1. 1 Tuesday, 4th May, 1999

    2 (Open session)

    3 --- Upon commencing at 10.09 a.m.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated.

    5 Mr. Registrar, will you please have the witness brought

    6 in?

    7 (The accused/witness entered court)

    8 JUDGE JORDA: Good morning to the

    9 interpreters, the court reporters, counsel for the

    10 Prosecution, counsel for the Defence.

    11 I should like to remind us, for the benefit

    12 of the public, that we are in the cross-examination

    13 stage of the accused who is in the position of a

    14 witness under oath, and I shall give the floor to the

    15 Prosecutor as soon as General Blaskic has been made

    16 comfortable, whom I wish good morning to as well.

    17 Mr. Prosecutor?

    18 MR. KEHOE: Good morning, Mr. President, Your

    19 Honours, counsel. Thank you very much. Good morning,

    20 General.

    21 Pursuant to your instructions or instructions

    22 of the registrar, Mr. President, if I could move back

    23 to those documents that we were ending with yesterday,

    24 and if we could just -- I split them up, as instructed,

    25 Mr. President.

  2. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Very well. Mr. Registrar, can

    2 we have all these documents marked, please, in order?

    3 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Prosecution

    4 Exhibit 609, 609A for the French version, 609B for the

    5 English version.

    6 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, we're going to

    7 continue. I'll have them all marked, with the

    8 assistance of the usher at this juncture.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges are giving their

    10 ruling regarding the request for a private session

    11 requested by the Defence --

    12 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Mr. President. I

    13 think Mr. Harmon would like to provide some additional

    14 information on that score.

    15 MR. HAYMAN: Could we do that in private

    16 session, Mr. President? Could we discuss this issue in

    17 private session rather than have counsel or the

    18 Court --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: I should like to remind you

    20 that it would be normal for the Judges to render their

    21 decision. The debate in principle was closed. But as

    22 the parties --

    23 MR. HAYMAN: That's fine. We agree. We just

    24 prefer that the specific subject matter of our request

    25 be discussed in private session, not be addressed

  3. 1 otherwise. Of course, if the Court can rule without

    2 identifying the specific request, that's fine, in

    3 public session, but if counsel has an argument, we

    4 would want that in private session.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Harmon, would you like us

    6 to have a private session just to hear your last

    7 remarks because the Chamber was on the point of making

    8 its ruling. We thought that we had finished the debate

    9 yesterday. Mr. Prosecutor?

    10 MR. HARMON: I just wish to add some

    11 additional information, Mr. President, to informations

    12 of the Court --

    13 JUDGE JORDA: But if you are adding, if you

    14 are adding any information, then, as requested by the

    15 Defence, please, we had better go into a private

    16 session. So a very short private session. I am saying

    17 this so that we do not lose the public. It has to do

    18 with an incident regarding a request of the Defence for

    19 a private, temporary session on which the Judges will

    20 render their decision. But we have a few more comments

    21 to hear before that, so we will do so in private

    22 session.

    23 (Private session)

    24 (redacted)

    25 (redacted)

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    13 pages 20845-20852 redacted private session













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    25 (Open session)

  2. 1 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, while the court

    2 would have retired to deliberate, the registrar and I

    3 took the liberty of pre-marking some of the exhibits,

    4 and we now have a series of exhibits that reflect from

    5 Prosecutor's 609 to Prosecutor's 614 respectively. All

    6 of these documents, Mr. President and Your Honours,

    7 should be in B/C/S/, French, and English.

    8 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibits 609,

    9 610, 611, 612, 613, 614. For each of these exhibits

    10 there is a French and an English version. The French

    11 version being, for example, 609A and the English

    12 version being, for example, 609B. This is the case for

    13 each of the aforementioned exhibits.

    14 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, the Prosecutor

    15 does not intend to read through all these documents,

    16 they speak for themselves, but if we reflect just

    17 briefly on each of the documents.

    18 The subject matter of these documents has to

    19 do with the killing of an individual by the name of

    20 Drazen Gvozden, that we can see from these documents

    21 was a member of the army of the Republic of Croatia.

    22 He was killed on the 3rd of October, 1993 in an area

    23 around Siroki Brijeg Herzegovina, and while he was

    24 killed, this soldier from the Republic of Croatia --

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Just a minute, Mr. Kehoe.

  3. 1 You're talking about 610 or 609? 609 doesn't mention

    2 Mr. Gvozden. What document are you speaking about?

    3 MR. KEHOE: I will take them in series. The

    4 first document, 609, is the judgement against Marinko

    5 Musa, who is a member of the HVO, who was accused of

    6 manslaughter in the killing of Drazen Gvozden. On the

    7 9th of September of 1994 in the Mostar military Court,

    8 Mr. Musa was found not guilty of that charge.

    9 In the next document -- I might reflect that

    10 the judgement of the Court in 609 does reflect that Mr.

    11 Musa did, in fact, shoot and kill Mr. Gvozden, but for

    12 extenuating circumstances he was found not guilty of

    13 involuntary manslaughter.

    14 The next document, 610, is an HVO certificate

    15 of death concerning Mr. Gvozden which notes that

    16 Mr. Gvozden was killed in combat against Muslim armed

    17 forces on Hum near Mostar on 3 October, 1993. That, of

    18 course, is in contrast to the prior document where, in

    19 fact, Mr. Musa shot Mr. Gvozden.

    20 The next document, Mr. President, is a

    21 newspaper article which reflects the filing of a

    22 lawsuit by the Gvozden family against the Republic of

    23 Croatia and the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and it

    24 concerns the shooting death of Mr. Gvozden, and it

    25 notes at the outset, and I will direct the Court to the

  4. 1 first line of 611, where it says:

    2 "Drazen Gvozden, a member of the Croatian

    3 Army from Sesvete, was killed on Mount Hum near Mostar

    4 in October 1993."

    5 This particular lawsuit was filed in Zagreb,

    6 and the document reflects via attorney Ranko Radovic,

    7 who was representing the Gvozden family, that part of

    8 this lawsuit was sent back to Mostar to the Croatian

    9 Republic of Herceg-Bosna.

    10 It notes in the second paragraph of this

    11 article that the lawsuit alleges that -- "the Gvozden

    12 family alleges that Drazen Gvozden died as a member of

    13 the Croatian Army 145th Brigade after being shot by

    14 Marinko M., a member of the HVO."

    15 The third paragraph reflects that

    16 Mr. Gvozden, at the time of his death, was a deputy

    17 commander of the Croatian army, 145th Brigade.

    18 And the last -- excuse me. The fourth

    19 paragraph, not the last, the fourth paragraph reflects

    20 that the claim for damages for the mother and father is

    21 60 million Croatian dinars, and the brother and sister

    22 are claiming 40 million Croatian dinars.

    23 The next paragraph, which would be the fifth

    24 paragraph, starts with the question:

    25 "What happened near Mostar? How did Drazen

  5. 1 Gvozden die? According to the attorney, he left for

    2 the Southern Front as a member of the Croatian Army,

    3 but at the time of his death he had HVO markings on his

    4 sleeve."

    5 This attorney, of course, is Ranko Radovic

    6 who, coincidentally, is up in the Kupreskic case

    7 representing one of the accused in that matter as we

    8 speak.

    9 The next certificate is 612, and that is a

    10 decision by the president of the Republic of Croatia,

    11 Dr. Franjo Tudjman, posthumously confirming the rank of

    12 reserve officer, the rank of reserve captain, to Drazen

    13 Gvozden. Again, this also reflects that Mr. Gvozden

    14 was part of the 145th R. Brigade from Zagreb and

    15 Dubrava.

    16 613, Mr. President and Your Honours, is a

    17 document that is a document that comes from the

    18 Association of the Families of the Dead and the Wounded

    19 from the Republic of Croatia. This document, which is

    20 the one which has Mr. Gvozden's photograph on it, also

    21 reflects that Drazen Gvozden was a Croatian soldier in

    22 the 145th R. Brigade of the Croatian army, died on

    23 Sunday, 3 October, 1993, at the southern front.

    24 The last document is the certificate of

    25 death, and that document -- I'm sorry for the -- would

  6. 1 be Prosecutor's Exhibit 614. This document likewise

    2 reflects that the accused was a member of the 145th

    3 Brigade and, likewise, that when he was killed, he was

    4 operating on the southern front.


    6 Cross-examined by Mr. Kehoe:

    7 Q. Now, General, we have before us clearly an HV

    8 soldier who was killed in the Mostar area on 3 October,

    9 1993, and subsequently there was a decision charging an

    10 HVO member, Marinko Musa, with manslaughter on

    11 9 September, 1994, and I'm, of course, talking about

    12 Prosecutor's Exhibit 609.

    13 Now, on 9 September, 1994, General, you were

    14 the chief of staff of the HVO in Mostar. As the chief

    15 of staff, did you examine this particular case and

    16 other cases of its nature where HV, or soldiers of the

    17 Republic of Croatia, were killed and wounded while

    18 operating around Mostar?

    19 A. Your Honours, first of all, the event took

    20 place on the 3rd of October, 1993. I am not a legal

    21 person, a lawyer. There are a lot of documents there,

    22 and I can only give my comments.

    23 On the 3rd of October, 1993, I was in the

    24 Lasva pocket confronted with the struggle for

    25 biological survival and with 35.000 refugees in the

  7. 1 Lasva pocket.

    2 Furthermore, as the chief of the main staff

    3 linked to the 9th of September, which is when the

    4 military court prosecuted this case, I was not -- it

    5 was not my competence to supervise the work of the

    6 military court nor was I ever previously informed of

    7 this event. Everything that I learnt about it I have

    8 learnt precisely from these documents because the

    9 military court was under the inherence of the Ministry

    10 of Justice and the administration of the Croatian

    11 Republic of Herceg-Bosna and the Defence Ministry of

    12 the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. As to the

    13 concrete events and this particular event, I have

    14 knowledge only on the basis of what I have just read

    15 from these documents and I am learning of the event

    16 here for the first time.

    17 I can state, though, that there were

    18 instances where officers and soldiers -- and that is

    19 something that the Tribunal is well aware of -- after

    20 the ceasefire was reached, interrupted their active

    21 service and took up service in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that

    22 is to say, those of them who had been born in

    23 Bosnia-Herzegovina for the most part, and they came

    24 under the personnel department of the Defence Ministry

    25 of the HVO, and I have just learnt of this case now.

  8. 1 Q. Well, General, the decision by the military

    2 district court or the military court was on the 9th of

    3 September, and the newspaper article that we see on the

    4 611 is an article that was printed on the 28th of

    5 October of 1994.

    6 Now, is it your testimony that after this

    7 decision and after the filing of suit against the

    8 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, you had no knowledge

    9 of the case involving Drazen Gvozden and his death as a

    10 soldier of the Republic of Croatia while operating on

    11 the southern front?

    12 A. I claim that officially I was not informed of

    13 the event and that I don't recall it. As to the 3rd of

    14 October, '93, when the event took place, I was the

    15 commander in the Lasva pocket, as I say, under complete

    16 encirclement, and that is that area there, and

    17 supervision over the military court I never had nor was

    18 I authorised as the chief of the main staff to do so.

    19 I had no -- no connection with the military court at

    20 all.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, the witness has

    22 answered your question twice. Either on the 3rd of

    23 October he was in the Central Bosnia pocket and it was

    24 not under his jurisdiction and he's given that answer

    25 twice, so can we please try to move forward a little

  9. 1 bit?

    2 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Mr. President.

    3 Q. One last question: This individual was born

    4 in Zagreb, according to his death certificate, and you

    5 just noted, General, that you had no official

    6 information.

    7 While you were the chief of staff or the

    8 deputy chief of staff or at any time prior to today,

    9 did you hear about this case involving Drazen Gvozden?

    10 A. I heard about it today. I can't tell you

    11 whether I heard about it earlier or not, previously or

    12 not. I don't know. I try to answer to the best of my

    13 ability with respect to the documents shown me and the

    14 case in point, and I repeat that I did not have any

    15 jurisdiction, and this judgement by the military court

    16 was not sent to me. Perhaps somebody in some sort of

    17 correspondence might have asked for documents relating

    18 to this soldier, that is quite possible, but I

    19 personally have no direct knowledge about the event,

    20 and I repeat, it was a situation where I did not know

    21 how long I would survive in Vitez, and I focused my

    22 attention on survival. I was confronted with the

    23 problem of 35.000 refugees in this pocket in October

    24 1993.

    25 Q. But, of course, the documents that you're

  10. 1 reading, both the judgement of the Mostar military court

    2 and the newspaper articles, were items that were

    3 published while you were in Mostar and while you were

    4 the chief of staff; isn't that right?

    5 A. I was not in Mostar. I was not the chief of

    6 the main staff in Mostar. Let us be precise on that

    7 point. The headquarters of the main staff, when I was

    8 the chief of the main staff, was in Posusje, and on the

    9 28th of October, 1994, was the time prior to the

    10 operation for the liberation of Kupres and the entire

    11 Kupres plateau, which means about 600.000 square

    12 kilometres, it was an enormous operation, and I was one

    13 of those who prepared the operation together with the

    14 commander of the 7th Corps of the army of

    15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, of course, and I mentioned that I

    16 focused my attention for the most part on combat

    17 operations there because I was the commander in a

    18 war --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: All this has been said before.

    20 Please. Can we try to move forward and show a little

    21 more efficiency here? The witness has answered your

    22 question. You may be happy with that, you may be

    23 unhappy with that. That's your problem. We are not

    24 going to go over what has been said over and over

    25 again. The witness has given his answer. Please,

  11. 1 Mr. Kehoe, can you go on to another subject, or if you

    2 want to remain on that particular subject, please ask

    3 another question, a different question. Let's not go

    4 over this again and again. We'll never get it over

    5 with.

    6 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. That was the

    7 last question, and I am going to shift subjects.

    8 Q. General, we're going to shift subjects to a

    9 subject concerning the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina

    10 when you came there in April of 1992, and the first

    11 document I would like to show you, with Mr. Usher, is

    12 Prosecutor's Exhibit 406/2.

    13 Now, General, let us -- you have seen this

    14 document before. Let us direct our attention just

    15 briefly to the paragraph -- before we talk about the

    16 document, this is a document that is dated 12 November,

    17 1991, and the names at the end are of president of the

    18 Regional Crisis Centre for Herzegovina, Mate Boban, and

    19 the president of the Travnik Regional Community, Dario

    20 Kordic.

    21 Let us look at paragraph 1 of this document

    22 dated 12 November, 1991, which reads that -- if we can

    23 just push it up just a little bit, Mr. Usher? We are

    24 going to read that paragraph going over to the next

    25 page:

  12. 1 "The Croatian Regional Community and the

    2 Travnik Regional Community remain of the opinion stated

    3 in the conclusions adopted at earlier meetings, that

    4 the Croatian people of this region, and all of Bosnia

    5 and Herzegovina, still support the unanimously accepted

    6 orientation and conclusions adopted in agreements with

    7 president Dr. Franjo Tudjman on 13 and 20 June 1991 in

    8 Zagreb. On the basis of the conclusions of the

    9 above-mentioned meetings and agreement in Zagreb, as

    10 well as the separate conclusions of 15 October 1991 in

    11 Grude and of 22 October 1991 in Busovaca, and on this

    12 occasion, 12 November 1991, these two regional

    13 communities have unanimously decided that the Croatian

    14 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina must finally embrace a

    15 determined and active policy which will realise our

    16 eternal dream - a common Croatian State."

    17 Now, General, that issue of "an eternal

    18 dream - a common Croatian State" meant unifying

    19 Croatian sections of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the

    20 Republic of Croatia; isn't that correct?

    21 A. Your Honours, at the time when this document

    22 was compiled, the 12th of November, '91, I was in

    23 Austria, and apart from what I'm reading here in the

    24 document, these events were not previously known to

    25 me. I did not participate at any of these meetings,

  13. 1 nor did I discuss the document with the person taking

    2 down the minutes and the president of the regional

    3 crisis committee for Herzegovina and the Travnik

    4 community with regard to this document.

    5 I do know that the Croats from

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, by way of referendum, opted for

    7 Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign state of

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina based on legality. I can see what

    9 the document says. What emanates from the document, I

    10 do not have any direct knowledge.

    11 Does it mean -- may I just take another look

    12 at the document, please, read through it and have an

    13 overview of the complete document, please?

    14 Q. Certainly.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Could we try to refocus the

    16 debate, please? The problem is not for you, General,

    17 to read this document over.

    18 The witness was not present on November 12,

    19 1991. The one thing we want to know is whether the

    20 witness shared this view of a Croatian government.

    21 Let's try to refocus the debate.

    22 The statement is quite clear. Was he in

    23 favour of this eternal state of Croatia? What is the

    24 witness's opinion about this? Was he a proponent of

    25 that particular idea? Was he against it? That's the

  14. 1 idea we want to have a clear opinion about.

    2 A. If I may answer, Mr. President. In point 2

    3 of this same document, it states that even in the

    4 leadership of the HDZ for Bosnia-Herzegovina there was

    5 still forces and so on and so forth. I don't want to

    6 read the document.

    7 I accepted to come to Bosnia-Herzegovina and

    8 give my professional assistance in the defence of

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina from the aggression, and that was my

    10 personal position from the very start. I never took

    11 part in the elaboration of any kind of political

    12 platform, nor did I implement a political platform,

    13 including this particular political platform. I can

    14 speak of army positions, trenches and fronts where I

    15 took part as a soldier in the defence of that state.

    16 MR. KEHOE: Well, General --

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General. That's

    18 exactly what I wanted to hear. That's what we want to

    19 hear in that kind of particular debate.

    20 MR. KEHOE:

    21 Q. Now, General, these two individuals that

    22 executed this document, Mate Boban was the President of

    23 the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and Dario Kordic

    24 was the Vice-President who was in the Central Bosnian

    25 area when you were the commander of the Central Bosnian

  15. 1 Operative Zone; correct?

    2 A. Yes, that's correct, but at the first meeting

    3 that I attended with Mate Boban, I was told that he

    4 demanded literally that the officers of the HVO, that

    5 is to say, that the HVO be apolitical and that all

    6 political activity be left to the elected

    7 representatives of the Croatian people in

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas the decree on the armed

    9 forces of the HVO also envisaged a depoliticisation of

    10 the HVO. At meetings with my associates and

    11 collaborators, I always stressed that politics was not

    12 to be our preoccupation, that is to say, the

    13 preoccupation of our soldiers.

