and others,
7 because the balance of aid between what was going to
8 Vitez and other areas in Central Bosnia was questioned,
9 quite rightly. And we wished to have -- at one stage I
10 think I suggested we should publish the figures on
11 television, but I don't think that happened.
12 Q. I wonder if the usher would show you Exhibit
13 Z1044, which is a milinfosum that contains a fairly
14 detailed chronology of the Convoy of Mercy or the
15 Convoy of Joy.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, when we get to a
17 convenient moment, we'll have a five-minute break.
18 MR. SAYERS: This is a perfect time, Your
20 JUDGE MAY: Let's deal with this document
21 first, and then we'll go on.
22 MR. SAYERS: I am happy to do so,
23 Mr. President, but this is going to take probably about
24 five or ten minutes. If the Court wants to sit for
25 that long, I'm perfectly happy to go forward.
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's finish the document.
2 MR. SAYERS: Yes.
3 Q. Sir, there is no question that your units, or
4 units from your regiment, opened fire and killed two
5 Croats at around 7.45 on the 11th of June, 1993;
7 A. Yes. I think that's in the area of -- on the
8 Vitez to Novi Travnik road, quite close to the
10 Q. Would you tell me whether any investigation
11 into that was ever shared with Colonel Blaskic, the
12 results of any investigation that were performed into
13 that shooting --
14 A. The results of all the shootings that took
15 place by my battalion are recorded, and copies were
16 passed to United Nations and kept by the British army
17 for internal use.
18 Q. I understand, sir. That was not my
19 question. Did you ever share the results of that
20 investigation with Colonel Blaskic?
21 A. I explained what had happened to Colonel
22 Blaskic verbally. I didn't submit a formal report, no.
23 Q. All right. Now, the next entry of pertinence
24 appears at 9.11 a.m. on the 13th, and the entry reveals
25 that locals claim that they would only lift the
1 roadblock on the direct, personal orders of Dario
2 Kordic and were not interested in the orders of Tihomir
4 JUDGE MAY: Where is this?
5 MR. SAYERS: It's, as I understand the way
6 that these entries are arranged, Mr. President, the
7 first two figures are the date, and the second set of
8 four figures are the actual times. So 110911 would be
9 9.11 a.m. on the 11th of June. And that's the entry
10 that I am reading from.
11 JUDGE MAY: Where is it on the milinfosum?
12 MR. SAYERS: It's approximately four inches
13 up from the bottom of the page, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: The first page?
15 MR. SAYERS: It's page 5. There is a
16 chronology of events attached to this milinfosum,
17 Z1044, and it's the first page of that chronology.
18 There is a Bates Stamp number on the bottom of it,
20 Do you have that, Brigadier?
21 A. Could you just repeat the date and time?
22 Q. It's actually on the screen: 110911. Do you
23 see that?
24 A. I have it. Yes, thank you.
25 Q. All right. Now, were you present at this
1 incident where the locals claimed that they would only
2 lift the roadblock on the direct, personal orders of
3 Dario Kordic?
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. And who were those locals?
6 A. The locals were a mix of women, men, in
7 uniform and out of uniform, and HVO soldiers.
8 Q. I think you've already stated that they were
9 chanting "Kordic, Kordic, Kordic."
10 A. When -- yes. I mean, that was -- having
11 asked, with Blaskic's authority, or Blaskic's authority
12 to move the soldiers and get people moved out of the
13 way, they spat on one -- certainly spat on the ground
14 and then they started chanting "Kordic."
15 Q. All right. It would not be particularly
16 surprising to you to want a popular political figure to
17 give his blessing, if you like, to defuse a potentially
18 explosive situation, is it, sir? After all, as you
19 said, Mr. Kordic commanded the hearts and the minds of
20 the people?
21 A. Well, you can speculate that Mr. Kordic would
22 have had a dramatic effect. I suspect, had he been
23 there, he would have opened up that barrier, which is
24 an indication of the power and influence with the
25 people there.
1 Q. All right. You actually described running
2 across General Petkovic, who was in the area; right?
3 Now, he didn't give you any help at all, did he?
4 A. No, he didn't. No.
5 Q. In fact, sir, he just laughed at you and
6 drove down south; correct?
7 A. That's correct, yes.
8 Q. It's true, isn't it, sir, that Colonel
9 Blaskic didn't want to address the mob?
10 A. He didn't want to address the mob, no.
11 Q. He found them to be threatening, that
12 civilian crowd, didn't he?
