1 Monday, 16 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you call the
6 case, please, sir.
7 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. This
8 is case IT-04-74-T, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar. I should
10 like to greet all the people present in the courtroom, the representatives
11 from the Prosecution, Defence counsel, and the accused in the courtroom.
12 We have a witness today who is going to be testifying today and
13 tomorrow. The Prosecution, according to it's schedule, has planned to
14 hear the witness for three hours. Defence counsel will have three and a
15 half hours according to our calculation, and for General Petkovic there
16 will be one hour, and each of the accused will have 30 minutes each. So
17 General Petkovic will have an hour, and the others will have 30 minutes,
18 which means that if everyone sticks to the schedule, we should finish
19 hearing the testimony of this witness tomorrow.
20 I had asked the registrar to give me a breakdown of the time so
21 far. By and large, the Prosecution has had for its examination-in-chief
22 approximately 90 hours. The Defence teams -- Defence counsel and accused
23 have had 125 hours, approximately 30 per cent more than the Prosecution.
24 The Bench has had 23 hours for its questions, and to my great surprise, we
25 have spent 80 hours dealing with procedural matters. Eighty hours to deal
1 with objections and other things, which seems a very high figure. I think
2 Mr. Karnavas is going to add to this because he wants to take the floor
3 concerning a particular issue. This will be included in the proceedings.
4 Mr. Karnavas, you have the floor.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours. And I'm
6 not trying to add to -- to this matter, but I'm glad the Court raised it,
7 because we are concerned as well. The Prosecution, in fact it was Mr.
8 Mundis who indicated that it was their belief that they would require
9 their entire 400 hours allotted to them in order to present their case.
10 We think that's fair, and we do think that they have been moving as
11 expeditiously as they can, although there are the occasional hiccups which
12 I'm sure we're going to face as well.
13 If -- if we proceed in the following -- as we have in the past
14 five months or so, it would appear that the Prosecution has approximately
15 15 more months before they can put on their entire case. That would mean
16 their time, our time, the Court's time, and of course procedural matters.
17 Obviously we can make some -- we should be making some adjustments on the
18 procedural matters, but nonetheless, we, the Defence collectively, are
19 quite concerned. We're concerned because the Registry, without consulting
20 us at least, allocated 12 months and two weeks to the Defence as far as
21 the Prosecution case goes, which means that if we go beyond that point, we
22 run into financial problems.
23 I don't want to get into that at this point in time. However,
24 what I would like to do is bring this to the Court's attention and ask the
25 Trial Chamber if it is possible for the Trial Chamber to give us a date
1 certain when it believes the Prosecution must finish its case, whether
2 it's the end of July or the beginning of October, but I think we're
3 operating under hours, but it would be -- it would be enormously helpful
4 to the Defence if we had a date. And why is that? Because then we, the
5 Defence, would need to go and speak with the Registry. If it means the
6 Defence would have to work four, five, six months without any additional
7 resources, of course the Judges receive their pay every month plus
8 benefits and what have you. The Prosecution the same. People that work
9 in the booths and what have you. We cannot expect the Defence lawyers to
10 be indigents and this may be somewhat of a trivial matter but we do have
11 families. Behind every person there are tons of other people, loved ones
12 that they have to take care of. So this is a realistic issue. All we're
13 asking is perhaps the Court, you know, the Judges could meet and decide if
14 it's possible to give us a date. I think it would be enormously helpful
15 to the Prosecution as well if they knew more or less by which point in
16 time they must finish their trial.
17 That's it, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you did well to
19 raise this issue. On behalf of the Bench, I'm speaking in my own name,
20 the other Judges can take the floor if they so wish. It is quite obvious
21 that it's out of the question that you work without being paid. If the
22 trial lasts through 15 months, and that would be the presentation case of
23 the Prosecution, you would be paid for 15 months and not for 12 months.
24 That would be totally unheard-of. Rest assured you will get the full
25 support of the Bench on this.
1 However, you have said that the Prosecution will have 15 months.
2 I'm not quite convinced of this, because theoretically the Prosecution has
3 to consider their witnesses. Some of them might be 92 bis or 92 ter or
4 89(F) witnesses. So I am sure that the Prosecution has room to manoeuvre
5 here and can gain time.
6 My concern runs as follows, and this is why I have mentioned it:
7 I have realised that we spent 80 hours talking about procedural matters.
8 So that is so much time which the Prosecution has not been able to use.
9 Given the number of decisions we have taken, I think we shall certainly
10 gain time on procedural matters. There will be fewer problems to contend
11 with. And by gaining such time, the Prosecution will be able to present
12 its case in the best manner possible. We have, however, spent 80 hours on
13 procedural matters, which is huge.
14 At this stage, Mr. Mundis, perhaps you don't have a clear view of
15 the situation. The Defence team has told us that you still need 15 months
16 for the presentation of your case.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. It's entirely unclear
18 precisely how long we will take. We've repeatedly indicated that we
19 anticipate fully using our 400 hours. We have relied upon that figure in
20 terms of our planning. We are doing everything possible to move forward
21 as expeditiously as possible.
22 Let me put this, though, on the record, that because we can't
23 control the entirety of the amount of time used, the Prosecution does
24 oppose the imposition of a date certain for us to complete the Prosecution
25 case in chief. Our position is that looking at the numbers that the
1 Registry has compiled for us at the direction of the Trial Chamber, our
2 view is that having used approximately 90 hours to get through some 35 or
3 so witnesses, we believe is an expeditious use of everyone's time, and we
4 are continuing to endeavour to move as expeditiously as possible through
5 use of all available Rules and jurisprudence of this Tribunal to meet that
6 goal as quickly as possible.
7 We certainly can understand the plight that the Defence are in.
8 That's really a question between the Defence and the Registry and perhaps
9 the Trial Chamber. What we would oppose would be any efforts to further
10 reduce the scope of time that's available to us in order to solve the
11 problem that the Defence faces.
12 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. President. Excuse me, Mr.
13 Karnavas, but I won't be too long, I hope.
14 I must say that I find it difficult to accept the attitude of the
15 Prosecutor's office. I can understand that it is very difficult for you
16 to foresee how much time you need because in fact you do not have full
17 control. We don't, the Defence doesn't, no one has, but I think you could
18 be expected and you must be expected to -- to make a considered guess, so
19 to speak, a forecast on which the Defence can base itself in its
20 legitimate quest for a regulation of its situation. We cannot leave it at
21 that. It's not enough to say, "We don't know but we'll do our best." I'm
23 MR. MUNDIS: Your Honour, if I could just briefly respond.
24 Again, the problem that we face, and we've raised this issue
25 repeatedly from the beginning, is the uncertainty as to how much time will
1 be allotted for cross-examination. It's of course very difficult for us
2 to factor in the amount of time that will be taken for questions from the
3 Bench. If I were to tell you that we would require another 310 hours to
4 complete our case or 300 -- roughly 300 hours to complete our case, that's
5 fine if I assume that the Defence will get 300 hours of cross-examination,
6 then that's 600 hours. That would mean that there would be in this factor
7 no time for questions from the Bench, or we could arbitrarily say 10 per
8 cent additional for questions from the Bench.
9 I can tell you based on some statistical tracking that we've been
10 doing that the Prosecution is taking a little bit less than one hour and
11 30 minutes per day, so that a full court day, whether it's 9.00 until
12 13.45 hours or 14.15 until 19.00, that's a full court day, we're getting
13 in a little bit less than 90 minutes of Prosecution direct examination a
14 day on average. That's what we've averaged thus far in terms of the
15 number of witnesses and the amount of time that we've taken.
16 I can guarantee you that we're working to solve this through the
17 use of 92 ter, 92 bis, 89(F), moving as quickly as we possibly can. But
18 at this rate, projecting out a number of days based on the number of
19 witnesses we have left and the amount of time we have left is a highly
20 arbitrary practice.
21 I think, Your Honour, if -- with all due respect to everyone
22 involved, the 90 hours that we've used thus far, we believe that we've
23 been very expeditious in terms of moving and putting before Your Honours
24 the evidence that you need in order to reach the decisions that fall
25 within your responsibilities as a Trial Chamber here. We are of course
1 open to further suggestions as to how to proceed, but it's extremely
2 difficult for us to pick a date when we don't -- when we only control
3 one -- approximately one-third of what happens in the courtroom in terms
4 of cross-examination and/or questions from the Bench.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I do not find this so difficult, if fact. You
6 say now you have the experience that you use or that you can work one and
7 a half hour per day. I am a bit less optimistic than our President about
8 dramatic change and disappearing of procedural questions. I think it's
9 inherent in these proceedings that they come up and it is the disagreeable
10 task for the Defence, disagreeable for us, agreeable for the Defence to
11 make things difficult. That's the rule of the game and we accept that.
12 So you say you need another 300 hours roughly, 310. Two-thirds of
13 it then -- if you have one and a half hour per day, working day here, that
14 means you need a bit more than 200 days, and I think that would probably
15 be a realistic estimate.
16 MR. MUNDIS: Well, thank you, Judge Trechsel. That's a very good
17 point, and sitting four days a week, that's about 50 more weeks of
18 straight sitting excluding any time off at Christmas -- factoring in, but
19 50 additional weeks including recesses probably means we need until the
20 end of 2007 in order to get in our 300 plus hours that remain available to
21 and which we've planned on using based on earlier Trial Chamber rulings.
22 Now, again, if -- if the average number per day slips downwards,
23 then we're into early 2008 before the Prosecution can finish its case.
24 And again, I don't want to get boxed into anything, but it does appear to
25 be the case, sitting four days a week whereby we're able to get in
1 approximately 90 minutes per court day, we're taking about six hours per
2 week for the Prosecution direct examinations. And yes, at that rate, it
3 will be a little bit more than 50 weeks. So, yes, towards the end of 2007
4 at the rate we're going now.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I share the point of
6 view put forward by my colleague. The Prosecution needs to know where
7 it's going, and you should really have a clear understanding of the
8 presentation of your case.
9 I have noted that as the number of hearings increases we will be
10 able to gain time, because there is no need to repeat the same thing all
11 over again and put the same questions, the question of water in Mostar and
12 the question of the convoys. I think some questions have been addressed
13 in great detail, and you needn't put that same question to every witness
14 that's coming to testify here.
15 However, and this is something that came to the surface last
16 Thursday during the cross-examination, new -- new issue came to the
17 forefront which was the issue of the exchange of prisoners. This is a
18 theory put forward by the Defence, namely, the Muslims exchanged Croats in
19 exchange for other Croats. So this should enable us to gain time. This
20 was during the cross-examination, and I'm asking the Defence not to
21 belabour the point and address the same issues all over again. These are
22 things which the Bench is now familiar with.
23 As far as procedural matters are concerned, I remember Mr.
24 Murphy's objections last week. On several occasions we have heard
25 objections to the effect that a document that was presented to the witness
1 whereas the witness does not know the document, has not seen it, there is
2 an objection. You know that the Chamber has already ruled on this even if
3 the witness does not know the document but if the contents has something
4 to do with the witness, then it can be admitted. There's no point in
5 raising objections when these matters have already been dealt with.
6 I'm fully convinced that we can only gain time by proceeding this
7 way, and each and every one will be able to do this better and better.
8 However, I don't know when the Prosecution will complete the presentation
9 of its case given that the 400 hours that were allotted was a global
10 figure. It is now for the Prosecution to give us -- to handle its
11 witnesses according to their needs. To call four victims for the same
12 fact is perhaps not necessary. Perhaps one victim for one particular fact
13 is enough. It is perhaps not necessary to bring in the other three. So
14 you may look into this. This is of course for the Prosecution to address
15 these kind of issues.
16 In addition, I have compared what we are doing with what other
17 Chambers are doing, and so far our hearings have not been interrupted
18 because witnesses could not be called to testify. I think our -- we've
19 had no major drawback or hitch so far, and I think we have a good cruising
20 speed. Nobody has been taken ill. So I think we can follow this pace in
21 the future, and I think the Prosecution will be able to use up its 400
23 So far having 90 hours, the Prosecution has had 25 per cent of its
24 time, so you have 75 per cent left. But I do hope that out of the 75 per
25 cent this might include a number of witnesses which you might not have to
1 call to testify because others have testified on the same point. So you
2 might wish to look into this again.
3 We are going to hear an international witness today. If you bring
4 the big boss, for instance, it is not necessary to bring the
5 second-ranking person or the third-ranking person. It's for you to choose
6 your witnesses properly so that we do gain time.
7 Mr. Kovacic.
8 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in connection with Your
9 Honour's concerns about the time used for procedural matters, the 80 hours
10 we've mentioned, I wish to remind the Chamber, now that we are analysing
11 our use of time, that Mr. Karnavas and Mr. Murphy most often speak on
12 behalf of all six Defence teams. In other words, I wish to point out that
13 the Defence wishes to contribute to the saving of time, and as a rule,
14 whenever we can, we appoint one counsel to deal with a certain kind of
15 objection. I believe Your Honours have observed this.
16 For example, I have always risen to my feet, for example, when
17 there were discrepancies in the material provided and so on. But let me
18 remind Your Honours that we are not a single Defence team. We are six
19 Defence teams each with its own strategy and tactics, but we are all
20 attempting to contribute to the economy of these proceedings and group
21 together those objections we can.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic, I would just like
23 to give you an example. You'd made a comment regarding a document which
24 was mentioned the fact that somebody had died. The Chamber ruled on this.
25 If this same matter occurs again, there's no need to bring it up because
1 the Bench has ruled on this already. So if you say -- you stand up and
2 you say it is a death certificate and there is something mentioned
3 underneath it and I challenge it and we have already been faced with the
4 same situation, then there is no need to stand up again. I think that is
5 a good instance of where you might avoid standing up again because the
6 Bench has stated its position on that matter so there is no reason why we
7 should go back on our decision, particularly if it's been given in
8 writing. This is just an example I wanted to give you.
9 For instance, when a Defence counsel takes the floor, the Defence
10 counsel usually takes the floor on behalf of the entire Defence team as
11 far as procedural matters are concern. When Mr. Karnavas a while ago
12 stood up, he stood up on behalf of the entire Defence team. It had to do,
13 of course, with the fees to be paid to Defence team during the
14 presentation of the Prosecution case.
15 One of my colleagues to my right would like to say something.
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: It has already been quite a long one, but I would
17 like to add the following: That so far the Defence spoke, the Prosecution
18 spoke, and of course the Chamber spoke, but we have to really be aware of
19 the fact that the -- as far as the timing is concerned, it is very
20 important that we have to take into account the interests of the -- of the
21 accused, because no doubt that -- that if we can finish with due attention
22 to the accuseds' rights and to the basic Rule of this Bench and this
23 Tribunal, then it would be indeed in the interest of the accused to have
24 our case here to be finished in good time. Again, let me repeat with the
25 best of the -- taking into account all of the relevant rules which have to
1 be applied here.
2 So that is why I would also add my voice to those who have asked
3 for all the two parties to indeed observe the rules and to try to do their
4 best, and even the Bench should take into account that very issue of the
5 timing and probably having a bit less number of questions which we are
6 doing, and at the same time the two other parties should take this into
7 account as well.
8 So that is what I would like to add to what has been said today.
9 Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic.
11 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, very briefly. In
12 connection with the example Your Honour mentioned, you will recall that
13 most of that discussion was carried on in writing. I raised an objection
14 which I did have to raise only to reserve my rights and then dealt with it
15 subsequently in a written motion precisely to save time.
16 Secondly, Your Honours, we cannot know what facts we may have to
17 refer to at the appeal stage should there be an appeal stage later on.
18 The Appeals Chamber could say that we did not raise a certain objection
19 during the trial, so we have to do this. And secondly, that we did not
20 exert due diligence. Maybe that death certificate is a good example,
21 although I might be able to see that Your Honours are inclined to accept
22 it as an exhibit in spite of its deficiencies, which are quite evident,
23 and Your Honours wish to leave it up to the weight to be attached to it,
24 but for reasons of due diligence, I do have to object. Of course we can
25 try not to do it in the courtroom. We can try to do it in written form,
1 but at least the initial objection has to be in the courtroom.
2 My learned friends and I, of course, have discussed this, and we
3 are trying to use time as rationally as possible, and we often desist from
4 raising issues which under normal circumstances, if we had enough time, we
5 certainly would raise.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are quite right. What I
8 wanted to say is when you raise an issue at one particular time, then
9 obviously it is a question of due diligence, but you should not raise the
10 issue again a second time and a third time. I just wanted to clarify
12 I've just asked the registrar to move into private session for a
13 few moments.
14 [Private session]
11 Page 8423 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're in open session.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's have the
5 witness shown in straight away.