    14 Q. Now, General, staying with this document, in

    15 the next paragraph, if you could read this particular

    16 document, there is discussion about the Croatian

    17 Banovina.

    18 "In order that that historic goal soon may

    19 soon be our reality, these two regional communities ask

    20 that legal and political documents be prepared and

    21 published proclaiming a Croatian Banovina in

    22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the holding of a referendum on

    23 joining the Republic of Croatia as the first steps on

    24 the road to the final Croatian question and the

    25 creation of..." and then the words are illegible.

  16. 1 The next sentence in paragraph 2:

    2 "There are still forces in a segment of the

    3 HDZ/BH leadership which oppose the historic interest of

    4 the Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These

    5 forces are in favour of non-existent sovereign

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina in which the Croatian people would

    7 be condemned to genocide and would disappear from

    8 history."

    9 Now first, General, you have made comments

    10 before in your documents about historic interests and

    11 historic responsibility. What is this essence of

    12 historic interest or historic responsibility of the

    13 Croatian people? What does that mean to you?

    14 A. As a soldier, within the framework of

    15 preparations to raise the combat morale of our

    16 soldiers, I would stress that in the sense that you

    17 must be up to your historical responsibilities,

    18 thinking that the history would re-examine the role of

    19 each and every soldier and each and every commander in

    20 relation to every order they received and the method

    21 and quality of the performance of their tasks. That is

    22 how I understood these historical responsibilities in

    23 the sense of raising morale. That is, anyway, the

    24 doctrinairy approach to the issuance of orders. That

    25 was one of the ways in which we were trained in the

  17. 1 former army, and I think that this applies to any army.

    2 Q. Well, General, the importance of this

    3 Banovina continued to be of importance and of

    4 discussion among the leaders of the Croatian Community

    5 of Herceg-Bosna even after you got to Central Bosnia on

    6 the 14th of April, 1992; isn't that correct?

    7 A. It says in this document that documents would

    8 be published, that there would be a referendum. I have

    9 no knowledge of that referendum taking place. It may

    10 have taken place. I don't know. As I said, I

    11 participated in only two meetings of political

    12 representatives in Central Bosnia, because after I was

    13 appointed commander of the Operative Zone of Central

    14 Bosnia, I spent most of the time on the front in

    15 Jajce. That is in August, September, and much of

    16 October.

    17 I also know that at the referendum, the

    18 Croatian people opted for an independent and sovereign

    19 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina with three constituent

    20 peoples. When you say is written in this document, but

    21 I do not know whether there was a referendum on

    22 annexation to the Republic of Croatia. As far as I

    23 recall, there was no such referendum.

    24 Q. General, were the discussions concerning the

    25 Banovina, did it continue after you got to Central

  18. 1 Bosnia on the 14th of April of 1992, "Yes" or "No"?

    2 A. If you're asking me about the military aspect

    3 and the people with whom I collaborated, that is, the

    4 military commanders, I have no knowledge about that.

    5 Whether such discussions continued or not, I do not

    6 consider myself competent to answer that question

    7 because I don't know. Perhaps they did, perhaps they

    8 didn't. It is the political representatives who are

    9 better informed about that.

    10 Q. Well, let us talk about a couple of

    11 documents, and if I may --

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Wait. Wait a moment. This

    13 document -- General Blaskic, I'm interested in the end

    14 of this document. You have it.

    15 "In order to implement the conclusions

    16 specified in the first two points" -- can you see

    17 that?

    18 "In order to implement those aims, we must,"

    19 and I'm drawing your attention to point (c) and (d),

    20 "prepare ourselves better militarily for the struggle

    21 against all forces which will attempt to stop this

    22 inevitable process of the creation of a free Croatian

    23 state," underlined, and (d), "anticipate, participate

    24 and categorically prevent any public or secret activity

    25 in the leadership which would oppose these decisions in

  19. 1 any way."

    2 My question is the following: You're not

    3 there, you were still in Austria, but when you were

    4 appointed to assume high-level military

    5 responsibilities, did Mate Boban or Dario Kordic brief

    6 you on this project of a free Croatian state, or did

    7 they tell you, "You're just a military man and your

    8 concern is the troops exclusively"?

    9 A. Mr. President, I assume you're referring to

    10 my appointment as the commander of the Central Bosnia

    11 Operative Zone.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.

    13 A. In a month's time I was the fifth commander

    14 appointed to that position, and at the time I was

    15 appointed and later on, no one asked me to implement a

    16 political platform. The situation was such that we had

    17 to focus on defence. This was a time when almost 70

    18 per cent of Bosnia-Herzegovina was occupied by the army

    19 of Republika Srpska, in June 1992.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: General, you told us that you

    21 were the fifth commander but, obviously, the political

    22 leaders wanted to choose somebody who would be in

    23 harmony with their political goals. Could you see

    24 Dario Kordic or Mate Boban choose somebody for such a

    25 high political post who would be contrary to their

  20. 1 goals?

    2 A. Your Honours, I was never confronted with

    3 those political goals. I was told explicitly that the

    4 military component was depoliticised and that my

    5 assignment was a professional military assignment to

    6 prepare the defence and organise the army, the armed

    7 people. That is my understanding of it.

    8 The decree on the armed forces also

    9 stipulates that the HVO is depoliticised. I never took

    10 part in the creation of a political platform, nor was I

    11 a member of the party.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: You don't have to answer this

    13 question if you don't want to, but as time passed, were

    14 you in favour for a free Croatian state or for a

    15 sovereign state, that is, the sovereign state of

    16 Bosnia?

    17 If you consider this question to be

    18 prejudicial to you, you don't have to answer it, but

    19 nevertheless, one might ask one's self, who were these

    20 political leaders who had a great dream of a Croatian

    21 state and who suddenly choose a military man who would

    22 say to them, "I'm quite apolitical, and I will tell you

    23 straightaway I am in favour of the sovereignty of

    24 Sarajevo. It is something that I prefer"? Because

    25 when we see the end of this document, something doesn't

  21. 1 seem to fit there. Can you explain that to us?

    2 A. Your Honours, Mr. President, I had a similar

    3 question sometime in March 1993, I think, at a public

    4 press conference. I spoke about those press

    5 conferences that we held in Busovaca, and I said that

    6 the HVO was struggling for our homeland, that is,

    7 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that the aim of the HVO was

    8 defence from aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina,

    9 which is also our homeland as well, implying the

    10 equality of peoples together with the other peoples.

    11 That is what I said in March 1993.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. You are in favour of

    13 equality. I understand that. But my last question:

    14 In this standpoint did you say to Dario Kordic or Mate

    15 Boban, at one point, "Because I am a brilliant officer,

    16 I know how to make trenches, I know how to position

    17 machine-guns, to deploy troops, but your greater

    18 Croatian state does not interest me"? Did you say that

    19 to Mate Boban or Dario Kordic at any time?

    20 A. I had very few meetings with Mr. Mate Boban,

    21 and I became familiar with this document here in

    22 Court. So I didn't participate in its preparation, nor

    23 could I discuss it.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Don't give me that answer. I

    25 know that you were in Austria. What I'm interested in

  22. 1 is whether you had a certain degree of political

    2 conviction when engaging or placing your military

    3 knowledge at the disposal of these inflamed

    4 politicians? Did you know what you were doing? You

    5 were struggling for a future Croatian state or were you

    6 struggling for an institutional state based in

    7 Sarajevo? What was the aim of your struggle?

    8 You came from Austria. You accepted a very

    9 risky command, General. You couldn't have been

    10 fighting for nothing.

    11 A. Mr. President, the government in Sarajevo

    12 ceased to function and the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    13 had actually collapsed. I was fighting for the defence

    14 of Bosnia-Herzegovina from aggression, for the

    15 establishment of a joint command. I struggled for the

    16 defence of Maglaj and Goradze, towns which had a

    17 majority Muslim population.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: You are not answering my

    19 question. I will not insist upon it. Let me ask if my

    20 colleagues have any additional questions for you.

    21 Judge Shahabuddeen?

    22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General Blaskic, I

    23 wonder if you'll help me to understand a little more

    24 clearly your statements to the effect that the army

    25 itself was not politicised. I believe you referred to

  23. 1 the decree establishing the army and laying down its

    2 framework, and your position is that the army itself

    3 was purely professional. Do I understand you

    4 correctly?

    5 A. Your Honour, that is correct. My position

    6 was that we should create a professional army, that we

    7 needed to build it, develop it. It was the armed

    8 people. But they should be trained to carry out

    9 defensive military assignments.

    10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Well now, the President,

    11 I think, put to you a question to this effect: He said

    12 that you were not fighting for nothing. Presumably you

    13 were fighting for something. Do you remember the

    14 president putting questions like that to you?

    15 A. I do, Your Honour.

    16 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I want to ask your help

    17 on this point of clarification. Do you recognise this

    18 situation, that an army may itself be depoliticised in

    19 the sense that those who operate the army from within,

    20 like yourself, are not politicised people, that

    21 politics do not run through the functioning of the

    22 machinery of the army, but that the army is there,

    23 nevertheless, to pursue goals and to accomplish tasks

    24 set by the political directorate. So if the political

    25 directorate were, for example, to set a task of ethnic

  24. 1 cleansing, that depoliticised army would, nevertheless,

    2 implement that political objective. Do you recognise

    3 that situation?

    4 A. Your Honour, I think there are several

    5 questions here. I have noted four or five. I do

    6 recognise the situation you have described, but every

    7 good soldier should also be a reasonable soldier, and

    8 he should be able to recognise such orders. The decree

    9 on the armed forces envisaged, and I am referring to it

    10 and that was also my position, because as from 1989 I

    11 ceased to be a member of the Communist Party or,

    12 rather, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, and

    13 even until then I was a member on assignment. I think

    14 that the majority of the younger military men of the

    15 JNA were happy when they learned of the possibility

    16 that they had to be depoliticised and to focus on their

    17 profession.

    18 I came to Bosnia-Herzegovina and I did fight

    19 for something, and that was to help in the defence

    20 against the Serb aggression and to organise the armed

    21 people, and my idea applied to Central Bosnia. My

    22 command posts were mostly on the front lines, from the

    23 front in Sarajevo to Jajce, Maglaj, assistance to

    24 Olovo, Gorazde, and where the situation was most

    25 critical, so I fought for defence against aggression.

  25. 1 Due to various circumstances, and there are

    2 many, a conflict occurred between two components of the

    3 armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the BH army and the

    4 HVO, and your question regarding the political

    5 directorate imposing certain tasks, including ethnic

    6 cleansing, I never was in a position to accept such a

    7 task of ethnic cleansing because I would not have

    8 accepted it because an obedient soldier must also be a

    9 reasonable soldier to be a good one.

    10 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I did put that

    11 branch of my question -- I don't know whether it was

    12 the fourth or fifth question -- hypothetically, but let

    13 us pursue the hypothesis a little further in order to

    14 achieve greater clarity of thought.

    15 Suppose the political directorate, it set, as

    16 one of its goals, the realisation of a Greater

    17 Croatia. Would the army under your command have worked

    18 for the achievement of that purpose?

    19 A. In the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina at

    20 that time that I can talk about, we were not in such a

    21 position, and I believe it would not have worked in

    22 that direction because then I couldn't have been the

    23 commander of that army. A section may have existed

    24 which would have worked for that end. But, as I said,

    25 the tendency was to depoliticise the army entirely, but

  26. 1 it is true, as you said in your question, that a

    2 certain degree of politics exists in every army, no

    3 matter how hard it may try to be clean and

    4 depoliticised, and that was not the project which

    5 prompted my arrival in Bosnia-Herzegovina nor was I

    6 invited to realise such a project. I was asked to help

    7 in the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I stressed

    8 that clearly at press conferences in '93, because

    9 Bosnia-Herzegovina is the state of the Croatian people

    10 of Bosnia as well, on an equal footing with the other

    11 two peoples that comprise Bosnia-Herzegovina and all

    12 the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    13 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I take it you

    14 realise that sometimes there could be a dynamic quality

    15 in the setting of purposes. You could have original

    16 purposes which change subtly or abruptly in the course

    17 of subsequent events. Should I understand you to be

    18 saying this, that if at any time the political

    19 directorate set as one of its goals the realisation of

    20 a Greater Croatia, that you would not have accepted any

    21 instructions to work for the accomplishment of that

    22 purpose?

    23 A. If I may just say in connection with the

    24 dynamics of goals, I may have misunderstood that

    25 process because I didn't have sufficient experience in

  27. 1 that field and I still don't have enough experience. I

    2 don't consider myself competent to enter lengthy

    3 discussions on political issues. But I do believe that

    4 such a dynamic process exists, and this can be seen

    5 from the negotiations conducted in Central Bosnia under

    6 the auspices of the International Community.

    7 But, Your Honour, my understanding was that

    8 the task of the political representatives of the

    9 Croatian people, of the Bosniak Muslims, and the Serb

    10 people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was to participate in

    11 that dynamic process and to come to an agreement under

    12 the auspices of the International Community, to come to

    13 an agreement on the future set-up of

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I saw my role as the role of a

    15 soldier, a commander defending Bosnia-Herzegovina from

    16 aggression; and when I say "we," I mean the BH army and

    17 the HVO, had a common enemy, and that is the army of

    18 Republika Srpska which controlled a greater part of

    19 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    20 I never really studied more closely what the

    21 politicians were doing because that was their job. No

    22 one ever asked me to participate in the realisation of

    23 such a platform. At some meeting, this may have been

    24 discussed, but I was not present at those meetings, and

    25 I have no immediate knowledge that there was a

  28. 1 discussion about the creation and the implementation of

    2 such political projects.

    3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, would it be

    4 convenient for you to summarise what would have been

    5 your reaction to a possible request by the political

    6 directorate for you to work for the realisation of a

    7 Greater Croatia? Would you have accepted those

    8 instructions or would you have declined those

    9 instructions if they were made to you?

    10 A. No such requests were addressed to me, and I

    11 never took part in the drafting of such a platform, I

    12 personally, and I would not have implemented such a

    13 platform.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Your answer --

    15 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are talking

    16 about the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: That sentence towards

    18 the end, that you would never have accepted such

    19 instructions, is clear, and I thank you, General.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General Blaskic, I also

    21 have a few questions for you. I am going to ask you

    22 some direct questions as far as that is possible.

    23 In your opinion, what was the best situation,

    24 from the executive point of view, if you're thinking of

    25 any organisation, from the executive point of view,

  29. 1 what would be the best situation to say to someone who

    2 needs to do something, "In order to obtain such and

    3 such a thing, you are going to do such and such," or

    4 only to say, "You're going to do so and so"?

    5 A. Clearly it is best to speak frankly and to

    6 try and explain, that is, to explain the tasks and the

    7 aim of those tasks. In my view, that is a far more

    8 correct approach; that is, to provide as much

    9 information as possible, including the purpose why a

    10 particular task is being carried out, what is the

    11 purpose of such a task.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: My second question is the

    13 following: To what extent can it help a soldier to

    14 know well the reasons that he is fighting for?

    15 A. This can be of a great deal of assistance and

    16 it is desirable to tell the soldier the reasons behind

    17 the struggle and the aims of that struggle.

    18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Bearing in mind the ideas

    19 that we have already discussed here, both strategic and

    20 tactical, for an officer -- I'm not talking about a

    21 soldier but an officer -- for an officer, is it

    22 important for him to know something about strategy,

    23 that is, the objectives of the tactics applied?

    24 A. For an officer, it is important and it is to

    25 be expected that he would do his best to learn about

  30. 1 the objectives of tactics.

    2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So could it be said that at

    3 a learned level of command, it is necessary to have a

    4 certain link between strategy and tactics?

    5 A. Yes. At a certain level, that is necessary.

    6 These are, in most cases, the strategic operative

    7 commands.

    8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: You have told us that you

    9 came from Austria to Kiseljak originally for two

    10 months. What was your dream at the time? Why did you

    11 come?

    12 A. I came to assist in organising and preparing

    13 the Kiseljak municipality for defence. My parents live

    14 there, the parents of my wife, my relatives. I came

    15 after invitations addressed to me by the official

    16 bodies of Kiseljak municipality, including that of my

    17 late father, my late uncle, and other of my relatives,

    18 and my intention at the time was to organise the

    19 defence and to organise the armed people in the

    20 territory of Kiseljak to defend themselves from the JNA

    21 and the Republika Srpska --

    22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: We already know that,

    23 General, but could you tell us that you were there

    24 within the scope of a tactical plan?

    25 A. Yes.

  31. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: And what was the strategy?

    2 A. At the level of Kiseljak municipality, the

    3 strategy was to survive and to prepare for the

    4 impending attack of which there was every indication

    5 because the nearby municipality of Rakovica had been

    6 cleansed and Bosnian Muslims had already come to

    7 Kiseljak at the end of April, beginning of May.

    8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, I am asking you

    9 the same question. When you were appointed commander

    10 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone, what was the

    11 strategy?

    12 A. The strategy, in a nutshell, because I want

    13 to be as brief as possible, was to link up all forces,

    14 all potentials of Central Bosnia for defence from Serb

    15 conquest, to try and slow down that conquest and to try

    16 to halt it. My understanding of the military situation

    17 in Central Bosnia I conveyed to the president of the

    18 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Mate Boban, and he

    19 agreed with it.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: General, could we say that

    21 the strategy was to have an independent state of

    22 Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    23 A. The strategy on the political side, as far as

    24 I know, was to establish, to achieve a political

    25 agreement on the establishment of Bosnia-Herzegovina

  32. 1 together with representatives of the Bosniak Muslims

    2 and the Serbs with the mediation of the International

    3 Community. My military strategy was to defend as much

    4 of the remaining territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, maybe

    5 some 40 per cent, which the Serbs had still not

    6 occupied.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question, and that

    8 will be my last. I apologise. As you know, I joined

    9 the proceedings a little later.

    10 What is your nationality?

    11 A. I am a Croat by nationality.

    12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Just a further point before the

    14 break. General Blaskic, could we agree on the fact

    15 that Mate Boban and Dario Kordic had a political

    16 project of a Greater Croatia?

    17 A. What project or programme or platform they

    18 had, I cannot say because I only had two meetings with

    19 Mr. Mate Boban. I know that he participated in the

    20 negotiations --

    21 JUDGE JORDA: Come on, General. I'm asking

    22 you, do you think that Mate Boban and Dario Kordic, who

    23 were the political leaders, did they have the project

    24 of creating a Croatian state and a Croatian community?

