Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 10615

1 Monday, 29th November, 1999

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.42 a.m.

5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning Your Honours,

6 case number IT-95-14/2-T. The Prosecutor versus Dario

7 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, as you will see, Judge

9 Robinson is not with us this morning. That is due to

10 the illness of his wife. It's not certain when he will

11 be back. We therefore propose, and I hope the parties

12 have had notice of this, to proceed by way of

13 deposition evidence this week.

14 MR. NICE: We have had notice. I'm sure

15 everybody is added in the sympathies they would like to

16 express to Judge Robinson, and via him to his wife. We

17 have started the process of drafting either a written

18 application to cover all witnesses this week, or it may

19 be a written application to cover the first witness,

20 and thereafter to prepare further applications for

21 other witnesses, so that evidence may, if possible, be

22 taken by deposition.

23 Ms. Verhaag has just gone to get the printed

24 version of either the first or the compendious

25 application, and she'll be back in Court with it in a

Page 10616

1 second.

2 JUDGE MAY: As far as the first witness is

3 concerned, is there any objection?

4 MR. SAYERS: From the Kordic Defence there is

5 no objection, Mr. President, and I have informed the

6 legal officer that we will be preparing a written

7 consent along the lines of the previous ones, which

8 will be filed in Court today.

9 JUDGE MAY: As far as other witnesses are

10 concerned, do different considerations apply?

11 MR. SAYERS: For the witnesses that are

12 scheduled for this week, as I understand it,

13 Mr. President, I do not believe any other different

14 considerations would apply. I see no reason why,

15 speaking from the Kordic Defence anyway, why the

16 witnesses should not proceed by way of deposition.

17 MR. KOVACIC: Cerkez Defence does not object

18 and we have no problem to hear all the witnesses

19 scheduled for this week in a form of deposition, except

20 that I'm afraid that we might have a problem with

21 Witness Brix Andersen. Indeed, we are planning to

22 raise some objections, and perhaps that is the problem

23 which should be dealt with by the Chamber. And if you

24 wish, Your Honours, I could tell you why do we object

25 to this witness.

Page 10617

1 JUDGE MAY: Well, I wonder if the simplest

2 course would not be to deal with the first witness, who

3 I understand is here, and make an order in relation to

4 that witness, and then we consider the position later

5 about any other witnesses there may be.

6 I'll just ask the legal officer if there are

7 any difficulties about that.

8 Very well, we'll have the first witness.

9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the draft has been

10 proceeded in respect of all proceedings for this week.

11 It needs a slight tidying up of text by one word, but

12 that can be dealt with very swiftly. I've been given

13 advance notice by Mr. Kovacic of the nature of his

14 objection in respect of Brix Andersen, and I think that

15 we can accommodate the discussion about those

16 objections under the overall umbrella of a compendious

17 application. I don't think there is a problem.

18 So, yes, may the first witness come in.

19 MR. SAYERS: While the witness is coming in,

20 Mr. President, there are two short matters that we

21 would like to raise after the witness has testified.

22 They shouldn't take more than 30 seconds total, at the

23 end of the proceedings.

24 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

25 [The witness entered court]

Page 10618

1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the

2 declaration.

3 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

4 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the

5 truth.

6 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat,

7 Mr. Verhoeven.


9 MR. NICE: I trust that the Chamber has not

10 only --

11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice.

12 MR. NICE: I trust that the Chamber has not

13 only the summary of Mr. Verhoeven's evidence, but also

14 has or can have provided to it a small bundle of

15 exhibits.

16 Examined by Mr. Nice:

17 Q. Indeed, if one could be left with the

18 witness, that could speed matters.

19 From time to time the witness will need to

20 refer to a map, and although recently we have found

21 maps of some detail and use in particular

22 circumstances, I think probably the witness will be as

23 happy as any with map 2612,2. And if again there is no

24 objection, I'll make mine available, although it has

25 some highlights on it, but the highlights tend to be

Page 10619

1 rather more useful than unhelpful.

2 Mr. Verhoeven, are you a professional soldier

3 in the Belgian army, and have been such since 1976,

4 presently head of either what's called the logistics or

5 the infrastructure department of that army, with the

6 rank of commander, being based in Germany?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. An ECMM monitor from mid-July until October

9 of 1993. Following earlier assignments, did you, after

10 three weeks, become leader of team V1, whose area of

11 concern or responsibility was from Travnik in the north

12 through Guca Gora, Busovaca and Vitez, or the other way

13 around?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. Did you have a notebook which you used for

16 certain purposes in the course of your duties, making,

17 I think, short notes rather than, perhaps, full notes?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. At the time that you made your statement to

20 ICTY investigators, did you have that notebook to hand

21 and did you refer to it for matters of detail?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Has the notebook since then been lost or

24 mislaid?

25 A. That's correct.

Page 10620

1 Q. So that for certain matters of detail not

2 referred to in contemporaneous daily reports, have you

3 had to look at your statement made to investigators,

4 but on the basis that that was itself prepared from

5 earlier contemporaneous notes of your own?

6 A. Yes.

7 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, if you could help me

8 with one thing. Guca Gora. I don't seem to have it.


10 Q. Can you find this Guca Gora on this map.

11 You'll know how to mark it. What happens, if you leave

12 it on the -- there it is. Thank you very much.

13 A. [indicates]

14 Q. Did the Chamber see it?

15 JUDGE MAY: Point to it once more.

16 MR. NICE: And perhaps he could have the

17 pointer, unless its been mislaid.

18 Q. Just due west of Zenica, northwest of Vitez,

19 northeast by east of Travnik?

20 JUDGE MAY: Guca Gora?

21 MR. NICE: Guca Gora, yes.

22 Q. I am not going to trouble you with this map,

23 Mr. Verhoeven, but have you this morning seen a map

24 which marks out in a bold black line the shape of the

25 pocket under HVO control marked as July 1993?

Page 10621

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And although there may be some differences in

3 the details of the perimeter shown on that map, does

4 its general shape --

5 A. General shape, yes.

6 Q. -- accord with your recollection of your area

7 of responsibility?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. The map to which I am referring is the

10 front-line map that's been provided to the Chamber, or

11 one of them, and it's going to be the subject of

12 evidence later.

13 Mr. Verhoeven, one of the problems, and I've

14 probably already aggravated the problem, is that

15 because we speak in English, we may not make suitable

16 allowance for the interpreters. So I will try and hear

17 when the French translation is finished, and there will

18 be gaps between questions and answers to accommodate

19 that.

20 Did you, on the 31st of July of 1993, meet

21 the defendant Mario Cerkez?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Do you now have a recollection of where you

24 met him, or are you driven to an assumption about where

25 you met him?

Page 10622

1 A. If my memories are well, I met him in the

2 place where he had his office.

3 Q. Which was in which town?

4 A. In Vitez.

5 Q. The topic of the discussion and its

6 resolution, please?

7 A. What date did you say?

8 Q. It's the 31st of July, and this may be a

9 matter for which there isn't a report, but which you

10 will be able to refer to your memory first, because it

11 was covered in your witness statement.

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can you tell us, what was the subject of the

14 exchange?

15 It's not going to be in those documents

16 there, because we don't have a report for it.

17 A. Can I have back the --

18 Q. The witness statement?

19 A. Yes. Because there are so many dates and so

20 many --

21 Q. Yes.

22 MR. NICE: With the Court's leave, and in the

23 absence of objection, in light of the way the earlier

24 statement was founded on then-contemporaneous

25 documents, may he, so far as necessary, refer to that

Page 10623

1 for assistance?

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. As I've said before, it

3 shouldn't be a test of memory.

4 MR. NICE: It's been highlighted, but it

5 hasn't, I think, been otherwise marked -- sorry, that

6 one has been. I'll take mine out.

7 Q. At the foot of the first page, meeting of the

8 31st of July, please.

9 A. Okay.

10 Q. What happened on that meeting, please?

11 A. As we did usually, we went to -- as we did

12 usually, we went to -- to see the local commanders and

13 the local authorities. And on that day I met with

14 Mr. Cerkez in Vitez, and we discussed about problems,

15 as we usually did, of exchanges of prisoners, how the

16 prisoners were treated, and those matters. And in that

17 meeting, I was told that three boys were held by the

18 BiH in Kruscica.

19 Q. At that meeting, did Mr. Cerkez want an

20 exchange of visitors on a particular basis?

21 A. Yes, all by all exchanges.

22 Q. That's all prisoners from one side to be

23 exchanged for all for the other, and he also --

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. -- drew to your attention --

Page 10624

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. -- to these three boys?

3 Very well. I will return to paragraph 4 of

4 the summary at the end of the evidence. We come to the

5 18th of August, which again is not subject to a report,

6 but is on the second page of your statement, if you

7 need to refer to it.

8 Did you receive information from the imam

9 from Busovaca, or about the imam from Busovaca, that he

10 was not free to move around?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Did you meet him?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. How did you appear, in a word?

15 A. He was unhappy, and he was frightened.

16 Q. You were allowed to talk to him in private,

17 but --

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. -- was there any apparent supervision or

20 monitoring of your meetings?

21 A. Not directly, no.

22 Q. But indirectly?

23 A. There were HVO soldiers in the

24 neighbourhood. They were looking, but they didn't

25 interfere.

Page 10625

1 Q. Did he explain to you what, in his judgement,

2 was the desire of the Muslim population of Busovaca?

3 A. They wanted to leave.

4 Q. Were they allowed to?

5 A. No.

6 Q. Paragraph 6 of the summary: On the 21st of

7 August of 1993 -- and I'll lead unless anybody

8 indicates to me that I shouldn't -- did you pursue a

9 claim by the HVO in Busovaca that Mujahedin fought

10 alongside the BiH, and that they had proof of this,

11 with a foreign soldier?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. And you interviewed the person concerned, who

14 appeared to be a Syrian student claiming to have been

15 in Yugoslavia since 1982 and having been mobilised?

16 A. That's what he told.

17 Q. On the 26th of August, did you meet Franjo

18 Kristo, Busovaca's police chief, and did he express

19 himself in strong terms? And, perhaps, turning only to

20 your notes if you need to, tell the Judges what he

21 expressed about Muslims.

22 A. He didn't think that it was possible that

23 those two sorts of people, Muslims and Croats, could

24 live together as equal partners.