13 A. Yes, he did.
14 Q. You knew that, or did you know at this time,
15 that Mr. Kordic was a popular media figure, with a face
16 that was well recognised in the Vitez-Busovaca pocket?
17 A. Yes, I was aware of that. Yes.
18 Q. In fact, he was the face of Croats in the
19 Vitez area as far as the TV was concerned? Wouldn't
20 that be fair to say? Or one of them.
21 A. I never personally saw him on television. We
22 didn't have access to the programmes. But I understood
23 he appeared on television on a number of occasions.
24 Q. All right. And I take it, then, that the
25 next event of significance occurred at approximately
1 1.30 p.m., or 1330 in military time. It's on the
2 second page, Brigadier.
3 A. Is that the one at the top?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Here it says that:
7 "The CO brokers an agreement with Dario
8 Kordic in the presence of Blaskic; Santic, the mayor of
9 Vitez; and Mario Skopljak, the HZHB President in
10 Vitez. Kordic gives his personal assurance, and that
11 of the Croat people, that all vehicles belonging to the
12 convoy will be returned and freedom of passage
13 granted. He also agreed to personally go to Novi
14 Travnik and investigate the murder of the eight
15 drivers. He also stated that UNPROFOR would be allowed
16 complete access through HVO controlled areas."
17 Was there anybody else present at that
18 conference, sir?
19 A. For myself -- no, I'm not sure whether
20 Brigadier Hay arrived at that point. I think he
21 wasn't. But that detail that's on the milinfosum there
22 is -- occurs quite clearly, I think, in my -- the copy
23 of my notebook from that period.
24 JUDGE MAY: If you are leaving the
25 milinfosum, Mr. Sayers, what was its number?
1 MR. SAYERS: Z1044, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MAY: And its date?
3 MR. SAYERS: June the 11th, 1993.
4 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
5 MR. SAYERS:
6 Q. And on that same date, Brigadier, I take it
7 that you wrote the entry that appears for the 11th of
8 June in your diary, where you say that -- it looks like
9 the ECMM ambassador "was hopping mad, and we
10 eventually, after some time, fetched Kordic and Blaskic
11 via the ECMM house to meet in the Hotel Vitez. On our
12 return to the convoy, we discovered that the whole
13 thing had been removed and stolen off into Vitez.
14 After some posturing, he agreed to let us through and
15 into Vitez. Blaskic agreed to everything, and Kordic
16 was sweetness and light."
17 Was this written the same day, or roughly
18 contemporaneously --
19 A. Contemporaneously, yes.
20 Q. Yes?
21 A. And I should add that -- and you've seen it
22 in the -- it's actually in the notebook, that the
23 events that -- and in the milinfosum -- the events that
24 Kordic agreed to were fairly sweeping agreement to a
25 number of events; and he also, I would stress,
1 apologised or gave the assurance of the Croat
2 population. Now, for somebody to give the -- I mean, I
3 didn't ask him for that; he said, "You have my
4 assurance of the Croat population that what I have
5 described will happen; that vehicles will be able to go
6 -- pass through; you will have freedom of movement for
8 He was -- he was in control of that meeting.
9 Q. It would be fair to say that you had a
10 serious situation on your hands here; after all, your
11 soldiers had opened fire and killed two Croats. Right?
12 A. Yes, it was a serious situation.
13 Q. And you needed some help from people with
14 local political pull, and you consulted Mr. Kordic in
15 that regard; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. He helped, didn't he?
18 A. Yes, he did.
19 Q. All right.
20 A. With horrific speed, I may add.
21 Q. Now, Colonel Blaskic gave you the impression,
22 sir, that he considered this convoy to be completely
23 fair game, didn't he?
24 A. I came to the opinion that -- that the pocket
25 -- the Croats in the pocket regarded as fair game to
1 take a slice out of this convoy.
2 Q. Colonel Blaskic gave you that impression,
3 too, didn't he?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE MAY: Is that a convenient moment,
6 Mr. Sayers?
7 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MAY: Court is adjourned until 4.00;
9 just a few minutes.
10 --- Recess taken at 3.52 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.
13 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. You related to the Court, Brigadier, a
15 suspicion that Mr. Kordic had arranged somehow for this
16 convoy to be stopped; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you ever confront Mr. Kordic with that
20 A. No. I think I confronted Colonel Blaskic
21 with it.
22 Q. And there's no question that Colonel Blaskic
23 did not tell you that Mr. Kordic had participated in
24 the planning or had any role in the stopping of that
25 convoy; isn't that correct?