    25 A. The project of a Croatian Community of

  33. 1 Herceg-Bosna within the framework of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    2 was something that they did have, and that was

    3 something that I shared, but not at the expense of

    4 Bosnia-Herzegovina but, rather, in the sense of

    5 obtaining equality of rights for Croats in

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina with the other peoples of

    7 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: I know that you are a military

    9 man concerned with only military things, but you just

    10 told Judge Rodrigues that as of a certain level, one

    11 does not wear black glasses and have ears plugged up.

    12 So I am saying: Among the political leaders of the

    13 Croats of Bosnia, was there a political project either

    14 of a Greater Croatia or a structured Croatian

    15 community, entity? Did this exist on the side of Mate

    16 Boban and Dario Kordic?

    17 A. Your Honour, Mr. President, in document

    18 406/2, from points 1 and 2, one can see that there is

    19 no unity of approach even among the HDZ leadership

    20 regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina. I know that the Croats

    21 participated in the referendum on an independent and

    22 sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the question put to

    23 me by Judge Shahabuddeen -- perhaps, at some point in

    24 time, there were such political goals, but the politics

    25 evolved and the Washington Agreement showed, one that

  34. 1 was accepted by the Croats and I participated in the

    2 establishment of the federation army --

    3 JUDGE JORDA: You're not answering my

    4 question. Let me rephrase it. In your eyes -- I am

    5 not talking about this document; you were in Austria --

    6 in your view, did Mate Boban and Dario Kordic have a

    7 political project, "Yes" or "No"?

    8 A. I believe they did have a political

    9 programme.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: What was that political

    11 project, in your view?

    12 A. In my view, that political project was to

    13 ensure equality of rights of the Croatian people in

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina with the mediation of the

    15 International Community and through an agreement with

    16 the other constituent peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    17 JUDGE JORDA: According to what you know, is

    18 that what they tried to realise or did they try to

    19 achieve something else, in fact, according to what you

    20 know?

    21 A. On the basis of what I know, and my only

    22 sources are the negotiations that were carried out with

    23 the mediation of the International Community, as far as

    24 I know, the Croatian side was cooperative in those

    25 negotiations with the mediation of the International

  35. 1 Community.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: You're not answering my

    3 question. I am asking you whether Mate Boban and Dario

    4 Kordic had a political project, and if they did, did

    5 they try to implement it through this Croatian

    6 community of defence?

    7 A. If they had a project, I am again conveying

    8 my opinion, it is possible that they tried to implement

    9 that programme through their activities, but I am

    10 speaking on the basis of the knowledge I have about the

    11 international negotiations conducted through the

    12 mediation of the International Community.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. But beyond that

    14 information, General Blaskic, you were the operative

    15 commander of Central Bosnia. After all, you were not

    16 blind regarding the newspapers, deaf regarding the

    17 radio and television, so you cannot just say "I was a

    18 simple soldier." You were not a simple soldier.

    19 My question is: At a given point in time,

    20 after the spirit of two months, when you focused on the

    21 defence of Kiseljak, did you say at a certain point to

    22 yourself that you had been manipulated by Mr. Mate

    23 Boban and Mr. Dario Kordic, that they were pursuing a

    24 political goal whereas you were simply intent on

    25 defending your Bosnian Croatian territory against the

  36. 1 Serbs? Did you have a feeling that you had been

    2 manipulated by them?

    3 A. Mr. President, allow me to say that in the

    4 territory where I was, the territory was isolated,

    5 there was no electricity or water, there was no press.

    6 I didn't have occasion to read the daily newspapers.

    7 It was a very difficult situation we were in. I had

    8 35.000 refugees in that area. But it is a fact that

    9 there was an about-turn within the Croatian leadership

    10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina politically because Mr. Boban

    11 handed in his resignation and Kresimir Zubak took over

    12 to implement the federation.

    13 The circumstances under which he handed in

    14 his resignation I don't know because I wasn't there. I

    15 have no immediate knowledge. But probably a certain

    16 about-turn did take place and new people were chosen to

    17 implement the Washington Agreement. I'm talking about

    18 the political leadership.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Rodrigues? Then we'll

    20 have a break.

    21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Just to round off this part

    22 of the discussion, there is something I would like to

    23 understand.

    24 Your project of your life was to abandon a

    25 military career. You asked to leave the JNA. You had

  37. 1 a concept of life or a dream in Austria of life in

    2 Austria with your wife and so on. You accepted to come

    3 to Kiseljak for two months to organise the defence. I

    4 understand that because there were certain emotional

    5 reasons, but without soldiers, without structures,

    6 without any proper organisation, et cetera, et cetera,

    7 you decided to stay in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    8 I think that there must have been some very

    9 strong reasons. Your idea was not, after all, to

    10 become a general. Your military career was something

    11 that you had abandoned.

    12 In view of all these circumstances - how can

    13 I put it - adverse circumstances, you stayed,

    14 nonetheless, and, therefore, I think there were some

    15 very strong reasons, and I should really like to

    16 understand what were those reasons if you abandoned

    17 your entire military career.

    18 A. Your Honour, you said yourself that there

    19 were reasons, emotional and others, for my coming.

    20 There was a war which brought with it many

    21 unforeseeable circumstances, including the fact that I

    22 stayed on. This territory of Central Bosnia that we

    23 managed to defend cost me, as a commander, I'm sorry to

    24 have to say that, it cost me more than 2.000 graves,

    25 more than 5.000 wounded, and 22 members of my family

  38. 1 including my father, that is, my broader family.

    2 Twenty-two members were lost in all.

    3 I stayed after the signing of the Washington

    4 Agreement, believing that we would be able to develop

    5 the army of the federation. I took part in the final

    6 operations, together with the BH army, despite this

    7 one-year long tragic war.

    8 My plans were not linked to a career in the

    9 army, because I also studied civilian subjects, hoping

    10 to abandon my military career. I believed I would be

    11 able to do that after the implementation of the

    12 Washington and possibly the Dayton agreements. But I

    13 also spoke to Mr. Kresimir Zubak, as the President of

    14 the federation, and he expressed the wish that I should

    15 continue first as deputy chief of staff and then chief

    16 of staff in the HVO, focusing on professionals and

    17 people from Bosnia-Herzegovina to build this army of

    18 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: I think that we are going to

    21 have a break. The interpreters have worked hard, so

    22 the break will last until 12.30.

    23 --- Recess taken at 12.04 p.m.

    24 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please

  39. 1 be seated. Yes, Mr. Kehoe.

    2 MR. KEHOE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President,

    3 Your Honours.

    4 Q. General, just a few questions based on some

    5 of your responses to the Trial Chamber. You noted, in

    6 response to both a question from the President and also

    7 from Judge Rodrigues, in referring to

    8 paragraph 3(c), which notes that they must make better

    9 military preparations for combat against those forces

    10 which will attempt to stop this inevitable process of

    11 creation of a free Croatian state, now, you noted in

    12 response, and I believe this is specifically to a

    13 question by Judge Rodrigues, that your strategy, in a

    14 nutshell, was to link up all potential forces for the

    15 defence against Serb consequence and halt it. Do you

    16 recall saying that to Judge Rodrigues?

    17 A. Yes. I think that it was a question, Your

    18 Honours, of the time I was in Kiseljak as the commander

    19 of the Central Bosnia Operative Zone. I think that

    20 that was so, yes.

    21 Q. Let me show you, General, Prosecutor's

    22 Exhibit 502. Yet, General, within a month of you

    23 coming to Kiseljak, you issue an order, Prosecutor's

    24 Exhibit 502, which is an order that came from Mate

    25 Boban, down to General Roso, that you issued, declaring

  40. 1 the Territorial Defence illegal. Isn't that a fact?

    2 A. That is what is stated in point 5, but the

    3 document is dated the 11th of May, 1992, when the

    4 Territorial Defence of the JNA made up the armed forces

    5 of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. And

    6 when the Yugoslav People's Army was still the legal

    7 armed force which was there to defend Bosnia and

    8 Herzegovina.

    9 Q. Well, General, that particular order is dated

    10 the 11th of May, 1992, isn't it?

    11 A. Yes, the 11th of May, 1992 the JNA was

    12 present in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    13 Q. That is the same day that you noted, to an

    14 Agence France Presse reporter, that with regard to the

    15 embattled Bosnia-Herzegovina government in Sarajevo,

    16 you say, "It has no legitimacy here." The same day,

    17 while you say that you are trying to galvanise the

    18 forces for a fight against the Serbs; is that right?

    19 MR. HAYMAN: Compound. One question at a

    20 time, Your Honour, particularly given the translation.

    21 The question is compound. Mr. Kehoe asked several

    22 questions.

    23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: I well understand what you

    25 mean, Mr. Kehoe, but I also well understand the nature

  41. 1 of Mr. Hayman's objection. You are putting several

    2 questions to the witness at the same time.

    3 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Mr. President. I

    4 apologise. I will break the questions down.

    5 Q. The day, the same day that you order that the

    6 Territorial Defence forces are rendered invalid, an

    7 article is published in the Agence France Presse where

    8 you is say that the government in Sarajevo has no

    9 legitimacy here, and "here" means Kiseljak. The same

    10 day.

    11 A. I would like to see what the question was

    12 asked me linked to that legitimacy, but I will clarify

    13 the circumstances we found ourselves in.

    14 Kiseljak was the border area bordering on the

    15 area controlled by the Serbs. The JNA, together with

    16 the army of the Republika Srpska and the government in

    17 Sarajevo, and in concrete terms, I have in mind the

    18 Defence Ministry, by a fax line, sent its orders

    19 demanding that the city of Sarajevo be deblocked.

    20 Sarajevo is about 30 kilometres away from Kiseljak, as

    21 far as I know.

    22 So orders of this kind, as they arrived into

    23 the hands of the army of the Republika Srpska, could

    24 have caused direct action by the artillery, and that

    25 whole area could have been burned at a time when there

  42. 1 were several hundred armed soldiers or people in

    2 Kiseljak.

    3 On many occasions, I cautioned them about

    4 this and asked that they should not react to Kiseljak

    5 in that way because, quite obviously, some institutions

    6 wanted to involve Kiseljak into a war without any

    7 reason.

    8 JUDGE JORDA: General, please, try to help

    9 the Judges by answering directly the question that has

    10 been directly put to you. You're not helping at all by

    11 answering it that way.

    12 A moment ago you told Judge Rodrigues and

    13 Judge Shahabuddeen that you are not a political man,

    14 that you did not have political opinion, and here we

    15 have a declaration which seems to contradict the order

    16 that was emitted on that very same day.

    17 So that's a problem. Please try to help us.

    18 The question was clear, as far as I'm concerned.

    19 MR. KEHOE:

    20 Q. Did you understand the question, General?

    21 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, he asked to see

    22 the Agence France Presse report.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Of course.

    24 MR. HAYMAN: It's not in Serbo-Croat. He's

    25 being asked to interpret a public statement and he

  43. 1 should get to see it. That would be our request.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: Absolutely, Mr. Hayman. You're

    3 quite right. But I think that Mr. Kehoe was thinking

    4 that the General could remember this interview. But,

    5 indeed, I think it would be best for the witness to

    6 have the text of this interview before him.

    7 MR. KEHOE: I would note, Mr. President, for

    8 the record, that when this witness, when this

    9 particular article was addressed to him during his last

    10 week of cross-examination, admitted that he made these

    11 statements. We can go back in the transcript and find

    12 that particular provision. It will take me over the

    13 lunch-hour to do that but I will find it.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: You're right, Mr. Kehoe. Like

    15 you, I think we are losing a lot of time, but we are

    16 talking here of a fundamental right of the witness, of

    17 any witness, and here the witness is the accused, so he

    18 does have the right to read a document when we're

    19 asking him to compare two documents. But let's try to

    20 do this as efficiently and quickly as possible.

    21 Would it be possible to find that document

    22 easily, Mr. Registrar?

    23 MR. KEHOE: It is. I'm sorry,

    24 Mr. Registrar. It is Prosecutor's Exhibit 545, 545.

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. The original document is

  44. 1 French, as we are talking here of the Agence France

    2 Presse, French press agency. Do you have this in the

    3 English version?

    4 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, we have this in the

    5 English version.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: I think what you can do,

    7 Mr. Kehoe, is read the relevant paragraph and the

    8 translators will work and help the witness understand

    9 what you're saying. So can you please read the

    10 relevant part of this text, Mr. Kehoe, the part you're

    11 interested in.

    12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. Excuse me,

    13 Mr. Usher, can we just go up there a little bit more?

    14 That paragraph, and I believe, Mr. President, it's 1,

    15 2, 3, 4, 5, where Blaskic is named. It begins:

    16 "Tiho Blaskic, who heads the CVO forces in

    17 Kiseljak, explained that the region was peaceful

    18 because the Serbs, who make up only three per cent of

    19 the town's population 'have no designs on this land.'

    20 "As for the embattled Bosnia-Herzegovina

    21 government in Sarajevo, 'It has no legitimacy here,' he

    22 said."

    23 If we turn to the next page, Mr. Usher, and

    24 we look at the last two paragraphs on page 2, it reads

    25 as follows:

  45. 1 "Kiseljak would henceforth be a part of a

    2 Croatian canton and administrative region and would

    3 look to the west rather than the east, Tiho Blaskic

    4 said.

    5 "'Its closeness to Sarajevo never contributed

    6 much to our town anyway,' he said."

    7 Now, General, you've had an opportunity to

    8 hear the translation of this article that you

    9 previously told us that you said, this article is

    10 published on the same day where you issue an order

    11 outlawing the Territorial Defence; isn't that right?

    12 A. The date of the order is identical to the

    13 interview, but allow me to clarify matters. The order

    14 was issued on the basis of receiving an order from the

    15 main staff, and as I already said, at that time

    16 military conscripts from Kiseljak had -- and I know

    17 this in concrete terms because my late father was to

    18 report to Breza or Ilijas -- and they could have been

    19 called up by that same JNA or the Territorial Defence

    20 for mobilisation in Ilijas in an area already under the

    21 control of Serbia, that is to say, the army of Republic

    22 of Serbia or the JNA.

    23 As far as the Serbs in Kiseljak are concerned

    24 and the 3 per cent mentioned, I have in mind the

    25 municipality of Kiseljak and the villages which

  46. 1 gravitate towards Ilidza, and of those Serbs, the

    2 danger did not come from those Serbs and they were

    3 never attacked by the HVO. In a later period, they

    4 were, by the Territorial Defence.

    5 Now, how the translation was that the

    6 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina had no legitimacy,

    7 perhaps because it was not linked to the area, but this

    8 Tribunal knows that I personally sent written reports

    9 to the Defence Minister in Sarajevo in August 1992 when

    10 he asked me to do so, and I received orders, it is a

    11 whole series, a set of orders, from the Supreme Command

    12 staff of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina for the

    13 deblocking of Sarajevo and participation in that

    14 deblocking operation and I informed my superiors of

    15 that.

    16 As far as where Kiseljak would be, I don't

    17 know in what context the question was raised, but I

    18 could refer back to negotiations, if they were held,

    19 the negotiations that were held through the mediation

    20 of international representatives. I said that we were

    21 interested in the West and not the East. I said that

    22 previously, and I think that in the transcript you will

    23 see my position linked to that commentary in the sense

    24 that it was the aspiration of everybody from the

    25 region, that is how I understood it, Western democracy

  47. 1 and not what is happening in the East, having in mind

    2 the JNA and all those that the people had to defend

    3 themselves against.

    4 Q. Well, General, your comment that the

    5 government in Sarajevo "has no legitimacy here," keep

    6 that in mind because I would like to ask you to compare

    7 that to a quote that Mate Boban gave to a reporter, Ed

    8 Vulliamy, on the 13th of August of 1992, and that,

    9 Mr. President and Your Honours, is on page 7754 on line

    10 15, where Boban told Mr. Vulliamy -- and, Judge

    11 Rodrigues, Mr. Vulliamy was a reporter for The Guardian

    12 who testified previously, as I'm sure you know.

    13 Boban told Vulliamy he could not accept the

    14 constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its capital,

    15 Sarajevo.

    16 Now, that quote to Mr. Vulliamy is remarkably

    17 similar to your quote where you say that the government

    18 of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo "has no legitimacy

    19 (in Kiseljak)"; isn't that correct?

    20 A. I have already commented and said that I

    21 didn't have the interview in my hands previously and

    22 that I had in mind that -- I meant that it had no

    23 influence, and how that complete translation was made,

    24 that it absolutely has no legitimacy, Franjo Boras and

    25 Jerko Doko asked me for a report, and if I sent the

  48. 1 report to the Defence Minister, I don't know in what

    2 context the translation of what I said was made.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, that is not

    4 the real problem here. First of all, I would tell

    5 Mr. Kehoe that the question is not to ask, "What do you

    6 think about a statement made by Mate Boban?" the

    7 question here is not about the word "legitimacy," maybe

    8 that's not really what you wanted to say at the time,

    9 but we are interested by the whole of this interview.

    10 The whole of this statement is quite political in its

    11 nature.

    12 My question is the following: A moment ago

    13 you told us that you were a general, a military man who

    14 was not involved in politics, and here in this

    15 particular document we find at least three sentences

    16 where it appears that you do take an interest in

    17 politics, that as a general you are a little interested

    18 in politics. It is not something, you know, I am

    19 criticising, but I see there that you are a general who

    20 is a little bit interested in politics.

    21 A. Mr. President, quite possibly in the question

    22 there are some political elements, but at that time I

    23 was a Captain First Class of the former Yugoslav

    24 People's Army who had arrived 15 days previously, or

    25 some 20 days prior to this, to Kiseljak after spending

  49. 1 several years -- after spending years away from the

    2 area, and I don't know what context the questions were

    3 asked in, I can't remember the context and why the

    4 answers were as they were, but my preoccupations were

    5 always the army and military issues.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: Please continue, Mr. Kehoe.

    7 MR. KEHOE:

    8 Q. Yet, General, within four months of this

    9 particular interview, you are at a meeting with other

    10 members of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna and

    11 you are preparing and receive instructions to prepare

    12 for combat operations against the Muslims, four months

    13 later, in September of 1992.