25 Q. And in what terms did he describe the

Page 10626

1 Muslims?

2 A. He said Muslims could eventually live

3 together with the Croats in the new state of -- in

4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but then as sort of immigrants,

5 just like in other countries, where someone who comes

6 into that country has no right to vote.

7 Q. Yes. Did he use any terms of abuse about

8 them?

9 A. Can you repeat this?

10 Q. Did he use any bad language or bad names

11 about them?

12 A. Yeah, he called them barbarians or

13 something.

14 Q. Paragraph 8: On the 27th of August, did the

15 HVO cut off water supply to the BiH side in Travnik,

16 and did you speak to the HVO president in Travnik about

17 this?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. His explanation was?

20 A. What do you mean by this question?

21 Q. Well, what was his reaction to your raising

22 this issue with him? What did he say was the

23 possibility of turning the water back on?

24 A. He couldn't decide that -- he couldn't decide

25 this on his level.

Page 10627

1 Q. And to what level did he have to refer before

2 he could allow the Muslims in Travnik to have water?

3 A. To Mr. Valenta.

4 Q. How did that strike you as a reaction?

5 A. I found it a little bit strange, because it

6 was a local matter, and I knew Mr. Valenta as

7 vice-president. I found it a little bit strange that

8 it had to go until this high level.

9 MR. SAYERS: Mr. President, one matter of

10 detail: Looking at the statement that was

11 contemporaneously -- or the statement that was taken by

12 the investigators of Commandant Verhoeven, it looks

13 like the water-supply issue that we're talking about

14 deals with Novi Travnik and not Travnik. I wonder if

15 the Prosecution might just clear that up, because I

16 think it's a little unclear.

17 MR. NICE: Thank you.

18 Q. Would you like to resolve that issue, please,

19 Mr. Verhoeven? Are we talking about Travnik, or Novi

20 Travnik?

21 A. Novi Travnik.

22 Q. Thank you very much.

23 The first document, not actually covered on

24 the summary, but fits in to the account, is

25 Exhibit 1185,2, for the 28th of August. Is this one of

Page 10628

1 a number of daily reports prepared by you?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Under the heading "Political Situation," and

4 following a meeting with Kresimir Garic, chief of the

5 civilian police in Vitez, do we find an entry halfway

6 down the page where he was expressing the view that --

7 on the right-hand side of the page -- joint living

8 could be possible in other areas, but not Vitez or

9 Busovaca?

10 Going on to say that joint cooperation or a

11 certain form of cooperation could be possible, but that

12 he was convinced this was a religious war to prevent

13 Muslim domination, and he said he saw the beginning of

14 conflict as caused by Muslim refugees who tried to push

15 the Croats out.

16 And then on the second sheet, over the next

17 page. Were you stopped in Busovaca by an old,

18 desperate Muslim woman who claimed that she had been on

19 four occasions expelled from her home; they last had

20 been living with another Muslim family who now had

21 found a Croat side on the other side to exchange with.

22 And you then make this comment, "that it happens that

23 exchanges of houses through the front lines were being

24 made sometimes with the payment of money to soldiers."

25 And then under assessment, paragraph 8, you

Page 10629

1 make further reference to this by using the word

2 "black," black exchange. Was that something you

3 thought you encountered from time to time, black

4 exchange, exchange for money?

5 A. What I meant with black exchanges -- what I

6 meant, that they were not official.

7 Q. And sometimes for money?

8 A. That's what people who were involved, who

9 wanted to pass has told me.

10 Q. Paragraph 9 of the summary. The next

11 document in the bundle, 1186,2. Did you on the 30th of

12 August of 1993 meet the military chief of Busovaca,

13 Zarko Milic, who complained of the influx of Croat

14 refugees as a cause of difficulties?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. We can see this in the first paragraph of

17 your report. Was there talk there of black exchanges,

18 and did he express concern about increasing criminality

19 caused by the influx of refugees?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Let me turn to the second sheet of this daily

22 report. Can you just deal with what happened at the

23 checkpoint between Vitez and Kruscica. I think you

24 were not allowed to pass without written permission.

25 A. That's correct.

Page 10630

1 Q. The person operating the checkpoint insisted

2 on your getting permission from whom?

3 A. From Mr. Cerkez.

4 Q. Was Colonel Blaskic referred to?

5 A. Yes, but the man at the checkpoint didn't

6 agree with the permission of Mr. Blaskic.

7 Q. Which you had? Did you have the permission

8 of Mr. Blaskic?

9 A. Do you mean a written permission?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. I don't remember. I don't think so.

12 Q. So it's a question that they would not have

13 been happy with a consent of Blaskic; they required one

14 from Cerkez?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And if we read on in the entry in your daily

17 report, you were warned that the road to Kruscica was

18 unsafe because they expected an attack on Vitez from

19 that area, and while you were at that checkpoint there

20 was shooting nearby, and there was indeed nervousness

21 in the headquarters, and you noticed the large number

22 of soldiers on the streets of Vitez. Is that correct?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. On the map will you just remind the Chamber

25 where or approximately where this checkpoint was, so

Page 10631

1 that we can just see it.

2 Is the point of your find -- if you leave the

3 map on the ELMO, then we can all see it on the screen.

4 If you use the pointer, that will help. It may be that

5 the map can be a little bit more focused, but it's not

6 the best of maps.

7 A. Here's Kruscica [indicates].

8 Q. Thank you very much. Did you also refer

9 directly to Mr. Cerkez that day, as your report

10 suggests?

11 A. How you mean that question?

12 Q. Well, if you read the next part of that

13 paragraph, it begins "Mr. Cerkez told him that." You

14 must interpret that for us.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. To whom did Mr. Cerkez say this?

17 A. To me.

18 Q. Read the entry to yourself and then explain

19 it to us, if you would be so good.

20 A. "Mr. Cerkez told me that if BiH should

21 attack, everything, what had happened until now, would

22 have been just a game. HVO was ready to use all their

23 resources, including these which they have not used

24 until now."

25 Q. Thank you. As your first witness statement,

Page 10632

1 built on your then contemporaneous and available notes

2 revealed, and this isn't in the summary, but should be,

3 did you on the 1st of September have a meeting with,

4 amongst other people, your superior, Philip Watkins,

5 and Ambassador Thebault?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Who else was present at that meeting?

8 A. Mr. Kordic and a man called Kostroman.

9 Q. How long or short was the meeting?

10 A. It was long.

11 Q. Do you have any present recollection of the

12 detail of what passed in that meeting?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Indeed, has it not been possible for you to

15 see and not been possible for the Prosecution to show

16 you any document that deals with that meeting?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Apart from this occasion, did you see Kordic

19 on any other occasions, or try to see him?

20 A. No.

21 Q. Nevertheless, did you hear things about him

22 and about the personalities in the Lasva Valley during

23 your tour of operation?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Did you have any clear understanding of any

Page 10633

1 separation of civilian and military authority?

2 A. Do you mean in general?

3 Q. In general, and so far as individuals are

4 concerned in particular.

5 A. Yes. We tried to locate the functions of the

6 different authorities we met.

7 Q. Was it ever possible to do that with

8 precision?

9 A. This was not always possible.

10 Q. I'll return to this paragraph for further

11 comment at the end of your evidence. But just before I

12 do move on, did you see Valenta once or more than once?

13 A. I saw him more than once.

14 Q. Were you able to make any comparison between

15 the appearances or trappings of authority or power

16 associated with Valenta, on the one hand, and with

17 Kordic on the other?

18 A. Not really proof, just it was -- it was for

19 me easier to go to get to Valenta as to Mr. Kordic.

20 Mr. Kordic was -- I had the feeling on a higher level

21 as Mr. Valenta.

22 Q. Because?

23 A. Because it was on my level easier to go to

24 Mr. Valenta, that's one; and second, I had the

25 impression that Mr. Kordic was better surrounded, more

Page 10634

1 protected.

2 Q. By what sort of procedures or what sort of

3 people?

4 A. By soldiers, bodyguards.

5 Q. Thank you. Paragraph 11. On the 3rd of

6 September did you learn that the three Croat boys, whom

7 you mentioned earlier, had been exchanged for three

8 sick Muslim prisoners who had been held by the HVO in

9 Vitez?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, those three Croat boys had been held by

12 the BiH. Did you see them in captivity?

13 A. Yes, I visit them.

14 Q. What did their conditions of detention appear

15 to be?

16 A. Normal, as far as boys who are kept in

17 captivity can be. But they were not maltreated.

18 Q. The 8th of September next. Reference to the

19 map, if necessary. Remind the Chamber of the area.

20 Was there an attack in the area of the region of Stari

21 Bila on the 8th of September?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And was there a strategic significance in

24 that area, and was the attack successful in pushing the

25 BiH line back to a degree, but can you now -- if that

Page 10635

1 be correct, can you explain it on the map, please.

2 A. Yes. I'll put it back. This is the Bila

3 feature [indicates]. The front line at this moment

4 were very narrow to the road, and it was for Croat, HVO

5 people, very dangerous to use the road because of

6 sniper activities by BiH. After the attack, the road

7 was clear.

8 Q. Thank you. Give me a minute. There is a

9 paperwork problem.

10 Now, I have raced ahead of the paperwork. My

11 mistake entirely. But can we just correct things by

12 going back to the documents that should be before you.

13 The next one in the pile should be 1187,1, and it is --

14 and that's daily report for the 31st of August, the

15 second sheet of which requires just very brief

16 consideration, where I should have asked you to deal

17 with the full paragraph that deals with your being

18 stopped at the HVO checkpoint between Vitez and

19 Kruscica, not being allowed to pass. And at the end of

20 the same paragraph you say that, "It's likely that the

21 HVO doesn't want any NGO or ECMM to pass, because of

22 supplies delivered to Kruscica without result in the

23 water and the prisoner's case."

24 Does that mean without resolution of the

25 problem of the water and prisoner case?

Page 10636

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And this was more or less confirmed by the

3 liaison officer of the HVO, who stated that the command

4 of the operational zone, Blaskic, had some problems

5 with the responsible brigade commander, Mr. Cerkez?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. If we turn to the next document

8 in the bundle, it should be 1195,2, for the 4th of

9 September. And although it's not touched on in the

10 summary, I think you draw to our attention on the

11 second sheet, again, in the first complete paragraph,

12 the position on the checkpoints between Zenica and the

13 Busovaca junction, where the situation was getting

14 worse, where people were having to wait for days, or

15 some days. And you say this: "The problem should be

16 that the BiH want some important people out of

17 Busovaca, which the HVO refuses. They were prepared to

18 let unimportant Muslims pass without problems."