1 A. That's correct, but it's hardly very likely
2 that he would, would he?
3 Q. Did you know what political position
4 Mr. Kordic actually held, sir, when you were in Central
6 A. I am sure it has been mentioned in the last
7 few days a number of times, but I can't at the moment
8 remember it. There was an official appointment. I
9 think he's a deputy president of the HDZ, but I'm not
11 Q. During the time that you were in Central
12 Bosnia, actually pursuant to the Stoltenberg-Owen plan,
13 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna was declared or
14 established -- founded, as you will -- on the 28th of
15 August, 1993; were you aware of that?
16 A. Yes, I was aware that a slice of territory
17 had been founded as a specific Croat area in Bosnia.
18 Q. And were you aware that the president of that
19 republic was Mate Boban?
20 A. I was not -- I was not directly aware of
21 that. I was also not aware that anybody actually
22 recognised this state of Herceg-Bosna at all.
23 Q. And did you know that Mr. Kordic held no
24 formal position in the Croatian Republic of
25 Herceg-Bosna other than as being one of 69 legislators
1 in the House of Representatives and sitting on a couple
2 of legislative committees?
3 A. I didn't know --
4 Q. During your tour of duty?
5 A. No, I didn't know that, no.
6 Q. All right. Did you ever discuss the
7 political aims of the Croat institutions in Central
8 Bosnia with Mr. Kordic, as far as you can recall?
9 A. Not with Mr. Kordic. I would have discussed
10 with Croat commanders and Colonel Tihomir Blaskic, in
11 general terms, what people were trying to achieve. The
12 Croat forces in Central Bosnia were clearly very much
13 on the back foot for most of my time there, and I think
14 it was a matter of -- survival of the pocket was the
15 order of the day, and let's take it one step at a
17 Q. Isn't it true that in your view, politicians
18 like Mr. Kordic, Mr. Santic, Mr. Skopljak, would
19 generally not be involved with decisions relating to
20 military tactics or military decision-making?
21 A. That's true from the point of view of,
22 certainly, Mr. Santic and Mr. Skopljak. I mean, if I
23 wanted things done, I would go and find the key. The
24 key to getting things unlocked after the Convoy of Joy,
25 in that case, was Dario Kordic. There is no point in
1 asking somebody who can't deliver. He could deliver.
2 Q. On page 5 of the statement that you gave to
3 the investigators, you were discussing the military
4 assault on Grbavica, and you said that "In my opinion,
5 the likes of Dario Kordic, Santic, Skopljak, and
6 Valenta would not deal with this type of matter; they
7 were more for policy issues." Does that remain your
8 view today?
9 A. Sorry, you're relating it to the Grbavica
10 incident --
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. -- which was a -- was the military assault --
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. -- on the hill behind the thing? Well, I
15 mean, they're not military commanders; they wouldn't do
16 that. They sit on the -- as I've said, they sit on the
17 conceptual side. There are others who can do -- take
18 military action.
19 Q. The fourth meeting that you had with
20 Mr. Kordic was on September the 27th, 1993; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. This is summarised in your contemporaneous
23 diary. Everyone can read it, it's already an exhibit,
24 so I don't need to go into it, but you say that
25 Mr. Kordic gave you all of the usual assurances along
1 with Lieutenant-Colonel Williams; what kind of usual
2 assurances were those, sir?
3 A. Those were the usual assurances for freedom
4 of movement of our vehicles and the aid convoys.
5 Q. In the statement that you gave to the
6 investigators, you stated that "At this time, September
7 27th, 1993, Kordic was very pleasant, almost charming.
8 I assessed this to be partly because the incoming
9 commanding officer of the next BritBat contingent, the
10 Coldstream Guards, was present."
11 And that is accurate, is it not?
12 A. That is accurate, yes. I mean, it would seem
13 to be an entirely reasonable and logical line for
14 Mr. Kordic to take on first meeting my successor.
15 Q. The only entry that I can see in the
16 milinfosum that's dated that date -- and I don't think
17 there is any need to make this a separate exhibit,
18 because you've reviewed it -- appears in paragraph 3(b)
19 of the first page, which says that some information was
20 given to an LO by Mr. Kordic, who is described as the
21 vice-president of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna,
22 and it says: "Kordic claimed that Izetbegovic will
23 stall during the next five days whilst in peace
24 negotiations, the reason being so that the BiH can
25 proceed with military operations in the Lasva Valley."
