Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11819

1 Tuesday, 11th January, 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.

6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.

7 Case number IT-95-14/2-T, The Prosector versus Dario

8 Kordic and Mario Cerkez.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Kovacic.

10 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.


12 Cross-examined by Mr. Kovacic:

13 Q. I would first like to ask the usher to put in

14 front of the witness the Croatian translation of his

15 earlier statements which he had on the table

16 yesterday. If I may, just for the record, note that

17 there are two omissions in transcripts. It was on the

18 page 72, line 25, but the words "Gardiska Brigada" were

19 omitted, and on page 105, line 17, the witness there

20 said that he was talking with area commander. The word

21 "area" is omitted. And then if I may continue.

22 [Interpretation] Mr. Breljas, good morning.

23 A. Good morning.

24 Q. At the closing of the session yesterday we

25 talked about your appointment to the post of the IPD

Page 11820

1 officer. With regard to that, if you could just

2 additionally tell us whether anybody explained to you

3 the duties of an IPD officer based on the organisation

4 of that time.

5 A. Sir, nobody needed -- nobody could actually

6 explain anything to me. I was explaining things to

7 them. I knew, and they didn't.

8 Q. Very well. Thank you. Given the role of

9 Marinko Plavcic, who in fact carried out the duties of

10 the IPD assistant commander for the Vitezovi, you were

11 formally deputy?

12 A. Yes, I was, until Mr. Stewart at one point

13 came with a group of journalists for some kind of

14 control, and I asked him whether these journalists came

15 with him. He said they did not. Then I rounded up the

16 journalists and asked them who they were. I told them

17 that they could not work there, take any pictures,

18 until they received any permission from the competent

19 authorities.

20 Q. Mr. Breljas, we would gladly hear you out,

21 but let's leave it alone. When were you promoted to

22 the assistant for IPD?

23 A. Ten, twelve days after all of this, after

24 Ahmici.

25 Q. So can we say in early May?

Page 11821

1 A. No. Well, let's say that it was the second

2 half of May.

3 Q. Very well, thank you. So now you had an

4 operative relation to the officer in the headquarters

5 or, as you call it, the military district at a higher

6 level. How do you mean at a higher level?

7 A. I worked with the IPD officer at the Central

8 Bosnia operative zone.

9 Q. Who was this officer for IPD at the Central

10 Bosnia operative zone?

11 A. I started this much later because nobody had

12 explained to me what the duties were. I knew what the

13 duties were, but I did not know where to go. So I

14 cannot recall the name of this IPD officer. I believe

15 that he was a veterinarian or something like that.

16 Q. Mr. Breljas, would it refresh your mind if I

17 said that at first it was Mario Prskalo?

18 A. No, it was not Mario Prskalo. But this was

19 not Mario Prskalo; this was somebody else.

20 Q. Let's just try to clear up this matter,

21 because this may become useful later on. Mario Prskalo

22 was the person who was injured by a sniper coming out

23 of the war area on the 17th of April?

24 A. I did not hear of that.

25 Q. How about Mario Ramljak?

Page 11822

1 A. I don't think that I should meddle in names.

2 I am bad with names. I know faces.

3 Q. Very well. That is an answer too. Is it

4 true that not very regularly, but approximately once a

5 week, the IPD meetings at the operative zone took

6 place?

7 A. That is not true. It was once a week. I'm

8 confused about the dates, but it was Wednesday or

9 Friday, because I confused them with the press

10 conferences.

11 Q. So it was as often as once a week?

12 A. Yes, it was once a week, and once a month you

13 had to have a report.

14 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

15 in your exchange with the witness, please make a

16 pause. And I address myself to the witness as well, to

17 wait a few seconds for the interpretation, because the

18 interpretation is going at such a pace that it is

19 difficult to follow.

20 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

21 Q. Mr. Breljas, this is my fault. We speak the

22 same language and so we respond right away. We need to

23 pause between questions and answers.

24 With regard to these meetings, the

25 chairperson was the IPD officer whose name you cannot

Page 11823

1 recall?

2 A. I just remember that it was Ramljak.

3 Q. As a rule, he was the one who chaired it?

4 A. Yes, he conducted -- he led these meetings,

5 because it was his duty.

6 Q. And IPD officers from within the operative

7 zone also attended?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. You told us, but it wasn't quite clear, so

10 let us try to clarify this. In your previous

11 statement, and yesterday, you said that the Vitezovi

12 administratively were known as the 4th brigade, and

13 basically for the logistical reasons?

14 A. Yes, we -- whatever the operative zone of

15 Vitez had, it was divided into four parts. The

16 Vitezovi formed this fourth part and this is how

17 everything was distributed.

18 Q. There was no other organisational link

19 between the Vitez Brigade and the Vitezovi?

20 A. Nothing in terms of orders, but there were

21 contacts.

22 Q. You mentioned your role when you spoke about

23 the Tuzla convoy?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. I will also remind you that you mentioned

Page 11824

1 this in your statement, a rather comprehensive

2 statement you gave in 1996, to the Bosnian

3 authorities.

4 A. That is what I spoke about to the Bosnian

5 authorities. This is what they were mostly interested

6 in.

7 Q. You have it in front of you from 1996. In

8 the Croatian text this is page 6, paragraph 5, and in

9 the English version it is page 10, paragraph 2. Did

10 you find that?

11 A. Yes. I don't need to remind myself.

12 Q. So did you look at it?

13 A. I remember it very well, because it was

14 the -- it is the greatest embarrassment of the Croatian

15 people. Actually, not the Croatian people; they're

16 honest, but it's these bandits who did it.

17 Q. Let me read it to you.

18 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Is this being

19 translated?

20 MR. KOVACIC: As I said, Your Honour, it is

21 in the English text. It is a statement, previous

22 statement of the witness to the Bosnian authorities,

23 dated 7 November 1996, and in the English text it is on

24 page 10, the very last paragraph, on the bottom of the

25 page. One before last. I'm sorry.

Page 11825

1 JUDGE MAY: This is the paragraph which

2 reads: "Kraljevic asked me to interpret ..."

3 MR. KOVACIC: Exactly, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE MAY: The English translations would

5 appear in the text -- in the transcript, if you're

6 going to put something about it.

7 MR. KOVACIC: Could it be put on the ELMO?

8 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps it could be put on the

9 ELMO, and you could read it in Croatian and it could be

10 interpreted.

11 MR. KOVACIC: So we see on the ELMO the

12 marked paragraph that I will read in Croatian. Is that

13 correct, Your Honour?

14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

15 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

16 Q. "Kraljevic asked me to interpret and tell the

17 U.N. soldiers something to the effect that they could

18 not go any further or they would be attacked, or they

19 would be accused falsely of transporting wounded from

20 Stari Vitez, at which they even offered their tanks for

21 inspection. But in spite of this, they were not

22 allowed through. I stayed in Dubravica until 0200 the

23 following morning, barring passage to the UNPROFOR when

24 Kraljevic ordered me, by courier, to let them through."

25 Mr. Breljas, you gave this statement in 1996

Page 11826

1 when your memory was fresher?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. There you never mentioned by a single word

4 Mr. Cerkez, and you mentioned him for the first time in

5 1998. Could you please tell us what is correct here?

6 A. What is correct is that I saw Mario Cerkez

7 there when I arrived. He asked me to interpret, and I

8 told him that I did not want to do that because

9 Kraljevic was my commander and he was the only one whom

10 I recognised. When he arrived, then whatever he told

11 me, I interpreted, and I told the Major, the commander

12 of this tank and transporter, everything that was asked

13 of me.

14 Q. So, Mr. Breljas, to sum up, you say that the

15 statements you gave in 1998, in 2000, is more detailed

16 and more correct?

17 A. No. I just omitted it in the first because I

18 didn't think that it was necessary, because we were

19 just discussing the stopping of this convoy, and I did

20 not think that Mario Cerkez had anything to do with it,

21 whereas there were people who knew more about it, and I

22 knew that this was an institution where I needed to

23 provide more detail so nobody would try to lay any

24 traps for me.

25 Q. Mr. Breljas, you -- at the end of the

Page 11827

1 statement it says that you dictated this statement and

2 that you accept it by placing your signature on it?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. So, as you mentioned two persons regarding

5 this incident, Darko was the commander?

6 A. No. Mario was the commander, but I only took

7 orders from Kraljevic. But Mario was the commander of

8 all this.

9 Q. Very well. Thank you.

10 JUDGE MAY: Have you finished with that

11 document?

12 MR. KOVACIC: Yes. I've finished with that

13 document. I will kindly ask the usher to show

14 yesterday presented Exhibit Z1380.

15 Q. [Interpretation] This is, again, a

16 comprehensive document. Yesterday, Mr. Breljas, you

17 saw that, and it will be placed in front of you. It is

18 a report of the Vitezovi, addressed to the headquarters

19 of the HVO, HRHB in Mostar. Let me ask you a couple of

20 things in connection with that.

21 Yesterday you did not give a clear answer

22 with respect to who was superior to the Vitezovi, to

23 whom they reported, and I would like you to look at

24 this document. Do you have it in front of you?

25 A. Yes.

Page 11828

1 Q. First, it is beyond dispute that this is a

2 report of Vitezovi, dated 18 February 1994, addressed

3 to the main headquarter in Mostar.

4 A. Let me look at this signature.

5 Q. Look at the header and look at the

6 signatures.

7 A. First of all, this is not true. This was

8 written at a time when Mr. Kraljevic was already

9 demoted. They wanted to destroy him. So there are

10 many lies in here. He used irrelevant truthful facts,

11 and he interspersed them among the lies, because he

12 wanted to destroy Darko Kraljevic.

13 Q. Excuse me, sir. Is this report sent to the

14 main headquarters in Mostar?

15 A. I don't know. The only thing I can say, that

16 I handled all the reports and orders sent by Darko

17 Kraljevic, and this was not done by him.

18 Q. In other words, you do not know, sir.

19 A. No, I don't.

20 Q. Very well. Do you agree that Vitezovi were

21 under the command of the HVO -- that is, the main

22 headquarters in Mostar -- or do you not agree with

23 that?

24 A. For a period of time, until Darko Kraljevic

25 was killed; that is, in early 1993 they came under the

Page 11829

1 command of Mostar.

2 Q. So you agree with that. But they were -- in

3 operative terms, they were under the Central Bosnia

4 operative zone commander?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. So that was Mr. Blaskic?

7 A. No. Mr. Blaskic only became commander

8 sometime in July 1993. Until then he was in Vitez, but

9 nobody really followed him and respected his orders.

10 Q. So you are saying that Blaskic, in early

11 1993, did not have an operational control?

12 A. No, he never did at that time.

13 MR. KOVACIC: So far in these proceedings

14 there was a couple of -- there were a couple of written

15 comments signed by Blaskic in the first half of a

16 year. I am not talking about the later period, from

17 which one we can clearly conclude that those comments

18 are addressed to all subordinate units, and usually and

19 explicitly Vitez unit is listed. So if you want, I can

20 go, I can take a couple of them and show them the

21 witness or we just put it on the record.

22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, you must take

23 whichever course you think is right. You can make

24 comments, of course, on the documents in due course at

25 an appropriate time.

Page 11830

1 MR. KOVACIC: Then I will go for the

2 comments, because I don't think that we should waste

3 the time on the wrong information.

4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

5 MR. KOVACIC: Thank you, Your Honour.

6 Q. [Interpretation] Witness Breljas, yesterday

7 you mentioned taking of the prisoners to dig trenches,

8 in other words, use them for military purposes, and you

9 mentioned specifically two persons. Certain Mile

10 Vinac, do you actually know where he belonged within

11 the HVO organisation?

12 A. I don't know if he was Mile, but I know that

13 his name was Vinac. Organisationally he belonged to

14 the Vitez Brigade. He was a commander of the labour

15 platoons. He rounded up both civilians and detainees

16 to do different kinds of work in and around Vitez. I

17 don't know his first name, but it was Vinac.

18 Q. Very well, Mr. Breljas. If I put it to you

19 that he was part of the civilian administration in

20 Vitez, would you still claim that he -- with certainty

21 that he was a member of the brigade?

22 A. I do not agree that he was a civilian.

23 Q. You are sure that he was a member of the

24 brigade?

25 A. Don't talk about certainty. I know that he

Page 11831

1 did this on behalf of the brigade, and who he was

2 organisationally within the municipality, I don't

3 know. I had enough of Vitezovi to deal with.

4 Q. Mr. Breljas, perhaps we can clarify this.

5 Nobody expects of you to know everything. You can say,

6 "I am sure" about something, you can say, "I think

7 that this is" or "I don't know," but do you

8 categorically affirm that he was a member of the

9 Viteska Brigade?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Yesterday you mentioned the second person

12 whom you linked to the Vitez Brigade. His nickname was

13 Zabac or Frog; is that correct?

14 A. That is correct.

15 Q. Without going through all these statements,

16 in no statements previously, either in one in '96 or

17 the one in 1998, did you mention his name?

18 A. Look, there was a dilemma here. I don't know

19 whether Zabac was a member of the Kaonik Camp or a

20 commander of the police of the Vitez Brigade. This is

21 my dilemma. I know both of them. The one in Kaonik

22 was a short man and sort of stocky, and the one in the

23 Vitez Brigade was sort of medium height and thin. And

24 I have confusion over names, which is reflected in my

25 statements. I was an outsider, so I could not place

Page 11832

1 names and faces together. So I don't know who he was,

2 but one of them was Zabac.

3 Q. Mr. Breljas, if I mention the name Aleksovski

4 to you, do you know who that is; a short one?

5 A. Yeah, right. Then Zabac was the commander of

6 the police and he was in the Vitez Brigade. Then that

7 is all right.

8 Q. And which military police do you mean, the

9 military police or the Vitez Brigade?

10 A. But the brigade does not have a military

11 police. They have a platoon which is there responsible

12 for the military area. Excuse me, but I know that men

13 called their police and they came, arrested this

14 soldier, and kept him in custody for five days.

15 Q. Right. Thank you. I should like the witness

16 to be shown Z1335,1 and Z808.

17 Mr. Breljas, it is the two lists of the

18 facilities. One of them is yours on December '93.

19 That one is signed by your colleague Cilic on the 24th

20 of April, '93. You said that some names appeared on

21 both lists. I should merely like to ask you to look at

22 the first list, Cilic's list, which is document Z808,

23 and look at the name in the upper part under 2, "Kolak

24 Lovro," and "Brankov" in brackets. Brankov in brackets

25 is the father's name. That is, I think, how we usually

Page 11833

1 do it; we put the father's name of the soldier in

2 brackets. Is that correct?

3 A. Yes, it is.

4 Q. And then we come across that same name in

5 your list under number 9, "Kolak Lovro," and then in

6 brackets it says "Marko," so that is not the same

7 person. Or perhaps it is a confusion?

8 A. Excuse me, sir. Listen to me. In Vitez

9 there are only three or four surnames, so whether he is

10 Marko or Marko, it is really very difficult to clarify

11 that. But be that as it may, my list is the list of

12 men killed in PPN Vitezovi, but when the Vitez Brigade,

13 somebody else started sending in their males into

14 Vitezovi, he was sent to Vitezovi and he was killed

15 with the Vitezovi, and that is how I filed him. And

16 then at the end, when I took it to the military

17 district, I realised then that he'd also been on the

18 roster of the Vitez Brigade. So, you know, I mean, he

19 was killed when Vitezovi -- and if the Vitez Brigade

20 also put him on his list, on this list, then I can do

21 nothing about it.