19 Is that accurate?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. We turn to the 8th of September, the

22 supporting document is now a milinfosum which is

23 numbered Z1196. Halfway down the entry for Vitez, on

24 the first sheet, you may find what supports your

25 evidence, but was there an attack on the 8th of

Page 10637

1 September by the HVO in the region of Stari Bila?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. An area previously held, strategic,

4 overlooking the road, and then that was what was pushed

5 back?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you. So we can turn to the 9th of

8 September, which is now dependent on your -- not

9 dependent on, but refers to your daily report.

10 Did you have a meeting on the 9th of

11 September, Document 1198,2, with Zoran Maric, the mayor

12 of Busovaca, he again talking of civilians on the road

13 from Zenica to Busovaca, and black exchange that took

14 place in that area, he complaining that those exchanges

15 were illegal and should be stopped? And at the foot of

16 the first page of this document, we see he said that

17 the civilian police of Busovaca had received order to

18 stop Croats at the checkpoint and protect [sic] them

19 coming to Busovaca.

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And you saw some 60 people waiting to go to

22 Busovaca, I think?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Perhaps interesting to note, over the page,

25 as your assessment in relation to the Bila feature of

Page 10638

1 which you have already told us -- perhaps not the Bila

2 feature, but the high ground which dominates the

3 BiH-held area of responsibility of Sadovace, Bukve, and

4 Brdo -- that they can't allow a threat and will be

5 forced to gain back to the Bila feature, but you hope

6 not?

7 A. I said I hope I am not in BritBat -- in

8 BritBat at that moment, because I was there at the

9 first attack.

10 Q. The 20th of September -- I beg your pardon;

11 before we come to that, we must look briefly at the

12 daily report for the 12th of September, which is not

13 covered in the summary, but there's something I think

14 you want to draw to our attention there. That's

15 Document 1199,1.

16 We can see -- do you have that one there? It

17 may be because I've got two copies. Here's one coming

18 your way.

19 MR. NICE: I trust the Chamber has Z1199,1.

20 Q. We see, under "Political Situation," your

21 account that there were no more than 40 Muslims left in

22 Busovaca because they went to Zenica by the unofficial

23 exchanges which you had been reporting on over the

24 previous weeks?

25 MR. SAYERS: If I could just register a brief

Page 10639

1 objection to the phraseology of that question, Your

2 Honour: It appears that this report is summarising a

3 conclusion that someone else has said, rather than what

4 the witness has said.



7 Q. Can you deal with that, please,

8 Mr. Verhoeven?

9 A. Yes, I was told that there are no more than

10 40 Muslims --

11 Q. Well, you were told, but --

12 A. -- left in Busovaca.

13 Q. -- first of all, by whom were you told?

14 A. By the imam.

15 Q. In your experience, what measure of contact

16 did he have with Muslim occupants of Busovaca, and how

17 reliable was he up and until then as a narrator, as a

18 provider of information?

19 A. He was allowed to get visits from other

20 Muslims at his home.

21 Q. How reliable or unreliable had you found him

22 to be, if you had been able to assess his reliability?

23 A. I think he spoke the truth.

24 Q. Thank you. In the middle of the same page,

25 you make reference to the number of people at

Page 10640

1 Checkpoint Olimpik decreasing. You saw more Muslims on

2 the other side waiting to pass. If you can remember,

3 and by reference to the map, and using the pointer,

4 tell us about where Checkpoint Olimpik was. If you

5 can't recall at this remove of time --

6 A. No, I can't.

7 Q. Very well. Paragraph 14, 10th of September,

8 the daily report Z1207,1: Did you on that day have a

9 meeting, as we can see, with Darko Gelic, the HVO

10 liaison officer for Blaskic?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. What was said by way of threat or promise

13 about the explosive factory?

14 A. HVO would not allow BiH to get to the

15 explosive factory; they rather would blow them -- blow

16 him up.

17 Q. Was there an identifiable risk to civilians

18 in blowing it up?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Was that risk drawn to their attention?

21 A. They said the Croat people would fight until

22 the end and would take their destiny, accept their

23 destiny.

24 Q. Thank you. The next document is the daily

25 report for the 21st of September, Z1210,1, and again,

Page 10641

1 under your assessment, the same point is dealt with:

2 They have decided to blow up the explosive factory in

3 Vitez if the BiH continue with their aim of taking the

4 factory. Both parties are aware of the consequences.

5 It seems that the military advantage of holding it is

6 the crucial factor.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. 22nd of September, paragraph 15, document

9 Z1211,1: Did you on this day, the 22nd of September,

10 meet Valenta, discuss the Geneva maps, and did he

11 assert that there was no Croat municipality which had a

12 Muslim majority, although there were many Muslim

13 municipalities in which there was a Croat majority?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And he said, after dealing with access to the

16 sea, he explained that the water and electricity

17 problems were easily solvable, but he claimed the

18 Muslims did not want to cooperate, and so he was

19 prepared to do the same thing?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And then, over the page, we can see he

22 emphasised the humanitarian difficulties facing the

23 Croats in the coming winter.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. If we then go to the next document, the 23rd

Page 10642

1 of September, although it's not in the summary, just

2 one point you want to draw to our attention on what is

3 document Z1212,1. Where under your assessment you say

4 that the battle of Vitez has reached its top and will

5 go on for a few days, and that if the water and

6 electricity problems for Novi Travnik and Novi Bila is

7 not solved, the HVO will execute its threat and cut

8 water and electricity for Zenica and Sarajevo.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Paragraph 16 of the summary, the 27th of

11 October, document 1217,1. Did you again meet Zoran

12 Maric, as the first paragraph of your daily report

13 reveals?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Did you ask him in particular about the

16 burning of a mosque?

17 A. Can you please repeat the question?

18 Q. About the burning of a mosque.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. It's in the first paragraph. Did you ask him

21 about that?

22 A. Yes.

23 MR. SAYERS: Let me just register one

24 objection to the relevance of this line of questioning,

25 Mr. President. The burning of the mosque in September

Page 10643

1 of 1993 is not an item charged in the parts of the

2 indictment addressed to the damage and destruction of

3 religious institutions. So we don't believe that --

4 JUDGE MAY: Because it's not in the

5 indictment, doesn't mean it's not within the parameters

6 of what's relevant.


8 Q. I think you asked him if he met the imam to

9 discuss the situation of the Muslims, and he said he'd

10 do this after an investigation into the burning of the

11 mosque. Correct?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Your comment, arising from this, was that in

14 reality the imam is considered more a hostage than a

15 conversation partner. Is there anything you want to

16 add to the comment in explanation of that?

17 A. Well, the Major didn't speak with the imam.

18 When I asked him, he denied it. He didn't want to go

19 to the imam, and the imam was not able to move. So for

20 me and my comment, I meant that he was hold there,

21 perhaps for later exchange against the Croats.

22 Q. And, as a matter of fact, did you ever get a

23 report on the burning of the mosque?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Paragraph 17 of the summary. Did you on that

Page 10644

1 day or about that day, the 27th of September, receive a

2 letter from Blaskic dealing with planned prisoner

3 exchange of persons from Travnik held by the BiH

4 against Muslims held by the HVO, Stari Vitez for Vitez?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. On the 1st of October did you learn that the

7 new chief of the civilian police in Busovaca was Drago

8 Ljubos? Don't worry about the documents. This comes

9 from your statement, so it came from your notebook.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Yes?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. On the 2nd of October did you with two ECMM

14 cars go to Vitez to pick up a family that was supposed

15 to be exchanged, having been subject to an agreement

16 with Blaskic some days before?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Briefly, what happened so far as some HVO

19 soldiers in uniform were concerned?

20 A. They started shooting.

21 Q. What sort of uniform were they in?

22 A. Black uniforms.

23 Q. Did you leave the area and go to Blaskic to

24 complain?

25 A. Yes.

Page 10645

1 Q. Who else was present at that meeting?

2 A. Mr. Gelic, the HVO liaison officer,

3 Mr. Blaskic, Mr. Cerkez, and some military police.

4 Q. If we turn to the next document, it may be

5 the next document, but one in the bundle, it will be

6 1229. Is this a special report of that incident

7 prepared by you?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. We've already summarised the effect of it.

10 And going through things chronologically, but with an

11 eye to that document, on the 4th of October did Ljubos,

12 the new police chief, receive a visit from you; he

13 maintaining that he was doing all he could to protect

14 the Muslim population, and giving an explanation for

15 the burning of the mosque?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What was that explanation?

18 A. He said that most likely the mosque was being

19 hit by a shell.

20 Q. Did you check that out?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. By visiting the area?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Were you able to find any evidence to support

25 the suggestion that the mosque had been hit by a shell?

Page 10646

1 A. No. I have seen no sign of damage from a

2 shell.

3 Q. On the 5th of October, did you visit Zoran

4 Maric again? This comes from your notes as set out in

5 your first statement.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did he speak of presence at the second

8 session of the government, as it was described, of

9 Herceg-Bosnia in Neum?

10 A. Yes. He told me he just came back from it.

11 Q. Did he say anything about the purpose of that

12 government session, if government it was?

13 A. Can you explain your question?

14 Q. Yes. Did he say what was discussed at the

15 session in Neum? And it may be you'll want to look to

16 your --

17 A. One moment. They discussed several matters.

18 They discussed the creation of the republic; they

19 discussed problems of human rights and so on.

20 Q. Did he say anything --

21 A. That is what he told me.

22 Q. Did he say anything about his ability or

23 inability to help the Muslims in Busovaca or anything

24 about linkage of their problems with other problems?

25 A. No. Those problems were linked with other

Page 10647

1 problems, that's correct.

2 Q. Which ones did he say the position of the

3 Busovaca Muslims were linked to? Can you recall?

4 A. Yes. Yes. The problem of the Muslims in

5 Busovaca was linked with the problems of the Croats in

6 Travnik and Zenica.

7 Q. Next document, the last of its type, is Z1235

8 dated October the 6th. A letter from Colonel Blaskic,

9 responding to your letter of the 2nd of October, which

10 dealt with what had happened to you. It expresses in

11 the first paragraph dismay and shock. In the second

12 paragraph it says he started an investigation, and said

13 that the act of violence had been done by Slaven

14 Kraljevic and Goran Medjugorac, to try and stop her

15 leaving Vitez, in reference to a love affair and

16 reference to drink. Saying he was -- he, Blaskic, was

17 responsible for the violence done, although it came as

18 a result of an emotional state, and saying that the

19 matter had been handed over to a military court.