1 And then the military information officer
2 comments that "It is doubtful that such information
3 would be available to Kordic."
4 Were you present during that conversation, or
5 is that --
6 A. No -- no, I wasn't.
7 Q. All right.
8 A. I'm slightly at odds with the comment, because
9 with the communications that I think the Croats in the
10 Vitez pocket had with Mostar, and then obviously with
11 Mostar's business elsewhere, he may well have picked up
12 something, but ...
13 Q. Would it be fair to say that you do not know
14 what power, if any, Mr. Kordic had, himself, to
15 initiate or participate in full military
17 A. No, I did -- I did not -- that would be
18 entirely -- entirely correct to say that. I did not
19 know where his power finished and ended. I knew it was
20 significant, but I didn't know where it finished and
21 ended, and I didn't know into exactly which fields that
22 power would go all the time.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. One final question on that
24 point: Would it also, therefore, be fair to say that
25 you didn't know -- you, yourself, did not know, and
1 your intelligence resources or military information
2 resources did not know, as far as you're aware, what
3 power, if any, Mr. Kordic had to remove military
4 officers from their positions?
5 A. Not directly, but he had -- he had power and
6 he had influence. If he was a hard-line political
7 commissar, he would certainly have had the power to
8 remove people from appointments. If he wasn't, he
9 wouldn't. I mean, I don't know whether he did remove
10 people, but all I am saying is that over a period of
11 seven months, we got to learn that Dario Kordic had
12 power and influence.
13 Q. All right. But you don't know whether he had
14 the power to remove soldiers from their commands,
15 commanders from their commands, or brigade commanders,
16 do you?
17 A. As a direct question, no, I don't.
18 Q. That's fine.
19 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, there was
20 evidence given by the witness regarding the shooting of
21 Dobrila Kolaba, and the Grbavica assault, and some
22 other things. I don't propose to deal with those,
23 because I think the Trial Chamber has heard more than
24 enough evidence on that already.
25 Q. With respect to your testimony about a lone
1 sighting of HV troops, or troops that you identified --
2 A. Yes. Yeah.
3 Q. -- as from the Croatian army in the Prozor
4 area, that was in the sole time in your seven-month
5 tour that you ever saw such troops; right?
6 A. Myself, personally, yes, that was the sole
7 time, although you will see recorded in the milinfosums
8 where -- helicopters and other things recorded by
10 Q. You never, yourself, saw any Croatian army,
11 HV troops or units or equipment in the Lasva Valley at
12 any time in your tour, did you?
13 A. I saw the helicopters, and some of my
14 soldiers said they had HV markings. I could not verify
15 that, because --
16 Q. Very well.
17 A. -- the helicopters were too far away.
18 Q. Coming to the end, Brigadier, the last
19 subject that I would like to discuss with you concerns
20 the civil affairs office and Randy Rhodes. When was
21 this office actually established, and what was its
23 A. I couldn't put a specific date on without
24 reference to -- it was established as -- by Viktor
25 Andrejev, who was the head of civil affairs in Sarajevo
1 and Kiseljak. It was felt necessary to -- if we were
2 going to put the Vance-Owen Plan into effect, that this
3 should be done by the political people and civil
4 affairs people, and leave the military to their
5 specific task, because I think people felt at that
6 stage the military were being asked to do quite a lot.
7 Therefore Mr. Randy Rhodes was appointed to my area, to
8 live in my headquarters, along with other civil affairs
9 officers who were appointed to other areas. And his
10 job was to pick up the link on the political side and
11 civil affairs side.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. And would I take -- would I
13 be correct in assuming, then, that Mr. Rhodes would
14 meet regularly with political figures, such as
15 Mr. Kordic or others, as far as you are aware?
16 A. I would hope so. He and I, Mr. Rhodes and I
17 would meet, and we were quite clear on the divide
18 between our responsibilities and where our main efforts
19 should be. We then went our separate ways, as it were,
20 but he would attend a 6.00 briefing in the evening, at
21 which he would put his pitch as well. So we were kept
22 all informed.
23 Q. And it's true that the civil affairs office,
24 Mr. Rhodes specifically, generated various status
25 reports in writing, which were sent to you and others,
1 notes and weekly situation reports?
2 A. Yes. I think he did on a regular basis, a
3 weekly report, and then an as and when, if he felt it
4 was required.