    14 A. That question is not exact because you are

    15 suggesting an answer. I was not preparing for combat

    16 operations against the Muslims in September of 1992. I

    17 had come to the meeting having been invited to attend

    18 for them to get to know me, to introduce me to the

    19 other political and other representatives who were

    20 present at the meeting, and the overall circumstances

    21 were such that at that time the most fierce operations

    22 were being fought, Jajce, Maglaj, Olovo, Travnik, and

    23 so on and so forth, and from numerous documents you can

    24 see that we tried to pool our efforts there, the BH

    25 army and the HVO, in a joint defence, particularly for

  50. 1 Travnik and Maglaj, Usora, Olovo and other regions, and

    2 at that particular meeting, I did not receive any

    3 assignments nor could I have received any, and the

    4 chief of the main staff was the only one to be able to

    5 give me orders, and from the political representatives

    6 in Central Bosnia, I received no orders for any

    7 assignments or tasks whatsoever.

    8 Q. Well, General, I ask you to take a look at

    9 Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/95, and I ask you to go to the

    10 last page of that document, when you receive it, and

    11 focus on the second-to-last paragraph of that document.

    12 Second-to-last paragraph, last page,

    13 Mr. Usher.

    14 That paragraph -- and this is an excerpt from

    15 the minutes of the meeting of the Croatian Defence

    16 Council in municipalities of Central Bosnia dated

    17 22 September, 1992, where you, General, are one of the

    18 members of the working presidency along with Dario

    19 Kordic, Anto Valenta, and Ignac Kostroman. This

    20 paragraph reads that:

    21 "HVO Military bodies for Central Bosnia

    22 shall prepare defence plans against possible attack by

    23 Islamic Fundamentalist Mujahedin Forces and introduce

    24 military discipline and order in the military

    25 formations."

  51. 1 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, the translation

    2 is completely wrong. It is an absolutely erroneous

    3 translation of the text. The English text that we have

    4 here, there are two paragraphs which have been merged

    5 into one, and the sense of what is written in the

    6 original Croatian text has been lost, and I propose

    7 that the Croatian translation, that the Croatian

    8 original, that is to say, be placed on the ELMO, and

    9 that the interpreters who are here now should interpret

    10 it, and you will see that the English translation is

    11 wrong, it is substantially different.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: I quite agree with you,

    13 Mr. Nobilo, it does seem necessary, so we will put the

    14 Croatian version on the ELMO, please.

    15 Which is the paragraph you are quarrelling

    16 with?

    17 MR. KEHOE: It is the last page,

    18 Mr. President --

    19 JUDGE JORDA: I have this in its French

    20 version, but I will try to find my way around. Last

    21 page.

    22 MR. KEHOE: Last page, second-to-last

    23 paragraph.

    24 (Trial Chamber confers)

    25 JUDGE JORDA: How do you want to go about

  52. 1 this, Mr. Nobilo? The Judges have now before them the

    2 B/C/S version. I have a French version of the text. I

    3 am going to hand it over to my two colleagues. But I

    4 would like to have the interpreters help us understand

    5 this clearly.

    6 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, I suggest that I

    7 read out the text in Croatian and then the interpreters

    8 will translate it.

    9 MR. KEHOE: Well, I suggest that the

    10 interpreters just read it in the translation as they

    11 translate it, with the proper inflections the way the

    12 translators view it, with all due respect to counsel,

    13 so the translators could read it in and of themselves.

    14 This, I would note, is a translation that came from the

    15 translation department. Of course, neither Mr. Harmon

    16 nor I speak B/C/S, so this is a translation received

    17 from the ICTY.

    18 Nevertheless, if the translators can

    19 translate that, it would be helpful.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: Yes, but this particular

    21 paragraph is said by Mr. Nobilo to be incorrect, so I

    22 would like Mr. Nobilo or a Serbo-Croatian interpreter

    23 to read this paragraph and then the other interpreters

    24 will work into their respective language and everything

    25 will be much simpler that way.

  53. 1 How do you want to go about this exactly?

    2 Mr. Nobilo, do you want to read this? I think that is

    3 the best solution. Just go ahead and read this

    4 paragraph, the first paragraph, to begin with. Read

    5 slowly, please. It starts with "Vojni organi."

    6 MR. NOBILO: Yes, I think it is important

    7 because it is important for it to enter into the

    8 transcript, the text itself, because if it appears that

    9 the text is different, as I consider, then it will have

    10 to be changed, the translation of the document of the

    11 Prosecution will have to be changed. So I am going to

    12 start reading slowly now.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: Wait a minute, wait a minute,

    14 Mr. Nobilo. What's important right now is for you to

    15 read this text aloud.

    16 MR. NOBILO: Therefore, I am reading the text

    17 as follows:

    18 "Military organs of the HVO of Central

    19 Bosnia are duty-bound to elaborate plans of defence

    20 from a possible attack by the Islamic Fundamentalist

    21 Mujahedin Forces which have been infiltrated into the

    22 organs of the army of BH as well."

    23 And then the second paragraph ...

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Just a second. Could you

    25 please repeat -- wait. It's very different indeed.

  54. 1 Mr. Nobilo, I'm sorry, but indeed the French version I

    2 have before me says that "The military organs will

    3 introduce disciplinary measures in the military

    4 formations," which is quite different from what you

    5 have just said. So please repeat what you've just

    6 said. Can the interpreters help us once again?

    7 MR. NOBILO: The question is of "Islamic

    8 Fundamental Mujahedin Forces which have been

    9 infiltrated also into the organs of the army of

    10 Bosnia-Herzegovina."

    11 JUDGE JORDA: This is so far from what I have

    12 before me that I'm unable to say anything.

    13 Let's go to the next paragraph. In my

    14 translation, it seems that "the Ministry of Defence

    15 will ensure military logistics for Central Bosnia in

    16 conjunction with the military command." That's not at

    17 all what you've just been saying.

    18 MR. NOBILO: I'm going to read the next

    19 passage:

    20 "Military organs of Central Bosnia are

    21 duty-bound to speed up, accelerate, the procedure of

    22 the professionalisation of military units and to

    23 establish full military discipline and order into

    24 military units."

    25 JUDGE JORDA: Right. We can find some

  55. 1 elements which are common to what you've just said and

    2 my translation, but clearly there is a problem.

    3 Mr. Registrar, is this an official

    4 translation emanating from the CLSS? I'm talking about

    5 the French translation here because I can only judge

    6 what is said in the French document.

    7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President. Just a

    8 second, please. I have to check something.

    9 (Trial Chamber confers)

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Well, with the agreement of the

    11 two other Judges, we will ask you, Mr. Nobilo, to read

    12 this paragraph again slowly, the interpreters will give

    13 us their translation of the document, and this will be

    14 entered in the minutes of the hearing, and then I will

    15 ask the CLSS section, via the registry, to give us a

    16 new translation of that paragraph.

    17 Please read again slowly.

    18 MR. NOBILO: I am reading the text:

    19 "The military organs of the HVO of Central

    20 Bosnia are duty-bound to elaborate plans of defence

    21 against a possible attack from Islamic Fundamentalist

    22 Mujahedin Forces which have infiltrated into the organs

    23 of the army of BH as well."

    24 And now a new paragraph, the next paragraph:

    25 "Military organs of Central Bosnia are

  56. 1 duty-bound to accelerate the process of

    2 professionalisation for the military units and to

    3 establish full military discipline and order into

    4 military units."

    5 And that is the end of the quotation.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: There are two points that are

    7 very different from what we have before our eyes. One

    8 speaks of professionalisation and not about logistics

    9 and then there is what is said in the first paragraph

    10 which is one which is not clear at all. In this new

    11 translation we have just got, we speak about Mujahedin

    12 forces which have infiltrated the BiH army forces, so

    13 it's very different from what we had before us. I will

    14 ask for a new official translation.

    15 It's five past one. We are going to take a

    16 break for lunch, and we will try to gather again with a

    17 new translation. I think it is the simplest way to go

    18 about this. The witness must be able to make comments

    19 on documents that everybody agrees on.

    20 MR. KEHOE: Certainly, Mr. President. I

    21 agree.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: We will meet again at 2.30. I

    23 am giving back the document to the registrar. The

    24 hearing is adjourned.

    25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.06 p.m.

  57. 1 --- On resuming at 2.35 p.m.

    2 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed. Please

    3 be seated. Mr. Registrar, as well as the counsel of

    4 the Defence and the Prosecution, please take note that

    5 tomorrow, Wednesday, we will begin at 10.00 for a

    6 normal day, as Tuesday and Thursday. However, for this

    7 week there is a change for Thursday and Friday.

    8 Thursday morning we will not be sitting, and we will

    9 resume Thursday afternoon at 3.30. On Friday morning

    10 we will sit from 10.00 rather than 9.00.

    11 Have you taken note of that, Mr. Registrar?

    12 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.

    13 JUDGE JORDA: This is for reasons of security

    14 and the special units that provide transportation of

    15 the accused.

    16 MR. KEHOE: May I proceed, Mr. President?

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Yes.

    18 MR. KEHOE:

    19 Q. Now, General, the particular document we were

    20 talking about, 456/95, on the 22nd of September 1992,

    21 is a document which has political aspects to it; isn't

    22 that correct?

    23 A. Yes. It is a document that emanated from the

    24 regular meetings of the civilian officials of Central

    25 Bosnia, and it covers more or less all aspects, but I

  58. 1 would like to mention that I became familiar with this

    2 document here in the courtroom.

    3 Though it says that I was a member of the

    4 working presidency, clearly all the members of the

    5 working presidency signed it but I did not. I did not

    6 receive it before coming here to the Tribunal, nor was

    7 I familiar with this document. I did know about the

    8 discussion and the contents of the discussion to the

    9 extent I was able to learn about those discussions

    10 during the meeting. I was a guest at that meeting.

    11 Q. Well, General, you told us this morning that

    12 you only had attended two meetings with political

    13 representatives in Central Bosnia. Is that what you

    14 told the Judges this morning?

    15 A. There were very few meetings, possibly only

    16 two. This was a meeting of familiarisation, where I

    17 was introduced to the civilian authorities in September

    18 1992. Another meeting of coordinating bodies like this

    19 one was held in April 1993, which I attended. However,

    20 these meetings actually took place every fortnight in

    21 Central Bosnia, but these were meetings of civilian

    22 representatives and I did not attend those meetings.

    23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. Registrar, if we could put

    24 Prosecutor's Exhibit 572/1 on the ELMO? If we could

    25 pan back just a little bit.

  59. 1 Q. Now, General, let's go through these

    2 individuals. The man on the left is Ignac Kostroman,

    3 the secretary of the HVO; isn't that right?

    4 A. Yes, that is Ignac Kostroman. I think that

    5 he was the Secretary-General of the HDZ for

    6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He may have been of the HVO. In

    7 any event, he was a secretary, yes.

    8 Q. He was a political figure, wasn't he?

    9 A. Yes, he was a political figure.

    10 Q. The man next to him is Anto Valenta the

    11 Deputy President of the HVO; isn't that right?

    12 A. Yes. Anto Valenta was the Deputy Prime

    13 Minister of the government of HVO, I think, or the

    14 coordinator for Central Bosnia.

    15 Q. Now, as of the 8th of April, this was a man

    16 who actually had an office down the hall from you in

    17 the Hotel Vitez; isn't that right?

    18 A. No. That was a man who was thrown out of his

    19 office in Travnik because of the various events that

    20 took place there, and he used the office of the chief

    21 of staff, that is, Mr. Franjo Nakic for a time from

    22 April the 8th in the Vitez Hotel, but for a very brief

    23 time. Then he had an office in a nearby building. I

    24 don't know the name of the building, but it was across

    25 the street from the hotel, about a hundred metres down

  60. 1 the road. He couldn't go back to Travnik because the

    2 BH army had occupied it.

    3 Q. Valenta was a political figure also, wasn't

    4 he?

    5 A. Yes. Valenta was, as I have already

    6 mentioned the positions he held.

    7 Q. Next to Valenta and next to you, in between

    8 you and Valenta, is Dario Kordic, the vice president of

    9 the HVO; is that right?

    10 A. Yes.

    11 Q. He was a political figure also?

    12 A. Yes, he was a political figure too.

    13 Q. Now, you met with these men at these press

    14 conferences at least once a week in Busovaca; didn't

    15 you?

    16 A. I didn't meet with these men, I was a

    17 participant in the press conference, as can clearly be

    18 seen. The press conferences were held more or less

    19 weekly, and they were open to the public, attended by

    20 representatives of the United Nations and other

    21 representatives of the media, and I was amongst those

    22 answering questions addressed by journalists, but each

    23 one was responsible for his department. I was

    24 responsible for military issues.

    25 So this was not a meeting with political

  61. 1 representatives as implied from this document that we

    2 spoke of from '92 or the other one referred to that was

    3 held in April '93.

    4 Q. General, these press conferences that you

    5 attended on a weekly basis, politics involving the

    6 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was discussed by

    7 Kostroman, Valenta, and Kordic in your presence; isn't

    8 that true?

    9 A. They answered the questions of journalists in

    10 my presence. I did not ask them any questions, nor did

    11 I participate in any kind of discussions with them at

    12 those press conferences.

    13 As I said, these were press conferences

    14 attended by members of the press from that local

    15 community, and depending on the questions, that is,

    16 whether they were political or civilian, each of the

    17 individuals answered. If there were military

    18 questions, as this was a period of heavy fighting first

    19 with the Republika Srpska and then with the BH army, I

    20 was the one who answered those questions.

    21 Q. Well, based on those questions, General, you

    22 were well aware of the political positions of these

    23 three men, weren't you?

    24 A. I could hear, like the other people in

    25 attendance, the positions presented by these

  62. 1 representatives, but let me repeat that this was not a

    2 meeting with the civilian representatives. I stick by

    3 my assertion that I attended only two meetings. A

    4 meeting is one thing and a press conference is

    5 another.

    6 Q. Well, General, at these press conferences

    7 where political platforms were being discussed or

    8 political commentary was being made by these three men,

    9 did you ever disagree with them publicly?

    10 A. They made their comments. Those comments

    11 were not binding upon me. There were some I did not

    12 agree with. I did have occasion to tell some of them

    13 so, but those comments they made did not concern me. I

    14 was in charge of the command and as a soldier I

    15 received my orders from the main staff, and the

    16 statements of local or regional political

    17 representatives were not binding upon me.

    18 Q. Well, those political statements that you

    19 disagreed with, tell the Judges about those political

    20 statements that you disagreed with and to whom did you

    21 direct your criticisms and when?

    22 A. It is hard for me to say when. On one

    23 occasion, during a press conference of this kind when

    24 we were without running water and electricity, this was

    25 a period of conflict with the BH army, it may have been

  63. 1 at the end of 1993, I remember that Mr. Valenta said

    2 that he condemned such an approach by the BH army, that

    3 is, depriving the Lasva pocket of water and

    4 electricity, and he said that if this continued the HVO

    5 would take measures to cut off the power and water

    6 wherever the HVO could do so for the members of the BH

    7 army and in the areas inhabited by Bosniak Muslims.

    8 I told him personally that I did not support

    9 that and that I would no longer attend such press

    10 conferences at which such statements would be made, and

    11 I disagreed with this statement that he made to the

    12 press at the press conference.

    13 I think that from then on he did not attend

    14 those press conferences, but instead there were

    15 separate press conferences held by him as a

    16 representative of the civilian authorities and press

    17 conferences of the command of Central Bosnia at which

    18 military issues were discussed.

    19 Q. Well, General, is that it? Is that the only

    20 one that you can recall that you disagreed with?

    21 A. You asked me when and where. There may have

    22 been other occasions. I wish to remind Their Honours

    23 that there were quite a number of statements by

    24 political representatives, including local people.

    25 We can see from this document that the

  64. 1 municipal level almost determined what the Ministries

    2 and the army would do. However, I considered that such

    3 statements had no binding effect upon me, and I

    4 acknowledged the superiority only of the main staff and

    5 the official orders I received from them. But there

    6 were many statements of local officials but these were

    7 not official positions or official documents.

    8 Q. Well, General, isn't it a fact, sir, that you

    9 were involved in politics, as we saw from the Agence

    10 France Presse article, through this meeting on the 22nd

    11 of September, 1992 up through your political commentary

    12 on the Vance-Owen Peace Plan?

    13 A. No, it is not a fact. Unfortunately, I was

    14 preoccupied with our struggle for survival. One should

    15 bear in mind that I spent the whole of August at the

    16 front in Jajce, in September again, most of the time on

    17 the front line in Jajce; October, at the front line in

    18 Travnik. I can show you where my command posts were,

    19 and I claim that the front line was my command post in

    20 Jajce and Travnik. The headquarters was based in

    21 Vitez, but I spent most of my time focusing on military

    22 issues. So these two meetings, or the one you are

    23 referring to, is not an indicator of my political

    24 participation, the more so as I was introduced at the

    25 meeting as a guest.

  65. 1 Q. Well, General, you made political commentary

    2 on the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, didn't you?

    3 A. I did comment on the Vance-Owen Plan, which

    4 was a plan on the internal structure of

    5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but specifically the part relating

    6 to military issues and the military aspects of that

    7 plan, to the extent to which I was informed about that

    8 plan, because the Vance-Owen Plan was not just a

    9 political plan, it was a plan covering the overall

    10 political set-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina, going into

    11 political as well as military aspects. Perhaps I was

    12 not fully qualified for the political part, but I did

    13 comment on the military aspect of the Vance-Owen Peace

    14 Plan as far as I know.

    15 Q. Well, General, let us show you Prosecutor's

    16 Exhibit 456/112, a document you discussed with --

    17 JUDGE JORDA: Perhaps before going on, Judge

    18 Rodrigues has a question.

    19 MR. KEHOE: I'm sorry, Judge.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, Mr. President.

    21 General Blaskic, how many times, more or

    22 less, were you seated in this way as shown on this

    23 photograph?

    24 A. It is hard for me to say how many times, Your

    25 Honour.

  66. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But roughly.

    2 A. Sometimes it was once a week, sometimes once

    3 a fortnight; it depended on the conditions, the

    4 situation on the battlefront, what the needs were,

    5 whether we had anything to say at that press

    6 conference.

    7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Another question: Why did

    8 you say that Kostroman, Kordic, and Valenta, on this

    9 photograph, are politicians, are political figures?

    10 Why?

    11 A. Because they had certain political positions

    12 in the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, later the

    13 Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna, and before that in

    14 the HDZ party. They were members of the HDZ.