22 Q. Right. But from what you said, I gather two

23 things: Same first names and surnames are quite

24 frequent?

25 A. Well, you have Ramljak, for instance. Half

Page 11834

1 of the Vitez military district is Ramljak. And then

2 you have to go into names of fathers, mothers. It's

3 all very difficult.

4 Q. Yeah, right, but will you please try to

5 answer my questions and then we shall be able to

6 proceed faster. There were also cases when soldiers

7 changed units, isn't it?

8 A. Yes, but that was towards the end.

9 Q. Thank you. So that would conclude that part

10 of my examination. But it reminds me: The list

11 mentions, and you also mentioned yesterday Plavcic, who

12 was killed near Novi Travnik. And I conclude from that

13 that the Vitezovi or, rather, that you are aware that

14 the Vitezovi also operated outside the municipality of

15 Vitez.

16 A. The Vitezovi, I don't know. I was not there

17 at the time. But the Vitezovi also operated in

18 Herzegovina.

19 Q. No, no, no. I mean the Vitezovi which had

20 its seat in Vitez, Kraljevic's.

21 A. Yes, I heard about that. I heard that, but I

22 don't know.

23 Q. But at the time when you were there, there is

24 no doubt that they were also in Novi Travnik?

25 A. They were -- the farthest they got -- what

Page 11835

1 was that place where the -- where the fire was set

2 afire? Yes, Opara. Opara, that is furthest they got.

3 And then on the other side, Prosje, something like

4 that.

5 Q. Right. But that is outside the municipality

6 of Vitez?

7 A. Yes, it is outside it.

8 Q. Thank you. You yesterday told us, and it was

9 page 68, about a command of the Vitez Brigade, that the

10 Vitezovi -- according to which Vitezovi were made

11 responsible for catching the deserters or, rather,

12 draft dodgers, and to take them back to the front.

13 A. Yes, that is so.

14 Q. Will the witness be shown Z1279. It was on

15 another document produced yesterday. Will the usher

16 please place the English text on the ELMO. And you can

17 turn to page 5, the bottom half of the page.

18 A. The pages are not marked here.

19 Q. That's quite true. The Croatian version does

20 not have that. So will you please look at the last

21 page. But you should remind yourself who is writing to

22 whom. So who is this addressed to?

23 Page number 5 of this document, lower part of

24 the page. Last page of the document, usher. I'm

25 sorry, one before that, number 5. Right. And lower

Page 11836

1 part of the page to be -- down, down, down, down. This

2 part. Correct. Fine.

3 So, Mr. Breljas, we could see that this was a

4 document of the Travnik defence administration, and it

5 was a sector in the Ministry of Defence of the HZ-HB;

6 that it was signed by the head of the administration,

7 Anto Puljic. And on the last page I'd asked you to

8 look at, will you please look at item 4. It says:

9 "Owing to inefficient mobilisation, an order was

10 issued to the military police which brought people to

11 the front line but was inefficient because the military

12 conscripts abandoned positions without permission and

13 came back."

14 Then in 5 it says: "The Vitezovi special

15 purpose unit was successful in carrying out its orders

16 and brought all the military conscripts to the front

17 line. After this, unfit military conscripts were

18 released from military service completely or engaged

19 elsewhere."

20 So it is quite obvious that some authorised

21 body issued a written order to this effect to the

22 Vitezovi?

23 A. That is not true, because such a written

24 order could have been issued only to me, or if they

25 bypassed me wrongfully and then reached someone else.

Page 11837

1 Whatever was done, illegally, unlawfully, I know

2 nothing about that. I was -- had nothing to do with

3 it.

4 Q. But you said that the Vitez Brigade gave such

5 an order to the Vitezovi, and before that you also said

6 that Cerkez had issued -- had Cerkez issued an order to

7 the Vitezovi, they would have killed him.

8 A. I don't understand you.

9 Q. That is what you said yesterday. You are

10 affirming that the Vitez Brigade asked the Vitezovi to

11 capture the draft dodgers?

12 A. No. That is not what I said, sir. All I

13 said was that the name of the Vitezovi was to be

14 marred. And when people were fleeing, they were trying

15 to make Vitezovi go round the houses and thus tarnish

16 the image among the civilian population, that they were

17 the ones that were rounding up people and taking them

18 to the front.

19 Q. I see. So you are not claiming that they

20 were doing that on the orders of the Vitez Brigade?

21 A. No, I'm not, because I'm also claiming that

22 it did not come from Novi Travnik.

23 Q. Right. Now some minor things. Excuse me,

24 Mr. Breljas. I'm sorry. We can do this very quickly.

25 Yesterday you said certain things, and we

Page 11838

1 agreed that the Vitezovi Brigade was in the elementary

2 school in Dubravica.

3 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacic,

4 I should like to ask the witness, Mr. Breljas, who is

5 it that wanted to tarnish the image of the Vitezovi?

6 You said that somebody was trying to tarnish the image

7 of the Vitezovi among the civilian population. Who was

8 that?

9 A. The HVO.

10 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Why do you

11 say that? Why do you think that?

12 A. Because the Vitezovi enjoyed a major

13 reputation, and even today they are very famous. Yes,

14 they were perhaps slightly aggressive, actually at some

15 times rough, but they were the best soldiers in that

16 area. So when the HVO was taking over the command from

17 the HOS, they could not destroy that name, the name of

18 Vitezovi, and they had to first to raise it as high as

19 they could so as to bring it down as much. So that

20 they brought in moles to destroy that unit from inside,

21 such as Vinac and other people, and there were quite a

22 number of other people who were working in order to

23 damage the representation of Vitezovi.

24 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] So in your

25 mind, it is the HVO which conducted this operation to

Page 11839

1 tarnish the image of the Vitezovi?

2 A. Yes. That is correct. And to break down

3 that unit.

4 JUDGE BENNOUNA: [Interpretation] Thank you.

5 MR. KOVACIC: If I may continue.

6 Q. [Interpretation] A place near Dubravica where

7 people gathered regularly, an alternate military

8 district command post, was in Kolonija, wasn't it?

9 A. That was before me, and after that it was

10 across the street from Vinac, in that other part where

11 the school was later on.

12 Q. But that is the same block of buildings,

13 isn't it?

14 A. Right.

15 Q. So the two of us know it. But a block is a

16 block of buildings within the town of Vitez?

17 A. Yes. That is correct.

18 Q. Now, another thing. Darko Kraljevic lived in

19 Rijeka, in the immediate vicinity of the military

20 station and Sumarija?

21 A. That's where his house was, but he also had a

22 flat in Vitez.

23 Q. Yes, but he had a house up there and his

24 mother lived there?

25 A. Yes, that is quite true.

Page 11840

1 Q. And his fellows, his men, all gathered there

2 and guarded the house?

3 A. Yes. There were some Vitezovi who were

4 there.

5 Q. So we could say, tentatively, that those were

6 three principal places, the points where the Vitezovi

7 gathered and communicated?

8 A. Yes, that is quite correct.

9 Q. Now, in view of the beginning of this

10 story -- you couldn't remember the date exactly. I'm

11 referring to the 15th and the 16th -- you said that you

12 associated things with events. Now, would you perhaps

13 remember if on one of those days or, more specifically,

14 on the 13th of April, 1993, an attempt was made against

15 Darko Kraljevic's life in Kruscica? Subsequently the

16 information arrived that an attempt had been by Neso

17 Hurem, as the local MOS. Do you remember that?

18 A. I was not there at the time, but I remember

19 it. I wasn't there, and I can't really talk about it,

20 because I do not doubt details. Kraljevic would not

21 let people even talk about it later on.

22 Q. So it was before you arrived?

23 A. No. It was while I was in Zenica.

24 Q. Right. Thank you. You spoke about lighting

25 candles, paying homage to the dead on the 1st of

Page 11841

1 November, 1993, and you said that on behalf of the

2 brigade, it was Cerkez who came to light a candle.

3 That is correct?

4 A. Yes, it is correct.

5 Q. So could you please tell us first the day of

6 the dead, the All Souls Day in our parts and in Bosnia

7 and throughout Yugoslavia but especially in Bosnia.

8 That was a very important day, a tradition, and it was

9 always marked? Isn't it true?

10 A. Yes, it is.

11 Q. And is that why you organised it, as an IPD

12 officer?

13 A. Yes, it is.

14 Q. And a priest also came, didn't he?

15 A. A priest did say that he would come, and I

16 was there waiting for him until half past 1.00. And

17 then I went to have my lunch, but he wasn't turning up,

18 wasn't turning up, and then I grew hungry and I left.

19 And I left Miskovic's assistant there. So she was

20 there, and I went to have my lunch, and it was during

21 that period of time that a priest came or, rather, not

22 a priest but a friar.

23 Q. Right. But that was not the only place in

24 the Lasva Valley where homage was paid to the victims.

25 A. No, no, no. That was not the only place. It

Page 11842

1 was all practically the width and breadth of the

2 valley. But there were snipers and it was hazardous,

3 it was dangerous, and people were trying to find some

4 shelter where they would conduct the ceremony.

5 Q. And I suppose that you know that Cerkez came

6 to the place from another place like that, and then

7 went on to a third place?

8 A. I wouldn't really know, but I do believe that

9 that is how it was, because yes, he went to those

10 places. That is true.

11 Q. And tell us, do you remember if Cerkez was

12 wearing a black jacket on such an occasion? On that

13 occasion. Excuse me.

14 A. I think that he was wearing a camouflage

15 uniform.

16 Q. But isn't it -- shouldn't it -- isn't the

17 black -- aren't black clothes prescribed when you go to

18 the cemetery on such occasions? At least, I mean

19 military black clothes.

20 A. I don't really want to insist on it, but I do

21 think he was wearing camouflage clothes.

22 Q. Right. Thank you. From your statements, it

23 was said that you agree that the only common higher

24 superior officer to Darko Kraljevic and Mario Cerkez

25 was Mr. Blaskic.

Page 11843

1 A. Listen. Mr. Blaskic held that post, but

2 nobody obeyed him, and nobody complied with his orders

3 until mid-1993.

4 Q. Right. But perhaps there was another person

5 who was their superior, superior to both of them?

6 A. Yes. That was Mr. Dario Kordic.

7 Q. You don't have any documents about that or

8 something like that?

9 A. Naturally, I don't, because he never gave

10 anything like that.

11 Q. So it would be just your estimate?

12 A. No. This is not an estimate. This is a

13 knowledge. This is an awareness that I have, but I

14 have no proof.

15 Q. Right. I will not show you an order issued

16 by Blaskic. We can let it be. But, Mr. Breljas, one

17 minor thing: Mr. Breljas, you told us about the

18 strength of Vitezovi, and in the end I should like to

19 ask you what is true and what is not. It seems to me

20 that something was omitted, though not deliberately,

21 but you will tell us. In your statement to the

22 Prosecution in 1998, that is the statement some 30

23 pages long, and you can look at page 15 of the

24 statement, you said that at that time, at the beginning

25 of the war, Vitezovi were some 367 men strong, and we

Page 11844

1 have it written out. So perhaps I should show it all

2 to you, and you will tell us what is true, what is

3 not. The English text, page 15. Then you say here --

4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kovacic, I'm finding this

5 difficult to follow.

6 MR. KOVACIC: I'm sorry.

7 JUDGE MAY: And you're also going rather

8 fast, if I may say so. Could you slow down a bit?

9 MR. KOVACIC: Certainly. Certainly.

10 Q. [Interpretation] The statement that you made

11 to the Prosecution in 1998. In the Croatian text it is

12 page 13. In the English text it is page 15. And you

13 said that there were 367 Vitezovi in the beginning when

14 you arrived, and that figure is written out in words.

15 Then yesterday you said that there were 180 of them,

16 sometime early during your testimony yesterday. And

17 the third figure is in the summary which the

18 Prosecution prepared for your testimony of the

19 7th December 1999, and that is you signed every page,

20 and item 5 says that the number was around 350. Then

21 you mention 180 of those who were in Dubravica.

22 Could you please tell us, at long last, which

23 one of these figures is correct?

24 A. Sir, nobody knows that. Not even Darko

25 Kraljevic would have the exact number. When I refer to

Page 11845

1 360 Vitezovi, I'm talking about those who are on record

2 and who are on Vitezovi rosters.

3 When I came to Posusje, I had about 400

4 Vitezovi on the payroll. Then I personally, and I was

5 in the barracks all the time, I knew that there were

6 never more than 180 of them in the barracks; that is, I

7 know of 180 Vitezovi. And all the other figures about

8 the payrolls, those who were at home, those who were

9 there on these lists in order to hide from other units

10 of the Vitezovi, I don't know them.

11 Q. Right. So at least we've clarified this.

12 And may I ask you, then, what does this mean? Because

13 in the next -- in the sentence it says that in addition

14 to a certain number of those who were members of

15 Vitezovi secretly. What does that mean?

16 A. Well, there were several scouts in Vitezovi

17 about whom nobody knew anything. And there were some

18 people illegally; that is, there were some who operated

19 illegally. Nobody knew about them either, even Blaskic

20 or Darko Kraljevic's superiors. Those were Vitezovi

21 who worked directly for Darko Kraljevic, until he saw

22 that everything was going wrong, that they were

23 beginning to drink and things like that.

24 Q. But you don't know how many of them were

25 there, roughly?

Page 11846

1 A. Yes, I could give you the number, but I

2 won't.

3 Q. Right. Thank you.

4 MR. KOVACIC: I would like if you could put

5 on the table in front of the witness the document we

6 saw yesterday, Z1153.1.

7 Mr. Breljas, you have the Croatian version of

8 the document. Can you see the Croatian version? Put

9 the English text on the ELMO. Beginning the first

10 page.

11 Mr. Breljas, we saw this document yesterday.

12 Again, it is the Travnik Defence Administration,

13 Mr. Puljic writing to the head of the Defence for

14 Vitez, Mr. Marijan Skopljak. Is that correct?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And we see here a certain number of people,

17 eight to be specific, who were working on Vitez

18 television at the time, are now being assigned to the

19 Vitez Brigade; in other words, mobilised. The question

20 is the following: Do you know anything about the

21 composition of work platoons and the labour obligation

22 that existed at the time?

23 A. I do.

24 Q. Isn't it clear that this is what the document

25 is about: They were employed in the television, but as

Page 11847

1 of the 3rd of August, the need for troops increased,

2 the situation was becoming difficult, and certain

3 services that were not of vital significance were being

4 mobilised and sent to join the army?

5 A. No, that is not quite right. There was

6 Zildum, who was an honest person, a journalist, and who

7 couldn't get on with these other thieves, and he was

8 sent to command a reserve unit. But those who were

9 obedient, they stayed on.

10 Q. But a list is attached to this document with

11 some remarks, an attached page, attached paper. And a

12 matter at the bottom -- at the bottom of the document

13 is clear. A little bit higher, please. Okay. Fine.