6 MR. BOS: Your Honours, good afternoon. While we're waiting for
7 the witness, maybe I can just already inform the Trial Chamber that this
8 witness will be a public witness and he will testify on the following
9 counts: Counts 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 19, 20, 22 and 23. And his testimony will
10 be relevant to paragraphs 64, 65, 66, 67 and 68 of the indictment.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Bos, for telling
12 us that useful piece of information.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. I'd just
15 like to check that you can understand what I'm saying in your own
16 language, if your receiving the interpretation. If so, please tell me.
17 THE WITNESS: Yes, I'm receiving the information, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. You're now going to
19 testify. I'd like to ask you to stand and to answer some of my questions
20 before you take the solemn declaration. Give me your name, surname and
21 date of birth first, please.
22 THE WITNESS: My name is Andrew David Williams and I was born on
23 the 31st of May, 1958.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What is your profession or
1 THE WITNESS: My current profession is a database loader for Stena
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you ever testified before a
4 Tribunal, national or international, with respect to the events that took
5 place in Yugoslavia or is this the first time you're testifying?
6 THE WITNESS: This is the second trial I've attended, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And for the
8 transcript, which was the first trial?
9 THE WITNESS: It was the Kordic/Blaskic trial, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you a Prosecution or a
11 Defence witness to the best of your recollection, or maybe a witness for
12 the Chamber?
13 THE WITNESS: I was a Prosecution witness, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. As you are a
15 Prosecution witness today. I'd now like to ask you to read the solemn
16 declaration that Madam Usher is going to hand to you.
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
18 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You may be seated.
20 WITNESS: ANDREW WILLIAMS
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just some information that I'd
22 like to impart, but since you've already testified you'll know all about
23 this. You'll first start off by answering questions put to you by the
24 Prosecution. Mr. Bos will be asking the questions, and you probably met
25 him this morning or yesterday. That is what we call the
1 examination-in-chief, and the Prosecution has told me that they need
2 approximately three hours for that. Of course, if it takes less time, the
3 Chamber will appreciate that.
4 Now, having completed that phase, the Defence teams, and as you
5 can see there are a lot of Defence counsel, more than in the Kordic case,
6 Kordic trial, anyway, the Defence counsel will be asking you questions
7 after that, and I assume some of the accused who also have the right to
8 ask questions pursuant to the Statute of this Tribunal. And the Chamber
9 has decided set aside three and a half hours as Defence time. So if all
10 proceeds according to schedule, you will have finished your testimony
12 The four Judges sitting in front of you -- you just had three
13 Judges in the Kordic trial, we are now four, and they can ask you
14 questions at any time, and we shall certainly be doing so.
15 Try to be as concise as possible in your answers, because as you
16 know, your testimony is being coupled with documents there are going to be
17 put to you as exhibits, and all this will be sized by the Chamber. So the
18 Prosecution, I'm sure, will be showing you a whole dossier of documents,
19 and you'll be asked to confirm the contents of certain documents.
20 Having said that, I'm looking at the Prosecution, and I'd like to
21 tell them that I have noted there are two documents of the -- of BritBat
22 which are posterior to the departure of the witness, and I believe that
23 the witness left his battalion in the month of May, whereas the documents
24 are dated after that date. So, a priori, they are documents which the
25 witness probably doesn't know. So he had direct knowledge of the previous
1 documents prior to his departure, of course.
2 However, having said that, without further ado, I'm going to give
3 the floor to Mr. Bos.
4 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Examination by Mr. Bos:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Williams.
7 A. Good afternoon.
8 Q. Let me just ask you a few introductory questions. Is it correct
9 that you joined the British army in May, 1976 -- 1967, I'm sorry -- 1976?
10 A. I'm sorry, although I understand your question, I don't hear any
11 translation going on in the background. Yes, I did join in 1976.
12 Q. Are you having the English translation on your earphones?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And is it correct that you served as an intelligence officer for
15 the Cheshire Regiment from early November 1992 to early May 1993 at Gornji
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. Could you briefly explain what the role was of the Cheshire
19 Regiment in Gornji Vakuf.
20 A. We had deployed as a battalion-sized group to Central Bosnia in
21 support of United Nations operations. The battalion main base was in
22 Vitez, and it had a company which I was part of. That was deployed into
23 Gornji Vakuf as a sort of back-door company, so that should the main force
24 need to leave the country quickly, we would hold the route open for them
25 to pass through.
1 Q. And was that the only -- the only role of that battalion in Gornji
2 Vakuf, or was there any other role?
3 A. We had two roles. We had our United Nations role, which was to
4 support the distribution of aid and to support aid getting into the
5 country, and we had a British army-type role whereby we located the
6 headquarters of the various units, identified the commanders, identified
7 where their heavy weapons were kept, things like that.
8 Q. And approximately how many British soldiers were actually
9 stationed in Gornji Vakuf?
10 A. It was a reinforced company group of about 150 soldiers.
11 Q. And who was your commander?
12 A. Initially the commander was Major Alastair Rule, and he was
13 replaced in March or April, 1993, by Major Alun Jones.
14 Q. Now, what was your specific role in the regiment?
15 A. I had two roles. My primary role for the mission that we were on,
16 the aid mission, was to gain information on routes, checkpoints, and
17 things like that, and to maintain a running brief so that convoys passing
18 through would know that the route was open and that it was safe to go
19 through. And I had a secondary role, a British army-type role, should the
20 need arise, I would be the senior mortar-fire controller, artillery
21 controller and airstrike controller.
22 Q. Just going back to that first role, did you do that on your own or
23 did you have some colleagues with you who assisted you?
24 A. For more than half of the tour, I did that first role on my own,
25 the information gathering, and I was reinforced in the latter part of the
1 tour by a sergeant called Peter Dalton from the intelligence corps.
2 Q. But did you have any assistance of persons who could actually
3 speak the language?
4 A. Within the base we had two local interpreters, Belma and Alicia,
5 and we also had a captain called Nick Short who spoke Serbo-Croat.
6 Q. And did this Captain Nick Short assist you on occasions?
7 A. I liaised quite closely with both Captain Short, who also was a
8 liaison officer, and also with another captain called Mike Hughes who was
9 a liaison officer.
10 Q. And both of them spoke B/C/S?
11 A. No. Only Captain Short actually spoke Serbo-Croat.
12 Q. And in this role as -- as information gathering, did you draft
14 A. I submitted a daily information summary to Vitez, which was then
15 condensed into a battalion group information summary covering the whole
16 battalion area.
17 Q. Well, we'll be seeing a couple of those documents later on, but
18 let's just move on for now.
19 So just briefly on your second -- you said you were a senior
20 mortar controller. Is it fair to say that -- that with that specific
21 function you would have good knowledge of weapons and weapon systems?
22 A. I was what is classed in -- in the infantry as an alpha
23 mortar-fire controller. Each infantry battalion has eight mortar-fire
24 controllers and the alpha mortar-fire controller is the senior mortar-fire
25 controller of all.
1 Q. When you arrived in the region in early November, 1992, what was
2 the situation like?
3 A. It was largely peaceful. However, there'd been sporadic clashes
4 just prior to and during our initial deployment between the armija and the
5 HVO down in Prozor.
6 Q. All right. Before we get to that, just more on the more overall
7 situation before we get to the clashes between the HVO and the armija.
8 What was the situation like in the region?
9 A. It was largely static from a military point of view. The warring
10 factions across most of the country seemed to have settled into static
11 defence lines.
12 Q. But who was fighting who at the time? That was my question.
13 A. At that time there was a -- an alliance of sorts between the HVO
14 and the armija against the Bosnian Serb army.
15 Q. Okay. And in that particular conflict the situation was static,
16 as you just described?
17 A. Over most of the country it was static. Just prior to our
18 deployment there'd been an advance up near Travnik by the Bosnian Serbs
19 when the town of Jajce had fallen and the front line had shifted down to a
20 small town called Turbe.
21 Q. Yes. I was going to ask you some questions on that. So you've
22 just said that the town of Jajce actually had fallen. To whom had it
23 fallen, and when did this happen?
24 A. It had fallen either in late October or very early November, and
25 it had -- it had been taken by the Serbs.
1 Q. What kind of effect did this fall have -- had on the situation in
2 the region?
3 A. It was fairly chaotic. There was a large movement of refugees in
4 that initial area and withdrawing forces from that area. It also impeded
5 our commander's plans in that Vitez was all of a sudden within artillery
6 range of the Bosnian Serbs.
7 Q. Now, maybe to assist the Court and -- and everyone else here in
8 the court, we could maybe put a map on the ELMO which is Exhibit 9276, and
9 as you can see, you have a bundle of exhibits there in front of you, and
10 the usher is going to help you. On the bottom there are a couple of maps,
11 and what I would like you to look at is exactly this map which is going to
12 be shown to you now. This is map number 2 of Exhibit 9276, and it is in
13 fact -- it depicts the municipalities of Bosnia. Maybe we can focus the
14 map a little bit. It's still a bit out of focus. I don't know if we can
15 focus it. Very well.
16 Mr. Williams, could you just indicate first where is the
17 municipality of Gornji Vakuf on this map.
18 A. That's the municipality of Gornji Vakuf there at the point of the
20 Q. And you've just spoken about the municipality of Jajce. Could you
21 point at the municipality of Jajce.
22 A. That is the municipality of Jajce there.
23 Q. Now, could you indicate on the map how the situation changed as
24 far as front lines between the Serbs and the -- on the one side and the
25 HVO and the armija on the other side after the fall of Jajce.
1 A. Within this immediate area, the front line shifted from somewhere
2 in this region down to somewhere in this region, into the Travnik region.
3 Q. And why did all of a sudden Gornji Vakuf become an important
4 region as a result of this fall of Jajce?
5 A. The interior of Central Bosnia is very mountainous terrain, and
6 there are very few good tarmac main roads in that area. As a result of
7 the advance by the Serbs in that area, some of the roads became untenable
8 and as a result the town of Gornji Vakuf became quite pivotal in that it
9 was the only route from Split and Herzegovina, the western part of
10 Herzegovina up into Central Bosnia. You had to pass through Gornji Vakuf
11 and then up a track to Vitez.
12 Q. So if I understand your question correctly, as a result of the --
13 of the fall of Jajce to the Serbs, one of the routes into Central Bosnia
14 was no longer accessible for the HVO and the ABiH.
15 A. There was a main road that ran from Bugojno to Travnik, but it --
16 as a result of the fall of Jajce that became very, very close to the front
17 line, and as a result it was not really suitable then for moving aid or
18 indeed for our use.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you. All right. We'll leave the map there.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, and I don't mean to interrupt, but
21 perhaps -- I mean, the gentleman pointed to the map and of course we can
22 read, but since we have someone here who was at the terrain at the time,
23 perhaps he could mark the map and designate exactly where the lines were.
24 That way we have something more concrete.
25 MR. BOS: Yes, we can -- we can do so if that will help the Judges
1 and the Defence. I don't have any objection.
2 Q. So, Witness, maybe -- the usher will give you something to write
3 on -- to write with, and could you just maybe first draw the front line as
4 it was before the fall of Jajce and then, secondly, the front line after
5 the fall of Jajce.
6 A. This will be very rough of where the line was. In that area it
7 ran something like that as I recall. And then with the fall of Jajce, it
8 shifted down to about that area there.
9 Q. And maybe you can mark the first line with a 1 which is the front
10 line before the fall of Jajce, and the other line with a 2 as the line
11 after the fall of Jajce.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Thank you. You've mentioned earlier that as a result of this --
14 of the fall of Jajce Muslims moved into -- moved out of Jajce into various
15 municipality -- neighbouring municipalities. Did Muslims also move to
16 Gornji Vakuf?
17 A. Yes, some of them did move down to Gornji Vakuf and also into
19 Q. And were also Muslim soldiers moving into Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. Yes. Some of the withdrawing armija unit moved into the Gornji
21 Vakuf area.
22 Q. And can you say something about the number of soldiers that
23 actually moved into -- into the Gornji Vakuf area?
24 A. The number of them that I saw were mainly living in the villages
25 of Boljkovac and Voljevac which was just to the south of the actual town
1 of Gornji Vakuf and they numbered approximately 50.
2 Q. And was the fact that both Muslim civilian refugees and Muslim
3 soldiers that they were moving into Gornji Vakuf, was that a point of
4 complaint by the HVO in the months of November and December?
5 A. It was a source of some concern mainly due to aid and things like
6 that, but at that particular point in time, it was not a major source of
8 Q. Did it became an issue after the conflict had started in Gornji
10 A. It became an issue just prior to the start of the conflict and
11 then during the conflict itself.
12 Q. Now, you briefly touched upon Prozor as well, and could you
13 explain to the Judges what was the situation in Prozor like when you
14 arrived in the region. So November, December, 1992.
15 A. There'd been some hostilities between the local HVO and the local
16 Muslim population. They'd try to impose on the armija unit in that area
17 that they must disband and become part of the HVO.
18 Q. Who is "they" when you refer to "they"?
19 A. The HVO in Prozor. This had lead to some fighting within Prozor
20 itself, and the imam was under house arrest.
21 Q. And did you visit the town of Prozor in that period?
22 A. Yes. We actually -- on deployment we actually passed through the
23 town, and there had been some fighting as we were in the process of
24 passing through it. And there were some houses burnt and what not.
25 Q. Yeah. So you answered my next question. What was the town of
1 Prozor like when you -- when you visited it? How did it -- what did you
3 A. It was tense. The streets were mainly empty. There were some
4 freshly burnt houses that were still smouldering, and there were a couple
5 of bodies that were lying on one of the streets.
6 Q. Now, according to your assessment, what kind of effect had the
7 situation of the neighbouring village of -- municipalities of Prozor on
8 Gornji Vakuf?
9 A. The two communities within Gornji Vakuf became suspicious and
10 distrustful of each -- or more suspicious and distrustful of each other
11 than they had been.
12 Q. And did activity of the HVO in Prozor in the latter part of 1992
13 raise some concerns for BritBat with regard to the situation in Gornji
15 A. It raised a lot of concern, because we were concerned that if a
16 major fallout occurred between the HVO and the armija in the Gornji Vakuf
17 area, it would effectively cut the supply route into Central Bosnia, which
18 would not only stop the aid moving into Central Bosnia, which was
19 desperately needed as winter was just about to start, but it would also
20 isolate the main part of our battalion group inside Central Bosnia as
22 Q. Now, in front of you you have two bundles of exhibits, and I would
23 like you to look at Exhibit 922.
24 A. I'm at document 922 now.
25 Q. Could you look at page 2 of this -- well, let me first -- no. Let
1 me first look at page 1 of this report. Do you recognise this document?
2 A. Yes. This is the battalion group military information summary
3 that is generated -- was generated by the -- our battalion headquarters up
4 in Vitez.
5 Q. Right. And in this particular report, you would have put your
6 contribution as far as Gornji Vakuf was concerned?
7 A. Yes, daily. As I said earlier, I would send a report up daily to
8 Vitez, and then they would condense it and add it into this document.
9 Q. Now, the document is a bit difficult to read, but it seems that it
10 reads -- can you read what the date says?
11 A. It would appear to say the 1st of December on this document.
12 However, in the Serbo-Croat version on the screen it says 17th of
14 Q. Yes. Now, if you look at page 2, it refers to tensions amongst
15 Croat and Muslims, and it refers to tensions in Prozor. Is this actually
16 what you were testifying about just -- just a few minutes ago?
17 A. Yes. This would be part of the general increasing tension between
18 the two armies.
19 Q. Now, if you could read the last line, please.
20 A. It says -- I can't -- the first bit's blurred and then it
21 says "Call-sign reported that two platoon strength HVO patrols," and then
22 it gives two grid references, 1776, which refers to a one kilometre grid
23 square -- no, sorry my mistake. It's blurred. Patrol. It's "patrols at"
24 something. And then at grid Yankee Juliet 1369, which is a one kilometre
25 grid square.
1 MR. KOVACIC: Perhaps it would be a good idea to put right the
2 mistake in the transcript straight away on page 17, line 19, reference is
3 made to page 2 of the document and it says "Prozor". There's no mention
4 of Prozor in page 2. It is Gornji Vakuf that is mentioned, and I think
5 from previous statements by the witness this was mixed up. I think so
6 that perhaps it would be a good idea to clarify is the document referring
7 to Prozor or Gornji Vakuf?
8 MR. BOS: I can clarify straight away. If you would read the text
9 under Gornji Vakuf, and then if you read the second and I will read it
10 out. It says: "GV believed that if the HVO in Prozor continue in action,
11 then conflict is inevitable." So there is a reference to Prozor although
12 the heading says Gornji Vakuf.