    15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, but if you look at the

    16 photograph, I think that one can see Kordic and

    17 Kostroman in military clothing.

    18 A. Your Honour, virtually all civilian

    19 representatives at some point in time, I can't say

    20 throughout the period of the war, but for a long time

    21 during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina wore military

    22 uniforms, including Mr. Valenta. So I am really

    23 surprised that in this photograph he is in civilian

    24 clothes. I saw him many times wearing a uniform.

    25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But a picture speaks more

  67. 1 loudly than words, and if a person looks at this

    2 photograph, without seeing what those people have in

    3 their minds, in their heads, who are civilians and who

    4 are the military men?

    5 A. Your Honour, that is a good question.

    6 Pictures do say a lot, and one might conclude from this

    7 picture that all are soldiers except one. However, in

    8 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, from the age of

    9 childhood, children of five and onwards, love to wear

    10 uniforms, especially camouflage uniforms. It was a

    11 piece of clothing that was most in demand in those

    12 days.

    13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: So a normal person looking

    14 at this photograph would say there is one civilian and

    15 three military men, but in effect there were three

    16 political figures and only one military man because you

    17 said that this photograph -- or this meeting which you

    18 attended on many occasions, you knew very well that a

    19 photograph speaks more loudly than words, yet you

    20 accepted to be seated under those conditions.

    21 A. Yes, I did, and these were, as I said, press

    22 conferences, and they were the only way of conveying

    23 certain positions to the population of the pocket, be

    24 they military or political or civilian. But I mostly

    25 discussed military issues at those press conferences.

  68. 1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Imagine, General, that this

    2 is a press conference, and there may be journalists

    3 from the BBC, CNN, or foreign journalists, and they

    4 have a military question. If I understood you well,

    5 you said that you were there to answer questions of a

    6 military nature. If I am a journalist, a foreign

    7 journalist, in the hall attending a press conference, I

    8 have a military question perhaps, and I could address

    9 myself either to Kostroman or to Kordic; perhaps I will

    10 ask you that question because I may like you more. But

    11 if I have a military question, I could easily address

    12 myself to the other people, but I would never address

    13 the question to Anto Valenta, who is wearing a tie. Do

    14 you think that I would be reasonable?

    15 A. Certainly, Your Honour, because all three are

    16 wearing uniforms. But there are two more details that

    17 could be mentioned. If a question was of a military

    18 nature, then the interpreter would address the question

    19 to me, and this badge shown here was worn for the

    20 benefit of foreign journalists and it said that I was

    21 the military commander of the Operative Zone of Central

    22 Bosnia, whereas the others did not wear such a badge,

    23 and then the questions would be addressed to the

    24 persons responsible for them.

    25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: One more question, General

  69. 1 Blaskic. Under these conditions that we see on the

    2 photograph, who chaired the meeting? Who chaired the

    3 proceedings at this table?

    4 A. No one acted as chairman. There was a kind

    5 of master of ceremonies. We can't see him, I think he

    6 was seated to my left, and he sort of conducted the

    7 proceedings. He would just say, "I am opening this

    8 press conference of Central Bosnia. Today's guests are

    9 so and so."

    10 And if I may just add, this was not a

    11 conference attended only by HVO members. For instance,

    12 on the 16th of November, 1992, sitting next to me at

    13 the same conference was the president of the war

    14 presidency of Gorazde municipality, Mr. Hadzo Efendic,

    15 who came to thank me and the command in public for

    16 assistance in the defence of Gorazde. So there were

    17 other guests, representatives of the Territorial

    18 Defence and others, who attended such conferences, but

    19 no one really acted as chairman.

    20 If a conference was convened regarding

    21 certain negotiations on the internal set-up of Bosnia

    22 and Herzegovina, then those questions would be answered

    23 by the political representatives. That was the only

    24 way in which we could communicate, except for the

    25 official information that reached us in those days,

  70. 1 that could reach us under those conditions.

    2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you, General.

    3 MR. KEHOE:

    4 Q. Just following up on Judge Rodrigues'

    5 question, General, in addition to these weekly

    6 meetings, how many times a week did you speak to or

    7 meet Dario Kordic?

    8 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, I repeat, these

    9 were not weekly meetings. Perhaps I didn't get the

    10 correct interpretation. Because for me, a meeting was

    11 a form of work and something quite different than

    12 weekly meetings for the public, these were conferences

    13 for the public, whereas meetings with Dario Kordic --

    14 how many times a week? -- sometimes not at all. If

    15 necessary, we would meet if he had some information

    16 linked to my needs, that is to say, to military

    17 matters. We would meet in the church, for example, if

    18 I was in the church at Busovaca. But there was no

    19 regular form of contact because he was not my

    20 superior. My superior was the chief of the main staff.

    21 Q. So, on average, in addition to these weekly

    22 press conferences, how often did you meet Kordic?

    23 A. I've already said that it wasn't standard,

    24 there was no standard preconceived order. Sometimes

    25 once a week, sometimes I would meet him during the mass

  71. 1 said in the church in Busovaca and so on.

    2 Q. Now, Ignac Kostroman went to many meetings

    3 with international agencies that you attended; isn't

    4 that so?

    5 A. No, that is not so. Ignac Kostroman attended

    6 meetings -- I can even try and enumerate them -- from

    7 the 23rd of October, when there was a broader

    8 delegation of the HVO at a meeting, in the presidency

    9 of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and at the

    10 military airport, and the meeting was convened by

    11 General Morillon. The next meeting was held, I think

    12 it was on the 30th of October, and the following one in

    13 November, perhaps even the 5th of November, and at the

    14 March meeting in Zenica -- there was a March meeting in

    15 Zenica. Very few meetings where he was present; in

    16 fact, I would say five, between five, five, six, or

    17 seven meetings, to the best of my recollection.

    18 Perhaps he went to meetings that I did not have any

    19 knowledge of.

    20 Q. Well, in addition to these press conferences,

    21 approximately how often did you meet with Kostroman?

    22 A. Well, he had a completely different

    23 department. He was the secretary, and the situation

    24 was similar as with Kordic, and far less frequently

    25 because I had my command in Vitez and I spent most of

  72. 1 my time up at the front line, so that throughout August

    2 in Jajce, throughout October and November in Travnik,

    3 in Zepce, in Usora, and so on.

    4 Q. And Valenta, in addition to these press

    5 conferences, how often did you meet with Valenta?

    6 A. I was invited by Chairman Thebault once to

    7 attend a meeting, perhaps two or three times. I saw

    8 him in the hotel when he was staying there temporarily,

    9 but any meetings with him, apart from the meetings that

    10 I was invited to attend by the international --

    11 European Monitors, and I think it was Colonel Stewart

    12 at the time, I had no other meetings with Valenta, and

    13 I did not consider that I was duty-bound to have

    14 meetings with him, to meet him, because none of the

    15 positions of Valenta, Kostroman, or anybody were

    16 binding for me, apart from the official orders issued

    17 by the chief of the main staff of the HVO.

    18 Q. Well, General, wasn't Valenta present at one

    19 of your meetings with Colonel Stewart where the issues

    20 on Ahmici were discussed?

    21 A. He wasn't present. The meeting was in his

    22 office, the meeting was in May 1993, and I don't know

    23 all the topics of the meeting. There was a whole

    24 delegation of European Monitors there headed by their

    25 representative, Mr. Thebault. There was also Colonel

  73. 1 Stewart there. They invited me to attend that meeting,

    2 for a portion of that meeting which was when there was

    3 a discussion on Ahmici and the investigation in Ahmici

    4 and other subjects as well, and if you want me to, I

    5 can look at my notes and chronology and tell you.

    6 Q. At the appropriate time, General, we'll get

    7 back to that. At this juncture, let us turn our

    8 attention to your political commentary on the

    9 Vance-Owen Peace Plan as reflected in Prosecutor's

    10 Exhibit 456/112.

    11 Now, General, this was a document that was

    12 discussed during your direct-examination, which

    13 Mr. Nobilo described at page 20110 as a potentially

    14 troublesome document, and referring to this document,

    15 Mr. Nobilo referred to it as involving political

    16 issues.

    17 Now, this document not only quite clearly

    18 does involve political issues in the Vance-Owen Peace

    19 Plan; isn't that correct? This is a document that is

    20 dated the 26th of May, 1993 and is sent to the European

    21 Union Monitoring Mission, Mr. Thebault.

    22 Again, I ask you, this is a document that

    23 quite clearly discusses political issues, isn't that

    24 correct, General?

    25 A. Your Honours, first of all, I'd like to say

  74. 1 something about the document. The document, judgingly

    2 the initials, was written by Drago Dujmovic, and I

    3 said -- and not only did he write it but he signed it.

    4 He did not have authorisation to do so, because he was

    5 not amongst the ranks of my assistants to able to sign

    6 a document of this kind. Had I known, this kind of

    7 document would never have been sent out from my command

    8 to Mr. Thebault.

    9 Mr. Thebault had a series of meetings with

    10 me, and I never discussed the political aspects with

    11 him and political issues with him, and he knows that

    12 full well.

    13 As far as the Vance-Owen Plan is concerned

    14 and what the Prosecutor maintains that it only treated

    15 political questions, perhaps I don't understand

    16 Vance-Owen's plan properly, but it's my position that

    17 it treated questions of state administration and the

    18 internal organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and

    19 structure included, political questions, military

    20 issues, and a series of other questions including the

    21 setup of Bosnia-Herzegovina itself as the state of

    22 three constituent peoples. That is a plan which was

    23 created under the chairmanship of international

    24 intermediaries. That is how I understand it. But as I

    25 underline, I did not authorise the document and I do

  75. 1 not stand behind the document, although the last

    2 passage, the last paragraph of the document calls for a

    3 joint meeting for us to clarify things that were not

    4 clear. I never discussed political matters with the

    5 commander of the 3rd Corps.

    6 Q. Let me be very clear about the reference to

    7 political issues, General, and I will read you

    8 Mr. Nobilo's question and then your answer.

    9 MR. KEHOE: This is, counsel, for your

    10 reference, page 20174 beginning on line 22.

    11 Q. This is Mr. Nobilo's questions concerning

    12 this document, Prosecutor's Exhibit 456/112.

    13 "Q So this is a letter to the monitoring

    14 mission of the European Community where your name has

    15 been typed out and references made to political issues

    16 such as the implementation of the Vance-Owen Plan."

    17 The question says:

    18 "Q So tell us, did you write this? Did you

    19 sign it? Would you have signed it and sent such a

    20 document?"

    21 Your answer is, beginning on line 3 of page

    22 201175:

    23 "A I did not approve this document. I did

    24 not write it and I did not sign it. This document was

    25 signed by Mr. Drago Dujmovic. He was the officer in

  76. 1 the department for information and propaganda

    2 activities, and he never held such a position that

    3 would authorise him to sign any document on my

    4 behalf."

    5 Is that true, sir?

    6 MR. HAYMAN: Counsel, I believe you misquoted

    7 the transcript on line 5 when you said, "Signed by

    8 Mr. Drago Dujmovic." The transcript says, "Written by

    9 Mr. Drago Dujmovic."

    10 MR. KEHOE: Counsel, you're right. It does

    11 say in the transcript it was written by Mr. Drago

    12 Dujmovic. I believe the rest of it is accurate.

    13 "A He was the officer of the department of

    14 information and propaganda activities, and he never

    15 held such a position that would authorise him to sign

    16 any document on my behalf."

    17 Q. Now, is that true, General?

    18 A. Yes.

    19 Q. Mr. Dujmovic was never in a position to sign

    20 any documents on your behalf; is that your testimony?

    21 A. Mr. Dujmovic was not in that kind of

    22 position, authorising him sign documents on my behalf.

    23 He was not an assistant. It was only my assistants who

    24 were authorised to sign those documents. As far as I

    25 know, he did not perform the function of assistant for

  77. 1 political activities except after Marko Prskalo had

    2 been wounded. I think Dragan Ramljak then held the

    3 post of assistant for political matters in the military

    4 district of Vitez. But at all events, a document with

    5 contents of this kind I would not have sent to

    6 Mr. Thebault, nor did I discuss political matters with

    7 him.

    8 Q. Let me show you a document, General.

    9 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 615 and 615A for the

    10 English version.

    11 MR. KEHOE:

    12 Q. Now, General, this is an order of the 30th of

    13 April, 1993. Again, you would agree with me that it is

    14 drafted by Drago Dujmovic, and whose signature is

    15 that?

    16 MR. HAYMAN: Mr. President, counsel has

    17 characterised this as an order.

    18 MR. KEHOE: It's a request for invention. I

    19 apologise, counsel. You're absolutely right. Request

    20 for intervention.

    21 Q. Whose signature is that, sir?

    22 A. This is also Drago Dujmovic's signature.

    23 Q. Did you authorise this document, sir?

    24 A. I would have to read through it to see what

    25 it is about. May I please read the document to refresh

  78. 1 my memory?

    2 Q. Certainly.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Generally speaking -- excuse me

    4 for interrupting, but generally speaking, I'm talking

    5 to you, General Blaskic, it is a bit confusing. When

    6 we have orders, requests, whatever the type of

    7 document, that bear your seal and are written by

    8 somebody else, you sometimes say, "No, I don't approve

    9 of this." It's a bit confusing, don't you think?

    10 Can you imagine me tomorrow morning giving a

    11 decision bearing my seal and then saying later on,

    12 "Well, no. This was written by my assistant. I don't

    13 authorise this document. I don't approve of it."

    14 This is a general question, which has nothing

    15 to do with this particular document, but it seems to me

    16 that since the beginning we have seen the documents

    17 with the seal of General Blaskic, and we hear you

    18 saying, "This was written by such and such and he had

    19 no power to write such a document."

    20 So it is a bit confusing, all the more so

    21 when we only have an English version or a French

    22 version that says "Tihomir Blaskic" at the end of a

    23 document. It's very exceptional for me to have the

    24 B/C/S/ version before me. Because the only thing we

    25 see on French and English versions is your name

  79. 1 "Tihomir Blaskic," which is a bit confusing and a bit

    2 perplexing, don't you agree?

    3 A. Mr. President, that is quite right. It is a

    4 little confusing, because according to the regulations

    5 of the work of the command of the Operative Zone,

    6 documents were to be signed by me. If I couldn't sign

    7 them, then it would be the chief of the main staff,

    8 Franjo Nakic, who would sign them. But he was absent

    9 for a number of -- for a long time because he was

    10 working on the commissions. We all know about this. I

    11 don't want to repeat it.

    12 So if I wasn't there, then my assistants

    13 could sign the documents. But Drago Dujmovic was never

    14 officially an assistant, he was a clerk. The assistant

    15 was Marko Prskalo, who had been wounded and he was

    16 lying wounded in hospital.

    17 Now, I don't know, chronologically speaking,

    18 when his deputy took up his duties for him to be able

    19 to sign, but clerks were not, as a rule, able to sign

    20 documents as my assistants and deputies, because that

    21 would mean that 500 -- well, not 500, but 50 other

    22 people could have signed the document.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: I repeat that my question is of

    24 a general nature, General Blaskic. Generally speaking,

    25 do you think that you were the man responsible for all

  80. 1 the documents bearing the seal of Tihomir Blaskic,

    2 because you don't only put your seal on these

    3 documents, if we are speaking of a traditional

    4 organisation, there's something that's striking in

    5 these documents, because not only do we see the seal of

    6 the commander of the Operative Zone, but we also see

    7 his name, your name, typewritten on the document.

    8 Sometimes it is your signature also that appears but

    9 sometimes it is not your signature.

    10 So my question is very simple. Generally

    11 speaking, do you feel you are responsible for all the

    12 documents bearing your seal and bearing your name?

    13 A. I feel myself responsible, Mr. President and

    14 Your Honours, but all documents in the command of the

    15 Operative Zone for Central Bosnia bear my name and that

    16 same stamp. All the documents. Those were our

    17 internal rules. So you have the commander, regardless

    18 of who signed the document.

    19 What I want to say is that the right to sign

    20 was something that my deputies had.

    21 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, please, there

    22 are two different categories of documents. You give to

    23 your assistants the possibility to sign some

    24 documents. If you give that authorisation to your

    25 assistants, you are responsible, in a way, for what

  81. 1 he's going to do. If you don't want to be responsible

    2 for what this assistant is going to do, you will not

    3 give him the authorisation to put a signature on the

    4 document. Either you give your signature or you

    5 don't. If you do give it, then you are responsible.

    6 Again, I'm speaking in very general terms.

    7 Let's forget about Blaskic for the moment

    8 being. So either one gives his or her signature, or

    9 one doesn't.

    10 A. I'm not sure that I have understood you

    11 correctly, but I consider myself to be responsible for

    12 the documents which bear my name and surname, and every

    13 document in the Operative Zone has my name and surname

    14 on it.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you for this very clear

    16 answer. That's quite clear.

    17 I bring your attention to the fact that we

    18 are speaking of two categories of documents, internal

    19 documents where, of course, you might think you are

    20 responsible, but also documents who go outside the

    21 Operative Zone and who are meant for the BritBat, for

    22 example; for external organisations; for the ECMM, for

    23 example; for the Red Cross, for example.

    24 These documents -- I'm sure you must feel

    25 particularly responsible for these documents. You feel

  82. 1 responsible for all the documents but particularly for

    2 these documents, because how do you want the Red Cross,

    3 for example, to know who is in charge of the Operative

    4 Zone if you say, "Oh, no. I'm sorry, but my assistant

    5 has done something I don't agree with." These

    6 documents are very important ones. They are, you know,

    7 sent to the Red Cross or to the ECMM.

    8 You have to agree with what I'm saying, don't

    9 you?

    10 A. Mr. President, I agree, but on this document,

    11 once again, the date is the 30th of April, 1993, and

    12 I'm sure you know the confusion that reigned from the

    13 100 offices necessary. Only seven of us worked. Two

    14 were wounded and so on and so forth.

    15 JUDGE JORDA: I can understand that answer

    16 you've just given me, but I was speaking in general

    17 terms. You make comments, you know, about such and

    18 such a document by saying, "Yes, I was, you know, on

    19 the front. There was a slight misunderstanding," et

    20 cetera. That I can understand. But what I want to

    21 appear in this transcript is that General Blaskic

    22 considers himself as responsible for every document

    23 going outside the Operative Zone, documents which bear

    24 his signature and his name, Tihomir Blaskic.