14 Mr. Breljas, in the top part you have an indication by

15 hand, and then again for all of them it says, by hand,

16 "all to the front." So one can infer from this that

17 people who were working in the television station were

18 assigned to various military posts, they were

19 mobilised?

20 A. You are asking me things that I was not

21 interested in, then or now. What did I care about

22 these? I was concerned with the Vitezovi, and I can

23 tell you everything about them, but not about these

24 people. I really had no knowledge about them.

25 Q. But yesterday you mentioned a cameraman from

Page 11848

1 television as a brigade cameraman?

2 A. Yes. He was either a soldier or a TV

3 cameraman. I didn't call him a brigade cameraman. I

4 just said that a cameraman arrived whom I didn't know.

5 Q. So you don't know whether he belonged to the

6 brigade or not?

7 A. How could I know?

8 Q. Thank you. In point 23 of this summary you

9 said, and repeated yesterday, that Cerkez and Kraljevic

10 were schoolmates and that they knew each other well,

11 and you based their cooperation on that fact.

12 A. Well, they knew each other, they came from

13 the same village, they belonged to respected families,

14 and it was normal that they knew each other well.

15 Q. Let me ask you a few simple questions. Do

16 you know the age difference between the two of them?

17 A. I don't know how old Mario Cerkez is. I know

18 that Darko was 27.

19 Q. So the age difference is six years?

20 A. Very well. Six years.

21 Q. So then it is to be assumed that they didn't

22 go to school together?

23 A. I didn't say they went to the same form, but

24 I, as a child, and you, and all of us, some went to 8th

25 grade, others to 1st grade, in the same school, in the

Page 11849

1 same environment. Whether they went to the same school

2 or not, I really don't know. But I know that they were

3 good acquaintances.

4 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on from this point

5 about the school. The witness said yesterday that he

6 wasn't sure about the school.

7 MR. KOVACIC: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.

8 Q. [Interpretation] On several occasions you

9 mentioned a person called Vlado Krizanac as a member of

10 the Vitezovi. Is this the one that was nicknamed Sidi?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. But he lived in Krizancevo Selo; you know

13 that?

14 A. His house was there, but later on he moved

15 into an apartment in Vitez.

16 Q. So at the time of the outbreak of the

17 conflict, the 16th of April, he was in Krizancevo

18 Selo? That is only a couple of hundred metres from

19 your headquarters in Dubravica?

20 A. Let's say 500 metres.

21 Q. Not more than one kilometre.

22 A. Yes, one kilometre on the outside.

23 Q. Do you know that he was in Dubravica on the

24 16th of April, in the headquarters, in the barracks, in

25 the school, or was he on the front?

Page 11850

1 A. Yes, he was in the base in the school,

2 because Marinko Plavcic was at the gas station; this

3 was in the school. Vinac was --

4 Q. Yes, that is what you said earlier on in your

5 statement, but not in your testimony yesterday.

6 A. Yes. Yes, he was in the school.

7 Q. So to speed things up -- two pictures earlier

8 given as the evidence. Perhaps the witness could help

9 us with them.

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If they could be shown to

11 the witness and put on the ELMO too.

12 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Z21774 and

13 Z2773.

14 Q. These photographs were tendered with the

15 witness Lee Whitworth. Witness, these are members of

16 the Vitez Brigade. Can you recognise any of the

17 persons on this photograph?

18 A. No. The one in the middle is Ante Tikvic.

19 He is not a member of the Vitez Brigade but of the

20 Special Purposes Unit, Vitezovi.

21 Q. Yes, I apologise. I meant members of

22 Vitezovi. You know Ante Tikvic?

23 A. I know this one too, the one to the right.

24 And that one over there, that you can see only one eye

25 of, looks like Vinac to me, but I am not quite sure.

Page 11851

1 Oh, yes. And this one, of course, this is Niko

2 Krizanac. Of course I know him. And the one holding a

3 rifle, that is Niko Krizanac.

4 Q. And the one to the left, is that Jako

5 Krizanac?

6 A. With his back turned. Wait a minute. Wait a

7 minute. I recognise him. That is Niko, Jako, Vinac

8 and Ante Tikvic.

9 Q. We can see clearly the patch on his uniform

10 that you described to us, but it is also clear from

11 this photograph that this patch does not correspond to

12 either of the two that we saw yesterday. They were the

13 patches under Z1530 and Z2790.

14 A. This is the Croatian coat of arms, I think,

15 slightly distorted, the Ustashas coat of arms with a

16 white background. It begins with three and four, and

17 then it gets wider and wider.

18 Q. But to speed things up, we agree that the

19 Vitezovi wore various patches, a wide variety?

20 A. Yes, of course.

21 Q. So, therefore, not only the two that were

22 shown yesterday?

23 A. The official was the PPN Vitezovi with a

24 Croatian coat of arms, but the people wore what they

25 wanted.

Page 11852

1 Q. So can the witness be shown the second

2 photograph, please. So here. Can you recognise any of

3 these?

4 A. Ante Tikvic is the first. Ante Tikvic from

5 Cajdras. I know this one too.

6 Q. Which one?

7 A. The one next to him.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. I can't recognise this one. And the one at

10 the end is familiar.

11 Q. Is he the Krizanac from the previous

12 photograph with his back turned?

13 A. If that is him, then it is not Jako

14 Krizanac. In this photograph it looks like Jako

15 Krizanac to me, but here I am not sure.

16 Q. Anyway, these that you have recognised are

17 Vitezovi members?

18 A. Yes, the first two. Yes.

19 Q. Thank you. My last area would be to ask you

20 to identify for me some names, if you can recollect

21 them, members of Vitezovi. They are the names, most of

22 which have been mentioned in this case, but we are not

23 sure which unit they belong to. Dragan Vinac, you said

24 he was a member of the Vitezovi?

25 A. Yes. That is where the HVO started and that

Page 11853

1 is when he joined.

2 Q. But there is a Dragan Vinac from Donji

3 Veceriska?

4 A. Yes, I heard about him. But that's the

5 problem, you see. You have so many people with the

6 same surnames.

7 Q. No, Dragan Vinac from Donji Veceriska, I

8 think that is one and the same man. Some others from

9 Donji Veceriska that I should like to mention that were

10 referred to indirectly: Josip Franjic, known as Jesus,

11 or Jesus, do you remember him, rapidly?

12 A. Now, wait a minute. I have to think about

13 it. I can't answer just like that.

14 Q. I apologise. I am just saying that you don't

15 have to give explanations; just try and remember, if

16 you can.

17 A. No, I'm afraid I can't recollect.

18 Q. What about Zoran Franjic?

19 A. That sounds familiar.

20 Q. Franjo Sapina?

21 A. Yes, I know him. He was Kraljevic's deputy

22 in the first period, wasn't he? No. No. He was a

23 soldier.

24 Q. In the Vitezovi. All these are Vitezovi,

25 aren't they? Darko Drmic?

Page 11854

1 A. Yes, he's Plavcic's son-in-law, or vice

2 versa; I'm not sure. No, he is Plavcic's son-in-law or

3 brother-in-law.

4 Q. From Donji Veceriska?

5 A. No, from Dubravica.

6 Q. Fine. And Zoran Franjic, known as Goran?

7 A. I don't know where he is from.

8 Q. You don't know him. Very well. You

9 mentioned him in an earlier statement as a lieutenant,

10 as a logistics officer?

11 A. Whom?

12 Q. Zoran Franjic.

13 A. No. I mentioned Buha.

14 Q. No, wait a minute. Wait a minute. On page

15 14 of your statement.

16 A. Let me try and remember. Where is that

17 list? Alilovic was the logistics man. Alilovic, not

18 Franjic.

19 Q. I also have information that Marko Prskalo

20 was with you, working with you.

21 A. He wasn't in Vitezovi at all. There was

22 Stipa Batalja [phoen], who was in charge of the

23 warehouse, Jozo Buha.

24 Q. Witness Breljas, will you look at page 14 of

25 the Croatian version of your statement where you

Page 11855

1 mentioned names of members of the command. You

2 mentioned Zoran Franjic, lieutenant, logistics

3 officer.

4 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. Page 15 of the

5 English, and it should be put on the ELMO so that we

6 can all see it.

7 MR. KOVACIC: I suppose so. You can use mine

8 if you want.

9 Q. [Interpretation] Witness, please look at page

10 14, where you see the list.

11 A. It's all right. I can read from the English.

12 Q. You start listing the people: Kraljevic,

13 Vinac, Sapina, Plavcic --

14 JUDGE MAY: It may be that this is important

15 at some stage in the trial. It may be simplest,

16 Mr. Kovacic, if you read out the list and so it's in

17 evidence.

18 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation]

19 Q. You listed as members of the command: Darko

20 Kraljevic, Dragan Vinac, Berislav Sapina, Marinko

21 Plavcic, Dragan Markovic, Zoran Franjic, Ivica

22 Alilovic, and your own name, Anto Breljas. That is

23 what you told the investigator. Is that what you still

24 believe?

25 A. Yes. I didn't mention Dragan Markovic and

Page 11856

1 Zoran Franjic. Miso Mijic is at the end and actually

2 he was always number 2.

3 Q. Miso Mijic has not been read out. Something

4 that I have in my notes.

5 Mr. Breljas, one more question for you, which

6 I have been prompted to ask by the question by His

7 Honour, the Judge. You mentioned that you had a

8 personal conflict with Dragan Vinac, the assistant

9 commander. Why?

10 A. I never was in conflict with him. However, I

11 saw that Dragan Vinac does not belong to the Vitezovi,

12 that he was only provoking problems and listing the

13 Vitezovi as thugs. There were very good guys in the

14 Vitezovi, very brave fighters, but he socialised with

15 all those who were looting, killing and causing

16 trouble. And I said to Darko Kraljevic, you know,

17 "Dragan Vinac somehow doesn't fit." And he said,

18 "What are you talking about?" But in fact he had

19 taken over command from Darko Kraljevic, and later on I

20 established why and how and whom he belonged to, and

21 this would lead me to much higher echelons which would

22 have far more serious consequences for me and for

23 people at much higher positions, so I wouldn't like to

24 go into it.

25 I have evidence that Dragan Vinac wanted to

Page 11857

1 destroy the Vitezovi, and he did do that and he

2 collaborated with Mario Cerkez and with Kordic. And

3 later on, when he saw that Blaskic had taken over

4 power, he joined Blaskic.

5 Q. So all this was your own assessment and you

6 conveyed your impressions to Darko Kraljevic. Thank

7 you. I have no further questions for this witness,

8 Your Honour.

9 Cross-examined by Mr. Lopez-Terres:

10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have a few

11 points of clarification, after this cross-examination.

12 Witness Breljas, you spoke of the meeting

13 which was held in Dubravica between Dario Kordic, Darko

14 Kraljevic, Dragan Vinac, Miso Mijic and another person

15 you no longer recollect. You said that this meeting

16 was held during the night that preceded the attack on

17 Vitez and Ahmici. I am asking you whether you confirm

18 -- you are confirming that that meeting did indeed

19 take place in that night?

20 A. You see, there is something that both Defence

21 counsel confused me a little. The Defence of Mr. Dario

22 Kordic said that on the 16th I was picked up by

23 Mr. Stewart, that I had spent the night there and

24 things like that. And then Defence counsel of Mario

25 Cerkez said that on the 16th, in Dubravica, Kosina

Page 11858

1 [phoen] pointed his gun at me. However, there is a

2 very small possibility that either Zivko Totic was

3 captured on the 14th or what I said had occurred on the

4 16th. So there is a very small possibility, which I

5 exclude, but --

6 Q. But please answer my question, Mr. Breljas.

7 That meeting that you spoke about in Dubravica, I am

8 not talking about the date, I am not asking you the

9 name of the day. I am just asking you whether this

10 meeting in Dubravica took place in the night that

11 preceded the attack on Vitez and Ahmici.

12 A. Whether it was that night or the night after

13 the attack, I am a bit confused, to be quite frank.

14 Was it the first night of the attack or the eve of the

15 attack? I am afraid they have managed to confuse me as

16 to that date.

17 It is quite certain that Mr. Stewart did not

18 spend the night there, that I did not spend the night

19 in any kind of trench. That I can guarantee. I'm

20 quite sure of that. The only thing I'm not quite sure

21 of is whether that was the night after the attack or

22 the night prior to the attack. I'm not quite sure

23 about that.

24 Q. A further point of clarification. When you

25 say that you don't know whether it was the night or the

Page 11859

1 day prior to the attack, do you mean the night between

2 the 15th and the 16th of April or the morning of the

3 16th of April?

4 A. The point is that on the next day, the day

5 after that talk, I went to Ahmici. I went to Ahmici.

6 Ahmici had already been destroyed, which means --

7 Q. So that was the day after the meeting?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Very well. Thank you. We have just referred

10 to Miso Mijic who belonged to the secret service, the

11 SIS. Yes. You said that this gentlemen was frequently

12 in contact with your unit commander, Darko Kraljevic.

13 You never said that he was formally a member of the

14 Vitezovi.

15 A. He was always with Darko. He never separated

16 from him. Darko and he were always together.

17 Q. Did he wear the insignia of the Vitezovi on

18 his uniform?

19 A. I'm afraid I don't know.

20 Q. Did you see his name on the Vitezovi lists,

21 registers that you referred to?

22 A. Yes. He was on my list as a member of the

23 command. Darko Kraljevic, Miso Mijic. That is why I

24 always thought that Miso Mijic was Darko Kraljevic's

25 assistant. Later on I learned that Darko Kraljevic was

Page 11860

1 his assistant. I always had him on my list as a member

2 of the Vitezovi. There was Miso Mijic, Colonel, SIS,

3 Vitezovi.

4 Q. You saw the document that I presented to you

5 yesterday, according to which Miso Mijic appointed

6 Darko Kraljevic as his deputy in the SIS, which means

7 that one could be at the same time a member of the SIS

8 and of the Vitezovi.

9 A. Yes. And there were others who were also in

10 the SIS and in the Vitezovi. He was not the only one.

11 Q. Very well. Thank you. Mr. Breljas, do you

12 make a distinction between what we call the

13 administrative chain of command and the operational

14 chain of command in all military units?

15 A. Certainly. Of course there is a vast

16 difference.

17 Q. Would you agree with me that,

18 administratively, one can depend on Mostar and to be

19 under the command in Vitez of the sector when a

20 military operation is involved?

21 A. Yes. Certainly. Of course. That is how

22 things work, in fact.

23 Q. Thank you. You were shown some documents

24 this morning, the same ones I used yesterday. I should

25 like us to go back to one of them, document Z808. It

Page 11861

1 is the list drawn up by Mr. Zvonimir Cilic, the

2 propaganda officer of the Vitez Brigade. Z808. Do you

3 have this document now?

4 A. Yes. Yes. Yes, I have it.

5 Q. Could you please look at page 2 and tell us

6 what is the name under number 45?

7 A. Mile Vinac.

8 Q. And this person was apparently wounded during

9 the conflict and as a member of the Vitez Brigade. We

10 agree, don't we?