13 Q. Just to clarify, GV, what would that abbreviation stand for?
14 A. The abbreviation GV stands for Gornji Vakuf. At this stage of our
15 tour, anything that was reported by Gornji Vakuf, whether it occurred in
16 Prozor or Tomislavgrad or whatever would appear under the heading Gornji
17 Vakuf, which meant that the Gornji Vakuf office was the first office to
18 deal with it.
19 This particular report refers to Prozor HVO even though it is
20 under the Gornji Vakuf title, because it was the Gornji Vakuf office that
21 made the report.
22 Q. Thank you for this clarification, Mr. Williams. Again coming back
23 to that last line. Well, you've been referring to the grid reference,
24 but -- so it talks about the presence of a two-platoon strength HVO
25 patrols. Do you recall where these two platoon patrols -- where these
1 were encountered?
2 A. Without a map to actually point to the specific grid square, I
3 couldn't point it out. I put on here, but I can say that it is up around
4 the village around the village of Here.
5 Q. Which is in which municipality?
6 A. It's in the Prozor municipality.
7 Q. And just to clarify, when it says two-platoon strength, how many
8 men are we talking about?
9 A. Two-platoon strength patrols would be approximately 25 to 30 men
10 in each group. When they use the word "patrol," then that means that they
11 were tactically deployed as opposed to just moving from one place to
12 another. They were actually armed and were in tactical formation.
13 Q. So if it was two patrols, we're talking about 60 men. And why was
14 it worth reporting this in this particular report?
15 A. At that particular moment in time, the HVO in Prozor were
16 attempting to -- the villages up around -- including Here and around Here
17 were Muslim villages and they tended to gravitate for trade and what not
18 towards Gornji Vakuf. And the HVO in the area had blocked the roads with
19 earth, dams, earthen constructions in attempt to force the people in that
20 area to gravitate towards Prozor instead.
21 Q. And why do you think that they did this?
22 A. It was to try to bring them under Prozor's control.
23 Q. Let's move back to Gornji Vakuf.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a follow-up question
25 relating to the last sentence. You mentioned two HVO patrols. Why is
1 there no mention of the unit whom these patrols belonged to? Because the
2 HVO is a very general term here. Why does your report not specifically
3 mention the unit in question? Unless it is something you don't know.
4 THE WITNESS: Without actually speaking directly to patrols, it
5 was sometimes very difficult to ascertain which unit they came from. A
6 lot -- most of them did not wear the brigade flashes to identify their
7 brigade, the brigade badge on their arm. However, the front line was
8 nowhere near Prozor, and so if you saw troops in the Prozor municipality
9 doing whatever soldiers do, it was fair to assume that they belonged to
10 the Prozor HVO and not another HVO unit.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The concern I have is as
12 follows: Who were these units? Were these soldiers that belonged to a
13 unit or were these members of the military police of the HVO moving
14 around? When you see a patrol that include a handful of men, are these
15 people wearing camouflage uniforms? Are these military police? Who are
16 these men? This is a question I have.
17 When you mention the point where you saw them GR 1369, that's an
18 elevation point. That's a topographical data. But the observer, did the
19 observer have a pair of binoculars? This is -- or a particular lens? Was
20 this done visually. Was this done through drones? Was this provided
21 through the intelligence services? How did you get hold of that kind of
23 THE WITNESS: This information would have come from debriefing a
24 patrol, one of our patrols that would have seen these two patrols. The
25 grid 1369 refers to grid square 1369 on a map. So that's a one-kilometre
1 grid square that the patrols were in. Other than the fact that they were
2 HVO, there was no other information, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one last because we could
4 spend hours on this, just one last question. You talk about the HVO.
5 Does this mean that you saw an insignia of the HVO on one of the men's
6 clothing, or is it because these men were in possession of arms that you
7 inferred that these were HVO men?
8 THE WITNESS: The HVO and the armija -- the armija tended to wear
9 the Bosnian symbol on their sleeve, and if you saw a large group, most of
10 them would have the Bosnian symbol on their sleeve. The HVO tended not to
11 have flashes on their sleeves, and their type of combat trousers that they
12 wore, the camouflage pattern on them was of a different design to the
13 camouflage pattern that the armija wore.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you describe to us in
15 detail the camouflage uniform worn by an HVO soldier?
16 THE WITNESS: Most of the warring factions only wore the trousers.
17 Very few actually had the jackets as well. And the type of camouflage
18 uniform that the HVO tended to wear was of a darker pattern than the
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Darker. Does this mean black?
21 THE WITNESS: No. No, Your Honour. It's just a darker shade.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you see HVO members dressed
23 all in black?
24 THE WITNESS: You do occasionally see -- we did occasionally see
25 HVO soldiers or Bosnian Croat soldiers dressed in black, but not -- not
1 all of the time.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you have the floor.
3 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Moving back to Gornji Vakuf, Mr. Williams. How did the local HVO
5 and ABiH troops react to the presence of UNPROFOR when you established a
6 base in Gornji Vakuf?
7 A. The local HVO didn't really want us there, but the local Muslims
8 did. They wanted us to see what -- what was going on, and they sort of
9 looked on us as being something that would keep outside forces, outside
10 influences under control by the fact that we were there. They wanted the
11 outside world to see.
12 Q. Why did the HVO not want you to be there?
13 A. Specifically, I cannot answer that other than to say that they
14 probably assumed that our presence there would impede what they were
15 doing. And also, the -- they were suspicious of aims that we had or
16 motives that we had for being there. They didn't like us nosing around
17 and sticking our noses into things and asking their soldiers questions
18 when we were on patrol and things like that.
19 Q. On a local level, how did the Muslim and Croat troops get along
20 with each other?
21 A. Initially to -- how we -- to what we saw, they were co-existing
22 quite well, and our OC, our commander, helped them set up joint
23 commissions to oversee police in a local -- I mean, local stuff like water
24 and electricity and aid distribution and things like that, to help them
25 work together.
1 Q. What was the name of the local HVO commander?
2 A. The local HVO commander was a gentleman by the name of Zrinko
4 Q. And what was the name of the local HVO unit in Gornji Vakuf?
5 A. It was the Ante Starcevic Brigade.
6 Q. And could you describe Mr. Zrinko Tokic? What kind of man was he?
7 A. He seemed to be a pleasant individual. He was never antagonistic
8 or hostile towards us, although he knew where the line was and didn't --
9 at first didn't come too close to us.
10 Q. Now, is it correct that in the -- in the course of, you know, near
11 the end of 1992, that tensions increased in the region?
12 A. There were some incidents that caused tensions to rise within the
13 town itself towards the end of 1992, yes.
14 Q. You mentioned that there were some incidents. Could you explain
15 what kind of incidents you're referring to?
16 A. There was an incident involving an HVO soldier who murdered a
17 mentally retarded person.
18 Q. Could you give us more detail about this incident? What actually
19 happened and when did it happen?
20 A. Exactly when I cannot remember without referring to documents. He
21 beheaded a mentally retarded Muslim and bowled the head into a Muslim bar
22 like a bowling ball.
23 Q. When you refer to "he," who is he?
24 A. Without referring to the documents, I cannot remember his name.
25 However, when it was brought up later on in cease-fire negotiations and
1 incidents that followed on the HVO did admit that he was a soldier.
2 Q. He was an HVO soldier?
3 A. Yes, he was an HVO soldier.
4 Q. Now if you could take the bundle of exhibits again and if you
5 could look at Exhibit 759. Now, looking first at the first page again,
6 this is again a Cheshire milinfosum as the ones you've been describing
8 A. Yes. When we first deployed we used to do them on these forms
9 before we got computers.
10 Q. And what is the date of this report?
11 A. This one is the 18th of November at 2120 hours.
12 Q. Now, if you could move to page 2, please. And I'm particularly
13 interested in the last -- the bottom part of the second paragraph starting
14 with "In Gornji Vakuf." Could you maybe please read this part going over
15 on the -- on the third page?
16 A. From the third line from the bottom?
17 Q. Yes, starting, "In Gornji Vakuf tensions are reported to be high
18 due to the HVO take over of a building belonging to the Bosnian army."
19 Maybe continuing reading out.
20 A. "This was escalated when a Croat named Rajic Vlatko beheaded a
21 local Muslim with a sheet of glass while drunk and possibly on drugs. The
22 victim was reported to be paraplegic. The Muslims wanted Vlatko to go on
23 trial in Zenica while the HVO said they would put him on trial in Mostar.
24 The Muslims are now reported to have taken 10 Croats prisoner and tensions
25 are still running high."
1 Q. Now, it says that the HVO were going to put this man on trial in
2 Mostar. Was this person in fact taken to Mostar?
3 A. The person was definitely removed from the area and almost
4 certainly was taken to Mostar.
5 Q. And can you briefly describe what the reaction was of Mr. Tokic,
6 the local HVO commander on this incident?
7 A. Could you explain.
8 Q. Well, how -- did you -- when this incident happened, did -- did
9 you or your commanding officer speak with Mr. Tokic about this incident
10 and what was his reaction to this incident?
11 A. The -- when the incident happened, the soldiers from both
12 communities immediately went to arms, and the situation became highly
13 unstable. Our commander in Gornji Vakuf, Major Rule, got the two local
14 commanders into the base and got the situation -- got them to sort the
15 situation out, get the situation back under control and get their soldiers
16 back to barracks and take the guns off the streets.
17 Q. And did that work?
18 A. Yes, it did eventually.
19 Q. Now, could you please look at Exhibit 778. Looking first at the
20 second page of this document. Let me first ask you, have you seen this
21 document before?
22 A. I was shown it yesterday.
23 Q. Okay. And if you now look at the second page of the document.
24 Who is the author of this document?
25 A. This is Zrinko Tokic, the head of the local Ante Starcevic Brigade
1 in Gornji Vakuf.
2 Q. Now, if you could briefly go through this document and -- and tell
3 us if this is indeed the reaction that Tokic had to this particular
5 A. Yes. Both he and the local Muslim commander did not want to fight
6 each other over this, and he was very cooperative in identifying the
7 soldier concerned and that he would stand trial. The only sticking point
8 of the whole thing was that the Muslims wanted him to stand trial in a
9 normal court, and the HVO insisted that he had to be tried in Mostar. But
10 other than that, they did agree that he should be arrested and should
11 stand trial.
12 Q. And this is -- this is it also reflected in the sentence and I'll
13 just read it out on the first page where it says "Military prosecution
14 will institute criminal proceedings against Vlatko Rajic and we strongly
15 believe that the competent Mostar court will determine a just sentence
16 it." Correct? This is in the middle of page 1.
17 A. That's correct, yeah.
18 Q. Now, did this whole incident with Mr. Rajic ever came up again
19 later on?
20 A. When was hostilities of January and early February, 1993, started,
21 during the cease-fire talks to try to stop that, this soldier was reported
22 to be back in the Gornji Vakuf area fighting alongside other HVO soldiers
23 against the armija, and it was continually brought up during the
24 negotiations about why was this soldier here? Why was he not in prison?
25 Q. And how did the HVO respond to those questions as to why this
1 soldier was here?
2 A. They didn't deny that he was there, but other than that, they
3 didn't go into detail.
4 Q. And how did the local commander, Mr. Tokic, react to this?
5 A. He was surprised that the soldier was back.
6 Q. Was the -- any other incident that -- that increased tensions
7 between the Muslims and the Croats in Gornji Vakuf?
8 A. There was an incident with a school that was being used as a
10 Q. Can you go into a bit more detail? When you say a school being
11 used as barracks, by whom was this school used?
12 A. It was initially used by both sides and then the HVO took it over
13 completely, and that became a -- that caused some problems which were then
14 exacerbated by the HVO holding a flag-raising ceremony during which a
15 Muslim policeman was shot.
16 Q. Why was this Muslim -- why was this Muslim police officer shot at
17 this flag-raising incident?
18 A. As they raised the Bosnian Croat flag, the policeman fired a shot
19 over the top of it in protest and was himself in turn shot. It was a bit
20 of a propaganda exercise by the HVO in that a TV crew from Croatian TV in
21 Split had been brought up specifically to film the flag-raising ceremony.
22 Q. Was this something abnormal for a media crew to come over for a
23 flag-raising ceremony?
24 A. You would not expect a TV crew from a foreign country to come and
25 watch the raising of a flag outside a school.
1 Q. And was this flag raising in fact later on broadcasted on Croat
3 A. We were informed that it had been shown on television and that it
4 also had been used as propaganda and that the Croats had burnt their own
5 flag but claimed that the Muslims had burnt it, which wasn't true.
6 Q. Now, again, did this increase tensions, this whole flag incident?
7 A. Yes, again the tensions increased.
8 Q. And what was Mr. Tokic's reaction to this incident? Because I
9 presume you sat around the table again with the local commanders to
10 diffuse the tension?
11 A. Again, there was a meeting with the two local commanders and Major
12 Rule, and again they managed to stop the situation spiraling out of
14 Q. Could I ask you to look at Exhibit --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At this kind of meeting, did you
16 attend this kind of meeting?
17 THE WITNESS: These sort of meetings between the local commanders
18 and Major Rule went on at the base every few days or so. Some meetings I
19 attended. Most meetings I had some sort of little bit in, and some
20 meetings I had no attendance in at all.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In those cases where you did
22 attend the meeting, what was your feeling about it? The local commanders
23 who were there, did these people have a -- personally have room to
24 manoeuvre, or did they always have to refer back to their superiors? What
25 was your feeling about these meetings? I'm -- what I'm interested in is
1 to know how much room to manoeuvre these local commanders had, or did they
2 only adopt a position by referring to their superior command?
3 THE WITNESS: Initially during the early part of our tour such as
4 this particular moment in time, the local commanders used to sort it out
5 between themselves with the assistance of Major Rule. They were -- both
6 of the local commanders knew each other and tried whenever their soldiers
7 were starting to become a problem, they did actually try to stop it. Very
8 rarely did they have to -- at this stage, did they ever ask a higher level
9 or were constrained by a higher level in what at the did or said.
10 However, as I'm sure the Prosecutor will show later, that changed.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are speculating now on what
12 the Prosecution is going to demonstrate.
13 Let me give you an example of something you're very familiar with.
14 This Muslim mentally retarded person who was beheaded, this was a very
15 serious case. The local commander with who you must have certainly
16 discussed this incident, this local commander, was he able to handle the
17 situation on his own, or was it something that was totally out of his
18 control and that he had to refer back to the superior command? I want to
19 know what degree of autonomy these local commanders had vis-a-vis their
21 THE WITNESS: The diffusing of the situation and the removal of
22 their troops back to barracks would have been done at the local level. As
23 to exactly where the soldier would go to stand trial, there would be input
24 from higher authority.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to the law that
1 governs an army, when a military person commits a crime of this kind, this
2 person will be tried by a military court, and when there is a conflict,
3 can the local commander not set up this military tribunal? Why did this
4 person have to be sent to Mostar?
5 THE WITNESS: His -- his presence in the town was making the
6 situation worse, so he had to be removed from the town. The Muslims
7 wanted him to go to Zenica to stand trial, and the HVO would only accept
8 Mostar. But he had to leave the town because his presence there was
9 making the situation worse.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for having specified
12 It will now be time to have our technical break. It is now 20 to
13 4.00, and we shall resume at 4.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 4.02 p.m.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. Mr.
18 MR. BOS: Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Williams, could you look at Exhibit 1068. We left off talking
20 about the flag incident, and I just want you to -- you have that exhibit
21 in front of you, 1068?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. It's a difficult to read. If you look at the front page -- but if
24 you see what the date of this report is?
25 A. I can just make out that it is sometime in January, 1992. It may
1 be the 6th, I think. I'm not sure because it's blurred.
2 Q. Okay. Let's go for 6th January. If you look at the third
3 paragraph on the first page. Is -- does that describe the incident that
4 you just testified before the break?
5 A. Yes, that describes the incident.
6 Q. Now, from that day onwards, so we're talking about 6th of January,
7 1993, what happened in the days following this flag incident?
8 A. There was a noticeable fracture between the commands of the local
9 HVO and the local armija. Although the situation diffused slightly, it
10 never diffused back to the level it was before.
11 Q. And in your optic -- so you said hostilities increased. In your
12 optic, who was the main instigator in these hostilities?
13 A. In my opinion it was the HVO.
14 Q. If you could look at Exhibit --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. The
16 third paragraph of the document that you have in front of you, it says
17 that the commanders could calm the situation down and most of the -- were
18 able to calm the situation down and that most of the soldiers returned
19 back to barracks.
20 Now, in Gornji Vakuf, the HVO, were their barracks there? Did the
21 HVO have barracks there in Gornji Vakuf.
22 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour, they did, their main barracks in
23 Gornji Vakuf. Their main headquarters was in a factory complex right next
24 to where we were, and they had soldiers billeted in various buildings
25 around the town.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And the ABiH, where were they?