    25 Thank you for being quite clear on that

  83. 1 issue, and I think in the name of all the Judges here,

    2 thank you.

    3 Mr. Kehoe, you may resume.

    4 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President.

    5 Mr. Registrar, we can take a look at these, a series of

    6 documents. We can go through these quickly. I

    7 believe, Mr. Registrar, they're in chronological

    8 order.

    9 Mr. President, it might be easier and quicker

    10 if we just deal with all of these documents at once.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Each time you speak of going

    12 faster, Mr. Kehoe, I feel elated so ...

    13 MR. KEHOE: Judge, as long as I don't have

    14 you falling asleep yet in mid afternoon, I figure

    15 that's a success.

    16 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you. All right. Let's

    17 continue.

    18 THE REGISTRAR: Document 616, 617A, 618,

    19 618A, 619, and 620A. Each of the documents has an "A"

    20 version in English.

    21 MR. KEHOE:

    22 Q. Now, General, take a look at all these

    23 documents. As with the previous document, these are

    24 again various documents, responses, requests, requests

    25 for assistance, a note to a commander, and they are all

  84. 1 drafted by Mr. Dujmovic, and he also signs for them on

    2 your behalf, doesn't he, every one of those documents?

    3 A. Yes, and all the documents came into being

    4 after my assistant was killed, Mr. Marko Prskalo, after

    5 the 17th of April, 1994, when Marko Prskalo -- I'm

    6 sorry, he wasn't killed, he was wounded by BH army

    7 snipers in Stari Vitez.

    8 Q. General, take a look at that first document

    9 that you have, Exhibit 616. The date for that is

    10 3 May, 1993. Now, these documents, General, run

    11 from -- and I'm talking about 615 -- run from the 30th

    12 of April till mid May of 1993. So during this period

    13 of time, Mr. Dujmovic did, in fact, have the authority

    14 to sign on your behalf; isn't that right?

    15 A. Dujmovic, throughout this period, was an

    16 officer in the IPD department, not an assistant for

    17 IPD, and such a situation may have occurred only after

    18 the assistant for IPD, Mr. Marko Prskalo, was wounded,

    19 but in reality what happened was that my assistants and

    20 the chiefs of staff signed on my behalf and not

    21 officers in departments, but the situation was such

    22 that there were only seven of us in the command as of

    23 the 16th of April, Prskalo was wounded, he was lying in

    24 hospital in the church at Nova Bila, and probably for

    25 that brief period of time, Dujmovic may have signed

  85. 1 documents of this kind, requests, instructions, and

    2 other correspondence.

    3 Q. General, let's look at 620, and that is a

    4 request to the U.N. command dated 18 May, 1993. Did

    5 Dujmovic sign that on your behalf?

    6 A. Yes, Dujmovic signed that document.

    7 Q. Did he sign all of these documents on your

    8 behalf and with your approval?

    9 A. He did sign all these documents that you have

    10 shown me, but I said already the circumstances, that

    11 is, when my assistant was wounded and he was unable to

    12 perform his duties. I was familiar with some of these

    13 events and I was aware of these developments.

    14 Q. Well, let's turn our attention back to

    15 456/112, Mr. Registrar, the document that we were

    16 speaking about at the outset, which is the document

    17 that was sent to Mr. Thebault and that was signed by

    18 Mr. Dujmovic on your behalf.

    19 Now, when you told this Court, General, back

    20 on the 12th of April, 1999, with respect to this

    21 argument, that "Dujmovic never held such a position

    22 that would authorise him to sign any document on my

    23 behalf," that wasn't true, was it, because he did have

    24 authorisation to sign on your behalf?

    25 A. He did not hold a position -- when I say

  86. 1 "position," I mean his official post. Officially, he

    2 was always an officer for IPD, he never was my

    3 immediate assistant; and according to the rules on the

    4 work of the command of the Central Bosnia Operative

    5 Zone, he did not have such a position in the command

    6 which would give him the right to use my signature. I

    7 am talking about the position he held according to the

    8 formal structure of the command.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: Do you have these internal

    10 regulations, Mr. Prosecutor?

    11 MR. KEHOE: I've never seen them, Judge.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: The Judges would need to have

    13 these regulations which specify these responsibilities.

    14 Continue, Mr. Kehoe. So this is a question

    15 that the Judges will have to pose.

    16 MR. KEHOE:

    17 Q. General, despite your answers to Mr. Nobilo's

    18 questions, there were times when Mr. Drago Dujmovic was

    19 authorised to sign for you; isn't that correct?

    20 A. He did so, but he didn't have an official

    21 position to authorise him to do that. If Mr. Dujmovic

    22 had acted responsibly, he should have given all those

    23 documents to me to sign, because I repeat, he was just

    24 an officer, a clerk, and they had no right of

    25 signature, no right to sign such documents. If I was

  87. 1 present, I had to sign them; if I was absent, then my

    2 chief of staff or the next deputy, and it is quite

    3 common knowledge who that person is in the hierarchy.

    4 JUDGE JORDA: Were you absent on the 3rd and

    5 the 18th of May to sign these documents? Were you

    6 absent?

    7 A. Mr. President, I would have to look it up in

    8 the chronology of events, but I assume that I wasn't

    9 absent, that I was in the command.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Let us assume that you were not

    11 there. You have someone who doesn't hold an official

    12 position, according to what you say, according to your

    13 internal rules which we have never seen, he had no

    14 right to sign, and you have just told us that,

    15 generally speaking, you do accept responsibility for

    16 everything that bears your stamp. Then I assume that

    17 you cannot be satisfied when you learn of somebody

    18 writing to the Red Cross, the British Battalion, the

    19 3rd Corps, to UNHCR of Zenica, to the UNPROFOR command,

    20 et cetera, when you see this, you cannot be pleased.

    21 So that means that your zone is not functioning

    22 properly. You must have been angry. You would have to

    23 dismiss him, take sanctions against him, 616 to 620.

    24 You yourself said that everything bearing your stamp,

    25 you are responsible for, but now you are telling us he

  88. 1 didn't have the right. I don't know. If somebody

    2 tomorrow signs decisions of the Chamber in my name, I

    3 certainly wouldn't be pleased with it.

    4 But you must explain this to us. You must

    5 give us a precise answer to the questions of the

    6 Prosecutor. The Judges need these answers. You

    7 consider yourself responsible for everything bearing

    8 your stamp. I am going too fast. I'm sorry. You

    9 consider yourself responsible for everything bearing

    10 your stamp. We have documents for a period of 15 days,

    11 from 616 to 620, signed by Mr. Dujmovic. Do you

    12 consider yourself responsible or not for these

    13 documents signed by Mr. Dujmovic? Let us be very

    14 precise about this.

    15 A. Mr. President, I did not agree with such acts

    16 by my associates. I did take steps. I cannot tell you

    17 specifically what exactly I did at what point in time,

    18 but I do know that I demanded all my associates to be

    19 very careful as to who was authorised to sign and who

    20 was not, and the general rule was that if I was present

    21 in the command, I would sign; if not, the document

    22 would wait for me to sign it. But the circumstances

    23 under which we operated were such that there were very

    24 often certain omissions made, and I consider this to be

    25 an omission on the part of my associate, Mr. Dujmovic,

  89. 1 because those documents should have been signed by me

    2 if I had been present.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: When you are present with

    4 Mr. Valenta and Mr. Kostroman, do you consider yourself

    5 responsible for what they say? So I don't know -- I am

    6 changing my subject, yes, but I am pursuing my own

    7 logic, Mr. Hayman.

    8 Your presence, from the standpoint of

    9 presence, when we have these documents here, your

    10 client is telling us "if I was present." So he is

    11 setting a large number of conditions. "I consider

    12 myself responsible if I was present. If I see the

    13 assistant draft a letter, sign it in my name, and in

    14 that case, I am responsible." Or is it the

    15 interpretation that is wrong?

    16 MR. NOBILO: Mr. President, there may have

    17 been an error in the interpretation. The client

    18 answered clearly that Dujmovic did not have the

    19 position authorising him to sign and that he made a

    20 mistake but that he accepts all the documents emanating

    21 from the command as his own.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: Continue, Mr. Kehoe, and thank

    23 you, Mr. Nobilo. It's clear now.

    24 MR. KEHOE:

    25 Q. Well, General, did you know that Dujmovic was

  90. 1 signing all these documents on your behalf?

    2 A. I did know and learn later about this

    3 omission on the part of Dujmovic, and I'm sure that I

    4 discussed this matter both with Dujmovic and his

    5 superior later on, Mr. Dragan Ramljak and that we did

    6 undertake certain steps. Whether it was a reprimand or

    7 a disciplinary measure or counselling, but I am quite

    8 sure that I did discuss this with Dujmovic and caution

    9 him, telling him that he did not have a position giving

    10 him the right to sign documents on my behalf. But I

    11 wish to underline once again that these are events

    12 linked to the conflicts in Travnik and there were very

    13 few of my associates present whereas, at the same time,

    14 fighting was very intense.

    15 Q. So the bottom line, General, is that these

    16 documents were signed by Dujmovic on your behalf and

    17 you approve their contents; is that your testimony to

    18 the president?

    19 MR. HAYMAN: Could we have the documents

    20 specified, which ones he's talking about?

    21 MR. KEHOE: Talking now 615 to 620.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: You may cast a glance through

    23 them, of course, Mr. Blaskic.

    24 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I don't know --

    25 we're about to just change subjects a little bit. The

  91. 1 General can review these at a break, if you would like

    2 to take a break at this juncture, and I can come back

    3 and ask him that question and he can answer that

    4 question and we won't waste any time while he's

    5 reviewing them to the extent that he needs additional

    6 time.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Perhaps, as suggested by

    8 the Prosecutor, we will have a 20-minute break.

    9 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.

    10 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: The hearing is resumed.

    12 Mr. Prosecutor?

    13 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President and Your

    14 Honours.

    15 Q. General, the question we left off with with

    16 regard to documents 615 through 620 were these

    17 documents that were signed by Drago Dujmovic. Is it

    18 your testimony that you now say that you have

    19 authorised those particular documents and their

    20 contents? Is that your testimony?

    21 A. As regards these documents, I claim that they

    22 all bear the registration number 01 and that according

    23 to the rules it was my duty to sign those documents.

    24 Drago Dujmovic acted correctly in drafting those

    25 documents, but he made a mistake in signing them.

  92. 1 The rule was for me to sign them all and only

    2 exceptionally, if I'm unable to do so and the documents

    3 are urgent, only then could they have been signed by my

    4 assistants, the chief of staff, and other authorised

    5 persons. Drago Dujmovic had no such authority.

    6 I have reviewed the contents of these

    7 documents, and I support the contents of the documents

    8 from 615 through 620. I would have signed those same

    9 documents, and I believe that the associates authorised

    10 to do so would have done so if I wasn't there.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you, General Blaskic.

    12 That is clear now. We can proceed.

    13 MR. KEHOE:

    14 Q. General, let us now turn our attention back

    15 to 456/112, your 26 May, 1993 letter to Mr. Thebault.

    16 Now, General, this is again the document that

    17 we discussed before that was signed by Mr. Drago

    18 Dujmovic. Now, do you authorise the contents of this

    19 document, and if not, why not?

    20 A. I have already said that this too is a

    21 document 01-5-68-9, therefore, a document that I was

    22 authorised to sign. Drago Dujmovic did not have the

    23 position authorising him to sign it on my behalf.

    24 A document of this content was something that

    25 I did not approve of, because I feel that the document

  93. 1 contains certain elements which concerned the political

    2 figures representing the Croats, and the Bosniak

    3 Muslims, and particularly the civilian authorities.

    4 Q. You said in your direct examination, this is

    5 at page 20175, line 9:

    6 "I had quite a number of meetings with

    7 Mr. Thebault but never did I discuss with him any

    8 political issues because that was not my duty, nor did

    9 I have any such competence. If I had known of this

    10 document," and we're referring to 456/112, "If I had

    11 known of this document, I never would have approved it

    12 or approved it being sent to this address."

    13 Do you stand by that testimony, sir?

    14 A. Yes, I do. I stand by that testimony that I

    15 spoke with Mr. Thebault most frequently about military

    16 issues. Those were the topics of our conversations. I

    17 always made it clear to him that if he wanted to

    18 discuss political matters with me or the functioning of

    19 the civilian authorities, that I was not the competent

    20 person but, rather, the representatives of the civilian

    21 authorities in the region.

    22 Q. Let me turn our attention to another

    23 document, General, and it is the document in sequence

    24 right above this.

    25 THE REGISTRAR: It is document 621, 621A for

  94. 1 the English version.

    2 MR. KEHOE:

    3 Q. Now, looking at this document again, General,

    4 this is again a document that was signed by -- or

    5 drafted by Drago Dujmovic and signed by Drago Dujmovic

    6 on your behalf; isn't that right?

    7 A. Yes. It is a document written and signed on

    8 my behalf, but let me just review the document for a

    9 moment, please.

    10 Q. There is not a French copy, General, so I

    11 will read it briefly. It is a brief document. It is

    12 the 26th of May, 1993, 1810, to ICRC Zenica:

    13 "Request for additional engagement.

    14 "Since representatives of both the military

    15 and political leadership of the Croatian and Muslim

    16 peoples have officially agreed on the organisation of

    17 provinces number 8, 9, and 10 according to the

    18 Vance-Owen Plan and since this anticipates the

    19 organisation and functioning of normal life, we ask you

    20 to again mediate with representatives of 3rd Corps

    21 command to fulfil their obligations and release Croats

    22 who are in prison.

    23 "We stress that the following prisons, the

    24 Zenica House of Correction, the Bilmiste Secondary

    25 School, the Secondary Music School, the Students'

  95. 1 Dormitory, the Old Age Pensioners, and the Kindergarten

    2 in Travnicka Street, hold a large number of Croats who

    3 are being detained for no justifiable reason.

    4 "We have released all detainees who were on

    5 territories controlled by the HVO. The realisation of

    6 this proposal would rebuild trust among the people and

    7 facilitate the future implementation of agreements."

    8 General, this, as you can see in the number

    9 sequence, is one number after 456/112 and I'm looking

    10 at your registration number 01-5-68-9/93 and that's the

    11 Exhibit 156/112, and the new Exhibit 621 is one up,

    12 01-5-690/93.

    13 Now, sir, with regard to 621, this new

    14 document, again it talks about the implementation of

    15 the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. Would you have authorised

    16 and did you authorise the contents of this document?

    17 A. Your Honours, if we look at the document,

    18 456/112 was issued at 1800 and this one at 1810.

    19 Document 621 was issued at 1810. So this document is

    20 headed "Request", addressed to the International Red

    21 Cross.

    22 If I was in a position to study this document

    23 before signing it, I certainly would not have put this

    24 preamble in connection with the Vance-Owen Plan, but

    25 the request for the release of prisoners is something I

  96. 1 support.

    2 I wish to underline that in this case too,

    3 Mr. Dujmovic clearly acted in an unauthorised manner.

    4 He committed an administrative error. I would have

    5 changed this document. I would have kept the request

    6 for the release of prisoners, that is, the second and

    7 third paragraph. However, the first paragraph I would

    8 not have sent to the International Red Cross because it

    9 isn't even important for the International Red Cross.

    10 Q. Well, why -- General, who signed this

    11 document? We're talking about Exhibit 621.

    12 A. Document 621 was signed, without any

    13 authorisation, by Mr. Dujmovic.

    14 Q. Now, your testimony is that you would never

    15 have authorised the letter to Mr. Thebault, 456/112,

    16 and you never would have included paragraph one on

    17 Exhibit 621; is that right?

    18 A. I would not have approved, in this overall

    19 context, the content of the letter to Mr. Thebault.

    20 That is my position.

    21 Q. Let me show you a document, General. Before

    22 I do that, let me ask you a question, General. You

    23 noted for us, both on direct and cross-examination, and

    24 I ask you to take a look first at Exhibit 456/112, you

    25 noted both in response to questions by Mr. Nobilo and

  97. 1 this afternoon that you had never spoken to

    2 Mr. Thebault about politics, and "If I had known about

    3 this document," Exhibit 456/112, "I would never have

    4 approved it or approved it being sent to

    5 Mr. Thebault."

    6 My question for you, General, is: Is that

    7 testimony by you as truthful as everything else that

    8 you have told these Judges?

    9 MR. HAYMAN: Objection as to form,

    10 Mr. President.

    11 MR. KEHOE: It's a very simple question.

    12 JUDGE JORDA: Yes. Please rephrase the

    13 question. It is not a correct way to put it.

    14 MR. KEHOE: Well, the testimony that you gave

    15 these Judges about not authorising this document,

    16 456/112, was that truthful testimony, General?

    17 A. Yes.

    18 Q. Let me show you a document.

    19 JUDGE JORDA: Let me remind you, Mr. Kehoe,

    20 that the witness is under oath.

    21 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Your Honour.

    22 JUDGE JORDA: So all he says is truthful,

    23 unless you can show that he is lying under oath.

    24 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 622.

    25 MR. KEHOE: I have an extra copy for the

  98. 1 witness, Mr. Usher, if it's necessary. You can give

    2 him a copy.

    3 Q. General, is that your signature?

    4 MR. HAYMAN: Could the document be read to

    5 the witness?

    6 MR. KEHOE: I will take the document

    7 through.

    8 Q. The question on the table at this point is:

    9 Is that the witness's signature?

    10 A. Yes, that is my signature, but the document

    11 is in English before me so that I -- and as I don't

    12 understand English, I don't know the contents of that

    13 particular document.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: You, however, have signed it in

    15 its English version; haven't you? I seem to understand

    16 that you had under your orders a team of translators

    17 who were as efficient as ours. Wasn't that the case,

    18 General Blaskic?

    19 A. No, I didn't have such competent

    20 translators. I just had one, and he functioned as a

    21 translator/interpreter and as other things as well. I

    22 would have been lucky had I had the kind of

    23 interpreters that we have here.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: Very well, and thank you for

    25 our translators. I see that it is necessary to read

  99. 1 this document again. The witness has signed it but

    2 cannot remember it.

    3 MR. KEHOE:

    4 Q. Before I begin to read it, I want you to

    5 compare the reference number on 456/112, that you

    6 maintain that you didn't authorise, with the reference

    7 number on this Exhibit 622, and I think you'll agree

    8 with me that the reference numbers are the same,

    9 01-5-689/93; isn't that correct?