20 Did you hear any more about that inquiry

21 after that?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Paragraph 22 of the summary. Helicopters.

24 What, if anything, did you hear or see of helicopters?

25 A. I heard talking about helicopters and one

Page 10648

1 time I have seen one. It was a transporter helicopter.

2 Q. Could you decide for which side it was

3 working?

4 A. I think while it was in HVO territory, that

5 it was HVO helicopter.

6 Q. Did it have markings associating it with any

7 particular party?

8 A. No.

9 Q. At the time you were in the area, we've heard

10 already of one participant going to meetings of the

11 parliament at Neum. Were you aware of others going

12 there?

13 A. Yes. I think Mr. Valenta was there.

14 Q. Would it have been possible for Mr. Valenta

15 or the other man to reach these parliamentary sessions

16 by road?

17 A. I don't think so, because of the checkpoints

18 on the front lines.

19 Q. And of course, just to remind the judges, the

20 drawing that you've said that described the position

21 that you saw is a contained envelope around Vitez and

22 Busovaca, and stops short of Kiseljak and Neum?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Finally, back to paragraph 4 of the summary,

25 as I said I would. The one outstanding document in the

Page 10649

1 list, your handwritten list, Z1218. Described in

2 paragraph 4 as a contemporaneous listing. In fact, you

3 prepared this document when?

4 A. The document, I handed it over to the man who

5 was after me, to make for him his work a little bit

6 easier.

7 Q. And we see under Busovaca the first name is

8 the name Dario Kordic, vice-president of the republic

9 of Herceg-Bosnia. Correct?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. We see in the last name on this part of the

12 list, you needn't read the name out, but we can see the

13 name of the imam, and in brackets you've put the word?

14 A. "Kept."

15 Q. Meaning?

16 A. He was under -- he should stay at home in his

17 house.

18 Q. After Kacuni you deal with Vitez. Valenta

19 first, vice-president of the republic; and then Blaskic

20 and other names?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Then over the page, the commander of the

23 Viteska Brigade, Dario Kordic.

24 Thank you very much. Please wait there, you

25 may be asked further questions.

Page 10650

1 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:

2 Q. Thank you, Mr. President. And good morning,

3 Mr. Verhoeven. My name is Steven Sayers and I

4 represent Dario Kordic.

5 Just one initial question. If you take a

6 look at the transcript, the commander of the Viteska

7 Brigade is identified as Dario Kordic on page 35, line

8 14. Just take a look at the TV screen. Did you mean

9 to say Mario Cerkez?

10 A. You mean -- I don't get your question.

11 JUDGE MAY: It's a mistake, Mr. Sayers. We

12 needn't waste any time with it. We can see from the

13 document that the name should be Mario Cerkez.

14 MR. SAYERS: I think that's correct,

15 Mr. President. Thank you.

16 Q. Just a few questions for you, commandant. I

17 take it that you have been a professional soldier for

18 the last 23 years?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. With the Belgian army, correct?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You were in Central Bosnia performing

23 functions as an European community monitor mission

24 monitor from July the 25th of 1993, correct?

25 A. From July to October, yes.

Page 10651

1 Q. And I believe that you left on October the

2 12th of 1993?

3 A. It's possible, yes.

4 Q. So it would be fair to say that you were in

5 the area for three months. And that three-month tour

6 that you spent in Central Bosnia was a standard length

7 of time for monitors basically to spend in their tours

8 with the European Community Monitoring Mission, wasn't

9 it?

10 A. At that moment it wasn't. I spent a little

11 more time as normally, because I was -- at the first

12 time I was reserve. Someone had to be replaced, so I

13 went earlier as normally was planned.

14 It was at that moment, I think, nine weeks or

15 something for one normal tour.

16 Q. All right. So you are saying that the normal

17 length of time for a monitor to spend in Central Bosnia

18 at this time was nine weeks?

19 A. About that, I think.

20 Q. That's fine. Now, commandant, you do not

21 speak Croatian yourself, do you?

22 A. No, I don't.

23 Q. Accordingly, obviously, you had to use

24 interpreters in order to be able to conduct

25 conversations with the people about whom you've

Page 10652

1 testified today; correct?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Commandant, as you prepared to take up your

4 duties in Central Bosnia, you first travelled I believe

5 to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia; correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And I believe that you received a briefing on

8 the situation that you would likely encounter in

9 Central Bosnia at that time?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. How long did the briefing last, sir?

12 A. Two days, two or three days.

13 Q. How much of the briefing was devoted to

14 Central Bosnia, as opposed to the Balkans generally?

15 A. There was not so much.

16 Q. Did you, yourself, actually do any reading or

17 undertake any additional studies to help you understand

18 the historical, ethnic, military, and political

19 situation that you would encounter when you actually

20 arrived in Central Bosnia, sir?

21 A. I -- I did not have the time to make some

22 special analyses or studies, if that is what you mean.

23 Q. And who actually gave you the briefing, sir,

24 if you can remember?

25 A. It was the operational officer in Zagreb, and

Page 10653

1 then, of course, the ambassador, and the operational

2 officer in Zenica, and my superior, Mr. Watkins.

3 Q. All right. Would you agree that the ECMM at

4 this time in 1993, during your tour of duty, was manned

5 principally by military officers who had been assembled

6 from various European and other nations, and they were

7 assigned to perform as monitors for the nine weeks that

8 you've just identified?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. As I understand it, sir, the headquarters of

11 the ECMM was in Zagreb?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And just so that it's clear, I believe that

14 there are separate regional headquarters, if you like,

15 called regional centres, one of which was in Zenica?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And were you actually based in Zenica,

18 primarily, as you travelled around Central Bosnia?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Would it be fair to say that the city of

21 Zenica, while you were there, was a city of some --

22 what, 150.000; something in that area?

23 A. That's possible. It's a big city.

24 Q. And there's no question that the city was

25 exclusively under the control of Muslim political and

Page 10654

1 military forces at the time that you were there; would

2 that be fair to say?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In fact, sir, I believe that there were no

5 military units from the HVO located in Zenica when you

6 arrived on the ground on July the 25th of 1993?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. Did you understand that the HVO military

9 units in Zenica had actually been defeated in the April

10 1993 fighting, just a few months before you arrived?

11 A. You mean if I knew it?

12 Q. Yes. Did you understand that that was the

13 case? Or don't you know?

14 A. I don't know.

15 Q. That's fine.

16 Within the regional centre organisations,

17 sir, of the ECMM, would it also be fair to say that

18 there were various coordination centres that reported

19 to the regional centres as well?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And in the Zenica area, the principal

22 coordination centre, if you like, that coordinated your

23 activities, would have been located in Travnik at all

24 times; correct?

25 A. The CC, yes.

Page 10655

1 JUDGE MAY: Is that a convenient moment?

2 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Mr. President.

3 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll adjourn for

4 half an hour.

5 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.

6 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

8 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Your Honour.

9 Q. Commandant, as we were examining the

10 structure of the ECMM, we had talked about regional

11 centres and coordination centres, and I believe on the

12 ground, at the most fundamental level, you had a number

13 of teams of two monitors with a driver and an

14 interpreter, and they in turn prepared daily reports

15 that were submitted to the coordination centre;

16 correct?

17 A. That's correct.

18 Q. And then the coordination centre presumably,

19 sir, sent the reports or collated the reports, prepared

20 summaries, and sent them to the regional centre in

21 Zenica?

22 A. Correct.

23 Q. In Zenica the same process occurred;

24 summaries of those reports were prepared and submitted

25 up the line to the headquarters in Zagreb?

Page 10656

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. All right. And you were one of the monitors

3 on Team V2, was it?

4 A. Victor 1.

5 Q. Victor 1. The usual practice was to have an

6 incoming monitor basically taken around and introduced

7 to people by someone who had actually performed as a

8 monitor for some period of time; is that correct?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. And who was the monitor who introduced you

11 around, Commandant?

12 A. This was a Norwegian. The first name was

13 Stefan. I don't remember the last name.

14 Q. Very well. Now, your duties as a monitor

15 consisted principally of speaking with people on both

16 sides of the conflict to obtain information on the

17 military, civilian, and humanitarian front; correct?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. And also to respond to any particular

20 requests for information that you received from either

21 the regional centre or the coordination centre; is that

22 right?

23 A. That's right.

24 Q. Now, after being in Central Bosnia for three

25 weeks, you were deemed to be sufficiently knowledgeable

Page 10657

1 and experienced to head up your own monitor team, V1;

2 correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And I believe that you worked with a Greek

5 army officer by the name of Mr. Bekos?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Would you agree that one of the principal

8 problems that confronted you as a monitor was the huge

9 number of refugees that had come into Central Bosnia

10 who had been forced out of their homes during the civil

11 war in 1992 and 1993?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And, in fact, I believe, sir, that you saw

14 one good example of the sheer magnitude of this problem

15 in the town of Busovaca itself, as you've previously

16 described?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. You talked about a meeting that you had on

19 August the 30th with the chief of military police,

20 Mr. Zarko Milic, in Busovaca, and you were shown an

21 exhibit -- I believe it was a daily report that you had

22 prepared yourself -- which was marked as Exhibit

23 Z1186,2. Now, Mr. Milic did tell you that he was the

24 chief of military police in that town; correct?

25 A. Yes.

Page 10658

1 Q. Do you recall the identity of the chief of

2 military police in Vitez, sir? Was that Pasko

3 Ljubicic?

4 A. I'm sorry, I don't remember the names. I --

5 I should look at my list.

6 Q. It's true that the chief of military police

7 in Busovaca, the Mr. Milic that you've identified,

8 informed you that the huge influx of refugees into the

9 town were causing a large number of problems; isn't

10 that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. He emphasised to you that the task of the

13 military police was to try to protect the remaining

14 Muslim citizens in Busovaca; is that right?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. But that this was difficult to do because of

17 the large number of displaced, dispossessed, angry

18 Croat refugees; right?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. You saw that yourself in the town?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. He also emphasised to you that this was the

23 general policy of the HVO, to try to protect the Muslim

24 minority in Busovaca; right?

25 A. Yes.

Page 10659

1 Q. And I believe he actually showed you a

2 written order from his commander, Colonel Blaskic,

3 which actually ordered this policy to be put into force

4 in Busovaca; correct?