2 THE WITNESS: Their -- Your Honour, their headquarters was in the
3 town, and then they had soldiers billeted around the town, many of whom
4 were married and lived in their homes with their families. The same as
5 the HVO.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The married people, they would
7 go back home every night, and those who weren't married stayed on in the
8 barracks? How did that function? Is that how it worked? Is that how the
9 local commander had things?
10 THE WITNESS: By and large, Your Honour, that's how it operated.
11 They were locally-raised brigades, and when -- they seemed to be through a
12 cycle of some of them being on the front line, some of them being prepared
13 ready to rotate through the front line and some who stood down on a lower
14 level with their families.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for giving me that
16 explanation, because it's a subject that was raised several times
18 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Witness, could you please look at Exhibit 1094. Looking at the
20 first page of the document, Witness, this is again a Cheshire milinfosum?
21 A. Yes, Your Honour. This is from the 11th of January, 1993.
22 Q. Now, I would like you to focus your attention on the last page of
23 this report, which is page number 4. And could you please read out what
24 has been written on this page.
25 A. On page 4 is a comment on the report on the previous page.
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. It says: "The situation in Gornji Vakuf has been extremely tense
3 for some time now, and it was believed inevitable that conflicts would
4 start sooner or later. Novi Travnik is still extremely tense and the
5 chances of a conflict between the Croats and the Muslims there is very
6 high. This could again spill over to Vitez as well, as stated in
7 milinfosum," that's military information summary, "number 71 dated the
8 10th of January, 1993. The situation is not helped by the arrival of HVO
9 soldiers from Herzegovina who seem intent on antagonising the situation
10 and starting trouble. Comment ends."
11 Q. Would you have drafted this comment in this particular report?
12 A. The actual report itself that the comment is made on I wrote. The
13 comment is a general comment that -- linking the report -- the two last
14 reports on the previous page and giving an overall interpretation of what
15 it could mean and what could happen if it wasn't brought under control.
16 Q. Now, in that last sentence it talks about the arrival of HVO
17 soldiers from Herzegovina, and this is a report on the 11th of January.
18 What can you say about this?
19 A. This actually refers to Travnik and Novi Travnik, and it actually
20 refers to a unit called the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade.
21 Q. And -- so you say it talks about -- it talks about the unit
22 arriving in Novi Travnik, but how would this happen -- have an effect on
23 what's happening in Gornji Vakuf?
24 A. The -- both -- the soldiers in both local forces were very
25 susceptible and suspicious of what went on around them and in areas that
1 bordered on their areas. So if one area destabilised, unless it was
2 brought under control quickly, it would destabilise the next area. So
3 that particular unit arriving in Novi Travnik and the trouble associated
4 with it would then destabilise Gornji Vakuf as well.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm trying to get things clear
6 here, and it's important with relation to the situation in Gornji Vakuf.
7 The commentary, you mentioned several incidents, the flag incident, then
8 the decapitation of the Muslim handicapped person, et cetera. Now, this
9 could have given rise to greater tension, but there could have been more
10 political reasons for that too. The transfer to Gornji Vakuf, other
11 exterior elements might have had a hand. Now you seem to go along that
12 line, because you say with the arrival of soldiers from Herzegovina that
13 the situation was aggravated.
14 So as far as you were concerned -- you have a privileged observer
15 because you were in situ. Now, this rise in tension, was it due to local
16 reasons purely or for reasons from outside with this situation being
17 created outside?
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. There were several factors that
19 were not helping the situation. One was the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, which
20 was slowly but surely being leaked into the media and becoming public
21 knowledge, and part of that peace plan was the cantonisation of Bosnia,
22 which included Gornji Vakuf being handed over to the Bosnian Croats. In
23 addition, there was within the Bosnian Croat community a desire to form a
24 state called Herceg-Bosna, which again was also starting to manifest
25 itself in that they were issuing number plates for cars and things like
1 that. And so the Muslim community in that area felt very threatened by
2 all of this.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And my last question: In
4 military terms, how did you analyse the arrival of the soldiers from
5 Herzegovina? Was there a military necessity for reinforcement by local
6 units? Why did these soldiers from Herzegovina suddenly appear on the
7 scene? What would your comment be about that?
8 THE WITNESS: I don't know the specific reason why that particular
9 unit appeared on the scene, but that particular unit was associated with
10 trouble. They would destabilise an area very quickly by their presence.
11 So whenever it showed up, we became more aware of what was going on around
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now, this unit, did
14 it depend on a chain of command?
15 THE WITNESS: At this particular stage we were in the very early
16 weeks of our deployment. We'd been there approximately about -- by this
17 stage about two months. The -- it appeared to us that the Ludvig Pavlovic
18 Brigade were -- were a commander's reserve. They didn't actually belong
19 to a specific operation zone. They came under the direct control of the
20 headquarters in Mostar and were sent to specific areas for specific
21 operations, either to reinforce a front line if it was under pressure, or
22 to exploit an advance if they'd made an advance, or just to generally
23 bolster up that area for a particular reason. An operational manoeuvre
24 group of sorts.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In English you said a "specific
1 operations." That's the term you used. Now, is that how we should
2 understand this, or should we understand it as being for special missions
3 as well?
4 THE WITNESS: Both, Your Honour. They were a unit that the HVO
5 had who they could quickly put into an area and quickly change the balance
6 of power within that area.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was it an elite unit in a way?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes. It was above the normal HVO, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Can you -- as we are at this, can you indicate
10 the size of the unit more or less?
11 THE WITNESS: You -- yes, Your Honour. You very rarely saw an
12 entire brigade in one -- in one chunk, in fact. I don't recall ever
13 seeing an entire brigade. Most of these brigades were not of the same
14 size as a British army brigade. You would see -- ordinarily when you saw
15 the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade you would see anything from a company to a
17 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honours. The questions of Your Honours
18 have moved me a bit up in my outline. Some of those questions were on the
19 next page of my outline.
20 Q. But just to come back to a couple of answers that you gave in
21 response to Judge Antonetti's questions about the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
22 You've said that the things happening on the ground were also related to
23 what was happening with the negotiations on the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
24 Could you elaborate a little bit on this?
25 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I've tried not to intervene
1 unnecessarily, but I've observed that Mr. Bos has not tried to elicit from
2 this witness what his qualifications are to comment on political or other
3 events that were going on on the ground and the source of his information.
4 I think we may have arrived at the point where that would be desirable if
5 we're going to get into specialised things like the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
6 Perhaps he could explain how the witness is qualified to do that.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness. You broached the
8 Vance-Owen Plan. I didn't mention it when I asked my question. Now, did
9 you have any particular competence or authorisation in Gornji Vakuf which
10 would inform you about developments in Geneva and what was going to be put
11 forward within the Vance-Owen Plan? Did you have information about that?
12 Were you briefed about that in any way? Were you placed in a position
13 where you would be briefed, or was it rumour going around among officers?
14 Did you speak about it or did your unit, BritBat -- was your unit BritBat
15 very well-informed about diplomatic developments in Geneva?
16 THE WITNESS: The -- yes, Your Honour. The Vance-Owen Peace Plan
17 at this stage was becoming public knowledge and was appearing in local
18 newspapers. We used to as well produce a map of Bosnia for various
19 things, and one of the maps that was -- we had a map of the front lines,
20 for instance, and a map that detailed where different headquarters are,
21 and we also had a map that --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] BritBat, your country?
23 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you say "us", do you mean
25 BritBat, your country? The battalion or your country, which of the two?
1 THE WITNESS: Both, Your Honour. As I recall the maps were made
2 by the royal engineers mapping section on behalf of the UN. There was a
3 series of maps based on the outline of Bosnia and one map would have the
4 front line and another map would have different things on. We had one map
5 that showed where the cantons had been proposed. And at this stage it
6 also started appearing in the newspapers which were flown out to us from
7 the UK and we also had regular briefings as part of our orders process,
8 which not only was about the situation in Bosnia, but was also about the
9 political situation behind the scenes.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Murphy, I think that answer
11 satisfies you, does it?
12 MR. MURPHY: Partly, Your Honour, yes. I was also interested in
13 the witness's personal qualifications to comment on these things, but I
14 can get into that in cross-examination if necessary.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As a British officer, did you
16 have any special qualifications in order to be able to understand what --
17 how plan could contribute to the situation and how the negotiations in
18 Geneva could contribute with respect to the problem of cantonisation,
19 population displacement, and so on and so forth.
20 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. I was part of the military
21 intelligence set-up in that -- in Bosnia, and my specific area was Gornji
22 Vakuf. I was -- I received regular briefings and also handed information
23 up the chain of command as well as down. I used to on a regular basis
24 speak to people via interpreters and to gauge their feelings about things.
25 It was -- once the outline of the cantons became public knowledge, the
1 Muslim forces in Gornji Vakuf were adamant that even if President
2 Izetbegovic signed it, they would not hand Gornji Vakuf over to the
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did they tell you or was this a
5 conclusion drawn? Was it the commander of the ABiH who told you that, or
6 was it a synthesis that you made of the general mood and atmosphere that
7 prevailed locally?
8 THE WITNESS: It was a little bit of all of that, Your Honour.
9 The command structure of the -- the town were not happy with the
10 cantonisation. The locals themselves were opposed to it, and it was -- it
11 was a general mood throughout the Muslim population of the town.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic. You've been
13 on your feet several times now.
14 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps we'll save a
15 minute or two. The witness made mention of going to the front line twice,
16 the front lines he said, when he spoke about the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade
17 and in response to your own question about the maps. Perhaps it would be
18 a good idea, because I know from previous witness testimony, that quite
19 obviously he means the separation lines between the army of Republika
20 Srpska and the HVO and ABiH together on one side. So could we just verify
21 that? Otherwise, we're going to have to lose time during the cross.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Could you be more precise,
23 because a moment ago when you showed us the map and you mentioned a front
24 line, I was going to ask you who was behind that front line. So for the
25 record, could you be more specific? The front line, it was facing
1 Republika Srpska or was there a second front line between the ABiH and
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. At this stage when -- when I
4 refer to the front line, I mean the front line between the Bosnian Serb
5 army and the HVO and the armija Bosnia on the other side.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that's how I understood it
7 as well, but you've explained it properly now.
8 Mr. Bos, please proceed.
9 MR. BOS: Thank you.
10 Q. Just -- just one other question on -- on the Vance-Owen Peace
11 Plan. You've stated -- you've spoken about the reaction of the local
12 Muslims to the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. What was the reaction of the local
13 HVO and the HVO in general to the Vance-Owen Peace Plan on the ground?
14 A. Sorry, I butted in too soon. They were supportive of it. They
15 saw it as a good thing locally. They were -- but then they were going to
16 be given control of that canton, so they would.
17 Q. Could you please look at Exhibit 1087. Have you seen this
18 document before, Mr. Williams?
19 A. I was shown it yesterday.
20 Q. Who is the author of the document?
21 A. It is Serb brigadier Milivoj Petkovic.
22 Q. Do you know who he is?
23 A. He's Chief of Staff of the HVO and he was based in Mostar.
24 Q. Did you ever meet Mr. Petkovic?
25 A. Very vaguely, once or twice, but not a face-to-face introduction
1 or anything like that. I was present at places where he was.
2 Q. What's the date of this order?
3 A. It is the 9th of January, 1993.
4 Q. And what was this order about?
5 A. This -- this -- in the British army this would be a stand-to
6 order. Basically it's an instruction to all operations zones that in view
7 of the forthcoming talks in Geneva, he's ordering them to step up their
8 combat readiness.
9 Q. And when there is reference here "In view to the forthcoming talks
10 of Geneva," what is this order referring to here now?
11 A. He's talking about the -- when he mentioned forthcoming talks in
12 Geneva, he's referring to the Vance-Owen Peace Plan.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One question leads to another.
14 The Prosecution has presented you with an order where we can see that
15 General Petkovic is asking for three men to be placed in a high position
16 in military terms. Now, BritBat, did you have a liaison officer with the
17 HVO to liaise with the HVO?
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. We had liaison officers all over
19 the country who liaised with local commanders on both sides and in the
20 areas where they could also with the Serbs.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And who was your liaison officer
22 vis-a-vis the HVO commander?
23 THE WITNESS: Here in Gornji Vakuf our -- our liaison officer at
24 this stage was Captain Mike Hughes.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, an order of
1 that level, because it came from Mostar from General Petkovic himself,
2 would your liaison officer know the existence of an order of this kind
3 even if it was confidential, but would this type of document come to the
4 ears of a liaison officer who was doing his work in the field?
5 THE WITNESS: Almost certainly not, Your Honour. This would be a
6 highly confidential document within the HVO. Like it says on the
7 document, "Military secret."
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But when an army is
9 reinforcing, there's signs, are there not? If an observer is there, an
10 intelligence officer, would there be grounds for you to conclude that
11 something was afoot, something was happening? So in situ in Gornji Vakuf,
12 did you observe a note as of the 9th of January, 1993, a sort of
13 mobilisation or HVO reinforcement either because they were calling in
14 reservists or because they were not granting any more permission to leave
15 or logistical elements arriving? I don't want to go into military
16 technology, but did you yourself note that something was afoot, that
17 something was being prepared?
18 THE WITNESS: We knew from the previous incidents the reaction
19 from the local forces to that, that the situation between the two allies
20 or nominal allies was highly unstable. With the constant -- within Gornji
21 Vakuf, with them constantly going to arms with each other, it would have
22 been very difficult to notice that this document was causing a
23 reinforcement. Any reinforcements that were going on we would have
24 assumed was because of local problems.
25 As for the logistics and the movement of troops and lorries with
1 ammunition and such like, the main route into Central Bosnia, as I said
2 earlier, was through Gornji Vakuf, and it was -- there was a constant flow
3 of traffic back and to, so you would not necessarily have noticed that
4 they were actually reinforcing to do anything.
5 The -- for instance, the presence of the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade
6 that we were talking about earlier may well be linked to this document,
7 but without a direct link you can't actually say that.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Bos.
9 MR. BOS:
10 Q. On page 44 of the transcript, which is about 10 minutes ago, I
11 suppose, on line 23, 24, when -- when you were posed the question by the
12 Presiding Judge about the political reasons why the HVO would have started
13 non-military operation in Gornji Vakuf, you said that there was a desire
14 to form a state called Herceg-Bosna. Do you recall saying this?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Now, was -- was this political desire to form this -- this state,
17 was this something which was initiated from the local government, or was
18 this initiated from a more --
19 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, how can the witness possibly answer that
20 question? I object. I object to that. It calls for speculation.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you should have asked
22 him before that whether he was qualified in any way to understand
23 political issues, local political issues, I mean.
24 MR. BOS:
25 Q. Witness, did you know anything about the local HVO politicians
1 operating in Gornji Vakuf?
2 A. Very little. I tended to concentrate more on the military side.
3 Q. And when you said that -- when you just said on page 44 that --
4 that there was a desire to form a state called Herceg-Bosna, what made you
5 say this?
6 A. There were complaints from the Muslim population to our commander
7 that the HVO were making them change number plates, not specifically in
8 our area, more from Prozor and the areas beyond that, to a number plate
9 with a Herceg-Bosna shield on as opposed to the armija -- sorry, as
10 opposed to the shield of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that they
11 were also demanding that when they passed through certain checkpoints that
12 they had a visa to do so, which could actually only be obtained from the
13 HVO office, which in ...
14 Q. Witness, could you please look at Exhibit 1184. Have you seen
15 this document before?
16 A. No. Well, I saw it yesterday, but before then, no.
17 Q. And just -- could you maybe look at page 2 and tell us what is the
18 date of this document.
19 A. The document is dated the 18th of January, 1993.
20 Q. And moving back to page number 1, who is the author of this
22 A. Dr. Jadranko Prlic.
23 Q. Do you know who Mr. Prlic was?
24 A. Other than he was a politician, I'm afraid I don't know at what
1 Q. Now, looking at this document, would that confirm your statement
2 that there -- that political influence from Prozor and outside the area
3 were -- were relevant as to this -- as to your statement that the desire
4 to form a state called Herceg-Bosna was --
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object, Your Honour, this time. I've
6 been very patient today, and I've been holding back my fire, but this --
7 this goes beyond the pale. How can you draw that sort of conclusion, not
8 to mention that it is also leading. I mean, if I could give my friend a
9 suggestion, it might be that he could show the document and say, "What
10 from the document can you derive?" You know, but then to lead and suggest
11 what the answer should be so the gentleman can just say, "Well, yes, I
12 guess so. I don't know." He doesn't have the foundation. The gentleman
13 does not have the proper knowledge to answer that question. It's leading,
14 and I believe that the witness has been poisoned to the extent with the
15 leading nature of the question that he can no longer give us an objective
16 answer at this point in time.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, try to address this
18 issue in a less questionable way if you find this document of any interest
19 to you.