11 A. Yes. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. I should now like to ask you to

13 look at another document which was also shown to you

14 this morning again, Z1279. It is a document dated

15 31st of October, 1993, drawn up by the defence

16 administration. Could you please look at page 5 of

17 this document, the point that was discussed already

18 this morning. And at paragraph 6, measures taken by

19 the administration. Do you see this paragraph?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. It is indicated, in the fourth line, that the

22 defence administration of Vitez was placed under the

23 provisional command of the Vitez Brigade. We agree on

24 that, don't we?

25 A. Yes.

Page 11862

1 Q. So when the Vitezovi received the order to

2 bring conscripts back to the front, it was the Vitez

3 Brigade that had responsibility over the defence

4 office?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. Two final points of

7 clarification.

8 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank you,

9 Mr. Usher. We're finished with that document.

10 Q. This morning another document was discussed

11 concerning people from Vitez television who were

12 mobilised to the brigade, and reference was made to one

13 cameraman during your cross-examination this morning.

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And in fact, in your statement and testimony

16 yesterday you always spoke of two different people, two

17 different persons, two cameramen.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. The one you identified as having accompanied

20 you to Tisovac.

21 A. Stipovic, yes.

22 Q. Srecko Stipovic. You gave us his name and

23 you recognised his name on the document. You

24 identified him.

25 A. Yes. Correct.

Page 11863

1 Q. He was not on the front on that day. He was

2 with you at Tisovac.

3 A. Yes. That is correct.

4 Q. And then you also spoke of a second cameraman

5 who was to film the judge, Poricanin.

6 A. Yes. That's quite a different man, whom I

7 didn't know.

8 Q. Thank you. Did you know that Mr. Cerkez was

9 born in Rijeka? That is where Kraljevic lived, the

10 same place that Kraljevic lived in.

11 A. I know he was born someplace between the old

12 station and the centre of the town. I know that it was

13 in that area. Once somebody showed me Cerkez's house.

14 That is what I heard from others. I didn't know, but I

15 heard from others that Mario Cerkez's house was there.

16 And then a logistics man of his lived right next to

17 him. He had a house right next to him.

18 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation] Thank you,

19 Mr. President. I have no further questions for the

20 witness.

21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Lopez-Terres, could you help

22 me with this: The Vitezovi, on some of these

23 documents, are referred to as "PPN."


25 JUDGE MAY: What is the significance of the

Page 11864

1 "PPN"?

2 MR. LOPEZ-TERRES: [Interpretation]

3 Mr. President, of course I don't speak the Croatian

4 language, but on the document shown to you as an

5 exhibit, you have the definition. It is an

6 abbreviation which means a special purpose unit, a

7 special unit, task force. In English it has always

8 been translated as a "special purpose unit."

9 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Mr. Breljas, that

10 concludes your evidence. You are now released. Thank

11 you for coming to the International Tribunal to give

12 your evidence.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

14 [The witness withdrew]

15 JUDGE MAY: While the witness is leaving, we

16 were handed various statements which he had made.

17 Mr. Stein, yesterday, said he didn't want them

18 exhibited. Unless anybody else wants them exhibited, I

19 shall hand them back.

20 Mr. Nice, we've been given the summary of

21 Mr. Beese. Unless you propose to call him or ask to

22 call him next week, we've been given a broad indication

23 about that.

24 MR. NICE: I'll delay the calling of him for

25 a couple of weeks now, but may the summary stay with

Page 11865

1 you. I know that sometimes it's helpful to have the

2 summaries in advance.

3 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

4 MR. NICE: Indeed, I'm going to have served

5 on you the summary of (redacted), who I had

6 some hopes I might be able to call tomorrow, but I'm

7 not pretty well certain I won't be able to call

8 tomorrow.

9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It may be convenient if I

10 deal with our decision about the programme for

11 next week.

12 MR. NICE: Yes. And just before you do it,

13 in case it should have any bearing on it, I think that

14 the remaining evidence available, assuming I can't

15 whistle up (redacted) by telephone call now for

16 tomorrow, the remaining evidence, I think, will go into

17 tomorrow, but probably only just. I haven't checked

18 with Mr. Scott, who is calling the next witness, how

19 long he expects to be, but the third witness whom I'm

20 going to call and whose summary I will serve at the end

21 of this break will be very short indeed. I think we'll

22 just go into tomorrow. It would be nice to get

23 (redacted) over here, but although I contacted him last

24 week and had the number, he's not responding to the

25 phone number at the moment. So I'm not hopeful.

Page 11866

1 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Dealing with the

2 programme for next week, the issue arises whether we,

3 as two Judges, should hear the evidence under

4 Rule 15 bis. Mr. Stein, on behalf of the Defence,

5 raised the objection or the concern that Judge Robinson

6 would have much extra material to read.

7 I've taken the opportunity of speaking to the

8 Judge on the telephone in Jamaica. I passed on the

9 condolences which were expressed in Court yesterday. I

10 told him of the concerns mentioned about his having a

11 lot of material to read, extra material. He did not

12 regard this as a source of any difficulty, and he would

13 be well able to read the extra pages of transcript. In

14 our judgement, therefore, this deals with those

15 concerns and objections.

16 That being so, we have to consider whether it

17 is in the interests of justice, under Rule 15 bis, for

18 us to sit next week.

19 Given the length of time which this case has

20 taken already and is likely to take, and our duty to

21 pursue the matter expeditiously, we consider that it is

22 in the interests of justice to hear the evidence next

23 week, sitting as two Judges for three days, and we

24 consider it appropriate to apply the Rule.

25 Accordingly, we will sit next week for three

Page 11867

1 days, Monday to Wednesday, to hear evidence. Thursday

2 we shall not hear evidence, but it appears that it may

3 be convenient to have that time available for a Status

4 Conference, to discuss any matters which may be

5 outstanding, to hear what submissions we can. We can

6 discuss that over the next few days.

7 There is one additional matter about the

8 future programme, and it is this: That Judge Robinson,

9 in fact, will not be returning on Monday the 24th but

10 will return on Tuesday the 25th. Accordingly, we shall

11 not sit in this case on the morning, as it would be, of

12 the 24th -- there was only the morning available that

13 day -- but we will resume the hearings on the 25th.

14 Yes.

15 MR. NICE: That's very helpful, Your Honour.

16 Next Thursday I think I shan't be here in the

17 afternoon, but in any event, it looks as though the

18 Status Conference will be likely to take place in the

19 morning.

20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, it certainly would. Very

21 well. We'll adjourn now. Half an hour. 11.35.

22 --- Recess taken at 11.08 a.m.

23 --- On resuming at 11.40 a.m.

24 MR. NICE: May the witness come in, but just

25 before he does, (redacted)

Page 11868

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 Mr. Scott, with more efficiency, will take

8 the next witness.

9 [The witness entered court]

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the witness take the

11 declaration.

12 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

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

14 truth.


16 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to take a seat.

17 Examined by Mr. Scott:

18 Q. Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honour, it may

19 be that everyone in the Court already knows this, but

20 Colonel de Boer -- in my opinion, he speaks quite good

21 English -- prefers for these official purposes to speak

22 in Dutch. So we may have an additional layer of

23 translation to deal with.

24 Colonel de Boer, first of all, is your full

25 name Johannes Jacobus de Boer?

Page 11869

1 A. I am waiting for the interpretation.

2 Q. My understanding is there was going to be a

3 Dutch interpreter in the French booth, if I'm correct.

4 THE INTERPRETER: But from Dutch, Mr. Scott,

5 not into Dutch.

6 MR. SCOTT: All right.

7 JUDGE MAY: What's the position?

8 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I apologise for the

9 difficulty. It appears that, if it's okay with the

10 witness, I put my questions -- if I understand

11 correctly where we are, I can ask my questions in

12 English, he can give his answers in Dutch, and his

13 answers will then be interpreted for the courtroom.

14 JUDGE MAY: The interpretation is only one

15 way, in Dutch to English?

16 MR. SCOTT: That's what I am hearing, Your

17 Honour.

18 JUDGE MAY: Well, Colonel, I hope we can get

19 on like that.

20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE MAY: I am reminded to speak in the

22 microphone. I hope we can get on. I don't see that we

23 are doing very well so far. Let's start again.

24 MR. SCOTT: Sorry, Your Honour. I thought it

25 was all arranged. My apologies.

Page 11870

1 Q. Colonel, then, if at any time you don't

2 understand my English question, or if I am speaking too

3 fast, please alert me to that.

4 Colonel, is it correct then that your full

5 name is Johannes Jacobus de Boer?

6 A. Yes, that is correct.

7 Q. You are presently a colonel in the Dutch

8 Army, assigned at the Nederlands Defence College; is

9 that correct?

10 A. Correct.

11 Q. During the time, including November 1992 to

12 May 1993, Colonel, you were a lieutenant-colonel

13 serving as the commander of the 105th Dutch

14 Transportation Battalion; is that correct?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. And from approximately November of 1992 to

17 3rd of May, 1993, you acted as the commander of the 1st

18 U.N., or perhaps UNPROFOR Transportation Battalion,

19 located or based in Busovaca; is that correct?

20 A. It is correct in that sense that I --

21 JUDGE MAY: Can we have the interpretation,

22 please?

23 A. [Interpretation] And I left the area on the

24 3rd of May.


Page 11871

1 Q. I understand, sir, that before you arrived

2 for your full tour of duty in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that

3 in about July of '92 you visited on what might be

4 called a reconnaissance mission to orient yourself to

5 the area and prepare to move your unit into the area,

6 and at that time you met the mayor of Vitez, a man

7 named Ivan Santic. Is that correct?

8 A. That is correct.

9 Q. Let's clarify one point, please. In your

10 statement from 1995 you referred to having dealings

11 with a man named Skopljak. You recall that?

12 A. Yes, I do.

13 Q. Were you certain, or have you always been

14 certain that the person you dealt with, in fact, was

15 the mayor of Vitez?

16 A. I was certain that it was the mayor of Vitez.

17 Q. And on further recollection, have you in fact

18 remembered that the mayor of Vitez, in fact, was Ivan

19 Santic and not Mr. Skopljak?

20 A. I do not really remember the name meaning

21 that the mayor or, rather, the man I spoke to,

22 introduced himself as the mayor of Vitez.

23 Q. Very well. Let's move forward. Can you

24 relate to the Court a particular conversation you had

25 with the mayor of Vitez when you first arrived on this

Page 11872

1 reconnaissance mission in Bosnia in about July 1992?

2 And I don't want to get too much detail on this, but

3 can you relate to the Court any conversation you had

4 with him about a particular ethnic group?

5 A. Yeah.

6 Q. Please do.

7 A. Yes. During the conversation which I had

8 with the mayor, he said -- he stated that the Muslim

9 part of the Vitez population behaved hygienically, that

10 they were much below, much inferior to the rest of the

11 population.

12 Q. And what was your reaction, sir, to

13 Mr. Santic stating this to you?

14 A. I was taken aback, but I did not react to

15 that.

16 Q. Is it correct, sir, that after this first

17 meeting with Mr. Santic, the mayor of Vitez, that you

18 in fact, during your tour in Bosnia, had other meetings

19 or dealings with Mr. Santic from time to time?

20 A. That is correct.

21 Q. Is it correct, sir, that on one occasion

22 toward the end of your time in Bosnia, that is about in

23 the latter half of April 1993, is it correct that you

24 went to the Vitez town hall looking for Mr. Santic, you

25 saw HVO soldiers outside the building, a 20-millimetre

Page 11873

1 cannon located in front of the entrance to the

2 building, and you looked for Mr. Santic and found him

3 in the basement of the building?

4 A. Yes. That is quite correct.

5 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, my continuing

6 apologies. Mr. Nice suggested that it would be better

7 if he didn't listen to his earphones in terms of the

8 English translation. It may be more confusing. I'm

9 not sure if that's the case, but it's coming from the

10 interpreters. I'm in the witness's hands as to what's

11 easiest for him, but I --

12 THE INTERPRETER: May we explain the slight

13 delay, because the interpretation is going into French

14 and from French into English. That is why there's a

15 delay.

16 JUDGE MAY: There's bound to be a delay. Let

17 us take things slowly but accurately, and particularly

18 to make sure the witness feels entirely comfortable

19 with the way things are being done.

20 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour.

21 Q. All right. Finishing on that topic or that

22 item, sir, when you found Mr. Santic in the basement of

23 the Vitez town hall, he said something to you around

24 this time that the conflict between the Croats and

25 Muslims had intensified; is that correct?

Page 11874

1 A. It is.

2 Q. It is also correct that shortly after you

3 arrived in Bosnia, sir, you met another individual

4 named Zoran Maric, who you understood to be the mayor

5 of Busovaca, who at that time was wearing civilian

6 clothes?

7 A. That is correct.

8 Q. Did you, during your time in Bosnia, meet a

9 man named Dario Kordic?

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. Did you meet -- I'm not going to lead here,

12 other than to point you to a particular date. Did you

13 first meet Mr. Kordic around Christmas of 1992?

14 A. Correct.

15 Q. Can you relate to the court, please, in your

16 own words --

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. Sorry. Can you relate to the Court, please,

19 in your own words, your interaction with Mr. Kordic at

20 that time? Can you tell the Court how Mr. Kordic was

21 introduced to you and the basic thrust of your

22 conversation?

23 A. Sometime before Christmas 1992, I organised a

24 reception, I gave a reception in Busovaca, in my

25 headquarters. I met both the civilian and military

Page 11875

1 authorities of both sides, Bosnian Croats; that is,

2 Croats from Bosnia and Muslims from Bosnia, and we met

3 on the occasion of Christmas. I had invited both

4 parties on purpose, in order to show that my battalion

5 was an independent unit, and civilian and military

6 authorities were present from both sides, and even the

7 Muslim side were also represented by religious

8 authorities.

9 Mr. Kordic was introduced to me by my

10 interpreter as Colonel Kordic. I had the opportunity

11 of talking to him for a certain period of time, and I

12 gained the impression that he was the military

13 authority or, rather, that he made part of the military

14 authority in the territory concerned, that is, the

15 Lasva Valley.

16 Q. At this particular time, Colonel, you were a

17 lieutenant-colonel; is that correct?

18 A. [In English] That's correct.

19 Q. Can you relate to the Court, please, could

20 you --

21 A. That is correct.

22 Q. Sorry. Can you tell the Court, please,

23 whether you observed or had the impression, in talking

24 with Mr. Kordic, whether he had any reaction to the

25 apparent fact that you were a lieutenant-colonel while

Page 11876

1 he was a full colonel?

2 A. My impression was that it amused him.

3 Q. Did you have any other impressions or

4 observations about Mr. Kordic's position or authority,

5 or his claims to having authority at that time?

6 A. Yes. My impression was that he did enjoy

7 that authority and that the fact that he had this

8 authority resulted perhaps in his slightly exaggerated

9 self-confidence.

10 Q. All right. Let's move on, then, please. Is

11 it correct, sir, that during the month of February

12 1993, you noticed an increase in military personnel or

13 activity at something called the Bungalow restaurant or

14 hotel that was in the general Vitez area?