5 Q. Do you remember Mr. Rhodes articulating or
6 describing an interview that he had had with General
7 Hadzihasanovic in September 1993 in which he was told
8 that the ABiH felt completely confident that it could
9 effectively take the completely surrounded pocket of
10 Vitez-Busovaca whenever he wanted?
11 A. That was a statement made to myself, as well,
12 by Enver Hadzihasanovic.
13 Q. All right.
14 A. I should add, he never delivered on it.
15 Q. Let me just show you, if I may, and have
16 marked as an exhibit several of these, and that will
17 conclude my examination, these being status reports
18 submitted to you by your civil affairs officer, the
19 first being one dated September the 22nd, 1993. Thank
21 Just one or two questions about this exhibit,
22 Brigadier. If I could turn your attention to
23 paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this status report. There is
24 a description of meetings with the vice-president for
25 the HVO in central Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Valenta. Do
1 you recall any discussion or conversation that you had
2 with Mr. Rhodes concerning these meetings with
3 Mr. Valenta?
4 A. As I think I said, he would brief, at the
5 6.00 meeting in the evening, the content of his day's
6 business. So he would have told us all about this in
7 his pitch which came after all the military briefs.
8 Q. Just a brief question. There was a
9 reference, we just went over it, to a meeting between
10 your civil affairs officer and General Hadzihasanovic.
11 Why would a civil affairs officer be meeting military
12 figures such as a 3rd Corps commander?
13 A. Because you will remember from the orbat,
14 there was no parallel in the ABiH of the organisation
15 that we believed that Kordic and Valenta had in the
16 HVO. There was certainly a mayor of Zenica, I grant
17 you, but we didn't -- I wasn't aware of any senior --
18 any other senior figures in the Zenica area. Remember,
19 we were dealing with my area of operations.
20 Q. All right.
21 MR. SAYERS: I wonder if we could have an
22 exhibit number for that, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
25 MR. SAYERS: And if I may just explain,
1 Mr. President. I don't believe that Mr. Rhodes is on
2 the witness list, and I don't see any other way to get
3 these exhibits into evidence other than through the
4 brigadier. So I apologise for taking a few minutes
5 just to authenticate these documents.
6 Q. The next document, sir, is dated one day
7 later, September the 23rd, 1993.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
10 MR. SAYERS:
11 Q. To be fair, Brigadier, I think I have may
12 have mistaken this for a civil affairs document. This
13 looks like it was generated by UNPROFOR headquarters in
15 A. I would say it's almost certainly the case,
16 because it's from Viktor Andrejev, who was the chief
17 civil affairs in Kiseljak, and he's forwarding this to
18 Cedric Thornberry.
19 Q. The observation is made in paragraph 3 that:
20 "Commanders on all three sides are often
21 independent, usually hardline, and almost universally
22 reluctant to give up anything for which they have
23 successfully fought. No commander spoken to recently
24 by civil affairs indicates any willingness to hand over
1 Would that be a fair encapsulation, if you
2 like, of the attitude demonstrated by the leadership on
3 all three sides, as far as you are aware --
4 A. I mean, it refers specifically to
5 commanders. I know there was reluctance. Clearly, a
6 military commander who feels he's had some success, if
7 he is then told by his political master that he must
8 change and back off a bit, I should think that he would
9 be very upset, for a victory that's cost him blood and
11 Q. The next-to-last document that I would like
12 you to identify is dated October the 13th, 1993.
13 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
15 MR. SAYERS: Thank you.
16 Q. Just three points on this document, if I may,
17 Brigadier. The first concerns paragraph 2, where the
18 observation is made that the BiH seems to remain intent
19 upon gaining the ammunition factory and cutting the
20 Lasva pocket. Would it be fair to say that that was a
21 strategic objective of the ABiH throughout the time
22 that you were in Central Bosnia?
23 A. The ammunition factory, yes, certainly.
24 Q. The second point is connected with the second
25 page, paragraphs 4 and 6. There is a reference to a
1 rogue commander being discussed with General Briquemont
2 and the chief of staff during their visits, and that
3 appears to be identified as Commander Hadzihasanovic of
4 the 3rd Corps in paragraph 6.
5 Did Mr. Rhodes ever articulate to you the
6 view that General Hadzihasanovic was in fact a rogue
8 A. No, I don't you think he did. And these
9 observations were -- these are discussions somewhat
10 above my level of knowledge or activity.
11 Q. Fair enough. Then we can move on. If we
12 could just turn to the last page, the comment is made
13 there that the civilian leaders in the Lasva Valley are
14 not happy with their leaders in the so-called
15 Herceg-Bosnia. And observations are made about
16 Mr. Boban, and the fact that:
17 "As the valley is squeezed more and more by
18 the BiH, and the rumours that the BiH no longer take
19 prisoners continue, the status of over 70.000 Croats in
20 the valley becomes of extreme importance."