20 MR. BOS:
21 Q. Witness, could you please read the document and tell us what you
22 would conclude from this document?
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that this
24 question is even less proper. The witnesses aren't here to make
25 conclusions unless we're dealing with expert witnesses, but to tell us the
1 facts, to address the facts.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you have a document
3 here that comes from the president of the HVO and which is addressed to
4 Gornji Vakuf, i.e., to the military authority there, to the municipal
5 authorities, but also to the population at large. I read here that the
6 population must be informed about what this document contains. You also
7 said that you were in contact with the people there.
8 According to what you know, around the date at which this document
9 was prepared, around the 19th or the 20th of January, did the people in
10 Gornji Vakuf get to know about this document? If that was the case, was
11 it something that you were informed about?
12 And the second part of my question is this: Does this document
13 and what it contains tell you with what you knew was happening on the
14 ground at the time?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. Firstly, I don't know whether the
16 Croat community in Gornji Vakuf were told the contents of this document,
17 and it was nothing I was -- as a result, I was not informed about it.
18 The document itself reinforces the general mood of what was going
19 on on the ground at the time. Basically saying if you -- that the -- the
20 HVO would protect the Croat community in that area, and if need be, they
21 would reinforce it from outside.
22 MR. BOS:
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Williams. Let's move on to another topic.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I guess I don't want to move on at this point since
25 the gentleman did bring it out. There is something to the extent -- it
1 says here about being left to the mercy of the Muslim extremists. Perhaps
2 the gentleman might be able to assist us. Were there any Muslim
3 extremists such as the Mujahedin in the area?
4 MR. BOS: This is subject for cross-examination, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I saw this sentence also
6 and I was tempted to ask you that question, but given our time constraints
7 I refrained from it.
8 Yes, Mr. Karnavas would like some clarification about this. This
9 document clearly states and clearly talks about Muslim extremists. What
10 does this mean? Why are Muslim extremists mentioned here? The Defence
11 counsel would like to know whether these Muslim extremists weren't in fact
13 THE WITNESS: Yes, I understand, Your Honour. In our particular
14 area, there were no Mujahedin. There were -- there was an extremist
15 brigade in the Muslim army. As I recall, it was the 7th Muslim Brigade,
16 but that was not deployed in our area.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You say that the 7th Muslim
18 Brigade was extremist. Why was that the case? According to what criteria
19 do you say this?
20 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. It carried with it a number of
21 external Muslim fighters that had come from other Muslim countries. The
22 Muslim army itself, the armija, had problems with that particular brigade
23 themselves. Bosnian Muslims are European. They're not like Muslims from
24 other -- from some of the more extreme Islamic states which is where some
25 of these fighters had come from, and they were a constant thorn in the
1 side of the actual armija itself.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 MR. BOS:
4 Q. We now can move to a separate topic, a new topic, which is the
5 military -- the strategic military reasons for the HVO to attack Gornji
6 Vakuf, and for that I would like you to look at one of the maps which is
7 map number 24 in the bundle which is on the overhead projector. And maybe
8 again, if you wish, you could mark the map, but could you briefly explain
9 what the HVO was trying to achieve from a strategic military point of view
10 when they started the attack on Gornji Vakuf?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, I have to object. I don't mean to disrupt,
12 but if we could lay a foundation as to this particular question, because
13 it assumes, first, that the gentleman knows what the HVO's intentions
14 were. Now, he can give us a foundation as to the strategic importance of
15 the area, which obviously would cut both ways, both for the Muslims and
16 for the Croats, and then he can proceed from thereon step-by-step.
17 MR. BOS: Your Honours, this witness monitored the situation on a
18 daily basis during the conflict, and I think he is able to talk about
19 these matters. And if the Defence wishes, so we can first start on a more
20 general point of view asking -- putting the question as to why Gornji
21 Vakuf municipality was an important municipality, but I think he can also
22 talk about more -- in more detail as regards to what the HVO was trying to
23 achieve in Gornji Vakuf.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. In military terms, in what
25 way was Gornji Vakuf and its surroundings of strategic importance for the
1 HVO? What was at stake here?
2 THE WITNESS: The actual town itself sat -- sat astride the only
3 supply routes up into Central Bosnia from this -- from the southern part
4 of Croatia and from Herzegovina. The main road running into the country
5 through Tomislavgrad on to Prozor was under HVO control. From Prozor up
6 towards -- up to the Makljen checkpoint which was a checkpoint on top of a
7 hill between Gornji Vakuf and Prozor was under HVO control. The town of
8 Gornji Vakuf and the road junction where the track went up into Central
9 Bosnia and the road went up into Bugojno was open to -- open to being
10 closed by whoever controlled the town of Gornji Vakuf. If you controlled
11 Gornji Vakuf, you controlled access to the whole of that part of Bosnia.
12 If it was the armija that controlled Gornji Vakuf, they could cut
13 the aid going into the Croat community. They could stop the HVO in
14 Central Bosnia from being reinforced or resupplied. If the HVO controlled
15 it, they could do likewise.
16 MR. BOS:
17 Q. Witness, you spoke about two routes that were important. Would
18 you maybe be able to make a drawing of those two routes that went through
19 Gornji Vakuf?
20 A. The first route was a proper main road that went from Gornji
21 Vakuf. It went from Gornji Vakuf up to the town of Bugojno, and this was
22 a proper road, tarmacked, two lanes. The second --
23 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, but would you continue that route passing
24 Gornji Vakuf going to the south?
25 A. It went down to Prozor, through the Makljen checkpoint, which is
2 Q. Okay. That will be sufficient. And then this -- this second
4 A. The second route was a bulldozed track that went through the hills
5 and the local name for it was the "Road to Salvation" and it went off in
6 that general direction up into Central Bosnia to Vitez and Travnik.
7 Q. Who controlled this second route?
8 A. Nobody actual little controlled it as such because it passed
9 through both Croat and Muslim areas, and there were both HVO and armija
10 checkpoints on that route. But if you controlled Gornji Vakuf, then you
11 could control that route because quite simply you could close it.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're saying that because of
13 the road situation the HVO felt that this entire area was of strategic
14 importance to them, and that would justify that. Would there be any other
15 reasons? Would there be any other reasons?
16 THE WITNESS: It was explained to me once by an HVO officer, Your
17 Honour. I can't recall which HVO officer it was, but they had name. You
18 would have to look at a bigger map of Bosnia. In the centre of Bosnia
19 were the Croat communities Vitez, Busovaca, places like that. Surrounding
20 them were Muslim communities such as Zenica and whatever. They called --
21 that particular officer referred to that as the Belt of Islam, and they
22 needed to punch a route through the Belt of Islam and link up all the
23 Croat communities in one continuous chain.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you look at the map, the
25 one you've got before you, you can see there are some red dots and some
1 green dots on there. In green are the Muslim community. The red dots
2 represent the Croat communities. An observer could easily see that in the
3 Muslim communities. In the mostly Muslim communities, we have a lot of
4 Croat communities. Was this something which could have been considered
5 when preparing a military operation?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. You would need to address that
7 situation particularly for the security of your own rear areas.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're saying that given a --
9 the people living in these communities, the -- you had to exert control
10 over those communities which were not majority communities, so to speak.
11 The HVO had no interest in controlling those communities which are in
12 green on the map, namely Gornji Vakuf.
13 THE WITNESS: At that particular moment in time, Your Honour, no,
14 because the route was open. But the situation deteriorated rapidly.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Another aspect which you do not
16 talk about: Now, the ABiH army, as far as the breakdown of the army was
17 concerned, the BiH was in the same situation as the HVO? They were short
18 on numbers also? How did you analyse the situation at the time in terms
19 of military strength on the ground?
20 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. Both -- when they referred to a
21 brigade, it was not as big as a British army brigade. It would be about
22 the size of a reinforced battle group in British army parlance. Both
23 sides were underequipped. However, the armija was more underequipped than
24 the HVO.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, the ABiH was in
1 a position of inferiority in strictly military terms.
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. Locally, numerically, they were
3 about evenly matched, but the HVO had more access to heavy weaponry than
4 the armija did.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, please proceed. We
6 might get back to this issue later on in the day.
7 MR. BOS: Yes, Your Honours.
8 Q. Just -- Witness, maybe could you have a look at Exhibit 1104.
9 Looking at the front page, what kind of document is this?
10 A. Again, this is the battalion military information summary. It's a
11 bit hard to see in the English version, but it's from the 12th of January,
13 Q. Would you please move to page 2, and I would like you to refer to
14 the top paragraph, and could you please read out the -- what is it, in
15 line seven where it starts with "Comment."
16 A. "The HVO appear to have effectively sealed the north and south
17 routes out of Gornji Vakuf. The only route which is now accessible to the
18 BiH," that's the armija, "is the route north-east to Novi Travnik."
19 Q. Now, going back again to the map on the ELMO, and this is the 12th
20 of January, can you explain what the HVO was trying to do around that time
21 when it says here that they were effectively sealing off the north and the
22 south routes? What were they doing?
23 A. By sealing the southern route, you guarantee your own rear
24 security, and by sealing the northern route you prevent reinforcements
25 coming from Muslim units or armija units up in Bugojno, Novi Travnik,
1 Travnik area from coming down into the Gornji Vakuf area. Although you
2 wouldn't be able to stop them coming through on foot, you would be able to
3 stop any big movements by vehicle.
4 Q. Now, could you next look at Exhibit 1209, please. Have you seen
5 this document before?
6 A. I was shown it yesterday.
7 Q. What's the date of the document?
8 A. It is dated the 19th of January, 1993.
9 Q. And who is the author of the document?
10 A. It's commander Zeljko Siljeg, who is the commander of OPs on
11 North-west Herzegovina.
12 Q. Do you know commander Siljeg?
13 A. Not personally, but, yes, I do know him. I've met him several
14 times. More than several times.
15 Q. We'll get back to that. Just on the point we're discussing right
16 now, if you look at the start of the reports, the first -- read the six --
17 the first six lines.
18 A. "As we informed you today in an interim report, we have moved on
19 to offensive operations. Some key facilities south of the town of Gornji
20 Vakuf were taken: Mackovac Brdo, the relay. So that the towns were
21 almost encircled. So to each village in -- Buvnjaci village, settlement
22 were also taken. We have unintelligible village which is in tomorrow's
23 plan surrounded; Gornji Hrasnica is taken, Duratbegov and Drazov Dolac are
24 surrounded. There are destructive operations in other villages."
25 Q. Okay, you can stop there. It talks about a number of villages and
1 let me first say, between brackets it says, the Mackovac Brdo and the
2 relay. Now, do you know what's been referred to as the "relay"?
3 A. Yes, the relay is a hill that looks over Gornji Vakuf on the
4 south-west corner, about here.
5 Q. Could you maybe mark that with your pencil and maybe put an R
7 A. [Marks] It's a very prominent hill. It's called the relay
8 because it has a disused big radio mast on it.
9 Q. What is the importance of the hill?
10 A. Gornji Vakuf is in a valley. The hill is quite large and
11 overlooks most of the town. If you were on top of the hill, it -- with
12 direct fire weapons it's very easy to dominate the southern half of the
13 town completely.
14 Q. Now, it talks here about a couple of villages here in this report
15 as well. It talks about Zdrimci, Gornja Hrasnica and in fact in the
16 fourth line where it says "illegible village". Could you please have a
17 look at the B/C/S version of this document and look at line four. Are you
18 able to read what is -- what is missed by the -- by the translator? It's
19 on line 4, the last word?
20 A. Salodrica [phoen], something like that.
21 Q. Now, these villages that I refer to here, so this is Zdrimci and
22 this is Uzricje and Hrasnica. Can you locate those villages here on the
24 A. Zdrimci is this village here. Hrasnica is here.
25 Q. They've become unreadable since you've marked -- made other
1 markings. Okay. Thank you.
2 Now, what would be the importance for the HVO to take control over
3 these villages?
4 A. They overlooked the roads, and so even though they -- the HVO may
5 control the road, it would still be able for the armija to fire down onto
6 the roads. So if you wanted to secure the road properly, you would need
7 to secure an area each side of the road to -- at least as far out as
8 small-arms fire to prevent interdiction on the roads.
9 Q. Thank you. I'd like to move again to a different topic again.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before you address another
11 topic, I'd like to talk about this document again.
12 This report which follows on an interim report is -- is addressed
13 to Siljeg who must be on the ground. I realise that he sends this to the
14 HVO, to the Operational Zone, north-west Operational Zone, but I also see
15 that a forward command post is mentioned here also. According to what you
16 know, was there a forward command post, an IKM, which controlled the
17 entire military operation?
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. There was a forward command post,
19 what we call a Tac HQ which was located in a village called Pidris, which
20 is --
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And how did you know that? How
22 did you know that there was this forward command post there?
23 THE WITNESS: The actual reason how we knew it was there I can't
24 remember, but that's where it was and we used to collect Colonel Siljeg
25 from near there when we used to take him down to his cease-fire talks.
1 Also, as I recall, it came -- the information that it was actually at
2 Pidris came from the armija, who had debriefed locals who had been moved
3 out of that area. However, I can't -- I can't hand and heart say
4 specifically that's where the information came from, but that's where his
5 Tac HQ was.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. BOS:
8 Q. Witness, around the time that the hostilities had broken out, did
9 you recall attending a meeting where the HVO issued some sort of
11 A. There were cease-fire negotiations on virtually an ongoing basis
12 where cease-fires were promised and within minutes it broke down or never
13 came into effect at all. The longer this particular conflict went on, the
14 higher up the people who attended these cease-fire conflicts seemed to be.
15 The particular one, I think, to which you're referring, it was a
16 delegation from Mostar, and also present was I believe Colonel Merdan
17 and -- from the armija and also a major from Zenica, his security officer,
18 Selmo Cikotic.
19 Q. I'll just interrupt you there. When you say a delegation from
20 Mostar, who does this delegation represent?
21 A. There were three or four people from Mostar, I think, one of which
22 was a gentleman called Colonel Andric.
23 Q. But who were they representing?
24 A. They were representing the HVO.
25 Q. So you said there was a gentleman called Colonel Andric. Was
1 there anybody else from this group of four that you remember?
2 A. I -- I cannot specifically recall any of the names of the others
3 or exactly how many of them there were. Colonel Siljeg may have been
4 there, but I can't recall. There were that many meetings that were going
5 on to try to stop this.
6 Q. When did this meeting start?
7 A. It started in -- as I recall, it started probably either just
8 before or just after lunch.
9 Q. What was the topic at the meeting? What was the -- why was --
10 A. It was to try to defuse the situation and to get external soldiers
11 from both sides removed from the area. At this stage, our aid convoys had
12 stopped up into Central Bosnia, and our prime concern was to get that
13 route back open and get the aid back into Central Bosnia.
14 Q. Do you recall the date of this meeting?
15 A. I can't specifically recall it other than it is -- it was in
16 January. Possibly after the middle of January, but I can't be specific.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've just spoken about a
18 convoy stopped in Central Bosnia. Where was it stopped? What locality
19 was that, if you remember?
20 THE WITNESS: All of the convoys had stopped, Your Honour. There
21 were no aid convoys going in and none coming out. They were -- as Gornji
22 Vakuf was the only way in and out, the lot had stopped, so there was to
23 aid being delivered into Central Bosnia and no empty aid lorries coming
24 out to be reloaded.
25 MR. BOS:
1 Q. Could you explain what happened at this meeting?
2 A. The meeting dragged on for most of the day. I wasn't present
3 through all of the meeting, but it dragged on through most of the day.
4 Basically, the HVO was stalling and stalling and being more belligerent.
5 At the -- the meeting was ended by the HVO when Colonel Andric read out an
6 ultimatum informing the Colonel Merdan from the armija and all the other
7 people that were at the meeting that unless the Muslims disarmed they had
8 two brigades ready to attack the town.
9 Q. And what was the reaction of the other participants at the meeting
10 on reading out of this ultimatum?
11 A. Everybody was a bit shocked, because although the situation was
12 bad and there were exchanges of gunfire and the HVO had cut the town off,
13 nobody expected them to decide that they were going to attack the town
15 Q. And how did the outcome of this meeting affect the situation on
16 the ground in Gornji Vakuf in the following days?
17 A. The -- the meeting broke up there on the spot because there was
18 not a lot more that could be said. Colonel Merdan from the armija was
19 very upset. He actually thought that they would lose the town. He didn't
20 think his own men would be able to hold it.
21 Our concern was how long would the fighting go on, because we
22 needed to get the aid moving again because it was winter. And also, the
23 safety of the civilian population, which had swollen because of refugees
24 moving into the town, how were they going to be secured.
25 Q. Now --
1 A. And --
2 Q. Go ahead.
3 A. And then the following day it just -- it stepped up and stepped up
4 until -- and the attack started.