15 A. [In English] That is correct.

16 Q. You saw --

17 A. That is correct.

18 Q. You saw at that time that there were perhaps

19 15 to 20 military people there in uniform, some with

20 HVO patches?

21 A. That is true.

22 Q. I want to direct your attention now to a

23 second meeting with Mr. Kordic. Is it correct, sir,

24 that in March of 1993, General Morillon was visiting

25 the Dutch-Belgian Battalion in Busovaca, and while

Page 11877

1 General Morillon was there, the issue had come up -- or

2 excuse me, you had knowledge that the HVO were

3 allegedly holding three Muslim girls in the Busovaca

4 area; is that correct?

5 MR. SCOTT: I know what he said, but I'm just

6 waiting for the official translation.

7 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on. He said it's

8 correct.

9 MR. SCOTT: That's right.

10 Q. Going to -- well, around this time then, did

11 you have a meeting with Mr. Kordic about the three

12 Muslim girls?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And how did that meeting come about? Did you

15 initiate or ask for a meeting with Mr. Kordic, or did

16 he invite you to a meeting, or if you recall, if you

17 can just tell the Court the circumstances of that

18 meeting coming about?

19 A. When I say "we," I mean myself at the

20 battalion staff, so myself and the staff of the

21 battalion, the command of the battalion. So we decided

22 to establish contact with the HVO authorities in

23 Busovaca. And Kordic invited us to an operations room

24 in the PTT building.

25 Q. In Busovaca?

Page 11878

1 A. In Busovaca.

2 Q. And was General Morillon at the meeting?

3 A. General Morillon and myself went to that

4 place.

5 Q. And when you responded to Colonel Kordic's

6 invitation, did you, in fact, go to what appeared to

7 you to be something called an operations room in the

8 basement of the PTT building in Busovaca?

9 A. Yes, that is so.

10 Q. And at that time, and at that location, did

11 you and General Morillon then negotiate with Kordic the

12 release of the three Muslim girls?

13 A. That is correct.

14 Q. Can you relate to the Court --

15 A. That is true.

16 Q. -- again in your own words, your observations

17 about the way that Mr. Kordic appeared at this meeting,

18 the way that he conducted the meeting?

19 A. When General Morillon and I entered, we were

20 received by Colonel Kordic, and a number of other

21 people were present in this operations room. All these

22 people were in camouflage clothes. I recognised one of

23 those individuals as the mayor of Vitez. What I was

24 going to say -- I mean the mayor of Busovaca.

25 Q. And who was that?

Page 11879

1 A. Zoran Maric, as I remember. His name was, as

2 far as I can remember, Zoran Maric.

3 Q. I apologise, Your Honour. One of the people

4 who were in uniform was Mr. Kordic; is that correct?

5 A. That is correct.

6 Q. Did you become familiar, during your tour in

7 Bosnia, with an HVO patch that had what I think

8 generally can be called the red and white checkerboard

9 symbol, used often in either Croatian or Bosnian

10 Croatian symbols or signs?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And did Mr. Kordic have such a patch on his

13 uniform?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Who conducted or led the meeting?

16 A. Colonel Kordic.

17 Q. Did Mr. Maric have any role in the meeting?

18 Did he say anything during the meeting?

19 A. He did not speak. He virtually said nothing.

20 Q. What was your observation of his demeanour or

21 behaviour toward Mr. Kordic?

22 A. I had the impression that he was his

23 subordinate.

24 Q. Did Mr. Maric in fact sit at the main table

25 with General Morillon, yourself and Mr. Kordic, or was

Page 11880

1 he located someplace else in the room?

2 A. He was not seated at the same table. He was

3 sitting on a chair against the wall.

4 Q. Now, as you are at this meeting, did you see

5 any maps, charts, diagrams in this operations room?

6 A. On the central table in the operations room,

7 at the table that we were sitting at, there was a map

8 of the Lasva Valley. Lines were drawn on that map and

9 I had the impression that those lines either

10 corresponded to the lines of separation between various

11 territories or were an indication of the advance lines

12 of the troops. And arrows were added to those lines.

13 These arrows were pointing at various small villages,

14 among them Ahmici.

15 Q. As a result of the meeting with Colonel

16 Kordic, were the three Muslim girls released later that

17 day?

18 A. At the end of the meeting these three young

19 women were released.

20 Q. And from your participation and observation

21 at that meeting, can you tell the Court who made the

22 decision or issued the order that the three girls be

23 released?

24 A. The decision was made by Colonel Kordic.

25 Q. All right. If we can move on, then. Is it

Page 11881

1 correct, Colonel, that these three Muslim girls, once

2 the decision was made to release them, were immediately

3 brought to your presence and released to you?

4 A. Yes, that is correct.

5 Q. Did you conclude from that, that these three

6 girls must have at that time been kept close by to the

7 meeting itself?

8 A. Yes, very close. Probably in the same

9 building.

10 Q. The three Muslim girls, on being released to

11 you, said that they had been taken out of their house

12 before it was blown up, and they did not complain about

13 being mistreated or sexually abused; is that correct?

14 A. That is correct. That is what they stated

15 after I asked them about it.

16 Q. Is it correct, sir, that on the 17th and 18th

17 of April, 1993, while moving around the area, you saw

18 four dead bodies on the Busovaca-Vitez road, laying in

19 the parking lot close to the Catholic cemetery?

20 A. Yes, that is correct.

21 Q. You also saw across from the parking lot a

22 woman lying in the entrance of a house?

23 A. Correct.

24 Q. And these bodies were still located at the

25 same places or positions when you passed this same area

Page 11882

1 three or four days later; is that correct?

2 A. Yes, that's true.

3 Q. Is it correct, sir, that on the 20th of

4 April, 1993, you were making arrangements to hand over

5 command of the Dutch-Belgian Transportation Battalion

6 to Paulus Schipper, and you were essentially orienting

7 Mr. Schipper -- I don't recall his exact rank at the

8 moment, probably Colonel -- to the area around Vitez

9 and Santici?

10 A. Yes, that is correct. And Schipper at the

11 time was Lieutenant-Colonel.

12 Q. As part of your orientation of Colonel

13 Schipper, did you show him or point out to him the area

14 of Ahmici and make any explanation or statements to him

15 about what had happened in Ahmici in the several days

16 prior to this?

17 A. At that point in time we were moving where my

18 company was in Santici towards my headquarters in

19 Busovaca -- to my headquarters in Busovaca. As we

20 moved, we passed by the village of Ahmici. We saw

21 fresh destruction, as well as the five bodies that I

22 have referred to. Not in Ahmici, but along the road.

23 And I addressed Schipper and told him that in my

24 opinion this was the result of ethnic cleansing.

25 Q. Did you have an understanding that this was

Page 11883

1 ethnic cleansing done by one side or party or the

2 other?

3 A. I think that the ethnic cleansing operation

4 was the work, in any event, of the Bosnian-Croat side,

5 because the five bodies were, in my view, the bodies of

6 Muslims.

7 Q. Very well, sir. And is it correct that you

8 left -- you completed your tour, in other words, and

9 left Bosnia on approximately 3rd of May, 1993?

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. And simply for the record, did you sign --

12 did you sign an outline that was prepared for you

13 yesterday, and in signing that were you able to verify

14 that all of it was correct and true to the best of your

15 knowledge?

16 A. Yes, that is correct.

17 Q. Thank you. No further questions, Your

18 Honour.

19 Cross-examined by Mr. Sayers:

20 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel. My name is Steven

21 Sayers and I am one of the attorneys who represents

22 Dario Kordic. I have a few questions for you. The

23 attorneys to the extreme left here are Mr. Kovacic and

24 Mr. Mikulicic, and they represent Mr. Cerkez. I do not

25 know whether they will have questions for you.

Page 11884

1 Do I understand you that, with the exception

2 of the initial reconnaissance trip that you made in

3 July of 1992, that you spent a total of about seven

4 months as the commander of the 1st Nederlands Belgian

5 United Nations Transport in Busovaca, from November

6 until you left, as you testified, on May the 3rd, 1993?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And in the seven months or so that you spent

9 in Busovaca itself, do I understand you to say that you

10 only ever met Mr. Kordic on two occasions; twice?

11 A. Personally, yes.

12 Q. All right. Did you ever ask him whether he

13 had any military authority at all?

14 A. No, I personally never put that question to

15 him.

16 Q. You never asked him what his relationship

17 with the commander of the HVO Central Bosnia operative

18 zone, Colonel Blaskic, was, did you?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Similarly, you never asked him what

21 relationship, if any, he had with the brigade that was

22 stationed in Busovaca, the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski

23 Brigade, did you?

24 A. Personally, no.

25 Q. You did meet Colonel Blaskic on several

Page 11885

1 occasions, did you not?

2 A. I think on two occasions I met him.

3 Q. And you had several conversations, I take it,

4 with the commander of the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade

5 in Busovaca, Commander Dusko Grubesic; correct?

6 A. I remember speaking to other military people,

7 but I don't know if it was the person whose name you

8 mentioned.

9 Q. I would like to show you a document that

10 appears to be a chronology assembled by the Dutch

11 Battalion. It contains a number of documents. We have

12 received this from the offers of the Prosecution. I

13 don't know precisely what it is, but I'd like you to

14 identify the document, if you can, sir, for the

15 record. Thank you.

16 A. I shall try to do that.

17 Q. Thank you very much indeed, Colonel.

18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, does the witness have

19 the original of this?

20 MR. SAYERS: I don't know. Perhaps I can ask

21 him the question, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE MAY: You merely got the translation.

23 MR. SAYERS: Exactly.

24 Q. Colonel, I'm afraid that we do not have the

25 Dutch original of these documents, if indeed the

Page 11886

1 originals were prepared in Dutch. I'd just like to ask

2 you if you recognise the document that I've just put

3 before you as a chronology of events and meetings and

4 duties performed by units under your command. It looks

5 as if the dates are from April the 1st, 1993 until

6 sometime in the middle of May 1993. So if it is a

7 record, it appears to be an extract.

8 A. I remember having seen a part of this

9 document in the file, battalion information, in the

10 logbook of the battalion. That part of the document I

11 handed over to the representative of this Tribunal who

12 interviewed me in 1995. And this document looks the

13 same as that one. The original document was in the

14 Dutch language. And this document, I do not find

15 anywhere the name of my battalion at the top of a

16 page. I infer from this that this document might have

17 been drafted on the basis of the material that I

18 provided. It could have been drafted with the help of

19 that document, but not necessarily so.

20 Q. Thank you, Colonel.

21 JUDGE MAY: The matter may be resolved in

22 this way: Maybe we can ask the Prosecution about

23 this. Is there any dispute, Mr. Scott, about this

24 document?

25 MR. SCOTT: None that I'm aware of, Your

Page 11887

1 Honour. It did come to us -- what counsel has is the

2 same that we have. To be perfectly candid with the

3 Court, I don't have the Dutch original with me.

4 Presumably it's within the bowels of the OTP somewhere,

5 but there's not question for us that it is the record

6 of this battalion.

7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It may be that at some

8 stage a comparison could be made to ensure that this is

9 the right document, but for the moment we can admit it

10 if that's what is asked.

11 MR. SCOTT: The Prosecution, Your Honour, we

12 have no objection.

13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Do you want this document

14 admitted?

15 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour, we would.

16 JUDGE MAY: Very well.

17 THE REGISTRAR: Document is number D150/1.


19 Q. Thank you for looking over the document,

20 Colonel. It may be helpful to keep it in front of you,

21 because I will be referring to some few entries during

22 the course of my questioning.

23 JUDGE MAY: And if we were to refer to it as

24 a logbook, would that be the right way to refer to it?

25 A. [In English] Yes, Your Honour.

Page 11888

1 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.


3 Q. Now, Colonel, did you keep a contemporaneous

4 journal yourself, separate and apart from this

5 logbook?

6 A. Not myself.

7 Q. All right. You gave a statement to the

8 Prosecution, I believe, and I think you've referred to

9 this earlier, but just so the record is clear, on the

10 12th of April, 1993?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And you've reviewed that statement as you

13 prepared for your testimony today?

14 A. Yes. I reread it.

15 Q. Do you know, sir, whether the logbook

16 contains any entries regarding the meetings that you

17 have described, the first meeting with whoever it was

18 who represented themselves to be the mayor of Vitez to

19 you, Mr. Skopljak or Mr. Santic, or either of the

20 meetings that you had with Mr. Kordic about seven years

21 ago?

22 A. I don't know whether that appears in this

23 logbook. I am not the author of the logbook. A

24 logbook is a compilation, actually. It is the work of

25 the officer in charge of information in the

Page 11889

1 headquarters of my battalion.

2 Q. Would you, however, typically report any

3 significant meetings or events to your battalion

4 intelligence officer or information officer, who would

5 then be responsible for preparing the pertinent entries

6 in the chronological logbook maintained by your

7 battalion?

8 A. As I moved around quite a lot, this officer

9 would certainly use the results of my trips and my

10 observations as a source of information, as one of the

11 sources of information at his disposal, and that is why

12 he would debrief me after such a trip.

13 Q. Thank you, Colonel. But both of the meetings

14 that you had with Mr. Kordic occurred in Busovaca, so

15 you would not have been travelling around at that time

16 and so you could have reported the results of those

17 meetings immediately to your intelligence or

18 information officer at the battalion; right?

19 A. The first meeting, I didn't have to report

20 about that meeting because he was present; he

21 participated. He did not take part in the discussion

22 that I referred to, but he was present during the

23 reception. And I didn't report about the second

24 meeting also because he was involved from the very

25 moment that preparations for the meeting began, as I

Page 11890

1 have described.

2 Q. All right. So your intelligence officer knew

3 about this meeting. He knew why it was being arranged

4 and he knew the outcome, which I take it you reported

5 to him following the meeting's conclusion.

6 A. That is correct.

7 Q. And this meeting occurred sometime -- we

8 don't know when -- in March of 1993, to your best

9 recollection, seven years after the event; correct?

10 A. Seven and a half years after the event.

11 Q. Did you refresh your recollection of this

12 meeting by looking at the logbook and seeing any entry

13 that described this meeting in it, sir, or are you

14 operating just on pure recollection?

15 A. I rely on my recollection, because I don't

16 have the logbook, either in the original or a copy of

17 it, and I was not able to consult it after a selection

18 has been made in the logbook.

19 Q. Just two brief questions in connection with

20 some of the entries in this logbook --

21 JUDGE MAY: Before we go on, is there any

22 entry about the meeting?

23 MR. SAYERS: No, Your Honour. In fact, it

24 appears that the logbook only begins on April the 1st,

25 1993, which would have been some weeks, at least, maybe

Page 11891

1 a month, after this meeting.

2 JUDGE MAY: That's a fair point.


4 Q. If you could turn to the entry for April the

5 25th, 1993, sir, and these documents were assembled a

6 little confusingly, but they have a number on the

7 bottom right-hand side, right-hand corner, I'm sorry.

8 The number is 00284440 and has the date at the top of

9 the page.

10 You were aware, were you not, that Busovaca

11 was the seat of the vice-president of the Croatian

12 Community of Herceg-Bosna, Dario Kordic? This is

13 actually referred to about halfway down the page.