21 I take it that that was in fact a subject of
22 discussion between you and your civil affairs officer?
23 A. You've mentioned a number of aspects. I
24 mean, he submitted these reports, though his opinion
25 that went directly to Viktor Andrejev. We didn't
1 discuss the content of the report before it went
2 because I didn't wish to influence his view on things.
3 I received the copy, as it were. So whatever he put
4 was his view.
5 Q. So it would be fair to conclude from that
6 that you did not discuss that issue with Mr. Rhodes in
7 any detail, if at all?
8 A. We, subsequent to this report, we would often
9 meet and discuss what he had put, and tumble it through
10 and see whether it was -- whether I agreed with it and
11 how we could combine what he was doing on the civil
12 affairs side with what I was doing on the military
13 side, in order that we were speaking with one voice and
14 trying to move things forward.
15 Q. Thank you very much, Brigadier.
16 Then the last document that I would like you
17 to authenticate is dated October the 31st, 1993.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The document is marked
20 MR. SAYERS:
21 Q. Just two questions about this document,
22 Brigadier. With respect to paragraph 2, there is an
23 assessment by your forces, I take it, that the
24 Vitez-Busovaca pocket was unlikely to fall in the near
25 future, but that a siege mentality prevailed inside the
1 pocket. That was your view, was it not?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. Yes, it was.
5 Q. And the civil affairs officer also makes the
6 observation that HVO soldiers are determined and are
7 defending their positions with success. And I take it
8 that that's the view that you articulate as well?
9 A. The successful defence of the Vitez pocket,
11 Q. Basically orchestrated by Colonel Blaskic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. And the observation is also made
14 that it would take some time for the BiH to reorganise
15 another major attack on the pocket following the last
16 unsuccessful attempt, and that unsuccessful attempt was
17 in September, I believe, of 1993?
18 A. Yes, I believe so. The problem was that the
19 tactics demonstrated by both sides were not very subtle
20 and tended to use a lot of manpower up, and manpower
21 cannot be replaced quickly. And so once they have
22 expended their manpower, they were unlikely to be able
23 to have another go.
24 Q. All right. That's a military way, I take it,
25 of saying that there was an awful lot of killing on
1 both sides?
2 A. There was an awful lot of killing on both
3 sides. I think also at that stage, as you've already
4 mentioned, the BiH were probably realising in strategic
5 terms that the pocket was more important to ensure the
6 supply of aid than, in tactical terms, of what could be
7 seen flagged up as a BiH victory.
8 Q. The last question in connection with this
9 document concerns paragraph 4 on the second page, where
10 the observation is made that the Croats felt that they
11 had been basically ignored by the -- or abandoned by
12 international organisations, and they felt that
13 Sarajevo was getting special attention, while their
14 plight was being ignored. And the military -- sorry,
15 the civil affairs officer states that that's partially
17 Was that your view too?
18 A. If I had an opinion on the balance of UNHCR's
19 effort between Sarajevo and myself, I wouldn't have
20 expressed it, as it were. It's not my business. That
21 was well above. My battle group, in the seven months
22 we were there, every single UNHCR convoy that got to my
23 zone got to its destination, and they were passed on
24 through. Every single one. And I often spoke with
25 Blaskic, who was my main point of contact, about the
1 importance of keeping those convoys going, and that if
2 any disruption came from anyone in the Vitez pocket,
3 they were not doing themselves much good.
4 Q. The last question I've got for you, sir, is
5 in the final meeting that you had with Mr. Kordic and
6 others, November the 6th, 1993, would it be fair to say
7 that you can recall nothing of substance being
8 discussed particularly?
9 A. I think that was the lunch, was it not?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. No, that was not -- that was not a business
12 lunch. It was my farewell. And I thought, and I think
13 the Croats who were there, realised that it was perhaps
14 the one occasion when it wouldn't be a good idea to
15 talk about business.
16 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President, I have
17 no further questions for the Brigadier.
18 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
19 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, I think I can
20 finish with him in half an hour. Half an hour or so.
21 JUDGE MAY: See how we get on.
22 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Brigadier.