5 Q. So when you stay it stepped up and stepped up until the attack
6 started, who started an attack, and when was this? How many days after
7 this -- this meeting?
8 A. The attack was -- there was fighting at a low level going on all
9 the time, exchanges of gunfire, exchanges of rocket -- RPG fire and things
10 like that. What really signalled the start of it was the artillery fire,
11 artillery and heavy mortar fire that suddenly started being fired by the
12 HVO, and a general increase in the firing of -- of other weapons as well.
13 Q. And when did this happen, after the meeting, and because you --
14 can you give an indication in time?
15 A. As I recall, it started properly the following day. I don't
16 recall exactly when it started, but it would probably have been in the
17 early morning.
18 Q. Witness, I'm going to show you a series of documents that relate
19 to this particular meeting you've just been talking about, and I would
20 first like you to look at Exhibit 1163. Just on the front page, what kind
21 of document is this?
22 A. Again this is a Cheshire Regiment military info summary from the
23 16th of January, 1993.
24 Q. Could you move to page 3, and I'll read it out. Is it correct
25 that in the last paragraph you -- of -- of this report, the text of the
1 ultimatum as it's been read out is reported in this report?
2 A. Yes, this is how it was recorded.
3 Q. And who recorded this -- this particular text in this report?
4 A. This particular text is -- I -- I wrote it down in English
5 following a translation from one of our translators that was in the base.
6 Q. Let me just ask you a question on the text of this -- of this
7 ultimatum. Let me read out the last sentence on page 3, which is the
8 following: "The Bosnian media is to report the following in its bulletin:
9 A list of the months that it should be reported that the HVO shelled no
10 one and did not burn any houses and that all these actions were carried
11 out by the Muslims."
12 Now, was this actually the situation on the ground at the time?
13 A. No. The exact reverse.
14 Q. Now, after the -- after the text of the ultimatum there's --
15 there's a comment, and maybe you could read out that comment.
16 A. The comment says: "The BiH," that refers to the armija, "have
17 stated that they cannot agree to all the demands. The HVO do not appear
18 to be willing to negotiate their demands. Therefore an escalation of the
19 conflict seems inevitable."
20 Q. Now, that was a conclusion that was drawn by -- by UNPROFOR at the
22 A. It was drawn by everybody who was present in the room, the armija,
23 the HVO, and UNPROFOR.
24 Q. Let me just move to another document, which is Exhibit 1162.
25 Witness, have you seen this document before?
1 A. I was shown it yesterday.
2 Q. And just looking at the last page, who is the author of the
4 A. Again Colonel Siljeg from OP zone North-west Herzegovina.
5 Q. And to whom is the document addressed?
6 A. To the main staff of the HVO Croatian defence council in Mostar
7 and to his own headquarters in Tomislavgrad.
8 Q. What is the date of the document?
9 A. 16th of January.
10 Q. Could I refer you to the last paragraph on the second page.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Would the text -- and we don't have to read it out, but what has
13 been written there, would this have been in reference to the meeting
14 you've been talking about?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And if you just go to the last page of the document. Could you
17 read out what's -- what's been recorded there?
18 A. It says: "General Praljak sent them a message that they will be
19 annihilated if they do not accept the decisions of the HZ BH."
20 Q. Do you know who General Praljak was?
21 A. I'm afraid I don't.
22 Q. We could then move to Exhibit 1182, please.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before we move on to the
24 exhibit, would you look at page 2 of the document, please, and it refers
25 to the Kralj Tomislav Brigade and then the Rama Brigade, and I note that
1 tanks were mentioned. Now, you yourself, did you see any tanks in the
3 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. It refers here to the Kralj
4 Tomislav Brigade. They're from Tomislavgrad as it states there. And the
5 next brigade down, the Rama brigade is the Prozor brigade. The T-55
6 battle tank that they refer to in the third line that moved from Mount
7 Makljen to Mount Crni Vrh or however you pronounce it. Mount Makljen is
8 the Makljen checkpoint I indicated earlier on which is down here. The
9 actual T-55 tank, like most soldiers who have tanks, they give each tank a
10 name, and this particular tank was called Tvigi, and we knew it quite
11 well. And as a result of the names they used to give their vehicles, we
12 used to be able to track them.
13 MR. BOS:
14 Q. Just a follow-up question on this. Did only the --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: Just a minute. [Interpretation] You said that
16 the tank's name was Twiggy. Did you know it?
17 THE WITNESS: It was -- it was Tvigi, Your Honour, T-v-i-g-i. It
18 was painted on the side of the turret in white letters about eight or nine
19 inches high.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This tank was well known in the
21 region was it?
22 THE WITNESS: It was by us, Your Honour. As you came off the
23 Makljen checkpoint and around the bend in the road going down towards
24 Prozor, you used to be able to see down into the main headquarters of the
25 HVO there and you would regularly see the tank either there or up on the
1 Makljen checkpoint.
2 MR. BOS:
3 Q. Did the HVO have any more tanks between Tvigi?
4 A. There was an M-48 old American tank that they had on the hill
5 above Prozor. We never actually saw that tank move, and we were led to
6 believe that when we saw it in different locations it was actually towed
7 there, and it didn't actually work. The engine in it didn't actually work
8 but the gun still did. And you used to see other armoured fighting
9 vehicles. They had a BRDM 2 which is a type of four-wheeled armoured
10 reconnaissance vehicle, Soviet, and the name of that one was James Dean.
11 Q. Did the armija have tanks in the region?
12 A. In our region they didn't have tanks. As far as I'm aware, the
13 nearest tank they had was a T-34 on the outskirts of Zenica, a T-34 being
14 a Soviet World War II tank.
15 Q. Witness, could you take a look at Exhibit 1182, please. Again,
16 top page. What kind of document is this?
17 A. Again it's a Cheshire Regiment military information summary for
18 the 17th of January, 1993.
19 Q. If I could move your particular attention to the second page. The
20 second part of -- of the first paragraph. And you don't have to -- well,
21 just read it for yourself, but would this be the reaction of the Muslims
22 to -- to the ultimatum as -- as it was issued and as you have been
23 describing before?
24 A. Yes. The -- this is from a debrief of the -- the Muslim officers
25 who were there.
1 Q. So it says here that -- that he had been instructed from President
2 Izetbegovic to reject the ultimatum. And this is a report dated the 17th
3 of January. And so does that mean that -- yeah. Does that mean that -- I
4 suppose that means that Izetbegovic has been informed about -- about this
5 ultimatum directly?
6 A. We -- within the base itself at Gornji Vakuf, in the office that I
7 used, we had an INMARSAT, which is a satellite telephone. Whenever the
8 people present at the negotiations in Gornji Vakuf needed to clarify or
9 get permission for things, they used to use the INMARSAT and its
10 associated facts to contact their relevant people.
11 Q. Turning your attention to the third paragraph, which is the
12 comment, and maybe you can read out this comment to the Court, please?
13 A. It says: "The situation in Gornji Vakuf appears to be
14 deteriorating even further with the BiH," that's the armija, "rejection of
15 the HVO demands. It is believed the HVO will try and enforce their
16 demands soon after the deadline which is midnight. The likelihood of some
17 elements of the BiH forces in the Bugojno area moving in to reinforce the
18 BiH in Gornji Vakuf is looking greater. This would demonstrate a
19 considerable escalation of the Muslim-Croat conflict effectively cutting
20 the MSR." The MSR is an abbreviation for main supply route, which is what
21 we called the route, because it was not only the aid convoys but it was
22 our main supply route as well.
23 Q. And would this be the road that you've been marking on the map
24 earlier as well?
25 A. Yes, the MSR into Central Bosnia is this one.
1 Q. Maybe we can look again at the ELMO or the -- yeah. It's -- yeah.
2 If you could just point at -- at the road which is being referred to here?
3 A. The MSR stretched from Vitez or what we referred to as the MSR
4 stretched from Vitez down through Gornji Vakuf, onwards down through
5 Prozor through Tomislavgrad and back to our rear base in Split. The
6 cutting of the MSR would not only stop the aid convoys getting through,
7 but it basically cut the supply line for our main force that was in
8 Central Bosnia as well.
9 Q. Now -- so the assessment made by UNPROFOR on the 17th of January
10 was that there was a considerable escalation was -- was the likely result
11 of -- of this meeting. Did this in fact happen as well?
12 A. Yes, it did.
13 Q. Just one more document on -- on this particular ultimatum, which
14 is Exhibit 1207. And maybe just before we break I'll just show this last
16 What kind of document is this, Mr. Williams?
17 A. This is a BBC press release.
18 Q. Could you just explain, what was the position of UNPROFOR BritBat
19 relating as far as media was concerned and especially international media?
20 A. Our command -- our overall commanding officer, Colonel Stewart,
21 had a policy that the press could go where they liked and speak to who
22 they wanted to, and if they couldn't get to where they wanted to get to,
23 then we would take them in armoured vehicles.
24 Q. Could I point your attention to the second page, and could you
25 please read out the second line on the -- on the -- the last but one
1 paragraph starting with "HVO representative openly threatened"?
2 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I'm not sure what the foundation is for
3 having a witness read from a press report. Perhaps Mr. Bos could clarify
4 that for us.
5 MR. BOS: Well, what I would like to know from this witness is
6 whether what's been reported here, whether he would agree with the
7 assessments that has been made here by the statement of the commander of
8 the 3rd Corps of the BiH army.
9 Q. So could you please read out that sentence?
10 A. Which paragraph again?
11 Q. The one but last paragraph.
12 A. From.
13 Q. With a deadline of 24 hours?
14 A. "A deadline of 24 hours which expires on Sunday, i.e., midnight
15 today was given for these demands which have been approved by the
16 government of the so-called Herceg-Bosna to be fulfilled. Failing this,
17 the HVO leaders have been warned, that they will not be responsible for
18 the possible consequences. HVO representatives openly threatened that
19 they were ready to use all available military might for the realisation of
20 the demands of the ultimatum. The ultimatum which the HVO delivered to
21 the Bosnia-Herzegovina army in Gornji Vakuf last night, the statement of
22 the command of the 3rd Corps of the Bosnia-Herzegovina army says, is only
23 a final example of a well planned and carefully prepared plan which has
24 been realised in the Gornji Vakuf municipality since the 8th of January."
25 Q. Now, my question is: Would you agree with the assessment that has
1 been made here by the commander of the 3rd Corps?
2 A. That is the assessment of the UNPROFOR, yes. In that area.
3 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honours. Maybe it's a good time for a
4 break now.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I have one point of clarification, Mr. President,
6 and that is was the BBC present at the meeting? Is this what the BBC was
7 told by the BritBats UNPROFOR, and they're just regurgitating it here, or
8 was it based on some independent evaluation?
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So, Witness.
10 THE WITNESS: Sorry, Your Honour. To my knowledge the BBC were
11 not present at the meeting. We did have a never ending stream of
12 reporters from all news agencies moving back and through Gornji Vakuf and
13 when this particular incident was going on marooned there and staying at
14 our base. However, they would have been given -- we had a press officer
15 in Vitez who would have briefed the press from -- the press had a house
16 there that they shared with other agent -- other press agencies, the BBC,
17 Associated Press and all those sorts of people, and they were briefed by a
18 proper press officer from BritBat every day on any events and any
19 questions that they had. So they would have been briefed on this
21 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, that's interesting, but I see that the
22 -- the document itself describes the source of it as being radio
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina Sarajevo, so it doesn't seem to tally with the
24 witness's recollection of the thing. Perhaps Mr. Bos could clarify that
25 for us.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Witness, as you can see on
2 the document, the source from the BBC seems to be Radio Sarajevo, which
3 would have broadcast a programme on the -- at 1400 hours. What is your
4 view on this?
5 THE WITNESS: Yes. The -- if -- if the BBC say that that was
6 their source, then for this particular press release then that is almost
7 certainly the source that they're going to name, but in addition the
8 representatives of all the press would also have been briefed by the press
9 officer up in -- up in Vitez. At this stage, this particular attack was
10 being shown on international TV all around the world. It was on -- we
11 used to sit in the UN base watching ourselves on Sky TV. Whichever source
12 that they've named for the press release, be it Radio Sarajevo or
13 wherever, they would also have been briefed by us.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You mention Sky channel, is this
15 Sky News that was reporting live on the offensive?
16 THE WITNESS: Sky News reported several times during this -- this
17 particular period. Their reporter on the spot was a gentleman, as I
18 recall called Aernout van Lynden.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you see this on breaking
20 news? Did you see this live? Did you see this programme?
21 THE WITNESS: We used to watch Sky News all the time because it
22 seemed a good source of news for us as well. In addition, Kate Adie, the
23 esteemed BBC reporter used to come up there as well and film things -- and
24 in fact got herself trapped in a building in Gornji Vakuf in the middle of
25 a firefight.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Am I to understand that the
2 British army was informed directly by Sky News?
3 THE WITNESS: No. No.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: One point of clarification, Your Honour, on that
5 same document.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Karnavas, please.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: One point of clarification on that same document on
8 paragraph 2, it says: "The HVO also demands that all members of the
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina army leave the town and proposes that joint military
10 police patrols should be the only army military formations in Gornji
12 Perhaps, you know, and if I were to read this the way I'm reading
13 it, it would appear that nobody's supposed to be if Gornji Vakuf, neither
14 army nor HVO, but you could have the presence of a joint military police.
15 I wonder if the gentleman could expand on that.
16 THE WITNESS: Yes, that was -- that was a proposal in the -- that
17 they suggested, but the reality is that that's unworkable. Where would
18 the HVO soldiers who came from Gornji Vakuf and whose families lived in
19 Gornji Vakuf -- what about the armija soldiers who lived in Gornji Vakuf
20 and whose families were in Gornji Vakuf? It was an unworkable proposal.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's now time to
22 have a break, and we shall resume in 20 minutes. I should just like to
23 tell the Prosecution that they've had an hour and a half so far. After
24 that, we will have one hour left. If you could finish off your
25 examination-in-chief today, that would be very good news.
1 MR. BOS: Doubtful, Your Honours.
2 --- Recess taken at 5.30 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 5.51 p.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos, you have the floor.
5 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Witness, I would now like to discuss with you the various HVO
7 troops and units that you observed in the region during the conflict in
8 January, February, 1993, and maybe we can do it in groups. Let me ask you
9 first and some of this we've been referring to before but first to do it
10 step-by-step. Which local HVO units were in Gornji Vakuf, could you say
11 that, please, again?
12 A. It was the Ante Starcevic brigade was the Gornji Vakuf HVO
14 Q. And who commanded this?
15 A. Zrinko Tokic.
16 Q. And were there any other HVO units or elements in the region?
17 A. There was an element of the Bruno Busic Brigade who were called
18 the Alfa Force and early on in our tour there was also a small HOS
19 detachment, which is another type of Bosnian Croat militia.
20 Q. How big was this HOS detachment? Do you know how many soldiers
21 this involved?
22 A. It was only a small group. It was probably -- no more than 20.
23 Q. And what HVO units outside the municipality of Gornji Vakuf were
24 involved or did become involved in the conflict in January?
25 A. The next biggest one was the Ramska Brigade, the HVO from Prozor.
1 Q. Who commanded this brigade?
2 A. I'm not sure of exactly who commanded it in the field but one of
3 the senior commanders was a gentleman by the name of Petar Kolakusic.
4 Q. You may have to spell this name for the court reporter, because --
5 could you please spell the name?
6 A. As I recall his name was spelled Kolakusic with an upside down
7 roof on the C.
8 Q. And his first name was?
9 A. Petar.
10 Q. Okay. So we've spoken about the Ramska Brigade. Any other
12 A. The Tomislav brigade. The brigade next door to them from Livno.
13 There were -- not the whole brigade, just elements from it. And there
14 were other elements from other brigades all across Herzegovina. There
15 were some troops there from Siroki Brijeg, Posusje, Grude, all over the
16 place. Not as a complete tactical formation, just probably as
17 reinforcements to reinforce the brigades that were going to carry out the
19 Q. You've mentioned the Tomislav brigade. Do you know who commanded
20 this brigade?
21 A. It was commanded by a Canadian gentleman called Nick Glasnovic.
22 Q. Witness, could you take a look at Exhibit 1107. Have you seen
23 this document before?
24 A. I was shown it yesterday.
25 Q. Who is the author of the document?
1 A. Colonel Siljeg, the commander of OP zone North-west Herzegovina.
2 Q. And to is this order addressed?
3 A. To all OP zones. I'm not quite sure what S/Z means. I assume it
4 means all subordinate brigades to that OP zone.