14 A. Could you please repeat your question?

15 Q. Yes, sir, I will. Just reading from your

16 battalion's log entry there, it says: "Busovaca is a

17 village with a 95 per cent Croat population, where the

18 Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade headquarters, the old

19 post office, and the seat of the vice-president of the

20 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, Dario Kordic, is

21 located."

22 Just one question. Were you aware that

23 Mr. Kordic was one of the vice-presidents of the

24 Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna?

25 A. [In English] Not at that time.

Page 11892

1 [Interpretation] Not at that time.

2 Q. Were you ever aware? Sir, you wanted to say

3 something?

4 A. Yes. I was saying that I think that I was

5 not aware of it at the time.

6 Q. Were you even aware that there was an entity

7 by the name of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna,

8 sir, at the time?

9 A. As far as I can remember, at that time it was

10 a kind of an attempt by Bosnian Croats. And how far

11 they had gone in achieving that objective, I do not

12 think I had any precise knowledge.

13 Q. Suffice to say, Colonel, that you did not

14 have any discussions along those lines with Mr. Kordic

15 regarding his position within the Croatian community of

16 Herceg-Bosna; isn't that fair to say?

17 A. That is completely correct.

18 Q. And one other brief question as we --

19 A. Yes, you can put it that way.

20 Q. You knew that the HVO commander in Busovaca

21 was Dusko Grubesic. And I'd just like to ask you to

22 take a look at the April the 20th, 1993 entry under

23 "Busovaca," and the page number is 00284431. There's

24 an entry in your battalion logbook that says at 1600

25 hours the HVO Busovaca commander, Grubesic, allowed

Page 11893

1 passage of traffic from both sides, but warned that he

2 did not have control of all of his soldiers and that

3 U.N. employees might be endangered as a result.

4 Just one question, sir. Does that jog your

5 memory as to whether you actually spoke with the HVO

6 Busovaca brigade, the Nikola Subic-Zrinjski Brigade

7 commander, a gentleman by the name of Grubesic?

8 A. As I have just explained, it is quite

9 possible that we spoke, but I cannot remember it with

10 any accuracy or with any certainty.

11 Q. All right. And a final question in

12 connection with these entries in the logbook. If you

13 would just turn to the entry under April 22nd, 1993.

14 There is a logbook entry referring to the HVO Central

15 Bosnia operations zone commander, Colonel Blaskic, who

16 charged his commanding officers with ensuring that an

17 agreement was implemented. And if you take a look at

18 the enclosure that immediately follows, it is actually

19 an order that is signed by that same person, Commander

20 Colonel Tihomir Blaskic. The question that I have for

21 you is: You were aware that Colonel Blaskic was the

22 HVO operational zone commander in Central Bosnia,

23 weren't you, sir?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. All right.

Page 11894

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Let me just step back a bit. You say that

3 you travelled to Central Bosnia to perform an initial

4 reconnaissance for your battalion in July of 1992, and

5 that you decided to meet the political leaders in the

6 town of Vitez. Do you remember that?

7 A. [No audible response]

8 Q. All right. In your statement you identified

9 the gentleman that you met on several occasions as Pero

10 Skopljak. Let me just ask the usher to put page 1 of

11 your statement on the ELMO. Do you have a copy of it

12 with you? If not, I can give it to you. You do.

13 Thank you. All right.

14 Now, sir, this statement was given about two

15 years after your tour of duty ended. Did this

16 represent your best recollection?

17 A. When the statement was given, it was right

18 before that statement. I was interviewed by two

19 gentlemen from this Tribunal and I told them that I had

20 met the mayor of Vitez, but I could not recall his name

21 any longer. And they indicated to me -- these persons

22 indicated to me that the mayor of Vitez could have been

23 called that.

24 Q. All right. Did you have an interpreter with

25 you at the time?

Page 11895

1 A. No.

2 Q. And, frankly, you cannot remember who it was

3 that you met? You do not know the name of the person

4 that you met, do you? I think you've already said

5 that.

6 A. The person whom I met introduced himself, and

7 I am positive about that, introduced himself as the

8 mayor of Vitez, but I really cannot now give a name to

9 dignitary.

10 Q. Let's move on. You say that you had several

11 meetings with the mayor of, or the person that you

12 understood to be the mayor of Busovaca, Zoran Maric.

13 On page 1 of your statement you say that he appeared to

14 be the HVO commander of the Busovaca municipality. Do

15 you still abide by that view, sir?

16 A. That was my impression, and it has not

17 changed.

18 Q. All right. Just a few questions regarding

19 your impression of the HVO military chain of command,

20 sir. You were aware that the general staff of the HVO

21 was located in Mostar; correct?

22 A. No, I was not aware of that.

23 Q. All right.

24 A. No, I was not aware of that.

25 Q. If that's the case, then I will not ask you

Page 11896

1 any further questions on that subject.

2 In connection with the Central Bosnia

3 operative zone commander, Colonel Blaskic, you actually

4 met with him on April the 21st, 1993 to negotiate the

5 unobstructed passage of a convoy through a roadblock in

6 Busovaca; correct? And if it would help you, sir, you

7 might want to take a look at the logbook entry for

8 April the 21st, 1993.

9 JUDGE MAY: What page is that, please?

10 MR. SAYERS: 00284494, Your Honour.

11 Q. Here it says that Lieutenant-Colonel de Boer

12 went to negotiate unobstructed passage through the

13 roadblock in Busovaca with Commander Blaskic, Central

14 Bosnia HVO commander. And that's in April of 1993, the

15 21st, to be precise; correct?

16 A. Could you repeat the date, please.

17 Q. Yes, sir. Sorry. April the 21st, 1993. You

18 have the question in mind, Colonel, or would you like

19 me to ask it again?

20 A. Just a moment, please.

21 Q. Sure.

22 A. I've just read the paragraph. Could you now

23 repeat the question, please.

24 Q. Do you have a recollection that at 9.15 a.m.

25 on the 21st of April, 1993, you went to negotiate

Page 11897

1 unobstructed passage through a roadblock in Busovaca

2 with Commander Blaskic, the Central Bosnia HVO

3 commander?

4 A. I remember that at that time. Yes, that is

5 something that, yes, could have happened. As I have

6 just said, I -- I think that what was said was quite

7 correct. I think that the interpretation is not quite

8 accurate.

9 Q. In what way, Colonel?

10 A. I will repeat what I said. I said that at

11 that time there were a number of incidents, as shown by

12 the document. I also remember that I tried, that I

13 endeavoured to conduct negotiations in order to achieve

14 the freedom of passage, freedom of movement. It is

15 quite possible that I was planning to do it with

16 Blaskic. I remember having discussed it with military

17 and, as a result of this, we did indeed manage to be

18 promised freedom of movement, but I have -- I have

19 certain doubts if the person that this was discussed

20 was Blaskic. As a matter of fact, I think that it was

21 not Blaskic at all. However, if what is said in the

22 text is correct, I believe that it is correct because

23 the text says what my intention was.

24 Q. Very well. As the Court has observed several

25 times, Colonel, this is not a memory test. All you can

Page 11898

1 do is give us your best recollection.

2 Let me just ask you a few brief, general

3 questions about the fighting that broke out around the

4 Busovaca area in January. You were actually present

5 throughout that fighting, were you not, in January

6 1993?

7 A. Yes, indeed, I was in the zone in Busovaca or

8 with one of my other units. And one of those units was

9 a Belgian unit, which was near Belgrade in January.

10 Q. And if I might just interrupt, and I

11 don't --

12 A. And that is how I went to see that unit.

13 Q. I was just asking you whether you were

14 present for the -- during the fighting in January of

15 1993 in Busovaca.

16 A. Present, yes. But where?

17 Q. Just a few general questions. There is not

18 any doubt that in the latter part of January the Muslim

19 forces, the ABiH set up roadblocks at Kacuni, and

20 during the fighting actually established control over a

21 significant portion of the main supply route from

22 Kacuni, just a few kilometres south of Busovaca to

23 Bilalovac, just north of Kiseljak; is that correct?

24 A. It is.

25 Q. There is equally no doubt that the ABiH

Page 11899

1 forces controlled the main supply route just to the

2 east of the Kaonik junction at Katici and Merdani;

3 isn't that correct?

4 A. That is correct, as far as I can remember.

5 Q. So the position is that the Muslim forces

6 controlled both parts of the main supply route, the

7 part leading from Busovaca to Zenica, and the part

8 leading from Busovaca to Kiseljak, leaving the only

9 portion of the main supply route that was under Croat

10 control that comes from Busovaca to Vitez; correct?

11 A. Yes, it is, I believe.

12 Q. And were you aware that to the northeast of

13 Busovaca the Muslim forces had launched an attack on a

14 variety of villages, including the villages of Dusina

15 and Lasva?

16 A. I'm not certain.

17 Q. You never heard about an incident in which

18 12 Croats were tortured and killed by members of the

19 7th Muslim Brigade on January the 26th of 1993?

20 A. I don't remember talk -- I never heard any

21 talk about that.

22 Q. According to the 1991 census, the village of

23 Oseliste, which is just south of Kacuni, immediately

24 south of Kacuni, was 100 per cent Croat. Isn't it true

25 that the Croats were expelled from Oseliste in late

Page 11900

1 January of 1993, sir, and that their houses were

2 burned?

3 A. [In English] I don't know that.

4 [Interpretation] I don't know.

5 Q. All right. Let me just ask you some

6 questions in connection with the meetings that you had

7 with Mr. Kordic, the first one being the reception that

8 you sponsored for representatives of the Croat side and

9 the Muslim side around Christmas of 1992.

10 A. That is correct.

11 Q. A large number of dignitaries from various

12 municipalities and from representatives of the armed

13 forces on both sides attended your function, did they

14 not?

15 A. Indeed.

16 Q. And Mr. Kordic was one of those, and he

17 attended with his wife, I believe; correct?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. Now, Mr. Kordic did not speak in disparaging

20 terms about Muslims to you, did he?

21 A. [In English] He never did.

22 Q. And in your statement, sir, of 1995, there's

23 no mention of the fact that Mr. Kordic was apparently

24 introduced to you by your interpreter as Colonel

25 Kordic? If you'd just take a look at page 2 of your

Page 11901

1 statement. I believe there's a reference to your

2 meeting with Mr. Kordic at the Christmas party that you

3 attended.

4 MR. SAYERS: If the usher could put it on the

5 ELMO, it would be helpful.

6 A. Yes. I'll have the text before me.


8 Q. There's no reference there to the fact that

9 Mr. Kordic was introduced to you as a Colonel, is

10 there?

11 A. No. True.

12 Q. Now, the second meeting that you had with

13 Mr. Kordic is the one that you've described in March of

14 1993, and this -- the occasion of this meeting was a

15 visit to the area by the military commander, the number

16 one military officer of all of UNPROFOR in

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lieutenant General Philippe

18 Morillon; isn't that correct?

19 A. [In English] That's correct.

20 Q. And this was a high profile event in a small

21 place like Busovaca, the visit of an important military

22 officer such as General Morillon; correct?

23 A. It was the first time that a General was

24 visiting my battalion.

25 Q. As far as you know, Colonel de Boer, this is

Page 11902

1 the first time that General Morillon had ever visited

2 Busovaca; correct?

3 A. I don't remember any other occasion on which

4 he visited Busovaca.

5 Q. So it would be fair to say that this was a

6 big event and that there were a number of people

7 involved in the meeting that you described, both civil

8 and military, including the mayor of Busovaca, as you

9 previously identified, Mr. Zoran Maric; is that

10 correct?

11 A. No, it is not. General Morillon was coming

12 to pay a visit to my battalion, and this visit was

13 prepared in a manner which would ensure that he visits

14 the headquarters and then also visit individual units.

15 Initially a meeting with civilian or military

16 authorities had not been envisaged.

17 Q. I fully understand what you're saying,

18 Colonel, but the fact is that your intelligence officer

19 or your S3 operations officer contacted Busovaca

20 specifically to inquire about the three young girls

21 that you've testified about, and it was Mr. Kordic who

22 invited you and General Morillon and your entourage to

23 come to the operations room in Busovaca; isn't that

24 correct?

25 A. That is correct, yes.

Page 11903

1 Q. And not only Mr. Kordic was there; you've

2 also identified Mr. Maric as the mayor of Busovaca. He

3 was there too, right?

4 A. That's correct.

5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, we have to adjourn

6 promptly. Would that be a convenient moment?

7 MR. SAYERS: Yes, Your Honour, it would.

8 JUDGE MAY: Colonel, we're going to adjourn

9 now. Would you be back, please, for half past 2.00,

10 and we'll continue.

11 A. [In English] Of course, Your Honour.

12 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.58 p.m.














Page 11904

1 --- On resuming at 2.45 p.m.

2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Sayers.

3 MR. SAYERS: Thank you, Mr. President.

4 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel. We had just taken

5 our break as we were discussing the release of the

6 three young girls in Busovaca into your custody and the

7 custody of the Lieutenant General Morillon.

8 The girls told you that they'd actually been

9 well treated, not merely that they had not been

10 mistreated and not been abused; isn't that true?

11 A. [In English] That's true.

12 Q. And you don't actually know where these young

13 girls had actually been kept, do you?

14 A. No, I don't know.

15 Q. Just one question in connection with the map

16 that you observed in the operations room of the brigade

17 headquarters. The lines that you actually saw, sir --

18 and you may wish to take a look at your statement.

19 It's not actually numbered, but I think it's the second

20 page, the first full paragraph, the statement you gave

21 in April 1995. In that statement you said you thought

22 that the lines on the map depicted the HVO perception

23 of the confrontation lines with the Bosnian Serb army,

24 and that's still your impression today, isn't it?

25 A. Because I had the map upside down in front of

Page 11905

1 me at the time. I wasn't sure what the lines stood

2 for.

3 Q. All right. But you did say five years ago

4 that you believe that these lines depicted the HVO

5 perception of confrontation lines or what the HVO felt

6 was the forward line of troops of the Bosnian Serb

7 army; right?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And you also gave testimony this morning

10 about arrows that you saw, but you stated five years

11 ago that you were not sure where the arrows terminated,

12 but you do know that they pointed either at Ahmici and

13 surrounding villages or past it.

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. So you're not saying that the arrows actually

16 pointed at Ahmici today, are you?

17 A. No.

18 Q. No. Good. Just a few questions, sir, in

19 connection with this logbook and then I'll be through.

20 Were you aware that on the 14th of April,

21 just before the eruption of hostilities, four HVO staff

22 officers had been kidnapped in the Novi Travnik area?

23 A. No.

24 Q. If you could just take a look at the entry

25 dated April the 15th, 1993, and it's page number

Page 11906

1 00284425, paragraph 5. I'll just read it.

2 MR. SAYERS: The usher may want to put it on

3 the ELMO so that the -- we have an extra copy, so if

4 this could go on the ELMO, that might help out the

5 interpreters.

6 Q. Paragraph 5 says, under the "Novi Travnik"

7 heading: "The HVO and BiH accuse each other of the

8 alleged kidnapping of four HVO officers. Till today,

9 no incidents have occurred, but HVO checkpoints hinder

10 freedom of movement of Muslims. According to the BiH,

11 it is a false accusation intended to shed bad light on

12 the local Muslim units."

13 Do you recall any discussion of that

14 particular incident at all?