    10 A. Yes, the numbers are the same here. It's

    11 written down in pencil, but the numbers are the same,

    12 yes.

    13 MR. KEHOE: This is a document, Mr. President

    14 and Your Honours, to the European Monitoring Mission,

    15 and I might add, Mr. President, that this document that

    16 I'm reading, Prosecutor's Exhibit 622, was provided to

    17 the Office of the Prosecutor by the Croatian side of

    18 the Ministry of Defence of the Federation.

    19 "European Community Monitoring Mission.

    20 Deliver personally to Mr. Jean-Pierre Thebault.

    21 "Respected Sir:

    22 "I beg you to make some more efforts and use

    23 your influence in persuading the army of

    24 Bosnia-Herzegovina 3rd Corps Command in realising the

    25 agreements made.

  100. 1 "It is well-known by now that the high level

    2 representatives of Croat and Muslim people have

    3 militarily and politically agreed on implementing the

    4 Vance-Owen Plan in Provinces 8, 9, and 10.

    5 "The postponement of these activities have

    6 as a consequence people's suffering, destroying of

    7 goods and property as well as increasing the problems

    8 of how to organise normal life. Please make the 3rd

    9 Corps Command aware of the consequences and

    10 responsibilities that they will have to take for

    11 obstructing the realisation of what we agreed upon.

    12 "I suggest that you initiate a joint meeting

    13 that would help us define the possible problems in

    14 question."

    15 Now, General, that particular English

    16 version, in substance, is exactly the same as the B/C/S

    17 version that was signed by Drago Dujmovic that you say

    18 you neither approved nor would have sent had you known

    19 about it; isn't that right?

    20 A. Yes, and I assume and believe that Drago

    21 Dujmovic, after having written and signed the document,

    22 handed it in to be translated to the translator and

    23 that it arrived in front of me in this version, but,

    24 unfortunately, I was not able to read it, because I

    25 would always either sign the document or put my

  101. 1 initials to it at the top if I read it and had given it

    2 thought because the original Croatian version was

    3 written by Drago Dujmovic and signed by him as well.

    4 Q. Let's turn to the next document, General.

    5 While you are looking at this document, General, I

    6 would ask you also to take a look at Exhibit 621.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: General Blaskic, I come back to

    8 what you've just said. Wouldn't it have been simpler

    9 for you to write in your own mother tongue and wouldn't

    10 it have been simpler for Mr. Thebault to have your

    11 letter translated by his own translators? We'll ask

    12 Mr. Thebault, if it's necessary to ask him that

    13 question, but I'm sure he had interpreters and

    14 translators working for him, because you found yourself

    15 in a very paradoxical situation, it seems.

    16 On the 26th of May of 1993, you end up

    17 signing a document which is written in a language you

    18 do not understand, a letter written by an assistant

    19 whose official functions you do not recognise, an

    20 assistant about whom you tell us that he's been writing

    21 letters for a month, he's been writing things that he

    22 shouldn't have written. Isn't it a very complicated

    23 system to put in place? Wouldn't it have been simpler

    24 for you to write in B/C/S and Mr. Thebault would have

    25 managed to have the letter translated; what do you

  102. 1 think about this?

    2 A. Of course, it would have been better had I

    3 been in a position to read the Croatian version of the

    4 document and then to send a document of that kind to

    5 Mr. Thebault. But, Mr. President, Mr. Dujmovic had the

    6 authorisation to compile documents and to draft them,

    7 but it was his duty to bring me the document for me to

    8 look at because he never had the authorisation to sign

    9 it and he violated the regulations and signed documents

    10 and then handed them over --

    11 JUDGE JORDA: I understand very well. But on

    12 May 26th, when you signed this document, and knowing

    13 what Mr. Dujmovic is capable of doing, it seems to me

    14 that if there is one document about which I would have

    15 felt that I shouldn't sign it because it was written in

    16 English, it is this one. If there is one document you

    17 should not have signed, it is this one. However, you

    18 chose to sign it.

    19 A. I know, but those were the circumstances.

    20 The situation was such that I endeavoured to send new

    21 documents to Mr. Thebault as soon as possible. As far

    22 as I know, he had one or perhaps two translators. But

    23 in any event, Drago Dujmovic here I believe sent the

    24 document to be translated and I had the English version

    25 before me to sign it, and I would have authorised the

  103. 1 document, document number 456/112, and I would not have

    2 authorised it.

    3 MR. KEHOE:

    4 Q. Can I understand you, General? You had

    5 456/112 in B/C/S before you that was signed by Drago

    6 Dujmovic and you also had Exhibit 622 in English which

    7 you signed; is that right?

    8 A. I did not say that, and that is not correct.

    9 That is not what I said. I said, Your Honours, that

    10 Drago Dujmovic took and wrote the document, document

    11 456/112, and he made an administrative error by signing

    12 it. He was not in a position to sign it. I believe

    13 that he then handed the document to an assistant to

    14 have it translated, and the document -- I got the

    15 English version of the document to sign, which I then

    16 signed, without having in mind and before me the

    17 contents of the document, that is to say, 456/112,

    18 written and signed by Drago Dujmovic.

    19 Q. Is it your testimony, General, that Exhibit

    20 622, the document that you signed in English to

    21 Ambassador Thebault, you signed without knowing the

    22 contents of this document? Is that your testimony?

    23 JUDGE JORDA: Think hard about this

    24 particular question, Mr. Blaskic. Did you sign this

    25 document without knowing what it was actually saying?

  104. 1 A. I was certainly not informed of all the

    2 details and completely informed of the contents of the

    3 document, document 456/112. Perhaps I just had a rough

    4 idea in one or two sentences of what it was about

    5 because I didn't sign only one document, I had many

    6 documents, perhaps twenty documents, to sign.

    7 JUDGE JORDA: We were talking about document

    8 622, if I'm not mistaken.

    9 MR. KEHOE: That's correct, Mr. President.

    10 The letter to Ambassador Thebault.

    11 JUDGE JORDA: You signed this document

    12 written in English when, in fact, you did not

    13 understand what the document was saying; is that really

    14 what happened? You have to tell us what happened.

    15 A. Mr. President, I believe that I received

    16 rough information as to the contents of the letter but

    17 that I was not informed fully of the contents in full

    18 as I would have been able to do if I had been able to

    19 read it out in full.

    20 JUDGE JORDA: So you knew, generally

    21 speaking, what the document was talking about?

    22 A. Generally, globally speaking, yes. Globally

    23 speaking, generally.

    24 JUDGE JORDA: So globally speaking, you knew

    25 that you were sending this letter to Mr. Jean-Pierre

  105. 1 Thebault and you were talking about implementation of

    2 the Vance-Owen Plan; right?

    3 A. It is possible that that's what was said to

    4 me, and I assume that I was told it was about the

    5 military aspect of the Vance-Owen Plan or a meeting,

    6 the need for a meeting with the 3rd Corps. But all the

    7 details contained in document 456/112, I was not

    8 informed because I personally did not have a chance to

    9 read it.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Kehoe, you may continue --

    11 oh, sorry. Of course. Judge Rodrigues has a question

    12 first.

    13 This is a very crucial point because we don't

    14 understand very well what you chose to sign, what you

    15 chose not to sign, what you did understand and what you

    16 did not understand. It is very complicated for us.

    17 You have to help the Judges. When do you have

    18 authority, when do you authorise a document, when do

    19 you not? I want to see through this.

    20 Judge Rodrigues will help us.

    21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: I hope I can help you,

    22 Mr. President, by asking that question.

    23 General Blaskic, if we look at this document,

    24 we see it is written in English. Even if I don't

    25 understand Croatian, if I read a document written in

  106. 1 Croatian and if I see the words "Vance-Owen,"

    2 "Provinces 8, 9, and 10," if I have a phobia, a

    3 political phobia -- forgive me for using this term -- I

    4 at once understand that the words "Vance-Owen" and

    5 "Provinces 8, 9, and 10" have to be taken out of the

    6 document. Am I right in thinking in that particular

    7 way? You don't understand English, but I think that

    8 names do not change, whether the text be written in

    9 Croatian or in English.

    10 A. Yes, I understand, Your Honour, and I was

    11 informed, linked to the Vance-Owen Plan, that we had

    12 military aspects to perform, demobilisation, and that

    13 we had to have talks with regard to its implementation,

    14 if the plan were to be signed by the Muslim and Bosniak

    15 representatives, and in that sense, therefore, if there

    16 were questions related to the military aspects of the

    17 plan, I have no phobia about it and wouldn't run from

    18 that.

    19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: All right. General, just a

    20 second. Now, if you look at this document that is

    21 written in English -- have a look at it now -- by

    22 looking at the document, you are able to read the words

    23 "Vance-Owen Plan" and you are also able to read the

    24 words "Provinces No. 8, 9, and 10." So I think it is

    25 the same whether you are reading a text written in

  107. 1 English or a text written in Croatian. It is possible

    2 to identify these words "Vance-Owen Plan" and

    3 "Provinces No. 8, 9, and 10" whether the text be in

    4 Croatian or in English.

    5 A. Yes, it is possible to identify those plans,

    6 to recognise the words "Vance-Owen Plan" and "Provinces

    7 8, 9, and 10."

    8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you very much,

    9 General.

    10 JUDGE JORDA: Judge Shahabuddeen has a

    11 question for you, General Blaskic.

    12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: General, I want to read

    13 the first paragraph of this letter and to ask you

    14 whether this was something that you might have said.

    15 The first paragraph says:

    16 "I beg you to make some more efforts and use

    17 your influence in persuading the ABiH 3rd Corps Command

    18 in realising the agreements made."

    19 Was that something you might have said?

    20 A. That is something that I might have said

    21 because there was an agreement as to the joint command

    22 of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, of

    23 course, that is something that I would have said. I'm

    24 thinking of the military agreement reached.

    25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now I turn to the second

  108. 1 paragraph. It reads:

    2 "It is well-known by now that high-level

    3 representatives of Croat and Muslim people have

    4 militarily and politically agreed on implementing the

    5 Vance-Owen Plan in Provinces No. 8, 9, and 10."

    6 Was that something that you might have said?

    7 A. No.

    8 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You didn't know about

    9 the Vance-Owen Plan?

    10 A. I did know about the Vance-Owen Plan, but I

    11 also knew that the Muslim leadership signed the plan

    12 under certain conditions which they posed linked to

    13 maps, as far as I recall. There were some conditions

    14 that they posed. So that there was not a full

    15 agreement reached on the implementation of the

    16 Vance-Owen Plan.

    17 Had I written "Provinces 8, 9, and 10," then

    18 I believe that I would have written down 1, 3, and 5 as

    19 well, that is to say, the remaining provinces where,

    20 according to that Vance-Owen Plan, military units of

    21 the HVO were subordinate to the BH army units, where

    22 that was allowed, and in that sense, with this military

    23 portion of the Vance-Owen -- treatment of the

    24 Vance-Owen Plan, I would not agree, if I were at all to

    25 refer to the Vance-Owen Plan in the military respect,

  109. 1 but I would not write about political matters in this

    2 part of the document.

    3 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So the error which you

    4 say existed in this paragraph was in its reference to a

    5 political agreement. I'm trying to grasp exactly what

    6 you consider to be the error in this paragraph.

    7 A. Your Honour, I consider to be an error the

    8 fact that a military command refers, as it does in this

    9 document, to an agreement, a political agreement

    10 reached between the Muslims and the representatives of

    11 the Croatian people and in the military part as well

    12 because I do not know that an agreement of this kind

    13 had been reached as it is stated in this assertion

    14 here, speaking about the fact that the organisation of

    15 Provinces 8, 9, and 10 were concerned. What happened

    16 to Provinces 1, 3, and 5? And, generally speaking, I

    17 consider that political agreements need not be raised

    18 in documents of this kind, and in the document, I would

    19 refer to an agreement between the chief of the HVO main

    20 staff and the commander of the command of the army of

    21 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    22 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So you have two problems

    23 with that paragraph. One, its reference to a political

    24 agreement and, two, its non-reference to certain other

    25 provinces.

  110. 1 A. Yes, although looking at it in general terms,

    2 no other provinces are mentioned except for provinces

    3 8, 9, and 10.

    4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: If you were writing it

    5 in Croatian, you would have specified some other

    6 provinces as well?

    7 A. Had I written this document, I would have

    8 referred to the military agreement between the chief of

    9 the main staff of the HVO and the commander of the

    10 staff of the BH army linked to the formation of joint

    11 armed forces.

    12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Do you have any

    13 objection to the remainder of the text?

    14 A. I do, linked to the observation which

    15 stipulates, that is to say, the next paragraph, that a

    16 lateness in activities, along the implementation of

    17 this plan and it probably means the Vance-Owen Plan,

    18 that people are suffering and everything else that is

    19 quoted there.

    20 I'd once again like to refer to the agreement

    21 on a cease-fire, which was signed on the 20th of April

    22 and 28th of April between the commanders of the two

    23 armies, General Petkovic and General Halilovic, and I

    24 would seek for the firm implementation of those

    25 agreements on a cease-fire, on the formation of a joint

  111. 1 command and joint armed forces.

    2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So what you're saying is

    3 that the reference to people suffering should have been

    4 linked to the non-implementation of certain military

    5 agreements as well. Do I follow you?

    6 A. Yes. Yes, you do.

    7 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Now, do you recognise

    8 that the Vance-Owen Plan was itself inherently

    9 political in nature?

    10 A. Well, I personally find it difficult to

    11 delineate and differentiate between how far it was

    12 political and how far it was of a state nature, because

    13 it implied the internal structure of the state of

    14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and having it divided up into

    15 provinces, as I understood it. This implied

    16 demilitarisation for those provinces and it also

    17 implied something linked to principles of freedom of

    18 movement and some other matters as well. But generally

    19 it was a rather expansive plan which included elements

    20 of politics, and state structure, and military matters

    21 as well, but I don't know the details well enough. I

    22 do know the ones linked to military matters, as far as

    23 I have been informed.

    24 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you, in your

    25 position, find it possible to separate the military

  112. 1 aspects of the Vance-Owen Plan from the political

    2 aspects or would you have said that they both

    3 constituted an integrated and inseparable package?

    4 A. I think that the political aspect must have

    5 come before all the other aspects, all the other

    6 agreements and everything else for it to be

    7 implemented, all the more so as there were many plans

    8 that were signed.

    9 With the Washington agreements, we saw that

    10 once politics had agreed, just as with the Dayton

    11 Accords, that the army then went before politics and

    12 very quickly implemented its part of the obligations

    13 undertaken.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I follow you, General.

    15 Thank you.

    16 MR. KEHOE:

    17 Q. Well, General, would you agree with me that

    18 this letter to Ambassador Thebault is, as the President

    19 Judge Jorda discussed, to a very senior Ambassador of

    20 the European Monitoring Mission? Would you agree with

    21 that?

    22 A. This letter, 622, was addressed to

    23 Mr. Thebault, and I'm sure that it was dispatched to

    24 Ambassador Thebault.

    25 Q. That's not my question. My question is:

  113. 1 This letter to Ambassador Thebault is an extremely

    2 important letter; isn't it?

    3 A. Well, it is a letter, we could say an

    4 important letter, but as I've already said, had I had

    5 an insight into it and had I been in a situation to do

    6 so, I would have changed certain portions of the

    7 letter.

    8 I quote the meeting with the 3rd Corps

    9 commander, not only from Ambassador Thebault but from

    10 Colonel Duncan as well, and the liaison officer in

    11 BritBat, and everybody I was able to come into contact

    12 with. I wanted to have a meeting with the 3rd Corps

    13 commander and to try to decide upon the implementation

    14 of the cease-fire. Unfortunately, these demands did

    15 not bear fruit and I did not have occasion to meet him

    16 for a long time.

    17 Q. Now, Ambassador Thebault was the senior

    18 European representative in Central Bosnia as part of

    19 the European Monitoring Mission, wasn't he?

    20 A. Ambassador Thebault was head of the European

    21 Monitoring Mission, and he had a large number of

    22 meetings with me, as the head of the European Monitors

    23 for the Zenica region. I don't know exactly which area

    24 the monitoring mission covered but I know he was based

    25 in Zenica.

  114. 1 Q. Is it your testimony, General, that you

    2 signed a letter to this rather powerful person without

    3 fully knowing the contents of that letter? Is that

    4 your testimony?

    5 A. I think that I have already said that I

    6 signed this document, and I also described the

    7 circumstances under which I signed it. Unfortunately,

    8 I didn't read all the details of this document, but I

    9 believe that I was familiar with the overall content of

    10 the document but not the details.

    11 Q. So, General, when you told Mr. Nobilo and

    12 this Court back on the 12th of April that if you had

    13 known of this document, "I never would have approved it

    14 or approve it being sent to this address," when you

    15 told this Court that in response to Mr. Nobilo's

    16 questions, that wasn't true, was it?

    17 A. It is true, because even now I would leave

    18 out this paragraph that I have already mentioned in

    19 answer to a question by His Honour Judge Shahabuddeen.

    20 I would have left out that paragraph and have changed

    21 the contents if I had been in a position to authorise

    22 it.

    23 Q. General, isn't it true that the only reason,

    24 only reason that you're acknowledging your

    25 participation in this document at all is because we

  115. 1 showed you your signature on an English copy of that

    2 document? Isn't that so?

    3 A. No, that is not the only reason, what you are

    4 saying. I have already said that there were quite a

    5 number of initiatives on my part, and that I had asked

    6 for a meeting with Mr. Thebault so that he could

    7 mediate a meeting with the 3rd Corps for me. But I

    8 underline once again that my associate was not in a

    9 position to sign it. If he had shown is to me and if I

    10 was able to read it in the way it is written, I

    11 certainly would not have approved it. I would have

    12 changed its content. I would have changed the content

    13 of this document for certain.

    14 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Did you ask or instruct

    15 your associate to draft a letter for you or did he

    16 initiate the drafting himself on his own and then bring

    17 the letter to you?

    18 A. I don't remember exactly, Your Honour, how

    19 this letter came about but it is possible that I asked

    20 the document to be drafted and for him to draft it, but

    21 it is quite certain that I never approved his signing

    22 that document because, as I have already said, his

    23 position did not authorise him to do so, but the

    24 circumstances under which the document was drafted I'm

    25 not sure of now.

  116. 1 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: You didn't think that he

    2 should sign it, you thought that you should sign it.