5 Q. And which OP zone are we talking about?
6 A. North-west Herzegovina.
7 Q. What's the date of this order?
8 A. 12th of January, 1993.
9 Q. Now, if you read the first paragraph of this order it makes
10 reference to an incident on a Croatian flag taken down in the centre of
11 town. Is this the same incident that you've been talking about before?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And it also talks about the arrival of BH army forces from Central
14 Bosnia in Gornji Vakuf. Do you know what this order is referring to here?
15 A. This refers to the Jajce brigade or Jajce brigade - however you
16 pronounce it - the armija brigade that moved into that area, or the
17 remnants of it after the fall of Jajce.
18 Q. Could you tell us again how many soldiers were involved in the --
19 in this brigade. How many soldiers of this brigade actually moved into
20 Gornji Vakuf?
21 A. Into the town itself, as far as I'm aware, none moved into the
22 town itself. They were billeted in villages on the edge of the town, and
23 there were approximately 50 of them.
24 Q. Now, when you were shown this document yesterday, and you can
25 glance through the document again, what kind of order -- how would you --
1 I don't know how to say that. How would you -- how would you describe
2 this type of order? What kind of order is this?
3 A. This in military terminology is, in the British army, is what we
4 would call a confirmatory order. There would have been a bigger set of
5 orders for the commanders prior to this where they would have been given
6 their tasks briefed on -- shown maps and discussed all through properly.
7 And then provided there were no major changes to the commander's intent,
8 he would then have issued a confirmatory order confirming it and this
9 would appear to be a confirmatory order confirming an attack.
10 Q. What would be the time spent between these more detailed orders
11 and a confirmatory order?
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, sir. I'm going to object. It calls for
13 speculation. First of all, while he's reading it and he tell us what he
14 believes it is, he hasn't made a foundation to tell us whether he actually
15 knows if there are any other previous meetings or orders for this
16 particular order. So if he could give us step-by-step that's the first
18 THE WITNESS: Most armies --
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I object again. He can tell us specifically as to
20 the HVO. What the British army does is different. Unless he's going to
21 tell us that the British army is trained in the same fashion as the HVO
22 was or vice versa I should say, okay?
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You can read this
24 order. On reading this order, do you think it tallies with the way the
25 HVO operated and the way you perceived things on the spot?
1 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. This is the confirmatory order
2 for a deliberate attack on Gornji Vakuf.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Bos, please
5 MR. BOS:
6 Q. Now, glancing through this document again, would the units that
7 are being referred to in this document, would you have seen these units
8 operating in Gornji Vakuf at the time?
9 A. Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At item 3.4, two tanks are
11 mentioned it seems. On page 4 in the English version.
12 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. There were more tanks for the
13 assault on Gornji Vakuf than just the single tank that came, the T-55 that
14 I mentioned earlier, Tvigi, from Prozor.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Where did the other tank come
16 from if Tvigi was there? If there's Tvigi and no James Dean.
17 THE WITNESS: The other two tanks according to these orders came
18 from the Tomislav brigade.
19 MR. BOS:
20 Q. And just looking at this order and -- who would be the overall
21 commander of the troops that are referred to in this record?
22 A. The field commander would be Colonel Siljeg himself.
23 Q. Now, we've spoke briefly today about some brigades that were
24 commanded directly from Mostar. Could you repeat again the names of
25 these -- these brigades?
1 A. The Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade and the Bruno Busic Brigade.
2 Q. And how would you label these type of brigades? How would you
3 describe them? What was their function in the field?
4 A. The Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade was -- appeared to be a commander's
5 reserve, an operational manoeuvre group. The Bruno Busic Brigade appeared
6 to be a brigade of troops that did things like long-range reconnaissance
7 and similar sort of stuff like that. Bruno Busic Brigade was based in
8 small units in -- in different places.
9 Q. You said the Ludvig Pavlovic Brigade was an operational manoeuvre
10 group. Can you explain to the Judges what that means?
11 A. It is a complete unit that can be quickly deployed into an area to
12 either reinforce an attack, reinforce a defence or exploit an advance.
13 Q. What can you say about the soldiers serving -- serving in these
14 two brigades?
15 A. They were --
16 Q. How can you compare them to regular HVO soldiers?
17 A. They were better equipped and seemed better organised. They were
18 more soldierly than the HVO.
19 Q. Could you look at Exhibit 1663, please.
20 A. Sorry, can you say that one again, please?
21 Q. Yes. 1663. What kind of document is this?
22 A. This is again a military information summary from the Cheshire
24 Q. And what's the date?
25 A. 14th of March, 1993.
1 Q. Now, could I refer you first to page 2 under paragraph 5, and it
2 makes reference here to a debrief of a British mercenary who was currently
3 serving in the Bruno Busic Brigade in Gornji Vakuf and then it says
4 information received on this debrief is attached to the annex in Annex A
5 of this report. So if you go to the next page, would that be the Annex A
6 to the report?
7 A. Yes, it would.
8 Q. And were you the person who actually debriefed this British
10 A. Yes, I was.
11 Q. Now, just a question on what's been written down here in this
12 annex. As far as paragraph 4 is concerned, it says: "The international
13 are trained in Croatia and are funded and paid by Croatia itself." Was
14 the person that you debriefed also a person who was trained in Croatia?
15 A. He initially was a former British soldier like it said. He'd also
16 fault as a mercenary for the Croatian army in Osijek, and when Croatia was
17 stable, the -- he and the mercenaries that were with him were then
18 seconded to the HVO.
19 Q. And now if you could please move to Exhibit 8572.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. This
21 British mercenary whom you debriefed, this person had a two-year contract.
22 Who had he signed this contract with?
23 THE WITNESS: With the Croatian army, Your Honour. The Croatian
24 Croatian army.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Croatian army?
1 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour, the HV.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may -- sorry.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute, Mr. Karnavas.
4 How was he paid, in a bank account in Switzerland, in cash? How
5 was he paid, in German marks, in dinars? Did you discuss this with him?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. As it says in the report, he was
7 paid into a bank account in Zagreb.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did he tell you which bank this
9 money was paid into?
10 THE WITNESS: Just Zagreb, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After your debrief, what
12 happened to this mercenary? Did he go back to the UK, or did he stay on
13 the spot?
14 THE WITNESS: The mercenary, we cultured a relationship with the
15 mercenary because he was British and he was a former part-time British
16 soldier. He used to be quite chatty with us, and we used to bring him
17 into the base and let him watch British television and allow him to use
18 our mail facilities so that he could write to people back in the UK. The
19 last --
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were watching Sky News.
21 THE WITNESS: Amongst other things, Your Honour, yes. The last
22 time I'd heard of him he had been arrested back in the UK by Special
23 Branch about three or four years after this for whatever reason. Special
24 Branch probably arrested him because of his mercenary connections.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. When he was
1 part of this unit, how did he cope? Did he speak B/C/S? How did he
2 communicate with his fellow men?
3 THE WITNESS: He spoke Serbo-Croat, Your Honour.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I just wanted to point out here it
5 says here in item number 1 that the reliability of this information cannot
6 be assessed, and so I just want to point that out for the record. I think
7 that's something that perhaps the gentleman can tell us what does he mean
8 by that since it cannot be assessed.
9 MR. BOS: Your Honours, why -- I think these are questions that
10 should be raised in cross-examination. I don't understand why these
11 questions need to be answered now.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that can be raised at a
13 later stage, but perhaps the Defence won't go back to it.
14 Now, you said reliability -- it says reliability cannot be
15 assessed. Why did you put that down? Did you doubt what he said? Why
16 did you see fit to make that note.
17 THE WITNESS: This was the first time I'd spoken to him, Your
18 Honour and we had nothing to compare with what he said to other people.
19 We graded sources from A to F, 1 to 6. An F6 source would be -- at that
20 stage you would not be able to grade the information or compare it because
21 you had nothing to compare it with. But as I said, we developed a
22 relationship with him over a period of time.
23 I also said that we used to allow him to use our mail facilities
24 because there was no post in Central Bosnia. That was part of how we
25 verified a lot of what he said in that he was writing to -- back to the UK
1 to mercenary recruiters commenting on the quality of other mercenaries
2 that he was with and could they get any more and such matters.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
4 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to the
5 admission of this exhibit for two reasons. One, it was compiled in
6 mid-March, 1993, and the indictment with respect to Gornji Vakuf, and the
7 witness is speaking about Gornji Vakuf towards the end of 1992 and
8 January, 1993. So I don't think that this document is relevant.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We'll make note of that.
10 Mr. Bos, the Judges will deliberate. Continue.
11 MR. BOS:
12 Q. If you look at --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Bos, please.
14 MR. BOS:
15 Q. Could you look at Exhibit 8572, please. What does this document
17 A. This is the armed flash of the Alpha force of the Bruno Busic
19 Q. Were you the one who drew this particular exhibit?
20 A. I drew it and that's my signature at the bottom of the page.
21 Q. Thank you. Were there any military police units involved in the
23 A. Yes, there were.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. You're moving on
25 to something else. Now, the drawing there, is that the badge, the flash
1 that he had on him when you debriefed him?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. At that time we used to buy, if
3 we could, the badges off them and send them back up the chain of command,
4 so you start compiling a library of unit insignia. I actually bought his
5 badge off him for 10 marks.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You paid 10 marks for this
7 flash, and you have it; is that right?
8 THE WITNESS: No. No, Your Honour. It's then passed up the chain
9 of command and it was used to compile a library of different units'
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I see that between Alpha Force
12 there's a square and a chequer-board under the bird's feet.
13 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. It's the Croatian red and white
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Bos.
16 MR. BOS:
17 Q. Thank you, Your Honour. Witness, we're -- the question I had put
18 to you in -- just some time earlier was were there any military police
19 units involved in the conflict.
20 A. Yes, there were.
21 Q. Do you know where these military units -- police units came from?
22 A. Mostar.
23 Q. And how would you recognise these military police units?
24 A. They tended to wear blue helmets, and they tended to use
25 blue-painted vehicles.
1 Q. And do you know what their role was in the conflict?
2 A. Their role was -- appeared to be rear security in that they were
3 securing the areas behind the front line, behind the Muslim-Croat front
5 Q. Could you look at Exhibit 1053, please. Have you seen this
6 document before?
7 A. I was shown it yesterday.
8 Q. What is the date of the document?
9 A. It's the 5th of January, 1993.
10 Q. Well, you say 1993, but does that actually --
11 A. Sorry, the 5th of January.
12 Q. What is said after the 5th of January? Which number is there?
13 A. A 3.
14 Q. Just a 3. Who signed this report?
15 A. Somebody called Valentin Coric or Coric or Korik.
16 Q. Do you know this person?
17 A. No.
18 Q. To whom is the report addressed.
19 A. It's addressed personally to Bruno Stojic, the head of the
20 department of Defence.
21 Q. Do you know who he is?
22 A. I'm afraid I don't.
23 Q. Does this document talk about the involvement of military police
24 units in Gornji Vakuf?
25 A. Yes, it does.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the document that you have
2 before you, what was the mission assigned to the military police? What do
3 you think?
4 THE WITNESS: It is -- its rear security duties, Your Honour,
5 protecting the population, populated areas, restoring road traffic,
6 diffusing fear among the Croatian population.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Which begs the question, would that have been
8 necessary? If he's going to be raising these sort of documents, the
9 gentleman was there at the time. Perhaps he can tell us, was this
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Was it really necessary to
12 specify that the military police had as their principal objective to
13 protect the population in populated areas, restore road traffic and so on?
14 Was it necessary to remind them of their duties?
15 THE WITNESS: The document is a situation report, and it's the
16 commander of the military police explaining the situation to the head of
17 the Department of Defence what they were doing there.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: But my question, Your Honour, and the gentlemen
19 hasn't answered it, was since he was there, based on what was happening at
20 the time, because I understand he has indicated that there was sporadic
21 activity, was this necessary activity at that -- at that point and place?
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was it really necessary for the
23 military police to deploy in the territory in view of the activity?
24 Because this is a 5th of January document. I just noted that the date
25 there was the 5th of January.
1 THE WITNESS: The deployment of military police would have been
2 required. It would be primarily, like it says in the document, to
3 maintain order, but it would be also implying that they were to -- to
4 do -- to carry out these missions, they would have to stop the
5 reinforcement of Gornji Vakuf by outside armija units.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Did you yourself -- I'm sorry.
7 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you. I really would like to raise the
8 following questions that in that interim report, the last paragraph of it
9 in the English translation, we can read that. "The basic purpose of this
10 operation is to preserve law and order, protect the population and
11 populated areas, restore road traffic and defuse fear among the Croatian
12 population in the said municipalities."
13 Now, my question is if, according to our own recollections, since
14 you have been there in the field, if you have -- you may be able to
15 confirm that it has been done by the police or have you seen military
16 police, I mean, or have you seen any other kind of activities which they
17 carried out? Thank you in advance.
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. They established checkpoints on
19 the roads and reinforced checkpoints that were already there.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I wanted to ask you, sir. Being there, can you
21 tell us something about the security situation? Was there unrest? Were
22 there many crimes? Was there a situation where people didn't dare to go
23 out, which called for a special police protection of order and security?
24 THE WITNESS: As -- as you can see from the map, Your Honour,
25 the -- the population is fairly intermingled ethnic-wise. As for the
1 level of crime, that I can't comment on, but there would obviously be a
2 fear that the other side would do something unless they protected
3 themselves. The military police, by their presence, would allay the local
4 Croat fears, local Croats in the villages fears of being attacked by the
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You yourself, did you see any
7 military police?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And in military
10 terms, did you gain the impression that belonged to -- that they belong to
11 a well-structured, disciplined unit, loyal, following orders, confronting
12 problems? What was the impression that they left on you this military
13 police unit?
14 THE WITNESS: The -- I couldn't tell -- I couldn't tell you
15 specifically of the military police that I encountered which ones came
16 from which unit. However, the ones that I did encounter were mainly
17 manning roadblocks. There's not a lot you can say about what they were
18 doing on the roadblocks other than they were stopping vehicles, but they
19 seemed to be just manning the roadblocks and controlling traffic at that
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. There's another
22 question from the Bench. Military police is always an interesting
24 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, staying with that same
25 paragraph on the military police objectives, why does it only mention the
1 Croatian population and not the population in general? Can you expand on
3 THE WITNESS: I can't expand on it properly, but I can pass
4 comment on it in that the -- the HVO military police would be more
5 concerned with the security of Croatian areas than they would be with the
6 security of Muslim areas.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We're not receiving the
8 interpretation. No interpretation, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There seems to be a technical
10 problem. Is that all right now? Yes?
11 So what you're saying is that the military police was preoccupied
12 with the Croats because this was Croat territory predominantly; is that
13 right? Is that what you wanted to say?
14 THE WITNESS: Yeah. The -- the military police of the HVO would
15 be more concerned with the security of the Croatian community than with
16 the Muslim community.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Was there also a military police of the ABiH
18 which protected the Muslim civilians?
19 THE WITNESS: There were -- there were some military police of --
20 in the armija but not that many. Village defence tended to revolve around
21 the TO, which is like a sort of armija militia. A lot of Muslim villages
22 had weapons in them and semi-trained people in the village, residents, if
23 you will, who would provide the local security for the village. Villages
24 of tactical importance at specific phases would then have proper armija
25 troops in.
1 MR. BOS:
2 Q. Witness, I just want to show you two other documents relating to
3 the military police, and if you just would first go to Exhibit 1635,
4 please. Have you seen this document before?
5 A. Yes. I was shown it yesterday.
6 Q. Who is the author of the document?
7 A. It's the same person that wrote the previous document, Valentin
9 Q. And to whom is it addressed?
10 A. It's to Mate Boban.
11 Q. And what's the date of the document?
12 A. The 9th of March, 1993.
13 Q. Putting your attention to the second paragraph of this -- this
14 order and in particular the last sentence. Does this report talk about
15 and in particular this last sentence about military police particularly in
16 the region of Prozor and Gornji Vakuf?
17 A. Which paragraph are you referring to?
18 Q. It's -- sorry. The second paragraph on page 1.
19 A. Yeah.
20 Q. And then all the way at the bottom, the last sentence. Maybe you
21 can read out that sentence, please?
22 A. "One military battalion is active in each of the operational zones
23 and the 1st Light Assault Battalion is active in the entire territory of
24 HZ HB," which is Herceg-Bosna.
25 Q. This is -- no, you're now reading out the second line, but I was
1 asking you to read out the last line of this paragraph -- of this second
2 paragraph, starting with the word "Around." It's -- I'll read it out to
3 you, Witness. "Around 100 military policeman participated in Prozor and
4 370 in Gornji Vakuf and Central Bosnia. The active service company of the
5 4th military police battalion."
6 Now, were these numbers -- were these numbers mean -- would they
7 be reasonable in how you -- what you saw on the ground as far as military
9 MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, I don't mean to trespass again on
10 matters on which Your Honours have already ruled, but it seems to me that
11 Mr. Bos's testimony would be just as useful as the witness's on that
12 point. It's just absolute sheer speculation.