15 A. No.

16 Q. All right. Would it be fair to say, though,

17 sir, that in your experience it was relatively routine

18 for the Muslims to blame the Croats for incidents and

19 for the Croats to do the same to the Muslims?

20 A. It happened very often indeed.

21 Q. Actually, sir, you were present in Busovaca

22 when an entity called the Busovaca Joint Commission was

23 formed following the hostilities in January. Do you

24 recall that?

25 A. It was the ECMM, yes. Yeah, I remember.

Page 11907

1 Q. That was presided over initially by Jeremy

2 Fleming, I believe, and then by Mr. Mats Torping, and

3 then during your tour of duty I believe by Mr. Van der

4 Pluijm. Do you recall those being the presiding ECMM

5 monitors who presided over the proceedings of the

6 Busovaca Joint Commission?

7 A. The first two did that in the time I was

8 there.

9 Q. Did you attend any meetings of that joint

10 commission, sir?

11 A. Never.

12 Q. If you could just turn to the next page, sir,

13 under the date of April the 16th, 1993, paragraph 5.

14 I'd just like to ask you whether you have any

15 recollection of an incident in which commander Zivko

16 Totic, the commander of the HVO Brigade in Zenica, the

17 Jure Francetic Brigade, had been kidnapped and four of

18 his bodyguards had been murdered, along with a

19 passer-by. Do you recall that incident?

20 A. I never heard about it.

21 Q. So you have no views on whether the

22 observation made in your battalion's logbook that the

23 direct cause of the fighting in the Vitez-Santici area

24 seems to be the recent kidnapping of the HVO commander

25 from Zenica in which four of his bodyguards and a

Page 11908

1 civilian were killed, and the alleged kidnapping of HVO

2 officers in Novi Travnik. That doesn't jog your memory

3 as to whether that was the subject of discussion with

4 your intelligence officer or information officer?

5 A. It may have been discussed internally, along

6 the channels of military security, but personally I

7 never discussed that with anybody else.

8 Q. So the observation made in the battalion

9 logbook concerns something about which you essentially

10 have no opinion, is that correct; i.e. the cause of the

11 fighting?

12 A. That's exact, yes.

13 Q. Very well. The next entry I'd like to draw

14 your attention to is for the 19th of April, 1993, page

15 00284430, under item 3, "Vitez." The logbook from your

16 battalion discusses houses in Gornji Veceriska,

17 Podbrezje being searched completely, and then the

18 observation appears that most of the Croat villages

19 west and southwest of Zenica have been ethnically

20 cleansed. Did you ever see any of those villages, sir,

21 that had been ethnically cleansed, the villages

22 mentioned in this logbook?

23 A. No, I never visited any of those villages.

24 Q. Did you hear that such activities were going

25 on in the area of the north of Busovaca and to the

Page 11909

1 southwest of Zenica in middle of April 1993?

2 A. Not any other way than as it's stated here,

3 or as it's depicted here.

4 Q. All right. If you would just turn to the

5 next page, there's an entry under the heading of

6 Busovaca for the 20th of April, 1993, recording that at

7 about 4.00 in the afternoon the HVO Busovaca commander,

8 Grubesic, allowed passage of traffic from both sides,

9 but warned that he didn't have control of all of his

10 soldiers. I've previously been over this with you, and

11 you said that you did not have any recollection of

12 that. Who from your battalion did actually deal with

13 the brigade commander in Busovaca; do you recall?

14 A. I think that most of it was done by my

15 intelligence officer.

16 Q. All right. Thank you, sir. Moving smartly

17 along. I think I only have about five more minutes of

18 questions for you. The next entry is on page

19 00284433. At the top of the page there is a reference

20 to high-level discussions on the 20th of April, 1993,

21 at the BiH command in Zenica between General Halilovic,

22 the commander of the -- supposedly, the 3rd BiH Corps;

23 and General Petkovic, the HVO commander; and Colonel

24 Blaskic, the HVO Central Bosnia operations zone

25 commander; along with the UNPROFOR commander,

Page 11910

1 Lieutenant-General Morillon. Were you aware of those

2 high-level discussions going on in Zenica, aimed at

3 producing a cease-fire as a result of the mid-April 1993

4 outbreak of fighting?

5 A. Not when it took place or when such meetings

6 took place, but shortly after that, yes.

7 Q. All right. Did you ever meet either General

8 Halilovic or General Petkovic?

9 A. I happened to be once at the headquarters of

10 the 3rd Corps, but I can't remember any names of the

11 people I spoke to there.

12 Q. All right. Were you aware that General

13 Petkovic was the superior officer of Colonel Blaskic?

14 A. It seems to be obvious from the text, but

15 then I didn't know. I didn't know then at the time.

16 Q. Were you aware that Mr. Kordic was not

17 involved in any of the cease-fire negotiations at any

18 time?

19 A. I didn't know. I didn't know.

20 Q. All right. Just a few final questions here.

21 If you would turn to the entry for April the 29th,

22 1993, page number 00284446. There is a reference to

23 the Busovaca area, page -- paragraph 3, rather, and the

24 village of Kazagici. And the entry states that after

25 the BiH had occupied the village, within 24 hours

Page 11911

1 severe damage to the houses was ascertained and almost

2 every house had been set on fire. Were you aware of

3 the damage done to Kazagici on the -- before the 29th

4 of April, 1993, sir?

5 A. No, I wasn't.

6 Q. And finally, the next entry is May the 1st,

7 1993. I think it's the two pages on from the one that

8 you have. There is another reference in Busovaca to

9 Commander Dusko Grubesic. But right beneath that,

10 under the paragraph 3, the heading for Jelinak, there

11 is a reference to about 10 or 15 houses in the Croat

12 village of Jelinak being set on fire. Were you aware

13 of that incident of arson, sir?

14 A. No, I wasn't.

15 Q. Colonel, thank you very much. I have no

16 further questions for you.

17 Thank you, Your Honour.

18 MR. KOVACIC: Your Honour, we will not have a

19 question in cross. Thank you.

20 Re-examined by Mr. Scott:

21 Q. I have about four questions, Your Honour.

22 Colonel, in reference to the questions about the

23 meeting, the two meetings you had with Mr. Kordic, and

24 your recollection of those meetings, I think we all can

25 agree that the statement that was taken in April 1995,

Page 11912

1 giving the account of these meetings, was substantially

2 closer in time than today; correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. And it was your testimony today that it was

5 Mr. Kordic who completely conducted and ran that

6 meeting and decided to release the Muslim girls; is

7 that correct?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. Mr. Sayers asked me a question about who, if

10 it was not Colonel Blaskic, would have been involved in

11 clearing a particular roadblock, and you, I think -- I

12 think you expressed the opinion that you didn't really

13 think it was Blaskic. Do you remember those --

14 A. That's right. Yes.

15 Q. Do you have any recollection of who it was --

16 who else it might have been, or it was, other than

17 Colonel Blaskic?

18 A. I can't remember any of the names.

19 Q. Very well. Finally, just in terms of the

20 logbook. If I could ask you to look and, with the

21 usher's help, look again at the entry for the 16th of

22 April, 1993.

23 JUDGE MAY: Page, please.

24 MR. SCOTT: Yes, Your Honour.

25 Q. It would be -- the last four digits would be

Page 11913

1 4426.

2 Mr. Sayers had directed your attention to the

3 first part of paragraph 5, in reference to the

4 kidnapping. Let me please complete the reference by --

5 if I can direct your attention to the end of paragraph

6 5. Was that the assessment made by your operations

7 officer, the person preparing this log; that is that

8 the tensions between the BiH and HVO in Central Bosnia

9 resulted from attempts made by the HVO to form an

10 independent "Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna"?

11 A. I think that it is more likely that it is

12 from the intelligence cell in the BritBat, because that

13 cell was more -- most important source of information

14 and was used as him for such.

15 Q. It's fair to say that the various UNPROFOR

16 components shared information with one another?

17 A. Of course.

18 Q. And I think the final question is in

19 reference to the 19th of April in your log. And I'll

20 find the page number in a moment. It would be 4430.

21 If you have that, I would like to direct your

22 attention, sir, to item 3. And again Mr. Sayers made

23 reference to the Croat villages west and southwest of

24 Zenica. Two questions. Were you or anyone in your

25 command ever able to verify that that ethnic cleansing

Page 11914

1 had ever occurred, or was this just, as far as you

2 know, information that was being reported from some

3 other source?

4 A. My intelligence officer went together with a

5 member of the BritBat a couple of times. That means

6 that sometimes he was able to observe things himself,

7 but I couldn't tell you in any safe way that this was

8 of the incidents that he was able to observe himself.

9 Q. And my last question about that is: Was it

10 ever reported to you or did it ever come to your

11 attention the concern or allegation that the Croats

12 themselves had taken actions to move their own people,

13 that is Croats, out from that area?

14 A. I remember that throughout that period, the

15 period when we were there, such rumours were heard

16 regularly, but that came from all parties.

17 MR. SCOTT: No further questions, Your

18 Honour. Thank you.

19 JUDGE MAY: Colonel, thank you for coming to

20 the International Tribunal to give your evidence. You

21 are released.


23 [The witness withdrew]

24 MR. NICE: Before the next witness comes in,

25 may we have private session for a short period of time

Page 11915

1 to correct something that was an error I made, and

2 indeed to deal with one other administrative matter at

3 this time.

4 [Private session]

5 (redacted)

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Page 11916













13 pages 11916 to 11925 redacted in private session













Page 11926

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21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 [Open session]

24 [The witness entered court]

25 JUDGE MAY: The witness take the

Page 11927

1 declaration.

2 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

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

4 truth


6 Examined by Mr. Nice:

7 Q. Your full name, please, sir. Your full name

8 please?

9 A. My full name, Cornelius Van der Pluijm.

10 Q. Mr. Van der Pluijm, there is in Court, I

11 think, still an interpreter who can interpret from

12 Dutch into English. There is not, I'm afraid, somebody

13 available to translate from English into Dutch.

14 Accordingly, if you have any difficulty understanding

15 an English question, please ask us to repeat it or

16 rephrase it.

17 A. Okay.

18 Q. But if at any stage you wish to speak in

19 Dutch to amplify or clarify an answer, please do so,

20 reflecting or respecting the need for a small pause, a

21 little gap of time after you do so, so that we can

22 benefit from the translation.

23 I think you've been present at this building

24 yesterday, when a summary of your evidence was

25 prepared; is that correct?

Page 11928

1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. You are happy with the contents of that

3 summary?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. I don't know if the witness may have it

6 before him. I don't know if there's any objection?

7 JUDGE MAY: Any objection?

8 MR. SAYERS: Not from Mr. Kordic's Defence,

9 Your Honour.

10 MR. KOVACIC: The same with us.

11 MR. NICE: I'm grateful.

12 Q. Mr. Van der Pluijm, a retired Major in the

13 Dutch army, were you head of the logistics for reserve

14 training at the Dutch army base, having worked with

15 infantry, mortar and logistics? Is that correct?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. Serving as an ECMM monitor from the 12th of

18 January to the 7th of April of 1993, and arriving at a

19 time when the situation between the Muslims and Croats,

20 particularly in the areas of Busovaca, Kiseljak,

21 Travnik and Novi Travnik, was tense; is that correct?

22 A. That's correct.

23 Q. How did you find the trust between the

24 parties? Use your own words, please.

25 A. Yes, I found out that they didn't trust each

Page 11929

1 other at several circumstances, but especially in their

2 promises to each other.

3 Q. Thank you. I am going to return to all

4 documentary matters in an orderly way in a few minutes,

5 and first of all go straight to paragraph 7 and the

6 paragraphs that follow that.

7 In the course of your time as a monitor, on

8 how many occasions did you meet Kordic?

9 A. I met him once and I saw him another time.

10 Q. When you say you saw him another time, in

11 whose presence was that, and where?

12 A. As far as I know, it was in a meeting in the

13 English battalion in Vitez with English Colonel

14 Stewart, with some members from ECMM, with Mr. Blaskic,

15 and with Mr. Hadzihasanovic.

16 Q. Can you remember now the content of that

17 meeting or not?

18 A. No, I don't know exactly. I can only guess.

19 So, no.

20 Q. I am turning to the second incident, the time

21 when you met him. Before I come to that, although you

22 may have difficulties in fixing the times of these

23 meetings, do you think they occurred before or after

24 the time when you went on leave on the 26th of

25 February?

Page 11930

1 A. I think before the term.

2 Q. Very well. Let's deal with the meeting with

3 Mr. Kordic. Did this relate to the visit of a Dutch

4 General, General Maars, to your area of responsibility?

5 A. Yes, the General Maars wanted to visit the

6 Dutch battalion in Busovaca.

7 Q. What happened, so far as his movement was

8 concerned?

9 A. I learnt -- I heard in the headquarters from

10 Dutch battalion that he was stopped at the checkpoint

11 on his way from Kiseljak to Busovaca. When I heard, I

12 met Kordic and asked him to stop this blockade and let

13 him pass to the headquarters of the Dutch battalion.

14 Q. Take that in a little detail.

15 A. I beg your pardon?

16 Q. We'll take that in a little detail.

17 Whereabouts did you go to see Kordic?

18 A. In his headquarters in Busovaca, in a

19 building in the centre of the village.

20 Q. Was he guarded or not?

21 A. Yes, he was guarded.

22 Q. When you got through to see him, was he alone

23 or accompanied?

24 A. He was accompanied. As far as I know, there

25 was also an English interpreter.

Page 11931

1 Q. How was he dressed?

2 A. I don't know.

3 Q. Civilian or uniform?

4 A. I don't know. I think -- no, I don't know.

5 Q. Did you have interpreter or interpreters with

6 you?

7 A. Yes, I had two interpreters with me.

8 Q. Were they local?

9 A. One of them was local.

10 Q. Can you tell us anything about their attitude

11 at the time?

12 A. It was a Muslim girl, and she was afraid.

13 She had problems already near the entrance of the

14 building.

15 Q. Did you explain the position to Mr. Kordic?

16 A. My position?

17 Q. No, the position of your General.

18 A. Yes, I explained it. And I said it was not

19 the way we had contact, to blockade this General on his

20 visit -- only on his visit to Dutch troops.

21 Q. First, what was his attitude? And then,

22 going on from there, tell us what happened and what he

23 did. Attitude first.

24 A. He found it not a big problem. He smiled.

25 And when he saw I was angry, he agreed to call the

Page 11932

1 checkpoint and to let the General pass.

2 Q. Did he make a phone call?

3 A. Yes, he made a phone call.

4 Q. In your presence?

5 A. Yes, in my presence.

6 Q. To whom did he telephone, as far as you could

7 understand it?

8 A. I think to the checkpoint, but I don't know.

9 Q. How long or short a call was it?

10 A. A short call. A few minutes.

11 Q. After that, what did he say to you?

12 A. "All arranged."

13 Q. And as you understood it from information

14 coming from your fellow --

15 A. Yes, it was arranged. Yes.

16 Q. And the General was allowed to pass?

17 A. Yes, he was.

18 Q. Paragraph 9. What was -- and again, don't

19 read slavishly from the summary, because the Chamber

20 would prefer to hear it in your own words. What was

21 the view you formed of Kordic's position, whether it

22 was military, political, or whatever you like?