25 My name is Bozidar Kovacic, I am a lawyer from Zagreb,
1 and with my colleague Goran Mikulicic, sitting next to
2 me. I am representing the second accused in this case,
3 Mr. Cerkez. We speak different languages and I should
4 like to ask you -- but of course first I might -- I
5 have to train myself to do that, to make a short break
6 between the question and answer so that the
7 interpreters could catch up with us.
8 Brigadier, may I begin by asking you, when
9 you were posted to Bosnia, I presume you attended
10 various briefings, you were given a sufficient
11 information so that you could perform your duty
12 properly when you arrived there. But, apart from that,
13 did you know anything about Bosnia, about its culture,
14 history, its religions, its peoples, and all the other
15 elements that make up a society? Did you have any
16 knowledge before?
17 A. The first point I should make out was that I
18 received very few briefings back in the United
19 Kingdom. The information I got on Bosnia was from two
20 reconnaissances, I think one -- both in early 1993, and
21 I can't remember the exact dates, both a week long,
22 prior to my visit there. The training we did was for
23 general war and not specific to the task. The task we
24 discovered when we arrived, and in discussion with the
25 United Nations forces on the ground. I had, in common,
1 I would suggest, with most of United Nations forces at
2 that time, very little knowledge of the Balkans area.
3 We learnt very quickly.
4 Q. When you arrived in Bosnia, did it turn out
5 that in spite of all the preparations and in spite of
6 the presence of your predecessors, and they must have
7 told you about their experience, that the problems are
8 really very highly complex and, to cut a long story
9 short, that the picture was not black and white, but
10 rather grey more often than not?
11 A. It was a very depressing picture in that I
12 was surprised to find, in a country that my brief
13 studies in the past had told me was one of the most
14 developed Communist countries in the world, had
15 unfortunately turned to the dark side and was involved
16 in a horrific ethnic-based three-sided conflict.
17 Q. During your tour of duty there, did you form
18 an impression or a conclusion as to the influence, as
19 to the power, as to the weight that the religion had in
20 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did that army pay
21 attention to religion in any form whatsoever?
22 A. The confusing thing for me, when I talked to
23 Bosnians in the country, was that all the young who had
24 been to Sarajevo, which at that stage was multi-ethnic
25 in the university, didn't seem to have a problem with
1 religion at all. And suddenly, and I can only assume
2 it was whipped up by relevant people in relevant
3 political circles who wished to ferment religious
4 hatred, suddenly the aspect of religion had come right
5 to the front, where perhaps it hadn't been before.
6 I talked to a number of well-educated people
7 who expressed not extreme but racist views, and I often
8 used the analogy of the country of Belgium, which you
9 will know has two different people in it: the
10 Walloons, and those who speak French. It has two
11 languages, and they can live in peace without killing
12 each other. And I hoped that eventually Bosnia would
13 learn tolerance and to live in peace.
14 Q. Thank you. Just one more question on this
15 topic. During those conversations, and you were
16 evidently eager to find out, but did you learn in those
17 conversations something about the relationship between
18 imans and commanders of units, of the BiH Army? What I
19 mean is the coordination of their relations, their
20 subordination, the co-work between them, where they
21 were in equal power.
22 A. I can't remember ever meeting an iman on any
23 of my visits to any ABiH unit. I think, sir, you will
24 be aware of an organisation called the 7th Muslim
25 Brigade. Whether this was fact or fiction, I don't
1 know. These were hardline, or purported to be hardline
2 religious zealots with Mujahedin, who had apparently
3 come from outside, but I cannot -- I never saw 7th
4 Muslim Brigade or saw anyone in it, so I can't verify
6 Q. Since you mentioned this brigade, without
7 going through piles of documents -- there is
8 milinfosums and other reports. It is beyond any doubt
9 that that unit existed and that it operated in the area
10 of the Lasva Valley?
11 A. I believe the presence of 7th Muslim Brigade
12 was a very useful propaganda tool, which was used to
13 great effect by the ABiH. If you announced in loud
14 enough terms that it was arriving, you could perhaps
15 score an easy victory.
16 Q. In a war, and you are a professional soldier,
17 propaganda sometimes achieves results and is another
18 means of warfare, like artillery or any other type of
19 military equipment. Would you agree with me?
20 A. It would depend on what your military aim
21 was, and it would depend how much of the civilian
22 population were involved in a war. If you are purely
23 fighting another army, then you will seek to influence
24 that other army, but you are using less information
1 Q. I understand that as a definition. But it is
2 common knowledge that rumour is, in the Lasva Valley,
3 that the 7th Muslim was about to arrive, must have had
4 their effect on both the military and the civilians,
5 and there are examples of that. Are you familiar with
6 those examples, and would you agree with what I've just
8 A. I would agree about the rumour. It was
9 rife. It was on both sides. I think Shakespeare said,
10 "Rumour, the great traveller." It was very useful and
11 everybody used it.