5 A. He showed me a written order, but I -- I

6 can't remember if the order was signed, by whom the

7 order was signed.

8 Q. All right. There is no question, though,

9 sir, that the military police came under the authority,

10 the jurisdiction of the Central Bosnia operative zone

11 commander Colonel Blaskic, is there?

12 A. As I saw there, [Realtime transcript read in

13 error "as a soldier"] it would be normal.

14 Q. Right. Just a few questions, sir, on the --

15 A. I didn't say "as I saw there." I said "as a

16 soldier." I could mean that it was so, that the

17 military police comes under --

18 Q. Right. You were saying that the transcript

19 says "as I saw there," and really what you were saying

20 was "as a soldier," and you were describing the normal

21 chain of command?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Let me ask you a few questions, commandant,

24 on the subject of the so-called black exchanges that

25 you talked about. These so-called black exchanges

Page 10660

1 involved unofficial or illegal attempts of civilians on

2 both sides to cross the front lines, Muslims from Croat

3 controlled areas into Muslim controlled areas, and

4 Croats from Muslim --

5 A. Muslim controlled area to Croat --

6 Q. Right. Let me just make sure that I got it

7 correct on the record. Muslims from Croat controlled

8 areas, trying to get into Muslim controlled areas, and

9 Croats from Muslim controlled areas trying it get into

10 Croat controlled areas; correct?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. And it's true that your information was that

13 these elicit exchanges were strictly forbidden by the

14 authorities on both sides, both the Muslim authorities

15 and the HVO authorities; correct?

16 A. That's what they said, yes.

17 Q. But these exchanges were going on nonetheless

18 through a variety of means, weren't they?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. In fact, sir, in one of these occasions on

21 September the 4th you noted in your statement that

22 Muslim authorities were refusing to let civilians

23 across the front lines, Croat civilians that is, to

24 pass into HVO controlled territory; correct?

25 A. Did you say the 3rd of September?

Page 10661

1 Q. The 4th of September, I believe it was. It's

2 on page 5 of your statement, actually. And you say

3 that you saw civilians on the road between Zenica and

4 Busovaca, the situation was getting worse.

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Some had been there for as long as three days

7 and they couldn't return to their homes because other

8 people had taken them over already.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. But despite that, they were still not allowed

11 by the Muslim forces to leave Muslim controlled

12 territory; correct?

13 A. Yes, it's correct.

14 Q. You made some reference during your testimony

15 to the water supply problems in Novi Travnik. It's

16 true that both sides were using utility interruptions,

17 utility such as water and electricity, as one of their

18 tools during this war; isn't that correct, sir?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. There was one incident, it's on August the

21 22nd, I believe, following a meeting that you had had

22 with Mr. Darko Gelic, in which he complained that the

23 Red Cross was illegally moving three persons from Stari

24 Vitez without prior clearance from the HVO

25 authorities. Do you remember that?

Page 10662

1 A. Yes, that's what he said.

2 Q. And these people, these three sick Muslims

3 from Stari Vitez, were actually part of a Red Cross

4 contingent that was stopped at a HVO checkpoint, and

5 then the ill Muslims were taken to the field hospital

6 in Vitez for treatment; correct?

7 A. That's what he said, yes.

8 Q. And it was these sick people that were

9 eventually exchanged for the three young boys that

10 you've talked about, I take it?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Now, you had, and I think you've related this

13 to the Court, sir, several meetings with

14 representatives of the civilian government in Busovaca,

15 most notably with Mr. Zoran Maric, throughout your

16 tour; correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Did you find it was easy to gain access to

19 Mr. Maric to discuss local issues or problems that you

20 wanted to discuss with him?

21 A. What do you mean with easy?

22 Q. If the question is unclear, that's my fault,

23 not yours. Did you ever encounter any problems in

24 gaining access to see Mr. Maric?

25 A. I received no problems, no.

Page 10663

1 Q. And you discussed a number of issues with him

2 such as, for example, the black exchanges about which

3 we've talked, and Mr. Maric confirmed to you that the

4 civilian exchanges were completely illegal; correct?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. He told you that he, in fact, had ordered

7 them stopped, didn't he?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And one of the problems caused by these

10 incoming Croat refugees and one of the reasons that

11 he'd ordered this practice stopped was because Croat

12 refugees who came into Busovaca were trying to push

13 Muslims living in that town out of their houses;

14 correct?

15 A. That's what he said, yes.

16 Q. And he told you that the Busovaca police

17 authorities had received orders to stop Croat civilians

18 at checkpoints in order to prevent them from coming

19 into Busovaca, didn't he, sir?

20 A. Correct.

21 Q. And wouldn't you agree that this problem of

22 civilians wanting to pass from territory controlled by

23 one ethnic group into another was an extremely delicate

24 problem in view of all the allegations of ethnic

25 cleansing that were flying around in Central Bosnia in

Page 10664

1 1993?

2 A. Yes, it's a very delicate problem. Yes.

3 Q. You made a reference, sir, to the fact that

4 Mr. Maric and you had a meeting, I believe it was on

5 October the 5th of 1993, following Mr. Maric's return

6 from a session of the government of the republic of --

7 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosnia in Neum. Do you

8 remember that?

9 JUDGE MAY: If you've got the document,

10 perhaps you could refer to it for the witness.


12 Q. I think it appears, commandant, on page 8,

13 the second paragraph.

14 A. Yes. He said to me he had just returned from

15 Neum.

16 Q. All right. And did you understand that he

17 was a delegate in the House of Representatives of the

18 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosnia?

19 A. I didn't know his right function, but while

20 he was there, I mean, he had something to say.

21 Q. Would it be fair to say, commandant, that you

22 never had the opportunity to discuss Mr. Maric's

23 function within the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosnia

24 with him at any time?

25 A. That's correct, yes.

Page 10665

1 Q. All right. Now, it's also true that you had

2 many meetings with Mr. Valenta in Vitez during the

3 three months of your tour of duty; correct?

4 A. That depends on what you mean with "many."

5 A few. I had a few.

6 Q. All right.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Was it your understanding, sir, that he was a

9 vice-president of the HVO?

10 A. Yes, that's what he said and that's how he

11 was known at the ECMM level.

12 Q. Do you know how many other vice-presidents of

13 that organisation there were in 1993, and who they

14 were?

15 A. I have knowledge of two, Mr. Valenta and

16 Mr. Kordic. I don't know if there were more.

17 Q. Let me suggest to you, sir, that Mr. Kordic

18 was not, in fact, ever a vice-president of the HVO; he

19 was actually a vice-president of a body called the

20 Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna. Did you know

21 that?

22 A. He was -- I just put in the information I

23 had. You could say it's not that way, okay.

24 Q. Did you ever receive information, sir, that

25 the President of the HVO was actually Dr. Jadranko

Page 10666

1 Prlic?

2 A. The name doesn't mean anything to me.

3 Q. Did you know that Mr. Valenta, sir, was

4 actually a representative of the Croat side at the

5 talks held in Geneva in the summer of 1993 that

6 immediately preceded the formulation of the

7 Stoltenberg-Owen plan?

8 A. I don't know if he was in Geneva.

9 Q. If I suggested to you that Mr. Valenta was

10 actually the representative of the Croat side for

11 Central Bosnia, would that jog your memory, or does

12 that not have a familiar ring to it at all to you?

13 A. I -- I know, and I knew, that Mr. Valenta had

14 a superior function for the Croats in Central Bosnia.

15 But his -- how far his power was, I can't tell you.

16 Q. Commandant, I don't want to put you on the

17 spot, but would it be fair to say that you really did

18 not know what functions Mr. Valenta actually had within

19 the political institutions of the Croats in

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina generally and in Central Bosnia

21 specifically?

22 A. If you mean a precise job description, I

23 can't give, that's correct.

24 Q. And the same is true with Mr. Kordic, whom

25 you met only once throughout your tour, I take it?

Page 10667

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. In fact, you have no recollection of that

3 meeting with Mr. Kordic on September the 1st at all?

4 JUDGE MAY: The witness said that, so there

5 is --

6 MR. SAYERS: Very well, sir.

7 JUDGE MAY: -- no need to repeat it.


9 Q. You made a reference in your statements to

10 the fact that your immediate superior, Philip Watkins,

11 actually prepared a special report on the results of

12 that meeting on September the 1st, 1993. Have you ever

13 seen a copy of that special report?

14 A. No, I don't think so. No.

15 Q. Just a few final questions on Mr. Valenta.

16 You actually had a discussion with him relating to

17 ongoing talks in Geneva and the issue of maps and so

18 forth, didn't you?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And he told you that he was prepared to begin

21 peace negotiations with the Muslim side and to resolve

22 issues such as the interruption of water and power

23 supplies, but that he was prepared only to initiate

24 those discussions at a high level; isn't that right?

25 A. Yes, correct.

Page 10668

1 Q. And I don't mean to trap you, sir. I think

2 you recorded that on your statement at page 6, under

3 the chronological entry for September the 22nd; is that

4 right?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. All right. And you've already stated that

7 you summarised your discussions with him in your daily

8 report of that date, and that's already been made an

9 exhibit, so that doesn't need to detain us.

10 Throughout your tour, sir, there isn't any

11 doubt that Colonel Blaskic was, in fact, the

12 operational zone commander of all HVO armed forces in

13 the Vitez/Busovaca pocket, is there?

14 A. That's how he was known at the ECMM, yes.

15 Q. But I believe, sir --

16 [Trial Chamber confers]


18 Q. I believe, sir, that you only, yourself, met

19 Colonel Blaskic a total of three times during your tour

20 in Central Bosnia, and that your principal dealings

21 were with his liaison officer?

22 A. That's correct, yes.

23 Q. Now, Vitez, would it be fair to say, was a

24 fairly dangerous place to find yourself or to be

25 walking around in the summer of 1993, sir?

Page 10669

1 A. Yes, that's correct.

2 Q. In one of your meetings with Mr. Gelic -- I

3 believe it was on August the 18th, 1993, one of your

4 first meetings -- he told you that one of the tactics

5 that the Muslim forces were using was to be wearing HVO

6 uniforms during an attack; correct?