    3 Why was that? Was it because of your assessment of the

    4 importance of the letter?

    5 A. The rule was -- there were rules which we

    6 drafted and prepared in the command of the Operative

    7 Zone regarding official correspondence. All documents

    8 bearing registration number 01 were signed by me. Only

    9 exceptionally, when I was absent, could this be done by

    10 my deputy, the chief of staff, Franjo Nakic but, again,

    11 the documents would wait for me, for me to review them

    12 to see what he signed on my behalf.

    13 So there were regulations, internal

    14 regulations in the command of the Operative Zone,

    15 because this document bears the code 01 and this is my

    16 code.

    17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: What was the reason

    18 behind the rule that documents bearing serial number 01

    19 had to be signed by you? Was it because of the

    20 importance of that category of documents?

    21 A. Your Honour, one of the reasons -- that was

    22 one of the reasons, but we took over the earlier rules

    23 headed "Official Correspondence and Office Procedures"

    24 from the former JNA, and we adjusted those regulations

    25 to our own conditions, so that we said that all

  117. 1 documents carrying the serial number 01 would be mine

    2 and only I would be authorised to sign them, and only

    3 exceptionally, when I was absent and the document was

    4 urgent, someone else could sign it who was authorised

    5 to do so on my behalf.

    6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Who would decide on

    7 whether a particular document would bear the serial

    8 number 01?

    9 A. Well, mostly outgoing documents reflecting

    10 the positions of the command would be given that serial

    11 number. In the general affairs department, there was a

    12 list or instructions, and an officer in that general

    13 affairs department would mark documents that were

    14 within my sphere of responsibility in this way. The

    15 head of operations would categorise those documents,

    16 the documents that were for me, those for the chief of

    17 staff, for logistics, for information and so on.

    18 JUDGE JORDA: Before a short break, Judge

    19 Rodrigues has something to ask.

    20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Thank you. General, I

    21 think I heard you say that you didn't sign the

    22 documents because you were not available. There was a

    23 reason why the other person signed a document instead

    24 of you. Did I understand you well?

    25 A. Yes, Your Honour. There were times when the

  118. 1 document was extremely urgent and when an authorised

    2 person would sign the document instead of me, but these

    3 were exceptions.

    4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But, General Blaskic, as

    5 you can see, the document 456 and document 622 have the

    6 same date and the same hour. Why were you there to

    7 sign document 622 and you were not there to sign

    8 document 456, because they bear the same date, the 26th

    9 of May, 1993, at 1800?

    10 A. Your Honour, I believe, and I can check

    11 during the break, that I was in the command on the 26th

    12 of May, but I can check from my chronology, at this

    13 hour. So I could have signed this document too, but

    14 unfortunately, my assistant, Mr. Drago Dujmovic, who

    15 under no circumstances held such a rank, such a command

    16 position to be able to sign a document instead of me,

    17 he made this error and signed the document without

    18 showing it to me, giving me a chance to read it,

    19 authorise it, and sign it.

    20 Then I assume he gave this document to be

    21 translated, and then a pile of documents reached me,

    22 including this one which I signed, without looking

    23 through it in detail.

    24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes, General, but you told

    25 Judge Shahabuddeen that you had at least two problems

  119. 1 with document 622. Perhaps you're going to have a

    2 third problem. How could you sign a document if you

    3 were not in the command building?

    4 Maybe it's time for the break.

    5 JUDGE JORDA: Listen, I think there were many

    6 questions. You can see that the Judges are perplexed

    7 regarding this problem of signature and your

    8 authority.

    9 I think that the interpreters will appreciate

    10 a quarter of an hour's break, after which we will work

    11 for another quarter of an hour or 20 minutes.

    12 --- Recess taken at 4.59 p.m.

    13 --- On resuming at 5.15 p.m.

    14 JUDGE JORDA: Please be seated. The hearing

    15 is resumed.

    16 MR. KEHOE: May I proceed, Mr. President,

    17 Your Honours?

    18 If we can turn our attention, General and

    19 Mr. Registrar, to Exhibit 623? I don't know if the

    20 witness has got a copy of that. Oh, there it is.

    21 Thank you, Mr. Usher. Mr. Usher, if the witness can

    22 also be given Prosecution Exhibit 621 as well?

    23 As with the prior document, Mr. President,

    24 Your Honours, both 622 and 623 are documents that were

    25 provided to the Office of the Prosecutor by the

  120. 1 Federation, Ministry of Defence, and this came from the

    2 Croatian side of the Federation, Ministry of Defence.

    3 Q. Now, do you have 623 before you, General? I

    4 realise that it's in English, but do you have that

    5 document before you?

    6 A. I have document 623 in English before me,

    7 yes, Your Honours.

    8 Q. Now, I would like you to compare the

    9 reference numbers on both 621 and 623, and I think you

    10 will agree with me that the reference numbers are the

    11 same, 01-5-690/93; is that right?

    12 A. Yes, the numbers are the same and, obviously,

    13 document 623 was a translation of document 621.

    14 Q. General, the signature on the bottom of 623

    15 is yours, isn't it?

    16 A. Yes, the signature is mine on the English

    17 version of this document.

    18 Q. Now, this again is a document that was signed

    19 in the B/C/S version by Mr. Dujmovic; isn't that

    20 correct?

    21 A. That is correct, and I checked in my

    22 chronology of events and I could answer the question

    23 posed to me by the Judge a moment ago.

    24 Mr. Dujmovic did sign the document although,

    25 as I've already said, he had no authorisation to do so,

  121. 1 but I was at the command at the time, I had a meeting

    2 with Colonel Duncan on that particular day, and I asked

    3 him, that Colonel Duncan should mediate for a meeting

    4 with the commander of the 3rd Corps of the BH army to

    5 discuss the implementation of the military agreement

    6 that had been reached. Therefore, I asked Colonel

    7 Duncan and Mr. Thebault and the other officials to act

    8 as go-betweens and to help me organise a meeting with

    9 the 3rd Corps commander to avoid further conflict and

    10 to effect the implementation of the military agreement

    11 and agreements signed by our superiors.

    12 Q. Now, this document, 623, is a document that's

    13 sent to another important international organisation,

    14 the ICRC or the International Committee of the Red

    15 Cross; isn't that right?

    16 A. Yes.

    17 Q. You noted during the course of your

    18 testimony, on 621, that you would not have approved

    19 paragraph 1 of that document; is that correct?

    20 A. Yes, the style in which the first paragraph

    21 was written, I would have changed the style of the

    22 first paragraph, and we'll refer to the military

    23 agreement signed between my own chief of the main staff

    24 and the commander of the staff of the BH army, so that

    25 portion which relates to the approach, and I would

  122. 1 change that in paragraph 1 had I been given the

    2 document to look through and had I signed it.

    3 Q. Well, General, you had a chance to look at

    4 this document, did you not, both in the B/C/S, before

    5 you signed it, and English, didn't you, or did someone

    6 force you to sign this in English before you had a

    7 chance to read it in B/C/S?

    8 A. Well, nobody forced me to sign it and I was

    9 basically told what the document was about and I

    10 believe that the head of the operative section, I think

    11 he must have told me roughly what the document was

    12 about, if it was a request for a meeting or a request

    13 for the freeing of prisoners. But I repeat, that is to

    14 say, that had Mr. Drago Dujmovic acted correctly once

    15 he had written the document, he would come to me, have

    16 handed the document for me to scrutinise and sign, and

    17 I would then have entered my corrections into paragraph

    18 1 and I would have signed the rest and the document

    19 would then be far clearer to me.

    20 Q. Well, General, as Judge Rodrigues asked you

    21 with the prior document, this document, in paragraph 1,

    22 references the Vance-Owen Peace Plan and Provinces 8,

    23 9, and 10, and you can see that even in the English

    24 version, can't you?

    25 A. Yes, you can see that, and those parts are

  123. 1 mentioned in the English version.

    2 Q. General, the Vance-Owen Peace Plan and the

    3 provinces involved in the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, as

    4 Judge Rodrigues noted, is a very political matter,

    5 isn't it?

    6 A. It is a state, political, and military

    7 question because each one of those provinces included

    8 many problems which had to be solved within the

    9 frameworks of the structure of the state within

    10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the tasks of the army, as

    11 indeed each plan provides for.

    12 Q. General, the political problems in those

    13 provinces were very significant to you, weren't they?

    14 A. Political problems were significant, but I

    15 did not work on them and I don't consider myself to be

    16 responsible for those political issues. I was

    17 interested in the military aspects of the Vance-Owen

    18 Plan, and if the plan was signed by all parties, what

    19 my responsibilities were as a military commander, what

    20 I had to do. That is how I viewed the plan, the

    21 military aspects of the plan. The political aspects of

    22 the plan were aspects that the political

    23 representatives were in charge of, those representing

    24 the Croatian and Bosniak people, and they were

    25 responsible to those very people, as indeed the

  124. 1 implementation of any peace plan.

    2 Q. Then it is clear, General, that during this

    3 period of time the Bosnian Croats wanted the Vance-Owen

    4 Plan to come into effect; isn't that so?

    5 A. Well, the political representatives of the

    6 Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina signed, as far as

    7 I know, all the plans offered by the international

    8 mediators. From the first plan -- I might be wrong,

    9 was it the Lisbon plan or some other plan? -- right up

    10 until this latest Dayton Plan, Dayton Agreement, so

    11 they signed absolutely all the plans that existed which

    12 the International Community offered, as far as I know,

    13 from official information received.

    14 Q. Let's take a look at this plan that you're

    15 referencing in these documents.

    16 Mr. Registrar, if we could have Prosecutor's

    17 Exhibit 20, the first map on the top of Prosecutor's

    18 Exhibit 20. And just take a look at the provinces that

    19 we're talking about here, 8, 9, and 10. Prosecutor's

    20 20. It is a small map, yes. We can just put it on the

    21 ELMO. That's it. We're talking about the top map, if

    22 we can, Mr. Usher, which is first iteration of the

    23 Vance-Owen Peace Plan, 2 January, 1993.

    24 If we can blow that a little closer, please?

    25 If we can get those numbers? That's good. That's

  125. 1 good. Thank you very much.

    2 Now, General, as we can see from this

    3 particular document, the areas of interest to you,

    4 Provinces 8, 9, and 10, were the areas that basically

    5 touched upon the Central Bosnian Operative Zone; isn't

    6 that right?

    7 A. I can't see very well yet.

    8 Q. How about that --

    9 A. Let me look at the plan, please. That's

    10 better. Now I can see it better.

    11 Would you repeat the question, please?

    12 Q. Certainly. Certainly. The areas that you

    13 are mentioning in these letters, both to the

    14 International Red Cross and to Ambassador Thebault, are

    15 the Vance-Owen Provinces 8, 9, and 10, and those are of

    16 concern to you because those three provinces impact in

    17 some way on the Central Bosnian Operative Zone; isn't

    18 that right?

    19 A. Well, it is not only them that impact on the

    20 Central Bosnia Operative Zone. I testified that the

    21 greatest problem for me in the Vance-Owen Plan was and

    22 what I feared was demobilisation and disarmament of an

    23 army which had not been organised, structured, or

    24 armed. However, the Vance-Owen Plan, as I understood

    25 it, and that can be seen from this particular map,

  126. 1 includes Province 7, Sarajevo, where Kiseljak, the

    2 municipality which I come from, and Kresevo and other

    3 areas, they were to be within the composition of

    4 Sarajevo, as well as a large portion of the 3rd

    5 operative group of Central Bosnia, that is to say,

    6 Zepce, Maglaj, Usora, which should have been under the

    7 command of the 3rd Corps.

    8 So this Vance-Owen Plan, looking at it

    9 territorially speaking, does not only incorporate the

    10 Central Bosnia zone but the 3rd Corps of the BH army as

    11 well as the areas under the 4th Corps of the BH army

    12 and the 1st Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and

    13 the 2nd Corps of the BH army, that is, there were a

    14 large number of units in 1993 there, about 200.000

    15 soldiers from the BH army in the area, the area that

    16 we're discussing at the moment.

    17 MR. KEHOE: Just for reference purposes, Your

    18 Honours, the two blue areas 8, and 9, and 3 were areas

    19 designated to go to the Croats. For the purposes of

    20 this documentation, the prior testimony from Mr. Donia

    21 province 9 was due to go to the Muslims.

    22 So 3, 8, and 10 were due to go to the Croats,

    23 and 9, for the purposes of this discussion, were

    24 supposed to go to the Muslims.

    25 A. We also had province 7, Sarajevo, with the

  127. 1 district including Kiseljak and Kresevo within the

    2 composition of the Sarajevo district, as far as I

    3 know. So province 7 as well.

    4 Q. Now, let us look at the letter, 623, that you

    5 signed to the International Red Cross. It is in

    6 English, so I'll read you a paragraph that you do not

    7 agree with. Again, this is a request for additional

    8 engagement and reads as follows:

    9 "The high level representatives of Croat and

    10 Muslim people have officially agreed, both militarily

    11 and politically, to implement the Vance-Owen Plan in

    12 provinces numbered 8, 9, and 10, which is the

    13 imperative for arranging a living more secure and

    14 normal than it is now."

    15 The balance of this letter talks about the

    16 freeing of Croats from various gaols in Zenica.

    17 Now, General, again, is it your testimony

    18 that this letter that is sent to the International

    19 Committee of the Red Cross in Zenica and was signed by

    20 you was neither read by you nor were you fully aware of

    21 its contents? Is that your testimony?

    22 A. I claim that I was not informed with the

    23 original part of the document, of document 621, and

    24 that I had not read it, that I did not have occasion to

    25 read it, and it was signed by my clerk, Mr. Drago

  128. 1 Dujmovic.

    2 The request sent to the Red Cross, I support

    3 it and stand behind it, except for the style and

    4 approach and the description of the agreements relating

    5 to the Vance-Owen Plan and other matters.

    6 JUDGE JORDA: How can you talk about style,

    7 General Blaskic? You say, "I stand behind it except in

    8 terms of style." How can you judge style if you don't

    9 understand the document? It's a very subtle comment

    10 that you just made. In order to be able to judge style

    11 you must be able to read the letter.

    12 A. Well, I say that I didn't have occasion to

    13 read the letter and that I did not agree with the

    14 details from the first portion of the letter, first

    15 part of the letter. Globally speaking, I agree with

    16 the part relating to the request made to the

    17 International Red Cross to mediate in these matters.

    18 I claim that my assistant -- had my assistant

    19 done what he should have done, he would have brought me

    20 the entire letter for me to look at and sign. I don't

    21 know why he didn't, because on the 26th of May I was at

    22 the headquarters.

    23 JUDGE JORDA: This very subtle distinction

    24 you have just introduced between what's military and

    25 what's political, it is a very subtle one, I have to

  129. 1 underscore that, but that is something you have said,

    2 is it something you think the people you sent these

    3 letters to had this distinction in mind?

    4 When you sent this to Mr. Thebault, does he

    5 answer you, "Well, General Blaskic, we see you as a

    6 military man of the team and not as the politician of

    7 the team, so stick to military matters and do not

    8 meddle with politics"?

    9 I had the impression that you were seen as a

    10 man capable of writing such a letter. Nobody ever told

    11 you -- well, I'm rephrasing my question.

    12 Has anybody told you one day, "Well,

    13 Mr. Blaskic, for us you are the military man. You're

    14 not a politician. So don't bother about this. Why are

    15 you meddling with this?" Have you ever heard such a

    16 thing?

    17 A. Mr. President, Mr. Thebault endeavoured, at

    18 our meetings and during our talks, and asked of me for

    19 my observations on political problems and civilian

    20 matters, and sometimes he would present his views. He

    21 never said outright, "I do not ask you to expound on

    22 political problems for me."

    23 But I told him at meetings, whenever

    24 questions of this kind arose, I said, "Mr. Thebault,

    25 those are questions for the civilian representatives

  130. 1 and the political representatives, and you can discuss

    2 those matters with them. I cannot discuss those

    3 questions because I do not consider myself competent."

    4 If anybody asked me for my personal opinion,

    5 perhaps there were discussions of this kind where we

    6 shared our personal opinions, but I told him that I

    7 myself was not competent to discuss political or

    8 civilian matters, and I said this not only to him.

    9 JUDGE JORDA: All right. We know what was

    10 happening between yourself and your assistant. We know

    11 what was happening between yourself and the people you

    12 sent these letters to. Now, let's see what was

    13 happening between you and your superiors.

    14 Did they one day tell you, "Don't write

    15 this. Don't ever write that document again because

    16 this is not what you're supposed to do."

    17 Did General Petkovic say one day -- well, I'm

    18 sure he understood English. Did he one day tell you,

    19 "Well, this is not admissible what you've just written

    20 in this paragraph"?

    21 A. When I was appointed command of the Operative

    22 Zone I was told that, "Politics is not your business.

    23 Leave politics to the politicians. It is your duty to

    24 deal with military problems and matters." That is how

    25 I understood my duties and that is what

  131. 1 General Petkovic led me to conclude through the orders

    2 he issued.

    3 JUDGE JORDA: Well, as far as the Vance-Owen

    4 Plan is concerned, it was a very subtle distinction.

    5 Any questions from the other Judges? No.

    6 Very well then. Is this document something

    7 that you're finished with, Mr. Kehoe?

    8 MR. KEHOE: Just one last question on these

    9 documents.

    10 Q. General, the bottom line is that you signed

    11 two letters to two international agencies where you

    12 discussed a very political matter, the Vance-Owen Plan;

    13 isn't that correct?

    14 A. It is true that I signed the two

    15 translations, that is to say, the two versions in

    16 English, and that I did not sign two versions in the

    17 Croatian language because my assistant did not submit

    18 the document to me for scrutiny. It is true that I

    19 would have changed things in both letters had I been

    20 able to do that. I think that it was an administrative

    21 error on the part of the man who signed the documents

    22 on my behalf.

    23 MR. KEHOE: I have no further questions on

    24 these documents, Mr. President and Your Honours.

    25 Q. Thank you, General.

  132. 1 JUDGE JORDA: Thank you to the interpreters.

    2 They've had a very hard day. Thank you to the court

    3 reporters as well.

    4 We'll meet again tomorrow morning at 10.00.

    5 The hearing is adjourned.

    6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

    7 at 5.35 p.m., to be reconvened on

    8 Wednesday, the 5th day of May, 1999

    9 at 10.00 a.m.