12 Q. Thank you. Likewise, among the units of the
13 BiH Army there was a unit called the 17th Krajina
14 Brigade, or the so-called Glorious Brigade, the
15 Glorious Krajina Brigade, which was also reputed to be
16 a very powerful and very determined unit. Are you
17 familiar with that, and was this reputation something
18 that you can confirm?
19 A. I think I am aware of the 17th Krajina
20 Brigade. I think it was based in Travnik, but I may be
21 wrong. And I was not aware it had any specific
22 fighting qualities that made it better than any other
23 ABiH brigade.
24 Q. Usher, can you help me, please. This is a
25 very short quotation in a milinfosum.
1 Brigadier -- can I have a number please?
2 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D45/2.
3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Could you read this? This is the end of
5 September, this quotation, and you are already getting
6 ready to go back home, and this is also the end of the
7 period for which my client stands charged.
8 A while ago, you already answered some
9 questions about it during the cross-examination, also
10 certain things during the examination-in-chief.
11 However, I'm not quite sure if you and other military
12 professionals understood clearly that the army of the
13 B and H, when the 3rd Corps reached Kruscica -- that
14 is, the immediate vicinity of Vitez -- that they really
15 could cut the valley into two. Do you think they had
16 enough strength, enough power, to do that and to
17 partition the valley?
18 A. The first thing I would like to comment is
19 that the report here is generated by an NGO, who is a
20 member of a nongovernmental organisation, and not one
21 of my military officers; and therefore I wouldn't hold
22 such value on its content as I would from one of my own
23 more trusted officers.
24 I think there were certainly attempts to cut
25 up the Vitez pocket by the ABiH during the time I was
1 there. Whether they had the power and the effect to do
2 it, I do not know. Whether, by telling me that they
3 were able to do it, they were trying to get a message
4 somehow to the HVO forces, I don't know. There were
5 certainly lots of plans made and lots of plans briefed
6 to me about how swiftly and effectively the ABiH could
7 cut up the pocket, but despite considerable expenditure
8 of their forces, they never did.
9 Q. Brigadier, do you think that the general
10 assessment would be true, and I believe you are well
11 qualified to answer it: At the time you arrived there,
12 as against the developments in summer, when the
13 fortunes of war or the military power -- when the BH
14 army had more power, had more strength -- perhaps I'm
15 not being clear enough; let me try to rephrase it.
16 I'll try to simplify it, and then of course we can go
17 into details.
18 At the time when you arrived, the correlation
19 of forces was so-so; that is, none of the two parties
20 had a major edge. But then, as of July, as of August,
21 the picture changed, and largely in favour of the
22 ABiH. Would you agree with this?
23 A. There was -- the conflict started after the
24 events of Ahmici, and that has been regarded by many
25 people, including myself, as a trigger to the conflict
1 in Central Bosnia. And certainly, from a position of
2 strength, the Bosnian Croat forces in the Vitez area
3 and the Lasva Valley became on the back foot and
4 suffered a number of defeats, leading up to the autumn,
5 when the situation stabilised. And I believe it
6 stabilised fairly firmly, and that stabilisation
7 carried through for months after I had left.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, you are obviously
9 not going to able to finish within the next few
11 Brigadier, I hope it's not going to be very
12 inconvenient for you to come back tomorrow morning?
13 THE WITNESS: I can come back tomorrow
14 morning, sir.
15 JUDGE MAY: It will be the conclusion.
16 We'll adjourn -- you won't be very long, I
17 take it, tomorrow morning?
18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, if I just may -- I
19 made a small error in my prediction, because I just
20 lost one block; I thought that it was asked. But
21 certainly not more than -- I don't know, 40 minutes,
22 45 at most.
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, bear in mind that we do
24 have a conference tomorrow morning, the agenda for
25 which should have been passed out by the legal
1 officer. If there are other matters to be added, of
2 course, that can be done; but I would be grateful if
3 the parties would have a look at the agenda so they are
4 ready to deal with the matters which are mentioned.
5 Brigadier, would you be back, please, at
6 9.00 tomorrow morning, when we will continue.
7 THE WITNESS: Of course, sir.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
9 4.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
10 the 26th day of November, 1999, at
11 9 a.m.