23 A. I think he was an authorised civilian from

24 Busovaca and such, as a Major or some political leader

25 from the village.

Page 11933

1 Q. How, if at all, did his position interact

2 with Blaskic's?

3 A. I don't know. I don't know. I have a

4 meaning, but -- I don't know. It's only feelings.

5 Q. What did you notice about Blaskic in meetings

6 and about his exercise of authority?

7 A. Blaskic seemed to -- let me say it another

8 way. The other party was Mr. Hadzihasanovic from the

9 BiH. He took at those meetings decisions, and Blaskic

10 didn't not -- not always. It seemed as if he had to

11 call, and often he said so, to call and to advise at

12 first his commanders.

13 Q. Did he ever identify who those commanders

14 were to whom he had to refer?

15 A. Sometimes he mentioned a corps, but I don't

16 know which corps. A commander of a corps, but I don't

17 know which corps. I don't remember that.

18 Q. In the area of Busovaca itself, was there

19 anybody of the political nature superior to Kordic, to

20 your knowledge?

21 A. No, I don't know.

22 Q. Did you meet the defendant Mario Cerkez at

23 all?

24 A. Yes, I met him, but not talked with him. Not

25 in a personal contact.

Page 11934

1 Q. What view, if any, did you form of him, and

2 explain why.

3 A. When I saw him, it was on headquarters in

4 Vitez. I am a soldier, and he also, but I don't think

5 that the discipline in that headquarters was very high,

6 because we could pass without any problems; the guards

7 was smoking. The guards, they were talking to my

8 interpreter, because of knowing each other, smiling.

9 Not disciplined.

10 Q. I'll deal with paragraphs 11 to 13 and then

11 turn to documents. Did you have observations of the

12 communication abilities of the HVO? If so, what were

13 they?

14 A. Only telephone and mobiles. I've seen that

15 on headquarters of Kordic, but also during our meetings

16 with HVO and BiH.

17 Q. How easy or otherwise did it appear for the

18 HVO to make contact when they needed to?

19 A. Not difficult.

20 Q. In February of 1993 at, I think, the Busovaca

21 bus station, was there an exchange of some 200 people,

22 of whom the Muslims were mostly of non-military age,

23 being exchanged with Croats who had been held

24 prisoner? Was there such an exchange?

25 A. Yes, there was such an exchange.

Page 11935

1 Q. The condition of prisoners or people on both

2 sides being what?

3 A. From both sides people were injured,

4 maltreated. You could see that. In bad condition.

5 Q. At one stage, and as part of your monitoring

6 process -- process of monitoring prisoners, did you

7 discover that Dzemal Merdan's father was said to be

8 held in the local police station in Busovaca, although

9 the police chief initially denied having any such

10 prisoners? Is that correct?

11 A. That's correct.

12 Q. In due course, on your insistence, were you

13 shown two empty and then a third cell where Merdan's

14 father was indeed held?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. What was said about the nature of the person

17 in that cell?

18 A. I don't understand the question.

19 Q. What were you initially told by the police

20 chief or somebody on his behalf about the person held

21 in that cell?

22 A. At first he said they had no political

23 prisoners, only criminals. After that, when I

24 discovered Mr. Merdan, he apologised. He said to the

25 guards, "What are you doing now?" or something of

Page 11936

1 that.

2 Q. I think Merdan's father was about 70 years

3 old at the time.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Apparently had been kept for some time

6 without lights on and so on?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. We -- perhaps we can just go on to

9 paragraph -- perhaps I'll deal with paragraph 15.

10 On the 23rd of February was there a complaint

11 made to you by Blaskic about food for Croats?

12 A. Yes. That's right.

13 Q. You set out in the summary how that was

14 resolved. In the event, were food trucks searched at

15 an ABiH checkpoint?

16 A. Yes. That's correct.

17 Q. What were they found to contain?

18 A. They found grenades, hand grenades,

19 ammunition in those trucks, covered by potatoes.

20 Q. So to that extent the ECMM had been tricked?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Paragraph 18. I think there was one

23 operation where you were involved in the retrieval of a

24 body of a killed ABiH soldier from behind Croat lines,

25 and where you were assisted by an interpreter of Muslim

Page 11937

1 origin.

2 A. Yes. That's correct.

3 Q. When you approached Croats with a Muslim

4 interpreter, what happened to the interpreter?

5 A. The Croats recognised him as a Muslim boy

6 from -- a Muslim boy from Zenica, but he had also

7 apartment of a father, had also an apartment in a house

8 in Busovaca, and they started to beat him.

9 Q. In your presence?

10 A. Yes. Only once. And then I -- then I got

11 the man who beat the boy, and I did nothing but only

12 said, "Stop it," and he stopped.

13 Q. Paragraph 4, to begin with, on the very short

14 document examination. The first document has already

15 been produced and need not be referred to again,

16 although the witness deals with it in the first

17 sentence of paragraph 4.

18 Is it right that on the 30th of January, the

19 decision was made to set up the Busovaca Joint

20 Commission and that that was agreed to by Blaskic and

21 Hadzihasanovic?

22 A. Yes. That's right.

23 Q. Very briefly, how was that commission to

24 function?

25 A. We found out that only visiting the local

Page 11938

1 commanders, authorities, was not enough, and we created

2 what we called the joint commission to get the local

3 commanders together under our supervision to talk and

4 to make agreements. It was our own initiative. It was

5 not an order.

6 Q. Paragraph 14 for the next chronological

7 event.

8 MR. NICE: May the witness have a bundle of

9 documentary exhibits, because I'm going to go through

10 them in order. If there's a spare bundle, it may be

11 the witness could have one to follow at his desk, with

12 the usher putting others on the screen, if there is a

13 spare. Then this makes life easier for everyone.

14 Thank you so much.

15 Q. Document 471 is, as we see, an internal

16 document, I think producing joint orders negotiated

17 under the chairmanship of Jeremy Fleming. Was he the

18 chairman of the commission?

19 A. Yes, he was the chairman.

20 Q. If we could turn to the second sheet. Turn

21 over to the next page, please. We can see that at the

22 meeting on the 13th of February, the team was formed

23 with decisions being made and joint orders being

24 promulgated.

25 What did you expect to happen as a result of

Page 11939

1 this, please, Mr. Van der Pluijm?

2 A. We had full trust about the results of this

3 commission, because both parties wanted to take a deal

4 to our meetings, with their highest local commanders.

5 Q. So what were you expecting? Were you

6 expecting peace to break out?

7 A. Yes. I thought, when we started, we have

8 ended the war in Central Bosnia. Both parties on one

9 line and in one office, and they said to us, "Yes, we

10 will do that. We are crazy to fight each other on this

11 way, and we will stop our cruel destroying, shooting,

12 burning," and so on and so on.

13 Q. We can see what was nominally agreed there.

14 In the event, did peace break out? Were commitments

15 honoured?

16 A. No, not -- not at all. It's too heavy. But

17 not all the commitments were fulfilled.

18 Q. As between Hadzihasanovic on the one side and

19 Blaskic on the other, were they equally good or equally

20 bad at delivering on promises, or was there a

21 difference?

22 A. I have a personal interpretation, but that's

23 not real, I think. Both gave their full co-operation

24 according to the agreements. It appeared also in the

25 people they sent to our commission, Merdan, and Nakic,

Page 11940

1 and other representatives.

2 Q. You say you have a personal interpretation,

3 and it was for that which I was asking.

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. You were there. You saw what these people

6 did.

7 A. It was easier to co-operate with

8 Hadzihasanovic than with Blaskic.

9 Q. Because?

10 A. Because as I told before. Hadzihasanovic

11 said, "I'll give the orders. Okay. We'll do that."

12 And Blaskic was always, "Yes. I have to talk with my

13 commanders."

14 Q. The next document is 548.2, misdescribed in

15 paragraph 4 as 548.1, but it is that document. It's a

16 document of several pages. It's really included as a

17 background paper that explains how the Busovaca Joint

18 Commission was working and is available for those

19 purposes.

20 If we turn over, for example, to the fourth

21 page, which has got the number 0475826 in the top

22 right-hand corner, it describes, under the present

23 situation, the physical arrangements for the joint

24 commission. At the next page it sets out those who

25 were supporting the commission, and deals with all

Page 11941

1 other matters relating to that commission, and I'm not

2 going to go through it in detail.

3 Am I correct, Mr. Van der Pluijm, that that

4 is indeed a description of how the commission should

5 have been working?

6 A. Yes. That's correct. Our superiors wanted

7 to know what we did.

8 Q. We go then to the next exhibit, 556.1,

9 paragraph 16. This, I think, is a joint commission

10 report. If we turn over to the end of the document,

11 which is under page 475817, are those signatures or

12 either of them yours?

13 A. You did ask --

14 Q. My mistake. Is it your report?

15 A. Yes, it's my report. I have, yeah, signed

16 it.

17 Q. And are you here reporting on the fulfilment

18 of the joint orders that had been made a little

19 earlier?

20 A. I don't know exactly -- understand your

21 question.

22 Q. If you turn to page 475815 in the top

23 right-hand corner.

24 A. Uh-huh. This one. Okay. Yes.

25 Q. You see the conclusions that you then set out

Page 11942

1 as to the joint orders signed on the 13th of February,

2 recording that up and until the 19th of March, after

3 five weeks they hadn't been fulfilled, not even as to a

4 major part. Is that correct?

5 A. Yes. What's a major part? Yes, it's

6 correct.

7 Q. You see you record in the middle of this page

8 the continuing existence of mistrust and some hate.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. By this stage -- and we can find it in the

11 document, if necessary, but it's here to record

12 matters -- by this stage how was the progress with the

13 removal of checkpoints? How was progress with exchange

14 of prisoners?

15 A. The exchange of prisoners was, as far as I

16 could check it, and I checked personally with most of

17 the presence in the area, was really fulfilled, no

18 prisoners. Only in one prison I saw some, as they call

19 it, criminals, thieves and so on, and the other prisons

20 were empty.

21 The checkpoints almost changes every day.

22 Sometimes they were removed and after a few days they

23 were again manned. We succeeded in manning the

24 checkpoints by civil police and mixed police from

25 Croatic and Croatian Muslim side. Only -- I mean three

Page 11943

1 checkpoints in the area of Novi Travnik, Zenica, and

2 Vitez have been always there and manned by soldiers.

3 Q. The next document is 570.1, being an

4 agreement under the heading of the co-ordination

5 committee of the joint commission. Do you remember

6 this agreement?

7 A. Yes, I know.

8 Q. Tell us about it.

9 A. The joint commission was accepted at that

10 time by ECMM, and they accepted also the great

11 importance. So we got -- how do I say that -- more

12 important commanders, leaders, than we as a common

13 ECMM. And that was the result of -- that results in

14 the agreement signed by -- at that time, I mean --

15 Q. If you go over the following page, we can see

16 the limited number of signatures.

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Hadzihasanovic, Karic, Stewart.

19 A. And Jean-Pierre Thebault. I mean, that was

20 the head of the ECMM mission at that time.

21 Q. Was there much confidence in this plan?

22 A. Yes, as every plan we made, but we were often

23 disappointed.

24 Q. And so far as this plan was concerned?

25 A. It was at the end of my mission, so I -- one

Page 11944

1 of my -- now, the most important thing of my mission

2 was at that time to remove all the checkpoints, and

3 that was what I checked every day, and it was one of

4 the results were almost fulfilled. I already mentioned

5 the checkpoints were not removed.

6 Q. Part of your duty under -- or part of the

7 duties under this agreement was to investigate

8 complaints of harassment by Muslims. Were there much

9 such complaints?

10 A. Yes. There were complaints. It depends on

11 the location.

12 Q. Was there any particular complaint concerning

13 a Muslim on a bridge close to the camp, that you

14 recall?

15 A. On the bridge near the Dutch company, you

16 mean?

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. Yes, I heard they reported me that there was

19 shooting at a Muslim man on the bridge near the Dutch

20 alpha company in Busovaca. The man was killed.

21 Q. The final document, 573 -- final two

22 documents, 573,1 and 599,1. These documents --

23 THE REGISTRAR: I just want to inform you

24 that document 573,1 has already been numbered. So

25 maybe it can be 573,2.

Page 11945


2 Q. The documents that you have before you -- I'm

3 sorry about that. The documents that you have before

4 you, they tell us something about the state of

5 checkpoints at the time of your departure from the

6 area.

7 A. All the checkpoints?

8 Q. About the manning of the checkpoints.

9 A. The manning of the checkpoints. One of them

10 -- subject from agreement was to man the checkpoints

11 by both parties and not by soldiers. Most of the

12 checkpoints were at the moment from my report manned by

13 civil police. And some of them also mixtured -- I

14 called that mixtured Muslims and Croats.

15 Q. So when we look at the document 573 with a

16 point 1 or point 2, if you look at that document that's

17 in front of you at the moment, and we look at -- first

18 of all, tell us what this document is. So far as you

19 understand it, what is this document, Mr. Van der

20 Pluijm?

21 A. It's the document I made for myself to check

22 the checkpoints.

23 Q. The first entry is "NO2 Bilesevo," and then

24 there is a reference to civil police from the local

25 police at Kakanj. Interpret that entry very briefly

Page 11946

1 with the conclusion you've already told us about in

2 mind.

3 A. You mean that I have to declare or to say --

4 Q. Explain the entry, yes.

5 A. Yes, it's only -- it's on the road from

6 Zenica to Kakanj, half -- no, near Kakanj, and they had

7 just a little house in which they had their

8 headquarters manned by -- I said before, two policemen

9 from both sides, and some as a reserve in the house.

10 Q. So the presence of policemen -- sorry. So

11 the presence of policemen, as opposed to merely the

12 military, represented some progress for the joint

13 commission?

14 A. Yes, I think so. Yes.

15 Q. Then the last -- so that's one example. If

16 we go to the very last document, 599,1. Go over in

17 this report -- I'm sorry, my mistake. Yes. It's on

18 the first sheet. Effectively the second paragraph,

19 where you record or where there is recorded five black

20 points all on the HVO side. Just explain that to us,

21 please.

22 A. We call that black point because they didn't

23 fulfill our agreements according to manning of the

24 checkpoints. A checkpoint manned by soldiers with

25 sometimes heavy weapons.

Page 11947

1 Q. So progress on checkpoints, but not complete

2 success?

3 A. Yes

4 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. That's

5 all I ask of this witness.

6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Sayers, will you be brief

7 with this witness, or will it be more convenient to

8 deal with cross-examination in the morning?

9 MR. SAYERS: I think, given the witness's

10 testimony, I can be brief, but I would prefer to start

11 tomorrow morning and go through my notes and eliminate

12 the irrelevant stuff. Thank you.

13 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Tomorrow morning.

14 Mr. Van der Pluijm, could you be back,

15 please, tomorrow morning at half past nine to conclude

16 your evidence. During the meantime, please don't speak

17 to anybody about it, and that does include members of

18 the Prosecution.

19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

20 4:10 p.m., to be reconvened on

21 Wednesday, the 12th day of January,

22 2000, at 9.30 a.m.