7 A. That's what he told, yes.

8 Q. And that in a subsequent meeting with him, on

9 September the 23rd, he gave you an update on the

10 military situation, and as you were talking, three

11 shells landed just a few metres away from you; correct?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. A few questions in connection, sir, with the

14 SPS or Vitezit factory, the explosives factory that was

15 located just to the northwest of Vitez. There is no

16 question that that was an important strategic objective

17 for both sides, for the HVO to retain control of it and

18 for the Muslim forces to capture the factory; isn't

19 that correct?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. In fact, you record in your August the 31st,

22 1993, report, Z1187,1, that it is clear to you that the

23 ABiH is looking hungrily towards the explosives

24 factory, and they demonstrated that attitude throughout

25 your tour in Central Bosnia; isn't that true,

Page 10670

1 Commandant?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And to prevent that, Mr. Gelic told you that

4 the Croat side would be prepared to explode the 100

5 tonnes of ammunition and explosives that were contained

6 in the factory, if necessary; correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. A fairly desperate move, I think you'll

9 agree, sir?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. But that never actually occurred, did it?

12 A. Not when I was there.

13 Q. One other question about shelling, sir: I

14 believe that you were present at the Nova Bila hospital

15 on September the 11th of 1993, just one day after it

16 had been shelled by 120-millimetre rounds, one of which

17 only landed two metres away from the hospital; correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And that explosion basically blew out all of

20 the windows and resulted in several casualties, people

21 inside the hospital; correct?

22 A. I was told that there had been casualties,

23 yes.

24 Q. And this ad hoc hospital, sir, was actually

25 operating out of a church which had big red crosses

Page 10671

1 placed outside it; correct?

2 A. It was a church, or it had been a church,

3 yes.

4 Q. And did you, yourself, see any of the

5 red crosses placed outside of the church to alert

6 people it was a medical [Realtime transcript read in

7 error "military"] facility?

8 A. I can't remember that, if it was red cross

9 signed or not.

10 Q. Sir, you described one conversation that you

11 had had with a gentleman named Franjo Kristo, the

12 predecessor of Mr. Drago Ljubos as the chief of

13 civilian police.

14 A. Can you tell me when it was?

15 Q. Yes.

16 I believe it's the bottom of page 3 of your statement.

17 While you are locating that, let me correct an error on

18 the record. Line 15 on page 56 it says "military

19 facility." I think the question was "medical

20 facility."

21 But the question that I want to raise with

22 you, commandant, is the comments that were made to you

23 by Mr. Kristo relating to Muslims, it's not unusual in

24 times of war, so far as you are aware, to talk in

25 disparaging terms about the enemy, is it?

Page 10672

1 JUDGE MAY: I don't think that's a helpful

2 question. We know that from our own experience.

3 MR. SAYERS: Let me move on.

4 Q. In connection with the mosque fire, sir, that

5 occurred, I believe, on September the 27th, 1993, you

6 have told us that Mr. Maric informed you that there

7 would be an investigation into that fire; correct?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. But he stressed to you that there were

10 numerous Croatian refugees in the town and that it was

11 actually difficult to control the criminal elements

12 within the new refugees, didn't he?

13 A. That's correct.

14 Q. And so you visited the chief of civilian

15 police in Busovaca, Mr. Drago Ljubos, and he actually

16 told you that this incident was, in fact, being

17 investigated; correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And he also stressed to you that the civilian

20 police had taken all necessary measures to protect the

21 Muslim minority in Busovaca; did he not?

22 A. Yes, that's what he said. Yes.

23 Q. And so that was the same message as you were

24 given a few months earlier by the chief of military

25 police, Mr. Milic; correct?

Page 10673

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. All right. Turning to one other incident,

3 sir, the incident involving the two soldiers that shot

4 at you.

5 A. Uh-huh.

6 Q. You actually noted contemporaneously on

7 October the 2nd that these -- this incident was caused

8 because one of the soldiers was actually in love with

9 one of the people that was being moved out of Vitez

10 municipality, and he wanted to stop that; right?

11 A. That's what was told.

12 Q. And the written report that you received, or

13 the written letter that you received from Colonel

14 Blaskic a few days later, confirmed what you, in fact,

15 had written in your report; correct?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. I had referred earlier, sir, to the Croatian

18 Republic of Herceg-Bosnia. Let me just ask you, were

19 you at all familiar with the ongoing negotiations and

20 the European community was holding with representatives

21 of the Serbs, Croats and Muslims that ultimately

22 resulted in the Stoltenberg-Owen plan for the

23 governments of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

24 A. I knew there was negotiations going on, but I

25 can't tell you who was participating and who had the

Page 10674

1 power to speak for his party.

2 Q. That's fine. Let me suggest to you that one

3 of the -- that the principal document that emerged from

4 the Stoltenberg-Owen plan was called a constitutional

5 agreement of the union of republics of Bosnia and

6 Herzegovina, and that it actually envisaged three

7 constituent republics: One to be a Muslim republic;

8 one to be a Croat; and one to be a Serb republic. Does

9 that ring a bell of familiarity to you?

10 A. Yes. Yes.

11 Q. And were you aware that the Croats actually

12 founded a Croat republic of -- a Croatian Republic of

13 Herceg-Bosnia on August the 28th, 1993, shortly after

14 the final version of the Stoltenberg-Owen plan was

15 drafted?

16 A. I know, and I remember it was founded, but I

17 don't remember the exact date.

18 Q. The founding document was actually signed by

19 a gentleman by the name of Perica Jukic. Do you know

20 who that gentleman is or have you never met him?

21 A. No.

22 Q. You don't recognise the name?

23 A. No.

24 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say that you

25 yourself never discovered what Mr. Kordic's position or

Page 10675

1 post in this new republic was, if any?

2 A. That's correct, yes.

3 Q. One of the -- I just have a few final

4 questions, sir.

5 One of the subjects that you covered was a

6 visit to Busovaca on August the 21st of 1993, where you

7 were introduced to a so-called Mujahedin soldier, a

8 Syrian, by the name of Kemal Muhamed Mustafa. Is it my

9 understanding that this gentlemen told you he had been

10 a student since 1982?

11 A. That's what he told, yes.

12 Q. And he mentioned to you that he had been

13 mobilised. Mobilised by whom, sir?

14 A. By the Muslim forces.

15 Q. You were actually informed by the ABiH forces

16 themselves on September the 4th of 1993, and I think

17 you can find it on page 5 of your statement to refresh

18 your memory, but you were told that the ABiH was in the

19 process of putting together a new Muslim brigade in the

20 Zenica area, and that this would be placed under the

21 command of General Dzemal Merdan; correct?

22 A. Yes. Correct.

23 Q. All right. Just a few questions on the

24 subject of helicopters. Let me suggest to you, sir,

25 that Mr. Valenta and Mr. Maric were actually flown down

Page 10676

1 to Neum in United Nations helicopters, having travelled

2 to Kiseljak under the guard of warriors, and that they

3 flew from Kiseljak to Neum. Does that ring a bell, or

4 don't you have any knowledge on that subject?

5 A. This can be possible, yes.

6 Q. You yourself, sir, never saw any Croatian

7 army troops in Central Bosnia at any time during your

8 three-month tour, did you?

9 A. What do you mean, Croatian army troops?

10 Q. Good question. I mean troops from the army

11 of the Republic of Croatia as opposed to troops from

12 the Croat forces in Central Bosnia, the HVO.

13 A. No.

14 Q. And here are the final questions that I've

15 got for you, commandant. Wouldn't you agree that you

16 encountered an extremely complicated situation when you

17 arrived in Central Bosnia, politically, militarily and

18 ethnically?

19 A. Yes, that's correct.

20 Q. Would it be fair to say, sir, and this is

21 no -- certainly no criticism of you or your ECMM

22 colleagues, but would it be fair to say that you found

23 the military, political and ethnic situation often

24 confused and confusing?

25 A. I would say in the same way as the rest of

Page 10677

1 the world.

2 Q. You mean that as far as you are aware, the

3 rest of the world found it confused and confusing too?

4 A. That's what I think, yes.

5 Q. Would you say, commandant, that it took you

6 three months just to come to grips with a basic

7 understanding of what was confronting you?

8 A. Yes, as I told before, it's very delicate,

9 and it was very difficult to understand. There are

10 several reasons. But my mission was to speak with

11 people and to report.

12 Q. And, commandant, I'm sure that you did your

13 job as well as you could, you discharged your duty

14 conscientiously and effectively. But it's fair to say

15 that you left after this three-month period only to be

16 replaced by other monitors who had to go through the

17 same learning process that you had just gone through --

18 JUDGE MAY: That's a matter for comment, I

19 think. Anything else, because we need to finish this

20 witness today.

21 MR. SAYERS: Just one question,

22 Mr. President.

23 Q. Commandant, did you find it frustrating to be

24 shipped out of the area just as you learned enough to

25 start understanding this situation in which you found

Page 10678

1 yourself?

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. No need to answer that

3 question. No need to answer that. It's a personal

4 matter. It's not going to help us, what the witness

5 may or may not have felt. Yes.

6 MR. SAYERS: Very well, Mr. President, that

7 concludes my questions. Thank you very much.

8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic.

9 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

10 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Verhoeven, my name is

12 Bozidar Kovacic. I am a lawyer from Zagreb. With my

13 colleague Goran Mikulicic, I represent Mr. Mario

14 Cerkez. I shall speak in Croatian and should also like

15 to ask you to make a pause before answering so that the

16 interpreters can finish their interpretation. Of

17 course, if I am not clear enough in asking my

18 questions, please do tell me so.

19 And let us then resume where my learned

20 friend Sayers left off. When you came to Bosnia, from

21 the point of view of military positions, rather the

22 strategic advantage, was it obvious that in the Vitez

23 area in the Lasva Valley the HVO was at a disadvantage

24 as against the Bosnian -- the BiH Army?

25 A. As a soldier, yes.

Page 10679

1 Q. And I believe you will also agree with me

2 that it was an enclave and that, militarily speaking,

3 the important position, sir, that is positions in the

4 hills above the roads and around the roads, were held

5 by Muslim forces; is that correct?

6 A. That's correct.

7 Q. Thank you. In the beginning of your

8 testimony today you said that you met Cerkez for the

9 first time on the 31st of July '93, that you believed

10 it was in his office and that you discussed the

11 exchange of prisoners.

12 And in point of fact, Cerkez proposed, and I

13 should say he insisted on an exchange on the basis of

14 an all-for-all principle. Do you remember that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And on the basis of the briefing, because you

17 were new to the area, did you learn in those briefings

18 that some people were swapped for some people, and that

19 this was the first time that Cerkez insisted on all for

20 all?