13 MR. BOS: Well, Your Honours, this witness said he saw military
14 police on the ground. My question is, reading these numbers, would that
15 be a reasonable number?
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is how the question should
17 have been asked: You were in the field. Did you see the military police
18 in combat action? Not patrolling the roads or providing security, but
19 taking part in combat? Because the document that we see here, it would
20 appear that in Gornji Vakuf the military police took part in the fighting
21 and that they had eight dead and 64 wounded. Now, did you have any
22 knowledge of that, of military police killed in combat? And the numbers
23 there are significant for killed and wounded.
24 THE WITNESS: I was aware that the military police were in the
25 Gornji Vakuf area, Your Honour. The actual amount of military police I
1 couldn't verify, but there were a lot of them. I personally did not see
2 them fighting. However, I spoke to people who did see them fighting, and
3 I was also present and on the outside of negotiations between the two
4 sides in which their actions were brought up.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So one can conclude that
6 according to you they did participate in combat. Would that be right?
7 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. And there was one particular
8 incident that occurred.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Which was that?
10 THE WITNESS: I think Prosecutor Bos is going to bring it up in a
11 bit, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. If you know in
13 advance the questions that you're going to be asked.
14 Mr. Bos, go on then.
15 MR. BOS:
16 Q. Go ahead. Refer to what you were going to say?
17 A. A specific incident where the military police cleansed a village
18 called Hrasnica, which is just to the north of Gornji Vakuf -- slightly to
19 the east of the main road running from Gornji Vakuf to Bugojno. This
20 village was attacked three times. Each attack was worse than the one
21 previously. Eventually the village was totally destroyed. The -- this
22 particular action was brought up during cease-fire negotiations, and there
23 was no denial by the HVO that it was their forces had done it and there
24 was no denial that it was the MPs that had done it. Witness reports from
25 that particular attack identified one MP armoured vehicle, military police
1 armoured vehicle, and also two military police troop carriers as being
2 part of that attack.
3 Q. Thank you, Witness. I may ask you a few more detailed questions
4 about that later on, but just to finish off the involvement of military
5 police unit, I would like you to look at one more document, which is
6 Exhibit 3090.
7 Looking at the front page of -- let me first ask you, have you
8 seen this document before?
9 A. I think it was a document I saw yesterday.
10 Q. And just reading from the front page, what is the title of the
11 document? What kind of report is this? Maybe you could read it out.
12 A. This is a report on the work of the HZ HB, Croatian Community of
13 Herceg-Bosna military police, and the analysis of the situation for the
14 period January to June 1993.
15 Q. And whose name is underneath there?
16 A. The same as the previous documents, Valentin Coric.
17 Q. Now, not to waste any time, let me please direct your attention --
18 attention to -- to page 6 of this report. And I'm particularly interested
19 in the last three paragraphs on this page. Is it correct that it talks
20 about here about an overall attack launched by HVO units and HVO military
21 units on the 18th of January at 4.00?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. On villages in dominating hill positions in the area held by the
24 ABiH units?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. Now, could you maybe please, just for the record, read out the
2 last paragraph of this report on this page.
3 A. "About 0800 hours on the same day the military police 2nd
4 Battalion members from Livno and Posusje, consisted of 30 military
5 policemen, have taken control over the village of Uzricje by which the
6 army of Bosnia-Herzegovina circle around the town was penetrated. At 1435
7 hours, the military police 1st Light Assault Battalion members took
8 control over the village of Zdrince and most of the territory of this
9 village was previously controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
10 Q. Just a couple of questions on this paragraph. As referred to by
11 the Judge earlier, would it be correct that this paragraph talks about the
12 involvement of military police in military action?
13 A. Yes, it does.
14 Q. And it talks about the village of Uzricje and it says, "by which
15 the ABiH circle around the town was penetrated." Could you comment on
16 that, please, what -- would you agree with this, with what has been said
18 A. Yes. At that period in time they -- what they would have been
19 trying to achieve was like I mentioned earlier, rear security. To achieve
20 that rear security, they would have had to take control of the Muslim
21 villages to prevent the reinforcement of Gornji Vakuf and also to
22 eliminate the possibility of involvement of fighters from those villages
23 on their rear areas.
24 Q. But does that mean that they would have had to penetrate an ABiH
25 circle around the town?
1 A. No. There would obviously have been some fortifications, maybe a
2 couple of fire trenches and possibly a bunker, but not as it says, as it
3 implies there. There it implies it was some sort of major defence, which
4 was not true.
5 Q. Did you ever encounter HV troops in the Gornji Vakuf region in
6 January -- well, during the time that you were serving in Gornji Vakuf?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. And can you tell us when that was and what -- what units you
10 A. I encountered the HVO field hospital in Rumboci which is just to
11 the west of Prozor a colonel from a -- a surgeon colonel from the Croatian
12 army. I asked him why he was there and he informed me that that area was
13 part of Split military distinct.
14 On another occasion --
15 Q. When was -- when did you encounter this -- this person at the
16 hospital in Rumboci? Do you recall the date?
17 A. Not exactly, no. I'm afraid I can't.
18 Q. Okay. Please continue.
19 A. I actually met that gentleman twice. The -- on another occasion
20 just outside the town of Bugojno, there was an HVO artillery position. On
21 the way up there to -- to count the guns that they had and see what
22 calibres they were, I encountered a small group of HV soldiers, Croatian
23 army soldiers, from an air defence unit in Split, and on another occasion
24 I encountered a platoon of Croatian army soldiers in the town of Prozor.
25 Q. Talking about the -- so are you now saying that there were two
1 different occasions that you met these Croatian army soldiers from the air
2 defence unit in Split?
3 A. Yes. The air defence unit -- the air defence section from Split
4 were near to the HVO gun line above the town of Bugojno, which is about
5 here up. They were about here on the map, that being the town of Bugojno,
6 and they were around here.
7 Q. You've just been pointing at the map again on the ELMO. Maybe you
8 can put a mark where you actually encountered this.
9 A. I would have to see a proper detailed map because the gun line was
10 on a ridge line overlooking the town of Bugojno, but it would have
11 probably been somewhere in that area there. That was a small section of
12 Croatian army. They had an arm flash on their uniform of two crossed SA-7
13 missile launches.
14 Q. Was the presence of HV units in the area ever brought up in
15 meetings with senior officials in which you participated as well?
16 A. Yes, it was brought up.
17 Q. And what would be the actual response to such kind of allegations?
18 A. Non-committal. They would neither confirm nor deny.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak. It seems to be
20 working now.
21 MR. BOS:
22 Q. Could you look at Exhibit 169 --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Before we move
24 on to another document, in the last document could you go to page 7 of the
25 English version. The penultimate paragraph. It is mentioned that in the
1 month of January there were 430 military policemen engaged in Gornji
2 Vakuf. 154 were members of the 1st Battalion. 243 members of the 2nd
3 Battalion and 32 members of the 3rd Battalion. 430 military policemen all
4 in all. Ten were wounded and 63 -- 10 were killed and 63 were wounded.
5 Was it a surprise for you to see that hundreds of military
6 policemen were engaged in battle? Does this mean that they were, so to
7 speak, alone on the ground? And if that was not the case, there were the
8 HVO units and the brigades you've just mentioned. So all in all, how many
9 men were there on the ground?
10 THE WITNESS: For the assault of Gornji Vakuf there were over two
11 brigades, two reinforced brigades of soldiers on the ground. There were
12 in excess of -- there were over 3.000 soldiers involved in it from the
13 figures that we managed to get from the commanders at the time during the
14 cease-fire negotiations.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In military terms, if you talk
16 about 3.000 soldiers, is this a -- a large-scale offensive, a small-scale
17 offensive, or medium-scale offensive? I mean in military terms. I don't
18 know. I don't quite know what this kind of figure means.
19 THE WITNESS: In the context of the war in Bosnia, that is quite a
20 large -- for an area of that size, that is quite a large offensive.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In military terms, was it really
22 necessary to have the military police there? They were well equipped.
23 You said a while ago you talked about armoured vehicles. Was their
24 presence really necessary, or was it necessary because they were perhaps
25 better equipped or better armed? How can you explain this, such an
1 offensive? Why were these people needed? And just as an example, if the
2 British army were to launch an offensive of this kind, would they call
3 upon the military police to come and give them a helping hand?
4 THE WITNESS: The actual point of -- of combat, Your Honour, would
5 have been the town itself of Gornji Vakuf, and so the infantry and tanks
6 and artillery and mortars of the HVO would have been directed at that.
7 The military police would have been used to secure the rear areas, as I
8 said earlier. However, I think that they grossly underestimated the
9 ability of the villagers and the TO in the villages to fight, hence their
10 quite high casualty rate. They only had a limited number of front-line
11 combat troops which would have been like I said directed at the town of
12 Gornji Vakuf. They would not have been able to weaken their front line
13 against the Serbs to get more combat troops to do those sort of roles.
14 And so the military police would have set up an outer cordon around the
15 operation, which would necessitate securing the Muslim villagers so they
16 couldn't interfere and securing the routes into and out of the main combat
17 zone, which was the town itself.
18 MR. BOS:
19 Q. Witness, we were talking about the involvement of HV units in the
20 area, and I was about to show you an exhibit which is Exhibit 1698. Just
21 looking at the front page again, what kind of document is this?
22 A. It's the Cheshire Regiment military information summary from the
23 22nd of March, 1993.
24 Q. Directing your attention to the third page, bottom paragraph. It
25 refers to an encounter of 40 soldiers wearing 4th Brigade HV badges. Is
1 this one of the encounters that you had described just earlier?
2 A. Yes, it is. I was actually present at that encounter. They were
3 sat and gathered around a wall on the edge of the town with all their
4 equipment, including sleeping bags, backpacks, everything.
5 Q. Did you ask these soldiers why they were in the region?
6 A. They -- when I asked them why they were there through the
7 interpreter, they said they were there for a wedding which I assumed to
8 mean the wedding of Herceg-Bosna to Croatia.
9 Q. So interpreting your last comment, you did believe that they were
10 there for wedding?
11 A. Not a wedding wedding, no.
12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to restate
13 my objection. The document is dated the end of March, 1993. The events
14 that it addresses has nothing to do with the indictment and Gornji Vakuf
15 that we're discussing. There is no indictment for that period of time.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the indictment, the presence
17 of the HV is mentioned. Therefore, Witness, can you confirm having seen a
18 unit belonging to the Croatian army with your own eyes?
19 THE WITNESS: For the -- Your Honour, for the actual attack on the
20 town of Gornji Vakuf, no, I cannot.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In March, that was afterwards,
22 you saw HV soldiers who were saying perhaps as if it were a joke that they
23 were going to a wedding.
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But to reach the spot where you
1 saw them, did they have to pass HVO checkpoints?
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. They were on the northern edge of
3 the town of Prozor. So ...
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And how were they equipped as
5 far as you remember? Did they have armoured vehicles? What can you tell
6 us about the way these soldiers were equipped?
7 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. They didn't have armoured
8 vehicles with them, but they had -- they were a platoon-sized group, and
9 what caught our eye first of all was the fact that when you looked at them
10 and when we saw them, we knew that they were not HVO. They were too well
11 equipped. They were all young men. They were -- they had short hair.
12 Their uniforms looked -- were all matching. They had ranks. They were
13 wearing badges of ranks, and they had Austrian Sig-sauer assault rifles
14 which were not standard issue for the HVO. And they had squad weapons as
15 well. A squad weapon is a medium machine-gun.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And how many were there?
17 THE WITNESS: It was a platoon-sized group, Your Honour.
18 Somewhere in the region of 30, 30 to 40.
19 MR. BOS:
20 Q. Witness, moving away from this -- from the topic of HV soldiers, I
21 would like to ask you some questions about a person whose name has come up
22 on a couple of occasions already, Zeljko Siljeg. Did you ever meet Zeljko
24 A. Yes, I've met him. Not introduced to him, but I have met him
25 numerous -- on numerous occasions.
1 Q. And on what occasions would you meet Mr. Siljeg?
2 A. In cease-fire talks, moving him back and to cease-fire talks, in
3 cigarette breaks during cease-fire talks.
4 Q. When you say moving him back and to cease-fire talks, were you in
5 fact the one -- the person who was transporting Mr. Siljeg to cease-fire
6 talks and back to his command post?
7 A. Whoever was available when it needed to be done would go and
8 collect him, and I did it several times.
9 Q. What was Mr. Siljeg's position in the HVO army?
10 A. He was the colonel commanding OP zone North-west Herzegovina.
11 Q. And who would be the direct commander of Mr. Siljeg?
12 A. It would be Brigadier Petkovic in Mostar.
13 Q. And how would you describe the relationship between Siljeg, Mr.
14 Siljeg and Petkovic as far as command control is concerned?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, Your Honour. First he's got lay a
16 foundation. Let's just do it step-by-step. Has he observed it? On what
17 basis can he make that -- draw that conclusion?
18 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I'll approach it in a different way.
19 Q. Witness, could you look at Exhibit 1153, please.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object again on this. If this
21 gentleman was not aware of this particular document at the time, then he's
22 not capable of answering the question, you know, because he was asked --
23 if we go back to the original question. So in order for the gentleman to
24 be able to give a precise answer as to command and control, first he must
25 be asked whether he observed any interaction, not to be shown a document
1 yesterday and then to come and say, "Ah, from here what can we see?"
2 That's insufficient.
3 MR. BOS:
4 Q. Witness --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 MR. BOS:
7 Q. -- were you ever attending meetings where Mr. Siljeg was also
9 A. I attended some of them where he was present, not all of them.
10 Q. And during those meetings, was there ever a reason for you to
11 believe --
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. Objection. He can ask what he observed
13 in the meetings between General Petkovic and Siljeg.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to be asking a totally
15 different question. I did ask a question concerning local commanders so
16 it didn't concern Mr. Siljeg directly but I shall ask the question again.
17 When these high-level meetings were held, Colonel Siljeg was
18 present. You were there sometimes also. So these were high-level
19 meetings. When you attended they meetings, did the colonel give you the
20 impression that he was controlling everything in military terms, or was
21 he, as a military man -- did he have to refer to his superior? And if
22 that was the case, who was his superior, and did he discuss this with you,
23 or was he the person who was in control of everything in this area?
24 THE WITNESS: As the field commander for the attack, he was the
25 controller for that. During cease-fire negotiations, he would
1 occasionally ask for a recess so that he could go and get something
2 cleared by somebody else, but who the somebody else was I cannot say.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. We are now going to
4 address the core issue. He asked the meeting to be suspended. He left
5 the room to go and make a telephone call, to go to talk to someone, to go
6 and read the paper, and when he left the room, how long did his absence
7 last? What did he say when he came back into the room? Do you remember
8 any of this?
9 THE WITNESS: Sometimes he would just leave the room, and he would
10 use a phone. Whether it was a satellite-type phone. Sometimes he would
11 actually go back to his own headquarters and then come back with an
12 answer. It varied.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What kind of answer did he come
14 back with? He couldn't take the decision himself. Some higher authority
15 had to vet this beforehand. If you remember, who could that have been?
16 THE WITNESS: Some of the -- the -- some of the stuff in the
17 cease-fire agreements had to be vetted by a higher authority, and I assume
18 because of the HVO command structure that that higher authority was
19 Brigadier Petkovic.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are saying because of the
21 command structure of the HVO. Were you familiar with the command
22 structure of the HVO?
23 THE WITNESS: We -- by asking commanders which brigade they
24 belonged to, which OP zone they belonged to and things like that during
25 patrols and during meetings and what not, we had a -- what we call a
1 family tree, and Colonel Siljeg was the head of OP zone North-west
2 Herzegovina, and his superior was the commander of the HVO, which is
3 Brigadier Petkovic.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And in your milinfosums, did you
5 describe the chain of command?
6 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour. The -- if you flick through these
7 documents, you will find several pages and several reports of where we say
8 the commander of this is so-and-so and he's subordinate to him, and the
9 commander of this unit is such-and-such a person, and his second in
10 command is such-and-such a person.
11 MR. BOS: Your Honours, I see the clock. It's 7.00. I don't
12 know, this is probably a good time to break. I'm not finished yet, and I
13 think I'll take -- I have to take at least -- well, I think I need another
14 45 minutes.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall resume tomorrow. If
16 the Defence teams cannot finish tomorrow, the witness will have to stay on
17 until Wednesday but much will depend on the questions that will be asked.
18 It's now 7.00, and I invite you to come back tomorrow afternoon
19 because the hearings will be in the afternoon this week. We shall resume
20 at a quarter past 2.00 tomorrow.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day
23 of October, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.