21 A. What is "swapped"? I don't understand.

22 Q. Exchanged. Swapped, exchanged.

23 Well, evidently a misunderstanding. In the

24 exchanges of prisoners until that time, specific

25 individuals were exchanged, and this was the first time

Page 10680

1 that Cerkez proposed to exchange all for all; that is,

2 all prisoners kept by one side for all prisoners kept

3 by the other side?

4 A. I don't know if it was the first time; just

5 at that meeting, Mr. Cerkez told -- he wanted an

6 exchange, all for all. I don't know if it was the

7 first time.

8 Q. All right. And with some exceptions, which

9 you mentioned in relation to those three boys, those

10 prisoners were, in point of fact, prisoners of war;

11 that is, individuals captured during fighting. Is that

12 correct?

13 A. As I was told, the boys were not involved

14 with fighting when they were kept. I was told they

15 were working on the field, and they were kept.

16 Q. And in relation to the same incident -- that

17 is, the capture of those boys -- did you hear that an

18 elderly man who was working in the field with them was

19 killed on that same occasion?

20 A. I don't remember that detail.

21 Q. That is quite possible, but did you have an

22 opportunity to hear, because you received information

23 about those boys and visited them -- no, let me

24 rephrase this: Did you talk to those boys directly

25 when you visited them in Kruscica?

Page 10681

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And did one of them complain that he was used

3 for trench digging, or rather that he was tied with a

4 rope to a tree as he was digging a trench?

5 A. I don't think he told this to me, no.

6 Q. Did you have an interpreter with you when you

7 visited those boys in Kruscica?

8 A. Yes, we were always with interpreters.

9 Q. I'm not quite sure I understood how your work

10 was organised, and I should like to clarify certain

11 points. In the area the boundaries of which are

12 roughly Zenica, Guca Gora, Travnik, Novi Travnik,

13 Kruscica, Busovaca, and then back to Travnik, in that

14 area, were there two or three ECMM teams?

15 A. There was one team. It was Victor 1. But we

16 had another team, and that was the humanitarian team,

17 who covered the other areas of the -- the field teams,

18 let's say.

19 Q. Mr. Verhoeven, that is an area -- if you go

20 up as far as Guca Gora, and you also went there, this

21 is an area of some 300 kilometres square, to round it

22 off, so surely you couldn't know what happened on a

23 daily basis over such a wide area?

24 A. That's for sure. It was impossible in one

25 day to do all the area. There were some places where I

Page 10682

1 had never been.

2 Q. Thank you. And let us not waste time with

3 maps. I believe you can confirm to me that Kruscica is

4 to the south of Vitez. It is beyond dispute, isn't it?

5 A. Yes, it is.

6 Q. And as you crossed the line there, could we

7 agree that immediately before Kruscica, if you use that

8 road from the main road southward, that that was the

9 demarcation line, the line separating the HVO from the

10 BH army?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. And it is natural for the HVO soldiers, as

13 you are coming from their territory to go into

14 Kruscica, it is natural for them to control all the

15 persons passing there; isn't that so?

16 A. There were agreements that ECMM members who

17 were visibly in their cars, dressed in white, with

18 white cars, could pass.

19 Q. True. And on such occasions, you would come

20 to such a checkpoint, and the army had to establish

21 your identity, isn't it, in order to let you pass to

22 the other side?

23 A. That's correct.

24 Q. Now I should like to ask you, because you

25 still have with you the document Z1186,2, it is an ECMM

Page 10683

1 daily report of the 27th [as interpreted] of

2 August, '93. Would you please look at page 2 and this

3 passage at the top of the page.

4 You told us already that at this checkpoint,

5 before Kruscica, that you had no authorisations issued

6 by Blaskic in writing, and that is true, isn't it?

7 A. I should first correct you, sir; it's not a

8 daily report of the 27th of August but of 30 August.

9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's mistake.

10 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

11 Q. I did say 30th of August. The interpreter's

12 mistake. I am referring to the 30th of August.

13 A. So about your question, sir, that's correct.

14 Q. And on that occasion, the soldiers who were

15 at that demarcation line were members of a brigade, and

16 they asked for permission from their commander; that

17 is, the person directly superior to them. Is that

18 true?

19 A. I can tell you -- I can't tell you. So I

20 can't tell you if those soldiers belonged to which

21 brigade or -- of course, they were not wearing all the

22 same uniforms; they had no signs.

23 Q. Very well. But be that as it may, according

24 to this information, it transpires that you asked for

25 permission from Cerkez, and that you were told on that

Page 10684

1 occasion that he would have given it to you anyway, but

2 the only question that was raised was the question of

3 your safety, because they believed that an offensive

4 action might take place at any moment; is that true?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Does it mean anything to you when I say --

7 when I try to remind you that, in fact, a very forceful

8 offensive of the BH army in that area, not far from

9 Kruscica, started that day? It was near a village

10 called Bobasi. Does this jog your memory? They are

11 not mentioned in the report.

12 A. By memory, I can't remember.

13 Q. Very well. Thank you. And since we are

14 looking at this document, under Item 8, we here have an

15 ECMM assessment, and it talks about different currents

16 within the BH army, if I may call it that. This refers

17 to strangers and to local Muslims. Did you, before

18 that or after that, come across that particular

19 problem; that is, foreigners who were called

20 hardliners, and local Muslims whose approach was

21 different in relation to the HVO?

22 A. Yes. This problem was even also said by some

23 Muslim commanders.

24 Q. Thank you. On that occasion, and I believe

25 it was roughly at the same time, you said that Cerkez

Page 10685

1 expected an attack of the BH army, and that everything

2 that had happened until then had been a game?

3 I am referring to the end of August 1993, so

4 that period of time. Is it true that after that

5 forceful BiH army offensive ensued and that the war

6 became a much more -- a much graver, a much more

7 serious affair than at the time when you arrived in the

8 territory?

9 A. I don't know if -- because I wasn't there, if

10 it was worse or not before. But it's true that both

11 sides tried to get the over hand on the Lasva Valley.

12 Q. But I think that you will agree in connection

13 with what we said at the outset that the BiH Army had

14 the initiative and that it had better strategic

15 positions as compared to the HVO in the Lasva Valley?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Did you know that at that time the BiH Army

18 had 10 to 12.000 soldiers who were permanently

19 stationed in this zone, in this operative zone in the

20 Lasva Valley?

21 A. I can't tell you how many it were, but it's

22 obviously, when you look at the map.

23 Q. Which map are you referring to? Do you have

24 a map with the actual strength of the forces concerned

25 marked on that map? We haven't got that kind of a

Page 10686

1 map.

2 A. That's not what I meant. I meant when you

3 look at the enclave from the Croat community. That's

4 what I meant.

5 Q. Could you please take a look at your report

6 for the 31st of August 1993. It is Z1187,1. On page 2

7 there is a section above the words listed under number

8 4, above "humanitarian activity." There is a comment

9 of yours here saying that Blaskic had certain problems

10 with Mario Cerkez, the commander of the brigade. Was

11 this specifically stated to you? Was it because he

12 could not keep the front line and thus carry out his

13 assignment during the BiH Army offensive? Is that the

14 problem, or was it perhaps something else?

15 A. This was told to me by the liaison officer of

16 the HVO, and if my memories are well, it was a problem

17 of communication between those two men.

18 Q. You are not in a position to state this more

19 specifically, except that you can say a problem of

20 communication?

21 A. This is what the liaison officer told to me.

22 I have never seen both men arguing or having a fight,

23 if it is that what you mean.

24 Q. Very well. Thank you. In this same report,

25 a few lines up in this same paragraph, again reference

Page 10687

1 is made to Kruscica and the checkpoint, and it also

2 says that the local commander said that it was too

3 dangerous to go towards Kruscica because of sniper

4 activity or, rather, that he could not de-mine the road

5 because of sniper activity coming from the Bosnian

6 side. Do you remember these events?

7 A. Yes, I remember. Yes.

8 Q. So it is correct that there was sniper

9 activity from the other side? Do you agree with that?

10 A. Do you mean if I have been shot at at the

11 moment when I was at the checkpoint or what do you

12 mean, sir?

13 Q. No, I am not referring to you personally, but

14 you saw at that checkpoint that while you were talking

15 the BiH Army was firing up from the hills.

16 A. Yes, it happened. Yes.

17 Q. It happened. All right. And finally -- no,

18 I am sorry. I apologise. I am going to leave that.

19 Mr. Verhoeven, tell me, please, did you ever

20 see or hear about Cerkez appearing in any other place

21 except for Vitez or the immediate vicinity of Vitez,

22 like Busovaca, Novi Travnik or any other place in

23 Central Bosnia?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Let us be quite clear on this. To the best

Page 10688

1 of your knowledge, at the time when you were there,

2 Cerkez was a local commander in the municipality of

3 Vitez?

4 A. That is the way I knew it, yes.

5 Q. Thank you. In your report dated the 20th of

6 September 1993, number Z1207,1, once again there is

7 information about Kruscica and information to the

8 effect that over 100 shells had been fired in the zone

9 of Vitez; and that the HVO took part of the area that

10 it had lost in Kruscica, the front line in Kruscica or,

11 rather, that it had remained the same after all. And

12 then a bit lower -- I mean, we don't really have to

13 read all of this, mention is made -- I'm sorry. It is

14 said that 50 civilians were wounded and 12 killed; that

15 soldiers are not included in this figure; and that the

16 HVO does not have information concerning the exact

17 number as far as military casualties are concerned.

18 Not to mention all the other information that we have,

19 but based on this picture, do we agree that during

20 those days, that is to say around the 20th of

21 September, the BiH Army obviously was on the offensive,

22 as far as Vitez is concerned, and was obviously

23 predominant in this situation when such a large number

24 of civilians even got killed, and the military part of

25 the HVO doesn't even know it's own number of casualties

Page 10689

1 exactly. So is that a correct picture?

2 MR. NICE: I observe, that's a very long

3 question, almost impossible --

4 JUDGE MAY: Incomprehensible. What is the

5 point?

6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

7 Q. I can rephrase it. The question is: Isn't

8 it clear, on the basis of this information, that the

9 dominant force was the BiH Army; that it had military

10 initiative totally, and that is why there was such a

11 large number of civilian casualties and the number of

12 military casualties is not even known? Do you agree

13 with that assessment?

14 A. First of all, when you speak about the number

15 of casualties, these are informations given by the HVO

16 liaison officer, as I put in my report. He said about

17 the shelling, about 20 rounds in 10 minutes. That is

18 what I saw. So the number of casualties, I can't -- I

19 couldn't control this. This is what was told by the

20 liaison officer of the HVO.

21 Now, the second part of your question, that

22 the BiH Army was in a better position at that moment,

23 that is correct.

24 Q. If I understood you correctly, your

25 interlocutor from the HVO told you that while these

Page 10690

1 events were actually taking place; is that right? This

2 was up-to-date information? He was not talking about

3 weeks, previous weeks, he was talking about the present

4 day? It was a question of yesterday, today, tomorrow,

5 so it was very up-to-date, is that right? And that was

6 Darko Gelic, if I am not mistaken?

7 A. That's correct. He talked about the 19th of

8 September, early in the morning, as I put it in my

9 statement.

10 Q. If I am not mistaken, until then Darko Gelic

11 was always as good as his word; whatever he told you

12 proved to be true and correct? Is that right?

13 A. It is difficult to find proofs on matters of

14 wounded and killed people, so reported what they said,

15 and so we did on both sides. Like in all wars, I think

16 that every part will, perhaps, give a little bit more

17 of own casualties to be able to complain.

18 Q. Yes. That is quite understandable. However,

19 tell me, you communicated quite often with Darko Gelic,

20 didn't you? Not only you personally, but your other

21 colleagues as well, and you believed him to be a

22 credible person; is that correct?

23 A. Let me put it this way, that I haven't been

24 able to really prove that he was not credible or that

25 he lied.

Page 10691

1 Q. Thank you very much. As for the threat that

2 you heard about, the HVO threat, that they would blow

3 up the explosives factory, because they had no other

4 way out, could you please look at your document, your

5 report from the 27th of September. That is 1217,1.

6 The last two lines on page 1. Could you

7 please have a look at them. It has to do with your

8 conversation with Mr. Beba, who was deputy commander of

9 the BiH Army in Travnik. And he assured you that this

10 threat was a mere bluff; that the explosives factory

11 would be blown up. Is that correct?

12 A. I don't remember the exact words, but as I

13 wrote it down at that very moment, he will have said

14 it, yes.

15 Q. Can you recall today what your own assessment

16 was, whether it was a bluff, or did the HVO really want

17 to do that?

18 JUDGE MAY: If you don't know, just say you

19 don't know.

20 A. This is a -- this is a very difficult -- I

21 know I was very worried at that moment, and I spoke to

22 several people. It was a second time said by -- I

23 don't get the name any more -- that they would do it.

24 I can't tell you if it was a bluff or not.

25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

Page 10692

1 Q. I would also like to draw your attention to

2 your report dated the 23rd of September, 1993. That is

3 number 1212,1.

4 You mentioned this during your earlier

5 testimony, that shells fell near the place where you

6 were talking to Gelic, but this was a sequel to the

7 offensive that had started a few days earlier and that

8 was also taken note of in your reports. Do you agree

9 with that?

10 A. Yes, yes.

11 Q. Thank you. Just two or three questions more

12 related to the incident when your vehicle was shot at

13 and when you went to complain to Blaskic. That was an

14 ad hoc meeting, wasn't it? You came there and you

15 asked for a meeting; is that right?

16 A. It was not really a predated meeting. The

17 car was broke down; we just managed to get to the -- to

18 Vitez headquarters, and I immediately -- I exist -- no,

19 I assist -- assist? How you call?

20 MR. KOVACIC: You insist?

21 A. I insist, correct, yeah. I insist --

22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic -- I'm sorry to

23 interrupt, Mr. Verhoeven.

24 Look, we've got to terminate very quickly.

25 Is there any other point -- I think we have the point

Page 10693

1 about the meeting. Is there any point you want to

2 make, or are we going to have to go into tomorrow?

3 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] In relation to

4 this, I only have one more question left, which is

5 going to take half a minute. And after that, I do have

6 a few more questions; not very many, but I believe I

7 have about ten minutes left, or so, those that were not

8 touched upon in the previous cross-examination.

9 In relation to this particular event, only

10 one more question.

11 [Trial Chamber confers]

12 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

13 we really didn't understand -- you want these minutes

14 for what reason?

15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I have only one

16 more question on the subject that we've been discussing

17 so far, so I need only ten more seconds for that. And

18 then after that, I have a few other questions. One is

19 rather closely related to Cerkez; one is related to the

20 area of Vitez, in a narrower sense.

21 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

22 we'll give you five more minutes to finish with this

23 witness. You've got to arrange it so that you can

24 finish in five minutes, because this witness mustn't

25 come back tomorrow for five minutes. Finish what you

Page 10694

1 have to do, please, in the next five minutes; otherwise

2 we are going to put an end to it and ask Mr. Nice to

3 end his examination as well, because we've got a

4 hearing for another case this afternoon. Please finish

5 within the next five minutes.

6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I am really

7 going to do away with everything which I believe is not

8 absolutely essential.

9 Q. Mr. Verhoeven, what we discussed was on the

10 2nd of October, of 1993, that incident. Correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And actually, Cerkez just happened to be

13 there, because your conversation with Blaskic took

14 place in front of the hotel?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And he did not take part in the conversation;

17 is that right?

18 A. This, I don't remember any more, who said

19 what. I was just shut out.

20 Q. In connection with that, you received a

21 letter from Blaskic which we saw; did you ever find out

22 anything about this, which units the persons mentioned

23 in that letter belonged to?

24 A. No.

25 Q. You don't know that at least this first

Page 10695

1 person, Medjugorac, was a member of the Vitezovi?

2 JUDGE MAY: He said he did not know. If he

3 did not know, he didn't. There's no point going on.

4 Now, are there any other questions?

5 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I do

6 apologise.

7 Q. This list of names that you produced, Z1218,

8 I would just like to draw your attention to the last

9 name on the first page, under number 3, Vitez HVO. I'm

10 not sure I can read this well. That is the chief of

11 the civilian police; is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Did you have an opportunity of meeting this

14 person?

15 A. I don't remember.

16 Q. And this section entitled "Vitez," that is to

17 say, persons from Vitez, Cerkez is mentioned last, and

18 it says here, "Commander of the Viteska Brigade." Is

19 that correct?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. On the HVO side, a woman is also mentioned,

22 Evica Saric; and according to this description, she is

23 chairman of the commission for prisoners of war?

24 A. That's the way she was presented.

25 Q. Was she a civilian, or a member of the

Page 10696

1 military segment of the HVO? How was she introduced?

2 A. She was introduced as president of the

3 commission of the prisoners of war. But it was at that

4 moment very difficult to know if someone was a soldier

5 or someone was a civilian, because civilians were

6 carrying arms and soldiers, armed soldiers, were

7 carrying civilian clothes.

8 Q. Very well. Just one more question in

9 relation to the no-fly zone. You will agree that at

10 that time in Bosnia there was a no-fly zone; there was

11 a total ban on flights. Is that correct?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. Every side had to announce each and every

14 flight and receive permission for it; is that right?

15 A. Yes, because it was a no-fly zone.

16 Q. And these permits were issued by UNPROFOR; is

17 that right?

18 A. I don't know.

19 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

20 please ask your question. Ask your last question.

21 What is this about? What is the question?

22 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

23 Q. It stems from that that every flight had to

24 be announced to UNPROFOR; otherwise, it would have been

25 a free target. Any unit could shoot down such a plane,

Page 10697

1 was entitled to do that. Is that right?

2 A. I know it was a no-fly zone, but I don't know

3 how the procedures were to get permission for flight.

4 I didn't belong to UNPROFOR.

5 Q. My last, final question related to this.

6 UNPROFOR gave permission for medical flights; is that

7 right?

8 JUDGE MAY: He is not a member of UNPROFOR.

9 Concentrate, please, on asking relevant questions which

10 the witness can answer.

11 Now, have you any other questions?

12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] I thought that

13 it was reasonable to expect that this witness and his

14 people could have had such information, but of course

15 I'm not going to go into that now.

16 Q. Just one more thing: The waterworks in the

17 area of Vitez, did you ever go to the water station

18 above Kruscica?

19 A. Yes, I was.

20 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

21 I think that the cross-examination is now complete --

22 I'm speaking for my colleague here -- as you were told

23 you were given five minutes; it's now been ten

24 minutes. In addition, the question has nothing to do

25 with the direct examination.

Page 10698

1 I think we can now give Mr. Nice the floor if

2 he has anything he wants to add.

3 MR. NICE: Three questions capable of yes/no

4 answers.

5 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:

6 Q. Did the helicopter you saw bear United

7 Nations insignia?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Did anyone, including the Bosnians you were

10 speaking to, but did anyone ever talk of the United

11 Nations flying people to their parliament in Neum?

12 A. No.

13 Q. When you visited the three boys in prison,

14 detained, rather, did you visit them alone, or with

15 anyone else? If so, whom?

16 A. The entire team, I think there were, but they

17 didn't get into the place where the boys were. They

18 stayed outside, the guardians.

19 Q. So the team would include Watkins and others,

20 would it?

21 A. No, I should have to look at the testimony,

22 who was with me, because I did not drive all the time

23 with Bekos or Watkins. It changed, also; the team

24 was --

25 Q. Then we'll find the team. There is one last

Page 10699

1 question. You were asked questions about the nature of

2 the chain of command and comparing it with ordinary

3 military forces. Were you ever actually given detailed

4 information, of the nature of who commanded whom, like

5 who commanded the military police, or did you have to

6 try and work this out for yourself?

7 A. I did have to work it out myself by

8 questioning people.

9 MR. NICE: That's all.

10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Verhoeven, thank you for

11 coming to the International Tribunal to give your

12 evidence. It is now concluded and you are free to go.

13 Let me add this. That although Mr. Kovacic

14 has received most of the criticism today for the amount

15 of time that's been taken out, it would be more just if

16 it was spread equally between all the parties.

17 I would ask everybody to concentrate on

18 deciding what is relevant and trying to cut out this

19 enormous amount of detail which is taking up time, is

20 inconveniencing witnesses and inconveniencing the Trial

21 Chamber. And that applies to all sides, not just to

22 Mr. Kovacic.

23 Yes, tomorrow morning, 9.30.

24 --- Whereupon hearing adjourned at

25 1.14 p.m. to be reconvened on Tuesday,

Page 10700

1 the 30th day of November, 1999.